Gratitude week 131

  1. A nice day sailing with my mom, Arabella, and her boyfriend.
  2. I docked the boat into the slip by myself for the first time.
  3. Lexi and I went thrifting and I had some really good finds. Two murder mystery games, two books, some clothes, and a variety of records from Billy Idol to organ music by Bach.
  4. I may have the opportunity to check another state off my bucket list this fall so I’m starting to plan and think about it.
  5. Fresh picked strawberries.
  6. Going out to eat and visiting with my friend Jen.
  7. Summer! This is my favorite time of year!!
  8. 1200 followers.
  9. Independence Day! I love freedom and fireworks!
  10. For two nights of seeing fireworks on the lake and a night of fireworks with friends.
  11. I’m grateful all my kids came up north a couple of days. They all got along really well and had a lot of fun. It wasn’t quite the case with the extended family, but I’ll save that story for another day.

If…question 1

A month ago I was seeking a book of questions for blogging ideas at a garage sale and shockingly I found one. The book is called If…1&2 (Questions for the Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell. It contains hundreds of questions and I hope to answer them.

  1. If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?

Aside from wishing for a million more wishes, I would wish to live in an utopian world where everyone lives together in mutual respect, peace, and harmony.

I want to live in a world where countries are not at war with other countries.

I want to live in a world where people are helpful and kind towards the needs of others.

I don’t want to live in a world where I am right and you are wrong or you are right and I am wrong constantly yelling louder instead of showing respect for our diversity.

I want a Facebook where I can look at cute kittens and never see fights about politics or religion. I should follow the ethics of my chosen beliefs and so should you. Differences are met with listening, understanding, and respect. No one really wants a world where everyone looks the same, thinks the same, and is just like everyone else anyway.

I want to live in a world of justice, fairness, and equality. No one is bullied and no one gets special treatment. Violence is not tolerated and everyone speaks quietly.

I want a world where family is not fighting against family. A world where marriages last and children born are wanted and raised in loving homes. No selfishness and no sibling rivalry. Grandparents are good role models.

I want a world where authority is respected, laws are followed, and there is a sense of order without corruption, abuse of power, or cumbersome useless rules.

I want a world where elders are respected and worth respecting. The young not harshly judged for their immaturity, foolishness, and inexperience by older folks who have long ago learned those lessons.

Yeah, I know, it’s starting to sound a bit like a Beatles song.

Gratitude week 129

  1. Paul and I bought and planted everything for our landscaping project.
  2. I put on clean sheets and finally took the electric blanket off our bed.
  3. Summer! We are expecting the next couple of days to be in the mid to upper 90’s with high humidity. I might have to break down and put on our A/C. It’s rarely ever forecasted to be this hot here. I could probably count on one hand in my lifetime of days where it’s been over 100.
  4. We had some powerful storms come through our area and were without electricity for almost a day and a half. I’m grateful our power is back on.
  5. I’m grateful we didn’t sustain any damage from the storm. A couple streets over had a lot of damage, a huge tree knocked down a powerline. My parents have many trees down.
  6. I’m grateful the boats in the marina are safe. A tornado went through and decimated a farm about a mile away from the marina. We saw the siding from the barn hanging in the tree across the street from it. It’s strange to see so much damage in some areas and none at all in others.
  7. I’m grateful for running water; the ability to take a shower, flush a toilet, wash clothes and dishes.
  8. I’m grateful my best friend had power so we could run over all the meat we just bought. I’m grateful for the opportunity to clean out the freezer. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
  9. I’m grateful for the deafening silence without power. It gave me time to think without distractions. My cell phone died and for awhile I went off the grid like I did when I was a kid.
  10. My son turned 22 this week, one step closer to full brain development. Ha ha. He woke up to no power, a dead cell phone, not able to take a shower, and we couldn’t go sailing as planned because there was a gale warning. But, all in all, I think he had an okay day anyway.
  11. I spent some time talking alone with my son’s girlfriend. Her family life was not a lot different from mine. I think I was able to help her out as someone who understands and has been there.
  12. Paul and I volunteered at a Christian center that helps families in need. They give out free diapers, kids clothing, and support families. We think this is a great way to help people. I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer there.
  13. I’ve been dog sitting for my best friend all weekend. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help out and that it has taken away my desire to get a dog anytime soon. She will not leave my side and barks or whines when I leave her. She scratches on the door if I go in another room.
  14. Friday night Paul and I went to dinner and a local community theater show with our old friends Harv and Kate. They are in their upper 80’s. It’s always nice to hang out with them.
  15. Today is Father’s Day. I’m grateful that my husband and brother are wonderful fathers without having good role models. Today is a hard day for people who have difficult relationships with their dads, including me. I was unable to find my dad a card this year. They all had words such as there for me when I needed you, great example, wonderful person…you get the drill. So I suppose a phone call will suffice.
  16. I’m grateful all our kids stopped by today for Father’s Day. Our daughters (and their significant others) surprised dad by going to church with us. This is the first time our kids visited our new church.
  17. Wow, I have a long list this week. It’s amazing how grateful I am when I had to go without. There are so many things I take for granted…like running water. This has been a reminder to me of what I have.

Gratitude week 128

  1. I took an upper level sailing class, and I passed. I wasn’t sure I would.
  2. As much as I like to get away, I’m always grateful to sleep in my own bed.
  3. We purchased a quarter cow. I’m grateful to have meat in the freezer from a local farmer. I’m hoping this will save us money at the store.
  4. Paul and Angel ran a 10k yesterday. It was my daughter’s first time running a 10k and my first time watching instead of running. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m grateful I inspired my daughter to be a runner, yet was sad I could no longer run. It was a strange feeling. I felt nostalgia for the days of running, happiness watching my daughter (and husband) run, a great sadness I will never run again, and a part of me felt relief.
  5. I’m grateful as a previous runner of the race that I had inside knowledge of the best places to be an observer.
  6. Spring; warm days and cool nights. I’m trying to go the whole summer without A/C. We’ll see how far I get this year.
  7. An old friend from college was in the area and stopped by. I haven’t seen her in over 5 years.
  8. I also got an unplanned visit the same night from my best friend.
  9. After working two weeks straight, my husband has the next couple days off.
  10. I’m grateful to go out to eat with family and friends this past week.
  11. After the race, Paul made his famous homemade pizza.

Gratitude week 127

  1. I was able to visit with Angel and Dan after not seeing them for a couple weeks.
  2. Opening the cabin up north for the season.
  3. Last minute my brother Luke came up north with his daughters. It was the first time I saw them this year. We played games, went for a hike, and sat by the campfire. It was too cold to swim yet.
  4. One thing that has taken some adjustment, my husband is gone a lot with our seasonal business. I do most of my work out of the house. That being said, I find myself alone a lot for the first time since all the kids moved out. The first night I spent at the cabin by myself. It was different. I was feeling this melancholy nostalgia. I missed my husband, the kids when they were younger, and my dog who went there with us year after year until this year since his passing. I started to feel sorry for myself. Then the next day, my brother came up with his kids and dog. The next door neighbors had kids and a dog. Kids were fighting, the dogs were always trying to get away, not to mention the noise and commotion. It was in that moment I became grateful for the stage of life I’m in. I don’t think I have the energy anymore to be chasing after kids and dogs that get away. I didn’t have to be responsible for anyone and I kind of like it.
  5. I’m grateful for the time to discover what I like to do. I really like going thrifting and to rummage sales. I did both this past week but no huge finds.
  6. Angel and Dan checked out some local city wide rummage sales and asked if there was anything I was looking for they could find, and they did! I have been looking for a motorcycle helmet for Alex’s girlfriend. He only has one and he has been taking his off to give to his girlfriend when she rides with him. Angel found a pink motorcycle helmet for Lexi, her favorite color. Her birthday is next month and I have the perfect gift. Win, win, win.
  7. My mom and autistic brother Matt went up north this weekend too. Matt is more on the severe end of the autism spectrum and is not very socially aware. Two things happened this weekend that are worth mentioning. Matt asked me if Paul was coming up north too. He didn’t ask about my kids. This tells me he somehow knows Paul and I are linked together but that the kids are grown up. I was impressed by his awareness when most of the time he is oblivious to relationships.
  8. The other thing that happened is this…We were sitting around a campfire. My mom asked my 12 year old niece Gracie to move out of grandma’s chair so she could sit there. A few minutes later my brother Matt wanted the chair, so my mom moved out of the chair to an empty chair so Matt could sit there. I called my mom out on it. My mom said she is just a really good mom to Matt. She always gives him special treatment which I am not keen of. Later, Matt wanted my chair and moved all my stuff off of it while I was tending to the fire. I told him I was sitting there and it was rude of him to take my chair when I got up to do work especially when other chairs were available. But he did it anyway and I was pissed. My mom did nothing. A few minutes later Matt came over and apologized to me. I was floored. I never in a million years thought he was going to do that. I actually thought he was coming over to me to steal the other chair I was sitting on.
  9. Matt has been involved in a day program for the last several years for autistic children and adults. It’s made a big difference in his life. I know they have been working with him a lot on social skills and how to interact with people. Matt noticed I was up north alone. But the big thing was he noticed I was irritated at him for his behavior and he apologized. My parents didn’t teach him that. My mom always wanted us to give him special treatment like she does without giving him the opportunity to learn what appropriate behavior is. I’m grateful for this program and that even though he is in his 40’s, he is learning how to interact with others in a way that is also healthy for him.
  10. I’m grateful for warm spring days and cool nights. No need for the heat or the A/C.

Timshel

I first heard of the concept Timshel in the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It means thou mayest in Hebrew. Timshel is saying we have a choice between good and evil. You can choose the path you take. Will others rejoice upon our passing or will there be great sadness based upon the choices we made in how we love one another. I know I am not giving the 600 page book justice with my mere 600 words.

I wouldn’t consider the book to be a happy story. But it was a feel good book because of its realistic perspective. Some of the big themes dealt with relationships between siblings, sibling rivalry, and the parent/child relationship. One of the things that really hit home for me was the struggle the characters experienced within. If my parent chooses evil, what does that make me? The book brings up the thought that although your parent may choose evil doesn’t mean that you are destined for the same choices. They have a choice just like you do.

I won’t lie to you, I sometimes struggle with this. I try hard to be a good person, but plenty of times I fall short. My dad did a lot of evil things. Does that make me evil even though I did not make the same choices he did? Sometimes I see him in myself. I hate to be reminded of him when I look in the mirror, how I talk, or how I walk. But it’s there. I have to wonder if that is the only thing there. Maybe he passed his evil down to me.

Logically, I know it’s crazy to think that, yet sometimes I do. The weight of his decisions has brought many people down. My mom is really struggling with her mental health over it. My brother Luke will not have his kids around my dad. I rarely see my brother and haven’t seen him, his wife, or my nieces yet this year. My dad is not invited to holidays. He is not invited to my daughter’s wedding. We always wonder if and when the police will be back to my parent’s house. But those are all just the external things which make life difficult and complicated.

I think the internal pain is worse. The anxiety that somewhere deep inside I might be guilty just for being his daughter like choosing evil is an inheritable trait. Sometimes I have to keep telling myself I am not responsible for my parents. I am not responsible for my adult children. I am responsible for me and my choices alone.

I don’t have a dad I can be proud of. He has brought nothing but shame to the family name. I wish I could say his choices affected only himself. If the evil choices other people make cannot be attributed to us then neither can the good. Having a child who chooses good does not equate to having good parents any more than having a child who chooses evil equate to having bad parents. Why is this so hard to understand? Why do we need something or someone to blame for the bad choices others make? It’s true some people have more obstacles than others. But is that really a good excuse? Maybe they just made a bad decision because that is what they wanted to do.

My grandparents were wonderful people. My dad, not so much.

Timshel. Everyone has a choice.

Again, I would highly recommend reading East of Eden. It’s very well written and thought provoking. It had a lot of interesting twists and turns in the classic drama by John Steinbeck. I’ve read several other books by the same author decades ago, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath were among my favorites. I hope to read more of his books in the near future. They always have a way of making me think about things differently.

Gratitude week 124

  1. Angel started having migraines and went in for an MRI. Everything came back normal which I am very grateful for.
  2. We finished watching Ozark. I think it was one of the best series I’ve ever watched.
  3. Mom and I had a spa day which I am very grateful for since lately everything seems to hurt. If only I could go every day..
  4. We had some record breaking hot days this past week. I needed a little summer in my life. It’s amazing how everything turned green within the past couple days. The grass needs mowing and there are leaves on the trees and flowers are blooming.
  5. We were able to sail across the bay to our boats summer home. It’s nice to see all the boats back in the water again. We are gearing up for my favorite time of the year.
  6. After the spa, mom and I met with Angel for supper. My mom picked out her grandma of the bride dress. We got to the store 15 minutes before it closed. There was a dress the right size and the right color that looked great on my mom. She didn’t have time to be indecisive about the dress, so she bought it! It’s nothing short of a miracle.
  7. It was Arabella’s 19th birthday over the weekend. My baby is 19, I can’t believe it! I’m grateful she celebrated another year of life.
  8. Arabella’s apartment is ready. I’m grateful that getting an apartment was wonderful inspiration for birthday gift ideas.
  9. Arabella’s boyfriend Will was in a car accident this past week. He took a curve a little too fast and hit a tree. I’m grateful he didn’t get hurt. Although his car has some damage and is in the shop, he doesn’t have to get a new car.

Gratitude week 123

  1. Mother’s Day; I was able to spend most of the day with my mom and all my children and their significant others. Angel made me a lemon cake and bought me a book. Alex brought me flowers and cheesecake. Arabella got me my favorite jelly beans. We played some games and had a bonfire. Paul made some ribs.
  2. I’m grateful for my husband who did most of the cooking and cleaning on Mother’s Day.
  3. Spring finally arrived in Wisconsin. It’s the start of my favorite time of year!
  4. I turned the heat off and took the quilt off my bed.
  5. I uncovered the pool today for the season.
  6. I had a really good therapy session.
  7. Paul had his annual physical and it went well.
  8. I finished the classic East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It was a remarkable book…there might be a post about it this week…
  9. Mom and I are going to the spa this week…can’t wait for that.
  10. Sailing season is starting…we’re planning on taking the boat across the bay this week to its summer home.
  11. I had another weekend of rummage sales. The big finds were a light blue floral area rug for $22, several snarky t-shirts, several albums specifically one with pipe organ music, colored exterior flood lights, candles and large candle holder, a beach scene picture, and some books. I bought some items for Angel’s house and Arabella’s apartment. I met some of my neighbors.
  12. This is worth a special mention. At a rummage sale I found a book of questions. I was specifically looking for an item like that for my blog to have more topics to write about when things get slow. I can’t believe I found an obscure item I was looking for at a random rummage sale. The best part is I paid 50 cents for it.

Gratitude week 122

  1. It’s May!! March and April were difficult months weather wise with cold, windy, and rainy/icy/snowy weather most days. We even had snow a couple days ago. It been a very wet wintry spring, but it might warm up a bit by next weekend…
  2. I’m pretty much done with my spring cleaning. This past week I washed the windows and put on the screens. Now I’m just waiting for spring.
  3. I got my 1st birthday video back. It was neat to watch, however a 50 mm film translates into about 3 or 4 minutes of video without audio. I was hoping for something longer with more family in it besides me and a short clip with my mom. Oh well! My grandma had a tradition where bread, a book, and money were placed in front of a baby at their first birthday. I have video proof that I picked the bread which supposedly means I will never go hungry…but my husband said maybe I am smart because I actually picked the only edible object. LOL
  4. I met my husband’s therapist this week.
  5. I was able to spend time with all my kids this week.
  6. My brother Luke called me to vent. He rarely does that, so I am grateful for the call to talk.
  7. I’m grateful to have our best friends over for Paul’s homemade pizza and swimming.
  8. The neighborhood had rummage sales going on, so yesterday Paul and I went to check it out. I bought some of my favorite things to buy…clothes, puzzles, books, and candles. Next weekend we are planning on going out rummaging again..
  9. Clean sheets.
  10. I was able to work on my book.
  11. The finale of Ozark is out.

Gratitude week 121

  1. Finally we had a nice weather day yesterday. It was right around 70 degrees, so I was able to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather for awhile. It was the warmest day this year so far. This week it is supposed to be cold again, but dry.
  2. Paul and I were able to get some raking done yesterday with the nice weather.
  3. I also spent some time this week picking up garbage in my yard.
  4. This past week I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned the oven for the first time since we moved in. I also cleaned the Keurig, microwave, and refrigerator. It feels good to have a clean house and yard.
  5. Yesterday I hosted a murder mystery party with some friends we haven’t seen for awhile. Both Paul and I guessed who the murderer was. It was fun to get together with friends and see everyone’s costume.
  6. Paul and I had good visits with all our kids this week.
  7. My mom and I finished the last puzzle for the season.
  8. Life is starting to settle down so I am going to get back to writing my book again.
  9. My daughter had another migraine this week. I’m grateful her fiancĂ© finished his work out of state early and was able to be there for her.