Posted in Christmas, Uncategorized

I Believe

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Once upon a time, all I wanted for Christmas was a new car.  I believed I would get it and boy did Santa deliver!!

Now years later, my wants are different, my needs more complex, but my belief is still strong.

I still believe in miracles, dreams come true and the power of gratitude.

I believe in forgiveness, compassion and turning the other cheek.

I believe in God, family and helping others.

I believe in kindness, gentleness and being humble.

This year, I don’t think Santa will bring me a new car, but that’s ok.   I believe I am already the luckiest girl in the world…blessed beyond measure
Merry Christmas!

Posted in Friendship, Uncategorized, Web of deceit

Oh What a Tangled Web by Nancy Malcolm

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Have you ever seen a spider web and noticed all of its intricacies?  Fine, delicate strings of beauty and grace, criss-crossing into a unique design, all part of a divine plan to nurture one of God’s creatures.

If you have ever walked into a web, you felt its stickiness and probably squealed or jumped and tried to detach it as quickly as possible.

In personal life, as in nature, there are webs everywhere.  Sticky situations that can entangle even the most savvy.  Fellow human beings fishing for information, masquerading as friends.  Co-worker deviations aimed at tripping you up…..even the web of deceit that we ourselves weave.  “I’ll just eat one more.”  “He’ll never know” or “She deserved that!”  

Oh, sometimes it’s not that bad, you get by with a web or two that harms no one in the making.  But, other times the entanglement is real.  The interlacing of fact and fiction snarl us into deception.

There is an old African proverb that says, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”  What strength!  What durability!  What power!

Perhaps, it’s best to leave the web making to spiders.  They are the true webmasters of this world.  Beware, my friend, lest we fall into a web of danger or weave one for ourselves.  “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”Walter Scott.

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Posted in Uncategorized

SHIFT HAPPENS by Ginger Keller Gannaway

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When I studied poetry with 9th graders, I told them to look for the “shift” in a poem. “Shift happens,” I’d declare. The poem may begin with a young girl crying over a loss in her life, but then end with an epiphany about acceptance of life’s impermanence. “Notice where the poem changes course,” I’d advise. There they could discover the poem’s kernel of truth.
Making sense of this recent political shift is a challenge. I read one comment that stated, “The people have spoken. Deal with it.” However, the popular vote did not go with the guy who won. The majority of voters SPOKE for Hillary. How do we all deal with the discrepancy? I do not believe the election was rigged or flawed, but I feel utter disbelief and confusion that so many voters supported a person I consider a bully and an instigator.
I taught public school for 34 years, and I saw kids from ages 5 to 17 who acted like this person does. I dealt with fearful, ignorant bullies who mimicked and insulted other students who were different. I handled these public assaults by counseling both the bully and his/her target. Other times I dealt with trouble-makers who tried to start fights in classes and in courtyards by using prejudice and hate to spur others to violence. Often these ringleaders would stir up the more impressionable or discontented kids in an effort to create chaos. These were kids and teens. How do we deal with adult bullies and instigators?
Calm and rational words do not tame people full of unpredictable bluster and unnecessary tantrums. How did a person who blurts out immature insults and encourages others to chant asinine threats gain the most powerful position in our government? And how do the people who voted against him handle our new reality? There is no ISS (In School Suspension) or expulsion for this bully. We are charting new territory now. Teachers often guide students who have opposing views to listen to one another and to learn how to compromise and collaborate. Who will guide this self-obsessed bully?
Let me remember that “Shift happens” in life as well as in poetry. Our country has felt a monumental shift. I have given up on predictions and likelihoods. Anything can happen. Right this moment fear and worry rule my head, yet I do not know what this major shift will bring us. All of us need to be observant and vigilant. Instead of whining and crying, let us use intelligence, wisdom, and strength to outwit instigators and out-maneuver bullies. Bullies may sometimes be beaten with hate and violence. However, blustery bullies may also be subdued with clever elements of surprise. If we reach out and connect with those whose views are different from ours, if we seek to understand and to learn from our differences, we may navigate this frightening shift in productive ways. The shift HAS happened. Now let us seek to understand its message. I am still confused, but I do know we all need to learn from each other and work at finding new American epiphanies. More of us have to come together and cooperate to navigate this new SHIFT.img_3282

Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

Orange is The New Red and Green! by:Nancy Malcolm

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Halloween is the New Christmas

A few weeks before Halloween, the stores are filled with Jack-O’-Lanterns, costumes, candy and all things pumpkin spice. ( Pumpkin spice ice cream, creamers, bagels and more..)  But, like three or four days before Halloween, BOOM!  Everything goes on sale and Christmas decorations are being stocked on the shelves, advertising lay-away plans and Santa’s arrival.  When did Halloween become the new Christmas?  

And, where is Thanksgiving?  Oh sure, there’s a few Pilgrim pictures up, lots of turkeys and a cornucopia thrown in for good measure, but, basically that’s it.  The most unbelievable yet is that Sirius Radio began their Christmas Music station on November 1st.  I hadn’t even eaten the last of the Halloween candy.

Hurry up!!!  Be thankful!  But, more important….Be Good!  Be Nice! And avoid the ‘Naughty List’ at all cost.  Yikes!  I’m beginning to feel that stress creeping up…..hurry, hurry, “It’s” almost here!

Let’s make a pact to slow down.  Let’s finish that last fun-size Snicker bar.  Let’s make a gratitude list and name everyone and everything we are grateful for.  More importantly, let’s calm that outward hype to start the mad countdown to Christmas.  Let’s at least stop and smell the pumpkin spice!  Is anyone with me?

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Posted in cooking with love, Grandchildren, Grandmother, I love you, Soul Food, Uncategorized

Soul Food by Nancy Malcolm

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My husband cooks with love.  Just ask him and he will say it’s true.  He thinks about what he wants to prepare, shops carefully and then loving cooks each dish….Soul Food.  He says he learned to cook from his Granny because she too, cooked with love.

People often refer to cornbread, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese as soul food.  Food that comforts and soothes the soul; calming and healing as it goes down.  Soul food is premeditated, planned and prepared.  Quite often, soul food is as looked forward to as a gift..just waiting to be opened.

But for me, soul food comes in a different package.  It isn’t creamed or fried.  It isn’t baked or frosted.  It is ingested through other senses and may be as much of a nuance as it is tangible.

Sometimes my grandson will look up at me and smile and kiss my hand.  Soul Food.  His smile and tender touch feed my soul with a warmth and satisfaction unequaled by chocolate cake or sweet potatoes.

Every morning, I rise early and quietly have my ‘sittin ugly’ time.  I fix my coffee, find my glasses and gather my soul food…inspirational reading, pen and paper and a soft corner of the couch…all mine.  Prayers, meditation, and coffee?  Soul food, plain and simple.

Most days I take a walk in my neighborhood or a nearby park.  Blue skies, green grass, and bright-colored flowers all make up my soul food plate.  A scoop of sunshine, a dollop of beautiful trees and a pinch of fresh air…stir it all together and wa la..soul food.

Soul food, food for the soul is always tasty.  It has just the right amount of savory and sweet, for you see, sometimes soul food isn’t what you want…it’s what you need.  Like a friend listening to your heartache and helping you see the gift within your pain.  Or an answered prayer that was ‘no, not yet’, instead of yes, yet turned out to be best.

Whether you cook with love or just love the cook, your soul food is ready for you right on time.  Our creator makes it so, surprising us with a different menu…a variety of tasty morsels, every day.  Look forward to your next delicious bite!  Yum-Yum and hallelujah!

Posted in Uncategorized

Overwhelmed by Ginger Gannaway

img_3117-sam     I am retired, so how can I feel so overwhelmed?!

Let’s blame it on television, the internet, social media, the Republicans, the Democrats, the liberal media, the Tea Party, 24/7 news, my kids, my husband, my 89 year-old dad, guns, toxins, gluten. Whatever.  There is too much “too much” in my world.

I may start my day at 6 a.m. and “sit ugly” with coffee, prayers, meditation, and a  casual list of things to do. I may write a letter or a thank you card.  I will read from Billy Collins’ Poetry 180. I  will walk my dog at 7:08.  Now my coffee is as strong as my spirits …until more of my world wakes up or I open my laptop.

It is all too much!

Facebook minutia floods my head.  I have way too many “friends” and I don’t know the difference between a notification and a news feed and that’s alright by me.

Later in the day the TV bombards me with too much:  DirectTV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and way too many shows recorded for my viewing pleasure.  All of my choices seem cool in theory, but we do NOT have enough time.  And the last time I binge-watched a show (Bloodline), I felt worn out and lazy and guilty and sort of sleazy.  Too many choices add to my “overwhelmedness.”

Also, the options of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and such overwhelm me.  I strive to stay connected with close friends and my three grown sons and my bro and my sis; however, at times  it is too, too much.

At times I feel like the blind cat Cupid I had as a child.  He was once attacked by a pack of wild dogs in the middle of the night, and my dad awoke to growling and shrieking in our backyard to find three dogs fighting over Cupid with either a tail or a leg in each of their mouths.  Dad shot his hunting rifle into the air and the dogs scattered.  The next morning Cupid was gone, and my parents tried to help me handle my loss.  But five days later, Cupid came limping home, so we cleaned his wounds and pampered him as much as a semi-wild outside tabby would let us.  And Cupid lived to be huge and happy for years and years.

So what in the rifle shot that will set me free and allow me to crawl into the fields and lay low and nurse myself back to a place of sanity and calm?

Just unplug and drop out, some say.  Perhaps that’s my answer, except for my music (my balm that heals all wounds).  I’ll have my paper and pen and books and I’ll stay “close to home.”  I’ll pull back from social engagements and social media.  I’ll focus on my big writing project and give it the time and attention it is insisting it really, really needs.

May I not explode or implode from this overwhelmed feeling!  My “rifle shot” may be the ink on this page.  I may not fully retreat from people and responsibilities, but I just might achieve a simple sort of balance to let me slip away just a lil bit.

Posted in Aging process, Bicycles, Exercise, Old Age, Uncategorized

Ride Like The Wind

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“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets…”  Christopher Morley

 

I’ve always loved to ride my bike.  I’m a professional amateur.  I have all the bells and whistles, yet I just cruise the neighborhood.

My husband bought me my first adult bike fifteen years ago.  I love that old, green bike!  We’ve taken it to the beach and almost everyone in our family has ridden it at least once.  However,  time, stress and a few mishaps have taken its toll, not to mention that it needs new brakes.

Last year I purchased a fancy, light-weight, thin-tired, sleek-seated, lightening-fast, silver bike.  Then, my husband said I must have the padded biker shorts and loud printed shirt to go with.  Next, gloves were added  because these arthritic hands need the extra padding!

Truthfully, the padded shorts and gloves feel great, but when I get all decked out, I feel a little foolish, especially riding the one mile to our mailboxes.  Oh sure, we’ve taken longer rides and occasionally I ride to the HEB for a few lightweight items (sans the outfit), but still I am an amateur in professional clothing.

I do feel conspicuous in my gear, but what I really feel is exhilarated!  As I pedal through the neighborhood, I may look like a senior citizen in biker gear, pumping the brakes and weaving a bit; but inside, I’m riding like the wind!  I’m blazing new trails and I’m a good twenty-five years younger!
As you pass me by on the streets, don’t honk, just give me the “nod”.  That’s what we bikers do…we’re cool like that.

Life is like riding a bicycle..in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  Albert Einstein

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Posted in Aging process, Caring for others, Old Age, Uncategorized

Home

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It will happen to all of us, this aging process.  If we are ‘lucky’ enough, we will grow old and eventually need more care, possibly more care than our families can provide.  This is a part of life.

 

Perhaps, we are the ones making choices for our loved ones.  We are making decisions on where to live and how to be cared for.  “This is your new home,” we say.  

 

I see it in their eyes and feel it in the atmosphere; “This is not my home.” they think.  Oh, some people adjust, like Auntie Sue.  She was positive, grateful and kind no matter her circumstance; no matter where she was.  But it is hard for others.  It’s not familiar or comfortable…it doesn’t sound like home or smell like home.  “My heart is not here,” they think.  “I want to go home.”

 

I don’t have a response or even an alternative suggestion; I wish I did.  For it is not always possible to give our loved ones the answers they want.  So, we dig deep into our souls and bring out our bowels of compassion, love and care.  We remember the dignity of others.  We respect privacy and requests for certain things….familiar things.  We do the best we can.

 

Yes, it will happen to all of us, this aging process; if we are ‘lucky’.

 

Posted in Grandchildren, Grandmother, Uncategorized

Sam

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This story was written seven years ago upon the birth of my Grandson, Sam.

 

Sam.  Sam is on my mind.  Sam is my new Grandbaby and he is the absolute sweetest, most pure piece of God that I have ever seen.

I always doubted myself as a mother…wondering what, if anything, I was doing right and exactly how many things was I doing wrong? (the list continues)  But, now that I’m a Grandmother, I want the list to stop.

This is my opportunity to just “love”.  I don’t want to keep score, or make second guesses or lay awake at night in fear of doing “it” wrong.  I want this opportunity to let my daughter be herself and be the mother she was meant to be.  I want this chance to just love them…as they are, without criticisms, doubts or worry.  I only want acceptance, delight, gratitude, hugs, cookies and sweet dreams.

Do I know that life is always unpredictable?  Yes.  Should I be prepared for ups and downs and times that are so hard, that you think your heart will break?  Absolutely.  But, now I have Sam.  I know him.  I have smelled his sweet baby smell and breathed it in like a life-preserver.  I already love him and I look forward to our journey together.  Nannie and Sam.

 

Happy Birthday dear Sam!  The time passes too quickly…

Posted in Uncategorized

I Peaked Early by Ginger Keller Gannaway

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I Peaked Early

by Ginger Keller Gannaway

As far as looks go, I peaked at age 3.  Some people begin their lives as goofy-looking babies who resemble Winston Churchill or Dick Cheney!  Then these unattractive babes grow to be beautiful, model-level men and women.  For me, reverse that transformation.

I was a C-section baby, and my momma always told me, “You were a perfect baby!  So gorgeous!”  And my first photos do have that happy, healthy, Gerber baby quality.  My favorite early picture of myself was at age 3.  I’m seated on a tricycle and I’m the best-dressed I have ever been!  I’m wearing a simple yet elegant, sexy-short, red and white sun dress with sleeveless tie straps with the cutest bow peeking from the back.  (Even my trike’s handlebars match the red of the dress).  My hair is also the best it has ever been: chic-short, light brown with golden natural highlights and that ultra-cool wave (not quite a waterfall) swoop atop my head.  I confidently show straight white teeth and my perfect complexion glows.

Of course, I doubt I’m even able to ride that tricycle, but just like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model posed on a gleaming surf board, who cares? That lil sun dress, that sporty hair-do, that carefree smile proclaim my best looking days!

Now at the just-turned age of 60, I’m going thru old photos of myself: my 7-year-old long, tangled hair look, my high school mullet-look closely followed by my unfortunate-perm look, my 28 year old short-hair-now-that-I-have-a-baby look, my 36 year old I-have-three-boys-who-cares look, and my 40’s “Oh, my word, I’m a teacher on the verge of wearing jumpers with apple & book appliqués” look.  Then my 50’s look had a tinge of desperation with the bad home-dyed hair look interspersed with this-month-I-paid-for-a-hairdresser look.

And as I sift through shoe boxes, Kodak envelopes, and photo albums from my last 6 decades, I come upon my peak period – age 3.  And seeing that stylish girl dressed in red and white confidently smile at me, I fondly smile back.