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Expression of Gratitude


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A quick note to say Thank You to my readers.  Sometimes I flit in and out of here, with a quick reply to a comment, forgetting to say, “Thanks for stopping by.”  I see other bloggers do that and I really like that.  So I promise to remind myself to do the same.  There are some long time readers out there, as well as new friends and I thank each and ever one of you for taking the time to comment when really most people will do a quick “like.” Those are good, too, but I think bloggers really look forward to getting to know the people who are interested in what they have to say….. So, I say Thanks~!

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God Don’t Like Complainers


NoComplaining

Um…. I guess that would be me.  So embarrassing to say that, but yeah.  Life is so weird.  You live, you try to sculpt yourself into the person you’d like to grow up to be; then as you try to “be” that person, you say to yourself that you’ve got to be you, you’ve got to voice your opinions.  That’s paramount and you assert yourself.  But let’s see where that got me……

Before I go further, I must state that I am fully blessed.  Despite my many failings, I am deeply loved.  That gives me the courage to write about myself and my flaws and failures.  First and foremost I am loved by God and have the firm belief of His profound forgiving nature.  There is a quote that speaks to this and I read it every day.  I have a firm belief that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, despite our imperfections.  He literally has a specific need, or finds a specific need for our specific imperfections.  We are useful despite it all.  This give me hope for my own soul.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

All my life I was the quiet one.  The one who desperately strove to melt into the background, and blended in, right in between those gigantic flowers, painted onto the wallpaper in our kitchen.  I was a stutterer and I could not get a word out before the several attempts that usually bored people right before they moved on to other subjects.  Get the picture?  Not only could I not communicate, but I did not learn the social skills in order to interact with other human beings.  So I listened.  I listened to exchanges that totally, totally bored me.  I simply was not interested in most female conversations regarding curtains and home decor.  So what developed was that I became judgmental of females…. well, whether I am justified or not on that is still out for debate… pfst.  To this day, I find a conversation with a man much more interesting than talking to women…. sorry gals.

Anyway, so I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I can hold a conversation, but struggle with the social cues.  I do not stutter, except under stress it might come back a little.  I find that I am a woman who has a problem recognizing and honoring moderation.  I seem to be either this way or that–to the extreme.  Like, I could abstain from soda for months, yet if I get one taste, I’m off and running consuming more soda in one day than one has a right to.  WTH?  Same with water.  One day I’m consuming massive quantities of it, and the next I am a camel in the desert and you could not force one drop down my throat.  As a matter of fact, I need some right now……..

I’m back…. So, now that I’m going verbal, my Gemini self cannot shut up and every single thought in my head is out and off the tongue no sooner than my brain gets a hold of it.  Well, some thoughts should stay unspoken.  After years of keeping my mouth shut tight, the flood gates are opened and with my relatively newfound confidence, I speak my mind whenever and wherever and to whomever.  And it’s not all good.  You know if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.  The bottom line for me is that after I speak my mind, I feel better.  But taking my judgmental self outside and giving the double-parkers blocking traffic with their cars a piece of my mind, well, that can’t work for anyone but me.  Even then, afterwards I usually feel that I could’ve handled the situation a lot better.  I can’t abide inconsideration in any of its forms… but I really shouldn’t be getting into confrontations like I do.  Maybe writing about this will help me remember that next time.

Today I was listening to Alan Horvath who is a musician who does videos about the bible and religion.  I do suggest checking out his videos on youtube if you have a desire to listen to the Word with the names in their original languages.  I’m hoping the meaning of these books go back to the beginning, without the contamination of the human pen.  I watched one video about  Alan’s experience during Frankenstorm Sandy and he talked about how he heard a lot of people complaining.  He said, “God doesn’t like complainers,” and I thought, O.M.G. that’s me.  I complain long and loud to anyone who would stay quiet long enough for me to do so.  But you know, even though we didn’t have power for ten days, we had everything else, until our food spoiled; but even then we could still travel to towns every day to pick up some food for that day.  Yes, we were in long lines at the gas station, but heck, it was not bad enough to complain about.  I think people today don’t want to wait for anything.  We are under so much pressure to do it fast, then move on to the next thing.  I used this blog to complain, I also complained on facebook, I got together with my neighbor and we complained to each other… sigh.  But it was driven home to me, an active member of a Roman Catholic church, that God does not appreciate complainers.  Should that have been news to me?  Nope.  The whole book of Exodus tells us of the Jews complaining every other day and you know what?  God kept them wandering in the desert for forty years.  You’d think they’d learn their lesson.  You’d think that I would have by now, also.  My hubby is an excellent example.  He doesn’t complain at all.  Usually, that plays out well for me when I am involved, but if it’s something outside this house, I get frustrated with him, but you know, he’s got the right way to go.  It shows, too.  God is with him.  He’s just one of those people, that you just know.

I need to really learn my lesson.  It’s not like I’m an ignorant bitch…. not really.  So I will close with stating I am truly blessed.  Things are never really as bad as my first impression.  Regarding Hurricane Sandy, we got through it.  We did not flood though this house has a long history of flooding.  Because we did not flood, we kept our hot water.  We had a gas stove to cook on.  No heat, but plenty of handmade blankets to keep us warm at night.  We had radios and thanks to the presence of our seven-year old, plenty of batteries to keep the radios and flashlights going.  I was so grateful for NJ101.5 to keep myself connected to the outside world.  Finally, I had my loving husband and my beloved son with me.  What more could I possibly have the audacity to ask for?

I am Alive With the Sound of Music


Okay, so I couldn’t resist this one.  Daily. Prompt.

What role does music play in your life?

I am not a musician, though I did learn how to play the guitar later in life, which I think is so cool, but I’ll talk more about that.  Music literally saved my life.  That belief is so embedded in me that it’s a part of me.  I grew up in a depression.  I know that now.  In my teens I had serious thoughts of suicide.  I had a pretty vivid imagination and I would fantasize exactly how it would happen.  As a pre-teen, I’d fantasize about near-death situations usually by writing scripts for favorite TV shows.  One was the Wild Wild West, starring Robert Conrad.  This was the TV show that the recently made movie was based upon.  It was high tech for it’s time, which was cool, and I might be able to say it was sort of Steampunk because of that… hmmm that’s a thought.

the wild wild west-jim west-robert conrad-cowboys-western-tv-vintage-retro-television-train

The other was a show about rescue personnel, a helicopter and one guy had a rescue dog, a German Shepherd.  Don’t remember the name, but I’d type out the scripts on my grandfather’s old Underwood typewriter… I mean OLD.  One of those that had the exposed keys…..

PHI3743

Typing on this thing was a bitch but I loved it.  I got to really know the machine and could fix it, tweak it… I made it work for me.  When I really got going, the carriage would fly across and I’d promptly hit the carriage return.  To this day, computers have a “Return” button, well, it used to be called Carriage Return.  It was a lever at the upper left on the carriage.  The carriage was the roller and the thing that held the roller in place.  The paper would be inserted at the top, in back of the roller and you would roll it down, around and into place for typing.  At the top, the carriage return was just employed and the paper is back to the starting position, ready for typing another line… Anyway, I see I’ve digressed again… with pics to boot.

So you should have grasped the point by now that I was depressed and suicidal, or at least had suicidal thoughts as a teenager.  I am alive to this day because of Barry Manilow‘s music.   I would sing along constantly.  His music touched my soul in such a way that I felt that someone out there understood me.  All along, the range of my voice was on the lower end, but I can also sing higher now.  I know almost all of his songs by heart and every time I sing something, I feel that little tear, meaning tear drop, in my heart.  I am so grateful for that, for his music.  I’m sure that he already knows what his music has done for this world, but I’d somehow like for him to know how deeply it/he has touched me.  Mr. Manilow, you saved this life.

I can’t end this post in such a dark, non-presence of light.  All music touches me.  Growing up, and I hated it, my dad would play classical and yes, the old country music.  Now, I can say that I love almost any kind of music and I owe that to my dad.  My dad country music and my mom the top hits of the 50’s and her 45’s.  When I was very young and had the chicken pox, my parents got me a Close N Play phonograph and gave me quite an assortment of 45’s from their own collections, mainly from the 50’s and early 60’s.  I learned the lyrics to those by closing and playing all day long until I got all the words written down.  I’m sure my mother appreciated that… HA.  Oh, it was because of a wacky song or pseudo song called, “The Flying Saucer,” by Dickie Goodman that I came to love those story narratives with parts of songs inserted to fill out the story.  Buchanan and Goodman

Through music, I started writing lyrics to songs, and then poetry… or maybe visa versa.  Sad though because I’d never post them up on the internet because I know that someone will steal it for their own.

In my later 30’s I learned how to play the guitar from a friend.  It was a trade off.  I stayed with him while he recuperated from surgery and he taught me the chord of the guitar.  He’d play melody and I played rhythm.  I enjoyed that, but because of a lack of understanding, and math, I could never learn to read music.  That makes me sad, but I like that I can play by ear.  Even playing just the chords touches me deep inside; and just knowing that I can do it, makes me really happy.   I sang in our church choir for a few years and that was very satisfying as I could sing in front of people… and they actually liked it!

So in closing, what music means to me is memories, both good and bad… but mostly good.  Through music I can relive my past, know exactly where I came from and not be very bummed out about it.

Thanks for listening.

A WordPress Exercise


No lights?  Light some candles.

No lights? Light some candles.

Okay, so I thought I could answer prompt questions thrown out by WordPress to keep blogging, even if it’s just a little bit.  We’ll see, usually my “little” blurbs grow into monstrosities.  First one up:

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I jumped on this question right away because I can honestly say that I’m not happy with the initial way I react to crisis situations, or at least some of them.  What comes to mind right away is Hurricane Sandy.  We live in Elizabeth, NJ and had lost power for 10 days.  We ONLY lost power and had no flooding in the basement to speak of.  Immediately, I felt isolated in the dark and a bit scared when the power didn’t go back on right away.  We are used to the power going off, but never had gone more than a few hours without it coming back on.

After the fear (I never got over the isolation), I started to get angry.  Angry because I was hearing about everyone else getting power back and we were not slated to get ours back any time soon.  The feeling isolation was profound and something I had not felt since after my divorce and was forced to take up residence in a succession of rooms.  After the storm, no power, no phone.  I had a cell phone, but could not make calls.  I needed to connect with the outside world, my family, but I couldn’t.  Eventually, I discovered that I could do text messages and texted my family to relay our situation, inquire of theirs and hoping that I would hear back from them.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

We had a radio and I latched onto that all day and night to hear news about the storm.  The station I listened to was NJ101.5 and at the time just didn’t buy into the “just be grateful” speech.  I wanted my power back, but really?  I wanted my internet back.  I feel ashamed, but that’s what it was.  I resented not having my internet.  I really don’t know why.  When I look at the things I do when online, I can’t see what is so important.  Also, our whole routine was disrupted, mainly our son was not in school for 10. whole. days.   That’s a LOT of days.

What refused to come into my sphere of any importance were the people who were REALLY affected.  Those who lost family and friends, who lost their homes, clothes and possessions…..lost memories.  Those who had no idea where their next meal was coming from.   Traumatic stuff that forces a realistic perspective.  I had my family and that really should have been enough for me.  It was hanging off my peripheral consciousness, but I was too hyped up.  Much too much caught up in the stories I was listening to on the radio and applying them to myself.

I can only pray that I have learned from this.  I am not going to “say” that I’ve learned from this because how many times do we say that, then the next time the so called definitive lesson eludes us and we jump right back into that trench.  A good thing to do to keep it into the forefront is to just keep thinking about it.  Think about the petty way that I reacted to this situation.  I say “situation” because it wasn’t a real tangible crisis.  We managed.  We kept warm.  We took hot showers…. That’s right, because we didn’t flood, our hot water heater was not affected.   On the coldest night, we all slept in the same bed.  HA… there I was thinking that DH and I were going to keep our seven year old warm and he was the one who kept us warm!  We had gas, so the stove was available, but after the food was gone two days later, we had to drive to other towns to get our food every day.  Was that so horrible?  Looking back, I cannot think that it was.

I really have to learn to stop, breath, and think things through.  I’m such a baby sometimes, which brings my thoughts back to someone in my past who told me just about as much and that I needed some growing up to do.  I guess I will never stop growing up and that is somewhat of a comfort.  My challenge to myself is to start being more mindful of not just my external environment, but my internal environment.

If after this, you’d like to read more about the details of our storm situation, you can go to the links below:

Day Nine Post Sandy

Who Turned on That Light

Frankenstorm Sandy Continues

Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy

Stormy Reflections

Imperfectly Perfect


(I preface this post with a note that this post was already published and linked to “a diary of a mom”, prematurely, through the quickie post feature at WordPress and still trying to get used to it.  This complete post is really an update. My apologies for any inconvenience.)

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Lately, I’ve been seeing embryos of posts for myself that start with comments I make on other blogs.  Finally, I am writing one here that I’ve written for Jess at A diary of a mom, which I highly recommend reading, BTW.  Her post today is entitled, “Passed Right By – and Never Knew”, thoughts that we all must be thinking.

Long before autism, I believed that we are meant to turn our negative experiences into positives by sharing them to help others.  There is such a liberation, a burst of freedom when this clicks within our consciousness.  Just think about it.  For eons people have been asking themselves, “Why?”  Why does God let this happen to me.  I believe that I’ve found the answer.

“…sharing them to help others.”  What I left out is “sharing them to help others who share the same suffering.”  While everyone suffers uniquely in intensity and within our own circumstances, we so deeply share the hurt of our suffering.  I am reminded of this just this morning.  Our son has been very upset lately surrounding “school”.  At first, I thought it was the typical adjustment from spending a week off from school without the structure provided at school.  I could not get out of him why he was so upset or what had happened to cause it.  This morning he told me that “the kids don’t let me play…”  This was the only phrase that I could understand, yet it burned me to the core.  If you know any of my history, you know that I spent 1st grade through 8th grade without friends, among people who actively pushed me away.  This morning, my hurt was Gabe’s hurt… and visa versa.  I took him in my arms and generously administered copious skin on skin back rubs.  I told him that not everyone is going to be our friend.  I told him that he does have other, new friends at the social skills group he just got into.  I told him that Zach is his friend.  I couldn’t tell, but I hope that was a consolation to him.

Just found an article I wrote about the “Blessings of Pain,” hoping to elaborate more about what our personal pain can be elevated to.

My quoted comment above states that I discovered this little bit of wisdom “long before autism” and that is correct.  For my whole life, I was wondered why God would isolate me, it seemed, so deliberately.  I wondered why none of my teachers or school principal did anything to help or stop what was going at school, a catholic school, btw.  Just this week I confided this bit of my history to a counselor at Gabe’s school and she had an answer that made sense and I had never even tried to rationalize an answer for myself.  She said that the reason they didn’t do anything was because they were thinking that this experience would make me strong.  Well, I don’t doubt that, but it had also screwed me up emotionally and socially for most of my life and I still carry the baggage that can be seen at times, more than I would like.  It’s dirty baggage.  It’s smelly baggage.  It’s damaged baggage.  My old school is closing and I cannot say that I am sorry to see that happening.  Thirty years later, my old classmates want to have some kind of party to commemorate the school.  Since on facebook, they had gotten dinners and fundraisers started to save the school even before this.  Needless to say, I had no desire to participate in any of this.  My memories are damaged.  Distorted.

Counselor Lady told me something that I knew already.  She said that God would not have let Gabriel into our lives if we could not deal, if we could not handle a child as special as him.  Yes, I knew this.  I didn’t know it from the first day, but I learned it.  After continually, if even with humor, complaining about how my life was over because I had a kid in my mid forties, I learned that I would’ve made a horrible mother if I had a kid when I was biologically supposed to, in my twenties.  I know more and accept more about myself now than I did before and that is so damn important… to be as comfortable as you can be in your own skin… BEFORE having kids, and this applies to ANYONE, any mother, any parent out there.  Young parents teach their kids what they were taught from their own parents because that is all they know, quite frankly, and I had a mom who was a yeller, screamer and a hitter (and I’ll not say with what).  An older parent can teach more than that.  We can teach what we’ve learned from our own lives, from our own personal perspective and less from the strict perspective of our parents.  I am SO aware that I am more like my mom than I care to be.  With this knowledge, I am super sensitive about checking myself before I get to the “hitting” point.  I’ll not lie and say that I was always successful, but I can say that those episodes were stopped very quickly and I have been successful for over a year now.  Even at his young age, I made it a point to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Somewhere in my thirties I came to the realization, s-l-o-w-l-y, that all my hurtful experiences could be made clean by using them to help other people going through the same pain that I went through.  God made me a talker and even though I spent the first part of my life largely in silence, when I started talking you’d be hardpressed to try and get me to stop.  It’s well known that if someone had an issue and needed emotional support, what is appreciated and helps the most is if someone could talk to that person who had experienced the same problem.  Other people try to help and say the same kind, yet superficial and irrelevant words; whereas others who have that specific empathy, offer so much more than that.  They offer their own experience, they offer their own pain up in an effort to heal the hurt of another.  Grace such as this not only can help that person, but the person who offers it.  We are indeed healed a little bit more by sharing the most darkest parts of ourselves.  When we can realize the poetic harmony this plays in our lives, we will never question again the “why’s” of a tragedy.  We will never doubt or blame our God (whatever the name) for making us suffer.  We can immerse ourselves, bath ourselves in the pain and emerge on the other side with something in our pockets for an emergency.  With such an arsenal, we now can find purpose in any part of our lives.  We can be the wounded healers (I did not coin that phrase.  It’s the name of a book, “The Wounded Healer”, written by Henri J.M. Nouwen, one of my very favorite writers, may God bless his soul.  He also said, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.”

We are put on this earth to interact with others.  There is no doubt about that.  Let’s love one another.  Let’s help one another.  Let there not be hate or violence against others.

Hey, just adding in here that I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment with any and all of them.  I welcome any and all comments… with spam, disrespect and filth being the exceptions.  Thanks!

Sensory Friendly Theater


 

 

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Every post from now on in the month of April, I will start in this way, regardless of content.  I’ve not done much this year I guess because I’m not a good planner, so this is the least I can do.  I have blue shirts and blue nail polish and briefly I contemplated dying my hair blue; but ya know it has no effect if I don’t leave the house.  Sometimes I wonder if there are people out there who will read this and listen…. especially people with the power to change things.  We’ve had little victories here and there, but in general I am disheartened by the apathy of the education system.  It’s either that they don’t give a damn, or maybe they are in a comfort zone they fear to leave.  They have a system and this autism thing just throws a wrench into the works and screws them all up.  I can tell you that when our school decided to form a social skills group, it was on the fly and they don’t even know if they’re doing anything right yet.  I was told that they are creating it as they go along and while I’m glad that they are trying, I’m a little  a LOT worried about how successful their efforts will be.

Well, God will answer our prayers.  In my case, because I’m not good at praying, He sees into my heart and knows what I need even before I know and I trust that.  I received today in Gabe’s backpack, an envelope from his Speech teacher.  Inside was a press release from the Union County Office of Public Information, announcing a new Sensory Friendly Theater series of performances specially designed for children with autism and related disabilities at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ.  The notice is entitled: “Union County Offers Theater Program for Children with Autism and Related Disabilities.”  This is what caught my eye:

The new series, which begins on June 10 with Tom Chapin and Friends, is designed according to guidelines that help to reduce disturbances for youngsters who experience heightened sensory sensitivity. The Performing Arts Center is committed to a creating a judgment-free zone with plenty of trained specialists who understand autism and similar disabilities.

A sports program for the autistic child, it is not; and I personally would LOVE such a sports program.  Seriously though, I wouldn’t care if this was a special program for making 10′ snowmen on a hot July afternoon.  I’m in a state of elation right now because these are exactly the types of considerations our kids absolutely need in order to benefit from their participation.  Adults who have training and understand autism (and similar disabilities) are absolutely essential for a successful program such as this.  There is a lot more to this notice, but I keep coming back to the above words:  “judgment-free zone, trained specialists, understand autism.”  The sad fact is that our school professionals are officially none of these things.  Let me just stop right here and say that this in no way diminishes the teaching abilities of these professionals.  I think, as teachers, we are very lucky to have who we have, however…..   My experience with school professionals working with my boy:  Compassionate, yes.  Patient, yes.  Accommodating, yes (so far).  But even our Special Ed teacher is not trained to understand autism.  Why is that?  Well, she got her degree way back in I don’t know what decade and has had no other education to bring her uptodate on Autism or any (similar disability)… umm that really, no, REALLY doesn’t sit right with me.  I think I can be fairly certain of that because I’ve asked whether she had training and I never received an affirmative answer or any qualifiable answer.  Soooo, what would you think?  I’ve advocated to the principal, political candidates for office who come to our door, and anyone who’d listen, and even at a town meeting that it’s imperrative that our teachers be educated to understand autism.  I feverently believe that it’s not just unfair to ask our children to be put into a classroom with adults who don’t understand them; but it’s also unfair to put teachers into that same room with the knowledge, tools and strategies to educate these kids and navigate the myriad of possible disruptions that can occur.  So you see, I have reason to feel disheartened.  Anyone who comes to this door will continue to get an earful and I suppose will regret knocking on our particular door…. oh well.  SO to get this news today gave me a little hope.

I’d also like to share with you the person responsible, Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  I won’t replicate the whole announcement here, but here is a link at NJtoday.  If you’d like to call for information, here the number to call: 732-499-8226… OR here’s the link to Sensory Friendly Theater web page

This is What I Do


SNOOZE ALERT…….

After reading this, it’s not one of my more inspiring, funny or crazy missives.  In fact, it might just be, well, boring.  Sometimes we all go that route.  Two things inspired this post.  1. I am taking some time for me today, and 2. This post by Diary of a Mom.  First, read that.  It’s not long at all and then come back here to read what I do to rejuvenate

Oh, you’re back and caught me rummaging through my bag looking for snacks that aren’t there.  I’m sitting in my favorite daytime spot to be in the world.  Everyone needs getaway time and most maybe go on vacations; but what about those of us who desperately need that time, yet cannot afford to even take three people to the movies without planning it… and forget about the 3-D ones.  We’ve been living on a budget… NO.  I can’t say that because living on a budget means that there’s money there to juggle in the first place.  Most of my adult life, I’ve lived from paycheck to paycheck and hoped that I had a little something left over for anything extra.  Well, I’ve found ways over the years to do that something special for ME, to feel special, to get out of the house, relax, maybe read a book (WAY back before Kindle/tablet times).

Sixteen years ago to be precise, I went through a divorce.  An amiable, yet with stormy undertones.  I ended up with not much from the marriage except a car to drive me to work.  I never had to support myself and, well, I just managed to do that but my living conditions were not what I would have liked, though I must add they were the most interesting times of my life.  I made friends and had experiences that stayed with me for the rest of my life.  Still, I could not support myself in my own place.  I was forced to rent rooms and did home share situations.  Not bad, but I had nothing to really call my own.  So, there were pros and cons and my family only really saw the cons and acted like I was not living well.  I had a roof over my head and that was good enough for me at the time.  It was a time when I craved as little responsibility as possible anyway, so it worked out, though it was not, could not be a permanent way of life.  I moved from place to place for a few years and that really left me drained and without a sense of belonging anywhere.

This was around the time I first discovered that you could just sit on the floor in Border’s and read a book without being pressured to leave or to either buy or put the book back.  The first time I went there, people were sitting on the floor all over the store and I thought this was really cool.  Another cool thing was Starbucks.  There was one just a few blocks from where I lived, hmm somewhere back in the mid to late nineties.  I discovered that I could purchase just one cup of coffee and spend the whole day there, reading (I was not knitting or crocheting then) in the comfiest chair I had ever sit in.  The music was not overpowering and did not seep into my reading.  I spent cool summer Saturdays there, reading to my hearts’ content.

While I still do enjoy Starbuck’s, it’s so crowded that I do not gravitate to it during the day.  The last time I was there waiting for my knitting group, I couldn’t help overhearing two conversations going on simultaneously.   The daytime coffee is all for me, however.  These are the times I crave peace and quiet, though music is welcome.  These days I spend my special time at the Coffee Beanery in Garwood, NJ.  The music that is played comes from my childhood and love that it’s played  there.  Here, again, sometimes I only buy one cup of coffee and stay for a few hours in either a comfy chair or at a table typing, as I am doing now.  I  did have my lunch here today and my whole lovely experience only cost somewhere around five bucks.  Not bad at all, AND I do not have to plan it like you have to plan a vacation.  I can do this any day during school hours.  I love my husband and he makes it possible for me to be able to go and get out and not worry about a thing, and not worry that I need to be home.  I would not have a loving family I get to watch grow every day.  I would not have a loving if pleasantly quirky hubby and a beautiful, smart and affectionate little boy.  Not least, I would not have the time to sit back, clear my mind and enjoy the memorable moments.  We definitely have our challenges, but I would not have it any other way.

Today I sit and think about a future, which was not really possible even just weeks ago.  With me, struggling to find a job that I can thrive with, and DH attending school full time… every semester being his last… ha, HA.  With DH finally (really) nearing the end of his schooling, I can imagine us moving on to the next stage.  With a more stable, predictable schedule, I’ve even started to see myself actually working outside the home, though we need me to do that desperately… now it seems more feasible schedule-wise and I feel that I’m really ready for it, especially if I can enjoy my work.  Paying someone for a couple of hours seems more doable than for eight to ten, well, because I can’t see myself making any kind of decent salary and the thorn in my side is that I couldn’t bring myself to fork over my whole salary plus more just to pay for daycare.  I mean, I’d rather stay home and once I did stay home, I never wanted to look back.  Now, almost seven years later, I find that I would LOVE to go back to work, if only it could be to an employer I respected.  You see, my time has always been the most valuable commodity I had that was all my own.  It was instilled in me from the time I was a teenager that to be employed meant that you stayed loyal to that employer and never left that company until you retired.  That was the ideal.  In this day and age I have experienced, what I still feel, as a betrayal by an employer who shall remain nameless who promised our department a whole new space at the home office, after years provided that space, just to months later dissolving the department.  Words better to be remained unspoken about what kind of entity that would do something like that.  Well, today it is practically a standard in the business world.  Not very encouraging.  Still, I/we  really need me to work and I’m ready for it, grateful for the time I had at home living a life I could experience at my own leisure.  Damn, DH is always right, though not 100%.  He believes that I need a job to conquer low self esteem.  I say that is not right.  My time is valuable and I am loath to just give it away to a business that might not be worthy of it, not appreciate my service.  Now that I’m finally ready, I find millions of people out here with me and the competition is brutal.  Still, while I strive to think positive as friends have so arduously done, I still know it’s hard to find work… really, really tough.

I really have no idea how to close this.  Mine is not a story of big Disney vacations, or a weekend respite at some tropical island, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I speak from the position of doing what it takes for me, with limited resources, to take time out for myself and truly feel special, relaxed and “me” if even for just a few hours.  There are more options out there which would fit just about anyone’s personality and private needs.  This is just me.

Oh… I really need a tiara, don’t you think?

I really love this one.  Do you think it’s available?

Define Gratitude


grat·i·tude   [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Today I’ve been feeling that I need to write about being grateful for my friends. I’m still going to do that, but I wanted to do this preliminary post about gratitude, in general.  I just hope I can do the subject justice.

It wasn’t until I consciously strove to feel grateful, did I start to really enjoy life. Not only that, but I do believe that it’s a critical ingredient to a happy and respectful marriage; and this, my friends is from where I speak.  Through my marriage, my husband, I can see the world not as the old, cynical me; but as a refreshed me.  I really credit my DDH (Dear Dear Husband) with the bulk of renewing my life, or at the very least he be the catalyst for it.  He nurtures that, and you’d better believe, in his own subtle (or not so subtle) way, he calls me out on the carpet when I stray…. but not before I make a total jerk of myself… aaaah- He loves me~!

Not only is gratitude key for a good marriage.  It’s critical to any relationship, and the other major one is my relationship with God.  If I’m not grateful for everything that God has given me, then I really do have nothing.  I’ve made it a rule that I must always be grateful for everything I do have in my life and forget what doesn’t happen to be here for me.  I can’t waste my time going to places I can’t reach… yet.  Concentrating on what I do have means that I’m not thinking about the negative, whatever that may be.  What I’m doing now with these gratitude posts is refreshing my memory, reminding myself that there is so much in my life to be happy about and to remember to thank my Creator.

For me being grateful means that in taking the time to think about the positives, about the really good people in my life, presents more opportunities to project a positive spirit out to others.  More opportunities to tell the people in my life how much I love them and how much I appreciate their presence in my life.  Another thing is that up until now, I could not tell people how I felt about them.  I was embarrassed or I thought it was silly.  I thought it wasn’t important.  Now I know that is a lie.  It IS very important to those around me to know, more importantly TO BE TOLD how much they mean to me.  I need to take the time to tell my friends I love them.  That they are important to me.  Thank them for being in my life.  I won’t miss those opportunities again.  Too many times we let the moment pass, then regret it.

Another concept I came away from Oprah’s Lifeclass is when she said, “Your presence is enough.”  If I remember correctly this was part of a discussion about “what should I do when I walk into a room” or “what do I say?”  Something like that, and this sentence, “Your presence is enough” just jumped out at me.  Yeah, I really get that and I want to close my eyes: OOHHMMMM.

Gratitude is the fertile soil for Love.  See what those OHM’s can do?

edited to add:  Just found this quote I was saving about Joy:

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find 
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. 
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see 
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

~Kahlil Gibran

 

Gratitude Journal


Last night I tuned in to Oprah’s Lifeclass for the first time.  I went all out and had the TV on as well as the web which I was glad that I did because the talking continued during commercial breaks and also after the TV version ended.  All in all, it was pretty good and definitely a godsend with all the crap they put on TV these days.  Definitely worth the time watching.

So if I got one thing out of last night’s show was the suggestion of writing a Gratitude Journal… and I’m going to.  The point is to write 5 things that you’re grateful for each day.  I’m a bit late today because I was out all day, but maybe that’s the best way to do this so that I can have the opportunity to think back on the day and remember again what I’m grateful for.  Please note that this  list is not necessarily in order of importance.  Whatever is relative to my life IS important to me, so here goes:

I am so very grateful for my husband, Ed.  It’s the every day things.  The small, seemingly insignificant things that turn out to be anything but insignificant.  He way of being is so calming, in and of itself.  I just can’t get over where my life could have been if it weren’t for him.  He inspires me to be more than I am and that’s it in a nutshell.  Yes, I’m grateful for him every single day; and through him, we have the most beautiful and amazing boy.

By the way, our son is the second thing I am grateful for.  I wish I could show you on this one page how truly amazing he is.  He is definitely forming his sense of humor and have no idea where that will end up, but he’s like me in the way he laughs at his own senseless jokes, which really does make it funny, well to me.  His laugh, however, comes from his father… a guffaw-like chuckle.  I am grateful to the babe who teaches his mother about life every single day.  Who is supposed to be teaching who here?  lol… That question is up for debate because he is, well, amazing….

Which reminds me, I MUST REMEMBER TO DO HOMEWORK TOMORROW….

I’m so SO grateful for my Posse~!  A collection of wonderful, wonderful ladies who get together once a month to celebrate Friends, Fellowship and Food!  HA… Well, mainly we share our joy of the fiber arts through crochet, knitting, and charity projects.  These ladies are:  Linda, Eartha, Pauline, Dolores, Helen, Pat, Desirre, Jeannette, Susan, Laura, Jeri and myself.  No, I’m terrible because there are others who while are not present every month are missed.  There are newer people, too, who are always finding us; but I’m not so good with names and I apologize if I left anyone out.  Today was our special day and it could not be better.  Delicious food, wonderful friends who are always positive and uplifting to the spirit.  When we are together we laugh, laugh, laugh and we find it hard to pull ourselves away from each other.   It’s a virtual lovefest.  LOVE YOU GIRLS~!

I’m grateful for my faith.  Without that I would be a total mess right now. Having a loving and forgiving God to believe in makes living easier.  I know that I am never alone.  I can forgive myself because I know that God forgives me.  I just look around in my life and know to the core of my being that He exists and is taking care of me.  I believe that He has hand picked my mate and by extension, our son, our family…. Thank you, Lord… so, SO much~!

I’m grateful for where I’m living.  I must say that I complain a lot about the area I live in.  It’s a terrible urban area with lots of crime, but the block we live on is relatively reminiscent of a nice neighborhood.  It’s a dead end street, so no heavy traffic, well, if you don’t count frequent number of cars who don’t realize it and try to scream into our neighbor’s yard at the very end of the street.  Oh, forgot, keep it positive.  I’m grateful for our home.  We rent on the first floor and have a nice breezy porch.  We have large public rooms and it’s just right for us.  It’s our home and I love this space so much.  We have, or I should say “had” a garden until the landlord’s son pretty much took it over.  My first reaction was a bad one, but I’ve gotten over it.  Now that it’s the fall, we have to see what will be happening with it next spring.  I had a small spot that the landlord gave us and we planted lavender and rosemary bushes, basil, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, mint and whatever else I could fit in there.  I can’t begin to explain how it made me feel to just be able to walk out back and pick fresh herbs and veggies to use in my cooking.  It brought me closer to the earth.  I sure hope we can work this out and I’m optimistic about it and for that, I’m grateful.

Feel Good Day


I feel good today despite the fact that there is a woman in Starbucks right now disrupting the whole place with her loud words, noises and insane rants. I was ” close to complaining about her, but then I realized there might be something “off” about her that would account for her behavior. I guess I’m more sensitive to that. I can’t help but hear their conversation and she is just not making any sense. God help me to not hear, but she is just being very loud. So, for today, for this one post, I will concentrate on why I’m feeling good at this moment.

The most immediate reason I am feeling good is that I just followed up on an application for employment by just showing up. I saw the manager of a local A.C. Moore store, inquired, asked questions; and though I have no answers right now, I am confident that he will remember me when he goes to look through the applications he has. I need a good sign and if life won’t hand it to me, I must make them for myself. So, if you’re thinking that this is hardly an uplifting reason to feel good, I’ll assure you that it is. It’s a big deal to me. Granted this is no guarantee of securing a job, but at least I DID something positive to that end and THAT makes me happy.

Recently I was invited to display my pendants for sale at the Charmed Butterfly. Go check them out.  They showcase independent artists and the work they do. Pretty soon my name will be listed under their “Artists” list.  Pretty exciting! This shop is way out of state for me, in Scottsville, VA; and is owned by someone I call my friend. Though we’ve never met, we have spoken over the phone and though we live so far away, I often think of her and feel grateful she is out there. The reason that I’m feeling particularly good today about the Charmed Butterfly is that I finally got a package out to her carrying my creations. Wow, this could be the start of something good for me. I just hope I’m ready- be ready for anything!

“Four Strong Winds” is playing on the sound system and it brings back really nice memories of learning how to play the guitar and practicing. This was one of the songs my mentor insisted I learn, though I had no idea how it was supposed to sound. Since I cannot read music, I play almost entirely by ear. Most of our list was like that. He loves mostly country music by the “good ol boys”.. the old masters like Hank Williams, Sr. and his contemporaries.  This song, though, is not country, folk, I think. I miss the guitar so much, but I can’t seem to make time for it… ah Anthony would scoff at me and, indeed, I would, as well. “…. GET ME A WHOPPER, GET ME A WHOPPER….” just infiltrated my strain of thought, being said to nobody. Nobody left to get a whopper. Geez, we’re in Starbuck’s! OMG… they just left. Thank goodness, but there’s no excuses now not to concentrate on this.  To pick up my thought where it was screechingly severed I will report that I still have my guitar, a Yamaha f-310, sitting in my closet patiently waiting for me to take her out so we can make some beautiful music together.

One of my favorite songs is “Greensleeves”, a melody from long ago, Middle Ages maybe. The more modern song with the same melody is “What Child Is This”, a Christmas hymn. I loved to play this on my guitar, sooo beautiful.  Well, the other day our family visited the Morris Museum up in Morristown, NJ.  There was a very interesting exhibit there on “Musical Machines & Living Dolls: Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection” with a collection of all kinds of antique music machines. After our visit, of course we stopped at the museum shop, prices were very reasonaboe, by the way, and I purchased one of those tiny music machines you find in music jewelry boxes. The tune is “Greensleeves” and Gabriel immediately put a claim in for it, even though it was really for me. Now, that was two weeks ago and I’ve not heard him playing it recently. Yesterday I got into a singing for a spell and one of the songs was this Christmas hymn. Wouldn’t you know it, Gabe immediately came in and asked me what the song was that I was singing. I told him and he responded that it’s the same as his music box. Momma was so proud of her little boy! He’s got a good ear, I think. It was hidden because for so long he had a terrible hearing loss and recently it seems to be corrected for good. He’s been going to a specialist for years now, ever since preschool. HA.. for a long time he’s been singing off key and I had resigned myself to the fact that this might not be a good avenue for him to pursue. He just loves to sing and play the drums… Yeah. Everything is a drum to and drum sticks.

There is so much to be grateful for….

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