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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Planning for the Future

It has been over a year since my last posting here, and for many reasons.  Shortly after my last post I lost a very dear friend in a horribly tragic accident and for a time, my focus was shifted on that loss.  He was a great boss, and citizen of this earth but mostly he was my friend.  Over a year later and thinking of loosing him still brings me to tears.  He was a blessing to me and my family and I believe that he continues to watch over us all.

Then in the spring of this year I lost my Dad.  The dementia was getting harder to deal with, but ultimately cancer took his life.  He is with my Mom and I am sure he is much happier.   So, needless to say, if you have followed my blog, you know that this situation resulted in many more conflicts with my sister.  I feel so sorry for her and the bitterness that she carries with her every day.  It must be polluting her soul.  I could not think of living my life surrounded with so much negativity.  I am here if she ever chooses to reach out but I do not hold out much hope for that, so I pray that she does have people in her life that she can find comfort and happiness with.

But for the rest of us, life continues to move forward.  Everyone is where they are supposed to be.  I have since changed jobs because I could not stay after my boss was gone.  My husband is working and doing well. The kids are all done with high school, the youngest one graduated this past June and is heading into the military while the others two are finding success in college and in life.

I continue to attend our local support/advocacy meetings here locally and doing what I can to help.  I still reply to e-mail and comments on my blog and try to help in any way I can.  But I am not sure there is more to add to this blog without boring everyone to tears with the wonderful "normal" that our lives are now.  We still have issues with probation and the hoops from the justice system but they seem so insignificant from where we were a few years ago.

I have, however been putting some thought into where to go now, and what I could offer.  One of the things that comes to mind is rebuilding our lives.  Everything from finding a new home, making new friends to rebuilding our financial nest egg and retirement.  Everything was wiped out and now we have to start all over again to get to a place that we can still retire and enjoy our lives and families.  I never wanted to be a person who had to work forever because we did not have enough money to retire, but now everything we had is gone.  Slowly, however we are trying to rebuild and maybe that is something I could share with everyone.  So many people have unexpected things come up, or wait too late before they start planing for the future that I think it is something that a large percentage of the population could relate to.  I will keep you all updated.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Pyramid of People

It was in a friend's comment the other day that I looked back on my last few years and had a revelation, and it is something that I firmly believe.  Call it God's plan, karma, or a divine plan, or what ever label you want to put on it, but it is a truth.  It may be the planning of some greater being or it is our inherent nature to search out what we need whether we realize that we are doing it or not but I know that the people we need most in our lives at any one time are the people we find.

We might rekindle an old friendship, make a new acquaintance or develop a deeper relationship with someone we did not know really well.  But regardless of how they came into our lives, they were there for a reason.

We can all look back on our youth and remember that older neighbor who taught us some of life's greatest lessons or our childhood best friend who helped us get through a difficult experience or just helped get us into all that good childhood trouble.  There are people during every phase of our lives that have touched us and had a greater impact than we could have ever imagined.

My elderly neighbors were the closest thing I had to grandparents, and I learned to appreciate the knowledge that comes with age.  I loved spending hours with them and would choose to be there than with my friends.  To this day, I think of them fondly and still find moments when I miss them.

My high school bully taught me to be proud of myself and not listen to what others thought.  It is out of my experiences with her that I decided to be the architect of my own life and not let others push me around.  I am who I am because of my experiences with her.  Strangely, I think sometimes that I should thank her. 

I found friends who understand what we were going through as a family during a very difficult time and those friends still continue to amaze me and push me to change the world for the better.  A stranger who offered a hug and a gift that I can never thank her for, but one moment that completely changed my life and outlook for the future. 

The people, who for various and seemingly random reasons find themselves in my life, I find share a greater connection than any of us ever thought.  We share common experiences and have so much more in common than what others see. 

Our lives are like pyramids and every connection helps build upon the previous blocks.  The people we meet today, will impact the way we talk and interact with the people we meet tomorrow.  This could be either positive or negative, but it is in our responses to the good or the bad that will dictate whether we build ourselves up or tear ourselves down. 

Lean on those that give you strength, and be that light for someone else down the road.  There is a plan, and you are a piece in another persons puzzle just as others are pieces in yours.  It is in sharing our lives with others that we find the true joy in life. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Life Gets Better

It has been a busy summer and it has been a while since I posted anything, and although I have a few thoughts in my head which I will share later, I wanted to share some thoughts from the other writer in the family.  My oldest son, the college student, inspires me with his words and character and I thought it is a positive insight to share for all those parents who wonder if they made the right decisions in their lives and pray that their kids learned the important stuff.  The following are his words and thoughts from a proud mom.

Stop being scared

When I am 90 plus years old and I look back at my life, there is really only one thing that I hope I accomplished. I hope I can honestly say to myself that I did everything with a purpose and that I did it with 100% of my capabilities. It’s not going matter how much money I made or how many cool material things I had. If I live the rest of my life with my beat up Ford Focus station wagon but do everything with all I have, well I am going to consider that a successful life.
Doing what I want to do for a career is not going to make me a millionaire. But what will make me feel like I won the lottery are the friendships and relationships I attain over my life. Whether it be the close friends I have now or maybe new ones I am going to make in the future, I hope after all is said and done, I can have just a small impact on their lives for the better.
Being a husband and father is such an amazing thing that I can not wait to experience but I also know that it will be one of the hardest things I do and one of the most important things I do as a person. Relationships are tough, you have to work at them everyday and some days it is going to be rough. I think I am going to be great at being a husband and father because I am not going to run away when things get tough. If you know me, you know that if I do something I am 100% invested. It is not going to matter if we are two miles away or 900, I won’t ever give up.
Life is too short for faux relationships or friendships. Many people believe me to be a dick or that I have no regard for others but that couldn’t be more from the truth. I push the people around me to be the best they can be.
One of my many faults is not recognizing others accomplishments. I tend to downplay things others do because in my mind I think they can do better because I never settle for average so why should you? My sister could have gone 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and a double in a softball game and the first thing I would say is why didn’t you go 4-for-4? Or maybe my brother won three of his four events at a swim meet and broke a record, I would say how come he didn’t win all four and break the record by more? Do I do this because I’m not proud of them? NO F-ing way. I do this because, even though it is not attainable, we should all be striving for perfection.
This drive for perfection is why I think I will be a great husband and father one day. Relationships are not perfect and being a father is not an exact science and I will try every day to be perfect. Now, I am not planning on this happening anytime soon but when it does happen, I am going to be ready.
It’s funny how in sports most of the great athletes in this country fail more times than they succeed. Baseball players that succeed just 3 out of 10 times end up in the hall of fame and that is exactly how I see relationships. You are going to fail more times than you succeed but it is the times you get it right that are worth it all. When I look back on my life I hope my few triumphs will overshadow all my failures.
Part of me wonders how people go through life in such boring ways. Why not take that chance instead of playing it safe? Why do people run away from things because they are scared? I don’t know but I guess for me, I am going to take that chance or instead of running away, I am going to run towards it and give 100% of me. I understand that is not for everyone but what kind of way is that to live your life? A wise man once said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, well even if I shoot 10 times and make only 1, that’s still a better percentage than the people that don’t shoot at all.
There is no playbook or rulebook for the game of life, we as humans learn from our failures and how can we fail, if we never take those chances?
Letting people in is a chance that I never took and it is one that I am working on. Although it continues to blow-up in my face, the chances are in my favor that one day, I am going to let someone in and it is going to be the best decision I have ever made.
I am not afraid of failure. I am afraid of not trying. One day when I look back, I am going to be proud of my failures because those failures make all the good I did that much better. The world is scary place but I refuse to run from things that scare me, I will stand up and embrace them, care for them, love them...
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Importance of Character

Recently I had the honor of sitting through an awards ceremony for my daughter.  She was required to submit an essay as well as two other peoples essays about her character.  Out of almost 200 other applicants and seven different levels of review, she was chosen to be one of three winners for this academic year. 

It was one of the most uplifting two hours we have spent in a long time.  Everyone greeted us with such kindness and seemed genuinely excited to meet her and her family.  It was truly an evening to "honor" the recipients as well as a very proud parent moment.  Life is good.

Now, beyond the fact that my daughter was receiving this scholarship and award, I was impressed by the caliber of the organization sponsoring the award, other attendees and the speakers.  They spoke of the quality of a persons character and all the traits that contribute to a persons positive character.  One speaker sent out a challenge to everyone in the room to always ask "Am I making the wisest decision based on my previous experiences and where I want to be in the future?".  We were told that we are all leaders and even the most introverted person will touch the lives of another 100,000 people in their lifetime. Though we are not perfect, we should strive to be a person of good character because when we are gone from this earth, people won't remember what kind of car you drove, how many things you could buy or what kind of clothes you wore.  They will remember what kind of person you were and how you lived your life.  Others will remember that you were a person of good character, a person of virtue, determination, humility, truthfulness and perseverance. 

The components of good character is a long list and one that challenges us every day.  I wish that everyone made choices and lived their lives based on the quality of their character.  It would be wonderful if we were all judged based on our character today and not by the style of car we drove or the size of the house we lived in.  How we live our lives and treat those around us should be so much more important.  I am proud that all my children are young adults with great character and I am reminded that I too should strive everyday to be a model of great character for those around me.  What a wonderful world this would be if we all cared about character.