Sunday, May 10, 2015

Links to the Past

Mom and Grandma
I love to read. My mother taught me a love for books. She too loved to read, and her example brought into my life the joys of reading. My grandmother taught her daughter, my mother, to have a love for books. I spent some time at my grandparent’s home, and my grandmother had a favorite chair, across from my grandfather’s favorite chair. Next to her preferred seat was a table, filled with books – mainly westerns. Yes, my grandmother loved to watch Gunsmoke, and read Louis L’Amour westerns.  I also learned that her favorite character from those books was William Tell Sackett. (Grandma also loved to play ball, when the family played baseball and she was up to bat, the outfielders moved further back, she could hit far. I had a real cool grandmother.)

I worked late the other night. When I got home everyone was in bed. I wasn’t sleepy, and I knew if I crawled into bed I’d toss and turn until I got comfortable, but in so doing would disturb my wife’s rest. So I opted to take some time to read. Since things have been hectic lately I haven’t gotten involved with a novel, or a trilogy, I’ve been reading short stories. The collected short stories of Louis L’Amour. As I was reading the next story in the collection I realized that the character was Tell. When I finished the story, I remembered my grandmother and her collection of L’Amour westerns.

My grandmother had written a short autobiography, about 30 pages is all. I remember she had written that one of her most favorite parts of the day was when everyone had gone to bed and she was the only one awake in the house. I smiled to myself as I recalled her words. I was the only one awake in the house, and I had just finished reading a short story western about William Tell Sackett, one of my grandmother’s favorite characters. I felt close to her at that moment. A solitary moment late at night while my family slumbered peacefully I understood the words my grandmother had shared, and why she liked those silent moments of solitude in a house full of sleeping loved ones. Suddenly I felt a kinship with her.

If she hadn’t of written it down I would have missed it. She never told me those thoughts, but she had expressed them in her short paper on her life. It is full of tidbits and memories about her.

Then I got to thinking about other things I have in common with my grandmother. My own mother and one of my sons. I fit between them. True I am her son and a father to my son, but my son and mother have something in common: they both survived a car accident, my mother lost a leg, and my son lost part of his foot.

Grandma had to deal with helping my mother recover from her auto accident. My mother lost her leg at 17, a life changing event to say the least. I grew up with that as normal. I didn’t realize that other people’s mothers didn’t have to put their leg on in the morning as part of getting ready for the day.

So when my four-year-old son lost part of his foot, I understood what I needed to do to help him, because I had watched and learned from my own mother. However, that night sitting in my chair thinking about my grandmother I discovered that we shared a similar experience. Dealing with a child who had been critically injured in an accident and their life would be forever changed because of it.

In my grandmother’s writing she also mentioned that she missed Tommy. She lost her son when he was eight years old. He had drowned. Growing up I was fascinated with Tommy. My aunts would tell stories about him, and they would laugh at the happy memories. I too lost a son. He was eighteen when he died. So when I read the words my grandmother wrote about losing her son, and the feelings she had, and missing him, and thinking about him – I understood. However, I didn’t lose my son until after grandma passed away. So I didn’t get to compare notes with her. I just have her writing about her own reflections on her own pain of losing a son.

I closed the book, thought about grandma, realized how much we now have in common and gratefully retired to my bed feeling closer to both my grandmother and mother.

Mom taught me a lot. She shared much of what she learned from her mother with me. I felt the kinship during those waking hours late that night. So though both mom and grandma have passed on, I wish them both a Happy Mother’s Day 2015.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Keep on Keeping On

"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks to what happens."
-- Khalil Gibran

I agree, the quote is spot on. I had an epiphany this last week. I've been picking up the pieces and next week I start a new job. While my current job has been great, it is a bridge between places as the income is not where I needed it, and the hours are not good at all (try 6 PM to 6AM four days a week).

The new job is simalar to a job I had a year and a half ago. In fact when I left the industry I told my self not to ever go back.

What is that saying? "Never say never." Yea, that is the one. I'm going back.

But before I decided to go back I took a long careful look at why I was so unhappy, and why I wanted out so badly. It was a no win situation, and I was surrounded by a whole lot of negativity.

So I'm looking at where I'm going, and while it isn't exactly the same thing I was doing, it is close to it. Then I got to thinking about if I like it, what does it matter what else is going on. It is my attitude. I"ve also heard the saying "Attitulde determines altitude."

On the one hand I am really looking forward to the new opportunity. I've years of experiance that I am bringing to the table. I plan on being very successful with the new endevor. My epiphany was this, if I'm happy, don't let anyone tell me I should be unhappy. Don't let anyone rain on my parade, and don't worry what other people think. If I'm enjoying the work, and the people, don't let anyone else pull me down. Period.

I used to be like that. I intend to become like that again.

So I'll just add "Keep on keeping on." because that is all we can do. But do it with a smile. Find that happy place. Your own attittude will determine a whole lot of how things will be, or your attitude determines how things are.

How do you keep your attitudes positive?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nineteen Thoughts

Well I've brushed off the cobwebs, swept the floors, dusted, and cleaned the place. I've picked up the pieces and once again I'm stumbling forward.

To start the new year I share an e-mail I recieved. Nineteen motivational points that are worth pondering. And true a few things that are on the humorous side.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Picking up the Pieces

Last summer I went with my daughter to the Mocking Jay Part I movie. There was a line in the movie that caught my ear. "It takes ten times longer to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart."

I've thought over my last few years. In a lot of ways my own life has come unraveled. Job stress, finances, personal tragedies all rolled up to be nearly overwhelming. I started dumping things, and then more things. Soon I was just doing what I needed to do to get by.

That was exactly what I needed to be doing. I am making it through my own issues. Now I am starting to get back into things I wanted to do, but were not as high a priority. It isn't always easy. I now understand more about why folks struggle. Stress is tough. Depression is tough. Dealing with things is unique to each individual dealing with it.

I like the quote, if you can keep it together, keep it together. I know when I was running regularly, during a race if I slowed to a walk for just a bit, it was hard to get running again.

So keeping it together is easier than starting things over. Yet in the thick of things sometimes priorities have to be set and worked on. The thing to remember is if it is worth doing, find a way to do it. Sometimes you have to stop and rest, no shame in that. Sometimes keep on keeping on is the better choice. Then that is life, choices.

My life lesson is keep on keeping on if I can. It does take longer to picking up the pieces later. Stumbling forward is still going forward. Stay the course and keep moving forward.