Simply Put . . .

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It has been a long while since I blogged.  There is a good reason for that.

I started this blog when a friend insisted that I share my journey – express my life lessons – bare my heart.

We never stop learning, and I had a few more lessons come along like waves beating against the crags.  It took all of my energy to stay upright, but I am upright!

The lessons I learned in the past 6 months have been the most valuable, and I can sum them up in a few short sentences:

Life never stops happening.

Not everyone is going to like me – no matter how hard I try, and

Today is the best place I have ever been.

I’ve started a half-dozen different posts, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I could continue talking about sadness, loneliness, divorce, illness, but I am not going to anymore.  I have nothing life-changing or profound left to write, and my story has become trite, at least to me.  Yes, I have had to be strong, resilient, resourceful and optimistic, but who cannot say the same thing?

I once believed that I had to do great things for my life to have purpose and it was necessary to wear the heartaches and hardships on my sleeve so I could help others, and although I do believe I have encouraged a few, everyone has their own lessons to learn.  Our life experiences are so different but yet so very much the same.

For my life to have purpose, I must judge not, love deeply,  laugh loudly,  and not be afraid to die.   I’m there.

In the future, I will write more about simple things, like enjoying my granddaughter, raising a dog, going to work, falling in love, directing a radio play, turning 60, dwelling in the mountains, and being me.

I turn 60 this month.  Did you know that 60 is the new 40?  Be prepared.  I might shock you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What My Basket Holds – 2013

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It has been a year since I started my blog, Simply Life Lessons, and lately, I have been so busy learning life lessons that I have not taken the time to stop and tell you about them.

My 5 1/2 years in Colorado have been “Smack in the Face” hard and the most memorable and enjoyable that I know.  There is no way to sugarcoat the trials nor the lessons that have come my way, but, if we all handed in our basket of troubles to exchange, I would take mine back, and if there ever was a place to surround yourself with kind, giving, caring, loving friends and healing strength and peace, it is Estes Park, Colorado.

A glimpse into my  year . . .

I laughed, cried, cursed, questioned, promised, succeeded, failed, and learned.

  • Stephanie got married. Beautiful wedding. Happy couple. Good life ahead.
  • Zia started kindergarten.
  • I left one great job and started another great job.
  • The flood. It happened. Anything that can be said, has been.
  • Changed addresses.
  • The word “Divorce” became easier to say.
  • Dating became interesting and unpredictable, to say the least
  • Experienced hospitalization and two surgeries.
  • Mother passed away.
  • Traveled a bit.
  • Started a weight loss journey.
  • Missed my dad.
  • Made new friends.

There was nothing simple about most of my Life Lessons this year. I don’t know why. Is God trying to make a better person of me? Karma? (Am surely hoping not!). Stuff happens? It’s my turn? I don’t have answers and have quit asking questions.

Mother died in January. No matter how prepared you are, you are never ready.  I spent the next day after she died learning to knit. She would respect that. In May, the family gathered in Illinois to bury both of our parents. Closure doesn’t truly ever come when you’re suddenly an orphan, (Daddy died in August, 2011(, but I can say I learned much about the grieving process, and there is eventually a place of peace. Memories become more precious, and understanding more sure.

My man who swept me off my feet last year? Bumpy ride. Sad ride. I doubted. He failed. Second chances. I learned that relationships at 50+ are far different from being 18 when it’s all goofy and mushy and carving hearts in trees. Life goes on. Regardless of the outcome, this was a necessary journey than I am thankful for. Very recently I met him again for the first time, so we talk, and I am trying to learn to trust. Does my heart need as much protection as I try to give it?

Zia started school in August, and in Week 2 was chosen as Student of the Week and voted as having the Nicest Smile.  Proud? You bet! She loves the classroom, her friends, being obedient and making the grade. It was a difficult transition to go from caring for her everyday to seeing her a couple hours a week, but she is busy and happy and becoming an amazing young lady. Grammie is thankful to have her as my granddaughter.

It was during this time that Zia started school that I took a self-imposed hiatus from my day-to-day routine and some days did nothing but breathe. Life lessons during this time came easy. I understood where I was and how I got there, and every bit of it was on my map, showing detours and solid paths to take. I rested, reflected, and prepared to happily continue the journey into the rest of my life.

Today? I am living in a temporary mess as I unpack and settle in my new home that rests on a mountainside, perfect for the next leg of my journey, which includes a wonderful job I started early November. Day by day I unpack more, down-size, discover new challenges at work, and contentedly find my way.

Out of the hospital two weeks, I continue to recuperate from two foot surgeries. Lessons learned? How to walk with a cane, and not everyone is kind to the afflicted. On the next level, I can only say, “Oh, my!”  Can I count the lessons learned? With my doctors’ insistence, I am now more committed to taking better care of myself. Nothing should come before my health. I am not invincible. I am not immune. I get it now, but may need reminded. Finding that I don’t have the power to make just about anything alright has been eye-opening and rather difficult for me, because I kinda think I’ve done that for a long time.

Other lessons were tougher and surely not simple. I am learning to let others help me. This has been my major life lesson of 2013. There are givers and there are takers, and I always want to be a giver.  I am learning that being complete demands a balance because givers needs those to give to.  Vulnerable once was a foreign word, but not anymore. Friends and family willingly and without thinking twice, took over my life the 10 days I was in the hospital. They packed up my belongings, moved my stuff, visited and cheered me on. They ran errands, sent flowers and cards and called. They looked out for me and worried and cared. Believe me when I say that it would have been easier to lose another toe than to have to ask or accept help in any way, but I had to acknowledge that I am loved, and I know good people who desire to do good things, even for me. It is also very true that when you are down, you learn who your real friends are, but that is another post, another day.

When people ask me how I stay positive and upbeat, I think there are 2 lessons learned long ago. My faith is a source of comfort and hope, and I know that everything in life comes down to perspective. I realize that there are so many people who are traveling unimaginable paths, and I am forever thankful that I am not.

Please know that we are not about what happens to us, but about how we develop through those happenings, and developing positively will prove to be helpful to another soul that you meet along the way. Don’t waste your lessons. Share them.

As this year comes to a close, I am excited about 2014. I have plans to experience more beauty, to be unselfish with my giving, to right all of the wrongs I can, and to embrace the joy of simply being.

Happy New Year to you, and may all of your life lessons be simple.

Truth Wins . . .

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I lied once.  Actually, it has been more than once.  Some may not think lying to yourself counts, but a lie is a lie, as my dad would say.

When pushed to my limit – and I have been many times, physically and mentally  – I will repeatedly say, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this”. . .  all while I am doing “this”.  A lie.

1d54de9acbcc311eec1f58751a214836Many people, when asked how they are will answer that they are “fine”, when they actually are far from fine.  Been there, said that.

Then there are those times when I tell myself that, “Everything’s going to be alright”, and it becomes my mantra, even when I do not believe it will be alright, but it always ends up being alright, so I lied, but it was alright.

When listening to someone yakking and yakking about ridiculous scenarios that will never happen, my heart tells my brain that I don’t get it, but from my mouth words tumble around until “I understand”, spills out.  Harmless?  Probably.

m183871107Often my lack of reasoning becomes a lie.  I am counting calories.   In a weak moment, that piece of brownie will try to convince me that it weighs only 2 ounces, but I suspect that the darn thing actually weighs more than I do!  I am naïve, and believe what others tell me (even a brownie),  so I eat it, and the truth appears on my scales the next morning.

These are examples of those “White Lies” that most folks find acceptable and innocent, but there are those untruths that we tell ourselves that are dangerous, deadly to our souls and often irreversible because we have come to know these lies as truth.

When we say we are not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough, truth is not present.  When our thoughts convince us that we are less than in any way, we are listening to lies.  I can only write about this because of the lies I have told myself or allowed others to speak to me.  Through the process of growing, I am  learning my truth.  Truth is not always pretty but it is real.

Truthfully, I am – plain, outspoken, often unsure and clumsy.  My body is too large, my hair too thin, I wear ugly shoes.  I forget and repeat myself.  I live simply and will sometimes start things I never finish.  I get my feelings hurt and cry when frustrated.  I lose my patience and might throw things.  This is not a glowing description, but I am pretty cool,  and I am caring and a great Grammie, a loving mother and faithful friend.  I am capable, dependable and honest, and nothing can convince me otherwise.

I am learning the simple life lesson that truth serves me well.  It is powerful and healing and freeing.  May you fall in love with your amazing truth.

Not Afraid of Being Scared

Scared!If you know me even a bit, you know that I view every event in my life as an opportunity to learn and to understand, which is exactly why I write Simply Life Lessons.

Thinking that I am the Einstein of all the life lessons I share would be rather silly, because I know that everyone is on their own journey of learning and growing and living their own life lessons, even those who truly never get any of it.

For a life event to make sense, one must seek to find that golden nugget of wisdom hidden in the pain, suffering, tears, awareness, defeat, changes . . . Others may share their story, and you try to understand, appreciate, sympathize, and remember, but until you live out that moment for yourself, it is not real.

When I spend a brief second to ask, “Why me”, I really am looking for an answer. What am I to learn, to share, to take away from this experience?  An answer always comes.

An epiphany one day revealed that if I share and learn from what I am going through, then this life of mine would not be for naught. For there to be no purpose to the things I have experienced would be a tragedy in itself. I liken it to a scientist who does years and years of research, with trial after trial after trial. Even if his discovery does not save the planet, his work, failures and successes, only matter after he makes his findings known.

One morning, at 2:30am, after days of needing to know why I was faced with a debilitating health challenge, my answer told me that what was scaring me may actually be what would saves me because nothing speaks serious like being scared.

I haven’t admitted or acknowledged it often, but, I was scared, and being scared demanded my action.

Never doubt it. The rubber always meets the road. The chickens always come home to roost.

I have pointed out in other postings that I have not done a stellar job of taking care of myself. I’ve allowed my life to be filled with stress, cigarettes, drinking, unhealthy eating, inactivity, toxic people, and the price I pay could be very high, but what I came to realize at that early hour, is that being scared can be a good thing.

Many people of the Christian faith come to their decision to follow Christ because they are scared. Who doesn’t want to go to Heaven? And many lives have turned around with a heart attack or stroke. Some have written about being thankful for cancer because of how it positively changed their lives, and the soldier in the fox-hole who is scared beyond my understanding, makes promises and commitments for a lifetime that may not have happened if he hadn’t been scared.

Why be afraid of being scared?

I laugh out loud now writing this because being a private person, I am not ready to share my particular challenge, and it truly is irrelevant to this post, but is it possible to be private and transparent, too?

Since beginning this post, I have learned that I am fine.  After medical testing, evaluations and trial and error, I am more sure of what is before me. For now, just know that in the scheme of things, my challenge was nothing to cry about, just a reason for change.

I will never stop learning which gives me the privilege of being imperfect. I change what I can, sometimes, and accept what I can’t change, sometimes, and still struggle to know the difference.

I never knew being scared could be so promising.

It’s About Time!

A Face Off with TIme

In 1966, there was an awesome TV show, “It’s About Time” that starred Imogene Coca. The program lasted only one season (which tells you how awesome it truly was), but I have never forgotten it, I think because of the theme song that gets stuck in my head and never leaves. Here. Let me sing it for you . .

🎼 It’s about 🎶 time, it’s about 🎶 space,
About 🎶 two men 🎶 in the strangest 🎶 place.
It’s 🎶 about time, it’s about 🎶 flight.
Traveling 🎶 faster 🎶 than the speed of light.🎶

Everything around us screams out the time with the alarm blaring, it is time to work, lunch time, time to go home, appointments, TV shows, reservations, deadlines, and, never forget call waiting.  Life truly is all about time, how we use it, when we abuse it and how to appreciate the value of a moment.

You see, for the last 5 years, I have become very routine in wasting time, and I do it extremely well.

I think we are all duped into thinking, while slumping through mindless activity, that time is standing still. No, no, no. This is NOT true!! You are being misled by the gray matter in your brain. Time never, ever stands still, even when someone amazing takes your breath away, you will certainly faint, but time will still go on long after you wake up and realize it was all a bad dream.

I owe my soul . . . .

I owe my soul . . .

In 2008 when my granddaughter was born, I became a caregiver to her Monday through Friday, from 7-ish to 5-ish. I was no longer working in a structured environment, and every day she and I did exactly what we wanted to.  The time of day was pretty irrelevant, and unless one of us was taking medicine, we never looked at the clock.   During this time, I worked part-time jobs in the evening and on weekends which necessitated my having to punch a time clock for the first time in over 35 years. Answering to a time clock does nothing for helping me recognize the benefit of time unless I were to break down my wages by how much I earn per minute. This causes depression. Don’t do it.

In my earlier life, managing a television station, managing programming traffic, coordinating many satellites, and managing a highly technical on-air master-control room, the demands kept me busy, focused and with little time to spare. Taking a few minutes to have idle chatter was a luxury I enjoyed rather infrequently. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) requires television and radio stations to create daily programming logs to schedule what is on air every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Being constantly aware that the seconds were ticking off the clock, there was always something to do, and I accomplished impressively much. Because of the respect demanded by the clock, I never worried about wasting the day because even time spent in rest and relaxation was well-earned and appreciated.

Sadly, today, I can no longer make these claims. I am abusing my time like it was an overused paper towel.

I can almost hear you telling me that being too busy is not good, and I agree, but not being busy and wasting time are completely different. I can clasp my idle hands and explain to Zia where butterflies come from, or, sit idly by listening to a friend struggling with depression.  This is not time wasted.  Never, when giving to someone else, are you wasting time.

A Mess of Minutes

A Mess of Minutes

Please make a mental note.  MindFULLness cannot be confused with MindLESSness.  Being mindfully engaged in the moment, and feeling fully aware of all that is around you trumps spending hours playing BeJeweled on the laptop. I would like to blame Steve Jobs for bringing about the incessant need to constantly be fidgeting with the iPhone, iPad, laptop, but I really liked him, and it would not be fair.

I am the solo pilot of my time.

In a few brief months, my life will, yet again, undergo a major change.  My granddaughter will start kindergarten in another county, and I will become a “weekend” grammie.  This will open up literally hours in my day.  What will I do with all of this extra time?  I know that I cannot waste it.  I must hold myself accountable to doing good things, helpful things and fun things. (Playing computer games is not fun.  It never makes me laugh, and the amount of time it fritters away?  It scares me).

Besides adding a few more hours to my work week, I have started giving this transition a lot of thought (while playing Candy Crush Saga on my iPad), and have come up with a few ideas.  Having once been a crafty person, I have started organizing my craft closet and have a few creative ideas that may end up under your Christmas tree.  I do not know how to do macrame, so do not worry.

Volunteering has long played an important part in my life.  I loved being a Big Sister, and starting the church library, and raising money for good causes.  I will volunteer at something, and am evaluating where my talents can be used.  Currently, I sit on the Board of Directors of The Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies, and I enjoy this very much.  We are in the planning stages of  new fundraising projects, and, you may even see me on stage in local theater one day.

When you boil an egg or wait for a download, what else are you doing?  Studies say you can file your nails, do chair yoga, organize the junk drawer or eat a brownie, but the point is, you will not be wasting time.

I made a reference in my last post – “What’s Age Got to do with it?”, that I do not have a great amount of time left.  If I think about it, and make the effort, there is always good reason to throw the clock away and enrich my life. I can read another book, write a letter, call a friend, take a walk, give a hug, meet a stranger, bake a pie, go to the gym, sew on a button, listen to new music, plant flowers, paint a room, take beautiful pictures, watch a documentary, soak through a bubble bath, catch a fish, dance to the beat, or simply watch the sunset.

There are many priceless memories from the past 5 years, but I could have used my time more wisely.  Don’t let your minutes escape you for they can never be recaptured, and what is lost, is lost forever.

Shadows of Time

It’s the oldest story in the world.
One day you’re seventeen and
planning for someday, and, then
quietly, without you ever really
noticing, someday is today, and that
someday is yesterday, and this is your life   
                                                                  – Nathan Scott

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