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Archive for April, 2009

Body Soul Spirit Expo


Growing Past the Edge Authors (- Brenda)

Growing Past the Edge Authors (- Brenda)

100_4654This past weekend (April 17-19) I participated in the BodySoulSpirit Expo here in Calgary. I had invited other authors through IPAC (Independent Publishers Association of Canada) to join me in renting a booth at the Expo, so we could share the cost and work while selling our books together. We were a group of seven: Coral Sterling, Beth Castle, Dendarah Hathorchuk, Cori Ellingson, Brenda Mason, Jeane Watier, and myself. We call ourselves Growing Past the Edge: Authors. Jeane developed a great ad for the Show Guide, plus two big posters we can use at another expo or sales event. It was a lot of fun!

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Meese

Meese

Yesterday around 9:30 a.m. my cat wanted out into the back yard.  It is fenced and she can’t get out the gates, because they are latticed to close any gaps.  I left the back screen door open, and the inner door slightly ajar so she could push it to come back inside the house.   Then I came downstairs to my den, worked on emails and edited a book chapter.  At 11:00 a.m. I went upstairs, surprised that she hadn’t come back inside.  I called her.  No answer.  I noticed that my ex had been here to move the van out of the carport, and wondered if my cat, Meese, had gone into the lane when the carport door opened.  I phoned my ex’s house, left a message.   Later, my ex came over and we looked together for her.  I made posters which we put up around the neighbourhood, and we each went in separate directions calling and asking neighbours for information.  She still hasn’t come home this morning.  It’s possible she got out if/when a meter-reader came into the yard and left the gate open.  It’s possible she got out when the carport door opened.  It’s possible that she wiggled under a gate because the sidewalk may have shifted with all the snow and ice this winter.  At any rate, she’s gone.   I will stay home more the next few days, in case the signs turn up info or the Animal Services department or the Humane Society or the nearest vet phone me back to say she’s been turned in.  I’ll visit the Humane Society within 4 days, to see if she’s there, but I’m not hopeful.  We sometimes have coyotes in the city.  Although I haven’t seen any around, who knows?  There’s lots of traffic on the streets, even in this neighbourhood.  She could be lying somewhere too hurt to return.  She could have wandered off and became disoriented, unable to find her way home.  She could have eaten snow mold and become sick and wandered off to die.  Who knows?  I don’t know.  At this point, I can only wait and pray. 

My priorities have shifted.

As of April 23, 10 days later, my cat still has neither returned nor been located. I’ve picked up the list of actions that owners of lost cats can take. I’ve followed them all. I worry and I walk the neighbourhood in the early hours and in the evenings. No sign of Meese. I’ve come to know the neighbourhood in a new way as I walk up front steps to drop Missing Cat flyers in mailboxes. I’ve had real conversations with real people, mostly caring pet-owners, on my walkabouts. I’ve learned more about loss. I miss her.

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This  article is published in Rising Women magazine, April 2009.  Written for Ask Our Experts, it appears on p. 43.

ASK OUR EXPERTS
My mother-in-law’s recent visit was difficult because she seems so critical.  I love her son, and she’s good with my children, but how do I deal with her superior attitude?

My answer:
      Traditionally, mothers-in-law are challenging.  Your husband, in the middle, needs to support you.  Tell him you will talk with his mother.  If he says, “No, I’ll tell her,” assure him you’ll be tactful and mature.
      However, your words “seems so critical” imply your mother-in-law is not saying things directly, but through body language.   When you are ready, share a cup of tea while talking caringly.  Tell her you are fearful she doesn’t accept you.  She will likely strive to re-assure you.  If she doesn’t, share your experience of a previous incident, explaining how you hoped she would respond.  She will understand and respect you more.
      If your mother-in-law gives unwanted advice, ask her to wait until you ask.  Explain you need time to figure out solutions.  (Often her generation believes they know best how to be a “good wife and mother”.  This may differ from your beliefs.)  Later, approach her about a relatively unimportant issue.  Present the situation and your ideas when seeking her opinion.  If you follow her advice and later share the results, your relationship will bloom.   Even if her suggestion doesn’t work, she will know you sincerely tried.  This will build trust between you, leading to easier sharing of other problems. 
      Parents need all the help they can get.   No one is perfect.  You, your husband and his mother can all learn, no matter what age.  Your mother-in-law could become a close friend. Relax, center, and meet her lovingly.  Together, you are a family.
      The function of a family is to provide a balance of discipline and nurturance, so that all grow to become contented mature people.  Too much discipline and not enough nurturance create a victim.  Too much nurturance and not enough discipline create a tyrant.  When a couple marries, they provide discipline and nurturance to help each other grow.  When in-laws enter, sources of discipline and nurturance expand.  Your mother-in-law’s critical judgement is  discipline, so accept and learn from it.  If there’s not enough nurturance from her, tell her you feel unloved.  Most mothers-in-law also want to feel loved, so will change when challenged.
      Have courage.  Make time for that cup of tea or walk together.  Create happy memories to balance criticism.  This is your chance to grow, and grow together.

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