Thankful Thursday

It’s been pretty busy here at Raabe Ranch today. I had a great book talk with Sam Tyler, my coach this morning. I’m feeling a little sad because we agreed to take December “off,” and resume in January 2021. By now, I feel I’ve learned enough of what I didn’t know before that I can proceed on my own, with good guidance from a couple of books certain authors have written to guide other writers in their trade. Changes are hard, and I know we have become friends along the way. That is the best benefit.

I finished with shopping for the VFW Post donation to the homeless vets being served through Moving Veterans Forward. I’ll accompany the founder and CEO, Ron Hernandez, and a couple other people to deliver the goods where they will do the most good. It will be another lesson in the story of life. Some are sad, some are happy. Some show impressive growth, others bear substantial loss.

I mentioned yesterday about facing mortality, as Michael J Fox talks about his retirement from acting after his last couple of years of struggles with health issues. In the past five to ten years, we have lost a bunch of friends and family, mostly from cancer. As I went through my Facebook friends list, deciding on who to invite to like my author page, I am struck by how many of those people were no longer with us. The old-fashioned address book is even worse.

I think of all the people I’ve loved, liked, and had fun with. Fun friends from school, church, groups we’ve belonged to, and friends of friends. It’s a whole unique group of people you collect throughout your life, and if they’ve been with you for a long time, they really become part of you, and you become part of them. Friends, wonderful friends, are worth so much. It’s a pleasure being a part of their lives, just as it’s a pleasure to have them in your life. The world is so much better with them.

Today, start making the most of however much time you have left on this earth. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 95. You can make the most of the rest of your life by starting now. Start today. Be positive. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Grateful. Always leave home on a pleasant note. You never know how life can change in eight or ten hours. Be free of regrets. It makes a tremendous difference in your life.

Although it is late, I appreciate you reading. Tomorrow’s blog will be later in the day, too. The delivery of goods to homeless shelters for Veterans is going to be quite a story. There, but by the grace of God, go I. See you tomorrow. Stay safe out there.

Thursday Full of Thanks

It’s a beautifully chilly fall day. The Sun is shining, and with lower humidity, the blue of the sky is brighter. I love days like this. The dogs aren’t wanting to be outside much, since it is much warmer on the couch, so they’re napping along to whatever music is playing. A nap sounds good about now, but I’ll wait until I’m finished with the blog. Otherwise, I’ll feel as if I should be doing something else.

I have used this header photo before, and I am rather fond of it. It’s symmetrical, and tells me there are a lot of words on those pages for me to drink up should I read it. I’m following the Gretna Library Facebook page. They are planning fundraising to build a new library. I believe the plan was to have it near our house, it would be quite a walk up some hills, but about six blocks away for sure. I hope they are able to use the site they have their eye on, it would be great. I’ll have to keep an eye social media.

So it’s now very late in the day – it’s 6:15 p.m., CDT. I took a break from writing to have lunch with the Babe. Then, I headed to our clinic at our doctor’s office. I have these pesky swollen glands up by my jaw/ear. They are extremely tender. But nothing’s wrong. No signs of infection, or anything. I’m glad, but not sure why things like that happen. Push fluids, take Tylenol. Wow. At least I scored a flu shot. Double strength for old people.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
This explains a lot to me, about my first marriage.

Sometimes, I’m baffled at why some of us take the long way home, why we take so long to learn hard lessons. I’m a late bloomer, by many standards. And that is really ok. It’s strange to look back with the wisdom of today. Things are much more transparent.

It’s amazing how much a person can learn in a lifetime. I remember reading an article a long time ago, and it stated a person learns the most in the first 18 months of life than they do the whole rest of their lives. You have to consider every thing a baby learns in their first 18 months, that could be true. But I don’t think there is a limit on learning. Look how much a child learns now from pre-K to first grade. And from middle school to high school. Any 18 month period in college could give the first 18 months of learning a run for their money. I do wish I could remember where I read the article was so I could find it again.

I’m off now to take more Tylenol and have my 400th glass of water for today. Hope you’re all well and had a good day. Tomorrow will be much better, I’m sure. More writing to do, so it’ll be good to be back on track. Have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow. Thank you

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Thankful Thursday #????

I cannot begin to count the number of Thursdays I have lived much less the number of Thursdays I’ve been Thankful. Not every one of them, for sure. I think the state of grateful/thankful comes from a conscious decision be grateful. It should be natural, but since we’re imperfect humans, it isn’t something that comes easily sometimes. Trust me, things went terribly wrong for me for many years, and even being happy was hard sometimes. Not because I wasn’t grateful, but because my life wasn’t very secure.

Part of that comes from being codependent from environment and example. It’s all my mom’s family knew, and it’s what I knew growing up. We had to do things a certain way for Mom to be happy. If we didn’t, there was heck to pay. Since she was an adult child of an alcoholic(s), she learned early if she could control the environment around her, she could predict a good outcome. If it was only that easy. She practiced what she though worked for her. She taught her little sisters how to do the same things. It’s all she had, and for a number of years, she was all they had.

I’m not mentioning all this for pity or to point fingers at people and place blame. It’s factual and it’s healthy to recognize what went on and how it affected everyone. I’ve mentioned it before, and still like to check in on myself with a Hazelden Meditations book, “Days of Healing, Days of Joy.” I was freed once I recognized our mom’s alcoholism and how I had patterns of mine that were learned.

One huge area of learning for me was fake ideas about love. Of course, the more precious something is, the more it is imitated. Love is precious. The love I have now is so different than the love I thought was real when I was young. I learned most what love wasn’t. It wasn’t sex. It wasn’t letting someone have their way to win favor. It wasn’t spending every minute only with them. It wasn’t expensive. It isn’t worth compromising your principles for. It isn’t forsaking your children.

If it isn’t all those things, what is it?

This is key in any growth

It is enjoying each other’s company when the passion can’t be the same as it was in your 20s. It’s being able to trust. Trust was a huge issue for me. Infidelity isn’t in our vocabulary. It never has been. You know that when you are with someone who has principles. High standards. When you learn you deserve better than what you’ve allowed. When you claim your part of the responsibility for prior mistakes. Once you know better, you must choose differently. If you don’t, it’s on you from then on. Once you see how much better living the new way is, there is no going back.

Love isn’t accepting lies for truth. It isn’t lying for you. It isn’t cheating for you. It isn’t looking the other way while you commit terrible acts. It isn’t the deception you want me to buy into. No one but an alcoholic can fool themselves so well. The trouble with that, is they come to believe their own lies. Their own flattery. Their own cheating. They accuse you what they are doing. They gaslight you. They try to place the blame on YOU, instead of on them. You lose who you are and your own integrity helping them live their lie. No more. Don’t participate in their lie. Your life cannot be their lie. Let the chips fall where they may. If they leave, you know you never had them in the first place, and it’s not your fault. It’s all on them.

These are hard truths to learn and apply to our own lives. Being the truth, there is nothing to buffer it and it does hurt. It hurts like hell sometimes. Your mom may not be who you thought she was. Your brother may not be the kind of person you would pick for a friend, once you look past the lies. Your sister may have to hit their bottom before they see what they’ve done. And none of it is caused by you or is your responsibility. It’s theirs.

With all that said, I do love my family. I can look at every bad relationship I had when I was divorced was because of my uniformed, bad choice. Once I learned, oh boy. Never again. But I need to remain vigilant.

I’m looking to share some truths with my writing. Maybe, just maybe, it will spark something in a young person who needs to come to terms with their own family. It’s all hard. Changing is hard. Growing is hard. Outgrowing your life is painful. Speak the truth, and it will set you free.

A couple years ago at Mom’s Birthday dinner @ Piccolo’s. Left to right: Me, Mom, The Babe, and Tim, my baby brother.

While you’re becoming your best, authentic self, learn to take care of yourself, too. Kindness and consideration are great, and being thoughtful is fabulous, and you need to give yourself all of those things, too. You can’t give what you don’t have. Rest up, rejuvenate, and relax. Then give care to others.

One more thing on the topic of trust. As a single mom, I let my kids know, “I will trust you until I find out I can’t.” I think this led to more honesty on their part. They knew if I lost trust in them, it would only hurt them in the long run. Of course, every kid spoofs their parents. Every kid tries to put one over on their parents. I think there were fewer episodes of that because we always talked things over. They weren’t perfect, but they learned trust was very important.

Have a good rest of the day. Wear a mask, wash up, help out. Let’s all be good to each other. It spreads like a California wildfire if you do. Be careful out there, and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, Again?

The past week has been a whirlwind again. Lots of stuff going on. I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment, and I know it’ll pass. It always does. How about you?

The VFW had quite a few people at Hamburger Night. Some restrictions are still in place; the kitchen staff wears masks and gloves, we order and pay for food individually, the servers bring our food to the table. No lines to wait in. Not sure how long this will all be going on, or if we will have to close again for more COVID outbreaks. We haven’t been called a hot-spot, but cases are increasing. I don’t see how they won’t continue to grow after schools are in session. In 30 days, we’ll know more. Just praying no one becomes ill.

I’ve done more reading in Personality Isn’t Permanent. Zig Ziglar is credited for the saying,

Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future.

This morning, I had to rein in my outlook and output. The day didn’t start well. The Babe and I took care of a lot of business this week, and need to fill out some paperwork online to complete the week. I do not like to do that on my phone. I became frustrated from overwhelm, and in the overwhelm, I decided not to share what I was thinking about the whole thing. Arghhh! Reigning in my frustration helped me say I’m overwhelmed, then stepping away made it easier for the moment. Some things are still unresolved, but the whole day didn’t fall apart because of it. It could have easily been a totally wasted day, letting frustration build into anger, into angry words, into a bad mood all day. Each day is much too precious to let that happen.

The author is talking about all the distractions on the internet. Most of it has to do with your future self. That is true. We have so many choices as to how we spend our time, and most people cannot function with that many choices and not be intimidated by them. I suppose that could be true. While given all these choices, many people get anxious about making a decision. This can cause something he calls “decision fatigue,” that can paralyze many people.

Many of these “choices” are dark rabbit holes that lead nowhere. They don’t help your cause at all. They simply waste your time. We are all guilty of doing that from time to time. If we want to achieve goals and move forward from wherever we are in life, we have to intentionally block out a lot of the world. That is not saying becoming closed-minded. By knowing what we want, we can limit our vast possibility of options, and made the choices that really are best for us. Best for our goals. We won’t become lost on the way to achieving our dreams.

This fine fellow was occupying the deck railing yesterday. I was watching him for a few minutes as he moved slowly to fly away. He had to know I was so close, I think he was just trying to fake me out. I love distractions like this, it gives you a mental break. Sometimes it’s just enough for you to go on creating for another bit of time.

The Poppy Quilt is taking my time today and hopefully tomorrow. I started yesterday. I’m using “Invisible Thread: Color: Smoke.” It’s not really invisible, but you’d think it was while trying to thread the needle. I needed the machine light, my phone flashlight, tweezers, and a steady hand while trying to accomplish the mission. I started quilting and see it won’t be long before the middle is quilted, and the rest shouldn’t take too long. It’d be great to have it finished by Monday. I’ll keep you posted.

As always, thank you for reading today. I appreciate your support and time. Stay safe out there. Washing and Masking are more important than ever, with schools starting up just around the corner. Let’s help each other stay well. We don’t know all that is ahead of us. If we stay civil, united, and respectful of each other, things will go a lot better.

Thankful Thursday

Hi, friends. Hope you’re staying amused, being productive, and getting done what you need to. I know I’m not. Well, I am, and I’m not. The sun and warm went away this morning, and now we could have freezing rain/snow. After this virus outbreak and quarantine, nothing surprises me. How could it? About the time we think we’ve seen everything, something comes along and trumps the last event. I love talking to my oldest, who will be fifty years old next year. He has a good memory of things from his youth. He actually remembers the awful tunnel at 84th and I-80. Remember it? He remembers going to Brandies when he was three to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory displays. He remembers being afraid of some of the characters in Star Wars. It makes me laugh when he wonders what’s wrong with kids nowadays. For those conversations, I am so thankful.

English – the hardest language to learn.

I’m glad I grew up in a family of readers. My parents both read every chance they got. We were good at looking stuff up in the dictionary and encyclopedias. Dad never told us how to spell something. His philosophy was start where you think it should be. Then, if it’s not there, look further until you find it. You’ll become familiar with so many more words. Good advice, although we disliked it at the time. He would be so amazed by PC’s today. I wish he could have lived long enough to have had one. It would have been fun to help him learn how to use it. It’s hard to hear about kids who don’t read, or who don’t like to. It is so much harder when you dislike it. Dad also used to say if you could read you could do anything. There is 100 % truth to that. Directions, reading a recipe, reading a dress pattern, putting together a car, model airplane, whatever you need to do, you usually have to be able to read to accomplish it. I’m thankful to the gift of reading.

And the meme above points out an important thing about reading. For as difficult as English is, you must be able to know read from read, excuse from excuse, and so on. Would that be in language class? I truly don’t remember. Wherever it’s taught, I’m thankful to have learned it.

I sort of led my life backwards, compared to how some of my classmates lived. I married very early, had three kids by the age of 27, and was divorced at 30. I attended college classes for a long, long time and graduated from college in 1995. Twenty-five years after graduating from high school. It’s the only thing I ever regretted, was not being able to graduate from college. Dad told me, “Just keep working at it, you’ll get it done.” He was right. I’m so thankful he gave that advice and that I followed it. It meant a lot to me.

Of course, I’m thankful for the Babe. This being quarantined at home tries everyone’s patience, but there still is no one I’d rather be quarantined with. No one else may be able to put up with me, you know? It works two ways. We are watching Netflix, we finished the Ranch, are watching Ozark, it’s really good. I don’t know if we’ll watch the Tiger King or not. There is certainly a lot of hub-bub about it. What do you think? Watch it or skip it? The promos remind me of the Jerry Springer Show. Or Honey Boo Boo. Or hokey stuff like that.

Today hasn’t been that great of a day. The weather change was predicted by the fibromyalgia/arthritis combination and is currently about to put me down for the count. Even with the Super Arthritis Formula 650 mg. Acetometaphine the Babe brought home for me to try. I took two. Haven’t started to work yet and it’s been a couple hours. Wow. How are people who have this fibro stuff supposed to know when they have body aches? It’s a sign of the virus, yet so many of us live with conditions that already cause a lot of pain. How does one tell?

Maybe it’s time to go sit by the fire and read. That’s it, boys and girls. Hope you have a good rest of the evening, and I’ll do the same. Thanks for reading, be grateful, wash your hands, come back tomorrow. I’ll be here, too. And for all that, I’m grateful, too.