Fear of the News

Every morning when my husband & I awake, after praying together before rising, the first thing we do is turn on the local news station.  I’ve developed a growing fear of the news lately.  With an increase in overnight violence, turning on the news can induce a panic attack in people.  We live in a Chicago suburb, and as everyone probably knows, there’s much violence in the inner city, and like a fire, is spreading out further.

I am for ‘every life matters’, not just black, or white, or Hispanic, but all life.  I don’t know what it feels like to be a different race, since I’m white, and maybe be racially profiled.  I desire for all to get the respect they deserve.  I mourn with those who mourn, especially around the nation currently.  I want truth to be revealed and everyone not to jump to conclusions.  Everyone needs to be able to tell their side of the story.

But I go back to the start of my piece and add, that as a writer, I have much to pick and choose from lately.  Life is happening out there.  People are living, dying, struggling, loving, and trying to survive in this world.  I tend to clip articles from the daily newspaper to hold onto for future reference in case I need it for a piece of fiction.  They provide me with ideas; reminders of what life in America is like.  From weather disasters to social issues, from politics to injustice; it’s all there in front of my eyes.

I can’t even begin to wonder how parents explain these horrible events to their young children.  Yes, life is scary, and I think this world is becoming more and more frightening as the years go by.  But as a writer, one needs to keep an open mind, not to judge too quickly.  I love being able to look at everyone’s point of view, to try and understand how others see the world, where they’re coming from; what their mindset is.  I don’t want to be anyone’s judge and jury.  I want to learn about things; how they work, how they sound, how they feel.  That’s the writer in me.

Yet the fear is growing to the point that I don’t want to look at the news, or read a newspaper anymore.  It sickens and saddens me what others have the ability to do to other human being; the pain that can be inflicted. My heart breaks with those who have lost loved ones to violence.  I weep with those who have lost children, spouses, siblings, parents…but when does it end?

As writers, we need to have topics to write about, to be able to view life through other people’s eyes. We need to grow in our knowledge, and embrace all that life has to offer, whether good or bad.  That’s the sad part, I think, that as a writer, I need to have things to write about.  But I wish, and pray, that there wouldn’t be this horror, and pain, running rampant in society.  I don’t want to see a child wailing the loss of a parent, or a spouse breaking down in tears.

So I hope that the days ahead are brighter for all, not that I’ll be holding my breath.  Writers can be cynics as well, but I can only dream of peace and unity.  What about you?

 

 

 

 

A New Year, a new you

Throughout the year, amidst the myriad of challenges, we anticipate the winter holidays, and then before we know it, they’re over, leaving us to marvel at where the time went.  And with a whoosh, in rushes the new year.  We determine to make resolutions; promises to ourselves.  Be a better person.  To love others more deeply.  Work harder.  Learn a new skill which you have been itching to do your whole life.  Lose weight.  Work out more, or even to begin a exercise regiment.  We seek ways for self-improvement.  Some we wind up sticking with while others are quickly tossed to the side.

Gazing into a mirror, we try to summarize the events of the recent past.  What we did wrong.  What we did right.  Those we may have inadvertently offended.  Those we may have encouraged along the way.  We are filled with hopes and fears of what the new year may throw at us; either a raining down of blessings or a crashing head-long into heartache.

Nobody, we understand, can accurately see into the future, though there are a few that insist they can.  If it were possible to project ourselves to December 31, 2015, what would we encounter?  Would we discover a life that had been more fruitful, or one that was awash with pain?

I, for one, do not wish to see what the future holds for me, for we know that our lives are filled with hope-filled moments and shattered dreams, triumphs and disappointments.  What type of person you are determines how well you deal with these issues, when life turns itself upside down.  It’s easy to be joyful and happy when life is at it’s best, but when life bombards you with painful moments when we least expect them, it is almost impossible to keep smiling through the tears.

I believe we need to embrace the beauty that surrounds us.  We need to forgive others for the wounds they have caused us.  Not only does forgiveness fill us with peace of mind, it protects our sanity as well.  And holding grudges is bad for your health, or so I’ve read.  It is cancer to your soul.

So in this coming new year, I implore you to take time to enjoy the little things in life we often take for granted:  watching the sun rise, hiking through a blooming meadow bursting with color, to immerse yourself in a good book, drink a glass of fine wine, bask in the warmth of a sunny July day, or just spending quality time with those you hold dearest.

Don’t lose sleep over the things we can’t change, or worry about things that will most likely not happen.  I am guilty of that myself.  Give up bad habits and embrace healthier ones.  Even small changes like going for a daily walk can do wonders for the body, not to mention the soul.

Here’s wishing you all, my friends, a very healthy, safe, and joy-filled New Year.  In addition, may it be filled with good memories, an abundance of love, and peace; and may sorrows be subtracted.  Blessings.

A Bittersweet Melancholy

Watching the two people who raised me, held onto sticky hands as I took those first tottering steps on chubby legs, were the gleeful recipients of my first toothless smiles, become timeworn leaves me with a dull ache inside.  The people who loved me, cared for me, sacrificed for me, put up with my teenage bullshit, now declining in health, mobility, and cognizant functioning.  This is about watching the two once vibrant and youthful adults  who caused fear and trembling inside of me, especially my Dad, and how this saddens yet gives me hope about the future.

My parents are involved in many various activities back home in Florida.  They play cards, travel, are in the German and the Polish Clubs back home.  They both can still move around on their own albeit slowly.  This brings me joy.  I love seeing my parents fully enjoying their senior years.  They are not sitting around their home in some wooden rocking chair waiting to die. 

I watch the two people that were infallible in my eyes as a child, insufferable as a teen, and inadequate as a young adult become wise as a middle-aged woman.  We all understand that aging is a rite of passage that not everyone is blessed to pass through.  Sometimes our bodies mock us in the process, wrecking havoc on the mind as well.  They may walk with hesitant steps, for one misstep could land them in the hospital with a broken hip or worse.  I can close my eyes, though, and easily recall the times my Dad and I went on long bike rides.  I remember when he was strong and full of energy.  But now hair graying, thinning, and well, balding, the advance of time takes pity on no one. 

But no matter how we look at the transition from youth to agedness: a goal, a wish, a dream, or a gift, we all must pass through those darkened corridors, hopefully not alone though.  Aging can be frightening going it on your own, being a widow or a widower.  How comforting it is to have someone else along for the ride.  Yet I am thankful and truly blessed to still be able to enjoy my parents while, unfortunately, so many of my peers cannot.  We will all be bruised and battered by what life throws our way, but no matter how cracked and worn it becomes, we can call each day a gift at the end of the day and pray that tomorrow will be another new chance to make things better for yourself and for others around you.

 

Will the Violence Ever End?

Senseless. Crazy. Sad. Why is there so much violence taking place in this country lately? Where is the compassion for your fellow man? Are we becoming so heartless that we are no longer capable of apathy? Where did it stem from and where is this all heading to?

As a professing Christian, it is quite difficult for me to understand why people need to hate so deeply. In my eyes, all people are of great worth, regardless what other people may think. God does not make junk and He put everyone on this earth for a reason. This is what I believe. Maybe we may not understand or see perfectly what that reason is, but He knows, and that is good enough for me.

I believe that it all starts with the family. Parents – love, and treat your children with respect. Children, as well, respect and honor your Mother and your Father. I understand that not all parents are good parents. This is sad. So, how does a child grow up with compassion in their heart if their own parents treat them poorly, or abusively? Okay, unfortunately I don’t have a cure-all for the world’s ills, only suggestions.

Get some counseling. Don’t keep the anger and the abuse continuing from generation to generation. It needs to end now. We need people to understand that they are loved, and we need to show others this love. No matter how difficult the person. Patience. Compassion. Understanding. Communication. Yes, communication is so important, especially in this computer-age. Face to face connection. Not just an e-mail. But something more personal. More compassionate.

I just believe that it all begins with the family. Be interested in your children’s education. Take interest in what they like. Let them explore the world, safely. Don’t mock them for who they are. Don’t try to make them little carbon-copies of who you are.

Even spend time with them. Don’t buy them off. It doesn’t take a lot to make a child feel appreciated. Tossing a ball around, or playing make-believe tea party; doesn’t cost anything at all. Think about it this way, the best things in life are free: just like the giant box that an expensive toy or an appliance comes in. What does the child want to play with more, usually? The free, empty box, of course! At least my children did.

Okay, I would love to solve our society’s ills. I’d like to pray it away. Love it away, one smile, one person at a time. Talk to people. Don’t just walk on by, like most people normally do. Just say ‘good morning’ or ‘hi’ to people you randomly meet out on the road when you’re running or biking, etc. Even a simple smile or wave is good. It frustrates me when I’m running and trying to be polite, and the person just kind of looks at you like you’re crazy. The smile won’t crack your face, I promise.

Care about others. Take an interest in what other people are doing. Get involved in just causes. It will make your life much more worthwhile. It will fill your life with meaning and with purpose and with hope. Let me know what you believe would make things better in this country. What are your opinions on society’s downhill slide into apathy?

The Little Things We Sometimes Take for Granted

In light of the tragedy in OK, or should I say, due to the recent tragedies in this nation, I often like to remind myself of not taking things for granted. It is easy in the busyness of our day to day lives that we tend to overlook the little thing, or take them for granted. Like, kissing your husband or wife goodbye when they or you leave for work in the morning. There are times when we are so rushed that we forget that little thing. Especially if you have had a fight the night before or even that morning, we may tend to shy away from showing our affection. But it is always good to remember that this may be the very last kiss that you give to each other. Or hug. Or tell them that you love them. Just a few short words but ones that hold a lot of power. It would be terrible to not say those words and find out later that the one that you loved was now gone. If only I had more time. If only I would have said I love you one last time. If only. If only.

Making time to spend with our children, especially when they are younger and they want to play dress up, or house, or school. Or they want you to read them that story just one more time. Even though they know it by heart, and you do to. But take that time out of your day. In recent months we see how our children can be taken from us suddenly, painfully. Look at that picture they drew or colored for you. Hug them when they ask for one. Never say, “Later.” You may not have a ‘later’ with them. Tell your child/children every day how much you love and appreciate them. How proud you are of them. And keep that up into the teen-age years when they start to drift away from us, hanging with their friends or spending hours at a time playing video games in their bedroom with their door closed. I’m talking to you, Joshua. Let them know that there are limits and restrictions on what they can and can’t do. You are the parent, always, not them. And yes, we know that teenagers will fight us on that tooth and nail. For you see, they are SO much wiser than we are, or were at their age (of course!) Yes. Love them anyway. Set boundaries and be firm.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to watch the sunrise or set. Especially beautiful over a body of water. I’ve seen it rise over Lake Michigan in Chicago, and it is breathtaking. Or watch for the rainbow after a good rain. Or even going outside after a good, cleansing rain, and just breath in the freshness of the earth around you. Or flower blooming; especially lilacs. Well, at least in my case. A smile from a stranger or a kindness shown you, like a door held for you as you enter a store. Revel in children’s laughter, because we all know that their laughter is of the contagious variety. And yes, even we as adults need to laugh more. Be freer, and not so harsh on ourselves. Love your life. Do not take it for granted. Again, life is short. Sometimes shorter than we hope for. Or the lives of our loved ones. None of us know how many days we have remaining. Not to be morose, but it’s true. That’s why we need to look at each new day as a gift given to us. Beautifully wrapped up in warmth and sunshine, with birds singing outside your window.

Love your pets and don’t take them for granted either. They are a blessing to us also. Mine like to lay at my feet or at least be near me when I’m sitting. He sleeps on our bed, which isn’t always pleasant when you have an 80 pound dog on a Queen-size bed with two people already sleeping on it. But he is so full of unconditional love. Those big brown eyes melt even the hardest heart, at least I believe that they can. And last but not least, again, be good to yourself. Take care of your health because we all know that you are the only you that you’ve got. Eat as healthily as you possibly can. Yes. Splurge once in a while. Ice cream or pizza works for me. But find an exercise routine that works for you and try to do it at least three times a week. I’ve finally discovered the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and it is good. Watch some good comedy and LAUGH. It does a body good. Journal if you must to help stave off the feelings of frustration and anger and bouts of hopelessness. Life is not hopeless. We are all here for a purpose. Don’t be dismayed if you haven’t discovered it yet. You have one, trust me on this.

Each day has 24 hours in it. Make the most out of that time to be the best you that you can be. Love and be loved. Don’t spend a lot of time wallowing in depression. Set a time and then be done with it. Think, it will get better. This too shall pass. Life is not bleak. There is a light, a beautiful light, at the end of this all. Be blessed, dear friends, and be happy.

Happy In My Life

Blessings abound in the little things; like birds singing in the early morning while it is still dark. The rich scent of the earth after a good rain. Watching flowers begin to bloom and trees budding. I am in awe of the raw beauty of the earth in these warm, sunny days. I look forward to more of them; in fact I could say that I crave these types of days. It speaks to me of life and renewal and hope for the future. Sometimes in the busyness of life we tend to overlook the little things. Rushing from point A to point B, we don’t always notice the pretty flowers or take time to breathe in deeply of the pleasant smells around us. Even the barbeques, the lake or ocean water, the smell of suntan lotion, we tend to overlook at times.

I enjoy waking up early during these days of approaching summer. There’s something stimulating about getting up a bit earlier and getting a few extra things done, or just taking the time out while the house is still quiet, to perhaps read a book or the newspaper while sipping that first cup of coffee. Life is a beautiful gift. I don’t think we realize how precious it truly is, until we lose someone that we love. Each day is a brand new opportunity to love, to laugh, to grow, to learn something new, and to just be the best you that you can be.

I am changing, each day. I am becoming the person that I’ve always wanted to be. My mind is definitely more focused these past few months that I’ve been lifting weights and losing pounds and inches. I am more determined than ever to make the most out of each day that I am given. And there is so much to do. Work on my writing, reading for knowledge and pleasure, for staying in touch with friends and family, working out, running, enjoying time outdoors, gardening; and the list could go on but I’m sure that you get the point. I’m learning to live life and not to fear it so much anymore. My Asperger’s discovery has shown me that I am not crazy, just think differently than others do. And I am content with that knowledge.

I have my husband, my two sons, my crazy dog, and my family and best of all, I have my sanity. And, I can’t forget, I also still have my faith. Please remember that you are special and wonderful and unique and beautiful just the way that you are. You are not a mistake or some cosmic accident. You are meant to be. Make the most out of each day, grow and be at peace. Find love, be loved, and love in return. What a feeling. What a life. What a joy. What a miracle. Be good to yourselves and to others.

A New Way of Looking at Things

Okay, continuing on from my last post, I am most certainly sure that I have Asperger’s.  Yes.  It’s undiagnosed, but reading all the info about it, I match almost 100% of the traits, etc.  One of my sons has it, and I know now, without a doubt, that I too have the Syndrome.  No big deal to me.  I am jut elated to discover after all these years, I’ll be 50 this year, that the way that I look at things is not weird or bizarre, but my normal.

I look at how I related to other people, how I prefered my own company to that of others.  I liked playing with boys and hanging around them instead of other girls.  I never was into the ‘girlie’ stuff, like makeup and dressing up.  I hate jewelry, flowers, and all of those other “Hallmark Holiday”.  Knowing that my husband loves me 365 days of the year means that we do not need special days to for him to tell me that.  Flowers die, chocolate adds inches to my hips, and jewelry to me is a big waste of money.  Okay, I’ll stop.

I now can move on and enjoy the rest of my life, however long that may still be.  When I act different, I’ll know and understand the why of it all.  If people don’t like me now, it’s their problem, not mine.  Unless, of course, I’ve done something to cause their dislike.  Wow.  A dark cloud lifted, a heavy blanket removed, and a light going on inside of me.  That’s what this discovery has done for me.  After years of depression, and suicidal thoughts and attempts, and just a deep gut-wrenching sorrow of wondering why people didn’t seem to like me, is over.  I have been set free.  And, damn, it feels wonderful!

Now I can go on writing on the topics that I enjoy writing about without wondering why I am so attracted to those story lines.  I can go on reading those books that I enjoy so much without wondering why I love this genre so dearly.  Ah, the freedom to be yourself.  I always knew that I didn’t want to be like other people.  I’ve always rejected that way of doing things.  If people want to be friends, all well and good, but I’ve decided that I am no longer going to play at being normal.  I will now live life as I was created to be.  A very unique and sometimes strange individual.  And that’s okay too.  Trying to fit a certain mold is draining.  So tiring.  I can like me and be happy with the way that I am.

So, have a wonderful week everyone.  Hope that you find some joy in reading my posts.  And I do truly appreciate everyone who takes time out of their busy day to read what I write.  It definitely means a lot to me.  Writing is my lifelong dream and goal of being officially published someday.  God bless and stay safe out there.  We know it’s a crazy world out there.  Peace.