Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Need some Thanksgiving?

Sometimes it is difficult to feel thankful. I have days when I am just a big old bottomless pit of envy, bitterness, resentment,and downright crankyass misery. I try to not have those days often,they are exhausting.

But,even when I am the world's worst crank,I know better. I know that even though life is a struggle,and difficult beyond measure, I have things I am truly thankful for.

I have an amazing son. We've spent a couple of years now just trying to keep him alive.He has to tolerate medical interventions that his autistic brain really isn't even capable of processing .He hates to be touched and yet he has to put up with being touched.He does it with quiet strength and reserves we only suspected he was capable of.Things most of us take for granted can be difficult for him,but he perseveres and deals with the challenges. He is my hero-most days.

I have a community of friends--most of whom I have never met in person. Which I am old enough to find amazing. Who could have imagined 30-40-50 years ago that the majority of women I consider my dearest friends are people I have met in online communities? Kind of boggles the mind.Smart,caring, kind, incredibly generous friends for whom I am eternally thankful. 

AND I have me. Now, I ain't worth claiming some days. But,I'm what I have, for what it's worth.

I wrote this 10 years ago and it still rings true to me today...

The quote for today...

I am an indestructible fortress,
I am an unassailable rock,
I am a precious jewel.
--Ancient Irish Prayer

 I think that is where I get my strength. Now, I am not saying to you that I don't have days where I am nothing but a quivering mass of jello, but what I do have is an innate belief that I am indestructible. In fact, I am fond of saying, you can't kill me it's been tried.

OK, so I know that is a slight exaggeration but most humor is. What I am saying is that I am strong enough to withstand what the world has to throw at me. We all are, some of us may not know it yet, and one of the things I try to do is to help people see this truth about themselves. If we believe we have the strength to take what the world is handing out, then we journey forth into the world in a much different manner. Our very presence changes. Our posture is taller, our countenance brighter. We shine like the precious jewel we are. Now where do jewels come from, with the exception of pearls, most things that we consider precious jewels come from the earth, from dirt and rock, created by great pressure.Not the most glamorous of beginnings So it would seem to me that the more the world throws at us, the more we manage to crawl our way through as more than a survivor, as a victor, the more precious jewel we become. Even pearls start out in an unglamorous place. Now as much as I enjoy an appetizer of oysters on the half shell, it isn't a pleasant thing to look at.But look at how that oyster reacted to an irritant that it couldn't get rid of, it surrounded that irritating little grain of sand, piece of debris, with beauty.And a precious jewel was created from irritation and probably a lot of pain.


So, I am going to take my cranky ass in hand and try to be more than thankful.

Peace and Blessings,

EB



P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Into The Darkness...

I hate to whine,but I am not a fan of winter. The time change this past weekend has thrown me off.Now 5:00 in the afternoon feels like the middle of the night. 

 I think it is just a stressful time of year. We have entered the 'holiday' season. Since time began, humans have had celebrations during the winter season, and for good reason. When the winter is upon us, we sometimes need to be reminded that it will not always be dark and the light will return.

So here we are, just two weeks from Thanksgiving, and we are already starting to see people running around getting stressed out and being rude and unkind to each other. It is not easy to remain calm when someone is rude, but if we are to reclaim civility and peace for our society, we have to start by reclaiming it in our own lives.

The holidays are hard for us sometimes, in that the reality often doesn't match up with our expectations. We want so much to create either the holidays of our memory or the holidays of Norman Rockwell's imagination. For those of us who don't have halcyon memories to draw on, we think we will make up for it by making sure our loved ones do. For those of us with great memories we compete with trying to accomplish all of those things in a different time. And so we are worn out, frazzled, frustrated.

I think the first place to start to reclaim some peace and tranquility at this time of year is to acknowledge that the Norman Rockwell holiday was a figment of Rockwell's imagination. I love Rockwell's work, but honestly those illustrations were just that- illustrations. Yes, I am sure that there are families and celebrations that look like that, but I am also sure that there are families that don't. So I think we have to allow ourselves to relax and to create what works for us. No more 'keeping up with the Joneses'!

Now my maiden name was Jones, so I have always found the thought of 'keeping up with the Joneses' absurd. Believe me, we weren't worth keeping up with. Holiday dinners at our house were fraught with difficulty.When all of the siblings and their families got together there were bound to be arguments, fights, and just general mayhem. I don't remember a time when everyone was speaking to each other, there was always some point of contention somewhere. One of the memories I laugh at was the year Thanksgiving dinner was at the home of one of my brothers instead of my parents. That brothers wife did not care for me (her loss) and she very cleverly made that known! I happen to have food allergies,in particular coconut and walnuts. On that table there was not one dish that did not include coconut or walnuts. NOT ONE! From the salads to the stuffing to the gravy, some form of coconut or walnut had been included in every recipe. Then she whined because I excused myself from the table without eating anything. My brother yelled at me that I was disrespecting his wife, and as I left the room my family started arguing. Just another family gathering at the Joneses!

So, as we start the countdown to the end of the year, my advice is to relax. All you can do is all you can do. Perhaps it is time to simplify anyway. As we encounter rude people who are stressing out, smile, perhaps say a little prayer that they will be blessed, and remain calm. That guy that just cut you off on the freeway, ask God to bless his life and keep him safe. That cranky neighbor, ask God to pour out blessing on her. That frazzled cashier, thank her for working hard and wish her a blessed day. Whatever you do, do not repay rudeness with rudeness. You only make yourself unhappy when you do that, and the truth is rude people are unhappy people, no need to add to their numbers.

Do yourself  a favor. Relax,enjoy. Dosomeone else afavor. Visit someone who doesn't get visitors very often.There are a lot of folks who are struggling--believe me, I know. As much as financial help is necessary--and appreciated--human contact is also a struggle.

This time of year is a natural time for remembering, the winter season is a time for reflection and renewal. Today, with the solstice upon us, we are reminded that there is a reason why most cultures, from our prehistoric ancestors until the present time have holy days and ceremonies at this time of year. The nights are long, and life has slowed down as the earth sleeps and rests for the growing that will come. We as human beings have always seemed to be more spiritual at this time of year. We have time to reflect, and time to share the stories of our lives and the lives of those who have come before us.We have time to be social, and so we honor this season with ritual, tradition, and ceremony.We have time to tell our stories.

As you go through this season, no matter your traditions, I hope that you will find time to share someone's stories. Take a few minutes to connect with a friend who is grieving, or an older relative, and just give them to opportunity to remember.If they cry, all that is needed is your hand on theirs. If they laugh, your laughter will naturally come to mingle.It may be the greatest gift they receive this year.
Peaceand Blessings,

EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarassed about asking forhelp that if wedon'tmakeour needs known how does anyone ever know wehaveneeds.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.




 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When I'm Worried...

and I can't sleep...

I've never been much of a sleeper,which turns out to be a good thing nowthat I have to get up every 2 hours. But last night, I couldn't even get to sleep in the intervening times.

STRESS, it will  do that to you.

So then, in my head came Rosemary Clooney singing, and I tried, I really tried to find blessings to count.

Turns out they all have to do with friends.

When you have a chronic medical condition, especially a chronic pain medical condition, you have a finite amount of energy. You spend most of that energy dealing with the pain, and the rest of it dealing with everyday necessities of life. So, something as simple as a common cold, or as difficult as the shingles, can wreak havoc with your body, because there simply are no reserves of energy to deal with it.So things like writing a blog tend to not happen, even though you have the best of intentions. Then, the next thing you know you are feeling pretty damn sorry for yourself, and more things in your life get left by the wayside. It is all too easy to start thinking that no one else has things as bad as you-which you know is a crock-but it feels like it some days. Then you start withdrawing into yourself, because honestly who wants to be around someone as miserable as you.

Dang, we tell ourselves some stupid stuff!!! (maybe it's just me that does that)


Truth is we need people, and there are more than likely people in our lives that are missing us.People in our lives that think we are pretty cool.


Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.~~Jane Howard~~

Now,my tribe is far flung and exists mostly through my computer.But, that's OK. Cyber friends are some of the best friends I have ever had. I have met many people via online communities. I am nurtured, supported, encouraged on a daily basis online.

You know it is so easy to become cynical these days. Turn on the TV, check your newsfeed on Facebook, read a message board. Everywhere you look people seemed to have become mean, hateful, lacking the simple human qualities of compassion and kindness. It honestly doesn't matter what your political, or religious beliefs are you can find examples of people who just seem to have forgotten how to behave towards other people. If you are in a difficult situation yourself, it starts to feel rather personal. It starts to feel as if you just have no right to exist if you are down on your luck.

 It seems all to easy, no matter where your belief lies on the spectrum to demonize those who are different than you.Personally, i have never understood bigotry and hate, and it seems to be growing stronger. It seems like it is all too easy to think that the problems are all the fault of the 'others'. But when the 'other' is someone we are face to face with we are able to see that we are all fighting some battle, and we aren't all that different.  Folks, young, old, male, female who hold a door for me, or waited to through while the lady with the walker makes her way slowly ahead of them having no way of knowing whether I am a liberal or conservative, a Christian or a Muslim or a pagan, or any thing in between. All they see is a middle aged (hush,IknowI'm old,but middle-aged is what I claim) woman with mobility issues, and they are happy to offer assistance or a bit of encouragement.

It is so easy to fall into cynical thinking, I have thought many times recently that there are those who would gladly let me die by the side of the road because I am no longer a productive member of society. And there may be a couple of those out there, but for the most part this country is full of good people, people who will offer a helping hand no matter who you are or what you look like.For the most part this country is full of friends we have yet to meet. And even those who say the most hateful hurtful things will usually think that their friends or family are not who they are railing against.

It is possible to have friends that you are diametrically opposed to what they support and still remain friends. I know this because it is true in my life. I have friends from all political and religious parts of the spectrum and we love each other. I think it maybe because while we can think the  person is wrong or misguided we can respect that they have the right to feel and believe what they do. We understand that people can honestly look at things and understand them differently. It isn't easy,but nothing isthesedays.

Find the blessings,and thank you to those who bless me. Especially when I'm worried and I can't sleep.


Peaceand Blessings,


EB

 p.s. I dislike doing this,but there is a paypal buttonoverthere, just in case. I told a riend once who was embarassed about asking forhelp thatif we don't make our needs known howdoesanyone ever know we have needs. The William and I are struggling, so, just as embarassed, I am pointingoutthe button. Blessings.








Friday, September 29, 2017

Thank Goodness September is a short month



Dear October, please realize that September was just a meanie that hung around way too long and kicked our butts and we would like you to be especially nice to make up for it.

October in 2 days? already? How did that happen? the end of summer. Good. Summer has been a bitch lately. In fact, it would not hurt my feelings if we just struck August and September from the calendar. They are  hard months, the last couple of years.

It's the month I ran out of money and had to tell my son we couldn't buy groceries because he needed medical supplies. But, he's a trouper, this is how part of the conversation went...

Me: It's hard the last week of the months some months. Sometimes it seems like it takes a while for the universe to provide.

Son: Did you tell the universe we have paypal?

Hey, you can get through anything when your kid makes you smile! We call these snippets of conversation Williamisms.

Being poor is hard work sometimes. No matter what anyone tells you (and I try to not pay attention) poor folks are not living like kings. We are managing as best we can, and we are scared to death most weeks that there will be an emergency. When something breaks, we learn to live without it. So far this summer the vacuum died,the coffee pot died,the George Foreman died, the microwave died, andmy tablet died. They were replaced.When the computer that is your lifeline to the outside world is on its last leg you hold your breath every day.  Because that is what poor people do. We just tighten our belts until there is no more space for new notches.

 But, it's OK, because there are far more important things in life than things and there are always reasons to smile.My neighbor brought me toilet paper.But it is the MEGA rolls,and it literally won't fit  in the holder. SO,I get to laugh at myself for wondering just whose idea that size roll was.

Then my  mind wandered off,and I  smiled,and I got to laugh. Immediately wondering what recipe you could come up with for  toilet tissue! Then that reminded me of days working as a cashier and remembering other incongruous items that people bought together.Yes, your cashier might talk about you, but we aren't judging, we are smiling. Like the time the Mayor of our fair city came through my line one Friday afternoon and purchased a couple of bottles of wine and several packages of light bulbs. I admit I did ask what kind of party they were having at the Mayor's house.

So, even though we all struggle, there are always moments to share. The important things in life are always available. A son with a quip, a neighbor with  humongous rolls of toilet tissue you can smile at.

So, bring it on October. Even if we have to choose whether to buy groceries or pay bills, even if we have to lay hands on the computer and pray it keeps going, we will always be able to find something to make us smile.

"The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it.You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."~~Marjorie Pay Hinckley.

So, C'mon October! I am ready, I will greet you with a laugh and a smile.Be nice, because September just needs to leave, it's not nearly as lovely as you are.

Oh, and if you have a recipe for buttered toilet tissue...

Peace and Blessings
EB
p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.









Monday, September 4, 2017

One reason Why I have been out of touch



I had a good cry this morning.

It was just one more stupid thing going wrong,one more thing in a long line of things the last couple of months.

Now, this should not have made me cry,  but weep I did. Because this morning, in the midst of troubles and problems, it felt as if my story is ending badly and there is just no way for me to change it, and I hate that I feel that way.

I don't give in to despair often. Even though I struggle with depression and a host of other health issues, I used to be the cockeyed optimist most of the time. So, it was totally out of character for me to cry in frustration this morning. But I did.

Surprisingly, it helped. No, it didn't change anything, I still am desperately struggling. I still have no grocery money, no money to take care of the bad situation with The William's medical supplies, no money to pay the electric bill...but crying actually helped. It doesn't make sense that crying helped, but I feel calmer now. Sometimes, you have to let go of the need for things to make sense and just accept the that you feel better after you had a good cry. 

So I cried this morning and the tears did what they are designed to do. After crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the heart.

. Turns out crying is good for you. Now that I am calmer I can remember that at any given moment I have to power to choose how the story ends. I can remember that even when I am feeling most out of control,something as simple as releasing the fears by crying can help me change the end of the story.




Peace and Blessings
EB
p.s. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there, just in case. I told a friend who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs. So, just as embarrassed, I am pointing out the button. Blessings.








Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday August 23,2017




(I wrote this last year and am repeating it)

Today is the anniversary of my husband's death.

My husband was killed by a drunk driver.

Quick, what picture did your mind flash when you read the words 'drunk driver'?

In our case the words 'drunk driver' mean a 22 year old girl. A lovely young woman with her entire life before her. Recently graduated from college, with honors. From all reports, she was a goal oriented, studious college student.She is very close to her family, she goes to church on Sunday. After her May graduation she went to work, as an accountant and moved into her own apartment.

After she got off work Friday night, she reportedly went out with some friends. Young people, enjoying themselves on a Friday night. Laughing, talking, drinking. Then she got into her car to drive home. Her blood alcohol level was around .118, well over the legal limit. In her intoxicated state she drove up a freeway off ramp, past the signs that said WRONG WAY and drove northbound in the southbound lanes for a couple of miles at freeway speeds until she hit my husband's car head on, killing him instantly I am told.

This is on my mind because my friends and I have children in this age group. Children that are stretching their wings. I remember reading somewhere about how a butterfly struggles to exit the cocoon. If we were to help the butterfly, the butterfly would not be able to fly and would die. It seems that the struggle to break free creates the strength necessary to fly. Those of us with growing children know the truth in this. We watch as our children struggle with the silken constraints, and we want so much to help them, but the most we can do is hope that we have taught them right from wrong, and that life is always about choice, and every choice has consequences. We watch our children stretch their wings, and hope they know that there is nothing they can do that will make us stop loving them. We hope they know that when we see them struggle, we will do our best to make sure they learn how to fly.


Being a parent is a hard job. We watch our children stretch their wings with such pride and fear. What if we see them struggling, when do we help, how do we help. Have we talked to them about the embarrassing stuff? Kids will groan when the subject turns to sex, drugs, alcohol. They will roll their eyes, but we must tell them anyway.

Do your children know your stories? Do they know that you were their age once, and that you made choices and lived with the consequences of those choices. Sometimes the consequences are benign. You are 22 years old and you choose to celebrate the end of the work week by going out with friends and laughing and talking and having a good time. Since you are choosing to have a drink, you need to have chosen whose turn it is to be the designated driver.

Sometimes the consequences are tragic, and you have too much too drink and you choose to drive drunk, and you drive up the off ramp past the WRONG WAY signs and you kill a man, and nothing is ever the same again.







Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Choices have Consequences

Today is the anniversary of my husband's death.

My husband was killed by a drunk driver.

Quick, what picture did your mind flash when you read the words 'drunk driver'?

In our case the words 'drunk driver' mean a 22 year old girl. A lovely young woman with her entire life before her. Recently graduated from college, with honors. From all reports, she was a goal oriented, studious college student.She is very close to her family, she goes to church on Sunday. After her May graduation she went to work, as an accountant and moved into her own apartment.

After she got off work Friday night, she reportedly went out with some friends. Young people, enjoying themselves on a Friday night. Laughing, talking, drinking. Then she got into her car to drive home. Her blood alcohol level was around .118, well over the legal limit. In her intoxicated state she drove up a freeway off ramp, past the signs that said WRONG WAY and drove northbound in the southbound lanes for a couple of miles at freeway speeds until she hit my husband's car head on, killing him instantly I am told.

This is on my mind because my friends and I have children in this age group. Children that are stretching their wings. I remember reading somewhere about how a butterfly struggles to exit the cocoon. If we were to help the butterfly, the butterfly would not be able to fly and would die. It seems that the struggle to break free creates the strength necessary to fly. Those of us with growing children know the truth in this. We watch as our children struggle with the silken constraints, and we want so much to help them, but the most we can do is hope that we have taught them right from wrong, and that life is always about choice, and every choice has consequences. We watch our children stretch their wings, and hope they know that there is nothing they can do that will make us stop loving them. We hope they know that when we see them struggle, we will do our best to make sure they learn how to fly.


Being a parent is a hard job. We watch our children stretch their wings with such pride and fear. What if we see them struggling, when do we help, how do we help. Have we talked to them about the embarrassing stuff? Kids will groan when the subject turns to sex, drugs, alcohol. They will roll their eyes, but we must tell them anyway.

Do your children know your stories? Do they know that you were their age once, and that you made choices and lived with the consequences of those choices. Sometimes the consequences are benign. You are 22 years old and you choose to celebrate the end of the work week by going out with friends and laughing and talking and having a good time. Since you are choosing to have a drink, you need to have chosen whose turn it is to be the designated driver.

Sometimes the consequences are tragic, and you have too much too drink and you choose to drive drunk, and you drive up the off ramp past the WRONG WAY signs and you kill a man, and nothing is ever the same again.