Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy Coincidence!

This has been a particularly good Christmas.  What made it good was the wonderful coincidences that appeared.  I’ve read before that if you don’t think God speaks to you or tries to guide your actions, you should start keeping a log of your coincidences.  I did this for several years.  What I noticed was that I could read through my entries and often a clear pattern would begin to emerge.  What eventually ended my compulsion to write them down was that everything began to seem coincidental.  Of course, when you find yourself having conversations with red street lights, you do begin to wonder about your sanity at bit…  But in my defense, I do get significantly more green lights when I’m expressing a lot of gratitude!  I take my incentive where I can find it.

Chesapeake 2This year for Christmas, we had decided against making plans to get a cabin.  We love visiting State Parks, but Christmas is notorious for its nasty weather, so we decided we’d just plan on a day hike sometime over the weekend and stay more flexible.  The weather was supposed to stay in the 60’s until Christmas Day, and with four glorious days off in a row, this gave us lots of options.  Then a week before, my sister called and wanted to come visit — a couple days BEFORE Christmas!  It is rare that the timing works so perfectly that both Steve and I have off when someone wants to visit, so we were thrilled by the timing.  They drove out of a blizzard’s aftermath in Iowa, and were greeted by 60 degree weather here.  Their visit also gave us an excuse to eat out (and avoid doing dishes!  My husband particularly liked that part), and go see the lights at Chesapeake Energy and the Myriad Gardens, and the beautiful ornament displays in the new Devon building.

Devon Pine ConesChristmas Day a blizzard was supposed to hit us, but Oklahoma weathermen tend to be of the overly exciteable ilk, and what is predicted to be 4-8 inches of snow has a tendency to become a dusting to 1/4 inch.  This was no exception.  The result of all the hoopla was that we just stayed home, read, watched a movie, and basically tried to veg out before having to return to work.  Then, around 5pm, just as Christmas dinner was about ready, my neighbor called and wanted to bring his wonderful Chex mix (secret recipe!).  Thanks to Steve’s wonderful “Hospitality Gene,” our neighbor ended up joining us for dinner, providing the dessert, and giving me an excuse to open the wine I bought (what are neighbors for?!).  He seemed as thrilled as we were to be able to share Christmas dinner with friends.  Devon 2

All of this is to say that when your life is going right, you should experience a fair amount of “flow.”  All I know is that we went to a Christmas Eve service last night, and all through the service and especially during communion, I kept breaking into a big grin and feeling so incredibly grateful for what a good year 2012 has been!  I’m grateful for my health and my hair, for labyrinth walks and the energy work that’s helped me get unstuck and more forward, for SpaceClear and the sources that are helping me simplify my life and declutter my house, my time, and my thoughts.  I’m grateful for Steve, and I’m grateful for all the friends who have encouraged me to keep writing.  And yes, we got a LOT of green lights on the drive home!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and may you each be blessed with a wonderful New Year.  Keep Smiling!

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The Best Christmas Gift

Went to the labyrinth walk this week, and, as usual, had an amazing experience.  Thought I’d share:

Crowded tonight.  Groups here from area churches, all walking around with lists of what they want to pray for.  I walked the smaller, less crowded labyrinth.  I wasn’t sure what to ask for or request, so when I picked up an Angel Card that they have available for us said “healing,” I decided it was a good place to start.  I prayed for healing: for myself, a friend with cancer who’s just now going through chemo, people I know with mental health issues, and the planet — that it find peace and healing.  I breathed that wish in and felt it sweep out to all the world.

My next card was gratitude.  “A healing practice,” I thought to myself.  I expressed gratitude for health and hair, for all my friends who put up with me, for the labyrinth, and for the crowds of people walking and praying and sniffling (a sure sign they are going deep) — and suddenly the world changed.  I FELT their prayers and their healing and I became a spirit floating through a sea of positive energy.  It felt wonderful.  I walked and smiled and was grateful.  Thank you for this gift.  Pure love — it’s the best gift there is.

Have a great week, and keep smiling.  Remember, there are things better than stuff.

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One Year Later…

This last Saturday, Dec. 8, was the one year anniversary of the end of my chemo treatment.  I felt that this was cause to celebrate (again), so the plan was to head to the beautiful Wichita Mountains and spend the day hiking.  The Wichita’s always remind me of a big kid’s handiwork with PlayDough:  big lumps of rock are smashed together to form a small mountainous area.  In that part of the country, the land is pretty flat, so you can see the mountains from quite a way.  Well, normally you can see the mountains from a long way off.  Saturday all we could see was fog.

The prediction for the day was 66 degrees and partly cloudy.  Perfect.  Oklahoma City was solidly overcast, but the Wichita’s are 1.5 hours south, and usually much warmer, so I hoped the clouds would burn off.  But not on Saturday.  The whole wildlife refuge, where the mountains are located, was socked in by heavy fog.  Fog creates a magical atmosphere.  Castles and dragons lurk at the edges creating a mystery of the unknown.  There’s a soothing hush hiking in the woods in a heavy fog.  The temperature never made it out of the mid-50’s, so it was a little brisk, but I still loved it.

Main Street, Medicine Park, OK

We hiked for a while, but then headed into Medicine Park to get something to eat.  Apparently, Medicine Park has become THE fashionable place to live — there were lots of new houses going up everywhere.  These are shots of the main street, with their wonderful little cobblestone buildings.

Main Street, Medicine Park, OK (2)

The town is so cute, they even have a library!

Lending Library, Medicine Park, OK

As for me, in the last year I have gotten a lot of my energy back and am now able to walk a couple miles without getting tired.  In fact, Steve and I have already signed up for the OKC Memorial Marathon, which will be April 28, 2013, so we’ll have to start training for longer and longer distances.  We’ll mostly walk it, but Steve isn’t content to just try and beat our previous time.  He thinks we need to run part of it too!  I also am grateful to have my hair back.  I’ve been keeping it short (SO much easier to care for!), and it is slowly remembering that it is supposed to be light brown and not gray and dark brown (where did that come from?!).  I’ve kept most of the weight off that I lost, though keeping it off is another motivation for doing a marathon.  I loved being in really good shape!

The lasting gift of a cancer diagnosis is reminding myself that while I can’t control what happens in life, I do have some control over my reaction.  I’ve realized that part of surviving an unpleasant situation is focusing on what you enjoy in other areas of your life.  I’m decluttering all aspects of my life in an effort to reconnect with that joy.  Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

Have a great week, and Keep Smiling!

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Again? Really?

It has come to my attention lately that the Christmas season is upon us.  I am NOT happy about it.  I have come to greet the Christmas season with a sense of “They’re doing it AGAIN?  Really?!  WHY?!?  This is usually followed by “Haven’t they figured out that shopping doesn’t buy happiness?”  I then shake my head, totally baffled, and resign myself to getting through another season of watching people’s false beliefs in the power of stuff, dashed dreams when more stuff doesn’t fix everything, and the resulting panic when they get the bill.

I have this theory that Christmas, as we now know it, peaked in the 1940’s-50’s with Bing Crosby and Perry Como (leaning on something, of course).  Virtually ALL of what we now think of as Christmas “tradition” came from that heady post-WWII shopping frenzy era.  We met Frosty in 1950, It’s a Wonderful Life in 1946, Rudolph in 1939, and the Grinch in 1957 (thank you Wikipedia).  And then we got stuck.  I love some of those old movies, but I’m really tired of the “More! More! More!” mantra.  Enough already!

The idea isn’t to hate Christmas.  It’s to put something more meaningful than Chia pets back into it.  Face it.  Most of us have too much crap as it is.  We don’t need the $10 Dirty Santa gift, another tie, or even more chocolate covered cherries.  We have enough.  Oh, but just imagine how much richer we would all feel if we realized it.

There are a few groups who are taking steps to help folks get a grip on this strange addiction, and offer some alternatives.  One of the more entertaining groups are Annie Leonard and the “Story of Stuff” folks, who recently came out with this fun little Black Friday video: http://www.storyofstuff.org/blackfriday/.  Their other videos are also quite educational and entertaining.

Other groups that are on to the lie of “Christmas = Stuff” include:

http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

http://buynothingchristmas.org/

http://xmasresistance.org/

http://adbusters.org/

Also, if you’d like a little fun reading that provides lots of options for how to go about celebrating Christmas in a less commercial way, check out “$100 Dollar Holiday” by Bill McKibben.

OK.  I’ll quit ranting now.

Keep smiling!

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