Friday, October 20, 2017

Every Day...

Every day, I get to wake up in a warm and comfortable bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, and go to my job where I hopefully get to make a difference.  After work, I come home, sit in a comfortable chair, eat dinner, shower, watch TV, and then go to bed in my cozy bed.  I'm in pretty good health, can get around, have a car, family, and friends.

I think all the time about what others are going through.  For instance, all the victims of the hurricanes and fires and so many losing their homes, trying to get to safety, and survive.

I think of the homeless never knowing where they’ll sleep or if they’ll eat that day.

I think of those who are struggling with health issues and financial issues.

I think of those who are experiencing hate, bigotry, or discrimination in any way, and are fighting for their very existence in a country that doesn't always fight for them.

I think of those who are victims of cruelty and crimes, who are murdered, and those who lose the lives of their loved ones as a result.

I think of all the animals that are harmed, who are left to roam the streets, who may not know when they will eat.

I think about those who are fighting in wars, never knowing if they'll come home in one piece or if they'll even make it home at all.

I think of those who are struggling with addictions that have completely taken over their lives.

I think of all the children who are abused and who are so hungry for love.

I think of those in other countries who are victims of genocide, seeing their family and friends slaughtered and having to live with those memories, of those trying to escape with the clothes on their backs to a place of safety, being labeled immigrants, and wondering if the new country will even accept them.

I think on these and so much more.  Then I realize that I have nothing to complain about.  Sure, I have my share of bad days and I sometimes get down on myself.  I have those moments where I wonder if life is worth it.  Then I think of all those who are fighting just to make it through another day. 

Instead, there’s so much to be grateful for.  In the realm of everything that could go wrong in my life, I'm actually doing quite well.  I've learned that I should not take the life I have for granted for even a split second.  Sure, it could be better, but it could also be a whole lot worse.  I'll accept the life I currently have and accept it gratefully.

My heart goes out to all those who are struggling.  It is only by fate that we’re not in your shoes. 

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”  Cynthia Ozick 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 20, 2017.

Friday, October 13, 2017

At What Point Did I Become An Old Lady?!?

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people, but for me, it’s…okay.  I think I’ve only been to two or three Halloween parties in my life (maybe more when I was a young child).  I just don’t like all the candy that we feel we “must” eat because it’s…well…it’s Halloween.  My hips and thighs love it.  My double chin?  Not so much.

One Halloween, I was home alone watching the movie “Halloween H20” and handing out candy to the few kids who did come to the door.  When children came, I would hand out the candy, comment on their costumes, and maybe joke around with them a little bit, depending on their ages.  A group of four came to the door, and knowing a couple of the high school kids, I kidded with them.  Before leaving, I heard the one saying something about my being “the nicest old lady.”  Huh?  Old lady?  This both shocked and amused me.  At what point did I become an old lady?  I am currently, um, middle aged, and definitely do NOT consider myself to be an old lady. 

As I pondered his statement, I remembered that when I was young, people in their middle age were considered to be old.  At least to us.   After giving myself a good talking to, I was able to talk myself down into not taking it too personally.

They say something along the lines that 50 is the new 40, 40 the new 30, and so on.  We’re only as young or old as we feel.  We older people can feel really young, possibly even in our 20’s, and the only thing that gives it away is our body.  They don’t always work the way they used to.  We’re not as fast, limber, or spry as we were in our young whippersnapper years.  (Oh, my.  Just using the word whippersnapper gives me away.)  Parts of our body start sagging where we didn’t know they could sag.  Our knees argue with us as we try to bend down.  I always say that the older you get, the farther down it is to get to the ground.  It becomes harder to trim our toenails and you almost have to become a contortionist just to reach your feet.  Wrinkles appear where we didn’t know we could get wrinkles.  I’m proud of my crow’s feet.  They give me character.  Problem is, my crows keep getting more feet.

Personally, I don’t believe in age.  If Einstein proved that there is no such thing as time, then there’s no such thing as age.  Besides, I refuse to be identified by a number, whether it’s my age or my weight.  Time is just something man made up to keep track of…well…time.  If we didn’t have time, would we even know how old we were?

Men grow into themselves.  They can grow older, get the wrinkles, put on some pounds, become bald, and they can still be dapper and dignified.  Women are expected to stay young with youthful bodies, and if we get a wrinkle or a drop of cellulite anywhere…heaven forbid!  Walk into any store and you see aisles and aisles of products directed at women that are supposed to take years off of our faces, beauty products that are supposed to make us look more beautiful, and hair products to make our hair look like any fashion model.  Only thing is, most of them don’t work and we waste countless amounts of money hoping they do.

Getting older.  We can’t avoid it.  It’s inevitable.  There are many good things that come with getting older.  We become wiser.  We have a wealth of experience to pass on to the younger generations.  Our children may be our future, but we are our history.  Let’s learn to embrace getting older with high esteem and class.  We are unique.  We are magnificent.  And we should give ourselves a lot of credit for making it this far.  It especially helps if we can have a sense of humor about it all as well.

So, as I go about my days, still trying to find that youthful serum that may make me look at least a few weeks younger, and that outfit that will make me look 1/16” an inch thinner, I will continue to work on loving and accepting myself as I am and to accept the fact that in some eye’s, I have become….an old lady. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

My Articles Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen Newspaper

Many of you have followed my articles in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper and know that I then post them to my blog after they are published in the paper.  Over a month ago, the religion section of the paper was downsized to one page; therefore, out of eight writers, only two of us will be published each week.  Though I have not stopped writing, I do not know when I will be published next.  

Please know that when I am published again, I will then post them to my blog and will let everyone know via Facebook and Linkedin.

I want to thank you for all your support and your encouragement.  It really has meant a lot to me over the years; more than you can know. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saving All Saints

“All Saints” is an amazing movie which was inspired by a true story that took place at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee.  It’s a beautiful faith-based story that isn’t preachy or dogmatic and is a film that can be enjoyed by people from all belief systems.

Newly ordained Michael Spurlock, along with his wife and son, were sent to the church to close it down.  Because of lack of funds and the dwindling attendance of just a handful of people, the diocese could no longer afford to keep it open.  He was to inventory the property and oversee the sale.

A week before the scheduled demolition, dozens of refugees from war-torn Burma, who are ethic Karen farmers, arrive and start attending the church with more refugees to follow.  They are very poor and to hear the stories of what they went through with the war was heart breaking.  Many lives were lost and they were left with horrendous memories of their journey.

Spurlock’s son asks about the refugees and Spurlock says, “Let’s keep them in our prayers and ask for God’s help.”  His son replies, “Aren’t you God’s help?”

Later, Spurlock believes he hears the voice of God to use the church land to grow crops to help provide food and shelter for the refugees, as well as to create an income for the church.  The Karen farmers are experienced in growing crops, and with the help of the church members, they plant a field of vegetables. 

During one tragedy, the Smyrna community, which included other religions, comes to their aid.  It didn’t matter that they were helping refugees, and color, race, religion, wasn’t an issue.  They came to help human beings who were in need.  This was a community that followed the teachings of Jesus to love and care for one another no matter who they may be. 

In a time when refugees are being de-humanized by so many, this was a brilliant movie which showed that these beautiful human beings are just trying to survive and make a life for themselves.  It also showed how these wonderful Christians embraced them and sacrificed personally and financially, and how they welcomed the Karen and showed them a love that you would hope to see come from Christians and others.  This glorious community not only saved the church, but they saved each other through the love, compassion, and kindness that was taught by Jesus.

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people.  Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all his children.  Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.  In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.”   Cory Booker 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper September 1, 2017.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

In the Midst of Chaos

Recently, a dear friend asked if I had any suggestions on what she could do to make a difference in the midst of all the chaos that we are seeing in the U.S. right now.  There seems to be so much hate and bigotry manifesting into violent protests where people are getting hurt and some are even losing their lives.  She wants to do something, but doesn’t know where to begin.  There are many of us pondering the same question.

Some of us are fighters, some are lovers, and some are both.  Not all of us are able to join the protests and rallies.  Many of us are so busy with our lives that we don’t have time for much of anything else, but we still feel like we need to contribute to the cause of love and peace.

If we can’t join the protests and rallies, we can help by just continuing to live our lives with love, compassion, and kindness, and touching one person at a time.  Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”  Just an act of kindness can help lift someone’s spirits and even change lives.

If we do anything at all, though, let’s do so in peace.  Sometimes we feel we have to do something huge to make a difference, yet all those small things we can do add up, too.  Also, let’s not judge others when we think they should be doing more to get involved.  We can only do what we can do.  If nothing else, we can make a difference by writing letters to politicians, sending emails, and most importantly, by getting out and voting in future elections.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go, and it’s sad that we still have to go through all of this to this day.  People are fighting for equal rights (and rightly so), and some are even fighting for their lives.  There are many who can’t speak up for whatever reasons, so many of us need to speak up for all of us.  Malala Yousafzai stated, “I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.”

Robert Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”  And Nelson Mandela declared, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”   

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 25, 2017.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Honoring Our Veterans

Recently, I watched a beautiful movie starring Kevin Bacon titled “Taking Chance.”  It touched my heart so much that I knew I was meant to write about it. 

“Taking Chance” is based on a true story about the experiences of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl (Bacon), who escorts the body of fallen Marine PFC Chance Phelps back to his hometown after being killed in the Iraq War.

His journey as the soldier’s escort begins at the Dover Mortuary where Phelps was being respectfully prepared for transfer.  Because of his injuries, it was to be a closed casket at the funeral.  Strobl is given Phelps’ personal affects in a velvet bag and was instructed that they were not to leave his hands under any circumstances. 

When Strobl arrived at the airport to get his ticket, the agent, knowing his mission and with tears in her eyes, upgrades him to first class.  Every time the casket was loaded onto another airplane, Strobl stood by and saluted.  Any airport personnel and passengers nearby also stood by and paid their respects.  At one point, the casket needed to stay overnight in the airport hanger, so Strobl decided to sleep next to the casket rather than stay in a hotel.

On the final leg of the journey by vehicles, an impromptu funeral procession forms on the highway as people in other vehicles realized that the one vehicle is carrying a fallen soldier.  They turn on their lights and follow rather than trying to continue to pass. 

When Strobl finally gets to meet the soldier’s family and friends, he finds out more about the life of the fallen soldier, how loved he was, and how much he would be missed.

This movie touched my heart and I cried numerous times while watching.  I had no idea that our fallen soldiers were treated with such great care and dignity during their entire journey home.  The respect that complete strangers showed towards another complete stranger in a casket was overwhelmingly beautiful.

We have many military personnel who return from the war and some are fortunate to come home healthy and sane, while others come home broken in mind, body, and/or spirit.  We need to take care of all of them, and not just the ones who arrive home in a casket.

I would like to honor all of our military personnel and to thank them for their service.  We bless you, honor you, love you, and appreciate you!  My dream is that one day, you will no longer need to sacrifice your lives in any kind of war and that the world will one day be at peace.

“All Gave Some, Some Gave All.  Some stood through for the red, white, and blue, and some had to fall.  And if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall…Some Gave All.”  (“Some Gave All” written by Billy Ray Cyrus and Cindy Cyrus)

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 18, 2017.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Got You, Babe!

The other morning I was doing a crossword puzzle and one of the answers was, “I Got You, Babe.”  Immediately after finishing the puzzle, I got on the computer and read an email from for my daily ‘Note from the Universe,’ and in the message it said, “I got you, babe.”  Coincidence?  I think not. 

On my spiritual journey, I’ve become more aware of the synchronicities in life and how they can be used by God (or the God of your understanding) to give us messages.  Seeing “I got you, babe” twice within just a few minutes of each other was more than just a coincidence.  It was an ‘in my face’ message and one I couldn’t ignore.

How many times do we have those moments when we think we may not matter, that we’re not worthy, or that God may have forgotten about us?  I’ve had my share, for sure.  Then we receive those uncanny, synchronistic messages that remind us that the Universe constantly has our back.   

We are always worthy.  If we weren’t worthy, then God would not have made us.  Every single one of us was made from the essence of God; therefore, God is always with us and within us.  It could never be any other way.  How could God create anything different?  If God is pure, unconditional, perfect love, then how can we not be made from the same source since God is the one who created us?

Some teach us that we’re unworthy and that we don’t matter.  They may use fear and guilt to control us into believing that we are alone, unworthy, that we are condemned, or that we’re a nobody.  The truth is, every single one of us has glorious value and we’re worth more than all the riches in the world!  We are all loved unconditionally and beyond measure!

“Real love has no conditions, no attachment, no request.  It only wants your highest good.  It only wants what’s best.  It would always give you freedom to be what you would be.  It would never dwell upon your faults, just your goodness it would see.  It would completely honor the journey of your soul.  It would see you in your beauty.  It would know that you are whole.  It would touch your hand with kindness.  It would softly speak your name.  It would always be supportive.  It would never “play the game.”  It would look into your eyes and, there, see the God within.  And know that Love is Who you are, and Who you’ve always been.”  (The Truth About Love by Donna Corso)

And another message from the Universe (  “You're going to be shocked because one day you're going to look at yourself, your life, and your ways, and you're going to see that your every idiosyncrasy, quirk, folly, and so-called fault, were among your greatest assets.  Oh my, I was having such a good day when I first dreamed of you.”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 11, 2017.