Who Is Watching You?

I just read an interesting blog.  The person told how when he and his wife were a fairly young couple, they got into an argument at a family member’s home.  So, what did they
0 arguedo?  They went into the guest room where they could have privacy to continue their argument.  What they discovered is that they had their baby monitor in the room, and it was voice activated in the room where all the family was sitting.  Oh, my.  

It made me think.  How would we behave if we had a baby monitor on in the room we were in, and it was broadcasting to our friends and family?  There are so many thoughts I have about this.  Do we only show our ugly selves when we are in private?  I suppose that is better than showing our ugly selves all the time, but what is it about feeling free to be unkind when no one else is around.  Let’s just stop a moment and think about that.

We go to work, school, church, visiting friends and family with a facade of being who we want them to perceive us as.  Everyone does this to some degree.  We all have the desire to be liked.  We want people to think we are a nice person.  I guess I am questioning what happens when we are away from these folks, and around the people we are most close to—the people who we are comfortable to let down our guard and can see the real us.  

complainer2It may not even be an argument.  I am thinking about all the ways we behave when we are home and we think no one is watching.  Do we get whiney?  Complain a lot?  Angry?  Gossip?  Do we lay around like a slob or never clean the house, unless someone is coming to visit?

I know we all have an issue of wanting to be liked.  For some it is a stronger need than for others.  We put our best foot forward when we are out in public.  We are well groomed although our house may be a wreck.  But we would never think of leaving our house a wreck if we had guests coming to visit.  

What if there were television cameras in every room of your house?  I’m not talking about privacy issues.  Let’s just say these cameras are only there when you are awake and dressed and going about your normal day.

As I got thinking about this, I realized that we do a lot of things to have our family and friends like us.  On one level that is okay, but if it is unlike what we are really like in private, then we are just wanting approval for something we are not.

Well, we do have a television going on in our homes 24/7.  It’s not big brother.  I think we are so concerned about how others perceive us, but we forget that our God is omniscient and omnipresent.  He is all knowing and He is everywhere.  How does that impact how we behave?  It really made me think.  The only one who I should desire to please is God, 0goodbadand yet, we forget that God sees us everywhere we are.  He knows our thoughts, good and bad.  He loves us completely, and yet he is sad when we treat others poorly.  We can hide our unlikable selves from our friends, but God knows our heart.

This person’s blog humbled me as I thought of how embarrassed I would have been if that scenario happened to me.  I might have felt ashamed coming back into the room with my friends and family who heard my angry argument, but am I embarrassed that God heard it?

We hear the saying that we should live today like it’s our last day on earth.  I think we should also live our lives as if everyone could see our actions and know our hearts.  That is pretty sobering.  We need to think before we speak.  We need to love and respect others, not only in their presence, but in our privacy also.  It is hard because we are flawed, and we make mistakes, and we sin.  The good news, is that through Christ we are forgiven, and if we turn to him and confess with a heart that is sincere, he will forgive us.  The important thing to remember is that God forgives, but he also wants us to change that behavior.  He is not a revolving door of forgiveness—that I remain unaware of my behavior and continually misbehave.  

I do like to be liked by others, but I realize that I really like to be liked by God!  Being kind in private is just as important as being kind in public.  Just some thoughts to think about.

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Child’s Play

Sometimes I wonder why I save some stuff.  Dennis and I have done a huge downsizing of “stuff,” but there are a few things of which I can’t seem to let go, namely my dolls.  I have five dolls from my childhood that are near and dear to me.  It made me start thinking about the playing I did as a child.  How much of who we are is acted out in our playing as a child?

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My letter to Santa requesting a Saucy Walker Doll & a baby brother!

My sisters were 4 and 6 years older than me, so I didn’t really have sibling playmates.  They played together, and I pretty much played alone.  I loved to play with my dolls.  My sisters had Saucy Walker dolls, and I wanted one also.  When I was 6 years old, I asked Santa for one, the same year I asked Santa for a baby brother.  I think I got the smaller version of the doll, and I did not receive a baby brother!  I had a plastic/vinyl baby doll that you could bottle feed water—she had a hole at her mouth, and a hole, well, you know where.  She apparently had a tube of some sort running from top to bottom, so the water went in one end and out the other.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Really?  A peeing doll was cool?  I had little cloth scraps for diapers and I suppose little pins because in those days pins were not considered a dangerous thing—today it would have had snaps or velcro.  I also had a doll with a vinyl head and a mushy body.  It could wear infant sized clothes, so I loved that doll. This doll was like having a real thing!  Oh, how our imaginations worked as children.  We had no idea the work of a real baby, but we were good at pretending what we thought that was about.

IMG_8118One of my dolls I currently own is not my original.  I am sure my parents tossed it out as I outgrew it.  It was a doll, though, that I remembered loving.  It was a Howdy Doody wood doll.  The story of that doll was that my parents were going to Detroit, Michigan for a wedding when I was about two or three years old.  They dropped us girls off at my grandparents, and I apparently did one of those little kid things where I bawled my eyes out at them leaving me.  The solution was to grab the clothes they packed for me and take me along on their trip.  Somewhere between St. Louis and Detroit, I received my Howdy Doody doll, and my mom took a photo of me with it.  It is still one of my favorite photos.  The doll was long gone, but around 2001 I

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Jill, Ginny, & Jeff

started thinking about this doll, probably because I ran across the photo.  I decided to search on that new thing called the internet and eBay to see if I could find this doll.  I found the first on an auction site.  The doll was brand new in the box found in someone’s attic and part of an estate sale.  They wanted $400 for the doll.  That was out of my price range.  I checked continually on eBay for weeks.  This doll must be rare because there were many Howdy Doody dolls on the site for sale, but not this particular one.  I finally found the doll, was concerned about the price, and noticed that the doll was just about 10 miles from my home.  I waited for the auction to end, and no one bought the doll.  I sent a note to the person listing because I wanted the doll and did not want to pay

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Littlest Angel

shipping.  I purchased the doll for much less than $400, and picked it up.  Howdy was missing his scarf and belt, but I was okay with that because I figured that over the years, it would be missing from mine since I played with it a lot.  The doll is sitting on my book shelf with the photo of me holding the doll.  I cannot yet part with it—it is a part of my his

I have four dolls all manufactured by the Vogue Doll Company.  They are the Jill, Jeff, Ginny, and Littlest Angel dolls.  Jill, Ginny, and Littlest Angel have pretty much the same facial features, but the dolls were different sizes.  I played with my Jill, Jeff, and Ginny together.  I imagined Jeff was either Jill’s boyfriend or husband, and Ginny was her little sister or daughter.  Today I was researching these dolls and discovered that Jeff was

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I still have the doll clothes.

supposed to be Jill’s brother!  Yuck!  No!  I have several outfits for these dolls.  There was a real joy of going to the local department store and looking at new outfits.  They came in little boxes and usually had everything including the shoes that went with the new outfit.  I was in little girl heaven!

I spent hours playing dolls.  I had a little area in the basement near where my mom did laundry that had my miniature kitchen appliances and doll beds, where I played with my baby dolls.  I dressed them and pretended to visit relatives and go to church—which were the main activities of my family.  I think I pretended to be my mom.  She loved us girls, and I loved my baby dolls.

As I got older the “teenage” dolls were my friends.  My cousins also had the Jill, Jeff, and Ginny, so we played them together.  I loved changing their clothes.  Today little girls just buy another Barbie with a different outfit and hair—I don’t get that.  

0 LennonsPaper dolls were also my favorite.  I would go with my mom to the drug store on Saturday evening to pick up the Sunday paper.  While there I would stop at the paper doll rack and admire the beautiful paper dolls.  My favorites were my Lennon Sisters paper dolls because instead of getting two identical paper dolls like most sets, I got one each of Dianne, Peggy, Kathy, and Janet.  Of course, I needed my “boy paper dolls” and Pat Boone was my favorite for that even though I had two identical looking Pat 0 pat booneBoone’s!  It took hours to carefully cut out all the clothes.  I would store them together in a shoe box.  I played for hours with these paper dolls.

Sixty years later, I think about this pretend play.  I cannot even imagine the conversations all my dolls (vinyl and paper) had with each other.  I cannot imagine the scenarios I had in playing with them.  The only thing I can remember is the warm feeling I had sitting on the floor in my bedroom,  pretending whatever I was pretending while playing with those dolls.

Other than the occasional playing school where I was teaching imaginary kids or playing elevator operator with my sliding closet doors, most of my playing time was with these dolls and paper dolls.  

I wonder what little girls play today?  I only had boys, so I don’t even know what girls played 30 or 40 years ago.  I see things advertised on television today, and I wonder if they just play monsters and space ships and multiple Barbies.  My play was always about real life—being a teacher, being a mom, being part of corporate America—yes, I loved the elevator operators at our favorite department store. I thought they were so knowledgable that they knew what was on each of the eleven floors as they announced it opening the door for our exit.  

I think my imagination played a roll in who I became as an adult.  I got to do all the things I played about as a child.  I got to live my dreams.  As a child, I think I was just playing for fun, but today I realize that I also played who I wanted to be when I grew up.

What was your play like as a child?  What did you imagine?  What things did you play that you can say influenced who you are today?

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Me and my Howdy Doody Doll

The Little Things

Sometimes I forget about the little things.  The little things that make my life richer.  The little things that make my life easier.  The little things we can sometimes take for granted.  IMG_4444Do you do that also?  Maybe it’s time we sit down and think of the little things that we appreciate but don’t always acknowledge.  Here is a random list of 10 things that may not be all that little, but that I sometimes take for granted.  These are going to be the first ten things that come to mind.  There may be more, and maybe even more important things, but this is my impromptu list:

My husband brings a cup of coffee to me each morning.  No, I don’t like drinking it in bed, but I like to transfer from bed to our lovely living room where in the summer I see all the beauty through the windows, and in the winter, can watch the burning fire in the fireplace.  It is the little thing that makes my morning start on the right foot.

Watching the bird feeder in the winter.  When I first moved here, I wasn’t aware of all the birds in this world.  I enjoy sitting in the warmth of our home in the winter, and watching the birds coming to the bird feeder.  It was always a win when the woodpecker would arrive and I could get a photo.  They are touchy birds and the first sense of movement and they are gone, so I have to be very careful on the other side of the window to slowly bring up the camera for a quick photo–or video.

 

walkingWalking!  I really took this one for granted until the past few months when an issue with my hip/knee (not sure the cause) has made it extremely difficult to walk.  I am working with doctors, physical therapists, and massage therapists to be able to go back and walk distances that I have taken for granted for so long.

Kitchen appliances  – I am the queen of most appliances.  I love a good, well working appliance.  IMG_7880These include my Kitchenaid mixer, my Breville blender with the smoothie button, a good coffee maker, belgium waffle maker, stick blender, the electric non-stick griddle, and a few less used appliances.  I have a great cabinet that fits these appliances.  Although not used often, I appreciate the them greatly when needed.

waterCold water – Years ago I didn’t drink a lot of water.  That changed about 15 years ago.  Yes, I buy bottled water because it is portable, and I can take cold water with me wherever I go.  There is nothing like the taste of ice cold water after working out, or on a hot day.  I very rarely drink any kind of soft drink.  Water has become my beverage of choice with meals, and between meals.IMG_9584

Laughter – we don’t laugh often and hard enough.  Having friends and family that can make me laugh is a true blessing.  Having a husband who can be a real goof ball helps me keep my laughter going.

IMG_4882Books – I don’t buy many “real” books any longer.  They take up room, and I hate to admit, I am starting to have trouble reading the small print in those books.  I do buy my books for my Kindle app on my phone.  I can adjust the lighting and the size of the print.  My favorite kind of books are non-fiction, although I will read fiction also.  Some of my favorite books: Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado, Radium Girls by Kate Moore, On Fire by John O’Leary, Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend, just to name a few that come to the top of my head.  I made a link to each of these books on Amazon in case you want to check out some of my favorites also.cousins

Friends from throughout all my life – I am so blessed to be in contact with friends from throughout my life, people with whom I went to elementary, high school, and college together; friends from church since I was a child; 1st and 2nd cousins who are all around the country.  Many of these folks I reconnected with through Facebook, but over the years, I have been especially conscious of seeing them in person because that is so much better.  My latest new connection is the daughter of my friend who passed away a few years Unknownago.  I found her on Facebook, and we have messaged each other, and I am so happy to know she and her family are doing well.

So, maybe I should say social media – it has connected me with so many people from my life.  I don’t like it for the political and other rantings, I love it for the connection with people whom I have come to care very much about.

utilitiesElectricity and plumbing – something I truly take for granted, but be without it and think how your day is.  Warmth in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, lights at night, water to drink, cook with, and take showers.  All these are taken for granted, yet our forefathers, did not have these and there are many people all over the world who are without these utilities.

That’s my off the top of my head list.  It just has made me think how truly grateful I am for everything.  What are on your list?  What little or big things do you take for granted, and maybe you should stop for a moment, and just thank God for these things.

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Home Is Where The Heart Is

IMG_0027My beautiful home is on the market for some great family to own and enjoy next.  I have lived here for five years (Dennis has been here for 9 years).  Previous to living here I lived in a normal home in a subdivision in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri.  I loved my suburban home.  I had it built.  It was quite an adventure for a single woman, who through the years of my adulthood, knew poverty, struggled to pay the bills, and worked hard to be in the profession of my dreams and move up in my career.  My suburban home was a simple 1,600 sq. ft. home with an unfinished basement.  It had an open floor plan, and I have so many wonderful memories of my grandchildren playing in that home.

IMG_5357Then I met Dennis.  We got married a year later, and I sold my home in the suburbs to live in a large home in the country.  I also have memories of my grandchildren playing at this home, but they were older, and their play was different.  They were writing scripts, making movies, performing all the parts, and entertaining us with showing the projects on our large screen television.  It wasn’t all that different when they were early elementary school age, and they would put on their shows in the basement of my other home and having the adults come downstairs to watch them sing and dance for us.

I have learned over the years that my home is my safe place.  If your home is not your safe place—the place you can go and feel safe from all the world, then you need to something about that NOW!  I had to come to that realization in my life and make my home my safe place and a safe place for all my family and friends.  It doesn’t matter what the box (home) looks like, big or small, fancy or plain—it can hold wonderful memories for many.  That is what I want my homes to be wherever and whatever they may look like or be located.

My “House in the Woods,” as I named it as my location on my Facebook page, has been a wonderful getaway for me from the city.  I am still a city girl, and I like city conveniences, _DSC0077but this five years has taught me a lot about serenity wherever I am.  I became adept at online shopping since my favorite stores were at least 90 miles away.  I learned to slow down and enjoy the nothingness of being where cars weren’t zipping by, people weren’t rushing to and fro for whatever they were doing.  I have loved driving down our highway and seeing cows grazing in the fields, as I roll down the window and yell “hello” to the cows and their “cow puppies.”  I think that’s such a sweeter word than calf—cow puppies, horse puppies, and any other kind of animal puppies!  One time going down the highway, my granddaughter IMG_7789rolled down the window and yelled to the cattle grazing, “See you at Culvers!”  (She understood the food chain)!  Driving down Hwy HH to connect with Interstate 70, we also passed corn and soy bean fields.  Yes, this is mid America, this is the heartland.  This is where the farmers feed America.

I have loved our neighborhood and the 3.3 acres where we live.  We have a beautiful swimming pool, that is the highlight of my summers.  It is also a draw to get family and friends together.  The children of family and friends love to come swim, and I love to see young people enjoy the pool.  We bought a photopaddle boat my first full summer here.  The lake at the edge of our property is a small one—is it a lake or a large pond?  There are six homes that share this lake, where on occasion we will see someone on their boat fishing, or just paddling around the lake.  We also added a fire pit patio below the pool area, between the pool and the lake.  On a nice cool evening we will build a fire and sit watching the sun go down and listening to the crickets and bull frogs singing to their loved ones.  It is peaceful and serene.  Then we have the kids come and pull out the hot dogs, and s’more ingredients, and it’s an instant party at the fire pit.

We have had a home built in Arizona.  It more resembles my suburban home in St. Louis.  It is 1,600 sq. ft. (no basement), sitting in the middle of a suburban subdivision.  We will start out just wintering there between January and May.  Eventually, it will be our full time home.  

Firepit2I think Dennis and I are both ready for some downsizing.  Over the years, we have accumulated a lot of stuff, and most of the stuff, no one will want in the future.  We have discussed “stuff” a lot.  Stuff can begin to own you rather than you own the stuff.  We don’t want to add a burden to our children when we are gone of what to do with all that stuff.  For months we cleaned closets.  The kids got first choice of the “stuff.”  What they did not want we donated.  I mean donated.  Dennis had a car load daily for weeks on end that was delivered to the local charity.  It felt good.  We have only the furniture we need in our home for us, and for our guests.  There is a sense of freedom when we let go of so much.

This home is a lot of work for two folks going into their 7th decade.  It’s not impossible work at all, but we want to travel more.  We want to have days where we don’t have to do housework or yard work.  We want a place where we can go hiking and enjoy nature in the middle of winter.  We just want to simplify life.  It’s time to find that simplified life.

IMG_7729Although my new home will be considerably smaller than this home, it is still open to all family and friends to visit.  I am a connector.  I need to connect with people from my past, from my present, and my future new friends.  I will make our smaller home as inviting as this lovely place of serenity.  We won’t have a large yard, or a lake, or a pool.  We will have a mountain view, and we will have a lot of love to share.  

We may still be at this home for a while.  It will be a special family who will want to move here next.  I will enjoy every minute of the time I have here.  Then the memories of this home will go to some new family to make memories for themselves.  I will continue memory-making at our new home.  I really hope you come visit sometime.  I’ll serve you the beverage of your choice, maybe something home baked from my oven.  We can sit in our yard, view the mountain, and share our lives together.

I am looking forward to the new chapters in my life.  The book is not finished.  There are more chapters to go—how many, I do not know, but I know there are more.  I am looking forward to your names added to the pages of these chapters.  Hope to see you here or there.  Love to you all!home

Playing Games!

I remember playing board games when I was a kid.  I am not sure who I played them with—my sisters were 4 and 6 years older than me.  My level of game would have been boring for them.  I am guessing that we played them together once in a while, but I think I played them most with my cousins.  I had two families of cousins who I saw a lot as a kid.  We played a lot together.  The three cousins I played the most with were Glenn (who 0 flipcardswas my age), Patti (a year younger than me), and Peggy (2 years younger).  Those three cousins lived next door to each other until I was around 10 years old.  When I visited one, I got them all!  I loved going to either of their homes and having cousins to play with.

Flipcards was the game of the day if I was with Glenn.  He had hundreds of baseball cards.  They didn’t sit alone in a box, they were played with.  I wonder how many Mickie Mantel and Jackie Robinson cards we destroyed playing with them.  Because the rest of us girls didn’t collect these cards, Glenn would lend us some of his.  I just remember we flipped the card in the air and how they landed said who got to keep the cards.  Well, in the end, Glenn got to keep them—they were his after all.

cootieDo you remember Cootie?  Roll the dice and put a big giant bug together.  I also found that game a bit boring.  Roll the dice, add a body part—ho hum.  I much preferred Chutes & Ladders with its character game pieces, and the hopes to land on a ladder and not a sliding board. It resembled real life—sure wanted to climb the ladder quickly and hopefully, sliding backward would not happen as often or as far as the ascension on the ladder.  Sorry was a game I remember playing with my mom and sisters.  It was an easy game to learn, was basicallyIMG_1436 the luck of the cards with a small amount of strategy.  0 monopoly

Every New Years Eve, we went to my grandparents’ house with all my cousins who were at least school age.  We played Monopoly late into the night—probably until 11:00 or midnight.  We went outside and banged pots and pans together to bring in the new year.  We watched old movies on TV until we could no longer keep our eyes open, which was later the older we were.  I don’t remember when that CareersNew Years ritual changed, but my teen years I was not there on New Years Eve. 

My favorite game was Go To The Head Of The Class.  It was the Trivial Pursuit of the 50s and 60s.  There were questions for kids and for adults, so all ages could play.  As much as I didn’t like school, I loved playing this game of knowledge–go figure!

Playing Careers at my cousin’s house was super fun.  We could become an astronaut or a teacher.  It reminded me of a modified Monopoly board, and it had money, and I think the object was to collect the most money, fame, and fortune.  I really don’t remember, but I do remember that we kept track of our scores on small “magic slates”, if you remember those at all (a waxy back board, with a film sheet.  Move the wooden stylus on it and the film sheet would stick to the waxy back board to see what was witten.  Pull the film sheet apart from the waxy back board, and the sheet was clean again.

0 lifeAs I got older, we discovered The Game Of Life.  What a silly game.  We had a car and moved it spaces according to a spinner, like the noisy spinners on a TV game show.  We went to school, we got a job, got married, and even added kids to this car.  What was the object?  Did we win when we lived our life through and died?  No, but I have no idea what made us a winner—I think getting to the end first—yep, you were a winner if you ended life first.  Huh, really?  Maybe it was the one with the most money and kids.  I really don’t remember.

scrabbleFinally, the grown up version of all games entered my life—Scrabble.  It required me to put on my thinking cap and learn to spell.  It was a game my youngest son and I played a lot before he moved away to Los Angeles.  We didn’t totally follow the rules.  We allowed each other to look up words in the Scrabble Dictionary for a word that would work with our tiles.  If we used a new uncommon word, we had to say what that word meant.  I figured it was a good way to increase and improve our vocabularies while having fun playing the game.  My oldest granddaughter went to Scrabble club in elementary school–she actually went by accident, loved it, and got very involved.  She became quite a challenger, and we enjoyed many Scrabble games together.

I have learned that either you are a game player, or you hate playing board games.  I am on the side of loving to playing games.  It fits the competitive side in me.  My daughter-in-law is also a competitive game player.  We have fun playing games, but you can see she and I rising to the challenge of competition with the rest of our less competitive game playing family.  We get our competitive hats on to try to win while still having fun with everyone.  My husband doesn’t like playing games because he doesn’t like the feeling of competition.  I am okay with that.  I have watched my grandchildren work hard to learn the concept of a game, and start applying strategy.

Cardinal-Double-12-Color-Dot-Dominoes-in-Collectors-Tin-Styles-May-VaryThe first time I taught Jack, my grandson, to play Mexican Train Dominoes, I thought we would have to hold back a bit since he was only six.  He caught on quickly how to organize his tiles and use them strategically.  He beat our socks off that day.  He is almost 17 years old now, and I know his strategic brain will get him far in life.

qarkleThe latest game we have played is Qwirkle.  It is kind of a combination of Scrabble and Dominoes, but uses colors and shapes.  Any age can play, but once one learns there is a real strategy to the game, they can blow you away at any age.

I still love playing games with kids and adults.  We laugh a lot while we play.  We moan and groan at our losing moves, and get haughty on our sneaky moves, and we celebrate whoever wins the game.  It has brought me together with my cousins, my sisters, my kids, and my grandkids.  I think playing games helps children learn sportsmanship by learning how to win and lose graciously.  It teaches them strategic thinking.  It connects them with others, especially in this time of electronics.  It definitely connects me with my children and grandchildren.

These are just some of the games I have enjoyed over the years.  There are many more that keep popping into my head.  Don’t need to bring them up.  I just want to jog your memory or your life playing games.  What were some of your favorite games?  Do you still play them?  With whom do you play them?

chutes & ladders

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