Actions Prove Who Someone Is

Words just prove who they pretend to be.

And we know actions speak louder than words. It’s not just an old wives tale. 

Someone tells you how much they care about you, how much they love you. But do they really? Or is it just words they think they should say?

When you pour out your heart to them, tell them your innermost thoughts and feelings, do they really hear what you’re saying? Or do they give you lip service, and say they know what you mean, and then launch into a conversation about their own problems that they want your help with? 

Are they really listening to you? Or are they too self absorbed to actually think about your feelings? Your problems.

As well meaning as they may appear to be, oftentimes they are still more concerned about their own problems than yours. Or how other people perceive them. Who talk about you behind your back and even tell others what you told them in confidence to make themselves look important, or better than someone else.

Or they may wholeheartedly profess to love everyone, no matter what their political, religious, or other views. After all, to love others is to understand them and respect them even if they don’t always share our viewpoints. Right?

Well, sometimes that’s right. And sometimes not, unfortunately. Many people only like you as long as you agree with them. If not, it doesn’t matter how they used to care about you. They can’t agree to disagree.

Do your words and actions match? Or are you saying one thing and actually presenting another persona?

Which one are you anyway?

You Can’t Walk Backwards into the Future

Because you can’t see ahead if you’re always looking back.

The past will continue to haunt you if you won’t let it go, and it prevents you from turning around to see what’s ahead.

Don’t spend your life walking backwards, because all you’ll end up doing is walking into walls instead of walking through doors.

I’m Tired of Adulting

For those of you on Facebook, we see this almost daily in someone’s status. We usually laugh it off, make funny comments, or just scroll on by because it’s, well, old news, as the saying goes.

But after a few long and difficult months, I think giving up being an adult sounds like a really good thing! I’ve tried it for a lot of years now. The first few were kind of fun. I could sort of do as I wanted and no one told me I couldn’t. Well, that’s not entirely true, because the first few years as an adult I was in college, and I had to do what our instructors said in order to get decent grades, but that’s different.

When we were in high school we couldn’t wait to be 21 and be “adults,” whatever that meant. And yes, back then, you weren’t really an adult til you were 21, although you could get married and serve in the military at 18. And when we graduated from high school at 18, many of us started careers or got married…before we were really “adults.” We couldn’t wait to be grown up, to be adults.

We thought life would suddenly be great when we really became “adults.” Well, that suddenly happened. But it wasn’t the way we expected.

The world we thought we had grown up in, the world that seemed to have so many opportunities and such a bright future, took on a new look of war, social unrest, and rioting. And we realized that maybe being an adult wasn’t quite what it was all rumored to be.

Adulting came with responsibilities, and a lot of them we weren’t ready for. And many of us still aren’t, although we have no choice.

Adulting means making decisions we really don’t want to make; decisions that affect our lives, as well as other people’s, for the rest of our lives. If we make the wrong one, there’s no one around to fix it for us. We have to live with it or work really hard to turn things around.

We thought being an adult would make our lives simple. Instead we had to work for a living; no parents to pay our way any more. We had bills to pay, cars to buy and repair, rent or mortgages to pay. We had to buy our own food, and prepare it, on a daily basis.

Suddenly we became parents, and had responsibilities for our own children. And wondered how our parents ever did it! Raising children was certainly not as easy as we thought.

And then there were the adult problems that came along as we aged. Our health, or our friends’ or loved ones’ health, began to deteriorate. Addictions and rehab became a part of many of our friends’ lives. Serious illnesses attacked many of us or our loved ones, changing our lives forever.

The ones we married and thought would love us forever didn’t. Many of us experienced divorce, and sometimes even more than once. And it was nothing like the breakups we had in high school…the ones we never thought we’d recover from. Until we found someone else the next week.

No, divorce was far worse than that, and we really began to wonder why being an adult was supposed to be so great. Being a child was much easier.

Being an adult is tough. No matter how old we are. It’s a huge responsibility.

So many times we look at our kids, or our grandkids, as the case now is, and for a moment or two we think how wonderful it would be to have that childhood innocence back; to be a child whose biggest concerns are what they’re going to play with next, what their mom or dad is going to fix for dinner, and how they’ll avoid going to bed too early.

And I think back to those long ago times when our own lives were like that. And yes, I get nostalgic and wish I could stop being an adult for awhile and just be a child again. No worries and no responsibilities.

But then, would we want to go through growing up again? Through all it entailed? Would we want to face becoming an adult again and having to go through all the rough times again?

No. Probably not. At least I wouldn’t. That would mean we’d give up the loved ones we have now…our spouses and kids and grandkids…and start over without them.

But it’s nice to just imagine times being so simple again. And to think about what we’d do different.

And in reality, we’d probably do the same things all over again.

Looking Back

All of us do that from time to time. We look back and question those decision we made at the time but now we wonder what in the world we’d been thinking.

Looking back doesn’t give you the same picture you were looking at when you made those decisions.

If you live your life looking backward you’ll never know what lies ahead.

Isn’t it time to start looking at the future rather than the past?

You’ve Been Given a Full Box of New Crayons

But if the beautiful picture you were born to create is going to happen, you have to open the box and start to color.

You look at those crayons. So new. So colorful. Sharp and unbroken, their paper wrapping still fresh and new. And you realize if you begin to use them, they won’t look like that for long.

So you put them away to save for a special time. When you really feel creative. When what you create will be worth messing up those beautifully sharpened crayons. You pull the box out occasionally and wonder “am I ready to use these to try and create something really special, really breathtaking?” You even pull out a fresh clean piece of paper and almost touch the point of the crayon to the paper.

And then you stop. What if you mess up your creation? What if it’s going well and suddenly you mess up? So many of those beautiful crayons would now messed up, used, their points no longer sharp, and their paper wrappers torn. You’re upset because you’ve now taken something of beauty and messed it up, and now those once beautiful crayons don’t look capable of creating anything any more.

You feel bad and can’t even bear to look at the mess you’ve made. Throwing them away seems unfair because it’s not their fault you couldn’t use them correctly. What to do?

So you decide to give them away. Maybe someone else can salvage them and use them for something, and you can at least you won’t be reminded of your failure. You put them in a box, mark “free” on it, and leave them in your yard, hoping they won’t be left behind for long.

The next morning they’re gone. You feel guilty but you just can’t be reminded how you failed and messed them up. And you’re not going to try that again!

But a month or so later, when you open your front door, there’s a beautifully wrapped package sitting there, the tag reading simply “thank you. Open when you’re ready.”

What in the world? You haven’t done anything special for awhile, at least not that you’re aware of. This must be for someone else.

But after a few hours of looking at that package, you can’t stand it any more. You have to know what’s inside; maybe you’ll find out where it came from, so you can properly thank them.

As you’re unwrapping it you take a close look at the colorful wrapping paper. It seems to be a rainbow of fine colored swirls, all carefully mixed together to form a beautiful pattern. It’s too pretty to tear up, so you carefully unwrap it so that the paper can be re-used.

Inside, you find a sketchbook, filled with colorful hand drawn pictures. Turning the pages you find seascapes, florals, even portraits that resemble people you know. At the end of the book there’s an inscription that reads “don’t be afraid to use your crayons. Just because they get broken, lose their points, and don’t always look perfect, they can still be used to make wonderful, beautiful pictures.”

And at the bottom of the box were several crayons, the few small pieces that were left from the whole crayons that had been used by the artist to make the beautiful pictures in the sketchbook.

Those were the crayons she’d given away, of course. Or what was left of them.

What do you think that person did next? Use the leftover pieces to draw more pictures? Buy new crayons that would actually be used to draw more pictures? Or continue to be discouraged because someone else did something with what they were given while he/she threw away the opportunity?

What would you have done?

A Plea for Help

I watched President Zelensky’s impassioned speech to Congress Wednesday morning and I must say I was most definitely moved to tears. Yes, I was actually crying. His message was powerful and truly from the heart. Then came the video. And again, many more tears. I do not have an answer to what we should do. But I will say this. We and the rest of the world must do something to help these people who are being injured and killed on a daily basis because of where they live. This is wrong on so many levels.

When Zelensky spoke about the planes dropping bombs on Pearl Habor that Sunday norming in December and comparing it to what’s going on now in Ukraine I was trying to imagine what that must have been like. And I just couldn’t.  And I don’t want to know. My mind went back to those air raid drills we had in elementary school. Sitting out in the hall with our heads down and covered by our little arms. As if that would’ve helped. Or hiding under our desks. How strange that feels to remember. It was a lifetime ago.

We can’t even begin to imagine what these people are going through. And how we would feel if it were happening to us. Would other countries come to our defense? Or would they stay silent, afraid it would come to us?

We all know the saying, there but for the grace of God… And it’s true.

The photos online are horrifying because they show the truth. Teenagers going to fight with their skateboard pads as part of their defense. A young girl with a lollipop in her mouth and a rifle in her hand. Childhoods forever lost. Apartments destroyed and homes and belongings totally lost. Families separated and not knowing when or if they’ll see each other again.

I’ve read a lot of stories about how the Ukrainian people are doing their parts to help. Families are learning to make Molotov cocktails from the internet so they can defend their homes or give them to the Ukrainian soldiers to help in the fight.

A retired seamstress who used to make evening wear and designer suits for Gucci is now sewing flak jackets in her home for the Ukrainian soldiers, using fabric and pieces of metal welded together while her adult son makes blue and yellow arm bands for the freedom fighters to wear to identify themselves from the enemy.

Men in their 40’s and 50’s are being summoned to fight and gladly going out to defend their country and families, taking their own weapons with them, even though they haven’t served in the armed forces in 10-20 years.

Hundreds of people were hiding in the basement of a theatre in hopes of surviving Russian bombings. Some did. Some didn’t. Even though the word “children” was clearly written on the grounds, the bombs and the soldiers who released them didn’t care.

Bombs also hit a maternity hospital, killing and severely injuring women about to give birth as well as newborn babies, killing the babies who never had a chance to live. Can you imagine being an expectant mother in this environment, not knowing if you and/or your child will survive?

Food distribution centers are being bombed so that a soon to be starving population will have nothing to eat. And they certainly can’t call for takeout or delivery.

These are the realities of war in a 21st century world. In a modern country whose citizens only several months ago were living lives like you and me. Celebrating holidays, engagements, weddings, birthdays, and births of new babies. Going to school. Buying homes. Enjoying nights out for dinner or movies. Going shopping just for fun. Not needing to look up into the sky to see anything but sun and clouds.

But now there is a new reality. Their daily lives have been turned upside down, never to be the same again.

I have no idea what the answers are. None at all. I only know something needs to be done to stop the insanity before the. country of Ukraine is destroyed. And before another country, possibly Poland, is invaded because this Russian dictator wants to control Europe and then the rest of the world.  Where does it stop? When will it stop?

What will be left?

My heart is breaking for these people. All I can do is pray, and I do. Every single day.

May the decisions made in the coming days by our world leaders be good ones, based not only on intelligence but also on the need to save innocent lives, and may these decisions begin a road to peace in this world, and not the beginning of World War Three. Because none of us could recover from that.

May God bless Ukraine. And the rest of the free world.

But I’m Not Irish

No, I’m not. And personally I’ve never understood the big deal about St. Patrick’s Day, except for the party side of it.

I’m not Irish. I don’t really like corned beef and cabbage. And I don’t drink beer very often, and I certainly don’t want to drink GREEN beer.

But it seems a lot of people we know think it’s a big deal, so I decided to see if I could figure it out by researching on line.

St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, who lived back in the 5th century. It is said he was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at age 16. He eventually escaped and returned home, but then returned to Ireland where he is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people. Interestingly enough, he was never officially canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church. His feast day of March 17, the day we celebrate, is said to have been the day he died.

There are many legends about him that have grown through the years, including the one about him driving all the snakes out of Ireland. However, since Ireland is an island, there really weren’t ever any snakes there because it’s surrounded by water. 

And St Patrick wasn’t even Irish? Go figure.

The holiday has been celebrated in Ireland for centuries. Then as people immigrated to other countries, their traditions changed to blend in with their new surroundings, including how St. Patrick’s Day began to be celebrated. Parades, the popular Irish meal of  corned beef and cabbage, wearing of the green, and other ideas gradually found their ways into our culture, as well as in other countries, and the Irish traditions evolved to reflect various cultural activities of the countries doing the celebrating.

Why wear green? Not sure, but most likely it’s because back in the 1800’s supporters of Irish independence wore green to represent their cause, and it just sort of evolved from there. Now I do like the color green, and I have made a number of green bracelets for my jewelry business. I do know that people try to pinch you if you’re not wearing green on March 17, which to me is a bit strange. Then I discovered legend also has it that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns who would pinch anyone on St. Patrick’s Day not wearing green.

Now about those feisty leprechauns. What are they really? Well, they’re a part of Irish mythology and are said to be mischievous fairy-like creatures (both men and women) who make/repair shoes and spend the rest of their time hiding gold coins in hidden pots at the end of rainbows. It’s also said if you catch a leprechaun he has to tell you where that pot of gold is, but since you can never really find the end of a rainbow….what does it matter?

They’re also supposed to grant three wishes to humans who capture them in order to escape. Obviously, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting one.  But since they’re Irish, naturally they’ve evolved into part of the St. Patrick’s Day lore.

Why St. Patrick’s Day parades? The first one is said to have been in what is now St. Augustine, Florida in 1601.  But what really started the tradition was held in New York City in 1772, when Irish soldiers, homesick for their native country, marched through the streets on March 17 to honor St. Patrick, and the tradition gradually evolved and spread to other cities. In Dublin however, the first St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t held until 1995.

Today we see all manner of celebrations for this fun-loving day. In my opinion, it gives us a good excuse to act a little crazier than usual, drink green beer (did you know that pubs in Ireland were forced to close on St. Patrick’s Day up until the late 1970’s?), dress a bit crazy (sometimes with green wigs, green hats, green sunglasses and lighted green shamrock necklaces), and just have a party with friends. At least that’s how I see it. And fortunately the restaurant we go to every year for corned beef and cabbage is actually an Italian place, so I can get something I like much better! (And yes, their corned beef and cabbage is excellent, according to everyone who goes there for it, including my husband!)

So maybe on March 17, I could be just a little bit Irish!

Without the green beer, that is.

A Relationship

Takes two people who genuinely care about each other. 

Is only successful when each party makes time for the other

Means taking time for your significant other. Listening to them. Doing things together. Not making excuses.

Shouldn’t be difficult to maintain. And should never be taken for granted.

Shouldn’t always be a case of “we’re working things out.”

Doesn’t mean hanging on because there’s nothing else right now.

Comes naturally between two people. You either want to be together or you don’t.

Takes two people who care about each other. When one stops caring and taking time for the other person there’s no more relationship.

Cannot be forced.

Often ends. And it’s usually for the best. Because it wasn’t the right one.

Each of Us Lives a Storied Life

What story are you living?

A love story?

A tragedy?

A mystery?

A hero/heroine story…helping others, fixing things, coming to someone’s rescue?

Fulfilling your lifelong ambition to do something special?

Is there a love interest, or a potential one?

Or something else altogether?

There are as many different types of stories as there are genres of books, and I didn’t even list all the genres I’ve been known to read. Many of those genres also incorporate bits of other genres, just to make it interesting.

What happens when your personal story gets boring? When you decide you need a new plot line. Is it a story that can easily change, or will it take a lot of time and effort? And are you ready…and willing…to do it?

Think about this. Every day we can choose a new plot line in our personal story. Is it one you’re going to follow up on, or will you erase it the next day and start over?

Who is narrating your story? Is it you, or are you looking at it through someone else’s eyes?

Are you making it truthful or embellishing it? Telling others things that aren’t really exactly the way they really are.

Chances are, your story is actually a series, rather than just one volume, one particular story line. How many books do you think it would fill?

And even more importantly, what part of your life would you start your story in? Would you write the ending differently than your actual life?

I know exactly what story I’d write about my life because I’ve thought about it often. I’ve even plotted out parts of, but haven’t quite figured out the ending yet, because it won’t be what really took place. It’s something I’ve thought about for many years, and maybe it’s time to try my hand at writing it. And no, I’m not giving any hints.

What about you? What’s your particular story? Would you like to change that story? You can, you know. 

It’s your story. And your choice.

Guiness Cupcakes

I may not be Irish, but you do know that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. And sometimes you just have to go with the flow and make something creative for a holiday known for certain foods, such as corned beef and cabbage, green beer, Guiness, etc.

Well I do not like green beer. I don’t really like beer, but I have been known to drink it on occasions. Which is another story.

Corned beef and cabbage? I’m not much of a fan. And I know I probably wouldn’t do a very good job at making it, so that’s a bit much, as far as I’m concerned.  Besides, there’s a restaurant we go to every year so my husband can have it, and since they have other items on the menu that I like, I’m fine with that.

But I figured there had to be something out there I could make for the occasion. But it really had to be something I’d enjoy. Since I enjoy baking, I thought I’d see if I could find some Irish cookies or something. But all I found were cut-out cookies of shamrocks which also required their being frosted. Even though the frosting had Irish whiskey in it, I knew they were well past my talents, which doesn’t lend itself well to either frosting cookies OR icing a cake.

Even if I were going to serve them with Irish coffee, which I do like, it really wouldn’t be my best experience. I do know my limitations.

But then I found a recipe that didn’t look too hard, even though it did require using my inadequate frosting skills. But maybe my husband and my best friend could overlook what they looked like, as long as they tasted good. The grandkids don’t need to try these!

So here’s what I’m going to try this weekend. They look fairly easy, and somehow I can probably figure out a way to do the frosting, although I can assure you they won’t look like the picture I found of them. I do have some St. Patricl’s cupcake wrappers, though.

Then again, it’s worth a try. If they aren’t really presentable, I can always blame it on the Irish coffee or the sip or two of Bailey’s I may have while I’m making them!

So here’s the recipe for Chocolate Guiness Cupcakes. Wish me luck!

  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • i cup Irish stout beer (Guiness preferably) at room termperature
  • 1 tbl vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking pwder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3-4 mini-muffin tins or cups with paper liners. (I think I’d do regular size and just adjust the baking time.) This says it makes 66 mini cupcakes! That’s a lot!

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk til smooth. Stir in beer and vanilla. Reomve from heat and allow to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift into a large bowl. Mix in sugar. Add beer mixture and stir til thoroughly combined. Add eggs, stirring until well incorporated. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, each about 3/4 full.

Bake in preheated over until tops spring back when lightly pressed (10-11 mniutes (for mini’s; check while cooking for regular sizes). Cool in muffin pans for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the frosting.:

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

To prepare, beat buter and confectioners sugar in a bowl with electric mixer. Add the Baileys,, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until light and fluffy, and white, in color, about ten minutes. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

You Can’t Change the Past

But you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

The memories will always be there, though. Memories of what was, what will never be again. Memories of happier times, or memories of what you wish had never happened.

Those memories are part of us, and they make us who we are. Who we’ve become. 

Sometimes they’ve made us better. Sometimes they’ve put us in a dark place that it seems we can’t escape from.

Sometimes we take those memories and change them around in our minds so that we’ll have a happier ending. It’s our way of escaping the past, and in many cases, trying to make certain memories less painful by giving them a better ending.

But the reality eventually seeps back in and the real memories are still there. And you realize memories are a truth we can’t change.

Hindsight isn’t just a matter of timing; it’s a matter of wisdom that’s gained with experience. You can stay stuck in the place you are in, reliving every moment of hurt and pain over and over until it consumes you, or you can choose to pull yourself out of that place and start living your life again. 

No, it won’t be the same. You’re not the same. People around you have continued to move on with their lives, while you’re still stuck in the past and afraid or unwilling to join them.

Who you were is not necessarily who you are now. And do you really want to continue living in the past forever?

Because it’s really not a fun place to be. 

Let the past be the past. It’s time for you to live in the here and now and look ahead to your future.

What are you waiting for?