Good Girls Rarely Make History.

This phrase just jumped out at me while listening to Jennifer Nettles album/CD “Playing With Fire.” I love her voice. I’ve read before she has a voice “to make a man leave his happy home and follow her anywhere.”

The one thing I’m curious about is writing lyrics. It appears to be like poetry, but adding the words to music adds another dimension that words on a page just can’t compete with. Nettles’ song, “Hey Heartbreak” is an anthem telling Heartbreak to leave her door, she’s taking her life back. Powerful words, and great music. Nothing better.

I believe some day I will write words for a song. I have experienced a lot of themes. Bone crushing lonely Saturday nights, before I met the Babe. I think when you’ve lived through those, you can pretty much get through anything. Loss of good health is another thing that tests your mettle. Not having an adult in your home to help you is another kind of lonely and hopelessness. If I hadn’t had my kids, I may not have made it through. But we did. All those experiences are back in the vault of my memories. I will do something with them in the future. You cannot make up the things every day people make it through. No one could believe it all happened. But it did. And I’m still here!

This is where my overwhelming sense of gratitude grows from. I could not have lived through these things without hope, faith, and especially love. God is in charge. I no longer try to affect outcomes; I pray, “However you decide, God. I’m along for the ride. Tell me what you’re teaching me now.” Many years ago, I prayed, “Please make my husband be kinder to the kids,” and learned it doesn’t work that way. The prayer became, “Show me what you want me to do to improve this situation.” Boy, did He!

I was the quintessential “good girl.” I was obedient, always followed the rules, never expressed my opinion, deferred always to my first husband, and didn’t rock the boat. Never again! The book I will finish reading today has stirred many memories of how women’s role in society has changed. In the Victorian era, women were not allowed to study things like math or science. It was believed their delicate makeup would be upset if they used their minds too much. Hogwash!

When I was a Programmer Trainee in 1987, I asked a question that was quite technical in nature. The boss that was training me said, “That’s too technical for you.” I asked someone else later who said, “He probably didn’t know the answer.” I finally got the explanation but not from who should have answered me. My first review after transferring to another department of I/T included, “You are way more skilled than he would give you credit for. He kept you down.” How about that?

Truth of the matter is, there were not very many women in the field in the late 80s. Most were men, and I had to learn to go to lunch with them, hang out with them, and not be relegated to the “secretarial staff.” It’s a hard stop to be in, but you have to make the best of it. Thank God it has changed! We need to remain equal. We were made to be equal. I never broke out in hysterics from debugging an old COBOL program. Nonsense!

And while I may not go down in history as a “bad girl” I know that would have been one who talked back, (I was just asking questions no one liked), wanted to take a class only boys took (I wanted to take Mechanical Drawing. The nun who enrolled me that year said “absolutely NOT! You’re too shy!”), and “You’ll probably never finish college, even if you attend. Go to beauty school or nursing school or become a teacher.” No offers of financial help were ever discussed. How was that supposed to happen?

In the 1950s, the thing that made a girl “bad” was being one who smoked, hung out with the boys, one who stole boyfriends, and had sex before marriage. The worse thing was if your daughter “had to get married.” The scorn! In the late 60s and 70s, it mattered no more. Now, often people live together for years, have multiple children, then get married if they even do. I’m glad young teens are no longer forced into marriage. It used to be the air was clean and sex was dirty. Now, the air is dirty and sex is clean. In my opinion, God made male and female to enjoy each other in every way possible. There is nothing better than a caring lover. That, along with commitment, love, faith, and trust in each other transcends to a beautiful life together. I have that with the Babe. I wish it on my friends to know what that is.

Does that make me a bad girl? Oh well! I’ve been called worse! When I was single for so long, I used to say, “If I could be guilty of half of what people have thought I’ve done, I’d be having a great time!”

Have a great time today! Be good to yourself and to each other. Show respect and kindness everywhere you go. You’ll receive it back tenfold. Do it out of goodness, not out of what you may get from it. Let’s see each other again tomorrow!

Help a girl out, we’re around #946 followers. Help me get to #1000! It’ll be fun! Thank you!

Thursday’s Thinking.

Do you have a place of comfort in your home? Not necessarily your bed (mine is great – firm mattress, I can let my spine decompress like nobody’s business), but somewhere you can sit and reflect. Maybe you have a spot where you can just consider your day, your life, your direction. Even for a retired person, this is necessary to keep living life, not just existing.

My thoughts go back to our grandparents. German on one side, Irish on the other. All very hard workers. Our dad’s parents had their own business, a drug and sundries store. Something for everyone. Dad told me a story once when I was telling him how hard it was with my oldest, who wanted to be our playing past dark, when it was time for bed. He could see the other kids outside, no supervision, riding their big wheels on the sidewalk of our busy street. Luckily, he obeyed me, didn’t try to go outside, he was a good kid.

Dad told me it wasn’t anything new. When he was a kid, he and his siblings were babysat by Great Grandma Hurley while his mother worked evenings at the drugstore. Never met the woman, but she ruled with an iron fist. She had to. She was widowed and didn’t have much. Her family lived with her, which was common in those days. Dad said he also wanted to be out with the kids. He didn’t dare cross his Grandma. She had a shillelagh, which she would use to bop them on the head when they were in need of an attitude adjustment. It got their attention. She died while my dad and his brothers were all away at the war. They were not allowed to come home for her funeral.

The more we think no one has done what we’re doing in these times, the more the similarities leap out at me. What has changed? Well, Grandma Hurley would not be bopping a kid on the head with her shillelagh. And our mom’s Great Uncle Roy walked with a regular cane. When he wanted the nieces to come talk with him, he would use the curved handle of his cane to hook them by the arm or leg. They laughed. Mom and her sisters always fell for it. What’s changed? Well, now everyone is on red alert about children being molested, accosted by pedophiles right in their own homes. It needs to come out of the dark.

That has gone on forever, it’s just now we talk about it. We need to. We need to help children through these terrible events and keep them safe. I believe we are teaching children to be aware, stand up for themselves, and tell a safe adult when things are not right.

I feel so lucky that as kids, we didn’t have to worry about anyone hurting us. We rode our bikes around, roller skated, walked to the library, and other stuff kids do. We loved going to the air-conditioned library when it was blistering hot outside. It was an oasis from the oppressive heat. And of course, there were wonderful books there. Great time, well spent. Thanks Mom!

Author Jennifer Chaverini is someone I’ve followed because of the theme of her books, The Elm Creek Quilters. Alex Anderson had a quilting show I started to watch when I started on my LTD. I was depressed, and I really was inspired by watching her create quilts. I made many purchases of thread, fabric, patterns, lots of stuff. I now have a full room of stuff for making quilts. There are other hobbies covered there, too.

Ms. Chaverini now writes historical fiction. She’s covered Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, and other women’s story throughout history. I just started “Enchantress of Numbers,” about the famous poet Lord Byron’s daughter, who was highly educated in math and science. That never happened in the 1800s. I’m only in the prologue.

Funny, authors debate the use of prologues to set the backstory. Most say not to use it. Could this very long prologue serve as the first chapter? I’ll have to let you know. Not having knowledge about that era and how social mores were so strict, I think it’s necessary to set the tone. More on that later.

I’m shooting for a productive day today. How about you? I like this new way of looking at my to-do list. Of course, there is a huge list of stuff that comes to mind that I want to do. I can cross it off when I write down what we’ve accomplished. I like seeing the done list grow and the to-do list shrink. It’s motivating.

Have a beautiful day, folks. Let’s keep going for more followers! We have jumped up to 938 readers as of publishing time yesterday. Let’s keep going! Love it! Thanks for going on this journey with me. I appreciate the company. Take care, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (?)

Happy Wednesday! I just saw a meme that read:

Make today so fantastic that yesterday gets jealous!”

So, at first read, I didn’t care for it because of the word jealous. Jealousy is the cause of a lot of bad things; mistrust, unhealthy competition, rage, relationships ending, and lots of other bad stuff. As young Catholics, we were taught jealousy is sinful. In a lot of ways, I believe jealousy is unnecessary among well-adjusted adults. Key words: well-adjusted.

In relationships if someone goes to great lengths to make their partner jealous, the whole thing is doomed. Games should not be played there at all. Period. A well-adjusted adult is secure in their knowledge of what they have to offer. Ideally, trust should be paramount in any relationship. Yes, many of us have trust issues. I did, until I met the Babe. He’s pretty much up front about everything. No worries. He has female friends; I have male friends. Not even a second thought about anything inappropriate. We’re lucky to have that with each other. Nothing makes a person feel more confident than absolute trust being placed in your hands by the one you love.

Mom and I went to a luncheon today, and new/old/schoolmate Steve Paschang was present again. It’s weird talking to someone who was in a class two years ahead of you in high school. Once you graduate high school, go through life, and make your place in the world, it’s amazing how we all blend together. It’s funny now we all realize those things we valued as children are not that important. As you get older, nationalities, races, educational levels, all fade. We’re all more the same than we are different. Nothing to disagree about if your take politics out of the equation, which I insist on here and on my FB things. We just don’t need the hassle.

It’s been another different kind of day, didn’t get much done, there is still tomorrow. Oh, I heard back from the DeGroot group; I did not advance for consideration for a grant for writing. It’s ok, though. I entered, did it a little scared, and didn’t make it. No lives lost. I feel by just entering I won. I could never have done this 50 years ago.

Life is a series of steps from one stage to another; many are similar at the stages, many are not. The trick is to keep moving. I’m moving right now out to the couch and pick up my crocheting. And fight the urge for a nap. It’s a comfortable life, this retired life is. I hope you enjoy yours as I do. Let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Understanding Life, Backwards?

So here’s the deal.

“We can only understand life by looking backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Wait. Isn’t that an apparent contradiction?

No, it’s the truth. By examining our family history, we learn more about ourselves, not them. It isn’t genealogy. We may know our family tree backwards and forwards. That isn’t what we need to learn. Where we came from is important, and it’s quite a hobby now days.

To understand ourselves and our choices in life, we must examine our past to find out why we do what we do. Why we are who we are. And especially where our feelings come from. It’s a lot of hard work. Many of us don’t want to do it. If you’re like me, and feel as if you didn’t fit, you were different, and still don’t understand some things we feel and why we’re where we are. It’s very hard. You may not like the answers. But you have to ask the questions.

The key to all of this investigation is to do it with compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. We owe that to our parents, grandparents, and our children. My dad’s family was different, so was mom’s. And you take two people who don’t know each other’s inner lives, they marry, have a family, and then you learn about each other.

The kids inherit things from generations back. Things like never talking about feelings, keeping secrets, and being so stoic you hold back even love, out of fear, fear of others falling short again, not loving you as you need to be loved. Toss in a man’s PTSD from serving in two wars, and a woman’s dysfunction from being an adult child of two alcoholics, and you really have an interesting concoction, to say the least. They did the best they could.

I am stating facts here, not being judgmental, whiny, or looking for pity. (Pity is the last thing I want). By examining your past, you come to understand yourself better. Sometimes, you realize a parent is toxic. Other times you learn how to still deal with a family member who uses you. You learn to set boundaries with your family, which can be an absolute necessity with some family members. If you can’t imagine this kind of situation, I’m so happy for you. It’s the reality of many, many people all over the world. I’m glad you’re not one of them.

For those of you who do understand, I’m sorry you went through this. And, I encourage you to learn how to overcome this bad treatment. It is hard, but so worth it. If you are care giving to the person who belittled you, you are a wonderful human. You have forgiven them enough to offer them the help they need. You need to have boundaries as to how they treat you now. It’s necessary.

Having a person who understands the situation helps you get through this. Talk with them. Let them help you realize your loved one cannot help how they are until they want to change. Yes, it’s obvious they need to. But they won’t simply because we point out their shortcomings and abuse. It’s always our fault.

I promised my dad, as did two of my three brothers, that we would watch out for Mom. Mom was 59 when he died at 64. I was 37 at the time. My heart hasn’t recovered from that. He was my champion, my biggest fan. No, I was not a spoiled brat of a child. I’m glad. It all helped make me a strong woman to weather all the storms of life, keep my shoulders squared, my head up, and walk through fire. No one ever knew I felt like unset Jello, wobbling all over the place inside. They couldn’t see that. I’m grateful to God, every second of my life, and how we arrived here.

All of this said, I love my family. I love Dad for being the man he was, son of a father who was in an orphanage for many years, an Irish woman who had a mean father but a heart of gold; I love Mom for the years when she would put such love into Christmas and Thanksgiving, help me with my kids as a single Mom, the daughter of two people who were raging alcoholics in their younger years but were loving grandparents; I love the memory of a brother who is estranged from all of us by his choice; I love the brother who checks on Mom many times a day, who has a sense of humor that was built on Loony Tune Cartoons; I love the brother who is constantly conquering his addictions, he has grown up into the man Dad always said he would be.

It’s a risk, sharing all of this. You don’t end up satisfied with life by forgetting the past. You only end up grateful and happy by working through things. Avoidance always gets in the way. Guaranteed.

Find your way through the past and focus on what’s in your present and future. It’s the only things we truly can have control over, by our attitudes, intentions, strength, and knowledge. Finding out what’s important to you, who you are, and who you want to be. Work hard. You won’t be sorry, trust me.

Have a beautiful day today. It’s new and exciting and yours, not theirs. You’ve come this far. Keep going. See you tomorrow! I’ll tell you all about the outdoor musical we’re going to tonight, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” another production from Rave On Productions. Praying the rain passes by us.

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.

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.

Winning Wednesday

My world was restored yesterday. We picked up Addison after school. It’s been a quarter of the year since we last did, since she ran Cross Country during that time, and it’s after school. She placed quite well for being a first timer. She is in incredible physical condition due to about twelve years of dance. She is probably more fit than many football players are. Gosh, I love that young lady. She’s smart, kind, thoughtful, funny, and beautiful.

What Toby Mac Writes, I Live! How Does He Know Me? He Knows LIFE. In That, He Knows Me.

My writing was productive yesterday. I fleshed out at least three scenes for the second chapter. The scenes are important to the story, they help with character definition and telling important history. The feat for the writer is to keep out anything that doesn’t further the story, that isn’t important, and isn’t pertinent. You don’t need to know how mean Katie’s kindergarten teacher was about nap time in 1957. Maybe the teacher didn’t help Katie’s fears, you just don’t need that bit of trivia in the story.

By writing an outline, I know where the story is going. Sometimes while writing, the story decides on it’s own to take a twist you hadn’t planned. And if it fits with the scene, it’s great. If not, you write the notes out to add in an appropriate place or simply put it on the shelf for another story. That can happen. This is certainly better than wandering around, clueless. Unless you’re a person who can do that, become clueful, then write a NYT bestseller! They do exist. My thought is they have more structure to their writing than they care to admit.

I just searched my free photo library for “words.” Sad to say, I had to page down four times to get to something other than “Black Friday” sayings. Isn’t that sad? I seldom care about Black Friday, even less this year, whatever date is is. If there were a time to make heartfelt gifts, homemade creations, works of our art for our family, it’s right now, during this Pandemic.

A special drawing from a grandchild, a photograph by an amateur neighbor kid, a baked goody from a car pool family can all lighten a heart during these times. We used to make time for these things every holiday season. I love when someone takes the time. They don’t have to. But they do. And that’s why it’s special. Make time for someone today. Before you can’t anymore.

I’m having another good writing opportunity today. The dogs are asleep for awhile, and I have on music I haven’t heard in awhile. Dayna Jones is another musician from South Dakota. She has a lovely, strong voice. Her lyrics are so telling. Maybe that’s why I enjoy music so much, and always hear the lyrics. It is storytelling at it’s finest. Putting impactful words to music. How much better can it get? Check Dayna Jones out wherever you secure your music. She even has CD’s for old folks like us!

Dayna Jones, Leaves. Get It Today!

As part of my research, I’m going to read “From Generation to Generation,” it is a memoir and a workbook in one. “Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Storytelling” takes us to a second generation Holocaust Survivor. Serious traumas can be passed generation to generation even though the events are unspoken. Types of behavior reflect that trauma, and are passed, unknowingly, to the next and subsequent generations.

Of course, the Holocaust is an extreme, terrible event to survive. My traumas and your traumas will not be so dramatic. Ours are lesser, yet they are extreme, terrible events to our grandparents, parents, us, and our children. Do not minimize your trauma. Do not ignore it. It affects you. And your children.

Illness and addiction affect many generations in families. Coping behaviors become something to survive in and of themselves. It is amazing how the human mind protects itself, and the body that goes with it. Flight of Fight. Adrenaline Rushes. Amnesia of traumatic events. Thank God for creating us as He did. We’d never make it without these safety features.

That said, lingering below the hard, crusty surface of any Veteran I know, there are war stories too terrible for them to repeat out loud. There are things a regular person back home could not think of doing. Those same things are what we expect of our combat veterans and others. Male or female. Young and Older. It happens to everyone in some way. Self medicating is not the answer. Help is available, and it can stay off your record. Contact Moving Veterans Forward for a conversation that can save your life. 1-402-301-6300.

It’s time for me to switch the thinking and expand on my scenes to make the chapter I’m working on. Sam Tyler, Book Coach, you’re making my life easier. I’m hoping yours gets easier with this work I’m doing. Lol. I appreciate what you’ve taught me.

Thanks to all of you for your time. I appreciate it and plan to see you all tomorrow! It’s going to be a windy day today, so it’s a good day to write. Be safe out there. Be calm out there. Be courteous out there. We’ll get through this. I know we will. You will, too. Hang on. Hang in.