Morning Thoughts with Alice, #21

Hey, you guys. I was talking (complaining) to a friend about how much my mood/energy changes throughout the day and a first line to a poem came to me. So then I wrote the poem, minus the first line. So here it is, quick and not over-thought. I hope you guys have a great day, however the shadows look!

Shadows pointing to the west
The sun is in the east
And I am full of hope
Or if not full, then middling

Shadows shrink
The sun is overhead
And I am stretched out under it
If not under, then leaning toward

Shadows stretching east
The sun, weak and tired in the west
And I am fading fast
If not fast, a steady somber winding down

Shadows cutting ’round window lights
Darker shadows over night-time dark
And I am shutting my door to the world
If not the world, then just my eyes

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #20

I’ve reduced about 20% of the stress in my life by doing this one thing. Actually, maybe 15%. Maybe 25%. Who can say exactly how much stress this one thing has reduced in my life. But while I’m trying to get somewhere, I can say it has reduced nearly 100% of my driving stress. All by doing this one thing.

How many times have you been all up in knots trying to get somewhere? Let’s say you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes. In your estimate you are 15 minutes away. You knot up from your head to your toes, and all guts in between. OH MY GOSH I’M GOING TO BE LATE!

Now I know not all of you are of the Must Be On Time crowd. But I am. I was born that way. My son says as soon as he gets in his car he feels like he’s late. He was born that way, too. But all that changed for me, and for him, when we started doing this one thing.

Back to our scenario. You have to be somewhere in 10 minutes. You think it’s going to take 15 to get there. And then you do this one thing. And here’s the thing: Instead of going into panic mode you tell yourself out loud, “I am not late yet. In fact, if I were there right now I’d be early. I won’t get upset until I am actually late.” You are postponing stress. It’s awesome.

So many times I have arrived on time when I thought I was going to be late. Most of the time for the events I’m heading to it really doesn’t even matter if I show up 5 minutes late. And as for showing up early, I love the saying “The problem with being early is there’s no one there to appreciate it.” Am I right? Of course right.

And here’s what’s really amazing to me. If I am driving and have reached the point where I am “already late” I’m not as upset about it as I would be if I had been upset the 10 minutes leading up to the point of being late. Stress snowballs. Don’t make the snowball until you are already late. And not only am I not as stressed about being late as I normally would be, I almost get a little attitude, like “Oh, as if I don’t have to wait for you sometimes.”

In conclusion, I have found that postponing stress is a great tool. It also works for driving over scary bridges, but that post is for another day.

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #19

I’m a little tired of political talk, so I thought I’d write about something more pleasant – colonoscopies.

Take note you young people, your doctor will start nagging you about getting a baseline colonoscopy when you start getting close to 50. Some doctors are easier to put off than others, but eventually, and for your own sake, you will give in and have it scheduled.

I made it to 51. Now I’m surrendering.

The colonoscopy (hereafter referred to as “the procedure”) is scheduled for a week from today. Oh goody.

It’s not the procedure itself I’m dreading so much – I’ve heard you go into a room, get an IV and then you wake up. Boom. And I’m not really worried about the findings. It’s the prep that has me less than thrilled.

The day before the procedure you can’t eat any solid food. I like solid food. And I like it regularly. And by regularly I mean “whenever I want it.” Hunger and I have never been friends.

I’m one of those people who shrivel up when they miss a meal. I feel like my life is ebbing away. My mood goes down hill fast, my energy vanishes, and my stomach hurts like it’s twisting in knots. This isn’t new, I’ve always had a hard time when I get hungry. The good news here is that I’d be the first to go during a famine. Less suffering in the long run. See, I can find a bright side to anything!

So I’m going to do my best to fill up on jello and clear broth on prep day. I think I can only eat up to a certain point that day. Maybe it’s noon… I’ll have to check.

The second thing that has me less than thrilled is the cleansing part of the prep. The amount of laxative you have to take is ridiculous. What am I, an elephant? Perhaps they don’t understand that I have a delicate system? In my mind they are trying to water a daisy with a fire hose. I don’t see this going well.

But fine, I’ll do this and get it over with. My plan is that I will never have to do it again. But if I do, I’ll be praying for a famine.

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #18

Big news makes me shrink a little.
Big events make me look around for someone
wiser than me who can interpret –
“Is this good?”
“Is this bad?”
I don’t have the vision necessary to see.
But it does make me want to tend the flowers
in my small garden with more enthusiasm
where a gentle touch makes the bigger difference.

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #17

I’m a bit scattered in my thinking today. So I’m thinking I’ll post someone else’s words. But I can’t think of anybody else’s words to post.

I got nothing.

We’ll call this a low spot in the Morning Thoughts with Alice January Project.

Well, I can tick off the box “showed up to blog.” And now on for the rest of the day.

If something amazing comes to me during the day I’ll amend today’s post. If not, this is it. Sorry, no refunds.

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #16

I have in my possession a book series that I’ve carried around with me for a long time. I have the vague feeling these were my sister’s books, and somehow came to me. I also remember that I have intended to read them for quite a while.

So guess what! I’m getting rid of them! Just kidding. I started the first one last night.

This series by Hannah Hurnard begins with Hinds’ Feet On High Places. There are eight books packaged together in one wrap-around jacket. I’m not sure if the books relate to each other, or if each is a stand alone devotional/allegory type thing. That’s what makes it fun.

Last night I settled down and began Hinds’ Feet On High Places. A pastor friend of mine will sometimes jokingly say in an exaggerated southern accent, “Now you’ve gone from preachin’ to meddlin’.” First paragraph and she’s already stepping on my toes.

Check out the names of these characters: Our protagonist is Much-Afraid. She lives in the Valley of Humiliation. And though she is in the service of the Chief Shepherd and lives in a little white cottage with fellow workers Mercy and Peace, the cottage is in the village of Much-Trembling and she is still a member of the Family of Fearings.

This family has members with names like Mrs. Dismal Forebodings, Gloomy, Spiteful, and Craven Fear (a cousin who she is told she must marry).

Ahem. Mrs. Dismal Forebodings? I saw myself in that name immediately. You’ve gone from preachin’ to meddlin’.

Actually I’m really looking forward to this series. Most likely many of my friends have already read it – maybe when they were pre-teens. I may be a little late to the party, but I think I’m going to enjoy it. In a redeemed ouchy kind of way.

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Morning Thoughts with Alice, #15

Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for …. beats me. I’m not inspired enough to make a comparison. So I’ll just tell you what I’m planning for the day.

My sister is coming up and is going to help me move a few boxes out of the basement and maybe do a few other things. These are the boxes that I don’t know what to do with. They are the boxes that get to the heart of who I am and how I feel: My kids’ stuff.

It’s the stuff my kids want (or may want) to keep, that I don’t have any room for and that they aren’t settled enough to get. The mom in me that wants to take it all over to the new house and decide about it later. The wife in me that says it’s not fair to clutter up the new home with old home things. The just plain me wants to have it settled and have everybody happy. Then there’s their father, who may or may not be able to take some of the stuff. But how would his wife feel about that? My chest is getting tight just thinking about all the people involved here. All because of some boxes.

Most likely, these boxes are more important to me than to anybody else.

And I imagine it would be very easy for me to make decisions about your “boxes” and for you to make decisions about mine. Like I said, it gets to the heart of what I care about, and how I love people, right or wrong. Perhaps it reveals how I feel responsible for other’s happiness or misery? Hmmm…

Exhale.

It will happen. The boxes will be dealt with and without renting a storage unit! That would just be postponing what needs to be done. And besides those things are stupid expensive.

Anyway, my sister, the slave driver, will help spur me on today. I will remind her (kindly, I hope) that it’s very easy to toss away things you aren’t emotionally invested in – when you aren’t afraid you are going to do the wrong thing. Keep or toss? Keep or toss? Every item requires a decision. And if keep, who keeps it? I don’t know. But I’ll be glad for help and encouragement she’ll bring with her today.

In truth, we’re just talking about stuff… not the people themselves. Tossing their things isn’t tossing the people. And keeping their things means… well more work.. but for some things it will be worth it. But which things? I don’t know yet.

Okay. There it is. There’s my day. If you think about it would you pray for me to have wisdom, courage, and strength to finish the job of downsizing. I’m tired.

Thank you. This has helped.

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