Really Random Thinking

Once again having some random thoughts while watching the birds outside my window. Guess these could be called off-the-wall thinking.

A pretty little bird flew in for breakfast and this bird happens to be named a Titmouse. Such a pretty little thing to have such a strange name. I wondered who thought to name this bird ‘titmouse’? Sounds more like something you would name a rodent, not a little bird. I certainly wouldn’t want to go through life being called a titmouse, but then these little birds don’t know what we humans call them. Makes me wonder what birds call themselves. I’m sure they have names for each other.

There were also a lot of Cardinals this morning, both male and female. The males are such a glorious red and really show up in all the dormant trees. Once again, a wondering thought crossed my mind. Were the Catholic Cardinals named after these beautiful birds or were the birds named after the Catholic Cardinals? Something to ponder. I know there is probably an answer somewhere but sometimes knowing the answer would take away the fun of wondering about things.

While I’m on the subject of things that randomly cross my mind, here are a few more to think about.

Ever notice how it takes so much longer to get to where your going than it does to get back from where you’ve been? Something about time not existing in nature, but is a man-made device. I have always read that time and space do not exist in nature. Sometimes I think I comprehend this theory and other times it completely flies over my head, especially the part about space not existing.

Another thing I noticed coming home the other day with a friend and watching the sun set. Seems like we were watching the sun sink into the western sky forever, constantly changing the sun visor to keep it out of our eyes. Then suddenly, it was gone. Completely below the horizon. After fighting the bright sun for what seemed like hours, in a split second it was gone. Amazing.

While we’re talking about time; I am finding it to be really true that the older I get the faster time goes by. I used to think the old people didn’t know what they were talking about when they would say time is speeding by. In my youth time seemed to drag. It took forever for Christmas to get here and I know it would take many more than 9 months for one school term to end only for the summer vacation to end in the blink of an eye. Another example of how fickle time can be.

Sounds like another post devoted entirely to the discussion of time may be coming soon.

Well, that’s enough rambling for this go round. Many more things to think about and write about. What piques your curiosity? Bet you too have a lot of random thoughts.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Feeling Lucky

This morning as I was just sitting in my rocking chair, drinking my coffee and watching the birds outside the window, I had a powerful feeling of being so lucky and fortunate that I am able to just sit like this and enjoy the day. So many people are not able to do that.

Today I stayed in my gown and robe a lot longer than usual, just savoring this morning. The sky is overcast and a prediction of rain and ice is in the forecast. Perfect weather for more coffee and just thinking. Remembering and planning but trying not to dwell too long in either place. Stay in the present, I keep reminding myself.

While sitting and ruminating I realized how truly blessed I am to be able to just ease into the day. That was one of the things I looked forward to doing when I retired. So many people are hurrying off to work and I remember being one of them. Those days were good but I am so thankful I don’t have to do that anymore. But to be really truthful, I do sometimes miss that period of my life.

Right now though, I am so thankful to have this warm comfortable home to do all this sitting in and also to have a very dependable coffee pot. No point in having a comfy rocker and a cosy fire if there’s not a hot cup of coffee in my hand.

Spending my mornings like this is the best time of the day. This is my meditation time, my time with God. I like to imagine that God is also enjoying a cup of coffee with me, just sitting quietly and mentally wandering around the universe. Isn’t that awesome, wandering among the galaxies with God? Couldn’t ask for a better traveling companion.

Ending this random thought by saying; Thank You God for another wonderful day.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

The Words We Say

For some time now I have been thinking about how the words we use and say affect us and everybody around us and how our actions also do the same.

There are a couple of old sayings or idioms that keep popping in and out of my mind. They go like this:

Actions speak louder than words.” AND

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

There is some truth in each of the above quotes but they need some clarification.

Take the second phrase about words not hurting for instance. Hateful words can definitely hurt both in the present and the future. Even when we think we are ignoring the derogatory words we hear our subconscious remembers.

If as a child you are repeatedly told you are stupid every time you make an honest mistake, you become an adult with the subconscious conviction you are stupid even though you may have a very high IQ. Then you go into therapy to repair the damage caused by those so-called ‘innocent’ remarks.

Harsh, derogatory words continue to hurt even as we grow older. I don’t think we ever reach an age when words don’t hurt. Not only can words hurt our feelings, they also lower our respect for the person uttering them, especially if they come from a loved one or a person we greatly admire.

While I believe it is true that actions do speak a lot louder than words I also find it very hard to see the good actions from someone who has uttered vile, venomous words. When I hear lies and deceit coming from a person it is like they have hung a black drape in front of them that makes it very hard for me to see any good actions. Eventually their good actions will come to the fore-front but it takes a long time to remove the ugly stain of hateful, hurtful  language.

Seems to me most of the violence we see in the world is because of words. Words of themselves are harmless, it’s how they are used that is the problem. All the terrorism going on in the world is due to leaders using words to fuel their ideology and gain new recruits. The hate groups that are popping up everywhere, is it not again people spouting hate filled language to further their cause? Even a nation can be manipulated by constantly hearing half-truths and sometimes blatant lies. We hear this long enough we start thinking maybe that is the truth.

I know people can change and many do, but once the words are spoken they can never really be retracted. This is equally true when we use positive, up-lifting words. We can get past the hurt when we hear and feel words of love, peace and praise.

Yes, the words we use can be very harmful indeed. Words have caused major conflicts and continue to do much damage. They can also be the most healing instrument we have. Imagine if we all started being more conscious of what we say to each other and the tone we say it in. If we would just take a second or two to think before we speak, there would a lot more happy and loving people in the world. Probably even less violence.

Therefore, I would amend the above quotes as follows:

“Actions speak louder than words but actions speak louder when backed by kind, loving words.”      AND

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not always true, sometimes words can cause more damage than physical abuse.”

So, lets all strive to become more conscious of what we are saying to each other and the tone in which we say it. Ask, am I speaking from a place of love and respect for the other person? If not, then maybe I should adhere to another old saying;

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Heard this one many times from my mother growing up. Still a good motto to live by.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Memories Re-visited

In my last post I wrote about not wanting to see the Rose Parade again because re-visiting anything can never compare to the first time and how I wanted to keep those first memories intact. But now today I am wearing my souvenir T-shirt from the Grand Canyon and I feel I must amend that statement. While some memories are best left un-touched, like the Rose Parade, others can be enhanced with more visits.

You see, as I was putting on this T-shirt I thought; ‘I really, really want to go back there’. I have visited the Grand Canyon numerous times and it is always a breath-taking experience. Of course the surrounding area has changed a lot since my first visit in the 1960’s, but the canyon itself remains a magnificent wonder. Every visit is just like seeing it for the first time.

I don’t think I could ever tire of standing at the rim and staring down into the depths of this natural wonder. I saw it once as the sun was setting over the canyon and it truly was a magical experience, all the colors of the rainbow and then some bouncing off all the rock formations. Some of the formations looked like church steeples being lit up and to think all this beauty was formed by water and glaciers!!! Amazing!!

As I sit here writing this I am also reminded that there are other places I would like to visit again. One of them being Alaska. There are always new things to see and experience in Alaska. I have been there 3 times and each time is equal to the first. Except maybe the very first time was also my first cruise and I don’t think anything will compare to my first sight of that big cruise ship and to think I was going to board it! I do believe another Alaska cruise is in my future.

Another place I want to visit again is Washington D.C., not because of the government but because of all the monuments and history there. I could spend a whole week touring the Smithsonian and all the museums. It is very humbling and sad seeing all the war memorials. So many wars, so many deaths and still no end to wars. World peace is my prayer, always. My dream is to visit the city when the Cherry Trees are in bloom.

I’m sure there are other places I would like to see again, mainly because each time I go there are new things to see and do. Even though the areas themselves may not change, I do. I have different expectations and sometimes, none at all. I am much more appreciative of all these experiences and relish each moment. I really do try to focus on the present, not taking it all for granted. ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ as they say.

So, yes, I want to once again go to Williams Arizona, board that old-time steam train and ride the rails to the Grand Canyon for a nice long stay at one of the lodges along the canyon rim. I can almost hear the train wheels clacking, feel the sway as we make our way across the desert, imagining what it may have been like a hundred or so years ago. Almost like traveling back in time. Want to join me?

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Rose Parade Memories

Here it is, the very first day of 2018, and I have been doing my very favorite activity for New Years Day; watching the Rose Parade and then having my good luck black-eyed peas.

Don’t know how lucky eating the black-eyed peas are but I have had a really good life so far so maybe they do help. One thing I do know for sure, they sure do taste good with hot buttered corn bread. That is some good eating.

This year as I watched the Rose Parade I kept remembering that just 3 years ago I was sitting in the stands watching the parade in person. Seeing the Rose Parade in person had long been a dream of mine and on New Year’s Day 2015 it came true.

My sister Carolyn found a trip to California for the New Year holiday specifically for the Rose Parade. She didn’t have to do any arm twisting to get me to go with her. We had a fabulous time. In addition to the parade we toured much of the San Diego and Los Angeles area but the Rose Parade was the highlight.

Now each New Year day when I watch the parade and see it making that turn just at the beginning of the parade and see the stands along the way, I can still feel the excitement of being there. I can feel the cold of that day too, 35 degrees at the start of the parade. They said it was like the second coldest day in the history of the parade. It was still fun, the sun was out, the sky a beautiful blue and no wind. We didn’t even need the extra blankets we took from our hotel room.

An added bonus of this trip was the tour we had of some of the float barns the day before. It was amazing to see in person the floats being put together and the smell of all those flowers. So many people running here and there and never getting in each others way. Then to see these floats all in disarray one day and coming down the street in all their magnificence the next day.

Then the day after the parade we went to the park where all the floats were parked and got an up close look at all of them. All the intricate work and engineering skill that goes into just one of these floats is astounding and then to realize that there are many, many floats in this parade and they are all equally astounding.

Seeing the Rose Parade was indeed a dream come true, something to mark off my bucket list. Sometimes I think I would like to see it again and other times I think not. If I went again it may spoil the wonderful memories I have. I know from past experiences that nothing ever compares to the first time. As many times as I have visited the Rocky Mountains they are never as beautiful as the very first time I saw them. So I think I will be content to keep my Rose Parade memories intact and not take a chance of spoiling them.

I will say though if you ever get a chance to experience this parade in person, take it. You won’t regret it. To think this glorious parade of roses all started with a few horse-drawn buggies adorned with fresh flowers over a hundred years ago.

Now I think I may have a few more black-eyed peas before the day ends just to ensure my good luck for the coming year because 2018 is going to be the best for all of us. You never know, God is in everything so why not black-eyed peas?

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Happy New Year

Here it is, the day after Christmas. Once again another Christmas has gone by. All the company has left and all is quiet and I am feeling a little sad.

It’s always so much fun when the family gets together, even if it is just a few hours here and there over several days. We eat a lot, laugh a lot and just have a really good time.

Before settling into the routine of our everyday lives, we must celebrate the coming of a new year. It is hard to believe that in less than a week 2018 will be here.

What will the new year hold for all of us? I always plan on it being better than the year before and it usually is. Of course there are always some bumps along the way but always things that can be handled.

I don’t make New Year Resolutions per say, but I do sort of make plans for some things I want to accomplish in the coming year. Sometimes they materialize and sometimes they don’t. If my plans go astray, well, guess those plans weren’t for me, but everything seems to always turn out for the best.

Wonder how the concept of making New Year resolutions started. Maybe people have been doing it for hundreds of years. New year, a new beginning, makes sense.

Anyway, my plans for 2018, as it does most years, is first to lose some weight and exercise more. I’m sure most people have the same goal. Then my primary goal is to start ridding myself of all the stuff I have that I really don’t need. Wish me luck with this one, because sometimes it is really hard for me to part with some things, even though I may not have seen or used them in several years. Memories you know.

Also in my 2018 plans is to continue praying for peace in our world. Imagine the entire world bathed in peace and love for everyone and everything. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Happy New Year everyone. May all your plans and resolutions be realized and 2018 will be the most wonderful year yet.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie

Merry Christmas 2017

~~~~ MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE ~~~~

Not much to say this week. Just getting ready for Christmas. I know y’all are too so this post is short and to the point;

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Holidays

Joyous Holiday Season

And however the greetings go for all the other celebrations happening this time of year. Wishing everyone a happy, joyful Holiday Season filled with love and peace. Relish each and every moment of the Season. Be kind, be thoughtful, be patient and above all, BE LOVE.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

A City With No Country

This week Jerusalem is in all the news. You would think it would be because it is the Christmas Season. But no, that’s not the reason at all. Once again people are fighting and killing because of a piece of real estate.

Grant you, it is a very historically significant parcel of land, but still just a parcel of land. Is it really worth killing your brothers over? I think not.

There are many things tradition tells us about Jerusalem. In this city is where Jesus walked, was crucified and rose. In this city is where Abraham made his offering of Ishmael and the Prophet Mohammed made his heavenward ascent. In this city is where the Assumption of Mary took place.

In Jerusalem are historic sites sacred to the 3 major religions of the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. These 3 great religions had their beginning here in Jerusalem. How did they all become so different when they all had the same beginning?

Now Israel is claiming Jerusalem as their capital, Palestine is claiming it as their capital and the Christian countries are siding with Israel. Why? Like I said earlier, it is just after all a piece of real estate. Sure there is a lot of history but still no more important than any other place.

Thinking about all that is happening throughout the HOLY LANDS, my attention was drawn to a quote on my calendar for the month of December.

Goes like this:

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” by: Roy L. Smith

Change just a few words and we have another truth to ponder:

“He who has not GOD in his heart will never find Him in any city.”

I would love to visit Jerusalem and all the surrounding countries. To see and experience all the places I have read about in history books and the Bible would be awesome. I also know that I will not find God there in any buildings or relics. I can stand in awe and feel the lingering vibrations of past events but I can only find God by looking within.

I have this thought, I think a good one. What if we could just make Jerusalem a city of the world instead of a particular country? Have no one particular country or religion in control. Maybe have it governed by a panel of non-religious types that would keep it safe for tourists of all faiths and no faiths. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I think it could be done. After all is that not the way Israel was established after World War II? The Vatican is a country within the city of Rome. Or how about a city-state like Monaco? There is a precedent for such an action. Why couldn’t the UN do something like this? I know all you legal types can give reasons why it couldn’t be done but all peaceful advances in the world start with a dream, someone asking; why not? Sure would cut down on a lot of the violence going on now. Something to consider.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Living In Peace

This week I want to discuss the bumper sticker I have on my car. The one that gets a lot of remarks, mostly positive, but some completely out of left field.

You see, I have this sticker, like the picture above, that has the word COEXIST written out with symbols of different religions and political movements. Years ago when I first saw this word on a car I knew I had to have one. What better thing can we advertise than asking everyone to just simply get along with each other.

To my surprise not everyone saw it as the positive message I did. I have had people to ask me such things as: Do you believe in Jesus? Are you a Christian? Does that have something to do with the Devil?

Where do people get such ideas? What do they think the word COEXIST means? So here is the definition of coexist from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1 :to exist together or at the same time

2 :to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy

And, the explanation of all the symbols used:

The “C” has been replaced with a Crescent moon. This symbol has been lined with Islam since the 14th century, according to historian Alfred Znamierowski. The “o” here has been replaced with a peace sign, originally used in the British anti-nuclear movement. It has been adorned with Roman Venus and Mars symbols. When used in combination, these symbols are used to express solidarity with gender queer causes, like LGBT rights. The lower-case “e”, a mathematical symbol for the basis of the natural logarithm, has been appended with the word “evolution.” The intent here is to suggest equality between advocates of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and the religious and political beliefs of the other icons.

The “x” has been replaced with a Star of David. This symbol was recognized as a global symbol for Judiasm by the First Zionist Congress in 1897, according to Israeli historian Gershom Schloem. The “i” is represented by an ankh. The ankh was originally a common symbol in ancient Egyptian religions, but in modern time has been used by many neo-pagans who see it as a symbol of strength or wisdom. The “s” has been substituted for a taijitu, a Taoist symbol that represents balance between Yin, or shady forces, and Yang, or sunny forces. The final letter, “t”, has been replaced with a Christian cross. The Cross has been a symbol of Christianity since the beginning of the second century, once crucifixion fell out of fashion as a mode of execution.

By placing all of these symbols together, the sticker suggests that all of these philosophical and religious traditions can exist at the same time. Displaying this sticker is a handy way of asking religious practitioners to get along with each other. It’s a touching representation of multiculturalism.

And the controversy:

Many extremely conservative religious practitioners object to the implication of equivalence between their religious iconography and that of others. Zealous practitioners of conservative Islam cite the Shahada, the first pillar of Islam, which states “There is no God but Allah.” Conservative Christians quote the first commandment, which states “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”

These practitioners are concerned that the spread of multicultural thinking represents a threat to human salvation. Both religions, though, ultimately council humility. The Quran states “God will judge between those who believe,” suggesting that it isn’t for people to decide what others believe. Similarly, John Macquarrie, one of the most well-known Christian theologians of the 20th century, wrote “I do not deny for a moment that the truth of God has reached others through other channels.”

Guess this helps to explain some of the questions and remarks I have received from people. I do feel more people are in agreement with me than find fault with it and that’s a good thing.

I like my bumper sticker and my prayer is that one day we can all COEXIST in peace and harmony. I am finding that more and more people are tolerant of other faiths and more of us are wanting to know about other faith practices. Knowledge is the greatest power of all.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

The above symbol explanation and controversy was taken from Crazy Sticker Guy’s eBay Store. Please check out this store if you want a sticker for your bumper.

Shopping Traditions

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Black Friday came and people were out in droves, according to the news. I do not get out on Black Friday, haven’t done so for years but it did look like a lot of people were out.

It was fascinating to see the long lines of people camped out in front of stores waiting for them to open. Some had been in line for hours, starting early Friday and sometimes late Thursday just for a chance to spend their money. Personally, I can’t think of a thing I want that bad. (See Addendum)

All these people seemed to be having a really good time. Some said they waited all year for Black Friday because the deals are so good, and others said Black Friday shopping had become a family tradition. Some shoppers were spending the entire day shopping while others came for one specific item and going home.

Sometimes it seems shopping is what the holidays are all about. Like people have forgotten about the reason for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has become one big shopping spree. Sure, it’s fun to go shopping and buying gifts for people. I really like giving and receiving gifts and it doesn’t have to be anything big or of immense value. I know to some it sounds corny or blaze` to say it’s the spirit of giving that means the most.

Anyway, all this hoop-la about shopping got me to thinking about how we approached shopping when I was growing up. It was definitely a different time.

The biggest event to happen around the holidays was the arrival of the Sears Roebuck Christmas Catalog. How many of you remember the Christmas Catalogs? Sure we got them from other stores, like Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney and Spiegel but it was the Sears Roebuck catalog that had the best stuff and us kids would pour over it every day right up to Christmas Eve, which was the day we had been waiting for.

We were told that Santa could only bring us 3 gifts each. We could have only one big item. The other 2 were the usual candy and fruit that everybody always asked for at Christmas. One thing I wanted then and still enjoy getting is a big box of really good chocolates. Needless to say those catalogs really got worked over. It was a tough choice. What was that ONE thing we wanted above all else.

It was so much fun looking through all those books and dreaming of all the things pictured in them. Most of the time Santa did bring us what we asked for but many times he did not. Sometimes our wishes were just too expensive. I understood why Santa didn’t bring some of the things we asked for.

I don’t know exactly when I discovered who Santa was, seems like I had always known. Just didn’t want to lose that fantasy. Admitting there was no Santa was like losing your childhood and I wanted to keep it as long as possible. Guess I didn’t want to rush into adult-hood.

Thinking back to those days I find myself wishing I had taken the time to enjoy them more. Christmas Eve arrived finally and it seemed as though it took forever for it to get dark enough so we could go to bed and sleep. Of course, once we got to bed, sleep was so hard to come by. The anticipation of Christmas Morning was so intense sleep was the last think on our minds. But sleep did come and Christmas Morning arrived and up we got as soon as the first ray of light came in the window.

We could hardly contain our excitement as we rushed into the living room to see if we got what we actually asked for. Usually we did or at least very close to it. I think we all instinctively knew what price range to ask for, so we were hardly ever disappointed.

It would be so nice to once again get that Sears Roebuck Christmas Wish Book. To sit down with it and pour through all those colorful pages of gifts and fantasies and dream of having almost one of everything on those pages.

Now that I am writing all this it is dawning on me that what I am remembering most is the feelings I had around Christmas. It’s not the gifts from Santa but the anticipation and joy around the gift giving. You see, besides looking for what I wanted Santa to bring, I also looked at all the things I would like to get for my parents, dreaming of one day being able to give to them.

Unfortunately, that day never came. My advice to everyone, enjoy and love the people around you now, today. Now is the only time we have.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

(ADDENDUM: Just put out my carved wood Santa with his bag of toys. A piece my friend and I went shopping for the day after Christmas to get it at half-price. We fought our way through the crowd when the store opened and made a bee-line for the Santas we had seen earlier in the month. So there are some things I stood in line and fought the crowds for but I was a lot younger then.)