Friday, October 26, 2012


I came across this paragraph from a creative writing thread this morning, and it was so real to me, I felt as if the writer had read my mind:

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.” 
― Stephen King

Sometimes I sit down to write and I'm frozen.  I like knowing that someone like Stephen King has experienced the same thoughts.  That's not to say I'm ready to pour out all of my euphoria and angst on page yet, but it helps.  It's really all about being brave, isn't it?  I always thought I was courageous:  I'll stand up for my kids against the establishment, I'll face down a vicious dog, I'll take a needle in the arm without flinching.  But revealing my feelings?  That's one place I won't go.  Too scary.  I don't cry in front of anyone.  I'm a master at keeping a straight face in a surprise situation.  Serves me well in a crisis, but I've also been accused of being heartless.

One of my facebook friends, J, recently began reading her mother's journals.  Her beloved mother passed away a year ago, and had been an avid journalist.  Now that some time has passed, J feels ready to start reading the journals and she is feeling so blessed to have these peeks into her mother's thoughts and feelings. I have often thought about journalling, but honestly feared revealing too much of myself on paper that way. It's so permanent!   But I'm starting to realize now that it's also very generous.  What a tremendous gift J's mother has left behind.

Do you journal?  Have you ever written a memoir?

Be Brave!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


It's a tough life sometimes.  A friend of mine lost his brother.  There I go again, using that term 'lost'.  What I mean to say is, his brother died.  They were twins.  Imagine.  He - they- are only 30 years old.  Too young to have to lose that connection.  But it happened.  We used to be so close - he was my daughter's first serious relationship, and they had plans for a future together.  But it ended, and sometimes it's awkward for me to maintain our friendship.  But I had grown very fond of him.  He was a part of our family for over two years.  He practically lived at my house, day in and day out, even accompanying us on our family vacations.  So we stayed in touch.  We still have things in common - a passion for organic gardening.

But lately I had not been in contact with him for about 6 months.  I didn't have his phone number, he doesn't use facebook, and we don't have the same social connections, so we don't run into each other casually.  I debated whether or not I should go to the visitation because I don't know the rest of the family.  I figured he probably wouldn't even notice if I showed up anyway, since we haven't spoken in 6 months.  But in the end I decided to go.  When my own brother died 2 years ago, I remembered everyone that was there.  So I sat in the back pew at the visitation last night, looking at the backs of the family members.  I noticed that he was missing.  Suddenly, someone plopped down on the seat next to me and enveloped me in a bear hug.

"I knew you would come!"  he whispered.

"Of course," I whispered back.

"I miss you guys," he said.

Ok.  Now I feel like crap.  What the hell have I been doing?  I'm an idiot.

"Friends are God’s way of taking care of us."

Not sure who is responsible for that quote, but I find it very comforting.

So here's what I know for sure:  I need to take better care of my friendships.  I don't want to get caught like this again.  If a friend is in need, I want to be there.

Be an Authentic Friend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Voter Apathy

In recent news, 30 year-old Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has been receiving attention for his outspoken views about gay rights.  He's not gay himself, but he takes it upon himself to speak out about "equality and human rights".  He also has opinions on the current campaigns, and has claimed he would be willing to debate any politician, although none has come forward.  He seems well informed on many of the issues.   I'm so impressed by his knowledge and 'chutzpah''!

Here is where I have a problem:  Why is this so unusual?  Why aren't ALL young adults passionate about politics?

I don't know about everywhere else, but in my experience with the 20-35 set, many have the attitude that all politicians are liars.  They don't see the point in watching the debates.  Some of them don't even think it's worth the trouble to vote.

I can understand some of the disillusionment, but we can't just throw in the towel.  If you don't become informed and you don't vote, then you have no right to complain about the outcome, in my opinion.

Yes, many of our politicians are flawed.  Human nature assures us of that.  But in order to make any progress in government, there always has to be concessions.  You have to understand that.  Once you get past that, you can look at the big picture.

There is no candidate that will fulfill  your total wish list.  I think the best you can do is A)  Consider what matters most to you, and balance that against the other issues, and B)  Look at how the candidates handle themselves during the months leading up to the election - (why you should watch the debates!).   Then make sure you vote.  And, one more thing to consider:  If your candidate doesn't win, you'll know what the other guy is all about if you've watched the debates.

Be Informed!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Keeping it Real

I love my Sentimental Regards blog.  I started it to develop an 'attitude of gratitude'.

I do, however, have a need, now and then, to fine-tune my vision of reality.  I tend to get carried away with my ideas of how life 'should' be in contrast with how it really is.

I live in a small town.  We are a middle income family.  But I have some grand ideas.

Don't we all.

I have a long wish list of things that I hope to accomplish for myself and my family, and I sometimes drive myself and those around me a little (ok, a lot, maybe) crazy in the process of trying to accomplish those goals.

What do I want?

I want all of my children to get a college degree, marry someone super wonderful who also has a degree and then have 2 perfect children and live in a beautiful house in the suburbs so their children can go to the best schools and eventually go to college (on a scholarship) and have an equally wonderful life.

(Take a breath).

I want my husband and me to downsize our housing so we will be able to retire on schedule, with no health issues and travel on a whim without worry about who's taking care of the yard, the garden, the animals, etc.

For the immediate future, I want to always have my house clean all of the time, because my husband and youngest daughter have allergies.  I want to keep all of us on a totally organic diet (ever since I saw
Food, Inc. two years ago I have been on a mission).

I want to finish my college education and learn how to play the piano.  I want to get back into writing - it's been 9 years since I've had anything published.

I want, I want, I want...


I may be way off the mark here, but don't we all have big ideas?  And in reality, don't we all just live pretty much an average life and like it?  I see how many of us post on facebook our disdain for WalMart, and yet, we all secretly like wandering around WalMart.  Come on, you know you do.

And even though I still refuse to eat the cream-of-whatever casseroles at the church potluck, I love to be there anyway.  It's just being a member of the community of our church that matters.  It's small, humble and sweet, and I love it.

And our school is small, but it's a good school, and there is very little bullying and no gang activity.  Drugs are not a serious problem.  It's been a safe environment for my shy child who, despite being an 'A' student, finds school to be a challenge, so I am firmly rooted here, and stubbornly refuse to move whenever my husband tries to move closer to his workplace where there is a bigger school with more to offer.

I miss the theater, awesome shopping and fine dining of the big city.  Sometimes I think we should move back.  But in the end, living here has more in the plus column than in the minus column.  Our favorite thing to do at the end of the day is sit on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the birds at the bird feeder.  How simple is that?   We say pretty much the same things every evening:  How was your day?  Did you get that budget report out?  What kind of bird was that?  Can you believe how fast the leaves are falling?

Being my authentic self may be less glamorous, but I'm finding out it's also a lot less exhausting.

Be Authentic!