Grounded

Grounded

Sunday, June 1, 2014

162nd Post - Disappointment or Failure

I'm not going to lie, it's been a tough month both personally and professionally. Upon reflection, I'm reminded again, that the details matter less than the accumulation of emotions.
  • Anger,
  • Sadness,
  • Frustration,
  • Sorrow,
  • Disappointment.
Of course with the plethora of grandchildren in our quiver, there was also a good dose of joy, delight, encouragement, and unadulterated happy...
...but back to my brooding.
In the midst of 'sober second thoughts' coupled with ruthless self-reflection I was left exhausted; physically and emotionally. A place only briefly witnessed in decades. Now I had soundly landed and risked being stuck.
Throughout our lives we are given wake up calls. My latest came just over a week ago. A mild to moderate health scare; a wonder if I was dead or alive.
Alive, I am. A healthy alive at that.
When a counsellor and a pastor co-exist in a smallish urban apartment, what is lost in physical space is made up in emotional space. All that to say, we reflect A LOT!
And this reflection was all about me. Reflection on past, present, and future.
What are my for sures?
  • I'm a hard worker,
  • I'm intelligent,
  • I have great intuition coupled with wisdom,
  • I am loved, protected, cherished,
  • I've been blessed with a career that has been an awesome fit.
So then, why the angst? Why the questions?
In the midst of yet another educational-systems conflict (how many is that now?) I find myself weary. A good old, shake my head with 'not-again' weariness. That kind of tired can usually be shifted aside by doing, but there is no 'doing' for me this time round.
So then, here's the deal. I still hold disappointments close to my heart. So close they hurt perhaps more than I realize. A gentle nudge from my reverend brought me to wonder if the sad is less about disappointment and more about a sense of failure.
  • Failure to shield  students from bad news,
  • Failure to shield my own children from disappointment or pain,
  • Failure to make the world a perfect place,
  • Failure to make my career move 'up' fast enough.
Hard to believe it comes back to the old, 'I'm not good enough'.
Then I wonder, if I'm still vulnerable and fall back to this old 'default' of 'not good enough', then what can I offer as hope to students and staff. And here's where the story changes. I'm not stuck here. I've learned to stare down failure. It can be ripped apart piece by piece. It's not up to me to shield the world ~ to 'fix' the world. It's up to me to stay grounded, feet planted, deep breathing. My job is to notice: beauty, sunrises, sunsets, laughter, tears, energy, weariness. Then stand in those places. Yes, stand in beauty and/or weariness. To embrace the here and now, to know there is hope, there is a tomorrow, there is a better.
My job is to never, ever give up.
To witness growth amidst a storm brings a new strength. A new commitment to move forward. To be still yet shout aloud - "it gets better, it really does''.
Warmest Regards,
Carol

Thursday, April 17, 2014

160th Post - Heritage

"His faithful foll'wer I would be"...

I awoke to these words from an old hymn swirling in my heart. Leaning into in the peace of the message, my reflection eventually rested in the image of sitting next to my Omie in church. My head buried in her warm, soft, fur coat. The smell of mothballs ever so slight, stirred my senses. This memory is so much more than the image, the smell, the nostalgia.

There is comfort in the memory. There is strength in the memory. There is a nudging in the memory. How will my grandchildren remember me? Am I passing on the strength of my faith? I know I play with them, shop with them, laugh with them. I know they know I love them.

But...

Do they know how my faith has sustained me? Will they know without a doubt that Grandma Cary-all, is a Jesus-follower? A God-lover? Completely sold out to life built on faith.

My Omie never preached to me. I rarely remember her quoting scripture. I probably watched more soap operas with her, than we ever sat and read the Bible together. Yet, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved God and He loved her. Even without the details of her story, I knew He was with her every step of her journey.

May I be mindful to pass that unwavering knowing to my own children and grandchildren. May they know without a shadow of a doubt that HE has sustained me. He is my comfort, my peace, my hope, my solid rock.

As we go into another Easter, I return to this hymn of old. Oh the wonder that these words of another generation, still speak to me today.

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Refrain:
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

Blessing to you all,
Carol

Sunday, March 9, 2014

159th Post Story: Understanding or Excuse?

Several weeks ago I gave a talk to a group of school administrators. I've edited it down to 15 minutes. My dear reverend filmed it on his iPhone. His arm was rather sore after 30 minutes. What a wonderful man to indulge my need to see 'me' in action. If you're interested have a look/listen.





On a more personal note, my daughter, Courtney gave birth to our tenth grandchild on  - CHRISTMAS DAY! What a blessing to welcome baby Noah Elliot Bolen into our family on such a special day. He is a delight. It's lovely that he and his parents live within 45 minutes from us and we can visit more easily than the 4-hour drive to visit his many cousins.


Until next time,

Carol




Monday, December 23, 2013

158th Post - Waiting (Virtual Advent Tour 2013)

There is no better reason to revive my blog than today's participation in the 2013 Virtual Advent Tour. This has become one of my most treasured Christmas traditions. In 2010, with tears streaming, I wrote about Christmas memories of my Omie. 2011 was the joyous account of sharing my well worn 'Christmas Story' picture book with Iyla and Isaac, two of our grandchildren. Hard to believe that 2012 has already fast forwarded to 2013.

Christmas 2013 will forever be remembered as 'the Christmas of waiting'. To-date, our daughter, Courtney is 10 days overdue with her first baby. Clearly this young one has a schedule of its own, not unlike the rest of this ever-growing clan. Our Christmas season has been tentatively scheduled around the impending arrival of grand-baby #10. Papa and Grandma's little apartment is bursting with travellers from afar here for the arrival of @BabyBolen. (yes he/she has their own twitter account - don't ask!)

In an attempt to keep this growing, active family entertained with something other than laptops, iPads, iPhones, Androids, TV etc. the birth of a hopefully annual Christmas tradition was born: a trip to Stanley Park for a ride on the Christmas Train.  

To quote 6 year old Cambria,

"We've GOT to do this again next year!" 

Here's a picture walk. Keep in mind these were all taken with an iPhone, on a moving train. We spent the late morning, early afternoon exploring, but can imagine that under the night sky, the lights must be spectacular. 


 
Santa & Friend
Rudolf the Red Reindeer
Santa's Workshop
Waiting for the train
Here it comes
Sitting in the front
Loved the theme
     Completely in the moment      


Our plans don't end with the Christmas Train: there is Christmas day at Irmgard's (who at 79 is experimenting with a new stuffing recipe); Christmas in Vernon; Christmas in Kelowna; Christmas with Grandchildren - Iyla, Isaac, Megan, Josh, Sarah, Matthew, and Levi.

As I get older I continue to work on embracing the moments, being present in the now. Life is often a complicated busy with more of 'doing the life' than 'living the life'. I enjoy this week of year, the in-between work and Christmas day. I don't always get it right. I still mess up plans (like communicating the right time to meet very pregnant Courtney and Derek at Stanley Park), but I'm getting better.

In keeping with the Charlie Brown theme at this year's Christmas Train,
 I leave you with Linus.


Merry Christmas. 






Monday, October 7, 2013

157th Post - Break Time

It's time to make it official. I'm taking a break from this version of Better is Possible. You may or may not know that I've been cheating on this first born BIP with a second - more work-related blog at...gulp WordPress. Here's the link if you're interested. Better is Possible (the work version)

I'm not shutting down this blog entirely because I hope that when retired from School District work, I'll come back home to my favorite and first Better is Possible (wow did that even make sense?).

I continue to follow friends I've met through this blog - you're all neatly organized in my Bloglovin account. I follow, yet neglect to comment. Bad Blogger am I!

It's my hope that this version of Better is Possible will be that old friend that I come back to and it's as if no time has passed. Could be wishful thinking on my part, but that's the wish I wish for now.

Take care and thanks for being my friend.


Monday, September 2, 2013

156th Post - The Butterflies are Alive and Well

Do you have them? Are they swirling in your belly? Are they taking nose dives so grand they wake you during the night? If your answer is yes, you're probably an educator in the fore-night of a new school year.
This 'day before school starts' never fails to sneak up on me with its plethora of feelings. Excitement, awe, fear, joy, anticipation...they converge in a circular pattern that interrupts sleep with that one last idea of an I must do.
How do you prepare your home away from home for another new beginning? Heading into my second year as a school-based administrator I'm feeling the weight of responsibility: the desire to greet returning staff with enthusiasm; the need to welcome new staff with a confidence that assures them they've made the right decision in joining us here at 'our home'.
It's been a particularly busy two weeks.  Days have been filled with doing all those necessary things required to have the school ready for another grand opening. It's exhausting, but it's GOOD exhausting.
Tomorrow our doors open wide to receive the hundreds of students we proudly call ours.
After a few minor tweaks today - that front bulletin board needs to look more inviting, we are as ready as we are going to be. Yet, there is perhaps the most important detail of all to attend to. Me. Am I ready? Have I taken the time to be still, to capture my thoughts, yes all those swirling ideas; to grab hold and ground them long enough to still myself.
More important than all the doing we've done, is the necessity for us to be present. Fully present. It's our presence that brings that 'magic ingredient' to a successful first day. Our interactions tomorrow will set the foundation for the rest of the year. I need to listen to the each response when I throw out greetings. I need to make eye contact. I need to connect. I know I won't get to everyone tomorrow, but I want to be sure that everyone I get to knows I am glad they're back at our school. I want them to know they are welcome here. I want them to know they are cared about; they are safe. A tall order for day one.
So how do I do it?                                                                                                                                       
 I stop doing just enough to be.
I reflect on the goodness of my life, my whole life, not just my job. I breath, I slow down - which is easier said than done. I connect all the parts of me that together make me my best Carol. In short, I consciously do what I need to do to ground myself. This grounding brings me to a place of gratitude, joy, and ultimately peace. The combination gives me strength. Strength that will need to be replenished over and over throughout the school year. 
And those butterflies, they're alive and well. A beautiful reminder of the possibilities that come along with a new school year.
Best wishes to all.

Monday, August 19, 2013

155th Post - BIG Huge Sigh...


Summer Holidaying is Over. 


Yikes. 
This one was faster than ever.
<insert great big sigh coupled with arm stretch>


In point form here's a catch up of 
some of our summer activities:

  • Replaced septic system with a brand new state of the art Waste Treatment System
  • Re did (actually my reverend is still doing this) patio deck which was ripped out to get to the old septic tank. 
  • Learned more than I ever thought I'd learn about Waste Treatment
  • Learned we have very good dirt
  • Planted grass from seed and it's growing!
  • Celebrated the engagement of my youngest step son and his fiancĂ© Jennifer
  • Had our first ever gathering with all our grandchildren - all nine of them
  • Starting planning for the birth of grandbaby number ten who should be born sometime in December 
  • Spent a glorious four days in Parksville with my daughter, daughter-in-law, ex-daughter-in-law, granddaughter Cambria and Baby Luka
  • Walked miles on the sandy shores
  • Learned about Sand Dollars 
  • Reminded about Tides
  • Read, read, and read some more
All in all it was a wonderful vacation. One of my best yet. 
Now, it's back to work.



Contemplating the goodness of God.
 His direction, His blessing on my life.
I purpose to Lean In to his Grace,
Rest in His Peace.



"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." 
Hebrews 12:1-2

Thanks to Gwen Smith for a fresh inspiration!


It's been a while, but if you're still with me, welcome.
Until next time,