Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bee's Goodbye

Today (or by the time this is published, yesterday) was tough.

I spent 2 1/2 hours sitting in my chair with 1000 other people paying tribute to a beautiful woman's life that was very well lived.

I am exhausted and emotionally drained. Yet, after the long conversation Wally and I shared before bed, I am left awake with only my thoughts.

The service itself was nice. There was laughter, tears and stories celebrated all around Bee's life. There were numerous pictures to remind us of whom we lost. The spirit of Bee was nearly palpable, something I've only ever experienced at one other funeral years ago (and I've been to many, many funerals). Bee, in so many ways, was with us.

Though Wally and I happened to find ourselves surrounded by chatterboxes both before and during the service, and despite someone's outburst at a pinnacle point in Pastor D.'s personal message, AND even though a person had to be carried out by ambulance attendants on a stretcher, it was still a wonderful send off.

However, for some reason I found myself barely kept together through out the entire service. I felt like an over stuffed pillow who's threads were screaming 'We can't do this anymore!! We're not strong enough! We're going to burst! Watch out!!!!'

It may have been the sweet memories shared. It could have been the pointed statements that addressed Bee's clinical depression and the fact that 'She lost the battle of her mind'. Or .... it could have been the fact that I related so well, too well, to her obvious feelings of hopelessness that lead to her death.

Though my faith leads me to believe, with confidence, that Bee is at peace in the arms of her Father (and this does give me hope), my heart grieves deeply for the moments Bee will not share with her family from now on.

I also too easily understand how Bee could feel so hopeless as too no longer want to live.

I've heard so many times, from so many people (who quite honestly seem as if, according to the appearance of their imperfect lives, that they should be able to relate to her) that didn't understand why Bee would feel so hopeless, why she would give up on life.

I sit there and hear these questions and wonder what's wrong with me? Because I can COMPLETELY identify with wanting to leave this world and just end the pain that seems so incredibly overwhelming during different points in life.

I remember (as I've shared before) when I was 8 years old and wanting to end my life due to the bullying I had to endure every day at school. As I think back now I can't believe an 8 year old could possibly have those feelings, but I know beyond a doubt that I did. I will never forget the moment I pulled the cord around my neck, tighter and tighter until I knew that I wouldn't be successful. I gave up and cried wishing I never had to face the pain of others' mean words again.

I remember laater when I was a teenager, feeling lost and depressed when my best friend had found a boyfriend and I was left alone. When I wondered if faith was really real and I had yet to learn the Truth. I wanted out of life then. Luckily not bad enough to do anything, but I did fantasize about it.

Then another decade later when I experienced my first unbelievable loss, that of my aunt. I had faith at that time. I knew the hope we had in it, but the thought at the time, of living life with the reality of death getting it's grip , at any given time on someone I loved hurt too much. I didn't want to face life without her and with that truth. It hurt too much. I lay many a night awake in my bed praying that God would take me too so I wouldn't have to learn how to live without her. Even though I had a loving husband by my side doing his best to love me through.

A person can have the most loving spouse in the world and the strongest faith there is but when they are sad, when they are deflated, when they are broken hearted, their perspective is not accurate.

It was stressed upon a few times today that Bee had a chemical imbalance in her brain that caused her depression - that's what depression is scientifically, isn't it? No one wanted it to appear as though Bee's faith had dwindled at any point causing her to give up on it, thus giving up on life.

I knew Bee so I needed no convincing. Her faith was who she was, you could not divide the two. Some skeptics though would call her faith false or untrue, as it would appear too weak to believe in salvation from her emotional and mental anguish.

Many people can spout off Scripture after Scripture regarding all of the joy and freedom Jesus brings to those who are sad. I stand on these promises as true, but there are times when people are beyond sad, when their minds are ill and their emotions too much for them to receive the help that is available. Does it mean they are hopeless? No! Does it mean God can't miraculously heal them? No!

It means that we continue to live in a broken world waiting for the Healer to come and make it right. Some people ask 'Why does this happen?' The answer is what I've already mentioned. A broken world.

We had a chance to live in a perfect one but that didn't work out, now we must limp through what we've been given. However the good news is that we've been given a chance to walk and even run with joy through Hope. To not only survive in this broken world, but to also even thrive.

Often life is going so well that we question God when something goes wrong, because the hurt seems like the exception. Really, if we were honest, we are truly and overwhelmingly blessed to find and experience the gifts we have in this life (amongst the brokenness of this world) every passing day. Considering how far it is from what God intended it to be we should be much less shocked at the pain we experience and much more appreciative of the amazing miracles we are able to find in the every day.

How much beauty do you usually see in something that's shattered? However in this world and it's vast disarray we get to feel love from each other and we get to give and receive this love freely. We can hold a newborn baby all perfect and warm in it's state of amazingness. We are able to share life with a partner if that's what we choose. We get to laugh and experience joy at the littlest things. We get to enjoy what something tastes like, and be calmed by certain sounds.

There are so many ways each day, especially in our country, that we come face to face with what is good. So much that we find it appalling when we have to come face to face with something bad.

You're probably wondering how I went to identifying so easily with a mentally distraught person to preaching about appreciating that more often than not we live with the good things in life. I'm not sure how I got here either. oh well.

In short, I love Bee. In fact, I wish I could love her back here. I am also startled by the ending to Bee's story because it makes real the hopelessness one can feel. The hopelessness I have felt and could feel again.

I always want to focus on the wonderful in my life. I want to remind myself as often as I can that there's always a better way out.

Pastor D. said a few things that really struck me today. He reminded everyone to always say 'I love you' when departing from a loved one. He said, if he could, he would tell Bee 'I still need you. Our daughters still need you. We all still need you.' And he asked us all to watch out for our loved ones that may be experiencing depression and to not be afraid to get them help if it seemed needed.

Depression seems to be a taboo issue in our culture. We think it's essential to judge someone with it or decide that they are weak. If anything, I think those suffering with depression are just misunderstood and not given enough credit for the fact that they are getting through life. And if they haven't, it's not because they are weak. I think it's just because they didn't know what else to do.

Bee, I respected you before. I respect you now. You lived your life fully and with beauty. I admire that. Thank you for sharing your heart, but most of all your laughter. It brought a smile to many faces. What better gift can you give?

Give Papa a hug for me. I look forward to catching up someday. Enjoy your new home :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons learned

It's 10:15pm on a Friday night and I've already had a 2 hr nap. That's kind of sad but ... I'm at peace with it.

I feel like I've learned quite a few lessons in the past few days so I thought I'd share them in point form tonight. Maybe there's a tidbit of something that can be beneficial to someone reading, who knows?

* I am super duper cranky when I wake up from naps much of the time. (Who am I kidding? I've known that for a long time).

* Accomplishing goals (or striking items off your 'To do list') often happens in little steps.

Most of the time we just need to do step one and the rest will follow. I learned this through priming some much avoided trim, now I only have one coat left to go and I just started last weekend - not bad for me.

* When you find ways to make your avoided task fun, you don't notice that it is an 'avoided task'.

I decided that the only way I'd actually complete painting the trim in a timely manner was to invite someone to keep me company while I worked. I posted my need for a friend on facebook - of course, and sure enough someone offered to come and I actually enjoyed myself!.

* Only have one pair of slippers on the go at a time.

You are more likely to keep track of that one pair rather than having 4 pairs on the go and never knowing where any of them are.

* Cooking meals at the beginning of the week makes a week of on the go eating so much yummier, healthier and easier.

I realize this may not be all that helpful for moms with kids but it's great for Wally and I.

* If you don't like a piece of furniture and are thinking of giving it away, don't be afraid to paint it, cover it or redefine it's use.

I repainted a little table that didn't fit with the decor of our living room anymore and before deciding to get rid of it I figured I'd trying painting it first. Now I love it!.

* Do small tasks now.

Like just washing the dishes, sending a meaningful e-mail, or throwing a load of laundry in. Instead of waiting to do 500 things 'tomorrow' do one of them now that you know will give you some ease (I love waking up to an empty sink - we don't have a dishwasher). I've been doing this for the past week or so and I have felt much less stressed about the nest day's 'To do' list.

* When you are open and ready, the right opportunity will come along.

Wally and a friend of mine have been prompting me to take a writing course of some kind. I contacted a relative of mine who writes for a living on any thoughts on a good writing course. She sent me back some info but I was still unsure of what kind of course I wanted so I did nothing and thought on it some more. The other day she e-mailed me again with a one day writing seminar teaching people how to write the story of their lives and those of others which is EXACTLY what I am wanting to do! I signed up for the course and am anticipating learning lots! (I seriously plan on writing a book someday - I already have an idea of what I want to do).

* Grief heals slowly, teaches deeply and deserves to be acknowledged.

The loss of Bee and the circumstances around her disappearance and what may or may not have happened to her are all things I am allowed to grieve and learn from. (Her funeral is on Sunday by the way, feel free to pray for her family especially).

* The right people come into your life at the right time, once again, when you are ready to accept who they are and why they may be there.

I am so thankful for several friendships I have enjoyed and deepened over the past couple of years as we've changed our lives. It's only happened AFTER I had grown and opened myself up in different ways. I am so thankful for the people I have met.

* If you are unsure about something and have questions, earnestly ask for the answers, they will come.

I was wondering what to do about having children so I let go and waited. Now I feel peace about our decision (though I haven't shared with you all yet what that is). I was unsure of what made me happy, I was given a great hint yesterday. (I plan to go back and write through my answers to the list of questions I was pondering a few blog posts ago).

* Often when you are struggling NOT to do something, the struggle is really in the indecisiveness to do it.

You have not actually committed yourself to do it, you are still unsure and you won't do anything different until you are sure.

* To achieve what you want to achieve in life, whether it's an attitude, a physical goal, or any other accomplishment, you MUST surround yourself with people that will encourage you.

Not that it's impossible otherwise, but it's MUCH easier with that support system (and networking).

* Don't ever feel guilty for experiencing joy.

Soon enough life will happen to challenge your feelings. Share the joy you have while you have it.

* Do stuff you love.

Why not if it makes you happy?

* Facebook is much more enjoyable when it's used on a limited basis (even though it's friggin' hard to detox from it!)

Well I think I could go on but I really should stop.

Hope you learned something with me.

Pay Pal Problems

Just a note to say that the Pay Pal server is causing us a bit of grief. I hope to have it fixed soon as I just deposited our first round of 5 jars which in total will be over $600!!! Getting us nearly hitting 20% of my $10 000 goal!!1

I'm so excited but a little frustrated right now too. Hopefully we'll get it resolved soon!

Stay tuned :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Scratch the match and watch out

This morning I wanted to blog so bad. I think I had a post in my head. I was even going to try but it was my early day and I knew that if I did I would end up late for work. Poo.

My spirits yesterday and today were, for some unknown reason to me, lifted. I have been feeling boosted, happier and more hopeful. Perhaps people have been praying, I'm not sure. If they (you) were, I appreciate it.

I don't remember at this point what exactly I was going to blog about but no doubt it will return if it's worth anything. Instead I think I shall bore you with my own self discoveries of the day.

Today I was shadowing someone at work, training them with someone I support. As usual our conversation went back and forth and then veered off course into our personal lives. I'm not really sure how it traveled to weight, fitness and lifestyle but it did. I spoke openly about my issues and she shared hers. I shared about my triumphs, disappointments and recent learnings on how to take care of my body. I shared how I still struggle but that I wanted to learn how to be a trainer and be a certified nutritionist to share the right information with others.

As the afternoon went on and we chatted she stopped at one point looking a little flushed and said 'I don't mean to sound weird or anything but I feel like I'm having one of those moments where I was meant to meet you today and it's for a reason.' She went on to explain her feelings a bit further and I have to say it was one of the coolest feelings I've ever had as I heard those words.

I knew after I spoke with her that I am still meant to reach my fitness goals and even more so, I am meant to be a trainer and coach people with nutrition. It excites me through and through. People talking about diets, genetics and metabolism being the reasons why they have yet to succeed at reaching their goals angers and ignites something within me that is oh so irritating!

Having said all this I will fully admit to struggling with emotional eating and my weight training at present. The weight training I am feeling the itch to do again, but was put on the back burner as I have begun training for my very first 5K run in the spring. This will be a dream come true for me. And what's even better? Wally may run it with me! (Along with my far away best friend too!).

Side Note: I also just had the idea last night that I could create the 5K run or walk and do it as a fund raiser for Compasio to help get to the $10 0000 goal. I think lots of people would join in. I am sooooooo excited about this, I hope it works out!!!!

Anyways, talking with this person in the midst of a morning when I thought once again about quitting my job (I'm clearly not cut out for this full time), I actually regretted not already having my training certification.

This girl is so ready to accept the truth. She wants to change her health above all and knows that's the most important thing. She's struggled all of her life as I have and connected me on this issue deeply. She's aware of her emotional eating and wants to do something lasting and true. I believe with the right support that she absolutely will.

I feel so shocked at myself and how excited I am about my little dream of becoming a trainer. It nearly makes me laugh out loud when I think of it. It's so not spiritual. It seems so shallow and self involved. Not that I am Ms. Humble Pie or anything but I have always considered myself as someone who cared for others and because of my own experiences have tried to look past outward appearances and stressed the importance of improving one's spiritual self and not look at their body.

I know, I know, I can take myself to the place of knowing how much it can change someone on so many levels for them to change their lives through working on taking care of their physical bodies but it just SEEMS so different for me.

And there's of course the fact that 'I'm not there yet'. I haven't reached my end goal, which is a super clean lifestyle (regarding food). I still battle emotional eating (especially lately). And I have not perfected each and every sport. (Ok so I'll be honest, I haven't perfected any sport).

These are all things that I feel intimidated to have won trophies in before being allowed to teach someone else in them.

I actually am reminded of a conversation I had earlier today about the fact that when we don't have very much trouble learning something we are not generally very good at teaching it to others that do have a difficult time learning it. That's why someone who understands the mis understanding in the learning should be doing the teaching.

My cousin taught me the old saying (I'd never heard before) 'Those who can't, teach.' I laughed at the time at how right the saying was because we were speaking about the fact that I was a piano teacher (I think a pretty decent one - I mean I had a few students that were far better players than I) that could not play. I could play, but not well. I knew all of the theory, I knew how it worked, but unless I practiced a ridiculous amount I wasn't very good. I also had incredible stage fright that would cause anyone to question my teaching qualifications.

I still believe I will achieve my fitness and lifestyle goals, I still have a long way to go, but I will. It's so deeply rooted in me I have no choice.

Today the spark was turned into a flame at the prospect of helping someone else conquer their biggest challenge. I kind of think doing so will help me continue to conquer mine.

Not only for this girl was this a timely introduction, but just as much for myself.

I so needed this today. I so needed this now.

Much of me is still in denial over the person I have become and continue to pursue to be. I need to keep digging and figuring out who I really am underneath that broken little girl. She's still there.

I can't wait to really know and acknowledge the person I know was meant to be in the first place.

In saying that I am thankful at how beautifully God worked around the hurt I experienced in this broken world. He truly is an amazing artist.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why grief?

I returned to work Monday evening after 4 days off, two regularly scheduled and two I took off to ensure my mental health was stable.

I felt good Monday evening after I came home but was looking forward to spending Tuesday evening with Wally again. In fact I felt so good that I wondered if I should've even taken the time off (I need to deal with my guilt issues). It wasn't til part way through my hectic Tuesday morning that I remembered I had a meeting in the evening. I was so disappointed. Not so much because I don't like meetings, I actually don't mind them most of the time, but because I just couldn't wait to spend time at home.

Home has become a comfort to me more so than normal over the past couple of weeks. And because I've been feeling a wee bit frazzled else where I have especially enjoyed it.

However, once I decided to stop being disappointed over something I couldn't change I felt better, (and I learned that embracing the obstacle is much less tiring than dreading it).

On my way to the meeting I began to think again of Bee's disappearance and death, of the loss of her spirit from this world and the wonderful, bubbly lady she was. I once again felt the pang of grief that so sharply wedged itself in my heart a week prior.

After the meeting I stood and chatted with a co worker about work stuff for a few minutes and then she expressed her sympathies over my friend and she empathized as she had lost her brother tragically a few weeks prior (an even deeper loss than mine).

Her words immediately found that grief pain and brought it to the forefront but in a good and healthy way. I talked a bit with her regarding the situation and just how hard it was to try and deal with and go to work at the same time. There was much to process and emotions to feel. Considering how many emotions people feel in any given job work was not the place to be going through them, especially with the fact that I, like many others, deal with people and their emotions for a living.

On my drive home I was shocked when sobs began escaping from my chest, moans of heartbreak and disbelief joined them. Initially I tried to stifle them but after just a moment I remembered I didn't have to, I was alone.

I let the grief pain take over. I allowed myself to feel it. All of it. I wept much like I did when my aunt passed. Like I did a year ago when I felt the world fail a young man and I had to witness him have an emotional and mental breakdown.

Not often do I have a need to weep. I have a pretty good life. No, I have an amazing life, with amazing people in it. I have much more than I could even need or rightfully ask for.

It is a clear reminder to me that you can have everything material that you need but when you lose a piece of your heart, you lose something you cannot replace, buy back or recover.

I think this must be why grief hurts so much and why you can feel it even when it doesn't appear to be something that belongs to you.

I have mentioned a few times that I didn't think I had a right to grieve so deeply over Bee. She's not my family. She was a friend, and as of late not one I kept close contact with, but one who was a part of my life for a long time.

I guess sometimes I wonder why things hurt so much even when we appear far from where the loss has occurred. I think I am realizing that our pain is often attached not only to the person but to the reality of their humanity and ours.

I ache because Bee was a living active part of my life for a long time. She was full of life, laughter, love and cared so much for people. I experienced all of these things from her. Now she is gone, no longer to be experienced in the same way on earth. There is one less person in my life to ask how I'm doing, to look at me intently when I tell a story or to sing a song I get to enjoy (yes it seems selfish but really grief is being sad over what we no longer have).

I remember when my aunt died, one thing I told Wally was that it was so difficult because I not only lost an aunt but I lost one of my cheerleaders. It's hard to lose those people.

Again though we grieve too over our own mortality. Over the fragility of life and of the relationships we share with others.

The other night Wally took my face in both of his hands and looked me straight in the eyes and said 'Don't ever walk away from me. Don't ever feel that alone.'

That truth is difficult to handle. Life must be nurtured and cared for. All of the time, not just when it's convenient. It is so easy to lose sight of this when getting wrapped up in the day to day, buying the groceries, walking the dogs, getting the car fixed.

When love is young you can't wait to express your love to the person you want to spend time with. You tell then every chance you get because you haven't had much time with them and you want them to know, with the time you do have, how much you care for them. As time goes on you take for granted that person being there, the fact that they arrived home from work just fine, or they will be there to have dinner with when you get home.

Grief is good for something.

It's good for reminding us how fleeting life is. How little time we actually do have with people on earth (in some cases this is good :)

I have learned and am learning to welcome grief in a sense. Not to welcome the loss but to welcome the reminder of what I already have so that I can not only be thankful for it but more importantly so I can nurture it, show my gratitude for it and hopefully be healed by this reality.

Grief has actually been a huge driving force in so much of my life thus far, I shall let it continue to do so.

Allowing grief to teach you doesn't make it easy to go through, but it can deliver hope for tomorrow.

Because you realize today is a gift only given today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Well my few days off are coming to an end. I can't believe how taking two days off can give you so much time to think and examine things. (And how when you leave yourself in your house all day for four days , aside from grabbing a few groceries, you really find a multitude of things to do that you've been putting off).

Though I struggled with guilt over taking the time I am not so glad I did, for both myself and Wally but also for those I support. Even though I can't say I'll be stellar at my job or a shining example of the perfect support worker I do know that I should be able to keep my emotional composure under control and I hopefully won't be on the verge of tears at every turn.

While at home I've done many things I have been putting off. I primed the trim in our one spare room. I was supposed to also have painted 3 coats as well but I didn't wuite get that far. On Friday a lifelong friend came over to help me paint the kitchen.

She actually helped me completely redo the kitchen in our old house and because of the combined 29 hours of work over 2 days we were silly with fatigue and had a great bonding experience. I figured it would be a great way to create some memories here (maybe it'll be a tradition every time we move - she made me promise to stay in this house longer than we did the last after we had done all that work).

It was a simple job though and not too grouling (apparently that's not a word, forgive me). We had fun on the way home from lunch running into the bulk store for some much needed chocolate (you know to keep our engines going - Biggest Loser teammates don't be mad!). We had fun picking out our favourite treats and contemplating over them like it was our last chance in all of life to do so.

The funny thing is she's a stick and .... I'm not, yet she has never in my life ever made me feel less than her or different than her. We've known eachother for nearly 30 years and have been able to maintain that friendship despite our vast differences and many changes through life.

The fact that she had a son at age 16 and still went to college while raising him, with the help of her very disappointed and embarrassed parents. She was able to meet an amazing man who is an amazing father to her son and has maintained working in the field of her choosing very successfully as well. I admire her really.

It was a gift to spend time with her Friday, made more special by her honesty during lunch about her fears that our friendship would fade as Wally and I's lives had changed once we moved into the city. She also expressed wanting to spend more time together. That meant a lot to me. Both because she's not generally that forthright when it comes to feelings and that she really wanted to see me more.

True friends are gifts for sure.

Today after I gave up on the notions that I would actually paint after priming I moved onto the idea of cooking. I don't cook very much and when I do it's generally the staples. they are my new clean eating staples like a yummy stir fry or clean meatballs but really not many other dishes on a regular basis.

I decided it was time to experiment a bit with ingredients I'd bought months ago as well as on our last grocery run and see how it would go.

Unfortunately when I cook I like to do it during a one day period. SO instead of cooking Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll cook all day Sunday. This isn't really the best for fresh food but it's what I do.

I made a Black Bean Soup (that I have yet to try), a Shrimp and Veggie Schezchan (I don't have the patience to look that one up) stir fry or pasta covering (it was great!), and a tofu /tomato/spinach pesto fiesta to go on pasta (also yet to try). I also cooked up chicken for Wally's lunches.

I learned that shrimp is worth the work of peeling and I wonder why I hadn't bit the bullet earlier to cook with it. That Everything tastes better with fresh foods and I can't wait to have my own vegetable garden this year.

Now I'm pooped.

I haven't mentioned this before because I didn't want to admit to being in the high statistic of people that don't keep their new year's resolutions but my facebook one 'only go on facebook once a day' didn't go as planned. Wally had commented on January the second that he felt that once a day was a little strict and that he would hate to see my social life hindered due to this rule.

Of course this seemed like a great reason to give up all together. And I did.

However, checking the most addictive social network on the planet 50 times a day wasn't really what I wanted for myself either.

Today I decided I would give another try at taming in my addiction. My initial goal was to only check it 3 times in the day but I would be happy if it were between 4-6. As it stands at 6:50pm I've checked it three times so I think I'll likely end up at a total of 4 times today. My ultimate goal is only 2 or 3 times a day and in time maybe less, but as it stands so much of what goes on in social circles is attached to it I doubt right now I will pursue less than that. Maybe a time will come when I will and if I feel the need I will abide but I'd say 3 times a day is far better than 50. I'll share how it goes.

I've had a lot of time to think as well.

Today I was particularly down. Wondering if I could ever find a job that would make me happy, or is it just me? I am yet to find an answer to that question but I will say that I am not done exploring.

There are a few ideas I feel as though I need to ponder and look at before I decide that happiness is only about the job you do. I feel, as I did with all of my other jobs, it's all in your attitude and your approach. This doesn't mean that you will find great joy in every job you do but that you can do anything and with the right approach, maintain an element of happiness. I know I felt that way while housekeeping and teaching piano.

I am wondering if there are things I can do to the part of my life that isn't related to my job to enhance my life at work.

Things I'm considering:

* Is media giving me a headache of sorts? Is it causing me to always be 'on' and not purpose myself to relax? Would I benefit from taking a prescribed break from it once in a while?

* Am I missing pursuing a spiritual life? Whether it be purposefully studying spiritual things or gathering with a group of like minded people (well a group of people that all want to grow at least). Do I need to seek out a church again?

* Am I spending enough meaningful time with friends? Could I be doing more to enrich old and current friendships, as well as establishing new ones?

* Do I new to try new physical activities that I've never tried before? Am I bored with what I am doing?

* Am I being responsible with all I've been given? Money, possessions, time, thoughts, people? Are there ways I could share more, be more responsible or creative?

* Do I have enough fun? Do I laugh often? What makes me laugh? Are there ways I can make this happen more? What do I find fun?

* Am I spending enough time with family? Am I staying connected to them, giving them what they need from me, taking what they have to offer?

* What makes me happy? Am I doing things that make me happy? If so, am I sharing my happiness with others?

I'm sure there are more questions I could ask myself but these are the ones that come to mind. Please share any thoughts you may have. Though I can't say I have a plan on how to answer these questions it could be an adventure of sorts learning what the answers are.

I'm actually kind of getting excited.

This could be fun!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

'Excuse me, where is it I could order some vitrue?'

When I was actively living out my Christian faith in the traditional evangelical 'she's saved, he's not' way I never felt I had issues surrounding my virtues or spiritual qualities.

By no means do I mean that I thought I had it all together but I at least felt as though I was trying and knew how I could try.

One thing that makes it a little easier is the 'rules'. Now a true at heart Christian would say the faith is not about rules, or it shouldn't be, 'it's about a relationship'. I completely agree that Christianity at it's roots and it's most true intention is about a relationship with a person that should affect in a positive way your relationship to all other persons.

The challenging part is that someone figured out that if you avoided doing this or saying that you indeed would benefit and grow certain virtues out of it. Therefore producing convenient formulas for people to live by.

Of course the Bible itself (the basis of which Christianity was formed or grew) is loaded with helpful hints and even 'commandments' or rules to which one should go about their life and actually prosper from.

When I lived predominantly in a Christian bubble, only thinking along the evangelical Christian way (which to me is just abiding by the given rules and not understanding necessarily why they are there or challenging them a bit), I realize now that I had indeed grown true and great virtues .... in many parts of my life.

But after a handful of years straying feet (perhaps more than a few feet) away from the traditional evangelical way I have realized that there are indeed virtues I never could acquire by just 'following in the rules' as I was taught or had experienced. There were other angles on 'the rules' that seemed to, in some ways, break 'the rules' while at the same time growing virtue that I could never grow had I not broken 'the rules' as they were given to me.

Which make me wonder if 'the rules' are really 'the rules' or if they were put out in the simplest understandable fashion for us so we would be more likely to at least follow the basic premise of whatever it was we were to follow. (Ok I'm getting mixed up myself right now).

For example: After I officially decided to live my life as a Christian I was told swearing was wrong. I read some Scriptures that talked about making sure what came out of your mouth was 'pure' and stuff and then about not swearing in the sense of making a pact (is that spelled right?) or promise. No where did it say 'Thou shalt not say the F word'.

However I didn't challenge my thinking on this and made every effort to not swear (meaning say the F word) this was an easy rule to follow (you know unless I stubbed my toe in the night and eventually I was able to fix that too).

It wasn't until years later, after being offended by every dirty mouthed person I came across, did I learn that the Bible never did say 'Thou shalt not say the F word'. I learned this by becoming good friends with someone who did say the F word several times in each sentence.

At first I noticed every time and I felt a pang in my heart with each one. As time went on I got to know my friend, who was surprisingly not planning on taking a sea voyage any time soon. I learned and saw in her genuine love and care for her family. I saw that she would give her time, energy and life to make sure those she loved were cared for, including me.

It was through her I learned other virtues I didn't have and I realized just because she didn't have the non existent 'Though shalt not say the F word' rule under her belt that I did, she had many others that I didn't. Other virtues that didn't seem to be given to us in one sentence forms.

It was soon after that experience I began thinking 'outside of the box o' rules' and started exploring the heart.

What better way to do this than .... to begin swearing. Once I realized that technically I could say any word I wanted and the meaning was really up to you (yeah this was a bit of a stretch but I felt justified) I had a great time using a great many a words I hadn't been acquainted with before.

It took quite a while for me be at peace with using my new vocabulary but I will admit I felt more in tune with the rest of the world. I seemed to understand it better and it's frustrations. I no longer had to be offended by hearing these words so much (well unless the person saying them was really angry and mean, then I would re write the rules). I honestly came to a place where I did not feel swearing was wrong.

And even now I tend to agree. However I realize it's not always lady like or polite to do so. (Wally HATES it when I swear, though he admittedly has let a few fly upon my new allowances).

It's not been until recently when I have begun to offend my own self with my learned and accepted behaviour. I realized I was using these words more out of frustration than out of pop culture talk. I conveniently chose them to release my impatience rather than other methods I used to use, and as I did so my frustrations an impatience has seemed to increase.

I'm not saying if you swear lots you're like me and lose your patience more (as mine can lead to outbursts of throwing something across the room), but for me that's what has begun to happen. Because though the actual words I am using aren't bad in and of themselves I have learned to associate them with negative feelings of being out of control, thus putting myself or making me feel out of control.

Being out of control is the opposite of a virtue.

Anyhoo, all this to say I miss not swearing when I'm angry, I miss not feeling in control and I miss having the 3 seconds of patience required between the frustrating event and deciding not to hurl something across the room putting my pets lives at risk because of my uncontrollable fit of 'ahhhhhh I can't handle this!'. (By the way I don't not throw things at them, I'm just saying they are often around and I don't generally take the time to see where a good place to throw the rubbermaid container that's in my hand).

Upon the realization of my lost virtue(s) I decided last night to google 'How to be more patient'. I mean how else would I learn this right?

The 'How to be more patient' page popped up with an 11 step process I could use to get to my end goal. Clearly the author had acquired patience but forgot the readers hadn't.

I am now pondering my (in some ways) abandoned faith. I say only in some ways because I am yet to walk away from Christianity and I have no intention of doing so. I have opened myself up to be more challenged by other views that in my past I have not allowed myself to look at as Christianity as I have known it wouldn't allow me to.

I am lucky (or blessed - this whole not being able to use the phrase lucky drives me nuts with super picky evangelicals) to be able to call friends Christians that mentor me in a way that is gentle, understanding and easy. Which makes up for the ones that I have in my life who are hard and fast and would read this thinking I am packing my fire retardant suit for eternity in my bags once I leave earth.

I am so glad for the journey we have on this earth and that the person I call God allows me time to search Him out for real. I am glad for the friends I have that formally call themselves Christ followers and the ones that don't realize they are already in how they live. By straying from the 'norm' in this faith I have met people in ways I would've never known them had I stuck to 'the rules' the way they were handed to me.

I am far far from perfect. And I never assume I will ever get there but I will continue to pursue better things, better virtue. If not to improve my life, to maybe improve yours.

By the way, I'm making up my own rule 'Thou shalt not throw things across the room when you're angry'. There I'm sure that problem is completely solved.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My sick day

It's been years and years since I have 'called in sick to work'. In fact I think the only time I remember ever doing so was when it was required by ... toilet to comply. Since then I have not needed to.

As you know yesterday was different.

Usually one easily knows what to do on a regular sick day. I mean you're sick, so you stay in bed, sleep, have soup, sip gingerale and have naps all day. Perhaps with brief trips to the toilet for one end or the other.

Well yesterday wasn't what one normally is used to for a sick day. I knew beyond a doubt I should not be at work sharing my unstable emotional state with bursts of tears and fits of grief. I knew it was safer for all involved for me to take a bit of time to let my emotions have a rest and for my mind to take a break to solve the mystery of Bee's death and to rather just think on her life.

After the first couple of hours passed I admittedly felt guilty for taking the day off. I mean at that point I felt fine. Of course, I had to remind myself that 'at that point' I wasn't being frustrated by my perceptions of injustice of someone I was supporting, or solving a bank emergency, or dealing with someone yelling at me for not letting them have more for breakfast.

Nope, at that point I was home, in my pjs without any intention of being productive. In this scenario it was pretty easy to be 'ok'.

I wasn't exactly sure on how I should get myself better mentally. What's the exact prescription for one's mental or emotional instability at a given moment. The day before had clearly shown me that I needed to be home, away from the emotions of my job and pressures of being someone's support system.

Hmmmmm, makes me wonder if I can get myself a support worker....

Anyways, I decided that the first thing I would do in my day is something that would bring me joy.

For me yesterday, that meant collecting up and rolling the money I had received from 5 of the jars I had received back for Compasio. So I did.

I rolled more pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters than I knew even existed. After counting up all of the rolls and bills I had collected a $470 deposit that would be paired with at least a hundred and fifty dollar donation. This would put my Compasio total up to nearly $2000!!! I was thrilled. This indeed was a good activity to do to feel better.

Once that was complete I looked at the clock. Only 9am. I decided that if I was home sick I should sit on the couch in the living room with lots of blankets, the fireplace on and the furnace turned up a couple of degrees (you know, to prevent a chill) with a good book.

So I did.

I picked up a book I got for Christmas called 'The Happiness Project'. I'm 2/3rds of the way through and I was on a good chapter for the day at hand. Though it's not the best book I've ever read, it's given me tidbits of thought to chew on which I've enjoyed.

I read for a while. A whole chapter even (which is amazing to accomplish in one sitting these days). After that I thought I might be ready to blog my feelings which was yesterday's post.

By then the clock told me it was time to eat, so I did.

I then decided to watch pointless tv with my dogs.

I had a spurt of energy during this time so I cut up hundreds (at least it felt like hundreds) of boxes too big to put into recycling until broken down then I tied them up. We'd been avoiding this task since we moved. Now it's almost done. This felt good.

I then figured I bake Wally and I a clean treat. So I made biscotti. The house smelled so yummy.

After this I resorted back to blogging and wrote a post I have not and may not post. Then returned to reading with an interruption call from work. Then Wally came home.

By the end of the day I felt guilty for ever taking the day off. I mean I felt fine. I felt good. As long as I wasn't being stretched emotionally and didn't have to think about the tragedy that had occurred I was ok.

Except that in my job (and so many others) you can't go into work without daily being emotionally stretched. And if you are not 'ok' on a good day you certainly won't be 'ok' on a bad one.

I also realized the whole point of taking a day off was to recover and to feel better. The whole point is to feel better by the end of the day (or couple of days) than you did when you started your break. No one should ever feel guilty for taking care of themselves.

I am beginning to wonder though if more than a day off is needed. Is this field a good fit for me if my emotional and mental state can't keep up with it's demands? I'm not sure. I often compare myself to other workers and see nothing good in myself in this field. I often only recognize myself as a failure because I'm not as relaxed as some or because I don't love doing long trips. I feel bad that I don't care to do more time at work than I have to. I find myself so often admiring so many of my co workers and wondering why I'm not as gifted in this work as they are.

All of these are selfish acts as they focus so much on myself but they are things I think about.

I day dreamed today about taking a month of to just think and daydream and do stuff around the house. Just to live in my house and spend time with friends and help family that need it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing exactly what I should be doing right now.

I feel kinda bad for thinking these things. I know that taking a month off wouldn't solve my problems or reveal all of life's truths, but it does get me excited to think about.

My hope is that perhaps I can settle my mind a bit more in the days to come so I can enjoy the life I have more and know where my limits lie. What's best for me.

If you could wish to do something different for a little while, what would it be?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Take care of yourself

I'm not sure how to start this post. Sad news is difficult to share...

This past Tuesday morning, after for missing for 1 week, police found Bee's body not too awfully far from her car, under the snow.

Apparently Bee's car was found behind a shed that was on the lot of a cemetery that was on a rural road outside of a small town. There are no apparent links as to why she would be at that cemetery. Now there is an autopsy being done on her body to see how she died.

No one will ever truly know why Bee called in sick to work without telling her family and then went off for a drive to a cemetery. However there will be many theories.

Only Bee and God know.

I wonder if she woke up that day numb from a previously bad day at work (so I've been told) feeling helpless to the overall solution. Decided to take her sadness privately with her to grieve any feelings of hopefulness that could exist, and went to think. Perhaps she just wanted to consider the thoughts of a hope filled life and thought of her spirituality and the promises that death with salvation hold (in her faith). Perhaps she just needed to spend some time alone with those promises.

I wonder if, while on a walk and thinking, she was overcome with emotion and was finally able to release the sadness. As she let go of the pent up emotions more were found. Maybe she continued to walk and walk hoping that a little more time and a bit more release would bring healing and maybe hope.

Is it then she lost track of time? Is it then she forgot about the in climate weather? Is it then she lost sight of where she was and couldn't find her way out of the brush?

Again, this is only a guess. A wondering at best.

It's amazing how finding her body can bring a sense of relief, a sense of peace (in some small way). While at the same time the confirmation of what people had really hoped wasn't true had indeed happened can be like a punch in the gut.

I sit here now trying to figure it out. Trying to understand why I feel particularly connected to her sadness, to her story (aside from the personal relational connection).

Maybe it's because I've felt that feeling hopelessness before. When I wondered if anyone would notice if I was gone. I remember the years I worked at the church how much I loved my job and yet was so distressed by it at the same time.

I loved the kids. They were a complete joy (most of the time). I felt privileged to know them in the way that I did. I loved hearing their take on the world. I loved making them feel heard and enjoyed.

One little girl told me after kids club one day 'Eva, you know EVERYTHING'. This gave me such a laugh but warmed my heart at the same time. They believed everything you told them, trusted you and admired you, just for who you were.

One day shortly after I'd announced that my time as their youth worker was coming to an end, Pastor D. and Bee's youngest daughter said: 'My mom said you are the best youth worker that we'll ever have because you really care about us and love God.' When I heard that that day, I knew I'd done my job well as this was not only coming from a parent of one of 'my kids' but from a woman who'd grown up in 'the ministry' as a pastor's kid and seen her share of 'paid staff'.

The down side to the job was going at it alone. Not having help or people that understood what I was doing. People saw you once a week and assumed that's all the work you put into it. They weren't around for the noon hour lunched I shared with different teens. Or when those teen stood me up. They had no idea how much energy was put into praying that the kid that just went down the tobogganing hill wouldn't crash into the tree. Or that so and so wouldn't sleep with her boyfriend at the ripe age of 14. They were there when all of my energy went into 'keeping it together' when everything was falling apart.

I remember the summer I'd realized I needed to take a month off. I'd realized I was burnt out. I went to some one on some committee who said they'd back me and in the end I had to face a mom of one of the kids in my group who was an elder at the church. She made sure I only got my two weeks of vacation and not a cent more. She also made it clear to me that there was no reason I should ever feel justified in taking that month off (even though I never took ANYTIME off at all in my time there).

I knew the pressures of working for a church at the level of a half time staff, but no doubt that wasn't as crucial as being the Pastor's wife who had better participate in the right amount of activities, dress appropriately at all times, parent her children to perfection and have the right attitude always on display.

Now I am not saying it was the pressures of church life that saddened Bee, I could never know that. Only that they are issues that she would've had to carry with her along with a job in the human services field. One that so often sucks that life out of you, even when you know it where you are meant to be.

I guess I just want to say that IF Bee was depressed or sad, I understand. If she wanted to leave this situation (unintentionally or not), I understand. If she just couldn't take the pressures anymore, I understand.

If you are wondering if I'm suicidal or depressed right now, don't worry I'm not.

I am deeply and profoundly moved by Bee's loss and especially the situation surrounding it. I've mentioned before feeling too deeply sometimes. Well, this is a time it is happening.

I don't get this way over everyone that dies. In fact some times I take on my mother's 'matter of fact' attitude about it. 'Yeah, they were 84, get over it, it was time for them to go.' And that's the end of it.

However in times where I can experience the process of their loss (if it is drawn out or unexpected) I feel deeply. I am thankful I'm not like this with every loss or I'd be in my bed all day. Sometimes empathy is a buggar.

I heard confirmation of Bee's death soon after it was posted on line. At first I felt nothing and I thought 'wow I guess I grieved early'. Then I went about my work day and with the emotions of where I was working mixed with the hidden emotions of my grief, I quickly realized I may need time. I carried through as I kept reminding myself that I had no right to be paralized by this. A co worker friend showed up out of nowhere to relieve me of my evening shift and she told me to go home. I didn't know what to do. What would I do at home? How could I justify this? Instead she offered to just be with me and that made things better.

It wasnt' until I went to work Wednesday morning and began to cry on the way I knew that I probably shouldn't have gone. I met the first lady I saw and by the time I was pouring her meds (as she was yelling at me - which is a normal thing) I was bawling and saying 'Please stop, I've had a bad week'. To which she replied 'Yeah, yeah, I've had a bad week'. I nearly made an error while I was at it and it was then I knew that I needed a day to just stop.

The problem was I didn't understand why. Why should I get a day off when it was someone else's grief, someone else's family? I kept reminding myself it's not about me. I shouldn't make someone else's problem my own.

However, today I sit here and write while I'd normally be working. Because I am lucky to be surrounded by people that understand the importance of mental health. The importance of not creating your own crazy.

I'm not sure why I feel so prone to breakdowns (or near breakdowns). I guess some people have better immune systems than others.

I do know that taking a day or two to take care of yourself when you need to is important. As important as life or death.

Today I am thinking of Bee with love and remembering her laughter and smile with joy. She is at peace in the arms of her Father.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My therapy

Today I decided to give myself some therapy around my missing friend. I went back to my old church to be with the church family that no doubt would be going through a tough time today.

When I brought the idea of visiting up to Wally he wasn't sure about going himself. I understand why. We generally only go at Christmas time now and maybe once throughout the year if my extended family (who are musicians) are visiting and doing some special music. Otherwise I've distanced myself due to geography and the fact that initially it was a very difficult departure to make, quitting a job that I really did love. He didn't want to appear out of a display.

I knew though, for me, my only option was to go. To visit. To be. With my old church family and friends and to gain some sort of mutual support during this unsettling time. I needed to.

I set off this morning and went. As I rolled into the parking lot I wondered what awaited me. Would people be weeping? Would they have their heads down? Would they be able to even speak? I didn't know what discomfort may be behind the large old doors when I pulled them open. I soon found out.

I quietly entered only to meet two smiling greeters and little groups of old people milling about chatting quietly about the funeral of a long time member yesterday (a wonderful lady) and of course whisperings of Bee's disappearance.

For some reason I expected people that remembered me to know why I'd be there but the first person that greeted me had a bright smile and 'How ya doing? good to see you!' and a firm hand shake. Really? Hello, I'm here to pray, be somber and possibly grab some hope somewhere. Why the heck are you acting like nothing has happened? I was instantly annoyed.

I found my grandmother sitting with her love and a friend of hers. She expected me, knew why I was there and gave me a side hug. I sat and gave little waves to different people sitting through out the congregation (mostly kids I worked with). they seemed to know.

I was holding it together pretty well until a lady I'd worked very closely in the Sunday School came and sat down with her husband and our friends in front of us. She asked a heartfelt 'How are you?' I answered 'Alright' and hoped we'd connect without speaking and be able to chat later. Unfortunately she held my gaze and I completely lost it and began to silent cry until I couldn't breathe. I covered my face up to my eyes with my bulletin while she quickly gave me her hand and held onto mine. She would not let go.

I gasped for air which made it very obvious that I was not 'alright' and we sat hand in hand. Her not letting go of my eyes either.

This may sound like a logical womanly thing for us to do as we are friends but I have to say neither of us are 'that way' under any normal circumstances. We're both pretty tough, find emotions uncomfortable and read the other like a book and would prefer giving space knowing that's what the other one needs. We generally find comfort in these things. Today was different, but that was ok because it needed to be.

Though there were several people with tears, and a few with red noses, mostly people held things together and the service carried on with a light tone to it. I was glad there were a few that shared my outward emotions. I barely held myself together, and at times didn't even do that.

The choir sang a song that irritated me as much as anything they sang would. I was just not ready for anything spiritual at all. I just wanted to throw anything 'comforting' out the window. I'll be honest, sometimes it just makes me mad.

I was very impressed though that the choir even sang as Bee is a faithful choir member and quite musical, her voice and presence were noticeably missed. I don't know how they were able to stand and sing.

To top it off Bee's oldest daughter's mother in law is also in the choir and she was there, singing and stayed throughout the service. I really was impressed. I couldn't imagine.

I won't lie. The service itself, to me, felt cold and empty. Probably because Pastor D., even with a slow, quiet voice, was always so strong, paced and thoughtful in his speech. This is something that used to annoy me in our conversations but calmed me in his services. There was volume in his silences. Pastor D. wasn't there today though and the silences were gaping holes in the hour long time slot.

The gentleman that took the service did well considering the incredible pressure he must have felt. He did his best to delicately address the issue yet bring a light laugh at the same time. He mentioned chatting for 40 minutes with Pastor D. before the service and shared bits and pieces of that conversation. It brought comfort to people knowing somewhat directly how the family was doing. And that was apparently quite well considering. He even shared Scripture that Pastor D. wanted the congregation to think on (one of the verses was Romans 8:28 my favourite 'All things work together for good to those that love the Lord').

The speaker even told of how the younger daughter of Bee (16 yrs) said 'If one more person asks me what they can do, I'm going to tell them 'Buy me a pony''. This brought a brief and needed chuckle throughout the church.

After the service I met up with my grandmother and half of the congregation at Wendy's only to over hear muffled talk of what I'm sure most older people (and maybe not so older) were thinking: 'Well, I can't imagine her leaving her family. If that's the case how could she do that, just walk out?'. 'It's so strange for her to just disappear'. 'Blah, blah, blah...'

Though I've engaged in the same sort of discussion over the past few days hearing their banter bothered me to no end. It seemed so matter-of-fact and cold. This was somebody's mother, someone's daughter, someone's wife and all of our friend. How can we just talk that way? They seemed not to identify with the potential despair she was feeling (IF that even happened).

I can only hope my chatting was with heart felt feeling, empathy and care. Not that that would make me better I guess, but hopefully at least a wee bit more .... something.

I e-mailed three friends that I knew I could comfortably share my feelings with for my desired need for prayer. People that for one: would pray and for two: would not judge me for asking for prayer, not only for Bee's family but also for myself.

In the e-mail I had noted that I realized that it was likely selfish of me to request prayer when I wasn't directly involved in Bee's life anymore, but I had to admit that I was feeling more than I thought I could comfortably handle.

In response my closest friend said 'Eva you have a tender heart and you care, that's not selfish' (paraphrasing). I don't think of myself as tenderhearted ... at all.

I've discussed with Wally both my recent and past issues with heart wrenching situations that have come up. I have a history of not dealing with them very well emotionally. I call myself crazy (as I feel, compared to others, that's what I am). Wally told my tonight that he thought that I perhaps over empathize when others go through things and I feel what they are going through very deeply. I had never thought about it like that.

Yesterday I wept for ten minutes as I was curled up in a ball on the floor of the bathtub during my first shower in four days (don't worry I hadn't left the house during two of them). The water barely qualified as warm and there was little comfortable about it, but it was a place I could release without judgment, from myself or others. I love the shower.

There are two circumstances I feel as though I connect with easily and deeply and grieve greatly when they occur. Any kind of injustice to a vulnerable person, and those struggling with depression, especially if they are not seen as depressed. Likely because I've been both.

Or because I may be crazy. Who knows?

What I do know is that it pains me to see people in pain. It pains me even more to see people I love in pain.

I can only hope that I am sensitive enough to sense when I have the opportunity to be part of someone's healing rather than part of their infection.

As far as Bee's case goes I had a phone call tonight saying that her vehicle was finally found (after 5 agonizing days) but no Bee. The location has not been shared as the police want to investigate further before media are notified and evidence contaminated.

For now ... hope lives.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Well, I've sort of been avoiding this all day but I know it's something that is in my heart to share as it's been on my mind nearly every minute since I heard.

Wednesday morning I was at work doing a yearly training course. When it was over I checked my cell phone for any texts from Wally. Sure enough there was one waiting. But this time it was not the usual 'Miss you hope you're having a good day'. Nope. Instead it was one that made my stomach turn and my heart sink.

It said: 'I read in the paper today that Bee D. is missing'.

It took me a moment or two to put into context the name, but once I did I could barely believe it.

For 7 years I was a youth worker at a church. I did this over the span of eight years.

Pastor D. started working at the church 6 months after I did. We got to know each other quickly as he was quiet but forthright with what he believed. I was openly relieved that he was the 'real deal' in his faith walk and that I would get the privilege to work beside someone who would understand my heart and support my efforts. He was a good man.

Along with Pastor D. came Bee his wife and their two daughters, one who was 14 and the other was I believe just turning 6 years of age.

They were the perfect family. Bee was ever so obliging and never went without a smile and positive word (really, I NEVER saw her grumpy or negative ever).

I got to know them well as we shared a meal together early on and then went on to lead their girls in the mid week activities as well as on Sunday mornings for the 7 years I was at the church. I got to see them grow, mature and even see the oldest get married (well I wasn't at the wedding but you get the idea).

Pastor D. and his wife were always supportive and encouraging with my work at the church, as well as with Wally and his ministry, and even when he changed jobs. They were the first to praise and uplift us, see our hearts and cheer us on. I never felt intimidated or discouraged by them ever.

There was a point when the higher ups in the greater church government were changing rules that would in the end potentially cause me to lose my job. Pastor D. came to meet me all ready with a plan of attack so that I would be able to stay on as staff. He was going to defend me.

It was then I shared that it was time for me to leave me post as I felt lead to do other things with my life. Even then he and Bee graciously let me go.

Needless to say when I received a text saying Bee was gone without a trace I was upset, in shock and even nauseous. How could this happen? Where did she go? Did someone take her? Did she leave on her own? Why? How were the girls? How was Pastor D.?

I phoned Wally briefly but he had no more info than what was already shared. Though I wasn't involved in the situation I wondered how I was going to function through the rest of my 13 hr day (clearly I'm self centered - hopefully someday I'll grow out of this). I thought about just going home but realized that would do no good and truly I had no right. Worrying over a somewhat past friend was hardly grounds for 'time off'. Bee isn't directly a part of my life now nor is her family, other than the exchange of Christmas cards and letters paired with a hug at the church doors.

None the less my mind couldn't be tamed, nor my flip flopping stomach. I couldn't remember the last time I'd worried so much.

As the day progressed I shared my feelings with a couple of co workers to ease the boggling of my mind. I couldn't believe this was happening.

I went to bed Wednesday evening wondering if Bee would be found by morning. If she would come home or perhaps some trace of her would be discovered. I tossed and turned through the night with little sleep. If I, a distant friend, was this frazzled how were Pastor D. and his girls and family doing?

By tomorrow morning 4 days will have passed and the news stories about the disappearance are now running over and over with the same information. Bee called in sick to work without her family's knowledge and then was seen leaving around 8 am Tuesday morning. There has been no trace of her since. No credit or debit card activity, and no cell phone use. She's gone.

I won't express the speculations. Some, though always possible, are too offensive to me at this time and to be truthful are only guesses. Bee has struggled with depression this past year and has been treated medically for it. She was a nurse doing social work, who apparently was challenged by her ever stressful job. As many of us are.

My greatest hope is that she went somewhere to release, to de-stress, to renew, and she has every plan to return when she's ready.

My hope is that a job meant to give didn't take.

My hope is for a fairy tale ending.

It is with an unsettled and heavy heart I hope.

Please continue to pray for this situation and for the families left in the balance waiting.

I asked Wally what it must feel like to be in Pastor D.'s place right now, or even to be one of his daughters. His response: 'It must be maddening'. A perfect description I am sure.

Please hope with me. Hope doesn't expire, even when we do.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Please Pray

I have no time to blog right now and explain but I am asking you to pray for a friend Bee. She's gone missing and has been for 2 days.

There are speculations that I won't expand on right now but the bottom line is her family (and people like myself) are worried sick. Please pray she will return home safely soon, and for her husband and two daughters.

My heart is so saddened by this situation.

More to follow tomorrow...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

List Lover

I love lists. Like I would marry them if I could.

Lists make me feel organized, comforted, in control and prepared.

Although at the same time they have the power to make me feel disorganized, uncomfortable, out of control and unprepared. You know, if the list remains a list all it's life.

I've noticed lately that my obsession with lists has grown. I've noticed more and more of them popping up places. In my planner, on the fridge, on my night table, in the living room. In fact a week or two ago I proposed to Wally that we make a list of lists we have to write. He looked at me like I'd actually gone insane and realized, when I returned a very 'Of course I'm serious, do you think I would joke about this' look back at him.

I'm sure if a shrink were reading right now they would be able to easily tell me whatever my deep seeded emotional issue is that seems to increasing the list phenomenon in my world.

My best guess is feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. Perhaps in a good way at all of the possibilities there are out in the world for me to explore. Maybe also the fact that I have no idea where to start is also a little problem for me.

I was reading an article the other day that was about weight loss and how 98% of people that go at trying to lose weight on their own fail because they try and do 'all or nothing'. I've written about this before and admitted that I am most successful at anything when I just accept that perfection does not occur over night but rather within a process. I wonder where exactly my lists are in 'the process'.

One thing I'm struggling with today is the fact that I signed up for this little competition at work. I normally would never do this because I'm not the least bit competitive. Not to mention it's a weight loss competition, something I don't really and truly believe in.

However, I found out it is something that can be done in partners this time (sort of) and the idea of being accountable to someone who is depending on me to do my best really appealed to me. I feel as though lately I've fallen back into an unhealthy mindset which has lead to a struggle with mind on things relating to my body. It has been very frustrating.

I realized this evening, after spending the weekend pretending I'm the Caterpillar from the Hungry Caterpillar book eating my way through every unhealthy thing there is in sight, (because that's what I'm supposed to do before a diet - oh I HATE that word - it's like blasphemy!!) that I actually feel as though my morals around how I eat have changed, yet I don't exactly know how to deal with this.

I've never been blatantly morally corrupt. You know, I haven't murdered anyone but I definitely have enjoyed my share of a few good gossip sessions (wrongfully so). Now I'm starting to feel like the hypocrite healthy eater.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I'm a Baptist Clean Eater!!! (JUST kidding Baptist people. JUST kidding).

I guess what's frustrating is that I believe passionately what I should do but I decide when it's right for me to do it. If the rules seem applicable I abide, if they seem blurred I decide to do what best fits me. It's really very wrong.

I am comforted by the fact that I do believe in this passionately but frustrated by my lack of decision to follow what I know to be right all of the time. Hmmmmm ... this is helping me figure some things out.

I've come a long, long way in my little emotional eating, lazy ass journey. But I have a long, long way to go.

Now I know why I like lists. They simplify things. They order things to be done at a certain time. They make things happen.

'Continue to grow on the journey' sounds kinda vague for a list.


My list love is diminishing because it doesn't seem to be a realistic way to look at life.

My new 'To Do' List:

#1 - Relax
#2 - Notice and enjoy the small things
#3 - Do what I know I should do NOW
#4 - Stop making so many damn lists, it's stressing me out!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cluttered closets and greasy hair

Warning: The following post is entirely a selfish effort to destress, unload and just feel better on my part. Very little of it will enlighten, build up or make your life brighter. (Not that it generally does but I thought I'd give you fair warning).


Today is my Saturday. I am off to do errands, catch up and maybe, if I'm lucky, relax. Even as I write this I realize real women with children, who never get a break, will roll their eyes at the very notion of me needing a break, let alone getting one, but I will continue to write with ignorance.

I've been longing for a day to do nothing. Nothing but read, laze about, and organize my mind.

My mind needs organizing.

It gets like that storage closet (or room) that often has stuff just thrown into it, over and over, cluttered and possibly abandoned for days, weeks, and months at a time. It becomes a haven for junk, then appears useless and unnecessary. Well this definitely describes the mind I've been carrying around lately.

I feel like I just need time to think.

I love thinking.

Not in my father's way of 'thinking'. Which, incidentally, involves a porcelain thrown of sorts and perhaps a gas mask.

No I like time to just let my mind wonder, dream, sort, throw out, clean up and organize what's filling it up.

I was really hoping today might be the day.

I was wrong.

Instead I spent the beginning of my morning at Walmart spending without a budget, then to the Bulk Barn to add to my guilt, home to throw what needed to be refrigerated away then on to pick a fight.

It is a valid fight.

After my car got written off in the accident I learned that I'd get most of the warranty I purchased back. So I made a few phone calls and thought I had it dealt with. After waiting too long I looked into it again. Someone made a mistake and we had to start over. Correction: I had to start over. Several more phone calls and I awaited my check ... again.

I still hadnt' received anything so I made more phone calls. To the bank, the warranty company, the car dealership.

Today I got to do the run around again. Once again I almost cried on the phone. Once again I almost threatened to come in and show people who's boss. (I won't tell you what I wanted to say to them and really restrained myself from spouting out). In case you ever wondered, 'they' don't care who thinks they're the boss, especially when 'they' still have your $1500 in their bank account.

Any hoo I'm still waiting for someone to call me back AGAIN and have numerous times reminded myself how insignificant this money is in the general scheme of the world. It's not like I'm planning to buy some life changing medication for someone or anything. Nope. I just want a new couch and love seat. Pretty superficial stuff but blood boiling to me. Luckily perspective smacks me in the face at the right times or I'd be known as the 'crazy car lady who keeps leaving rude messages'. (Ok so I'm lying, they do consider me the 'crazy car lady who keeps leaving rude messages' but they could be ruder).

I did go and get me hair cut and coloured. That sort of makes me feel better. Well sort of. I have boy hair now and it looks a bit greasy because of goo, but on the up side there are no grays. I am still inwardly dealing with the fact that I have chosen to start drowning the little buggers at a less than admirable price tag (and I even go to a reasonable hair dresser). Oh well, I did get ID'd at the liquor store a week ago so I guess it's worth it. (You can see I am prioritizing humankind's needs perfectly right now eh? No one said I was Jesus).

I went to the grocery store on my way home from the hair dresser's, (that by the way is 40 mins on the highway away - yeah she's that good) to pick up fresh stuff so I wouldn't have to deal with the bustle of the city. I loved it. I even discovered that this grocery store sold personal sized shrimp portions for cheap. It excited me even though I didn't buy any.

Oh and by the way, Walmart, Bulk Barn and the grocery store held things for me that are all bad and I engaged. That's all about that.

After watching a couple of home reno shows I'm freezing and blogging in my favourite room, listening to the house make noises that sound like the ones on 'Law and Order'. You know between scenes: boom, boom, boom. Or maybe it's: ting, ting, ting. I don't know. I can't convey the right tone in text. But it freaks me out a bit.

I really need to skedaddle (cool! that's an actual word!!) though because we're off to a birthday party tonight with my greasy looking boy hair which I don't seem to mind.

I need to take another look at my resolutions. Less like they are resolutions and more like just changes I want to make, slowly over time. (Though I won't lie, immediate would be great too).

I need to carve out relax time. Think time. Cool down time. Or in this season in Canada warm up time.

I need to slow down a little each day. I know I have a friend who would tell me to stop each day and maybe pray and let God talk to me or just be with me. I don't always feel spiritual enough to be his friend, but I know he doesn't judge me. At least I don't think so.

I'm rethinking some long term atmospheric change for my life. Aren't I always?

Oh well. I guess I'm a rollin' stone.

That's ok though. I think.

P.S. Wally and I made a decision. About .... you know. AND we have peace ... I think. We're excited. Thanks for the thoughts :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Right Now ....

* I want to lay in bed all day and read, read, read.

* I want to find a perfect cure for the 2 day post workout that leaves your muscles in excruciating pain

* I want to know all of the answers

* I want to know why my oldest dog is having a hard time keeping the contents of his bladder INSIDE his bladder

* I want to lie and say I'm wonderful at my job, it's a perfect fit and I should get an award for all of my hard work

* I want to help Wally find a good friend or two

* I want a magic fairy to cut and colour my hair perfectly so I never had to worry about it again

* I want not to be the type to worry about my hair

* I want to propose the idea of wearing ear plugs to work at certain times or at least free access to Advil :)

* I want someone to magically budget our money so I never have to give it a thought

* I want to realize what a blessing it is to have money to budget

* I want to stop wanting and just be content.

Maybe that's what I should write a book about: Contentment. Ummmmm, probly I wouldn't be the best one to write about that.

Instead, right now I am saying good day to you and heading off to work to hopefully be reminded how to be content.

Thailand can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This and That

I'm been waiting all morning to be able to sit down and blog before I rush off to work. Ahhhhh.....

So Yesterday was the day I decided to tackle working out at home for the first time. I wondered if I'd 'feel it', the workout I mean, or if being at home would host a lazy effort. Well, considering I'm feeling pain in every major muscle in my body I am happy to report the workout was a success! And though I am in some serious discomfort, I went to my old gym for one last cardio session before I get to use my treadmill at home. It felt great!

I am also easing back into my old eating (the good kind) and after two days already feel like ... I was going to say a million bucks but I'm gonna have to say maybe just a hundred thousand or maybe a half a million. Still waaaaay better than I was over the month of December.

I realized today that the changes I made were actually real and true. I actually love eating clean. I actually love sweating (well, only when it's on purpose) and I actually love pushing my muscles. And I love the effects even more.

I had been wondering if my goals of becoming a trainer (at least on paper) were silly, far fetched and delusional during my time away from working out. I thought maybe I was wanting to want to be a trainer. But after having a few different discussions pop up with various people I'd run into lately I am realizing I want to teach and motivate others that are in the place I was before I learned stuff (and still am at times).

I have such a hard time when people say stuff to me like 'Can you each such and such with your diet?' or 'I bet it's hard not being allowed to have this?' It frustrates me because though it is a 'way' of eating it has become (for the most part) my lifestyle and no longer (for the most part) a burden.

I was having this very talk lastnight with a co worker (whom, incidentally, I really like). We got onto the topic of weight training and I was hearing how she did things and this and that and I was practically writhing on the floor dying to share with her some simple things she could change to be more effective, however I knew I couldn't seeing as I'm still not in ideal shape AND who am I REALLY? No one. I have no papers saying I should know what I'm talking about. I have no proof that what I do works or that those that taught me were right or not. I mean everyone thinks they have the answers right?

This chat is among the many I've had with people regarding diet and exercise and how mixed up we all can get when we listen to EVERYTHING everyone is saying rather than doing research on our own and talking to real professionals.

I've also learned that people (myself included) need to be ready and willing to hear what you have to say before they are actually going to HEAR what you have to say.

I know a piece of paper won't give me the perfect body, but it will educate me more in what I'm talking about and maybe even show me how to better explain things to others. I have come to learn that this whole journey is looooooong and ongoing and as I am ready I will be able to achieve more and more.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do plan on pursuing my Personal Trainer Certification. It's actually not a big deal at all and anyone can do it (I'm saying that factually not inspirationally). Even if I never use it as a profession I will use it as often as I can to help people in their own health pursuits.

That's that.

In other news ....

I have begun to look into Wally and I taking the mandatory course for adoption in our province (whether you adopt within your country or internationally). I learned that the course is $1400 for the two of us to take it. And there is one happening in our city at the end of the month.

It's at this point things seem very real. It's at this point we must ask ourselves what to do. It's at this point we wish that God would just float down out of the sky and say, in a calm and soothing tone: 'Wally, Eva, it's time. You are ready to become parents.' The clouds part, the heavens open, and the sun is blazing in our eyes. A small child appears sitting on a satin pillow and says, as soon as they see us 'Mama. Dada.' We take the child, are blessed by God's anointed wand and off we slowly walk into the strangely timed sun set.

It's funny though. We are still waiting for God to appear from the sky with the specific instructions on things, let alone a child in tow.

Now it seems to be time for us to make some decisions. Do we do it now, do we wait a bit longer, do we 'try' for a natural one first, do we not care and do everything? What do we do?!

I'm hoping at some point in the next few days we figure out what to do and feel peace about it. If you are a prayin' type throw one up for us please. We need the help.

In the mean time I shall keep living, keep striving and keep believing perfect timing will occur, along with perfect wisdom.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Journey continues ....

I can't take it any more, I just can't take it. There's something about rules, boundaries and guidelines I need in my pursuit of good health. I cannot seem to make healthy choices completely on my own yet. I need the declaration of a public commitment before I can seem to abide truly by the standards I want to live by in the realms of my desired lifestyle.

It's like I cannot live by the standards I want to unless I've tied myself to them in some way. Unless I have everyone watching. I'm kinda glad I don't need that for my marriage or I might be in trouble. I wonder if that's why some people don't do so well in marriage relationships - they can't abide by their promises in secret the way they can in public.

Well I'm publicly declaring that unless I publicly declare my vows to a healthy life I'm forever unfaithful.

I've mentioned before I think that since wally and I moved we haven't gone to the gym as we've been painting, packing, moving, Christmasing and now gorging ourselves. We both actually miss it desperately but now are too far from our current gym (including my favourite Dee) to go back. There's another 'sister' gym that's a little closer we could go to but it's still further than we know is best for us (especially in the winter).

When we bought our house we noted the perfect workout room in the basement for us. So last week during Boxing Day sales we used our Master Card points and a little extra to buy a treadmill!! Then later in the week we found a sale on dumbbells that can be used as weights from 2.5 to 20 lbs. We already had a stability ball but then had to buy a bit of floor padding so we picked that up along with a medicine ball and voila, almost a complete home gym. I hope to purchase an adjustable bench in the next couple of weeks. After which time our bank account will need a vacation from the debit card.

I'm so excited to get back to working out and especially trying some things I've been too self conscious about at the gym. I also hope to begin training to do a 5 K run in the spring sometime. My very close friend from far away land (you know, who surprised me at the party) offered to run with me as she will be visiting around that time.

I finally had Wally weigh me yesterday (you know, being New Years and all). I didn't look at the weight nor did I ask what it was. I just wanted to know how much I'd gained. Well actually I wanted to know approximations. I got exactitations.

I was both excited and disappointed to learn that in the 5 weeks without going to the gym and during the month of eating much of the food I'd stayed away from in the past 6 months I had gained a total of 6 pounds (ok I'm lying I gained 6.8 lbs but for some reason I feel better when I leave out the .8).

Of course my mind has played a few games on me reminding me of losing muscle and probably gaining more fat than our scale will reveal and then I think 'Oh my goodness I'm fat! I'm fat! Call the intervention show I'm doomed and have totally gone astray!!! Somebody help!!!!'

A friend warned me once way on back when I mentioned a 'cheat meal' turning into a 'cheat day', he said 'Eva be careful, it takes nearly a month to create a good habit and only a few days to ruin it'. *sigh* Yeah I'm seeing that now.

The good news is that I feel hopeful rather than depressed about my weight gain. As I grow and learn about this little journey of mine I know now that you can never approach the same problem the same way twice. What was wonderfully successful before will not likely give me the same wonderful success now. I'm convinced there's something I need to change this time, some attitude, some outlook, some behaviour that will help me achieve what I'm after creating even more honest results. Whether it's a new buddy to fight with, or a new activity to master or perhaps just a shift in my approach something must be different, even if it's just a bit.

An old pastor of mine used to say the definition of insanity was continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different out come.

What I want to do is make some public vows right now and declare how I am going to live and what I am going to live without. It worked last time, very well actually. I am confident that it would be fairly successful this time but not as much as the last. What do I do to make my commitment real? What do I do to be true to how I want to live?

Accountability takes you so far, but you need to be accountable to someone (or someones) who cares enough to give you crap when you screw up. Who will spur you on to do your best and challenge you to get better.

Maybe a physical goal is needed, something measurable, something factual, something I can see change with.

Perhaps I need a new purpose to change. I know changing my eating in the past was much to do with the information I learned. The more I found out about the food I was hooked on the less I wanted to eat it, which then birthed a real commitment to change how I baked, cooked and ate. It was never through how much I wanted to be a certain size at all, though I wanted that it was never a strong enough factor in my will power.

Hmmmmmm .... I feel as though I need to do some soul searching, learning, friend searching, and purpose in me changing my lifestyle. I think I know for sure that the number on the scale or around my waist isn't enough for me to follow an eating plan or exercise routine. I need reason, advantages, facts, and good feelings for me to truly continue (and yes I'm continuing not re starting) my journey.

We're never 'there', where ever 'there' is. But that's good because that means we're still on the road to somewhere. and I'm choosing to believe it's somewhere better.

I sort of want to apologize about so much 'weight' talk much of the time, I'm sure it seems as though I'm obsessed about my appearance. I'm really not. I am probably mildly obsessed with bettering my health, but no more than I am with trying to better the rest of me. It's just easier to try and work on something physical than it is something invisible.

So let me write the following list of things I've learned about my body during my past year's journey towards better health:

* 80% of the equation is what you eat
* my appearance isn't a huge motivator in my progress
* my journey consists of ups and downs NOT going forwards or backwards. Though a weight gain appears to be a step back I believe it's just another lesson in what I am learning about myself and what's really true: I'm still learning.
* I am now convinced that proper nutrition and exercise is the only real way to lose fat and be healthy. I never ever have to engage in a diet. If something needs to be consumed in strict moderation it need not enter my body at all.
* I actually want to take care of what I've been given because good health is a real gift
* I can make my body into anything I want it to be (that is freakin' awesome!!!)
* I love sharing with others the things I have learned
* When my body is strong I feel amazing
* I can't just decide not to put something into my body i know is bad for me I must commit to it. However I need people around me to hold me accountable and remind me why I've chosen to do so.
* more to come .... :)

Wally and I canceled our gym membership today. A bit of a scary thing. We spent money on a home gym (well all the things I mentioned) and hope to continue to build it up a bit more. We know we are not likely to use one so far from home and I do home to maybe just maybe use our gym to train others in someday. We would like to be able to use our membership money on things of our choosing. I would love to take an actual yoga class for a couple of months, then try some other things. Eventually I may rejoin a gym closer by but for now I will see how working out at home goes. I hope to make our gym room a sanctuary in a sense to greet me each day and get me excited about this relatively new part of my life.

You know what would be fun? If someday I surprised Dee by achieving my strength goals and becoming a trainer. I would love to see the look on his face.

Hmmmmmm .... is that motivation enough?

Beeee Happy

Do you ever think about your life having an ending? I mean do you ever have a serious moment of realization that jolts you into the actual present to the very millisecond?

I do every once in a great while I stop long enough to really and truly put myself into thinking about time and my life in a way that scares the crap out of me AND gets me excited all at once. It's those moments that spur me on to doing things I REALLY want to do and gives me real focus and understanding that the time we have NOW is the only time we have.

The other day I was sitting in our new to us living room having one of these moments. I remember physically feeling startled at this reality and then trying to think to myself how I could even better what I am doing in my everyday to make my experience here and now, well .... better.

I was thinking how my aunt died at age 44. And how I now am almost 31. How if I died at her age I'd only have 13 years left and that doesn't seem like much. Then I thought, wow what if I only had 2 years, would I be pleased with my life? Am I experiencing and learning all that I should be? Am I missing something deeper and more joyous? Am I doing the job I am supposed to be doing? Living where I'm supposed to be living? Engaging in the friendships I'm supposed to be engaging in?

The initial 'I want to live life to the fullest' idea is obviously what drives me to put myself outside of my comfort zone, try new things, and try and understand other perspectives but am I doing so within the big areas as well.

This past week were the holidays, Christmas and New Years, a time generally filled with family and friends. Time to stop for a little while and just enjoy them with a meal and exchange of gifts. Maybe even a schedule change that's just different enough to allow you to enjoy that it's not the usual.

Probably because of these holidays, mixed with the fact that Wally had with first week off in exactly a year, I was feeling a bit sad. I had Christmas eve and Christmas Day off but other than that worked a regular week because people in my field don't exactly go on holidays from needing money, food, baths and socialization. Now I will completely admit that I am beyond fortunate to be able to have spent the two days that I always spend with each of our families off, when so many of my co workers worked straight through the holidays. However for some reason I just wanted to be home with Wally. I became resentful of work and taking anything but joy out of it. By day 5 and 6 in a row I dreaded going in and almost cried at the thought.

This seems completely ridiculous as I have no real reason to feel this way. I like those I support very much, but I like Wally more. I know I'm just acting spoiled now. It's funny though I was supporting someone on the last of my 6 day stint and I was scrubbing their floors on my hands and knees like when I used to house clean as my full time job. As I was working away being watched with an Eagle eye (the person I was supporting who I will admit I find a wee bit, or a lot bit creepy for more reasons than I can share), I was loving the silence. Silence in less than usual in most cases with this job. Then I actually had a moment of thinking maybe I should do a bit of housekeeping on the side. Then I longed for the days I was a housekeeper. Then I thought 'Am I going crazy? Or am I already there?'

Another factor into my dissatisfaction this week I think is that fact that I'm reading 'The Happiness Project'. Not because it's a bad book but because it's causing me to ask myself questions about my fulfillment and happiness.

As anyone who has read my blog for the past year and a half would know I (at the core) love my job. Actually maybe I'm lying. I think I'm discovering I love the people I support more than anything. I love meeting people that fascinate me, which they do every single day. I love being challenged, which I am every single day. I love being so privileged to know them. I honestly have and am learning more about the human heart from them than I think I could from 'regular people'. For example if I took 10 people I support and spent 10 hours with them I would generally come away from that time having felt as though I learned more about human kind and the true notions of it than I ever would if I were to do the same thing with the same number of people without a disability. I'm not saying they are angels (trust me, a co worker was trying me to go on the cruise for work and I am fully aware of the taxation that occurs on your psyche, or at least mine for extended periods of time - for that is).

I feel like I'm taking the scenic route to whatever point I'm trying to make and I'm getting bored.

I guess I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps my work in this field was less about me giving and more about me learning. I'm sure that generally that's why we're put in situations, I mean people think I'm going to Thailand to work when really I'm going to Thailand completely for myself to learn and to be changed in some way and to share the message with others.

When Wally and I went back to school we wanted to be prepared for the fact that we may have felt lead back to school for the journey and sacrifice we went through to rather than the result of the specific jobs we were going through in. We knew of lots of people that went to school for a certain occupation then ended up doing something completely different, some loved it and some didn't. When we both got jobs in our prospective fields we were elated and excited to know we were walking right into what seemed planned all along.

However as I look back I see how much the several different acts of change we had to accept before getting to school. The enormous fears we had to face, the geography we had to learn. We still say at least once a week 'We bought a house. All by ourselves. Without anyone's help or advice. Wow!' We have amazed ourselves. Though most couples our age wouldn't likely be all that amazed at doing those things we are as up until 2 1/2 years ago we had lived pretty much in the same town our whole lives and we fear driven. we'd do things based on how scared we were of them. Now we do things because we want to or because we don't.

Back to my job. I am beginning to wonder if it was and is less of a job or actual destination for me and perhaps more of a stepping stone and learning area. I can't say I've ever felt as though I've learned more than during the time I've been in this field, and don't get me wrong I don't plan on just quitting or anything. I just want to keep my heart open to doing what makes me happy, what I'm good at and what I love.

I do wonder if the mom calling I experienced in the summer is what my heart is anxious to encounter. Not to be loved, my husband, family and friends do a fine job of that, but perhaps for that thing I have known for years I've longed to do. We'll see...

One question 'The Happiness Project' lady asks, something many have pondered: 'What do you do in your free time? What would you do for free?'

I can think of a couple things right off the top of my head: read, observe, try new things and write. Oh and I love talking to kids. Like having a conversation with a 4 yrs old is THE BEST (well as long as you are not arguing your point). I mean a real conversation where you ask them questions and you wait to hear their answers. Bill Cosby is my hero by the way. Love that man.

I have no earthly idea how that started or where we went but there you have it!

It's funny, just writing that last paragraph makes me feel happier. Hmmmmm ... maybe I'm on to something.