Tantalizing Tuesday Ahead.

I’m so grateful to be able to write and publish my work. And grateful for all of you who read, and have followed me. I’d like to ask a favor. As I near 1,000 blogs posted on various social media apps, I saw over 900 people are being notified when I publish a new blog. Could we try and make it 1,000 followers who are notified as well? That would be so exciting! Please, encourage your friends and family to follow. As I get closer to publishing my children’s book, I hope word of mouth will help get it out there and read. Thank you so much!

Have a couple appointments today; haircut with Mom, and a later doctor appointment. We’ve picked what to have for dinner, so that dilemma is avoided for the moment. It’s almost time to stop and get some fresh produce from a street-side vendor. I’m waiting on a Black Diamond Watermelon. Nothing like it on earth.

I still have the final organizing of my office studio to do. Too many interruptions and then I get distracted. It’s normal, and I need to reel it back in before I’m adrift in stagnant water. My brain is churning with more ideas for my novel. The characters are telling me they’re ready to play again. Looking forward to spending time with them.

I think we interrupted the life-cycle of our Butterfly Bush. It used to grow over six feet tall and be covered with butterflies by now. I miss it, and might get another one. The humming birds loved it too.

My daily meditation talks of fear. Fear rules some people’s lives. Caution is necessary, but abnormal fear is not. So many people talk of their anxiety I wonder if it is fear gone out of control. I’m no doctor, and I wonder a bit if some of it is over-scheduling on their part. Don’t get me wrong, I understand a lot of people do suffer with anxiety. They often need medication to cope. As he’s gotten older, the Babe is one of those people. Since his bypass surgery it appears he gets anxious to the point it’s not good for his blood pressure. It happens.

The folks I mean are those who over schedule with extra classes, lessons, team practices and games, that they have no time to enjoy their homes and families. Yes, kids need to have structure, and at the same time, they need time to just be kids. As a kid, there was no better feeling than knocking on the door, to see if your friend could go bike riding with you. I hope you have your kids and grandkids have some of that feeling in their lives.

Sometimes we would walk to the business district of South Omaha. Or go to a local city park, Highland Park, where the city had little green sheds full of inexpensive crafts, equipment to play box hockey or tether-ball. My friend Peggy and I would spend hours up there. It was a lot of fun, unstructured play. We had such a good time.

We need to believe in creating what we look for. If we look for stress, disorganization, and anxiety in our lives, be careful that we’re not creating it for ourselves. You can work at reducing your stress, disorganization, and anxiety in your life. It can be done. We have to work hard and be consistent. You will be surprised at how much better you feel.

It’s about time for me to leave to get Mom. I need to place my Target order for pickup on the way home. I love ordering groceries on line. It’s so convenient. I hope you all have a beautiful day. I’m planning on one. See you tomorrow!

#991 and Counting!

Today, June 26, 2022, is such a beautiful day outside. We had a fundraiser for Guitars for Vets at Nebraska Brewing Company, in the Omaha area, and at 2 p.m. had a baseball game for Gavin in Papillion. It was busy, but a fun day. Something for everyone for sure.

The kids won their game, which made for a bunch of happy boys. They were really into it. It’s been awhile since they won, and it was deserved. We won’t be to any games this week, so hope they do well in Springfield, Nebraska tomorrow. We have an appointment with a new vet for the girls. She’s our friend, Katie Lackovic. It’ll be fun to see how they do with her.

Each and every day, we need to value. Value the gift of the day. You may be overworked and underpaid, but you’ve received a gift by waking up.

So as I wrote blog #991, I thought how cool it’d be to reach 1000 subscribers every time I publish a blog. That’d be cool! I believe it includes people who actually subscribe by receiving an email when published, and people who follow on other social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m pretty excited about the prospect, even if they don’t happen at the same time. I never thought that would happen, but with steady work comes steady progress. I’m grateful for all the followers, regardless of where they come from.

This, of course, does not include the weird “Please send me a friend request, blah, blah, blah. Those are a special kind of pesky. Blocking them does no good. They persist. Ugh! The downside of social media.

I have some plans this week, regarding my children’s book. I want to get feedback from several people. I know a couple kindergarten teachers; a grief resource person; my artist; and a couple of other people who have kids and love to read to them. I want some honest feedback to edit it down. It should be fun.

And I have a quilt to continue getting applique pieces copied and cut out. It’s coming along. Christmas should be fun!

I felt like sort of a bum for relaxing and reading yesterday, but I was having some bad rib pain from the scoliosis I have. It did a lot of good. I finished “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.” It was fun to read. I loved the character development the author did. I admire how the author developed the individuals and how they all fit together at the ending. Great story, great problems, great solutions. No wonder it’s sold over a million copies.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the evening. We will. Relaxing after a busy day is the best. See you tomorrow!

Faults v. Virtues

When you think of yourself, what comes to mind first?

“I could lose 30 pounds.”

“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.”

“I’m a terrible Mom.”

As a child, we’re often taught not to talk about our abilities. “Don’t be conceited,” they tell us. “It’s not polite.” Especially for a girl. I remember reading in a Catholic Girl (was that the title? don’t remember for sure) Magazine, it was stressing the duty of the girl to remain “pure” in mind, body, and heart. Part of the duty was to praise the boyfriend, and be his lovely assistant in everything, to know their place. We didn’t hear “Good Job!” every time we did something. Some of us were told a “B” wasn’t good enough, it should have been an “A”.

Wow, that was the late 50s and early 60s for you. No more. We weren’t supposed to be smarter than the boys, or stronger, or better at doing anything. Wow. There are many very intelligent women, strong women, who are the best at what they do. How sad we were instructed to dumb ourselves down. How can we live fully is we pretend to be less than what we actually are?

I, for one, hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with the rest of my life after the kids grew up. I didn’t want to hover over them, after all, you have them to send them out into the world. I loved my kids to pieces, and knew I was happiest with them. I couldn’t keep having kids because I didn’t have a life plan.

Making the decision to go to community college was the best thing I ever did. Having a lot of interests made it a little harder to decide what to do. I decided on Medical Secretary. I earned a certificate, but found a job at ConAgra. Lots of on the job training by observing a huge business working. It was amazing.

I took many business classes and was finally offered a programmer trainee position if I completed a certification program for a year. I would have been crazy not to do it. It launched me way further than I could have imagined.

By learning I had value, talents, abilities, I experienced a lot of growth as a person and in my career. I finally knew I did a good job. While I think kids may not need constant praise, I believe some is needed. Too many wounded adults are walking the earth. Many others don’t realize they are. We need to learn to accept our virtues and talents. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed by our faults. Those two sentences from Robert G. Coleman leapt of the page at me this morning. So many of us spend time tabulating our faults. We need to tally our virtues. Take some time doing that today. Do it every day. Be fair. You will discover your worth.

Self deprecation can be funny, we need to laugh at ourselves. Taken too far, it’s not good. It’s only recognizing part of ourselves. We need to recognize all that we are in order to become all we can. Don’t let your faults define you and your legacy. Start today. Appreciate yourself. And make it a habit.

Have a beautiful day. It’s lovely outside in the shade. Going to check the plants now. Be safe. See you tomorrow.

Agreements and Baseball.

No, I’m not talking about those highly inflated contracts in MLB. I’m talking about applying Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements to the game of baseball, down to the lowest level of T-Ball. It’s tournament time in our select baseball world and the team had a pulverizing loss yesterday. Three innings. The opposing team was exceptionally good for being in the 9U (Nine & up) category. Many were star players on their own. They stole every base they could, running up the score. Nothing makes a first year playing together team lose their will to live than running up the score on them when they’re struggling.

The only talk there was among them was how good the other team was. They were good, and mentally, our boys were defeated before the first pitch went out. I just want to share this as the coaches do every game, but with different words.

Tell yourself the truth about you. You are a good player and not doing anything wrong. Sometimes, others teams will beat us. You are not at fault. They’re just better. Let’s work harder so we’re better.

Don’t Take Anything Personally. It’s not your fault. All of us make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Let’s work to learn more.

Don’t Make Assumptions. Just because they’re a top ranked team doesn’t mean we’re going to lose. We need to work together and be our best today.

Always Do Your Best. Put your game face on every game. Keep your heads up. Be confident. Don’t give up until the game’s over. There’s always a chance if you all do your best. Keep your heads and shoulder up. That’s a winner’s posture.

Play Ball!

All of this takes practice, both for body and mind. It’s nothing that happens overnight. And it’s not for just 9U Select Baseball teams. It’s for all of us. For life. Share as you see fit.

How I wish I could have been stronger willed as a kid. The bullies would not have stood a chance. During my entire 7th grade, no one would speak to me. A nun confronted me about the older girls in choir. She wasn’t there one day and the 8th graders (I was in 6th) were talking. Monsignor Aughney told her about it, she picked me to ask if they were talking.

At that time in my life, I would have confessed to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby when confronted by an adult in power. I wasn’t going to lie to a nun, not with the threat of sin held over my head. I violated the kid code, I ratted them out. When we returned to school, there was a lot of giggling at me, making fun of me. One day, I remember specifically, a boy who later became friends with me in high school, walked after me while barking like a dog. Let’s just say, it was not a compliment.

My face burned. The tears blurred my eyes. I kept walking. He finally quit. I kept walking, all the way home. No wonder I used to stop at the cookie jar upon arriving at home. Sugar was the thing that made me feel better. Well, sugar and listening to music. I’d hide in my room, playing music, (not while doing homework), eat Mom’s Toll House Cookies like my life depended on it, and feel better. 7th grade was pure torture. But I lived. Deeply wounded, but I lived.

Magically, I kept being myself. When 8th grade came around, the classmates all forgot about the narc among them. They all told me, “You’ve changed.” No, I hadn’t. They had. My self talk wasn’t good back then. Fat, ugly, dumb, can’t draw, you name it, I hated it about myself. Teach your kids to be kind and gentle to themselves.

This doesn’t mean sinful pride and boasting. Be yourself. Keep it in you. It works better. You get it. We’ve a few things to do before the noon and the 2 p.m. game. Hydrating is one of them! You do the same if you’re in Nebraska, it’s sweltering already. But there’s nowhere I’d rather be than watching kids play baseball. I love them all! Have a great day, and see you tomorrow! GO STORM CHASERS!

First Step: Resist Temptation

We’ve talked many times about breaking bad, unproductive habits.

I’m reigning my life in again, lots to create, only so many hours in the day to do things. Yesterday, we spent a couple hours with Gavin and his family at the ballpark again. It was hot, but not bad. There was a slight breeze, we drank a lot of water, and it was good. We stopped and had pizza on the way home. The header photo is our view from the deck yesterday morning, during coffee. I love it!

I’m tickled with my promise to me and you to start on my grandkids’ quilts for Christmas gifts. Yes, it’s early, but they take a lot of time. And it’s a perfect way to get used to my new Brother sewing machine. So last night, I took the envelopes with the first two sets of blocks. They’re from JoAnn’s Fabric Store. I decided to hand applique, so took the steps necessary to cut out the pieces with freezer paper adhered. Maybe I’ll take pictures later so non-quilters can see what I mean. It’s a start, and I’m happy about that.

This morning was the true test. The Babe left just after zero dark thirty to get to the Post and load the blank ammo into the rifles for the Honor Guard this morning, then load the rifles in the car for transport with some of the guys to Omaha National Cemetery.

It’s already hot and humid, but cooler and less humid than where we’re headed today. Took the watering can and dogs out, watered the flowers on the patio, played with the dogs a bit. When I came back inside, the national news was on. I just can’t tolerate hearing any more speculation about shootings, riots, and all the other stuff. I think we’re in a pretty frightening era. I flipped to the guide on the remote. Ahhhh. Chicago PD. All day long.

Without the promise I just made to the world, I would have plopped down and vegged out for awhile. But I resisted. Sounds silly, but I’m so proud! I’m really doing this! It takes baby steps to get started, and I’m there. It’s only Monday, but here we are. It is progress. And that’s a lot in breaking bad habits that waste time.

Coincidentally, a Facebook Virtual Quilting Group I’ve been part of for years, has dwindled down, not meeting every Wednesday as we used to. To honor a beautiful soul, Vickie W Calkins, we have decided to start meeting again. Vickie passed away unexpectedly last week. She had such a big heart, both for people and our pets. When we lost both of our dogs (we had them cross the Rainbow Bridge together; they had always been together and they were both ill), she sent me a couple of beautiful keepsakes; coffee mug and a necklace with paws on it. She was that kind of person. We will miss her.

This really speaks to the good of social media. A group of 91 women from many different places, forming in 2012 (I think) and forming friendships, exchanging quilting knowledge, and even recipes. I’ve made some good friends. We’ve shared victories, losses, ill health, and lots of life’s gifts. Another very sweet woman, Jan Kutschinski, suggested we make it a point to become active again, to honor Vicki. I think it’s a great idea.

One of the things I’ve discovered in life is God sends me messages about what I should be doing. I believe Jan’s idea for THE Virtual Quilting Bee to become active again is one of those messages. I’ve been wanting to dedicate a day to quilting for a long time. Now I’ll actually do it. Thanks, Jan. And Vicki. Motivation comes from many places. Check your life! You’ll see some, too. Sandy Long, founder of our group, thanks to you, too. Because of all of this, I’ll get more of my creativity back.

And now, I have to get going on other household stuff before it’s too hot to water the flowers outside, straighten out a few things, and get started on that quilt. It will be a very productive Monday. Stay hydrated today, folks. It’s beastly outside, and should be over 100 degrees with high humidity several times the next week or two. Welcome to summer in Nebraska. Check on your elderly, young kids, and yourselves. Heat Stroke is no joke. Be safe. See you tomorrow!

Logic? What?

No matter how out of control we can be, there is logic in our actions. The problem is, the logic is faulty.

Yes, logic can be faulty. Any coder/programmer/analyst can tell you that. My greatest aha moments came when I’d realize how my coded logic was flawed. I would announce, “Damned thing is doing exactly what I told it to do, not what I wanted it to do.” We would all have a good laugh.

We are often so set on our ideas of what needs to be done that we miss the errors in our logic, our thinking. Often, we keep repeating the same poor decisions (in life or COBOL programming), the solution evades us yet again. We need to think critically about it. Then we learn the wrong in our thinking. We may feel foolish for our errors, but we need to be glad when we finally see our mistakes and correct them. In life, and in problem solving. Life goes so much better.

This week, I’ve had two people try to take over something I work on. I am a firm believer in teamwork, not hijacking someone’s work. If I’m tasked with something, I deliver. Once delivered, the person changed everything. They weren’t interested in the project at first, and now are professing how hard they worked on it. Wow! If I hadn’t been there, doing the legwork, I might have even believed you. This is wrong. No longer will I help someone to that extent. Lesson learned.

Another person drifted into my lane, conflicting a message I put out to help one of our teams we work with. I nipped it in the bud. Snarky comments ensued; I really don’t care. I don’t take over anyone else’s business. I expect the same courtesy towards me. End of discussion.

If my old, faulty logic was still at work, I would shrink, believing I could not possibly know more than these two people who upended the work I was doing. Previously, it has hurt me, made me feel lousy, and caused me much self-loathing throughout life. Nevermore. I matter. And I finally believe that. I have nothing to be sorry about or to feel bad about. Standing up for myself is relatively new. It is scary, but feels great.

Logic needs to be based on proper principles. Then, and only then, can it work. My logic, concerning how I am treated, has changed considerably. It works much better now. I now stay where things serve me and my life goals best. I will compromise when it’s appropriate. I will not compromise when it is not.

The moral of this story is, you can change your logic. You can change how you allow people to treat you. And you can stop bad treatment when necessary. Sometimes, it takes removing yourself entirely. Somewhere, somewhere will appreciate you, and your logic that works in guiding you. It’s not what you were taught. It is not what you know. And it’s what will lead you to better things. Stand up for yourself.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it. See you tomorrow!

70 & Still Counting!

That would be me! Today is my birthday and it’ll be just another day, according to the Babe’s take on things. Gavin has a game, we’ll go watch, it’ll be laid back and quiet. Kind of like every other day. But I know I’m celebrating while living our regular life.

This morning, I googled “Things that are 70” and got some strange answers. Kurt Russell and Michael Keaton turn 70 this year; so will Angelica Huston. The articles harp getting healthy, and that isn’t lost on me. Thing is, my cholesterol has always been great, BP and other things, too. I backslid about 10 pounds by eating whatever I wanted, and starting Wednesday, I’m getting rid of all the junk (food) in the house and be healthy. Yes, there’s no day like the present to start, but c’mon. It’s my birthday! Wednesday will be fine!

Sometimes our expectations exceed reality. Little children love birthday parties. The thought of friends, food, fun, and gifts gets them giddy with excitement. The thoughts of the same things from a parent’s point of leave them tired, broke, and ready to end the party early. Too much noise! In either case, the reality of the party may fall short of the child’s ideas and even pale compared to the mayhem the parents expected.

As we get older, events are often half as vivid as our expectations – for the better or worse. If we go somewhere expecting to have a bad time, we will most of the time. If we join a new group and know people won’t like us, they probably won’t. Because we don’t give them the chance to know us. Winston Churchill once said:

“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

Give yourself a gift today, for my birthday. Let go of outcomes you imagine. Have no expectations, but hope for everything. Don’t disappoint yourself before you give yourself a chance. Often, things turn out much better than we can imagine.

Don’t rain on your own parade. Be open to new things. Lighten up. Be open to joyful surprises. After all. It’s my birthday. Anything can happen! Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow!

Another (Manic) Monday?

Manic, defined as: showing wild, apparently deranged, excitement and energy. Let’s not get carried away here, boys and girls. I don’t feel that kind of excitement in my body, but do in my mind. I have a couple things with Mom this week, but other than that, plan to enjoy the deck, patio, and the Babe. Anything else is bonus!

Today is my younger brother Steve’s birthday. He was born when I was in kindergarten. Six days before my sixth birthday. Because of him, my dad’s cousin Joann gave me a beautiful store-bought cake. It was the one with the doll in the center, and she had a beautiful dress. Years later, I made one when I took a cake decorating class. Wonderful memory.

Of course, having an older brother (Tom) in the house meant he giggled when Mom cut our pieces from the back of the cake, exposing the naked doll’s butt. It incensed me. Mom was not happy with him and neither was I.

That is life with brothers. Steve, however, is a very kind man. He was always earnest in school, explaining things in depth. I remember him explaining the castration process on calves at the dinner table when he was in FFA. My dad turned white and scolded him for talking about such things at the dinner table, in front of his sister and mother. I had to laugh, I was married and had a baby. Oh, Dad. In some ways, he was like Archie Bunker, all proper and such. Seriously, he was old school, and the consummate gentleman. I think Steve is, too.

Steve lives near Mom and is a godsend to my brother Tim, and me. The three of us handle her yard care, her appointments, and whatever else she needs done. It’s a team effort, but Steve does the most. Every day, he checks in on her. Thanks, man. Happy Birthday. You’re the best!

I have the resolve this manic Monday morning to separate my categories of file folders, printed writing class information, and the most recent copies of my writing into their own groups. Tomorrow, I’ll go through each pile and decide what is to keep and what is to toss. It’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time, you know? Join me, if you’d like. We’ll dine on that elephant this week.

Now that we planned the menu for the week, it’s time to go to another task, and get to the flowers who need tending before the day gets away from me. Let’s get it done on Monday. Maybe it will be manic after all. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

I assembled it myself! I think I need a second one.

Shhh! She’s Fixing the World!

The little lady in this header photograph today may not have access to enough bandages to fix the entire world. Do enough even exist? Will this cause a supply chain issue? Gosh, maybe she should stop. I mean, it’s a gigantic job. And she’s pretty young. Too little to go far alone. Why crush her dream?

Current attention spans aside, she may become bored and stop on her own. No need to crush her dream. It’s so important to let little children dream big. Not that they’ll be the next Bruce Springsteen, Shel Silverstein, or Pete Rose. (Yes, he should be in the hall of fame!) Big dreams help kids investigate how to achieve those dreams. Whether he or she needs music lessons and knowledge, writing lessons and practice, or baseball coaching one on one. Or science instruction, study, experiments. Let them dream and achieve.

Whether they’re male or female, we need to let them find their own way. Then they can fix the world around them. They learn to take ideas and make reality from them. Through creative things, they can heal the world. And show others how to do so. Art and music touch our hearts and make them feel better, from the inside out. All healing goes that way. Inside out. Anyone who heals from trauma and brokenness, including broken heartedness, knows the strength you feel upon healing. That is how we fix the world. One person at a time.

I cannot pass Mother’s Day without wishing the Mom’s out there to have a good day. It can be a hard day. Parts of mine are hard, parts are not. I don’t think this is unusual. Although things didn’t quite go as I would have liked, I would never trade my kids for anything. Raising them were some of the happiest years of my life. Living with their father wasn’t.

I believe a large group of women who serve as bonus mothers who deserve kudos. They’re the women who love their partner’s children because they belong to him. And they love the children. And the children love them back. I’m a lucky step-mom myself. I gained steps when they were adults. The Babe’s two children fit exactly in between my three. Making five kids spanning 7 years. We laugh and say it would have been all over if we’d met when they were little. That’s a lot of kids all in the same age groups!

It would have worked, and our kid’s lives would have been more integrated than now. They don’t really know each other. It’s impossible to get them all together. It’s ok. We get to enjoy them all separately. And we love them, different as they all are. We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It hasn’t always been this way. It took years individually and together to get here. Take heart, things are possible you can’t imagine right now. And the hard work is worth it.

Tomorrow will be the day I pick back up to get my studio/office back in order. We had two lovely days off, where all we did was see our grandson play ball, and today, where we spent time together at home, ate, took a nap, and had coffee on the deck in the chill of morning. It’s our favorite place in the summer. From zero dark thirty until the sun rises above the treeline, we talk, sit, and rock in our rocking chairs. It’s a daily vacation. Then we live our lives for the rest of the day.

Have a beautiful evening. Be positive. Keep ahead of the bad feelings. Make sure you talk with someone if you can’t come back from feelings of negativity, worthlessness, and not caring. We are human and we have to care. We have to be cared about. It’s what we’re made for. I care. We can walk together to get you where you need to be.

Tuesday Rolls Around Again

After a bunch of celebrating over the weekend took its toll on me, it was time to get back to business. And writing just did not happen yet. It’s 6:30 p.m. and here we are, just beginning the blog for today. Allergy doctor visit was early, and the header photo was the collection of those funny little plastic toys on the windowsill. Aren’t they cute, all lined up? As they sit in the sunlight, they bobble and make me smile. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Tomorrow is a day for taking Mom to appointments and hopefully getting the laundry folding caught up. Have you ever noticed sometimes it takes forever to get back on track as you’ve wanted to for awhile? Why is that? Are the forces in the universe plotting against us?

While it may seem that way, it probably isn’t true. When former good habits, gone by the wayside over Christmas (!), and your attempts are not strong enough to overcome the new bad habits, stuff gets in the way. Repeatedly. It never seems to get back on track until you go the 21 days to make the new habit again of writing every morning, before leaving the house, before getting sidetracked. Thursday should yield itself to getting back in business again. Whew! It’s hard.

I visited my good friend today. She is determined to recover from the stroke of a couple weeks ago. Her body is improving, and I asked how her spirit was. Her response? “My spirit knows it has to get better.” I applaud her spunk. We pray for a good recovery for her. I have another friend who has ALS. I need to visit her next. She will not recover health, no matter how hard she wants to. My prayers for her family.

Life is too short to waste. In a couple weeks, I’ll be 70 years old. If I have the longevity my mom has, I will have another twenty good years. I can live with that! In the meantime, I need to work on getting organized for tomorrow. I hope you have a peaceful evening. We have a book to write! See you tomorrow.