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

Prayer

I try every day to be thankful. I try every night to pray. I don’t do it because I’m religious, I do it because I believe. I am a strong believer that there is more than we can ever know.

Religion doesn’t have to mean an hour, or whatever time, of praising God. It is the belief that there is a God. Some may argue that you need to know the scriptures or read or study the Bible – I don’t.

Being brought up by good parents, good role models, and supporting family and friends is why I argue that.

Faith is a strong a virtue, but only if you are compassionate, kind, and try to see the good in others. That, to me, is faith. Faith that everyone is as you are.

Understanding your family and friends, sharing kindness, showing vulnerability- these are values of virtue. The definition of virtue is – behavior showing high moral standards.

It boils down to that – behavior. We are human. We make mistakes. We ask for forgiveness and apologize.

I am surely not of “high” moral standards. No one I know is. Judgement day comes to all of us. And I do know this – God forgives all because He is an all forgiving God. I don’t have the religious background to know that.

I can’t recite much of anything, except the prayers learned in religious education. They are all I need – to learn, to remember, to understand. It is enough for me to work on my own “high” moral standards without having to go somewhere to do it or someone telling me how to do it.

I have a home, a sanctuary, to pray in. Asking for forgiveness, receiving guidance, and feeling safe are things I can have wherever I want. To tell you the truth, I drive and thank God for another day. That’s all I know he wants me to tell him – I am thankful for another day.

Think about all the things that you worry about, the people you lost, the words you said, the things you’ve done wrong – just ask for and be grateful for another day.

Faith – strong belief in God – to believe in something that you can’t physically see, hear or touch. You just believe. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it untrue. I like knowing that. Knowing that I believe because I just do.

Prayer is Not Always Done in Church

 

Praying anywhere

 

 

Prayer comes easier to me at night.   I try to pray. Doing it doesn’t make me more or less religious.   I do it because I believe. I am a strong believer that there is more than we can ever know.

Religion doesn’t have to mean an hour, or whatever time, of praising God. It is the belief that there is a God. Some may argue that you need to know the scriptures or read or study the Bible – I don’t.

We started going to classes as we grew older and eventually stopped going to church.  I was brought up by good parents, good role models, and supporting family and friends is why I argue that.

Faith is a strong virtue, but only if you are compassionate, kind, and try to see the good in others. That, to me, is faith. Faith that everyone is as you are.

Understanding your family and friends, sharing kindness, showing vulnerability- these are values of virtue. The definition of virtue is – behavior showing high moral standards.

It boils down to that – behavior. We are human. Everyone makes mistakes. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness and apologize.

I am surely not of “high” moral standards. No one I know is. Judgment day comes to all of us. And I do know this – God forgives all because He is an all-forgiving God. Not having a religious background, I still know that.

I can’t recite much of anything, except the prayers learned in religious education. They are all I need – to learn, to remember, to understand. It is enough for me to work on my own “high” moral standards without having to go somewhere to do it or someone telling me how to do it.

I have a home, a sanctuary, to pray in. Asking for forgiveness, receiving guidance, and feeling safe are things I can have wherever I want. To tell you the truth, I drive and thank God for another day. That’s all I know he wants me to tell him – the simple prayer of thankfulness.

Think about all the things that you worry about, the people you lost, the words you said, the things you’ve done wrong – just ask for, say a prayer and be grateful for another day.  Have faith that He will answer when He knows you are ready.

Faith – strong belief in God – is believing in something that you can’t physically see, hear or touch. You just believe. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it untrue. I like knowing that. Knowing that I believe because I just do.  Say a prayer tonight, it can just be a simple Thank you.

Falling

I wrote this last fall and have finally had a chance to publish it.

I have been feeling a little nostalgic, lately.  Fall always brings back those childhood memories.  The clear skies, fresh air, short days, football games, leaves falling – there is just something about this time of year.

Yesterday and today I spent a couple hours just burning leaves. Why is this important? Sometimes connecting with nature and listening to the sounds is therapeutic.

My neighborhood is relatively quiet. We live on a dead end road with many summer families. The highway isn’t too far away and the sounds from across the lake, today, can be a telltale sign of what is going on. Lawn mowers, power tools, vehicles – these interrupt my silence.

The wind through the trees, the squeaking of the branches, and the few birds that stay year round are amazing – blue jays, cardinals, seagulls.

The remnants of summer – lawn chairs, a basketball, late blooming flowers, robins chirping and heading south, boats getting that last trip on the lake.

Time stands still. The smoke rises until the breeze pushes it over. Memorized by the red, orange, and yellow flames. Crackling of leaves giving their last energy to the fire. Ashes to ashes.

Green needles from the cedar lose their moisture and slowly join the leaves. They will meld together and fertilize the earth again.

My hubby and I usually do this together and it takes all day. Today my Dad joined me when I was almost done for the day. As I stood patiently waiting for the clippings and leaves to burn, he said it reminded him of hunting. Standing, watching, listening, waiting. Waiting for that one opportunity to shoot.

I went hunting once. My senior year of high school, I was 18. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Alone in the woods, trees dropping their cover, animals scurrying for scraps of whatever they were looking for, silence.

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year for me. The nostalgia, the smells of the upturned earth, the coming of winter, changes. Changes that take place under the leaves and snow and sometimes inside of us.

Fall into another Season

 

 

fall on the lake

 

I wrote this last fall and have finally had a chance to publish it.

I have been feeling a little nostalgic, lately.  Fall always brings back those childhood memories.  The clear skies, fresh air, short days, football games, leaves falling – there is just something about this time of year.

Yesterday and today I spent a couple of hours just burning leaves. Why is this important? Sometimes connecting with nature and listening to the sounds is therapeutic.

My neighborhood is relatively quiet. We live on a dead-end road with many summer families. The highway isn’t too far away and the sounds from across the lake, today, can be a telltale sign of what is going on. Lawnmowers, power tools, vehicles – these interrupt my silence.

The wind through the trees, the squeaking of the branches, and the few birds that stay year-round are amazing – blue jays, cardinals, seagulls.

The remnants of summer – lawn chairs, a basketball, late-blooming flowers, robins chirping and heading south, boats getting that last trip on the lake.

Time stands still. The smoke rises until the breeze pushes it over. Memorized by the red, orange, and yellow flames. Crackling of leaves giving their last energy to the fire. Ashes to ashes.

Green needles from the cedar lose their moisture and slowly join the leaves. They will meld together and fertilize the earth again.

My hubby and I usually do this together and it takes all day. Today my Dad joined me when I was almost done for the day. As I stood patiently waiting for the clippings and leaves to burn, he said it reminded him of hunting. Standing, watching, listening, waiting. Waiting for that one opportunity to shoot.

I went hunting once. During my senior year of high school, I was 18. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Alone in the woods, trees dropping their cover, animals scurrying for scraps of whatever they were looking for, silence.  The season begins, protecting the earth until it renews in the spring.

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year for me. The nostalgia, the smells of the upturned earth, the coming of winter, changes. Changes that take place under the leaves and snow and sometimes inside of us.

 

Grandchildren

The blessings that they bring.  Babies born onto our children.  Little versions of our babies when they were babies.
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Crying, eating, pooping, smiling, crawling, giggling, growing little by little until all of a sudden they are the best version of two people who fell in love in the first place.  Take back the long, restless nights, and it really wasn’t that bad nor was it that long.

I couldn’t wait to hear what their voices were going to sound like after all the grunting and wailing they did for things they wanted.  Soon the words turned to sentences.  Their personalities developed and their likes and dislikes start to show.

I think that they are an extension of ourselves once removed.  Seeing them reminds me of the girls when they were little.  Wondering if I was anything like they are.  Seeing, touching, hearing.. unafraid.  That’s what I miss.  I see how they try anything without knowing what could happen.  Taking those first steps, jumping off the couch, trying adult food for the first time, touching a soft cat or prickly pinecone.

We have eight of them and that is all we will have.  The oldest will turn 21 the end of this month and the youngest is a year and a half.  Wow, is that crazy or what!  

I love watching them grow, seeing what they are doing, the challenges they face, the individuals they are becoming.  School, health, dates, driving, jobs – it all takes time and that is what they have more of than anything else.

I just want them to know that we care, we want them to do their best, we will catch them if they fall, and we will let them take the responsibility if they make decisions that we disagree or agree with!  

There are times when I think back to my grandparents and know that they approved and disapproved of many things.  I loved it when they scolded me and I knew they really weren’t upset, just a little disapproving of my choices.  We all turned out pretty well, anyway.

The hubby and I argue, sometimes, over the way they were raised.  We aren’t their parents, they have their own.  We watch and wait until our kids ask us for advice and, sometimes, we give it anyway.

I will always remember my Great Grandpa on my paternal side.  He was the most fun.  I was young when he was old and yes, I remember the day we laid him to rest.  It was heart breaking.

He loved to play tricks until we cried or skip with us down a dusty old road.  Memories are what I have.  I hope that my grand kids have those too.

We have favorites, whether we like it or not, and try not to show it.  I think that because we didn’t get to be involved with some of the older kids, when they were little, we missed some of the bonding.  Who the heck knows how to be grandparents anyway????

Snuggles and hugs, kisses and high 5’s.  Diapers and distress.  Driving and dates.  School and jobs.  The older they get, the less we see them.  They get busy just like us.  Scheduling time is what we need to do.  We can no longer just drop in and expect to see the older ones. 

Cherish what you have, look forward to what is coming, and remember what was.  These are great times  – Grandpa and Grandma!

Image result for free retirement pictures

Well, are you ready?  Almost ready?  Kind of ready?  Not really ready?  Definitely not ready?

I am at the almost ready stage.  The last five years we have been really working on being at the almost ready stage.  Nothing scares me more than not being ready.  Are you kidding me?  If health care, IRAs, 401Ks, Medicare, and Medicaid doesn’t scare you, then maybe thinking about what you will fill your days with should!

I don’t want to go to work now as it is.  But, I have to fill my days with something, right?  Yes, I have a hobby.  Yes, I like to be outdoors.  No, I don’t watch that much mind numbing television either.  No, I don’t have an unlimited supply of money put away, yet.

What I have been doing is working on diversifying what money I do have and making sure that I have a job until I am ready to retire.  Reading, learning and asking questions about what I do need to do are part of the planning to get to Retirement.  I also nurture myself with a hobby and reading.

The climate I live in allows for many opportunities to take advantage of – indoors and outdoors.  Four seasons make that part of Retirement easy.  There is nothing better than to be able to do so many things all year round.  Winter will be the biggest challenge because, unfortunately or fortunately, the means won’t be there and I really don’t have a desire to leave this beautiful state.

A rocking chair is still an option for part of my Retirement.  Working part-time may be an option for some of it too.  I do not want to limit what I will or will not do when I retire. Never say NEVER.  I am old enough to know that there are things I have never done and may never get to do but I will never say I never want to do them.  Now that was a mouthful!

Take the challenge and think about how long you want to wait to Retire.  Think about what you may or may not need to do in order to do that.  Think about what you want to do when you Retire.  Do you want to move or do you want to start that hobby you have been dying to spend more than a few hours a week on or do you want to travel?

I know that when I am ready to Retire I will have lots to do.  I will be ready to take on that big garden, quilt more often and read when I want.  What do you want to do…………

Winter

We planted, gathered, and played all summer

Ahhh, Winter, how long will your visit be?  I know it officially starts on December 21st and ends in March.  It seems longer than our Spring and Summer put together!  This Winter had a later start, which we were all thankful for.  I should say most of us were thankful.  The skiers and snowmobilers love it when that first blanket falls.

Winter is a time for rest.  We planted, gathered, and played all summer.   When I think of Winter, I think of all the things that I need to do inside to nurture myself.  I read, work on hobbies, celebrate holidays, organize, downsize, and get my house in order.

Winter is an amazing time for all of us.  We take the time to reflect on the year that has passed.  We plan for the new year to come.  I know that many times we think we are going to change that which we didn’t from the year before.

There was a time when we thought that maybe we should have gone to Arizona – warm weather, no snow or bitter cold.  When you have lived your life with four distinct seasons, could you really enjoy the fall and Winter holidays without the falling leaves and snow?  I know that I would certainly miss the first snowfall, the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, the tracks of animals, snow storms that make you stay home, and the wind howling against the house.snowflake

The smell and crispness ofthe air, after the first snowfall, makes Winter worth it.  I always have to call or text my daughter when I see the first snowflake – It’s snowing!  I know that it has rubbed off on the granddaughter because she enjoys that first snow like her grandma!

Take time this winter to nurture yourself.  Take up a hobby that can only be done in Winter.  Read that book you thought you would read this summer when you were busy planting and mowing.  Clean out your closets.  Get rid of the clutter.  Get your house in order so you can really enjoy next summer and plan for next Winter.