Sunday, September 09, 2012
A couple of years ago at this time I posted this blog. I wanted to remind you and MYSELF that this life is what we make of it...
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.
It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its richness and savored its aroma.
The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water. Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Which are you? Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?
Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did you have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get even better and change the situation around you.
When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
(However, I would much prefer it if everyone was smiling WITH me. For they should know I am going to a beautiful place to wait for THEM some day...)
God bless you all this upcoming week. You are loved, dearly.
Friday, September 07, 2012
I've gained three pounds.
I want to blame my new job.
The walking that I achieved during my last position was close to 8 or 9 miles a day at a MINIMUM. This current position gives me 2 miles TOPS. So, let's label that one "Lame Excuse No. 1," shall we?
"Lame Excuse No. 2" is: I don't have time to eat right because my hours at work are totally different and now I have to grab and go. Right next to the bananas, apples, and oranges are chicken salad sandwiches and the deli's Reese's Cup Mousse. It just takes too long to peel a banana. That can be "Lame Excuse No. 3."
"Lame Excuse No. 4" is: If Sheryl, who weighs 115 lbs, medium-framed, 5'3", can eat four slices of pizza and still look like she walked out of Cosmopolitan Magazine, then I, 133 lbs, small-framed, at 5'3", can eat five. Give or take a few inches, I should look like I walked out of Glamour but DON'T....
Which leads to "Lame Excuse No. 5." Since I don't look like a supermodel and will never attain such levels of perfection, why should I try?
I walked by my weight room earlier this evening and saw my treadmill holding a plant, my Harley saddlebags and a pair of neon pink flip-flops. The Ab Lounge thingy was cock-eyed and had one of my latest paintings propped up on it. My weight bench had half a case of Coors Light on it. Now that's just plain ole sad. Sad, sad, sad! Who in their right mind would leave a half a case of Coors Light at room temperature??? Don't they know the mountains turn blue when it's cold??
I walked in to get it when I tripped over a free weight in the floor. Trust me, it stung like a sonofagun because I was barefoot. I hopped like a Injun trying to brew a rainstorm for several minutes. How? (Sorry, no pun intended.) I whooped, hollered and for once in my life, I actually rolled my tongue. I've never been able to do that. I even stopped for a second to see if I could do it again but I couldn't. So I resumed my "pain" dance once again for a few more minutes.
I don't have anyone or anything to blame the three pounds on but myself. The stuff laying on my exercise equipment is my fault. The fact that I now have a swollen pinky toe is my doing because it looks like (and if I remember correctly) I just dropped the weight where I stood one day because I didn't wanna do it. I was "too tired."
Lame excuses aren't doing me any good. It gives way to laziness, funky priorities and weird dreams about playing laser tag with Darth Vader in my field (last night because I ate too close to bedtime).
Lame excuses lead to low self-esteem, regrets and could-haves, should-haves when the pounds start piling back on.
It is what it is. But is should be what it could be. Starting now. Once again. For the upteenth time. I declare this house a "Lame Excuse-Free Zone."
I try not for supermodel perfection. I try for my health. For strength. For longevity. For resilience. And the ability to not go through my day in a fog.
I try for ME.
Throw away your excuses. You're so worth it...
And loved. God bless you all.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
I ran across this old photo of me...
Note the fruit on the table. Note my look of pure joy as I disregard the fruit and eye up the cake. Do you notice my right hand pulling up my left sleeve?? I was thinking, "Just say 'when,' Momma, and I'm IN that!"
My mother was a beautiful woman. She had the patience of a goddess (with six kids, nonetheless) and was an INCREDIBLE cook. As much as I know she meant well by baking up a storm for us while we were young, I have to "blame" her for my love of all things sweet. For every occasion there was a pie, cake, turnover, homemade rolls, etc, etc. From funerals to graduations, to getting "A's" and "B's" on our report cards, we celebrated. With food. And we traded recipes like baseball cards. I was willing to draw blood over the pecan pie recipe. (I think I DID, come to think of it...)
I look back now and see that I did the same thing with my kids. Everything had to be "made better" with food. For whatever ailed you, I had a recipe, for learning to swim, I had a recipe, "you-broke-up-with-who?," I had a recipe...food, food, food. And not just any food. Pretty decorated cupcakes, gorgeous big cookies, the bigger the better. (Note picture above again...is it just me or is that cake really tall???)
Okay. So, I could sit here and "blame" Mom for what I know is the right way now. But, I'M the one who has been slipping up. I've been feeling crummy, too, and my energy levels, although still somewhat high, are lagging behind. It seems like I've been gaining, losing, regaining, the same eight pounds for a year now. All because I can't put down the chocolate or the pecan pie. Yeah...it's okay to have a slice here or there. But my "here or there" has been coming about two or three times a week!!
A Spark friend uses the term, "Just shut up and sweat!" He's got the right idea. Quit belly achin' about it and just close your mouth and get to it. Looks like it's my turn now.
Okay, before signing off for now, I just want to share one more pic of me. That is my mother on the left. She is the angel that came to take me as her daughter two weeks into my life. I think she would be proud of the way I've been living my life now. In fact, I know she is...
God bless you all. You are loved. Big time!
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I got a great walk in early this a.m. and decided to go rummage around in the attic. It's been a long time since I've been up there. Like years? The possibility of finding some old photo albums aided me in overcoming my fear of "something" living up there and biting the tar out of me. So, after smashing a few of my toes with the ladder, I crawled through the door of the ceiling and looked around hesitantly. Wow. Once I saw the cedar chests and boxes stacked neatly around, I couldn't wait to dig in. So many years of accumulated "treasures" beckoned me and I felt my heart begin to race.
I saw my old roller skates hanging on a nail on the wall and I immediately tossed them through the door, hearing them "clunk" and "clank" on the floor below. Opening the top to one of the chests I immediately saw my Dad's World War II medals. Sitting on the floor I picked up each one and held them in my palms...he was a Prisoner of War, ya know. A paratrooper in the U.S. Army. Once he retired from the service he worked on the railroad. I have precious memories of him...he passed away when I was three but I remember him coming home from work and grabbing me up in his arms. Before bed every night he would brush my hair and sing to me. Next to those were photo albums, very old ones, of my grandfather and grandmother. They were huge travelers. They had this giant silver RV that went everywhere from the west to east coast and she had the most awful collection of sea shells and little tin trays with pictures painted on them. I laughed when I saw the picture of Grandma hiking her skirt up just above her knee and Grandpa touching it and grinning like a cheshire cat. He knew he had a sexy mama. :)
The more I looked around, I became a little nostalgic for the past years. I had boxes upon boxes of my kids school papers and little crafty things that they had made me over the years. Their hands were permanently imprinted in molds and painted a variety of colors with the little labels, although somewhat faded, of the year they were made in. Little faces glued on Christmas bulbs. Little faces glued on rocks that were bathed in psychedelic glitter. Little faces glued on everything that anything could be glued on...sigh. I found some of their old toys, too. Breanna's Barbies looked as if they had a terrible rough life. Some were given haircuts, Crayola marker makeovers and tattoos in the oddest places of the oddest things. But I had kept them. Even the Ken who was wearing Barbie's bikini. (What is it with this family and wanting men to look like women???)
I found Paul's old student microscope and his little trousers. Breanna's baby shoes and dresses. My gosh, so much stuff in such a little amount of time. Why does life seem so long at times but in retrospect seem so short? It just seemed like yesterday Brian and I went to the Scorpions concert and I accidentally busted his chin with my gyrating-pumping-to-the-beat moves. I felt so bad that I bought him this Scorpions t-shirt.
Other things just didn't make sense to me. Why were Spiegel catalogues up here? Do they even make Spiegel catalogues anymore? And why did I keep that old Halloween costume from my senior year? I was the Bride of Frankenstein. (Please. No, smart aleck remarks here. Brian gives me enough of those already.) It was then I also ran across something else that I am deeeeply ashamed of. I could barely look at them with both eyes. In fact I closed one eye and glanced at them intermittently and from a side angle.
My "X-Files" Mulder and Scully dolls. They were still in their packages because I was sure they would be worth something some day. And beneath them were my VHS tapes of every episode of the show. I had an incredible crush on David Duchovny at the time. Ewww. Just....ewwwww, okay? I can't begin to tell you how disturbed I feel right now.
8-tracks, cassette tapes, vinyl, it was all there. An old record player to play them on. Credence Clearwater Revival 45s and yearbooks from days gone by. An old iron and ironing board. Tools. (TOOLS!!!!??! Throwing them through the door in the floor, I was gleefully reminded that finders are keepers!) Pots and pans, an old vacuum cleaner and a spittoon. Yes. A spittoon.
That's just one side. I had to get down from there so I could make lunch (and hide my tools!) before Brian came back in. OH! And remind me later to ask Brian why there is a stack of 1970s and early 80s Playboys next to the old dehumidifier up there? He isn't getting much for dinner. I can tell you that.
Off to try out my skates. If you don't hear from me in a few days you know I'm in a sling somewhere, grinning from ear-to-ear because it was fun while it lasted. Pretty amazing how memories can suddenly give you a Spark of energy, huh? I wonder how many calories you burn roller skating?
Have a great day, Sparkloves. God bless you! Abundantly. Over and over again.
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