May 05, 2011

Mini Miracles & Apple Crumble Tarts

Gosh, I have so many thoughts on my mind.  I woke up in a panic... I've had lots of friends and family that have been struggling lately.  I've heard a lot of fear come up from the state of the world... It can be overwhelming.  But I'm just feeling so darn grateful at the moment that I wanted to share some thoughts!  :)

Today started out super shaky.  I work so much that when I get the opportunity to sleep in or enjoy a day off, I like to feel guilty about it and make that work, too. (LAMESVILLE!)  I woke up with the following thoughts pretty much verbatim:

"Oh my God, what time is it? Have I gotten any important e-mails or phone calls I shouldn't have slept through? I have to check my e-mails, my Facebook, my Twitter! I have to figure out my day! I have so much to do, I shouldn't waste it. I need to calm down. I need to figure out my finances! What time do I go in to work!? How much time do I have? God, I could sleep for 12,000 more hours. I should just calm down and sleep more. I'll feel sooo much better with more sleep. Self care is important. But I'm okay, there's too much to do. My body is killing me. I need to lose weight. Being on my feet 24-7 is turning my body into the old man from 'Up!.' Wow, it reeeeally aches. I actually hobble.  I actually feel crippled. That's scary. Oh my God, I need to take care of myself. I need shoes for work.  But they have to be cute because it's a pub.  Where am I supposed to get THOSE!?  Ugh, I need work clothes for summer. I need to lose weight.  I need running sneakers. Ugh, I need money for that, too!!! It's coming. Money is coming. But I need sneakers now!! I need to figure out my finances! I should just go buy sneakers. It's an investment I won't regret. Then I can fit into old stuff!!!  But then my parking isn't paid. I should just have faith God will provide the money. But will I really have faith or will I only 1/2-faith it and have it blow up in my face? I need an ipod. But then I need a computer to make mixes on Itunes so that I actually can get through a workout. I should just buy a Dell even though I want a Mac. They have a payment plan. OH MY GOD, Sunday is Mother's Day. Then Dingy Dongy's Birthday!!! Oh my God, I haven't sent Ipod her birthday stuff either... FROM MARCH. Oh my gosh, I haven't kept in touch with ANYBODY!!!  Chef's birthday, too!!!!  AHHHHHHH!!!!"
Anyone else feel that way this morning?  Geeeeeeeeeeeez!!!  WHY DO WE DO THAT!!???  Let's look at some Mini Apple Crumble Tarts, shall we?  :)

I've learned two things make me a neurotic crazy person:  Sleep Deprivation and Finances.  And if I'm PMSing during either of those two lovely experiences?  FORGET ABOUT IT!!!  Watching friends struggle with finding jobs and paying rent it's been really eye opening as to what I put myself through personally.  Good Lord!  When us Americans stress out, we need to CONTROL and MAKE A PLAN.  Our world falls apart.  We are not okay until we have an ANSWER.

Well... sometimes we don't get an answer.  Not knowing how I'd pay MY rent, I found myself asking:
  • Can I be okay if my rent doesn't get paid, I write a bad check and I get an overdraft charge?
  • Can I be okay if that overdraft charge doesn't allow my parking check to go through and be paid?
  • Can I be okay if all of those overdraft charges cause my automatic withdrawal of my credit card consolidation to not go through and 3 and 1/2 years of monthly on-time payments goes down the toilet?
  • Can I be okay if my parking company tows my car due to lack of payment?
  • Can I be okay if all of my hard work and changing of financial habits goes to financial ruin all over again!???
  • Can I be okay if I'm kicked out of my apartment? 
  • Can I be okay if I have to sell my car?
  • Can I be okay if I have to move back home or live on somebody's couch?
  • Can I be okay if I have to sell all of my possessions and I'm a homeless guy?
  • Can I be okay if I never get married?
  • Ooooh, can I be okay if I never find love again?
  • Can I be okay if I never have kids cause homegirl's 32 already?
  • Can I be okay if my business or acting never gets a real shot?
  • Can I be okay if bedbugs that are taking over the country and have become rampant in Chicago, somehow make it into my mattress?
  • Can I be okay if working so much does cripple me and I become a sitcom-esque hunchbacked waitress?
  • Can I be okay if my mother has become a conspiracy theorist and keeps a pantry of food in the basement?
  • Can I be okay if the death of Osama Bin Laden sets off the Taliban and Chicago gets bombed in a nuclear explosion?
  • Can I be okay if at the end of the world I'm not Sarah Connor and I'm actually the girl that has no guts and pees her pants and gets eaten by zombies in the first ten minutes of the movie!??
And the answer to all of those questions is YES.  Worst case scenario?  Death. 

"If she dies, she dies."

Ooooh, look at these beautiful tarts and all that delicious, delicious butter!!!

You guys... who cares!?????  

After my mini panic attack and spew-hate stream of consciousness, I paused.  I took a deep breath and I remembered very critical things:  How often have I been provided for?  Even in my dramatic Anne Shirley-esque 'depths of despair,' I'm still alive, aren't I?  Financial stress is not a new thing and yet my inner Scarlet O'Hare has always managed to find her hopeful, determined 'tomorrow.'  I am sooo blessed with beautiful friends and family.  Let's be honest, I would NEVER be homeless. That is a GIFT....

Suddenly Chicago has blue skies again.  I realize I may only walk with $20 a night at the Pub making only $80 a week but that free meal they give me every shift is the reason I haven't had to buy groceries in a month.  When I end up in a place of gratitude, I become less selfish and have the energy to encourage those around me.

Sweet Creator of All Things, thank you for mini tarts...

It's really easy to get swept away when finances blow chunks or when we're stressed out.  Those are the times we tell ourselves, "Well, you know what!?  Life just sucks right now and I don't care who knows!!!  It's just how I feel and how it is!!!"  We give ourselves the okay to feel like a pile because we're at our absolute worst when that's the BEST time to hunker down in a world of possibility.

I am NOT talking about negating my feelings or anyone elses.  Do I feel angry, sad, hopeless?  FEEL THAT SH*T, MC.  Get it out.  I cry, scream, throw things, write "LACES OUT, DAN!!!" all over my notebooks... But I won't stay in that place.  I can't.  I've learned to ask for a mini miracles and I've continuously watched them change my world.

In Marianne Williamson's book, 'A Return to Love,' she talks about miracles in a way I found intriguing.  She says,
'[Miracles] reflect a shift in how we think, releasing the power of the mind to the processes of healing and correction.  This healing takes many forms.  Sometimes a miracle is a change in material conditions, such as physical healing.  At other times, it is a psychological or emotional change.  It is a shift not so much in an objective situation- although that often occurs- as it is a shift in how we perceive a situation.  What changes, primarily, is how we hold an experience in our minds- how we experience the experience.'

I love that idea that miracles are actually just a shift in perception.  Typically I think of miracles as cancer disappearing or angels falling from the sky-- huge grandiose stuff.  But I like that I, too, can give myself mini miracles throughout the day.  If I stay in my own crap, my life stays the same, my feelings stay the same, I'm not being 'the change I wish to see in the world.'  (What's up, Gandhi!)  But if I'm able to change those thoughts to gratitude and love, I'm able to focus on others...

I recently had an old friend on Facebook tell me that a comment I made to him recently, made him feel special.  It knocked me on my @$$.  Whaaaat?  I wasn't even trying.  I didn't even... huh?  You just never know!

I was freaking out about money last month.  Until summer gets here, people just aren't coming out to the Pub.  I have rent to pay, my parking, my credit card consolidation (which is basically a rent payment) and my car bill not to mention student loans I had to put off, cell phone bills, etc.  The Pub has been so ridiculously slow lately, even taking on a second job as a barista has been worthless.  How can one person work this much and not cover their bills?  It felt hopeless. 

I wanted a plan.  I wanted an answer.  I needed a plan of attack because that felt responsible.  Truth is, there's nothing I could do.  There was no answer.  I wanted to feel guilty for watching TV when I'd come home from work or feel guilty for giving myself downtime.  Any pleasure did NOT give me an answer.  I should have been productive, right!!???  Fatigue be damned!!!

No.  For whatever reason, God allowed me to remember a blog I wrote a while ago.  About my New Year's Intention being about balance.  I chose to cling to what I promised myself:  pleasure, work, spirituality because maybe rent just doesn't get paid.  On my days off, I watched TV.  I got off my feet.  I took time for self care.  I set aside five bucks 'I didn't have' to buy a pastry from a local shop.  I made time to be in gratitude. 

In fact, last Friday I slept for 35 days.  Saturday I woke up at 7am, early enough and energized enough to want to bake!  I made these little Mini Apple Crumble Tarts for the Pub for my shift at 10:30.  It made their day.  And one of the cooks said, "You made these?  What are you doing HERE!?" And then Chef David says, "Tell me about it!"  Which, OF COURSE... was inspiring to ME!!!

And wouldn't you know... this past weekend, I miraculously paid rent. I can't explain it. The Pub had two ridiculously busy days from out of the woodwork. Shifts that I'd get maybe one or two tables became a full pub and a Police Fundraising event I had forgotten about.

I'm not saying if you can't pay your rent you're doing something wrong.  Honestly, I have no idea how I'm going to make my consolidation payment, etc.  But whatevs... I just won't give myself the headaches and cancer over it.  Today, I wrote my blog.  I'm drinking some hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps that my friend Marie sent me last summer when I was having a really horrible time with The Great Break-Up Debacle of 2010.  So she's here with me, too.  I'm surrounded by love.  Writing is creative, it's what I love to do and I suddenly have the energy-- relearning all of these lessons as I type-- to want to get my 'to do' list done.

My sis had the following quote on her Facebook page the other day. Sneaky coincidence I saw it in a store window last night:

 Just sayin'.  :)

Tulips and Daffodils and Lilacs,


Anonymous said...

I love you Mandi lou :) I wish I could send you everything I have so that you never have a want for anything else ever.

Robyn said...

"Can I be okay if bedbugs that are taking over the country and have become rampant in Chicago, somehow make it into my mattress?"

YES! We had bedbugs last summer! And they are gone! It's a lot of work...but it sounds like you are totally used to a lot of work.

They are the pits though. I really, really hope your bed stays bug free. Maybe you should go ahead and get a cover for your mattress. Might help you worry less!

I want little tart pans!

Darci Monet said...

Screw the tart pans, I want THE TARTS!

You're right, as usual.

Simply bakes said...

YES I HAVE THOSE THOUGHTS AOMETIMES TOO! It always happens when i feel guilty for slacking, or am just too stressed up over schoolwork and tests etc. haha, kepp baking and relax:)
-Simply Bakes