A Woman's Voice


DOLORES’ VOICE

THE THREE R’S 

For those of you who have read some of my background information you already know that I am a former elementary school teacher.  During my teaching years, I spent a great deal of time teaching the three R’s of education; that of, reading, riting and rithmetic as they were so fondly called in those days.

Today we are utilizing many other words that start with an R such as recycle, reuse and restore in an effort to be energy conscious and to help protect and sustain our environment.

Although, I left the classroom many years ago, the classroom has never left me.  Once a teacher, always a teacher!  It’s in my blood.  In fact, my books “I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay” and “Growing Up & Liking It”  are what I consider to be teaching tools. My blog site falls into the same category.   My posts are not meant to offend but rather to educate.

The reason I have chosen to discuss the three R’s of education is because other than the ones I have already mentioned in the first two paragraphs, in my opinion, there are many more equally important words starting with R.

A few of these are responsibility, respect, and reciprocity/relationship building.  When people hold themselves accountable for their actions they demonstrate a sense of responsibility.  When they become more accountable and accept responsibility, they develop self-respect and in turn earn the respect of others.  When they earn the respect of others, this eventually results in a mutually respectful relationship, which is what I refer to as the beginnings of a reciprocal connection or affinity.

Whether positive or negative, people eventually become the reflection of each other. In other words, those around you will be a reflection of yourself and your values.

REFLECTIONS!

How is your reflection in the mirror looking back at you?

Do you like what you see?

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QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“Success on major scale requires responsibility…In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have…is the ability to take on responsibility.”   (Michael Korda)

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STORAGE BINS

Life is like a closet full of clothes.  It’s very difficult to know what you want to give away, donate or discard. It’s even harder to discard some of those items that have been given to you as gifts or those that have sentimental value.  Some of these items may have little or no monetary worth but they fill our drawers and our storage bins.  I have many such items that I cannot part with because they mean so much to me.

If I keep these items, will they have any special meaning to my children or my grandchildren?  The last birthday card signed “with love” by my mother-in-law before she died over twenty years ago, the ripped sheet of paper from an old prayer-book with my father’s signature so proudly written on it, the scribbled notes that my granddaughter left in the bathroom cupboard, the popcorn pictures and artwork from my other grandchildren, and the albums of numerous pictures that my husband so conscientiously organized…who will want these treasures that I have saved?

When I was seventeen years old, my then boyfriend was chosen to go on a school trip to Vancouver, BC.  On his return, he gave me a beautiful sweater.  That was over 40 years ago. That boyfriend became my husband, my friend, my lover, my confidant. Who will want that “holey” not “holy” sweater I have so carefully wrapped and stored in some box in my basement?  Our children are going to have a huge laugh on us one day as they sort through our belongings and discover how sentimental we are!

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QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“The man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest”  (Henry David Thoreau)

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SUNNY SIDE UP

I’m a morning person.  There’s no getting around that fact.  Most mornings I’m up before the crack of dawn even before the sun pops up.

I can hardly ever remember getting up on the wrong side of the bed.  Morning people are an odd bunch.  Usually they can hardly wait to start the day.

My husband is the exact opposite.  At times, he gives new meaning to the term “grumpy” first thing in the morning.  As the day progresses, his face eventually lights up.  By evening I can hardly recognize his sunny nature as my day starts to wind down.

My day coach turns back into a pumpkin long before midnight and certainly long before the “old dog”, as I lovingly refer to him, “hits the sack”.  

My dad used to say, “it takes all kinds to make the world go round”.  How true!  I’m sunny side up and my husband is scrambled.  I like it that way.  It provides for variety in our lives and it has been said that “variety is the spice of life”.   I know this to be true.

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QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“Do what you love.  Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, and gnaw at it still.”  (Henry David Thoreau)

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TAKING NOTICE

When people take group pictures and show you the results, whose face do you look for when viewing the developed product?

When there is some kind of contest or game and a list of winners is provided, who do you look for in the slate of names?

When you make a subtle change with your appearance or lifestyle do you expect people to notice?

When you speak, do you expect people to listen?

All these questions and you already know what the answers are so there is little need to elaborate. I am no different from you. I frequently ask myself these very questions because I need to be reminded that I can’t ask of others what I am not prepared to deliver myself.  Plain and simple, in order to look at and listen to others more effectively, we must make a conscious decision to do so.

Therefore, I can merely ask one more question.  Are you taking the time to really notice someone or something about another person, other than yourself?  If you are, this is what relationship building is all about.  Bravo to you!

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QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.”  (Ben Stein)

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CHILDLESS MOTHER

My husband and I recently returned from a brief trip to Swift Current to attend our granddaughter’s Confirmation.  As you can see by the picture, Grandpa is her proud sponsor. What an unbelievable honor she bestowed upon him.  I witnessed his pleasure first hand, when he received our granddaughter’s phone call.

We hadn’t visited with them since before Christmas and we saw a huge change.  The girls have grown and matured and as usual we enjoyed our short visit with them.

On the way home, we always listen to the local radio station to get a bit of news about the surrounding area. The talk show on this particular morning was about an unfortunate car accident that took place on March 29, 2009 in a small town just outside of Swift Current.

The topic immediately grabbed our attention because two of the mothers that had lost their daughters were being interviewed about the tragic event.  Three young girls, two sixteen years of age, as well as a fourteen year old were making a left turn when a car driven by a male who was seventeen years old, tried to pass them on the left.  He was driving 128k/hr and he hit them.  All three of the girls died in this horrible car accident.  The mothers, the families, and the friends of these girls have been beside themselves with the grief of their loss.

The young man happened to be sentenced the week before and the talk show revolved around the punishment received and whether it was adequate enough.  Although the judge gave him a sentence to suit his age when the accident occurred, even though he is now eighteen years old, some people who called in to express their opinion, did not think he received enough of a sentence.

My heart goes out to the mothers who lost their daughters in the prime of their lives and in such a tragic way.  They were both quite big minded despite their unbelievable loss.   However, comments were made by some callers that this young man had his whole life to live while the girls had so sadly lost theirs by his reckless actions.  Some felt that he did not show enough remorse.

Later on in the talk show, I briefly heard the comment that the young man was struggling with his life.  My heart goes out to him and his mother as well.  Unless this man has no conscience at all, I cannot fathom that he has been unaffected by having had a hand in the death of these three young women.

I would have to think that he will somehow or other be scarred for life.  He lives in a small town where he would have little or no anonymity.  He will live with the reality of his careless actions for the rest of his life.  He will probably marry one day and have children of his own.  He may very well learn to pray and appreciate the quality of life when he faces his actions as a more mature individual.

Yes, those young girls, their families and their friends got robbed, but I personally do not envy the life that this young man now has to live.  Anyone who thinks it is going to be easy is only fooling him/herself.  I also feel for this young man, his family and his friends.  I’m sure his mother’s heart is aching too because there is much more to face in her son’s life and he will need the support of them all.

They have all lost so much and their lives are forever changed. Three mothers lost their daughters on March 29, 2009 and one mother lost the innocence that her young son can no longer enjoy.   All four mothers lost children that fateful day.  Only now, one has to live with his actions for the rest of his life.  Not a fun way to grow up.

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QUOTES AND ANECDOTES

“There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.” (John Stuart Mill)

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IF I HAD A HAMMER

If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morrrrning, I’d hammer in the eeevening……don’t you just love that song?  I hope you remember it. You might, if you were born in my era.

This morning as I was walking with my girlfriends, we started to discuss how sentimental we’ve all become.  As we age, we’ve discovered that keepsakes actually matter more to us than they did in our youth.

One friend was explaining this fact by sharing a story with us.  She said she went through a lot of work and effort to make small quilts that she gave as presents to her children or grandchildren.  After they were used for their initial purpose and as the years went by, they were eventually used in some other constructive way.  The other way she noticed was that they ended up at the bottom of the dog kennel.  By the pained expression on her face, it seemed to me that she would prefer her children were more sentimental. She had hoped they would cherish these homemade quilts in much the same way they were created.

I also shared a story with my friends about my hammer. In the picture, my hammer is the first on one the left. Many years ago when I was a preschooler, I used to work in the garage with my Dad.  He was a self-taught carpenter as well as a general handy man.  I loved to spend time with him in whatever way possible.  At that time, he gave me a small hammer to call my own.  Over the years, I didn’t think too much about that hammer but when I got married and left home, my Dad gave it to me.  

A couple of months ago, one of my granddaughters phoned and asked if she could spend the day with us.  Her dad was on the way out and he promptly dropped her off at our house. Grandpa was busy hanging pictures using my trusty hammer so I asked our granddaughter to hand the hammer to grandpa when he needed it.  I then explained to my six-year-old granddaughter that I used this very hammer when I was about her age.  She looked at me with that quizzical look of hers and asked “really”.   I’m sure she wondered if I was ever really that young.

I proceeded to tell her how precious this hammer was to me because it was a gift from my father and one day I would love to give it to her but I wanted to wait until she could realize the importance of it.  I want to pass my hammer along, but as simple and as old as this gift may be, I want her to keep it and do the same.  Now isn’t that silly?  Well not “really”, at least not to me.  My hammer signifies a lovely memory and a cherished part of my life.  The words that I write have much the same meaning.  My words are my hammer.  It’s why I write.  I want my words passed along down the line to all who are willing to read them.  I have a message.  My message means an awful lot to me. Does yours?  If so, please join me in song and pass your hammer along.

Previously posted on twgauthors.blogspot.com April 26, 2010

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THE REASON FOR MY BLOG

At the end of January, 2010, I wrote my very first blog for The Word Guild.  TWG is a Christian Canadian based writers group.  I joined this group less than a year ago and I was invited by Judith Lawrence to write a monthly blog. She is the person responsible for the authors’ blogs which features daily posts on a variety of topics by fellow authors.

First of all I was very honoured by this request but I was also frightened at the same time. This was a very new concept to me and I didn’t know if I could come up with enough creative topics that would be of interest to other people.  There is another reason I was intimidated as well.  It was about the comments others might make about my post.

To be perfectly honest, as the process unfolded, it actually became more about the fear of people not reading my blog and not making any comments rather than about the comments they might make.  It kind of became like a catch twenty-two.  I soon came to realize the importance of getting feedback especially when I had worked so hard and stretched myself beyond my comfort zone in this unfamiliar way. I thought that I was alone with this view so I never let it deter me.

It is at this time, that I was inspired to investigate the idea of blogging more frequently on my own blog.  I wanted to offer other women the same opportunity that I was given.  You know what I discovered?  All my guest bloggers were exactly like me in their expectations.  They were honoured, eager, and equally excited to see their creative abilities, but the thing that mattered to them the most was the reactions of others to what they had written.

All of them could hardly wait to read the comments they received.  After they read these comments, they would comment again themselves.  It was as if the article and the follow-up to the article via the comments created an opportunity to form the beginnings of a relationship.  Those that did comment seemed to be relating to what the writer of the blog had written and this started a small but rewarding thread of positive communication.

Therefore, the reason for my blog is to create an opportunity for others to share a small part of themselves in a way that they may not normally have the occasion to do. Each of my guest bloggers comes with a different background and this offers the variety I am seeking. Perhaps, you will find something that you can relate to and you will be inspired to share a few words about yourself by leaving a comment. If not, that’s okay too. However, I do want you to know what my blog is all about…it’s that of reaching out to other women and embracing the importance of what each and every one of us has to say!

Whether you read a post, comment on one or become a guest blogger, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit with us today. I sincerely appreciate it.

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THESE BOOTS

Many of you have already read my book I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay, so I am not going to go into too much detail about what’s in it.  I just want to share with you the first small step of many more steps to come that helped turn my life around. It is very hard to motivate yourself when you have little desire and even less energy to do so.

Many of us have been there.  There is something inside us that tells us things just aren’t quite right.  We want to be right with ourselves and right with the world.  There is an inner discontentment that sits in the pit of our stomach which affects our zest for life. What can we do about it because we hate the way we feel about ourselves, our jobs and many other aspects of our lives? In the end, we can actually hate ourselves because we can’t understand what is wrong with us.

I recommend this suggestion based on my own experiences. Start by one small step at a time…one small accomplishable step in the right direction.  I started by actually taking physical steps by beginning a daily walking regime, one block of walking, day after day until I built myself up to three miles a day.  That was over twenty-five years ago.  That was the best decision I ever made in helping myself get out of the pit I found myself in.  I got off the bench in life and became a player.  I took charge of my own life and decided to make a difference.  It worked.  I sang this song as I walked, “these boots are made for walking and”…..that’s just what I did!  I had to help myself. There was no other way!  My dad often used this expression, “The Good Lord helps those who help themselves!”  It’s very true.  Just try it and you’ll find out for yourself.

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MY OXYGEN MASK

Not too long ago, I was listening to a talk show on the radio.  I had turned on the radio expecting to hear music and instead there was a discussion going on about the joy found in being a Christian.  I couldn’t help but listen more carefully as the guest speaker described what it was like to be a Christian.  He went on to say that God is supposed to come first, family and friends come second, with we as individuals coming third.  He said that we have been put on this earth to serve others.

Based on my religious education, I know that this can be true, but I also know that it is a hard ideal to live up to.  I want to be realistic about myself as a human being.  I know that with all my human weaknesses and frailties, I am not always able to put others before myself and my own needs each and every time.  I have come to realize that this teaching is not always meant to be so cut and dry.

I remember working with a gentleman who told me a story as he watched me trying to adhere to the rule of serving others. I wasn’t even aware that he was observing me in this way. One day, while discussing business in his office, he reminded me of the oxygen masks on an airplane and how to properly use them in case of an emergency.  He was a fellow Christian and he felt the need to reinforce the fact that I was supposed to put my own oxygen mask on first before I rushed around to help others.  I still find it interesting to this day that he chose to share this bit of advice with me.  Whatever he was observing about my behavior at work, he obviously felt the need to step in and give me a little fatherly advice.  I must admit that it was good advice.

I learned that it is perfectly okay to first take care of my own needs in some instances in order to better see to others and their needs.  Not everything said or read is so black and white.  This gentleman took the time to educate me because he felt it was necessary to do so. He thought I was risking my own health.  He stepped outside of his comfort zone to explain this concept to me.  I thanked him for that because I learned to put my oxygen mask on in life in order to make sure I was there for the long haul so I could better serve others.

Sometimes, it is necessary to put yourself first so that you actually can serve God in the way that you were meant to serve. This man served me that day, and I have learned to serve in much the same way.   If I don’t have my oxygen mask on, I’m not going to last very long and I won’t be of any use at all.

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Pssst…..Hey EWE!

Yes you!  Now that I’ve caught your attention I really want to talk to you.  By chance do you enjoy doing Crosswords and other types of puzzles?  If so, this is the article for you.

Ever since I can remember, I have been a puzzle solver.  I love the mental challenge of trying to figure things out.  It is unbelievable how mentally stimulating and life enriching these puzzles can be. There is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips just ready to be tapped into on a daily basis in most local newspapers.

Now why did I choose the word EWE in my title to get your attention?  Most of you probably know that EWE is another word for female sheep.  Over and over again this word comes up in Crossword Puzzles.  Every time I see it when solving a puzzle, it reminds me of Jesus Christ and how He is described as the gentle Lamb.  If we are to emulate Christ and follow in His footsteps we, too, must be like gentle lambs in our dealings with people. 

As we all know, it is not always easy to be gentle and kind.  Many times in life, our patience is tested as we become frustrated with the people around us.  In some instances, people may be unaware of this fact but on other occasions we may only be fooling ourselves into thinking that they don’t take notice of exactly how we feel.  The tone of our voice and our body language can quickly give away our true feelings despite what our words may say.

I find as I do my daily Crossword Puzzle that God works in mysterious ways.  I hear God’s Word in many ways as I solve these puzzles. I can do an examination of conscience and ask myself if I have had any cross…words with any one in my life.  God can prompt me many times throughout these puzzles if I am open to His cues/clues.  He reminds me to be like the Lamb and follow in His footsteps when I come across the word EWE.

Other times, one of the clues will ask for the letters found on the cross.  Yes…INRI.  There again, I am reminded that the Lamb died on the cross for the salvation of humankind.  This inscription reinforces that fact that I have sinned and Jesus’ forgiveness was so great that He chose to die on the cross to save my soul.  He is the Teacher and I am the student.  Often times, I need to be reminded to be ready to forgive at all times because my transgressions have so generously been forgiven.

 It is truly amazing to see the many creative ways that God can reach out to people. God has a way of utilizing all his followers and reminding them of their mission in life.   We only need to be open to hearing the message!   I much prefer Crosswords to cross…words, if EWE know what I mean.

Written for The Word Guild – March 29, 2010

 

5 Responses to 'DOLORES’ VOICE'

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  1. Shirley Sarafinchan said,

    “My Oxygen Mask” made me realize once again how very important it is to take care of ourselves. As women and mothers we often forget this important message. I often recall when I was a young mother of two and I was too ill to take care of my children and the responsibility was left to my Mom and Dad to help out. It was a very difficult time for my kids but also for my parents and of course for myself because I felt so guilty leaving everyone in this situation. I learned at the young age of twnety-four how important it is to put the oxygen mask on first and take care of your own needs before helping others! Thank you once again Dolores for the reminder!


    • Shirley…thanks for your support and your comment on “My Oxygen Mask”. It is clear that you can identify with what I have written because I, too, remember so well the time you are referring to, that of a very ill 24 year old mother with two young children. It is so true. It’s impossible to take care of others unless you take proper care of yourself first. 🙂

  2. Lorraine Gauthier said,

    I just read all of your articles and they are very good! I have no idea why we cling to some things!! I am much the same. I have my first purse from my God parents….. another purse that I took to a concert in 1970. All my license plates from cars I owned. Clothes from being Miss Manitoba. I even have some of mom’s old dresses that I cannot part with…along with their bedroom suite!! They do not have to be expensive but they sure mean alot!!


    • You are so right Lorraine…we do keep the strangest things however, usually for the most sentimental of reasons, as you have so aptly pointed out!

  3. hope_rising said,

    Miss D!

    This is such a nice article, I really like your emphasis on forgiveness! That’s what I’m all about right now!

    ” I much prefer Crosswords to cross…words, if EWE know what I mean. ”

    that is such a cute sentance and great play on words! love it!

    I think we are similar in the way that you say you see God’s words in many ways .. and now that I have decided to live hopefully, I see hope in so many places now. I really believe we see what we choose to see .. even in crossword puzzles.

    I don’t think in my life I have ever actually finished a crossword puzzle. I seem run lack the patience necessary! But .. one of these days I will do it. My friend does the one in the New Yorker (I think that’s the one) she is a writer and thus knows a whole bunch of words! More than me that’s for sure!

    great article, thanks for pointing it out to me!

    LLL from HTH!


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