Jury Duty

For someone to be tried by a jury of their peers is to give each juror an equal voice in finding that person innocent or guilty. In 1981, as the mousy stay at home Mom of three, they summoned me to Jury Duty. It set me to thinking. It changed my life.

Most people avoid serving like the plague. I found it fascinating. I have been called two other times. My serving was unnecessary. I was called the last time a month ago and excused because of my approaching age. Fine. They have thrown me out of better places!

I’ve told the story before of how foolish I felt; I didn’t get to pick out my washing machine, but I had a say in if someone went to jail. I was twenty-nine years old. We had three children, nine, five, and two. I was deeply unhappy. I consciously knew I could not hold my kids back from living their lives to make me happy. I had to make changes. For the marriage, I chose counseling; he quit after a couple months. I continued until I filed for divorce.

It bears repeating. I see many women’s groups on Facebook about finding your voice. Family, society, and the era quieted my voice before I knew I had one. No more. I want to encourage women, children, and men to find and use their voices. I was a very late bloomer, and I had to be. You can only change your life if you are uncomfortable as you are. It sounds simple. It isn’t. Timing is everything.

Are you growing to realize your potential? Are you stuck? Is life less than it can be? Do you have a voice? Is it your voice or that of tradition, family expectation, or your parent’s dreams? Are you in there anywhere? You should be front and center in your own story, using your voice.

For nearly thirty years, I was a painfully shy girl. I’m no longer afraid to speak up. Every day, I can make my own choices. I raised my kids to do the same. We respectfully disagree and go on. They know we communicated in a way which differed from other families they knew. I’m proud of that.

Start today. When you have no choice, there is no voice; and there is no power. We want to be heard as women, as mothers, as daughters, and as people. Listen to others voice their powers, too. We’ll learn many fascinating things about each other. And we’ll all live our own great story.

Thank you for reading today. Look around you. Where are you? Are you where you want to be? Can you feel your power? It’s time to take it back. Don’t give it away. It’s yours to keep and use as the gift it is. Have a beautiful day. And we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Wednesday Moments

It’s been another great day again. Lots of progress made today, despite the Internet issues that have plagued a certain ISP in our area, and I’m pleased with the outcome. I had a short nap today, which helps renew the creativity and your spirit.

We have enough of the connection to make some correspondence today and finish some loose ends. Tomorrow we have a good day at home. Increasingly, we seem to want them more often. Contrary to popular opinion, I’d like a couple of major snowstorms. Even though it makes our yard into a mud pit, I think the ground needs it right about now. We’ve only had about 8 inches of show this year, and we need much more. And I’d much rather have it in the form of snow than in the form of inches of rain in the spring. It runs off more than soaks in. And it makes even more mud. Goldie has a track worn in the grass, and she follows her own path religiously. We plan to reseed the area in the spring, and we’ll baby the new grass until our lawn looks decent again. And Goldie will make it a challenge!

Have you ever known people who always seem to blame outside things for their lives not going well? A guy may say it’s his girlfriend’s fault, she’s such a nag. A woman may say, “I can’t let my son live in his car, he is just down on his luck, it’s just he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.” A woman may blame her father for her problems in life. Why doesn’t anyone love her like her daddy did? Her life would be wonderful if only someone would.

George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their circumstances for being what they are. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.”

I know many people who wish for the weather to be better, or there were more job opportunities, or if the sun didn’t shine on this side of the house, things would be better. Hah! These folks need to take a long hard look at themselves to see why their luck is so bad, or why they continue to make choices that shape their lives. We never realize how it’s our choices, not the lack of opportunity, or the sun shining on the wrong side of the house that made things work out badly.

Truth be told, we need to fix our chooser before we can place blame outside ourselves. It’s a hard fact to accept. I knew I made the wrong choices, but I never realized why. That’s crazy, isn’t it? I am broken. I only knew what I learned by observing. Once I learned why and how to make choices based on real things, I learned to claim the power to control the quality of my life and to create my destiny and opportunities. It’s all been here, right before me. Kind of like Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like home. What a difference a change of attitude makes!

You can certainly go from stuck to feeling we have some say-so in our lives. It’s true. I’ve done it. I know others who have. You can, too. Think about this. And we’ll all come out on the other side, in a much better position.

Let’s be grateful for learning another way through life. Don’t criticize what you learned at home, they didn’t know any better. That said, aim to do better for your family, children, and grandchildren. Let’s examine how our choices have shaped our lives. Our futures will be bright when we make the changes necessary.

Have a beautiful night, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe.

Your Story; Tell It How You Like

It’s kind of a gloomy day outside, but it’s still beautiful. Just outside my window are two giant Monarch butterflies and what could be baby hummingbirds. They could be moths, but when butterflies or moths land on a bloom on the Butterfly Bush, their wings stop. These wings flap faster and faster, like hummingbirds. If I went outside, I’d know for sure, but I want to finish writing first. Besides, I could be wrong, maybe they’re just moths. Curious, isn’t it? My story, I’ll tell it how I like, LOL.

We can do that very thing, even on a gloomy day. Instead of being all bummed out and negative, we can be positive and glad for the coolness of early fall. The Babe turned off the sprinkler system over a month ago due to overly high water bills, and it was raining regularly. We can be glad we can pay the bill, and be glad when it returns to normal in the fall and winter. We can watch for the brightly colored Baltimore Orieoles we just discovered this year. They are brilliant on a cloudy day!

I did an experiment over the past ten days. I ran a couple of Facebook Ads. As a result, I scored a bunch more followers for Kathy Raabe, Author and for Jewell Publishing LLC. I’m proud to get my name out there and what I want to do. The blog continues to add followers as well, and I’m getting close to 400! There are a lot of fellow authors who help each other out, and it’s a good way to make a dent in the world. Every little bit helps. In this situation, you can think, “I’ll never get there;” or you can think, “I’m on my way!”

When it’s cloudy out, it’s nice to be lazy, reading a book on the deck or in the recliner. That’s the goal for today, once we get groceries. I really have to psyche myself up to go to the store. It’s just something I really don’t care to do. I did well during the pandemic with ordering online and picking up. Until someone got my card # and purchased something. I will go in person today and shop, giving thanks we can afford food. My story, turned from a chore to a blessing.

Cleaning is something I don’t enjoy, either. We lost our cleaning team about 18 months ago. We clean, but not like they did. With two dogs, it’s tough to stay ahead of the dust and doghair. It’s just part of our lives. They live here, too. While the Babe vacuums, I dust and give thanks for having a home. We’ve worked hard all of our lives for it, and enjoy it with each other. Home is where each other are. Blessed to have a husband who will pitch in and help clean; his mama taught him well! Grateful for that woman, every day.

Oops, Goldie just got sick, poor baby! Sometimes dogs do that, and she seems fine right now. All cleaned up, and although inconvenient, at least it was all on the chair mat, not the carpeting. See? It works in all things. Just think of the little baby face you see playing peek-a-boo in the header pic today. Make it a great day! See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Choices and Voices

Have you ever had an Epiphany? I remember a dramatic one in 1981. I was married to someone who held ultra traditional roles for men and women – and I blindly followed them for a long time. He held it over my head it was always “his” money, “his” house. OK. He didn’t think I was worth carrying life insurance on. When asked how he would manage working and taking care of out three kids if something would happen to me?

“That’s easy. Your mom would watch them, and I’d just get married again. Problem solved.”

Yes, I was a doormat. I didn’t know any other way. He told me my friend Jan, who was in law school at the time, was a bad influence on me. Too much of a women’s libber. I lost touch with most of my high school friends and only had family, sister’s-in-law, who were wonderful. I hadn’t learned to say, “I’m here and I do count.”

Again, I’m inspired by my daily meditation. “No voice equals no choice. No choice equals no power. From now on, I want to be heard.” Many people my age grew up knowing children should be seen and not heard. I remember hearing that a lot. And girls should be “nice.” Whatever that means. Go along to get along. Don’t rock the boat.

I had a real time with being traditional. All I could see around me were women who complained constantly about their husbands, their lives, their sacrifice. My faith taught we need to make sacrifices and “offer it up.” But all these women, neighbors, aunts, were so miserable.

“How do you stop sacrificing when YOU become the sacrifice?”

I just didn’t want to be angry and bitter for the rest of my life. I was called to jury duty in January of 1981. It changed my life. Yes, it did. I took a book to read and some stitchery project to work on during the times we were sitting around, wondering if we’d be selected. I was every defense attorney’s dream. Little Mrs. Homemaker. Naive. I was on three juries in two weeks.

The last trial was the awakening for me. A man robbed a little person in the Old Market area. The robber was a huge man, who gained fifty pounds while in jail, awaiting trial. He was caught red-handed with the little person’s money divided between his sock and pocket. He was convicted.

As I waited for the bus to go home, it occurred to me, I had a say in what happened to me. I had a choice to make, I did it, and it impacted someone’s life. Why am I not allowed to pick out my own washing machine? My husband bought one that didn’t have the features I felt I needed (like a small light above the dials). It was hard to see in our dark, ancient basement. Yet, I could vote to convict a man of robbery.

My discontent grew as I tried to repair my life and marriage. I went to counseling for 18 months. My then husband went for just three or four months and quit. He expected the guy to tell me I was wrong. He wouldn’t. He helped me realize we were so far apart with our expectations and values for life and family. I started school, and had a 4.0 average. I was shocked. I shouldn’t have been.

Overcoming this pattern of the past opened so many new doors to me for life. I filed for divorce, raised my kids the best I could, remarried fourteen years later, and now, I cannot believe how much choice and voice I have in my own life. I’ve made some mistakes, but I don’t hear about it forever, either. The Babe’s attitude is, “It’s ok, you’ll figure it out.” Wow. What a guy!

It took years for me to learn to speak out and speak up. “Today, I thank God for the miracle of finding my own voice after being mute for so long.” I have learned to pick my battles, also. There are people who you are better off distancing yourself from. They’re stuck in their own version of your past. They are in denial about the need for change in life. I will not let those people take my power away any more!

Life can change for you, too. It is a lot of hard work. You have to be persistent. Don’t ever quit! We all need each other’s encouragement. Let’s give it freely to people who can soar as they come into their own. Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it so much. We’ll see each other again tomorrow. I think over the weekend, the Babe is going to be home all day! Wow! I miss him when he’s gone all day every day. I know, I’m pathetic. But he’s just so nice. I’m lucky, and so is he!

Now, I’m off to watch videos for my Women in Publishing Conference. Find something fun to do! It’s beautiful outside again. Makes me want to poke around in my flowers.