A Little Laughter Goes a Long Way

Today is Wordy Wednesday where you are encouraged to share a story about yourself, a loved one, or the two of you. Sharing stories about our past, and those who have gone on not only helps keep their memory alive, it helps others know them.

In my case, three of our grandchildren weren’t even born when my husband died. One child was four months old, somehow I doubt he remembers much about his grandpa Bear. The former four year old is now 18 and sometimes shares stories he remembers about his Bear. It warms my heart to hear him speak about his times with his grandpa. The former five year old is now 19 and hasn’t shared how much he remembers about his grandpa Bear.

I write the stories to help them know him, and maybe help our children know their dad from a different perspective.

Today’s story is about laughter. He had a great sense of humor and he kept it through his illness. He loved to make people laugh, and it was his sense of humor that first attracted me to him. Once I got to know him, I learned about some of his other great qualities. Today though, it’s humor.

He loved to prank people, especially me. Although, sometimes he included me in his pranks. Which is the case in both of these stories about the births of our children.

Our first child was born while we were attending college. To be totally correct, he was attending college, I was just there and very pregnant.

One night, towards the end of my pregnancy we had gone for a walk. By the time we returned to our second floor apartment I was huffing and puffing. He said, “let’s call Gary and Carolyn and tell them you’re in labor and I’m in the lab.”

I agreed it would be a great joke and dialed the number of our friends. Carolyn picked up on the second ring.

“Carolyn this is Nita.” I said, taking a breath after each word. “I think I’m in labor and David isn’t here.”

“Oh my gosh.” Holding the phone away from her she spoke to her  husband, “Gary, get dressed.” She then came back on the line to me, “Nita, where is David?”

“In the lab.”

“Do you want Gary to go get him?” Because this was before cell phones, and the only way to reach him was to physically go to the lab.

“No. I’m scared Carolyn.”

“Hang on Nita. Gary’s coming. ” To her husband she said, “hurry up, don’t put your socks on, just get your shoes on and let’s go.”

At this point my composure slipped. “Carolyn, are you and Gary coming over?”

“No, Gary’s coming alone. I’ll stay on the phone with you until he gets there.”

Now I couldn’t hold back the laughter any longer. “Don’t do that. I’m not in labor and David’s right here.”

“Oh, you two.” She sputtered and hung up the phone.

When our daughter was born a few days later Carolyn refused to believe David when he tried to tell her of the birth. Gary had to convince her it was true, our daughter had arrived. Remembering the experience entertained us both for several years.

Just before our second baby was born we decided to prank his parents. We had taken our daughter to their house until after the birth of the baby. One night, missing her, and feeling playful he said, “let’s call mom and dad and tell them you had the baby.”

“Okay, but you have to do the talking. I don’t think I can pull it off. What are we going to tell them we had?”

This was before ultra sounds and other tests designed to determine the gender of a baby before birth. We had no idea what I was carrying, although we both suspected it was a boy.

“Let’s tell them it was twins.”

“Okay.” Sounded plausible to me.

He made the call. His dad answered the phone. David told him I’d gone to the hospital earlier that day and had the baby. I was okay, everything was fine, except there were two babies.

“We haven’t named them yet.” He said before giving me a look of panic.

“What do they weigh?” he whispered.

“I don’t know.”

The jig was up. He had to admit to his dad it was all a prank. I hadn’t had the baby, much less twins and everything was fine.

The prank was on us though, a week later I did give birth. To twins. Two tiny little boys that grew into strong, healthy men who look just like their daddy.

What about you? What’s your favorite attribute of someone you love?

Have you shared a story with anyone about your loved one?

Are you a prankster?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel for One, Is Always Fun

A couple of years ago I colored my hair green. The reactions of my family members was not mixed, no one liked it. One son asked, “why is your hair green?”

Henry Winkler and Nita.jpg

My answer? “Why not?” I also added, “Because I could.”

By the way, Henry Winkler didn’t blink twice at the color, and was quick to give me a photo op.

It’s the same answer when someone asks why I want to travel alone. “Why not? Also, I can.” True sometimes I travel solo out of necessity, there’s no one to go with me. Instead of letting my lack of companionship stop me, I boldly go where I’ve never been before.

Okay. Maybe not so boldly. But, I do take a deep breath and dive in. Going here and there, meeting new people, seeing new sights, attending new events, enjoying life. Some other reasons for traveling alone:

  1. No one to cramp my style. I am basically a polite and considerate person, as most of us are. However, when I travel alone, I don’t have to consider anyone else’s wants or desires. If I want to take an early morning walk and check out the local farmers market. I can, and know I won’t be disturbing my travel mate. food-vendors-2
  2. Experience new cuisines. A travel partner won’t stop me from eating what I want. However, being a considerate human (see number 1) I would avoid eating establishments that served foods my counterpart didn’t enjoy. By myself? I’m free to try anything, and find I may like something I expected to not enjoy, New England Clam Chowder is awesome, a big surprise for me. There is always the possibility I won’t like a food that has received rave reviews from others. I’ll pass on the lobster thanks. food-collage-sep-oct2015
  3. Meet new people. Most of my friends are hesitant to talk to anyone they don’t know. This cuts down drastically on conversations. It also eliminates the possibility of learning new things. skeleton in truck
  4. Solo travel allows spontaneity. When traveling with someone their choices must be considered (see number one.) Being willing to travel alone means I can go off on a tangent (sure, I’ll keep it safe) without feeling I’m abandoning my companion. Solo travel also means I can go somewhere if the notion occurs. This summer, for example, I am making an effort to see different parts of Oklahoma. With a travel partner when we went where would have to be coordinated. On my own? I go where I want, when I want (and can afford.)
  5. Add confidence. My first trip alone, not to visit family was sort of, in a way, work related. I’d just completed a video challenge and was invited to a seminar. I booked the flight and hotel room, arranged to have a roommate, all on my own.  Not only did I have a great time, and have some stimulating and interesting conversations, the trip bolstered in me. It taught me I can do whatever I want. Sometimes it may take some time and ingenuity, however, I can get it done. Like the birds on the quilt, solo travel reminds me to soar. Geese in flight quilt

 

Do you travel solo?

What’s your favorite tip for solo travel?

Do you prefer international or local travel.

 

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Inspiration Comes from Within

 

         Everybody inspires somebody.

Several years ago a friend told me I inspired her.

Me? Really? Why? How?

She went on to explain how I inspired her. Turns out, it was by living. I told her I didn’t have a choice.

“Yes you did.” She said, “You could have depended on your kids to make your life better.”

“No I couldn’t.” I argued.

“Sure you could’ve. Lots of women do. That’s what I find inspiring, you didn’t take the easy path. You forged your own.”

Really? I hadn’t thought of my choices as being inspirational, or encouraging. No, it was more stubborn, independent and determined.

Determination

When my husband died I was determined to take care of myself and not depend on my children. After all they had lives to lead, spouses to care for, children to raise, jobs to attend to. They didn’t need to also be taking care of their mother.

Independence

My independence was important to me. My husband had always delighted in, and encouraged my independence. Turns out I’m not quite as independent as I thought. Still, I could take care of myself, pay my own bills, mow my own grass, and hire people to do the things I couldn’t. Sometimes I was too stubborn, there is that learning curve. Seems we never get away from learning, about life, about ourselves.

Stubborn

Then there’s the stubbornness. It’s a joke in my family that my stubborn children couldn’t have gotten that trait from me, I still have all my stubbornness. Sometimes I’m too stubborn for my own good.

Like the time I tried to put my own mailbox up without the proper tools, or even good makes-shift tools, or the know-how. In this case google and YouTube were not my friends. When my son learned I didn’t have a mailbox, and my mail was being returned he came over and in an hour or two had me a working mailbox. Stubbornness on my part kept me from having a mailbox sooner.

Inspiration from Others

Other widows inspire me. I learn from them. Watching the strong women around me continue to live after the death of their husbands is inspiring and encouraging.

Some women go out and do big things, they travel the world or become involved in campaigns. Other widows keep on keeping on doing what they’ve always done, take care of their family, immediate and extended, they go to work or begin working, they are involved in their community.

Go Big or Go Home

It’s not just the widows who go big who inspire me. The ones who do something spectacular. Widows like Katie Couric who became a spokesperson for cancer education and cancer screening after the death of her husband Jay Monahan, are wonderful inspirations.

However, the women who stayed home, like my friend Linda, are equally encouraging. After the death of her husband, Linda continued with caring for her family, just as she’d always done. She went to stay with her sister when her brother-in-law was ill. She continues to cook family diners every couple of months. Linda helps keep her family grounded. She inspires by living her life.

Who is someone that inspires you?

What do you find inspiring?

Do you think you inspire others?

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HOW THE WORD HOWEVER LEADS TO HAPPINESS FOR YOU

 

It is week two of the Ultimate blog challenge. Starting this week off with the letter:

letter H

The letter H has two words that assist in living with intention, except I’m not sure which one to use. They are: However and Happiness.

Going to go with However, because if we substitute HOWEVER for the word “but” the outcome is a happier us. Which means, HOWEVER leads to HAPPINESS.

How does however lead to happiness? How do we substitute However for but, and why?

Buts are obstacles, or excuses. For example, “I’d like to do a 5K, but I can’t run. I’m not in good enough shape.”

If we change that to HOWEVER, the word becomes a bridge, a beacon, or a way around the but obstacle. “I’d like to do a 5K, I can’t run that far, HOWEVER, I can walk a 5K.” Which I did last year.

I have a friend who used to paint, she has some beautiful pictures hanging in her home. Life conspired to keep her away from painting for too long. The other day she decided enough was enough and she wanted to paint again.

During our conversation she showed me ways HOWEVER helped her move forward toward her passion. There were several want-to-be obstacles trying to stop her.

OBSTACLE 1 – A Place to Paint

She pointed out she had no space for her big easel in her home. HOWEVER, she could set up her little easel on the kitchen table near the window, and work on a small canvas. Viola! A place to paint, and plenty of light. Obstacle overcome.

OBSTACLE 2 – Dried Paint

The paints may no longer be useable, it had been a long time since they were used. HOWEVER, if they were too dry to use that was a good reason to buy new paints, and experiment with some of the newer colors now available. Obstacle overcome.

OBSTACLE 3 – Brittle Brushes

But the paint brushes are so old, and haven’t been used in so long, what if the fibers fall out the minute she starts painting?  HOWEVER, if some of the brushes fall apart that’s a good opportunity for her to curate and dispose the old unusable ones. She said that she had more brushes than she needs, and this is a good way for her to decide which ones to eliminate. Obstacle overcome.

OBSTACLE 4 – Disappointing Result

But it’s been so long since she’s painted she isn’t sure she can paint anything worth while. HOWEVER, she pointed out, that if the first (or fifth) attempt doesn’t satisfy, it can be painted over and a new picture created. Obstacle overcome.

OBSTACLE 5 – WASTE OF TIME

But, what if when it’s finished the painting is best used for kindling. The time spent paint will have been a waste. HOWEVER, regardless of the final outcome, it will be fun to play with no agenda, no goal.

By using the word HOWEVER, she turned around any obstacles her brain tried to throw at her. As a result she spent the afternoon dabbling and painting. At the end of the day she felt, happier, and more alive and able to tackle her next project and move toward her goals.

Have a goal with an seemingly unsurmountable obstacle or but?

How can you substitute However for the but?

What was the last obstacle  you overcame?

However equals happiness

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Hobbies Are More than Fun, They Are Beneficial

Do you have a hobby you love. Have you spent time enjoying your hobby recently, or have you neglected it for too long?

At the beginning of this year while reviewing last year, and making resolutions, goals, whatever, it occurred to me I hadn’t sewn in over a year.

What? How could I have not sewn for a year.

Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But, the truth is I did not sew as much in 2017 as I would have liked, and I for sure did not make as many quilts, or make Quilt of Valor presentations.

Part of the reason is the sewing room was, and still is, in disarray. It was so bad I’d moved the sewing machine to the dinning room table. At least there was a place to sew. Once I’d dug through boxes, shelves, and drawers to find the perfect fabric, I was too tired to sew and the project got put on hold.

That had to change, sewing is my safe place and my happy place. It was time to go back.

It’s not my imagination that spending time immersed in my interests is healthy for me. According to experts spending time on a hobby has seven benefits:

  1. Social Support – Sewing is one of my passions and the quilting group I belong to gives me a social outlet.
  2. Time for a break. Spending time on a hobby is both relaxing and allows us time to refocus our energy. We can take a break from the stress of everyday.
  3. Money Saver.  This one is a little iffy in my mind. Because it’s possible to spend a lot of money on a hobby. However, it is also possible to spend much less by shopping thrift stores and garage sales. Sometimes part of the hobby includes upcycling an item. Since I sew and quilt, much of my fabric comes from fabric stores. However,  clothing purchased at thrift stores is perfect for creating new items. Sometimes the thrift store will even have fabric. I have also found an abundance of fabric at garage and estate sales.
  4. Hobbies help us live with intention by keeping us in the present.
  5. A sense of accomplishment. Whether you’re stitching a quilt top, growing a garden, or reading a book, working on and completing a projects creates a sense of satisfaction, even if the rest of your world is falling apart around you.
  6. Hobbies create harmony. Hobbies are a “safe” place, away from all the rush and hurry of our day. Spending a few minutes, or a whole day immersed in a hobby helps us refocus, and makes us feel more prepared to take on the next life challenge.
  7. Hobbies help eliminate, or reduce “bad” stress while creating “good” stress in our world. Life is full of stress, having positive stress in our life keeps us excited about living and looking forward to the next challenge.

Which means spending time enjoying my hobbies was a good investment of time, energy, and money. How about you?

Do you spend time on your hobby on a regular basis?

What is your favorite hobby?

What do you most enjoy about your hobby?

 

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Gather Your Courage and Go, Meet New People and Make New Friends, A Step-by-Step

As a child my family moved numerous times. Which means I don’t have a lot of friends from my youth.

Mom and dad before their last long-distance move.

After my husband and I settled in one locations, for twenty-six years, long-standing friendships developed. Friends who were like family. People who were there for me after his death. However, others had their own lives to live. My life was empty.

What to do, what to do?

My solution? Find new friends, rekindle old interests, or get involved in new ones.

The question – How?

Here’s what I did, and it might help you too.

DETERMINE LIMITS

For example, when I first ventured out, driving at night was not an option. I was a year out from his death and felt more comfortable snug in the house after dark. Driving at night had never been a big concern and I knew that at some point I’d return to being on the road after dark. Not right then, no need to push myself too far. It’s also important to determine how far you’re willing to travel for your interests. Since I live in a rural area, driving 2 hours is no issue for me. For someone else, a thirty minute drive is out of the question.

CONSIDER YOUR INTERESTS   

What do you enjoy doing? What did you do in the past you’d like to do again? Is there something new you think you’d like to try? For me it was Toastmasters. I was trying to be a writer, and several people had mentioned I’d need to speak in public to promote my book. Why not check out Toastmasters? I did, and have been a member ever since, almost 12 years now.

FIND A LOCATION

It’s important to find where a particular hobby or interest is pursued. Checking with family and friends is one way. The internet is another. You can simply google your interest, then look for the location nearest you. There is also Meet-UP, where people post about their group’s requirements and meeting information. You can even create your own Meet-up if you want, and have a place to meet.

MAKE A DATE TO ATTEND

Once you know the specifics, where and where the group gathers, make a date with yourself to attend. If possible tell someone in the group  you will be coming. I had to call the Toastmasters group and ask if they allowed visitors and get the specifics. At the end of the call, the person on the other end, Scott, said, “We’ll see you Monday. I’m looking forward to meeting  you.” Now I was committed, he expected me to show  up and it sounded as though he’d tell the others I was coming.

Still, even with someone expecting me to come, I had to pump myself up. After all, it wouldn’t be that big a disappointment for them if I didn’t show. For me, not attending meant staying in the same place emotionally. Going was a big deal.

I wrote the meeting on the calendar. Picked out what I’d wear (something that made me feel more confident.) Filled the car up with gas (to eliminate that excuse.) Planned out my route, and gathered some change for the toll road.

GATHER UP YOUR COURAGE AND GO

That’s it. You have everything  you need ready for the visit. All that’s left is to gather up your courage, remind yourself you can do this, take a deep breath and go. Remember, if you start to tear up, you can always excuse yourself and step out of the room while you gather your composure. If it starts to feel overwhelming, you can leave, no one is going to tie you in a chair and make you stay.

However, if you give the gathering, whatever kind it is, a chance you may find yourself with a new set of friends. Although I no longer attend that first Toastmaster group, for a variety of reasons, those people are close to my heart and I’m in contact with several of them on a regular basis.

Once you’ve ventured out to one activity it will be easier to try something else if you desire.

Just a few Toastmasters gathering for food, entertainment, education, and visiting.

Note:

It was suggested that for today’s post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge,  we post a how-to.  Since I’m working on a how-to create a gratitude jar or journal and it’s not ready, I went a different route.  Of course, we can always be grateful we have an opportunity to meet new people. We can be grateful about the new people we meet. Reasons for gratitude can be found everywhere.

In the meantime, if you’re an introvert (hello, nice to meet you), live alone, and are wanting (even if you don’t feel quite ready) to meet others or become involved in something bigger than you, I say go for it. Find  your people.

What is something you’d like to do but never have?

What is the most recent group or activity you joined?

What drives you to join a group?

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Fourth of July Celebrations Wild and Loud to Quiet and Geriatric

Passive fireworks were perfect for our Geriatric 4th of July Celebrations.

Across the United States today many people partied and celebrated.  I started the day watching a parade, followed by the lawnmower races, and ending the day with my son and daughter-in-law and her mom.

See? They really raced on their lawnmowers. Lots of fun to watch, next year I may be racing too.

Since Wednesday is Wordy Wednesday, where I share a story about my husband and encourage you to share a story. Your story can be about you, about a loved one who has passed, about the two of you and your relationship, or anything else you want to share with others.

Please share a story. Stories will keep the memories going, and well help others know us and our loved ones better.

What is your favorite Fourth of July tradition memory?

What do you like about the holiday? Why?

What don’t you like about the holiday? Why?

I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July.

 

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