The Seasons of our Lives

      I attended a bridal shower for a friend on Sunday. We’ve known each other for approximately six years. It seems to me that I am always reading stories about friendship and the length of friendships, and I’ve always wished I had that in my life. I am an introvert and tend to spend most of my time alone, therefore not putting myself out there for friendships. Lack of trust is also an issue.
 Bride-In-Taxi
       Then, as my best friend and I were sitting together watching this same friend open her wonderful gifts and having such a great time, tears came to my eyes because as I looked around the room, I realized that I did have that friendship in my life.
       I have a group of four -now five- women in my book club group that I have been friends with for around six years now. We have seen each other through marriage rifts, boyfriend problems, illness, selling houses, buying houses and moving, looking for Mr. Right, divorce, children, and grandchildren. We have become an integral part of each other’s lives.
       As I sat there and watched my friend open her gifts, I thought back to our first conversation -which we still laugh about. It was actually the second time we met and we were sitting next to each other after having served ourselves dinner. I mentioned that I had been reading a cookbook, and she interrupted me, looking at me as though I were a space alien, to ask, “How do you read a cookbook”. I remember thinking, what a snob. I can either make nice or knock the hell out of her. It was a pivotal moment.
       Needless to say, I made nice and we became fast friends. She has since confessed to reading a cookbook or two herself – but that’s a secret. Oh! And by the way – my answer to, “How do you read a cookbook?” was, I always buy the ones with pictures.
       It is funny how life is sometimes. We have gone from “looking for Mr. Right” to finding him, and now marrying him with our friend. We’ve watched a season end and a new exciting one about to unfold. And, as I look at my wonderful friend, surrounded by opened boxes, crumpledtissue paper, fine china, and delicate crystal, I find myself quietly anticipating the chapters still to come in our shared lives.
       Best Wishes Tara for a wonderful married life, and the next season of your life.
Thank you for visiting today.
I hope you’ll follow my blog and return for more stories.
Donna

Printers, screaming, and wailing

       My printer finally died. Actually, I had been expecting it for some time, especially with its habitual ink leaking.

But, with its death, that meant I had to begin searching for another printer. Running a business from my home office meant that I was sorely in need of a multi-purpose printer/fax/scanner and whatever else magic it might want to bring to the table.

The printer arrived this morning and the unpacking commenced. Just the magnitude of the number of cords, cartridges, and books was overwhelming. I unpacked and set all the items in order and began the arduous task of connecting printer to computer via wireless connection.

Screenshot of Lucille Ball from the trailer fo...
Screenshot of Lucille Ball from the trailer for the film Stage Door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This task is not for the faint of heart. When I researched the printer, all of the ratings agreed that it was an easy set-up. HA! HA! HA! I don’t know what printer they speaking of, but it definitely WAS NOT this one!

After a couple of calls to my cousin in Georgia and reading and r e-reading the manuals, and having the monitor tell me one thing and the readout on the printer telling me another, I did manage to figure it out.     I don’t know if I wanted to wail to Ricky as Lucille Ball would have, or whine, as Gracie would have done to George – or perhaps both. But, now I am set up via wireless to print. The fax setup may be something altogether different. I’m saving that for another day!

As always, thanks for taking the time to visit today!

Donna

Give them what they want…

       I am borrowing someone’s words that I read today, “Give them what they want”.

As I read this, I realized that this is how I have lived most of my life.

If you want them to like you, give them what they want. If you don’t want them angry with you, give them what they want. If you want a peaceful existence, give them what they want.

You end up giving and giving and giving; while they end up taking and taking and taking; until you finally loose all that you are. At what point in your life, do you say, “No more. I need to be heard, even if it is not what you want to hear.” At what point do you stand up for yourself – as a living, breathing human with feelings and emotions and say, “I count. I matter; no more burying my feelings.”

I think I found my way into many situations because I am an introvert – NOT to be confused with being shy. They are NOT one in the same, although they are quite often confused. Because I shy away from confrontation, I allowed others to take advantage of my emotions, thus defining who I was. I made it easy for a domineering parent to control me. I made it easy for a verbally/emotionally abusive spouse to abuse me. I made it easy for my daughters to be alienated from me.

Studying personality traits has become a hobby of mine. Along with helping me to understand my own reactions to different situations, it also helps me to understand others. Being an introvert has affected many of my decisions. If I had understood my personality better, I may have made different decisions; not necessarily better decisions; but different decisions.

Because of my introvertedness, I found myself always giving in and giving others what they wanted -not needed – wanted – and I lost sight of myself. I became a shell of a person.

The longer we allow a cycle like this to continue, the longer it may take us to find ourselves again, to learn who we are. As an introvert, I would shove my feelings down deep and bury them. I learned to turn off my emotions and to feel nothing, so much so, that I developed a problem with disconnecting when I am hurt. The difficulty with shoving “stuff” down is that eventually, and it may take years, it bubbles to the surface.

Coming to terms with past hurts sometimes involves purging ourselves of the hurt we are either holding onto, or that has been deeply buried. No matter how hard we try to keep these feelings buried, the feelings sometimes begin their ascension to the surface, like a balloon filled with helium, fighting to be released. Then, how do we let go of the balloon if we must “give them what they want”?

For me, I write. I have found that putting my words down on paper allows those deeply buried hurts to rise and filter through my fingers on their way to release.

As I have written before, I am not one who likes confrontation -just ask the sister I used to run – literally – from – and in that respect, I guess that has made me somewhat of a pleaser, or maybe just a coward, depending on the day. While some personalities thrive on confrontation, I do not. Chances are, if you confront me, I will just stand there and stare at you as though you have lost your mind, then turn and walk away. You may still be badgering me, or you may have finished your tirade, it won’t matter to me, as I have long since shutdown.

Putting my deepest thoughts down on paper is difficult for me, even scary. I prefer to just shove the discontent deep down and stay quiet. However, I had to visit an establishment the other day, and it wasn’t so much the lack of respect that I received as the disrespect that was shown. It is strange how humans have a need to dislike people based on other’s lamenting, not even bothering to find out if what they heard is true. Then, they turn around and show disrespect or disdain to the person, as though it were a badge of honor for their friend. I guess I just had enough. No more “give them what they want” for me.

I am coming out. This introvert is going to be roaring like a lioness. I came across a saying this morning, “Sometimes you just have to take a leap…and build your wings on the way down”. I think I’d like to try that. I guess I will either soar or crash and burn, but either way, I will be me – no more Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, waiting to take a great big fall.

 

This post originally appeared on my blog: http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

What do you do with old underwear?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913
Ladies’ underwear advertisement, 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away?

No matter how many holes there are?
       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.
       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash!
       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence.
Be sure to follow my blog.
You never know what subject will come up next!
Donna

Gracie takes a turn on the treadmill


Yes
. I’ve been walking on the treadmill.
treadmill

AND, hanging on for dear life I might add.
       Since the heat down here in the South is so hot it’s makes you want to just sit on the porch with the fan going with a tall glass of iced tea, and nothing much else; I came to the conclusion that this Southern gal wasn’t going to be doing much walking.
       Then, on a trek through the garage, I looked over my shoulder and spotted the treadmill. I began thinking that walking might not be so bad if I turned on the air conditionerand walked in the sweet coolness rather than 1000+ degrees outside.
       Having never used the contraption, it took me a while to figure out that you need a key to turn it on; and you have to plug it in. After I managed to turn the treadmill on, I began to walk, slowly, VERY SLOWLY. Then, I thought, this isn’t so bad, but it sure is boring – and I hate being bored! The first time I used it, I walked a whole ten minutes before I just couldn’t stand theboredom anymore. Then, my mind started to wander and I remembered seeing people on television using their headphones. The light bulb went off and I thought, “Yes! Music!” should help keep me from being bored.
       Yesterday, I managed a whole sixteen minutes – 3 songs on the iPod. AND, I graduated from 2 to 2.5 -that is very slow to slow- in my speed. Today, I walked for twenty minutes at 2.7! And, if that wasn’t enough to brag about, I actually walked with no hands today instead of hanging onto the bars for dear life! It was a little iffy a couple of times as I envisioned myself being hauled off the end as I missed a step.
        I have a habit of hitting random play on the iPod, so it is always a surprise what song comes on next – sort of like having your own radio station. It is amazing that the last song I end up listening to is a Gospel Song, no matter how long I walk. What a way to end my workout and start my day!
       Then, when I got off and started up the steps to the house, I had to back down the steps and get my land legs back. I may never walk outside again. Who ever invented the treadmill, I thank you!
Don’t forget to follow my blog. You never
know what I’ll be up to next!
Donna

When no means NO!

Question Mark
Question Mark (Photo credit: auntiepauline)
When someone tells you no, does it register?
 Do you stop what you are doing or saying?
Or, do you continue?
No, means no!
        No, I do not want that food. No, do not sit on the dog. No, I do not want to answeryour question. No. No. NO!
       I recently wrote a piece on manners for my blog; and one of the commenters asked me to write on accepting no. Her example was one I was actually all too familiar with so I thought, why not.
“These days when people say no thank you to an invitation, for some reason they feel compelled to explain why. Invariably, the comment is something like, “I can’t make it because I am doing something WAY MORE FUN than attending your event!” A simple “no thank you” should be sufficient. I use a “no thank you”, no matter if I have another pressing engagement or I don’t feel like going. Also, when I use my simple “no thank you”, I have been asked to explain why I can’t go. “What else could you be doing that could possibly be more important and why don’t you rearrange it?” the host demands. It makes for an awkward situation.”
       I am with her on this. If I invite you somewhere, you do not need to explain – unless you happen to be my best friend and we always explain– why you cannot attend. A simple “I would love to, but I’m busy that night” more than suffices. When I am invited and I do not wish to attend or for some reason, cannot, I simply say thank you for the invitation, but I will be unable to attend. I also wish them a great event.
       I do not feel I need to explain past that response and I absolutely abhor being interrogated. It really is not anyone’s business. Anyone who has this habit might want to check themselves. The next time you ask someone “why”, you may just get an honest answer you do not want to hear. I know that in my life, it has gotten to the point where I get really honest in my answers when pushed. Yes, it makes for an awfully awkward moment, but then again, put the awkward back on them with an honest answer – not ugly – honest. After all, they pushed the subject.
       At one time, I had a friend who was obsessive about knowing everyone’s business. She had a bad habit of asking inappropriate questions and would not take no for an answer. She would push and push no matter how many times you told her that you did not want to talk about something or that it was none of her business.
       I am an extremely private person  -you are probably thinking –private? – and so she writes a blog?- and I do not like other people in my business. If I constantly change the subject when you ask a question, you can be absolutely sure that is “Me telling You” – finger pointing here –  that I do not wish to talk about whatever it is that you are trying to pry out of me. Now, on the other hand, if you cannot shut me up, it is a clear indication that I am willing to share, so at that point, you had better ask your questions, because those times are rare.
       I have recently adopted the policy, if someone keeps pressing me for more information, to the point of being rude, and making me uncomfortable, then that person needs to hear no less than the truth. If being nice and giving an evasive answer does not work, then transfer the awkward position that they have put you in, to them. Tell them the truth. You just do not want to attend. You have other things you would rather do.
       I know this sounds rude, but to have to resort to this type of answer, means the person has pushed you beyond appropriate boundaries. It should not matter why you do not want to attend a function just that you do not; and you have been respectful in stating your feelings.
Colossians 3:12-14 tells us, “… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV 1984)
       We all need to be mindful of others in our lives, and to remember when having to give answers to difficult people, be as kind, and gentle, as you are able to be. Some people still may not “get it” but our job as aChristian is to keep the exchange as kind as possible and extendforgiveness for their ignorance.
Thanks for joining me today!
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      As always, I encourage you to share your opinions and experiences, and/or questions. Remember to show courtesy to others in your comments.