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change is rapid recovery difficult“The life of a winner is the result of an unswerving commitment to a never ending process of self-completion.” Terry Bradshaw

Nobody likes unexpected changes. Even good changes leave us floundering for a while. We might think happy events would charge us with happy attitudes. Sometimes the opposite happens. An upcoming marriage is an awesome happening. Everyone is excited. If one checks on the viewpoints of the major players in this event, we discover not all parties are exuberant. There are many sad stories that result from these so called happy changes.

It isn’t that weddings are not in themselves joyful. The problem is these major occurrences in life bring about change and change brings alterations to our daily lives. We get comfortable with the way things are and any transformations, good or bad, leave us floundering. We can’t see into the future and we fear the unknown. We think, it might be worse instead of, it might be better. We are kicked out of our comfort zone so we panic and become full of anxiety.

Weddings bring forth cheerful gatherings, friendly people good food and new beginnings. They have the added hope of new life and grandchildren. There doesn’t seem to be room for any misgivings. There is adjustment. Our child is officially an adult, on their own, influenced by another person not of our picking. We fear losing influence, time, and connectedness with them.

We also fear our need to move on in a different direction because we no longer need to spend time nurturing our children, we have more time.

The newlyweds fear their decision to have chosen this individual to spend the rest of their lives with. They have doubts and questions. They fear being thrown into the adult role and taking responsibility for themselves, and their mistakes. It was easier allowing their parents to guide them, make the decisions and take the blame for anything going off track. They are anxious about paying bills, living with another individual and being accountable for their own lives. Reality is setting in and it is not a totally comfortable event.

Having a baby is another wonderful happening. It would appear to bring out only happy times. This is not so. Now we need to put another person before ourselves. We need to worry more about saving and paying bills. We must be more responsible in our behaviors because we are now influencing another human being. Our driving might improve and our driving speed may be slower. Our binge drinking has to end and thoughts about smoking and foul language take on their own importance. We begin to doubt our capability to accomplish this task.

Both of these wonderful happenings are evolving into nightmares because we are scared of the future and its changes. We liked doing what we wanted when we wanted and where we wanted. Doubts keep surfacing and we try to keep them to ourselves as if we are the only ones on the planet who are or ever did think this way. We are alone in our thoughts and afraid to share them because this is a favorable change.

New jobs, homes, friends and neighbors bring their own array of anxieties. They involve our breaking out of our mold and melting into something new. We are challenged to be unveiled and vulnerable. These things may be delightful but they leave us frightened about measuring up to the challenges we are facing. We fear that others can observe our faults, and failings.

If we look at the negative changes that happen to us they basically fill us with the same challenges and fears of transformation. A death in the family diminishes us. Our world is forever changed and we are forced to move in another direction. It is difficult to see beyond our own room. The person we loved is not walking among the living. We can’t imagine not talking to them or seeing them. Our world is disintegrating. Coping is difficult. We almost resent hearing the laughter of others we meet. How, we wonder, can the sun rise and the cars busily take people to work? People walk swiftly to and from their respective destinations and we want to shout, “Can’t you understand I’ve lost the love of someone close to me?” No one hears us in the silence and we go through the motions of another day wondering if the agony will ever go away.

In a similar way divorce is also devastating. Although it might be something we wanted, it is still an adjustment and an alteration in our lives. It is the death of a relationship and a love we had and believed in. It is in a sense similar to a death because it is the death of a love. It carries all of the pain yet garners little support from others who view this as a choice.

Job loss is a total displacement. Self-esteem is lost and how we define ourselves is over. Even a retirement can feel similar to a job loss. We are reinventing ourselves and fighting to claim a new position.

In all of these situations good and bad there are adjustments and modifications required. We have to amend our lives and or lifestyles. It is necessary to let go of what was and embrace the unknown. Things are different and variation is required. Conversion to new loves, friends, family, jobs and interests becomes paramount. Replacing our old ways or habits may be difficult but necessary. We are constantly developing. Each evolvement brings us closer to becoming a whole person. Unwrapping the layers of our lives, brings us to greater enlightenment. Perceiving the whole picture leads us to a grander understanding of our life’s purpose.

 “Progress involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” Frederick B. Wilcox

technology destroys humanity"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." Oscar Wilde

At one time children were taught to use various modes of speech in any given circumstance. When in the presence of parents, they might use one form while at school another form. When outside with friends, children could break down the barriers and say just about whatever they wanted. The formal speech was used for those in authority, while the respectful courtesy speech might be used with strangers. Today we have no filters used for anyone at any place or situation we find ourselves in. The result is an insensitivity regarding our fellow human beings. It has also resulted in fostering anger, frustration aggression and hurt feelings which diminish self-esteem. Quick replies via technology of all sorts are the current mode of speech. How technology is destroying humanity should be contemplated. It is time for us to control technology rather than technology controlling us.

We leave our house feeling happy. We get into our car and drive to the highway and are met with eradicate drivers who immediately proceed to cut us off and honk their horns in the process. Some are on the phone and others regardless of rules are texting. Our smile decreases slightly. When we arrive at our place of employment, we spot a parking place but we are aware of another driver speeding towards the same parking space. We slow down and turn our car into the further space and think to ourselves the walk will do us some good. We are still happy but tense and alert. As we step out of our car to walk the distance to the entrance, a loud blast from a horn startles us to the core and we feel our heart racing. Our head turns in time to see the angry face of the driver who is sporting ear plugs. The driver shouts out the angry words, “That’s how stupid people get killed.”

We are not happy anymore. The tension and aggressive mode seeps through our body. We have a meeting in fifteen minutes and we are not looking forward to it. We enter our workplace and are met with the secretary’s quick mechanical good morning as she busily taps on the computer. Our first thought is to ignore her hello. We begin to retort a reply when we observe her texting. We continue on our way and feel our whole body tightening. Gathering our materials we realize we are late for the meeting. Upon entering the room, a co-worker slaps down some material in front of us and simply says in a commanding voice, “page eleven.” Now we slouch into our chair a bit lower.

The boss looks over at us and comments, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you.” We think to ourselves how old am. He shouldn’t talk to me like that. We can’t help the warm feeling spreading across our face. At lunch our co-workers laugh as they discuss a fellow worker in a derogatory manner. We smile to get along but secretly think that could be us they are talking about. We leave the lunch room and a companion demands we hold the door because their hands are full. We feel embarrassed we didn’t notice but we wish they had just asked rather than demanded. Creeping back to our workplace we check the time and frown because little time has passed. It is going to be another long day.

After work we stop at the food store to pick up a few things. At the grocery line we get bumped in the back of the leg. It wasn’t a painful bump but we are surprised the person said nothing. We turn around and see that the person, who bumped us, is on the phone laughing. They glance at us and quickly say, “Sorry”. The person at the register states what money we owe without even a glance. We begin to say thank you for the change but they have already started to ring up the next person.

When we get home we are greeted with a nasty response from our child who is busy texting friends, and a superficial response from our husband who is busy on the lap top. The phone rings and it is the bank. We needed information about changing an account. The person on the other end of the line gives us a spiel. When we question the person they snap a curt response and end by telling us to call another number if we still have questions. They finish with an exasperating reply for us to have a good day and they hang up the phone. Now we wonder if it is us or if the world is crazy.

Children used to respect their parents and their tone and words reflected this. People used to respect each other and their demeanor and speech expressed this. Many people are now running on the ever spinning treadmill. They are too tired to exhibit the niceties of kindness and empathy. Being well-mannered is not so much taught as understood. When we are aware of others and have a regard for others, we exhibit a concern and respect for them. If we continue to fill our lives with things that don’t count and don’t have any significance, then we leave little time left for the things that really do have importance. We don’t have to worry about inventing robots to do our bidding. We are becoming like robots. We are techno savvy at the expense of inner qualities of virtue and morality.

Happiness and kindness are dissipating. Anger frustration and aggression are increasing. All we have to do is observe what is around us. Nobody holds back their thoughts even if they are harsh and cruel. We are aware of the mechanisms of our many devices, yet less and less aware of the workings of the human spirit. The person we are aware of is the one at the end of our technology device. The live person in front of us is of no consequence. If we had a choice of humane qualities or accelerated technology, which would we choose. Most people would likely choose the technology. That is why we are now living in the kind of world we live in. The thought for today is to start reflecting on the loss of empathy and the loss of our connections to other human beings.

"If we would just slow down enough to consider what's true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel and be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we've never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while. So when your eulogy is being read with your life's actions to hrhash would you be proud of the things they say  about how you spent your dash?"    Linda Ellis/Mac Anderson

identifying heroes“Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

I wonder how many people admire rule breakers, or are inspired by them. At times we perceive them as courageous. The truth is they are seekers of a moment of fame. Recognizing what fame is helps us to understand who deserves it. There will never be any mention of those people who deserve a bit of fame for taking care of their neighbors. Such people watch out for others when the need arises. A wife is left alone when her husband is on a business trip. Neighbors keep a watch. Kindness is when an older woman is left widowed and has a house to shovel out or a yard to clean. Honor is when a neighbor gets a prescription for a sick neighbor. These people are not all friends; they just care about a fellow human being. That is altruistic. They are not looking for anything in return nor do they expect anything in return.

These people who get up every day and go to work for the sake of the family are the famous people. These are the ones media should be focusing on. They make the difference in the lives of others. How many people volunteer time and commitment to others? This goes unnoticed. What we read about,in newspapers and on radios is what is sensationalized. what make headlines and what gets a person on television is being a rule breaker. The person who allows their child to talk back to a teacher because they got their feelings hurt will be all over the news. The person who allowed their child to hold onto the wheel of the car even though the child was underage will be front headlines. everyone laughs and applauds the broken law. The people who kill others because of a job loss or broken heart will have their story printed across the country. What happened to doing the right thing just because it is the decent thing to do? Why do we not give thoughtful hard working people the same acknowledgement and moment of fame? Teachers lawyers doctors store keepers and any other workers who commit a crime are flash focus on TV and radio. Let's forget abot the others in the same field who honor it daily with acts of charity. Why do we like the negative rather than the positive. The altruistic people will be gone because we are valuing something far different.

We must encourage our children to help for the sake of helping. Many times there is a price tag attached to a kindness. We are not teaching our children to take responsibility of a duty and complete it without a lot of praise, money or both. Some kids and adults take no accountability for their destructive attitudes and actions. Most of us live by the directives, pay me and I’ll do it. Yet there are real heroes all around us. How we began honoring sports heroes and television celebrities while disregarding the men and women who give of themselves continually is ludicrous. Although there are many in sports that live good lives there are just as many who seek the limelight and without scrutiny, are offered up as a role model. The problem is at times they have little to offer regarding ethics.

If media continues to give these people even a moment of fame, we will continue to witness the eye catching exploits of those with less than desirable morals. Maybe it is time to reflect on our  own and our societies values. Time to give praise where it is deserved. I know when we die we will all reap what we have sown. If we chase after elusive people and tenuous items we may find ourselves in a place that is not so beautiful. It may be time to teach our children the power of just being an honorable person. Teach our children the importance of doing something for no repay. The person who will let you pick the first donut, share the last cup of coffee in the pot, help you finish shoveling, and drive you to work when your car broke down, volunteer at soup kitchens, collect money for a charity, volunteer on a fire department and numerous other volunteers are the real heroes. They don't know it because we don't value that behavior. We should stop idolizing or giving attention to the rule breakers. Look for the positive proactive people who add empathy and love to the world every day. Let's shed some light on those people who really do show us how to live.

“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, nor in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, bit in ourselves are triumph and defeat.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

avoidance keeps the confrontation going“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle

At various times we have a conflict with a friend or relative. It is common and is usually the result of either person having a bad day. For a variety of reasons we fail to mend the quarrel. The longer it takes us to amend the clash, the worse things get and the more uncomfortable we feel. What began as a disagreement mushrooms into a battle and then war. Neither party wants to confront the opposing foe. Both partners have their pride to maintain and or their determination to prove they are right. The ongoing struggle is enhanced because our next step is avoidance. You would think that avoidance would create a period of reflection and a desire to correct the problems we have with a friend or family member. This is usually not the case. If we do any reflection at all and if we become consciously aware of having any guilt in the matter, we will run away from our opposition in order to maintain our conviction of our innocence. Most likely neither side is without blame. Even if there are degrees of blame, we can still agree to disagree and let an issue dissolve. The majority of the time we choose avoidance which only hurts both of us, continues the hostility, and eats away at our conscience. We might be relaying our innocence to others then wonder why we cannot sleep at night. Strangely enough, avoidance will promote alienation. Distance dissolves the love we once had and replaces it with feeling a festering wound. Even if we are beginning to admit to ourselves, our own guilty part to the conflict, we begin to fault the other person for the continuance of the disagreement. We absolve ourselves of all blame.

Time passes and erodes our strong passions. The episode loses its' glamour and we chide ourselves for having been a party to the problematic situation. We avoid the person because we realize it was a stupid argument and we are uncomfortable to have put ourselves in such a situation. It was blown out of proportion. Apologizing is not a choice because it would be humbling. It would make us appear weak. We are genuinely confused about our desires to fix the problem, without losing face, keeping our pride intact, and gaining back some peace. We are never sure about how it will go if we attempt the first approach. If we get rejected we will feel worse about the whole mess. In the end we back down and miss the opportunity.

By avoiding this person, we don’t have to make any decisions. In avoidance we are decimating a once happy relationship. We are paying a dear price for our pride. We must stop avoiding our opposition. By being thrown together at work or gatherings, we have the chance to manage and work things out. Most of the time both people involved in the disagreement are sorry. It is difficult to figure out how to go about making peace. When people are in close quarters, they tend to have more opportunities to fix a broken relationship. The prospects are better and appear to arise without any help. We discover our foe trying to carry a heavy load. Our offer to help washes away a lot of the mud we both slung. We offer a tool or advice to our angry friend. We both laugh at a joke and find ourselves agreeing with each other. It is easy to repair differences when we are in close proximity of the other person. The closer we get to human contact, the easier it gets to resolve the disputes. Suddenly we see our friend or sibling as a person we care about instead of as a stranger. We even wonder how and why the quarrel happened in the first place. We are glad it is finished and we are watchful it doesn't happen again. We go home, feel good and sleep soundly.

“He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today.” Edward Tryon

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Herbert V. Prochnow

 Author’s website:

listening"The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts. The less you know the hotter you get." Anonymous

The third pitfall to avoid is misconstruing what others say. If one doesn't then it may place us as close to a disaster in a relationship as anyone could get. Many times we misinterpret what others say and flavor the words with our own ideas. This obviously haunts us and leads our minds down roads that we were never meant to travel. Our feelings take over because we assume it is all about us. Words can hurt us. If we question what is said it allows for discourse and understanding although an others motives for the dialogue may still appear as secretive.

One idea I use to keep from traveling down the "Do Not Enter" road, is to think about other reasons a person might be moody, sad, angry or out of sorts. The couple may be quarreling. They may have problems at their jobs. They may have issues with their children or spouses family. These problems may have nothing to do with us but they may not want to discuss these things with others not involved. Most of us think we hide our feelings and moods from others but many times our feelings are shining through for everyone to see.

The only thing that is missing is that others don't know why we are angry or sad. They wonder if they caused our ill mood. The challenge for all of us is to refrain from feeling guilt and come to the knowledge that many other happenings in a person's life reflect their mood swings. These happenings are too numerous to mention. Most of the time we are not causing an others emotions. If we are, then we should know what we did.

"Thus each person by his fears, gives wings to the rumor and without any real source of apprehension men fear what they themselves have imagined." Lucan

With that said I would venture to say stop blaming yourself for other people's attitudes.

"The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended, and not to take a hint when a hint isn't intended." Robert Frost

competition"People love others not for what hey are, but for how they make us feel." Irwin Federman

Mothers-in-law who encourage any type of competition might possibly find it can influence the closeness of their children. The result may be a competitive relationship amongst their children. Downplaying competitive behavior allows for a more supportive kind of connection to develop. None of us will discuss our mistakes or trials to another person that we view as a competitor rather than a supporter. We then lose the chance of gaining support and encouragement. Losing does not always spur a person to try harder.

Many times, it makes us to recoil and give up. Spending time with relatives becomes tedious and stressful. If we support one another we are happy to see each other and look forward to helpful discourse. Parents should begin right from the beginning with their children to make an effort of refraining from comparisons of any kind including who walked talked and toilet trained first. After all we are looking for harmony joy and pleasant rewarding and memorable times together as children and adults.

"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate." Albert Schweitzer

sibling rivalry"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Competing with siblings or siblings-in-law creates a no-win situation. Being right or wrong is not as important as how well every one's sense of worth remains intact. Maintain your self-confidence, and be cognizant of the vulnerability in others. Words spoken from the tips of tongues are not profound deliberations.

Many times they are in anger, retaliation, revenge or simply a bad attitude or mood. If one attempts to stop the competition, every try is a step in the right direction towards tolerance and peace. Competition promotes anger frustration and feelings of revenge while compromise evokes friendship and cooperation. I'll help you and you'll help me attitude. I will strive for the latter. Memories of the day will be so much more enjoyable and cherished by all.

 "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

"We live in deeds not years, in thoughts , not breaths; In feelings. not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks the most-feels the noblest-acts the best." Philip James Bailey

This is a topic that would allow us to go on for months and possibly years. Many of us would be shocked to realize we are ever guilty of ungratefulness. None of us does it on purpose or plans it. It just happens. It happens too frequently nowadays. If we could take a look at the small things that go by unnoticed, it might help us to catch a view of the larger things. A simple thing like holding a door is loaded with kindness. We just need to pay better attention to these small acts of kindness which not only bring comfort to us but satisfaction to the person displaying the kindness.

"Graciousness is more than good manners. It is more than courtesy. It is the etiquette of the soul. True graciousness has such a divine quality we feel it is something that comes through us and not from us." Fred Smith

"Reputation is what others think about you; character is what God knows about you. Adrian Rogers

Independence can mean different things to a variety of people. This liberty is vital and necessary. Regarding the mother-in-law (MIL) and daughter-in-law (DIL) it allows one to accept help when one needs it and to refuse it when a person doesn't want aid. We all have capacities and talents. If we trust ourselves and have confidence, we recognize at times, the need to acquiesce to another so as not to decimate their independence.

Even if certain ideas are more appealing or are proven to be better, silence may be our best ally. We can't push our ways onto another. We can be right and we can be wrong because we are independent of another. Security and confidence produces a kindness sprinkled with patience. We have nothing to prove. When we have the need to make a point or win an argument we are less confident full of anxiety due to our inner feelings of inadequacies. It doesn't mean we are lacking at all. It does exhibit a need for inner contemplation and a sense of questioning why we feel inferior.

Being wrong is a learning experience and diminishes us in no way. Being right engages a moment of praise and nothing beyond. Pride can be more destructive in the long term than failure is in the short term. It may take courage to speak against the crowd but it really does take more courage to keep ourselves quiet and to listen. Tomorrow is another day with more opportunities to show what we are. Reputation is others' opinion of you. God knows what we truly are. What do you think is more important?

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Any relationship, whether we are talking marriage partners siblings parents or in-laws, requires patience, humor, and respect. The best of relationships have their share of bumps and snags. If we believe it is worth the effort we struggle through enduring a few pains along the way. The problem with the mother-in-law (MIL) - daughter-in-law (DIL) relationship is that sometimes a MIL or DIL doesn't recognize the importance of their connections.

Mothers are universal. Raising children is universal. We all have those commom bonds. The husband/son is loved by both women. It's worth the effort to find a peaceful co-existence. The final result may often be that we actually like this person and enjoy this person. MIL and DIL may end up supporting and helping each other. That is really what life is all about. It is realizing we are in this together and any assistance we get is appreciated. Love makes one feel happy and comforted. Hate makes one anxious and angry. Indifference makes one lifeless and without stamina. Give love a chance to thrive and grow.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King

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