Pursue Your Destiny

Walt Disney made many of my all-time favorite movies. He is quoted as saying

All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

If life, this is the especially true, within reason.  For example,  my dream job would be to work at Crayola as a color “namer”.  Yes, it is a legitimate job.  The problem: I am horrible at art. So bad that my art teacher gave me a D- so I would not have to repeat the course.  You need an art degree to perform job.  I can dream, but I know that in reality it will never come true.  That is the beauty of what makes a dream a dream.  We are free to be who we want to be, without having to worry about the affects.  You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.-Les Brown.png

I would rather pursue my passions in life, then be left to live in my dreams.  When I was able to help take care of my father, I found that my passion was in helping people who needed it the most.  It is not that they were not able to, but at that moment in their life, they needed additional help.  For many years, too many to count, I have worked in a Corporate type setting.  The highlight of my job was being able to tell a supervisor that they could go ahead and deliver a correction action.  It was not helping anyone, rather, people were ending up crushed and hurt.

Losing my job has been difficult, but it is allowing me to be able to pursue my first of many steps towards a dream that will allow me to do both. I can pursue a passion and a dream of helping people.

I will still hold on to the dream of being a color namer, but it will always be the dream job that captivates my attention. What about you? Do you still dream about something out of reach? Have you been able to pursue a passion or dream that holds your heart?

~J.J.~

March 28, 2015

At what point does childhood end? Is it when we turn 16 and can have a job? Does it happen when one becomes able to vote in an election? Does it happen when one is able to have a beer? Or does childhood end when becomes a parent?

It is a difficult question to answer, without going into a debate.  My intent here is not to create a political, societal, or life heated debated.

To me, the end of childhood was on March 28, 2015.  Granted, I had already been a parent for 10 years.  I was able to vote. I could drink (but never really liked the feeling of not being in control).  I live in my own house, on my own income.  Yet, I still had the fun dreams and visions of life.  Disney movies are still up there on my Top 50 list of favorites.  I knew that there was someone I could call, regardless of time, who would help me make decisions that mattered.  I enjoyed going over to a house and asking what was for supper.

But, on March 28, 2015 the of my childhood started.  My father was a courageous man.  He was diagnosed in 2013 with an aggressive form of lung cancer that had spread to his brain, liver, and spine.  He was originally given six months.  Those six months can and went.  He was given another six months. They also came and went.  In November of 2014 DSCN0606.JPGwe took a family vacation to Disney World.  It wasn’t just myself, my husband, child and parents.  It was extended family.  In total,  the 14 people who meant the world to my father went to the happiest place on Earth.  We made memories that have stood the test of time.  We saw the ocean, the Space Center, and had the time of our lives.  For a week, nothing existed.  Cancer did not have a hold on my family.  It was just us and the experience of a lifetime.

We returned to life as normal, but knew that this was our last Christmas, my last birthday, and my son’s last season with his papa and my father.

The day he passed, my childhood ended.  I knew what it felt like to experience a hurt so deep that you can’t express it.  To feel that you must now the one to make all the decisions.   It was then that life would never be the same.

In the two years since, I have found more of myself than I thought.  I still love Disney.  My Little Pony is nostalgia also.  A game of capture the flag? I’m there! But there is also a sadness around holidays for the table is missing a chair.

I have also realized that suffering is part of life.  In the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths, I found the peace I was looking for.  While one can argue for a divine existence and  reasons for everything, I found myself more upset because it wasn’t fair.  Life, however, is never fair.  It is through the basis of understanding the Four Noble Truths that I have come to accept and see that childhood never really ends.  We always have a piece of our youth with each of us.  It is what makes us, well, us.  We find the memories and the feelings and pass them on to our children.  Tree forts, coloring books, hide and seek, nerf wars.. Yes, I still love them.  I have even taught my son how to pitch better than his father! Why? Because it was part of childhood.

What about you? Do you feel that childhood ends, or that we still have a piece of us with us at all times?  I know being an adult and acting like one are two different things.  But given a chance, I will take a day in a tree fort over a day in the office!

~J.J.~

 

 

The Measure of a Man

Growing up, my father was my biggest influence.  He was there through the tears, the laughter, the jokes, and the milestones.  I would not say that my child was perfect, nor would I say it was not.  It was my childhood, which is going to be different from yours.  What I do know looking back, is that my father taught me what a husband would be.

Depending on where you are in the world the cultures are different.  In my lovely small town in Minnesota, we do not do arranged marriages. I guess you could say that the pool is small, unless you venture and attend college elsewhere. A common thread is that the father’s have taught their son’s how to treat their future spouse/spouse.  One holds the door, helps with what is needed, etc.  The concept that a mom can stay home is still here, but let’s face it: In today’s world, both need to work… At least for us, that is how it is. Hockey is expensive, plain and simple.

But, back to my point.  My father taught me how to measure my future husband in terms of traits.  He should be able to laugh with me, not at me (which does happen); he should be there for the good and the bad.  Just because something is hard, it is not over.  He also taught me that one should never, NEVER, raise a hand to a female.  Regardless of the circumstances, there IS ALWAYS another option.  I know that I might receive some backlash for my feelings, but please remember that our life events are influenced by what we have seen growing up.

To often we hold people to unobtainable standards.  I mean, have we not see Deadpool? 🙂  Yet, what I can measure is the fact that my husband and I have been together 10 years.  It is has been difficult, it has been dark.  But there has been laughter, memories, tears, children, and challenges.  At the end of the day, we may not like each other.  But regardless, we still love each other.  That is something that does not need to be measured, because it can be seen.

~J.J.~

Nothin’ But A Good Time

Poisons’ lyrics go:

I’m always workin’ slavin’ every day
Gotta get a break from that same old same old
I need a chance just to get away
If you could hear me think this is what I’d say

Work is a part of life, it is something that as adults, it is part of life. Work can be fun, it can be challenging, it can be mundane.  I wonder if it is really Nothin’ But A Good Time?

DSCN0704Sure, it can be a good time, but for me, a good time can take many forms.

 A family trip to the ocean, can lead to many memories. Some I treasure forever, as it was our last family vacation with my father.  Other good times involve the many hours in a car during hockey season.  The days can be long, the roads treacherous at times, but as always, we make it a good time.  A dedicated playlist to hockey road trips can keep it fun.

Other times, it is watching the sunset after a day IMG_4116of working outside. Fishing with friends, off the boat landing.  Simply watching the bobber float in the current.  The water can be still or rolling waves.  Slowly a dragonfly lands on the line and life is peaceful.  Just a good time.  The only care is if the fish, or turtle, ate the bait.

A good time can be a party with lots of friends.  Loud music, lots of alcohol, well, you get the picture.  Or, it is a small gather around a bonfire.  The cool summer nights, light breeze, and hopefully no mosquitoes.  It provides the perfect chance to unwind and get lost in the flame.  The quiet, yet loud, crackle of the logs slowly burning. Many stories have been shared with others over the traditional summer bonfire.  One can also gain valuable revelations about themselves by simply sitting and being.

Depending on what stage of live someone is in, a good time can take many forms.  For me, I would rather relax with a fishing line in a stream or watching a fire burn with close friends.  Life is what you make it.  A good time can be found anywhere, as long as your heart is happy.

How about you? What do you feel is Nothin’ but a Good Time?

~J.J.~

Waiting for an Absolution

There is a quote from the movie Titanic “Waiting for an absolution that would never come.”  Granted, I do watch many movies (no cable, just Netflix) but this quote has stuck with me since I first saw the movie.  Absolution means a freeing of blame, guilt.  It is also part of numerous church doctrines:

Roman Catholic Theologya remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ.Protestant Theology: a declaration or assurance of divine forgiveness to penitent believers, made after confession of sins.

 

Waiting for the abolution that might never happen. It can feel as if the world is always watching. Just remember, there is peace in acceptance..pngThroughout my life there have been many events that I have sought forgiveness for.  Some where my fault, others were based on the situation where my heart broke for others.  There have been times where things were either said or done that have hurt me deeply.  For many years I sought and wished a person would apologize.  It hurt me that the person would not apologize. My mind would argue with itself wondering how they did not feel guilty for the actions that have caused me pain.

As time has progressed, my thinking has changed.  I can only control how I react to a situation, not how others react.  It doesn’t matter if the person would apologize to me.  What matters is that I can accept what happened, forgive them, and subsequently move on with my life.  Holding onto the feelings of being “owed” something were only making me more upset.  It was time to let them go, and be accepting of that fact.

That is where the hard part comes in. Waiting is difficult. Waiting to be okay with how a situation turned out can be difficult.  Forgiving someone who might not deserve just makes waiting harder.

Basically, I have realized it is easier to let it be, then try to change.  To be accepting of how things turn out.  Every situation is different. Each individual might feel something different.  However, knowing that I was eventually able to forgive, despite how long I waited to be a place to do that, has helped. My reactions are ultimately my own.  I am able to control how I react. I cannot control others, but that is fine.

How about you? Do you let others influence how you react to a situation? If not, have you found it easier to forgive, let be, and move forward?

 

Fry = Destroy

While there are dictionaries online, I still prefer to use the bound copy of one in my office.  Fry can be either: food cooked in oil or something is destroyed.  I have attempted to fry food, on a few occasions. I measured carefully, made sure the pan wasn’t scorching with fire, and that I had everything lined up. *For the record, it needs to be noted that I am a horrible cook*

Watching my grandmother growing up, chicken was a favorite that was fried.  Since so many people make it, how hard could it be? As smoked billowed from the pan, eventually setting off the smoke alarm; a burnt hand; and a very unfortunate piece of chicken.

It turns out that the METAL frying pan handle can get extremely hot! The pot holder you were using, which became covered in grease splatter was of no use.  If the heat is too high, the chicken burns, and smokes; which results in the smoke alarms going off.

I can say honestly say that I tried to make fried food. It was subsequently destroyed in the process. But from that experience, I did learn a valuable lesson: Fried food is best left to the masters!

~J.J.~

Chicken Chuckles

There is a difference between laughter and a chuckle.  A laugh comes from the heart; a chuckle can be done quietly.  There have been many times that I have laughed until I cried. But when animals enter your life, one can only help but chuckle most of the time.

See, we already have 3 dogs (puppy brigade) 2 cats now ( 1 still a kitten), 2 hamsters, and numerous fish.

IMG_0704

Hydra, Twizzlers, Mulan, Jack, Sally

Our “zoo” now consists of 4 chickens and 4 ducks. Additional ducks and chickens will also be arriving in the next few weeks. Our little hobby farm has affectionately been named “Cluckingham Palace” by the youngest member of the household.  Who knew that poultry could make life interesting? When we first adopted the ducks and chickens, they were kept in the same bin. Quite quickly the ducks became larger than the chickens and we separated them. We have one chicken, Hyrda, who does not believe that she is a chicken.  Rather, she feels that she is a duck! Regardless of how many times we separate them, she is back with the ducks. Lids are no match for her as she will find a way to escape them.

Will she play in the water? Sadly, she tries, but it does not go so well.  The ducks have adopted her as one of their ducks. As for the other chickens, well, they know they are most definitely not ducks.

It is safe to say that with my “zoo” there is not a day that goes by that I do not chuckle to myself at the shenanigans of the animals.

What about you? Have your pets make you chuckle lately?

~J. J.~

Life as Opaque?

Opaque is defined as “not able to be seen through; not transparent.” Often this term is used to define a style of tight or leggings.  They are not sheer, yet they are not solid.  They are somewhere in the middle.  Just enough to obscure what is beneath it; yet still letting the substance be seen.

In the world today, some have taken to having an opaque sense about them.  With a group of friends, at work, and with family; three different personas arise.  But underneath it all, there is the truth.  I know that I can be guilty of being opaque in life also.  I do not always want what is real to be seen by the world.

Case in point: My father passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  The morning he passed, I held his hand, told him I loved him and that we will see each otherWedding soon.  Twenty minutes later I was at home brushing my teeth and loading up the car for an all day long hockey tournament.  For 15 hours I was the happy, funny, loving goalie mom.  Inside, my heart was breaking.  The amount of strength it took to keep it together is not something I would ever like to repeat.  15 hours later we were home. I broke the news to my son that his best friend and hero had passed away.  While my son fell apart in my lap, I remained calm and reassuring.  After he was in bed, I finally let myself fall apart. I was a puddle of emotions. Fear, anger, sadness, and a sense of loss that cannot be described in words followed.

To those on the outside looking at me on that day, I was the same.  Inside, I was a mess.  I made the decision to become Opaque for the world.  My son needed me to be strong, my husband was helping on the bench.  He knew, yet we were the only ones.  Instead, why did I not make the decision to become transparent? Even though my pain was real, the support of friends would have helped ease the burden that day.  I would have been allowed to feel the pain, yet knowing I was surrounded by friends would have helped.

My example might not be the best, yet I do feel that it illustrates how many of us do cover up our fears, sadness, and pain. We hide behind masks of happiness, fun, and the general “life is good” feeling.  One thing that I have accepted since his passing is that I am not as strong as I thought.  I need my family and friends. I need to know that it is perfectly acceptable to fall apart. Tears are part of life. The passing of a loved one is never easy.  Yet, it is through the heartache that we learn that we can be transparent, not opaque.  It is fine to allow myself to be me, flawed and imperfect.

My question to you is thus: what would happen if we became more transparent and less opaque?

~J.J.~

The 8th Dwarf was named Cranky

Cranky is a word that can mean many things.  For one, it is a name of an engine on Thomas the Train.  Cranky can also refer to a machine working poorly.  More commonly, crankyCranky refers to a state of being if one becomes irritated with a situation.

I have learned on this “quest” of mine that becoming cranky is a result of how one reacts to the situations around us.  We cannot control situations, but we CAN control how we react to the events as they appear around us/ happen to us.  If one makes the decision to react with anger because they were reprimanded, that is the reaction to the action.  Or, if a chaotic day at work carries over into the home environment, that is also a reaction.

I would love to say that I am never cranky, irritated, or upset.  However, that would be the farthest thing from the truth.  I have become more mindful of my actions and how I react to situations around me.  Comparing myself to now to where I was at the beginning of the year, there is a change.  I process things more internally before I react outwardly.  Cranky is a part of the human nature, yet it is also a part of our nature that we can seek to tamper.

Have any of you sought to tamper the reaction of the 8th Dwarf: Cranky?

 

~J. J. ~