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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Flashback to the last big snow. . . .December 16, 2007

I woke up this morning to a snow covered world – it was beautiful and peaceful and the snow was pristine – having floated from the heavens and landed softly on the yards, trees, houses, cars & fences all over my neighborhood. There were no tracks in it at all – not even dog prints. Herc had begged to come in last night and spent the night in the garage next to the radiant heater. Sorry, pal, it’s the best I can do for the moment.

Two hours later, much of the snowfall was stll intact. Our front yard, however, was obviously the scene of an all out war. Tracks led here and there, hither and yon. Big holes of empty air had replaced much of the smooth blanket of snow, where children (of all ages) had scooped up the snow, pressed it into a snowball and launched it at one of the others doing much the same.

By noon, Jordan and Chaney had been invited to join – and the yard and driveway looked more and more like a war zone. I left to get a soda and made a secret stop at KMart where I bought the last sled they had – 66″ of plastic toboggan. The luge sled, it was labeled. And hats, and gloves so that when the ones we were wearing got soaked, we could throw them in the dryer, put on dry ones and just keep having fun!

Two cars were required to go to Ellis school – I took the sleds – the new toboggan, the little yellow disk sled left over from Brian’s youth (WOW, say the children THIS YELLOW ONE GOES FAST!). And three from Jordan and Chaney’s house.

Mike took all the children – Derrick, Bradley, Makayla, Jordan and Chaney. And the sledding adventure began. It had to happen, you see, because I found out this morning that Mike’s children have NEVER been sledding. Never. Bradley is 10 years old and today was his first time to ride a sled down a hill in the snow. I tried to wrap my brain around it – remembering my children on sleds going down Ellis hill before they were even old enough to attend the school. Brian in a snowsuit, 2 years old, sitting on his mother or father’s lap down the hill.

Derrick was perhaps the most fun to watch – awkwardly – arms and legs flailing here and there down the hill as fast as he could make it go, leaning this way and that trying to turn it. He took over the toboggan – it was big enough to hold his sixteen year old body and fast enough to please his 4 or 5 year old mind.

Bradley took the yellow one. Of course, it goes fast. And Makayla took the little red disk with the built in handles on the side. I got a shot of them running, dragging their sleds behind them, towards Ellis hill. Except for Bradley, he was too close to me to get in the pictures. I did my best to stay at the top of the hill and get pictures of them streaking down the hill. Mike is prone to belly flopping onto the sled and launching it as fast and far as he can. I tried it, with a lifetime of memories flooding through my brain. Trying to imagine my life without sledding. I can’t.

I am thankful for the snow. I am thankful for the people in my world that put me on a sled and launched me down a hill when I could barely walk. I’m thankful for this day in time, when I can pass that on to the Fabulous Five children in my world. Apparently Chaney and Jordan aren’t very experienced sledders either.

And so, if you haven’t done so lately, I highly recommend grabbing a sled, or a snow shovel, or a piece of flat plastic anything and standing at the top of a big hill, throwing yourself onto the sled or whatever and careening down the hill. It is still fun!!

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Today it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  And the windchill was 9 below.  I made certain I had enough kerosene to keep the garage warm for my poor old arthritic dog.

I was surprised when he asked to go outside this morning.  I was more surprised when he stayed out.  It’s only been a couple of days and he hasn’t been eating the pain pill laced ham I left for him.  There is no way that dog should be moving around like he is.

And yet, there he was, trotting back and forth at the edge of the yard.  Grumbling at the dog next door.  I stood in the cold and shivered, waiting for him to return.  He didn’t.

Instead, he went to his old spot in front of the shed.  Where the sun shines most of the day, uninterrupted by the tree branches.   He curled up at his post of many years and stayed there.

When I called to him to come back in the garage, he looked at me and then put his head back down.  It became obvious to me that he was not interested in returning to the semi warm garage with the comfy pile of blankets and space heater.

Instead, he stood his post as he’s always done.  Guarding the yard against possible intruders.  Barking warnings at the squirrels that race back and forth across the yard.

I was humbled.  Another life lesson from the dog.  I read somewhere that a true professional is someone who does the job even when they don’t feel like it.  I’ve determined that Hercules is officially a professional watch dog now.  And I’ve stopped hovering.

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It’s one of those details I notice in life:  the background music.  My son Brian, the musician in the family, has noted the “coincidence” many times of just the right music playing at just the right time.  He refers to it as “the soundtrack of my life”.  I have to agree.  I remember times when music saved me from moments of deep despair.  “The River” by Garth Brooks was constantly playing in the months during my divorce so long ago.

When I say constantly, I’m not kidding.  I made a tape that was just that song over and over and over.  And I played it.  All the time.  The lyrics resonated with me on a deep level and propelled me forward through the tough times.

It’s always been true in my life that music has affected me.  I’ve had great learning over the last few years as my son Brian pursued his studies – music theory and music history and the soundtrack became interesting and beautiful.

I’ve studied Pat O’Brien and Joe Vitale’s “clearing audios” that are designed to open up your mind to the possibilities.   I’ve often started my day with Pat’s 7 minute buzz just to test the theories he presents.

This morning, I was showering and a song started playing in my head.  It was a song that melded my past, my present, my future all into one and I found myself singing it loudly, testing the voice I haven’t properly exercised or cultivated in years.

I was alone in the house and free to make whatever noise I chose.  I chose a joyful noise.   A bold and happy rendition of one of the hymns from yesterday’s church service.  I stretched to reach the higher notes and listened as my voice strained to reach notes it likely hasn’t touched in years.

As I sang, I could hear my cousin’s voice singing along from my childhood.  And my mother and grandmother and aunt and the rest.  “He Lives!  He lives!”.  I’m not certain how it sounded, but it FELT GOOD!  “You ask me how I know he lives…….. he LIVVVES within my heaaaaaaaaart!”

This morning, I have a deep appreciation for the music in my world, in my soul and spirit.  And I ask you this “What music is playing on the soundtrack of your life these days?  Are you making a joyful noise?  Or are you singing the blues?”  And I’ll add this reminder – if the music that is playing on the soundtrack of your life isn’t bringing you joy, perhaps it’s time to change the channel!

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It was an interesting conversation with Harold last night.  Now, Harold is my neighbor and has been my neighbor for the last 19 or so years.  He’s not the kind of neighbor that comes and sits on the porch swing with us or comes over for dinner.  He lives a few doors down and we interact occasionally.  Usually it’s when he needs to bum a cigarette. Years ago he bought a car from me.  Once in a while we stand by the mailboxes and chat about life.

Last night, I was lying on the couch watching television when the doorbell rang.  It’s not something I spend a lot of time doing.  Historically, it’s something that I did only when I was too ill to do anything else.  Lately, I’ve taken to curling up on the couch with Mike and watching shows we both enjoy.

I got up and answered the door.  It was Harold, who felt the need to notify me that there was an owl in my yard.  I stood in the doorway and listened.  Indeed there was, in the tree directly in front of the porch.  He was trying to see where it was.  I stepped back into the house and got my big flashlight and shined it into the tree until I found the owl.  He was high up in the branches, all hunkered down.  Occasionally he let out a throaty whooo whoooo.

I called out to Mike and showed it to him.  Harold was enthralled by the owl.  He also needed to bum a couple of cigarettes.  So, after I frightened the owl off by shining the light on him one too many times, we all stepped back into the house.  That’s when he made the comment that caught me so off guard.

“So you DO have a television!  I was always going to ask you that.  I see you outside so much and sitting on the porch and frequently see you at your computer.   I never seem to see a TV on in your house.”  Yes, Harold, I’ve always had a TV.  I just don’t use it very much.

Mike and I both rather chuckled after he left.  I looked up the significance of the owl, remembering that I’ve only been visited by owls 3 times in my life.  The first time was after my father died and my mother was visiting.  The second time I can’t pinpoint what was going on around me but it was several years ago.

And last night, after my fantastic experience at the church service.  Mike says it’s good luck.  I lean towards the Indian folklore perspectives.  Or it could be that it was a random visit for no reason!

Anyway, I’m thankful for the visit from the owl and the interesting insight from Harold.  As I start my day, I close the entertainment center doors and focus on the work at hand.

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I’ve spent the last two or three weeks admiring the crocuses and daffodils that crept up through the soil this spring.  This week, I noticed the peony shafts starting to sneak up behind them.    I have been absolutely reveling in the warm weather, wearing my spring “layers” that allow me to work my way down to a tank top or t-shirt  in the middle of a warm afternoon.

Yesterday, they announced that a cold front was moving in and we should expect up to 4 inches of snow.  We only got 2 or 3 inches but my world is covered in white.  I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t get the mulch all cleaned out of the flowerbeds yet.

It’s funny how quickly the weather can change.  Life is like that as well.  It’s a matter of how you deal with it, I guess.  I woke up, looked out the window and appreciated the beauty of the snow covered landscape.  Later, when the sun makes it’s appearance, I’ll drag out my camera and get a few shots of the daffodils peeking out through the snow. 

It’s one of those things I look at and ask “Well, is there anything I can do about it?”  The answer is always no.  You simply can’t change the weather.  It’s ruled by something greater than me.  All I can do is adjust my life and behavior around it.  I probably won’t go kite flying today or clean the winter leaves out of the flowerbeds.  I will likely take advantage of the picturesque view of the daffodils standing proud above the piles of snow.  I”m anxious for the sun to rise so I can grab my camera and capture that view.

I treat most things in life like I do the weather.  I ask the question “Is there anything I can do about it?”  In most cases, the answer is no and I simply adjust my life around it.  Complaining usually doesn’t do any good, unless it’s communicated to someone who can do something about a situation.  If there is an action to be taken, I take it.  If there’s beauty to be found in it, I find it.  This morning, my world is beautiful and peacefully covered in snow as the sun peeks over the horizon.  

And still, I’m going to make it a great day!

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Make it a great day!

It’s a simple shift from the “Have a nice day” that we’re used to hearing. I’ve never liked the phrase “Have a nice day” because it implies that it’s something that happens TO you. In my opinion, you can make every moment of every day of your life as great and as happy as you want.

Make no mistake about it, it’s always a choice. And the choice lies within you. In any given situation, you choose your response. Things go wrong, stuff happens that can push your buttons, you react.

That’s the key part of it, how do you react? How do you choose to respond?

Do you lash out in anger? Do you sit down and cry? Do you exact your revenge on those who have wronged you? Do you give up on your dreams? Or do you take a deep breath, choose your response and move on? Do you blame someone else for making you upset?

I know that this may sound simplistic to many who believe that life is complicated and they are victims of some sort and they have no control over their destiny. To that I say “Bull”. All the choices you’ve made throughout every moment of your life have brought you to the moment you are in now.

Every moment of every day you have a choice in your thoughts and actions. Sometimes, I realize, it doesn’t seem that way. I myself have battled with situations in life that left me feeling frustrated and helpless and powerless. And it wasn’t until I learned to empower myself and choose my experiences that my world changed.

If you want to change your life, start with yourself and your attitude. Choose your response in every moment of every day. While we all need to occasionally wallow in self pity, it should be temporary, not a lifestyle. You are a powerful being. You have a unique set of talents and skills and characteristics that combine to make you. Be thankful and hold onto only those thoughts and attitudes that benefit you and yours. Focus loving energy on everyone you encounter. Hand out smiles to strangers. Sing. Give away gifts – money, food, books…… Tip generously. Maintain an attitude of gratitude for even the smallest of miracles.

Make every moment of every day count for something, count for you.

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