Let civility reign!

Civility ~ Let us consider this, before we speak or act.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Making the move....biter sweet

Life is full of change. I sometimes wonder how it all works, this life. Sometimes it seems to all make sense, like ducks lined up in a row. Life has fallen into order and all seems to be smooth sailing, until it’s not. All moves I believe are grounded with good intentions, a good reason, well thought out and for the best of all involved. No one moves because they’re out to make others miserable. It doesn’t work that way. However, moving seemingly pulls out every emotion in the books. I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m exhausted. I’m up one minute with nothing but dreams of a happy future only to be followed by moments of trembling fear of what the future holds. I often wonder why life has to be so difficult.

Talking with my daughter who is 16 about surviving the move has brought about some profound statements by both she and me. Her concerns are warranted and I find her insights about the future very thought provoking. One thing I find, I reflect on my past and how I felt at 16. Life for me was troubling and hard. My parents decided to divorce at 15 and the Home life I’d grown to feel safe and content in completely went to crap. My parents split, my mother moved three hours away, my sister withdrew, my dad disappeared. I remember sitting in my house wondering what happened to my life. I explained to my daughter that life in my opinion is a struggle with moments of confetti sprinkled in. I told her if I didn’t look for the beauty in life, I’m not sure I’d say life is all that great. In fact to be honest, I’d say it’s not. I’ve had moments where things that have happened would make me out to be a complete failure. Luckily enough things seem to happen in life that redeem us and lift us up enough to stand and try again.

I’m not sure what I’m saying applies to everyone but it sure applies to me. So while my heart breaks when I see my kids fall to pieces because the adults in their life have decided to move to a new town, and resulting for them, a new school, I try to remind myself that all I’m doing is for the betterment of their lives. The betterment of my life and that of my husbands. This move brings me closer to my mother and dad, my husbands dad and step-mom and my husband’s brother not to mention past friendships rekindled as we move back to our home town.

I hated saying goodbye to my home of 16 years when my parents divorced and soon sold my home. In fact, I told my children, I cried every time I drove by my home for years, upon years, upon years. But my memories are strong. My memories are something no one can take away from me, and for me, my home, no matter how long it has belonged to someone else, will always be my home. I hope they come to realize the same applies to their home. No one can ever take away the memories that were created in this home. While they tell me they grew up in this house, I must remind them, I know, I watched them grow up in this house. It shares many of the same memories for me as it does for them.

My husband and I know we’ll all have tears steaming down our faces as we say goodbye and drive away from our home but we’ll love our home until the day we die, just as I feel about my childhood home. We’ll be back to say hello and I’m sure we’ll sit and stare as the memories flashing through our minds like flash cards, as tears fill our eyes, but we’ll survive. I know we will.

It’s another struggle as we cope with emotions. God willing our new home will saturate us with new memories and new lives and new friendships and a closer family connection. If there is one very bright silver lining, we are not leaving the great state of Michigan. This is our permanent home. Wishing you all a blessed life with few struggles or at the very least, some cake and ice cream to go along with that confetti when things are going great. Love, hugs and prayers.
S.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Tuesday August 11th 2015 Column from the Petoskey News Review Outdoorsman's Wife Comes Around

I'll bet you've heard that marriage changes people for better or worse.  Or at least I think that's how the saying goes? Let me tell you a story.  I'm a very feminine girl.  I love scented candles, bouquets of flowers, accent pillows and the color pink. I love jewelry and nail polish, the smell of potpourri and pretty pictures hanging on the walls in my home and I'll admit I've come full circle with what I'm about to tell you but there was a time when I wondered if I'd make it all the way around.

You see, unbeknownst to me, I married an avid sportsman.  When I met my husband he lived in Atlanta Georgia and I knew he liked to fish but I really wasn't prepared for the outdoor enthusiast I would come to know, both after marriage and after our move to Northern Michigan.  I must admit, it never occurred to me why he wasn't hunting in Atlanta until he explained to me that living in the middle of a metropolis just doesn't lend itself to good hunting.  Go figure?

Once we moved to Petoskey Michigan things rapidly began to change.  For example, if we were running into town to do some light shopping, my husband would take us on a strange, roundabout way through the countryside to get there.  I'd think, "Why did he come this way?"  Only to realize he was looking for those turkeys I'd been hearing about.  To make matters worse, while we were in town he seemed to be hauling me from one sporting goods store to the next.  I found I was spending at least an hour or more a week watching him scan the hunting and fishing isles.  At times I felt like crawling inside one of those pre-assembled tents the sporting goods stores set up for people to explore and wondered if he'd realize I was gone.  I can't deny that I even thought about taking a nap in one of those tents from time to time.

At home he was reviewing state maps for available hunting grounds, reorganizing his hunting gear, cleaning out his tackle boxes and covering the table in colorful fishing lures.  Which by the way, if your husband asks you why you need so many pairs of shoes, ask him why he needs so many fishing lures.  Over the course of time I realized I wasn't even using the calendar on the wall to keep track of the seasons anymore.  Nope, I just needed to know what was, "In season," to know what season we were celebrating and where my husband might be.  I also found myself surprised as I began to anticipate each season with excitement.  I was coming around the circle.  Of course, if I saw my husband walking around with his bow, I knew the leaves would soon start to change color.  When he talked about sighting in his rifle, I knew the snow would be flying soon.  If he was setting his alarm to get up before dawn, he was meeting the guys to go duck hunting.  The pattern was endless and I'll admit, for years I didn't know what season, was when, but eventually I had it mastered.  In this I took a lot of pride.  Of course one time in a moment of hurriedness, I did make a slight fool of myself as I tried to wish my husband good luck before he raced out the door.  "Good luck bear hunting. I mean deer hunting. I mean duck hunting,.. oh whatever, "Good luck!"

None of this really bothered me, I mean, it did and it didn't.  No woman wants a deer with antlers roaming the countryside to be more desirable than she is but in Northern Michigan, it's inevitable and more than likely, it's going to happen.  So when did it bother me you ask?  Well, never really, I was still coming along the circle.  Remember?  However, when he started eyeing my home decor, that's when I started to get nervous.  One day he called me on his way home from as estate auction to let me know he'd picked up some beautifully framed art work.  "Great," I thought.  Until he revealed to me the pictures were of turkeys and ducks.

When our daughter was just 3, we woke to a beautiful snow-covered Christmas morning.  My husband handed a present to our little girl. I asked who it was from?  He winked at me and said, "Santa!" As the wrapping paper fell away and the box was pried open, out came pink camo pjs.  "How cute," I said.  "That Santa is really clever, isn't he honey?"  And so it began.  When our son was born the writing was on the wall.  "This is going to take us to a whole new level," I thought.  His first bib?  You guessed it.  Camo.  When my 8-year-old son asked Santa for a life-sized deer decoy I had to interject that I didn't think that would be possible for Santa to bring on his sleigh.  Of course my husband chimed in, "Oh honey don't be ridiculous, Santa can do that."  Sure enough on Christmas morning there stood a life-sized deer with a big red ribbon around his neck.

"Look dad, it's a 10 point!" My son said of excitement.
"Santa brought that down the chimney?" I said to my husband. "Wow, I'm sorry I missed that!" I said exasperated.

So as you can see, I was definitely being changed.  At times I thought for worse, at times I realized for better but I would be lying if I said being married to a outdoor enthusiast was a bad thing.  After all, there's never a dull season around here.  This kind of lifestyle is certainly full of surprises and very interesting days to say the least.  You'd like a, "for example?"  How about the time I had to help my husband haul those trapped beavers out of the woods.  That was certainly surprising, not something I honestly saw myself ever doing.

Each and every year sitting down at the table for his annual, "Game feast," is always interesting and surprising, for my taste buds that is.  But I did come full circle.  Surprisingly, I completed the cycle, and in the end you won't believe it but I'm happy.  My kids are happy.  Who knew being married to, "Mr. Outdoors!" Would turn out to be for better and not for worse.  Thank you Northern Michigan!  Your lush harvest of gaming lands, fishing pools and sunsets make life worth living.   

Thursday, April 5, 2018

My Column from July 28th, 2015 Found in the Petoskey News Review We Bought a Boat, just not that boat.

When we moved to Petoskey nearly 13 years ago, it wasn't long before I realized we needed a boat.  I started dropping hints about buying a boat with very little reaction from my husband. It was as though he couldn't hear a word I was saying.  One morning while we sat across from one another at the kitchen table, his head buried in the sports page, my eyes scrolled the classifieds for,... you guessed it, a boat.  I found one of interest.  
      "Here's one," I said.  "It's a runabout.  What's a runabout honey?"
Slowly, he lowered his newspaper and peered at me from across the table.  He said nothing at first, I smiled. 
     "Should I,...Google it?" I asked.  
     "A 'runabout,' runs you from here to there," he said.  Then up his paper went and he returned to his reading.  I sipped my coffee.
     "We should go see it.  They're only asking $600."
No response came from the man behind the paper.  
     "I'm going to call on it," I said.
No reaction, no movement, no objections from the man behind the paper.  Okay. Done.
I should probably mention to you, that I know nothing about speed boats.  I grew up on a sailboat, but that is another story for another time.  Regardless, I wasn't as concerned about the boat itself as I was about the cost of the boat.  If it cost too much, then my husband couldn't get too upset with me for buying one.  I told my husband, we're meeting this guy and his boat at the Crooked Lake Launch in an hour.  To which my husband looked at me in complete shock and said, "Seriously!?"

Off we went;  my husband, our 2-year-old daughter and me.  When we pulled into the parking lot at the launch I said, "Oh look honey, it's so cute."  My husband looked at me with the same scrunched up face he gives me when he holds his nose indicating we have a diaper to change.  His entire face looked pained.  "What's wrong?" I said.  "You don't like it?"

As our 2-year-old was strapped into her life preserver, we headed out of the launch and onto the lake.  It was cloudy, windy, and a little cold for June but who cares, we were boating.  This was our dream.  Well, my dream anyway.  My little girl and I fit perfectly in this boat, the two grown men, not so much.  I wasn't worried, I knew after we bought it, this stranger would be gone and then we'd all fit.

Moments into the ride my husband, like a drill sergeant, starts firing off questions at this guy about his boat.  "Holy smokes." I thought.  "Wow!" I thought.  Where's he been hiding all this knowledge?  I was both shocked and pleasantly surprised.  However, the answers coming back were slow and unclear and it turned out the boat belonged to the man's father-in-law who had passed away over a year ago and this poor guy had been saddled with the job of getting rid of it.  He knew nothing about boats.  Not this boat, not any boat.  As my husband was becoming less and less interested, it started to rain.  "Oh no." I thought.  "This isn't good.  My husband, already less than thrilled, is going to hate me if we end up soaked from head to toe," I thought.  

Just as I'm thinking these very thoughts, the boat motor begins to spit, and sputter and sputter and then, just like that, it croaks.  "No!"  I think.  I can't believe it.  Here we are, out in the middle of the lake, no cell phone, no whistle, no traffic going past to pull us in.  My husband and the guy move to the back of the boat to inspect the motor.  "Anyone bring an umbrella?"  I think.  No.  Of course not. Why would we?  My little girl snuggles into me even closer now and my husband, with an irresistible chance for a little humor says, "How about $50 bucks and I take this rig off your hands?"  

The guy looked at him confused.  Then to make things worse, my husband puts out his hand and says sarcastically, "Yeah, you pay ME the $50 bucks."  Now my husband is laughing hardily, obviously trying to make light of the crazy scenario at hand, or he's losing it, I'm not sure which.  I don't even care.  I'm giggling too.  Thankfully, a boater did realize we were just sitting motor-less, bobbing up and down in the rain helpless.  As he approached the boat, he said he would gladly tow us in, just throw him our rope.  What rope?  Nope, the guy doesn't even have a rope on board.  Lucky for us, our rescuer did.  As we're being towed into shore my husband, soaking wet and laughing, looks at my sympathetically and says, "Well honey, what do you think?"  I shrugged my shoulders.  "I think I just want to go home," I said.

Funny enough, we did actually buy a boat, just not that day and not that boat.  No, it seems my husband knew what I wanted more than I did and he found me our boat.  I'm a happy boater now and you know what, surrounded by this much water I was right, we needed a boat. 


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reflecting and thinking..... again....


I'm not trying to be depressing, I'm really not, it's just been that kind of day.  You know, the kind of day where you feel hum-drum.  It's gloomy out, it's a Sunday, and for me, Sunday's definitely have a feel. It's a quiet feel.  Some Sundays I feel like a nap is typically on the schedule but I haven't felt tired at all today.  Mostly I've been working around the house lost somewhere inside my head.  Little things pull me out of my head here and there but I've been caught up in memories today.  So much to think about, so much to think about all the time.  The world is one big thought provoking phenomenon. :)

During the holidays one thought came into my mind over and over like someone was hitting a tennis ball at me and I just kept slapping it back.  Here's what it was: Christmas memories are so lovely.  They are soft and fuzzy in your mind and they feel so good and so cozy, until you realize that it's all but gone now.  That was the past and those people, in some cases, are gone as well.  As a child I made wonderful memories.  My brain loves to reflect on the past all during the Christmas season.

The problem is, those memories can make me sad.  They can take me back to a place that is no more. They make me miss the past, they make me miss family that is no longer here and ultimately, I can get depressed.  That's the tennis ball being thrown at me during the holidays.  Then, I tell myself again and again, or rather, my brain tells me again and again that, "That was their time."  They were living in their time, enjoying their time, making memories and living life to the fullest.  While that time was my time too, in a partial kind of way, I was living their time with them and adding to their memories.  Those memories became a part of me, but if I don't stop this reflecting on the past until I'm suffering with depression, I won't be enjoying MY time and that's really all I have isn't it?  My time.  It won't be long and my time will be through, and I shouldn't  be wasting my time missing the past, I should be living in the present and looking forward to the future and thankful for the past!  This is the ball I keep wacking back. :)

Anyway, today has been one of those days.  Living in the past, reminiscing about the old days when life seemed easier. Of course life has never been easy and I know this, and I feel guilty that I know this is not good for me and yet the gloom outside makes it the perfect day to wallow.

My dad was thoughtful enough to make tapes of himself telling stories that I both knew and didn't know.  I have them.  Three cd's.  I played them today and giggled some, missed him a lot and wondered about life like I often do.  I think about age and my age.  I remember when my mom turned 50 years old we had a big party.  50! Wow! That seemed old.  I can't believe I ever thought that,50 was old, seemingly because I'm nearing that number now.  50 seems young.  It's funny because at 75 I've heard my mom say, "Oh 75 is young."  I suppose if I make it to 75 I'll be saying the same thing. I hope I make it to 75.

One final note and I'll conclude this post that seems to be all over the place, one time I talked to my dad about this suggestion or idea.  I used to go up to my dad's office at Ferris and I'd sit across from him at his desk.  He and I would discuss topics that ranged from school to sports, to life in general.  However, one day I said to my dad, "I realize now that you reach an age where you are who you are.  You are not going to change from who you were or are, you're still the kid you were, the high school-er you were, the college kid you were, the young adult you were, the adult you are, it's all you wrapped into one person, YOU.

At some point you just start aging, and that's all that's changing, not you, not who you are, not anything but your body aging.  You start to look older, feel older, walk older.  You have aches and pains, and problems that only happen because you are aging.  The rest of you stays the same.  So when I think of turning 50 in 4 short years I know I'm going to be thinking, my mom was so young, in mindI'm young in mind.  It's just a crappy number system that increases as our bodies wrinkle and our hair turns gray.  LOL  Okay, enough blah, blah, blah-ing.  I'll let you go now. Just remember, you'll always be a kid no matter how old your body is. You'll always be young no matter how old you look in the mirror and you'll always be special to many, many who love you.

xoxo
S.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My grandma Velma's letter on Death... brings a warm comfort somehow.


When you are older and have lost someone, you don't have to ask why.  You find yourself praying not so much for them as for yourself because it seems the only way to make contact, and gradually the tone of the prayer changes, at least it did for me.  I found it became less a cry of desperate longing than a prayer of loving release.  A message of blessing, a time to remember those I loved and to rejoice that they were safely in God's gardens.

You get used to anything, even personal loss, and you get used to the more and more frequent departures.  This relative, that relative, a close friend, another friend, a neighbor, a beloved teacher, your boss, ... You even get used to receiving that first shock, No! I can't believe it, ... not him! There seems no rhyme or reason so often, no special order, only that there are always more and more. Until after awhile it dawns on you how many there are. It must be getting crowded in heaven!  When you try to remember them in prayer, you have to call the roll but there is something actually joyful in the thought... they are not alone up there. They have "The blessed company of heaven." And quietly, steadily, all unseen, this procession of departures has been leading you closer to God.  At least so it was with me.  With everyone who leaves, I am being drawn, without knowing it, just a little nearer to the original source who designed their destination and my own.

For as surely as He sent me to this earth, He has given me a return ticket.  I know that one day I too, will be in that same procession.  I will join them, ... and the mere fact that I call their names in prayer, lifting them up, asking for them, peace and joy and all God's blessings, confirms the fact that they are there.  As I too, will one day be there.

Lord, dear Lord, I will hold fast to you and remember, you did not take lives but you received them.  How gently and how generously you received them. You did not will their going, but you accepted their return.

Written by Velma D. Clark at an older age.

My grandma was very close to the Lord. She was faithful to His ways and His words.  She suffered many great losses at this point in her life when she wrote this, but she always remained faithful to the Lord.

My mother gave me this letter recently, she knew I would find comfort in reading it. I typed this out from my grandma's hand written letter, on a double sided piece of paper.  I decided, others might enjoy it as well, so I'd share it with you.  I miss her, but I too know where she resides, and I believe it is in the house of the Lord. I give glory to Him and I too hope one day to reside there.

S.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trying to walk in the white light of goodness and kindness and acceptance

I'm not perfect.  I don't mind that I'm not perfect because I like to learn from my mistakes.  I also like sharing what I've learned with others, namely my two kids.  I think it's good for them to see me fail sometimes, proves their not alone in their failures.  We all fail, learn, and do things so much better the next time.  I learn something new everyday.  Sometimes I learn what not to do, sometimes I learn a new way of doing things, but learning everyday is how we continue to grow.

Here's the thing, I'm not sure what I learn watching television, or reading Facebook posts, or posts on Twitter are very trustworthy ways to learn new things.  I think the media can be so misleading, so judgmental, so unhealthy.  I'm not always sure what I hear is accurate and therefore I'm cautious.  It is so easy to be swayed these days.  It's almost as if we don't realize we're not thinking for ourselves, we are letting others tell us how to think.  When I catch myself spewing negative things I've read or heard, sometimes after the fact I replay what I said in my mind, in my voice and realize, this doesn't sound like me at all.  This sounds like someone getting sucked into the under-miners of the world.  How easy it is to let someone else's opinions speak for us all.  I think it's unfortunate and I wanna shake us awake.  Stop and think who you really are to your core.  Are you a good person, are you critical or judgmental of others, are you quick to judge.  I believe if you are, you've been swayed by the media and all other forms out there that inform us of what's happening in our world.

While I know we are not all the same, one thing we should all agree on is this, a human is a human.  Every human walking planet earth deserves respect and assistance if needed.  Our world is full of misfortune, hatred and despair.  While it's almost impossible to think that everyone could love their neighbor, everyone could learn to accept one another, I believe there's a large percentage that do or could.  We have to open our minds to the possibility that our attitude is catching.  If we are accepting and voice that acceptance, more will follow in our footsteps.  If we embrace one another, help one another and truly care for the human species, others will see our actions and follow our lead.  It simply takes everyone coming together and expressing so nonchalantly, so mindlessly our feelings of love, acceptance, kindness, helpfulness, to spread this wonderful humanity to all.  I hope our goodness can seep into the minds of those around us simply by being with us.  Simply by example.

Empathy is a wonderful concept and a wonderful thing to teach our children.  I work hard to ignore the hate I see on the news, the desperate who act out on innocence.  I try to find a way in my heart to understand the human species, understand the differences in thinking but I always come back to this, why can't we just open our hearts and find nothing but love, patience, kindness and goodness within ourselves, enough to spread across all we know, and make a difference in the lives of others that they too could possess and pass along as well.  I forgive often, I wipe the slate clean when I could hold a grudge, I don't think of ways to get even, I work hard to be the woman the good Lord made me to be.
Just thinking out loud again I guess.  Wishing so wholeheartedly that our society at large could stop spewing negative, angry, evil, views that turn warm  hearts into stone.  That take an accepting mind and turn it to stone.  I have so much hope for humankind, so many views of peace.  Peace is a good word, a word I often define as the best word that was ever made. Because with peace comes a calm mind, a calm heart, and a content human.  I wish you all peace today.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Because I'm lucky enough to write for the Petoskey News Review in Petoskey Michigan, I've decided to post those same stories here as a way to continue using my blog and providing readers with some new writings by me.

Life is busy and I'm terribly behind when it comes to my blog. I apologize.
Look for a story here soon. ☺️