Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Swans and painted toenails

This has been a week of things popping up in my feed that remind me of stories and happenings from my past.

First; southern funeral custom. Second; Swans.

My mother recounted that when I was about 2-3 years old, she and my dad packed up food, utensils, and me and drove across town to a church picnic. It was held in a park with a lake full of swans.

Swans can be mean.

My mother had just painted her toenails a bright red, and was wearing sandals. As we ate our picnic food, one of those swans came along and began pecking at her big toes.

It pecked and pecked. Then, it invited its friends.

Those swans chased my mother all over the park, trying to get at her toes. They must have thought they were berries.

She ended up having to eat her lunch in the car. In July. In the sweltering heat.

With a bunch of swans just waiting on her to open the door.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Facebook Fast 2018 - #10

Facebook withdrawal - #10

I've finished! I made it pretty much through the entire ten days.

And, I am so glad that I did.

On this, the last day of my "withdrawal" posts:

1. I have learned that I became much more productive by not being chained to FB. I had allowed that to happen, and instead of other things that can enrich my life, I had become too absorbed in the lives of others.

2. I still need FB. When used correctly, I can really add to my knowledge! Politics, religions, etc. are all hotbed topics, and I won't participate in those. I quickly scroll on. I am on here because I respect so many people as genealogists and friends.

3. I have missed being on here, sort of.

4. I will not return to the mindless scrolling when I can use that time to serve better purposes.

5. I still have every intention of posting good and uplifting words to help make the world a better place. All of you are safe on my wall. And, your name is safe.

6. The chickens are back!!! As I was catching up on some emails this morning, I thought I heard a branch scratch the window. Then, just seconds later, the unmistakable clucking started. Kerry and I both jumped up, I threw some croissants from the freezer into the microwave, and we went out the front to greet our friends.

It doesn't take much to excite us.

7. I read three more chapters of scriptures.

8. I looked at my blogpost stats, and was overwhelmed at the traffic that came in on one of my posts - from all over the world! I have posted a screenshot of it below. (It was the post on "Coming Out Day".

9. I have received several messages from others who have also done a FB fast, or are thinking of it. Some of these came as comments, others came as private messages.

10. And finally, I want to reiterate what I mentioned yesterday. I am just one of the people trying to create a feeling of good in a very upside-down world. There are so many things that are there to drag us down, make us bitter, make bad feelings resurface, etc.

My soul is weary of that. And, it yearns for something better. And, I have the means to create that good for myself, and perhaps for others.

I thank so many of you for reaching out and following me during this ten day challenge issued by the president of our church. After a few days, the scoffing stopped. The mocking stopped. And, a new and improved Peggy was in the making.

I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be on here...just not so much.

PS - in the past, these challenges have been issued to:
1. The youth
2. The women
3. The men
4. The older generation
5. And, a good scolding of the men of the church - to man up, take care of your families, stop the abuse, and stay out of the porn. Be the men you were meant to be!

Facebook Fast 2018 - #9

Facebook withdrawal #9
First and foremost, I discovered I had spelled withdrawal wrong several times. I am mortified at my own self. I had forgotten the final "a". I must have been thinking southern, like in the drawl.
I err.
It's been a misty, gray, overcast autumn day. I actually love cozying up ok this kind of day.
My thoughts:
1. I read three more chapters of scripture.
2. I am marking the book I am researching in to pieces. I make every book a workbook.
3. I went off course and scrolled through FB for about ten minutes. I didn't like how I felt afterwards.
I think I know why.
There are some people who just make you feel so good about life when you're around them. And, you even feel better about your own self because they bring out the best in you.
They radiate hope.
Then, there are some who are exactly opposite; and that can rub off on people, too.
I am more than sure that I have been both. And, I am not very proud of that.
I want to be remembered for being like the first example; not a Pollyanna, for I don't sugarcoat.
I just want to be a good person who cheers others on, and who looks for the good. FB sometimes keeps me from doing that. So, for me this fast was good.
4. I discovered I am not very good at fasting. In our church, we are encouraged to fast once a month for at least two meals. (The first Sunday) Then, the money we would have used for those meals can be donated for helping the poor.
I love food. It's always been a challenge. We donate the money anyway, but the act of fasting is one I have never perfected.
Then, I had to begin taking medications that can't be taken on an empty stomach. (Like it's ever empty - lol!) That means I can't fast.
But, I can fast from "things" - like FB, television, etc. So, that's what I have been doing the past several years. On the Saturday evening before Fast Sunday, I shut down all electronics and focus on a different side of my nature.
Hence, this FB fast has been good for me. I don't know how or if it's affected others, but I know how I have changed.
6. Last night I stepped outside and saw the Milky Way and the millions of stars within it. It took my breath away! It brought back memories of the many, many times Kerry would take the kids out onto the deck and teach them about the heavens. Sometimes we came home late at night, and I would open up the door and start telling the kids to hang up coats, put things away, and begin getting ready for bed.
Except they weren't there. They were with their dad in the front yard, all looking up.
Seeing that beautiful sight last night made me wonder about my own place in the universe, and in this wonderful world.
Yes, this fast has been good for me.
One more day.

Facebook Fast 2018 - #8

Facebook withdrawal #8
After a morning of worship, we spent the rest of this day just resting, working on things we love, and enjoying this beautiful season.
And, I did a lot of thinking and contemplating. My FB withdrawal has allowed me to so so much more of that.
1. I read three more chapters of scripture. I have needed that.
2. I thought back to all of the travelling we have done this year. On one of those trips, I spoke with someone who had never been out of their state. They had never even been out of their own county. I marveled, for both Kerry and I grew up in travelling families.
We absolutely love the beauty of America, and have found it everywhere we have ever gone.
3. I reconnected with a cousin I haven't talked to in awhile. She's had some challenges to deal with, including the death of someone she loved very much.
4. I am continuing to read and mark up a book I am using for reference in a presentation I am working on. Poor book.
5. The chickens may have found a better restaurant somewhere else.
6. I answered some emails that I have just left sitting for no good reason. That is actually quite rude of me, and I need to do better.
7. I had a good talk with a young person about how important it is to make good choices. My personal mantra: when we make a choice, we sometimes actually do choose our consequences. It's called the "If...Then..." principle. We used it all the time with our kids.
*If you help with the yard work, then we can all go for ice cream.
*If you get good grades, you can get into a good college.
*If you keep my commandments, then you will have eternal life.
I hope I made a difference today.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Facebook Fast 2018 - #7

Facebook withdrawl - Day #7...

It was one week ago tonight that we were challenged to "fast" from social media for ten days. No one is making us do it. We have the choice to do it, or to not do it.

I chose to participate.

1. I don't know where the chickens are. Kerry and I are in a bit of mourning, hoping that nothing has gotten them.

2. We are enjoying the colors of autumn. It was certainly brisk this morning, and even a bit misty. But, the splendor of these autumn colors always bring a smile to our faces.

3. I read three more chapters of scriptures.

4. I have noticed a remarkable difference in my own demeanor. By withdrawing from FB for a little season, I have noticed that I am not mad or having periods of angst from reading the constant feed of politics, or someone who is mad at their sister, or a myriad of other things that may cross the pages. We certainly are aware of the news of the nation and of the world, and of the terrible calamities so many are facing. We watch all news networks -- when we want to.

5. I had a really meaningful "conversation" with a FB friend who is grieving so deeply right now. I'm not sure how much good I did, but maybe for the moment it was good for him.

6. I also had a delightful conversation with a wrong number. It reminded me of something that happened in 1997. Son Peter was in a terrible head-on collision in September after he graduated. Our family reeled.

I still had young children at home. For the month he was recuperating from multiple surgeries in the hospital, our routine involved:
*Kerry working.
*Me staying at the hospital practically around the clock.
*Church friends helping with the younger children - piano lessons, sports activities, bringing meals in, etc.

After staying by his side through the night, I would return home about 6:00 am, and change the recording on the answering machine to update his condition. This prevented me from having to call people all the time. They could simply call, listen to the daily update, and hang up throughout the day.

I would get the younger's children's breakfast, get them off to school, and lay down myself for a few hours...then, back to the hospital.

For a month.

One morning, as I was listening to messages from those who had left them through the day, this sweet older woman's voice came on that I didn't recognize. She said:

"Child, I don't know if Peter is your husband or your baby or your adult son or your brother, but I want you to know that I am going to hang up and pray for him right now. And, I'm going to tell all of my church ladies to do the same. Your voice is tired, my child. And, we're all going to help pull you through it."

I wept.

I listened to it again, and wept some more.

She and I may never meet on this earth, but someday I'll get to tell her just what she did for me that day.

Facebook Fast 2018 - #6

Facebook withdrawal - #6
Today was no issue at all, for Kerry and I worked at the Columbus Temple all day. We do that each Friday, and miss it when we're traveling.
For today:

1. I saw no chickens. Perhaps they have found food elsewhere that is tastier than my croissants. Traitors.
2. I read three chapters of scriptures.
3. Kerry and I fondly remembered a couple we met 41 years ago when we were working in the Washington, D.C. Temple.
I saw her bring him into the temple in a wheelchair. They always looked like they were just smitten with each other; they adored one another, and it showed.
His speech was a bit slurred, and his hands were shaped as though he had a palsy.
I asked her how long they had been married. She said they had just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
Shortly after they were married, he was bitten by a mosquito, which affected everything but his mind. He worked for NASA (I think), and was brilliant and valuable.
They had one son, and there would never be another child born to them. The physical part of their relationship was gone after one month.
But, their marriage had not been based on just that aspect of love. It went deeper than that.
We wondered if they are still alive and how they might be doing. They are likely gone now. I never met the son, but I hope his parents' example remains in his own mind.
It was good for us to remember them today.
4. I am continuing to read and mark up my book. It's mine. It's alright.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Facebook Fast 2018 - #5

Day #5 of FB withdrawl

I have to honestly admit that I was not looking forward to limiting my FB time for ten days. I wondered how I was going to make it work for me. Not for anyone else, but for me.

This is hump day, and every single day has proven me wrong, for I am doing some things I should have been doing all along.

1. The chickens woke me up this morning. This little flock has grown from 4 --> 6 --> 9! I guess they have told all of their friends about the croissants they've been getting at our house. It's like 'Chicken Trick or Treat'. And, my smarty pants friend Dan Earl has dubbed Kerry and I "Chicken Tenders". SA.

2. I wrote a blog post for National Coming Out Day. Sometimes I'm lazy at keeping up on my blog, and I figured today was a good day to write. For those who read it and commented, whether on FB or on the actual blog, I thank you.

3. I talked three times with my sister who fell last Saturday. I feel better about her getting back on her feet, for she really fell hard. I'm glad she went to the doctor, her (replaced) knee, shoulder, head, and glasses really took a hit.

4. I talked again with my neighbor whose father recently died. It is so difficult when we begin losing the older generation.

5. I cut Kerry's hair.

6. I wrote two more pages in my journal.

7. I read four chapters of scriptures.

8. I registered three new appliances online.

9. I sent in five more updated handouts for upcoming presentations.

10. I began to whittle down my physical stack of books that need to be read. By that, I mean actually reading and making lots of notations in them for future reference. No one will want my books when I'm dead.

11. I have discovered that after the initial weaning, I'm really not missing FB that much. I'm missing YOU, but not every single thing that goes running through my feed.

I think one of the most interesting things about this challenge that I have elected to do is that it is very similar to losing weight. Many of you know that I used to weigh quite a bit more. And, in the process of losing weight and cutting back on certain things, they need to be replaced with something else -- something good.

I have done that. Instead of parked at my desk or in my chair, or looking at my phone while we are driving around, I am looking at the beauty of nature and the marvelous people around me. I have had the good fortune of being surrounded by some of the best people who have walked this earth, and I just wonder how many I have missed by being absorbed by my flat screen.

It was brought home to me how much we read each others' faces when we're actually talking and communicating, as opposed to posting or shouting behind a keyboard. When we're physically together, we look at each other. We lean in. We search for understanding. We touch. We focus. We read each others' faces.

The scoffing has all but stopped. No one said anything to me today about how silly this is. It's not silly. It has helped me focus on some things I needed to hone in on.

And, I didn't realize how much I needed to do it.