Look down at your feet

For  years I have put on shoes and never really thought about what they meant in my daily life.  Now that I am retired, and have time to stop and be more present, I can see clearly how what I wear on my feet can influence my whole day.

Tennis shoes are great for getting work done around the house.  It seems like they are “action” shoes and I need to move while wearing them.  If I sit down and kick back the recliner, my shoes look uncomfortable.  “Hey, what are we doing just sitting?”

Slippers – moccasins to be exact are for lounging and comfort.  Once in awhile I get carried away and start to clean up a room with them on and my feet scream out “What? I am not comfortable with all this walking in these unsupported shoes!”

Low cut leather boots with a chunky heal make me feel giddy, like a 20ish girl who is getting ready to go dancing.  Really, I am heading out for drinks with my monthly “Granny cocktail night” girlfriends and these poor boots will see no dancing – but one can remember with fond memories.

Black leather flats with arch support inserts are the “go to” shoe for getting dressed up.  They used to be part of my work uniform of dress pants, dresses and suit coats.  Now I pull them out when I go to events that call for more than blue jeans.

Do we define ourselves by our shoes? Did you notice I did not mentions stilletos or high heals of any kind?  Those were discarded long ago and relegated to my past crazy party days!  Many years have passed and I am happy with my feet now.  I am happier with my life now.  Less polish and more comfort.  It still seems crazy that those tennis shoes cost as much as any pair of dress shoes I ever bought

It’s funny what looking down once in awhile can remind us of…

Being content with uncertainty

My family and very close friends know that my life has been shattered, scattered and scarred over the last 4 years.  Before 2015, there were always the everyday soap opera scenarios; moves, divorces, marriages,  births, deaths – everything that makes up life for most of us.  May 10, 2015, Mothers Day and my grandson Chris’ birthday rolled around.  Spring was in the air and I was in a great mood.  My friend, who was like family to me, had moved back from California and I was excited to have her in my life again.  I went to bed that night with a smile on my face.

My husband woke me up at 10:15pm and said “Peg, you better get up.  The police are at the door”.  As I write this, my stomach still lurches a little.  I am the poster child for “gut reactions”.  My daughter, Sarah, had been arrested in our driveway, as she was leaving the house.  Life as I knew it melted before my eyes.

I was on auto-pilot for the next year.  Police in my living room, drug dogs in my basement, Social Workers, Federal prosecutors, a useless attorney who gave us so much bad information that I reported him to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Board.  They chose to ignore my case against him.  During this period of time, I did not tell my employer what I was going through.  My company at the time was being managed by people who were younger than my kids!  All they cared about was productivity.

The reason that I am finally writing about this now is that life has slipped back into a semblance of normalcy.  We have custody of my grandson, now a 9 year old 4th grader.  We are going to visit my daughter in Tallahassee at the Federal Prison over his Spring break.  When is she getting out?  Not for 13 more years, if we believe the BOP website.  She actually got more time for a non violent drug crime than murderers and rapists…but I digress.  That is an entirely different conversation.

Retirement has given me the time and insight to look past the obvious and ask deeper questions of myself.  Can I embrace uncertainty? I don’t know how well I am doing as a “parent” again.  Should I keep Chris in the soccer class, the same church?  Every decision I make now seems monumental!  Life continues as the soap opera drama it was before Sarah was arrested, but now it has a different texture, color, sound and flavor.  Every feeling is enhanced now.  I am in the moment.  Mindfulness is what I grasp.  Staying present and not leaning into the future or dwelling on the past.

I am settling into uncertainty.  With the help of my family and friends, I will embrace it!

Spiritual 2×4

Last weekend I went to a psychic fair for about an hour.  These gigantic row by row booths of psychics, crystal mongers and candle peddlers are so much fun, that I always go.  For many years I went with bated breath and heart pounding anticipation that one of those readers would tell me that my life would be easy and money would be flowing in like water.  My perfect mate was looking for me and my kids would be flawless!  Several years later, I know better.  Don’t misunderstand, I am not cynical.  I understand that if life were perfect, I would not be connected so tightly to Spirit and realize that everyone has issues to deal with and adventures to experience.  I always follow my gut intuition at these shows.  I stopped to look at the pet psychic booth and began a conversation with the neighboring psychic reader.  I decided that I liked her and sat for a 20 minute “read”.  The information was so different than previous experiences.  She told me that I had “something to share with others” and that I was “not sharing my gifts”.  Of course I knew what she meant.  For many years I have been blessed with “intuition” and the ability to help others see and feel what they needed to know.  I sold laboratory equipment and supplies for 35 years.  My customers became my friends.  My manufacturer reps were also special to me and a constant source of knowledge and fun.  I retired 2 years ago.  My gifts have gone untouched for the most part.  I started this blog with the idea that I could share my insights and inspiration with the hope of reaching people who could use it to know that there are others who share their faith, optimism and hopefulness.

I took an Astrology for health class the very next day after the Spiritual Fair.  I was told that I had been given a great gift and my health depended on me using this wonderful planetary alignment in my birth chart to spread healing and happiness.

The problem, as I see it sometimes, is that I don’t always see the happiness.  There are days when I want to scream at the top of my lungs “It’s just not fair”  “Why me!”   When this happens, my first reaction after the rage, is to think about how much I have.  I live in the United States, my home is so comfortable, I am healthy, on and on and on….  This is life.  We are on planet earth.  There is no perfect place.  I look for the best in the situation, the happiness, joy, ridiculousness and outrageousness of life.

For anyone who has never heard the story:

The universe whispers in your ear and tells you what the right thing to do is…

The universe then taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, remember what I said”

You don’t pay any attention.  Next, the universe takes out a 2 x 4 piece of wood and smacks you upside the head!

Lesson learned.  I am writing now.  If nobody reads it, no matter.  I am following instructions!

It’s Neither Fortune nor Misfortune

Linda just turned 79.  For several years after her divorce at 69, I helped her through some rough times.  She had been taken advantage of by several people, her ex-husband included.  Our relationship was complicated.  At times she was like a mother-in-law to me, other times a good friend and sometimes we disagreed to the point of screaming at each other! Love is like that.  A year ago Linda collapsed and had to be hospitalized.  She was in for several months of rehab and could not go back to her apartment.  Her son and I found an assisted living facility, cleaned her apartment, with her permission, and sold her furniture.  Within days, Linda started feeling better and accused us of stealing from her.  We were both summarily dismissed!  She found another friend to help her, take care of her finances, sell her property and be her companion.  Ouch!  That really hurt.

Several months have passed.  I retired from a job that I loved to raise my 9-year-old grandson, along with my husband.  The challenges are gripping.  Sometimes I wonder how I can do it successfully and other times I revel in the fun and laughter that he provides.  I know that my hands are full!

I am grateful that the Universe provided me the time and energy I need to give my full attention to my grandson.  If I were still handling all of Linda’s finances, health issues and recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s, I would not have time for my husband, my grandson or ME.

Think about your life.  How many times have you been hurt, only to look back and thank God that the situation turned out as it did.  The challenge is living that way.  Viewing what is happening right now as “Neither Fortune or Misfortune” is being present and Mindful.  It is always my goal now to be here.  Thank you Linda.  I Love You.



Perennial Garden Madness

We have lived in our house for 17 years now.  I have been planting and weeding my front garden for as many years.  I noticed that it seems to change every year in ways that I did not plan.  New flowers that I didn’t plant, appear.  The coneflower are receding and the poppies are sprawling.  Grass grows better in the garden than on our lawn.  Over the years I have added rose bushes, strawberries, blueberries, honeysuckle vines and many other perennials.  Some thrive and some die off for no apparent reason.  It occurred to me that my garden is so similar to life itself.  You plan, you expect certain outcomes and you nurture people to supply what you believe is the beautiful, colorful life you planned to have.  Then something happens and life takes on a plan of its own.  It is still beautiful, including the weeds and grass, it just looks so much different from the plan.  It changes with the seasons and the years. “Perfect in its imperfection” is how I view my perennial garden – and my life!

Remembering Mrs. Fitch

Childhood summers in the Riede household were spent at Ackerson Lake in a two room cottage with sleeper sofas, a stove and an oil burning heater.  The pump for water was outside, as well as the outhouse.  It was pure heaven!  We lived on the lake for three months, next door to my dad’s Aunt Mayme and Uncle Russ.  A couple of doors down, Mrs. Marion Fitch and her husband, Walt lived year round.  It’s hard to imagine now that when I was 7 years old, I went over in the morning, knocked on the door and spent time with Mrs. Fitch.  She was from England and I still remember her like it was yesterday.  Every morning we would have soft-boiled eggs, which she taught me how to eat properly, as well as tea in china cups.  She had quaint sayings like “mind your head” when she opened cupboards.  The biscuit tins with the picture of Queen Elizabeth on them, which her mother sent, fascinated me.  All of these memories come flooding back now that I am at home and hosting the neighborhood kids.  What will they remember about Mrs. Collins?  Am I stressed because the fort they built destroyed my tidy dining room?  How about the mess in the kitchen when we made cookies and the batter splattered all over the wall?  Slime recipes? Don’t get me started there!  How do we influence others without even trying? What will the little one’s remember when they think back to their childhood?  I am doing my best to be a little more patient and lighten up, just like my best friend, Mrs. Fitch.

Get Off My Lawn!

Summer officially started today at my house.  School is out and the invasion of the neighbor kids begin.  I have never claimed to have patience dealing with a room full of kids.  My expertise was a room full of Scientists.  The challenge here is keeping a sense of humor and letting go of any dreams of order or cleanliness!  I know I am in charge, but after telling – sometimes yelling – DON’T DO THAT AGAIN!, I feel beaten down.  I really want Chris, my grandson and his friends to have fun, so instead of yelling Get Off My Lawn!, I am saying Go Play on My Lawn!

Please, just go outside and terrorize the next door neighbor for awhile.

Getting back on track

It has been awhile since I wrote anything to anyone.  Life became a blur, winding in and out of health issues, self judgement, encroaching clutter and downright confusion.  After working as a sales rep for 35 years and being engaged with customers and team members, my life went silent.  I turned inward toward myself.  What a strange feeling to put ME first.  I didn’t know what to do! Even though I am raising my 9 year old grandson, along with my husband, which keeps me busy, it was as though my goals and daily routines melted away.  I searched for answers in so many places, other than inside my heart.  Thinking certainly was a waste of time.  I purchased meditation apps, Young Living Oils and mist machines, and drove my friends and family crazy with my obvious discomfort.

What has changed in the last few weeks? Spring came, I found a new woman doctor who actually listened to me and found answers without judgement.  My husband Scott convinced me that he REALLY wanted me to be happy – that was all.  Just happy.  What a concept! How stubborn I am.  It has always been easier for me to assist others and make sure they are happy than to put the oxygen mask on first.  I am getting there, friends.  I hope you will walk this path with me.  I don’t really know where it leads, but writing has always been my happy place and that is exactly where I want to be.

I originally wrote this in 2012.  I am now retired with a bit of a new point of view.  I feel like I am on an extended vacation.  It has been 3 months since I retired, but not stopped moving!  What do you think – I really would love the feedback.

Are you afraid of failure or is it success? What would be the “shadow side” of success for you? So often I think about being wildly successful, a motivational speaker, a published author and something inside me says “what would I give up?” Take a look at your shadow side. It is very subtle, yet powerful. I am learning to tell it to shut up and move over!

Hindsight is 20-20

This week I really screwed up, forgetting to do things I had promised people, leaving late for appointments – even forgetting to put on ear rings! The funny thing that happened in retrospect, was that every one of those seeming mistakes turned out to be an opportunity to make the situation better and strengthen relationships. The key was for me to laugh it off, be gentle with myself and call a friend to talk me through the madness. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You latest mistake may just be the right thing for you to do. Hindsight is always 20-20. Peggy