Friday, September 25, 2015

If It's In My Head And Heart I Had To Write It

Have you ever had advice given to you way back when and you didn't heed that advice?
Maybe years later you heard that advice again or remembered it and thought OMG, had I heeded that advice then it would have saved me so much aggravation and maybe even some heartache.
For me the answer is a big YES. My first wife's passing, Janet's sudden death, and Martha's stroke made me start remembering some of the advice I had not heeded all those years. I thought if I had listened to some of that advice it could have transformed my life a lot sooner.
I recently read a book called " If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules " by Cherie Carter Scott, PHD. The very first page of the first chapter made me say OMG, This is so true. It starts with another quote from Helen Keller, Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
Cherie writes that life has often been compared to a game, were we are never told the rules, nor given the instructions about how to play. We simply begin to make our way around the board hoping we play it right. We don't know the objective of playing or what it means to actually means to win.
These are things we have probably heard or known for a long time but have forgotten along the way.
She writes the rules for being human are not magic, nor do they promise easy steps to serenity. They offer no quick fix, but maybe give you a map to follow as you travel your path to spiritual growth.
She tells her clients and students " Love All The Parts Of Yourself " and if you can't love them, change them, If you can't change them. learn to accept them as they are.
She quotes Eleanor Roosevelt who said " No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent "
Learn self esteem instead of dwelling on the things you can't change, focus on the things you can do. It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it.

It's not a sin to be glad you are alive. A Song By Bruce Springsteen. Your body teaches you pleasure through your five senses. Open your five senses fully and experience the wonder of being alive.
Sight, enjoy a magnificent sunset.

Taste, like when you eat a favorite food.

Sound, It can come in a glorious sound.

Touch, The soft touch of a lover.

 Like bread baking in the oven.
The lesson of pleasure is to make time and space for it in your life. The old adage of all work and no play making you dull is quite true. You have to pause now and then to indulge your senses.
Pleasure is like the oil that keeps your engine running smoothly, with out it you most likely will break down.
Pure actions like spending time with a beloved friend brings you into alignment, were as false ones such as spending time with someone who is always in a pessimistic mood, never has anything good to say, never lets loose, and laughs little can drag you down.
Someone once said I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a man who had no feet. Life is not always fair. Focusing on the unfairness of circumstances keep you comparing yourself to others.
Make yourself a list of things you are good at and make you special to your family and friends. I know people that seem to have every thing and are some of the unhappiest people I know.

Humor and laughter are very important. Sharing a good laugh with others does wonders. The health benefits both mental and physical of humor are well documented, a good laugh can diffuse tension, relieve stress and release endorphins into your system which act as a mood elevator. Laughter causes misery to vanish, teaches you to lighten up and take yourself less seriously even in the most serious of situations.
I know several people who have the ability to do this but four people who have passed on could do this and always come to my mind when I am thinking about this subject.
My dearly beloved first wife Louise " Bubba " Jackson, my dear Sister-in-Law Barbara Creamer, and my brave little niece Nancy Carol Creamer, and my dear Brother-in-Law Frank Strawderman.
I have always said if I am ever in that situation I hope I can be as brave as they were.
Give yourself permission to laugh. You will be amazed how quickly a crisis can turn into comedy when you invite humor into your life.
About a week before my wife Louise passed away she was not feeling good, She said I am going to take a shower. She yelled Joe come here, I ran in the bathroom, she was laughing hysterically. She said look I forgot to take my socks off. Sense of humor right to the end.

Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best, Want leads to choices, which leads to commitment. 
Should leads to decisions, which leads to sacrifice.

Our greatest weakness is in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always give it one more try.
When you have reached the top of the mountain, then you will begin to climb.

To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often, a quote from Winston Churchill.

When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were you can begin to enjoy what is. Make a list each day of all that you are grateful for, so that you can stay conscious daily of your blessings, Do this especially when you are feeling as though you have nothing to be grateful for. or spend a few minutes before you go to sleep giving thanks for what you have. Spend time offering assistance to those who are less fortunate than you, so you can gain perspective.

The richest person is the one who is content with what he has, We fool ourselves believing that one day we will have every thing we want. But is anything ever enough. Do we ever arrive there? True abundance comes not from amassing but rather from appreciating. No amount of external objects, affection, love, or attention can ever fill that void. The real void can only be filed by looking within.

There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

No one is suggesting that you float through life completely detached from the past and blend to the future, only that you pause from time to time to be fully rooted in the moment and feel the peace that results.
Spend time with people the age of seven or under and people seventy years plus, at seven children are at total peace, trusting, without prejudice and caring. Most people seventy plus have finally learned what is really important in life.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity. We all realize we have to heal when we have surgery, when we break a bone, etc.. We need to realize we have to heal from emotional problems also. Say you lived with an abusive parent, maybe an alcoholic, you got a divorce, you lost your spouse you truly loved, and as in Joan's case she lost a daughter in an automobile accident. You can heal from all these things if you allow yourself time to heal. But you have to stop dwelling on it all the time. If you can't do it alone don't be ashamed to get help. Just remember the past is just that, the past, you can change any of it, to move forward you have to let go of the past.
You can either engage in the blame game, make frequent use of the statement, I can't, or you can take control of your life and shape it as you like.

Helen Keller once said, life is either an adventure or nothing at all. What you make out of life is up to you, you can either create a life filled with adventure or you can stay huddled and safe never enjoying the joyful rush of journeying out side of your comfort zone. I can truthfully say I have had a life of adventure from my childhood days in West Virginia, up to now at the ripe old age of 75. The moments I have expanded beyond my comfort
zone are some of the most precious memories I have.
At the age I am now, an age where I can now reflect back and see what a great rise I have had,. My childhood days in West Virginia when I had an almost Huck Finn life style. Other than my Dad passing away when I was 12 years old, my childhood was full of fun and excitement. We didn't have a lot but we made the best with what we had.
My teenage years during the fabulous fifties were a blast. Those years and my young adult years in Maryland were wonderful. Friends I made during those years are still some of my best friends to this day.
Been in Florida since I was 33 years old, a few very sad times, but again lots of adventures that are still going at my ripe old age of 75.
A question I would never ask anyone but have been ask a lot, is are you a Christian? My answer is that I would like to think I am, but a Christian with a lot of flaws. LOL
I often ask myself if the way I think and some of the things I do, what would Jesus do in these same circumstances, My guess is He would think and do a lot different than me, That's when the doubts crop up in my mind if I really am a Christian.
When I do a self evaluation I think my number one flaw is that I am not a forgiving person. The two beautiful women I have been lucky enough to have had as wife's, my dearly departed Bubba, and my dear wife Joan are both like Angels on earth. A lot of their wonderful traits have rubbed off on me and I think have made me a better person. Bubba and Joan were and are forgiving women and sadly that part has not rubbed off on me.

 I have always tried to be a good Son, a good husband, a good father,a good friend, etc. and treat every one right, but when someone craps on me I have a hard time forgiving them.
I have read about all the reasons one should forgive, I have prayed about , talked with a couple of Pastors about it, and they prayed with me about it also.
I am still not satisfied with my progress. As I am getting older and crankier at the age of 75 I am still working on it.
My doctors tell me I am in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in, LOL and should be around awhile.
I am as happy and content as I ever have been, and still having a lot of fun, but there are still things that will upset me, I will handle them and move on.
At 75 I have almost no blood family left, have lost most of my best friends.
Some of the people I consider my best friends now are a lot of people I have never met in person.
A lot of good friends on Facebook, and on my Remember When Sites, and I thank God for them.
Most of the thoughts on this BLOG are mine but I did get a lot of help from the book,
" If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules."
Writing is a great catharsis for me, allows me to keep my wonderful memories alive.
Love And God Bless To You All.   

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rude And Dangerous Cell Phone Use And Texting While Driving.

Dear Family And Friends:

Those of you that read my E-Mails or follow me on Facebook know that I try to stay upbeat and happy. I am always telling people to Live, Love, & Laugh. I use a lot of motivational pictures with quotes to try to spread humor and upbeat things.
But no matter how much good is going on on our lives there will always be negative things we have to face. One of the biggest things we have to face is rude cell phone use and texting. It has become an epidemic. It is not other people's responsibilty to cope with your mobile phone use. It is your responsibility to use your phone inoffensively. Please note that inoffensively is not identified by what you expect others to tolerat, but by what others do find offensive. Ignore this principal and you are sure to be rude.
You have to remember it doesn't take a cell phone to be rude, people were rude before cell phones, but I do believe they have made us even ruder.
You should not be a slave to to your phone, the technology is there to serve you, not the other way around.
Just a few common sense things that we should not do. Never have a phone on during a funeral or memorial service. I was at a memorial service when a very respected business man's phone rang. My immediate thought was he just forgot to turn it off, but then he proceeded to talk on it.
Turn off the phone in the movie theater. Even if your phone is on vibrate people can still hear it during quiet parts of the movie. The light from the screen is is also very distracting. don't check the time, don't check your text messages, just turn it off until the movie is over. 
Don't use the phone when having a meal with someone. Ideally you should turn it off entirely. If you're anticipating an important call let the people know beforehand that you're expecting a call and that you will need to take it. No matter what don't hold the conversation at the table, step away. Never text at the table, even if the face to face conversation dies down. It is just disrespectful.
Joan and I were at P.F. Changs for dinner. A man and his wife and three children were seated at a table next to us. The Father never put his phone down the whole time we were there.  Even after their food came he would lower the phone, take a bite, go back to texting, lower the phone take another bite, never seen him have any conversation with the family.
Never put your phone, on speaker when you are with others. They don't want to hear your conversation and they sure don't want to hear you are talking to. 
It is rude to book an appointment at the doctors, dentist, hairdresser etc. rather than letting them do their job. If you are on the phone you can't concentrate on what they are saying to you.
Families and friends get together for special occassions, holidays, etc. I looked around and over half the people there were either talking on their phone or texting and no one could hold a conversation. I just took my phone out and starting using it. I thought if they are going to be rude why not me. Then of course all the way home my beautiful wife is giving me Hell. She seemed to only see me doing it and not the others. LOL
When we go to Carter and Griffin's soccer or basketball games I am always astounded at the number of parents and grandparents who are on their phones, not even watching the children playing.Same thing when we take the boys to the bounce house, our community pool or other activities.
Once at a soccer game a boy scored a goal, he was so excited he ran over and said Mommy, Mommy, did you see that, and she said yes, then turned to the lady next to her and said what was that all about.
And last but not least do not text while driving. What message is woth dying or going to jail because of killing someone on the road. I just read that if you are driving 70 miles an hour and you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds you travel the lenght of a football field.
Thousands of deaths and injuries have been caused by cell phone use.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Want To Live Until I Die, Not Just Hang On

Including today it will be eight days before I turn 3/4 of a century old. OMG 75
For someone that will be 75 on September 18, my mind tells me I am not that old but my body reminds me that I am. LOL
I have sadly had many family and friends that have left the world much to soon before they understood the great freedom of aging.
I know I can't stop getting older but I am trying not to grow up. LOL I spend as much time as I can with Carter and Griffin, they help me stay younger. I try to avoid negative people as much as I can because they drag you down. Can't avoid it totally.
I have lost a lot of my family and friends that were so much fun to be around, who loved to laugh and had a great sense of humor.
I am sometimes a bit forgetful but that's all right some people and some things I wanted to forget anyway.LOL
I try to drive bad thoughts out of my mind to make more work for the good thoughts. LOL
Has my heart been broken? Of course it has, how could it not have been with all those wonderful people I have lost.
No matter what when I take the time to look back over my life I find that by ups still far outnumber my downs.
If I could give you my Dear Family and Friends advice, and I wish I had started it earlier it would be to dwell more on the good things that are happening in your life and less on the bad.
If you have family and friends that love you, if you still have reasonably good health, if you have laughed more than you have cried, then count your blessings.
As I get older I actually find it easier to be positive, you get to a point where you don't care what other people think of you, I don't berate myself near as much as I used to. I think I have earned the right to be wrong once in awhile.
When I look in the mirror I am often taken aback by that old geezer looking back at me. LOL
When I go to the pool or the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and see the jet setters giving me the pitying glance, I laugh to myself and think you are going to look like this if you are lucky enough to live this long.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here I am not going to waste time thinking what could have been or worrying what will be. And If I want to I will eat dessert every day. LOL
Notice I use a lot of LOL's when I write, that's what we need to do.
I Have Two Mottos That I Try To Follow
And Live Until I Die.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Tribute To My Wife, And I Love Her

A lot of you know the story of how Joan and I met but for those of you that don't
I will tell you my story. The first year you lose someone you love is the hardest,
the first December I was having a hard time as Christmas was always Bubba's
favorite time of the year, my daughter Martha, my son-in-law Jimmy and my
granddaughter Jessica were living with me at the time and we had no Christmas
spirit, we didn't even decorate or plan any thing special.

I went to the cemetery one day and I said Bubba I am having a hard time
adjusting to you being gone. I said I have prayed, I have talked to family and friends
but it is still tough. I said I know God is very busy but if you get a chance to talk
to him ask him if there is any thing he can do to help a lost soul down here on earth.

About a week after that I got a Christmas card from Joan, Joan and Bubba had been friends
for many years and had bowled together, I was really surprised that her being Joan's friend
and Bubba had passed that she had not scratched me off her card list as I had only
met here a few times through Bubba. That was on a Saturday, I thought about it all weekend
and on Monday I looked in Bubba's old address book and Joan's phone number was in there,
I called her to thank her for the card and we talked for an hour. Joan had lost her husband
at a young age also when her daughters were 17 and 13 so I knew she had been through
the loss of a spouse. When we hung up I said WOW you did not tell me any thing I probably have
not heard from lots of other people but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I said this is the best
I have felt since Bubba died, can I call you again some time and she said yes you can.

I waited about a week and called her again, another hour just flew by, I said I have a friend in the hospital
in West Palm Beach, I was living in Lake Placid, Florida at the time I asked her if we could continue our conversation over dinner and she said yes.

Now as Paul Harvey use to say, now here is the rest of the story. LOL:

I called her a couple of times to confirm us going out to dinner and got nervous and hung up. I said to myself you dummy if she has caller ID she is going to think you are nuts so I finally made the call to confirm. We were going out on a Saturday evening so I came over on Friday and stayed with some friends. When I got up Saturday morning my friend said Joe how did you sleep, I said do you really want to know or are you asking just to be polite, he said of course I want to know and I said well the truth of the matter I didn't sleep hardly at all. I told him I was to nervous to sleep and I said as a matter of fact I am really nervous now. He assured me every thing would be alright . I showered and put on my best cologne and headed over to her house. I was so nervous that I drove around the block a couple of times before I had the nerve to pull in her driveway. LOL I knocked on the door and she opened and I went in. We were standing in her foyer talking and she asked me if there was something wrong with my ear, I said I don't think so WHY, she said I was just wondering as you have a Q-tip sticking out of your ear. LMAO What an impression that was, any way we went to dinner, talked a lot and when I took her home she said it is a holiday weekend and she had something planned for Sunday but if I was going to be around on Monday she would be off work and maybe we could do something. Well I have to tell you what a relief that was as I thought well maybe she doesn't thing I am a complete idiot. LOL

Long story short that was a start of a wonderful relationship that ended up with us getting married on November 10, 2002.

God needed Bubba for one of his Angels and in looking out for me replaced her with another Angel, and I thank him for that every day.
Since Joan and I were married in 2001 we have experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows.
I could write a book just on the high points alone. The wonderful cruises we have been on, the other trips, all the fun time shared with family and friends, the birth of Carter & Griffin, I could go on and on.
But we have experienced some very low, lows also. Joan has been through a couple of scary health problems, Thank God she is ok now.
She has been with me through two back surgeries, and now my current bout with neuropathy which has limited me in some ways. I have used the word can't more in the last 6 months than I had used it my entire life. Because I CAN'T do a lot of things it has put more of a burden on her. She refuses to let me get down, constantly telling me it is ok, don't worry about it She is living proof that all Angels are not in Heaven, she is one here on this earth.
My problem is not the worst thing we have gone through, one year after we were married Joan's beautiful daughter was killed in a tragic automobile accident on Christmas Eve 2002. Then in 2003 my beautiful daughter was struck down with a major stroke, she is very limited in her movement but the worst part is she has not been able to talk since then. Her mind is as sharp as ever, she still smiles and laughs and has some enjoyable times, she can say words just can't put them in a sentence.
I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with the proper way to pay tribute to my beautiful wife and then the other day I heard a song by the Beatles called
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
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The Lyrics To The Song
And I Love Her

I give her all my love
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her too
ILove Her
She Gives me everything
And Tenderly
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her
A love like our
Could never die
As long as I
Have you near me
Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
This video is unavailable. You need Adobe Flash Player to watch this video. Download it ...
You all know that I am always talking about how important it is to have a sense of humor and how important it is to laugh, well this Ladies story will confirm why I say that all the time.

I belonged to the Staying Alive Fitness Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1993, 1994 & 1995 and I was lucky to meet and become friends to Amy. What a character she was.
When she started coming to the center she had arthritis so bad she could hardly get around, Working her way through a lot of pain she got to the point that she could walk on the tread mill, ride the stationary bike, and even do some light lifting on the weight machines.
And oh I failed to mention I knew her for three years when she was 83, 84, & 85. At that time she lived alone, she had outlived her Twin Sister and ever other relative except one niece.
Her niece talked her into moving into Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility. After that I lost touch with her. Everyone at the fitness center missed he so bad. I have never forgotten Amy and I have told some of her stories over and over through the years.
She was the first woman to ever serve on the City Council in Pittsburgh and I was told by friends that knew her she held her own with all the men on the council and never backed down from a fight.
So many reasons I will never forget Amy, I would like to share a few of them with you.
One day she said Joe did I ever show you my locket?   I thought she was going to show me pictures, she opened it up and it had a COMDON in it and she roared with laughter and she said JUST IN CASE I NEED IT.
She said she was on a cruise and a man older then her asked her to dance. While dancing he whispered in her ear, Amy lets go back to your room and make mad passionate love. She said to him who is going to lift you on and off.
There are so many more stories but I will close with the message she had on her answer machine. It said
" If you are a millionaire on Viagra leave me a message, other wise please hang up "
Staying active, having a great sense of humor, and always laughing carried Amy to 100 years young. RIP you wonderful, wonderful lady, and I for one will never forget you.

This Was Her Obituary:

AMY BALLINGER " 1910-2010"

Amy Ballinger loved to make people laugh. When the 100 year old Pennsylvania native passed away Thursday, saw a sad eyed friend she'd toss out a joke. Still blond the husky voiced centenarian revelled in making a bawdy joke, bringing out a smile or a blush.

Amy was vivacious, over the top. She embraced life said Lisa Shawn the lifestyle director at Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility that was Amy's home.
An avid swimmer, great dancer, and a decent golfer, Ms Ballinger grew up in a family of steel workers in Pittsburgh. She and her twin sister were the ninth and tenth children of parents who were immigrants from Germany. Amy quit school after the eighth grade and went to work in a Laundry said her friend Jeanne Shaw.

Angered at the poor conditions of workers, Amy helped establish the Laundry and Dry Cleaning International; Union. Her fearless attitude and political contacts got her elected to the Pittsburgh City Council twice beginning when she was 70 years old.