A New Life Adventure!

Two weeks ago, my world was upended. Late Friday afternoon I received an email from my company that all employees over 55 with greater than 10 years of experience were asked to consider a retirement package in which incentives had been added. I am part of that group. We were told that if we should choose not to take this offer, there may be more lat offs with lesser offerings. I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach. I had planned to stay with this company until I was ready for retirement. Now, I realized that I would be with this company until they indirectly chose my retirement date for me. I will accept their offer voluntarily.

Their offer is generous but midst all of my friends’ congratulations, I feel sadness and anxiety about the future. I believe that we will be ok, but it has been an unwelcome surprise to me.

My company has been my home and they have been good to me. For that I am grateful. So, I am entering a new phase of my life earlier than expected. I am ready and we will survive this.

These job losses are common anymore. It’s the American Way. I now know how it feels to be the object of an incentivized retirement. My heart goes out to others like me. It’s a hollow and empty feeling which I just cannot take personally. May this company survive and thrive. I have been a proud member of this community for quite a while.

I will move forward and find other ways to give back to my community. I will volunteer and find other pastimes to keep me busy. It will be an adjustment but I can do it. I have confidence in myself. If I can merely survive this past 6 years, this is a lesser stressor, I will survive this.

Run From the Crazy-Makers!

Do you know anyone in your life’s circle who does things and you think, “That is just crazy!” ???

Let me give you an example:

You are ‘friends’ with this person and they tell you how much they like to go out and do things with you. They laugh with you and tell you how much fun you are. They compliment you and really seem to enjoy your company. 

Next time you do something with them or approach them to do something, they are very cold. They say ‘yes’ and then don’t show up. They begin to not respond to your texts or messages. 

Then, the next time you go with them, they are back to the way they were in the first instance. Laughing, joking and seeming to enjoy your company 

These people and those like them are crazy-making!! Ditch them fast and don’t look back. They like to make you believe that the reason for their nutsy behavior is you!! RUN and don’t stop until you are far from them!! They put you through hell. Life is too short to experience these people. 

Been there, done that

Social Isolation for Work At Home Employees

For nearly 8  years, I have been working this work-at-home job and I must say I never realized before how much of my social needs were met by co-workers.. I miss talking to people over the water cooler, at break time or at lunch time.

There are many advantages of working at home: 10 foot commute, less wear and tear on car, stay away from the office politics, less need for a spectacular wardrobe and longer sleep times during the night…but the social isolation is a major drawback!! I do make it a point to have lunches with friends on Saturdays, but my small group Bible Study consolidated and moved to a night where I must work.So, I no longer go to that Bible Study. I once belonged to a church choir, but dropped out of that organization last fall. I do have a husband who is a constant source of pleasure. He is retired.  We have couple friends with whom  we go to dinner with on Saturday nights. I always enjoy that.

I need to find new ways of connecting with people. My job as a telephonic health coach enables me to speak with people all day long, but these are clients, not friends. I have worked at the same company for over 15 years, so I have lots of vacation days and a higher salary, which is a plus. Hard to leave those benefits/salary!!

I once found a lot of pleasure in church activities but a conflict with someone there has been a never-ending source of sucking joy from my life.

I need to get out and volunteer to make new connections. Social isolation is not good for anyone.

My job may be lost soon because our company just sent out an email last Friday to all employees over 55 offering early retirement with a short severance pay package. If we decide to tell them we are willing to quit in the next couple of weeks, we will have some incentives to do so. If we do not quit, they may lay off people without this severance package. So, my social isolation may end soon. That may be a relief! Who would ever have thought that lay offs may have a silver lining!!

Looking forward to my pending retirement! It will be fabulous!

Vulnerability and Moving On

I was most vulnerable six years ago. That is when my life was made far worse by my own actions and by those whom I THOUGHT were my friends. Now, I am stronger and trying to rebuild my life. Am forgiving these friends for their betrayal and forgiving myself, as well. Looking forward to a new day dawning and more opportunities, joy and satisfaction. 

This next Monday, I will meet with a former friend whom I felt hurt me the most. I hope we can work it out so I am not haunted every day by this great loss in my life.  Moving forward is inspirational and I will do it. I am ready.

Pray for wisdom and courage and that I find the right words during our conversation. I want each of us to leave that meeting being heard and forgiven. With the help of God, we will.

Update: Unfortunately, he came to the table in prayer and then proceeded to blast me. He came to prove he was right and I was wrong. There was no grace, no soft words and no love. Why oh why would I ever wish to return to singing with them under those conditions and lack of grace. No positives discussed. Just ripped me open again. No thanks. There are other places I will go to use my gifts. I am strong but I am not stupid. I will go where I am appreciated and loved. I have much to give my world. I have love and grace and forgiveness for him though he does not want it. I will leave this curmudgeon behind to sulk in his vitriolic juices. I wish him well.

My Father’s House

I have three good memories of my father. One is my memory as a 5 year old, chasing my father around the yard with a hose turned on. I can remember the laughter and my delight in getting him wet. The second memory is of swimming in a deep lake with my little arms tight around his neck. The third memory is of sitting at a card table in our Family Room and my father helping me with my math homework.

All of these positive memories are overshadowed by my memories of my father’s temper and violence. I had to walk on eggshells around him. His temper would flare and I would be his chief target. Even as a small child not yet in kindergarten, I can remember the wild look in his eyes, his fists, his kicks and his unrestrained anger. Little things set him off–like my watching a movie at 3 pm and he wanted me to go outside. Note to myself: Don’t voice an objection when he rushed into the room and, not saying a word, forcefully turned off the TV in the middle of a G-rated movie.

My father was not a drinker nor did he do drugs. He was a man of no patience. He was violent toward me (I was his eldest child.) with little provocation. He was not violent toward my mom nor my brothers.

When I left home to go to college, my dad treated my sister the same way with his beatings of her. When I came home from college, my sister refused to talk to me. I didn’t find out about her beatings until 40 years later when she told my eldest daughter who promptly told me.

Several years after I left home, my young husband and I were home for a holiday. I remember that my father got mad at someone else and began to yell. I couldn’t stop trembling.

My mother never interfered or stopped my father’s beatings. Perhaps she was frightened she would be next.

My father died 5 years ago of IPF…Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis which is a progressive scarring of lungs until the patient no longer breathes. My mom tragically fell down her basement stairs and died a few months before my father’s IPF became worse. I was my father’s main caretaker. I treated him with kindness until his death a year later.

Because of my experience with my father, I married a kind and loving man who is a wonderful father to his children. And, I read parenting books and treated our children with loving kindness. They were never hit nor abused in any way. Our kids knew they were loved!

So, each Father’s Day , I pray that other violent parents will realize their great mistake and become a more loving parent. For the memories of the violence have never left me more than 40 years since I left my father’s house.

I Drink Little Alcohol

  I have lived six decades. Within that time period, I’ve probably had a total of 10 drinks..Five of those in one sitting when I was 21 y/o. No, I never had a hangover and I didn’t get rip-roaring drunk, either. I didn’t even throw up later. The other 5 drinks I’ve had during my lifetime were at random points in my life…just single drinks at one time.

I do not have a religious reason why I do not drink..I am not a Baptist, but a Methodist. I do not hold anything against anyone else who likes to drink. I just prefer not to drink. I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. I like the smell of beer and of wine and even of hard liquor, but I do not like the taste.

This has caused me some problems over the years as others, I believe, are uncomfortable around me since I stick to my Diet Coke.. I do not always get invited to social gatherings where there would be alcohol and I have been asked, point-blank, why I don’t drink.

Over the years, I’ve been tempted to tell people I don’t drink because I’m a recovering alcoholic.. That would put an end to the ceaseless looks and inquiries.. But, I am not a recovering alcoholic and I’m a poor liar.

After this much time, I truly doubt that I will take up social drinking.

My spouse’s only brother was an alcoholic. He died at age 40 of metastatic cancer. Truly I believe that he died of cancer because he had drunk so much of his meals over the years that his body was in no shape to fight off anything. The alcohol only diet had destroyed the ability of his immune system to destroy cancer.. At least, that is my hypothesis.

My spouse does drink an occasional beer. He also drinks some non-alcoholic beers. That is fine with me.

When I was in my 20’s I used to be given a hard time about my abstinence from alcohol and I surely thought this would STOP when I became an older adult. Sadly, it has not.

I have a lot of fun in my home and out with others without drinking. I hate having to defend my choice. Those who have never taken the time to get to know the real me because they view me as ‘different’ since I don’t drink, it is their loss. I am worth getting to know.


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How I Knew He Was Beside Me

How I KNEW God was walking beside me. written in 2008.

This year has been unique. My mother (alert and oriented and very, very active person) fell down her basement stairs striking her head in January, 08. Never re-gained consciousness and died that same day at Overland Park Regional while on a ventilator.  Twelve days earlier she had celebrated her 85th birthday. Then, on June 24, 08, my 80 y/o father (who has pulmonary fibrosis..cause unknown..progressive scarring of his lungs ’til he cannot breathe any longer) headed for Olathe from his home in Lenexa to get groceries. By that time he needed 24/7 oxygen. He took a portable oxygen tank with him..He thought it was full, but it was empty. Three miles from his home he became unconscious. We have a police video of the policeman running beside my dad’s slow-moving car on a 4 lane highway and the police officer using his billy club to smash out the left rear window so Dad could be rescued. Dad had extremely low oxygen(50)..normal is 95-100 oxygen level when they pulled him from his car. He was taken to Overland Park Regional where he was loopy from brain damage for about 3 weeks. Now, he is totally lucid, but is not safe to drive because of above incident. The scarring of his lungs is worsening (he never smoked). Hard to watch someone I love struggle for life-sustaining breath.

I have a very strong faith in God..Have had for a long, long time. Very strong. And, God has been with me throughout this sorrow-filled time. My friends have been terrific, too.

As far as a defining moment?? Yes, there was. I KNEW God was with me because of this: My dad was brain-injured and confused for the first couple of weeks after his incident. He was repeating names of colors or letters and spitting on Satan.. Strange behavior that I had never seen before.

Four days after the incident on June 24th, dad was transferred to a Rehab Facility on Saturday afternoon.When I left the Rehab Facility Saturday night, I had not planned to return to see Dad again until after church the following day. At 4am Sunday morning, I was awakened from a sound sleep…awakened so immediately that I felt I was wide awake. I had an overpowering urge..and overwhelming feeling.. that I needed to go back to the rehab facility right away. I got up and got dressed and got there at 430am. I went to my father’s bedside and found that he was buck naked and had removed his oxygen and was confused. There was not a nursing aide or nurse in sight. I hollered for help and no one came, at first. I attempted to put the oxygen back on dad.. Though he grabbed my wrists, eventually he just gave up and let me put the oxygen back on him..When finally, someone came, they checked his oxygen and it was 70.

That is when I was SURE that God was walking beside me through this awful experience. I feel that I woke up because God wanted me to go to my father. That is how I see it.

Home Wrecker?

I’ll never forget a pastor’s wife who came up to me….TWICE (separated by about 6 months) ..and had the nerve to imply that I had broken up my spouse’s first marriage 36 years ago. The truth? I met my husband three and a half years AFTER his divorce. His first wife had divorced HIM because she found a new man for her life. I had no part in their divorce and knew neither of them at the time they were married.

This same woman came up to me within two months that I had gone to her pastor spouse who was now a professional counselor. (I had paid him nearly $500 for counseling at $100/hr)  She started discussing the SAME TOPIC that I had shared with her spouse. I had trusted that what I told him was confidential !!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I felt betrayed TWICE… First, by the pastor counselor and then by his wife who scornfully put me down and she obviously didn’t know the full story. Finally, after 4 instances of her coming around and trying to get more information, I wrote her a formal email asking her never to talk to me about that topic again…she could talk to me about anything else but that topic. That put an end to those conversations!!

I am through with this couple and will never, ever go back to either of them with ANY information. These two instances made me so angry, because what could I do?? She already had formed her own opinions and I could no longer trust either of them… Sickening. Absolutely sickening..

Kind..a great 4 letter word. Experience it. Be it. Don’t miss out. 

I’ve NEVER heard anyone say, ” I just hate it when he’s kind to me.”

Kindness could be the next great epidemic!!!! Respect, gentleness, caring, empathy, patience, love….not bad things to spread around!

When we are NOT kind?? People will remember that, too!
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Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up. When the odds are stacked against you, don’t give up. When bad things happen, don’t give up. When you are exhausted and you don’t think you can continue, don’t give up. When things don’t go as planned, don’t give up. 

The day will come when it will get better. The sun will shine again. Discouragement will transform into hope and opportunities. 

When your reserves have been depleted, draw from the strength of those around you and know that God is with you. 

A brighter day is coming. Look, the splendid dawn of a new day. http://www.breakingdawnmovie.org/dawn-breaking-sunrise-hawaii/sunrise-hawaii4/