Monday, June 30, 2008

Natal Day and Empty!

Sunday was my birthday. If I live to be 90, I've lived half my days. It was spent quietly, doing absolutely nothing.

Today was Empty The Storage Unit Day. WE DID IT!!!! All out. There was surprisingly less stuff in there than I thought, but it still took three trips. There were several tubs of parental stuff. Yes, it must be dealt with. But it went in the nice shed for now. There was much less of the to-be-sorted/might-keep stuff than I thought! YAY! That feels better.

My friend C and I successfully loaded, then unloaded, a cherry table inherited from Mom, my old stove, my rolltop, the box spring I forgot was in there, the canopy bed frame, a smaller desk, a computer chair, a—well, you get the idea. Everything except the cherry table is going in the garage sale.

IT IS DONE. All of my worldly goods are now under one roof—mine—and no longer subject to fees. Yay. Phase One is complete.

Onto a shower, some vegetation and food, and then begins Phase Two—what the heckuma gonna do with all this stuff? Also known as, I guess I'm having my first-ever garage sale in a week or so!

OH—and there is positive news on the land sales front! More when it's locked in. Today... she was a good day.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Desperation Point

Remember way back last year when I needed to move my horses to a safer barn?

No, they are still there, but it got me thinking... I'd been wanting to move them for months, and had half-heartedly looked for new barns, but found none to my liking. I knew what I wanted in a barn—naturally-inclined so I could do my PNH out in the open, someone who'd feed my diet rather than theirs, and so on. I had very little hope of finding that barn. So, we stayed, and I fretted.

Then suddenly it became imperative that we move, and move NOW. Within 24 hours, the very barn I wanted appeared out of nowhere.

So what was different?

I think I've figured it out, and Wayne Dyer confirmed it.

Desperation is a killer. It is extreme yearning and lack, and it has a nasty vibe that pushes away the very thing you desire to attract. But sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are desperate. How does one let go of that feeling, especially in a life-or-death scenario?

Doesn't it seem like the moment you no longer want something, it magically appears? Law of Attractionists have been saying that for years—let go of the desire and desperation and be OK with any outcome and it will manifest.

Yeah. Easy for you to say, eh? No, I'm fine with having no money for food, sure I am, says the poor man.

The letting go method is what I call the "Doesn't Matter" method. It doesn't matter if it happens or not, I'm OK either way.

The odd thing is, I realized that Desperation also has a bit of "I'm OK" in it. I'm panicking because if things don't change soon, I'll be done for, but I'm still kinda OK... for the moment.

That's what I'm talking about. It's the juxtaposition of "I'm kind of OK but I'm really not OMG HELP" that causes the problems.

But when you are in the middle of Desperation, it's very hard to get to Nahhh, I'm OK either way.

Today I realized there is a third option. Determination. That's what I invoked the day we found the new barn. I went from this isn't good but I guess we're still OK for now to we are absolutely NOT OK anymore, it is time to move and we are moving NOW and that is THAT.

I was absolutely, 100% determined that we were moving right away and there was no room for a single question in my mind.

Not long after having this revelation, I resumed reading Wayne Dyer's "Real Magic" and there it was, a few pages ahead. He says, and I paraphrase,
instead of wishing and hoping, get into the active language of intention. Rather than saying "I wish I could get over this illness" or "I hope I get well soon", begin to think "I intend to heal myself of this illness".
Isn't that exactly what I did? For months, I said:

Gee, I wish I could find a natural barn, a better place for my horses. Gee, we really need to move soon.

After the Incident with the Barn Manager and the Raving Boarder, it changed to:

That's IT. We are MOVING. I am finding a safer, better, natural barn and we are moving.

The first was wishing/hoping; the second, intention.

I guess the lesson here is, if you can manage to be in "Doesn't Matter" Mode, then be there. But if you can't, then move out of Desperation and into Determination/Intention.


I wish this estate nonsense would end already is no longer my mantra. It is now...

I intend that all three properties (mine and the two estate lots) are sold immediately, and the estate is closed shortly thereafter. I intend to be more than $100,000 wealthier within 30 days.

PERIOD. And that's that.

I also intend to have a happy birthday tomorrow despite it all.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Generating Too Much Wind

I certainly have been, haven't I?

Just wanted to pop in and mention that I've joined up—or rather, my musical alter ego Jaytee has—with, an innovative venture dedicated to bringing music to you via the internet and online radio.

This service PAYS ROYALTIES to artists who sign up. No need to join ASCAP or have a record deal! This is how it should be. The program is just getting started, so if you are so inclined to purchase any MP3s of their artists, hold off for a week or so until the program gets going because the royalties are not retrograde (meaning if you bought one of my tunes today, I wouldn't get my 0.000005 cents for it).

The artists are independent as well as signed well-known. It's a great idea. I'm excited about it.

I know I once said there was no reason I couldn't pursue both my PNH dream and my music dream, but... I've been having second thoughts. While I love horses and PNH, I'm not sure I have the built-in natural abilities to do that like I do with music. Music to me is as easy as breathing; communicating with horses is something I've had to learn how to do. I do it pretty well, but it's not instinctual like music is.

One night not long ago, I had an epiphany. If you were to strip away everything I own, everything I've accomplished, and all my identifying features (like the clothes I wear, my nosering, etc), what would be left? What one thing did I bring into this life with me that will leave with me?

My musical ability. NOBODY can repossess that, charge late fees on it, steal it and use it for themselves (my voice, that is, or the songs floating around inside my head that y'all haven't heard yet), or hide it from me. If I'm standing in the street naked without one single possession to my name and without a bank account, I will STILL have my voice and my music. I am still well able to hear the music in my head, write it, sing it. If you hand me a guitar, I can play for you. If I lost all my recording gear and the recordings I've made, I'd still have most of the songs and snippets in my head.

When I realized this, I realized who I truly am. Why I keep running from it, I don't know. But I have. I run towards music, then I back away out of fear and go after a lesser dream.

Well, EFF IT. I don't care if I'm almost 45 years old and there's a perception of an age barrier in the commercial music industry—sheet, there was a gender barrier 20 years ago when I started out—it's gone now, thanks to Stevie and Ann & Nancy and Pat and all the other females who kicked it down. Why the heck can't an equally-stupid perception about age versus the ability to rock be kicked down, also? Stevie is 60 years old and she had fans so eager to hear her that they sat shivering in a torrential downpour for almost three hours to hear her.

It's not about the age or the gender or the weight—it's about the MUSIC. Good music is good music, no matter who writes or performs it. I'm on my way.

And this time, I MEAN IT.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Outside the Rain...

Outside the rain and the heart skips a beat... are you... lonely... ("Outside the Rain")

So about the Stevie Nicks concert last night in lovely NW Ohio...

Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining... ("Dreams")

You could say it was a tad damp.

The clouds... never expect it... when it rains... but the sea... changes colors... but the sea... does not change... ("Edge of 17")

Gee, I never realized how many of Stevie's songs talk about rain, until last night. I think she invoked the rain gods.

The evening started out well. I swung past the BMV to renew my plates—took all of 5 minutes, a World Record BMV trip. I arrived on time at the restaurant (or should I say "before the others") which is unusual for me (or maybe they were just later than I was). Dinner was Spaghetti Warehouse Baked Penne (good choice, enough leftover for two meals) and a pitcher of Sangria shared between three of us (I only had one small glass though).

We moved on to the fourth friend's house (she had to pick up her Mom at the airport and missed dinner) for a beer before the show. She lives close by. We left in plenty of time to beat traffic, find a good parking spot near the Zoo, and walk in.

We were 50 feet away from the car when the skies, which had been threatening all afternoon, just opened up. I don't mean light rain. I mean torrential downpour. Monsoon. Blinding rain. The kind for which no umbrella is a match. The kind where all it takes is one big gust of wind and the horizontal monsoon totally takes you out and everything from the waist down (that isn't protected by the water-resistant jacket your friends laughed at you for bringing along) is instantly soaked to the bone marrow. Not just the bone, but straight to the marrow.

Considering the light buzz going, it was funny at first. We took shelter under someone's garage overhang until it lightened up. But it was too late. We were drenched. We could not have been wetter unless we'd jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed and did the backstroke. (Good call not to bother doing my hair.)

I'll spare the remaining chronology, because it was a cycle of rain lets up, maybe they'll play, rain comes back... wait. Sure, it was funny at first. It was so absurd that all we could do was laugh, and it was warm out. But as the evening wore on, and the temperatures dropped, and Stevie was nowhere in sight, and we tired of seeing the crew pull the plastic off the stage equipment for the fortieth time then quickly replace it when storm #7,000 came along, let's just say the flavor wore off.

Stevie, the consummate professional, made an announcement that they had their boots on, their lipstick on, and were ready to play as soon as it let up. So we waited.

Finally, around 10 PM, Stevie took the stage. There were some PA problems during the first song, so we were treated to an a capella version of "Stand Back" but Stevie rocked it. She sounded better than she has in years. The rest of the show was fantastic. It rained steadily during the first few songs. Forever in my mind, when I hear "Outside the Rain" from now on, I will remember standing IN the rain listening to her sing it. I also found poignancy in the line "when the rain washes you clean, you'll know" from Dreams.

I found myself in tears during "Landslide" for obvious reasons: the parallels between the loss of my Dad and Mom and Stevie's loss of her beloved Daddy three years ago (about a year before my Dad died). It's always been one of my favorite songs, and in fact I perform it live sometimes, just me and my guitar, and I've always connected with it, but for some reason, the rain, the cold, the forlornness of the moment, and the photos of Stevie's life with her Dad playing on the backdrop... it hit me like a ton of bricks. Nobody knew, though. My tears mingled with the rain.

We bailed during "Edge of 17" in order to beat the crowds. It was almost midnight, one friend had an hour's drive home and a 5 AM wake up call for work; another had a 13-hour nursing shift ahead of her. We didn't miss much, as we could hear her all the way back to the car. She encored with Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll". Eh, I like the way Ann & Nancy do it better.

I will say I have never, ever been that soaked for that long in clothes. I felt like a shipwreck refugee. By the time I was in the car driving home, I began to shiver. I peeled off the rags and took a hot shower. But I am STILL sort of shivery inside. Like I might never get truly warm again.

That was my birthday present, four days early. I don't think I'll ever forget it! LOL!

In other news... the band I joined? Fired me already. Heh. Well, I had some issues with it anyway. The situation was billed a bit differently than what the reality was. I'm glad for the experience and that I was able to play live, sort of test the waters again and stretch past several comfort zones—and maybe that was all it was about. Maybe the entire reason for this experience was to prove to me:
  • yes, you still have the ability to learn 40 cover songs in 6 days, then play the gig well
  • yes, you can play bass and sing simultaneously (after 19 years away from it)
  • yes, you are brave enough to sing and play guitar all by yourself live
  • yes, your originals sound good with a band
  • yes, people like your originals
  • yes, you can still sing live (after 9 years away)
  • yes, you still LOVE IT and this is what you're meant to do
And also to help me refine my vision of what I want for MY band and my ideal musical situation. In addition, the areas of improvement are clear, and I know what I need to do to be prepared for the next gig.

It's all good.

Oh, and the three estate options? Never mind. I found the fatal flaw. Turns out the way Sister wants it settled IS the right way. But that's OK. I still get money now, and more later, and I have a house to live in, and I can sell it down the road (for more money). I just don't get what I wish I was getting. It doesn't change my plans, it just changes the way I pursue my plans a little. All the thinking did was to help me understand finally why this way works, because I didn't before.

It's all good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Better Days

I think they might be on their way finally, better days.

The sibling issue seems to be clearing up following Mercury's movement to direct travel. We've been having better, friendlier, more productive chats. We also came to an agreement. Then we contacted the lawyer last week, thinking it would take him a couple of hours to finalize so I could mail out the checks.

But we were delayed. First, the lawyer didn't follow through. I called Weds, he said give him until Thurs and he'd call. Called Thurs—still hadn't run the figures, will call by day's end. Didn't call. Called him Friday—in a meeting—will call back.

Shared this with sister. She called Monday.

He's out of the office until the end of the week.

But, she kindly and compassionately approved a small advance for me so with any luck, my internet access will be intact for another month. YAY

But it might be for the best. Had he been in the office or been on top of things, the checks would likely be mailed out already. The delay has allowed for things to shift in our favor. I think.

For one, I finally stopped stressing over the distribution method and accepted it. I stopped thinking about it completely. Today, my brain rewarded me for that by offering up a solution none of us had even considered which makes so much sense and satisfies everyone's concerns that I'm surprised we didn't see it. I spent the afternoon plugging in figures into Excel in preparation for discussion with the lawyer—although I have this strange feeling he's ahead of me. I plugged in my sister's suggestion, a second very logical possibility, and the method that revealed itself today. I would not be one bit surprised if the lawyer suggested Option 3 before I even have the chance to bring it up.

The second bit is, I don't want to jinx it so I won't say the details, but we received some very promising news regarding the properties that need to sell. Just keep your fingers crossed and think "SOLD" all week for us, willya?

So I get it. You'd think by now I'd have learned to TRUST God when He delays things. He's not trying to hurt us, even though it might seem that way. Although... that totally personifies God, doesn't it? Thinking that God calculates and rationalizes in regard to us humans.

I believe that there are two energy forces at work—one is 100% positive (God) and one is 100% negative (what we call the devil). I think we can tap into both and be susceptible to both. I don't think of them as "human" or as entities that reason with logic like our brains do—I see them as energy forces, as consciousness. They respond to the energy we put out, and since like attracts like (energy-wise), if we're positive, we get back positive and vice versa.

Anyway, I should trust the delays as well as the nudges. As Grandma always said, if you're late getting out the driveway, there's usually a good reason—someone's trying to protect you. (I had a friend tell me they had an experience like that recently, and the detour they decided to take kept them out of a major accident they would have been in had they been on time and gone the way they were originally going to go.)

So good news all around. Which is great, since Sunday is my birthday, and I can't think of any better present than to be "wealthy" again, have some property sold, and be on good terms with my family. I'll keep you posted! Have a great week.

stevie nicks

Oh, and I'm totally jamming to Stevie tomorrow night. My friends bought me a ticket! I love my friends.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just... Help

Hypothetical question:

Your parents are dead. Their estate included two houses, one car, a bunch of furniture and antiques, and a big chunk o'cash. They said, you and your sister split it 50-50. They said, you can pick one house to live in if you want, and if so, sister's half of the equation is balanced by matching the appraisal amount in cash from the estate accounts. showed the two properties estimated close in range.

You chose to keep your childhood home. Your sister was thrilled because it's newer, and she anticipated it would appraise high and that Granny's farm would appraise low because of the condition of the house, giving her big money, and maybe you might even OWE her money (tra-la, tra-la).

Appraisals were done. Shock. Childhood home appraised much lower than anticipated; the farm appraised higher. There is a $60,000 difference between the values now. Lawyer suggested splitting the cash down the middle "now" (right after Mom died), and that the difference on sister's side would be made up when the farm sold. Everyone agreed.

Until August 2007, when sister decided that didn't work for her, and demanded that she be equalized in cash immediately, which would have left you penniless and no money in the accounts for estate expenses. You said, "Uh... no."

And the games began.

Since then, you've made countless suggestions (via email and sometimes by phone) to your sister over the past umpteen months on how to split up the estate money while the properties are still on the market. In every instance, the amount you're taking grows smaller and smaller.

You've watched your (parents') dreams of (your getting a) master's degree go down the tubes without the money to pay for the in-between classes that financial aid won't cover. You've lived with increasing frugality off of the savings you had (note the past tense). You've looked for jobs. Your field is dry, and it's even tough to find menial labor around here. You've put plenty of stuff up for sale (anyone want a rolltop desk? a stove? a washer/dryer? a banjo?) but so far, sales have been slow. You joined a band, you've done one gig for $100. You've decided to *gasp* sell one of your beloved horses because you can't afford to board two anymore. You can't really afford one, but... he's your first baby. You can't let HIM go, too.

You've wracked your brain about the settlement, trying to be fair to both. Sister has rejected every one flat out, claiming she's being shortchanged if we do it that way, despite the fact that once equalized, everything thereafter is split 50-50, and there are still two lots to go and they WILL sell eventually for good money. Sister has no faith that the farm will ever sell. Sister has never offered up any possible ways to split it despite your constantly asking her for HER ideas.

Farm got subdivided into three lots in March. Within a month, one lot sold for close to the asking price. Hurrah. More money in the estate accounts. Possibility of settling.

In the most recent attempt, you suggest splitting the profits from the lot sale that occurred in April, so each gets X, then leave X behind for expenses, and give the rest to her so she's almost equalized against the house and car you "already got" (her words). Yes, it means waiting a bit longer for "the rest", from when one of the other two lots sells.

She summarily rejects your offer, sneering, "Why do YOU need that much money?"

You blink a few times as you read this response, shake it off, and are glad she's 250 miles away and therefore out of reach.

She continues, "how about we split it this way—I'll get my equalization, and you'll still get X dollars, and there'll be some left behind for expenses."

What she's offering to "give" you or "let" you have is far less than you really feel comfortable taking, but you've realized she's not willing to forego one penny of her "entitlement" out of anything remotely resembling kindness, compassion or generosity (because apparently they don't exist) and you know that the amount will get you back on solid ground and give you a bit of a cushion until one of several things happens (the two estate-owned lots sell, your other house sells, you finally find a decent job, you win the lottery, a rich man sweeps you off your feet).

You look over the account balances, do the math, and see that yes, it is feasible to split it this way and it does leave a reasonable chunk behind to cover asses and minor expenses related to the one lot. Now that everything else has pretty much been paid, the only expenses remaining are things like a tiny water bill, the tiny electric bill, and insurance/property tax.

You reason that the lawyer's flat fee (THANK GOD he's not hourly and we already know what the exact fee is) can be paid at the closing.

You remember the lawyer said that closing means the remaining lots are sold, the last expenses paid out, the lawyer is paid, and the remaining amounts in the estate accounts are split.

You reason that even if the farmhouse falls down, the lot itself is worth enough that, in combination with the other bare land lot, it's a safe bet that one day, they'll sell and bring in a good $100,000 or so (if the house stays standing, more), which is beyond adequate to cover the aforementioned expenses and lawyer fee and STILL have money left over to split 50-50.

You reason that what happens to the other two lots is not that significant, because if you accept this offer, you're EQUAL, which is what sister has been squawking about for over two years (since before Mother even died).

You reason that it's in everyone's best interest to accept this offer, because it helps both of you out. It helps you get back on your feet, and it helps dig her out of her enormous debt.

You email back and say "OK, so I'll take X, and we'll equalize you, and we'll leave X in the account for butt coverage."

That means I've accepted her offer, doesn't it? We're agreed. She made a deal, I emailed back and confirmed that I accepted it.


Explain to me this.

Her response to my email was "I think we need to leave more behind for expenses, X won't be enough."

Would you call that a blatant attempt to renege on the offer I already accepted?

Because that's what I call it. I also call it B*LLSH*T.

Because it seems that she's not interested in settling and getting "her" money. Am I wrong to believe that her intent is to work until she finds a way to make certain that I get absolutely ZERO dollars from the estate and that she gets all of it, by using every excuse in the book as to why it needs to stay in the account?

Am I wrong to believe that if one is getting 10% as much as the other is, the one with the most cash should be the one leaving a smidgen behind to cover their worries? Especially when the one getting 10% versus 100% is in dire straits and might not have internet service or food in two weeks if something doesn't break quick?

If I said to her, "OK then—what do YOU think I "deserve" to get?"...

I forgot to mention that she ended her email of reneging with the cheery line:

"So—is there anything special you want for your birthday?"

I'd post a PayPal button for charitable donations, but that just seems tacky.


Friday, June 13, 2008

I've Had a Religious Experience

OK. If you are at all offended by God or spiritual things, you're graciously released from reading further. I hope what I'm about to reveal won't come between us, though, and that you'll still stop by and read this blog from time to time. I promise I'll be "me" and not go all "born-again" on you.

But it's hard not to, after an experience like this.

You're all aware, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, that I've had a tough past couple of years. You know I've been in estate settlement limbo, had family animosity, been unemployed and living off of savings, and trying to find my way. I've been learning the Law of Attraction, shedding my limiting beliefs, and in general, questioning my faith and my purpose in this world.

As televangelists are wont to say, "in the natural", meaning as it looks to us based on what we can perceive with our five senses, there are obvious steps for me to take to change my life for the better. The most common reaction by a person in my position would be to drop everything and focus 24/7 on finding a job. They would not "waste time" with alternate activities, or bother focusing on huge reorganization projects. No, they would be focusing on the primary concern: finding a job.

Let me interject that there was a time in my life when I lived differently than I do now, and by that I mean that I was what one would call impulsive, prone to spontaneous decisions, would go "off on a tangent" or "half-cocked" as Mother would say—but what I was doing wasn't random.

I was following the nudges.

I would be sitting there and all of a sudden, I'd get this overwhelming URGE to do something like sew up an outfit for an event that wasn't even occurring but for which I wanted to be prepared. I'd go to the fabric store, find the perfect fabric, the perfect pattern, go home and obsessively sew it until it was ready.

Then, By God, within a couple weeks or days, suddenly the exact event for which it was needed would appear.


I'm not sure I call it "psychic", as everybody has those nudges, that voice that says "hey, pick up some extra milk while you're here" and if you follow it despite knowing you have plenty of milk in the fridge or could go out later, you find out the reason why later; and if you DON'T, you find out the reason why you should have later.

Those are nudges.

You're mulling over your job prospects. You've just made 20 calls and gotten nowhere. You're done for the day. You need a distraction. It suddenly occurs to you, Hey, I think I'll call X and see how they are—maybe we can grab a beer tonight. The phone call leads to an impromptu conversation where X casually mentions that there's a job opening you wouldn't have heard of any other way except you were bored and happened to think of a friend you hadn't spoken with in months and never would have connected with job opportunities. Except he has a friend of a cousin of a friend who is in your business, but you never knew that.

Connections. From the nudges.

I used to live by the nudges. Somewhere in college, I stopped listening to nudges and started listening to that nasty little thing called "reason". Well, let me tell you about Reason. It's completely unreasonable. Since I stopped following the nudges, my life has slowly fallen apart. Back when I was listening, the most amazing stuff happened to me. Great stuff.

So yesterday, pondering my still-largely-jobless status (yes I'm in a band, and yes I have a line on a freelance gig that should pick up as the brand-new printing company gets the word out to their clients about the move and work starts coming in), and I'm up early and wondering what to do.

Common sense—reason—would dictate, go out and look for a job.

A little voice in my head said, screw that. Clean out the wooden shed instead.

That little voice has been pestering me for weeks to clean out the sheds, the deck room, and FINISH the org project despite my arguing with it saying, "but I need to find a job first".

Well, I broke down and listened this time. I cleaned out the shed. (There are two: one is wooden, one is tin, and the wooden one is nicer for storage.)

It went more quickly than anticipated. Once the keepers were safely put away in an orderly fashion and the sellers were in the deck room, I set about going through the dozen boxes labelled "Old Books and Papers" and "Misc".

In one box, I found some of my trinkets. There was a toy that I didn't even remember getting or why. It was a stuffed strawberry, about 2.5 inches in diameter, maybe it was a lingerie sachet but the scent was long gone. I had no reason to hold onto it and it almost went into the Sell box, but I thought that because it was soft, maybe it would make a nice toy for my cats to bat around.

I stuck it in the pocket of my shorts and forgot about it.

Later that evening, I looked up at the clock and realized it was 11:30 PM. Now, when I'm feeling uncertain, I'll admit, I like to watch certain televangelists like the Oral Roberts Ministry (Richard and Lindsay Roberts) and Joel Osteen. I know the concept of Seed Faith can be off-putting to some because it sounds like begging for money... I've since learned otherwise and it's also a LOA concept, but I get that it bugs people. I'd ignore that and listen to the message.

I'd been looking forward to watching it, but had gotten caught up reading old notebooks. Now the program was half over. I considered ignoring the program, but God said "Go watch it anyway".

I sat down in the TV room with my cats. Now, I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed. I thought, "surely God directed me to watch this because Richard's sermon will have a key point meant just for me"—but for some reason, all he was doing this night was= focusing on seed faiths and prayer requests. Not a sermon in sight.

I have to admit, I wondered why the heck I was watching.

I mean, all he does is read off the name of the giver, the city, the seed amount and need. Then he prays that God answers the persons's need and thanks them for their gift.

The show was almost over and he was in the middle of reading yet another prayer request. He listed the name and city, then interrupted himself to make a comment.

At the exact moment, one of my cats rubbed her head against the pocket of my shorts where the strawberry was.

I remembered the toy.

In a simultaneous moment, I reached in and closed my fingers around it and thought to myself "OH—right—the..."

And Richard said "Oh, that's where all the good..."

And I thought in my head at the EXACT moment he said the word on TV:


Richard had said, "That's where all the good strawberries come from".

The toy in my pocket was a stuffed STRAWBERRY.

I froze. Did I really just hear what I thought I'd heard? And he repeated it.

"I always know where to find the good strawberries".

Goosebumps along my entire body.

It's a Christian ministry program. The chances of the word "strawberry" coming up in a conversation or prayer request or sermon are SLIM. What are the chances that he would speak that very word at the exact moment I put my hand around a stuffed representation of that word? What are the chances I'd have a strawberry in my pocket at that moment?

I'll tell you—unlikely!

The symbolism—that a strawberry looks like a red heart and contains thousands of seeds—is not lost on me, either.

After that moment, all of my doubts are gone. I know absolutely that GOD EXISTS. Like the ORM prayer cloths, that toy has become my Point of Contact with the Lord. Whenever I feel lost or afraid, I squeeze it like a child squeezes the hand of her Father for reassurance, and the fear leaves.

In addition, I'm seeing clearly the lesson that sometimes a seemingly-unrelated chain of events is necessary to lead you to your goal. Had I not followed the inspiration to clean the shed, I would not have found the box containing the toy, I would not have had it in my pocket while watching, and I would not have had this experience. God orchestrated it so that I would have that very symbolic item on my person and be in the right place at the right time to hear HIS message.

I know now without a doubt that all of the financial challenges are behind me, that the blocks to my success are released, and that all IS well because the Lord IS with me. I have the strawberry to prove it.




Monday, June 09, 2008

Problems vs. Solutions

I almost hijacked Crazy Aunt Purl's blog to comment, but decided it was important enough to warrant its own post.

Today's topic at CAP is the gas prices and how people respond with "Well, it could be worse" and seem to shrug off the responsibility for making things better. There is an argument that Europe has been dealing with high gas (petrol) prices for years and they're fine, but one forgets that they also have many government-provided amenities lacking in the US (like free education, health care, etc). Here are my thoughts.

The purpose of the "well, it could be worse" line of thought is that it's an attempt to refocus us onto the positive thought process rather than the worst-case scenario process (but somehow it goes wrong in the process and I'll tell you why in a minute).

I've been studying the Law of Attraction quite diligently for over a year now and I've learned something.
  1. What we focus on EXPANDS--meaning, we get more OF it.
  2. The most effective way to manifest something is to ponder it briefly, then let it go and forget about it.
With regard to the first part, if we focus on how awful the gas prices are, guess what? They will continue to be awful! They will get awfuler (I declare that as a word that officially appears in the Bantercon).

When we say something like "it could be worse", guess what our brains do? They momentarily envision it GETTING WORSE.

Then, we shrug it off and move on, forgetting about it.

Refer to #2 above and you'll see WHY, if someone says "Cheer up! It could always be worse" and you cheer up, it still GETS worse.

Got it?

So, yes, I agree, let's stop with the "could be worse" comments if only to protect ourselves.

Then, if we can learn to flip our thoughts around, and focus on the positive aspects, we will lessen the negative energy going out, and increase the chances of the gas trend (and others) reversing.

We would be better off if, instead of being PROBLEM-SOLVERS, we all became SOLUTION-FINDERS. But, what's the big deal? Those are the same things, right?

WRONG. Problem-solvers. Solution-finders. Look at the phrases.

Problem-solvers focus on solving problems. They focus on the problem without even realizing they do so.

Solution-finders focus on finding solutions.

Tell me—can you feel the difference when you think the words? Can you feel how different your emotions are when you think "problem solver" versus "solution finder"? (If you can't, you need to get back in touch with yourself.)

I've realized just today that I've spent my whole life being problem-focused, which is why I keep experiencing more and more events that bring problems to me to be solved.

Of course, that's natural. It's how we are all re-programmed as we grow up, thanks to the media, our parents, our peers, our teachers, and later our bosses and the companies we work for. We lose the natural ability to be solution-focused and positive thinkers and miracle-makers that we were when we first entered this world. Oh, yes. Listen to children. Think like them. They believe in Santa Claus. THEY BELIEVE. They have an unshakeable faith that all things are possible, even unicorns, and that faith survives until they become exposed to school/TV and begin to be programmed to function as a cog in the work place (where that sort of thinking has no place).

My new objective is to be a SOLUTION-FOCUSED person. Would you like a good example of a solution-focused person?

A surgeon or doctor.

When the surgeon visits the woman in the hospital who's a victim of a horrific car crash and needs major facial reconstruction, he does not see the bruised, swollen, lacerated mess that occurred mere hours before—he sees the finished product. He sees the woman six months down the road, reconstructed, healed, all the scars carefully hidden. He sees, as he looks her over, exactly how to put her back together. And he has absolute confidence in his ability to do so—without question.

THAT is solution-focused.

Back to the subject of gas: I personally cheer every time I see even a one cent drop in the gas prices. I cheer (inside) when I find a lower-priced alternative, when milk goes on sale at W*l-M*art, when I find eggs more cheaply than the grocery store. I cheer, because I want to send out positive energy towards reducing prices.

Of course, as CAP suggested, it might be easier just to move to Europe.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Not Sure of the Name of This Meme

From Knit 'n' NASCAR, because I'm too worn out to really think. I played live today with the new band and I'm beat. Outdoor gig. Temps in the 95 range. Humidity. Thankfully there was a lovely breeze, a tent covering us, and we were in a shady park.

Accent: I'm from NW Ohio. Plus I'm a singer. I sound... like a newscaster. Except I've traveled, and I'm good at mimicking accents, so there are certain words that have crept into my way of speaking that probably give me an "accent" sometimes.

Breakfast or no breakfast: Always breakfast. Not cereal, either. It must be protein or I get the shakes within an hour. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, or some variation with eggs and bacon. Bacon & Egg sandwich. You name it.

Chore I don’t care for: lawn mowing, vacuuming. See, I can handle laundry, dishes, even cleaning the toilets. But those others? Beyond meh.

Dog or Cat: Cats in abundance. And horses. But I do like dogs—good-sized dogs. Not bedroom slipper dogs or yappy little things but biguns.

Essential Electronics: Computer, music gear, answering machine.

Favorite Cologne: Probably still Anais Anais on me. Drakkar on... well just give me the bottle, thank you, and a do not disturb sign.

Gold or Silver: Silver. REAL silver. (Nickel makes me itch.)

Handbag I carry most often: Handbag? Don't carry one. It's the same with wearing skirts—I feel like I'm in drag. My debit card and drivers license go in my back pocket and my money in the front. The keys hang off my belt loop from a carabiner. Huh. Last I checked I was still female but now I'm wondering. Actually, I'm more likely to be found carrying a gig bag (soft guitar case) than anything else. Or a messenger bag (for knitting).

Insomnia: Not so much anymore. Not since I began studying the Law of Attraction, doing affirmations, listening to meditation MP3s and monitoring my brain.


Kids: They scare me. <--that's what Knit 'n' Nascar wrote and I AGREE!

Living Arrangements: Me, five cats, and way too many guitars in my childhood home in the suburbs. For now.

Most Admirable Trait: Generosity, probably.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: If I tell you, I'd have to kill you.

Overnight hospital stays: You mean with me in the bed? When I was five, after having my tonsils removed. Other than that, unintentional stays with my late parents.

Phobias: You can laugh, but... heights and BIG LEAVES. Yes. We're talking philodendron/elephant ear/rhubarb big flappy veiny jungly things. Absolutely terrifying. If you stuck me on a cliff 10,000 feet up and said the only way out was through this clump of elephant ears, I'd jump. No, I do not watch Lost.

Quote: "Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their OPINION of things that happen." —Epictetus, Greek Stoic Philosopher, 55-135 AD

Reason to smile: I played my first gig in nine years today and now I remember WHY I was a musician. First real performance onstage singing in nine years (karaoke/impromptu sit-ins don't count); first time I've played bass live onstage in 19 years; and the very first time—the DEBUT—of four of my songs live, with me on acoustic guitar. Big, big day for me—lots of comfort zone thresholds crossed!

Siblings: Well, now, that's complicated. Since I was adopted AND have been found by my biological family, I now know that I have one half-sister on the adopted side (the one with whom I'm debating over the estate); and biologically, there are four full sisters, two full brothers (one died in infancy), one (maybe two) half brother, and one half sister. I think it'd be easier at this point to just be an only child!

Time I wake up: Whenever. (The luxury of unemployment. Hey—wait—I AM employed now. As a working musician. Eh, it's still "whenever".)

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can burp REALLY REALLY well. Uh, I play guitar, bass, and I sing. I can ride bareback. I can dialogue with my horse. I dunno. Is any of that really unusual?

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Is it really a surprise that it is lettuce, cabbage, spinach, arugula, er, leaves? Not even shredded as in coleslaw. However, I can totally eat dried oregano and basil from spice jars. Go figure.

Worst Habit: Procrastination and self-doubt.

X-rays: Tons. I'm radioactive. Broken ankle at 16. Numerous chest x-rays because of recurring bronchitis all my life (and I'm a singer, of course); a few falls from horses (pre-Parelli) resulting in questionable injuries; ankles that seem to sprain every 10 minutes. And we won't talk about how many times this one tried to do the cool one-pedal dismount maneuver off her bicycle like all the other kids every summer—not grasping that we were the ONLY family on the block that still had a GRAVEL driveway... yeah. Gravel in the knee. More than once. You'd think I'd have learned. Then all those falls in recent years. My God, I think I built the hospital's radiology wing, come to think of it.

Yummy Stuff: Cheese, chocolate, milk. INDIAN FOOD. OMG INDIAN FOOD. The mouth drools just thinking about clarified buttery sauces and I just ate so that's kinda scary. (Pavlov? Where are you?)

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Lemurs. They're just weird, and I love their ring tails. (You thought I'd say zebras because of the horse thing, didn't ya? Admit it.)



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nobody's Mentioning the Steroids

So Big Brown didn't win the Belmont, and 30 years go by without a Triple Crown winner. I'm not surprised. When I heard the offhand comment, I knew he wouldn't win.

Trainer Rick Dutrow decided to change Big Brown's regimen. Brown had been getting monthly steroid injections. Of course, the racing society questioned it, and wondered if it affected his ability to win the first two races (Derby and Preakness).

So Mr. Dutrow decided that Brown would race clean and declined to give him his May 15th injection.

Y'know, when you have the biggest race in horse racing history on the line, you would generally not want to mess with a successful regimen. Would you?

Because he ran so badly, everyone's all in a lather about what might be wrong with him. They have vets looking down his throat into his windpipe searching for internal bleeding and so on. They're questioning whether the quarter crack in his hoof had anything to do with it. (My gelding gets those all the time. It's when their hooves are too long and they aren't wearing down properly or they are trimmed wrong. It doesn't stop him at all.)

But nobody is mentioning the steroids.

Could it possibly be as simple as that?

What is it they say? When you hear hooves, you think "horse", not zebra? (As in, look for the obvious)...



Two Years, Dad

Wednesday, June 7, 2006, 3:31 PM, my beloved mysterious Dad left this earth. I wrote a long journal entry about how I feel today, but... not much I haven't already written here about the day he died.

Except that I realized that when he was alive, it always felt like everything was going to be OK, no matter what happened... but since he died, it hasn't felt like that anymore.

In fact, some days I wonder if it will EVER be OK again.

Reminder, if you comment and don't hear from me, it's because of the pesky no-reply@blogger issue and because my old Mail Program is still whacked out and some of your return email addresses are inaccessible right now. So if you have MY email addy, email me so I'll have yours—then I can stop appearing to be so rude.