Archives for posts with tag: thinking

I have to stop and ask myself if the Universe is trying to send me a message. It’s an unexpected message…or do I even know what the message is?

It all started with an out of the blue exchange with a woman walking with her three children. I wasn’t even but a few feet away from her when she waved her hand toward me while saying something that I didn’t hear. I thought she was asking for directions and said, “excuse me?”

Waving her hand around my head area, she said, “you have a strong aura, my dear. Would you like a psychic reading?”  Then she waved her hand to where I had my fleece jacket tied around my waste. “You have a lot going on.” I looked down as if there would be something there, as though I would see all that she saw.

I told her that I was on my way to lunch and that I didn’t have time. I really just wanted to move on.

“No problem. Would you like one of my cards?”

My shoulders lifted into a shrug, about to say no; instead, I said, “sure, why not.”

She bent down to fetch her purse from the bottom of the stroller and pulled out a zippered pouch that seemed to contain a variety of different business cards. I thanked her and took the card.

As I edged my way between her daughters, one who had three woman entranced with her small bucket of pencils for sale, ooohing and ahhwing, I knew that I woudlnt’ be making the call to get my reading done.

Once at my lunch spot, I took the card out of my bag and looked at it wondering why she had chosen me at that moment in time to solicit her services.  I thought of the many times that I have had my tarot cards read, occasionally picking one out of the deck on my own for some guidance; I wondered if perhaps this was the Universe telling me that it was time to do some internal work. I don’t feel like it really, but maybe I’m not seeing clearly. Maybe something inside of my soul is leaking out clues that are being mirrored back to me in some way.

When I was done with lunch, I walked back in the opposite direction. When I came about half-way around the block, a teenage boy asked if he could borrow a quarter. He clearly needed it for the parking meter that he was next to when he asked.

“A quarter. Yes, I think I do have one.” I rummaged in my bad, handed him a quarter, and off I went.

Ok, fine. Two small moments of time that somehow seemed related to each other in my mind, but nothing to make a really big fuss about.

But then yesterday I received a phone call from an unknown number. When I listened to the voice message it was a pastor that was randomly calling–who knows how he found my number–I don’t actually go to church on a regular basis. His message said something along the lines that he was calling me to invite me to his congregation and that if I would like him to pray for me or someone I know, call or text him.

With these three coincidences within the week, I must admit, they’ve made me wonder…

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I feel like I’m on a roulette wheel with my thoughts and writing. The ball spins and spins, like my mind, creating possibilities, memories, recalling memories, creating new memories, recording observations, but with this wheel, the numbers become placeholders for words and thoughts; each one an entry point into a place of exploration. Only, these many spinning possibilities keep spinning; the wheel becomes stuck with possibilities.

This morning, as the wheel turned, a book was my entry point. Just reading a couple of pages was enough for that slight shift, just enough to awaken a sort of luck to awaken my writing muscles a little bit further, flexing them in a way that sent a message that you will write these two words down and make a sketch and you will come back to this later and you will post this to your blog journal.

Entry point. Those two little words led me to a roulette wheel and what I was actually reading had nothing to do with anything, but something in that particular moment in time clicked.

And now many hours later, as I enjoy my lunch break, taking spoonfuls of delicious food, then returning to my notebook to continue with the morning spark, I am on that wheel; my entry point is right there–right here; always there.

Writing is good for the soul.

Writing and posting to my blog journal is good for my soul.

Even when something ails me, I need to push through it. Pushing through can only bring my body’s equilibrium back to a place of balance. These things I know, yet countless times, the words stay in a certain limbo, like the bouncing ball that can’t find its place, slips into the slot and out again, finally settling on a random place on the wheel.

And is it really so random?

Wasn’t it supposed to happen at this exact time and place? Or perhaps it had enough time commingling, jetting this way and that–when, the moment you look away, there it appears: A sense of order, of opening and closing–a pulse of life that cannot be contained, a sense of spinning, that spins and spins and spins until it can spin no more and must find a place to land, but only when the self disappears into the background.

And then before your eyes, it slips into the lucky number, the words fall into place, the entry point of many open up and you walk right in, tentative at first, then you reach the end; and you know the wheel will be there, always there when you’re ready, only you won’t know when you’re ready, but something deep inside of you that is outside of yourself will know and you will be there to answer.

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Yesterday I prepared one of my favorite chicken recipes that I found on the internet some time ago. I also prepared it for my mother-in-law on her birthday. And she didn’t make a comment about it needing salt, which was a relief. The flavor was there in this simple and delicious oven barbecued chicken recipe.

I paired the chicken with oven baked yams and a macaroni salad that I through together with leftover pasta that I I had used to make oven macaroni and cheese on Sunday night…yum! I knew that I didn’t need the full pound, so I set some aside with the intention of making the mac salad. I added red bell pepper, black olives, green onions, celery, dijon mustard, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic salt with parsley, and dinner was served.

I had an appointment later that evening with a school counselor to ask some questions about the certificates in accounting and to see where I’m at. In a way, the appointment was a waste of time. I think I already knew where I was at. But, it’s part of the process. I think next time I have a visit, it will be more helpful because I may be closer to my goal, unless I begin to waver again. Time is not on my side. Many of the classes that I took so long ago, no longer count because in order to obtain the certificate, in my case, in accounting, the courses need to be completed within 7 years of the date of the certificate; 10 years for a business certificate. I don’t know that this little piece of paper will help me down the road, but I thought if I had the classes already, I might as well. I waited too long, mainly because I’ve had a love/hate relationship with accounting for as long as I remember. And that’s why I’m asking myself, do I really want to petition to retake accounting principles because I got a C in the class I took way back when. I know there’s something inside of me that feels the need to go through a semester length course and to possibly pick up the certificate along the way. I also figure I may as well still aim for obtaining my A.A. except that for the area of emphasis, the time rules still apply.

I think I need to do this, so that I know that I at least followed through and completed something…but part of me, thinks is it really necessary. It’s an inner battle that I’ve been going back and forth with forever. And even though community college is a lot less expensive, it still puts a dent in the budget. The good thing is that there is no time limit on general education requirements. Back to the drawing board to see what I really want to do and if getting the piece of paper that is of little value in the real world is worth it, and to make sure I’m not fooling myself into completing something that I really have no interest in completing.

All that I could think about on the way home was the two ripe bananas that I’ve been waiting to be just right, so that I could make banana muffins. I found a recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites recipe book. I didn’t need the recipe to be that low-fat, so I added two full eggs instead of one egg and one egg white. The recipe also called for 1 cup of rolled oats blended just until they were the consistency of corn meal–a nice healthy touch in addition to one cup of white flour. There was 1/4 of brown sugar, 1/2 t. of baking soda, 1 t. of baking powered, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, 2 T. of vegetable oil, 2 ripe bananas mashed, 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, and instead of the 1/2 cup raisins, I added 3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips because I had some leftover and I thought it would be a nice addition. 400 degrees for 25 minutes and the house was smelling of banana and chocolate goodness!

I’ve never really been a muffin person, and I’ve had this cookbook for years and have only made a handful of recipes out of it, which were all good. And I have to be honest, I usually steer clear from a muffin with chocolate in it, but I think what did me in was when we stayed at a place in Carmel that brought muffins and juice to our door in the morning and I bit into a muffin with chocolate in it and I thought, this is actually pretty good. I guess that stuck in my head; ironically, hubby didn’t like the muffins and he loves chocolate.

I do know that the ripe bananas were my inspiration. I saw two sitting there on the counter, as I’ve seen before, only this time, I wanted to make them into something, rather than send them away. That’s when I looked in this particular cookbook hoping for a recipe because that other low-fat recipe book with the blueberry scones, it’s going back to the library!

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/oven-barbecued-chicken

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Walking back from the laundry room, it was near evening; I looked up into the sky, when I saw a black man in his thirties approach the duplex we live in. He was wearing a satchel that seemed to be bulging with books, a clipboard under his arm. “Hello” I said as I walked up behind him carrying my laundry basket full of warm clothes. He turned and gave me a wide smile and an energetic “good evening.” He went into his sales pitch; I walked past him so that I was closer to the door. In as polite a manner as possible, I asked him if he could get to what it was he was selling because I had something on the stove. I smiled. He said no problem and with his continued joyful nature, he added that he was a single father and this was his last stop and that he needed to sell one more magazine subscription.

“I don’t have any cash. All I have are these quarters,” and I pulled out the baggy of quarters from my pocket. “I don’t usually carry cash. I’m sorry.”

“Are you sure you can’t help.”

“But I just told you I don’t have any cash.”

I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable. The night seems to be getting darker. Finally, he accepts that I’m not going to buy a magazine subscription. His smile and joy disappear like a magic trick. Poof. He doesn’t say thanks for your time or anything. He just shakes his head at me, gives me a dejected look, and turns to go.

“Good luck,” I say.

I might have bought what he was selling if I did have the money. On the other hand, the way that he acted when I wasn’t able to help him, makes me think twice. I can see the situation from both points of view. I can appreciate his disappointment, yet how can a person be so bold, to expect another human to produce something that they simply do not have in that moment.

I was perturbed. I forgot to look back up into the sky because, now, I was distracted. I don’t like disappointing people; more than that, I don’t care for people that are nice when they want something and then turn their act off when they don’t get what they want.

I’m always leery of sales people; however, if you’re going to try to sell something, at least have the courtesy to see your script through and be kind either way. After all, you are taking someone’s time.

The laundry in my basket turned cold. As I walked into the house, I couldn’t help but to re-contemplate the human condition, and the weeks since this occurrence I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind, in this specific situation and in general.

Sometimes the mornings begin in silence, like this morning. And then my attention becomes fixed on the gentle whirr of the small heater throwing warmth at my feet. Often I will write in this beautiful nothingness of sound and listen to the gurgling or whizzing or tweeting, or vroom–any sounds that I become aware of.

A few months back, there was a Bossa Nova CD that I would put in each morning as I sat down to write. I stopped putting the CD in; my writing became more sporadic. And now, here I am.

The music has come back.

I’ve given the Bossa Nova CD a break because I have a tendency to get too used to one thing, especially as it becomes part of my ritual. The past week I’ve been using my iPod Touch together with my new Jambox, which my significant other got me for Christmas. At first, I was resistant. But, he insisted that I would get used to it. See, I hardly ever listen to music on my iPod Touch because I mostly listen to music from my CD player or on the stereo when I’m driving. Then the truth came out, he got me the Jambox, so that if he wanted to watch television in one room and I needed to go in the other room, I could take the music with me if I was listening to it. He wanted to make me more portable. I had to chuckle at that. How thoughtful of him. It was a gift for me and for him.

I love listening to all sorts of music. At work I listen to classical music all day–the same CD over and over. It’s actually a compilation of pieces that I heard when I streamed from the classical radio station. I never tire of it. It relaxes me.

I have classical music on my iPod, but I find it a little out of place when I shuffle. I listen to music when I’m cooking and I prefer more upbeat music or songs that I can sing along to. I also like being surprised and none of the music goes together. It’s a mishmash and I love that. I wish that I could add my CD collection, but I don’t think they are MP3s.

**

I’ve gotten back to the creative journaling prompts book. I took a break for about a week. I must say the first section has been a challenge for me: hopes, dreams, & goals. I’ll be glad to move onto the next section. I’m finding it a challenge to write about what I wish for and what I could do better. I’ve always strived to work on myself, going through exercises out of books or answering questions about myself to myself. I must have gotten comfortable and taken some time off because these questions–these journal prompts are exactly what I need right now. They’re like the missing ingredient that I need to reestablish some balance within myself.

I’ve acknowledged that the reason I’m having a difficult time with the questions about what I wish for and my wildest dreams is because of my relationship to what it means to wish for something. As I was working through the questions, wishing felt wrong, like I should be happy with what I have and where I am. Of course, this is ridiculous, but that’s what I was thinking. And I am happy–content–but I saw that there were a few things that wouldn’t hurt to wish for, even if it’s just wishing.

And, I, who love learning was stumped by the question: what is something you want to learn how to do? I was, as usual, over thinking the question. It didn’t come to me naturally. And part of it could be that I’m taking a class right now where I’m learning about early childhood education–to explore if this is an area that I might be able to work in and also as a way to give me insight, while I’m volunteering one-on-one with children as a reading tutor. I suppose the question overwhelmed me because I was in it. I was able to think of other things I’d like to learn how to do.

I think the lesson for me is that I can entertain an idea even if it doesn’t seem attainable, to dream big, keep pushing along–and above all, enjoy the journey.

**

From A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul by Leo Tolstoy:

“Try to live your Life and be happy with your destiny, acquiring inner peace by love and good deeds.”

–Marcus Aurelius

Peace and Love~

Rebb

Books stare back at me from the shelves. A part of me wants to go through and donate the ones that I may not read and others that I have already read. They seem to sit there, collecting time, wanting more attention than they currently receive. Books that have a history in my life, reminders of bookstores that no longer exist––I’m afraid to let go.

There is no logical reason to let go of many of these books. They have a place on the shelf, but there are others that lay in the dark closet, out of view, because there is no room for them on the shelves meant for books. Part of me wants to keep these physical books because I fear that one day, they will become extinct and for many of these books, I may want to revisit or simply take one from the shelf and feel it in my hands, smell its pages, randomly open to any old place and start reading.

There may be one or two books I can part with, but then what’s the point of that. The bookshelves have become cluttered and the books in turn clutter my mind.

Perhaps what I really need to do is sit down and go through, shelf by shelf, book by book, and revisit each and every one of these old friends.

**

After moving a crooked stack of books blocking other books, I saw Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. A quote that begins the first chapter speaks to me today as I’m trying to carve a new road…

“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative
and the universe is endlessly bountiful.
Just put forth a clear enough request,
and everything your heart desires must come to you.”

–Shakti Gawain

Peace and Love~

Rebb

Right this moment, if I could change something about myself, it would be to do more and worry, doubt, and over think less. It seems that with certain choices, I don’t allow myself to go freely, instead I begin putting up mental road blocks, questioning my decision that in the moment I decided, felt right–or maybe I don’t reach the finality of decision because I don’t allow myself to get there mentally.

I told myself after I finished my short story writing class this fall: no more community college courses for fun or interest. Five months is too long, I said. Plus, I understand that community colleges are going to be stricter about people like me without a clear direction. I also noticed that since I’ve taken courses at the B.A. level, sometimes certain community college courses don’t feel meaty enough. I tell myself: just read about it. You don’t need to take the class, do you? Why do you keep enrolling and not only that–why do you keep questioning your decision.

I enrolled in a course. I was enrolled for several weeks, but hadn’t paid, just in case I changed my mind. The class begins in mid-January. I’ve thought about it for days, asking: are you sure this is what you want? I think so. If I take money out of the equation. The answer is yes, absolutely. I feel guilty because the credit card that I’m trying to pay off, keeps jumping up. I rationalize, saying, well, if you get a small tax refund, put that towards the balance of your credit card.

Right now I have mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement.

Recently I finished a book called Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning by Julie Diamond. I loved the book. This was the closest that I’ve come to revisiting Kindergarten and the book really made me want to be a part of this setting in some way.

And a month ago when I stepped onto the elementary school steps, walking past a classroom, I peeked in, and as I passed, I saw small children, crayons at their desk, pictures they had drawn on the windows, and I realized by the size of the children that this must have been a kindergarten class. As I walked on toward the classroom where I would meet Mrs. L to learn more about tutoring, the recess bell rang, and all the children poured out to the black top to play and let out their bundled up energy. I loved the feeling of being there. I felt transported to a time of play and learning and I felt as though I was meant to be there.

When I used to ride my bike to work, I would pass an elementary school and I always thought to myself, I would really like to work there. I would like to work at a local elementary school. But this wasn’t possible. For one, schools have severe budget cuts. And two, I don’t have the proper credentials, nor the means to complete certain steps I never finished.

As nice as it would be to get paid to be a teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten or first grade class, I don’t know that this is possible. Let me take that back. Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know if a) it’s something I truly want to do because I’ve never done it before and b) I don’t know if it will open up.

With that being said, I am going to reframe the negative and concentrate on the positive–concentrate on the possible.

The other motivating factor is that I enjoy playing with my significant other’s God son who is three. When we go over to visit, he says to me, “let’s go play” and we go play and I enjoy entering his world. Even though we don’t see him too often, I enjoy hearing about his new discoveries from his mother, and also of watching him and engaging in his play and pretend world.

And so if ever I’m in a position where an assistant teaching position may manifest in the future, from doing a little research, I know I will at least need to have a certain amount of Early Childhood Education (ECE) units. The funny thing is I’ve always had a fascination with education and as a child I adored the educational programs: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, The Polkadot Door, Reading Rainbow. I wasn’t that interested in Sesame Street for some reason. But I’ve never pursued this avenue.

Soon I will be taking a baby step and I will take my first ECE course: Principles and Practices of Early Childhood Education. This will at least give me an opportunity to be in a structured classroom setting to explore whether this is a path that I would like to pursue and hopefully answer any questions and doubts that I may have. At the very least, I will have an opportunity to enter this period of life and possibly remember more of my own early experiences. It seems such a wonderful period filled with growth, learning, and wonder, yet so much of it goes forgotten. Maybe I’ll also learn to accept this truth: that sometimes all of that magic comes and goes, but is always there if we remember.

Last night I prepared pork tenderloin with a rub of salt, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne, tarragon, rosemary, paprika, and a few turns of “Pirates Bite,” which adds some extra heat. I served the tenderloin with a side of lentils and pasta. I followed a recipe for lentils and pasta with chard years ago and had only prepared it once, but have craved it ever since. I got rid of the cookbook where I found the recipe. After an Internet search, I found another recipe as a guide.

The recipe link is below. What I did different: I did not use a slow cooker. This time I used Spinach. I bet this would be great with kale and mushrooms. I decided to use large macaroni noodles instead of linguine, and I didn’t feel that I needed the Parmesan cheese—as much as I love cheese—the cream cheese was enough and pulled the dish together into a creamy delight. I cooked the lentils in low sodium chicken stock and the pasta in water. I will definitely be preparing this again, adding and subtracting along the way.

You can find the description for “Pirates Bite” at The Spice and Tea Exchang
http://www.spiceandtea.com/pirates-bite-p-197.html

Here is the recipe I used as a guide at About.com
http://southernfood.about.com/od/crockpotbeans/r/bl21c6.htm

**

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past week about how I think I’d like to work with children as a classroom assistant. I say think because I’ve never really worked with children for any length of time. Only a few times, one-on-one.  I think I’d be comfortable in the kindergarten through third or fourth grade environment. I know that I don’t have the means to pursue the education or certification needed to be a teacher. I need one to get the other. And adding onto my existing loan debt would not be a good option.

Last time, at least ten years ago, when I thought about going this direction, I called a local Montessori and shadowed for a day in the toddler section to see if it was for me. Though the toddlers were adorable, I didn’t want to change diapers and when I shadowed the older toddlers, I noticed I wasn’t as outgoing or at ease as the other teachers. When we walked through the class for the older children, I felt that this would be the right environment.

So, I thought long and hard, even though it’s only been a week and through the years this thought has cropped up. I have been shy around children in the past the few times that I have been in a situation with many children. I do better with one or a small group, and on a few occasions, the shy ones are drawn to me, probably because they sensed another shy and quiet human.

I thought that a great way to satisfy what I’m being pulled toward is to start searching the volunteer pages to see if there was an opportunity to work in a classroom as an assistant. I found a few that required credentials and/or a minimum of 12 ECE units, which I do not have. I kept looking and changed my search details, and I may have found just what I was looking for. It’s a literacy program for grades K-3 where tutors work one-on-one or in small groups in the classroom, which would be perfect. I love the energy of children when I am around them and have always and still love children’s books; and I feel that I am a teacher at heart; definitely a child at heart, as well as a nurturer of the sprit.

I have many fond memories of my teacher’s from childhood, especially Kindergarten, all the way through third grade, actually. Well, no, wait…second grade wasn’t so great. The instructor didn’t seem very nice. And though it’s a distant memory, I can remember my mother’s presence in one of my classrooms. I believe she was a teacher’s assistant and it must have been first grade. I remember seeing her help other students. It’s a memory that comes in and out of focus. In my childhood I didn’t think much of it, yet now looking back has created yet another piece of the puzzle toward understanding my mother—toward learning who she was and also the things she had me do and how it helped foster who I became, whether intentionally or not. I do remember how she was helpful with the other students.

I feel a certain synchronicity in that my search aligned with an upcoming training session for the tutoring opportunity. It will still take time between waiting for the training date late next month, and then for placement, which could take more time. I am very much looking forward to this new experience, and now I must wait.