BESSHAILE   51,771
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My dear friends - thank you

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I can't say how much I appreciate your kind words of support. We did change our plans. This particular vacation is cancelled but another will get planned for another time. Instead my husband will have eye surgery on Friday. There is a 10% chance of a detached retina but that means there is a 90% chance there won't be one. He'll be blind this weekend but I don't think that will last much more than a few days. I have every expectation that he will carve the Thanksgiving turkey for all our guests this year.

And since I had already arranged to be off from work, I can be home and care for him as much as he needs without worry that things are going undone.

And I must assure you that I never ever regret time spent at home, surrounded by my pets and my books and my toys. In fact - how's this for a picnic spot today?

I'll keep you all posted as things progress. When we sit around the table next week an talk about the things we are thankful for - I will be sure to mention my spark friends. thank you thank you thank you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 11/23/2010 7:21AM

    Bess, I am so sorry to hear how intense these health struggles are for your husband. My older son has an underdeveloped optic nerve in one eye making him legally blind in that eye. I have thought of the scenario of losing his good eye, and it is a scary idea. I will pray your for your husband right now.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/18/2010 7:07PM

    God had a plan for you and now you will follow it through and know you made the wisest decision. My prayers to you both! HUGS!

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WEDDWT 11/18/2010 3:25PM

    Will put Fri on my calendar and send healing thoughts out to you and DH all day.

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JLITT62 11/18/2010 11:10AM

    I am so sorry about the missed vacation, and will say prayers for DH's eye surgery to go well. I have had a couple of eye surgeries of my own, but they were successful (and many, many years ago), and have, in fact, allowed me to see better.

We have missed a few planned for and longed for vacations -- oddly enough, both times it was going to Vegas. One was supposed to be right after 9/11, and obviously did not happen at that time. The other time we canceled our plans the day we were supposed to leave, because my elderly cat was clearly very sick, and in fact, we had to put her to sleep a few days later.

So I can, in a small way, empathize.

Many, many emoticon

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RITAROSE 11/18/2010 7:54AM

  So glad you can be home to take care of your husband! I love being able to do that for my family too! I, too, am very thankful for SP in general and how it's helped me continue my weight loss and journey into good health, but also the people who have invested in me, that's priceless! Have a thankful Thanksgiving, sounds like you are well on your way to that! Hugs, Ritarose emoticon

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Finding your way in times of uncertainty

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My precious husband has dreadfully fragile eyes. After many surgeries, he can see out of one eye and he can find the Big E on the eye chart with the other. This allows him to drive a car and move around the house freely but it has curtailed many things we always counted on him doing - things like, carpentry work or even finding tools he's set down. In the past 6 months, though, his good eye has been acting up - as in becoming infected and not responding to antibiotics. the sure fire treatment is More Surgery but it comes with risk and this time, he has no 'good eye' to back him up.

This has been going on for 3 years and he has been A Prince throughout it all. I can count on one half of one hand the times he's been short tempered or depressed or made others around him feel uncomfortable. And I've taken my cue from him, always seeing the positive side of things, insisting on viewing the endless hours in doctors' offices in cities 50 miles away as opportunities for us to spend time together, to talk about things, to have adventures. We've dined in different restaurants, visited with friends and just refused to be pulled down by all this.

But this latest flare up - which is both painful and ... er ... juicy ... has not only broken through the wall of combined good attitudes but has come just as we were heading off on a long delayed vacation with friends. We're still not positive that it will force us to change plans, but we're not stupid either. If we have to put on our big boy and girl panties, well, we just will.

I have been trying to find the path through this that will do the most good and the least harm and a memory from the past flew up into my consciousness to help. First you must understand that though we play well together, we have never worked well together. He is a different type from me, a real INTJ to my ENFP if you're familiar with the Meyers Briggs personality tests. He is also a writer and one year he wanted to make a recording of some of his poetry that involved two voices: male and female and asked me to do the female voice. Now, I am not just a librarian, I'm a former musician, a performer, and - I smugly believe - someone with not just a good voice but with good command of my voice. And believe me, I tried to get him to hire a professional actress to do this for him but he either could not or would not, for while I thought I could do a good job, I also knew that we fall into wrangling when we try to work together and here he would be criticizing things about which I had strong opinions and feelings.

And sure enough, we fell to wrangling and things grew worse and more tense and fractious until I suddenly thought - these are HIS poems. He wanted to create something and asked me to help. And I had said I would and I still thought I could do both a good job and a job that pleased him. So. instead of trying to be the artist, I decided to be the violin. It was a surrender of sorts - a release of my ego to help someone I loved create something he longed for. And once I'd made that decision we had the best time, I could enjoy and value his artistic aesthetics without giving up my own. It ended up being one of the best times we ever had and we like to remember it sometimes just for the pleasure of feeling those good feelings all over again.

So when, in the dead of night, he woke with pain and other junk, and a year's worth of saving and planning look to be flying out the window and he was so brave about it but so sad .. that old memory flooded back and I thought - bet there's a path out of this. It had to do with empathy and with surrender to something bigger than us, with allowing and putting ego aside, with believing there's a way forward that isn't just okay - but will probably give us more good memories to pull up just for the pleasure of remembering.

I don't know how things will pan out this week. We may be in a hospital. We may be in the car on the way to visit friends. I just don't know. But I do know there is a way and if I just put my ego aside, it'll show itself soon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPAL50 11/17/2010 2:51PM

    You expressed so well the down and dirty part of the marriage relationship as well the tender and loving part! I need to remember this blog when I must be the "violin" and put on "my big girl pants"! Prayers and Hugs that all goes well with your DH! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/17/2010 2:52:09 PM

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WEDDWT 11/17/2010 1:17PM

    This is a very poignant story, and one I think that's suited for a marriage manual; the surrender of ego, selfless sacrificial serving, love marked by giving, not getting, or as you so beautifully said - being the violin, not the artist.
There is a path out of the uncertainty of what is currently happening and I sense you will find it.
Prayers, Susan

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SHEILA1505 11/17/2010 10:48AM

    I am intrigued to see what the Universe is scheming for you to get through or around this.

And I absolutely love the reference to being the violin and helping DH recreate his poetry the way he intended it to be heard

Big Hugs and love - as ever

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PARKERB2 11/17/2010 10:41AM

    Sending you emoticon in your difficult time. Hope all works out well for you and the hubby. Keep the Faith. Have a good day and Keep Sparking.

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MSLZZY 11/17/2010 8:21AM

    I really needed this today. My ego wanted to be up front and center but I think it's time to take
a back seat. I do like the "big boy and girl panties" approach-I'll have to go and find me a pair.
HUGS and prayers!

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MILMOM2000NEW 11/17/2010 8:20AM

    Praying for your hubby's health and for you as well!

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Monday, November 08, 2010

What's that sound you hear? It's I - sighing in relief that the busiest autumn of my life is over. I've plowed through the jam packed weeks till I've reached a sweet shifting point and can take my focus off my job and put it onto the rest of my life. And as I lift my head and look around me I see we are here in that golden gem of a month - November. Beautiful sparse vivid still colorful November - when half the leaves have fallen from the trees, leaving the forests speckled with the last of the glowing yellow hickory and poplar leaves, all fluttery against the deep green of holly and the black tree bark. Blue skies, with their cloud edged fringes, cap us and the leaf littered forest floor wafts its rich woodsy scent into our nostrils with each step we take down the home path, across the swamp bridge or through the secret path.

The secret path is so named because one year when my little boy was just a wee one, 2 or maybe 3 years old, we spent a late fall afternoon playing in the woods. I knew that Himself had built paths all through the west woods, and that we were never more than half a mile from anywhere, but at one point we were so deep in the forest I couldn't see how to get out. We were lost. Not deeply terrifyingly lost - but ... lost. And I had a moment of fear because it was late and getting dark and I had this baby with me. And the truth is - I couldn't BE frightened because ... it was late and getting dark and most of all - I had this baby with me.

I could sort of see where the sun was setting, though. I had an idea where the river was and I knew there was a circumference path that went all along the river shore so I didn't really panic. I knew it was just a matter of finding the edge and walking along it - which we did. There's a spot where the path dips down along the middle swamp (where the swamp bridge in my background photo is). It climbs back up to higher ground at some point, but when my little toddler and I got there the path seemed to just disappear into the creepy spooky arms of hundreds of mature mountain laurel, with their twisty witchy-looking branches and sparse leafy tops. It just lead up into nowhere - and was gone.

It was also getting darker and I had a hungry tired little boy with me. So we climbed on and as we neared the top, the path took a sharp turn down and to the right - completely hidden behind the snaking laurel arms. "Look, William. It's a secret path, hidden in the forest" I told him and ever since, it's been called the Secret Path. No one who ever walks down it, or comes upon it from the riverbank is unaffected by it's mystery. It's one of our favorite places in the woods and all we had to do was trust that it would lead us home and keep on walking.


These past months I seem to have lost myself in the world of work and family and Other Goals. Like that wonderful day of playing in the woods with my little boy, I have somewhat lost track of time and place when it comes to my weight loss. Suddenly I've lifted my head and realized I am not where I ought to be and it's growing later. In fact, I am heading into the biggest eating season of the year right back where I started a year ago. I'd like to be upset about it ... but just like that time in the woods with my child, I really can't. I have to be the grownup who gets me OUT of this situation, not the baby who allows fear or other emotions free reign.

And I know there's a path out of here ... I just have to trust that it's here and walk down it. If it looks like it's disappearing into witchy-looking places I still just have to keep on keeping on ... and I bet, just like on the secret path, there'll be a sharp turn into familiar territory - to safety and ... let us hope - to success.

So today I wish you TRUST -

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 11/15/2010 10:00PM

    A wonderful, wonderful blog. Beautifully written. And I've been there a time or two myself, never quite finding a secret path, but finding my way all the same.

The last time, it was when we were in Prague. I went to the castle by myself, but it's a big, winding place & I got so lost . . . and it was getting dark . . . I was seriously getting ready to take a taxi back to the hotel, but eventually, as pretty much always, I did find my way.

Thank you for reminding us that it's up to us to find our own paths -- secret or not!

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AEBROWNSON 11/8/2010 9:40AM

    This is a great blog!!! I have gotten a little off the path the past few days, but fortunately I can still see it from where I am and am making my way back to it.

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PUTTITAT 11/8/2010 8:02AM

    WOW! I really needed this. I have been feeling depressed because I feel like my wheels keep spinning in the mud! I was looking for another team I am on and "accidently" ended up on this one--where I had not been in a very LOBG time. Well, I'm not a person who thinks things happen by accident--God WANTED me to find this blog and read it. You write beautifully and those beautiful words have touched my heart--right where it was needed. Thank you!

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SHEILA1505 11/8/2010 7:30AM

    Mysterious ways, Bess!
Lovely story - and you can trust yourself to get yourself out of your predicament - and you have us at your back, too - don't forget that, my dear Friend :)


Comment edited on: 11/8/2010 7:31:53 AM

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OPAL50 11/8/2010 7:06AM

    You have expressed my feelings..."Suddenly I've lifted my head and realized I am not where I ought to be and it's growing later." Every day I say to myself "this is the day I am getting back on track"...then for some reason, I let my little child take over. I need to find my own "Secret Path". Thank you for this blog.

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FAERY_FACE 11/8/2010 7:04AM

    Thank you for a beautiful blog… I wanted to write one today titled Trust… is the hardest thing to regain when it has been lost… I needed to read this today.

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MSLZZY 11/8/2010 7:03AM

    Such rich detail- emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BESSHAILE 11/8/2010 6:53AM

    might seem silly to comment on my own blog but after I posted this - look what I got from Martha Beck via email!

"Cheerfully fessing up to our failures turns crazy mind off, humility and compassion on.—Martha Beck, O Magazine- August, 2005" emoticon

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A body you can trust

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This has been a MOST challenging autumn. Work has been demanding, if fun, ... no. demanding is too weak an adjective. Work has been flat out madness. and fun. Time for other things has suffered and attention for other areas of my life has been in short supply.

Add to all that, there has been the extremely difficult situation with my crabby old dad - one of those wounding things that you accept, set aside, but know is still there, oozing its pain into the world. We can duck that sort of thing but we can't avoid it altogether.

I have often found myself gobbling my food - and being horrified about it too - because it's not only an unpleasant activity, it's a dangerous one. Besides not tasting what you're eating, you can choke on stuff! Ask me how I know.

the one thing I've clung to this autumn has been my swimming schedule and of late, I've actually been ahead of schedule - closing in on that one mile goal post almost a month earlier than I thought I could.

but the pace, the load, the list of Things To Do has grown so large, so demanding that yesterday - at quittin' time - when I found I had to stay late to finish something Important - I actually contemplated skipping the swim.

and boy did my body protest. Just the thought of Not Swimming, even if only for a few laps, made my entire body sink into suffering mode. It was amazing. I actually felt as if I'd been hit. You know that sinking sensation you get when you are told really bad news? that's how my body felt. as if it were hearing really really REALLY bad news from my brain.

Wow. Imagine. My body just shrieked at me. It said "oh no you don't"! It protected me from giving it short shrift. How about that? My own body - looking out for me like a mother would. I'm still amazed.

Of course, that didn't mean I could leave the project unfinished. It does mean that I found someone who could do the last bit for me - and I could get in half a mile of swimming. And best of all - the moment my body learned my brain wasn't going to cheat it out of its needed exercise - it decided to cooperate and not gobble up dinner with two deserts ... something it's been doing lately, in retaliation, I now see, for a brain that hasn't been putting the Whole Me at the top of it's list.

so. hope you don't mind this tale of the fractured dieter - I'm not really crazy - only my brain is. sometimes. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 10/28/2010 1:25PM

    Ok, when was the last time you scheduled something just for you amidst all the craziness? Something besides swimming?

Cause it sure sounds like you've got to figure out how to get yourself back on the list. Asking your coworker for help was a great first step -- how many more people in your life can you ask for help?

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AEBROWNSON 10/28/2010 10:52AM

    Isn't that just the weirdest thing, this "listening to your body" stuff? Now that it's found it's voice, and we're tuned in, we can't let it fade back into nothingness!

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SHEILA1505 10/28/2010 8:05AM

    Well done for listening to your body :))

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CHALLENGER15 10/28/2010 7:57AM

    I'm glad you got a bit in. I know I go into "walking withdrawal" if I don't get at least some in.

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MSLZZY 10/28/2010 7:53AM

    I feel the same way about my nigthly walk. Even the weather better not mess with me. 3 days of rain, raw winds and now a wind chill in the 20's does not deter me.
emoticonwith making time for you! HUGS!

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JUGE300000 10/28/2010 7:49AM


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ELLEN0407 10/28/2010 7:39AM

  liked yr blog. happy thursday

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Girl Scout Sleepover in the Library

Saturday, October 23, 2010

so this is what I did on Friday night

Girl scouts started arriving, after closing time - as it began to grow dark.

After gathering in the library, they selected a book that inspired them to make a bookmark

Dinner was pizza in the meeting room - where nobody told you to sit up straight.

Craft time was when we made our bookmarks - and there were lots of supplies

Then it was movie time - with pop corn

Does this look like fun or what!!??!!

30 minutes till lights out!

Don't know when I had such a good time but boy do I need a nap now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMSTRAW 10/23/2010 2:57PM

    That looks so fun! I'd love to spend the night in a library or book store! "hog heaven"

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FRECKS96 10/23/2010 12:42PM

    That's wonderful! Some of my best memories of Girl Scouting are the sleepovers in non-traditional places (The Franklin Museum in Philly is my all time fav!)

Looks like everyone had a blast!

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JLITT62 10/23/2010 12:07PM

    Other than having to sleep on the floor it looks wonderful!

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MSLZZY 10/23/2010 11:33AM

    Sounds like everyone had a good time so get some sleep! HUGS!

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SHEILA1505 10/23/2010 11:28AM

    What bliss to be surrounded by friends and access to all those books

Rest well, Bess

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