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.

Cherish those who matter

Life, as usual, throws curve balls whenever it feels like it. My husband has been peaked for several day and now there has been another family crisis. Nothing health wise, thank God, but the usual drama. It is something that can be dealt with and will be but it has brought about some upheaval.

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Maybe, because I am a nurse, if something bad happens but no one is going to die I am ok. Life constantly has ups and downs and we just have to learn how to cope with them. I have found that one of the things that helps the most is having a strong friend/family base behind you. If you have someone that you can count on to hold you up when you are sinking it makes all the difference.

For me, that is why my family and my friends are so important. I work at keeping those bonds strong and it does require work. If we don’t connect with those we love we are making a big mistake. Someone said “don’t let the path become overgrown between your houses.” That’s not totally accurate but close.

cherish loved ones

We do have to spend time maintaining our relationships. It doesn’t matter if they are face to face, on line, mail, whatever. People’s lives are busy and it is easy to get pulled away from those you don’t connect with.

Take the time to nurture the relationships that matter. They are your lifeline.

Use your experiences

I have learned much in my 78 years. Life has not ever been perfect and usually not at all what I expected but it has been full with everything from grief to joy. I am so grateful that I can look back and see the times I was tested and grew. I realize that my empathy for others and desire to help comes from those testing experiences.

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It is something that I have said often but here it is again. Don’t regret those times of trial.  It is in the fire that the pottery is formed. You have come out of the fire made more beautiful and more compassionate.

 

 

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Remember that and use that experience to help others. I talked with someone today about how encouraging and full of empathy are the people whose blogs I read and those who read mine. We are a community.

 

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!

Apologize?

“It is a good rule to never apologize. The right kind of people never want apologies and the wrong kind take advantage of them.” From the TV show “The Orville”

On one level I agree with this quote. The wrong people can take advantage but the right people deserve an apology. Sometimes you don’t know which you are dealing with. When thinking about this I came to the conclusion that if in the wrong I would rather apologize. In some ways the apology is for me and the other person.

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Being able to ask forgiveness makes me feel better. It also shows respect to the other person.  It takes away some of the guilt I am feeling. However, I don’t like to apologize for something I did not do. This is where I draw the line. In my life I have been accused of wronging someone when it wasn’t me. In spite of the fact of my insistence that I was innocent I was never believed. That is hard to live with.

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I just couldn’t resist this one

The other interesting idea is the non-apology apology. Have you ever used this ploy? For example, I might say I am sorry you feel that way. It sounds like an apology but really I am just stating how I feel at the moment. It is however, the truth. This can work if you are in a sticky situation. Most of the time it is taken as an apology. It is one way to end any dispute and restore good feelings.

 

What are your feelings about apologies?

 

A letter to my grandchildren #3

There will be many people in your lives. Every person you interact with is unique.

Family

family-sayingsFrom your first breath you have been part of a family. It is a good family. This is a wonderful blessing. There are so many different kinds of families and you have been blessed with one that is loving and caring. That is not true for everyone. Does this mean that your family is perfect? Absolutely not! We have our quirks and failings. You will like some members of the family more than others and it’s ok. We can’t find agreement  with everyone and that is true of family too. I have always believed that family is important. When the chips are down you should be able to count on your family. From what I know about our family this is true.  You may have done something you are not proud of. You may have hurt someone. You may think no one will understand and accept you. This is not true. Members of our family may be upset but we will never turn our backs on you. You are loved more than words can say and always will be. NO MATTER WHAT.

Friends

good friendsFriends are one of the most important things in life. A true friend will stick with you through thick and thin. Take the time to make friends and keep the communication lines open between you. Friendship can last a lifetime if you nurture it. Don’t let grass grow up on the path between you.

Acquaintances

True friends are few but acquaintances are many. You will meet many, many people in your lifetime. Some will be a positive influence and some will not. Don’t let the negative ones stay. They will drag you down with them. Life is too short to suffer negative people. Sometimes you will not recognize them right away but when you feel that drag pulling you down let them go. They are not worth the trouble.

Work and People

inspiring happy workplace quotesWherever you work there will be a variety of people. Some will make your work easier and your days better….some will not. It may be harder to shake off the problem people in that environment.. You may have a bad boss or a co-worker who tries to stab you in the back. Work is necessary in this life and some environments are difficult to live through. Remember to keep your eye on the big picture. If things are bad…Can you change jobs? Can you move departments? If not function in the best way you can. Kindness with others is always the best policy even if they don’t reciprocate. Meanwhile keep your eyes open for a better place to work.  Your relative, Jenny, says you need two out of three things (at least) in a job. 1. A great salary 2. A wonderful work environment 3. A job you love. If you don’t have at least two it is time to move on.

Are there still good people?

People are always interesting. You never know what you may find. I have learned that getting to know what is inside a person can make an amazing difference. Sometimes we think that someone is a terrible person only to find out that they are living with some really difficult things that have caused them much pain. Their behavior may be a reflection of that and not what you see on the surface. Don’t judge until you know the truth.

Good-people

We hear so many bad things today and it makes us think there is no good any more but this is not true. So many people are loving and giving. You just don’t hear about them. It is our love for our fellow humans that makes the world a livable place. Continue to reach out with caring and goodness will follow.

Advocate for yourself

If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.

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I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.

When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.

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You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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?

 

Again with the change?

Today I am back from traveling again.’I think that traveling lowered my immunity and I am coming down with a cold. Always something to add to life. This too will pass. I’ve been at my other daughter’s home because of a baby shower for my grandson and his wife. Life is always messy. The odds of everything being perfect are astronomical. 

The shower was wonderful. Everything it should have been but….. as always expanding families create issues with change. I am going to be ever hopeful and hope that they work themselves out.

As we get older, we tend to look at the big picture. Life, hopefully, is long with much time to tweek things so that they work out. I live always with hope and some positive vibes.

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As usual, change always rocks the boat. Most of us don’t really like change. Me too! I would be happy if things just kept on as they are but that is not realistic. Sometimes change is good and sometimes not. We do have to try to roll with the flow but sometimes that is so hard. The trick for is to try not to look too far ahead. I have to keep reminding myself to take one day at at time…sometimes one minute at a time. Just keep going.

Religious Literacy

Religious illiteracy is a luxury (we) they can no longer afford. Barbara Brown Taylor in “Holy Envy.”

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I am loving the book “Holy Envy” which is Taylor’s  reflections on teaching a course in World Religions. This really jumped out at me. In today’s world we cannot be ignorant of the tenets of other faiths. No matter what our job other’s beliefs will touch us in some way.

Years ago, when I worked in the hospital, we had to be aware of the needs of the Gullah people who live off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on small islands. Much of their culture has now been lost due to encroachment on their islands but they had ideas that impacted their healing. Blue is a very auspicious color for them and selecting a blue hospital room, when possible, could enhance their recovery.

The world has grown so small that we can’t afford to discard other beliefs just because we don’t agree with them. At some time we will be interacting with those of another faith and would do well to understand backgrounds and customs.

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Placing other faith’s tenets beside our own can expand our understanding of our own…..that is if we are not afraid of really exploring with an open mind. Being fearful or unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone exposes how little we have tested and explored our own faith.

Don’t be afraid to talk with others openly about their beliefs and be willing to accept where they are.