Don’t fear

It is a funny thing about love. We really can’t experience the fullness of it unless we are open to it. Being open, however, puts us at risk of being hurt. That is the trade off.

vulnerableSometimes we choose to love someone and are hurt by that person. It happens to everyone. Sitting back in fear gets us nowhere. I know people who have spent their lives alone because they couldn’t accept the uncertainty. Love is rarely certain.

We take a risk when we choose to love. I have taken that risk more that once and been hurt. I also took that risk 56 years ago when I married my husband. That risk paid off. Not all of them do.

For me, a life without love is a barren life. Yes, I have been hurt by relationships. Sometimes even those we think of as friends can hurt us terribly. It takes time to know a person well and the person we see at the beginning may be wearing a mask. We may not find out until later what is underneath.

I know someone who was married for years only to discover the person she loved was a criminal. We can be fooled.

Is it worth it? Yes, yes and yes! If the love is lost we will experience pain. We learn from the pain and become someone who has more depth. If it lasts it brings joy.

Don’t stay away from love out of fear. It is one of the most fruitful things in life. You can’t afford to not live fully!

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.

 

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.

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!

Dogs are a joy

There is no question that I love dogs. My two bassets give me great pleasure. We never intended to have dogs this big. We have always had standard dachshunds. My son just showed up with the first one at the door. A friend of his had to let the dog go and he knew that we were suckers. We kept her (Tillie) and when the dachshunds crossed the rainbow bridge we got a rescue as a friend for her. The two of them are now a bonded pair.

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Tails hanging down as they monitor the yard

They brighten my day by their antics. Bassets are stubborn by nature and when called to come will do so….at their own pace which resembles a snail. Alternately if they don’t want to come at all will go behind a bush with the hope that you won’t see them at all. Strangely enough if I say “I see you” they come out.

Crash, so named by foster family as he was hit by a car) will bark at the door. Thinking that he wants to go out (they have a dog door in the back) one of us will get up and open the door to discover that he doesn’t want to go out. He wants us to let Tillie in.

When we are gone excitement ensues. Towels are pulled from racks. Laundry is removed from the basket in the laundry room and all couch pillows are pushed to the floor. None of these things are damaged…just rearranged.

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At 5:00 PM play time arrives and they chase each other around the house, in and out the dog door and around the yard. Barking commences and when Crash catches up to Tillie she lets out an ear curdling screech. The sound penetrates every room in the house. We need ear protection.

Without them things would be boring.

For them and us Life is good.

The joy of giving

Taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. —Dalai Lama

labelsChristmas is about giving. It is not about trying to give the most expensive gift. It is about giving the things that warm the heart. We have become so conscious of labels. Is that from Marc Jacobs or Coach? We even have many things with the labels on the outside so we can flaunt how expensive something is. When I was growing up we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a label on the outside of something. It is amazing how things have changed.

This kind of thinking makes us feel stingy if we don’t or can’t give something expensive. Some of the best things I have been given were of little or no cost. I have a small angel sitting by my sink. It holds my rings when I take them off. My mother gave this to me and I remember her when I use it. I doubt it cost more than $1.00. It was in my stocking one Christmas. A forever gift.

gift of timeThe gift of time is one of the most amazing gifts we can give… visiting a friend who is sick, transporting someone who just needs a ride. These are gifts that bring joy to others and to us.

We have lost the pleasure of giving something hand made. We can’t seem to grasp that the hours taken to make a gift are also a gift of time. When I knit or crochet a gift I think about that person while making it. Love is put into each stitch. It brings me joy to do this and I hope that it brings love to the person receiving it.

Those who feed the homeless or collect items for them are giving a gift of themselves along with the food and clothing. These gifts bring joy to all.

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This season remember the joy of giving. The cost matters not. It is the love in the gift.