Communication

What comes to mind when you hear the word communication? Being a kid who grew up watching a lot of black & white cowboy shows, the first things I think of are smoke signals. Did anyone besides the Native Americans use them? Of course, my brain always wonders these questions so it was off to Google I went this morning.

All Native Americans had their own set of signals. No one but their tribe could decipher the signals. During a battle, they may signal the need for reinforcements. During illnesses, they would warn others to stay away so disease would not spread. Their method of communication also served well during WWII, and also for Chinese soldiers along the Great Wall. I believe they’re still used today, but not like before. Substances are mixed and added to the fire to make very thick smoke that will travel for miles.

The early tv shows also served as early depictions of the telephone. On “Lassie,” Timmy’s mom picked up the receiver and furiously cranked the wooden box on the wall, calling into town. And of course, every time Timmy fell in the well, Lassie came to the rescue. She would come charging back to the farm, sit, and whine. Lassie always saved the day! We learned even dogs can communicate. Being a pre-teen in the early sixties, I read all the information I could and watched shows featuring Shelly Fabares, Patty Duke, and Elinor Donahue. I imagined myself as them, going on dates, high school classes, and following the latest news in Tiger Beat, and all the teenage girl magazines.

And there were also the publications who believed their advice for girls. Let him be smarter. Let him be taller. Listen to what he has to say, boys like girls who are good listeners. Your pursuits won’t interest him. Hang on his every word. You must be strong, don’t allow make-out sessions to get out of control. It’s up to you to stop them. Boys cannot control themselves past a certain point. Remain chaste and pure. Yes, even Catholic GIrl Magazine peddaled that garbage. Communication at it’s worst, what do we do about that? We all try to be honest with each other, and tell our truth to another person. We give our opinion to each other, with truth tempered with respect, and think outside ourselves when we send the messages.

The messages that are not true, we need to stop. The stuff I read as a young girl was not the real truth. I believed it as truth, but it was not. The publications merely reflected the social norms at the time. But we know so much more now than we did then, and we are smarter than we were then. We know women are as smart as men, maybe smarter. God made us equal. Let’s not lie anymore. Let’s tell the truth from now on. Yes. Let’s do that. Let’s do that from this point forward. What a concept – telling the truth from now on Yes, we will. Tell the truth. It will be memorable.

All in all. Communicate your real truth. Communicate what you can live with. Communicate the God’s honest truth. And you don’t have to worry. See you tomorrow! And enjoy the evening.

Musical Memories

The day before yesterday, I wrote about some music from the 60s and 70s. Just pleasant tunes and thoughts. Another group who played music I loved were “The Young Rascals,” who became “The Rascals.” At our high school dances, I loved whatever garage band we hired who could sing those songs. “Good Lovin,” “Mustang Sally,” ” I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure, “In the Midnight Hour,” and who could forget, “It’s a Beautiful Morning!” Right after “Saturday, in the Park,” right?

With my 50 + 1 High School Reunion coming up August 6, I’ve been pretty reflective the past few weeks. I suppose it goes with the territory of being graduated into the world for 50 + 1 Years. As I look back, music of the times was an enormous factor in how I dealt with life, former marriage, loving my family, making friends, and how we operated as a family unit. A friend told me in 1982, “Love on the Rocks,” by Neil Diamond makes me think of you.”

It’s all there, the love songs, the breaking up songs, the positive, encouraging songs about love and loss, and changes people go through during a relationship. My first husband was content just to be who he was forever. I grew up and wanted to be a partner in the relationship. Sure, from his side it was perfect. I did everything he needed, with the house & kids, and he controlled everything. Me included. I needed more. I wanted to go to school and eventually work. He laughed. Well, there had to be another way.

There was. Another song. But this time, there was another one playing. About building walls around your heart. Dang if the Babe didn’t see right through those walls and destroy them. And there have been plenty of other songs along the way. Now, songs about people with the start of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Asking for someone to remember for them, to help them remember. It’s all part of this part of life. Very poignant. Very moving. I pray the Babe and I don’t have to deal with this. We have two friends who are right now; and one woman lost her husband earlier this year. I cannot imaine the pain involved with this. My heart hurts for them.

What can we do for those who suffer? We must be patient with them. We can help keep them safe. We can offer our friends a respite from a spouse’s care. Most importantly, talk to them. Hug them, if they allow you to. Don’t just talk about them and not interact with them. Listen to them. Include them in activities and conversation. Be Kind.

Truer Words Never Spoken

One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was Glen Campbell and his family chronicling his decline with Alzheimer’s. His last album, “Adios” was beautiful. And his song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” tears my heart out. But it’s true, it’s real, and it happens to our friends, family, neighbors, and peers. Just as the music of most of our lives includes young love, first love, breakups, weddings, divorces, loss, sheer joy, beautiful days in the park, and mid life crises, it includes carrying on after loss of memory, altered brain function, and loss of spouses. It’s all part of living. The good and bad. The highs and lows. You can’t soften the blows when they happen. You can cope with it, however.

I am so happy music helps me through all the rough patches of life. I hope it can help you through, too. On the other side of this pain, this life with all of it’s ups and downs, is joy. Joy of babies and toddlers, of friends and family, of helping others. Please, keep going. Please, find a way to cope. Your friends are with you. I’m with you. Let’s help each other along.

If you are a veteran, suffering with PTS, get ahold of your local chapter of Guitars for Vets. We have Guitars for Vets Nebraska in our area, and our VFW Post 2503 is having a fundraiser for them and Moving Veterans Forward on Sunday, August 1, 2021; from 11 – 3. We have a Car Show, a Silent Auction, a 50/50 drawing, merch items for sale, and food available. We’re collecting Auction items this week. Help to help people through music. See you tomorrow!

Mistakes Are Made

Mistakes are made by humans every day. Most folks I deal with are pretty forgiving. I admit to them I messed up, and some will claim their part of the responsibility. The best thing a boss of mine used to say was, “I don’t care who did it, I’d like you to correct it for me, please.” I think that was an important lesson to me, what a good boss would do. All that mattered was the error was corrected and not allowed to stand.

That was when I worked in an old Personnel Department. Shortly after I started working there, they became the “Human Resources Department.” We entered the big time then! I learned so much for the leaders in that department. I was focused on building a career, and became successful, learning to create opportunities. It was a valuable lesson.

Sometimes when we make mistakes, it takes a great deal of energy and preparation to correct the mistakes, especially if other people are involved. I’ve seen this in my personal life. I have chosen people to date that were not good for me. It took me a long time to admit that out loud, and even to myself. It’s easier to place blame. Sure, the other person was wrong, and so were we. I can freely admit it now. As I just did. It gets easier once you do it often.

In admitting when we’ve made mistakes offers closure. We’re not the victim. We claim our part of the mistake. We correct ourselves. And we have a lesson on how to choose better in the future. Take your time! I’ve told people before you select a mate, wait until you get to the three year mark. The first year is an infatuation phase. You may think something is cute now, but it will be tiring and not good three years from now. The second year, you express differences and see how you deal with them. The behavior here is more real life. The third year, when you make it to the fourth, is when the proof is in the pudding.

Wait a minute. What does that phrase mean? I looked up in the Urban Dictionary online. The rest of the phrase is; “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” The original phrase means you have to consume the pudding before you can judge how good it is. The modern meaning of it is “There is a lot of evidence that I will not go into at the moment that will prove my point, you simply need to take my word for it.” It’s interesting that is just a perfect definition once you’ve passed the three year mark. It often takes that long for bad behaviors to appear. I’ve overlooked those bad behaviors and haven’t made it to a fourth year of dating.Wherever you are in your life, making the right choices for important things like living arrangements, business deals, relationships, trusting other people, and even intimacy requires making good decisions based on evidence, your gut instincts, and how you’ve seen with this person behave. It all is evidence for how good the pudding actually is.

Learning to take calculated risks wasn’t easy. I’m getting better at it. The first time is the hardest, since it’s a change of previous habits. Just keep with it. You learn even if the worst happens, chances are if you tweak it a little next time, you’ll be successful. Giving up is failure. Keeping at it just might work this time. Kind of like writing. Which I need to get to today, this Monday, July 26th, 2021. Errands to run first for the Car Show Benefit at the Post on Sunday, August 1. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. If you’re in the Omaha, Nebraska area, join us, won’t you? Bid on some great Silent Auction Items. Help out a couple great causes!

Humid, Dreary Sunday

We are so proud of our Granddaughter Addison. She went to Nationals for KAR Dance Competition. She represented Accapricio Dance Studio in Papillion. So far, she has earned two first place awards. She is so good. Still limited with the photos I can share between my phone and here (read my lips – NONE) so I’ll share a photo of her later. We are so lucky to have good, healthy, handsome grandkids. They are learning to make good choices for their lives. The best blessing will be they all continue on the paths they are on.

One in a while, the humidity is so high in Nebraska, the outside windows are covered with humidity. They closely resemble the windshield of your car before you turn the wipers on. Why don’t they invent wipers for your home windows? If you live in the South, I bet that may be appreciated. Does this condensation appear frequently on your homes, too? Remember folks, you heard it here first! It’s MY idea, regardless of what anyone says!

A morning like this reminds me of when our family didn’t have air conditioning. It’s rough. On Sunday mornings, we’d walk home from the Children’s Mass at Church, and change into nice play clothes to go visit our Grandma’s. Every Sunday. Grandma and Grandpa Bobell had Central Air, and it was heavenly to be in their house. Grandma Jewell did not, but she had a beautiful huge enclosed porch. She opened all the combination windows, and we’d sit in her wicker furniture and enjoy the breeze that always graced her porch. It was heavenly. She also had a porch swing. Always. It was wonderful, too. Even on days like this, she always baked something for when we would visit on Sunday. I can still smell the baked goods when I drive past her old home.

Yesterday, I thought I’d get a second blog written. No, it just didn’t happen. What I did accomplish was divide up all my papers printed from my online classes, patterns, and writing hints. Our information for the volunteering is included, as is directions on the Painting of the Month Club I joined online. For $10 a month, we get lifetime access to all the POMC Paintings. When I have time, there it will be waiting. After my first book is published, thank you very much.

The mass of papers from my first novel of 80K words is now in a series of folders and tucked away in a drawer. My completed chapters of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons” is ready to go into a binder. Before I start on it again on August 2, I’ll read each chapter and be able to pick up where I left off. By that time, I hope to create the new habit of writing two or three blogs every other day. Then I could write nothing but the novel on the alternate days. And I still want one day to sew on a quilt. I haven’t touched my sewing machine for a year. Oh my!

Yes, there are 24 hours in my day. With my back issues, I can only sit, stand, walk, type, or sew only so many hours. More that two or three is encroaching on setting off a lot of pain that takes days to recover from. And yet, I find blessings in the fact I can do anything at all. Life teaches us many lessons along the way. I decided to use the time wisely as long as I can. I believe things do fall into place if we listen to the signs along the way. They are present. You must be, too. Not on your phone. Not absorbed in Mindless TV. Awareness is critical. Learning to read the signs is too. The Five Man Electrical Band of the 70s recorded this hippie song. It was huge at the time, and I can tell you, restrictive signs regarding personal appearance still lingers. “No Shirt, No Shoes, NO SERVICE,” is one I agree with. I don’t want to see some man (or woman’s) hairy armpits while I’m eating. Thank you very much.

The best example I can think of in my life was before I filed for divorce. The Catholic Church had a series of lectures on a Friday night titled, “Women in Transition.” I knew I was terribly unhappy and wanted to divorce. I also knew I hadn’t worked outside the home since I was nineteen. I was nearing thirty and wanted to prepare myself. Every Friday night, a friend of mine and I, met and listened to the speaker. In 1981, she said the best field you could enter is Computers. They were the wave of the future.

Within five years, I was offered free classes at a computer school, paid for by our HR Department where I worked. I became a Programmer Trainee in 1987, then spent nearly fifteen years working in Software and System Analysis. I believed God led me to all of it. If I had ignored the lecture announcement, I may have never started this journey.

Think about the signs you may have in your life. Afraid to make a change? Look for support in unusual places. I’ve often thought how ironic it was, since the Catholic Church was so against divorce, that my sign came from a “Catholic Voice,” which is a Catholic Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Omaha. Since 1982, I believe the “You must stay together until you die,” has been relaxed. People make mistakes. Some people are exposed to domestic violence. Kids are not better off if their kids hear nothing but arguing constantly.

Whatever else you do today, make some “YOU” time. It’s a perfect day to read. After that second blog, I’m headed to do just that. It will be a hectic week next week, getting everything finished for the Fundraiser at the Post next weekend. It will be worth it. Two Veterans groups, Moving Veterans Forward, and Guitars for Vets, will receive the proceeds. Do something nice for someone today, too. The world will be a better place for it. See you tomorrow!

“Saturday, In the Park”

For some reason, this old Chicago song popped into my head this morning. Do people go to parks much anymore? When I was a kid, there were several parks we could walk to, and the city had kid-sponsored activities every afternoon. The little green shack opened just after lunchtime, I believe, and stayed open until probably 4 or 5 p.m. For a nickel or dime, we could do a little craft thing, or they had tether ball, box hockey, and maybe horseshoes. Teenagers worked the shack daily and our harried mothers got a little bit of a break from us during those hot, summer days.

When I had kids, the green shacks disappeared from the city parks, you were basically on your own. We just walked across a very busy street, and we had access to basketball, tennis courts, and of course, swing sets and adventures on some low to the ground climbing devices. It was the old days, and the devices were made of wood, which didn’t wear well in the extreme weather we have; blistering heat or frigid cold. They developed splinters, and were deemed unsafe. We’d take lunch over to the park and have a picnic sometimes. Sometimes we had a picnic in our own yard. Do people still do that? Aside from fire pits and barbeques? I loved being home with the kids.

Once we finally had grandkids, we would babysit for Addison quite a bit. Her Grandma Sandy was alive then, and we’d share babysitting when the kids went out of town, etc. Sandy worked close to our home, and she’d drop Addison off in the morning, and pick her up after work. We worked well together. Usually ex-wives and current-wives don’t get along. Sandy and I had more in common than the Babe. Oh, and having one wife in between Sandy and me probably made a lot of difference. I never met that wife, although I bowled with her mother forty years ago. Small world.

At any rate, we’d take Addison to the park a lot. It really was fun taking her. There was a small park two blocks from our house, and we’d take her there nearly every time we had her over. As she got older and didn’t like the park as well, we’d go to a soft serve ice cream place nearby and get ice cream. She remembers that a lot. Even now, at the age of 14, if we mention “Ice Cream” she smiles and says, “Let’s GO!” I’m glad she has those memories. Now, our park experiences are going to ball fields and watching Gavin play baseball. I love that, expecially at this age.

My daughter Becky sends pics of Kayla and Cody playing in the park. She puts cute little hats and sunscreen on them. Adorable. I hope we get to see them later this summer. She and Brian have very busy work schedules, and with COVID variants occurring, we can only pray we aren’t locked down again. Get your shots! I have, the Babe did, and we’re fine. Just please don’t be the part of the population causing the problem. Sometimes we have to think of the “greater good” before our personal beliefs. Period.

Mom put me in Junior Bowling in seventh or eighth grade. Our neighbor coached it, and we were close enough to walk. Jan Matya, my friend and I stuck with it until we were seniors in High School. The reason? It was fun, and we were the only two girls in the league. All boys. The odds were in our favor. She dated a guy for awhile, I had one ask me to the Military Ball for his ROTC. I didn’t like him, I was 15 and used the excuse my folks wouldn’t let me date until I was 16. Mom told me, “No one turns down a date to the Military Ball.” In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea. I only went to one prom and no homecomings at my school. None to other schools. I felt so crummy no one did.

So glad times have changed where kids actually go solo, and hang out with their friends. How nice. No one would feel less than enough. I really feel for kids who feel that way. There is so much buried in them that makes them good, talented people. It’s so bad when you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. Remember; You ROCK!

I think families with kids have their time occupied by organized events. Sports, Dance, and a whole host of other things. That’s great, I hope they enjoy their experiences as neighborhood kids used to when they’d do a pick-up game of baseball, kickball, and even dodge ball. My brothers didn’t participate, and there were no girls sports. I did play volleyball, but Sister Mary What’s Her Name? didn’t put me in, she said I was too nervous, I needed to relax.

After growing up, I wondered if it occurred to her to let me play and I’d be less nervous? That would make sense to me. I also learned as an adult I probably suffered from anxiety. Our mom had a temper and as a kid, I thought she was always mad (at me). It seemed her moods swung from nice to degrading whoever was around. I think this was inherited from her mother. Zero to Sixty in 30 seconds. She scared me. I spent a lot of time in my room. My sanctuary.

I have forgiven her. She didn’t know any better. Many of us followed suit until we learned how damaging that was. Sometimes I think to myself, “If I was Mom, I’d probably say, “Don’t you know blah, blah, blah.” For someone who lost her cool a lot, it’s funny we were forbidden to say words like, “Hate, Shut Up, he’s stupid, you’re a dummy, I could kill you! (believe it or not, people used to say stuff like that).” So glad that type of speech is not acceptable anymore.

For today; Speak Kindly, Sit in Nature, Relax, Remember You’re Enough. Pet a Dog. Go for a walk. Attend a benefit. Always be kind. See you tomorrow!

Really? Elvis Said THAT?

I picked up my copy of Silver Disobedience Playbook this morning and read an article titled, “Seek The Silver Lining.” Sure, I’d like to think I do. Some days are harder than others. Dian Griesel talks about learning from life when things don’t go as well as we’d like. “The bend in the road is not the end of the road.” Yes, I agree.

The next line blew my mind. As Elvis Presley said: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” I immediately googled the comment, and several sources confirmed he did. The terribly bad ending his life had is so sad. Yes, he became addicted to prescription drugs. That was wrong. Too many of the innocent, talented people fell in with bad ones. His Memphis Mafia were not the best to have around him. Pills to make you wake. Pills to make you sleep. God only knows what else he partook in.

Addictions are tricky. You can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, electronics, sex, and just about everything. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Pain killers are good for actual pain, under a doctor’s care, and can be abused. Alcohol is another crafty substance. It can sneak up on you. With my Apple ID being locked, I’ve realized how much time we all waste on our phones. Yet, the next twelve days will still find me wanting to catch up on Facebook, playing my Word Search games, and of course, Solitaire. Who doesn’t love a rousing game of Solitaire?

People handle their pain differently. Many choose to ignore it. Then it festers and gets ugly. However it rears it’s ugly head, chaos reigns. Chaos replaces order. We might not like the feelings of chaos in our lives, but we are powerless to rid ourselves of it. The time, money, and company we spend pushes us further from order. We repeat the cycle. There is always hope for folks who are addicted. They need to be on board. If someone is making them go to recovery, it won’t work. It’s pure and simple.

My heart has been broken by several people addicted to one thing or another. I’ve believed too many lies, defended people who didn’t deserve it, and felt I could fix their hurts. I was an enabler. I didn’t realize it. I have learned that painful lesson. I’ve made changes in my life. I’ve set boundaries. Not just for them. For myself. Late-bloomer that I am, I’ve learned to deflect character asassination and undeserved criticism. Their weapons no longer work on me. My armour is strong. My heart is strong. You’re never too old to learn.

I’ve taken the hairpin curves life throws at all us. I’ve endured a lot. So has the Babe. That is why it’s important for both of us to have as little conflict as possible between us. We’re seasoned in what’s important and what’s not. Peace and Quiet are important. Disruption and Noise are not.

I hope this weekend finds you in a good place. We are in one. Take a look at things. If something feels wrong, figure it out. Don’t ignore it. It’ll fester. And you won’t like the outcome. Take care out there. See you tomorrow.

Fun Stuff

I remember playing “dress up” as a little girl. Some of Mom’s old clothes, belts, scarves, hats, and low heels. I’d play for hours. When I was finished, all the stuff from my imaginary grown up closet was stashed in a box on the front porch until I played again. I’ve aways liked fashion, from drawing and designing outfits on paper, coloring them, and eventually sewing nearly all of my own clothes. It came in handy when I was working and a single Mom.

I loved making the kids’ Halloween costumes, it was so much fun. Nicholas, my younger son, went as a mouse one year. His hat was grey, and it had big, floppy ears. He had the hugest brown eyes, and he was very shy. It fit his personality to a “T.” One year, he went as a carrot. Yes, a carrot. He had a vivid imagination. Still does.

When I think of the number of things a person’s hands can do, it amazes me. From the time we are born, they are in motion. Remember seeing a baby look at their own hands, and holding their feet while laying on their back? It’s remarkable what we learn in a lifetime. Coordination of eye-hand is vital to doing everything. Eat. Pray. And yes, Love.

On the way to growing up, I experimented with nail polish. Mom bought AVON from a friend of hers, but I didn’t dare get into her makeup! We wouldn’t be talking if I would have. After I married and had a family, I didn’t think much about doing my nails but did wear makeup every day. I suppose being raised in the 60s made that seem kind of frivolous. And I didn’t like how I looked without makeup. The polish seemed to take forever to dry. Even now, once in awhile I’ll get a pedi. Now it just feels nice to be kind to my feet. I have a hard time keeping polished fingernails. I seem to smudge it or chip it, and have been known to ruin a manicure before I leave the shop. Wow. Can’t take me anywhere.

I tried Jamberry’s and built a good stock, but found them pretty time consuming. I spend some money on them, and just ran across them today. For fun, I put some on this morning. I have yet to use the hair dryer on them to activate the adhesive. Of course I picked a weird pattern. Polka Dots. We’ll see how long they last. I’ve also acquired the new Color Street nails, and true to myself, have many jewel tones. I’m going to use them all up instead of letting them gather dust and dry out. Color Street are actual real polish. What a great idea. I should be good to these hands.

These hands have held my dad’s hand while crossing the street, a boys hand while on a date, and my babies tiny hands. They’ve felt luxurious fabrics on the bolt, planted countless flowers and plants, cleaned endless hours, and washed a ton of dishes. They’ve cooked meals for my family, held the Babe’s hand while I was having a needle biopsy to see if I had breast cancer, (I did), and held the Babe’s hand while he struggled after his open heart surgery. They’ve held beautiful grandkids, held books to read to little ones, built Lincoln Log Cabins, and have countless projects always ready. Hopefully, it’ll lead to finishing more of these projects.

A moment I look forward to with great anticipation is the moment I open my box of books and finally, after a lifetime, hold something I wrote in my hands. What a thrill that will be! I hope many of you will hold it in your hands, too. There will be plenty for everyone!

Whatever you do today, I hope you stop and think about your hands and what they do for you. Be grateful they work, and marvel at how God created us. He sure knew what he was doing. We all have a lot to be thankful for. Find yours! Make some good memories today and have a beautiful afternoon! See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, the Middle of the Week

We certainly look forward to our Friday’s in America, don’t we? Somehow, we villianize Monday, glorify Friday, and don’t think too well of Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am grateful to still be breathing and living another 24 hour period. I don’t want the rest of my life to pass any quicker than it will, I will love every day as an opportunity.

I visited Mom this morning. She’s injured her foot, and is wearing a boot. The doctor never followed up with her, and she doesn’t know what she’s to do now. Tomorrow, she’ll have her cleaning lady dial the phone, and she’ll ask about it. I was tasked with calling different places to see who may groom cats. Her cat looks like a wild animal, and she can’t groom him herself anymore. I would have rather called the doctor!

Even when we need to leave a relationship (file for divorce), change jobs, or move away for our own safety, well-being, sanity, or safety, we can have some feelings of fear and trepidation. We don’t want to follow through, even if we know it’s for our own good. We’re scared. We don’t want to take such a risk. Old age is an example of fear at changing something in your life.

Fear of change, the unknown, and being out of control is at work in each of us. We need to keep those negative behaviors at bay, especially in old age. For instance, Mom has lived in the neighborhood since 1949. The atmosphere has changed dramatically. The house if far too large for one person and a cat. She does have a stair lift to allow for safety going upstairs and downstairs. She has accepted the fact she needs to stay out of the basement. No stairlift there, she has her cleaning person do the laundry. Thank goodness!

Mom’s goal is stay home until she dies. She’s reasonably healthy, her vision is her main problem. And her hearing. And getting around is tougher. I’ll be surprised if she’s still in the house at Christmas time. She may fool all of us. And I hope she does. I just want her safe. It was a different kind of visit today. She was genuine, nice, positive and grateful. That will probably change next time. We are not especially close. To show myself where we will probably remain, distant but in each other’s lives, today I wore a top I have of a white dandelion, with some fronds falling. I also just received a pair of earrings I ordered online. They are small plastic balls with Dandelion seeds in them.

I’m reading the book “just dandy,” by Sandra Swenson. It’s about living with Heartache and Wishes. It’s another Hazeldon Book. The author had an addict child, and was always bailing him out. Her point of view no matter how badly things are for people around you, you can say you’re “just dandy” and usually mean it. It takes a tremendous amount of work. Hard work.

I’m trying to learn to forgive some things from long ago. My character in the novel has to do the same thing. Coincidence? Not really, but my female main character learns and grows as she becomes able to forgive. It’s a hard thing to learn. It’s hard to practice. And it’s not for the other person we do it. It’s for ourselves. Why carry hatred, grudges, or animosity? They become quite heavy and cumbersome. A lifetime of it will weigh you down, your heart, and damage your soul. Release it. Let the wind take it away.

Prayers help immensely. We gain so much from learning to be positive. Try it, you might like it! See you tomorrow, I hope you have a pleasant evening. We are going to the VFW with our friends. Be Safe. Be Happy. Be Grateful. Be Positive.

Thankful Tuesday

It’s a pretty day here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Someone tuckered the dogs out (thanks, Babe!), and I slept in until 7, so I’m feeling rested. An old high school friend just contacted me. She is coming in from Wisconsin and staying in Gretna with her sister for our 50 + 1 HS Reunion. Of COURSE I’ll pick you up on my way past your sister’s to get to I-80. Outstanding!

Friends getting together will be very important this year. I haven’t attended a reunion since the 25th one – right before I had a mobility threatening issue with my spine, spinal cord, and all that. It was before I met the Babe. It was after another of my successive bad breakups, given my history of poor decisions about male friends. Then, in 1996, it all changed. Thanks again, Babe!

If I recall correctly, our class was intact for five years. We lost one classmate to cancer early, in the 5 – 10-year span, and I believe one to a car accident. Nothing too close. 25 years later, many have succumbed to cancer, accidents, heart attacks, and other things that people pass away from. We are all in the 69 – 71 age categories. Many have chronic illnesses. Many have life altering sicknesses. We are getting old. Our group has lost some very kind people; some spouses have died, and one woman who was a great volleyball player and friend of many, nurse to hundreds of people. Some will have canes, walkers, and electric scooters. But our hearts will still be young. The key to a happy life.

I believe we will all chat with each other. I believe we will all wish each other well. I believe we will all include each other by the end of the evening. What we won’t do is still have a “cool kid” group; a “band nerd” group; and a group of people who just don’t belong anywhere. I am positive I was the last group. It may have been self inflicted, as I had no self esteem and thought a girl’s goal in life was simply to marry and have kids. If you would have told me where these last 50 + 1 years would take me, I’d consider you a liar or a tall taleteller. If I were to select my high school category at this age, looking back, I’d be a late bloomer. It explains these vast opportunities I learned to create, and the risks I’m taking now that I’ve never done before. (Thank you, Billy McGuigan. You have taught me well). I’ve become the Queen of “Why NOT?” before my very eyes. Who is that woman, looking back at me from the mirror? It’s the real me. Living my own truth. Oh the places we’ve gone. What we’ve learned!

The trials and tribulations of growing up are now in their proper place; I’m looking forward to August 6, at the Field Club in Omaha, for our 50 + 1 class reunion. I’m looking to rekindling friendships, and acquaintences, too. We’re going to have a great time. Our faces will hurt from smiling. It’ll be a good hurt. The kind we should all have at this age. Ghosts of the past are buried, we can all be genuine and honest with each other. Let’s have a great time, classmates!

I’ll see you tomorrow, and we’ll do some more studying about kidlit. My illustrator Cartney and I have a schedule to follow with our work, and August 2, after our VFW Post 2503 Car Show, I’m resurrecting my novel, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons.” The studio/office needs some serious straightening up. All things in good time!

God Moves With Me

I remember the early Catechism they taught us at St. Bridget’s Grade School. They taught us, starting in first grade, all about God as the Catholics knew Him. Did you notice I capitalized the Him? Any reference to God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost (then it became the Holy Spirit) is a capital letter as respect to the entity of God. Lots of memorization about things we really don’t understand when we’re the ripe old age of six.

When we can memorize the answers to the questions, we were praised. At about seven, we learned about the two kinds of sin – venial and mortal. And our souls were pictured as milk bottles. Venial sins tainted the milk just a little. Mortal sins blackened the whole thing. You had to go tell a priest about those in what was called The Sacrament of Confession. They issued a little guide book to “examining your conscience.” What a big job for a little kid!

Many priests had a very little voice confessions adultery, disobeying their parents, and the big one – murdering another’s character. Wow. What guilt. We hadn’t a clue what adultery was. Same for what an Immaculate Conception was. The thinking was the Blessed Virgin Mary was not “sullied” by engaging in a sexual act and becoming pregnant. I always felt sorry for Joseph. He was told about Mary’s “condition” and he never wavered. Could anyone have that much faith?

True or not, it’s sometimes all we have to hold on to. The hope and trust there is a better place than this world can be. There is evil. Some evil people may live by us. They grew up with us. They may even live with us. Hard as it is to forgive, we need to do it for us, not for them. It’s taken me a lot of years to figure that out. We are all sinners, we all make mistakes. God has to be a forgiving, loving Spirit. Why would he keep letting us exist if he gave up on us? He left 99 to gather one lost one.

My vision of God is much kinder and gentler than it was sixty years ago. I no longer belong to a Catholic Church. God is in my life, my home, and in my sweet husband. We returned to Church together. It’s a settling thing in my life. Some summer days, I recall being a little child, walking into the dimly lit Church, with the dark cool air hitting my face. We were not allowed to talk in Church, and we didn’t. The nuns were constantly “shushing” someone. They’d tell your parents, too. Fear made us behave. We learned the reverence later.

Wherever we go in our lives, God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit is with us. We carry them in us. Sometimes we all make terrible mistakes. The Holy Trinity loves us anyway. As we recover from the sins and bad things in our lives, God is there, cheering us on. He shows his mercy every day to us. How I ever met and remained with the Babe is a mystery to me. It’s a miracle. What I sought in a relationship and marriage actually existed! I had many failure during the fourteen years I was divorced. I made many mistakes. I know I wasn’t perfect. I know God loves me anyway.

Study about the “Higher Power” referred to in AA. Hang your future on something bigger than yourselves. It’s only then you can have a good future. It’s all in your hands. You cannot place blame, or claim you were born under a bad sign. Just do it! Begin. Every single day. You will get where you’re going. Thank you for reading today. I am going to study more about mistakes made in children’s books. More on that tomorrow. Have a beautiful day! It’s super here in Gretna. Enjoy! See you tomorrow!