Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Burning the Candle @ Both Ends"

So, I meant to compose a blog post yesterday . . . and I simply ran out of time. Again. This seems to happen a lot lately. ;) I made the comment the other day that I wish there were three of me . . . but then I'd probably have 3 times the adventures.

The phrase above came to mind. I think whenever we hear it, we envision someone running faster than they have strength. (Guilty as charged.) I decided to do a little research on this phrase and in current lingo, it means: To live at a hectic pace. That pretty well sums things up in my realm at the moment. So far this summer we've survived 2 weddings, a couple of funerals, and moving my mother to Bear Lake to live. (This was the result of wedding number one.) Last weekend marked the beginning of the traditional reunion bliss. And another reunion lies on the immediate horizon, not to mention another wedding (our youngest son) in August.

Throw in things like girls' camp, (Yep, I'm still the fearless leader in our ward's YW organization), gardening (this includes two flower beds at the church that our YW are in charge of each year), and trying to rewrite the beginning of a manuscript my publisher seems to want---and there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything.

As I was researching the origins of the ill-fated "burning the candle at both ends" analogy, I discovered that it possessed a very different meaning many years ago. Back in the day, candles were of infinite worth (unlike women, as mentioned in Nancy's blog post, but I digress). The notion of burning the candle at both ends exemplified tremendous waste. For obvious reasons, for a candle to burn at both ends, it has to be held in a horizontal fashion. This causes the candle to drip and burn out quickly. Hmmmmm. I suspect there is a lesson to be learned here. ;)

In my defense, I do try to work in a tiny bit of "me" time here and there. Yesterday I spent "me" time enjoying a much needed massage. Not only does this help immensely with the rheumatoid arthritis I've been blessed with, but it aids in relaxation. I didn't have time for it, but I returned home and enjoyed a short nap. And I noticed that I felt great the rest of the day. No, I didn't accomplish everything on my list of things to do yesterday (like this blog post) but I did tackle those things most important . . . and let the rest go by the wayside.

I suspect that is how I will survive the frantic days ahead. I'm learning the hard way that I have to pace myself . . . a lot. Burning the candle at both ends for me causes untold physical suffering. And when I go down in flames . . . it isn't pretty. I spent a couple of days in a little heap last week when I ignored this wisdom---my body refused to function. I wasn't feeling well, but I forced myself to attend a plethora of meetings (it was that monthly Sunday marathon when I start at 8:15 a.m. for ward council, and end the day around 8:00 p.m. following Youth Council and Bishop's devotional.) I had also worked in the the viewing of my husband's aunt that same night, and paid a huge price the next day. I woke up the next morning feeling like the last chapter. My in-laws were staying with us, and I forced myself into the shower, intent on cooking them a huge breakfast.

Usually I can get away with bossing my body around---not last week. As I dragged myself into the kitchen to fix the afore-mentioned breakfast, my body fought back. I became deathly ill. So much so, I retreated to bed before I hurled all over everything. My in-laws made do with cream cheese and bagels for breakfast.

We eventually learned that I had been fighting a kidney infection last week. Good times. ;) For a day or two, I wondered if I would be around to participate in my son's August wedding.

I'm more than likely writing this post as a reminder to myself that I need to slow down. I want to enjoy future fun times with my cute little granddaughter. (It's my goal to be an influence in her life. Someone has to be around to show her how to make mud pies.) My husband would like to serve a mission with me upon retirement. Lately he emphasizes that this will be easier to do if I remain on this side of the veil. ;) And I want to do things like dance at my youngest son's wedding in August. As such, I will be stepping out of my usual mode and attempt burning the candle at only one end. ;) Words to live by---quite literally.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weddings & Funerals

It appears to be a strange phenomenon in our clan to experience the highs and lows of life all in one fell swoop. About 4 years ago, on the day of our second son's reception, a favorite uncle slipped through the veil. We were understandably in shock. One doesn't just cancel a wedding reception mid-stream, however. We forced ourselves through the motions, and tried to make the best of things that night. In fact, our youngest son and one of his friends, in trying to ease hearts, dressed up in their "interesting" Dumb & Dumber tuxedos for the occasion and manned the guest table in place of my m-i-l, who was having a difficult time that night. (It was her brother who had passed away.)

We received some interesting looks from some of our guests, but it did help lighten the mood for those of us who were grieving . . . and yet celebrating.
In way of strange coincidences, the spouse of this favorite uncle, a favorite aunt, passed away this week . . . just before a nephew's wedding. So this weekend we are yet again combining a happy celebration, with one that is not so joyous. Ironically, flowers will be featured at both events.

Last weekend, my youngest sister, Trudi, and her beloved (John) tied the proverbial knot. And since they both love all things Celtic (both families have strong ties to Scottish and Irish ancestors) the reception was highlighted with things like kilts, an Irish piper performance, and my sister's wedding dress (made by Shar, a talented woman, and our s-i-l) that featured Celtic symbols.

It was an enjoyable occasion, and yet it too, was laced with a tiny bit of sadness. Since our mother had been living with Trudi, gears were shifted and Mom decided to leave Utah in a permanent fashion. Although this saddened family members living in that area, those of us in Idaho are excited to have her in our midst.

These days, when all around is chaos, I think it behooves us to look for the silver linings that are part of every cloud formation. So this week, while we are saddened by the loss of our aunt, we need to keep in mind the wonderful reunion taking place on the other side of the veil. And tonight, we plan to keep the mood light and fun (I wonder if I can find those silly tuxedos again) at our nephew's wedding reception. Things have a way of eventually turning out for the best. Hearts will heal, and tonight we'll do our best to celebrate life to the fullest. It is the Celtic way. ;)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Old Mother Hubbard Mode

Like many young children "back in the day," I learned a plethora of nursery rhymes while in my formative years. I often pondered the significance of "Old Mother Hubbard." For those not familiar with this particular tiny poem, it is as follows:

"Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone,
But when she got there, the cupboard was bare
And so the poor little doggie got none."

I always felt sorry for the poor little doggie. As such, I made sure our own family doggies had plenty to eat. ;)

In later years I learned that this simply rhyme had a hidden meaning. It was actually a political statement from the 16th century. (Click here for more information on that.)

I have also come to understand that this poem can also be a voice of warning for those of us who tend to run ourselves into the dirt. That is the angle I wanted to touch on today--the importance of keeping our own personal cupboards stocked.

Lately, it seems like all I do is run in crazy circles and operate Hotel Crane. ;) We have had a lot of family adventures in recent weeks. This past week alone, we have moved my mother to Bear Lake, and later this weekend, my youngest sister will be getting married. It is a crazy time. I have done my best to keep up with everything taking place. I have ignored something very important as a result.

Last night my oldest son commented on my current state of exhaustion. When I pointed out the obvious reasons for this condition, he merely shook his head and asked me when it was I had last done something for myself.

I have always believed in the importance of helping others, especially family and friends who are in need. It's part of my nature to attempt to lift up the hands that hang down . . . except when it comes to myself. Then I tend to shy away, figuring that is inherent to being selfish, which we all know is a bad thing. However . . . for us to be in a position to help others, we do need to keep our own cupboards stocked. It is crucial for us to be whole spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

My son made me promise that I will do something today that I enjoy. He also pointed out that this is something that I need to do every day to be a "whole" person. I'm beginning to believe he is on the mark with this suggestion. For me to be my best self, the self that can help others, I have to be strong in all aspects of my life. If I'm dragging bottom (don't make fun, it happens when you get to be my age) I'm less likely to be in a position to help others.

So . . . today as I drive to Utah with my mother for the impending nuptials, I will do my best to enjoy myself. I plan to do the following to restock my waning cupboards:

1.) I will appreciate the beauty of nature as we head down to Utah land. This shouldn't be too hard as I have to drive through a couple of canyons along the way.

2.) I will thoroughly enjoy the lunch we are planning to consume with my youngest sister upon our arrival. We're planning to go to a fun little restaurant for this adventure.

3.) I will play with my little granddaughter when we reach my son's abode. And since Aari and I both love to blow bubbles, I predict we'll have a right good time.

4.) I will spend a certain amount of time shopping!!! Always a fun thing . . . even if I'm buying things for other people, like wedding gifts.

Things I have already done: I always start my day with a private moment of prayer, meditation, and scripture study. That stocks my spiritual cupboard for the day. I also enjoy a nice, relaxing bath, which my body loves. This helps me physically. Now normally, I also walk with a friend in the early morning hours before it gets too hot. This helps my physical self get into better shape. ;) I won't get to work in a walk this morning, because of conflicting time schedules, but I will be doing a bit of walking while in shopping mode, so it all works out.

And to fill my mental cupboard, I wrote this blog. ;) I figure anything that makes me use my gray cells is a cool thing. And all of those things I listed above will help me emotionally since they're all items I enjoy. So by the end of today, I should be in fantastic shape for the week ahead. ;)

Take some time for yourself today. Do something you enjoy, whether it's reading a good book, painting a beautiful masterpiece, exercise, or even something as simple as watching the sun rise or set. Then draw in a deep breath and savor the peace. I suspect that's part of how we're all going to survive the crazy days ahead. ;)