Monday, October 24, 2016

     Many people wake up with aches and pains. I can honestly say that at age 73, I have none as of today. I have never really had any aches and pains of minor concern, but I have certainly endured major pain in my life. I thank the Big Guy this Monday morning for the gift of feeling good, as we never know from one day to the next what is in store. I never brag about good health, perfect kids, money in the bank or whatever the “in” superlative might be. Every time I come close, something awful happens. Beware. 

     I have friends and family who are in physical pain, and some are in emotional pain. I send them my extra energy (which sometimes can be a bad thing), my endurance vibes, my empathy. Facing Mondays, for many, can be hard enough with all life’s stresses much less to face a new week of “to do”s with pain attached. 

     Yesterday, I spent looking upward. Maybe that’s where this is coming from. We spent a couple of glorious hours watching stunt airplanes do their thing against a pure blue backdrop full of sunlight. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperatures were
unusually cool for Florida—around 78 degrees with a gentle breeze. The skywriters grabbed me by the heart strings as they wrote their message in the sun. When a beautiful male chorus began to sing over the loud speakers America the Beautiful in four-part harmony, I lost it. The message written in vapor said, “We love the USA.” All politics and prejudice evaporated in that moment, and we were all one—-all several hundred of us looking upward. I pray that the Big Guy was smiling down on us there humbled and united for those few moments suspended in the rays of sunshine.

     I am happy to report that my neck doesn’t hurt, and my heart is full of hope and humility as I face my Monday. How about you?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

     People are so strange. I love people. They give me food for thought and a treasure trove of material for my morning blog. 

     Last night, we had dinner with neighbors who are becoming new friends. They are considerably younger than us, but we all seem to have such a great time together. We talk woman to woman, man to man and even man to woman. This is a wonderful thing. They are interested in many of the same things we are, and yet they have many different experiences to share as well as their unique perspective on life.

     The wife said to me, “They say that people make their impressions of you in less than three minutes.” I replied, “I absolutely believe that.” A few minutes later, a woman approached the table. No one knew her, including our friend (the husband) whom she apparently recognized from his former life with wife #1. This woman introduced herself to us as if she were on stage. She talked about herself for at least five minutes, never once making specific eye contact with any of us.I thought to myself, “It’s women like you who make all of us look like motor mouths who have nothing to do but ramble on and take up space.” After she left, I looked at my new friend and said, “Three minutes. Nope. Three seconds.” She laughed and revealed that it was obvious that her husband had no idea who this woman was, and that the whole thing was awkward. I suppose if I were compassionate, I would feel sorry for such a woman who is so clueless that she would interrupt someone else’s dinner and deliver a narcissistic one-woman show. What is wrong with people?  

     My new friend and I chatted about so many topics, all of which were stimulating and led to others. We spoke of travel, attitude, fitness, career, holidays, learning, music, human nature and crock pots. The connection was immediate when we met this couple, and I had equally stimulating conversations with the husband. Part of the excitement and challenge of moving to another state late in life where you know no one is meeting people. It doesn’t matter if we become lifelong friends with this darling duo; we had a wonderful evening sharing things that made us laugh, nod and roll our eyes. I love people.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

                    Uncharted Territory

     Are you territorial? Do you resent it when you’re sitting comfortably in the sweet little space you’ve created at the beach.and, suddenly, some family of 12 hoists a tent four feet from your beach chair? There are four miles of sand for them to park, but they choose to roost smack dab next to you. Does this irritate you?

     What about when you’re in the check-out line, and some grungy looking character pulls his cart up right behind you—so close you can feel his bad breath on your shoulder. Does this bother you?

     We have a new home with all kinds of privacy which we have been thoroughly enjoying for almost four months. Our pool is hidden from the neighbors on one side, and on the other side, the neighbors haven’t yet moved in. They live out-of-state. We were told they weren’t going to retire and move in for at least a year and a half. Oh no, they’ve changed their minds? They’re coming in March? Oh drat. Now they are lovely people, and it’s their house which they bought long before we bought ours, so we are powerless to do or say a word. Why would we? There are approximately 60 feet between our houses. The truth is, however, that our privacy will certainly be compromised. They have already ordered new trees to hide their pool which we can barely see, and we’ve done the same. The noise factor,however, is another story. We don’t hear a single voice now. All they have to do is utter one syllable, and we will probably hear it. Are we territorial? You bet your life we are. So we will relish every private moment we have for the next four months and hope that they speak in low decibels. Will the Big Guy punish me for saying this? Probably. 

     How about you? Are you territorial? What does this say about us? Not going there.

(Don't you dare sit anywhere close to me. This is my space:)

Friday, October 21, 2016

     Whose voices in your past do you hear in your own? The answer to this question can reveal a lot about where our attitudes originate as women of the 21st century. Are those voices all female? If not, who were the strongest male voices, and what did they tell you about your role, your future as a woman? Were they energizing or paralyzing? How many female voices found a permanent home in your psyche? Do you hear these voices daily? Are they nurturing or judjmental? Have you learned to erase those who continue to create doubt or fear, those who challenge you every time you set a goal?

     Depending in what decade you were born, the voices in your head may be louder than others. If you were born during the 40s or 50s, your parents’ voices might be considerably
different than if you were born in the 80s or 90s. The Greatest Generation parents held strong values of right and wrong, respect for elders, humility, compliance. There were definite “shoulds, and gender roles were much more rigid than they are today. Most parents, for example, would encourage their daughters to be secretaries or teachers (female careers), or they might just encourage them to find a job until they could find a successful man. The programming didn’t need technology; it resulted from an attitude bred of recovery from the war and its financial consequences.

     Children born in the last decade would hear different “shoulds.” These might result in such recommendations as “You can be anything you want, even President of the United States.” Marriage, although, still considered a sacred value by many, is not the only life choice, nor is a heterosexual relationship or having children. The point is that women are “hard-wired” from birth to accept certain tenets that may or may not serve them well long term. Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book, The Four Agreements, states that everything you learned as a child is a lie. He believes that our parents and extended family planted ideas and values in us when we are innocent children unable to think for ourselves, so none of those values may truly be our own. He claims that one day we wake up and ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this? I don’t really believe it; I’ve just been programmed to believe it.” Now that’s a frightening but enlightening thought. 

      Were you close to your mother? your grand-mother? your siblings? your school teachers? What famous women inspired you growing up? Who were your role models? Were they all women? Do you sometimes wonder if you were brought up by only one of your parents whether your values and attitudes would be the same?

     Do you have a conscience? That may seem like an absurd question, but you have undoubtedly recognized in people you’ve met that some have more conscience than others. I contend that those with less worry less. Maybe. Who cares? Victims of bullying and mean girls care. The bullies don’t have the same conscience as the victims, do they? And mean girls often turn into mean women.

     When do we stop looking to our role models, realizing that we are the role models? Do you ever wonder what you have modeled for your own children? We often model things by our behavior that we don’t realize. Do your actions match your words? Do you consciously try to be a better parent than the one you had? Do you try to live up to the parent who had the most influence on you? I wonder if that is evident in our parenting and if our children see that. I wonder if the things I did or do ring louder in my children’s ears than the values I have tried to teach.

     I wonder how much all of this has to do with the character and courage of the women we are today. Did we learn early on to advocate for ourselves? Do we stand up for ourselves today? The “hard-wiring” explains why we are assertive, why we enable others or allow ourselves to be silent victims in situations where we should be able to respectfully and with dignity voice our opinions and state our boundaries. Can you do that with some, but not with others? Questions and doubt are the infrastructure of “wonder.” Based on all of this, it’s a wonder we aren’t up ruminating about this in the middle of the night. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

     I was lucky enough to be blessed with two daughters. I remember being relieved that I had girls, as I didn’t know much of anything about boys. I recall feeling, however, that I’d disappointed my husband that I didn’t give him a son. I wonder where that thinking originated. 

     Both of my daughters are grown successful women, mothers of multiple children, and they are busy with their own set of wonders. I don’t wonder how they would react if they knew I was writing this book. They would both roll their eyes and applaud at the same time. They wonder about me, but they also think I’m a wonder. That’s all good. How about you? What do you wonder? Are you a wonder?

     What does Mr. Webster say about “wonder?” Here are the two official definitions:

1.  to think about things in a questioning, sometimes doubtful way
2.  the feeling of amazed exciting admiration

     The two words that stand out for me are “questioning” and “admiration.” The first of these implies that if you are wondering about something, you are curious and you don’t have all the answers. If you are curious, this tells me you want to learn. If you don’t have all the answers, this implies that you have are a person with some degree of humility. If you like to learn and you are humble, then you are my kind of woman. 

     The second definition, should someone label you as “a wonder,” implies that you have done something out of the ordinary, something perhaps that others have not attempted, or you have honed some skill that sets you apart. For this, people admire you. We all want to be admired, whether it be publicly or privately. If someone calls you “a wonder,” that is a compliment. 

     What do you wonder about? Do you wonder about the same things you did when you were a child? Can you recall what you wondered when you were six? sixteen? twenty-six? forty-six? Some of those questions don’t change. What are you wondering today? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 Seven Reasons I Love Face Book:

1.  Seeing travel photos of former favorite students.
2.  Witnessing special moments of friends.
3.  Watching the babies of my former students grow and thrive.
4.  Admiring my beautiful grand-daughters.
5.  Remembering how little my teen-age grandsons used to be and how beautiful my daughter is.
6. Sharing special occasions with former colleagues I admire.
7.  Laughing at funny posters people post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


     Today is all I’ve got. I will take the first step toward my goal. If I get buried in the sand along the way, I will know I’ve still got the shore in sight. I will feel the joy of the pristine sand as it tickles my toes, and I will recognize the lesson of the birds before me. Birds of a feather . . . I am flying solo. I won’t stand around with the crowd waiting. I will forge ahead, one shoe off always keeping the horizon in view. I will often limp from the twigs and shells in my path, but I have blue sky and emerald waters before me—the prize of a path worth traveling. Today, I will seek the wisdom of Mother Nature. I will push through the wind’s resistance, and I will embrace the thrill of the journey. Today, I will write the first chapter of my new book.