Thursday, December 27, 2018

A year of change

2019. As a kid I never dreamed I would live to see 2000. I don't know if I couldn't count or if I was just planning on a short life. However, the number seemed overwhelming. Now we face one more year then we hit 2020.

What did I discover in the past year? Well, obviously I discovered my new husband. For all intent and purpose, I think this must be the top perk of the year. Next, we spent every Wednesday having lunch with the twins and the first grade. We learned that all kids need hugs and someone to care. We had our ups and downs and learned more from the downs than we did from the ups.

For all of us, it has been a year of fear. I found that many people want to be lead rather than find their own answers. It reminds me of how wives always followed what their husbands and community expected rather than think and act for themselves. Through this same vein, it was time for the degradation and abuse of women to have a voice. I grew up in times when jokes about sex and women were considered funny though degrading. Boys were raised by men who thought being a man was the highest honor. Stand up and be a man. Well, we women said, "Stand up and be a woman." Perhaps our daughters and granddaughters will be allowed to change the world for the better and encourage sons to know what it is listen and to have empathy and compassion.

To my dismay, I feel like we have regressed back to the 60's and even earlier. Racism, prejudice, hate, intolerance seem to be on the rise. I cannot criticize anyone for their color or their sexual choices. I cannot judge anyone for their religious beliefs. I will protect the environment but  to my best to fight  climate change. I learned that I can make a difference. I can listen and learn. I can be a leader and not a follower. That was 2018.

Many times I have thought to stop writing. Yes, I am an opinionated woman. There is a voice in me that just will not be silenced. When I write something a bit controversial, it is because a raging voice tells me I have to write about it. I am led by that voice that allows the words to fall on the page. It is not my voice. I have learned to listen and not to be afraid of my words.

I got a year older and found that I think of the end more than ever before. I believe in this mantra for aging adults as we enter 2019: If you have health issues, talk to your family or see the doctor and tell him. Do not let your health go downhill so your family must do for you. You have a choice in that decision. Don't let them down. Do not be a burden. Take care of yourself, so you can stay as healthy as possible. Eat well. You won't live long if you don't. Your family needs to know the status of your health. Go to the dentist and the doctor for yearly exams. Do not SELF-MEDICATE. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Be active in your well-being, because there are people who want you healthy and around for a very long time. The decision is yours. Aging doesn't mean that you get to be irritable and cranky. Life is a gift. Don't waste it. Embrace it. You are capable. This year give your family the greatest gift you can. Take care of yourself.

Yes, a year of change. In 2019, I promise to walk more and eat more veggies. I promise to love more deeply and more people. I promise to take care of the environment. I promise to be more active and not inactive in the things happening in our country and on our earth. I promise to give you, my readers, the best of me. Many blessings be yours in the New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2018

This is the season

A Jewish baby was born in a manger to an unwed mother and an adopting father. Contrary to what is celebrated, this baby was born in the warm months of August or September when the sheep were returned to the fields and when more than likely a census would have been taken, so travelers were not hampered by winter weather.

My friend wrote, "Why are most songs Christ based this time of the year?" His celebration of Hanukkah has just ended. A time of family and remembrance of their own religious freedom. A sect into which God decided to send a baby. Some other friends will soon be celebrating Kwanzaa. A celebration of people, community.  Throughout the winter months, there are celebrations of numerous beliefs and cultures. A season rich with love of humankind, a season of celebrating the earth, a season of celebrating a higher deity, a season of celebrating one another.

I know. We Christians have a tendency to make this all about us, but Christmas isn't about us. It is about what that manger represents, what we learned from that baby turned man. It is about love without judgment. I am no better than anyone else. That is what I learned. I learned that sinner or saint, they are loved. I learned that embracing man/womankind is my task. I learned not to judge and to embrace all cultures. I was raised to believe I could make the world a better place. I grew to understand that not everyone had to believe what I believed. My journey was my own and not to expect others  to fit what I believe.

When I see that baby in our nativity, I see the birth of one who would not want adoration. He would turn away from wanting anything for himself.  He would want us to be active in this world in the name of love. His parables tell us over and over about helping others. He does not ask us to idolize him. He asks us to include everyone. He was Jewish. He never denied that fact. His parents and grandparents were Jewish. He was a dark skinned man with black hair, not the blue-eyed brunette we see so often. He asked that we believe in him and, in essence, believe in the God in every human being.

I remember being teased once for having a new creative hair style. We have a tendency to look at differences instead of offering understanding and love. God came to us in many different ways. None are wrong when they all lead back to Him. Do I say "happy holidays?" Indeed, for I respect all people and wish them the happiest of the season that brings love and laughter into their lives.

So I say to you, "warmest, loving wishes" in this season of hope and love. Be that shining light in the world that brings joy to all around you. This is the season.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Oh, oh, oh

So the candle table wasn't there. Oh, and there was food on the table that was not ordered. Oh, oh, and there were no outside lights for the invitees. And, oh, oh, oh, this is a good one, the cello player informed us a couple hours before that she could not play. She has carpal tunnel.

Well, despite this and more, we managed to get married. Yep, Mr. and Mrs! Gather about one hundred people, get an ordained friend, sign a paper and you become a married couple. Marriage. I'm all for it if it fits. We decided it fit, because we wanted our grandchildren to have married grandparents. And, we sorta like being a married couple. However, we did keep our own names.  I see no reason I have to give up my name. I like it.

I couldn't invite all of you, but I know you would have had a great time. It was a time of old friends, family who traveled to Oregon and lots of fun and laughter. We are old enough to know that we cannot take anything too seriously. All glitches in the plans became improv moments. Nolan hugged his ring bear as tight as he could with it's precious treasure of our rings. Emma dumped piles of snow along the aisle, looking a little like Lucy from Charlie Brown, tossing snow with attitude. We laughed throughout the ceremony and shed tears with friends who shared their feelings with us. It was a celebration not a ceremony.

I'm a little disappointed. When we found that our music was not to be, I had suggested that we have all of our guests hum "Here Comes the Bride". No one seemed as delighted with the prospect as me. We had iPod music, but I still wish I'd heard that humming crowd.

If you are contemplating a wedding, make it your own. Create your own special day. Make sure that laughter is a priority. So I greeted people as I walked the aisle with my son. So I kissed the groom when I arrived at his side. So we teased and laughed during the ceremony. Why? Because it is us. It is what we do. When the ceremony was over, our dear friend Jo Anne who married us held a white branch with mistletoe on it over Loren's head, "You may kiss the groom."

If you learn nothing else from this blog, know that life is easier with light and laughter in it.