Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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SoCS: Nerves ~ Correlation is not Cause ~ Peace ~ Dreams ~ and the Wizard of Oz

The prompt: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “nerve.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

The first thing that popped into my head was the expression, “You’re about to get on my last nerve.” It isn’t exactly logical, but it’s fun to say. One thing that gets on my nerves, is when someone posts something that suggests a correlation is a cause, like the meme I just saw that had a photo of gas prices in November and gas prices in January with the heading/comment: “Biden’s America.”

To my credit, I did not try to engage in debate, but neither did I pass it by and ignore it, which is sometimes the best thing to do. Here’s my comment:

“In statistics class, we learned that correlation does not necessarily mean cause. There are likely other variables/factors to be considered.”

I do not need to engage in any further discussion that would irritate my nerves. This is why I try not to scroll on FB. I actually want to reduce my time on FB, but every now and then, these things come up. Then I was happy to be able to like and love some photos of her grand daughter.

I’m in training. Besides having a personal (exercise) trainer, I am in training to “practice peace that overpowers darkness.” I know that sounds somewhat presumptuous, but it is practice. I don’t always get it right, especially when things get on my nerves. This idea for peace training comes from the February 11 reading from the daily meditation book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I certainly can’t do this practice on my own. But if I connect with the guidance and strength of Jesus and my Creator, I can do my part.

“Nerve” can be used in so many ways: nervous energy, nerves of steel, a bundle of nerves, “You’ve got a lot of nerve!” Then there’s the nerve cells I learned about in college with axons, dendrites, synapses, and all that fading knowledge that I don’t use much, though it could be helpful in cellular imagery for the purpose of meditative healings…..

Where was I going with this? There was something I didn’t want to forget. Oh, in college – The Psychology of Consciousness, all those years ago, was my favorite class. I do recall the dominant theory of dreams being that our sleeping dreams are created by random nerve cells firing while we sleep. But what part of us assigns meaning? And what meanings that mean something important? Though maybe sometimes, they are just random, like the stream of consciousness. But is it really random? There is also a not so dominant theory that when we have a deja vu, we are experiencing something we dreamed since we dream so much that we don’t remember. I mentioned this in my college class. The professor was not impressed. But hey, anything is possible.

The “cowardly lion” in the Wizard of Oz, didn’t believe he had much nerve. But he really did. Or at least he found it.

And Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.

I love this song and the mellow sound.

~~~

For more on the Saturday Stream of Consciousness,

visit out host, Linda Hill at:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 20, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


19 Comments

Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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A Letter to My Past Self About Reasons to Keep Living

This post is inspired by Eliza at: https://elizajourneythroughlife.home.blog/

I’m sending this back in time to myself whenever it’s needed most, sometime in my late teens or early twenties when I had thoughts about suicide. 

Dear JoAnne, 

It’s me, your future self, writing this to you when I am 65 years old which doesn’t feel as old as I thought it would back then when I was 20. Believe me, there is plenty of life to live. 

I know this is hard time for you. I know you are confused and lost trying to figure out what to do with your life. I know your heart aches and that you’ve had thoughts of giving up. Don’t give up!  It’s very important that you know life will get better. There will be hard times ahead. There will be times when you feel your heart is breaking, but the good times will vastly, surely, and greatly outweigh the bad. When I look back at all the good times over the past 45 years, I am so grateful that I didn’t give up.

You will gradually gain the skills to navigate and overcome the hard times. Things that seem impossible now, will someday be easier or less important. 

There are good times, wonderful times, ahead with the constants in your life: nature, art, writing, dogs, horses, cats, learning, and spirituality. These are the things you need to focus on now – the true loves of your life that always nurture your spirit and feed your soul. There will be love. Love from men, friends, and family. Your parents love you very much, even more than you can realize right now since you haven’t had children, yet, but you will. The love of family and friends is important. For now, don’t worry about the men, especially the ones who act like boys. You deserve love that is kind and caring, mature and strong. It might take a while, but you will have it. For now focus on loving yourself. 

You are valuable! You are worth so much more than you know. You have so much to give to this world with all your gifts, gifts that are still being developed. 

I know you might not want to hear this right now, but God loves you deeply, profoundly and forever. Just trust me on this. Your family is praying for you every day. Let this knowledge strengthen you. I know your ideas about religion are eclectic and nontraditional, and that’s okay. That’s part of who you are. But understand that there is a Higher Power who loves you dearly and has a wonderful plan for you! Trust the timing.

So, forget about men for now.  Remember your dreams. Your dreams may change, but they will always be about helping others and Mother Earth. For now, focus on loving yourself and learning. Cut down on the drinking. Be safe. Go back to college. Feel free to explore different classes, different interests.

There’s a whole world of possibilities waiting for you!

I’m sending big hugs and abundant love across time to you. Be still for a moment and feel it. Then move forward with you wonderful life. I promise your life will be will be interesting, beautiful and full of wonder.  

I love you always, 

JoAnna

Today’s Just Jot January topic was, “Letter.” I’m thankful to E for her nudge and patience on this letter and to Linda, our JusJoJan host for getting me to go through my draft ideas to get it written.

For more on Just Jot January, visit: #JusJoJan prompt the 11th – “Letter” | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Life is Precious with Old Dogs and Dogwoods

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Our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “beside you.” Linda says: “…write about whatever is beside you when you read this prompt. Not when you sit down to write, but whatever is beside you right now. Take note of it if you think you might forget. Enjoy!”

Well that’s different! When I read the prompt a few minutes ago, I was sitting on the couch by myself, so there was nothing beside me but the couch cushion. I had been thinking about picking up Mary Moo and putting her beside me while I was looking to see if there’s anything I want to have on the TV while I do this SoCS. The TV is often background noise because that’s how I was brought up, though I’ve had it off all day since Star Trek was not on BBC today.

I’m breaking the rules now and re-writing from this point the post I wrote earlier, before I read the sobering statistics which are more than just statistics. I’m still trying to do the SOC thing, though. I wrote about my old dog Mary Moo and getting up with her Thursday at 2am when I heard her whining. She was standing in her bed with her head bent over on the floor and couldn’t figure out how to get out of this position. It’s like “head pressing” which is where a neurological problem makes a dog stand with head pressed against the wall. I think it’s comforting for them – gives a sense of security. Mary is almost 18 and losing strength in her back legs. She’s also deaf and almost blind. Any day now it might be time to say goodbye.

I think I’ve been trying to escape from the reality of the coronavirus. But tonight, after I typed up my first SoCS post with too many details about my old dog while I was feeling a little sorry for myself, my perspective changed when I read about how many people have died in such a short time. It was like my heart dropped into my stomach.

Deep breath.

Life is precious. Every moment is precious, even getting up with an old dog or a baby in the middle of the night. Every day is precious whether rainy or sunny. Every dogwood blossom is precious.  Every bee and every bird.

For those who have not met Mary Moo, this is one of my favorite photos of her:

Mary Moo in the jungle

Mary Moo in the Back Yard Jungle

Here’s another picture of Mary Moo from years ago when we were on a road trip.

mary moo

Oh, yeah. Saturday (tomorrow as I write this) is Earth Hour is at 8:30 PM. Turn off the lights for an hour for the earth. Oh, I have to turn off the TV too. Maybe I’ll play my guitar.

Here are some photos I’ve been taking around my yard lately. Wait, I have to find something you haven’t seen already. I’ll be back. In the mean time, stay well and stay safe.

Dogwood blossoms abundant 2

Dogwood blossoms with sun

 

For more streams of consciousness, more info, or to join in,

please visit our host, Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/03/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-28-2020/

Here are the rules: (which I usually follow)
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!


15 Comments

Good News Tuesday 3/17/20: Benefits of Slowing Down, Compassionate Utility Companies, Nuns Create Urban Wetlands, and Singing in Italy

Sunflower w address

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

How the Coronavirus Offers a Chance to Slow Down and Shift Values

“The recent pictures of the air above China showed how two months without production cleared the skies and allowed people to breathe again,” she said, referring to the fact that carbon emissions and pollution from Chinese industry have declined since the virus first hit the country.     Li Edelkoort.

This article explores how the coronavirus provides opportunities for new beginnings.

Keeping the Water On

Due to the importance of handwashing, many utility companies are keeping the water on regardless of payment.  My own city announced last week that no one’s water will be shut off due to delinquent fees. Even the electric company is suspending shut offs.

Nuns Create Urban Wetlands in New Orleans

The sisters of St. Joseph are turning their New Orleans convent into urban wetlands.

“When complete, the Mirabeau Water Garden will be one of the country’s largest urban wetlands, managing stormwater and easing the workload of the city’s current drainage system. …The Mirabeau Water Garden will have the capacity to store 10 million gallons of water, diverting a deluge of stormwater from hitting the city’s drainage system all at once.”

Here’s the story and photos from Fast Company. 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Sing!

Italians are singing from balconies during the nationwide “lockdown”. Listen to their beautiful voices and encouragement from people in China.

Got good news?

Please share!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

For my Star Trek friends, it’s Happy St. Patrick Stewart Day on BBC America!

 


22 Comments

Good News Tuesday: Lego Arm, Compromise, Suicide Prevention, and Labs on a Mission

Prosthetic Arms Made from Legos

Lots of media outlets are sharing this story about David Aguilar who used Legos to build himself a series of prosthetic arms when he was a teenager. He tells his story in this video:

 

Compromise is Possible

In hopes of avoiding another government shutdown, US negotiators have reached an “agreement in principle” regarding the issue of the border wall. Whether the US administration will accept this bipartisan deal negotiated by members of congress remains to be seen. But the point is: compromise is possible and, regardless of how I feel about the wall, I want to applaud their efforts.  Here’s the story from Good Morning America.

Golden Gate Bridge with moon

The Guardian of the Bridge

Kevin Briggs has “talked” over 200 people off the ledge of the Golden Gate Bridge in his job with the California Highway Patrol.  What he did most was listen. Click here for the story from CBC Radio.

Labs on a Mission

Two Labrador retrievers race outside and get the attention of a neighbor who helps their mom who had a stroke.

Sunflower w address

Got good news? Please share in the comments, or link your post below!


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One-Liner Wednesday: Gratitude Makes Sense of Our Past

woman looking back at rocks

 

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

I thought I knew all the stages of grief.

But there’s always more to learn.

 I never understood the role of  bargaining in my divorce.

I don’t remember begging, though I did ask “Why?”

wandering around in shock.

The counselor said the marriage could be saved

unless there were other lovers –

then it wouldn’t work.

The other woman had been my friend

before the bottom fell out.

There was no checking in.

No sisterhood.

.

I used to think  guilt was a stage of grief,

guilt the companion of bargaining,

guilt who knows where I live.

Maybe if I’d been more attentive,

 more docile, more playful…

I thought I was doing a good job

for the two decades tossed away.

Why? Why? Why? ad infinitum….,

(until now.)

.

Anger got lost in depression,

the depression I tried to swallow,

but it kept coming back up.

Or I’d stuff it in a drawer and forget about it

until I went looking for that purple scarf

and it grabbed me around the throat

and threw me on the bed.

 I couldn’t get up

but I could roll over and slide down

to put my knees on the floor.

.

All the while I wrestled with depression,

anger lurked nearby growing into a boulder of resentment

blocking my path to happiness.

.

But where was this acceptance I kept hearing about?

I had no idea.

.

It wasn’t until forgiveness

finally got a foot in the door

and started chipping away at resentment,

that acceptance had a chance to work.

It was forgiveness that opened a path for love.

Love of self. Love of family. Love of life.

And finally when the time was right,

Love from another.

.

Now, after all these years, I’ve awakened

to another stage:

Gratitude.

Eighteen years ago I would have never believed it possible

to be grateful for my divorce.

But if the first marriage had not died,

if the other woman had not been there,

I would not have been set free.

Free to fall.

Free to flounder.

Free to fly.

Free to find myself again.

Free to be found.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

 

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill

at

https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/21/one-liner-wednesday-its-time/

 

Here are the rules that we sometimes follow:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our lovely badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!


44 Comments

Getting Real About My Mess

Window w Blue with Stars

“Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other People’s Outsides.”

The other day, I was listening to an interview on public radio with Peter Sagal, host of “Wait, Wait… Don’t tell Me!” “Wait, Wait” is a comedy quiz show I’d never watched or listened to, so I checked it out on youtube. In the recent interview, Mr. Sagal talked about mental health challenges and how looking at social media sites like Facebook can make a person think: everybody else is so happy. What’s wrong with me? Am I the only one with problems? 

I got to thinking about that and realized that if you look at my Facebook page, or read my book, you’d think I must be pretty darn happy these days. Most of the time, I feel moderately happy.  Yeah, I got to retire from my stressful job, and I’m married to the love of my life, so a lot of the big challenges (stupid mistakes, divorce, more stupid mistakes, and the death of my parents) seem to be behind me. Knock on wood. But life can still be messy.  So, in the interest of being real, here are some of my current messes:

Codependency is still part of my life. After years of recovery meetings, step work, and reading daily meditations for codependents, I still worry too much about other people’s mess – what they think about me, how I might be able to fix help them, etc. But I’m making progress. I don’t let codependency run my life like it used to. I’m a “Recovering People Pleaser,” but some days, I’m still too nice. Or when I’m not nice, because I’m tired of being nice, I feel guilty. The good thing is I feel guilty for minutes or hours instead of days and weeks.

I struggle to let go of my adult children. Not as much in my actions as in my thoughts. Their lifestyles and beliefs are not what I imagined for them. I worry about them. I know some of that’s normal. My parents must have felt the same way about me. But it sure is uncomfortable sometimes. I’m slowly learning to let go.

I’m still more sensitive than I’d like to be. My feelings can get hurt by little things which don’t seem little and which I dwell on too long. Intellectually, I can tell myself all kinds of reasons not to let it get to me, but it’s a struggle.

With all this residual sensitivity and codependency, I get to work on issues with the love of my life. We both have issues. Now we get to work on them together. That’s why we are in the relationships we’re in. And to support each other and have fun. Let’s not forget that!

I have lots of conversations in my head. Thank God and my guardian angels for protecting me when I drive. I’m working on this. I tell myself to focus on the road ahead, to practice mindful driving, and it works for a while, then I realize I’ve been rehearsing a conversation that probably won’t ever happen.

My house is messy. I have a lot of dog hair in my house, and my 16 year old terrier/beagle has incontinence issues. I need to brush the dogs more and buy some air freshener.

It’s been a while, but I like to look at photos of stars with no make up.

So that’s my current mess without touching on the bigger messes of my past, or the mess I don’t even see, because we don’t always see all of our own mess.

I’m thankful that my life is mostly good now, but it’s not a bed of roses.  Okay, there are  are roses, slightly wilted with thorns. Everybody has thorns. Everybody has messes. We all have stuff to work on. And God’s grace is always available.

pale pink rose with thorns


14 Comments

A Conversation with Worry

faith-that-things-will-work-out

“This worrying is not helping anything!”

“We’re not worrying, we’re planning. We have to be prepared!”

“Speak for yourself. You want to prepare for the worst. You seem to like to imagine the worst. What a waste of time! How many times have I prepared for the worst, got all stressed about it, and the worst didn’t happen. I’d rather prepare for the best! The best has happened, you know: a good husband, retirement, financial stability…. Good things do happen!”

“But what if  something bad happens? What about natural disasters? What about evil aliens? Zombies? Go ahead and roll your eyes. You took First Aid and CPR classes didn’t you?’

“Yes. It was required for my job.”

“You took those classes so you’d be prepared in case of an emergency. That’s just being smart.”

“Oh, Worry. That’s different. You’re trying to get me to imagine all sorts of bad things happening. I don’t even want to go there. Just stop it!”

“The truth is, I’m scared. Imagining how to handle a crisis makes me feel….stronger. Prepared!”

“I’m sorry you’re scared. But imagining the worst is bad for my nerves. And my heart. Stress is not good for the body you know, unless you can run it out – release it somehow. Hey! How about we go for a walk?”

“I don’t know. It might rain. And there are crazy people out there in the world…”

“Well, let’s just go out in the backyard and do some yoga.”

“Okay, but watch out for the dog poop.”

“A little dog poop never hurt anybody. But I will watch out for it.”

“You could pick it up, too.”

“Right. Maybe after the yoga.”

“If you pick it up first —”

“INHALE…………… EXHALE into forward bend.”

“Don’t throw your back out.”

“I’m being careful.”

“Thank you.”

This stream-of-consciousness conversation with my old friend, Worry, was inspired by Harlon at “A Patient Voice” and his post about worry.


23 Comments

WATWB: Getting to the Bottom of School Shootings

We are the world watw-turquoise-badge-275-x-241-black

If we want to get to the underlying issues behind school shootings, we need to look deeper. What causes a young man to kill innocent students and teachers? Scarlet Lewis believes it has a lot to do with anger. I agree.

In 2012, Scarlett’s six year old son Jesse was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School along with 19 classmates and six educators.

“Scarlett realized this violent act started with an angry thought in the young man’s head that was responsible for the mass shooting. She also understood that an angry thought can be changed.”   Choose Love Movement Website

In response to her son’s death, Scarlett created the Choose Love Movement. I’m sharing about Choose Love today because we so desperately need prevention programs like this one. Choose Love teaches Social and Emotional Learning helping individuals to replace angry thoughts with loving thoughts.

I commend Scarlett Lewis and Choose Love for their continuing mission.

For more information, please watch the short video and visit the website.

We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world. For more information, visit:

http://www.damyantiwrites.com/we-are-the-world-blogfest/