Faults v. Virtues

When you think of yourself, what comes to mind first?

“I could lose 30 pounds.”

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I’m a terrible Mom.”

As a child, we’re often taught not to talk about our abilities. “Don’t be conceited,” they tell us. “It’s not polite.” Especially for a girl. I remember reading in a Catholic Girl (was that the title? don’t remember for sure) Magazine, it was stressing the duty of the girl to remain “pure” in mind, body, and heart. Part of the duty was to praise the boyfriend, and be his lovely assistant in everything, to know their place. We didn’t hear “Good Job!” every time we did something. Some of us were told a “B” wasn’t good enough, it should have been an “A”.

Wow, that was the late 50s and early 60s for you. No more. We weren’t supposed to be smarter than the boys, or stronger, or better at doing anything. Wow. There are many very intelligent women, strong women, who are the best at what they do. How sad we were instructed to dumb ourselves down. How can we live fully is we pretend to be less than what we actually are?

I, for one, hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life after the kids grew up. I didn’t want to hover over them, after all, you have them to send them out into the world. I loved my kids to pieces, and knew I was happiest with them. I couldn’t keep having kids because I didn’t have a life plan.

Making the decision to go to community college was the best thing I ever did. Having a lot of interests made it a little harder to decide what to do. I decided on Medical Secretary. I earned a certificate, but found a job at ConAgra. Lots of on the job training by observing a huge business working. It was amazing.

I took many business classes and was finally offered a programmer trainee position if I completed a certification program for a year. I would have been crazy not to do it. It launched me way further than I could have imagined.

By learning I had value, talents, abilities, I experienced a lot of growth as a person and in my career. I finally knew I did a good job. While I think kids may not need constant praise, I believe some is needed. Too many wounded adults are walking the earth. Many others don’t realize they are. We need to learn to accept our virtues and talents. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed by our faults. Those two sentences from Robert G. Coleman leapt of the page at me this morning. So many of us spend time tabulating our faults. We need to tally our virtues. Take some time doing that today. Do it every day. Be fair. You will discover your worth.

Self deprecation can be funny, we need to laugh at ourselves. Taken too far, it’s not good. It’s only recognizing part of ourselves. We need to recognize all that we are in order to become all we can. Don’t let your faults define you and your legacy. Start today. Appreciate yourself. And make it a habit.

Have a beautiful day. It’s lovely outside in the shade. Going to check the plants now. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Monday Morn

Have you ever had a consumer complaint against a company regarding payment that lingered on for nearly a year? Hope that never happens to any of you. I just finally got it resolved this morning.

I was a customer of Phillips 66 Gasoline company since 1988. Some of you weren’t even born yet! But yes, never an issue. In the last year with gas prices escalating, I paid special attention to our monthly bills. The Babe and I used the same account, and I paid the balance off every month. Last year, July of 2021, the bills went up over $100 a month. Now, they’re even higher, although we now each pay at the pump as we individually fill up whichever vehicle we’re driving.

In July, I paid the bill through First National Bank’s Bill Pay feature. Always reliable. Late last summer, the oil company switched from in-house credit to Synchrony Credit. Not good. Not good at all.

At first, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The only way to resolve anything was phone only. And hold on forever until you’re sure you’re on IGNORE, not HOLD. That puts you in an immediate bad mood, holding on for 20 minutes. I secured what was needed from my bank – numerous times. I got the credit, then a month or two later, bam. They added the amount of $214 + change back on to my account, saying I didn’t provide them with what was needed. Wow.

I can tell you, they no longer care how long you’ve been a customer. They no longer care you cut up your credit card. They often cut your call off in the middle of talking. You have to start over with the hold/ignore cycle. Aggravating as heck.

I received a message from Synchrony again I needed to provide more information. I called the number, finally with an extension number, and talked to a lady I could understand. Bonus! She actually investigated my account and told me they applied it to my BP VISA card. Which I’ve never had. At last! They made a boo-boo! Vindicated, after all this time! I was about ready to celebrate a one year anniversary with that $214.++ balance. (Sarcasm font used).

Cue Etta James’ At Last. Finally! I found a decent customer service rep.

As we go throughout the rest of the day, let’s be pleasant with customer service reps. While searching for “service” stock photos, mostly baristas appear. Isn’t that crazy, what we’ve become? You won’t see a clerk at a department store as an example, either. My, how things have changed. A lot of years have passed between seeing Grandma Jewell standing behind the glass candy display counter at the family drug and sundries store, and Mr. Chase working in the pharmacy, compounding drugs. Grandma knew every kid in South Omaha. And they respected her, too. She was just that way. What fond memories I have of her!

I’m off to a meeting now, hope you all have a wonderful Monday. I’m having one, it will just get better. Make it a sunny day where you are. See you tomorrow!

Sometimes . . .

I couldn’t tell you what I love more; watching Gavin play baseball, or watching his dad, TJ coach his team. It would be like trying to choose my favorite child. The team played very well last night; their first game of a tournament weekend. TJ was not only coach, but head cheerleader, encouraging each kid and their unique talents; Chief Medic, tending to head bumps, re-injuring an elbow; and helping a little guy stop his nose bleed so he could continue pitching; and equipment manager, gathering it all up after the game so he’s ready for the 10 a.m. game today. That man can do it all!

You can tell the boys look up to their coach. They are learning not only how to pitch, field, bat, and the rules of the game, they are learning how to be young men. They are learning to concentrate on this game, the one right now, not dwelling on yesterday’s mistakes. Their coach has a different approach, he appears firm but fair, plays everyone, and corrects their form as needed. Before the game last night, he told them, “Just play better than you did Tuesday.” Tuesday night was a terribly off night for everyone, all at once. They did! Crossing my fingers on today.

I’m excited to go this afternoon to my class about using my new sewing machine. I’m not only learning about something new, I’m opening another door towards creativity. Hoping to get back to making things to wear (in my spare time.)

I look forward to this day, and learning. The Babe just texted. Gavin’s game is on, with a 15 minute rain delay. I hope he has a great game. He’s learning about the strategy of resting his arm when he’s the pitcher. Dad calculates carefully how much Gavin can pitch, and he plays other positions in between. He’s great at first base, catcher, but seems a little bored at second, the outfield, and third. You can just see the improvement since the first game, and that is because the boys are learning, and growing as players, under the guidance of their coach. So proud of him. Our family is so blessed.

Time to get in front of the new sewing machine. May you all have a wonderful Saturday. We’re planning to. See you tomorrow!

#963 and Counting.

Good Saturday evening, from the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It’s been a long but great day.

Got my flowers panted in all their containers today and carried them to where they’ll live. Watered them after carrying to where they’ll stay. Lighter to carry. It was wonderful to be outside from about 8:30 a.m. until about 11:00 a.m., not a care in the world. No thought what time it was. No thought about having to hurry and go do an errand or meet someone. I could concentrate on whatever I wanted. Note to self: need to do that some more. It was great.

I neatly trimmed all the therapeutic sewing I did yesterday (the threads were terrible). I’ll probably press them tomorrow. This is how I need to approach getting stuff done daily. There is a certain grand feeling of accomplishment just doing a lot of little things and having them stack up to bigger things.

The Babe is home tomorrow, it will be the first time in a couple weeks he is. And Monday is Memorial Day at the Post. We will attend. The Babe has several ceremonies to attend with the Honor Guard. It’s all in a day with the VFW. Memorial Day is one of my favorites. The reason? We stop to thank the spirits of the heroes that went before us. We wouldn’t have such a peaceful life as we do if we weren’t free, thanks to them. I hope if the time comes in the future, there are people to step up and fight the good fight.

This newly minted 70-year-old woman is feeling every bit of her age right now. Lots of hard work I’m not used to; but it felt so good. Right now, I’m retiring to the couch with a good book to think about what we’ll do tomorrow. I hope you have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow!

The Day After Birthday

This morning, it was still darkish out, but the bed was empty of both canines and the Babe. I heard nothing going on in the living room. They can’t have gone far. I listened to the birds for a while and dozed. It was heavenly. I got up and saw the family on the couch, all snuggly. It was sweet.

And sharing coffee amongst good mornings is such a wonderful thing. I’m not the griddle cook getting the husband out the door, or the kids off to school. I’m his equal. He’s my equal. Yes, we sipped on our coffee for another hour. It was sweet. Other married couples may not think this is a big deal. I really noticed it today. I noticed because it was missing from my life before the Babe.

I know many other women of all ages who haven’t experienced this kind of laid back before in their lives. Many, many women and even men haven’t experienced this in a relationship. Much as I was told, it doesn’t happen; it does. Single friends, take heart. Leave your heart open, but protected.

I met my son, Frankie, for brunch. It is like visiting the best part of yourself to meet your adult kid out. It was the best catch up there was. He is always in a good mood and satisfied with his life. We laugh about if I am an old widow someday and need someone to monitor me; he would be the one. We make up scenarios and I know he’d always help me out. Seriously, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Today was a followup visit to the ortho doc for my shoulder. Over the past six months, I’ve had three injections for pain. If this doesn’t help, it’s on to an MRI next time. Hoping it’s not a torn rotator cuff. But if it is, we’ll deal with it.

Yesterday, I checked out my sewing machine before getting ready to make the grandkids in Colorado their quilts for Christmas. I plugged in my trusty Bernina Activa 220. Nothing worked. The lights didn’t go on. Nothing responded. Carried it to another room, electrical circuit, and plugged it in and turned it on. Nothing. Tomorrow, it goes to the Bernina Store. I hope it’s not expensive or I’ll be shopping for a different machine. Cross your fingers! Good thing I started early on the Christmas projects!

Have a beautiful evening. I need to get some ice for the shoulder. See you tomorrow!

Superb Sunday 4/24/2022

Wow. Sometimes I forget things. We all do. I’ve forgotten haircut appointments and scheduled phone calls. The worst thing I forget? Like most people of a certain age, forgotten to take my prescription medications.

With the chronic. Pain I have, that’s not good. I don’t take opioids and CBD products don’t work. So, it’s live with it and understand how to work through the pain. It takes a lot many days. Today, I did not want to get out of bed. Once the coffee, meds, and hot shower kicked in, it was all systems go.

We had ball games for Gavin today. His skills are improving every game. It’s hard when the kids as a team make mistakes. You can tell all the kids are growing as players and as humans. The catcher called time out and walked up to give Gavin a pep talk. It was such a proud moment! Gavin got back in the zone and the game continued. Since it was a tournament today, the first game was a win, the second a loss. The kids’ collective heart broke. Until next week, boys. Fresh game, new team, new challenges.

As I watched today, I recalled all the games we’ve watched for the grandkids. Grandson Joell out in Maryland played little league, and we were able to see some of his games. It was a lot of fun, too. Unfortunately, he took a hit in the face by a crazy pitch and decided he’d like swimming better. He is a competition swimmer and does very well. He secured his first job recently, as a swim instructor for younger kids at his swim club. How awesome! He let go of something and found his own niche in the world. I love how the parents orchestrated both of the boys finding what they love and are supportive of their dreams. That makes all the difference in the world. Same goes for Addison with her Competition Dance and High School Dance Team.

Tomorrow, I’m beginning the journey again. Order of business is to organize my information for a free week long Children’s Book Challenge Week. I want to be prepared every day when class begins at noon at ends at 2 p.m. I should get some great information as I work with my illustrator in the next couple of months. Jordan is quite busy and should have something for me to review in a couple of weeks.

I am excited to get back to the serious work of writing. The first step, along with the Children’s Book Challenge, is to straighten up my studio/office. No more untouched quilt kits making me feel guilty. I will only allow things in the studio/office which are being worked with. All else will be in the basement level studio. It should allow for a lot of creativity to flow. I look forward to that.

Tomorrow is another brand new, shiny opportunity to have a beautiful day, create something, and do some good. What are you going to do that will make you happy and make a difference in the world around you? Have a good rest of the evening, and see you tomorrow!

Serenity

Worry robs you of today. Worry makes you dream up every horrible scenario and think it may happen. Usually it doesn’t. Most of the time, moms are classic over-worriers. “Dead in a ditch somewhere” usually comes to mind. Ever hear that from your mom? Yes, I think we all have.

If you’re an adult child of an alcoholic, you may be an expert worrier. I used to be. No more. I’ve not lost sleep over my problems, kids, their problems, my imagined problems, my kids’ imagined problems or any of the above. I can leave it to rest. Hope my kids are ok. Sure. I might pray about them, but I don’t worry. God will take us where we need to be. And He’ll provide me with whatever I need should the worst ever happen. Until then, praying trumps worry.

Mom has habitually worried about everything, real and imagined. She isn’t shy about telling everyone, even now, about worry and lack of sleep. It’s a strong habit for her. At 92, she wouldn’t have to worry about us all. I suspect she may nap a bit more during the day than she admits to, maybe she isn’t sleeping well because of napping. I’m not sure. She tires easily. Heck, at my age, I enjoy a nap, and would think she will. But I won’t worry.

They activate the automatic worry when an ill wind is blowing. Anything that may pose a threat causes you to circle the wagons and hide. And worry non-stop. It’s automatic. There is a lot of hard work to reverse that pattern. But it is possible.

It takes a lot to help people understand they have more power than they believe they do. They have to believe they have the power to re-gain control over yourself and your thoughts. You will no longer react automatically. A new action will become easier to take, and you will take back your power.

“Opportunity does not knock – it presents itself when you beat down the door.” They credit this phrase to a person named Kyle Chandler. Not sure who that is, but it is true. A mentor of mine told me long ago, if you don’t find your opportunities, you need to create them. Figuratively, you could beat the door down, but I would hope it wouldn’t take that much.

Carefully looking for opportunities becomes easier the more practice we have. Then it becomes second nature. Not worrying. Chasing your goals helps us experience many opportunities we wouldn’t have if we sat on the couch at home. Each opportunity helps us become better along the way to our dreams.

Not letting others control what we do is a key to having power. That said, we need to work for others during our lives. And we need to do that, gaining experience as we learn. We may not always be able to work for ourselves. Sometimes we need those experiences to help us grow before we can manage ourselves. One step at a time.

Cautiously realistic is how I like to approach unknown situations. Disasters are so unlikely to happen; I prefer not to worry. Those who borrow trouble from tomorrow cannot help but worry about everything and court disaster because it’s all they know how to do.

As I end this day and look forward to tomorrow, know I understand why you worry. I know because I used to do the same thing. And I also know I had to stop. It drove me crazy and most of all, it wasn’t good for me. It robbed me of joy. I took my control back; I took my joy back. I took my life back. You can too.

It’s been another long day; I hope it’s a great rest of the evening and a good day tomorrow. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Take care out there.

November 5, 2021-Grateful!

It’s been a long week. I was revved up and happy to be home today to get an early start on NaNoWriMo. And I did 1353 words on my difficult passages. It’s exhausting but a very important part of the story. I’ll be fine, but wow. Sometimes it’s hard to look back at what we’ve survived throughout our lives. Looking back from this point in life, at this age, I’ve got gratitude to God for His Mercy. I am sharing some of the very hard times, as a contrast to very good things that can and have happened. As my niece told me, “You’ve lived many lifetimes in your years.” She’s right.

The writing itself is going well. I do find I switch between first person and third person. I need to read up on that, if I need to do only one POV through the whole novel, it’ll be first person, I believe. It’s hard to stay put. My mind has been sort of boggled the past few days. First person is usually past events, third person can be the present, as it happens. I can switch between POV’s depending on what is being told.

When I’ve finished writing for the day I really am grateful for where life has taken me, through all the good and all the bad, it’s all part of who I am and why I’m the way I am. Walking through personal growth for parts of characters is a good thing to do. The whole point is to create a story that draws your reader in and makes them want to find out what happens.

We’ve got a fundraiser tomorrow night and I need to get a couple more items for the raffles. There are some good things out there, and I need to finish up our part of the evening. It will be a night of great music and seeing new friends and a couple older ones.

I have a bunch of stickers that read, “Live a Great Story.” I’ve come to love that phrase. I find myself talking more and more about good stories, and how things turn out. Everything is a story. Sometimes there are lots of good parts or bad parts, but there is always a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can change them up and change them down, and change the ending, making it more intriguing. It’s your story. Tell it how you like!

Part of what I’ve discovered this year is our deep friendship with our group of friends from the VFW Post. We have lost two men this year. One had cancer for years, and many health issues the past couple years. It was sad to see him deteriorate week after week. And how hard it was for his wife. But we all stuck with each other. I love that no one backed off or stayed away. Good friends don’t desert you in your time of need. It was very sad when Nugent passed away. He was such a nice, kind man. We miss his presence.

And later this summer, when Lenny died, well wow. For all the years I’ve known his wife, I didn’t really know him. He was always a crazy man, which was good, he was always out there, living life to the fullest. He really didn’t give a darned what anyone thought. I marveled at his ability to do that. What he didn’t want anyone to know was how generous he was. He retired from a very good job and so did his wife. He never forgot to be kind to Veterans, kids, little old ladies, or his grandkids. He had funny stories. Lenny lived a great story. Be like Lenny! Before he died, he made the Babe promise to sign up his grandson as a lifetime member of the VFW. Lenny is smiling down at Connor and his new membership card.

Thanks for the memories, guys. And your ladies, too. Our other friend is a widow, and she is fun and helpful to the two new widows. They tell me they don’t want me to join the club (NO! Me neither!). But one day, I probably will. They will be there to be a friend when I need it. Grief is messy, all over the place. I have an idea of the devastation, and know it’ll be much worse than I can ever imagine.

I have a lot of faith, God has taken me through so many things. He will continue to do so, and I can trust that won’t change. God doesn’t change, through all eternity, He remains true. We are the ones who change, who doubt, who stray, who get lost, who take the wrong roads, and forget what their goals should be. A whole lot of being human gets in the way.

Take care out there today. Make a great story in your day as you live your life. Be like Lenny. Keep your goodness to yourselves, it speaks volumes to be understated. You’ll do the same amount of good and more by being modest. Be kind. Spread that around because we need it. See you tomorrow!

Serene Saturday

Like any work, change of habit, or recovery from addictions, getting ready to do the work isn’t actually doing the work. Authors joke when they talk (or write!) about writing, they need to know that doesn’t get words on the page. It doesn’t get the right words down on the page. Or words that make sense in the story or scene. NaNoWriMo talks about that all the time. I suppose I should have started prepping earlier. Having COVID the last couple weeks didn’t allow that to happen.

Now that I feel human again, I will start reading some things other writers have shared and review my outline/guide/notes from last year when I was working with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. Plotting tasks to calendar follows next week, and the story should rise from all the notes, intentions, bright ideas, and otherwise faulty thinking. Getting words on the page is the goal. No editing. That will be hard! I constantly edit while writing. Always. The biggest mistake I make typing is the dyslexic twist on things – my brain and fingers are out of sync, and words get the letters mixed up. Or the whole sentence is out of sync. That will be a true test.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the words are always there. I think they are hijacked sometimes because we procrastinate, we make excuses, we place blame on others. I know I do those things. Reasons are legitimate. Excuses are not. Illness is legitimate. Surfing Facebook is not. And we all do it. Just call it by it’s name. You’ll be more responsible to yourself.

For instance, I can clean the bathroom til the cows come home. Dusting? Not so much. I put the furniture polish spray can and dust rag on the TV stand and tell myself, “I’ll do it after I sit down a little while.” I believe my own lies, and procrastinate. In November, I vow to check myself on that bad habit. The house can be cleaner if I do my job. Period. Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes.

Doing this and reporting on it every day makes me accountable not only to myself, but to all of you. So what, you may wonder. No one will follow me if I don’t do as I say, if I am not true to my word. End of writing career. Or at least it will stall getting out of the gate. Not good. I’ve got three years invested already; and as the Babe says, “It’s too much to just quit.” Yes it is. I’m so glad my energy returned, it’s easier to think of writing when energy is available. I’m getting excited about it all.

Did you weigh in on my question yesterday? Doing another NaNoWriMo Drawing this year? Two years ago, you could comment on my daily blog and have one entry per day in my drawing for $50. Would you like to participate this year should I have another one? Let me know what you think. There may be a limit as to how many times during the month you can enter. I’ll have to think about that next week, too. In 2019, my friend Pat Riedmann was the winner.

I saw something this morning referring to the longer you live, the more friends you lose to death. True, and it’s just how life works. The past five years, we have had many, many friends, FB Friends, lifelong friends, and family pass away. All I can do it remember them with love. I wore a pair of earrings today which were a gift from a best friend in 1988, the year she died. She was in her early 40s and died from lung cancer. Five months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, too. It was a terrible year for sure. I smiled at the memory of my friend, and thanked her again for such a beautiful pair of earrings. They are lovely!

Pay no attention to the grimace on my face! It was supposed to be a smile. Sort of.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon today. I hope you have time with a loved one, if you’d like. Enjoy the sun or the rain, whichever is happening. I’m going to have a session reading here in a minute. Hope to see you tomorrow, and it means a lot to me that you stopped by today.

Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!