Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hurricane season

     Hurricane season starts on 1 June.  When I lived in Florida [before Texas] I had a journal that I started the first year I moved back to Florida.  2001.  Each hurricane season, I would pull out my journal, and every named storm that hit the Gulf Coast I would create a page of lessons learned.  As the years went by, the lists became shorter as I became more 'hurricane wise.'  This year... I'm sure my Hurricane Journal is still in an unpacked box, but the lessons learned remain memorized.  I'm also adding to the list based on my friend Lori's experience last year when she lost everything in a tornado.  Hurricanes often spawn tornadoes both before and after they hit, and not necessarily in their direct path.

  1. Be sure to have a camping lantern in every bedroom closet, and a flashlight in each nightstand drawer and the kitchen's 'junk' drawer.  Be sure to have new batteries in every lantern and flashlight at the beginning of the season.  Lanterns and flashlights that don't work, won't help.
  2. Stock up on candles AND lighters.  Candles tend to be useless if you can't light them.
  3. Each month of hurricane season, buy four gallons of bottled water.  Recycle the gallons in the pet's water bowls, on house plants, or use for making coffee or tea each month so that I always had fresh water (and because sometimes the jugs would leak).  If we were anywhere in the triangle of a named storms path, make sure I had two gallons of water for each pet and person in the house.
  4. Always have a hurricane kit that included chemicals for making potable water, a first aid kit, and for each person a rain poncho, heavy work gloves, rain boots, extra socks and sweats (wet clothes can make you chilled fast at night even in the summer, and so having something dry to wear is a plus - not to mention if injured it will help prevent shock).
  5. Stock up on dry and canned foods that can be eaten without needing to be heated or chilled.
  6. Don't forget extra dog and cat food.
  7. Especially don't forget a hand crank can opener.  See #1 and #2.
  8. If possible, have an extra week of any required medications in your kit for any people or pets that need them.
  9. Invest in a weather alert radio that can run on batteries.  Check to see if it can be coded to your local alert area.
  10. Always have at least one phone that does not require electricity to run.  Ugly Princess Trimline phones are invaluable when the power is out because they will still work if the phone lines are not down and you can call for help or let family know you are safe.  Charge cell phones every night, and be sure to have names and addresses of ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts identified on cells, and in an address book in the hurricane kit.
  11. Make sure pet's microchips are updated with phone numbers and contact names.  Get harnesses for all pets that can be leashed.  A panicked dog can quickly pull out of a simple collar, but not as easily out of a harness.  Have travel carriers for every animal small enough to fit into one.
  12. Every payday beginning in May, stash away $100 in small bills.  When the power goes out, ATM machines won't work, and having cash can come in handy for buying supplies or food.  If by the end of the season you haven't had to use any of it, you've just saved for your Christmas shopping.
  13. If told to evacuate ... LEAVE.  Especially if you are in a flood zone or if the hurricane will be greater than a Category 3.  Have a plan in advance of where to go, whether to family, friends or a nearby hotel.  Be sure pets are allowed if you have pets.  Please don't leave them behind to fend for themselves.  If necessary, leave a day or two in advance of expected landfall to avoid traffic and getting caught on the road during the worst of the storm.
  14. Don't let the gas tank in the car get below a half tank during hurricane season.  During mandatory evacuations, everyone will be trying to fill up or top off and there may be lines or no gasoline available.  If you can get at least 75 miles away you may find it easier to fill up the tank than be waiting in line only to find out that there is no gas when you get to the pump.
  15. If you are staying home during a storm and are not under mandatory evacuation orders, know the safest place in your home to be during a tornado.  Buy a helmet of some kind for each person in your home to wear if you have to take shelter.
    Regardless of where you are, whatever natural weather disaster your area is prone to (in California we had earthquake kits), the key to surviving is planning ahead.  Be safe in every season.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waking up...

     I was at the hospital at 0530 this morning, and enjoying some happy juice by 0615 to make up for the lack of coffee and food.  I'd say it was a fair trade off.

     The whole laser "vaporization" of the cancerous growths on my vaginal walls was complete by 0800 and I woke up at about 0810.  I burst into tears then.  The nurse asked if it was because of the pain or if it was something else and I tearfully told her it was something else.

     See, I really hadn't wanted to wake up.

I was so hungry...
     You can interpret that in many different ways I suppose, and I'll take the easy way out and say that it was because I was dreaming about food as I was coming out from the anesthesia.

     Which I was.  Pizza to be precise.

      But waking up with that feeling of not wanting to wake up and the awful realization that I had woken up after all... was a wake up in itself.  One that really woke me up.  And angered me.

     Anger can be a good thing.  Just as waking up can be also.

     More to come...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Heat wave...

I pull myself out of the cold water and drain the tub.  Temperatures are in the upper 90's (F) and without any air conditioning the townhouse feels as if it is in the upper 100's.  Heat rises, and the second floor is sweltering. There are no windows to open downstairs other than the front and back doors to get a cross breeze.  They face north and south and the winds blow east to west.

Still dripping, I dress in a loose sleeveless shirt and light shorts before going out to sit on the upper deck on this late afternoon.  Ceiling fans move the air, but do little to cool me.

I watch oak trees, four stories tall sway in the wind, but don't feel it touch my skin.  The panting of the dogs worries me.

A flash of blue catches my eye, and I look to see a blue jay land on a branch and squawk its arrival.  The quiet pip of the female cardinal draws my attention.  I can hear her, but she stays hidden in the leaves.  I hear the trill of the male cardinal.  Perhaps in response to his mate's call, but he too is not to be seen.

Spanish moss hangs from the trees...
Spanish moss hangs from the trees, a mourning dove lands on the telephone line before flying away as a squirrel does its tightrope act across the wire.

I watch a bug crawl across the screen, slowly stalked by a lizard.

Clouds are moving in, but little promise of rain.

I close my eyes, listening to bird calls and the wind moving in the trees, trying to picture myself in cooler times.  I drift to sleep and dream of summer in Alaska...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Speak out... speak up... and don't ever stop.

Link [I went to the media, and here is why]  I'm sharing this post from Wanderlust because of the absolute insanity of what is going on in her life right now, and the need for attention to her situation.  Not just for the safety of her and her children, but for the safety of ALL children everywhere.

I urge you to share her story with your readers, and to ask why... why would it take a local police department almost two years to forward an obvious child pornography case to the FBI?  Why hasn't her ex-husband been charged?  Why has he been allowed to be free, leaving his wife and children virtual prisoners living in fear of him reentering their lives violently?

Police found at least 14,000 hits of child porn on his computers... maybe as many as 18,000.  Children having sex with adults.  Children having sex with children.  Children... being robbed of their childhood.

And nothing has been done.

Nothing.

Why?

Why are there not stricter laws against pedophiles?

Why are there not faster and stricter judgments against child pornography?

Why aren't more people speaking out... speaking up... and not stopping to speak against the people who create child porn and who protect those who traffic in it?

Where are the parents of these children?  Where are the guardians of their childhood?

I'm not a parent.  But I was a child once, and I can't imagine what life would have been like if I'd had those years robbed from me by someone I trusted.

These children need someone to speak out for them... to speak up for them... and never stop speaking against what has happened to them.

Be that voice.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Selections # 71

     Sunday afternoon.  Lazy.  Hot.  Too much sun yesterday.  Not enough air conditioning today.  I'm linking with Kim and FrogPondsRock for her Sunday photo selections.  Join us...

     These are pictures from yesterday's boat outing.  The water was smooth and cool... much cooler than the house.

Kickin' it ~ salt spray and wind was so refreshing.

View of the townhouses from the bay as we were leaving

Stopping to fish

More fishing

Big fancy fishing boat that probably burns $100 in fuel every 15 minutes.

David casting for bait fish, his nephew's boy, Matthew, swimming behind him.
     I've been battling a pretty major depression lately, so if I don't blog as often, I will be back eventually.  There are too many things on my mind, too many worries... fears... questions... regrets... doubts.  As much as I am grateful for being back in Florida, I've realized that it might have been better if we'd not moved back into "this" house.  There are too many "ghosts" here... haunting me with reminders of bad decisions, and the gossip of people who were once friends but no longer.  My focus right now is the survival of my mind... and body.  Once surgery is over on Wednesday, I will be able to take one or more things "off my plate" and redirect my energy.

     On a side note... I'm toying with putting some of my travel photos up for sale as 8x10 prints shipped direct from Shutterfly, and autographed books shipped flat rate from me.  Just a thought... every penny counts right now...

Friday, May 25, 2012

No accidents

"There are no accidents, Cindi.

If it's appeared on your life radar, this is why: to teach you that dreams come true; to reveal that you have the power to fix what's broken and heal what hurts; to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses; and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you're already the person you dreamed you'd become. 

And believe me, that was one heck of a dream. 

Tallyho, 
    The Universe"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update...

Good news... bad news...

No joke...
Good news is that the new doc thinks that the Texas doc is an idiot and the surgery he was planning on doing [without telling me all the details beforehand] was extensive [much more than a simple out-patient surgery], excessive [duh!], and unnecessary [yay!].

Bad news is that something really must be done.  In four months I went from "mild" dysplasia to VaIN-3.  Can we say speeding bullet?

Good news is that he thinks he can get it all with laser surgery... outpatient... really.  I'll be knocked out [but at least not knocked up].  It is scheduled for the 30th at 0730... so my Wishcasting Wednesday post will be a Tardy Thursday post.   But would appreciate all the wishes you can send regardless.

How College Can Help You with Your Writing

Writing can be a funny thing. Some people are perfectly capable of picking up a pen or sitting down at a computer or typewriter and letting words just pour out of them, while others need a few hours just to come up with a single page. It's also highly subjective, meaning what may look like a surefire Pulitzer winner to one person might look like meaningless rambling to someone else. Some people see writing as an art form, and like many art forms there are some that are better at it than others. This doesn't mean that there isn't a lot that someone can learn about writing.

As with anything else, a person's writing skills can be vastly improved through higher education. Yes, there are plenty of people who have become brilliant writers without the benefit of college, but there are plenty of ways in which being a college student can make you into a better writer.

Better Writing through College Writing Courses

Some people can teach themselves to become better writers simply by reading other works. After all, it's been said that all great writers are readers first and foremost. While that is one of the universal truths to becoming a great writer, there are plenty of things that are best learned from a teacher in a classroom. For example, you may be able to recognize a good poem when you hear it, but would you be able to identify the form and structure of the poem and put a name to it? This is just one of the many things that literature and creative writing professors have been teaching for years.

A college writing course will be able to teach you about meter, structure, form, and other elements of poetry that may have otherwise not been made known to you. When you learn about these elements of poetry, you will be better able to apply them to your own poetry and come up with something much more polished than your previous work. The same goes for writing essays, short fiction stories, research papers, and any other style of writing. By gaining a better grasp of the fundamentals, your writing will improve, and there's no better place to learn about this than in a college classroom.

Writing Tutors are Available for Help

One of the greatest aspects of going to college is that you are never without help. It may certainly seem that you are left entirely to your own devices sometimes, but there is always help available to you whenever you need it. This is especially true for those who need help with their writing. Whether you find yourself struggling to overcome writer's block or you simply don't know how to get started with your research paper that is due in two days, there are always tutors available to help you. A good tutor can provide you with enough advice to help you complete any project you may be working on.

Writing Centers are Available Online and In Person

Much like the writing tutors that are available for help when you need them, most schools have writing centers that can provide several invaluable tools that can help you with your writing. Unlike writing tutors who have set schedules or times when they may not be available, these centers are often open throughout a school's regular hours. Many schools even have online writing centers in case you find yourself stuck and in need of some help outside of regular school hours.

While it's far from a prerequisite for becoming a great writer, earning a college education can be a great way to improve anyone's writing ability. Of course, going to college doesn't have to mean spending time on a physical campus in this day and age. If you would rather earn a degree from the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of great schoolsthat offer online writing degrees. No matter how you choose to learn, just remember that an education will always be a great way to improve your writing abilities.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What do you wish to walk away from?

     I've walked away from a lot in the last month.  And looking back over the last ten... twelve... years I realize that I've walked away from so much time and time again.  It feels at times as if my life has been nothing but walking away from things and people.

     I suppose it is one of the 'complications' of growing up in a transient military lifestyle.  You learn quickly that nothing lasts.  Friendships.  Homes.  Schools.  It can all change in the blink of an eye.

     I'm tired of walking away from things.  I want to walk towards something instead.  I want to walk towards healing, health, and happiness... towards security, sincerity, and serenity.  I want to walk towards financial freedom, friendships, and a future filled with possibilities.

     If there is anything I want to walk away from... it is my past.  My history.  I'd like to take the lessons learned and be able to forget the tests.

Walking towards my future...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jungle gardens...

     My secret garden became an untamed garden while I was gone.

     Bamboo ~  which I used to call alien invaders ~ took over.  Some of it as tall as the second floor.  One of the fences was broken and it appears in the process that the Confederate Jasmine which covered it was damaged so most of the vine has died.  On the side where this lizard was photographed climbing up the screen, one of my two Trumpet Vines has died.  The Seven Sisters Roses looks like it still hasn't bloomed, and was damaged as well.

     But the local natives don't seem to mind the change.  As I mentioned before, the cardinal family seems to be quite at home.  A squirrel jumps and climbs around on the fences, screens and bamboo... as if to antagonize Trooper on purpose who dances on his toes wanting to charge out and catch it.  Lizards dart in and out of the plants... if Ebony were still alive she'd be out there hunting them.

     In better years, this was my secret garden.  Vibrant.  Thriving.  Hibiscus.  Spearmint.  Rosemary.  It is doubtful that it will get to that point again.

     Gardens grow.  Die.  And are reborn.  Just like people.  We change as the seasons change.  We grow, change, and are reborn.

     I feel as if this is my season of rebirth.  A season of change.  When the old me dies away... and a new me is born.  A time of letting go of the past... planting new roots... where my vibrant soul can grow again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

College dreams and other things...

     I was approached recently about a post regarding how college can help with your writing.  I was asked if I would allow someone else to write it, and then post it as if I wrote it.  They would pay me [a very small amount] to keep it on my blog.  After much haggling, I agreed but only if I had the option to edit and censor the post.  The 'educational website portals' link that they will include in the post will be one that I research before I finally do make it public.

     The truth is, that I believe writing can help with your college dreams... as well as college helping with your writing.  Writing is just one way of communicating with each other, and if we learn to express ourselves in written form it is often easier to express ourselves verbally.

     I taught for several years at a University.  Most of my students were adults who were at a mid-point in their careers.  They either needed the college degree for advancement in their jobs, or were seeking an alternative career once they retired from the military.  Occasionally I would get a new military recruit who realized that he/she didn't like military life and just wanted to get out as soon as their enlistment was up.

     I would always encourage all of the young military members to reconsider leaving the service, and just cross-train into another field if necessary.  I told them that the military offered them more security and opportunities [at that point it did anyway] than most civilian jobs.  If they didn't like their commanding officers [boss] or fellow enlisted associates now, I could pretty much guarantee that there would be bosses or co-workers on the outside that were going to be just as bad.

     The military offered medical care, housing, travel opportunities, and educational opportunities that most civilian employers aren't able to offer.  I tried to encourage them to stay in as long as possible, to retirement if possible, and take as many educational opportunities they could.  To set career goals that they could meet after retiring from one career in the military to start another in the private sector.  If they advanced their military careers, they would be able to retire with a paycheck every month and still be able to follow their dreams and goals at a relatively young age.  If a new recruit at 18, just out of high school, put in 20 years with the military and advanced up the ranks as much as possible, they could retire at 38 and still have the whole world in their hands.  Plus a steady income to support them and medical care while they reached for the stars.

     To be all they could be... both in and out of the military.

     And it all begins with writing... communicating... expressing ourselves in ways that reach others.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Silent Sunday...

Looking up through the Aspens at cousin Sue's house in Chugiak, Alaska ~ May 2008.
I would give everything to go back to that day.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Selections # 70

     Linking again to Kim and FrogPondsRock  [The Blurb:   We all take a lot of photos and most of them are just sitting around in folders on our desktops not doing anything. Kim thought that a dedicated post once a week would be a good way to share some of these photos that otherwise wouldn’t be seen by anyone.  So she started a photo meme that anyone can join in and play as well. The rules are so simple as to be virtually non existent.  Just add your name and URL to the Mr Linky.  Publish your photos on your blog using the “Sunday Selections” title.  Link back to Kim's blog.]

     These are from a day of sailing in 2010.  David and I went out with friends Steve and Terry on the sailboat that they live on.  What I've loved about these is the angular lines of the main sail in contrast to the light fluffy clouds and the ripples on the water.









Beginnings...

"There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." 
 Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning."
~ Orrin Hatch ~

     This morning [at an ungodly hour for a Saturday morning], David and I drove with his brother, Dwayne, to Alabama to watch David's oldest son graduate high school.

     Thomas graduated with a 4.0 average, an honors student who had taken advanced college prep courses.  He received a total of about $24,000 in scholarships for college.

"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. 

 You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. 
 Let me ask you to think of an alternative. 
 Think of it as your ticket to change the world."

  ~ Tom Brokaw ~

     Graduates today have so many more opportunities than I did thirty-two years ago.  They also have so many more challenges than I did.  The world has changed...  Pluto is no longer a planet.  Countries have changed names and borders so many times if I had bought stock in a world globe company I'd be a billionaire by now.

     But with graduates like Thomas, I know that our country and our world are in good hands.  Technology advancements in the last thirty-two years don't limit graduates to just the sky.  Today's and tomorrow's graduates have no limits to what they can... and will... achieve and accomplish.  What an exciting time for them... and for all of us.


The future lies before you

Like a field of driven snow,
Be careful how you tread it,
For every step will show.
~Author Unknown

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday High Fives...

     I know it seems like with all that is going on, I would have a list of Low Fives, but actually there have been a lot of good things this week.

     1.  The heating element on the hot water heater died while it was still under warranty, so it was just fixed [for free! *heavenly choir sings*].

     2.  A new friend took me to lunch yesterday and offered to drive me to my doctor appointments next Thursday.  She also drove me to the grocery store so I could get some much needed groceries [and dog food! *heavenly dogs bark*]

     3.  The broken belt on the car opens the door for another car to be found.  Sometimes we can't welcome new things into our lives until we get rid of the old.  "Circumstances" often appear in the form of problems that allow for us to grow.  Nothing ever happens by chance.

     4.  There has been a family of cardinals that seem to be at home in the back yard.  Dad sings quite loudly at times, while Mom and their daughter peep and hop around the vines in the yard.  They make me smile when I see.  I love the bright red of Dad, and the soft peeps of the females.

     5.  My townhouse is at the end of one of the runways of the Air Force base across the bay.  My morning wake up has been the sound of F-22's and F-15's at takeoff, flying low over the house.  While it doesn't seem like that would be a good thing, for me it is a familiar sound and more comforting than the occasional sounds of explosions coming from the Army post.  It is the sound of freedom.  A sound of security.
Freedom in the air...
P.S.  After I sent this to publish, I read my email and my Note from the Universe.  "Circumstances."  Nothing is by chance...



"Remember you once told me, Cindi, that if ever all of the circumstances in your life were aligned just so, your soon-to-be friends were in all the right places at all the right times, and the financial markets, social climate, and global energies had all reached optimal points... you'd want to be gently nudged as a subtle sign that it was time to start doing new things, saying new things, and visualizing so that you might catch these gargantuan waves of change and surf to dazzling new heights?

TODAY'S THE DAY!! 
Hang ten, 
The Universe"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where I'm at...

     It has been one of those days.  A belt broke on our only car while David was driving back from Alabama yesterday.  It took him over four hours to make a one and a half hour drive.  He kept having to stop and put water on the belt because it was burning.  So now... no car.  At least until we get the belt replaced.  But he made it home.  Safely.

     The hot water heater is dead also.  Probably the heating element.  A few nights ago the hot water coming out of the tap was 150 degrees.  I told David he needed to turn it down and asked why it got turned up.  He didn't turn it up.  So now... no hot water at all.  Which is good in a way.  The air conditioner hasn't worked since David got here in March, and cold showers are actually pretty nice.  Fortunately... the hot water heater is still under warranty... until July.  Skin of my teeth.  They will be out in the morning to look at it and hopefully fix it.  Free.

     Wish I could be so fortunate with the a/c unit.  It was vandalized over the two years the house sat empty and a reset button was taken off it.  It also needs freon.  But I have sweat off a few pounds, so that is a good thing.

     When it rains ... it pours.  Literally and figuratively.  But rain is good.  It cools the air and while Trooper isn't fond of the thunder, we all like the breeze blowing through the house.  As for those figurative storms... they are good too.  Without the rain... we can't have rainbows.

     So that's where I'm at... and here is where I am...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How do I wish to grow?

      "Grow."  My first thought was that I wanted to just be able to grow OLD.  To know that this cancer will go away and that it WON'T grow.

     But it is a word that appeared three other times this morning in my email inbox.  Apart from Jamie's prompt, I received my new Creative Energy prompt from Cerra's week for following the Seven Intentions guidance.  It is the first step for my personal growth.  To revisit my childhood curiosity, and find elements that I want to reintroduce into my adult life.

     My Note from the Universe said:  "Take it from the farmer in me, Cindi...  The more seeds you sow, the more plants we'll grow.  I love wearing overalls,  The Universe"

     Finally, my email from Jennifer Louden, whose book "The Life Organizer ~ A Woman's Guide to a Mindful Year" she spoke of a new course that she is offering called "Learn to Create [grow] Your Own Mastermind Group" and offered a contest to also give away copies of Danielle Laporte's new book "The Fire Starter Sessions ~ A Practical + Soulful Guide to Creating [growing] Success on Your Terms."

     What do all these "grow" messages mean to me?  I think perhaps to grow my message to others.  To be able to make a difference with my words.  Here.  There.  Everywhere.

     I want to grow as a writer.  I want to grow as an author.  I want success to grow my book audience and allow me to grow.  I want to grow old.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fear...

     Today's question on my Mind-full Year journal asked the question about fear...  It seems that my life is centered around getting to the 'heart' of that matter lately.
For Everything A Reason...
     Fear... False Evidence Appearing Real... or... For Everything A Reason.

     I made some doctor appointments today... had some conversations with nurses... and confirmed that this is a "life changing diagnosis."  My hope at this point is to find out just how "life changing" it will be... I won't know until the 24th.  Until then... I realize that I need to "take every chance... drop every fear."  If this is going to be a "life changing" time for me, I want to decide just how much it will change... and make some changes of my own.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Standing still in time...

     I've been in Florida now for about nine days.  In a sense, it has been like time stood still here.  In others... it has moved on... and so have I.  I have so many mixed feelings and emotions.

Released in 2011 by Disneynature
     This morning I was waiting for doctors offices to open to begin making appointments.  I watched the last part of African Cats while I was waiting.  [Spoiler alert] I found myself sobbing uncontrollably at the scene when elder lioness Layla dies after securing a safe position for her daughter, Mara, within the pride.

     I keep telling myself (and mom) that I didn't come back to Florida to die.  But the truth is... I don't know.  I'm terrified and on totally unfamiliar ground.  I've been working or in school full time (sometimes both) since I was sixteen.  To purposely put myself in a position where I am not "in control" of my life like this is out of character for me.  To admit that I don't know what tomorrow will bring... terrifying.

     I don't know what to do.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  There is soooooo much going on right now... so many variables in our lives... and such a huge leap of faith for me right now with everything.

     My faith has always been strong.  Always been something to help me hold on.  And I'm hanging on... hanging on...

     

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Love you.

Thank you for being my friend,
... for being a shoulder to cry on,
... for keeping me focused on living,
... for getting my warped humor and giving me some of your own.
Thank you for being my mom,
... someone I can respect,
... someone I can admire,
... someone I can like... and love.
Thank you.
Mom & Uncle Brian ~ mid-40's ... Don't they just look like they are up to mischief?

Mom (L) and Aunt Sue ~ mid-50's.  Bright faces & futures.

  

Galatians 5:13

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

     Events in the news the past few months... even years... testify to how anger and hate destroys us and our neighbors.  Not just those in the house next door, but in countries near and far.  Families torn apart.  Marriages destroyed.  Friendships ended.  Wars started.

     Not long ago a friend and I were having a conversation about the concept of "loving your neighbor as yourself."  She interpreted it to mean that she needed to put others needs before her own.  That she should sacrifice self ~ herself ~ to make others happy.

     I disagreed.  If we are to love our neighbor as yourself... would we treat our neighbors like we do ourselves?  If we don't take care of our own needs... how can we help or care for anothers needs?  She responded by asking if that wasn't being selfish.

     How can caring for myself, so that I can care for others, be selfish?  I am not ignoring their needs, but I am recognizing that my needs are important also.  If I do not care for myself, tend to my needs... love myself... then it is not possible for me to care, tend or love others.

     We cannot give what we do not have.

     If we do not love ourselves... how can we love others?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo Selections #69

Join me at FrogPondsRock as we share photos that have been hiding in the dark files of our computers.

These aren't old photos, but I thought I would share them just the same.

A Magnolia flower that David cut for me.  I'd never seen a "real" one up close.
They bloom on trees and all the ones near us are HUGE.
Smells wonderful.

Oreo, my concrete cats, and the Gerber Daisies.
All patiently waited almost two years for me to return.
I'm glad to be home again.

Oreo.  I bottle raised him from 2 days old.  He's nine this year.

The daisies are ones I planted four years ago.

Probably why I've never seen a real Magnolia flower.
They brown quickly overnight and don't last.
Still smell wonderful tho, and look antiqued.
For Ms. Potter back in Texas... this is how far I have to walk to get to the bay. Across the U-drive and down a sidewalk.  Watch for the sand spurs.

David on a boat a neighbor is letting him borrow.

I think I've always loved Gerber Daisies because they are so bright and cheery.

Like sunshine on a cloudy day.

I miss...

     ... being able to sleep.  I'm exhausted [still] from the drive, then from moving furniture from the storage unit where the movers dropped it [see previous post about what I've learned about moving] to the garage and into the house.  I should be able to fall asleep at the drop of a pillow, right?  No.  Too many things running through my mind about this move are preventing my brain from shutting down for the night.  Last night I was up all night tossing and turning.  Each time I would fall asleep, a nightmare, noise or thought would jerk me awake.

     So I'm up earlier than I want to be.  Getting ready to make some coffee and grab a bowl of cereal before digging into boxes.  I need to find the sugar I packed... and the big coffee maker.  The tiny two cup brewer that the boys club has is not cutting it.  Ask anyone I used to work with... it takes me at least a full pot before I'm a happy camper.

     But out of curiosity I looked at this morning's horoscope and found what I hope will be a solution for tonight's slumber...


"Your instinct to sketch out your thoughts on paper will lead to clarity on a matter that's been bothering you.  Make a list of known factors, and then make one of unknown factors.  You'll quickly sort this one out."
What I know...


Friday, May 11, 2012

Things I learned about moving...

  1. Don't.
  2. If you must, sell all your furniture.
  3. If that isn't possible, donate it to Habitat for Humanity and take the tax credits.
  4. If you still insist on being so emotionally attached to your furniture that you cannot let it go, make sure to never buy heavy furniture or a Tempurpedic mattress that has to go up stairs.
  5. If at all possible, get someone else to pack and move your belongings.  No matter how much advance notice you have of a move, you will not have enough time to do it all.  You'll realize you have stuff you don't need and aren't sure why you've kept it so long.  Then you'll find things you know you need to get rid of, but they have some sentimental value so you'll pack them up again.  You will stop to reminisce about those memories, people, events and never get finished packing.  I found a magnifying glass that  had been used by one of my ex-husbands' step-grandfather.  A man who came to live with us in 1998 and who died in January 2001 at the age of 80.  Six months after I left his grandson.  A magnifying glass that I've never, ever used.  But I kept it because it made me smile to think of him using it.  It moved with me from California to Georgia to Florida to Texas.  Where it finally stayed.
  6. When hiring someone to pack your furniture, be sure to follow behind them when they disassemble any furniture and put all nuts, bolts, screws, attaching whatjamajiggers into a zip lock back with the name of the piece of furniture written on it with a Sharpie pen.  Keep those bags with you at all times.  Guard them with your life, and don't let them be packed in a box by the movers.  When I moved from Florida to Texas the movers took apart my lamps.  Base.  Harp.  Shade.  You'd think it would make sense to pack them all in the same box.  You'd think.  After searching boxes for six months in Texas, I finally went and bought new lamp harps for all of my lamps.  I found them a month later.  In a box marked books.  I still have never found the nuts and bolts for the wooden bed frame, but fortunately, it holds together just fine.  Especially with a Tempurpedic box spring and mattress.  Queen size.
  7. Accept the highest insured value offered.  That will guarantee that they will take extra care with stacking and packing your boxes, and things marked fragile will not be put underneath other boxes or pieces of furniture so heavy that they will flatten the box.  Hopefully.
  8. If you have anything of true value, take it with you or ship it ahead.
  9. If you decide to save money and pack things yourself in spite of my warning, be sure to still take the maximum insurance.  It won't make any difference in how they treat your belongings, but at least you will get some satisfaction when you can go shopping on their dime for the things they broke.  I will simply be taking things to the dumpster.
  10. Don't watch them load the truck.  It will give you nightmares.
  11. Don't watch them unload the truck.  You will wonder how all your items could have fit in a 4' x 4' area.  When you see the flat boxes marked fragile, you will understand.
  12. If you chose to move yourself, and are moving into a two-story house, plan on keeping all the heavy furniture downstairs.  Trust me.  It is not worth the hernia or the strained back to attempt to get it up a narrow set of stairs.  If anyone asks about the Tempurpedic bed in the living room, tell them you have been having LSD flashbacks of the 60's and 70's and think that it is groovy.
  13. Remember to remind yourself constantly... change is a good thing.  Change is a good thing.  Change is a good thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Messages...

     Sometimes I just need to feel like Someone is hearing me.  Most of the time, my Notes from the Universe are right on target for what I need to be reminded of.  Like today's...
"...if you understood the extraordinary gifts every single challenge in your life makes possible, even inevitable, you'd celebrate your challenges, new and old alike, as the omens that they are of new beginnings, spectacular change, and enhanced superpowers."

     I read my horoscope occasionally, just for entertainment, and usually the day after just to see how accurate it was.  This was my horoscope yesterday...

"You have the solution to your problem. This is hard to believe in the moments when you lack self-confidence or feel stuck or oppressed. Cultivate faith and optimism. It will help you move through the valleys and find answers."

     Today's, however, I read this morning mostly just hoping for something to give me some hope.  This week it seems that I need some extra reassurance that I'm on the right path...
"There's something good about being uncomfortable with your situation. Being too comfortable is dis-empowering. Go deeper into your agitation. Let it move you to make a difference."

     Change can be unsettling.  Even when we are going back to familiar things.  Comfort can become a box that confines our gifts.  This time in my life... these new challenges... this discomfort... will give me strength to become the writer I am meant to be.
It's not who you are that defines you... but what you've survived. ~ Cindi

Letting the words....

     ... escape.

     I've been working and/or going to school full time since I was sixteen.  A long time.  I know that I've been "out of work" for less than a week, but my mind is on overdrive wondering what to do next.  While this decision has been good for me... my fibromyalgia pain is almost non-existent this morning for the first time in almost two years.  That tells me that the stress factors that were crippling me are gone.  That the decision to leave Texas... the decision to stop working for the government... the decisions were good.

     I recognize that bridges were burned in leaving Florida in 2010, and in leaving Texas this month.  But new bridges are being built in the process.  New friendships.  Stronger relationships.

     Tonight I start writing again.  I start releasing the words.  Letting them escape.  Not just blogging, but writing.  Creating.  Cierra's Soul is calling to be freed... and I have the key.
My words have wings...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What do I wish for my home?


Ocean of Emotion
     There is a phrase I was told frequently by someone I wish I could forget.  It was said in a sarcastic tone whenever I tried to describe something.

"It is exactly the same; but completely different."

     I also thought it was karma that the photo I found on WeHeartIt was titled "Ocean of Emotion."  That is exactly where I feel like I am drowning today.

     These four walls that I once called home... they are exactly the same.  But completely different.  I believe that some of it is because I am completely different and no longer exactly the same.  I'm here now.  But want nothing more than to be anywhere but here.  I think that there was more of me lost in Texas than what I could ever hope to find in Florida.  There was just too much of me lost.

     I don't know what to do either.  It seems as though since my arrival, nothing has gone right.  Yesterday I lost my ATM card and so now... while I have some money in the bank, I have no money.  No one will take out of state checks without a hold on them.  The month and a half that the Three Stooges were here alone... without any female supervision... they've turned this place into such a boys only club where not only do I feel out of place... I feel unwelcome.  The place that was supposed to bring me serenity and healing... isn't.

     I keep trying to rationalize that I'm still exhausted from the trip (which is a true statement) and shocked by how completely different I feel about this place.

     What do I wish for my home?  That I had one again...