11/29/2022-One Day Left

Have we really reached the end of November? Today is the last day. Needless to say, I didn’t complete NaNowriMo. My writing 50K words will have to wait until another month and maybe another year. The Babe and I spent a wonderful day today, talking about his trip to DC last week and how big the grandkids are getting. Joell turned 15, Addison was 15 last February, Gavin will be 11 next birthday, and Kayla will be 5 in March, Cody will be 3 in January. Where does the time go?

Speaking of where does the time go, I may not be able to finish both quilts for Kayla and Cody before Christmas. Becky and I worked it out, when they’re both quilts are finished, I’ll send them both. It doesn’t have to be Christmas or a birthday, their Mama said. I love that about my daughter. She is forgiving. Now, the pressure is off, and I’ll enjoy working on them a lot more.

Do you get angry? Or do you claim you’re not angry about anything?

If you’re treated a certain way for a lifetime but bury how you feel, it’s probable you have a deep near rage. The anger festers, and becomes deeper. It’s hardly noticeable, until it blows up, which can happen easier than you think. Chronic, buried anger can cause a real problem in dysfunctional behavior. Have you ever gotten the silent treatment? Have you gotten the silent treatment in addition to the silent one banging cabinets, slamming dishes on the table, throwing things, and turning petty things into major problems? A minor inconvenience, like a spilled glass of milk, can set off a tirade that lasts from minutes to hours. You never know.

Some of us are sensitive to angry outbursts. I am. I’d rather hear anything else than some angry, out of control person. I don’t hear anything reasonable in what I’ve described here. I’d rather be able to talk with someone, tell them I’m angry, and go on. If it gets to the point of tirades or silent treatments, it’s too far gone to have a reasonable discussion. I wish you luck in resolving the differences.

As this is the last day of November, I hope it’s a good one for you. Me? I’ll be at the sewing machine, getting all the stitches in I can. And cutting out more small pieces to make Cody’s doggie quilt. It’s a sweet one, I’ll let you see the pattern later on.

Take care, and I hope you’re not angry today. I hope everything is resolvable in your life, or at least you have someone to talk things out with. We all need that. Have a beautiful day, and see you tomorrow.

Homecoming!

It was welcome home for the Babe! I picked him up at the airport Monday night, and the three girls sure are glad he’s home. Of course, I had to wait in line. It’s nice to have him home. More bonding took place and the memories will remain forever. So glad it all worked out.

Today, I did a little more work on the quilt for Kayla and cut more pieces for Cody’s. No writing (until I did this) happening today. I need to get it together again, it seems I’m always trying to get it together. Like Yoda says, “No try, DO!” Yes.

I haven’t even read anything the past four or five days. Usually, I get at least a chapter a day in. That’s another thing that needs to be a daily thing. The holiday season is descending on us, and I’m thinking of my Christmas Tree. Time to decorate, I believe. The Babe has offered to help, so it’ll be much easier for me.

While we decide to make our own traditions for our individual families, we can also decide what kind of home we will have. Will we have one based on honesty and love or one of secrets and lies? One will last through time, the other will fall at the slightest breeze. Which will you build?

I love Judge Judy. Brash? Yes she is. She has no patience for people who don’t use their heads. One of the things she says to people who think they’re putting one over on her is:

“If You Tell The Truth, You Don’t Have To Remember What You Say.”

She speaks the truth. We need to preach this and have everyone practice it. If we did, there would be a lot more honesty in the world. Even if just in our families, honesty is important. Secret keeping is never good. It is especially not good to keep secrets about your health from your family, or only let certain members know the truth. It’s not fair to those kept in the dark. Be open and honest. Your family deserves it.

I remember when I had breast cancer. It was hard to tell the Babe, my kids, and my mom. The worst hard of all was to tell my youngest brother Tim. His wife had just passed away from oral cancer two years before. Nothing could be as hard as that was. Prayers, medical miracles, and God’s good grace finds me still cancer free, 13 years later. God willing, it will remain the same. I will always be honest with my family about issues affecting my health. Yes, many things are personal, and honesty is the best policy.

While we work our way towards the holidays, let’s examine how honest we are. Not just when it’s expected, but even when it isn’t. I can’t lie, you’d know if I did. I still can’t lie to my mom. She can tell, too. I will be honest because it’s the only thing I know. Thank you for reading today. I’m over the moon since we hit #1008followers. We are truly grateful! Let’s work our way to #1500. Onward! Truth all the way! See you tomorrow.

Reminding Myself

We had a lot of traffic at the blog with the post Friday about our grandson’s birthday. He’s such a special guy. Thanks for reading about family.

We had a segment Friday in my Intentional Peer Support class about Addiction and Recovery. The speaker was amazing. He told his own story of addiction and recovery. I am amazed by the number of people our instructor knows and the many areas of expertise they possess. And it’s all from living life and correcting our mistakes along the way. The more the speaker told us about Narcotics Anonymous, the more I wanted to get the book he referred to, just to read. The passage I found fascinating was referring to the concept of craving vs. addiction. From his explanation, there is a huge difference. I want to learn more about it.

Any recovery from addiction or alcoholism entails the same kind of changes to our lives as building new habits over old ones, and a new life in place of the old one. It’s not as simple sounding as one might think. Instead of looking at the whole of recovery or the changes we often need to make in life to live longer, be healthier, start your own business, etc, we need to do one small thing at a time. They add up over time, with consistency, hard work, and practice of new skills. And you never stop learning. Not until they throw dirt over you. I pray I’ll be able to learn that long, and share it with others.

This time of year can be difficult for many people. For those with families that are not close, the Norman Rockwell painting of perfect families sitting down to perfect meals with perfect gifts just isn’t relevant. In fact, it’s more the exception than the norm. It can hurt a lot to be alone on holidays, have nowhere to go, or even to gather and be uncomfortable the whole time.

I used to see houses with many vehicles parked in front on every holiday. It made me feel like I was missing out. We didn’t need social media for FOMO. Madison Avenue had the images in our brains already. Eventually, many families have become spread out all over the country, even all over the world. Gathering is very difficult. People don’t cook like they used to. Many kids don’t know their grandparents, and I find that sad. I’m sad we don’t see the kids in Colorado as much as we’d like to, but we receive lots of photos to keep track of how they are growing. And through the magic of video, we can hear them talking, and how they read to each other. So sweet.

After this Thanksgiving, I no longer feel like I’m missing out on anything. Two couples we know lost the wives this fall; one was sudden, the other from ALS. Either way is bad, watching steady deterioration or never getting to say goodbye. We don’t get a choice in how our loved ones are called home. All we can do is prepare in the best way we know how, and talk with our loved ones. Spouses, especially. But we don’t get to pick. We just get to pick up the pieces.

Think about what you would like in your heart this holiday season, and find out how to put it there. It’s become easier for me to think about it from a place of gratitude. Thoughts form differently around it than those formed from envy, want, and concentrating on what you don’t have. Try it. You’ll learn what I mean. It may take more than a month, though. It’s worth the wait.

As you enjoy this last day of Thanksgiving weekend, think of how we want to spend the last weeks of this year and of how we want to grow next year. We may have to regroup multiple times and replan, but the important thing is to do it. Get started now. You’ll be glad. See you tomorrow!

Happy 15th Birthday, Joell!

A very happy birthday to our grandson Joell. The Babe, (a/k/a Grandpa) is in Maryland celebrating with part of the family this Thanksgiving. Because he’s been filing live reports since he arrived Wednesday, we have up to the minute photos and feedback. It does everyone good to remind ourselves how important we all are to each other. I stayed home with the dogs and the two quilts I need to finish for Christmas and mail off to Colorado. Busy time for sure.

We haven’t seen Joell for a year, and at that time were sure shocked to see the result of his growth spurt. His voice emits from his feet, I swear. I imagine it’s deeper now. He is a competition swimmer, so he has a swimmer’s body, lean but muscular, and so strong! His passion for swimming was nothing compared to his passion for mountain biking. He is in races every weekend, holiday, and special occasion. His dad describes him as a beast. I do believe that’s a great word.

Beast aside, Joell has always had such a kind heart. Since he was a little boy, he’s helped the underdog feel superior, the left out feel part of the family, and everyone feels his love. I cannot wait to see how far he goes, armed with life experiences that no one his age has. He’s been to Hawaii for Christmas several times, has seen the Pope’s motorcade, and has visited the White House on numerous occasions. The list is much longer and even more distinguished. You could probably make a movie about it and keep the interest of a varied audience.

Joell, we are so proud of you. The man you are becoming is just around the corner. You will continue to shine as a good human, son, grandson, cousin, nephew, student, and especially friend. The picture below shows his workbench in the family garage. He has become pretty proficient at servicing his mountain bike. The neighborhood kids have an additional bonus to his friendship; he can fix their bikes with some expertise many of their dad’s don’t have. Way to go, kiddo! It’s been a joy being with you for all the birthdays we’ve been able to travel to your home to celebrate you! You know how Miss Kathy loves birthdays. And yours holds many, many special memories for us all. I’ve loved watching your parents decorate the dining room for your parties over the years. They have just as much fun and excitement as you have!

Enjoy the photo collage below. It’s been a hard couple years for the Babe and me, losing all the people we have following the pandemic, and now with the life change of the Babe’s second retirement from the VFW. He needed this reminder that all that is worth it in life is in the members of our blended family. Our five adult children and our five grandchildren are reminding us what a wonderful place this world is during these times. And that is all that matters. Happy Birthday, Joell. And have some cake for me!

To everyone reading, I thank you for indulging me today. Celebrating birthdays is important to me, celebrating each and every person helps them become themselves, whomever they are meant to be. As you have your deserts today, send a good birthday wish to this extraordinary young man. The world is watching him. He’s a good one. Let’s see each other again tomorrow. Quilting and Yellowstone are ahead of me for the rest of the time until the Babe comes home. How about you?

Great Way to Wake Up

I love when a day starts when the Babe wakes me, asking if I’d come talk to him. It starts my day knowing how much I mean to him. He’s making some important decisions, and asked me what I thought of his ideas. All good. If you’re single, make sure you hold out for someone who is your best friend. And you know every day you mean a lot to that best friend, and it’s reinforced in every day life. It’s bound to be a great day when it starts that way.

I’m  finished with sewing the rows together for Kayla’s quilt. Today, I put them on the design board downstairs in my craft room. Here’s how it looks:

There is something wonky (technical term) with the blocks, etc., so I need to figure out how to fix it and sew the rows together. It’ll work out. I know it will!

I collected bunches of scraps and pieces from my stash today to make Cody’s quilt of the puppies. I think a little nearly three year old boy will love puppies. I’m looking forward to the process of cutting a bazillion little squares out and putting them all back together again. Creating is creating. 

I had a wonderful time picking out buttons for the flowers. The button box, tucked away in the storage room, was filled with buttons from a special friend’s closet. She passed away several years ago, and it was fun to look through the buttons from some of her wardrobe. I imagine she’d be pleased I used the buttons for a pretty little girl’s quilt. Happy thoughts.

Hope you had a lovely day today. Not much else going on today. Yesterday, we made it to #999followers! Still working on passing #1000! Thank you so much for reading and coming back every day! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, Thanks!

It was a day spent trimming tiny threads from Kayla’s quilt, before I sandwich it with batting and backing for quilting. It took most of the day, turning it over and over. You trim the right side, the wrong side, and all the seams to make sure nothing is hanging or dangling, or even frayed all over the place on a seam. It’s trimmed now, and ready for tomorrow’s work of pinning it all over for quilting.

I feel as if I don’t have both oars in the water, things feel “off”. I don’t know how else to describe it. Most of the time, I’m all about the business of what we’re doing, but today, not so much. I hope tomorrow is better.

One of Those Days

Those days you feel out of it

Are just an off day or two

No need to try and analyze it to death

Or over-think it

You’re just not up to snuff

It’s not a major catastrophe.

Soon, you’ll be yourself again

You’ll be on top of your game

And surprised at all you accomplish

And you’ll be grateful for the focus

For the productivity

And for the check marks on your lists.

Is that what it’s all about?

Or is it about enjoying, observing, learning

And experiencing God’s creation, in all it’s glory.

Thanks for Noticing!

And In The End

You will never forget

The real, true friends

The ones you prayed with

The ones you toasted with

And the ones whose funerals you attended.

Real life events

Shared with real friends

Their stories of war

And of loves and losses

And of gratitude and blessings

And of all being well

When it ends well

And oh, how well we ended. 

Sunday, 11/13/2022, Solitude

“The Worst Loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”  Mark Twain

When we gathered at the VFW Post for Veterans Day, we sat with an old friend and just caught up. It was wonderful. The table of people was all retirement age, and we laughed and shared funny things about getting older. 

Some of us admitted to taking a nap nearly every day and liking it. Others said, “Nope, never.” I do, but I think my body is just spent after a few hours of doing stuff. Today, I sewed together eight rows of blocks for Kayla’s quilt. By 1 p.m., I was on the heating pad. 

Our friends all agreed it’s great to be able to do just about whatever you wanted. I don’t know of what I’d rather be doing, now that the quilt blocks are tamed, the rest needs combining, then all the quilting, etc. I’m looking forward to it. 

Travel would be nice, but the Babe’s not comfortable doing that. He’s now wanting to be far away from his doctors. I can’t say I blame him. I’m not wanting to be away from our comfy home, bed, and hobbies for long. 

I think we’ve all reached what’s known as contentment. We are all comfortable with ourselves. We don’t need to go prove anything. As Dorothy said, “There is no place like home.” How long it takes for us to learn that!

When I was first divorced in 1982 and 30 years old, when the kids left with their dad on Saturday afternoon, I had to leave the house. Go find anything to do. I didn’t want to be there alone. I was never alone in my whole adult life. I had never lived alone. Yet, I couldn’t be alone on a Saturday night while the kids were gone.

I didn’t have many single women as friends, who were my age. Most were older. And bitter about life and men. I did not want to end up that way. No, thanks. I’ll do something else than listen to their negativity. The younger gals had no kids, no responsibilities. That wasn’t for me, either. 

I welcomed 30, while many single co-workers hated it. They were old maids. Wow. LIfe has sure changed, hasn’t it? In the years that followed, I learned to love staying home – even alone. I look forward to it now, though it isn’t for long. I’ve learned to take whatever comes along, and to deal with it. 

When I was first put on long term disability, I went three times a week at an early hour to Aquatic Therapy. Warm water therapy is heaven. I’d still go, but I’m allergic to the chemicals they put in the water to keep it clear and sanitary. Back then, the Babe and I lived in my house, on top of a hill with no outlet. Snow was still pretty bad back in 2000. We rarely saw a snowplow until it was nearly melted. If the weather was icy, the hill was treacherous. I became angry if I couldn’t get out to therapy on those days. The Babe and my kids lovingly didn’t want me to either be in an accident or slip and fall walking to and from the car. My delicate spine and lingering injuries couldn’t risk more injury. 

Finally, in order to deal with my anger, I took my 35mm camera outside (with good winter boots, my cell phone and both dogs we had then), and walked in the yard, taking photos of the wintery wonderland. I learned quickly how to take that anger, disappointment in my condition and myself, and turn it into something else; learning how to take photos in the snow. I learned to deal with it. It took a while, but I learned. I was young (48 years old) and learning to deal with disability. That is never fun.

It was during that late winter I found quilting as a new hobby and as a way to end my depression by creating something beautiful. I’m still at it, twenty-two years later. Life is so rich, and I want to encourage anyone who is disabled; with patience, you can find a rewarding hobby and way to pass your time. Please, don’t give up. And you are more able than you think. I’ve been there. It gets better, and you have to put in the work. Be willing.

Work on finding peace and contentment with your own company. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself. Let’s have a great day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

A Wonderful Veterans Day & A Magical #!

Veterans Day was wonderful.

A young mom contacted me Thursday, they were fairly new to Omaha, as of last summer. She asked if non-Veterans could donate to our food and clothing drive. And her little girl drew a picture and wanted to give it to a Veteran. They agreed to come in today and be introduced to one or more.

We met and had a nice talk. She met four younger Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, who sent her to the older Honor Guard members. They were delighted! Her parents and I talked, we showed them the rest of the facility. Then we talked about our Honor Room. They were very interested in seeing it.

We entered, and I told them about the displays. We have beautiful summaries of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The parents did a wonderful job of explaining difficult things to the little girl. She is only five years old and actually knows we entered WWII because Pearl Harbor was bombed. Many 30 year olds don’t know that. Wow.

This year, on Veterans Day, 2022, my faith in the next generation or two was renewed. All because of that little girl and her her wonderful parents. And her baby sister. It was heart warming.

As of yesterday morning, 11/11/2022, we topped the followers numbers as follows:

503 followers through WORDPRESS.

15 followers via their e-mail addresses.

473 followers through Social Media.

TOTAL: #991followers.

I’m over the moon, how about you? Thank you to everyone, let’s go for #9followers more to make it to #1000followers!

It’s been said the final score is the only one that matters. The score at halftime doesn’t matter at all. It matters not how we start our lives, or the troubles we see. What matters is how we end it. How we achieve, and do good, and love others is what matters.

We can have a horrible start to our lives. Maybe our lives at home were horrible. We can learn good and to overcome, and we can end on a high note. We can learn skills for a successful life, and to care about ourselves and others. Just because we don’t know that in the beginning, doesn’t mean we can’t learn. And do wonders.

Always remember, who we were was given; who we shall be is up to us. I’m sure the little girl I met today was one who will excel and shine in the universe. Let’s all join her.

Thank you for reading, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Veterans Day, 2022

The photo in the header today is of my husband, my veteran, my best friend in life, the Babe, Dan Raabe. We have been married for 24 years, and I remember, on our first date, (blind date), he was most proud of his children, Blake and Tracy, and of his military service in the US Army, 1968-1971. That has always stayed foremost in my mind.

His children are incredible humans, and I’m blessed to be their step-mom. Their Mom, Sandy, died of lung cancer, in 2010. Three grandchildren grace our lives with them. So blessed, we are. Sometimes, we need to pinch ourselves at the thought of all the blessings we have, thanks to their life together. Sandy was my friend, too, and I loved hearing stories about the kids when they were little. I know the Babe still loved her and still felt responsible for their divorce. Like many couples, they married very young, and found ghosts of war haunted their lives when trying to resume their lives. Alcoholism claimed the Babe for awhile, and Sandy made a hard decision. He stopped drinking probably 30 years ago. They were able to become friends again, after a long time. I’m glad.

Many times, the subject of Dan’s military service arises. I’m proud he is the Captain of the Honor Guard at the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. He’s been in over 8 years, many times juggling Honor Guard duties with his Quartermaster duties. Nothing is so quiet as the HG, at the National Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska, firing the three volleys at a committal ceremony for a veteran. The eerie silence is so fitting, as it is hallowed ground, and a place of honor. It is where we both will lie some day. Another honor we’re blessed with.

I am learning much in the Intentional Peer Support class I’m taking every week. We’re skipping this week, but will resume next week. For some reason, now I’m drawn to learning everything I can get my hands on about PTSD and suicide. My Amazon and Goodreads searches probably look as if I am pretty depressed right now; nothing could be further from the truth, I want to learn about it, so I can listen to people whose families are in those difficulties. So we can devise a plan with them so we can lend support to them on their way to the blessings they deserve for their sacrifices.

There are a lot of military family, active duties and reserves, who are hurting right now. They hurt as Dan and Sandy used to. They may be hurting worse. Every family is different in its dynamics, communications, and the way they handle things. Many can improve. Many need someone to listen. That’s what Dan and I want to do with our volunteering efforts in the future. We are happy for what we’ve done, yet look forward to doing something directly benefiting our Veterans and their families.

The best thing any of us can do to thank our Veterans isn’t a free meal, free coffee, or free movie pass. The best thing we can do is be involved with them. Learn about them. Realize the sacrifices they made and continue to make for all of us. Later today, I’m meeting a family who called yesterday about the VFW food/clothing drive we’re doing again this year. They wanted to know if non-vets could participate. They have a five year old who drew a picture for a veteran and wants to deliver it to one today. How wonderful this family is! They get it. Volunteer. Be involved. It’s the best thanks we can give them.

And on behalf of a grateful nation, our thanks to all of them.