“Live Free or Die”

I was born and grew up in a state with the motto “Live Free or Die.” Interesting motto!

The state adopted “Live Free or Die” in 1945. There was never a time that I wondered what that motto meant. It was always there as part of where I lived. I heard folks say “Live Free or Die OR Go Back Where You Came From.”

“Live Free or Die” is the state motto of New Hampshire. As one reporter called it, “A sliver of a state.” And yet, a state that is politically important. New Hampshire is in the national spotlight as politicians scramble to get there first. “This is the state that can make or break a Presidential candidate,” one reporter stated.

As a kid, I never realized the importance of the state I grew up in. It wasn’t until years later, when I lived in Tennessee, that I began to hear a lot about the state of New Hampshire on the news. There was a lot of political conversations and reports in the news, and New Hampshire was in the middle of the debates.

I can remember my excitement the first time I got to vote. Man, that was an amazing event, and a big event in my life. It was also the time that I became aware that many folks around me did not vote, did not want to vote, and had a jaundiced eye toward politics.

By the way, the man I voted for won. His name is Jimmy Carter. I was so excited — my vote made a difference. I helped get Mr. Carter into the White House! This voting stuff was cool!! Of course, since that time I have learned that it is not as cut and dry as I thought. But this voting stuff is still very cool!!

From that time on I have voted at every election whether it was for City Council or School Board or President of the United States. It is important to have a say in the voting booth. It concerns me to know that most Americans do not vote. For whatever reason they do not vote, this is a privilege that most people around the world do not have.

Today I am writing while on vacation in the “Live Free or Die” state. I am able to go home to New Hampshire once a year to see family, catch-up on all the family and town news, see people I have not seen in a very long time.

It’s the end of September, and the leaves are in a full ray of color — red, yellow, orange. The temperature is going down. People are preparing for winter which is knocking at their door any day now. In a few days I head back to my adopted state of Texas. But it’s important for me to go back home each year.

There are times I want to see the beautiful leaves again. I want to hear the news about people I knew a long time ago. After a long, hot summer in Texas I want to feel the cool temperature of my home state. However, when it starts to get really cold and the snow starts to fall, I want to be in my adopted state of Texas where the winters are much milder.

Politics aside, New Hampshire is a beautiful state to be from. Time stands still for a moment. You hear the laughter of children playing; smell the smoke that gently rolls out of a chimney some where down the road; and see the colors of fall once again break out over the mountains around you. Today is a good day to be home.

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda

[This blog began with the question, where does “Live Free or Die” come from? When I asked family members, no one knew. So to Wikipedia I go. The phrase, “Live Free or Die,” comes from a toast written by General John Stark, New Hampshire’s famous soldier of the American Revolutionary War, on July 13, 1809. Poor health forced General Stark to decline an invitation to an anniversary reunion of the Battle of Bennington. Instead, he sent his toast by letter: “Live Free or Die: Death is not the worst of evils.”]

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On Vacationdo someth

I thought I would be able to have a new article ready for tomorrow’s blog, but wrong!! I am traveling from Texas to New Hampshire by car. We have had some car problems (rental car), but now that seems to be in the past. We have seen some beautiful landscaping and wonderful weather. Tonight it is cool. Hopefully we will arrive to our destination tomorrow.

So I am going to say “Goodnight! and sweet dreams.” If I can get a wifi connection by Tuesday, I will try to have a new blog ready. Thanks for reading.

Today, do something that challengers you, Linda

Feeling Good! Organized!!

Do you ever get that feeling, “I want to be a Perfectionist?” I get it all the time. Sometimes I think that if my world was perfect, a lot would get done; the sun would always shine; and there would be no stress. The weight would come off; the garden would bloom beautifully; and there would be milk and hot cookies waiting for everyone. Now I am really dreaming!!             Feeling Good! Organized!!

There are a lot of folks who want to be a Perfectionist. You know who they are!! Some of them walk around pulling out their hair, because things are not getting done. Some talk all the time about “so much stress” and “not enough time.” While others slump in a chair thinking, “This is impossible!” I have had times (well actually most times) where I sit looking at my To-Do List knowing there is no way this list is going to be completed.    Not Feeling Good! Not Organized!!

I wonder where we come up with some of these impossible ideas! I have a granddaughter who is a Perfectionist. Sometimes her stress level is off the charts. One day we were talking about blogs. She said that she was writing a blog for her English class. I told her that I just started writing a blog; so we exchanged blog addresses.  Feeling Good!  Organized!!

She is a good writer — clear, too the point, and thoughtful. (I would like to think she takes after her Grandmother!) And there it is: “My work is not done until it is PERFECT!” No wonder she spends so much time on homework. It has to be right; it has to be perfect.   Not Feeling Good! Not Organized!!

I had a aunt who was a Perfectionist — so much so, my father did not visit her often (She is my father’s oldest sister.), because “She always makes my uncomfortable. I can’t even take my shoes off and wiggle my toes before she has the broom out to sweep the floor where I walked.” I don’t remember her bringing out the broom, but I do remember that every time my father finished a cigarette, she would get up, dump the cigarette out, wash the cigarette dish, and put it back on the end table. (This was during the time when people smoked in each others house.) There is no way I want to follow that example!  Feeling Good!  Organized!!

Perfectionism is over rated! Just because the house is “perfect” inside and out does not mean that the family who lives there is happy. I have a friend who has fifteen dogs and a lot of cats. She leaves the front and back doors open so the animals can go in and out of the house when they want. Now I am not saying that you need fifteen dogs and a ton of cats to be happy. (She also is a reader — lots and lots of books!) But she and her husband were in love and happy. They didn’t have a lot, but there was always laughter that rang from one room to another. The coffee was always ready for the visitor who stopped in unannounced. They pulled jokes on each other, and walked into church holding hands..  Feeling Good!  Organized!!

I believe there is a lesson here: it’s not the perfect house with the most beautiful yard; it’s not sweeping up after people walk though you house; it’s not having everything perfect before it is completed. Perfectionism is not all these things. Maybe Perfectionism is the love of and for other people. Maybe Perfectionism is putting the broom down and visiting with your little brother. Maybe Perfectionism is doing your best, then letting it go. Maybe the definition of Perfectionism needs to change to love, hope, compassion, and the desire to be with others. I like that definition. Feeling Very Good! Totally Organized!!

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda

The Next Generation

Tonight I am with my granddaughters, Jordin and Jenna. Their Mom is out of town for a few days, and I get the privilege of spending the time with them.

The house is quiet. Jordin is listening to classical music and doing her homework in the dining room. Jenna is in her Mom’s office texting her Mom. Isn’t that what girls do when they miss their Moms?

I also have a grandson Nathan. He is a very busy young man. With school and homework that dominates his world as well. And of course, he ALWAYS has something very important to do on MindCraft!

I wonder what life is going to be like for them when they grow up.Will they have to face the horrors of terrorism? Will they live in a time when our country is at war again? Will they live in a time when the world increasingly hates Americans? Will they have to deal with the effects of global warming? When I was their age, I just wanted to get the homework out of the way so I could go outside to play. Classical music was no where on my radar. Playing in the school band, or giving presentations in a social studies class never happened in my school.

I remember hearing older adults complaining about our generation. They did not like our music or the clothes we wore. And they did not understand (and I think for the most part did not want to understand) our protests: “Stop the War!” “Women have a right to receive equal pay for equal work!” “All human beings deserve to be free and have the same opportunities in life.” I am afraid we haven’t come very far on any of our well-meaning protests.

I think every generation has had the previous generation lament their “laziness, lack of respect, and ‘they will never amount to anything” attitude. I have heard this said about the present younger generation, and I totally disagree!  I am amazed at the young men and women of today.

They do care about what’s happening in the world around them. Of course, they want the freedom to do what all pre-teens and teens do. But I wonder what is going through my eleven year old granddaughter’s mind when she is reading “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowery. One girl is Jewish, the other is not. They live in Germany during the reign of Hitler.

These young folks are making a difference in their own way, not in our way. Didn’t we all feel that way when we were their age? Life is much more complicated and difficult in this world of ours, then ever before. And I don’t believe that the only difference is that we have TV now; so we are more aware.

I feel comfortable moving aside and letting them make their mark on the world. They still have a lot of growing up to do, but we have to take time to listen, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say. We must encourage them and support them. Then help them figure things out when they ask.

Now I am not saying that it is time to go home to the rocking chair. There is too much to do in our communities and our world. But my grandchildren know that I will be with them 100%.

Don’t be concerned about tomorrow. Sit back and watch the kids around you. You may be surprised. I think for the most part, you will find some very gifted and talented young people who really care about what is going on in their country and around the world.

It’s time to go to bed for these young leaders; tomorrow is another busy day of learning.

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda

Downsizin

It’s time to move again. This time we move because we are retiring. My husband, Carl and I are so use to moving every four years or so, that we cannot imagine what it will be like to not move in 2018.

I did not think that downsizing to a smaller house would be a big deal, but I was wrong! I did not realize I was attached to so much “JUNK.” Who would think I saved a soap dish, because I “might use it someday.”

A lot of “stuff” is church related that I had bought or written or collected over the years: Bible stories, children’s stories, church communication, confirmation materials, Bible study lessons, and community outreach. A lot of it I gave to the church we are serving, some of it to the library, the rest recycled.

However, there are two areas I could not (??) or would not (!!) downsize. One is my “tons” of books, and two, my quilt fabric. Every time Carl carries out another box of books, he would look at me with THAT look – “Really, do you really need all these books?” And I would look back and with my eyes say “Yes. Yes, I do!”

I get a great deal of enjoyment out of reading. I have always been a “book hound.” I love them! I like the way they feel in my hands and their smell. Yes, I have a Kindle. I like my Kindle, but it is not the same. There’s a big difference between turning a page and flipping a screen. The texture and weight of a book compared to a piece of cold metal is different. The one thing I really do like about a Kindle, you can still read in the dark when the lights are out. You can’t read a book in the dark.

Fabric for quilts also have a similar hold on me. I have boxes of fabric. Every time I start a new quilt project, I go through the boxes to see what I can use. “Oh, this one and this one look great together.” “I have been looking for this fabric for a month. It will go well with the baby quilt.” However, I do give my quilts away, especially the baby quilts.

I do all my quilts by hand. In fact, I do not own a  sewing machine. I am not a fast “stitcher,” and sometimes the quilts get put aside for months before I pull them out and begin again. Reading and quilting (and now writing) are my most favorite things to do.

I was thinking that it would be hard to downsize. But I realize it is not all that hard. It turns out I do not want to downsize everything I have. I will just have to make room for them.Look out soap dish, when I have to downsize somewhere, it may just be you!

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda

Why Blog?

You can go anywhere on the web and find blogs. Blogs for quilting, blogs for gardening, blogs about immigration, blogs about politics, blogs about religious beliefs, blogs about blogging, and on and on.

Why do I want to blog? Well, there are four reasons: (1) I am taking a writing course (Jeff Goins, Tribe Writers), and in one assignment he encourages a new writer to have a blog — go public — even if you are not a good writer. “This is where you practice.” I don’t know if I agree with this piece of advice or not. So I am going to give it a whirl. (Jeff Goins, founder of Tribe Writers — http://www.tribewriters.com — is the instructor of the writing course, failed nine blogs before he became a successful blogger. That gives me hope!)

(2) I am a major procrastinator. I told a friend or two that I was going to start my first blog the first Tuesday of August. Hmmmmmm! It is now the second Friday of September, and I am just now getting up my courage to go public with a new blog. Writing forces me to bypass the procrastination step and move on.

(3) In the “writing world,” publishers and agents say that an author has to have a “Platform” before a new writer can publish. A “Platform” is how a writer makes themselves known in the writing world. One area publishers and agents look for is a blog. The blog (or website) is open to the public; they look at how the public responds to the blog? Publishers and agents look for the success of the blog; the persistence of the writer; and the number of followers a blogger has. (Even with a good blog or website it can take a new writer three to five years (YES, 3 to 5 years) to publish a book. Who would have guessed? (However, there are exceptions to this: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.)

And finally (4) I want to see if I can do it. Can I be persistent and write every day. (The blog will be twice a week — Tuesdays and Fridays.) And can I write every day on my “AMAZING” book that is still dancing in my head. But I have to start somewhere, and my public writing begins here.

So here I am, a major procrastinator kicking and screaming to my computer to write some more.

Why blog? Because it’s a challenge. Why blog? Because once I finally get my butt in the chair, I enjoy the process of writing. Why blog? Because I want to challenge my own thinking process. I want to learn why I believe the things I believe. Why blog? I want to write better so that maybe, just maybe, one day I will write something that will challenge others to “go for” their dreams. Why blog? Because I want to. I think that with the hard work, I will come away with a deep sense of accomplishment and joy that what I say matters!

So come along with me. I may succeed; I may fail, but mostly I am going to have fun with my new blog.

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda