Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sometimes the instant replay isn't so instant



Sometimes time erases life and sometimes it doesn't; or so it seems to erase things. I wonder at times why that is? The things I remember from a certain period in time completely block out other happenings. No one talks about any of it...usually…ever. It seems as though the door is shut and because of what’s in there, pain, questions, hurt, stress, fear, or whatever, no one wants to go there. But there are lessons behind that door; MANY lessons.

As I see life replaying in a different generation, the flags go up. The hurt, fear, pain and anger return as I see this replay in action. I wonder why this is SO vivid and apparent to me, yet so obscure to others. I bite my tongue, which is difficult, yet necessary. It's difficult, when they are your monkeys, swinging from vine to vine over the pits of fun and madness; some may even be pits of despair. I want to say "watch out" or "beware" but it doesn't come out. These monkeys are far too old for their mother to advise them. I want them to come to me, to confide in me. I want them to know what I know and what I've learned. There must be some value to that. There are lessons to be learned; I hate it. As a mother we want to protect them.Yet, I also know that though this vine swinging can be treacherous, and fun, there are needed lessons. So, I sit and wait with blinders on. Hoping the lessons will be learned before too much damage takes place.

I’ve been watching and thinking about things for a while now; possibly years. Today in RS our lesson was “Help from on High.” It brought me back to life 30 years ago...and then those decisions. Sort of a rewind and replay of my life. It brought me to decisions I didn't want to make, but instead of doing what I should have, and listened to my heart and the "help from on high" I listened to others; "others" who didn't know me. Who didn't know the situation; who were coming from somewhere in "their" lives and their inner person. They made suggestions which might have been right for their lives, but wasn't for mine. The told me what was best. People who were grabbing at straws themselves; they didn’t know any more than I did about their lives OR mine. Some were so quick to judge, so quick to get their say in, so quick to tell me how to run my life. I was young and desperate, with four small children. I didn’t know what I was doing either. Part of me wanted someone to tell me what to do so I didn’t have to make decisions…which could be wrong. The problem with this is, when their advice is wrong, you can sometimes blame them. You don’t have to be accountable for your actions. Alas, their “straws” didn’t work anymore in my life than mine did. I allowed the wrong "someone's" to run my life and give me advice.

There are times when I wonder what would have happened had I not listened to these well-meaning people. I can see now, thirty years later, where I am from listening, but I wonder...how would things be different or would they be different?

I do know that I came to know myself. I was brought to breaking points time and time again. Raising four children on my own was NOT what I wanted to do; it wasn’t what I ever thought I would be doing. But it brought me from a meek, na├»ve, young woman to what I am today. It brought me from behind the scenes to the front of the battle grounds. I fought every war for and in behalf of my children, and even fought my children. Even though I hated it, I was their fearless leader, who was SO afraid I couldn’t stand it at times. But it strengthened me.There are some who have thought I was always this strong, but they are mistaken. I was never like this thirty years ago...nothing like this. I allowed my life to be run by others; constantly being told what to do and how to do it and when to do it...what ever it was. AND "it" was usually everything, except bathing and going to the bathroom. 

While I am not really fearless, I have come a long way and can lead. I have lead many battles and have kept other battles under control. I've had to put the hammer down and I've had to use "tough love"; something I absolutely HATED doing, but it worked in the long run. Another painful memory from the past. And so, while these replays hurt, they served their purpose. They remind me of what not to do in many cases and help me to make decisions now. Would I still like someone to tell me what to do so it all comes out right in the end? YOU BET!!!

There are scriptures warning us about trusting in the “arm of man” over trusting God. But lessons needed to be learned. I didn’t come to that knowledge for several years. I’ve learned that God knows us from the beginning to the end. He alone knows what we need; as a loving Father, He is always there and willing to help, even though we don’t ask. He's never far and just waiting...He’s waiting for a nod in His direction and BOOM! He's helping like you wouldn't believe. He loves us more than anyone else. He wants us to succeed. He's willing to do whatever needs to be done. He's just waiting for you to ask, send a sign in His direction or a nod. I know from experience that when you break down and begin bawling, He is right there comforting you. He never leaves you comfortless. 
 
And so, I see this replay of life and hate it. I question it. Why do these things have to happen all over again? I know there is a lesson, and strength will follow. I know many, many things, for I've been through a lot. I want to get it all out. I want to know why. I want answers. Someday, when it's necessary, I will have them. Until then, I'm ready.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Just some thoughts rambling around today--4 October 2015

At 60, I have MUCH to be thankful for. I have enjoyed many blessings and happiness. I've had the opportunity to learn much. I've also been taught that there is opposition in all things. 
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility." (2 Nephi 2:11) 
So, with the blessings and happiness, there were many other things I've been through in opposition to the good; all of the places I've lived, the moves our family made, dysfunctional family issues, and trials and challenges. I've also been taught to give thanks for everything. 
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" (Ephesians 5:20.) 
I am not oblivious to the things of the world; the happenings, news, rumors, or anything else. I see and hear the same news items the rest of the world sees. It is troubling at times and I try to avoid it. Social media makes it difficult at times. While much of it is in other parts of the world, and seems so distant not only physically, but in other ways as well, the emotional part is not far from me. Emotions are something which have played a big part in my life. At times I am the proverbial "emotional basket-case."
As a small child I attended Church. I felt love there. I felt a "light" there which loved. It warmed me and made me feel like I was "at home." I embraced it. In my "darkness" I held to it.
The scriptures have also been a part of my life. I'd look things up when I was at Church; and was pretty adept in Seminary scripture chases. It was only during the greatest trial of my life that they became a defining part of my life; they became part of the rock I used to get from the dark parts to the light.
Half my life ago, I thought everything in my life was turning out well. I was married to someone who I admired and had learned many things from. He was a great provider for our family. People would comment on what a "cute" family we were. We had four children; two boys and two girls. I LOVED my family. I wanted to be with them all the time. We went everywhere together. Yes, we had the ups and downs most families have, but I "thought" life was going well. Very well.
AND then my little Camelot fell apart...I in turn fell apart. The depression I'd been living with all of my life surfaced in a way I never thought or dreamed it would. At four, things began to happen in my life which turned it into a dark, murky world for me. My family life changed as often as switching the lights off and on. Because we moved every year, and I went to different schools every year, I quit making friends. I knew who every one was, and would converse, but I didn't really have friends I would hang out with. I didn't hang out. I was in my own crazy world, doing my own thing. As a child, alone in my room, I pulled my hair out and would bang my head against the wall. As a teenager, alone in my room, I would cut myself, pull my hair out, bang my head against the wall, and contemplate whether life was really worth going on. I was alone most of the time. Instead of doing what some do, I turned to the many talents I'd been blessed with; I enveloped myself in sewing, crafting, gardening, my journal writing, piano, art etc...and so here I was at 30...my family was falling apart and I was grasping at straws. I hung on for five years thinking things were going to work out. I waited. I was frustrated and desperate to make things work. Then I would find myself alone in my room; I cried, pulled my hair out, banged my head against the wall, and thought more and more that I really wanted this ride to be over...and how could I do that? How could I be thankful for this? What could I do to bring and end to this depression? This frustration? What would happen to my children? And so began the trial of my faith.
My spouse didn't want to go to counseling, but I went. Somewhere deep down I knew I needed it. I've went to two great counselors over the years, and learned much. I grasped everything I could. I began to build. I knew I had to start somewhere, so I started with what I knew. The basics. I knew I was a child of God. I was of royal birth. The "direction of my birth was through Heavenly Father." I knew I came here for a reason. I knew I had a purpose. I began to seek the answers. 
Each morning my children and I gathered at 5:30 in the morning. My oldest would get up at 5 and get ready for school, then he would get his siblings up and we would read our scriptures and pray. I would take him to high school and the others would begin to get ready for school. I also read the scriptures on my own. The first scriptures I clung to were:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
With my children at 8, 10, 12, and 14, that's all I could bring myself to do each day. I had no clue what was going on, what would happen or what needed to happen. Some days I felt like I was a zombie--walking around in a daze. I lived from minute to minute, working up to hour by hour. Eventually it was day by day. When there were set-backs, which seemed at the time so frequent, I had to start all over. There were times when the darkness was so great, I wondered if there would ever be light again. Raising children by myself wasn't what I thought I had signed up to do. It was hard. At times I couldn't stand it. I wanted to have fun with my children, but was SO stressed about discipline. I was getting hit on all sides. If they weren't model children at Church, I heard about it. If they weren't perfect at school, I heard about it. Their father was constantly reminding me of what he expected. And my in-laws had their expectations and threats. I'm sure everyone meant well, but it was overwhelming more often than not. I also had high expectations for me and for them, and expected the behavior that went with it. BUT I wanted to be their mom and do fun things...yet I was the constant disciplinarian...always making sure they did the right things. AND I was in my world of wanting out of it. The discouragement I found in myself ran high most days. What did I know that I could cling to? What or who would help me and save me from this? Trust. I had to trust that God knew more than I did and He knew what was going on. I had no understanding of all of this, just trust that He did. 
The next group of scriptures I clung to seem to answer EVERY question I've ever had. I still cling to these verses. When I see things happening I can't explain. When there are disasters, turmoil, and heartache in the world, I look to the message of these verses. They are from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Everyone interprets the scriptures through their own experiences and where they are in their lives. You may see something here that may mean the same thing to you, yet others may see something different. 

1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Everything has a season. Sometimes that season is short, sometimes it's long. Everything has a purpose. I knew I was here at this time for a specific reason. I was a part of something greater than just me and my life.

2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
My mother will be 97 in January 2016. Now and then she asks why she has lived this long? I try to explain that it isn't her time. I was born at a specific time and given to a couple for a specific reason. I believe everyone has a time to be born and a time to die. I believe God knows when those times are. It's part of His purposes and part of His great plan.
 
3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 After EVERY disaster, every mass shooting, war, etc. we pull together and we heal. We build up. I so vividly remember September 11th, 2001. My gosh! It was probably the most horrifying thing I've ever watched...and as a country, as a world, we pulled together, we tried to help each other heal, we built back up.
As my marriage and family fell apart, eventually, over time, we healed. We built ourselves up.

4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Yes, there are times to cry and laugh and mourn and dance. We have to have those emotions. If  we don't have sad times, we can't appreciate the good times. In mourning, we reminisce and learn from those who have gone on, or times which have passed. Then we are able to dance and celebrate those special people or those hard times which we've passed through.

5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
As my family was being scattered it was difficult, but I believe we have gathered together in a way which has made us close. I moved away for 12 difficult years. Jenny moved away for several years. Mike was in the Army for four years. Jessica was away at college for awhile and Bobby moved away. We were scattered all over the place. Now we all live within 15 miles of each other. We are close, not only physically, but spiritually. We embrace and accept each other in so many ways. We have grown because of circumstances, experiences, trials and challenges.

6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
There was a time in our early years of marriage when there was a saying around our home; "He who dies with the most toys wins." My gosh! We had everything. The kids' friends LOVED coming to our house. We had cars (over 20 at one time), motorcycles, three-wheelers, a boat, travel trailer, etc. We went camping a lot and just seemed to have it all. And then it was gone. At 60, I realize what is important to keep and what I will be casting away when I find a home. Simplify. Cast away.

7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
As a seamstress, I know the adage well, "As ye sew, so shall ye rip." HAHA! Yes, there is a time when you make headway, and a time when you don't. I've been at a plateau for several years. It's not only frustrating, but wearing on my faith. I have to hold to my faith and know that it's going to work out and all will be well. 
I used the next part of this verse a lot in my primary classes. I explained that there were times they could speak, and times when they would listen. It's true in life as well. There are times when we need to just sit and listen. Whether it's the troubles of others, the sounds of nature, the sounds of our children, the sounds of life...and then there is a time when we should speak. Maybe we need to speak up for ourselves. Maybe we need to speak for others because they can't or are unable. At times we have a responsibility to speak up.

8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
This one is difficult. In my marriage there was love. The separation and divorce brought pain, anger, war, and then forgiveness. I don't hold any hard feelings any more. I had to make peace. IF I hadn't made peace with the situation and myself, I would still be at war. There would still be pain and anger. I don't have that. I'm SO thankful that I am past that. It's been 25 years. He is not past this. I feel bad for him. He is angry and unforgiving. I don't know that it's aimed at me. Maybe it's with himself. I don't know, but I see what it's doing. 
People are doing hateful things to others. These are difficult times, to say the least. I am not trying in any way to lessen the things which are happening in the world. Those are scriptures for another time. There is much hatred in the world. Love can overcome that hatred. When something happens to someone else, or groups as in mass shootings. Instead of spewing more hate, we need to think of the families. How are they responding to the situation. Are we making it better or worse. Are we enticing a war and more hatred, or are we showing love and bringing peace.

I haven't written this to freak anyone out. I haven't written this to have anyone feel sorry for me in any way. I am writing because these are the things which have helped me through dark times. Despite the fact that some people think I know a LOT, I don't. Do I understand everything? OH HECK NO! I'm still trying to put all of the pieces together. While writing this I was reminded of the fact that when the Savior was here on the earth, He was and is the light of the world. After His crucifixion, and the Apostles and disciples died out, there was darkness. As the Christians were put to death over the years, the darkness grew. Then came the resurrection and the light was back. I look at my life in this same way. As a child, I had the light. I knew where the light came from and I embraced it. Then, when darkness enveloped my life, I dwelt there for a time, until I remembered where to find the light. The dark days are few and far between. I haven't wanted to take that last ride now for about four years. I'm holding on to the light and where it comes from, and finding the peace I need through the love of my family and friends, and life. I hope my last ride is many years in the future. Perhaps we all need to travel in darkness for a time, if only to find the light.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Teachers DO NOT expect students to spend exorbitant amounts of money on class projects 23 September 2015

Holy Mackerel.
The first customer tonight clearly should have planned ahead. Clearly. The first thing she wanted was spray paint. Clear Coat...as many cans as you have. I tell her, "We have 21 cans..." She says, "Well, just get me half a dozen." So, I get them. Then she says she's looked all over the store for the button magnets. I walk over to the magnet section. There are two pegs which are empty, and so I scan them. They are the neodymium button magnets, and I was guessing these were probably the ones she was looking for. Probably. I scanned the tag holder. 21. Hmmm....checking out the overstock boxes. I see two possible boxes. Off to find a ladder. She's getting impatient as I'm trying to help her. Actually, she's getting downright rude. "Where are they?" "Why don't you keep them down here?" "Why are they in boxes?" Hmmmm....clearly she doesn't do this type of work. I find the ladder and check the boxes. Nope...She's m load. AND she says to me. "Where can I get some?" I suggest Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc. She says she's been to all of them. She says, "I need these in 15 minutes. What are you going to do to get them?" I'm thinking...first of all woman, you should have taken your emergency to the hospital, because this isn't my emergency. Second, a month from now, you won't even care about the magnets. Third, if you need them in 15 minutes, you're beat. She asks if the other Michaels' have them? They might, but we'll have to call. She is ranting. I'm called to the register, and one of the assistant managers calls the Eastern store. After about 15 minutes of checking she finds some for said woman, who walked off and didn't even bother to say thank you. WOW!
I'm at the register and this woman brings up some Wilton things to bake a cake. Two 12" X 3", one of which is dented. She wants to "buy it, use it and then just return it because it's damaged." Ummmm.....no. I'll go get another. Which I do. But she continues to tell me she's going to return them anyway. WOW!
Then a woman brought in some journals and wanted an adjustment. She said she was "overcharged" for 15 and didn't get them...at the Rainbow and 215 store! Ummmm....you're going to have to go back there and take it up with them. They made the mistake.
Then there was the young guy with a cute little baby girl in a stroller. I'm guessing about 8 months. He was out shopping for his wife. She bought some pink glitter tulle, and when they opened it, glitter got all over the baby and she wanted him to exchange it for the glitter-less tulle. Mind you, glitter is ALL over the store right now. Between the Halloween stuff and the Christmas stuff, we are all covered with glitter. Even the inside of my car and my cat have glitter. But I see we might have some in the overstock, so off to get the ladder. I"m thinking I should just find some way to drag it around with me. I did find some and he was happy. Then he said his wife wanted some poster, the kind that "starts with an"R". I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure she said it starts with an "R". We are all racking our brains. I don't know if he called her or what, but guess what. She wanted FELT. NO "R" in that. BUT we gave him credit for shopping for his wife, with the baby.
Then the cashier asked about people bringing guns into the store. It was in a holster. Asst. mgr. said that's fine as long as it's in the holster and they aren't waving it around. I was fine with it.
Several parents were there getting supplies for "projects those %&$#* teachers are having my kid do." WOW! Okay. Do I tell them I work at a middle school? Do I tell them I know hundreds of teachers who assign projects? Do I tell them that I have yet to meet a teacher who requires you to spend UNBELIEVABLE amounts of money on these projects?!?!?!? Depends on the people, if the student is with them, their attitude, etc. This one woman was downright rude about this teacher...so, there wasn't much sympathy from me. She didn't have said child with her, so this project which was supposed to be a drawing of a ten room habitat of some sort, with the rooms labeled, etc. turned into this wooden castle which opens up (about $40.00) and a myriad of other things. Total for this school project--a WHOPPING $163.47!!!! When my children were in school and doing projects, i NEVER spent that kind of money!!!!!! We went through stuff at home or figured out something. There were other projects too, but this was the most expensive. Most were around $50.00, which is still more than I would do.
Then this woman who "always buys flowers here" and "is a GREAT customer" wanted to exchange some flowers she bought in the spring...because they have black dots on them...Hmmmmm....NOT!
At 8:45 the line was long, many shoppers still coming in and still shopping. One guy didn't have enough money and needed to go and ask someone for more. The lights are out as it's after 9, and people in line are impatient. So am I...it's 9:07 and no one should be in line...but they are. OHHHHH....it was a long night. I'm glad that I've always worked with great people. Most of the customers were "sorry" to keep us late. I always wonder about that. When you come in to a store four minutes before it closes?
Such is life. Bobby came in. I love my children and love seeing them. That hug and kiss go a long way. I asked to borrow something from him...as usual, he was more than willing to help me out.
Bedtime...5AM comes early...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

15 September 2015...WOW!

The evening started out great. One of the things I really enjoy in life is the hunt. The research. The ultimate find. The eye spy and ready or not here I come. We have these "guns" at Michaels. They are handy, dandy little devices which will tell you a myriad of things about an individual item. Everything you want, or don't want to know, this little, expensive device will tell you.
A young woman and her mom were searching for 12" X 12" canvases, which were on sale. I want to say they were buy three for the price of one. BUT there was only one on the shelf. I asked if I could help her and she said that someone already told her that was the only one. I scanned it. The gun read, 4 for the quantity on hand. Hmmm...now to find a ladder. Two of them were having a convention over in candles, so I grabbed one and brought it over to fine arts. After checking two of the boxes in the overstock on the cap shelves, I found two more 12" X 12" canvases. SWEET! They were excited. Now they didn't have to go to another Michaels. :)
I'd just finished helping them and an older couple were having some fun in the drawing/sketch pad aisle of fine arts. She was trying to put the sale ad back in the little holder which had come apart. He said to her, "Don't use your favorite saying, there's someone behind you I think can help." She laughed and I showed her how it was done. Then asked if there was anything they needed help with. "Well," he said, "I wanted three of these watercolor pads, but there's only one. We were told there weren't any more of them because they are on sale." Hmmmm....I scanned it, and there were supposed to be 8. To be fair, these guns don't catch up for about 24 hours. But, I said I would look, since I still had the ladder. I did find 6 more and they were very appreciative. We had a nice little chat about watercolors and painting, etc. They thanked me again, and were on their way.
Then a woman approached me wanting watercolor "wash".....what the heck?!?! BUT I hadn't heard what she said at first, only what someone was saying on the headset that she was looking for. So, off we went to the fine arts paint aisle...looking for "wash." What she wanted was watercolor gouache....OH...well, found that.
Next there was a woman who was planning a "Paris" party for her daughter. I think she said she was 10. She wanted a "scrapbook like this photo album, but with 50 pages, not 10." I asked if she was aware that you could add pages to the scrapbooks? No, she didn't know that. So I showed her how easy it was to do. Then we were looking for a suitable scrapbook. I took her to the drive aisle with a scrapbook display; the scrapbooks were on sale "3/$10.00" AND there was one with the Eiffel Tower and it said Paris on it; the colors were the colors you would see at dusk, purples, pinks, etc. She was in LOVE and it was "just what she was looking for!!!" AND "THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!"
Next was a girl about 10 with her mom. She was doing a project for school and wanted the wooden "Scrabble" tiles. I scanned the tag where they were supposed to be and it said we had 4. Off to get the ladder in fine arts. I found a box on the cap shelf which might have them. The number was right, but the letter wasn't. However, there were three bags of them in the box. They were excited. I handed her one of the bags and she asked how many letters there were in the bag. I told her 60. THEN the mom asked, "Is that enough? How many letters are in the alphabet?" I'm staring at her...thinking...you didn't just ask that did you? The girl says 26...the mom questions that answer. I'm still staring, not daring to shake my head or do anything which would make it seem like I'm going to laugh my head off at any moment. I assure her, as does her daughter, that there are indeed 26 letters in the alphabet. She wants to know why there are 60 and what other letters are in the bag, and can she open the bag to check. I told her there were probably several of each vowel and the common consonants. I didn't ask if she knew what those were. They decided to get all three bags. Perfect.
So far it's been a night of hunting in boxes on cap shelves. It's also been a win-win situation in each case.
Then I had some VERY special customers; the kind who call me "grandmomma!!!!!" They were shopping for a special cake pan and other items for a mermaid lagoon birthday party. Jenna will be 3 on Friday. She was excited and saw many things she wanted and put in her cart, only to have Jessica take them out and put them in my cart and I put them back as we walked by. That was fun and gave my life the boost it needed to finish the shift...
....which turned unbelievable the last half hour. I did a spot clean in the bathrooms, and then we were stalking a couple. We didn't realize they were together until just before they checked out. They were THOSE kind of people. The kind who come in separately and he asks for stuff so you don't watch her, but you do watch her and sort of forget him, but our framer didn't. He had seen this woman in the store before. I could see why he remembered her. Her face is etched in my brain. OH MY GOSH!!! And I don't know what she was wearing, but the smell made my throat hurt. She was as disheveled as one could possibly be. Everything hanging out; bra, underwear, boobs, belly, butt...she was on some kind of drugs. THEN she looked at me. WOWZERS!!!!!!! She had on more make-up than Tammy Faye Baker and more hair than Dolly Parton, albeit a very matted wig, which wasn't on straight...and two teeth. I don't think she really knew what she wanted, and I'm not sure she knew what she was doing. I think she was just the decoy...for what, I don't know. We kept on them though and kept telling them we were now closed. They finally left.
And so we close another night at Michaels. It was a good night. I'm glad I could hunt things down and make some sales. Glad I could see part of my family. I also saw another friend I work with at school. Yes, it was a good night.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It’s ALL perspective.



I know you think you heard what I said, but is what I said what you heard?
“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Alan Greenspan

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”  Robert McCloskey

"What we've got here is failure to communicate" First spoken by Strother Martin to Paul Newman in the movie Cool Hand Luke

When you hear something, you have to listen. Listen to the person. Think about these questions as you listen. Who is that person? Why are you listening to them? Do you have to listen to them? Is that person important to you? Do you care what they are saying? Do you understand what they are trying to say to you? Is this a group setting? Are they generalizing? Are emotions involved? Will what they said personally affect you? Will what they said make any difference in your life tomorrow? Next week? Next year? Ten years from now?
Is what they’ve said hurt you? Is what they’ve said bothered you? Why? IF so, what will you do? Should you do something? Will that hurt others? Are you taking something out of context? Is what you heard what they meant? What have you learned which has given you this perspective? Do you share the same perspective?
Your perspective depends on your age, educations, experiences, culture, values, family, religion, political viewpoint, gender, nationality, etc. It also depends on mine. We may have the same culture, but different values. We may have the same religion, yet different political viewpoints. We may be the same age, but have had varied experiences. We may come from the same family, yet our religion and education vary.
I read of so many people who are “offended” by what they hear and see that I’m stunned by the constant outcries of “that offends me!!!” WHY does it have to offend you? I am constantly bombarded by things I see and hear which offend me. Yet, I haven’t gotten in anyone’s face and protested, asked for symbols, etc. to be removed. I haven’t shot anyone. I haven’t looted my neighborhood. Why are some people affected and other not? Why do some people react one way and someone else hearing or seeing the same thing reacts in the complete opposite way?
It’s because of the way we have been taught to think. The way we have been taught to rationalize a situation. It’s because we have learned how to deal with adverse situations or in some cases not deal with the situation. First, consider the source of the offense; it may be you. It’s very possible the person who said something meant no offense, yet you took it.
When I was a child there was a very common phrase: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” A little history of that from Wikipedia…I know…not that reliable, but I’m using it.
Sticks and Stones" is an English language children's rhyme. It persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.
First appearance
It is reported[1] to have appeared in The Christian Recorder of March 1862, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where it is presented as an "old adage" in this form:
Sticks and stones will break my bones
But words will never harm me.
The phrase also appeared in 1872, where it is presented as advice in Tappy's Chicks: and Other Links Between Nature and Human Nature, by Mrs. George Cupples.[2] The version used in that work runs:
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But names will never hurt me.

Like I said, some don’t like Wikipedia, but as it says, it did persuade me to ignore any name calling. I refrained from physical retaliation and I remained calm and good-natured. I keep a positive attitude. IF someone says something to me which I don’t like, I ignore it. I’m not one to hold a grudge. I’m not one to get mad or even stay mad. Possibly because of the things I have experienced in life, I recognize these things in other people; this may give me an advantage which allows me to not let what others say bother me. We all have bad days. We all go through things. We all have baggage.
How can being offended help in any situation? I don’t believe it can. Once someone chooses to be offended, the line is drawn. Then they drag others into the situation. Others who may or may not have been involved; others who may not even have the same opinion, but they “think” they know what’s going on, because they’ve been “told” something, and now you have an issue which is SO out of control, no one can reel it in. Before you know it, it’s on the internet; others, who know absolutely nothing about it at all, weren’t there, but get caught up in the excitement of it all, jump on a bandwagon which is out of control. Pretty soon you have a “group” who taken a stand for a misunderstanding…and it’s all out of control. The next step is laws are changed, people are changed, life as you knew it is changed.
I know there are others like me. I know there are people out there who hear something and ignore it. Or they delete it. I know there are others out there who have the same perspective I do on many things. We stand for the right. We help where we can. We understand life. We know that there are things to get worked up over, which are few and far between, and then there is everything else.
By the way, this isn’t limited to what you hear; it also has to do with what you think you see…or what you think you see others are doing. Check things out. Don’t jump to conclusions. Give the other person a chance. Don’t get your panties in a wrinkle. Keep your shirt on. Be respectful and forgiving. None of us are perfect. We all have a path to walk, but why carry that axe to grind with you all the time. Pick your battles and don’t start a war over something you think you understand, or think you heard, when in fact that isn’t what was meant or said.
It’s ALL perspective.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Once in a blue moon...31 July 2015

They say the moon has an affect on us. I believe the whole universe has an affect on us. I believe our souls are interconnected; we can communicate with each other and not even know it. Sometimes a call out of the blue, or a message. We think of another person and reach out. We are more than mere beings here on earth. We touch each other in ways that are universal. Ways in which the heart, mind and soul or spirit connect and sometimes we question, "Why did that happen" or "What is going on?"
The phases of the moon have always provided fascination to me; the way it affects the earth, life and people. Some say it doesn't, but I believe it does. My great aunt worked in the labor and delivery area of a hospital. I remember as a young girl she said there were more births around the time of a full moon than other times of the month. I never checked the statistics on this, but I was born three days after a full moon.  My were born within two to five days of a full moon. Tonight is a "blue" moon; July 1st provided one and tonight is the second one within a month.
There are days when I wake up in my "familiar" surroundings and stare at the ceiling; thankful to have a place which shelters me from everything. These "familiar" surroundings are not my things, this is not my home. BUT I'm SO thankful. Thankful because in the chaos of my life, my needs are being met.
Most days when I wake up I ponder what I will do, who I will see and where I will go. I think of things I'm going to do for others...or myself. I get up and start the day and life is good.
Then there are the "dark" days. Sometimes they are once a week, once a month...several days in a row. There was a time in my life when these "dark" days were daily...for weeks...turning in to months...and longer. Days when I "knew" how to "fix" myself, but couldn't. My youngest daughter wanted to come and visit, and I said, "No. This isn't a good time. You will not know me. Don't come." But she came anyway...we went to visit a friend who taught me again how to "fix" myself. It was a long journey, but I came through it.
This "darkness" has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a teenager the "darkness" turned to self-defeating behaviors. While my heart and soul had SO much "light" my mind carried this "darkness" which was difficult to balance. There were days when the light would win, and days when the darkness would take over. Do I know the causes? Yes. I've analyzed the causes for years. The things I have no control over, I dread and just try to make my way through it. The things I can control, I deal with.
There are times when you can "tell" yourself certain things which will level out the light and dark; you know the words, the phrases, the "fixes." Yet, there are also times when those things just won't work. You want them to work, but the dark seems to possess you and the more you fight the dark forces, the more they possess you. They eat at you and you sink deeper into the depths of the darkness.
Today is one of those days. I have never written these things for anyone to read, other than recorded it in my journal. Some say it can be hereditary. But it's there. I can't deny it. It's real. You can cover it and say you are "just fine" or whatever. When people question me as to "how are you" I usually reply, "Marvelous" and keep going...knowing that I'm fighting a battle within which is constant. A battle which requires insurmountable efforts at times. I keep telling myself, you're fine, you're marvelous, you can do it. And most days I can. There were years when I didn't think I would make it though. The older I get, the easier it seems. Maybe easier isn't the word for it. Maybe endurable is a better choice.

I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person. I have a connection with animals. I have always been able to "connect" with them. I've always found that interesting. I believe they have spirits which can connect as well.
With all the turmoil going on in the world, the feelings of the world rest on me at times. I feel the pains of the earth. I know the earth has a spirit as well, and groans in pain at times. I feel this...these pains. Sometimes I hear the cries. 
About six months ago, I called my youngest daughter to "see if she needed anything?" She began crying and said I was an answer to her prayer...and she began to cry. We are prompted. Through our many connections in life, whether they are near or through social media, we can feel and hear the cries of others.
While I'm writing this, enduring the trials and challenges, my phone rang. My mother...second call, same conversation. I help her as I can. We discuss the same thing thing we discussed at least five times in a call two hours ago. This time she is in a different mood and the conversation has the same outcome, but the darkness is gone from it. Writing does help. After I hung up, I see my youngest daughter has sent a text...do I "want to come and help her make a mess?" Hmmmm.....she and my little grandchildren will be my light today. At least for a few hours. I've had these "calling" experiences with all of my children, daughter-in-law, cousins, etc. Most often with my children.
So, I'm anticipating the full moon tonight and hoping the light which shines down will bring the healing powers I need. Maybe I will go somewhere in this overly-lit city and find a perfect spot where the full moon will send it's forces down on me...
Tomorrow is another day. Another day to endure, bear up, persevere, and carry on. Another day to solve all the "complications" in my incredibly blessed life.
Some things I use to get me through the darkness...
Write, whether it's all of your blessings or things you are thankful for, OR what's making the darkness. Sometimes seeing it on paper helps to solve whatever it is.
Call someone...usually the first name is someone who "needs" you.
Visit someone who needs you.
Serve someone.
Bake something...and share it.
Pray.
Read scriptures.
Go out and enjoy nature.
Create something.
Exercise.
Go to a movie.
Write a letter.
Remember the things you've already been through, and that you can get through anything.
Remember that everything happens for a reason and there is a reason for everything.
Remember "this too shall pass."
Remember you are loved by many.
Remember life isn't random. It has a purpose and YOU have a purpose.
Remember some tunnels are longer and darker than others, but there is light at the end of it.
Keep going...



Friday, July 24, 2015

Two for the price of one. Isn't that what the sign said?

Before I being tonight's tale, let me first remind the readers that I work at a "craft" store. I do NOT work at Victoria's Secret. I do NOT work on the "Strip" and I DO NOT work at one of those "adult" stores found in the seedier parts of town. I work at a respectable...or so we like to think...craft store.
I'm combining two nights in one writing for a couple of reasons. Sometimes we have sales where you can buy one and get one for free or a penny. Sometimes it's buy one and get one half off. Sometimes there is a percentage off of what you are buying. There is ALWAYS information on the "SALE" signs. ALWAYS. DID I mention there is ALWAYS information on the signs? There will be dates of when the sale is valid. There will be sizes for the items included in the sale. There might be "colors" of the items included. The easiest way to find out what item is on sale is to "READ" said sale sign. It's VERY easy. WHY bring two carts full of merchandise, tell the cashier, "This is all on sale, so that better ring up on sale." Ummmm.....NO. Sometimes, rarely, the computer is wrong. It's always lovely when a customer rips you a new one because they have failed to read the sign. These aren't novels...they are "SALE" signs and for the most part, are very simple to figure out. This is not rocket science. It's a "SALE" sign.

A female customer came to the register...her husband begins to converse with the cashier and the wife says, "Be quiet. YOU are the husband and when I tell you to speak, THEN and only then will you say something." MY eyes are like saucers! Oh my gosh. I was shaking my head. And do you know, he quite talking and didn't say another word until she said something to him, and even then it wasn't very nice. WOWZERS!!!

This next item for your reading pleasure gave me the opportunity to write up a little report on. A female customer came to my register with a bag from another store. She put the bag on the counter and wanted to return the four items in the bag. She finally took them out of the bag and I looked at the quizzically. There are thousands of items in the store, and I know most all of them. These did NOT look familiar, nor did they have a brand which we carry. I asked for a receipt. "I don't have it. My mom bought them and told me they came from Michaels and to take them back." I scanned the items with the RF gun. "Item not found." Hmmmm....really?!?!?! So, I tell her, "These weren't purchased here. We don't carry this brand." She says, "My mom said they came from here." Me: "Well, I'm sorry. We don't carry this brand." AND then she asks, "Well can't I return them here?" "NO...we don't carry this brand." We have items just like them...they were jewelry pliers. So, she walks to the jewelry section to see IF I'm right. About half an hour later she is back up with a friend. This female gets two 39cent sponge brushes and pays for them with a "return card" which has a balance of over $95.00!!! Which means they have scammed the store before!

An interesting woman says she bought some "wood" birdhouses for her grandsons to put together. "Do you have any glue to glue them together?" I take her to the "adhesive" wall. Now there is glue there to glue just about anything together. I get the wood glue and hand her a bottle and she says, "This is the same Elmer's wood glue that came in the kits. Is it going to work?" Hmmmmm....so I get her the Elmer's Wood Glue MAX and tell her that it should take care of things. It's for the outdoors, etc. She's happy and off she goes.

There was an interesting to-do in the kids activity aisle. A woman and her two children were opening several of the kits. I went and questioned if everything was alright. The box was an activity kit to make lip gloss etc. BUT three of the four boxes they opened had nail polish and fake nails. THIS was interesting. AND it wasn't the same brand as was on the box. One box had the right stuff, which they bought. We, the MOD and I, were still pondering this. The only thing we could figure was last Christmas, someone wanted the lip gloss and put it in the cheaper boxes. This is a common thing with customers. Really...it is.

AND can I just say here and now that I will be SO glad when the "summer" kid activities are gone. There are four hula hoops left and they seem to be in twenty-five places by the time the night is over.

OH MY GOSH! IF you have every watched the OLD Newhart show, you will appreciate this. A guy asked for some help  and we directed him to the area he needed to go...unfinished wood. He had a bit of a hygiene issue. As I strolled by the aisle where he was, there was another guy with him. There appearance was startling. They looked SO familiar. AND then it came to me. I immediately said, in my head, "HI! I'm Larry and this is my brother Darryl!" THAT'S what they looked like. They were very nice, but the similarities were there. hehehehehe

Then we had the "classic" theft. Sometimes this involves women...sometimes couples. It always bugs me. ALWAYS. They come in with a stroller, put things in said stroller...and leave. NO, they do NOT pay for what they are taking...I'm sure they believe it's a gift from all of us to them.

And then there is the four square foot area of glitter all over the floor. I have a friend I work with, he knows who he is, who HATES glitter. Well...it was everywhere. It's bad enough during the holidays. Nothing is sacred. Everything is covered with glitter. My bathroom  rug has glitter on it. There is glitter on my cat. My bed. My car. Everything and anything. Glitter is the bane of my existence at times.

Two females come in and one asks if we have "Pearl Pins." I ask, "Do you mean corsage pins?" She looks at me with a blank stare, then says, "You know, the needles with the pearls on the end." At this point...pun could be intended...I realize that not only do they not know what a corsage is or a corsage pin, they don't know what needles are either. Since the wedding section was so close to where we were, I went over, got the corsage pins and gave them to her. You would have thought I gave her a thousand dollars! She yelled over to the woman she was with, thanked me profusely and they just giggled like they were on a girls night out. I smiled and was happy to help.

While up at the register, trying to finish untangling the last skein of yarn from a clearance bin, this guy walks up slowly to the register and says, "Do I just walk up?" I smiled and said, "Well, sometimes we grab your hand and walk you up, but not often." We all laughed and that was fun. There are a LOT of customers who are fun and enjoyable to help and ring up.

The next woman was SO fun. She wanted to know where the masquerade masks were. I told her they were actually in two different aisles and took her to both of them and she says, "You mean I have to make them???" I looked at her, smiled, and said, "You know, this IS a craft store. We sell crafting items to make things." AND she laughs. I laugh and she says, "OH....I know. I'm just not very crafty." So, I show her feathers, rhinestones, glitter (EGADS) glue pens, etc and give her a ton of ideas. I even suggest, yes I did...PINTEREST! I also told her that in a week or two the Halloween masks which are already made up will be in and ask her, "When do you need this mask?" AND then the dreaded answer came, which I figured, but was hoping it wouldn't be..."Tomorrow night." AND then we both laugh again. "Well," I said, "It looks like you have your work cut out for you." Then this big guy appeared. I asked IF he needed any help? He said he didn't, that he was with her. I said, "OH...she has a LOT of stress issues at the moment...you might want to give her some space." Then we all laughed. They were a fun couple.

Two fourteen/fifteen year old boys took the cap off of a HUGE bottle of hot pink paint and were squirting each other with it...in their hair, on their shirts, floor, etc...and then the MOD saw them. They went off to the bathroom, where they proceeded to get hot pink paint all over in there. The MOD heard them, banged on the door and told them to leave the store. They said they wanted their mom! Good, says the MOD and off they went. The mom asked, "Was this an accident?" OH GEEZE!!! I get SO tired of parents who think their children NEVER do anything wrong!!!

And interesting young female was buying some art supplies and wanted to use a coupon. It "appeared" to be a Michaels coupon, but wouldn't scan off of her phone. So, the cashier copied the numbers and typed them in. That didn't work. MOD to the front please. The lovely darling had "doctored" the coupon by putting the Michaels logo on a JoAnn coupon. It was a 60% coupon, which we don't have. JoAnn's does though. Learned something new about customers with this lovely young person.

Remember I said I work at a craft store...a craft store. We get singles, couples, teens, children, families, grandparents, etc. A craft store. Keep that in mind. I know this will be controversial, but just keep this in mind. A woman decides to nurse her baby. She takes down her shirt, both sides, unclips both sides of her nursing bra...yes, both breasts are present and accounted for...in plain sight, and the baby has latched on to one side...the other side is well in view. WELL in view. She proceeds to shop and travel through the store. People are interesting aren't they????

And then the "female in the skirt." On the headsets, we describe individual customers by what they are wearing, doing, etc. This one was THE "female in the skirt." I'm guessing, and I'm fairly accurate at guessing widths and lengths of fabric, that this skirt, from waist to hem, was all of 10"...just barely covered what it needed to. NOW, the reason I know for a fact this was a female shopper was, when she bent over, there was NO question about whether she was female or male. Everything was right there for you to see. AND when she left, the wind caught what little there was of her little pleated skirt and blew it every which way...and it was of little concern to her. People are interesting aren't they???

And so goes our two for one. Every time I work I leave the store pondering the nights entertainment. It varies from night to night. The people change, but the stories are the same. We laugh, we talk, we walk to our cars and we are thankful we know how to read "SALE" signs...that the glitter will be gone by next June, only to return next July. Did I mention we have the Halloween Lemax set up? The Halloween crafts? ALL of the Fall flowers? OH...and there are some Thanksgiving window clings in. AND did I mention Christmas will be in the end of September??? It's late this year. I'm VERY thankful. VERY thankful. I want to enjoy it.