Friday, April 8, 2016

Busy living - enjoying the mundane

This blog post will be a lot different from most of my other posts. There won't be any insightful spiritual message or sage advice. There will be a lot of the ordinary everyday events...ones most people call mundane, but to me, it is evidence of my getting busy living. If you read yesterday's post, you'll understand what I'm talking about. If you didn't, you can read it here.

This morning, I woke up at 8:00 a.m. to the sounds of a Summer's eve compliments of our sound machine we keep on our bedside table. (It's funny, we haven't used it since we've had it, but yesterday, after talking to my oldest daughter about my issues with insomnia and hearing the peaceful and constant tapping of her off kilter ceiling fan, I decided last night to give it a try. There were lots of settings to choose from and I sampled each one before deciding on the Summer's eve one. There was an Ocean settings, Thunderstorm, Rain Forest, etc.) I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. I'd slept well, thanks to a prescription my oncologist had given me to help with my sleeplessness. I was so thankful! I've needed a good night's sleep for a while and finally, I felt rested. I got up and made my bed then went into the kitchen to have something for breakfast.

Looking in the fridge, I didn't see anything I really wanted to eat so I opted for an Asian pear and a square of Colby cheese. I sat at the kitchen table and began to read my Bible. The verse I landed on was about not worrying about tomorrow. How appropriate, I thought to myself. After breakfast, I went back through my room into my walk in closet. I grabbed some clothes and got dressed. Next, I began putting on my makeup. My cell phone rang and it was my oldest daughter. She touches base with me several times a day and I'm so thankful for those long distance calls. While on the phone with my oldest daughter, my youngest daughter shoots me a text. She wants to color her hair again and wants to know when it's okay to do it. She's asking because she wants ME to do it. (I cut and color her hair regularly.) I give her advice and we end our messaging as her company begins their Friday employee meeting. I continued talking with my oldest girl. We talk about thirty minutes and by the time we were done talking, I'd fixed my face, got in the garage and gotten my electric blower, and was outside blowing pollen off the walkway. I was so glad to have the energy to do everything I was doing. There have been so many days lately that I haven't been as blessed.

When I took the blower back to the garage to put it away, I saw the picture frames I'd picked up last week at Goodwill for next to nothing. When I bought them, I had a project in mind. I lay cardboard down on the concrete floor and lined up the frames. I'd already taken the glass and mats out of the frames earlier so they were ready to paint. I picked up the Rustoleum Spray Paint/Primer combo and gave them all a light dusting of paint. The smell of the paint was strong...silly me! I forgot to open the garage door. I left the frames to dry and came back inside. I had some clothes to wash so I grabbed those and threw them in the washer. As the clothes were washing, I went outside to fill my bird feeder.

As soon as I opened the door, a squirrel look right at me with guilt in his eyes! He'd been caught! He was on the feeder enjoying those plentiful black oiled sunflower seeds. I clapped my hands loudly and scared him off. The squirrels irritate me because they hog the feeder and the birds can't get their food. I needed to figure out a way to keep those guys off my feeder. That's when I had an idea. I have several wrought iron shepherd's hooks in my yard. They all vary in height and I use them to hold wind chimes, suet feeders, and decorative items. The hook the bird feeder was on was pretty short but I had a double hook in the backyard that was much taller. I decided to switch them and hopefully remedy my problem. The hooks were set deep in the ground so they took some pulling to get them out. I don't have as much upper arm strength as I used to have since my surgery so I struggled a few minutes with them before getting them out of the ground. I pulled up the two from the front yard and took them to the side yard and reset them. Then I went around the back and got the tall double hooked one and brought it around front. I rehung the feeder and then, for extra measure, I went inside and got my can of spray cooking oil. I doused the upright post of the hook just in case any pesky squirrels thought they might like to climb up the hook and get to the feeder. I smiled as I thought of a squirrel sliding down the greased pole. It doesn't take much to make me happy!

Back inside again, the clothes were ready to go into the dryer. After I'd completed that task, I went into the kitchen to put away the dishes from the dishwasher. I always run my dishwasher after we go to bed so I can wake up to a clean sink and freshly cleaned dishes. As I was putting away the dishes, I looked out toward the back patio. I noticed my hen and chicks (succulents) were overflowing their pot and needed to be divided. Back to the garage for the cactus potting mix and a pot to plant the babies in. I went outside and noticed the sky was a beautiful shade of deep blue. The green on the trees was brilliant. What a gorgeous Spring day! I broke off the separated the babies from their mothers and potted them into their new home. Soon the little babies would be  mothers and have babies of their own. Hens and Chicks multiply so rapidly and I was looking forward to being able to give some of them away.

On the bar, I saw a list of things I had written down yesterday. I had so many things I wanted to do. I began going through the list and crossing off the things I'd already accomplished and began working on the things I hadn't. I didn't want to overdo it by taking on too many tasks because I knew I'd suffer for it later, but I did find several other things I wanted to do.

I went into my office and flipped on my computer. There were several book reviews I needed to turn in. (I write book reviews for several Christian companies. They provide me with free books and in exchange, I give them an honest, detailed review for their website and their readers. It's a pretty sweet deal. It also keeps me on my toes and helps me keep my writing skills sharp.) After writing those reviews, I began working on an article for the cancer magazine. (I'm a contributing editor and enjoy getting paid for my work with them.) When I finished that article, I looked at the clock. It was almost 2:00 p.m. I thought I had better eat something for lunch even though I wasn't really hungry.

Back to the kitchen, I grabbed some leftover pizza from last night and popped it into the microwave. I heard my cell phone ding indicating I had a Facebook message. I looked to see who it was from and it was from a friend I used to babysit. She was having a rough day and was pretty depressed. The microwave beeped and I took my pizza out and sat down to eat at the bar because my cell phone was charging and the cord wasn't long enough to reach the table. As I ate, I messaged my friend back and tried to cheer her up. We sent several messages back and forth and I tried to offer advice to help her. It was evident she wasn't really seeking advice or help, she just wanted to be heard so I backed off and just "listened." We ended our conversation cordially just about the time I'd finished my pizza and the dryer sounded that the cycle was complete. I got up from the table, put my dish in the sink and headed to the laundry room to remove the clothes and fold them.

I took the big pile of clothes and lay them on my bed. As I began folding them, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone so I flipped on the TV. It was nice to have some noise in the background as I worked. It gets lonely sometimes during the day and I just needed to hear some conversation. Rachel Ray was on and she was interviewing Allison Sweeney about a book she'd written. I didn't know she was a writer. I guess actresses have contacts who can help them get a book deal. It must be nice! I finished folding and putting away the clothes and turned off the TV. As I was walking out of my bedroom, I thought I'd write a different blog post today. I guess people get tired of my same old same old posts and I get tired of writing them, too. It's hard to think of some insightful words of wisdom to share on a daily basis. Instead, I thought I'd just share what I was doing today and how I was learning how to just live.

So that's where I am right now. You're up to date and as I look at the clock, it says it's 3:20 p.m. As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to write 3 prisoners I correspond with on a daily basis. (I'm part of Saints Prison Ministry and I agreed to do that as my gift to the ministry.) When I've completed that, I'll go vacuum and mop. I have company coming tonight and I need to do a little sprucing up. I'll also prepare a Blueberry breakfast casserole for the morning meal. After I do that, I'll figure out what to prepare for supper. While I'm working on it, my husband will come home and we'll talk over his day and enjoy our meal together. We'll probably watch a little TV or sit outside on our porch and wait for our weekend visitors. When they arrive, we'll visit with them until time for bed and tomorrow morning, we'll head to a state park to do some fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

My life is getting back to normal...and yes, this is a normal day for me. I love to stay busy and active. I enjoy the simple, mundane things in my life because they remind me that I'm doing well and I'm getting busy living. And just because I'm enjoying the simple, everyday things in my life doesn't mean I don't still struggle. I do. If I'm being totally honest with you, I'll tell you my back hurts all the time. My arms swell every single day from the time I get out of bed til the time I lay down. My bones and joints ache constantly. My feet burn and I can barely stand to have shoes on but I keep pushing. Why, you might ask? Because if I don't, I'll be admitting defeat. I'm not going to let my body dictate to me what I can and can't do...well, maybe just a little because I do have some real limitations that might cause further injury and make me end up in the hospital again, but I've learned to avoid the things I know my doctor's told me I can't do any longer. But even the pain tells me, Bonnie, you're still alive! And even though some days I barely make it, I do what I can, when I can. Being busy living takes a lot of hard work and there is joy to be found in the everyday tasks we are all called on to do. Sometimes it takes a great deal of determination, but it's do-able. The main thing I'm learning is not to take a single thing for granted and that's quite a lesson to learn.

© bonnie annis all rights reserved

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