Out With the Old, In With the New?

Is there really anything “new” about a “new” year? I mean besides the obvious changing of the 12 month guard from one year to the next. Society acts as if it is a “clean slate,” that life resets at midnight on January first. What is really “new” about it? I challenge those beliefs.

When I woke up this morning, it was a “new” day, as are all days. December first was a “new” month, as are all beginnings of a month. This is the last day of December. I have the same choices to make today as I had yesterday and every day before that. The choices of how I will spend my time, what I will eat, if I will exercise, learn something new, be a blessing to someone, be a productive member of society, be a solution not a problem, etc. etc. So what is so special about the choices we will make on January first or every day this year? Nothing-nothing is special. We have the same choices and opportunities 365 days of every year (unless it is a leap year when there are 366 days).

What I did this morning, I will do tomorrow morning as a rule. Each day I try to do better than the one before-be a better human being, eat better, take care of my physical self, learn something new, make someone laugh. I don’t just commit to this on January first. Resolutions-“A firm decision to do or not to do something.” (Google dictionary). Many people have their “New Year’s Resolutions,” but if they are not daily resolutions, there is no need to declare them on January first as there is nothing magical about that day. I read somewhere that only 8% of “New Years Resolutions” are kept. How they did that study, I don’t know.

A few years ago, Amy Grant along with David Foster and Linda Thompson, composed  a song called “My Grown Up Christmas List.” Amy was the artist that I remember most singing it. The chorus went like this:

No more lives torn apart

That wars would never start

And time would heal all hearts

And everyone would have a friend

And right would always win

And love would never end, no

This is my grown up Christmas list

And verses two and three state:

As children we believe

The grandest sight to see

Was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree

But Heaven only knows

That packages and bows

Can never heal a heart-ached human soul

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth

Maybe only in our blind belief can we

Ever find the truth

“This illusion called the innocence of youth.” As children, we believe concretely. We have no concept of abstract thought. For instance, I believed that every child had parents that smoked and that both parents worked. I had no concept of what other families were like. That’s why children are so honest. But as I grew up and got out into the world, I realized that things weren’t always that way. Let me try to explain further.

My parents operated in the only fashion that they knew of, but as I recall, they never went any farther than their ingrained beliefs. Meaning-they were content to stay as they were-kind of isolated, kind of sheltered. They did a lot of things wrong. They made a lot of bad decisions, especially where my brother is concerned. I didn’t see it clearly until I moved out and lived beyond the bubble. Some people NEVER live beyond the bubble. They are content, just as they are-never changing, never growing, no matter the consequences.

What does this have to do with New Year’s you ask? This-Every day of my life since moving away from that, I have had to make choices. I gleaned from the good things from my parents and learned to cultivate new. They weren’t evil people-I was never sexually molested, burned with cigarettes, or left hungry in a closet. I was cared for, fed, housed, and most of the time got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of kids perceive in their childishness that “not getting their way” is rejection. I’m thankful for every spanking I received. It may have hurt my feelings at the time, but I got over it! My parents weren’t rich by any means. My dad made payments on a flute so I could be in the marching band. I can still see him coming home with that flute. My dad was a caring man. My mother was/is a hard worker. I hope that I have carried those traits into my adult life.

Here’s the deal: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (adult), I put the ways of childhood behind me.” -I Corinthians 13:11 (The Bible NIV version). I can look at their mistakes and learn from them (I have plenty of my own). I don’t keep referring back to what they may or may not have done to reference how my life is now. My life now is up to me. I have the choices to make every day. Did I feel rejected at times as a child? You bet! But I put those childish ways behind me. I didn’t keep using them to make people feel sorry for me. The past is the past.

Too many times, people give others the wrong impression of another person by slander. Yes, I said slander (The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation). This is often times done to make the professing person look really GOOD and pitiful to others.  Just STOP IT! If someone keeps dredging (bring to people’s attention an unpleasant or embarrassing fact or incident that had been forgotten) up the past, they are no more or less than slanderers. Again-just STOP IT!

YOU are responsible for YOU (and for minor children). Your parents are not responsible, your past is not responsible. Yes, there are things that sometimes need to be worked through, but your parents’ divorce, your bullying at school, your past treatment by an ex are not excuses for your behavior as an adult. Work through it. Get help. Do whatever it takes to become the best version of you. When you keep bringing it up, you haven’t gotten over it (think how many wars may never start if people would just do this one thing).

New Years. Every day is a new beginning in the new year. Resolute every day to stop blaming other people for your misfortune, your money woes, your health. YOU are in control!  This is MY grown up New Year’s list-for myself, for others. untitled (89)

May God’s blessing follow you ALL the days of your life!

Thank you and good day!

Stephanie

 

Living in the Present, Reflecting on the Past (Part 2)

Well, well. Here we are again. Thanksgiving is over & the holidays are upon us. Yes, I said HOLIDAYS are upon us because there is more than one holiday UPON US! I really don’t care if you say “Happy Holidays” or whatever it is that you celebrate, as long as you have the same respect for me. When it is Christmas, I will say “Merry Christmas,” that is, if I know you. Let’s be real-we do live in a “tossed salad” society where many do not celebrate the Christian holidays. Is not Hanukkah just as important to our Jewish friends? I will not get into a debate with anyone on the politically correct way to address the “holidays.”

So how was your Thanksgiving? It can be a sad time for some this time of year. Some have very little family and there are those who have strained relationships with their family. People find a way to get together if they really want to, whether it is a “holiday” or not. It just so happens that many people jointly have that day off. I can remember a time when hardly anything was open on Thanksgiving day except for maybe a grocery store or two until noon. One better make sure that they had all they needed for the “fixins” or they were out of luck!

Times have really changed. I guess every generation says that because nothing every stays the same. Would you really want it to? What about this? (photo credit-not mine)typing-class

I had typing 1,2, & 3 in high school and it is one of the things that has served me well in life. At my best (back then) I could type 90 words a minute, accurately. For some odd reason, they made us take a test on the old peck away typewriter. I flunked that test! The rest of the time we were on big IBM typewriters like the ones in the photo. Now we have “text speak” and voice to text. I would argue that one still needs relatively decent typing skills for any level of higher education. I can’t imagine writing a scholarly paper without it.

I’m on the fence with texting. I think it is a great tool to convey messages when you are short on time or just need a yes/no answer or vague instructions on something. What I LOATHE is when someone wants to have a conversation that way. If that’s the case-JUST MAKE A DAMN PHONE CALL! Texting is just another way of depersonalizing a relationship (my opinion of course). PLUS the message can be so misconstrued. 7bed52aeba266517a8f66f6cc37df2bf

The wind is howling outside my window as I write this. Such a stark difference from yesterday when it was sunny and low 50s. It was November 26, and I was able to hang clothes outside to dry-you know, on a clothesline like at the top of this blog. It made me laugh and saddened me at the same time when a little neighbor boy asked me what that was as he pointed to it. I use it all the time in warm weather. I guess it is becoming as much of an antique as I am! There is nothing like the fresh smell of clothes that have been line dried.

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I long for the simpler things in life. It seems that many things have gotten so complicated. Technology is a great tool when used right. It is also a bane when it screws up. Software updates are often a complete headache. Communication gets all out of whack when that happens. One of the things they stressed when writing research papers in nursing school was to “save and save often.” This was in case of a glitch so one’s hard work would not be lost.

Life is kind of like that. Life gets busy and complicated (many times by our own doing). We lose contact with those whom we are suppose to be close to. The software doesn’t get updated and things get all out of whack. The antiques are replaced and forgotten by the newer versions. Relationships aren’t saved and opportunities for memories are lost forever.

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One thing I’ve learned since turning a half century old is that experience is not just the best, but the ONLY teacher in much of life. Those who come after will have to learn that lesson too. I am what I am. Love me or hate me, I am the same with everyone. I will not treat anyone differently if I see them at a regular function or out in public when “important” people are around. I won’t put on a facade to impress people. What you see is what you get. I don’t/won’t apologize for that.

I like to run, and I like to talk about running. I also like to talk about history. If you like to knit, then knit. Whether it’s cooking, bowling, fishing, crafting, biking, mountain climbing, sewing, woodworking, weight lifting, whatever-do it and talk about it! Lord knows we are all SICK to death of politics. Post pictures, brag a little, share your story. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just be sure you are showing the same respect to others. Respect is a lost art. Imagine what the work place would look like if everyone truly respected each other and had good attitudes. Wow-Utopia!

The next few weeks will go quickly and Christmas will be here. It is the holiday that I celebrate. Then there will be the New Year and all the quirky resolutions. So to that end I will say, “Happy Holidays & a Wonderful New Year!” Now go out and make some memories and “save and save often!”

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Hope you haven’t been REALLY BAD!

Have a great December,

Stephanie

 

Ten Reasons Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

Today is November 15, 2017-eight days until Thanksgiving. Here is an impromptu list of why this is my favorite holiday:

Halloween Is Over. Sure it’s a cute “holiday,” but really isn’t a holiday as no one gets to take off work. No work days are ALWAYS holidays. As a nurse this is even more true. A day off in my world is a license to eat and rest and do whatever the heck I want! Even if that means eating left over Halloween candy.

The Election is Over. You’re probably wondering why this is in the number nine slot.Let’s face it-it was more entertaining than all of the Halloween costumes and fanfare. Some have yet to shed their devil horns though, and there are still clowns out on the streets behaving like pre-schoolers in a Toys R Us when their favorite toy has sold out.

It is Less Humid. For those whom this does not apply, look away. Heat is one thng, humidity is another, especially if you are a runner.

Nature is At It’s Most Beautiful. Let’s face it, Spring is pretty when things start to bloom out, but the weather is fickle and at times drizzly, and dreary and such. The colors of fall-Ah, God’s paintbrush at it’s finest!  _20161115_132519

 People Seem Nicer. To me, Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. Christmas lights come on, greedy sales start, and people are generally a little nicer contemplating getting their “feast” on. Happy bellies= happy people, or maybe they just pass out from eating too much and have no energy to be mean.

It’s Not About Shopping. Speaking of greedy sales- have you ever heard of a pre-Thanksgiving sale that starts say, in July? No, everything starts the eve of Thanksgiving to get ready for the “gimmies.”  You haven’t lived until you see a couple of women fight over a pair of $7.OO jeans. Does that happen with frozen turkeys? I think not! It’s the only major holiday not dependent on huge sales.

The Hungry Are Fed. People are generally more philanthropic. You don’t know what that means? Look it up. Suffice it to say, there are those who genuinely CARE that people get fed-the homeless, the shut-ins. It’s giving based on the basic human need of hunger & need, not the greediness of want.

Togetherness.It’s the only major holiday where people actually get together because they want to. Think about it-you can eat any time, anywhere. Although there are those who just “make an appearance,” and eat and run, people are at least forced to sit and stare at each other over mashed potatoes and gravy for an indeterminate amount of time.

The Mayflower

Memories. And my number one reason for preferring Thanksgiving over all others is because of the memories it brings to mind. I remember as a kid going to my grandmother’s house and stuffing myself silly and having “big belly” contests with my brother. Christmas seemed a long way off and everyone seemed to like each other. It became even more meaningful after having kids and starting traditions like baking sugar cookies. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pie & eating leftovers the next day-priceless!

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Son Ryan, 1990

The world is certainly a different place, or so it seems to me. Maybe we would all do better to look at things through the eyes of a child again, and make a wish while snapping a wishbone.

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Talk at ya later!

Stephanie

 

P.S. My legs are hungover from many weeks of racing…in case you wondered.