Security – Where Is Yours?

Machiavelli – an Italian philosopher and diplomat – said

“Only those means of security are good, are certain, are lasting, that depend on yourself and your own vigor.”

My security is based on God, myself, my husband, my country, my police and military, to name a few. It is a good, basic question. A basic need of human beings is security. After birth, a baby has a whole new learning curve being out in the world. They need to learn a whole new set of security. When they startle while sleeping and cry, they need to feel safe and comforted. Can you imagine? Yet, they survive. We all need the security they learn from being on earth.

We need to learn new security every time we experience something new. New and often times scary. Starting daycare. Starting preschool. Starting Kindergarten. Starting Elementary School. Middle School. High School. College. Moving away from home. Starting a new job. Starting a relationship. Starting anything, it requires we feel secure in what we are doing.

Security has to come from within ourselves. The stronger our sense of self, along with our trust of our decision making, the easier transitions are into new situations. Once I made the decision to divorce my husband of 11 1/2 years (back in 1982) I never doubted it was the right thing to do. I had no full time job, was on the husband’s health insurance, Mom thought my kids would starve, and very few people agreed with my decision. It was made with a new sense of security, by someone I never trusted before; myself.

If you were raised to believe women are dependent on men, you cannot trust yourself. As my very young marriage went on, I came to see I was growing up, and he wasn’t. By the end, I no longer trusted his decision making. He did not consider his family – me and three kids – when he impulsively bought cars or motorcycles, without thinking of consequences. It’s part of the reason we divorced. I no longer trusted his judgment. My sense of security was seriously broken.

Security is a basic human need. It is something we all seek. Some never find it. Others look to outside sources – other people, acquiring certain “stuff”, getting a perfect score, being president of a company, class, group of people, certain clothes, certain weight, certain hobbies, or our beauty. Our house is built on sand in that case. It crumbles and falls into the ocean.

What is in us, given by God and honed by our belief in Him (or another Higher Power), our security is never stronger than when we trust in God. I knew God would help me find my way when I divorced my husband, with three little kids. I knew God would lead me to the right decisions. I didn’t know what they were, I just knew He would show me. So what does that have to do with trust in myself and my decisions? Because God had shown me the way for a couple years before that. Led me to lectures for Women in Transition. Led me to going to Community College with a 4.0 average to learn and boost my confidence. Let me to a 4.0 average from my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources 4.0 average.

All the while, I learned to take risks. People were put with me who taught me many things. I learned to take advantage of legit opportunities, and if there weren’t any, to create my own. Yes, I learned that. Anyone can at any age! I’m learning that still, in my very late 60’s! It’s never to late to start. It’s only too late once they’re throwing dirt over you.

Take the chance. Create the opportunity. Write the book. Record the song. It all helps build your security. Trust your Higher Power. And especially, learn to trust the one person you can always rely on – yourself.

I hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Think about who you place your trust in. Think about your security – or lack thereof – and make changes as necessary. It’s not advice I blindly give you. I’ve done it for myself and had some great success. Learn something new. Have fun. You deserve it. Thank you for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Super Sunday, 2022

I spent a good deal of the afternoon updating the website for the VFW Post 2503 the Babe is Quartermaster and Honor Guard Captain for. I hadn’t done any maintenance lately, so it was definitely time. Volunteer hours, spent at home on the couch, watching the Kansas City Chiefs game tend to fly by. And now, it’s nearly 6 p.m.

So, when do you take your Christmas tree down? Assuming it’s an artificial one? Mine is still up, but I expect it will be down by Saturday. My son Frankie is coming over for a late Christmas dinner tomorrow. He was working, and we went to our brother in law’s home, so it works out well. It’ll be good to spend some time just with him and see what’s going on in his life. He’s a blessing in my life. Always is happy. Always makes the best of whatever situation is going on. I hope to spend more time talking with him in 2022.

I’m pleased we might have found a new church. We’ll know after a few more visits, and we’ll visit a few more places, too. That’s something I’ve missed greatly, so now, that’s one big question answered. Of course, with my son sharing dinner with us tomorrow, I’ll be picking up the house (and dog sparkles), so I won’t do more than plan our calendar for the week, most likely. There is so much a creative person wants to do and it’s so hard to select exactly which few of a hundred projects can actually be completed.

When I became disabled with my back/spine issues in 2000, I purchased things to do (craft projects) that I know I’d like to do when I’m older. I’m just about to the 70s for the second time in my life, and I’m not old enough yet to do those things. I’m looking forward to unboxing all my collection of books after I deep clean our family room area downstairs, where it leads to the patio, and I want to find a good place to donate the ones I don’t want/can’t keep. I need to find out if the library of quilting books I have can be donated to the local high school or public library for kids to learn these skills that may soon be obsolete.

I have a quilt my grandma hand pieced in the 1920’s, before Mom was born in 1929. I think this quilt needs to be hand quilted, and I’m going to do it. If it takes 100 years to make a quilt, why not? I hope to leave it to our granddaughter in Colorado. I hope it has some meaning to her. I have two other quilts I want to make for this year; one is a snowflake quilt for our king-sized bed; the other is a pieced elephant quilt for our kind-sized bed. I also have a surprise for a friend of mine, and want to look for fun fabrics I may not have in my stash downstairs. If you quilt, it’s all about the fabric search!

My master plan will include time in January to prep for Income Tax Preparation. Although I do ours, this year, I may have business forms to file, too. It’s another thing to learn as we go along. If not, I know a couple of great CPA’s. Networking is everything.

So many people are complaining how bad 2021 was. With the strides we’ve made blogging, writing the novel, getting my Chapter 1 published in the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Anthology 2021, forming my LLC, I’m delighted with my part of 2021. Yes, there were some very bad things. We lost four friends last year; two to COVID, two to service-related illnesses during Vietnam. It really stunk. It would be easy to sink into the mindset of “life sucks.” Guess what?

We cannot let it win. We cannot let negativity reign over hope, trust, belief, and goodness How do you keep that in the forefront?

I look at my friends and family. With all the weddings during and after COVID, my cousin’s daughter and husband are expecting a little girl in February. And some special friends announced their engagement this weekend. Those are events that restore your faith, your hope, and your love. Those are events that remind you there is more positive in life than negative. There is always hope in a baby’s eyes; and a gleam in a couple’s eyes who view their Ever After in each other. I see it in the Babe. I hope he sees it in me. There is no other beyond him. We both wandered about, living our lives and making mistakes, before we met each other. God sure knows what He’s doing, right? Somehow, we find each other. Always.

May all of us have our Ever After. Barbara and Jimmy, a heartfelt congratulations to you both. Life is too short to wait too long. And too fragile to question too much. I nearly talked myself out of the Babe, first real nice guy I’d ever met; he had ischemic heart disease. I was certain he’d die on me. Not yet! No heart attack yet after 25 years! Fear can’t rule these times. Put your trust in each other, and you will not believe the places you will go – together. God Bless You!

All You Need Is . . .

Love is probably the most abused, overused word whether you “mean” it or not. Anyone I know from South Dakota ends a phone call with “Love You, Bye!” That is pretty genuine, trust me. But the “I love my phone,” “I love your hair!” All those. But let’s not split hairs.

My handy daily mediation book jumped out at me again today.

“Where does all the fake love come from? Is it them or is it me?” – Mel K.

The meditation goes on to state the more precious something is, the more fakes are created around it. That’s a big statement. And I think it’s true. Over 25 years ago, when I was thrust into the dating world after getting married at 18 and getting divorced at 30, it was certainly true. A lot of men would be dishonest about the fact they were married. Some were quite crafty about it. Meet you for lunch, not drinks or dinner. Meet/see you during the week, but never on the weekend. It didn’t take long to figure it out.

Also, at the end of the 80s, the AIDS crisis reared it’s ugly head and had every single person worried. Again, if people weren’t honest about their marriage status, they probably wouldn’t be honest with their sexual history. It was crazy out there. Terrible. I became good at staying home. Authentic love is the goal. Inauthentic love is so hollow. Some is plain deception: If you love me, you will lie for me, don’t tell Mom, don’t tell Dad, you will cheat for me, you will call me in sick at work so I can sleep, and no, don’t even think about calling me out on my behavior. You have no right to do that.

Hey, pal. Yes I do. If you love me, you will be honest and truthful, you will not expect me to compromise my morals, you will respect my feelings, you will understand I, too, have a life and obligations. If you don’t honor that, you certainly don’t love me.

There, as a much wiser older lady, I can finally say that. I tried to wriggle out of letting the Babe tell me he loved me. I was afraid. Afraid of lies, loss, and relationships. I said, “No, you can’t. It’s too early.” But he said he knew he did. And set to convince me of that fact. Glad he didn’t give up easily. Real, true loving is hard. It’s almost more attractive to accept the cheap knock offs.

Authentic love is trusting, fake is not. It dares to try, fake does not. It dares to take a risk by being expressed, fake stays silent. We need to trust they’ll understand, they’ll believe us, and they’ll trust. The problem isn’t them; it’s us! It was hard for me to learn to trust. Thank goodness, the Babe was patient.

I had a head full of phony ideas about love. I grew up hearing Mom’s Dean Martin LP’s on the Hi-Fi. “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” Andy Williams crooning, “Love Story.” Englebert Humperdink singing “A Man Without Love.” I had stupid ideas everytime you disagreed, you’d get flowers. That I got from TV. I never heard my parents disagree, if they did, they did it when we were gone or asleep. I thought if you fought, it ended. If Mom got angry with someone, they were cut out of her life. Silent treatment. With the Babe, I’ve learned that important tool of life, to listen to someone else’s side of the story, and to adjust my thinking should I need to be less rigid. It does happen.

Trust is a very hard thing to earn and to learn. I’m proud people trust me with their private thoughts, and I’ve been told I’m a good friend. That’s important to me. I’ve earned trust. I’ve also learned to give the gift of trust to those who deserve it. Those who don’t can keep walking.

Maybe I’ll write a book filled with all the lines I’ve heard over the years. That could be hilarious! Someday. For today, I’m going to design the program for our event Sunday, and work on the Post website. It needs some stuff updated soon as our newsletter comes out. It’s going to be a great weekend. I hope yours is too. Be safe out there, and we will see you tomorrow!

Friday Fun

Is it really the end of the week? It’s been a roller coaster again, folks. Lots of meetings, lots of planning to help folks out, lots of dreams being made. And, we have spent some quality time on the deck, enjoying the peacefulness of our view. It’s like being on vacation. I never get tired of looking at the trees and just letting my mind freely roam.

When the Babe asks me if I “want to come have coffee?” I immediately say, “Yes!” I don’t want to waste a moment with him. Life from here on is uncertain due to age and health issues. When you find gratitude, more blessings follow you. It’s amazing. Try it, you’ll like it!

Trusting was always an issue for me. And very low expectations. I didn’t have any confidence in myself or the fact I deserve to be loved. Lots of bullying led me to cracking jokes back at the bullies. Or I’d think of snnappy comebacks in my room. I retreated a lot. The Beach Boys song, “In My Room,” was my anthem.

I was fortunate to have my own room. Much as I hated having three brothers, I did have that perk. I made the most of every inch of it. It was my safe haven, the best thing I had many days. My baby brother Tim took his first step to me in my room. Mom let me out of having to dry dishes to watch him in my room. Cool! I played with him and acted silly where no one saw me. He was a happy little guy. Got into everything, though.

I was so excited when he walked to me. He was, too. It was the start of his life getting around on his own. He had trust in me catching him if he fell. That became our relationship for our life. We are best friends and I just cannot believe what we talk about to this day! I’m glad to have him in my life. I trust him. And of course, the Babe.

I still have a room of my own, the office/studio I create in. And yes, I make the most of every inch there. Kind of full of books, ideas, my latest sewing project, etc. It’s also my haven, my place to dream and create. There is a comfort in creating I cannot explain, I just have to do it. Always. And reading, too. Dad always told us, “If you can read, you can do anything!” I tell the grandkids that every chance I get. That’s why I want to write kids books, so they can learn and grow.

You know, I think of trusting a lot. I did trust Walmart to keep my debit card info safe. Somehow, someone got my card # and tried to make a purchase for pick up! That was a couple weeks ago, and boy, it really made me angry. The Bank was on it, and things are fine, but why do people do that to each other? I still trust people generally, but not sure about grocery pickup service. It’s easy, and I do like it. Maybe, but I won’t save the credit card info. Reduce my risk.

God forbid something happen to the Babe, but I don’t think I could trust Internet dating. Age aside, scammers are everywhere. Just keeping the creeps away from my Author FB page is time consuming. And all these dudes are Generals, widowed, and have big dogs. Sure, Jack. My philosophy is I’ve already had my soulmate. Truly. It took me 14 years to find him. I don’t think I’d want to look again.

So it’s another day in paradise, all things considered. I’m off to do some errands and hope you have a beautiful day. Hot and humid again. We sat on the deck last night as it rained. Monsoon! The wind shifted and we were soaked, just running into the house, couldn’t have been more than 5 feet! It was funny. Things like that are what life is about. Find something to laugh at today. Make light of a situation. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Life is meant to enjoy. Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. See you tomorrow!

Don’t Be That Guy

People may doubt what I say, but they always believe what I do.” – Ellie E.

We all know people who talk a much better story than they act. You never know whether to believe them. They may be angry if you don’t believe them. They shouldn’t be, really, if they never follow through on their promises or talk.

Actions speak louder than words. I’ve always had a thing about people’s actions not matching their words. If you say “I’m going to take you out for your birthday,” I would expect you to follow through. You are not a man or a woman of your word. It tells me I cannot trust you.

After my first marriage ended, people who over promised and under delivered troubled me. It was a common thing among some people I knew back then. I was naïve to think everyone was honest and kept their word. Not so. I became so distrustful I felt no one was honest anymore. Then, I met the Babe. He told the truth, still does, and honors his promises. Every single one of them.

During the “get to know you time,” we talked about relationships we had previously. He honestly told me his first marriage ended because he drank. The second ended because he quit. It doesn’t get more honest than that, now does it? He had nothing to hide or prove. I remained skeptical and finally tore down that wall. It’s rubble. No need for it anymore.

Work on becoming a person of your word. Start with small things. Learn to trust yourself at your word. Daily practice makes it become easier with time. Don’t be the person with empty promises. Follow through isn’t just important in baseball or golf. It is in life, too.

When people can’t believe themselves, it is very hard to convince others when you commit to something. If we want to be believed, we need to follow through. If we are against domestic violence, we need to speak out if we see someone in harm’s way. Bullies are everywhere. Defend those who cannot defend themselves. By your actions you gain credibility. You build trust. You find you do and can keep your word. Your life improves because of it.

“A Matter of Trust” is one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. I saw him in concert once, and he opened with this song. It was after he married Christie Brinkley and they had their baby girl, Alexa. Although their marriage did not last, this is still a great song and the words speak to me. Enjoy and pay attention to the words.

As you continue your day, remember how important it is to make your actions match your words. Don’t make any promises you have no intention of keeping. Build trust by keeping your word. Be Kind. Be Honest. Be Truthful. Follow Through. Make it a great day! Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow. That, you can count on!

Just a Regular Thursday

Meetings tonight at the Post. Then we’re done for the month, we hope. Just listening to some tunes and getting inspired for creating today. I have a picture quilt, a panel I layered and need to quilt. If I can see to thread the machine needle, I believe clear invisible thread (rather than smoky) should give a nice outline.

It’s been another busy week, and I sometimes wish to sleep until I wake up on my own. Does anyone do that anymore? The dogs wake the Babe, and he lets me sleep until 7. I’ve got a lot more pain since the weather turned cold. I expect it, and it’s become a measure of the next level of my disability.

Like clockwork, the updated news presents itself in areas such as what hurts and how much? Does it come and go? Does stretching help? Not so much anymore. Does that sharp pain change at all during the day? How about at night? The ache, how does it respond to ice or heat? Was it like this last year? When did it start? Does it ever stop hurting? And so on. Sometimes I just don’t recall. I should journal these changes, but I just don’t think of it.

Our mom has had her complete life of mobility, few restrictions, and at 91 concentrates a lot on what she can’t do anymore. As a person who has had restrictions from the age of 42 until now, I try to point out to her how grateful she should be. I’m used to things I can no longer do. My height has shrunk so I can no longer reach items on the top shelf in the cupboards. Right now, I can ask the Babe for help. He’s so good to me.

You know, this keto thing is really something. It works. Nothing dramatic like sixty pounds in thirty days or anything, I suppose if you were an exercise nut you could do that, but we’re quite happy with what we are losing. The Babe has lost 20-25 pounds and I’ve probably lost 15 – 20. It really shows. And we feel it. Even during the holidays, I just don’t want the awful stuff we used to fill up on.

We may break the sugar addiction yet! Sometimes I would like to have a Midnight Dark Milky Way bar. I just wouldn’t eat the whole thing at once. Yes, I’d love some nice warm bread with butter melting all over it. Just not now. I have some more pounds to shed. Growing up in the 1950s, they often used food as a reward. Common, but not a good thing to do. Especially when your Mom baked the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. When bullied at school, I’d reach in the cookie jar and take several cookies to my room. I always felt better after that. Our parents would say, “Just ignore them, they’ll stop making fun of you.” It still hurt, although we didn’t cry in front of the bullies.

Retirement. Freedom to Create!

What a glorious thing to come out of what folks are calling the worst year ever. Losing weight and a sugar addiction. It feels good. I can frame 2020 as a horrid year. It’s frightening to look at and wonder where we will be a year from now; OR I can frame this year as a year to be so grateful; we haven’t had COVID; we have lost no one to it, and we have a comfortable life with each other. We’re relatively healthy, aside from aging bodies. We have a firm belief in God and pray. And we trust in God. He knows what’s best.

Goldie LOVES her new Charlie Brown Snowman from Bark Box.

Wherever you find yourself today, be kind. Be thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Safe. Let’s stay well until we can get vaccinated and build up immunities. Wash up and wear your mask. It’s the least we can do. Keep your spirits up. I’m as happy as Goldie is with her new toy. Thanks and see you tomorrow!

Wednesday Groceries/Thursday Thoughts

This morning had an early start. My day to take Mom to the grocery store. She had been going with her neighbors and things have changed a little. So I’ll get her there today. And it’s another appointment for another shot in each knee. At least I can go down the steps without pain now. Baby steps, I suppose.

Today is another cloudless morning. The sky is brilliant blue here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. It promises to be another beautiful day. The investigators into the house explosion in Omaha yesterday deserve a dry day to sort out evidence and a cause for the explosion. It’s a very complicated process, and I know they will leave no stone unturned. It was a tragic situation. Working with the literal pieces left is challenging. My prayers for those investigators.

Have you ever noticed light bulbs seem to burn out in pairs? Or at least it’s that way to me. Two bulbs, both in the basement, burned out yesterday. It was too dark to see our way in the storage room! As always, the Babe replaced them after retrieving the ladder from the garage and the bulbs from a closet. Those are awful things to run out of, aren’t they? I would guess the top five list would be:

  1. Light bulbs
  2. Garbage bags
  3. Toilet Paper
  4. Tissues during a cold or allergy attack
  5. Cash for Girl Scout Cookies, etc.

Wednesday left under the radar again; it took awhile with Mom, and I went to the doc, came home, and it was time to pick up Addison from school. Her dad’s out of town on business, and she told us she couldn’t wait until Friday, “Because I’ll get to see my dad again.” So sweet, isn’t it?

The Post had a Keto friendly meal of Broasted Chicken (just a few carbs; I hope), and a salad. We fudged on a cookie, too. There are fewer people each week, it seems. We abide by the rules for masks in Omaha; wearing masks upon entering, moving around in the bar and eating areas; constantly sanitizing; and food being served to the tables. It’s a lot more work for the kitchen volunteers. It was a nice evening.

I really don’t enjoy skipping a day on my blog. I feel like I’m letting myself down, and I may not reach my goals. Hopefully, next Wednesday won’t find me in a time crunch again. There is only one more shot for the old knees, then wait six months and see if they helped. So far they’re a little better. One can only hope, you know?

I’ve already taken a Goldie break already this morning. She looks so pitiful when the Babe’s gone and she brings me her rope toy. She just wants to play all day and night. She deserves some indulgence, she really is a good girl. Lexie loves mild days like this. Trouble is, she wants company outside, and although we left a couple of chairs on the deck, there is nowhere to set my Chromebook. She deserves a sunbath on the deck in December; you know?

In the past couple weeks I’ve experienced some unacceptable behavior from others, which has roots in them making assumptions about me and my motives. I object to this; it is not only completely false it’s also hurtful. To make something ugly out of the purest of intentions causes deep wounds and decreases my trust. When you build a lifetime on accepting others and forgiving, this is hard, especially during the season of Love.

What’s the moral of this story? Don’t jump to conclusions. Ask them about their motives, don’t assume. It is an ugly, disrespectful thing to do. To anyone. Children, adults, and old people. Otherwise you’re a judgmental jerk and you’ve lost someone’s trust. Do you really want that outcome? I thought not. I know I sure don’t.

Let’s all clear the ugliness from our hearts. Let’s examine our collective consciences, rid our hearts of negativity, and do the next right thing. Be Kind. Be Generous. Be Thoughtful. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. We all deserve it. Make it a great day!

Sweet Saturday

The Babe and I made a loosely woven plan to make this home look festive. His part in it begins with he-man stuff; getting the boxes upstairs from the basement. I will decide to change stuff up from the other Christmases in this home. Buying a new tree last year was a great idea. It is “ours,” and only our memories will reflect in it. Sometimes, I get a hung up on the losses our family had around Christmas time. My dad died on December 7, 1988. That Christmas was one for the ages. It was the first holiday without him. I hated it. Mom had my Frankie sit at the head of the table where Dad always sat. He deserved to sit where his best friend sat for his whole seventeen years of life.

Flash back further, and on December 24, 1963, when I was twelve years old, our Grandpa died of a massive heart attack. Christmas Eve! I’ll never forget it. We weren’t with mom’s family, one of my little brothers was sick so we stayed home. Between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. The phone calls. Mom yelling at us to pray. Scrambling to get our rosaries. My brother and I walked to Church for our Midnight Mass duties; him an altar boy, me in the choir. It was hard to sing that night. I just wanted to cry.

Our family never gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house again. We didn’t get to stay with Grandma anymore; she learned to drive at fifty-nine and got a job. Later, our Aunt Judy had a gathering, but my mom and we didn’t go. The other siblings had their in-laws over. It always felt empty after that.

And then, a Christmas eve in 1996, saw the Babe come to my house with dinner fixings. He handed me a small bud vase. “Here, this is for you.” He walked away . I felt something metal on the ribbon. It was a ring. My daughter and her boyfriend grabbed my hands and silently squealed with excitement. I went into the kitchen.

“What is this?” I said.

“Would you marry me?”

“It would be an honor to be your wife.”

And it still is. And forever will be. We are so lucky to find each other in this crazy world. If none of the dreams I’ve ever entertained come true, the one of having someone truly love me has come true. That is what I choose to celebrate this Christmas and every single one we have left together. It is the best gift in the world, and I cherish it. I once told Dan’s mom, “Every day is Christmas with Dan.” She smiled. It’s still true today.

Yes, we disagree on things. We’ve always asked each other, “Is it really worth fighting about?” Nothing is at this point in life. We save it for important stuff. And nothing is that important to have stress in your life. We complement each other. We support each other.

We laugh a lot. We need that now and always. Find things to laugh about. Free up your hearts for love. We have both learned to let each other in. And that is so worth it. It took a long time, but it was worth the ride. Trust is hard, and we must earn it. I trust in him. He trusts in me. The best gift ever opened with our eyes each morning.

I thank you for reading. Hope to see you again tomorrow. It’s a nice, sunny day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Make the most of it. Make the best of it. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be the one who makes someone else smile in their heart. Have a beautiful day.