GRATITUDE 

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Today is a day for me to give some special thanks and gratitude to two very special women in my life. Yesterday I had my annual physical here in Michigan and it really pleased both my doctor and me. Better blood pressure, chlorestrol, and a good feeling that I am feeling much better and stronger. For several years Tammy Jager had been encouraging me to get a walker or some such thing because I was having trouble taking long walks. I resisted her mightily for a long time due to my pride and foolishness. But this winter another voice joined the chorus, Debra Rider, and I began to realize that they only had my best interests at heart. So I broke down, bought a red Rollerator, started walking each day, and now I walk 25 minutes at a time.  I met new friends while I was in Florida, and found that there are lots of us who can use a little help.  And I love it because it has brought me freedom. I don’t need it at home, thank goodness.  I heap praise upon my husband, Bob Rider, who always tags along with me.

But it gives me great pleasure to give kudos to Debra and Tammy whom I love, especially because they didn’t give up on me.  I owe them for many special things in my life, but this one deserves a special thank you.

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WHY DID I DO THAT?

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Why did I ever DO that?, an intriguing question that popped into my mind while searching for the answer as to why my life is where it is right now?

Looking back over an extensive period of time it is pretty easy to see how I could have done things a lot differently.  Also a lot smarter. The problems that seemed so overwhelming at one time brought forth the urgent need to do something to change the situation I was in. It became “Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” as a famous Naval officer David Farragut once said.

It seems as if somewhere in our thought processes we begin to see only one side of a problem, and then the results become less than what is desirable. Saying to ourselves over and over again, “Why in the world did I ever do that?” becomes a self-defeating process.  At some point after being miserable about our own failures we have to change our thinking. We can begin to ask, “What can I do to change my own attitudes? Have I learned anything from my life lessons? Am I trying to listen to other peoples viewpoint instead of exclusively my own?”

I have a new question for myself. When I decide I want to change something in my life, what else am I considering besides what happens to me? In the overall scheme of things, what we decide to do is more important to others than we can easily comprehend. We might say to our own inner voice, do I really want or need to do this? Kindliness is next to Godliness, I was told as a child, and a good mantra for me to remember. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is another.

it seems that so many of the older platitudes that we were taught when we were young have stood us in good stead. If we had always practiced them all we would never have to look back, and wonder, “Why in the world did I ever do that?”

So today, friends, I am looking forward, and I like what I see. I no longer feel that I must look back, because I know there are bright days ahead for us all. Forward is good!

01/01/17

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01/01/17! What a weird date that looks like! Doesn’t sound like a date at all. More like something made up by an author looking for a new book title.

Maybe that’s me, looking for something flashy to catch the eye of a Facebook reader on the first day of the first month of the year, 2017!

I woke up this morning after a good nights sleep, no staying up late to see the New Year in at our house.  No one calling at midnight because everyone knew it would only wake us up.  The truth be known, most of our children were probably sleeping also. It’s a whole new world anyway.  The relationships between parents and their children have made a distinct swing.

As a child I can remember the saying “Children should be seen and not heard.” No one explained what was going on in the world to their children on a daily basis.  We were expected to do what our parents told us to, and immediately.  There was no back talk.  If we were brave enough to ask “why?” we were told “Because I said so.” There were rules and we knew exactly what they were. And for the most part we followed them because there were consequences to be had if we didn’t.

This sounds like we lived in a world where our parents, teachers, and ministers ruled over us with a big stick, but for most of us that wasn’t such a bad thing. We lived in a world where there were rules, and the people in charge were the same parents, teachers and ministers. It was their job to teach us responsibility because that was the way they had been brought up themselves.

As we became teenagers we started to rebel, but there were always adults ready to show us the way things were supposed to be.

By the time my children came along and got into their teenage years life had taken another turn. The 60’s and the 70’s were very different than the rule abiding 50’s. Parents and children had to face an ever changing world, and that has continued to evolve ever since.

Now many parents have become the teachers, the explainers, of how the world works in a new and different way. They are much more apt to be “friends” with their children, showing them how and why life is the way it is.

As the children mature they are brought into the decisions of the family as important members.  No more “should be seen and not heard”. Because of the internet young people are more aware of all the activity going on around the world, and they have definite opinions.

Parents have always been very important in their childs life, but the relationships between them is no longer one of “My way or the highway.” It has been an evolving process for all of us.

So when you see a person of mature age being slightly upset over something they see young people doing, just stop and think about how they were brought up in a very different atmosphere. It takes time for all of us to accept a new way of looking at how things progress.

Life goes on, and we become closer and closer to our children. We remember how the world has changed from when we were the young people being told what to do and how to do it. We can see the advantages of knowing how great it is to know our own place in the family and our world. And we can rejoice that we can turn the reins over to a new generation, knowing they will do their very best.

 

 

 

Lake Michigan at its absolute best

SPEAKING OF CURRENT POLITICS

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Maybe our main problem is that our current candidates are a reflection of what some Americans have become.  As a people we are expecting the candidates to be much more principled in everyday life than we are.  And when they fail as humans do, we see everything in strict “either this or that” instead of realizing that in a democracy we have to learn to compromise. We expect the candidate to be all our way in everything or we denigrate them. It is better to be an independent to my way of thinking, and to pick out the person that fits most closely regardless of party.

On a lighter note, I wish to pay tribute to a grandson who was replying on Facebook to a disgusting picture of some desecrated graves.  He said, “One person with a spray can, that does something horrible, is just one person. Showing kindness, love, and respect makes your life matter.  Showing it to others lets them know you believe that they matter.  If we all do this it won’t take long to understand that this Planet is far too small for hate.  The need for and the ability to love is in us at birth, but hate is taught and learned.”

As a society we need to listen to the voices of our young people, who remind us of our better natures.

 

HEROINES

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From the vantage point of being a mother, a grandmother, and even a great grandmother now, I would like to talk about some of the heroines of our current day.

At one time, a long, long time ago, the place of the average mother was in the home.  There is no doubt that she was a hard worker and seldom had much spare time for herself. She was the one who kept everything running on a day to day basis, with some suggestions from her hard working husband. When children were ill, or needed clean clothes, or someone to go to PTA meetings she was the one in charge.  Our mothers, aunts, and grand mothers all did their part in this process.

But somewhere along the line things began to change.  Mothers still did all of these things at home, but now they began to go out into the workplace in addition. Life became very hectic for women as this world gradually began to accept and then to expect them to be workers in business.

Since women had learned the skills that were necessary to do a good job they were welcomed as additions to the outer world.  They brought their organizing skills right along with them.

So now it is a whole new prospect.  I would like to nominate my heroines, the young women we know who are doing double duty and showing us how capable they are. They work at home and they work in the community. They find new ways of earning an income by sales or crafts, or even by politics. They are showing their children that women can do whatever needs to be done, and they go wherever someone needs them.

And yet they still are putting their children and their spouses first, as women have always done.  It is a wonderful thing to see our younger women taking over for us.

I salute them all, they are my heroines, and I am so proud of them!

 

THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS

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How long has it been since you had “one of those days”? You know what I mean, nothing seems to go the way that you planned when you got up that morning. You know, not just the things that didn’t go right, but the ones where you just screwed up.  You said or did something that should have never even been mentioned.

Maybe you said something that was really meant to be funny to everyone, but then you realized that it would hurt someone because they would think you were talking about them.

Maybe you made a comment about a group of people or the way they dressed, and you really didn’t mean to have anyone take it the wrong way.  Maybe it was about religion or politics, or just anything guaranteed to cause a stir. And then the room got very quiet and you realized “Oops, I shouldn’t have done that.”

And very quietly some brave soul, the one with the “milk of human kindness”, changed the subject, or they smiled and said something light to take the heat off of you.

We all do or say dumb things at times and then we want to curl up in a corner somewhere. We are embarrassed that we even opened our mouth without thinking of others.

But the people that we like to have around us, the ones who overlook our stupidity, who know we are all in this world together, these are the people who spread “the milk of human kindness”, as William Shakespeare once so aptly wrote.

Whenever you meet someone with this quality be thankful that you have them in your life. They will not judge you harshly. And without saying a word of reproach they will remind you that you can strive for this quality  and be a worthy friend also.

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WAITING

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Somewhere in your life you have to decide that it is just time to relax, pull in the reins, and wait for what is going to happen. No matter what it is that you are waiting for, maybe you have waited for a really long time, but it is just out of your hands.
You may very well think that you know what should happen, may have believed it fervently for longer than you care to remember, but it is still a dream in your mind, and you may even have looked at it in the wrong way.
But that doesn’t mean that the “someday” will never come to you in the future.
Things change and circumstances change and sometimes even people change. Who is to know when the dream may appear in all its glory, even better than you ever imagined.
And if you are very wise, you will welcome it gladly, whatever it turns out to be. It might not be exactly as planned but it will surely be a wonderful thing. You will rejoice that all is well in your world and remember your most comforting thought, the one that has carried you throughout your life.
God is in charge, and I am so thankful!