<![CDATA[Margie Harding - Home]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 23:38:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[A Special Christmas]]>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 19:40:58 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/a-special-christmasPicture
          I was watching a Christmas movie recently where a scene in a restaurant had two gentlemen trying to order food.  The waiter was having a terrible time trying to understand what they wanted.  A couple at another table noticed what was going on and the woman at the table immediately said, “He wants to order steak.  And he (pointing to the other man) wants to order a burger.”  There was a bit more conversation between the two deaf men and the woman and an extreme amount of gratitude for her kindness.

         Her male friend at the table was surprised as he noted her ability to sign.  Her response, “My dad was deaf.  I learned to sign at an early age.  He taught me how important it is to be kind and help someone in need whenever you can.”

        What I found remarkable after seeing this movie is reading an article about a Santa Claus who held a small girl in his lap who was having a terrible time telling him what she wanted for Christmas.  The momma, standing near, apologized for the girl’s difficulties.  Santa wasn’t bothered at all, but asked if she knew sign language and her mother said, yes! Santa immediately began to sign to the little girl who was completely delighted and expressed great joy! 

        This family isn’t the only one who has challenges during the holiday season due to children with special needs.  Traditions remain important, even when they must be planned for and customized for each family or circumstance.  When there is a child who is sensory sensitive, changes like keeping music low during activities is important, as is being sure to shop early in the day to avoid large and intimidating crowds.

        Even with all the pre-planning and expectations, things still can go completely wrong.  Another family had prepared for a visit with Santa, much like the above situation.  The girl was delighted when she saw Santa heading for his chair and waved with excitement.  Momma snapped a spontaneous photo with her phone. 

       However, the little girl in this circumstance, became completely unsettled with sitting on Santa’s lap.  She refused to pose, smile or in any way become cooperative.  The mom was disappointed in her daughter’s response, but recognized, it didn’t matter---not a bit!  A visit was made, a picture taken---even if it wasn’t on Santa’s lap.  The moment would be forever cherished!

       What I find interesting is I remember when my own children were small with no diagnosed special needs and they too found the jolly man in the red suit frightening!  I have pictures with tears!  We all have things that intimidate us, whether we are six months, or sixty years! 

       We all have needs.  “Special” should not define us…..and it certainly should not define our children, regardless of any pre-conceived notions anyone else has!  As you shop this holiday season, visit with friends and family, and attend holiday festivities, remember each person deserves our kindness and understanding.   It matters not our differences--physical or otherwise, race, creed, political preferences or faith beliefs.  It’s Christmas!   Share the love!

       If you like this post on “Special Needs” visit my online store www.paxtonseries.com to buy children’s books I have authored on special needs.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

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<![CDATA[Training Wheels]]>Wed, 29 Nov 2017 01:06:07 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/training-wheelsPicture
​            I remember as a child trying to keep my bicycle upright when my dad removed the training wheels.  I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time!  Once I learned how to balance my body on the moving apparatus, so I didn’t wreck, I was euphoric! 
 
            As I grew and faced other challenges, along with making new friends in new schools as our family moved, each change felt like I needed to have “training wheels” on to keep me balanced.  I fought fear and trepidation with each new person I spoke with, material I had to learn and expectations I had to meet.
 
            As I grew into a teenager, more challenges forced me to “grow.”  We all make choices, even if it doesn’t seem so.  Not making a “choice” is still making one.  I remember not making a choice about drugs when I was in high school.  Yet, because I chose to not be around or “party” with those who used drugs, I still made a choice.  These choices were forming and molding me into the person I would become.
 
            I did choose to marry and not enter college right out of high school.  This became another time of “training.”  We learn to live with another, make compromises and take consideration of the other’s way of doing things, opinions and feelings, to make things “work.” 
 
            Following on the heels of marriage, I became pregnant and found another time necessitating “training wheels.”  I read once our first born child is our “experimental” one!  It’s true.  There are plenty of parent handbooks out there, but the best training is “On The Job Training” because no book can adequately prepare you for parenthood! 
 
           There are mistakes, learning curves and general problems that come with having little people!  This precept doesn’t change from child to child, but after the first, a mom isn’t as likely to worry so much about perfectly timed, boiled bottles; serving baby food in the exact order suggested; spilled milk on the bib or outfit, or a hundred other things that just aren’t as relevant, as we add to our family!  We tend to adapt a little easier and breathe, while allowing our little one to get dirty, enjoy creating mud pies or cluttering the floor with every single toy they own!
 
           Training wheels don’t stop here, however, either.  As our little people become teenagers, we again struggle with balancing what they should do and how they should do it--while trying to let them grow!  Along with this there is still the need to harmonize with other areas in our life.  This isn’t always easy.  Finances can throw us a curve, health issues, our faith walk, career moves, relationships and so much more in our lives require evaluation and often times stabilizing.  This is not unlike the training wheels that were first applied to our new bicycle back when we were small children.
 
           My point to all this is every season of our lives requires some amount of balance.  It seems like life experiences change almost daily.  I encourage you, during this holiday season to reflect on what is important in your life right now. We’re getting ready to begin another year.  Take stock and be ready to realign where needed.

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<![CDATA[I Am Blessed]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:09:33 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/i-am-blessedPicture
            Statistics fascinate me and I wasn’t disappointed as I researched Thanksgiving!  Some of my discoveries included learning that over 43 million Americans travel somewhere for Thanksgiving!  And about 40% of travelers are bound for family!  --- Of course it seems there is about 60% of families who have drama at this time of year as well, which might add a little edginess to the otherwise enjoyable get together!
 
            The first Thanksgiving holiday lasted for three days, not much different than in today’s world.  Most people officially begin their Thanksgiving celebration on Wednesday, when they leave for their holiday, and don’t return to work until the following Monday.  The festivities that first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the original Plymouth Colony settlers and Native Americans, who were part of the area at the time.  Games were enjoyed by the men in attendance because women and children were not permitted to participate.
 
            It seems collectively, people devour about 736 million pounds of turkeys for the Thanksgiving celebrations.  That’s a lot of turkey!  What is interesting here, is to learn turkey was not the only meat on the menu for the first Thanksgiving! The first meal also included wild goose or duck, deer, fish and eels.  I admit, I cringe at the thought of eels…..  they make me think of snakes.  But what do I know?  People do, in some places I am told, eat snake.
 
            So, what makes Thanksgiving such a wonderful holiday to celebrate?  Our country is so different than what it was in the 1620's, yet there are similarities.  There was certainly strife during the time of the first Thanksgiving, and politically it may have had different players and circumstances, but there are parallels when considering the political arena in our lives today.
 
            The religious spectrum has changed over the centuries as people valued the right to worship as they believed.  While we have the same privilege today, there are those who would like nothing more than to steal that right away.  Bearing arms is yet another privilege the Pilgrims cherished for protection against any foe that would come to harm them.  This mindset is being challenged by those who believe guns kill people, while in truth, it’s people that kill people, just as the pencil cannot destroy another without the direct aid of a human.
 
            That said, we can say with a degree of accuracy that news across the world is not only dappled in unpleasantness, it wreaks of it.  Horror stories of shootings, weather related strife and political unrest abound. Yet here we are getting ready to celebrate another Thanksgiving Holiday.  So, we cook our meals, prepare lots of yummy desserts and invite friends and family to share a meal while we blot out all that is going on around us.
 
            There is indeed reason to have a thankful heart, despite the darkness around us.  Gather your family, friends and maybe even the least likely person around, to hold hands at your table and share in a oneness of Thanksgiving.  Remember all that is good in your life.
 
            I share my heart of thankfulness for you!  I am grateful you take a moment to read the thoughts my “pencil” puts to “paper.”  I am blessed by God with a family who loves me, friends who accept me, a country of freedom to make my own choices and so many other things.  Thank you, each and every one!  I am blessed! 
 
            Share your thoughts with us on your Thanksgiving traditions, family and especially those things for which you are grateful!   Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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<![CDATA[Diet And Special Need Symptoms]]>Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:15:17 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/diet-and-special-need-symptomsPicture
             I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge, eating lunch with a group of other teachers and the school nurse, when diet became the topic of discussion.  Most everyone shared their opinions while inserting personal difficulties dealing with children with ADHD, depression and more. 

             The school nurse then took the lead.  “It’s simple,” she said.  “The biggest thing affecting these children’s lives is diet.  We need to go back to gardening and eating fresh food instead of buying insecticide and chemically altered food, and don’t even get me started on sugar!  Think about it," she continued.  "All these special needs were not a problem back when kids ate honest to goodness nutritious food.”


           Her perspective may be a bit simplified. But what if she is right…..or even half right?  Research is showing she’s not that far off the mark.  Certainly, there has always been special needs children and not all are affected or created by what they eat, but these precious lives are being impacted by processed and chemically altered foods, as well as, an over-abundance of sugar!
 
             When I was a child, much of what we ate was fresh from the garden, we rarely had sweets, almost never sodas of any kind and nearly everything eaten was cooked from scratch.  I carried on many of these traditions with my own children.  I admit, however, to offering sugary snacks on a fairly regular basis (particularly after bath time), ate veggies out of a can (especially during the winter once our canned food was spent!), and even turned to prepackaged food on occasion,  like cereal (huge sugar container!) and boxed macaroni and cheese!  What child doesn’t like cold cereal and mac and cheese?  At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer!  Now I question my choices!
 
           Time and study have produced statistics that suggest we need to take a hard look at our diets. (Not only our children's, but adults!)  If we can keep our children from eating less (or even eliminating---which is extremely difficult) highly processed foods, foods with dyes, sweeteners and preservatives, food contaminated with pesticides and increased sugar and salt levels along with those containing trans fat, there is a good chance of change.  Conditions like autism, cancer, hyperactivity, digestive disorders and ADHD and a host of other issues plaguing our children, will be lessened and perhaps even eliminated.
 
            Hospitals treating children with these disorders are using specific diets to curb symptoms and “heal the gut” to stabilize and balance the bacteria and yeast.  One such diet includes a “carbohydrate diet” while another, the Ketogenic diet, works on the opposite premise of eating fat and protein with little carbohydrates.  A third diet option is called the “Feingold diet” named after it’s developer Dr. Benjamin Feingold back in the 1970’s that deals more with eliminating chemicals and dyes found in foods. 
 
            The point is, there are options, and what works for one child may not work for another.  I do, however, agree that our diet has much to do with not only our physical health, but also our mental health, our moods, our energy levels, emotions, nervous system along with our weight and ability to function from day to day.  Is it not likely, then, the food our children ingest could affect them negatively if it is chemically altered, processed, laced with sugar (that is addictive –but that’s another blog) – salted and synthetically created? 
 
If you liked this blog, then visit my website www.paxtonseries.com to see children’s books on special needs.

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<![CDATA[Ask The Question!]]>Tue, 24 Oct 2017 20:21:48 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/ask-the-questionPicture
As a non-traditional college student, who hadn’t attended a math class for over thirty years, Math class was stressful, especially College Algebra!  I didn’t have the background needed to be quickly successful.  Add to this, the professor that year, was new, had a very thick accent and had the mindset of getting through the entire book before the semester ended.  I struggled pitifully! 
 
Because of my personal difficulties with the processes required to make the math problems work, I asked LOTS of questions.  I was sure the rest of the class thought me out of my mind, totally ignorant and obnoxious.  Several semesters later, before class, in one of my Science classes, I had conversation with a male student with whom I’d never spoken.  He made the comment that he remembered me from our Math class.  I cringed, certain of verbal reprisal…or some kind of rejection, given all the questions I’d asked.  Instead, he surprised me with…..  “I’m glad you asked questions!  If I hadn’t already done well in other Math classes, including the algebra classes from High School, I would never have made it!” 
 
Most of us, if honest, will admit to having questions we are afraid to ask.  There are lots of reasons, from not wanting to intrude to not wanting to look stupid.  I remember many years ago hearing the statement, “No question is stupid if you don’t know the answer.”
 
Now all that said, there are times when questions need to be general or polite.  But a friend of mine recently was commenting on this subject and had some good insight.  His perspective says to ask questions, if we have them, but to the person directly affected.  If the person does not want to share, they will tell you, sometimes bluntly. 
 
Situations are different for everyone, just as there are two sides to every story.  But when we feel we need information to understand, it’s better to ask the person directly than to get information that is likely skewed or tainted, or even misunderstood from a secondary, or third or fourth source.  That is how rumors are started and often the information is so far from the truth, the truth is barely recognizable!
 
I admit, I giggle (most of the time) when it comes to asking for directions.  It seems (and this is just MY perspective) that men have a hard time admitting they are lost and need someone to tell them how to get where they are going.  In my very female mind, it would be so much easier to just ask!  Or even in a department store where you are looking for a single item and it can’t seem to be found-----  Ask!  The person you ask may or may not know where it can be found, but they then can ask the person who will.
 
My point of all this is, there is no shame to asking questions.  Our minds are always wanting to know things.  Why not verbalize them?  What is wrong with admitting we don’t have all the answers?  Sure, books (or google) are marvelous sources for finding answers, but sometimes it requires going to the direct human source.  Ask the question!

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<![CDATA[Burned Biscuits]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:41:11 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/burned-biscuitsPicture
            I heard the story recently about a woman who liked to make breakfast food for dinner on occasion.  I admit, I enjoy pancakes and eggs, along with any breakfast meat, any time of the day! The story, however, tells about an evening when the woman, after a long day, made “breakfast,” but had the unfortunate occurrence of burning the biscuits.  Regardless, she served her meal. The husband picked up a badly burned biscuit, smiled at his wife, and spread a thick layer of jelly and butter on it, while making conversation with his son, also at the table. After dinner, the wife apologized for the burned food, but the husband assured her, everyone needs burned food occasionally.  Later the son asked his dad if he really enjoyed the burned biscuits like he implied.  The dad confirmed his earlier statement, explaining his wife had a long day, she was tired, and besides that, it really didn’t hurt to eat burned food now and then!

            I loved the story and the lesson it gives.  People, like our lives, are not perfect.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much we try, there are days when things just don’t go right!  It’s when we can look past, not only our own faults and shortcomings, but those of others, who, like ourselves, are also not perfect!

            We all struggle in different areas.  It’s in this place we can celebrate our differences, because someone else’s weakness, is another’s strength.  It keeps things balanced, proving that we are all human and occasionally “we burn the biscuits!”  It takes some effort from time to time to look past the “imperfections” of others.  That, too, proves we are human!  But meaningful, lasting, relationships are forged in finding the best in those around us. 

            Besides our “lives” filled with daily imperfections, there are those around us with special needs, who are considered “imperfect” by the general population.  These special needs can be dyslexia, to ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, asthma, or Muscular Dystrophy, to dozens more.  Each of these special people, seem to some, to be a “burned biscuit.”  They are “left on the plate,” or pushed aside for others, who seem perfect and balanced. Very often, it’s these very special people, who have the biggest heart and the ability to show us different or “less than the accepted perfect” is just what the world needs.

            Sadly, some people have a difficult time looking past these “special” people.  Recently in a department store, one young woman became impatient with a young man in a wheel chair, with crippled hands doing his job of greeting and placing the required stickers on returns.  He could completely do the required task, but he took a bit longer than she or someone without a “special need” might have.  She shook her head and walked away. 

            Rather than excluding, rejecting or looking at a person with a special need as less than perfect, I encourage you to reach out, look beyond the “burned biscuit factor” and see them as a unique individual who has much to offer.  You will be amazed at the genuine affection, kindness and compassion with which you will be blessed.

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<![CDATA[Lessons Learned The Hard Way]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:00:46 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/lessons-learned-the-hard-wayPicture
​I was reading an article about how we learn lessons.  It seems, by nature, we choose to learn them the hard way.  As parents, we strive to teach our children by our mistakes, and say to them, “If you do as I’m telling you, I can save you from having to learn this lesson the hard way.”  Often, however, our children, like ourselves, choose to take the road that reveals the lessons….  “the hard way!”
 
The article, however, had forty ideas on lessons that can be learned, through someone else’s experiences, without all the trials and hurt that can occur, otherwise.  I chose to write about just a few. 
 
One way the author mentions is “people matter most.”  I agree completely!  It’s ironic, how hard we work to get where we believe we need to be.  We focus on our education, followed by our career, giving it everything we’ve got to be successful.  When we finally reach our “destination,” we find ourselves void of close friends and meaningful relationships.  Oh sure, we have co-workers, who are traveling on the same journey.  They have been an important part of our lives, but not necessarily the ones we choose to have a deep, close relationship.  It’s vital for our emotional health to remember, ultimately, our success is not about how much money or material things we can acquire, but about the relationships that make us whole, including family and friends.
 
Following this train of thought, the idea of creating goals, are ultimately the secret to success.  And while I don’t believe our lives should revolve around money and being materialistic, it important to have goals.  Without them, we flounder without direction and therefore, cannot really make any forward progress.  It’s been suggested to make a list of goals worth accomplishing in the next year, then three and five years….and finally tens years.  If you’re adventurous, even goals for 20 years out.  It’s important to remember, however, goals change--- for a variety of reasons.  Interests, circumstances, financial situations and a whole host of other things, alter plans.  Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals.  Just be sure to have something in front of you to work toward.
 
Even as you plan for tomorrow with goals and ideas, don’t forget to live for today.  We get so caught up in our work plans, we forget that today is all we can claim.  We are not promised another moment, besides our last breath.  So while we plan and set our goals in motion, it’s important to live today like it could be the last.  This idea includes letting those you care about, know how you feel.  Sometimes, life ends tragically or abruptly and we lose those precious moments forever.  Don’t forget to let your children, spouse, parents or friends know they are an important part of your life.  Once they (or you) are gone, that time can’t be reclaimed.
 
Lastly, don’t waste time.  We are each given a 24 hour day.  It’s important to take time for ourselves to be renewed or rest.  But, when we spend hours and hours doing “absolutely nothing,” (like watching hours and hours of TV --- and yes, that is ONLY MY opinion) we’ve lost moments that could be spent doing something productive and positive for ourselves, our neighbors, family or even our world.  It gives meaning to our lives. 
 
I’m curious.  If you could add something to these items of lessons learned, what would you add?

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<![CDATA[Using The Dictionary and Life Choices]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:15:20 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/using-the-dictionary-and-life-choicesPicture
​         One of my granddaughter’s hates the dictionary!  For her, looking up words is a total trial and one she is loathe to have to do!  So recently during one of those “trials,” I set out to give her aid.  The assignment, “Locate in the dictionary:  Strategy.”
 
          Grumbling the entire time, my granddaughter turns to the s’s.  “You need to find “st’s,” I encourage.  “Got it,” she replies.  “Okay, now look for “str,” I direct.  “That’s hard, she says, as her finger scrolls down the page. “Found it,” she says.  “Well, next you need to find “stra.”  “That one’s easy,” she comments, “cause it’s “a” and it’s going to be first.  “Next you need to find “strat.”  “That one is hard again, she murmurs.  “Just keep looking until you find the “t.”  That’s the next letter.”   “Shew.  Found it.”    “Good,” I encourage again.  “Now the next letter in line "strat-e.”  “Why do I need to do this anyway?  It’s hard and boring.”  “I’ll explain why it’s important, as soon as we finish finding this word,” I respond, chuckling.   “Okay, I have “strate.”
“Next add the “g.”  “Strateg,” she repeated.  “Got it.”  Now find the “y.”  “I found it!  I found 'strategy'!” she said with a fair amount of excitement.  “Tell me the definition,” I instruct.  “What?” she asked.  “Tell me what strategy means.” 
 
            Why do our children need to learn how to use a dictionary?  There is some debate about the need, given how easy it is to “google” words on the computer.  Some contend it makes no sense. It’s like learning cursive.  It’s not needed!  Our world is all about technology.  A dictionary is almost worthless!
 
            Our lives are a little like the process of looking up words in the dictionary.  And it’s interesting to note how many of us hate the process, much like my granddaughter hates using the dictionary.  It takes time, along with a specific thinking process, to make the right decisions! 
 
            We must take one step at a time, just like looking for the next letter in the word.  If you miss a letter, the word will be impossible to find, and ultimately spelled wrong.  The words have a varied amount of definitions and sometimes the same action (or decision) by two different people, even with similar circumstances, consequences (good or bad) are going to be different.  How we view the word within given context can change the meaning.  We must make choices and apply the meanings to our lives.
 
            It’s also interesting to note, learning the process of finding words in the dictionary, teaches a child they can have autonomy over their learning, even at a very young age.  That can be a very powerful attitude to nurture.  Additionally, just as a parent wants a child to learn to “earn” some of the things they want, learning on their own, teaches a child the value of learning and understanding a language, as well as, developing a curiosity about the world around them using words.
 
            I encourage you to evaluate your perspective, first on a dictionary.  Do you find them useful or just another archaic element of learning?  Secondly, can you see how the relationship between searching for a word in the dictionary, one letter at a time, is like growing patterns and life choices?  Share your thoughts! 

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<![CDATA[Agree To Disagree]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 23:44:53 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/agree-to-disagreePicture
    While traveling recently, my husband had a conversation with a stranger, while pumping gas.  Noting license plates, my husband said, “I see you are from a ‘blue state.’”   “Oh that just is around the big cities,” the man replied.  “It looks like you are, too,” the man added, with a chuckle.  “Yeah,” my husband said, “The liberals run right down the middle of the state.  Out in the western part of the state and on the eastern side of the state, those of us on the outer edges don’t seem to have much voice!”

    The conversation caused me to reflect on an article I read some weeks ago.  It was written by a columnist, David French, who said, “In the real world, not Hollywood, the Left is close-minded.”  Born in the South, but attending a conservative, Christian College, followed by a very liberal law school, his article asserts that our country is divided in two:  blue and red. Additionally, he maintains that the south is usually more tolerant, and open to discussion on points of disagreement than those who call themselves “liberals who want tolerance of everyone and everything!”  It seems the “liberals” are the ones least tolerant, despite their rhetoric.  He sited all kinds of personally experienced evidence.  

    He shared the story of a college experience in the South where dissension was encouraged.  The discussion was soundly debated, with differing opinions holding strong.  Those involved in the debate could walk away with at least a sense of “the other side,” even if they didn’t agree.   Yet no one screamed out in outrage, degrading material and pictures weren’t posted throughout the  campus on dissenting students, no jobs offers were canceled, and in general after the discussion, students treated each other with respect.  In the North, however, when dissension was conveyed in a college classroom, conservative students experienced the horrible displays of anger mentioned earlier!  It struck the author as odd, since those behaviors, were not demonstrated in the exact same circumstance in the South!

    What does this say about our culture?  It shows a world who is divided into “my way, or the highway!”  There doesn’t seem to be an area of middle ground.  The idea of discussion, without total agreement, isn’t possible——at least in some areas of the country—- or with some mindsets!

    I remember during the latest Presidential election, where it caused trepidation to even share your opinions about the candidates unless you were talking positive in public, about the Democratic party!  Why????  I don’t get it!  We are supposed to be a nation of differing opinions encouraged...... of discussion and mediation, not hostility and nastiness

    I encourage you to reflect on your feelings when someone disagrees with your opinions.  Do you immediately become defensive, and counter offensively?  Can you listen, not only with your ears but with your heart, to try to gain understanding (even if you still do not agree) to the opposing view?  Opinions voiced with hostility have a way of destroying relationships and trust.  Understanding —and agreeing to disagree — without reprisal is the way keep our personal relationships in tact, as well as, within our community, state…..and even within our nation.

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<![CDATA["I Like When People Die"]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 18:43:18 GMThttp://margieharding.com/home/i-like-when-people-diePicture
​            I heard the most peculiar comment recently, and I can’t get it out of my mind!  “I like when people die,” said an acquaintance, after attending a funeral.  “That’s the time when their virtues, kindness, personality and anything of worth is extolled and lauded.”
 
            The comment caught me off guard, but I remember watching a TV show recently, where this kind of thing happened.  The patriarch died, but during his fairly short lifetime, he was regarded with disdain, contempt and even condescension.  His wealth was discovered after he passed away, and suddenly all his “failings” were forgotten and forgiven!
 
            But even when no “material reason” is noted by the grieving community, people are often much more generous with their kind thoughts and comments, while petty quarrels, disagreements and even flaws are defended.  Odd behavior or even peculiar habits are brushed off, while humor is found in their unique personalities.
 
            As I considered the statement further, I found in an odd kind of way, she was right.  Funerals bring people together to grieve.  Love for one another overflows, differences between siblings or other family members are often set to rest (at least temporarily), and the best part about the person who has passed, is remembered.
 
            I’m not sure I’d go so far to say, “I like when people die,” but I do enjoy the much more pleasant behavior of those who attend the funeral.  The sad thing is, however, that rather than waiting until a person has passed to extend kindness and love to him/her or others, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see past our personal smoke screens and extend the kind words and feelings when the person is with us?
 
            I’ve seen people with huge regrets when a death comes suddenly and they are unable to share with the person lost how much they cared about them.  Sometimes words are spoken in anger and there is never the opportunity to apologize, because life was snatched away without warning.
 
            I can’t help but think about children/teens who are angry with their parents and say awful things to them before stomping out of the house.  Life has a way of ending on short notice—on both sides – the parent or the teen.  Or the reverse, where an angry, broken parent says words they later regret, but due to circumstances they could never have imagined, they can never ask forgiveness.
 
            This scenario is not limited to parents and children, but spouses and friends.  We are none promised one more single breath.   Therefore, each word spoken, behavior exhibited or comment thought should be with the expectation, it could be the last time we are able to share our heart. 
 
            How would your world change if you were denied the chance to ask forgiveness, share your heart, a hug, kindness, love, pride, or any other unique pleasantry with someone you love?  Would it grieve your heart, for the rest of your life, if the one you love was snatched away without a moment’s notice and you were left with the reality forgiveness was needed or a relationship in some way needed mending?

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