Saying Merry Christmas

The other day I was out doing some Christmas shopping and was thinking on the way home about how almost everybody I came in contact with was wishing me and everyone a Merry Christmas. That started me to wondering why so many people think we can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore when I just heard it everywhere. Where did that idea come from?

I see comments on social media and emails about making it OK to wish Merry Christmas to people. Seems like some think that there is a law against saying that phrase and they think we need a law saying it’s OK. Where do people get such ideas?

I hear people wishing each other Merry Christmas everywhere I go and I have yet to hear anybody complain about it, much less tell me that we are not allowed to utter those words. So, where do people get it that we cannot say ‘Merry Christmas’ anymore?

I know that some businesses have instructed their employees to say ‘Happy Holidays’ to their customers and that is perfectly understandable. After all, here in the USA not everyone celebrates the Christian holidays. That is one of our basic rights in this country, freedon of religion and freedom to have no religion.

For myself, I don’t care if someone says ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Holidays’ or nothing at all. My Christmas spirit is not dependent on what a clerk in a store says or someone I meet while out shopping. What is really nice when I’m out and about is a smile, a hello, a nod of the head in greeting. Acknowledging my presence with a simple act of kindness goes so much farther than any words that can ever be spoken. This is the true spirit of the season and it can be practiced by people of any, all or no religious beliefs and all year long, not just Christmas time. Just simply be kind to each other. Always.

Until next time.

What is Unconditional Love?

What is unconditional love? That was the question asked by my minister one Sunday morning and I did not have an answer.

He then asked us to close our eyes and remember a time when we truly      felt loved unconditionally and I could not remember such a time. But, at the conclusion of his message I had a better understanding of what unconditional love is. And after a few days of comtemplating that question I have come to realize that I have had many moments of experiencing unconditional love in my life.

When hearing that phrase ‘unconditional love’, the first thing that always came to my mind is what I heard growing up in church; God loves us unconditionally. But then ‘they’ always added the condition that we had to obey all these rules (never understood why God would have laws against dancing or movies; obeying the 10 commandments I understood) or God would send us to eternal hell. What kind of unconditional love is that? Coming from such teachings I always felt that I was never good enough to earn God’s unconditional love so I felt as though I had never experienced such love.

After hearing my ministers message that morning I now realize that I have been unconditionally loved all my life. As he pointed out in his message that day there are many experiences each and every day that is filled with love. Such as, a sunrise and/or sunset; gazing upon a sleeping baby; the welcome received from your pets; the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking; a welcoming smile from a dear loved one; so many things happening all around us all the time that are expressions of love from our Creator. I just needed some reminding.

There have been so many times when I felt such bliss but did not recognize it as being pure love. Many times, especially in nature, when I have looked upon something and felt so at one with everything that it was almost like having an out-of-body experience. Not until I come out of it do I realize that for a split second I felt like I was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I was part of all that is and yet was also an observer of all that is. This is the way I felt the first time I saw the Grand Teton Mountains; the Mississippi River; The Rocky Mountains; the Atlantic Ocean and so many other places. And, at times just sitting in my rocking chair and meditating.

Then there are the times from my childhood that I now know were experiences of unconditional love. Like playing outside in the summer time and hearing my mother singing in her beautiful soprano voice. She loved to sing and you could hear her all over the neighborhood. ( I did not inherit her singing voice as my friends can attest to.) In those days we kept the doors and windows open to get any breeze because there was no central air. There were the Sunday dinners when we would have our one meal of the week with a meat and a dessert. Especially when the dessert was our mother’s gingerbread cake with her special sauce. (Wish I knew how she made it.)

Today I can experience unconditional love watching the hummingbirds outside my window. Gazing out at the morning sunrise and the clouds drifting across the sky. Hearing the birds sing and the wind rustling through the trees. Basking in the love I have for and from my family and my many wonderful friends. Remembering the times when I held my new born neices and nephews for the first time. There is nothing compared with holding a precious new life in your arms. Talk about miracles!!!

So many times I have experienced unconditionl love in my life and continue to do so each and every day. I am also experiencing that same love for myself. As our minister said that morning, unless we can feel love and acceptance for ourselves we are unable to extend it to others. To be able to feel, receive and give such love is an awesome experience. As I have heard from many sources, before we can give something we have to first receive it. It is my prayer and desire that everyone have that experience of unconditional love. Just be aware that it is happening all the time, all around us and in many ways.

Just open your eyes and heart and receive all the love your Creator has for you and the best part is,

you do not have to do anything to earn it. It is our birthright!!!

Until next time,

Gloria ‘Jeannie’

America of my Youth

The other day on Face Book I saw a post about wanting to bring back the America they grew up in. That started me thinking about the America I grew up in, the 1950’s. Would I really like to have that America back? After giving it some thought the answer has to be a resounding NO.

There were some good things about the 1950’s America. Seems people were friendlier and we felt safe in our neighborhoods. Of course the music was great, birth of Rock n Roll. Our grandparents wondering what would become of my generation with all the bad influences. Being a teen and not having to earn a living for myself yet I can’t speak to that part of the decade. So for me it was a rather easy time even though we were financially poor we were for the most part happy. There were family problems with deaths of both parents and a step father who was useless. But back to how America was then.

We all know from history books that it was a time of segregation. I remember seeing ‘White Only’ signs around town. I will say that my mother taught us to be respectful of ‘Colored People’. That was the politically correct term at that time. One of the worse chewing outs I got from Mother was the one and ONLY time I uttered the “N” word. To this day it still irks me to hear anyone use that word.

But since I am a white female the bias against women and girls is what really stands out the most with me. I loved school and learning and wanted to go to college. I knew that there was no way my mother could send me to college and then she died in my senior year of high school. I never thought about college after that.

But even before then, I was never encourged to pursue college or a career of any kind. I was a girl and at that time girls just grew up, got married and had kids. I remember hearing my mother make the statement that if she could send any of us kids, and there were 8 of us then, it would be the boys. Because its more important for boys to get a good education than girls. Education was wasted on girls because they just got married and never used it. I don’t know how she could really have believed that since she was left a widow with 7 kids to support. But then she got busy and found another husband. Becasue thats what a woman did then. So, in the 1950’s boys were encourged to really make something of themselves while the girls were considered little more that a glorified housekeeper and ‘brood mares’. It was OK if a girl wanted to be a teacher or a secretary or maybe a nurse. These were proper female occupations for ‘Old Maids’.

Then after graduating high school in 1959 I wanted to buy a new TV. But in order to get the credit approved I had to have a male co-signer. The same thing happened when I bought my first car. Credit was not given to women.

And then I thought about getting into Real Estate. That sounded like something that would be interesting. I talked with a local Realtor in Garland about it. I don’t remember his name but I do remember him telling me that it would be OK for a female to sell houses but we don’t sell houses to single women. Unless they are over 35, which would indicate they probably won’t be getting married. I found myself agreeing with him, saying that makes sense. I had been indoctrinated very well into the culture of that time. But I still felt something was wrong about this.

Bring back that America? NO!!!! We are doing so much better today. True we still have problems to be resolved, lots of problems, but we have come a long way. Let’s keep going forward and keep making America better for ALL of us.

Post Election Thoughts

Well, here it is a little over a week since the Trump upset. I still can’t believe he actually won the election to be the President of our country. I know we didn’t really have much of a choice but in my opinion, anybody would would have been better than Trump. Well, maybe one or two people might have been worse than Trump.

Still though, I must adhere to my deepest belief that we are all ONE, all across the world, we are ONE people. We are all sisters and brothers, created equally and that the God of my understanding loves us all equally. I must admit it has been hard to keep this belief at times during the campaign when so many insults were hurled at the opponents and ordinary citizens. But, it is OK to not like what your brother is saying and doing but it is not OK to hate him. Hate is never a viable option for anything. Love will always triumph in the end.

So, I am willing to give President-elect Trump a chance to prove to me and others who did not vote for him, which was over half of the vote, that he will be a President for all the people. I sincerely pray that those who so desperately wanted a change in Washington that they were willing to vote in someone who promoted hate, bigotry and divisivness will not come to regret their decision later.

I will also add that we must be vigilent in the coming days and not hesitate to hold Trump and his people accountable for their actions if they start to contradict our democratic principals. We must start now to make sure in 4 years we have ethical candidates who truly have the country’s best interest at heart. Candidates who truly understand that we are a country of immigrants, with freedom of and from religion. We are also a global community, no country can exist in isolation. We must also let our senators and congressmen know how we feel and that they too will be under our scrutiny.

I believe we should respect the office of the President but we do not follow blindly. We the people must always remember that all elected officials are our employees and we can fire them by voting them out of office. We have another opportunity in 2 years to replace congress if they do not do what we hired them to do.

We the people also have a responsibility to participate in the elections. WE MUST VOTE! It was a disgrace that half of the eligible voters did not vote in this past election. If you did not vote, don’t complain.

Until next time.

Trump Political Cartoon

I recently saw a post on Face Book that really upset me to no end. It was a cartoon drawing of 3 policemen escorting President Obama in handcuffs.

This picture in itself was bad enough but what was really disturbing was who the 3 policemen were. The one leading Obama was Trump and the one on the other side was Putin. I didn’t recognize the one walking behind, but it was another white man. I don’t know exactly what the artist was trying to convey or who this cartoon was in favor of. Since it was posted by a Trump supporter, I can only assume it was suppose to champion the hateful rhetoric of Trump.

Seeing even a cartoon representation of our President, regardless of who it is, in handcuffs is bad enough. But to think it would be acceptable to have the leader of Russia to have a part in the arrest is just plain wrong. What really bothers me the most about this picture is the fact that so many of my fellow Americans can see nothing wrong with it. To think that Americans are OK with having the leader of a country who’s goal is the abolishment of our country aid in arresting the President of our country is really scary.

We have procedures in place to handle any elected official that is accused and/or indicted for any illegal activities. We certainly don’t need or want Russia’s help. Even Nixon, who was a crook, was given the respect that the office of the President deserves. Every holder of this highest office of the land should be given the respect the office deserves, regardless of our personal opinions about the occupant.

So what is this cartoon trying to tell us? Are we being warned that this is what may happen if Trump wins the Presidency? Or, is this what Trump is promising to do if he is elected? Will he invite Putin to help him govern? Will he try to imprison Obama if he is elected? He has already threatened to send Hillary to prison if he is elected, and he said nothing about a trial.

I really hope that I’m not the only American that finds this image of Putin helping to arrest our President freightening and disgusting. What’s even more scary is how easy this could happen if we aren’t careful. Like I have said before in my posts, put your personal feelings about the candidates aside and really listen to what they are saying. Not what you want to hear, but what is actually being said. Check the facts and vote with your brain, not your emotions. Sometimes the best leader at the time may be the person you like the least. This is the choice a responsible voter must make sometimes. Let’s keep our democracy, don’t sell it out to a foreign power.

Until next time,

Gloria

When Crazy People are in Control

Lately I have been thinking a lot about this 2016 presidential election coming up. It seems to me that our country would do well to be reminded about another country in the first half of the 20th century. There was a candidate that pandered to the fears and prejudices of the population. He convinced enough of the people that all their economic and social problems was absolutely the fault of a very specific group, namely the Jews.

The majority of the populace bought into his message because it absolved them of any responsibilty for their own behavior and decisions. It was somebody else’s fault. Sound familiar? So they elected this crazy person to be their leader and thought everything would be just fine. I imagine at some point the people realized their mistake but by then it was too late to rectify it. The crazies were firmly in control.

This crazy person had managed to find other crazy people to join him in the country’s leadership. Then they found a couple of other countries that had also put crazy people in charge and together they plunged the entire world into a devastating war that lasted for years and cost the lives of millions of innocent people. A war that took years to recover from and some people would never recover because they had family members who had been murdered in a most horrible way. In some instances, entire families had been wiped out.

Today, with the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world, imagine if you will if the leaders of some of these nuclear armed countries got together to impose their will on the population, as some countries are already doing, well, it would be the end of human kind. Not just the end of civilization, but the absolute end of the entrie planet. Is this something we want to take a chance on?

So, when you cast your vote in a very short time, really search your heart and mind as to who would be the best choice to lead our country. Set aside all the rhetoric you have been hearing from all sides and really search your conscience. Listen to your intellect and your heart and vote from that space.

Don’t let fear, anger or hatred decide for you. Really vote from your conscience and with your brain, not your emotions. I know many say that our choices are not good this year and that may be so. I know for me I cannot vote for any person that has to ask their security adviser: If we have nuclear weapons, then why can’t we use them? No sane person would even have to ask such a question, they would know the answer. There is no place or country that is safe in a nuclear war. It would definitely be THE END.

Until next time,

Gloria

Let’s ALL Go Vote

I have been seeing political ads on TV about a Congressman in Oklahoma who is running for re-election. Living just south of the Red River, we get to see what is happeming North of the Red River also. I don’t remember this person’s name. What really caught my attention was that in his ad the only accomplishment he talked about was that he had voted to repeal Obamacare 64 times. I sincerely hope he did do something else during his years in Congress. But given the state of our Congress for the last few years, voting to re-repeal Obamacare is just about the only thing they all did.

It makes me feel so sad that our elected officials are not doing the job we asked them to do. They are all so busy pointing fingers and looking after their own careers, they have no time for the people they are suppose to be representing.

Just think of all the good that could have been accomplished the last 4 years if they had just spent half as much of that time actually working together for the good of our country. Maybe we could have done something about all the problems the candidates now claim they can fix, like immigration, fair taxation, equal pay and yes, a good health care system.

But, we the voters have to take our share of the responsibility for the Congress we have put in place. After all, we put them there. So, the way I see it, it is now our job to put people in public office that will listen to us. People that will ACTUALLY work to get money and lobbyists out of the political system. Vote from your conscience but do your homework. Vote from love, not anger. And, most important, DON’T LET HATE CAST YOUR VOTE. Let’s get the hate and fear out of our political system NOW. Remember, all people are good, all people are important and each of us has a place in this world that no one else can fill.

So, go vote. It doesn’t matter if you belong to a Political Party or not, just vote. Every vote really does count. I have been reminded of that fact a lot lately as I hear the stories from the 2000 Presidential Election. The Republicans won the White House because of 500+ votes found in Florida. Think what may have happened if a few more people had voted. Every vote really does count, even with the Electoral College. It is my opinion that if you don’t vote you give up your right to complain afterwards if you don’t like the results. In fact, it is also my opinion that if a person chooses not to vote then they may even have to bear more responsibility for the current crop of elected officials. Your vote could have made the difference.

And, bear in mind, this is all just my opinion about things. I know you each have your own and that is one of the great things about living in a free society.

Until next time,

Gloria

Who Are We?

 

Here is an example of the kind of wandering thoughts I may have. It’s amazing how you can start out with one thought and end up thinking about something completely un-related to the original thought. This time I decided to trace the steps that got me to the final thought.

One day as I was having my morning coffee and looking out the window just letting my mind wander it occured to me that I need to get my bills lined up to pay. Then I remembered how I had just received the latest Presidential Quarter Collector Panel from USPS and that I need to pay that bill too. That got me to thinking about the latest panel being FDR and how he was the first president during my lifetime (dating myself here), although the first president I really remember is Eisenhower. That got me started naming off all the presidents during my lifetime, which have been a few, ending with Obama.

Thinking about Obama made me start thinking about how he is our first black president but then thought that he isn’t really all black. He is just as much white as he is black since his mother was white. That got me to wondering why all mixed race people are just automatically considered non-white. Why not white or asian or whatever the other half is? Are we still clinging to old beliefs about race? Are we still so color conscious? Why is it so hard to look past the color of a person’s skin? Why do we still label each other as to what kind of American we are? You know, Native American; African American; Asian American; Mexican American, etc. IF your not of white skin you have to have some other adjective preceeding American. Why? Why not just American.

IF we really need to describe someone for some reason, why not say he/she is American of African descent, or American of Mexican descent, or American of English descent, etc.? After all, we all came from somwhere else unless you are Native American. But then it is believed even they came to the American continent from Siberia in a past ice age. So, if that is the case then none of us are really and truly Americans.

To carry it even further, I have read theories that Europeans came up from Africa, that all humans originated in Africa in the distant past. So where did the Africans come from? That brings me to another theory I have read is that the earth was colonized in the distant past by space aliens. Maybe we are all really Martians????

So, who are we really and where did we really come from? So many questions. So much to think about. So much to write about. Stay tuned.

Until next time,

Gloria

Why Do A Blog?

First, I think I should probably introduce myself. My name is Gloria Jean Richards. Some people call me Gloria and others call me Jeannie, a nickname I have had since my earliest memories. Of course my brothers always had to come up with names of their own, so at times I was Jeannie Wiennie and sometimes Glo-Worm. An example of sibling love and I wouldn’t take anything for any of my brothers and sisters. I love them all very much. Hopefully they will like my writings.

My favorite way to start the day is with a cup of coffee, sitting in my rocking chair and watching the sun come up. Life doesn’t get much better. This was the one thing I wanted to do in retirement, just ease into the day not rushing to get to work on time. Now I can sit and rock and sip my coffee and solve all the world problems while the sun rises, or so it seems. It’s amazing the things that run through my mind at these times.

I may re-live past times in my life, sometimes changing what I would have done if given the opportunity and other times just thoroughly enjoying that moment. Especially some of the trips I have taken and special times with my loved ones. These are the moments when I find myself wishing that I had stopped long enough to really savor the experiences; “to stop and smell the roses” as they say.

Other times I might start thinking about something that I heard on the news or a comment I heard someone make. In my mind I will start responding to them and telling them in no un-certain terms how I feel and what I think they should do. I think we all feel this way at times. Goodness knows there is a lot going on in the world these days and we need to pay attention.

Often times as I look out my window at the trees, birds and just all of nature, my thoughts wander to God and the meaning of life in general. I may ponder something I heard in church or from one of the many books I am always reading. Just what is my place in the universe and how do I fit in? I love to read and learn new things, especially spiritual and self-improvement literature. I also really enjoy a good fiction story. I think we should be exposed to many different types of literature.

Then there are the times when my mind just wanders. Actaully, this is most of the time. My mind just takes off in a zillion different directions. It’s amazing how many un-related topics the mind can dwell on in just a split second. I may start thinking about the things I want to get done today and end up wondering when earth will be visited by extra-terrestrial beings. I do think this will happen one day as it is very un-likely that we are the only intelligent life in this universe. Some would argue the point about how intelligent our life-form really is, given some of the things we humans do. Another topic for thinking about.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoy my mornings with my coffee in my rocking chair. Just wandering around through my minds landscape. It can be an amazing journey at times. Sometimes even I am amazed at the places my mind goes.

Then one day I decided to start writing down some of the things I was pondering. I have always used writing as a coping mechanism for stressful situations in my life so it seemed like a perfect outlet for my wonderings. Finally I worked up enough courage to share some of my writings with a friend and he asked me if I had ever thought about writing a blog. Of course I hadn’t as I thought no one would be interested in what I had to say. He told me I had an interesting perspective on things and encourged me to try this. So, here it is, my first blog.

I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and opinions. They will cover a huge range of topics, because I never know where my mind will dwell. These are only my thoughts and I do not put them out there to seek approval of any kind. These are just my ramblings. If they make you think about things differently or just something to consider that you hadn’t thought of before, then maybe you might want to start a blog too. We can all share our thoughts and maybe get more people thinking about every thing.

Until next time,