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Posts Tagged With: life lessons

The road to 2017

2017The days between Christmas and New Years afford us an opportunity to reflect and address the state of our union.  To take stock of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual happiness.

As we look back and ahead we pause to ask:

What was my biggest lesson?

What do I want to learn next?

What do I want more of? Less of?

What makes me happy? Sad?

What do I want to experience?

What do I want to feel?

What/who do I need to forgive?

What do I need to let go?

What do I want to do?  What am I willing to do?

What holds me back? Is it true?

newsboy 2

What will your 2017 headline say?

As you look to the new year, will you celebrate your accomplishments and forgive your blunders?  What excites you about 2017?

*Story idea: Frankie Perez’s MindGym

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Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Life, News, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

It’s not the grief, it’s the longing

Six years ago I registered for this blog site – 6 years!  My very first post involved lessons learned from Mom – you can read it here.

Man, I miss her.  She was my “go-to” person on so much but especially politics.  Oh the conversations we’d be having right now!   She’d snort, I’d laugh and the two of us would conspire like school girls.  I remember her whispering to me once that “none of the other kids read like you and I do” – now some siblings do read, a lot. But the way she said it makes me grin because I know she saw herself in me.  I couldn’t be more proud of the similarity.

This is the same woman who gifted me (and my sister) a scandalous book about grey ties. She had no intentions of reading it but told me, “You can handle it.”  I know she did it to scandalize us… and it worked.    The two of us horrified our (grown) kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The looks my  boys shot my way were worth it.  That was her point, to stir things up and to remind us we always have a choice.  God, I love her.

I’m lucky to have had someone so feisty as my role model.  Someone who didn’t let her gender define her. Someone who slung her purse over her shoulder and leaned in as she marched forward, even when she didn’t know the script.  We talked about this often, how as women we do more – we’re expected to  – be more, accomplish more just to earn a seat at the table.  We often talked about “not having the playbook” and her response was always the same, “you’ll figure it out, kid.” And I did.

So I think I’ve finally hit on out why conversations around me  of late have left me bored: It’s the lack of layers. The surface talk. Not having her intelligent interjections to both jar and delight me.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
― Stephen King

 

What conversations do you miss having?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Family, Grief, Growth, Humor, Joy, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Wisdom, Women, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.

related:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  

angels-kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Random 5 for Mother’s Day

Mom & I watching the SK football game 3 weeks ago. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom & I watching her favorite football team. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

  1. A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.” ~Robert Brault.  If only I could do half the things Mom believes I can!
Mom would call these "Life Lessons"

Mom would call these “Life Lessons”

  1. Mom taught me a lot, but in spite of her best efforts, there remain some lessons that didn’t take: I can’t sew, I don’t enjoy gardening and I never mastered her bread recipe.   Here are the ones that did: sharing a meal lovingly prepared, the joy in make-believe play on stormy days, the places books can take you and the ability to laugh at myself. (Remember her story “I’m Gay?”)
Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together; and Emjayandthem (C) photo

Grandma and Mom in the kitchen together; and Emjayandthem (C) photo

  1. Mom loves music and always had the radio playing in her kitchen, and I do the same.  She also taught me the importance of date nights, of a dab of perfume and a swirly skirt and jewelry that makes you feel like a girl. Mom loved me enough to let me go yet never failed to rally and cheer, “You can do it, kid!”
..:: read it ... learn it ... live it ::..

..:: read it … learn it … live it ::..

  1. When I think about how much I love my boys, I get how much she loves me.  And I think that when you’ve been loved .. you can love.  ❤ Tomorrow, they’re taking me out for Tex-Mex and Margaritas, laughter and love.  And if she could, she’d be in there “like a dirty shirt.”

get-your-happy-on-quote-1

  1. Some of my best times with Mom have taken place when it was just the two of us; up late in a quiet house enjoying rambling conversations.  In those moments she told me more about herself and her life’s journey than I had known or imagined. Time stopped and we were just two good pals hanging out together– laughing, crying, looking back, and being grateful.   I’m so glad I took the time to know her as a woman and not just as my Mom.

Nameless moments

related:

In everything I’ve ever accomplished and all that I’ve ever experienced, I’ve had one tiny but mighty powerhouse behind me: my Mother.

The 3 words that describe her best?  She. Was. There.

* * *

Happy Mother’s day to all of you!  Please share a favorite memory of your Mom with me!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Random 5 Sunday – 5 years

It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday (yay!) so here are 5 randoms from my little corner of the universe.

1  Cooked yesterday and doubled everything. Why? I’m dropping off half to oldest boy and the grands later today.   The work/school/homework schedule is just nicer when you have “extras” around.  Homemade soup, sloppy Joe’s, Game day brownies  and more.   To quote Mom, “Love is Groceries.

food ina garten

2 It was Mom who taught me the significance of caring for others.  On Mothering is just one of many posts I’ve written about her. She taught me so many things but, most importantly, she taught me how to mother.  And, like her, I’m fierce — no apologies.  Because of that, I can’t wrap my head around that our grand children’s mother left them like she did.   But it was my wee Mom who reminded me He gave our boy big shoulders for a reason and sometimes Mom & Dad are the same person.

smell the color 9

3  Stopped the other day to take this picture – October will end soon and all of this will pass.  Don’t miss it.

Country Club trees

4  I write as means to formalize my thoughts, connect-the-dots and express myself.  Through this experience I’ve connected with many of you, and one I’ve even met in person (lucky me).   When I write what I know – posts about life, relationships, personal growth, faith and home – you chime in and I love that so much.

m151be-yourself-unknown-posters

5 Going back to Mom, she was moved to Nursing Home placement this week and, when asked how things were going, her response made me laugh.  “I’m doing the best I can and managing to stay out of trouble… so far!”  This center is small, 17 beds, and in a rural setting, which is much more her style.  Both my sisters are certain she’ll get more personalized care and that’s of comfort to us all.  Thinking of her it hit me that 5 years ago today I published my very first blog and, not surprisingly, I wrote about  another life lesson learned from Mom.      5 years, 824 posts,179,273 visitors, still writing.    Thank you for reading along.

yes i can

Happy Sunday to you!  When you look back over your blogging lifetime, what do you see?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Food, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Lessons in disguise

Yesterday my day started as it often does ~ emails at home, coffee on the run, breakfast at my desk.  I had my day planned and a good sense of what was on deck for the balance of my week when it happened — a call suggesting Thursday’s meeting be moved up two days.  To yesterday.  To 2 hours from that phone call.

Looking at my “to-do’s” and schedule, my first thought was to say no and find a way to keep it to Thursday.  Then, I thought about just saying yes.   No: I wasn’t in a suit or dress, but I was in office attire, and with the cold wind blowing I’d be wearing my overcoat anyways.  Yes: moving up the meeting worked better for the rest of my week because I’m hoping to take Friday off.  Not having to be in meetings and on the road most of Thursday would support that. Another yes.  And then a nudge, “just do it.” And so I did.

And had I not done that I wouldn’t have had a chance meeting on the street (in my overcoat) with a State official whose office I’ve been aiding.  I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet her staff who then sang my praises to the official.    Happenstance? Hmm.

Smiling as I arrived back into town, I pulled into the parking lot at the mall.

I hate the mall. Not the building, the experience. I’m short, curvy and hard to fit.  Generally speaking, the mall isn’t the happy place it was when I was a lanky teenager.

This morning, my arms ache from the clothes I carried out of the dressing room.  Clothes on sale. Clothes that fit and flatter me.   Coincidence? Hmm.

I don’t know about you but sometimes life lessons don’t appear on large blinking billboards.  Sometimes they arrive disguised as ordinary moments that beg a closer look.

Coincidence-Fate

And remember, friends, “Normal is just a setting on your washing machine” ~Whoopi Goldberg.

What have you said “yes” to lately?

 

Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 14 – Hello Friend

Today marks 2 weeks that I’ve been off work ~ two whole weeks!  Yes I’ve worked some, I have to or what will greet me on my return will resemble an avalanche. But two weeks!  Here are a few things learned over this delicious break:

1. The power of sleep. I’ve gained a new appreciation for sleep’s ability to restore & renew.  With no schedule I’ve slept longer, deeper and better in the past 10 days then over the past 365.   I can see sleep’s gifts in my face -lines softened, bags retreated and  even my hair looks healthier.

Sleeping like a kitten in the sun!  Google.images.com

Sleeping like a kitten in the sun! Google.images.com

2. The comfort of quiet.   I’ve resisted the urge to fill my days with “to-dos” and have perfected enjoying my chair, sipping coffee and reading books.  The T.V. has stayed off; the phone is silent.  Chores and tasks remain and Jimmy Cracked Corn ’cause I don’t care!

This is only half of my haul!

This is only half of my book haul!

3. Enjoying real foods when actually hungry.  Not being on a schedule means that I don’t eat lunch because it’s noon; I wait until I’m hungry and sometimes that means lunch is at 2:00 p.m. instead.  I’ve enjoyed my Nutribullet smoothies, fresh pears, clementine oranges, old-fashioned oatmeal, and Greek Yoghurt throughout the course of the day ~ and felt lighter, energized and satiated.  There’s something to this that I plan to continue.

4. Taking a break from everyone else. Other than my immediate family I’ve not seen anyone else for two whole weeks!  We have a 90th birthday party to attend on Saturday.  Three weeks ago this would have felt like one more event shoe-horned into an over-scheduled schedule ~ today I find myself looking forward to it.

5. Understanding .. or not. A work colleague expressed disbelief at my long winter’s break and dismay that I wasn’t getting on a plane to go “somewhere.” To her, time off is not time off unless you’re traveling to some exotic destination.  I frustrated myself trying to explain my stance to a person who is never going to get it and ended the conversation with this, “because I need it.”  And there it is, folks.

“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

 

When was the last time you did something just for you?  What was it and what did you learn?

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Friendship, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

No watering the weeds

This has been my best Christmas holiday in recent memory.

Why? On top of the laughter and the joy was something even sweeter: never getting sick.

Nope, for the past four years, I’ve made it to the finish line (Christmas morning) and then collapsed in a heap as the flu bug ravaged my body.

Oh, I had a humdinger of a cold 2 weeks ago.  And a cold sore the size of Kansas to accompany it.  Pretty. Yeah, not so much.

But I never – not once – not this year – got the flu.

No body aches while wrapping presents.

No fevers while cooking breakfasts.

No wishing for bed while entertaining a house-full.

Nothing.

And I think I might know why.

This year, I stopped doing much of what I’ve always done.

I didn’t sign us up for Holiday visits.

I put up 1/4 of the decorations, and even less than last year.

I mailed only a few Christmas cards and most were to elderly aunties. If you received one, you might be elderly. 🙂

I never made fudge and I barely baked.   Everyone plowed through the chocolate covered peanuts, though.

I wrapped quickly and with industrial-strength tape.  (Hubbs has since been renamed “He who was not amused.”  I laughed my face off as he tried to open gifts.  Still am. Not apologizing.)

Yes I’ve stayed up, but I’ve also read up, slept in, and slowed down.

I’ve paid attention to what matters most to me and I’ve kicked my inner lizard to the curb, surrounded myself with battery chargers and heeded my own advice.

I didn’t continue rituals just because I always had.

I didn’t allow time for relationships that aren’t healthy for me.

Instead, I cultivated joy and rest, peace and quiet, laughter and music and happiness.  I harvested love and romance and take out menus and days without schedules.  I stopped shoulding on myself.

I didn’t water the weeds.

How about you?  Can you resist “watering the weeds?”

sunflower me

Here comes 2014. Let’s ignore the weeds & embrace the flowers in our lives!

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Happy Franksgiving

* Originally posted 11/22/11

Thanksgiving is only 2 days away!

I’d like to pass on some hard-learned lessons gleaned from old dog, Frankie, who had 13 years of living in a busy holiday-filled home:

C'mon Grampa, drop something!  Thanksgiving 2012

C’mon Grampa, drop something! Thanksgiving 2012

  1. Be nice; greet your guests with gusto. (Everyone gets an enthusiastic sniff hello!)
  2. Take naps and stretch before rising.   (Being well rested = a happier experience for all concerned, trust me on this)
  3. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. (When Frankie had enough of the company and confusion, he simply disappeared.  No feigned interest here. No drama either,  just slip away …. this works for people to people contact, too).
  4. On relatives: avoid biting when a simple growl will do. Come to think of it, he never growled. He stayed close to those he loved and, when he had his fill, he went back to step # 2 or 3 above.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope that you are able to “go where you’re celebrated, not just where you’re tolerated” and, if a situation you don’t care for finds its way to you,  remember Frankie and simply slip away!

# # #


Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

How to pray for someone you can’t stand

I’ve been working on this post for a while now. Twice I’ve written it and twice it’s disappeared.  I suppose it wasn’t ready for prime time just yet.

I know the title is a grabber, but I haven’t been able to wordsmith it any softer than that.

I cringe at the title and I’m the one who wrote it!

But yesterday I found myself thinking {again} about someone I can’t stand to be around. To know. To have any association with.

I have tried. For years. To no avail.

What is it, you ask?  Well, it’s a mix of many things and there’s a list as long as my arm.

At first, I thought things would be better off if I just prayed for them. I thought it would help me if I asked for mercies on their behalf. I thought and I thought and I thought … wrong.

Turns out, whenever I tried to pray for them, I just got madder.

Ornery. Downright unreasonable.

Why?

My heart wasn’t in it.  My heart just couldn’t get past the betrayals, the hurts, and that list … as long as my arm.

So, in desperation, I tried something new: I prayed that He might change them.

You can guess how that turned out.

Finally, I started to wonder if this person might be in my path for a reason.  And apparently I am supposed to learn something from them even if, for the life of me,  I don’t know what that is!

which one is it?

which one is it?

And then, after another restless night’s sleep, came clarity:  Trust in Me.

Huh, who’d have thought that the one needing prayer the most .. was the one saying them!

When Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive someone who has sinned against us, he was thinking that maybe seven times was enough. Jesus answered him, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22).

Tell me, how do you cope with hurtful people in your life?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Growth, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Coincidences

I wrote about Boston yesterday. Today I found out about an odd coincidence:

Sheryl, the gal who taught my blogging class so long ago? She’s a runner and ran the Boston, her first time. She and her family are OK and you can visit her blog at: e2dietician.com.

I don’t know why but, somehow, finding this out made me feel better.

Not about what happened.  Not about what people are going through.

About the connections we make that seem so happenstance at the time.

About feeling a little less alone in all this turmoil.

About knowing that there’s a larger plan in place than what I know it to be.

Curved asphalt road

Everyday is a winding road …

“Coincidences are just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Have you ever experienced a coincidence that gave you comfort?

related

Categories: Attitude, Faith, fear, Friendship, Gratitude, Life, News, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Burning burning

“The world doesn’t need more people playing small.

It’s time to stop hiding out and start stepping out.

It’s time to stop needing and start leading.

It’s time to start sharing your gifts instead of hoarding them or pretending they don’t exist.

It’s time you started playing the game of life in a ‘big’ way.” – Harv Eker.

on fire

Who’s burning with me?

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, fear, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Joy, Men, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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