Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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A Hippie Pacifist who Respects the Flag

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is “flag,” to be used any way we want. I like the freedom of that any way we want part.

It still hurts to remember that on January 6, rioters tore down the American flag and threw it on the ground to replace it with one of their TRUMP flags. It hurts that rioters carrying American flags beat other people in their attempted coup of the US government. I don’t often write about such things, preferring to share good news in an attempt to bring balance to the force, as small as this attempt might be, like throwing a pebble in the ocean…. But some things we need to remember, even if they are painful. We need to not forget that this happened. We need to work for peace and also protect our democracy.

My father, being a Marine for 20 years, instilled in me a respect for the American flag. Even as a hippie and a pacifist, I maintained this respect. Never let a flag touch the ground. Fold it properly. If you have to retire it, the flag is to be burned in a ceremony. There are few man-made things that I have this kind of respect for.

When I was a child and we were driving on base when the flag was being lowered as signaled by a loud bugle, my dad would pull over, or everyone stopped in the road, and we all sat at attention. Even as an adult, just a couple of years ago, when David and I were walking along the riverfront and the Coast Guard ship sounded a bugle to lower the flag, it was not unusual for us to stop and stand silently as the flag was lowered. David used to have a flag selling business, plus his dad was in the military too, so he gets that stuff. It’s imbedded in us.

Reading my dad’s letters from Vietnam has gotten me fascinated by studying the Vietnam war. I can honor and appreciate our soldiers even if I disagree with war.

This just goes to show that a hippie pacifist can be patriotic. One of my former co-workers was surprised to learn that I was a democrat. She said, “but you’re so patriotic!” I was surprised to learn she was not a democrat, because she’s such a nature lover. Just goes to show we don’t all fit into neat little boxes. In fact, we have a lot more in common, and more diversity within our groups, than the news media or social media might have us think.

This reminds me of something I have in my drafts….. I didn’t plan this, but it fits here.

“For all of you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian.
It’s also possible to believe in God and science.
It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.
It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.
It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money.
It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property.
It’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.
It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.
It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.
It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.
It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.
It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream.
It is possible to be different and the same.
It is possible to be spiritual and not follow a religion.
We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like.
Let humanity and love win.”

(I found this on Facebook showing  it is possible to find something good on Facebook.)

All or nothing thinking divides us. The world is much more complex than black or white, or even gray. There are many more colors and color combinations. Even more than red, white, and blue. When we recognize, respect, and honor our diversity, the world will become more balanced and more beautiful.

Here’s my Unity Bird in alcohol ink on tile

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to us by our host, Linda G. Hill. For more streams, rules, etc, visit: The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 6, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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Emotional Vampires and Self Care

Get out of my bathroom!

Today’s prompt for Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is: Vampires.

There are many types of vampires. I’m going to write about the emotional vampires – people or jobs that try to suck the life out of us.

After I retired, my husband said, “That job was sucking the life out of you.” (That’s my one liner unless I find one that’s more positive.)

It wasn’t always like that. But it got worse in the last five years of my 30 year career when demands became unreasonable. It was common to work through lunch and take work home – physically as well as emotionally. Never mind the emotional risks of trying to help people fight the monster of addiction – that I could understand and deal with. It came with the territory. Addiction is a vampire. There was always the Serenity Prayer and I used it often.

During those last five years on the job, I often told myself, “I’m not going to let this job kill me.” That’s a little more positive for a one liner.

I am thankful to be free, is even better.

Being in a relationship with an emotional vampire who is a person can also suck the life out of you. It can be subtle at first, and sometimes it’s obvious. Maybe the person has unreasonable demands on your time. Maybe he or she talks constantly or yells a lot. Maybe he or she is narcistic and manipulative.

If you find yourself stuck in a life sucking relationship, here are some ways to take care of yourself and save your own life:

  1. Clarify your boundaries. First do this by yourself or with a trusted friend who is not a life sucker. Put your boundaries in writing. This is as much for yourself as anyone else.
  2. Be assertive. State what you want and need. Be specific: “I need an afternoon to work on my art by myself.” or “I’ve been listening to you for a ___ minutes. I need you to (or will you please) listen to me without interrupting for ___ minutes,” or “I don’t take calls or texts between 11pm and 9am.” If you don’t feel safe being assertive, focus on 3, 4, and 5 below:
  3. Self care: Surround yourself with safe, nurturing people and/or pets. Engage in activities that add positive energy and comfort to your life. Take care of yourself in every way you can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Believe that your health and time are valuable.
  4. Create Distance from the vampire. This could mean making a plan to leave. It could mean actually walking away from the relationship. But it could also mean limiting the amount of time you spend with the person or how much you think them. I had to make myself stop thinking about my job when I was home by using mindfulness and positive distraction.
  5. Be safe. Develop a support network and let a trusted person know your situation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, and don’t feel safe physically or emotionally, make a safety plan. Here is just one example.

Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill. For details, visit:

One-Liner Wednesday/JusJoJan the 27th, 2021 – Vampires | (lindaghill.com)


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JusJoJan: Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak

Linda’s Just Jot January prompt for today is “Specs.” The prompt will take us on a journey of vision.

Young Emlyn is the main character in Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene’s new fantasy series, Dead of Winter. Emlyn sees visions that get her in trouble if she isn’t careful. Her family thinks she is rattlebrained. Emlyn also hears voices and feels “…a light pressure, …. like something was too close . Or as if something crowded her, as if too many things were in one spot.” At one point, she encounters a large white wolf who speaks to her. You can see this wolf on the cover of the first book above.

Our main character lives in a village where men referred to as, “The brethren” or “elders,” have enforced severe restrictions on women including the wearing of plain clothes and limiting their activities to household chores. Emlyn is granted permission to take lessons in reading and numbers so that she can help her father with accounting for his apple orchard. That was generous of the elders considering they think her rattlebrained.

The person who teaches Emlyn is the widow Osabide who was banished from her village a while ago “when the zealots took over.” I have greatly enjoyed the images Teagan creates of Osabide’s cottage at the foot of “Forlorn Peak.” In spite of the peak’s name, the setting and relationship between Emlyn and Osabide give a feeling of comfort and support. This is also true of Osabide’s relationship with her mysterious grown niece, Zasha. I suspect these relationships will provide a strong foundation for the challenges ahead.

Don’t you just love Tegan’s book cover? It reminds me of a photo I took of my grand daughter when we were hiking and met the neighbor’s Great Pyrenees. If I’d thought about it, I would have moved to the left to include the river they’re looking at.

For more information on the first journey in the Dead of Winter series, visit Teagan at:

New Series Launch — Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak – Teagan’s Books

For more on January jottings, visit Linda Hill, who has some interesting stories of her own, here:

#JusJoJan prompt the 25th – “Specs” | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS & JusJoJan: Manifesting and Letting Go

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “close eyes and point.” When you’re ready to write your post, open a book, a newspaper, or whatever is handy and close your eyes and point. Whatever word or picture your finger lands on, make that the basis of your SoCS/JusJoJan post. Enjoy!

The book closest to me was, The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie. It’s a daily meditation book for codependents. Her first one. It’s my second copy because I wore the first one out. But I haven’t read it in a long time, so I’m surprised it was close by. Maybe I was going to lend it to someone.

We’ve been through a lot together.

Anyway, here’s what I pointed to:

“It may not happen the way we wanted it to and hoped it would. But our controlling wouldn’t have made it happen either. “ (July 23: “Making it Happen”)

Hmmm. Some things have actually turned out better than I hoped they would. Other things did not. Life is full of surprises. Trying to control things is a hard habit to break. The other day, I went out with my adult daughter and found myself telling her she should do this or that. She was relatively patient with me, and I need to apologize. It’s not like I was doing it a lot, but more than I should. Yikes! There’s the should word again! We are human.

When things don’t turn out the way we hoped or dreamed or did all that manifesting stuff, maybe it’s because God has other plans. God or the Universe, whoever. There are powers greater than us who know better what we need. And it aint over til it’s over. Maybe God has something even better planned!

All we have to do is our best. That does not mean perfect. My best is different on any given day. Sometimes my best is listening well, being kind, sorting a stack of papers, throwing stuff out, exercising and eating well, or maybe my best is just doing one of those things. Some days, my best is getting a load of laundry done and watching a movie.

We should can let God and the universe know what we want. Name our hearts’ desires, imagine the feelings we’ll have when we get what we want or something even better. We can go ahead and work hard for our hopes and dreams increasing the chances of them coming true. But God and the universe might have other plans. Maybe there are lessons we need to learn first, like I wrote about in my book. Maybe we need to walk the long and winding road. Or maybe our dream come true is right around the corner.

The point is, stop trying SO hard. Stop worrying SO much. Ask, do your best, and let it go. (Note to self.)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot January is brought to us by Linda Hill. For more info, visit:

The Friday Reminder for #SoCS & #JusJoJan 2021 Daily Prompt – Jan. 23rd | (lindaghill.com)


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JusJoJan: The Spell was in His Smell

1972

JoAnna’s brain kept nagging her. Be careful! People are on their best behavior when you first meet them.

But this isn’t the first time we’ve met him, said her heart.

A lot can change in 39 years. Yeah, he was a good guy when you dated in high school, but who knows what he might really be like now. For all we know, he could be a —-

“Don’t go there,” JoAnna intervened before her brain’s imagination ran down the dark road. “Let’s just wait and see. What we do know is that he has been working as a firefighter and EMT for the past 15 years. That should at least count for something. I’m taking it slow.”

I’ve heard that before, said her brain.

Shush! said her heart. Last night was wonderful. He was a perfect gentleman. Our second first date…. And that kiss….. our second first kiss…. it was divine. This was meant to be. You know, there’s the timing. And we’ve had all those phone conversations. He drove all the way down here from Connecticut!

Well, just remember, JoAnna, said her brain, “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.” The brain really should be in charge anyway. You know how much trouble the heart has gotten you in to. Not to mention the body….

“Enough!” JoAnna said. “I’ve got to get some sleep! Big day tomorrow.”

On their second second date, David and JoAnna went to the beach to watch the summer sunset. She leaned back against his strong chest and felt the comfortable security of his well-muscled arms wrapped around her. She kept both her heart and brain quiet as they watched the golden light spread across the horizon and reflect on the intracoastal waterway. David continued to be a perfect gentleman which the brain and heart both liked, though the body was slightly annoyed.

Sunday was their last day together before David returned to Connecticut. After church, they sat on the couch in JoAnna’s living room. They talked very little and mostly absorbed the weekend and each other’s presence. JoAnna placed her head on his shoulder then lifted her nose to his neck. She inhaled deeply. The result was intoxicating.

“You smell good,” She murmured. “Are you wearing any cologne or anything?”

“No. I guess it’s just me.”

She lifted his hand and smelled the inside of his wrist. It smelled good, too, but not as good as his neck. Her nose lingered just below his ear as she continued to breath deeply falling under the spell of his pheromones. It started to dawn on her. He had been her first boyfriend back in 1972. His smell had been imprinted on her brain.

This could be dangerous, whispered her brain.

Just shut up and enjoy it, her heart said dreamily.

We have to stick together, said her brain. Don’t go anywhere without me.

Yeah, whatever.

___

If you’d like to read more about the romance of JoAnna and David and what it took for them to find each other after 39 years, read Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again, or the short version, From Loneliness to Love. Just click on the books in the right sidebar above.

Today’s Just Jot January prompt was the word, “spell.” For more jottings and info, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

#JusJoJan prompt the 21st – “Spell” | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: With all the Infinite Possibilities, Choose Wisely

Our prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sky’s the limit.” Write about something that has or seems to have no end. Enjoy!

Doesn’t everything have an end? Or maybe nothing has an end, it’s just transformed. There’s a law in physics that goes like, matter/energy can not be created or destroyed. That has stuck with me ever since I heard it in high school. This law suggests something about life after death. Our spirits have no end, in my belief, they may transform in the type of energy that goes on while our bodies decompose. Isn’t that cheerful?

Possibilities never end. Choices never end. There will always be choices for somebody, some being, even if the choices are made by amoebas or angels. Some organism or entity will exist in some form. But this is a bit esoteric. No, that’s not the word. But I do like how it sounds. Abstract maybe. Let’s move on.

“Infinite possibilities” is something that caught my attention in the following video offered by North Carolina representative Graig Meyer in responding to the attack on the capitol. I watched it Friday morning and was impressed by his sense of hope in how to respond to the craziness. I suppose if I watched it again to comment further, that would cross the line on minimum planning. If you’re interested in the question of how to respond and healing, you could visit my post from yesterday as well.

One of the main things I’m feeling right now is frustration at people who reinforce the divide. I have to look at myself though and notice if I ever do this. The goal is to bridge the divide. Don’t pour fuel on the fire. Put water on the fire. Water seems to have no end when you’re standing at the edge of the ocean, but you know what? Water is finite. Use it wisely. We need to use our words wisely. With all the infinite possibilities of word combinations, we need words of hope, peace, and cooperation.

PS. Okay, I went back and watched the video again after I finished writing this post, and I recognize he’s addressing North Carolina democrats directly. If you’re not a NC Dem, I hope you can overlook that part and glean something good from his message. I don’t think we need to get everybody to agree, we need to learn to disagree with respect, compromise, and find common ground.

For more streams of consciousness, rules and possibilities, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

The Friday Reminder for #SoCS & #JusJoJan 2021 Daily Prompt – Jan. 9th | (lindaghill.com)


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How Do We Heal as a Nation?

 We have much deep healing work to do in the United States. The tension that has been building for years has revealed itself at the level that I hope it wakes us up. What might help us heal as a nation and ultimately, as a human society? Here are a few possibilities I want cultivate in my own attitudes and actions:

1. Try to state facts without exaggeration. Don’t twist facts. For example, whole cities weren’t burned down during the 2020 “riots.” Maybe whole city blocks, but not whole cities. State opinions with words like, “I think,” or “I believe….” rather than facts. It’s a fact that Joe Biden was confirmed as the next president of the US. If you believe there was voter fraud, that is an opinion that was not substantiated by the courts.

2. Be respectful. Resist the urge to resort to name calling or write things that will increase division. I can resist the urge to “like” posts on social media that reinforce division. Try to speak and write words of healing and understanding. Part of healing can be to express our feelings and grief which can include denial, fear, and anger. Can we express our feelings without tearing down those that feel and believe differently? Yes. We can. it might be a challenge, but we are writers. We can figure it out.

3. Look for common ground. We can do this as individuals, asking questions for understanding. It might simply start with a love for animals or nature, or a common hobby, but we have to start somewhere. Look for the bipartisan issues.

4. Support media stories about healing and the goodness of humanity. I know they’re hard to find, but good news happens. Encourage media to make healing a priority. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to make healing a conscious effort, every day.

5. Find the courage to change the things we can, namely, our own attitudes and actions. Ask questions with the goal of understanding rather than debate. We can find the bridges that unite us, places where we can meet each other – sometimes in the middle, sometimes compromising at different points along the way.

For more information on healing division, visit Braver Angels.

Today’s prompt for Just Jot January was “twisted,” so I included the word “twist.” For more on JusJoJan, visit:

#JusJoJan prompt the 8th – “Twisted” | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Compatibility, Snoring, Melatonin, and the Magic Desk

Today’s prompt is: “List.” Make your list and check it twice. I just edited a wee bit because I forgot to mention the prompt!

“Must love dogs.” That was somewhere near the top of my list when I was manifesting a soulmate. Spiritual was up there somewhere. Open minded. Intelligent. I got those things in my compatible partner. There were other things that I got that might not have been on the list, but were in my mind, like, He knows how to fix things.

What I didn’t get, because maybe it was on the bottom of the list, or maybe it wasn’t on the main list, because there were multiple lists, was, “He doesn’t snore,” or “doesn’t snore loud.” That did not manifest. But in the big picture, if that’s our biggest challenge, and it might well be, it could be worse. At least he turns over easily if I ask him to. Problem is, he even snores on his side. But there’s a lot more to be thankful for than complain about. Gratitude gets you more good stuff.
Ear plugs decrease the snoring noise by about 40 percent. That’s not enough for the discomfort. Going in the next room decreases it by about 80 percent. Taking melatonin or half a Benadryl helps, but I better not take the latter too late, if I want to get up early.

I just read that melatonin is being looked at as a treatment for COVID because it (melatonin – a natural sleep hormone) helps with decreasing inflammation and helps immunity. I had no idea! That’s great!

Back to my compatible partner: after 23 years, he finally bought himself a new truck. I didn’t take a picture of it yet, but what I did take a picture of was the signing of the documents with the financial guy at the car dealer. The truck buying process took a BIG part of the day. But the interesting thing was that almost all the documents to be signed, and there was a very long list, were signed on a screen that was also the desk. There were only a couple of pieces of paper to sign for the DMV. David got a nifty little flash drive of the documents.

There’s no paper.
He’s actually signing the magic desk
with a magic pen.

If we can do all this with technology, we should be able to feed the hungry, clean up the planet, and figure out how to get along. And we can. Sorry, he didn’t buy a hybrid electric truck, though. We have almost no trash to throw away at our house on most weeks. We recycle and reuse like crazy. But it’s his truck. He picked it out. Nobody’s perfect. But we are compatible.

For more streams, a whole list of them in fact, and rules, visit Linda’s blog:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 5/2020 | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Butternut Squash Soup with Peanut Butter, Our Neighborhood Creek and a Slow NaNo

This should be a fun prompt: “the last thing you put in your fridge.”

The last thing I put in the fridge on this Friday evening after dinner was the leftover butternut squash soup made my my sweet husband who offered to do the dishes even though he was tired. (We wash dishes the old fashioned way.) I thanked him, but it was my turn since he cooked. Though I did make some roasted asparagus to go with the soup. We make our butternut squash soup with peanut butter, a little garlic, a dash of red pepper flakes, and of course butternut squash. This was a really good squash – orange and lots of flavor.

It will be strange to have Thanksgiving with just me and David. Mama Cat will be here, but she’s likely to be hiding since she is still a little scared of David. I hope we get to go for a hike, at least to the creek which is about a half mile from our house.

The city gave the banks a crew cut a few years ago.
They’ve since gotten better about leaving a buffer.

If I have seemed distant from WP, NaNoWriMo is my excuse. I’m still writing every day on the novel based on my parents, though not likely to add 50,000 words as reading letters from Vietnam is slowing me down. I’m going to have to move it along though because we are heading into, barreling into, the end of November. One would think that staying home and being retired would make time slow down. But time just keeps zooming along. I guess I’ll just have to trust time and make the most of the moments we have. And be thankful.

I’ll be here for Good News Tuesday, but if I don’t “see” you, and even if I do,

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s prompt and the whole SoCS shebang is brought to you by Linda G. Hill. For more info, rules, and streams from the frig, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/11/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-21-2020/


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SoCS: The Lord of the Rings and Letters from Vietnam

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check,

but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday

deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…

small acts of kindness and love.”

Gandalf in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Today’s prompt is the word, “ring,” to be used in any form and to have fun with.

Fun comes in many forms. One way I have fun is to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit movies. Being a huge fan, I can watch these movies over and over again, especially the parts with the elves.

LOTR is about heroism, good winning over evil, sacrifice, fellowship, loyalty, natural magic, and more set in a place that allows me to escape the things I want to escape from that I will not mention. But the qualities and messages are still relevant in reality.

There’s a scene toward the end of the trilogy when Sam and Frodo are exhausted and don’t know if they will survive. They reminisce about their sweet home, The Shire. Sam imagines the goldilocks girl, barmaid he would like to marry. The reminiscing starts at 1 minute. Be sure to watch til the end when the Eagles come!

Coincidentally, but not really, I’ve been reading about all these things in my dad’s letters from Vietnam since Veterans Day.

I’m reading them for research for the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. Reading the letters is slowing me down, but it needs to be done this way. So what if I don’t write 50,000 words by Nov. 30? It will be okay.

My dad’s letters show how much he adored my mother. He writes of dreaming of her constantly while asleep and while awake in Vietnam. It almost seems like he puts her on a pedestal. The dreams and images of her keep him going, keep him sane, and give him hope to stay alive to come home to her.

I watched a video about another guy talking about doing this in Vietnam, dreaming about his girlfriend kept him going, sane, alive. Let see if I can find it…. The speaker, Dr. Earhart, was a high school teacher after he got back. Toward the end of the video, at around 13 minutes, he talks about the girlfriend that had sent him a “Dear John” letter. The whole video is eye opening.

My dad’s letters mention that a lot of guys got “Dear John,” letters. Maybe that’s why he expressed so much love for my mom in his letters and always signed them,

All My Love,

Your Husband Forever,

Jim

When things are going badly, when we don’t know what’s going to happen, even when it seems like we might not make it, dreaming of a better future, imagining holding our loved ones in our arms, being with family in our homeland, these are legitimate coping skills. Valuable survival skills. And so we keep on doing those small acts of kindness and love to keep the darkness at bay whenever and wherever we might be.

For more Streams of Consciousness, rules, and such, please visit our host, Linda Hill at: