Thriving Thursday!

Just about the time we think we have life all figured out, God throws us a curve. Is He just messing with us? Is He offering us a challenge to keep us humble? Or is it a reminder of from whence we came?

I remember from whence I came. It was from a working class, blue collar family. Probably low to mid range income (that doesn’t matter), but I specifically remember many lessons about our effort. It didn’t matter if it was a coloring session with Mom at the dining room table while my brother was at kindergarten, or a lesson from Dad about not accepting a sub-standard science product with an obvious mistake covered by white-out. I struggled with that science project.

It was a great idea. I traced the skeleton of the human body on newsprint. We always had newsprint around for drawing, since Dad worked at the newspaper in the pressroom. When the rolls of paper ran out, they could take the scraps and use for scrap paper at work or at home. I covered a piece of cardboard and made a bootleg easel for my display. Each different kind of bone was outlined with yarn held down by glue. I was a mastermind of creativity!

I was nearly finished, and the ink I was using to make notations of the type of bones left a horrible blob on the paper. Foiled again! Dangit! My fifth grade mind told me, “Go ahead, use white out. It’ll be fine.” Of course, bright white on newsprint to cover an ink blob looks horrible. All that work! No! All Dad said when I proudly showed him was, “You’d better do it over again.”

“What? No. It took so long, I can’t!” I pouted. I wasn’t about to sit there for three hours again. Guess again. Deep down, I knew he was right. Dad was always right. I knew I could do better. It didn’t sit right in my young mind to turn in less than my best work. After dinner, I sat down at the dining room table, while my brothers watched television in the living room, and I re-constructed my masterpiece.

It truly was magnificent, the second time around. It was something I was immensely proud of. I used different colored yarn around each type of bone. The teachers praised me. Dad never said anything more than, “That’s more like it.” Those few words went a long way in teaching me something that has stuck with me for a lifetime. I kept that project until I was well into my 40s. I finally threw it away after telling my kids the story of what it meant to me. I can picture it in my mind, perfectly.

Competing with others isn’t something I’ve done well. Booker T Washington says:

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.

Measuring success by how we rank with others is necessary in academic world, the work world, and sports. In terms of individuals who are finding and living their own truth, it’s detrimental. We need to only look inside to determine our worth. We don’t have the same abilities, interests, background and experience. How can we compare ourselves to each other? We can’t.

We should be our own heroes. We all know how much effort it takes us to achieve something. Even more when we do it again to do it better, just to satisfy our own feeling of doing our best. It has taken me far in life. When I think of the painfully shy person with no confidence who I was, compared to the extrovert, who loves meeting new people, who is eager to learn from every encounter, and the value I place on relationships, I don’t recognize her.

With encouragement, love, and kindness, I’ve begun to measure my success by the effort and desire I put into the projects I’m working on; whether it’s a quilt or a book or a fundraiser, my heart is in everything I do. I can only feel the satisfaction in my soul upon putting in the work, and doing my best for that day. Thanks, Dad. You taught me well.

Thank you for reading today. Do your best, whatever you do today. I’ll be assembling the Christmas tree, and putting the new Christmas quilt (I bought it – couldn’t make one in time, so I accepted that fact and purchased a cute one) on the bed.

Do the best job you can in your life today. We can have a deep sense of satisfaction for doing it well. It’s a great feeling to have. Don’t stress over your holiday to-do list. If you do, someone has stolen your joy. Let this day be your best. You’ll know when you feel it in your heart. Have a beautiful day, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

(Mumbling) Monday?

It could have been. It very easily could have been. Instead, I forgave myself for being human. For sometimes forgetting where I’ve put things. It’s happened a couple times. The first time, I found what I was looking for by simply moving something else. Like magic! There it was.

The second time wasn’t as magical. I emptied the middle desk drawer in the Babe’s office, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find our Safe Deposit Keys. Oh boy, this will be expensive. Not good. I proceeded to beat myself up, which was old behavior. I could feel my normal good mood start to ebb. It’s going to be rain all day, don’t need it to be in a bad mood! NO! I called the Babe.

He immediately encouraged me. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. Really? Well, yes. Yes it is. Not a big deal. I came in off the ledge. As we were talking, I mentioned some things we had at home that I would place back in the Safe Deposit Box. Passports. Other important papers. I went to the jewelry armoire and opened the bottom drawer. I removed the travel belt I received from a friend’s belongings after she died. It has two pockets. One pocket had the Passports. The other? It had the Bank Envelope with the Safe Deposit Box Keys in it. I thanked our friend Sharon Reidmann over and over for helping St. Anthony find my “lost” items. Whew! I can almost hear Sharon tell me, “You need to be neater.” True. I do. Working on it.

Note to self: Start writing down where we hide stuff. We’re getting to that age where we honestly may not remember everything as we used to. Better safe than sorry! My Catholic upbringing yielded a quick prayer to the Saint in charge of lost items. We Catholics have a Saint for everything. Thank goodness. Not sure who the Saint is for memory. Anyone?

Easter will be upon us in another couple weeks. Growing up Catholic, we learned about all the days surrounding Easter. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and how we remembered each of them on their own special days. There was a lot of ritual connected with them, and somehow, I miss all that. My older brother was an altar boy, I was a choir girl, and our presence was expected at all these ceremonies. We were there, front and center.

Two years in a row, my mother became deathly ill, and we went to stay at our Grandma Jewell’s, while Mom was in the hospital. First time, on Palm Sunday, she had a bad gall bladder attack. She had surgery the next day, and was hospitalized for over a week. The Second time, she was hospitalized and put in traction for her back. Bed rest and traction, along with muscle relaxers ruled her life for another week. She repeatedly counted the tiles in the ceiling. She truly thought she’d go insane.

We attended Grandma’s Church for all the services on those special days. We must have been out of school, but I truly don’t recall getting the whole week off, usually we had school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and were out Thursday and Friday. Grandpa had already passed away, so I know he wasn’t available to take us to school. I’ll have to check on those details.

When the third year rolled around, we were wondering what would cause Mom to be hospitalized that year? It became sort of a joke, wondering what would happen next. Nothing ever did. Good thing, Dad was lost without her to keep the house running smoothly. She did a good job.

As I remain grateful for finding my lost item, thank you for reading today. Take it easy on yourself first. Then a deep breath and calm down. You will find what is lost, even if it’s yourself! Thank you for reading. I appreciate it more than you know. Find some brightness in this gloomy day. The grass will need mowing if the rain keeps up! Take care of each other out there. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous. See you tomorrow!

For Today

Sometimes, I take on more than I can do. None of you ever do that, do you? I didn’t think so. How do you fit it all in, since it’s all a top ten priority? Beats me. All I know is for today, I have to select THE most urgent things I can do today. And listen to some wonderful music while I do.

First order: The Music. Glen Campbell, “I’ll Be Me” soundtrack. It some really beautiful music, and I think it reflects not only his long career and his musical abilities but also his deepest gratitude for the beautiful life he lived. Yes, his addictions required he deal with them. He resolved them one day at a time, like any other addicted person does.

The music helps me think, eases my mind, and helps me make sound (haha) decisions. There’s no other way to state it. My Second order: Make the list and prioritize.

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo (about 5,250 words behind). If I keep this pace, it’ll take me until January 2, 2021 to finish (2)

Consider if blogging five to seven days’ worth of blogs at once (4); (Have them readied to publish. If a topic becomes more timely than one “in the can,” definitely write the new one, but keep the others ready. Perhaps in entire hours available per day would allow more words written in the novel for NaNoWriMo. Many people do that very thing. It is definitely an option, and it could allow me to return to my beloved hobby of quilting. I haven’t touched hands to fabric in what feels like forever).

I need to publish a blog every day (3);

I need to prep and bake some items for our meals next week (4);

Load the car with the contributions we have for Moving Veterans Forward; (5)

Cleaning up the house (vacuuming, dusting, mopping floors); (6)

Reading a memoir while writing Katie’s story; (7).

The memoir I selected was of Carol Gino, a nurse, author, and twenty-year friend of Mario Puzo. He taught her much about writing. I love reading his advice to her while she was beginning her writing career. He considered his book, “The Godfather” to be a commercial sellout. He hated his writing in it; yet he desperately needed the income for his wife and five children. This was a book I purchased because of Carol Gino’s name. I’ve been Facebook friends with her in a group for years. Never met her, never knew she knew “The Godfather’s” creator. What a cool thing to learn about! Unexpected surprises every day help make life an adventure, no matter how many decades you live.

No, these things don’t sound like very much, but they are time-consuming. And great to accomplish during regular times, much less during busy days. Oh, I’m not finished with the jotted list yet.

Get groceries from Walmart; (2A) This has a timeframe of Noon to 1p.m. I chose that time, so I need to comply. A break in the action always disrupts my progress. Note to self: learn to dig in after interruptions. I had that ability as a Mom, I’m a little rusty now.

Post on Instagram, (Twitter, Facebook (3A): This is not only for my author pages but also for the VFW Post FB, Twitter, Instagram accounts. This is time consuming, since I’m creating content for both entities. I love doing it, be aware, however, it’s a time-warp if you are not careful. It’s quite easy to wander around in those apps and not accomplish what you set out to do.

The Babe is right with me. He needs to complete some work outside before these gale-force winds make it impossible to use the hose attachment of soap to wash the windows. After today, it will be too cold to do that. But Goldie needed some attention and play time. She wins! Kind of like Walmart for me – I’m heading there in a few minutes.

For today, don’t stress over everything. Yes, the list is long. Time is short. You can only do so much. Do What You Can. See you tomorrow!