Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Circumstances don't change...character

How many times do we try to change ourselves?  We do "makeovers" for a better look...we desperately try the latest fad to lose weight; if we smoke, many of us quit MANY times before we are  (if we are) successful.  And we do all these things to be better.  We want to be different, feel different, look different.  And if we can accomplish these things, we believe that our life will....BE DIFFERENT.

Wasn't me
And when you aren't trying to be DIFFERENT, things happen and then you are.  I remember when my son died.  I could not stand to go to any of the same places I went to Before. Obviously, I still had to show up for work, but I changed who cut my hair, I went to a different grocery store; I even rented movies (that used to happen - young folks) at a different Blockbuster.  I had to avoid people who might know me, because while I still looked the same, I was DIFFERENT (inside). I didn't try to change myself, life happened and it happened to me and now I had to do things differently so that the people who knew me, would not look at me and expect to see the same person behind the same glasses, same haircut, etc.  Because now I was DIFFERENT.

How about when we try to change people?  Even knowing what we know, we think if we can just have them with us for a little while, if we can just explain to them WHY they need to do things the way WE do them, or just watch us, or look like us, or act like us, they will finally get why they need to do things DIFFERENTLY.  And sometimes, the behavior exhibited by this person we would LOVE TO CHANGE is harmful, unhealthy, detrimental to the good of all society...yet...nothing DIFFERENT happens until that person decides they want to change.  (Just like nothing DIFFERENT happens until we want to change).

TIME OUT.  It's oh so frustrating because then life throws an unexpected curve or crisis and everyone comes together and you just KNOW that EVERYONE will now behave as they need to because if anything will bring about change for the GOOD, it will be these CIRCUMSTANCES.   But one thing that never changes is our own flawed character...regardless of circumstances.

So we vow NEVER to behave like (fill in your own blank here) because we have come so much further in our own evolution of change and it's so disrespectful to (fill in your own blank here) and how can (fill in your own blank here) be so self-centered and insensitive.

I am a "character"
Again, I have so much more to learn in this life, and by God's grace I will have the much needed time, but there is this one thing I know ......circumstances never change...character.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Never a dull moment!

All I want is to have a quiet weekend at home but my husband likes to keep things lively.  Just another example of never knowing what to expect from one moment to the next happened to us last weekend and I will really need to be quicker on the draw when Terry asks me how I want to spend the day.

Shortly after noon, Terry asked if I wanted to do anything special for the day.  Madi wasn't home from piano yet and I had just got back from running errands.  Laundry was already done and I was just getting ready to read the paper and take a "moment".  I didn't really give a straight answer -basically I thought I was reserving my right to decide later in the day.  He decided to take a walk.  Seems harmless enough.

Madi and Dad
Fast forward two hours and he had gone on a walk and decided to weed-eat property in the neighborhood that has nothing to do with us (because that is who he is).  He came in and was sweaty and itchy and I sent him straight to the shower.  Here is where it gets to be like a bad movie.  He calls for me by name (my first hint that something is wrong).  I go in the bedroom and he is covered in hives and his face is swelling.  We begin a short argument about course of action..I am voting for 911 (even as I am dialing) and he wants to call nurse line.  NOT HAPPENING.  Everything goes into warp speed from that point on as he starts having trouble swallowing, chest pains, the whole nine yards.

Once the medics arrive, they load him up very quickly, get an IV going, treat him with some benadryl and with lights and sirens - head to the medical center.  Now, this is DEFINITELY NOT how I wanted to spend the day.

Since Mr. French has NEVER had an allergic reaction before, once we arrive, we think the worse is over.  But wait,,,,there's more.  He now goes into full anaphylaxis, throat closing, face swelling, and we have to have the serious talk with the doctor while all this is going on about the epinephrine shot.  He is very high risk because of heart disease, so just to be on the safe side, they roll in the crash cart.  I KID YOU NOT.  By now, I am gagging with him.  Side note:  He did ask if I could tell if his face was swollen.  Think Will Smith in "Hitch",  I really wanted to take a picture but decided it was not appropriate.  Mark on your calender that on May 16th, I was appropriate.  It does happen. Luckily, the crash cart was not needed and other than uncontrollable tremors, he suffered no side effects.

By this time it had become apparent that he was going no where fast.  They would now be admitting him to an all inclusive one night stay in the PCU (and half the day Sunday) because that kind of reaction can show up again for 8-12 hours.  I slept in the cardboard recliner (I said all inclusive) wrapped in my quilt Mom made me (for comfort from home) and a pillow off his bed.

He is at home recovering now.  We are unsure what caused the reaction - it was some sort of sting. I don't know everything about what keeps a marriage exciting and alive but I do know this - my guy is full of surprises ... and he sure knows how to treat his wife to a memorable weekend.  :)

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Who might you have been?

Until I completed my internship for my counseling psychology degree, I pretty much thought we were all just "who we are".  There is nothing like realizing what could have been until you counsel little children who have lost a parent.

I spent the majority of my 750 internship hours at Solace House, which is a center for grieving children and their families.  It truly is a one of a kind counseling center that focuses on the kids first.  All too many times they are the ones who get forgotten in the grieving process.

But it was there that I started  to ponder on today's particular thought.  When I would see the little children who one day would have the perfect life situation with two parents and then the next, lose either their mother (or father), I would think....he (or she) now will never be who he/she would have been if both parents had lived.  The story that was written has just been irrevocably changed and none of us will ever know the original ending.  What happens next may not necessarily be bad, but it will definitely be different.

So then that made me think about all the turns in the road we all face that ultimately change our story. Personally, I can identify some major turns in my own life that rolled the dice for a different outcome.  And I can definitely see the changes in dice rolls for my children.

And it makes me wonder.....
Shoes don't tell the story

And I wonder if they wonder?  And then I wonder if anyone else looks back and wonders what I wonder?  Obviously not about me and mine, but about they and them?  And imagines?

One time I talked through "life" with one of my girl's, all the while drawing a straight line.  Every time she had what I considered a "story changer", I broke the line and started over.  Then we did the same exercise for several people in our family.  It was very telling.  It made us appreciate where they were at and how they got there.

I tell folks all the time that none of us really know what "shoes" the rest of us walk in.  Or where we bought them.  But those lines sure tell us a thing or two about a thing or two.

Although I don't know everyones story,  I do know this.  It never hurts to err on the side of kindness.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Is that FOR REAL?

Here again lately I seem to be having trouble differentiating between reality and fiction.  Remember that old commercial..."Is it live or is it memorex?"  The sound was so good, you couldn't tell if the performance was live or a recording.  Apparently, (again) this is becoming a theme I am marching to on a frequent basis.

When did I first notice it reoccurring?  Well, good question.  How can I be sure?  Maybe it's been going on for a much longer time than even I am aware and I just thought whatever it was (we'll get to that in a moment), was real.....or not!

It looks so REAL!
My first run-in (literally and recently) was when I tried to walk through a screen door.  I swear I thought it was clear sailing until I bounced back. Who can't see a screen door?  I might cop to walking into a glass door in my past (which is why I walk with my hand out in front of me when I am around big plate glass windows and doors) but a screen???  Really??

Next peculiar incident was when I watered my plant last week.  As usual, I over-watered it, as evidenced by water running out on the table so I moved it on the ledge to get some sun and dry out.  After a few days, when the water was still evident, I tried to move the rocks around to allow for better drainage. THEY WERE GLUED TO THE INSIDE OF THE POT.  That is because the PLANT IS ARTIFICIAL.  Of course it is.  How long have I had that thing?  (On a positive note, this plant is going to last a long time with me!)

Then there is me sitting at a table with family and new friends.  I enter into an animated conversation with the guy across from me.  He keeps repeating the question and I continue to answer, louder and more insistent until Madi taps me on the shoulder and between guffaws, tells me the very real conversation I am having, doesn't involve me.  WHY??   We both dissolved into VERY REAL LAUGHTER.

Face paint is so unnecessary
I am proud to report I have quit answering the voices in the bathroom (not talking to me REALLY) and I don't feel compelled to wave at everyone I see waving now (been burned on that a time or two). I continue to smile at most everyone (and I can tell who returns a REAL smile) and I am thankful that clowns are NOT REAL.

Throughout the years I have learned that love isn't always real, not even all friendships or promises, but this is what I know for sure.  When I find love that is real, or a friendship that lasts throughout the years, I nurture that love and friendship just like I do my plants (be they real or not).

Until next time,

your pal,

Look past the water stains

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