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!

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.

Follow Lauren Fortenberry on Facebook!

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.

Another Friday

Amazon Delivery is a wonderous thing. Or a very bad thing, depending on your view. Internet ordering can be a blessing or a curse. You could live a long time, I think, just ordering essentials for delivery. Who knows? We may get to test that theory if the nation shuts down again. I don’t know anyone really knows. Too many things in play at once, and with the crowds who will be out this weekend, it could get much worse. I just pray if it does that my mom stays healthy.

I ordered a couple of books for research. One is “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” which is about Writing Creative Nonfiction – – from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between. It should arrive today, and the other, “Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life.” Most of the experiences I’m writing about have a root in my own life. I just want to find the best way to write about them.

If I tell it correctly, I won’t have to write a caveat telling my readers I’m not complaining about all the bad stuff; instead, I know if it hadn’t happened, I would not have grown into the strong woman I am. The events were a lot of forging the steel of my nerves; the prayers I said took my relationship with God to a completely different level; the heartbreaks have built my character; I held onto the idea I had about relationships and I met him after the positively worst event of my life. I was looking at a possible crushed spinal cord from a tumor in my spine, which was life altering and took many normal activities from me at the age of 44. That’s far too young. But I’m still here, twenty four years later.

I need to learn I’m not bragging about all of this; it’s a story; it’s part of my story. And I’m just grateful I survived and was not paralyzed from the chest down. I would have missed so much of the wonderful life I’ve been blessed with. It’s hard to talk about yourself when you were raised to be humble, meek, compliant, and to go along with whatever your parents or husband decided for you. The world cannot work like that anymore. I hope our daughters and granddaughters are learning that. Please, teach them.

I am greatly disturbed by the creation of a “black anthem.” I understand it’s being called the Black National Anthem. I feel this divides our people more significantly than before. I feel it’s a bad idea, to start including it in the pre-game festivities of NFL and NBA games. I think it will drive a wedge in between people that we won’t be able to remove later. At what point will this stop? All people need to be responsible for their own errors of judgement, whether it be breaking the law or a character flaw that gets you in trouble.

Before there is reaction about this, I’m going to mention a tort lawsuit filed last week by the families of the four Gretna girls who died in a car accident last summer. The fifth girl survived and her family is not part of the lawsuit. Yes, it’s sad. The fact of the matter, though, is being 14 and 15 year old girls, they thought they were adult enough to handle drinking and driving over 90 mph on a gravel road. The tort lawsuit is against the county for a poorly constructed road. I say this is wrong.

I believe the fault is not with the road. I believe the fault is with the driver and the group of girls who knowingly broke the law by drinking underage then somehow thought it was a good idea to get into a car, with the sober girl only as a passenger. The driver crashed under the influence and was killed. The sober girl was too, along with two of their friends. The survivor was badly burned, and has to live with her injuries and memories for the rest of her life. I hope she vows to never drink again.

I believe strongly in personal responsibility. Unfortunately people are sometimes in a state of denial. As a parent, I know my kids did dumb things. All kids do. I did dumb things as a kid. If you live through that phase, you are eternally grateful you survived yourself. Four of these girls did not, and it is sad. Denying the truth and filing tort lawsuits don’t make the outcome any different.

One thing I deeply believe is that with the rights we have, either given or earned, comes a set of responsibilities of which we need to be very mindful. Yes, the State of Nebraska may allow kids to drive (outside the city, limited trips, etc.) at a very young age. With that right comes many responsibilities. I told my kids as they started to drive they needed to understand the financial future of our family depended on them making good decisions while they were driving. A lawsuit would have wiped us out. I told them I would trust them until I discovered I couldn’t. And I hoped I didn’t have to renege on my trust.

Yes, you may be able to bear arms, but you need to be a responsible gun owner. It is a matter of common sense. Don’t play with firearms. Don’t leave them lying about where a child can access them. Don’t use them if you are intoxicated of under the influence of drugs of any kind. There again, it just makes sense.

People lament all the time about the death of common sense. I think it started back in the 1980s with the “Drive Safely – Baby On Board” signs people had on their cars. It was almost laughable, why would I drive less safely if you were alone in your car? I had three kids in my vehicle most of the time, where was our sign? Were you more or less careful? Who needs to be reminded?

America is indeed, a beautiful country. Take time this weekend to look around wherever you are. Look up and out and see this land that is all of ours. Pray for it’s safety, pray for it’s leaders, pray for it’s protectors, and pray for each other. We need to get our stuff together and start acting like the great land we are, and stop bickering over everything. Past is past. Yes, parts of it are very ugly. If we knew then what we know now, we would have all behaved differently.

If we want to have a future, we need to concentrate on today and how to make it better for all of us. With that, I thank you for reading today. Working on some things the rest of the day, and hope to finish something by Monday. It could be a surprise to all of us when revealed on Monday! Be safe, Be kind, distance, wash your hands, cover your sneezes, be kind. We all need it! See you tomorrow.