Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting My Groove Back

This has been a rough winter and I've gone into "survival mode" where every day has been - quite literally - about just getting through the day and on to the next one.  Sounds dramatic, yes?  It's true, I promise. 
Among the many obstacles that cropped up this winter:
  1. Some animal chewed through wiring and $167.00 later, the electrician told me it was nothing short of amazing that I didn't have a fire.
  2. LONG story and I'll skip the details but I was trapped inside my house because everything froze shut.  Once my son got me out, I had to close my front door with a towel over the top and side.
  3. Snow storm on top of snow storm on top of snow storm = a lot of shoveling and digging out and getting stuck and shoveling and digging out and shoveling...you get the idea.
  4. Too many animals in the house.  Between the frigid temperatures (when I would have brought them in at night anyway) and the fact that one of my dogs became an escape artist, I spent most of the winter with the two dogs in the house. 
Between them and the cats I literally spent a MINIMUM of four hours a day cleaning.  Just keeping up with the vacuuming and dusting and washing dog beds and scooping kitty litter and cleaning food and water dishes took hours every day.  I would start the second I got home from work and stop at bedtime.

Taking them out at all hours of the day and night in the freezing weather was very unpleasant to say the least.  Sleep became next to impossible between dogs whining and cats scratching at my bedroom door wanting in and out...and cats and dogs fighting ... what little sleep I got wasn't quality sleep.
   5. Surgery, illness and job stress.  I'm not even going to elaborate.

If it sounds like I'm whining, I am.  I think whining has it's place and this is it.  :-)  But...oh yes, there is a silver lining...


I am blessed that I am starting to feel like myself again because:
  1. The weather is improving.  One lonely little crocus is poking out of the ground next to my front sidewalk.  I LOVE that little purple flower!!!
  2. The dogs have moved back outside.  The fence that the one dog had figured out how to get over, under, and through has been replaced by a sturdy 6' tall kennel that he can't escape from. 
  3. I have a good head start on my spring cleaning and will be able to finish it in a weekend -- with time to spare. 
  4. I have started a list of things I need to do.  Just having that list gives me a good feeling.  I am going to buy huge garbage cans, clean out my shed, clean up by winter-wrecked lawn, wash and wax my car, and get an estimate for getting my deck and the front of my house power washed. 
  5. I have started taking the dogs on long walks again and eating at my kitchen table again. 
I usually don't mind winter that much but I have to admit that this one kind of broke my spirit.  But I'm bouncing back...stay tuned! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Blessed" Monday

Ahhhhh...Monday.  I confess that I fall victim to the "Monday Blues" or whatever it is you want to call the dread that comes with the start of a new work week.  But there is much to be thankful for on this, and all Mondays.
  1. I had a pretty relaxing weekend and was able to do come recuperating from whatever sickness this is that I've had.  It is "downgraded" to just a simple cold.  :-)
  2. It rained last night and it still raining this morning and almost all of the snow has been washed away!  YIPPEE!!!
  3. COFFEE!  (yes, coffee will appear on my Five Daily Blessings list a lot).  :-)
  4. Opportunity.  What I mean is, with a new week comes new opportunities to do a good job at work, make improvements, make a difference. 
  5. The view from my window.  It isn't quite daylight yet but close enough that I can see my front lawn, driveway, and the woods across the road.  It's a pretty sight, even on a dark, rainy Monday.
Whatever this Monday brings you, I hope you will find many blessings in your day. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunny Sunday Ramblings

Well, here we are on my second favorite day of the week...Sunday.  It's sunny and it's going to be in the 50's today!  My home is warm and clean and I have hot, delicious coffee and the entire day laid out before me like a present waiting to be unwrapped. 

I have "work" to do today but it's the kind I enjoy doing...cooking, cleaning, laundry.  Yes, I like doing those things and would do them for a living if I could. 

I'm looking out my window at a very large, very old tree - maple if memory serves me correctly - hard to tell without the leaves.  About half way up the tree is a big hole that has been hollowed out by...who knows what...time or weather or something.

Last spring a mother raccoon and her three babies took up residence in that hole.  I spent weeks enjoying watching them.  I would almost be late for work from watching them in the mornings and I would rush home to spend part of my evenings watching them.

I watched them until the babies grew and started venturing out of that hole.  The mother would nudge them back in.  Sometimes I would watch the mother leave the tree at dusk and see her come back in the morning. 

I know raccoons are considered "pests" but let me tell you, these little critters were cute, cute, cute!

Sometimes the mother raccoon would sit out on the tree and watch me watching her.  She didn't seem nervous or upset about me being there.  Instead, she seemed as fascinated and curious about me as I was about her. 

One day they were all gone.  I don't know when they left or why but I assume it was because the babies were big enough that they didn't need to stay there anymore.  I missed them.  I hope a new raccoon family moves into the tree this year. 

I think I have more than covered five blessings in this post.  This whole day is a blessing, filled with multiple smaller blessings that make it a true gift.  May you have the gift of many blessings in your Sunday. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Plans Change...

Sometimes it's hard to see the blessing in a change of plans when I had my heart and mind set on doing one thing and I'm unable to do it. 

Today I was going to take on the world - or at least the world at my house.  My plan was to take down the rest of the old dog fence and clean up my yard, rake out the dog kennel, haul some trash and recycling away.  However, this "plague" that I have isn't going to allow that so I need to rethink my whole day. 

I am disappointed but will feel better after I come to peace with "plan b" -- which will likely consist of not much more than a little house cleaning (inside) and maybe some cooking. 

Confession: I am not a person who likes to "go with the flow" -- if I have my mind set on doing something, I don't like to have to change it.  If I have made a decision, I don't like to have to rethink it...you get the idea.

So here I sit, contemplating the blessings in this day that will not be the day I had planned on. 
  1. The sun is shining.  It is so bright and beautiful!
  2. It is my favorite day and time of the week.  I love, love, love Saturday mornings!
  3. I have the day to putter around the house, catch up on some reading, take a nap.
  4. I have ice cream in my freezer.  :-)  Really?  In this world full of tragedy and trouble...is ice cream in the freezer really a qualified blessing???  YES! Especially if it is chocolate-peanut butter. 
  5. My heard of four-legged dependents all seem happy and healthy this morning.  When you have this many critters, every day that you can say that is absolutely a blessing.
Whatever you are doing on this Saturday, I hope the sun is shining on you too and that you are able to find the blessings - big and small - in your day. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Day Blessings

April First.  More snow.  Still sick.  NO FOOLIN!  Today I am thankful for:
  1. Being able to "keep up" (somewhat) with work via e-mail and voice mail
  2. The medications are helping and I'm feeling better
  3. Hot coffee!  Always thankful for hot coffee!
  4. My neighbors who checked on me last night because they said they noticed that my car didn't move yesterday. 
  5. Breakfast...I am so hungry.  As sick as I am, whatever this plague is has done little to reduce my appetite.
Let's talk about those neighbors for a minute.  Middle aged couple, no kids.  The fact that they would notice that my car didn't move yesterday and take the time to check on me just WOWS me. 

I want to BE that kind of a neighbor.  But am I?  Would I notice if something was out of the ordinary at my neighbors' house? 

If I did notice, would I think that something might not be right and take the time to find out?  Or would I shrug it off and go about my business? 

I am so grateful that I have the kind of neighbors who will notice and respond when something is a little "off" with my routine. 

They were not being nosey or imposing or anything like that.  It was just a quick "wanted to see if you're okay" and "holler if you need anything" and then they were gone. 

Neighbors...lights in the darkness at 2:00 a.m. when a bobcat (or something like it) passes through the neighborhood, loudly announcing it's presence. 

Consider your neighbors today.  Do you know them?  Are they the obnoxious, loud music playing type or the quiet type? Have you ever been inside their house?  Would you feel comfortable borrowing a cup of sugar from them?  Would you think to check in with them if their car didn't move and their mail started piling up? 

Happy April Fools Day...and may you find your Five Blessings and more!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blessings in the Snow

Will spring every really arrive?  Yes, it has been spring "on the calendar" for several days now but mother nature isn't cooperating.  It is snowing again this morning and the ground is covered in a blanket of white. 

My "first instinct" as I sit here is to be bummed about this.  I have a respiratory infection of some sort that is making me pretty miserable, complete with an ear ache, the likes of which I haven't felt since I was ten years old. 

However, while I really do think of myself as a realist, I also believe in the "glass is half full" philisophy...and I refuse to focus on the negative.  There are abundant blessings in this winter day. 

Today's Five Daily Blessings:

1. I have the medicine I need to help me feel better.   
2. I am able to stay home from work and not share my germs with my co-workers.  I have the luxury of taking the time that I need to try to rest and get better.  How blessed am I to have a job with paid sick days? There was a time when I had a job without this benefit.  You either went to work sick or lost a day's pay.  And, since I worked in the restaurant business...and nobody wants a sick waitress...I would have to lose a day's pay.
3. The view outside my window is truly amazing.  Say what you will about this miserable winter we have had -- the snow makes a pretty picture.
4. The birds at the bird feeder.  Sparrows, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and a lone Red Bellied Woodpecker, which is an amazing sight.
5. Peace.  The calm and quiet that comes with a snowy day in the middle of nowhere.  The kind of peace you can't get if you live in town.  Sometimes, "life is hard" here in the woods (if that sounds dramatic, bear with me...it's true!) but peaceful days like this make living here so worthwhile. 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing today...I hope you find your "five daily blessings" -- and more!