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Saturday, February 8, 2020

IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN! AGAIN!

One day, I met a friend for coffee and during the course of our conversation, she began telling me about the horror story of her most recent family vacation. It included arguments, fighting, disagreements along with periods of silent treatments. She said she dreads it every year. Naturally, I asked why she would go back for more each year and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "That's what we do".  This isn't the first person to tell me about disastrous family vacations, so it was with a good amount of trepidation that I considered trying it with my family.

I love spending time with my kids and grand kids but trying to get us all together for even a simple Sunday dinner is like trying to herd cats. And while my favorite location for a vacation is next to a quiet lake with loons in the distance, I knew the one weakness all the kids had was a love of the beach. So a few years ago, I suggested a trip to Outer Banks for a week. We could rent a house right on the beach together. I pointed out, if we went in the off season, we could get a house that would normally rent for $12,000 a week for only $2500. The one we chose had 6 bedrooms, 5 baths, an elevator, private swimming pool, hot tub, and our own private walkway to the beach. It was spectacular! That first year, when we got home, Emmett asked, "When can we go back to that house where we pretend we're rich?"

And that was the beginning. Jen created a countdown of days till departure and we were all consumed with vacation planning for months. Jan and I worked on surprise goody bags, Jen labored over pages and pages of  'things to do in OBX' and naturally, I worked on menus.

There was only one rule for the week. Everyone do what you want, when you want.  No rules, no schedules, just relax and enjoy the week in whatever way pleases you. I figured we would only see each other at dinner time, but here's the interesting thing......to my absolute delight, everyone really wanted to be together.

That first morning and every morning after, I got up before the sun (like I always do) made the coffee and prepared to go out on the deck and watch the sunrise. As I was pouring my first cup, there was Bob, Shane and Mark, waiting to pour theirs, then Jen (who NEVER gets up early voluntarily), then Jessy, then Emmett. Side note: Jen told me Emmett's favorite part of vacation was getting up early and watching the sunrise with Granny. (Picture me teary-eyed)

So the routine was established. Each morning, all but the true late-sleepers met on the deck and had coffee together and watched the sunrise while delving into conversations of deep and thought-provoking subjects. After breakfast, everyone dispersed to their own endeavors. Some headed straight for the pool, some went to the beach, some sat and read a book while a couple of us went off to meditate. Nearly every day, Jen had an outing planned for anyone who wished to participate.

At night, we would all have dinner that someone would volunteer to make, then either watch a movie, play a game or just disperse to our rooms for quiet time.

For the entire week, there wasn't a single harsh word toward anyone. Only laughter. Only fun. Only love for one another. It did my heart good to watch my adult children enjoying each other's company so much and watching the grandchildren bonding together which from my own experience will continue throughout their lives.

So, mission accomplished. So much so, as soon as we got back, they started planning the next vacation with a final countdown set.

And here we are, planning our fourth family OBX vacation. As of this writing, we are at T-minus 236 days! Every couple days, a group text will go out with countdown updates and more ideas of things to do.

I am so grateful for my little tribe and our own annual Pow Wow. Because that's how I see it. It's a coming together to renew, share and strengthen our relationships with each other.

I highly recommend it.









Saturday, July 7, 2018

You absolutely HAVE TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER!!

Haven't posted for a long time but desperately need to share what's on my mind.

It hasn't been that long ago but I can remember when, driving up to Cleveland, you couldn't see the top of the buildings for the smog and the horrible smell as you entered the city that made your eyes water. I remember when the Cuyahoga River caught fire because of all the pollutants in the water. I remember when they warned against eating the fish in Lake Erie because of the pollution. Some may remember the lime fields near Barberton that looked like an alien planet.

All of these terrible things improved with the long-range visionary work of people who realized the importance of taking care of the only world we will ever have.  The air and the water got cleaner.

But don't get excited that Scott Pruitt resigned, thinking we're going to be okay now. Turns out his replacement is even more dangerous. Now we have a coal lobbyist and climate denier who clearly has an agenda to help big business, regardless of damage done to the planet and environment. This is yet another person in the current administration who cares nothing for the future of this planet, and nothing for the future of our children and the world in which they will be living.

Climate deniers will quote from scientists who have no background in environmental issues. Virtually every scientist in the field and every other advanced country agrees we are killing our world. And the most frightening thing is, it may be too late to stop it.

I don't buy it that the Trump administration doesn't believe in climate change; I believe they refuse to acknowledge it because it cuts into their profits. And what do they care? They won't be around to deal with the damage.

This is only one dangerous issue of the Trump regime. The hurtful and inhumane immigration policies, the unleashing of white supremacy, the total disregard for elderly and impoverished and the dangerous national security policies are just a partial list of what this administration sells. And believe me, he's selling it hard and unfortunately, too many are buying it.  And what saddens me most is, when I talk with a Trump supporter, the only thing they care about is how they believe he is going to help them without regard to anyone else. Sadly, they believe every promise and every lie.

Which brings me to the point of this post. WE ALL NEED TO MAKE SURE WE'RE REGISTERED AND THEN WE ALL NEED TO GET TO THE POLLS IN NOVEMBER AND VOTE. We are truly the only thing that stands in the way of Trump's total control. We have to change the numbers in Congress and in the House. WE HAVE TO.






Monday, March 6, 2017

Now is the time for courage

Haven't written anything in a long time. But there's so much going awry in the world, I can't keep my trap shut any longer.

I don't think I'm the only one feeling anxious these days. Anxious and angry and puzzled.

I'm puzzled at how all this happened with Trump becoming our president. I realize now that I've been living in a bubble, thinking racism and discrimination has gotten better.  But the ugliness that reared its head during Trump's campaign was heart-breaking. I struggle with the realization that there are so many backward-thinking people in this country and I'm angry with myself that I haven't seen it sooner.  Here, I thought I was a well-informed, fully aware person but realize I've been living as I said, in a bubble of ignorance and I'm ashamed of myself.

I'm anxious because I worry about dear friends of mine who are subject to anger and cruelty. It seems our new president has given permission to openly express these vile emotions, reminiscent of the pre-civil rights years. Apparently, these feelings haven't gone away, but have only been suppressed. And that's frightening to me.

And, I'm especially angry that so many of these hateful feelings found their beginnings in so-called Christian environments. Forgive me, but the saying, "love the person, hate the sin" is total crap. This only gives hate-mongers an excuse to treat people horribly without feeling guilty for it.  Like putting a thousand little white crosses on the church lawn to shame the person who made probably the most difficult decision of their life; not caring how much it might hurt or humiliate them. How is that a loving Christian action? Or telling a gay person they're not welcome in their church. How is that a loving Christian action. How is it they don't see the hypocrisy? The foundation of Jesus' teaching is love your neighbor as yourself.  Sadly that concept has nearly disappeared in many conservative Christian churches. It's more like, 'I'll love and care for my neighbor as long as he/she thinks like I do and I will shun everyone else'.  Thankfully, there are churches who are open and affirming. But not nearly enough of them. Progressive Christianity teaches what Jesus taught; love and acceptance.

I know for sure,  the only solution to hatred is knowledge and education.  If I've angered anyone, too bad. This is my blog and these are my opinions and we are in serious trouble with the current administration which is based on greed and hate and discrimination.

Please don't be afraid to speak out when you see injustice. Please don't be afraid to speak out when you see hatred. And please don't be afraid to speak out when you see decisions being made that will harm us, like removing safeguards that protect our environment all for the sake of greed.

Now is the time for courage.  And now is the time to find a way to educate.


Monday, February 9, 2015

I saw this post on Facebook this morning and felt like commenting on it. 

The post read:
"It doesn't matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today.
You are not your mistakes.  You are not your mishaps.  You are not your past.  You are not your wounds."

Well, I couldn't disagree more.

You ARE your mistakes.  You ARE your mishaps.  You ARE your past and you ARE your wounds.  These are the life experiences that have helped you learn and form who you are today.  They are not to be disregarded.  They are to be reviewed and explored and used to grow into the person you really want to be. 

I spoke once of a grade school friend who I hurt deeply and how awful I felt.  I learned from that experience not to intentionally hurt people. 

I've blogged about the wounds I have from my mother's upbringing.  I learned what kind of parent I wanted to be.

Don't dismiss your life experiences and mistakes as though they never happened and feel you need to start with a blank slate.  On the contrary, use them to learn and grow and become the person you want to be.  Someone once said, 'No one gets through this life without pain.  It's what we DO with our pain that defines our life.  It doesn't mean you have to dwell on them.  But  rather, determine how you will learn from your mistakes, mishaps past and wounds to become the best you EVER!  
 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Akron, Ohio's First Safety Town

So, now that I'm retired, I have no time clock to punch, no place I'm required to be, and the freedom to do only what I want.  Which means I have a target on my back to be recruited for anything working people don't have time to do.  So when my good friend Pastor Debbie asked me to 'help' with coordinating Akron's first Safety Town event (actually make that plural...eventS) I said ok.

Next thing I know, I discover I am the official SAFETY TOWN COORDINATOR. 

I should start by saying the reason this event came into being is because of an article that was written in the Akron Beacon Journal stating that in the City of Akron, a child is hit by a car on average of every 12 days.  This inspired a group of people to do some research and what they discovered is, there are Safety Town events in nearly all the outlying suburbs of Akron but none in the city itself.  So they decided this was something that could be remedied......that's where I come in.

So my friend Ann and I began the herculean task of making 5 Safety Town events a reality in only 3 months.  From getting 10 safety town buildings designed, assembled and painted (all by volunteers),  to designing and compiling a week's worth of curriculum which included songs, stories and art projects, to designing a registration and release form, to determining locations, to lining up teachers and volunteers for each event, to figuring out how to transport the buildings from site to site, to planning a week's worth of snacks, to designing and purchasing t-shirts,bike helmets and low-rider tricycles, to lining up the police and fire departments to come and give presentations and trust me, the list goes on and on. I had no idea how monumental this project was going to be.

The biggest hurtle was when I was told that 95% of all the children at one of the events would be non-English speaking and we would need to find interpreters that speak Nepalese.  Really????

What I can only attribute to divine guidance, the event was successful.  Exhausting, but successful.  We educated over 200 kids on street and bicycle safety, stranger danger, fire safety, good touch-bad touch, and more.  One of the most interesting (and disturbing) exercises was when we had a sweet young woman try to lure the children away from the group by offering them candy and all but one child out of 60 kids went with the lady! 


When I asked one sweet little boy if his parents told him never to go with strangers, he said yes.  "So, why did you go with the lady then?", I asked.  His reply...."Because she had candy and we don't have candy at our house." 

So the real purpose of this blog is to let parents know.....
If you believe you've covered the topic of safety enough times with your kids....believe me.......
YOU HAVEN'T!!!  Do it again, and again and again and again and again and...........


SERIOUSLY, IF YOU THINK THEY GET IT, THEY DON'T.  REMEMBER, AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND............it's never enough.

So, I gave up my summer of relaxing and fishing but I'm absolutely sure we saved some children's lives.  I think that's a fair trade off, don't you?










Monday, April 22, 2013

EARTH DAY SHOULD BE AN EVERY DAY OCCURANCE

Last Monday was Earth Day which I suppose was created to encourage attention to the environment.  That's fine except I believe we're missing the point. 

During my spiritual journey get-together last week, we were discussing the environment and how important it is not to just appreciate it but consider nature from a spiritual perspective. 
We are CONNECTED to nature.  We are not separate from it.  EVERYTHING is connected.   Everything is related and I mean that in a literal "family" way.  When you stop and think about the moon, the stars, the earth, the air, the water, the animals as part of your spiritual unity family, you begin to see all this in a different light and sense a deeper responsibility to care for it but more importantly, to love it. 

For millenia, man relied on nature to exist.  Now, we have stores with food and stores with clothes and stores with communication devices and no longer have respect or reverence for what we have or how it was obtained.  If you remember that everything in the universe is part of creation just as you are, you can sense the greater family ties of it all.

For example, a fish isn't just a fish, put here for me to consume.  It's a relative of mine.  I need to care for and nurture it.  The earth isn't just a planet I happen to call home.  It's a part of me.  When you remember that we and everything in the universe is created from the same cosmic STUFF (to quote Carl Sagan) you begin to know this is absolutely true.  Everything is connected; every one and every thing is RELATED. 

I love the custom of the American Indians who, after killing an animal for food or shelter, will thank its spirit for giving itself to help the whole.

It should be in our minds to protect the environment as fervently as we would protect our children. 

I suggest thinking of something you can do today on Earth Day to help protect that to which we are related.  How about Recycling?  That's an easy thing to do and makes an enormous amount of difference. 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!

My first job was 48 years ago.  I was a dish washer at my father's restaurant.  I also bussed tables and hostessed from time to time and this was a gratis job.  I got no pay except for the tips the waitresses gave me for cleaning their tables fast and I enjoyed it. 

My first PAYING job was about the same time.  It was babysitting and I hated it.  Seriously, it was tortureous for me.  I didn't like kids, had never spent time around them and had no idea how to deal with them.   This is weird considering how much I adore my kids and my grandkids.  But at age 15, for me, it sucked.

I figure babysitting is probably where I first began to develop the concept that being poor is better than doing something you hate no matter how profitable.  I wonder how many times in my life I've absent-mindedly said, "There's not enough money in the world to get me to.....".    Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I said that......hahahahahahaha!  Unfortunately, I ended up sacrificing my principals worked A LOT of jobs I didn't like.  Some were worse than others but when you're the sole supporter of a family, you do what you gotta do.    

So here it is, 48 years later, age 62 and I'm retiring the end of May.  I don't have a lot of money saved up (BIG understatement there) but I'm doing it anyway.  And the funny thing is, I plan to spend most of my time hanging out with my grandkids.  Life is one big irony, huh?