Looking for Answers in New Places

Sometimes, old answers aren’t the right ones. If you do something a certain way because you’ve always done it that way before, don’t be surprised when the results are the same. We need to be brave and look for new ways to do things. Yes, it can be very uncomfortable, can’t it?

Finding different solutions to old problems and having positive results is life changing. We may feel some guilt because we abandoned the way of our parents and others, and they may criticize us for not remembering where we came from. We are at the point where we remember perfectly well where we came from. We are choosing to look for a solution, a new way of doing things. We want things to work where we have seen them fail before. When we’re successful, it makes people who settle for the old ways are upset. Gosh, you may make them look at themselves and evaluate their life and things that are not working.

It can be isolating to be the one who tries a new way of thinking, living, and solving problems. It can also be freeing, discovering your own way. Your own answers. Your own truth. It can lead you to a whole new life, new friends, and a positive outlook that sets you on a path of discovery, creativity, and a fulfilling life. Living a Great Story should be the goal of all of us.

We owe it to ourselves to be our best version of ourselves. We do that with personal growth, experiencing life on our own terms, and contributing to our surrounding communities. Getting out of our own head helps us to overcome our difficulties, heal our heartaches, and be good citizens of our earth. Thinking before reacting is new territory for us. It takes practice, over and over again. The ineffective habits we had before leave us the more we do new things, in new ways. It’s very satisfying. Try it, you’ll like it!

Sorry to be so short today, just kind of distracted. Hope you have a beautiful day and see you tomorrow.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Excuses Vs. Reasons

Jonathan Swift said, “An excuse is a lie guarded.” That is not far from the truth. We often delude ourselves as we delay work we need to do on ourselves, on our bad habits, on our addictions and on our silly excuses we don’t live our best lives. We all do it, you know. Me, too.

I know people who dwell on the wrongs done them as excuses why they don’t get something done, why they never found love, why after 50 years they didn’t do something differently. I’m serious. Some folks have excuses they blurt out like a litany in the Catholic Church services. It’s sad, but it’s also hilarious. Blame is placed on someone else. It becomes the excuse they use to stay frozen in place, where they think they’re safe. But they’re not. They’re unhappy, negative, and live a stagnant life.

Life wasn’t meant to be an existence that is static. As humans, we are created to experience growth and change. Our bodies are constantly changing, growing new cells, working to live, and craving more energy to keep alive. Our brains need new experiences, new challenges, new creations. Art, music, and reading feed our souls, minds, and beings.

Yes, it’s risky trying something we’ve never done before. But why not? It doesn’t hurt to try. Better yet, how about doing? Some folks have lied so much to themselves they believe their own excuses. I believe excuses are just that. Reasons, however, are valid. They are obstacles placed in your way; like I can’t do the 50 Mile Walk because I broke my ankle. That is a valid reason. An excuse is, “It might rain, (take an umbrella), I have to work, (you could take vacation).

Alcoholics and addicts have the best excuses ever. “Someone was driving at me the wrong way on the street.” Ha! You were the one that crossed the center line; it’s on you, not someone else.” “I lost track of time.” Sure, you were passed out somewhere and missed your surprise birthday party. When dealing with these folks, we have to keep track of their records.

Delusions may crop up in our minds about those negative, toxic relationships. They are no good for us. They are no good for the addicts or addicts either. The delusion continues when we let them back into our lives and they continue with their excuses without skipping a beat. “Maybe I was too hard on him.” No, you weren’t. An adult keeps their promises. An adult shows up. An adult doesn’t run scared. Another chance? Enter at your own risk. You may likely be the only one hurt. Don’t risk it again, unless you are certain the alcoholic quit drinking for good, the addict is clean. And they haven’t switched one bad habit/addiction for something else. You are worth more than that.

The more you practice making healthy decisions, the better off you will be. The only risks you may be taking are those on doing something you’ve always wanted to do. You. For yourself. We have a friend who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. In between, he had a double knee replacement. This may be a bit extreme, but he loved it. Do something and conquer it. You’ll stretch your world. You’ll become bolder, brighter, and a whole lot happier. Dwelling on the past and your excuses is counter productive.

Using myself as an example, I’ve snacked needlessly the past week or so. I’m horrified at how easily my resolve to eat healthy has gone out the window. The Babe is done with eating healthy. He’ll do what he does. I’m not fond of it, but it’s his decision. I refuse to make our time together miserable because I want him to be healthier. Why become a nag, making our life together unbearable? Not how I want him to remember me. Not how I want to be, either. I could use the excuse, “He brought home cookies, donuts, ice cream, chips and popcorn.” It’s not the Babe’s fault I caved on my own resolve. I need to step up, be responsible, and not blame someone else.

I will lose the 5+ pounds I’ve gained being naughty. I will be happier with myself and feel less sluggish. Keto friends, stay tuned! I’m loving putting on an outfit and the Babe telling me, “It’s too big.” What?? I haven’t heard that for a long, long time, if ever. It’s nice. And my knees don’t hurt like they did. I was close to asking for a replacement. Yes, I have a lot of arthritis in them, they’re bone on bone. But, the squats I did all summer must have strengthened a part of the knees so they don’t hurt. I’m amazed at what a 45 pound weight loss can do. You can do it to.

Once I stopped accepting bad treatment by others, I gained respect, love, and realization what I deserved vs. what I received. I gained the Babe. I gained self respect. I gained a new view of life. I am amazed at the last twenty five years of my life. I’m also amazed that at the age of nearly 70, I’m living a great story. I’m starting to share my story. It’s a story that could help others. I believe I’m being called to do just that. Stories about kids for kids; as Grandma Kathy, and stories about women for women; as Kathy Raabe, Author. What I’m learning, what I’ve experienced, and the risks taken aren’t so scary now. Time for some more big risks. Yes! I can hardly wait.

Thanks for reading today. More minor decluttering today. Getting stuff done. And some novel writing, too. Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

Simply Saturday

After a restful day Friday, I think I’ll survive! The time leading up to Veterans Day was extremely busy, now I can settle down and concentrate on doing the rest of the month with NaNoWriMo. I am behind on that, and I need to plot some more scenes and chapters to finish. After that, it’s getting back to business to see if I can finish the month with 50,000 words more written for my novel.

A big part of the work with writing is learned through reading. I would imagine I read far more than 50,000 words a month. I’m reading a book now that is hard read; it’s the story of a woman who was molested by her grandfather. Her mother did not believe her. They had a volatile relationship through life. Laura Davis wrote other books; her “The Courage to Heal,” is a bestseller and has helped heal many women who had the same experience. A horrible one to have had experienced. I cannot imagine.

My father was a very proper man, my grandfather’s were also. A little girl should not have to worry about incest. She should be safe from her brothers and uncles, as I was. It makes me sick to my stomach at the thought of not being safe. My heart hurts for all the people who have to worry about such a thing. I’m glad I don’t understand how this can seem normal to anyone.

Laura Davis also has taught survivors to find their voices, write their stories, and hone their craft as writers. The trauma needs to be recognized to be healed. Sometimes healing never happens. Sometimes it is a painful back and forth as a survivor drifts between healing and not. If a reconciliation can happen, it’s healing for everyone.

The first book was written in 1988, when people barely talked about childhood sexual abuse. I cannot remember when I first heard about pedophiles. It was probably in connection with the Catholic priests who abused kids in our Archdiocese of Omaha. There were priests who taught at my high school on those lists. Several were abruptly reassigned and a new teacher would teach religion class the rest of the year. No one ever said a word. In the 80s, it was assumed pedophiles were homosexuals. Wrong again! I defend homosexuals to this day if someone mentions that in a conversation. A pedophile is not necessarily a homosexual. Get it right!

After absorbing the struggles told about this daughter and mother, the denials her mother made, and the rage her mother had at her own daughter, I need something to keep me from having a funky outlook this weekend. I’m choosing gratitude. Gratitude I never experienced this horror, and prayers no one I know experiences it. Life is full of difficult topics, and we need to learn how to walk with survivors just as we would with a cancer survivor, or an aging, forgetful person. Let’s choose compassion. Let’s choose caring. Let’s choose calm. Let’s not desert the survivors so they walk alone. Be an unrelenting friend. We all need one. I believe the pedophiles will receive what they deserve with a quick and just punishment by God Himself.

As you enjoy this sunny Saturday, remember those who hurt. Those who are homeless. Those who ache to have someone reach out and be a listening ear. Be a good human. We all need to work on that. See you tomorrow!

Another Tuesday, Enjoy!

It’s another beautiful, sunny day here at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. I’m spending the day at home, doing some much needed home tasks and trying to catch up on NaNoWriMo. Folks, it may take me into December to finish 50K words at this point. I’ve had to sacrifice writing time to participate in volunteering for our VFW and the groups we support. Believe me, it is worth it. The friends I’ve made and the stories I’ve heard, I’m truly blessed to be able to know these leaders and know their stories. Veterans Day is an important day. It’s when we thank our Veterans when we think of their sacrifices. This year it is important to let them know we’re behind them, we support them, and we will listen. They need that more than ever right now. The withdrawl from Afghanistan was a mess, to put it mildly. I’ll leave it at that.

Yesterday was an amazing experience. Liz Boutin, a local artist, is sharing her art work about PTSD with us for Veterans Day/Week. I was able to listen to her inspirations for the paintings, which was a gift. From her time as a Red Cross Volunteer while a military spouse in Germany, she was in the hospital where the wounded soldiers from Iraq were sent. Some stayed long enough for her to hear their stories. She was part of the worst things in these soldiers’ lives.

They would open up to her, preferring a civilian over a military doctor or shrink who would put the information in their records. She needed a way to release the burden she was carrying. Her own mental health was suffering. She started journaling about her experiences. Later, she discovered she had PTSD. Doing more research, she learned about how art is therapy for those with PTSD. Liz has poured her heart and soul into this art. And it is beautiful. Hard to see? Maybe a little. But for the depictions of what she’s seen and heard and experienced, it’s an experience that is well worth having. I believe she is gifted in the world of art, storytelling, and observations in her life. We’re so lucky she is sharing her art with us.

We also have many reps from the VA to discuss everything from registering you for benefits to letting you know what you can expect in the process. It’s a convenient way for you to get started. We will have representatives from Moving Veterans Forward, ABATE, 22 Veterans Suicide Awareness Group, and information available from Guitars for Vets, and the Centering Corporation, the oldest grief organization in America. I have learned so much from them over the past twenty years.

Come see us Thursday. Veterans eat free, and we have a bake sale by the Auxiliary, some merch from various vendors, and Liz Boutin’s art is for sale. Don’t forget about the food and clothing drive we are sponsoring for homeless Veterans. We want them to have warm clothing this winter. It’s the least we can do. Help them out. Learn something new from our information sharing day. We welcome you. Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow!

November 8-Grateful

Another day to have something declared as what I’m grateful for. So many things to count! The encouragement from my friends to continue writing has been very nice. Your friends who support you are good ones to have as you get your sea legs about you. I’m grateful for all of you!

Yesterday was my son Nick’s birthday. Forty six years old, I can’t believe how the time has gone by. Nick was a smaller baby than Frankie was, but he got much taller and filled out in high school. The fact he has a 5 o’clock shadow at 5 a.m. after shaving is probably enough to say he looked much older than he is. Probably never got carded like his brother did. It’s over, and I’m glad to not have to deal with those days again. Nothing ages a single Mom more than having a child who looks much older than he is. I’m grateful those single Mom days are over. It was hard, but I’d still make the same decisions I did.

So many people we know have had some bad health issues; strokes, heart attacks, cancer, are all hard to recover from. We’ve seen cancer, broken bones, heart disease, a stroke, and a host of other issues. We are so fortunate we are still mobile, living independently, and having a great future ahead of us. The Babe is 71 and I’m 69. I told him the other morning, I hope we get another 20 years together. You never know; with God all things are possible!

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo. I loitered today instead of getting caught up. The Babe put it well. “Don’t make it a job.” Well, it doesn’t hurt to do it every day, to spread it out, but it felt good to sort of play hooky. I caught up on Yellowstone, (until the Babe got home and caught the end of the NASCAR Race), wrote some scenes out, and recharged. It was necessary.

Today, I need to catch up with posting all the info about Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503. Resource lists must be compiled, then printed and copies made. Any posting about the events should be available for those who check the Events on Facebook to plan their week. Today will be busier than the usual Monday for sure.

Not sure what we’ll be doing Thanksgiving, but I think we’ll cook. Not sure if we’ll get a turkey, but I think it’s worth getting one, I’d even make it later if necessary. The traditional food is so full of carbs, what I may do is only make a very small dish of dressing, sweet potatoes, and veggies. I will make the normal amount of mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. That should balance out all good, shouldn’t it?

Keto is hard during the holidays, but we started it last November, and lost a lot of weight before New Years. I will not gain it back this year. And I won’t next year. At this stage in life it is too hard to lose 45 pounds and I don’t want to have to do it again. I need to stay on top of it. Last year, we skipped all the goodies for the most part, and I have three pumpkin smoothies in the freezer. Will it be as good as pumpkin pie? Give me enough whipped cream and it will. Heavy Cream, Whipped, is allowed on KETO. They knew what they were doing with that one!

Hope your Monday is a good one. Take care, and let’s see each other again tomorrow.

November 3-Already?

Customer Service is a dream when you receive it. And a nightmare when you don’t. It’s even worse when they don’t believe you paid your bill in July. Yes, July of 2021. I’ve already provided verification from the bank for the online bill payment. Just around Labor Day. And yet, Phillips 66 tries to tell me I did not provide info even though the bank did. They want it faxed to them. Again. I asked the lady how does that help me know you’ll pay attention to it this time? No notification on the fax cover sheet or anything. So no wonder they lost it. But to treat me like a person who doesn’t pay their bills, not wise. I will no longer do business with Phillips 66. That makes me very sad, I did for over 31 years.

It reminds me of about ten years ago, my good credit record allowed me to have a lower interest rate at the old Sears Department Store. I received that account with the divorce, and I was able to use it for a credit rating when I hadn’t worked. It was valuable. I cancelled it after the Babe and I received a letter stating Sears would raise our interest to 18%. It wasn’t because of anything we did or didn’t do. We were still stellar customers. They just had to raise everyone’s. Well, we know how that turned out. Sears went under. Probably because people like myself decided they’d take their business elsewhere. Sad, really.

I am grateful for good customer service. And, it’s even better when an issue is resolved. I’m also grateful for the good credit I’ve enjoyed for decades. We are happy to have such a good record, and it wasn’t easy to do. We persevered, and are doing fine. What a blessing.

There was another customer service snafu that affected our household today. This one had to do with prescriptions being transferred from one entity to another. The former pharmacy was stellar in their performance. The new one performed poorly last month, splitting my order between two stores. This time, I opted to have them placed in bubble packs as they were previously and delivered. I had to check several times about the delivery, was told someone had to be home. We were. Several hours later, I called because I hadn’t taken any meds all day, waiting for the delivery. It had not been taken with the driver. Holy smokes.

Long story, short story, no lives were lost in either incident. I’m not happy with myself for being human and getting angry, but wow. The possibilities to get things right abound. The possibilities to get things wrong exists, and unfortunately, take a front seat at the least opportune moment. Two perfect storms formed today. Hope that’s the end of the bad luck and life lessons now. We’re ready for less aggravation for sure.

On the NaNoWriMo front, things are going along. I did another 1,667 words again today. The subject matter is tougher the more chapters I write, and it’s emotional. It will be more difficult as the time goes on. I’m still on target, though, and should be able to maintain the pace. There are numerous Facebook groups and ways to communicate with fellow writers. Two young women have little kids. I have to admire their persistence and dedication. At their ages, I had the energy to study late, get up early, and keep weird hours, too. I hope they do well, too.

Tomorrow will the the first morning all week I’ll get to stay home and get right to work. I’m behind on advertising our Veterans Day Dinner and Resources Info. Must catch up tomorrow. And Friday night is a Guitars for Vets Fundraiser supporting Toys for Tots. Great organizations in need of support. It’s going to be a fun night. Thanks for catching up today, we’ll get started early and will see you again tomorrow. Be Safe out there.

Thankful Thursday

I made a killer Pumpkin Smoothie the other day. I used the Pioneer Woman recipe, and subbed Stevia for Sugar. I also used 2% Milk, and 3/4 cup of Heavy Cream. It was the best. The Babe didn’t want any, and I get to have three more of them. I guess that can be a Keto Recipe, right?

I had a physical earlier today and had great results. It feels good to be in a different place a year later than I was last year. We can have huge impact on our health when we need to just by changing our habits. I’m grateful to have success and hope to continue.

Didn’t get time to write before now, and it’s 8 p.m. What a day! We had some unexpected things happen today that require some other things be ironed out tomorrow, and I’ll talk about it in a few more days. Just know the Babe and I are grateful to God for continuing to be good to us. It’ll make sense later. I didn’t get any time to work on my outline/plans for writing next week. Hope to make time tomorrow.

Be Grateful!

I’ll see you tomorrow! Be safe out there.

Majestic Monday (Yes, I Said Majestic!)

I know, half of you think I’m crazy, and half of you can tell I’m retired. Maybe I’m both. Depends on the day. I read something this morning I absolutely fell in love with. It’s talking a study regarding the most productive decade of a human life. I don’t care if it’s true or not, so I didn’t fact check. Why not? It just makes me feel so darned good, so inspired!

According to this study, the most productive age is 60-70. The second most productive stage is 70-80. Third is 50-60. the average age of Nobel Prize winners is 62. I’m thrilled to know all of this, especially since writing not require a huge amount of physical strength or prowess like running marathons would. I do believe I’ve grown much more as a person in the past ten years. I have a lot more to do in the next ten too. The sky is the limit! Please don’t tell me it’s not true; I’d like to make it true for me.

I had a little nap yesterday and read a fabulous little book called “All Things In Time,” by Sue Buyer. It’s a novella (10K to 40K words) recalling the now 90+ year old’s experiences working as one of few women in the newsroom of a large-circulation of a metropolitan newspaper. I find the story fascinating, as this was an era with fewer than 10% female employees, including secretaries. How the world has changed! Yesterday was a perfect day to read the 115 page book. The last sentence on the back cover blurb was “The novella will also appeal to anyone looking to curl up in a nice chair with a good read on a rainy day.” We had 3 1/2 inches of rain yesterday.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Before I realized there was no way I could afford to go to college, I dreamed of working as a reporter for our Omaha World Herald. My dad worked there for 37 years as a Pressman and later in management of the Pressroom. So sure, I was interested in the story. Little did I realize I’d actually start writing in my late 60s. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It keeps me engaged with others who like the same thing. I’m certain it took me this long to finally have the confidence it would take to listen to constructive criticism. Sure, I may be devastated when I get bad reviews, and I’ll ask you all to remind me a review is simply the reviewer’s opinion. There is no accounting for taste. I can tell you I read 50 Shades of Gray. My opinion? It was the worst writing I’ve ever read. Yes, I read all three volumes. I believe the only reason it was a best seller was it crossed a bunch of lines, and it became a thing for the Starbuck’s crowd of young moms. Sure, I learned a few things I didn’t know before, but you know what? I think if you have to resort to all that in the bedroom – or bondage room – you’re not doing it right! There’s nothing more fulfilling than an adult sexual relationship with someone you love deeply and can trust.

My generation was the “free love hippie” group. By the time I was divorced in the early 80s, things became absolutely crazy. Then HIV/AIDS entered the scene. I cannot imagine what it’s like now. From the weird bunch of two first named people (Larry Mike, Carl deCamera and more) who send me FB Messages on my Author Page, I shudder to think of of internet dating. I have too many creative projects to fill my time (writing, learning to paint and draw, embroidery, sewing, quilting, reading) that I could be busy 24/7 the rest of my life. After having the Babe during this part of my life, I could never be loved like this again. Now and forever, I’m very contented.

As I go rearrange some stuff and vacuum before I dig more into building a plan for November’s NaNoWriMo, I’m hoping to step outside and enjoy the crisp, fresh air and colors that make fall worth waiting for. Luckily, the rain yesterday didn’t make the leaves fall too soon. Still time to enjoy! Go getcha some, too! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Randomness on a Friday

Meetings last night and this morning led to the Babe and I having lunch out today. It was nice to just sit and be with each other. We both feel better, and I’m having another good day today. I’m so grateful to feel good again; it felt like forever since I did. I think that’s part of the COVID brain-fog. It took awhile to clear. The difference is so vast, I can hardly describe it. The headache is intermittent now, but nothing big.

We’re planning on a crowd for Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha, Nebraska. If any Veteran is having difficulties with what’s going on around them, we’d love to have them come see us during the week of Veterans Day. We will have resources available for you to use, and an ear to listen. We have many friendly people who would be glad to share your story. The camaraderie of Veterans always amazes me. They have their own language, their own way to communicate, and their own way to keep in touch with each other. It’s a gift to me, being allowed to sit with them and witness their exchanges.

I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo again this year. I skipped last year, but participated two years ago. What fun it was! I am starting to gather my things together, and make sure nothing bothers my MoJo while I write 50K words. It should make a great dent on the novel. It’s fun looking at the plan and gearing up for it again. I’d love to get a week’s worth of blogs pre-written, and not need to be concerned about them. We’ll see how it goes.

Pre-COVID, I had a drawing on December 1. Every day, if people commented, they could leave their contact info, and were entered into a drawing for $50. I’m thinking of doing it again. What do you think? Shall we do it again? With more followers, that could be a cool thing. I’d love to get a bunch of people. What do you say? It could be a lot of fun. Comment your opinion below.

The whole world must have been off work and school today. The sports bar we went to for lunch was beyond packed. Usually, you only see that many people on a Saturday. After being quarantined because the Babe and I had COVID, we were home again for about three weeks. It seemed like forever this time. We talked a lot during that time, and shared how odd we felt, not knowing what to expect. We remembered how life was during the Cuban Missile Crisis; Cuba threatened to launch. President Kennedy told them to think better of doing that. Our Catholic school prayed the rosary in front of the Virgin Mary statue in each classroom, and we learned we’d be gone in a puff of smoke should they launch. Our neighborhood was only twelve miles from the then Strategic Air Command. God Help Us All!

While there is still the danger of a missile or drone attack, we have to absorb it as a risk of living in this world. Sure, something could happen. But it might not, too. I’m betting on not. Hoping the world continues on long past my grandchildren’s lives. Be positive. It’s the only way. Thanks for reading today. See you tomorrow!

Back to Work

In case you didn’t read the blog yesterday, I’m celebrating! I submitted my first chapter from my book, “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the Nebraska Writers Guild, and they have judged it suitable for printing. I am over the moon about it, and celebrate over and over in my imagination.

And now, here we are, in the knowledge I’m really going to be a published author, aside from being published on my website. And no, I have no agent, but have a contract with NWG for Chapter One. Baby Steps! To get back in the swing of things, I need to look very carefully at the first six chapters and pick up from there. Glad the NaNoWriMo is coming up, It should be a good catalyst for connecting outline, thoughts, words, and paper. Woo Hoo! Picture me done with it before we know it!

Of course, all things are subject to change. How I know that! Flexibility is important if you want to create, especially during these times. Nothing is normal, you know? It was, then it wasn’t, and now we just aren’t sure. I truly hope our beautiful planet gets another thousand years or so. Maybe a grandchild will get an inspiration to save the planet!

It’s late, and I have no snappy jokes left for the evening. I hope you all are in a good place this evening, and that your tomorrow is wonderful. I’m going to make a priority tomorrow to communicate well. Yes, It’s a long shot, but it needs to be done. It will only do us all good. Ignore the smack about IG and FB behind a bad influence. It’s all crazy! More on that later. Let’s just decide for ourselves, ok? Hoping so, that you’ll think for yourselves. I am all about that. Take care, and know tomorrow is another day. Take care! See you tomorrow!