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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye bye 2013

As with Christmas Eve(day)I get to spend the last day of 2013 with my favorite grandchild.I couldn't be in better company. This morning he came in with his brand new basketball, his brand new skateboard and a permission slip for him to join SWAG, a group of 50 preteens 12-15 who will soon take part in a program, also known as "sex can wait", offered by our family center. We had bacon and french toast for breakfast and a stop for pizza is planned on our way to the park. The rest of the day is whatever happens happens. I couldn't resist one last post on the last day of 2013, a year of unusual personal growth for me. I found the following on Facebook this morning and it fit so perfectly I just had to share with my readers.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Choose the opal

I always look forward to gifts that my grandson gives me and this Christmas was no exception. He is always allowed to pick out the gift, even though someone else pays for it. This year he shopped at Choco Canyon Trading Co. in Milan, NM. It is the village just West of Grants. If you are ever in the area this store is a must stop and shop. Anyway back to this year's gift. I opened two small packages. The first contained a unique pair of opal earrings and the second contained another pair of opal earrings accompanied by a matching pendant. All three pieces were set in silver. It is a beautiful and meaningful gift. He had no way of knowing, but for the last few years opal has become my favorite stone. I wear it all the time. I love the way light changes the color of the stone as if it was dancing. Most women living in New Mexico prefer turquoise jewelry, but I have always been a bit different, probably because I didn't grow up here. To me it is a chunky stone and I prefer more delicate pieces. My birthstone is blue topaz. Although it is a beautiful stone it doesn't hold the attraction for me that the opal does. This fact aroused my curiosity and I looked up the meaning of opal to see if I could figure out just why that is. What I discovered did answer my question, considering the path my life has taken in recent years. First "the opal is the stone of inspiration, which enhances imagination and creativity". It has a larger proportion of water than most stones. Like water rolling past rocks and debris the stone's energy can help one continue on their path, regardless of obstacles. Its water energy also enhances self-esteem and a sense of self worth. The opal is said to help memory and decrease confusion. In the spiritual realm it is used for high energy vibrations, soothing turbulent emotions. Wow wow wow! Maybe the positive changes in my current life were not all due to angelic assistance. I take that back- perhaps an angel whispered in my ear "choose the opal".

Friday, December 27, 2013

Music music music

Last Christmas (2012) my grandson really wanted a music keyboard. He didn't get one from Santa or any of his family members. I felt bad for him because I recognize the fact that he loves music. I gave him a drum set when he was little and I believe it motivated his interest. Because grandmothers are supposed to pay attention to stuff like this a couple of days after Christmas I ordered the gift he had missed out on, a Huntington 61 key music keyboard. He was thrilled to say the least. Although he is very active in soccer and basketball he still finds time for music in his life. Remembering back when I was a child that my grandmother arranged for piano lessons for me because she recognized that I had a love of music, I followed my intuition and just ordered a second keyboard- for me. Even though those childhood piano lessons didn't last long because my family moved out of the area, I decided what the heck I'm never too old to teach myself something new. My life has been a string of self-taught creative adventures so why not a keyboard? Music is something I have loved all of my life. This year I decided to buy my own gifts because it's the only way to get exactly what my heart desires. Music, music music!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A true Christmas story

My Christmas began yesterday when my young grandson, who is the most special person in my life, asked to spend the day with me. It started with bacon and pancakes for breakfast. We then took a short trip to the store to pick up a couple of last minute token gifts, hung out the rest of the day and last night enjoyed a peaceful dinner out. Oh I almost forgot we did exchange gifts along the way. Although it was a very positive experience I knew I had an even more important one coming up this morning as a messenger for our Creator. I got up early and dressed in warm clothes for an errand I knew I was supposed to do, which began with collecting edible goodies in a bag. Just before I put on my winter coat and gloves to brave the very cold Christmas morning I decided to check the Facebook status of a close spiritual friend whom I have unfortunately lost touch with. The words I found on his wall were like a message from the universe telling me that what I was about to do was exactly what I was supposed to do. They were "Was blinded by the Xmas(Christmas) spirit when he found a bag of non-perishables on the back doorstep left by a gentleman from the area- whom he had "helped" on occasion. The man is homeless." That one word homeless motivated me to move on with my mission. I drove to the Riverwalk with my bag of goodies. I kept praying "lead me to the people I am supposed to give this to". In our little town the homeless can be found most mornings wondering around this area. As I entered the parking lot I saw three people, two men and a woman, and I knew they were the souls I was assigned to meet. I approached them and asked if they were hungry. They said yes and I handed them my bag of goodies and suggested they share the contents. The woman gratefully took it and thanked me. I'm sure what I had offered them must have seemed like a feast on this cold Christmas morning and I hope it restored their faith that someone cared about the true meaning of Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The bird in the middle

Living alone creates some interesting menu choices for family holidays. I remember my efforts from Thanksgiving when cooking a traditional dinner only brought up very sad memories. Granted I had plenty of turkey for future meals but it just didn't set right. I have been giving some thought to less extravagant menu choices that I could make for Christmas. I had been leaning toward a Cornish Game Hen, which would still give me a couple of meals. I certainly don't want to go for the big bird again. On my trip to the grocery store this morning I spotted a good sized chicken, which ended up in my grocery cart. It's obviously in the middle, between a big and a little bird. It has a neck and giblets, giving my furry children a treat. It doesn't take a lot of time to cook and I can still have my favorite stuffing (this time it will be Stove Top)to go with it. Since potatoes have always been an extra in my opinion I will eliminate them, but include my favorite mixed vegetables and rolls. As a special treat and because I am worth it there will be strawberry cheesecake for desert. It's going to be a treat for all concerned to cook the bird in the middle this time around!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are you happy?

Happy is an interesting word that means something different to all who use it to express how they are feeling. As I woke this morning I was thinking about friends of mine who have lived through horrendous struggles, but are able to laugh it off and be happy. I have the most respect for those people. For some life seems to be one lark after another. I wonder, did they just pick the happy card this time? Are they really better off than those who were dealt a tougher life? The universe seems to provide an answer to questions when I sincerely ask. While pondering the subject of happy a passage in a Kindle book I am reading, "Black Butterflies" by Sara Alexi, caught my attention. I love it when that happens! The passage was, "If we were happy all the time we would miss our lives." What a powerful message. Sometimes happy happens when we step back and observe an entire experience from a different vantage point.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All wet and drying off

This morning a Facebook post from a friend captured my attention and changed my attitude about a situation I thought was causing a problem in my life. I have learned from experience that the universe has been known to send messages in strange forms. This one was one of a kind and caused me to realize that I have been all wet for a long time. Because someone else commented on the image that being single is a gift I realized the person is right! Although friends are a good thing to have I do not need anyone to be singly attached to. I raised my family and was connected by marriage for 40 years. I paid my dues. Now I do not need to depend on another soul. There is nothing anyone can give me that I cannot get for myself. Women especially grow up believing that they have to have a mate or their life is not complete. I was one of them. Thank you universe for the creative message and the gift/reward. All I need now is a nice big fluffy towel!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow- a great teacher

As I watched the news last night I noticed that much of the country is dealing with tons of snow. It reminded me of the winter of 2011 when our little town was buried in the white stuff. We had the honor of being the coldest city in New Mexico for weeks. The snow would thaw some during the day and freeze up at night making travel a very dangerous experience. I live alone about three miles from the nearest grocery store. I put off going to the store for as long as I could. The necessary trip I finally made was the scariest driving experience of my entire life. The road was a sheet of ice. Yesterday morning I looked out my office window and saw that it was snowing huge flakes that were sticking. It looked to me as if it had no intention of stopping. It was right after school had started and I was thinking that perhaps students would be dismissed early. If that happened I would not be going to work, as there would be no children to watch over at the family center. An hour or so later the snow suddenly stopped, the sun came out and melted everything. Yay for me! The previous snow experience that I lived through in 2011 taught me to be prepared. If I even hear a hint of snow I make sure to stock up on all the important things that I would need if I were snowbound for several days. Snow is a great teacher!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ready for 2014

December began with my birthday and is only 12 days old. Everything I needed to do to finish off the year 2013 is done; rabies/booster shots for Ejay, eye exam, appointment to renew my BP prescription, MVD to renew driver's licence, Christmas cards mailed, gifts taken care of, caramel corn, peanut butter/chocolate bar cookies & fudge made to distribute to friends, house alive with snowmen, current bills paid. With the exception of 7 more days of work I am ready to move into 2014. I am expecting it to bring new people and new experiences into my life to mingle with those from my past. In the words of that famous overstuffed being in red- MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A new twist

This morning I realized a new twist on an old problem. I am sure this will make more than one of my followers very happy. Since August 30, 2010 my only daughter, now 34, has refused to communicate with me. She won't answer her phone or respond to an email and she even found it necessary to block me on Facebook, although she denied doing it. Today I have come to the conclusion- so what!! I did my job as her mother to the best of my ability and took care of her needs way past the time that I should have stopped doing that. I have an excellent relationship with my grandson, my son-in-law and even my ex husband of 27 years. Although my daughter's immature behavior has in the past caused me to feel unloved and unappreciated, especially during times of family holidays, that will happen no more! I have decided that I am not missing out on a thing. I live debt free in a warm comfy home with my two cats and my rescue dog, Ejay. I have a part time job which allows me to communicate with people of all ages and gives me a little financial wiggle room. My daughter is the one who is missing out and someday she will feel my new twist on her young life.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I don't need that

I am getting tired of the deluge of Christmas ads bombarding me online and in my mail box for items others think I cannot live without. Um... I do not need that to be happy! In my opinion if people would stop purchasing all the crap offered out there and focus on what they really need their lives would be a lot less stressful. Sometimes I look at the adults and children around me and wonder why they spend so much money on all those popular items. I actually know people who rent storage units to hold the overflow that will not fit in their houses. I don't believe that I go without anything important. Having been divorced and on my own for 14 years I am most proud of the fact that I do not have bill collectors hounding me. I have had some enormous challenges along the way, but I have worked my tail off to deal with them- one by one. It always makes me very happy to reach December and know I will not be starting the new year with a pile of bills. My motto continues to be I DON'T NEED THAT!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A crafty space

This weekend is the annual Christmas Craft Show for our community. It has been going on for over thirty years attracting both talented craftsman with their wares and curious customers looking for bargains and special gifts. I participated for many years until it just wasn't fun anymore. I offered all types of crafts including: crochet items, doll clothes, gifts, photos, books and whatever caught my eye that might tempt buyers. Actually the most fun part and still is for me is the opportunity to communicate with people. Friday night was always "teachers night" when all the local teachers stopped by after school to see what they could see. They would congregate in little groups. I still enjoy walking around talking to crafters and customers, some of whom I have known for years. Saturday was always a busy day for sellers hoping to bring in enough to pay for their space. Some years we did and some we didn't. Sunday was usually pretty slow and brought back the customers who were expecting the prices to have dropped because the crafters were getting desperate to not have to take their wares back home. It was all an interesting learning experience that reminded me that at least some of my creative gifts were inherited talents. It was fun, but life moves on to make room for younger people with newer ideas. This weekend you will find me attending the Christmas Craft Show to see what I can see. If you happen to be in Grants, New Mexico between December 6-8 join me at Future Foundations Family Center for the big event.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Birthday

Today marks the end of 75 years since I came forth on this planet this time around. Wow that's a long time, but I'm not through yet! I'm planning to live to a healthy 100. That should make a couple of souls that I gave birth to very uncomfortable. Sorry about that my children, but if you had paid attention to my writings you would not be surprised at my determination. I have decided the secret to life, as my former daughter-in-law told me this morning, is to roll with the punches. Don't get stressed when stuff happens, just do the best you can and everything will turn out just like it is supposed to. Perhaps not the way I had planned, but better. So today on the celebration of my birth I am looking forward to the next 25 years. It's going to be a fantastic journey. You may come along if you like- or not.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gifts from the heart

Now that thanksgiving is over it is time to focus on Christmas. It is probably the most expensive day of the year, causing many to go into debt trying to impress others. I have always felt that gifts from the heart are much more valuable. Keeping that in mind I would like to share a couple of from the heart ideas that I have come up with in the last few years. They all start with a trip to my local dollar store. For one dollar each I am going to purchase a gold box, a clear vase and a small photo frame. Now the fun begins. I am going to fill the gold box with slips of paper containing 100 inspirational messages. Some of which are my own and some I gathered from online research. In the clear vase I am going to place a piece of parchment paper containing one of my inspirational poems. If you aren't poetic there are many sources available for fitting poems. One also could just write a heartfelt letter to the benefactor. A little ribbon and the message in a bottle is complete. Now for #3. I am going to choose a photo that I have recently taken. This particular one is a favorite of mine. There is no greater artist than the Creator. Photos of landscapes are also special for friends who have moved away and miss the familiar, such as a mountain or the local park. Other inexpensive gifts from the heart that I enjoy giving are those created in my kitchen such as homemade fudge. I have a friend who is widowed and if he didn't get a package of fudge for Christmas he would ask if I were ill. My point is that it is not necessary to go into debt when you choose gifts from the heart.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Is it the turkey?

On this day after Thanksgiving in the year 2013 I am asking myself is it the turkey that made me sad while eating dinner last night on a TV tray in front of the television set? I recall a cartoon years ago featuring an older couple sitting in front of the television set eating turkey TV dinners. Although my turkey was the real thing and was accompanied by dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a vegetable, a roll and a slice of pumpkin pie with Cool Whip it wasn't far from the cartoon, which still isn't funny. Maybe it was the turkey that made me sad?! It isn't something I usually cook other than Thanksgiving so it does tend to bring back memories of family times that are no more. Perhaps it isn't the turkey, but all those trimmings that go with it. The bird itself is a mighty cheap piece of meat, providing the main ingredient for many future meals. I even save the carcass for soup stock. Habits are hard to break, but next year I may have to leave the past behind and find another way to mark the day of gratitude.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A new tradition

Today I dumped out my little jar of gratitude that I have been adding to for almost a year. As I read each little piece of paper I realized that it doesn't take a lot to make an impression on me. Some of the things I had written made me smile and some brought back memories that were a bit sad, but had taught me the most important lessons; for instance that I am not a follower, I am a leader. The smallest notation was only one word- Ejay and the date 12/8/12. That was the day I picked up a rescue dog, then 10 months old, from the local animal shelter. Someone asked me if I really needed a dog. Apparently I did because he is still here. I believe that all these little bits of gratitude scribbled on tiny pieces of colored paper and dropped in a jar has created a brand new tradition in my house that I just may keep. They also reminded me of a poem I wrote several years ago. "Just a little piece of paper with lovingly chosen words. If you could see beneath the pen, you would find my love will never end." BLG 2002

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A jar full of gratitude

About a year ago I saw a suggestion to find an empty jar and every day fill it with little bits of daily gratitude. It didn't seem to be all that much trouble so I followed the directions. All the little things that may have otherwise been overlooked in my busy life have filled the little jar.
Since thanksgiving is one of those family holidays that I have been spending alone, well except for my three furry children, I have decided to dump out the contents of the jar and read every single scrap of paper I have put in there over the last year. I could just feel sorry for myself that nobody cares that I am alone, but a jar full of gratitude seems to me to be a lot healthier way to go. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A safe place to hang out

In the past I have written a lot about the family center in my town. I spend a great deal of my time there and think it is one of the best things offered to "children" of all ages in our area. The building had its grand opening in 2000 and was built to provide a safe place for young people to hang out. "The inception took place in 1994, nearly a year after the brutal murder of a local teen, Crystal LaPierre." Over the years a multitude of souls have used the facility, both as students and junior staff (previously known as Youth Council), giving them an opportunity to learn skills and earn a little honest pocket money. Last September I was given an opportunity to pick up a little extra money of my own as a part time staff member. Although it has greatly helped my living conditions I had reached the point of seriously considering quitting due to the disrespect I had been dealing with from a few of the students who apparently do not know the definition of abuse. I have spent my life allowing others to abuse me in one form or the other so I am quite familiar with the fact that it comes in many forms. Last Thursday I had reached the end of what I decided I could tolerate and it literally made me sick. I had to ask myself if the money was worth it. Since this is only a two day week, allowing for a Thanksgiving break, I went to work yesterday afternoon with the mindset of "whatever happens happens". I even requested that the Archangel Raguel, who is the bringer of harmony, lend a hand. The director of the facility took over the regular Monday "kid's meeting" and she had a little surprise for the students who were there. She firmly told them she and her staff will no longer tolerate any student who is disrespectful and/or refuses to follow instructions; they will be written up and suspended for the remainder of the year to make room for students on a waiting list who really want to be there. The energy following her brief remarks changed everything. Thank you thank you! Perhaps now the family center will go back to being the safe place to hang out that it was created to be.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lost relative

Although I have really enjoyed my time on it can be frustrating. I found pretty much everyone I was looking for with the exception of my father's oldest sister. She was my favorite aunt and it upset me that I was having trouble finding information about her. I knew her husband had died of cancer when I was a child, but I could not remember his name. I clearly recall sitting outside of their house with my brother, while my parents went inside to find out the results of his recent surgery. There was a monkey tree in the yard, which still sticks in my mind. Returning to the car my mother said, "They opened him up and closed him back up because there was nothing they could do." I did remember Aunt Thelma had several children, the youngest a daughter. This morning I happened to hit the right button and found her!The information I revealed was very interesting and produced several facts that I can relate to. She had three children, two boys and a girl who was born when she was in her early 40's. That could have been my life. Her middle name was Christine. Unaware of that fact, I named my daughter Christina. Her husband's name was Donald. My second husband and Christina's father is also a Donald. Finally, Aunt Thelma was 98 when she died in 2001.I am very happy that I found my lost relative and wonder if I will continue to follow in her footsteps. The following photo is of my Aunt, her siblings and their mother, my paternal grandmother, Beatrix. Left to right we have Aunt Sylvia, my father Sidney, my grandma, Uncle Kenton and last but certainly not least Aunt Thelma. The Halverson clan.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A taste of female/male prejudice

Yesterday my 12 year old grandson got a giant taste of female/male prejudice at the family center. On Friday's a supervisor offers a cooking class to some of the kids. Noticing that my grandson had not been asked to participate lately I suggested on Thursday that he ask the girl in charge for permission to take part this week. He did and his request was granted. I assumed everything was going well until I noticed him standing in the hall with tears streaming down his face. I asked what was wrong. He responded, "I don't like the cooking class. I wasn't allowed to do anything. I guess only girls can cook." The person in charge is a 20 year old girl and it looks to me as if she needs to open her young eyes. My grandson happens to love to cook. It probably comes naturally as my father was a chef and also a cook on a fishing boat in Alaska when he married my mother. Both of my sons and my son-in-law are very good cooks. You might have noticed none of them are girls! I certainly can understand how hurtful this taste of female/male prejudice was for him.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Goodbye little brother

Following my intuition I took advantage of a free trial on a couple of days ago. The very first thing I did was search my brother's name. The next thing that popped up on my screen was the fact that he died in May of 2011 in California. I knew he had suffered a stroke several years ago and was living in a nursing home. He was my only sibling and left home at about age 14 to live with a friend. Our lives since that time had only touched each other on and off. He had one son, a little younger than my youngest child. It seems odd that my biological family has been so disconnected over the years. I always felt it was my job to keep people in touch. That's a lot of work for one person to take on. Most everyone is now deceased and I seem to be the oldest still living. Having lost touch with aunts, uncles and cousins years ago I decided to see what I could find out as long as I was on I started a family tree that so far has gone back to a paternal great great grandfather born in New York in 1834. Finding names I didn't know gave me a comfortable feeling of being part of something bigger. Perhaps it is still my job to connect the people. It vaguely reminds me of a book I read several years ago, "The Memory Keepers Daughter". After all I am the one who has in my possession my maternal grandmother's family Bible from Belgium. There just might be a new story in my future. In the meantime I will just say goodbye to my younger brother, Howard DeLoyd Halverson, 1939-2011. You always were a pest!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

An unexpected guest

Yesterday morning I got a phone call from a young man that I have a special relationship with. A voice said, "Grandma can I come to your house today?" What do you think my answer was? I had made pancakes earlier and the leftovers joined by a cup of hot chocolate found a very happy recipient. Although I see my grandson every day after school at the family center and at his sports games we haven't had much one on one time lately. The school year is a busy time for him. His visit yesterday gave me an opportunity to observe just how much he has matured. After breakfast we worked together to rake up and bag the remainder of my fall leaves, which also gave him a little extra change in his pocket. Later on he played some computer games and then he surprised me when he asked me to open my word document for him to write a story. He used his imagination and a very descriptive vocabulary to create a really good short story. He said, "My Language Arts teacher encourages us to use bigger words." I laughed because the person I did last summer's writing camp with always told the kids to use 50 cent words. A little later he took out a sketch pad and began drawing. I was amazed at the 3D images he created. Again he said, "My Art teacher tells us to never give up on a drawing." I responded, "It sounds as if you have some really good teachers this year!" Knowing that a teacher can only teach a child/person what he/she is ready to learn caused me to be very proud of my unexpected guest. It looks to me that he is growing up!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The real reason.

This morning I have been thinking about the real reason that I now have a part time job supervising kids. Lately I have been observing what is going on and I have found that I can relate to several of the souls (big and small) who have been placed in my life from 2:30-5:00 P.M. Monday-Friday. There is a young female staff member who has worked at the facility on and off since she was about 14. She is very efficient, has her own way of doing things and loves the power her job gives her. She is also a bit of a loner. I can relate. There is one little girl who is always the first to arrive. She is the cutest, sweetest child any parent would want to have. There are also a couple of girls of varying ages who are definitely seeking attention. One of them recently told me kids don't like her because they think she is a "geek". I know from my own experience at about the same age exactly how she feels and I have been trying to quietly meet her needs. Sometimes she just wants to know that other people see her. I just had a conversation yesterday with a male volunteer about his presence in the mix. I didn't think he realized that many of these kids do not have a male influence in their homes; as a matter of fact many do not even know who their father is. Just by being in the room he makes a difference in their lives and playing with them is even better. Of course, my biggest reward for the job I am doing is daily contact with my own grandson. I get to observe the way he interacts with his peers and the adults in charge. I consider it a gift that now even his parents, who work full time, have not been given. It looks to me that the real reason I am where I am is as an observer of relationships- big and small.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's over!

What a busy last few days I have had. I am happy it is over and I am very happy for the increase in my income due to my paid activities since October 31st. Bright and early Thursday morning I helped set up for the Halloween Carnival to be held at our family center later that evening. I had never been on that end of the event before and discovered it is a lot of work with many details, beginning with securing the tarp to the gym floor. The job also creates very sore muscles from bending and lifting equipment. I kept reminding myself that I was getting paid for the job. Working at the carnival was much more fun. This year I graduated from my 3 year experience of manning the duck pond (plastic ducks) to racing hot wheel cars. Because the race needed at least two participants I was able to convince several parents to play with their kids. Yay! I was told we entertained about 1,200 little people. The most popular costume this year seemed to be a bee. I had learned my lesson and since I wasn't asked, I did not volunteer to take everything down Friday morning. I did work my regular job of supervising the kids when school was out. We had expected them to be hyper due to their sugar rush, but the turnout was lower than usual. At 5:00 P.M. my day had only just begun. There was a dance planned for high school kids from 9:00-12:00 P.M. and yes I was scheduled to work. I didn't have much to do as again the turnout was low. Experiencing their music was LOUD and I was grateful when it was finally turned off. What happened to songs with words one could actually decipher? Oh well I survived and made sure I set my alarm for this morning. My grandson had his last soccer game of the season at 9:00 A.M. His team won 4-2 and Colin made one of the goals. Yay again! Although it was a little cold there was no wind so it wasn't too bad as fall games go. The rest of this weekend I plan to do as little as possible and just be grateful it is over!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is bigger better?

Yesterday a very nice mature man joined our group of supervisors at the family center as a volunteer. James actually works in Human Resources at our women's prison and he is big! He is currently in a program that requires 30 hours of community service and he chose us. I had to laugh at his reaction to the gym full of kids yesterday. He offered, "I don't hear this kind of language from the prisoners!" I was happy to know that it wasn't just my opinion that some of these kids are just plain disrespectful and don't appreciate the fact that they have a safe place to go after school. Like me James is also wondering what is wrong with the parents. I am looking forward to the difference this big man is capable of making on the situation. I can't wait to see what happens when he gets his feet wet. In this case I think big just might be better. You go James I'm right behind you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Does a name matter?

In the two months that I have been working at our family center I have been called many names by the kids and the staff as well. I have made it clear that they are free to call me anything as long as it is respectful. The director is the same age as my oldest son and we have known each other for almost 20 years. We have always used first names. When I first started my job as a supervisor at the center she referred to me as Mrs. Gunn. Although the title annoyed me, as I have been divorced for 14 years, I didn't say anything. My badge clearly says Barbara Gunn. To make things even more confusing, my 12 year old grandson comes to the center almost every day after school and always calls me grandma. Most of the kids know that he is my real grandson and have picked up on the name, no doubt because age wise I am in the category of their own grandparents. I am aware that some children are raised to never use first names when addressing their elders so I understand that it may be uncomfortable for them to call me Barbara. A couple of those kids prefer to use variations of grandma, which is acceptable as long as their choice is accompanied by respect. The majority of the kids do use my first name. I know it would upset some older people, but for me it is a good choice. I often think of the word "god" and it sometimes makes me laugh. I know there are those who do not believe the entity even exists, but I am not in that group. I do believe in a body-less energy that is in charge of it all. As long as we use respect I do not believe it matters what name we use to refer to this entity.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Did I really win?

A couple of weeks ago I entered a photo contest sponsored by our local Cibola General Hospital. The assignment was to take a fall photo. I had a beautiful photo I had taken of aspen on Mt.Taylor so I decided why not? Here's a peek at my entry. Last week a hospital representative called to inform me that since mine was the only entry they had decided to use it. The prize is- the winning photo will be featured on the cover of Cibola Healthy Horizons, which has a large circulation. The rep had a small problem when she tried to stretch my photo to fit the allotted space. She said it looked grainy and asked if I had one with a better resolution. Well not really- this is it! Even though I technically won, sort of kind of, I have no idea if the photo will even be used. At this moment I don't really care and I am asking myself did I really win? Below is a mate to the "winning" photo that I took on the same day, also aspen on Mt. Taylor.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Money isn't everything...but

This month is offering me opportunities to increase my income that I didn't have even a year ago. Now that I am a member of the staff at Future Foundations Family Center I get paid for "work" that I previously volunteered to do- free. A few years ago I did a short stint as a Foster Grandparent for the school district. During spring break that year I spent some time supervising the elementary students who went to the center. Technically I was paid for my time by the city, but the amount was actually so little it didn't even cover my gas. I would rather have volunteered. Now I am paid for my supervising time on a weekly basis. This week, as a staff member, I was paid a generous salary to help with the National Walk to School event at our neighboring elementary school. Last year I volunteered for the same event. Later this month I will get paid to work at the annual Halloween Carnival sponsored by the center. I previously volunteered for the last three years. Not too many years ago a friend made the comment that I had volunteered my life away. Although volunteering does offer its own rewards, perhaps someone finally noticed my efforts and decided it was time for a change. I agree that money isn't everything... but when one gets to be my age it sure helps when unexpected expenses pop up!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's just one of those holidays

I woke up with a start at 7:00 this morning thinking it was Wednesday. My very first thought was NO! I need to be at the family center RIGHT NOW to help with the walk to school event. How could I have overslept? It was then I realized it wasn't Wednesday it was Monday and it is a holiday. Apparently my dog, Ejay, didn't know what day it was either because he proceeded to jump up on my bed to make sure I was awake. That did it! No sleeping in whether it was a holiday or not. Today is Columbus Day. Whoopie!! I wonder what would have happened if Christopher Columbus and company had possessed a crystal ball allowing him to see the mess his new world is in today? Would he have just floated on by and not reported back to Her Majesty? Interesting question to ponder isn't it? Go Chris go!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Can you hear me now?

About three weeks ago, following my intuition, I decided to take advantage of a free hearing test offered by Livingston Hearing Center, which has an office in my town. I already knew that I had some hearing loss, but was not prepared to discover just how much. One thing led to another and I ordered hearing aids. Apparently everything happens for a reason. My hearing problem had become more obvious due to my new job at our family center, supervising children. I had no idea what some of them were saying. Interestingly, this job is going to provide the extra income I need to pay the bill in a relatively short time, resulting in no finance charges. Yay! Getting used to the device has not been as difficult as I feared it would be. It is funny the things I can now hear. One of the things I am most happy about is hearing what my grandson is trying to tell me, without asking him to repeat over and over. Of course there is the possibility that I was better off not knowing what he was saying! I have discovered kids today make up a lot. That is not the same as lying; they just have great imaginations.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What's wrong with today's kids?

I have worked as a supervisor at our family center for about a month and I am asking what is wrong with today's kids? Perhaps the better question is what is wrong with their parents? The younger kids are fun to be around and are responsive to learning new things. What happens to them between first and sixth grade I have no clue. Some of them turn into smart mouth brats who have no clue what the word respect means. A couple of these charming individuals will, I am sure, be featured on the front page of our local paper in the not too distant future, and not in a good way. They are so full of negative energy it is just plain scary. I have had a good deal of experience with children of all ages through the years and raised three of my own, but I have never had to deal with kids like this. I wouldn't want to be a school teacher today for any amount of money. I had a parent who witnessed the behavior of one of my charges last week. Her response was, "If my daughter ever talks to you that way I want you to call me!" Thank goodness there is at least one parent in the group who cares how her child acts! Apparently this is an experience I am supposed to have or I wouldn't be having it, besides I need the money.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Talented expression

I love promoting others who express themselves through a gift that I do not have. There are many new art forms out there that absolutely amaze me. Lately I have been seeing driftwood transformed into magical pieces of art. Below is a beautiful example found on Facebook and created by James Doran-Webb. Another art form that has been popping its head up lately is 3D art, created on any surface paintable. The example below recently caught my attention. Wow to be so talented!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Repair or replace that is the question

For the second time in a very short span I have had unusual electrical problems in my house. I was forced to decide to repair or replace the cause of the problems. Keep in mind that my house was manufactured in 1976. Also there are two things I don't mess with and they are electricity and gas. I figure they both have much more power than I do. The first little problem came when I flipped the light switch in a bathroom and nothing happened. I found it strange that a night light plugged into the outlet worked fine. Following the instructions of a willing repair person, led me to purchase a new switch. ...and then there was light! My second experience came yesterday when I attempted to turn on the ceiling light in my kitchen. The bulb literally exploded. I immediately turned off the switch. After removing the remains of the bulb I tried to dislodge its metal top from the fixture with needle nosed pliers. The entire thing had melted, making the job impossible. I have had light bulbs pop before, but they have never been a fire hazard. Because this same light fixture had in the recent past, water in it when my ceiling got wet from excess snow on my roof, I decided it made more sense to replace the fixture rather than repair it. There are times when things, including relationships have moved past their expiration date and fixing them is no longer a reasonable path to follow. It seems lessons come in all shapes and sizes when we pay attention.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Practicing to be a squirrel

Over the weekend I went on a cooking spree with the intention of filling up my near empty freezer for the cold months to come. This morning it made me think of a squirrel- minus the fur. So far I cooked up a batch of burritos, green chile stew, chicken, beef stew, crock pot lasagna and for good measure, pumpkin muffins and an apple pie from last year's frozen apples. I have a problem with people who say they don't cook because they live alone. So what! I cook up full recipes, divide the finished product into individual portions and freeze them. It saves a whole lot of money that I might otherwise be tempted to spend eating out and less trips to the grocery store. I guess I could have, might have, been a squirrel in a previous life
Pumpkin muffins, made by mixing a 15 oz can of pumpkin with a box of dry cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A personal spin

This is my first full week of working as a regular part time employee of our family center. Although it is important to know the basic rules of behavior for a supervisor and the kids who are being supervised it is also important to learn to put a personal spin on the job. In a way the kids are fortunate because the four of us in charge range in age from a high school Junior to me (never mind my age!) It didn't take me long to learn to deal with the little problems that come up, based on my own life experiences. I especially enjoy interacting with the younger kids and it seems the feeling is mutual. Most of them know that my own grandson goes to the center and possibly they react to me as an extra grandmother. I don't mind and it gives me an opportunity to put my personal spin on the situation.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Art Linkletter was right

Kids do say the darndest things! As things were rounding up at Future Foundations Family Center yesterday afternoon a darling little girl, probably in the first grade, was sitting next to me in the bleachers. All of a sudden she exclaimed, "Wow this has been a really long day; first I had school and then Futures!" Although she made me laugh I clearly saw her point. Things have certainly changed since I was her age. I had a whole lot more freedom than kids have today. It was also true of my three children, of which the youngest just turned 34. The main difference is that I and they got to go home after school and pretty much do whatever we chose to do. I realize that children are very lucky to have "safe" places to go after a hard day of school, but it is a substitute for a real life caring parent. In my opinion an elementary school age child should not have the need to say- "Wow this has been a really long day!"

Friday, September 6, 2013

A new adventure

You may have noticed my absence this week. It has been due to starting a new adventure and has caused me to readjust my time. A couple of weeks ago I was given the opportunity to become a "sub"; supervising youth at our family center when one of the regular staff is gone. The first week was two days, the second three and this week I moved up to four and my title changed from sub to regular staff. I took the place of a high school student who thought he was indispensable and could show up whenever he felt like it. Surprise! It seems my entire life has been preparing for this job. When my boys were young I did babysitting then when they entered school I spent a lot of time helping with PTA projects and did a stint as a Cub Scout Den Mother. After my daughter started school I became a permanent room mother for whatever grade she was in. Moving on up, when she was a teenager I was an Advisory Board member and Mother Advisor for the Masonic group she belonged to. A few years ago I briefly tried out my wings as a Foster Grandparent for the school system. Finally, as many of you know, for the last two summers I have coordinated a writing camp for grades 3-6 at the same family center that I am now employed at. You may have noticed that it took a long time to actually get paid for what I have spent years doing for the experience. ...And my dear mother once accused me of not having "stick-to-it-ness". Wrong!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy B'day

Happy birthday Christina. You made it to 34! I vividly remember the day you were born. Your journey began with a 73 mile trip from Laguna to Albuquerque, NM and the waiting hands of my ob, Dr. Dennis Ready. Your father was observing your delivery and his first words upon seeing you were, "she has fingernails!" Upon arriving home two days later you were greeted by your paternal grandparents and a rather large stuffed bear, left in your crib by your brother, David. Your older brother Jeff was in the army and didn't meet you for several months. It has been a long trip from there to where you are today. Although we shared much of the same journey our views of our experiences are entirely different. May the remainder of your life here on earth fulfill your highest good. Happy celebration of your day of birth!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just do it!

As my very opinionated deceased mother used to say "Do it or get off the pot!" She also thought that calculators were the ruination of students. She could have been right on that one as it seems kids have stopped thinking for themselves. For those followers who might be wondering what I decided to do about my computer troubles the short of a long expensive story is: Firefox is gone and Google Chrome is here to stay. I did keep Internet Explorer installed as a backup, just in case something unexpected occurs. This morning I am laughing at how long it took me to actually click that uninstall button for Firefox. At my age it is hard to detach from the familiar, even when it is causing problems. Not touching a computer until I was over 60 has caused a major flaw in my literacy. I remember my oldest son's comment that a computer is only as smart as the person using it. I may be a little slow to catch on, but I am not stupid! Are you happy now mom I just did it?!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trying something new

I'm still walking around the internet trying to see if I should just give up on my "old" PC and check into a laptop, which I really can't afford at the moment. Today I am posting my blog using Google Chrome. It is an interesting experiment and I have no idea what the post will look like after I click publish. Perhaps the person who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks was wrong! I'm always willing to try something new and I see nothing wrong with mixing old and new together to create a fulfilling experience. It kind of reminds me of my new part time job of subbing at our local community center. Over the years I have donated many volunteer hours so it's nice to finally be appreciated for my efforts. I am not going to make a fortune, but as anyone living on social security knows, every little extra helps. Perhaps I will apply that little extra to the purchase of a laptop in the near future. Now that would really be something new in more ways than one!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take another look

Sometimes it is necessary to eliminate all possible causes for a problem before settling on the best course of action. It is easy to put the blame on the probable cause that sticks out like a sore thumb. My current blog problem is a good example. I just assumed It was the blog site. Wrong! Out of curiosity I opened the blog with a different browser than the one I had always used and guess what? I came on just the way it is supposed to with no unwanted ads from a still mysterious source. I feel as if I should apologize to blogspot for making a wrong assumption. Checking further, I ran a malware byte scan, which came up with four viruses. So much for being told I have a secure virus program. There probably is no such thing for a 2005 PC. I still have no clue why accessing the blog site using Firefox is giving me unwanted advertising, blocking what I am trying to offer, but as the saying goes, "where there is a will there is a way". For now I will just use Internet Explorer and see what happens. So there! A friend just posted a Facebook quote by Douglas Adams that fits this situation perfectly: "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be". Apparently when you care enough to take another look things will tend to work out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

blog problem

Notice to readers: I am having a serious problem with unwanted ads popping up and interfering with writing posts. Until I can find someone who can help me fix this problem I will be taking a vacation from further posting on this site. Hope to return soon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Over the top confidence

August 12th was the last day of summer vacation for my grandson, Colin, and he spent it with me. That made me very happy as I don't get to see him as much as I would like to. He has a multitude of friends who seek his presence. The only word I can think of is one often used to describe John F. Kennedy. That word is charisma. His spirit/soul just can't help shinning.

Anyway, we repeated a recent experience and took a pepperoni pizza to the Riverwalk for lunch. The ducks were in full force and Colin began tossing scraps of pizza crust to them. Suddenly a little bird, probably a sparrow, swooped down amongst the ducks and claimed a rather large piece. We started laughing because he was so brave and determined. His confidence was tested when three of his fellow birds began chasing him. Colin shouted, "go little buddy" as the bird flew to a tall tree on the other side of the pond to eat his lunch.

The experience reminded me of watching my grandson participate in his elementary school races. He knows he will win before the race even starts. Being a little short doesn't bother him in the least. I smiled during a recent race when one of his class mates encouraged him with, "go little man". It was a term I had once used as a columnist to write a story about his birth journey on 9/8/01 in New York State. His due date was 9/11/01- smart kid!

When you have over the top confidence you have it made!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tidbits to share

Slow cooker Mexican pulled pork

1 lb pork tenderloin
1 15 oz can tomato sauce or 12 oz jar salsa
1 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl ground cumin
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic minced

Place pork in slow cooker. In small bowl stir together remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Cook on low for 8 hours. When done shred the meat using two forks, pulling against the gain. Serve on toasted buns.

Mandarin orange salad

I pkg. instant vanilla pudding (use dry)
1 large can crushed pineapple (undrained)
2 medium/large cans mandarin oranges (drain)
1 8 oz tub cool whip

Mix cool whip and dry pudding together, add fruit. Refrigerate until it thickens, about to hours.

Jewelry cleaner
Cover bottom of small bowl with a piece of foil.
Heat 1 cup of water and add:
1 Tbl salt, 1 Tbl baking soda, 1 Tbl dish soap
Let jewelry sit for 5-10 minutes in mixture and rinse with cool water.

Wood furniture repair

3/4 cup oil (vegetable, Canola etc.)
1/4 cup white vinegar

Combine in jar and use a soft cloth to apply to wood. No need to wipe dry.

The end for now!

 serve on buns

Friday, August 9, 2013

The best laid plans

The last few days have been an adventure in plans that don't work out the way I saw them. Makes me wonder yet again who is in charge of my life anyway! It often appears it isn't me.

A good example is my previous blog post about an article I wrote and submitted to the editor of our local paper regarding a problem with youth soccer. I had no doubt it would be published, but I expected it to be as a contributing correspondent article. It appeared as a Letter to the Editor. I suppose it really doesn't matter as long as the information was shared with the community.

Then there was an experience with my unpredictable grandson. Summer vacation is coming to a close and the family center where he usually spends his time is closed until school starts on August 13. The staff needs a vacation too. My little man has been moving around from person to person during the day, while his parents are working. He spent yesterday with me. He popped in a little before 8:00 a.m. and said he was hungry, even though he had already had breakfast. I fixed him turkey bacon, an egg , a mini bagel topped with mixed berry cream cheese and orange juice.

One would think that should hold him for awhile- wrong. About mid morning he decided he was hungry again. Raiding my refrigerator, he consumed an apple, broccoli and a handful of baby carrots dipped in blue cheese dressing. Perhaps he is going through a growing spurt. That would be good!

I took advantage of the extra help he provided and we later went to work dealing with the chipped paint on one side of my house; giving it a new paint job when we had finished. The job wasn't in my plans, but is something that really needed doing.

When my grandson left last night he said he would be back today. I had planned on some outside jobs we could do together. He ordered pancakes for breakfast. This morning came and he didn't show up. I began to worry and called his father at work to check on his whereabouts. He had decided to spend the day with a friend and forgot to call me. Relieved that nothing was wrong I began taking care of the little jobs I had seen us doing together. Again, not exactly how I had planned the day.

Oh well, as long as things get done I guess it doesn't matter how it happens.


Monday, August 5, 2013

A cause to write

Step by step my writing has been motivated by a cause of one kind or another.

It started with a newspaper column, followed by self published books, hard cover books, a blog, E-books and a writing group that offered an opportunity to occasionally write an article for our local newspaper.

The published books are now out of print and the writing group is no more. The Amazon E-books as well as the blog are still being offered to the public. After informing the Cibola Beacon editor of the demise of my writing group he informed me that I am welcome to submit articles of my choice as a freelance correspondent. Reviewing this turn of events caused me to realize that it is what I wanted all along; to be able to write what I wanted when I wanted to write.

This editor and I have had an interesting adventure learning to accept each other for who we are and utilizing our individual strengths to benefit our community. I have learned a lot about what to write and what not to write during our several year association.

Finding a new cause, I just submitted my latest article to the Cibola Beacon entitled, "Where are the volunteers?". It reveals the fact that our local American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is in danger of folding if they can not attract new coaches, referees and board members.

As the grandparent of a 12 year old who has played soccer since he was old enough to qualify this is an unacceptable situation! It appears all I needed was a cause to write about to see where my writing is about to go now. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Mr. Popularity

With summer vacation coming to an end I was surprised to discover that my grandson chose to spend two days in a row at my house this week. This kid has so many invitations from his friends that it's getting hard to squeeze in any time with him. I entertained him Wednesday and Thursday and before today even hit noon two groups of his neighborhood friends knocked on my door wanting to ride bikes with him. I had to convince them I had no idea where he was spending the day.

Oh to be that popular! The best thing is he just accepts it as who he is.

Wednesday started off with a bowl of his favorite cereal and a glass of orange juice. After helping me rid my front yard of pesky weeds we decided to share a subway sandwich for lunch. His favorite, a cold cut combo with tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles on his half. I  take everything offered on mine. He made up for it with chips and a drink. Since the weather was decent we spent the afternoon at the local pool where of course, he attracted several of his friends to horse around with.

I hadn't expected him on Thursday, but about 7:45 a.m. Ejay started barking and I heard a knock on my front door.  It was a good thing I still had cereal because he hadn't had breakfast yet. After swinging by his house to pick up his basketball we headed to the family center so I could exercise and he could shoot hoops. On the way home we made a stop at the grocery store where his father works and of course, the employees greeted him by name. Next we tried to spruce up my yard a little. He did a good job of trimming my juniper shrub until a red ant crawled up his leg and took a bite. That pretty much ended the sprucing up and I got to play nurse. 

Feeling sorry for his pain, I suggested we pick up a pizza and take it to the Riverwalk, our most favorite place to eat lunch. First we stopped by his house to deposit his basketball and exchange it for his scooter to ride later. To make a long story short the pizza was good and he of course, connected with several more of his friends before we were chased away by rain drops falling on our heads. Perfect timing.

Yesterday came to a close when some of his neighborhood friends begged him to go bike riding with them. It seems I can't take Mr. Popularity anywhere that someone isn't asking for his attention. I love watching the show!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Never give up

As I was getting ready to get in my car this morning on my way to exercise I happened to glance at one of the flower pots along my path. Last spring I had planted bedding plants with the hope that at least some of them would actually grow. That didn't happen as they died one by one. The drought we have been experiencing was just too much for them. I finally gave up and purchased a variety of silk flowers from the dollar store to at least have some color.

Lately it has rained some, but all I have seen in my front yard are weeds that seem to come up over night and are slowly turning the gravel green.

You can imagine my surprise when I noticed something purple in one of the pots this morning. Upon investigation I discovered it was a perfectly healthy petunia growing amongst the silk flowers. I wouldn't want you to take my word for it sooo...
Is that a universal message to never give up or what?


Friday, July 26, 2013

Not quite the me you see

In the last few months I have been spending time at out local nursing home as a volunteer. Every time I go to visit the residents I leave very grateful for my physical and mental health. Although there are days when I am sure some people question the latter!

Most of the residents of the home could not possibly care for themselves on a daily basis. To me the saddest to observe are those patients who are the victims of Alzheimer's. In my opinion it is the cruelest disease that anyone could have; not only for the patient, but for their family members. It robs the person of knowing who they are. It is extremely frustrating to carry on a conversation with an Alzheimer victim and requires an enormous amount of patience.

I recently ran across a list of 10 requests from an Alzheimer's Patient which I shared with the wife of a victim and asked her to pass it on to the activity director of the nursing home. Looking over the list caused her to sadly nod her head in agreement. I am passing the list on to my readers with the hope it will help others see the issue more clearly.

Please be patient with me. I am the helpless victim of a brain disease.

Talk to me. Even though I cannot always answer.

Be kind to me. Each day of my life is a desperate struggle.

Consider my feelings. They are still very much alive within me.

Treat me with dignity and respect. As I would have gladly treated you.

Remember my past. For I was once a healthy vibrant person.

Remember my present. For I am still living.  

Remember my future. Though it may seem bleak to you.

Pray for me. For I am a person who lingers in the mists of time.

Love me. And the gifts of love you give will be a blessing forever.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Refusing to believe

Wow! I can't believe I had such a hard time believing what was right before my very eyes.

I have been counting all those souls recently presented to me by the wisdom of the universe who have displayed signs of being bipolar, manic depressive, having passive aggressive and narcissistic disorders and even the probability of housing multiple personalities. I just passed their idiosyncratic tendencies on by and tried to make them perfect, no matter what.

Instead of allowing these sick people to blame me for their problems why didn't I ever see it was them not me who had a problem? 

The answer to that question no doubt goes way back to the very first time, as a small child, that I took the blame for some humungous act that I had nothing to do with. I would not be surprised if that incident was  my conception to parents who were not yet married.  From there it went on and on like dust bunnies beneath a bed; growing bigger and bigger with each passing experience.

Note to universe: Enough already! I get it! From now I will only accept responsibility for my own actions. If I am at fault I have no problem admitting that fact, but I will no longer accept responsibility for the actions of anyone else- whether they are sick or not!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Who are you anyway?

I love it when all the little pieces start falling into place and I begin to see an entire puzzle. This week's "lesson" was about being authentically you.

It began when my Writing Camp partner and I had lunch at a local restaurant to talk over what had worked and what had not this year, in preparation for next year's camp. She was about to be seated when another customer greeted her with a hug saying she hadn't seen her in a long time. The woman also quietly shared, "I just lost my husband".

A little later my partner, B.J. said, " I have no idea who that woman was." We both smiled at her statement.

In the meantime another lady on the way in also greeted B.J. like a long lost friend. Soon she was back at our table with an apology because she had realized she had mistaken my partner for someone else. Again, it gave us something to smile about.

Another woman came into the restaurant with her husband whom I recognized from my past. I chose to ignore her presence. When I first met this woman, several years ago, she presented herself as a caring individual. Even though I had cause to doubt her authenticity, I believed her until she proved that my doubt was real. Now I want nothing to do with her negative ways.

Next an online friend who has had years of professional experience as a handwriting expert, made a comment that fit right in. He stated, "People don't always match their profile. In time they  reveal who they are. It starts with something not feeling congruent."

What he shared caught my attention because I know someone who exactly fits his statement. The man is like a study in opposites. What he says and what he does are entirely two different things. I am actually beginning to believe he seriously needs professional help of some kind.

The thought of not matching one's profile continued to stay in my mind to the point that I checked on my own Facebook profile to see if what it said was who I really am. Other than updating work related projects, I am happy to say I changed nothing.

In conclusion, who you see is who I am. I am not in hiding from anyone and I love attracting others, like my partner and friend B.J., who are also authentic souls.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are you blind?

A question I am asking myself this morning is, "Are you blind?"

Sometimes it takes awhile for the mind to catch up and accept what is right before the eyes.

Preconceived ideas and experiences often get in the way of filtering out the past and seeing what is real. Although I read Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth, apparently I am still having a problem with living in the present. It is a very difficult thing to accomplish for a recovering control freak whose mantra was, I want things to be the way I see them not the way they are.

Enough of the past; this morning a loyal Facebook friend posted a work of art which can be found on  David Walker is an artist who uses only spray paint to create fabulous street art in London. Viewing the example of his work impressed me because of the colors and interesting shapes. I was taking in each piece, until the moment I stepped back and realized what the artist had actually painted. My reaction was WOW!

After checking out how he had created what I finally saw I was even more amazed. What a talented man!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Your soul knows the truth

From my life experiences I know it is the best feeling in the world when I connect with a soul that I have spent other lifetimes with and that soul also recognizes the universal connection. It is the worst feeling in the world when the other soul claims no knowledge of that life/lives. I suppose whoever remembers what really doesn't matter because the soul always knows the truth.

One of the good things Facebook and other social networks do is make these fantastic connections possible. The energy is offered, to be accepted or not, and it really doesn't matter if the two souls are ever in the same place at the same time. I for one am very grateful to have followed my intuition and made the connections that were offered.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The garden of dreams

After obtaining parental permission, it is my pleasure to now share one of the pieces written by a student in  our Writing Camp. The author is only 10 and in my opinion shows a great deal of promise as a writer. I told her she has the "ears" of a writer because she listens to everything that is going on around her and uses what she gathers in her writing.

The Garden of Dreams
by Jhoana R.

I'm close to you, you're close to me, we're close together in the garden of dreams. In the garden I stay there to see you smiling with a wonderful glee. Light is done. The sun is gone. Time to go, but here we know, we will always stay together in the garden of dreams.

We done good!

We finished up the two week Writing Camp for elementary students this morning with a little party to celebrate. In addition to yummy M & M cookies and juice my co-worker, B.J., gave them some interesting mementos with her own brand of retired teacher experience attached to them.

First she offered the kids small magnets and told them that they were to take one example of what they had written and using the magnet attach it to their refrigerator. Next was a tiny box of Milk Duds, which they were to carefully open, saving the box and putting it somewhere in their bedroom. Then they were instructed to look at the box the next time something came up that they didn't think they could do and remember that they are not duds. Finally, they were given a pack of fruit snacks, reminding them that  although everyone is different they are all special in their own way. I also added cute little erasers and rewarded the boy and girl who had perfect attendance during the camp with a special gift.

I can't believe how lucky I am to have connected with B.J.on this year's camp project. It was a perfect fit and I believe the kids who took advantage of what we freely offered benefited from the connection. If we did nothing else but strengthen their self confidence-  we done good!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


My regular readers know that I have written several blog posts about my friend Ms. M. She has read what I have written and is getting a giant kick out of it. You see she is a resident in our local nursing home and the only way I could use her actual name is to go through their red tape, which is a pain in the you know what! Thus she is referred to as Ms. M. Where there's a will there's a way.

Yesterday I received a call from her asking me to stop by for a chat because she had something important she wanted to tell me. I was unprepared for the news she wanted to share.

In the last few months I have become her adopted family, as all of her biological family live in Texas. It has been fun and we have found that we have a lot in common, including a natural gift for writing. Mine was awakened in 2000 when I was given the opportunity to write a column for our local paper, by a person who saw something in me that I was not aware of at the time. I am happy to say that I am responsible for awakening Ms. M's gift of words which had lain dormant for years. She now can't wait to get those words out of her mind and share them in her creative stories.

On our visit yesterday and with tears in her eyes, she informed me that she would soon be moving to a nursing home near her family. Although she is very happy here and has made many friends, the truth of the matter is-  she is homesick.

As I looked at her I asked, "Do you really need to go into a nursing home?" I was thinking perhaps she could live with a relative.

Her answer was, "I love it! I have no responsibilities and I can do anything I choose to fill my days."

I believe she's got it, as Professor Henry Higgins once exclaimed.

All Ms. M needs now to complete her perfect life is to go home. Bon Voyage my fair lady, I am grateful to have been counted as your friend in this lifetime.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another one bit the dust

Another family holiday down the tubes. It would be really cool to have a family to celebrate with, but the reality is that I don't. I do; however have, reasonably good health, friends, a home, a car, enough food and clothes, no current bills and most of all an interesting assortment of universal gifts.That's a lot to be grateful for and there are many souls who do not have what I have.

Looking around at the devastation through floods and fires in the world today causes me to be very grateful for what I have. It may not be much according to national statistics, but there is little more that I actually need. It always makes me laugh to see that my income falls well below the poverty level for the United States. I look at the rich and wonder why they need so much in an attempt to be happy. You can only sleep in one bed at a time.

Although today's post is short it is full of gratitude for my family that is no more. Through them I learned what counts and what doesn't.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Another observation

While offline I also noticed I had at some point done quite a bit of research on ego vs. soul. I found some interesting information acquired from an Osho (a mystic guru from India) website. He said in part, the ego is a by product of living with others. If we lived in a cave away from other humans we would never develop an ego. (That doesn't sound like much fun and we would grow to become an animal.)

The ego is nothing more than what society thinks of us and society is ALL minus you. I love that thought and it is a very good thing to remember.

There was another Osho thought that I liked and that is, "If you know the false as false, truth will dawn on you. You have to encounter the untrue to know what is true." In other words, stop believing everyone else and tune into what your own soul knows to be true. If following someone else feels wrong pay attention- it is! Stop it!

As the result of contemplating that thought I created a list of about 10 people who made an impact on me in recent years and are no longer part of my life. I was curious to see what they might have in common. Most of them were basically nice people, but they were all pushy, demanding and controlling in their own unique way. They all wanted me to live my life according to the way they thought I should.

Interestingly, I saw that they all acted as mirrors, either reflecting the person I once was or a person that I absolutely do not ever want to be. No wonder they are no longer part of my life. Who in their right mind would want to invite that brand of negativity back in? They did their job and I am grateful- the end.

Looking at other notes I had taken on ego vs. soul I found a comparison written by Barbara Whitefield that I would like to pass on for your consideration.

The voice of ego/mind
Flatters, commands, demands, tests, chooses for you, imprisons, promotes dependency, intrudes, pushes, excludes, instills fear, is status oriented, judges, insists on obedience, claims ultimate authority, offers shortcuts, seeks personal gratification.

The voice of spirit/soul
Informs, suggests, guides, nudges, leaves choice to you, empowers, promotes independence, respects, supports, includes, promotes well-being, is free and open, accepts individuality, encourages growth and development, recognizes a higher power, offers integration, lives in unconditional love.

A message I received this morning was: just be you and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

It appears that sometimes we need to take a quiet break and observe what we have already been offered before jumping ahead to the next lesson. I recently had a dream that I had graduated and it wasn't from high school or college. Perhaps now someone will actually hand me the diploma I have worked so hard to earn.

Here and now

 This morning I am very grateful to the Universe for cutting off my access to my computer for a little over a week. That may sound a little weird, but I now see that it gave me an opportunity to go back in time and relearn some lessons that I didn't quite get when they were first presented. Luckily I usually follow my strong intuition about taking notes that my soul mind knows I may need later.

One of the interesting tidbits I found was information I had written down about a dream I had in 2007. It was about midway into my "conscious awakening journey". I don't often remember my dreams so when I do I know the message must be very important.

Before going into that dream I want to inject an incident that occurred in the spring of 1999, during a hypnosis session to end a 40 year nicotine addiction, which worked by the way. I clearly saw a bolt of lightning from somewhere in front of and slightly above my body pierce my heart. There was no pain involved and I have shared the information with few. I have never fully understood its meaning except to take it as a wake up call to begin a new life. I had actually forgotten about this experience, which really surprises me.  

Now back to the 2007 dream: 
I had just finished reading James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy and it left me with a question. As the saying goes, "ask and thou shall receive"; I asked, "How do I breathe in  Universal energy?" I'm sure some of you are saying, "just breathe". Back then I didn't know some of the things I have since learned. That's called growing, I believe.

Here is the dream according to my notes and my current awakened memory. There were two women, dressed in what appeared to be old world nun's clothing, except that they wore no head dress and the color was green (sage) not black. They walked along a path with a short stone wall separating them from the sea. They entered a stone building, resembling an old church. The younger woman went into a small room with a cot, laid down and began crying because she was afraid of something. The older woman confidently sat down at a desk and using a telephone began inspiring/encouraging callers to evolve. 

At the time I had the dream I felt both women represented me and I was being asked to choose which one I wanted to be. Because I have learned a lot about spiritual matters since 2007, this morning I took the dream apart piece by piece, with the help of Betty Bethards' book , The Dream Book.

Follow us:
nun= teacher, spiritual qualities within self, if dressed in black (not) implies being walled off from people and material things

#2= balance of masculine/feminine energy

path= your direction in life

stone= strength, grounding, personal power

sea= sea of life, enormous emotional energy to be used wisely

church= acknowledgement of higher power

bed= bridge between conscious and unconscious, return to the womb

desk= problem you are working on, exploration, self discovery

telephone=  asking for guidance, trying to give or receive a message

I also strongly felt that the color of the nun's habit was very important. I also felt it had something to do with Archangel guidance, which I have since learned to accept and appreciate. Remember, I had asked a question of the Universe. I checked in Doreen Virtue's book, Angels 101, to see which Archangel's color came closest to fitting the color sage. It was Chamuel, the angel of peace, who helps us find what we are looking for.

Those are the facts dear readers and you are free to make of them what you wish. I personally am extremely grateful to have been given an opportunity to view the progress made here and now.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Free to write

For over a week I have been without the use of a computer. Mine had  been giving me so much trouble  that I was advised to just let it sit until I could find someone to check it out. So that is exactly what I did.

Living in a small town is sometimes tough when one needs to locate a repairman. I asked everyone I came in contact with for the name of someone who might help me. I ended up with three different people, but couldn't contact any of them. I left messages with the hope that at least one would call me back. I waited and waited for my phone to ring and nothing happened.

In desperation I finally went to the library to use their computer. Their provider is a local one and slower than slow. I did find out that there was nothing wrong with my Facebook account and the problem I was having accessing it was most likely whatever was wrong with my computer. That was at least a tiny bit of good news. I was also given the name of a computer repair business that I thought had closed. It had only moved to a new location, due to the constant digging up of roads to repair old water lines. It makes the saying " you can't get there from here" a reality.

On Monday I bundled up my computer and took it for a ride to Black Mesa Computers. I explained its current performance and left it in the care of Mike and Sparkie, sending out positive thoughts that the bill wouldn't be outrageous, I was told it would be ready in a couple of days.

During the week I was without my trusty friend I realized it had become an addiction. I rediscovered life before computers. I cleaned out my file cabinet, looking over research material I had saved over the last few years. It jogged my memory about things I had forgotten I even knew. I made a phone call to my son to whom I had not spoken to in at least two years, because we communicate via email. I also called a local friend whom I had not checked in with for several months. I spent more time with my 3 four legged pets. I cleaned house and found time to rearrange furniture. I did tune into our local radio station and checked out a couple of daytime TV shows that I used to enjoy watching.

Most of all I remembered I knew how to write without the use of a piece of machinery. My friend and I have now reconnected and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. Today is Independence Day and I am going to turn off my friend for awhile and go watch the parade.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day three- patience

This is day three of my internet and or computer problem; probably a little of both. I'm still waiting for help to fix whatever is wrong. There's that pesky word again- patience!

I am suspecting the major problem with Facebook access is that my account has been tampered with. It is quite possible that I will need to delete it and open a new one. I'm not looking forward to that scenario. It would mean that everything I have posted on my wall, including several years of photos and over 100 friend contacts will be no more and I will have to start over from scratch.

Replacing photos etc. isn't a problem, although it would be time consuming. Sending out all those friend requests would be a major problem. Fortunately I keep a card file up to date. Looking over the file I see that there are names that I most likely choose to just ignore. I wonder how some of those names even still remain on the list. 

It is of course, possible that I won't have to take this step. At the moment it could go either way. Because there are many contacts that I would be very upset to loose I am going to share my other contact information here and attempt to keep a positive thought or two about the situation. Patience!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

When the universe speaks

Well readers, this is an interesting situation. I have been having computer/internet problems for the last day or so and I am waiting to find someone who can help me fix the problem. Strangely, the problem seems to mostly affect my use of Facebook, no matter which browser I use. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the Universe/Source/God is trying to tell me something.

Many of my FB friends live in other parts of the country and several in other countries. I will truly miss a temporary imposed distance, caused by a piece of machinery. I did manage to post a comment as to the problem so nobody would think I am ill. When people dissapear on FB friends who care tend to wonder where they are. This happened to me in 2011 and I finally asked a local friend to post a statement on my wall that I was in the hospital. It really is nice to know that people care.

Although I am not sure exactly what is going on it would be very easy to blame it on Mercury just going into retrograde. I did also have a problem with a leaky pipe, which required the services of a plumber a couple of days ago. It would be easy to cast the blame, but I pretty much believe the universe is speaking loud and clear and it is up to me to determine what the real message is.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inspiring another

I am very happy today to offer an update on a lady, also known as Ms. M, who I befriended a few months ago. Some of you may recall that she is a nursing home resident. Until we connected she spent her days crocheting and some people referred to her as the crocheting grandma. One step led to another and she is now a published writer. Unforeseen miracles happen when one purposely sets out to inspire another.

Our journey started when I listened to a story a lady was relating about her short stay in our local nursing home, following an accident. It seems writers never close their ears. I turned her words into a short story and she asked me to share it with the staff at Grants Good Samaritan Center. The staff was so impressed that they asked me to start a writing group at the center. It actually turned into a communication group called Sharing and Caring. It also put me in touch with Ms. M., along with several other interesting residents.

As the relationship between the two of us grew stronger we discovered many things that we had in common. I also found out that the lady had a secret talent for writing. She had been doing it all her life, with no instruction. She is a creative writer, who enjoys giving  animals a voice and cleverly waits to the very end of a story to add an unexpected punch line.

The next step in our relationship was  to invite her to join my writing group. She loved having a reason to get out of the facility and we loved having her. Ms. M certainly brought a different slant to our thinking and writing. She wrote as she talked, with a Texas twang, which was sometimes difficult to understand.

Realizing that she had some physical difficulty writing I suggested that we find her a typewriter. We managed to locate one, but it needed some work. In the meantime, someone gave her a used laptop. It was the best thing that could have happened. She wrote one story after another. I did everything I could to encourage her to improve the appearance of her writing. One day I even offered, "If you want your writing to be taken seriously you have to clean up your work." I wasn't trying to be mean I just saw that she had raw talent.

As time went on she moved her work from the laptop to a computer in the activity room. I was so proud of the steps she took to go beyond what was familiar. A staff member helped her open an email account and she recently started a blog to offer her stories to the public. By an unusual turn of events the editor of our local paper read one of her stories titled, My Motorcycle Ride, and published it. She had no idea who she was handing it too.

I'm sure Ms. M is not finished with her journey and I can't wait to see how far this now published writer will go.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From the heart

Today I am sharing one of the stories from our Writing Camp for kids. On the day it was written the participants were given a project from the editor of our local paper. They were told to select a subject that they cared about and write a story. When they finished and had read what they had written, the editor informed them he was going to write an article about the camp and publish one of their stories. As the paper only comes out twice a week, we are still waiting to read that article and discover whose work was selected.

In the meantime I am going to share the story my 11 year old grandson wrote. I think he did a great job. It is obviously written from his heart and I am very proud of him.

Soccer  by Colin Stoughtenger

I have been playing soccer since I was four. I like playing soccer 'cause it's fun and I'm really fast and sometimes I am the star player. I like playing soccer 'cause I can play with my friends and sometimes I make new friends. And if you play soccer it's not about winning it's about having fun. If you get hurt just try to get back up and keep going. If you get scared don't worry 'cause in tournaments I have been tripped, flipped and kicked and it hurts, but I got up.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why don't we listen?

The universe seems to go out of its way to point us in the right direction, but do we listen? Pretty much no.Why? Because we think we know what's best for us. It is our life isn't it? After all we helped design it, even before we arrived on this planet called earth. Something apparently happened between the planning and the doing to cause a short circuit in our memory. Amnesia maybe?

My two past marriages are an absolute perfect example of ignoring universal wisdom and doing as I please. The first AKA: the womanizing jackass, tried to date one of my bridesmaids just before our wedding was to take place. She said no, but shared the information with me. I said yes and went ahead and married the man. Did he change after the ceremony? Only to get worse. Two children later I finally woke up. If I hadn't married the man I would not have three grandchildren and two great grandchildren so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

Then came the second universal jolt, which I again ignored. I knew the man had a drinking problem which caused me to ask him not to drink before our ceremony was to take place. After the vows were exchanged and we faced each other there was no doubt in my mind that he had ignored my request. Did he change after the ceremony? I think you know the answer to that one. The union produced one child so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

Our daughter heard and ignored a similar universal message that still makes me laugh. On the night of her marriage she was a block away from where the ceremony was to take place when her car broke down. The union lasted less than a year and produced the best grandson any grandparent could ask for so perhaps it wasn't a mistake after all.

There is that piece to the puzzle known as free will. It is supposed to be a gift. I am wondering if we always make the best choices when we choose to ignore the universal messages we are given. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time to pull the plug

For the last 18 months I have been trying to hold together my small writing group. It has become apparent that it is time to pull the plug and move on to another challenge.

Clearly seeing that the group was not only a positive step in my personal journey, I also proved that one person with passion can make a difference in the lives of others. That makes me very happy. At one time a member stated that there is no "I" in a group. Perhaps not, but someone has to act as the director or the group will be going absolutely nowhere. I did my best to try to inspire others to do their best, taking every opportunity that was offered to expand, and I am very pleased with my efforts.

Sometimes relationships go on way past the time that they should have died of a natural death. It reminds me of my last marriage. We hit 25 years and didn't even exchange cards. That should have told both of us something, but we allowed the torture to continue for another 2 years, until I pulled the plug. One of us had to take the plunge and that one was me. It was a giant risk, considering I was 61 at the time, but I have never been sorry. It opened doors to a world I didn't know existed. Although the journey hasn't been easy it's been a whole lot of fun.

Our writing group has never attracted more than a few members at any one time even though I have tried everything I could think of to change that fact. Since forming the group we have shared some wonderful stories, had monthly articles published in our local newspaper, encouraged people who didn't know they could write, created a communication group at our local nursing home and sponsored a writing contest and summer writing camps for elementary age children. Not bad for a small group of people.

Although I have pulled the plug on, Write On People, the summer Writing Camp for children will continue. Because my writing group existed I connected on a higher level with a very passionate retired elementary teacher who still has a lot to give. We have mutually decided we are going to take on offering the camp next year. We make a good team. She has the experience of relating to the kids, I have the writing experience and we both have a burning desire to inspire the creativity that in her words, "Teachers are teaching out." I told her this morning that she is the only member of Write On People that really got what I was trying to do- inspire others.

It might be time to pull the plug on the writing group, but focusing on the good we did, will form the basis of what comes next.