Habits – Resolutions?

Habits are one of those things that, no matter what it is, it is either bad or good. You name it and anyone will tell you – bad or good.

We all have them. Some of us have had them forever and many of us have just started them. Smoking, eating, drinking, chewing our nails, swearing – these would be classified as bad. Exercising, eating healthy, reading, going to be early, limiting computer time – these would be good.

I have had a few bad ones and a few good ones. I have started and stopped them too. We are always looking for a quick fix, an easier way, or really – we are just plain lazy (I mean that in a good way).

We are conditioned to do things the easiest way with the least amount of energy. It takes discipline and I know I have to really work on staying focused to form that “good” habit.  It is so much easier to just keep doing what I have been doing, because, well, basically, it’s easier!

What is one habit that you would love to conquer, improve, or lose?  Suffice it to say, I smoke.  It is one of those habits I have continually struggled to lose.  I have quit the longest for four years.  I know people that have started the stopping process and proclaimed to the world – I QUIT!  I have been one of them, only to start back up in secret!  Ouch!

What is it that truly makes us struggle?  Have I tried too hard or not hard enough?  I think I have tried really hard and then – BAM! – back at it.  Most people, who don’t know me well, can’t believe I smoke.  I like to think I am a polite smoker and I really only smoke half a pack a day.  Some days, more than others, however, I still smoke.

Do you find pleasure in your habit – good or bad?  I just enjoy sitting and doing nothing!  When I sit and have a cigarette, I am doing nothing!  I am a go, go, go kind of person so it means a nice, quiet break from a lot of things.

Boredom comes to mind – eating, drinking, smoking, etc.  I have lots of hobbies.  Most of the time I do really well and find myself absorbed in doing things that I don’t think about smoking.  

Habits – they say 30 days to kick it, but, science has been studying it and it is truly longer for most people and yes, shorter for others.   Mindset, ah yes, that lovely word. 

We have been hearing and reading about it.  I know I have.  Change your thoughts and you will change your habits.  It is a real game-changer and for a positive person like me, you would think it would be easy to quit.  Smoking doesn’t change who I am and so I can still be positive.  

On the other hand, smoking changes who you think I am.  It has all the connotations of being a bad, dirty, smelly, unhealthy person.  Who me?  Have you met me?  Oh, yes, it is unhealthy, dirty, and smelly.  So is overeating and drinking.  

A habit is a choice.  We choose all the time.  Sometimes we are struggling with that choice and so are you.  

Choose to eat better, exercise, abstain.  Personally, I am not doing too bad in the habit department when I think of others who have habits that I wouldn’t want to take on – good or bad.  Choices.

As long as I can work on changing my bad habit – that should be all that counts.  I will applaud your diligence with your good habit as long as you understand and support me trying to make mine go away.  

Our habits do not define us.  

NO, I did not make any resolutions.  If you did, let me know what they are and how you are going to make them stick!

Happy New Year!

When Will it End?

I wrote this middle summer.

It’s been a crazy four months. We started with Covid and now we are dealing with riots. Where does it stop? We have enough crap to deal with and yet people are going crazy – seriously!

If they would spend their time thinking and finding jobs, this country might settle a little and things might get back to a comfortable “normal”.

Destruction never helps anyone – ever. It brings distrust, being uncomfortable, fear, and mostly it disrupts everything we have come to know.

I am all about doing the right things, but, trying to damage everything is not the answer.

Our values, our friendships, any relationships we have, are all turned on their sides because we “feel” that one word or thought spoken, will bring fear where it shouldn’t.

The freedom to have opinions and speech are becoming something to fear!

We should be afraid of nothing. We each have our own beliefs that bring us a reality that we see. No one should fault us for feeling how we feel or thinking why we think.

Nothing makes me sadder than knowing our children and grandchildren, and all the generations to come will have to endure the fear because this country has brought it unto itself.

I cannot undo what others have done – they thought they were right. I cannot change people – they have to change themselves. I can only give a voice to those that want to see healing and better direction to those that are lost.

Time – they say – changes nothing or everything. It’s true. It marches on no matter who leads that change. We don’t get chances to fix what was done. It is done. It is the past.

So many people believe – and I am one of them -that God has about had enough of this. Bringing all of us to a point where some don’t care and that will forever change the face of humanity. How? By delivering those of evil to their end. Wiping out the weak in Spirit. Shaking us by our shoulders and shaking His head saying – NO MORE!

This has got to stop, showing us the evil that the devil has placed in those that do not believe – or it will change things for the worse.

We know what we should be doing – do good, take care of our neighbors, teach our children, pray for each other, see the blessings, lend a hand or food or shelter. These actions will become the “norm”. They are stronger than the violence, destruction, and disease that is going on right now.

Now we are in the Holiday season and are still struggling to feel “normal”. Canceled family holidays, shortened or no vacations, smart trips to the store, no unnecessary travel- all these things are what makes our new reality.

This Fall, Pastor reminded us of Psalm 57 -It is during the Time of Trial for David

57 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.

He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.

They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.

I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

KJV

I couldn’t help but see the value of this verse after I wrote my thoughts this summer.

May your days be merry and bright, your needs be filled, your family be healthy, your appreciation for all you have be strong, do good when you can, pray for those you do not know, and most of all – God will see us throught this.

Summer and Work, Work, Work

Shorter Summer Days

The summer passed me by

And I know the reason why –

Work, work, work.

 

The leaves quietly fall from

Our trees to the ground –

They are purple and dry.

 

The colors and smells tell me

I know – you should be be

Doing something besides –

Work, work, work.

 

A lawnmower and a child,

Both picking up leaves.

One for her mother the

Other for what Mother Nature has done.

 

The ladybugs are thick

Flying in the air-

Slowly finding a home on my

Home in the trees.

 

The dog has hardly time

To shed anymore, her coat

Will slowly thicken.

She will enjoy the outdoors, so do I.

 

The summer has passed me by

And the days are getting

Shorter.

Fall is in its first beautiful week.

Work, work, work.

 

Written September 27, 2001, by Me

 

 

 

Challenge and Change and Virus too!

 

Every day is a new challenge for our leaders.  Challenge and change and virus too!  They have never had to deal with something like this.  We all have to chill and pray that they do the right things to keep everyone calm and as safe as possible. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to stuff like this.  Even when our population continues to rise, with the wars, illness, and violence, we have to think about the good of the whole and not the individual.

I guess there is something that has to (and yes, I am writing this) offset the population in order for the rest to survive longer on this planet.  We have been given one planet and are we making the best of it?  Are we doing our part now to prevent anything worse to happen?  War is not just about bombs and guns. It is about each of us waging against each other. Taking this seriously has got to be a standard and norm for all of us.

So many have quoted Bible verses in order to put this into perspective.  We have all seen or heard them.  Can history repeat itself?  Without a doubt, I believe it can.  Is our faith strong enough to bring us through this?  Most of us would say yes.  I am a believer that for whatever reasons, beyond our control, God has a plan.  We don’t get to know that plan.  Our job is to do what we are supposed to do, right here and now.

I cannot imagine how it would feel to not be able to do what I want when I want, where I want. I cannot imagine having to fight for a scrap of food or clean water. We take so many things for granted it is really quite pitiful. I know that a lot of us have thought about the here and now and how things were and we really truly want to change. We want this way of life – just not the fight to get our simple needs met – but the exchange of conversations and the time with family and friends. We all need these moments to truly connect to each other and to ourselves.

Could we all stand truer conversations with those we love and care about? Are we learning to show more compassion for strangers? We can all do our part to make our lives richer because we had to slow down, change our courses of living.  Doing these things in order to have a life well lived – not the rocking chair that never moves but back and forth – is what we are sent here to do.

Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

These are times when our friends and neighbors should feel this, know this, and feel accepted by this.  It is time to reflect on the changes that have been made and are coming.

Change can be good. Life can be good. We can be better at both. We are good at both. Think about all the things that have changed for the better to make our lives enriched with those we love.   Challenge and Change and Virus too!

Oh What a Night – Music and Change!

 

 

 

That was the last time we stayed up all night.

“Oh my God!  Can you believe she wore that?”  I exclaimed, walking down the crowded street.  “That would be the last thing I would want to wear.”

“Yeah, well, with a body like that, I would wear it too.”  My best friend was always saying how she wanted to have a body that would be killer in anything other than what she was wearing.

We walked the next couple of blocks to the train and noticed the rain started falling as we got to the platform.

What a night!  It was a struggle getting into the disco, but we managed to get in, just as the music started to play.  The crowd was already on the dance floor and the music was taking on a new vibe.  Sue and I had never heard some of it before and we were thinking that maybe we should have waited and gone somewhere else.

 

Elvis had just passed away in August and the world thought it would end without his music.  We were young, seeking something different, watching, and waiting to see who the next “big” thing would be.  I couldn’t understand why someone so young, full of life, ambition, and charisma, was gone.

Anyway, we got on the train and sat back exhausted from dancing all night.  It didn’t matter that we didn’t have dates, we enjoyed dancing and that was what tonight was all about.  Saturday nights, freedom from parents, restrictions, our menial, part-time jobs, and we had time.

Hours earlier

“I don’t want to stand here forever.  What if we say, by 9 pm, if we don’t make it in, we go downtown to that new place?”

“Let’s wait.  We are so close to walking through that door.”  Sue was always wanting to wait, wait, wait.

“Ok, Fine.”  I lit a cigarette and puffed away.

“We are in!!  I can’t believe we are here.”  Pushing her way through the crowd we find an open spot against a wall and watch.   The dancers on the floor weren’t coupled up, but dancing in lines and large groups.

“What are they doing?”  I asked as I watched them swinging their hips, taking large, sweeping steps, and pointing to the ceiling.

“Oh, that?  It’s all the new craze, man.  That new movie, what was it, oh, yeah, Saturday Night Fever, had some new stuff in it and everybody is doing it!”  A tall, red-haired, freckled guy next to me explained what I was watching.

I smiled and said thanks.  Sue and I didn’t waste time.  We slid right in and joined the fun!  And boy, was it fun!  December 31, 1977, was a night to remember.  The end of something old, a start to something new, and the time of our lives.   Did I mention that was the last time we stayed up all night?

December 31, 2019

Elvis has been gone 42 years, the Bee Gees still get played, Star Wars has enough movies to be played by several generations that it will never be forgotten, and the beloved John Travolta will forever be dancing in that white suit pointing to the sky in Saturday Night Fever.

Sue and I keep in touch via Facebook and a few chance meetings.  We don’t stay up late anymore – those days are gone.  Things have changed so much – school, marriage, deaths, births, jobs, technology.  Now the sand is slowly filling up the bottom of the hourglass.  Time, we had so much of it back then.

Originally written January 17, 2020

Curveballs – Can Help or Hurt Us

 

Curveballs - Can Help or Hurt Us
HIT OR MISS

 

Curveballs – can help us or hurt us – that is a great way to think about things. I can either hit things out of the ballpark or miss and try again. Home runs don’t happen every day, but they can happen more often with practice.  That is why when you miss, you can keep on trying!

When we practice, we learn what didn’t work and what will work.  We think about the ways in which we can make things better.  A curveball is sent to the batter, he can either swing or let it go to the catcher.  Maybe he sees how the ball came in – fast, inside, outside, low or high.  Maybe the ball is outside the batters’ box – the pitcher must be right on to make the batter swing.

Sometimes we wait to see how things could be.  Waiting is a terrible thing to do.  Why do you ask?  What if by waiting, we miss the opportunity to get better or we miss hitting the home run we have been wanting to hit all along.  Another way the opportunity comes to you, curveballs – can help us or hurt us.

I took a few chances in the last couple of weeks.  Heck, my hubby and I both did.  We didn’t know what the outcome would be, but we were betting against the odds and looking to hit it out of the park.

Being scared is easy – your mind makes up all kinds of reasons for not doing something.  It is constantly looking for reasons to keep you safe.  I have been reading a lot and listening to experts tell me one thing – Your brain is hardwired to keep you safe.  It is constantly on the lookout for the proverbial saber tooth tiger, the savage in the next village, or the approaching dangerous weather.

Decisions are so tough when you have the emotions that go along with the outcome.  If we can make our decisions without emotions, many of us wouldn’t be in the turmoil that we are in.  We always want what is best and our FEAR takes us to levels of uncertainty that can only be soothed or escalated after we have made that choice.

We are creatures of fight or flight.  Our brains are hardwired to always look for the enemy – in this case, the what-ifs that might have bad outcomes.  If we didn’t have to think about the emotional toll for any of our decisions – life would always be a thrill ride.  Yes, a thrill ride.  Taking those plunges and climbing those mountains – because we can and that is what we chose at the time, without fear.

We don’t need to worry about those things anymore.  We need to tell our brain that we can do the things we want and learn from the failures.  Making our choices safer – doesn’t allow us to learn and grow from them.  Granted, I do not want people to make decisions that will harm them or anyone else, in an incapacitated way.

We spend months, sometimes, in trying to decide what are the what-ifs.  We have others to consider all the time.  It is never a one and done decision.  We have to make choices that not everyone agrees with but the best choice has to be made.  We can’t sacrifice one without changing the fate of the others – curveballs – can help us or hurt us.

I love trying new things that I would have never dreamed about trying.  The interests may have come from a family member or friend.  I might have put a lot of time in at first and then walked away or I may still be dabbling in week after week.

Going back to the batter – what are his choices?  Swinging and hitting, swinging and missing, or watching the ball go to the catcher and hope the call is foul and walk to first base.  I enjoy at least taking a couple of chances and seeing if I can connect.  Letting the pitcher know I am not scared to try.  Learning that I can hit the ball, make that one connection, to get to first base or circle the mound, is all I need to know that I can do it and will do it.

That is not a failure and I am no longer scared.

I read a saying once -“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin Sharma –  http://www.robinsharma.com/ has some great insights.

Mix it up.  Try something new – even if it isn’t on a grand scale.  Make it count and chalk it up to new experiences.  Choose to live a life well-lived.  Opportunity knocks all the time.  What door do you want to walk through next?  Where will your life lead you?  A curveball can help you or hurt you.  When will you swing?

 

The Bus and The Girls

 

 

Bus Girls
The Swing

When I was around 8, we lived on a farm in southern Minnesota.  We had to travel to school by bus.  I was the oldest, at the time, of five.  My mother stayed home with us and Dad was the breadwinner.  We had a small farmhouse but a large plot to run around on – barns, groves, sandpits, pastures and that half-mile-long driveway.

We also rode the bus to town every day during the school year.  My sister and I made the trip to and from.  Back in those days, those buses were packed full.  Older kids didn’t have the luxury of driving to school.  Sometimes we had assigned seats, most times we didn’t.  It was a crazy few minutes on the ride home depending on the schedule of your drop off or pick up time.

I am so glad that we didn’t have to ride that bus for very long.  I do, however, have some crazy stories.  Pulled hair, getting punched, squirt guns, fights in the backseat, name-calling – all the things that happened in the 70s.

There were several families on our route.  In those days, families were large!  Ages of the kids that rode that bus ranged from high school seniors to kindergarten.  There were hard lessons to learn when you had never ridden on a bus.

I liked to keep to myself most of the time and was always scared when those boys got on the bus.  You know the kind – rough on the outside, picked on little kids, didn’t like girls and thought they were tough.

Our route would start one way and then partway through the year, it would reverse.  I hated being almost the last to get off the bus – sitting through the verbal entourage of words and the cruelties of those boys.  I couldn’t wait to get to school or get home and get off that bus.

I survived.

One family had three girls.  The oldest was just a bit older than I was and the other two were younger than me.  I didn’t get the chance to really know the oldest girl. She ended up going to a school that was for different people like her.

I do remember the mornings when they were the last on the bus.  We were picked up about two miles from where they grew up.  As the bus rounded the corner it had one more stop and then off to pick them up.  Their house was close to the road and they would be waiting for it outside.  You always knew who was going to be on the bus before it stopped.

When the girls got on the bus, it was usually packed.  I was never afraid of sharing my seat.  We shared three and four people in one seat – sometimes on laps of the older kids.  They would get on and off we would go.

Wondering why I bring up that specific family?  I keep in touch with the middle girl.  The youngest is somewhere in the central United States.  The oldest passed away not too long ago.  The picture at the top of this post is where they grew up.  I remember those girls on that swing set over 45 years ago.

I cannot drive passed that home without seeing one of the girls on that swing so long ago.  Memories have a neat way of bringing back childhood.  Sometimes we start with one and then travel back or forward and remember all those times – good and bad.

I will never forget the oldest girl.  When I did see her, not having seen her in over 35 years, she asked for the first letter of my name and BOOM – she knew exactly who I was.  I can remember a face before I can remember a name.  We have that instant recall if we are in tune with others and our memories.

Sadly, so many of us forget – for reasons we may or may not wish to share.  My mind always takes me back to unforgettable times – good and bad.  Lessons learned, people that pass through our lives, situations we got through – changing us and I believe mostly for the good.

Nowadays kids rarely ride the bus.  If they do, they can pretty much sit by themselves and not worry about who gets on and off.  The terrors of those long days still exist but not in a packed bus driving down the dusty roads of years gone by.

Those drives back home always bring me back to my childhood.  To those that still live “back home”, thank you for being there to share those good memories with your families.

 

 

Those Irreplaceable Shoes

Shoes that are hard to part with.
Those irreplaceable shoes

 Those irreplaceable shoes have so much history.  Do you have a pair of shoes that you just do not want to part with?  Well worn, comfortable, a little tear at the toe, paint splatter, dirt from everywhere?  When do you replace them?  Why would you?  They have been through hell and back with you.

I had a pair of those shoes.  I finally replaced them, and, yes, tossed them.  I had a hard time doing that.  My husband tells me that for every pair I buy I must throw three pairs out!  Ummm, NO!  We laugh because it is kind of funny that he would even suggest such a thing.

I loved those shoes.  I spent money on those shoes – don’t we all.  I only wore them for running errands at first.  Then they turned into work shoes around the yard.  Then they were my go-to shoes for everything!  They got wet, full of mud, had doggie doo-doo on them, paint-splattered, baby puke dripping on them.  They have been through almost as many miles as I have in the time I had them.

I wore them with socks for a long time and sometimes without socks later.  I dried them in the sun and on the heat grates.  The washing machine didn’t get a chance to clean them, because I was afraid they would fall apart.  They were falling apart – just like I did a few times when I wore them.  They hung on and didn’t fail me.  I was always trying to find a pair that would be the same – I did!  They are not the same.  Similar is a better word.

We would all love to find the “same” things to replace our worn-out items.  Either they don’t make the style or the brand is no longer available.  I don’t know.  I just like the shoes that I like.  When I am on my feet all day, my shoes have got to be there for me.  They have to make my feet feel secure, surrounded by support.  I can’t have floppy shoes or ones that make my feet ache at the end of the day.

Everything we do on our feet travels through to the rest of our bodies.  We don’t feel like doing anything when our feet hurt.  We want to put them up, take the pressure off, get a massage (pedicure), bath them in something to make them feel better.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I could do a pedicure every 4-6 weeks!  To me, having a pedicure is like getting a backrub for my feet.  I know the hubby doesn’t like having his feet touched and that is ok.  People are sensitive when it comes to their feet.  Foot care is so important – not only having a pedicure done but having the right shoes to wear, too.

Now, go to the closet, or wherever you stash your shoes and take a look at all the years, the memories, the miles that are on those shoes.  When will you replace yours?

Missing Your Beautiful Face

I cannot tell you when I wrote this, exactly.  I know it was written while I was pregnant with my daughter over 30 years ago.  I had more time than money and still have more time than money!  I am sharing this for the first time and putting it here just as it was written all those years ago.

Missing Your Beautiful Face by Tammy Hammerschmidt Elsing

I can’t wait till the time

When we again

Can share our love,

Just you and I.

I want to stare into your starry eyes

And wish again you won’t leave.

Now, I await till your return,

To see that beautiful face

I so much wish to see.

I think of it often,

Hoping it will be there, here.

Why do I sit here

Missing your beautiful face

When I know you will be here soon;

You and your beautiful face.

 

I have come a long way in my writing, however, this makes me feel like anything can be done with a little practice.  That, my friends, is exactly what I have been doing – practicing.  We all have things we want to do better and with a little time, patience and practice – we will get better.

This is a short, but interesting blog post for me today.  I have more old writings to share and I hope you enjoy, comment and share.

Time and Time, Again

Hour, Time, Past, Imagination, Clock

 

Time and time, again we think that today is the day.  Sometimes I don’t feel like doing things. I still try to do something.  There is never a day that makes me want to give up. Keep going, it will get better. 

I am up early and going outside makes me feel refreshed. The quietude of the last bits of night, preparing for the day. The moon is a sliver in the sky, the stars shine bright. As I listen to the train whistle off in the distance, I can’t help but wonder where it’s going or what the driver sees as nature provides a variety of scenes.

We have so many plans, places to go, people to see. What is the next step? The answers are there just waiting for us to find.  Time is elusive.  It hides and never giving in – even just a little.  When we least expect it, we seem to find it.  Spending vacation without a wristwatch or phone is a great way to feel time slow down.  

I try to slow down. I get lazy and forget that time is our most precious commodity. It doesn’t care what we did or didn’t do. It continues on whether we make the best use of it or not because we cannot stop it.  Time is something we cannot see or put under a microscope.  

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I struggle, sometimes, to understand why. We don’t need to know – just believing it is enough.  They say that there is always a time and that things will happen when it is right.

I always want to be awake and aware of that one moment that can change everything. Do I see it? No. Do I make the best of every moment? Probably not. I do know that life has moved at a very fast pace and it catches me off guard, subsequently, I have taken it upon myself to start a project that I haven’t worked on and is collecting dust.

Does everyone get everything done? No. Why? We have the same 24 hours, so what keeps us from doing more? From being our best self? Taking action is what we need to do, therefore, that is what I am doing right now.  

After leaving this sit for almost a year and a half, I started writing for my blog again.  I have taken the time to build it and work out some kinks.  Learning something new is always fun and sometimes a challenge.  This is something I really want to get good at. I have time, I made time, I want to tell you that there isn’t as much time left as you think there is. 

I love this quote and have used it often – reminds me that the clock is ticking —-

“If you do not like where you are, MOVE!  You are not a TREE!”