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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little League from a Mom's Eye

Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!

I am compelled to write this after recently witnessing some of the most disgusting displays of brutality and the poorest manners I have ever seen.  To add to the horror of this, let me explain that our husbands, fathers, brothers and boyfriends are knocking themselves out TEACHING our sons how to participate in this rude, push, shove, smear activity.  They actually enjoy it.  I can't believe it.  My son, the same one that keeps his elbows off the table during dinner and "please" and "thank you," was pulling other boys down in the mud.  (many of those boys were his friends.)  Sticking elbows in each others faces constantly.  Pushing each other because the object of this "game" is apparently to be the only one of 22 players left standing on the field.

This is so confusing.  Let me try a description of the actual play, as I saw it.  Everyone gathers at a large striped field, hundreds of parents and friends of the 50 or 60 boys who apparently are going to participate.  The boys all dress in short pants that don't fit very well, so they stuff the hips and knees and bottoms to make them real tight  They also wear large shirts that they borrowed from some very big people, but again they stuff the shoulders so they can fill them out some.  It's usually pretty cold so they wear long socks tucked in their short little pants.  They also have cute little hats.  These are equipped with convenient little handles that go in front of their faces.  They use them to hold the hat when they aren't playing and to hold onto during some of the peculiar exercises that they do.  Inside of the hats are earmuffs, of a sort.

The over-all picture is quite humorous.  All those little boys all padded and stuffed up and resembling a gang of pigmy weightlifters.  Of course, each boy is identified with a large number on his back so you can find your own muscle bound pigmy during the action.  Now, each side or team wears a different color jersey to identify them.  Each color or team lines up on their side of the field and these men, they are called "coaches", lead them in 5 or 6 minutes of vigorous exercises.  This is done to loosen their tight little pigmy muscles.  Considering what they're about to do, it is a wonderful idea.  Finally, it's GAME TIME.  Some game!

Eleven boys from each team run out on the field.  Between them on a cute little plastic stand, (it's called a 'tee', but it doesn't look like a "T" at all) is an egg shaped, rough leather ball with a shoe lace holding it together!  One team gets to kick the ball down the field at the other team.  (I'm sure it would be much easier just to hand it to one of the other players.  This is only the beginning of the rudeness though, it gets much worse.)  Instead of letting him have the ball they just kicked at him, they all run down field and try to catch him and knock him down!  When they succeed in driving this poor child into the grass, mud or whatever might be there, both teams line up to again.  This time in little groups face to face with the ball on the fround right in the middle of them.  You might think they would fight over it, but they don't, not yet.  One boy squats practically over the ball and puts his hands on it.  Another of his teammates puts his hands right in the crotch of the boy touching the ball!  They call him the center and the one holding his crotch is the quarterback. (I'd call him something quite different, myself.)  I was so embarrassed.  Now, they yell out some numbers and all of a sudden all 22 boys are grabbing legs, arms or whatever they can reach to pull each other down to the ground.  One boy, usually the one with the ball, gets the most attention.  Everyone seems to want to play where he is. Some of his teammates stand near him or run beside him and shove the other team's players away, if they get too close to 'protected boy'.  The other team, the one that just kicked the ball to them a minute ago, tries to take the ball back and cause physical discomfort to anyone who touches this dumb ball.  Why did they kick it to them, if they didn't want them to have it?

If the boy with the ball runs or falls or somehow gets over a line on the field, he gets some points and another boy gets to try to get more points by kicking the ball over this huge high jump bar on the ends of the field.  Then if they score...they kick the ball to the other team and it all starts over again!

Sometimes during the attempt to move their team to the other end of the field, the quarterback (remember him?) will throw the ball in the air to one of his teammates.  If he catches it, he can run over that line.  When they do this everyone playing chases him and tries to hurt him.  It is all do silly.  If they'd just leave him alone, he'd score and then their team could have the ball.  Simple isn't it?  Everyone shares and takes turns and everyone has fun.  If a player is in their way, all they have to do is say, "Excuse me, please" and I'm sure the others would step aside.  They just don't need to be so rude.  I've spent years teaching my boy to be polite and there he was shoving people around and elbowing people and I just can't believe there is no rule against that stuff!

One time, you won't believe this, a boy from one team threw the ball to his teammate and a boy from the other team jumped up and grabbed it!  It was NOT meant for him.  I was just furious, as were many other parents.  The umpires or whatever they are, actually let him keep the ball for his team.  Can you believe that?  Ridiculous. Rewarding such behavior.l

Remember the handle I told you about on their little hats?  They sometimes use that to pull down the real big kids.  The umpires get really made if they do that.  They throw their hankies on the ground and blow their little whistles and make possibly obscene gestures to the crowd.  Apparently there are some rules to this game, but not nearly enough.   It's a horrid experience for a mom.

All of a sudden the game is over and I never saw one home run or anything.  A look at the scoreboard tells me the 4th inning is over and the final score is 34-14.  Amazing that I could sit through all that scoring excitement and not even notice that there were 48 runs scored!

And the language!  Unreal!  They say things like "smear him" or "sack him" (I agree something should be done about the quarterback, but sacking sounds extreme), "kill him."  It is giving me chills just to recall it now.

Things will get better next year because I'm forming a group of concerned parents to present new rules and a code of conduct for these poor boys.  We're also going to raise some money for uniforms that fit without all that cumbersome stuffing.  They'll look s much neater.  It'll be a much more civilized game when we are done.  My son will be proud to say he plays football under our new system.  Look out NFL---here comes the new breed!

Written (tongue in cheek) by
Jo Heroux
fall of 1977

This was published in the local paper here in the letter to the editor format, at their request.  Many readers just thought I was an idiot.  ;)    The Durand Express

Monday, August 29, 2011

Longing Isn't For Me

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Longing is almost a foreign concept to me.  It is something I can imagine doing, but not something I practice.  I don't long for anything, really.  I have goals which I chase and plan for success, but I don't long to achieve them, I work to achieve them.

I have memories that make me smile or cry when I recall them, but I don't long to relive those times.  I am simply aware that I have done that, been there or seen that.  I am content with the past being the past and the future being the future.

I don't long for more time with someone I loved who has passed on because I know my time with them was all we were meant to have.  I know I said and did what I wanted to say and do while I did have them here.  I know that God has now rewarded them all for their trials here on earth.  I know my time will come, too.

Longing, for me, would just take up time from my life.  Using up precious moments that I could be, oh say, staring out over the back yard.  Time I could be thinking of a new recipe.  Time I could be cleaning out a closet.  Time I could be petting or playing with one or both of our furbabies.  Time I could be talking with my husband. Time I could be writing.  Time I could be reading...well, you get it, I'm sure.

I could  think of one exception...maybe... I could long for a world where anyone who wants a job, can find one.  A world where children do not go hungry or cold or unloved.   I could long for the kind of world where the Golden Rule is practiced routinely by all who inhabit it.  But, it would be much more productive to be one person who does these things and thereby, sets an example for others.  If only one person loves a child because they saw me loving a child and making both my life richer and the child's life easier, GREAT.  So I won't long for the perfect world, I will do what I am able to do to make the tiny spot I am using a bit more perfect.

I prefer to live than to long.  I prefer to live long than to live longing. 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Writers Write

Thinking about why so many of us write.  Wondering if all of us have the same wildly out of control thoughts that just have to be written someplace, even if no one ever sees them, other than the writer.  Some days those thoughts take over my very existence by making me unable to move past them.  Unable to function until they are on paper (or my screen) anywhere except trapped inside my head.  It might be a fictional story that must be written.  It might be an emotion that needs to be explained or explored. It might be something in my past, present or future that needs sorting out.  There are no requirements other than IT MUST GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

Several years ago a very good friend of mine told me in response to my inability to make myself write the next chapter of my then barely started book, "Writers WRITE.  So if you are a writer, sit down and write something.  A sentence, a word or the rest of the book.  Write something.  Everyday.  Clear your head because that is the only way you can get on with your life."

I don't think I have been given better advice ever in my life as far as helping me keep my sanity and keeping me on the path to living in the NOW while striving to just BE who I believe I was meant to be.  He didn't know, I don't think, how inspirational he was to me.  He just knew that I needed to write and he encouraged me by telling me over and over again that people would enjoy perusing the inside of my brain.  He assured me that what I was writing was worth reading to others.  Although at that time, I didn't think I cared if anyone ever read my work, I thought I was writing just for my own mental health.  I now understand that sharing my wandering mind thoughts is really important to the process.

This man also told me, "Writers write and Authors get published.  That's the only difference."  He was internationally published and wrote every day of his much too short and much too painful life.  He made me a writer.  I have written most of my life, but not until I knew Ed Dodge did I become a writer.  He inspired and admired me.  He was my friend and my mentor.  He taught me much about  focus and purpose and he left this earth far too soon.  I am missing him today, as everyday, but today he is filling my head and I HAD TO SHARE.

Think I will go read some of his work now.  I will always have that piece of him to hold.

I hope everyone who takes the time to read this particular blog has someone in their past, present or future that can do for you what this extraordinary man did for this very average, very run of the mill woman.

On my mind and still holding a piece of my heart...George Edward Dodge.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wildflowers Growing

Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!

This is the picture prompt for the week on GBE2 along with 'Growing Wild" as the word prompt and here are my wandering mind thoughts.

As I study this picture I see beautiful wildflowers in my favorite color combo for flowers. ( Purple and yellow, my yard is full of purple and yellow flowers, not wild, but rather planted and tended by my own hands.)  Here, I see God's work.  No human hands tending, lovingly or otherwise, just God's gift of beauty and unfettered growth.  There are no sculpted paths, no design plan and weeds just grow where the seeds fall with great abandon and fertility.  The blooms are startling amongst the green in front of the shimmering lake.  It is breathtaking and serene.  It is pure and unadulterated.  It is Nature in all her splendor.  Growing wild and free and there for all humanity to share or disrespect.  To photograph or paint or trample. He provides the canvas and we provide the appreciation or destruction.

It is exactly how we are created.  We come into this world free of all encumbrances. We have no moral code at birth.  We owe nothing to anyone.  If it is perceived that we owe our very existence to our parents, the obvious answer is, we didn't ask to be born.  They chose, either by actual decision or by actions to make this baby.  We are the 'gift' not the ever indebted product.

It takes a very short time for each of us to change into the people we are to become.  To grow wild.  Some of us do so and some of us never learn what wild means.  A soul roaming wild in this earthly world is free to experience life.  EXPERIENCE it not just LIVE it.  I feel sorrow for those who are unwilling or unable to let go of pain or sadness; they will never feel wildness.  I want to always feel pain when appropriate, always feel sad when appropriate and always then be capable of unbridled joy when it comes to me.  I haven't always grown wildly, not by a long shot.  Many years of my life were regimented years of doing.  Doing what I had to do.  Doing what no one else could or would do.  Doing what my children needed done.  Just doing, not experiencing.  In recent years, however, I have learned to Let Go and Let God.  One of the most important lessons I have ever embraced.  Growing Wild requires that I do that and then and only then can I see all the beauty around me.  Only then can I feel the love that showers me every single day.  I take the time to appreciate my time here in preparation for my next life.

I'm not in a rush to get to that next life, but I am ready when I am called.  I have lived a full and rich life with people who love me and have allowed me to share their lives.  Great friends and family have blessed me always.  I have had my share of pain and heartbreak and because of that, I love more deeply and with fewer reservations that I did in my youth.  I am growing wilder with each passing day with less human tending and more God's blessing.  It's a good thing to be in His hands today and always.

The natural beauty around me is not to be missed.  A free and loving heart is meant to beat in me and it does.

For us, just like the field of wildflowers...He creates the canvas for us to appreciate or destroy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!

The challenge on GBE2 this week is "Trust" and I am in the perfect frame of mind to discuss trust and the ramifications of both giving and expecting trust.  So here we go...

Every relationship involves trust.  When we meet someone new we immediately assess them to decide if they are trustworthy.  Sometimes we guess right and sometimes not.  But innately we decide.  The people whom we deem trustworthy often become members of our circle of friends or acquaintances we enjoy in our lives.  Those we deem not, often are never given a chance to get close.  Why?  Because we don't want to be hurt. People we allow into our inner circles have the ability to hurt us by their actions and words and those we keep outside, most likely do not.  Therefore, trust becomes one of the first factors in determining whether or not we will move forward with a newly introduced person.

For those we choose to keep, the few we deem trustworthy, we believe offer safety with them.  We can be ourselves and say what we think and know that they will do the same.  We create give and take habits with these people and some of them become integral parts of our everyday lives and some remain on the fringe,  nice to touch once in awhile and still very important to us.  The close ones, the ones who 'get' us and support us are the ones who hold the most trust.  They are the ones we count on NOT to hurt us.  Yet, they are the only ones who really can hurt us.  They are the only ones whose opinions and actions matter to us and therefore, they are capable of causing irreparable damage to our hearts, heads and lives.  They have been entrusted with our well being and thereby have the ability to bring everything crashing down.  Our treatment of our  friends and family is the most important thing about who we are.

I find the people around me to be, for the most part, trustworthy and able to protect my heart.  I find that I don't open up quite as easily as I once did.  I have learned from past heartache to be just a bit guarded in my experience with people who are new to my life.  I let them in easily enough, but I don't really embrace them until I see the redeeming qualities that I enjoy being surrounded by and will give back freely.  The ability to listen when needed, the ability to give what I can, the ability to share my feelings, fears or excitement.  The ability to feel what someone else is feeling and hurt if they hurt, smile if they are happy and help if I know how.  To just BE there, if I don't know how to help.  I want that in my life from my friends and family.  I want to be able to reach out and find support when I feel weak.  I want someone who will say, "Wait, let's think this over because you may be wrong about this one."  No 'yes men' in my life, please.  I need people of strength and character and I have them.

I believe with all that I am that life is exactly what you make it.  I believe with all that I am that we are each a product of our environment.  We are the person life has taught us to be.  I hope life isn't done teaching me to be a better, stronger more compassionate person because I need more of all of those.  I also hope life isn't done teaching me to reach out and be the support someone needs.  I need to do more of that.  I hope life isn't done teaching me ways to be more charitable, I certainly need more of that.

I want to be the person with whom you can deposit your 'trust account' and know that it will be forever safe and protected within me.  To know that if I cause you pain, I will be there to do whatever you need me to do to repair or remove that pain.  To know that if I caused it, I also feel it.   There is a huge risk to giving or receiving someones trust.  The risk is the pain, heartache and disappointment which  may occur.  In the end, it is usually worth the risk. just isn't.

The rewards, of course, are self evident.  Someone in your life who is imperfect, but steadfast.  Someone who will ride the waves and open their arms at the end of the ride to embrace and hold you and your trust.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Rings

This week-end, the 13th of August, 2011, to be exact, I will be attending the wedding of a young couple who have been together for years.  They are about to begin a new branch of their family tree.  It's an exciting time and a stressful time for the bride and groom and their parents.

Makes me happy to see such good people find each other and actually be willing to work at their relationship through some very difficult times.  So many people just throw up their hands and walk away, if times get hard.  Not these two.  They obviously love each other and their families and they are going to make a wonderful family of their own.

They will exchange rings and vow to love, honor and cherish.  They will promise to live as one unit and support and aide each other in all their endeavors.  Each will wear the ring that symbolizes eternal love, no beginning and no end.  The bands are gold to symbolize the value of the love and devotion they inspire.  They are worn as a symbol of the commitment they are making each to the other.  They are the symbol of the life they have chosen and on that day will, in the sight of God and their chosen witnesses, be the finishing touch on a perfect union.

Danielle and eternity of happiness to you.

Grandma Jo

The Rings That Bind or Bond

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The Rings that Bind or Bond 

When I saw the entwined rings, I immediately thought of the vows that bind two lives into one from this day forward, forsaking all others and you know the rest.  It took my wandering mind to a place I haven't visited for many years. Well, not that I haven't talked about it or joked about it, but I actually hadn't contemplated the meaning or the long term affect of that day.  The day Mike and I promised each to the other a lifetime of being "ONE".

We exchanged vows in the early evening following a very late night at our local watering hole where we celebrated a bit too much with some old friends.  The lingering results were still very evident during the small and quick ceremony.  To be honest, neither us remember much of the actual ceremony, but our minister did give us a copy of the vows we swore before God and those 4 witnesses to uphold from that day forward. So ignorance would not be an excuse here.

I am not sure either of us has become the other, but what we have done is turned two very different people who lived very different lives into a couple (one) that share all of our differences as much as we share all of our mutual loves.  We didn't become one person, we became one couple.  We became the united pair that function as individuals to accomplish the life we both hope to have.  The life we are working toward everyday. We both want a comfortable golden era together.  We both want to be able to travel out of Michigan winters and into sun, somewhere.  Somewhere like Arizona, the ultimate destination for our twilight years.

Some years it has been easy to stay focused and on the same page.  Some years I felt we were struggling to find one path we could both walk.  Some years were combination packs of unity and separateness.  In short, we are kinda normal.  We have good times and difficult times in our history of 29 years as a married couple.  Today finds us preparing for his retirement at the end of the year and hoping that it will all work out.  Hoping that we aren't in a food line somewhere a couple years down the road.  Hoping that gas won't be $10 a gallon and traveling will mean going 2 miles for dinner out.  Not worrying, mind you, just hoping.  Whatever the next years bring, we will be together and we will be relatively happy.  I know this because our happiness or lack of it will always be for us to choose or not.  I know that we both love the other and we both care about the other's wishes and needs.  I know that neither of us would choose someone else to share this life with, if we could do that.  We often refer to each other as, "My last chance for romance" because, well, it's true!

Our rings do bind us together, but our love bonds us to each other.  Our vows were taken and accepted as a forever thing and 'til death do us part is what we believe.

So bound and bonded, we move forward through this life and into the next.  This is the person I most want to share everything with and most want to see first thing and last thing, everyday.  Our entwined rings signify the unbroken circle of love bound together in an unbreakable bond.

Choices brought us here and choices are binding us together forever.  That's a good thing!  


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mommy Reflections

Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!

Sitting here, alone right now, after a few days with my daughter.  She seldom is here alone and this time was a business trip which allowed her to headquarter at my house.  How lucky am I?  We had some time each day to just talk and laugh and be mom and daughter.  That is a rare thing, very rare.  I love it each and every time it happens.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy the family visits!  Time with my granddaughters is so precious to me.  Living 10 hours apart means at the very least, a 3 day trip to have that special time and it just can't happen often enough for me.  I feel like I miss so much of their lives as they are growing and yet somehow, we remain close and cherish our visits. I have grown now to love my daughter's fiance and will soon have even more grand children to love!  Okay, I don't have to wait to love, but ... well, you know.  All of them are such an important and wonderful part of my life that I cannot imagine not having any of them.  AND next week-end there is a wedding, adding another one to love! I really enjoy spending time getting to know each and hearing about their lives when I get a chance to go hang with them.

However, being one on one with my little girl is such a blessing for a lot of reasons that I feel like it's a gift from her to me every time it occurs.  She is all mine for that little window and I am all hers.  It doesn't matter if we are remembering, planning, sharing or just being silly.  It only matters that it is just us.  Although we do talk on the phone, it's not the same as being with her.  Maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  I know I love this girl and I miss having her around me.  I know that she is a unique and incredible woman and I know that I am so blessed that she calls me "Mom" and still loves me after all the stress of being raised by me!  C:

Yep, life goes on and we all change with time.  We all grow and develop into whomever we are determined to be, but one thing we remain for all of our lives, we are the child of someone.

I gave birth to two babies and inherited two more half growns when I married Mike.  They will forever be children in my heart.  As, I am sure, I am a child in my Momma's heart.  I love to see them as adults and think of them as my friends, but still, children in my heart.  Always 'needing' to hear my opinion, even though I know they don't "need' it, I want to think they do.

Thinking about this is just another part of the reflective moments mommies of all ages have every now and then.  I just know that of all the things I have done in my life, my children are my most impressive accomplishment.  Good on me!  Of course, the best part of raising great kids is that they then give you the most fantastic grandchildren anyone could ask for...and mine have done that in spades!   Love being the MOM and love being the GRANDMA maybe just a little bit more! (Shhhh, don't tell the grown-up kids.)

Jayne & Grandma

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Please leave your thoughts...I love when you do that!

Walking down a country road, seemingly alone~
Or sitting in a comfy chair poolside after noon~
Maybe washing dishes with no thoughts~
Or folding laundry, matching socks~
He is speaking wordlessly and now, without a doubt~
What weighed on me a moment ago is naught to worry about.

Blessings lurking all around~
Smiles and laughter always found~
Pain, enough to know tears will heal~
Scars, for reminders of how that feels~
He gives each a mixture though not always even~
He holds us close to him, we just have to listen.

It takes only silence and a willing ear~
His message comes through for all to hear.

Trusting My Instincts

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This weeks prompt made me think and then rethink where to go with this idea.  I wanted to talk about learning to trust my instincts, but seriously, I have a long way to go in that area.  I am an over-thinker.

As a young mother I believe I did better with following my own instincts than I do today.  If my babies seemed to need something, I just 'knew' what would help.  When they were toddlers, I 'knew' what I should be doing for their health and teaching life skills that would serve them always, but now, I second guess myself much more often.

I have decided that with age comes wisdom and that wisdom tells me that sometimes my instincts are not the best solution because my inner-self just wants peace and gentleness all around me.  My instincts are going to lead me in that direction.  I have trained my instincts to lead me NOT onto the best possible path, but onto the path that will bring me the quiet life I so desire and enjoy.  That means that on occasion, I will choose to allow something that needs to be addressed to go unchallenged because in the grand scheme of life, it won't make a difference.  Years ago, I had to challenge everything that didn't feel right or was obviously wrong.

You have all heard the expression, "Don't sweat the small stuff and by the way, it's all small stuff."  I think that is my new mantra.  I don't think I deliberately made any big decision to embrace that, it just happened to me gradually.  Life is too short and too precious for me to be irate about things that I cannot change or affect in any way.  I have a limited time here and I want to spend what time I have loving and appreciating.  Being and growing. Sharing and learning. I want to be surrounded by people and things that make me smile or feel content. The years of fighting the good fight or leading the charge are pretty much over for me.  Not to say that I won't stand up for myself, if need be and not to say I won't go to the edge for someone I care about or someone who is being abused, but I won't go looking for it!  It'll have to knock me up side of the head to get my attention, then I will take action.  I'm a force to be reckoned with, if I'm riled.  I just don't want to be riled.

My instincts are always in tune with where I am in my life, so I think I need to remember that and remember that those instincts do have my best interest in mind.  I have them because I am on a journey through a life I have carved over the years.  Big mistakes and big failures are as much a part of who I am as the big successes and majorly good choices.  All in all, I am the person I have been working to be and so far, it isn't too bad.  With work to do and improvements to achieve, I believe I am on the right road.  I believe my instincts are right on target.

So...from this moment forward, I am going to trust those instincts much more than I have of late and I will go with my gut a lot more often.

"Life may not be the party we expected or wanted, but since we're here, we might as well dance."
 Don't know the author of that line, but I do love it.  <3