Thoughts and Intentions

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve learned that making plans give God the opportunity to smile down and love and show us exactly what he has planned instead.

For a very long time I’ve made the decision to pick a few things that I don’t like about myself and work on them.  This continues, and is not subject for this post.

But this year, here are somethings that I’d like to pursue:

  • swimming in the mornings before work — several times per week
  • continue learning Ukulele with my daughter
  • reading — finishing off some of the books that I’ve bought with the intention to read
  • Zentangling — doing more!
  • Baking and cooking — adding to my gluten-free recipes. It was quite a blow to this avid baker to have to become gluten-free.  Having returned to the workforce full time before my diagnosis meant that I have yet to rebuild my scope of baking recipes of old favourites.
  • be a better friend

One thing that I’m praying for, but really has little to do with my will-power is that my currently herniated discs in my back get healed.  I’d also be very happy for miraculous healing of my sciatic nerve that has be “permanently” damaged by those discs.  At this time I have a limited amount of movement available to me in a day.  And, for example, the act of opening a door at a bank causes me to wince in pain.  Needless to say, this former farm wife is learning to live a very different life!

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A New Year’s Post

I searched for something witty to write, hoping to avoid another entry in the plethora of New Year’s themed posts, but nothing unique came to mind so I’ll ride with the crowd.

Several years have passed since I managed to blog regularly and yet I often wanted to get back into the rhythm and release that blogging brought to me at that time.  There is something about taking the time to order thoughts, examine intentions, and boldly speak quiet thoughts into a public space.  It adds an element of intention, honesty, and deliberation.

And, my hope is that it creates a record for my children that they can explore if they ever choose.  I spent several times dreaming about taking up traditional journal writing, but this medium is far better suited to my life.

I’m no longer a full-time at home, home-schooling mom of two living on a farm.  If there is one thing I’ve had confirmed, is that we cannot know the plans that God has in place for us.  Now I’m a full-time working, commuting, city-dwelling, mom of (nearly — one is applying to an IB highschool and in Grd. 8) two high-school teens, with a fantastic job working for a really awesome non-profit.  I still hold strong to my faith and it was by His grace that this family has made it through the last few years.

And so, I’ll try this again.  I’ll post some of my intentions for this year in the next post!  May you have a blessed new year too.

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New “Same Old World”

It seems that almost daily I’m struck by the fact that although our lives look and function so differently today than even 5 years ago, I can say:

Whatever is has already been,

and what will bee has been before;

and God will call the past to account.

Ecclesiastes 3:15

Today, as I was texting pictures to the man who installed our water heater, I had to laugh that I could send pictures to him while talking on the phone.  He should be able to pick up the parts needed to fix our heater before stepping in our home.  And yet, at the bottom of it, I need to rely on another person.  We almost always need other people in our lives.

That hasn’t changed over time.  We have not really changed over time.  For that I’m grateful because I don’t feel this pressure that I have to get everything right and be perfect to live a successful life.  Nope, I just get to live, enjoy, and be as wise as I can be.  As a believer, I get to do all of that while enjoying this wonderful world and giving thanks for all that I do have.  That’s wonderful.

I am struck by this because I just finished a long intensive series of classes that have prepared me for volunteering on the regional distress hot line.  I’m somewhat worried about the responsibility that I feel when accepting that role.  Yet some part of me keeps saying, all I have to do is remember that they are just like me.

Just like I need others, they need others.

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The Health Chronicles: the On-going Adventures

One of the major changes that I’ve had to adapt to since I really stopped blogging in 2009 was the unofficial diagnosis of Celiac’s Disease.  It’s unofficial because I tested negative to the Ontario version of blood testing, yet my Doctor saw overwhelming symptomatology that is explained by Celiacs.  I am also quite gluten-intolerant, which actually made the gluten-free switch a lot easier to accomplish.

There is also strong evidence that both of our children have gluten-intolerance.  Gluten tends to affect the body in three major functions.  It affects the digestive system first, then it affects both the immune and the neurological systems.  I have symptoms in all three areas.  Perhaps because I’ve been an eater of gluten for my whole life, less 1.5 years now!

Our daughter definitely has the immune and digestive responses.  Our son’s ADHD has strong links to the neurological effects of gluten.

Most of my journey with gluten-intolerance has been with the blessing of our family doctor, but the knowledge growth and current attempts to repair my badly damaged internal health systems have been with the direction of a Naturopathic Doctor.

What I had for breakfast today

Image above taken from: [Picture borrowed from Queen of Quinoa – I hope the borrow is okay, Your Majesty!]

This week I met with a member of the more traditional North American mental health sciences.  For our son, we’ve learned that working within the traditional system allows adjustments and adaptations that benefit him.  It was difficult to accept the power of a diagnosis within the “system,” but the benefits have been many.

Because of his recent transition to high school, we’ve had to restart a number of the tests and such so that his current school has their own reports and plans that will provide clout to the adaptation of high school which will allow our son to make the most of his gifts and talents.

Hence the visit.

It was very illuminating.  This was the very first time that I have ever heard such strong support for the diet changes that I’ve been implementing with our family.  The recommendations were such that the changes to diet made up the cornerstone of his new “treatment” plan.  Strict adherence, I was told, could result in the ability for our son to completely eliminate his current use of daily supplements.

Additional tightening of his diet could actually result in lessening of other difficult “symptoms” that we attribute to his personality.

As a person who has already experienced such immense relief at the elimination of gluten, I was surprised at my shock at her words!  Pardon my indirect language here, because I want to respect my son’s privacy.  Why had I never explored the thought that some elements of his personality could be exaggerated by food allergic type responses?  I had already crossed the leap into understanding that food can cause neurological responses.


And so the journey goes.  I was talking about some of the findings with my co-worker this week and I was struck by the accuracy of the journey metaphor.  One is never finished until death.  Always something new, always something else to explore, always another level of knowledge to attain.

We live in a truly amazing world.

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Decision Making

After several years of homeschooling our children, and then a few years of working whatever job I could that fit our family schedule, I returned to work full-time for a really amazing company.

I was initially hired to be Executive Assistant to the General Manager, but rather quickly that changed.  I’ve since been put on the path to becoming one of the company consultants.  This means that I get to go and work with a wide range of boards in a broad range of topics.  It is very interesting.  To use a term that falls dangerously close to cliché, it is very “dynamic.”

I love the work.

Part of my responsibility to our clients is to spend a lot of time reading and learning.   We’re hired to facilitate, teach, advise/provide outside perspective, and assist.

Part of my self-directed education has been to read lots of books, blogs, news-feeds, etc.  A recent trending topic is our ability to make sound/good decisions.

It appears that we humans are pretty lousy at sound decision-making.  It appears that we are continuously swayed by our biases, emotion frequently trumps logic, and we frequently over-assume our abilities to decide well.  To paraphrase what I learned in PSY 101, 85% of people surveyed scored themselves above average in abilities.

According to several sources, our ability to make a successful decision works out the same odds as flipping a coin.

A book that I’ve recently read about making the most of our decision-making process is called Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath.

I recommend this book.  They took the time to do a lot of research and have come up with a decision-making paradigm that should help improve your decision-making process.

Meanwhile, to share a quote I heard today:

Sometimes you win; sometimes you learn.”  John Maxwell.

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Trust or Not to Trust?

I had planned to come on here and blog tonight.  My husband is on his two week night-shift cycle.  Plus the new laptop we bought me to use for work arrived and affords me a wonderful keyboard which makes typing easy when compared to the netbook.  I had some wonderful ideas to share.

But then, when my husband picked me up from work this afternoon, he was on the phone with our soon to be 14 year old son.  Our son was asking when I’d be home because he had to talk to me.

The first thing he said to me when I got home was, “Don’t worry Mom, I’m not in trouble.”

Those words don’t work coming from a teenaged boy!

When he could express in words, he told me that while waiting for the bus this morning, he witnessed a hit-&-run between a car and a bicyclist.  There had been a University student standing beside him and that person had a cell phone and called 911.  When the police arrived, they decided to send our son along his way without taking his statement as the other person was giving a good statement.  Or so I am told.

Our son then walked 45 minutes to school.  Or so he told me. Late this evening I could tell he wasn’t okay.  I had already promised to walk him to the bus stop tomorrow, being grateful that a day with clients meant I had the flexibility to walk with him.

So we called a support line together.  That is when I learned that our son had a panic attack on the way to his school and actually spent a good hour or so hiding in the bushes on the way to school.

As we talked with the Counselor, our son repeated about how hard it was to trust.  I can’t say for sure, but the cyclist was likely gravely hurt from the amount of blood and his length of time unconscious according to our son’s account.

He asked, “How can I trust?”

I thought, “Yes, how can I help him regain trust?”

She replied, “Yes, you can’t trust everyone.  But just like that driver fled the scene, remember the person standing right next to you called 911.  He got help; he was trustworthy.”

“Yes,” said our son, “yes, that helps.  Thank you.”

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Vulnerability and Transparency

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers … of love is Hell.

C. S. Lewis

It was shortly after I started blogging that I had a realization about myself.  I had written a post and noticed that I was “white-washing” the events of that post, because I was not willing to admit, publicly, the truth.  It became a transformative moment for me.  After some searching, I came to accept that if I was to be authentic, honest and true; not ashamed, secretive and hypocritical, then I needed to live in such a way that I would not need to apply white-wash.  I decided to live so that I could be transparent.

It was initially difficult.  I found myself confronting things I didn’t like about myself.  I felt a lot of shame.  But I’ve come to appreciate the awareness that resulted.  And in sharing, I felt I achieved growth.

This past month the concept of vulnerability has been repeatedly drawn to my attention.  My first response was that I had this under control.  I am willing to be transparent.

I’ve become aware that I’ve been shielding myself, much like Lewis’s chest.  For over a year now I’ve been working full-time with a team of really amazing people.  They’ve been encouraging me to break out of the walls that I built while trying to survive.  I’m grateful that my new “team” are amazing at gently removing the bricks of protection one by one.  I’m also very grateful that even though I’m experiencing new moments of pain at the newly exposed points of vulnerability, that I’m also being shown how much more joy I can experience by breaking down the walls.

Is being transparent the same as being vulnerable?  In this example, I say no.  But being transparent is an essential element of being vulnerable.

Here is a TED talk about being vulnerable.  One of the many”vulnerability” things brought to my attention this month.

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Start by doing …

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -Saint Francis of Assisi

I remember being so happy to celebrate January 1st, 2010.  It was a huge relief to be able to say “Good bye” to that year.  Like so many who have experience “that year,” it was good to start with the mental relief of turning a page on the calendar.  With time I’ve come to realize that it was only a start.  My emotions and heart are still working on finding ways to live at peace with the events of that year.

I closed this blog early in 2010, but it was with so much pain.  Much of me just wanted to keep the release and peace that writing gave to me.  For some time I blogged under another title.  But this blog was home and I wanted to be here.  I had made the decision to let this blog rest because it seemed best for the relationships in my life.  Also, I also didn’t have the strength left within me to tell others that this place, Birdy’s Blog, was my place and I needed it.

Time has passed.  Many, many changes have taken place in my life.  I’ve come to a place of being able to do what I thought impossible.  It is in that spirit that I have decided, it is time to write here again.

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#2 Teaches Regrouping

Regrouping!   Because teaching math is much more fun than doing math…

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#2 Teaches Ragged Addition

Adding numbers of different lengths!

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