Monthly Archives: July 2012

Time to Ponder

I am on vacation today. I’ve no plans for today other than run a couple errands. So I relaxed on the couch listening to various podcasts over my phone. The podcasts were about the roles of husbands and wives in a Christian home. The preacher told a story of a 5-year old boy who was attending the dedication of his newborn sister. The preacher blessed the child and asked God that the children be raised in a Christian family. The little boy began to cry. When the father asked the boy why he was crying, he said, “I don’t want to be with a Christian family, I want to be with you and Mom.”

I had an opportunity to be part of a family gathering in Connecticut with Theresa’s family last weekend. A conversation changed course to reminiscing about things we did but no longer do, at least not as much. I expressed to one of her relatives that I am amazed at what changes have occurred in my life, even in the smallest of ways. Most of us think of changes in big ways, such as marriage, divorce, religion, careers and revelations. However, I was thinking about other changes, those more subtle.

I find that I like steak more than before. I was never fond of steak. I never found it to taste much different than any other beef product. I always felt that beef was beef. I always enjoyed pork (Homer Simpson’s magic meat animal). The differences in tastes and preparation always kept pork interesting to me. I now notice and appreciate the subtle differences in the taste of different cuts of beef.

I have always enjoyed music and now find that I now enjoy a wider variety. I have become much more eclectic. This eclectic approach is showing up more and more, not just in music or food taste but in other areas as well. I consider this a good thing. I continually look forward to learn other cultures and different points of view. Our maturity teaches us that we need to see the world, not as we expect it to be, but as it is and as it could be. That richness comes from appreciating what we have and seeing the beauty and blessings that surround us.

Acknowledging that things will always change, our likes and dislikes, our health, our stamina, our expectations, our dreams, our desires, it should prompt us to always work hard in discovering not only who we are, but those around us. We need to pay attention to the changes in the ones we love most, so that we can better appreciate and love them.

As I mature, in age and wisdom, I find the world more fascinating than ever before. I am more thankful for what I have, the experiences, the trials, the lessons learned. As we grow up, we tend to limit our world view to our immediate surroundings, not realizing the struggles of the rest of the world. The media tends to concentrate on what is dark, but there are millions of people out there that represent the beautiful light of potential, happiness, love and tenderness. Even though I do not like seeing the tragedies that occur in the world, it usually is followed by an outpouring of love, caring and commitment. This gives me continued hope in the world; even with all of its problems, the glimmer of light is still there.

I am not sure if you have ever been involved in a candle ceremony, but when you light your neighbors candle with your own, you don’t lose the light you have, you merely increase the light around you. It represents love and caring, which grows the more you give it away. Do not hide your light under a basket; share your love and caring with the world.

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65 Years of Marriage

Last weekend, I had the honor of attending the 65th Wedding Anniversary celebration of my Aunt and Uncle. It was a wonderful celebration. They have four children and each of them gave a presentation. They each stressed the love and lessons that they learned from their parents.

The one fact that I found most incredible was that they were both raised within a short distance from each other in southern Pennsylvania, but they met in Orlando, Florida. It was amazing to me the distance covered to meet a neighbor.

This achievement is exceptional, especially in a day and age where more than half of marriages end in divorce. It also requires longevity on the part of the couple. I believe that all the milestones are incredible. Divorce is too common. My parents were not divorced but unfortunately I have been. My first marriage lasted until just months before our 20th anniversary. I think, like many marriages, there was great focus on the children to the exclusion of maintaining the marriage partnership. I don’t think this is intentional, it just seems to evolve that way. It was a valuable lesson to learn. Our responsibility to our children is very important, but it is our responsibility to raise our children so that they can move on. We must still maintain the relationship we have with our mate because that relationship is meant to stretch beyond our children’s departure from home.

I always am gladdened when I see anniversaries announced in the papers. Long marriages should be celebrated. There are good reasons why some people divorce, but I do believe that it is much too easy to end a marriage. Our culture has become one of serial monogamy. It is an inspiration and a reminder that long marriages are possible.

I am sure that it was not always easy for them. They had their ups and downs like any other couple. In another couple’s interview, the wife said “We were raised to fix things that were broken, not just throw them away.” I think this was said quite eloquently.

I’ve started over again and have no hope of ever reaching a 65th wedding anniversary, but I certainly want to try for as long as possible. Relationships are work, sometimes hard work, but worthwhile when mutual appreciation, attention and affection is continually nurtured, offered and accepted.

Heat of the Day

Karg emerged from the cool cave. The heat of the air smacked his face. There was a breeze but it provided no relief. He gazed into the purple sky. “No clouds in sight today”, he thought to himself. He could feel the burning rays from the three suns, Gan to the West, the twins, Lar and Kor to the East.

He checked the earthen oven for the panne bread he placed there yesterday. It would be baked by now. That was one advantage to the heat. He needed no fire. The grasses were dry and the brook was dry. The rainy season was at least four moons away. When Gan, Lar and Kor hung lowest in the sky, every now an then Yijr, the moon, would appear brilliantly orange. It was a truly beautiful sight to behold.

The panne bread was done. Karg gathered the loaves and returned to the cool of the cave. Along with the mushrooms that grew throughout the cave and the worg fruit from the last rain season, he enjoyed a simple meal with his family. A cool breeze moved by their table, the air cooled by the underground springs.

It was a great way to start the day. Now to wait for the heat of the day to pass. Karg found it hard to get motivated by his chores for the day outside when the spring pool seemed so inviting. But Karg knew his duty to his family. He was a provider, and a good one. Just a little while longer and he could face the heat of the day.

Checkin’ Out Walmart

I am not sure if this happens in most Walmarts but I am getting frustrated with 22 checkout lines and only two cashiers on duty at 6PM. There are self-checkout stations, but I rather use a cashier.  There is one Walmart in a busy area that replaced all their self-checkout stations with 20 items or fewer speedy checkout lines. That certainly helps.

We do have wonderful Wegman stores that carry just about anything grocery you can imagine. They have plenty of employees and lots of customer service.

As a frequent shopper at Walmart, because it is more convenient when trying to squeeze lunch and shopping into one hour, I noticed the growing impact of their inventory reduction program that started as early as 2006. By 2010, I could tell that there was much fewer lines being carried. Sometimes the shelves were empty. My family began to shop more at Target, Aldi’s, Save-A-Lot and other discount stores. We do spend less at Aldi’s and Save-A-Lot but there are things from Walmart that I cannot get at the other limited inventory stores.

I was not surprised when Walmart announced that they were going to beef up their inventory. Now it seems that the product is back, but the cashiers are missing. I still like Walmart but I am getting more and more frustrated. I do not think I am the only one. I have witnessed customers running out of patience and leaving their carts by the line and walking out.

I realize that business is about making profit, but without good customer service, they will lose the profit that they covet so much.

A Save-A-Lot recently opened in our town. The management there is doing their best to anticipate the needs of the locals. They offer dry cleaning service drop-off and pick-up. I really admire the business partnerships that they are building to create more customer service.

As I said, I do like Walmart, but their concentration on the bottom line, in my opinion, is costing them much more than they think they are saving.

Just my two cents and I decide where to spend it.