Friday, March 28, 2014

Rainy Days, weekends and those fond memories

  Its Friday, I've completed another work week. I have the weekend before me, and I did have lots of plans for that time. Only now of course it is raining. That means no yard work, not unless it decides to stop raining (and it isn't supposed to do that), or unless I don't mind getting wet. Even if it does stop raining the leaves that I haven't raked all fall and winter will not be mulched by the mower as I had hoped. If I do anything, it will be in the flower garden area and with a rake not the mower. I really do want to get started on that if only Ma Nature would cooperate a bit here.
  But, since its raining, and its dark (at this writing it is 8:13pm) I won't be doing any work outside, but I can share some rain stories from here on the Dirt Road..aka the Mud Run during times like this.
   I love summer showers, not so much thunderstorms but those sudden rain storms that appear, dropping rain here but not there, fast and furious or slow and easy. I've driven down the roadways to run in and out of rain or watched it fall on one side of the road and not the other. I've even seen the white lines of the road be the stopping point as the rain fall stops right on the line going no farther.
   As a young person growing up here I remember knowing when the rain was coming. The sky could be this beautiful, crystal clear blue, not a cloud anywhere but the trees gave warning of what was coming. Looking at the trees the area would be darker, the colors of the leaves more intense as they turned over. The air would grow quieter as all the woodland critters took refuge from what was coming. Soon, you could hear it approaching, the rain falling on the leaves on the trees and the dead leaves under them. You had two choices, take shelter, or enjoy the cooling off the rain would bring from the heat of the summer sun.
     Our Grandfather was a collector. He would bring home some of the most interesting, useable stuff. His yard was never cluttered or trashed, there was a place for everything, but he always allowed us to make use of the things he brought home. Like all of those sheets of metal. I have no idea what they were intended to be used for, where they may have came from or what his plans were for them. For us, they made great clubhouses. With careful precision we could stand them up and begin our shelter of the day. Building them as one would a house of cards only bigger and a bit more heavy. Each sheet had a line of holes directly down the center which meant careful layering to prevent leaks. It was a treat to be inside one of the clubhouses when a shower would come up. Listening to the rain as it struck the 'roof', hearing the drumming music that it made was mesmerizing. There was something special about having that privacy, a bit of secrecy even though all we were doing was sitting on the sandy dirt inside, out of the sun.
    Grandfather also built a large open shed behind his workshop. One end was open so he could simply drive his tractor in and out without hassle. At that time there wasn't any worries about anyone bothering his things. We all knew each other on this road then as there were only five families here. Times have changed. I stood many times at that entrance and watched the rain falling, watering the garden, cooling the temperature down a bit.
       One thing I have always loved was to take hikes in the woods on our property. There are several small creeks that run through it, more when there is plenty of rain ( such as now). Behind our house, down at the bottom of the hill there is a small gulch. During the dry times, it is dry. When we've had a rain storm, that gulch becomes its own creek. The land slopes downward, so the rain water starts at the main road and follows the gulch down through the woods until it reaches the pond and then once the pond is full to overflowing the water moves on through the woods, filling the creeks as it goes. If there is enough water I can hear it falling from my back yard.
There have been times when I've been walking only to get caught in a shower. Dad built a covered shelter down at the pond. The tin roof is wonderful to sit under and watch  as the rain falls and strikes the surface of the pond sending ripples outward. Raindrops hitting the surface of water has a totally different sound than anything else. Away from the pond if the rain isn't falling too hard I can take shelter under the trees, listening to the rain as it strikes the leaves. At times, I can feel the rain as it rolls down from leaf to leaf until it falls to where I am standing. I've walked along parts of the Dirt Road where the tree top canopy reaches out and entangles creating a covering that protects those under it from the rain. Once again walking and listening to nature's music. Of course those hard showers that can penetrate the canopy creates the puddles that I loved to wade through then and still do to this day. The feeling of red clay mud between your toes gets in your heart and stays there.
         As a youth, and now as an adult, I love to open the windows and listen to the summer showers falling. There is no better stress relief. Forget your pills, forget those self medications such as alcohol, forget that hot bubble bath- well no, lets not forget that, it works well also--but, the sound of falling rain is magical. Stress and frustration melts away leaving all the good memories in its place. I may not get to work in my yard tomorrow, but I will get to sit on the front porch with a cup of coffee and watch the rain falling. All the while remembering ...  with a smile.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

There's No Place For That Here

                               No matter how big this world is-there is no place for hate

  There's no place for that here.

  Where I work there is a good diversity of people. From the various nationalities, ages and more we are quite the mixed bunch. Being so different, there are always going to be problems. We dress differently, we speak differently, we act and live differently.  It is a human thing. We have disagreements, we have those moments when we react and over react to an action or word. We have our own set of likes and dislikes, our beliefs and our ways. A lot is due to how we are brought up, some is social conditioning, some is immaturity, selfishness and petty. And some, is just the opposite in that we are mature, compassionate and real.
  I've worked for this company for a long time. On August first it will be twenty-four years. We've grown over the years so now I don't know every individual like I once did, but I know a lot of them. Most of the people I work with, I only see at work so I honestly know nothing of their home life but what they share. Whether it is in personal conversation or one of the many online social medias.   I May not agree with some lifestyle choices that are shared, but that doesn't stop me from liking the person.  Every one, every single person has value. We all have attributes that make us worthwhile. Knowing that, is part of what makes me so upset over an incident that happened recently.

The position that I have in being Lead Person, means that I am all over the department all day long. I am interacting with each employee at different times. I am making sure that the jobs are running as they should be and giving each person specific instructions as needed. I've learned their different personalities and come to appreciate each one. No, none are perfect. Some will hog machines that are needed in the process of the job. Some will sneak around and slip away with materials that are not theirs in the desire to make their personal job easier even if it makes the other person's more difficult. They will extend a ten minute break into as much as they can get by with. Little things usually totally ignorable until they get too extreme and need intervention to keep the production floor running smoothly.  I have also seen how employees help each other. I've seen them stop a small frame malfunction before it became a major problem. I've seen them jump in to help straighten out a major problem because it wasn't caught in time. I've seen them helping each other with a smile. That's part of why I was so upset recently.

I know, how well I know, that there is a problem with attitudes over illegal immigration. I know that there is a need for change in how it is handled. But I know that hating an entire nationality over the illegal acts of some are not the answer. I know that times have changed, when once people immigrating, no matter where they came from changed to follow this countries laws and ways. Of course, not only that has changed. Our own acts, beliefs and ways have changed so much over time it is difficult to say we do this this way and that that way. This is acceptable and that is not. However that is not what this writing is about.

I know, that we all have bad days. I know that there are going to be those days when our attitude is less than good. For what ever reason, our day is not going well. We aren't happy, we aren't going around whistling a happy tune, we aren't smiling or wishing anyone a good day. We are in a word, miserable and nothing is going to change that. At that time, it is very easy for anything to set us off, for us to take our bad day and bad attitude out on others around us who may be totally innocent. While at some point I remember reading that we should never hold things in, taking out our bad day on others is wrong. Point blank wrong.

There is no place for what happened here.

An employee was having a bad day. I don't know why. I don't know what set them off. When I last spoke with them they were fine or at least appeared fine. At some point that changed, or maybe they had hidden it well when I was there. Nearing the end of the day I was hearing how they had blown a fuse and was shouting racist comments loud enough to be heard. Intended to be heard. This upset many of those in hearing- which was intended. I know these people. As I said, I've seen them in action. They did not deserve what was being dished out. I saw the expression on the faces of those in the area, even those who have been known in the past to have bad days were upset of this.

It won't happen again from this person.

But what about someone else? Someone who doesn't like this nationality or that one? Someone who has a problem with another person's sexual orientation or if they are one who goes clubbing on a regular basis? Someone who may not like Republicans or Democrats, may not like Muslims or Buddhists or Christians. The list goes on and on as to what we may or may not care for. No matter our preferences, and even though we do have the freedom of speech, that does not give us the right to be hateful and racist. We should choose our words carefully and compassionately. Yes, I know that there may be certain categories were we can set care aside such as in acts ---proven acts--- of terrorism, such as suicide bombers and those who murder the innocent. Otherwise we should act in compassion to and for others. Hate and racism is a societal cancer. It destroys us one individual at a time. It does however like a bad virus spread quickly and at times easily among those susceptible to the disease that it is. Think the Klu Klux Klan or even the Black Panthers. Think Westboro Baptist and their hatred. It is not for us to judge nor condemn others. We may not like their choices, but showing and spewing hatred will not do anything but create more hatred and anger.

Many years ago the musical band The Beetles sang a song with the words, "All We Need Is Love", then there was "Imagine" Coca Cola wanted to "Teach the World To Sing" all over the internet you see videos of people doing good things. I hope that thought, that hope, that action goes viral. We do need more people who care enough to spread good, to spread hope, to spread compassion. Because for hatred and racism-- there's no place for that here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Being Alone Doesn't Need to Mean Lonely

        Its very quiet here. My husband who is a long haul truck driver is out "there" on the road. He's headed from somewhere to some place. I can only hope and pray the weather is good for his drive. My son, left this morning to go to a race in Tennessee. For him, I hope that the rain stops and allows the race to be run. That is a nice, long drive to only miss out on the event. The cats are all curled up around the heater  and the dog is outside alternating between playing in the rain and curled up in her house on the porch. 

 So it is me, and sleeping critters. The only sounds in my house are my typing, the hum of the heater behind me and a radio playing in another part of the house. I can hear the rain falling outside when it gets heavy enough. When the wind picks up a small sapling brushes against the window near me. If it were dark, if I didn't know what it was, that could be an eerie sound that would make me nervous. As it is, I know what it is so I can ignore it.

Its times like this that allow my mind free reign. It is now, when I can allow thoughts and imagination to run wild, creating all manner of deep thinking or crazed ideas to seep through or to come barreling through like stampeding animals bent on getting where they are going in a hurry no matter what may be in front of them.

 With it raining as it has been since early this morning I know the river that is a mile from here has to be coming up. If the rain or other bad weather that is a possibility keeps up, how high will it rise? And what of the areas farther down river? How will they fare? In the area a mile from here, along the way I travel to go to work, the worst it does now is flood one section of the roadway meaning I would have to detour taking longer for my drive. Down river there are homes and businesses that are in danger. We have had a wild and bad winter this past season. It had been predicted, but then they often are. This time however they managed to hit it right and we have suffered. Even if we have not had to endure the amount of snow that others areas have, we are unaccustomed in this area to that drastic of a temperature change. If you are not used to it, it is very difficult to handle. So here it is, mere days away from Spring, and they are forecasting the possibility of a wintery mix. The only thing I did in anticipation of that possibility is getting more gas in my vehicle. I do realize that all of this rain is good for the soil. I'm also very glad that I have yet to rake or cut up the fallen leaves in my yard as they are helping the water to soak into the ground rather than wash away more topsoil. Soon though I hope to get that done and get flowers planted. I'm seriously missing the colors of the flowers.

I love having a yard full of flowers. Last year I was given a large amount of flower bulbs and I'm seeing evidence of them coming up in that corner where they were planted. I was also given a rose bush that I was worried about until I saw that it was leaving out nicely. I do have a lot of work that needs to be done in my yard. I simply have to get a time to do it when it hasn't been raining and stuff is easier to clean up and prepare. The flowers that I plant are the type that draws butterfly and bees. No insecticide goes anywhere near my flowers. I do have roses so I have to find something that will protect my roses and not harm the bees. (any suggestions?) While I am trying to create an area of Perennial flowers, there are some annuals that I have seen the bees flock to so I make sure and purchase seeds and plants of that type just for them. I've had to fence off that area of my yard as my German Shepherd Dog can't decide if she's a carnivore or an herbivore. Last year she not only dug up areas of my gardens, she pulled plants out of the ground to carry them around, literally shaking them to pieces. So now she is fenced out. I have plans on creating an oasis of sorts in that space. Moving in a swing to watch the butterfly, bees and hummingbirds. A birdbath for water, a feeder in the corner for wild birds and pans set up for the butterfly to also get water. With all this water soaking the ground it should be well ready for the upcoming planting. I even look forward to the work that will be involved with helping it turn out well. But what I really look forward to is photographing the results and the visitors.

Speaking of planting. I'm excited about my vegetable garden plans for this year. I have an area of my yard that I have been planting but the sunlight is limited there. Last year the cucumbers did amazing so I know I'll plant them again. But there simply isn't enough sunlight there for my tomatoes. I'm going to plant some in containers and put those inside the oasis area along one of the end fences. I may try to have some container plants along another fence but that is yet to be determined. My son has already tilled up an area down at my folks place that does get enough sunlight so there is probably where the bulk of the planting will go. There is also a fence up for planting green beans and on the other side of that I'll plant okra. My hope is to harvest enough to enjoy and to can for next winter.

I had hoped to get outside and make another video. I have two ideas and stories to share. Both are true, both involve in part the same room in this house. I want however to tell it from the outside and that isn't happening in the rain. I also wanted to get out and photograph some of what is blooming with raindrops on them. Unfortunately the rain never slacked off enough for me to take my cameras out. Reports say that it will still be raining tomorrow, so there is still the possibility of getting those shots. Raindrops always add interest to the shots, but it isn't worth getting soaked and sick over.

I usually don't mind being alone. I can always find something to get into. I can do some cleaning. I can enjoy some television if there is anything worth watching on but their generally isn't. I can play online, I can hike and hunt photography opportunities or I can write. There is peace in being alone. You can calm down and ease any high stress levels from what ever life has tossed at you. Taking long, hot showers or bubble baths, listening to good music of your genre of choice. Sitting down and reading a good book or sitting out in an oasis of flowers watching the butterfly and listening to the hum of the bees working. When weather permits sitting outside on the porch or out in the yard throwing sticks for the dog is relaxing and enjoyable. Especially when the dog shows off.

There are times though that I wouldn't mind an old fashioned card or board game. When the quiet does become too much there are options to change the situation. I can go shopping, money permitting. I can go visiting family, depending on the time of day. I can go to the walking track and chat with those who are also taking advantage of the facility. I can find ways, to help others.

Being alone, doesn't always mean being lonely. It shouldn't be looked at as a bad thing. Being alone offers up an endless multitude of opportunities to be considered and explored. There's no fighting over the remote or if the volume is too loud. You can decide exactly what to watch or hear. There's no fighting over that last brownie. Being alone, doesn't have to be a long as you  don't allow it to be one. Don't hide away from the world. It doesn't go away, it will be there when you step out of hiding. Don't avoid the world, it doesn't change the situation that you don't care for. Don't set yourself back to the side and watch hoping that the world will notice and draw you forward. Because then you wonder if it was because you are liked and capable, or if the world simply felt sorry for you. Step up, believe..and appreciate every moment..the ones noisy, loud and crowded.. and the quiet ones that give you a time just for yourself.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why I will always make time for my mammogram

      Well, I have my mammogram scheduled, and rescheduled and then rescheduled once again. The original time was scheduled for me and was in the middle of the day. I called and got it changed to first thing in the before 8 in the morning. Then they changed our work schedule so I called and got it changed to late in the afternoon. I'll miss less work that way. I was and am determined to have this done. No, I don't enjoy it. No, I don't think it is fun. No, it is not my idea of a good time. No, I do not look forward to this with any excitement. Yes, I will get it done. Yes, I will be uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed as I'm not one to let it all hang out. Yes, I know it is me I know. Yes, I will be nervous until the results are known.
Because I am a breast cancer survivor.
Because my cancer was caught by my very first mammogram.
Because should it ever return, I want it to be caught just as early.

In 2008 I went in for my very first mammogram. While I wasn't sure exactly how mammograms were done, I had a good idea from all of the horror stories that I've heard. I followed the instructions that I had been given, then when my name was called I went back to the room...the room with a radiation warning sign outside the door. I walked in and again began following the instructions that I was being given. All of those, stand here, lean this way, put your arm here, somewhere along the lines should have been the "this is going to hurt' warning. But I managed to get through it and then went to get dressed and leave. I was warned that since this was my first I might get a call back being they had nothing with which to compare the images. I did get called back. I was operating on the idea that it was all routine, until she kept going over the same area time and again and only on one side. After being told to get dressed and take a seat in the waiting area because they wanted to do an ultra- sound  I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
 The room for the ultra-sound was cold, I undressed to the waist and put on the little pink paper vest. The technician came in and did the test. She knew what she was looking for but all I could see was something with the appearance of a lunar landscape. Once she was finished she began to pack up and told me to get dressed, they would be in touch.
 All of the tests came back with results that had my doctor scheduling me to see a surgeon. A needle biopsy confirmed the presence of cells that might mean cancer but that a surgical biopsy was needed. The surgical biopsy proved all the maybe's to be definites. I had breast cancer. It was small, the surgeon was amazed that the technicians had seen it. But we knew it was there, time to get rid of it. The surgery was worrisome, as the anesthesia made me nauseous. Afterward though, the surgeon told us that she got it all. Once i had healed up some, then the decision would be made as to treatments. That turned out to be six weeks of radiation. By the end of the six weeks I was nearly crawling. I had no energy, no desire to do much of anything. I did manage some how to not miss any work other than the day of and the day after my cancer surgery. Everything else was set up so that I went in to work early and left early for treatments. When they were finished, I was glad. Now I only had to wait to make sure it was really, truly, completely gone.  And it was. Now, 6 years later I am still cancer free. Healthy, feeling better than I have in a very long time.
I followed my doctor's advice, and had the mammogram, even though it was embarrassing. Even though it was confusing. Even though it is not comfortable. It IS important. I'm thankful that the company I work for covers the entire cost of this test, otherwise there are many I am sure that would not get the test that they need. A test, that does go a long way in helping save lives.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Diffference is a matter of perspective. being purple in a red world

     I wonder about the diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. I wonder, if it truly is a disorder or if its called one because those diagnosed don't fit neatly in the box like all of the other good boys and girls or men and women. Is it a disorder, or is it called one because instructors must work more creatively to keep them focused on the lesson at hand and not everything else in their world? Are those diagnosed learning challenged? Or are they actually highly intelligent, advanced to the point that so called 'normal' studies bore them, making it more difficult to sit still as is expected?
     One of the things I have learned through observation is that people, no matter who they are or what may be diagnosed, pay attention to what interests them. An animated instructor will work better for some. One who doesn't mind showing off their acting skills, their voice characterizations, moving around, speaking in a varied level of loud or softness. One who uses props to emphasize what they are teaching. While public classroom schedules are all pretty well set if it is found that a student preforms better at one subject over another then allow them to work more on the one they prefer as long as they do a minimum of the ones they do not. Break it up in a way, instruct them in a way that is not disruptive to the rest of the class. Find ways to hold their attention while still teaching. Its possible, I've seen it done. Other students may need a more laid back instructor. One that allows them to hear and absorb the lessons more quietly.

  I know, that one with so called Attention Disorder, may not focus fully on a boring classroom lesson, but they can tell you everything else going on around them. They hear the tiny hum of electronics, the buzz of lights, birds outside, people passing, winds blowing papers or other items around. They miss nothing. Those who miss nothing, see what others do not see. Give them something they are interested in and there is no stopping them. They are the discoverers, they are the artists, the adventurers. They can and usually do succeed where others who were thought smarter, better more capable may not. They are outside the box anyway so thinking outside the box is easier for them. 

They must have the right instructors. One who is supposedly trained to instruct those with ADHD are not necessarily the best choice. When you are attempting to teach those outside the box, it is best if you are out there with a sense. One must remain in control at all times, teaching the students also that there are boundaries in everything. Explaining that while the steps one takes to arrive at a solution, if you follow set guidelines as a marker to where you wish to go, getting there is easier.

Now, I'm going to switch gears, or perspective if you will, and look at it from the ADHD person's point of view.

   Imagine that you are a young student, you try to listen, but your mind is going at warp speed and faster. You're thinking about what the teacher just said, what the kids next to you are doing, what is that noise coming from behind you, your legs is shaking making the pencil dance on your desk, oh, look at the photo on the next page of the book, you wonder if that window opens because you're sure the wind would feel good blowing in, you think that it would be much more fun to be outside running across the field but maybe its going to rain as there are clouds over there and something is hitting the window because you can hear the tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap..what, oh no the teacher just called your name and you have no idea what she said and to the principle's office again to sit in the chair in the waiting area and watch as the secretary answers phones and shuffles papers and why do papers and phones and computer keyboards make so much noise but there is a different clicking made by a keyboard than there is a phone, what is squeaking, oh its the chair but the voices coming through the door are interesting..oh, the poster is different this time it has more blue instead of yellow and the words are different, the globe that was on the table has been moved to the floor and now there are magazines there the ones that have pictures of wild animals and the ones that talk about the town, it must be raining now as the last person who came into the office is all wet and dripping water onto the floor...

 Or, you are sitting at your desk and the instructor walks in dressed as a pirate. You are going to sail the seven seas as Black Beard and learn about life at sea. The problems that pirates caused, those they fought with, the treasures they sought. The problems that sailors dealt with due to being at sea for such long periods. The instructor speaks with a pirate type accent, walks with a limp to imitate a peg leg, pretends that there is a parrot on his shoulder. Scattered about the room are props waiting to be used. A screen is pushed before you allowing a video to be played that explains further.
 The instructor changes subjects to science and nature. On the table are living creatures, tadpoles, pollywogs, young frogs. A caterpillar, a cocoon in a jar, a butterfly in a cage ready to be set free. Lined up you are all lead outside to see examples in the great outdoors. In your hands a list of items to find and challenges to complete.

You're now an adult. You have gone through the rigors of growing up. You've learned through various means how to 'be still' and do what you are supposed to do. That doesn't mean that you like it. You're not happy. You are trapped in a job that you do not like, that pays the bills but that is all. There are no challenges, no fun, nothing that drives you to seek new horizons. You functioning is robotic through the day, but you wander off. You forget things, make mistakes, leave things incomplete. You've found yourself in the bosses office more than once being reprimanded for those very things. All the while you're being lectured on what a good employee should do, you're mentally anywhere else but there.

You're an adult. You ignored those who told you to find a good, steady job and be happy. You ignored the find the dependable job advice and went for what you love. You wanted to be an artist, you paint amazing landscapes and people flock to your exhibits. Exclaiming on how you capture every detail. You're a photographer that finds all the great macro shots, showing other worldly looking things to those who stand awe struck. You're a writer who has just won the Nobel Prize in literature. You're a Doctor who has just discovered a complete cure for a deadly disease. You're excited, you're challenged, you're doing exactly what you want to be doing. You see, feel, hear what most miss because you have so many senses wide open and receiving information coming at you from all directions.

Managing to do things, managing to be somebody..daring to be different even when no one understands. Daring to be purple in a red world. And not caring what anyone else thought because you knew, that being different is not a curse but a blessing in disguise, and no reason to be ashamed and every reason to be excited.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Different is as Different Does

                                      a blurred photo of me and part of my family

  I was writing about being different yesterday, in a somewhat vague sort of way.  I thought about that today while I was working and felt that maybe I ought to visit that subject again. There are more reasons that cause one to be or to be considered different than there are stars in the sky. But lets discuss a few anyway.
  Socialization--or lack of said socialization. Sadly you hear of more and more cases where children are kept locked away in a house or room. They are left alone, possibly a crumb of food tossed in from time to time, other than that, nothing. They are underweight, under skilled and afraid- if they survive. Then there are those who are not abused, but are not around their peers enough to know how to act in a social setting. They may be a bit clumsy, confused as to how to act, what to say or not say, they may join in the discussions or activity, or they may find a place off to the side to stand and watch the others. You can see the 'want to' expression on their face, but they simply don't know how to join in.

Disease--For a very long time, AIDS caused people to be avoided and shunned. I recently read an article of how Leprosy is still causing the same actions and reactions in India. This are long term conditions that cause people to be afraid. They may not be educated enough to understand how many diseases are spread so they fear them all and do all they can to get rid of the one who is ill. Even when the one who is ill is not contagious, they are still treated as if they were.

Handicaps--There are too many different handicaps to try and list them here. We will just take a few to discuss then I'm sure you will understand. Autism, a development issue. There are high and low functioning autistic individuals. Yet, the very fact they are autistic makes them different. They may be able to function just as well or even better than one who is not autistic, but since it is known, they are treated differently. Sadly, there are individuals who think it fine to ridicule or deride a person with a handicap such as this..forgetting that these are individuals with feelings just like anyone and everyone else. Slower, even minutely, does not make them less.
 Handicaps that one is born with-there are unfortunately times that a medication that the mother takes, or if the mother uses drugs or alcohol when the baby may be born handicapped. There may be malformed or missing limbs. They may not be able to function properly physically. The strong live on in spite of the handicap.
 Handicaps that are life created-accidents unfortunately are a part of life. We get hurt at home, at work, on vacation, in auto accidents to name only a few. There are times that those accidents cause great harm to our body leaving us handicapped. Whether we become confined to a wheelchair, a walker or even a cane, we are changed. We are now different. Limbs may be lost, creating cause to change our lifestyle, another difference.

   Personality--one could have the personality that doesn't fit in the box called normal. They could have a greater, more unique sense of humor, they could be artistic, they could be simply themselves seeing life only as they can see it. They march and dance to the beat of their own drummer. One that no one else can hear leaving them at a loss to understand why someone would act the way they do.
 Maturity-some kids are slower to mature than others. Some people never fully mature in the way that society expects. They find enjoyment and entertainment in the simply things, laughing at the childish, delighting in the offbeat.

  None of the above is anything that hasn't been said many times over. We've all heard it, but how many times have you witnessed someone being cruel to another simply because they are different?  Think about the movie Forest Gump and how he was tormented by others simply because of his differences. Think of all the articles and news reports you've seen where people have been cruel, rude, and uncaring in public places. Think of the reaction that some of those articles have gotten when there was someone involved who cared enough to take a stand for those being mistreated.
Different, is not wrong. Different is not weird. Different is simply- different.

 We do not honestly want to all be the same, a cookie cutter humanity with no humanity. That my friends is machinery- robots, androids, what ever you want to call it. Everyone would be alike, likeing the same things, saying the same words, reading the same books, playing the same would be in a word, boring. We would find ourselves trapped in sameness. Nothing new would be discovered, nothing beautiful would be created. Even those, and sometimes especially those who are different for what ever reason are the ones who find the beautiful and create the new quicker because they aren't trapped within the boundaries of 'normal'. It is also very possible that for the same reasons mentioned, that these people called different, are able to in many ways have more fun.

 I believe that it is important that we realize the pain that we cause when we mistreat others. Even those with handicaps can understand body language and rude, cruel comments. They know when they are being laughed at. How would we feel if we were in their place? How would we feel, if we woke up tomorrow and found ourselves on the receiving end of cruelty? Different is as different does- be different today- be kind to someone. Be different tomorrow- pass it forward, kindness and concern, kindness and compassion, does not diminish, it only grows larger, spreads wider, moves farther when shared.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Being Different is Unique and Special not weird kinda blog

  Being different.

  There are many sayings about being yourself, everyone is an individual, we are all unique in our own way..however, being uniquely yourself is not always easy. It is also not always a good thing.

 Take a class of say, twenty kindergarteners. You have a room full of young children, who are each and every one individuals, unique in their own right even though they are only around five years old. Still a bit young to expect to have long attention spans, but old enough to learn how to act properly in a classroom setting. The teacher needs for them to pay attention to her so that she may teach and they may learn. To have as many of these young minds to behave in a like manner makes her or his, job much easier. Most of these students may do just that, but as odds go, there is almost always going to be at least one that stands out. That one may have more energy, shorter attention spans, less ability to focus on the classroom work but sees everything else going on in the known universe. They may be frigidity, unable to remain seated for long. They may dress differently, laugh more loudly, be less mature than the others, or they may even be more intelligent and what is going on in the class bores them as they already know it. All it takes is for one other child to make a cruel remark and the one who is different suddenly becomes a target of all bad remarks. They may be ridiculed, teased, picked on mercilessly in a never ending manner that makes life difficult.  It doesn't get any better, often times growing worse as the child ages, simply because their tormentors have aged as well and know even worse names and ways of torment. Students may be ridiculed, tormented, harassed, even physically attacked. Today they may also find themselves under attack on the many social medias online and otherwise.

 It doesn't stop with children and young adults. It can and often does follow a person through life. Especially if they develop a 'why me' attitude. They wrap that persecution, victim, low self esteem complex around them like a shroud and wear it well. If they never learn to see past the being a victim and learn how to use their uniqueness, they will always be the victim. Even those who try to quietly go about their life, bring as little attention to themselves as possible and simply 'be' can find themselves attacked. There may be a few from time to time who try to help, but not many out of fear of being the next target of attack.

The one thing that those who are different need to realize is that different doesn't automatically mean bad or less. It simply means, different. And being different, can be a good thing-especially if one takes advantage of their difference.

An artist is a special individual. Whether they are musicians, actors, dancers, painters, writers, photographers and the list goes on..they see things that --normal-- people miss. Musicians hear the songs in everything. They hear the notes in the bird song, hear the rhythm of the rain and the winds. Painters and photographers see the colors and details of life. They see the things others over look. The small details, the flowers emerging early or the winds blowing the specks of pollen across the cars, painting the windows with the dust. With proper recognition and understanding of one's talents the individual can go far, because of their difference. They are the ones seeking new trails, finding great adventures, mapping the way and following the stars. They are the ones who create the next great inventions, build the roads, the bridges and cities that everyone said couldn't be done. They are the ones discovering new stars and planets, building the rockets and telescopes to explore them. They are the ones who being outside the box, easily think outside the box able to imagine, create, discover and
not be afraid to look for more and better.

 They are the ones who entertain, who can become anyone or anything to bring the audience into their world even if only for a short time. They are the ones who should be envied, not ridiculed.

Being different, brings the pain of loneliness. When no one understands that what makes the unique one more creative is what sets them apart, they are ostracized. It is one of the causes for so many artists being drug users and abusers. It is one reason why so many drink heavily or act wildly. Trying as hard as they know how to try, to do something that will never happen. They will never fit in with the so called 'normal' people. Thinking maybe, if they could get in with them, then the ridicule and teasing; the avoiding and harassing would stop. The unique individual, the one who is different, will never fully fit in with a normal world being they are not normal. Yet, they are not abnormal. They are unique, they are special, they are different and should be proud of it. Rather than avoiding those with similar talents, joining with them would make each one stronger. It would show they are not alone, that others have the same talents and abilities.. or compliment theirs.

I wonder at times if those doing the harassing, if those teasing and tormenting.. are not in some way shape or form, jealous of the one who is different. The one brave enough, strong enough to be themselves.  A six year old child may not necessarily understand jealous and all that it means. They may not understand the word unique, special, different..they will fully understand being insulted and ridiculed, they will fully understand that they are not like the others around them while not realizing that they are not alone as there are others who would enjoy their company, even if only for a short time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Bridges we Cross

   ( I thought that I would start posting video blogs on you tube to go along with my written blogs. Curiosity has me wondering which will get more attention. Then I would know where to focus more of my time. I worked on one this afternoon but wasn't happy with the results so I'll try again tomorrow afternoon.)
  The topic of today's was a serious one. It deals with bridges, the physical bridges and the metaphorical ones. Of course when you are traveling and come to a river, ravine, multi- level highways or in some cases a railroad track, there is need of a bridge. There are also bridges of other types, the metaphorical-. Those that take us through time as we cross from one age group to the next and the next. The bridges that take us across status from student to employee, from spouse to parent to grandparent. The bridge that takes us from healthful vigor to fighting a time of not so good health and back.
  How we face and cross those bridges is up to us. We can approach the bridge and seeing its expanse sit down and give up. Complaining that it is too long, too high, too difficult, too something to the point that we just don't try. We remain where we are, not getting to a place where we would be much better off. We could remain in that dead end job where the benefits never get better and the boss is never happy. We could watch our health deteriorate and marriage fall apart, because we can not put forth the effort to cross a supposedly difficult expanse.
 Or, we could see the bridge no matter how long or high or difficult as a challenge or what it is, in the way from one state of being to another. We can take the first step of many that will take us to a better place, a better way. Crossing may struggle, will at times be difficult, but we know that something better is waiting on the other side of that bridge. Each and every step that we take, is an improvement as we cross over the raging river of  challenges that we face.
 A ravine of health problems- whether it is cancer as mine was, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, obesity, the list goes on and on as far as the possibilities of health worries.
  When I came to my personal health bridge, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008- I'm fine now. I do not recall ever being afraid, not from the moment it was confirmed to the moment everything was finished.  Then, there was concern as I had no idea what I was about to go through. I knew it was considered a battle, even though looking back my battle wouldn't even be considered a skirmish compared to what some people go through. My journey- my bridge relatively short. But battle and journey, it was. I did at times feel alone, but those times were short. The most difficult part for me, was the radiation treatments as they left me feeling lifeless and weak. The bridge seemed to be going straight up making it nearly impossible to put one foot in front of the other. I had to make changes in my diet as I was a big time, hard core junk food junkie. Because of how the radiation treatments were effecting my body I couldn't eat it any more even as I still craved sweets. The processed stuff made me even more tired and weak than I already was. I found that fruits such as watermelon soothed that craving.
  Once I finished all of my treatments, I continued  eating the fruits and vegetables. Changing my diet as I crossed the bridge has kept me healthier and helped me to regain my strength and energy. I wanted too, to do all that I could to prevent cancer from returning as I had and have no desire to have a return engagement with cancer.
  I have learned that exercise (while difficult during cancer treatments) can help prevent cancer and other diseases or make them less of a battle to fight. It isn't just physical exercise either. If you exercise your brain by reading, by studying, by playing mind games you help to slow down or event possibly prevent the onset of age related dementia. I have tried to not only exercise my brain by studying on how to help prevent my cancers return, in any and all means possible. What I have learned will not only help me, but many others.
  The food that we consume, when we pop a processed something in a microwave or oven we actually have no idea what we are eating. The list of ingredients sounding more like a science experiment gone bad than an entree for dinner. When you first change to more -or totally-whole foods and less or no processed you will be able to tell the difference. It may take a while to get the kitchen set up for real cooking, and having to purchase the items needed as in seasonings, but your body and your family and friends will appreciate your efforts. Fruits and vegetables all have their own nutrients that are good for us. It depends on the color as to what is held within. A variety of different colored fruits and vegetables, especially if they are organic will help your body fend off invaders. They can help as antioxidants, as anti-inflammatory, strengthen immune systems, clean out the pipes and build up your bones just a few among the long list of benefits.
 Cutting back on if not completely out the processed sugars helps. It can be done- trust the former junk food junkie. Don't fall for that sugar substitute trap either. Some of those are reported to actually increase your cravings for sweets. There are snacks out there that are good without added sugars. Drinking water can be bland, but add squeezed fruit juice to give it flavor.
  Meat. We honestly do not know much about the meats that we purchase. We do not know how the animals were raised, whether they were given antibiotics or fed genetically modified grains. If you know of a farm that raises and slaughters their own meats and you know how they care for these animals so much the better. If you cut back on or choose to go vegetarian, that too is better for your health.
  Exercise, briefly mentioned already, but get up.. get up.. get up off that couch or recliner or out of that chair and away from the TV or computer and move. Go dancing, go walking, go ride a bike, play some basket or softball. Join a fitness group. a killer, or can be. It makes health problems worse, it can create health problems. Find ways to ease or rid your life of stress as best that you are able. My stress relief is visiting the pond, sitting on the bank, leaning on the bridge railing and watching the ripples cross the surface. I listen to the birds, the tree frogs and what ever other critter is in the woods. Feeling a breeze blow across my face sends the stress and tensions floating away. There are always different ways to relieve stress, high impact exercise, reading, music, swimming, hiking alone or with friends. Putting the phone down, walking away from the computer, finding a hammock under a shade tree and concentrating on the song birds. If that hammock isn't available, if you're somewhere that you can't get outside, find a book that you can lose yourself in, maybe a good movie that won't make the tension worse, a radio playing. there are endless ways, if you seek them out.
 We are going to cross a lot of bridges, we can't get out of most of them. We will age, we will cross from one status to another. We will change jobs, we will have physical challenges with health or weight or something. We will come upon those bridges and it will be up to us to decide how we will handle them. Will we give up and stagnate where we are, or face the challenge and forge ahead, anticipating what awaits on the other side?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Writing and Breathing

            I've been writing blogs for a while now. It depends on the mood as to whether it is something fictional, or a retelling of a youthful adventure, or a nonfiction blog on being healthier or on my cancer battle back in 2008.
          The most fun to write are the sharing of how much fun we had growing up here and how special family has always been and continues to be. My mother made sure that we knew how special each other were and how to act with love and respect. Oh, we had out battles, it would have been impossible not to, but we always got everything straightened out and there was never left over hurt feelings. Our bond was too close.
         Way back when we were young--warning, a back when I was young lament--back then, we played outside. (Told ya) We knew what it felt like to run barefoot on dry ground, rocks, grass, through puddles and creeks. We rode our bikes not only barefoot, but without helmets or padding. We knew what the summer sun felt like on bare legs and arms without sunscreen, rarely were we burned. That drink of water from the creek or from the garden hose always tasted so good.
              I guess that by the standards of today our parents and grandparents would have gotten in trouble as when school was out and the days warm and bright- we were expected to be outside. We could be playing, resting in a hammock or working in the garden. We were not, sitting in front of a television mindlessly watching what ever was showing. Then, there wasn't such a thing as video games to entrap us to where outside ceased to exist. They came along later but our parents were bright and caring enough not to allow us to become to preoccupied by the little bouncing blip. They even censored what we were allowed to watch on television, imagine that. The house wasn't filled with junk food, our diet consisted mainly of good, home cooked -whole- foods that were not filled with no one really knows what. We loved the fresh or canned foods that came from the garden. I may not have liked all the work involved in the canning and freezing process, but later on, I realized just how good that stuff was in the cold of winter.
            We practically lived on our bikes. We made many trails through the woods and made it a regular practice of riding every one of them. We had no fear of anyone or anything being out there that would be a danger to us. There was a special freedom to be allowed to ride like that, out of sight but never out of hearing.
         Our Grandfather had a road of sorts for his tractor to go through the woods to the big power lines that crossed the area. Down along there he would dig up good soil to put on his garden. Many times we road on the back of the tractor on in the wagon to help. He was a wise man with many great stories to tell. I wish that I could have captured them on video, but maybe, seeing him might hurt too much.
         Our Grandmother was a gentle yet fierce force. She fully understood tough love, mostly love. They lived right next door which was convenient and special. We spent summer days with them, while mom and dad worked. Meals were the good old fashioned stuff that included things that doctors would cringe over now but we worked any bad stuff off through play or chores. Yes, we had those as well.
        The thing is, with a childhood such as this, we learned how to do things on our own. We learned how to spend time alone or with family. We learned what imagination was and how to use it. We learned how to appreciate nature and what it has to offer and the force of storms. It has given me the desire to write, and write I will whether anyone reads it or not. I may.. no, I will grow frustrated. I will stop, and start again, because the desire, the need, the have to write flows within and must come out in some way.  I may share a truth. I may share an adventure. I may share something so fictional it sounds like truth. And even if I'm writing for myself, it doesn't matter because writing is like breathing. I can't not breath, and I can't not write.
         I've also began playing with posting video blogs. Posting them just to see how it goes. Trying and hoping that maybe more will view them and my writing can be shared in another way. We'll see..The road is long, the door is open and the future awaits. Online time and trying only continuing on will tell me what happens. Wishing and dreaming are all well and good...but what counts is action and its past time to act consistently.
Catfishing 101 or My Husband GEts Schooled

Scared Straight With Love

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Scared Straight by Love

          I have said it often enough that many if not most have heard me- there is magic here. There is inspiration here. There is a creative force that lives here, and helps to bring about some exciting times and wonderful stories...I mean facts.
         I miss my Grandmother. My Grandparents were very special people who taught us so much. One was that outside was meant to be taken advantage of at every opportunity. The land is to be respected, no matter whose land it is or even if its the land along the sides of the road. Life, is to be lived. Love for each other is to be shared, and you look after family. These are just a few of the lessons I remember. One that I especially the time that Grandma was among the first to practice what is now known as 'scared straight'. Only this was scared right out of the woods right now no waiting, no hesitating no dilly dallying around. It was move and don't look back time..only we had no idea...........
         My brother and I were younger then. Young enough that we had been instructed not to go into the woods alone. Did we listen? Do kids generally listen?
         One day back when the paper was an afternoon delivery I decided that we needed to go and tell our Grandmother that the paper had arrived. My brother and I began the search by looking in the house, naturally cool inside even in the summer heat, but no Grandmother. We then went out to the garden and looked but she wasn't there either, and we knew she wasn't at our house so that left one place, The Bottoms.
         The Bottoms was a decent size garden down at the bottom of the hill. It was divided in half by a small creek. Grandpa had stretched twine back and forth across the field high in the trees, from that twine swung aluminum pie pans. Below that grew okra, corn and various other vegetables. That was were we figured Grandmother was. There was one problem. A portion of that same creek, that began with an underground spring, was on the way. Living in that creek was a large quantity of crawdads, crayfish or mud puppies, call them what you will. They were there, and they were a big enough draw to distract us from our mission. Grandpa had built rock steps that lead down from the path to the creek. The water ran clear, clean and cold. My brother and I made our way down the steps to the creek and began to do what kids do best--play.
        In the middle of crawdad chasing I thought I heard a sound. Standing up I looked around but I didn't hear it any longer. Mentally shrugging I again squatted down to watch for crawdads. It was only a few moments later when I began to hear the sound again. Very softly at first but growing in volume and intensity. I stood up and looked all around. It took a few moments of looking but then I saw it. Down toward the Bottoms, standing in between two trees and swaying slowly was a, shadow of something. It didn't appear solid, but it seemed to be on the ground not floating or anything. Then it began to move, directly toward us. The moaning and groaning I had heard moments before getting louder the closer it came. Only one word escaped my lips, "RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  My brother confused by obedient (then) did just that. He began to run toward home, not an easy task running uphill even when you are young and more energetic. He was in front of me so I, in m,y panicked state was almost pushing him up the hill shouting for him to hurry. It was catching up, it was almost behind us RUN! He still had no idea what was going on and why I was yelling to run but he ran anyway. When we reached the top of the hill my brother wanted to stop at our Grandparents but I told him if he wanted to stop and let that thing get him that was his business I was going home. He didn't argue but he didn't stop either going on the rest of the way home with me.
   We must have had the appearance of wild horses bursting through the brush, or wild, panicked, disobedient children because our parents immediately stopped everything they were doing and came to see what was wrong, especially with me muttering 'monster, monster! There's a monster in the woods."
Dad and our cousin went to check it out as we tried to catch our breath. It wasn't long before they came back telling us that they didn't see anything but to be on the safe side we should stay out of the woods for a while. I wasn't arguing at that point.
  It was only much much later when I found out the truth. The shadow, was none other than our Grandmother teaching us a valuable lesson. You never know what may be waiting in the woods, allowing yourself to become distracted and not pay attention to your surroundings is dangerous. When you're a kid and you disobey instructions.. don't be surprised if Grandma takes things into her own hands and teaches you a good lesson or two. And know that its all done in love.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Changing a Creature of Habit for the Better

  When my doctor told me I needed to change my lifestyle to improve my heath I was grateful as I fully expected him to write out a prescription for some statin or other to lower my cholesterol levels. Maybe because it wasn't terribly high yet, or maybe because he preferred more natural methods first. Which ever the reason, I walked out of that office fully determined to learn more about the lifestyle he mentioned and get to work in making changes.
 Changes aren't easy for a creature of habit.
 I am a person who takes the same route every where I go. I know that route, I know the dips and turns and possible problems. I know where the signals and train tracks are and when the trains usually run. I know where the deer hang out. I am the person who tries to park in the same spot every time or when shopping as close to that place as possible. I can remember where I'm parked that way. I'm the person who hikes the same trails supposedly so that others would know where I am should I not show up when they believe I should. I buy the same foods, I visit the same web sites, you get the idea, such a horrible creature of sameness. Any deviation from that sameness created havoc in my mind and day.

 Changes are exactly what he was prescribing.
 Changes, or the lack of changes is a mindset that can be...changed.
One of the problems with being a creature of habit is the stress levels it produces.
 I mentioned that I park in the same place as often as possible. When where I work moved to its current location, I was among the first that actually worked in the manufacturing process. There had been many others already in there rebuilding and remodeling an abused building but as far as the actual doing what we do, that was me and my crew. I picked out the place I wanted to park and that has been "my" spot for many years. At first parking there every time was a given, we were still small with only one shift, as that changed, so did the battle for my spot. On the days that I would get to work and have to park somewhere else, my day was ruined- truly and completely ruined. My mind replayed the litany over and over about how that was my place how dare they take my place? My stress levels over something silly was out the roof. It only got worse as any little normally ignorable incident would get blown out of proportion.
 Lowering stress levels was part of this lifestyle. Is, a part of this lifestyle.
  Grocery shopping is not on the top of my list as fun things to occupy my time. Trying to find foods at an affordable price that is healthy and tastes good is trying at best, nearly impossible in part. On top of that parts of the changes are in parts of the diet. How many times have you heard the instructions and recommendations to cut out the processed sugars from your diet?  Yes, that is part of it, the sugar had to go. So here I am a creature of habit that is also a severe junk food junkie who has to make changes and still lower stress levels. In a grocery store where prices are only going up, I have limited funds to spend, I get behind people who want to block aisles to chat and then I get behind people with carts piled high with the really good foods and have food stamps while I'm counting pennies and have hamburger. Yes, that stress level factor hits over drive.
 And then, there is my husband who drives a truck and has his own full set of problems. Those where he calls me often to rant. We all need someone who will listen when we need to vent. Even when there is nothing the listener can do about the problems.
While all of the above may sound more like a rant that anything else. I am leading up to a point.
Change is not impossible. No matter how set one is in their ways, no matter how deep of a rut you have dug, you can make changes and lower stress levels. I am finding that out on a day by day basis.

 Life is short, don't sweat the small stuff. Have you heard that one before? Most likely you have, but you know what? Its true. What constitutes small stuff? Parking spaces, trains, grocery shopping, husbands who listen to talk radio and become alarmed at every scenario they mention.  I'm learning that when I can't park where I usually do because someone has beat me to that spot, when it comes time to go home, I can usually get out of the parking lot much easier. Simply get in and drive away as opposed to that corner spot that is prone to be blocked in. I refuse to carry a bad attitude in the building. I toss it in the backseat and leave it there to melt away in the southern sunshine. Small annoyances at work, I mentally toss the bad mood in the garbage and handle the situation with more patience and peace. Train delays are a way to find something good on the radio, or a favorite cd to play. Grocery shopping is a challenge as the amount of stress creators it contains are infinite. When it comes to people blocking the way, a polite excuse me request usually works better than steaming. Considering that maybe they are friends who haven't seen each other in ages, maybe one recently found out some extremely important facts that must be passed on and they don't realize they are an obstruction. Maybe one is trying to gain assistance in reaching an item too high or far back, being tall sometimes I can help. Find a magazine to glance through to distract myself from what is in the cart before me and their payment methods. It isn't my business anyway.
 Change brings peace, but it also brings surprises. When you walk or drive the same route all the time, every time, the potential to miss a lot is there. Yes, you may know that it takes exactly five minutes and forty-five seconds to get to work, but if there is another route and time is not of strict importance (leave home a little early when possible) you may see a beautiful sunrise, the inhabitants of nature moving about, families enjoying a few moments together. Walking in a different place may show you flowers or other plant life you don't see in your usual place. You may find wildlife and insect life that isn't a normal sight.

 Carry a camera to capture what you are seeing. It doesn't matter that you have no photographic career desires, capturing beauty in its many forms is therapeutic. Even if you don't capture it to view later, you carry the images in your heart and mind and that alone can bring a smile. Walking provides quiet time. No matter how long your walk, it allows for a peace to flow in pushing the annoyances of the day out. If you pay attention and walk with the intent to de-stress, you can fill the change taking place. You can actually feel yourself relaxing and enjoying the walk.

 All that walking, whether just a stroll or a vigorous hike? Not only does it lower stress levels as you are out in the peace and music of nature, but you're getting exercise that helps not only the body but mind as well. Stress tends to tie one up in knots. Walking, especially if you walk at a faster rate than normal, is one way to work that out. Taking an exercise class or working out at home on a regular basis helps. Whether you are weight lifting, aerobics, or any other type, as long as you have cleared it with your doctor is good for you.

 And yes, what we eat can raise our stress levels. Especially if we are trying to cut out a certain food group or type- such as processed sugar-and then we give in to temptation. I have often read that it is good in some cases to treat yourself from time to time. That couple of cookies, that one slice of cake, that bite of chocolate is okay as long as you don't binge. In fact, dark chocolate has been shown to be good for you, as long as you are careful in how much you consume. In this case, more is not better.
 If we watch the foods that we consume, eating more raw and natural foods rather than processed our body is better able to handle stress and the effects that it has on the body. If we take time to cook rather than microwave it is better. If and when we prepare meals at home, we know for the most part what is in that meal. What we put into our body does matter.

 I am not a big fan of today's television. I do not like to watch the news but I will watch weather reports if I fear storms are approaching. I have found that if I must fill the quiet of my home, I prefer the radio.  I love music of almost all genres, so I can usually find something to deliver me from a bad mood. At times even being moved to get up and move. At home, it doesn't matter that I have no rhythm and look as if I'm in need of medical intervention when I dance. The cats are entertained and I'm getting a stress relieving exercise moment.
 Speaking of storms, from personal experience I have found that not being prepared brings on stress. The fear of doing without-something-the biggest factor. If we know before hand and are able to prepare or if we try to remain as much as possible in a state of preparedness that can lower our stress. Having foods that are non perishable in our cabinets, having a way to prepare those foods or having foods that don't need much in way of preparation, having lanterns or candles (used safely), blankets or some way to generate power, ways to entertain ourselves and our children those can and will lower our stress levels. If those storms cause an event that is beyond our control as hurricanes and tornadoes, along with snow and ice are want to do causing one to have to evacuate then we must learn how to handle the shelter or other accommodation as best that we can and leave the stress behind.

 Writing a journal can help. It gives you a place to write down the things that are bothering you where you can vent to your heart's content and harm no one's feelings or get yourself in trouble. 
  Finding a sport or outdoor activity that you enjoy helps. You can lose yourself in the activity and get that exercise thing going on. Fishing, sitting in a boat or on a pier is relaxing when you enjoy the scenery and peace. Catching fish for dinner is also good. Softball works out the knots of stress as does bowling. Bicycling in groups or in safe areas gets the heart rate up as well as giving you the passing scenery to enjoy. Gardening gives you time alone, time to work up a good sweat and grow some wonderful tasting fruits and vegetables. Pick your favorite activity and go with it.

 Find a charitable event to participate in. You will reap the benefits of helping others and they will reap the benefits of your work and help.

Find time for family and friends, unless of course those same family and friends are a source of your stress, then find ways to enjoy life away from them.
                                           (deliberate choice to protect the privacy of my family)
 Pets are a great stress reliever, just make sure that you get the pet that is right for you.  Some pets require more than others. If you are one who cannot chase after a dog or give it the exercise and extra attention that it needs you would not want a dog that requires that. My German Shepherd Dog is very high energy and acts out if she doesn't get the stimulation and exercise she needs. Consider what you are able to do and the pet that best suits your lifestyle. Fish are great for apartment living and need only food and attention to their living quarters. They are also great stress relievers as it has been proven that simply watching fish swim lowers our stress levels dramatically.

 Many people find peace and stress relief in their faith. To believe that there is a plan and a purpose, to believe that a Higher Power is in control and that through Him we can find peace and relief is a good calming factor.

 Take time to simply have fun.

Find things to laugh about.

 Stress in our lives causes a lot of our health issues, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, skin conditions, depression, depression, anxiety and can cause other problems and health conditions to worsen. As a cancer survivor I have been told to keep my stress levels as low as possible. Drinking alcohol and smoking can elevate stress levels. Stress is a problem, it is a difficult issue to resolve unless you are fully determined to make changes in your lifestyle. Changes I am determined to make as I prefer not to go on medications to lower my cholesterol levels. Besides, life is much more enjoyable without that stress thing hanging around over my head.

How do you find relief from stress?