why moms have gray hair

CampfireIt was 40* and raining.  He started a fire.  He was sitting by the fire trying to warm up.

He went late to the camp site, aiming for  3 or 4 hours sleep.  The plan was to get up early & hike a 30 mile trail..

Once the fire started to heat up, took about 15 minutes, a huge explosion went off and hit him in the left hand.

The Forest Ranger came out, because no fire works are allowed.  The Ranger saw what happened.  As the ranger went back to his truck for first aid, another dangerous large fire work went off near his truck.

This was the third time this had happened this week in California.

Someone or people has been burying 6 or 7 large dangerous fire works in the fire pit of the camp sites.

Our son declined the Forest Ranger’s help and threw everything in his Jeep and went to the hospital.

He has second degree burns on his left hand.  He is right-handed.   He was able to go to work today.  He was able to continue on with daily life.

…..

Sort of getting back to normal.

Sure his hand is healing, he is still driving to work and doing what he get’s paid to do.  He is a graphic designer, so he works with his hands and brain all day long.

However, for a guy who was born shy and not super outgoing, this experience has made him want to stay further away from people.

The mother bear in me wants to teach those thugs a lesson.  I want to lecture them and make them write a paper to say they are sorry.  I want them to “volunteer” to work in the campground for the entire summer.  I want them to work, sweat and think about their behavior.  I want to tell their mother how shameful they behaved.   I will let you use your imagination as to what Papa Bear wants to do.

My faith in humanity has been shaken.  I am still upset and this happened four days ago.  I am still teary eyed.  I am trying, trying hard to figure out the lesson in this.

We are grateful that he wasn’t hurt worse.  We are grateful it wasn’t a planned family camp out. We are grateful that he was able to get medical help quickly.

I recently came across a quote and I have been using it several times.

Believe there is Good in the World.

Seriously, the “world” is testing me!  My boy has been senselessly harmed and scared and the “world” wants me to believe there is good?

I am perplexed.  I am frustrated.  I am mad.

 I am trying to regroup and think the best of people.  I really don’t want to.  I want to stay in my hot tub of angry.  There is not enough carpet in my house to vacuum out the angry.

I can’t let the actions of one stupid person color my world for long. I will not allow someone eles’s  poor behavior to direct my path.

Today, I made bread.  One loaf for us and one for an 80-year-old widower that lives next door.

I am trying to do the right thing.

 I want to make something to give another human to remind myself there is Good.

I want to Be The Good.

ps.  Today, I had my hair dyed.  It’s what mom’s do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lunch date with a friend

One of the things that happens when you are barely 20 and start having kiddos, is that it is serious business.  I remember working hard everyday, to set a good example.  Making sure everything was just right.  We worried all the time.  I read aloud so much some days, my voice became hoarse.  We took our children out daily in the fresh air.  We made sure they were taught respect and manners all along the way.  We took them to museums when they were young for 20 minutes at a time.  We built up the time as the years slipped by.  We taught and taught and explained until I was a puddle of goo.  I remember asking Mr. Right, if he thought we would ever, EVER have a meal where we did not correct someone’s manners, or mannerisms or behavior.  He said he didn’t think so.  (come to find out later in life, when the boys both were sitting at our table with their spouses, we all had a meal and not once did I correct a person)  Raising children was serious, hard work.  Or so I thought.  I took it very seriously.  We were aiming to raise well-balanced, respectable, considerate, highly intelligent, good common sense, curious adults.   It was our focus.  We meant business.

DustinWhen your babe (age 32) comes home to visit, you observe the most interesting things.  They really did listen.  Shocking.  They really are polished gentlemen when they need to be.  They really do open every door for their mother as well as strangers, they speak to waitresses and sales people with friendly manners and look them in the eyes. While they can most certainly hold their own in business and in a light conversation, they wait with respect for their father to speak his mind first.    They politely wait their turn.  They are well read and suggest books “the old people” may enjoy. Your heart melts, when your babe points out each house in their new neighborhood and explains who each person is and what they do for a job….. “oh, the Johnson’s live there, they are retired and such a nice couple…………oh that is so and so, he (the policeman) and wife have a couple of kids, friendly folks, etc.

Somewhere along the line, all your effort and strictness paid off.  You end up with adult grown children who are well-educated, with finely tuned funny bones, concerned and involved parents who miss their wife and kids.  You watch as your “kid” leaves the restaurant to talk on the cell phone to say Goodnight to each girl just prior to bedtime.

I look back and secretly wish, I would have made it more fun for us, the parents.  More carefree.  Nothing about us was carefree.   I can’t tell you how many people told us (oh and I am sure talked behind our backs) how we were too strict in our parenting roles.  Oh yeah, lots of people were willy nilly about giving us their opinion about what we were and were not doing right.  Maybe we should think about relaxing a little.

I am here to tell you, we did the right thing.  We were not their friends.  They had bushel of friends.  They did not need one more friend.  They needed strong parents who took their roles very seriously.    We said NO a million times.  We knew everything about their teenage business.  We guided their clothing choices and choices of friends.  We exposed them to a Higher Being.   We introduced them to interesting and well-educated human beings.  We opened their minds to artists and patriotism.  We taught them about loyalty.  We taught them the Pledge of Allegiance.  We taught them to love animals.  We made them go to museums and family trips.  We made them play board games.  We made them make choices.  Do you want cable television for the summer or swimming passes?  Guess what they decided and chose?  We made them accountable.  They came to the dinner table every single night, with a clean shirt on.  They stood before I sat down.  They removed their baseball hats at the table.  They came to the table with a discussion topic.  They thanked me for each and every meal (even if it wasn’t their favorite.)  They asked to be excused.   We corrected them and helped them to be well-rounded people.

lunch datePeople with whom you would like to have lunch with.

Guess what I did yesterday?  I had lunch with our oldest boy.  He treated me to lunch.  We laughed and talked non stop.

Yep, he was someone I would choose to go to lunch with.

trade ya

Remember taking your lunch to elementary school?  There was always a kid in class, I won’t name him….who had Ding Dong’s or Twinkies or other desirable store-bought dessert treats.  While my mother did make a very good Rice Krispy treat, they really weren’t trading material.  Pretty much everyone got rice krispie treats or homemade cookies in their lunch boxes. Most of the boys carried brown bags for their lunch, girls got to bring lunch boxes.  So great.   I remember having “The Partridge Family” lunch box one year.  Oh, and one year I had a black patent leather, Barbie lunch box.  Oh Lordy, I loved that “classy” looking lunch box.

I adore trading.  In adult language the word is barter.  I LOVE to barter.   I am genuinely thankful that I have found others to trade with.   I simply love it.  I love to trade an armful of fresh grown lavender for a  tussy mussy of fresh herbs. I love trading a big heavy sack of apples for 18 fresh eggs.   I get all giddy when I trade sewing pillows for amazing, hand crafted Veteran’s Day cards.  Last year, every single one of our 25 Thanksgiving cards, I traded for.  Each was hand crafted and so beautiful.  Each unique and so creative.  I was over the moon delighted to send them out.  I heard all sorts of nice compliments.   All I had to do was sew a pillow for her grandson.

The thing about bartering.  I try my very best to do an excellent job.  I do my very best work.  I really make an effort.  Then when it comes time for the big trade…………we both feel as though we got the better end of our bargain.  I love to sew and I have been sitting in front of a sewing machine since I was 12 years old.  So, some projects come together with ease.  Other folks are better at baking or making cards or growing herbs.    For me to hem a pair of pants and trade for a fresh loaf of baked bread?  That is heaven for me.  I simply adore the barter.

DSCN3910Yesterday, on a dreary, dark, pouring down rain day, I went into my sewing room to create and be surrounded with color.  Lots of saturated, glorious colorful threads and fabrics.  My mood is instantly lifted by color.   I sewed a little zip bag in stunning red and black.  The lining on this little gem has dog bones (the recipient of said bag is a huge dog lover) dancing across the threads.  DSCN3908I did my very best.  I am trading this bag for some beautiful hand crafted cards with a tree theme.  Of course you have to agree ahead of time, of the trade.  When it will be done.  How will you get it to the other person, etc.  However, I highly recommend the bartering system.  Each party feels like they made an excellent choice in deciding to trade with the other.  Instead of cash, the other person gets exactly what they want.  It is a beautiful process.  It makes you feel so good and proud to share part of your talent for someone else’s bounty.  Instead of being persnickety with how much each egg or piece of fabric costs to the penny, you get the privilege of trading your talent for theirs.  Each person has a talent that is worthy and of value.

By trading, you lift each other up and celebrate one another’s gifts. You each end up smiling and feel a deep down happy that someone was so delighted with your gifts that they were willing to share theirs.  You each took a chance.  You each put yourself out there on a limb and opened yourself up to judgment.  The beauty of the barter system is you make the choice to trade what is of value to you.  The two of you trade things that are of value thus making the process elevated to a higher level.  You both win.

I am always open to the idea of bartering.  Do you love to barter?  Have you ever tried it?  It will do your heart and soul some good.  It makes both people feel wonderful.  You say thank you and mean it.  Really, really mean it.  I promise, you will be so glad you tried it.  Trade ya? encourage

chicken manners

DSCN3390The most interesting thing happens when I wear Mr. Right’s big, rubber, black, work boots.  I feel somehow empowered.  With his boots and oversized work gloves on, I feel like I can lift, tote and move just about anything. Luckily I don’t have to do that much.  Adding a layer of straw to a chicken coop is not what you would call a lumberjack chore.  It is actually rather fun.  Breathing in the fresh air.  The snow is gently falling on my face.  I have a spirited morning conversation with the chickens while the dog does “dog angels” in the snow-covered lawn.

This morning the temperature was a bit nippy.  The snow was falling and it had been chilly throughout the night.  I went out early to give the chickens some greens and a snack of popcorn.  After saying good morning to them and they had quite a bit to say.  I had to bring the water inside to melt the ice and replenish with more.  So after I gave them fresh water, some food, a snack and had a little morning conversation, I checked to see if they had anything for me.

An egg.  One lovely, palest of pale green gift.

It is an interesting relationship.  They are farm animals.  I take care of their needs and they graciously give me eggs.  I am grateful and I tell them so.  I say thank you.

That simple act of being gracious to another living creature.  It actually does more for the person saying it than the person (or animal) hearing it.  I would love to share that chickens have really lovely manners and they are gracious and sweet.  They are not.  They step in front of me, they peck at my boots, they try and nab my bracelet, they leave “gifts” on my deck, they squawk when I am trying to talk, they walk away when I hang up a natural cookie I made just for them.

By saying thank you, it somehow lifts me to a higher level of being.  Living graciously by expressing your gratitude is heartwarming.  Yes, even saying thank you to chickens.  Having good manners is about me and how I behave, all of the time.  Even when no one is watching.grateful sign

Instant gratification at its simplest form.  I fluff and puff their coop.  I give them food and water and herbs.  I talk to them, they talk back.  I take the egg they have laid.

gratefulnessI say thank you.

pop, goes my bubble

bubbleEvery once in a while, someone takes out a very sharp pin and makes a jab at my bubble.  Yes, I live inside a clear, clean, organized, orderly, sweet-smelling, polite, only nice people allowed bubble.  Ask my kids, they know I live in a bubble.  Shsh, don’t tell them, but sometimes, I add the word “the” to things to make them cringe.  It’s how we do things inside a bubble.  “Gosh, when you all move we will have to get “the” Skype, so we can talk and see the grandgirlies”.  Heck, even I know it is Roll Tide in Alabama, not “the” Roll Tide.  gosh, I like to poke fun at those boys.

Back to my slap on the wrist, jab at my bubble.  You see, one of the things that most people forget to talk about when they or someone they know become sick is money.  Yep, great big piles of green moola.  How does one get all the paperwork figured out and I do mean a lot of paperwork, so all the right people can be paid for their expertise?  Here is the big poke……………..in over 8 months of medical drama, I haven’t had to think about it at all.  period.  Nope.  I am one of the lucky ones.  YES, I said I am lucky.  You see, Mr. Right has taken it upon himself to intercept bills and envelopes and phone calls.  He has paid bills and argued with insurance companies.  He remembers to bring the correct laminated “magical” cards to each appointment.  He has scratched his head and tried to figure out the common sense approach, then to just throw his hands in the air and pay the dang bill.  Yes, we have very good medical insurance.  Yes, we have paid the premiums.  Yes, we have filled out all the forms.  News flash, being sick costs money.

It is me, who has made this big decision drama.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  Should I do this  or that?  Should I get a second or third opinion?  Should I listen to my gut?  Should I fall back on how I was raised?  I don’t want to do that!  I want to do it MY WAY.  I want to cross my arms and stomp my feet and have a little or big melt down.  I want a cappuccino treat because I was a big girl and went to an appointment.

Enter Jesse Prather. www.healyourselfllc.com   I learned about him and got to know a bit about him yesterday.  Here are the words that poked my bubble and let out some of my very hot air:  “Learning in the Spring of 2010 that I had cancer was difficult enough to accept, never mind the fact I had no medical insurance.  To offset my financial worries, I was forced to find alternative ways to heal myself……two and a half years and thousands of hours of research later, I regained my health with cleansing and intense detoxification through juicing…”

Shame on me.    A huge shock, slap in the face, here I am being a Verruca, acting all high and mighty…………..I have the privilege of choosing to juice and exercise and breathe and cleanse.  I  wasn’t forced to make this choice.  I, in my white gloves and nose in the air, decided it was the best possible choice for me.  In all the tangled mess, I um, sort of forgot there were oodles and oodles of poodles……….not really, it just rhymed………oodles of people who have NO insurance.  They do not have the luxury…….yes, that is what it has become, luxury of choosing what to do with said medical insurance.  Heck, even if you do have insurance, it doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I won’t insult your intelligence by listing all of the things that it does not cover.  Let’s face it, being extremely ill costs a whole bunch of money.

A friend mentioned yesterday, that our medical system is so out of whack that it is high time many of us took back the reigns and took control of our own health, life and well-being.  Time to hit the books, do “thousands of hours of research” and get on with it.  It is time for us to stop “believing in” the television and print ads produced (and a very good job they do) to tell us what we should be taking and thinking about our health.  Advertisers are paid millions and millions of dollars to do one thing, sell a product.  They are not in the business to care about us and our bodies.  They do not care if you or your family will be healed or live a long healthy life.  Their job is to sell a product.  period.

It is time, that we pool our resources and offer to help each other.  NOT judge each other, HELP each other.  There is indeed power in numbers.  I don’t think I need to stand on a soap box and preach…………….our “health care system” is crumbling and many are scrambling.  There is value in knowledge and learning and sharing.  The time is now.  We must value ourselves enough to heal thyself.

Our lives, are much to valuable to leave it up to chance.  We are worthy of research and learning how to take care of our bodies.  Our families are worthy of much more than GMO’s and toxins and hot pockets, energy drinks and processed dead food.  We are worthy, whether or not we have or do not have insurance.  One of the most important aspects of healing is to choose a treatment path in alignment with your belief system.  Maybe it’s time we brush off our beliefs and get back to it?  I do not believe in frozen burritos.  I do not believe in drinking another animals milk. I don’t believe in processed foods.  I don’t believe in canned soups or packaged desserts.  I do not believe in fast food.   I do not believe in eating copious amounts of sugar to the tune of 172 pounds a year by every American adult.

I do believe in fresh air and sunshine.  I believe in exercise and whole foods.  I believe in laughing every day.  I believe in green juice and sunshine juice and red beet juice.  I believe in pure clean water.  I believe vegetables and fruits can heal and sustain us.

DSCN1774We are in this together.  Together, if you are willing to open your mind and heart and soul,  we can figure this all out.  It’s okay, come out of your bubble.  The water is fine, just dip your toe in.  A few more vegetables won’t hurt any of us.

Today, I am going to be open to learning something about health from someone else.  Today, I promise to share some tid bit I learned about health with someone else.  Baby steps people, baby steps.

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward of Eden: and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; . . . . ” ~ Genesis 2:7-8

 

 

 

somewhere over the rainbow

rainbowIt was 1979 and my high school civics teacher thought it would be good for our class to go on a field trip.  A trip to the “big” city.  Seattle, Washington.  I grew up in a small community, big enough at the time for two high schools, yet small enough for the police to call you by name, if they caught you smooching, after dark near the town tennis courts.  (Hi Mr. Hartle, thanks for not telling my parents.)  Good, got that off my shoulders.  whew.

Field trip.  We left early in the morning and drove the hour to the big city.  The field trip was to hear a man speak at the Seattle Center.  His name was Jessie Jackson.  He was the leader of the “Rainbow Coalition”.  I will be honest, I grew up in a high school with one black person, who happened to be intelligent, funny, and a good school chum and one mixed race girl, over the top intelligent, excellent manners, sweet and so pretty & just happen to have  most glorious skin tone of any of us valley girls.  That being stated, traveling into the big city, to a huge convention center, during the time it took us to walk into that arena,  our class became the minority.  It was overwhelming and shocking.  I was 17 at the time and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had never heard someone speak/yell/preach/sweat/gasp for air/grab the audience like he did.  He whipped that audience, me included, into a frenzy.  I can remember the excitement.  You could actually FEEL the energy in that room.  I don’t actually remember all that he said.  I do remember being excited about “what we could accomplish”.

Once home, I wanted to tell my mother all about it.  About all what went on, it was thrilling and exciting and loud and shocking and listen to this and this and this…………..I will let you guess her response.

The years unfolded in front of me.  I KNEW the moment that I had children, I would raise them to see people, not what race or religion they were.  If I did nothing else, my children would be brought up to be well-educated, informed and would not have one judgmental bone in their bodies.

During those “junior high school years”, our plan of parenting was tested by many, many adults.  Some adults, pushed even me, to the breaking point.  I can still see myself, shaking on the inside, standing face to face, on more than one occasion,  raising my voice and asking “would your mother be proud of your behavior”?  I wanted our boys to see the stupidity of adults choosing to judge others based on ignorance.  We stood our ground.  We never, ever wavered.  We knew, without a shadow of a doubt, what our mission was.  Treat others as you would like to be treated with honor and respect.

Mr. Right and I raised two well-educated, informed, kind & respectful human beings.  You don’t even have to take my word for it.  Go have lunch with either of them.  Meet their friends.  Job shadow them for one day.  I guarantee you will have only great things to say about them.  We are extremely proud of the life they have chosen to lead.  Yes, we can and will stand and answer for their upbringing.  I can look anyone in the eye and said, we did our very best to raise human beings of honor.

As excited as I was all those years ago, to hear someone speak to the masses………….today, I would (shaking on the inside), stand my ground, look Mr. Jackson, in the eye and ask, “would your mother be proud of your behavior”.  Are you willing to answer for your children’s behavior?  Are you encouraging peace and understanding with all?  Are you using your “power” and “fame” for good?

I think I will concentrate on a couple of different views, each were also able to whip up the masses into a state of frenzy.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our true nationality is mankind.” 
― H.G. Wells

my knees got weak

c17Last night, after taking Sweet Liberty for a dip in American Lake, we stopped for an errand on the way home.  Mr. Right parked and I stayed in the car with “Libby” and watched a helicopter on Fort Lewis practicing hovering skills.  I fully admit, I am an airplane fanatic.  I love ’em all.  I love watching them.  I love dreaming about them.  I love going places in them.  Heck, for my birthday one year I got to FLY one (a Cessna people, not a military plane…. geesh)!!!!! Hey, I can still picture my white Kedds sneakers as I walked through the pre-flight check.    Yep, I am a fan.  While I watched the helicopter in front of me, I heard a loud rumbling, makes your heart pound kind of noise.  I was looking up.  There it was, I spotted it.  HOLY MOLY, she is going to land here!!!!  My heart was racing and I was smiling.  With the Air Force base right next door, (they have a much larger landing strip) you don’t very often see C17 land on the Army base.

It all happened in a flash.  The pilot came down fast, the wheels touched the tarmac, I could see the bit of smoke from the contact the moment it happened.  I sort of felt like I could “feel” him apply the brakes.  It was LOUD.  I mean really, really loud.  Oh, did I mention thrilling?  To see that piece of machinery come to such a quick stop was amazing.  It is a huge, imposing airplane.  I was thinking of the military people inside.  I was hoping they were home.  I was hoping that the exact moment the wheels touched the soil, there was cheering inside.  Yes, I know I am a dreamer.  I want everything to be “blog worthy”.  ha

The moment Mr. Right got back in the car, I of course told him all about it and imitated the noise and my hands were flailing around explaining it all.   He smiled as he does every time I explain something to do with airplanes.   It usually leads to an old military story from him, then I am a happy camper.  Love hearing him talk about the “old” Army days.  Sometimes, I forget that he was a 17-year-old infantry kid, marching, and more marching and yet more marching.  He will sometimes sing cadence for me while he is out doing yard work or raking leaves.  Especially when he has a rake for a “gun” in his hands.  I love hearing the sing songie sound of those songs. Yes, he cleans up the words for me……….however, I am pretty slick and know what words he is switching to be politically correct for “the wife”.

army guys running

C-130 rollin’ down the strip

64 Rangers on a one-way trip

Mission Top Secret,

destination unknown

They don’t even know

if they’re ever coming home

When my plane gets up so high

Paratroopers take to the skies

Stand up,

hook up,

shuffle to the door

My knees got weak

and I hit the floor

Jumpmaster picked me up with ease

Tossed my knees into the breeze

Um, you get the idea…………add in hundreds of Army soldiers marching or running and well you get the idea.

On the drive home, Mr. Right took the route past the air field.  I love seeing it all.  HEY, WAIT A MINUTE…………….LOOK, LOOK at all those people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I KNEW IT !!!!!  All those people pushing baby strollers with Red, White and Blue balloons outside a hanger, people milling around, signs everywhere……………….I KNEW IT in my heart and soul.families waiting  That plane was bringing some of our finest home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Oh my stars, think how loud the cheer was inside that airplane the moment it touched down?  Think of the hearts pounding of those wives and kiddos and babies and moms and dads and girlfriends in trench coats with stunning high heels (yes, I have honestly witnessed this & it makes me smile in a weird way), the husbands and kids in homemade USA t-shirts and the posters and the yellow ribbons and friends.  It was thrilling to have been a fly on the wall while it all unfolded last night around 7:30 pm in Washington state!

By the way, in case anyone forgot, yes, we still have troops fighting for our country.  While we sleep peacefully, they are not sleeping, they are defending our Liberty and Freedom.  Sadly, we are still sending just as many as we welcome home.   Sad face and Happy face, I have attended both ceremonies.  I can tell you last night’s home-coming was one of the happy ones.  If you ever get the chance to attend one, please do.  You will be standing smack dab in the middle of PURE HAPPINESS!

imagesCA7NC8MSMay God bathe our troops and their families in Grace and Goodness.  WELCOME HOME SOLDIERS, THANK YOU & WELCOME HOME!  JOB WELL DONE.

Dismissed.

I knew, I quit

imagesCAFCXRIAIf I hear one more IRS employee say “it was not under my authority”. “it was out of my jurisdiction”, “I have no knowledge of that being authorized”…..urgh…………. they knew.  period.   Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly.  I would say it to any of their faces.  THEY KNEW.  Here’s the part that gets under my skin, they did NOTHING. Not one single person said or did the right thing.  This makes me afraid for our country.  It makes me afraid for mankind.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

The school year 1993-1994, we were living in Germany.  Mr. Right was stationed at hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  Our children attended DODDS (Department of Defense Dependents School).  With the exception of more languages offered, no limit on the days you took your kiddos out of school for field trips, it was pretty close to being run as a public school in America.  They had field trips, school carnivals, special needs classes, book fairs, intramural sports, advanced gifted programs, clubs and whatnot.  They had PTA.  Yes, I volunteered.  I was the treasurer.  Actually, I was the treasurer for all the DODDS schools across Europe.  Don’t ask how or why I raised my hand.  It sort of happened.  I thought (foolishly) that if I was on the “inside” I would be able to lobby for brand new reconfigured, ever-changing world maps and new American flags in each class room.   No, I never did get enough votes to spend the money to make that happen.  Believe me, I tried. I talked, I twisted arms, I joked, I begged, I gave every possible reason why I thought it was of importance.  Our boys always, always, always had a brand new map of their world in their bedrooms no matter where we lived. untitled With the exception of while living on a casern in Germany, we have always flown an American flag outside our home.  While in Germany, our flag was inside our home.

I remember very clearly, on one occasion,  waiting until the boys went to bed and then Mr. Right and I went into the living room and dumped out two black garbage bags of money.  Crumpled, rubber banded, American dollars, German Deutschmarks, coins, paper.  It was money made at the school carnival.  Yes, someone had to organize it, count it, write the deposit slip and go to the bank with all that loot to deposit.  We must have washed our hands 6 or 7 times that night.  urgh.  It was several hours of counting.  Then re-counting to make sure it was done perfectly.

I wrote so many checks, it would boggle your mind.  I often wrote checks bigger than Mr. Right made in a month.  I helped balance different school’s PTA books.  I counted every single dollar/Deutschmarks from every single book fair that year.  I mean it, every single one.  I went to the bank so many times with bags of money it was shocking.  Who knew PTA’s had or needed that amount of money?  I helped find little and huge mathematical mistakes.  I was even known to put it down for an hour or two, go home, take a shower to “think” and come back to discover the mistake.  I faithfully attended every single meeting.  I never missed one.  I voted on every issue.  I took it seriously.  I was honest as the day is long.  They wanted me to be the treasurer.  I felt it was an honor to handle that responsibility.  They teased me when I gave out checks for $1.02 saying they had over paid on something.  I asked for 82 cents for postage from others. I was snickered at.   It was by the book.  No question about it.  Mr. Right was my second pair of eyes.  He checked and double checked every penny or Pfennige.

At the end of each school year, the DODDS PTA board would always have a retreat.  It was a convention.  Speakers, lectures, classes, voting for next year’s officers, formal dinner and more.  Many, many vendors from America would come to show their wares.  This was a huge undertaking.  The decisions about which text books would be bought for the following school year hung on that convention.  It was always held at a resort/hotel/destination that could accommodate so many people and have the restaurant and hotel facilities that would be of service for a three or four-day event.  The first year that I attended (1992-1993) I was just learning about everything and was not in charge of the finances.  I was a board member only.  It was my first time in the Alps.  Yes, it was breathtaking and stunning and it was unbelievably beautiful. It was at that convention that I was elected treasurer for the following school year.  Mr. Right and I had discussed the possibility prior to be attending.

Fast forward through an entire school year.  We were nearing the annual convention.  Yes, I was on my second year of lobbying for new maps and American flags……..I continued to bring it up at every single function and every single meeting.  I wanted those American children/classrooms to each have them.  I can say that I gave it all that I had.  To tell you that I failed is an understatement.  I was crushed.  Actually, this many years later, I am still sad that I could not convince them how important it really was.  sigh.

The annual convention was set to begin just after the end of the school year, the month of May.  We were working our way through April.  I was writing checks to tidy up the end of year bills.  Then, it happened.  I was given a bill for $74,000.00 plus.  I of course had to look at the reason and if the correct forms were filled out.  The check was to be written to the hotel for rooms, food and alcohol (and a lot of it).   Let me get this straight, I can’t get these people to give money to buy a map and a flag for each class room, however they easily without thought, decided that very expensive alcohol, hotel rooms and 5 star quality food for board members was of value?  For once, I re-read and set aside.  I went on with my life for a day or two.  That request never left my mind.

I talked to Mr. Right until honestly, my voice was hoarse and he was just about at his limit of listening.  It was with a heavy heart that I asked Mr. Right for help.  He helped me craft my resignation letter.  I sadly boxed up all my secretarial supplies.  I gathered all the paperwork and “the” checkbook and I put them all into two neatly packed boxes.  The next morning I drove to the bank and removed my name from the account.  To tell you I was brave would be a lie.  Mr. Right drove the boxes and my letter to the president of the PTA’s home.  I made the phone call and told him what was about to be dropped off.

I had never nor have I since quit anything.  ever.  period.  I always, always follow through.  I never break a promise. ever.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  No, not because it was the right thing to do.  Because of what all the board members said to me.  They were LIVID.  I lost friends.  Everyone thought and said I was a looser.  They called me every name in the book.  They said I was a quitter that I was giving up on the “kids”.  I should be ashamed of myself.  They reminded me of the promises I had made to follow through.  They said I was very unprofessional to leave them in the learch like that.  What would they do?  The convention was coming up and who would be able to step in?  What about the kids?

I walked away.  My heart was broken because of all the ugly things that were said.  I can still feel it.  The convention went on without me.  Nobody stood up with me.  No one single person called me to talk privately to tell me I did the right thing.  To this day, not one person.  Do I feel mighty?  Do I feel holy and better than them?  Do I feel puffed up and special because I did the right thing?  no, no and no.

  I knew, I quit and YES, I would quit again & again and again.  It was the right thing to do.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

because NICE matters

When did we become so mean?  You read that right.  After picking myself up one more time, and dusting myself off, I was reading Jen Hatmaker’s blog and some thoughts from Dr. Ben Kim and they both helped me put some words to what I have been feeling. flying pig airborne

WWJD?  News Flash! He would be NICE!  Yeah, you have seen the bumper sticker, the colorful rubber bracelet and surely you have heard the song.  WWJD? Yep, no question about it.  He would not laugh at someone for being scared about some medical procedure.  He would not gently suggest that you eat a steak and have a glass of whole milk and your medical condition would be cured.  He certainly would not under any circumstances, tell you or anyone, you are not that sick and you are wasting the doctors’ time.   He most certainly would not say, you need to pray harder then & only then, I will grant your “wish”.  Yes, I am well aware that many people want to spit out scripture verses.  They want to hide behind the idea that you should rely on the power of prayer.  I am hear to tell you no matter what denomination you adhere to or what pile of scripture verses you have memorized and pass out like free samples of chocolates in front of a chocolate shop…………..people are forgetting to be nice. Take that Bible thumpers, yes you!  Yep, somewhere in those pages, maybe even between the lines, there is a message.  BE NICE.  period.  We can debate the “meaning” until the cows come home.  We can debate if this is what was meant by this or that.  We can continue to judge others and their actions or we can stop being ninnies and use our brains.  It is pretty much tied up with a gorgeous orange bow and placed in front of us.  Wait for it……here it is…………….. BE NICE. When you choose to be nasty and ugly it is down right mean and it HURTS others feelings.  Yep, some people have become so mean, they take pride and feel uplifted in making other people cry and sob buckets of tears.  They are stomping on the momentarily weak and they are taking delight in it.  That or their mother’s didn’t raise them with good morals, values and certainly they missed the boat on good manners.flying pig two

I can 100% guarantee that if you called up either of our boys right this minute, told them how ugly someone was behaving…..they would say, oh, hope my mother doesn’t know them, because she will make you scrub her kitchen floor until it gleams and then write an apology letter to the person and hand it to them personally.  You will never make that mistake twice.  ever.  Being a human means having Grace.  Shouting; have Grace, have some Grace at two little boys probably was not going to get the job done.  Scrubbing a kitchen floor, sweeping my driveway or raking leaves gives everyone some time to breathe and think about behavior.

Now, when the boys were younger, I said if you have enough time and energy to be mean, then you have enough time and energy to scrub my kitchen floor.  It also gave me time to think of how to correct their behavior.  There were a couple of years in a row that my floor was spotless.  The message was received loud and crystal clear.  My kitchen floor scrubbers up and flew the nest.  Anyone want to come scrub my floor today?  Looks like I could use a “volunteer”.  I actually have a few people in mind that would benefit from some good old fashion work and crafting an apology letter.

Here is a poster that I read.  I liked it.  I have not stopped thinking about it for about two weeks now.  It is hard to really, really believe it and act upon it.  I am still working it over in my brain.  “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice but because you are.”

Have we lost all semblance of kindness?  Is criticism and ugly behavior the plague of our generation?

Recently on a cooking show, I saw a run down looking tavern, two old guys run it.  They have a full house almost every single night.  There is a sign on the door.  BE NICE OR LEAVE.  Pretty much sums it up.

Recently a person gently suggested that I revisit what it means to be a friend.  Okay, I have really tried to come up with some good thoughts on the matter.  flying pig

 If you’re not sure about someone, remember that how they consistently behave is far more important than what they say.  
Your time on planet earth is your greatest gift.  Don’t waste any more of it with people who don’t cherish you with their behaviour.
People don’t generally change deep within.  If they don’t adore you right now, don’t wait and hope for them to adore you later.
More grace.This just might heal the world, mend relationships, sooth our inner turmoil. It could grease the machine of humanity and keep it running rather than grinding to a halt, stalled out for lack of mercy. It reminds us we are brothers and sisters, not demigods over one another. It is the way Jesus came, and it is precisely what saved our souls.
I have to wonder, each time I am knocked down and didn’t think for a minute that I could feel this low……….I have to think I must be healing.  “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”  I am learning new lessons every day.  I must be making some headway?

odds & ends and probably way too much sharing

healing soupAs I type, I can smell a batch of “Seriously Healing Garlic-Thyme Chicken Soup” minus the chicken.   It smells really, really good.  Today, I am guessing my calcium is having a huge Mardi Gras parade inside me, as every single bone and joint is screaming.  I am putting my faith into having a few cups of healing soup later.

Update on my lemon plum:  ripening nicely, looks like another couple of days and I will be ready to cut into that sweet darling and give it a go.

It is pouring down rain harder than I have ever seen here in Washington state this morning.  Yikes, thoughts of building an ark, or at least making sure “dog” towels are neatly stacked by the back door ready for action.

Good news on the blog posting for next Tuesday……………the dessert I tried out yesterday was a-m-a-z-i-n-g and tasted like candy.  I am really happy with the results and looking forward to sharing all the goodness next week.

The coffee was very good this morning.  I use coconut cream and a teaspoon of agave nectar to “doctor it up” and I must say, it is aheart coffee delightful treat.  Side note:  I LOVE a mug or cup with a good lip.  A nice curve that gently rolls out from the base of the cup.  It is a pleasure to find the “perfect” cup and use it for years and years and years.  I had one mug (given to me by a sassy horse girl who is stunning both inside and out, more about her on another blog) and I used that mug with the hummingbird on it for about 16 years!  Yes, I do get attached to certain pieces of pottery.

Doing good deeds and not telling a soul……………………….sometimes is super hard for me to be quiet about someone.  Yesterday, Mr. Right pulled off three GREAT KARMA, GOOD DEEDS and boy you could tell he was a happy camper.  Made me giddy with happiness to watch him work his magic.

I have a strange and mixed up fascination with a family on television that just happen to have 19 kids.  In NO way do I want, need, or think for one minute I could handle, raise, teach good manners to, keep track of that many youngin’s, ever.  I just sort of like watching how they make it all work.  However, I was a bit miffed at their trip to Asia.  Yes, I would say it to their faces, no shame here………………………….while traveling through Europe for three years, we made it our business NOT to be the ugly Americans.  period.  For each country we learned some language (at least please, thank you, hello, bathrooms?, nice to meet you  etc….) , we had to keep a “cheat sheet” and zip lock baggies for all the different money.  It was before the Euro, hence learning the exchange for each country was a home school trick for all of us.  Mr. Right has a special whistle that we all recognize.  It has been said that I happen to be able to clear my throat in such a way that it makes our own children (as well as other family members) stand up straighter and look at me to discover what the “issue” is that I have noticed.  No, we did cause a ruckus with our children.  They were told ahead of time what was expected and how they were to behave.  I never once had to remind them to remove their ball caps in a cathedral nor did I ever have to once remind them to be polite to any of our hosts.  One of the lovely (the guys would not like me using that word) things about our grown son’s is that they have a great deal of respect for others.  They live their lives as such on a daily basis.  They do not act as though everyone should speak English (yes, they both speak other languages) or do things as we do.  They are both very proud to be Americans and are equally as proud of their Canadian heritage.  It is just when we were in other countries they behaved as GUESTS.  Now there is no mistaking that little tiny 1/2″ by 1/4″ red tag that is sewn on the back of their name brand American jeans, the baseball hats, the brand named sneakers………….all dead give aways.  However, you would be proud of our family’s  behavior (yes, we are all judged as to how the “ugly” American behaves while traveling).    enough of a rant… for now.

I am looking for happiness.  I continue to list things I am grateful for:  hot bubble baths, a call from the cowboy store…new red boots are in, biking 4.5 miles today, All-Clad cookware, gorgeous bouquet of fresh daffodils, friends who are helping me, books with stunning pictures, putting stickers on a put together present for a certain one year old’s birthday, ordering library books, having a box full of lovely cards and postage at the ready, a massage table in our home,massage tablea new bracelet, a cell phone,  receiving snail mail, day dreaming about Cozumel, grateful for the dog sleeping at my feet, that our grandgirlies are being taught very good manners, finding a new Sushi restaurant, using a good coupon at the toy store yesterday, chilled & cut orange wedges for after dinner, stumbling upon a new website that I love…..  www.curlygirldesign.com

Being Grateful equals Healing