Looking for Answers in New Places

Sometimes, old answers aren’t the right ones. If you do something a certain way because you’ve always done it that way before, don’t be surprised when the results are the same. We need to be brave and look for new ways to do things. Yes, it can be very uncomfortable, can’t it?

Finding different solutions to old problems and having positive results is life changing. We may feel some guilt because we abandoned the way of our parents and others, and they may criticize us for not remembering where we came from. We are at the point where we remember perfectly well where we came from. We are choosing to look for a solution, a new way of doing things. We want things to work where we have seen them fail before. When we’re successful, it makes people who settle for the old ways are upset. Gosh, you may make them look at themselves and evaluate their life and things that are not working.

It can be isolating to be the one who tries a new way of thinking, living, and solving problems. It can also be freeing, discovering your own way. Your own answers. Your own truth. It can lead you to a whole new life, new friends, and a positive outlook that sets you on a path of discovery, creativity, and a fulfilling life. Living a Great Story should be the goal of all of us.

We owe it to ourselves to be our best version of ourselves. We do that with personal growth, experiencing life on our own terms, and contributing to our surrounding communities. Getting out of our own head helps us to overcome our difficulties, heal our heartaches, and be good citizens of our earth. Thinking before reacting is new territory for us. It takes practice, over and over again. The ineffective habits we had before leave us the more we do new things, in new ways. It’s very satisfying. Try it, you’ll like it!

Sorry to be so short today, just kind of distracted. Hope you have a beautiful day and see you tomorrow.

I Formed My Habits; and My Habits Formed My Future. – j.t.

Wow! That must make me accountable for what I’ve done! Well, I guess we all are. Aren’t we? Yes, even before we knew better and learned what NOT to do. The sooner we accept that, the better outcomes we’ll have. After all, our habits, good or bad, are learned in our environment.

When we’re kids, we’re at our parent’s mercy. Really, we are. They can only do as well as they know how to do. And it goes on and on, until someone realizes the habits aren’t healthy and they need something different in their lives. The one who raises issue with “how it’s always been” is usually criticized unmercifully. But then again, they’re kind of used to it. Put downs sting, but you don’t let on people hurt you. You have a quick wit to answer all sorts of accusations. But inside, you’re dying. And it’s your family who can hurt the most. After all, they have the best ammunition to use. Old habits die hard.

Fifty-one years ago, I got married for the first time. He had a low draft number (bad reason to get married!), and it seemed likely he’d go to Vietnam, like every boy from high school who didn’t go to college. Of course, Mom was against it, but we knew better, as every 18 and 19 year old can tell you. Mom was 19 when she married Dad, and he was 25. If she could have explained why “you just shouldn’t,” I may have listened. Or not. She said if I was getting married, she would plan it or it wouldn’t happen. She planned everything. She is a person who must be in control, so she was in her glory.

In 1982, 11 1/2 years later, I told her I was getting a divorce. Her only comment was, “My grandchildren will starve.” I felt surer they wouldn’t. They didn’t. Her habit is controlling, and she reacts with anger when things don’t fall into place. I had one person, my Aunt Carol, who knew why I had to leave. I was becoming an angry person. I didn’t want to be like Mom was. I love her still, and she honed her habits out of survival in the home and environment she grew up in. She can’t help it, and may not want to at this point. I feel sorry for her inasmuch as she holds her anger like a shield, and is constantly in react mode.

The events of the last month have made an impact on her. She is no longer angry and confrontational about using her walker; she sees it as freeing, she can get around better with less physical danger. Finally! Some progress. Her habits can change. And it will impact her future by enabling her to stay in her beloved home longer. How much longer? I’d be foolish to guess, it’s whenever God decides she needs to go somewhere else.

I’ve had a lot of mindsets/habits to change in my life. Equality for women was a big thing I had to recognize and participate in. Luckily, I continued my education while working and entered the I/T field, where you are paid according to your skills. I personally disliked the old wives tale of analysts not being able to communicate effectively, I was able to show our internal customers I could communicate well and participate in problem solving while speaking to them in English, not tech talk.

I raised my kids with encouragement and support. I wanted them to be independent people, they all learned how to clean, do laundry, and cook. They also knew they would be punished if they did things that were wrong. They knew I would trust them until I couldn’t, and that would be on them. I know we were a good family. Now, we’re in three different states and rarely see one another. Sure, I miss them. I also remember I taught them to take care of themselves, and that’s what they’re doing.

What habits do I need to change? Several. We’ll talk about that another day. What habits do you need to change? Are you willing to do the work? It takes consistency towards a new behavior to change a habit. Working out, eating healthy, losing weight, lowering your blood sugar, all take a big effort. You can get there to do anything you decide you can do. Even change your life! I did. I’m so grateful for these last 40 years of not being married to the father of my kids. I would never have made all these good changes with him. He wanted everything to remain exactly the same as it was in 1970. And that just couldn’t be for me.

I’m grateful to those who are in this part of my journey. The Babe is very supportive of my writing. The kids are, too. I’m grateful for that. Yes, everything is going to be ok. I know in my heart it will. Just go to Plan B. I’m going to thrive at this time in life. You can too. Shall we go together? Let’s!

Sharing these books as the ones I want to devour in the next month or so. Women authors, a couple friends, a couple Facebook friends. Supporting each other. I finished Tammy Marshall’s “Ticker Tape,” yesterday. It was great. I’ll go into more detail another day. And I love Rebecca Cooper’s FB shares. So raw. So real. And Carol Gino! She makes me think about things. I love her stories about angels all around us. Joy Johnson Brown’s The BOOB Girls Books! I do believe she may have been my older sister in another life. Go figure! We just need to be aware. Be aware today. Let’s talk about that another day. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Have a beautiful day, see you tomorrow!

My Fall Picks to Read.

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.

Don’t Look Back

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is credited with the phrase:

Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. It is thine.

I don’t know about you, but I have done this. I miss the times when my kids were little. It was one of the happiest times of my life. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done. Seriously. To help form a little human, teach them right from wrong, how to love each other, and how to be street-wise to protect themselves from those who prey on others.

I pictured life as; the Babe and me with a bunch of grandkids. The reality is; three live out of town. Two live here. We have our share of fun with them. I sometimes wish the Sunday dinners would have materialized. Life doesn’t work that way anymore. If I let it, it could make me sad.

Instead, I’m grateful. We have different good times that usually include ice cream. Addison and Gavin both request it when we’re out. Ice Cream is one of my favorite things on earth. You cannot be in a foul mood when you’re having ice cream. Right? What I’m grateful for is; my reality tells me those dinners would be hard for me to prepare. So it’s easy to dial it back. If it’s not realistic; let it go.

You can’t know what you know now if you live in the past. About how to live. About how to survive. You can’t have it both ways. We often hear, “If I knew then what I know now.” We can’t go back. We can’t take information backwards. Only forward. Our parents likely raised us as they were. We have difficulties with that behavior. Times change. “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is a philosophy that can see you arrested for child abuse. The only thing achieved by beating a child is submission, low self-esteem, and timidity. Not physically beaten, my spirit was pretty beaten up. I needed to be who I needed to be, not a clone of others. It caused me a lot of confusion. Now I revel in it. I’m different. And there’s a reason I am.

I believe it’s how God wants me to be. It’s how I can best do what I’m good at. Telling stories and spreading hope, love, and encouragement. I’m a naturally curious person. I’m a detail-oriented person. I’m unafraid now. These are all gifts from my life. Now I can use them to tell stories which help kids and women. People raised by an old standard. No one owns anyone else. We are all meant to be free. Be who you are. The sky is the limit. Join me on this journey. Kiss yesterday goodbye. It is of no use to you now. Look ahead with joy and excitement. It is all out there for the taking.

Thank you for reading today. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be who you want to be. Live your life for yourself. Be who God intended you to be. Be YOU. Observe the world. Observe other’s stories. And go out and live a great one for yourself. See you tomorrow.

Memories – 2002

In going through some old writing I had from grief seminars with the Centering Corporation in Omaha, Nebraska, I found a couple things I’ve held onto. It would have been in about 2002, when I turned 50 years old. A huge mark in a person’s life, but for me it was the dawning of some premature events.

I went on disability at 48, I was unable to continue working due to the condition of my spine. I continued working for five years, and just couldn’t physically handle sitting all day anymore. My work place was more than accommodating. The Babe and I were married about four years. He told me I didn’t have to work. It never dawned on me to quit.

The header photo is a collage I made of my feelings in 2002, depicting how I felt about being placed on LTD. It was very hard to adjust to. I’d been working for twenty years, got an education while raising my kids, bought my own home, and climbed the corporate ladder. I was approaching where I would get to have the time of my life. And my career ended. All the words dealt with my medical issue, which you “couldn’t see.” “Doing What I Love?” I hadn’t thought of anything. ” I am data,” spoke to there being no data on someone recovering from what I had. I was written up in medical journals, complete with a digital photo of my arachnoid cyst squeezing my spinal cord. The pain was unbelievable. And for the big 5-0? I went on MEDICARE, for crying out loud. Fifteen years early. I was embarrassed. I certainly did not look 65. I felt I had no control over anything. I finally learned to grieve properly about that loss, and adjust to my new life. Thank you, Joy Johnson Brown and Dr. Mary Hansen! You ladies have taught me so much about living.

There was a session about expressing grief. It was through poetry. As nearly as I can remember, I must have written a poem about My Dad’s Hands. I’ll leave you with these thoughts.

MY DAD’s HANDS

Big, Outstretched, and Warm

I always felt safe

When Dad reached down

and took my small hand in his.

Crossing the street

Into the Doctor’s Office

Upstairs a million steps to the dentist’s smelly office

I knew he would protect me.

As I grew, I noticed

the nicotine stained fingers,

the Pressman’s ink,

the Mechanic’s grease,

and I saw some of his many talents.

His beautiful signature

The thousands of books he’d read

The golf clubs he treasured

The grandchildren he’d held after

He was sure they wouldn’t break.

How cold and small they seemed

With the IV’s inserted

As that modern plague Cancer

Sucked the breath from his lungs,

But not the love for him from my heart.

Dear Dad,

Things are coming along here. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen how crazy this planet is, and especially the country we live in. I’d love to get your opinion on all the goings on, from the Pandemic to Politics, to our Military, to technology. I’d love to linger with you over a keyboard and show you what you could read, right at your fingertips.

I know how you loved Kaiser’s Book Store in downtown Omaha. You’d most likely still want to hold the books in your hands to read, I prefer that, too. It’s an option, though. As quickly as you read, you might enjoy it. Speaking of books, I’m writing several. Too many ideas that seem good. I couldn’t pick a favorite, it would be like picking your favorite child.

I’m also working with an attorney to establish a publishing company. I want to have control over my publications. I’m concerned if I publish traditionally, I’d may not recognize my work. If someone makes me an offer, I can’t refuse, great. Otherwise, I’ll go it alone. I think you’d be proud; I am. That’s hard for me to get used to saying; I’m not used to saying it. It’s not ego talking, it’s confidence. I’ve gained more of that since you died. I remember where we all came from. Humble roots. I thank you for all you provided; not just physical things, but also the example you set every day. It is one I try to follow, and one I hope my kids remember.

Writing a book or several has been a dream of mine for a long time. My Becky encouraged me to get going. She’s a wise young woman, married with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. You would love them. Nick married and lives in Kansas City. Frankie still lives in Omaha, he’s still cooking. He’s quite good at it. They’re all good.

Today would have been your Happy 97th Birthday! What an accomplishment it would be! Maybe I’ll make it to that age. I’m hoping. You weren’t born yet during the Spanish Flu, and I can tell you, living during a pandemic is scary. I don’t need to tell you that. You always kept us away from harm, in your own way. Even though other kids went barefoot and wore thongs, oops, Dad, thongs now refer to underwear, I mean sandals or flip-flops. Yes, I’m serious, Dad. You wouldn’t believe some things people are doing.

We’re actually wearing masks when we’re around other people; I know with your medical knowledge, you’d be all for that. Masks, questionnaires, drive up testing sites, and people just staying home from March last year through December 31, 2020. It came from China, and I know you wouldn’t approve being friendly with them, or with Russia. Even North Korea. Yes, that god-forsaken place where you served your country during the “Conflict.” I know a couple Korean Veterans, and I tell them about you. I’m still proud to be your daughter. You left an imprint on my heart and my being, and I miss you, but not weirdly. I just wanted more good times with you. Conversations. Sharing. And you seeing your grandkids grow up. They’re up there in age now (but then I am too!)

Mom let me send for your military medals. You were a badass! Sorry, I know I shouldn’t talk like that. It’s true. Yes, you never called attention to yourself. For anything. I didn’t know you carried a black rosary in your trouser pocket every day, just like you did in WWII and Korea. You were deeply spiritual, and no one knew. It was between you and God. I like that. You always were a very “do it, move on, and don’t brag about it.” That is one of your best qualities. I hope to be that way, too. I don’t enjoy talking about myself and the Babe. He’s got to be the one you pulled strings for to meet me. It wouldn’t surprise me. He has a lot of your qualities, including loving me unconditionally. You’d love him, too. Thanks.

I’m going to keep writing in 2021. I want to publish some books. It would be so cool to hold a book with my name as the author. It’s not to make a living, it’s to make something in my life. It’s the achievement I’m going for. You taught me well; I’m just going to go for it. Doing my homework all along the way. Learning all I can. It’s enjoyable. I love it. Stretching, reaching, serving. Thank you. Happy Birthday, Dad.

The Babe and I Wish You All a Happy New Year!

Reading to Your Child

There is a meme out there stating something about the trees getting ready to show us how wonderful it is to let go of things. That’s a great thought. But with trees letting go, the process isn’t really over until we clean up the leaves, use them for compost, or putting them in our yard waste containers. Unless you live in a forest, then they leave things where they fall.

The sun rises much later, at least where we live. It sets much earlier, also, and we use the fire place on mornings it’s really cold. Not much, but we do in case it’s too cold. Usually, we warm up during the day, and it’s bearable. We’re hoping our furnace makes it through another winter. The house is probably ten years old, and HVAC systems don’t last much longer than that. Hope and Holy Water might help.

My writing coach Sam and I broke down the steps in writing a scene today. It made perfect sense. She may make me into an outliner yet. I have been a pantster, and it’s pretty unpredictable. Although some good stuff still can be written that way. I would guess an accomplished writer would be more successful at it than a rookie like me.

I am going to create some scenes, and build on more details later. It should lead me on a better path than what I have been on. There are so many words, sometimes it’s hard to pick the right ones. Keeping on task and staying in the scene will make all the difference in the world. Now, to just do it!

Isn’t this phenomenal?

One of my favorite things to do is read to little kids. They sometimes act as if they aren’t listening, but they are. They may have a favorite part of the book they pretend about, and do it well. Those are rich opportunities for their little minds, like little sponges, sopping up everything around them. I hope they are all good things. Our little ones deserve a childhood filled with wonderment, curiosity, learning, and security. Holding them while reading can instill most of this. Help your child’s life have a good start. Read often and willingly. They will appreciate it.

Isn’t This Fun?

Whatever you call it, it’s fun to read. Share it with your favorite young person today. You’ll be glad you did! I’m so glad to be working with Sam Tyler, my Writing Coach. We dissected a scene today, and really broke down all the elements to an effective one. It all makes sense when she talks about it, and it makes a huge difference in what I want to do. Thanks, Sam!

We all can be better at what we call our passion. We have abilities far beyond what we are using, we all do, be they physical, creative, scientific, or repairing things. If we all would use our gifts to their max imagine what kind of lives we could have. Not in terms of monetary wealth, but of satisfaction with our efforts and our lives. A good feeling could make our lives better, our interactions better, and our group of associates better. Not a lot is wrong about improving on what you do now.

I See You

Thank you all for reading today. I appreciate it so much. Be kind to each other, be patient. someone needs your kindness today. Be generous with it. You may need it someday. See you again tomorrow!