Sunlight and Shadows

Sunlight and Shadows

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thinking about... flags and my Grandma Ora

Every time I think about flags I remember our feisty, patriotic, Grandma Ora. What a great teacher she was to me as I spent many growing up hours with her.

Today I drove past a half mast flag. It of course also prompted thoughts of the times in recent weeks our nation has been in deep mourning for those lost in radical acts of unexplainable violence committed by people who have lost all sense of conscience.

I thought about how much the world has changed since I was a child. In these short paragraphs it would be impossible to explain all the ways my secure, relatively safe, hometown was different from the world my grandchildren are facing today.

Numberless times I have said the Pledge of Allegiance or stood with my hand over my heart as the flag passed by since I was a child. There were school mornings, Scout and 4-H meetings, ball games, Fourth of July Parades, etc. Many frequent events of my life began by honoring our flag and country.
I would only summarize by saying, I believe my growing up years contained what I call the "American Golden Years" of morality and sense of responsibility. This was a time when Americans were safer, more dedicated to values of religion and family, and everyone I knew anything about was committed to freedom and justice for all.

My Grandparents were wise and strong. I could feel it as tangible as any physical thing. Grandma Ora and Grandpa Rex were educated from years hands on life experience; building, growing, creating, repairing, teaching, learning, thinking, participating, and worshiping and simply enduring through the challenges of their lives. She was a flag waving PTA President who supported strong education- a Democrat in a family of mostly Republicans who worried about taxes etc. (I'm pretty sure Grandpa Rex was a Republican :)

I remember my history lesson when Grandma Ora told me her feelings about the day Pearl Harbor was bombed in World War II.   

Her words were, "Those fools! They don't even know what they have done. They have attacked red-blooded Americans on their own soil." 

She was so right. The Japanese and most of the rest of the world did pay a very heavy price.  

Today where I walked down the street, there are many American Flags flying. Great heroism has been displayed by so many engulfed by tragedy in the events of the past weeks and even years. And, I can say with surety, there are still plenty of courageous, red-blooded Americans, as Grandma would call them...  ready to sacrifice for others and to stand up for what they believe and love.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thinking about... essential moorings

This year autumn colors have been spectacular in the Rocky Mountains and foothills. Early rains and a sudden cold snap created unusually deep fall colors.

We took a drive into the hills near my mother's home on a beautiful late September day. White grain fields, clear deep blue skies, bright sunshine and vibrant trees made me wish I were an expert photographer.

Kevin and I shared a deep sense of peace as we traveled the miles together.  We have traveled a great many miles of this life together since the day he first asked me to be his wife.

I am always thankful for our bond of solidarity and love. I know neither of us can never quit working to keep our marriage strong and sacred. For our family this relationship is an essential mooring.

A mooring is defined as a permanent structure to which a boat is secured.  In our lives we need moorings as the days and years of our lives bring new waves of challenges and learning experiences that test and refine us.

As increasing tragic events have populated the news in the past weeks, we are reminded that human life and existence on this earth is a fragile thing.  Fear and uncertainty can easily replace calm and confidence inside our quiet places.

We have witnessed in these events many people who have displayed unusual courage. I have wondered if I could maintain my own courage and ability to act quickly and in the best interest of others in the face of devastation and destruction. I would hope my own moorings would be strong enough.

I believe there are several things that help give our families the essential moorings they need.  Some of these include:
  • Being part of a family that is bound together by ties of love, commitment and faithful companionship.
  • Having a knowledge of and pride in our own unique family and cultural heritage and understanding that all people have a unique and wonderful cultural heritage.
  • Learning by serving at a young age; to be a contributing, building, responsible member of a community. By that process we learn to live our lives not only for our own selfish interests and desires but to contribute where we can.
  • Helping children (and later as grown adults) to respect and care for others by showing respect and caring for them as we interact with them on a daily basis.
  • Having faith in a higher power that can bless our lives.  (For Kevin and I this faith comes from being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Thinking about... self confidence

 Often we travel.  Last evening we had dinner at a small restaurant. The waitress who seated us appeared to be the only one serving during most of the time we were there.  I took special note of her in my mental notebook.

She was probably around 45 or 50 years old and wore dark khaki pants and a uniform shirt.   She was unusually tall, medium build, had long lanky legs and arms, long straight brown hair twisted on top of her head.  There was a casual, cheerful way about her that put people at ease, yet she moved quickly and efficiently around the tables. It was easy to see she enjoyed her life, was confident, strong, mature and responsible.

The most interesting thing was that one of her eyes and part of her cheek had been disfigured either by a birth defect or severe accident when she was young, yet it appeared to have had no visible affect on her personality.  It was as though she could say to the world, "So what? This is who I am. I am going to enjoy my life! You can enjoy it with me if you like... no worries if you don't."

I thought about how she must have been as a teenage girl... awkward with her long legs and larger feet... growing taller faster than the boys around her.  How did she survive that time with such a great attitude?

How do you acquire that kind of self confidence?  How do you help your kids learn to have it?
Is it just a gift you are born with?  What causes social anxiety? How can you get rid of it?

It seems to me it has something to do with NOT being overly critical of ourselves and others.  What do you think?

p.s. The food was good. Kevin gave her an extra large tip.