Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do unto others

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Also known as The Golden Rule. Is it just me, or is this more of a Golden Suggestion these days?

Over the last few weeks - since before Christmas- I have found that what used to be known as "common courtesy" is not that common. Simple things, like a "thank you" for a gift, a timely response to an invitation, just don't happen. I know that these people would like an expression of gratitude or a prompt response so why is it that they cannot respond in kind? As much as I dislike to, I've felt the need to call people out on this. And the really sad part of this is these are people who should know better. They are not children.

Further to this, I wonder why people treat others the same way that they were treated even though they themselves despised that treatment? This one completely confounds me. If I have been treated in a particular way that has made me feel less than special, I cannot in good conscience inflict that upon another. I'm being purposefully cryptic on this one. Suffice it to say that I just learned that someone who has made me feel, well, unimportant and worthless, was treated in the same way. But instead of resolving to be different, simply duplicated that behaviour that made them feel unimportant and worthless. I resolve to stop that behaviour. Though if I did try to repeat it, I know I would be called out on it - guaranteed. And I should be.

Courtesy, as defined by Merriam-Webster:
1 a : behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others : courteous behavior b : a courteous and respectful act or expression

Respect:
3 a : high or special regard : esteem b : the quality or state of being esteemed

Esteem:
1 archaic : worth, value 2 archaic : opinion, judgment 3 : the regard in which one is held; especially : high regard <the esteem we all feel for her>

So, courtesy is behaviour that makes another feel that they are valued. And isn't that what we all want - to feel valued? I know I do. So, let's start by valuing our loved ones, our families, our friends. Let's start a new cycle of courtesy.

Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them. Luke 6:31 (The Voice)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Has Facebook eaten your brain?

I am absolutely amazed at what mindless drones we have become.  Unless Facebook pops up a reminder about a significant event in our friends lives, it goes by without acknowledgement.

Sunday was my birthday.  Now, I'm at the age where I say I'd rather forget about it (though it's really just the age I'd like to forget), I still like to have some acknowledgement of my "special" day.  My Mom was great at that.  I never had the grand spectacular birthday parties, but it was truly awesome to wake up to birthday cake - and to eat it for breakfast!  My Mom was cool like that.  I'm also one of those people who does not actually allow Facebook to publish my birth date, so no reminder pop-ups.  Exactly two people acknowledged my birthday without prompting and those two people were.....wait for it.....my daughters!  Another friend commented on my daughter's post.  Back in the day, we had calendars or birthday books in which we recorded our family and friends' birthdays.  Well, at least my mother did.  And my grandmother.  My grandmother would call each of her grandchildren on their birthdays.  It didn't matter where we lived.  If it meant a long-distance call, she made it.  She did this every year up until she died.  My grandmother was cool like that.  Now, we rely on Facebook to remind our friends.

But my question is this:  if someone doesn't remember your birthday, are they really your friend?  In my opinion, friends are intimately acquainted with the important events in your life - your birthday, your anniversary, the day you reached the peak of Mt. Everest.  I think we have diluted the  term of friend.  In Facebook-land, a friend could be someone you met in the Starbucks queue and struck up a conversation with.  But are they truly a "friend"?  Do they offer their shoulder when you need a good cry?  Do they do the happy dance when you've accomplished something amazing?  Do they offer you encouragement when you are feeling unsure of yourself?  Can you really have over 500 "friends"?  Can you be all those things for them?  Probably not.  You'd have not time to eat, sleep, work, breathe!

I must admit, it bothers me when the term "friend" is tossed out so very casually.  I see friendship as something much more substantial.  Often times, the person we refer to as "friend" is really just an acquaintance.  In our Facebook/Twitter/texting world, I feel we have lost the close relationship of a friend.  It all seems so very superficial.  We've lost the art of being "friends".  And it makes me very sad.  How I long for a friend that I can be totally authentic with - warts, wrinkles, flab, and all!  Someone who will love me when I don't like myself very much, someone who will tell me when I'm being stupid, someone who will tie a rope around my waist and pull me out of the pit, someone who will tell me that I am so special to them and have inspired them, someone who will hold me until the tears stop.  And I want to offer that to someone as well.  Friendship is like a bridge.  It's kind of useless when it only goes across half the river.

I love the story of Jonathan and David in 1 Samuel 20.  Now that was a friendship!  It was risky for Jonathan to be David's friend.  After all Saul, Jonathan's father, was bent on killing David.  But Jonathan did whatever he could to protect his friend.  Ultimately, Saul and Jonathan died, and David made sure that Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, was cared for for the rest of his life.

My husband says that there is no such thing as "friends".  I disagree.  I just think that we have lost the "art" of friendship.  We've become used to the "quick and easy", convenience-style relationships.  We have forgotten how to "work" at them.  Work?  You want me to WORK at it?!  Yes, yes I do.  Anyone can buy a sweater, but that custom hand-knit one was made just for you.  That hand-crafted piece of furniture much more unique than the one from Ikea.  Things that have taken time and effort become heirlooms.  They are not perfect, but it is those little flaws that make them unique.  And so it is with friendship.  The time and effort involved in creating and nurturing them result in something that is so unique and special.

My resolution for 2014 is to take better care of myself - spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  This means that I really need to re-think some things.  While I love doing things for others, I've begun to feel taken advantage of.  So, this year, there needs to be some reciprocity.  If there isn't, then I need to pull back and not waste my energies on people who don't appreciate my efforts.  I'm all for being there for people, but it would be nice if they were there for me sometimes too.

So, needless to say, my birthday card list has shrunk dramatically!  I'll save not only time (I make my own photo cards) but cash (these cards aren't cheap to make).

So, in 2014, I am only doing things for two groups of people:  1) those who appreciate it and 2) those who are in need.  And Lord willing, perhaps I'll finally find that friend I long for.

I'll leave you this verse in closing:

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

                                                                       Psalm 18:24

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Time flies....

Forgive me, blogsphere, for I have sinned.....it's been 1 year and 1 month since my last posting....  Ya, I was never any good at the journal/diary thing either.  Just saying.

What has happened in the last year?  Well, obviously nothing worth talking about!!  Life just goes on.

The last month or so has been pretty crazy.  My lovely daughter has had a terrible time with her seizures.  I've seen seizures in the last month that we haven't seen in at least 5 or 6 years.  I must confess, they have been frightening.  I don't know why.  But whatever the reason, we must deal with them as they come - which has left me exhausted and just a little crazy.  So, I've had to re-boot.  I've made some decisions and established some routines and so now life seems a bit less crazy in spite of the erratic seizures.

There is a lovely web site called flylady.net.  The "Flylady" is Marla Cilley and she has a remarkable story.  She also had to re-boot.  As a result, she has established a system called "flying" which provides help in getting rid of clutter and making your home (and life) a peaceful and pleasant place to be.  I've adapted her routines to my life and have committed to them for the past two weeks.  It has made all the difference.  Because I now have set morning and evening routines, I no longer sit and think "I should be doing.....".  I just do it.  And that has freed me up to do more!  Today, I am cleaning my kitchen....well, half of my kitchen.  The other half will get done on Thursday.  I've had a bit of delay with my clock (I had to fix the mechanism), but I've probably only got about 30 minutes left, and the north side of my kitchen will be clean - and that includes the stove, range hood, and the refrigerator.  I must admit, it is nice to walk into a room that is neat and tidy.  There is such peacefulness.  And who couldn't use a bit more peace in their lives.

The other thing that I'm working on is finding a new church.  It's been a very long time since I've had a church home, and the last church I attended (for over 30 years) never really felt like home.  I have really missed that.  It's been a big gaping hole in my life and nothing has seemed to fit together properly as a result.  I attended a new church a couple of Sunday's ago and think I'm going to like it.  It's theology is very similar to the Mennonite Church that I grew up in.  In fact, this particular denomination is part of the Anabaptist movement so I'm hopeful that this will fill that hole.

This has also been the "year of knitting".  I've rediscovered the joy I find in taking string (aka yarn) and creating the most wonderful things to wear.  I've knit two - yes TWO - Lakeshore Shawls designed by Glenna C.  Glenna is a lovely woman who loves knitting and designing fabulous knits.  I've had the pleasure of taking a couple of workshops with her at Needles in the Hay.  She also teaches a summer workshop at the Haliburton School of the Arts.  I haven't done that yet, but it is on my "bucket list".  One of the workshops I took with Glenna was custom-fit knee socks.  There is nothing in the world as wonderful as custom knit knee socks.  Seriously.  Nothing.  Well, perhaps just custom knit socks in general.  That has been my "thing" this past year.  I've knit for over 43 years and had never knit socks.  Lots of sweaters and afghans, but never socks.  I.love.knitting.socks.  They are quick and feel oh-so-nice on one's feet.  I've knit the one pair of knee socks, a pair of socks for both my dearly beloved and my dear daughter, and another pair for me.  I currently have my second pair on the needles.  I've also designed/knit a "minion" hat for my first-born daughter (she loves Despicable Me).  I also knit a cute little sweater for my daughter.  Also knit mitts for a charity.  Am working on a bulky knit sweater for my dearly beloved.  Working on more mitts for charity.  I'm certain there's more, but I can't remember everything right now.  As I said - I have rediscovered the joy of knitting.

Well, that's all for now.  I'm going to go back and finish cleaning my kitchen as it will soon be time to make supper.

My final thoughts:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:26-27

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Big Thing

I've been reading One Big Thing by Phil Cooke.  It seems to be more of a finding your career type book than I was wanting, but it is interesting none the less.

I resigned from my career last year to stay at home and care for my disabled daughter.  I used to have the job I loved, but in May 2010, the organization underwent a massive reorganization and I was put into a job that was too much for me.  I didn't have the necessary skills and was terrified every day that I went to work.  When my mother passed away in April 2011, I decided that I just couldn't take it anymore, and resigned earlier than I had originally planned.  I probably would have stayed at least five more years had I been able to continue doing what I had been prior to the changes.

In reading Mr. Cooke's book, I realized that I had had my "one big thing".  I loved my previous position.  One of the questions he suggests you ask to determine your one big thing (OBT) is if you would do it for free.  And yes, I would have done my job for free.  It was my "perfect job".

After the reorganization happened, I felt like I was drowning.  It was awful.  I dreaded going to work every single day.  I was put in a position that if an error was made, the financial consequences to the organization were huge!  No pressure there.  When I left, I was very angry and bitter, and unfortunately still carry those feelings.  It is time to let them go.

When I left, I wasn't given an exit interview.  I don't know why.  I have a feeling that the people above me in the organizational chart were as lost as I was.  As I was reading the other night, I had a epiphany.  I would email my exit interview to the VP of Human Resources.  So, I did.  Today.  My prayer is that this will grant me the closure that I need to release the negative feelings that I have been holding on to.

I told my husband yesterday that I was going to do this.  He said that she would probably just laugh at it.  I told him that I didn't care if she used it for toilet paper.  This isn't for her as much as it is for me.  I cannot control what happens at the other end, and neither do I want to.  I need to release those emotions and the best way, for me, is to let the powers that be know how I felt about the position they had put me in.

So, now it is done and the rest is in God's hands.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Right place, right time?

I spent a couple of hours at Millenium Park in downtown Peterborough on Saturday, with the intention of knitting since it was World Wide Knit in Public Day.  I did knit a bit, and even gave a lesson on Magic Loop, a technique that I have just recently learned.  There were some 30 or so knitters, some local vendors, and some media types from SNAP Peterborough and the Peterborough Examiner

However, I didn't get as much knitting done as I had planned.  Instead, I probably spent a good hour speaking to a very lonely elderly man.  He was looking for the boat show, which was probably at the marina.  He started talking and I started listening, and that was all that he needed.  His name was Bill and he only had a grade 6 education, but he was a very very intelligent man.  He told me about the work he did over the years and his family (a very sad story).  I don't think I said more than 20 words in that hour - he just needed to talk, and talk he did!

So while I didn't knit much, I, hopefully, did something worthwhile.

If you are the praying type, please pray for Bill.

Friday, June 15, 2012

WWKIP Day

During the week of June 9 to 17, 2012, is World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP Day).  This year in Peterborough, that would be tomorrow, June 16.  I'm getting my project(s) together and am looking forward 4 hours of knitting in a public place!

I have a shrug that I need to finish (needs the crochet edging completed and ends sewn in) and some mittens for charity that I will be working on.

In all my years of knitting, I've seen it as a solitary endeavour, but I am discovering that younger knitters see this as a really good excuse to socialize.  What a marvelous advancement!  And thankfully, these younger knitters let us "old girls" join in!  Knitters are a wonderfully inclusive group of people.  I've already learned so much from the young, but experienced, knitters.

I follow several knitting blogs, but one of my favourites is Knitting to Stay Sane.  I had the pleasure of meeting Glenna back in May when she taught the Body Building for Knitters workshop at Needles in the Hay.  She designs knitwear that is right up my alley!  Laces, twisted stitches and cables.....those things that I love to do!

My daughter was at the movies the other evening, and there was a man there who was knitting!  It's definitely not a sight you would see everyday.

I used to always have my knitting with me.  Anywhere we went, there was my project bag.  I've knit long enough that I can knit and do just about anything else at the same time (depending on the complexity of the project, of course).  Then one day, my dearly beloved told me that I was being rude when I brought my knitting when visiting his parents, so I stopped.  And I basically stopped knitting.  When I told my daughter this, after she told me the movie knitter story, she told me that I needed to take it up again.  I did, and have rediscovered the passion that I once felt for it.  For a left-brainer like me, this is definitely my right-brain activity.  Though knitting is very mathematical so maybe it's not really such a right-brain thing.  Anyway, I am now going to start taking my knitting with me wherever I go.  It's probably less rude that having the TV blaring so loud that no one can have a conversation.  And if the conversation gets too "heated", then I can focus on something more positive coming off my needles.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

K2tog

I had the privilege of attending the Kniterary Night last evening at the Peterborough Public Library.  Oh my goodness!  WHY did I wait so long to start going??!!  It was so much fun!  Knitters came from every age bracket, every experience level, and the projects were so vast and varied!  And we had a presentation on brioche knitting by Sascha (oh, I hope I spelled her name correctly!).  It seems very complicated, but I think it's a stitch that once you've got it, it's very simple.  She brought a scarf in the Hosta pattern that she had made for her Mom.  Very beautiful.

AND it was so nice to get out of the house!  Definitely going to try to attend more.  They are only once a month so I think I can do that.  And my daughter can come with me.  I'll just make sure that she has something to do.  If she gets tired, there is a settee that she can lay down on.  It makes for a late night, but again, it's only once a month.  And that is just about the perfect timing so that I can maintain my sanity level!