Saturday, December 30, 2017

Snooze Button

Facebook has a new feature. It allows one to "snooze" a person or page for 30 days. 

So today, I hit the snooze button multiple times. I am tired of much of what I see on Facebook and this helps make it more manageable. 

I am mainly tired of the personal attacks on people who politics are different from someone else's. I am not talking about a civil debate. I am talking about calling people names like "Rethuglican" or "Libtard." What good does that do exactly? And I am disappointed in a number of people who are using this language and/or unkind images to make their points. Others I just expect it from, so it is not a surprise. Snooze. 

I also am snoozing some folks who constantly make negative posts. I may be having a lousy day, but unless I am asking for prayer for a specific situation, I am going to try to find something uplifting to post most of the time. Something that strikes my funny bone or something that inspires me. 

I unfriend as a last resort. But, I have done it. 

Now if I could find something to automatically snooze all pictures of snakes for the duration, I would really be in business! 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Musings

On Christmas Eve night, I am usually awake hours after my husband has gone off to dreamland, trying to wind down from my relatively few Christmas preparations and my singing for one or more church services. 

I think of Christmases past, both happy and sad. I have been blessed with a nice, peaceful Christmas so far this year and every year I have such a Christmas, I am beyond grateful.

I think of my friends who are not having a merry Christmas. Those grieving the loss of loved ones, homes, jobs, relationships and dreams. And I hope they can find some glimmer of joy in their darkness. 

I think of my friends who just don't enjoy the holiday. Money, gifts, crowds, and the need to be "on" just sucks the joy out of the season for them. I wish them pockets of peace and calm. 

I also think of my friends who have to make everything perfect and are simply devastated when things do not go as expected. I wish for them some flexibility and ability to roll with the punches!

After tomorrow, for better or worse, Christmas 2017 will be over for most. For me, it will be the first day of the 12 days of Christmas. I am going to enjoy every one. 




Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards

For the first time in our 34 year marriage, my husband and I did not send out Christmas cards together. I have a group of mostly elderly friends that I send postcards to several times a year. An app on my phone can take my art and make it into a lovely, glossy postcard with a message on the back. My handwriting has suffered due to nerve issues in my neck and hands and this is a way to let people know that I am thinking about them that is manageable for me. 

But, usually, Bill and I send out some regular cards to friends and family. I like to write at least something personal in each one. And, I do enjoy doing it. This year, with the medical procedures and doctor visits taking up large chunks of my days, I just did not seem to have the energy left to do proper cards. Neither did my better half. 

I hope to resume the tradition next year. But, I also hope that my family and friends know that I care about them 365 days a year, not just at Christmas. And next year, there will be cards! 







Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The New Fridge

Recently, our 20+-year-old refrigerator was beginning to have problems that were more costly to fix than the price of a new one. It was time to go shopping, so off to the local Cowboy Maloney, we went. 

Our last refrigerator was a side by side and I liked not having frozen food fall on my feet. The style was set. I was lobbying for our first refrigerator with an ice maker, but my husband was unsure. "Just one more thing to break down," he grumbled. 

When we got to the store, we discovered that we could not even buy a side by side without an ice maker and water in the door. As luck would have it, my husband was going to be dragged into the 20th, if not the 21st century, whether he liked it or not! 

After a week of this luxury, I can't imagine how we lived without it! The first thing I want in the morning is a glass of half sweet/half unsweet tea. Now I can have it with my own crushed ice. The crew at Sonic on Hall's Ferry is probably wondering what happened to me. I still have to have my Sonic ice fix, but it is nice to have this option right at my fingertips. 

The funny thing is how much the hubby likes it. He is as hooked as I am. 

Maybe worse. 


Saturday, December 02, 2017

Advent

I have not put up a Christmas tree, nor have I set up any decorations. I have not been to any Christmas themed events. I have not addressed one Christmas card and I have not even begun playing Christmas music yet. 

Instead, I am preparing for the first Sunday in Advent tomorrow. That lovely time of anticipation and waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. We will light the first candle, the HOPE candle, on the advent wreath. We will sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel for our hymn. But, we won't "Christmas" just yet. 

I have found that, if I do things too early, the luster of Christmas dims with the familiarity. The tree, even though artificial, can seem a bit careworn by the real Christmas season. The carols, although some of my favorite music in the world, get old if they are all I hear in December. I would rather wait a bit and enjoy them more fully as Christmas Day approaches. I want people to get my Christmas cards a little later after the early birds have sent theirs in. I have seen Christmas weeks where everything fun had already been done in the weeks before. 

I realize that those with children and grandchildren have to go after those toys while they are able to be had. Those entertaining need to get a jump on the preparations. And the fun must be had while it is available. 

But, wouldn't it be nice to just back up a bit, relax, and enjoy the season of Advent? 


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Poker Face

Alas, I don't have one. I can't keep my emotions from showing on my face, no matter what I try. If I am happy, everyone knows it. If I am sad, people know that too. Unfortunately, when I am shocked, surprised, and/or sometimes disgusted, that shows too. 

I fear that this lack of inability to hide my feelings more effectively has cost me some friends over the years. I hate this. Usually, the shock, surprise, or whatever go away fairly quickly and I regain my equilibrium. But, sometimes the "damage" seems to be done. I used to be much better at this when I was counseling, but I seem to have lost my touch. I don't know if some of my illnesses or meds are partly to blame, or if some of it is just getting older. I just know that not showing my feelings is not working these days.

Ironically, I spent years myself in counseling learning how NOT to hide all my feelings. 

Maybe it worked too well. 




Monday, October 30, 2017

Shingles

Last Thursday afternoon, I saw a news segment talking about a new shingles booster shot. I made a mental note to ask my doctor about it on my next visit. 

That night, I felt the telltale tingling and saw the beginnings of the rash that indicated that it was too late. I already had shingles. Again. 

I honestly had no idea that I could get them twice. I was wrong. Thankfully, this is a much milder case than I had last time and I caught it earlier. 

So, even if you have had the shingles, I would highly recommend that you go to your doc ASAP. There is a new vaccine called Shingrix that has a success rate of up to 90% for those 50 and older. As soon as I get over this bout, I WILL be getting that shot. If there is any chance of not going through this again, I am going for it. 

If you have had chickenpox or a previous bout of shingles, call your doctor. TODAY. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fifty-eight

I am a little late writing this, as my 58th birthday was actually last week. I am still celebrating. I don't mind turning 58 ONE bit, my mother and grandfather both dying at age 57. I have talked to others who have outlived a parent and they tell me that it is a relief to be past "that" age. Nice to know that this over the hump feeling is not totally uncommon. 

I wanted to make my 57th year special. And, I feel as if I have done just that. I hired a professional organizer to help me really make the best use of my limited spaces. I helped a couple of friends reach for their dreams. I joined some groups and met new people, many of whom share my interests. Maybe the most interesting thing this year brought was my trip to Fauquier and Culpepper Virginia to find look for my roots and visit friends. This was one of the longest solo trips I have ever made and was a bit of a challenge with my limitations. But, I did it!

I am not sure what this year will bring. Hopefully enough health and strength to be there for several friends who are facing challenges. A return of function in my hands and the motivation to try some new forms of artwork would be nice. Making some shorter trips to visit friends and loved ones is also on the list. 

Fifty-eight can be great. 

I'll be working on it!

 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Worldview

When I was counseling, one of the things I used to try to get a sense of early in a client's treatment was his or her view of the world. Many presented as depressed, but I could sense glints of a more optimistic worldview deep down. It was up to me to help the client bring that healthier worldview back into focus. The more difficult to treat were the clients with extremely harsh, punitive, or cynical ways of looking at the world. When I heard their stories, I could often understand where these outlooks came from. Some were able, with therapy, to become happier with themselves and, consequently, the world. 

Others, unfortuately, were not able to pull out of their harsh ways of looking at the world. If damaging behaviors were good enough for thier parents, they were good enough for them, by golly!  The abused sometimes become abusers. There is simply no insight into the damage he or she is perpetuating. No self-awareness. 

I find that when I am around defensive, pessimistic, or rigid people for very long, it becomes harder to keep the more optimistic worldview that I spent years working on to overcome less than positive early experiences. I am having to "double down" to keep from being sucked down into holes I do not wish to revisit. 

That glass is going to be half full!



 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Detachment

 Detachment is an art in which I am not proficient. I tend to invest deeply in people, places, and causes I love and believe in. 

However, lately, I am finding myself in a number of situations where I can't reconcile my core beliefs with those being espoused around me. Love, grace, acceptance, inclusion,  mercy, peace...I can't (and don't want to) change or give up those beliefs. 

What do I do when almost everywhere I go I am being pounded words and actions that cause such dissonance in my mind that I come away feeling spiritually and emotionally battered? It almost makes me wish I was the type of person who can float through life without the entanglements of deep emotional investment. But, that is not me. 

So, I must find ways to at least temporarily detach from situations that I feel like I cannot physically escape at this time. 

Ideas are welcome. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

No Words

I realized today that I have not posted on my blog in over a month. I go through phases with this thing. I have been doing it for years. Sometimes I have a lot to write about and sometimes, like the photo says, "There are no words." 

This summer has been a time of no words. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings, but others are saying things much better than I can at this moment. They are echoing my thoughts and feelings and I have little to add. 

I am content at this time to let others be my "voice" on a number of subjects, especially on social media. I just don't have the energy to express myself effectively. So, I keep to myself unless I am with my safe people, donate to organizations that can do the things that need to be done, do what little I can personally do to help.

And pray...a lot. 

 

 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

End of an Aria

There comes a time in every singer's life where the voice begins to lower and some notes are no longer reliable. I was always more of a "second soprano" and never had the really high notes. However, there were notes that were reliable and things that I knew I could sing. Until today.

I had been practicing "Come Unto Him" from Handel's Messiah all week. It was not perfect, but did not sound too bad. I was actually taught this song by Joyce Williford about 40 years ago for a tryout piece for voice scholarships which I was offered from the University of Southern Mississippi and Delta State. I have been singing it periodically for all these years. 

Age and illness have caught up with me and this song is simply not reliable enough to keep in the repertoire. The actual performance today came off reasonably well, but the practice was awful! I cracked notes right and left. I was afraid that I was going to humiliate myself in front of the congregation. The heat was a factor (our church does not have AC), but in my heart, I know it is time to let it go. 

It is my hope that I will be wise enough to recognize when something is no longer pleasing to the ear and adjust accordingly. I want grow old vocally with a degree of grace and dignity. 

And, hopefully, I will know when to hush for good. 



 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Fireworks

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of fireworks. I was never one for loud noises. I also was not a fan of that much of my money going up in smoke!  I do have some happy memories of my Daddy and some of the other men in the neighborhood shooting off bottle rockets toward each other's yards. That was fun, pretty safe, and not horrifically noisy. 

However, I know that fireworks are the whole ball of wax for some folks. I get that. I do. 

Everyday I see pictures on Facebook about how we should be eternally grateful to our veterans for their service and sacrifice. I don't post a picture every day, but I am thankful for what they did. I am particularly appreciative of the services of my grandfather, my father, and my husband, none of whom came home irreparably damaged by their military experiences. 

However, all this sentiment seems to go out the window on "fireworks holidays." People protest their RIGHT to shoot any and all fireworks for as long as they wish. And not just on the holiday, but on the days surrounding that as well! 

If you have a combat veteran living nearby, it might be kind to warn him or her when you are about to start your festivities and also to consider quitting at a reasonable time (by midnight at least?). Maybe you could even donate a portion of your fireworks money to organizations who help those who fought for our freedom. 

Have a safe, happy, and considerate 4th! 

 

 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Annual Conference 2017

The 2017 Annual Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church is in the books. 

Conference is physically demanding for me. I get up before 5 AM in order to drive to Jackson and get a handicapped parking space by 7 AM. I do enjoy that quiet few minutes before everyone arrives just to take it all in. One of my favorite people usually comes in early as well and we get a few precious moments to chat. 

This has been a season of some discouragement for me. New health issues, fatigue, feeling the need to make some changes in my life and activities, have left me feeling lost at times. I have questioned aspects of my faith, wondering just where my place is. 

This year's positive, upbeat Conference was a tonic for my tired body and my weary soul. There is just something indescribable about connecting with my fellow United Methodists, some of whom are personal, longtime friends. Many of them, like me, are cradle Methodists of many generations. This photo was taken as people circled around a precious delegate whose church had endured a terrible split, but was still vital and beginning to grow again. They "had her back." 

I came away physically exhausted, but spiritually renewed. Thanks be to God.