Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Sister

A friend of mine had a birthday this week. I don’t get to see her as often as both of us would like due to the distance between our houses. I follow her on Facebook and we make comments back and forth to each other through that venue. To be perfectly honest I don’t remember exactly how and when we met, but we have been friends for a number of years, I refer to her fondly as “little sister.” Being the youngest of three, I grew up as the baby of the family, and since there were so many years difference between my sister, brother and I, my upbringing was probably closer to that of an only child, so having a “little sister” is special to me.
Little sister is someone who when we are together, we laugh. She has a wonderful sense of humor, slow to anger, loyal and very comfortable to be with. Months can go by yet it is like we saw each other the day before when we do talk. An obvious fault I see is she under estimates her worth to others. There could be far worse faults, one of which is the opposite of this … I.E.: having an over-inflated ego. I’ll admit striking a healthy balance between those two is sometimes challenging. I like people who don’t take themselves too seriously; I have to say I am blessed with a circle of close friends who are that way (as well as a wonderful family.) They keep me grounded and gently “pop” my over inflated ego when needed. On the flip side, I can count on them to bolster my confidence when I waiver.  I am saddened when I think there are people out there who do not have a network of friends or a close family like I do. There are some people who know many people, but aren’t close with anyone and then there are those who are simply isolated for one reason or another.
You’re probably wondering, what is the purpose of this post? Well, specifically it is to recognize and appreciate the birth of someone who has enriched my life by simply being.  The broader purpose is to celebrate the lives of all my close friends and family; to thank them for being, and for being my friends and my family. At a time in history when we can call someone “a friend” simply by requesting through a social network, I’m happy to be able to say I have friends who weren’t requested, didn’t request me and weren’t as easy to get by simply hitting “accept.” or “confirm request.” We did it the old fashioned way of living life together and continue appreciating each precious moment we have together, when we get them.  Go hug your close friends, tell them how much you appreciate the fact that they were born and are your friend!  Make certain you tell your family, how much you love them. Do it often, for humans easily forget. Happy Birthday little sister and many more!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Being a successful grown up

I have heard many people through the years describe age as a state of mind, which on a certain level is true. However, it is inevitable our bodies’ age with the passage of time. What I do whole heartedly support is the notion that “being grown-up” is a state of mind.  Adulthood is a stage in human physiological development in which the only thing that keeps growing is our ears, nose and feet. It is a stage in life in which society expects us to be responsible for ourselves and independent. But being grown up is most definitely, in my opinion, a state of mind.
I recently had to order heating oil, for it is winter here in Maine and the temps are hovering around zero. When I ordered it and paid for it right then and there, I felt quite grown-up. Upon further reflection I discovered this feeling of being a successful grown up happens when I decide, make and indulge in a meal that “hits the spot.”  It is in the accomplishment of mundane tasks some of the greatest satisfaction comes, the regular paying of bills, washing the dishes, doing the laundry; which for some people are perceived as the mundane and distasteful side of being an Adult. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times I do not wish to be an adult and do not wish to be responsible, but it is when I complete the distasteful tasks and take care of myself I feel the most successful as a grown up. Maybe I can boil this down to “adulthood stinks, feeling grown up rocks.”  Shortly after the call to the oil company I turned to my office mate and remarked on how successfully grown up I was feeling.  I was giddy, but made certain I clarified feeling grown up is a fleeting period of time.  It does not apply to any time prior and may not last long after, but for this fleeting moment, I feel successful in being “grown-up.” In fact within the hour, I was a far from feeling grown up, but all of being an adult.
I know a number of people who are adults, but have difficulty being grown up. I think all of us could think of people we know and people in the news who are adults but have difficulty being grown up. In my opinion (here I go again) I will summarize this by saying, feeling like a successful grown up means making the choice of just because I can doesn’t mean I should and just because I don’t have to doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. Using age gained wisdom and working through the hard, the mundane and everyday life with joy, I hope to string together a series of grown up periods of time, for “adulthood can stink, but feeling grown up rocks!”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slow Down!

This is the fifth attempt at this post. If three times are a charm, I’m working on my second charm! Many ideas have swirled this past week all culminating around this one thought, “slow down.” Originally I was going to visit the familiar topics of appreciating the seeming insignificant things or paying attention to details, but neither of these ideas congealed completely, in both cases I start to write, then edit, write some more, edit some more…etc.
Although my readers won’t see, I have taken pen in hand to write this post. Last week I was appalled when I discovered my handwriting was deteriorating to hen scratch. My notes looked more like a doctor’s prescription than notes. Many people down through the years have complimented me on my penmanship, to which I proudly proclaim I was raised by a writer and teacher! To think my handwriting had declined so severely was appalling and disheartening to say the least. I will confess handwriting this post is time consuming and tiring to the muscles in my wrist and forearm. It is taking discipline to remain seated and focused on this task.
Slowing down is not a virtue extolled by our western society. We are pressured to work efficiently, which often means taking short cuts. Despite all the messages from Health professionals about taking time for ourselves, we don’t eat right, exercise, rest or enjoy relationships. Despite all the messages encouraging people to work in a quality manner we often find (at least I do) mistakes and shoddy workmanship. I’m guilty to wanting things yesterday and being testy when I don’t get what I want when I want it; shame on me! This past weekend I was given the gift of a French press, for those who are unfamiliar; it is a coffeemaker of sorts. The original impetus of this post came from the press. I realized making coffee in the press takes work, takes time, and takes effort! I have to grind the beans, boil the water, pour the boiling water into the carafe, wait for it to steep then plunge the grounds to the bottom, there are few to no shortcuts to this process, but the end result is worth the effort. The quality of the brew is virtually unsurpassed.
Just like handwriting this post, making coffee in a press brings a sense of satisfaction that no computer or drip coffeemaker can bring. I’m not about to stop drinking drip coffee or using my computer to write blog posts but I think I will take more time to breathe and focus on quality. I have made it to the end of this post without moving (other than to reach for the dictionary.) I have written this without the use of grammar check or the word processer pull down box for synonyms. Scripture tells us to “be still and know…” It also shows us examples of withdrawing for times of rest; even GOD rested on the seventh day after completing a quality job.
Do what you will with this, I’m going to make a conscious effort to work efficiently but with quality, even if it means taking a little extra time. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it right. Of course this is my opinion and if you stop by, you won’t need $2.50 to get a cup of my brew, just the time to wait for it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Random thoughts to start the year

Happy New Year everyone!  I trust your holidays were wonderful, I know mine were but I am happy to be into the new year and back to a routine.  As I was reviewing how 2012 went I realized I had somewhat reached my goal of posting once a month, due in most part to multiple posts in some months, which made up for the months I missed. I have decided to keep with the same goal for 2013, with the intent of greater consistency (we will see now, won't we!)  But a couple of random thoughts have recently risen to my attention and figured now is as a good a time as any to share.

The first is, I am "insanely normal." I live a quiet life, but not the life of a hermit as some may percieve, but overall, insanely normal. I was in the bank the other day and had to sign on an electronic signature pad. It took a bit for my signature to register in the computer, so I asked "it accepted it?" The woman looked at me replying "why, have you had problems before?" to which I said "no, I am who I am, have been for 50 years and insanely normal," to which she laughed and we parted company. I am grateful for my normal life, I have struggles like everyone else but purposely try to avoid difficulty when I can, I'm not sure others do. I appreciate being the unique human GOD made me to be, but have come to appreciate more the similarities my life has to others who live quiet lives. But enough about this....suffice it to say I am learning to love normalcy.

My second random thought has to do with becoming an "expert." I was watching the weather channel as I do in the morning (and at night before bed, and on the weekends, and, and .....yeah I'm a weather channel junky.) Moving on, I listened as the broadcaster talked about an upper level distrubance mixing with a surface low creating such and such a condition causing storms to something or ruther over the southern states. I began to imagine myself having a conversation with someone about the weather ('cuz that's what we do in New England) and saying "yeah, there is an upper level distrubance mixing with a surface low causing....blah, blah, blah.) Oh how knowledgable I would sound, just like an expert.  Many years ago, a former boss told me the true definition of expert - EX means "former" and XPERT is "a drip of water."  I think the internet has made many experts in the world, don't you agree?

So in closing, I think for 2013 I'm going to go for "happy, healthy, productive and insanely normal." I'm going to try to stay away from sounding like an "ex-pert" and out of difficulties that can be avoided. A toast to insanely normal! See you soon again.