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Archive for January, 2009

 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% of events that happens to me and 90% of how I react to those times!  Therefore, it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.  Charles W. Swindoll

When I first read this quote, I passed right on by it.  A few days later, I came upon it again, reread it, and finally realized what I should have seen before!

I stopped to think about my attitude and how my outlook for the day is formed and if it ever changes during the day, what either format means and if there was anything I should do about making sure I carried with me the best possible reaction to the events in my life.

Usually, I awaken in the morning very early.  This is a hold over from when my Mother was alive, but now I treasure that time because it is my time to think, write or do whatever I like on the computer.  It is a time that is always in the darkened room.  It is always quiet and affords me the ability to write in privacy!  While I am at the computer I have a small cup of coffee and if it is one of the days that sleep has eluded me then the coffee does no good, I still feel like sleeping, I nod often and soon realize the best thing to do is go lay down!

When I first awaken and during this private time, I am one of those that do not wake up to well.  Two hours can pass and I will still be in a cloudy state.  Yes, I can write and develop what I am writing, but if I need to really think, or function, I am not too good at it at this hour.  I have always been like this in the morning, quiet and possibly, you would think I was in a dreamland, which I may be.  Regardless, I feel I am innocent in premeditated actions because I just could not plan a thing until much later.  When I worked, I always responded the same way when I got up.  So often, then, I repeatedly told myself everything would be fine once I got in the car, because I knew I needed to face the day as soon as possible.  After arriving at work I still needed my time…everyone knew that and usually, unless a crisis set in, everyone respected that time.

At home, during my state of reverie I may go about straightening things up a little.  I may move a comb, a knife or a sheet of paper, all in grand innocence, yet those are the things that annoy M the most.  If I do move them, I am chastised and there fore, at that moment, my Attitude is negatively forned for the day.  Possibly, the phone may ring and the caller may also perturb me or even the cat can bring me from cloudy maze to arched eyebrow disdain.  These ill-received words received may cause my attitude to be less than stellar for hours.  I can, unintentionally, brood during that time.

When I finally read Swindoll’s quote I sheepishly thought, yes I do have a choice.  I can allow a sarcastic question/statement to send me lurking about in dark moments or I can tell my self that it is not worth having them affect my attitude for the whole day.  I think he makes sence wben he writes that events happen to you each day but they only comprise a small percentage of your life, as compared to how we react which can be a much higher percentage of getting it wrong.  So if life (my happiness and good will) is 90% of how I react to the events in my life then I had better start making respond positively, rather then letting my attitude travel south into a not so happy place.

 

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Bringing a little Spring–

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I am sitting in the dark as it wraps around me, except  I am not at home, I am in our apartment in Phoenix.  I can turn on the lights, but my old habit of writing in the dark lets me think better and as I sit here I can put on earphones and listen to my music and feel comfortable.  I think that everyone has their unique  place they go to that triggers thought.    Each morning I arise very early, before the thought of dawn and I go to the computer to write and catch up on my emails.

Habits, such as my writing and thinking in the dark, are a part of everyone’s life–our lives are based on inner impulsion’s drawing us to do particular acts in unique ways.   Think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have that private place to go to, or if that private place wasn’t respected.  Fortunately, since I was a child, I have been able to enjoy an exclusive area without worry of intrusion.

Today as I write, “Old Folks” plays from the computer’s  media player.  The song is from the original, cast recording of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well.  I have listened to this album since the mid 1970’s and never tire of it.  I have the songs memorized and even when I didn’t play them for years, the lyrics remained with me.  I enjoyed this collection of his songs because each are written with such poignant meaning.  They are a great catalyst for forming thought.

Even before I ever thought about making a piece of art, going to art school, becoming engaged in the process of growing older, or planning the journey to my Crepusculum, the song, “Old Folks” triggered strange feelings in me and for years the story haunted me.  It reinforced all of the kindness my parents taught me to show to someone who is elderly.   It also, in the seventies, opened a door to some other person’s view of the elderly that was not  sweet.  The lyrics paint a far different picture of so many of our elderly today.

Brel’s old people do not talk too much.  They have no illusions and their homes smell of time and old photographs.  Their eye’s are always clouded by a tear and for most of their day they sit in a chair or remain in bed watching the old silver clock on the shelf that waits for that moment that will be their time to leave.  Beautifully sung, you here that the old people only going  out in the day arm and arm and if they do leave their house they are out to see someone who is older than they are.  They go to say their good byes and they are aware that their world gets smaller each day.  The song ends reminding the listener that the old people always go back to their chair and wait, as the silver clock ticks away the time until their own departure.

If you do not know “Old Folks” please click the audio button and listen to it–you won’t forget it!!

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Even though, occasionally now and particularly in the past, many people believed in  societal structure that said the elderly were to be seen as non-productive.  Once, in the seventies, I visited  family living at Century Village in Florida.  Then, I accepted what I saw–it was in line with societies beliefs  of the elderly.

Century Village is large with many apartment buildings that you need to drive the distance between.  Along the road way were benches for residends to sit as they waited for buses to take them to a different buiding.  The day we arrived the benches were filled by one or two couples, usually not marrie, usually two women together.  Even though it was warm everyone had on sweaters, every one clutched a hankie, no one talked, and all had silver, blue or pink hair.  After we arrived at our destination building the scene was duplicated again near the buildings.  When someone spoke to you it was often to tell you of how terrible it was to watch their friends die.  I have never been so glad to leave a place because during the time there all I could see were crocheted doilies under silver clocks while the residents sat in their chairs–day after day, not talking, just waiting—waiting for their day.

Now that I am the age that I am, hearing the lyrics reminds me of  all of the people and family members that reached far into their eighties and never lived the life described by Jacques Brel.  My Mother was very active until she was 84 and then continued with some limitations after her stroke until her last year.  At eighty she traveled to Italy to visit her parents homes.  She loved life and never looked toward the silver clock.  During the last two weeks of her life, after spending too long a time not being able to function,  she shared with my sister her anger that life had been taken from her and questioned how her sisters would still live.  If changes could have been made to her health she would have been utterly happy to be able to enjoy many more day.  That was not the case and then, and only then she acquiesced to her passing.  Momma was like so many people that believed there is no reason to stop just because you were of a particular age.  On Eon’s one of the members of the writer’s group I manage writes stories of her Mother that has as much zest for life as my Mother did.

Today, fortunately there are more people that understand that seniors are much better off keeping active.  Fortunately, we have come a long way since 1970, and for the most part the elderly enjoy their lives.

I began this post referring to habits, those patterns of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.  It also refers to the established disposition of the mind or character.  Habits can be beneficial and detrimental and if you think about it, the way we viewed the elderly before and the way that many are now thinking about it is the first links that will break the older stigma that people of elder years live in homes smelling of time and sit in a chair waiting for time to pass for them to die.  Please join me in supporting the  idea that seniors and the eldest of seniors have much that they can still give society and that the busier they are the better they will be.!!  This is a good thing to believe, particularly if you are near my age!!  If you are,  we need to be as active entering our twilight years as we can be and remain active just as long as we can.  If we don’t, just think, they will want us to watch a silver clock…….

I am so glad I do not own a silver clock!

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The inspiration for my poem was given to me by Shadowlands.  This afternoon I knew I had a poem ready to be placed in print.  If I ignore the signal I never rest and so I come to the computer to let the mind form the words and my fingers bring the words to the screen.  Shadowlands thank you for the inspiration……I think that this poem speaks for both of us.  I dedicate this poem to you.

For those that have not been where I am,
the ones who sometimes look at me in fear,
will never know until later the ache of the heart that
continues as I journey on my discovery  path.

Along the trail I stop and look down to think of emptiness,
as though I saw the answer in a stone found a long the way.
And if I should bend to pick the stone, the one polished from being kicked by the foot steps of time
and set it in my palm to feel its  smoothness, then would there be the answer upon its shiny cover?

A step, and then two steps, next a pause for me……then I turn to see
gazing at me, off to the side of my journeyed path, another stands
with a look that says to never want to tread upon the unknowns that travel on this path I take,
nor could he want to see the stone that carries no answer because for him there is no question?

Within my heart I know I see further than ever before,
this place I travel brings me wisdom and knowledge cloaked in the pain of sorrow.
This journey carries me to forgotten memories now cherished with in my heart,
for they are to be known and remembered and they form the answers I need as I wipe a tear from the stone.

This journey, as it is for the ones that I know, the ones that carry their own found stone,
continue trodding upon the path within our hearts and minds and take solace to know
that those that gaze passed  us now will soon one day see and understand.
The road we journey is not for us alone, all hearts will shed their tears upon this trail……..

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It is Time—

Yesterday, Shadowlands not only gave me awards, but described my blogs in the most complimentary way.  During the time before my Mother died I had received a couple of other awards.  At that time, my days and nights were clouded and I didn’t always have the time to acknowledgement the kindness shown me.

The awards are very much appreciated, but even more important are the people who gave them to me.  Your responses to what I write allow me to know I am not alone in the world of grief or on my journey toward the twilight of my life.  Every step of the way all of you have been there for me.  There never is a limitation to the time you give to express your thoughts about caring or even to thank me for giving you something to think about that usually, you haven’t wanted to think on.  It is time that I thank you–

Instead of responding to my wonderful awards in the usual manner, I prefer to give back to who gave to me.  In other words, I have begun

The First Annual Frank E. Bell Awards

So, imagine you are now walking out of your home dressed in some fine, formal garb, hair and nails freshly fixed or if you are a guy you have trimmed your moustache and put on your patent leather dress slippers, tux and red silk bow tie!!  Sure, if you are very creative you can already see the dinner table set at the awards with a black faile cloth to the floor, Baccarach glasses, sterling silver flatware, silver opera chairs with black cushions and a breathtaking arrangement of multi-white roses and white dendrobian orchids in the center of table.  Since this is a fantasy, just order whatever you want to eat.  Relax and enjoy every tender morsel of tenderloin, lobster, rack of lamb or other special dish that you want.

Carefully pat your lips, sit back because now you are to receive your awards.

The awards for this occasion are yours and need nothing else done, except to realize how special all of you are!!!  Without your support my blogs would never have been recognized on Technorati or WordPress, but your support went much further than having my blogs on Technorati.

lShadowlands

I have been touched by Shadowlands’ strength and courage  and ability to give me her time when my heart was hurting so badly.  She walked me through the darkness one feels in the beginning of grief and guided me so that I understood that grief has many paths and many parts to travel through.  We each are still journeying to the day we will feel more settled and secure in our feelings.  God provided her with many talents–writing is one, but compassion for others is paramount!  Is thank you enough?

CroneandBearIt

During those first days in November I always went back to the computer to the blog surfer checking to see if Linda had posted.  Her stories, particularly about herself or EmmaLou brought a smile to my face, regardless of how grey I felt the day.  I am sure there were times she was busy at school, but whenever I could post a poem or thought Linda answered with her support and love.  Thank You.

Sparkle

And one day I went to see Sparkle and from that moment I learned about her life which parallels mine.  One day I realized Sparkle was grieving for the Mother she never had, while I was grieving for the special Mother I had.  Together we have compared our feelings and walked down a path of grief with a special understanding for each other.

Lyndapix

During that last week of my Mother’s life and on from there Lynda sent me many emails letting me know she was there and praying for me.  I am in awe of her and the rest of you  because without your prayers life may have not been so good.  Lynda is unbelievably accepting of people and opens her heart to them.  She takes some great photos–I miss seeing them on her blog, but she will begin again when she can.

Dahlip

Early on I found “The Clock Struck One”, Dahlip’s success at sharing his story about how his life changed after his stroke.  He writes truthfully and tries also to include helpful hints for other stroke victims.  He is to be applauded for his work.  If you haven’t visited his site, please do so…….there may be a day when you can suggest to a stroke victim to visit his site.  His story paralleled  my Mother’s thoughts and fears after she had her major stroke.  She was happy to know some one was trying to tell people how stroke can cause you to feel alone, depressed and worthless, but that there are ways for coming back and having a life.

Oh, yes, sometime soon you will have dessert.  Use your imagination again, or better yet go to your kitchen and whip up a souffle.  EmmaLou is waiting for hers Linda!!

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