Rock vs Water: 10 things I have learned

Rock vs Water: 10 things I have learned.

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Why a Christmas tree?

These days are so dark. The night comes too early. I welcome the Christmas lights that decorate the darkness. Coming home, after a day of wandering, I love the gaily decorated houses. I am not sold on the latest fad of having a large inflated and lighted Santa or  snowman dancing in the wind, but lighting the darkness with a string of lights is just what I need.

I wondered about the origin of the decorations we see everywhere. It is easy these days to research on the web.

Celebrating the winter solstice is ancient, dating back as far as the Egyptians and King Tut.  It seems they brought greenery into their homes to symbolize life. I am OK with that. Lots of other civilizations used trees as well, all during the winter solstice to represent life.

The Druids in England included boughs of holly and mistletoe to represent eternal life and placed evergreen branches over their doors to keep away the evil spirits. I have never considered my evergreen decorations having any purpose other than decorative, however, I am not one who wants any evil spirits in my house.

As far as the modern Christmas tree is concerned, it has its roots in Germany and Scandinavia. Evergreen trees inside their homes, or just outside the door, showed their hope of the soon coming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ’s birth.

The green represents eternal life which Christs gives us as a free gift. I have my tree decorated and lights on the house. I have a wreath over the door and I welcome the colours of Christmas and I am thankful to Martin Luther for decorating that first tree because having a tree in the house without lights seems wrong.

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Do you have a hiding place?

Hollow Log

Image by lunamom58 via Flickr

This is a very emotional question. When I was a child, I wanted to be invisible. I would hide in the woods near our house. There was a huge hollow log that I could crawl inside. It was so big that I could sit up comfortably, hidden away in the darkened log. It was safer to hide than to go home. My father suffered brain damage from a stroke and did not know who I was. He would order me to get out of the house. As a young girl, I tried to understand, but that did not stop the pain. I had another reason to hide. It was better to go through the woods on my way home. That way I could avoid passing by the neighbours barn. He often waited there and would call me in. I was conflicted and confused. I needed attention. I needed to be told I was special, important. I would go to him because he told me I was pretty. He was a pedophile. I knew what he did was wrong, but I needed that validation sometimes. I would go and hide on other days waiting for my mother to come home from work. Sometimes I would climb high up into a tree and wait.

What is interesting is that, for many, many years as an adult, I would always be looking for hiding places. I would drive into work, and know where the best spots were… just in case.  I would look for trees I could climb or abandoned houses. I would look for culverts that I could crawl into. I felt safe in my marriage, but there was something holding me back from letting go of my fears.

I was able to receive freedom from the pain I held within me through much prayer and much counselling with a wonderful Christian Psychologist. I have forgiven Mr G and my father. I have forgiven my mother for not realizing I was being abused. I am free of the bondage of fear and the pain it caused. I have not even thought of a hiding place for years now.

I give all the glory to God. He is the healer of all our hearts, all you need to do is allow Him to release His healing power in your life.

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What about a NaNoWriMo Greeting Card?

I have an idea. We should have NaNoWriMo Greeting cards. It is a time that is celebrated by everyone around the world, male and female, all religions and cultures, writers and non-writers alike can get in on the action. My NaNoWriMo experience is not going as well as I hoped. I am sure there are others in my boat. Instead of writing, I am making rice pudding and thinking about sending a sympathy card to my fellow procrastinators.

“I am sorry to hear you are a blockhead… or is that you have a block in your head, anyway, Happy NaNoWriMo month.”

“I  am sorry your brain is muddled. My wish for you is clear thinking in the weeks ahead. Happy Nano month to you”

Maybe a little encouragement could go like this:.

“Fellow failing NaNo-maniacs, I just want to urge you to take the keyboard by the quotation marks and shake it up a little, I know you will be back on track in no time.”

A family can send an e-card to another family member:

“We are sorry to hear you are in isolation for the rest of this month. We miss you and hope we don’t catch your fever. We will be waiting for you when you are allowed out on December 1st.”

“Happy Nano month to us, we get to watch all our favorite shows and stay up late now that mom is so busy on the computer “

How about a “Get Well” card for someone who  you know is feeling the effects of intense writing.:

“Sorry to hear that your hand is cramping up. Hope your Nano experience is a happy one.”

“Don’t expect me to massage your back, your pain is self-inflicted.”

How about a “Happy NaNoWriMo” card that says:

“Happy NaNo My friend, I can’t wait until your novel is finished and we can go for a beer.”

 “Go buddy go. I am rooting for you. I can’t wait until your novel is published. Please don’t spoil the surprise by making me read it before it is in the stores.”

Will I accomplish my 50,000 words… only time will tell….

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NaNoWriMo and fear of commitment?


Image by evilnick via Flickr

Are you noticing how many blogs bring up NaNoWriMo lately? Is it just me? Am I noticing because I am trying to avoid the commitment? I confess I am conflicted.  There are so many issues to consider.

  1. Time: If I officially sign up, I am making a commitment to write at least 1700 words a day, every day, for 30 days. That’s a lot. In an effort to dispel this argument, I must remind myself that I am retired. My time is mine to waste. I can give up watching the “View” for a few weeks. I can let “Ellen” dance without me.
  2. Fear of commitment: No, it is not a marriage I am talking about, yet I am afraid, to say out loud, that I will add my name to the “NaNoNuts” in case I fail.  So, Maggie, (I am already talking to myself… is that a bad sign?) who really cares but you? What are the consequences?  there are none, zero.. nada.. no one will care but you. So I have officially washed that argument away.
  3. Next is Fear of Writers Block: I can see it now. It is Nov 1, I sit down to my computer and begin… the blank screen beckons me, and… ummm… nothing comes out. My fingers start to cramp, my brain fogs over and I click open the solitaire game instead. Words are powerful. I am dooming myself to failure and I must stop. Think positive Maggie.. I will write, I will write. I WILL write! (my new mantra)

pause~~~~~~~~~ I will be right back:

Ok, so I have clicked to the NaNoWriMo website and signed up for this year. If you are joining me, please buddy up to me. I need writing buddies. I am all alone on the page. I need encouragement and a push now and then. Oh, and if you could bring me a coffee Tuesday morning I will love you forever. My NaNo name is MaggieLR

So this blog post is my commitment to write, write, write! Here life as a novelist is getting into gear. The working title is  “Tossed Aside”.

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Can you smell heavens tears?

Rain. I stepped off the deck and onto the wet grass. There is a chill in the air and I don’t care. It feels good, it feels like I am being washed by heaven’s rain. Breathe deeply. Can you smell the rain? Can you smell that fresh clean scent? Tilting my face upwards, my eyes close. Rain drops wash down my face. I can feel the heaviness wash away. All of heaven is crying. Our sweet baby, Aaron left us, God has welcomed him home. Heaven is crying with his mother, heaven can feel her pain. I can hear the angel’s whisper in the rain, ” shhh mama, your child is safe and has no more pain.”

Rest in the arms of Jesus, Sweet child.

Letting the cleansing water wash over my face is healing, I can smell the fragrance of heaven. It is sweet, like a rose. I can smell an earthy aroma in the air. The world is silent except for the sound of the rain caressing the leaves on the maple tree. There is a new fragrance in the air. It is the fragrance of a mothers tears.

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7 Secrets to Teach My Students.

If I were a college professor of “Life 101,” I would teach my students what I have learnt.

There will always be people holding up stop signs. You can make a detour and end up discovering the new path is a more exciting way to get where you wanted to go.

I love the quote: “The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon”. Anonymous

  1. Never make a hasty decision on important matters. When I was in nursing school, I met a guy. You know the type, the tall, dark, handsome type, who makes your heart beat fast and makes you giddy with excitement. Before long, he was transferred across the country. He asked me to follow him. I threw my education out the window and moved. It has been 44 years and we are still married, but the point is, I gave up my education on a whim. Don’t do that. You will need it.
  2. Make good  friends and keep them. I am the bad example. I have lost good friends through neglect on my part. I have lost the closeness I once had with some and totally lost contact with others.  Do not let them get away. I often feel sad because I do not have a best friend. It is easier to stay in touch in this age, with Facebook and email and all the techy contact we have, however face to face interaction is vital.
  3. Stay humble, forgive and be willing to say you are sorry. Family members hurt each other sometimes. Friends say things. We all make mistakes. Always make an effort to patch things up. Take the initiative to make it right. I have seen too many families torn apart with misunderstandings. Do not be too proud to make the first move.
  4. Set goals.  I mean a lot of goals. These should be flexible but you need to start with what is in your heart. Write out a bucket list. Fill it with your dreams. Big dreams like retiring early and small dreams like learning to ski. I wish I had done that. I never heard of a bucket list when I was young, in fact, it seemed a womans goal back then should be to get married, have children and … ummm… well, that was it. So that is what I did. Years went by, kids grew up and suddenly, there I was, aimlessly going through life, my mission accomplished. Once I crawled out of the depression hole I found myself in, I wrote a bucket list and I am blissfully working towards completing my goals
  5. Do not waste your sunny days.Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Never stay home because the laundry needs to be done or the lawn needs mowing. We had a lot of fun with our children on the days we jumped in the car to go get groceries and ended up a hundred miles away hiking in the forest, the grocery shopping abandoned, simply because it was a sunny day.

    Forget the laundry, abandon the grocery cart, take the time to enjoy each day.

  6. Don’t worry. We all know worry doesn’t change anything. Worry is stressful, it is a waste of time and energy. Most often, we worry about things that will never happen. It is as if we are waiting for the shoe to drop. Think of the times you have worried in the past. What happened? Did it help to worry about it first?  Instead, go for a walk, go shopping, watch a funny movie. Learn to distract yourself. When a crisis does hit your life, and it will, you will somehow find the strength to accept it and deal with it as best you can. Just look at all your options and pray.
  7. Be happy. That sounds obvious but too many people work at a job they hate, with a boss that expects them to work overtime, leaving them drained and tired. Family life suffers. You suffer. Before it is too late, find another job, go back to school if you have to, but don’t settle for mediocre. Aim to get the job that makes your heart happy. Remember your goals.

I could go on, and I might, but not today, I need to go out and play. Oh, that is important, maybe it should be number one.. Do not ever think you are too old to PLAY.

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6 steps to motivate yourself

 Are you a procrastinator?

Do you lack the motivation to get the job done?

I have done much soul-searching and meditating on my future. There are many things I want to do but… The big BUT… what have I done? Nothing! What are the obstacles on my road to success?

I need some motivation to get things started.  I will have to change my thinking. That requires looking at my past failures as a learning tool and not as a disappointment. I need to figure out why I failed and learn from that. Where did I go wrong? Why did I give up? Why can’t I get started?  What did I do differently when I succeeded?

I need motivation to reach for the highest height.

I will have to activate my imagination. I must listen to my heart. I need to dream new dreams.

I have to ask myself some important questions:

  • Where are my priorities?
  • What is the desire of my heart?
  • what are the things I want to accomplish?
  • What do I envision myself doing in the future?

Then, I have to turn my dreams into goals. Each dream must become concrete, real and important. I must create my own adventure because I know my  life is more fun and fulfilling when I am rising to a challenge.

Motivation brings freedom. Freedom to make the right choices, freedom to choose to go after my goals. Freedom to live the life I want to live.

There are a myriad of motivational speakers, quotes to read and books to buy yet it all boils down to you and me.  We all must say: “I am the one who needs to accept the challenge, to put forth the effort. I need to move. I need to go for it!”

We need to overcome the obstacles in our path.

To reach the finish line, take one step at a time.

What are the barriers to self-motivation?

  • lack of proper focus
  • lack of direction
  • lack of self-esteem

To overcome these barriers, there are some steps we need to take which will get us motivated.

How to motivate yourself:

  1. Focus on your strengths. Spend some time thinking about past successes, think about what you are good at. This will give you an advantage for this new challenge. Too often we tend to focus on our failures, our weaknesses. If this is you, it is time to change your focus.
  2. Define your goal. It is difficult to get motivated unless you have a specific goal. (“I want to run a 5km race” and not: “I want to learn to run.”or  “I want to lose 25 pounds” instead of  just “I want to lose weight”. )
  3. Break your goal into manageable steps. ( by the end of next month I will run 1 km without stopping or I will lose 6 pounds) It is easier to aim for a small step at a time.
  4. Tell others about your goal. It is easier to keep motivated when others are watching you and cheering you on. It makes you accountable.
  5. Begin now. Do not allow yourself any excuses. Do not wait until Monday or after the party next week, do it now.
  6. Expect more from yourself. Don’t allow fear and self-doubt to invade your heart. Believe in your God-given abilities.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”- Henry David Thoreau

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Sometimes I like it hot, sometimes very cold.

If I could choose where I lived based on the weather, I would choose Vancouver Island in beautiful BC Canada. Never too hot, never too cold and without the rain of Vancouver.

Another choice would be Nairobi Kenya for the same reason. It seems that the altitude in Nairobi and the closeness to the equator gives the city a beautiful 75 F year round. But I live in Ontario, Canada.

We have extremes here. High humidity along with scorching temperatures in the summer and then we are plunged into a deep freeze for a few months in the winter.

I prefer the very hot weather when I am at the beach and can dip into the lake for a swim and enjoy an icy drink under the umbrella.

I prefer the cold weather when I am snuggled in front of the fireplace watching my grandchildren roast marshmallows.

This is a picture of Sarah waiting for her marshmallow to toast.

The fall in Ontario is by far the best of the weather, not much rain with comfy temperatures to hike and enjoy all the fall colours, yellows, oranges and reds that cover the hills and valleys and line the hiking trails.

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How to heal your fears.

The couple and the flower girl

Image by Photomatt28 via Flickr

It was John Clarke who said “Go back a little to leap further.”

In my last post, ( ) I discussed fears.

I suggest recalling the time that you first experienced a fear. I suggest using a journal to write the details by answering some questions. Who was with you? What was said? What did you do? Seeing the details of the trauma of the experience is the first step in the healing of your memories. Once the painful memory is healed, the fear has no more power over your mind.

I remember a time when I was very young. I was asked to be the flower girl in a wedding. I felt so special. I felt so pretty in my new dress and shoes. I was very shy and at the rehearsal I was scared. There were a lot of strangers there. The groom, who I thought was so important, started yelling and told my mother to get me out of there. He said I was useless and was going to ruin everything. I remember the feeling of failure. I believed the lie: I was useless. They told I was not going to be the flower girl. I felt like I spoiled the wedding, I felt like a failure.

The situation left me with the feeling that I was worthless. I believed that I could not succeed so I better not try. This way I could avoid the embarrassment of failure. I was not going to be yelled at again. My fear of failure ruled my life for a long time.

A few years ago, I went to  a Christian counsellor. With his help, I was able to look at the situation with new eyes. He helped me go back and recall the events. I could see myself as the victim.  I saw a little girl who was scared. I was able to see a little girl who did nothing wrong. I could understand that I did not fail but rather, I was never given the chance to succeed. I was able to understand with my adult thinking, the stress everyone is under at a time like that. I was able to forgive my mother for taking me home and the groom for treating me so horribly. With forgiveness, the situation no longer has any power over me.  I have been able to let that go.  Now I am able to recall the incident without the pain, so I know that I am healed.

I have been able to release the fear of heights in the same way. I had a terrible fear of falling. There was a time when I was scared to climb to the third rung of a ladder. I was taught to fear as a child. Through the same method of going back into my memories and dealing with the trauma of my early years, my fear of heights is a thing of the past and I am able to stand on the top of a ladder to paint and I am able to climb a ladder to clean the eaves troughs. I can sit on the edge of the cliff and look down. Freedom came to me and it can come to you too.

It is better to have a professional to help you through this process. I suggest that you find a Christian counsellor to aid you with the healing of your memories.

2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

You have the power to overcome your fears. Fear comes from our enemy. We must not allow fears to rule us.

as Rudyard Kipling said: “Of all the liars in the world,  sometimes the worst are your fears.”

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