Pura Vida

“Only you can decide if you are able to do this”, said the zipline worker. “We have a van. We can take you back to the waiting area if you aren’t able to do this today.”

Above the trees

I’m afraid of heights. Very afraid of heights.  My whole body was shaking as we hiked the nature path and then climbed the stairs up to the first platform. I imagined myself falling to my death. I also imagined myself not being able to step off and having to walk back down to the van.

I was the last person to start the canopy zipline course. I was the first in line to start the zipline course when we reached the platform but I  kindly let others go ahead of me. I watched all 7 of my fellow adventurers be hooked up to the safety gear and step off the platform. They glided to the second platform alive. I was still hesitant. I’m scared of heights and it is a long way down.

Group photo.jpg

“Once you start the course, you have to finish it”, said the worker. “Do you want to do this today?”

“Not really”, I said.  “I’m scared of heights. But it’s something I need to do even if I have to do it scared. I may never have this chance to go on a zipline in Costa Rica again.”

The zipline worker hooked me up to the cords and I stepped off the platform screaming with my eyes closed tight. The last thing I heard was the worker saying, “Pura Vida, Amee. Pura Vida.”

_DSC0353

I finished the zipline course. I did all 11 ziplines. I was scared every time I stepped off each and every one of those 11 platforms.  I kept going.  I even opened my eyes a few times and saw the trees during the ride.

The Accountant and I have heard the saying “Pura Vida”a lot on our trip to Costa Rica.  It means “simple life” or “pure life” in Spanish. Today it means I ziplined scared but I did it anyway.

I was so proud of myself at the end of the course that I gave a loud victory shout.

_DSC0206

¡Pura Vida!

The Calendar

About a month ago, I went into the guest room to grab a book from the book shelf. I saw this hanging on the wall.

October 2013

Somehow it never got taken down and has been on the wall for over 4 years. The symbolism of that calendar reading October 2013 was not lost to me. In October 2013 my life changed. I received a wound. A deep wound. Since then, I’ve grieved mightly, prayed much and spent a lot of money to sit on a counselor’s couch. The wound is smaller now in 2018 than it was in 2013 but it’s still there and at times rears its ugly head to laugh at me.

I didn’t know what to do about the calendar. So, I did nothing about it for the last month. I would occasionally think about taking down the calendar but the task seemed too hard. How do you throw away a month that has impacted you forever? I grieved again, prayed much and spent some more money to sit on a counselor’s couch. Trauma is really an expensive experience. I would rather have gone on an all-expenses-paid cruise around the world.

I was brave today.  I threw the calendar away and bought a new one.

Feb 2018 picture

As I tossed the old calendar in the trash, I closed my eyes and imagined that Jesus and four or five cheerleader angels were standing by me rooting for me to have a happy life. “Go, Amee.  You’re incredible, intelligent and beautiful. You can do this. We love you”.   I always feel good inside when I think of Jesus. I love Him.

Jesus

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”—Matthew 5:4

(By the way, I’m turning 40 in 2 weeks so you expect to see some birthday posts soon. I’m going to do 20 days of Amee. You will have to read tomoorow’s post to find out what that means. It will be an epic adventure.)

Joyful Moment #305

As most of you know, I have been tracking my joyful moments the last few years. I write them down in my little journal. The really funny ones I put on this blog.  I just had joyful moment #305.  I was doing my weekly shopping and I saw this.

Raisin Bran

That flake is gigantic. It looks a menacing alien who is trying to take over the Earth. It made the joyful list.

 

When it’s not the most wonderful time of the year

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, belted the singer on the radio.

I think I’ve heard that song hundreds of times before and I never batted an eye. It’s just a Christmas song but today it was different. I heard the words and then I started crying. It isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, sometimes it is the worst time of the year. I cried for those whose loved ones were lost in 2017. The shootings at the Las Vegas music concert. The church shooting in Texas. I cried for my family and friends who got a cancer diagnosis this year and the pain they’ve experienced during treatments. I cried for job losses, home foreclosures, unfulfilled dreams, divorces, hungry children, war and the pains of getting older. I cried for my friend who has watched her mother’s dementia progress into a changed personality this year.  I cried for Puerto Rico and how there are still so many of our fellow citizens without reliable power. For Houston. For the people who lost homes in the California fires. I cried for a country that is more interested in political parties than helping people and enacting real progress. There’s been a lot to cry about this year and it all came out when I heard that song on the radio.

Sad Amee

And then I cried for myself. I cried, because like you, I’ve had my own grief battles and unfulfilled dreams. The whole time I cried the radio kept telling me it was the most wonderful time of the year. It was a little annoying.

So, I turned that silly radio off. It’s  not always the most wonderful time of the year and that needs to be said.

I’m a Christian and I believe that someday Jesus will come again and make everything right. I also believe that we don’t have to wait until that glorious day. Be a little kinder to people today. It may not be the most wonderful time of the year for them.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday To My Little Blog

Birthday blogHappy Birthday, little blog.   Five years ago today, I started this adventure called my13daychallenge. It’s been fun to share the comings and goings of my life. Here are the top six blog posts based on the number of readers. It’s crazy to realize that I’ve had over 8,000 views on my bog. At least, that is what the statistics page tells me. It is possible that 4,000 of those views are from my Mom and Dad, but I hope that at least one blog post has inspired someone somewhere to reach for their dreams.

  1. My Back to School Photo
  2. The Turtle and the Hare
  3. Boxes are not just for little kids
  4. Wonder Woman: Meet SJ
  5. Be Brave and Get Rid of the Dress
  6. Life Lessons from my Garden

Happy birthday, little blog and thank you to all of my  readers. Go be awesome today, dear readers.

 

Gratitude Days #1-16

It’s November so it’s time to start my annual tradition of finding something I’m thankful for every day this month. Here’s what I wrote down for days 1-16.

Thankful day #1: Today I’m thankful for bowling and my bowling buddies. I’m also thankful l can watch the World Series and bowl at the same time. It’s a happy evening.

Thankful day #2: I have a working car. That’s a blessing.

Thankful day #3: I am thankful for a job. I think every job has its moments. My job can be crazy at times,but the benefits of employment outweigh the drawbacks. What are you grateful for today?

Thankful day#4: I’m glad l have a library card. I love the library. They have many great resources there. I just got two free Phoenix Symphony tickets during my little library trip today.

Thankful day #5: Clouds
Thankful day #6: My parents are wonderful people. I love them and I’m glad they are in my life.

Thankful day#7: I’m thankful for shoes.It’s nice to have a way to protect my feet. What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Challenge Day 8: I’m thankful for Jesus and all that he has done for me.

Thankful day #9: Soup
Thankful day #10: I’m thankful I got to go to lunch with some friends today.
Thankful day #11: Veterans and their families for sacrificing for my liberties.

Thankful day #12: Music
Thankful day #13: The ability to walk is a blessing.

Thankful day #14: Eggplant paramesian is delicious. I ate it for the first time this week. It’s wonderful and I’m thankful to try something new.

Thankful day #15 Clouds

Arizona the beautiful state
Thankful day #16 Arizona is beautiful. I just love the desert landscape. (And thanks to the person who owns this house. I’m sure you wondered why a stranger was taking a picture. The view was just too pretty not to take a picture of it.)

Pizza and Prayers

 

Pizza picture

I had an interesting experience tonight. The Accountant and l went to a pizza buffet for dinner. We don’t normally go there due to the cost, but we had flyer from our insurance guy stating that buffet was only $3 for a customer appreciation special. When we got to the buffet, the cashier told us we had to get the discount meal ticket from the folks at the table in the back of the restaurant. I should have asked which table, but l didn’t. Instead l marched to the back of the restaurant and said hello to the people at a table. They turned out to be a group of preachers not the insurance company.
Me: I’m here.
Preacher: That’s great. I’m sure God has brought you here today.

Accountant: Amee, you’re at the wrong table.
Preacher: We are a group of ministers and we’d love to pray with you.
Me: Okay. I’m not going to turn down a free prayer.
Preacher: Do you believe Jesus is your personal Savior?
Me: Yes. I do.
Then the table of ministers reached out their hands and all said a little prayer for me. I’ve never been prayed over by total strangers at a pizza buffet before. I liked it. It made me feel really loved and important. It was a sweet experience.

Why I do the Gratitude Challenge Every Year

I’ve never liked the movie Pollyanna. She was always so glad and happy about everything. I don’t think it is humanly possible for a normal person to always be happy.

Despite my dislike of Pollyanna, I do a gratitude challenge every year.  During the month of November, I think of one thing I’m thankful for each day and write it down. I’ve learned two key lessons about gratitude by doing this challenge year after year.

#1    I don’t have to be Pollyanna.

Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is Really hard. If my dog dies and my car gets stolen on the same day, I am not going to be happy about it. If a well-meaning friend tells me to be happy about it and to write a list of everything I’m thankful for,  I might just yell at them. Bad stuff happens. That’s life. Gratitude is not pretending that life isn’t really hard sometimes. It’s not sweeping the pain and real grievances under the rug. It’s acknowledging and feeling the pain. Sometimes you have to feel the pain before you can start to heal.  When I realized that I didn’t have to be “happy and grateful” all the time it opened up the possibility that I could be happy and feel gratitude some of the time. That made a huge difference and helped me to learn a second lesson on gratitude.

#2 Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness

There is goodness in the world. There are good people who are doing good things to make the world a better place for all of us. Gratitude is believing in that goodness. Yes, there is also badness and bad people in the world. We’ve seen a lot of that badness in the world the last few months. Gratitude is taking a minute to stop and see the good. You might see the good for a minute, for an hour or for a day. The important thing is that you stop and look for it. There is something magical that happens when you start hunting for the goodness. You will find it.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)

What will you be grateful for today?

Me picture

 

 

 

Life Lessons from my Garden

Lesson #1  If you don’t water your garden, it will die.

Lesson #2: If you think about watering your garden, but then don’t do it, it will still die.

Lesson #3: Don’t grow kale if you hate kale.

Lesson #4: The kale will somehow live even though you stopped watering it on purpose. You will be stuck eating kale for days. Reread lesson #3 before buying any more seeds.

And now the really good news…

Lesson #5: You can start a new garden every season.

It’s time to replace the word “garden” with the word “dream”.

Lesson #1  If you don’t water your dream,  it will die.

Lesson #2: If you think about watering your dream, but then don’t do it, it will still die.

Lesson #3 and 4: Life will sometimes give you kale.  Be gentle with yourself. You did the best you could with the knowledge/information/situation you had at the time.

Lesson #5: Remember you can always try again. Tomorrow is a new day.

Here’s a picture of the newest addition to the garden.

New garden picture

And a picture of the kale that just won’t die.

Kale picture

I also have to give a BIG thank you to my Accountant for his help in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Help Wanted: Peacemakers

Help Wanted: Peacemakers

The world is seeking kind, loving souls to be peacemakers. No prior experience needed. Just a willing heart and a desire to see others as people will get you this job. Apply today and start working tomorrow. Actually, start working today. We have a staffing shortage and could really use all the help we can get. Salary: A better world for all of us.

I am deeply troubled by the events in Charlottesville and the other acts of violence and hate that I have observed in the news the last few months. The world needs peacemakers. We need people to walk across the party lines, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious and cultural differences and all the other divides. We need to  love and support each other. We’re going to have differences, but killing each other and hating each other is never the solution. At the end of the day, aren’t we are all just travelers on this little spinning planet?

Jesus said it best in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”.