On loss and Valentine’s Day

I Still Wonder – Patti Cates / Art created by Ian

Tomorrow is February 14 — Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love, your partner, and to do something special. A day that is special for lovers and for those in love. I hope that those in love enjoy the day and the time be together.

This time is so very special and is often taken for granted. My hope and prayer for all those who have a Valentine is to appreciate one another and to be thankful for one another. Also, please celebrate one another on more than just Valentine’s Day. After all, each day together is precious and you never know when one of you will no longer be there.

For those without a spouse, significant other, boyfriend or girlfriend, I hope you know and remember that you are loved and special. Please don’t be depressed about this day but instead do something special for yourself. This can be done by celebrating with your friends and your family. That is what I will be doing.

This year, I am very thankful that Kirk and I didn’t make Valentine’s Day the ultimate in romantic days for us. If we had, it would be an extremely painful day for me. He did not like the idea of just one day to be romantic or to send one another a special card or go out. He also didn’t like how everything costs more on Valentine’s Day than other days.  Neither did I.

We celebrated each other just because. He would give me flowers just because. We would go out to eat at a favorite restaurant just because. We would listen to a special song just because. We did exchange cards and used a few more than once for Valentine’s Day.

We both liked the Love Chapter from the Bible. It was very precious to us and we had it read at our wedding. I asked for it to be read again at Kirk’s memorial service and I cried as it was read. This is what love should be.  We were by no means perfect and did have our issues. But as I have said before, there was always love.

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” — 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.

Some upcoming days will be harder than tomorrow will be for me. These include: the day we met, when he proposed, his birthday, the day we got married, when Ian was born, special summer vacation times, and our holidays with our own traditions. I still miss him each day and cannot believe he is gone. Some days are better than others and others include real pain. I have a feeling it will be that way for a while.

No matter if you have someone special in your life or not, I hope you have a good and Happy Valentine’s Day! Blessings to you and yours.

A few quotes about Valentine’s Day and love:

  • “Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine, Love, thou art every day my Valentine.”
    ~ Thomas Hood
  • “Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.” ~ Robert Fulghum
  • “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~ Robert Browning
  • “True love stories never have endings.” ~ Richard Bach
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Throwback Thursday – Last Summer’s Vacation and Blog

Hi and Happy Throwback Thursday. I thought it would be fun to write about the beach on this day when it so cold in much of the country. Last summer I wrote about not having a beach body for our family vacation to San Diego. You can find the link here: https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/beach-body-not-this-year/

Turns out I am so glad that I enjoyed myself and that we took lots of pictures — both with makeup on and without.  Little did I know then that this would be the last time the three of us would have a beach vacation together.

I cherished it as I always do when going to this favorite beach location.  I have been going my entire life so there are memories of many loved ones. Sadly, we have lost quite of a few of these precious loved ones. I keep them alive in my thoughts, memories, photos, and discussions with friends and family.

We had several meals out with other family and a few for just us.  We laughed, we talked, and we so enjoyed each other’s company.  We went to Legoland with my dad and had a blast.  Ian then worked on a special Lego build and loved it. Kirk watched Ian play chess with Cody at the beach.  We had fun getting our feet wet in the surf and had lots of walks along the sand.

We also had the pleasure of watching Ian learn to ride a bike and Kirk and my dad rode along with him.  I have photos and video of that.  We enjoyed meals at the front porch table with my mom, siblings, and other family, sunsets, singing and time with family, special friends, lots of hugs and laughs, and precious time together.  All of this time is now bittersweet and something that I am so glad that we did.

I didn’t like how I looked in every picture but you know what, I cannot imagine not having pictures of me with my two best guys.  So when I am sad and missing my love like crazy, I can pull out these photos and be comforted by this special time we had together.

During the summer, we also celebrated Kirk’s birthday, his dad’s birthday, other relative’s birthdays, and it was the summer of Harry Potter when Ian discovered these wonderful books.  I too enjoyed them very much.

We also enjoyed catching up with old friends who we hadn’t seen for years, seeing the birth of a new family member, shopping trips, new books, long walks, times to swim, cookouts, and fireworks.  We worked and had adventures with new families and students.  We also enjoyed a few special movies together, such as I Can Only Imagine.

We had a busy summer.  I will cherish it always.  The three of us loved each other so very much.  We two who are left truly miss our loved one.  Things are not the same without him but we try each day to carry on.  We encourage you to spend special time with your loved ones, take that vacation, and enjoy and savor every minute you share.  After all, we never know when life will totally change.

On walls, shutdowns, and emergencies

(Note: Since my husband’s passing in late November, I haven’t been inclined to write. However, the current state of what is going on led me to write this blog. I am very troubled by the lack of willingness to work together by our elected officials. I know some may disagree with me, but I wanted to share some things to consider. Photos from Power Point clip art.)

I can think of several things that qualify for an emergency more than a wall. First, I do know that improved border security is needed and important. However, I am not sure if just a physical structure is the best way to go. Clearly some places need this structure. But, what about more officers, more immigration staff patrolling the border, more dogs, more technology, drones, and other things? And, what about working with these other governments and embassies to let them know we cannot receive them like this? Let’s work with them to ensure their safety in their own country so they won’t have to leave.

And, what about for example through the Rio Grande? Are property owners on that water to lose the view or should a wall be built in the middle of the water? Also, why is it only the southern border? Is that the only place that illegals are coming in? I think not. I know from personal experience that people come in via the ocean, land on the beach, and run. And, people and drugs come in via airplanes as well. Nothing from Canada?

The city of Flint, Michigan still isn’t with safe water and that to me is criminal. Families are sick and shouldn’t be. We still have children who are not with their parents who have tried to seek asylum in America. Why can’t the families be kept together? We still have school shootings where many kids are being killed and others are being scared of going. And churches sometimes no longer feel safe.

We have kids, men and women who are abused or are in sex trafficking and what are we doing? We also have a major opioid crisis and little is being done about it. We have violence, hate and discrimination that need to go away. And, we have children who are starving. We have teachers who have to use their own money to supplement what is used in their classrooms. We have police officers who are under appreciated and being killed for keeping us safe. We have people in disaster zones like Puerto Rico who still don’t have their lives back to normal.

On top of all of this is the government being shut down. Not only are people not getting paid, many are forced to work without pay while others have to stay home. They are supposed to be paid after this is settled, but who knows when that will be? I worked as a government contractor for years and am not yet sure how they will be affected with all of this. And, during this, the President and Members of Congress are getting paid. The very people causing the problem are still getting to continue with life as usual. That is so not right or fair.

And now we are seeing the impacts of things being shut down. We are seeing how gross some people are by not picking up after themselves at national parks or by destroying them. These are our national treasures that we should take care of. Let’s leave things better than we found them and help out by cleaning up and being careful. And people are having to wait in three-hour lines to board a flight for business or vacation.

I long for the days when people such as Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Kennedy were alive since they argued strongly against one another, but found a way to compromise. And they were friends. You knew that despite the work involved, the hard hours, the disagreements, and the not quite getting what they wanted, they still worked together until it was done.

Now, all we hear is that the other side is the enemy and that they are useless, or stupid, or have no ideas. And the idea of compromise has become a bad one and only used by weak people – or at least that is what some people say. People, grow up, put on your big pants, and talk to each other. Our citizens are suffering. Our citizens need you to represent them and take care of them. Our citizens need to get their lives back to normal.

The irony is that the very thing being fought for is causing danger to our citizens. That to me makes no sense at all. The TSA and Pilots Union have already said there is danger in not having a full paid staff and yet no one blinks. The FDA cannot inspect food as they often do and no one blinks. The food stamps program and many other programs will run out of money in February and no one blinks. How bad does it have to get before our “leaders” care enough to make changes and all come to the table?

We need to pull together as the great country we have always been. Now, I am not so sure. I am so disappointed with all of our leaders in digging in their heals since they all think they are right. By being that stubborn, millions of Americans are suffering and will continue to do so.

I am sick of tired of each side complaining about the other. I am sick of my friends who keep posting crap about the other side as well. And, I have stopped reading a lot of that and/or responding. I just can’t do it anymore since even they don’t want to listen to another argument.

I think we all need to come together and learn to respect our differences again. We are not all the same and shouldn’t be. And we all have something to offer, if only the others would listen.

Our Hardest Weeks

Over the past few weeks, my son and I have been trying to deal with the passing of my husband. It was sudden and unexpected but just how he would have wanted it just not for at least 20 years or more. (picture from Power Point clip art)

Since I am a writer, I realized that I needed to take some time and write down my feelings in order to start dealing with them. In the first week, I was up in the middle of the night for several nights in a row. During that time, I have been thinking of what I wanted to say. So here goes.

These have been the hardest several weeks for me and for our son but they have not been hard for my loving and sweet husband. He is in glory and there is comfort in that. My family and friends have also been an amazing comfort. So many people have reached out and have come through for us and we really and truly appreciate that.

But for me it hurts like hell. Parts of the day I am okay since he traveled a lot. I don’t think it has all sunk in yet. Other parts when it hits me that he is never coming back as we knew him, I want to scream. And, in fact, one of my friends whose husband died two years ago told me to do so. She said to wail when you need to. So recently while in the shower I did. I will again.

A few friends have mentioned that they are amazed at my strength. I feel I have to be strong right now for our son. There are times when I am strong but there are also times when I am very weak and ready to fall apart. So, I am taking it one day at a time, and sometimes, one hour at a time and even minutes at a time. And I am crying in front of our son and he is too. We are in this together.

The first week, my brain was in a fog and it was hard to do the normal things. I kept making mistakes and forgetting things or staring at someone. That is the pain and grief and perhaps a coping mechanism. I have worked as an editor so it is odd to not see mistakes that I could always see. It is frustrating but you know what, I don’t care right now.

I have several friends who have also lost their husbands. They have reached out to me. A few of them had a sudden loss, others have dealt with a longer term situation. No matter how the loss happens, it hurts so much. Some have younger children and others have children who are grown adults. No matter the time in life, it is still very hard to lose your soul mate and life partner.

With all of the pain we are going through, we are clinging to our faith in Jesus. That is a great comfort, as are our family, friends, church, school, neighborhood, and community. Imagining Kirk walking the streets of Heaven and making new friends makes me smile with tears in my eyes. There are so many who I imagine he is chatting with. That helps on the worst days.

My husband and I had talked about our plans and what he wanted when he died. He took care of us and did all he could so we would be okay. I will do my best to honor his legacy. Still, I am bumbling through all of the paperwork and things that have to be taken care of and people who have to be notified.

We had a celebration of life that was attended by both family and friends. We all cried and laughed as we remembered my dear sweet love. The outpouring from our loved ones has been amazing and has helped sustain us and helped us carry on. They say it takes a village, and that seems to especially be true in times of great loss and grief.

My advice is to talk with your loved ones about all of this hard stuff, arrangements, words for an obituary, your finances, and names of your relatives. It is just so hard to do immediately after the loss. Be sure that you both know what the other wants, and how and where to find the important papers.

There is a song that Tim McGraw sings that says to live like you are dying. I don’t like those exact words but he is onto something. I have learned the hard way how important it is to savor each moment with our loved ones and not take them for granted. We do often do that and get stuck in our own little ruts. My husband and I did that as well.

We had a great life together but it was by no means perfect. We would argue and annoy each other and sometimes fight, but we would make up. We made a point to do that. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing that is to me right now. And, with it all was love. I know he loved us and he knew we loved him.

We met when we were both a bit older than many people who get married and we knew it was right from the start. We had a wonderful 20 years together and a sweet son. Still, I want more. The fact he wasn’t here for any of December hit me last night and hurt again. I feel that I should have done more for him at the end but did all that I could.

I don’t like thinking of him in the past tense. I remember how vibrant and full of life he was. He lived his life full of love and laughter and also worked hard. We had our inside jokes and traditions that I want to keep alive for our son. We had annoyances with one another as all couples do. We complemented each other with our skills and abilities and we supported each other. We also had such a rich and treasured history that I will cherish and tell our son about when the time is right.

There are many of us who are grieving. My husband was also a father, a brother, a son, an in-law, a nephew, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, and a teacher and friend to his students. The people who had these relationship with him are also grieving and in shock.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of a song “I Can Only Imagine,” that brought me to tears before all of this happened. This summer, the three of us watched the movie of the same name. We all cried and hugged one another. What a memory. It is one I will cherish for a long time.

Amazingly, now my love is experiencing all of this. After I cry some ugly tears, I try to imagine what he did when he arrived in Heaven. I then smile and cry some more. My love, you are missed and loved.

I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me (most of the words)

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When you face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I would do is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Grandpa’s Thanksgiving Prayer

Hi and Happy Turkey Day as Ian has been calling it.  Today, I wanted to share my Grandpa’s Thanksgiving Prayer.  It is a prayer that always means the world to me and was one that I thought about as I first woke up this morning.

Here is his prayer.  May it mean as much to you as it does to my family.

“Our Father-God we thank thee…

• For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
• For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
• For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
• For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
• For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
• For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
• For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
• For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
• For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
• For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
• For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
• For parenthood we thank thee.
• And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come. Amen.”

Well said Grandpa!  Here, here!  As I get older, all of these items mean more to me. It is now so hard to read this prayer without tearing up and remembering him, my grandma and other loved ones.  And each item of thankfulness is amazing.

Last year I wrote my own thanksgiving prayer.  You can find it at https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/my-thanksgiving-prayer/ 

I do have a few things to add that I am thankful for this year:

Our Father Good, we thank thee…

  • For precious memories of loved ones that have passed away. I am thankful for my time with them. I want to carry on their legacies.
  • For the ability to love and treat others with kindness and empathy. Sadly this is lacking in so many today. May we teach this ability to our children and one another.
  • For a home to gather and enjoy our meal with friends and family. I lift up everyone who has been touched by those terrible wildfires or recent hurricanes. May you enjoy this day despite your life being changed.
  • For new friendships and old as well. It is a blessing to meet and get to know others and build a community of support.
  • For the ability to read and to go on adventures and for writing. Ian too has discovered this and for that I am very thankful.
  • For our community, our school, our church, and our neighborhood. It is lovely to be a part of all of these groups.
  • For my family who I treasure more than they know.  Amen

Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your turkey day!

Happy Almost Thanksgiving to you!

Hi and happy day before Thanksgiving.  Can you believe it’s almost here?  Did you forget about it since it has been crammed in between Halloween and Christmas — which has begun even earlier this year.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I like the chance to be with loved ones, enjoy food that everyone has helped prepare, spend the day enjoying food, fun, family, friends, and football, and the time to give thanks and praise for our blessings.

I like that commercialism hasn’t taken it over — just favorite family recipes and being careful with the latest warnings about unsafe food (Romaine lettuce this week). I like that the day is about some of my favorite things or ways to spend my time — with a delicious meal and a great conversation and laugh.

I had planned to write each day this month on items that I am thankful for but just didn’t get the chance.  Things have been busy — with family business projects, homework, and other issues, and some personal issues as well.  Another day this week, I will write some more on those.  For now, I want to go and enjoy my blessings, as I hope you will also do.

Here are a few quotes about Thanksgiving. Enjoy:

  • “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” ~ W.J. Cameron
  • “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” ~ Erma Bombeck
  • “For flowers that bloom about our feet;
    For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
    For song of bird, and hum of bee;
    For all things fair we hear or see,
    Father in heaven, we thank Thee!”
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~ Thornton Wilder
  • “Lord, we gather as a family to thank Thee for all Thy blessings, most especially for making us this family and granting us this gathering.” ~ Robert Brault

May you be blessed and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

On Voting and Thankfulness

Hi and Happy Monday.  Tomorrow as you probably know is an election day.  I for one will be glad when it is done since I am tired of all of the negative ads.  It is just entirely too much.

Did you vote already or will you tomorrow?  Please let me know and please vote. I voted early with my family.  Our son helped me cast the ballot and that was cool.  I want him to know the importance of voting and what an honor it is.

Perhaps this picture should say, I am voting tomorrow.  If you haven’t already, please do.  And, when you do vote, please don’t do it out of fear or being afraid of something awful happening if the other side wins.  Please be informed and knowledgeable on what the candidates stand for.  After all, they all have to find a way to work together for the betterment of all of us.

This is the time to make your views known.  This is the time to have a say in how our country moves forward.  This is the time to be part of our democracy and the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In entirely other news, this Thanksgiving, I am writing about a variety of things that I am thankful for.  Each day, I am to share something that I am thankful for as listed on a photo of 30 Days of Thankfulness.  It is a good time to reflect on what I appreciate and find meaning in.  And, I hope to carry it on to other months as well.

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  I love the day for food, fellowship and giving thanks. My family and friends enjoy a wonderful circle of prayers, thanksgiving, love, and great food. We talk, laugh, share stories, enjoy great recipes and family favorites, and sometimes cry.

I look forward to Thanksgiving each year and wish it now wasn’t being left to the wayside by the rush to Christmas. This drawing is one by Ian from years ago. One of the turkey hand drawings.

November 5 — Place — Today the place I am most thankful for is my family’s beach house.  I have so many amazing memories of that small cottage.  I have been going since I was a baby and Kirk and I have taken Ian many times since he was a baby. It is small in size but very large in love and family and friends.

This place has been full of songs, Grandpa’s stories, Grandma’s hugs and love, precious time with cousins, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, outside showers, meals on the porch gathered around the table, sleeping on the floor, long conversations, lots of laughs, and some tears as well.

One of my cousins recently passed away and last year an aunt also died.  I have so many fond and lovely memories of both of them at this beach house.  I cherish them and all of the time spent with my loved ones.  I am so very thankful to have this place for our family to gather.

November 4 — Favorite Snack — This depends on the time of year that I am in.  In the summer, I like something light or cool — like nuts and dried fruit, a popsicle, a cold beer, or an ice cream cone.  During the fall, however, my favorite snack is a slice of pumpkin bread with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese and a cold glass of milk. Yum!!!

I am thankful for the mix of flavors of sweet and savory, the texture and the milk to wash it down with. I am thankful that I can enjoy such delicious food. My mother has a great recipe for the bread that I will need to find and make.  It may be an odd combination but it is one that I like.  I also like having it for breakfast.  What is your favorite snack?

November 3 — Cozy Place — For this I am thankful for my comfy couch in our living/family room.  I love to sit under a warm blanket during this time of year.  I enjoy sitting there to read, watch television, visit with my family, and take a nap.  I feel very comfortable there. It is my spot.

I am thankful and happy to have a house that is our home, with running water, a place to do laundry, prepare meals, and park our car out of the elements.  This is also a place to enjoy pancakes made in the kitchen and eaten at the table with the family in our pajamas. I am truly blessed to share this home with my two best guys.

I wonder what the next day’s thankfulness items will be about?  I am not sure but I cannot wait.  Here’s to giving thanks!

Please Stop The Hate!

  • To those who hate those who practice other religions, please stop. 
  • To those who hate other nationalities and races, please stop.
  • To those who hate LGBTQ people, please stop.
  • To those who hate the poor and homeless, please stop.
  • To those who hate the media, please stop. 
  • To those who hate refugees and immigrants, please stop.
  • To those who hate people with special needs, please stop.
  • To those who hate people who don’t agree with them, please stop. 
  • To those who hate anyone, please stop.

We must stop hating and instead start loving.  We must stop and not hate again.  We must change how we treat others and look at the world.  We must treat others with kindness and teach our children to do the same.

We must not encourage others to do violent things or acts, but instead encourage peace and help to others. We must not make fun of those who are different, but instead learn from and applaud those differences.

We must not harm or tease or bully or belittle, but instead show kindness, patience, love and respect.  We must not punch or hit or beat someone, but instead keep our hands to ourselves and save our hands for love and hugs that are welcome.

I am truly worried about all of us and our children and future generations since there is so much division, hate and violence.  I want it to stop and not happen again.  May we teach our children that differences are okay.  People are not the enemy when they aren’t the same as us.  We must remember that.  We must love again and we must show care and kindness to our fellow man.

Please let’s remember the love, remember the peace, remember the compassion, and remember the kindness.

Most of the people I know are kind and loving.  To you, I say, please keep up what you are doing and how you are treating others.  May we spread kindness and love more quickly than hate and violence.

A few quotes to think about:

  • “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness… Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” — Mahatma Ghandi
  • “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” — James A. Baldwin
  • “Let’s practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate.” — Zendaya

October Writings — Hope and Comfort

Hi and Happy October.  I don’t know about you but I love this month and all there is to celebrate.  I enjoy the changing color of the trees, the crisp air, birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween when we can dress us, and more to enjoy. This photo was taken a year or two during a lovely change in season.

Of course, it is still quite warm so the changes have not begun.  Hopefully that will be soon.  Today, I am going to write on two short topics for a month of October writings.  Yesterday’s topic was Hope and today’s is Comfort.  I will try to be more active in my posts this month.  These words are part of the five-minute writings that I sometimes do.

October 7 — Hope — I often write to people who I hope and pray that they get better from an illness, that their loved ones will be healed, I hope a book I am reading has a fascinating story and a great ending, or that whatever the problem is will be resolved.

I also hope for my son to do well on a test or with his homework, for my husband to have a safe business trip, for there to be peace on earth, for my loved ones to stay healthy, for safe travels on the interstates or on flights, for someone with cancer to be healed, and for so much more.

Hope is something that I want to cling to in times of trouble and realize that it is a good thing to keep in mind.  Hope is the friend of an optimist. Hope can help you continue when things seem to be going horribly wrong. Hope is also the name of a friend of mind.  She is great and such fun.

October 8 — Comfort — I love to be comfortable.  How about you?  So, I don’t wear high heels.  Instead I am often in flip-flops or flat and comfy shoes.  I also dress now in mainly shorts, casual pants, t-shirts, and sometimes skirts with a nice blouse.  Nothing like I used to when I was working full-time.  And, when walking, wear sneakers.

I used to be sure to have full makeup and my hair just so when I left the house.  I have noticed, however, that I am now okay without much if any makeup. This is primarily on days when I don’t have much planned.  Being older has helped me to be comfortable in my own skin.  Granted, I have lots to work on, but I am trying to appreciate where I am.

Comfort is found in my family, our home, our routine, and our community.  I love to sit on our couch and read, watch a favorite movie, chat with friends and family, and take a nap. That is one of my favorite places to rest and relax and be comfortable.  What is your favorite place?

When I am upset about something, I take comfort in a kind word, a hug, a warm gesture or note, or a special song.  It all depends on the problem on what can work.  Sometimes, time and quiet are the best things to find the comfort that we need.  And, our loved ones can also help and make things better for us.

Merriam-Webster defines Hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation” and “to expect with confidence.”  The dictionary defines Comfort as “to give strength and hope to” and “to ease the grief or trouble of.”

I wonder how I will help others continue to have hope and provide comfort as needed? I don’t yet know but will do my best.

And, I will try to write more regularly than I have been.  I have missed it but have been so very busy.  Hopefully things will slow down and allow for this time.  Have a great day!

 

 

Remembering 9/11 — NYC, DC, and PA

“Where were you when the world stopped turning?” asks a line in Alan Jackson’s song that he recorded after the horrific events of 9/11.  I don’t know about you but I can still remember exactly where I was on that morning that is now 17 years ago today.

I was at work in a public relations office at the time.  We turned on the news just after the first plane hit the first Twin Tower in New York City.  At the time, people were not sure if it was an accident or deliberate. We watched as the second plane hit the second tower.  We then knew that life would not be the same since someone flew into that building on purpose.  It was a shock.

Throughout the morning, the Pentagon was then hit by another plane. And, then Flight 93 was crashed by brave passengers in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before another building could be hit. Our innocence disappeared that day.  Life has not been the same since.

This was such a sad day after my family had celebrated such a happy weekend when my niece was born.  We celebrated a new life not knowing that in just a few days, many lives would be ending.  I remember having a nightmare over that weekend.  So very strange.  My niece is now a lovely young woman. It is odd to think she has only known a life of post-9/11.

I took this photo during a high school chorus trip to New York City and to New Jersey.  We were in a park, I looked up and there were the Twin Towers.  It is a treasure to have a photo of them.  I remember the heartbreak and shock of seeing both of them fall.  I remember the smoke and people running.

After all of this happened, we were allowed to leave work and go home.  I went home to my house where my dad was waiting for a repair of something.  I don’t remember what it was.  We sat together for a while and watched the news unfolding since this was the only thing on.  I wept for all of the lives lost, I wept that our country seemed to be under attack.  After a while, I started to feel numb.  It was a terrible feeling.

There are older movies and television shows where the Twin Towers are prominently featured and you always can get a sense of the timing that happened.  Many things from the 1970s and 1980s panned across the skyline and there they were.  It is a sad and a constant reminder of what happened 17 years ago.

In addition to the towers, I remember the hole in the side of the Pentagon and how bizarre it looked.  A military building had been badly damaged and that seemed unfathomable before it happened.  And, I remember the crash site in Shanksville, PA and the debris from Flight 93 that was all over the place.

Each year, I remember the people whose lives changed forever. Those who lost loved ones, who never got to see their friend or family again, those who had no idea when they left for work that morning that they would never come home, and those heroes in all locations who helped either before or after the tragedies occurred.

I remember the words of comfort that President George W. Bush gave to the country as well as the call to action and to make sure this never happens again.  Sadly, we have seen entirely too much carnage, hate, death, and destruction since then.

The good thing is that we have also seen love, compassion, neighbors helping neighbors, fundraising, and support for each other, both those we know and those we don’t. My hope and prayer is that we can continue that and learn something from this.

May we never forget.  May we continue to honor those lost that day.  May we cherish each day and time with our loved ones.  May we never take a moment for granted.  And, may we please dear God never repeat this behavior.