Category Archives: Opinion

Age is a Work of Art

I enjoy the summer with its plentiful sunshine, warm breezes, and gardens overflowing with green plants and colorful flowers. I love to sit on my backyard deck and listen to the birds as they sing their cheerful songs from the branches of the trees overhead and watch the squirrels as they chatter among themselves and scamper through the yard. It’s often a welcome relief from the cold winter months of Minnesota. It’s also a time for family gatherings like graduations, weddings, picnics, and backyard barbecues.cake with candles 1

There’s one other event that the summer brings to our family, and that’s birthday celebrations. During this time, our family celebrates three birthdays in quick succession, each one only a week apart. And my birthday happens to be one of them.

Usually I enjoy celebrating birthdays. It has never really bothered me what age I was. I always believed that age was just a number, a state of mind, and that you were only as old as you feel.

But this summer I’ll turn 59. For some reason, the thought of turning 59 bothers me. I suppose it’s because it means that next year I’ll be 60. My apologies to all the sexagenarians out there, but 60 sounds old to me! I still can’t get used to the idea that by all standards, I’m already considered a senior citizen. I don’t feel like a senior citizen. As far as I’m concerned, my brain still thinks like the 25 to 30-year-old woman who I once was. And when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I can see that I truly don’t have that many wrinkles and I can only find three or four gray hairs. As a matter of fact, when people find out that I’m 58, they always tell me that they would never have guessed that I was that old.

But maybe I should look at this from a different point of view. Perhaps I should leave my emotions out of the picture and instead of thinking about all the negative aspects to aging, maybe I should consider all the benefits to growing older.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this: “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that says it all. It’s true that when you’re young, you have the whole future before you. You have high hopes for tomorrow and so many dreams to chase. There’s so much to look forward to and you never give a second thought to growing old. But as we grow older, as we mature, I believe that we have so much more within ourselves than we had in our youth.

For instance, we have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter and better than when we were younger. We know what to do because there’s a good chance that we’ve been in similar circumstances before. We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and even our grandchildren if we’re lucky.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and usually we can deal with those emotions better (not all the time, but most of the time). We can enjoy other people’s company more because of the experience we’ve gained from our past relationships.

And I think we can love others more fully and more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I believe it’s true.

So maybe turning 59 won’t be so bad after all. And before I blow out those birthday candles, I’ll think I’ll make the wish that next year my 60th birthday will be even better.

 

Three Words You Never Hear Any More

I grew up in a family of seven children, and whenever the telephone rang in our house, you could hear seven voices chime out simultaneously: “I’ll get it!” Following this was always a race to see who could manage to pick up the receiver first and say that special word: “Hello?”

In our house it was a privilege to answer the telephone. We didn’t have cell phones back then. We didn’t have an answering machine, either, so there was no screening of the calls being received. Hard as it is to believe, we actually wanted to know who was on the other end of the line calling us. We never allowed a telephone call to go unanswered. telephone ringing 1But today it seems that the words: “I’ll get it” are three words that you never hear anymore.

With the birth of the answering machine and the ability to screen calls, it is practically unheard of to answer a call without first checking to see who is calling. And how many of us have land lines anymore? Today most of us own cell phones, a modern convenience which allows us to receive our calls anywhere at any time. But in many instances we’re not even talking on our phones because often we prefer texting to talking. Yes, modern technology has certainly changed our attitude towards the telephone. And I wonder: Has it been for the better?

As a matter of fact, I did not own a cell phone until a couple of years ago. I’ve been unable to work for the past eleven years due to medical disabilities which has kept me homebound, and so my husband felt that I didn’t need a cell phone; after all, I had the land line available to me. After an emergency arose, it became apparent that I did need a cell phone, and so finally (as my children so aptly put it) “I stepped into the 21st century.” They pointed out to me that a cell phone was better than a land line because of the texting feature. With texting, I’d be able to communicate faster and easier with people because sometimes it’s “inconvenient” to talk on the phone. At least, this was the way that it was explained to me by them.

But it seems to me that it’s more difficult than ever to get hold of people, even my own children! Well, is it just me or does everyone have this problem? I text, I leave messages, and often I never hear back from the people I call or text. It’s so frustrating not to be able to get hold of other people. And I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been with others who have simply ignored their cell phones when they’ve been ringing, and I think: Aren’t you going to answer that?

I think that the other problem with the cell phone age is texting. I know what you’re going to say because I’ve heard it from my own children. Yes, it is convenient, and yes, it is quick. But what about our communication skills? I’m talking about good old-fashioned talking, one-to-one voice communication. I’m talking about a verbal exchange between two people. There can be problems with texting. Many times you really can’t express all that you need to express in the printed word, such as the tone of your voice or the way you emphasize a certain word. Now I realize that you can place a smiley face or some other emoticon in your text message, but is it really the same as “hearing” the smile in someone’s voice when they’re talking, or listening to them laugh? What about when they’re feeling sad or worried? Can you really express those feelings in a text message? I truly don’t believe that you can.

I know that technology is here to stay, and I’m all for it because we’re supposed to evolve and become better. But maybe we should start thinking about being a bit more considerate of each other when we use it. After all, it’s supposed to help us, not harm us. Maybe we should use a bit of common sense and think about whether it’s better to text or to actually talk on the phone depending on the situation. And I always plead with my children: Please check  your messages and call people back.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid to say: “I’ll get it.”

 

 

 

 

 

I Love Chocolate

Oooh . . .  Which flavor do I love? There is no question whatsoever! Chocolate has been and always will be my favorite flavor. You can ask any woman and I think that she will tell you that chocolate is the go-to flavor. I could be wrong about this, of course, but every woman who I know absolutely adores chocolate.

After all, what is Valentine’s Day all about? Uh-huh! Chocolate. We do anticipate receiving those heart-shaped ribbon-wrapped boxes filled with those sweet chocolate confections of all varieties – coconut, maple, vanilla, pecan, caramel, orange, butternut . . . ooh . . . it just makes my mouth water to think of it! chocolates

And you must admit that a box of chocolates is always a great way for any man to show his love and adoration for his woman. It’s a nice gift for any birthday or anniversary. Of course, it shouldn’t be the ONLY gift that you should give to the woman who you love, but it makes for a nice additional gift. It’s also a nice little gift for any day, for those days when there’s nothing going on, just to show that you love her.

I love chocolate in any form, whether it’s from the box, in a cake, or in ice cream form. I even love chocolate milk or hot chocolate. Chocolate soothes me. I think chocolate is luxurious. It makes me feel so good. It just relaxes me. There’s just something about chocolate that I absolutely love. And it tastes so good. I love its sweetness and smoothness.

Yes, oh yes. Chocolate is my flavor. I love chocolate.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt! ”  ~ Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

 

 

Artzine: What is Art?

starry night

First, let me say that I was totally thrilled when my friend and fellow blogger, Wren, invited me to join a collaboration of bloggers called Artzine, a project which was created by the lovely Khana. Artzine is a monthly project featured on Khana’s site where “we can share our experiences, thoughts and feelings regarding art.”

After looking the project over, I thought the project sounded very intriguing and just like the kind of project that I would love to be involved with, so of course, I gladly accepted her kind invitation.

But first I must warn you: I am not an artist. The best I can do when it comes to drawing, sketching, or painting people is that of stick figures. I’m not kidding! I do, however, have a good sense of color. And sculpting? I must say that I make a pretty fair ash tray from Play-Dough along with the best of them. But I am aware that there’s more to art than just drawing, sketching, painting, or sculpting. And that’s what brings me to the first question.

The question for this post is this: What is art anyway? What does it mean to you?

I think the definition of art is going to be different for everyone. You know the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Well, I think that art is like that, too. I think that art is in the eye of the beholder as well. What one person sees as art another person may see as a piece of of junk or as a bunch of scribbles. It’s all in how you look at art, I think. I think that art is very subjective. Everyone’s tastes are different.

For instance, I adore art from the renaissance period, but pop art – not so much; whereas my daughter loves pop art but does not care for art from the renaissance period. I know this because we have gone to art exhibits together before so I know her tastes, just as she knows mine. She can see things in pop art that I just cannot for the life of me see. I just don’t get it, but she does.

I also believe that art can be anything that is created. I’m not talking about only painting or sculpting. But let us also consider music. Is that not art? Are not musicians artists in their own right? They create masterpieces of a different kind, and those masterpieces, the music, that they create can touch your mind, your heart, your very soul, can they not? This is why I believe that music should be considered as art.

There’s all kinds of art all around us. I myself create art when I make my quilts. And what about a master carpenter who creates beautiful wood furniture? Is that not art? And what about a dancer? Is not the dance an art in itself? What about a singer? Is not the song he or she sings not their art? I think there are countless kinds of artists that I could not even name them all here.

I think that art is any work that stirs us, moves us, or touches our mind, our imagination, our emotions, our heart, our soul.

I love being an artist. I love to create things. As I said before, I am a quilter, and when I’m creating quilts, I am at my best. I’m also a singer and I play the piano. When I’m making music, I am the most happy I can be. I’m a writer, and when I’m writing, I’m at one of the highest points I can be at. I am an artist at heart, so yes, I love being an artist. So I guess you could say that art means a lot to me, and I never even realized it until I had to answer this question. Art is life. Life is art. What more is there to say?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”  ~ Aristotle

 

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The World Needs . . .

 

what the world needs now

 

The world needs . . .

People who see each other with eyes that are unbiased.

 

The world needs . . .

People who listen to each other with hearts that are open.

 

The world needs . . .

People who speak to each other with words that are kind.

 

The world needs . . .

People who embrace each other with arms that are gentle.

 

The world needs . . .

People who are not afraid to hope for a better tomorrow.

 

The world needs . . .

People who can love and be loved in return.

 

The world needs . . .

People who are willing to do all these things TOGETHER.

 

 

Poetry Collaboration: Written in response to a poetry collaboration by http://writingwingsforyou.com/ which you may find at:  http://writingwingsforyou.com/2014/08/01/the-world-needs-poetry-collaboration/

★ I’d personally like to thank Marie for allowing me to be part of this wonderful collaboration and I’d also like to thank writtenonpavements.wordpress.com for inviting me in the first place.  I had a lovely time making a contribution to this collaboration, and I encourage you to check out both of their sites.

No Excuses

The seven cardinal or deadly sins are: lust, gluttony, avarice (or greed), sloth (or laziness), wrath (or extreme anger), envy, and pride. This classification of sins has been used since early Christian times in order to instruct and educate Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. They were guidelines by which Christians could lead a virtuous life.

To tell the truth, I don’t think I would even want the job of adding a new sin to the list. That’s an awfully big responsibility for just one person, especially me! But if God gave me a commandment, saying: “Cindy, you WILL decide what the eighth deadly sin will be,” then I guess I would have no choice. And I know exactly what the eighth sin would be.

white rabbit late 1I have one pet peeve that I would elect as the eighth sin and that would be tardiness. As far as I’m concerned, unless there is a true emergency, there is no excuse whatsoever for someone to be late. Seriously. Especially if you are chronically late.

For instance, if you arrive at work five minutes late every single day of the week, isn’t that your queue that you should be leaving five minutes earlier? And what about those people that you make a dinner date with, say another couple, and they arrive twenty minutes late. But you knew they were going to be late because they’re always late. What is up with those people? Do they like making a dramatic entrance? I’m sorry, but I think it is rude and disrespectful. After all, everyone’s time is valuable. And I’m sorry if it hits a little too close to home for anyone who may be reading this, but that’s just how I feel.

Everyone’s late now and then; even I’ve been late here and there. And there are occasions when it can’t be helped. But for heaven’s sake, there is no excuse for habitual tardiness, not in my book. I just think it’s inconsiderate. We need to start thinking more of each other when it comes to these situations.

And we must try to remember that we will only be treated in the same way that we treat others.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “People count the faults of those who keep them waiting.”  ~ Proverb

 

 

 

Age is a Work of Art

There are some people who worry about getting older. There are even some people who lie about their age and pretend that they are younger. But I think that age is just a number.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this:

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that about says it all. It’s true that while you’re young, you have the whole future before you, unless you run across some unforeseen circumstances. But as we grow older, as we mature, we have so much more within ourselves than we had when we were younger.

hourglass 1We have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter than when we were younger. We know what to do because chances are we’ve been in similar circumstances before.

We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and our children’s children.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and we usually can deal with them better (not all the time, granted, but usually).

We can enjoy other people’s company more because we know how to do that from our past relationships. And in this way, we can get more out of life.

And I think we can appreciate those we love even more, and this means that we can love more fully, more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

So I think we get better. Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I think it’s true.

Therefore, I don’t think a person should be concerned about numbers when it comes to their age. It really doesn’t matter whether your driver’s license says you were born in 1950 or 1993 because age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”  ~ George Burns

 

 

There’s No Place Like Home

The other day I realized I needed to renew my driver’s license. Believing that there’s no time like the present, I proceeded to go ahead and take care of the renewal before it slipped my mind. I pulled into the parking lot of the DMV and considered myself fortunate when a car pulled out so I could grab the parking space it had just occupied. The parking lot was full, so I knew I was going to have a long wait in line.

Sure enough, when I entered the building, there was a long line which had formed for people waiting to renew their driver’s license. I pulled a waiting ticket which revealed that my number was 479; the number on the board showed that they were waiting on  number 456.  At that moment I was thankful that I had worn my best pair of tennis shoes.

I felt so uncomfortable waiting in this line of strangers where no one even knew my name. I was just a number to everyone. I could have been nonexistent and no one could have cared less. As a matter of fact, those behind me in line would have been glad if I were nonexistent because then they would have reached the front of the line all the sooner.

It’s so easy in this huge world to feel nonexistent at times, especially when you are among strangers, and that’s exactly how I felt at that moment—nonexistent. I was so glad when my number was called. Even then I was still treated as only just a number.

I really can’t blame the staff at the DMV; they were only trying to do their jobs as efficiently as possible, but it still left me feeling as though I were only a number, one number in a million numbers.

On the drive home, I contemplated how often a person has this feeling of being nonexistent—at the DMV, at the doctor’s office, at the post office, at any number of places on any given day.


I had been born and lived in a big city all my life, so I wondered: are things any different in a small town?  Maybe so, but would I ever have the chance to find out? I doubt it. So I guess I’ll always have to wonder.

Then I pulled into my driveway. As I opened my car door, my husband opened the kitchen door to our house, and our little toy poodle Lucy dashed out the door to meet me, her fluffy tail wagging furiously as she tried to jump up into my lap before I could even get a foot out and onto the ground. She began to lick my face, letting me know just how glad she was to see me.

I’m not just a number to her, a nonexistent nobody. To her I am her mistress. To her I am the one who feeds her, walks her, plays with her, brushes her, scratches behind her ears, rubs her belly, and gives her love. To her I am the world. To her I am everything. To her I am immense.

In that moment, there was no doubt in my mind as to where I would much rather be. Home. There’s no place like home.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “Home is the place that goes where you go, yet it welcomes you upon your return. Like a dog overjoyed at the door. We’ve missed you is what you hear, no matter how long you’ve been gone.”  ~ Michael J. Rosen ~


Attitude Is Everything

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”  ~ William James ~

Do I believe that what William James said in the above quote about how changing your attitude can change your life? Absolutely. Because that’s exactly what I did. Let me tell you how.I was a smoker for twenty-six years, ever since I had been sixteen years of age. The funny thing was, I began smoking the night my father died, having finally succumbed to the effects of metastatic lung cancer. Life does have its ironies.I grew up in a family of smokers. Both my mother, my father, almost all my aunts and uncles, and just about every adult relative that we ever came into contact with smoked. My six siblings and Iwere used to the smell of cigarette smoke, and it never bothered me, not in the least, not even after my father died. My mother didn’t even quit smoking after my father died.I enjoyed smoking. As a matter of fact, I felt that smoking helped me with my stress. Isn’t that what all smokers say? But it’s true; it’s exactly how I felt. Every time I was in the middle of a stressful situation or I had a difficult decision to make, it seemed that smoking a cigarette always made me feel better. Cigarettes were like my friends. It seemed that all I had to do was light up and I immediately felt better. Then I met my husband. He didn’t smoke, nor did he approve of smoking. Neither one of his parents smoked, nor did any of his siblings. It just was not done in his family, and he made it very clear to me how he felt about me smoking the first time we met. He absolutely hated the fact that I smoked, so much so that I didn’t smoke in front of him. I was known as a “closet smoker,” at least at home. When he wasn’t at home, I smoked freely, but when he was there, never did I light up, not even once. I knew that even though I smoked, and I knew that my husband knew I that smoked, he still would love me, no matter what. This is the one thing that remained true.I mostly saved my smoking for while I was at work during break time or when I was with a friend or with one of my sisters. It was at those times when I smoked like a fiend. I am sure that ifIhad been allowed to smoke freely, I probably would have been a two-pack per day smoker, easily. But at the rate I was smoking, I was only a one-pack per day smoker, which was bad enough.However, smoking was quickly becoming “not the cool thing” to do anymore. As a matter of fact, there was practically a stigma attached to the whole habit of smoking. Soon smokingwas outlawed in workplaces and restaurants, and before you knew it, we smokers were not considered very good role models. But I didn’t care. I continued to smoke, believing it was my right to do as I pleased, and nothing anyone else said was going to keep me from doing what I enjoyed. Besides, I figured there was no way they could ever stop me from smoking on the premises at work, as long as I was outside, in the smoking area just like everyone else. At the time, I didn’t realize that eventually there would no longer be outside smoking areas.Enter our children. We have three beautiful children, a son and two daughters. Our son had been begging me to quit smoking for years, ever since he was a little boy. He would come home from school with information about all the bad effects of smoking and all the statistics about cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and shortened life expectancy from smoking. He would burst into tears, begging me to quit, pleading with me that he didn’t want me to die. I didn’t listen to him. The same thing happened with our two daughters. I didn’t listen to them, either. I figured it was just a phase they were going through and that they would get over it soon enough. And they did.

Then our children became teenagers. One Saturday night, after my husband and I had been to bed for an hour or so, for some reason I woke up from a sound sleep. The smell of cigarette smoke was very strong as it came wafting into our bedroom. With my husband still asleep, I arose from our bed and donned my bathrobe and slippers. After I closed the bedroom door behind me, I quietly crept down the hallway towards the living room where I knew our son was sitting, watching late night television.As I drew nearer to the living room, one of the hallway floorboards creaked, alerting my sixteen-year-old son that someone was coming down the hallway towards where he was. Then I heard the dull sound of glass in the living room as it made contact with the wood floor boards in the living room. When I entered the living room, the first thing I noticed was a wreath of smoke circling the air above my son’s head where he was sitting on the recliner. He had a guilty look on his face. There, beside him on the floor towards the wall where he thought it was hidden so I could not see, was a glass ashtray, with a still-smoking butt of a cigarette.I looked at him in shock, dismay, and disappointment. I never thought I would ever see my son smoking. He was always the one who had lectured so vehemently against it — ever since he was a little boy. What had happened?”Are you kidding me? Here, in the house? When your Dad and I are sleeping?” I asked in disbelief.”So! You do it all the time!” my son shot back at me, accusingly.My son’s accusation rang through the air. That was the moment when I knew. It was time for me to finally quit, once and for all. I needed to adjust my attitude, and I needed to adjust it fast. If I didn’t quit smoking, I couldn’t very well tell my teenager not to smoke. That would be like preaching to the choir.So I changed my attitude, constantly reminding myself of all the reasons for quitting smoking that outweighed my reasons to continue smoking. I changed my attitude by reminding myself that if I did not set a good example for my children that they, too, would soon be chain smokers. I changed my attitude by reminding myself that since I quit smoking, I was slowly beginning to breathe easier. I changed my attitude by reminding myself that since I quit smoking, food began to taste much better and I could smell things I had never smelled before. I changed my attitude by reminding myself that since I quit smoking, my clothes and hair didn’t smell like stale cigarettes anymore. I changed my attitude by reminding myself that if I did not quit smoking, I would die at a young age, just as my father had before me. I changed my attitude, reminding myself that I wanted to live to see my grandchildren. I changed my attitude, reminding myself that I really was not ready to die.

Did it work? Did changing my attitude change my life? Yes it did. I am now proud to say that I have been an ex-smoker since December 20, 1999, a date which I celebrate every single year.  I thank my son for forcing me to kick that deadly habit. And who knows? God willing, I may be able to see those grandchildren after all! Yes, attitude is everything!

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”  ~ Winston Churchhill ~