So Thankful

Thanksgiving week of 2017 and I have thoughts like how the holiday was  started and seeing the pictures in my mind of that first Thanksgiving. The Norman Rockwell kind of pictures, the pilgrims and the native Americans gathered around enjoying a meal. Probably some version of that event did take place at some point in time. History tells us the Natives did aid the settlers.

Then my attention naturally turns to the big meal we will have. We start planning our Thanksgiving dinner the first of November. First deciding on who will host the family and then deciding on the menu. Don’t know why we spend so much time on the menu, we usually always have the traditional turkey dinner and a ham for those who don’t like turkey. Imagine someone not liking turkey and dressing!!!

It seems to me as though Thanksgiving was a holiday set aside to be thankful for our country and I certainly am thankful to be living in this country. Even with all our problems, and there are many of them at this time, there is still nowhere else I would rather live. So this Thanksgiving Day I am sending special thanks and prayers for our country. I know in my heart we will survive the issues at this time in our history and become a stronger and fairer democracy for ALL of us.

Thanksgiving is also a time to express thanks for all the people in our lives. Not only our family and friends but also the people we occasionally interact with, like the cashiers we see every day in the grocery store, the wait staff at our favorite restaurants, the postal carrier and delivery people. So many people in our lives that add to the rich experience we call living. I am thankful for everyone that touches my life.

Now though that I am attaining a certain age, I find myself being even more thankful for all my family and friends.

I am blessed that I still have all my brothers and sisters and we have vibrantly moved into senior citizen status. So proud of each and every one of us. We have done amazingly well with our lives and plan on doing so for many more years to come. And some of us have brought into the family some equally amazing spouses . Our parents would have been proud.

All my nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews are also a blessing. Not the least bit prejudiced when I say they are all the brightest, smartest and best looking people you will ever meet. Our parents would also been very proud of all their grand-children and great grand-children. I think they would have enjoyed spoiling them.

Another blessing is all the friends I have, both past and present. So many old friends have passed on but they have left my life so much richer. So many old friends are still with me and they are a treasure I value every day. And, my newer friends are adding to my treasure chest in so many ways. It’s amazing isn’t it, how people enter our lives at just the right time, and it feels like we have known each other always, and we probably have. Friends are constantly streaming through our lives and I give thanks for each and every one of them.

One very special blessing in my life is my special friend who shares my home with me. It would be a lonely existence otherwise.

So much to be thankful for when we really take the time to think about it, which is something we should do every day. Not just once a year, but spend a few minutes each day to just be thankful. It is truly a wonderous way to start the day. Everything just falls into place, everything always works out just the way it’s suppose to when I start my day feeling thankful. There is no other feeling that compares.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Old Books Have A Story

The past 2 weekends I have spent helping with our church garage sale. We need to make some improvements to our church property, thus the garage sale to raise some needed funds.

While unpacking our donations getting ready for the sale, I found a treasure. Well, to me it was a treasure and I’m sure to all book lovers as well. Among our donations were 6 books by Jacob Abbott from the ‘Rollo’s Tour In Europe’ series c1858 and 4 by J. Fenimore Cooper from the ‘New Columbus Series’ c1890.

These old books are fascinating to read. Even though they are all fiction a person can learn so much about how the world was during those times and how the people spoke. Seems they were so precise with their words, like they took great pains to be understood completely. None of this ‘you know’ stuff we hear from people these days.

There is quite a contrast in the spoken/written word of 150 years ago and today. Makes me wonder if we were able to time travel to the 1800’s, would we be able to have a conversation? Could we understand each other? I think it would require a lot of patient listening on our part and maybe theirs too. Patience and listening is something that is in short supply for us these days.

I am reminded of an old Twilight Zone episode I saw many years ago. I loved Twilight Zone and still enjoy seeing the re-runs. So many of the stories are still relevant. But back to this one in particular.

The government had captured this man in a strange uniform and uttering incomprehensible words. They didn’t know where he came from or even if he was human, probably an alien. Completely baffled. Then, quite by accident someone slowed the speed of his taped speech; lo and behold he was speaking ENGLISH!! Seems he was from a future America. In the future everyone is speaking so fast we today cannot understand them.

I think maybe this has started to happen. I know sometimes I have to ask people to speak a little slower, especially younger people. And, I remember as a kid the older people telling me to slow down, don’t talk so fast.

Along this line of reasoning, maybe people in the past talked much slower than we do today because it was a much slower pace. Today we are living at an ever faster pace so our speech is speeding up too. Interesting thought.

Amazing, how finding some old books leads to thinking about how we talk and time travel. One never knows where the mind will take us or what our imagination can conjure up. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to witness history? As a spectator only. I don’t think I want to participate in the day-to-day living in past ages. Life was hard back then, especially for a woman, and today, right now really is the best time.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Are We Accepting Mass Shootings As Normal?

Sunday morning, November 5, 2017, another mass shooting happens. This time in a church in my state of Texas, a little closer to home. The worse mass shooting in Texas, 26 people dead and many more injured.

Our governor and lieutenant governors response? Only God can solve the problem of mass shootings. We must pray and send our thoughts to the victims. Our Presidents response, not a gun problem at all but a mental illness problem.

I don’t know about you but I find these responses totally unacceptable. I know prayer does work but prayer without following up with inspired action is like trying to bake a loaf of bread without the yeast. It just doesn’t work.

However, the response from one of our Texas Senators really takes the cake; he wants to wait until all the facts are in. Like there aren’t enough facts already from all the previous mass killings? The facts have been in for a very long time and our elected officials refuse to look at them.

The fact is plain and simple: WE NEED SENSIBLE GUN CONTROL IN THIS COUNTRY, NOW!! There is NO, I repeat NO valid reason for anybody to own military weapons of any kind.

When was the last time anybody took an assault rifle deer hunting? How many assault guns does a person need in order to kill an animal?

Every time a mass murderer pulls a trigger on innocent people he has lots of help pulling that trigger. Every elected official who refuses to do something about the violence has his or her hand on that trigger also. Every person who campaigns against gun control because it will infringe on their second amendment rights also helps pull that trigger. Everybody who silently stands by and does nothing to protest the killing bears responsibility. And, the NRA has been a bona-fide accomplice in all these mass shootings.

I know some of you will start yelling; ‘people kill people, not guns’. That is a true statement, but we don’t need to make guns so readily available, especially guns designed strictly for killing people.

There is a huge difference between a hunting rifle and an assault rifle. Even I, not a gun enthusiast at all, know that much.

Now all the analyzing and finger-pointing has started around the Sutherland Springs shooter, Kelley.

The Air Force did not notify the FBI of Kelley’s domestic abuse conviction while he was in the Air Force. If they had he would not have been able to buy a gun. He also would not have been able to buy a gun if the ban selling assault rifles to the general public was still in place. Have Congress to thank for that.

Then, our President saying this is not a gun matter but a mental illness matter. How is it not a gun matter when it is so easy to purchase guns? I have read it is easier to buy a gun than to adopt a dog. Also, if it is a mental health matter and I’m sure it did play a large part, why is the President and Congress cutting funds to treat mental illness?

We need both, sensible gun control and good mental health programs. Now, we the public just need to get our voices heard by the people we elect to represent us. If our representatives in Washington and Austin can’t or refuse to do the job we sent them there to do, then they can and will be replaced.

This is my opinion and I felt I needed to share it. I have heard that we, the public, are becoming numb to all the mass shootings and beginning to accept it as a normal thing. That frightens me just as much as the violence, maybe more. My prayer is that we NEVER become complacent about violence in any form. All life is sacred. If we become accepting of killing another human being then we are no longer human. We will have lost what makes us one step above the animals we share this planet with.

Cherish life, cherish each other and let us all work for a better and more loving country and world.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Halloween Reflections

Today, Halloween 2017, I find myself reflecting back to the Halloweens of my very young youth, like the 1940s and early 50s. Now I’m telling my age, which I have no problem admitting.

I hear about all the special events being held for kids. Every town, church and civic groups are organizing trick or treats for kids to keep them safe. No more going door to door because it is too dangerous.

When I was kid, way back when, we had such fun trick or treating. Usually our masks consisted of a paper sack with holes cut for eyes and mouth, maybe some coloring on it but not always. We picked out the houses that we knew would have homemade treats. Popcorn balls was a favorite,

with fresh-baked cookies coming in a close second. Some people handed out pennies. You could get a lot for pennies in those days, 4 to 5 pieces of candy for 1 penny.

I feel it is such a shame that kids can’t do that anymore. Of course, I’m sure they are having just as much fun at the organized events as we did going door to door. After all, it’s hard to beat free candy.

Then there are all the elaborate costumes kids have today. Costumes in my day was mostly sheets draped over the head, if a kid was allowed to use a sheet that is, which were only worn by the ‘rich’ kids.

Sometimes I sorta feel sorry for the kids of today. Seems like we were freer to be just kids back then. Didn’t have to worry about what kind of treats we got. The idea of anyone harming a kid never entered our minds. I’m sure our parents worried that we would be safe just as any parent would, but there wasn’t all the bad stuff happening that we hear so much about these days.

Thinking about Halloween and how things have changed so much during my lifetime, I wonder what the world will be like when these young ones today have kids of their own. They will probably reflect on how much better things were in their youth too. That seems to be the way of every generation, it was always better when we were kids.

I think each generation thinks their youth was better because that is the way of being young. When we’re kids, we have no worries. We are cared for and loved so we can not perceive of it being any other way.

It is my hope and prayer that each generation of kids will always feel loved and cared for. I know there are a lot of kids that do not have this experience, do not know how it feels to be loved. So, lets all pray that one day soon, all kids, everywhere in the world can feel love and peace.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Con-Trail Wanderings

This morning I saw the most perfect con-trail in the bluest sky I have seen in a long time. It looked like the trail was developing out of thin air, so high you couldn’t see the plane that was leaving it behind.

Every time I see one of these trails in the sky my thoughts really start wondering. Things like, where is it going? What are the people like that’s on board? Are they happy, sad, angry, excited or what? Are the pilots headed out on a trip or going home?

Sometimes depending on which direction the plane is headed I imagine where it may be going. If the direction is south I think first Mexico and then the place I would most like to visit, Peru. I always think a plane headed NE is going to New York, like there are no other places in the NE. Maybe because in school I fantasized about living in New York City, a glamorous secretary was what I wanted to be. Lofty ambitions, right?

North bound planes are going to Canada, always, because the Canadian Rockies are beautiful beyond comparison and another of my favorite places. Of course the only place western con-trails can go is to California, everybody wants to go to California. Visiting the Golden State was a dream I had since my teen years, finally made it in 1992.

Then there are the other directions; con-trails going east of course are going to Atlanta because that’s where my brother is. If it is going NW, well that has to be Washington and on to Alaska. Why, because my niece and her family is in Washington and I just love Alaska.

Alaska had always been another dream vacation and that happened 2006, the first time. Alaska is so big it requires more than one trip, and I’m ready any time.

I know a lot of the con-trails are headed across the oceans, more places I want to see some day. Places like all the British Isles, the Pyramids in Egypt, an African Safari, a voyage down the Danube River, touring Rome, Paris and all the great cities around the world. So many places to see I think it will need more than one lifetime.

As you can tell it doesn’t take much to get my imagination going. Imagining or day-dreaming is a great way to travel. From the comfort of my home or wherever I happen to be when these thoughts hit me, I can go anywhere in the world. A great benefit to this type of travel; no airport lines or security to go through. Also, I always have the places all to myself unless I choose to take someone with me on my wanderings.

So, until I actually go to all these places or even after I have been there I think I will always see that white trail in the sky and wonder where that plane with its passengers are headed. I think I will always travel with them if only in my wonderings.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Remembering My Family

A couple of things happened this past week that got me to thinking about writing down some of the memories I have of my family.

First, there was the call from one of my nephews asking if I would be willing to be ‘interviewed’ about our family history. Then came the suggestion from some of my book study members to write down my family history. Now if I have a third suggestion along these lines maybe it is something I should consider. Of course the third suggestion could be the fact that it is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, so maybe I’ll just do it.

I have from time to time dabbled in genealogy. I would get all gung-ho for a while and then lose interest. I’ll have to admit it is fascinating to learn about one’s ancestors. A couple of things that have stood out for me were how many of the males were named James and so many were named after presidents, including my own great-grandfather, John Quincy Richards. Even to this day we have a lot of James in the family. I have traced the Richards back to the 1700’s in Virginia. All indications so far are that they came from Wales. No real proof of that, just where things seem to point.

I know that dates, places and just the facts are not what my nephew is looking for or what people would be interested in knowing although some of the facts I have un-covered are rather interesting.

The stories that bring these people to life is what is fascinating, so that is what I think I’ll do. Just put pen to paper and re-call as much as I can about the people who were in my life as I was growing up.

Don’t know yet how many of these memories will make it into by blog. I’m sure some of them will but others…..well we’ll see.

Right now I think I’ll share a poem written by my mother, Lillian Maria Sumners, when she was sixteen. She was a rather good poet. Evidently she liked poetry because after her death I found lots of poems she had cut out of magazines. But back to this one she wrote; seems like at one time she was looking for a pen pal because that is the theme of the poem, I don’t know if she ever got one.

Hope you all enjoy it. I think mommie would be pleased to have you read her poem.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie

“A Lonely Girls Request”

Here is a shy little request

But it means a lot to me

You may think it unimportant

But you just wait and see.

I’m just a true little country maiden

That’s as lonely as can be

For a few professional pen-pals

Who would risk a chance with me.

A brief description I will give you

I know you wonder how I look

Well, I am no fairy goddess

Or a princess from a story book.

I have a fair complexion

Dark hair and big brown eyes

One hundred sixteen is my weight

And my height is five feet five.

I enjoy going to the movies

And playing on baseball and basketball teams

I think these are activities enough

For a girl who is just sixteen.

This letter I want you to read

I feel you will sponsor its fulfillment

And send it back in care of

The lonely girl who sent it.

Friends hear my pleading

Don’t let my tears be in vain

When you address your letter

Be sure to sign this name.

Lillian Sumners

The Hummingbirds Have Left

Once again I am sitting in my rocking chair with my morning coffee, just letting my mind wander, one of my ways of meditating, when I realized there were no hummingbirds.

For the last several months watching the hummingbirds was such a normal start to my day it took a few days for me to become aware that they were gone. Isn’t it amazing how we get so accustomed to things that it takes some time to notice when they are missing? I found myself wondering how long they have been gone? When did they decide to leave?

Of course the hummingbirds leaving is a natural occurrence signifying that nature is getting ready for its anual hibernation. Won’t be long the trees will be bare, the roses will stop blooming and all will be dormant for a few months. Then before we know it all of nature will once agin burst forth in brilliant colors and songs, ready for a whole new cycle.

I found myself thinking how wonderful it would be if we humans could experience such a cycle. You know, if for some time we could take a nice long nap and wake up to a new outlook on life. How great would that be. Waking up to a world filled with love and peace, a world that knows no hate or violence, a chance to do things over. Would we take advantage of an opportunity to do things differently? I like to believe that we would.

As I was wondering all this I started noticing some other changes outside my window; the bright red cardinals had returned and beautiful monarch butterflies were flitting about. The cardinals had come for the winter, while the butterflies were passing through. Only thing missing from this scene was the honking of geese as they too are heading south.

Sure, one part of nature is getting ready for a long sleep but other parts are just changing locations. The plants are stationary so the only way they can experience a re-birth is to go dormant but the animals can be re-born simply by migrating.

Now that wouldn’t be a bad thing either. I wouldn’t mind migrating with the seasons, Banff in Canada for the summer and Galveston for the winter. Now that would be ideal.

At this time, however, I am not able to physically move to a new location but I can greet each morning with a fresh new outlook on life. I am reminded of the phrase; ‘this is the first day of the rest of my life’. Not a bad motto to live by. After all, today is the only time we have.

As I sit here writing about my wonderings I find myself actually looking forward to the cooler weather that is coming. I hope we have a pretty snowfall. The bright red cardinals are so pretty hopping around in the snow. But, if all we have are some cold rainy days that is good too. I will enjoy my hot cup of coffee even more as I sit in my rocking chair and travel the landscape of my wandering thoughts.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

PS: Hoping you too can find that special place to day-dream.

What is Disrespectful?

So here we go again with more tweets from the president stirring up more division among us. This time it’s about some NFL players kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem.

Let’s first be clear on why they are kneeling; not to disrespect the flag or our soldiers, but to call attention to the fact that not everyone in this country enjoys equal rights as stated in our constitution. Disrespecting our flag and soldiers is the spin that Trump is putting on it to divert our attention away from what he is doing. This is my opinion.

I remember people burning our flag in protest of the Viet Nam war. Then the courts ruled that flag burning was protected under freedom of speech. To me flag burning is a lot more disrespectful than kneeling during the national anthem, which is also protected under freedom of speech.

How many of you football fans get up off the couch and stand when the national anthem is played? Look at the stands during the playing of the anthem, how many people are still sitting? How is sitting with your snacks and drinks of choice any different. Maybe it is even more disrespectful than the players taking a knee.

I also recall, during the presidential inauguration, Melania having to poke Trump to remind him to place his hand over his heart during the anthem playing. Now he has the nerve to criticize others for exercising their freedom to protest. Am I the only one to recognize this hypocrisy?

What bothers me the most about all this hoopla is the fact that the president of our country is calling for my fellow citizens to be punished for exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest. Why does not everyone feel outrage about this? This smacks of totalitarianism big time.

Also in my opinion, this is another attempt by Trump to divert attention away from all the wrongs happening inside the White House and Congress. Now everybody is talking about disrespecting our flag and our soldiers by not standing. I really doubt that anyone who is taking a knee to protest inequality would hesitate one little bit to defend our country, our flag and the constitution if the need arose, and the need my arise pretty soon if Trump keeps hurling insults at the North Korean leader. Once again, my opinion.

There are so many things much more important for the president and congress to work on. First and foremost right now is helping our citizens in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a part of the United States even though Trump thinks it’s not. We all know it’s an island surrounded by a big ocean but still a part of our country, just as much as Texas and Florida.

We all need to pay attention to what is really going on in Washington. We should be outraged that Russia meddled in our elections. We should not accept our president insulting and belittling handicapped people and all the other insults he constantly tweets. We should not stand for Congress changing the rules anytime they want in order to pass a piece of legislation. We should hold the press accountable when they mis-represent the news in favor of their ideology. AND, we all need to participate in our democracy.

One reason our country is in such a mess is because so many people sit out the elections. I have heard numerous people say their vote doesn’t matter; why bother; “they” will do what ‘they’ want, and so on and so on. Well, your vote does matter, it matters a lot.

I for one am very grateful to live in this country. There is no where else I would rather be. Even with all our problems and injustices I believe we will rise above them and become an even better country. The majority of us are kind, generous and caring people and we will not let our country be taken over by a few wealthy people who want to turn us into an oligarchy.

Remember 2018 is an election year and we can turn Washington around in one fell swoop. So get out and kick out the officials who are not doing the job we elected them to do. Let’s make sure that we, the citizens, retain our right and privilege to peaceful protest and freedom of speech.

So there, now I feel better after having my little rant and I thank you very much for reading.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

What If The Earth Wobbles

One again I am sitting in my rocking chair with a hot cup of coffee in hand and there in the dark sky is that gorgeous morning star. It is still dark enough for it to shine forth in all its glory. The sun not yet making it’s arrival but hinting at the beautiful sun rise that is coming. This is my very favorite time of the day. But, then the setting sun is also a wonderful time of day too, a time to reflect on what a wonderful day it has been.

As I sit here sipping my coffee and marveling at the sights unfolding right there in my back yard, just above the horizon, I marvel once again how it all works in perfect synchronization.

Then my mind starts wondering about what would happen if our earth wobbled just a little bit more on it axis that it does already. That starts other wondering thoughts flying across my mind. Like, what if the earths’ orbit around the sun slowed or sped up just a millisecond? What about all the other planets in our solar system if their orbits changed just a hair? Then there’s the moon, how would a change in its’ orbit affect our tides here on earth.

If any of these things happened, just one or all of them, would we all drown before being hurled into outer space? Or maybe we would just be thrown off as the waters rise.

Am I the only one who ever wonders about such things? I have friends who think I am a little strange because I do wonder about these things and many more. Like how do people really know that dogs do not see color? Has a dog ever told anyone that?

But back to my original thoughts. Would we go sailing off into space if our earth shifts on its axis? I have read that this shift has happened in the distant past and that it will probably happen again. That’s why fossils of tropical vegetation have been found in the colder climes around the world.

Looking at the sky and stars and being awe-struck at how it all magnificently works together, I find myself wondering how anyone can look at all this and still think it all happened by chance. No way!! There is Intelligence here.

There is an energy at work here that permeates everything, from the tiniest cells to the giant stars. Science has proven this energy exists. This energy is Divine Intelligence. This energy is God. It’s all one and the same. And, it doesn’t matter what a person says they believe or don’t believe, Divine Intelligence IS. Just like the earth was always round even though people believed it was flat.

Just imagine, we, each and every one of us, are made of the exact same stuff as the stars! That makes me feel pretty awesome. We are all star people. We are all special, equally. The energy that made the stars and keeps our planets in perfect orbits flows through us. How great is that?

Each morning as I have my coffee watching this magnificent dance of nature, I feel very close to my Creator. It is a special time I look forward to as I lay down to sleep each night. This morning time is so calming and prepares me for the day. Reminds me how much I have to be grateful for and how appreciative I am of this great big wonderful world.

Once agin feeling very blessed.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

Morning Star

This morning I took my coffee to my rocking chair to watch the sunrise. When I opened the blinds, there, hanging just over the tree tops was the brightest ball of light I had ever seen. Of course it was the morning star shining in all it’s splendor with the pink glow of the sunrise just underneath. It was a breathtakingly beautiful sight and the words, Thank You God, came tumbling out of my mouth. It was like being in a sacred space.

It was such a magnificent sight I just sat there drinking it in along with my morning coffee. I felt like it was there just for me. This one brilliant light up high in the sky shining in all it’s glory. Yes, I know the morning star is not really a star but the planet Venus.

As I sat there this bright ball of light slowly got smaller and dimmer as the light became brighter; it was going away. Soon it was like a pin head with rays of sun light shining around it, then it was gone.

Still sitting and rocking I realized that that glorious star had not gone anywhere. It is still right there where it has always been, still glowing, still orbiting the sun like it has done for billions of years. The only thing that changed was my ability to see it.

That got me to thinking where else am I not seeing things that have always been right in front of me. Just like the stars that are always there even on the brightest days, what else is always there for me to see?

The first thing to came to mind is what is happening in Houston and along the coast from hurricane Harvey. At first I only saw the suffering and devastation. Heard the warnings beginning to go out about looters and con artists. But as I listened and watched the news, I began to see so many people stepping up to help. Strangers coming from all over the country, coming with their boats and trucks, anything to help rescue people. People rescuing the beloved pets that were struggling in the water.

With all the violence going on in the world and all the hate on display, I wasn’t seeing all the good people who have always been right there in front of me.

Just like the stars that are always present, good people are always present too. One is obscured by natural forces and the other is obscured by my own limited sight.

What else might I be missing? What else is right in front of me once I open my eyes? Just be open and accepting of all the good that always surrounds me. I am truly blessed.

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’