I’m traveling to Sicily and London with family and friends. Learning about other cultures and seeing new things. As excited as I am, I am most of all grateful. Grateful for friends and family to join me in my travels. The abundance to travels. Friends to take care of my dogs. These two dogs are my best buddies. Knowing they are safe and loved puts me at ease.
What in your life are you grateful for? Daily I give thanks for the people and things in my life which give it meaning. I hope you find the time to remember those who have touched your life. It enriches my life meaning. Emerson is onto something with this quote:
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
The United States is in a crisis, a crisis of fear. A motorcycle backfires and people run for their lives. The country has raised an entire generation of students who from K-twelve grade practiced active shooter drills. A sad reality and one we can change. There are common sense solutions and congress and the president need to act on this.
What I want to discuss is what you and I, every day citizens can do without any governmental action. Timber Hawkeye wrote, Buddhist Boot Camp. The following is a quote from the book: “You don’t have to agree with, only learn to peacefully live with other people’s freedom of choice.” It sounds so simple because it is. No heated rhetoric, nasty exchanges, and no violence. Walk away, for the sake of our children we must try. We change this one person at a time. Will you join me?
Woke up this morning to the news of another mass shooting. I’m numb, saddened by another senseless loss of life. The insanity must end. Until then, I talk with God and look for a way forward. Anita Krizzan states, “You don’t have to move mountains. You will change the world by being a warm, kind-hearted human being.” She’s right. I will not despair I’ll try to combat the madness.
How? I’ll send positive energy into the universe. Kind people are needed, generous souls to light our way in dark times. I’ll try to be one of many small lights. Will you join me? Together we can combat this madness with loving kindness.
Every day I walk my two dogs and while I do, I count my blessings. I go through the alphabet naming everything I’m grateful for in my life. It’s a daily reminder of many blessings. My boys are used to this practice. They say nothing as I mutter through the alphabet. Until they hear their names.
Their ears perk up and they look at me expectantly. Wondering why I spoke their names. The truth is, if the only thing I gave thanks for each day was them. It would be enough. Their antics are a constant source of humor. Snuggling with them makes me smile even when my eighty-five-pound Weimaraner sits on me. There’s nothing like the love and devotion of a dog… except possibly two dogs.
My black lab reminds me when I’ve been on my computer too long. He pushes my chair away from my desk and get’s in my lab. Refusing to get down until I leave my office. They’re an endless source of love and amusement. I will conclude with two anecdotal observations. My Weimaraner isn’t a good sous chef. A lesson I learned quickly after turning my back on him to put something in the frig. It became a meatless entrée. Then my lab, who like all labs sheds constantly. Never put your Chapstick on until after he says hello unless you like furry lips.
Life is how we perceive it. Our observations are based on what we’ve experienced in life. I came across an old Irish tale. It made me think about the world we live into day. People are quick to label and judge. Often with no sense of where another has come from. Judging people for how they dress, talk, act and all without any idea who the person really is.
“The Inspirational Story of a Rich Father and a Wise Son,” by an anonymous source. Touched a nerve with me. It beautifully illustrates the mistake we make when we label people. The people of the village in the story weren’t monetarily rich. Their richness was in their generous spirit, their connection to the land and the food it provided.
When was the last time you saw a clear starry night? Ate home grown tomatoes and vegetables? Do you remember how good they taste? Corn on the cob, there’s nothing sweeter. We had huge gardens when I was a kid. We grew corn, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers and scallions. I didn’t realize it then how blessed I was. Today, I’d give anything to taste those vegetables again.
Yes, we have walls to protect us and fences and alarms… the list goes on. What I wouldn’t give for friends to laugh with and count on. How about you? Thank you, mom and dad.
“If it’s going to be funny later, it’s funny now,” by John Rogers. The quote caught my attention and made me think. Why isn’t it funny now? I imagine at the moment the person is assigning all kinds of “what if’s” to it. Pre-judging what it means, rather than staying in the present moment. How many times have you reflected back and realized all the doom and gloom never happened?
I don’t know why it’s so hard to stay in the present moment. Do we not trust what we are seeing? It seems easier to second guess or rush to judgment. I think Rogers was on to something important. If it’s funny, laugh now. Enjoy the moment. It will all sort it’s self out. Life is serious enough. We need to enjoy living each minute of the day. What will come will come?
Since I retired, I have more time for reflection. Reflecting on my life and the twists and turns it has taken. Recently I read an article comparing the events of one’s life to a jig-saw puzzle. The point which resonated most deeply with me was taking one event in a long life and trying to make sense of it.
I usually do thousand-piece puzzles and I can tell you from experience if I looked at one, two or three random pieces they wouldn’t tell me a thing about the puzzle as a whole. This is important because often we label an event in our life as either good or bad. Time has shown me I was often wrong. What may or may not seem like the worst occurrence at the moment often leads to something much better over time.
Oscar Levant, made a similar discovery with happiness. “Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember,” Oscar Levant. I agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Levant. As a child I was too busy doing and experiencing. When I look back, I remember how happy I was. My take away from these musings is I need to reflect, consider and remember small slices of life don’t tell the whole story.
This morning I read the Sunday paper and an article on a San Diego veteran. He was seriously wounded in Iraq and spent a year in the hospital. He’s blind in one eye; can not speak above a whisper, and he’s paralyzed from the chest down. He has a wife and two children. He faces daily physical therapy and upon leaving the military will need new housing.
This veteran is someone’s father, brother, husband and friend. The story of his childhood, his high school sweetheart could be anyone’s story. This everyday hero could be your neighbor. An American willing to serve his country; so, we can be safe and secure. The price he and his family are paying is enormous.
He can no longer hug his children, play with them or support his wife. A sacrifice no one should pay. This loss needs honoring. Every veteran, first responder needs our respect and honor. Find another way to protest inequality or injustice. But, stand for our flag, the national anthem and these heroes.
Mark Twain’s wisdom is on point. He’s funny, wise and a man for the ages. I love his quotes on politics. “Suppose you were a member of congress. And suppose you were an idiot. But I repeat myself,” Mark Twain. Better yet, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, for the same reason,” Mark Twain. He was either a man for all ages, or politicians haven’t changed much in the last hundred years. Twain must certainly have channeled today’s politicians.
Add this to his life lessons and you have instructions to live by. He famously said, “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest,” Twain. My personal favorite, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” A lesson people would be wise to remember.
And if you need levity, “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company,” Twain. No explanation needed. Give Mr. Twain’s wisdom a look.
Today is Father’s Day and I’m reflecting on my father. He’s been dead for four years now. He was a good man. The older I get, the more I appreciate him. We were oil and vinegar in many ways. If he cheered for one team, I cheered for the other. What I’ve come to understand is I needed perspective. Much like trying to figure out a jigsaw puzzle by looking at one piece. There’s no flipping way.
My father served his country in WWII, raised seven children and inspired me with his work ethic and integrity. He didn’t talk about his time in the Philippines, still he carried it with him the rest of his life. Thank you, Dad, for serving. A debt we can never repay. I’m sorry you had to fight and grateful for my freedom because you did.
You taught me the meaning of hard work. Managing an Angus farm is a seven day a week, twenty-four-hour a day job. More than once you woke me at 0 dark hundred hours to help deliver a baby calf. I’m glad I could help. As a teenager I was less gracious.
Your integrity set the bar high for me. I learned from your actions. Right is right regardless of the situation. Thank you for demonstrating right from wrong every day by the way you led your life. I miss you Dad, but you live on through your children.