Enjoy life? Too much to do first!

As we all go through life, we may look around us and try to justify why we should or should not allow ourselves to do things to relax and have fun, especially if there is something else that needs to be done.

So many of us were taught that being productive is the only way to live one’s life.  Anything else is “laziness.”

Sometimes, the things that we have been taught need to be reexamined.

The all-or-nothing approach to life is not a balanced one. It is one of the reasons that so many of us seem to have  issues with balancing the all of the things we have going on in our lives. We just cannot seem to win.

When we choose to do something that is fun and breathes life into us, even when there are things that stare us in the face that need to be done, we do NOT need to feel shame and guilt for doing so.  We may even hear those damned voices loud and telling us otherwise.

So many of us have come to believe that life is “black or white,” “good or bad,” “either (this) or (that).”  Others fall in the middle with a belief that life is “gray,” all being mixtures of the two.

I have learned (and am continuing to learn) that explanations are not all that simple.

Life is BOTH black-and-white, good-and-bad, this-and-that. Recognizing this as truth allows for us to face the difficult things AND enjoy ourselves in the process. Learning to rid ourselves of the shame and guilt of life is not easy, but by learning how to enjoy life in the midst of all the tough stuff is important!

Photo credit:  Pixabay, public domain


Do it before it’s too late

It’s been nearly eight years ago since a dear friend of mine died at the age of 41 from aggressive metastatic breast cancer.  I met her early in 2006 on a training walk. She had been diagnosed several months earlier, at the age of 37.

We spent some face-to-face time together from time-to-time, but most of our friendship was spent talking on the telephone. There was an instant connection between us, whether we saw one another at events, had lunch together, or talked for minutes or hours.

I was 13 years older than she was, but Kim was wise beyond her years, and I learned so much from her.

As the time came closer to losing her battle, I remember the weekend that Kim, her husband and young son, sister and brother-in-law, and mother went to the coast together to take Dad’s ashes to scatter them into the ocean.  Kim’s Mom had kept the urn in the bedroom for the 10 years, but as Kim told it to me, “She needs to let him go as she faces losing another family member.”

It broke my heart on so many levels. I was glad that they were able to do this as a family.  It certainly marked a moment of reality in their lives.  It was a remarkably bittersweet moment of love and family.

It serves as a reminder to me (to us all?) that family get-togethers are important to take when they are joyous memory builders.  The same can be said for friendships.

How often are we “too busy” to make time for friends and family? How often do we simply NOT take the time for those we say are important to us? How often can you “not afford” to share in moments that may cost nothing more than time and willingness?

At the point that I met Kim, I had not dealt with the loss of too many people, other than those who were quite old.  Losing young people I knew personally was new for me. I could not imagine having lost a child or a sister.

I was as involved as I could be toward her end-of-life. It was not easy, but I learned the pain of life and of death having gone through it with this woman and her family, all whom I loved dearly.

Since Kim’s death in 2010, I have lost some significant people in my life, ranging in age from their 20s to 80s. Each is loved as a child, parent, friend, friend and more. It escapes no one.  I have also know many other people in my life who has shared their heartaches of losing with me.

There is universal advice that I have heard throughout the years since Kim has passed…

Spend time together, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to be…not just once a year on an obligatory holiday. Whether by phone, through regular mail, or face-to-face, take time to laugh and cry with one another. Let one another know your secrets.  Make memories. Include, do not exclude. Ensure that they feel loved.

Not everyone has as a family that was as intact as what I experienced with Kim and her family.  I was lucky to experience it and to be included in the family as a friend and extended family member.

We can choose friends to be the family we do not have. We can build on what we do have with family members who are important to us.

The important thing to remember is to get-together.  Laugh. Make memories. Love one another. Take time. Show love. Create. And, please…

Do it before “losing another…”

Kim 2009


Photo credit:  (Photo 1) My photo of Kim carrying the strength banner at the 2008 Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day.  (Photo 2) 2009 photo shared at her memorial.  Kim passed away in May 2010, just three days before her 42nd birthday.


Without forgiveness there is no future. ~~ Desmond Tutu

Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of resentment.  It can lead to having compassion and empathy for one who has hurt you.  This does not take away someone’s responsibility for their actions that have hurt you. Nor does it justify what was done to wrong you. But forgiveness allows you a sense of peace that can bring about a certain level of understanding.

Forgiveness creates opportunities to show kindness and compassion, and fosters a willingness to grow past the transgression and work on building a healthier relationship.

There are times when you must also ask FOR forgiveness.  It requires an honest look at what you have done and how it has impacted someone else.  If you are truly sorry for something you did or said, it may be that you talk to the person that you have hurt and share your sincere regret and specifically ask  for forgiveness.  No excuses. But remember that you are human, and making mistakes are part of being so.

Remember, too, that not everyone will forgive you.  You cannot force someone to forgive you. Others will have to come to terms with the situation as they feel they can and move toward forgiveness in their own time.

Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect…AND….commit to treating yourself with the same.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today, I wanted to pick up the phone to talk to my mother. I wonder if it gets easier. Today would have been her 84th birthday.

I share this piece from five years ago (2013) to honor her again on her birthday.


I woke up this morning wanting to pick up the phone to call to wish her, “Happy Birthday, Mom!

She would have been 79 years old today. 

It still is hard to believe my mother is gone from this physical world.  It’s been nearly two years. I wonder if it ever becomes believable.

Though not “close” by what others’ definitions might be, my Mom and I had a unique relationship.

In some ways, we were as different as night and day.

But in other ways…

There was a time when I would have never admitted that we shared anything in common.

Nowadays, I often tell my friends,  “You’ve just met my mother, Marian!” as I laugh (or cringe) while recognizing her voice and  words coming out of my mouth.

And there are  times I see her facial expressions in photographs of me or staring back at me…

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To see life more clearly


…may be all it takes when you think you cannot handle one more minute of dealing with life’s situations, challenges, or difficult people.


…can be our code word…the one that we can say aloud to ourselves or  that a friend might say to us, in order to remember to inspire a thought and a smile.


…is one simple word with so many meanings.




Cell Phones, Technology & the Good Ol’ Days


In this world of technology today, it seems that everyone has some sort of cell phone. In fact, most of them are just handheld mini-computers. We check email, search the Internet, send text messages, call people, and so much more, using these devices.

Some people argue the point that they are “much more communicative (they) are in today’s world because of the cell phone.” I counter with the argument that these devices make us lazier and less communicative, because we are on information overload.

I like to think that I am reasonably current with using technology.

I know how to turn it on, do what I need to do, and figure out the solution, if I get stumped. If I cannot find the answer, I usually know who I can talk to to get more information.

To think that I grew up with an old, heavy rotary phone, I feel pretty darned smart with all this fancy-schmancy technology! I still remember my first phone number that I memorized at the age of five: EMpire 34076. I know there are some of you who will know EXACTLY what that means!

We didn’t have voice messaging back in those days. As children, in order to be allowed to answer the phone, we learned phone manners, how to speak clearly, and we were taught how to take complete and proper messages. When phone messaging systems came on the scene, we learned to check them, and transcribe them onto a pad and make sure that the intended received them in a timely fashion.

Nowadays, most do not have (what we used to call) a landline. If we do have a “home phone” it is through the magic of technology and attached somehow to our Internet or cable television service. If we have one of our older phones with the messaging feature, it sits quietly, as the feature is turned-off. Voice messaging through our provider fits that bill.

In today’s world, home phones are becoming more and more extinct by the day. All seem to opt for individual phone lines per person in the house. Instead of one family number ringing to the house, there are six cell numbers for Mom, Dad, and each of four children.

What I have noticed

What I have noticed recently among many of my younger friends and family, ages 35 and under. It is also true among the older ones, far too often for my tastes.

They do not:

  1. Answer their phones
  2. Listen to voice messages
  3. Return a phone call.

Instead, they:

  1. Screen the calls
  2. Tell you they did not get a call
  3. Text you to find out why you called

 I sound like an old person.  I guess now I am.

If I can change my old ways to accommodate some of the new ways that people are communicating in today’s world, why is it that others will not meet in the middle?

If younger people are going to brag about how much more savvy they are and are better communicators that the elder crowd, would it not make sense to use the devices for how they are intended? With a bit of patience, could there not be an opportunity for the youth to teach or help the elders with these newest gadgets?

If you want to mitigate communication with this particular old person

  1. If you are screening calls and don’t recognize my number or blocked call, then make sure you have your voice mail set up so I can leave a message.
  2. If you have voice mail set up, listen to your messages, and delete them after doing so. I cannot leave a message if your “mailbox is full.”
  3. Just answer the phone. I promise I can keep the conversation to a few minutes. I know you have things to do.

What I will try to do

I will do my best to remember to keep my cell phone plugged in and on my person at all times. I certainly don’t want to miss your text messages because I have no charge.

I just might, however, answer my phone that is provided through my cable company…that is, unless, the power goes out.

And, if that’s the case, please leave a voice message. I promise that I know how to retrieve them and will return your call.



Photo credits:  Pixabay, public domain.


When I was much younger, I did not understand what older people meant when they would tell me, “If you have a handful of people in your life that you can count on one hand, you are lucky!” 

Like so many young people, I believed that the more people you knew and thought were friends, the better off you are.  These would always be there for you through thick and thin.  Of course, as we grow older we realize this is not the case.

To learn earlier in life that it is better to find just a few others with whom you can truly be yourself sets one up for better friendships.  There would be fewer worries about having to impress. No having to put makeup on, getting dressed up, acting a certain way because of your age, or any other arbitrary rules of friendship when you get together for social events.

August 21, 2017 was a Monday morning just like that.

The event was the solar eclipse of 2017. None of us had ever experienced one before, and we had the opportunity to see a 94% solar eclipse.

We were simply three friends, who have known one another for a very long time. With little sleep, no makeup, not giving a rat’s patootie what anyone else thinks of them, they made memories and had fun together.  If the younger crowd would have seen us, they would have thought we were all being dumb, annoying, and intent on embarrassing them.

What a joy it is to be at a point in life when you can take the simplest of moments and simply experience them with people who aren’t afraid to experience life with you… One moment at a time.

Oh! Sheer authenticity and joy!

Win or lose, it’s how you play the game


Life deals us cards to play throughout life.


Most of the time we fairly confident in our ability to play. The cards may not be the best, but we learn strategies to play confidently. We find ourselves having to bluff from time-to-time, but we get through it and win a hand or two.

Sometimes, we are dealt a handful of crummy cards.  We have no idea how we can win the game. And then, the next few hands are worse than the one dealt before it. We might even look at those cards and wonder why it seems that we have been dealt more than our fair share.

Have you ever noticed that some people can still win the game and continue to be happy and have fun, despite the overabundance of crummy cards that are dealt to them, often at no fault of their own?

Some people play poorly.

They may blame the deck, the dealer, or LIFE for not having been given better chances of winning. They may complain incessantly about without a willingness to take responsibility for how they play in those situations. They cannot see their way to turning the hand around through better play, or cutting their losses strategically.



 Bad cards happen to us all; but we have to play them.

If we want to have a more fulfilling life, then we have to choose to play, otherwise we automatically lose.  We have to choose to re-frame how we see what we have been dealt…what we live.  We must choose to see beyond the negativity that we feel and learn how to figure out how to see our cards from a different perspective. (Perhaps, we have a habit of talking about most things from a negative perspective?)

Taking ownership of our habits can be biggest struggle.

This is the one “card” that we can choose to play differently.

When we play the cards we have been dealt in life, we are playing the game with the others around us. Do we want to drag the others down so that we don’t have to be alone in the miserable game? Or can we choose to have some good fun with others who can move through life with us?

Again, we must play the cards dealt.

It’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes, it is all we can do to just get through the game without quitting.  But, the next hand we are dealt may very well be the winning hand.


LIFE is the Battlefield

It all begins a minor disagreement.

Then, one person gets so offended, they find it necessary go out on a limb to try to destroy the other.

This phenomenon is not new to any of us who went to junior high school. If you look at the history of the world, there is continual evidence of this.

These bullies relish finding people who will blindly follow them and do their dirty work for them. These “sheep” are sent out to be the annoyances.

Should there be a response or reaction from the intended receiver, the leader-aggressor will often give a surprised look, leaving the ambushed one to be the overly-reactive screaming banshee. The blame is always transferred to the vocal one.

Of course, the Bully and his or her clan will stand on the soapbox of sanctimony. They claim to have been picked on unduly, satisfied in their ability to have turned the tables on their intended, and often unsuspecting, victim.

Another set up. And yet again, someone else takes the fall.

People have not changed very much over the centuries. No matter where we are, or whatever situation it is that we may interact as human beings, there is likely to be someone who will always try to turn any situation into a battlefield, picking fights that are unnecessary.

Have you encountered this type of situation in your life? In your workplace? At school? On social media? With family or friends? Other situations?

Do you always walk away? Or do you try to defend yourself, your name, or your honor?

Walking away does not mean “ignore it and (maybe) it will go away.”

We must get to a point in our lives where we start to recognize the patterns in ourselves and in others.  Perhaps, you are like me that you find it necessary to prove your innocence, because you were made the scapegoat in many aspects throughout your life? You may find yourself continually in defensive mode.

Others know that they can “bait” you into the battle with comments such as:

  • There you go, always being defensive!”
  • “Why must you take it so personally?”
  • “If it weren’t true, you wouldn’t react as you do!”  

Sound (or feel) familiar?

  • The truth is…you take it personally, because the other meant it to be personal.
  • The truth is…yes, you are always on the defensive.
  • The lie is…what you are fed as their truth must also be your truth, accompanied by your reaction.

Walking away means that …

  • We know exactly who we are and own our choices and behavior.
  • We are no longer willing to live by the baited tactics of others, who may try to control our behavior by continually setting us up to fail.
  • We know the difference between competing to “be right” and behaving in a way to “do the right thing.”
  • We know how to love others, in spite of their faults, but recognize that we do not have to take part in, nor have an interest in, the matter or action.

We have to learn to let go.

There comes a time when we must know within ourselves what is right or wrong. Proving someone else wrong, no matter what you may know to be absolute truth because of the evidence you have, may not always be the best way to approach the situation.  Believe me, I know this one well.

Learning to let someone be (or think they are) right has been one of the best lessons I have learned.   Does it still irk me?   Of course, it does!

Yet, letting it go does not mean that I am wrong.  It does not mean that I am responsible for being life’s teacher to all of humanity in its ignorance.

The one truth that I have learned is that…

Life truly is the battlefield…

And I am the one that is allowed to pick the battles that are worth my time.


Photo credit:  Pixabay public domain

Invitations, behaviors, and habits

I find it curious to observe the behaviors and habits of people. Some I have known throughout my life and others I have never met face-to-face. They span all cultures, ages, genders, and more.

No matter what the groups to whom we belong, we really are all a reflection of society (human behavior), and life, as a whole.  If we can step back away from our emotions, we may find the people of the world around us (and beyond) fascinating, too.

We have those in life who are always there, always supportive, who will attend all of our functions, and be genuinely interested in what we pursue. Others will care less, and show up only if it has some benefit to them. Others invite you to all of their functions, expecting that you will attend. Some are offended if you do not not show up. Others expect that you will attend, but will never show up for your functions, and never intend to do so.

Some people are friendly to all; yet, others are friendly to no one. Some people go through motions, without much emotion. Others are so emotional that it makes it difficult to go through any motions, at all.

I think this is true, whether in face-to-face relationships with friends, acquaintances, family, but especially with those we count as family and friends on social media sites, such as Facebook, et. al.

Since the advent of these sites, have you found that others use them as their sole medium for event invitations?  Or do you get a phone call, email invitation, or a mailed invitation through the post office?

Do you find the habits of other humans curious, and how they have changed in your LIFE, in general? Or does it not matter anymore?


(Photo credit: Pixabay, Public domain)