He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.~ Epictetus
Good day fellow passengers. As you board the train today imagine me, your humble conductor, handing you a beautiful box wrapped in gold wrapping paper. “WAIT!!!” Don’t open it until you read all of the below. But first…
Fellow Passengers, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I want to give you a gift. A gift of hope, love and optimism for the Christmas season and the New Year that is upon us. Yes, this is a re-gift, as I post it each year but, remember that this is personal though from me to you. All of my wonderful friends and family who’ve jumped aboard the Train this year. It is my hope that you will savor the spirit of the following gift, re-gift it, and pass along.
The Gift: “GOLD WRAPPING PAPER” (Remember, even if you’ve already received some, is there ever enough “love” to receive?).
‘Gold Wrapping Paper’
I (Chuckie) received this from a friend who had a choice to make. It said that I had a choice to make too.
I’ve chosen. Now it’s your turn to choose.
The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to give to her.
Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and then said, ‘This is for you, Momma.’
The mother was embarrassed by her earlier overreaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty. She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner.
‘Don’t you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there’s supposed to be something inside the package?’
She had tears in her eyes and said, ‘Oh, Momma, it’s not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full.’
The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life.
Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and GOD. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
You now have two choices:
1. Pass this on to your friends, or
2. forget about this story and act as if it didn’t touch your heart.
As you can see, I took choice No. 1.
I chose to share with you all here on the LiFeTrain, my family!
If you receive this more than once in return just know that your friends have also thought of you…
Hey Passengers, I was thinking, is nostalgia a disorder of the imagination, where the mind is dwelling upon past memories and loses interest in the present situation: a mood disorder. Is it a longing for pleasures, experiences, or events belonging to the past. Have you ever done as I have and caught a memory brought on by an aroma, a song, an old movie, a picture, that could send you back many, many years?
Although nostalgia is not depression, it can lead to depression. For nostalgia to be normal, it must contain a depressive component that is related to the recognition that the past is irrevocable. In its pathological form, the mood contains only the elated aspects without the acceptance of loss, or what could be described as bittersweet sentiment.blues
Homesickness deals with the nagging thought that perhaps we made a terrible mistake in leaving the comforts of our old life, which may bring a temporary phase of loneliness and depression.
I’ve figured out along this ride on the Train that there is never any benefit in longing for what once was, but rather much joy in exploring what is. I always “TRY” to focus on the present and think positively. This approach reduces some of my frustration and unhappiness as well as builds my confidence to live in the spirit of the holiday season.
To really enjoy it during the holidays, we’ll first need to temper our expectations. Forget about what’s “supposed” to happen. Remember that lots of people out there are doing what’s expected, and probably running themselves a little ragged.
Some degree of loneliness is normal during the holidays. There is nothing abnormal about having the “holiday blues,” which are more like a mood than any sort of lasting condition. I’ve researched and believe that depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms are associated with the holidays because this season brings back memories of a happier time in our lives. So, plan a holiday where loneliness doesn’t dominate.
Carving the turkey with friends and shopping for a gift for someone special is a part of life during the holidays. Drowning your troubles in egg nog and pigging out on holiday candy is not the solution.
Doing the holidays solo? Being alone is a challenge for many people. Not being coupled during all the various gatherings can leave singles feeling left out, sad, and empty inside. What can you do to make the holidays joyous rather than depressing?
If you are feeling alone during the holidays because of a death, divorce or separation from your loved one or if you are feeling obligated to visit or entertain friends or relatives that you would rather avoid, perhaps the following guidelines may help minimize the “Holiday Blues.”
One thing to remember: There is no cure-all for the holiday blues, however it is important for you to understand that the only person in charge of how you “feel” is you.
Now wait…hold on, before you get defensive about that statement, I suggest that you take a closer look at the real issue that brings on this feeling. It is not always in our best interest to allow what we “think” to color how you feel.
Understand the difference between the holiday blues and holiday stress. Holiday blues are feelings of loss or sadness because we can’t be with people who are special to us. Holiday stress is often caused because we believe we need to be with some of those people.
Feeling down is not all bad. It allows us to see that something in our lives is not working. If you listen to your depression, it may help you make changes in your life. Embracing the “blues” in a positive way can be a good thing.
For many people, the holidays are a traditional time of happiness and festivity. However, for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays are a time of mixed emotions; hang in there Ms. Geri. So as we look to tomorrow, be aware of what triggers your emotions. Do your best to accept that your emotions will vary during the holidays. Make time to deal with your emotions. Have a good cry if you need to, punch some pillows and shout out loud about how angry you are. But then, as best you can, let it go. Catch the fish, look at it, then put it back in the water and watch it swim away, let it swim away and be done with it.
4Get Yesterday…it’s done
Welcome back passengers, I hope you had a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving, I did. If noting else, we spent it this side of six feet( above ground).
…Let’s get right to it.
KICK IT! …the mood, the music.
Well, it’s Monday, back to the grind. Let’s be honest, sometime we don’t really want to work at life. Work can be hard. Work is tiring. We want to have fun. We want to play! We want to have a good time and have all the things we want. But we also, know that because of the fall in the garden we are required to work, thus says the Lord.
However, to make things easier this week and beyond, why not play the game of life? We are the dealers. We hold all the cards. Somewhere along the line, somebody cheated us. They told us we were needy, helpless and dependent. That is baggage. We must put it down in order to deal ourselves a good hand. We must also know the rules. We must play fairly, dealing with everyone the way we want to be dealt with. We must expect to win. If we entertain failure at any point, we lose. When we see a foul, we must call it. We don’t have to fix it, but we must see it for what it is and call it. The final and most important rule is that we must follow all the rules, all the time
Ps. [whisper] – At least let’s give it our best shot…
ALL ABOARD! The LifeTrain!
Roll Credits (Here’s what you need to get that Monday Merry!)
Is it just me, or did it seem like depending on what network you were following, and their polling results you didn’t know what was what…who was who. I mean depending on which channel I was watching the president was either losing mightily or winning by a landslide. This must be the role polling playes in this mess. At some point in the last decade (perhaps earlier), polls became a political weapon akin to propaganda. It’s hard to grasp the change I try to write about, because it’s a qualitative one
and not just quantitative.
Sure, polls have always been used in that sense. But something vast changed in these elections: The Republicans believed in their own propaganda. In the past they may have pretended to believe that propaganda; this time they truly did.
Hence the stunned astonishment of Karl Rove, listening to the Ohio results, and hence the cheerful optimism of the Romney’s and the Ryan’s all the way to the point when it was clear that Obama had won re-election. They expected to win and they had not planned for the alternative.
There’s lots of evidence of this: Pundits confidently offered numbers based on assumptions about much greater Republican turnout and much reduced turnouts of young voters and African-American voters. But those assumptions were assumptions, hanging off pure air. So what made them so easily accepted as facts?
I’m not completely sure, but all this may have something to do with the ideological-bubbles phenomenon. If you belong to the conservative bubble, then you get your news interpreted by Fox News and by right-wing bloggers, and you get tweets which tell you that unskewedpolls.com is fixing all polls to look the way they should look.
Likewise, if you believe in a vast left-wing-media conspiracy, then all the polls the media reports must be biased, right?
These are just my thoughts and they may be wrong. But I think the cows have come home on some of the costs of the manufactured political wars and the self-segregation of politically motivated people into separate ideological camps. That most everything can be now seen through politically-colored spectacles is also part of the problem.
One of my favorite things to do is waking up on Saturday morning, and take my woman Ida out to breakfast. I enjoy kicking back with Ida, munchin on “PECAN PANCAKES” and slurpin on hot coffee, I read about what’s going on in the world. It’s my quiet time…my time to reflect and relax.
One Saturday morning about halfway through my little ritual, I spotted a headline (on Ida, MY IPAD) that caught my attention, “Graduating Student Credits His ‘Angel'”…and I began to read.
A young man who was graduating from college told the story about how Oral Lee Brown was his “Real Life Angel.” In 1987, Brown, a real estate agent in Northern California, saw a young girl in her neighborhood begging for money.
When she went to the school the girl had claimed to attend, Brown couldn’t find her, but that day she made a decision that would change the lives of many other children forever. She adopted an entire first-grade class in one of Oakland’s lowest performing schools, and she pledged that she personally would pay for anyone who wanted to attend college.
This would be a great story even if Oral Lee was independently wealthy; however, it is a much greater story considering she was a former cotton picker from Mississippi, making $45,000 a year and raising two children of her own.
Brown lived up to her pledge. Since 1987, she’s personally saved $10,000 a year while raising donations for her “adopted first-grade kids.” And because of her tremendous act of unselfish love, children who could have been “swallowed by the streets” are now graduating from college to pursue their dreams.
We all seek our purpose in life. Most of us wonder how we can make a positive difference during our brief time on this earth. But Oral Lee Brown discovered the simple secret…GIVING.
Arthur Ashe said it best,
“From what we get, we can make a living. What we give, however, makes a life.”
As we enter into the weekend just wanted to remind us all about giving thanks this thanksgiving for all our angels…
You can read more of her story here if you like CLICK
Hey passengers, Welcome to “Therapy Thursday” on the LifeTrain. A very good friend of mine recently asked me if I would ask Dr.E if she could ever fully recover from a failed love in order to fully love her new husband to be. She was in the midst of considering a second marriage venture and she just wanted to be sure. Well, in hopes of helping other passengers possibly dealing with this situation we decided to share certain aspects of our “Panera Bread” meeting conversation that I managed to schedule and facilitate. My conclusion (interested in hearing yours) is even after a lost love/marriage, it is possible. Not easy, but possible. For discretion sake we’ll call my friend “MISSY”…but, you can still call me Chuckie!
Here is an excerpt from a longer dialogue we had with my recovering yet hopeful friend. I hope you will find in it some truths that may work for you. And as per PROTOCOL…the mood, the music…KICK IT!
I want so much to forget my LL (lost Love). And there are times when I actually hate him. I know a lot of people get involved in affairs in thier maeriage. But this was different, and it is harder for me to put it to rest. I keep thinking how sad and how stupid it was for me not to see the signs of his infidelity. It has spoiled many memories of how love can be.
I was totally caught by surprise when he left me, I feel so stupid. And to make matters worse, afdterwards I really thought that I could maintain friendship feelings for this man. But little did I realize how sick my marriage really was and just how hurt I had been. No one taught me how to be married and how to deal with a lost marriage. And when we started talking again, it did not take long for old feelings resentment to resurface and take precedence in my life. I truly believed that I had made a horrible mistake in marrying my husband when it was all over. I did not realize that marriage could take such a toll once lost.
You don’t have to have closure of forgetting, or closure of no feelings. Remember the good, even credit it with restoring your desire for marriage again and showing you what was right for you. The only important thing is your clarity that it does not have to happen again, and I know you have that. And that you forgive yourself, release any guilt feelings and forgive your ex. Let that be enough. And remember it’s okay to love a memory.
Just as your ex-husband has moved on, I hope you will yourself find the strength to move on, especially before entering into another serious relationship such as marriage. Yes, lost loves are difficult, very difficult. You did not go looking for this trouble, this heartache. It caught you by surprise. You had no experience with this type of thing, not even awareness of the risks of such pain and sorrow.
If I could magically grant you three wishes, it would be that 1) you forgive your lost lover, 2) that you remember the good of what you had together in the initial romance, in the past, and that you can have that again with your new intended 3) and that the past union memory fades into a soft-focus past tense and stays there. Let it go Missy, move on sweetie.
Thanks Dr Hath. My new Boaz and i are going through marriage counseling and doing a lot of research, we have learned that love goes through a lot of stages and once you reach the stage when you lose that “in love” high, that’s when you need to really work at finding ways to keep the romance alive.
I sometimes refer to what happened as a marital heart attack. And just like having a real life-threatening scare, we are learning how to better take care of each other and believe me, we are reaping the benefits! And I am coming alive again!
DrE: Keep the Conductor and I appraised of your new union, we wish you the best.
Well passengers, that’s the short of it. Again for discrestion sake I had to edit out a whole lot of this conversation. I do hope that the parts I was able to share may be of help if ever (hopefully not) needed
I believe that we, as humans, are meant to be in relationships. We’re supposed to have relationships, romantic and platonic and they are supposed to be healthy. But the truth is, no one ever teaches us how to do that. There are no relationship courses in school that show us how to figure out our value system and then to link up with people who have similar or complimentary values.
We are; however, taught to be in relation with people who are nice to us, who are attractive, who have material wealth and more niceties. These things are taught through our societal fabric. They are the unwritten expectations The problem with this process is that does not take into account what happens after these things become routine. It’s great if someone is nice to you, but what if they don’t value education the way you do? It’s awesome if someone shows you high levels of respect, but what if they don’t value independence the way you do? It’s sweet if they buy you gifts just because, but what if they don’t value communication the way you do?
Well if they don’t value what you value or have complimentary ones, then it gets really tough. In my opinion, everyone should value communication. Why, you ask? Because it is only through communication that we can understand the status of our relationships. When values start to be misaligned, then resentment has an opportunity to creep in. In addition, this is usually what starts the outside conversations about our relationship. We start talking to other people about things only our significant other can answer.
Our high percentage of failing relationships is not just a matter of these new generations (of which I ama member of) ”giving up too easily”, as some would like to suggest. As a matter a fact, I would bet a large sum of money that the previous generations could have used a much different approach to relationships than the one they had. The suck it up and hang in there philosophy left a shlew of unfulfilled people; mostly women, I might add.
In addition to checking in on our relationship status, communication is a phenomenal way to continue the process of understanding ourselves, our ticks and motivations. For instance, if my wife/girlfriend were to say to me, “I would like to quit my job and start a new company” and I begin to give her all the reasons why we can’t do this right now and why it’s irresponsible for her to think of doing such a thing, well there begins the breakdown. We would make out much better if I took time to understand they value that she is trying to satisfy for herself. I know I have to give one for the women also, to balance this out (smile). If a man tells his wife/girlfriend that he wants to go on a missions trip to India for a month and she begins ranting about the time it’ll take away from the family, the stress it will put on her to keep it all together while hes gone and how irresponsible it would be of him to do such a thing, then he too runs the risk of alienating her. A better solution (in my humble opinion) would be to ask as many questions as necessary to understand what value he’s attempting to satisfy.
I believe “romantic relationship readiness” is about self discovery first, finding a friend whos value system is in line with your own and thirdly opening the doors of communication from the start of the relationship. Here are a few other tips I believe would change the romantic relationship process as we know it.
1. Learn about yourself. And I mean really learn. Why do you get upset when certain things happen? Why are you insecure about other things? Why do you get offended when you do? How come a certain type of person annoys you? Why do you cling to your romantic interests to tightly? Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? And so on and so on and so on.
2. Tie your learning about yourself to specific values so that you can confidently name the reasons for your emotions.
3. Look for a friend you respect, whose value system is aligned first and romantic interest second. Trust me, when the dust settles, it’s the related values that make a person lovable even when you don’t necessarily like them, at times.
4. Give your “intended” friend permission to communicate with you open and respectfully about where they are and how things are affecting him or her. There is nothing like someone saying that you can tell them the truth and then they totally freak on you when you do. Great way to distance yourself.
5. Commit to respecting the communication process and always listen and speak from a place of understanding. Understanding is critical in all that we do in life. If you began a new job without anyone communicating the expectations, deliverable and required process, you would fail miserably. Relationships are no different.
I believe we can turn this thing around. We need not look to President Obama and First Lady Michelle or any other notable couples and wish. First, we have no idea what they have. I do believe that we can actually find fulfillment in our romantic relationships and that doesn’t mean they will all last forever. It means that we will not leave behind or collect so much baggage along our journey. This will leave our emotional palette clear to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Hey Passengers, the flag on the engine of the train today waves proudly thanks to our brave veterans. “To us in America, the reflections of Veterans Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice for ll!.”
Here’s a story of Valor I’d like to share with you on Veteran’s day 2012.
He died on a mountainside, far away from home. We were hours into the mission when insurgents ambushed our squad. They marred the beauty of that crisp, emerald morning with rocket-propelled grenades, chased by hellfire. He was the first one hit. He died instantly.
As our team laid down suppressive fire, the quick reaction force choppers closed in, raining mortars on the insurgents’ heads. For his life, we took seven of the enemy’s.
As I made my way down that slope, my feet stepping over the craggy rocks stained with his blood, I was angry. What a waste. What a waste to have died on a mountainside in a strange land, so far away from all you love.
He was a dad. He was a husband. Before his squad laid his corpse down into that black bag, they took off his wedding ring for rightful return to his wife, a widow now.
What a waste. His kids would never hear their father’s footfall at the front door and say “daddy’s home.” On his 23rd anniversary, he would never tell his wife she was more beautiful to him then than she had been on their wedding day.
“He didn’t have to die,” I fumed to a senior soldier involved with the operation’s planning. As I aired a litany of the doomed mission’s missteps that made that soldier’s death, in my eyes, senseless, he listened quietly.
He let me rant. Perhaps knowing it was the first mission of my first deployment; knowing it was the first combat death I had experienced; knowing I was a junior soldier who hadn’t a hoot as to what it took to begin to plan an operation, let alone understand that when something goes wrong on the battlefield, the tremors of responsibility are perhaps felt more deeply at the top than on the ground — he let me rant.
After having unleashed my righteous indignation on him, he looked at me soberly and simply asked: “Who knows?” “Who knows? But that soldier’s death may have saved many lives?” he queried.
The question smacked of irony. In a scripted profession that’s guided by precision and accuracy, where the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge are paramount — once the bullets are fired, the smoke has cleared, and the body bags come home — it’s startling how much we don’t know, and never will.
It wasn’t until later when I was alone that the question haunted and humbled me. There I was, convinced that a soldier’s blood had been vainly shed, when in fact I was wrong. Who knows? That soldier’s life had been given for something so much bigger than I could ever fathom, at least not in my generation.
In his book The Tipping Point (Little, Brown and Company, 2000), Malcolm Gladwell explores how individuals, while seemingly insignificant, can be agents of big change. He likens these people to patient zero of an epidemic, the first infected with a disease that has global reach.
Soldiers are often patient zero in the pandemic of history. Our work impacts future generations in incomprehensible ways. I imagine that while running down the reddened slopes of Bunker Hill, charging through the bloody fields of Gettysburg, or low crawling across the blood-soaked beaches of Normandy, somewhere during the epic battles that shifted the course of recent history, there were soldiers like me who looked at the carnage around them and thought “what a waste.” But history proved them wrong.
In the fog of war it’s sometimes hard to see how a soldier’s death can be anything but tragic, how it can serve a higher purpose, but it does. Who knows which soldier’s life it was that became the tipping point in the Revolutionary War between colonization and democracy; in the Civil War between slavery and freedom; in World War II between genocide and regeneration? Who knows?
This Veterans Day thousands of people will visit the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery. While the Virginia memorial pays homage to fallen service members whose names we’ll never know, I’d like to think it also pays tribute to the millions of service members whose names we do know, but whose contribution to this country will remain unknown because it’s something we can’t even begin to quantify — but history will.
Although he died on a mountainside far away from home, history will sanctify his blood. History will glorify his life. And history will immortalize his sacrifice.
Now, present day. Are any of these familiar? If so, there is help. Contact the VA for yourself or someone else CLICK.
All Aboard! It’s the weekend and it’s time for Jibber Jabber. Jibber Jabber occurs when I just want to sit down and chat with you in the Diner car over a cup of coffee. Translated, it’s just me and you chillin here..talking about nothing, talking about anything, talking about everything. So, if you are so moved, leave a comment. I “LOVE” knowing I am not riding this hur Train alone. Let me tell you just a bit more about Jibber Jabber.
Jib Jab is a release for me. I always say…everyone wants to talk but, rare is the person that listens. Most times I really try to stop and listen to folks that want to speak with me. Often times folks say, “Are you there?”, If I am on the phone with them. In person I try to sit quiet and listen with the proper body language that shows I’m engaged. I suspect most folks are surprised that they aren’t in a fight for the microphone…understand? Anyway, JIB Jabbin and blogging allows me to control the mic and blubber about anything and as in the case of the Jab….mostly just stuff that is running around in my head. So, here we go, JIB JAB…
Disclaimer: Jibber Jabber usually occurs when I’ve either had to much Coffee during the day, or I’m feeling some kinda way…like missing my mother or some other mood altering historical event. But, it’s not always the case, sometimes I am just enjoying more coffee and just jammerin, yammerin with you…As is the case at this moment.
KICK IT! (The Mood, The Music)
As I was searching for just the right song, I stumbled across one of my favorites on the You…TUBE. As I was looking for the code to embed I glanced at one of the comments pertaining to this song. It really moved me. It read:
Awe, This was me and my babe song. He called me every morning and we listened to this song all the time! Until one morning I called him and he didn’t answer and I called and called! His mother answered and told me he had been shot. My heart dropped and tears rolled down my face; he was my all Now I know he would want me to be strong for him- I LOVE YOU Bae!R.I.P
My mind wandered and imagined a lot of things about this comment. First, how terrible it is to lose a loved one. And especially someone you are truly in love with. I know that felling. And as Forrest Gump would say…”THOT’S ALL I’ll SAY BOUT THOT”… Wow, I can just imagine the pain she must feel when this song comes on. The word “Grok” (CLICK) comes to mind as I wish I could contact this person to explain this word. It means: in common usage the term means to communicate sympathetically or to ‘drink in’ understanding. Anyway, isn’t it funny how music can have such a profound affect on our lives…in the strangest of ways.
I’ve been called a “NERD” a time or two. So I decided to find it’s origins. And now I proudly wear the label since it was coined by one of my most favorite authors, Dr. Suess! The slang term ‘nerd’ means an intelligent but single-minded person, obsessed with a certain hobby or pursuit, e.g. a computer nerd. But the word that has been the bane of so many elementary schooler’s existence was actually invented by their king: none other than Dr. Seuss himself! The word first appeared in print in Seuss’s 1950 picture book, If I Ran the Zoo, though Seuss’s ‘nerd’ is a small animal from the land of Ka-Troo, not a pale kid with glasses taped together. So, you may here-to fore refer to me a a BLOG NERD! gUESS i’LL WRITE THE BOOK, “iF i RAN THE Train!”. He He, get it? All Aboard! Side note…as a child I “REALLY” didn’t get into Dr.Suess, with the exception of the annual showing of “HOW THE GRENCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. But, now as an Adult…I get it! Check out “Oh the Places you will go!”. (CLICK)
Shifting gears…As I grow older, more and more I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one is overcome, I’m becoming stronger and more able to meet those that are still to
come. I’m growing in all my difficulties. I pray to the Father that I will have wisdom, strength to continue this maturation process.