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Posts Tagged ‘bath’

It’s the last day of 2016.  Today was a whirlwind of activity including a funeral for a 91 year old lady.  The cemetery was freezing cold, the wind was bitter and yet it was only -2C.

What I said struck a chord with many who were present and I received many positive comments about the comfort my words brought.  I was asked what my plans were for tonight and I replied I was going to clean my house, fill my car with gas, have a hot bath and go to bed early.

I don’t make a big deal about New Year’s Eve.  It’s never been a big part of my life.  As a child my parents would wish me Happy Near Year at 7:00 pm, which was midnight in England.  Then they would go out and enjoy either a house party or a dance somewhere.  As my brother and I grew up, it was us who would call our parents at 7:00 pm to wish them Happy New Year as we headed out to whatever activity was offered.

I’m not a great fan of house parties.  Mostly because I’m not a great fan of small talk.  I don’t make resolutions.  I don’t expect the drop of a big silvery ball or a special kiss at midnight to change my life.  I’m too much of a skeptic for that.

And yet I find myself drawn into the frenetic activity of Top Ten lists and favourite memories.  I keep reading how 2016 has been a terrible year.  Many famous people died.  And so did many ordinary people…like the 91 year old I buried today.  There were atrocities in the world, and also great hope.  There was a Presidential election that was arguably one of the shadiest ever in history, and yet the Earth keeps spinning.

Tonight I filled my car with gas.  Yesterday I got groceries.  My house is clean.  My homily is almost finished for tomorrow.  My sugar bowl is full as is my milk jug.  There is money in my wallet, soon there will be food in my belly.  I live in a warm house with a freshly made bed.  I had a luxurious hot bath and soaked until my fingers turned to prunes.

When I moved West I made myself a promise that I would be the best Andrea I can be.  I fell deeply in love with someone I’ve been wanting to know for a long time.  Me.

I am kinder to myself.  I take better care of myself.  I medicate and feed and water and exercise and laugh and cry and love.  I can honestly say that I love myself.  There will never be this moment again in my life.  In 2017 I will turn 50.  And just as Canada is going to be celebrating it’s sesquicentennial for months, I will be celebrating my special year as well.

I will be kinder to myself.  I will laugh more.  I will go exploring.  I will not be afraid.  I will try new things.  I will write and sing and dance.  I will take risks and be successful.  I will take risks and be unsuccessful.  I will continue to fall deeper in love with myself.

I am spending New Year’s Eve alone this year.  I had a few invitations.  I turned them all down.  Yes, there is someone I would like to kiss at midnight, but we cannot be together tonight.  And frankly, I’ll be fast asleep by then. 🙂

2016 was a good year for me.  2017 will also be a good year for me.  I anticipate many adventures and many more shenanigans.  I will be happy with who I am right now.  As opposed to who I’d be 50 lbs lighter, or longer hair, or healthier, or happier.  I’m pretty damn good as I am now.

My promise for 2017 is to love myself more.  And in turn, to love those around me.  Who will, in turn, love those around them.  We can start a revolution of love.  We can choose to love first.  Without condition.  As we are meant to be loved.  With abundance.  Carefree.  Bountifully.  Beautifully.  Eternally.

As the poet and prophet Lin-Manuel Miranda said “Love is love is love”.  Amen.

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When I was Chaplain at Diocesan Church Camp nearly 10 years ago, there was a favourite hymn we sang during communion…very simple tune, very simple words…

Let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain…

I had the honour, for several years, of being invited back during Staff Training Week to celebrate Eucharist and inevitably the song “Let it Rain” would be shared.  It was awesome.  Occasionally, one of the staff would rap the words to Jesus Loves Me over the melody and while it may sound strange, it was actually very powerful…

Jesus loves me, when I’m good, when I do the things I should

Jesus loves me, when I’m bad, even though it makes Him sad.

Let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain…

It’s been raining here for more than a day.  It started raining last night and has continued.  Usually I walk to the nursing home for the service on the 4th Sunday, but today I decided to drive because it was raining hard, was cold and I was simply feeling lazy…

I’m not sure what’s up, but my get up and go has got up and gone…I’m feeling lethargic, tired and somewhat cranky.

Let it rain…let it rain…open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain…

Today is also Trinity Sunday, one of, if not THE most difficult homily to preach.

How do you describe something that is indescribable?  One person who is three persons?  One being who his three beings?  Huh, what?  Father, Son and Holy Spirit?  Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier?

I pulled out an ancient source the Creed attributed to St. Athanasius.  It has 42 petitions that attempts to describe and define the Trinity.  It’s wordy, and awkward, and frustrating. I started reading it in Church today and at the half-way point, dropped the service book on the floor, threw my hands up and said “I give up”.

Let it rain…let it rain…open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain…

Then I started talking about relationships.  For Lent I challenged the congregation to deepen their relationship with God…yes, the Triune God.  I suggested that when we strive to identify or label something, sometimes it diminishes the significance of that relationship.  So perhaps we are better to not label it, but simply to explore and enjoy it.

Was it a cop out?  Possibly.  Did I cheat the congregation?  I don’t think so.

Will I preach the Trinity next year?  Um, not likely.  But then again, I do love a good challenge.

I am supposed to go out of town tomorrow to do some exploring.  The weather forecast is the same for tomorrow as it is for today…generally I like doing things in the rain…I love to dance in the summer rain…but this rain is definitely not dancing rain…it’s ch-ch-ch-chilly.

So I may instead spend the day relaxing.  Maybe a few chores around the house, yoga, writing, meditation, soak in the tub, movie watching, perhaps a short walk…I have provisions in the house so I don’t have to go out.

Regardless, tomorrow is a day off.  A day relaxation.  A day to unplug and simply be.  Perhaps part of my day will be spent staring out the window, watching the rains fall…

Let it rain…let it rain…open the floodgates of heaven, and let it rain…

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Home again, home again jiggedy jig.

I made it.  After six hours of driving today, through wind, snow, rain and sun we finally arrived.  C, my Warden was here with keys and hugs.  There were flowers with a card signed by the congregation.

It’s a beautiful day here…views from mountains from most every window.  The living room window looks out over a brick wall from the building next door.  Otherwise every window has a spectacular view.

Looking around the office, the boxes have arrived.  They just need to be unpacked.  There is food in the fridge, ice cream in the freezer, and tea bags on the counter.

There are two beds in the house that are made and ready to go.  Everything I could need is here.  Bed, dresser, bedside table…amazing.

This afternoon we took a walk around the downtown and need to decide somewhere to go to supper.  Tomorrow will be spent unpacking, buying little things needed like a boot mat and a garbage can.

I can have a bath in my bathtub.  Sleep in my new bed.

In my new home.

I’m home.

I went to the Church and checked out the worship space.  I was overcome with emotion, shed a few tears, feeling like I am where God has called me to be.  I showed my traveling companion the place and she shed a few tears as well.  “This is where you need to be”.  One of the stained glass windows behind the altar says “The Sower”.  That’s what she feels I am called to be; what it is that I am going to do; what I am called to do here.

I’m exhausted, exhilarated and ready to go…but first I need to eat and then to sleep.

Life, as they say, is grand.

God is great.

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All my life I have struggled with naming my emotions. As a child I was not allowed to be angry. Raised voices were a “no-no” in my house. We were to be bright, happy yet silent as children, an interesting combination.

As a child I learned to be a pleaser, and if my Mam or Dad were angry/upset, I would do everything I could to make them happy; overachiever, overworking, entertaining, being the clown, etc.

Growing up, if I was presented with an angry or upset person my first instinct was to make it better for them. Recently, I’ve found myself feeling a heightened sense of outrage at the injustice I see around me. I am experiencing emotions, without really understanding what they are.

For example, this morning I was driving in the village and as I approached one of the two intersections with traffic lights, I had the green light, so continued through the intersection. At that exact moment an elderly man was making a right hand turn against the red light. He did not see me. Thankfully I was able to stop before we collided.

As I sat in the intersection he gave me a disgusted look, yelled “bloody women drivers” and waved me through. I had stalled my car on an incline, so it took me a few seconds to get the car running again. Instead of waiting for me, he continued on his way, making a sharp right turn at the next street.

I was fuming, and felt that I had every right to be angry. But it wasn’t until several hours later that I could actually name the emotion of anger. I had every right to be angry. But I also had every right to be grateful that we did not collide and nobody was injured…other than egos and pride.

Lately I am realising that the predominant emotion I am feeling is anger…almost to the point of rage. By nature I am a caring person. I take satisfaction in doing for other people. It is in my vocation to give emotionally, spiritually, etc.

I believe part of the reason I am now on a medical leave is because I am feeling such great anger and frustration. I feel that many of the people in my life, especially in my immediate family, are taking much more than they are giving. Instead of seeing that I am doing for them because I want to, I am feeling anger that they are not reciprocating and/or they are not appreciative.

I am not supposed to do things to receive thanks. And yet, right now, it is something I need.

Why is that?

I am, by nature, an optimistic, balanced, happy person. But not lately. I’ve been surly, miserable and downright snarly. I raise my voice much more often, I feel an emptiness inside and I’m looking for something to fill it. Most often, it’s chocolate. But the thing is, the chocolate isn’t filling the void. It’s expanding my waistline.

Slowly it is dawning on me that I am looking for everyone else to make me happy, instead of seeking to make myself happy. I want everyone to behave the way I feel they should; instead of accepting them for who they are.

One of the most destructive enabling behaviours is the phrase “It’s just the way s/he is”. There is a parishioner who is a bully. He shouts, insults, bangs his fist on the table, in order to be heard and to get what he wants. It is hard work to deal with him. And when I challenge him on his bullying behaviour I am taken aside and told “It’s the just the way he is”, or “he’s much better than he used to be”. Neither of which are acceptable.

I believe that everyone should be held accountable for their behaviour and that everyone should do their best to understand how the other person is feeling. Seldom is this behaviour extended to me and, I have to admit, it upsets me.

Slowly but surely I am realising that there are very few things I can control. The only emotions I control are my own, especially once I name them and own them.

The Canadian Mental Health Association came out with this great chart meant for children, to identify what it is they are feeling. I think I need one for my office, so I can identify what I am feeling. It’s strange to be 46 years old and unable to identify basic emotions.

Life is a learning curve and lately the curve has been steep.

If I were to make a list of the things that make me happy they would include taking a bike ride through the village; walking the dogs; doing yoga outside; yoga inside; dancing around the house like a fool; writing letters to friends; reading a novel; writing in my journal; taking a warm, soothing bath with epsom salts and baking soda; blogging.

As I look at this list, I realise I don’t do any of these things as often as I should.

I will do more things on that list on a more regular basis.

Starting now.

Some realisations that have come to me are: My happiness does not depend on anyone other than me.
I have every right to be angry and express that emotion. Further, I can express anger without guilt. I can disagree with someone without being a bad person. And if that person thinks I am a bad person, that is their emotion to own; not mine.

I do not have to be held hostage by a crippling fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. It never stopped Jesus. And aside from the crucifixion, it worked out alright for him (in the end).

I have been mired up in anxiety, angst, frustration, anger and rage. It’s time to do, say and live in a way that makes me happy.

That’s not selfish; it’s self-care, and self-loving.

So that will be what I focus on for the rest of 2014…and perhaps longer than that.

Starting now.

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My ankle that is. It’s pretty bruised, as is the big toe on my right foot. Today I bought a brace for my ankle so I can continue to be barefoot in Church.

We have had two evening services for Holy Week thus far and there is another one tonight.

The services for Monday and Tuesday I was able to sit for them, which was good. Tonight will be a different thing. The service begins in the sanctuary, moves to the back of the Church (the baptistery) then moves back to the altar. So there will be walking, but I reckon if I take my time I should be okay.

I’ve had to rethink how I preside Maundy Thursday as I used to kneel when I washed feet. This year I’ll need to sit on a stool. It will be awkward, but it should work.

I got a call today from a lady whose husband just died. She’s originally from this community and has family here, but she lives out-of-town. She’s made arrangements for cremation and his remains will be interred, on Saturday. I am meeting with her and her sister on Friday.

Holy Week is meant to be a week of reflection and preparation. And yet, every single year I have had a funeral and all the pastoral responsibilities that go with it. So even though I try not to over-plan the week or over-fill it with responsibilities, there always seems to be “one more” event.

Having a sprain this year has really taught me about pacing myself. I overdid it yesterday and had a horrible night last night. Today was supposed to be an easier day, but then the phone rang and I needed to go to the hospital to see a parishioner, as well as preside a service at a nursing home.

I have a service in an hour and a half and my left ankle is swollen and throbbing. I was going to do some work tonight after worship. Instead I am going to do that work tomorrow morning, and tonight, after worship, I will have a long soak in a warm bath with epsom salts.

I changed the bed last night, so it will be comfortable, soft, clean sheets I sink into, well before midnight tonight.

Thanks be to God.

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This Sunday is Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week. Usually by this time (Thursday before Holy Week) I have everything ready. Bulletins printed, symbols located and cleaned, vestments freshly washed and pressed, homilies began. And this year? Not much has been finished.

To make things even more interesting, last night I missed the bottom stair outside and turned over my ankle. It’s swollen and bruised. I can walk on it, albeit slowly. I had plans to finish many things today and as I realise just how injured I am, I realise that I won’t be completely ready for Holy Week come Sunday. I will be ready for Sunday, and that’s enough.

The bulletins for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are finished and at the Printer’s. I need to pick them up, which I will do when I have to go out this afternoon.

The bulletins for Thursday/Friday/Saturday and Easter Sunday will likely not get finished until Friday or Saturday and will be picked up at the Printer’s early next week. And that’s okay.

Usually every year I undertake a significant project at the Church…rearranging furniture in the office, etc. Not this year. This year, I am going to finish a couple of smaller projects at home. Finding the surface of my kitchen counter top and dining room table. Putting the winter woolens away. Taking the coats for dry cleaning. Getting my house better prepared for Spring.

I’m not sure if it’s the medication in good alignment, a spiritual maturity or a realisation of aging gracefully…I don’t have to have everything done well ahead of time. Yes, it is my preference, but as the philosopher Jagger said “You can’t always have what you want…but you’ll find sometimes, instead, you get what you need”.

My spirit as of late has been battered. My body is bruised. But I am not broken. I am fragile, I have been fractured, but I am not broken. And that is something!

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Today is day 4 of the 30 day juice challenge. I went to the grocers on Monday and picked up the produce I need for the week as well as a few other groceries. I gasped when I saw the total for the groceries, but then, I did have nearly 8 lbs of apples alone. Three of the four juices have been quite good; one, not so much, but at least I did drink all of it. *urp*

I’m feeling about the same thus far. We have eaten dinner at home every night this week, and that, in itself, is an accomplishment. I am making something different for dinner tonight, lentil soup. The recipe sounds interesting and I have everything I need to make the soup at home. I’ve also got a loaf of crusty artisan bread to heat and have with the soup. Yum!

This entire week has been filled with running from place to place, errands, hospital visits, home visits, urgent telephone calls, and today I’m finding myself feeling anxious and run down. I have been sticking to my meds and vitamin/mineral schedule so that is helping me feel somewhat better. I am not drinking as much water as I should. But I am drinking tea (herbal mostly) and when I want coffee, it’s decaffeinated.

Last night I soaked in the bath. It was glorious. I lit some candles and relaxed, letting the water soothe me. I concentrated on my breathing and let the day wash over me. All in all it was a good day.

Today has been relatively productive. All my administrative work is caught up. The pile that needed to be filed has been done. Once we get one more T4 for my beloved we can file our taxes.

Tomorrow I have a breakfast meeting, a hospital visit, a lunch meeting, a massage and then I am heading to pick up my Mam for the weekend.

This is going to be a hectic time with lots to do, but I trust that it will all get done. And if I can’t recruit help for what I don’t have time for, it will remain undone. And that’s okay.

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Last week was a very emotional and very hectic week. I had three 12 hour work days in a row, accompanied by all kinds of driving into and out of the city. It seems I didn’t take the time to rest or eat properly and it threw off my physical balance in many ways.

I was at a meeting in the middle of last week, where I learned that a long-time friend and mentor had been charged with abuse, some of which dated back to 25 years ago. He is one of the reasons I became a priest and was a gentle and wonderful mentor for me. At this meeting he was named and I heard that more charges are forthcoming as his case comes to trial at the end of next month. I was devastated, to say the least. The individual who was speaking about him made no attempt to hide their hatred and contempt of him. I tried to speak a few times and could not find the words…so I left the room and went for a bit of a walk, went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on my face, to keep from crying.

When I returned to the room there was an uneasy silence, as though someone had told the person who was mouthing off that I am close to the person who has been charged. The silence was deafening as I resumed by place at the table and the meeting continued. When the meeting concluded I made my apologies and left without staying for lunch. I needed some time to clear my head.

On the way home I started thinking of all the time my friend and I have spent together. Of the hugs and long conversations over tea. Of the invitations to come and stay with him and his wife, after I had left the community. He is a new grandfather. He is a father. He is a husband. A brother. A friend. When he was first charged I was in shock. To hear of subsequent charges saddened me. And now to hear that there are more charges again from 15 years ago makes my heart ache.

The ache is not so much about his guilt. I don’t know if he is guilty. And now, with this information about to go public through the trial, his life will never be the same. I pray to God that there has been a huge misunderstanding and he is not guilty of that which he has been accused. But whatever the outcome, in the eyes of society his is forever tainted and will never be remembered for the good he did. The good may be prefaced and then the charges mentioned. If his is guilty it will be front-page news. And if he is found not guilty he will be lucky to have a footnote somewhere.

Hearing about all of this also stirred up memories of my own childhood abuse. A subject I have dealt with and continue to deal with in healthier and healing ways.

It has been one of those weeks when I have had very little time to be alone with God. To be alone with my thoughts. And it has hurt. I attended a workshop on Saturday as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada and the Residential School Survivors. One of the members present was a Residential School Survivor and she shared her story. In the middle of the workshop I had to step out to inter the ashes of a man I had not met, but had gleaned some information from two of his friends. It was difficult to connect with the family as there had been some estrangement.

So here was me, feeling inadequate to the task of journeying with this family, and seeing many in the large crowd hold each other close. There were tears and some laughter and the stories began to be shared around the grave. When I returned to the workshop, they were in the middle of lunch and I was seated and presented with a piping bowl of homemade soup. When the day finished I went to visit with a young friend who is very pregnant (three days overdue and counting) and she is longing for company.

She has decided to raise her baby alone, with the help of her 11-year-old son and her close friends. We chatted for a while about how she is feeling and suddenly I realise she is reaching out to me and saying what a comfort I must have been to the family. “Be gentle with yourself” she told me…something I have said to her.

And as I drove home after an extraordinarily long day, knowing that Sunday was going to be equally long, I asked myself what I done for myself, lately. The answer is not enough.

This week is also a heavy week, but I am carving out time to do things for me. I will walk in the morning with the dogs. I will go out and get my hair done tomorrow. I will do the visits I need to do. I will stop and smell the roses as I go about my day. I will stretch and breathe and bend and laugh and play.

I will make time to be alone in the silence with the Creator. And I will find some peace in the silence as I pray for my mentor; for my friend and her healthy delivery; for myself and for my family.

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The past few days have been a struggle for me, with respect to food. I am having conversations with The Narrator again when I’m making food choices, especially in restaurants. For example, my Mam weighs 114 lbs. I weigh more than twice that. She orders french fries, I order salad. She doesn’t finish her plate, but encourages me to do so. And so I do.

The Narrator chimes in like this “Hey, look at those fries. They look fresh-cut. Remember the smell of blanching fresh-cut fries…just have a couple. It won’t do you any harm.” So I have a couple. “Don’t those taste awesome? C’mon, eat them all.” And before I know it, the plate is empty. Then it starts, “you stupid, fat, pig. No willpower at all, do you? How do you expect to lose weight when you shove stuff in your mouth without even thinking about it? What kind of loser are you? How do you expect anyone to listen to what you have to say, when you can’t even control yourself? Just stop eating.”

Then I spend the next couple of hours feeling badly about myself. I’m afraid to go to the grocery store. I’m afraid to go into any store because I fear I’ll make a bad choice. So I don’t eat. And then I get scared that I won’t eat again. Craziness! Oh, and I did just take my meds for the day.

Yesterday I woke after a fairly rotten night’s sleep and took my Mam out for breakfast. My Mam LOVES to eat out. I fear eating out. More often than not I make healthier choices, but some days my balance is off and I fall off the wagon. We went out for breakfast, which is a veritable minefield at the best of times. My brother joined us for breakfast. I ordered eggs, over-easy, fresh tomatoes instead of home fries, and rye toast. I finished it. It was three eggs. But I did make healthier choices.

I had a peanut butter and dark chocolate protein bar with a bottle of water for lunch. The rest area was crammed full of people and I didn’t want to stand in line, so I grabbed something moderately healthy and kept driving. For dinner last night I had nothing. I did drink four litres of water from when I got home to when I went to bed. I need to go grocery shopping. I have a list. I have my market bucket. I just need the resolve to go.

I have an appointment in the village at 2:00. I think I may go after that. The store should be quieter then.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about genetically modified foods and realise, with great horror, that we cannot get nutrients we need from the food we eat. It would take 12 cups of broccoli to give us the same vitamins that one cup would have given us 50 years ago. The reason why so many of us have medical issues is related to malnutrition. Unbelievable.

I’m doing some reading on the need for vitamin and mineral supplements for the chronic conditions from which I suffer. It may all be b.s. but I’m willing to try almost anything if it will improve my quality of life.

So, today is a day of getting things finished. I look forward to seeing a neatly made bed in my bedroom and in the spare bedroom, with a set of bedding neatly folded and put away. It may be a small thing, but it is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise challenging time.

Restoring order from chaos. Something from which I take great satisfaction.

I wonder if it is coincidence that this year we are doing a four-week series on Creation? Hmmm, coincidence with God? I think not.

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I have a confession to make…I don’t juggle. I used to be able to juggle two tennis balls if I concentrated really hard. But I don’t think I can do that anymore.

The new school year is upon us and the juggling game continues. My Mam has been visiting for the past week and while I enjoy having her here, she doesn’t seem to have the ability to spend more than an hour alone. It’s a litany of aches and pains, constantly checking her arms and legs, “does this look different to you?” and on and on.

My “job” is a vocation, which means on call 24/7, 365. I have to fit in other parts of my life around my job. It should be the other way around, but it’s not. Most of the time I handle all that stuff pretty well, but lately, it seems like it’s been more work and harder than it needs to be.

For example. My daughter by marriage and I had a conversation before the start of school about what she wanted for breakfasts and lunches. She’s a fussy eater and it takes some cajoling to get her to try new things. So we have a list of foods that she will eat for breakfast and/or lunch. She makes her own lunches and I usually take care of breakfast. The first day of school she left her lunch bag at school. So we had to scramble to find another one when she overslept this morning. By the time I got her lunch packed and her out the door she made it with only a couple of minutes to spare before the school bus came.

Then there was laundry. I wanted to do my laundry, and there was my husband’s work laundry in the dryer. He’s great at starting things, but seldom finishes them. I could leave it for him to finish, but I don’t because I need to get my laundry, or bedding for the house, or towels, etc., done. So I finish his before I start mine.

Then there’s my Mam who wants to go visit her friend. I told her I had to go to the office first and would take her afterwards. She gave me an hour at the office then she walked over to see when we were going to see her friend, and should we go out for breakfast first. So I stopped what I was doing and we went out for breakfast.

So now I’m hours behind in my housework, hours behind in my office work and not enough time to prepare for a meeting tonight because I still have to get dinner ready. Where’s the rest of my family? Husband is at work, daughter is doing homework and mother is sleeping.

So, I will go to a meeting tonight only partially prepared and it will bug me far more than it does anyone else. But that’s how I roll. I like things to be finished. I like things to be prepared and ready.

Juggling? I don’t think so.

BUT tomorrow is another day. I am hoping that the kitchen will be cleaned up while I am at the meeting. I am hoping I can come in from the meeting, have a long soak in a hot bath and then go to bed.

The reality may be very different. But there is always hope. I live in a little place called Hope. I like it there and they know me.

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