Words To Live By

Sometimes I read or hear words that make a huge impression on me and change the way I view the world.  Sometimes these words come from a well-spoken professional person and sometimes they come from one of my grandchildren.  Sometimes these words are the result of a glowing spiritual moment and sometimes they come at the end of a tough disagreement.

Sometimes I understand the words and their meaning immediately and sometimes they require days and days of thoughtful study.  Sometimes it even takes years for the full depth of the meaning to become clear.

I love how words affect people.  I love how words can effect change and growth and maturity. I love how language can make things happen – good and bad, negative and positive, constructive and destructive.

Words are powerful.  They have strength and the ability to change the course of history. They should never be used casually or haphazardly.

Words can harm, hurt and scar people.  Once used, they can never be taken back. And they will be remembered for a lifetime.

Words can also heal, mend and save.  They can repair broken relationships, friendships, families and nations.  They can bring hope to those who are in despair, joy to those who are sad, and peace to those who are in distress.  And they will be remembered for a lifetime.

I really love words that make me think and question and keep me on my toes.  I really love words that remind me to be grateful and be humble and think of others.  I really love words that make me laugh.

I especially relate to the words of John F. Kennedy, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”  These words speak to me as an elder, as a woman, as a leader in my family.

I have a commission to teach, by word and by example, the younger generations how to live and die well, how to deal with the good times and hard times with dignity and grace, and how to become a good, productive member of the community.

I have no time left to waste in doing my job as the matriarch of my clan. The right time is always now.

This job is not easy and takes an entire lifetime to accomplish.  You must look for inspiration in the words and actions of others.  You must set the bar high by always looking for the best in the world around you.

And definitely you must fill your head with strong positive words – words that challenge, uplift, lead and strengthen you.

The world is speaking to you – listen carefully.

 

Becoming A Granny

I was recently talking to Mac about the day he was born. Every time I told him an interesting fact about his birth day, he answered, “I don’t remember that.” (He’s 14 remember. Enough said!)

All that remembering got me thinking about the significance of that day – the day I became a Granny. Another Grandmother was born that day too – Carol, Mac’s other Granny or Grams, as she is called. Grams and I have talked about that special day and agree it is a day we will never forget for many reasons.

First, it’s the  day I became a Grandmother. Sounds simple but is quite profound. To see your daughter become a mother is quite an emotional, touching moment. Certainly more overwhelming than I was expecting or was prepared for.

I laughed, I cried, I applauded, I whispered, I hugged everyone and I fell in love with a new baby boy. What a feeling it is to instantly know you love someone completely, overwhelmingly, with all your heart. Except for my children, I can’t think of another relationship that begins so intensely and so immediately. And then lasts for a lifetime!

I knew at that first moment that this precious boy could have whatever I had, share anything of mine he needed and claim any of my resources that were necessary for him to succeed. If required, I would give my life for his. I knew that and I told him so, on his first day of life.

Mac brought a kind of joy that I had never felt before. It was different than the glow of childbirth. Not better or brighter but certainly as life changing and character altering. He filled a spot in my heart that could not have been filled by anyone but him. I couldn’t have been happier or more blessed.

I also became aware of my responsibilities as a Granny. I suddenly had a new job in the family – that of Grandmother, elder woman, Mother of Mac’s Mother. My new title was a bit sobering in the midst off such great happiness.

My mind was full of all the plans I had for being the world’s best Granny. I would be funny. I would be supportive and say yes as often as possible. I would learn sign language. I would encourage Mac to be kind, generous and fair. I would provide music. I would smock outfits for him. I would teach him games. I would take him outside. I would read to him. I would take him camping. I would teach him to swim and ride bike. I would write him letters. I would kiss him hello and goodbye, every time!

Hard to believe all this happened in an instant. But it was a very special moment of a very special day that I never want to forget.

Goodbye And Hello!

What a day this is to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the New Year. But more than that, I want to say goodbye and hello to much more than just a year.

I would like to say goodbye to all the mean thoughts I have had and words I said. I would like to say goodbye to all the grudges I have been holding onto. I would like to say goodbye to all the anger and resentment I have felt.

How about wishing adieu to the sadness or the self-doubt or jealousy I may have experienced? It didn’t do me any good last year. Why hang on to it for another year?

I want to bid farewell to all the negative feelings, non-productive behaviors and shameful thoughts that added nothing to my life but maybe a lesson in reverse – what not to think, feel or do again in the future.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to end this year by saying a final adios to all those unnecessary, unworthy and unpopular actions of mine?!!! Wipe the slate clean, so to speak and say one big fat GOODBYE!!!

And start the new year by greeting a better me with a grand hello!

This year I’m going to say hello to kind words, to promises kept, to wrongs forgiven, to successes celebrated. In 2020 I’m going to embrace fairness, kindness, inclusion, empathy and humility. My New Year’s Resolutions will include thinking the best of others, empowering others and enjoying the successes of others.

I want my New Year to be the most positive, most productive, most rewarding and most fun ever.And all I have to do is say HELLO!!!

 

The Value Of A Friend

Patty and I have been friends since 6th grade. So that would be about 60 years — yes, that’s right, 60 years!!! Unbelievable!!!

Our relationship has survived marriages, divorces, births, deaths and many childhood traumas — our own and those of our children and grandchildren. We have shared secrets, loves, break-ups, goals, dreams, hopes, and disappointments. We have cried, laughed, joked, prayed and sat quietly together many, many times.

I can’t remember us ever having an argument even though we don’t always agree. We live within an hour of each other, belong to the same quilting guild, have lunch often and our families go camping together every year. We couldn’t be any closer.

Patty is truly my oldest (even though I’m 4 months older!) and dearest friend. She knows me completely and loves me anyway. Our conversation picks up where it left off every time we see each other. We laugh easily at each other’s foibles and can correct each other comfortably. We reminisce often. She is a walking history of my life.

This long term, life friendship is a treasure. Nothing can replace the amount of time invested in our mutual admiration society. Few people get the privilege of this kind of relationship in their lives.

Kelly, I’ve known maybe 20 years. She worked with my husband and that’s how we met. We too share the love of quilting.

Kelly is an Engineer and is very organized. She gives me good advice and has a logical reason for doing everything. She is the most wonderful, attentive daughter to her mother.

She has taught me so much about loyalty, duty, good manners and thoughtfulness. There are not enough people like Kelly in the world. She may be years younger than me but she is years wiser.

Mary and I have very little in common, except our love of quilting. I consider her my friend and yet we are at odds most of the time. Our conversations are sometimes limited and sometimes heated.

I admire a great deal about Mary, while some of her characteristics are annoying. She is loud. She is quick tempered. She is rash. She is passionate. She is loyal. She is giving.

I value our relationship even though I struggle with it. I love her but I don’t always like her. In the end she is a true friend to me. She keeps me honest. She challenges my beliefs and my statements. She makes me think and question the truth of everything. She keeps me from being apathetic.

Mary makes me a better person.

Kelly makes me a better person.

Patty makes me a better person.

What more can you ask of a friend?

 

Vacationing With Thirteen Year Olds, Part 1

It started out like any other camping trip. No serious problems really. Day 1 both propane tanks turned up empty, so we had no hot water or refrigerator cooling on the road. Day 2 was a quick stop for propane, then we had our obligatory flat tire on the way to the airport to pick up grandson Shawn. (Grandson Mac was already with us.) That makes about five flat tires we’ve had on camping trips now. It turned out to be a blessing though, as we were able to limp into the airport, and Gramps was able to get the tire changed there in the time we waited for Shawn to arrive. Perfect!! (We are actually getting pretty good at changing flat tires after all those previous flats!!) Like I said, no real issues!!!

So on Day 2 we had two 13 year old grandsons in the back seat of the truck. Now that was an issue! I’m talking entertaining two teenage boys in a vehicle for 8-9 hours. Yeah! (Thank goodness for I phones, Netflix, earbuds, video games, chargers and just plain sharing of devices.)  That turned out to be a long day, facing an enormous thunderstorm all the way to Iowa City, but we didn’t reach it.  Arriving at 11pm, we were fortunate that the one remaining spot in the campground was ours – reserved.

Next day was shorter, and after setting up camp near the Mississippi, we enjoyed a great day with relatives, but only after Shawn fell trying to spin the bicycle in the RV campgrounds and gouged his left knee. Who says thirteen year olds are coordinated? But the boys were lucky enough to see a river barge pass through the locks in Dubuque.  When out tour continued at the riverfront, our wine-tasting was made more memorable by a severe thunderstorm and a tornado warning.  The boys held the restaurant door closed!  Perfect ending to a perfect day!

How about keeping enough food and milk to feed said boys in a refrigerator the size that would fit in a Barbie Doll house? Uh huh! And then there’s keeping enough sun screen on two teenagers at a water park, so I don’t have to explain to their mothers why I am sending home two crispy fried critters. Now that is a real problem!!! Can I get an AMEN to that?!

Day 4 – we arrived in the Dells and chose a list of activities.  First was the famous water skiing show, so we didn’t spend much time not having fun. That night we started a rousing game of Monopoly that wouldn’t end, so we put up all our individual holdings to finish the next night.

Of course, I have to mention here that our RV space was right next to the railroad tracks. Now I personally love the sound of a train going by. The rest of the family, not so much. Some sleep was lost due to the frequent passing of the loooong trains carrying grain south.

Day 5 the two boys spent the morning testing their Go-Kart skills. Pretty good actually! They sped around passing each other, waving each time they went by and smiling from ear to ear.

The rest of the day was spent at the Mt. Olympus Water Park (Just so you can get an idea of its size). Now I’m talking in the sun, in the wave pool, being buffeted by a 9 foot wave every two minutes for 5 ½ hours!!! Who can do that?!! Well, two thirteen-year-olds can! And of course, Gramps and I in chairs with cameras taking pictures of both boys the whole time.

What a day! We all looked rosy and sunkissed, were exhausted and starving. Back to the RV for dinner. Now just so we all understand . . . “starving” to a 13 year old means eating while dinner is being fixed, eating dinner and then snacking all evening until bedtime. No kidding!!!

In the evening, while snacking, we resumed the Monopoly game from the previous night. Tension was high! No one had a monopoly! Trading was about to begin! Everyone had a plan! Everyone was determined to win! Then the dice rolled – cut-throat Monopoly began!

But, as usual, Gramps had the best properties, the most money and won by a huge margin. He always wins- we can’t figure it out. This is a game of chance, right? So how come he ALWAYS WINS!?! Ah well, we had a great time. I found being in Jail to be the safest place – no rent to pay to Gramps and his many houses and hotels!

Day 6 started out slow, We slept in, late breakfast. Then took the boys to a hands-on science laboratory. Lots of interactive fun there and we even learned a thing or two. Took a video of Mac on the Gyrotron, spinning around. He did fine – I got a little sick just watching him turn every which way but up.

We ate lunch while watching women’s soccer on TV. We hit the proverbial tourist’s wall about then and came back to the RV for some rest. As my Dad used to say, “Having that much fun can kill you!”

As I look around the room now, everyone is on their mobile device, in a reclining position. One is playing a game with a scowl on his face, another is watching a movie, laughing out loud and the third is playing solitaire with a look of satisfaction. Does it get any better the this? Surrounded by my family, feeling such contentment and love, and so completely ignored by everyone!!!

I’m going to end this now and check in with you all later when I have recovered my dignity.

We are planning more activities, July 4th fireworks, a Drum Corps performance and of course, daily trips to store for food.

Check in later for the rest of the story.

Granny