Saturday, November 30, 2013

Looking Good….

A lady co-worker the other day was dreamily humming the soundtrack theme from the movie Sleepless in Seattle.  It’s a favourite movie of many, possibly because the romantic aspects satisfy either a craving or nostalgic whiff of once was.

It’s unsettling when our paths cross unexpectedly with someone we haven’t seen for a long while – perhaps a classmate or other adult acquaintance. Our impression may be that the person appears burdened and consequently may have lost or gained weight, lost their “zip”, and their persona is dimmed. Conversely, the person may have a really positive aura that exudes energy, enthusiasm and overall zest.

Anyone who arises after a fretful night of tossing/turning or otherwise affected sleep knows how difficult it is to put on our game face and step out with a spring in our step. Interrupted sleep or no sleep whatsoever is totally debilitating. Overwrought Moms and Dads may be functioning on auto-pilot; caregivers may be light sleepers with their ear cocked for a rustle of bedclothes or other indicators. Financial, marital, bereavement or work-related stressors are other recognizable impacts. If you Google™ the Holmes-Rafe Life Stressors Inventory you can score yourself - which might be either unnerving or comforting!

It’s essential, however difficult, that we each keep at top of mind the inevitability that “this too shall pass”. Some people appear to be able to carry their rucksack of troubles with grace and aplomb, perhaps setting an admirable example to observers. Nobody is truly alone in their toil and if we can offload even a few factors affecting us the result will be lighter, brighter and fresher.

Looking good!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bleating With Good Intentions …..

The hustle-bustle of pre-Christmas commercialism sometimes has a negative influence on how readily we throw ourselves into the spirit of the season. Malls are crowded, cash registers are ringing and parking lots are bumper-to-bumper with tradition.

While we all know that gifts from the heart are treasured more than something selected in haste or obligation, receiving is not always as fulfilling as giving. Some families are financially well-set; others are challenged more, and as the middle class sinks into oblivion the struggles are more emphatic. Every dollar counts and there isn’t always an abundance of leisure time to hand-craft a gift or devote time and resources to baking up sweet treats or bottling jam, jelly or relishes!

Last year it was a surprise to see envelopes resting on the boughs rather than a clutter of wrapped and beribboned boxes under the Christmas tree where we visited on Boxing Day. Teens and tweens were already engrossed in hand-held technologies – and the adults were hoping for a quieter time than the morning previous. Several sparkly gifts were carried in from the trunk of the car – and the exchange of parcels was begun.

The host presented his envelopes – and inside was a sincere token of his loving heart. Certificates revealed that either a goat, some chickens, fresh water, mosquito netting or a start-up kit for school had been donated on our behalf to worthy communities where they would be received with delight. Regardless of where we live or what circumstances we enjoy, there is always someone else who has less and actually needs more.

This year, if you feel so inclined and your pocketbook allows, gift a couple of chickens or something more robust.  Consider the versatility and significance of a valuable goat; don’t just bleat with good intentions.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Steady Hand On The Tiller...


Global, national, provincial and local news concerning unemployment statistics is more than troubling. While politicians address pressing issues, far from the home site, people of all ages are struggling to find work.

Once acquired, it takes commitment, including attention to detail, to keep that precious source of income. However unfulfilling the paycheque may feel, at least there is one.

In my own municipality I know of several middle-aged people who are working two part-time jobs and taking casual shifts with a third employer just to make ends meet. Their lifestyle is anything but frivolous. Capable able-bodied people are grateful if consideration is given to them during the interview process and fretfulness grows as days pass without even a callback.

My own mother has commented with satisfaction that both my sister, brother and I all have an excellent work ethic. She led by example and no slackers among us. The stress impact of starting new employment rates high in studies and graphs – a normally contented tummy may knot with apprehension and tension headaches love to linger when we need every cell to focus on the task at hand.

In order to make their work an ongoing achievement, everyone requires a steady hand on the tiller.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Betwixt and Between…

Life’s road presents a myriad of choices, from babyhood to past our “best before” date!

We learn early which choices in behavior are good or not. Rewards such as sweet candy are more tangible to a toddler though than a hug or cheer!

Classroom etiquette is clearly identifiable – mischief is often held back till recess when hopefully perpetrators escape the eagle eye of the yard monitor. Sometimes the school bus driver has uproar and upheaval to manage – even so far as adolescents mooning, or worse, in the back seat!

Teenage years are fraught with inconsistencies as we try to find our way – Mom and Dad often shake their heads in consternation as we stumble into adulthood.
And so it goes.

Post-secondary education represented a ticket to success – just “plan your work and work your plan”! Sounded like a piece of cake, except there are usually too many slices to consider; and it’s regrettable if we make the wrong choice. Anguish and despair from funding sources such as Mom and Dad or Grandma/Grandpa or other family members. Remorsefulness and feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem on the part of the errant student, and the weightiness of debt when loans need to be repaid. Unemployment is rampant, adding to the burden.

As we journey along, the pathway can feel uneven and narrow. We can stumble and even lose our way from time to time. The old analogy of light at the end of the tunnel can be viewed two ways – is it a train barreling toward us or actually the end of our troubles in sight?

Peering too hard into the future with intensity can produce eyestrain!
This past weekend I struggled with a list of Pros and Cons to a reach decision that was hanging heavily. Sighs of fretfulness – betwixt and between…
The sun shone though on Thanksgiving Day - and “I can see clearly now – the rain is gone”.