I am so very, very, behind…

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Becky & Linda, 2005

I have over-booked myself—not just for this week, but for the entire year. Have you done that too, or were you smarter than me?

I am trying to do everything I have committed to while still maintaining some level of grace under pressure. No, grace is too extreme for me… I am trying to be nice under pressure. I have found that it’s much easier to be nice to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers than it is to maintain nice-ness with those I love the most. My poor husband, and my mom, get it the worst from me because, after all, I know that no matter what, they always usually forgive me. So I am working extra hard not to let the stress jump out at either of them.

That leads me to this. A friend forwarded an ‘uplifting’ email to me. In the same way the chain letters are lost on me, usually uplifting emails go into my junk folder very quickly. But this one is really good and I am happy to have received it. I have no idea who wrote it but it is worth sharing with you.

A Great Lesson on Stress

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience.

Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘Half empty or half full?’ She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued,”and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.

Read the rest if you want to. The best part was the story, above.

  1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!
  2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  4. Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
  5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  8. Never buy a car you can’t push.
  9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
  10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  12. The second mouse gets the cheese.
  13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  15. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
  16. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  17. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  18. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.
  19. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!

When babies happen…

If you subscribe to the Piece O’ Cake newsletter, you know that I just sent one on Thursday with fabric and book news. Lorna was busy filling orders yesterday, Friday, when she got ‘the call’.

I’ve written before that Lorna is becoming a doula. Well, her first client called to say that her water had broken. Cutting fabric and filling orders stopped and will just have to wait until Sunday, when she’ll pick up where she left off…

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Lorna has an order-filling system. I am not going to go in there and mess with her system.

This being her first experience as a doula, we got to sort out for the first time what happens with Elanor, Jack, and Bear when Lorna has to pick up and go. Jack ended up with me and Steve. Judy, Lorna’s mom, stayed overnight with Elanor and Bear. Christopher was with my mom who had minor back surgery on Thursday*.

There’s been no word yet on the status of the baby and mother so I suspect that it’s not all the way over yet. I hope Lorna loves this experience as much as she thought she would. She would be someone I would want with me during childbirth if I were doing it again (which I am not!). I also recognize that this is not something I would ever want to do, nor would I be good at it, except in an emergency.

UPDATE: The baby was born Saturday evening after a flurry of activity at the end. Baby, mother—and Lorna—are all just fine :-).

*In other news, my mom had a kyphoplasty on Thursday. It’s outpatient back surgery. I was nervous because mom’s reaction to anesthetic has not been good in the past but this time she woke up pretty clear-headed. Oh happy, happy day!

But, even though she did seem OK, we all agreed that someone should be with her for about 48 hours to be sure that she was steady on her feet. You’d think that I would be the best choice to stay with mom, but we all agreed that Chris would be the better choice. Followed by Lorna, and then Judy.

Mom and I love each other, but I am less patient with her than I ought to be. It’s that whole mother/daughter thing that needs no more explanation. 48 hours of trying to be patient with each other might kill us both :-). I popped in and out. Today she is on her own and I think she’s kind of happy that things are back to normal. Also, her back is better!

Boomerang bags!

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Linda is the proud recipient of the January Volunteer Award from the non-profit Surfrider Perth Foundation.

Linda’s niece, Magen, is currently the president of the Surfrider Perth branch. Magen is based out of the University of Western Australia, and has just completed her Masters in Marine Biology (focusing on shark learning behaviours & recreational fishing).

Linda’s Aunt Mildred donated fabric for the reusable grocery bag campaign (Boomerang Bags). While Magen was home, she and Linda and Magen’s mom, Judy, worked on bags.

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Judy, Magen’s mom

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Magen and Linda

They made 76 bags! Magen is working to get the Boomerang Bag program started with Surfrider Chapters in the states and to start an Australian/USA sister chapter. Click here for more info.

Another year…

I read the comics every day. Yesterday, two in particular jumped out at me because today is my birthday!

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Close To Home by John McPherson, 1/10/15

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Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis, 1/10/15

I mostly don’t remember how old I am. I spent the last few years thinking I was 57—both before and after I really was 57. Today I am 59. I thought it would feel like another non-memorable number, but I think I’m going to remember how old I am this year because 60 is going to get my attention.

It’s not that I fear getting older. In fact, I am enjoying where I am in life now, and I hope that continues to be the case. It’s more that I know the time in front of me is not endless. I am much more aware of the frailty of our existence. The older you get, the more you notice that people of all ages die for all sorts of reasons. (Side note: I wish causes of death were still listed in obituaries. Not because I’m ghoulish, but because knowing why can sometimes be useful. Useful is the wrong word but I hope you know what I mean.)

I woke up the other night thinking about the dent I’ll be leaving behind. What I mean by that is: who is going to notice that I’m gone, when I’m gone? Family and friends, yes. Quilters, yes, at least sometimes. But I’m pretty sure the world at large won’t even blink.

I am not changing the world in the same way that others have. Mother Theresa I am not. Nor am I Louis Pasteur, Ghandi, Paul Farmer, etc. I am not sure what I can do to change the world at large for the better so, rather than throwing up my hands in despair, I am going to concentrate on trying to be better in my very small sphere of influence. Perhaps the hardest part for me will be training myself to think first and speak second. I will fail at least some of the time, but I hope that those times become rarer. Here’s hoping that next year I can look back and see progress :-).

PS: I always tell my mom happy birthday on my own birthday. She did the work, not me. I just showed up on 1/11/56. It always makes her smile when I point that out.