According to Sheryl….

My Thoughts on Life

God Winks ;)

I believe in God Winks, 😉 – those times when God shows me that my life isn’t just a jumble of unrelated circumstances, but can be an exquisitely orchestrated dance of events. These are always hugely encouraging to me. I’ve had some good ones lately, that I thought could bring some encouragement to you too!  There is, of course, my gigantic, one-of-a-kind, over-the-top God Wink of a trip to my 30th high school reunion!
😉 #1 – About a month ago, I was going through my ‘promotions’ folder in my Gmail account, and saw an email from Viking River Cruises. (I must have liked them somewhere online!) I’ve never looked at their video links before, but that day I thought, why not? So I click on the link, and am watching it, when the mail comes. We get our mail delivered to our door, through a mail slot.  After Pookie finished her crazy barking, I asked Becca to pick up the mail,  and lo and behold, there was a Viking River Cruises catalogue!  That was pretty fun!  (Disclaimer – I don’t necessarily believe that Nick and I will be going on a cruise anytime soon, it’s the encouragement factor that’s important here.  We’d been talking vacations as this year is our 25th wedding anniversary.  We made it as far as East Side Mario’s!  lol).

😉 #2 – A few days later, I’m pulling into Costco’s parking lot and see a car with a spare tire cover with the name ‘Parnussus’ on it.  That was significant because this was the name of the Cancun hotel Nick and I stayed in when we won an all-expenses-paid vacation there a few years ago.  Two days after that, Nick and I were driving – what car should pull in front of us but that very same one!  I’ve never seen it before, nor since.  That really lifted our spirits.

😉 #3 – Fast forward to my incredible trip. One of the ways I viewed this trip was as a gathering of all the important people and places from my growing up years.  Originally I was routed through Atlanta to Raleigh, but decided to change my ticket as I needed more time to clear customs and security in Seattle.  This time I was routed through Minneapolis. Significant  because my entire family is from there and I attended the University of Minnesota for a time before moving to Canada.  On the way home I was routed through Atlanta, where I was born!

😉 #4 – Part of my journey was a road trip with my ‘sister’, Donna to Lexington, Kentucky, then back to her home in Chapel Hill, NC.

Roadtrip

Somewhere in Virginia, I was reading to her something written by a mutual friend, which said “I know this is getting serious – but it is the middle of the yearbook page and it is supposed to be the ‘climax’ -” and literally, at that moment Donna yells “Climax!”  We had JUST passed a sign for a town called Climax!  I hadn’t seen it, as I was looking down, reading.  Crazy!  I had to look it up yesterday, to make sure it wasn’t a figment of my imagination!  Here is evidence of it’s existence –

ClimaxVA

😉 #5 – Topping off the God Winks – Donna and I were driving down Armstrong Mill Road, looking for the place where our old riding school (Windy Knoll Farm) had been. It doesn’t exist anymore, but there were a few old barns to see.  We decided (for the FIRST time on this trip) to turn on the radio.  Just as we are going by the spot, the song ‘Dust In the Wind’ comes on.  When Donna and I were 14, we were part of a ‘quadrille’, which performed to that exact same song!

Quadrille1_klein-1-.jpeg a choreographed dressage ride, commonly performed to music

GOOSE BUMPS!!!!  Thank you, God!

😉

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Cinderella Money

As some of you know, I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to attend my 30th high school reunion. Through the efforts of amazing people, my flights are covered, and I have places to stay. Like Cinderella, I found myself wondering, what will I wear to the ball?? Years of living in hand-me-down jeans and t-shirts, with 12 year old sneakers, just wasn’t going to be appropriate…. Enter my fairy godparents (minus the fairy and god parts!), who have given me the opportunity to purchase some much needed clothing. Enter stylish, shopping-loving friends, who took me on a whirlwind shopping expedition to second-hand stores – “This skirt is a ‘_____’ , this would cost $150 new, it’s only $23!”) We hit other bargain stores. With these clothes/shoes, supplemented with some great Value Village finds,  I suddenly feel like a million bucks!

So as I’ve been shopping, I’ve been referring to this money given, as my ‘Cinderella Money’, transforming this stay-at-home mom into someone with some style! 🙂

Gaming…

To the dear friend who so nicely asked me how many hours a day I spend gaming, then proceeded to tell me what a waste of time gaming is, and how escapist it is,  before quickly moving to a different topic of conversation….

Do you ever watch TV? Perhaps take in a movie, or a sports event?  How about read a fiction novel, or flip through a magazine for pure enjoyment?  Do you ever eat for pleasure, rather than for pure sustenance?  Do you ever just leave a nature show on just for background noise (oh wait, you did that, even though your wife wanted you to turn it off while I was there…)  We all need to escape sometimes, we all need distractions at times,  and everyone does it in different ways, and usually, everyday.

I started gaming to understand my kids (and husband!)  Those who know my family, know that the majority of them are on the autism spectrum somewhere.  My kids love gaming.  Of course, like anything else, it has its upsides and its downsides.  But what I’m saying here is that I have found a window into my kids’ lives through entering this world of theirs.  And now I understand what it is that hooks them, and delights them about games.

Several years ago, my son told me that he thought I would enjoy this game, Dragon Age.  I’d watched him play it through (yes, I will sit and watch my kids play their games – the in-game conversations are often witty, the scenery amazing, the choices you get to make for your characters at times, perplexing. )  If you’ve seen my Facebook page, you will know that I did get into that game, because my cover photo is of Alistair, a character from Dragon Age!  It captivated me, and drew me into its world of warriors and kings, darkspawn and dragons, romance and treachery.  My red-headed warrior avatar has actually inspired me in my real life to be more assertive!  Next, I got tired of just watching my husband,Nick, play Call of Duty, I wanted to try it out myself.  And boy did I give my family some great laughs that day!  Now I am Tru_Blud MoMo, and have risen the ranks to be the best player in the house!  Is it silly?  Yes, but so are grown men beating each other up, or knocking each other over, to get a ball or a puck.

See, it has become a source of bonding for us – a place of connection – that has opened me up to understanding them more than ever.  And let me tell you, some of these games are incredibly sophisticated.  They can be beautiful, they can be inspiring.  The music is often amazing.  They can be works of art, but these works of art are interactive – they give me a chance to explore areas of myself, in a safe environment – they allow me to be competitive,  And games are here to stay, as they have been for thousands of years, in different forms.  (Read ‘Reality Is Broken : Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World’, by Jane McGonigal.)

(Also, almost as an aside – we couldn’t have even taken our whole family skiing for one day, for the hundreds and hundreds of hours of enjoyment and fun we’ve had with our PS3 over 4 years- there, just had to say that!)

So, now another rant has found it’s way out of my head and unto the written page!

Long Brown Hair

Here’s my good news for the day, which I needed after a crappy night, and spending $150 on medication to treat a suspected sinus infection. According to a recent survey,  men prefer women with long brown hair. Since I fit into that demographic, I must admit to a slight boost to my self-image. I guess Stephen Foster had it right when he penned,”I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”.  Those friends from Kentucky will get that reference!

http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/lifestyle-fashion/stylebeauty/long-brown-hair-most-attractive-on-women-293068.html

Here’s to hoping that $150 worth of meds will help me feel better, especially since my husband is coming home tomorrow for his days off (he is currently working in northern Ontario), and my house is a mess!

Follow Up

Let me tell you, writing that post yesterday did something for me….I got happy, almost giddy, and wow!  Energy!  One of my daughters commented, “It’s nice to see you happy, Mom.”  So cool.

Nick, my husband, said he could picture that scene from the movie ‘What About Bob?’, when Bob, in overcoming his fears, is lashed to a sailboat’s mast, and is shouting, “I’m sailing!  I’m a sailor!” over and over again.  That made me laugh.

Interestingly enough to my psychologically curious brain, making dinner last night was a piece of cake!  (Not literally of course…) ((chuckling to myself))  I was confident and fearless as I made broccoli salad with BACON, and potato salad with ONION (which is brave for me because I have a kid who hates onions) and cooked my commercially grown chicken.  I was making what I wanted, instead of what I thought was the ‘right’ thing.  Nice and freeing and wonderfully reckless.

Also, for the first time ever, my recipe box fell out of the pantry.  How weird is that?  I think the timing of that is quite serendipitous.

Perhaps by writing that, it exorcized something within me that needed to go.  Here’s to hoping and praying that the good changes continue!

🙂

Food for Thought

Food is a lot like religion.

There are many different camps of belief -are you vegan, Paleo, low-carb, vegetarian, raw, macrobiotic?  Maybe eating Kellogg’s or Little Debbie’s, or Oscar Meyers makes you part of a mainline food denomination.  Maybe if you don’t subscribe to any particular food belief, you’re a food agnostic or atheist.  Anyway…  the line of what is acceptable, and what isn’t, changes with each ‘denomination’.  And each one thinks they are right.  And to some extent, each one is right.  There is truth in all of them.

Some of you know that I had eating disorders, and I struggle to this day, to have a healthy relationship with food.  Other addictions, well, those people don’t actually need  those things to actually live.  Drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex – they aren’t necessary for basic survival.  But food – it has to be faced day in and day out,  usually at least three times a day.   Then add having a family to feed, and you can imagine the difficulties facing someone who’s had food issues.  Now add on top of this, the plethora of information that is out there, regarding what is healthy to eat and what isn’t.   Everyday there is a new report splashed across the news, magazines, Facebook, of what is ‘right’ and what isn’t.   At least when I was in my teens, it was just the fear of being fat that expressed itself in anorexic and bulimic behaviours.  Now we have ‘orthorexia’, an obsession with avoiding food deemed to be unhealthy.  And what is unhealthy is different in each camp.  I can literally feel bad every day about what I am feeding myself and my kids, because practically every food can be ‘bad’,  depending on what camp you want to believe.  “Drink Milk” has been a big ‘mainstream’ campaign – it’s good for you!  Unless you read about how bad pasteurization of milk is,  or how bad the hormones are, or how the composition of the milk isn’t good for you unless they are pasture fed and not grain fed.  So there goes milk.  Then there’s bread – oh oh, Wheat Belly, here we come!  Frankenwheat and all that.  I totally know there is celiac disease and gluten sensitivites – that is not my point.  My point is,  those foods that are most readily available, and affordable,  are now ‘bad’.  Fruits and vegetables, well, if they’re not organic, then too bad for you.  Too bad if you can’t afford them.  And then there is meat.  Processed meat is ‘bad’ – cancer causing.  And all other meats – if they are not organic, and pasture fed, and hormone free, and cruelty free…you’re hooped.  Oh, and if you happen to burn them while grilling them, watch out for those HCA’s and PAH’s (go look it up).  You get the picture. So everyday that one of my kids eats cereal from a box, with milk from a plastic jug, I feel guilty.  And it continues on from there.  I’m tired.  The burden of religious food thinking is too much.  Not caring – one of my coping mechanisms – isn’t really helpful, because really, I do.   It is just too much for my neurotic mind.  So we eat our Costco hotdogs, and our Wendy’s burgers, and pray for the best.