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.

Looking Forward

Everyone has a past. We learn a great deal from the past – positive and negative. In other words, there are things that definitely need to be repeated and there are things that everyone agrees should never be done again. Good lessons all!

Everyone has a present – the right now that we are all living. I’m a strong believer of enjoying the present, taking the joy from each moment and living life as it presents itself to you.

Everyone has a future – the life not yet lived, the life on the horizon, the life dreamed about. The future can be very compelling and enticing. I want to have things to look forward to, plans that promise to be exciting and fun.

In the near future, I have two quilting retreats that I am so excited about attending. Having them on my calendar not only brings me joy, it also keeps me organized.

I have been busy gathering together what I will be working on for the two retreats. That means getting projects started, finding the right fabrics, packing projects together, finding notions I haven’t seen in my sewing room for awhile, planning food, etc. Retreats don’t occur by chance. They require organization and that is good for me.

Thinking about future activities sets me to thinking about past activities too. I’m reminiscing about other quilting retreats and remembering good times, good people, good food and good quilts. Recalling previous fine memories is good for me.

Planning for the future also keeps me active. I cannot sit still all day and get ready for two quilt retreats. I must do something every day to prepare for being on retreat and also for being away from home all those days. Being a doer everyday is good for me.

Looking forward to my retreats keeps me excited about my hobby of quilting. I know I will be seeing new patterns, new skills, new fabrics and new notions. I will be with women who will challenge me, inspire me and uplift me. I will come back with more ideas than I can ever use, more enthusiasm than I can ever channel and more fabric than I can ever process. Looking forward is good for me.

How great it is to have all those wonderful reminders of coming events on my calendar. Those events that keep me so happy, so organized and so active. They are like little carrots always dangling in front of me, keeping me heading in the right direction.

As I said – looking forward is so good for me!

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?

 

Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Parents

In this year of celebrating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and remembering all the years in our past, I have been thinking a lot about my parents. They have both passed on now and I have so many questions I wish I had asked them while they were still able to give me the answers.

My parents knew each other their whole lives. They were born in the same town four days apart. My mom was the youngest of all girls and my dad the youngest of all boys. My two grandmothers were in the hospital together and joked about how they should trade babies so they would have a different-sex child in the family.

And those two babies grew up and got married (I always thought that was a great premise for a movie). So where are all the stories of growing up together? Going to school together? Seeing each other around town? Knowing each other forever? I wish I had asked.

And I don’t know exactly how they got married. They didn’t date in High School, so it must have happened during WWII. I wish I had asked how my dad proposed and how they planned the wedding. Did they have a honeymoon? What did they wear? How did they know they were right for each other? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked what prompted them both to enter the service. My dad tried to enlist and found out he was color-blind, which meant he could only go into the Navy Seabees – Construction Battalion. My mother, believe it or not, was a Marine. I think she enlisted because of her sister Irene, who also joined the Marines. But why the Marines? I wish I had asked,

I wish I had asked them how they felt about the war. Were they ever afraid, confused, proud, ashamed or conflicted as an American? Were they glad to be in the Military? Sorry they joined? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them how things were after the war. They were married and started having children right away. My dad was in college on the GI Bill. I think they were living in a mobile home park. Sounds like an “I Love Lucy” segment, doesn’t it? That couldn’t have been easy. But how did they manage? Was being a veteran a proud thing? How did they feel? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them about their thoughts of early parenthood. My mother had three children in three years while my dad was going to school. And she had no family nearby. But I never heard the stories. Were they too horrible? Just forgettable? What? I wish I had asked.

How I wish I could sit down with both of them and ask these and other questions. When I had the chance, I didn’t think of it or it didn’t seem necessary. Now that it’s too late, I’m thinking of so many things only they can answer.

My advice to others – ask the questions NOW!! Don’t wait!! And if you are the elder in your family, write down all the stories for the younger ones. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait until someone else thinks of it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Just don’t wait. Do it NOW. Because then it will be too late and they will say – I wish I had asked.

Forty Thank Yous

All the forty days of Lent I have been trying to stay in an attitude of gratitude by writing a thank you note to someone each day. It started out easy with all the people closest to me getting a thank you.

I was mindful of all the love and care I was getting, aware of the close friendship and daily reminded of the loyalty and patience of each dear one I was writing to. At first I was being reminded of the kindness of people I had known for years. The names and memories were there at the tip of the pen every day. I thought this is going to be so easy.

But now I’m getting to the people I don’t know as well or don’t know at all, who have done me a kindness. This is certainly harder and more inconvenient. I think I’m finally getting to the real lesson I’m supposed to be learning in this Lenten season.

I’m supposed to see gratitude everywhere and in everything, not just the simple, easy and convenient things. Even when things go wrong, there is a lesson to be learned, for which I can be grateful.

And all the people in my life are there for a reason, a good reason. For that, I am also very thankful.

And so today, my sweeties, is your day!!!

Thank you so much for just being you, for reading my blog, for leaving comments, for sharing it with others.

Thank you for your loyalty, your patience, your humor, your common sense.

Thank you for all the kind words you have sent to me and about me.

Thank you for being the best readers ever!!!!!!!