Monday, April 25, 2011

Fate is kind. . .

Mysterious sometimes, but kind.

Last post I talked about my grandson's adventure in using crowdfunding and social media to back up the old standbys of car-washing and lawn-mowing for earning the money to finance Baseball summer camp in Europe.

Things change. He's decided, based on conversations with his mom, not to go this time. Maybe he'll be invited again next year, maybe not. But I know that whatever decision he's come to he's satisfied with it.

I don't know. It's his 12th birthday during that time. Maybe he needs to be home for that one. There seem to be a lot of reports of problems with planes lately. Maybe it's better to let the airlines do a little maintenance catch-up. Or maybe it's nothing concrete, nothing one can pin down.

What I know is, what's true is he wanted to go, and he took the chance and put himself out there to raise the money. That's more than a lot of us adults do- we over-extend our credit, or beg the relatives, or go without and whine about it. He just said, "Don't question it. Let's make this work," and gave it his best. And when new data came in, he considered it, redid the math, and came to a different decision.

I'm so proud of him. When the song says "Fate is kind: she brings to those who love the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing", it's not saying "Yes! you deserve to have this trip!" or "Yes! you deserve to play in the big leagues!" It's saying, "There are the deep things you long for- the things that aren't in words, or pictures, or even sensations, but are real: caring for others, being present, being honest. I grant you a chance for that in this moment."

Every moment is a moment in which, if we just reach up, we can get hold of the silver rope of Grace. I believe that's what he did, and I'm so proud, I can't stop smiling.

Love Until It Hurts: The Work of Mother Teresa and Her Missionaries of CharityLove Until It Hurts: The Work of Mother Teresa and Her Missionaries of Charity

Monday, April 18, 2011

If your heart is in your dreams no request is too extreme

I consider my life to be very fortunate. There are the odd uncomfortable things, the sad things, that happen in any life to one degree or another. But here I am, alive, and able to feel, and think, and write, and connect, and to me that is wealth beyond compare.

My 11-year-old grandson invited me today to see his wish on I'm sharing it because I'm so proud of him for keeping on, and for staying light. Here. I'll let him tell you about it.

He's been passionate about sports since he was very small. Soccer, Cycling- but Baseball has really caught him. I'm so proud that he's brave enough to let his passion be public; whether his project finds him backers or not, he's done it, taken the leap and made himself both brave and vulnerable, without being a show-off or greedy.

When he was younger we used to watch movies together. A favorite of his was Disney's Pinocchio, and a favorite song from that is When You Wish Upon a Star. For me it's never been a song about "Let me win this lottery draw" or "Let me make the next hit" but "Let the deepest wish of my heart be heard."

I'll end with some of my favorite sports-related books. In each one there's the moment of Grace, the moment when the wish, sent up to a star, is answered- perhaps not in the way the wisher dreamed, but "Fate is kind: she brings to those who love the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing". It's not what you know you're wishing for that will come, but the secret longing of your heart. To play well. To understand the game. To use to the best your talents. To contribute to the community.

Whether you play or whether you support someone who does, the passion and science and magic of sports opens new worlds, creates new realms of possibility. I'm helping Romeo create his. What are you up to?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Community: It's about how we care for each other

In Kim Kommando's email today I clicked on this link about spotting counterfeit memory cards.

What bothers me the most about this isn't that there exist such things as counterfeit memory cards, but that
. . . [T]hey're even showing up in reputable establishments.

The ones in reputable stores are almost impossible to detect. That's because they come from the manufacturer itself. Well, they come from the manufacturer's employees.

Manufacturers don't use all the flash memory that they make. Some of it doesn't pass quality tests. The flash memory may be too slow. It could be prone to errors. They throw out those parts.

Unscrupulous employees will rescue the defective memory. They'll package it up with legitimate labels and boxes. Then they sell it as genuine for a tidy profit.

How, then, do we protect ourselves? To a large extent I trust the people who do the jobs I don't or can't do to be honest. What happens when they're not?

I work in healthcare. In the early 1990s there was a problem with an entire batch of sutures being incompletely or improperly sterilized. At the hospital I worked in we couldn't figure out why, suddenly, there were so many surgeries that didn't heal properly. Then, finally, the recall happened, and we found out that most likely the sutures used for sewing up these incisions were from that batch.

What if the CDC hadn't collected data on complications of surgery? What if they hadn't been able to trace back to that batch of sutures? What if the company had covered it up? Those thoughts bother me enough.

But what if people who work in medical supply companies are just- cheating? Not doing their jobs properly? I count on them to be sure to do the job correctly. I need those supplies to be sterile, sharp, absorbent, whatever it is that they're supposed to be. Not for me, but for my patients. For their safety.

We're all in this together. The economy, the ecology, the community. In the end, it's not about *I've got mine, and nuts to you*. It's about *I've got enough for now, and how are you doing? Are you doing ok?*

Isn't it? About caring for each other, about each other? It's about care. About Coeur, courage. Heart. Not profit. Not cheating. Care.

LOVE UNTIL IT HURTS By Daphne Rae: biography of Mother Theresa, who, when asked how she did so much, replied, "I don't. I do what's in front of me, and trust to God to do the rest." Mother Theresa struggled all her religious life with the concern that perhaps God wasn't there, wasn't listening- but she behaved as though each thing she did mattered, because it was what was in front of her.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grand Reopening!

I'm spending the afternoon in my storage, re-organizing my bookshop. I decided some years ago that as much as I love my books and movies, I love travel more, so I've been selling them as an Amazon Associate through EnjoyIt! Book&More, my little "bookshop". Over the years it's at least paid for the storage it's in, and sometimes made enough to help me with travel. And it's provided an avenue for my beloved books to find new homes, which makes me very happy.

In December I put EnjoyIt! on vacation, so that I could re-organize without inconveniencing anyone who wanted to order. I realize I may have lost some sales, but I like to run a professional shop, so the time was necessary. But I'm almost done! Re-shelving books, re-listing titles, and re-doing my shipping area has been well worth every moment put into it. And now it's time to open the doors and welcome people back. I've over a thousand items available: Nursing, Science, Psychology, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality, Travel, Geography, Fiction, Children's books, Usborne Homeschool books, DVDs, and CDs. I hope you'll come by and take a look.

In the meantime, here is one of my all-time favorite books, also available from Amazon:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Out in the world

One of the things I'm doing to finance my ABM education is entering contests.

I never used to think of myself as "lucky". I entered the Publisher's Clearing House every time they sent an envelope [dating myself, much?] and won [ta-da!] a "specially minted Bicentennial medal" [only, what? 20,000 made]. I forget now if it was metal or plastic, but it was a lesson to me not to bother with contests.

Until, on my way home from an A's game one day, I took a mail-in survey form from a girl who was handing them out at the Coliseum BART station. My son really liked BART, I was feeling a bit sentimental, and I had nothing else to do on the ride home, so I took the form, filled it in on the ride, dropped it off in the mail on my walk home, and thought no more about it.

Until I got a phone call from the survey's sponsors, saying I'd won a 4-day, 3-night, all expenses paid trip to Cabo San Lucas. I couldn't make the first dates they had [nothing like full-time night-shift nursing to put a crimp in your ability to just pick up and leave] so they worked out a different hotel, different days.

Needless to say, it was wonderful.

And then, as you do, I forgot about it. Not the trip, but that I won it by the grace of seeing someone's smile and smiling back.

Life went on, as it does. I worked, moved, finished university, traveled. Caught up some back bills, made some gifts, saved a bit of money.

And found Anat Baniel's work.

At first I had no idea how I'd finance it. I still have wriggle room in my spending- I can cut back. I've got a little bookshop I run via Amazon; I can pick up a bit of freelance writing or spreadsheet work; I can recycle. But it's not enough.

Then I remembered Cabo San Lucas.

So I started looking for contests.

I began with the sweepstakes and contests section of I read everything there: how to enter, what to enter. Not to spend time entering contests for things I don't want, don't need. Then I found Twitter contests, and started looking around the world of contests.

Which is the long way round of saying: this is how I found Mommie Blogs.

There was nothing like this when my sons were little. I personally had good friends and an awesome mentor, but in general, there was no place to go if you weren't in church or had a large family who would help out.

I was thrilled to find A Sigh of Relief by Martin I. Green [first published in 1974]. I had two small sons and worked in toddler daycare. CPR was still new, it'd been years since I had First Aid at the Red Cross, and I worried about everything. Martin Green's book saved me from panicking.

Years later I found Trusting Ourselves by Karen Johnson, MD, which helped me sort out what was my innate character and what was situational and could be dealt with with therapy, time, and possibly medication. Again, a book saved me from panicking.

But now there is the internet. There are mommie [and daddie!] blogs. There are personal finance blogs. There are health information blogs, and book recommendation blogs. There are blogs for people who have premature children, who've lost children, whose children are grown, who want children. There are Twitter and Facebook and Orkut. It's amazing to me, the number of possible ways for people to connect.

It all comes down to being neighborly, doesn't it? Which is the point of this winding post. I never thought of myself as lucky. But through entering a some blog contests, I became aware of this rich world of women making community, and I count that as lucky a win as any I could ever have. I know now that no matter what comes, I'll find a way to finance my education, and bring something good into the world. I've been very fortunate to have good friends, and it makes me happy to see women writing, women talking about their lives, and women finding different ways to make community and help each other.

So it's not about the contests, really, though the wins I've had have certainly helped. It's about the connections out in the world. Hello, world. It's lovely to meet you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How we learn

Currently I work in Home Care with medically fragile children. This means I work for an agency, with one family, one case, for a period of time. I've been where I am for nearly 4 years now. I work at night, because I can- I'm one of those people who can sleep during the day and stay up at night and be awake enough to be safe.

One of the things I do while my patient and his family are asleep, once the chores relating to his care and needs are done and I've got his things set up for the next day, is watch documentaries on HBO. I watch them more than once, because often they have a lot going on in them, and I want to be sure I'm getting it all.

A few weeks ago I watched I can't do This, but I Can do THAT about children with learning differences. One of the things that really struck me about it is that I suspect I'd've been labeled as "learning different" ~ I learned to read very young, wasn't afraid of arithmetic until our teachers were all confused by "the New Math" of the late 50s [dropped bomb-style into classrooms and swept out with the debris of "hmm. well. THAT didn't work"] ~ but I never really got the hang of the playground, all the gossip and cliques and who could talk to whom when about what. So I was ahead in my class-work, but a disaster in the classroom, because I got bored easily and didn't know how to just sit. I'd want to get up and get something to read, or get out my pencil and paper and write stories. *sigh*

Something I really came to appreciate during segment one of my Anat Baniel Method Professional Training Course is the emphasis on movement with attention. Now, we think we make every movement with attention, but we don't, really. We make a lot of movements automatically- and so we should! grabbing for the child who's running into traffic; pulling back from the hot stovetop. But most movements we make on autopilot we would do well to do a bit more attentively: to listen to our bodies as we stretch, bend, lean, and stand. How does it feel? Is it work? Are we in balance? Does it hurt? Does it feel simple? We're so programmed to "no pain, no gain" and "suck it in!" and to hurry hurry hurry. Do we even know how we move?

I loved reading and arithmetic because they are forms of movement that I could do at my desk. If I couldn't be out on my bicycle, if I couldn't be out walking around my neighborhood, or playing with my toys, or doing pretend knitting, I could at least have pencil and paper and eraser and letters and numbers and movement to keep my brain busy, to keep learning with. I learned to skip early, was not so good at running [knock-knees and no drive for speed]; liked my bike but not volleyball [too competitive, and people are mean if you miss when you didn't mean to miss]; loved swimming but had no interest in tanning or makeup or any of that. I had a wonderful grande jette but no lift in my torso, so lost ballet about age 9. It's not that I couldn't have had lift, but I didn't and no-one knew how to show me how to have it. Either I did, or I didn't, and was too stupid to get it, like I was too stupid to get makeup, or spiking the ball, or running for tag games.

So while I could read and write and do arithmetic, I wasn't exactly considered an easy student for any teacher. I tended to hang with the girl who'd missed kindergarten because she had rheumatic heart disease that year and so was a year older than everyone else in our grade, and the boy who was mildly retarded in his speech, and the boy whose parents were little people and he a dwarf, and the boy from Persia who spoke with just a bit of an accent. We each had our own way of dealing with being one of the awkward ones, and we took care of each other, subtly, and we talked about what it was to be short or older or from a different country or whatever it was.

We attended to each other, and we were moved. Movement with attention. Takes many forms.
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