Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Happy New Year!!!

Today is not just a regular 24 hour and done kind of day.  Today is the type of day that changes everything.  At the stroke of midnight tonight we are magically transported in an invisible time machine that moves us forward into a brand new, unused, endless possibilities, NEW YEAR! 

I mean every new day also changes everything but somehow a new year...that movement not only in the hours of a day but moving into an entirely new year inspires us to start again.  Diet and exercise become doable (for at least a week until your muscles are killing you and you give up, hee hee), you set high goals for things to achieve in this year.

I am NOT anti-goal setting.  In fact I feel like it's necessary to set goals to move you forward in life.  I love the quote that says, "It's far better to shoot for the stars and miss than to aim for the gutter and hit."  It goes along with another of my favorite quotes, "Maddest of all is to see the world as it IS and not as it should be!"

So...have you got your star shooting goals lined up?  Ready, steady, shoot...don't those stars look interesting?  Isn't it delightful to experience that lack of gravity that space brings?  It's wonderful to aim, to reach, HIGH...HIGHER...HIGHEST!! 

I hear someone say, "Why?  I've done this before...set the goals and then not measured up.  Why try again?"  I've been in your position my discouraged friend.  I will tell you why...to repeat, "It's better to aim for the stars and miss then to aim for the gutter and hit."  Sometimes when you can't quite reach those highly set goals, just the stretch to achieve them is enough.  If you slip off the star (goal) you still are better for having made the reach. 

Here is my New Year's Resolution.  I resolve to aim high, and dream huge.  I also aim to forgive myself when I slip, stumble, or fall, and determine to NEVER GIVE UP!  It's OK to fail, but it's never OK to just quit!  So, you've fallen, scraped your knee or broken a bone.  Get up, get treated, and keep moving even if it's just an inch at a time.

Remember life ever so kindly gives us so many opportunities to start anew...new minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years.  Then add to that, Birthdays, Life ritual types of renewal (Bar or Bat Mitzvah,  Communion, Baptism, Fire Rituals, etc. etc.  Rituals of renewal give us more chances to grow.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope that this New Year will truly bring you great joy.  I challenge you if the year is filled with sorrow and trial look hard.  Stretch to find those blessings that may seem eclipsed by sorrow.  They ARE there.  I promise that there is even joy to be found in the most awful of situations.  Prospero Ano, one and all, or in English Prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Seek and ye Shall Find

I wrote a post a year ago that is still pertinent this year 2013.  The only thing is that you will have to search because it's way down towards the end of my posts.  Don't give up, I hope that you find it worth reading.  It always amazes me how writing brings so much clarity to my own life.  I hope that it somehow helps you as well.

The title is Christmas Crazies...Reason for the Season.  Sending my love out to all those that have blessed my life this last year.  Thank you, each and everyone for the joy, and faith you help me to have.

Feliz Navidad, Prospero Ano to all my Spanish speaking friends and family.  Happy Christmas to all my dear friends in the UK and Canada.  Merry Christmas to my English speaking, American friends, but more than the words, I wish you love, and brilliant light as this season arrives and progresses!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Am I A Mommy Blogger or Something New and Different?

I keep hearing about "Mommy Bloggers."  I understand that it refers to Mom's that write blogs.  Does that definition only refer to young mom's that write blogs?  Or can those of us who no longer fit the definition of "young" claim that fame as well?  My kids are grown-up, I am a widow...I no longer work outside the home.  What am I?  Who am I?

Along my path in life I've learned some excellent lessons.  One of those lessons is "Do NOT allow your profession to become your definition of self."  I know that will sound strange to some people.  To some the thrill of competition, charging yourself to rise, always rise on the ladder upwards towards financial security and "success" becomes the heart and soul of their self-definition.

When we buried my beloved Mom-in-law I was trying to distract myself from how sad I felt.  So I began to read the tombstones buried around her.  On one tombstone it said, "He was a successful businessman."  It made me think of Charles Dickens, "The Christmas Carol."  When Ebenezer Scrooge is visited late one Christmas Eve by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, Ebenezer is trying to comfort the grieving ghost.  Ebenezer says, "You were always a good man of business Jacob."  Jacob rises and shakes his chains as he cries out, "Business, MANKIND WAS MY BUSINESS!" 

At the relatively young age of 42 I was forced into retirement by multiple serious health problems.  Suddenly I was faced with a moral dilemma.  Who was I now?  I no longer had a career.  Yes, I was still a Mom, and a wife, but was that ALL that I was, or was that enough?

Surprise, surprise...life requires you to find new definitions of self as you move on through?  A beautiful passage from the Bible says, "To every thing turn, turn, turn, there is a season turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven, A time to be born, A time to die..."  Is there a new definition that you gain as you face these new seasons? 

I'm finding that letting go of the old sorrows, grief, frustrations, and looking for the newness in life, even for my Mama at 94 years of age, can be the very best, ultimate definition.  The definition that says, "This person NEVER quit learning, and trying new things!"  That is the definition I want.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I was moved to tears just now.  These were happy tears.   I like to review the statistics on my blog and find out how many are reading, and from where.  It gives me a just a little booster of confidence to keep writing.  Imagine my joy to discover that 11 people read yesterday, and 11 people today.

Why is that tender and poignant I imagine you asking?  11:11 is the only time of the day when all four digits are the same.  Early in our marriage Nyle announced that when we were together at  11:11 a.m. or p.m. whatever we were doing we would quit.  We would then hold hands for that one minute until 11:12 happened.  Even when we were in the midst of an argument we would stop and hold hands for that minute and often it would re-set us enough to be more logical and less emotional in our difference of opinion.

So whenever I see 11 connected to 11, in any format, I feel Nyle here beside me.  I feel the sometimes calloused masculinity of his hand.  I adored the way my rather small hand was simply swallowed up by Nyle's.  With my hand in his I felt powerful!  I could take on the struggles of the world and win because he was on my team, and I was on his!

He is no longer a physical being.  He IS  a spiritual being now.  That does NOT mean that he is gone...he is just a lot harder to see.  Yet I feel him close, often, and it is such a blessing to believe that we WILL be together again!

Until then, I will hold his hand every 11:11, whether it be 11:11 as the time of day, or 11/11 in the status of readers.  So today Nyle, I am holding your hand, and once again I am powerful in the love that we share!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Oh Really Joel Stein?

I like to think of myself as a peacekeeper, a pacifist.  I like to put out the hot fires of contention wherever, and whenever I can.  I have a hair trigger temper, but I like to believe that in my 57 years of life I've come a long way towards cooling my emotions and using my head instead.  Having said that, today there is a fire burning hot in my heart.

Starting my day I happened to pick up a Time Magazine.  It was opened to an article that said, "My 3% Problem."  The first line reads "Income Inequality is so unfair.  How can I fight it without giving up my money?"

I recognize that his article is satirical...a not so gentle poke at the 3% and 1% richest of our population,  Many of those wealthy HAVE worked diligently, sometimes obsessively, to reach that pinnacle of wealth.  There are individuals who have inherited a huge quantity of money, and work tirelessly to redistribute it amongst the population on this planet. 

What about the 97% of people who face life in the hopelessness of poverty, or the work hard to support your family kind of living.  Do you consider that many of those 97% have CHOSEN to work in jobs that do not pay much money.  These people have worked just as hard as those 3% and 1% but they have consciously chosen positions that will NEVER earn them wealth.

How about the people like my youngest daughter (Who is one of the Shero's in my life!) who chose to go to school for 5 years to become a school teacher.  Yes...she knew beginning her education how little she was going to earn but she wanted to make a difference on this planet!  I won't reveal the abysmmally low amount that she is paid for the more than 50 hours of work she puts in every single week.  Here is a hint, I made almost as much money as she does in 1993 as an Administrative Assistant...without a college degree.  I also had no student loans to repay.

I respect people who have worked hard and "Paid their dues," and now find themselves with the "frightening" prospect of being richer than 97% of the population. 

I once made the mistake of listening a moment too long to a talk show.  I have purposely forgotten who the speaker was.  Her topic? "Don't help your family or friends financially.  It makes them needy." 

If the program had been interactive like Willy Wonka, I would have reached in and delivered one single face slap.  Then I would have said, "Did it ever occur to you that maybe God by whatever name you call Him, may have let you become fabulously wealthy to HELP those family members struggling and having a hard time.  Maybe not by giving a hand out...but a hand up.  It may seem a small thing, but it's actually the best way to make this planet a better place.

Oh sure, I know that there are those folks that take advantage of the wealthy.  I know that there will always be hands out wanting to share your wealth with none of the work.  So what better way to "equalize" the planets population than starting small.  The idea of "Start up" funds is quite brilliant.  There are ever so many ways to hand-up instead of hand-out.

I watch the television program "The Shark's" once in awhile.  For those who haven't watched it, (and probably were doing something more productive with their time than sitting on their fanny's watching television like me)  I can tell in about a nanosecond if the Shark's (a gathered group of those 1% folks) are going to invest in the dream, the pitch of the person who is there.  They hear every single kind of a thing that people are creating and dreaming about.  One of the most successful was a a "gapper" that you put in your car to fill in the evil "Black Hole" that exists in the front seat of all cars/  Such a simple idea, but quite brilliant.  Another was a sock that came up out of the top of a woman's fashion boot with lace and ruffles.  Believe it or not that particular product was wildly successful.  There is a fashion style that I will NOT be investing in.  Too reminscent of the ruffly ankle socks that I wore as a child.  Those ruffles kind of give adorable children cankles,

As for how to make a difference in the status quo of the entire world's population, that's easy.  Reach out to those who ARE struggling.  Maybe do a Celine Dion, and distribute the money you earn regularly to the rest of your family so THEY aren't struggling so hard.  Help a fledgling student going into teaching with educational costs.  I could list many, many ways...that will be another post on my blog...I feel it coming! 

My Uncle inherited the family sheep ranch.  That included 9,000 acres of rocks, dirt, sage brush and several hundred head of sheep.  He also inherited a bunch of debt.  He had three sisters.  They were each given a set amount of money for their inheritance.  Many years of hard work, and sheep ranching later oil was found on the ranch.  My Uncle didn't even have to think about what to do with the money.  He divided it between himself and his sisters.  He paid for the college loans of a kid who had miserable parents.  He probably was in the 10% of the planet that are comfortable but not fabulously wealthy.  He probably could have been closer to that fabulous number if he DIDN'T always share the ranches rewards with his sisters.  He didn't have too.  Nobody would have judged him harshly if he hadn't.  He didn't even consider any other course of action.  

My amazing, brilliant, beautiful older daughter was accepted to Cambridge last year.  She received her Master's in History from that amazing place.  She NEEDS her Doctorate so that she can fulfill her dream of becoming a College Professor.  She couldn't get one single scholarship.  Not one party or person stepped up and said, "Sure, I'll help you reach your dream.  For those of you who think that it's "Anti-American" to earn a foreign education, it takes THREE years to get her Doctorate in the U.K.  The same diploma in the U.S. is SEVEN years!  Really, truly, she could go to Med School and make a heckofalot more money than being a professor at a university!

My daughter (she is another one of my Shero's) volunteers three times a year with the Model United Nations Program.  This year she will work with the programs in DC, NYC, and Portland, OR.  She works with students from all around the globe.  She teaches them diplomacy, how to negotiate when there are barriers of cultural differences, and the differences of personality, and she also teaches them about global welfare.  They divide into groups and are assigned a country to represent.  This program helps young people understand world issues, goal setting, and negotiation.  When questioned once, "Sweetie do YOU wish to become a diplomat?"  Her response was instantaneous, "No, I want to teach young students the skills that THEY NEED to become diplomats."    

 Don't worry Mr. Stein I don't hold it against you that you're STINKING, INCREDIBLY RICH!  As a matter of fact I respect and admire the chutzpah that you must have to achieve that remarkable goal.  Just remember that with riches comes opportunity.  You have the rare and wonderful gift of changing lives.  Please don't take that gift lightly!