Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What answer are you looking for?

Maybe my memory doesn't have the same recall as it did when I was younger, but I seem to remember that there used to be only one answer for every question asked.  Well, I admit there was some confusion over "feed a fever, starve a cold" and "which way the toilet paper was supposed to go on". So obviously I am being VERY general when I say one question/one answer and I am not even saying that the ONE ANSWER given was necessarily the correct answer.

But here is what I find in today's world.  If I have a question that involves morals, ethics, hair styles, parenting advice, dieting, sleep habits (anything but blatant historical facts), if at first I don't find the answer I preferred, I may need to keep looking.  Because I guarantee you, it is out there.

I am a frequent listener of pod casts (I love them).  When I am not frequenting a courtroom drama or true crime (think Dateline - audio version) I like to listen to question/answer type shows.  They cover all kinds of topics; major life issues, relationships (all kinds) etc.  A question that was sent in by a listener involved adultry.  In a nutshell, this person had an affair-it was over-it was a mistake-should they tell their significant other? This person was racked with guilt.  The two people (male and female) hosting the session absolutely agreed that this information needed to be shared.

Now, I don't have a problem with this answer but just a few days earlier on another talk type show, picture the same scenario.  (Unfortunately it seems to be a popular topic)  Except this time the answer was - No.  Absolutely not.  You are just trying to assuage your guilt at the expense of another person. Hmmm.  I don't know about you but this would be a pretty big deal to differ on.  And part of me dismisses the "topic" and wonders why anyone would trust a complete stranger with the answer anyway.

My favorite question
Thankfully I have no dog in that hunt, but it did cause me to ponder all the other types of questions, issues, concerns, that come up and subsequently the VERY diverse answers.  Particularly since we have been saturated with political and social concerns over the past (feels like) six billion years, we have all had the opportunity to hear why one issue is ABSOLUTELY right... and maybe on the next channel...ABSOLUTELY wrong.

When my sister Katy and I both had little girls within a few months of each other, we often talked about "the right way to do things".  I am sure she remembers the conversation we had regarding a particular practice with babies.  She told me her doctor recommended X while my doctor recommended Y.  Both very different directions. Without missing a beat I told her "let's just do it my way so we know we will be doing it right".

Most who know me will tell you that my attitude hasn't shifted much.  Once I believe I am on the right track, I want others to join me.....there.

So I ask you - what answer do you want?  Before you start searching, think about the question you are asking and why you are asking it.  Do you already have an answer in mind?  If you do, you will find it.  Just make sure it's the right answer.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Discipline -for the win!

So I have been thinking about the whys and wherefores of discipline lately.  There are many forms of discipline, with the effectiveness solely dependent upon the recipient.  I have also been thinking about the rewards of discipline (and this should also be why we do it).  It sounds like an oxymoron, but we want discipline to result in something positive being gained.

When I would discipline my kids when they were growing up, I wasn't much for spanking but could dole out a thump that would be a real attention getter.  It's like my arm would stretch out like a super hero to deliver the goods.  I must have got that genetically since that is what I remember my grandpa threatening.  I rarely raise my voice in anger but tend to go quiet(er).  Regardless of volume, my girls would always say "quit yelling at me".  The tone was (is) so important!  Remember the old adage, "if you want to get someones attention...whisper"

Because I appreciate structure and have gained knowledge not only from being disciplined but delivering it too, I recognize now how it carries on throughout our life.

Let's talk about habits - good and bad.  Neither happen without some form of discipline.  MANY years ago, I used to smoke.  I tried quitting many times but lacked the "discipline" to get it done.  I knew what the reward looked like - better health, money savings, cleaner teeth, etc etc.  But until I was ready to follow and stick with the imposed discipline, I never realized the benefits.  Now, 20+ years later, I can't imagine being a smoker.  Another habit is exercise.  So easy to talk about doing but it can be so hard to accomplish.  Yet we want the rewards.  A "summer ready" body, again-health benefits, lower blood pressure, stress reliever...blah blah blah.  Finally, how about eating healthy. I believe all the same benefits from exercise could apply.

Why does ice cream have to taste so good?

It's not that I don't like my green vegetables, because I do.  But there are so many things out there that taste so good but must be consumed in moderation.  The other day Mom made a lemon meringue pie from scratch.  I love that stuff.  Since I had a "heads up" that dessert was coming, I spent additional time on the treadmill (prior to eating) before I had the pie.  That takes discipline.  I don't always have the amount I need.

Discipline in how we talk to others and treat people in general is called on at times.  There is a huge benefit to be gained in relationships when we think before we speak.  Just simple manners can go such a long way.

In this age of "everyone is a winner" maybe we need to step back and once again, require the discipline early, to reap those benefits for a life time.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Where is your home?

Today I was listening to a podcast that revolved around finding the right "location" for your home.  I don't mean a specific zip code in a given area but more specifically, finding where you feel like you have "come home".

I have never really thought about my location in that sense before.  Though I will say that both Terry and I love Texas and feel very much at home here.  And truth be told, initially Terry was a little apprehensive about making the move.  But before we got here, I wasn't longing to find a place where I would find my "home".  

In fact, every time we visit a new place, I envision what it might be like to live there.  I have lived "many lives" in my imagination.  And I really can't think of one place where I thought....not here. Some places have more to offer than others, but even that particular thought is subjective.    It's like finding your soul mate.  If we were all looking for the same thing, there might be trouble.

Where Madi's heart is!
Some people talk about their "home" as in where they came from, or grew up.  Maybe if you grew up in one town, (even one house) for an extended period of time, I get that.  While I was born in Colorado and lived there for about seven years, most of my growing up was in Topeka.  But after age 18, I moved around a bit and enjoyed experiencing different places.  When I was younger and living away from "home", I was very "homesick".  Not necessarily for where I lived, but for family I was missing.

Yet I recognize that everyone thinks of home differently.  I was talking to a friend the other day and she indicated Texas doesn't feel like home to her any longer.  She will relocate to a place where she believes the community will be a kinder version.  I understand that.

I am sure my siblings have different versions of home than I do (even though we all started in one home together).  I smile when I think of how our "kid" versions talked about growing up and all living in one big house when we got older (somewhere).  At that time, we couldn't imagine any other type of home.

Over the years, our family has gotten bigger (and more scattered).  I am fortunate to have a couple of kids living close (and my mom next door), but thanks to the joy of flying, everyone else is just a few hours away.  

At this stage in my life, my version of home has become very fluid.  Terry and I enjoy travelling together and this year our goal is a "trip of the month".  Many of these trips will involve seeing our extended family.

But at the end of the day, while I am here of Earth, as long as I am with my husband (where-ever)....I am home.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Time passages...

When we are first born, our time here on this earth is measured in days, then weeks, then months, and finally years.  I think we make a solid switch to years when we reach the age of two.  That is when we also focus on those half years.  This usually carries on to about twelve.   Once we hit that magic number, we say we are twelve....until we cross whatever point in the twelve month cycle that represents itself as "almost 13". This goes on until we are 29.  Then we are 29 until the VERY DAY we turn 30.

When I was young(er), I looked with great anticipation to arrive at those signature years; 18, 21, 25 (for car insurance purposes) and even 29 (the first time).  I don't know what I thought my life would look like, or even who I would be, but those were earmarked as important years.

As a teenager, I think I thought 25 was surely old and mature.  I used to believe I would be able to handle things better..."when I was older".  Specifically I thought this when I was 16 and my grandma died.  She was the only grandparent I really knew, as my dad's mother died when he was a toddler and his dad (who lived in Norway) died when I was around 5.  My mom's dad died when I was 6 or 7; I have vague memories of him but remember him more from pictures.  My specific memory is of him saying to my brother, "I'm going to thump you".  So now I know where I get that specific talent.

Grammy was my first significant loss.  At the funeral, I was appalled to see people visiting, laughing, eating, etc. at the meal after the service.  That is when I thought - maybe we handle things better when we are "adults".

My dad died when I was 28, followed by my son when I was 29.  That was when I understood that age has NOTHING to do with preparing for loss.

The only birthday I ever really dreaded was 35.  At that point I realized I was closer to 40 than I ever would be to 30 again.  I thought it would all be "downhill" from there....

But what a blessing 40 turned out to be.  By then I had met, dated and married my "gift" and he threw a surprise party for me.  What a great night with friends and family.  And did I mention that our "yours and mine family" was soon to include an "ours"?  We moved to Kansas City and settled into a new home and a new normal.   I really didn't think life could get any better.

Yet it did.  By the time I turned 50, I was ready to throw my own party.  After a couple of health scares, my appreciation for life helped me embrace my birthdays.  The prior decade represented so many accomplishments -not only graduating from college, but I had also completed my Masters in Counseling Psychology.  My career path had taken an unexpected turn and I was on a new path that I truly enjoyed.

Then came 55.  Notice, this is the year when I began recognizing birthdays in five year increments, rather than decades.  Along the way there were many more losses.  Now I had an even  greater appreciation for life.

This is the year of sixty.  I am days away from leaving 59 (which for me is the new 29).  I wonder what it will hold?  I still think I will count by 5 year increments (unless something changes).  I will gladly say "I am 60" when asked.  I will embrace this birthday  and any others I am blessed to have.

We will be celebrating in Mexico which means I will turn 60 an hour earlier than I would here.  I used to wonder what 60 would feel like?   Now I know that it feels like every other year.   With the exception of my knees.  They truly feel sixty years old.

Until next time,

your pal,

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