Tag Archive | helping

Thine Actions and Words to be True

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

This famous quote when Polonius speaks to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of my all time favorites.  I have long grown up with the belief that actions speak louder than words. That a man is only as good as his word, so if his word is no good, than by default, neither is he. But this quote takes it many steps further and to me at least, is one of my personal creeds by which to live.

Some people think this quote means to be selfish and do as you wish as long as you get yours. I see it very differently. To first glean the true meaning of the phrase, you must first look at it’s origin. Hamlet’s Polonius also gave us the famous quote about “Never a borrower or lender be” and that indeed was part of the original meaning of being true to yourself as well. Polonius is instructing his son to take care of himself by being careful with his actions and words. To be an honest man true to his word but also be aware of what actions are in his best interest. Do not engage in activities which are disadvantageous or disingenuous.

This quote seems to mean that you must look after and take care of yourself if you want to be able to take care of anyone else.

Yes, Shakespeare was quite wise when picking out themes, as taking care of ones self and being honest are still two very relevant topics in this day and age.

When you are honest with yourself and follow what you know to be right, then you will lead an honest and authentic life. People who lie and cheat to get what they want from others are a dime a dozen. There is nothing special about them at all. But someone who follows a sense of integrity, even when it’s not popular? Even when it’s hard? That is someone special, that is someone who you want to have in your life.

Those people who lie and cheat, they know what they do is wrong. Why do they do it? Because they are not strong enough to do the right thing, to be true to themselves, and thus be not be false to others. Because if they haven’t the strength to look themselves in the mirror and be honest, how could they be honest with anyone else? They say charity begins at home, well so does honesty. And trust me, if they can’t even be true to themselves, you don’t want them. Run, run like the wind.

I am no saint. Let’s face it, we had to be judged by what we did in our 20’s, most of us wouldn’t leave the house. We have all done stupid things, made errors in judgment. I have done things for which I am ashamed. But in everything I have done, both good and bad, I have always been honest with myself. And I have never done anything just to be malicious. I have always been able to my head high, even when it was not easy, even when others were hurt and angry.

But if you live your life authentically, if you are true to yourself, then you will always be able to hold your head high. And you will always have respect. If you are selfish and you lie and hurt people? You will lose respect because word will get around. Just ask my last ex boyfriend, who, after he lied and cheated on this girl, found out just how much respect he would loose when his friends and family found out what he had done.

Take care with your actions and your words. Live a life of which you can be proud. And to thine own self be true. And besides, you never know just who might be driving the Karma bus…

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What Real Means

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?””Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.”Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”  “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

“What is real?” asked the Rabbit.  One of my favorite questions of one of my favorite stories.  And a very good question.  In this day and age of bigger is better, plastic rules and superficial is best…does Real exist?  Yes, At least I think so. To me to be real means our experiences have made us deep enough people to understand what is truly important in life.

The problem, I think, is that by the time we are real, we have lived, been loved, unloved, hurt and roughed up to the point where we are a bit shabby.  We’re not new and shiny any more.  Sometimes we feel that we have lost our worth – after all, how could anyone love a worn out little rabbit? And someone may have to look past all the roughness to see what Real really means.

I think it means that you have a real heart, you have been through enough to know, through experience, what is right, wrong and in between.  Living through those experiences teaches us compassion, empathy, how to love and so much more.  It makes us a better, deeper person.

What about the shabby parts?  Well, I guess that depends on your definition of shabby.  To me it’s nothing on the outside.  It’s a heart that is so closed it can no longer let love and light in.  Maybe we all get a little shabby…but just like the Skin Horse said, you can only be ugly to those who do not understand.

So, the key is to find someone who can see through our shabbyness, our weary-ness to see the beauty of our Realness.  Someone that can loves us anyway.  But being shabby and a little worn is ok. I have often said that it is our scars and flaws that make us our most human, most beautiful…and most Real.

Easter and Chainsaws

Easter with the family is always wonderful and this year was no different. We drove to the family compound this year. The weather was wonderful and it was a great break from the rainy cold we had been having prior tot he holiday in Atlanta.   It was the perfect weather for yard work, and our parents took full advantage that their young healthy children would be there for the weekend.

Spring in southern Georgia is a very special thing, so having to be outside was not a problem at all. I helped Dad with the yard work. We started off by trimming Mom’s many fruit trees. Dad got the little, what I call mini-chain saw. We worked well together, he chainsawing the limbs as i would hold and catch them as they fell (they were small trees). I would put the limbs in the back of the truck to haul off to the burn pile later. Those who have grown up in the south or in the country are very familiar with this practice.

Soon the limbs from all the trees were taller than the cab of the little work truck. This meant it was time for this 40 year old girl to revert back to childhood. This meant fun! I climbed into the back of the truck and started walking, even jumping on the large pile of limbs. I felt like I could shout “I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal!”  You can take the girl out of the country…

Next it was time to cut down a few small dead fruit trees (something that doesn’t happen very often around my mother because she has more than a green thumb). I begged, begged, begged to finally be allowed to use the chain saw. After all, I am forty. My father agreed and we had a great father daughter moment as he showed me how to use it. He was proud of his little girl. A chain saw wielding red-headed klutz. Oh yes. Be afraid, be very afraid. Especially any ex boyfriends or anyone who eve cut me off in traffic (insert evil laugh here).

But before I could cut the trunks of the trees, all the grass and such needed to be cleared put. Dad offered me some gloves, but they would have just gotten in the way. Having my hands in the dirt makes me feel closer to God, as I feel the dirt on my hands and smell the earth. It’s a lot harder than it looks! But I felt triumphant the stump I was chainsawing became nothing more than a small piece of wood that could be pulled up later.

After the hard work with the chainsaw was done, it was time to sit and relax. By this time the weather had changed, and the clouds were rolling in. There was just enough time to pour a glass of wine and sit out on the back porch. Soon you could hear it; the sound of the rain hitting the lake.  The scent of the rain was heavy on the breeze, and finally when the sight of the rain caught up with the scent and sound, it was quite a site. Lighting lit up the sky, and the rain came down in heavy sheets that flooded the yard and made waves on the water. It was beautiful.

And that is the way it is in life – Sometimes a little rain must fall, even after a lot of hard work. But when the storm is over, everything is clean and clear, ripe and green. And if we look, we can see God’s hand in the changes that the storm creates. For change is often not easy, and the waves are far reaching. But every storm runs out of rain. So until then grab a seat and a glass of wine. And know, in your heart of hearts, that it will be ok.

This year Easter was a wonderful blessing. There was a lot of hard work, lot’s of love, laughter and family. Yes, life could not get much better (well, I could win the lottery, or George Clooney could fall madly in love with me…but I digress). Life is good and I am happy.

I Think I’ve Got This

Funny how life throws you curve balls. And just when you think you can’t do it, you can and you do. Just when you are not sure you can, you reach deep down within, and pull thge strength up to come through.

So my sister and nephew are moving in for a while. My sister is already settled, so to speak, by nephew won’t move in for a couple of weeks. Mom and Dad were up all loast week for Dad’s chemo treatment. He went in Wednesday and this one was really rough on him. The doctors are optimistic, but the chemo gets worse on him with each dose. So it’s tough to see him in pain and in such bad shape.

But I have managed to take care of everyone, all four of them, and make sure they have everything that they need. Mom has her own space, smoking area, bathroom and comfort things. Dad has his own room, both up and downstairs, and his own diet food and he feels wewll cared for. My sister has her own space and comfort things, food and such, Allan has everythig he needs for school, My sister has a new waredrobe, hairstyle and resume, along with interview suits.

And still there have been good food for good meals, wine, warm blankets, hot tea, cool water and plenty of space. There has been worry, laughter, hugs, memories, thoughts and time together.

So far I have been able to provide everything they have needed and wanted, right down for new books for Mom to read. Oh, there have been freak out moments, such as this past Monday. I can I do this? Can I do this? Will I be good at it? The answer is yes. Because this is family and failure is not an option. 

So I can do this, be the head of the household and take care of everyone. I was nervous because I knew I would always be the one my family leaned on, but I always thought there would be someone with me, that I would not have to do it alone. But here I am. I can can do this. And still work, and still have a social life and friends. And still be me.

Dreams

I have long said that I beleived that if you work hard, have faith and beleive, that your dreams will come true. Hard work and perseverance truly do pay off. And Now, during this time of my life, it is truly paying off.

I have struggled, I have been so very poor, I have worked all night and all day, I have cired so many tears, a river of tears, an entire ocean. I have known the pain of being too tender, had broken hearts, felt each piece break one heartbeat at a time, I have liad down next to love and woke up with lies. I have beleived the wrong men, men who knew too much, men who knew too little and man who didn’t know at all. Men who were late, early and men who never came at all.

I have tried with all of my heart and soul. I have stayed awake at night, unable to sleep or watching over those I love. I have krept out inthe morning, stayed too long, beleived when I knew it was wrong, taken calcualted risks that worked and some that didn’t. I have failed, so very hard. And I have fallen, so very hard, for him. And I have wondered, at night when the stars are quiet.

And I have known his footsteps as he nears the room, his smell, his looks, his everything. And I have known all of them, too well, too little and closed my eyes when I did not want to know. I have been a friend, a lover, a sister, a girlfriend, a fighter, a believer, a worker, an liar, a truther. And I have held my own heart, wounded, bleeding, beating. And I have put it back together. I have taped, banaged and bandaided my faith and belief in others.

And I have tried, so very hard.

And here I am. Finally. My dreams are coming true, both professionally and personally. Thank you to all who believed, to all those who faollowed, all those who cheered and rooted. Thank you to alal those who booed and hurt me too. For you too motivated me and made me better, though I may have not known it at the time.

And now, as I sit at the top of this huge, trechurous mountain, I see that the view is wonderful, beautifu. The air is clear and clean. And as I have have sweated, my heartache comin goout of my pours, dripping down onto the Earth, I know that every minute was worth it. I have Peace, and I have Love.

It’s all worth it, in the end. Every minute, every second, every moment.

A Graceful Night Out

Most people who know me would not associate me with the word Grace. If there is a way to trip, fall, spill, stumble or otherwise fumble, I’ll find it. The stories of my cluminess are many and legindary – like when I feel face first on the beach in the sand, when I fell over a footstoll lin the furniture store, landed ass-up in front of a hot guy, the time I was taking a pre-employment drug test and dropped the cup when handing it iff to the technitian…in front of a hot guy. And those are just a few.

Last night my sister and I went out to play trivia and meet with another dear frond of mine. He is Jewish, older and rides a Harley. This unlikely friendship started several years ago after I kept seeing him in my appartment complex and eventually worked up the nerve to ask him about his life. We have been good friends ever since. Last night we talked, drank beer, got caught up, laughed and had a great time.

He is a very spirtitual man, very knowledgeable and I respect him tremendiously. Toward the end of the night, I told him of my journey to find Grace, Divine Grace, or to have as much Grace as possible. I asked him what he thought the definiation of Grace was in the sewnse that I am seeking. He said:

“It is keeping your mouth shut and withholding judgement. Don’t be the catalyst. Don’t be a doormat, but sit back and watch more, let things develope in their own time and let people learn their lessons without telling them. That is the only way they will learn anyway. So sit back, shut up, and don’t judge.”

I love him. In that short explanation, he summed up exactly what I needed to do. And when you think about it, it seems so simple. The bottom line is that it is easy to practice Grace when you are having a great day, and all is well. However, it is much harder when you are angry, hurt, or feel slighted. So I am going to take his advice, and I will hold my togue. Easier said than done for this feisty red- head.

But we strive, as humans, to be better, do better and have better. It is our nature. And so I will strive too. And I will be human, I will have monets, make mistakes, falter, but I will try, with all my heart to sit back, shut up and not judgr. It is not my place to judge or tell someone how they are wring, even when they have dsone wrong to me. Let God sort them out.

Now, if only there was a cure for falling, slipping, tripping, spilling, fumbling, tumbling, shuffling and sliding!

Helping Friends Get Published – Pay it Forward

When you are blessed, lucky, fortunate, I believe you should “pay it forward.” You must give back.

No matter what we do, how old we are or what our circumstances, we can always help someone else. Doing random acts of kindness has long been said to not only help others, but ourselves as well. There are many benefits including making us feel better emotionally, boosting our immune system, helps us be less isolated, promotes goodwill and fosters friendships. It also keeps us humble in realizing just how lucky we are. Paying it forward also increases gratitude, both for the giver and reciever.

The famed sociologist Georg Simmel declared that gratitude is “the moral memory of mankind.” If every grateful action, he went on to say, were suddenly eliminated, society would crumble. It is part of our humanity as well. Get rid of gratitude, compassion and empathy are sure to follow. We need gratitude and the help of others.  The saying no man is an island is so very true. 

No matter how harad you work, you cannot have success without other people. Whether they supported you morally, financially or emotionally, we could not do it without them.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine contacted me about a publisher she was working with who was looking for some new fresh writers in my catagory. I jumped at the chance to have a publisher look at my work. Now things look good and are coming together rather quickly. This is so very exciting as I did not expect interest this soon. So, when she said she was looking for good science fiction writers yesterday, I sent out notice to my groups. The result is that I never know how many friends I have that writer science fiction! And after submitting several friends information to her, she said that if she likes their writing, she will put them on the fast track for publishing just as she has done for me.

If it wasn’t for my friend submitting my writing, I would not be publishing this soon. And now I have the chance to do the same for others. And it feels good.

But it is not just about feeling good. As I look at my life, it seems that good will, love and care for others is a cycle.  For example, my mother stayed up watching over me after a particularly bad day a few weeks ago. She gave her love to me through thaty action. Now as my sister needs a home away from home which to stage her next career move, I watch over her and make sure she has what she needs. It’s a beautiful cycle, and we could not survive as a society without it.

To me, life is a series of cycles, some better than others. As a a writer, it is so very exciting not only to have an opportunity to have my book published and distributed because of a friend passing my information along, but it is also so very exciting to do that for other writers as well. And when my friends and I all have books on the New York Times Best Seller list…we will celebrate each others success. And still, pass it on to others so they too can have the chance given nto each one of us.

Paying it forward just seems like a natural step since I have been so fortunate. Helping others helps ourselves, so helping cannot ever be truly altruistic. And that is fine, as long as everyone benefits. But always give back. Always help when you can. Because the life we have can change in the blink of an eye, and you never know when it may be you who needs the help. So when karma comes to visit, make sure it’s pleasant.