Grief. Confusing?

Yes, it is. There are several stages, and you may rock back and forth between them. One minute, you may recall wonderful memories, and suddenly, painful memories rear their ugly head. The feelings are contradictory, and totally normal. The key is to learn how to navigate among them. Ignoring them does not work. I tried.

Applying alcohol or drugs to the pain is counterproductive and causes other problems. My siblings and I tried that (no drugs for me, just alcohol and withdrawing), along with never talking about Dad. Mom usually became angry when we did. Years later, we individually compared notes, and learned a lot. We also learned to share the happy memories and enjoy talking about him. It’s much healthier and we could move on then.

The thing is, the feeling of choice for many people is anger. All that does is try to blanket fear. That doesn’t work, either. Fear is usually unfounded, unless it’s a twelve foot grizzly bear in the Montana wilderness growling in your face. Then fear is very justified.

Fears originate from the unknown. Often folks who are fearful think they need to execute every move according to their rigid plan. Our plans, foiled by life, often are useless. Yes, knowing what your life work is and achieving the education and experiences to realize that plan is great. Sometimes, the plan, spoiled by life events like death, loss of financial support, unexpected pregnancy, and a host of other things, does not work out.

That doesn’t make you or me a failure. You will feel grief. Your plan cannot work right now, but maybe later. Maybe you need a better plan, a different timetable or different source of revenue.And yes, you can be angry with the situation. Remaining that way will affect your life in very negative ways. You will become negative. Getting through the anger is hard work, but worth it.

Feeling guilt for things said or not said, things done or not done is also normal. Those are mistaken sentiments, especially if you feel, “I should have . . . ” or if you feel as if “I’m being punished because I . . . “. God doesn’t play with us like that. He wants to comfort us.

At long last, the frustration, exhaustion and fog lifts and we can accept the change the loss has caused in our life. It is our life, and it won’t be the same. Sure, we’ll still be sad from time to time. We won’t find ourselves lost in it, though. Life goes on. We need to live ours while we have the opportunity.

Acceptance does not mean forgetting the loved one or the dream. It means putting it in a place where you can remember without pain or anger. Acceptance means the loss is a fact in life. An ultimate fact. And you have healed your way there.

Thank you for reading about something most of us would rather avoid. Living again is the best result of all. See you tomorrow!

Finally Friday!

In the Midwest, whenever bad weather could develop, the trusty weather guys/gals clog the airways of local channels with many worst-case scenarios. Severe T-Storm warnings beep in every 2 minutes. It’s annoying. The frequency is unnecessary and most of us know to stay inside during a hailstorm, thunderstorm, tornado. We know better than to drive into a blizzard with 75 mph winds. If you just moved here, someone will clue you in.

I’m feeling stuck. Stuck in decluttering. Stuck in writing and life. Why? I’m finding a little tug when the thought of my birthday coming up. I’m feeling a little ancient, and a little not so much. It’s silly, really. All people go through it. I’m grateful to be reaching the age of 70 on the 22nd, and hope for a great birthday cake. I’m here for the cake!

I took Mom to the eye doctor for a six-month check again and she’s stable. I’m glad that’s the report for now. We need no more to deal with. She has PT coming in again and has a new lady coming in for help once a week. Hopefully, this will let her get Mom’s house clean and help her feel satisfied. After three years, the other lady didn’t work out. Those things happen sometimes.

I hope you have a great weekend, now that it’s here. The weather should be perfect and we’ll make the most of it for sure. Have a beautiful evening, and 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!

Beauty/Loveableness/Teens

It’s said beauty is in the beholder’s eye. I suppose that is true. As I’ve grown older, my definition of beauty changed dramatically. I suppose as a teenager I found my idea of beauty in fashion magazines, teen magazines, and had a skewed idea of beauty. It was anything but me. I think most girls my age felt this way, although I did not know that. We just didn’t have those kinds of discussions.

As I remained dateless after the age of 16, I thought no one would love me. Images of Twiggy and Goldie Hawn as the “Sock it to Me” girl made me believe I would never be thin enough for someone to love. It reinforced the message from Madison Avenue, my mom, and what I saw around me. Everyone but me was beautiful and loveable. I felt fat and ugly. And not very smart. Little did I know I actually had a pretty face, beautiful eyes (hidden by pop bottle lenses of the 60s) and was the right size of a normal human teenage girl. (The other day, a friend commented, “I wish I was the weight I was when I first thought I was fat.” Amen, sister!)

I lost all that. While my first husband was gone in the Army (Europe in an office, not in Vietnam), I crash dieted my way to less than 130 pounds. Starved myself, lost 50 pounds, and wore hot pants and shorts for the only time in my life. It was hard to maintain. I went back to a normal weight again, and felt fat. I wasted how sad so much of my life on feeling like that. Who the heck cares? I did, way too much.

I’d gain 35-40 pounds during each pregnancy when some doctors only wanted a 20 pound weight gain. I suspect many babies did not have the great start they deserved during this era. Mine were all healthy from the get go, thankfully. I’ve yo-yo’d my way during the rest of life. I was at an unhealthy plateau for a long time, until COVID let me to realize I wasn’t comfortable. I lost about 40 – 45 pounds, feel great, and haven’t KETO’d since.

By charts, etc., I should weigh less. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. For my health, it would be a little better, but the rest of my health numbers, etc are great. No high cholesterol, blood pressure under control, and I have various specialty docs I see for chronic pain. My knees don’t require injections every 90 days any more. I’m good, by most standards.

My idea of beauty now? It’s never found in a celebrity or the pages of a magazine. It’s found in the smiling, wrinkled face of a grandmother; the wisdom of a toddler who talks constantly; the excitement of a person discovering their talents after a lifetime of doing for others. It’s in nature; it is in wildlife; and it is in the every day, commonplace things. It is in the beholder’s eye. The heart of the beholder. The mind of the beholder. It’s a tween telling you they like spending time with you. When you tease your grand kid about silly things they did when they were young, they smile. It’s there! It’s everywhere.

As I finish up the cleaning from yesterday, I’ll see the beauty and show gratitude for taking care of our home. I’ll see it in our dogs. I’ll see it in the book I’m reading. It is everywhere. I’m going to soak it all in, and be grateful for learning what is truly beautiful. Check it out for yourself. Let’s see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there!

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.

Junk Drawer, Junk Thoughts

Saturday, as I rummaged through the out-of-control junk drawer in our kitchen, it occurred to me how easy it is to junk up our thinking. It’s easier than we think; we need to stay one step ahead of ourselves.

When we think ill of ourselves or our ability, we are accumulating junk thoughts. When we let those self-defeating thoughts in, we’re in danger. The danger exists in those little lies we allow ourselves to hear; “You can’t do this! You’re a girl! Girls don’t run businesses!” “You can’t do this! You only went to community college. Everyone knows your degree isn’t as good as a four-year one!” “You think you’re so smart! You really don’t know what’s right for you!” “Who do you think you are?”

While I don’t consciously entertain those thoughts, I can self-sabotage with the rest of them. I didn’t hear how I did a good job every time I performed something minor in everyday living. If I got a B on my report card, I should have received an A. I’d be close, and if I worked harder, I’d be able to have an A. I’d be able to have a perfect score. Gosh. Was that possible? Not really. I’d have to work impossibly hard. No, I was a girl. I’d probably not be able to.

During that era, there was an unspoken rule; a girl never allows herself to be smarter than a boy. I’m serious. I remember reading in a Catholic girl’s magazine if you know the answer in class and a boy you like gets it wrong, you shouldn’t raise your hand and give the correct answer.

Imagine my delight while during a spelldown in fourth grade, I out-spelled the smartest boy in the class. Louie Safranek. He and a brother are state epidemiologists. Bug doctors. They are scary-smart. But he misspelled the word satellite. Yep. And I beat him. I never won. But I did that day. I won the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a proud moment. That feeling made me feel i could do anything. I’ve remembered that.

That feeling of achievement is something I’ve repeated throughout life. Raising my kids alone, while going to college and working full time. I was proud of my work and accomplishment. More women need to feel that way about themselves. I look forward to feeling that way again with the publication of my children’s books and novel.

Seeing my name in print is something I’ve always wanted to do. I feel it looking at my chapter in the Nebraska Writers Guild Anthology that was published in 2021. I look forward to seeing the entire book in print. With my name on it. How many of us get to do these things? It’s easy and hard at the same time. How can that be?

Believe in your dream. Do the work to achieve it. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Practice discipline. Take a break if you need. Yes. After having these a break since December, I’m feeling called to write again on my novel. I’m happy about the spark I’m feeling. It will be a fun spring and summer.

Another busy day, and tomorrow will be a repeat of today. Have a nice rest of the evening and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Judge Not,That You Not Be Judged

I committed a colossal boo-boo yesterday. I wrote the blog, but didn’t publish it last night. How silly of me? I saw my stats were high today, thinking, “What’s going on?” I knew as soon as I saw there were 4 draft articles. Two are real drafts, one was started today, one was from yesterday. At least I have a good answer for the high traffic. Sorry, folks.

What might we leave behind this year that will lighten our load into next year? Blame would be one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand why some things have happened in my life, even why I have thought the way I do. Blame sounds so negative, and we are free to place blame somewhere else – but only once. Once allows you to learn why and how certain behaviors were done done to you, around you, and why they hurt you. Blame is finding the source and giving it credit for negative example, outcomes, etc. Blame is assigned, and you have to let it go. Blame is different than credit, although credit is positive and therefore light. It’s not the burden blame is. Blame is excess baggage that holds you back. Credit propels you forward.

So after admitting out loud and to myself about blame I’m assigning, how & why it happened, I’m putting it away. In it’s bag. Where it needs to stay. I’ve packed my generational part of the trauma and don’t need to know any more about it. Today and tomorrow is what’s on my mind now. Today more than tomorrow. We have five grandchildren in three states, and pray they carry only positive things with them. They hopefully will face their ghosts head on and won’t need to ponder them for so long. I did for a very long time, and finally can put them to rest. I feel lighter, almost like losing the 45 pounds on Keto in the last year. Yes, it’s symbolic, isn’t it?

You see, if you continue to place blame, you must be prepared to accept your share of it. Yes. That’s it. Things you did wrong to others. Things you’re being blamed for. Sure, you didn’t know better when you were doing them, but . . . you didn’t know better. You do now. Accept your shortcomings. They came from lack of information. Just like the generation before. Don’t you feel lighter? I do already.

I food cheated more than one day during the holiday, now it’s time to get serious again. Keto, here we come again. Well, at least me. January 1, 2022 will begin a new regimen for sure. New schedule, new habits, new goals. Still planning. Sweets are fabulous and luscious and easy to get hooked on. Over and over. We all do it. And now, it’s time to get over them. It’ll feel good to eat good things again. Lighter. No Baggage. Healthy Food. Healthier Body. More writing. Great things are ahead, aren’t there?

Are your bags packed up with most of the resentment from long ago? Are they ready to go . . . away? They cannot be carried into 2022 if you want to live up to your potential. We can remind each other not to dwell on past hurts or future worries. Today and our goals are all that matter. All else will fall into order. Thank you for reading. 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.

Self-Defeating Behavior

It’s that time of year again. No, not autumn, but the daily reading today reminds me of some classic Adult Children of Alcoholics abilities – to see such doom and gloom into our futures we likely don’t want to think about the future. Some of us in the family have learned that’s no way to live, yet others still persist. Let me assure you, it’s much better on the positive side of this trait.

We quote Mark Twain as saying, “I am an old man and I have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Read that again. I’ll wait. And again if you need to. We have imaginations that blow the wheels off our positivity trains. This is the classic shooting yourself in the foot behavior. We destroy our plans before we even begin with them. Whatever it is, we derail our voyage and wallow. I’d venture a guess 99% of these terrible troubles never happen. We just defeated ourselves.

People do it all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s creativity or writing a book or everyday life. Stop it! We need to keep a positive attitude, knowing that is half the battle sometimes. Within ourselves. No monster out there can sabotage us as well as we can. We can spend out lives dreading that which doesn’t exist and very possibly never will. Think about that. The moral of this story?

Don’t Borrow Trouble From Tomorrow.

Having human natures, we can’t help but act like them. I do have some dread with dealing with some people, usually unfounded. The dysfunctional people who are still in my life either behave like they usually do or they surprise me. Sometimes the dread is warranted, sometimes it isn’t. Gas-lighters can surprise you at times; never enough to trust them again. Just be smart.

On a much brighter note, we spent the evening with family again last night. Dinner was fabulous. The kids are so fun. And a handsome lot.

From left; Joell, Addison, Gavin. Joell has turned into a young man. No more kid left in either him or Addison. Gavin may have a time left, but not much yet! Can you tell they’re all quite comfy in front of the camera? These may be the most photographed kids in the world. And I get to be their bonus Grandma. What a lucky woman I am. Do you have any bonus grands, or nieces/nephews/etc.? We enjoy spending time with our future!

Day #3 with Beastly allergies is off to a better start. I’m hoping for some rest later after a visit with Mom and her new occupational therapist. It’ll be busy and crazy for Mom, then we’re planning a trip to Hobby Lobby next week. She considers it a must for her annual Christmas decorating marathon. She will likely supervise this year. Whatever makes her happy at this point.

I hope you enjoy your day. Do something kind for someone. Give a hug to someone who needs one. You get one, too! Thanks for being here, and see you tomorrow.

Don’t Throw Mud

You may simply end up with dirty hands. And that goes back on you. This quote from Joseph Parker, in my Adult Children of Alcoholics daily meditation book struck a chord today.

We don’t only throw mud at someone in a physical sense, but we do it every time we assassinate their character, or make blanket assumptions about a group of people, and even harboring ill will and long-standing grudges. And all we do is hurt ourselves in the process. The ones we are aiming at are nowhere close to where the target really is. And when it backfires on us, it isolates our beings; we may become resentful, feel sorry for oureslves, and become increasingly negative about everything.

Of course, we have the free choice to do whatever we want. Often people are negative because that’s the only way they know. I’ve seen negativity in my family, and it chokes the person off from enjoying their life. One with a lot of money may be miserable and poor of spirit. They could be a slave to the idea of having a counting house full of money. Does them no good at all. One with a good job and stable future may be negative about co-workers and complain about how many hours they work. They aren’t happy either. Work could be their addiction.

It’s hard to overcome negativity. Believe me, I know it’s hard to find positives when you’re a broke single Mom of three kids. When you run out of milk on Tuesday, don’t get paid until Friday, and go through couch cushions and piggy banks to find the exact change for a half gallon of milk. When you put gifts in layaway in September for Christmas, so you can pay $25 a week for twelve weeks and take them home to wrap just before Christmas Eve. When you thank God for the Home-Ec Class in high school that got you started sewing, and are able to make your own clothing, including business suits, to wear to work.

Yes, I was always grateful for what was in front of me. The car started every day (until it didn’t). The kids were good. Seriously, I’m grateful for that. I was a little handy with remodeling stuff. My sons were eager to learn how to put up a fence to keep our dog, Shadow, from running away. Thank God I had credit cards. I took full advantage of the 1976 law that allowed women to have their husband’s credit records in their own names, also. I was grateful for that.

Negativity had no place in my life when things went terribly wrong. When my son drowned, I prayed, and believed in God’s mercy, and he lived. I’m grateful for that until the day I die. My heart breaks for every Mother who has a child pulled from a body of water. So many are not as blessed as I was. Should I ever face a life and death situation again, of course I’ll pray, and it may not turn out well. I’ll have to accept it with grace and ask for God’s mercy.

When I was young, I believed if anything happened to my husband or kids, I’d die. That was not a truth of mine, it was a fairy tale. It was stuff movies and corny love songs were made of, not real life. Tragedy happens, and life goes on around you, whether you want it to or not. I learned that and it’s stuck ever since. If something happened to the Babe, I’d be devastated. But I know I could still live. It’d be crappy, but I’d live. Losing him would be much different than never having him in life at all.

Many, many times I’ve known things were going to change, either healthwise or my abilities, and all I do now is hold on, and ask God, “NOW where are we going?” He hasn’t failed me yet. Whenever I lose something, I gain something else instead. And so it continues. I didn’t get all my computer work done today, but we saw Gavin play his flag football game. He’s a great quarterback. He has fun whatever he does. Be Gavin. Have fun today. We’ll see each other tomorrow. Take care.