Patience

Patience is that elusive fairy that taunts us by flying in and out of our reach as IT sees fit with no concern for our needs.

It is necessary in our lives to develop and nurture patience because we will need it in every area.  We will need patience in our social life. We will need patience in school. We will need patience in the work world and we will need patience, most especially, when dealing with other people, no matter the circumstance.

We each tend to believe that our way of thinking and our way of doing is the right way-perhaps the only way, but we would be mistaken.  In life, there is no 100% right way of thinking and acting with regard to everyday circumstances.

We all come to our decisions and our actions from our own unique perspective.  We learn from our parents, our teachers and our peers. All of this input guides us toward our own way of thinking.  To think that our way of thinking is the only way would be to negate all the input from parents, teachers, peers and even strangers that brought about our thoughts, opinions and actions.  So what do we do when we disagree with others?

We remember that we must allow others the same rights and freedoms we, ourselves, claim as our own. We must allow that everyone has an opinion AND the right to it.  Even when the next person’s opinion or action offends us or goes against the social norm, it is not our place to judge or condemn.  We must use patience.

Here, we can get into a deeper issue of what is socially acceptable, etc., but for the purpose of this article, we center on that basic thing that keeps us from ripping pillows apart and throwing remotes across the room.

Patience.

With patience, we don’t attack the other driver because they don’t know how to change lanes or park properly.  We remember to drive carefully and keep our eyes open. We remember that those people do, eventually, receive their due.

With patience, we don’t slap that coworker because they are lazy and leave work for everyone else. We remember that we must be responsible for ourselves. We must remember that our responsibility is to do our OWN job to the best of our ability.

With patience, we don’t assault our children because they are stubborn or disrespectful. We remember that they are simply finding their way as every child does. We remember they learn a great deal of their actions from us.

With patience, we remember that we live on this rock with billions of other people-each of us with our own personality, our own opinions, our own deficiencies, our own talents and our own mistakes.

Each of us must be allowed to be the person we are [excluding extreme behavior] without fear of judgement and condemnation.

Patience reminds us that we are all one family of humans.  Patience allows us to live together and patience reminds us that we don’t know everything. We do not know the future and we are not meant to be perfect.

Patience is the key to a calm life so take a deep breath, let it out slowly and move forward.

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Coping

Coping is one of the most difficult things we do and yet we do it every moment of every day. I have had the challenge of coping with major events many times in my life. Because of that, I was asked to write this article in hopes it might help someone deal with their own difficulties.

There are many reasons and needs for coping and I will attempt to explore a bit of this, but I will make one statement before moving on.

In your struggle against life, you now have a 100% success rate!! Think about that.  All the things which have been thrown at you, you have overcome.  It isn’t always easy, nor is it always pretty, but you have done it.  GO YOU!

In this entry, I am going to address coping with loss.   In recent months, I have had three friends lose someone very close to them.  Dealing with those losses have taken their toll, as loss always will.  I have heard others tell them that they will be ok because they are strong.  Yes, they are.  There is no doubt about that, but there is more to being “ok” than having strength.

When someone loses a parent, other family member or partner, they will go through a distinct process.

There are five stages of grief.

Denial

Anger

Bargaining

depression

acceptance

None of these five stages follow a set routine, in that they do not represent the same in each person, but they do show themselves.

Denial helps us to survive that initial shock.  We may deny the loss happened at all. We may deny the reason or we may deny that it is devastating for us.  There is always some manner of denial, but it is normal and, in ways, it is necessary.  The denial period helps us to adjust, as I said, to the initial shock, but then helps us to wrap our mind around what must be done and how our life must change. In some ways, denial is what allows us to move on.  We deny that this loss will overcome us.

Anger is a strong contributor to coping. It allows us to expend energies and emotions instead of allowing them to fester within us.  We feel anger at the loss itself. We feel anger at whatever reason for that loss and we feel anger at having to deal with it. We feel anger for reasons we simply cannot articulate, but it all assists in our coming to terms.

Bargaining is human nature. It can help us to find balance. In some cases, we make a bargain with whatever higher power in which we believe-‘make him/her better and I will devote my life to good’, or ‘don’t let them suffer and I will change my life’.  or ‘If you will help me feel better and get over this, I will do good things’. Other times, the bargaining is not even a conscious thing, but it is always there. The bargaining chips number as many as there are humans on this planet. We all have our own needs and thoughts about this area and our ‘bargains’ are as unique as we are.

Depression is when the emptiness finally presents itself.  We tend to be stunned by the sudden quiet once things go back to “normal”.  When we have lost someone close to us, there is the inevitable commotion as friends and family hover and help and offer their love and support. Those are wonderful things, but eventually, those people have to get back to their own lives which leaves us with our life, which is no longer ‘normal’.  Our normal changes drastically and we can’t always cope with that as suddenly as it is upon us-thus the depression.  This is completely normal to feel, but we must also remember that if the depression begins to overwhelm us and cause our daily life to suffer, it is time to talk with someone.  Just talking with someone can help us to see our new normal. Talking with someone can allow us to learn a new way of life.

Finally, there is acceptance.  This means we come to terms with our loss in our own way. We find what works for us in that it allows us to move on with life.  It does not necessarily mean that we are “OK”, because that takes time, but it does mean we are better able to see that our life has changed and we will adapt as needed.  This, too, is normal.

Many times, the person left behind can feel guilt at BEING left behind.  The survivor can feel they should have-could have-said, thought or done something differently.  All of this is normal human behavior in our efforts to come to terms and adapt.

Many times, the person left behind feels guilt at moving on-at living their life again.  It will take time, but you will come to realize you cannot put your life on hold because of your loss. The person you lost would never want you to sell yourself short or cheat yourself out of what life offers.

Losing someone is devastating, make no mistake.  It is not something you can get over quickly.  It will take time-the amount differs with each person and each situation-but you can move on.  You can find your way and you can have a good life.

Give yourself the time you need.  Never be afraid to talk about your loss. Those who care for you will lend an ear and a shoulder. And never be afraid to search out guidance in your journey back from your loss.  Sometimes all it might take is seeing another perspective to help you along that journey.

 

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Never Give Up

Four days ago, I reached a life long dream.  I had a book signing for MY book.  I wrote it.  It is published.  Those things are part of my dream, but the ultimate thing I always imagined was being able to walk into MY library {where I have gone since I was a little girl} and find MY book on the shelf.  Four days ago, that happened-sort of.

You see, the book IS in the library system. It IS technically there.  The difference?  When I went for my book signing, I was looking for my book on the shelf and it wasn’t there. Why?  Because it had been checked out!  MY BOOK WAS CHECKED OUT OF MY LIBRARY!  Nothing will ever replace that feeling. Nothing. Check that off my bucket list!

Throughout this experience, one thing has become very clear.  You must NEVER give up on your dreams. NEVER.  It is never too late to accomplish those things that are important to you. I am living proof.

I didn’t get my first college degree until I was in my 50s. And I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 60s, even though I have been writing my entire life.  I have published non-fiction articles, short stories and even had a small newspaper column for a while.  But my dream was to write a book.

This book took more than 20 years to complete-research, navigating life, you name it, but I stuck with it because it is a story that needed to be written.  It was deep inside me and had to come out.

But it doesn’t have to be a book. It can be any dream.  Never EVER allow life to stop you.  Your dreams might have to be put on hold from time to time, but never give them up.  NEVER.

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It’s About to be Out There!

One week from today, August 3rd, I will hold my first book signing! All my life I have dreamed of doing this. I have dreamed of a story I wrote being out there and available for others to read. I have read SO many books over the years and I always dreamed of my name being on a book and now that time has come. While it is a really cool thing to actually sell my work, I am looking more forward to having my friends join me for this event. That support is unbelievably important.
Letters to Sarah is the result of years of research and work. This book is just the first of a series where Mary, the main character, tells us-through her journal entries-about her family, her life and the world around her beginning in 1910. Mary and her family are, of course, fictional characters, but the history she relates about the world around her is true and real. It is OUR history seen through Mary’s eyes.
Each book in this series will cover a decade in Mary’s life and will remind us of events which have formed us as a people, a nation and a world.
With the publication of Book One, I find my emotions are jumbled and unsure. I wonder if all authors feel this way with the first book. It is an extremely surreal thing to have someone purchase a book I wrote and want me to sign it. For so many years, I have written short stories and articles,etc., and most of them have been for my own benefit and for my own eyes, but now my words, my efforts, my years of work are out in the world for public consumption and it is like watching your child go off to school for the first time or off to spend the summer at camp. They are away from you and out of your influence. My book is now in the universe beyond my control. It is out there for anyone and everyone to read and critique. That is a terribly frightening thing.
It is also what I wanted. I have stories and characters buried deep inside me just screaming to get out. Mary and her universe have found their way out.
As I said in the beginning, I have dreamed of this my entire life.
I began writing before I knew how. At 5 or 6, I would tell my Mother I needed to write a story. She would drop whatever she was doing, grab a pencil and paper and write whatever I dictated. I am sure it was no more than a sentence or two, but she did it.
Once I learned to write, it was off to the races. I never stopped writing. Over the years, I have written some truly terrible things.. badly written, horribly constructed, etc., but I never gave up my dream.
So, the message is that you must never give up on your dreams. NEVER. It is never too late. No matter what your dream, if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. I am now living proof.

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Published AT LAST!

Book One of my series, Letters to Sarah, has been published at last!!  It is available NOW on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and can be ordered through your favorite book store.

In Letters to Sarah, you will meet Mary Addison. The year is 1910 and Mary is 14 years old. She has an ideal life.  Mary and her sister, Sarah-who is 2 years older- are as close as sisters could ever be. They share everything.

But, suddenly, tragedy strikes-not once, but again and again-turning Mary’s life upside down.  How Mary copes with her tragedy is to write letters. In these letters, Mary tells us of her own life, but also tells us of our own history as it unfolds.

In this series, you will come to know Mary, her family and your own past.

-This is an easy read, and SO interesting. ~J.S.

-This book is not just for girls.  I love it. ~D.M.

-I already read it and there were tears. ~N.L.Letters_To_Sarah_Cover_for_Kindle

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I Think of You and I Wonder

I think of you each morning when I wake. I wonder what you would be doing, were you here. I think of you as I begin my day. I wonder how you would spend your day. I think of you as I prepare my breakfast. I think of you as I chop my eggs into tiny pieces. You did that for me when I was small. I wonder if you would remember doing so.
I think of you as I get dressed. I wonder what you would think of the fashions as they have changed over the years. I wonder if you would be into fashion. I wonder what are your favorite colors. I wonder if you would prefer heels or flats. I wonder what sort of purse you would carry. I wonder if you would wear perfume. I wonder what scent it would be. I wonder if you would dress up each time you left the house or would you be comfortable and casual.
I think of you as I go through the day. I wonder what you would think of the changes in our world. I wonder what you would think of who we have become. I wonder what you would think of our country and our leaders. I wonder if you would give it thought or if you would simply live your life and hope for the best. I wonder if you would have always been a stay at home Mom or would you have, at some point, had a job.
I think of you as I eat my lunch. I wonder what sort of snacks you would enjoy. I wonder if you would prefer sandwiches. I wonder what would be your favorite type. I wonder if you would still prepare food from scratch or would you have given in to frozen food or pre-packaged.
I think of you as my afternoon moves into evening. I wonder if you would spend time out of doors or would you prefer the quiet of your home. I wonder if you would have a garden and I wonder if you would plant vegetables. I wonder if you would have a pet and what it would be.
I think of you as I prepare supper. I wonder what you would prepare. I wonder if you would still make home-made noodles. I wonder if you would prepare ham and beans and cornbread with fried potatoes. I wonder if there would be sliced tomatoes on the table. I wonder if you would put a plate of bread on the table as you once did. I wonder what your preferred drink would be. I wonder if you would drink iced tea. I wonder if you would still drink coffee. I wonder if you would still cook for all of us. I wonder if our Sundays would be spent with you over a big dinner.
I think of you in the evening as I watch television. I wonder what you would think of television now. I wonder what your choices would be. I wonder if you would still watch soap operas-or your shows, as you always called them.
I think of you as I prepare for bed. I wonder if you would sleep well each night. I wonder if your mind would be calm and I wonder if you would be content. I wonder if you would mind that I called each evening to check on you and to be certain you were alright.
I think of you as I fall asleep. I wonder what you would think of me and the life I have led. I wonder if you would be proud. I wonder if you would understand.
I think of you when I look at my own grandchildren. I wonder at the relationship you would have shared with them. I wonder at the abundance of love you would have shown.
Most of all, I wonder what life would have been had you not been taken from us so long ago. I wonder if we would have felt more secure and confident to follow our dreams and talents. I wonder what we would have accomplished. I never, however, wonder if you would have loved us. I think of you and I think of how loved I felt. I think of you and I remember the security and the promise.
I wonder if I have passed that sense of love and belonging to my own children. I think of you, my dear mother, and I wonder…..

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More of the Same

It was a shock when things changed, but then it always feels that way. Especially when that change creeps up and takes you completely by surprise. This time, the change had been skulking on the edges for years until, finally, the catalyst came.
Normal life, for most people, consisted of work during the long daylight hours and community interaction in the short dusk hours. Sleep was generally taken quickly, but more was not needed. The people had heard of lands where people worked shorter hours and slept longer, but that seemed outrageous to the people. They had occupied their lives in the same general way for generations. This way of life worked well for the people and none saw reason for change.
Occasionally, one of the people would stray from the normal way of things, but were either drawn back into the group or they were cast out. This community could not survive members who uspet the normal way of things. This community derived it’s success on everyone following the same path. It was a peaceful and sufficient way of life.
But, as with all things, eventually change does creep in. Sometimes, the people were met with sudden change, as with the weather becoming drastic or if one of the people died without warning. But this time, none of the people saw it coming.
In hindsight, it was there all along. In hindsight, they should have seen it coming.
In the beginning, it was small changes in procedure. The basic laws of the community were changed in small enough ways as not to be noticed. Then, certain members of the community were slightly restricted in ways they lived and worked. Then, more of the community members found their basic rights restricted in even more ways-their everyday lives altered slightly. It was all so subtle that the people simply adapted without realizing they were doing so.
Finally, when the people had adapted to a point of no return, the culprit dropped the final bomb.
Bajal Komhinigh had been an assistant in the community for many years. She had assisted in every area and made herself necessary in many ways. She had quietly and systematically changed procedures for many departments without anyone realizing until she was the only one who knew the procedure and she was the only one who knew how to complete many of the necessary details for life in the community to move ahead as needed. This took Bajal several years of careful planning.
Now was the time, she felt, to reach her goal.
On this balmy evening, the community council was to meet and choose a new leader. Bajal was confident of her placement in that position because she had carefully managed the changing of the procedures and requirements until only she would be eligible. Bajal had to laugh at the ease of her work. She had never once been questioned or confronted on any of the things she did.
Confidently, Bajal entered the council chambers early. She carefuly placed all the seating in it’s proper order. She placed the evening’s procedures and schedule before each seat and then prepared the hot, dark drink everyone preferred.
As the people began to arrive, Bajal had completed preperations and was now greeting them all with her usual smile. She was greeted warmly by each of the people as they all saw her as a friend and a vital member of their community.
When the council meeting began, the subject of a new leader was addressed immediately. When the present leader began to ask for volunteers, Bajal knew her time had come. She stood and informed the council that simply asking for volunteers was not possible. She informed them they should check the laws. The secretary to the council glanced over the booklet to see Bajal was right. Only members of the community who had served the community council for a sufficient amount of time and had not previously held one of the governing positions could be considered. There were only two of the people who qualified-Bajal and Pritimer Sojank. Pritimer was of extreme age and never left his dwelling now. So it became a non-issue that Bajal was asked to serve as community leader. She, of course, accepted.
Bajal took her place at the council table and gave thanks for her new position. She then turned to the council and informed them their services were no longer needed because, if they would read the laws, she had the authority to dismiss all of them and run the council herself-alone. She was now doing so. She stood waiting until all 6 council members, stunned and unable to speak, stepped away from the table.
When everyone had settled in the gallery, Bajal faced the crowd of people.
She informed them there would no longer be community donation to those who did not participate in the growing and gathering. She informed them they were no longer allowed to leave the community without her express permission, and, finally, she informed them that anyone who broke rules in any way would be, without warning, detained in a locked area to be built immediately.
Bajal had completed the rewriting of the laws in such a way that anyone who opposed her or spoke against her would be guilty of breaking rules and would be imprisoned.
As the people quietly stumbled from the council room, she smiled. These people had been so easily led to their own defeat.

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