Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More than Beautiful

So-and-so updated her Profile photo, and all the comments say, "You are so beautiful,"  "Great photo," "Such a good-looking couple," etc.  Why do we only acknowledge a woman's looks, not her achievements?  

Just once, I would love to see the profile photo of a 40-something with three kids and a husband and a business, at the end of a marathon.  Now that should garner some meaningful comments.

And now, at graduation season, let's see some photos of Moms and grandmothers in their caps and gowns, having finally earned a degree after they ensured the education of their children.

Let's see the woman who, at 2 a.m., is working on the taxes for their business, preparing for a meeting with the tax accountant.  She's taking advantage of the quiet of the house after the health-care workers have gone home, the phone has stopped ringing, and her cancer-stricken husband in a hospital bed in the living room has finally gone to sleep for the night.  Now that's a beautiful woman!

Think about it the next time you see that one of your Facebook friends has updated their profile.  Try not to comment on her appearance - speak to her achievements.




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Advice I Never Got

Why didn't anyone ever tell me that money, and managing money, is such an important part of living a full and rewarding life?  No one ever told me that one day I would be 74 and arguing with my 76 year old husband about whether we could attend his nephew's funeral because we have no money.

That's not actually true.  We each have our Social Security checks coming in each month.  That's a total of $1925.  Our expenses are $65.00 more than that each month.  And, believe me, we do not live lavishly.  He makes redwood Adirondack chairs which sell for $100 each, when they sell, and I have an Etsy shop which brings in an average of $200 per month.  I also do some baby-sitting and dog-sitting for extra money.  We have some savings, but according to the Social Security folks, it's got to last us another 20 years.  

I just wish my parents had seen fit to educate me about investing money when I was 17, that they had shown me the numbers.  But it's my experience that kids don't really understand the numbers until they start buying diapers and paying for pediatrician visits.  I don't know what I was thinking back then, or even when I had three kids and was working full-time to pay the bills.  I argued then that there simply was no money left over to save, but, of course, there was.  I just didn't choose to do it.

Here's what I am going to do for my grandson: make a picture book showing (a) the car you can have if you have money, and (b) the car you have if you don't; the trips you can take if you save money, and (b) the road trip to Wally World if you don't; (a) the house you can give your family with a college degree, and (b) the low-rent apartment you'll have with a GED.  You get the idea, right?  Maybe that will work better than talking numbers.  

But how do you tell them that the working years go by so fast and in a blink, you're 74 and arguing about money.

Monday, May 16, 2016

God's Not Listening, Folks

These past two months have been difficult for our family.  My brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver Cancer and given 6 months to live.  My husband's nephew died suddenly from a massive seizure.  Two days later, we got a phone call from my husband's niece who said that her younger brother had just died from a heart attack.  He was only 49 years old.  Then a family friend died from colon cancer - she was 39.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that my husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and just completed six months of chemo.

Throughout all of this, everyone kept saying, "We're praying for you."  On Facebook, requests were made for everyone to "say a prayer for fill-in-the-blank."  Even after a death, people are still praying.  Doesn't anyone ever realize that if there is a God, he's not listening to all those prayers?

The most fervent Catholic members of the family plead for prayers every time their daughter, who has cystic fibrosis, is in the hospital.  They ask us to pray for her lung function to improve, when all her life they have known that it is the doctors, nurses, and medical technology that bring her lung function back to normal.  Do they ever, ever, post something that says thanks to the medical team?  No, they thank all those who prayed.

As for me, I try to stay open to new knowledge.  I talk to others about their experiences.  I read about new approaches in genetic treatments, since I have come to understand that your DNA has more to do with your health than your reputation with God.  Recently, I did some research on cannabis oil as a treatment for cancer.  Perhaps God directed me to google "cannabis and cancer."  

I wish someone could tell me what their feelings are when all their friends and family members are praying their asses off for a person and that person still dies.  Do they think God didn't pay any attention?  Or did God decide that He/She needed that person in heaven to do some tasks that only they could do?  


Monday, April 25, 2016

How Can You Call Yourself a Christian?

It seems like every day I see another example of hypocrisy.  Frequently, it's on the news: another candidate who claims to be a Christian is threatening all kinds of horrible things that he or she will do to other people if we elect him/her.  But often it is closer to home - much closer to home.

I'm speaking now of a Catholic family.  One whose children went to Catholic schools, who are ultra-conservative, and who frequently request that their Facebook friends pray for them.  But then, when their son died a few weeks ago, they published an obituary which pointedly left out the name of his wife of 20 years as a survivor.  Is this what Jesus would do?

Perhaps this woman did things that did not sit well with her husband's parents.  That would be understandable, since the son himself could never stand up to his father.  His wife, however, was a strong woman who did not suffer fools.  So, yes, maybe they are mad at her.  But isn't forgiveness part of the Christian doctrine?  Did their son not choose this woman to be his wife until he died?  Can they not respect that choice and give her the respect she deserves?  It is clear, in this final act, that the father still could not simply love his son unconditionally.

Oh, did I mention that the wife was the primary care-taker for the son as he dealt with the complications of a brain tumor, finally confined to a wheel-chair, and in a nursing home.  Thank God for people like her - not people like his birth family.