It Really Does Start At Home


I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

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A Lion Never Loses Sleep Over The Opinions Of Sheep


pointing

There are people in our lives that lift us up and others that are constantly Debbie Downers, no matter what their gender. People who gossip about everyone and those that listen. And those that won’t. There are people who light up a room when they walk into it and others that are hard to be around. Just like the people on the road that live their lives in a kind of constant road rage, with their hand always on the horn while they tail and cut everyone off in the process, never seeing their own flaws. And then, there are those other set of people who manage to get to one place to another without seeing the flaw in every driver.

traffic3

I’ve used driving as kind of a metaphor to help get my point across. Do you know someone who always has to be mad at somebody? One friend last week and a new one this week? A coworker, a boss, a landlord, a family member, or just some poor stupid stranger on the road? They obsess and talk about their issue of the week with them and then move on to the next victim. Sometimes the people they hate on have no clue, sometimes unfortunately they do. It is just sad that, that person just can’t relax and live their own life and stop worrying about everyone elses. At least until they get their own lives right.

sad man silloette

Some people can’t stand that you are moving on and constantly want to drag your past into today. Don’t let them. It is your life and your choice what today will bring for you. One of the wisest things I’ve ever heard is…. Just don’t react. When you remain silent, you have the power, because when someone does not know what you are thinking they have nothing to respond to.

breaking up

Recently I’ve been surrounded by the death of some very important people in my life and it has really made me slow down and not react so quickly. In a way in reflecting alone, I’ve been in this place of restoration. Choosing what is important and what is not and who I want to be around and who I don’t. Over the years I have systematically chosen to not be around toxic people, but I’ve always kind of felt guilty about it. Just recently, I have given myself permission to let go because eventually everything connects.

lost love on the beach

I may not be where I want to be this minute. But I am not where I used to be yesterday. Every step is mine to take and the direction I choose to go. I can choose to be miserable when I wake up or I can choose to be strong, the energy used in that choice is the same though the end results can be monumental. Anger destroys, it consumes all your energy and is toxic. People around you will begin to avoid you. The secret is to not focus all your energy on fighting the old but building up the new. Change is like a gift we can give ourselves. Do it now. Because sometimes later becomes never.

cemetery foggy

A Lion never loses sleep over the opinions of sheep. Don’t you love it? I just ran into this quote this morning and it rang so true for me today. We need to stop allowing the opinions of others to rule our day. Especially when we know that it’s coming from twisted anger.

sheep in our backyard

We must remember that the strongest people are not the ones who show their strength in front of us, but who have won battles that we will never know anything about. I am stronger because I’ve been weak, I am fearless because I’ve been afraid and I am wise because I’ve been foolish. I am working on the day when I won’t need validation from anyone but God. That is the day, when the world will fear me. For the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack!

lion-05.jpg (1366×768)

I don’t have to just sit there and be a jar of rice!


three jars of rice

My daughter has been telling me about this thing called The Rice Experiment. A Scientist took 3 jars of rice and for one month, he said to the first one, “thank you” and to the second one he said “you are an idiot or I hate you.” And the last one was just ignored.  Watch the link below to see what happened. It is pretty incredible. The result is that the one that was told “thank you” grew fragrant and flourished while the others grew bacteria etc. The video is only about a minute long and is worth the time you take to watch it.

rice pictures from top

 

Lately, I have been in a horrible funk. I have pretty much felt like the other two jars of rice. I am not sure what is going on. I do believe that outside energy does have a lot to do with our lives. The negative people that we give power to, and the power we give away is within our control. I have come to the conclusion that we don’t just have to sit there and allow someone to come along and ruin our day and create fungus in our lives. Too many times I have allowed the negativity of others to take over.

suspicious

I believe that it is a conscious choice to love ourselves and embrace our positive-ness and all the fragrance that comes with it. We don’t have to wait for someone to come along and spew the expected or unexpected words we have grown accustomed to that catch us off guard and throw us off kilter. We need to find the love. It is there just as much as the hate. They actually sit next to each other all day long. It is up to us who we give the power to.

happy looking at

TODAY I know that I am loved. By God and by me and that is ENOUGH!

 

 happy smile

http://karmajello.com/mind-spirit/philosophy/masaru-emoto-rice-emotions-experiment-video.html#_

 

Duhhhhh


Mail... You Got Mail

My curser turned to your page as my day began to start

like a slap, you shared words with me that tore my heart apart

let me tell you now that they were words I didn’t need

You sent them anyway – knowing just where it was, I’d read…

frustrated girl on computer

You wanted to bring me into your own little world of pain.

My world is far from perfect, you just added to it’s stains.

wind

I wonder what you wanted for me to do or to say?

Was it your intention to just blow my day away?

tornado aftermath

I know that misery loves company so you invited me

without ever considering the place that I might also –  be.

Your feeling angry now,  so you wanted me to feel it too

Funny, but what you just did to me… I’d never do to you!

Diane Reed ’13

holding hands over earsholding hands over earsholding hands over ears

Several years ago, I went to visit my cousin. She’d needed to work the first couple of days of my visit so I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle until she came to get me.  It was a fun time to catch up with my Aunt.  She was such a wonderful woman! She loved to laugh and I loved to make her laugh and we did that a lot during that last visit. She was a wonderful artist and could make patterns up out of her head! She painted and sewed and made apple dolls and hand carved their faces with expressions that brought them alive! She loved her pets and little kids and elderly people and I loved her with an admiration that I don’t give out freely.

It was a great visit except that my Aunt had built up a lot of resentments over the years which I think ultimately,  made her physically sick and in the end part of her demise.  I am pretty sure that she died too young and with that resentment still in her heart. Though she was amazing, she just could not let go of things she felt had been wrongly done to her and she shared some of those things with me. She shared some mistakes she feels that my grandma made and I have to admit that they were rather shocking. Though I am not sure how much was amplified in her mind as the years went by, I do believe my Aunt for the most part. Finally when my cousin came to pick me up, she asked me how my visit with her mom had been and I asked her  if she knew the stuff her mom had told me about grandma.

I think it was in that moment, I saw my cousin as not only an adult but one of the wisest people I know, and still feel that today.  She held up her hand and said to me “Diane my mom tried to tell me bad stuff about grandma for years and I never let her because grandma was an amazing grandma to me, and I’ve told her that I am sorry if she had a different experience but I refuse to let her ruin my memory of her.” And then she said, “I am sorry you let her tell you.” Well, I am too. But I was kind of caught of guard. My Aunt did not ask me if I wanted to hear any of it, she just told me. And I am not sure if I would have known how to tell my Aunt I didn’t want to hear something I didn’t know she was going to say but it made me really respect my cousin. Because after all, my grandma took my Aunt and her kids in when they had no place to go and took care of and loved my cousin and her brother and my cousin recognized and remembered that.

I am sure that my Aunt was never really in a place where she ever recognized all that her mom did for her. She was already filled with such resentment by then but my grandma  loved her kids with all her heart and so in turn her theory of my  grandma hating her seemed ridiculous to me because I don’t think she would just love some stranger’s kids in the same way. She could have just sent my Aunt and her kids away but she didn’t.

I am sure my Aunt had a different experience with her mom than we did as a grandma because we treated our grandma like our hero.  She was my soft place to fall until the day she died. I loved her and the wonderful memories she made for all of us. When I’d come to visit, I’d remember waking up to hearing my Aunt yelling at my grandma and my grandma probably yelling back at my Aunt. It’s not that hard to see that you reap what you sow in that situation but I am still sorry that my Aunt missed all the great stuff we loved in her mom.

I guess the point of my story is… I could have written about the things I learned about on that visit… The stories my aunt told me about my grandma…etc… But at the chance of my cousin reading this,  I never will. I will protect my cousin from the stories she does not want to know or ever need to know. Recently, I’ve been given unsolicited information that I never wanted to know. In the past, I’d made it crystal clear that I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m not really sure what part of “Please don’t talk about this to me” was not clear enough  but it was SENT to me in way of text without warning…. how shady is that? The highest form of manipulation is still going ahead and sharing something that was uninvited with an innocent bystander because you are angry with someone else and need to vent. And they wonder why we aren’t that close anymore.

I guess the operative word here would be…. Duuuuhhh!

Through Rose Colored Glasses


footprints picture

I have been reflecting on friendships this week. No doubt due to losing Lucy. It has made me re-evaluate so many things in my life. My heart is full and yet my brain has kind of kicked in. I have been going down a very revealing journey of self discovery the last few days and the familiar saying: Some people touch your lives for a little while and others leave footprints on your heart forever…  comes to mind. But currently I am in kind of a dark place where I feel like twisting that sentiment around a bit and adding…. There are also the friends that trudge all over your heart.

bruised heart

Some things are comforting because they never change. Like Lucy, she was who she was. She was always my soft place to fall. I never came to her to have her always agree with me, but to get the truth. It was a refreshing friendship because no matter what, she could tell me like it was and I could tell her and it was just a safe place. I never worried about her sharing my secrets or divulging my mistakes. She was my Fortress of unconditional love. It didn’t matter if I was in a horrible place in my life. She loved me through it. Like a mother loves a child. Like the best in best friend.

In my life I think I expected that from everyone. I think that I really had blinders on when I chose different people in my life, at work and historically in my own personal life, and it baffles me now what I didn’t see. There was a time in my life where I put one particular friend on a pedestal while I kind of let another one tread water waiting for me to see the truth.

cartoon standing on a pedestal

As I look back I wonder why I was so blinded by admiration. Another couple of friends at work made me believe that they were friends. They gossiped behind the backs of others there, just as much as any of the REAL HOUSEWIVES! In fact, they could give them a run for their money! The thing I don’t get is why was I so blown away when I finally discovered that they were talking about me as well, when I wasn’t in their presence?

Friends have come and gone. Some are there because I’ve chosen them (adult made friendships). Some historically (childhood friendships) are still there because we’ve chosen to work on them to nurture them. Those are the most difficult when you realize you have outgrown them. A while back, I met a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She was a part of my everyday life as a teenager. In just our short lunch together, she had proceeded to insult a homeless boy begging and said such hateful things to him and then tried to justify it to me, that I felt I was with a stranger and yet in that moment, I realized I was seeing things about her that I’d overlooked all our lives. I have really been reflecting on many of my friendships lately and it has been an eye opener. As I have also reflected on my own junk that I bring. There are more sayings such as…. You will always be my best friend… you know too much…. Or…  Best friends know everything about you and love you anyway…

I want to be that kind of friend… I want to be the one that doesn’t want to point out the bad in my friends, the one who accepts them where they are. But at times when something huge happens like it did for me this week, you get reflective and perhaps a little cynical. For today… I think I let the cynicism win out. I’ve written about friends before on my blog, even given them their very own post of the day.

Currently, I am just in reflection mode. I have so many lifetime friends that I am thankful for! So many readers who have made me look past my own doorstep and embrace the friendships not even made yet. Funny how once upon a time, I thought I had enough friends. What a horrible thought! Never to be open to the possibility of more. A kind of friendship suicide. Cutting myself off from the opportunity of the joy I have recently experienced in new friendships in my life here and in my own little corner of the world. I also realize that I am just in a bit of a depression and rightly so. Nothing organic going on here! I just lost one of my best friends and I’ve woken up each day realizing she is gone. It is the first thing I think of every day since. But I know that time heals all wounds and though I will miss her, the pain will ease. As in the things bothering me today. And so I will not close the book, I will keep reading, finish the chapter and move on to the next.

But for now just humor me please as I share my poem about being disillusioned over certain friendships. A bit of purging here. Not my usual uplifting stanzas (that was a joke!) But I really do…. I promise I will have a better outlook tomorrow!

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Through Rose Colored Glasses

You see it your way with rose colored glasses

the world is all wrong and we are all asses!

rose colored broken glasses

It couldn’t be you, in all your perfection

no, not a flaw in your perfect perception!

We are just sensitive when we judge your approach

you never see the way you jump down our throats

girls telling secrets

 you talk behind all your friends clueless backs

discussing all the things you feel that they lack

 what made me think when you were talking about them…

that I was above the ones you called your good friends

gossipers

Why was I blinded, why couldn’t I see?

while you were talking about them, you were also talking about me!

Diane Reed ’13

page quote

Garage Sale For My Soul


We tend to hang out with people who make us feel good about ourselves. Recently, I have been very reflective and quite choosey where I spend my time. Lately, work has  been a place that consumes most of that time and I have spent more time than I would like to admit after work, complaining or frustrated about the things that happened while I was there. I know people who are constantly gossiping about other people. Did it never dawn on me that those very people “sharing” with me were not out there “sharing about me” behind my back soon after they left me? What ever would make me believe that I was above being talked about? I guess because I trusted them with my frustrations and thought that I could be REAL.

I have come to the decision that I will not participate in listening or commenting on negative things. I know that it will be a habit that may be hard to break and I may fail until it becomes a habit to just walk away… but I have realized lately, just how much of my time I allow to be consumed with negative things that suck the joy out of my life and then wonder why I am so depressed. I want to begin to see the glass not only half full but spilling over!

I love a good metaphor, and I see it all as a little neighborhood. When you look across the street what do you see?

When someone looks across the street at where you live, what do they see? Do you have pride in ownership in the place where you live?

And I really encourage you to look at yourself rather than thinking this is for someone else.  There is a cute cartoon out where Jesus is explaining about the footprints where he says; “Where there is only one set of foot prints… that is where I carried you, that long groove, that is where I dragged you a while.

I love it! Though I am sad to say I most likely have more grooves than one set of footprints, let alone two!

   I have decided that it is time to be proactive in all areas of my life…..

 time for me to clean out the garage of my soul and try to figure out what I am actually going to put back on the shelves. I want people to see me differently when my garage door is open and everything is all cleaned out!

I want them to pull up a chair and come sit on my porch and know that they are safe there and maybe after sitting there for a spell, they will look out from where they sit and see a different view! And hopefully the guy across the street will too!

I’ve learned that people will forget what you
said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made
them feel.

― Maya
Angelou