If you missed an issue of my newsletter or wanted to revisit one that really touched you, here is a list since my restart/refresh in March 2022. Prior to that, I had become dissatisfied with the whole newsletter process. I stopped writing and sending them and deleted the entirety of my list. I had no plans to begin writing them again until I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to write to please my audience, I could write whatever I wanted, whatever made me happy. If my readers didn't like my newsletters, well, they knew where to hit the "unsubscribe" button. Apparently, that strategy has worked because my list is growing (not shrinking, as I might have feared) and I am happier knowing that what I am sending out pleases me.
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October 8, 2022, Invisible Healers
September 8, 2022, When a Tree Falls
August 8, 2022, 9, 8, 7 Little Miracles
July 8, 2022, Are We There Yet?
June 8, 2022, Here the Whispers?
May 8, 2022, Screaming Monkeys
April 8, 2022, Angel Interventions
March 8, 2022, Etching Out "Me" Time
March 8, 2022: Etching Out "Me" Time
It seems harder and harder to etch out any "me" time these days. I like to joke that I wake up on Monday, have lunch on Wednesday, and before I know it, dinnertime arrives on Friday. When I look back on all I've accomplished during the week, sometimes I wonder if I did anything of value at all other than run errands, show up for appointments, and manage the day-to-day hustle we all encounter.
Women of the 1950s spent 57 hours a week keeping house, according to an article in Good Housekeeping magazine. (That's eight hours a day, folks!) No wonder I bemoan lingering dust on the living room ceiling light, missed spill spots on my kitchen floor, and cobwebs behind the downstairs toilet. Who has eight hours a day—every day—to devote to cleaning? And, if I amend any of those dirty issues, four more crop up in their place. (Always inevitable: death, taxes, and dust bunnies.)
I have faded recollections of spending an entire day to myself where I might cross-stitch a project, knit a baby sweater, write in my journal, or read an entire book. (This all may sound a bit sexist, but I find my husband struggles to find his "me" time too.) When did we all get so busy? So distracted? Is staring into the illumination of a handheld device improving our self-worth, our lifestyle, our soul's purpose? (I'm pretty sure it isn't, yet I'm guilty of it.)
Nowadays, I eke out "me" time wherever I can, be it the quiet pre-dawn hours before hubby gets up, a stolen afternoon with no one else around, or a late-night "I'll be up to bed in awhile" excuse. More and more, I beg off of invitations from friends, I'd rather have the "me" time. (Is that wrong?) I even cut my hair short because I wanted that 30-40 minutes of primping time for other things.
I make an effort to find these little niches of time because they are important. They allow me to find and be me. If you've read my books, you know how strongly I believe in answering those "me" delights of the heart. They lead us to better and more satisfying things in life.
What did you do with your "me" time this week? Did you even have any? I read a couple of books (something I can do even with the cat on my lap or sports on tv). I fixed some old bracelets that were falling apart. I wrote in my journal, pulled some tarot cards for the week, and wrote some thank you notes to old friends who took time to write me. I did clean that spot on the floor, dusted, and scrubbed the bathroom (maybe not all of the cobwebs), though I'm pretty sure the eight-hour days of housekeeping are long gone.
I can't always plan my "me" time. Life drags me forward at its own pace. Rather, I have to lasso and wrangle it whenever and wherever I can. How do you find time for yourself? Hit "reply" and let me know what "me" time means for you.
April 8, 2022: Angel Interventions
It started last summer with the brake lines. My beloved voodoo blue Toyota FJ decided to spray fluid all over our driveway. I considered this an angel intervention since I could have been on the highway.
We've known for a while that the FJ's fifteen years on northern, heavily-salted winter roads had taken its toll, but I haven't been ready to let her go. We've shared too many adventures. I've come to appreciate how she cuts through deep snow, offering me peace of mind throughout our harsh winters. Plus, I rarely go anywhere that someone doesn't ask me about the FJ. She's a stand-out among all the other look-alike SUVs.
After the brake line fix, her backend smelled of the leaked fluid, and she continued to leave evidence of her incontinence on the driveway. At times, it got so bad I'd ask my husband to check her underside again. He did, even taking her back to the shop a time or two. They assured me her brakes were good, and the fluid would simply take time to disperse.
A couple of months later, traveling the highway at 70 mph, my son and I heard a horrible, car-rattling sound as a windshield trim piece ripped off and flew into a ravine. (We looked but never found it.) I thanked the angels once again as I shuddered to think if the piece had hit another car or caused an accident.
The FJ made it through winter. Then one morning after a light snow, I started her up, made sure the wiper blades were not stuck to the windshield—a common problem in the snow belt—and hopped in. I flipped the wipers on. They lifted halfway and stopped.
This seemingly minor problem turned out far worse than we thought because our mechanic let us know the non-working part could no longer be obtained. But that wasn't the really bad news. That lingering smell? Turns out it wasn't the brake lines. The FJ now had backend issues. I felt like the owner of a broken-leg horse—and you know what they do to those.
"Time to spiff her up," claimed hubby. I knew what he was hinting at. Not fully accepting, I went along as the "spiffing" began. He started with the missing windshield strip—not a cheap date. He speculated the glue would dry within 48 hours.
Two days later, I had an appointment with a friend in town. Hubby recommended I take his car—just to be sure—but as I reached up to adjust his rearview mirror, my hand barely touched it, and it fell off into my hand. (You can't make this stuff up!) Despite a prediction of rain, and my wiper blades still not working well, I drove off in my FJ.
Oh, I had such a lovely time. It had been so long since I'd been out with friends. I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable afternoon of lunch and conversation. As I headed for home, the sky darkened, and not far into my journey, the clouds opened up, dumping torrents of rain and shaking the FJ with heavy gusts of wind. Battling the rain, faulty wipers, and traffic at highway speeds, I hyper-focused on keeping in my lane. Passing a truck, I once again heard that horrible ripping noise.
The infamous and expensive trim piece had once again blown off and flown out of sight. Distraught, I pulled over as soon as I could. Sitting in the stopped car, wet traffic rushing by, I held back the need to sob. I attempted to gather myself. I couldn't believe this was happening—again. And then something utterly amazing happened.
I'm not sure when I had turned on the radio. I probably did it subconsciously when I first took off for home. I usually request my favorite playlist, but that's not what was playing. Sitting beside the road, frustrated, disheartened, alone, I suddenly became aware of soft, angelic-like music. At first, I didn't think much of it.
I got myself back on the road remembering I needed to get milk. In the store, the same calming music continued to play. "How odd," I thought. But being in a hurry, I didn't give it a second thought. Then, as I got back into the car, I realized I could still hear it, and the car wasn't running. How could that be?
I realized it was coming from—my phone. Why hadn't it stopped when I turned off the car? And what was that song? I didn't remember favoriting it. I didn't remember ever even hearing it before. (I must have?) Moreover, how could it have kept playing over and over? I hadn't asked it to repeat. None of this made sense.
Think what you like, but for me, I chalked it up to angel intervention. Too many coincidences occurred at the right time, just when I needed them most. Once again, I had been kept safe, and where that piece flew, we never knew. (Searches were useless.)
At present, I still have my beloved FJ. I'm not sure for how long. The rogue missing trim piece has been reordered and is awaiting install—this time with different glue. Her fate remains in angel hands.
What angel interventions have you experienced?
May 8, 2022: Screaming Monkeys
I am a recovering “fixer.” I know, I should stop.
I want to help people. I want to relieve their troubles. It hurts me to see others hurting. This is especially true if it's a loved one or friend. (Maybe you are a fixer too.)
In many cases, "fixing" is just a desire, it's not necessarily a real possibility. There's a difference between lending a helping hand and "fixing."
You’ve probably heard the phrase “he has a monkey on his back.” This typically refers to a worrisome problem someone is carrying around. (Those are the kinds of things I want to "fix.") Sometimes my son will add, “not my monkey, not my circus,” which for him means, “I’m not getting involved with that; it’s not my worry.” (He's a recovering fixer too.)
We all face situations where our fate is out of our hands and where we see no way to change a situation. We've probably all had to deal with those back-hugging monkeys.
I imagine this worry as a gangly-armed, screaming monkey clinging to that person’s back. I see it as crying out for attention, being unruly. Maybe he is throwing bananas. Maybe hurling spitballs. The noise is deafening.
In those situations, the only way to deal with a screaming monkey may be through prayer. ("Fixing" probably isn't going to do the trick at that point.)
Although I don't like it, I long ago accepted the value of trouble. In my younger days, my family called upon me as a prayer warrior to pray through whatever strife (or screaming monkeys) they faced.
Eventually, I saw how some of those monkeys were often the linchpin they needed to propel them to their highest and best. At one point, I stopped praying. I didn't want to play God. Who was I to decide which troubles were good and which were bad? (This was my thinking at the time.) Of course, I didn't give up prayer forever.
If we can't fix them, what can we do with those monkeys on their backs?
I recently began using visualization for screaming monkeys.
First I have to recognize “this is not my monkey.” (Seriously, that can be the hardest part.) Second, I have to realize, "I can't fix this." Then I visualize a hand picking up that screaming monkey and placing it into the hands of the God (or however you see the Divine).
As soon as I do, that screaming, crying, unruly monkey calms down. It becomes peaceful. I tell myself, "it’s in God's hands now." I console myself by knowing that thing I cannot fix is now up to God. I don’t have to contrive a solution or jump in to fix something that doesn't need fixing. (I'm not perfect at this!)
Whose unruly, screaming monkeys are you trying to tame? Let go of those extra worries. They are not yours to carry. Turn those screaming monkeys over to God. Let him find the perfect solution.
June 8, 2022: Hear the Whispers?
I’m sitting on our deck watching people go by. A light breeze dances across the lake. Clouds partially cover a blue sky. A man slowly backs his boat trailer toward the water. (It will take him four tries.) Our overly-spoiled cat, who wears a harness to sit outside, peeks over the edge of the deck hoping a mouse or a chipmunk will blindly walk by. Across from me on the deck, my husband quietly looks down at his phone reading news articles.
Life is good and I should be enjoying this moment of quiet. Yet my mind races off in fourteen directions reminding me I haven’t yet weeded the front flower bed or put fertilizer on bushes. Inside laundry awaits as do a few other projects. I need to post some items for sale (I have no idea when I will find time for that), and I have a long list of other really "important" to-do items waiting, not to mention—what’s for dinner?
A few weeks ago, a quiet message began popping up everywhere.
I heard it in song lyrics, in passing conversations, in tv commercials. I mean, everywhere. It's almost like the words are dancing in the wind and tickling my ears several times a day.
It began when we picked up our new-used Silverado. Moving from the Toyota FJ to the Silverado's massive body and V-8 meant a shift in perspective. I merely needed to touch the gas and this North Blue Sky behemoth rolls. She's one of those vehicles where you barely feel like you're moving and you look down and see you're exceeding the speed limit—by a lot. "Whoa, there, little lead foot! Better slow your roll!"
There. See? Right then. That's where it started.
Get in the truck. Buckle up. Start driving down the road. Then the reminder. Think slow. Think ease. Take it easy so as not to speed.
Yeah, but it didn't stop there. I began getting the "slow down" message from all around me.
Was it a message just for me? Or has the whole world gone to ludicrous speed with the need to back off, check the gas pedal, and find a place to peace out?
And what do "peace and quiet" look like? Feel like? Has it been so long we don't even remember?
Is it a stolen hour sitting on the deck—not worrying about the "to do" list? An evening watching a detective show without surfing the Internet at the same time? Or is it more than that?
Checking my email and deleting a collection of Ebay messages proposing items I may be looking for (mostly not), I found myself wondering how many other senseless maintenance tasks I do every day that could be totally eliminated.
Okay, so I don't want to stop things like brushing my teeth and making the bed—I still like to be clean and neat. Food still needs to be put on the table and, oh, yeah, paying the bills is still a thing. (I'd love to delete that!) But how many other useless tasks do we do every day that we simply could let go of and no one would care? Not doing them would free up time in our day we could use to—yeah— slow down.
More than that, are you hearing the whispers? Are you listening to the quiet inner voice telling you how to make the most of every day, how to be the best, happiest, healthiest you possible? Mine's telling me to "slow down." What's yours telling you?