You Will Never Know the Value of a Moment

Until it becomes a memory. A memory that can never be recreated. 

Unfortunately most of the time we don’t realize how important those memories will one day become.

Until the day you realize there will be no more.

One of my special moments was on my mother’s birthday some 18 years ago. She’d started having memory issues and just didn’t seem to have fun anymore when my daughter Ashley and I took her anywhere. 

But this one day, this birthday lunch, turned into one of the best memories I have with her. You see, Ashley’s birthday was two weeks before hers, so Ashley convinced her we were celebrating her birthday instead, and suddenly Mom’s face lit up, and she started smiling and laughing like a teenager. My aunt was with us, and she joined into the fun as well, and we all joked around about the memories the two of them had growing up together for several hours, just enjoying that special time together. It was really the last time Mom enjoyed herself like that; when I saw that spark of enjoyment in her eyes she always had when she was with her granddaughter.

How much I’d give to have that moment back again.

There are others as well, as I sit here remembering lots of unique special moments that will never come again. We don’t appreciate them enough at the time, because we don’t stop to think about how such moments will never come again. 

And how one day those memories would be all we have left of our loved ones.

What special memories do you have that you don’t ever want to forget? My advice: write them down somewhere in a special place, because as much as you don’t want to think about it, one day those memories will begin to fade as if they’d never happened.

And what will you do then?

Are You Confused?

Don’t ever confuse what you’ve settled for with what you really want.

What we think we’re looking for says as much about our fears as much as our desires.

Are you afraid you won’t ever get anything or anybody else?  So you settle for mediocrity when you can have special? 

Why are you willing to settle for second best when you deserve so much more?

There’s so much more out there. Why waste it on second best?


Those of us who grew up in the Viet Nam era of the 60’s and 70’s certainly remember the chant “Hey, Hey, LBJ…How many kids did you kill today?!”

It was heard throughout the country. A cry against a war that should never have been. A war that divided the country and took the lives of so many of our friends and families.

Well, yesterday this idea just hit me after hearing about the 162nd mass shooting in our country. And unfortunately by the time this is published, that number will most likely be higher. 

So I have a new chant we can start using, and it goes like this: “Hey, hey, NRA…how many of your guns killed kids today!? How many people did guns kill today?”

What do think? Could it catch on? 

Would anyone even care?

Or have we become so complacent that the news of a mass shooting just doesn’t affect us anymore? 

That is…unless it’s in your state or your hometown. Unless it affects people you know.

Have we gotten so used to these senseless tragedies…these senseless murders…that we’ve forgotten it’s not just another news story?

It’s a tragedy that happened to people just like you and me. And as the saying goes, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

It could be you or your loved ones next.

WHEN are we going to DO something about this epidemic that’s sweeping our nation?

Your kids could have been at that Sweet Sixteen party in Alabama where 4 young people were killed and 32 injured. Or attending that private school in Louisville. Or your loved ones could have been working at that bank in Louisville. 

Then you’d cry out for change. After it’s too late. 

Hey, hey, NRA…how many of your guns killed kids yesterday? How many more will they kill today?

Those of us who grew up in the Viet Nam era of the 60’s and 70’s remember the chant “Hey, hey,

There Are No Real Endings

At least not in a book. 

The ending is just the place where the writer decides to stop that particular story. And sometimes in my mind I like to imagine what the characters are doing now. 

Haven’t you always wondered what happens after the girl and the guy get married? Assuming they do, that is, after they decide they really do love each other.

Now there are lots of book series that take the characters from one adventure to another, having them grow together, age or mature together, and maybe even add a few family members along the way. 

Nora Roberts, one of my very favorite authors, has a number of trilogies which skillfully bring favorite characters together in a three book series that you just don’t ever want to stop reading about. They’ve become old friends by the time the series ends, and you really want to know more about them, keep in touch, so to speak. Find out the story after the stories. (Actually her Chesapeake Bay Series featured 4 books, the last one set some 20 years after the first three, and it was a wonderful conclusion to the Quinn family saga.)

Nora also has written a very popular crime series under the pen name J.D. Robb. Set in futuristic New York City, and now into 53 books, her characters are unique and remind you of people you’d love to have as friends, and at the end of each book you can’t wait to hear what the characters are going to be doing next. And yes, I’ve read them all.

Joseph Flynn, another favorite author, has written a remarkable series of political novels which now total 14 books, and I’ve already downloaded the last two so I can catch up on some other people I now consider old friends.

If you’re a reading enthusiast like I am, you can certainly relate to what I’m saying. How many times have you come to the end of a great book and actually felt sad because you were saying goodbye to people you’d gotten to know so well? 

Unlike real life, the characters we come to know so well between the cover of a book, or the digital pages of a kindle, seem to stop their lives, stop what they’ve been doing at the end. Like mannequins in a storefront window or people in a painting they’re frozen in time, the rest of their stories never to be told. And that’s a bit sad when you’ve gotten to know them so well.

But real life is as different from a book as day is from night. 

In books, there’s almost always a happy ending. The characters evolve, have their ups and downs, their highs and lows, but things always seem to work out as they should in the end. And when they don’t work out as you’d like it to, you can always tell yourself it’s not real; it didn’t really happen, and then you feel better.

Real life isn’t like that because it’s REAL life, and life isn’t always fair and doesn’t always have a happy ending. You can try to make things work out they way you want them to, but it doesn’t always work that way.

How well we all know that. 

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could write out exactly how we wanted it to be? And if the story got a bit difficult, or too complicated, all we’d have to do is take our eraser, delete that part, and start the story over.

Then we’d all live happily ever after.

But life is not a book. There are real beginnings and real endings. And we can’t rewrite them if they don’t turn out like we want.

But we can start a new chapter. We do it all the time. And we take what we’ve learned from the last chapter and make it better. Or at least different.

But we learn as we go along that sometimes the endings in our books are a lot easier to live through than the endings in real life.

Are You Holding a Grudge?

That’s what a lot of people say if you decide not to associate with them any more.

Well, there really may be another reason. And it’s a good one.

How about “I saw who you really are when you did ______ and I’m not unseeing it.”

You see, life is too short to hold a grudge against someone. There are three things you can do in that situation.

Laugh about it when you can, and move on.

Apologize when you should, and decide if you should go on or try one more time.

Or, let go of what you can’t change, and move on. You can’t unsee what you saw, or unhear what you heard.

Don’t even try.

Move on when you get to that point. In the end, you’ll be better off, and a lot happier.

It’s not a grudge. It’s a choice for your emotional health.

What’s It Going to Take?

That’s a good question. And I wish I had an answer. A good answer would be nice. Or even any answer.

But I have none. And obviously there really isn’t one.

Yesterday a bank employee who had heard he was going to lose his job walked into that bank and started shooting employees, probably those who had nothing to do with his employment situation. All in all, 5 people are now dead, several others are in critical condition including a young police officer ten days out of the police academy. He was shot in the head.

Yesterday’s tragedy marked the 145th mass shouting in our country since the beginning of the year. That’s a sad statistic. 

It should be a frightening and sobering statistic, but it’s obviously not as much as it should be, because such events are becoming far too commonplace in our country.

We listen to the news and hear about some deranged individual walking into a crowded area, a school, a concert, a shopping center, a church, a darkened movie theater, and firing away, seeing how many people he or she can kill. 

We shake our heads in disbelief that it’s happened again. We’re outraged. We cry out for something to be done. At least for a day or two.

We offer our thoughts and prayers.

We put memes and pictures on social media reading “I stand with [whatever area was attacked today]” and think that’s all going to help. Because it makes us feel better.

It certainly doesn’t make the victims and their families feel better. Because they lost people that can never be replaced, no matter how many prayers we say. And it doesn’t do anything to stop this ever-growing plague of gun violence that is sweeping our nation.

But then there are others whose answer is…., you guessed it. More guns. Arm the teachers. Armed security in our churches. More armed guards in shopping areas, concerts and the like. Metal detectors in schools, which actually should have been done years ago. Are guns the answers to guns?

And of course, there are calls for more people to buy guns and get concealed carry permits so they’ll be ready for anything. Does it make me feel safer thinking that a person beside me may have a concealed weapon? No. It makes me nervous because I don’t know how an untrained individual with a gun would react in a situation with a mass shooter, particularly if that shooter had an assault rifle. And I don’t know whether that person will think something is about to happen, pull out the gun, and shoot when there’s no reason.

I hear very few politicians on the right calling for gun control. “Oh, we can’t do that,” they say. “The Constitution says we have the right to our guns. We can’t change that.” [Translation: We WON’T change that.

That’s not exactly true. They don’t WANT to change anything. They like the political contributions from all the pro-gun groups.

Actually, we can change our laws without outlawing gun ownership. We can outlaw certain types of guns, like assault weapons. We can write stronger laws regarding gun purchases and gun ownership, training in weapons handling. We can impose special excise taxes on firearm sales. We can license gun owners, and make those licenses renewable after a few years upon passing a test, like we do with vehicles. We can actually enforce the laws we now have, and make it harder for someone who has behavioral health issues to own a firearm. Or harder for someone to buy a firearm for someone else who isn’t legally able to do so.

We need to stop these senseless acts of violence by cowardly individuals who think the only answer to their problems is to destroy other peoples’ lives and families. They don’t care what suffering they cause; they probably don’t even think or care about it. Yes, these shooters havr at least diminish e emotional and mental issues, and that needs to be addressed as well.

But we also need to rethink our country’s love of guns. I’m not against hunting, but you don’t need an assault weapon to hunt for wildlife. 

I don’t have all the answers, but we need to start looking for answers in a serious way. There have to be things that can be done to stop these senseless tragedies. Hiding our heads in the sand doesn’t cut it. Praying for the victims doesn’t ease their tragedy. Donations made in the victims’ name doesn’t erase what happened or make it better.

Please, let’s contact our elected officials and demand legislation that can help to end or at least diminish these tragic acts of violence.

 Before your family or mine is another victim.

Is Easter Different Now?

Now before you start getting mad at me and calling me all kinds of names I really don’t deserve, read what I’m talking about. Don’t just look at my title and assume you know what I’m going to say.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to say until the whole post is written.

I’m talking about how the day itself seems to be looked at now. As opposed to when my generation was growing up.

When I was going to school we always had Easter vacation, you know, like Christmas vacation. We were off on Good Friday and Easter Monday, and if I remember correctly, our week off started the Monday of Good Friday week and we went back to school the Tuesday after Easter.

But over the years that’s changed. Now the students have Spring Break.  Which can be any week in March, or April, so it seems. And not all school districts have the same week off, which makes planning vacations a bit difficult. And then college is a whole other story. I have no idea how those breaks are scheduled, and lots of time it’s not the same as the elementary and high school schedules. And they don’t necessarily have off on Good Friday, which to many families is a holy day.

Seems to me they’re trying to make it around the best times for the kids to go to beach weekends, if you ask me. But of course no one did.

On another note, when I was growing up, we always dressed up in our newest and best clothes for Easter Sunday. We girls wore new hats, just like our moms and grandmothers did, plus new white gloves and purses to go with our new Easter dress. Oh, and don’t forget the black or white patent leather shoes! 

Little boys had new suit jackets and ties (clip on, of course), and we all had pictures taken before we went to Easter Sunday church services. Then we all got together for a big family dinner with as many family members as possible. In my case, my two uncles and their wives even came down from Philadelphia to our little hometown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, just so we could all be together.

Our parents hid real colored eggs outside for us to find, and of course, Easter Sunday morning started with checking out the big Easter basket the Easter Bunny had left for us after we went to bed. I remember not being able to open it (the bunny wrapped it with cellophane) until after church, but I very carefully looked all thru it thru the cellophane and wondered what it would all taste like! Of course I always had a big chocolate bunny and one of those sugar eggs with a hole at each end so you could look at the scene inside. I don’t know why I was so fascinated by them, because you certainly didn’t eat them.  But they were the centerpiece of that basket every year!

Now today, things are different.

Gone are the days of dressing up and showing off Easter hats and new dresses. Our daughter does get Easter outfits for our granddaughters, but not necessarily fancy dresses, and this year I can guarantee Baby Ryan will have his “first Easter outfit” for family photos. How can we resist that?!

We’ll have a special Easter brunch at a local restaurant, with jelly bean Bellinis (don’t judge until you’ve tried one!) for the adults and Easter drinks for the grandkids with jelly beans as well. Then it’s back to our house for an Easter egg hunt with tiny gift-filled plastic eggs, and of course baskets the Bunny left at our house for them. 

The grandkids’ baskets, though, aren’t the candy-filled creations I had growing up. Yes, there is some candy, but it’s more arts and craft items, jewelry, and nail polish. Baby Ryan’s will have teething toys. The Easter Bunny is getting more creative every year.

Many towns used to have Easter parades on Easter weekend, lots of times with hat decorating contests. And I’m proud to say my aunt actually won first prize one year with her Easter hat, featuring an Easter egg tree on top. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture though.

Up until Covid hit, we went to Easter services every year. Sometimes the kids joined us, but usually they met us somewhere for lunch afterwards. Now we still haven’t started back to attending church, and we’re not sure where we’ll go when we do. 

But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten what Easter means, and why it’s so important to Christian believers. However, I’m not criticizing anyone who has a different belief than we do. Nor will I accept anyone’s condemnation of us for not going to church if we are believers. It is our choice for now. Yes, I do miss it, but when it’s time we will return.

Yes, Easter traditions and celebrations are a lot different now than they were 60+ years ago. And those celebrations were different than those of the preceding 60+ years. Things do change. 

The way we celebrate Easter may change, but the Easter story itself doesn’t change. It continues to remain the most significant and important belief of the Christian community, no matter how we celebrate it. It’s the greatest story of love and redemption the world has seen.

May each of you have a very Happy Easter, however you choose to celebrate the day.

When Mothers Aren’t

I’ve heard far, far too many stories recently about mothers who weren’t there for their children like they should have been. About mothers who raised their kids in a home almost devoid of love, with very few hugs and kisses, no “I love you’s” at bedtime, or any other time for that matter. Mothers who constantly criticized their children, who made them feel they could never be good enough; never measure up to their parents’ standards; who could never succeed at anything.

Mothers who made their children feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. Mothers who would punish their children severely for the least little infraction in very strict rules. Mothers who all but ignored their children; ignored their wants and needs because theirs were far more important. Mothers who would sometimes refuse to speak to their children for weeks at a time to punish them for some slight bit of disobedience, rather than talking it out with them and trying to come to an understanding of what was actually going on and work out differences.

Such mothers can be the difference between a well-adjusted child who becomes an adult ready to face the world, and a child who is totally unequipped to deal with the challenges and reality of life on his/her own.

My relationship with my mother was a good one, although not without its moments of arguments, disagreements, and yes, even ignoring each other at times. However, those times didn’t last long, because we had formed a bond between us that, although stretched a bit at times, was not easily broken.

In my case, a lot of that was because of my father’s untimely death when I was only eight years old. But I do believe more of it was because of who my mother was; how she had been raised; and her deep love of family which had been instilled in her from the time she was born until she was all grown up.

Not all women are raised like that. Just like not all mothers are the loving, caring, and affectionate moms like I was fortunate to have. And it’s sad.

And to the adoptive mothers who raise their adopted children as if they actually gave birth to them, and love them unconditionally, THANK YOU, as well as thank you to the birth mothers who cared enough for their child to give him/her a life with a family who’d give them the home and the love they deserved.

A child really needs both parents in order to really understand what it is to be loved. But there are circumstances such as mine, and others, that prevent that from happening. Fortunately I had a loving uncle who was able to fill that void, but it’s hard, almost impossible to replace a mother in a child’s life.

For all the children, grown or not, who haven’t had the joy or the luck to have a loving mother to guide you, please know that not every mother is like that. And I’m sorry you weren’t able to experience such love. Because it’s really important.

But the loss is not entirely yours. The woman who gave birth to you lost a lot more, because she didn’t take the time to realize what a precious gift she’d been given, and doesn’t/didn’t appreciate what she missed out on.