September 16, 2018

Sept 16

Sunday morning memory – a great time to be reminded of the people who are your friends – those who truly are more than the definition of the NOUN “friend,” and whose actions exhibit the definition of the word itself. Our hearts and souls know WHO they are…your tribe, your circle. Though small in number, they are mightier than any Army because they fortify your life with love, loyalty, thought, compassion, and genuine care, just asking for your friendship in return. Like marriage, friendship may not be equal, but it delivers a commitment between two humans that enriches each other’s lives, like no other. The movie, Beaches, and Bette Middler’s, “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” is what I think of when I think of a Friend…

“Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold.”

Gratitude to those worthy of wearing the title of Friend.

September 13, 2018

Sept 13

The saying, “Be a Voice; not an Echo,” has so much more meaning as you attain true maturity; I now understand those senior persons who were so adamant about things in my youth – when I thought, “Who do they think they are!” Today I know; they had experience – wisdom, so often hard-earned; they had lived life which we youth had yet to experience.

My, my – how our perspective changes as we arrive where they once were. I so hope the current youth will listen and avoid our hard-learned lessons. God Bless us one and all on our journey , and may we all recognize that it really is as Alice in Wonderful told us – “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

September 9, 2018

life lessons grays anatomy

It has been a year since I closed on my Lakeside house, and with many starts and stops, each time believing I was almost at the finish line, I finally am really almost there. I can almost touch that finish line…ALMOST. Only those closest to me know, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.” Many things that had value have been shared, evaluated, and discarded or kept. This has been quite the road less traveled, but truly a spiritual journey full of epiphanies. Other Baby Boomers who may also be where I am, are looking back at what and who has mattered on their path.

Lessons are understood now…some lessons I did not even know I was being taught. Things I once believed have been challenged and truths revealed. I have lived a life of adventure and see how I have been placed in many roles I would not have chosen myself, but were truly placed in them because they were mine to fill. I strived always to go beyond mediocrity and never was satisfied with my results because I wanted what I did to matter, to really matter. I still feel that way.

Unlike many who say they would not change a thing in their lives, I would. Hindsight is 20/20. With that hindsight, however, at this stage of my life, I believe that if I ever strayed from the path that was mine to walk, there was always Divine Intervention gifted me so that I could find a new road that would lead me back to the true path of my Earthly sojourn.

Just as nature reveals many answers with her changing seasons, animals bring insights to me to aide me on my journey. I embrace their traits and the gifts they present me. I AM aware. I AM grateful, and I AM blessed today to revisit a post from last year which opens my eyes once again to snippets of insight for the next road I have chosen to walk.

Sundays are special days, and with Fall in the air, today I Fall in love again with the gift of life and the tests given, passed or failed – for I know today that even the failed tests contain wisdom for the journey.

Letting go… and moving on

Sometimes

Inside my head are a lot of things. I just realized this, this morning. I was looking at something on an email and saw Geneva and immediately thought of Wisconsin. I thought, I wonder how I know that. Well, I was born in 1948 and this is 2018. I am approaching my 70th birthday. In the almost 70 years I have lived, I have been many places and done many things and my mind was on high alert all the time, somewhat like the Robot in “Short Circuit” who wanted to know more, thus constantly uttering, “More input.” Well, with my mind drinking in everything it could and the continued hunger I possessed for learning, that is how I knew Geneva, WI. The big question is, what will I do with this information I have accumulated over the years? How can it benefit me or anyone for that matter?

Recently I bought a new house and it is taking me quite a while to de-clutter or downsize as they now call it. When I knew that I was truly moving, the first thing I did, having learned Feng Shui principles, was to scan the contents of my current house and decide what I KNEW for a fact that I truly loved. Feng Shui teaches that you should only live with what you love. Forget the gift from that special person that you do not like, but kept for the sentiment of it, and let it go. Remember that person, but do not take whatever it was with you. If it doesn’t tug at your heart strings and make you smile or resonate with your gut in a positive fashion, out it goes. Someone else can have that good feeling when they get it, when you let it go.

After I made many trips with the “KEEP” things to my new house, I next decided on the big things. Movers came and that was good – I sent with them only what I loved. Then to the yard… again, another move of those things that I only truly loved. What a process! Done… NOT QUITE. I still have to go through the things left at the old house, discard or give them away, and visit the boxes I have not even looked in for a number of years. And why don’t I just throw away those boxes if I haven’t looked at them in years? Believe me, there is reason and reading on the reason will become crystal clear.

Some of the things left behind do contain some LOVE stuff, but there is no room in the new house for all of them. Additionally, in the new house, as I put things away, hang things on the walls and continue to unpack, I discover that I have taken some things that do not fit the definition of “what I truly love.”

When I have that realization, I put them in a box and am returning them to the old house. I have always heard that clearing out/downsizing/letting go, or whatever you may want to call it, is a spiritual experience. I have found out that, for me, it truly is. It is akin to a divorce or a death. Even if it does not make you smile from its memory, if it leaves you, you have to grieve it.

In 1998 I began a career in radio and local TV. I had no experience, but slid into the chair at the radio station like I belonged there, with love in my heart and a sincere passion for sharing information. I had no fear what-so-ever, I started out with one show which lasted 10 years, and wound up doing 6 different shows a week. I listened to myself if it was a pre-record, and if it wasn’t, I had it recorded so I could listen and improve and learn. Except for when we had a technical malfunction, or the production person failed to record the show for some reason, I have all the cassettes, MP3s and CDs of every show I have ever done from 1999 through the latter part of 2014.

That is 52 weeks a year, sometimes only 51 because I actually had a vacation, times whatever number of shows I had at the time – resulting in a lot of STUFF I love. Almost every single one of those shows has a file folder with it which contains information about the show. Can you see how much STUFF that is!!

My Mission – and I choose to accept it – is to go through those file boxes or plastic file boxes and make a decision about what I really, really love and want to keep. Obviously I can’t keep all of it.

As I continue unpacking the final boxes at the new residence, and placing those things I love where they are to be most appreciated, I look at that daunting task of the remainder of the old residence – before me, Of course, I am asking myself, why in the world I kept all of that stuff? What was I thinking? I truly think, especially with my tobacco show – the one that ran 10 years – that the information might help someone someday, or ultimately wind up in the Smithsonian. Today, I say “Not.” Nonetheless, all of those recorded shows and files contain memories and proof that passion is the launching pad for success. Radio and TV were not the only things I kept. As a chamber director who was driven to help the business community and my town, I also kept many remembrances from that career. I also wrote for The Maverick Magazine and the White Mountain Independent and guess what – I kept that stuff too.

Not all of those years did we have ready access to St. Google or ways to archive, like we do today, or I most probably would not have entertained such an endeavor. I have asked my friend, Amy Rogers, publisher of The Maverick Magazine, to come and help me sort through the mounds of my career and decide what should or should not be saved. Many may say, “Just throw it away.”

Again, it is not that easy. Though it may be the common sense thing to do, if for no other reason than saving time, I believe that this is a purge that must take place with some kind of remembrance ceremony paying tribute to the many incredible people who came on my shows and spoke live or recorded about many subjects. The mere fact that they trusted me implicitly to do this deserves more than a passing thought from me. It is the same way I feel about the articles I wrote – people trusted me and how blessed I was to intuitively know what to write and whatnot to write for the sake of ethics. ​

Such a gift from all of those I was blessed to interview – and they weren’t just stories, they were people I grew to understand, love and care about. They blessed me, so it is doubly hard to let those things go… but… I would need another dwelling just to store all of that stuff if I were to “try” to keep it.

Since 2013, I have suffered many losses – losses that other Baby Boomer generation people have and are also experiencing. Our generation is at the age of losing friends, family and even health. These losses change you. You finally realize that many of the things that you worried about or thought were important really were not. You also, if you are reflecting on your life and your belief system, realize that many of the things you were taught are not so. It really is true that “things are not always as they seem.” If you worked too much, have no relationship, or are experiencing health or negative financial issues, you give credence as to how you got where you are. No matter your current status, you cannot help but give focus to your own mortality. That also causes you to examine your spiritual beliefs and the afterlife.

I had not planned to change careers, nor make another move, other than to the beach. As I go through all of the foregoing and continue my move, my purge and the examination of my life through the reminder of “things,” and memories, my belief is that the new career and the purge of possessions is indeed a gift.  It is allowing me to once and for all clarify what is important to me at this time in my life.

My father, in the last year of his life, validated the wisdom that I always knew he had. He was a simple man who did not care about things. He had been brought up like many in his generation with very little, learning to do with whatever he had, or do without. In the last year of his life with my mother already having gone before him, as well as one of his children, he would often ask if there was enough to take care of him. This was a man who worked as a laborer in the Open Hearth of the Steel mills, one of the hottest and toughest jobs there is, but paying a good wage. He did have enough, but the point is that his emphasis was not on things. He always wanted to leave something for his kids because that was the way of his generation. The last time that I visited him when he was still in his own home, like a Daddy caring for a young child, he put a $20 bill in my hand and was so proud to give it to me. Though I did not need it, I knew I had to take it for his sake. He also sent me $10 after that in a birthday card. I have that $20 and that $10 and the card. It is one of the things I TRULY LOVE. It is on the refrigerator in my new house.

His advice to my Sister Beverly and I the last few years he was alive, was always the same, “Let it go, let it go, let it go.” Life is so precious, even with the ups and downs. Yesterday as I continued to put away the things that I LOVE and want to LIVE with in my new home, I began to see how living only with what you love nourishes you physically, mentally and spiritually. I am doing my best to take my Daddy’s advice and with the things I do not really love, or need, to “let them go.”

The last visit my mother had to her home in the final days of her life, she went inside to pick up some personal papers. As she walked out the door and locked it for the final time, she turned around and spoke to the house. With a heart filled with gratitude, she said, “Thank you, House. Thank you for housing me and my family and for all that you provided, both good and bad.” She, too, was “letting it go.”

In the final chapter of my life, however long it lasts, each day, with the move that I am making to my new home, I am being blessed with the gift of letting go. This move and the new chapter of my life is truly gifting me with the lesson of letting go – not holding on to things that no longer serve me. It is gifting me with memories and allowing me to see the real value of things and give thanks for all of them.

As I drag out my “Simple Abundance” book again, the book that changed my life during a very dark period in 1997, its message, too, is about letting go. The one phase from the book that I have read so many times and said aloud is, “All you have, is all you truly need.”

In the end, if we have awakened even slightly, and take the time to spiritually purge our lives, we realize that nothing really belongs to us, it is only on loan – even the air we breathe has to be exhaled.

It is my intent to “let go.”

Procrastination…

procrastination

Friends are saying to me, “Have you moved yet?” And, I say, “kinda,” meaning that I keep taking stuff over to my new house but have not yet completed the task.

On November 11, 2016, I posted the foregoing on my Facebook page.  Though I have tried my best to turn the pages back to that date in 2016, I wonder what it was I was thinking when I posted it. It definitely wasn’t significant enough for me to remember the WHY without going back to my Franklin Planner where I routinely detail the events of the day in writing, but this slow “move” to my new dwelling might appear to others as procrastination, but…in looking up the classic definition of procrastination, NOT SO.

As I contemplate the situation, I realize that even from grade school to high school to college, and then in my personal life, I ALWAYS had a FULL plate. Of course, that has always been my choice. Whether it was a term paper, a school project or anything else, I performed best at the eleventh hour. Similar to the characters in the Perry Mason mysteries by Erle Stanley Gardner, my favorite books to read in my youth, I did my very best work, or came up with the idea needed, or the task to be performed just minutes before deadline – just like Della Street and Paul Drake who provided Perry Mason the information to win his case for the client when all looked lost.

This is an EPIPHANY for me, providing great insight into this move and why it is taking so long.  I have turned a corner in my life. I have wanted to downsize for quite some time, but there was no time to do it with me filling up every minute of every day with “something” to do. Since I arrived on the Mountain, I have been on numerous boards, participated in innumerable community activities and fundraisers for various organizations, and have loved every minute of it. In so doing, however, the seven day a week work life left personal things in my life undone. While others were cleaning house and taking a trip or doing things with their families, I said YES every time someone asked for my help, or in whatever job description I had for my career, had to jump over the goal post to do better than average – much better than average to validate my self-worth. I always did it, but it had a cost. So, today, I have not yet moved, but I have turned a corner and am taking some much needed time for me.

Each thing I pack, I truly apply the Feng Shui principles I have read about and learned to my life. I am taking a trip down memory lane. I have moved three other times on the Mountain – first from Fairway Park to Silver Lake Estates to White Mountain Lakes and then to Taylor. With each move I brought extra things with me from the Tobacco Program, the chamber of commerce job, radio and TV and then the newspaper. So many things were saved that had significance for me – memories of the jobs and people I worked and shared my life with. Now, I realize, in my new job, with three days off every week (something definitely foreign to me), I am now gifting myself the time I unconsciously denied myself since I arrived in the White Mountains in 1994. I am taking the time to look at each thing I have and deciding if I truly love it – if it is to go with me to the next chapter of my life or not. As I look at it, read it, or hold it, I am reminded of many things. I know that whatever we give up, we also have to grieve it, so I either intuitively know if it is still serving me or that it needs to be passed on to serve someone else.

My Mother had cancer for eight years and towards the end, living with my brother, she had my sister-in-law take her to the home where she still had things that had been important in her life. She went to get some business papers she had to have. She told me when she made that last trip there, she locked the door and turned to the home and said, “Thank you, house. That you for providing shelter to me and my family; thank you for all the good times and bad times I had there. I bless you and leave you for someone else.”

What an incredible insight to life she provided me by sharing that incident with me. In a sense, I am doing that. I am taking TIME, which I realize is one of our most valuable commodities, and thanking each thing that has served me in this home, and remembering its gift.

It is the month of Thanksgiving. Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it’s enough.”

So, as I continued the task for evaluation of the things that have served me, including this wonderful home in Taylor, Arizona, I will be moved when I am moved…when I am through with the gift of gratitude for what has served me in this wonderful community of people whom I have come to love and appreciate.

The move is bitter-sweet, but a step in my evolutionary process which has guided me to the next chapter of my life.

Substituting some of my own words and paraphrasing those of Emily’s famous soliloquy from “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, I say out loud as I embark on continuing my packing for my move (thank goodness not as a soul leaving the body, but as I let go):

“(Life) goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my (life in the White Mountains). But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye, Good-bye (house). Good-bye (Taylor)…Good-bye (things); Good-bye (memories of the 8 years in this neighborhood and the memories I have from living my life here)….Good-bye to clocks ticking….and (the beautiful roses I planted) and …sleeping and waking (up in this wonderful home.) Oh, earth (and Taylor), you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?”

I do – and it is not procrastination, but truly allowing myself to “take time to feel the gratitude for the gift of my eight years in this home…as I pack, discard, and bless this home for the next person/family to enjoy its gift of shelter and memories.

The Dash

Car crash away

Today we hear a lot about Black Lives Matter, or White Lives Matter, or Police or Children’s lives matter. They do matter – all lives matter. Another thing that also matters is TIME. It is such a valuable commodity. Time is so valuable and we usually do not realize it until something happens to make us acutely aware of the fact. Time can slip through your fingers like hot butter…and just like that, it is gone. It can never be reclaimed.

American Author Henry Van Dyke said, “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”

Sometime we realize its value when we begin to age, or see those we love and care for aging. Often that realization is triggered by the death of someone we know. If only we were taught early on to treat time like money in the bank or as an investment, we would be more likely to use it wisely.

Because of life experiences most of us possess an awareness that in the twinkling of an eye, everything can be going along just fine and then something happens. That something does not even have to be something BIG – just something that forever alters our world, and we are never the same.

I have had more than one of those moments. Like Alice said in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

A car wreck, a change of job, a death of a parent or a friend, a broken relationship, a move, a marriage, a new baby, a promotion, all things good and bad change us. Life is such a training ground and as we age and that chronological number rises from decade to decade we begin to look at time differently.

When we are young we have no real concept of time and we don’t give the end of our life a second thought. We think those who are around us will live forever, perhaps not consciously, but we definitely do not dwell on their lives coming to an end. It is not on our radar, but when we lose a parent or grandparent, we begin to awaken to the fact that our time is limited. As we begin hearing about the death of people we went to school with, friends or people we work, we wake up a little more. With each passing of those we know or know of, our eyes are soon wide open to whatever time we have left.

The Holy Bible says that “no man knows the hour,” but we do know that scientific data relating to family history can give us some estimation of our longevity, barring a catastrophe.

Once realized, we have a choice either to fear death and be paralyzed from doing the things that contribute to life, or make every moment count.

When I was doing the Believe radio show, listeners joined me on a cruise on Princess Lines. It was a West Coast cruise and I did a workshop for the group which was preceded with the reading of a poem I had read in a book I had read by Linda Ellis called, The Dash. The crux of the poem was that the year you were born and the year you die is not as important as what you do in between those dates – that dash. I had people think about their lives and where they were with regard to how they had lived their dash thus far.

I did a guided meditation and had them visualize their own funeral – seeing people walk by their casket or urn, and to think about what those people might be thinking about them. I had them see different people going to the podium in the church or wherever their funeral or memorial would be held, and imagine what those people would say about them and what the feeling of the room was like. Then I had them come back to present time and sit with those thoughts for a few moments.

Then I passed out pen and paper and had them write the obituary they hope would be in the paper about them – not what they thought people would say, but how they wanted it to read upon their death. They were given an opportunity to re-write their dash. The hope I had for this exercise was to give each person the opportunity to examine their lives and make any changes they would like to make in the time they had left.

Most of us want our lives to count for something. Even if we have not lived as we wished, with realization, as long as we are breathing, we can change. Christian writer Barbara Johnston said, “If you find yourself going in the wrong direction, God allows U Turns.”

The famous motivational speaker Earl Nightingale said, “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

As this point in my life, WHAT I BELIEVE is that the Good Lord has given us so many breaths or heartbeats. When we reach that number, our time is done.

In the last three years I have lost my mother, my sister, my father and a special pet. I am awake and I know that time — every second matters. I want to use it ALL and not waste a second of it. Everyday I am re-writing my dash.

More changes…

WHAT I BELIEVE…

Barbara with Mothers PearlsMy goodbye party at the White Mountain Independent is today, Friday, June 30, 2017. It is bittersweet, but to coin a popular phrase, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

On November 3, 2014, I slid into the reporter’s chair at the White Mountain Independent, being given the privilege of covering the communities of Snowflake and Taylor, Navajo County Government, and Northland Pioneer College. The day that Publisher Brian Kramer hired me, he said, “I want you to write like you talk,” to which I replied, “Do you have enough room?”

It wasn’t long after I started working there that I was given a bi-monthly feature called “Movers & Shapers,” the title coined by our Advertising Manger Wiley Acheson. For those that followed the column, you know that I actually did write like I talk. My surprise was they gave me enough room to do that. Movers & Shapers ran for 15 months and I was trusted to tell the story of White Mountain people whose actions have shaped our community. I loved that column because I love promoting people. Feature writing is certainly something I have enjoyed. The day came, however, when I had to do some real investigative reporting. The first big story I broke later won me third place in that category in the Arizona Newspaper Association’s annual recognition awards. After that, it seemed I was destined to find those stories that made news. The part I disliked about those kind of stories is that because the written word never goes away, people often blame the messenger. I only reported the facts, but it is human nature for people to blame somebody, and I discovered, to my dismay, that it is most often the reporter who gets blamed.

In April 2016 due to the forward thinking of our publisher, myself and Videographer Laura Lollman began preparing to do our tri-weekly video news broadcast for our website. I became the news writer and the news anchor for the broadcasts which have now been airing for over a year. I did my best to ensure that each area of our Mountain received coverage, and even added a bit of good news so people would know what a great place we live in.

When I did my last Movers & Shapers column, I began the article by writing “There is a quote from the movie “Uptown Girls” which is so apropos for this article: “Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is just a new beginning.”

I have resurrected that quote because my end at the paper is a new beginning for me. I was the chamber director for Show Low from 2002 to 2007, a radio talk show host for 16 years, and a local TV host for 11 years and a newspaper report/anchor for nearly three years. The position I have accepted is chamber, radio, television and newspaper all rolled into one – allowing me to use all of my skills to benefit a different industry – I will be the Communications Specialist at Navopache Electric Co-Op, Inc. in Lakeside.

Farewell is a term generally used when you are not going to see someone for a long time, or perhaps never hear from them again, so to my colleagues at The Independent, and to you the readers, I only say goodbye, because WHAT I BELIEVE is that I will be seeing you again, around town, and… in the news.

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