About patticates247

I love to read, write, take photos, and wonder about everything. This blog allows me to share my thoughts on a variety of subjects. I wonder as I wander. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. I'd love to hear from you!

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!

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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.

Random End of the Month Thoughts

Hi and happy last day of August.  Can you believe it will be September tomorrow?  I sure can’t. This month has been a busy one and flew by.  Ian has been in school for a  month now and is doing well.  For that we are truly thankful.

It is hard to believe that this is only my second posting this month.  The one I did two weeks ago doesn’t seem to have been read by many people. Oh well.  I really need to get back to regularly writing and posting.  Here are some thoughts over the last week.

I enjoyed my first PTO meeting this week as an interested parent, not an officer having to do something.  It was different and good.  The PTO at this school is different than last year.  Not as much to do and support but what there is to do is quite important.  Nice to be a part of that.

This weekend is football time in Tennessee.  For those who don’t know, the University of Tennessee is a popular team and many people plan their Saturdays in order to watch the games. Orange and white are the colors of choice for many fans as they are yelling at the stadium or cheering in front of the television.  It is almost a religion here.

In 1998, UT won the national championship game.  It was a big year for UT.  One of the local television stations is airing information about that year’s team, information on each week’s game and the fans.  It has been a great look back.  We hope for a winning season this year for UT.  Last year was rough for them and I hope they are on the rebound.

Also this weekend is Labor Day and a three-day weekend, which is so nice.  We can sleep in for three days instead of our usual two. YEAH!  Ian asked this morning what that day is for.  I told him it is to celebrate workers and also the end of the summer.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

I don’t know about you but I grew up learning that everyone at an office has an important and vital job in the success of the company.  The janitor keeps the building looking nice, the boss leads everyone and all of the worker bees also do their part.  My hope is that we can all appreciate our co-workers and those who provide services to us and for us.

Speaking of hard work and doing their part, you know who has amazed me this week?  President Jimmy Carter.  He is 93 years old and is building a house with Habitat for Humanity.  He and his wife are working together with other volunteers.  He has been busy giving back ever since he left office as president.  He is someone for Ian to learn from.

Another person is the late Senator John McCain who died this week of brain cancer.  This is the same cancer that led to the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, and to Beau Biden.  These men were all mentioned and praised during the remarks yesterday by Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden and McCain had an unusual friendship, especially in today’s atmosphere of hating those we don’t agree with, or ridiculing them.  They were totally different and called each other on it. They had major disagreements but were still there for each other and were friends.  They knew how to laugh and respect each other.

At the funeral in Arizona, Biden said, “I’m sure there’s people who said to you: ‘Explain this guy to me.’ Because, as they looked at him, in one sense they admired him. In one sense, the way things changed so much in America, they looked at him as if John came from another age, lived by a different code — an ancient, antiquated code where honor, courage, integrity, duty, were alive…. truth is, John’s code was ageless…. He’d part company with you if you lacked the basic values of decency and respect.”

If only we could go back to that treatment of each other again. I am so very tired of the idea that the other side is the enemy.  They aren’t.  They are just different in what they think.  They could, however, be considered an enemy if they are out to do you harm.  Egging others on to violence and hate is so very wrong and needs to stop.

I didn’t always agree with Senator McCain on issues but I did respect his service to our country, his time as a prisoner of war, the fact that when offered to be sent home he declined since he wasn’t the first one there, and his love of his family.  He was decent, had integrity, and amazing courage.  And, he never thought of himself as a hero.

These are the traits that I want Ian to have as he grows into manhood.  These are the traits that my husband and I are trying to teach him, trying to model to him, and trying to discuss with him.  We want him to be a man of integrity, honor, courage, love, respect for others, compassion, and so much more.

(All pictures are from Power Point Clip Art). What random thoughts did you have this week?  Please share them.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

There once was a song that had that line in it by C&C Music Factory. In fact, it was the name of the song if memory serves — “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.”  I just found it on You Tube to jog my memory.  It will now be stuck in my head for a while and I will be singing along.

After watching this video, I also listened to C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” and “Here We Go Let’s Rock and Roll.” And “Everybody, Everybody” by Technotronic, “Strike It Up” by Black Box, Shannon’s “Let The Music Play” and Soul II Soul’s “|Back to Life.” These songs take me back to the early 1990s when I was in my 20s and loved dancing every weekend at a club.

My friend and I had so much fun and would dance for hours. There was so much great dance music back then. Each song has memories and so much fun attached.  I only wish that now I could dance for hours as I did then. Talk about great exercise!  I am working now on losing weight and getting healthy again and hope to be in dancing form again soon.

Anyway, this song came to mind over several things that have happened over the last few weeks, including this new journey of losing weight.  A lot on the national stage as well as in my own little corner of the world has made me stop and say Hmmm, or what the beep, or what in the world is going on.

Regarding my most recent change of habits of eating and exercise, I went hmmmm since after a summer vacation of great food and lots of walking, I had lost 5 pounds.  I was thrilled at that and realized that yes, I can do this.  I just have to put in the time and effort.

So, now after dropping off Ian at school in the morning, I am taking some me time and walking a few times around my neighborhood.  I am trying to work up to longer walks and more time on that and possibly some breathing exercises and core work.  It feels good since it is still cool in the morning and a nice time to also think.

My eating habits have also changed somewhat for the better I think.  I am making a point to have salad every day — usually at lunch. Also, I am eating more seafood and plenty of veggies at night. I still like my ice cream and other treats, but do try to have more balance.

So that part of life is improving and that is great.  As much as I enjoyed the PTO work that I did, I wasn’t left with much time after also doing family business work.  So, this year at least, I will help some with PTO but will balance that with other things.  And, that is what was needed since I was nearly burned out at the end of last school year.

One of the things that has burned me out is the concern with so much hate, division, and meanness in our country and especially on a national level.  Our leaders no longer want to seem to find ways to work together or make compromises.  Instead they call one another childish names, are mean and hateful to each other, and dismiss those who don’t agree with them.

As a parent of a child, that truly troubles and worries me. How can I teach our son to admire and follow the example of so many adults who don’t know how to act or treat each other?  Instead we often tell him, see that adult, that is how not to act.  Please be better than that adult and treat others with kindness, respect, and love.

Many times the way adults are acting is what you might hear on a school playground where kids goad and tease each other.  “I know you are but what am I.”  “You are a poopy head.”  “You are a butthead.”  And the list goes on.

In fact, this week one of the congressman called a man a butthead.  Never did I think I’d hear that from an elected official about another person who he clearly didn’t agree with.  He was talking about John Brennan whose security clearance was revoked by President Trump.  I think the congressman’s point could have been made differently, but that is what he said.

Brennan apparently didn’t release any classified material as you would think would have happened.  Instead, he has been very outspoken and negative about Mr. Trump.  Maybe he has gone a bit too far but he is entitled to speak his mind and what he thinks.  Perhaps there is more to the story that I am not aware of.  If so, I’d like to know what it is.

I know a lot of people probably disagree with me, but I had to say what the beep about this since it doesn’t seem like something that should have happened in a democracy with our freedom to say and believe what we want.  Do we want to live in a country where the president tells us what to think, who to listen to, what to say, and how to say it?  And to never question him and perhaps eventually her?

I don’t.  I can’t help but wonder if other people do want that. So many people seem to be going along with this or just don’t see it.  The First Amendment is as important to me as the Second Amendment is to some of my friends and family.  Let’s think about what we say, have some facts to back up our arguments and present them without slamming others.  Am I naïve to think we should be able to do that?

I went to journalism school and studied hard.  I learned the difference between fact and opinion for my articles. I worked as a reporter for several years and loved it.  I know the importance of the free press, the importance of asking the tough questions, and reporting on things that matter.  I covered the things that people need to know about — county commission meetings, the work being done by the fire department and police department, the school board meetings where decisions are made that are hard, and so much more.

I will work to defend it.  I just hope I am not alone in that defense.  Along with this, the notion that the media are enemies of the people just makes me so mad and sad since it is not true. Journalists by and large work their jobs and report things for the general public to know about. They also ask tough questions that many subjects don’t like to answer.

This week, approximately 350 newspapers across the country spoke out against that notion of being enemies of the people. They instead are standing up for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. My hometown newspaper was a part of this and I was so happy to hear that.

On a completely different topic, another thing that made me go hmmm this week was our son’s request to start calling me Mum.  He has called me Mommy, Mom, and now after reading the Harry Potter books decided he likes Mum.  “That is fine with me,” I told him.  “Just please don’t call me Mother.  I don’t like that” and he said okay.

What things make you go hmmm?  I have many more and will address them in other blogs.  This is it for now.  Back to the music that always seems to help.  How about a few by Janet Jackson from the 1980s/1990s — “Rhythm Nation,” “Control,” “When I Think of You,” and “Escapade.”

It’s a flashback weekend for me with all of this great music.  With all of the crazy things in the world, it is nice to hear some music that I grew up with.  Blessings to you and yours on the rest of your weekend! (clip art is from PowerPoint.)

And Just Like That…

Summer is over and it is time for school again.  Can you believe it?  My the summer sure flew by.  It was great and busy and so much fun.  We had time with friends and family, time to visit the beach, and the mountains as well.

How was your summer?  Is it over for you?  Not quite yet for many people.  Already finished for others. I hope your summer was as good as mine was. I hope you had fun, many blessings, and time to relax.

We enjoyed many sunsets while at the beach.  This photo is of one of them.  Isn’t it lovely!?  A little off-center but still nice.

Here are some things I am thankful for this summer:

  • Long walks
  • Seeing Ian learn to ride a bike
  • Ian reading an entire series of books, which I have just started
  • Vacation with my guys
  • A quick stop on the way home in New Orleans where I enjoyed beignets
  • Meals on my favorite porch with my favorite people (well many of them anyway)
  • Card games with a childhood friend
  • New games with family
  • Visits with dear friends
  • Laughs with friends and family
  • Hugs and prayer circles with loved ones
  • Fish tacos from a favorite restaurant
  • Treats from the ice cream truck
  • Trip to a theme park with my guys, including Dad
  • Jewelry store makings and chatting with Mom
  • Outdoor showers
  • Flexibility of a family business
  • Sleeping in and early morning cuddles
  • Hugs and kisses before bed
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Used bookstores and clothing stores
  • Movies and special shows
  • Family sing-alongs
  • Sunsets at the beach
  • Toes in the sand
  • Chats with cousins and siblings at the beach
  • Our family beach house
  • Generations of family enjoying time together
  • Special meals out with Kirk
  • Extra time to visit and be together
  • Art projects and henna tattoos
  • Enjoying every single day of the summer — no matter what we were doing or the weather — we did our best to savor it all

Now we are working to get back to our routine. It may be a tough week but we can do it. Routine is good and so we will be back to it very soon.

I was so busy and having such fun that I hardly wrote at all this summer. Sheesh. I meant to write more this month but just didn’t get to it. I will try to do more in August as my schedule is getting back to normal. Please let me know of ideas that you’d like to read about.

Blessings to you and yours. Hope your school year is a great one!  And if you are not in school, hope that work is going well.

Miracle in Thailand

Did you see the news this morning?  All 12 boys and their coach are now out of that cave in Thailand.  YEAH!!!!!!!  An amazing miracle.  They  survived against all odds and it is time to celebrate.

When I last watched the news this morning, the divers were still coming out and other adults who had been helping the boys.  I hope and pray that all of them will safely come out as well.

The teamwork and support that these boys have received has been amazing. The Navy Seals, the divers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and other first responders have gone above and beyond. They are real and true heroes.

The fact that one person died while trying to help them is also amazing since it could have been so much worse.  I am very saddened about that loss and feel for his family and friends.  He was brave and strong and died doing something to help others.  Wow.

I only hope that we can learn from this bravery, this willingness to work together for the good of others, and the round the clock effort to get them out.  So amazing and so inspiring.  I want us to pull together as well in hard times and on issues that may divide us.

Although I don’t know the names of everyone involved, I will continue to keep them in my prayers.  I will think of the boys and hope they can return to their normal lives without too much pain and suffering.  I will think of their families and how relieved they are that they were returned back to them.  I will think of all of the brave men and women who made it possible for them to be brought out of that cave.

In the world of so much negative news, so much hate, and so much rhetoric, it has been refreshing and important to have a good news story.  The fact that a miracle occurred is the icing on the cake.

I wanted to add a few other things that I am thankful for:

  • The excitement of Ian reading all of the books in the Harry Potter series
  • Upcoming beach trip with family
  • Work where the three of us can be together
  • Running water, air conditioning, and a refrigerator
  • Iced tea or iced water on a hot day
  • Fans that help keep the air moving
  • Extra time with my guys
  • The laughter from silly Mad Libs answers
  • Lego builds that are amazing
  • Time with our loved ones
  • Laughs and fun memories
  • Extra long hugs
  • Messy, wind-blown hair
  • Visits with old friends
  • Sharing a meal with loved ones
  • The beach house front porch and table
  • That 12 boys and their coach will be okay despite the odds

I wonder what adventures we will have on our upcoming vacation?  I don’t know but am looking forward to them.  Blessings to you and yours.

(This map is from Power Point clip art.)

Happy Birthday to the Land That I Love

Tomorrow, July 4, is the birthday of the United States. In 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence that created this land that I love. This land of freedoms, of opportunities, and of care and compassion. Happy 242nd to you America!

I am thankful that they created our government with three equal but separate branches, instead of a monarchy which they came from. Those branches, as I learned in 9th grade Civics, are the legislative, executive, and judicial. My wish is that today our leaders in these branches would work together instead of constantly fighting and being mean to each other.

I hope and pray that we will continue to be a land of care and compassion, a land where anything is possible, a land where we help one another, and a land where we learn from each other’s differences. Sadly I am seeing more hate, division, mistrust, and no willingness to listen to each other.

That has to stop. We have to find a way to listen to one another, to learn from each other, and to be caring and help take care of each other. We have to do better for ourselves and for our children who look to us for guidance on how to treat others and navigate their world.

When President Reagan was in office, he had many heated discussions with senators and congressman, such as House Speaker Tip O’Neill. They went at it and spoke emphatically and strongly on their side, but they didn’t throw mud or call each other stupid or unwilling to work. They instead found compromises and worked for the betterment of the entire country.

Can we do that now? I believe we can. We just have to stop the rhetoric, the incitement of violence, and the hate. On both sides of every issue, we must do better. We must learn to love again and treat one another with kindness. We also must listen to each other, whether we agree or not. How else will we figure out our problems?

Our land is amazing and full of so many gifts and freedoms that many people in the world do not know. We can speak freely, we can worship as we choose, we can protect ourselves and our families, we can have a fair and speedy trial, and we can vote.

These are just some of the rights that we have as Americans. May we remember how precious they are, may we not take them for granted, may we protect them without hate and malice towards others, and may we remember we are all in this together.

A few quotes about the Declaration of Independence and Independence Day:

  • “It is very inspiring, my friends, to come to this that may be called the original fountain of independence and liberty in America and here drink draughts of patriotic feeling which seem to renew the very blood in one’s veins.” ~ President Woodrow Wilson
  • “Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • “The Declaration of Independence! The interest which in that paper has survived the occasion upon which it was issued; the interest which is of every age and every clime; the interest which quickens with the lapse of years, spreads as it grows old, and brightens as it recedes, is in the principles which it proclaims.” ~ John Quincy Adams
  • “From every mountain side,  Let Freedom ring.” ~ Samuel F. Smith
  • “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • God Bless America
    Land that I love
    Stand beside her
    And guide her
    Through the night with the light from above
    From the mountains
    To the prairies
    To the oceans
    White with foam
    God bless America
    My home sweet home

Beach Body — Not This Year

Hi and Happy Thursday. I read something on Facebook recently that spoke to me since I do not have a body ready for the beach this summer. In fact, it isn’t even close.  It said, “How to Have a Beach Body: 1. Have a Body; and 2. Go The Beach.”

I added with this that despite me being overweight, I am looking forward to our trip to the beach. I will enjoy myself but may be embarrassed at some of the photos that we take. I will do my best to focus on the wonderful family time that I will have and the fun time with friends. Memories will be made and that is something to look forward to.

Speaking of photos, I have always enjoyed hamming it up for the camera and taking photos with my loved ones. My siblings and I like to be silly, as do Kirk, Ian, and I. But, I was just looking at some from earlier this week, and oh brother, I have some work to do. I don’t like how I look and saw many flaws. So it is time to make changes.

I currently am heavier than I was when Ian was born. That had been my heaviest but now I am beyond it. I have struggled with weight loss and have a constant battle with it. I sit most of the day with family business stuff, things for Ian’s school, and many other things, and don’t get much exercise.  I also love to eat and love my food. So what else is to happen as I have gotten older?

But over the summer, I am trying to walk more, be more active, and eat more healthy food. The past few years have been stressful with lots of changes, family members and friends with major health issues, deaths of dear ones, and a lot going on.  So, food has been a source of comfort. I have eaten while being stressed.  I am working on that as well.

I really and truly want to be around to see Ian grow up.  I also want to grow old with my husband. So, it is time to take care of myself and get back to the size I was before Ian was born.  Although that is still a double-digit, I will be happy to see that again since I felt so good when I was that size.

When I had success before, I did cardio of up to 45 minutes each day, watched my food intake and the sodium.  So, I will work my way up to this again.  I will plan to start with 30 minutes a day of activity and go from there.

This photo was taken in 1990 of me with my brother at the beach. This is my favorite beach to visit and am so looking forward to being there again this summer.  I was in the best shape of my life back then and felt really good.

One problem with where I live is the humidity and the discomfort of being outside at certain times of the day. The beach we always visit doesn’t have that so it is easier to walk.  I plan to do a lot of that during that trip.  I also plan to before and after the trip. And I will be doing exercise inside as well.

I have had successful weight loss in the past and have had heavy times as well. It seems to go back and forth. I just hope and pray that I can get a handle on it. I am going to try. I will add activity, still enjoy my food but try to make better choices, and try not to stress eat.

I have heard a quote that nothing you eat feels as good as being skinny or something like that. I am not to that point yet since I still very much enjoy my food and desserts. I do however, realize that it is time to get a handle on things and do better for myself.

I would appreciate ideas and suggestions, but please don’t judge as I am trying. Thanks and God Bless.