Thursday, May 31, 2012


Being civil means not screaming back at the person upset at you while you are also upset with them....Rule # 1. Civility is hard!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Civility Week 22, May 28, 2012 Monster Trucks!

Is it any wonder that there is a lack of civility in society when there may be a lack of civility in the home?

I haven’t broached the subject of my husband in this column because I try to leave him out of anything embarrassing I might say. But today I would like to wax eloquent on my dear hubs’ ability to be seen without being heard and sometimes to walk into a room filled with woman talk and we never even know he was there!

   My husband is one of very few men who have the capability of being a very strong, manly man (he is a 3rd Degree Black Belt, teaches women and children self defense, can take care of anything mechanical or plumbing issue with the house, the car, etc) subscribes to the theory that men are born to be the protectors, defenders and providers of their families and has taught his son and all other young men that have crossed his path the same virtue.

    But, if you think for one moment that he is one of those Man Cave men who shy away from sensitivity towards women or who does not understand when there comes a moment when only chocolate and tissues are the only thing that keeps a woman from jumping off a cliff, then you would NOT be correct in your assumption that all men are alike when it comes to women.

    My husband, pardon the bragging, could teach a Doctorate on the subject  How to not be in the room when your wife and daughters are discussing that monthly time and yet still have chocolate and tissues magically appear.”

    We have one son, the oldest who four years ago decided to move out of the house to make his own way in the world and is doing darn well at it too I might add, who when he left home apologized to his father for leaving him alone in a house full of women. My hubs sometimes has a hard time forgiving him for that!  He was left behind with a very strong willed wife and two marvelous daughters.  He has suffered through not only the women issues of three adult women in the house, but the engagement and wedding preparations of one of the daughters (and don’t you know that was a fun ride!)

   Now it’s down to just him and me and one daughter.

   Ask a man how the odds are stacked up when a house has one man and two women in it and any smart man will say; it’s 10 – 1 against the man.  It doesn’t matter if it’s only 2 girls and 1 man. It will seem like 10 women and 1 lonely man.

    Because my daughters and I try to be equally civil and sensitive around my husband when we are talking about anything concerning the woman anatomy, we have a special phrase we use: “Monster Trucks!”

    Monster Trucks is our civil way of saying to each other, “Stop talking and/or change the subject because what we’re talking about is going to embarrass Dad.”
   Why my daughters picked the term “Monster Trucks” is not really known other than they can’t think of anything else they find distasteful in the “man” world other than monster trucks. You have to realize that my daughters and I are all Black Belts too, have been beaten up, knocked to the ground, suffered black eyes, dislocated shoulders and can haul a rank of lumber, stone blocks, or bags of soil anywhere you want it.  We’ve run Colorado rapids, swam fast rivers, zip lined through tall trees and flown acrobatics in an open cockpit biplane. We are beautiful, gorgeous woman, but we work hard and don’t mind a little sweat!

   About the only thing we don’t understand about men is the fascination with Monster Trucks, hence, the term.
   So in our house, we try to remain civil when it comes to talking about our “woman” issues, whether it be emotional issues, puffiness and swelling or moodiness.  We get that guys don’t like to hear, see or know about such things. So to keep the civility in our house of women verses men, we adhere to the  genteel approach to such discussions by not doing it in the company of our men.

   When my daughter was engaged to her awesome hubs, he got introduced to the term too and at first he thought we were truly going to talk about monster trucks. Not so, my darling daughter informed him. And his future father-in-law just put an arm around his shoulder in a manly sort of way and say, “Hey, have you seen my computer in the basement?” and escorted him from the room.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Laugh, With Glee, No Less!

I love reading mom blogs.  I mean, is there any better way to find out you are not alone in the world of motherhood and to enjoy life's lemons and koolaid?
My daughter, 20 and I were wistful earlier this week remember the Kool-Aid icecubes I used to make for them to have during the hot summer months. My own mom made these for my two sisters, brother and I when I was a kid...oh so long ago... We didn't have the pops, or the toothpicks, just icecubes dumped three to a Tupperware glass, taken out to the swing or front porch and enjoyed for minute after luscious minute.
So, the next day, nothing doing, my daughter goes to the store, buys 10 packets of Kool Aid, they still aren't very expensive and makes up Blue Raspberry ice cubes. When I got home from work we enjoyed, savored and remembered old days!
This weekend my other daughter and her hubs are flying home. We will again make more ice cubes, maybe the Black Cherry or my fave, Grape, and enjoy all over again!
Memories...they are the best!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Civility Week 21, May 21, 2012

“We will work with each other, we will work side by side, we will work with each other, we will work side by side and we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
“They’ll Know We Are Christians” Peter Scholtes

Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health. Taking an active interest in the well-being of our community and concern for the health of our society is also involved in civility.” ~ P. M. Forni

   I think these two phrases, one from a song we sing at church and the other a more secular approach say a lot about how much we need Civility in our lives today.

   To live civilly we must work side by side, guarding each person’s dignity with love. How else can we possibly all get along with each other?
   Why would we think we are only individuals gathered together in a work, social or whatever atmosphere and not have to behave peacefully, gently, calmly at all times or as much as possible?

   Being civil sometimes means you cannot just think of yourself, or put yourself first. It means thinking of other people’s feelings, being sensitive to them. Of course we cannot control how they take what we say or do, but there should still be a certain amount of carefulness we must exercise to not destroy a sense of peace, calm and civility in one another.

   As a Catholic Christian, I think we have even more reason to want to show that “Christian” side of ourselves to others or else, what are we doing calling ourselves Christians?
   If we are being rude, uncharitable, uncaring, and selfish we are definitely not living our Christianity. Even when attacked, Christians can stand up for what is right without destroying another person’s integrity or moral character. Want examples? Jesus Christ, whom we are named after, never once screamed at someone who disagreed with Him.  Why do we insist on screaming at people who maybe just don’t understand why abortion is wrong?  Even if they do know it is wrong screaming doesn’t turn their hearts around. Education, love and caring is what brought people to follow Jesus. He explained the Scriptures to them, treated them with love and compassion, fed them, healed them, showed them the Father’s love and forgiveness and now for 2000 years millions of people are still listening to His words.

   There is an atheist living in the southwest United States, who never had a kind word from a Christian. Because he was the one who railed against the Nativity Scene on the public square, he was the one who wanted God taken out of everything he was vilified, spit upon, yelled at- by Christians.
   He was undertaking a huge court case concerning the Nativity Scene in his hometown, when he found out he was going blind from macular degeneration. He dropped the suit because he knew he couldn’t fight the case blind.

   A fellow citizen of the town where he lived, a Christian, found out about his disease. You know what she did? Instead of thanking God for cursing him with blindness, she felt sorry for him. She wondered if anyone had ever shared God’s love for him. She decided to do it.
   She went to her pastor at her church, and began a collection for the man to have surgery and to provide for his family while he was out of work because of his disease.

   Others from the community joined in including other churches. The atheist was overwhelmed. All his life he had been shunned because of his lack of belief. Finally here was someone really acting like what he had heard Christians were supposed to act like.
   He was so grateful for their love and support he had a change of heart. He dropped the suit and even bought a star for the town’s Nativity Scene.

   The power of really acting like a Christian is overwhelming.
   It can be very hard to do, especially if someone is fighting to destroy your beliefs and values. Yet Jesus showed us that not by anger do we change hearts, but by constantly showing love and civility.

   I want to do that too.  Do you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Civility Week 20, May 13, 2012

Keep Calm  and  Carry On

I have been seeing this poster everywhere.
During World War II, this little phrase became a propaganda poster produced by the British government to raise moral of the public in the event of an invasion.
It was reissued in 2000 in both England and the United States in the effort to calm people about the economy and financial markets ups and downs.
I am reviving it as a statement to all Catholics and Christians but my version looks like this: 

I’m sure you noticed the difference right away. As we are facing increasing adversity in our religious freedoms, our value systems and morality, we must not give into fear.
When we are being pushed to freak out, worry, become anxious about the state of the world,
when everyone else is losing their heads, throwing up their arms either in fear or disgust
we need to remember this poster.
    It worked for England when they were on the brink of invasion by the Germans. They didn’t flee in terror, they did not give up the fight. During the bombing raids they calmly took to the shelters, found safe havens for their children and remained calm.They did not give in. They continued to live their lives, go about their business and rebuild. They won the war and carried on, staying civil the entire time.

Our lesson, despite the world trying to tell us what to do, how to think or act, is to:

You may ask what does this have to do with being civil? It has everything to do with keeping our civility. If we give into fear we become anxious, angry, short tempered. If we keep calm always looking to the Lord to calm our fears, to take care of us, we retain our civility towards one another.  We can answer questions, approach problems, discuss solutions and remain civil.
By looking outside our own selves, praying for a solution, relying on God to solve our problems and not try to do it all ourselves, we find ourselves remaining calm.

So try it this week, Keep Calm, Carry On. Keep your eyes on the Lord. He has always been there for us, in good times and bad, in wars and famine, in peace and prosperity. It’s us who forget that He is there, He never forgets us.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Momma Done Told Me...

In these new and information fast paced society; when time is of the essence; we must call all people to order and get their attention quickly or we've lost them.
My mother always said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I say, in the new 2012 Version (even with the semblance of civility)

"If you can't say anything nice; Shut up!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Civility Week 19: May 7, 2012

    Slipping and sliding on an icy parking lot a year and a half ago reminded me of how to be civil. Yes, it’s true, falling on my bum and the embarrassment of walking into a crowded medical building with ice and snow covering my body from head to toe and explaining to everyone what had just happened was a lesson to me in civility.
   In what weird way, you ask?
   Sometimes civility is only about remembering the world does not revolve around you. That is not always easy in this “do it for me” attitude society. I get really tired of hearing the words, “empowerment”, “entitlement” “do it for you!” or the worse one, “it’s all about you.”
   No, it’s not all about you! There are millions of people in this world, and life is certainly not all about you. What has kept our world going for thousands of years is the fact that people realized that it was important to do things for others, to make life better for the next generation.
What does this mean for civility? It means taking back our opinions when we wear it on our sleeve. It means keeping our mouths closed when some smart aleck comment comes to mind or we begin to gossip, diss or defame another person.
   The day of my fall, my daughter and I were rushing to get to a doctor appointment.  We live in a mid size mid west town where we get some snow every winter, but usually not more than a few inches. This time it had come in fast and furious and businesses were closing all over the place. My mid afternoon appointment had been bumped up to a late morning appointment so the medical staff could go home early. So my daughter and I were rushing to get from the parking lot into the building when it happened. Haste doesn’t just make waste, it makes for hazardous hurrying when you slip and fall and slide down an icy parking ramp. And it just doubles the possibility for injuries and more embarrassment when your daughter falls right behind you and plows into your back side.
   Now, my daughter and I aren’t exactly known for our grace and calmness during silly situations. In fact neither of my daughters inherited their father’s knack for grace under pressure. Instead, they inherited mom’s lack of grace, and the ability to see hilarity in any stupid situation such as falling down in the middle of a snowy parking lot.
   Getting up, unhurt except for our prides, we began laughing and brushing the snow off each other. We entered the doctor’s office still laughing at ourselves and began to tell our humorous story to the receptionist.
Only she didn’t think it was funny. Rats. Did I add that that heredity also includes not being able to keep your mouth shut about situations that would be better left unspoken or explained about?
No? Well, first of all the receptionist didn’t think it was funny. She was mortified that we had fallen, could possibly be hurt and would sue the entire medical facility, thus lose her job if she did not report our accident to the security office.  She immediately grabbed the phone, told the voice on the other line she had an accident report to give and handed me the phone.
   Stunned, I took the phone and began answering a barrage of questions concerning our little accident on the parking lot assuring the man on the other end we were not hurt, and did not need to seek medical attention.
Secondly, as we sat and waited for the appointment, we had to keep answering questions about our fall, and were we sure we did not get hurt? This was getting to be too much. When at last we got back in the doctor’s office and he asked about it I knew that was it. Some people just did not see the humor in some situations.
Now, granted when you go and tell a bunch of medical people who see the results of accidents every day, that you have fallen, it isn’t a funny little story to them to hear.
   My lesson in civility? I wish I could view all of my embarrassing moments in this way, by laughing about it. Most times I get mad or upset, wondering what I could blame for putting me in this situation. Usually it’s myself I should blame, nobody else.
   If we could all learn to laugh more and not worry about our pride, we would be much better off. This lesson in falling on our keisters helped me see that. I hope it helps you too!

She's Everyone's Mom

If my family was ever on the game show, “Family Feud” and got asked, “What’s the top most annoying trait of your mother?” my family’s top answer would be “over protective!”

And yes, I admit that I am extremely overprotective of my kids. But it’s not like they have grown up insulated or na├»ve. They have boxed in sparring matches and suffered injuries in our martial arts classes, gone whitewater rafting, zip lining, canoeing and traveling. They have all even ridden upside-down doing acrobats in an open cockpit bi-plane!

So, when it came to my daughter and her husband moving waaaaayyyy out to California, my mother force field knew it just could not handle the distance! In stepped Mary.

The Blessed Mother has always been my role model. I pray the rosary, love to sing her praises in song and have always consulted her in all parenting and womanly issues. But…I always knew wherever my kids were I could be there in just a sort car drive away.

Until California. While you can still drive to California, it’s TWO DAYS AWAY! And as every mom knows that’s a long time in mommy worry time.

After much angst, and questioning of God’s wisdom in allowing them to receive such an opportunity to arrive at their doorstep, I finally assented with the same decision Mary made when saying yes to God. But, I’m ashamed to say, I was not nearly so nice about it as she was.

So my only recourse was to turn to Mary and give the “Mom” reigns to her to watch over and guide my kids. Mary is such as good example of trust in God. She had to trust so very much especially when watching Him die on the cross. I cannot even imagine how hard that had to be for her.

During the months of May and October we especially think of Mary to guide us to be better moms and dads, to be better people as Catholics and role models to others. If we place our trust in her, we know she’ll be there not only for our children, but to help us say “yes” to God.

Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Civility Week 18, April 30, 2012

When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency. - Samuel Johnson, British author

Ha! Bulldink..
I disagree with this quote by Mr. Johnson.  And it was when I read it back in January, I knew I had to begin something to correct the violation of civility. I refuse to believe we cannot be a kind people or a decent people. I see too many examples of it in day to day living. So I began this mission. If it affected no one else but myself, so be it. Then at least I was going to work on being more civil. Because I know I have occasions of incivility. Often…but it’s getting better!

Just because our news media insists on only displaying what are the wrongs being committed in this society, I believe there are thousands more little rights being performed:

Preemie nurses showing compassionate care to my tiny niece when she was born four months early.
The people in my church community who bring food for our food pantry
Sister Lucille who works tirelessly helping those people who come to our door find shelter, food and a listening ear.
The hundreds of people who show up to help search when someone goes missing.
The people of faith who attend a day long workshop to find out ways to help other people in the time of an emergency or natural disaster.
The thousands of people who show up at disaster scenes to clean up, clear away and provide food and water to survivors.
Coast Guard swimmers who jump into dangerous places to save people.
Firemen who don’t think of themselves but of others in times of danger.

These things and millions more  are why we as Americans or any other nationality will not fail in passing along civility to our own children.

Civility has not died, the occasional lack of civility is what gets reported on the news. Why?  Maybe because we love to get upset by seeing other people acting badly? 

Civility is not gone or dead. It just needs to be dusted off and brought to the front of our training again as does good manners and common sense.

Civility – use it or lose it?
Maybe we just need a new name for it:
Just be NICE to everyone.
All these words beget civility. So what if someone is mean to us? I think we’ve watched too many revenge movies. Even if the bad guy in the movie really does need to be brought to justice, does everyone in our day-to-day life deserve our “kill or be killed” mentality?

So I digress in my musings on civility. But some weeks I just need to digress so I can build up being civil again.