Tag Archives: Prayer

Only Child on Luck and the like

Only child contemplates luck

Only child contemplates luck

Do some people have more good luck than bad? Do others have more bad luck than good?

I believe that is true and unfortunately I am one of the latter, at least as my life the past few years has shown. And before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am definitely not the only one in this over-sized boat.

How do I figure this? If I go through my daily list of what I am thankful for and what I’m not (and the list varies from day-to-day depending on what is happening or happened recently), I find that the bad things take over a larger percentage than the good. Some of the good (like my writing and my garden and my son – in no particular order here) are big. But so is much of the bad.

Bad can be anything from being old, poor, not being healthy to being injured to death of close family and friends, to being alone. The list can be endless. A lot of the bad that happens to people is what comes under the heading of “unexpected things that go wrong.” These usually steal your time, your psyche, your life.

And yes, there is research, there are studies on good and bad luck. I don’t agree with all of it, such as maintaining a positive attitude 100 per cent of the time. That does not stop bad things from happening to people. Neither does a strong belief in God and that he will help if we pray to him. I (and I’m sure others) have proven that one incorrect. The studies don’t go into this latter aspect.

One thing I have learned from life, especially from my friends,  is those seniors who have a life partner do much better in life. Sure,  bad things happen to them, too – nobody is immune from that. But, they have a partner so have help, moral support. They are not dealing alone with the crap in life.

So what are some of the other things that these studies show?

Stephan Makri, PhD. from the City University of London,  says, ““I think that luck means different things to different people—some people use it as synonym for serendipity,” he says. “But others were clear that the two were different—luck was totally out of our control and there’s nothing we can do to influence it.”  By the way the article also quotes Dr. Yanlong Sun,  professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology, Texas A&M College of Medicine, “As both a scientist and a person, I do believe in luck, that it is something I cannot manipulate or operate on.” The article also  quotes Richard Wiseman, psychology professor, the University of Hertfordshire, England, who has done several studies on luck. Wiseman says from one study “unlucky people seemed to demonstrate more anxiety.

Which begs the question? Are peope  unlucky because they are anxious? O are they anxious because they are unlucky?

Read the article on all this: “The Science of Luck” by Alexandra Osola, from Popular Science here.

What is some of the bad luck coming my way lately?

Computer problems, which I may or may have not fixed.

Two watches on the fritz at once. It better just be a new battery needed for each. With the big health issue I’m facing (see below), I don’t have extra cash for anymore expensive extra expenses. Also I need to keep track of my time, even though the powers that be may not be doing so.

Things going missing somewhere in my house. Disclaimer: I am not a hoarder and with what I do have I’ve been systematically sorting through and purging.

Ongoing health issues – the latest the biggie – the tooth extraction which comes up next Monday. I previously posted about the difficulty of  finding a good oral surgeon. But what is scary about all this is I haven’t had a tooth extraction for over 30 years and back then the situations didn’t go well. Mind you they were wisdom teeth (and that’s a misnomer for sure. Somebody goofed here in “creating” us). Also I have a lot of other health issues (which the surgeon is aware of – I did have to fill out a form and did have a consultation with him) including a compromised immune system. And then there is weather – it’s winter and if we get snow right after (like overnight after and the day after), guess who will be shoveling that white crap? The fellow who used to shovel my snow the past seven years didn’t show up this year. I tried to get someone else, but no luck.

And there is that word “luck” again. Hey, luck is a four-letter word, so what did I expect?

Dark days indeed. No wonder I often don’t get around to opening the blinds in the basement.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Aloneness, Anxiety, Balance, God, Good and Bad Luck, Health, Help and Support, Prayer, Seniors

Only Child calls “hope’ a four-letter word

Only Child gears up to deal with 2015 stuff

Only Child gears up to deal with 2015 stuff

Looks like 2015 is turning into a repeat of 2014 (and 2013) – some just more of the same.

I’m talking about the bad and the ugly.

Yes, I did my overall overhaul of what I do, want to do and have to do and what I can kick out of my life. Trouble is the crap that comes at us “from outside” as I call it, the unexpected problems, are still charging at me (and I presume others) full force. You can’t really boot that out of your life. You have to deal with it and that wastes your time and causes a lot of stress.

Yes (again) I did pray to God for certain things not to happen and for help. Cotton or wool in the ears I suppose at his end.

Without going into a long detailed rant, the Rogers Cable TV service has started intermittent disruption – not just my TV service but at least Tanya and Alex’s next door. So far I’ve had three different technicians here. Despite my vocal (including one of those surveys) with my suggestion – fix all the damn old outside cables on the street, not piecemeal when something goes wrong, Rogers isn’t listening and the problems seem to persist. We had a big play out of this situation for over a month in late fall 2013. Rogers is to blame for this, but God is not listening to my asks for help once and for all here.

The weather – that horrible mix on Saturday (and yes, some freezing rain, although worst in Montreal – despite my prayers on not having that happen – this time it was for more than just me). And now most of Canada is in the deep freeze and getting colder into tomorrow. So, I spent Sunday (before the deep freeze began overnight Sunday) running around doing errands so I could stay put for the most part this week. I had something important to get out in the regular mail (not something that could go by email) which needed weighing for postage, for my business, but being Sunday, presumably the Lord’s Day, Canada Post substations were not open – at least the post office part and one that showed up on the Canada Post locator map wasn’t there. The one near me had no signs inside or outside the store about the Post Office part being closed Sundays. Sunday closure is their prerogative, but they need to let the customer know with signs. I had to find out from the clerk at the regular cash and I was not polite to him when I found out. I sicced Canada Post on this substation.

These and other things happening steal my time and make my health worse.

And of course diminish my hope for 2015.

But I’m not wallowing around in despair. There are thing I enjoy doing and want to do this year. So, I am facing the hard facts. When you get right down to it, you have only yourself to depend on – plus close family and friends you can trust. Or to paraphrase Ringo Starr’s song – you have to get by with some help from (family and) friends.

Not God. “Ask and you shall receive” and “God helps those who help themselves” seem to be fairy tales. So,  I need to forget about hope as such. Hope has now been added to my list of four-letter words which include pray, snow, rain, hell, crap, and damn.

I have to remember my motto – when I see it (or not, as the case may be) then I will believe it.

And not give up.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Beliefs, Believing, Family and Friends, Health, Mail Delivery Canada, Planning, Problems, Rogers Cable TV Service, Sharon A. Crawford, Weather, Winter Weather

Wind storm prompts Only Child to random acts of kindness

Trees  bleak fall wind stormSouth and southwestern Ontario, Canada got hit with a horrible windstorm – gusts over 100 km in some places and much wind damage including trees down and power outages. Some places such as Kitchener and London, Ontario received flooding from the heavy rain. As I watched the videos about it on the weather network and listed what I did and didn’t want to happen, something good came out of all of this.

But first some background.

As many of you know I take the weather situations around the world seriously. No matter where you live you get plummeted with what I call the wrath of God, weather-wise. If you think I am nuts, just check out The Weather Network www.theweathernetwork.com or watch it on TV. The Force of Nature video clips are especially interesting, not just because they go round the world, but because of that title. Think about it “Force of Nature.” Really? Nature in that sense doesn’t seem appropriate. And then there is my favourite “Mother Nature” who in my mind doesn’t exist, especially when you think of all the extreme weather conditions as the norm worldwide. For those interested in the earliest recorded info about Mother Nature (not the Bible folks), and some variations through the ages, go to http://www.gotquestions.org/mother-nature.html

In previous posts I have also mentioned my takes on praying to God and the shakiness about “ask and you will receive.” So, with this storm coming and while it was here, I decided to lay it on the line, so to speak, to God about what I didn’t want to happen – not just for me but for everyone in the area being hit by the windstorm.

Those videos and stories on The Weather Network show that he didn’t listen completely. However, as I was checking for damage here and so far found I was lucky (We still have somewhat higher winds here in Toronto but not nearly as bad as last night, buy I’m keeping toes crossed), I made a decision.

We are all in this mess of weather God sends us. Some worse than others. As I watched some of the videos I felt badly for the people who lost homes from floods, winds, and in the Buffalo, New York area, from way too much snow last week. The latter claimed a dozen or so lives

Not right.

While I will continue to make my take on it all to God, etc., I plan to do some good. No I’m not rushing out to the damaged areas to help remove trees and restore hydro service. That’s for the experts.

Instead, I’m going to try to do random acts of kindness – once a day – all spontaneous. It may be as small as opening a door for someone or giving directions for someone trying to find a location. (I like to do the latter, perhaps because I have gotten lost before and just the thought of it is frightening).

Just to be clear, I am not doing it as Christian or Catholic duty. After all that has happened to me and what I have seen happen to others, I don’t consider myself Christian or Catholic anymore. Not sure what you would call me here – not agnostic or atheist and probably not even humanist, as I do believe in God – what I believe about him is just not any conventional belief. So what I want to do has nothing to do with God, religion and anything related.

I’m doing it because we are in the same leaky boat (any pun intended) in this life and if we don’t help one another some way, who will do it?

You probably can guess whom I think won’t do it.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, God, Only child, Prayer, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow, Trees and Shrubs, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child and the non-Thanksgiving holiday

Only Child's Garden one of the things she is thankful for.

Only Child’s Garden one of the things she is thankful for

Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. But it didn’t feel like it. Maybe because I didn’t do a family Thanksgiving dinner because my son was touring with his band Beams over the weekend. Maybe because my son, his girlfriend and I met for dinner instead – last Tuesday evening. We didn’t eat any kind of Thanksgiving dinner. We ate at an Italian restaurant and the closest to a bird was the chicken cacciatore I ate.
Maybe because it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving last Tuesday. We did talk about family matters but it’s not the same as our traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the roast chicken (I’m allergic to turkey). Maybe it’s because the bad still takes over the good in my life and except for a few things I don’t feel that thankful.
Don’t get me wrong. Each day I give thanks for what is good in my life. But I also do the opposite for what is bad in my life. I follow a variation of the rule learned from my Grade 6 teacher – give credit where credit is due (her rule) and discredit where discredit is due (my variation).
The odd thing was that over the weekend as I walked along the streets near home, strangers would wish me a happy Thanksgiving. I didn’t pull the snarky reply but smiled and wished them the same in return. If some people are 100 per cent thankful, I’m not going to burst their balloon.
However, I know that life is not all rosy. Bad happens and I’m still getting more than my share of it. For example, last week, despite my asking God daily to have all the six utilities work 24/7 with no disruptions in service, he didn’t listen. He is not responsible for the services going off, but he is responsible for not listening. “Ask and you shall receive” seems often to be either a crowd thing or if one person asks, i.e. me, I have to shout and shout to be heard. I am told I have to be specific in my requests, what I put out there and I am and what do I get? Nearly two days of no phone or Internet service because of Bell Canada. The ding-a-ling company had a corroded cable up a pole. That’s all I’m going to say about that now as it is fodder for another full blog post.
Like I said above I am thankful for a few things – my son and his girlfriend, my house (except for what needs fixing), my garden, this lovely summer-weather day today, my health (what is still good about it), my writing, editing and writing teaching/tutoring business.
Speaking of my writing, I am really really thankful that Blue Denim Press just published another book of mine this fall – my first mystery novel Beyond Blood. The book launch for it is this coming Sunday, October 19, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Paintbox Bistro in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If you are in the area then, please come to the book launch, which also launches another first mystery novel – Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski. More details at http://www.bluedenimpress.com
I will be blogging more about it this Thursday on my author blog http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com
And check out my son’s band Beams at http://beamstheband.com/

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Family, God, Health, Only child, Prayer, Thanksgiving

Only Child looks at Crowd Prayer

Only Child  contemplates God, weather, and prayer

Only Child contemplates God, weather, and prayer

Sunday morning I woke up to a dark sky, heavy rain and wind – a great forecast for the annual outdoor Word on the Street book fair in Toronto, Canada. I had a volunteer shift at the Crime Writers of Canada booth plus I wanted to walk around and talk to other writers, publishers, etc.

In the pouring rain with thunder?

I think not.

Shaking my fist at the sky I told God just what I thought of the weather and added, “It’s not just me; there are thousands of others who are going to Word on the Street and won’t like being stuck in the rain.”

To add insult to injury both my land line and Internet were down – and they are part and parcel of the whole utility she-bang where I daily ask God to keep them all working. I may not be Christian but I do believe in God and believe he should listen to our prayers. Some things ingrained from growing up Catholic never disappear.

Soon the darkness outside changed to lighter and one hour before the start of Word on the Street the sun came out and stayed out until sundown. (The weather forecast itself had been for thundershowers all day). The rain stayed away until way after night arrived. WOTS went until 6 p.m. and it was a beautiful summer day, hot and sunny and very pleasant (except for the persistent wasp buzzing around the CWC booth). I met some interesting readers and writers, connected with some writers I already knew and sold the first copy of my new mystery novel Beyond Blood (excluding Amazon and other online sales).

As for the phone and Internet, after a call to Bell Canada and being told the earliest time a techie could show up was Monday after 12 noon, I went back to scurrying around getting ready to attend WOTS.

A ring on my phone sounded and the phone was back. So was the Internet.

What does all this tell me?

The lone person praying to God is very likely not to be heard. Remember I daily ask not to have utility services stop working – that was the ask. But pray on behalf of many, even thousands of people and God has to sit up and listen (And of course, I did thank him).

I call it a form of crowd praying. Not necessarily a crowd of people praying together although I don’t doubt many others coming to WOTS asked God to stop the rain.

Well, there is crowd funding. Why not crowd praying in different versions? A study was done on an actual group of people praying for others with heart conditions. Being a scientific study, there was a placebo group and the real praying group. As posted on http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prayer.html here are some of the specifics:

Cardiac patients from the San Francisco General Medical Center were randomly divided (using a computer-generated list) into two groups. The names of the patients in the “test” group were given to a group of Christians, who prayed for them while they were in the hospital…

The “placebo” group received no prayer. Neither the “test” nor the “placebo” group of patients knew if they were receiving prayer. Likewise, the hospital staff, doctors, or nurses were “blinded” since they did not know which patient belonged to which group (Source: Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer and the Existence of God by Richard Deem).

Results?

Patients who received prayers had fewer diseases and symptoms, including less congestive heart failure, fewer heart attacks and fewer setbacks of pneumonia.

Besides this site (see URL above) you can read more about this type of study by going to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed and doing a search for “effects intercessory prayer”

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Crowd Praying, God, Only child, Prayer, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Weather, Word on the Street

Only Child says bury 2013 in manure

Only Child and son Martin in better weather conditions

Only Child and son Martin in better weather conditions

I was going to stay up late tonight to kick out one of the worst years in my life and also in the lives of all but two of the people I asked. But 2013 is not worth it.

Instead I’m saving that bottle of wine for New Year’s Day 2014 with the hopes that 2014 turns out much better.

Before I get into my year end diatribe I want to apologize for a mistake I made in last week’s post which a commenter corrected me on. Benedict is not the present Pope – he is the former Pope of the Catholic Church. Benedict is still writing the book on the life of Christ and in his research discovered that Christ wasn’t born on Christmas Day. So Xmas it is to me.

The year 2013, from a personal perspective, could be my year of living on a precipice. No matter what happened, attempts to solve it led to more problems and complications; new problems kept popping up and many are still hanging in there waiting to be solved. It was a year of little money coming in most times and that only picking up in the last couple of months when work came in. Now that I’m officially senior, I should be getting my first OAS check near the end of January 2014. Note the year. I know the government has set it up for seniors to receive the first cheque the month after turning 65. Not complaining about that but I am stating that it is my “luck” I was born in December.

The expenses with the house including repairs and utilities, particularly the latter are awful. Hydro and water rates in Toronto are unbelievable in their escalation the past year – two rate increases this year alone in Hydro and water rates are on a schedule of increases every year – 9 per cent. I know with a boarder we use more hydro and water – but the bulk of the increases are those rates and with hydro the delivery of the hydro is $79 with each bill (every two months). Hydro rates are because of the screw-ups made by the provincial government and water because the Toronto finally decided a few years ago that maybe it should fix an outdated water and sewer system. Not arguing with that but even as a senior I’m stuck paying the bills – although with water I can get it transferred to monthly deductions from my bank account. (My late Mom and Dad must be turning in their graves – they didn’t have such nonsense). Then there was all the fuss with Rogers Cable but with me yelling “bloody murder” (so to speak) at their corporate communications office (after the billing office refused to comply) I have $10 off per month for the next year only. But I did find out they have a pilot project (not in my geographic area) for seniors. There has also been dealing with Canadian Revenue Agency and having to pay extra for something I missed in the guidelines (yes, I paid; they were correct).

The list goes on and on, leaving me floundering around in overwhelm. However two things are consistent for all:

1.      Lack of enough time to deal with all of these things (I blame that for my tax return error). Focusing on the paperwork for becoming officially senior, which is where my focus should have been, got railroaded by all the other crap thrown at me, some directly connected with the senior paperwork (like trying to get an Ontario Photo ID card and not having a valid laminated birth certificate accepted as backup document by Service Ontario clerks). The ice storm and other extreme weather conditions and what it did and could do to my property land in here big time.

2.      Not being listened to when I prayed to God. Gee, a little help from the almighty might have helped with all these problems. I’m not asking for a perfect world but the ratio of good to bad is well, bad.

I figure that ratio for me is 25 percent good (and most of that is because of the help from my son and my friends Tanya and Alex next door during the ice storm the past week. The rest is my garden and gardening, my writing, promoting my book – the readings were and are a lot of fun, being still physically able towalk so going on long walks, and to a certain extent having a house to live in). That leaves 75 percent for the bad stuff that happened. And here I’m expanding a little to include what also affects others – like the weather, terrible consumer service, health problems, money problems, etc.

Something is wrong here. Shouldn’t the good be much higher than the bad?

Despite all the crap I intend to make the most of 2014 but there will be some changes. Among those are I am changing praying to God to using my instinct and intuition. During the daylight hours before the lights went out here I kept getting the “urge” to get a lot of things done as if it was the last day to do so – everything from laundry and other housework to getting a plumbing problem fixed. And in the days before the ice storm I kept worrying and talking about it and it happened – worse than I thought.  So I need to develop my intuition, not just to avoid trouble, but for the more positive as well. Clearly what is inside me can work better than asking help from blocked ears.

I am also focusing more in what I do with my writing, editing and teaching writing and also in what else I will do. Time management will be a big priority and it will be used for what I need and want. A lot will be deleted or ignored and if certain others don’t like it – tough. They’ve infringed on my life enough. And I will use my senior status to get whatever bargains and discounts I am entitled to and raise the roof (if necessary) to do so.

If I sound like a hard-ass only, think again. I intend to spend time with the softer nicer things like reading, listening to music, spending time with family and close friends, and my garden – the latter once this “f****** winter is over.

And don’t tell me to move to BC or Florida for better weather. The former has hurricanes and BC – well it’s earthquakes that could happen, but BC has an evacuation plan as my ex-husband now living out there tells me.

Let’s hope 2014 is much better than 2013 for everybody. And not as this so-called psychic on CP 24 TV news predicted– that 2014 will just intensify what 2013 had. Let’s ship this psychic out to Pluto. We don’t need her negativity.

Happy 2014 to all.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 2013, Family and Friends, God, Ice storm Toronto, Life demands, Prioritizing, Problems

Only Child on Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

Only Child  rests before doing more battle with companies screwing the consumer

Only Child ponders Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

This is turning into a Christmas to forget if I can. You have all probably heard about the terrible ice storm that hit southern Ontario and has now moved into eastern Canada and Michigan. Of course it hit Toronto and hard. Toronto’s hit was in patches and of course where I live got hit at 1.10 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m writing from a hotel in downtown Toronto and if you think I suddenly got rich in money think again.

The only good thing about all of this unacceptable and unwanted nonsense is that my son Martin and my ex-husband Colin (the latter out in British Columbia with his wife Lynda) decided that my roommate/boarder, her cat and I had to go to a hotel. My son is footing the bills for that and some meals (breakfast at the hotel and he took us out to dinner last evening and is meeting us for lunch today). The other good thing is my friends Tanya and Alex next door to me (my home, not the hotel) who are checking on the house. I left the cold water running a bit in the laundry tub downstairs to try to fend off frozen pipes and Alex was to check on that on his way out early to work and after he got back. And check the freezer as I didn’t want to open it – it’s full so that is supposed to help keep things frozen for a couple of days.

Tanya phoned last evening just after ten p.m. and said the power had gone back on. But because the weather got much colder the ice on the power lines and trees remains, so there could be more trees and their branches falling, power lines falling some more, etc. etc. It is very unstable, scary, unacceptable and unnecessary.

So, who am I labelling Grinches – with a capital G – you’ll see why the capital in a minute.

Toronto Hydro for not working fast enough and for the priorities to get customers back on grid. Hospitals first I agree with, but we the average consumers are at the bottom of the list. Of 300,000 households that lost power initially, still 90,000 without power – it is over 48 hours and of those, 50,000 will need to be put back on the grid house by house That is not acceptable. The TTC – Toronto Transit Commission is working harder and got everything but the short subway line up and running by late yesterday afternoon. And they have shuttle bus service on the surface of that subway line,

Of course Toronto Hydro is hindered by Toronto’s egotistical Mayor Rob Ford – he of all the scandalous who won’t resign – because he won’t declare the City of Toronto in a State of Emergency which means the province can’t enforce emergency measures. So the province is hampered in what they can do to get around this but they are doing what they can including bringing in employees from Forestry to help cut down trees. Ford thinks just calling in hydro crews from other areas of Ontario, Manitoba and Michigan are enough. Well, Michigan may not make it because they got the ice storm in some areas too and without declaring Toronto a State of Emergency, the armed forces can’t be called in to clear some of these trees. I know it’s power line down dangerous but more numbers helping would help.

The other Grinch is God – partly because I believe he has something to do with this weather. Even if you don’t believe my take here, consider this – I prayed to God not to let it happen and if it did to keep the power on. We can see where that got me, Praying is out of my vocabulary and instinct is in, but more on that in my next week’s post to wrap up a very bad year.

Meantime I’m hanging onto my two (and maybe three areas of gratitude if the power has stayed on (and stays on) and all the food lost is in the snall freezer over the fridge and  the stuff in the big  freezer is still frozen and stays frozen, and the food that I didn’t put in the “second fridger” – the milk chute stay cold and safe.. I will find out when I make a trip back home this afternoon I guess.

And meantime I’m not celebrating Christmas anymore, You might want to consider that Christ was not born on Christmas Day. Centuries ago Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk, declared Christmas Day as Christ’s birthday. And wonders of all wonders, the current Catholic Pope Benedict XVI is disputing December 25 as the day of Christ’s birthday in the third installment of his trilogy on the life of Christ. See the story at http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/22/pope-benedict-disputes-jesus-date-of-birth/

So Christmas is now Xmas to me.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gratitude