Friday, March 23, 2012

How Am I Swiming? :o :D

This morning I was feeling pretty great. After all - I can swim now. (Insert image of me raising and eyebrow in a very proud and happy way :) I have been working on my goal to learn to swim in the month of March - and I'm succeeding! No - I still haven't signed up for swimming lessons. Yes - I still intend to (I only know one stroke ~ sort of... :o But hey, I can swim "to save my life" now! :D was content knowing that  I am no longer in the same league as the dog paddlers.:) (Aren't we proud? :o)

Then my husband came to the pool just as I was about to get out. His appointment was pushed forward (the appointment that determined how much time I had in the pool and consequently gave me MORE TIME). So I swam some more - with my wonderful dear husband watching. :)

He is so great! :D He came over to me and let me know that the other swimmers had their heads further in the water; and came up for air with their heads to the side and just barely took their mouths out of the water; their hips were floating, and their legs much straighter than mine; and when their arms came into the water they came down with energy and really scooped that water to make their bodies move through it at a faster rate. humph. He just thought I would want to know. I did. I mean, I did know. And I did want to know. Sigh...

Of course, he also told me I am WAY better than I used to be (yes - I was THAT BAD; Honestly, I'm totally tickled pink with my amazing progress! :D) And I REALLY, TRULY appreciated his observations (after the initial moments of wishing I swam like the other swimmers). I may just talk him into joining me and observing me regularly to help me know what I need to work on.

After the initial shock and sadness over the mental shift of comparing my swimming ONLY with my previous pathetic abilities a few weeks ago, to comparing myself with truly good swimmers, I can honestly say that I'm OK with being among the worst again. After all, I'm in a new league. I was once the worst of the worst. And now I'm the worst of the fairly good! :D

The psychological result? My goal was to swim for one month so I could get decent at it. NOW I want to get really good at it! :) This means I'm going to have to start doing other things besides swimming because the swimming isn't going to stop (though I may settle for weekly soon). People - you are going to see a major difference in me when I do the "mini" triathlon again (omg. I'm now cringing over "mini." I may have to up that goal as well. :o)

I think I may have created a monster.

PS. I got on my Daily Mile today to log in my swimming this week when I came across a video showing the training of a triathlete. I was "wowed." This gal works out between 12 and, what was it... 20 hours a week. Yeah. I've only been working out about 3/week. (yikes!) I think It's time to up it just a little... Maybe I'll work my way up to doing about half (or more) of what she does... :o LOL

PS. "You only live once. But if you work it right, once is enough."
Joe Lewis

Friday, March 16, 2012

Update - I'm Alive! :D

Yeah... I'm feeling pretty good. ;)
Hi!  :D Yes - I am still Alive! :)

I hope my readers didn't begin to wonder if I fell off the face of the planet (here to confirm that you are right... I did - JK ;). Actually, I just got really engrossed in living! I also enjoyed an early "Spring Break" with my family of home scholars and another great family of "home scholars." Isn't the freedom of home schooling great? :D

I will keep this short because I am still knee deep in living (:o ~ and LOVING almost every minute of it! ;). I will just tell you that God has been very good to us. :) I'm enjoying life and SO THANKFUL for family and friends. I feel incredibly blessed to live in a beautiful area with wonderful people. I'm so happy that I am totally comfortable swimming with my head down in the water now! (It felt like it would take a miracle for that to happen - but it happened. The learning curve for swimming amazes me!). I'm so thankful for my husband and our amazing children. I love teaching them. I love their resilience and the things they teach me. I love this adventure and journey of motherhood and have come to the beautiful conclusion that part of my duties as mother and homemaker is to read great books! :) Yes, I am reading a ton again; after all, when I read great books, I'm just doing my job! ;)

Till I find the time to get consistent here again...
Corine :D

PS. About that goal I recently set to swim 3 days a week for a month - Since I took off and went out of town for a week I didn't have access to a pool while away. Oh well. I'll just tack on some swim time at the end of the goal! :o The vacation was worth it! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gaining through Losses...

About a week ago I set a goal to swim 3 days each week for the next month (at least). Yesterday was the last day of the week and I had only swum twice. It was dark and cloudy and I felt “blah.” So began the search all over the house for my swimming gear (swimsuits, goggles, swim cap, lock, shampoo for getting chlorine out, towel etc). Finally, I realized I had it all in a duffel bag in the truck, and it must have been stolen while I was in a store.

I felt like crying over my lost swimming gear (:o - ?). I was feeling blue, and I needed to be swimming the blues away! I think part of it was also remembering having the fleeting thought that someone could steal it – but not locking the doors anyhow; just as I recalled the fleeting thought to tell Miles to find a different place to store the money, just days before we realized it was stolen. Perhaps I was just angry at myself for not listening to that still small voice…

In hind site it seems silly to be discouraged about losing a few swimming items - but I confess anyhow. Oh well, we all have a hard time with some things no matter how small... :o. I decided that I must need practice coping and following all promptings (I write these here as reminders for myself... :o), so made an effort to just not worry about it and endure well.

I also remembered that some time ago I made the conscious decision not to allow obstacles to keep me from my goals - by staying focused on goals rather than on obstacles. I know this is a small and simple example and not an earth shaking accomplishment, but I would like to share it anyhow...

Upon remembering this I asked myself; “Corine, are you allowing the obstacle of lack of supplies to keep you from accomplishing your new goal? Or are you going to focus on solutions?” I knew what I wanted the answer to be. So even though I still felt somewhat lethargic from sadness I decided to go shopping and get what I needed and go swim. Another obstacle came to mind - I didn't have a whole lot of money. But I decided to trust that everything would be OK and just go get the needed items.

Long story short - I went to two stores and while in line at both stores I remembered I had credit there. A testimony to me that sometimes we think we don't have the means when we do - and that if we just go forth to do what we need to do the lord will open up the way. I'm happy to say I met my goal for the first week which will fuel me in weeks to come!

Now, about that theft… A friend asked me, "What is it with you and the recent theft?" She knows and loves me and I'm sure she knows I have never been a thief; we know this didn’t happen as a form of karma – or getting back what I dished out. No, this was not “what I had coming.” But it WAS SOMETHING... It was A BLESSING for me to learn to handle undesirable situations and go forth with faith. It was AN OPPORTUNITY for me to focus on goals and not to allow obstacles to get in my way. It was A REMINDER of how important it is that I not care too much about money or material things. It was the source of a multitude of blessings; the lord made it all work for my good. :D

Experiences like these are changing me… I continue to like myself better as I pass through them. :D In the past I would have thought about the means to replace the loss and been sad that the money had to go "there" – thinking that I would have had more money if the loss had not occurred. I no longer think that way. Though I know my losses are small compared to Job's; I can learn from him. I look at Job and of his great loss and then at what the lord blessed him with afterwards and I don’t think “gee, he could have had all that he lost AND what he gained.” NO I don’ think that, because he would not have had both (especially the two families). Had he not lost something the lord would not have sent replacements; and the replacements were greater than the losses.

Likewise, my replacements have been greater than my losses... I have applied this to my recent situations. After $2,200 was stolen we had a profitable business dealing in which we had enough to replace the stolen money (which wasn't even ours) - AND then some. And in a way, my husband and I have prospered spiritually, psychologically and emotionally as a result of these seeming financial losses.

In the past I may have lamented over the money lost – thinking of how much MORE we would have had after bills if we didn’t have to replace the stolen money. This time (after an initial experience of striving not to be overwhelmed) I wondered if that big sale was one that the lord sent to cover our losses and then some; something He would not have felt inclined to do had we not first had a loss.

I did the same thing yesterday with the stolen swimming gear (after first whining briefly "why me" and wanting to cry :o). Rather than think of what else I could have gotten with the credit I used to replace the stolen items, I chose to be thankful that the lord provided a way for me to replace the items without hurting my budget. If I would have had to dip into the budget I would still be thankful that the items were replaceable; there is always something to be thankful for. :) It feels good to think this way. I am happy. :D

Upon contemplation I am of the opinion that enduring challenges well may be about 95% perspective – and another 95% gratitude for blessings. And both are in our power to control! I'm totally “wowed”... The lord is so good to us all! :D

PS. Don’t worry about the math… ;)

UPDATE - Mar 5, 2012

I read a post this morning in which a man felt ashamed of his financial struggles. This man is not alone in his struggles... Job was a man of great righteousness, and even his friends, who should have known him, turned against him assuming that he must not be living righteously. Even our Savior, Jesus Christ, who was raised by very righteous people - came into this world financially poor. When giving sacrifices at the temple, Mary and Joseph gave only doves - the least expensive of sacrifices.  

We need not worry about hiding struggles or be ashamed. On the contrary, many who struggle financially do so on principles of righteousness (honesty, sharing, self reliance), while some do things that are dishonest to keep from struggling. A man's pocket book and list of items does not correlate at all with his level of righteousness. Here is a final quote or two to leave with you..

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God”
  Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 255–56

Happiness - not monetary wealth - is the goal, and the blessing for keeping the commandments.
"Living the gospel does not mean the storms of life will pass us by, but we will be better prepared to face them with serenity and peace. 'Search diligently, pray always, and be believing,' the Lord admonished, 'and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly.'"
         --Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Finding a Safe Harbor," Ensign, May 2000

We are not promised that doing the will of Jesus Christ will cause storms to dodge our homes, but rather that we may have PEACE and strength to get through the storms as we turn to Him; and that He can turn all things into blessings for our good. This is my testimony that I leave with you, in His name...

Corine :D


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Obstacle Courses

This is something I wrote about 3 years ago. I modified it some today...

One of my fondest childhood memories is of how Dad would make long and challenging obstacle course races for my siblings and I to enjoy. He laid down tires for us to run through, logs to hurdle over, all kinds of natural environmental objects, as well as creative man made items; anything you can imagine, he could and would use to create some type of obstacle for us kids to struggle though as we ran from point A to point B.

We loved those courses! They were challenging! They were fun! And when you got to the other end you had a rewarding sense of accomplishment.

I recall being mindful of myself as I raced across, comparing my progress with that of another racer, my opponent, or my own best time. The competition was exciting. The thrill of the possibility of winning was exciting. I always felt so capable there, and though I could be quite klutzy, I was still quite sure that I would do well.

I loved it when dad made the courses ultra challenging; the greater the challenge or difficulty, the greater the achievement in the end. I focused on my goal; and the obstacles added an element of excitement that made the goal worth pursuing.

As I thought of these fun obstacle courses and my goals to reach the end of each successfully, I found myself comparing them to the bigger goals and obstacles that entered my life as I grew older, and to the ways in which I approached them.

I had goals to be a wife and mother, to go to college. I pressed forth eagerly, and with no worry of the obstacles that lay before me. Like the child that ran the obstacle courses in my parents’ yard, I knew that I could accomplish my goals and had no worries about impeding obstacles.

How interesting it is to me that while in my youth, I viewed not only this game in such positive light, but the games of life as well. How wonderful it was each time I enjoyed a new course in my life and wasn’t too overwhelmed by the obstacles that stood between me and my goals. In my youth, I dove into life full force, fearlessly. Life was exciting. I was productive.

But as time went on, I began to do too much. I became very overwhelmed.

I went through a phase where I lost, off and on, some of the childlike faith that had previously propelled me on with such determination. Though I was older, stronger, and more experienced, I also noticed and focused on obstacles so much more than I had in the past. It made me tired.

For a time, I did way too much with no balance between work and relaxation; It was like running course after course and never resting... I also thought about my struggles (obstacles in life) more than I though about my goals and why I was working through those struggles. Thus, I became too burnt out to run, too burnt out to see. For a good part of one year, I actually, honestly, seemed kind of lazy (major shock to me – I thought it was impossible for me to ever be at all lazy!) Perhaps not truly lazy, just too tired to run. In my exhaustion, I stepped back from many of the obstacles that lay before me, thus, I stepped back from some of the races themselves. I stopped running the race of life.

I learned from it though. I learned the hard way to not to run faster than I have strength; I learned to do things not only for others, but also for myself, to refuel my own tank, to let myself take breaks and to enjoy life more fully. I finally learned the importance of balancing work and play, and to not work so hard that it became debilitating. And I learned the importance of focusing on goals, rather than on obstacles.

Though the bliss ignorance of not anticipating obstacles is gone, the knowledge that OBSTACLES will strengthen me, give me experience, and can not keep me from accomplishing my goals remains in it's place.

I’m thankful for rest.
I’m thankful for rejuvenation. 

I am thankful to again see through an old perspective I had long ago, ironically, the faith and perspective of a child.

And I am SO thankful to be running the races of life! :D

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Normal Life...

... I just hit the jackpot of quotes about life today by the well loved President Gordon B. Hinckley and his wife Marjory Pay Hinckley! If ever again I feel frustrated with lack of accomplishment or like parts of my life are just not measuring up - or like my life is just not "normal" enough - I'll come here to read what the Hinckley's have to say. And then I will laugh, and smile, and know that everything is OK... :)

  "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey.... delays....sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
President Gordon B. Hinckley

Here is another great quote by Marjorie... 

I don't want to drive up the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived"
~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I have collected a couple of these quotes and pictures over time (one of which I found here and blogged about already); but found ALL of them again yesterday off of Kerin's blog - Cottage on Main (between a post and her sidebar). Though this blog is going private and you may not ever see it, I want to give credit where credit is due and thank her for sharing them again with me... Thank you Kerin! :) I hope you know how thankful I am to have seen them ALL together at once, and hope to spread the joy to others that you have shared with me...

I hope we all have the perspective to be OK with the fact that if we think a life of "bliss" is "normal"  or that a "normal" life is one that is relaxing, easy, neat and clean as a pin - our lives will never be normal - and that's not only OK; it is a good thing!

I hope we all have the wisdom to remember that a life well lived is mostly work - and to relish it, and know that it really is just fine and "normal" to experience such an imbalance in this world. The trick is to appreciate and enjoy the work (be it physical, mental, emotional etc) and find joy in every aspect of our lives.

I hope you have an awesome day!
Corine :D