Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

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Stuff Belongs In a Turkey

stuffedWe have enough Teddy Bears thank-you. That message came across the wire service from Connecticut, thanking people for sending in tributes and tangible hugs for their lost school children. Translation: You can never have enough love and compassion, but sometimes you really do have enough stuff – just ask a turkey.

People are a strange breed – just ask a doll or toy collector. Taking our emotional needs to heart we often transfer them into inanimate objects such as teddy bears and dolls, safely giving them to others hoping they hold them, look at them and in general love them, thinking of us in the process. Problem is if we do it too much or too well, we forget how to be thankful for what we have in life, to cherish and appreciate the real thing. Thanksgiving happens once a year and we feast until we are stuffed. Then sadly life becomes a normal plate of leftovers, which we are no longer as thankful to have and we again sandwich our needs around those who really need us.

Stuffing our lives and needs into a 24 hour day looks easy enough on the surface, but when we actually sit down in the morning and start the process of our day, it never fills up the way we hope it will and people fall through the cracks. When I was a young single mother I traveled a lot and always brought home gifts, souvenir t-shirts and postcards. After one particular trip to Alaska, my youngest accepted her gifts saying, “I gots a nuff shirts mom” It was then I realized I was stuffing them into my life with things and not me.  I was in a new position by the end of the year.

Don’t get me wrong, giving something special in lieu of physically being there is sometimes the best way to connect with those we love, either due to location or maybe just to reaffirm a sentimental memory or shared experience. However, many times I have also seen parents and children do things for others, hearing the remark you never do that with/for me. Indeed, sometimes we take for granted those that are already stuffed into our lives, even if  they aren’t everything they may seam to be, not wanting to pull the loose threads for fear everything will unravel. Whether it is easy or not, we need to step up and prove we have the right stuff when it comes to others.

It would be interesting to see the demographics behind the countless teddy bears, angels and tributes sent to deceased victims of random and senseless acts of terror and violence, compared to the lives of the dark entities who perpetrated them. I wonder how much stuff was really in their lives? Was it stuff reaffirming who they were, giving them confidence and a sense of well being? Or were they stuffed under the rug in life where families and friends were too busy to care, unable to love or worst of all unwilling to notice and take responsibility.

The children that leave us too soon usually have more bears and toys than any makeshift memorial could provide. Most of them also have people in their lives that have taken time, made time and been there most of the time sharing and loving all the good stuff that comes from inside family and friendship. The tributes are nice, but you wonder how much further that compassion could have gone redirected to broken souls before any tragedy had a chance to happen – something most of us can’t bear to think about.

A certain velvet rabbit with his stuffing loose and falling out learned being real was the ultimate gift in life. It is also a lesson most of us need to revisit daily between computers and calls, travel and time. We need to make it real and stuff our unnecessary ego stroking selfishness into the 8 hour slot it deserves, and look to those we love who matter, who have  something special to offer life.  We need to see them as the tribute we have been given for making it this far.

I was blessed with parents who  never gave me a moment of concern that I wasn’t important  – along with some great stuff I might add too. When they passed away of old age,  I cried and my nose got stuffed up and my heart hurt,  but I also realized the love was still there, we’d said it all, laughed it all and cared through so much I was complete – just missing their physical presence.  Indeed they put the real in my reality and I have always tried to do the same with those in my life – because it does matter.

Tomorrow make it real for yourself and those around you and also those who don’t have it in their lives.  Stuff some love into places that might have cracks and keep the warm inside and make a difference for the living. Who knows, the New Year might just end up having one less tragedy because of it, one less hurting soul who smiled because they felt they mattered, and maybe there will also be one less teddy bear that will never be hugged.


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Just a mile in my shoes


So what exactly is it that surges through our veins? My father used to say it was piss and vinegar when he encountered someone with a rotten personality. Obviously, we know it is blood, which can be described as royal, blue, cold or warm depending on your personal outlook towards your fellow man. Personally, I think blood takes a backseat to what actually flows through our bodies, that gives us the force of life we wake up to each day. Very simply put it is priority.

Each day we have 24 hours to do with as we please, a gift if you will that doesn’t need to be unwrapped nor have holidays and celebrations tied to it. There are routines we follow, places we go and people we see for the most part that take up a large block of that time, however, what we ultimately do with it is a priority of our choosing. It is in that choosing we determine who is a part of our life, what we enjoy, how we amuse ourselves or how we survive. Very simply put it is a choice.

A recent release of famous person I could care less about athletic shoes caused a riot in Texas. Priority for a huge mass of people was the ability to spend $160 on something that would cover their feet no differently than a $20 pair of shoes.  The choice may have been due to ego or the chance to resell them and make a profit, the latter being a choice of survival. Regardless the reason, the priority behind such a scene is pathetic in this world of less.

Some years back before a car accident sidelined me, I helped run a food pantry and learned that $1 provided 4 meals through our local Food Bank .  The facts were sobering and made me examine my priorities such as the $6 hairspray I bought out of habit, when a $2 one worked every bit as good and could have made a difference with 16 meals to someone in need.  It all came down to priority.

Family and friends are the same way, it isn’t up to us to insert ourselves into someone’s life forcing the fit, it is up to us to make one another a priority in life. Question is how many of us  make that choice, while prioritizing what must get done and get accomplished in the 24 hours we have.  I am certain several families in a certain Connecticut town are thankful they made their child a priority on the last morning they shared. They made a priority to laugh or have a special breakfast, prepare for an after school activity or just celebrate the love they shared in those unknowing last hours. We will never know their lives; we will never walk in their shoes but we can know how they value the choices they made.

24 hours seems like a huge amount of time when we are alone or under a deadline to finish something. The reality of how small that block of existence really is we never comprehend until it is too late. We all comment on how someone has grown so fast or the exasperation of when did that get built?  However, the simple truth is life continues to move forward, one hand in front of the other across a never changing face on a clock, and for the most part we never notice how fast. That is a fact pure and simple.

So as this last week of 2012 ends and we look towards a new year of individual 24 hour blocks of time, consider how you will prioritize those seconds, minutes and hours. Will they be to help someone, share and make new memories with family to later hold dear when their time has run out? Will you make a difference and take a chance or will you just continue putting that one foot in front of the other until the blocks are gone and nothing worthwhile was ever built?

If there is one thing recent events have again pointed out it is that like a clock our hands work best moving forward when we put ourselves second. The priority is up to us.

Just like footprints along a Sandy beach when we are at our worst there is a spiritual belief that God carries us leaving only one set of footprints in the process. When we make a difference in someone’s life or share life together as a family there is also only one heart beating, which ultimately leaves a single mark on everyone connected. The choice is ours how we prioritize what will forever make a difference or if we block out what is truly the best choice at the time.

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What’s The Price On The Cost?

costGrowing up I was always told there would be a cost for things I did, not just a price tag attached to something I wanted. So now, as I age I see what is behind and what might be ahead, and I wonder what price will eventually have to be paid.

In recent weeks, we have seen those in the entertainment industry bring about the death of a nurse for no other reason than they wanted to give a laugh to their listeners, at the cost of another’s embarrassment and privacy – really? How morally bankrupt this world has become when ratings become more important than what is right, private and personal.

And it doesn’t stop there, headlines on the Internet show actresses getting out of cars – minus their underwear and it is news! Really? The world in the state of crisis it is in, and yet, the news is due to a photographer able to make money from an embarrassing photo of a body part every woman on the plant has albeit most are covered up.  I am weary of keeping up with or going to the shore with nothing but foul behavior, wasted money and a Sodom and Gomorrah personification of society – and don’t get me started on little girls with tiaras and behavior that a rational woman would be shunned for! Yet the world watches, laughs and judges what they have against it all.

So what really is the price?

Well for starters, we have kids wanting to be sexy by age 5, children, women and animals have become commodities that can be killed, bullied, raped, abandoned or ignored. Men no longer have the value and moral code of ethics, which used to build walls of safety around a family, holding in the nurturing goodness given in kind by a wife and family. Actually, the only time I do see it anymore is in the families of my gay friends who treasure every second with their partner and the children they have fought society to love and raise. Maybe because it wasn’t a given for them is why they know the value, and  paid the price for the privilege.

Why are people taking up guns and killing anyone in their path? Maybe because for no other reason than they can (and this has nothing to do with gun laws – it has everything however, to do with the  value of life or the lack of it ) and in the process they will end up being a one line Twitter message, a few hours on the Internet as a headline or should they succeed, a sad page in history they will never read.  The price for an infamous 15 minutes is too high anymore for the rest of the world. There needs to be a blackout on all news of such individuals so the rest of the empty and sick minds can’t Keep Up with them!

As the daughter of a policeman I remember him saying  he never had to use his gun during his career, even though he carried it daily,  always fearing he might.  That was a price he paid to keep us and those around us safe,  respecting the fact if he ever did, the results would cost a part of his soul forever. But then again life wasn’t a reality show then it was just reality, where we showed one another compassion and courtesy.

I would like a day when Headlines were written by people who used their Heads, and were something I wanted or needed to know and not something someone accidently on purpose wanted to show. I don’t need to see overpaid celebrities waste obscene amounts of money while dropping an F-bomb along the way, so children and hurting souls will want to emulate them.  I don’t need professionals everywhere from medical to business fields selling short my privacy, rights and personal needs because they have more power than I do and they know they will get away with it. The time is long since past when we look at what we consider entertainment, acceptability and moral standards on every level of our world and say ENOUGH!

The bill is due and the price is too high for anyone to pay.  There is no value on what is important, and the result is costing more than we will admit.

As the song says this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine – I just pray it will be seen between the spotlights, searchlights and flashing police lights.