Becoming who we are meant to be must be a very long process, at least if my own experience is any indication. More than a half-century of living has left me feeling a bit bewildered by many parts of this whole life thing.
I feel like I’m still being steered through life by bumping into things, bouncing off them, and heading off in whatever new direction that indicates. I continue on that path until I again bump into something, and the pattern repeats.
I know some people grab onto whatever they bump into, try to figure out what it is, a way around it or through it, and proceed in as much of a straight line as possible. I’m guessing either method brings its own lessons, triumphs and pains.
Then there are those folks who bump into something and just immediately sit down and remain in place. I’m not sure of the benefits of that, but there must be some. You probably have fewer bruises from bumping into things, for one. But, I’m guessing others sometimes stumble over you and that can’t be comfortable either. In fact, that sounds worse than doing the bumping yourself.
Regardless of how we go through life, it’s all a process of becoming. Everything we learn is valuable. Every person we meet is there to teach us something or learn something from us – sometimes it’s difficult to tell if we’re the student or the teacher.
I suppose it’s all an unfolding process. We learn a little something here, pick up another little bit there, and eventually figure out how to create a life. At least that seems to be the ideal goal – becoming the person we are meant to be while leading the life we want.
I have been mourning the loss of a friendship the last few months. We have drifted apart over years, but the final shreds of connection we had left were severed more recently.
It was a quick and unexpected ending. Words were said that left me stunned. They struck me at a deep level, probably far more than the speaker intended. But words can’t be undone and there they were – spoken – out loud – forever present in the air – tangible.
The dismantling of the relationship has been a long time coming, and I have not been blameless in it by any means. I made what I considered to be valiant efforts over the years to rebuild the connection we once had. But, truth be told, I wasn’t willing to make the effort I knew was required. It seemed too much, too monumental, and too repetitious.
Really, I wanted her to make the effort. But I think it had ended for her some time ago and it had been me trying to hang on. Finally, she said something that could give me absolutely no doubt about her feelings so I had to accept it.
We have had some magnificent times together – some laughter, some tears, some dreaming, some sorrows, and some joys. But there was always more to our relationship. A nasty undercurrent, ready to bubble to the surface when one of us felt threatened by the other. Sometimes we would push each other’s buttons, like all friends do. But this was a scarier thing – always lurking and always a surprise when it manifested. But if we were both willing to walk through the fire we would come out stronger on the other side.
Maybe we both became less willing to do that. I know I did. I felt like I’d done it time and again, and it took something out of me every time. Beyond that, it stopped making a difference as far as I could see. We were stuck in the same cycle, covering the same ground. I just didn’t have the energy to do it anymore. But I’m not sure it was my place to judge if it was useful or not.
When my life changed dramatically and I became fully self-employed, it was more apparent than ever that we couldn’t find a common ground anymore. Being self-employed is a tremendous gift and I remain so grateful for it, but it created a new separation in this friendship.
Brene Brown has written about connection in “Daring Greatly.” She says, “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
For this friendship, that connection no longer exists. I’m not sure I made her feel seen, heard and valued. She certainly didn’t make me feel that way either. I could offer a thousand ideas about how we got there – things I did or didn’t do and things she did or didn’t do. But it doesn’t really matter at this point. Best to cut the losses and move on.
But it’s sad. I value connection with other humans a great deal. I hate to let go of a long-term relationship, but I’m having trouble finding a way to salvage this that I’m willing to invest the energy in. Maybe if I knew it would work… Maybe not…
Brown says shame unravels connection. Maybe one or both of us feels shame for something we’ve said or done over the years. Maybe we can’t find a way out of that. Maybe we don’t even want to try.
For whatever reason, it seems that I, like her, gave up some time ago. I wasn’t brave enough to say so. But she was.
I’m on deadline. That’s part of my world, and although I feel a bit rushed and overwhelmed at times, I am thankful. Of course, like so many times when I’m on deadline I can find 1,000 other things to do.
Being on deadline is a gift. When you run your own business, it means you have work. And, hopefully if you’re running your own business, it’s work you enjoy.
So much of life is perception. Deadline can make you feel frantic, or it can make you feel grateful. I’m so glad my natural inclination is to see the positive perspective.
Now… I really must get back to it. Did I mention I’m on deadline?
When I first learned about mummies in second grade, I was hooked. There was no going back. My fascination with Ancient Egypt began that day, and continues still. I’ve even tried to teach myself Egyptian hieroglyphics, but haven’t been successful yet.
A few years ago I got to spend almost a month in Egypt. Many of those hours were spent in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and a number of those in the King Tut exhibit. Although some of the items have toured, it’s rare for them to leave Egypt, and the iconic items never leave Cairo.
The exhibit at Union Station in Kansas City, “The Discovery of King Tut,” is all reproductions, but they are exceptional ones. They’ve done something fantastic with them that simply isn’t possible with the actual artifacts.
When you enter the exhibit, you are given an audio tour and it’s really well done. There’s a short movie that gives an overview of the discovery of the tomb in the early 20th century. Then you enter an exhibit area where they’ve recreated the scene Howard Carter saw when he first put his eye up to the small hole he had made and said he saw, “Wonderful things.”
Although I had seen photographs of the scene as it was that day, it was different to see it in 3D. They present it in a way that gives a sense of the wonder Carter must have felt when he found what he had spent 15 years seeking.
Kansas City is its American premiere and the exhibit is there through September 7, with open hours every day of the week. If you have an interest in Ancient Egypt, you’ll enjoy seeing these items up close. If you want to learn, or just to marvel at the beauty, this is a great way to spend some time.
Earlier this summer, Antiquities expert Zahi Hawass gave a presentation at Union Station. I was so honored to be able to attend and hear him speak about the discoveries made during his years as the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in Egypt. He is perhaps the world’s most well-known archaeologist. I’m so thankful to my friend Ben Smith for making it possible for me to go. I am still enjoying the book I purchased that night, reading it a little at a time to make it last.
The Discovery of King Tut is well worth your time and you’ll be glad you visited!
When my mom died, my brothers suggested I take her car. I had just purchased a used van, and they both told me the car would get better mileage and it would be a good thing for me to do. As is so often the case, the brothers were right, and I’m glad I listened to them.
It was a great car and served me well for the last few years. However a year and a half ago it developed a problem that made it unsafe for long highway trips, which I do a lot of. So, I got a new car and this one was without a home.
I hated to just salvage it because it still ran quite nicely for in-town driving. I looked into donating it but discovered most of those things are just resell places and no one is really getting the benefit of the car. The value of it to the dealership when I got the new car was so small it wasn’t worth it.
But, as these things sometimes do, it started to become a liability. It became ridiculous to be paying insurance on something I wasn’t driving at all. I was getting ready to donate it, and then someone in my circle mentioned they needed to find a car.
So, a few days ago I transferred the title, and gave it away. This is the second time I’ve given away a car I couldn’t use anymore, but that still had some miles left in it. Of course, I don’t know how many miles – could be 5, could be 5,000, could be 50,000. In both cases, they weren’t worth anything to sell, but were worth something to someone who needed a vehicle.
I took a photo of it being driven away because it’s the end of an era. It was something very tangible that belonged to my mom. I’m incredibly sentimental about everything. But, it was not doing anyone any good sitting in a driveway and hopefully someone will get some use of it now.
I just gave it as a gift, so there can be no outrage if it develops a new issue that makes it not usable. I was very honest about its problems. It seemed like the right thing to do, to pass it on. I think my mom would approve. I was willing to spend the time it took to do that instead of just junking it. I hope it serves well far into the future!
You can now save links on Facebook to go back to later. Although they have a nice informational page about it if you know about it, it isn’t something you can yet search for in their help menu. It’s possible they are still rolling it out.
Although I can find references to it online in multiple stories and Facebook’s own blog, I can’t find their informative graphics anywhere. So, I snipped them so you can see them here.
Facebook has never been an especially good way to catalog information like that. This should make it much easier. Another option would be to use an application designed for saving things – like evernote.com. But if you want to keep the material on Facebook, now you have a convenient way to do it. Enjoy!
Thirteen years ago today, at 4:32 a.m., my mother took her last breath and passed from this world. I have missed her every day since.
We laid her to rest two days later, on Mother’s Day, 2001. She wore a corsage of three white roses, one for each of her children.
I bought my house later that year, and planted a rose bush in front of the house. I didn’t know until the next year that it was white, the traditional corsage color for Mother’s Day if your mother is dead. Every year, as if on cue, it blooms right before Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day is difficult for those of us who are no one’s child, and no one’s mother. But, Mama would say, “Life is for the living,” so every year on May 11 I make it a point to do something I love, to really live.
If you wish to read more, here are some previous posts:
The Eisenhower Library in Abilene hosted a First Ladies Tea Saturday, with Andy Och who produced the C-Span Series on the First Ladies. He was an excellent speaker and delighted us with stories of the first ladies from Martha to Michelle.
In a nutshell, he illustrated how each of them was very accomplished and unusual for their time. He told stories that were part of the series. You can see the series for free by going to cspan.com/firstladies.
I confess I became a fan of Mrs. Taft. She was the one who planted the first cherry blossom trees, and was the first to give her inaugural gown. She was asked by the Smithsonian to share something with them and thought because she wouldn’t be using the inaugural gown again it was the perfect item. A tradition was born!
The tea itself was tasty, but very minimal. They advertised the menu in advance, so that wasn’t a surprise, but I really wish they had offered more of a tea “experience.” Even if they had to charge more, it would have been nice to have more food offered, and to have the typical things expected at a tea.
We were served cucumber sandwiches, a chicken salad sandwich, a small scone, and two desserts. They had advertised a lemon dessert that wasn’t served, at least not to our table. They were all delicious, but more variety of delicate sandwiches and desserts would have made it much more of an tea event, to go with the wonderful presentation.
The food was done by Apple Mint Catering, and it was great. It just would have been nice to have more selection of food, and some of the traditional tea things – like lemon curd. I so wanted some of that to go with this lavender scone, which was wonderful!
All of that said, it was a wonderful experience. The presentation was spectacular and I would happily do it again in a minute. Mr. Och was the main event, and the tea seemed ancillary to the day. But, it was the tea that attracted me, and I’m guessing others as well. It wouldn’t take much to make it more of a tea experience and have the best of both worlds. I like to have my cake and eat it too. Or, in this case, my fascinating presentation and my tea sandwiches, too!
They are planning to do another one next year, the Saturday before Mother’s Day, so mark your calendar. I already have!
I’m feeling a rush of gratitude at the moment. Admittedly, I feel grateful every day, but the last few weeks have demonstrated why I have so very much to be thankful for.
A few weeks ago I went in for a regular checkup and scheduled a mammogram. They called a few days later and told me to come back in for more scans, that there was something in my left breast they wanted to double check.
Everyone I spoke with was very encouraging, telling me it’s not uncommon to be called back. I was fortunate enough to get in less than 24 hours after they called, and even more blessed that they looked at it while I was still there and the radiologist allowed the technician to share with me that he saw nothing to be a cause for concern. I’ll go back in six months instead of a year, just as a caution, but there’s no reason to believe it is anything but normal.
We left on a trip a couple of days later, and I was able to experience so many wonderful things that will influence my writing and my other work over the next few months. Travel is always inspiring.
I was thankful to be with my best friend, and we had a fantastic time. We discovered we both love sauerbraten (who knew? certainly not us!), saw the Harley Davidson Serial Number One machine, saw amazing art, and realized Wisconsin-ites are incredibly friendly!
I also saw a town of about 10,000 people who has done such an incredible job of branding itself that I’ll be using it in future presentations as a good example. Really impressive.
Travel is always about those little unexpected things that stay with you, as well as the memorable moments you anticipate when you’re planning. This trip offered many of both.
We wrapped up the trip with a stop to see the Bridges of Madison County. Not only did we enjoy the bridges, but one of them included a journal so I was able to gather some wonderful handwriting samples for wordsbyhand.com. I knew there would be writing inside the bridges, but the journal was an unexpected joy.
At the last minute, we decided to detour to spend a day or two with my friend’s mom. While there, more wonderful medical news arrived. Even when you’re expecting good news, you’re nonetheless relieved to hear it.
Now I’m back at home, where everything is in great working order thanks to a very kind soul who house sits for me. That allows me to travel without worrying about what’s happening back here from wind, rain, hail or other dramas – all of which occurred during our absence.
I’m also so, so, so thankful to be able to do much of my work from anywhere with an internet connection. So, I was able to keep up on client needs from the road, which allowed me to be away. I’m also thankful to have wonderful clients who understand. I occasionally need to be away – it energizes me like nothing else – and it brings new things into my world, allowing me to be more creative in my work.
Now I’m preparing to go to tea with a friend tomorrow. Sunday will be time for a flea market. Life continues to be full of delights.