What Were You Thinking?

Mom did not pose this phrase to us, I recall. Dad was the one who stressed thinking things through before we acted. “Use your head for more than a hat rack!” was his mantra.

We lost the spontaneity of childhood by thinking of consequences before we acted. Of course, if a situation was dangerous, it’s a good thing to pause before acting. Looking back, I’m glad Dad insisted we learn to think first, act second. And yes, we lost spontaneity. That doesn’t matter anymore; I think learning how to problem solve, anticipate an outcome, and weigh one option against another actually helped me. I was a business systems analyst/programmer/coder long before there were many women in the field. It was a sure way to achieve equal pay. Technical abilities are quantifiable. You can keep track and make an assessment of job performance.

I’d never make a good adrenalin junkie. Skydiving is out because of my fragile spine, but I’ll hold your coat while you go! And I’ll cheer you on. Skateboarding, skiing, water sports are all out. There are people who live for that kind of excitement. We know mountain climbers are big risk takers. Sometimes they suffer frostbite, become trapped in avalanches, or die. Success at a big climb is huge. The media is all over it.

When I attend a concert with the Babe, I get a big rush. I take hours to come down from the high. I appreciate the talent and skills our local musician friends all have. It’s hard for me to come down and settle in to go to sleep after we get home. Sometimes it’s 2 a.m. before sleep finds me. But that’s ok. It’s a good thing, an enjoyable thing.

I know I’ll get another rush today when I go to the local nursery to purchase some special geranium plants for the yard. The beauty, the smell of fresh plants, it’s all part of the pleasure there is in the world. I love watching things grow through the summer. The past couple of years, I’ve neglected some plants. I have to form a better habit about that, too. So far, it’s been too cold and rainy for me to even think about the outside. And summer arrived yesterday. It was about 95 degrees. Humid.

And now, I’ve returned from my civic duty of voting, and my mental health improvement project for the summer, purchasing plants for the yard, deck, and patio. Feeling the dirt on my hands, the scent of the flowers, and the satisfaction of watching them grow fills my days with joy. The nursery is in Gretna, and they grow geraniums for the summer, and plant poinsettias for the Christmas season. A small business, they do great things. They start all the plants from the seed. The header is a photo taken this morning.

And as I unloaded the car, I filled the planters by the garage. The four cardboard carriers are now in the entryway. Before I brought them into the house, I looked down and smiled. I smiled because the first photo shows my Mother’s Day bouquet is still alive; second photo shows the hen and chicks are returning for yet another summer, the third photo shows what I need to plant (“What was thinking?”), The fourth and fifth photos show the cute gnome bees at Mom’s doctor’s office last week. I’m doing my part for the bees. How’s that?

Sometimes, folks say it’s no fun being a grownup. Yes, there are bad parts, but there is a lot of fun involved, too. It’s all part of life. Choose to be positive during yours. It helps the bad things more bearable. Time for some lunch now. And off to planting. Unless I take a nap first. We’ll see. Have a beautiful day. See you tomorrow!

Think; Act!

“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.” – Henri Bergson

Today’s reading had this quote at the top. I almost didn’t read any further. I stopped there, thinking. Yes, I do that once in a while. It amazes me how these quotes not only apply to Adult Children of Alcoholics, but to anyone set on improving their life. I think that is pretty amazing! Improve your life by standing up for yourself. Improve your life by not expecting someone else to be your happiness. Improve your life by being grateful for what you have, not whining about what you are lacking. What a concept. Somewhere in all this thinking, we come to realize we have a big part in what goes wrong in our lives. Yes, bad things happen to good people. How do you handle the bad things? Place blame? With anger? Run away?

My dad was the best example of this quote. He was a deep thinker. He would consider all options and their consequences. Mom hated his taking forever to decide something. She was a reactor, though. Dad would wait for more information before he got shook up; Mom usually reacted angrily to whatever happened with lots of unintelligible yelling. As a kid, it has taken me until recently to realize that’s just her; it’s not anger at me. It’s hard for me to hear her carry on when something is no big deal. But that’s her upbringing and life. Always ready for attacks. That’s how a little girl with two alcoholic parents lived her life. She never knew what would set Grandma off, followed by Grandpa. Grandma was a pot stirrer; Mom can be, too. Dad always stayed calm. Grandpa didn’t.

Now, my dad’s parents were just the opposite. I don’t recall Grandpa talking a lot. When I’d give him a kiss when we left their house, I always got tickled by his mustache. He’d laugh. He was always quiet. So was Grandma and Aunt Anna, who lived with them. Just living their best lives. Anna had a temper, and I only saw it flare one time. Grandma was such a lovely, strong lady. Very serene. Very spiritual. Very prayerful.

From these beginnings, my brothers and I had an ample pool of characteristics to choose from. I think they chose the “excitement” side of the family. Often the excitement of partying led to fights, legal problems, being poorer than you have to be, and a host of friends who have the same issues. Especially multiple addictions.

I sort of went the route of a traditional woman, becoming a Mom, learning crafting and sewing wardrobes for the family, and eventually know that I was very happy having children, I couldn’t rely on having more as a means for me to be happy. They had to have their own lives; I would not put myself into their lives (in an unhealthy way) after they left home. At thirty, I decided to go to Community College. It was the best decision I ever made.

The hardest thing I ever did was file for divorce at the age of twenty-nine. I only worked part time, but I was confident God would provide a way for me and my kids. He’s never let me down, once I gave Him the wheel. My prayers changed from specific requests to “whatever your will is, please give me the strength to live with how the outcome will change my life.” After all, He knows best. We are all presented with challenges.

I’ve slowly learned the excitement I saw my brothers having in their lives was just not for me. Bad relationships plagued me for fourteen years; then I met The Babe. I expected the same bad results relationships always gave me but they didn’t happen. He wasn’t that kind of man. He was the kind my dad would have loved. They would have had a great time together, they had so much similar life experiences. The military, working, supervising people, and being a mechanic. Dad owned his own service station at one time; The Babe was a diesel mechanic most of his life. Both have a great sense of humor and loved to tease me.

At our ages, The Babe and I know we don’t want the kind of excitement we’ve both had in previous relationships. We are good together. There is nothing wrong with excitement from activities, achievements, hang gliding, hiking, a promotion at work, or anything that gives us cause for celebration. Not a shortcut to disaster. The high you get vanishes when you constantly crash land.

Now, creating gives me the high of excitement. Writing, creating quilts, and all sorts of reading. After researching a little more about Henri Bergson, I’ve found some of his books I’d like to read. Since I was in my 20’s, I’ve read hundreds of self-help books, books on psychology, understanding people, and just watching people do what they do in life; then I wonder why they do what they do. I wonder why I did what I did. Now I understand better.

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.comBooks, books, and more books!

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it. My bestie (next to The Babe!) and I are going for pedicure’s this morning. It will be fun, we hardly ever get together any more. We both have our shots, so we’re good to go. Be Kind. AND:

If you are interested, Bergson, he was a French philosopher, born 1859 and died in German occupied France in 1941. He influenced film critique, movie making, and, interestingly enough, writing. No wonder I like the guy! I’ll leave you with another quote he is famous for:

The major task of the twentieth centure will be to explore the unconscious, to investigate the subsoil of the mind.

I love to garden, too! It’s an omen, right? God’s telling me something again. See you tomorrow!

Thursday Thoughts

One of the most impactful things Dad ever taught me is to look at things from every different angle you can before deciding on something. In most things, it is prudent to do so. I like that he would tell me to think of where the other person may come from. It has always served me well. As young kids, they expected us to think things through. They, meaning the parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Maybe we didn’t have a stress-free life as kids, but I think we all can operate as reasonably intelligent adults.

Sometimes, someone may remark, “Gee, I didn’t think of it that way.” That’s a clue you may have opened their eyes to a fresh way of thinking. It’s easier if they’re open to changing their way of doing things. If they’re not, it’s much harder. Consensus is easier to achieve with more open-minded people. Face it. Change is hard. People resist as long as they can.

It gets frustrating when someone digs in and belittles your decision or choice and later claims they supported you all the way. The excuse is “Well, things were different.” With some people, it’s just not worth being right. It’s best to know you are and move on. I’ve had to do that a lot about a lot of things in my life. Moving away to a different neighborhood is a big deal in my family. No more, because I’ve done it. Three times. Mom still lives in the same house she and Dad purchased in 1949. That’s seventy-two years in the same house. It has to be some kind of record.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

We have to learn to be comfortable with our decisions. We need to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our actions. All of them. We have a responsibility to admit if we do something bad. Or good. We sometimes learn more from the poor decisions than the good ones. It’s possible. A balanced person never forgets the lessons they learn from the poor ones. And they know not to beat themselves up over them.

I had another Zoom call with Sam, my book coach today. I’m eager to add more description to my second chapter and flesh out the first scene of the third chapter. Slow and steady wins the race. I read something a couple days ago stating it takes three years to write a book. At first I scoffed at that. *Word of the Day – Scoffed! When I think of starting a year ago, January 2019, it’s not so off the mark. That’s about what I’m looking at now, at the current rate. I do like having smaller sections to rewrite.

I have about 40K written in my first book, These Walls Do Talk. I want to finish it someday I see it as a part of a trilogy. It’s not lost work it was good practice. I think back to a conversation Sam and I had once that touched on having manuscripts that will not be the ones to publish. It’s a very common occurrence among writers. That does not surprise me. Among quilters, there are many projects that never see the quilting and binding added. I have a beautiful example of one. I did not finish the first quilt ever made. I kept it as a reminder of how it was to just start learning the craft. The most important thing I learned was the famous quarter inch seams are to be critical. Otherwise, nothing will align properly. I have some rows that look terrible. You can fudge on a seam while dressmaking (I have frequently), but in quilting its unforgiving. Come to think of it, I should put a binding on it and drape it on my studio chair right here. It will remind me there is a learning curve with everything creative. And to be humble.

Goldie Could Enjoy My “Humility” Quilt.

I think I should dig that quilt out and finish it. Just because. I can look at as a failure. I don’t like the colors. It was a practice piece. I can also use it to help me see how much I’ve learned. All the quilting skills I have are self-taught. There were a few classes I took, but most of it is self-taught. With lots of books and magazines.

I’m glad to know how to look at things differently. It’s helped me be grateful, despite having a body ravaged by some weird ailments. I could have become bitter about what I lost at age 44, but I am grateful for what I can still do independently. I am grateful to have a husband who tells me, “whatever you want to do, honey,” when I have an idea for another quilt, blog, or project. We work well together, he encourages me. It stifles a lot of women to have little support for their creativity. My only problem is finding the time to do all the things I’d like to do!

Have a beautiful day. Enjoy the precipitation we’re having in Gretna, NE. I wish those fires in Colorado would have a gully washer fall on them. The destruction is terrible. Be Open. Think Differently. Love Without Restriction. Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Careful.

Thinking Thoughts Thursday

Just finished Zooming with Sam Tyler, my Book Coach. It was a good conversation and set me thinking. My genre will probably be fiction. It sounds as if you include real people in stories they could have grounds to sue you for writing your truth. That is interesting, isn’t it? Expect to see the usual paragraph about “any resemblance between the fictional characters and real persons is strictly coincidental” at the front of my book. It’s just the thing to do to protect yourself.

The whole thing reminds me of a coffee mug I saw, “If you are concerned I wrote about you, you should have treated me better.” Pretty sassy, but true.

Consider yourself warned!

I I can only hope to have the stamina to tell the stories that need telling. It’s a personal choice to spend time with all of these creative things, one that makes my life feel fuller. I’m learning so much sometimes I think my brain will explode. There are not enough hours in the day to read, to write, and to quilt. I think this afternoon, I’m going to be working on the poppies quilt. It’s all ready to go, and I’m feeling the bug to work on it. While creating with one medium, I can get inspirations for another medium.

I have a lot of character development issues to hone in on. That is kind of a fun analysis to do. Personalities can change. People can change. Dramatically, in fact. My story is about a woman who changes and how she does it. Gradually. Unrest haunts her. After being told she can’t do things, she does. And surprises herself. She finds herself in the process. It all sounds so easy, but it’s not. It’s slowly revealing itself to me with Sam’s help. I like what I’m learning and seeing how I can do things more effectively.

Sometimes I get the feeling poetry would be “easier.” I think using fewer words would have to be so disciplined, so exacting. Maybe one day I can try it, too. For now, I’ll stick with writing. Whatever is created is good, and using talents God gave us.

While this is pretty short again today, I just have a lot to think about. That’s where my time needs to be today, digesting what I’ve heard today, and formulating my updated plans for Katie’s story. She has quite a story to tell. I appreciate you reading today, and hope to see you here again tomorrow. Be safe today, I’m wearing my mask to Target to quickly grocery shop, and using hand sanitizer when I get back in the car. Help a Grandma out, and let’s get this pandemic under control so I can meet my grandson in Colorado! Thanks for your participation. Bless you.