It’s just what we do!

It’s just what we do!

The text message read:

Morning. 

I received a private message from my friend in Colorado. Her body is shutting down and is calling hospice today. She asked if I would be able to come photograph them as a family during these last days. I want to make that happen if it’s possible.

Call me.

A few hours later our daughter Austyn was on a plane to CO and we had rearranged our schedules to help Dad take care of the two kids she was leaving behind on their last week of school.

I recall standing next to Austyn a few years ago after she had offered to take care of a situation for someone and they asked, “Why are you so nice?”

She looked at me, smiled, shrugged her shoulders, and said a-matter-of-factly, “That is what we do.”

Today, while Austyn was photographing this young family as they are most likely living the final days with their mommy, I stood in her place at my grandson’s award ceremony.

We had joke over the weekend that it must be difficult for teachers to come up with awards for every child. But that wasn’t the case when I walked into the room. All the K-3rd graders sat crossed legged on the floor watching as 14 of their classmates received recognition.

Liam receive an award for Integrity.

If you want to teach children to be kind, you have to be kind.

If you want to teach children how to  be forgiving, you have to be forgiving.

If you want to teach children how to love unconditionally, you have to love them unconditionally.

If you want to teach children to feel important, you have to show them how to love themselves.

If you want to teach children to respect authority, you can’t speak poorly of those in authority.

If you want to teach children integrity, you have to live it.

…after all, “that’s just what we do.”

The Moxy Chick

The Moxy Chick

Each year I find myself revisiting Proverbs 31. It’s been a proverb that I have loved and read since a teen. Back then, this Proverb was all about being the perfect wife – HA!- the perfect wife only exists when there is a perfect husband – HA!HA!

In my 30’s  it spoke to me on a new level. It became a guide on how to manage a crazy life and pretend that you have it all. Honey, only 30 year olds believe they can have it all. HA!HA!HA!

In my 40’s, Moxy started to shine a new light on the importance of building character, being a strong, courageous woman, and living without fear.

In my 50’s Moxy has become a good friend, a wise old woman who has hidden secrets that she reveals when she feels like it or when the reader is finally listening.

A few months ago I was going to start a study on her at our church, but one thing led to another and it was postponed until fall. Somewhere between writing the workbook and trying to figure out childcare for those attending the study, the idea of recording each week snuck in.

So here it is; Moxy, A Study of Proverbs 31. Twenty lessons on a woman who I adore. So pour yourself a drink, turn on your favorite background music, get comfy, and take a listen. She will not disappoint.

jeanniegb YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jeanniegb+moxy 

 

My Time Piece

My Time Piece

There’s a clock on the wall in my bathroom that isn’t audible until 2:00 in the morning when it echoes in my ears. From my bed I can hear every second that passes in the early morning hours.

Time is such an interesting thing to me. On one hand it seems to be completely man made. Who came up with 24 hours in a day? Why is there 60 seconds in a minute? Who decided?

Then I consider the rotation of the moon, the spinning of earth, the seasons, and years; it’s impossible to think that we can control time at all. Clocks that hang on our walls or the numbers that flash on our phones aren’t controlling, they are just telling what time it is.

How often do we say, “If I only had a few more hours in my day…” Or “I need an extra day in the week.” Or “There just isn’t enough time!”

Such comments force one of two statements to be true: Either the universe is screwed up by rotating the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun, not mentioning all the other stuff that’s spinning around out there. OR we are doing things that we need not be doing. (I vote for the second one – I’ll let you tell God he’s a screw up!)

Maybe time was never meant to be controlled. Maybe it was meant to be appreciated, respected, and cherished. Maybe each second that ticks by on the clock is a second of life, and breath, and love, and not a reminder of all that has to be finished, or started, or achieved.

Maybe the tick, tick, tick at two o’clock from the bathroom wall is there to remind me that I’m just a tick in this world and I can either enjoy it or try to control it.

I wonder why I can’t hear the ticking of the clock at six am, or noon, or when I’m getting ready for bed. Perhaps because there are too many other wonderful sound like the birds, or music, or voices, or life.

At two am there’s just me… and my thoughts… and the ticking of the clock that reminds me that time cannot be controlled, nor should it be attempted. Rather it should be cherished, appreciated, and respected.

I need to fill my time wisely. I need to get rid of the things in my life that steal this precious commodity from me. I may not be able to control time, but I do have the power to decide how I will spend it. If we truly believed that each tick is life, and breath, and love, then how I choose to use it would be different. It wouldn’t be waisted like loose change tossed in a bowl. Rather it would be cherished, protected, and admired like a precious gem handed down through generations.

Tick… tick… tick… there are only so many ticks in a day. Each one is a precious as the next. Together they create a life time. There isn’t one that should be waisted. None should ever be used for anything other than life, breath, and love.

But they said…

But they said…

My recent surgery to remove a large barnacle and two malfunctioning organs (details in the link below) gave me cause to seek out some advise, and there was a lot of it.

I asked those who had this procedure what I should expect. There was advise on medication, recovery, and the highly debatable – estrogen. Some said it was too risky, others said it was the best thing I could do, yet others said not to have the surgery at all.

I did my best to be a good patient and took all the meds prescribed. But one by one my body made it clear it wasn’t happy with any of them. So I heard the words, “You better stop taking it,” several times. And to my surprise, I didn’t really need any of them. The intelligence of our bodies is amazing if we shut up long enough to listen.

When it came to hormones, I had come to the decision that I would take estrogen from the beginning to avoid any shock the removal of such organs might have. BUT I wanted an exit plan, I would get off of it as soon as possible. I made it through four doses of that little blue pill before I decided the tingling hands and my brain feeling like a rubix cube might not be worth it.

When the words, “Stop taking it,” were heard once again, I wanted to do cartwheels.

I’m not afraid of all the terrible things they said I would experience,” I said. “I got to go through it sometime.”

“There are some hidden benefits to taking estrogen,” my doctor assured, “but there are alternatives that we will discuss on Thursday.”

So all day Monday I waited…they said I would go plunging into menopause right away. I was ready. I would take it on, full force, head on, I was ready!

They said I would winkle up like a prune. So I googled skin care oils and was amazed at all the health benefits found in Olive Oil and wondered why we don’t bath in the stuff.

They said the hot flashes could be an inferno and the night sweats would not be sweet.

They also said the I would loose all my desire to crochet (or sex, which ever you prefer).

“Please God, don’t take that away,” I said.

“OK,” I heard HIM say. “Don’t worry.”

I didn’t worry, but I did wait for the title wave of menopausal symptoms to consume me.

Day four, I was the same old me.

Day five, I waited…after all, they all said it would happen!

Day six, “Hey, I still think you’re cute!” I told my husband. “I’m glad,” he said.

Day seven came and so did the one week check up. My doctor and I sat in his office as he asked questions and answered mine. Finally I had to ask, “So… when are all those terrible side effects they said I would experience happen?”

He tilted his head a bit and shifted in his chair, “You’ve not had any?” he asked.

“No, not since I stopped taking the Estrogen.”

He looked at his clipboard and then back at me, “Well then, I guess it won’t be an issue for you…”

I know he kept talking, but I don’t know what he said because all I could hear was all they said and once again I wanted to do cartwheels.

We finished the exam and I met Jeff in the lobby. Once outside, I leaned up against the railing, looking at the beautiful clear blue sky and listening to the birds. The trees were in bloom and the parking lot was shadowed by pink flowers. Jeff thought I was tired, but I was exploding inside.

“You know all the things they said I would go through?” I said.

“Yeah?” he said pretending he knew what I was talking about.

“The Doctor asked me if I’ve had any symptoms, you know, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia. I said no. He said I most likely won’t!”

“Really?”

“I can’t believe it, everything they said, everything I was prepared to tackle, he said won’t happen.” I began it giggle and I’ve been giggling ever since; we’re now two and a half weeks later and yes, I still giggle.

What they said was important, because it came from their experience. These things really happened to real people. But what I’ve learned is that someone else’s experience does not have to be mine.

Looking back…I think something happened when I said, “I’m not afraid.”  And I can’t help but wonder if it’s one of the reasons HE said, “OK. Don’t worry.”

 

Related blogs:

Barnacles, Ovaries and Miracles:  http://wp.me/pEozB-s0

Crocheting (or sex, which ever you prefer): http://wp.me/pEozB-s9

Ethel’s Got a Cold

Ethel’s Got a Cold

I called to check on my soon to be 88 year old mother who has been dealing with a cold this past week…

Hello.

Well you sound better.

I feel better. (cough, cough)

Good, You taking your medicine?

Yes. But not the prescription. It had big letters on the bottle that says it will make me dizzy. I don’t want to be alone and dizzy.

What are you taking?

Mucinex.

That’s good, keep taking it. You sound so much better. Did you sleep well.

Yes.

Good.

I could only find one bedroom slipper this morning, when I went looking for the other one, it was in my top drawer. (Laughter, cough, cough)

That’s an interesting place for it.

I’m doing some crazy things. Got in the elevator with my friend, the doors closed and I just stood there looking at her until she said, “I think you have to push a button or something.” (Laughter)

Maybe I’m ready for assistant living. I’m calling my friend and telling her to move over, I’m moving in.

You were petting out of it yesterday.

Today’s Jeff’s Birthday!

No, that was yesterday. This is Valentines Day. Happy Valentines Day!

It is?

Yah, it’s Sunday.

It’s Sunday? What happened to Saturday? That’s why all the show on TV are church…

Yes, that would explain the Sunday Services on TV. Now you can watch your favorite.

I don’t like any of them. Well, where did yesterday go.

You just missed it, that’s all. You were pretty sick…

This conversation could be considered worrisome, but I think this is truly who my mother is. Life just connects on a different plain for her.

This is the same woman who after reading one of my blogs about our grandchildren will remark, “This is so funny, someone should be writing this down!”

Crocheting (or sex, which ever you prefer)

Crocheting (or sex, which ever you prefer)

I’ve wanted to write a little ditty on sex but thought it may be too provocative for some (or my mother) so I’m going to refer to sex as crocheting.

I personally fall into the category of only ever having one crocheting partner. I’m not sure if this is rare as I don’t think my fellow single partner crocheters are very vocal about it. I think it may be because we’ve been made to feel as if there is something wrong with us. I wouldn’t know, I have nothing to compare it to. For that matter, neither do those who have crocheted with many.

Those who crochet around have the chance to make new and exciting garments. Crazy scarves, colorful hats, and fuzzy mittens. For those of us who have somehow found a way to only have one crocheting partner, we create the afghans, the throws, and oversized sweaters. They may not be as exciting or colorful or current as the others, but they are warm, inviting, and comfortable.

When you are young, crocheting is fun and exciting; it can be an adventure. A little later on,  crocheting becomes a requirement if you desire to recreate little ones. No matter how evolved we become, someone still has to crochet to produce those desired new creatures. After the little ones arrive, crocheting can become taxing due to the over whelming fatigue that comes with wee ones. Life can quickly snowball into a busy life that pushes the yarn and crochet hooks to the back corner of the closet waiting to be rediscovered.

As you age, crocheting takes on a new life. The house is empty, the kids are gone, life in many ways is simpler. If you want, you can crochet anytime, anyplace, as long as you’re not too tired, or you hip isn’t hurting, or you didn’t eat something weird for dinner and you now have gas. Or in some cases, you’ve tasted a little too much wine and the thought of crocheting is exciting until you are snuggled under the covers and snuggling under the covers becomes the most awesome part of the day.

Many partners or just one, I’m not sure if either is wrong, they are just different. Each creates it’s own outcome in which the crocheter must own. Scarves or afghans, mittens or sweaters. I’ve only ever crocheted sweaters. As I look ahead to the next thirty to forty years, I am confident that there are new sweaters to create and olds ones to wear.

After all, when don’t you want to snuggle into a oversized, worn, cozy, favorite sweater?

And the Oscar goes to…

And the Oscar goes to…

“You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.”

It’s a great line from the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Two woman, sitting in their living room,  sobbing as they watch a scene from the classic An Affair to Remember. The one says, “I want to be in love.” The other replies, “You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a move.”

We do, don’t we? We want the romance, the sunsets, the flowers, chocolates and poetry. We want the magic. Most of us not only want to be in love in a movie, we want our lives to be movies; magical moments, fields of dreams, and rainbows ends.

We see our life’s role as just that, a role. And these roles offer us many opportunities to wish we were in a movie. We make grand entrances assured that the entire room is watching us; each entrance is our red carpet moment. There are times life is so bizarre we are looking for the hidden cameras. Yet, other times we wish we could hear the director yell, “Cut! Do it again.”

Life presents us with both drama and comedy opportunities. But unlike the movies there is no screenplay. There doesn’t exist a room full of writers scripting our every word or action. A movie allows for rehearsal time. There’s also make-up, wardrobe, hair and lighting. All coming together to make each scene perfect.

But life is not a movie. Life is full of moments. If we allow ourselves to experience them live, they bring all the magic one will ever need. If we dwell on what our reaction will be in a certain situation, we miss the live performance. In fact, as we waste precious time trying to imagine the script for the future, we are missing what is being acted out around us.

We do have some power in deciding how we will play out the moments in our lives. There are those who have a flair for drama, making every scene their final farewell. Others seem to find the comedy in life and life is an improve.

If we allow it, life can be filled with “what if’s?” Spending our time and energy trying to figure them all out blinds us to the life that is going on around us.

We aren’t living in a movie, we are living life. Which to date, has never been matched in any script.

Barnacles, Ovaries and Miracles.

Barnacles, Ovaries and Miracles.

In a few days I’m going in to have an ugly skin tag removed. It been with me for a while and I really could live with it, but the doc says it can come off, so why not?

At the same time, he is going to remove my uterus and ovaries. Now, one would think that the fear of having the later removed would over shadow an ugly skin tag, but it doesn’t. I have no emotional tie to these organs anymore. The thought of losing the barnacle on the top of my leg makes me want to raise my hands and shout hallelujah!

I don’t take having my organs removed lightly. But this idea of being still, observing life, and listening, has brought me to a place where I can only see the good in the situation.

A few weeks ago my body cried out for help, it came in the form of a doctor who gently pushed me down a path. Along the way, and because of his careful, intentional procedures, questionable cells were found. The solution to rid my body of any further issues, including the potential of cancer, would be to remove the organs. I can’t find the bad in that. It all looks like the making of a miracle, if you ask me.

Miracles still happen. They happen every day. Not the squint your eyes really tight, pray really hard, be really good, and believe with all your might kind of miracles, those usually end up in disappointment.

The Miracles I’m referring to are the quiet prayers that ask for help and guidance. The quiet moments of trusting. The over-heard comment or Facebook post that points you in the right direction, the urging in your gut to ask a question, the person who just happens to be in the right place at the right time – your time, your place. These Miracles happen everyday, all day long.

We miss them cause we’re so busy… or consumed with fear… or angry at the world. Our heads are preoccupied with figuring it out on our own… or obsessed with blame, threatening to sue anyone and everyone who we feel has caused our need for a miracle. We’re so overwhelmed with noise we miss the whisper, the gentle nudging, the missing piece that finishes the puzzle.

I am in awe of this entire medical process. A hysterectomy is now an out-patient surgery. A short two-week recovery. Who knew?

So in a few days I’m going to wake up in a recovery room. I’ll be missing a few organ, but they’ve served me well, it’s okay that they must leave. With their absence goes the potential of a really serious illness, a risk I didn’t even know existed three weeks ago. I’ll most likely be tired, but I’ve got two weeks to rest.

It all seems miraculous to me, every step of the way. Best of all – that old ugly skin tag will be gone and to that I’ll shout –

HAL-LE-LU-JAH!!

Carrots, Bikes and Listening

Carrots, Bikes and Listening

Three weeks ago I found myself down for the count. In fact, I was so down that I was gathering my things to go to the hospital.

I called a nurse hot line and was assured that I wasn’t in any danger but I should call my doctor. I did and they made me an appointment the next morning. After my exam I was told I would be fine but I should schedule a procedure in the next three weeks, just in case.

Jeff and I were at the grocery store a few days later and I had an overwhelming craving for carrots. To my great disappointment, there wasn’t a carrot to be found; its a very busy grocery store. Three days later I was back at the same store and I was excited that the carrot truck had been there. By the time I checked out, I had five bags of carrots; baby, whole, chopped, whatever they had.

Back home, I steamed them, smothered them in butter, sprinkled a little brown sugar and cyanine pepper on them and devoured them. I ate them for breakfast the next day. I ate them as a snack. If asked, I would have eaten them in a box, with a fox, on a train and in the rain.

Carrots? How bizarre. I went to the google to find out what these wonderful creations had to offer. There were many, but the two that jumped off the screen – iron and potassium. The two things my body was depleted of the week before. Go figure…my body knew what it needed to heal.

I’ve recently had a desire to get back on my bike and ride. I live in a beach town where I can ride 25 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Biking here is a delight, not a chore but it still takes the effort to actually get on the bike. After years of no rain, it’s finally the rainy season here in California, so I’ve been diligently riding my stationary bike in the garage till the weather breaks.

Yesterday, I geared up for my first outdoor ride. My hope was to make it five miles, but for some reason I chose the ten mile route.  About two thirds of the way into my ride, I was delighted that I was going to make the entire route and I noticed the knot I carry in my stomach was beginning to release. For the past thirty years, I’ve been trying to convince myself to follow a very strict diet. When I do so, all my digestion issues go away. When I don’t follow it (which is a lot of the time) I get all knotted up. By the time I was home, my tired little tummy was happy.

Hmmm. Carrots and biking, our bodies know what they need – we just have to listen.

Most of us can’t hear our bodies talk cause we’re so preoccupied with the unimportant conversations in our head. We have to get to know the unimportant voices, and to most of them, we need to tell them to shut up and go away. We have to stop trying to figure everything out, sometimes things just are. We have to stop analyzing every thought or feeling that runs through our minds. And we have to stop blaming everyone else for our struggles. We have to stop drowning in the pool of self-obsession and start living. We have to STOP TALKING, SIT DOWN and learn to LISTEN!

You never know what you might hear. Sometimes it may be as profound as “eat carrots and get on that bike!”

Pandas, Trains, Picking and Robbers

Pandas, Trains, Picking and Robbers

Thursday is Liam and Emery’s sleep over night and since Jeff is out of town, I’m flying solo. I promised dinner at Panda Express which won out over the McDonalds with a play ground.

As we made our short commute, we had the radio playing and a commercial for Hospice came on, I quickly turned the channel and pretended I knew the words to the song that was playing.

“Neenee, did you hear that lady say her mother died,” Liam asked.

“Yes,” I said knowing very well what was coming next.

“She said she remembered when her mother was sick and died…” (this is where I changed the channel.)

“I think she was a grown up talking about her really old mother. She wasn’t a child talking about mom,” I said trying to ease his burden.

“Yes, she was an adult,” he began.

“Look!” I said, “aren’t the dunes beautiful from up here…”

As we waiting our turn to order there was another reference to people dying; there had been a fund raiser at school for a mom and son who were in a car accident and the son died. Liam explained that it must have been because the air bags didn’t open.

Then we ordered and life was happy again. After, I had promised ice cream.

“Let’s go to Doc’s,” Liam said, “its got trains on the ceiling and they have lots of flavors I like. Dad and I went there! We can park across the street and cross where the yellow light are flashing.”

“OK,” I said. “Let’s go.”

On the way, Liam continued to fill Emery and I in on the details. “Emery, it will be your first time,” he said with great enthusiasm.

“NO!” she insisted, “It’s not my FIRST time!”

“Yes, it is.”

“NO! I don’t want it to be my first time!”

“Did you go there before?” he asked.

“NO!” she said with great certainty. “But it’s not my first time.”

“Maybe she and dad had a date,” I suggested hoping to stop this endless, and un-winnable debate.

“YES! Dad and I had a date there,” she said.

“Did you see the trains on the ceiling?” Liam asked.

“Yes.” She was convinced.

“Emery, are you just picturing this in your mind?” he asked.

“Yes….but it’s not my first time!”

We parked in front of the building to avoid walking through the yellow flashing lights. Liam chose from a variety of chocolate and caramel delights and Emery’s only choice was vanilla, she’s a vanilla kind of kid. We watched the train go around the store on the tracks suspended from the ceiling and Emery cried because we didn’t have four quarters to buy a bouncy ball from the giant gum ball machine. Now that I think of it, they may have been jaw breakers, but they looked like bouncy balls and Emery wanted one.

Back in the car and driving home from our culinary adventure, Liam asked, “Can we run into Walmart for a little thing?”

“I don’t think tonight,” I said. “What did you want to get.”

“Just something little,” he said.

“Well, not tonight,” I said.

As we pulled into the garage he continued, “I really wanted to go into Walmart.”

“What did you want to buy?” I asked.

“A train set.”

“Like a real train on tracks?” I asked.

“Yes, one that runs on batteries, not like the big ones at Docs.”

“I think we’ll need to save up our money for that.”

A short time later Emery came running into the bedroom, “NO I’M NOT!!” she yelled.

“Yes, you are,” I heard from the living room.

“NO I’M NOT!” she repeated. “Liam said I’m a little bossy – BUT I’M NOT!” she yelled.

“I think you kinda are,” I said.

Nighties on and both snuggled into the big bed.

“Don’t you want to sleep on that side?” I asked Liam hoping he would vacate my side of the bed.

“No, I don’t want to sleep on Hoppie’s side.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“I like this area,” he said.

We watched our favorite movie, “The Sword and the Stone.” Emery hid under the covers on the scary parts. After the part where the boy is returned to his human self after spending the afternoon being a squirrel and playing with a girl squirrel, Liam inquired, “Why do only girls get to pick?”

“What do you mean, pick boys?” I asked.

“Yah. Why do they get to pick?”

“They don’t,” I said “Boys can pick.”

“THEY CAN!” he said with great excitement.

“Sure. Daddy picked Mommy and Hoppie picked me,” I assured.

We finished our movie, turned off the lights, snuggled under the covers, and got kissed.

“Can you close the bathroom door?” Liam asked looking into the bathroom from MY side of the bed. The sky light was dim as it’s a cloudy night.

“Do you want it closed?” I said as I walked over to meet his request.

“Yes, please.”

I closed the door, rubbed his head, and once again said, “Good night.”

“If robbers break in, they’ll be trapped in there…” is what I heard as I left the room.