Love/Hate Challenge

Donna  nominated me to do this.  I will give it a whirl, although, I pretty much have eliminated “Hate” from my vocabulary; it seems too permanent a word and our thoughts and opinions change on things, even things we hate today.  Hate feels like a very ugly word to me.

Things I Love

1.  F.A.M.I.L.Y.   This may seem over-simplified but, by golly, these are the people in my life all the time in one way or another (physically or at least on my mind and in my heart).  They mean the world to me.  My grand-kids seem to have taken “Center Stage” in this realm; as young people they are so forgiving and non-judgmental.  If only we could be more like little kids in this manner.  They love me, from the inside out and could care less what I look like, etc.  Some say that grand-kids are the reward for not killing our kids but I must say, I love my adult kids just as much.  They have turned into friends.  Sometimes my daughters feel more like sisters now.  On and on…down to aunts, uncles, cousins….these are my roots.

 Nothing quite takes the place of the familiarity of family.

2.  “LOVE”  As a young teen, I fell in love with the wrong kind of guy.  He was the typical “bad boy” and like no one I had ever met.  My Uncle Earl, who was more like a father to me than my father, (parents divorced when I was a baby) said that I didn’t know a thing about real love and was only:

“In love with Love.”  

I see no better goal than to strive to live in a permanent state of being in love with love and life.



3.  WATER  I have quite a few blogs on my love of water.  A few of my water blogs that describe this deep love affair I have with water are found here:

  Why write anymore on the subject?  These links cover it perfectly. 

4.  NATURE  When I have been cooped up inside or running on full-speed too long to accomplish something that HAS to be done, after awhile I have to just go find a place of beauty amidst nature’s magnificence and dissolve into it.  To lose myself in something much bigger and more grounded than myself.  As I drive past mountain ranges on my way to the city, I have come to think of these edifices as sleeping giants who will someday awaken, shrug off their deep sleep and stand and be the Gods we do not see in their current disguise. (Just my private fantasy.)  Or, they also feel like comfortable, wise, old grandfathers; sure and steady….unchanging no matter what us mortals are doing to stir up problems with one another.  

I see God’s hand in nature, and I know I am not unique in this sensation.

5.  THE MOON  I love the soft light the moon sheds upon the earth through her various stages. From darkest black on a crescent moon’s night, where we can barely see the hand in front of our face, to the softer shadow of the full-moon which softens the rough edges of life.  The moon heralds the end of day and the time of rest and rejuvenation.  I am glad at day’s end to relinquish the duties and demands to another day and slowly unwind to my nightly ritual:  a movie and garlic popcorn!

6.  MY BED  This next blog I wrote, falls easily after #5 on my “Love List”.  I will just post a link to the blog and let you read what I have already written about my bed and why I love it so….

7.   A GOOD BOOK/MOVIE  Meaning something to “take me away” and at the same time teach me something about something I don’t know about.  I love historical fictions where the history is intact and is also entertaining.  Little bits of trivia one can pick up from a good novel.

8.  MUSIC  Ahhhh…what a song can do to us!  It can lift our spirits, put us in a reflective mood and become a time-machine taking us back to an exact moment in our lives as we recall a person who shared that particular time with us.  It’s just plain magic.

9.  ORGANIZATION    I am far from my goal of getting organized on all levels but at this stage of my life, this is very important to me.  To be organized makes life run so much more smoothly.  It also gives us a feeling of empowerment over our things as we clear out what is no longer useful or meaningful and creates way for what we need NOW to come into our lives.  I have written a little on this subject as well.

A Sense of Order:

Feeling Stuck?

10.  MY FAITH AND BELIEF IN GOD  I am so grateful that I was raised in a home where it was just a natural thing to pray, go to church and appreciate all that we were given.  To learn from Biblical Stories about the outcome of the way we treated others and to believe firmly in a God above who cared about me.  There is so much comfort in knowing this.  

If only I could live by these principles:


Things I Hate

I mentioned at the beginning of this writing I very seldom use this word anymore.  It just rubs me in such a horribly negative way.  There are certainly things I do not like and even abhor and I will list those things.  I prefer taking the teachings of the martial art form of Aikido that is strictly a defensive order of the martial arts.  The first time I heard of this was in a magazine article I just happened to pick up and it really grabbed hold of me.  It explained it in this way:  If someone attacks you, you look at it almost as if you are engaging in a dance.  There is no animosity on your part towards the other person.  You are confident in your ability to stop the attack of course but you have no harsh feelings towards this person.  This certainly can apply to the everyday confrontations we come across in our daily lives as well as an actual a physical attack.  Jesus said to hate (I think he used that word) the Sin but LOVE THE SINNER.  This makes perfect sense to me and takes away all judgement towards another human being, struggling with who knows what.

Using their (the attacker’s) energy against them, there are certain moves in Aikido to stop the attack and remain in your own, chosen, state of mind.  (To act and not react.)  I am striving very hard to stay calm in the face of someone else’s choice to live from a lower energy.  It’s very hard to not get sucked into the meanness of a battle, which damages both sides.  “Grace under pressure.”

I will attempt to list 10 things that I truly disdain…

1.  BULLYING  This probably tops my “hate list”.  I have seen it, not only from a child to another child, but when I worked in the school lunch room I was appalled at the ways I have seen adults humiliate young people over very trivial things.  Pettiness at its worst.  Then, the bully who does physical harm to another is beyond toleration.  

2.  MEAN PEOPLE    What more needs to be said here?  

3.  SPOUSAL ABUSE/CHILD ABUSE  Don’t get me started on this.  If anyone reading this falls into either the victim or the perpetrator; please get help.  Do not allow this to be something that is part of your life.

4. LOSS OF VALUES  I know a lot of people and religions are against R-Rated movies (a minority of people I’m sure)  but in my humble opinion, I always felt mindless movies are far worse. Remember the old days of the stupid sit-coms where someone had to look stupid to make someone else look good?  I think this is far worse and leaves me with a very empty, hollow feeling; more so than an R-Rating due to sexual scenes and/or violence; although, I also do not like over-violent movies and feel our kids are being fed this in huge doses, both in real life and in movies.  

5.  PUT DOWNS  This goes hand in hand with things I have already mentioned.  What about taking an oath to try to lift others instead of putting someone down.  This is one of my favorite quotes:


6.  GOATHEADS    Okay, since we are dealing with a non-thinking, feeling entity here, I will say I HATE Goatheads.  These are little puncture weeds that if stepped on drive deep pain into the point of entry.  We had them profusely in our yard a few years ago, they are all over town in fact, and try as we may, we could not rid the place of them.  We would track them in the house, unwittingly, from our shoes then walking around barefoot in the house were constantly driving these little devils into our feet.  Every now and then, I would step on an exceptionally large one that felt like it had been dipped in poison!  Pulling them out hurt as bad as when they went in.  Ugh!

7.  POLITICS  Years ago I was too busy raising a family to pay much attention to politics.  I don’t know if it’s because I have more time on my hands now or that it’s practically impossible to escape the atrocities going on in the world of politics but this is another sore spot with me, as with most others who pay attention to the wastefulness we see in our government and the unfulfilled promises politicians make.  What happened when we, in the U.S., were a government of the people and by the people.  Money.  Most politicians are in it for the wealth.  Crazy, America was built on the exact opposite principles of that and look what we have become.

8.  CONSUMERISM  We seem to be on a frenzy to buy, buy and buy more STUFF to clutter up our lives.  We are also living in an age where nothing is built to last.  In the “old days” it was unheard of to buy an additional warranty for products.  They lasted longer than we did.  I am weary of false advertising as well and it seems you really have to be awake and alert to avoid the shysters who are not happy with a base payment of something but must be instructed to see how much more they can gouge out of you.  I just had this type of experience at a “reputable rental car” agency.  I had to really stand my ground to avoid the way I was mislead into getting an upgrade that would have cost me $20 extra a day!  I just wanted a sensible, fuel efficient car to get around in for a few days.

9.  MARKETING SEX TO OUR YOUNG TWEENS  We see this happening in the fashion industry as well as the toy industry.  Sex and Violence sells.   As parents and responsible adults, we need to take a stand on this and just say no.  I feel it’s one greatest jobs of a parent, to preserve their child’s Innocence.  

“Let Them Be Little”

10.  DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE   I am truly disturbed by the naysayers who predict the worst case scenario in some new adventure or an attempt by someone else to do something.  It’s amazing what the human spirit is capable of, thoughts turn into deeds when fueled with enthusiasm and a feeling of seeing the thing as a possibility.  

“Those who say it can’t be done, need to get out of the way of those who are doing it.”

I have always struck out to do whatever vision I saw and knew in my heart I could do.  Don’t ruin others dreams.  You never know what someone may be capable of, even against all odds.

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Writing Assignment: FICTION: Prompt Plus Writing From Three Differing Points of View: “The Little Red Sweater”

Daryl held on to Cynthia’s hand in a robotic manner.  He wasn’t even aware they were holding hands as they strolled through Central Park with the bright noon-day sun peeking through the huge Oak Trees and creating funny shadow creatures everywhere, polka-dots of bright light and deep grays.  Cynthia could feel his distant manner but was determined to not let anything dampen her spirits this day.  Daryl was home, after three week’s absence, she was almost 25 weeks pregnant with their first child, a son, and a radiance shown out and around her that only a woman with child produces; especially her first child.

Daryl had spent the last few weeks in Boston, with his brother and sister,  going through their parent’s home and sorting out their belonging’s after losing them both at once in a tragic car accident involving a drunken driver.  As is often the case, the driver had no outward injuries to show from the accident.  The deep scars he would carry around the rest of his life were the emotional, hidden wounds he could never erase .  The accident had landed him in jail for a short stint and then on to a rehab facility where he was sobering up and facing the consequences of falling off the wagon, yet again.

The accident had disrupted six lives that would require time to adjust and heal.  Two , would never recover; Daryl’s mother and father.

Cynthia had attended the funeral with him in Boston then flown back home to New York to continue on with her work-from-home free lance writing job for as long as she could before the baby arrived.  She was glad to come back to New York as the heavy emotions back in Boston were hard to be around and Daryl’s unresponsiveness to her attempts to console him.  She felt it best to let the three siblings be of solace to one another and attend to the necessary details without her, the outsider, only in the way.

As they rounded the bend at the huge park, following the sidewalk running parallel to The Lake, they both spotted her at the same time.  A slight woman, probably in her late seventies, hunched over in deep concentration as her knitting needles “click-clacked” rapidly at the red wool object they were constructing in her lap.  They couldn’t help pass her by and Cynthia tugged at Daryl’s elbow, bringing him to a reluctant stop right in front of the elderly woman as they approached her and could see she was kitting some kind of small child’s garment.

Cynthia struck up a quick and upbeat conversation with the woman who inquired of her due date and the sex of their child.  Daryl sensed a feeling from the woman that they had interrupted her and that she would prefer sitting there, knitting in her own solitude.  He subtlety hinted to Cynthia that they be moving along but she shrugged him off.  She needed someone, right then, to help break the pent-up emotions between her and Daryl and persisted in this complete stranger as the source.  On and on she went with the woman nodding now and then and offering small tidbits of polite conversation.  Finally, the woman laid her needles down on top of the tiny sweater and looked up, catching the pain in Daryl’s eyes.  There was an unmistakable understanding that flashed between the two.

A softening occurred in the woman as a subtle smile crossed over her expression.  Daryl felt her deep, sincere compassion and that was all it took for his composure to melt.  His bottom lip quivered uncontrollably and his shoulders began shaking slightly with the pent-up emotion he’d been holding in for three weeks now.  He was the eldest sibling and had to be strong for the other two as well as most of the final arrangements and decisions fell upon him.  So much business to take care of at a time like that.  He had not given himself any time to mourn.  That look the woman on the bench gave him was an invitation for the walled up dam to break lose.  Daryl felt himself melt, all his feelings pouring down his cheeks, even through his nose.  Water was running everywhere and the mask he wore, once cracked, melted in uncontrollable waves of anguish. He had no control over his muscles, nothing in his taut body would obey him.  He was melting everywhere.

Seeing this, the woman motioned for Daryl to sit beside her on the bench.  Gathering some composure, his first thought flew to Cynthia who was growing heavy with child and at first he resisted and motioned for her to sit, but the weakness in his knees bade him sit.

In low tones, Daryl explained to the woman on the bench what had happened three weeks ago.  As he told his story, the details sprang up again, reminding him of the horror of that awful day.  He fought for composure and once, leashing his emotions back in, apologized for the outburst.  His attention turned again to Cynthia and he took her hand and pulled her down on the bench beside them.  She appreciated the invitation this time, as she realized how far they had walked and sank down next to him.

This time, Cynthia allowed Daryl to lead the direction of the conversation, realizing the deep hurt and pain needed a way out.  The woman on the bench, seeing the constraint between these two and easily summing up the situation before her, softened and turned her attention to Cynthia, a new mother-to-be who was caught in the cross-fires of this recent tragedy, a victim of sorts.  She needed a husband, and soon-to-be new father, to be there with her 100% as the time drew near for their first child’s entrance into this life.  So many people, so many needs.

The woman asked if they minded, if she could get their phone number and explained that when she finished the little, red, wool sweater she would like to make it a gift for their baby.  Both Daryl and Cynthia were deeply moved by her gracious gift and gave her their phone numbers then after a little more polite conversation felt it was time to move on.

After Daryl and Cynthia had moved far down the walkway and were but small, hazy outlines the woman on the bench also found the wall that she had closed off inside of herself break loose and brought the little red sweater up to her face.  She didn’t try to stop the tears falling upon it.  She kissed the sweater and promised her little granddaughter, that she would never meet, that she was passing it on to a new baby boy and hoped she wouldn’t mind.

She’d found the sweater, that she had started to make six month’s ago, discarded in her sewing basket in her sun room a few weeks ago.  She absently picked it up and began working the needles again, knowing its recipient would never wear it.   She had begun “click-clacking” away at the red wool sweater in a robotic trance.  Her own daughter, her only child, had been killed in a car wreck involving some teens who had stolen a car and taken it on a joy ride.   Rowdy and high on youthfulness, they had taken a corner too fast and left the road and plowed into the mother pushing her newborn in a stroller on the sidewalk where the car crashed and stopped abruptly as it finally came to rest against an ancient oak.

All three of the car’s occupants had died instantly.  Five angels soared heavenward in that instant.

The little red sweater would be a gift, tying these strangers together.  Little did either the young couple, due to have their first child nor the elderly lady on the bench know that there would be a lifetime bond created because two people exchanged a look.

 A look they had both been waiting for to set them free and onto their long, difficult, healing journey.

“Yellow, Wild Roses”

This is a true, short story:

Years ago, when my kids were all young, living in Panaca, NV; we were building a new house on a lot we had recently purchased in the middle of town.

We bought a very small 8 X 40′ trailer we hauled to the building site and lived in that while we were building.  With a family of five children crammed within, we were literally living on top of one another, like sardines in a can.  We did build an additional bedroom onto the trailer for the kids to sleep in.  We pretty much threw it up just to suffice our short stint till the new house was finished.  In the winter, ice formed on the inside around the door and window.  Sounds pretty dismal but looking over at the beautiful, new home going up made it all very bearable.

Everyone pitched in and helped on the building project, by the way.  I have photos of even my two sons up on the steep pitched roof helping their dad shingle it.  My ex-husband had a saying, “Small houses build character.”  That must be true because each of the kids coming out of this union are solid adults, true and capable. This is a great story in and of itself but today I am narrowing this broad story down to a particular moment in time, focusing on an incident that happened in this tiny trailer and with one son in particular, Ryan, our eldest at nine years old.

I was fixing dinner, the  house was in a shambles (as usual) and hot in the middle of summer with the screen door to keep the flies out and help the air circulate.  I was fixing supper over the small stove in the cramped kitchen area.  Ryan came through the screen door and I instantly began scolding him for not hurrying up and shutting the door behind him as he was letting the flies in.

Busy with fixing a meal, I didn’t notice his hands were clasped behind his back.  After he came inside and I quit scolding him, he pulled what he had been concealing behind his back, a huge bouquet of wild, yellow roses that grew profusely in the area.  I was so taken aback at this surprise he offered me and feeling very guilty for getting after him.

As I stood there, in the middle of dinner preparations, feeling very sorry for being so hasty to chastise him for “dawdling”, he went on to tell me in a meek little voice that he had picked all the thorns off of the roses.  What a mixture of emotions were swimming around in my head and heart.  Mostly, an overpowering feeling of love and gratefulness for this precious little boy along with feelings of anger at myself for ruining his big surprise.

This is one of those bittersweet memories, a mother stores her whole life in her memory bank, pulling it up either at will or having it flash across the screen at random times.  My “boy” is now 39 years old.  Rather shy and sensitive by nature still.  Having been through the “Hard Knocks of Life University” himself by now and much too old for me to take upon my lap and cuddle and assure him all is right in the world with a kiss and a hug.  How I miss those simple times, those easy fixes.

I hope I did something, somewhere along the road of parenting, that he can pull from his memory bank, to set him back on course when he feels life weighing down upon, a childhood memory to help get him through the hard spots.  He has grown into a good person, a responsible adult who holds down a steady job and his word is his bond. But, oh, how I love and miss that little boy of long ago, standing at my doorway with a beautiful bouquet of yellow, thornless, wild roses for his mother.

This is a story about love.  The purest kind.  When we give everything we have to give.  One of the greatest gifts Ryan gave me that day was to overlook my brash first reaction and wait patiently for me to calm down then pull his surprise out and offer it in his sweet, childish way, even explaining he had picked all the thorns off first.  I’d say, this is one of my most treasured gifts.


Quote by Tasha Tudor from the book ” The Private World of Tasha Tudor” :

” When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life.  But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies.  They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts.  Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.”     “…..Oh, it’s very soothing.”