This Day. This One Here.

Life takes some strange turns, you never know from one minute to the next. You can be going along, all happy and everything, and then you get a call, a text, or some other way news is communicated to you that may change your life forever. You might internalize and over think it, and fear the same could happen to you or one of your loved ones. It’s human nature. We all do it.

Back when the murderer known as Nikko Jenkins was loose, committing four murders within a , month of being released from prison he left two victims in a park near where our mother lives. Another victim was killed and left in the street at an intersection we use frequently. There is a cross/flower memorial for the woman. She contributed to society, she was a mother of small children, and worked late nights while her husband worked days so one of them was always with the kids.

This happened in Omaha, Nebraska. The Police Chief stated at his news conference, “You might as well give yourself up. We have a team of the very best in law enforcement on you trail. They will get you.” And they did.

Horrible things are happening all over Omaha again. Many murders. Some with guns, some not. Whatever the murder weapon, I cannot imagine murdering another human, much less a relative. Oh, people joke about their mother-in-law or a sibling, but those aren’t in very good taste, IMHO. Neither are the, “I NEED a drink!” declarations, but that’s another blog. Our legal system is quick to stress the degree of the crime, First or Second Degree, and prosecutors may feel the degree should be First, but they need to charge and try a person on what they’re sure they can convict on. Justice may not be served where it’s needed.

Things like these happen. We have to recognize the evil in the world, and we cannot let it destroy it. It’s easy to become hardened and think the world is a horrible place, people suck, and there is no hope for any of us.

Yes, we can feel this way for a brief time. And then, we have to recognize there are more good people than bad people in the world. We must. We must keep doing good for those around us. We have to keep trying to make the world a better place. We need to be kind to each other. We must remember all of that, and raise our spirits however we can with positive thinking and doing.

If you’re a praying person, pray for the victims, their families, and even the criminals. What makes them the way they are? I cannot imagine. If you don’t pray, you can still think about the situations and how we all need good to triumph over evil. We’re all doomed if we don’t.

Humans are resilient, we are resourceful, we are guided towards protection, healing, and carrying on despite all sorts of horrible things. We need to impress on our children and grandchildren the differences between right and wrong. We need to follow our laws and encourage others to do the same. After all, the laws we abide by in our towns, cities, states, and country are based on the Ten Commandments. Don’t lie, steal, cheat. Don’t kill, maim, or torture. Don’t break laws. It’s not that hard.

No, it’s not wrong to do this. There needs to be a guideline, and our founding fathers all had some sort of religion. Even as a kid, we were surrounded by Protestant people/Catholic people in the neighborhood, and nearly everyone went to Church on Sunday. There was a common belief in something bigger than ourselves. Today, many people don’t hold themselves accountable to a Higher Power of any kind. What is yours? Who do you feel you’re accountable to? I’d be curious to know.

Let’s all keep up the noble fight of good vs. evil. Our survival depends on it. Won’t you join me in the battle? It’s all part of this life as we know it. And it beats the alternative. We all have contributions to make. Let’s do this! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate you all, and we’ll see each other again tomorrow.

Caregivers

Nearly every family in America has cared for their family’s elderly, sick, mentally challenged, mentally ill and others. There is so much that goes with that role, which often falls more on one person than others. Being human, we quibble about it. If you have one of those pot-stirrers receiving care, there is a host of other dynamics at work.

Our great grandmother on Mom’s side was such a lady. She always seemed nice to us, and we were pretty young and all at home. Her daughter-in-law, our grandma, did not like her. Grandpa was an only surviving child and the apple of GG’s eye. Grandpa died many years before his mother, so Grandma was in charge of GG, much to her dismay. Mom and her sisters gave her rides, she’d take the bus, etc.

I don’t recall what necessitated her going to a home; all I know is she hated it. She did the usual; accused staff of stealing; everything disappeared, and so on. The behavior became pretty bad. She’d call the police multiple times a week. I didn’t see her in that condition, I just know she eventually died. Grandma had to escort her body back to where her family was buried; Mount Pulaski, Illinois. She went by train, planes were far too expensive.

The poor thing probably had some kind of dementia and couldn’t help herself. Whatever the reason was, I don’t believe she did it on purpose, but that’s what all the grownups were saying. I felt dreadful for her. I hope those things don’t happen to me. There are no guarantees, so all we can do is our best and believe in positive outcomes.

In some ways, it would be easier if the care receiver could not respond, insist on their own way, and take part in destructive behaviors. It’s all part of what care receivers go through, along with exhaustion, wondering if they’re doing their best and all that they can. It gets overwhelming. Many days, all you can do it punt.

Agencies for every disease, disability, and ailment exist. Often the loved one does not fit any of those categories. It’s hard to get the care receiver to understand there may not be care for them without searching high and low. And don’t get me started about personality issues!

The truth of the matter is, some people can accept they need help, may not get to stay in their homes, and have to live out their days in a strange place. It is still up to you about the quality of that life, wherever it’s lived. Acceptance is key. It makes things a lot easier for everyone. Think about that when your time comes. I certainly am.

Give a caretaker some respite today. Say a prayer for their spirits. Do good wherever you can. Tomorrow is our friend’s funeral. I hope it’s a beautiful, sunny day. She would like that. Take care, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

Learning to Trust During These Times

Much is written in the past week regarding the mass shootings in the United States. Our society is at odds with each other over the latest school shooting yesterday. It rips our hearts from our bodies, no matter who you are, what your beliefs are. Second, Third and Fourth Graders. Oh my Lord. How can this be?

Up front, I am not smart enough to figure out the problem. I am smart enough to know there is not one cause. I am smart enough to know it isn’t simply a matter of gun control. Criminals and mentally damaged people will not comply. Be realistic. How can we be realistic and not lose our hope? This is the challenge. Are we up to it?

By example is how we teach our children the best. What to do when they ask if they are safe? We can tell them they are safe with us. They are safe with us, as safe as anyone can be. We cannot make promises about anything and must be careful not to. Only make promises you are certain of keeping.

We have grandchildren who face going to school every day, and I’m sure these questions come up in discussions with their parents. One daughter and teen granddaughter were in an outdoor mall last summer when a fight broke out with a large group of kids. Our daughter ushered her daughter to the back of the closest store, away from the door, away from all the windows. If there was gunfire, hopefully, they would be safe. They were together, which is what was important. Parents need to be realistic and teach their children how to be as safe as they can be in any situation. The son who is in law enforcement has taught his son how to be safe in a crowd. We need to have the skills to survive, and the skill to remain hopeful in our world. We also need hope to survive.

Please stop comparisons. They further divide us. We need to continue having hope. How? I believe it helps to remain grateful. It’s hard right now. Start at home. Safety. Love. Hugs. Security. The same we had after Sandy Hook and all the other horrible shootings. We need to convey the concept of faith to our children. Faith and hope go together. It’s not God’s fault these things happen. It’s the human frailty and evil left to fester and grow like a cancer in some people that is to blame.

We need to admit when our loved ones are mentally ill. We need to stop the taboo of “don’t tell anyone.” Just because we think, “he’s really a good boy,” doesn’t make him so. This person needed help. I cannot guess what kind. Normalizing admission of mental illnesses makes it much easier to treat. Help should be easier to get. That’s where laws and health care can start. Other options can follow. People smarter than me will have to figure it all out.

We will view news coverage of funerals, sadness, and talking heads. We are outraged, and many lose hope in America. By doing nothing, we assure ourselves of the same. Let’s start with mental health. Let’s make sure our kids understand there are consequences to everything. Don’t let them get away with wrongdoing because you have the money to buy them out of trouble. It will hurt you and your child down the road, and possibly someone else. We all need to be more responsible with our actions, our words, and our examples. Let’s start now. See you tomorrow.

How Honest Am I?

I’ve been a bit off lately, and it’s because a person in my life has been dishonest with me. It is not the Babe, so not to worry. It’s someone who’s been dishonest before. Even though I’m used to it, it still makes me angry.

Is honesty a rarity in the world now? Politicians talk about being transparent. Lovers want honesty over anything. And if we ever want a chance of making a change for the better in life, we need to be totally honest with the one person who matters above all else; ourselves.

We can lie to ourselves until the cows come home; the outcome is we often believe our lies so much they become our reality. We can hurt others with these untruths. With how we perceive our progress when measuring personal growth, we must have real objectives to aim for, and honest, decipherable steps to get there. If you don’t measure up, you don’t progress. Seems simple enough. If you do a day’s work, you can only expect a day’s progress. Slowly but surely will get to our goal.

Billy Joell has a song called “Honesty.” Recorded in the late 70s and included on his grammy winning album of the year. It has been a long-time favorite. Listen to the words and ask how it applies to your lives. Are you honest with others? How about with ourselves? Are we honest with ourselves about ourselves? The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. No excuses.

As I look at getting back on track today, I’m going to pray for the person who was not truthful with me. It’s the best things to do, under the circumstances. This is not the first time they have been less than honest. The result? I cannot trust them. Now that I know that, I’ll be on my guard more. It’s a shame, but to protect myself and the truth, it’s necessary.

Maybe honesty is such a lonely word. However, lies hurt more than honesty. And they last forever. Don’t ask me what’s wrong if you’re dishonest with me. You know exactly what you did. And until you decide to change, I will not be trusting you. Period.

Go out and get some sunshine today. I hope to get the rest of my plants potted and dig out some dandelions from the little garden off the patio. It’s time. See you tomorrow!

Security – Where Is Yours?

Machiavelli – an Italian philosopher and diplomat – said

“Only those means of security are good, are certain, are lasting, that depend on yourself and your own vigor.”

My security is based on God, myself, my husband, my country, my police and military, to name a few. It is a good, basic question. A basic need of human beings is security. After birth, a baby has a whole new learning curve being out in the world. They need to learn a whole new set of security. When they startle while sleeping and cry, they need to feel safe and comforted. Can you imagine? Yet, they survive. We all need the security they learn from being on earth.

We need to learn new security every time we experience something new. New and often times scary. Starting daycare. Starting preschool. Starting Kindergarten. Starting Elementary School. Middle School. High School. College. Moving away from home. Starting a new job. Starting a relationship. Starting anything, it requires we feel secure in what we are doing.

Security has to come from within ourselves. The stronger our sense of self, along with our trust of our decision making, the easier transitions are into new situations. Once I made the decision to divorce my husband of 11 1/2 years (back in 1982) I never doubted it was the right thing to do. I had no full time job, was on the husband’s health insurance, Mom thought my kids would starve, and very few people agreed with my decision. It was made with a new sense of security, by someone I never trusted before; myself.

If you were raised to believe women are dependent on men, you cannot trust yourself. As my very young marriage went on, I came to see I was growing up, and he wasn’t. By the end, I no longer trusted his decision making. He did not consider his family – me and three kids – when he impulsively bought cars or motorcycles, without thinking of consequences. It’s part of the reason we divorced. I no longer trusted his judgment. My sense of security was seriously broken.

Security is a basic human need. It is something we all seek. Some never find it. Others look to outside sources – other people, acquiring certain “stuff”, getting a perfect score, being president of a company, class, group of people, certain clothes, certain weight, certain hobbies, or our beauty. Our house is built on sand in that case. It crumbles and falls into the ocean.

What is in us, given by God and honed by our belief in Him (or another Higher Power), our security is never stronger than when we trust in God. I knew God would help me find my way when I divorced my husband, with three little kids. I knew God would lead me to the right decisions. I didn’t know what they were, I just knew He would show me. So what does that have to do with trust in myself and my decisions? Because God had shown me the way for a couple years before that. Led me to lectures for Women in Transition. Led me to going to Community College with a 4.0 average to learn and boost my confidence. Let me to a 4.0 average from my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources 4.0 average.

All the while, I learned to take risks. People were put with me who taught me many things. I learned to take advantage of legit opportunities, and if there weren’t any, to create my own. Yes, I learned that. Anyone can at any age! I’m learning that still, in my very late 60’s! It’s never to late to start. It’s only too late once they’re throwing dirt over you.

Take the chance. Create the opportunity. Write the book. Record the song. It all helps build your security. Trust your Higher Power. And especially, learn to trust the one person you can always rely on – yourself.

I hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Think about who you place your trust in. Think about your security – or lack thereof – and make changes as necessary. It’s not advice I blindly give you. I’ve done it for myself and had some great success. Learn something new. Have fun. You deserve it. Thank you for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Super Sunday, 2022

I spent a good deal of the afternoon updating the website for the VFW Post 2503 the Babe is Quartermaster and Honor Guard Captain for. I hadn’t done any maintenance lately, so it was definitely time. Volunteer hours, spent at home on the couch, watching the Kansas City Chiefs game tend to fly by. And now, it’s nearly 6 p.m.

So, when do you take your Christmas tree down? Assuming it’s an artificial one? Mine is still up, but I expect it will be down by Saturday. My son Frankie is coming over for a late Christmas dinner tomorrow. He was working, and we went to our brother in law’s home, so it works out well. It’ll be good to spend some time just with him and see what’s going on in his life. He’s a blessing in my life. Always is happy. Always makes the best of whatever situation is going on. I hope to spend more time talking with him in 2022.

I’m pleased we might have found a new church. We’ll know after a few more visits, and we’ll visit a few more places, too. That’s something I’ve missed greatly, so now, that’s one big question answered. Of course, with my son sharing dinner with us tomorrow, I’ll be picking up the house (and dog sparkles), so I won’t do more than plan our calendar for the week, most likely. There is so much a creative person wants to do and it’s so hard to select exactly which few of a hundred projects can actually be completed.

When I became disabled with my back/spine issues in 2000, I purchased things to do (craft projects) that I know I’d like to do when I’m older. I’m just about to the 70s for the second time in my life, and I’m not old enough yet to do those things. I’m looking forward to unboxing all my collection of books after I deep clean our family room area downstairs, where it leads to the patio, and I want to find a good place to donate the ones I don’t want/can’t keep. I need to find out if the library of quilting books I have can be donated to the local high school or public library for kids to learn these skills that may soon be obsolete.

I have a quilt my grandma hand pieced in the 1920’s, before Mom was born in 1929. I think this quilt needs to be hand quilted, and I’m going to do it. If it takes 100 years to make a quilt, why not? I hope to leave it to our granddaughter in Colorado. I hope it has some meaning to her. I have two other quilts I want to make for this year; one is a snowflake quilt for our king-sized bed; the other is a pieced elephant quilt for our kind-sized bed. I also have a surprise for a friend of mine, and want to look for fun fabrics I may not have in my stash downstairs. If you quilt, it’s all about the fabric search!

My master plan will include time in January to prep for Income Tax Preparation. Although I do ours, this year, I may have business forms to file, too. It’s another thing to learn as we go along. If not, I know a couple of great CPA’s. Networking is everything.

So many people are complaining how bad 2021 was. With the strides we’ve made blogging, writing the novel, getting my Chapter 1 published in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Anthology 2021, forming my LLC, I’m delighted with my part of 2021. Yes, there were some very bad things. We lost four friends last year; two to COVID, two to service-related illnesses during Vietnam. It really stunk. It would be easy to sink into the mindset of “life sucks.” Guess what?

We cannot let it win. We cannot let negativity reign over hope, trust, belief, and goodness How do you keep that in the forefront?

I look at my friends and family. With all the weddings during and after COVID, my cousin’s daughter and husband are expecting a little girl in February. And some special friends announced their engagement this weekend. Those are events that restore your faith, your hope, and your love. Those are events that remind you there is more positive in life than negative. There is always hope in a baby’s eyes; and a gleam in a couple’s eyes who view their Ever After in each other. I see it in the Babe. I hope he sees it in me. There is no other beyond him. We both wandered about, living our lives and making mistakes, before we met each other. God sure knows what He’s doing, right? Somehow, we find each other. Always.

May all of us have our Ever After. Barbara and Jimmy, a heartfelt congratulations to you both. Life is too short to wait too long. And too fragile to question too much. I nearly talked myself out of the Babe, first real nice guy I’d ever met; he had ischemic heart disease. I was certain he’d die on me. Not yet! No heart attack yet after 25 years! Fear can’t rule these times. Put your trust in each other, and you will not believe the places you will go – together. God Bless You!

All You Need Is . . .

Love is probably the most abused, overused word whether you “mean” it or not. Anyone I know from South Dakota ends a phone call with “Love You, Bye!” That is pretty genuine, trust me. But the “I love my phone,” “I love your hair!” All those. But let’s not split hairs.

My handy daily mediation book jumped out at me again today.

“Where does all the fake love come from? Is it them or is it me?” – Mel K.

The meditation goes on to state the more precious something is, the more fakes are created around it. That’s a big statement. And I think it’s true. Over 25 years ago, when I was thrust into the dating world after getting married at 18 and getting divorced at 30, it was certainly true. A lot of men would be dishonest about the fact they were married. Some were quite crafty about it. Meet you for lunch, not drinks or dinner. Meet/see you during the week, but never on the weekend. It didn’t take long to figure it out.

Also, at the end of the 80s, the AIDS crisis reared it’s ugly head and had every single person worried. Again, if people weren’t honest about their marriage status, they probably wouldn’t be honest with their sexual history. It was crazy out there. Terrible. I became good at staying home. Authentic love is the goal. Inauthentic love is so hollow. Some is plain deception: If you love me, you will lie for me, don’t tell Mom, don’t tell Dad, you will cheat for me, you will call me in sick at work so I can sleep, and no, don’t even think about calling me out on my behavior. You have no right to do that.

Hey, pal. Yes I do. If you love me, you will be honest and truthful, you will not expect me to compromise my morals, you will respect my feelings, you will understand I, too, have a life and obligations. If you don’t honor that, you certainly don’t love me.

There, as a much wiser older lady, I can finally say that. I tried to wriggle out of letting the Babe tell me he loved me. I was afraid. Afraid of lies, loss, and relationships. I said, “No, you can’t. It’s too early.” But he said he knew he did. And set to convince me of that fact. Glad he didn’t give up easily. Real, true loving is hard. It’s almost more attractive to accept the cheap knock offs.

Authentic love is trusting, fake is not. It dares to try, fake does not. It dares to take a risk by being expressed, fake stays silent. We need to trust they’ll understand, they’ll believe us, and they’ll trust. The problem isn’t them; it’s us! It was hard for me to learn to trust. Thank goodness, the Babe was patient.

I had a head full of phony ideas about love. I grew up hearing Mom’s Dean Martin LP’s on the Hi-Fi. “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” Andy Williams crooning, “Love Story.” Englebert Humperdink singing “A Man Without Love.” I had stupid ideas everytime you disagreed, you’d get flowers. That I got from TV. I never heard my parents disagree, if they did, they did it when we were gone or asleep. I thought if you fought, it ended. If Mom got angry with someone, they were cut out of her life. Silent treatment. With the Babe, I’ve learned that important tool of life, to listen to someone else’s side of the story, and to adjust my thinking should I need to be less rigid. It does happen.

Trust is a very hard thing to earn and to learn. I’m proud people trust me with their private thoughts, and I’ve been told I’m a good friend. That’s important to me. I’ve earned trust. I’ve also learned to give the gift of trust to those who deserve it. Those who don’t can keep walking.

Maybe I’ll write a book filled with all the lines I’ve heard over the years. That could be hilarious! Someday. For today, I’m going to design the program for our event Sunday, and work on the Post website. It needs some stuff updated soon as our newsletter comes out. It’s going to be a great weekend. I hope yours is too. Be safe out there, and we will see you tomorrow!