Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
The hubster and I saw a rainbow form in a meadow in Colorado in Aug. 2011.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our dream house: just pinch me!

It's not exactly indicative of living over the rainbow when you are so busy that you can't even find time to blog. Between running a ministry, trying to be an attentive wife, homeschooling three kids, volunteering as scorekeeper and game blogger for my son's high school baseball team, running all three kids to multiple practices, leading a 4-H club, working as a free-lance writer for the local newspaper I used to edit--well, you get the idea. Blogging can only be done late at night, and by that time, this little gal is often zombiefied.

Since this blog focuses on living the dream, I guess you could say I am dreaming of a time of refreshing right about now! My house is a mess; who has time to clean it when there are not even enough minutes in the day to eat a decent meal sometimes?

Perhaps that's why tonight I am longing to live in a place like the one I visit occasionally--the Ruby Rose Tea Room in Stoneville, NC. I went a few weeks ago on a beautiful Saturday morning with some precious women in my family. I have made plans to go again this coming Saturday with church friends and family. I thought you might want to have a look at this gorgeously decorated place!

I spent a precious time of fellowship with my mother (middle), her sister Audrey (left) and her sister Darlene (right). Talk about living the dream--would you believe these ladies are all ages 69-74?! Aren't they lovely?

See the pinkish tea in the lovely glass? That's a raspberry tea that'll make ya wanna slap yer granny! Most of us ended up ordering the daily special of soup and sandwich, accompanied by a delicious dessert (Aunt Audrey and I split chocolate chip cheesecake and fresh cobbler!)

Also on our little field trip were my daughter Chelsea (left), my mother's other sister Carol (center) and my first cousin Susie. It was a girls' day out!

Notice the elegant table settings. The color pink predominates in this lovely restaurant which emanates peace and tranquility.

This was another table in what I call the green and pink room. I go to this tea room and then go home dreaming of living in a house this beautifully decorated.

(Granted, the hubster might feel it's too girly, but I like it.) If I were handier with stenciling, I figure I could do something like this. Look at the pretty flowers stenciled on the chairs.

Stenciling on the ceilings at occasional outjets of the wall, vine-like flower garlands around pictures--I like it.

Our church group is a small one called Times of Refreshing in Walnut Cove, NC. I am an ordained minister and founded the ministry.

We are being given a big, two-story white house that is one of the oldest in our town--to use for our nonprofit organization. I go to the Ruby Rose Tea Room to get ideas for how to decorate our place once the legalities are handled and it's ours.

This fireplace has the potential to look cluttered but somehow pulls off the look. I love a mirror on a mantel.

I dream of pretty stenciling across thresholds. And white lacy sheers draped in a doorway, held back with greenery.

Stenciling on stairways, hanging lamps, flower arrangements scattered strategically, lace doilies on the banister post. . .elegant. The house we are being given for the glory of God has a grand staircase that could be restored to its previous elegance. Leaving a house vacant for over a decade is not a good way to preserve it, but it could not be helped in the case of our ministry house. It needs tender loving care now.

Look at the stenciling on the individual stairs. What a quaint idea! (And the plant, by the way, is not real, but painted!)

The tricks you can play with mirrors! Great way to enlarge a room. This is another room in the expansive restaurant. Almost all of the rooms have tables for parties to eat.
I like the idea of lighted trees in each room--and not just at Christmas time either! I adore low-hanging light fixtures as well. My son is a terrific artist--wonder how he'd do at painting murals such as the one on this wall?

A house with a motif like this--one of flowers, vines, pastorally painted scenery--seems the natural way to go for a ministry called Times of Refreshing, doesn't it? We want to use it as a place to heal broken people and to refresh those who have perhaps been burned out by life in this fallen world.

This is the floor in the foyer outside the bathroom. I can't imagine how this paint job doesn't wear down after so long.

Even the bathroom is a place of refreshing in this tea room atmosphere. I like the use of hats that you see just randomly hanging here and there.

Lighting is important in a place designed to refresh people. Who wants darkness? Depressed people traditionally close the shades and hide in darkness. We want to bring in the healing light of day that God gave us!

This little nook is hidden away in the foyer outside of the bathroom. I could sit here and meditate, but that might not be appropriate! The house we will soon have has a front porch. Properly redone, it could be a great place for meditation as it looks out on the little town.

I am in love with cabinets, especially those with stenciling. An ugly piece of furniture can be beautified with such art.

This fountain made soothing bubbling sounds as we examined the decor of this room. I want indoor fountains gurgling in our house one day. Running water is reminiscent of peaceful mountain settings which tend to be calming influences for troubled people.

White columns are so regal to me. I think of the beauty of ancient Greece.

A fake window painted onto a wall? I like it. How could anyone remain unhappy and troubled in such an environment? I can imagine Christian music playing in the background of our house or just CDs of nature sounds.

The top of the stairs is just as pretty as the bottom!

Downstairs in the house that our ministry hopes to soon occupy, there is a master bedroom suite that we intend to make a gorgeous place of retreat. We will then offer it to missionaries, preachers, Christian workers who may need a place to steal away to seek God in times of prayer, praise, worship and Bible study.

We want to offer this master suite to all local churches to house their revival speakers, visiting missionaries or maybe even just for the pastor to take some time away. There is an outdoor entrance to this suite, so that they would never have to enter the main part of the house where we might be working. Everything of course would be free of charge.

This is the upstairs bedroom of the Ruby Rose Tea Room. What a reflective getaway!

There is even a clawfoot bathtub in the bedroom with a curtain for privacy.

Purple is my favorite color and does much to rest my soul!

This dining room is upstairs at the Tea Room. We will have three LARGE upstairs rooms in the house we are being given. I dream of making one of them a Walnut Cove Historical Room, named after the elderly lady whose idea it was to give her house to us. Before she died, I told her that I wanted to name such a room after her. She beamed.

It took some doing to convince my little girl when she saw this picture that the plants were painted on! She was just sure they were real.

Chelsea and I were in Heaven in the little gift shop upstairs. Lovely gift ideas of all sorts there!

Yes, the Tea Room provides a door for me to enter the house of my dreams--the house we hope to one day have in our little town--where the broken can be mended, the bitter can be soothed, the weary can be refreshed and the sick can be healed.

It is my dream.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

From one daydream believer to another

I had this exact Tiger Beat as a child!
Dreams are a large part of the world of adolescent girls. And many of these young girls' dreams involve boys--often boys who aren't attainable. Yeah, we'll "go with" ("go out with," "go steady with," "talk to") the little fella in our second period class, but we'll dream of the latest teen idol movie star or singer/musician.

This fact hasn't changed much since the advent of modern communication. (I mean, who did the 18th-century girls dream of? Young princes? Minuet composers? There was no TV to rocket Bonnie Prince Charlie to stardom, no radio to make young Beethoven famous, no teen magazines with pull-out posters of Lord Byron in the middle.)

But mass media changed young girls' dreams. In the '40s, they swooned over young crooners like Bing Crosby and movie heroes like Gary Cooper. The '50s brought James Dean, Pat Boone and many more. Girls of the '60s got a little more radical in their dreaming, with fantasies of the Beatles and other long-haired rock 'n roll stars, Ricky Nelson, and Elvis--left over from the '50s and still hot.

A new group that emerged in the '60s was a long-haired crew called The Monkees. They peaked from 1966-68 but never totally vanished from the music scene, with many young people today still familiar with their music.
Hey, hey, we're the Monkees!
I was too young to appreciate The Monkees in their heyday, but I remember their TV show in syndication. I even have this strangely vivid memory of my cousin Mickey Smith and I chasing each other around the coffee table in his living room to the sounds of "Last Train to Clarksville."

He'll forever look like this in our memories.
I was crazy about one of The Monkees' lead singers, Micky Dolenz. But I also couldn't resist their ever-youthful cutie pie of a lead singer, Davy Jones. He was small--making him seem closer to my age although he was WAY older than I was (could've been my daddy)--plus his dark good looks were boyishly charming. And let's face it--a British accent will make the most stoic of us gals swoon.

I watched the Brady Bunch and agonized with Marsha as she tried to get Davy Jones for her school prom. And oh, the thrill when Davy walked into her home to announce he would indeed sing at her prom! I'll even admit I was envious when Marsha kissed him on the cheek and he said, "Flip side" and she got to kiss him on the other cheek.

(Click on the link below to see Marsha Brady meet Davy Jones on the "Brady Bunch"!)

Davy's charm persisted through the years. He had a cameo appearance in The Brady Bunch Movie released in 1995. The man was nearly 50 years old by then and still looked like a teeny-bopper. It is a thrill to see him come out on stage at Marsha's high school dance and sing "Girl," the same song he sang in the 1971 episode of the show. (What's hilarious is all of the middle-aged female teachers and chaperones who are stunned to see Davy and run screaming to the front of the stage to sway to his music and act all twitterpated, like teenage girls.)

Well, Davy Jones died today. Although I don't exactly think of The Monkees very often these days, I was still stunned to hear the news. How can this be? The perpetually young teen idol dead? My brain still can't wrap itself around the fact that one of The Monkees is gone. Aren't they still those long-haired (okay, medium-haired) guys bouncing around on stage (well, everyone except for ole laid back Mike), singing "I'm a Believer" and other Monkees standards?

Older but still cute!
I cannot comprehend that Davy Jones was almost as old as my dad when he passed away this morning. Why, my dad is nearly elderly now; he's gray, wears glasses, gets stiff these days. The Davy Jones in my mind is still black-headed and dancing around on stage (the boy had some smooth moves).

So much for another Monkees reunion tour such as the one they tried to do this past year until they allegedly canceled the remainder of the dates due to internal strife and other mysterious conflicts.

But I don't choose to think on the negative. I will remember the made-perfect-for-television group that was cute, funny and ever-young.

Because if Davy Jones was (gulp) 66, then where does that leave my other teen idols David Cassidy, the Bay City Rollers, Rick Springfield and Bobby Sherman? And what does that make me?

I am truly a daydream believer!
Am I not still that teenage girl poring avidly over her Tiger Beat magazine, carefully tearing out the centerfold poster of Leif Erickson? Don't tell me Prince Andrew is aging and balding; in my mind I'm still a young teenager sitting in the coolness of my basement on a hot summer day, daydreaming of capturing his attention somehow and becoming Princess Leslie of Great Britain.

I may not have been a homecoming queen, but I was a daydream believer then, and I am a daydream believer now. "I could hide 'neath the wings, of the bluebird as she sings, The six o'clock alarm would never ring. . ."

But the cold reality of six o'clock in the morning comes daily, and none of us can hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird or any other bird. Tiger Beat centerfolds get wrinkled and gray. Time bows to no man (or young girl with her dreams), and our teen idols, along with us, will eventually get old and pass from this life.

But as long as we have CDs and the Internet, the music will, in a sense, immortalize the singers. Davy Jones may be gone, but his youthful voice lingers over the airwaves.

And we will remember the innocence and naivete of our youthful days when we sang along with those memorable words, "Here we come, walking down the street, We get the funniest looks from, everyone we meet. . .Hey, hey, we're the Monkees! And people say we monkey around, But we're too busy singing, To put anybody down!"

(Click on this link to hear Davy Jones and The Monkees sing "Daydream Believer." You'll see Davy's smooth dance moves!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Children--my dream come true

I've spent a lot of time on this blog talking about living the dream as far as health and diet go, but you must realize that I have many more dreams than just getting into better shape. One of my dreams has basically already come true. That is my dream of being part of a close-knit family.

Even when I was a little girl, I wanted bunches of kids. As an adolescent, I would write short stories and novels (yes, I had the writing fever even as a child), and each imaginary family that I created and wrote about would have numerous kids. During those girlhood years, I spent much time poring over baby name books and writing lists of possible names for my future children.

When I was only 23, I lost my first baby at just six weeks gestation. All I could think was that perhaps I wouldn't be able to produce children. But God smiled on me and gave me Meghann Elizabeth just a year later. She has been nothing but a blessing to me--such a Godly, wise, rational, brilliant girl that I love to spend time with; we talk on the phone several times a day. She came by tonight on her way to cover the county commissioners' meeting for the newspaper. Our time together was over too soon--it always is.
My little Meggie and me
When Megh was about to turn three, I lost another baby--this time at eight weeks. This loss was much tougher because now I truly knew the joys of parenthood. I remember sitting at my parents' house in early May that year as tornadoes ripped through Winston-Salem, destroying the ancient oaks in the Old Salem Square. I felt that the tornadoes were inside of me, ripping a precious life out of my body.

But the very next May, I gave birth to Chelsea Alyssa and was madly in love with her as soon as they put her on my belly in the delivery room. For the next few weeks after she was born, I would cry with joy just looking at her. I still feel the same way about this Godly, witty, intelligent, creative girl. She and I spent precious hours together this past Saturday as we visited the Ruby Rose Tea Room in Stoneville and talked, talked, talked. Daughters are treasures from above indeed.
Me with my little Chels
For several years after Chels was born, I was infertile. I began to assume that my childbearing days were over, but then one day during my private prayer time, God told me I would have a son. Sure enough, when Chels was 5 1/2, Elijah Blue was born. His sisters joked for years that he was glued to my hip. And so he was. This blue-eyed boy was a holy child from birth and touched a place in my heart that only a son can touch.

My divorce was toughest on him perhaps, but God has done such a work! Now Elijah and I are as close as ever; the bond that was always there has not been broken but instead strengthened. I look proudly at the little bitty fellow who has grown to be 6' tall--an anointed young man of God who is super-bright and artistically talented--a white boy who can dance like nobody's business and truly has a prophetic gift. We sometimes sit up late at night as he pours his heart out to me. How I treasure these times!

Me and my Little Boy Blue
As if my cup didn't already run over, God saw fit to continue to bless my womb. When Elijah was 2 1/2, my little Abigail Iona entered this world right there in my own bed at home! She was a gentle soul from the first and still has a loving persona. Her observant, thoughtful nature always pleases me. For example, she heard me say last Friday that I wished I could write down the history facts my uncle was telling me, so without being asked, she ran to find me a notebook and pen. She supplies me with fresh flowers whenever they can be found in the yard or woods.

As the only daughter I have left at home, sweet Abby has become my right hand. I don't know what I'd do without this little gal who truly has been endowed by God with the gift of helps; she doesn't even have to be asked to do what needs to be done to make my life easier.
My sweet Abby and me
 My childbearing days seemed to be over after Abigail was born. When she was four, I lost a set of twins at 11 weeks--a very tragic loss for me. I was accidentally pregnant again the next month but lost that baby at six weeks. I went through a very dark time for many months after that. I recognized that I had already been blessed by God with four wonderful children, but I had this gut feeling that it wasn't supposed to be over yet.

(Click on this link to hear a song that comforted me when I lost my babies, "Jesus Has a Rocking Chair" by the Greenes.)

Sure enough, it ain't over 'til it's over. My little Mister Malachi Ian appeared on Earth when my baby Abby was six. This sturdy, healthy baby has grown into the sweetest seven-year-old in this world--in my eyes anyway. He, as his older brother once was, is glued to my hip. His cheerful and loving personality--something I didn't quite expect when he was a difficult toddler--is sunlight on my cloudiest days.
Me with my loving little Malachi
 The other night before bedtime, I was listening to Phillips, Craig and Dean's "His Grace Still Amazes Me." Malachi climbed into my lap and exclaimed with a big smile, "That's my favorite song!" Then he looked at me with loving brown eyes and said, "And you're my favorite person. I love you more than anybody in the whole world."

I suddenly couldn't see very well. Everything was sort of blurred and wet for a minute, and I thought my heart would burst with the love pulsating within it. As his little head laid on my shoulder and that tiny hand clasped mine, I knew that one of my biggest dreams had come true: God had given me children.

I can never thank Him enough for that. I treasure the five I have here on Earth, I rest in peace that I will see the five I lost up in Heaven, and if He sees fit to give me any more, I will welcome those, too. There's unlimited love in my heart for children.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. . ." (James 1:17) That is how I see children--as gifts from above--from somewhere over the rainbow. . .that arc of promise given by the Father.

(Click on this link to hear Whitney Houston sing "The Greatest Love of All." Yes, I believe the children are our future!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The YAY ME! awards

Something is wrong with the set of scales at our house. Seriously wrong.

My hubster Superman has transformed his daily diet for the past week into one that Jack LaLanne would've been proud of but instead of losing weight, he has rather GAINED a little bit. I, too, have changed my wicked ways and have only lost half of a pound. (As I said earlier, I'm not as worried about numbers as I am good health, but my poor hubster wants that number to come down!)

Perhaps it is the hubster's hair that is adding weight!
That sweet man who fantasizes about greasy cheeseburgers and large sodas (better than large--or small--greasy women!) has been religiously eating fresh green salads, raw fruits and yogurt daily for over a week. Few are the sweets he intakes and much is the water he partakes (of--okay that ruined my internal rhyme).

Last night when he did his weekly weigh-in, he threw up his hands and said, "I'm just going back to the way I used to eat!" I begged him not to, so tonight before work, he ate his usual green salad before we fixed him grapes and peanut butter-filled celery to take to the job. Baby steps, Superman--baby steps.

As for me, I am doing about the same as last week despite my good intentions to surpass last week's baby steps--maybe even take some froggie hops in this Mother May I "Let's Get Healthy" game. Saturday I walked my one time around the block but had to quit because I had waited too long before walking--it was nearly dark. Sunday I was gone all day, and when I got back, it was snowy and nearly dark again, hence, no walk.

But before I get too negative, let's inject some positivity into this positively positive endeavor of mine.

It's time for the YAY ME! awards:

1.  On MONDAY--ahhh, Monday--the hubster walked with me, and I made two trips around the block. As London Tipton would say on Disney's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "YAY ME!" My legs were struggling but not as bad as before when I only made one round. Muscles DO get stronger with use; my fourth grade health book was right!

2.  My baby steps included me eating only the organic burger with fresh lettuce and raw onions on Saturday night when everyone else ate the patty in a carbohydrate-loaded, mayo-laden hamburger bun. (And I only ate one burger to their two!) And what's more--I only ate a piece and a half of pizza at the buffet today when I usually eat at least four.

3.  When the snack urge hits late at night, I have still been forgoing potato chips and nibbling baked pita chips and carrot sticks (yes, still dipped in Hidden Valley Ranch dip--*sad sigh*). The next goal is to stop late night snacking altogether, but hey, at least I have changed the choice of snacks and left behind taco-flavored Doritos.

This was last year's box, but this year's was even bigger!
4.  Check this out--my big box of Valentine's chocolates is still half full and Valentine's Day was over a week ago! You have no idea how monumental this is. I even shared two or three with the hubster. I had to bite my lip when he reached for a piece of that chocolaty delight (Oh no--what if he gets my molasses chew? Surely he won't get my chocolate-covered toffee!), but Lois Lane is always glad to share with Superman. Why, at Sunday lunch, I even passed on my mama's angel food cake topped with peaches and whipped cream so that I could eat a cookie or two (or three or four) at my inlaws' house for supper on Sunday night! I am learning how to barter for my sweets (you can have the cookies if you pass on the cake).

5.  I have decided that to keep healthy eating interesting, we must eat a variety of foods, rather than getting bogged down in the same ole same ole. Today I left behind the world of apples and oranges and enjoyed two exotic fruits--fresh kiwi and mango. They were delicious! I felt positively tropical--nearly put on my lei and hula skirt (oh yeah, I forgot--I can't wear my hula skirt any more because of the jelly rolls/side meat I have accumulated!). Variety is one of the spices of life. Mix it up, people!

RED ALERT! RED ALERT! It's confession time and the priest ain't here! I didn't drink much water today (being out and about so much all day, plus my distiller broke--really it did!), I drank a few glasses of sweet tea at lunch (I had to meet my cousin to make her wedding plans and the lunch buffet included a drink--I am not one to waste money), I ate a breakfast sandwich from Subway when I met a preacher to discuss upcoming revivals (no excuse except extreme hunger), and I didn't exercise at all today (unless you count the long haul to and from Elijah's baseball field). BAD GIRL!

But now the day is over, night is drawing (has drawn) nigh. Leslie will soar o'er her failures, like birds that have learned to fly.

After all, says Scarlett O'Hara, tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baby steps

Climbing the stairs one step at a time!
 I used to love to play "Mother May I?" when I was a kid. Do y'all remember that game? One person was "Mother" and would stand far away from the other kids lined up at the starting line. "Mother" would call out an order to one of the kids.

"Leslie, take three baby steps."

I was supposed to reply, "Mother, may I?" When "Mother" gave me permission, I could move forward three baby steps. If I forgot to ask for permission and just began taking the steps, "Mother" would order me to go back to the starting line. That was tough if you had advanced a long way!

The goal was to get to the finish line first. I would long for "Mother" to call out "giant steps" or even "butterfly twirls" because I could really make progress with those.

I am glad to say that I am taking baby steps toward my dream of being healthier. I wish I could say I am taking giant steps, but after the few weeks of fighting a destructive virus, even baby steps are thrilling to me!

Baby step #1: I am walking! And I mean farther than from the couch to the refrigerator. No more couch potato am I. I had started walking (twice!) right before the virus struck but had to give it up when my legs got so weak. This week I walked around the block on two different days.

Okay, so that's no Olympic record, but for me it was progress. Gee, I hate to admit my weakness, but I will just say it up in here--my legs HURT as I walked up the hills in my neighborhood. My heart was sad as I thought about how I used to effortlessly walk "March of Dimes" walk-a-thons when I was a teenager--20 miles up and down "hills and hollers."

What has become of that fit girl? Unh, unh, unh. Lord have mercy.

I was not sore the next day, however. That must mean I could've pushed myself more possibly. I just wish I could've walked every day this week. But sometimes it was raining, and other times I was chauffeuring kids all over the place for games and practices.

My goal this coming week is to walk at least four times--get me a double portion of walking. I guess I'll stick to walking around the block, but I might add an extra foray onto a different street or up the hill to my little outdoor sanctuary behind a local church.

Baby steps just might become "toddler steps."

Baby step #2: I began eating at least one raw fruit a day. Okay, okay--so I generally did that anyway. But there were days I missed back then. Not this week. (Until today--oh dear, oh dear.)

And yes, for all of you health Nazis, I realize that one measly fruit a day is like dropping a pebble in the ocean and hoping for a tidal wave. But give me credit for progress. I am on the road to at least two raw fruits a day. And can you give me some extra credit for adding a glass of fruit juice each day as well (even pulpy orange juice NOT from concentrate)?

Baby step #3: I religiously ate raw vegetables several days. I eat cooked vegetables every day always, but I believe raw ones are better and pack a terrific enzymatic and nutritional punch. I mainly dined on carrots, but cucumbers and broccoli entered the mix as well.

My goal is to eat one green salad each day. I used to do that each day for lunch, but that was then and this is now.

Now I've got to figure out how to eat raw veggies without Hidden Valley Ranch dip. Where there's a will, there's a way, as Ma Ingalls would've said on "Little House on the Prairie."

Baby step #4: I cut way back on my refined sugar intake. NOT A SINGLE CANDY BAR ALL WEEK! Yay! I did allow myself some of the chocolates that the hubster gave me for Valentine's Day because I didn't want to hurt his feelings or anything. :)

The demons this week came in the form of Girl Scout cookies. I had ordered six boxes (I have a bunch of kids--remember?!). The problem was that the hubster, unbeknownst to me, also ordered six boxes. So there was nothing to do but eat about four a day.

Wait! Wait! Before you judge, realize that normally in mid-February, I would be eating double that, until all boxes were empty. I was a relatively good girl (not Scout) this week with regard to forgoing cookies.

Baby step #5: I did not eat a single potato chip all week. Are you listening? I DID NOT EAT A SINGLE POTATO CHIP! That's right--uh huh.

When the temptation hit to partake of those chips that I so love, I made a dash for the baked pita chips with no fat and fewer calories. They were actually pretty good. I can't believe that I am about to admit that I didn't miss my beloved potato chips at all.

Summary: I did not take any giant steps or butterfly twirls, but baby steps will eventually get you to the goal if you don't turn around and head in the opposite direction. I intend to improve even more this coming week.

Goals for the week:
1. Walking around the block at least four days.
2. Eating two raw fruits a day.
3. Eating a salad each weekday for lunch.
4. Staying away from potato chips, bread, and refined sugar
5. Drinking at least six glasses of distilled water per day (I normally do 4-6).

And the hubster bought me five pounds of organic carrots! Guess who's going to make fresh juice?

Baby steps here in Oz, but I am determined to live the dream of nurturing my abused body back to health.

Won't you join me? Tell me what you're doing to be in better health. Maybe you'll inspire me on this dream journey I am taking!

Oh yeah! And have a happy President's Day this week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mental motion--Forward! MARCH!

The road may look dark right now, but the sun is shining just up ahead! (Photo by Monty Stevens)

Living the dream has been no cakewalk this week. I felt as if I had been plopped right back into sepia-toned Kansas with the twister headed straight toward me and Miss Gulch riding away with my little dog. When your health suffers, it's hard to focus on doing what it takes to achieve the dream.

Some sort of detestable virus started toying with me nearly two weeks ago, but I was able to keep going--even walking for exercise around the block (in accordance with my dream of being in Madonna-like shape). I would have an okay day followed by a yucko day, as far as how my body felt. (Every day above ground is a good one, relatively speaking!)

By the beginning of this past week, the days of utter exhaustion/queasiness/achiness were outnumbering the days of recuperation. Yet still the virus seemed to be playing ping-pong with me, never hitting with a magnitude that would knock me off my feet yet making life slightly miserable as I kept going. I took Tuesday as a day to simply rest and commune with my Maker, and by the next day, I felt much improved.

But Thursday dawned with the familiar queasiness and abnormal exhaustion. Today wasn't much better; in fact, now the membranes in my eyes and the back of my nose and throat are stinging.

I'm not telling you all of this to have a pity party or to solicit sympathy. I, who haven't had so much as a Tylenol since Dec. 2000 and who had my last two babies at home with no medicine, am not one to play up sickness or pain. However, I am a firm believer in using hardships to learn lessons and grow stronger.

Yes, it was a bitter blow to have been healthy all winter and then get started on my "living the dream" regime only to suddenly be stricken in such a way that I COULDN'T carry out my grand schemes. I wanted to keep up the exercise routine I had started but literally didn't have the strength. (Hard to walk briskly up and down "hills and hollers" when your legs are shaking just from walking from the living room to the kitchen.)

I wanted to transition more and more to healthy eating, but it's tough to prepare what you need when you don't feel like moving from the couch. It's easier to eat Super Bowl leftovers like sausage balls and party mix. It takes effort to clean and juice organic carrots. It requires strength just to fix your hair, put on some makeup and go on a grocery shopping spree for healthy foods for a pantry that has been inhabited for years by canned ravioli, Vienna sausages and sugary cereals.

But here's what I learned this week: even when you can't PHYSICALLY move toward your dream, you can still MENTALLY keep moving. You can still keep the dream alive by focusing on it mentally, by visualizing where you want to be in a month, six months, a year.

"Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be." (Joy Page)
In other words, you've got to see it to be it. So when life's inevitable blows try to knock you two steps backward, in your mind don't you dare give up. In your mind, don't you dare give in to the thoughts of failure. In your mind, see yourself as the you that you want to be. And when the tide turns (as it always does), then reset your physical motion to match your mental motion.

I remember my little sister loving that old song by Little Eva, "Do the Loco-Motion." I say that we dreamers need to "Do the Mental Motion." Don't focus on the negative, such as "I don't want to be fat and bulky." Focus on the positive, "I want to be slim and flexible." Not "I don't want to get sick," but rather "I want to be healthy and whole."

I've always said that Christianity often misses the mark by being so negative--warning people not to be bad in hopes that fear will motivate change. If we would change the focus to wanting to be good because of our love for the Lord, I believe we would see greater change--change that is lasting.

So let's change our mindsets. Let a setback actually be a slingshot that pulls you back before it propels you forward.

Yep, it was a tough week here over the rainbow. But even Dorothy had to fight the Wicked Witch in Oz. And those flying monkeys? Please. Those things creeped me out.

I may feel set back, but I'm on track. I may feel delayed, but I'm a dreamer on parade. I may feel discouraged, but I will be encouraged. I may think I've been slack, but I'm coming back!

Mental motion is where it's at.

I am healthy, I am whole, I am blessed!