It’s hard to care…

It’s hard to care…ya know what I mean?

I mean, if you care, you can be disappointed. If you care, you can get in arguments. If you care, you can lose. If you care, your heart can be broken.

I’m predominantly speaking of the elections yesterday and fighting to keep other scenarios away.

Don’t worry…I won’t go into the specific issues since I’m betting YOU care, too…but therein lies my dilemma!

You see, YOU might be against what I am for and for what I am against. That would mean that what makes me happy makes you sad and vice versa. You may even be disappointed in ME for feeling the way I do…and if you told ME, I might feel the same. Who knows? It may even cause us to “come to blows”! (Hahaha! Not really!) ; )

It’s a fact of life…you win, you lose. Ya can’t get around it. So, what’re you to do? Do you just choose not to care??? Is it possible to shut your brain off and build a wall around your heart? Is that an option anyone would even WANT to consider??? Shye…NOO! Hello! No way!

Besides, what’s the point of living if you don’t LIVE? You’ve just GOT to know what you love and hate…even just like and dislike. In many ways, life is about trying to find ways to have as much of the things and people you like around you and as little of those things and people that you don’t. That’s why we form opinions and vote...because we don’t live in a vacuum even if we wish we could. ; )

Choices. Decisions. Those are either good words or bad words depending on who you are. For me…they’re usually good words. I don’t struggle making decisions as much as some others that I know. The hard part is that we don’t always know whether our choices will bring what we hope they will. And another person may choose to take a different route (aka choice or decision) to answer the same issue than we would. Alright…NOW those words are beginning to sound like bad words! Hahaha!

But who in his or her right mind would want their right to make choices and decisions go away??? None of us. The hard part is that we don’t get to make all of our own decisions. Parents, bosses, spouses and politicians are among the most common people who also make decisions “for” us. ; ..

And in the case of the election…all the other voters have a say in making decisions for us. And as much as we hate that, it sure beats having a dictator (whom none of us chose) making the choices that please him/her without regard to our happiness or wishes.

I am reminded that it is GOD who gave us this ability and permission to choose…and whether or not you choose HIM or even believe IN Him, I choose to believe in Him and be grateful this ability to choose. And I must say, the alternative of no-choice is not desirable nor acceptable. So, I guess I should be saying, “Thank You, God!”

As far as my original comments on caring, I was thinking about caring enough to make a choice about things in life, in particular, the political issues. I was also thinking about the fallout of sharing your thoughts with others and their respective responses. When I spoke to my husband about it, he reminded me of Shakespeare’s quote: “To thine own self be true”. I took that to mean that you should be true to yourself and not worry what others think. I agreed but as I continue to think about it, I find myself only agreeing in part.

You see, often we need to influence others so that we can collectively work towards accomplishing goals that bring good and reduce negative things in our world which affects our lives so we must work together, we must talk about it…and yes, we must vote. Sometimes, we’ll be voting for people that will make decisions for us and we want them to represent us and our beliefs well. That’s why we can’t just keep our mouths shut. All things are not in our control…and we cannot even have an influence on things that happen in our world if we keep our mouths shut.

And life goes on…and some of what happens we don’t like and so we complain about them…until someday someone comes along and changes them…or a lot of people go out to vote and their votes change them. But how did that even come to a vote except someone opened their mouth and showed they cared enough to try to make a difference? Only then could others learn of it and if they agreed, were able to join and help make their world a better place…according to THEM.

So, yes…it’s hard to care…it even hurts to care…but care we must…or we will die horribly alone, having lived a life not of our own choosing, not caring nor enjoying anything much…maybe even bitter…oops…if you don’t care, I guess you can’t be bitter, can you? No, this life, if it were possible, would be a life of endless monotony and lacking in either pleasure or disappointment. I’m pretty sure that’s not even possible although it reminds me of another quote I heard somewhere: “If you don’t have any expectations, you won’t be disappointed.” There’s a lot of ways to interpret that saying but today, I’ve added a new one than I’ve ever thought about before.

So, where do we go from here? To care or not to care? That is the question…but then again, maybe it isn’t. Maybe we can’t help but care. Maybe it is in HOW we express our caring and what we do to bring about a measure of success in those things we care about. Maybe we need to learn HOW to care, HOW MUCH or LITTLE to care and WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT? Ahhh, those seem like the better questions. Along with them, we may need to learn how to handle the disappointments, when to “turn off” our caring, what the boundaries are in our caring for others. We could probably learn better ways of communicating our “cares”, too. There are inappropriate ways and times to share, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Well, I must say that I feel better than I did when I began this blog. I was “smarting” from the losses at the polls on issues I care about. I was disappointed once again with some of the people elected to office…those who will be making decisions “on my behalf” that will affect me and my life. In my disappointment, I felt the urge to run…to not participate in the process again…but how can I benefit from that?

Maybe I need to remind myself that “this, too, shall pass”…this pain that I hate so much. Maybe instead I should use this pain for gain, reminding myself that next time, maybe I should consider getting involved in the political process, helping others to hear my position. Yes, there will be those who disagree…and the worst part is that some may disagree very disagreeably…but some will agree very agreeably, too…and maybe even change their vote once they understand and agree…and only then we can become a team to help change our world and our choices.

Okay, it’s official…I choose to continue to care…even if it hurts! And I choose to remember that each of us has that same right…even if what others care about and want is different than what I care about and want…and I will respect them in their choices and if I disagree, I will try to do it agreeably, remembering that I do not have to respect what they’ve chosen, only their right to choose.

It occurs to me that this is what God does. He does not approve of many of our choices but He allows us to make them. As sad as it makes Him, He doesn’t remove our right to make the choice. One thing is certain, though; we will always reap what we’ve sown. I think that’s why we try so hard to intervene in others’ affairs, knowing that they will reap and what’s worse, we may even reap alongside them. It’s a painful way to learn and understandable that we would want to avoid it since we care so much…but there are times when the choice is not ours…and that’s just a part of life.

Whatever we do, we can’t just shut down and run and hide with our tails between our legs, licking our wounds for long. We’ve GOT to care again or we aren’t really living. (Boy, does that hit home!) So, once again, here it is: I choose this day to care…I choose life! How ’bout you?

Autumn is so fleeting!

I recently moved to Missouri where the trees actually change color before they fall off the trees. I was so excited for it to arrive! My mother even told me that I was going to have to enjoy it twice as much as others since she couldn’t be here so I was also having to enjoy it for her, as well. ; )

Well, supposedly the drought has caused the leaves to fall faster this year and the color hasn’t been as bright or long-lasting, either…and while it is still much more beautiful than in my home state of California, I keep looking for the breath-taking views that I’ve seen in photos…all the while, wondering if I’m just jaded or expecting too much. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and it is beautiful, but reality often has a hard time living up to our expectations, don’t you think?

Anyway, even though it was drizzling today, I tried to get out and take a few photos and was shocked to see that many of the trees are already bare! Where did the time go?

And then it hit me…

I turned 50 this year and by all respects, am in the autumn of MY life…and it, too, seems fleeting. I am bound and determined to make the most of this season, both in nature and in my life…but am unsure how to go about that. The only thing I can think of is to live each day, appreciating whatever life brings my way and trying to ignore the feelings of dissatisfaction that come from such close introspection.

I’ve discovered that those beautiful leaves look better from a distance. They’re actually dying and have flaws all over them. I don’t even want to think about any analogies to that in my life! Hahaha! But since it’s inevitable, I will think about it…I guess I thought this part of my life would be better. Don’t get me wrong…I’m a happy woman…but I never thought that I was going to feel this old when I got here. I always thought I’d be that young, energetic, enthusiastic young woman…but a little older, somehow…and without the pain! Hahaha!

But then I think about how much everyone seems to love autumn and my emotions shift gears. Why do we love it so? There is a respite from the heat of summer…and who doesn’t love that? And maybe after the craziness of summer, there’s a chance to get back on track, somehow. Kids get back to school, places get less crowded and there’s time to catch your breath and begin to think about what’s next. Another thing is that when autumn comes, we begin to think about the holidays and even the new year ahead. For most of us, even if they aren’t here yet we find that just thinking about them makes us happier and more hopeful, somehow. Then again, for some of us, it also makes us a little sad about what hasn’t happened yet.

And there’s the crux…

OUR THINKING can get us in trouble!!! The good news is that we have the power to change what we think! A couple of well-known sayings come to mind here:

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” You see, if you think negatively, you’ll never try and therefore, rarely succeed at anything…and if you believe in yourself, thinking positively, you will try…which greatly enhances your chance to succeed! I can choose to think negatively or positively and either way, my thoughts and beliefs have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. What power our thoughts have!

Now for the other saying…

“You will find what you are looking for.” Have you ever bought a new car and suddenly notice all of the other cars like your new one? You even notice all of the cars that are just the same COLOR! Okay, I’m going to give you an exercise. Don’t look around the room right now…just look at this page until I tell you to look around. In a minute, I want you to look around the room and see if you see anything green. I could pick any color but I don’t want you to pick your favorite color because you’ve probably filled your room with it. Okay, okay…you can pick the color if you want but just try it…go ahead and look around now………………..

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Did you do it? Did you think you didn’t HAVE anything green? Did you find it in places you hadn’t really noticed or thought about before? That’s what I’m talking about! You’ll find what you’re looking for! Are you looking for trouble? Do you expect people to let you down? Do you think life is over? Do you expect to fail? Or are you expecting to be blessed, continue to grow and find a new and wonderful season in your life? I’m not talking about the past. The past does not have any ability to dictate the future…unless we let it! Unless we believe it has that kind of power…even when it doesn’t!

So, how does all this relate to me in the autumn of my life? Well, if I keep playing the analogy game I’ve been playing, I would have to say it is a great time of my life! A time when the hectic craziness of my younger years has finally begun to slow down and I have time to think about…and pray about…what’s next. A time when I can add some color back into MY world! (Remember that poem, When I am Old, I Shall Wear Purple?) It’s not winter yet…and by the way, we’ll tackle winter in another blog, in another time. ; )

So, I guess I’ve come full circle. I am a grown up so I know that life is not all fun and games and beauty and ease. As a Christian, I know that Jesus told us that in this world, we were guaranteed hard times. Of course, He also said to be of good cheer because He has already overcome it…and the Bible says we would be MORE than overcomers, too!

I have had the wonderful privilege of discovering that God loves me and has a plan for my life. I asked Him to come into my life and become my Lord and Savior…and He has. He has promised to work all things out for my good…even the bad stuff. He says He has a plan for my life and that the plan is for good and not calamity. Well, if God has promised to live in me and I allow Him to live through me…as Paul said, “It is no longer I but Christ lives in me”…then how on earth can I fear that??? I know that God has always had a plan for my life and that’s not going to change NOW! Why on earth would it?

The Bible says that we should build ourselves up in our most holy faith (Jude 1:20) and that we should trust in the LORD with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways, we are to acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

So, I choose today to believe God. That means that even this stage of my life is a good one and what’s coming is also good. I may go through hard times but God will work them all out to my good…and His glory! Philippians 1:6 tells me that He Who began this good work in me shall continue to work it out until the day when Jesus returns for His church…which includes me! ; )

So, autumn…winter…it’s all good!…even if it is fleeting! ; )

Have you hugged your husband today?

I sure wish I could! Mine is 1500 miles away and I sure miss him! Oh, I know lots of you don’t have husbands and in some cases, that’s a good thing but more often than not, it’s a sad thing. As my friends and family know, my husband is “a definite keeper”! As I write this, he has just “hit the road” in CA, bringing back some of our stuff from storage. Did you catch that word “some”? Yep, he’s got the truck loaded and has discovered that he’ll have to go back for the rest. What a bummer! Besides all the extra cost and hassle to HIM, that means that I will have to miss him again! Hahaha! Okay, okay…I know the world doesn’t revolve around ME, which is what it sounds like. I’m just blogging about missing him today so I’m keeping with the theme of my topic. Hahaha!

Anyway, I hope to remind all of you to be grateful for your loved ones and give them a hug today. They’ll appreciate hearing it as well as getting the hug! ; ) It’s only been five days since I’ve been hugged or even touched and I’m suddenly reminded of my single friends who rarely get a hug…and it makes me sad. I’m going to make a point of hugging my friends more often…especially my single friends! We need that. As a matter of fact, maybe we need an official Hug Day! Hahaha! I like that! Wanna start a petition? ; D

On second thought, maybe we need to make EVERY DAY A HUG DAY!!! Our spouses, children, family and friends will all benefit…as will we…if we hug each other more! Don’t you agree? I know there are people who aren’t very “huggy” and even whole families who don’t hug but I’m grateful that’s not the case with my family. Oh, don’t get me wrong…we don’t always LIKE each other but we DO HUG each other…cause even if we don’t always LIKE each other, we DO LOVE each other! Whew! I’m sure glad that’s in writing cause I don’t think I could repeat that!!!

I think most people forget to be thankful. Hmmm…are thankful and grateful the same thing? I think so. Anyway, I think we can get so caught up in the little nitty-gritty of life that we forget to be grateful for what we do have. Even if what we do have is just less problems or pain than another has. It helps to put that perspective on things. Those of us who have a relationship with God have another benefit…we are not ALONE with our problems. He is always with us, helping us and working things out to our good…and to His glory! And that’s a VERY GOOD THING! ; )

Someday, we’ll know how it feels to be actually HUGGED BY GOD but until then, I think He uses others to hug us…and gives us the opportunity to hug others. Which brings me to another thought. Have you ever noticed that there are hugs and then there are HUGS???

One of our pastors, John Walton, shared once that when he hugs people, he tries to pay attention to the fact that he is imparting something to others. That really struck a chord in me and even now, reminds me to do the same. I think we have all been given and have even given some sort of perfunctory hugs in the past. You know, it’s what everyone does…but we just kind of go through the motions without thinking of what we’re doing. However, during your next hug, I challenge you to pay attention and think about what you would like to impart to the other person. I guarantee you, you’ll feel the difference…and what’s more, they will, too!

I’m excited about being given the opportunity to share either my love or God’s love with another person, in the simple and physical act of hugging! What an honor! And they say A PICTURE is worth a thousand words!!! Wow! A hug can say so much more! And don’t forget about the added benefit of being hugged back! Granted, some people will need to learn HOW to hug but your example will probably be all that’s necessary although I do remember having to tell one of my grandchildren once that when I hug them, they’re supposed to use their arms to hug me back. ; ) As I think about it, I get some of my best hugs back from that grandchild these days! ; )

So, how ’bout it? Have I convinced you of the value of a hug? It makes others know they are valued and I think it is the-hug-that-keeps-on-giving. You’ll see that hugs benefit both “hug-ees” in ways you haven’t imagined. I’m not an expert so I can’t quite articulate all the benefits but I know that if you begin to hug people in a way that says how much you love and value them, you will see the results for yourself.

Now, get out there and start hugging!!! {{{ ( :]><[: ) }}} And while you’re at it…consider yourself virtually hugged! ; ) Granted, it doesn’t produce the same results but in some small way, it tells you how important you are to ME! And I can tell you that I don’t just invite anyone to visit my blog site. To be honest, I fear rejection too much to do that! So, know that I trust you and that’s a rare thing these days so thanks for being someone I can trust! ; )

Where did my blog go?

Aaaaaagh! I am soooo mad! I went to Yahoo’s geocities and had worked much of the morning at creating a very important blog for my husband when all of a sudden, it disappeared! I was still at the site but was back on a page to set up the blog. I noticed that my Forward Arrow was Green so I clicked to go back to the page but all that I had written was GONE!!! There wasn’t an option to Save and Continue Editing as there is here at WordPress so I couldn’t save it as I was working on it. I know, I should have at least highlighted it and copied it but I didn’t…and now, it’s too late. I will never use that blogging site again! Aaaaagh!

This site may not have all the bells and whistles that some other sites have but I like it…and I’m stickin’ to it! Hahaha! I was mad enough to name names so you KNOW I was MAD! Now that I’ve tattled on them, I feel better…a little! Well, forewarned is forearmed, as they say! You know what to do…or NOT to do…at this point! Hahaha!

Okay…NEXT!