Be Happy, Be Kind, Comfort, Family, Kindness, Mother, Mother's Day, Relationships, Uncategorized

Celebrating Our Mothers

Mother’s Day….that bittersweet day for those of us who no longer have a mother here on Earth.  It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate our mothers….even if they are no longer with us.  There are also mother figures we can celebrate.  No one can ever take the place of our mothers, but we should consider ourselves blessed to have female friends who are there to love, guide, and protect us.

I have several female friends who I know I can reach out to for advice, a good laugh, a cry, or just to vent, and I love them for that.  They’ve come into my life at different times, when I had different needs, but they’ve remained….as part of my circle of support. They live all over the country, but I know I can pick up the phone right now, and they would be there for me.  We may have sisters, aunts, or cousins who can also be mother figures to us.

What about the single fathers out there who have no partner to help?  They deserve to be recognized as well, for being both mother and father!

While I’ve never met my ex husband’s current wife, and I doubt we would be friends, I am grateful that she seems to love and care about my children.  I know that I am their mother, and no one will ever replace me.  But why would I deny my children the opportunity of receiving more love and friendship?  Just as my husband is a very loving, supportive friend to my children, we are secure enough to know we can’t be replaced.  The more love for them, the better! You can never have enough, and my children deserve that!  But I will always be the only mother they have.

So yes, this holiday is a little rough for me.  I do the best I can, even though there are always a few tears, while I miss my mama.  I will get through it, and I will enjoy hearing from my three “babies” that day.  It’s a day worth celebrating, and showing the women in our lives how much we appreciate them.  Let’s celebrate the women we love (and who love us) this Mother’s Day….our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, step-mothers, friends…..whether they are still with us or not……whether they have children of their own or not.  The nurturing we do for one another is priceless.

To all of my female friends and family…..happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Advertisements
Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Courage, Family, Happiness, Iowa, Laughter, Love, Marshalltown, Iowa, Passion for Living, The Queen of Iowa, Uncategorized

Here’s To The Queen!

I’d like to tell you about The Queen……not the Queen of England, but The Queen of Iowa!  You didn’t know there was one, did you?  This queen is someone I’ve had in my life since I was 19 years old, and has been like a second mother to me, even though I don’t get to see or talk to her much anymore.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately…..

Joan Yvonne Wendt Williams…..The Queen.   I will get to why she has that title later, but for now, I want to tell you why she deserves it.  Joan was my mother in-law for 23 years, and is the grandmother to my children.  In fact, I was the one who made her a grandmother for the first time in 1989!  Her son and I may not see eye to eye on much of anything, and the divorce strained the whole family relationship, but I still consider her my family, especially since I’ve lost my own mother.  When you lose your mother, you lose a huge part of yourself. And when you divorce, you also lose another part of your family.

From the first time I met her in 1984, wearing my bathing suit (aghhh!), she was friendly, warm, and loving, and acted like she had known me my whole life.  For the first few years of knowing her, she was in an unhappy situation with her marriage.  Through hard work, she came through it on the other side, stronger, more independent, and happier.  It was hard for her to take that step, but she did it, and she has deserved every day of peace and happiness it has brought her since. She stood up for me several times in some uncomfortable situations during that time period, and I have never thanked her for that, even though I appreciated it so much.  I’m not even sure she would remember doing it because it is so second nature for her to do that sort of thing.

She was raised in a small town in Iowa, married young, as most girls did in the late 1950’s, and raised 4 children.  She lost a child shortly after birth, which I know is still painful for her.  I’ve been to the cemetery with her a few times to place flowers or pinwheels on her daughter’s grave.  She has talked to me about that time, and I could feel the pain myself through her words, even though she was so strong and composed telling me about it.  This is just one of the few things that made her such a strong woman.

Her own mother in-law, Florence, was a good woman, and was good to her too, but…..difficult.  I knew Florence well, and I always got the feeling that no woman would ever be good enough for her sons.  Yet, with Joan…..any man would be lucky to have her!  Joan told me once that she never wanted to be that type of mother in-law to me.  I feel thankful to her for that.  It sure made life easier!

We grew closer over the years, and always enjoyed having a beer and pizza together.  The laughter and friendship we shared can never be replicated with anyone else, but two of my children are now to the age where they can sit down and enjoy a good drink with their grandma and laugh the way we used to.  She and her oldest daughter, Lisa, used to make a trip to see us about twice a year….once in the fall, and once in the spring, when we lived in Kansas.  Lisa would bring her step daughter sometimes, and always had her dog in tow.  It was fun, but Joan hated driving through the Kansas City traffic before getting to our house!  It stressed her out to no end!  The very first thing she would say after her hugs and kisses all around, was, “I need a beer!”  I tried to be fully stocked on beer when Grandma Joan came to visit!

I will never forget the time I heard my 4 year old daughter say, “Oh damnit!” when she dropped something.  I said, “Lily, we don’t say that.”  She looked at me confused, and said, “We don’t?  Grandma Joan says it!”  Now my own  five year old grandson is repeating Great-Grandma Joan’s salty language that he picked up last summer.  Of course, it isn’t appropriate, but I can’t be mad.  In fact, I think it’s pretty funny……if Joan has taught me anything, it is to not be stuffy and unhappy, even when life is hard.  Learn to laugh and let go.  Don’t be angry.  Smile.  Don’t hold grudges.  Have fun.  Don’t take life so serious.  It’s short, so enjoy it.

These days I hear she enjoys her boxed wine while getting her daily fix of Drew Carey and The Price is Right!  One of my daughters was telling me that Grandma loads up her walker with beer, and meets with friends at the Embers, her retirement apartment building, for “coffee.”  I got such a chuckle out of that!  She has always known how to have a good time!  Whether it’s playing bingo, trips to the casino, watching her favorite soap opera or TV show, or “coffee” with her friends, she always has fun!

The last time I saw her, I was able to introduce my husband to her.  She hugged him, and told him that if I loved him, then he was okay in her book!  Before we left, she hugged him again, and told him to “take care of my girl.”  He promised he would.  After we left, he said he wished we could have stayed because he could have sat for a few hours, having a few beers and talking with her!  Now that I’m sick, she continues to check with my daughter to make sure Al is taking good care of me…..he is!  I’m stubborn, but he does as much as I let him do.

Now to her well earned title…….The Queen……in most retirement or assisted living facilities, they will choose a king and queen.  I’m not sure what all goes along with the title, but they get to ride in a parade!  Last year, Joan was chosen as Queen of the Embers.  She got to ride in the parade, and from what the kids tell me, she was ordering people to “bow down.”  I can’t help but laugh, because I can picture it!  Recently, a little girl was introduced to The Queen.  She asked if she was the Queen of Iowa, and my daughter told her yes!  And you know what?  She is!  Beautiful, funny, kind, gracious, friendly, salty, and compassionate……what other qualities do you need in a queen?

Here’s to The Queen!  I love you Joan!

 

 

Anxiety, Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bewitched, Busy Minds, Civil Rights, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Empowerment, Family, Fear, Focus, Happiness, Insensitivity, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Life Happens.....Make the Best Of It!, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Making life interesting, Manners, Misconceptions, Passion for Living, Peaceful Protests, Racism, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Thankfulness, That's life, Tom Jones, Uncategorized, Understanding

Hocus Focus

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately.  Part of it is because I have a hard time typing with a brace on my wrist. Part of it is just because I’ve been a bit distracted with a few things lately.  I start to write, and I find myself not wanting to finish the topic because I get worried how some people might react.  I try to keep my posts positive, and try to inspire people to do their best, while maybe sharing some experiences from my life, or funny stories.  I know I shouldn’t worry about that, because I know if I’m doing the best I can, that’s all that matters.  I have a level of sarcastic humor that not everyone gets, but I can’t worry about that either.  I’ll try to give you an idea of what my mind has been like lately….

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today……let’s keep moving forward.  Even my 1st graders think racism is awful.

Broken wrists suck.

Vertigo sucks.

I have a secret crush on Tom Jones.

Migraines suck.

Free movie passes are great.

I, Tonya was a good movie.

Catch the movie, Mudbound on Netflix……eye opening, and should tug at everyone’s heart.  Let’s not ever go back to that. Mary J. Blige does an excellent job in it.

I love Kansas City at Christmas.

I love warm weather.

My dog is the sweetest, snuggled next to me as I type this.

The Vikings had an awesome game yesterday, and I hope they go all the way, especially for my best friend’s sake…..she loves them!

Some people really take advantage, and are attention whores.

I would never have the nerve to set up a Go Fund Me account for myself…….

Therefore, medical bills and trying to get by through this really sucks.

Donald Trump sucks.  Yep.  I said it!

What happened to manners?

Why can’t people respect your time and your finances?  It’s not up to anyone else how you spend these things, and if you have the time or money for something.  I would never tell someone, “You have time for this,” or “You can afford that.”  No one’s energy level is the same as someone else’s, and no one knows what your financial obligations are.

A man complimented me in the elevator in the medical building for the boots I had on….then he asked if that was okay because he wasn’t sure it was acceptable….compliments should always be acceptable.

Work/teaching is exhausting.

Trying to get my foot in the door with real estate is next to impossible while teaching full time.  Taking my post license course now.

I don’t like one of my medical specialists…….at all.

Sometimes no matter how nice you are to people, they just won’t like you.  Be nice anyway, but protect yourself.  You can’t make them care.  Their actions will show you how they feel.  Be kind.

Seizures suck.

My family is wonderful.

I don’t get to see a lot of Al this time of year because he works at lot with youth basketball, so we spent today together.  He helped me with groceries and put gas in my car…..helping me with that wrist thing.

My kids are great…..and goofy, and I worry about them all the time.

Social anxiety can be crippling……try to smile and get through it.  I feel it every day.

Youth basketball games are fun to watch, especially when they’re scrappy little kids.

Some people are heartless.

I’m addicted to reruns of Bewitched.

Spring and summer need to get here soon. I need summer now!

So you can see……my mind is all over the place…..writer’s block, because I can’t focus on anything.  Not feeling bad or depressed….I’m just overwhelmed with a lot right now, so my mind is a busy place.  I wonder if I have adult ADD to add to the list of conditions? Maybe if I am able to reduce the stress in my life and get the rest I need, I can focus!  For now, I will rely on exercise and meditation (and Bewitched) to get me through!

I hope you all have had a great Martin Luther King Jr Day.  Did you do anything to give back? I didn’t this year.  I just don’t have the energy.  My justification for this is that I give back each day when I walk into my classroom. Every teacher does……

Get focused! Now back to studying….

 

 

 

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Family, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Kindness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Love, Memories, Negativity, Passion for Living, Relationships, Self respect, Thankfulness, That's life, Togetherness, Uncategorized

Love and Laughter in 2018

Happy 2018!  Last night, we returned from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City, where we spent the week with my family for the first time in years.  It really was a great time, even if it was cold, busy and chaotic.  That’s kind of the way my family is during the holidays….. NOT cold, but busy and chaotic!  Laughter, kids, memories, and constant activity is pretty much the norm for us.

My family is big……maybe not big by some people’s standards, but my parents were each one of 5 children, and I am also one of 5 (all girls).  My parents have 11 grandchildren, a few of them have spouses, and there is one great grandchild (my grandson). My daughter’s boyfriend has 2 children, who only added to the fun!  My sister also had two other guests, who were visiting from Japan, and they added to the fun and laughter.  Between all of the people, 2 dogs, the great food, cousins leg wrestling on the family room floor, Nerf gun fights, building train tracks on the floor, pretending to cook (and eat) the Fisher Price food, and our excursions into the city to visit the Nelson Atkins Museum (Picasso, Monet, Pollock, Warhol, etc), Union Station, Crown Center, ice skating (just the kids….not me!),  breakfast with my aunt and nieces, Al and I going out with a childhood friend of mine, and Al going out for a jazz night at Plaza III with our brother in-law, it was a packed few days!  The cold temps didn’t stop the fun!  My family welcomes everyone, and treats everyone with love and acceptance, if they are willing to put up with our noise and silliness!  This is really the first time Al has had a chance to spend any real time with a lot of my family.  He got to see first hand how loving and accepting they are.

I thought back on times when my sisters and our families would all gather at my parents each year (either on Thanksgiving or Christmas).  At times, there might be around 23 of us packed into their little ranch home in Springfield, Missouri.  Noise, laughter, children, food, games, movies, sports on TV, and just spending time together laughing and reminiscing was such fun.  Or the times when we would gather at my grandmother’s house in Wichita with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins……times change, families grow, and loved ones leave us eventually…….but no one can take my memories.

2017 was not easy on me in a lot of ways.  I’ve tried to stay positive, and grateful for all I have, even when I’m physically struggling.  My first trip to Europe, which I was so looking forward to, turned out to be very hard because of a lot of the physical problems I was having, without knowing what was wrong with me.  I tried to do what I could, but I ended up spending a lot of time unable to enjoy a lot of it.  Once we got back, and I got a diagnosis (a benign brain tumor, called an acoustic neuroma), I had to figure out a lot of things.  I dove into information, trying to learn all I could about it.  But mostly, I counted my blessings.  It could have been a lot worse.  My emotions went into overdrive……I can cry at the drop of a pin, and I have a few unpleasant symptoms that are the new normal for me, but I started appreciating things I hadn’t even noticed before!  I also told myself I would not waste time on people or things that were negative or tried to drain my happiness.

I’ve had a lot of hard times in my life, but I’ve also had a lot of very happy times.  My big family has provided so many happy moments for me, and the memories of the love and laughter keep me going.  I always try to stay positive and not let negativity bring me down, but that seems so much more important now.  So, like every year, I will vow to keep my chin up, stay positive, be nice, friendly, compassionate, and happy.  Even though I have been presented with a new obstacle, it doesn’t change my outlook on life.  It may be a new year, but it’s the same love and appreciation that I always strive for.

The important things in life are love, loved ones, laughter, memories, and good health.  Laugh and learn to enjoy everything you have.  Cut out the negativity and negative people who don’t love you back, don’t care about you, or don’t appreciate you.  Stay positive.  Stay happy.  Enjoy the chaos and laughter in life.  Don’t waste time sitting around getting old. I’m so thankful I come from a family who loves to laugh and have fun…..it keeps us young and healthy!

It’s great to be home where it’s a little warmer, but I have some great new memories of this trip, and of my big family and friends.   Happy New Year, and here’s to a fun 2018, filled with love and laughter……curing all that ails us!

Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Change, Compassion, Courage, Family, Happiness, Kindness, Laughter, Love, Loyalty, Making life interesting, Married to My Best Friend, Relationships, Respect, Thankfulness, That's life, Togetherness, Uncategorized

Two Years and Counting……

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of marrying Alfredo (as my daughters love to call him)……one of the happiest days of our lives.  Al and I have so much to be thankful for.  We’ve had our share of problems, but they’ve been things that have been out of our control, or from outside sources….not things we can help.  With each little (or big) hurdle, we seem to come through it even stronger, and closer.  I sometimes wonder if our commitment to each other is being tested for everything we have dealt with. We are there every step of the way for each other, which of course, is the way it should be!  Our pastor sent us each a text today, calling us, “Team Desport.”  It’s true.  We do make a good team, and it’s nice when other people see how much stronger we are together.

Since he moved back to the USA, I helped him finish his college degree, which is something he had given up on.  I watched as his confidence grew with each completed course.  I helped him buy his car, sign up for health insurance, apply for jobs, update his resume, and navigate the ins and outs of a system he hadn’t been a part of for 30 years.  He’s working in the public school system with special needs children now, and is really very good at it!  He also works part time at a community center in a rough part of town, with kids who really need a positive male influence.  And, he referees youth basketball games during the basketball season….he’s making a name for himself in the area, and children and adults alike are always happy to see him when we run into them in public.  I love hearing little voices from across a store or parking lot, saying, “Coach Al! Coach Al!” They love him!  He’s a church deacon, with a line of little old ladies waiting for hugs every week, and helps serve breakfast to homeless people once a month.

He’s also been there for me, especially when it comes to protecting me.  He corrals me when I’m sleep walking, and herds me back to bed, keeping me safe.  He “rescues” me from any creature that I may encounter unexpectedly.  He walks me to my car every morning, making sure I am safe (I leave before the sun comes up), and occasionally scrapes ice from my windshield.  He helps me when I have car trouble.  He helps me with my school work, folding, cutting, or preparing projects for my class.  He sees when I need to take a break, and tells me that we are going for a walk on the beach, so I can clear my head.  He cleans the bathrooms and does dishes! Yesterday at church, I really felt awful (I probably should have stayed home).  He knew how bad my head was hurting, and that I was dizzy.  Just to have him put his arm around me, and kiss me on the head, lets me know that he understands how much I’m suffering, and that he’s there for me.  Then, he changed the words to the hymns to something a little bit inappropriate, making me laugh…..which is also something that I appreciate so much!  His incredible sense of humor is the only thing that gets me through a lot of days!

We vent to each other about work, society, politics, family matters, pop culture, and anything that might be weighing on our minds.  We spend hours and hours talking and listening to each other.  We enjoy traveling, watching movies, or just having a quiet evening at home (most every evening).  We rarely argue or have a disagreement.  We have both experienced some pretty serious health issues in our lives, so we are appreciative of every day we have.  We’ve both had some personal disappointments in life, and are happy to be sharing our lives together now.  We’ve spent a lot of time raising our children, and living and working a world away from each other. Ending up together took time, faith, trust, and was a lot more work and complicated than most relationships, since we were on two different continents.  We definitely had to be friends first. We were very protective of our courtship, and are still very protective of each other.  And here we are……for better or worse, sickness and health, richer or poorer…..as long as we both shall live!

It may have taken us awhile to get here, but HERE is where we are, and it’s the best place for US!  Two years down, the rest of our lives to go!

Be Happy, Christmas Stories, Family, Growing up, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Laughter, Love, Season's Greetings, Uncategorized

My Favorite Christmas Story

Everyone has their favorite (or least favorite) Christmas stories, right?  Certain Christmases stand out more than others, or you remember getting something very special that you had really been wanting.  I have a few of those memories, mostly from childhood, but a few as an adult too.

I remember my grandparents taking their first trip on an airplane, coming from Alabama, to celebrate with us in Sikeston, Missouri.  That same year, I got a little high chair for my dolls (I still have it).  My grandpa gave me a piggy bank at that time, which I also still have.  I remember the year that all I asked Santa for was a box of crayons, and I got it!  I’m not sure why they were so important to me that year, but as a 6 year old, it’s all I wanted.  I’m sure my parents were thrilled that I didn’t want much!  “Santa” still brings me a box of Crayola Crayons every year!  I remember the year that our Boston Terrier, Pepper, ate my chocolate candy cane, leaving the foil in little pieces all over the living room carpet, and I cried.  I remember Christmases at the farm in Alabama, in Wichita at my other grandmother’s house, and in many homes that my family lived in during my childhood.  We had a lot of good food, and played games, but we also always got to hear my favorite Christmas story…..I know what you’re thinking……it must have been about a little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, right?  Well…..yeah, that’s a pretty nifty story, but the one I always looked forward to hearing was about the time my dad shot Santa Claus.

If you knew my dad, you know he liked to tease, and was very funny.  He was also a great story teller!  I’m not sure how old he was in this story, but I think he would have been in his late teens or early 20’s.  Daddy had two nieces, Martha and Bobbie, my Aunt Estelle’s daughters, who were maybe about 5 or 6 years old, and they were at the farm for Christmas.  The family had gone to Christmas Eve services at church, and my dad and uncles decided to play a trick on my cousins.  They put rocks and sticks in Martha and Bobbie’s Christmas stockings! The girls were obviously upset, and crying, asking why Santa would have done that to them when they had been such good little girls.  Daddy and his brothers announced that he couldn’t do that their nieces, and decided to “take care of him.”  Daddy grabbed a shotgun, and they went outside.  He fired a shot in the air, one of my uncles let out a yell, and they came back in, declaring, “Well, we got him!” My cousins were a LOT more upset then, and so was their mother!

By the time I started hearing this story, my cousins were adults, and Bobbie was telling me she would never forget when my dad shot Santa Claus.  She was, of course, laughing about it.  I’m not sure my aunt ever forgave her brothers for that, but I think she probably did.  I am completely anti-violence in any way, shape, or form, and I’m not crazy about guns, but I think this is a pretty cool story…..how many of you can say that your dad shot Santa Claus?

Be Happy, Coping, Family, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Love, Relationships, Togetherness, travel, Uncategorized

Togetherness

Well, the holidays are officially here, and I am now ready to celebrate with the decorations, food, and Christmas music…..not a bit too early!

This Christmas is one I am looking forward to.  I always do, but this year, Al and I are hoping to make a trip to Kansas City to see my three children, my grandson, at least one of my sisters, and maybe a few other family members.  My son will be home from the Navy, so I am anxious to see him, and spend time with my girls.  I am one of five daughters, and my parents were each one of five children, so we have a pretty big family.  But I haven’t seen any of them since July, 2015, and it was for less than 48 hours, since we were there for my nephew’s wedding, and then went to spend a week in New York.  It has been over five years since I have seen all three of my children together at once.  Think about that for a minute…..going years without seeing your family…….as different as my sisters and I are, I still love and miss them every day.  I haven’t seen my best friends (and won’t on this trip either) for 2 1/2-5 years or longer.  I love and miss them terribly too.  I do have a couple of uncles, aunts, and cousins who live about an hour from here, but we don’t see them very often.  It’s nice to have some family a little bit close though.

Since Al moved here in 2014, we have been to New York to see his mother and sister three times, and he has gone twice by himself.  He has been to Miami with his friends from Sweden three times.  We’ve been to Orlando to see his father three times.  We’ve been to Sweden.  We’ve also taken a couple of trips to New Orleans, and a short honeymoon cruise, but the focus the last 3 1/2 years has been to make sure he gets to see his family (especially his parents) and friends, after spending so long living out of the country.  Now we have an opportunity to go to Kansas City, between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s all I can think about.  Kansas City is beautiful during the holidays, and I will get to see my “babies!”

I have friends living all over the country.  But, as women, most of us don’t take the time to take many getaways on our own.  At least, that’s been the case with me and most of my friends.  We have our jobs and responsibilities with our homes, children or pets, and don’t feel like we can take a break from it all.  I’m usually the one making sure everyone has what they need, and I forget to think about what I need.  I’m trying to do better with that.  It’s hard for me to do without feeling selfish.  Since funds are tight, and now with my health conditions, I can’t exactly justify taking off for a week or weekend to hang out with my friends by myself.  Traveling alone wouldn’t be a good idea because of everything going on physically with me.  I’ve been working very hard at school and also trying to get started in the real estate business, to try to get us a little bit ahead.  Frankly, between that, and all of the medical crap I deal with, I’m worn out, and need a change of scenery.  Maybe someday, I can travel alone again, but not now.

While I love living in a warm climate (even though they are predicting snow this Friday!), and it’s much easier on my arthritis, sometimes I need a break too.  Hopefully, I can get a much needed break to see some of the people I love and miss.  And what better time to do it than at Christmas in Kansas City?