Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Seth Godin: “Every time I find myself wishing for an external event, I realize that I’m way better off focusing on something I can control instead.”

I cannot control everything.

I can only control what I can control.

When I am stressed, it is because I feel out of control of my life.

When I feel out of control, it is because I am trying to control things that I cannot control.

For example, I cannot control what (or if) Papa Bear earns. I can control what I spend my money on. 

I can’t change how much I owe the world right now, but I can change how and when I work. I can choose not to be distracted by Facebook and Mahjongg and interesting but distracting articles on digestive health and French fashion … I can choose to work smart AND hard, instead of goofing off when I feel overwhelmed.

I can’t change what happens to me or even a lot of what happens in my life. I can change how I react to it.

And I can choose what I will stand for – and what I won’t.

I can't control what happens to me - but I can control what I allow



“We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way we are.”

– Anaïs Nin

I see only my side of the story.

Sometimes, I do not like it.

I cannot change it … unless I change myself.

That takes time.
And effort.
And feedback.

It requires a conversation.

It requires the courage to speak up, to question – even at the risk of not being heard. Even at the risk of being shot down, berated, belittled, hated.

It requires tenacity: the persistence to keep at it until the other’s view becomes clear … to dig deep for empathy, for understanding.

It doesn’t mean agreeing with that view. It may not mean accepting that view.

It is simply acknowledging that the other’s view IS their view. It is truth to them.
They see things the way they are.


Following Joy

Liz Gilbert (my hero :)) recently posted a beautiful, moving piece on Facebook about joy. You can read the full post here.

She explains that joy is the light that guides us on the path of our destiny, showing us when we’re on track, and warning us by its absence when we’ve veered off course:

Martha Beck always says that the universe is constantly trying to use your JOY as a way of communicating your destiny to you. If you feel a hint of joy, that means you’re on the right track. If not, you’re going in the wrong direction. The scattered moments of joy that you feel in your life are meant to be clues: THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING; THIS IS THE KIND OF PERSON YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WITH; THIS IS HOW YOU ARE MEANT TO FEEL.

Martha says that — if we refuse to seek joy, believe in joy, trust joy, and follow our JOY — then the universe will resort to using suffering and pain to try to get our attention … but God would really rather communicate your destiny to you through joy. So try that first.

Look for crumbs of joy, and trust them.

Yes indeed. Look for the crumbs of joy. They are effervescent bubbles of glowing hope in what can be a dark and scary forest of pain and distraction.

oy is the light that guides us on the path of our destiny, showing us when we're on track, and warning us by its absence when we've veered off course

Where Angels Fear To Tread

The secret to freedom is courageBlazing a brand new trail is scary stuff. What makes it so terrifying, is that there’s no map. The guidebooks all say “Turn Back!” Friends and guides with good intentions try to counsel you back to the path they know so well … the road everyone before you has walked.

What if I don’t like that road?

What is that path is not for me?

What if “normal”, “accepted”, “traditional”, “conventional” – all those words – what if they fill me with a deep and drilling boredom so pervasive and alive and real that the very thought of “staying the course” invokes a horror I don’t think I can face?

The truth is that The Path so carefully beaten out by all my ancestors is not the path for me. The way I need to go involves a machete and some pretty tenacious undergrowth. There may be lions. And tigers. And bears.

Oh my!

And yet, it’s the way I need to go. It calls me on.

It makes me tired. I feel that I am hacking this crazy route out all by myself. I don’t know why. I don’t know where it’s headed. I don’t know if I will survive the journey. I don’t even know what the journey is.

I just know that I must go. I must hack and slash and slice and climb and tumble and be scratched and torn by all the obstacles my predecessors cleared from the conventional path.

Hopefully, this trail leads somewhere. Hopefully, the path I am carving has meaning and purpose. Hopefully, in the end, it all makes sense and I am fulfilled and contented and at peace.

Here’s hoping.

The Season of Giving … ?

We have enough. Of everything. Too much, really. We don’t need more of anything. (Except coffee. Obviously.)

The gift of your presence is present enough.

Your time and attention is all I need.

When you hear me, I know I am loved.

It’s for your focus I plead.


If I find myself disinclined to spend time with someone for whom I feel obliged to buy a gift, why do I feel that obligation? What is the basis for our relationship? What more practical ways could I find to show my consideration … without adding to another’s clutter?

The gift of your presence if present enough

Here’s what The Minimalists have to say on the subject: http://www.theminimalists.com/p038/

I recommend it – it’s well worth your time and attention.

Hijack Victim Branded Fool

“Three hijack car left idling” the headline blared from the street pole it had been staked to as I drove past.

“Idiot,” I thought. “Who leaves their car with the keys in the ignition – idling? For heaven’s sake! Did he want it to get stolen. Everyone knows that’s just asking for it.”

As the sentence finished vomiting its bile into my brain, I stopped myself. What was I thinking? I meant the question quite literally. Sure someone’s property is their property. Surely if something is not mine, then it isn’t mine. I won’t touch it. I won’t use it. I won’t break it. I won’t take it. Because it isn’t mine.

I think this is what the Bible means when it tells us not to covet. It’s not about looking at Sandra-from-accounting’s shoes and thinking, “Gosh – those are awesome! I’m getting me a pair of Jimmy Choos!” (Okay, All Stars. Okay, fine. Tommies. Whatever. This is a no-judgment zone, remember?)

Coveting is when we want something that belongs to someone else. And we want it so badly, we’d take it – maybe even hurting someone in the process.

That’s just not okay. No thing of yours – not your stuff, and not your body – belongs to me. And vice versa. I may like something of yours. And that’s fine. As long as that desire leads to positive action, such as working to earn it, saving up to buy it, or getting counselling to get over it.

But what you have is yours, and what I have is mine. And no matter what I do with anything of mine, or what you do with anything of yours, no one else has the right to do anything with it at all.

When we blame the victim of the crime for basically allowing the crime – either by their choices or their actions – we are losing site of the fact that it was a crime. No matter the circumstances, no one has a right to perpetrate a crime against anyone else, and blaming the victim creates the culture that breeds these criminals. It amounts to us saying to them, “Don’t steal from (kill/rape/etc) – oh wait, except for that person. Yeah, they’re totally asking for it. Go wild.”

One day, any of us could make any one of those judgment errors, and I’m pretty sure not one of us would then be okay with someone doing any of those things. No matter where we parked. Or what we did with the car keys. Or what clothes we happened to be wearing.



I took longer than usual about my morning ablutions, enjoying every moment from the thyme-scented bath to the flawless foundation (well, flawless for me) to the popping red lips. I painted my nails and tried to look at my – let’s call them curves – as if I could love them. A little bit. I checked that my hair had just the right balance between bouncy curls and sleek smoothness that it needed for the evening’s activities (eight hours later), before pinning it all up again to protect it from our humid climate.

By the time I was ready for the day, mundane as my morning plans may have been, I was bubbly with a little inner champagne of joy and a serious case of the ‘I’m-all-that’s.

I headed outside to hang out the laundry (see? I told you. Mundane.) It was the perfect day for it: hot and bright, with a soft little breeze to ease the oppression of too much humidity.

I’d just taught Goldilocks about the meditative power of doing chores, and I decided to sink into mine with a soulful relish.

The breeze dance through my just-styled hair, displacing some of the morning’s artistry. Usually, I’d have railed inside at the frustration. I’d have willed my hair to stay in place – maybe even pinned it down. I’d have been frustrated by my inability to impose my will on the sun, the wind, my hair, the humidity content of the air, the recalcitrantly damp laundry and the pervading heat.

But not today.

Today I let the wind have its way with me. I immersed my self in its cool touch and felt connected to the earth on which I stood, the greenery surrounding me. These all were my mother, my sisters. Soul mates. Friends.

I heard – no, wait – felt the breath of that breeze whisper ancient truths into my waiting mind.

“Your children’s destiny is not your responsibility. It is no reflection on you. What they become is their affair. What they believe is their choice. You cannot make them believe anything. Not ever. You can teach them what you believe, and you can tell them why. You can model your truth, living it with honest and integrity, and without hypocrisy or ulterior motives. And you should. You can give them the tools they need to think, to learn, to discern, and to grow. You can open the door. You can show them the way. You may even walk part of it with them. But it is their way. And you cannot change it. Only they can do that.

Live joyfully with your children. Relish them fervently. Be present with them every moment that you share. Because those moments grow fewer. And those moments, finally, are all that you can truly give them. Make sure they are enough. Waste none.”

A friend is filled with dogma and fear for her children’s souls. If she cannot make them share her faith, they have no hope.

But she cannot make them share her faith though now, perhaps, for a time, they day. Tomorrow is tomorrow, and what will be will be.

I pray for my children’s souls, but I do not fear. I cannot make them believe anything, but I can teach them to live their truth by bravely living mine.

They are wise and they are strong and they will make right choices for themselves. They will make wrong choices for themselves. They will suffer. And they will rejoice. And in between the suffering and the rejoices, in the myriad tiny and tremendous choices they will make each day from this day until their last days, they will live.

And they will live well.

Secrets about faith and living your parenting

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