Is Life Fair? No. Grow Up and Deal With It

For my beautiful friend Hanna to help strengthen her path and her resolve.

hannagisellemartinez

We have all heard the saying, “Well, life isn’t fair.”  I know I have many times with most of those times coming from my youth. Now; however, I can truly say I understand the saying whereas when I was younger, it was somewhat disregarded with an eyeroll and a deep sigh.  I have also heard many times that we all have to do things we truly do not want to do, and that is just part of growing up.  This is also true.  Did I want to move to Mexico?  Umm…no.  Do I think it is fair?  Not really.  I have come to the realization that life is not fair, and yes, we have to do things that we do not want to do.  I do not intend to write something full of inspirational quotes and reasons why I have been chosen to embark on this “magnificent journey.”  I want…

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My Gift

MyGift canva

I’ve held back my very personal life experience, but now it’s time to share.  Universal Connection is a truth — thanks to Erika Kind for that reminder.

What is the Measure of a Man’s Life

I’m happy to reblog Dom’s post — honest and straightforward perspective on The Important Things.

Black and Write

What is the measure of a man’s life,

I don’t know but for myself.

Money never bought me happiness;

At least none that lasted more than a brief moment.

Cars…I’ve had many,

Exciting when shiny and new,

But their luster is lost over time as is their value.

I do not live in a palace,

It is modest to say the least and more than I need.

Retirement savings are but a dream,

I will likely work until I am called home.

With all this…what is the measure of my life?

It is family, my wife and children,

Their love for me as I love them.

It is the sun that rises overhead

And the life-giving rains that fall,

It is everything that nature provides.

It is living in harmony with the natural world,

Not fighting it or conquering it.

Yes, there is bad mixed with the good,

Pain and…

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Mother’s Day 2015

You were my mother first — a petite, beautiful (and frightened) nineteen-year-old totally separated from your family and all that was familiar, including what to do with a baby. So I let you practice on me…how to deal with those sleepless nights and unrelenting colic, meal preparation and household duties (and unrelenting colic). And there was that new relationship of being wife to a charming, but demanding and opinionated husband (and unrelenting colicky baby). Okay, enough with the colic — it finally went away years later after Marilyn, your fifth baby, was a few months old.

What patience you had with me, reading books till I could recite them to you, paper dolls and tea parties, games, and answering my unending stream of questions — more than any three-year-old ever, you once said. Then you gifted me with a baby sister Linda, and I thought that was great, even better than the puppy Jesus I had earlier! You now got to practice your time management and prioritization with Daddy-plus-two. And as Linda grew into her own, you were exposed to a new challenge of sibling intervention and mediation. I thought I excelled at the role of surrogate “grown up”, but Linda was not so good at playing opposite my lead (even today she rejects that role)!

Then Billy (finally a boy!) entered the scene. Linda had a real sibling now who liked to have adventures, and I was free to go back to management. Daddy’s posterity was assured now, and life could just evolve for a while. Huge vistas opened when you learned to drive Daddy’s pickup truck in your mid-twenties. You could now have freedom…freedom to go to Springhill to the grocery store, to run errands for Daddy — picking up supplies for him, taking care of business for him — oh, and have chores done and supper ready. Then you could check on homework and get us to bed. But there were pole-fishing trips and country picnics to Nowhere in Particular and neighborhood visits where you took us and helped us to create memories as you mentored us to play and enjoy our kids.

Five years passed and you were getting pretty comfortable being a wife, and were a nurturing and capable mother, and you were good at playing the in-law role. Life was good, but we kids were getting so big…hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice to have a baby?

And it was. Connie was so adorable and angelic, and she filled those long empty days while Linda, Billy, and I were gone to school. Life settled in, and we adjusted well to our new family of five.

Was it that Mother was going to run out of chances to learn and practice mothering? Was there a bulletin or a memo that went out into the ethers that the Swain family was complete and this was the final “casting call”? “Hold up! Wait for me!” and here came precious Marilyn, the perfect near-twin for Connie. Now with Daddy-plus-five, life was in high gear (it’s a good thing Daddy had all the answers to help you with all of the problems).

No non-parent can anticipate the lessons you learn from one child, so with five you were playing the lottery. You have played the parent role beautifully, and faithfully (no major time-outs, only short naps here and there along the way). You may be only four-feet-something tall on the outside, but there is an incredible eight-feet-something tall wise and beautiful spirit that emerges from the inside, occasionally tinged with fire and most often with laughter. I’m a better person because you’re my mom — The world is a better place because you’re here!

Nutsrok

1st row Kathleen Holdaway, Ellie Blizzard,Johnny Bell2nd John a0002        Kathleen Holdaway in flowered dress0002 parents wedding pic

mother  Mother in her yard

surprise

As a Mother’s Day tribute, I am printing pictures made over the course of Mother’s life.  She is the tiny blonde child in the oldest picture and the lovely woman easily identifiable in the rest.  I can only say she is the finest woman and the best mother I have ever known.  I love you Mother.

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Mixed Nuts (Part I) Reblog

Aah Family! … Sometimes you have to be there to believe it!!

Nutsrok

I am reblogging one of my first, favorite posts about my eccentric family.  Enjoy!

When you are dealing with family, it clarifies things to have a scale.  You don’t have to waste time analyzing people when you have a ready reference.  This one works pretty well for us.

1.Has a monogrammed straight jacket and standing reservation on mental ward.

2.Family is likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in the past or the future

3.People say, “Oh, crap. Here comes Johnny.”

4.Can go either way.  Gets by on a good day.  Never has been arrested.  Can be  lots of fun or a real mess. Relatives usually will invite in for coffee.  Likely to have hormone-induced behavior.

5.Regular guy. Holds down a job.  Mostly takes care of business.  Probably not a serial marrier.  Attends  church when he has to.

6.Good fellow. Almost everybody likes him or her…

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Goodbye, Randy

Yes, Randy was a truly wonderful man and life-player! He played his roles well…
“The world is a better place because you were here, Randy.”

Nutsrok

A dear friend died this weekend.  He’d suffered for years, rarely complaining.  He was the best father I’ve ever known, even doing little girl hairdos with matching bows to socks and dresses.   His cardiac illness was first diagnosed twenty-three years ago, when his girls were tiny.  Thankfully, he recovered some cardiac function, enabling him to guide his daughters into warm, lovely adults.  Though it has to break their hearts to lose him, what a blessing it is his family had that twenty-three years.  The girls knew a great father instead of always hearing what a wonderful father he would have been.

What a blessing to be whole again after so many years of pain and struggle.  We’ll miss you, Randy.  Our tears are only for ourselves.

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Caterpillars Don’t Become Butterflies!

Thanks mitchteemley, for the clarifying information. Who doesn’t love butterflies – and now we know (thanks Paul Harvey) “the rest of the story”.

Mitch Teemley

10298900_10203759279603307_7085417779304645126_nDid you know that caterpillars are not “transformed” into butterflies? In metamorphosis (the name of the process), a caterpillar is liquefied—nothing remains of its old nature. Only after the creature’s death can an entirely new creation, a butterfly, emerge!

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Butterflies Are Impossible

Many of you are familiar with lbeth’s stories and writings. Her husband Bud is evidently a ‘closet’ poet and captured these beautiful thoughts in a poignant piece that has touched my heart for many years. I first saw it as an insert for the memorial service for my teenage son, and it touched the depths of my soul.

To try to control beauty or love is to squash its very essence.

blog butterflies are free_-_Canva

I Quit! (From Kathleen’s Memoirs of The Great Depression)

I’m honored to share from my sister Linda’s (lbeth’s) Nutsrok blog a story from our mom’s memoirs which is an upcoming book collaboration. They’re quite a pair, and it’s time for sharing their work!

Nutsrok

One morning about a week after I started first grade, Daddy finished up the last of his coffee and ground out his cigarette as Mama scraped the few leftovers onto a plate for Ol’ Jack.  “All right kids.  Best be getting’ ready for school.”  He got up, putting on his felt had as he headed out the back door to do a couple of things before heading to his janitor job at

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I Dare You to Get Old!

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Age and DNA – we can run from them, but we can’t hide! One of the most painful times that I recall with my mom was after her knee replacement, when she was v-e-r-y slowly padding around with a walker for support. As I painfully watched her mincingly creep across a room, and then agonize down a single step to my patio, so many feelings toward her surfaced that made no rational sense. Anger, pity, anger, doubts, anger, compassion, fear … I understood the pity, doubts, the compassion, even the fear. But the overwhelming anger was a ‘grabber’ that confused, made me ashamed, and shook my foundation!

Then it snapped in — how dare my mom who was my first person, my constant person, and my always person get OLD! All of my vulnerability surfaced…all of my insecurities shouted out in protest. Once I faced that in my mirror, admitted it to myself and accepted the experience, I forgave myself and let the crippling stuff go. She healed -she’s my octogenarian super-hero -and I healed and became much wiser from that shared-mirror lesson.
(Go catch her in action with my sister lbeth on https://nutsrok.wordpress.com)

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