Poof!

Poof! All my hard work and writing gone. Nothing, nada, zilch. Neither my web host nor WordPress can recover my documents. All but a few posts gone. (Why oh why didn’t I create them in a separate word document and then just upload them to the blog?)  So the “Adventure” blog came to a halt. BUT, I have continued to practice all the lessons I learned from the book “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff” by author, Richard Carlson, PhD. And you know what? It has made a difference. While not a perfect student, I have managed to take it down a notch, breath deeper, judge less, listen more and incorporate the strategies that make life more enjoyable! Isn’t that what it’s all about?

So now what? Where do I go from here? Before moving forward, I need to recap three major life altering events that detoured me from continuing to blog.

First, my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV, metastatic melanoma. A deadly, devastating blow for us both. Luckily for him (and for us) advances in medicine, immunotherapy drugs, prayers, prayers, prayers, faith, faith, faith, an amazing medical team, combined with the love and support from family and friends, the cancer is GONE!  POOF! One year after the completion of treatments, all clean scan, and according to the oncologist, the word CURE is now a reality. God is good!

About one year prior to the time of my husband’s cancer diagnosis, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. She has been a widow for twenty years and resided in her home next to ours, and though she required some supervision, she was able to manage in her home setting…for a while. During the time we were in a life-saving battle with cancer, we were also juggling her ever-increasing needs. Keeping up with my husband’s medical treatments, doctor visits, scans, etc., while managing our day to day duties at the restaurant and catering businesses, keeping tabs on our rental units, and coordinating ours and the caregiver’s schedule, began to take its toll. Rapid changes in her ability to care for herself, combined with major personality and behavior changes, her inability to sleep or be alone, increased the amount of caregiving that she required. Making her meals, doing laundry and household chores, and keeping her “busy”, began to wear on us both. Finally, after much agony, and after the holidays had passed, we realized that her needs would best be met in a personal care home setting; offering round the clock care, activities and meals. We could visit and take her out without worrying about the times we could not be with her. We needed that peace of mind. However, the transition for her did not go well, and she was miserable most of the time. Her behaviors, agitation and wandering worsened, and we were asked to seek new accommodations for her. Thankfully, there are several facilities nearby that provide specialized care for the Alzheimer and dementia population. I am happy to report that the transition to her new home went very well and she says, “I’m happy”. Poof! Gone is the worry and guilt.

Then my best friend, Nancy, who has been my sidekick, partner in crime, part-time employee, part time care-giver, dog sitter, and the shoulder that I leaned on more than anyone, ever, just up a died. She just up and died doing what she loved best, and that was working in her yard and tending to her beautiful flower beds. I had been with her in the morning, prior to her passing. She was helping us with a few tasks at the restaurant, while my husband and I went on an overnight mini vacation, to fish, dine, relax and take a breather from all we’d been through. After a beautiful day in the outdoors, and while on our way to our hotel, I received a call on my cell phone from her neighbor, that Nancy had died late that afternoon. The shock was unbearable, as I had received several texts from her that day to tell me to relax and have a good time. She had been at our home to walk and feed the dogs. She had been at the restaurant to take a bite home to eat. She had even made our bank deposit!  I just couldn’t imagine that she was gone and that I was never going to laugh or cry with her ever again. I couldn’t imagine that she would be missing from our praise band at church, I couldn’t believe that she would be missing  from our annual Kentucky Derby party.

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Nancy and Erin Kentucky Derby Party

I would never sit at her kitchen table and talk over a cup of coffee to unload my problems, catch up on her activities, or just pass time with friendly chit chat. As I write this, my heart is aching for my friend. I eulogized my best friend at her memorial service, as did her niece and son. Nancy packed the church with those people whose lives she had touched. She was a huge OU fan and we filed out of the church chanting, “Boomer – Sooner”, to the OU fight song. Later that evening, with close family and friends gathered in her back yard, we planted Nancy’s ashes with her flowers. We didn’t care if that type of burial is legal or not, because she would have liked that and that’s all that matters. Poof! Another chapter in life closed.

As they safe, life can change on a dime, in a heartbeat, or in a New York minute, and it does. Life IS short. Priorities change. Loved ones pass. Children become adults (hopefully), and finding peace and contentment while juggling a thousand things seems almost impossible, but it’s not. Inner peace and Joie De Vivre (joy of life!) resides within us all. Pursue it, grab it and make it your own….

I’m sure another adventure is around the corner. Life will gone on, and eventually I will adjust to my new reality. In the meantime, I’ll give myself some latitude, start writing again, keeping it simple and not sweating the small stuff!

 

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MAKE PEACE WITH IMPERFECTION

WEEK ONE  PROGRESS REPORT

Our first week found us starting at chapter 99…

Schedule Time for Your Inner Work

So how did you do? I did pretty well! I started each day with a nice long walk. I took the dogs and we explored the fields and woods that surround our home. I listened to the birds singing, observed the leaves growing from buds on tree branches, paused to look at the blooming spring flowers, and this morning I caught the gobble of a turkey calling to his lady friends for a little morning “rendezvous”. During these walks I plan my day and think about what is important; to me, to my family and to the Don’t Sweat Adventure. With a refreshed and clear mind I’m ready to start the day. Even with several businesses to run, employee issues, bills to pay, etc., and the upcoming back surgery scheduled for this Friday for my 32 year old daughter, I remind myself to stay centered on what is most important; what I can let go of.  How my inner peace and ways of dealing with the little things will translate to those around me.

I hope that you also started a routine of scheduling some time for you and that you are now ready to move on. Please share what progress you made and what hills you have left to climb. 

CHAPTER ONE (I told you we’d come back to the beginning)

. . . . . is the introduction to the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff philosophy. This is where Richard Carlson lays the groundwork for helping us choose the little things that we can let go of so that we don’t lose our focus on the magic and beauty of life. Once again he looks for your commitment to working toward this goal!  

CHAPTER TWO

MAKE PEACE WITH IMPERFECTION

Mr. Carlson writes, “The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility CONFLICT with each other.”

Let’s read that statement again, and this time, pause for a few moments and let it sink in.

“The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility CONFLICT with each other.”

Perhaps you are the type of person that requires perfect order to everything; your home, your children, your job, your clothing, your appearance, on and on. This uses a lot of energy and creates unnecessary stress, because everything cannot be perfect.  Regardless of what you see on TV, read in a magazine, or how you think life should be, but isn’t; don’t confuse marketing genius with reality. Instead of fussing about all the things that you perceive “need to be perfect”, or focusing on all the things that are wrong in  your life, chose instead to put your energy on what will bring you closer to your goal of stressing less and enjoying life more.

Or, maybe you’re the type of person who has a difficult time “getting her act together.” That too can put a level of stress and depression on your psyche. Maybe you feel that you’ll never measure up, so why bother? Maybe you unknowingly sabotage your inner peace and self-worth with how imperfect you see yourself. So you’re not perfect – so what?

Either way, each of us must decide for ourselves which thing(s) we need to do perfectly and which things we can simply do well.
                                           BJ Gallaher – Oil for Your Lamp

It’s time to take the heat off and enjoy what you have, right now, at this time in your life and leave the dishes in the sink!

THIS WEEK’S ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Let go of one thing! Just one thing and maybe more will follow.

Here are some suggestions, but before you attempt any of these, take a deep breath, exhale, and learn to count to ten ….S L O W L Y.

1)    Go to the supermarket, bank or work without your makeup on.

2)    Don’t make the bed and don’t look back.

3)    Let someone else fold the laundry, or better yet, let someone else do the laundry and just be thankful that you have clean undies!

4)    Let someone else grocery shop and don’t say a word, not a word, if they buy the wrong toilet paper, cereal or juice! Smile and say thank you!

5)    Leave the kids with the grandparents and don’t stress over what they allow them to do when you aren’t around. Spoiling a child with love (or candy) never hurts either of them. This is their time, not yours.

6)    Don’t do your child’s homework assignment. You can check to see that it’s finished, but don’t be tempted to put your personal touches to it.

7)    Don’t look in the mirror and criticize what you see.

8)    Don’t look at others and criticize what you see.

9)    Don’t finish another person’s sentence. They know what they want to say even if you think that you know what they want to say before they do.

10) Don’t envy.

Okay that should do it. This will be an interesting week and this is just the beginning of a real learning experience for us all!

Keep good thoughts in your head, say please and thank you. Tip the lousy server and smile (he or she might be having a bad day) and remember Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!

Stress Less,

Barb

 

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