Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming!

This year has been a mess like nothing I’ve ever seen in my 59 years of living!  The world is changing so fast and there seems to be so many more dangers than there were when this year began.  Deadly mysterious viruses, broken economy, violence, natural disasters, and opportunists looming in the background to take advantage of this bad situation. I know that we’ll all come through this, but it is really tough some days to keep one’s chin up and maintain a positive attitude. I think we can all agree on that! 

So, how does one stay positive, maintain faith in a good and gentle God, and keep on being a good, compassionate, hardworking, gentle-spirited peaceful person?  There are many ways employed to do it, but for myself, I read scripture, pray, work on improving myself by following a new career path, reading, and crocheting like a crazy woman! (I have a new grand baby arriving in 7 days and I can hardly wait! Hence the mad crocheting. I have things I want to get to my kids before Little Miss arrives. Can you say cute booties, caps, and cuddle blankets?) 

One thing I’ve learned through the years is that action is key to maintaining a healthy outlook and moving forward. I’ve had chronic low-grade depression all my adult life. I take antidepressants, which help immensely, but I learned a long time ago that when I feel like just curling up into myself with my thoughts and low feelings, that is when I need to get up and move!  I need to physically move, be active, get outside for some sunshine and fresh air (wearing sunscreen), and shake up my complacent world! Sometimes just vacuuming the house can be therapeutic. When I was younger, I would rearrange the furniture in my house (and sometimes my office), deep clean, reorganize things in my environment, and feel like a new woman! When I finally realized what my furniture rearranging was all about (movement, exertion, sweat, and imagination), I knew I had clicked into a way to stave off depression, stay physically fit, and be healthier all the way around.

Does that mean that everyone should rearrange their house or office furniture to stave off depression and anxiety? No! Everyone has their own key to keeping themselves out of depression and anxiety. You just have to find that key for yourself! What gets your heart pumping, your imagination firing, and your face determined?  What makes YOU smile?

One way I’ve found to figure myself out is to write in a journal frequently. Getting all my frustrations, hurts, confusion, and life situations down on paper by physically writing them down performs a miracle for me. It clears my head and my heart. It also gives me a map of the path I need to take in my life. I know writing isn’t the way for everyone. Perhaps drawing, painting, singing, taking a walk, taking a drive, house repairs, or building something is the best way for you to clear your head. As long as there is physical movement and some space for you to think your way clear through your confusion and anxiety, it is good! 

If you are a person of faith, keep connecting to that faith through prayer, study, and meditation. Keep your mind focused on what is good, pure, healthy, and positive and you will find peace.  

I’ve jabbered on enough this morning. I hope I’ve inspired some of you with a few of the ways I fight off depression and anxiety. Remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Life never sits still. It is always changing. These dark times won’t last forever. Good times will return. Until then, hold on, find what works for you, and just do it!  (Sorry Nike!)  

I love you all and want you to be happy, healthy, and free from anxiety.  Until next time, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming!

Dory (Like the little blue fish.)

2020–Catching Up

I know I’m writing nothing original here when I say that this year has been at least half a lifetime, or at least ten years long! All previous natural rhythms of seasons, time, and life were disrupted back in March and still haven’t been restored. I think eventually we will get back to a more natural routine, but I seriously doubt if we ever return to what we had, did, or were before.

So! How you doin’? Has the uniqueness of this year made you crazy yet? Have some good things come of it for you? If so, are you grateful? Or is it all just a dark gray glob of confusion? I sincerely hope not on that last option!

It is strange to me that my life has never been so restrictive before, but I feel more free than I have in decades! I’ve had time to quiet myself–body, mind, and soul. I’ve become reacquainted with myself and my family. I’ve had fun doing it too! I’m even retooling myself for a new career. How about those apples? Pretty cool I think!

Before the stay-at-home orders were put in place, I was an in-home caregiver to older clients, clients with dementia, and hospice clients. I LOVED my work. I’d been doing it for about 5 years and found it very rewarding and fulfilling all while helping others to live their very best lives through their final days or years. I met some of the most incredible people who taught me so very much about life. If I told even half of their stories, I promise you’d be weeping with joy, sorry, and newly gained wisdom. Unfortunately, I can’t share their stories. That would be a violation of their privacy and HIPPA laws. I can say this, however. Aging doesn’t have to be a downer. Even terminal illnesses and death don’t have to be downers. If approached with courage, strength, and wisdom, any of those things can be something that enriches our human experience and life itself. I’ve learned that from all the beautiful people I’ve had the great fortune and blessing of meeting, serving, and loving.

My last day of caregiving was March 16, 2020. On that day, my last hospice client finally got to go to heaven and see her beloved husband again. Also, my veteran client’s family decided it was too risky to have someone coming into their house twice a week while COVID-19 was in the air. I completely understood and was relieved to tell the truth.

Sunflowers are my favorite!

The fact is that I’m getting a little older myself and caregiving is a younger person’s job. Younger, stronger, more physically energetic people are need to fulfill client needs. Let’s face it, I’ve never been buff or big and lifting, moving, and aiding adults is very taxing on the body. I’m not a wimp by any means, but facts are facts. A 58-year-old body cannot do what a 28-year-old body can! And that’s ok! We have seasons throughout our life and my caregiving season came to an end.

What am I going to do now, you ask. Well, I’m going to start a freelance proofreading career! It is something I can always do at home, wherever home may be. I can take on as many or as few clients as I wish. I can do the work anywhere, anytime, or any place as long as I have an internet connection until senility starts sinking in, which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time yet.

So! Life is good and God is great! I know some people get really annoyed at my little miss merry sunshine approach to life. Believe me, sometimes I have to dig really deep to dredge up some sunshine, but I can tell you this. It is always, always worth it to call forth the sunshine! Sunshine sheds light on what improvements can be made to ourselves and to our lives. Sunshine heals our spirits. Sunshine is healthy! It gives us a big boost of vitamin D that can literally lift our spirits. So, sunshine, here I am!

I love all of you and pray you and your family have been spared from the COVID-19 plague. I pray you’ve been blessed with stability, family, friends, and connections this year. I pray you’re keeping your chin up and meeting the challenges of this year with a smile and sunshine.

Dory

Teach Your Children

Teach your children well. If necessary, use words. Mostly though, get them involved with other children of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, political groups, and differently abled groups. It will teach them love, acceptance, and respect for others that they won’t find on their own.

I was never exposed to people of color until I was in the third grade in 1970. My teacher, Miss Bazy, was the first black person I ever met and I was terrified simply because she was different. At the end of the first week of school, she asked me to stay after class. I was a shy, quiet kid who never got in trouble so I was scared. Everyone left and she asked me to come up to her at her desk. All 35 pounds of me was shaking with nerves. She didn’t say a word, but took my hand in hers and held it for a minute or two, smiling gently all the while. Then she turned my hand over, palm side up, and asked me, “Did your hand turn black because you held my black hand?” Of course I shook my head no. She then said, “Honey, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just like you except God colored me differently than you.” Then she gave me the sweetest hug I EVER got from a teacher before or since. I burst into tears because I was so ashamed for being afraid. She just held me and patted my back as I told her I was so sorry. I believe the most important thing I learned that year took place in a 10 minute lesson. She was a great teacher, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve especially never forgotten that moment.

Ever since that day I’ve understood we are all the same in many ways. We are all human, have basic needs, wishes, emotions, attachments, and gifts. We all deserve respect and dignity, compassion and empathy. We all need to teach our children well. That is how we will change the world now and in the future.

It all starts here…

COVID19 anyone?

These are strange days we are living in, aren’t they? How are you doing so far? I pray with all my heart you or your family hasn’t been ill with this dastardly bug. I know, unfortunately, that’s not likely. I think most of us have known someone who has been ill or has not survived it. So, how do we cope? How do you cope?

There are many ways to cope and those ways are as varied as there are people in the world. Some people get introspective. Others reach out to others more than ever, even if isolated. There’s cleaning, working, learning, shopping therapy, eating, cooking, binge watching TV and movies from thousands of outlets, reading, writing, taking up new hobbies, sex, sleeping, walking, hiking, rock climbing, driving, praying, meditating, singing, and worshipping God. I am sure I’ve barely scratched the surface here. The coping skills I’ve mentioned don’t even consider the mandatory items many of us have to consider such as working from home, homeschooling our children, laundry, and paying bills. It’s a wonder we’re coping at all!

Here’s what I’ve observed from my home and my little window to the world. Families and friends have grown closer and more loving. We’ve checked in with one another more. We’ve slowed down and, shockingly, enjoyed it! We’ve experienced more gratitude, shared with others more, and rediscovered pastimes we thought were outdated and old-fashioned just before this crisis began. We’ve discovered innovative ways to carry on in our professions. I’ve actually loved all the TV shows aired from homes. I’ve delighted in getting to observe the stars in their natural habitats without stylists and makeup artists. It’s awesome!

I’m not going to skip over the hardships though. I know many of you are lonely, stressed, and depressed. You’ve lost jobs, homes, and independence or even freedom. My heart breaks for those in nursing homes, senior living homes, and those in memory care, mental institutions, prisons, and, of course, hospitals.

I don’t have a pithy answer for those who’ve experienced these hardships. All I can honestly say is hang on! Don’t give up! One thing I do know for certain is this too shall pass! If a day seems too long to hang on, how about the next hour or five minutes? As my mother used to say to me, “Light somewhere and take a minute to settle down!” She knew if I would sit down, quit moving, be quiet, and take some deep breaths, I’d feel much better. She was right! If any of you know me in real life, you know I have a hard tome being still, even when sitting. I jiggle my legs, swing my feet, and dance in my chair! I’m getting better at being still though. Age has helped!

Well, I didn’t intend to write a novella here. I just wanted to check in on everybody and let you know I’ve been thinking of you, I love you, and I pray for all of us every day and night. Hang in there! This too shall pass!

Love, love, love…

As we near Valentines Day this week, I realized how much my perspective on love has changed and grown since I was 20 and got married for the first time. Back then, these verses seemed to reveal the fluttery, passionate, fairy tale love.

 

Now that I’m 57 and have lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly of several relationships, these verses reveal themselves to be describing God’s great, deep, abiding love for US. God’s love for us is also the model of what true love really IS. It isn’t just about romantic love at all. Rather, it is how we love everyone we encounter and how we treat them. Despite what popular culture says, life is not all about us!   Truthfully, it’s not about us at all! 

This business of life is about loving everyone else no matter who they are—rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, intelligent, silly, tall, short, skinny, plump, black, white, yellow, or purple!  If we learn how to love as God loves us, most of our problems, fears, and insecurities will vanish. Approach everyone with love and guess what? You’ll have so much love in your life, you’ll feel like you’re literally glowing with it.  Ok, I’ll let the verses speak to you now. God’s writers say everything better, in fewer words too!  Ha! 

I LOVE all of you and pray this Valentine season that you’ll feel all the love showered on you every day and that you will pass that love onto others! 

Dory Dee

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (BBE)

1 If I make use of the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am like sounding brass, or a loud-tongued bell. 

2 And if I have a prophet’s power, and have knowledge of all secret things; and if I have all faith, by which mountains may be moved from their place, but have not love, I am nothing. 

3 And if I give all my goods to the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it is of no profit to me. 

4 Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; 

5 Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; 

6 It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; 

7 Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things.

 

green wooden board with heart hole

Everyone’s Face Tells A Story

42DAD508-BDFB-45C3-B4A0-38341C921E31

This is me, scars, wrinkles, freckles, age spots and all. (I even think my lazy eye might be making a comeback!) I would never have plastic surgery because my face tells the story of my life. I have deep smile lines because I love to laugh and smile. I have freckles and age spots because as a teen I laid out in the backyard with baby oil coating every inch of my visible skin. I have a scar because I had to have a skin cancer removed. I have a scar on the left side of my face because I slipped and fell off the back deck of our house 10 years ago. Because I was 46, it didn’t disappear like scars from my 20’s did. I have wrinkles around my lips because gasp I was stupid and was a closet smoker for years. I’m not model perfect. I’m a real woman.

For the record, I’ve never ever, ever been “pretty” by the worlds’ terms, but I do think I can be “cute” if I wear lipstick, mascara, and a smile. Otherwise, hide your children ’cause I’m kinda scary first thing in the morning!

Why am I confessing all this? Because I think as human beings we should accept who we are–wrinkles, spots, imperfections–and all! Finally, at the age of 56 breathing down the neck of 57, I like me. I like my face. Please, no matter what your age, like yourself! Like your face and body! God loves you and if the King of the Universe loves you just as you are, well, you should love yourself too!

Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas time is here,
meant to be full of good cheer.
There are those, full of woe,
that find it hard and
full of sorrow.

We miss the ones we’ve lost,
so much more at Christmas.
We remember times of joy
and fun,
times of love with everyone.

Then the ache of sorrow,
slowly fills our hearts,
creating such pain,
we’re not sure we’ll ever,
celebrate again.

If only those so joyful,
could share their hearts
and arms with those,
whose hearts are full of pain,
think of how much better
we could make their
world again.

So if you see someone silent,
during the holiday gaiety,
someone with their head
bowed low, with little joy
or levity,
take a moment,
lend your ear, your arms,
your hearts in
loving solidarity.

Give your love this season,
because, it is for this a babe
was born that night,
to show the world that
God so loves the world,
He sent His only son.
God lent His ear, His arms,
His heart in loving oh so bright.

Christmas time is here,
bring the world some cheer.
Christmas time is here,
lend your hearts, your arms,
your ears.

For Christmas time is here…

D. E. Wood-Lane
12/18/17

Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time is too rapid,
relentlessly beating,
ticking, pulsing.

How can it be
that yesterday
I was graduating
from high school,
a giddy girl
falling in love,

and today I’m too rapidly
rushing towards being sixty,
silver hair peeking out
of my red hair color,
laugh and life lines
spreading all over my face
like a road map
of my journey
through life?

Part of me wishes
I could stop time,
resting in a peaceful
moment, forever.

Of course,
the only way
to stop time,
 is to stop
life!

I’m not ready
to stop time by
stopping life.

So, I will continue
journeying through
life and time—
rapidly, relentlessly
beating, ticking,
pulsing—
creating moments
and memories,
forever.

D.E. Wood-Lane
12/2/17

Until the Morning’s Dew

When my eyelids fall so heavy

And my thoughts are all of You,

I know I’ll soon be sleeping

until the morning’s dew.

The moonlight falls so quietly

upon my windowpane

and the stars begin to twinkle

as the angels say Your name.

I try so hard to stay awake

So I can really pray,

but You calm my restless spirit so

I have no words to say.

Just know that I do love You

and pray within my dreams,

that I’ll see You in the morning

when the morning dewdrops gleam.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane

4/27/99