Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stream of consciousness...or just me talking

Joni told me the Softball blog was "just okay." She is a dear friend, and trusted reader...and I appreciate her honesty. I could feel it when I was writing. Just couldn't get to the point.

We have days like that, don't we? Days when we aren't feeling it, when everything falls a bit short of the mark. But I am a writer and I needed to write. So today I am simply going to write. No goal direction. Just whatever is on my mind. Scary.

One of my friends got positive news about a biopsy today. Positive as in GREAT, as in no cancer. It is the result for which many of us have diligently prayed, as she has already beaten cancer twice. So YAY!!! Huge relief.

Is it hard for you when a pray is answered and your prayer request seems to be on hold? It's hard for me. I am truly thankful for the negative biopsy and happy for my friend. And I know and believe my request is being answered...I just can't see the answer and I WANT TO SEE IT NOW!

Maybe you aren't like that. Might be just me.

My dog hasn't felt well for a couple days. I wish she would tell me what's wrong. That language barrier is frustrating. Or maybe she is being passive/aggressive - she's not going to tell me what she needs until I don't do it...then she will BITE my head. Nah, she is too sweet and straightforward for that. Don't you wish some people were more like dogs?

Giant Eagle is giving away more pharmaceuticals. First it was antibiotics. Now it is diabetes meds. They have "formed an agreement" to provide these drugs at no cost.

Okay, firstly (!) NOTHING is free. Someone is paying. Big Pharma does not give drugs away free. Secondly, how about if we truly want to combat diabetes we give fruits and vegetables away. Or gym memberships. How about we treat the problem and not the symptoms? Crazy idea, isn't it?

Which reminds me of how annoying Walmart is. Very. I avoid it at all cost. Because if I do suffer temporary insanity and visit the Big Box, I am immediately accosted by people screaming at their crying kids. Often, it is two people...which means...ONE OF YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME...with the kids. Just a suggestion.

And I am shocked/amused when people say, "They moved things around in Walmart. I had to walk all over the store. I went in for one thing and spent $75." Seriously, someone should inform Walmart - they may want to develop a marketing strategy around that.

Why do we always want the weather to be different than what it is? All over Facebook: "I wish it was autumn." Don't get me wrong. I love autumn. But it only lasts, like, 10 days in Western PA! Autumn is not a season is a blink. If I am wishing for a different time than right now, it is surely NOT going to be for a future date ("Don't wish your life away" - Helen Painter). I am wishing summer before 7th grade. I want to go back. SHEESH...I don't want time to go faster.

I will stop with the stream of consciousness now BECAUSE I have something very fun to do. I am going to drive a scooter for the first time. Got my motorcycle permit last week. I have always thought a motorcycle would be fun, but not a responsible choice. Not sure what changed my mind...maybe driving one will reinforce my original thought? We'll see...

Thanks for hanging with me today. Next time I will be more focused...maybe...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Softball practice, curveballs, and other life lessons

My niece Kerrin is going to college on a softball scholarship. I know, right? SO exciting.

School doesn't start for another month, but she has already been practicing with her college coach - of course, this is not new to her. The kid has been practicing softball A LOT for 10 years . And it has paid off! Kerrin is an excellent pitcher, with five pitches that will each have you swinging at air.

Imagine: you are at the plate, 43 feet away from the pitching rubber, and here comes the rise ball at 60+ mph. It is a scientific fact that a softball hitter has less reaction time than a baseball hitter. Step it off yourself - 43 feet is not very far. How about the fastball at 59mph? Then, just when you have your bat moving quickly, the change-up comes in at 45mph...and you look like a fool.

Maybe the hardest pitch to judge is the curveball/screwball. It is the same speed as the fastball, and could be mistaken for a high fastball initially...then suddenly turns away from the batter (or into the batter if it is a screwball). So you think you are preparing for one thing then BAM, the direction changes. OOOO it makes the batter MAD to swing through the center of the plate, only to watch the ball move away.

That is a great thing to see when you are cheering for the pitcher...not great for the hitter's fans...not great in life.

You know what I mean, don't you.

We all have curveballs thrown our way. That's just life. An illness, job loss, unforeseen expenses that put our finances in disarray. Each of us gets our share of naturally occurring curveballs.

But what about the ones that aren't naturally occurring? What about the ones people intentionally throw? Those are harder, aren't they?

Someone lies to you, speaks nasty words about you, abuses your trust...HUGE curveball. You swing and miss, then life goes on. Right?


It's almost as if each curveball gets stuck in a pitching machine until we hit it. You think it's gone...then, in the middle of your day, there is the curveball again. And the emotions it brings are still strong.

So what do we do?

Here is advice from a softball coach on hitting a curveball: Learn to hit the fastball or you will never hit the curve; Learn to hit the opposite way - it may not be a power hit but it can still be a hit; study the pitcher - there are generally clues to when a curve is coming; practice then practice then practice.

Funny how softball imitates life.

Learn to deal with everyday life, be balanced. Then when someone throws a curve, it won't knock you down completely.

Learn to adjust your swing, so you can make something good happen, even if it is not a proverbial homerun.

Study the pitcher so you can see the signs.

Oh, I am so not good at this one.

Actually I AM good at catching the signs. Discernment is a strongpoint and gift of mine. I just don't always listen to my gut when it concerns me.

I see the signs. But I refuse to believe. I refuse because this is not's life and we aren't supposed to deliberately throw curves. My refusal does not always change the situation.

I have only had a couple folks who have thrown one curve after another while I stood in the box waiting for the next one. You've had at least one as well, haven't you? Of course you have.

But here is the great thing...practice helps solve this problem. Don't misunderstand. I don't mean subject yourself to abuse or drama. I mean practice balance everywhere else. Practice good relationships with others. Practice quietness of your soul and spirit.

I have found that diligent practice of these positive vibes give me the ability to see the curve coming and HIT IT! And when you hit it often, one of two things happens: the pitcher doesn't throw the curve anymore, or the pitcher is removed from the game.

Kerrin has a great curve that will one day land her in a Division I pitching circle. I am cheering mightily for that!

But none of us needs deliberately thrown curveballs.

Life is hard enough. How about we support each other in getting rid of the nasty pitchers...Whattaya say?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fat Gracie, MoJo, and Fear

Fat Gracie and Zooey ran away on Independence Day. Not because they wanted independence, but because the fireworks scared them. So they started digging - as dogs do - and soon were under the fence and gone.

Zooey was back in a few hours...without Gracie. And because the 4th was a Sunday, and the government holiday was Monday, all shelters were closed until Tuesday.

So my friends, their owners, prayed and worried and wondered.

I feel like my MoJo left me about the same time. Swag, as some folks call it.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you just can't put the pieces in place for several days in a row? You pray and wonder how to get your MoJo back...and no sign of it.

Mine left for the same reason Gracie did - FEAR.

There is a situation in my life that can, although not always does, but can make me fearful. Which I hate.

Fear is of no value. We are born with only two fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Every other fear is learned. Did you process those words? Every .Other. Fear. Is. Learned.

And don't we all have a couple people who exacerbate our fears! Just when you get the worse-case scenario out of your head, they come along with the WHAT IF. It's generally not malicious, but still throws you back into the cesspool of fear and doubt.

This is even more frustrating to me because I am afraid of almost nothing. Not heights, fire, snakes, spiders, small spaces, big crowded places (okay I don't LOVE those), tunnels, phobias.

This current situation doesn't cause me to operate in fear all the time. But it lurks. You know what I mean?

Here is another sign that my MoJo is on the lam: I misplaced something a few weeks ago. It was not something of life-changing importance. But I don't misplace things. I generally live by the "place for everything/everything in it 's place" rule, and I know where that place is. The act was more significant than the item because it pointed out that at least one wheel is not balanced. Definitely missing the swag.

I know and believe that Jesus, who is the author of my faith, fully understands all my challenges and difficulties. Even still, I don't recall a single time in the Bible when Jesus lost his swag. THAT is why I hate fear. It does nothing but suck power from me...I ALLOW it to steal my joy and power.

FEAR of a situation they couldn't control made Zooey and Fat Gracie run. FEAR of a situation I can't control has stolen just enough power and joy to render me slightly unbalanced. And slightly is too much.

On Tuesday July 6, my friends contacted every local shelter. No Gracie. Their last hope was a Craigs list ad. They clicked on the pet section to place a Lost ad...and there was a picture of Gracie in a Found ad!! She was taken in by a woman who knew there were loving owners somewhere, and hoped the ad would help locate them.

So while my friends worried, Gracie was having a party.

And somewhere in the land of good vibes, my MoJo is rejuvenating and waiting for me to stop allowing my power to be wasted.

I'm going put out notice that it's time for my Swag to head home. Thanks for letting me vent!