Grandparenting– great fun!

I am so bummed. I can’t manage to get my IBSD under control. It is better than it was but still giving me problems. I feel bad complaining because I don’t have the problems that many people have. The hardest part is not being in control

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There is a new baby about to be born into our family and the mother is sure that her child will be perfect. I suspect that most of us felt that way before we had children. We had expectations that were usually completely wrong. When we are young and naive we think that everything will go the way we expect…and then life begins.

 

When we have children life is no longer in our control. It really isn’t anyway but we don’t realize that until things go wrong. Children are their own selves and have their own minds and personalities. Every day is a new experience. It is amazing how quickly they get smarter than their parents. They are superior at reading moods, finding loopholes and pitting parents against each other.

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It makes me glad that I am a grandparent and great-grandparent and can love the children and send them home. Life is good!

It’s the little things

Why-I-do-What-I-do-to-Spread-the-Joy-of-Creating-with-your-HandsLately I have an increased love of baking. It has resulted in extra bread at home and the problem is making sure that we don’t eat all of it. I am giving a good bit away and plan to keep doing that. There is something therapeutic about kneading dough. You can beat out all of your frustrations. Then there is the smell you get in the whole house when it is done.

Creating something that works out is a real boost. Just to be able to say to yourself “well done.” There are so many things in life that we can never see the results or have someone tell you it was a good job.

There are a few things that I like to do because they provide instant gratification. One is mowing the lawn. There is something about seeing the neat rows where the lawnmower has been that give me a lift. The smell of new mown grass reminds me of my childhood. My father mowed in the summer evenings when the days were long. As a child I was put to bed early but the open windows in my room brought in the smell of the mown grass. It brought a sense of peace and comfort to me.

happiness-quote-its-the-little-things-in-life-2065I also like making a bed. Just looking at the neat covers when done gives me satisfaction. I can leave the room knowing that it is completed. It doesn’t matter that usually no one else sees it. It is done for me.

Some things that give us pleasure are simple and it is so easy to skip them. Just taking the few minutes to make something look better can boost our mood for the day.

Find the small things that increase your joy. Don’t skip them out of laziness. They can make a huge difference in your whole day.

 

Worlds are there in books

readI have been a reader my whole life. I don’t know how old I was when I started reading but I do know that books have always been my friends. I still have a lot of books in my house. My husband told me that if I brought another book into the house I had to take one out so I bought a Kindle.

For years reading was how I remained sane when I was on the verge of panic. I could lose myself in a book and escape. I have some books that I have read over and over. I put them on the shelf for a few years and then pull them down and read them again. It is like visiting an old friend.

I love my Kindle but I still like holding a book in my hands. There is something about the feel of the page that is special to me. I hope that with all the electronics we don’t do away with books. It would be terrible not to have libraries to browse in. It is so different from looking up books on line.

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I read everything from fiction to the orange juice container. I think one of the best ways to learn to write is to read. Reading increases your vocabulary and your knowledge. I want to keep reading and learning until my life ends.

Celebrate today

It is important to live your life. Every single day is important. It doesn’t matter if the day is bad or good. You are still alive. At some time in everyone’s life we realize that there are more days behind us than ahead. Sometimes this realization is hard to take but life is still out there.

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If I sit in my chair and sink into sadness or depression because I have acknowledged this fact then I miss today and the days that are ahead of me. What a waste that would be. Many people in my life are gone. To not live each day and wring every bit of joy out of it would be a disservice to them. They don’t have more days but I do.

Most of them lived full lives and showed me, by example, how to live with all the passion you can muster…..no matter the circumstances.

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Today is the day that I have in front of me. It may be good, it may not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that I experience it…that I live it fully, consciously, and lovingly. That is the only thing to do. If I do that the rest of my days, however many, will have meaning.

Beautiful day!

It is so beautiful out today that it is hard to believe. In May we had weather that was like August and now it is like May out. There is a wonderful breeze and sitting here on the porch is heaven. I have so much more energy when the heat lets us get outdoors. I have been on the porch almost all day. Even mopping the deck was not a chore.

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Tillie decided to join me but of course after I put the rug back. Bassets don’t do uncomfortable.

I put out more bird feed and some squirrel feed. I try to keep the squirrel feeder full to keep the squirrels away from the porch. They make such a mess.

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It is amazing how much difference can be made in how we feel when the weather is wonderful. The tide is coming in and soon the muddy parts of the marsh will disappear. Our daily tide change is around 7 feet so when the water moves it is almost impossible to swim against it. When our children were young we taught them if they were caught in the tide to go with it to another dock, climb out and walk back. It can be dangerous if you are not aware of its strength. We also have extremely salty water. When you swim and get out and dry you can see salt on your body.

There are lots of things I could be doing inside but i’m not moving. This amazing coolness will not last and I am soaking it up while I can.

57 years

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary. It is almost impossible to think that we have been married for so long. Where did the time go? It really doesn’t seem that long ago…and yet a lot of people have no idea what life was like in 1962.

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For me it seemed ideal although looking at it now I wonder how. My husband was a new officer just graduated from West Point and beginning some training. He was in paratrooper school and went on to ranger training. During ranger training he was gone. How in the world did I think that was ideal. I guess I was living in a bubble of newly wed happiness. I think the saving grace was having other wives going through the same thing and us becoming friends. Friends were made quickly as we all needed support. We were lucky as our husbands had known each other at West Point and that made it easier.

Our life in the service was challenging. We moved often and I was alone a good bit. Some things were wonderful…the birth of our first child…language school in Monterey…living in Panama, Central America.

 

Times were also tough with spending two different years alone with children while my husband served in Viet Nam. I don’t know how I managed the worry but I seemed to cope with the stress and loneliness. Children are wonderful companions but they don’t replace a beloved spouse.

Our last tour was a joy. My husband went to graduate school and then taught math at West Point.  It was an amazing experience.

There have been many years and many different jobs for each of us since his retirement from the military and life has been good. Our three adult children, their spouses, our six grandchildren, one great grandchild and one on the way have added great joy.

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57 years. Amazing!

Bravery and fear go together

 

Bravery comes from the things we fear. We are only brave when we face something that we fear. Being able to step forward into a situation that worries us means that we can put the fear aside. We learn how to do this from the struggles we have had in the past. Each thing that has gone wrong in our lives has been a learning experience. We moved past those experiences and survived.

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Nobody wants to go through difficulties in life but they do help us to grow. The growth gives us the coping skills to manage the next problem that confronts us.  We not only learn how to manage but it helps us to understand others who are going through the same things. We have more compassion.

Think about the things that have troubled you in life and how you got through them. They have made you stronger and more compassionate. Don’t dwell on them as negative things but appreciate them for the things you have learned.

The sadness of remembering – Memorial Day

fdr-memorial-day-quote-1525289591Today is Memorial Day. It is a day for thanksgiving for those who gave their lives that we might live free. This day is hard for me to write about since my husband was in the Army for 20 years. He spent two years in Viet Nam fighting a senseless war. He graduated from West Point in 1962 and felt obligated to serve in the war.  Wars run by politicians cannot be won. All the idiotic rules that governed what could and could not be done made it impossible. I could give many examples of this but it would not only take too long but also bring up too many bad memories.

My husband does not talk about the war except for a few incidents that had some humor attached to them. He fought in the battle of Dak To which was so badly run that many people died. He won’t talk about this.

We have been to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall but he will never go again. There are too many friend’s names on it.

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I spent those years at home with our children worrying about him. There was little communication with loved ones during WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. I even had to number my letters so that he knew if some were missing. His letters to me came in bunches. Communication is better now but it doesn’t take away the worry.

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This is the fate of families today who wait for loved ones in danger. I grieve for both the soldier and the family. Many families don’t survive the separation. Please pray for those soldiers and their families.

Kindness?

detectiveI love reading the stories about the “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. Not only are the stories wonderful but there is enormous wisdom contained in each one. He writes about a time, in Botswana, when the “old ways” were being eroded by new ideas. The wisdom of the old culture is being replaced by less caring and courtesy….less connection with your “brothers and sisters.”

The loss of that kind of culture has been left behind a long time ago in my world. I am sure it is the result of many changes…..people leaving the land and moving to cities, not knowing your neighbors, having no relatives close by….etc. etc. It is unfortunate that this has happened. Things were not perfect in the past but I do think the world around me was more courteous.

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My daughter spent time in Japan as an exchange student. She became aware of the courtesy of the people and their respect for others. Their world is also not perfect but I think living so close together has created an environment of an awareness of personal space and respect for others feelings. I hope that it is not eroding there also.

Courtesy is a gesture of kindness to others. Saying please and thank you are not outdated. Respecting others feelings shows caring. I see so many acts that express an attitude of thinking only of oneself. Cars drive in our neighborhood with radios blaring so loudly it surely damages the ears of the driver. People step ahead of you in line and glare at you when you seem surprised.

It has become quite common for cell phones to ring in places that are not appropriate. People answer their phones while eating with others ignoring those they are with.

Singa_the_Courtesy_LionI know I am seeing things from a different perspective but courtesy improves our environment. As the population grows we will be living even closer together. Will we end up hating each other for our attitudes or will we finally learn how much kindness matters?

 

Watch! You may find wisdom

Each of us has a story. Story is so important. It sticks with us so much more than classes or text books. We often think of story as fiction but so many wonderful stories are true and the people were real. Some of the greatest learning experiences have been taught with the use of story. I had a history professor in college who said that good historical fiction taught us more about lives in the past than anything else.

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Story also comes from TV, movies and our own lives. Lately I seem to find great meaning in the oddest movies or programs.

I can’t begin to count the wisdom I have acquired in stories…. fiction and non-fiction. I often find a quote that I have to ponder on. I actually keep a handwritten quote book with things that have taught me or touched my heart. Here are several of my favorites:

Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. From “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson

To live is to dance in and out of the shadow of joy. From the blog “The Death Project.”

Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with sharp teeth. It will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. From the movie “Amish Grace.”

We have the best system of government the world has ever seen but it is only as good as the people in charge. From the TV show “Madame Secretary.”

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Wisdom shows up in the most unexpected places. We have to pay attention to catch it. The things you learn are worth the effort.