Don’t Be Silent

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It’s important to speak out when there are injustices being committed.  Right now, in the U.S. there are forces gathered against many of our rights as citizens.  Not only are we treating asylum seekers as criminals, but we are allowing the murder of unarmed civilians be overly aggressive police.  Racism and bigotry are running rampant, and an entire gender is being told to “sit down and shut up”.

Who are the perpetrators of this?   For the most part it is angry white men.  Whether they identify as “incel”, white supremacist, or simply Republican, the message is always the same.  Whatever it is that they want, it’s so much more important than what you want/need.  The rest of us, and yes, there are more of us than them, are being divided by race, gender and sexual orientation.  It’s time to join hands and stand together.

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If you believe in “liberty and justice for all”, do whatever you can with what you have.  Sign petitions; write your congressperson; register to vote (if you haven’t done so); join a protest/march; give a donation to an organization that follows your own morals.  Do what you can.  But most importantly, do not be silent!

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Horseback Librarians

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I love librarians.  I wish they ruled the world.  So, I heard this great story on NPR the other night that was all about librarians on horseback.  I was simply gob smacked.  I’d never heard of such a thing, but wow, was it cool.

So, the history is that in 1935, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) as part of the New Deal, hired women librarians to be part of the Pack Horse Project to deliver books long distances by either horse or mule in the Appalachians and other rural distracts for both education and support.  Because of the Great Depression many schools had been closed, and the illiteracy rate kept going up.  This of course was not a good thing for the country, and the belief was that if books and magazines could be delivered directly to the families, this would encourage parents to teach their children to read.

Many of the books had been donated by richer citizens.  Also, the librarians fixed up old books, and put together “scrapbooks” with articles and stories they believed that their readers would be interested in.  Each pack could carry about 100 books, and the librarians carried these books to homes and schools about once a month.  These books were then sent on to other locations.  The librarians tracked which books and scrapbooks had gone where so that people wouldn’t get the same books over and over again.  They also offered reading lessons to citizens.

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This was not a walk in the park for the librarians.  They needed to be able to provide their own horse/mule.  Many of these were rented.  The “roads” they traveled were difficult, and the hours were long.  However, they were often the only ones with a job and provided for their families.  The Pack Horse Project employed about 200 librarians, and they in turn they established 30 libraries, and serviced about 100,000 people.

In 1943 the funding for this project stopped, but the vision remains.  To this day there are bookmobiles in many areas of the country that provide books to both inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas.  As I said, librarians are awesome!

 

Honoring Promises

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I had a wonderful friend who was roughly 40 years older than I am.  Her name was Millie and she lived across the street from me.  A few years after I met her she became my unofficial mother due to family problems.

Millie was always there with solutions to issues, a shoulder to cry on, or most importantly, a good story and a laugh.  My children loved to go visit Millie to “help” her with her chores, read, or just be with her.  She was a special person, and the closest thing to a grandmother they had.  We often talked books, characters and plots.  She was an avid reader also, and we were always comparing books and authors.  Eventually Millie became very sick with ALS, and died.  Since she was a fan of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series, one of her regrets was that she wouldn’t live long enough to finish the series.  Since her children didn’t read, she wanted me to read the entire “Kinsey Series” as she called it as a remembrance to her.

Y is for Yesterday

This task took me longer than I’d like to think about to complete.  I was always looking for ways to avoid it.  For one thing, I’d have to completely understand that she was gone, and not just away at the hospital, and this was something that took me a long time to get through.  For another thing, Sue Grafton hadn’t finished the series, and not only that, she was taking a long time to do so.  Finally, about two years or so ago, I decided I’d start the series and read it over a period of time, planning on finishing whenever the last novel was published.  This was not to be, since as all of us Sue Grafton fans know, the alphabet ends at “Y”.  (For those of you who don’t read Sue Grafton, she died in 2017 from cancer without finishing her series.)  So, for now, we’re all left wondering what did become of Kinsey Millhone?  I’ve put my imagination to work and come up with a few theories, but the truth is, we probably never will know.

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Sue Grafton

Honoring promises is important.  One reason for my not doing this sooner was fear that if I did finish, my memories of Millie would fade.  Yes, that is nonsensical, I know.  But, once I started the series, I was so glad.  The character of Kinsey Millhone has been an exciting one to get to know.  She’s added a lot to my life, and I often think about her.  Not only does Sue Grafton live on, but my wonderful friend and surrogate mother lives on as well.  Thank you, Millie, for this last gift.

 

 

A Positive Outlook

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If you tend to dwell in negativity that is all that you will find.  Looking for the best in life will force you to find it.  We do tend to find what it is that we’re looking for, after all.  I know this can be difficult (I too have spent way too much time in negativity), but remember, if you change your focus, you can change your life.

When times are hard, look at what is going right and build positivity from there.  Life is never just one thing.  Positive and negative both surround us, but if you focus on the good things it will give you the strength to overcome the negative.

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Never Make Yourself Smaller

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Don’t allow other people to make you smaller or “less than” what you are.  It’s so easy to make yourself smaller in order for someone else, who you love, to feel better about themselves.  After all we tell ourselves, it’s because we love them that we become smaller.  Why shouldn’t we help someone we love feel better about themselves?

However, it’s not up to us to become smaller, “less than”, to make someone else feel larger.  Our beliefs in ourselves matter also.  If someone insists that you need to be smaller, it’s a large indicator that they really don’t have your best interests at heart.  It’s not up to us to be “less than” so someone else can feel “more than”.  A true friend will celebrate who and what you are, not make you feel smaller.  Someone who professes to love you will never ask you to make yourself smaller.  No matter how difficult, be true to who you are.

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Eggshells and You

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I just wanted to post this quote I found for those of you who are dealing with hyper-critical family members.  One of the terrible things about being criticized for everything you do, is how it dismantles your sense of self.  Remember when someone is belittling you, it says more about them then it does you.  No matter how hard it may be, look within for your sense of self, stand tall, and even if you have to dance in the shadows, dance.

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Where Thoughts Go, Energy Flows

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This is just a little reminder for you.  Try not to fill your brain up with negativity.  Even though negative thoughts are so easy, don’t be tempted to dwell on them. While we all know that it’s easier to think about how terrible a problem is, the only way to change it is to think of a solution.

While not every problem has a solution, sometimes the solution is to simply stop dwelling on the problem.  In life, there are always going to be things that we can’t change.  We can’t change someone else, so a solution is to stop dwelling on their behavior and think about something you can change – like not letting what they choose to do and say bother you.

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Of course, this is hard – negativity (complaining, dwelling on situations) is so much easier than positivity, and finding a solution.  Remember, it’s a process.  Like anything, it will take you quite a while to focus your energy on what you can do.  Put your thoughts toward positivity and see how it changes your life.