Friday, December 30, 2011

The Positive and The Negative

One year goes to sleep resting in the bed called the past. A new year opens full of the unknown and possibilities. Maybe I will do better this year.

There are several years I was thrilled to put to rest, hoping that a new year would be better. I can't say that all of the new years were better. Just different. All years, even the toughest, had events well worth savoring.

Often I have heard people say, "Why can't life just get better? Why are the cards stacked against me? I just can't seem to win." Well, I'm here to tell you that we win every day. We are conquerors every day making decisions to help us get through whatever befalls us. We are survivors who can face adversity and find hope. We aren't down yet! We don't need to be!

I could sit here and complain about all of the things that have happened since I was laid off a couple of years ago. I could wallow in self pity wondering, "why me", but what would it prove? I prefer to think of positive change and "why not me". I don't know how to get out of this loop I seem to be living in, but I do have the ability to change the way I look at my life.

A new year is on the doorstep waiting for me to open the latch and walk through. I plan to pull up my boot straps and take that step into all the surprises the year can bring. For all of the 'oops' that might come along, I have the innate ability to chose to be positive.

One lesson I learned long ago was that a negative does not bring on a positive. Negative energy and positive energy when working together can create a power beyond them both. The power of positive thinking.

Happy New Year, my friends. I'm positive it will be a good one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cindy Lou Who

The child caught my eye, this small toddler riding along on her daddy's hip. This woman and child had a tiny moment of recognition. A woman of age recognizing the gift of the child. The child sensing the warmth of a grandparent's love. Only a tiny moment. Here and gone as quickly as the winter snowflake so lovely drifting down then gone in an instant. Yet, the beauty is remembered.

How often does it happen to you? A baby is seen in passing and the eyes meet. The baby smiles and the grandparent returns it thinking of her own children when they were babes and of her precious grandchildren. I think it is an awakening that happens when you fall in love with your children. That instant recognition of souls that are both old and new.

We live in a time of caution and fear for our younguns (would you believe this is actually a word in the dictionary?!). We know better than to approach a child yet there is a silent understanding between this beginning of life and those in the later years. You can sense the source of this feeling. I think perhaps it is the soul singing another connection into this world of chaos. Perhaps it is a higher power reminding us that there is hope for both the child and the adult.

In a world where Grinch's seem to abound, I am pleased to know that there are many Cindy Lou Who's who are teaching those who may have forgotten what it is to smile.

She smiled at me and my heart grew a few sizes larger that day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Find the Blessings

It was the first Christmas not in my own home. A strange thing to awaken at my son's house and settling into their Christmas ritual. It was the first.

The rituals we set in place in our homes when our children grow up change as our children marry and have their own families. The 'in-charge' changes to 'what can I do'. We go from the leader to the follower. Transition.

It's interesting how we spend our lives striving to have the homes and lives we want. We plunge ahead full force tweaking our lives to continually improve and move forward striving for the perfect life. I remember as a young married couple, we couldn't wait to entertain in style. We our family to consist of one girl and one boy. We strived to have the kind of life we imagined.

Well, it seems that it has taken me most of my life to understand that life is never as I imagined. I've learned that life is humbling and a journey never traveled alone. I've learned that just when you settle into a way of life, it changes. The bumps have taught me that I can ride them out. The highs have taught me that they are precious commodities.

Some choose to look at aging as a time when we have crossed over that peak of thrills and excitement, of finding those highs. I choose to think of it as a time to still make improvement in myself, my thinking, and to find out what positive can come from the adjustments in my life. Perhaps it is selfish to think that my life is all about myself.

My Christmas was wonderful. It was wonderful because I saw the good and put away the sad. I am blessed because I choose to find the blessings.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nestled in the True Meaning

Shhhhhh...the children are sleeping. A jolly man makes his flight across the sky with antlered reindeer in winter coats pulling his sleigh full of children's delights.

In the meantime, adults pull out boxes and batteries and start the task of putting together toys. I remember it well. We were up most the night on many a Christmas eve trying to figure out difficult directions for a fairly simple toy. Then shaking batteries out of flashlights and alarm clocks hoping we had the right size. Ah, the holidays.

I don't miss those times of panic and exhaustion, but I do miss that time of sleepy-eyed children dashing to the tree in the morning stopping to wake us on the way. After several years of being shaken awake at hours when the sun had not yet thought to rise, my husband and I decided  be up before the children. It was the first year that the children decided to sleep in. Argh!

When the children we young, we made our way to Ohio and the farm. Mom and Dad stood by the door waiting for their children and grandchildren to come in from their various states of residence. Sleepy parents and children came home to the nest. I know that Mom and Dad weren't busy putting toys together. No, they were busy preparing to embrace their children once more.

We make a big deal out of Christmas sometimes overlooking the simplicity of what it means. Parents try to buy everything on the child's list, so they won't be disappointed. Disappointments part of life, isn't it? Isn't there a deeper lesson to learn?

I no longer have those parents, those parents who stood by the window watching, waiting. They knew what Christmas was about. They knew that it was about love and family. It was about embracing those around them. They didn't need batteries or a screwdriver. They had an open door policy for anyone who needed a place to go and find love. Their gift of love for their children was the ultimate gift.

May the true meaning of Christmas be yours. May the true understanding of love embrace you. May we all find that the peace we hand out will grow from that simple start. We are a gift to one another. Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays, my friends.

On Neff Road: A Christmas Walk Down Neff Road

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ornaments of My Life

Not at Christmas. Oh, please, not at Christmas.

This time of the year should be all tinsel and toy, joy and happiness. Still there are shadows that come each year to visit. Shadows of past Christmas season that brought loss and sadness.

Yesterday my friend, Paulette, rushed out of the house to get her son's dog who seemed to have been poisoned. The dog indeed had gotten into something that burned his throat and poisoned his body. We all gathered round the sweet boxer hoping to give him comfort and support. This morning he returned to the vet. He is hanging in there.

When my son was a senior in high school, he had a party at our house for the choir. Accidents happen. Our schnauzer, Mandy, managed to get into the Hershey Kisses. She died. It is memory that comes every year.

My mother passed on December 14, 2000. The season doesn't roll around that I don't remember that December. My aunt who just passed was a Christmas baby. The memories roll around as does the calendar of days.

It is the birth and death of a Man who brings us to this season of love and hope.  It is the faith that we have in love that heals and brings joy. I am a Christian, but I embrace all who believe in a God of peace. We are a world suffering together. Perhaps this season we can think of healing together.

I'm not saddened because of the losses, but  I call to memory the joys of those who passed this time of the year. They are truly the ornaments of my life.

Today on A Grandparent's Voice: The Sled

Monday, December 19, 2011

You Have the Gift

A special thank you for those who have sent emails to me regarding my new living situation. I appreciate your kind words.

But enough about me. Now on to the holiday season and few shopping days until Christmas. My Christmas will be simple this year. A quiet time of reflection and blessing counting. A time with my son and his wife, Lisa, with my granddog, Millie. Gifts will be simple. Christmas music will ring throughout the house and food will grace the table. We will celebrate the holy season. We celebrate with all believers in a higher power.

This year my Christmas is about healing, finding new ground. For those of us with grandchildren, we know that their smiles alone are the best gifts of all. For those of us with good friends and children, we are blessed to have those who embrace us and want us in their lives.

It is a time of reaching out in the simplest of ways. For all we don't have, we are graced with much. For all we can't give, we can give abundantly. We are a gift in ourselves able to change a frown to a smile by just finding the smile in ourselves.

My blog will be a bit spotting since I am without internet at home, but I will keep this lazy trek through senior years going for those who want to trek along with me. Be a blessing this week. You have the gift.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unbridled Love

For those of you who follow my blog, I'm sure you have noticed that I am at loose ends. The good idea of my daughter and I living together proved to be a really bad idea. I am trying to find my footing again. I learned that living with my child made me lose myself. The fact that I'm unemployed has not helped my self-esteem and thinking that I was doing my best and it wasn't good enough has given me another hurt to heal.

I have moved in with a good friend, Paulette, and her husband who have had similar problems with their one child. The atmosphere of healing surrounds me even though guilt and pain seem to be packed neatly in a little bundle on my back waiting for me to open time and time again. You cannot hold on to a child's love. They have to give it to you freely. You cannot buy it with good deeds and actions. It has to be discovered by the child.

I will see my granddaughters less which hurts. Sorta an empty nest feeling. However, I will see them through their father. Our time with be precious.

A friend once said that having children was too difficult and that maybe it is better without them. Oh, no. Never. Even with the pains we all experience as child and adult, the beauty of having children and grandchildren cannot be doubted. The love I give my family cannot be bridled.

I'm determined to keep my chin up and take each day as it comes. A book is in progress. A grandma is learning more about herself....and maybe liking herself a little better. A holy season is upon us and I wrap myself in its grace.

I thank you for staying with me. I am truly blessed.

On Neff Road today: The Prancing and Pawing of Each Little Foot

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Believe

Caught up in the web of deception. Wow! How often does that happen? Paint ourselves into a corner. Hm! Done that a few times. I could continue with these analogies, but I assume you've gotten the picture.

It's difficult to know where some of our dialogue with cihldren will lead us. I know that I had a very rough time telling my kids little white lies about fairies and a big elf in a red suit. I just did not feel comfy with it, but I would do what I could for my kids to have imagination and the world of delight that each child deserves.

My sister wrote that her grandson had lost a tooth. He placed the tooth beneath the pillow awaking the next morning to find that the tooth still there. The Tooth Fairy had indeed landed a disappointment. His mother, in trying to correct their lapse in pillow visiting, wrote a note from the winged wonder as to the reason of the delay and remiss in meeting said duties of tooth removal, money placement. My sister and young boy went to his bedroom to see the tooth that was still there only to find the note instead. After reading the note, Henry said, "And I always thought the Toothfairy was a person."

It will be interesting to see how this works out in the end. A door was open and a myth slammed it shut again. I'm sure that one day I will be voting for Henry for president.

I think perhaps we parents make our own chuckles. We stumble through this parenting thing trying not to miss the steps and sometimes fall flat on our faces. Thus, a new story is born.

It is a good time of the year for fairies and men in red suits. It is a time that even the adult should find a bit of mystery and step through the door of imagination.

I keep saying...."I believe. I believe."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bright Hope

Lights twinkle upon a lovely tree.
The scent of evergreen lures us in and holds us there.
Packages sent. Packages received.
Holiday parties and songs of joy.

It is a season of happiness and joy for many. A time of loneliness and pain for the 'other' many. My messages this month will be of tinsel and toys, of girls and boys, of those gather the piano 'round and those who to visit from out of town. It will be words of hope and words of peace, words that will captures and I hope, not release.

Know how blessed you are this day. Hold one another and talk only of caring. Look to the future with hope and expectation.

I write with words that I hope will inspire for you who are jobless, alone and confused. Remember, I am one of you. Without hope and healing, without forgiveness and self worth, we cannot see the light ahead. That light waits for for us. You are loved. You are lovely. You are the spirit of Christmas.

Today I write words of comfort and joy looking for answers to clear cobwebs away. I look to the tree twinkling bright, smelling the scent of the forests' delight. I look to the sky for that star of bright hope. And promise myself that today I won't mope.

A smile on your lips and a cheery good-bye, I post this blog......with a tear in my eye.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Believe

His eyes how they twinkled. His dimples how merry. His cheeks were like roses. His nose like a cherry.

We've read Clement Clarke Moore's The Night Before Christmas every year since the girls were small. I read it to my children. I probably just read it for myself. A story that kicks in when we are little and one we know by rote by the time we have grandchildren.

I remember one snowy Christmas Eve standing in front of our picture window in Wisconsin looking at the gigantic flakes drifting to the already white ground. The thought hung in my head like a Christmas stocking on the mantel. "I believe. I believe."

This is the year that Gabby learned the truth about Santa, the Toothfairy, the Easter Bunny. A rough time in our house. I think we all cried giving up the mythical dreams of those night visitors. "I believe."

Every night Gabby and I try to read a Christmas story. I have quite a few children's books by now and still love to read them. She bones up on her reading, and I get snuggle time with my sweet granddaughter. Her first choice of books was Snoopy's Christmas. Her second.....

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow. And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow. 

Last night we decorated the house. My daughter's collection of Santa's line the countertop. Santa with toys, Santa with fishing pole, Santa in a kilt (didn't know he was Scottish) and Santa with his feet resting before the fire. To walk into our home, one would immediately come to the conclusions that indeed we believe in the jolly old elf.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.


"Yes, Gabby."

"Santa shouldn't smoke."


I believe.

On Neff Road today: Sentimental Journey/ The gift of words

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bing and Me

Bing Crosby and I have this thing going every Christmas holiday season. My granddaughters ask who is this man with the mellow croon. I guess we need to watch White Christmas.

I was doing a crossword puzzle today while waiting for Gabby to get out of school. So many puzzles have the same clues, and I wonder: How will younger generations ever figure out the answers? We grew up with the answers. Maybe I just haven't come across a new century puzzle book. Maybe I don't want to. It then dawned on me that many of the clues are even beyond my generation, but I knew the answers from the conversations of my parents and others. I new about Dempsey and Ott. I knew a little bit about a lot. Again, I attribute it to conversation. Without a wii or xbox, we had more time to listen and learn. We listened to music and made it as well.

The older I get, the more I wish I lived in a  little isolated village far from technology, noise and politics. I'd like to get up every day and have coffee with a neighbor before we shake out our rugs and sweep off the front stoops. I'd like to have simple recreation, such as a sleigh ride or ice skating on a pond. Storytelling around the yule log and giggling over a game of Pick Up Sticks. I'd like to get a yoyo in my stocking along with a wooden top. Simplicity.

So back to Bing. When he sings, I go back in time and nest for awhile. I hope my grandkids are curious some day to find out how simple life was not all so long ago. As for me, I think I'll also spend some time with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and even a bit of Maurice Chevalier. I might even practice crooning.