A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: R

R

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

One of the most amazing things in my life is a group of kids (now young adults) that I refer to as my “Rez Kids“.  The story of our friendship is one of those God things that begins by planting a seed, and grows into something strong and beautiful that remains with you forever.

About seventeen years ago I became friends with a delightful group of first graders and their teacher at Red Cloud Indian School, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I was able to spend a week with them a couple times, and those visits remain among my happiest memories.

When you live in a difficult environment such as the reservation, life can be a struggle.  Poverty, hunger, violence, abuse, addiction and suicide are all too common. It can be hard to believe you can have a better life.   I am grateful that I can be a witness to the way many of these young people have risen above their circumstances, the wonderful things they are doing, and the awesome adults they are becoming. Over the years I have been able to stay in touch with many of them through letters, phone calls, and now Facebook, and they have been such an incredible blessing in my life!

My “Rez Kids” have scattered about the rezmand across the country now, and I am so thankful that I am privileged to know them and their families, each of them is a precious gift to me. I cheer for the ones who are doing well, pray for the ones who are struggling, and mourn the ones who have been lost. I love them as if they were my own children, and now as I watch them mature and begin careers and families of their own, my heart is filled with pride. I have never seen a more resilient group of kids, and it is an honor to be counted as their friend.

Another r-word that is important to me is being real.  As is obvious from what I’ve shared in the A-Z so far, I am an open book kind of person, and what you see is what you get.  Although I am not proud of all the choices I’ve made or things I’ve done, I am content with the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve grown to be. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and although I tend to learn things the hard way, I do eventually learn! 🙂  I say what I think (sometimes without filters), and I mean what I say. I am not good at playing games; I don’t want to live my life that way, and I no longer associate with people who do.

I don’t enjoy fake people, pretentious people, or people who try to be something they are not… like twenty years younger. 🙂 I embrace my age, and my journey, and I have long since given up trying to impress anyone, or be what others think I should be. What other  people think of me isn’t that important, what matters is how I feel about myself, and if I am doing my best to follow the footsteps of Jesus.

The people I cherish most in my life are the ones who are also real, open and honest, and who enjoy deep conversations. Fame and displays of wealth don’t impress me, those can be very fleeting things, and it’s what you do with what you have that matters.  If you have more… do more!

Along with trying to be real, I would have to say that I have a “realist” mindset. I can’t abide “gloom and doom people”, or people who feel sorry for themselves. For the most part, I see the cup of life as more than half-full, and sometimes full to overflowing… I am thankful that I have a cup! 🙂 I can deal with just about anything, given the facts.  I tend to be pragmatic, and while I realize that life is neither fair nor a “rose garden”, I still believe that we are blessed, and there is so much good to be found!  Attitude is everything, I’ve worked hard to get to the place I am, and I believe we can all find our own inner peace if we are willing to let go of what no longer suits us.

One more r-word today.  Regrets... I have a few.  Certainly there are things I wish I would not have done, or would have done differently; I made my life much harder than it had to be.  We are all responsible for our choices and for the consequences they bring, that is why I preach so often about making good choices.

Yet what I regret most is not what I’ve done, but the things I failed to do. I regret the opportunities I let slip away,  I regret that I didn’t say “I love you” enough, or “I’m sorry” enough; and I regret that I said and thought unkind things about people. Karma has a way of bringing that lesson back around to you.

I could make a list of a hundred times when there was something I could have done for someone else, even thought about it, but somehow failed to follow through.  As I’ve noted in an earlier post, if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I’ve paved many a mile, and I regret that.

I also regret that I haven’t had nearly enough time to get around to read and comment on the many wonderful participants and posts in the A-Z, especially for those of you who are visiting here.  I intend to catch up gradually in the days and weeks ahead, so don’t be surprised if your blog is suddenly hit with twenty likes and comments! :-))

I don’t carry my regrets around as baggage though, I have forgiven myself and I have given it up to God. I am trying harder to live my life these days with the “just do it” philosophy… don’t wait, make it happen! One simple act of kindness could make all the difference in someone else’s life. You and I can make a difference.

Are there special young people you respect and admire, in addition to your own children/grandchildren?  Do you see yourself as a pessimist, an optimist, or a realist?  Do you have any regrets? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

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A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: Q

Q

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Quiet is one of my favorite things. While I am home alone during the day and Papa Bear is at work, I almost never have the tv on or music playing; the only sounds to be heard are cats talking to me (a couple of mine like to talk, and Smokey thinks we understand his chirpy language) or purring while they nap, and my fingers clicking the keyboard of my notebook as a write.  Maybe the clothes washer or dryer rumbling in the background.  That’s it, and I love it that way!

I talked about my sensitivity to noise in an earlier post, but I think that much of my appreciation for quiet stems from more than thirty years of office work answering multiple phone lines, with phones ringing off the hook all day long.  By 5 PM I was usually lucky if I could remember my own name, and had to work hard at being friendly and polite instead of grumbling. 🙂  If I never heard another phone ring, it would be too soon!

For me, quiet equates with peace, when it’s quiet I can stay in tune with my thoughts and listen to the spirit voice within me.  No disruptions, no frustration, no one always needing something. No need to interact outside of written words. I think I could easily become a recluse, as long as I could keep Papa Bear, my cats, and my computer!

Another q-word I love is question; curious should be my middle name. I question everything, I want to find out, I want to know… Google is my best friend.  🙂

Not only do I tend to question what people tell me, (I like to make up my own mind regardless of the facts presented), I love to question people about their lives!  Nothing fascinates me more than finding out what other people have experienced and what they’ve learned from it, how it has shaped them and affected their life.

At one time on my other blog I ran a series of interviews involving fellow bloggers, asking them five questions. It was great fun, and the answers were really interesting too.  No easy questions like what is your favorite color, but in depth things to find out more about who and what they were.  It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done while blogging, and I’m thinking at some point I might pick it up again, if my fellow bloggers are willing to humor me.  🙂  I think I might have made a great investigative reporter, I like to get down to the nitty-gritty of stuff!

I can think of one last q-word that might well relate to me, and that would be quirky… meaning good in a weird way (of course)! Anyone who knows me fairly well, knows that I have a few weird ways about me, or at least different from the norm.  I wear the same pair of shoes every single day, even though I have a few others.  I’ve had the same pair of earrings in my ears for eight years now, even though I have a box of other lovely ones.  I don’t wear makeup at all anymore, and I don’t cut, color or curl my hair.  My clothing style is “comfort” and I could care less what the current rage is.  I very seldom listen to music because it has too many emotional triggers, and I will put down a book or walk out of a movie if the content is too disturbing. Life is disturbing enough without seeking it out for entertainment! I don’t talk to friends on the phone unless I just have to; but I talk to tree spirits, and to rocks and wind. I could go on and on, but that’s enough to give you an example of ways that I am a little quirky. In short, I am just me, unique and unapologetic for it, and I hope you are the same. Who is to say what is “weird” or “normal”, anyway?

Do you prefer to watch tv or listen to music when you are alone?  Would you be willing to participate in a blog post interview? What are some of your quirks? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

Escape Plan (A Six-Sentence Story)

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He shoved her hard and she stumbled backward, nearly falling; standing inches from here face, he dared her to push him back. But she knew how quickly things would escalate, so she spoke to him in quiet tones as she always did to calm his raging fury, while deep inside her heart told her that he’d crossed the line and there could be no turning back; it was time to hatch a plan for her survival.

As soon as he left the house to set up for his band gig that night she began making calls, first to her daughter in a nearby state to ask if she could come and stay with her for awhile, then to her boss to ask for time off to take care of personal business.

Quickly she put her plan into action, packing a suitcase and stowing it in trunk of her car, and putting a few personal treasures in a box in the back of a closet under quilts where they would be safe if he started smashing things when he discovered she was gone.

She played it cool when he came home to shower and dress before returning to the club where he would be playing, pretending to read a book though the words escaped her; she knew she needed to wait until the gig began so she would have enough time to get many miles away.

No sooner was he gone than he was back for a piece of sound equipment he’d forgotten, and she trembled inside to realize how easily he might have caught her; as his tail lights disappeared once again into the darkness she left a note for him on the counter, tossed her cats into their carriers, and drove away into the night.

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Join us for
with Denise at 
where the cue this week is “hatch“
 

 

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: P

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This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Anyone who knows my is aware that my favorite color is purple, preferably in a rich royal hue. I love anything and everything purple, it is the first color that my eye will be drawn to.  My computer mouse is purple, so is the cover for my tablet. My favorite coat of all time was purple, it was a maxi coat and I had a large purple hat to go with it… think early 70’s! 🙂  I still love hats by the way, though I rarely have occasion to wear one.

Purple hasn’t always been my favorite color, before that I loved sunny yellow, and I still do.  Yellow roses are my favorite flowers.  Bright yellow reminds me of smiley faces, and it’s impossible to see something that color and not smile.  Finding something that has both purple and yellow… like Easter colors,  is the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

For most of my life I was a people-pleaser. I have a caretaker nature, which is a good thing, but people too often take advantage of that, and knowing your tendency to do whatever is asked or expected, they soon turn you into a doormat.  Sometimes it is our insecurity and lack of self-esteem that tells us we have to be all things to all people, or else we aren’t good enough.

We aren’t taught the most important thing… that is ok to say NO! I didn’t learn this until I was nearly fifty. We have to be self-protective and learn to do what is healthy for us and in our own best interests. Just because someone we like (or we want to like us) asks us to do something, or worse yet – tells us to do something, doesn’t mean we have to do it.  Often they are acting in their own best interests which are not necessarily the same as ours.

When I left my last husband I was determined to stop being a people-pleaser and a doormat. I have learned to stand up for myself, I have learned how to say “no”, and I have also learned that doing so doesn’t require an explanation or the need to defend your position.  No means no, period. The more you use it the easier it is to say! 🙂

Tying in with that, I have also learned not to make many promises. It is far too easy to promise something in the emotion of the moment, and then find it difficult to follow through on that promise, or to find yourself resentful because you’ve promised to do something you really don’t want to do after all.

The best plan when it comes to making promises, is to keep them few and far between… make them be a thing of value and importance, and don’t commit to anything until you’ve had time to think it over.  If we all made promises less impulsively, and considered the long-term ramifications, there would be far less hurt and disappointment caused by failure to honor or word.

I can think of several situations in my life when i promised someone or a group of people something in all sincerity and with good intent, but for one reason or another I was later unable to keep those promises, and I regret that to this day. Promises are important, use them wisely!

I want to share one last p-word that’s important to me… peace.  A love of peace is part of the Aquarian mindset. As a middle sister I often found myself in the role of peacekeeper. I’ve played that role in work situation, marriages, and between friends.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it if you can succeed in restoring harmony.  You have to also know when to bow out and let the dust settle on it’s own, this occurs when the people involved don’t want peace, they are emotionally invested in their conflict.

I remember as a child growing up hearing my parents argue at night, it was deeply disturbing to me, it left me feeling fearful and insecure. It made me angry that we, as children, were being subjected to this. I swore to myself that I would never put my kids through that, and when my second marriage became a situation where hostility and conflict were ever-present, I opted to end it, not only for my children’s sake, but also for my own.

My home and my life are now infused with peace. Papa Bear and I have a rule to never, ever go to bed angry with each other. It is even very rare for grumpy words to be exchanged.  Peace at all costs is not always the answer, but peace by choice on the part of all involved is.  I believe in peace as a way of life. Together we can  make it happen.

What is your favorite color?  Are  you a people-pleaser?  Is your home a place of peace? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: O

O

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

O is for “oh dear… I am a day behind!”  Yesterday got taken up with getting things organized for our upcoming vacation, shopping for new jeans (clothes shopping is something I rarely do), typing up legal documents, and a phone call with a family member. By then I was too brain dead to write more, and ready for pillow time.  So, this is a bit late, but that’s okay.  As I always say, life trumps blogging. Life comes first. Now on we go!

This coming weekend we are headed out on vacation and going to my most favorite “o” place of all… the ocean… Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast to be exact.  Living in dusty, dry West Texas, it is pure delight to travel to the only ocean beach within driving range, and I love it there!  Galveston Island is 550 miles from home. Being a bit older, riding in the truck for that long is too much for one day, so we split it and stay near San Antonio this first night.

Sunday noon we will be joining Papa Bear’s cousin for lunch, and she’s a fabulous cook and baker, in addition to being a real sweetie.  I wish she was our neighbor.  Then it’s over the bridge and onto the island, our home until mid-day Thursday.

We have favorite spots where we love to sit on the quiet beach and watch the waves come in, wade in the water and pick up shells, and be entertained by the seabirds.  Early evenings will find us on the free ferry that crosses from the island to Bolivar Peninsula, watching dolphins play in the water along side the ferry, and enjoying the beauty of the sunset.  I am counting down the days.

Living in Galveston and walking on the beach would be my fantasy life, the wind, the rhythm of the waves, and the smell of salt air are the most healing things my soul knows.

Another very important o-word in my life, has been online dating. In fact, that’s how I met Papa Bear!  Ten years ago Yahoo had a Personals site, and I decided to give it a try. Admittedly, there are a lot of people using such sites that you really don’t want to get involved with, some are dishonest in representing themselves, and there are more than a few crazies.  I loved Papa Bear’s profile picture, and in his profile he wrote “It’s what is on the inside that counts.” How refreshing!

What began as an introductory exchange of messages soon evolved into hours long phone conversations at night, and it wasn’t long before I travelled to Odessa to meet him.  We knew from that point that we were meant for each other, in less than a month he had purchased a repo manufactured home for us to remodel as our own, and in less than five months I had ended my job of nineteen years (I was so ready for that) and moved to Texas to begin a life with Papa Bear. We were married in September, this year we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary! It is my fantasy that we might just both live long enough to celebrate our twenty-fifth. 🙂

Moving that quickly in a relationship isn’t something I would recommend to anyone, and I would normally be the first to advise against it. But sometimes your heart just tells you this is the one meant for you, and I am so thankful that I listened to my heart!  As I’ve said many times, God truly saved the best for last, and I know how blessed I am! ❤

While online dating isn’t for everyone, and we’ve all heard the horror stories, I also know of several couples who met as Papa Bear and I did, and have gone on to have loving, lasting, relationships.  If you are careful, there are good partners to be found there, just as there is anywhere.  I believe that God uses all kinds of ways to bring us together, and that he intended Papa Bear to meet up with me. Papa Bear believes that too!

Obesity is an o-word I want to talk a little bit about. I was on the chubby side as a child, and have fought weight my entire life. I inherited fat genes from both sides, and it’s a struggle. I have carried excessive weight for many years, and have lost all of the extra pounds twice in my adult life, only to slowly put it back on again. Losing weight is the easy part, keeping it off is much harder, it requires life changes in diet choices and activity levels. Stress hormones don’t help, and my life has often been stressful until the last few years.  In fact, when I quit working I lost thirty pounds through no real effort on my part other than less stress snacking and fewer fast-food lunches. Thankfully, I have not gained it back. I don’t eat a lot during the day while I am home alone. Evenings are, however, another story.

I am not making excuses, I have none. I know it is unhealthy to be overweight, I know it is unwise, I hate being fat. Papa Bear has also dealt with obesity his entire life. We don’t beat each other up over it. There may come a time when we decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle and ditch the weight, or I may die with a Hershey Bar in my mouth; either way, what you see is NOT all there is to me, I am obese, but I am so… so much more than that!

What is your most favorite place to be?  How did you and your partner meet? Do you struggle with weight? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: N

N

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

For me, every day is a new day, and I wake up with hope and prayers, ready to see what it brings. Although I rarely awaken with the energy I once had when I was young, and I miss it, I still wake up believing that God is good, life is good, and good things are yet to come. I try hard to leave any worries, anger or frustration from the day before in the past and set my mind on beginning again. “Always begin again” is a philosophy I love! You don’t have to wait for the perfect time when all the conditions are just right, because that day will likely never come. Forgive, forget, set it aside, and begin again in a new day with a new frame of mind!  I don’t really understand people who begin their day complaining and grumpy, it kind of sets the tone for the whole day.

Noise is a big issue for me, I am super-sensitive to loud sounds and noisy situations whether I am experiencing that in person or at the movies or on tv.  I often have to ask Papa Bear to turn down the volume on a noisy tv show, and have been known to take out my hearing aids at noisy public events. Maybe that sensitivity is part of why I love the quiet so much.  In fact I am extra-sensitive to all kinds of stimuli in addition to sound… bright light, smell, touch, heat and cold.  Bright sun often makes me sneeze!  Quickly flashing action scenes in a movie or strong scents will give me headaches. When I get hot or cold it takes a long time for my body to readjust.

For that matter, my mind and heart are extra-sensitive too.  I cannot and will not watch something extremely violent or evil on tv or in a movie in the name of “entertainment”.  It leaves me feeling very disturbed. I have also stopped reading a book in the middle if it becomes too horrible to continue. The only thing I want my mind or body bombarded with intensely is love and light!

Another N-word that leaves me shaking my head at times is “never”, as when people use it or “always” in making pronouncements about something… “I always _____”, “I never_____”, etc.  The reality, at least as I see it, is that life is never quite that absolute, and none of us align with our intentions perfectly.  While MOST of the time we may or may not, ALWAYS or NEVER are risky statements. This is especially true when proud parents say “My child would never _____.”  All too often those are the very children that ARE doing exactly that while their parents remain unaware; never say never!

There are some things I believe pretty strongly that I always try to do, or would never do, but I really can’t make a blanket statement for the rest of my life.  I have done things in the past that I would not do now, and maybe I will do things in the future that I can’t conceive of now.  Always better to leave a little room for the possibilities I think! 🙂

One more N-word that played a long role in my life… New Mexico. I resided there for twenty years before moving to Texas to marry Papa Bear and begin a new life here. I ended up in New Mexico as a result of accompanying my second husband on his life journey.  We first moved to New Mexico when my son was less than two years old and my then-husband was leaving the Army to attend college. We moved from Augusta, GA to Las Cruces, NM which was then a small, dusty community North of El Paso.  We stayed there a few years while my husband finished college, then he decided to rejoin the military and we relocated to Ft. Bliss in El Paso.

A few years later he again wanted to leave the Army, and joined the New Mexico National Guard because a friend of his was doing so. Thus, we ended up in Hobbs, where I lived for the next twenty years.  Hobbs is in the Southeast corner of New Mexico, kind of in the middle of nowhere, and I am firmly convinced it suffers from too much inbreeding. 🙂 At the time we moved to Hobbs, the air reeked from the smell of oil refining. It was a difficult transition for my kids to the schools there, but eventually it became home. There are other areas of New Mexico that are pretty, and nice places to visit… the mountains in Ruidoso, and of course Albuquerque/Santa Fe.

You would be amazed at how many people don’t realized that New Mexico is a state in the USA, there are many stories of confusion regarding this. I have even tried to place orders for things by phone and have operators inform me that my order can not be shipped out of the country!  🙂

Although I followed my ex-husbands from place to place willingly, believing that it was what wives do, moving to Texas to be with Papa Bear was the first time in more than twenty years that I was able to choose where I was wanted to live, and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. If long ago someone had told me that I would one day end up in New Mexico and Texas I would have laughed at the absurdity of that idea; life holds many surprises in store.

When you are upset about something or someone, is it hard for you to shake it off or do you recover quickly?  Have you ever moved somewhere and later regretted it?

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: M

M

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

I am the middle child in my family. I have a sister who is two years older than me, and another who is three years younger.  Much has been written about the role of a middle child, it is not the most desirable position to claim.

My older sister was my mother’s favorite, and my younger one was “Daddy’s little girl” until the day he died. This left me feeling a bit short-changed at times, though I worked hard to win favor from both parents, (at least until my teen years),  most often being the one to help mom or dad with projects and such.  As the middle child I grew rebellious as I got older, sometimes acting out, and sometimes feeling like I didn’t belong at all.

As an adult I have often been stuck in the role of peacemaker between my two sisters, and this has caused far more frustration and grief than it ever brought resolution. In recent years I have learned that it is best to bow out, to refuse to be pulled one direction or another, and to let them settle (or not settle) their differences and disagreements on their own.  As an Aquarian, I am a peacemaker. I believe in harmony and learning to let go of past hurts and grievances and get along.  It hurts my heart that at over sixty years old they still haven’t managed to forge a lasting peace between them.  I have often wished that I had a couple more siblings to balance things out a bit.  My own kids would undoubtedly have benefited from more siblings too, and I wish now that having larger families wouldn’t have been such a shunned idea at that time.

I was born and raised in the Midwest, in small towns in the Northeast corner of South Dakota to be exact.  For the most part it was a good place to grow up, and a good way of life. Eastern South Dakota is farming country, my father was a John Deere Implement Dealer.  He was a good businessman who supported us well.  In my teen years I couldn’t wait to escape small town life, but as I’ve grown older I miss those simpler times.  I miss the trees and the lakes, the change of seasons, and walking barefoot through soft green grass in the summer. I don’t miss the mosquitos that loved me way too much, or the icy cold winters that can start in October and continue into April. (They are experiencing yet another blizzard there this weekend!)

Moving has played a big role in my life.  This is a reprint from my previous blog…

In 2012 I wrote a post called The Road I’ve Travelled which listed the thirty-seven residences in eighteen cities, eight states and two countries that I’ve called home in my sixty-plus years of life.

I’ve moved with my family, with a partner, and sometimes on my own. Some of those moves were sad and/or scary, but usually I was happy to see the old address in the rear view mirror. I always look forward to the adventure of discovering a new place; I have a Gypsy soul.

Papa Bear has also moved more than twenty times in his life so we are quite content to stay put on our little piece of land out in the country for the time being. We are talking about making one more move though, to someplace greener than it is here in West Texas; one more change of address before our final forwarding address reads “Gone to Heaven.” 🙂

How many different places have you lived? Which one is the furthest from where you grew up? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts: