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Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembrance Day

I always have mixed feelings about Memorial Day. Although it is sad to think of the many who have lost their lives on the fields of battle I do not believe war solves anything. In recent years those in any branch of the service are there because it is where they want to be with full knowledge that their human life could be ended at any time.

How about we have a special day for the millions of children and adults who were innocent bystanders to the chaos and lost their lives just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Perhaps it could be called Remembrance Day.

I never knew my maternal grandfather because he was killed in a war when my mother was ten. The event caused her an enormous amount of psychological pain that lasted her entire life. Today it causes me to think about the children who are dealing with this same kind of trauma.

On this Memorial Day I prefer to use it to remember all of the souls, no longer here, who have interacted with my life. Many of them were not biologically related, but offered a lesson that helped shape my present being. They didn't carry guns or the knowledge needed to blow people up. They simply walked their path as role models; sometimes teaching me what I wanted to be or do and sometimes what I did not want to be or do. These are the souls I remember on this Remembrance Day 2012.    

 William Ott Johnston 1886-1921

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The mirror knows best

The people in your life are a reflection of where you are today. They change from time to time depending on how fast you are learning and evolving. To see the reflection in your own mirror just look around at the people you are attracting with your energy.

It makes me laugh to think of the people that I was determined to have in my life and it never happened. At the time I thought there was something wrong with me. Wrong! There was something right with me. Today I do not desire or need any of them anywhere near me. They did their job by teaching me who I do not want to be by their wonderful example.

Among these souls were pathological lairs who believed their lies and thieves who had no respect for property belonging to others. I think the worst were the liars, because honesty is a number one priority in my life. I have had plenty of experience with souls who intentionally hurt others just because they can. How anyone could be happy on that path is beyond me. The ones who fall into the category of passive aggressive are in a class of their own. They are the great pretenders and manipulators. There is even a personality disorder just for them.

Today as I count the special people in my life I see a group of kind, loving, generous, helpful souls and I am grateful for the positive reflection. The mirror knows best.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Unofficial adoption

Sometimes we connect with a child, not ours by birth, who becomes as close if not closer than our own children. My life has been blessed with such a relationship. Her birthday is the same day as my natural daughter's, only six  years later. Mayka is now 26 and I am very proud of her accomplishments. As a columnist I wrote about her life and she has been referred to in my books and other writings. She was my next door neighbor when she was young and I have watched her grow into a beautiful young woman whom I think of as my unofficial adopted daughter.

As high school graduation is this week I would like to share the story I wrote about Mayka in the Cibola County Beacon in 2003. The end of the story is: because of her determination, hard work and focus she realized her dream and is now a trauma nurse, a job she truly adores. Now for the middle of the story.

The Next Step

Mayka is a spirited young woman who knows who she is today and who she wants to be tomorrow. She is a member of Grants High School graduating class of 2003 and is prepared to take the next step into her future.

One of Mayka's favorite sayings is, "What you put in is what you get back."

She does not understand students who do not begin preparing for graduation when they start high school. Many of her freshman peers did not graduate. Mayka was on the Honor Roll for four years and is one of twenty students included in Who's Who Among American High School students.

She has such a full life it would make most people tired just thinking about it. During her senior year she was secretary of the Anchor's Club, a member of the Spanish Club, Teens Needing Teens and Mesa. She has done volunteer work for Cibola General Hospital, Roberta's Place and is a member of the 2003 American Red Cross Disaster Team. Mayka also has an up-to-date CPR certificate.

When Mayka was not in school or volunteering she worked at one of three part time jobs. She worked nights at the West Theater, conducted demos for a marketing company at Wal-Mart and worked part time at Bealls. She paid all of her personal expenses such as gas and car insurance, her cell phone and clothing. She said she did not mind because it prepared her for leaving home to attend college. It taught her to budget her time and her money.

"Both of my parents have always been there for me. They taught me to share and appreciate others. No matter how busy their lives are my family always has dinner together. After dinner we talk about our day, especially things that may be bothering us", she said.

She has four younger siblings; two sisters sixteen and nine and eight year old twin brothers. Family members are very supportive of each other and their individual interests.

Mayka learned at the young age of eight how to cook, clean, wash clothes and care for her siblings. Nobody asked her to, she wanted to do it. Her parents just accepted her natural mothering tendencies. She feels that her early family experiences made her strong and taught her to be responsible. It also may have been the first step to her future goals.

Mayka said, "Caring for others makes me feel good."

This is one of the reasons she decided to go into nursing. In preparation she took classes at NMSU Grants Branch during her senior year along with her regular high school classes. She has been gathering information from the Cibola General Hospital staff to help her decide between the two-year nursing program offered at UNM in Gallup and the four-year program offered in Albuquerque. she will be taking classes in Gallup this to finalize her decision. 

Mayka originally wanted to be a doctor, but participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Atlanta, Ga in the summer of 2002 changed her mind. Witnessing a heart operation on a child convinced her she would probably become too attached to her patients to be a doctor. Mayka knows what she wants and what steps she needs to take to make it happen. 

Mayka will be coming home this weekend to offer support to her youngest sister who will be graduating from Grants High School on Friday. I am excited that I will get to visit with my unofficial adopted daughter.



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Second thoughts

In case you are confused I have removed the blog post I wrote yesterday because it upset a reader. The post was written to honor my deceased daughter-in-law who was above all else a loving mother.

I find it interesting how people can completely twist things others say based on their experiences and what they have been taught by others. Many times they don't take the time to get all of the facts before reacting.

Writing a blog about my life and the challenges I have been given is sometimes a risky business. I know this is where I am supposed to be so I am going to keep writing and no one has the right to tell me what to write, what to say or what to do.

I have a bit of positive advice for anyone who does not like the contents of my blog- don't read it! When you have walked in my shoes and met all the challenges that I have survived in my 74 years of living then maybe you will have earned the right to criticize.  In the meantime,  have a wonderful life people.

Happy Mother's Day to all my readers who said yes to a very difficult job!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Mom and Nana if not for you I would not have been born. Thank you!

                       Gertrude Ione Johnston 1911-1987 
                        Laura Marie Laviolette 1891-1984

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Step by step

In 1999 a new friend loaned me his copy of Richard Bach's, Illusions. I was told it was the story of a Reluctant Messiah. Today I am wondering why he chose to give this particular book to me.  I had no desire to be a messiah. What in the heck is a messiah anyway?  I suppose in the simplest terms it is a leader. In any case this book opened up a brand new path for me to walk on- step by step.

Bach's unique spiritual perception and unusual writing style immediately captured my attention.Without his knowledge he became my mentor. His example taught me to never be afraid to express what is on my mind and to learn to write from my heart. It didn't matter what anyone else thought because I was not writing for unbelievers. I gradually grew to accept the fact that I had a message to share and would be given the means to accomplish my mission. All I had to do was take every opportunity that came along- step by step.

Thirteen years after reading Illusions I am very proud of my accomplishments. It doesn't mean I am a better writer than anyone else; it simply means I willingly followed the real Messiah and in doing so I also became a leader for others to follow.

Even though I am a published author, former columnist and blogger, forming my writing group "Write On People" in November 2011 is what I am most proud of. Yesterday a friend made the observation that other people have tried to start writing groups that have failed, but ours is succeeding. I began to think about why that is.

Perhaps it is because we truly enjoy each others company and we respect the diversity and talents of the other members. We are just a little offbeat just like Richard Bach's books. We like to write for fun and definitely are not stuffy!  I am proud that I am leading the group in new directions away from their individual comfort zones- step by step.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nothing ventured nothing gained

Lately I have been trying some new things to improve the quality of my life. So far my efforts seem to be working. First I tapped into a very simple YouTube video for chakra balancing. It is just a matter of focusing on each chakra one by one, flooding it with its appropriate color and on exhaling releasing any negative energy associated with it. I have noticed a huge difference in energy. Even my massage therapist agrees with me.

Next I have been consciously attempting to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. Oh and drinking more water. I am never going to be a vegetarian, but every little bit helps. A few days ago I obtained a free Kindle book titled, Vegan Breakfast Recipes by Angela Thomas. Some of the things were interesting, but I did not have the ingredients listed. Next stop the grocery store where I fixed most of that problem, except for Nutritional Yeast, which I still cannot find in our little western town.

A lot of the recipes used Tofu, a product I have never cooked with or even tasted to my knowledge. I purchased a package and this morning found a simple recipe to try it out. Tonight I am venturing into new territory. Nothing ventured nothing gained is my new motto. Just in case you would like to follow me here is the recipe.

Tofu Scramble
1/2 # firm Tofu drained and squeezed
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. soy sauce
olive oil as needed
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced potato (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble Tofu in a bowl until it looks like scrambled eggs, add soy sauce and turmeric, set aside. Saute garlic and onion until softened, toss in green pepper, cook until softened. Add Tofu mixture and cook until it resembles scramble eggs, season to taste.

Bon appetite!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

No thing lasts forever

This is a post script to what I wrote earlier today regarding a funeral. When I left off I stated that I did not go to the cemetery, but planned to visit later in the day for a private goodbye. After coming home, changing to more casual clothes and doing a couple of loads of laundry I did make a trip to our small cemetery. I figured it would be easy to spot a freshly covered grave. New flower arrangements should give it away.

To my surprise, after taking a tour of the grounds I could not find the grave. Feeling just a little stupid and thinking I should have joined the funeral procession when I had a chance. I could almost feel the energy of a spirit laughing at my choice. After awhile I just gave up and changed my direction, deciding to stop by the grave of a young woman I had visited often since her death in 2001.

I walked back and forth where her grave should have been and could not find it. By this time I am thinking, is this some kind of joke? Have the spirits decided to gang up on me? Now I was feeling really stupid and decided to give up my search.

On the walk back to my car I silently asked, "Alright what are you attempting to teach me his time Almighty One?"

The answer came immediately. After all May 3 is the National Day of Prayer according to the minister who conducted the funeral service I had attended earlier.

"No thing lasts forever so you had better appreciate what you have when you have it or it could be gone in the blink of an eye."

Funerals are...

If you cannot relate to this post you can blame my Facebook friends Lois and Brenda who gently pushed me into writing it. There is some possibility they too had a spirit pushing them. I have always said our creator is the biggest people user there ever was.

I believe another word for funeral is respect. It is a formal effort of those left behind to acknowledge the human existence of a soul.

I was about 20 when I attended my first funeral. I clearly remember my mother walking behind me as I approached the casket containing the remains of my paternal grandmother. My mother whispered, "You don't have to look." I did anyway and barely recognized the body I saw. That experience followed me for years and caused major problems dealing with death, until I realized the person I knew no longer existed.

Forty years later my mother died following a brief bout with cancer. It was her wish to be cremated and she chose not to have a service of any kind. I respected her wishes. She had been in a coma and I never had a chance to properly say goodbye to her. My daughter was 10 at the time and I still remember her reaction. She observed, "One day she was here and the next she wasn't."

A couple of days ago I learned of the death of a local man who had been in ill health for several years. I knew him because he and I had been fellow crafters, sharing our gifts at local craft shows. Bob was a very talented woodsman who created, among other things, beautiful religious articles such as crosses. I also know his widow as she was one of my Avon customers in my former life as an Independent Avon Representative.

Bob's funeral was this morning and I am very happy I took the time to attend. It was a celebration of life and not a sad affair like some funerals I have gone to. After the family was seated the fire alarm went off causing the crowd some momentary discomfort. The minister chimed in, "Bob never did do anything like anyone else!" That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the service.

One of the interesting things that was revealed was that Bob had written his own obituary. Right on Bob! I have been trying to convince people for years to do just that. Why would anyone want someone else telling the world who they were and what was important to them while they were here?

I chose not to go to the cemetery. Instead I will go later in the day to say a private goodbye to a very nice man that I am happy to have known.

Whether or not there is a formal funeral service I believe it is wise to spend a few moments just remembering the souls that are no longer here and thanking them for what they brought to our life.  It is the respectful thing to do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rent a mate

Sometimes the funniest things someone shares turn out to be a wonderful idea. That happened to me as I was painfully placed on my chiropractor's table this morning. I had pains in places that usually do not  cause discomfort. It was no doubt a combination of painting snow damaged ceilings in my house and spring yard work.

Rose commented, "Whatever you have been doing stop doing it!"

"Well", I answered "As you know I live alone and don't have any help. If I want to keep my house and yard up I have to do it myself."

She said,  "When my sister and I lived together we had a friend who was married and we rented her husband when we needed something done around the house."

"What a great idea!"

"You could start something like that."

"I could and just might, I love new ideas!"

I know many women in my age bracket who are in the same situation. For one reason or another we are all responsible for the upkeep of our homes. I even have some friends whose husbands are not in good health and are physically unable to work around the house. In addition most of these people fall into the category of trying to survive on Social Security. It is not a pleasant picture.

There are also many retired men out there with ordinary skills needed to keep up a house and yard. In addition to their knowledge they often come with their own tools, two things women do not usually possess. Following my divorce in 1999 I asked for and was awarded the house and my husband kept his tools. Not a perfect picture. At the time I didn't realize stuff was going to happen, mostly due to age, mine and the house and yard.

I have been thinking about this idea of somehow getting the two groups together. It would be great if no money was needed for the deal as neither the males or the females have much to spare. I have always been intrigued by the old barter system. It works in other countries. Generally speaking women have skills too, left over from years of housekeeping, sewing, shopping and cooking for their families.

Perhaps my chiropractor gave me the seed of an idea that just needs a little more development. I wonder what a business that doesn't need money to operate and is called "Rent a Mate" would attract? In some circles I suppose it could even be against the law, but maybe it is worth a try!