Listen to Understand and Not to Reply

If you want to have a better attitude towards someone, then you must change your thoughts about that person.  This is not an easy task,  because our first instinct, as human beings, is to prove our point and then try to make others view the world through our eyes.

This power struggle, whether on social media or face to face, happens many times through out the day.  We want people to like what we like and hate what we hate.

My favorite color is blue, but when I learn yours is red, immediately I think, “Phhh…blue is much prettier than red.”  In trivial matters, such fleeting thoughts appear and disappear and often we are even unaware of its presence.  I mean, after all, unless we are talking curtains for the bedroom, our preference of color matters little, within the full spectrum of life.

However, it’s not as easy with other issues such as religion, politics, racism, sexual orientation and even climate change.  At the very mention of any of these, our psyche either goes on the offense or the defense.   We fight, “tooth and nail,” with efforts to prove our point, or we circle our wagons to defend our point.  I dare say, no one has ever changed their belief as a result of such strategy.  Effective communication is nonexistent in this kind of environment, however hurt feelings, broken friendships and divided families breed rampant.

Why are our emotions so sensitive when it comes to these issues?  Why do we draw a line in the sand and dare anyone to step over?  Why do we think everyone should agree with us?  How dare we hurt and kill others, simply because they are different?  What or who gives us that right?

Nothing and no one, and certainly not God!

I’ve heard it said, “Pride goes before the fall,” and how true it is!  It is our own selfish pride that causes us to commit such evils.  Pride is the ultimate villain, and it is he with whom we should wage war, and not each other.

How do we do this?

Peace is possible when we are willing to change ourselves.  We must “on purpose” rearrange our thoughts, to think of others more than ourselves, and then we must listen…truly listen.

When we listen we should first listen to understand first and then to reply.  Sometimes a reply is even unnecessary, but we must always listen.

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Road Trip to Maine: Day 5

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Skies reflected in the sands of Wells Beach, Maine.

Today’s blog is both the continuation and the ending to the series “Road Trip To Maine.”

My intention for this series was to create a keepsake that could be re-lived years into the future.  I apologize for the boring moments, but thank you for your perseverance to come along with me on this journey.

The story of my fifth and last day has been a long-time coming, as I’ve let other things take priority over my writing.  Shame on me.

With that being said, the following is an account of the 5th, and last, full-day of my vacation to Maine.  Hope you enjoy.

I’ve been known to embarrass myself.  I’m not kidding.  In fact over the span of my life it has become my very own superpower.  Let me count just some of the ways:

  • Peeing my pants in second grade
  • Accidentally passing gas in church
  • Sitting on an aluminum chair at the passing of said gas  (i.e.- echoed effect)
  • Blushing and stuttering when flirted with
  • Falling off the treadmill when flirted with
  • Witnessing all trajectory paths of a basketball with my face
  • Et cetera…et cetera…et cetera 

It seems I never leave home without my superpower, and this vacation was no exception.  It came along for the ride and manifested itself twice in one day!

Here’s the story…

Tuesday morning began innocent enough.  I got up, changed, brushed my teeth,  and made sure I had pen, paper and protein bar inside my bag.  Then I headed out to McDonald’s for a much needed cup of coffee.

After a short drive, I parked the car in a parking lot adjacent to Well’s beach.  The day was chilly so I put on a hoodie and headed to the white sands with beach bag in hang and folding chair slung over my shoulder.

The tide was low, so there was a wide expanse of glimmering sand separating me from the incoming waves.  Sitting in my chair, inhaling and exhaling the salty air, I noticed the sand appeared as glass, reflecting the clouds and blues of the sky, above.  It was simply beautiful.  As I sat there taking it all in, a peace washed over me and it wasn’t long before my breath synchronized with the rhythm of the waves.  Then, without warning, my chair gave way!  Thank God, I was able to salvage the coffee, but not the chair and certainly not my pride.   I was embarrassed, and the chair was beyond repair.

I remembered seeing the store, “Renys-A Maine Adventure” earlier in the week.  “Surely, they have beach chairs,” I thought.  Feeling a little better with the thought, I lugged the broken chair back toward the parking lot.  On the way I noticed a trash can, so I stuffed the chair inside as far as possible, however its three defiant legs stuck out two feet in the air.  “Good riddance,” I said, a little too loud, and walked away without a backward glance.

Renys was a short drive away.   After finding an excellent parking space, I went inside and began a scavenger hunt for beach chairs, until I found them hanging on the wall.  I had my choice of three, but the cutest one, seemed to call out my name.  Taking it down from the wall, I noticed it was, not only cute, but light, as well.  I considered this a plus, thinking it would be much easier to carry as I trudged through the sand.  My last chair, the broken one, had been too heavy.

I unfolded it and sat it on the floor.  The webbed seat, looked to be, only five inches from the floor.  “Well…that’s different,” I thought.  Figuring I should try it out before the purchase, I squatted and began to lower myself downward.  While in route, my big ass must have went down “crank-sided,” because my left butt cheek clipped the right side of the chair, flipping it in the air like a paper football.  The was no where else to go, but the floor, so I hit it hard with a loud “SMACK!” 

Of course, immediately I looked around, hoping no one had seen, but lady luck had not been on my side.  At least three pairs of eyes looked my way.  Perhaps there had been more, but I was so embarrassed, I stopped my count at three. 

Chagrined, I rolled to my knees and got up with as much dignity as I could muster.  I hung the chair back in its place, silently cursed it, and then grabbed the biggest of the three.   I tossed the ugly thing in the buggy, and then tip-toed as quietly as possible toward the front of the store.  At the register, the lady scanned the tag that read…$9.99-able to hold up to 300 pounds; she looked at me and smiled.  I paid my due and got the hell out of “Renys-A Maine Adventure.”  I had, had all the adventure I could stand!

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Leroy

Back at the beach, I relaxed in my new chair, letting the sights, sounds and smells lull me once again into a state of serenity.  I wrote with pen on paper for hours, and was only interrupted by the visits of a lone gull, I had named Leroy.  Leroy ogled me with an upturned eye, and squawked, as if to say, “feed me!”  All I had was the protein bar, but of course, I was happy to share with my new found friend.  I took the wrapper off the bar, broke off a peanut and quietly tossed it to Leroy, careful as not to alert his comrades in the sky.  Leroy eyed the nut, picked it up in his beak and straight away, spit it back in my direction.  He then ogled me with his upturned stare and I knew in my gut he was asking, “What else have you got?”

“You little ingrate,” I said aloud.  “That’s all I’ve got, buddy…take it or leave it,” and with that, Leroy shit and flew away.

Later that evening, I hooked up with two friends, Lori and Jake.  It had been almost two years since last we met.  Lori’s the kind of friend, I feel comfortable talking to, and sharing my secrets, as I know they are safe within her keeping.  Jake has this knack of making me feel good about myself, and causing me to laugh, even when I feel bad.   Sharing the dinner table with them, was such a blessing; I was reminded of how fun it was to hang out with them, and just how much, I had missed their company.

I went to bed early that night, knowing my alarm would ring at 4am, telling me it was time get up and begin my trip back home.

The next day, as my little car headed south, I silently said another goodbye to Maine, as it grew distant in the mirror. I hadn’t done everything I had planned, or seen everyone I longed to see, but in spite of this, I smiled, because I knew I’d be back, to reconnect with that part of my heart, I left in New England. 

***

Thanks to all who came along with me on this adventure!  I hope you’ll join me next week as Corinne and I head southeastward to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

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Thanks for the journey!

Transformation

There is a River Inside of Me

(Inspiration taken from Psalms 46)

 

Though earth be blown away,

and mountains that spew fire,

 fall into an angry sea,

roaring waves, reaching higher…

***

There is a river inside of me.

***

The river is God-In-Spirit,

waters, peace behooved,

forever in the midst,

so I shall not be moved.

***

There is a river inside of me.

***

Even when life falls apart,

and all I love is taken away,

He is my refuge and my strength,

 the Grace I’ll need to live that day.

***

There is a river inside of me.

(Next blog:  Road Trip to Maine Day 5)

Road Trip to Maine: Day 4

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Rocky Coastline just of Highway 1-A

Is it just me, or does everyone have a “go-to-swear-word?”  You know, the word that spews out so easily, during the stubbing of a toe or a barefoot walk over scattered Lego’s.   Yeah…that word…

Even when I only “Christian-cussed,” I had my go to word.  It was:  “Sweet Hallelujahs!” AND believe me, it never came out reverently…

Unfortunately, my go-to word has morphed into something a little more colorful.  I’m too ashamed to write it out but lets just say, it begins with a “f” and ends with “k,” and that’s all I’ll say about it.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with a road trip to Maine?”  You’ll see…

Let me start from the beginning.  On the night of day 3, I set the alarm on my phone for early-o-clock.  My intentions were to meet a friend for morning coffee.  Sure enough the alarm sounded, and like a good girl, I didn’t hit the snooze, but got up, showered and readied myself for the day.

I didn’t want to keep my friend waiting.

In the car, I hurriedly set the GPS, (I’ve named it “little-critter”) headed out the parking lot, and  was on my way with time to spare.  Feeling proud of myself, I steered “O Silver” (my car…and yes, I do name everything) through the toll gate, and together we began to eat up the miles, between myself, and my friend.  Like a good driver, my eyes scanned the road ahead, the rear-view mirror, the speed odometer and back to the road ahead.

During one such inspection, my eyes  settled on little-critter, and I noticed its roadway was blinking a bright red and yellow.  Immediately,my personal swear word, released its venom on the no- good-lying-little-critter, and then spread her poison over the individual  who invented the no-good-lying piece of you-know-what.

In the midst of the colorful language, a green roadside came into view and it read Kennebunkport, Maine.  Oops.  I realized had gone in the wrong direction.

I apologized to little-critter  and its maker, and took the next exit, five miles down the road, where I turned around and headed back the toll booth, to pay a second time.

I met my friend, Diamond, whom I hadn’t seen for almost two years.  It was so good to get her hug and share a warm cup of Starbucks’s coffee, of which she paid.  (Thank you Diamond!)

Don’t you just love her name?  I do!  It fits her perfectly, and by that, I don’t mean she’s a diamond in the rough, but a Diamond perfectly polished, beautiful inside and out.

Next, I met another friend, Claudette, at the I-hop for a stack of pumpkin spice pan-cakes. I love the way sitting down at a table to share a meal brings peace  in comradery.   Jesus sets the example, by breaking bread and offering wine to his disciples at the Last Supper.

Claudette has many attributes that I admire, but what I admire most, is the depth of her spirituality and the depth of her love for nature and animals.   I think she and I are kindred spirits in both aspects.  She loves her dogs as much I love mine…after all, they are our babies.

After buying a new tire at Sears, I took a long scenic drive on highway 1-A.  If you’re ever up that way, its a drive I highly recommend.  It parallels the ocean, hugging the rocky coastline of both New Hampshire and Maine.  It truly is breath taking.

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Coastline along Highway 1-A

All in all, day 4, was a good day, in spite of its rocky beginning.  Spending time with my friends was a true blessing from God.

Later that evening, he blessed me once again, by painting a beautiful sunset for my eyes to enjoy, as I walked along the sands of Wells beach.

(to be continued…)

(lest you think I have a potty mouth…I do confess to embellishing the truth…but only a little)   

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Sunset walk along the sands of Well’s Beach
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Sunset walk along the sands of Wells, Beach
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Sunset at Wells Beach
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My sunset walk at Wells, Beach

Road Trip to Maine: Day 3

Sunday came early as always; however, I missed its entrance, as my little eyes were closed in sleep, and remained so, until somewhere in the neighborhood of the eleventh hour.  So let’s just say, I “arose” at approximately 11’ish, and straight away, stumbled to the window to gaze into  yet another cloudy day in Maine.

Since I had slept much of the day away, I wasted no more time in getting out and about. First on the agenda was a visit to the Rachel Carson National Refuge, second was Nubble Light House and lastly a leisurely stroll through the picturesque town of Ogunquit Maine.

I thought it would be fun to share my day with you through the eye of the camera.  Hope you enjoy them!

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Rachel Carson, fellow introvert, writer, and nature lover, spent most of her life writing about ecosystems of the eastern seacoast from Maine to Florida.  She was one of the first to warn of the dangers that chemical pesticides would have on all natural systems.  The refuge covers over 5,300 acres of protected natural habitats including barrier beach, dune, tidal estuary, salt marsh, and rocky coastline. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/rachel_carson/

 

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1 mile trail meanders through marshlands.

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Color Kissed Leaves
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Can I stop and read for a while?

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Wonder who lives here?
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The forest was full of widow-makers like this. I have to say it was a bit spooky. I walked gingerly.

 

 

Ogunquit Maine

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All decked out in pumpkins

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Nubble Lighthouse

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Road Trip to Maine: Day 2

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Day two began with a knock at the door.

(Hmm… sounds like the beginning of a good mystery novel.)

Of course I was still asleep; after all, number 1-it was only 9:30 am, number 2-I was “on vacation” and lastly, number-3, I’d stayed up late the previous night.  I ask you, “Who in their right mind, wouldn’t be sleeping?”

Disoriented, I staggered to the door and managed to grunt, “Yes?”  The merry voice on the other side said, “Housekeeping!”

“Housekeeping…?” I thought…”Who the hell comes to your door that early to clean your room..?”

Trying to be considerate, I decided to not open the door.  I had yet looked in the mirror, but my gut instinct told me that I must look a fright.  You see, there’s this weirdo thing that goes on with my hair. In the mornings I always look like woody-woodpecker…believe me, it’s not very romantic.  I’m serious.  Both sides, the right and left, sweep upward to crash in the middle, and you all know I’m a redhead, so my ole pal, Woody, greets me every morning.

Hmmm…maybe I should rephrase that…what I mean to say is,  “Every morning when I look in the mirror, the cartoon character is staring at me, mocking me with his rediculous little laugh”  So, for that reason, I declined the merry housekeeper’s offer through a closed and dead-bolted door.

Sometime later, after I showered and washed my hair with Zest soap, ( no complimentary shampoo could be found) I sat out the porch, just outside my door, sipping on a cup of Folgers instant coffee and eating a bowl of Jasmine rice.  I watched the world as it was bathed by a gentle rain.  I could smell the ocean, even though it was over a mile away, and it seemed I could hear the gulls calling my name.  I was anxious to see what I hadn’t seen, since I moved from New England, over a year ago.

Wells Beach didn’t disappoint!  The sea was angry, under clouds of gray, while the squawking gulls busied themselves scavenging for breakfast.   There were a few others, like myself, walking the sands or sitting on wooden benches , soaking in the somber but absolutely beautiful view. Every now and again, the laughter of a child, could be heard above the crashing waves and seagull cries.

As I stood there, with the wind whipping my once tamed hair.  I took a deep breath of the best air in the world, and slowly let it escape my peaceful body.  Up until that very moment, I never realized just how much I had missed New England’s ocean.  This was why I had come.

I breathed it in again and smiled.

(to be continued…)

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(The preceeding was inspired by New England’s Ocean, something I truly value)

Road Trip to Maine: Day 1

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Inside “Oh Silver” waiting for AAA

My road trip to Maine started on an early 4:30 am, Friday morning.  To be honest, the alarm rang at 4:30, but of course I hit it and snoozed another 30 minutes.  Doesn’t everyone do that?

No time for a shower, became the consequence of sleeping away those 30 minutes, so I covered my “woody-woodpecker” hairdo with a baseball cap, kissed Corinne, patted our zoo animals, walked out, and closed the front door.  My lone vacation had begun.

You may be wondering why I’m traveling alone.  No, it’s not because I have no friends, in fact Facebook says I have 347 of them, the reason I’m the “lone-traveler” is simply because Corinne had to work and I didn’t want the “already paid-for vacation” to go to waste.  So, high oh silver away!  (too funny because the car is silver)

“What’s that…why didn’t I ask someone else to accompany me?”

Well, I guess, I figured everyone was too busy with their own lives.  Isn’t that the way of the world these days…?

Besides, I find myself to be damn good company!  (Spoken like a true introvert)

I cranked up “Oh Silver,” and backed her out into the rain that would accompany me most of the way.  (It’s okay…introverts like rainy days)

A couple of road accidents, (not mine) and a flat tire (yes…mine) turned my 10 hour drive into 14 hours.  I have to admit to being a little nervous sitting on the side of an extremely busy I-495.  The 18 wheeler trucks really had the little corolla “a rocking” as I sat there for 30 minutes waiting for AAA to come “a knocking.”

Finally a big white towing truck pulled up behind me, and what looked like a “Trump-Supporter,” stepped out, inspected my opened trunk, and then told me to “get out and unload everything.”

“Damn…” I thought, “He must have noticed my Hillary bumper sticker!”

Once I unloaded everything, he proceed to jack up “Oh Silver.”  Within the span of 4 minutes, he took off the flat, put on the “dough-nut” and told me I could put everything else back inside the trunk.

“Maybe he noticed my HRC bumper sticker…” I thought.   Regardless, I was extremely grateful for his service, so I handed him a twenty dollar bill, and he finally graced me with his elusive smile.

“Money, talks…” I thought, as I smiled back and wished him a good weekend. Back on the road, my “three-and-a-half” wheels eagerly ate the miles, toward a finish line that lay another 2 hours away.

Finally, I found myself at the abode that would be mine for the forthcoming week.  The room was definitely dated, with an outside entry and “real” key that hung from a key chain, instead of the usual card entry.  Opening the door, and looking inside, I found it dated as well, but it was clean, warm and inviting, and felt like heaven.

Before “hitting the sack,” I sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn on my lap, a beer by my side, and The Andy Griffith Show on the television.  I took a deep breath and thought, “Life is good.”

 

(…to be continued…)

(I’ll probably bore everyone to tears, but I wanted keep a blog of my trip, in order to look back upon, in the future)