Archive for the ‘hard times’ Category

3 days of grandkids

March 18, 2014

3 days of grandkids make me aware of the preciousness of a child’s heart, the freshness of youth, and how much energy it takes to keep up with them. Sad when they leave.
my sweets mar142014

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pompous

March 4, 2014

I think I’ll write a children’s book on being “pompous”. The Pompous King of Polandia” or some such thing.

My husband and I have lived long enough and led lives filled with enough activity, to know many pompous souls. People who have a need to spout their glory, to think themselves better than, and to feel good about it. There is so much that goes on in the world, it’s amazing any of us survive even for a time. They put other people down and in so doing, somehow imagine themselves two floors above, when they in fact are going to lie beneath the earth in so much time, just as everyone else. And the truth is, we can take absolutely nothing with us from this world. We leave it all behind. All that goes with us is those good deeds we have managed, and the good love we have shared with our families and loved ones. And that is all. NOTHING else matters, nothing else lasts. In 2-3 generations, even the memory of us is gone. Only the effort we put into this world, in the form of others now living, survives.

Thomas Edison quote

February 17, 2014

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

The hardest thing

February 17, 2014

The hardest thing is when you know you’ve done a good job, you have validation you’ve done a good job, you have touched lives and held to a standard of excellence, and it doesn’t matter. People can judge you just because they want to. They don’t have to explain it, & you are left in the dark, end of story. Nobody understands this unless they’ve been through it. Otherwise, they still hold to the mistaken impression that the world operates on fairness.

23rd Psalm

December 3, 2012

The Lord is my sheperd, I shall not want,

He makes me to lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside the still waters,

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of death

I fear no evil.

For Thou art with me,

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me!

Thou preparest a table before ME in the presence of my enemies,

Thou anointest MY head with oil,

My cup overflows!

SURELY, GOODNESS and MERCY shall FOLLOW ME

ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE,

and I SHALL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

FOREVER!

 

(truly, what more could one ask for? We are blessed.)

 

The next 4 years

November 10, 2012

Just a quick reflection over the next 4 years. I see everyone in America having healthcare for the first time ever in our history. And no one being turned down due to a “pre-existing condition”. I think this is a remarkable thing. I also think most people against it have never been turned down by a physician who didn’t want to take you as a patient due to not having insurance, not wanting a hospital birth, or not agreeing with this physician on any number of other things that you have a right to question medical practice on. Most people complaining have never had the personal delight of living WITHOUT health insurance due to loss of a job for some reason no fault of your own. I had surgery this summer for something that came up suddenly and was unexpected. Total bill? $26,000. My cost? When we’re finished filling out forms, probably less than $2500. A person without insurance would probably not have even been offered the surgery.

I see marijuana becoming legal in more and more states, for possession of one ounce or less. This somewhat bothers me, but not as much as living in a society where the drinking of alcohol is practically mandated at every single social function and promoted relentlessly on television, in newspapers and magazines and every other advertising venue in existence for the best way to have love, a sexual partner and happiness in your life. IT AIN’T TRUE and the substance is more harmful than marijuana will ever be. So where does that leave us?

I think that same sex marriage will gradually become supported by the federal government. If there is something inherently unnatural or unwise about same sex sexual relationships or marriage among same sex partners, it certainly will be something that is not shown by not allowing this freedom of choice. All the fears about same sex marriage are usually based on that alone. They are not based in science, social or otherwise, where most studies show no difference among children raised by same sex partners and those raised by traditional male-female partners, other than their being more open-minded and more egalitarian in their abilities at various household tasks. Other realities are that same sex partners are just as loving and sometimes manage long-lasting relationships the same as cross-gender partners. We have to allow free-thinking adults to make their own choices and realize it does not define our own personal beliefs, it only allows tolerance, acceptance of difference and diversity, and makes us a more open, loving and free society.

In the next 4 years, I believe unrest in the European and global market will continue, and could, at some point result in a global market recession we will have trouble recovering from. People of the world are suffering. How long can this unjust division continue? How long before we decide how to all live on this planet, grow enough food for everyone and distribute it so that no child has to live in hunger every day. It simply cannot continue.

in the next 4 years, something could happen with Iran. They are just one of those places where their leaders do not care what the rest of the world says and will not ever listen to the voice of reason and educated minds. To have a President and government denying women education, denying the largest religious minority in their nation education, and saying the Holocaust never happened, then developing nuclear power is just unacceptable and they must be stopped. It is a volatile and dangerous situation.

Our President will attempt brave renovations in our transportation system, which is a joke compared to the advancements in Europe, Japan & elsewhere. He will also attempt to move forward with future-thinking environmentally sound energy developments and auto revisions. Oil drilling will not be developed as much as it would have with a different President.

Fat cats will have to pay their share of taxes just like the rest of us. Hallelujah. Do they think all of us more near the bottom would not start our own small businesses or do productive things for the economy if we had a bit more resources, and weren’t worried about our light bill vs. grocery bill next month? We can all pay our FAIR SHARE of the taxes to our government and THEN they can also do things to develop the economy and “create jobs”.

Creation of jobs is our #1 concern and it won’t be done to the extent that people in America need it. There is too much money being made by taking jobs elsewhere.

Neighborhood economies and local produce will continue to develop, mostly out of necessity.

what happens to a dream deferred?

September 14, 2012

When talking about the American Dream and how some people feel who work dead-end jobs for years on end, in Social Problems class, I often have them look up “What happens to a dream deferred?” by Langston Hughes. It’s a short little poem, easily googled and found, and we read it out loud in class. How does it feel to live in America and never reach success, to spend a lifetime struggling to get there but never quite make it?

This morning I realized why I can so easily relate to that poem. It’s not that I am stuck in a dead end job. I most certainly have a challenging and rewarding job that fulfills me in many ways. I have a good salary, twice what I earned at a university library before going back to school and achieving my PhD. I get to work with young adults, foster critical thinking, think and talk with them about how they would like to shape and affect society. I have a chance for advancement in the form of promotion.

The reason I can relate to the poem has more to do with the struggle over the years, just to pay our bills and get to where we are now. This morning I called our auto company, for the simple reason I wanted to make a payment online, and it did not recognize my account number and birthdate. It kept kicking me out and saying I had not entered the correct information. So I call the company.

We first have to give our address, phone number, account number, e-mail address, to check identity. That being done, I explain to the lady my predicament. Instead of understanding the screen I was on, she resets my login password. I had been able to log in but not to get past the NEXT screen, which asked for my account # & birthdate. I LIKE my old password and did not want it changed. However, by this time the deed is done. Then my phone accidently disconnects. This begins the process ALL OVER again, so I have to call their number, wait through the recording of all the things that do not address my problem, hit “6” for “other” and eventually get to a real human being. I go through all the identity checks once again. They have a new technique now of asking you some mundane question such as, “What are your plans for this weekend ma’am?” I have zero patience for these questions at this point and told him so, saying, “No offence, but I’m not going to talk w/ you about my plans for the weekend, I just want this issue resolved.” He resets my password once AGAIN. I now try to log in with his new password, sent to my e-mail account. It doesn’t work. From HIS end, it is letting him log in to the account. From MY computer, at home, it does not let me log in, even though I cut and paste the new password he sent me. Finally, we give up. I’ve spent the last 25 minutes on the phone with them and still cannot log in to my account. I have to go to work.

At the office later, they call me, because once you are late on a payment they have a system of total harassment that kicks in and they call you 5-6X/day. I explain to the lady my predicament. Suddenly she cannot HEAR a word I’m saying. She tells me I will have to call back but that I can ask for her, and will be transfered to her. She gives me her name. I hang up. I call back. The man I’m talking to with an accent from India says he does not have the capability to transfer me to anyone. I give up and make a payment by phone. I ask him to change my bills to send them to me in paper form instead of being available online. His response, “Ma’am, I cannot do that for you, you have to do that for yourself online.”  He tells me he will reset my password so that I can easily log in online. Have a good day, good bye. ———–???????????

The reality of paying bills and struggling to keep everything in line today is that you have to go through this tedious process, face this frustration and deal with people somewhere on the other side of the world trying to explain to you what you owe and how to log in to your account, over and over and over and over again, and eventually this whole struggle gets to you. You feel humiliated. You have people address you in condescending ways time after time, and not treat you as a full intelligent human being. “Ma’am, I need to tell you that your account is 14 days behind….”  “Yes I know, that’s why I’m trying to make a payment.”  “Ma’am your request for deferment was denied.” “Well your new password works for me, ma’am, I’m not sure why it won’t work for you.” “Well you can mail us the payment but then it will be late…………”

After many years of struggling through hardship, struggling through my husband’s unemployment that is not my husband’s fault, struggling through doing our best to pay our bills but running into hardships or medical issues and not receiving any understanding from people on the phone whose job is to placate you and (bottom line) just get the darn payment, it absolutely breaks you down. I feel the dream deferred feeling. I know it, it is a part of my being. I turn to God, take a deep breath, say a prayer, feel His ever-loving presence in my life telling me He loves me, and realize there is so much more to the meaning of life than this frustrating phone call. I appreciate the beauty of life around me. And I move on.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

The Incredible Shrinking Man

December 7, 2011

There is an old movie from 1957 by the title of, The Incredible Shrinking Man. I was just thinking about it. I watched it as a young girl, probably because my older brother was watching it, and it stayed with me. I’m sure when I was watching it, I was “glued to the set” mesmerized by it. The guy is hit by radiation and insecticide and somehow, this causes him to start shrinking, and medical science cannot do anything for him. He eventually lives in a dollhouse, but then their cat tries to get him from there. He goes to the basement of his & his wife’s house & gets locked in there with a giant spider. In the end, he somehow gets out into the yard, and is the size of an ant, and knows he is STILL SHRINKING!  — Think about that! What would you do? You can’t talk to anybody anymore. You will eventually be eaten by something — maybe even something not visible to the normal-sized “human” eye. Who are you, at that point?

The thing that sticks with me about the ending is that this little man, this incredible shrinking man, stands back and looks up at the sky and sees the stars. He looks up into God’s heaven, and he knows he is not alone, that he is part of the universe, and that he matters.

Isn’t that an incredible ending? Would a movie of today end like that? I don’t think so. I think that is a lost art, to really say something about human nature and the universe in a popular movie. They try but it’s more all about the glitz, the technological chase scenes or something else. I think that is an incredible statement in the end. We matter. No matter how alone we feel, we are not alone, we are part of the whole entire universe, and we matter. There is a song from black gospel that talks about the sparrow. God knows the sparrow, and He knows me. ‘His eye is on the sparrow,’ is the wording.

As time goes on, and my husband doesn’t have a job or any income, for 6 months now, sometimes I start to feel that God doesn’t hear or that there is simply no answer. Yet, if I go back to prayer and envelop myself in His Holy words, it is always the same. The Love is always there, the feeling of completeness, the knowlege of Holy souls (call them angels if you wish), the understanding that there is more to the universe than this life. So what does it all mean? I don’t know. What do we do next? I really don’t know. I just know that God’s love surrounds us, always. This is a gift in itself.

tests & difficulties

November 20, 2011

Without going through them, you really never learn. You never learn that this life is built on the “changes and chances of this world”. There are certain lessons learned by experience & you just can’t learn them elsewhere. Words don’t do it. After awhile you realize, nothing really matters but the bounties of God.

Going through this hard time, I have a tendency to turn away from God. I’m tired. I ask God, how long must we wait? We need an answer NOW, what do you expect us to do? We can’t go on this way forever. Which is true. Circumstances must change if this situation continues, but we will go on. We will go on to living in a new place. We will be forced to move in with one of our kids? Who knows, but God?? HOWEVER, we will go on, and life will continue for as long as it is supposed to.

Bottom line, if I can just go back to prayer, continually go back to prayer, those worlds of the spirit surround me. I know there is more than this world, I know there is a world of spirit, and God’s love continually surrounds me without ceasing. So putting this all together, what do I do with it? “Be still and know that I am God.” One of my favorite verses. Be still. And know that I am God. We are not God. Read the Book of Job and this is the final lesson. We are not God. We are in His hands. The promise is that no matter WHAT we are facing, His ever-present spirit is with us through it all. That is the promise. And we all know, He never promised us “a rose garden”.

‘Abdu’l-Baha once told a woman who was distraught and coming to Him for advice, You have been acting like a ship lost at sea, tossing and turning with the waves. Now be a strong ship — ride the waves. Direct your course through them and get to your destination.

That is a paraphrase. As I worry about our circumstances, I know that others are facing worse. If I turn my focus outward, there is a realization of opportunity of comforting others, and service. This life is never guaranteed circumstances. It is set up so that we all experience the changes & chances of this world, and learn not to depend on them for happiness. True happiness is reliance on the only foundation that is eternal, and that is the world of spirituality, our spirit.

This does not mean that there are circumstances in this world that should not improve, as greed and corruption bring untold needless pain and should be stopped. Oftentimes it is in the name of RELIGION! Or FOOTBALL (which for some is very similar)! NO EXCUSES for such behavior in the name of the law, religion, a school, football or any other. The world is sick with your excuses. The social world needs to be redesigned and reformed, and it will be eventually. We have enough food in this world to share and no one go hungry. We do not see the rest of the world as one humanity, or we would never allow this inequality to continue.

So from these ramblings, my point is that we are, in essence, spirit, and when we most feel like turning AWAY, that is when we most need to turn back towards spirituality. I don’t know how it all works, but I know the effect of prayer, and it is real. I know that we have to resolve our situation and no one else will do it for us. That is another reality. Receiving spiritual sustenance while doing that is most important and may lead us in a good direction. (These thoughts are rather haphazard and not clearly focused, but I will post them anyway…)

Gadhafi is gone

October 20, 2011

and the world will not miss him. He appeared to be a cold-hearted, self-consumed, narcissistic dictator who had many people killed and tortured in his name. He lavished wealth upon his family while his people suffered (as so many others). People hid in fear in their homes from his murderers. So we can’t say the world will miss him.

The only thing I will say about his death and his people, is that we live in barbaric times. The men who killed him are happy for their current freedom, but people evidently descended upon him and killed him. I have not much higher hopes that these men will uplift their country and their women and daughters to higher levels of advancement, education, and future maturity and freedom of life. They have shown their true colors before. They still think of women as children, or cattle, certainly not their equals.

My hope is for the world to truly advance, to become a world of peace and security, where every child born will be able to realize his or her true potential and dreams, live in peace and freedom, never go hungry, and live their lives protected and secure from all harm, where each group will co-exist with respect for all humanity.