This Too Shall Pass

Today is one of those days that I am extremely grateful for my gratitude practice and other training on bringing myself back up as it has been quite a day.   

It was not easy for me to get up this morning to help Jamey and the cats start their day when his alarm went off at 5:45 AM. I was sleepy and in pain. I went back to sleep after he left and woke up feeling somewhat better, only to learn that

  1. one friend is dying
  2. another just had surgery for cancer
  3. three members of my surrogate family (and their animals) are in the most recent projected path for Hurricane Irma
  4. and some other things that I can’t refer to here but that are very likely to impact our lives.

These are the days when it is good to remember the story about

The King who wanted words of wisdom that would be true in all times and all situations.  He wanted them presented to him so succinctly that they could be inscribed inside of a ring.  When the ring was presented to him it read:

 

This too shall pass
This too shall pass

 

Thankfully, one of the Overdrive audiobooks that I am listening to is by Bernie Siegel.  When I was feeling physically miserable earlier today, I turned it on to hear him give a reminder of the importance of focusing on gratitude when you are in mental or physical pain as if one focuses on the negatives instead of the positives it makes the pain worse.  I needed to hear that right then.

So what I am grateful for today is that I have surrounded myself with so many reminders to focus on the positive. This way when I am having a rough day, there is always something close at  hand to remind me not to let myself dwell on what is negative.  You cannot be miserable when you are focused on what is good in your life.

No, gratitude practice does not solve all problems but it does allow you to look at the situation from a clearer perspective and make better decisions on those things that you do have control over and be better able to deal with those things (such as a friend dying) that you cannot change.

 

Repurposed Items

Today I am feeling particularly grateful for repurposed items. Here are three examples:

(1) I started thinking about them this morning while feeding the cats their daily treat.     When they both hop up on my cot in the morning, I know they are ready for it.   Thus I keep a plastic container on one of my nightstands with their Temptation treats. Originally it was purchased for storing muffins in (and worked great for that) but once Jamey became wheelchair bound and thus no longer able to be as active in order to burn calories, I stopped making baked goods.  It works perfectly as a repurposed treat container.

Formerly a home baked goods container (usually muffins) repurposed for cat treats storage
Formerly a home baked goods container (usually muffins) repurposed for cat treats storage

 

(2) An additional reason to stop baking was that my own weight had gotten out of control.  I am determined to get back to a healthier weight for my size (4’6″) to which end, I purchased a basic watch/pedometer from Walmart and began to look for options for an .mp3 player to encourage me to walk more.

As I researched the best .mp3 players for audiobooks, I came across the suggestion of using an old cell phone.    Jamey had taken my old cell phone to the library to use to test hot spots for patrons.   He said he could use his current one for that purpose and brought my old one back to me.   With no other apps on it other than Overdrive and Amazon music (plus the built in ones you can’t delete), it has plenty of room (unlike my current cell phone) for an audiobook and some music to accompany me on my walks. It works perfectly as a repurposed .mp3 player.

my old cell phone repurposed to an .mp3 player for audiobooks and music
my old cell phone repurposed to an .mp3 player for audiobooks and music

 

(3) Once upon a time I had a nine hole credenza that worked very nicely for storing my yarns (sorted by color family).  Then Johnny came into our lives.  When she was very young, she was oblivious to my yarn.    I was thanking my lucky stars for that until she reached about 7 – 8 months of age.   Once she “discovered” my yarn, she made it very clearly known that henceforth all yarn was to be considered a kitty toy.   

My yarn ended up getting packed away until our move.  It now resides in our pantry / supply room / craft room and the 9 hole credenza  has become part of Jamey’s wheelchair accessible computer / electronics area.     It works perfectly as a repurposed storage area for some of Jamey’s electronics and tools.

One component of Jamey's wheelchair accessible electronics/computer area.
One component of Jamey’s wheelchair accessible electronics/computer area.

 

How about you?   Have you repurposed something that works perfectly for its new function?

 

 

 

 

Here Be Dragons

Jamey wrote a post on unicorns Sunday, so I am doing one on dragons as one of the things we have in common is a love of  fantasy  (even those stories that don’t include dragons or unicorns such as Nathan Lowell’s Tanyth Fairport Adventures) and whimsy.

I have long loved dragons and am grateful to the authors and artists who make them come alive for us.
I have long loved dragons and am grateful to the authors and artists who make them come alive for us.

 

Dragonriders of Pern

I love Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series.  My favorite in the series is All the Weyrs of Pern.   I have listened to the audiobook so many times that I know chunks of it almost by heart.

 

Dragon Fanfic

Jamey is an avid fanfic reader.   A few years ago, he introduced me to one that he thought I would enjoy as it combined the dragons of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern universe with characters from Harry Potter.      We followed the installments for as long as they were written but sadly the author died.

Since then I have had an eye out for another dragon series to follow.   If you are wondering why it took me so long to find one, given how much fiction about dragon exists, it is because I prefer my fantasy to be g-rated, no more than pg, with little to no violence and some humor.   Equally important is that the dragons be recognizable individuals with human friends that they can communicate with.   Once you restrict it that much, it is not quite as easy.

 

Beaufort Scales

I am thankful to say that I recently found a writer whose dragon stories meet those qualifications:  Kim M. Watt and her tales of  Beaufort Scales.    It was pure serendipity that I stumbled upon her site where her banner caught my attention immediately:  “Here be dragons. And cats, and other stuff.”

Her site includes

  • an introduction to Beaufort Scales page which includes a list of links to everything she has written about him so far
  • 3 short stories about him
  • a 5 part cozy about him

If you enjoy the type of dragon stories that I do, I encourage you to check out Kim Watt’s Beaufort Scales.    I have read everything she has written about him thus far and am looking forward to future installments in the series.

If you find you enjoy her stories, ramble around on her site for a bit and you will find plenty of links to her other stories.

 

Here Be Dragons

I have long loved the phrase “Here be dragons” (or “Here there be dragons”) that was supposedly written on uncharted areas of old European maps to depict unknown dangers.    I usually love to learn new things but was sad to find out that is one of those things that everybody knows but is not completely true. Nonetheless, I still get pleasure from the phrase.

 

Today's gratitude goes to
  • Anne McCaffrey for the many, many hours of pleasure her writings have given to me
  • to Bobmin for Beneath Sovereign Skies (the Pern/Potter fanfic crossover)
  • to Kim Watt for Beaufort Scales
  • and to the folks at MapHist, the Map History Forum, for setting me straight on the history of the phrase “here be dragons.”

If you love dragons, do you have a favorite author/series that you would like to recommend?

 

Nudges

Today I am grateful for needed nudges.

For example,  Jamey gave me a copy of the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz about 8 or 9 years ago.   I really kept meaning to read it, along with a number of other very good books that I keep meaning to read or reread.

 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

 

The truth of the matter is that I have gotten very lazy since getting my Amazon Kindle Touch (and other platforms for reading e-books) and mostly now listen to audio books or read e-books (from Amazon/Audible or Overdrive), rarely touching my library of physical books.

Thankfully, Joshua, who also writes a daily gratitude blog (“One Year of Gratitude“) and will be writing our first guest post, recently wrote about how helpful he found The Four Agreements in staying on the course he has charted for himself.   Since Joshua’s chosen course is similar to my own, that was the nudge I needed to head out to the bookshelves to retrieve the book.    I started it earlier this evening.

Thank you for the needed nudge, Joshua.

Was there a book you have been meaning to read that that you kept putting off until someone gave you a needed nudge?  Is there something else that you are grateful to someone else for nudging you to do?   We would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Overdrive ebooks, audiobooks and videos

 

To The Bright Edge of the World novel about 1885 Alaska
Overdrive is a great place to borrow ebooks, audiobooks and videos such as “To The Bright Edge of the World” a novel about 1885 Alaska.

Something else that we are both grateful for is Overdrive, a free service provided by our public library that allows us to borrow ebooks, audiobooks and even videos on our mobile devices.

I’ve found quite a few things to enjoy on there including the audiobook I just finished of the Alaskan based historical novel To The Bright Edge of The World by Eowyn Ivey.  Set partially in 1885 and partially in the present, the book is an intriguing mix of history and folklore with a touch of magic and an emphasis on nature’s beauty.   While many of the main characters are men, the book includes two strong women, one of whom is a native Alaskan, a dog, and a raven – or is it a raven?

The author (a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for “The Snow Child”) lives in Alaska with her family. In this short interview, she discusses her fascination with her state and how much of her novel is based on historical events.