Normalcy – Crazy is Normal Too!

It really hasn’t been all that bad. People say “oh I am so sorry for your loss” or they have very careful responses when we are forced to tell them “our home was damaged in the tornado”. People have been really kind, but guardedly careful in their responses to us – as if we might just break down and boo-hoo on the spot. We’ve even gotten to the point that if the subject comes up (for whatever reason) we are starting to avoid telling people of our plight.

There have been annoying aspects of having things change so quickly – but being displaced by a Christmas tornado is not the end of the world. We all have stuff in our homes – like clothes – and appliances – and tools and closets full of food, and other items we can’t seem to live without. But to put it bluntly, virtually everything at our home either got thrown in the trash, tossed hurriedly into a suitcase or moved to a warehouse in very short order.

In the middle of the really drastic changes of the past 50 days we’ve been able to gain back a little familiarity in the past few days, by simply getting our hands on a couple of our own chairs. Hotel and rental furniture leave a bit to be desired in the posterior and lumbar departments. And excitedly one of our cars came back “home” last week after an extended excursion to a tropical body shop. The other car hope to make its escape this afternoon. So instead of driving my beat up pickup truck or the wonderful borrowed car from our daughter (which we were very grateful to have), we are getting back a few things that we depend on to help make things seem “normal” again.

We are undoubtedly part of the “Golden Agers Club” in our trendy apartment home. It is definitely a change parking in a garage that has more than one level and wondering each day what choice spot we’ll score (and hoping it is close to the correct exit). Then there’s the walk from the garage to the mailbox, and then up the elevator to the frigid hallway to our new paradise. Was that a right then left, or other way around?

But somewhere in my past I heard that new experiences are supposed to stretch you keep you young, aren’t they? If so we should have trimmed about 20 years off by now! At least things are not mundane and boring. One positive is that we’ve found like twenty new places to eat while waiting for a place where we could actually cook a meal or two on our own. Making our own food this past Friday night, was fine dining indeed. Hog heaven was more like it.

Over the course of time we’re learning to sit back, see the scenery, and enjoy the ride! What comes around the next bend might be yet unknown, but it surely will be just another adventure in the twists and turns of a crazy trip!

 

Progress is Slow – But it’s Still Progress

Finding your sea legs after something crazy as a tornado hitting your home is a difficult task. Being patient and being placed “on hold” is something I don’t’ do well. I manage my personal affairs with a “full hands on” for most things. Being dependent on other people and waiting for dominoes to fall does not come naturally for me.

We all hate insurance, until we need them – to pay off. The constant battle is this – Do I or don’t I trust the insurance company? Currently I do trust them. They said the right things. They seem to be on our side and in our corner.

Storm follow-up and repairs are slow, especially in such a hard hit are like North Texas. I am learning a great lesson that I’ve heard about before- That this is going to be a marathon not a foot race. We are taking a very LONG foot race. it will be about endurance and hanging in there. The word race will now be replaced with journey.

It has been an emotionally grueling 3 weeks since our world flipped over. Emotions change every day or two. It goes from shock to sad to mad to hurt, and then bits of each all over again. At least now I don’t take those big nose dives after visiting our home. The hurt is being replaced with “OK, let’s get this ball rolling and get it all done”.  If you don’t like simple auto damage claims, you’d not believe all of the elements of a catastrophe dwelling claim. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by it all. So many decisions face us in the months ahead. But the alternative is homelessness! We are grateful for small things that we took for granted before.

We are on a quest to find joy in our journey. We’ll look back one day and know what we should have worried more about, and what we should have done differently. We hope we’ll be better people for this chapter. We can’t help but think there is some grander purpose in this all. We just know it.

State Of The GOP – Part 2

Well time moves on and the race for power and control continues to take the normal twists and turns. Super PACS and media gurus work separately and sometimes in unison to promote the current new favorite darling candidate, regardless of who the base of the party really favors. They try and tell us who we favor, but truth be known we have much different ideas that the candidate of the month club.

Debates continue and they also continue to be a manipulative machine favoring and giving time and credence to candidates who are doing the best in the “so called” polls. Media and money favored candidates are given the most air time for questions. Some candidates are down-right ignored in favor of the ones who might cause the most stir. And the pitting of the candidates continues with the crafty questions and directed rebuttals. People like Ben Carson are basically ignored in favor of higher profile personalities. So the beat goes on.

It seems incredible to me that some would-be presidential candidates hang on for so long when in actual comparison (face to face exchanges) they just don’t do well or perform as hoped. Yet they keep spending money like there is no tomorrow. But I guess it is normally other people’s money from their particular special interest groups that are the promotors and pushing them.

Hopefully the issues of the day are bringing all of us to the place where we ponder the questions like, who do I really trust and respect to hold the highest office the land of all lands? We must start drawing our conclusions and distinctions. It’s time to draw the lines of importance. We must decide who we think is a true and faithful patriot that we can trust our destiny with. Who is it that can muster a nation behind him or herself and lead us to higher ground? Who will honestly and faithfully uphold the constitution of our land? Who best suits the fact that their life will never be the same again and who can  also make us proud to be Americans, again?

Pundits abound. Crazy statements are thrown around like cheap candy in a parade. Shocking truths (and half truths) abound. Truth is hard to find. When truth is spoken it is spun into anything but the truth.

We have some tough days ahead of us. With every passing day we see events that undermine our freedoms and give us concern about our common goals of freedom. The current leadership seems to think they are the supreme and ultimate decision makers for us all. Soon, and very soon, we will see a change as we gain control once again of our constitutional republic. We’ve witnessed historic flagrant abuses of power, but that will end. The winds of change will once again bring us back to the middle.

America has had enough and together we will heartily and loudly restore our republic soon. Sensibilities will prevail and we will again enjoy a sense of comradery, pride and peace as we move our values back to a place of goodwill and statesmanship.

Charting Unknown Waters

OK. I just started my journey into the unknown. The uncharted waters of life in my sixties began yesterday. I guess I must have thought that yesterday I would have somehow “felt older” or that my memory would suddenly disappear into the abyss or something else drastic might happen. Well I’m still here today and alive and relatively well (for my age!).

I’m really enjoying life these days. In some ways I’m coasting down life’s highway. But in other regards I am still squeezing out from my resources of memory and experience to eek out a survival in the corporate world. Most days it is still an adventure for me. And other days it seems to have the word “drudgery” attached. But all in all, I’m still having the time of my life and getting the job done in the best way that I can.

I treat my own job and duties with the same sense of drive and determination as if it were my own personal business to care for. And it really is. Perhaps it’s just me, or my generation, or my upbringing. I am hoping it is not just a generational thing that will someday be gone forever. Having this type of mindset should really be the norm and not the exception. Some day I really do hope that someone else will pick up my mantle and carry forward with the same sense of pride and care that I’ve come to enjoy and expect from myself. My faith has played a crucial role. 

Sometimes we sell short the generations behind us as being uncaring or lazy. As with any generation I’m sure there is some of that at play. But I see a bright future in the midst of some shaky and dark things in this world when I see innovators and those that are “up and coming”. Our followers will certainly face new and different challenges in every aspect of life. But I look forward to seeing if what my generation modeled will be repeated or built upon, in new and exciting ways of innovation.

As I begin the fall of my life, my calendar and some days my body still screams that it really spring time. Away with the dead of winter. With anticipation we watch the explosion of newness in everything around us as the plants wake up and start singing. And with the new chorus comes color and beauty and tons more oxygen to fill our lungs again. The whole process is refreshing. Seasonal change is one of the wonders of life (and death). It’s a stark reminder that out of death can spring forth new life.

So even though my driver license now says I’m older, I refuse to fall prey to the dullness and negativity of getting old. I choose to be happy and fulfilled and complete. And out of my own “deadness” I look for new and green and colorful life as I travel toward the winter of my days.  

Trying to Understand the Liberal View

I’m trying to understand!
My upbringing in Dallas, Texas was smack dab in the middle of the so-called bible belt of the United States. The Bible belt was and is a microcosm with a diverse mix of cultural values that have been embraced for a number of generations in the south.
My wonderful parents instilled in me a basic understanding of right and wrong. Also instilled in me was a basic respect for authority at every level. I knew instinctively that I would always be subservient to someone, and many times that would be applied to my relationship with an employer or other authority over me that controlled some part of my life. I would be lying if I didn’t say some of the required submission to authority didn’t stick well in my craw and I mumbled about it every chance I could, at times. But the facts remain that I was and still am subject to the authority of greater powers than myself.

 

I think about a lot of different issues just in the course of any day. During our most recent election cycle I was deep in the mire of keeping abreast of every event or newsworthy tidbit related to the election. I listened to a lot of facts about both sides and sifted through the facts and disseminated fact from fiction the best I could, and as carefully as I could.

Although the candidate on the “right” side of the debate was not my first choice, I resigned myself to the realization that he was the better choice of the candidates we were given to vote for. My guy was not as conservative as I would have liked him to be, but he had faith and family values and virtues that I admire and embrace in my own life. But the rest is now history and we know the outcome didn’t appease the conservative voting block of the nation, of which I count myself a part of.

As I’ve surveyed what’s happened in the past few years I’ve learned some invaluable lessons that I didn’t think I would ever be faced to learn. Like the fact that our society has changed. And in my own opinion these changes have happened in rapid succession in recent history, perhaps over the past 10 years. Having lived through the many changes of the 1960’s and the social revolution that took place then, I compare what’s happened in the past several years to the 60’s in some ways, yet in a deeper more drastic and dramatic way.

Until the past decade I didn’t really think of myself as a true conservative, until I realized what a large difference there is in my own values contrasted to the “new” way of thinking about everything. And, dang it, I find myself really as far right as you might be able to swing. This thinking is really deep seated and very dogmatic.

I’ve tried to think about and embrace, in some way, the thinking of those who have turned the apple cart up on its side to include morality, trustworthiness, and the overall view of fiscal matters at every level. I know that in every generation some of the accepted practices and beliefs are altered, toned down or even flat ignored and changed. Some of this is a generational cycle that bucks the norm, but at some point that pendulum swings back in the other direction, at least to some degree.

But from what I’ve observed (and this is open to debate) I think our society has been and continues to make significant changes to what I call the “liberal way”. What troubles me greatly is the fact that there no longer appears to be middle ground. No serious debate occurs between both sides with any negotiable outcome, left or right. It seems that when the majority view (or voting block) leans to the left, there is a complete and utter ignoring of any alternative view or proposition toward the right. In previous generations this was called “stonewalling”. But stonewalling happened so as to prove a point, so that middle ground could be achieved.

The atmosphere of our current age (liberalism) is that “they” will change things to “their” way of thinking and will not compromise or take any part in the “right’s” positions or view. They will not even consider them, whatsoever. If this is really true, we have a serious problem in our society that is not easily remedied. From the view of the right, it appears that we are on a collision course and even though every red flag, bell, whistle or other warning signal is being used, the course of our destinies will not be changed. It is utterly and ignorance of truth.

That is what I see. I would hope that this is only my view of things, but I’m afraid that we are perilously close to a full collapse in our society on every level. Unless the powers in control do not come to some place of discussion and serious debate and concession we will be forced to take a road that will not be a fun or smooth ride. Considering the great and many strides we’ve made as a people in every form of our society might be greatly diminished or destroyed. What Americans love and expect could be gone.

Think through and decide you own convictions. Give future generations a chance to carry on our precious liberties. Speak the truth to those you know and car about. Stand up and be counted. Vote in every election and vote for people who share your values and convictions. Don’t waiver and give up. Stand strong and be counted.

On the Precipice of Change –

On the Precipice of Change
     As we ponder our future this week we try and envision what our world might look like 6 months from now and beyond, we can’t help but think back about when life was more idyllic. When we were a people of wonder and hope and had dreams for our kids and grandkids that surpassed our own lives growing up in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s.
     As a free people we just hope in the vision of a future that is bigger and better that that of previous times. I’ve personally witnessed an erosion of the American dream in the past number of years as society has changed and watched as values have changed. Change is always a needed thing if we are to be innovators and idea people, but some of the changes that have taken place have taken a toll on those of us who baby boomers as we’ve watched with interest in how American business has evolved into a purely profit machine that could care less in the people who make it happen, namely it’s workforce.
    How many people do you know who have had a diminished standard of living in the past 10 years? Who is it in your family that has experienced being “down sized” without a job and left to fend for themselves in a sour economy? We all know someone whose had to deal with aging and at the same time see whatever nest egg they had evaporate just trying to keep the lights on. And the back side of that is that they there has been no “light at the end of the tunnel” in many respects.
    As Americans we have a proud heritage of independence and resolve. We’ve always taken the lemons we’ve been given and made not only lemonade, but we’ve taken those sour fruits and made things like Super Duper Frothy Delicious Lemon Fruit Ta-Ta or some similar concoction. That’s just who we are as a people. We are innovators and entrepreneurs at our core. That’s why we’ve been the best at what we do. We know what’s good and what works.  That’s why immigrants flock here, isn’t it. They want a piece of the large wonderful pie that we call America. Can’t blame them, can you?
    I am hoping for change. And the change I’m hoping for is that we can once again be released as a people to innovate once again. That through collective creative genius we can unleash Americans to re-build America. And when we do that we all get a piece of the action.
    So as we look forward, I hope that we all realize that we really can re-fire the engines of America. If we as a people will untie the hands of business and let capitalism and innovation do what it does best, we will see a spirit of cooperation and excitement that we’ve not experienced in a long time. Don’t you think it’s high time we got back to the American we all knew and loved? Wouldn’t you like to be excited again about the future our great nation? America has been asleep, not dead. It’s been imprisoned, but not with a life sentence.
It is my earnest hope and prayer that life will once again resemble the America I once knew. And I hope that starts before it is too late to change.