Agree to Disagree

Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Why is it that some people get so upset when they disagree with something someone posts on social media? Well, my friends, I’m sick of all the craziness. Why can’t we all just get along and agree to disagree? 

Recently, I did something I never do. I posted something on Facebook that was political. It was something that made me angry. A friend of mine commented and asked me to take it down. I have no idea what happened, but later, I looked and it was gone. What the heck? Indidnt remove it but someone must have complained about it. Regardless, it wasn’t even that bad. I don’t say anything that I wouldn’t say normally in normal company and this had to do with my profession. If it was not a true statement by said candidate then my apologies, but I’m still not impressed by that particular candidate. 

The thing is what makes it alright for everyone else to voice their opinions but not me? Why can’t we just be civil and disagree like adults? If I were saying something negative against the opposite candidate I known for a fact my comment would have been left alone. Again, what the heck? I’m more than a little annoyed by all this but not surprised. I’m simply asking my friends to respect my rights as an American citizen to voice my opinion and leave it alone. Enough said on that subject.

What has become of our nation? It was once perfectly alright to voice your opinion no matter which side of the political fence you were on. Now it seems that unless you are on the correct side of that fence you will offend someone and they will no longer value you in the same way they once did. What a sad state of affairs we have. That being said, I’m really not that enthused by either of the candidates this year but I will vote and let my voice be heard in the ballot box. Not here or on social media ever again. To all my “friends”, my opinion matters just as much as yours does even if I do happen to disagree with you on this one matter. Please let me have my right to share my opinions just as I let you have yours without complaint or comment. Just keep on scrolling if you don’t agree and keep it happy out there.

The Drive of Life

My Hubs is a huge car fan.  He particularly loves old, British cars and very expensive, exotic cars.  He isn’t a muscle car kind of guy, but he certainly can appreciate them.  Over the many years I have known this man, I have learned many things about cars and have come to appreciate them myself, not to the extent that he does, of course, but I do appreciate them.  He is known around here as the “Tire Guru”, meaning, if you need any advice on which set of tires you should get for your car, he’s your man.  He can tell which kind of tires are on a car by the marks left in the snow, for heaven’s sake.  He has also been known to leave notes on cars for those poor souls who have low tire pressure, or those who have had the misfortune of having their tires put on backwards.  Yes, for those of you who were not aware, certain types of tires can be put on backwards making their purpose in life, well, impossible.  They can’t whisk away the water for instance if they are on incorrectly.  I have learned this from Hubs.  I am “in the know”!

I promise, though, I won’t write about my very minimal car knowledge, but let’s just say, I have enough to get by.  Actually, the normal routine of cars around here goes something like this.  I ask a question which seems like a simple car question.  What I get instead of a simple answer is a complete dissertation of the mechanical workings of whatever part of the damn car I asked about.  Hubs, in return for his extraordinary effort, gets my “deer in caught in the headlights” look.  He has completely lost me by the second or third sentence most times.  I just wanted the simple answer, but God bless him for trying.  Our son could identify all Ford Mustangs, regardless of year, by the time he was two or three.  He could identify most brands shortly after that, making Daddy one proud papa. Again, I digress.

This post is about what drives us in our lives. For some people it seems to be about success.  For others, it’s about religion, still others, family.  What makes people tick?  What drives us in our lives?  I have met so many people and yet, each person I meet is uniquely different.  I guess because of that, I can only tell you my thoughts and tell you what drives me.  Some days I have to admit, I don’t seem to have any drive at all, but in the end, here I am, so something drives me.

I am and I’ve always been a people pleaser.  I love to make others happy.  My mother always taught me that giving was much better than receiving because you get so much more back.  She also saw in me that I was a giver.  I have to admit that I like to receive, too.  Who doesn’t?  But in my work, I find that giving my time to others is what brings me the most happiness in life.  Selfishness is something that makes me crazy.  I abhor it, yet I find myself being selfish at times.  They always say that the traits you dislike in others are usually the ones you need to work on.  I guess they’re right on that one.  I’m selfish when it comes to time and attention from my Hubs.  He really is the best.  While I have been so ill these last few months, he has been my rock.  I’ve realized that as long as he is there, I’m happy and satisfied.  I won’t say we always get along.  We are human, but we understand each other so well, that just by communicating, all is well in the world.

My faith is also very important to me.  Let me tell you, it’s been tested quite a lot over the years, but no matter what, I always come back, and never once have I questioned God’s existence.  I know that God is a loving and forgiving God.  I know that I am a sinner and I pray every single day for forgiveness for my sins.  I sure hope he hears those prayers.  I have not been a perfect Catholic, but I am a repentant soul just trying to do the best I can and trying to do a little better each day.  I’ll never be perfect.  I don’t get to church everyday or anywhere near it.  In the last month and a half, due to my illness, I haven’t been at all.  I long to get back to the choir.  I miss it.  The point is, regardless of how many times I go to church, I still try my best to live my faith and to teach it to my children.  I often times feel like I have failed doing a good job in that department.  I haven’t lived up to the standards I set for myself.  That being said, my faith still drives me to do better and to try harder.

My family drives me to be successful and to be a good role model.  I don’t always succeed but I keep my head up and keep on going.  Hubs and I have done our best to provide for our family, to create a safe home, to create a happy home.  It’s been a very difficult and rocky struggle throughout the years, but we finally have achieved a home environment that is something that we are proud of.  We have always loved our family very much, but for much of our married life, there were struggles.  This life is a hard one and like I always say, I am a work in progress.  We all are.  Hubs and I used to fight over stupid things that didn’t really matter.  I finally realized that it was me that was instigating the madness.  There was no reason for it.  It was me trying to live in a house where everything was perfect.  The reality was, we needed a home that was lived in and not so perfect.  I had to realize that I was the problem.  That’s really hard to do, but once I did it, our lives began to transform.  Now, our house is a home of love and imperfection and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now, I’m working on my impatience.  I have the drive to fix it because of the love I have for my family, but the struggle is undeniably difficult at times, especially when I’m tired and not feeling well and dealing with a 9 year old who is also tired and won’t give up the battle. Ugh!

If only I could get in a car, a really nice car, and drive off to be serviced for my own imperfections… Well, nice thought that is, but I will continue to strive to fix me.  Right now, I’m still recovering from that blasted surgery and it’s complications.  I know once I am able to get out and about again, I will get a new outlook too.  I’ve had far too much time in my house this summer, but I’m feeling much better and ready to have some good times.  I’m ready to build up my strength and get back to work again.  So, that’s my story.  What drives you?

Alone on My Island

For the first time in my life, I find writing daunting to me. I feel as though I’ve been placed upon a desserted island and I’ll never be rescued. It isn’t that the thoughts aren’t in my head as much as it is the sheer effort of putting it into writing at the moment that is my problem.

I honestly would not wish my last month on anyone.  I’m so tired and each time I think I’m making progress, I’m somehow shut down yet again. Complications arise. It will end. I know it will. But just for today, I’d like to be normal again. Just now, my island is filled with pain, loneliness and some boredom. I feel very isolated which is to be expected, but it has been so long.

My Hubs has taken me out for a drive, but I am exhausted after returning, unable to do much of anything only to return to my island. The simplest things seem so difficult and take so much time to  recover from.  I took my first walk down the street. I made it 4 houses and back. I felt completely done. I was lightheaded yet so proud of my accomplishment. The next day, I was useless once again.

This makes me champion for all those who live like this everyday. They make no big deal over living peacefully in this alternate universe of pain and ultimate boredom. They try to keep busy and interested in the world around them. I know I try, but it is so hard sometimes. I’ve shed so many years just wondering if there is an end to this hell. Of I can escape this, my own private island of hell. Ever? For each positive step forward, it seems to take me back 2 sometimes 3. I feel like one of the lost souls on Gilligan’s Island. My problem is that I was shipwrecked alone. I’m trying my best to remain positive. Perhaps this week will bring positive things. This weekend, well, it’s not over yet.

Rebuild Society? Yes, Please!

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Rebuilding society would be so wonderful in this day and age. Of course, I say this with a mother’s heart. Mine is a heart of tolerance and love. I envision a world without these awful atrocities occurring all over the world.

When I look at my children playing with their friends, I see love and fairness. Each is different from the other, very different, but still, ultimately the same. We all are human. We eat, sleep, breathe in the same space and have learned to get along. There is love.

If the world could take a lesson from children, the innocent ones, we could rebuild society. We could have peace and understanding, but ultimately that would take all of us parents to take a stand and make the decision to make it work.
Instead of teaching children how different we are, how about showing and promoting how we really are alike?

We are each unique and beautiful creatures that God has made. He makes no mistakes. We are like snowflakes, all similar to look at but no two being exactly the same. Teach and grow the seeds of love in each other. We can rebuild this world, one step at a time, but it takes a great deal of effort on all of us.

Understanding: Hard But Necessary

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As many of you know, I love prompts. I just happened to notice today’s word prompt is understanding. How very appropriate in so many levels. Of only more people could learn to be understanding of others there would be less violence, intolerance and bullying in this world. Imagine, if you will, a world where others could understand or at least accept the differences that are present between different cultures. Of this was true, there would be so much less violence. It wouldn’t fix everything, of course, because you will forever have the outliers who like to prove everyone wrong, those extremists in every culture, but there would be so many fewer of them. They wouldn’t be taught intolerance and hate, instead, they would be taught love, acceptance and understanding of differences. I have tried to raise my children with this outlook and they are different. They do not hate.

Think of the most recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida. 50 innocent lives. Now there are mothers grieving the losses of their children. Brothers, sisters and fathers all crying over their son or their daughter who just happened to be born gay and decided to go out for a night out. Not everyone in that club was gay, I can almost guarantee it. But the shooter hated gay people so much, he didn’t see these  people as human beings with lives and families. He saw them only as gay. So, will they shoot me because I’m a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes and I am Catholic? No, I would be shot because I “sympathize” with the “gays”. I sympathize with humanity and I weep for the future. If there is no understanding in this world and no tolerance then I weep for the future of this world. What a horrible place I have left to my children. All I can do is pray and that info every day. For my family,  for the victims of these tragedies, and for those who hate.

A Fork of Something Special

With a forkful of salad in my mouth, I mull over this word prompt.  What a fascinating prompt to be given.  A fork can be different things but the first one that comes to mind is the one you use to shovel food into your mouth.  Perhaps that’s because it’s suppertime here and I’m starving.  Hubs is the grill master this evening and we are anticipating his famous burgers.  They are truly delightful.  Well, just about everyone loves them, with the exception of 2 of my daughters.  You see, he mixes just the right amount of dry red wine and soy sauce into the ground chuck.  I’m not even sure if he puts anything else in them, but the taste after searing them well on the the grill is, for lack of a better term, amazing.
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A fork also brings to mind thoughts of long ago and the Little Mermaid.  Do you remember the bit where she found a fork and thought we humans used them to brush our hair?  She called them dingle hoppers.  What a name.  Very clever girl with her treasures.  My ex-husband and his old college roommate used to sing songs from the Little Mermaid.  They knew every word.  What a great time it was to sit in between the two songbirds in a small pickup truck while they serenaded me with those songs.  That was a very long time ago.  I wonder if he still remembers the words?  I’ll have to tell my girls to have him sing those songs to them.  I think they’d get a great laugh out of it.

We have to be true to word “fork” and not forget the definition of “fork”.

Simple Definition of fork

  • : a small tool with two or more pointed parts (called prongs or tines) used for picking up and eating food

  • : a garden tool with two or more prongs used for lifting and digging soil

  • : a place where something (such as a road or river) divides into two parts

Source: Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary
Given the last meaning of “fork”, one often thinks of the forks in the road, metaphorically anyway, that their lives have gone.  I have always been one to choose the path less traveled.  I never choose the fork of least resistance.  I couldn’t tell you why I am the way I am, but I do seem to enjoy getting there the hard way.  At least I tell myself that I enjoy doing things the hard way.  I don’t really.  I suppose I try to convince myself just because I’ve learned to enjoy this route.  This fork in life has always provided some great views into the lives of people I would otherwise have never had the fortune to meet.  Each of them has made an impact on my life.  For that, my friends, I am grateful.
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Yes, there are always easy ways and hard ways to accomplish your goals and it all begins with which way you choose to go at that fork in the road.  Sometimes, the path may appear to be covered with gold and gems, but that may only be the outside.  Sometimes choosing the path with briars and thorns will result in a fairy tale ending with far more riches than meets the eye.  Be careful which fork you choose.  Your life depends on it.

Grains of Kindness

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We are all individuals. That being said, it takes each one of us to make the world a better place. In this Revolution of Kindness I want to focus on how each of us is like a grain of sand. Yes, a grain of sand.

You wouldn’t go to the beach if there were only a few grains of sand because it wouldn’t be a beach, right? It takes many grains to make up the entire beach. Well, bearing that in mind, we are like that. We encompass many views, each unique and different. We may look similar and act similarly, but if we look at each person, as with each grain of sand, you can see the vast differences.

It takes more than one view point to make a country work. No one person or viewpoint is inherently right just like there isn’t one individual that is wrong 100% of the time on every little thing. That is why we have a government made up of different individuals who are supposed to be there to do the work of those they represent. It doesn’t always work that way, but in theory it should. Ah, but I digress.

As we are simply grains of sand, alone we can accomplish a little bit, but together we can do so much. Think about a bag of sand. They use sandbags to make barriers to hold back flood waters. It’s very effective! It also takes more than one person to accomplish this task efficiently.  If one person shows kindness towards another, it pays off by making both of them happier. The second person is more than likely going to perform a kind gesture for someone else. This can and will grow if kindness is allowed to bloom.

We are the grains of sand that could make the world a much kinder place. We need kindness in our lives. First we must let the grain of Kindness grow within our hearts, then we can plant that grain in other hearts by performing random acts of kindness and using kind words. Let’s let the grains multiply to see what kind of world we can create. I know I would like to live in a world where we are more concerned with the welfare of others and less caught up in the small battles within our own hearts. What about you? Will you journey with me to a kinder world?

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It’s Just a Phase They Say

When children are small, they go through phases.  They go through the “Terrible Two’s”, the “Terrific Three’s” and so on.  We all know about the Terrible Two’s if we are parents.  Well, I will tell you that for some of us, two year olds can be quite pleasant.  I rather enjoy them, actually.  They are exploring the world around them and learning about who they are and how they fit in.  They are learning how to be independent most of all for the first time in their young, little lives.  Some two year olds are prone to tantrums.  I will tell you that I was lucky that out of my 4 children, only 1 child did something even remotely close to the tantrum throwing that other children did.  Instead, she would get frustrated and curl up into what we termed, the ball of fury.  She wasn’t loud about it, but her curling into this ball where her legs twisted into this knot was rather amusing.

When children grow older, around 9 or 10, they start learning more “adult” things.  They test us just a little bit more. It’s always interesting when you suddenly hear more mature words and ideas coming out of your child’s mouth.  Your innocent, or formerly innocent, child! It always happens when they think you can’t hear them.  Luckily, they don’t understand most of the new knowledge they are acquiring, but soon enough, they will.  Thus begins the tween phase, AKA, the brat phase.

The tween phase of childhood is one of the most challenging phases in parenting besides the all intensive teenager phase.  Your formerly innocent, lovely, and sweet child suddenly and quite unexpectedly becomes mouthy and will say, or attempt to anyway, just about anything and everything just to get under your skin.  It’s great.  It’s like they just have to press every button you have as a parent in order to prepare you for them entering high school and their independent stage.  They are simply trying to break those apron strings a little more while trying to fit in with the crowd.  Middle school and junior high are the roughest time for kids.  No one feels like they fit in no matter who they are.

And then it happens.  The teen years.  Do they ever end?  The mouth, the teenage angst to grind, the know-it-all attitude from hell.  And it goes on and on and on.  They are growing and learning so much at this stage and want more than ever to break away from home life.  They have no idea how good they have it at home.  They don’t have the experience that life has to offer yet to make really great decisions.  So, as parents, you pray that you’ve trained them well.  You pray that they know how to behave in public, that they remember their manners and to bathe frequently.  You really do a lot of praying at this stage of parenting.  You remind yourself frequently that this, too, is just a phase.

Eventually, kids grow up and repeat the life cycle themselves.  They get to learn the joys of parenthood just as our parents did.  Parents get to curse their children with that famous curse “Just wait till you have kids of your own.  I hope you have one just like you.” The phases continue and life goes on.  We as parents get to spoil our grandchildren and send them back to their parents saying, “well, they’re always perfect angels for me!” I, personally, look forward to those days ahead, and I consider myself lucky to have some pretty good kids.

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Saga: The Family of Us

 

We all have a saga when you come to think about it.  The very word saga is an epic tale about something.  A twisted course of events detailing so many things in the lives of it’s inhabitants.

Saga | Definition of Saga by Merriam-Webster

a long and complicated story with many details. : a long and complicated series of events.

Given this definition, isn’t that what our families are all about?  Take my family for example.  First there are the characters.  There are my Hubs and I, AKA, the parents.  The kids, we will refer to them as Boo, Bear, Bug and Boy.  This is my immediate family.  We each have our own lives outside of our home as well as the life we share when we are gathered together.  Our characters each have personalizations that make them each unique to who they are, but to complicate that, when they are with different people, they have different personality quirks or traits that they may not have with others.
When you filter in more characters, such as in extended family, which there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dad for Boo, Bear and Bug, as well as Stepmom, and Step family for them, the saga instantly becomes that much more confusing and entertaining as well as epically more interesting.  You see, every family has a story.  Each family’s story is unique.  I will make my family’s story as simple as I can and try to simply give you the bare facts so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with the details.  My Hubs always says he needs a flowchart for my extended family, so I’m afraid with 37 first cousins, not including their spouses, I will have to leave them out.  Just hope they all know how much each of them knows how much they mean to me and how much I love them.
Many years ago, on my mother’s side, her parents met, fell in love and had her first.  She was followed by 3 boys and another little girl.  Mom met dad when her family moved from the midlands of Ireland to the west of Ireland at age 12. Both mom and dad’s fathers, had some business together so that’s how my parents met.  Mom started going out to to dad’s for holidays when she was young.  She grew fond of dad and his family over that time.  Dad was one of 8 children.  He was always a student and so was she.  At 18, they each went off to school. Mom went to England to study nursing and dad went to University to study medicine.  They kept in touch and mom found him a job for his summer leave from school in England.  With me so far?  I told you this is the simplified version.
Mom and dad finally married at the tender age of 29 and mom got to move where dad already was. The United States.  He had become a Yank.  6 weeks after their marriage, she was able to join him in Illinois where they could finally start a life together and a week later, she turned 30.  Imagine leaving everything you had ever known to go to a whole new world.  Her initial reaction was amazement at how large everything was.  Three years later, my brother was born.  Six years after my brother, they adopted me.
My brother and I had a wonderful childhood.  My brother was the perfect son with perfect grades.  Then there was me.   I was the artsy one.  The musical one.  The one not interested in the books.  I luckily grew out of that in time.  My brother was the tennis player, the book worm, the amazing student.  He was understood by them.  I was the sunshine in the house, but I was also the one that could try the patience of a saint.
I had a long time boyfriend from the time I was 12.  That would be Hubs.  Yes, I thought the sun rose and set with him.  Lucky for both of us, I still do.  Unlucky for him, I broke up with him after many years of dating him.  I was young and thought he didn’t love me.  How dumb was I!  I also had never dated anyone else.  I wanted to see my other options, I suppose.  I was a young and naive 19 year old.  Regardless, I broke his heart and dated several others until I found the one that made my heart soar. My first husband.  The father of my girls.
Seasons change and so do we.  First Husband and I grew in completely different directions, but we still get along.  We do have 3 amazingly talented and beautiful girls together.  We dated for 19 months, engaged 9 months and married for 13 years.  Even the divorce was amicable except for the feeling of having my heart ripped and shredded from my body.  I think that’s just what divorce does though.  I vowed that would never happen again.
I married my better half, my soulmate July, 2006.  Yep, that’s Hubs.  The same one I wrote in my diary about at age 12.  The same one I broke up with at 19.  He was at my first wedding, but more importantly, he was in his proper place at wedding number 2.  He was my gorgeous groom.  He and I were always meant to be together.  We do complete each other.  We compliment each other without a doubt.  Today, for example, he calmed me like no one else can during my panic attack.  He knows if he sees tears welling in my eyes, I need him.  He puts me first and cares for me always.  I often tell him I don’t deserve him.
We create new chapters in our saga each day.  Writing them down is an amazing tool to share with your family and close friends.  You have the completely and utterly abridged version here, but I am working on a version for my family that has many more details.  They’ve asked and I’m working on it.  I challenge each of you to think about and possibly write down some of your own family saga.  Is it an epic tale of love and surprise? Perhaps your family had more pain and suffering, or a life with privilege, or mental illness, or physical disabilities  to overcome.  Whatever your story is, it is a saga and no one else has the same saga.  Keep it to share with future generations.  We get one chance to make this life, and one chance to write it out. Do it today.