Friday, November 25, 2011

When Worlds Collide...

Planning, Preparing, and Packing…certainly the tasks at hand in organizing the big trip to Ohio. Saturday, November 26 is the noteworthy day and has been etched in my mind as my son has counted down on the calendar. He simply cannot wait to see his best friend Maddy and ‘his other family’ as he affectionately has christened them. Who can fault him for that; I too am wound up with anticipation.

I will be reuniting with family, visiting dear friends and childhood classmates, reconnecting with past students and former colleagues as well as meeting individuals I’ve only acquainted myself with on the computer-and now deem as friends. Countless people I’ve not connected face to face in years; truth be told decades.

In addition, I get to embark upon the pursuit of a dream when I hold book signings in two areas I hold near and dear to my heart; Columbus and Tiffin. How can I view the happenings and not be exhilarated? My eagerness and excitement is beyond words…

However I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t voice my apprehensions of the can old messages not replay themselves when placing me into aged haunts? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m a disappointment when they meet or see me again? What if I slight someone unmistakably? What if?

In a matter of days, my separated worlds will collide…and I will do my best to bask in the joy and remember the words quoted by Seneca: "There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than in reality.”

In the meantime, please pray for safe travels tomorrow and upon our return, Sunday, Dec. 4…and let the exuberance commence!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving?

So upon us is yet another Thanksgiving Day...and I can't resist posting this story of such a memorable blessed day. Sorry Mom!

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that happens to it."


I recognize you are most likely reading the above quote and thinking what does that have to do with Thanksgiving. Well, I’ll tell you. Growing up we had a house full of family for the Thanksgiving feast; aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma…you name ‘em and they were gathered in our small ranch home.

The ceremonial dinner was planned for noon as always and my mom took immense pride in preparing the turkey dressed in its finest! The night before rituals commenced with the production of the homemade dressing and shoving it inside that colossal bird enough to feed near thirty people. She enclosed that fowl and placed the roaster within the oven and set it to activate at 4:00am. Swollen with pride and pleased with her labor we went to bed in anticipation for the gathering of our family the subsequent day.

The next morning I awoke and got a whiff of that brilliant smell of turkey roasting and beamed proudly as I made a momentary look toward the clock: 7:00am. I rose out of bed and meandered into the kitchen and was shocked at the words gracing my ears; the words were coming out of my mother’s mouth, a staunch Christian woman. ‘God-damn son of a b----, well sh—‘ words I am most certain I had never even heard before!

The smell of the bird had truly been in my mind from year’s past. The oven failed had to turn on! My mom skittered around the kitchen slamming cupboards and the oven door, throwing pot holders and anything else she could get her hands on. She was swearing at the oven as if that would miraculously make it turn on or say, ‘Gosh, I’m sorry. Let’s try that again!

Meanwhile my sister and I took shelter. It was a wonder that raw bird and all that was stuffed up in it didn’t go flying through the kitchen, living room and any other room of the house…tears, curse words and flurry filled that humble abode and we were taking cover!

Well, no harm no ‘fowl’; hee hee! We may have had our Thanksgiving feast later than planned but it certainly made for amusement for the day and every gathering since. Each year following began with a ‘Ummm, that turkey sure smells good! Did you turn the oven on?’

So on this blessed day, may your oven turn on and everything go planned accordingly!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In a World of Anger...

“Anger is only a natural reaction; one of the mind’s ways of reacting to things that it perceives to be wrong. While anger can sometimes lead people to do shocking things it can also be an instinct to show people that something isn’t right.”

The newspaper prints it… the radio reverberates it…and the television echoes it…

Revolutions, occupancies, bomb plots, sit-ins, protests, suicides, murders, abuse; while not in any specific order the mere presence of said behaviors suggests the people of the world are growing angrier as time moves forward.

Americans are irritate about betrayals in relationships, we seethe at perceived injustices by loved ones and we grow to be annoyed by a lack of respect for ourselves as individuals as well as our needs and desires on a personal level.

We’re furious at our government for an abundant of reasons but lack of concern about finances and taxes, cut-backs and spending; all actions that steal our voice as individuals. We fume at rising health care costs and job loss while Congress dickers and proceeds as if seemingly interested.

We are irate and livid with lying, scamming, cheating, and scandalous actions of others in positions of authority, which then have the audacity to supply hollow apologies with a few bogus tears.

The ever-increasing violence highlights the rage we as citizens undergo as well as a sense of powerlessness, at least I do. Yet, to circumvent a collision course with hostility, I’m choosing to clutch to my heart the following although easier said than done: hatred and anger are powerless when met with kindness.

But within our world in which we live, when is enough enough? And when does it all end?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Self-examination...and NO, not a breast examination!

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves -regret for the past and fear of the future.”

By Fulton Oursler

A few months back Nicholas and I were having a conversation which led to his statement: ‘I have all the friends I need!’

Really? I wondered how at twelve years old a person could so confidently express that sentiment because here I am at fifty two (well, almost) and I’m contemplating opening myself up for that proposition. I’m in the process of self-examination. A good thing, right?

Yes, but only if I’m truthful with myself which I plan on being; honest with you and honest with me. If you’ve read my blog long enough you know it is well chronicled within the wall of words that my past has been anything but uncomplicated. However, I don’t chose to hover in that place for prolonged periods; life is too short, but I do believe we can learn from the past and move onward.

People make choices for which the consequences ripple to those lives surrounding us. As a result, I think it’s our responsibility to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves; what regrets do I have? What would I have done differently? Where do I need to go from here?

I am so excited about traveling to Ohio, beyond that of my book signing appointments. I have an array of people planning to attend from early childhood friends, high school, college as well as work related. Exhilaration is an understatement!

Sadly, I find myself comparing friends I had in Ohio to the ones I have here in North Carolina and I’m slightly embarrassed to declare I have few. I’ve been here for three plus years and the true connections I have are limited to a handful.

Surprised? is my own doing…I have withdrawn from the prospect of friends – Staff socials/ events; nope, don’t attend. Lunchroom conversations- nada. Informal gatherings or get together invitations? They are shunned as well.

I have become lonely. It is with the anticipation of traveling to Ohio that I’m realizing the valuable strong connections with people I have, the precious friends in my home state. However, my bravado of wanting the people in my life to believe I am fine or I am happy has truly hindered the honesty with self. But then again, that has been my pattern throughout life for fear of rejection.

So it’s an occasion for self assessment, and with this comes a forging ahead with uncertainties but also honoring-I am who I am. I’m not a social butterfly; I am fearful and anxious in big crowds therefore, I prefer small intimate gatherings. I’ve rejected offers since trust was lacking that anyone could truly want my company; what could I possibly offer another individual? I second guess myself and question motives. I know, shame on me, huh?

I will also pass this along to those I’ve shunned with a bit of luck I’ll make amends and allow my vulnerabilities to be visible. What’s more, I’ll also forgive myself for past actions and recall this quote made by an anonymous individual:

If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense making them.”

Thanks Pooh for helping me out here...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Valley isn't so happy...

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.”

By Alfred A. Montapert

Nowhere is the content of this quote more evident than in the happenings at Penn State University and the sex abuse allegations by Jerry Sandusky.

I’ve been trying for a week or more to pen my thoughts on these happenings; unsuccessfully, of course. With a history of having been sexually abused my feelings range from disgust, to rage, to repulsion and more that I am unable to tag at this point in time.

I vacillate from the loathing of Sandusky to compassion for Joe Paterno. The part of me that values long term commitments, a life of dedication to youth and integrity, building strong ideals for our youth honors JoePa. But that’s where the empathy for Joe Paterno stops…

It also stops for Jim Calhoun, the custodian who witnessed Sandusky in the showers with a young boy but alerted no one. Compassion also ceases for Ronald Petrosky, another Penn State employee who observed him sodomizing a youngster; and reported this to no one. How could these individuals live with themselves for said number of years? Was it difficult for them to look into the mirror daily and know the lies they were harboring?

How about Mike McQueary, the assistant coach who still has a job even though he too was a bystander. Yes, he told those above him, but never made certain those claims were acted upon. I also find it interesting that he made mention of the incident to his father and his father didn’t direct him to call authorities?

Certainly, not all is clear at this point, with plenty of blame to go around and this is only the formation of a lengthy arduous battle. My twelve year old son is struggling to make meaning of this total state of affairs and I am thankful he can view it with a clear detachment. Our conversations have been bountiful and I find myself muttering a plethora of ‘I don’t knows’ in response to his intricate inquiries.

However, I did make one point abundantly and blatantly clear to him: Doing the right thing isn’t always the easy thing. Martin Luther spoke eloquently when he said, ‘You are not only responsible for what you say, but what you don’t say.’

…and too many people didn’t say enough!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

...a sense of loss

While on my walk this morning which I hadn’t done lately for a multitude of reasons, laziness being one of them as well as time constraints, or it’s too darn cold in NC, etc… the word ‘loss’ truly just inserted itself into my head like a zit pops upon your face; it’s just there! I was like ‘whoa, where did that come from?’

We as humans are capable of suffering from various types of loss; loss of a job, loss of a loved one, a loss of freedom and there’s also a loss of mobility. There is loss of independence as well as a loss of eyesight or hearing. The only loss I can think of off-handedly that brings joy is a loss of weight!

While there are a host of definitions contained in the Dictionary Merriam-Webster Online, one definition of loss is the decrease in amount, magnitude or degree.

This is the description I’ll focus on since this is the one that plagues me and this is the reason why. I discovered on Friday through a dear friend that a valued companion of ours has cancer. Indeed she is in shock since hearing the news and most likely suffering from the loss of which I speak.

I wonder when her thoughts travel hither and yon in her mind, if the word cancer has robbed her psyche of the lack of restrictions from a previous stated amount of safe and secure beliefs flowing within. I wonder if she’ll catch herself needing to remind her of the uncertain future that lies ahead. I wonder if she’ll experience loss and if so, what kinds? I question if there is anything her support systems will be able to do to replace this sense of loss in her heart.

On the other hand, perhaps the sense of loss is what I’m feeling particularly when unfortunate events and ill-fated news permeates the life of a loved one. Conceivably loss is more a lack of control that the world can embark its ugliness at any given time and place and to whomever it may please.

Regardless, Roseanne Cash once said, ‘Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong."