Reaching Our Reaching.

reaching our reaching

I have a pretty clear idea of human beings. I see their dark and their light and am not consumed with the need to label ‘good,’ or ‘bad.”  I see simply nature and a journey.

Kids make mistakes, they can steal and lie, it does not make them career criminals. I know circumstances can push people beyond the protective action barrier they would normally respect in their every day lives.

Today is full of bad news, and conspiracies and agendas that seem hell bent on destroying us all. It depresses us. It can defeat us.

I don’t see the world that way.

I believe that we as human beings have the ability to overcome anything. It will require a journey of self where we learn to understand who we are, that we embrace our gifts and use them, that we love one another and support each other to make that same journey. It means letting go of our ideas about how that is accomplished and accepting that what works for me, may not have a snowball’s chance in hell as a method for you.

So, with what is left of my life, I want everything I do to help empower others. I want others to believe in their potential. I am not interested in measuring their abilities against mine and then feeling superior or less than, I simply want each individual I have the opportunity to touch to believe that they are not the sum total of just their mistakes, and that failure or success in this material, consumer oriented, competitive world is NOT an indication of value of anything meaningful. I want people to know that they will succeed by helping others to succeed and by success I mean they will find peace, happiness, joy, purpose …

Most of all I want our children to hear that message. I want them to see beyond the tinsel and seek substance in their life and not be limited in their visions by the mistakes we have made.

I refuse to see enemies in a colour, or a culture, or a religion, but I also refuse to be interrupted with petty hostility and the insecurities of others that cause them to engage in destructive behaviour in my life.  Neither am I going to drag people out of harms way, who are content to sit in the middle of a busy highway unaware of the danger. I am looking for those people who are ready, who, with a little encouragement, a word, a hand …want to make this journey.

I am always moving.

There is a growing spirit out there that is pulling people together. That spirit is free. It is the air we breathe. It is a choice we make. Forget the classes, the drugs, the gurus … Just breathe. If there is a higher power then surely he can get to us through calcium on a pineal gland? Can you not see that is just another way of saying you are not worthy until you have said your prayers and attended church every Sunday. WE ARE WORTHY. IF you accept there is a greater power that created the universe, or a power that connect us all, then that power CAN DO ANYTHING.

Belive. In. Yourself.


TFFT – Limitless You

Alan Watts

  I have had the honour and privilege throughout my life of many experiences and opportunities that have allowed me to be taught, to study, to learn and to sometimes practice many different forms of religion and spirituality. May I say, with complete humbleness that I was, and continue to be, a student in this regard. I will always be a student in search of understanding. I have most often sought out people who fully embrace and love their spiritual pursuits because they teach with honour and that is my intent, to understand and respect that love even though it may not be something I personally choose. There are many similarities in themes and the differences are often more focused on the practice. I am always concerned that people take an all or nothing approach to their beliefs. I see those who have left organized religion, who now embrace the new age philosophy with as much zeal and blind faith as the organized “church” they left behind. They are just as willing to accept everything written and done in the name of “enlightenment” as the “truth” as they once were about religious teachings. They fail to identify the liars and the criminals amongst their new ranks with the same alarming regularity that they failed to identify them in their religion. People sometimes want to run before they have ever learned to walk.  We trifle with powers and practices that are deep in their meaning and ability to open doorways to things we are not prepared to cope with or even understand. It is almost like they are a party games or the latest ride at a big theme park full of adrenaline rush attractions.  People use all kinds of quick fixes and trust people that perhaps they shouldn’t.  They spend small fortunes as if one might buy their way into enlightenment. There is no substitute for personal responsibility. There is no way around you having to do the hard work to prepare yourself and to be ready for delving into your spiritual nature. You would not run a marathon without spending time in the gymn and doing many practice runs. You could not run that marathon leaning on the runner who won last year. You have to do the work and the work in this case, is you. It is time alone, time understanding who you are and what you need and what you are supposed to be doing. It is removing toxicity from your life and making sure that first and foremost you take care of you. The pyramid of needs is well known, food and shelter, emotional well being and THEN comes the spiritual aspects. You have to prepare your vessel (you) to be filled.  And the journey can be difficult and lonely.  It requires things a strength we may never have known we had.  It forces us to face the truths we may have spent a lifetime running from.  It takes work and the process IS the point.  The destination is not real because there is no end to the journey. Once you drink of real spirit, you will understand how many pseudo cries for our attention are out there and that some of them can be deeply dangerous to us. Once you drink of that spirit, you will understand the connection you are meant to have directly to that sources and everything else will fade in comparison. Going through someone else for that experience is like comparing watching a video of someone skiing down a mountain, to actually skiing down a mountain for yourself. STOP LIMITING YOURSELF.

At The Office.

at the office

Contrary to the image most people have of those like me who write blogs, I am not sitting in my parents basement in dirty underwear.  Although, I freely admit some ambiguity as to exactly at what point in a days wear of underwear that it transforms from a clean pair to “dirty.”  If I say I have had mine on for approximately 7 hours, you will have to make the final judgment.    But I am DEFINITELY NOT in my parents basement or even my own.  I arrive to my office in the front part of the house with large windows.  I am dressed to kill in a power suit…. because … I am likely to do that … kill …

I am not afraid … if the situation calls for it.

I open the window so the neighbours can see me as they jog by and I have a Kleenex box that I glue-gunned knobs onto, sitting on my desk. I wait for the neighbours to come by and then I have a siren simulator that I like to push.  It was funny the first couple of times cause it scared them and they jumped into the bushes.  It sounds like an ambulance and they thought it is right there but it wasn’t and then they thought it was an invisible ambulance which was even more scary.  When they got up and looked around as they picked the gravel and branches out of their teeth, they saw me leaning forward, taking a pen out of my pocket protector and saying to my kleenex box, “send in the first appointment please, Mary.”

I have one of the kids open the door and hubby comes in, even though he is in shorts, hair disheveled and coffee in hand.  He sits down at the other computer and I say things like,  “take a letter for me please, Mary,” and “hold all my calls for today, Mary,” really loud so that they can’t hear him swearing at me. I make him wear a name tag saying “Mary the Assistant,” and tell him if he doesn’t pick up his act I will fire him. He tells me that I need to sit down and stay on my side of the desk for my own safety and uses the stapler in a menacing way. I don’t really care though because I am pretty sure he has no idea how to use a stapler and besides, it isn’t loaded.  I have like this big box I painted to look like a fax machine and it blocks the view of the weapons and hand gestures from the street so the neighbours just look in and think “wow she is an important Big Boss!  Look how tough she is.  Poor Mary, I hope she gets her act together.” I know what the neighbours are thinking on account of I take the tinfoil off my head in the morning,  just so I get the full impact of their astoundedness at my business power.

I made my mother in law wait an hour one time to come into the office  just to ask if we had any extra toilet paper. “Look mah, I can’t play favourites just because you are my related to me, you know. I may be your daughter in law in the kitchen but this is my office and everyone works here. You are going to have to plan these things a little better and phone ahead and make an appointment with Mary.”

“I just wanted more toilet paper.  This is ridiculous!  Who is Mary?”

I lifted my hand and indicated hubby cowering in his shorts, slurping coffee, eyes glazed over… “My secretary.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.  That’s my son.  He’s not a secretary.”

“You’re telling me? Good help is really hard to get.  But in this room, he is known as ‘Mary.'”

I didn’t know she knew some of those swear words but they bounced off me like I was made of teflon.  Big bosses have to be like that .. in control … impervious to sticks, stones and name calling,  although I did think “whiny crazy ass bitch” was a bit much even from her.  I cried a bit over that one.

I think it is important to establish authority, and it really is in the way you dress  and how you take control of the situation.  Power dressing is the key. It is much safer than my old way of taking control, cause stun guns sometimes backfire.

The Family Meeting.

Fun Ideas

I called a family meeting last month.

Both Derek and I showed up on time.  I gave us both angel stickers because I like to reward good behaviour.  Derek refused to wear his.  He said he had a golf game and they were not allowed to carry religious symbols onto the course as it would be an unfair advantage to have Jesus swing the club.  I suspect  he just does not want to make his golf buddies feel bad about not having their own stickers.  I told him I would buy some more so he could take a couple and give them to his friends when they made a really good home run or something.

Anyway we had a family meeting so I could announce that I was going to be working on me pretty non stop over the next several weeks.  I want to get myself back into a better head space, one that does not involve my fantasizing about people I know, Hannibal recipes, and where to shop for the main ingredients.

I think you know you need to meditate more when you reach that point.

I also think I need to write a letter to the TV station and let them know that I am being unduly influenced by their TV shows.  You can’t show Hannibal and then all those cooking shows when we live in a world where Pinterest competition  is almost lethal AND some people have really annoying neighbours and family.  What do they think is going to happen?

Eventually you run out of beds to crochet afghans for and walls to put cross stitch on and you have to find a new craft.  Cooking is always good, because you cook, you take a picture, you post on Pinterest, you eat and you have to do more cooking.  If you can eliminate some enemies at the same time … BONUS!

So yes I knew I had to meditate more even though there is nothing about homicidal thoughts in the meditation manual.  It just says you should do it if you feel “stressed.”  I am not a psychiatrist or anything but I have made the mental leap in my head that most murderers probably are experiencing some form of stress when they decide to kill.    Derek says I make a lot of leaps and that I should be more careful in leaping.  People can get hurt.

I bought a roll of bubble wrap to protect people until I get fully meditated.

I served tofu and mung beans for a meeting snack.  We did some breathing exercises and then Derek said he had to go.  I begged him to stay, we had more to discuss, like what position I should be in when I meditated and which leotard I should wear.  Besides, he had not finished his mung bean coffee cake and I was going to play the crystal bowls for him at intermission to help relax him too.  He assured me he was already really Zen.

I like to think I contribute to his golf that way.  I know it has made us richer.  Before meditation the swear jar at the golf course was full of our money, now … not so much.   Which means the greens are quieter too.  I am into nature like that.   I am thinking of offering to do a class at the golf course, sort of a warm up to a great game of golf.  I can meditate them all, and then feed them mung bean soup … with ears …

. . . I can’t stand half those golfers either …

Anyway I told him to sit down and relax and continued with the next point of business.  The wasp nest.

I hope you note how diametrically opposed my needing to meditate myself and going to battle with wasps are.  But that is what we women do, we multi task.  I took care of my needs and now we were into the entertainment portion of the meeting.  Every good meeting needs refreshments and entertainment and at least one bathroom break.

I  wanted to make it clear to him that I did not want him removing the wasp nest that appeared under the eaves by the pool.   He got stung three times mowing the lawn.  Bulls have the colour red, wasps apparently have lawn mowers.  I am sure it goes back to some lawn mower somewhere being used to try and destroy a nest.  A man, thinking he could do it on his own, grabbed the tool immediately available .. a lawn mower …and moved in towards the nest .  And now, there is a hive mentality that says “lawn mowers bad” and so they stung my hubby.  He was actually in pain.

That concerned me because motorcycle accident, face ripped off = no pain.  Almost sliced off finger, sewed it back on himself = no pain.  Wasp stings = pain.  They had to be pretty bad.

So the idea of them swarming him was not high on my list of things I wanted to see.  AND if they were swarming and he was on the ground screaming, who was going to go out there amongst the angry wasps and pick him up???

I looked it up on the internet.  Wasps can be very dangerous.  Only fools try to do it themselves which is probably why my husband volunteered.

That discussion ended in agreement we would get someone in.  Only he did not agree convincingly enough so  I pulled out the big guns and phoned his mother and said he could die if he tried it and she made him promise her he would hire someone to do it.  I am actually starting to like the woman.

I gave him another sticker for learning how to “compromise.”  It was a bunny sharing his carrot with a kitty.  He said cats don’t eat carrots  but I reminded him that the three pigs nor the big wolf could actually talk either but it still made for a good story and at least allowed children to bond with swine in away that may never have happened had it not been for that story.  I made him promise to try and work with the message of the sticker.  Sharing, compromising … working with his fellow man.   I licked it and stuck it on his hand so that every time he swung the golf club he would see it.

Unfortunately as he drove away, waving wildly out the window at me for some reason.  I saw the sticker flutter to the ground and land in the middle of the road.    I picked it up and tried to run after him but I can’t quite do 100kmh anymore.

I will use the glue gun next time.

I  tried to find someone to come and take the wasp nest down.  No-one returned my calls, they were all in the hospital recovering from wasp stings probably.

So I read everything I could find, supervised my hubby reading all the material I found, quizzed him on it and  then we came up with a plan.  He needed netting for over his hat and around his face.  I found a tablecloth that looked fab on him and matched his Driza-bone coat.

He was going to go out late at night when it got cold and as he has excellent eye sight he would not use a torch so that the wasps did not think it was daylight and attack him.  Wasps flunked ‘Light Source Identification” in high school.  He had wasp specific insecticide and before you all start writing me nasty notes about the environment please be reminded I am deathly allergic to bees and wasps and yet I saved a bee drowning in our pool.   I care.  I care one at a time, at the end of a long pole, when they are almost dead … I cannot care for thousands of angry swarming killer wasps because I actually care more for me.  Sorry.  I  have narcissistic tendancies.  These wasps were dangerous and they were too close to the house to leave alone which we would have, if we could have.

We had a cleared escape route and he was going to hide out in the shed if they attacked him.  We could not risk any getting into the house and me getting stung.

I told him he had to do it when I was preoccupied with something else so that I did not have a heart attack watching him.  I made sure I knew where the wills were, I told him I loved him and put on my head phones and started to watch a movie so I would not be disturbed by the screaming.

About an hour later he tapped me on the shoulder.   Mission accomplished.  No deaths to report.

Then we had to wait until morning, see if there was any activity and then repeat the next night if needed.

So far no activity.  Lots of dead wasps.

Pretty proud of my hubby.

I am going to shop for some new stickers for the next family meeting.  I wonder if there is one with a bunny feeding a kitty a wasp.  That would be awesome.

Life’s Invitation.

only 3 things

This has been a really difficult past few weeks.  I find sometimes life just grabs hold of you and throws you off the cliff and things you thought you knew, you didn’t, and nothing makes sense anymore.

Of course, the go to reaction is to run home crying to your mommy and complain that the world is unfair and ask to have your boo boo kissed better.

But I am not a child.

I know how to handle these things.  Not that knowing always means I do … handle them … but I know better than to put much energy into feeling sorry for myself or what I think other people did or didn’t do, should or could have done.  The situation happened.  All that is left in my control is my reaction and how I am going to let it impact my life.

I try not to sprinkle others with my nuclear fall out.

Which is usually crying, analyzing, creating scenerios in my head where I write and rewrite what happened and what I would love to say or do but never really would.

Somewhere in the midst of all the hurt and disappointment and anger, I have to find ME.   And I admit there are times I lose sight of that.  Without ME I am unanchored and without purpose.  I have to remember who I am and that what anyone else does, whatever else happens … is irrelevant to the absolute promise I made with myself, God, and life … to. be. me.

Once I have dissipated the volcanic erruption, I talk.  Usually with my hubby.  He seems to always know the right combination of sympathy, information, and kicking me in the butt.

Then I sit down and am ready for the learning.  I read, I meditate, I may cry a bit more, I question, I surround myself with people, things and situations that are healing.   I am gentle with myself.  I share my discoveries with those in my inner circle and I keep moving forward.

Sometimes the moving forward is sans many things and people.  I am learning to be ok with that.  I cannot choose for other people even though I may want, with all my heart, for me to be the biggest helping on their plate.   Life is a buffet and people get to choose.  They get to NOT choose me.

I  am learning not to take it so personally.

I am learning to look at those who are still here, those who make the effort to connect, to know me … and to be thankful.  I am learning to be open for what will come to replace what is gone.  It is only in our unwillingness to flow with life that we end up stuck, alone and without purpose.  Learning that I don’t always have to know everything that is going to happen, to have planned the entire event, put up decorations, and colour coordinated the refreshments is a huge relief.  Sometimes I feel like a kid standing at the front door to the new school, excited about all the possibilities and scared at the same time.  But then I remind myself, I only have to walk through the door and be there.  I only have to be willing and open.

Life tends to exist for those who accept its invitation.

Invisible Scars – Tonya Lee Wins Victory in Child Abuse Case


Tonya Lee

I have purposefully not titled this with Rolf Harris’s name.  I am happy to publicize his shame and make sure that he gets as much disgust as he once received accolades but I am tired of the story being about the abuser, in that we forget that victims and the cost to their lives.

Rolf Harris was found guilty of indecently assaulting 4 girls between 1968 and 1986.

His sentencing will occur shortly.

I hope that the court will take into account how, when confronted with these charges, he did not stand up and own his shame.  He did not spare the victims further pain.  He went to the public and counted on their support to convince the legal system that he was innocent.

I would like to also address all those people who weighed in with their support for Rolf Harris.  Based on???  He is an entertainer that they liked?  Did any of them consider the pain their public – in your face – support caused the victims?  Perhaps they should have waited for the facts before jumping in.  I think it would be appropriate for someone to hold those people accountable.  It would be awesome if they could do it for themselves . . . but I have my doubts.

Here is my issue with child abuse.

When the child is missing, their picture is plastered everywhere and people cry in outrage.  When the child is rescued, people weep for the poor kid and what they have been through.  When a predator is caught and we hear that children were abused, we cry foul.  We fight against sexual predators, we don’t want them in our neighbourhoods, we caution our children about them constantly.

But sexual abuse does not go away once the predator is charged and sentenced.  It doesn’t end when the jail term is up.  It doesn’t magically disappear when the child becomes an adult.  But no-one really cares about the adult who was once a child victim.  No-one wants to hear about their continued struggle and we often put them in positions of having to talk about the most horrific thing that ever happened in their life, in order to get the care they need.

Consider the woman who goes to the dentist and explains they need to be put out for work done on their mouth, that they have a fear that goes beyond the normal fear of needles etc.  The dentist will argue with her and try to convince her he can make it painless, he will be gentle, etc.  She tells him again it has nothing to do with pain or needles.  She tries, she is very uncomfortable being in the chair with people standing over her.  He will argue more.  Finally she will have to tell him she was abused when she was a child.  You will be surprised how many dentists ignore that as “get over it, that was over 20 years ago.”  She will then have to try and convince him how bad it was, maybe even giving details.

You would be surprised how many times these issues come up for survivors of abuse.  With doctors, business situations, social events … it is humiliating.  I recently spoke to one woman who had to cancel a required medical procedure because the doctor had no compassion for her when she told him that it was that specific test done a few months earlier that brought back the memories of her abuse.  In her desperation to get this asshole to have compassion for her she told him how the head of the Child Sex Crimes unit had resigned after the case, from the PTSD he suffered dealing with it.  The doctor still refused to alter how they did the test.  It was not his problem.  He told her to decide how important the test was to her.

Families and friends can be just as cruel.  They want the person to get over it.  They don’t want to hear about it, and they hold the person to a level of behaviour that is not fair considering the abuse.  A child who was a victim often goes on to be sexually inappropriate or to struggle with their sexuality.  They may have addiction problems and even difficulties with the law.  We forget that these people will take years to learn to manage their physical, emotional and spiritual reactions to the abuse.  We can understand how, if someone is in an accident they might lose an arm.  We do not expect them to grow a new arm.  At best, they learn to navigate life with a prosthetic arm.  But the reality is there.  They lost an arm.  The impact of that is there.  Sexual Abuse causes a spiritual wounding just as real as a physical one that causes someone to lose an arm.  It is there.  A person can learn to cope but the reality is permanent.

Tonya Lee is who I will focus on when I hear anything about Rolf Harris.  I will do this because she is a survivor whose healing was delayed because there was no justice for her abuse.  She had to carry the secret for years, probably many people would not believe her.  Rolf Harris had a choice, to abuse or not.  He had a choice to stop or not, to not pick other victims.   He had a choice when he committed the acts and he had a choice when the victims came forward to do the right thing, admit his wrong, take his punishment and stop thinking only of himself.  Instead he abused without any compassion for the children crying in pain and fear.  He acted without any consideration for the betrayal to his family, or his fans.  He acted with cowardice, more concerned about his own self than in doing the right thing.  He had choice, then and now.  He has proven who he is.  Now Tonya has some ability to move forward.  She is the face of this.  The tragedy is not that Rolf Harris was/is a pig.  The tragedy is that Tonya Lee was abused and denied justice for this long.

I hope that all of you will consider those in your life who have been abused, as children, now adults … and realize that you can keep them in pain and shame with your actions or lack of compassion or you can open the doors and allow them to heal. It will take time, it will be painful.  Their souls are damaged.  They need unconditional love and support to find a way to move forward and leave the abuse with the abuser.

Please let us start looking at the survivors and putting our efforts into supporting them, and not just for the five minutes they are on the evening news.

Faking Facebook, Faking Life.


I saw this video this morning and had to comment.

Social media has become this world where we are virtually attending our high school reunions, except on a much grander scale.  Yet instead of  just one night where we create an illusion to “in your face” to all who scoffed at us or treated us bad in high school, we have every day.  We get to filter what people see and to a large extent, what they think.  Our “profile page” on any available media, becomes this perfect view of who we are and perhaps, more than anything else, it is a sad reflection on our own opinion of ourselves.  We can’t allow ourselves to just be us, we have to present what we think will make others “like” us.

Ahh those elusive “likes” that prove to the world that we have worth.

And then of course the 50 million social media experts who will tell you sneaky ways to get more likes, that have nothing to do with being honest, or improving any business you are trying to promote.  The business (or you) is irrelevant – all hail being “like”ed.

Those perfect pictures, life lived to the fullest, beautiful people everywhere, everything is a success, happy happy happy.  Dozens of people egging you on, cheering, some standing on their chairs clapping … all of them like trained seals .. hoping if they clap for you it will accomplish 2 things … that everyone will think they are “like”ing your activity because that is their life too and the most important one … that you will “like” them in return.

If it was sincere, you would find random things that people with almost no followers at times getting a hit out of the ball park.  We all say or do something brilliant at some time … but no … the popular get more sheep people and it goes on and on.

But the saddest part of this video is not that people do this, it is that as soon as you are honest, or you might actually NEED someone, or God forbid you say something that everyone does not agree with … you are muted in some way.  We are CHOOSING to connect with one another at the most superficial, fake level possible.  We want picture perfect lives that will cause others to envy us so that we can sit alone in our normal lives and feel completely alone because we can never have a real relationship and risk someone finding out the truth.  We are CHOOSING to isolate ourselves and be miserable.

Life is not perfect.  So what.

People are not perfect.  So what.

Relationships are a two way street.  Sometimes you have to give and sometimes you receive.

The packaging of life is irrelevant on any meaningful scale.

Being popular is not listed in any religious text or worthy life pursuit as the key to anything other than the delusion that you are better than someone else. Popular is in this moment, in this arena . . . it does not carry over to another arena.  Think about it.  You may have been wildly popular in high school.  When you got into University did anyone care or even know about it?  Life is the same way.  Screen shots of your update with 1000 “likes” is not a practical way of dealing with the loneliness of having no-one in your life in your twilight years.

The best friend you can have would never blindly “like” everything you say and clap over the fact you had sushi for dinner.

It is in the tough strokes of life that we often make the most meaningful connections and form lasting relationships.  It is in being willing to see and react to the pain of others that we discover our own hearts and our capacity for love.

You can blame Facebook, Google .. any of them for the state we are in but we are the consumers.  They provided a tool and we are the ones using it.  Just as easily as we have used it to create this surface, ridiculously empty illusion of connection, we could use it to bring into our lives more purpose, deeper understanding, and greater friends.

You just have to stop.

Decide what kind of person you want to be and represent that.  Be real.  We are all just real people, flawed and broken, healed and dynamic.  Our super powers are not in being the most beautiful, or having the most expensive house, or traveling and eating incredible food … our super powers in our ability to love ourselves, and one another.  You cannot have one without the other.  So start with yourself.

Be honest.

Make your connections mean something more than just a number that tells you each day your lies are “like”ed.


Super Tony The Wonder Boy – He’s Exactly Like Jana.

super tony

  I once had to call a time out in one of the most crucial games for a girls team I was coaching.  There was less than a minute left in the game and we were tied.  The girls raced off the floor to get their instructions.  In the middle of revealing my urgent master plan for us to win,  one of the girls interrupted … “Mrs. Appleford?”

“Yes Jana?”  I admit my voice was probably not warm and inviting.  I had tried to ignore her without success.  She was waving at me and dancing up and down as she bobbed in and around the other players trying to get in my direct line of view.

“Ummmm …. this weekend?  ” every few words ended on an up note like she was asking a question which was exactly why I was trying to ignore her.  It took her forever to get out three words.    “ummmmm?   Like my caaaaat?   she ummm?????   she had kittennnns?”  She was looking around at everyone, aware she was finally the centre of attention.  My mind was racing to connect cat birth and basketball, to find some relevance in the words that were dropping in slow motion all over the gym floor.  Meanwhile my hands were making small circles trying to hurry her along as I scanned to see how many parents were watching and worried that my smile might not be hiding how aggravated I felt .  She ignored my hand movements and went slower.  I started fluttering them faster and faster until I looked like a baby bird about to take off.

“Ya .. and ummm … liiiike ??… she had kittennnns? . . .  and ummm???…. ” she was looking up at the ceiling and twisting the one corner of her jersey as she talked,  “liiiike … 3 kitttttens? . . . and ummm? . . . one of them was blackkkk? … and ummm??? ….  like … one was ummm? . . .  whiiiite?”  Her eyes rolled back off the ceiling to look at all of us standing there, girls sweating profusely, puffing, sucking back water, me with my clipboard and forgotten diagram tucked under my arm, waiting …. I couldn’t fake it any more.

I looked at her shaking my head in disbelief, my hands upturned towards her as if ready to catch any type of meaning.  “and?????” “ya … Hehehehehehehe . . . It was soooo funny …” Jana was laughing like a clapping seal making weird snorty noises.  Everyone else was just blinking . . . and blinking.  “Please God, ” I prayed, “Don’t let anyone ask her about the third kitten.”

That was it.  The buzzer went, timeout was over, the girls had to get back to the game.

All I could do was pray that somehow black and white kittens and the numbers 3 and 1 were code for some complex basketball play and that the other girls would know what it meant, execute it, and we would win the game.

We didn’t.

Tony Abbott is exactly like Jana except without any fluffy baby kittens.  Jana at least had half a chance of winning someone over.  People can be won over if you have enough fluffy baby kittens.

Here he is, the current captain of team Australia, one of the exciting teams that has a shot at the championship and he believes he has the answer for everything, even though he has no idea what the questions are or what anyone else is talking about.  He makes no sense.  And I want to throttle him.

His cat had kittens and everyone else is playing basketball.  He has no idea how completely ridiculous he sounds.

He is the reason mother’s everywhere should stop telling their children that they can grow up to be anything they want to be.

He is the reason why we should stop promoting the idea that everyone who shows up at the game, who sits on the team bench, has to be given a turn to play.  Clearly some people should be birthing kittens instead.

He is the reason everyone who votes should not let the pencil lead be sharper than their grasp of politics, unless they are going to provide said pencil to sane people after idiots are elected so that decent human beings can poke themselves with the pencil in their eyes.  It is far less painful that having to see him on the evening news while visiting Canadia.

He is the reason why speedos should be banned everywhere and proof that men’s brains are not always in their heads and that they can be damaged by wearing bathing attire that is too tight.

Perhaps, if no-one is getting into Australia while he is Prime Minister, no-one should be going out either … as in, HE should not be allowed to leave the country any more.  It is called damage control.

Can we get one of those child harnesses remade to fit him?  I am sure his wife knows how to crochet.  Perhaps she and their women’s church group could make Tony a leash.  It would truly benefit humanity and I am sure they could get more tax breaks.  Tony likes church women who stay home and crochet. Who do you think does his speedos?

I have ruined more than one evening meal spewing my food when he casually announces that he can solve global warming.  Funny how it is always after he has excused himself for a bit and returns looking refreshed with a bit of toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

Super Tony.  According to him, he can save the world from everything.   Jesus said … “the dumb will speak.”

There is a reason for the speedo after all.  The man is not just beefcake in latex.  It goes well with tights and a cape and if people would just get out of his way, he will save us.    He is standing near a telephone booth right now, waving, dancing up and down, bobbing in and out amongst the other people trying to get in your direct line of vision.  He is the great white hope.

Between him and Bindi Irwin .. . they have it all in hand.

How To Avoid Disaster at a Funeral.

time to say goodbye

Death is a difficult time.  The dynamics and emotions involved often create situations unlike any others you will ever encounter and despite the intentions of the best of families the situation often deteriorates into unhappiness for those left behind.  Many of the incidents that cause the drama could be easily avoided with some careful planning.

  1. Make sure everyone knows who the executor is.  The executor has to carry out the last wishes and cannot know those last wishes unless they have frequent conversations and ask questions.  The executor then needs to guide the family through the process of the  final wishes.
  1. Accept that it is an emotional time for everyone.  Introspection about life and value is often painful and sensitivities are high.  It is not a time people are best able to make difficult decisions or navigate complicated situations.  Make some allowance for those vulnerabilities.  Be gentle with one another.
  1. Plan.  Plan.  Plan.  Unless a loved one is taken by violence, an accident or a natural disaster, there is most often some warning that death is coming.  Talk about death and what is wanted and not wanted.  Ask specific questions.  It is not enough to say you want to be cremated.  Where are the ashes to go and not go?  What is to be worn?  What is to be included or not, such as jewellery?  Open casket or not?  What type of service?  What specifically do you want and not want?  The more a person can specify music, photos, speakers, invitation for those attending to share, flowers etc etc, the better.  A funeral home can be a great help in helping you consider what needs to be decided.  Let the person have as much input as they are capable of and comfortable with, remembering that it is not about YOUR discomfort, it is about their need to reconcile their lives and sometimes they just need to be given permission by YOU to be able to talk about these things.
  1. Have the person come up with some system to mark where they want things to go.  The selling the assets, dividing the money, those are the broad sweeps, but it is all the little things, wanting people to have certain objects that can cause the biggest fights.  Put different coloured dots on the things you want to go to different people, keep the legend for the dots in a safe place.  Or, keep a little notebook handy and as you think of things jot down who they should go to, try to cover as much as possible.  It will help incredibly.  Don’t forget about people in your life who might love a little reminder of you such as grandchildren or good friends.  Perhaps you can simply let your executor know that if you have forgotten someone, or if someone wants something, they are free to choose something from the things you have not designated.  Trust me, someone always gets forgotten and those little things go a long way in smoothing over hurt feelings.
  1. Especially consider the family and attendance during a prolonged ending.  How can you include those family members far away?  What is fair with expectations considering time commitments to job and family and finances.  When the end is near, who has to travel?  Who wants to travel?  Who cannot travel?  What about accommodation when they arrive?  Someone to pick them up from the airport?  Travel once they are here?
  1. Make sure everyone who will be there is clear on the last wishes regarding life support etc.   This is not a fight you want to have.  Let the hospital know who is in charge of those final wishes and encourage the family to go through THAT person for information.  This means THAT person must provide accurate and complete information to everyone in the family so that everyone is included and up to date.  That needs to be considered when choosing a person to handle these things.  Who can work with everyone and will do the right thing and include everyone?
  1. As soon as you know that someone’s health is beginning to fail, make sure you let people know so that they can decide whether to visit while there is still time.  Don’t filter.  Give people the information and let them figure out what to do with it.  Many people make the effort at these times to resolve past difficulties.  This can be very healing in allowing the person to pass with peace, but also for the people left behind.
  1. Do your research concerning a funeral home well prior to death.  Compare prices and options and suitability.  SHOP so you will get the best value for dollar spent so your loved one can be buried with dignity.  Speak to people you know who may have had recent experience.  Don’t ever just pick a funeral home after a person has died and you must find one immediately to take care of the body.  It is the wrong time to have to make such important decisions.  If you do your homework, you can state with confidence to the others what the costs will be and concentrate on your loved one and not a budget.  Be sure to guide the others in the process, letting them know that the casket they want is way outside the budget and if you go with that you will have to compromise in other areas, etc.
  1. Consider that if you are working with a funeral home they can meet with the person who is ill and help relieve their fears by making sure their final requests will be met.  They also can be on board to come and collect the body as soon as a doctor releases it.
  1. Know what the process is once death has occurred.  If you are at a home, you may be required to call an ambulance and/or the police.  A doctor or a coroner may have to attend to pronounce.  If you do not have a funeral home prearranged to collect the body, the body will go to the morgue while you get things organized.  It is not the hospital’s job to make arrangements for you.  It is not their job to advise you on what you should do.  If you are in a hospital, they will need to move the body to the morgue as soon as the family is finished.  They cannot leave the body in a room to suit your time schedule.  You do not want any loved one to have to view a body in the morgue.  It is much kinder and gentler to have any viewings at the funeral home.  Trust me, there are practical things to consider in preparing the body for your family to see.  Find out what happens where you live and be prepared.
  1. Have a couple of good pictures of your loved one on hand to provide for the funeral home.  This is important, especially if they have never met the deceased as this will guide them as to how you want them to prepare the body.  Hair style is one of the biggest considerations and next is the amount of, or lack of make-up.  The purpose of viewing a body at a funeral is often to instil a final impression of peace and calm for the family and friends.  You want your loved one to be recognizable, not guessed at.
  1. It can be so helpful to have the family attend the funeral home together once the person has passed.    The director will explain everything and prompt you with those decisions that need to be made.  People can ask questions.  The intents of the person who has passed can be explained and then the desires and wishes of the family can be considered in planning the funeral.   Everyone will be on the same page, they will know what is happening, they will feel included.  You have a better chance of not forgetting things.  It can be very helpful to enforce the budget or to have the witnessed offer that “John” would be happy to pay for extra flowers separate from the division of the costs amongst the others, etc.
  1. Introduce the family to the funeral director/people who will be handling the funeral.  You do not want a family member being mistaken for a guest on the day.  You can also cover any special needs, such as someone in the family who might be blind, or deaf, or a disabled child that might get disruptive.  Let the director know how you would like a situation like the child handled, as in, “everyone in the family understands, dad had a special relationship with him, and would not want him shushed.”
  1. Make sure you SEE examples of the flowers so you know what your money is providing.  You always have the option of getting the flowers from somewhere else if you are not completely happy.  Flowers are the one very personal touch that is added to a funeral.  What were the person’s favourite flower?  Make sure you ask because the answer often surprises people.  Look at the room where the funeral is being held, where will flowers delivered be set?  Does the room need something more to make it more inviting?  A picture perhaps?
  1. Should loved ones send flowers or is there somewhere the money spent on flowers should be sent instead?  Perhaps the hospital that cared for your family member, a charity or a community program they participated in or supported?
  1. Carefully consider the obit, you will need extra heads on this one so no-one is forgotten and no names are misspelled.  You might even want to write up the obit prior to death and have your loved one approve or alter it as they would like.  The obit is often how many people find out about the passing. There may well be people you are not aware of who would like to attend.   It is often kept as a remembrance.  You might even like to have them printed up and few to hand out for those who do not get the paper.
  1. What should be printed on the programme?  What pictures should be used?  Will there be a slide show?  Make sure you check on the pictures other family members have, you want to use the best you can, and as much as you love your pics, they may not be the best available.  Plus, this is just one more way to make people feel included.  Let other family members who want to, help . . . With everything they can.    Trust me, there are so many things to think of, everyone can benefit from the input and promptings of others in the family.  You want to do all the work so that on the day of the funeral, everyone is on board, knows what is happening, and can simply focus on the loved one.
  1. What music will be played?  Is someone singing or playing an instrument?  Make sure you speak to them about what they might need to set up and see whether they can rehearse just prior to the funeral or the night before if they need.  If you are using a recording, you will want to assure it is a good quality recording.  Also think about the prelude and postlude music as this is yet another way in which you can personalize the service.  Most funeral homes are happy to play whatever you provide them with.
  1. Is there to be a viewing?  When?  How will that happen, who will be included?
  1. Will others be allowed to share at the end of the service?  Find out if there is a funeral booked in after you because often, if there is not, they are quite happy to allow you some extra time for comments.  You will need to have a gentle moderator in charge of this so it does not drag on but you will be surprised how these things often work out beautifully.  You can always suggest time is up but people are invited to gather somewhere afterward to continue their sharing.
  1. Consider that people who may want to say something, and should, but who are not good speakers or are afraid, can be given help to write out what they want to say and can stand and have someone with them to read it, or just have it read.
  1. Include everyone.  There can never be too much love.  It fosters healing.
  1. Consider that everyone has their own way of grieving, this is what a funeral is about, to facilitate the healing for those of us left behind.  Do everything you can to be considerate of that and to help people do and say what they need to.  Sometimes people want to tuck a letter into the coffin, or a small token . . . these things are so irrelevant to any planned process and if they help the requestor to let go,  … let them if you can.
  1. It is lovely to have one bouquet that is set up to allow the family members to take a single flower home with them.  Some people like to have a flower to throw on top of the coffin as they say their final goodbye graveside.  Consider where the flowers from the funeral are to go afterwards.  There are obvious choices for a partner of a deceased, or the parents of a child etc.  Sometimes there is no clear cut choice.  Perhaps they could be divided up, or donated.
  1. To take the body to its final resting place, to witness one final time, the essence of the person who has passed is a great responsibility.  It is not about you.  It is about the person and a family is often an ambassador of that representation.  Welcome people, be kind.   In death, most people forget about past hurts and anger.  There is only love.  Let it be a time of healing for everyone.
  1. Tend to the practical money matters quickly.  The more you are prepared and know what is required, the easier it will be.  Bank information, notifications that must be made, any monies coming in etc.
  1. Be more time sensitive to the people matters.  People need time to grieve and while you might be handling it fine and are ready to start going through the will or moving people, they may need as much time as you can allow to be ready.  Particularly dissuade a partner from making any huge changes for at least 6 months where possible.  It is just too much at once and decisions made in haste are often later regretted.
  1. The death and funeral are the easy part in dealing with the loss.  It is the long days after when everyone else goes back to their normal lives and moves on and you realize that your life will never be normal again without the person you lost, that becomes difficult.  Try if you can to get together, to at least talk with one another, and to recognize grief is a process without rules and that everyone will find their own way, their own pace … and need to be supported.

Above everything, communication is key.  With communication can come planning.  Most discord and upset occurs because there is no plan or the plan is not shared or because people are not sure if “mom told him what she told me.”

TFFT Standing In The Light

the healing

When I say I am grateful for the people in my life, whose actions, although painful, have taught me much, I am not condoning their cruelty.  That would be as ridiculous as appreciating cancer for taking a life, or failed brakes for causing a car accident.

Life gives us experiences.  Some of those experiences are incredibly painful and they force us to dig deep to discover strengths and abilities we probably never knew we had.  Sometimes those experiences force us down a completely different path that eventually opens us up to wonderful people and other experiences.  My being grateful, is for the experience itself.  I am grateful that I dug deep and found strength and that I took what was meant to destroy me and used it to move me forward without surrendering my heart or my integrity.  I am grateful for the healing and what it taught me.

In that healing I choose to not dwell on, or to hate the person who inflicted the wound.  Sometimes that is enabled by an apology from the person but often it is simply a choice I have made.

not in your life

I am not conflicted by eliminating people from my life.  Nowhere in my being am I required to lie down in front of a bus that has already run over me once.  I choose not to give anyone that kind of power over me.  I will never knowingly allow anyone with hateful or harmful intents a place in my life.  I work hard to live on my own terms and my door is open to anyone who wants to share, but I am not giving up me to deal with negatives.

I am not doing this because I am some kind of enlightened saint.  I am a wounded, broken being, like most of us.  Life has chewed me up and spit me out more times than I can say.  I am chipped, and scarred and if I was ever perfect or flawless, I cannot remember.  I have fought to hold onto my light.  I have fought to find my soul in the heap of garbage life has thrown on me.  I have learned that I am worth fighting for and that no-one is entrusted with that job, except me.

what I want

I listen to the inner wisdom that is tuned to who I am and what I need.  If I stay in tune with that I will be happy, no matter what my life circumstances might be.  I can only be pulled from the place of peace if I allow what other’s say or do to pull me off my centre.  And if that happens, the blame lies solely with me because I allowed that to happen.

the answer

If I listen to the pain that was caused.  If I look at the wound inflicted, I will find truth that I can use to make me stronger.  Every wound requires healing and every healing infuses love into my life and I am stronger, more aware, and more able to love others.

I am blessed with people to feel my pain when I struggle, and who support me to heal.  They don’t “hate” on my behalf.  They simply walk with me, allow my tears, comfort me and love me  … imperfect and broken … fighting to find myself again and to stand in the light.