Now And Forever

So, what fills “empty” space? I’ll get back to there tomorrow. (Remember: September is paradigm shift month.)

God’s Love IS Forever Now. God is jealous for ALL to love Him. In intimate communication, we know He loves us/all, Jesus intercedes for us/the world, and Holy Spirit works overtime to teach us Christ-likeness, Jesus’s compassion, and God’s mercy and majesty.

God’s righteous judgment is right, and mercy is the grace of God.

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13 (ESV)

Not that God doesn’t judge. He does and He will! His judgment is to lead us into repentance and into the narrow way wide with Grace.

Holy Spirit’s nudges are gentle. Listen to your heart thoughts. When a family member, friend, enemy, acquaintance, teacher, stranger, movie star, singer, politician…comes to mind, speak their name in prayer. Prayer can change someone’s eternity. There’ll be no rising from the final fire.

“Father God, I desire __________ with me at Your Son’s wedding.” Now, rest. THEY will do the rest.

I anticipate You at my BIG Fat Heavenly Wedding feast!!!

P.S. Remember to check out my “BOOKS” page and “The Essentials” page for fun facts on healthful essential oils.

The Truth About Love

God’s Love IS unconditional. The love of humans is the best they know! paradigm shift deepak chopra                        And, expectation (a preconceived notion of a future event, behavior, or outcome) of unconditional love is a detour into the cul-de-sac of ingratitude. Disappointment lies at that dead end. The solution: transmute expectation into belief.

How? Pretend.

Merriam-Webster defines “pretend: speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case…..”

Encourage the little girl/boy inside you (your inner child) to imagine your hopes, dreams, desires: concord within our family; agreement with your spouse; success and contentment for your children, and children’s children; increase in your income. Be specific!

Make believe it’s already happened.

Envision it as your present reality. Now.

Do it on purpose. Purposely, and purposefully, include yourself.

Pretend. Love makes it happen!

***If you, or someone you love, have lost your way along life’s path and desire an upgrade, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html  is for YOU!

For the proverbial “shot-in-the-arm” for encouragement and inspiration, my prescription is Views From My Chariot http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html You can also click “My Books” page, above.

Thank You, For Letting Me Be Myself

Have you asked yourself why you feel the need to control your child, your spouse, a sibling, a friend? There are many possibilities, but fear is the most probable. Usually, it has nothing to do with them; it’s all about you.

I can’t remember one scripture where Jesus said that one person has greater significance than another. I do recall Him warning, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

Fear is a dictator. It ruthlessly controls, with no checks and balances.

Control is a thief. It wants to dominate—to exercise oppressive restrictions over another’s freedom. It robs personal expression—the liberty to be one’s true self.

Let’s get free, and give others their freedom.

Remember: True Love gave free will.

Thank you, God, for lettin’ me be myself, again…and again, without condemnation. Just as I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOa5UOHdwnc

P.S. This fourth verse of “Thank you” says it all:

Flamin’ eyes of people fear, burnin’ into you                                                                      Many men are missin’ much, hatin’ what they do                                                          Youth and truth are makin’ love, Dig it for a starter                                                          Dyin’ young is hard to take                                                                                                  Sellin’ out is harder.                                                                                                            – Sly & The Family Stone, “Thank you” (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Don’t Worry. Be Happy

Photo Tiny and friendIf you cannot agree with others, you can at least refrain from quarreling with them.

“When involved in a dispute with someone…it may be the only time doing nothing is better than doing something….When you quarrel with others—even if you win the argument—you place a great deal of unnecessary stress upon yourself. It is impossible to maintain a Positive Mental Attitude when you allow negative emotions, such as anger or hate, to dominate your thoughts. No one can upset you or make you angry…unless you allow them to do so.

Instead of arguing with others, try asking nonthreatening questions, such as:

“Why do you feel this way?

What have I done to make you angry?

What can I do to help?”

You may find that the entire situation has resulted from a simple misunderstanding that can be quickly rectified. Even if problems are more serious, your positive behavior will go a long way toward helping resolve them.” –Law of Attraction/Motivation quote 

Think positive thoughts.

Laugh out loud.

Love always.

You’ll never regret it!

Ambassador of Peace

If you’re alive, you’ve heard or read Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” BUT, there’s an unwritten pre-requisite: discard expectations!

A belief of something, good or bad, that will or will not happen in the future is an “expectation.”

Expectations are mental! Yes, I mean it in the worst way. They’re not fact. In fact, they’re fiction, like the plot in a novel. Compare these 5 elements of a plot to one of your expectations: a story of characters; a series of events that build up to a conflict; resultant emotions, tension, and stress; the resolve of complications; and, their tragic or happy conclusion.

If a hoped-for expectation isn’t realized, disappointment results. How is disappointment normally expressed? In children, we see sulky silence or spiteful retaliation. We also see it with adults, along with character assassination and, maybe, an all-out feud.

If a negative expectation is met, it’s usually interpreted as personal rejection or even an assault. Again, disappointment, evidenced by silence, isolation, and/or retaliation.

Let’s be the change. Let’s discard–delete–expectations of others. Like Gandhi, we can be ambassadors of peace! (a holiday reminder) 

 

A Leisure Walk

This is a “feel good” article. Michael Gartner, president of NBC News, wrote it about his father, and his father’s philosophy on walking through life. It’s well worth the length!

“My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

‘In those days,’ he told me when he was in his 90s, ‘to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.’ At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: “Oh, bull shit!” she said. “He hit a horse.”

“Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.PHOTO 1950 Chevy

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that. But, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.”

It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first. But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown. It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother. So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive.

She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father’s idea. “Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps—though they seldom left the city limits—and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work…

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin’s Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning.

If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along.

If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out—and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”

“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

“No left turns,” he said.

“What?” I asked

“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic…as you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.”

“What?” I said again.

“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it…Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer.  So we always make three rights.”

“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.”  But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

“Loses count?” I asked.

“Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”

I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day.  Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.”

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003…my father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily—he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news. A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.”

At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to live much longer.”

“You’re probably right,” I said.

“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated.

“Because you’re 102 years old,” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “you’re right.”

He stayed in bed all the next day. That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:  “I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.”

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.”

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.  So love the people who treat you right.  Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason.

If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.

ENJOY LIFE NOW—IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!”

Animal Love

I’ve been the blessed owner of 3 dogs: a precious, loyal Miniature Schnauzer, Wolfgang (“WG”), a gorgeous, sweet Irish Setter (“Coors”—yes the beer; he and WG were stepbrothers in the 70’s), and a happy, playful Black Lab, “Shadow,” in the 90’s. (I couldn’t find a picture, but he’s highlighted in the “FYI” chapter of Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html.)

I understand canine loyalty…UNTIL they catch a “can’t-say-no” scent, decide to cause mental distress from a run-away-offering-cash-reward-for-information-of-their-whereabouts, or just to take a cooling swim in the nearby lake!

Even though they were all indoor dogs, they car-traveled, hiked, camped, and jogged with us; and, the Lab loved duck hunting, especially retrieving in the frigid water!

I’ll agree that loved/cared-for dogs will develop a steadfast loyalty to one (occasionally a second) member of their human family. I can even attest to it. The minute I stood up, WG came to attention anticipating our destination. And every day after work, he was waiting at the door to greet me. (Before Coors, WG’s feline stepbrothers, Trampas and Trooper, were associate “look-outs” in my front windows.)

But, let me tell you: my EVERY move is accompanied by my Chinchilla-furred cat, the debonair Fred Astaire—a feral I tamed. His unclipped claw’s dance taps behind me. He knows my routine so well that half the time he leads me, anxiously looking over his shoulder to make sure I don’t get lost on “our” way! He’s as much unconditional love as any dog doesn’t think about being!

iPhone Pictures 066

To squeeze in as much time as he can with me, he sits in the bathroom sink when I brush my teeth, as well as when I put on and take off my make-up; on my desk in front of my computer screen as I write and research; beside my chair when I eat, read, talk on the phone, and go to the bathroom. And, of course, my lap; that goes without saying! Your dog, and Mary’s lamb, have nothing on Fred!

Not only can he scale my fireplace to spring onto the horizontal wood beams adjoined to the outer walls, but he can jump vertically, almost 5-feet, straight up, from my countertops to the top of my kitchen cabinets…to keep a look-out while I cook.

And HONESTLY, I carefully take over-the-shoulder rear views before moving! Even after 13 years of accidentally pressing a claw or tail, he’s still bad about sitting under and behind my wheelchair.

What an unconditionally loving, loyal dat! Or, could it be “separation anxiety?”

Have you a “Big Fish” tale?

Here’s more on Fred: (an excerpt from Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html )

“He’s a Russian Blue on the outside but pure dog on the inside. He’s that rare breed, half dog/half cat, that I call a dat!

The cat part of him has sleek, satiny slate-colored fur, grass-green eyes (all three of my cats got my eyes), and exceptionally long, fang-like canines. They make it appear as if he’s always smiling. He head butts for kisses, closes his eyes in feline bliss when petted, and stands up on his hind legs to politely pat my arm for attention when I am otherwise predisposed.

The dog part comes running when I whistle, drools when his ears are rubbed, climbs my chair, cat-like, to stand show-dog-style on top of my push-handles, and rolls over on his back with front paws extended…offering up more belly for a belly rub.

Most nights he sleeps propped against my chest under my right arm, on my right shoulder or at my head.”

*The Russian Blue is a naturally occurring breed that may have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia. They are also…called Archangel Blues. It is believed that sailors took Russian Blues from the Archangel Isles to England and Northern Europe in the 1860s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Blue

Share and Share Alike

First, I must apologize to my newsletter subscribers. Wednesday was my first “forget.” Please forgive me for a “Chariot Notes” no-show! It WILL be in your mail next Wednesday.

Lately, I’ve read articles on communal civilizations, where money had no value, no one bartered for services, and there was no societal hierarchy—no one “lording” over another. There were no egos.

One or two families tended the land, planted the crops, and harvested its produce. For instance: if it was rice, someone else’s job was storing and cooking it; another person ground it into mill for bread; someone else prepared the bread.

The fishermen fished the streams and lakes. The shepherds cared for the sheep. The shearers sheared. The fleecers prepared the fleece into yarn, then, the yarn was spun, and knitted into clothing.

Vegetables and fruit were the same. Those living in the fields, gardens, and orchards tended, picked, and prepared its produce. The same went for maintaining and directing the water supply for irrigation, drinking, cooking, and hygiene. Each occupation was passed down through the generations.

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV)

These weren’t responcibilities. Each member of the village/tribe considered it their sacred rite to the circle of life…so that they could live. What was of value was each member’s contribution to the community. The shepherds ate from the land and wore the clothes, just as the clothiers drank the milk and ate the cheese from the sheep.

No one was homeless, hungry, or naked.

There was no delinquency; no crime; no competition; no stress.

There was no need for banks, government handouts, counseling centers, fitness gyms, farmer’s markets, restaurants, civic centers.

Rural life wasn’t easy, but everyone shared everything. Everything, and everyone, was safe.

What would you say was the common denominator for such peaceful coexistence?

R.S.V.P.

photo anthropologist African tribe

Here’s the heartwarming result of such harmony:

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.

When he asked them why they had run like that, as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said:

”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”

It sounds like God’s original plan, don’t you think?

Welcome To My World

I bumped this last week to post a sweet Thanksgiving memory. Here it is again.

For those of you just tuning in to “Conversations with Cynthia,” I’m tutored by thirty-seven years of disability (SCI), and living life triumphantly from a wheelchair. I have a varied educational background: Speech and language pathology, counseling, interior design, critical thinking (problem solving, not being critical), have run several small business ventures, and I’m an author.

My weekly conversations here are how I see things; sometimes from a serious perspective, sometimes philosophically, and sometimes humorously. You will often read song lyric references within my conversations because I think in song; like The Beatles “Help!” http://conversationswithcynthia.com/2012/08/17/help-not-the-beatles-a-wheelchair-assist/, and Jewel’s “Satisfied” http://conversationswithcynthia.com/2012/04/22/satisfied-in-spite-of-disability/ .

Anyway, ‎ I can be mid-conversation, mid-sentence with my cats and break into song. They’re used to it. With humans, I normally don’t embarrass myself that way. But, since you can’t hear me, “Welcome to my world, want you come on in…I’ll be waiting here…waiting just for you.” (Just listen for 2 golden minutes as Dean Martin sings it best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX7BAfXn85Y )

That’s my open invitation to R.S.V. P. with your responses concerning disability, or not, experiences relating to my topics, your thoughts, concerns, questions, reviews of my books, or suggestions for newsletter topics. I eagerly anticipate hearing from every one of you!

Let’s continue changing the world or, at the least, making it a better place. Be the best you!

And, wouldn’t you know it, I have the perfect gift suggestion for you or a loved one on doing so. It’s my book: HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU, http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html . It’s a thought-provoking guide to discover, liberate, and live your true purpose and, for a little levity, strewn with farcical facts, food fun, and playful puns.

You would also enjoy my Memoir, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity, http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html a poignant, yet humorous, journey through my adjustment to living happily, flourishing from a wheelchair: my chariot. I’ve also included a Self/Help manual with products, equipment, and assistive aides that I have found most helpful in daily living!

I’ve had an excellent adventure this past year-and-a-half talking the eyes out of your head! So now, let me hear from you.

Let’s talk. I’m listening.

P.S. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, but let me be the first to wish you the HAPPIEST HOLIDAYS!