Blog Archives

The Antidote

antidoteI try to be a nice person. I really do.

But sometimes, the person I strive to be and the one in my head couldn’t be more different.

O.K. – not some of the time. Most of the time.

In fact, I’ve often wondered if the first verse of “Cell Block Tango” in the musical Chicago was written with me in mind. In it, a young woman explains how the habits of other people can “get you down.” She complains about Bernie, who popped his gum when she was having a bad day. Her bad day turned into his bad day when she shot and killed him.

I can’t say I’ve ever come close to killing another person, but my mind is often plotting revenge. I just don’t act on these thoughts.

But when I’m in a funk, like I was last week, people or situations that are normally just irritating suddenly proliferate as though purposefully torturing me.

The moms who have known each other for years and don’t make an effort to include me in their conversations, even when I try to insert myself, morph into that pack of mean girls from high school.

The people who talk about updating the living room paint to “this year’s color” make me feel completely incompetent and out of touch. (Up until this year, I never even knew that some shades of beige are “in” and some are “out.” I generally feel accomplished when the old, faded living room carpet at my house gets vacuumed a couple of times each month.)

The grocery store clerks who make comments about the food I’m buying completely annoy me. Even though I tend to be a chatty person with almost everyone, I don’t need complete strangers talking to me about my eating habits.

Parents who make sure that they drop a list of their children’s accomplishments into every conversation seem to taunt me for my less accomplished (in their eyes) kids.

And those are just the people who irritate me. I haven’t even mentioned the ones who make me really angry:

  • Individuals who don’t take pride in their job. I just don’t get that. If you are being paid to do something, you should never, ever expect other people to compensate and clean up your messes.
  • People who compensate and clean up the messes for individuals who don’t take pride in their job. When that happens, the lazy people never learn.
  • People who post derogatory comments in social media about low-income people who receive government benefits. No one in this world goes without the help of others. Some people are just fortunate to have family, friends, intellectual gifts and opportunities that helped them overcome difficult situations.
  • Individuals who don’t take time to listen to others who may be less educated, less beautiful, less wealthy, less accomplished or less socially connected. We are all on this planet together, and I’m fairly confident that God doesn’t care more about some than others.
  • Those same people who flaunt all they have by dropping snide comments or making off-hand remarks that are actually intended to put down others.
  • Anyone who makes decisions that hurt my children and cause them to question their abilities or their dreams.

Generally, my antidote for this anger is to make up and play out entire scenes in my head. In them, I say just the right words or take just the right actions to cut down the offenders and put them in their place.

And then I pray to be a kind person and pretend to be the nice person I wish I were.

Usually, that’s enough, and the anger and irritation subside.

Usually.

But when the irritation and anger continue to linger and the notes from “Cell Block Tango” become an ear worm, I have to do something a littler more dramatic and employ a stronger antidote.

That’s when I write about the people I annoy me. And sometimes, I even make those written words public.

The Selfish Writer

When I was younger, I lived my life in expectation of the person I would someday become.

Merriam Webster online Definitin

Merriam Webster online Definition

Someday I would gain better control of my mouth so I didn’t make comments that sound stupid.

Someday I would no longer feel like an awkward ugly ducking and would transform into a beautiful swan.

Someday I would be so accomplished that people who had hurt or discouraged me would  say, “I know her.”

As I grew older, I was no longer concerned with such somedays. Others might attribute the change to the natural process of aging or to the fact I grew more comfortable in my own skin. Maybe they are right.

Those somedays I’d imagined were about what other people thought of me rather than the type of person I was capable of becoming.  

I wish I could say I no longer worry about what people think of me or that my intentions are always humble and selfless, but I can’t. I simply traded my somedays for the immediate gratification of writing.

writing interruptionWriting provides an opportunity to share my thoughts without interruption or disagreement. Writing allows me to arrange and rearrange words like a florists puts together a beautiful bouquet or a musician composes a haunting melody. And writing offers me a stage on which I am the star. In other words, writing lets me share the best parts of myself in a venue and in a manner that I choose.

That makes me feel good about myself and helps the somedays disappear. Even though people tell me I am simply using a God-given gift to share information or to make people think or to entertain, I know that’s only partly true.

I also write so people better understand me. I write because people read what I say and give me attention. I write because it provides a way to share pent-up emotions and frustrations. And I write because I simply enjoy the process the way some people enjoy cooking or making crafts.

In other words, I write because I am selfish.

But if my selfish acts also encourage others to thinks differently or to smile a bit,  I’m not going to feel guilty.

Instead I’m going to keep on writing while the wishful somedays fade into my distant past.

Public Indecency

Flasher-in-a-mac-001I’ve heard people say that  writing is like going naked in public. If you write from the heart and are completely truthful, you are also completely exposing yourself. And even though my husband sometimes jokes that I have nudist tendencies, I really don’t.

Exposing my most private thoughts and experiences is incredibly scary. And yet, I still feel compelled to do so.

My need doesn’t come from my ego but rather from my heart. I have a deep-seated desire to make people think.

I won’t lie. Sometimes I fear how my words will be interpreted or that some people will twist them to meet their own needs. And sometimes they do.  But, instead of worrying about the critics, I try to focus on all the people who express their appreciation that I am speaking up. And, ever once in a while, the power of my own voice surprises me.

Yesterday, I was talking to Angela, the mother of one of my son’s former classmates. She asked how Shepherd likes attending a brand new (as in newly constructed) high school.

I said he’s very happy, but that there are challenges in trying to establish all new programs, including music and sports. We joked about the football team, and I asked if she had seen a letter to the editor in our local newspaper.

In it, a parent complained that students in the northern end of the county got a brand new school when the students at Martinsburg High School should have one. Her reasoning was that the Martinsburg students deserve a new school because of their championship football and basketball teams.

Angela and I laughed about priorities, but then she said something that took me off guard.

“You are such a good writer, you should write a letter in response.”

I wasn’t just surprised that she knows I write. I was surprised that she thought my words are powerful enough to make a difference.

Instead of acknowledging those thoughts, I simply laughed and said, “That wouldn’t be worth the time.”

She agreed, and our conversation drifted. But my own words stayed with me.

I hadn’t said that writing such a letter wouldn’t be worth my time, I’d said the time. At some point during my journey as a writer, I stopped thinking about my blog as an individual activity and one that involves a community – other writers, readers, friends and colleagues. And in doing so, I also realized I’m not as alone or exposed as I felt when I first started writing.

And for that, I am very grateful.

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 83

diary of Anne FrankWhen Anne Frank named her diary Kitty, she never realized that the it would become an international best seller.

She just knew that she needed some place to express her inner-most thoughts and, later, to document life in incredibly challenging circumstances.

In doing so, she made the Holocaust personal for millions.

When I was young, the Holocaust seemed like ancient history. Now, I realize only a few short years separate Anne’s death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from my birth into a middle-class family in the United States.

But Anne was born at the wrong time in the wrong place.

By the time she was four-years old, the Nazi government was in power and had organized a massive propaganda campaign to win the loyalty and cooperation of Germans. This included taking control of newspapers, magazines, books, music, movies and radio. Any point of view that even appeared to threaten Nazi beliefs was censored.

During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors and librarians developed lists of books they thought were threatening. On May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores and threw books into huge bonfires. More than 25,000 books were burned. Some were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including Americans Jack London, Helen Keller, Ernest Hemingway and Sinclair Lewis.

Ironically, decades later, there were efforts to ban The Diary of Anne Frank from American schools and libraries.

I’m just glad the words in her diary were louder than the protests.

That always makes me smile.

Day 83:  The Diary of Anne Frank

Day 82: In Cold Blood  Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment  Day 77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness    Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart  Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 82

I always had a vague idea about who Truman Capote was, but I never paid much attention to him. At least, I didn’t pay muchin cold blood attention until I discovered  he was a childhood friend of Harper Lee and the inspiration for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird.

That intrigued me, and I made a point of learning more about the man who made his literary mark with a controversial book about the horrific murder of an entire family in Holcomb Kansas in 1959.

Although Capote and Harper Lee conducted interviews and took volumes of notes, the accuracy of In Cold Blood is still  questioned 47 years after it was published.

But after I read it, I understood more about Capote than I did about the crime. He had an undying need for three things: 1) to make his mark by writing; 2) to understand why people behave in a way that makes no sense to most of us and 3) to demonstrate how complex people really are.

He didn’t want to believe in the simplicity of good and bad. He inherently knew that people are often shaped by how they respond to the circumstances. At the same time, he struggled with how anyone can commit evil acts against others.

Maybe the fact the Capote painted the killers as complicated individuals rather than simply as villains is one of the reasons  In Cold Blood was banned and challenged. Or maybe the absolute horror of the murders was simply enough.

But I respect Capote’s efforts to paint an otherwise black and white story in shades of gray.

People who can do that always make me smile.

Day 82: In Cold Blood  Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment  Day 77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness    Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart  Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 81

My mom was an avid fan of libraries and always encouraged us to borrow books rather than buy them. Because I read so much as a child, I didn’t have the money to purchase all the roll of thunder hear my crybooks I wanted anyway. But as I got older, I used my money to build a small personal library.

Every time I moved, I had to choose the select few books I would keep.

I still have the well-worn copy of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry that I bought and first read in elementary school.

The Newbery Award winning book by Mildred D. Taylor is narrated by fourth grader Cassie Logan, who tells the story of being part of a family of  African-American landowners in Mississippi during the Great Depression.

I read the book over and over again never knowing there were adults who thought this children’s book wasn’t appropriate for children because of  insensitivity, racism and offensive language. Maybe they just want to forget or ignore that period of our country’s history.

Personally, I am just grateful for a book and an author who taught me what happens when people don’t stand up for what is right. And what happens when they do.

That always makes me smile.  Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment

Day 77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness    Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart  Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 80

The OutsidersI made a lot of poor decisions when I was young.

Take, for example, my choice for dramatic readings for speech competitions.

I chose to read passages from a book I absolutely loved.

That may seem perfectly understandable –  but only if you think common sense was involved.

It wasn’t.

The book was The Outsiders, which means all the characters were adolescent males. Since I was an adolescent female, some people were confused.

No matter how hard I worked at capturing the essence of the passages, the judges weren’t impressed with my efforts. The feedback I received was “wrong choice of work.”

Not only that, but I when I chose my competition piece, I didn’t know The Outsiders was being made into a major motion picture. It opened in theaters during speech season.

That didn’t impress the judges either.

In hindsight, I don’t really care if the judges were impressed. I loved the book, and The Outsiders will always hold a place in my heart. Not only was the story inspirational, so was the author.

Susan Eloise Hinton started writing the novel when she was 16. It was published by the time she was 18.

And then it was banned from some schools and libraries because of violence, underage smoking and drinking, strong language and family dysfunction.

Ironically, as a high school student, I witnessed all of those on a regular basis. I just never wrote about them.

Fortunately, what I didn’t witness was the book being removed from my local library.

And the fact that it was available for me to read always makes me smile.

Day 80:  The Outsiders  Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird SingDay 78: The First Amendment

Day 77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness    Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart  Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 79

mayangelou2Last September, I had the privilege of hearing Maya Angelou speak at an event in Charleston, West Virginia.

The woman isn’t simply an amazing woman; she is simply a genuine person.

Unlike other superstars, she doesn’t make me feel as though I’ll never be pretty enough or skinny enough or connected enough to make my mark. Instead, she reminds me that words have the potential to make a greater impact than anything else and that the most meaningful words don’t come from leading a perfect life.

They come from the struggles and mistakes and the missteps all of us make but only some of us are brave enough to write about.

In her autobiography I know Why the Caged Bird Sing, Ms. Angelou draws her readers into her imperfect world. She is so talented that the reader actually feels what she feels, particular in her most difficult moments.

That’s why her descriptions of rape and teen pregnancy are particularly difficult to read. That’s also why her autobiography is on the list of the 100 most frequently challenged books.

The fact that it’s not censored and I’ve had the privilege to read it, always makes me smile.i know why the caged bird sings

Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  Day 78: The First Amendment

Day 77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness    Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart  Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 63

I was once told that members of Generation X don’t have any heroes.

The explanation as to why makes sense.To_Kill_a_Mockingbird

We are the first generation that experienced the real-time exposure and humiliation of preachers (Jim Baker) and politicians (Gary Hart).

We are the first generation that experienced around the clock media scrutiny, the paparazzi and the loss of privacy.

But I disagree that we don’t have heroes. Our heroes are just different.

My heroes are the women who fought for equal rights. My heroes are the women who shared their own struggles and believed in me. And my heroes are the women who cared more about the needs of others more than their own needs.

I am incredibly fortunate that I personally knew many of these women.

I am also fortunate that others wrote books.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books.

Harper Lee never wrote another because she never had to.

She said everything that needed to be said in To Kill a Mockingbird, and each time you read it, you discover a new truth.

Her one masterpiece always makes me smile.

Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 42

benjamin franklinWhen I came home for lunch the other day, my neighbor was walking her four dogs by my house. As I walked down the driveway to greet them, she commented on a recent blog I wrote.

I had no idea she’d ever read my blog and was so surprised I almost missed her supportive words.

Even though I get feedback about my writing from my friends and family, getting it from a random acquaintance is different.

There is something completely rewarding in knowing that my written words can touch people with whom I have no other connection.

And that always makes me smile.

Day 42:  Appreciative Readers

Day 41:  Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote  Day 40: Being Silly

Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents

Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories

Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon

Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap

Day 31: Perspective

Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans

Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows

Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads

Day 25: When Harry Met Sally

Day 24:  Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck

Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love

Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds

Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth        Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street