Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hallowe'en Cake Walk

This is, I believe, what you would call a 'filler' post; something you do when you don't have anything to say, but want to say SOMETHING.  And this is really a fun link, given to me by a friend, so perhaps it's more of a 'dessert' post than just filler.  :-)

Hallowe'en Cakes

Hope you enjoy them! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why knowing the reasons doesn’t always make everything okay

After reading several friends’ posts, and watching/reading about current events in the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about certain phrases that many people tend to use when others discuss their problems or talk about a current crisis.  And I’ve decided that, in my opinion, the absolute worst one of these is: “Everything happens for a reason”, sometimes accompanied by “we just don’t know what it is”.  The direct implication behind this statement is that what happened wasn’t some random chance of fate or the result of hatred of the person(s) by the gods.  Okay, nothing wrong with that; it frequently IS comforting to be told that we’re not so insignificant that the universe doesn’t notice or care what happens to us.  However, the indirect implication is that, if we knew/understood the reason for something terrible happening, it wouldn’t be so terrible.  And those who tack on a further comment about karma or how “what goes around comes around” are also implying that at least some fault may lie with the victim(s).

Is it true that everything happens for a reason?  YES, absolutely!  Everything does happen for at least one reason, perhaps more than one. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the people it happens to did something to deserve it.  For example, the earthquake in Japan in 2011 happened because the several continental and oceanic plates that Japan sits on shifted.  The accompanying tsunami happened because the movements of that earthquake caused a specific type of movement of the water.  Their nuclear plants then had problems because the built-in protections that had held up against the earthquake weren’t strong enough to hold up against the tsunami as well.  These things each happened for one or more reasons, and we know what those reasons were. 

But please tell me, how exactly did knowing the reasons make things any less terrible for the Japanese?  Their homes were still damaged or destroyed, their friends and family members were still dead or missing, their communities were still demolished, their jobs were still gone or in jeopardy, their financial situations were still precarious, and they were still desperate for shelter, water and food.  How is it that knowing why these disasters happened is supposed to make it somehow less difficult to bear?  And while some of the fault, at least with regard to the nuclear plants, MAY have been the result of poor planning/ignorance/whatever on the part of various organizations, why should thousands of people who had nothing to do with that feel better knowing they are suffering for someone else's bad karma points?

I hope someone explained it to them so that they felt better about the whole thing.  

There are people who spout out the same useless and unfeeling platitudes when someone they know tells them they have cancer, or an inoperable tumor, or Parkinson's disease, or some other life-altering thing that can't be fixed.  Maybe they don't know what else to say, or maybe they truly believe it themselves.  But somehow, I don't think it would comfort them much if it was said to them in their time of need. 

PLEASE think twice before telling someone that their suffering is happening for a reason, and that they just don't know what it is.  It's not only condescending, it's judgmental and cruel, even if you don’t mean it that way.  Instead, try a nod and sympathetic silence, or maybe (even better) “I’m so sorry this is happening”, and give them a gentle hand squeeze or a hug.  Chances are you'll make their burden a little easier to deal with, knowing they are not alone, and that someone really cares.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review: "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent"

Way back in January 2014, the day after my mom went to the hospital for emergency heart surgery, I attended a talk given by a woman who had gone through pretty much what I was about to go through, and who had written a book about her experience.  The book is "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent", and the author, Stefania Shaffer, was touring to promote it, and was invited to speak at our university.  I almost didn't go, because I was afraid the hospital might call while I was at the talk; it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done.  Not only was I inspired by what she had to say at a time when I really needed it, but I bought her book and read it while dealing with caring for my mother and grandmother.

During those two years when I was shuttling back and forth between home and my mom's house (or the nursing center), I  sometimes felt VERY much alone.  Although my friends and family were verbally supportive, I had very little help with anything that actually needed doing, not because nobody wanted to help, but because most of the time no one else was in a position to.  Unfortunately, this happens to many people who find themselves suddenly having to care for elderly parents alone, when other family members are either unable or unwilling to pitch in.  "9 Realities" became part of my support group, because I was able to compare what she had to deal with against my own situation.  I sent copies to a few friends to help them cope as well.  When my mom died, I read the section on grieving more than once, to remind myself that I still wasn't alone. 

"The Companion Playbook" came out just this year, and I was privileged to receive one as a gift from Stefania.  I sure wish I'd had it while my mother and grandmother were alive, I could really have used it as well!  It not only has the really important points from the book reiterated in "nutshell" format, but it has charts and checklists for each point that can be used as written or adapted to your individual situation.  The Playbook can serve as a stand-alone guide without the original book, if you really don't have the time to read that as well. 

Stefania's book is an incredible story of love and forgiveness, and I highly recommend both it and its companion workbook to anyone who has aging parents, even if they are still active and in good health.   You can order both books at Stefania's website:  http://stefaniashaffer.com/

 https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Hl60fuyvL.jpg                  https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51cYCEQL64L.jpg

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"The Grim Rabbit"

This cartoon is totally hilarious, not to mention silly!!  I was thinking of saving it for next month's "I'm SO Goth...", but decided I couldn't wait that long.  Enjoy!

The Grim Rabbit


Now, wasn't that fun?  I'm sure that for the next few months I won't be able to see a car wash without laughing!