What I meant was…

3bd3c857a585d9fcf44f344c4cad308fAs a mother of four grown sons, I am always seeking ways to impart the things I have learned in life to them.  Sometimes I am more successful in being heard than other times.

I am writing this in the hopes that, since it is on-line, it may have more credence.  Here’s hoping…

Dear Sons,

There are a few things about the special woman in your life that you really must know in order to live a happy and peaceful life with her.  You may decide to ignore my advice, do whatever you want.

  • If she ever asks you if something makes her look fat, the answer is always “no”.
  • What’s important to her is not your title, the money you earn or your power…it’s your presence.
  • If you ask her what’s wrong and she says “nothing” – she’s lying.  Trust your instincts.
  • If you are blessed with children someday, the best thing you can ever do for them is to love their mother.  They’ll be watching.
  • When things get stressful in life, nothing helps diffuse the situation like a good sense of humor.  Have one. Use it often, but never cruelly.
  • Someday you may notice hair on her lip – never, ever, ever call it a mustache.  Ever.
  • When you are asked by her (and you will be asked) “Which of my friends do you think are hot?” The correct answer is “None”.
  • When she is having an argument with a friend or her mother, always take her side.
  • Make dinner for her now and again.  Better yet, surprise her by taking her out.
  • Even after you are married, always keep “date night”…it’s important to her.
  • Tell her about your day.  Don’t say, “You wouldn’t understand” or “You don’t know any of the people anyway”.  She wants to know because she loves you and wants to be involved in your day.
  • Don’t ever take her love for granted.  Love is promised, but it also must be deserved.  Always tell her you love her – even if you think she knows already.  It’s nice to hear.  And if she says, “I love you”, do not answer with “You too”.
  • Love her family.  Don’t criticize them. They are a part of her and will be important to your children.
  • Lastly, never forget to call your mother often.  She loves you and needs to know that you are okay.  And when she says, “I love you”, don’t answer with “You too”.

Peace Out.

Stand Up! Speak Up!

Taped Mouth

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
– Albert Einstein

I was sitting in a crowd.  I was listening to the absurd phrases being carelessly cast about and hurled in anger.  I could physically feel the hate serpentine through the room.  My legs would no longer allow me to remain seated.  Marionette-like, I stood.  I knew it was time to speak up.

This has only happened to me a few times in life.  If you know me at all, I’m generally not one to make a lot of noise.  I try to use reason, I try to calm the waters.  But not this time.

When we look into the face of injustice and hear it spewing forth dressed as truth and justice, we must not remain silent.  When those who are being defamed are not there or not able to speak up for themselves, we who love them must speak up.

There are also times in which we are called to stand alone.  Most people have seen this picture taken in early June, 1989.  It was taken by photographer Jeff Widener from a 6th floor balcony overlooking Tiananmen Square in China.  This particular man had simply had it. He could no longer sit quietly and watch injustice taking place.  He stood up and, as he did, took his place in history.

In the wake of violent action taken against protesters, he stood peacefully in the way of those that would harm more.  He simply could not help himself.

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Most of us will never face such a dramatic choice.  We will each; however, face the choice of whether to remain silent or to speak up.  When you feel your legs moving to stand, as if on their own volition…by all means, STAND!  Speak up!

You will never regret standing up or speaking up for what is good and what is right.  You will forever regret the times you failed to do so.

A Builder or a Wrecker?

Builder or wrecker 29,200.

That’s how many days (give or take a few) you have if you live to be 80. Some may have more, many will have less.  How will you live yours?  Will you be a builder or a wrecker?

Several years ago I heard a poem read on the radio.  It asked that question of the listeners.  I remember thinking…”I’m a builder”…but just as quickly, thoughts of “wrecking” words I had spoken in the past were brought to mind.

We try our best to be a positive force in life – most of the time we succeed, sometimes we fail miserably.  I don’t have any tattoos, but “Be a builder” would be a good one.  If I always took a moment, took a breath before reacting to stressful situations – I think I’d do better.

Sometimes the things we say which we feel are building someone up, may actually be doing the opposite.  Social media is often used to build others up – I love it for that option, but I’ve also seen it used to tear down.

Be very careful of your hastily typed words – make sure they are building up, and not tearing down, your intended target.  Don’t hide behind a cause or a movement or an emotionally charged topic.  Perhaps sending a private message is appropriate to the situation.

If I’ve ever said anything to you that has hurt you, the reader, please let me know.  If I’ve ever said anything to you that has encouraged you, please let me know as well. Encouragement is contagious!  Spread it around generously and often.

Now, here’s the original poem which inspired me.  Print it out and post it somewhere close to remind you of the choice you make each time you speak or write.  Carry on.

A Builder or a Wrecker

As I watched them tear a building down
A gang of men in a busy town
With a ho-heave-ho, and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and the side wall fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
And the men you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.”

“I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do.”
And I thought to myself, as I went my way
Which of these roles have I tried to play’

Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by rule and square?
Am I shaping my work to a well-made plan
Patiently doing the best I can’

Or am I a wrecker who walks to town
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“O Lord let my life and my labors be
That which will build for eternity!”

Author Unknown

Lessons From A Sunflower

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(For a friend who loves sunflowers)

There are days when life simply becomes unbearable…uneasy.  Hard days when the soul is in a state of unrest.  Indescribable days.

Perhaps it’s the winter doldrums, perhaps not.  Perhaps it’s the lack of warmth in the air that makes everything feel a little less friendly…a little less secure.  On those days we would be wise to follow the example of the sunflower.

As the sunflower grows, it inherently follows the sun. It’s how they were made. From the sun, it acquires the energy which is needed to grow deep roots and to allow it to reach its intended height. It is from that foundation that it is able to stand strong against the winds that life blows its way.

Sunflowers seek to face the direction which allows them the greatest opportunity for growth.  Once mature, the sunflower not only offers shade, but also seeds of hope and nurture for those who hunger.

The bible tells us that God provides whatever is needed, even for the birds of the air, and aren’t you much more valuable?  Indeed you are. The warmth is coming…hope is near.  So turn your face toward the light.

And on these days of shadows, remember you also were made to seek the Son.

School Closings – Cold Weather Entertainment

tv-school-closingsAs you may have heard, it’s been unusually cold here in the Midwest.  The meteorologists and headline creators have run out of clever names and have given in to the fact that it’s just plain cold.

Watching the morning news is interesting.  Of course they must have the obligatory “reporter standing outside” shots.  Why they do this while warning us to stay inside is beyond me.  I guess it’s our equivalent of a hurricane live shot. Either that or it’s the sacrifice of one for many.  Haven’t decided which.

I remember back when I was young, watching TV or listening to the radio to hear that our district had been closed.  It was like winning the lottery if our district was included. With the weather we’ve been having, it would be much easier if they would just show the schools which have (for some reason) decided to remain open.

A side benefit of the scrolling school names at the bottom of the screen is that I get a laugh now and again.  Some of the school names are puzzling while also being quite humorous.  As you see in the photo at the top of the post, there is no a.m. Little Pirates. Poor pirates, now what will they do? Join me in the top 10 – won’t you?

  • Cosmos Learning Center – Always wonder what Kramer did after Seinfeld ended. Apparently he moved to Minnesota and opened a Learning Center. Imagine the staff hairdos!
  • Holy Redeemer, Risen Christ and Holy Trinity are closed today.  Well that’s depressing.  Even God won’t go out in this weather.
  • Kipp Stand Academy –  I can’t even guess.
  • MN Renaissance School – Huzzah and anon! We shall see thee on the morrow.
  • St. John, St. Paul and St. George – all closed.  Even St. Jude is closed.  (Hey Jude, give Ringo some respect.)
  • Beards District – Not sure I want to see those class pictures..  You know, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”
  • Twin Cities ARISE!…CLOSED.  *sigh*
  • Life Prep School – Well now, if ever a school should be open…
  • Love Works – Unless it’s really cold outside.
  • And lest ye fret about those Little Pirates – Pillager District is also closed.  That should give them both something to do.

May the forced air be with you.

Steamwork

71274331Another frigid day in the tundra.  Forecasts of blizzards and horrifying windchills drive me to seek warmth.

I have a good friend who is a wonderful motivator.  She gets me to go out in the cold to do all sorts of fun and adventurous things, but the only thing on the agenda today was the steam room at the health club.

We made our way into the club, shivering to beat the band.  Shaking off cold of this magnitude takes time.

Soon we were towel wrapped, oil laden and ready for some warmth.

As we entered the billowy clouds of steam, the cares of the day disappeared.  It should be a rule that every northern home must have a steam room.  I’m pretty sure I’d give up a walk-in closet to have one.  No…I’m positive.

To sit there amidst the wisps of steam…to laugh and joke about fleeing to someplace warm and tropical…it builds bonds.  As other women came and went, they too were looking for a respite from this polar vortex.

We left feeling relaxed and renewed and re-hydrated – all good things.

As the door to the real world opened, the snow blew at us in mini cyclones of flakiness.  It was okay.  We were warm once again.

 

The Things We Do For Children

458908779Recently, a friend posted an awesome story. I hadn’t heard this story before, but it’s the kind of news I’m always hoping to hear.

There’s a fantastic hospital in the Twin Cities – Children’s Hospital.  They have a wonderful person working for them who is titled  the “art and healing coordinator”.  Sounds like an awesome job, no?

The coordinator spoke to some friends at ACME Window Cleaning with a plan.  Here’s the result…

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The windows needed cleaning and the children needed a bit of happiness added to their very difficult days.  As the children looked outside, what did they see?

This…

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And this…

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The best part is that Children’s Hospitals all over the country did the very same thing.

When our children are hurting, all we wish for is to take their pain away.  Since we are not able to do that – making them smile is the next best thing.  A huge “Way to go!” to all of those involved.  The things we do for children – yours, mine, everyone’s – matters.  It leaves an imprint on their wonderful little hearts.  Make them good imprints.

Here’s hoping for many more news stories like this one.