Love Yourself and Others On Valentine’s Day!

From my column the week of February 8 in the Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentinel.

img011I love Valentine’s Day. It is my favorite holiday over Christmas and Thanksgiving. I don’t love Valentine’s Day because I get so many valentines, although my husband usually remembers the day. It wasn’t always that way in the early days of our marriage. He did pretty good the first year. He welded me a Valentine sign that said he loved me. It is awesome, and I still have it 45 years later. It is my favorite Valentine’s Day gift from him over the 45 years.

There were a couple of missed years because he didn’t realize how much the sentiment of love meant to me, but he does now and never fails to remember the day. I too, over the years have not always been thoughtful on the day either so we evened each other out.

In thinking about the day I have examined why this day is so wonderful in my mind and of course the answer is love. We all want love in our life. We all want to feel remembered and cared about. I also like the color red and love hearts, so that adds to my joy of the day. I also like the day because it is a great time to do special things for special people in our lives all in the name of love.

There is a downside to Valentine’s Day if we let it happen to us. On the years I didn’t receive any valentines from my family, kids or husband I felt let down, left out and unloved. They didn’t intentionally mean to make me feel left out; I made myself feel that way. In my heart I knew I was loved, but my head had the poor me sentiment. And I let it ruin my day. I finally realized my family is not into Valentine’s Day, and it was silly to have the attitude I did. They show me they love me all through the year.

My mom loved Valentine’s Day. I could always count on a card from my mom. I always gave her a card and something on the day. I think I got my love of holidays from my mom because she loved holidays. It seemed out of character for her, but she always wanted to celebrate the holidays. In fact, I know she loved Valentine’s Day because she kept all the old-fashioned valentines from the ’20s and ’30s and all the cards she got from me and my dad. When I realized she kept the memories, it made me feel loved.

Once I changed my attitude about the day I began to love Valentine’s Day. I enjoy the decorations, playing love music and sending valentines, and sometimes I even buy myself some candy or flowers — although I know I will receive a valentine from my valentine.

A few years ago a woman told me how she missed Valentine ’s Day. Her husband had died and now she didn’t get any valentines anymore. I guess this is what this column is about, sharing the love.

If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life to remember you on the love day, take time to remember and perhaps put a little love into someone else’s life who may not be remembered on the day of love. And if you are that person who is not remembered, love yourself on this special day. Go out to eat, call a friend, buy yourself some flowers or some candy or indulge in something silly and fun to make your day. Love yourself. It is not selfish or indulgent; it is a healthy pick-me up.

Happy Valentine’s Day.
“Don’t forget to love yourself.” — Soren Kierkegaard

What’s In An Old Year?

breatheI wonder how many people view New Year’s Eve Day as a day of reflection. As I look out onto my yard and the beautiful glistening snow I am reminded of the seasons that have passed this year.

For me it has been a year of successes, failures, fun times with family and sad mourning times with family and friends. It has been a year of life because as much as we would like to dream the New Year is going to be free of any anguish it isn’t going to happen, because life is filled with hills and valleys every single year. Some years may be better than others but those years, and hills and valleys make us who we are.

There are always moments in life we know we can do better. There are moments in life we hold on to so tight it keeps us from moving forward in our lives. The trick is to recognize the moments we need to leave behind and the moments we need to carry with us into the future.

Looking back on my life there are many times I have failed as a mother, as a wife, as a financial planner of my finances, in my writing and as a friend. When I feel the despair of depression, those are the moments I cling to and they keep me in the past. They keep me from moving forward. They keep me from accepting who God has created me to be and I stagnate.

I don’t believe we were meant to live our lives feeling like a failure, but the outside voices beat us down and we hear the negative rather than the positive. We don’t see our successes or the positive moments and people who help shape our lives.

This may seem like a strange New Year’s column but I write from the heart. Today is a day of reflection for me, looking back, seeing what I want to change, what I want to hold on to, and what I need to do to go forward to be the best me I can be. And  that is what I wish for you, my readers.

This isn’t a resolution but a way to began the new year. I love to write. I love dreaming of weird impractical characters and I will keep doing it. I must admit this year I have felt the respect slip from being a computer technician to beciming a writer and especially a writer of silly tales. I feel the respect of my readers and those that love Cozy Mysteries and the impractical, but I felt the ridicule of those that do not understand spinning a tale of silliness in the real world. This coming year I choose to spin more silly tales and let the voices of those who believe I am nothing but a fluff bucket, and my opinions do not matter because of it, go and not stop me from doing what I love.

I choose to speak out against disrespect in all areas, on the Internet, on my Social Media and in real life but I also choose to answer the disrespect with respect.

Having a creative soul leads me to explore many creative avenues and this year I choose to explore them and not let those that think I should stick to one thing stop me. My soul has to soar. I can’t be burdened with structure and lines and people that box me in.

And I vow to get out of debt. Yes, writers can have debt. I don’t know how, but I will have faith in myself to believe I can do it.

I am grateful for my life this year. I am grateful for my family and friends and for my readers. I am grateful for life, and light and hope. I am grateful for my failures, my successes, my moments of holding on and my moments of letting go. God created each of us different and I will listen to the voice inside of me telling me how to use my creative talents. I hope all of you will do the same. Our lives are complicated. They are a mixture of feelings that make us, us. My hope for me and you is to accept yourself as you are, celebrate your uniqueness, let go of those moments you need to so you can go into 2016, growing, caring, loving and yes failing, for it is in failure we find out who we are and what strengths we have to carry us into our future.

Happy New Year. Celebrate you.



Mother’s Always Have Your Back!

mom on hillGood Morning. mom2121jpg

Mother’s Day is approaching. How will you spend your day? I miss my mother. We didn’t always get along. We were both head strong people with very different personalities. As I have gotten older, I now realize why she was the way she was. Life changed her. My mother didn’t have an easy life, and I must admit, I probably didn’t make her life any easier.

She loved her grandkids and she loved me. She developed Alzheimer’s in her later years. The last two years of her life in the nursing home she was funny, cute, and a witty old woman. I suspect she was the person she was before life hit and responsibilities changed her.

I wish I could tell her all I now understand and say “I’m sorry,I didn’t understand”. She was a strong woman and when I was younger I didn’t want to be like my mom, but now I recognize that I want that strength. I want the keep-going attitude. She taught me that. In the last two years of her life she didn’t always know who I was, but I know that she would never choose to forget me. I chose to enjoy the humor and try and guess who I would be in her mind each time I visited her.

When my mother died I was going through an upsetting time in my life. She knew nothing about this.  The last evening I visited, where she fell ill hours later, she said to me, not knowing I was going through a tough time, “God knew what he was doing. He has a plan and it will all work out.” My mother never talked about God. This was an unusual thing for her to say and I knew that she was going to leave our world and leave me. I was right, I got the call hours later. She went from the healthy woman I visited earlier in the evening to being ready to leave this earth will an illness.

I was an only child. My mother, in spite of our differences and our arguments, always had my back, and I always had hers. We spent every Christmas, every Easter and every Mother’s Day together. Some of those holidays it was only for a few hours but I never missed one holiday with my mom in her 93 years.

I miss her. I hear her whispers when I need courage. I wish I had showed her more respect and more love. On this Mother’s Day, spend time with your mother. Make your mother feel special so you don’t have any regrets. A mother is your biggest fan and your biggest supporter. She will be honest and tell you when you are making mistakes. You might not always like what she says, but she will always have your back, and that includes being honest about your behavior. A mother will risk your wrath to change your life or make it better. A mother is love and when your mother is gone, you will never know another love like that in your life, but your will pass that love along to your children. Happy Mother’s Day. Take time to make your mother feel cherished always.

Ryan and Grandma Young1                  mom22