September 2015 Blog Archives
September 30, 2015
I went to a bog........
I know! Who does that? Well, my son's biology class went to discover living organisms and the ecosystem that surrounds the bog. He loved it and after I got through cleaning up the boots, I was intrigued myself. According to Wikipedia, "The sphagnum peats of northern bogs cause especially acidic waters. The result is a wetland ecosystem with a very specialized and unique flora and fauna that can grow in these conditions called acidophiles." You're welcome.
There was a playground by the bog and I was surprised to find that the people who frequented the playground had no idea about the bog, even though there was a sign all about it. Parents who were too tired to read, I guess. A friend and I decided the perfect finish to a bog exploration was Dunkin Donuts for everyone! And although I am very happy to be apprised of the bog and it's intrinsic value, I really appreciated the excuse for donuts! That's how scientific I am!
September 29, 2015
I learned all about an activist.......
Who sits in trees to keep them from getting cut down and when one is, he takes it all the way from the west coast to Washington, DC to display it in front of the White House. WOW! Isn't that amazing? I have known other activists, everything from animals to saving a lighthouse. We need them all.
I often think about what I would be an activist for if I could just take to the open road with enough money to sustain me. I would gladly sit in trees to save them, because I cannot count the times they have saved me. I would promote spaying and neutering, because that's a no brainer. I would probably have to be dragged down from some podium railing about the absence of phonics and cursive in our schools. But mostly? I would raise our awareness about child abuse in the hopes that I could change the idea that our children are our property to do with as we please. It's a serious issue and I could go on and on.......
I intend in my lifetime to work toward those goals whenever I get the chance, even in a small way. I believe every little thing helps. What are you an activist about? How are you changing it?
September 28, 2015
I never was a groupie.......
But I am now! My husband and I are following around the high school marching band to their respective competitions and it's exhausting! I always thought it would be cool to be a groupie for a famous band, I read about those people in magazines and it seemed to glamorous. But being a tuba roadie and marching band groupie, is not the same at all!
Still, it is fun to be there and actually know what is going on with our child. It's fun getting to know his friends and seeing their skills and personalities. The kindness and comaraderie is truly wonderful to see and be a part of. I'm not sure that helping to get the pit crew on the football field is my forte, but I'm trying my best. One dad said if someone had ever told him he would be setting up a gong on a football field, he would have told them they were crazy! Same here......
I love that life is not predictable. I love that you never really know what you are capable of until someone asks you to truly step out of your box.
I love that fun can still be had on an autumn day and music is still a huge part of it. In the words of John Lennon, "Imagine all the people living life in peace." This groupie/roadie can see what he was talking about!
September 25, 2015
It's a corn maze weekend.....
Well the corn maze is open and fall has officially begun! Caramel apples, pumpkins and crisp air are all gearing up to usher in the next change of seasons. I was privy to a teenage conversation about how they would get out of the maze with no trouble - GPS on phones of course! Remember the good old days when you just had to give it your best shot? Now they are out pretty quickly, want to go in again, and want to find another maze in the area to use the GPS on - oh how fall has changed!
Haunted houses are a whole other matter. The kids looked up all the people that have died at one and discussed the downsides to it. No on admitted they might be scared and didn't really want to go, they just relied on the death rate to decide it might not be a good idea, even though they pointed out that the people at those things are 'not allowed to touch you at all!' Yeah, but what if one accidentally did? I'm thinking they will skip those entirely this year......
Whatever your idea of fall fun is prepare yourself to enjoy it. Carve a pumpkin, get a costume, make some cider, or get all gooey eating a caramel apple, but don't let the kid in you pass it by. And may you find your way out of the maze without GPS!
September 24, 2015
Big moments, better focus......
I am always fascinated at what people consider big moments and I think it says a whole lot about them. One client had an 'Aha!' moment learning to pilot a sailboat and says she will never be the same. I thought every moment I spent with my grandmother was a big moment, even when we were just sitting on the porch. The things that really matter to us are personal and sacred. They are a real good measure of what we value and why.
If you are on a journey to 'find yourself', things that really matter to you should be at the top of the list. Everything counts, too. I was working the concession stand at school last night and they played the national anthem. People continued to order and others waited on them, but I stood with my hand over my heart. I wasn't trying to make a show of it or influence anyone else in any way. It just simply really matters to me that much. The people at my window had to wait, because it is sacred to me ......
Honor the sacred in your own self and endeavor to honor it in others. It will make a remarkable difference.
September 23, 2015
Physically we're fit.......
Over the last two weeks all three of us have had our yearly physicals. We are healthy according to people who take pulse and ask personal questions. I was walking around enjoying the relief when I went to volunteer at the school and the lady working with me said her father died two days after a healthy physical. So now I'm back to square one.....
Two things come to mind: One, if you know that kind of stuff, just don't tell me about it. Two, maybe I need to rethink the whole relief thing anyway. When I though about it my own Dad died from a cerebral hemorraghe when he seemed robustly healthy and in his prime. He ate breakfast with the local doctor every single morning and no one ever suspected a thing. In other words, there are no guarantees.
When you readjust your brain to understand that there are no guarantees, things seem a little scarier, harder and a lot more precious. Taking less for granted becomes the order of the day and that's not a bad thing. Or you can just ignore the whole concept and be totally surprised when you live to be 100 or so. The doctor asked me how many days a week I 'formally exercised'. I said, "Are you kidding? Every single day, I'm walking through life! I'm on a really long and difficult journey." I thought it was brilliant, but she said it was no excuse for real exercise.
September 22, 2015
One for the Gipper......
I really have no patience for the 'Gipper' speeches. You know, the ones where someone gets the team all riled up and ready to win before they go out to play. My thought is that you don't need a speech, after all you are in it to win it right? You didn't just show up to be mediocre.... But apparently there are those of us who really appreciate a rousing show-them-what-you're-made-of kind of conversation.
Conversely, when something goes wrong, the 'Gipper' speech can be browbeating and humiliating. I really don't want to hear that one. It seems to me that if you did something wrong, you probably know it and someone beating you up about it won't really ever make it right. I suppose it does drive the point home, but please, how long does that need to take? I find in life that none of us really want to make the same mistakes over and over again. In fact, we go way out of our way to keep that from happening. So just point out to me what I did wrong and tell me how it can be right, then let's get on with it. But again, there are people who really appreciate a good browbeating and in a weird way it fires them up to do better. I suppose that's one of the many reasons I'm not a big sports fan.
How about you just go out every day and endeavor not to run with scissors? How about you take life on and do the very best you can? How about you get some credit and points for just showing up on the days that it was so hard to leave the house? How about some benevolence? Hey, you've got your reasons why you do the things you do. Just promise to take it easy on yourself when you do screw up and expect the same from others. It's the least we can do!
September 21, 2015
When a leader cannot be a leader.......
I volunteered this weekend at a school function and there was a great deal of chaos. I don't claim to be the consumate end all, but I am a good organizer. However, it was not my job to organize at all. I was just a minion in a large pool of other minions, with a birdseye view of significant disorder. It was tough and I was exhausted.
How do you traverse life when you cannot be who you really are? Should you just get right out of the situation? Should you bluster your way in and make a difference? I've tried both approaches and neither one worked. So I went for the third one: Remain quiet, do what you are told, smile and don't think for yourself. I really didn't like that option either......
I often wish I were someone who could just watch and not be bothered or try to figure out a better solution in my mind, but I just wasn't made that way. I realize it is a learning experience for me and I am working on it. I also know why people take Valium even though I don't.....
There's a saying: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way! But sometimes the best solution isn't that clear.
September 18, 2015
Maybe I should watch 'Walker Texas Ranger'.......
Because I am in sore need of some justice. You get that way when you've been robbed. You want the justice system to work and you want to see those criminals behind bars. I don't really care if the crime was a small one. I don't really care if they robbed me for drug money. I don't really care if they probably needed the money more than I did. I don't commit crimes and I don't appreciate people who do. I want some justice and I want it now!
But that's so not how 'the system' works. They have bigger criminals to catch and stolen wallets are way down on their list of things to do. On some level I get it. But in the interest of feeling safe in the world? I'm not happy at all. I posted on Facebook, that I had been robbed to warn others who go to that store to be careful. I was astonished at how many people wrote to me to say they had been robbed too! Not just here, but all across the nation! A couple of people told me I was lucky they had not robbed me in the parking lot.
I want a good CSI investigation. I will sit and look at pictures. I will identify them in a line up. I will press charges. I will testify! But please someone bring me some justice..... Are we really just going to act like it doesn't matter? One man told me he came to see his robbery as an 'equalizer' for all those less fortunate than him. What?
I go into this weekend thankful for what I have. But I'm still real unhappy about those who don't have and take mine. I'm working on it.
September 17, 2015
Today I was an illegal alien all day long......
Born in Miami, Florida to two people who had never been out of the United States and raised in Georgia, this old girl was declared an illegal alien by the Department of Motor Vehicles today. Thank you for that insight! I was born with 3 names. I dropped the first one and added my married name 26.5 years ago. I have the birth certificate and marriage license to prove it, but the DMV is not buying it. They actually said, while looking at a picture of my current drivers license on their computer screen complete with a picture of me, that I was (get this) trying to impersonate someone else with the name Lynn Carroll McWilliams. Yes. And it makes sense because if I was going to impersonate someone I would surely pick someone like me with no identification or credit cards or money (that was stolen, too). And I would of course, bring in a man who had the same name and stood there vouching for me, after all he's known me 30 years!
They told me according to Homeland Security I was commiting a federal crime and asked me to leave before they had to arrest me. I am not making this up! Who could? So given all the real illegal aliens in our great country right now, they have chosen to focus on me. I left, but I confess I would have loved to see them try to decide where to deport me back to!
I remained a girl without a country until we could get to the nearest military base - yet another branch of the government. They looked me up and said they had a record of my marriage to a Marine on their base in North Carolina and confirmed that I was who I purported myself to be. God Bless them! So they issued me a new military identification card with all four names to take back to the DMV. And THAT is what ultimately took me off the most wanted list. That and I went to a different DMV. Because when you are robbed, you suffer shock. It is comforting to know you belong somewhere and I like being from the United States. Slowly but surely, I managed to get back 'over the border' today, if only in their mind.
September 16, 2015
I hate to sound naive but.......
I had to go to the jail to get the case number for my robbery. Did you know they have vending machines for people to put money into and buy snacks, etc. for prisoners? You can put in money and pick what you want them to have from a grouping of items. You have to know their inmate number and you have to deposit money you will never see again or get anything for (depending on your point of view), but it's automated! Sadly, the woman I watched do this kept putting in wrong numbers because she got the numbers from when he was in there before, mixed up with the number he has now......... OMG!
Someone said it is called reverse vending. Oh the things in this world you don't know about because you have never been to a jail or incarcerated! But I'm okay with that. I tried to go to the post office and get stamps from a vending machine and it didn't work. How many times have you put money into a vending machine and the chips didn't fall or the drink didn't come? Well, at the jail, that's not a problem.....
Sometimes the things we do in this world make absolutely no sense to me. I understand commerce, but when they ran out of things to invent, this is what they turned their attention to? Really? Sorry I digress. I am sure the vending machine eliminates a person who would have to take the money and look up the current number for an inmate and that's got to be a mercy for whoever had that job. Technology and the long arm of the law combining to form a new world order........ Good grief!
September 15, 2015
Well, some days it's hard to be upbeat.......
I got robbed in the grocery store this morning and it was quite a shock. I am always cautious and I lock my purse into the child seat. My wallet was down in my purse and an alleged two people distracted me then stole it. I was never farther than a foot away from my purse, they were as close. I didn't know it happened until the next aisle and they were long gone.......
It is fair to say I was in shock. It is fair to say that even though I was taking the usual precautions, I was somewhat complacent in 'my grocery store'. There were cameras of course, but the grocery store is more interested in using their man hours reviewing the tapes to catch those stealing from them then they are those stealing from me. So it's a done deal.
I tell my clients all the time that bad things happen to good people. It is a hard concept to understand and embrace, but it's true. Earth is just a big teaching center and the lessons are not always pleasant. And no one was hurt physically. So I'm working on the recovery and lessons learned.
September 14, 2015
I love new challenges and kindred spirits!
I met new wellness healers today and loved it. I am always intrigued at how people think and approach problems. Today, a massage therapist talked to me about a different perspective and it opened some new doors. There is more than enough room for us all on this earth and thank God we are here.....
And then clear across the United States someone called me to talk about her awesome experience learning to surf, despite her fear of sharks. I love those conversations! I've always been driven by my curiousity: Why surfing? Why fear of sharks? How do you manage it? What's the payoff? Is the water cold? So many things to still learn and think about!
Challenge yourself this week and know that it is the perfect driving force for changing who you are in a positive way. Moving forward, learning a new way to make this journey. Enjoy!
September 11, 2015
Well, it's just a sad day......
Even though the weather is gorgeous and perfect. All because of terrorism and some pretty difficult memories. I do remember where I was and what I was doing. I remember fear, even though I was in Dallas, but we lived close to the airport and the eerie silence was unsettling. Along with the rest of the world, I watched in horror as it all unfolded and spent days after waiting for things to go back to normal, but they never did.
So this day, all these years later, I honor that we all learned a lesson that difficult day and I pray for those whose lives were so unexplicably changed. May we all know an elevated peace because of the sacrifices.
September 10, 2015
Oh the mournful sounds!
Our cat went on a walk about unknown to us and we searched for him for over 5 hours. We realized of course, that we love him and don't want him to be lost, so we made a rule that he has to stay inside from now on and we are much more viligant about him at the door. But after his day in the woods, he clearly does not agree!
He sits by the back door and meows mournfully as though he is dying! Before the walk about, he was content to lay out on the deck and soak up the sun, maybe walk in the yard with us, usually not. But now that he has lived in the woods and under the shed with the possum? He's all about his rights to roam! Nevermind that he loves being a housecat and is declawed on the front, thereby making it dangerous for him to live in the wild, not to mention that he loves his blanket and our bed at night.
The neighbors wanted to know what is that pitiful sound coming from the direction of your house? It's the sound of too much freedom and too little street skills, coupled with three actual people who love a very outspoken cat. No one is actually being tortured and we are getting a second opinion......
September 9, 2015
Why is it so hard to......
Walk into someone you love? I teach people to do this, because somehow we get disconnected and forget to do it. So here's the deal. If you are talking to someone you love and for whatever reason, you are not connecting with words - and yes, this includes an argument - close the space between you and them in concentric circles about two feet at a time and stop. Give them time to adjust to you coming into their space and then take another step. Repeat until you are standing right in front of them and then hug them. That connection they know so well will alleviate so many things and bring the normal back to the situation.
My son is a master at this when I am fussing about something I want him to do, but it always makes me stop and laugh. I always end up telling him how much I love him. Because when those sacred people you love come to you, your heart simply takes over.
Try it and see the difference between words and emotions. Let it work for you.
September 8, 2015
Dating is always fun......
My husband and I have been married for 26+ years, but we still try to date now and then. These days dating is dinner and a movie, or just lunch, but it is still fun. First of all, you don't have to look perfect or say exactly the right things. If you cry in the movie, he will still call you for another date. You can eat whatever you want and he won't judge you. The biggest challenge is not to talk about work or your kids, because after 26 years, what else is there?
Which leads me to current events..... We still have major discussions over those and probably always will. See? He's my lobster (they mate for life, you know.) Some days the thought of rising to the occasion for a real date is just too much. That's when I like the morning outings, where we go to breakfast and then Lowes or Sams for groceries. It's all in what you set out to do.....
If you haven't dated your significant other in a while, plan it now. There is nothing quite like knowing if you were out in the dating world, he would still choose you and you still have the skills to make it worthwhile. And please, no curfew!
September 7, 2015
All out or all in.......
With K-12 schools and colleges starting all over the place, my client phone calls have increased. Some are having anxiety like me over changes, others fear about making the right decisions, and of course, just plain homesickness. If you've every been homesick, you know that is a really tough one to get over quickly.
Lots of talk, suggestions and sympathy is an obvious choice, but the raw truth is you just have to put one foot in front of the other and go forward. That's a lot tougher than it sounds. It's hard to hear that time will heal the wounds if you just allow time to happen! But in this case at least, that's the best cure.
If you are wrapping big changes around your life and suffering from the stress of it all, please know changes are what this life, here on earth, is all about. So the more you embrace them, the better your success rate will be. After that? May I suggest, comfort food, a comedy, or a calming walk in nature...... Good luck!
September 6, 2015
Did you hear the one about the kid's first day in high school?
Well, his mother cried all morning! OMG! Sometimes life just up and smacks you and it's tough. I remembered the first day I took him to kindergarten and I was trying real hard not to cry. I went around to get him out of the car and he saw my struggle. He touched me on the arm and said, "It's okay Mom, I am brave!" He was and he is, I wish I could say the same for me in this regard. It just seemed that all the years flew by so quickly and if they continue that way, he will be graduating before I know it. I know it's a good thing. I am so proud of him. And when I stop this crying jag I am sure it will all be wonderful......
I just kept thinking about Forrest Gump standing at Jenny's grave talking about their boy and crying. He said, "He's so smart Jenny!" Watching my son walk into the high school this morning, all those emotions came and he is so smart. Guess it's my turn to be brave.
My husband noted that we gave him the tools to succeed and now we get to watch him use them and shine. Meanwhile, I'm headed to buy a case of tissue....... Thanks to all my friends who sent encouragement and got me back into life enough to go pick him up from school. I am focusing on my strength, because tomorrow I get to take him again.
September 5, 2015
Let's count your mistakes.......
The Bible says we've all sinned and come short of the glory of God. There's that adage about he who is without sin casting the first stone. And in my favorite movie, 'Gone With The Wind', Rhett Butler says, "I apologize again for all my shortcomings." I still think that would make a great t-shirt. Again...... I apologize, again...... We just aren't perfect and we do screw up. In fact, that's when we learn the most I think. So I would not want to take those moments out of the life equation. But while I'm quoting platitudes, "For every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction." That means a really good screw up will spawn a really positive event right? So it should equal out? We could do this forever.....
Fact is despite not being perfect, we keep trying. And that brings up forgiveness. Another big subject with a whole lot of opinions, but barring the truly heinous things, forgiveness is important or we would all be crippled from our mistakes! See the big circle forming around this whole thing? I was told this week that because I was not perfect in my own life, counseling others was not a good idea..... So best I can tell, that means no counselors right? It's a lovely theory when you are angry and want to blame someone else, but it doesn't really have validity. Imagine if you hired anyone in any business and fired them when they made a mistake! I had a boss once, who got me through a very large mistake at my job. He simply said, "Are you going to do it again?" I said, "No." He said, "Well then, it was worth it." End of story and it was never mentioned again, because it was lesson learned. Wisdom, benevolence, compassion, and brilliance all wrapped up in a few words and very powerful stuff.
So let's don't count our mistakes. Let's endeavor to make as few as possible and learn from those we do make. Let's apologize when we screw up and be kind to ourselves, because it was bound to happen! And let's extend that kindness to others. Live and learn. Otherwise we all have to go out and collect a huge pile of rocks........
September 4, 2015
What's on your bucket list?
You can have one at any age, you know. I just saw a movie about the Appalachian Trail through the Smoky Mountains and I would love to put hiking that on my list. Of course, I don't want to encounter a snowstorm and freeze to death, rain is okay, and I want to stay at hotels along the way...... Apparently I have criteria on my bucket list!
I do like the concept. I love the possibilities of having a list of fun things you still want to do, whether they are at home or somewhere else. I may only hike the trail in little spurts that get me home by dark and don't make me sleep in a pup tent with rocks for a mattress though. I do want to see the redwoods in California and when I go I want to stay with them awhile. I want to read a book or take a nap under one, I bet the energy is incredible..... I want to go to the Florida Keys and okay, Margaritaville, even though they say it is a tourist trap. I want to go (most of my bucket list is about going somewhere...) down Route 66 start to finish with lots of time to stop and check out everything. I want to go to a place called Eagle Lake in Maine, way at the tip top of the state. They say bald eagles are everywhere there. I want to live in Maine again, it fills my soul. I want to go to Ketchikan, Alaska because it's supposed to be built all on a pier. And even though I am scared, I want to go white water rafting down through the Snake River Canyon. Oh! I want to take a riverboat cruise all the way down the Mississippi River, too! Good grief the list is getting longer..... Oh well, more to do.
Make your list. Add to your list. Make suggestions for my list. Send me pictures of some of the things you've already done. But make sure that your list is a good one to balance out the chores to-do list you have! It's fun to dream and discover who you are by learning where you most want to go, so give yourself the gift of a list.
September 3, 2015
A long way from Pac-man......
This summer I was introduced to games online by some teenagers. I'm a solitaire sort of girl and was content to do that, but they upped the excitement by including solitaire in a mystery setting with lots to think about and react to and I was captivated. I realized how you can sit for hours and do this stuff! I'm not saying it's a good thing...... just that I get it!
With so much concentrated stimulation becoming commonplace with our children, it is no wonder they get bored easily. After all, if they can juggle 10 things on a game and be successful, what will life throw them that interests them? Or more importantly, when it is real life, will they be able to do it? One of the teenagers I was talking to said he was sure he would be a good driver because he was so good at driving on video games........ SO NOT THE SAME THING! Someone is in for a rude awakening and can we be warned when he's on the road?
I love that there are so many choices, but I often think they are misleading. And sadly, I think it often takes the place of a good old fashioned conversation. After all, I don't think one-on-one negotiations will ever go out of style. Even the kids on their phones in the same room texting each other eventually look up and talk..... It's an interesting dilemma to watch and learn from and I hope we don't lose sight of each other in the process.
September 2, 2015
I love new possibilities.......
I am talking to a wellness clinic in Grand Rapids about working there. They are progressive, smart, the energy is great, and (fingers crossed) I really hope it works out. New people, new ideas, new opportunities, and possibilities. So many things are possible, but there has to be a clear and strong foundation for them to occur.
And speaking of foundations, that is something really important. When you are building any relationship from a work one to a love interest, the foundation you set up determines how successful you can be. Get things clear and right from the start. Know what to expect from them and tell them what you expect. It makes for less misunderstandings and more success in the long run.
Got 3 kids at home? Better tell the person you are dating early on. Why waste your time and theirs if that is not something they would consider. Can't work for minimum wage without looking for something else? Your employer needs to know. Strong foundations make for a solid house. Smoke and mirrors? They make for chaos and disappointment. Make your possibilities count!
September 1, 2015
Some of my favorite people......
Are going to college! Here's a shoutout to all you incredible young adults, who are braving a new place and taking on a new adventure. I hope you rock our world in ways I can't even dream of yet. I hope you show us compassion and kindness with your brilliant minds and I hope you soar even more than you imagined you could.
When my son was small, we had the very best babysitter in all the world. Steven was incredible and our son absolutely loved to see him come through the door. He would plop right down on the floor in a heartbeat, ready to play Rescue Heroes, crazy instruments or pretend to be camping under the dining room table. He was simply remarkable and I will always love him for that. Right now, he is beginning his education for a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and I cannot imagine a better person to grace that profession. I knew he would shine brightly in this world!
Out in California, Zahir is just beginning to understand who and what she wants to be. On the opposite coast from her family, she is putting one foot in front of the other and breaking ground on the next generation. She will do big, unexpected things and they will also be remarkable. She is even learning to surf! What a great idea!
A little closer to home, Darek is already moved in to an engineering college in Indiana. Sure it was the perfect fit, he is taking his excellent basketball skills and brilliant mind to Indiana to show those Hoosiers how it is done! He will take his quiet countenance and change the way they think about Michiganders and more!
All over the place our children are shining so brightly! Put them all in your prayers. Remember how difficult it was to leave home, even though you wanted to? Remember those lonely nights when you second guessed yourself? Hold a good thought for all these trail blazers and know we are headed for great things because of their bravery and determination!