Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day




Every Memorial Day eve PBS hosts a Memorial Day Concert.  My parents and I watch this every year even though it is emotionally exhausting.  We feel that it is the least we can do for those who gave everything for us. 

I am thankful to live in a country where we honor our military and their loved ones.  We proudly sing the Star Spangled Banner at every game.  We watch fireworks on every Independence Day.  And we fly our flag proudly from homes, restaurants, schools, and parks.  We have memorials all over the nation remembering our founding fathers and the wars that our ancestors have fought to protect our freedoms. 

Our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and spouses, continue to fight this day for these same freedoms.  Freedom to worship as we see fit.  Freedom to speak our minds.  Freedom to redress grievances.  Freedom from tyranny.  We are a land ruled by law, the Constitution.  That is why it is so revered and so protected.  This paper, makes us the United States of America.  But not only that, the lives of every man and woman who fought so gallantly for this nation, makes us the greatest nation in the world!

God bless America!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

College Friends



A few weeks ago I found four of my old college friends on Facebook.  I have missed these lovely ladies for so long, I am so glad I found them again!  It has been a treat to read about them and their busy lives.  How they are all married with children, some already grown up!  Now that makes me feel old!  Yet, they all look the same as twenty years ago.  Maybe a bit more mature, not from age, but from the wisdom that life brings.  I hope I look that way too.

Karla was my roommate and best friend.  We were so different but had the same goofy sense of humor.  She was there for me all the times I was depressed, stressed out, or coping with quack doctors.  She was the sweetest person you'd ever meet.

Karen was my Bible study leader.  I admired her and considered her a mentor.  When it was time to gain a new Bible study leader, I didn't want to.  I felt like it was a loss not a gain.  Karen was so real and honest.  She saw her mentees as equal and we were a great group of friends. 

Sarah was Karen's roommate and best friend.  She was wise beyond her years and gave me such helpful spiritual advice.  Such a welcoming and compassionate woman.  Although she was smart she never acted like she was better than the rest of us.

Kristi was my roommate when I graduated and lived in Fargo for six months before I had to move back home.  She and I were also so different but she was so welcoming and accepting, as was her family when I visited them. 

All these friends demonstrated to me what a friend is.  Someone who is loving and accepting.  Someone who listens and doesn't try to fix things.  Someone who encourages instead of lecturing.

They understood my depression and anxiety.  They didn't resent the fact my parents had money.  They just loved me for me.

How rare that is these days.  It is hard to find a friend with all these qualities.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  Why is that?  Why do we make it so difficult?  Maybe living in the dorms and eating in the cafeteria made us closer.  We were together all the time, so they saw all of me: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And they didn't care.  They didn't complain about the weird noises I made.  They didn't tell me to "cheer up" or "get over it."  They didn't preach at me or make me feel guilty.  They just loved me.

And I love them.

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day



All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. - Abraham Lincoln

My mom always sends me an email praising my blog postings.  She always loves my writing. I don't know if this is because she loves everything I do, like my niece, or if she really likes it.  But I am glad she does anyway. 

Motherhood is the most challenging occupation of all.  It requires knowledge of every facet of a child's life, all without compensation. 

Yet motherhood has its rewards too.  Every time you see someone on TV in a candid shot, they almost always say, "Hi Mom!" 

My mom advocated for me from day one.  She stood up to the doctors who thought they knew everything, and proved them wrong.

She lectured parents on teaching their children manners when they stared at me and made me cry.

She made me Spaghettios and grilled cheese every afternoon after school knowing that this fussy eater rarely ate lunch.

She made the best cookies and bars, satisfying our chocolate cravings.

She played games with me, made clothes for my dolls, and loved all my drawings.

She listened to me as I cried, her feeling as helpless as I felt, yet never letting on or losing her strength.

She rejoiced when I rejoiced, she cried when I cried. 

She let me get mad, knowing that I was really depressed.

She is long suffering.  She never gives up or gives in.

I think about all the pain I caused my poor mother.  All the times I yelled at her in my selfishness. 

I regret that.

But I think she knew.  Mothers know. 

I love her.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Singleness





As I read Jenny Hill's blog post: http://jwalkinguphill.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-wilderness-of-singleness.html, I smiled and cried at being able to relate to her singleness.  I spent 40 years bemoaning my singleness and childlessness.  I hated when speakers and writers assume that everyone has dated.  Even a few weeks ago when I sought out college friends on facebook and learned that they have spent the last 20 years in marriage and parenthood, I wondered what the heck have I been doing the last 20 years?


Now I feel better.  Those few weeks ago was right after my fun yet stressful trip to Disneyworld, and recovering from a period.  Yay those fun periods.  A useless waste of money on personal products for me.  I hope to go through menopause soon as to hopefully not have such rollercoaster emotions every month.


But I digress. In college when my friends were happily dating and living a normal life, I felt I had failed God somehow.  I had the impression from legalistic systems that if I had enough faith, if I loved God enough, He would send someone to me.  Now I look at that and think how na├»ve I was to believe it for so long.  I wasted so many years wanting what I can't have.  I felt like God owed me.  I hated men and their ways, what I couldn't figure out.  They were and still are a mystery to me.


But over time I began to see that marriage doesn't make people happy.  Parenthood doesn't make people happy.  I do love God and have faith.  But for whatever reason, I am single and childless. 


I am actually usually pretty happy about this.  I look at others how they always have to check in with their husbands before they can do anything.  How their troubles are doubled in marriage.  How they think the man is the head and the final decider.  I can't abide by that.  I am smart and independent.  I just can't have that kind of relationship.  It has to be equal, mutual sacrifice.


I don't want to pass on my problems to my kids.  Life is hard enough these days without adding more problems, which in my case could very well be depression, anxiety, etc.  I see others with kids and the constant worry, and I am relieved to come home to peace and a cat. 


I accepted my reality.  I am single and childless.  Unemployed and rent.  But that is OK!  Right here, right now, this is where I am supposed to be. I volunteer in teaching and helping animals.  I write.  I have a full life.  With a job I would never have energy for anything else.  With a house I would have no energy for anything else.  So here is where I am and I finally like myself.  I like who I am. I like I am smart and funny.  I am a good teacher.  I know a ton of trivial crap.  I love animals.  I love Barbies.  I love to travel and learn about other cultures.  I respect myself enough to eat well and exercise.  It is OK I am different.  My niece tells me I am so weird sometimes when I act goofy.  I tell her at least I'm not boring!


I love me.  Finally.  After 40 years.