Tag Archives: peace

Life is Beautiful

I have talked to several people recently who had nothing positive to say about their lives, their jobs, the economy, etc. Everything that came out of their mouths was negative. I felt like I didn’t want to be around those people anymore. Granted, there are some major things going on in the world that would cause anyone to be negative. But why be that way all the time?

I may be accused of being Pollyanna, but life is too short to be so negative. One friend’s daughter is despairing because she cannot afford a house close to where she works in a big city (this young lady is usually negative). One friend is despairing about the current White House occupant and his bizarre policies. It is way too easy to be negative about life, especially when things haven’t quite turned out as expected.

That’s when it’s time to step back and reassess. Are your expectations too high? Are you comparing yourself with someone else? Are you unwilling to work hard for what you want? Do you vote? What in your life can you change?

I have a 40 minute commute to work. I pass through some of the most beautiful scenery during that time. I am also privy to some of the most gorgeous sunrises I have ever seen. Yes, dipwads in overblown pickup trucks like to get on my tail. Yes, traffic sometimes moves slow in the fast lane. Yes, some days on the road are better than others. I could be very negative about the commute- how long it takes, etc. But I’m not. Life is too short. I appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the drive. I listen get to listen to music, pray and plan my day.

Life is also too short to moan and groan about what I cannot change or cannot change right now – the dude in the White House, for instance.  I vote and I encourage others to get out and do the same. Don’t be snowballed by Republicans or Democrats. Vote with an educated conscience.

Don’t whine – do something to affect change! Volunteer. Donate. Vote. Be kind. Be generous. Listen. Be courageous. Be encouraging. Be compassionate. Share. Laugh. Create. Life is too short for negativity! Life is beautiful! Life is an adventure! Live it! Stay tuned. . . .

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Looking Forward To

It began a couple of years before I got divorced and I knew my marriage wasn’t going to last much longer – I DID NOT look forward to the weekend. Most of my friends and coworkers enjoyed the weekend because they would spend it doing something fun with their families. Not me.

Yes, I had my daughter to spend time with, but she spent a good portion of the weekend working. My sons were away at college and the older they got, the fewer times they came home. That means either I was alone or I had to put up with ex’s hijinks. Monday couldn’t come soon enough!

I’m glad those days are behind me. Now, I look forward to the weekend because of Cycle Dude and my children being so close. I love spending time with the love of my life and with my children and grandchildren and my dogs.

Cycle Dude is so peaceful, thoughtful, kind and loving. My life is so much better because of Cycle Dude. I love spending time with my oldest son and his family. My granddaughter keeps me laughing! I love spending time with my youngest son and his family. Granddaughter #2 is such a sweet little girl and has deep dimples like her mom and dad.  I love spending time with  my daughter and her husband and I can’t wait for grandbaby #3! My pups are the first to greet me whenever I walk in the door from work.

There are so many things I look forward to now. I am looking forward to watching my grandchildren grow up. I am looking forward to growing old with Cycle Dude. I am looking forward to his children getting married and raising their own children. I am looking forward to living the greatest adventure ever for the rest of my life! And I still look forward to Mondays and the promise of a new week! Stay tuned. . .

The Measure of Success

If you had asked me twenty-five years ago what I needed to be successful, I would have listed the following: a large bank account, a nice house, several cars in the driveway, a vacation home somewhere, and a stellar reputation. Today, my answer is totally different. . .  and one word – peace.

Twenty-five years ago, I was in a very different place – unhappily married, still raising children and brand new to Mytown. I thought a collection of material wealth would be a sign of success. However, today my bank account is small, I live with Cycle Dude in a comfortable home, I only have one car, I don’t own a vacation home anywhere, and my reputation with most people is good. But I can truly say that I am more at peace now than I have ever been in my life.

Today I measure success by my relationships. I am in love with an amazing man, I have three wonderful children and children-in-law, two beautiful grandbabies and one on the way, great friends, siblings and their extended families I still keep up with, my mom is still alive and in good health, and my circle of friends grows larger every day.

Several years ago, a friend of mine passed away. He was the father of one of my son’s best friends and he was a pastor of a small church in town. I waited in line for three hours at his visitation to pay my respects and speak to his family. I would say that man was truly successful – he had touched so many lives and his relationships were too numerous to count.

When I pass away, all that I have will either be given away, sold or trashed. My material “wealth” will be gone. I am comforted in knowing that I will live on in the memories of my family and friends. Now that is success! Stay tuned. . .

I’ve Got Sunshine

We’ve had so much rain in Mytown this winter that when we see sunshine, everyone makes a mad dash to be outside. I work on a college campus. It’s warm today and the sun is out. Students, faculty and staff are taking advantage of the beautiful, albeit windy, weather. There are tables and benches throughout campus where folks are eating lunch, studying or just enjoying the nice day before we get another round of bad weather tonight.

I remember the first few months after I got divorced. It felt like months of very bad weather – no sun, rainy, windy and cold. There were days I really didn’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes it seemed like those dark days would never end. I clung to my faith and wrote a great deal in my journal. Thank goodness for my dogs, my friends and Cycle Dude. They all kept me from slipping into a very deep and dark depression. I am grateful for those little rays of sunshine in my early post-divorce days.

Today is glorious! I went outside at lunch and wanted to do a Maria Von Trapp (The Sound of Music) – twirl around on a hilltop and burst out, “The hills are alive!!!”  I remember feeling this way when the bad post-divorce months and years eventually passed. Monday, March 18, will mark two years since I moved in with Cycle Dude.

Sometimes I miss living by myself in the apartment – just me and the dogs. I miss the quiet intimacy of sitting alone in the dark, listening to the sound of my own heartbeat, praying and reflecting on my day. Then I remember the nights of loud music and even louder neighbors’ arguments and I am thankful that I live with Cycle Dude!

I am thankful that those dark post-divorce days are gone. I am thankful for the sunshine that is so prevalent in my life now – the laughter of my oldest grandbaby, the smiles of my children when I spend time with them, the hugs and kisses from the man I love, snuggles from my pups and the warm friendship of old and new friends. The dark days don’t last forever – sunshine is on the way!! Stay tuned . . . .

The Big Lie

What do you need to make you happy – a new car, new home, a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, children, college education, new job, vacation, to lose weight, etc.? All of those things are fleeting. But no one will tell you that. Just watch the commercials during your favorite TV program.

That new Ford F-150, the sale at Macy’s, that cloud-like mattress, the new superhero movie coming out, that new hair color or mascara – those are just some of the things we are told will make us happy. Big NOPE! Yet, we tend to believe that Big Lie – that stuff, relationships, etc. will make us happy. Happiness is fleeting because happiness is circumstantial. Life is constantly changing and those things we think will bring us happiness are constantly changing as well.

The new Ford F-150 will depreciate and you won’t be able to sell it for what you paid for it. Bummer. The sale at Macy’s only lasts one day and your internet just went down. Too bad. The mattress ends up getting lumpy. Ouch! The new superhero movie wasn’t as great as you thought it was going to be. Darn. And neither the hair color nor the mascara looks good on you. Golly. Happiness is down the drain. There is no way to live in perpetual happiness – it’s just not possible when happiness is circumstantial.

I am a woman of faith and in the Bible I read about a ‘joy’ that surpasses happiness. This joy is akin to an underlying contentment that says, “No matter what happens, all is well with me.” Even if you are not a person of faith, you may be familiar with this joy. Joy is often mistaken for happiness. I believe joy is not contingent on circumstances. Joy says, “I may not have enough money to go to dinner with my friends (which would make me really happy), but my electric bill is paid and there is gas in my car.”

I love to go to estate sales because I can get some great stuff at incredible bargains. So many of the estate sales I go to are chock full of stuff, stuff and more stuff. It’s amazing to see the amount of stuff people have that they think will make them happy. No one else values the stuff except as a bargain. No one buying the stuff knows or cares about the sentimental value the owner once attached to that stuff. An estate sale is just a house full of someone else’s happiness.

My stuff makes me happy, but those things that bring me joy are intangible: the love of my family, my grandbabies’ kisses, Cycle Dude’s thoughtfulness, snuggling with my pups, sharing laughter with my friends. Those things warm my heart and make me smile. If my house burned down tomorrow and I lost all my stuff, I’d still have joy in knowing Cycle Dude and my family love me.

The Big Lie is that getting and having everything we want will make us happy. The truth is that it won’t because happiness is circumstantial and fleeting. Joy is the steady, underlying assurance that in spite of the circumstances of life, all is well. Stay tuned . . .

Shattered Faith

Cycle Dude and I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) a great deal. This morning, I caught part of an interview with a young woman who had been sexually abused in the 1990’s by the youth pastor in her church. The interviewer asked the young woman if she still has her faith. I did not hear her answer, but I got the impression she did not.

My heart aches for that young woman. Although I was not sexually abused by a member of the clergy, Catholic or Protestant, I was “relationally” abused by a Protestant pastor.

My family had attended a denominational church in Mytown for four years when my marriage started to disintegrate. I turned to a pastor for help, for marriage counseling. Ex and I were sent to a non-licensed, non-professional church member for counseling. For the first 30 minutes of our hour-long session, the man told us his story and why he liked the program he would use with us. This happened weekly for about a month before I finally said, “Enough. This is about us, not you.”

When ex sought counseling one-on-one with a pastor, he was told he could not be counseled because he had an issue with another member of the congregation. We were basically treated as pariahs because we no longer met the church’s definition of “holy”. My children were even treated with disdain – and they didn’t do anything!

One does not have to be sexually abused to experience abuse at the hands of a trusted church leader, church member or congregation. Christians have no qualms about shooting their own wounded.

For about a year and a half after the incident with the folks in the Baptist church, I shied away from church, attending occasionally out of respect for my children. My marriage did fall apart and I felt shattered – my life, my relationships, my faith.

I began attending another church that was led by a pastor I knew several years earlier. He put together a team to help ex and I walk through the separation and divorce. I was so thankful. He even said, “We’ve never done this before, but we know we need to take care of you.”

I tell this story to say that not all churches or church members are abusive. It is difficult to trust again after one has experienced any kind of abuse, no matter who the perpetrator is. My faith in Christ is stronger today than ever because of people like the pastor who knew it was his responsibility to care for a wounded member of his congregation. I know that my faith is not in man, but in God. I know that His heart broke as well as mine at the abuse my family and I endured.

My faith was shattered for a long time and it was painful to pick up the pieces. I had two friends who helped me to pick up those pieces. I have learned as a woman of faith that I need to extend a hand and to give grace instead of lobbing scripture bombs and judgement at my Christian brothers and sisters who find themselves in time of need. None of us are “holy”, no not one. Give grace. Stay tuned. . . .

The Next Generation

As I write this post, I am anxiously awaiting the birth of grandbabies #2 and #3. Grandbaby #2 is due to enter the world this week, and grandbaby #3 is due this summer. Grandbaby #2 will have my ex’s last name – the little one will be my second son’s first child.

 When I divorced, I took back my maiden name because my married name, for me, no longer held any honor nor respect. I did not want to be tagged with that last name the rest of my life. My maiden name held more honor for me because my dad was an honorable man. I would gladly bear his name. I was concerned about how I would feel once my sons started having children – would I be bitter when I met them? Would I not love them as much as I would love my daughter’s children? That was something I gave a great deal of thought to.

 Of course, I decided that I would love all my grandchildren, no matter what their last name. I looked forward to holding those little ones in my arms and letting them know how much their Nonnie loves them. Grandbaby #1 is almost 18 months old. She is my oldest son’s first child and she is a delight! I look forward to watching her grow into a wonderful young lady.

 My mom was here over Christmas. We took a four generation picture with her, me, my son and grandbaby #1. As I look at that picture, I am overwhelmed with the short expanse of the generations represented. My mom is almost 82 and grandbaby #1 is a little over a year old – 80 years separate the two and encompass four generations. It was also an honor to take a four-generation picture with my mom. She is alive to see three successive generations – her children, her children’s children, and her children’s children’s children. I thank that is amazing! I hope I live to see my great-grandchildren!

 As I look at my grandchildren, the next generation, I am looking into the future. What will these little one grow up to be like? Will they make great contributions to science, art or literature? Will they quietly serve, making a difference in the lives of others? I am looking forward to watching this next generation grow up and move forward in their lives. I will be here for as long as the good Lord allows – encouraging and loving my grandbabies, investing in the lives of the next generation. Stay tuned . . . . .