Showing posts with label From the Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label From the Heart. Show all posts

Sunday, March 28, 2021

3 Inspirational Songs to Sing When Your Spirit Needs A Boost


Today's review is about finding peace in a busy and often chaotic world.

When my soul needs a boost, I sing. At night, I'll play various lyric videos and blast out every word as loud as I choose.

I've long since stopped being self-conscious about it. My boys hear me singing all the time. I actually love that they hear their mother singing; I like to think I'm teaching them to be brave. It's also a way for them to see me making time to feed the soul.

For two years now, I've actively taken steps to balance in my mind, body, and spirit

For the body, I've lost over 60 pounds on Keto

For the mind, I've written nine books in a year, and for my spirit, I sing and listen to this spiritual channel on YouTube

No, I'm not superwoman. I turned 60 in 2020 and made a decision that, before that monumental milestone birthday, I was going to tick off some boxes on my 'get-er-done beyatch' list. 

So I stopped the talk, and walked the walk.

Today I'd like to pass along some of my personal choice lyric videos. Sing along, or just enjoy the words and message.

1. Don't Give Up on Me by Andy Grammer

This is a bounce-in-your-chair song. There's a section of lyric I use as inspiration to continue writing my riddle books. At 60, I'm just getting started, so yah, don't give on me. If you're viewing via mobile, the lyric video is here.
"Cause I'm not givin' up,
I'm not givin' up, givin up, no, not yet,
Even when I'm down to my last breath
Even when they say there's nothing' left,
So don't give up on me"

 

2. You Say by Lauren Daigle

This is one of the most famous Christian songs to reach number one on the Hot Christian Songs chart. It stayed there for 113 weeks, and that alone was a record. It also charted on the Billboard Top 100, Contemporary Chart, and the Mainstream and Adult Top 40 charts.

This song is my anthem for handing over my issues to a higher power. It reminds me what's possible when I let go and simply believe in a greater purpose. Mostly, it humbles me. I'm sure you've heard it. If not, be sure to listen; it's a gorgeous song. If you're reading this via mobile, the video is here.
"You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing,
you say I am strong when I think I am weak,
And you say I am held, when I am falling short,
and when I don't belong, oh you say I am Yours,
And I believe, oh I believe
What you say to me, oh I believe,
Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at your feet,
you have every failure God, You have every victory" 

3. The Most Beautiful Things, by Tenille Townes

When you need a song that reminds you of how small yet significant we all are, this is the go-to spiritual fix. This song is my universal remote for traveling away from earthly problems. If you're reading this via mobile, the video is here.
" So why do we close our eyes,
when we pray, cry, kiss, dream,
Maybe the most beautiful things in this life
are felt, and never seen"


Spiritual Medicine

We're all struggling in one way or another. I fight darkness with light. 

In 2013, the year my father died, I decided to find my way through darkness, fear, and especially over-thinking by learning more about what lives on when we physically don't. As mentioned above, it's this YouTube channel that guided me out, and I believe, through.

One particular video struck me with how dark energy (whatever you want to call it) tries to feed on us around the clock. We need tools in our toolbox to fight back. Repeating Psalm23 was one suggestion. You can select anything spiritual to repeat.

As soon as my thoughts tailspin into a whirlpool of 'what-ifs", I repeat Psalm23 in my mind. In fact, I've written it on a card and placed it near my computer. When darkness creeps in, I read the card. Sometimes I'll simply repeat the first few lines over and over until the dark path my thoughts were heading to disappears.

There's a saying that "95% of what we worry about never happens". With that in mind, I work to turn that 95% into positive thought.

Here's a video written and created by me in January 2020 to celebrate light and love. If you're viewing via mobile, here's the video link.



Blessings to you and your family for this coming Easter weekend.




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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Tracing Your Family Tree - Reviewing Some Genealogy Adventures

 Adventures in Genealogy - Discovering Your Roots

As Alice fell down the rabbit hole and discovered the secrets of Wonderland so a Genealogist can discover a wealth of addictive history while climbing along branches of the family tree.   My first adventures in genealogy began quite innocently enough and I couldn’t have predicted that it would stay with me for my entire life.


Alice Beatrice Gale - a sepia photograph of my great grandmother


I sometimes watch the television program – Who Do You Think You Are – where celebrities trace their family tree and it saddens me to think that some people don’t even know the names of all of their grandparents let alone further back.   I think knowing your roots helps in making you feel confident in yourself – it means you don’t feel alone because you know you have a family that goes back and out and you’re just a little twig on this solid oak tree!

My first ‘adventure’ as I referred to it before started in school where I was asked to make a family tree which I should just mention earned me an A (not that I’m bragging or anything!).   We were told to add ourselves, our siblings, our parents, their siblings and our grandparents and anything else we were able to.

The pretentious young girl that I was I made sure to add all of my grandparents’ siblings as well as the names of my great grandparents and while I was finding this out I made an amazing discovery – one of my great aunts had a marriage certificate that belonged to my great great grandparents.   I wasn’t allowed to take the original to school, but my dad let me get a photocopy to take in – I don’t know why this didn’t earn me an A+, but still!

All the photographs on this post are from the author's family and are used with permission - information on the people in them can be found at the bottom of the post.

 How to Start Researching Your Family Tree

Am I Descended from Royalty or is There a Criminal Mastermind in My Tree?

People want to trace their roots for a variety of reasons, years ago people would claim that their family were aristocrats – you just had to go back a while!   These days more and more people want to discover criminals in their backgrounds!   Whatever drives you to discover the people you’re descended from you have to start somewhere so where?

The first place to start is with the living – talk to your relatives, your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and find as much information as you can from them.   You might find that some aren’t very helpful and that’s often because of skeletons in the family closet and with older relatives, this was often to do with birth dates and marriage dates not quite gelling or ‘sisters’ turning out to be daughters!

When I was looking into my maternal grandfather’s family mum suggested I contact her godmother who was also her cousin (we were living in New Zealand at the time and our family were from the UK).   I was lucky enough that my grandfather’s sister was staying with her at the time and wrote to me herself.   I had never met any of my grandfather’s family as my Nan fell out with them after his death (when I was 6) so it was great to ‘discover’ a great aunt and I still have her letters today.

I had only asked a few questions, but she had not only supplied that information but more besides including a family mystery and a scandal and the most important piece of information - my great grandfather's name wasn't what I had recorded!   I had been looking for Richard Butcher, but he was actually christened Arthur Richard Butcher, he'd just used the name Richard since he'd become an adult.  

What to Ask Your Relatives?

The basic questions to start with are their first names and date & place of birth – if they’re married ask for their spouse’s names and the details of their marriage along with details of any of their children.
Next, ask for their parent's details along with any of their parent’s siblings – move on to their grandparents after that.

It doesn’t matter if you already have details from other family members as it can either help confirm the information or show a discrepancy – both of which can be very helpful.   You can also discover different stories AND you never know who the family secret keeper is.

There is always someone in the family (it seems) who remembers all the skeletons, hoards all of the photos and sometimes even possesses the family bible or other papers which are all great things to see (if not own) as a family historian.     This person is the family secret keeper and did I mention you’re now a historian?

It's the little family stories that we hear that add the foliage to our family trees.

Don’t be in a rush as you’re talking to your living relatives either as it’s amazing the little pieces of information that they may tell you about which help you to breathe life into the photos and/or names on your family tree.

I remember a few years ago I looked at how my family tree was progressing and I felt a little dissatisfied as they were just names on paper, I didn’t know anything about them.   I decided then that I would ask my parents questions about what hobbies their parents and grandparents had, did they have any idiosyncrasies about them etc.   I just wanted to build up some sort of an idea about who they were and a few of the stories that I’ve been told have really helped bring my tree to life.

Family stories also sometimes have a little grain of truth in them (after all the tales had to come from somewhere) and when you hit a brick wall you can try throwing out some of the information – I used a name that some branches of the family used with our surname and some had dropped that apparently had something to do with grandma (it hadn’t!) and also a tea plantation that the family owned.   Well I had hit a brick wall so I did a broad search for our surname with the other surname and I found a marriage between what would turn out to be two great grandparents – I don’t think a train driver owned a tea plantation though, but it was a help nonetheless.

 

Alice & Eli Read with children Edward, Lona & William - my great grandparents, grandfather and a great aunt and great uncle - genealogy through photos
Eli & Alice Read with children Edward, Lona & William

 Birth, Death & Marriage Certificates

Getting More Information on Your Ancestors

When I was first setting out on my genealogy adventures the advice was to get birth, marriage and death certificates on everyone and they’re definitely full of invaluable information.   Unfortunately this does get expensive which is where the internet has been invaluable in both providing free information on births, marriage and death (bmd) records and also in helping you get in touch with other people who are researching your family.

I’ve been able to share certificates & research with people around the world and we’ve all benefited by filling in different parts of our histories.

Now, what information is found on these certificates?   Certificates look different in different countries and can also show different bits of information.

Birth Certificates will show both parents’ names as well as the full name and date of birth of the family member in question.   Birth certificates can also show the father's occupation as you can see on the certificate below of one of my great grandmothers.

UK Birth Certificate of Lily Maud Mary DEAN my great grandmother
Birth Certificate of Lily Mary Maud DEAN


As with all the certificates different countries will supply different information for example on the New Zealand birth certificate that I have for one of my husband's relatives it shows not just the father's details but the mothers' names and maiden names as well.   I think that New Zealand certificates were designed by a genealogist myself!

Marriage Certificates show the names of the bride and groom as well as their fathers (and of course details of the marriage).   Other information shown can differ from country to country.   I've enclosed the marriage certificate that ignited the genealogy bug in me way back in the 80s for you to look at.

This certificate is too long for me to scan fully (a problem with a number of UK certificates), but I hope you like it anyway.   The date of the marriage was 31st Jan 1877 and as a schoolchild trying to wrap my head around the fact that it was only a little over 100 years beforehand and my great grandparents couldn't write was just mindblowing!

1877 UK Marriage Certificate between Robert Gale and Martha Parsons my great great grandparents
Marriage Certificate of Robert GALE & Martha PARSONS

When it comes to death certificates, most of the ones in my genealogy files are from the UK which shows the date of death, name of deceased, sex, age, occupation and cause of death.   I'm going to show you a scan of my husband's grandmother's death certificate here instead though because it's a New Zealand death certificate.

Like the marriage certificate, the New Zealand death certificate also has a wealth of information contained on it and really is a treasure trove for people tracing their family tree.

NZ Death Certificate - Clara Emily COX nee PEASE
Death Certificate for Clara Emily COX nee PEASE


This certificate can hold a lot of information and I love that surviving issue is included as it's not always easy to find all of the birth records when you don't know how many children a couple has had together.   Another part that is very handy for a country that's based so much on immigration is the question - how long in New Zealand.

The thing with death certificates, however, is that the information is only as good as the surviving family members know and as you can see her mother's maiden name obviously wasn't remembered (or known) by her family which is a shame.

Free Alternatives to Getting 'Official' Certificates

One site that I have used in the past is called FreeBMD and is great for finding UK ancestors.   It’s not a complete site but they use volunteers to transcribe records of births, deaths & marriages from 1837 throughout England and Wales.

http://freebmd.org.uk/

The drawback is that you don’t get the extra information, but it’s still very handy.   I knew the names of two of my great grandparents and by using freebmd I was able to find when they were married and in which district which meant I could send away for their actual marriage certificate.    This was incredibly helpful as I had no idea when they were married.


Parish Records are another way of finding out information and if you’re researching for family in the UK then some counties have an Online Parish Clerk which is fantastic.   Different counties have different resources available online and some of the clerks will actually do a little digging for you if a census (for example) hasn’t been fully transcribed at the time.   Of course, these positions are voluntary and every clerk is different with different work loads etc.

I’ve used the Dorset OPC site and found it really great, other OPC sites haven’t had the information I’ve wanted for different family members, but I have only viewed a few of them so the best thing you can do is to Google county (the one where your ancestors are from) online parish clerk or opc and you’ll find the right page for you.   Be sure to check the counties on either side if you don’t find the information you need in the county you thought they were in.   A couple of different family lines of mine popped into neighboring counties for a few years here and there!

Arthur Richard BUTCHER & his daughters - adding faces to the family tree
Arthur BUTCHER & daughters

Census Records - A Family Historian's Goldmine

Material a Genealogist Can Get Their Teeth Into!

As well as parish records you can look at a lot of census records for free – UK census records anyway.   I use a site called FreeCen for a lot of my research – they’re run by the same people who provide us with FreeBMD that I’ve mentioned before.


For my Dorset relatives, I don’t have as much luck with the site however and I tend to go to the Dorset OPC as they have some of the early census returns transcribed so be sure to use both resources.

It can be incredibly handy to trace the family using several resources and the census is great for this, it even helped us to take our family tree up a few more branches on one line.   The moral to the story is to take note of all members of the household listed as if one disappears you can search for their name and you might discover them staying with other relatives – it happened on one of my adventures which I talk about under the 'putting the family tree together' section.

Army Records

Another Way of Tracing Your Family

If you have an ancestor who was in the army then I would recommend you get their army records as they can have some great information in them.   It seems as though every regiment holds different information - in the case of one of my grandfathers I received about 5 pages worth from his regiment, but with my husband's great grandfather we only received a single page.

Both regiments provided the age of the soldier when they joined up (be aware that at certain times in the past this was lied about and not always checked by officials!), where they joined up to (this can be handy if you want to know where they were living at the time) and their occupations at the time.

The records will also usually show identifying marks on the body such as scars and the fact that great grandfather had a tattoo before he joined the army!   The records also show where they were stationed - one of the regiments had very little on his actual duties except the place where his regiment was stationed for the time he was in there.

Another regiment's records had a lot more information, including how much time of service was spent abroad, what battles he participated in and medals awarded.

Let me tell you how using army records gave me the first break in tracing one part of the family tree ......

Putting the Family Tree Together

Being a Family Detective

My daughter doesn’t know why I like history, but I think of it as being a little bit like a detective which appeals to her a lot more.   When you’re researching the family history it really is like being a detective as no one (unless you’re extremely lucky) has written a number of books on your family for you to use as research tools.   Instead, you have to look at things like certificates, census returns and other records.

Let me tell you about how we tracked our family back a couple of generations by using free records.

My husband’s great grandfather had served in the army, but we had no idea what part of England he had originated from (we just knew he ended up with his family in New Zealand).   He was buried in a returned services cemetery and his regiment was listed on his grave so I wrote them an email and got his records sent to me.  

On his records, it included where he enlisted to along with his age and trade.   He joined the army in 1904 so I took a chance that he’d be living in the same area in 1901 and looked at the census and there I saw him living with his widowed mother and some siblings.   Looking at the census for 1891 I found both of his parents, himself and some siblings – one sibling was missing so I searched for him as well.   I wasn’t really expecting to find him, but I did and he was listed as a grandson which gave me the (possible) maiden name of great-great-grandma.   Armed with this information I then looked for a marriage using the ‘new’ name in the family tree and there it was!

Another generation discovered and another name to add to a branch of the family – always remember to keep track of siblings along the way.

Other reasons for keeping track of a sibling’s name is to make it quicker to find the family on census returns, let me give you an example.   On one side of the family, my direct descendant is called Richard a fairly common first name, but he had a brother called Twentyman which isn’t so common so if I were to search for census returns I’d look for his brother’s name first to find the household and hope they were both at home together on census night!

More on Military Records in Genealogy

  • USA Military Records
    Now I haven't used this site as I don't have any ancestors in the US (that I've found yet anyways!), but this site is part of the National Archives and tells you how to go about researching your genealogy in military records.
  • British Armed Forces Records
    If you have relatives that served in the British Armed Forces then this is one site to start looking on. I actually just Googled the regiment when I was looking for records and my father got the other records so I'm not sure how good this site is, but it's at least a stepping stone.

Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN - an old grainy photo of a great great grandfather born in Denmark 1829in
Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN


Eek! I've Got the Wrong Surname!

Adventures in Genealogy Sometimes Have Unexpected Twists

Genealogy 101 says you need certificates and this makes it quite an expensive hobby, I have often bypassed the certificates and used parish records, census records and other free online resources to trace the family tree, but occasionally that can backfire!

I had been tracing my husband’s paternal line and I couldn’t find his grandfather’s birth details anywhere – apparently, he was born in India, but I couldn't find any birth details of anyone by his name at all.   Luckily my husband’s great-granddad lived with his family for a while and was buried in the cemetery in his hometown.   He had been in the army so I took the name of his regiment from his gravestone and wrote to them – army records can be an invaluable source of information for family historians.   What I found in these records enabled me to trace his family back a couple of generations, but I still couldn’t find granddad even with the dates that great-granddad was serving in India to go on.

I hadn’t looked at this side of the family for a while and decided to do another search for him along with another surname which I know had something to do with the family – it wasn’t further up the line as far as I’d gone, so maybe it was great grandma’s name.   Hello, I found the marriage – they were married in India a month after he left the army, but the timing of the marriage didn’t gel with when my husband’s grandparents were married (grandad would've been too young) – things were getting murky.

Looking at the details of the marriage it noted that great-grandmother was older than great-grandfather and also a widow.   Just for the heck of it, I decided to search for grandad using her former married name and there he was – turns out the great-grandad that lived with the family and who everyone loved (grandad wasn’t let in the house – long story) was actually step great grandad so the family tree I’d been tracing didn’t actually belong to the right family :(

Now what was I told was genealogy 101?   That’s right – get certificates!

Sepia photograph of Edward Arthur Read my grandfather
Edward Arthur READ

Genealogical Links

Great Links to Help You Trace Your Family Tree

This free family search website is really good and I've recently had a lot of luck with their Indian data (this has obviously been updated since I last looked for this branch of the family).

  • Access Genealogy - Great for US Genealogy
  • If you're tracing family in the States this looks like a great site. I don't have any family lines in America, but I like the look of this site and I especially like the cemetery transcriptions - they are really handy.

  • Find My Past
  • This is a site that I have used in the past even though you do have to pay, I found quite a few records on one side of my family which made it worthwhile for me. There is also an American site available too which has a good reputation.

    Photographic Stars - Names & Dates

    Historic Photos From My Family Tree

    I hope you've enjoyed the family photos I've included in this article, but what if you think some of them look familiar or you just recognize a name?   Well if that's the case here's information on them and if you think there may be a family connection feel free to send a private message to me via Facebook.

    Introduction Image

    The image in the introduction is of Alice Beatrice GALE born 11 Oct 1884 at Loders, Dorset, England.   Alice was one of my great-grandmothers.

    Eli & Alice READ with children Edward, Lona & William

    This image is of Eli Reuben READ born 01 Jan 1879 at East Coker, Yeovil, Somerset, England along with his wife Alice (the same lady mentioned above) who were married on 14 Jan 1904.   They had eight children and are pictured with three of them from left to right they are - Edward Arthur READ (born 07 Sep 1907), Lona Frances Emily READ (born 21 Jul 1904) and William George READ (born 18 Dec 1905 ).

    Arthur BUTCHER and daughters

    This image is of Arthur Richard BUTCHER born 30 Nov 1873 at Caterham, Surrey.  He was one of my great grandfathers and is pictured with his daughters at a wedding.   The daughters are from left to right - Queenie Etta (born 19 Sep 1918), Constance Christina Winifred (born 17 Sep 1914), Mabel Beatrice (born 11 Feb 1898) , Eirene Hilda Dorothy (born 19 Sep 1899), May COMPTON (half sister) Gladys Kathleen (born 23 Apr 1906), Gwendoline Dorcas Joyce (born 27 Apr 1916)

    Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN

    This image is of Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN who was born 3 Dec 1829 at Tommerup, Funen Island, Denmark.   He was one of my husband's great-great-grandfathers and emigrated to New Zealand in 1874.

    Edward Arthur READ

    This image is of Edward Arthur READ (the same person in the photo with his parents Eli and Alice) who was born 7 Sep 1907 at Loders, Dorset, England.   Edward was one of my grandfathers although I never got to meet him as he died before I was born.

    I think photographs really help bring your family tree alive, but unfortunately, some of them can be in disrepair.  I've come across ones that have been ripped, covered in age spots and more.   I did write a post about removing blemishes in photoshop if you have some old photos that do not look their best.

    Are you interested in tracing your family tree?








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    Sunday, January 24, 2021

    His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story



    I've had the privilege of reading and reviewing many short stories by friends of mine. Being a writer of poetry and riddle books, I've never tackled a fictional short story online. As a young girl, I wrote many. However, as an adult, nope, never fictional.

    Fiction wasn't my thing. Maybe it's this whole getting-older-stuff that gets us stepping out of our comfort zone? That's exactly what propelled me to write and publish my first poetry book in 2019, and since then, six riddle books. For some unknown reason, I had and still have a sense of urgency.

    I blame time for my bravery to try new things. Time is knocking on my door, and my sense of it passing by too quickly is front and center these days.

    So today's review is about jumping in and doing that one thing you've been hesitant to do. For me, it's writing a fictional story. So judge away, lol.


    His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story by Barbara Tremblay Cipak

    His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story About Love and Light

    She stood at the bottom of that radiant sun-soaked hill sobbing from a pain that she didn't fully understand. 

    This kind of suffering was beyond anything Kathleen had ever experienced.

    It hurt more than when her father unexpectedly died in his sleep from an unknown heart condition when she was only eighteen; and even more than her mother's difficult passing from dementia three months ago.  

    At the top of that hill, Kathleen could see Jeffrey, dressed in a lovely black suit. Her heart could feel his soul as if he were still that precious two-year-old rusty haired boy she rocked to sleep every night for years. She wondered how he grew up so quickly into the dapper twenty-year-old she was looking at today.

    Kathleen could see Jeffrey comforting his sister. Holly's strong independent nature couldn't console her on this day. At eighteen, Holly needed her brother's shoulder. Kathleen was grateful that her children were there for each other.

    Then it hit her. 

    Kathleen suddenly realized why she was feeling this indescribable pain. Her children were grieving, and she could feel every part of their anguish. The tears she cried were a combination of all her love, as well as theirs.

    Kathleen remembered how it happened, how she died. 

    Two weeks ago, life took a turn that led her to the road she was on today.
    _________

    It was a bright, beautiful Tuesday. With spring in full bloom, she remembered feeling like anything was possible. As she headed downstairs that morning, she had an unexpected moment of knowing that everything would be ok. It was so profound that it stopped her on the steps. She paused to inhale the gift and felt fortunate to be in tune with something that always felt personal to her, something cosmic.

    While sitting in her kitchen, waiting for nothing, Kathleen was enjoying a fresh cup of morning coffee. Life had always been a struggle, but Kathleen managed to find rays of sunshine. She called them 'her moments of bliss.' 

    Being a single mom, she tried hard to maintain an uplifting attitude. She couldn't afford to slip into hopelessness. She often said, 'my children save my life every day.' To her, that was the greatest gift, and being a good mother was the least she could do for what they gave to her; hope.

    Doing everything and expecting nothing had been Kathleen's motto. "Just do," she used to say; the rest will take care of itself.

    While sipping that coffee, her phone rang. It was a number she didn't recognize and almost didn't answer. But being a believer in chance, she thought maybe today good luck would shine upon them and send the money they desperately needed for Holly's medication. 

    Holly suffered from a rare auto-immune disease and required expensive anti-inflammatories to keep her frequent seizures under control.  

    She answered that unexpected call.

    "Hello, Kathleen speaking." 
    "Hi, is this Kathleen Summers?" 
    "Yes, it is."
    "Hello, this is the office of Brander and Dorval. We handled your father's Last Will & Testament."

    Kathleen was confused. Her father didn't own anything; he didn't have anything. How could there possibly be a Will, and why would someone be contacting her thirty-seven years after his death about a Will!

    "What?" Kathleen said sharply

    "Yes, there is a Will, and Mr. Brander needs to speak to you about it. Could you come in today, how's 1:00 pm?"

    Although nearly speechless from shock, Kathleen agreed. 

    Kathleen could hear both her kids shuffling upstairs as they readied themselves for their day. Jefferey loved animals and worked to save money to go to school to become a Veterinarian. His determination alone woke him daily for his job. Never late, always dependable. That was Jeffrey.

    Holly never let her health stand in her way. She was about to finish her last semester of High School. Her curiosity about her auto-immune disease led her to want to study within that field. Maybe a doctor, perhaps a researcher; she hadn't figured that out yet.

    Kathleen was proud of their determined spirit. It hadn't been easy for them; lack of money was always the mountain they had to climb, but her kids never let that stop them from dreaming. 

    Kathleen headed upstairs to ready herself for her unexpected appointment and let the kids know she would be out for the afternoon. She didn't tell them about the strange call since she wasn't sure it was real.

    Hugging both kids as they left for the day, Kathleen reminded them she wouldn't be working from home this afternoon, and not to worry, she had an errand to run. "Love you both," she shouted. "Love you back mom, bye, have a great day!"

    The Law Office was grand. This company had been in business practically forever. As she walked into the ornate building, she wondered how on earth her father could afford this caliber of a lawyer. "Nah," she said to herself, "This has to be a mistake."

    A lovely, tall, dark-haired lady led her into Mr. Brander's office.

    Mr. Brander proceeded to introduce himself and encouraged her to take a seat. 

    Kathleen exclaimed, "this is a mistake; you must have the wrong Kathleen Summers."

    "I'll get right to it, Ms. Summers." He pulled out a large brown envelope. Inside the envelope were instructions given to the law firm.

    Mr. Brander pulled out a photo and asked Kathleen, "Is this your father?"

    Almost fainting, Kathleen nervously answered in question format, "Yes?"

    "Ms. Summers, your father left you an inheritance, not to be opened until this day."

    Mr. Brander proceeded, "In these instructions, we're asked to give you this black notebook along with this key."

    Mr. Brander informed her that the key was to a safety deposit box at a bank not too far from here and that he would have to accompany her to access the box. However, she would have to read what was in the black notebook first, as those were her father's instructions. 

    "It's private, only for you." Mr. Brander led her to a boardroom where she could quietly process the unexpected gift that was left to her thirty-seven years ago. 

    Kathleen opened the cover.

    "To my darling Kathleen and her children."

    She gasped out loud, "how was that possible!"  She hadn't had children when her dad had died. 

    She turned that first page and began to read.
    __________

    My Dearest Kathleen:

    You have the same gift I do. From the moment you were born, I knew within you was the gift of knowing. You always seem to understand that in the end, everything would be ok. 

    From as far back as I can remember, maybe back to when I was two or three, I could see significant events coming next. Everyone else calls it psychic; I call it life. I don't know why or how I have this gift, but it is a part of me. 

    I'm writing this letter because, in less than a week, I'll be gone. I know I'm destined to die in my sleep. Rest assured, it will be from natural causes. You'll later find out I had a heart condition. I've seen several doctors about it, but all tests showed nothing substantial. However, I know I won't live. It's the same knowingness you carry about life.

    You'll have two kids, and I know one of them will have a medical condition. I can't tell you any of this now, at eighteen. You wouldn't understand or believe me. But mostly, you don't need to know about this blessing and burden at such a young age. So I decided to handle things this way.

    My grandchildren needed to be taken care of, so I started early in life making sure they would be alright. You'll eventually understand why this is so important and why I did things this way.

    Go with the lawyer to open that safety deposit box. Please pass all its contents along to your children. I promise you; it will eventually make sense.

    Love you more than you could  know - until we meet again,

    Dad
    _________

    Kathleen felt both grateful and fearful, but a part of her was angry. 

    "Why would dad leave something for children I didn't have and never think to leave things to me?" She wasn't jealous about the gift for her kids; she was baffled. 

    Mr. Brander opened the boardroom door and asked her if she was ready to go to the bank. On the drive there, Mr. Brander informed her that her father and his father had been good friends and that it was his father who initially worked on her dad's Will. "Before my dad died, he filled me in on your dad's wishes and the Will our firm was holding for you," I promised him I would take care of it when the time came.

    Inside the little room, and in her father's lawyer's presence, Kathleen opened the safety deposit box.

    There were two large brown envelopes.

    Printed on one envelope was "Open this one first," and on the other, "Open this one last."

    Kathleen opened the first envelope to find another letter from her father.
    _________

    Dearest Kathleen; 

    To help your children, my grandchildren achieve their purpose in life, I've taken steps to ensure they would have the resources they needed to achieve their goals and complete their contribution.

    You'll find in the next envelope that I've invested $20,000 in a safe stock portfolio held by this bank. By the time you open this letter, it should be worth between 140,000 and 200,000 dollars. The bank can help you with those details.

    Please ensure your children get all the documents and my letters.
    __________

    Kathleen felt more than loved. She began to get that cosmic sense she was accustomed to, that there's still more to this story. It both scared her and comforted her.

    Mr. Brander handed her all the documents, including the little black notebook with her dad's initial letter, and they hugged and parted ways for the day. They planned to meet at the bank in the coming days to establish the value of the inheritance her father left to her children.

    Kathleen arrived home at about 5:00 pm. Both Jeffrey and Holly were preparing dinner. "Hi, mom," they cheerfully blurted. "Where were you?"

    "Well, you aren't going to believe my day; you both better sit down." Kathleen then proceeded to tell them the entire day's events.

    The kids were beyond shocked. Like their mom, they were a bit confused about why their grandfather would wait all these years to give them this inheritance and why it would go to them. 

    Later that night, as they were all preparing for bed, Kathleen hugged both of her kids, told them she loved them, and said, "Let's sleep on it tonight; maybe things would be clearer in the morning."

    Kathleen died in her sleep that night.
    __________

    She understood the purpose of her father's Will now. As she stood at the bottom of that hill watching her kids at the top, she knew they were visiting her grave. She noticed something tucked under Jeffrey's arm; it was that little black notebook.

    Suddenly Kathleen's tears stopped, and beside her stood both her father and her mother. Her first words were, "Mom, you knew all this time." "I did, dear, I always trusted your father's gift of knowing. We both planned this for you.

    The three of them walked towards the children at the top of the hill. As they stood beside them, they heard Holly speaking. "Thank you, mom, for all you did for us. Grandpa's $20,000 investment is worth over $300,000 today. That's enough for Jeffrey and me to go to school. I'm going to be a Doctor, mom, and Jeffrey is going to be a Veterinarian. We promise to make you proud.

    Kathleen, with joyful tears, had no doubt they would.

    Kathleen's father let her in on the biggest secret of all. "Do you know why we did this?" Kathleen answered, "Yes, to help the kids achieve their dreams." 

    Her dad said, "That was one reason, but not the main reason. Holly will be part of a global discovery on how to help those who suffer from auto-immune diseases. It will be the breakthrough of her time. She's going to help a lot of people. And Jeffrey won't just be Veterinarian; he's going to be a major contributor to one of the largest animal rescue facilities in the country."

    "And you knew this when you were little, dad?" "Yes, I did," he replied.

    "How?" she asked. "I don't know, we all have a gift; we just have to open our minds to see it and believe it.

    As Jeffrey and Holly walked away, Kathleen asked her mother and father, "where are we going now?"

    "Home Kathleen, we're going home."

    __________

    I had originally written this story to enter a contest but then decided against it. So there you have it, one more step outside of that familiar comfort zone.

    Have you ever stepped outside of your comfort zone?





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    Sunday, December 27, 2020

    What is Faith? As Seen Through a Personal Life Journey

    What is Faith? As Seen Through a Life Review

    Challenges, endless challenges, or so it seems. Then without warning, there it is, light.

    This article isn't meant to be preachy. My life is as imperfect as everyone else's. What's different now is the feeling that my soul is on track, on the right road to home. It doesn't mean life is always easy, although I'll take that if it happens, only that living in the light helps to make sense of it all. I actually wrote a video poem about that very thing; Living in Light.

    My family's challenges and what I've had to witness as a mother, wife, daughter, and friend should have broken me. When I reflect back, I see clearly, that instead, it made me. 

    Each of us has our own bridge to peace, to inner calm. What I've learned along the way is that faith means many things throughout life.

    FAITH - The Long Road Home - What is Faith? 

    • Faith is the belief that, in the end, everything WILL be ok: I believe that to the core of my being, I know this to be the absolute truth as sure as I breathe.
    • Faith is losing it all and having to start over again, and you do.
    • Faith is holding on when your heart has been torn to shreds, and you realize, even with that terrible pain, you've kept the most sacred thing you have safe in your heart. Love. You still love, you still can love. That horrible pain didn't steal anything from you - you discovered it couldn't.
    • Faith is being able to let go and forgive when you've been betrayed and disrespected. You're still able to look beyond your own pain and assess the situation from the other person's perspective and flaws. You don't forgive for brownie-points; you do so because it's the only road to peace for all parties concerned. You hold on to the faith that the person who hurt you will grow, for their own betterment, not for yours. Whether they do or not, you love them anyway.
    • Faith is a thousand prayers you've repeated in your heart and mind for your children. You watch them grow, and your heart fills with incredible worry for them until faith steps in to remind you that 'in the end, everything WILL be ok.'
    • Faith is watching someone you love step back from the edge of addiction, and save themselves. The hardest thing in the world is bearing witness to something you have no control over. Along with a shoulder and helping hand, the only thing you ultimately can have is faith.
    • Faith is watching your child drive away into their future endeavors. Your heart goes with them, and faith keeps you strong.
    • Faith is working your way through a life long disease and still believing that 'everything will be ok.'
    • Faith is when your children, even as adults, deal with sickness, and you still find faith, even through helplessness and tears.
    • Faith is watching your friends battle cancer. Knowing you can't take away their pain, you pray, and you keep the faith for them.
    • Faith is creating something, never knowing if anything will come of it, but you do it anyway.
    • Faith is seeing your father's face in the casket and knowing, within the depths of your being, that he isn't in there. That his body was truly a temporary home. That he is standing beside you as you cry. That he hasn't left. Faith is the gift of total understanding that we live on. My father sealed that faith. I was raised with the belief in an afterlife and always had that belief. However, when I saw my dad's face in his casket, it was as though a bright light of knowledge filled my heart. I knew for certain that he was still here, that his body was just that, a body. His soul was still very much alive. I felt it. I still feel it.
    • Faith is holding on so tight to your mother as she ages and lives without your dad. Your heart belongs to her in a way that nobody can truly understand. It's personal between you and her, and you love her so much that the only thing that erases worry is prayer and faith. I wrote this for mom a long time ago, and it's still how I feel.
    • Faith is losing your parents' wedding rings that were gifted to you and praying so hard for their return: Then five months later, you're in your mother's room changing her bedsheets, asking that when you go back into your own room to "please let me find those rings." You know they can't possibly be there because you and your brother lifted that mattress right up and off the bed months ago, and nothing was there. Plus, you searched your room for months only to conclude that there is no way on God's green earth they can be there. However, because of faith, you prayed again the day you were changing those sheets. You didn't expect to find the rings, but you prayed anyway. When you got to your room, you peeked under one side of the bed's mattress, laughed to yourself, and nope, they weren't there. You were about to leave the room, and something compelled you to lift the mattress again on the other side of the bed. You were expecting nothing, but a miracle was delivered, and yes, both those rings were laying neatly just under the top mattress, one slightly overlapping the other!! You gasped! Almost fainted! You were gifted another powerful moment to keep in your heart for life. This is a moment in my life I'll never ever forget. I'm still shocked by it!
    Every time I begin to lose faith, I remember my parent's rings miraculously showing up under my mattress. I didn't expect that prayer to be answered in such a magical way. What an amazing gift that was. Finding those rings is my 'Faith-Reminder.' Every single time I begin to stress or worry about something - my parent's rings appear to me. As the lyrics in the beautiful song below say, "you will find your way if you keep believing, I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new - that's what faith can do." If you're viewing via mobile, the video is here.


    I've learned that faith is something that needs to be nurtured; to feed our soul, just as we feed our body. 

    For 2021 I'm holding onto faith that humanity will find its way back into balance; body, mind, and spirit. If all of humanity is too big of a goal, I hope my friends and family can find or maintain that balance. 

    "We Will Have Morning Smiles" - 50 Years of Poetry by Me - Available on Amazon.





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    Friday, December 25, 2020

    Merry Christmas!

    Christmas is such a beautiful day of the year regardless of the weather! For a brief moment in time, we cease normal daily activities and concentrate on love, family, and friends.  We focus on the meaning of Christmas.

    Many of us are blessed to spend Christmas with the people we love the most.  When our loved ones can't be with us, we call them, Zoom or Skype with them so we can still share that day with them.  We stay connected with them while we open gifts, sing Christmas carols together, or even eat our separate meals together.  

    We also reflect on memories of Christmas's past and the loved ones who are no longer with us.  The memory of them is a tremendous treasure even when our hearts are still breaking.  This reality, perhaps more than any other, prompts us to embrace the loved ones still here with us, hold on a little tighter, and remember to say "I love you!"  

    Christmas is also a time for forgiveness and reconciliation.  After all, the real reason for Christmas is the celebration of the gift of redemption and salvation. 

    "And the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of the great joy which shall be for all the people: for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'."  Luke 2:10-11  


    On this Christmas day, may you and your family be blessed and your hearts touched by the Creator who loves you with a love that surpasses all understanding.

     

    We Wish You All A 

    Very Merry Christmas! 

     

     

     




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    Sunday, November 1, 2020

    Success After 60 - Is It Possible?

    Success After 60? Yes, You Can Do It - Many Have

    I'll start off apologizing in typical Canadian fashion because, yah, this review about age is a bit self-serving; I turned 60 this year - and - I'm just getting started. 

    I personally live by that famous quote we've all heard: "It ain't over, 'til it's over." Actually, older-me believes it's never over; we keep growing and learning even after we transition, but that's for another day.

    Are you familiar with some of the famous people who built their dreams after the age of 60? Here are just a few to inspire your aching bones.

    Three Outstanding Souls Who Exemplify the Cliche "Age is Just a Number"

    • Grandma Moses: She was born Anna Mary Robertson on September 7, 1860. She began painting at the age of 78. She was known for her rural scenery paintings. In 2006 her painting, "Sugaring Off," sold for 1.6 million dollars. Yep, proof right there, "it ain't over even when it's over!" She also lived to see her paintings sell for substantial amounts for her time (the 1930s) before passing on.

    • Harry Bernstein: He enjoyed fame very late in life as a successful published author. On June 30th, 1910, he was born in Stockport, England, living 'til the ripe young age of 101 when he passed away in Brooklyn, New York, on June 3, 2011. Do you know when he wrote one of his first published successful books, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers? The loneliness of losing his wife of sixty-seven years was the catalyst of this book. He started writing it at 93 years old! The book was published in his 96th year in 2007. He wrote and published The Dream in 2008, The Golden Willow in 2009, and What Happened to Rose was published posthumously in 2012

    • Fauja Singh: His absolute tenacity has garnered him the nickname the Sikh Superman. He's the oldest living Marathoner. He was born on April 1, 1911, in British India, and at the age of 109, continues to reside in the United Kingdom. The terrible personal family losses he suffered in the 1990s redirected him back to his first passion, running. In the over 90's bracket, at the age of 93, Singh completed a marathon in six hours and fifty-four minutes.
    Hidden Dreams by Barbara Tremblay Cipak
    In the Poetry Book - We Will Have Morning Smiles

    What I've Personally Done For This Older Body, Mind, and Soul:

    Last year, for whatever reason, at the age of 59, I felt "time." What I mean by that is I felt a powerful urge to do the things I've wanted to do in life but hadn't gotten off my butt to complete. So from last year, and now into 2020, I jumped in with both feet and committed to self:
    • I self-published a 50-year collection of a book of my personal poetry work.
    • I published a series of personally written riddle books and created the website StumpedRiddles.com. I'm currently writing book six in the series.
    • Keto saved my health. I lost over 60 pounds from 2019 to 2020. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 56 - and I was sick. Almost immobile. Today at 60, I feel ten years younger than I did at 56. Proper food and mild exercise are a part of my life every single day. It has taken a great deal of discipline, but feeling healthy is more important to me than eating the wrong foods and being sick.
    • I work very hard on body, mind, and spirit. Spirit (soul work) is just as important to my day as eating and exercise.
    I'm not trying to be self-righteous - like I've had a perfect life or something. I haven't. Life has been filled with almost endless challenges. The difference for me at this age is accepting what has happened and moving forward. Always, always moving forward. After all, our time is limited.

    The last page of my poetry book features a closing message to my kids. This message includes a quote that I feel perfectly describes life when times get difficult:
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete" by Buckminister Fuller (1895-1983) American Architect, Systems Theorist, Author, Designer, Inventor and Futurist

      



    15 Personal Life Lessons I've Learned During These 60 Years of Living:

    1. Don't give up.
    2. When we're tired, rest. 
    3. When we need support, seek it from the safe arms of friends and family. 
    4. Love with all our hearts. Tell those who matter that we love them.
    5. Find the good in others. 
    6. Live a life of service to others, big or small, it doesn't matter. Even the smallest contributions to another can brighten a day - something as simple as a smile or a kind word. 
    7. Guard our souls. There's a saying, "don't become that which you rail against." 
    8. Watch our thoughts and choose our words wisely.
    9. Forgive. Forget about grudges and vengeance; they're a complete waste of energy and ultimately damaging to our soul. Accept that people will make mistakes, just like we'll make mistakes.
    10. Find a way to reach our kids. Stay connected. This can be the toughest task. Do it anyway.
    11. Read and advance our learning. Never stop.
    12. Tolerance, compassion, kindness, and empathy are essential to the human condition. Live by those principles most or all of the time.
    13. Fight temptation. Fight it hard. Dark/negative energy (whatever you decide to call it) is hunting us down every second of every day. It doesn't let up. We mustn't let it have our thoughts or our actions. We need to train our minds daily to recognize when we're slipping and put ourselves back on track as quickly as possible. We need to be proactive and kick that useless darkness out of our life-field.
    14. When we need to cry, cry. Get those issues out; put them on paper, talk to someone, music, lyrics, art - whatever helps us release the pain.
    15. Accept responsibility for our lives and for where we are in our life. Be honest with ourselves.

    I'm currently advancing my soul by reading the best selling book gifted to me by a friend, "Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One" by Raphaelle Giordano

    I'll end this article with this moving song, inspired by the famous Paradoxical Commandments, "Anyway, by Martina McBride." If viewing this article via mobile, you can listen to the song on YouTube here.



    "You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach, and you know it might not ever come your way, dream it anyway" - lyrics.

    "This world's gone crazy, and it's hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today, believe it anyway" - lyrics.

    "You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in, that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang, sing it anyway" - lyrics.

    All the best to you, do it anyway.



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    Tuesday, May 5, 2020

    Reviewing My Own Fear Factor

    Admitting You Have Fear Is A Beginning

    I've been struggling with some personal fear in the last several months. Maybe a review of my journey might help others begin to face their own fears. I know I'm not alone; most of us have fears that overtake us from time to time. With the recent events that have gripped the world, many have found new things to be afraid of. Fear is normal but sometimes we aren't ready to admit that we are afraid. I am a firm believer that admitting something is the first step in beginning to overcome and move forward.

    fear factor
    We all have fear, overcoming it is the trick
    image courtesy of pixabay.com

    What I have realized in the last few days is that I've been almost frozen with fears just below the surface of my consciousness. I haven't been walking around thinking about being afraid or thinking that I was scared but the emotion had been there for quite a while just waiting for me to do something. I've decided to start working on what I'm fearful of; kick those debilitating thoughts to the proverbial curb, so to speak.

    There were hints that went unnoticed


    As I have worked through some of my feelings in the last few days, I realized that there were some subtle little hints back in December. A tiny little flag was waving in the distance, I just didn't notice it for what it was trying to warn me about. I think it started when I had the idea for a new book that would be about a rabbit. More specifically, an Easter Bunny that did something bad. It was the rabbit that should have alerted me that fear was dwelling deep down in my psyche. 

    Now, before you shake your head and think that I've gone off the deep end, let me explain. The message of the spirit animal rabbit is about fear. Real rabbits are fearful little creatures and often become frozen, unable to move, when their fears take hold of them. We humans can experience this phenomenon, too. I missed the significance of a rabbit being so active in my mind. 

    About the same time that the idea for the book was consuming my thoughts, my Dad fell and broke his elbow pretty badly. Fear did swell up to the forefront of my thoughts for his well being. There were life threatening complications that obviously caused a great deal of stress and fear for him. Taking care of my Dad sort of pushed the writing completely off of the burner. 

    As Dad began to slowly get better, we (the world) find out about the virus and learn words like social distancing and stay in place orders. I will admit the idea of Dad being exposed scared the daylight right out of me. I wasn't fearful for me but for him. Rabbits come into play again. I discovered the book Watership Down, it is all about rabbits. Another hint? I think it might have been. 

    I'll fast forward a bit, an idea started niggling in my mind about a totally different story that felt like it needed to be written before I finished the other one. It is a young girl who is called to become the next healer in her village. She is faced with prejudices, an unwillingness to be a healer and some adventures along the way. It is customary in her world for a healer or shaman to be assigned a spirit animal. She doesn't get to choose, the gods decide what she will need. She is appalled when she meets the hare (big rabbit) that will travel with her in her journey of becoming what she was destined to be. Of all the creatures for the gods to give her they give her a rabbit. What the heck good is that going to be? She is supposed to gain wisdom from an animal that is afraid of it's own shadow? Hmmm!

    There it is again, a rabbit consuming my mind! Finally the light bulb comes on in my addled brain. Rabbits in my thoughts, looking up rabbit behavior, real rabbits hopping around in my yard. I can't get away from the freaking rabbits! Fear is the message of the rabbit. Do I have some fears to overcome? Well, apparently, I do.

    What are my fears?


    Turns out, I have several that I have ignored for a while. I guess that is why the rabbit has come as a messenger. I can't move forward until I face some of them head-on and let them go. I won't go into what they are exactly, that is a little too personal. Suffice it to say, I have identified some big ones and have begun to work on hopping around them. As I work on my journey, I have found a new motto. It is summed up best on this coffee mug:



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    Sunday, April 19, 2020

    55 Different Ways You Can Show Someone You Love Them

    55 Ways to Show Someone You Love Them
    If anything 2020 has taught us, it's that life is precious. During these crazy pandemic-times, today's review features big and small ways we can show our love to each other.

    In the end, it's only love that matters. Our family lost someone yesterday (not from the pandemic), and we've been reflecting and remembering that love is the most valuable asset we take with us.

    Let's not wait until it's too late to show those we love how we feel; let's start today. Here's a quick list of ways we can demonstrate we care:
    1.  Call or video your I love you message and say it
    2.  Physically mail a letter or a card
    3.  Make them dinner and clean up the mess
    4.  Clean the house for them
    5.  Give them me-time; watch the kids
    6.  Bring them a coffee, or two
    7.  Play board games and laugh
    8.  Email articles and photos to let them know you're thinking of them
    9.  Write them a poem
    10.  Dedicate a song to them via the radio
    11.  Sing them a song; if you can't sing, even better!
    12.  Create a video that lists all the reasons you love them
    13.  Thank them for all they've done for you
    14.  Accept or give forgiveness
    15.  Say "I love you" as often as you can
    16.  Bring them breakfast in bed
    17.  Send flowers or a plant
    18.  Drop off treats, gifts, personal drawings or groceries when social distancing
    19.  Have cozy gifts delivered; throw blankets, pillows
    20.  Snail mail a card every day, with a beautiful quote, for a month or a year
    21.  Let them talk; be a listener
    22.  Don't offer your opinions, just be there
    23.  Don't try to solve unsolvable problems, just be there
    24.  Accept each other's differences and just love each other for who you are
    25.  Use please and thank you with your family members
    26.  Speak with a kind voice to your loved ones
    27.  Give sarcasm a break from time to time
    28.  Remember they were once a little child, see them that way
    29.  Keep dark thoughts at bay, and send people love and light often
    30.  Remember none of us are perfect
    31.  Go 24 hours judgment-free - judge nothing, forgive everything
    32.  Read together, sing together, dance together
    33.  Set a goal to laugh with them at least 20 times in one day
    34.  Live for the moment, the specific moment you're sharing
    35.  When possible, if possible, hug each other
    36.  Start a story by email where everyone adds their portion and emails it to the next person
    37.  Pray together in person or virtually
    38.  Use your thoughtful inside voice when you have to ask for something
    39.  Give them something personal that holds special meaning to you
    40.  Ask them their opinion, so they feel they matter
    41.  When they've made a mistake, remember your own mistakes before reacting
    42.  Be a safe place for someone to land
    43.  When they speak to you in confidence, keep it confident
    44.  Don't gossip about people you love to other people you love
    45.  Serve your community in some fashion; do it together
    46.  Give each other space
    47.  Be on their team in life
    48.  When discussing testy issues, do it with grace and respect
    49.  Smile at your loved ones - this one seems silly, but try it, you'll be surprised
    50.  Laugh at their jokes
    51.  It's ok to be happy; show joy in front of your friends and family
    52.  Don't be afraid to apologize if you've made a mistake
    53.  Forgive them if they can't apologize when they've made a mistake
    54.  Be the change you want to see in a relationship
    55.  When you need love, give love
    When summed up, we should consider the lessons taught in the Paradoxical Commandments, also known as The Anyway Poem. Listen to the gorgeous song interpretation by Martina McBride here in her famous song, Anyway.

    The above suggestions are fairly obvious to most of us; however, sometimes we forget it's how we make each other feel that's remembered. 

    I'll end with a video poem I created a few months ago called Living in Light - Stay safe and blessings to you.






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    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

    Honoring Friendship

    My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

    love of a freind
    There is nothing like the love of a friend
    image courtesy of pixabay.com
    Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

    Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

    Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

    We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

    friendship
    Friends hold your hand through life
    image courtesy of pixabay.com

    It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

    When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

    As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

    My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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