A Peaceful Heart

We all know of someone with a hair trigger temper. A rant can begin at any time, you just don’t know when. Walking on eggshells is no way to live.

“Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten a pile of papers.”

We all know someone who throws temper tantrums, who slam doors and object to prove their displeasure and stomp around to prove a point. How childish. It’s no way to live.

The outbursts we threaten others are spontaneous in number and severity. We make them watch out, don’t rile us up, or we would intimidate them and make them wish we weren’t around. Is this any way for us to relate to people? Is this any way for these people around us to have to exist?

The outbursts are NOT just blowing off steam. They’re opportunities for a cheap thrill by feeling powerful that simply indicates we are short on coping skills. We forget the steam we justify we’re blowing off actually blasts others in the face. Tirades have never solved a problem. Mom was raised in a home where people argued and yelled. She says her mother made her and her sisters afraid of their father. “Don’t tell Dad” is a terrible thing to do to kids. It teaches them to lie and omit parts of the truth. Kids echo the behavior they see around them. Unfortunately, she was frequently angry. I believe it was overwhelm; she had two children under the age of two and didn’t have a lot of help from Dad. Men did not participate in daily tasks with children in the early 1950s. Again, it depends on how you’re raised.

As folks learn to deal with their anger in a constructive manner, anger should subside. Anger, left untamed, can destroy a person, a family, and guarantee dysfunction for the lives of coming generations. It happens more often than not. The person who recognizes this dysfunction and speaks up is often the black sheep for at least a while. It takes courage to speak up and vow to take a different path than the one your parent followed. They just didn’t know any better. It wasn’t their fault.

What you can do is intend to handle situations differently. Be accountable to yourself. Make it a calmer world for your children. It will also be a calmer world for you, too. Once I realized showing anger towards my children and yelling was not the way a Mom should behave, I stopped. I was about 25 years old when I learned an alternate way to be. My life was full of tension and turmoil due to my marriage. I learned other ways of coping with my anxiety. I became a different person, a much better Mom, and learned about personal growth and improving yourself all the days of your life. And we’re not finished yet.

Think about your peace, and the peace you create in your home. Are people walking on eggshells around you? You can change that. You can choose to break a family curse. Yes you can. Work on your own temper. Is it out of control? Is it too much? Reign it in. Control it before it controls you. Have a beautiful evening. See you tomorrow!

On Loan

Treat all things as if they were loaned to you without any ownership – whether body or soul, sense or strength, external goods or honors, house or hall . . . everything.” Meister Eckhart

Wow! Even with my twelve years of Catholic education, I don’t recall ever hearing of Meister Eckhart. He was a German mystic, theologian and philosopher. He taught a radical religious philosophy that God was present in everything. He claimed mystical experiences and had a large following. He was also tried as a heretic. Catholics were big on heretics back in the Middle Ages

He entered the Dominican order and worked as an administrator of 47 convents. His passion was preaching the Gospel. He was invited to Paris to teach, which was a great honor. His story includes a comment citing his heated discussions/debates with the Franciscan order. Wow. He stressed the Divinity in Mankind. He was considered mystical because he thought it important to clear one’s mind to be receptive to God’s presence. Isn’t this what Meditation is?

Eckhart also taught the importance of detachment from earthly things and desires. Again, doesn’t that sound like meditation and decluttering? Learning these things is good. Sadly, although he believed in teaching the poor and had huge following, he was found guilty of heresy and died while the verdict was under appeal. I find that sad, because in later years, Thomas Aquinas followed Eckhart’s teachings. I’m amazed at this.

Theology aside, maybe there is something about not treating things as if we “owned” them. Of course, we love our home, and we will own it someday, and our cars, but those things do not own us. We don’t feel defined by them. We may say, “my wife, my husband,” but we do not own them. We belong with them, through promises, vows, and civil laws.

When I was young, I thought couples had to be together all the time. They had to have only the same interests and hobbies. I knew no other example. As I grew up and learned codependency should not be a goal, I also learned a very different way of having relationships. The women in my world were self-proclaimed martyrs. Not all of them, but many were, it was the times (50s and 60s) and how we were taught life was. Men worked, women didn’t.

Although the Babe and I get along very well, we are somewhat different. I’m a book nerd, he’s not. He’s very helpful taking care of the house and cooking. I need his help! He’s never sat and wanted to be waited on. Mama raised up a couple good men with the Babe and his brother Ron. Thanks, Liz!

According to my daily meditation book, thinking someone is our responsibility leads to misplaced problem ownership. I took on a lot of responsibility that wasn’t mine, both for our mom and a brother. They needed to own their messes! I dropped those burdens, and wow. My load is so light now! Creativity is how I express myself, and the writing is improving. I will write that novel. November will see the goal of 50,000 words met. I have to do this, it’s an important message and I feel compelled to share it. Give others an inkling as to what can help them become free from the ties that bind them.

The last 25 years of my life have been so full of love and enjoyment. I made my kids be responsible for their choices. Once I didn’t enable them (didn’t last long, trust me), they became very capable adults. I was not taught how to do that. We learned together. I look at all the people in my life as being on loan. I enjoy them completely when we’re together, and they all have their own lives to live. The Babe, too. Events like his illnesses and accidents teach me he’s only on loan. He’s been quite lucky so far, and someday, that luck will run out. We’re not being negative, just realistic. I will live in today, not yesterday or tomorrow. Join me.

Thank you for reading today. Happy Halloween, and think of me writing tomorrow. 1,667 words a day for the 30 days of November. We’ll be closer to a finished novel! Isn’t that wonderful? Join me. See you tomorrow!

Comparisons Are Odious.

A man named John Fortesque is credited with saying this. I have to agree with him. How much time have many of us wasted comparing ourselves to others. I used to do that, mainly because of a bad self-image as a young kid. I have an older brother who is very small statured. He is one year older than me. I hated being bigger and taller than he is. I’d pray for a miracle overnight to switch sizes with him. Silly, right? I really wanted that miracle for both of us. He was bullied, and I was compared by other people.

The folks at Madison Avenue marketed skinny young blondes as the ones who “Have more fun.” Although inside every blonde is a smart brunette begging to get out, I couldn’t do anything at the time about hair color or height, I hated the body I lived in. In later years, I accepted myself, and marveled at how I had three beautiful kids. So many pop culture people wished for what I had. A family. I was grateful, even though I wasn’t a skinny blonde.

When I started coloring my hair due to premature graying (at 37!), I never went blonde. It just wasn’t me. Now, it’s silvery and still very thick. Funny, people compliment it all the time. I’m proud I have my dad’s hair. The Hurley/Jewell family all have thick, beautiful hair. It would have been hard to lose it. Luckily, I didn’t need chemo for my cancer, so I didn’t have to endure that. My body betrayed me in several ways, cancer included. Somehow, I always knew I would get it. I don’t know why I thought that, but it did come true. Maybe expecting it made me get through it better. Now I pray it doesn’t return. Twelve years out, I’m blessed.

We cannot win ever comparing ourselves. Not great hair, a big bank account, prestigious friends, or a better wardrobe helps us win anything. Some folks never get it. They chase the Jones’ all their lives. And for what? Many people think the Babe and I should be traveling a lot until we can’t. We thought we would, but the Babe is preferring staying home. I don’t blame him. Should the worst happen, he doesn’t want to be away from his doctors. I can respect that. I’m not going to be upset about that. We make our live together one that is pretty relaxed, and respectful of each other. He applauds me and encourages my writing. He’s told me several times, “You can’t just quit.” That support is worth so much! I’m lucky. We both are.

As I watched over Mom yesterday getting used to her new walker and striking out on the adventure we had yesterday, I realized how I just need to try to get her our once a week. Somehow, somewhere. Until the snow flies. Then she prefers staying home. I’m so relieved she finally listened to the doctor and started using the walker. All that matters is that she does, and it’s so much safer. She was way too wobbly with just a cane. Thank goodness she didn’t break anything!

This craft I’m learning about now, this need I’ve uncovered in myself to write, it something to look forward to as I age. It’s not about the lifelong learning, the hours spent reading and writing, or the number of words I spew out on any given day. It’s about what it can become. And I’m eager but patient enough to stick it out, work hard, and get there. Because I know it will happen. And I’m grateful for this and all opportunities I’ve ever grabbed. Thanks for walking with me through all the learning. I appreciate it a lot. See you tomorrow!

Spring-y Saturday

Today is the first day of Spring. Ah, yes, I believe we will make it now. Grandson Gavin is attending his first outdoor baseball practice today. I hope and pray we are able to attend his games this year. COVID has taken a lot from us. But, grass is greening up, allergies beginning, we know it’s Spring in Nebraska. During those spring days we can experience lots of weather changes. You can go from 60 degrees and calm to a real snow-dumping blizzard in 24 hours. Some of the bigger ones happen in April, and even in May. It never lasts very long, though. You won’t hear me complain, though. It’ll pass.

Gavin and his Dad, TJ. Two of my favorite guys! Outdoor Baseball Practice Begins TODAY!

One thing I’ve learned in my years on the planet, is things will always get better; and things could always be worse. Is it a glass half empty philosophy? No, I prefer to think it’s realistic. Just as spring always follows winter in nature, in our human lives take us from bad situations, to healing, even to gaining precious insights of all we’ve endured. New life replaces death. Growth expands a life, a soul, a mind. Gratitude and Attitude are everything.

My header photo today is a quilt I made, and the beautiful flower statue was a gift from my kids, Frankie, Nick, and Becky. It was from the times they were all still at home, the boys were working after school, and they pooled their resources and bought a series of these sculptures for me. I will treasure them forever. They pointed out to me they had human fingerprints on the petals; the Italian artist who created these was very precise. He made molds to hold the porcelain, and they bear his fingerprints. What a neat thing!

The Carpodimonte method goes back to the 1700 in Naples, Italy. They’re beautiful. I smile when I think of those kids spending their hard-earned money on me like that. They bought them from QVC, and were so proud. Good Times!

Life has so many passages for us to navigate. We are not meant to stay in one spot. Early death happens when people are too afraid to embrace the next stage of life. You cannot remain rooted in your past, it’s not a place to remain living. Memories are great, but your spirit is a living organism, it introduces every new spring to your soul. Your soul is where you discover new things and grow! Choose Springtime. Choose Creativity. Choose Life!

I love reading to little kids. I get all into the character’s voices, and sometimes the Grandkid’s look at me while I do the voices. They love it! I do too! I dream of having a book launch and be able to read to children. I’ll have get some people with toddlers and little ones. It would be so fun for me! And for them! I am thinking of having a pen name for my Kid-Lit, “Grandma Kathy.” What do you all think? I can add a page to the website for her, and one for “Jewell Publishing LLC.” Comments, please!

Many thanks to my friend, Billy McGuigan, the King of “Stuff We’ve Never Done Before.” I’m going to build my brand(s) all on one website. Just because no one’s ever done it, doesn’t mean it won’t work! Right, Billy? Your encouragement and Kate Whitecotton’s is so encouraging. I appreciate it so much! Folks, don’t forget about Billy’s new solo album, “Together.” The stories are rich. They’re real. They’re about love, moving on, uniting as a family in tough times, and all the stuff dreams are made of. They’re about living in a pandemic. The creativity soars. It’s a cure for COVID blues. Also, check out McGuigan Arts Academy. There are opportunities galore for your kids during school breaks and vacations. All COVID-safe, Socially Distanced.

Thanks for reading today. Get outside. Get some fresh air. Get moving. Shake up your routine today. Do something new. Listen to some good music along the way. Call an old friend. Call an elder in your family. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. The world will smile back at you. See you tomorrow, my friends.

Aaaannndd It’s Monday Again

I just looked at my personal email and decided nothing was super important. Then I looked at my business e-mail and see it’s off to the races again. I’m getting better at rejecting a lot of training, but some are still relevant. If I sign up for mostly free Zoom instruction, I usually learn one thing I didn’t know before, so I consider it an excellent investment of time. Today, I am watching Jerry Jenkins talking about Getting Published this Year, 2021. He ought to know- he wrote the “Left Behind” series, which published back in the 90s, I believe. It dealt with Jesus’ return to earth in present time. Can you imagine?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’ve included a picture of our dear Roxie as today’s Header photo. I received a notice today from WordPress. It’s already been two years since I set up my domain! I didn’t really start writing with any frequency until we lost Roxie later that year in July. In this photo, she is holding onto her bone so Lexie won’t get it away from her. I thought it was a hilarious look on her face. It still is. I miss her. I know Lexie does. She howls and whimpers from time to time. She never did that before. Poor girl!

My handy daily meditation book had a couple of thoughtful topics over the last two days. One dealt with the human tendency to take on undeserved guilt. I did that my whole childhood and continued it until probably twenty years ago. If Mom was mad, I thought it was my fault. She could be mad at my brothers, but I felt I had to make her happy. That’s not a good way to be. It’s not ego driven, it’s a codependent reaction. It made me feel bad about myself when I couldn’t do what I thought I should do. Little did I realize it had nothing to do with me.

The second meditation was good, too. It started with the famous Yogi Berra quote:

“It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over.”

A few days ago, I was too tired, overwhelmed, and had a day of constant interruptions. I considered quitting writing and just doing my usual creative endeavors (which I miss a lot)! I’ve never backed down from anything in my life. Every challenge strengthened me. I can’t quit now, I have a lot to offer as writing about people, their hurts and problems, and how they solve their issues. Human interest, if you will. The Babe and I talked about it, he said, “You can’t just quit.” Bless his heart. He is a gem, I am holding onto him with both hands!

So here I sit again today, in the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska, writing my blog and getting ready to edit my last chapter to make sure I include all my plot points. Today’s meditation? Also apt for me.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.”

Truth be told, it is probably apt for quite a few of us today and every day. We are meant to grow. Not so much in size (some of us have a time, don’t we?), but in spirit, intelligence, experiences, and everything else that makes us who we are. We cannot get someone else to do it. It’s not like shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn. We can pay someone else to do that. We can’t pay someone to do our personal growth for us. It’s as easy and hard as that. We must do it for ourselves.

This is one reason I love to read. Unfortunately, I read a lot of books for learning; all this week, I’m reading one or two just for the fun of it. The fun of reading. The balance for the work I hope to accomplish this year is play and laughter. Laughter helps everything go better. It reduces stress. It cheers us. Our personal growth is our own responsibility. What are you doing to make sure you’re doing your part? We need to keep fueling the fires of growth until we take our last breath. Stretch out, shake off the fear, and take a deep breath. Soon, you will look forward to it, instead of fearing it. You’ll be able to do far more than you ever dreamed.

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Only 30 minutes until my hour Zoom class. I will get my novel written this year! Hope Jerry Jenkins has some tips that make a difference. Have a day full of growth, enrichment, and forgiveness. Be the Change. Meet in the middle. Let’s be safe out there. Be kind. See you tomorrow! Thanks for reading.