Football Sunday!

No, this isn’t about the playoffs, I’m just amazed a quote from Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers coach) is something I find inspiring today. What is it?

“Inches Make Champions.”

Even if you’ve rarely watched football or don’t know much about it, you know measurements are taken frequently to see if a team actually makes ten consecutive yards for a first down. You get four chances to make ten yards. Then the ball goes to the other team. Inches are critical to progress.

And there’s that word again. Progress. I feel it is put before me as a reminder. It reminds me I cannot expect to get where I want to be all at once. It’s been a lifetime of conquering smaller victories that has gotten me here. It’s the reminder that keeps me going. It’s the reminder I will get there. I have to push, everyday, even if it’s only for inches. It all looks the same once you’re at your goal, looking back. The hard part is daily acceptance of it “only” being inches of progress. Sometimes, it can be the full 10 yards (or more) at once. As long as you put in the effort, and are grateful for whatever the progress, your effort is successful.

Coach Lombardi brought the Green Bay Packers from fifteen consecutive losing seasons to successive world championships (pre-Super Bowls) and the first two Super Bowl Championships. He was a man who built not only a football team but was a great example at the time, of leadership. In his personal life, he had a terrific temper. He also had a devotion to God through daily Mass, where he prayed for patience and for his wife to stop drinking. She suffered from alcoholism, triggered by a miscarriage very early in their marriage.

Despite difficulties, his leadership had results. Our efforts will have results too, even if only by inches some days. Put all those inches together, and it will always be worth it. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but put in the work on whatever you do every day. Your tenacity will be rewarded.

I know this is true; it took me 25 years to graduate from college (I didn’t start until I was 29). It was well worth the achievement and success I felt and experienced on the way. It took me a long time and a lot of personal growth and changes to meet someone I could trust. And I couldn’t be happier. Sixteen years was a long time between being divorced and remarried. It was worth it. I needed the life education in between.

I hope you make great gains this year in your personal journey. I hope you continue on mine with me, too. We can cheer each other on. Today, I will wrap more decorations up to store, bake a cake for the Babe, finish another Colleen Hoover book, (Ugly Love, started yesterday), and plan next week. What will you do? See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Saturday and Sunday! WOW!

What a great day Saturday! I shared a table at the Holiday Market at the VFW Post 2503 with info for Guitars for Vets. I purchased a supply of Nebraska Writers Guilds 5th Anthologies to sell. I made just a couple dollars on each sale, but I got a real kick out of doing it. We were warned the price would increase by December 11. When I purchased my 24 books, they were $12.99 each. I just checked Amazon, and the price increased to $18.99. I’ve sold eleven books already, and am so excited. Here’s a link to Amazon, in case you’d like to order directly from them.

Sunday, I had another occasion to spend with some cousins and their families at a baby shower. My cousins are expecting their first grandchild in February, 2022. What a happy, happy event in their near future. The whole family is Gaga over the little miss already. As it should be. I cannot wait to see photos and to hold her. Until then, what a fun time. And the cookies here reflect the baby woodland nursery theme. Simply adorable!

Cuteness Overload!

As I’m writing this early Monday morning, I’m saddened by the devastation in Illinois, Kentucky, and other places with the deadly tornadoes. Those poor people. Events like this show the absolute power nature has to turn our lives upside down while others are unaffected during the same moments. When we live our lives unscathed, we know there, but by the grace of God, go I. It could be any of us, it could happen at any time.

This is the true test of a positive person. First, it’s important to be grateful for our daily good fortune. Some may question, “How can God allow things like this to happen?” I have no answer for that. I am a mere mortal, and have no right to question God, nor try to understand His way. Perhaps it’s a test for the rest of us, to see how generous we can be in helping rebuild these communities, to see how much we can pray, see how we react and treat each other. This season of love, we need to be more and do more in the true spirit of giving, presence, and attitude.

A meme I saw the other day was perfect: “The First Christmas wasn’t perfect; what makes us think ours should be.” Don’t let Pinterest make you feel less; don’t let Social Media make you feel as if you should do more tablescapes and backyard harvest creations. No, your toddlers don’t care. Your teenagers don’t care. Don’t be pressured into thinking there is success in these excesses. Your spouses would rather have you feeling calm and collected than decorated to the hilt. Makes you reevaluate, doesn’t it?

Blood donations, searching and rescuing for family pets, feeding people where they shelter in place, it all matters. It all helps. I know as we speak, there are Church Quilt groups who are cutting, layering, and sewing or tying quilts to give to people who have lost everything. There are Red Cross groups all over the nation, collecting blood, blankets, money, clothing, and water.

Maybe acquire a few less things for storage through the years and use annually. Do we need all that? Probably not. Sometimes we need to struggle with the sentiment and see if these things make sense anymore. Many of my decorations were acquired over the years. Some make me happy with the memories. I’ll keep them for a bit. Not forever. The Babe is all for getting rid of everything. He’s not a fan of Christmas. I am, but have struggled over the past few years.

For all this man has done for me and taught me about love, he made me understand I overdid with gifts and my kids. And him. Now, we only do gifts for the grandkids. We truly can buy anything we want during the year. It would be nice to have a gift to open, but it’s really about what’s in your heart. It’s about the love of the Christ child and God’s love for us. Don’t lose that focus. It’s easy to, but He’s always there. If it’s hard to find Him in our lives, it’s because we’re not focused on Him.

As you work through the days we have left before Christmas, keep in mind what we are here for. Don’t let the News cycles concentrating on disasters and negativity keep you down and make you stay there. Do something positive to help the folks who are less fortunate and have come upon hard times. It happens for all of us at some times. We need to remain positive. It’s the only way to keep sane.

It’s true people never speak from their deathbeds they wish they could have worked more. A friend of ours is in town to help bury his son, who passed this week, possibly from COVID. So very sad. Young and healthy, life on track, and just had a baby and plans for marriage. Our heart goes out to them all. Life is way too short. See you tomorrow.

Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

Photo by Anastasiya Vragova on Pexels.com

So far this morning, it’s been sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy, we’ve played catch with Goldie’s favorite rope, and she’s finally decided she’s as tired as Lexie is. Security is on call and the staff is in a meeting. My favorite time of day. Except for when I wake up with Goldie licking my face and I hear the Babe’s voice, “You getting up?” How could I not? The coffee works its magic, and here we are!

That first cup of coffee promises we’ll conquer the world today. And why not? Except for my blog, which is now a daily habit, I feel awkward when I don’t write one. The day is a blank slate after blogging. Well, usually it does. I’m still placing the Babe’s office in order. It won’t be long now. There will be room for Jewell Publishing, LLC company files. How exciting! A proper place of my own. My manuscripts can live there, too, once they’re in final drafts. My business checkbook can live there, too.

I’m planning in my imagination towards the end of the year, when I’ll have my kids’ book ready to publish, and imagine a Book Launch, with Cartney McGuigan by my side. She’s my very talented illustrator, and I’m so excited to see what magic she’ll create for the world my characters live in.

I see Cartney and me autographing our book. Heck, even if just friends and family come to the launch, we’ll have quite a crowd. A lot of work goes into creating this event. Work that is hard to explain, work that just fits into place as we both tell the story of Roxie, a naughty little puppy. She doesn’t mean to be that way. And sometime Gavin can be naughty, too. They just get each other. They have such a bond.

After launching “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” I plan to finish the novel and plan to do a couple more children’s stories. And I have more story ideas percolating. Does anyone remember the old electric coffee pots, the percolators?

My parents had a huge drip coffee pot. It made 18 cups of coffee. 18! And they made it twice a day. I think Mom lived on coffee. Dad was a day sleeper, but then he always had a full cup. And before he went to work, he’d methodically pour the coffee, then the cream, and barely 10 grains of sugar just to take the edge off of the bitter coffee taste. He’s stick a knife down into the thermos and stir. He had his rituals for his coffee. It’s a wonderful memory.

Memories are not living in the past. Living in the past happens when we dwell on all the hurts, the slights, and the bad things. We need to pack them up and leave them. I think I’ve finally done that. Living helps us understand circumstances related to those hurts, slights, and bad things.

I’m excited to think of the future. I’m planning and thinking, but I’m not living there yet. Not until it happens. It may not even resemble my hopes and dreams, but I’ll adjust. I always have. Living this long has taught me to be resilient. I know that makes me strong. A lifetime of accepting what’s in God’s plan for me makes me strong. I have learned to not question Him. Sometimes, I close my eyes and pray. “Ok, God. Where are you taking me now?” Strangely, I feel safe. I put my Faith where the fear tries to take over. Yes, I get scared. Especially with the Babe and his health. But the Faith takes over. Faith in God, Gratitude for our life together, and Trust in our doctors and the miracles they perform. It will be all right. It always is.

These are the only two stock photos I could find for “Tomorrow.” It may be here before I know it. Time speeds by faster the older we are. I am finding more people who ask me “If Not Now, When?” I have the time. I have the money. My kids won’t starve. This is the time. The time of my life for this. It feels so good. Try doing what you’ve always wanted to. The time is NOW.

How about you? Are you ready to change your life? Just do it! Take the Art Class. Learn to write. Draw the landscape. Join the group of people with your interests. There is so much to do in the world! Take the first step. After that, the rest are easier! Tell me what you’d love to do.

Thank you for reading today. We’re off to have a beautiful day. I hope you do, too. Grab life by the horns and enjoy the ride! I’ll see you again tomorrow. Be Safe, Kind, Generous, and Aware of life around you. Make it a better world. We can all use one.

Focused Friday

Today’s theme in my daily meditations book is about more gratitude, less coveting. Yes, I said coveting. If that doesn’t highlight my twelve years of Catholic education, nothing does. The word means wanting something belonging to someone else. The nuns would really delve into this sin with detailed explanations. Envy is the cause of coveting. Coveting is wanting what your neighbor has. Not something like it, what he has. It could be material things, a job that seems perfect, or even a wife that you think should be yours. It always got tricky for the good sisters to try and explain adultery, we just weren’t supposed to do it, whatever it was. (The other thing they never explained was the meaning of virgin, but I digress).

At any rate, here we are, trying not to covet a neighbor kid’s bike, dolls, hula hoop, parents, or anything about his or her life. I’m unsure if it was envy that struck me while I was a single mom, and I saw how some women I worked with treated their husbands. Not so much Envy as empathy for the husband, being talked about behind his back, being damned for not putting lettuce on the sandwich he made her for lunch, and all the while demeaning him. I often said, “Gee, I’d be glad if someone would make a sandwich for me.” I didn’t understand why some really nice guys could be treated so badly. Of course, there may have been a perfectly good reason for the wife to be as she was. But maybe there wasn’t. I suppose it’s the same reason some really nice women are mistreated by their husbands. They don’t know they deserve better. And that’s a topic for another day.

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

After years of going to the office Christmas Party alone, I learned you could tell the couples who were arguing in the car on the way to the Party. It was a formal affair, I loved wearing a gown I created with my trusty sewing machine. Everyone was dressed beautifully. And there were so many who didn’t have a good time. I was grateful to be alone when witnessing that. It can always be worse, and I already left the worse. I would never settle again. Not permanently. Many times, my choices weren’t ever after, and it was ended before it went further. My theory is it takes three years to see exactly how someone is before you can begin to think about if they could be someone you could spend your life with them. I’d never live together before knowing someone three years.

The Babe sold his house after we were engaged, and he moved in about four months before we got married. That worked well. I did think long and hard if I was ready to “give up” some aspects of life alone. Yes, I was. What I’ve gained in the past 22 years is immeasurable. It’s what I was waiting for, warts and all. They happen. He still says he would never think of standing in the way of what I wanted to do, especially with my writing. He says it’s important to him because it’s important to me. He may not understand it, but he supports it. That’s what love looks like, folks. That’s what unconditional love looks like. I’m lucky, so is he. For all this, I’m grateful.

Sounds Easier Than It Is.

The more I write, the more I think about all of the things I’ve had to reject to find the me that was buried for a long time. Some people never get there, some may not want to, some don’t know they need to. I started noticing little things in the 1970s to question. Not big things, just things that were always done a certain way, and nothing changed it all. Something as simple as household products. At that time, my mom always used Tide. She still uses Tide to this day. She has never wavered from Crest toothpaste, either. She was never tempted by a new and improved product. Ever that I remember.

By comparison, my ex-mother-in-law was always trying new products. Shampoo, detergent, soap, you name it, she tried it. I always considered that adventuresome. You never know when you might find something worthwhile. It can be different and still be fine.

The same goes with people. I did not have to be a copy or a clone of my mother. Neither did my daughter need to be me. We each need to find our own person inside, whoever they are. Growing up, the more I questioned, the more resistance I met. When a person becomes who they need to be, it’s met with resistance from those surrounding them. It’s only natural. Besides, if they happen to look at themselves, they may see they’re unhappy in who they are, too.

As I straighten my notes and prepare to write more of my book, which describes the stages a young woman struggles through to become herself, I need to remind myself how fortunate I was to be able to figure out the same things for myself as my character Katie does. The rest of the day will be work, cooking something for a change, and relaxing with the Babe and dogs by the fireplace. I covet nothing. I covet no one. It’s a great place to be.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back tomorrow. I appreciate your time and hope something wonderful happens for you today. Make it your choice to get the most our of your day, week, and life. It truly is up to you. Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Courteous.