Happy Monday and Goodbye For This Blog

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loving life on a hikeWelcome back and Happy Monday!

Yes, I have decided to say goodbye to this blog. It has served its purpose and it is time to bid adieu to it….but never fear, I’ll be starting a new blog called “The Dysfunctional Playhouse” and I’ll probably have that ready to go on Wednesday of this week.

Bev and I went to the movie yesterday and saw “Saving Mr. Banks.”  A good film for sure, but really how could they go wrong with that cast?  It was an interesting character study of the author of “Mary Poppins” as well as Walt Disney, and it had me reflecting on humanity in general.

We all have so many layers to us, don’t we? What the public sees is just the bare minimum of who we are.

Some of my favorite writers are those who have opened themselves up for public scrutiny. They have talked about their own abuse, or their addictions, and some have talked about traumatic events in their lives.  I have to tell you, I think it is so important for other writers to do this as well.  Every single time we talk about a “taboo” we are helping someone out there who has experienced a similar “taboo.”  What an incredible gift that is, to tell others that they are not alone in the way they feel, that there is someone else out there in the online world who understands how they feel.

And that leads to “The Dysfunctional Playhouse.”  The longer I live the more I suspect that we are all dysfunctional in one way or another.  That’s the thought I want to explore in greater depth in the weeks and months to come.

Have a great week and thank you for following along with my moments….and Happy New Year!

Bill

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The Christmas Struggle Ends

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loving life on a hikeI struggle with the Christmas season for a number of reasons:

My mother died two weeks before Christmas.

My dad died two weeks after Christmas.

Being adopted, I don’t have the same sense of “family” as many of you have.  This is a hard one to explain; most likely only another adopted child would understand.

And because of the top three reasons, this is the season that I have cravings for alcohol, my own personal thousand-pound gorilla who is always waiting on the sidelines to kick my ass.

It’s really an interesting phenomenon for me. I look forward to the season because, well, there is this unexplainable atmosphere of love. However, I also dread it and am really quite relieved when it is all over and I can get back to my normal schedule and shed myself of whatever expectations I had during the holidays.

So today is December 27th, and if you listen very closely you’ll hear me breathing out a sigh of relief as the New Year approaches.  I made it through another Christmas without drinking. I made it through another Christmas without having an emotional meltdown.  Yep, it’s been a good Christmas. LOL

The good news is that I have it made in the shade. I didn’t sleep on a park bench over the holidays with a sheet of cardboard keeping the frost off of me. I didn’t have to come home to an abusive relationship.  I am surrounded by love and I have learned to love. I do not have creditors hounding me and I have exceptionally good health.  All in all my life is a good one and it will continue to be so as long as I get out of my own way and allow the goodness to flow unimpeded by my efforts. J

I’ll see you again on Monday. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to do this blog.  I don’t know that it serves much of a purpose.  I like my Artistry With Words blog because that helps other writers. I loved doing my Alcoholism blog because, again, it helped people, so maybe I’ll resurrect that one and see if I can’t keep someone from drinking in 2014.

Have a great weekend.

Bill

Thank You and Merry Christmas

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cropped-0031.jpgAnd a very happy Monday to you all on this holiday week.  I know you all have a ton to do before Christmas gets here, so I’ll keep this brief.

Whether Christmas is your thing or not, I wish you all blessings this week.  I want to thank you for taking the time to visit my blogs over the past year.  I hope you found something worth reading, and something that made you reflect a bit.

This blog….actually, all of my writing over the past four years, began with a Facebook feature I did called “Sunday Reflections.”  Every Sunday as I would drive back to Portland,  Oregon for another week of teaching,  I would spend that hour reflecting on life. Then, when I finally got to my second home, I would post my thoughts on Facebook.  Those reflections were well-received, and it was suggested that I should consider writing more.

Bev took it a step further and suggested that I join a writer’s online group, and HubPages was the result.  I had just started writing my first novel, The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today, and the little acorn of thought that I might actually have some writing talent had been planted.

Looking back over the last four years, I can see great growth.  I am not even close to my potential, but growth has occurred, so I am satisfied.  Now it is up to me to take the next big step and reach levels that at one time were just dreams. I hope you all have such dreams, for life is much too short to be infected by complacency and stagnating thoughts.

I wish for you all prosperity in 2014 and a very Happy Holiday Season!  Thank you so much for being a part of my journey.

Bill

Giving To Those In Need

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loving life on a hikeHappy Friday to you all and Happy Holidays!

I have a friend…Mark Weller is his name…Mark is a writer and Mark is homeless.  He is a good man. I don’t say that often about people. To receive that designation…that of a good man…they have to show me compassion, empathy and a capacity for love…Mark shows all of those things.

He has handled his homeless situation with dignity.  He spends his days working on behalf of the homeless in his hometown in California.  It would be very easy for Mark to moan about his own situation, but instead he works tirelessly for others who are in a similar situation.  You can find Mark’s website here.

I mention all of this because I want to help Mark, and I want all of you to help me do this.  Our H.O.W. site has a Zazzle store, and that store has items for sale that carry the H.O.W. trademark.  When you buy a tshirt or coffee mug from that store, all proceeds will go to Mark.  With those proceeds I have no doubt that Mark will help others who are also homeless.

You all have Christmas gifts you are going to buy. I am asking you to stop by our Zazzle store and buy a H.O.W. item; in that way I can present Mark with a Christmas gift he very much needs and deserves.

Will you help me?  Follow this link to our Zazzle store and give from your heart.

Thank you!

Bill

Sisterhood Of The World Blogger Awards

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cropped-0031.jpgOkay, okay, shelve the jokes for a moment, please. I am quite comfortable with my masculinity thank you very much.  The thing is, I received this award from my friend Kelly, and as a result I’m supposed to answer ten questions and tell you things about myself.

First off, thank you Kelly!  I appreciate being included in this award giving. We guys get left out of this stuff far too often, and it was nice of Kelly to think of me.  I agree with her statement that we bloggers, and writers in general, have to help each other.  I’ve been singing that song for quite some time now and hopefully it is sinking in with some writers.

So I am donning my sisterhood cape and proceeding with the ten questions.

1)      My favorite color:  I have to say it is purple.  It used to be midnight blue, but I fell in love with lavender so purple now gets the nod.

2)      My favorite animal:  without a doubt it would be a horse. I love horses…they are so powerful and majestic.  We once had horses in another lifetime, and I would sit out in the pasture with a cup of coffee and feed sugar cubes to them as they pushed my shoulder for attention.  Special memories those.

3)      My favorite non-alcoholic drink:  it better be non-alcoholic for this drunk.  LOL  Vanilla mocha…I have one every day thank you very much.

4)      Facebook or Twitter:  Facebook all the way. I don’t have a clue how Twitter works and I’m much too old to care.

5)      My favorite pattern:  I don’t even know what that means, but I’ll let my imagination fly and tell you that seeing a spider’s web in the early morning sunshine, the way the light filters through those filaments….that is way cool.

6)      Do I prefer to give or receive presents:  Give all the way. I am actually very uncomfortable receiving presents or awards or any acclaim.  I love to see the smiles on faces when I give a surprise present that was not expected.

7)      My favorite number:  it’s always been twelve. That was my number when I played baseball and it has just stuck with me all these years.

8)      My favorite day of the week:  I almost said Monday because my brain is fresh and I feel like I am going to explode with new writing ideas, but the nod goes to Sunday. I love laying in bed snuggling with Bev and knowing I don’t have to get up at six a.m.

9)      My favorite flower:  the Sweet Pea.  So small, so delicate, so colorful….a close second is lavender, although really that’s not a flower now is it?

10)   My passion:  that’s such an easy one.  Writing!  I never get tired of writing, and I never run out of ideas for articles, and my brain is running at about 5,400 rpms constantly, but more than that, I want my writing to reach people, inspire people, and help people get through life just a bit easier.

Now I’m supposed to pass this along to ten other bloggers, but I don’t really know that many, and the ones I do know are the same ones Kelly already sent this to….Susan, Janine, Melanie, Cyndi, Ruchira…..the only ones not on her list are Sha and Lizzy and I guess Audrey….oh, and Randee….sheez, I guess I’ll just post this and hope that others do something with it….no, that’s a copout….okay, I’m passing this along to Randee, Audrey, Donna, Lizzy and Sha…oh, and Maria….oh, and Christy….oh, and Greg…oh, and Donna….oh, and Marissa….see, I’m a guy, this sort of stuff is hard for me. LOL

Seriously, thank you Kelly.  It was fun!

Bill

Breaking Bad On This Monday

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loving life on a hikeYes, it is Monday, and I hope this finds you rested and rearing to go.

I didn’t know what I was going to write about when I began this piece, but it just came to me a few seconds ago, so hang on while I sort my thoughts.

Okay, let’s talk about the television series “Breaking Bad.”

Bev was looking for something different to do last night, so we pulled up Netflix on the computer and decided to watch this show that we had heard so much about.  We watched the first episode of “Breaking Bad” and it did not disappoint.

Bev was disturbed by it and I understand her reaction.  I was fascinated by it, but then I have always been fascinated by anything that breaks down barriers and stretches the limits, and this show definitely does those two things.

I started wondering why so many people love this show.  Is it the acting? Is it the vicarious thrill people get from watching violence?  Make no mistake about it, this show shakes you up and spits you out. It is emotionally draining at times and yes, disturbing.  Still, I loved it, just as I love Lenny Bruce back in the 60’s, and George Carlin in the 60’s, two “comics” who refused to settle for the status quo and demanded attention in their own unique way.

I have heard that some people wanted this show banned.  That will always be the case, but I think it is important that shows like this are allowed, just as I believe disturbing books be allowed.  Once we, as a society, step over that invisible line and become the moral police, then freedom of speech has no meaning.

Nobody is forced to watch shows like this one. Nobody is forced to read objectionable books.  As parents you can control whether your children ever see a show like this, and if you can’t control it you can at least raise your child to understand the difference between right and wrong.  Suggestions that shows like this one encourage drug use are ridiculous, just as statements that writing about disturbing subjects encourage objectionable behavior are ridiculous.  At some point in time there has to be individual accountability.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it I suggest you watch it.  I would love to hear your viewpoints on the show.

Bill………oh, and have a great week!

Random Acts Of Humanity

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loving life on a hikeGood morning to all and Happy Monday!

Before we get started, I would ask you to stop by Mark’s blog.  His topic is homelessness and he is living his topic.  You can find it here.

And my topic is random acts of kindness, and you can find that right here, right now.

Yesterday Bev and I took some homemade banana bread to our favorite girl at the coffee shop that we frequent.  No big deal to us; we had extra and she is a sweetheart….but to her it was a huge act of kindness. Her smile on that cold morning warmed our hearts.

And that’s what this life should be about.  It takes such a small effort to do something nice for someone.  I know, I know, we all get wrapped up in the daily business of taking care of business. Who has time for random acts of kindness?

And yet those random acts of kindness are exactly what define us human beings as higher creatures on the evolutionary scale.  We have the ability to show compassion.  We have the ability to share happiness.  We have the ability to love.

If we could all just try to remember that fact as this new week begins.  Take five minutes and do something nice for someone today….just five minutes out of your 24 hours….and then come back and tell me what that smile that you received looked like.

As you may know by now from having read my articles, I despise complacency and apathy, and I consider them two important reasons why society is so screwed up today. We have lost touch with our humanity.  Somehow, some way, it has slowly happened over the past few decades.  The reasons are numerous, and I don’t feel like going into them all here, but I think we can all agree that it is time for change.  It is time to end the blaming and the finger-pointing, and it is time for every individual to commit to making this world a better place.

A friend of mine, Susan, is also promoting this random acts theme, and you can find one of her post here at http://easylearningweb.hubpages.com/hub/Random-Act-of-Kindness-The-Day-Three-Strangers-Rescued-Me-From-the-Icy-Road

It begins with you.  It begins with me.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Bill

Dealing With Money Matters When Married

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cropped-0031.jpgHappy Friday once again. I hope you have some nice plans for your weekend.

Bev and I were going over finances the other day.  Always a joyous event.  LOL  We do, however, manage to do this without getting into an argument, so we should count our blessings, right?

But then why would we argue over finances?  We both earn money; we have a shared dream of the future; neither of us spends on silly things; really we are both on the same page about money.  There is no reason to argue that I can see.  She is my best friend; I am hers.  We have put ourselves in a very simple lifestyle.  Our needs are few. We do not bow down to possessions and we live within our means and without credit.

And yet so many couples argue over finances.  Why?  So many reasons come to mind.  Lack of communication….Feelings of inadequacy….Overspending and debt, which leads to nervousness and eventually fear…..Playing the blame game….selfishness…..and the list goes on.Train ride from Elbe to 018

Life is so much simpler today for me.  I was in a marriage that was marked by overspending and overextending, and that of course led to financial concerns and blame and arguments, and it was not a pleasant experience at all.  Today I live with a loving partner who is on the same page as I am regarding money.  We are saving towards the goal of buying a small farm in two years, and eventually building a writing studio on that farm where we can hold writing workshops for local writers.  Bev wants to also have a children’s playhouse where she can teach crafts and puppetry and all sorts of fun activities.

With that goal as our motivation, we just go about our simple lives, living within the budget, and cutting down on spending as much as possible along the way.

I suspect that money matters are going to be the cause of quite a few arguments in America in the near future.  Times are tough and there are some tough lessons that the modern families across this country are going to have to learn the hard way.

Having a partner who is your best friend is a great first step as you face an uncertain future.

Blessings to you all and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Bill

Does Our Word Mean Anything In Today’s World?

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loving life on a hikeBear with me while I begin this missive with a little sports news.  I promise I’ll get to a point we can all relate to and agree upon.

On Monday of this week the University of Washington announced that their head football coach had accepted a new coaching position at the University of Southern California.  Now since I bleed purple and gold and have been a Husky fan all my life, I was floored by this news. How could Coach Sarkisian go to the dreaded USC Trojans?

But such is life in college athletics. This is not the first time by a long shot that this sort of thing has happened and it certainly won’t be the last.  Coaches make decisions like these based on pay packages, family and a myriad of other factors, and in truth his decision really didn’t bother me that much.sark

What did bother me is that he lied about it.  Asked two days earlier if he would take the USC job if it were offered, he flat out lied about it, saying he was a Husky through and through and he looked forward to many more years as a Husky.  Mind you, he had already interviewed for the USC job when he stated his allegiance to the University of Washington.

So now we find ourselves in some questionable water.  I’m sure Sarkisian had his reasons for lying, but I’m not sure I agree with them no matter what they were.  Here is a man who is in the middle of recruiting season.  He has already reached out to nine high school seniors who signed on to the University of Washington in part because Sarkisian was the coach.  Didn’t those high school seniors deserve to know that Sarkisian was planning on interviewing elsewhere?

And where is the loyalty to the existing players? To the school administration? To the ticket holders?  For the record, Sarkisian was in the second year of a five year contract.  Do contracts mean anything in sports today? Do contracts mean anything in any profession? Is not a contract a promise?  Is not a contract a written agreement that services will be rendered for payment?

I think it is so very easy to give your word and then break it in today’s society, and that is what really bothers me.  Ultimately I really don’t care about the football aspect. The U of W will find a good coach and all will be well.  What I really care about is this tendency to blatantly lie, or to consider a contract meaningless.

At some point our word has to stand for something, doesn’t it?

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Helping Homeless Veterans

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loving life on a hikeI have written often about the plight of the homeless in this country, as well as the sub-culture of homeless veterans.

I am honored to be a contributing writer in a new Kindle book; most of the proceeds go to helping homeless veterans in this country.  The name of the book is “Mysterious and Miraculous Book II” and you can find it here.  I hope you place it on your Christmas list, and consider giving it to others as a gift.

No other message is necessary.  Thank you!

Bill