Evolve

The organist and vocalist were late. I hated my dress. I had little say in the flowers. Yet, there was a smile on my face. I was following in the footsteps of those young women who had gone down the aisle before me. No, not my bridesmaids — the women who followed in the footsteps of their mothers and their mother’s mothers before them.

The person who walked down the aisle that day so many years ago seems like a completely different person from the one who writes here today. I had different beliefs, even though my values have remained the same. We base our beliefs on myths and facts  that updated as new information becomes available.

Values are the things we find important, and although the priorities of our values may shift with time or age, they typically remain unchanged. I value love, but I no longer believe marriage is the only way to secure it. Does that help explain it? Life doesn’t grant do-overs, but it does grant start-overs, and we are all encouraged to grow and evolve.

barbara-billingsleyJune Cleaver and Mary Scott were my role models. June Cleaver was a fictional character on a black and white television show where men came home from work expecting quiet children and dinner on the table. June was known for her impeccable dresses and tidy pearls.

20580367823_243881f7c6_zMary Scott was my grandmother. She was a non-fictional character who watched me while my mother worked. She was known for her jet-black hair, slight frame, and dainty gestures.

Both June and Mary believed it was the woman’s duty and privilege to run the home while their husbands worked. Their homes were always as tidy as their skirts by the time their spouse returned home, and they knew how to get a steaming dinner on the table at the same time each day. Boy, did I have a rude awakening!

It’s hard to talk about how I might have done things differently if I had a the chance. After all, I might have had different children, or no children at all. I’d have waited. I’d have learned more about myself. I’d have considered the impact my choices make on the world, and my life. But life doesn’t give us do-overs. Fortunately, it does give us start-overs.

Is it time to update your beliefs? What myths might you hold as truth? What facts must be updated with new information? What are your values? Do you need to reprioritize them based on a change in your life, age, job, or family?

My children are waiting for marriage and children. I’m proud of the choices they’re making. If they do decide to do either, they’ll have so much more to offer their spouse and/or children. They’ll have a better idea of how to live with other people. They’ll have a better grasp of their own values and beliefs, and not rely on ones borrowed from their parents, grandparents, or fictional t.v. characters.

It’s okay to change your beliefs. It’s okay to realign your values. It doesn’t mean you’re a whole different person. It means you’re evolving.

Peace . . .

Evolution
Evolve.
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Married White Women are the Problem

I had this post I was writing, and somehow I lost it. It’s. Just. Gone.

So that was disappointing. And now that you can’t read it, I can tell you it was probably the most amazing and life-changing post you were ever going to read. Instead, I will leave you with a YouTube link that was kind of the inspiration for the awesome post I lost.

I wanted to serve you an ice cold margarita in a frosted glass with lime on the rim. Now all I have is lemons. Enjoy your lemonade.

Peace . . .

 

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Amazon.com
Audible.com

10 Ways to be a Good Role Model for your Inner Child

Inner Child
Inner Child (Photo credit: CapturedbyKC)

Every child needs a good role model.  Young people are so impressionable and idealistic, aren’t they?  If you are a parent, you are likely careful with whom your child spends time.  You want someone who will make good choices, be honest, trustworthy, kind.

We are all role models, whether we want to or not.  We play a role and we model that for the world to see.  As a caretaker for your Inner Child, you are on duty 24/7.  Choose your actions wisely.

  1. Listen.  Get to know your Inner Child.  If you have said “SHHhhhh!” often enough, you may need to give him time to speak up.  He will be leery, and may have to remember what it was he wanted to say.  You cannot move on to any of the other items until you succeed with this first one.
  2. Inspire.  What is it that your Inner Child would like to be or do?  Choose actions that elicit that passion.  Seek out knowledge about an interest.  Give back to others.  Try something new.
  3. Be trustworthy.  If you tell your Inner Child you will do something, keep your word.  If you don’t think you can, be honest.  Don’t make promises you aren’t able or don’t intend  to keep.  Follow through with those you do.
  4. Apologize.  Only deities are perfect.  Admit mistakes.  Learn from them.  Promise to do better.  Your Inner Child will learn to forgive.
  5. Have integrity.  Your Inner Child will respect and admire your actions when they align with your values.  If you speak gratitude, and take people for granted, your Inner Child will suffer.  When you speak words of love, and show actions of hatred, your Inner Child is watching.
  6. Respect.  Treat your Inner Child the way you would want to be treated.  Be good, gentle and kind.  Show respect and gratitude toward others.  Respect the world, and the world will become your mirror.
  7. Give.  Children admire those who give freely and selflessly of time, money and essentials.  It is important for our Inner Child to feel there are gifts that come to those who need them.  He will look up to you as someone who fulfills those needs.
  8. Be strong.  Choose your fights wisely, then show your Inner Child how fiercely you engage.  Overcome obstacles.  Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.  Rise from the flames.  Reinvent yourself.
  9. Have confidence.  Be someone of whom your Inner Child would be proud.  Then be proud of whom you have become.
  10. Play.  Go out for ice cream.  Play on the swing set.  Lay in the grass.  Feel the sun on your skin.  Pick a dandelion bouquet.  Notice a bug.  Picnic in the front yard.  Take your feet off the pedals and coast.
inner child
inner child (Photo credit: Dave_B_)

What was your favorite playtime when you were a child?  Could you do that now?  If not, how could you change it for your grown-up self?

Peace . . .

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Use Eye Contact

glasses
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

There are a few Best Practices I’ve found help me through life.  I’m going to post the list here on a page of the same name, just for the record.  I may also decide to add to my list, and you may decide to adopt a few of these and make a list for yourself.  You see?  It is a very fluid list!

The first item on my list is:

Use Eye Contact

When was the last time you made a conscious effort to use eye contact?  I’m going to guess it was either when you were interviewing for a job, or the last time you were telling a lie.  Let me give you a little tip.  Overusing eye contact when someone is trying to determine if you are guilty of something is a dead giveaway that you are.  But I digress.

Why is eye contact a good idea during a job interview?  Because it helps you connect with people.  And if your potential new boss connects with you, you are more likely to win her over.  It works that way out in the world too.  Can you think of anything our world needs more than honest to goodness, face-to-face connection?

As a little experiment before you go adding this to your Best Practices list, I’d like to challenge you to use eye contact in the different scenarios you encounter during your week.  You may find this harder than you thought.  Eye avoidance isn’t just for shy people any more!  In my opinion, society has come to place multi-tasking at too high of value, and we are all too busy looking somewhere else when should be looking someone in the eye.

The first thing you will notice when you meet someone’s eyes is that they will almost always smile.  If you are not already smiling, you will probably smile back.  There is proven evidence that just smiling alone can make you happy.  See?  You have already started making the world a happier place!

  • At work.  This is best if you actually greet the public at your work.  If you are handing over a shopping cart, a bag of purchases, a plate of food, change, or whatever it is you are offering, try to meet their eyes and give them a sincere thank you.  You may even experience a double-take, as if they think there is something wrong, or they might know you.
  • Shaking a hand.  The worst handshake I ever had was from a pastor.  He grasped my hand firmly while shaking and telling me how nice it was to see me, yet he was looking at the next person he wanted to greet.  That was my first impression of him, and let me tell you it went downhill from there.  You can gain a lot of information from a handshake.  Make sure you are looking someone in the eye when you send out your own impression.
  • Making a Purchase.  You could be just another customer, or you could be that one person that the cashier remembers at the end of the day.  He’s a real person who spends a long day getting money shoved across the counter at him.  He probably has all kinds of places he would rather be.  Look your cashier in the eye and wish him a good day like you mean it.
  • With your family.  Feel free to hit the pause button to look your family in the eye while they talk to you.  Both children and adults react positively to this simple act of patience, love, and compassion.  Yet it takes so little effort.

eyes

You can expect awkwardness at first.  You might be compelled to meet eyes and then pull away, turning your eyes to the ground.  Of course, success depends on the other person meeting your eyes too.  Sometimes no matter how hard you try you just can’t get the other eyes to connect.  Eventually you may find you enjoy the game.  So few people offer up this simple measure of connectedness.  I’ve had some very interesting reactions.  I challenge you to give it a try!

Peace . . .

Holier Than Chow

Diet and nutrition have been elevated to a passion equal to that of religion.  People don’t just share recipes for fun anymore.  They share recipes the way they pass out propaganda listing the benefits of a virtuous life.  The recipes include organic, locally grown ingredients, with instructions for storing it in an environmentally friendly method.  Cooking anything else for your family will guilt you down to a loathsome, uncaring, gluttonous scum of the earth.

lunch bagBack when Mom packed my lunch she bought white bread, spread on Miracle Whip, slapped a piece of bologna in it, then packed it up with Fritos and a pop.  (Read “soda” if you live outside Minnesota.)

That’s right.  My bread was not whole grain, my sandwich spread had lots of ingredients she couldn’t pronounce, and the lunchmeat — well, we don’t want to know.  The sandwich sat in a brown paper bag until it’s internal temperature was 87 degrees.  But boy, was it good with those Fritos tucked between the doughy-white slabs of Wonderbread!  To top it off, the packaging all got tossed in the trash because there was no such thing as recycling.

I’m not saying I want to go back to that, but eating food was fun.  You had to go to church if you wanted to feel guilty.  Not anymore.  There are food priests among us, folks.  These are people with deep-rooted beliefs who feel that if you are not eating what they are eating, you are doing yourself — NAY! The WORLD a grave disservice.

It is the food priest’s mission in life to save your nutritional soul, and lead you (kicking and screaming) to health.  But wait!  There is no eternal life, here.  We’re all dying in the end.  The goal is to die as healthily as possible — perhaps biking to Whole Foods.

saladThe rite of worship is the meal.  It is in the planning, buying, preparation and consumption.  Oblivious to other shoppers, meditation of labels takes place smack in the center of each isle.  Children are indoctrinated in front of the bananas, blocking all access from other food clergy and heathen alike.  Trips to organic farms are carried out like pilgrimages to the holy land.  The meal is consumed in solemn reverence of the plants that sacrificed their life.

Yummm . . . animal secretions . . .
Yummm . . . animal secretions . . .

The food priest also hears confession.  They use scary phrases such as “animal secretions” as euphemisms for wholesome sounding ingredients like eggs, milk, and honey.  “Refined sugar” equals cookies and muffins.

MMmmm . . . FLESH!
MMmmm . . . FLESH!

“Flesh” is the definition for roast beef or turkey breast.  The cuisine of our mothers is smugly called “Comfort Food” like a poisonous secret.  Sins are encouraged to be confessed using these terms, the worst of which is pink slime, and punishable by up to a full month of liquid detox diet.

Unsought counseling is very often the first indication that you have encountered a food priest.  You may experience unwelcome scrutiny over your cheeseburger with grilled onions and fries.  The evangelist may laughingly toss out the nickname of “foodie” as if adding an “e” to a word makes it harmless.  Druggy.  Achey breaky.  Owie.

In severe cases, you may be required to refrain from eating food prepared in certain establishments.  If it is suggested that you discard of kitchen utensils that have ever touched prohibited edibles, it is very possible you have encountered an actual nutritional cult.  This is dangerous, as you may never enjoy eating again, leading to any of a multitude of eating disorders.

Ellen

Look, I’m glad we all have our religion, democracy, and plenty of nutritional models to choose from.  I’m not picking on anyone.  Personally, I tend to be nutritionally non-denominational.  I love my congregation, as we welcome vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians, omnivores, Aktins followers, and anything in between.  We “pin” recipes, listen to each other rave about menus, and share samples.  When faced with a meal, we EAT it, ENJOY it, and share in each other’s company.  No one is moping, or preaching, or judging.

I try to do what I think is right for the world, my family, and my body . . . most of the time.  Admittedly, I sometimes feed my disposition (which is often a pepperoni pizza with chocolate chip cookies for dessert).  pepperoni pizzaHow very lucky for me that I have that choice.  You may choose to indulge in pomegranate.  Some people can only choose from rice or beans.  Some can choose from thirst or unclean water.  I’m pretty sure some would choose GM corn over starvation.

Which brings me to corn, and anyone who knows me well has heard me say, “Don’t get me started on corn!”  So yes, I know the sermon.  You’re preaching to the choir.  And sometimes the choir is fed up (literally).  I’m just asking the food priests to please stop trying to shove their communion down my throat.  If I want it, I know where to find it.

Life Changes

It’s been a long weekend.  I went off the grid, just North-West of the Middle of Nowhere.  I’ve caused some grief with just about everyone I love.  Thanksgiving was on its way, and I just couldn’t pick a date.  You see, I like my kids to go to my ex’s side on the holidays since he has a lot of family over there.  There is just me, Bubba, and the dogs over here.  We’re important, but they can stop by and see us anytime.  Grandparents, as I painfully know, are not on this earth forever, and must be cherished.

I needed to pick a non-Thanksgiving date for a turkey dinner.  The trouble is, the kids are grown with lives of their own.  Everyone has Thanksgiving day off of work, but to find another date was impossible.  No matter how I worked it, I would have been leaving one child out.  I couldn’t seem to make that call.  Which one would have to show up for the microwaved plate of leftovers?  Or maybe I was just making excuses.  I just couldn’t deal with the planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning of traditional meal.  I was in a funk.

Stovetop stuffing, deli turkey, steamed carrots, mashed potatoes, and homemade rolls sufficed for Bubba and I.  We ate like boars on the t.v. trays watching something from Netflix.  It sounds worse than it was. 🙂

Friday was spent packing and cleaning for the weekend North-West of the Middle of Nowhere.  Whether it was the weather — a cold winter storm blew in — or the work of getting ready, my arthritis kicked in.  It was a long achy trip up there.  The ache lasted through a good part of Saturday.  For this, and a few other reasons I don’t care to mention, I wasn’t very good company.  I was still in my funk, and Bubba paid for it.

North-West of the Middle of Nowhere:

This morning, Monday, I am back in the center of Somewhere.  I have taken the day off from work.  The coffee shop looked toastier than it is.  My vanilla soy latte has cooled, no longer warming me from the inside.  It took three tries to get their wireless password right.  Checking out my notifications led me to a new blogger I had not seen before.  I liked her blog name insearchofitall.  It reminded me of my tagline Seeking all things . . . .  I started reading her current post, In Search of Giving Thanks.

The line that caught my eye reads, ” . . . life changes and we have to be adaptable. Isn’t that what the pilgrims did?”  

Yes.  Life changes.  The changes rarely come easily, even if we have waited and hoped and planned for them.  Some changes never come no matter how hard we try.  Some changes are thrust upon us whether we like it or not.  We must cope the only way we know how.  For me, it is a trip to the coffee shop, time alone, list-making, and some well-pulled bootstraps.

We are each pilgrims in our own life.  Life changes and we must adapt.  Life changes and we need to go forward.  There is no other direction than forward.  I am stronger than I look, both physically and emotionally.  I have lived through things I thought would break me in two.  I have showed my best side when I didn’t think I had one.  I have kicked ass when I didn’t think I could take one more step.  For myself and all of which I am capable, I am thankful.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone.

Trust Me

Trust implies unreserved belief in or reliance upon something or someone.  Do I consider myself a trustworthy person?  I do.  I can keep information told to me in confidence.  I can hold something valuable for someone without hocking it.  I will, to the best of my ability, do something I tell you I will.
 
Why then, can’t I trust myself?  Did it start in childhood?  I showed up unexpectedly ten years after my mom had planned to be done bearing children.  Living in a household of people who always knew better than me, maybe I learned trust was something you put in others.
 
Was it later when my instincts were nullified?  When I was told that creepy men who tried to seduce young girls were just being nice?  When I was told that the kiss on my cheek was nothing more than friendly?
 
Was it going straight from being taken care of by my parents to being taken care of by a husband?  Being told how to think, what to believe?  Certainly it was familiar — like having older siblings, parents, grandparents who always knew better.  I let myself be taken care of.  It was comfortable.
 
I learned through my children’s eyes how to be a trustworthy person.  I still remember the first time my daughter caught me in a white lie.  That is when I learned how to grow strong and be honest toward others.  While I was teaching them it was honorable to follow through with promises, I was proving to myself it was possible.
 
And then the biggest promise of all was broken.  Our family suffered a divorce.  Suddenly, with no formal instruction, I was handed the reins to the rest of my life.  I was one of those women who had never shopped for insurance, never bought a home, never had the oil changed in my car.  I was like a child in a grown-up world.  It was a necessity that I learn a lot in a very short time.
 
With my parents gone, I had no one to trust but myself. I can’t tell you how many times I wished, and still do, that I could ask my mom what to do. There are people in my life who can offer advice, but once my parents passed away there was no one left who would ever have as much invested in my life as me. No one who cared that much. I realized that it was time to invest in me, because no one else is going to. Time to trust in myself.
 
While I will tell anyone who asks, “You can trust me,” I don’t hold that same confidence in myself.  I’ve let myself down.  I’ve lied to myself.  I’ve spent money I told myself I wouldn’t.  I’ve given myself advice on things I know absolutely nothing about.  Experience being the best teacher, I have no business trusting myself.  Trust is not given, but earned.  That takes time.  Yet what I need more than anything right now is to be worthy of trust in myself.