My Tuesday Tummy

I read an article this morning that made me feel like I had just consumed a slice of the very best cheesecake in the world…
In fact I muttered out loud to my sleeping dogs, ”Ohhhh! That is just delicious!”
(The only reply I got was a gentle snore from the smaller of the two!)

The article itself is a familiar theme of living life intentionally and the small, productive moments that add up, and matter!
And that is something that nourishes me in every way!

The article ended with this, and I felt I needed to repeat it here :

We want to change the world. Maybe even save it. Focus on your moments. Small actions, consistently executed over time, can create remarkable change. You can begin creating your extraordinary life one remarkable, intentional, productive moment at a time. 

If you are interested in the full article, you can read it here!

And now, if you’ll please excuse me, I am going to find joy and pleasure in hanging my washing on the line 😉

Today’s Day

It would be remiss of me to not write a blog post about what day it is today. For it happens to be…

STAR WARS DAY

I was reminded of this by the above picture in a Facebook post that a friend of mine shared.

Star Wars was not a part of my childhood, Star Trek was – when I was able to sneakily watch episodes with my dad. (And oddly enough, as a little girl, I wanted to marry Captain Pickard and not Riker. 😛 )

My father remarried the year I turned eighteen. I gained a British Mum, and four step siblings. I also gained Star Wars.

My stepbrother was in his teens – the only boy of the four – and I somehow doubt he was very amused by yet another female in the house when I went to visit. His amusement turned to horror when he discovered that his stepsister had never watched Star Wars.
”How did you get to be eighteen and you don’t know anything about it?”

He remedied that. Over and over. And over again.

In the month that I was with them, he and I had five (if I remember correctly) Star Wars movie marathons, because of course he had the VHS box set. And I loved every minute. This time, I chose Yoda (the little dude pictured above) as my husband 😛

Star Wars, for me, is not just about the movies. It’s about cherished moments spent with a ‘new sibling’ which gave us a common ground. (Our mutual love for Mr. Bean helped too!)

Now, if you haven’t watched Star Wars (and you’re HOW old?? 😛 ) then you may not be familiar with one of the famous lines : May the Force be with you – now you see why ‘May the Fourth’ works so well 😉

Interestingly enough though, “May the Fourth be with you” was first used by Margaret Thatcher’s political party to congratulate her on her election on May 4th, 1979.

This morning, I think this was me….

I sure hope my coffee kicks in soon! 😛

If you want to read some great Star Wars quotes, you can take a gander here.
I’ll end with this quote : “Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future… but not at the expense of the moment.”
Qui Gon Jinn

May you all see the good in the moments of TODAY… and may the fourth be with you 😉

Great moments

This morning, I have been seeking inspiration. Something to share with all of you. And I came across a story that I have read a few times before, and it made me cry, as it always does. The message is one of such great importance and is a reminder of how many great moments we could be experiencing that we sometimes let pass us by because we’re tired, or busy, or rushing… I just thought I’d share it today.

A reminder to me that not only does a small measure of kindness go a long way and sometimes have great meaning to others, but that sometimes it can impact us in a very great way too – and become one of our ‘great moments’ that we so often seek.

The last ride…

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.

‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.’Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said.When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way’,’ I answered quickly. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.’ I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left’, she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.’What route would you like me to take?’ I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. ‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing’, I said ‘You have to make a living’, she answered. ‘There are other passengers’, I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy’, she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Author: New York City taxi driver”

 

 

Awkward Moments

Today is apparently ‘Awkward Moments Day‘. I also found it interesting that it follows St Patrick’s Day – and I am sure we can all guess why (excessive alcohol shenanigans can lead to some pretty awkward moments for some 😛 ).

But in the current state of our world, I am sure many of us are having many of these types of moments. I had one yesterday.

I heard a gentleman cough in the next aisle in the grocery store, and then there was the sound of some things falling off the shelf. As I rounded the corner of the aisle, the gentleman still stood there, and a lady stood a short distance away from him, with a look of horror on her face. She had stepped back straight after he coughed, and had knocked down several of the bottles on the spice shelf with her handbag – a few now lay broken on the floor. The Manager and a staff member, as well as a few others in the store, had all come to see what had happened.

And all of a sudden, I sneezed. With this audience in front of me. Three times! 

The lady with the offending handbag threw her hands up in the air and turned on the Manager, ”I’m going to die of a deadly virus because of your store!” She then stormed off, and we all stood there, looking awkwardly at each other.
(Bearing in mind that at the moment, there are still no reported or confirmed cases in our entire province – SA is divided into provinces, and while there are 60 odd confirmed cases in our country, they remain in other provinces.)
The man shrugged his shoulders and said apologetically, ‘Smokers cough”. I shrugged mine, and pointed at the floor where numerous herbs and spices now lay scattered, and said, ”Pepper”.

There was a moment of silence, perhaps we were all sub-consciously observing the ‘deaths of those bottles’, and then….

We all started laughing. 

One of the other shoppers shrugged and said with a smile, ”Panic sure isn’t going to stop the virus.”

And then we all went on our way to finish our shopping.

But truer words have never been spoken. Panic isn’t going to stop it, and it also isn’t going to help anyone. 

And we’ve had our fair share of panic in our country. Not only do we have the daily stress of the lack of jobs, lack of clean water and people dying due to those factors, we also have the daily concern of crime that is more severe than you could imagine (and gets swept under the rug). Our economy has been crashing for a long time now – it will get worse, and still would have, with or without the virus. And let’s not forget that in 2018 polony tried to kill us here in South Africa! That was frightening for us as a small family – although my children don’t eat polony, we were regular eaters of that brand of cold meat and bacon, and at that stage I was buying Rainbow Chicken products.

I am not making light of this virus that is doing the rounds, please don’t get me wrong. I have a lovely blogging friend who is currently in quarantine because she has it, and although she is struggling, her optimism and levels of hope are encouraging.

I read somewhere that it’s not a case of if you get the virus, it’s a case of when.

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I still don’t feel panicked. 

There are infinite resources to advise us of how we can be responsible, and naturally I am taking the necessary precautions. But for me personally? I find that being calm, and having hope, and offering encouragement and support can be equally as ‘catchy as the virus’.

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones because of this virus, and to those who are in quarantine because they have contracted it. I am sad for them, and wish I could change all this. Take it away. Turn it into a bad dream and allow us all to wake up and find it wasn’t real.

But it is real. And it is scary. And it is sad.

However, panic isn’t going to help any of us.

I think that as with everything in life, we can only do what we can to change what we can – be aware, and take precautionary measures.

Here’s hoping that you all find a semblance of peace amidst this chaos!

momentary presence

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Photo credit : thatsundayfeelingblog.com

This morning, as I sipped thoughtfully on my second cup of coffee and watched a YouTube video, something in me seemed to wake up – and it wasn’t just because of my brain’s caffeine ecstasy.

I’m sure that in my archives somewhere I have probably written a post on ‘balance’ – healthy life balance to boost happiness and productivity each day. A part of me still agrees with that because sometimes we have to be careful about what we choose to connect to – we need to balance things out and focus more on priorities, seeking out positive contributions to our lives as opposed to negative ones.

As a single mom, (and dad – because he’s been gone for 12+ years), breadwinner, head of the household, I have a lot that I need to juggle and balance on a daily basis. Throughout the day, I find myself thinking of the next thing that needs to be done on the list and how I am going to accomplish it, or fit it in, while still attending to the things that require my immediate attention.

BUT….

I’m missing out! Sabotaging myself, in a way!

Instead of balancing my need to be balanced, I’ve focused way too much on it! (That makes sense in my head – hope it does in yours too!)

I’ve been so focused on finding balance and accomplishing it, that I have lost sight of being present in the moment. Completely present. Showing up and being there, just in that moment!

And allowing myself to reflect on that, I can actually ‘see’ where I have missed out on so many opportunities to experience so many wonderful things! 

Moments have always been special to me, don’t get me wrong. Being present is something I push for. But if I am entirely honest? As ‘present’ as I am? My mind is still ‘juggling’, at a mile a minute, the next thing that needs to be done.

I am totally missing out on what can be accomplished, enjoyed and celebrated if I just stop and stay in that moment instead of worrying if I’m balancing things correctly!

After all, the present moment is all I have that is guaranteed – so I need to make the most of it! 

 

teaching learning moments

Yes, the pictures above ARE ME! (I usually avoid sneaky captures, so this is a rare moment 😉 ) What I am doing here, however, is not rare.

On this particular day about a month ago, I had collected three girls (one being my daughter) from school, and taken them to the dance studio they are all a part of. I’d been rushing around for two hours prior, and was desperate to relieve my bladder, so I accompanied them inside (okay, so me going inside with them IS rare – keep reading 😉 ).

The conversation in the car had been centered around a particular teacher, who had left them feeling rather uninspired and completely demotivated for the upcoming exam period. They needed to vent and have their own discussion, and so I didn’t interrupt. But I listened – partly because other than driving, there wasn’t much else I could do!

While I was in the bathroom and thinking about what had transpired in the car (because a bathroom is a place that inspires great thought), I remembered a story about a similar type of teacher that we had had when I was in high school. There was also a lesson in there, so I decided to share. Upon entering the room, the audience had grown and now there were two other younger beings, as well as the assistant dance teacher present. (The assistant dance teacher is the ”capture culprit”.)

To my daughters horror (oh the shame, my mother speaks, uttered by most teenage girls her age) I opened my mouth and began to recount what I remembered. I know it doesn’t look like it from the pictures, but they did all laugh with me at the end, including my kid 😉 I don’t know who it was who commented how lucky my daughter is to have a mom that is not only good at story telling, but is such an inspiration. Her reply was, “Yeah, well try living with it. Every moment is a teaching moment.” This was followed with a roll of her eyes – and then everyone was rushing about getting ready because their class was about to start.

I’ll admit it. I was a little disappointed with her reaction, and her comment. But it wasn’t new to me. I also know that she really didn’t mean any disrespect , nor was there the intention of emotional harm. I know this, because I know her. She’s often frustrated with me, and queries, “Why does everything have to be a teaching moment with you?” We had a long conversation about it a couple of weeks ago. I understand her frustration – she’s 14, and I am ‘the mother’. At 14, any instruction offered by those in authority (even when intended to help, inspire or uplift) is always taken as if it truly is a bitter pill. And since my daughter simply doesn’t swallow pills (we’ve tried in jam, cheese, chocolate, yoghurt – that small thing simply isn’t going down her throat) it’s a little more difficult with her.

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Photo credit : Facebook

(Ah yes, teenagers! Don’t get me wrong – she’s a great kid. But she’s still growing, and tends to be a little more defiant when it comes to seeking out lessons to learn. But then again, look how long it’s taken me!)

And she’s sort of right. Because I suppose there comes a time when it can get really annoying. She has also pointed out to me that I am ‘worse’ these past few years when it comes to teaching moments.

I think that this may be because in the past few years I have opened myself up to experiencing more learning moments. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, something has shifted. And although this process is painful, it’s bringing with it a lot of very positive outcomes. It’s changing my character, for the better.

While the word purpose is inclined to draw our focus to goal-based achievements – the type where we set a target that is usually ‘verb’ orientated (get a promotion at work, gain new customers, publish a book) – I have allowed myself to broaden my thinking 😉 Yes! Goal-based achievements are important. They are long term, future focused and give us a direction in which to head, often with a  tangible result.

But what about the other types of goals? While those achievements are great, if they never happen in your life it doesn’t mean that you lived a life without purpose, or that you somehow failed to achieve in your journey.

I have many ‘verb based goals’ and, truth be told, I happen to be falling behind. Tomorrow is not promised and I may never reach them. This thought is a little bit frustrating for me. BUT…

I am already aligned with the greatest purpose of all that I can hope to achieve when I choose to act in kindness, compassion and love. This ‘personal purpose’, while it is based on verbs, may not always have a visible outcome. I may not see the end results. I won’t always know if I was able to help guide someone, or influence them in a positive way. I won’t always know if I helped others change the course of their lives to a better direction, or whether my smile that day was the one thing that changed their mind about taking their own life. I won’t always know.

But it won’t stop me from being kind, sharing a smile, showing compassion.

And in the same way, as frustrating as my teaching moments are, I won’t stop dishing them out.
(Although I may need to be a little more sensitive regarding their frequency 😛 )

Most importantly of all, as painful as the learning moments are, I won’t stop being more aware of me and my surroundings in an effort to find them and determine what it is I need to know about them. Because it’s an ongoing process, and I am very aware of how it affects my emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical health.

So, for me? I am quite happy being a goal setter, go getter, in matters pertaining to the heart. And who knows, the rest of it may just follow 😉