Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Heather Chose to Die by Suicide

Heather didn't want to live in this world anymore. She made the decision, and no matter what all of thought, this was her choice and it was the wrong choice. Death by suicide is a decision and no matter what you feel, this is not a decision to make. There is help out there. It may be tough, but there is help out there and this doesn't end your pain. It just transfers that pain to those living with your decision.

The pain of losing Heather doesn't go away. As her Mom, I feel it all every day and I will feel this pain for the rest of my life and this is no cure. Her sisters will feel that pain. They will never all be together again to make silly faces with each other. To talk with each other. To cry with each other. Nothing can undo her decision. I would do anything to have her back, but there is nothing I can do to change her decision.

I do understand that she didn't want to live in this world. The world is awful these days. People feel entitled. Racism is rampant. Politicians around the world make rules and laws that benefit themselves instead of the people. It's a selfish, greedy world. It's a "me, me, me" world. So, what do we do? We can't turn to our leaders to get help. I don't care what political party you root for, they only care about themselves and their agendas. Unless you have something that will make their life better, they could care less about what you really think about things.

What can we do to end the pain and frustration of living in this world today if we don't have the option to die from suicide? We can be the change. We can stop looking at ourselves and look at our neighbors, friends and family. What can we do to make their lives better? If we look at those around us and start helping their lives, it will our own life! Doing good for others feels good. Each of us have dopamine receptors in our brains and there are studies around that talk about how those that commit suicide show low levels.

We need to increase our dopamine levels. Dopamine is the brain receptor that helps you trigger happiness and peace in ourselves. I found an interesting article on the web and you can click here to read it. We all need to do some more research into this area, myself included. While I will never get to spend the time laughing with all my girls together, I still have 2 left that I want to make sure that I can enjoy time with for the rest of my life.

Is there anyone in your life that you would feel their absence if they chose to die by suicide? If you can think of one person, you need to join me in researching this area. I saw another article, and I can't remember where I saw it, but they said a lot of times that people are really hurting, they start texting a lot because those little beeps that indicate a response help trigger a little dopamine. So, next time someone sends you a text, instead of saying, yeah - too busy to reply, send a reply. I understand that we can't all text at all times during the day, but your next free moment, send a reply, even if it's to say that you are busy and would love to chat more with them.

There is help and it can be found. We all have to stop living in this world and start making changes in our own lives that will make the world a better place. If we don't, we could spend a life that becomes a nightmare.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Homemade Milano Cookies

When old friends reappear in your life, it's time to smile. Recently, I saw Peggy again. Peggy, Julie and Jaye were 3 great girls that used to hang out with us at one of the barns. Now, the barn is a nursing home, but the memories that flashed through my mind after seeing Peggy were wonderful. Thank you for sharing that!

Anyway, she shared these great looking cookies and I asked for the recipe. She told me I could share it so here it is! Enjoy!

1-1/4 cups butter
1 cup shortening
1-1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
3 c flour
3 egg whites

Mix first 5 ingredients then add egg whites and bake at 350 for 15-20 min.

I dip them in : 1 c chocolate chips 2 T corn syrup 1 T butter 2 T water Melt 30 seconds in micro Stir and add 1 t vanilla Blend well Dip in chocolate and sprinkles

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Be the Change in the World

One of the things that Heather emphasized in her suicide note was that she didn't want to be in this world. While the thought of never seeing her again tears my heart out, even after over 15 months, I can either just agree with her or make the changes in myself that I want to see. When my girls were little, I did my best to be my best me. Kids learn by example, so I tried to lead by example. Unfortunately, over time, I gradually accepted the worst in the world as our reality. Shame on me!

Let's do a little reality check. I know I think the world is a pretty crummy place to live. I know that Heather agreed with me. She literally told us that in her suicide note. How many more of us agree that the world could use some massive improvements? Are our politicians going to change the world and make it a better place? (OK, you can stop laughing now at that thought.) We have all come to know, for the most part, our politicians are basically out for themselves. I, personally, fear that the only change to our politicians is going to come in the form of a revolution and I am not really ready to see American Revolution 2. Let me ask you again another way. Who is going to make our world a better place? I think we can all agree that our answer is not going to be our politicians. If not the politicians, then who?

We need to search ourselves and find the answers there. The idea to be the change in the world that we want to see is not a new thought. Mahatma Gandhi said it best. "We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."

You could tell me that this is easier said than done. You are absolutely right! We all need to take responsibility for our own lives. If we want a better life for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, our friends, etc., we need to start with ourselves. There is no easy solution. You can't make others change, you can only change yourself. Now you may ask, how do I do that? How do I know what areas I need to change? I can't answer that for you, I can only answer that for me, and that answer is going to change as I change and take responsibility for the things that I don't like in my own life.

I have to take my life and make it the best I can. I am the only one that can change the world that I live in. My grandson, Carter, is 4. I watch Carter while my daughter, Amy, is at work. By spending so much time with him, I am giving him a little part of myself, each moment I spend with him. Do I want him to be his best? Then I have to be my best. I have to surround him with a better world. Carter imitates what we do so the better I am, the better he will be. Yesterday, I decided I was done with so much that I was seeing on social media. The language that is being shared around, at times, can be atrocious! I can't control what others post, but I can let my feelings be known. Some will listen, and some won't.

Yes, I can stop following some people that repeating share things, but instead of just doing that, I am going to start to make the change. I am going to watch what I say and try to better my world that way. I am going to watch what I like and what I share. Some of the articles are great, some make me laugh, etc. Instead of just liking them or sharing them, I am going to be a little more careful. Some of them use words (or names of pages, etc) that I would rather Carter not pick up - and there are others, very similar and that get the same point across, without using words that I don't want him to say. I can't change how the world uses certain words, but I can change the ones that I use and might share - sometimes without even thinking.

We each have to decide what we want our world to look like and strive to be our best. I, personally, don't want a world that is full of swearing. So, I will make some changes in my life that will help me achieve that goal. Another thing I don't want in my world is racism. To that end, I look for the common denominator in my world. We are all human. So, while there may or may not be aliens in the world, I don't think I currently know any of them, but I know people from all over the world, I know people of all different religions and all different colors.

I'm not going to change our government and convince them to stop classifying people by their color and/or beliefs, but I can make sure I'm not encouraging those that do. Think about those classifications for a minute. Who do they benefit? They benefit the businesses so they can target certain races instead of others. They stereotype people into categories and we are all guilty of that at one point or another, but again, I can work to try to minimize that and improve myself.

When I was younger, there were a lot of block parties. You had barbecues and fun with your neighbors. How many of us even know our neighbors? I saw a video on Facebook some time ago, and it was great. A woman came home from work and everyone just went into their apartments, where everyone sat on their electronic devices and well, that was life. I want to live in a world where we don't just do hibernate all time. Yes, this is a big one for me. I tend to hibernate a lot - before and after Heather. I have to admit, I gave up on a lot of the world and was just tired of it all. Anyway, back to the video, this girl had it. She pulled out a table into the hallway of their apartment, and gradually, they had all their neighbors bring out more tables and chairs and joining them. While I can't remember who made it, it really made me smile and made me remember some of the  block parties that were going around as I was growing up. We had a few friends over the other night - just a random get together, and we all had a lot of fun. We made things with the kids and made dinner together. It was an early night because everyone had work the next day, but it was still a great time. I want more times like that in my life also!

What do you want to change in your world? What changes can you make that will make your world a better world for you to live in? What type of world will make you want to live your life to the fullest? What changes can you make, starting today, to make your world a little better? Let's take some responsibility for our own lives and make them the best they can be.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Teach Your Children Well

Today, we need to equip our children to handle the world as it is now. We need to teach them to be prepared. I've heard people complain that the parents today aren't even teaching their youngsters to cook and sew. Many of them barely know how to do this today. Why? Well, with the economy the way it is, many are working more and more hours. Quite a few parents are working two jobs to put food on their table, a roof over their heads and to pay the bills. The weekends are filling with sports teams and other extra-curricular activities.

A lot of the education that is needed by the youth of today is not covered in school at all these days. Most of the classes that are offered today and based on the idea that everyone is going to go to college. Seriously, how many of you ever use that algebra that you had to take? How many of you can still speak the foreign language classes that you had to sit through. We need to offer shop classes, we need to teach them self-esteem, we need to teach them to cook and sew, we need to teach them to balance a budget. We need to teach them that they are individuals and that they are worth it!

Please don't get me wrong here. I think there are many teachers that are worth their weight in gold and beyond. I also think there are many teachers that aren't worth the space that they take up in the world. I've had school administrators tell me that they know the teacher doesn't teach, but hey - they only have so long until they hit mandatory retirement so just deal. Really? My one daughter had a teacher back in 3rd grade that yelled at my daughter because she was reading a 6th grade level book. We don't read them at this level. So, while at home she read much more advanced books, in school, she was stuck reading "See Spot Run". It bored her to tears. We had another teacher for my daughter that was a math teacher. You have to teach your children the times tables yourself because I don't have time to teach any of that. No - they only had time to teach how to take a test so the school could get funding! Ridiculous!

While I was having a hard time just having enough to pay the bills, I had to hire tutors to help teach my girls the basic 3 Rs that my generation had to learn back in elementary school. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. (OK, so the 3 Rs were phonetic - but again, many today wouldn't even grasp that concept!) So, why are our kids so ill-prepared? We don't teach them in our schools what is needed. We make excuses for our children. We cover up for them and do our best - sometimes it's good enough, sometimes it isn't.

Today, we have many parents that were never taught any of the 3 Rs when they were younger - yet, we expect those parents to teach it to their children. How? By osmosis? How many never learned how to change a tire? How many never learned about basic car repairs? How many haven't learned how to balance a checkbook? Do you know basic building skills? How many are taught that no matter what they are going through, that they are worth it?

Technical schools need to be encouraged for many. While there are some, in this country, it is expected that you will go to college. Trade schools are looked down upon. Really? Not everyone will become a scientist, etc. Many will end up working as laborers. No, they weren't taught any of that in school. They had to learn on the job - at pay levels that would leave the person living in poverty while they worked to learn a trade.

How about we make a schooling system that actually teaches our children real life needs. Yes, some will do wonders in college - some won't. Some will have others that have the time time to teach them to cook and sew. Some won't. So, when they are out on their own, many will live on fast food and take-out food. They really have no clue how to do so much. Yes, many will be self-taught and that is fine. But, why aren't we teaching the youth today to do this?

I think the entire educational system in the USA needs a complete overhaul. Let's go back and put music in the education system, instead of cutting it to a bare minimum - if even that. Let's get the art programs back in our schools. Let's get home economics back into the schools. Let's get the trade programs back into our classrooms. Yes, we need the 3 Rs and we need to teach life skills to our children. If we want our children to have the self-esteem to survive in this world, we need to offer them more than we are. We can teach them so much more than we are. Let's work together and offer them basic living skills. Let's teach them to survive in this world.