An Irish Prayer

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An Irish Prayer

May God Give you…

For every storm, a rainbow, 

For every tear, a smile, 

For every care, a promise, 

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends, 

A faithful friend to share, 

For every sigh, a sweet song, 

And an answer for each prayer.  

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Pi, Nature, and God’s Love

Gail:

A really great and informative read. Enjoy!

Originally posted on follow the light:

pi

Today is 3/14/15. Some have decided to call it Pi day (π), after the number. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is equal to 3.14159265358979323846… (the digits go on forever without repeating). π is infinite. Perhaps the reason this equation goes on forever is circles have no beginning and no ending. When I consider this mathematical concept I’m reminded that our Creator and His perfect love are infinite. God wants us to know this fact. So, our Creator has placed in nature ways to help us get to know Him. I discovered one of these ways when I opened up my Bible to read Genesis 1.

 Genesis 1:1–5

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the…

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Meaningful Words

One of the 

important aspects

of our relationship

is that neither of us

needs to be

always right, or

always strong, or

always smart, or

always first.

We have enough confidence

in ourselves and 

trust in each other

that we can

be our real selves

at all times.

                                                                                        -Susan Polis Schutz

Thirty years ago, I hand copied this poem on a piece of notebook paper and gave it to my husband-to-be just before we married.  I came across it the other day and thought I would share.  Still loving these words…

Gail ♥ 

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Some Thoughts on Mid-life

I had an interesting conversation with my doctor this past week as I often do.  My doctor is one of the nicest, most caring and compassionate doctors I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.  As busy as he is (and he is terribly busy) he never rushes a visit and always takes time to listen to me and answer all my questions.  Known for his likable bedside manner, he has a unique way of making you feel like you’re his only patient for the day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about midlife crises.  I asked my doctor if there was really such a thing as a midlife crisis.  I was curious mostly because I had just started reading a book, When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd.  Many years ago I read The Secret Life of Bees by the same author and have always been interested in reading more books by Sue Monk Kidd.  So when I searched the Internet for more of her books, I came across this one.  It was described as her spiritual memoir and is about her midlife spiritual crisis.  Let’s just say it peaked my interest in the subject.

WhenTheHeartWaits-cvr

I remember my mother making the comment once during my teenage years that everyone experiences a midlife crisis and I clearly remember her saying that men and women tended to experience and deal with these crises in different ways.  I sure wish my mother was alive today as I would love to delve more into this conversation with her, but at the time, my teenage mind couldn’t seem to identify with anything she was saying. I was also interested in knowing if my doctor felt midlife crises REALLY existed because of a comment I remember a therapist making to me years ago.  I had used the term “Nervous Breakdown” in front of her once and she quickly said to me: “What’s a nervous breakdown?  There is really no such thing.”  I was a little dumbfounded as I had heard that term all my life.  When I replayed that conversation to my doctor, he furrowed his brow, shook his head, and said, “Well YOU know what you meant and I know what you meant– I think she was just splitting hairs or something.” He went on to say yes, that he believed there WAS such a thing as midlife crises and said he felt it was a time of questioning in a person’s life usually brought on by some major change– like kids leaving home, or a job loss, or a death–and it brings people to search for answers.   “It’s people searching,” he said.

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Personally, before I even asked my doctor, I believed in the existence of midlife crises because #1, all people (if they have the pleasure of living long enough) go through a midlife, and #2, everyone has crises in their life.  It’s inevitable.  It says in the bible that we will all have trials.  No ifs ands or buts– they are a part of life.  I happen to think that midlife crises are a normal part of life that we all experience.  I don’t look at it as a disease, but a normal life transition.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a midlife crisis as a period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized by a strong desire for change.  Wikipedia had this to say about midlife crises:

Midlife crisis is a term first coined by Elliott Jaques referring to a critical phase in human development during the forties to early sixties, based on the character of change points, or periods of transition. The period is said to vary among individuals and between men and women.  Despite popular perception of this phenomenon, empirical research has failed to show that the midlife crisis is a universal experience, or even a real condition at all

Wikipedia goes on to say:

Midlife is also significant as a time adults come to realize their own mortality.   A mid-life crisis is experienced by some people as they realize they have reached a midpoint in their lifespan and experience conflicts or dissatisfaction within themselves because of unrealized goals, self-perceptions or physical changes as a result of aging or health issues.   Sometimes, a crisis can be triggered by transitions such as andropause or menopause, the death of parents or other causes of grief,unemployment or underemployment, realizing that a job or career is hated but not knowing how else to earn an equivalent living, or children leaving home. Additionally, when experiencing a mid-life crisis, people may reassess their achievements in terms of their dreams. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in areas such as career, work-life balance, marriage, romantic relationships, finances, or physical appearance.

It is thought that midlife crises in men are usually brought on by work or financial struggles.  In the USA, there is a stereotypical image of men in mid-life crises who go out and buy fancy red sports cars.  Midlife crises in women are often brought on by relationship problems or changes in the relationships in their lives.  Often women will sit down in middle age and have a good look at the different roles they play in their life (daughter, wife, mother, employee, etc.).  People who go through midlife crises often mourn the loss of their youth and will do things to make them feel younger which often involves taking some risks.  I guess that is why there is an increase in bungee jumping, sky diving, and extramarital affairs with younger people at this time.

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I can see how the stressors of midlife can bring on a midlife crisis.  For me in midlife, I dealt with a sudden incapacitating stroke my dad suffered while undergoing surgery (which greatly affected his mind AND his body), the illness and loss of both parents to cancer, the realization that my career in veterinary medicine, a career I dreamed of my whole life and trained for in school for eight years, was NOT the career I thought I wanted and definitely not a good match for me.  There was the death of friends– by car accidents and addictions….. ways in which I had hoped to never lose my friends.  There was a hysterectomy which occurred while I was still trying to decide if I wanted a third child, and the grief associated with that loss.  There was the loss of a pet who was like a son to me and the totally unexpected submersion into a grief such as I had never gone through before, not even with the death of my parents.  There was the beginning of my empty nest when my youngest went off to college which I discovered I wasn’t prepared for.  And let’s not forget normal aging and the loss of youth, menopause, and the associated problems and changes that the decrease in estrogen brings.  Am I undergoing a midlife crisis?  I don’t know.  All I DO know is I am searching for answers. I seem to have entered a much more contemplative stage of my life and I’m turning to God for answers.  I’ve become withdrawn in many ways which seems necessary for me now. I’m questioning my purpose in life and I’m dealing with fears and worries I’ve never had before.  I see much beauty in life but I also see more of the ugly and I see people becoming meaner, more selfish, and so much more unfriendly and it frightens me to near paralysis. I see people who are so glued to their phones and social media and they never seem to look up from those phones anymore to have time for personal relationships and real friendships anymore.  Life is more lonely and I ponder if maybe that’s my fault.  Perhaps.  So I withdraw more and more into my make-believe cocoon.  I’m learning to be still and it’s dark in here but as Sue Monk Kidd says, it’s a holy darkness.  I only hope that I emerge somehow transformed, better able to make sense of things.  I’ve even quit going to church while I search for these answers which seems totally nonsensical and illogical when I think about it.  I can’t explain that part but I’ve never felt more spiritual.

What are your thoughts on midlife crises?  Do you think they exist?  Please feel free to share your thoughts (and stories if you desire) in the comment section.

Gail ♥

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Watching it Snow

I think Dakota and Nugget are mesmerized by their first snow.

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Gail ♥

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Weekly Pet Share

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Nugget is nice and relaxed for his nap, don’t you think?

weeklypet

Gail ♥

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When Fear Has a Tight Hold

Looking at and watching the two of them, it’s not very hard to see that their personalities are as different from each other as their appearances.  Different as night and day.  Two kittens who came from two of three litters from a barn in South Dakota. They came to live with us when they were 7 and 8 weeks old.  A blonde tabby who we named “Nugget” who is quite comical and doesn’t know a stranger.  And then there’s Dakota, a gray tabby who we were told was very skittish when we acquired him. “Sweet but skittish” was how he was described to me.  He had an identical twin brother who apparently was even more skittish than he was.  Makes you wonder what happened in their young little lives to make them so fearful.

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patriotic kitties

Nugget and Dakota are about 9 and 10 months old now.  They get along great and are inseparable.  Partners in crime who can unroll an entire roll of toilet paper in the blink of an eye!  Seriously, is there a Guinness World Record for that?  Nugget doesn’t know a stranger and has no fears.  He is not shy in the least and can be quite impulsive at times. This is troubling to me sometimes because it’s fear that alerts cats to trouble.  Fear can be normal and “healthy”  in this respect.  Granted Nugget is strictly an indoor cat (they both are).  And I’m convinced he could never be an outdoor cat because of his “No Fear” attitude.   He’ll go totally limp in your arms when you pick him up.  Dakota on the other hand, is a “scaredy cat” and is scared of his own shadow.  Literally.  He doesn’t like to be held at all although he will crawl in our laps (it must be on his terms) and lick us silly while purring so loud, he can cause a recliner chair to vibrate.  It pains me to see how scared he is of strangers and, well, EVERYTHING.  He once hurt himself while he and Nugget were playing in a big paper shopping bag (the kind with the twisted handles). Something spooked him and he about killed himself to get out of that bag.  He tore one of the handles off while literally exploding out of the bag all wide-eyed and terrified, and sprained his leg in the process.  I shook my head the day that happened and found myself wishing there was something I could do to make him see he’s only letting his fears hurt him more.  And then it dawned on me.  In many ways, I’m just like Dakota. Sometimes I let my fear harm me. Sometimes I let it cripple and paralyze me.

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So I’m working on standing up to my fears.  Because fear attacks us all sometimes.  It fogs our thinking and causes irrational behavior and I’m convinced it can lead us straight away from the will of God.  This year I’m trying to learn to stand up to my fear and not let it get the best of me or control my life.  I guess you can say I’m fighting fear with faith and realize I can only do this with God’s help. There’s no other way.  So I’ll meet fear head-on– with the Word of God.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?   ~Psalm 27:1

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7

 

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea~ Psalm 46:1-2

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

 

The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? ~Psalm 118:6

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6

How about you?  What are  your biggest fears?  Are you letting fear get the best of you?

Gail ♥

 

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