Category Archives: resolutions

Message of Lent

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Today is considered by some cultures, especially in

the Catholic Church, to be “Fat Tuesday.” Down in

my college friend, Patrice’s Mississippi “bayou”

they are celebrating with Louisiana, too!

Happy Mardi Gras Day!!

This morning, Tuesday March 4, 2014, the Channel 10

(CBS) announced that today is “National Pancake Day,”

with no specific denomination or explanation given.

Easier not to say, “Fill up on Pancakes, because

some of us tomorrow will be ‘fasting!'”

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, will be one some consider

a somber and sobering moment, remembering Jesus’

walk to the Cross.

I go to the First Presbyterian Church in Delaware,

Ohio. If you wish to skip religious messages, don’t

worry, you can pass on this and it won’t bother me

a bit!

I just loved my March “Spire” Newsletter’s message,

written by our Pastor Deb Patterson.

I feel our church is inclusive and embraces many

different cultures, as we have the college nearby.

Ohio Wesleyan students sometimes attend, having

transferred their ‘home’ for their four to six

years, from far and wide.

Along with a woman one of our church members

met on a Mission Trip in South America. He

brought her home and made her his bride!

(Jeff and Gloria, another love story: Smile!)

Maybe you will find this worthy of reading.

“Dear Friends,

You are dust and to dust you shall return.” These

are the words used on Ash Wednesday while the ashes

from last year’s palms (now burned into ash) are

placed on your forehead. These words not only mark

the beginning of the Season of Lent but remind us of

our own mortality. Mortality is the one thing we all

share in common; black, white, brown, Christian,

Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Russian, Iranian,

Iraqi, Palestinian, British, American, Guatemalan,

Hispanic… the list is long and all encompassing.

Together we will all share in this final event.

I wonder if we… from all different walks of life,

… different nationalities and religions… if we

were gathered together at the throne of God and

asked what loving things we had done during our

lifetime… I wonder if there would be regret,

remorse, sorrow, despair or would there be peace

and joy? One of the reasons I like the Season of

Lent is that it is a time to do some personal

inner work. A time set aside in our church year

to intentionally examine ourselves and our

relationships with each other, our neighbors and

our God.

This Ash Wednesday we will be doing a different

type of service. While we will still receive the

imposition of the ashes, we will take some time

to do some directed reflection. I will invite all

gathered to take personal time to look deep within

at behaviors such as hardness of heart, resentments

and negative behaviors. There will be stations

around the sanctuary that will become a part of this

service. What I have learned over the years is that

personal spiritual freedoms comes from letting go…

and we all have things we could release to God.

I will be encouraging the four individual reflections

used in our worship service as Lenten practice. If

you are not able to attend the Ash Wednesday Service,

I will have these reflections available on the First

Sunday of Lent. We have forty days to do some personal

housekeeping. A clean house makes more room for God’s

growth in us.

I look forward to walking Lent with you.

Blessings,

Pastor Deb.”

I hope that you feel a message to all from my

pastor, giving you her blessing. I always feel

very accepted and loved when I attend First

Presbyterian Church. Take care!

Unraveling Threads and Intertwined Lives

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This is such a wonderful day! It may be cold on the

outside, but I am feeling all warm and fuzzy on the

inside! We were finished with work at four o’clock

and we all felt like ‘prisoners being released!’

Or as one young fellow coworker exclaimed, “There’s

light outside! This feels like school’s out for the

summertime!” We chuckled along with him, amused by

his enthusiasm. The elderly security guard and I

exchanged a knowing glance.

After I warmed up my car for a good ten minutes to

get the temperature to come up to ‘cold’ the car

thermometer that I assume measures the outside

temp, read “9 degrees.” Not at all registering

the ‘wind chill factor’ outside.

I was concerned when I spotted a young man from

work, walking away from town, so I pulled over

and stopped. His name is Cody, he said, as he

so graciously thanked me before I even took him

anywhere.

I told him that I was only on my way to the library

and that I used to take a nice young man named David

home. I began to tell him about how my youngest

daughter, Felicia, was friends with the singing group

that he was in. That their name was “Team KNYCE.”

He was nodding his head and smiling before I got any

farther. He knew David and had heard the group play

at one of the VFW’s. I asked, mainly out of curiosity,

“How did that audience respond?”

The group includes an eclectic musical style with

some rap but have a little rhythm and blues, with some

hip hop music woven in, too.)

Cody laughed a bit, “I know what you are getting at!

There was quite a mixture of ages and levels of

appreciation there!

But a good crowd of local followers were also there.”

I told him that I had been so happy about their tour

last summer, wondered how they all were? I told him

I have known Josh Moore, the lead singer, since he was

in middle school with Felicia.

By the time we got to his grandmother’s house and he

offered me $5 (of course, I declined this generous

offer!) we had become closer than if we had worked

across from each other all week. Cody is a new heavy

bulk worker. I told him to “Hang in there, with the

job! Or at least until what your chosen field comes

around. The pay isn’t too bad, in this tough economy.

Oh, and say ‘Hi from Robin to the boys,’ if you

remember to, next time they are singing here locally.”

(This story makes more sense when you check out the

rap group Team KNYCE and my story, “Local Musicians.”)

Here are two stories that have had conclusions recently

that some of my faithful readers may be interested in

hearing the results. The oldest ‘loose end’ I traced

a lead and got a response back. I had written “Chasing

Shadows of the Past,” about a long ago student who my

mother had taught, had been to our home and become a

friend to me, later a pen pal.

His name was on a bulletin board around Veteran’s

Day, (my gosh, how time flies!) and my Mom and I

had gone to the front desk of the senior apartments,

found out this man’s room number and taken along her

dog, Nicki, along for the trek to the assisted living

wing of the building.

Just to fill in folks who may not have heard about

this, we had thought that the age of the man in

the picture made him a cohort of my mother’s age,

but we had hoped that he had a son my age with the

same first and last name. It had turned out to be

a rather nice conversation with the ‘wrong’ man!

He did give us the lead of another man with the

same last name, but a different middle initial.

This man was living in Mentor or Medina, he said

and was a doctor. Apparently his mail was going to

his son’s and vice versa, both living in the same

area.

Well, I left a message on Facebook on the page

that allows visitors and onlookers. It was not

answered. I waited until I had time over the

next visit with Mom, Thanksgiving, to try and

get a phone call made, using a local phone

directory. I found a doctor’s office with this

man’s name attached to it. I left a voice message

on their answering machine, mentioning that possibly

my mother had been his teacher, her name is rather

unusual, Mrs. Oldrieve.

I did not bother to leave my Mom’s phone number

since she may totally blank out, forget our quest

for her old student and everything would be for

naught!

Anyway, on this brisk, freezing cold Winter’s

day, I received a very pleasant message on my

cell phone. The man who graduated from Westlake

High School, had my mother for both Spanish

and World Literature classes, who had exchanged

several letters and visited for a few holidays

to talk presumably to her, but also including

me, left me his details!

The details included his family’s phone number.

Jim is married and has two grown children. He was

very warm in his message and requested that we all

wait until Spring, when he would enjoy coming over

to sit outside with Mom, Nicki, his wife and me.

I eagerly look forward to uniting my Mom with one

of her favorite students, exchanging life stories,

revelations and engage in a lively conversation. It

was very fun having that open-ended ‘maybe?’ out

there for awhile, since I still have two of his

pictures, one his senior high school and the other

one from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The last loose end is from a recent story about

work safety and a recent ‘rant’ about administration

in my distribution center.

I am not sure if there was a personal visit from the

Fire Chief, if there was someone sent from their

department or if just a phone call took care of my

‘problem!’

The action was carried out over the weekend!

There is no longer a black trash bag over the

only direct EXIT sign in an area delineated or

named the ‘bomb shelter.’ I work above this

circle where the pallet riders pick up flammable

fluids in cases and aerosol cans in bulk. I am

usually above, filling hampers with aerosol cans

that are being sent out in singles or six packs.

With such flammable products, I had been concerned

about the exit sign being covered and the door

having a sign that said, “Do Not Use This Door

As An Exit.” This had been going on for a month

now. We had an opportunity with that safety

meeting for me to mention this dangerous

situation…

here

The door has been newly painted red!

It has a sign posted, “For Emergency Only,

Alarm Will Sound When Door is Opened.”

Sometimes, I found out, you have to ‘rock that boat’

to get some waves (or actions!)

A poster on my college dorm wall held an appropriate,

short, but sweet message that seems rather apropos:

“Behold the turtle!

It only makes progress,

by sticking its neck out!”

January Calendar: Resolve to Be…

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Hope you will have fun celebrating on December 31st!

Will you bang on pans, toot some horns and make
some racket?

(Fireworks and guns discharging safely are other
additional ways to create more explosive and even
louder noises! Please use caution and be careful!)

Some of my friends say this is to scare all those
old 2013 ‘evil spirits’ out of the house! I have
not explored this international folk lore subject,
so if you have anything to add; please do!

I always felt it was to say, “good riddance” or to
‘kick out’ any feelings of regret, sending any
unresolved grievances and conflicts right out the
door! (With the old and decrepit man using his
cane to escape.)

We always open the front door, ready to greet the
New Year “baby” at about 11:58 p.m. December 31.
Then we make lots of noise going through the house,
making sure that old year gets out!

This allows new hopes and promises to enter freely.

We also put dimes and a piece of silverware under
the welcome mat at the front door, to assure a
prosperous New Year, 2014!

On New Year’s Day, we eat sauerkraut with pork,
sometimes when times were ‘lean,’ that meant
Polish Kielbasi (Cleveland, Ohio memories…)
and other times, it meant a delicious, moist
pork roast in the crock pot. I usually had
people surrounding me, family and friends who
would love this, but if you don’t I still am
a little pushy, telling you that it might bring
you good luck in the new year, so have a tiny
bite. My mother usually added brown sugar and
caraway seeds to help enhance the flavor of
the sauerkraut. This is a German dish, too.

Do you have any special customs? Let us all know
so we may include them, starting new family or
personal traditions.

Always nice to add more celebratory joyfulness
to the annual festivities!

Resolve to be…
Happy, Serene, Complete, Healthy …

“Life’s wisdom arrives gracefully.
And the wonder of this Miracle
is that we all receive its gift.”
A positive message from artist/poet, Flavia.

JANUARY CALENDAR:

This is National Blood Donor Month.

Jan. 1- Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day
New Moon

Jan. 2- Bank Holiday (Scotland).
Holiday (New Zealand).

Jan. 6- Epiphany on some church calendars.
Celebrated in the UK on this date.
The Catholic Church in other countries may
move the date between January 2-8th.
Epiphany represents when the Wise Men arrived
at the Manger in Bethlehem.
When the Magi visited the Baby Jesus.

Jan. 7- In Russia, it is Christmas today!

Jan. 8- 1/4 or First Quarter Moon.
On this day in history, Lyndon B. Johnson declared
a “War on Poverty,” by supporting the passage of the
Economic Opportunity Act. This initiated Medicare and
Medicaid, fifty years ago today.

Jan. 16- Full Wolf Moon.

Jan. 17- On this date, fifty years ago,
Michelle Obama was born. The U.S. President’s
wife will be having her birthday party today.

I think I would use ANY excuse to have a piece
of birthday cake! Since there are, at least,
two famous persons’ birthdays in less than a
week, I may just have to go out and buy a whole
cake! Smile!

Jan. 20- Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
is observed.
In U.S., there will be no school.
Postal service and banks are closed.

Jan. 21- National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
If you need more information, check out Evil
Squirrel’s posts. I am sure he will have a
huge party over there on this date!

Jan. 23- National Pie Day in the U.S.
Crisco (shortening) company originated this
date and even has a National Pie Contest.
Thank you, Mike Lince, for adding this to
our January pleasures calendar! I like pecan
pies, coconut cream pies, apple streusel
pies and strawberry pie with whipped cream
on top. Do you have a favorite pie?

Jan. 26- If you enjoy music, try watching the
Grammy Awards Show tonight. I am a big fan of
most award shows, so I plan to try to include
them this year in my monthly posts!

Jan. 27- Australia Day.
3/4 or the Last Quarter Moon.

What resolutions will you make to start this fantastic
New Year of 2014?
I will wish for time to pass ever so slowly, so I may
fit all that I need to do and be into this brand new
year!

Here is a brief poem/prayer submitted to my church
bulletin for December, 2013, by member, Nadine Butler.
It seemed to “speak to me” in so many ways. I really
will be printing this on a piece of paper to read and
re-read again:

“Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around.

But faith looks up!

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly, and
Trust in our Creator
Who loves us.”

A word about those after holiday, “Winter’s Blues.”
To beat seasonal affective disorder (also known as
S.A.D.)) or just this time of year “down” period:

1. Try increasing caffeine, if your physician allows.
This is still considered a ‘mood booster.’

2. Consider bright lights, there are even special
ones for ‘light therapy.’

3. On partly that same subject, walk anytime its
sunny. Get outside for fresh air and exercise.
Natural endorphins increase while walking briskly
and enjoying nature really does brighten one’s mood!

4. Get enough sleep. Well, that is year-round. It
is also a challenge, especially as one gets older,
to stay asleep for over six hours. Sometimes the
bladder disrupts our sleep, sometimes worries, and
a lot of my friends say this is happening more
frequently, like an internal alarm clock going off
way too early, in their heads!

“Greet each day as if
your life is just beginning.
And your heart’s desire
will unfold before you.”
Another positive message from artist/poet, Flavia.

“Cleaning House:”Clutter in Mind and Life

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This is an amazingly quick and carefully pruned list of

questions to ask yourself in January, 2014. I hope it

will be a successful and productive year for you and

yours, along with a balance of a carefree, uncluttered

mind and life.

Here are some New Year’s Resolution questions to help

you to organize and clean your life and house:

1. Do I love it?

(Oh, this can be handled in so many dimensions and give you

quite a week-long “pause” before you act on this one!)

2. Will I use it?

(This one is so important and yet, so tough to act upon!)

3. Can I afford it?

(I love this one, especially with all of those after

Christmas sales and January clearance items!)

4. Live “Large” on Less. Can you do this?

(I like to call this, ‘trimming the fat in your life.’)

5. Can you keep focused on what matters most in your

life?

(This is also an important one to keep in mind, whether

at work, with family or at play. I also would include,

Are you doing what makes you happy? Can you take steps

to get to where you will be happier?)

This has no references to weight loss, per se.

This list has no improvements given to you.

This is one to get you thinking and to start living a

better, much improved and satisfying life NOW!

Don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can DO TODAY!

What is the Key to Happiness?

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“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
1. Something to do,
2. Something to love,
and
3. Something to hope for.”
Written by English essayist, Joseph Addison.

I would like to write about my feelings of these three areas

in my life. I would like to have you also try to study, meditate

and possibly reveal how this quotation affects your views on

happiness.

I would divide my approach of happiness in a different but

overlapping way than how Joseph Addison wrote of happiness.

For me, a necessary part of being happy is accepting oneself,

as you are. “To thine own self, be true,” the old adage goes.

I must love myself first and not wish to be anybody else but me.

I need to be myself as often as I can, trying to spend time with

others who are accepting of me, just as I am. I am sometimes a

“people pleaser” which is not always such a good quality. I

need to not worry how others think, nor try to always please

others. There are times I can be so carefree and lovable. Those

times, I feel like the ones surrounding me I can trust to return

those feelings. I feel most comfortable with my Mom and brothers

and then, next with my children. Sometimes, my silly and playful

self goes crazy with grandchildren. My ‘cup of joy runneth over’

while in their company!

The next area in my analysis of happiness means to have something

to look forward to doing. This is what motivates me to get up out

of bed, out of the house, and off pursuing a dream. I believe we

all need to have this firmly on the top of our list of important

ways to stay happy! Making plans can keep us going forward in our

work lives, personal lives and helping our futures, too. Try to

put FUN on your “To Do” list! Live your life fully, enriching

yourself and others. I think, for me, my main “happy” times are

ones that have a mission, a purpose or a passion. Each day needs

to have something special in it to ‘reward’ our hard work. If

you are not sure of what that ‘something’ to do is, what makes

you happy, then, self examination and writing down all the times

you were most happy, then find the connection or the thread that

runs through each of those memories. Defining happiness for yourself

is a way to keep assured you stay on your own path to happiness.

Who do you want to do these anticipatory activities with? Are you

most happy alone? Then, most of the times, you will have no

problem proceeding since you are in charge of your own destiny!

I will mention that the song that goes like this, “I am a rock,

I am an island,” by Paul Simon possibly resonates with you loners

out there. But, try to examine if you are also, lonely in your

alone times, too. This will help you to focus on either leading a

solitary life or on one that includes others, once in awhile.

If you say “with others” who will these people be? For me, it is

no secret, I have a nice group of wonderful friends, including

Bill, Gary and sometimes another guy friend, but my real important

key to my happiness, has been to find that ‘special someone’ to

share my walks and talks, spend the quality times with and include

him with my family, and visa versa. I would like to have him share

his family and interests, hopefully, most of them aligning or

matching up, with “some spaces in our togetherness,” as Kahlil

Gibran, as the fine poet would suggest.

I would say all of the ones who feel most comfortable while alone,

should still try to include a “go to” relationship or communication

partner. This can be a family member or choosing a good friend. I

don’t think we should isolate ourselves totally. If necessary, you

may find a counselor or minister who will listen when you need to

lean on someone.

Here is another ‘take’ on the ‘happiness project’ that I am

assigning us all to try in 2014. I hope you will find something

you love to do and do it often. Today and the next day, too. If

you already are happy, then add something to make it new and

challenging. This will be like a ‘breath of fresh air.’

I hope you will find something to hope for, in the future. This

needs to have some steps to take, making it harder to reach. It

will give you months to reach it. Sometimes, the goal of training

to run a marathon, making a quilt, taking all your photographs

and framing some, while putting the rest into albums… This kind

of yearlong project is different from your daily one of loving

where you are. It is about where you are going…

This will keep you motivated, moving forward and this goal may

be a trip or an outcome.

Happy Holidays

Using this formula,
1. Set aside your best time… for me, it is savoring a new and
different kind of coffee and sitting with a blank page in front
of me, writing my thoughts down.
Savoring Silence.
Reflecting upon Christmases past and memories.
Praying daily.
Rejuvenating with new plans…

2. Anticipatory plans, things to look forward to in the next
year. Get the calendar and write down times that you would like
to do something.
Define what you wish to do, make plans by writing them on a
month in 2014.
Do something you love.
Spend time with someone you did not find time for as often as
you would have liked. Possibly pencil them in every other month
if you went too long between visits.

3. If you feel less content in your daily choices of work and
play-
Change them!
Make a New Plan of Action!
Choose the steps to get the “whole ball of wax” rolling.

Getting that Plan implemented could make a difference in your life!

These can help you make your New Year’s Resolutions.

Hope something in here is new or touched your life.