1halffull's Blog


The Surprises of Life…
April 4, 2010, 5:05 am
Filed under: Change, Dad, Friends, God, Happiness, Humor, Jesus, Kids, Legacy, Life, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents, Travel

For the average person, there are very few really big events that take place in our lives.  You’re born – but you probably don’t remember that.  You learn to walk – don’t remember that either.  Your first day at school – maybe.  Your first visit from the tooth fairy – yep, pretty sure you remember that.

 The first date…the first kiss….the first ‘real’ boyfriend.  High school graduation then college.  Getting engaged then the big (or small) wedding day.  The birth of your first child, and every child after that.  The death of your mom, then your dad; your grandmas and grandpas if you were fortunate to know them at all.  There goes your favorite aunt and suddenly you’re so much older than you’d have thought you could get when you were 20.

 For me, most of that happened in the first 30 years.  It was a lot to pack in there.  They were all a big deal at the time….some remain a big deal in my heart, my head, even now.

 Someone once said that it’s the little things that sneak up and grab a hold of you.  They were right.

 Some of my ‘little things’ include, in random order….

 Going fishing with my dad and catching more fish than him.  He let me.  I loved the lake.  Still do.

 My friend deciding that I wouldn’t be able to deal with a club meeting when I got home after my dad’s death.  She put herself in my place and took care of it so I didn’t have to.  A little, but thoughtful thing.

 My dad poking his head into my room, handing me a $20 bill as he told me that he knew all I’d been doing around the house to help out.  Demonstrated appreciation that meant so much to me under the circumstances.

 Aunt Betty who invited me to visit her in the summers and allowed me to see myself as a valuable person like few others did.

 Learning that my friend Avis daily sang ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ in the final weeks of her life.  I’d always hoped she would.

 Playing a game of ‘keep the car moving till the light turns green’ when taking kids home from church – it’s a fun game – you should try it.

 Having a mother-in-law who patiently listened over the years, didn’t butt in, and has spent hours on the phone with me, talking about anything and nothing.  If we were running the world, it would be a much better place.  Thanks, mom.

 Going to the beach with the whole clan; all the kids playing together; sunburns radiating.  Sea creatures scurrying out of the bucket of sand while one child screamed and the others all laughed.

 My sister-in-law and I in the ocean – without our contacts in – screaming at ‘jaws’ coming for us then laughing our faces off when we finally could tell they were just shadows.  Another time laughing ourselves silly so hard in the card section that a man ‘just had to come see why we were so hysterical’.  “There are two sides to every divorce” the outside of the card said.  “Yours and the s— head’s.” (not my words – but how we howled and promptly sent it to a sibling who may still have it today)!

 Two little faces pressed against the window waving and calling ‘bye mommy’ as I’d pull out of the driveway on my way to somewhere else.

 The surprise 40th birthday party my husband gave me where I was totally surprised.

 The kids so excited to sleep in the van the night before a vacation started.

 All the Christmas videos we made that could be Christmas any year except for the changes in sizes, hairdos, glasses and voices.

 Howling at the moon from the causeway with my daughter.

 Taking my son for his first tattoo.

 Oh, the list goes on and on and is my way of saying, let the little things grab on to you and you hold on tight to them.  In the end, they’re really the only things that matter.

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What is it about Thursday?
February 12, 2010, 6:20 am
Filed under: Happiness, Humor, Jobs, Life, Work

If it’s Thursday night, it must be Friday morning!

Make sense to you?  If it does, then you must be suffering the same ‘malady’ as am I!

About a month ago, Thursday dawned in a happy manner – with the realization that tomorrow was Friday which would be followed by Saturday, a day without formal, outside-the-house work.  So I went to work that Thursday with a spring in my step and a hum in my mind, happy to be in the midst of Thursday.

When I got home from Thursday, it was like I’d been shot with the glitter of a rainbow.  I made ‘real’ dinner – as opposed to those fake ones made up of either left overs or stuff from cans – breezed through the evening to my favorite show at 10 – Burn Notice – then found that I didn’t even want to go to bed yet.  So I fooled around on the computer, watched more TV, goofed off in the bathroom then landed on the couch to lull myself to sleep with TVLand’s favorite show:  Roseanne.

When the buzzer went off signaling Friday morning, I was glad to greet it!  It was FRIDAY! which could only mean that tomorrow was Saturday, the day I didn’t have to go to work.  What a great day!  What fun I’d had….for once.

Unfortunately, Friday night found me snoring on the couch by 9:30.  I didn’t care!  It was worth the price to have had Wonderful Thursday!

Then there was lovely Saturday and Perfect Sunday followed by, you guessed it, Ugly Monday.  Mondays are often difficult where I work.  You walk in and rather than take off your coat and have a few minutes to settle in, you’re hit with who didn’t show up, what has to be picked up, whose project needs to be started up – you know, the usual first day of the work week stuff.  Suddenly you find yourself thinking about the other end of the week and wondering when it’s coming?

Next it was Tuesday, then Wednesday.  Before I knew what was going on, it was Thursday.  ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL THURSDAY.  Ahhhhhh…….

Again, I woke up so happy to be at the beginning of Thursday.  What a wonderful day.

Just like the week before, the day breezed by.  There was another real meal, some friendly competition on the Wii, some computer time, the 10 p.m. TV show.  Then there was no sleep!  Who needs sleep?  It’s Thursday after all, that lovely day that precedes Friday – again.

What makes it seem even more wonderful is that I’ve been giving in to my body clock on these Thursday night romps.  You see, while some people’s bodies are programmed to arise from their beds by 6 a.m., mine is not programmed that way.  When others want to chat their way from the edge of night to the bright of day, I want to snuggle under the covers sleeping until I might naturally awake about 10 a.m.  When some are crawling into bed at 10 p.m., I would adore staying up every night until 2 a.m.  My body lives for those days.

So, that’s what’s been taking place on Thursdays.  It’s such a luxury, dare I say even a thrill to indulge myself in staying up on lovely Thursday, anticipating Wonderful Friday.  My body feels happier and so do I!

So, what about Thursday?  It’s just the very happy day before Wonderful Friday, the best day of the week!



Are you defined?
October 14, 2009, 3:48 am
Filed under: Happiness, Life, Travel

I admit it.  I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis.  Again.  Okay, so it’s pretty much past mid-life and on into a later life crisis.  That’s probably why I’m having it.  Again.

Last night I was watching “Little People, Big World”, as the mom, Amy, talked candidly about how she’s feeling as her boys approach graduation and her daughter goes to her first winter formal.  Clearly, even though she’ll still have kids around the house for another six years or so (her youngest is about 12), she’s already thinking about and anticipating the empty nest and what that will mean for her and husband Matt.  Airplanes

While Matt is always on to the next big thing, Amy’s more practical.  In spite of Matt always wanting to move on to the next big thing, for him, that doesn’t mean travel; for Amy it does.  For Matt the next big thing is something he can buy or build and usually uses up much more money than their finances should handle.  Amy, on the other hand, realizes they’re not spring chickens any more and they should get a bit more conservative.  After all, they might want to retire some day.

Matt plainly states that if there are no more projects to be worked on, crafted, then he might as well be done with life.  Amy contends that if there are any more projects like the recent house remodel, there may not be any life left anyway.  From Amy’s point of view, they both want completely different things.  She wonders aloud if they’ll be able to continue their lives together?  Matt just seems confused by her attitude.

I know how they feel.

Tonight, as I watched a favorite show, part of the telling was through a main character who had been diagnosed with lymphoma last week.  Her journey led her to puzzle through what treatments to take, where to take them, how she would get through it all.  While her mom and her husband tried to bring her to earth in research and the busyness of making decisions, she was about awakening to what made her happy.  She took her soon-to-be sister in law to shop for a wedding dress, drank champagne, encouraged her to try on an ostrich feather dress.  Then she got her family together for a happy dinner that wasn’t.  When all was said and done, she said something quite profound – probably many cancer patients have said the same thing – ‘I won’t let cancer define who I am.’ (paraphrased)

BINGO!

Unbelievably, the very next show I watched – not on the same network – the main characters had also come through a difficult time and one said to the other – ‘You can’t let this define you.’

WHAT? 

Okay, so I was hit between the eyes the first time I heard it but to get it thrown at me a second time in one night?  I figured there was a message here and I needed to write about it.

How do we define ourselves?  Once ‘defined’ always ‘defined’ or do we re-define periodically?  Is there a standard measurement for defining or can we define based on our whims of the moment?

Pretty much, I don’t see myself as locked into a one dimension definition – yet.  I haven’t been a person that got a degree (or didn’t) then went to work in a profession and stayed there for 35 years.  I have been a person who’s nearly completed college; a person who’s held numerous positions, each one becoming somewhat of a building block for the next.  What can I say?  I like change and mobility. 

In the first 15 years of my marriage, we moved around a bit going from our hometown, to Niles, to Xenia, to New housesWindsor (my favorite place) then here to Cortland.  Through those times we lived in 10 different homes.  I loved it!  I thrived on it.  I loved the change and I never minded moving.  I learned that every other move is what I call ‘the good move.’  Those are the places you make a lot of friends and have a great life.  Niles and New Windsor – the good moves.

After we moved here, we never moved again.  Is it any wonder that I feel the stirring of the wander lust within?  How do you ask a mobile person to define herself in a non-mobile world?  It’s like asking New York City to be happy pretending to be Warren.  Not possible.  And the lightbulb comes on and I finally see more clearly now that my current definition just doesn’t match the me I want to be, something I’ve actually known as an uncomfortable feeling, but now it’s fully revealed.

The critical question:  How do you successfully change a definition?

More later.   Maybe.



Am I happy?
August 14, 2009, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Happiness, Sadness

Probably not.  Happy that is.

But that’s not a bad thing.  No, really, it’s not.

If I was always happy, how would I know?  Generally, don’t we measure our happiness against the sadness we’ve known?  If we know no sadness, then how can we tell if we’re happy?

What is happiness anyway?  Is it when we’re laughing out loud, you know, from deep down in our bellies?  Is that happiness?

Or, is happiness more like when we’re all snuggled up on the couch on a cold winter’s night, touching toes with someone we love?

Maybe happiness is the way a really good chocolate cake with thick, sweet butter cream frosting melts away in your mouth from first bite to last.  Or the smell of new mown hay as you drive down a country road?  Or the peaceful, sleeping face of your newborn child in the first sweet hours after birth?

appleAdam and Eve knew perfect happiness when they roamed the Garden of Eden.  Of course they didn’t appreciate just what a happy time that was until they messed it up by taking the big bite that has been felt ever since.  Suddenly they knew what unhappiness was and regretted leaving that other, wonderful, happy place.

Scarlett O’Hara chased after happiness on Miss Mellie’s plantation instead of on Mr. Butler’s.  When she finally caught up with it, she realized she’d have been better off with Rhett.  By then Rhett Butler didn’t give a damn so all was lost to Miss Scarlett.

Then there’s Dorothy Gale who took an unlikely trip only to realize ‘there’s no place like home.’

So what is the key to finding and holding onto happiness?

The Bible tells us in the New Testament that we need to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.  While we don’t necessarily think of contentment as happiness, at http://www.dictionary.com we learn that one is a synonym for the other.

In our culture, we find very little contentment; in fact, we find a particular contempt for contentment.

Marketing tactics not only want us to be lured into keeping up with the Jones’s, but we should strive to surpass them in every way!  So, we get credit cards to purchase stuff with no waiting.  We move into houses that we can’t afford so we can have a three car garage to put our Beamer, our boat and our motor home into.  We work hard to try to pay for it all but we have no time to enjoy it.  Indeed, we find that there’s an inner restlessness, a kind of disturbance that repels the happiness we seek.

It’s not the stuff itself that brings on our malcontent.  It’s our faulty thinking that the stuff can give us what we long for:  love, peace, joy, satisfaction, contentment, happiness.

Stuff has no life of its own.  It gets its meaning from usefulness.  derek-jeter-autographed-baseball

Take an autographed baseball.  If my daughter and I went to a game and she caught the ball, then we got the player to sign it, when I die, she may want it because it’s attached to a great memory.  If I buy the ball on Ebay, it will hold no meaning for anyone and become nothing more than a yard sale item.  See what I mean?

So what am I saying here?  Go get stuff and if you use it you’ll be happy?  Nope that’s not it.

I think I’m saying that happiness becomes self-sustaining when you discover what is really meaningful and has value in your life.  Figure out what your purpose is and follow that road to something more eternal than stuff or careers.  Learn to stop measuring yourself against everyone else.  You are unlike anyone else so why measure apples to oranges?  Enjoy the person that God has created in you.  Find contentment where you are in each and every moment.

Along the way, your experience will still include sadness.

But your appreciation for the happiness will be all the more sweet because of it.