Life Lessons

Goodbye and Thank You by Lois Hewitt

I have said many times that I was done with this blog, but today is the day it ends. I realize that there are more than enough people who feel the need to express every opinion on every subject. That person, I do not want to be. So I am signing off, but with one last thought. If you will indulge me.

I have been sick yet again. I just cannot seem to be able to hold onto my health for any period of time. I have tried supplements, eating better, sleeping better and other things. They have, no doubt, helped but it has not been enough. Frustrated I am.

Today I realized what is my main illness. Complacency. My spirit is anemic as well as my body. I realize where my many blessings come from but I am not living properly. I say the right words but then depend on myself.

I became a follower of Jesus at the age of 16. Anyone who has read my words knows that I was lost and continued to be for the next few decades. I chased things and ego and pride. I thought if I worked hard enough I would get the mega blessings from God.

I read the Bible, did Bible studies, and listened to Christian radio when I had the time. Never consistently. I never attended a church for any period of time. I just felt it was not for me. I’m an introvert and church caused me anxiety. I realize now that my anxiety was a small price to pay to be a true believer. I often took the wrong roads in life. This is a great example.

Then came the losses. Family, friends, jobs, and things. I thought if I lost it all my spirit would soar. But I always tried to fix it myself. Prideful as ever.

As I sit here today and look at what the last few years have brought all of us, I see the brokenness in my spirit and of the world as a whole. I expected blessings just because I was trying to be a better person when I felt good enough or if I had the time. That’s not to say that I actively tried to be a bad person, I was just being complacent.

Jesus said we shall worship none other than Him. I have worshipped many others before Him. Movie stars, singers, people I tried to be like, as well as those things that owned me. I was not being true to my faith.

Today I realize that trying to be a better person is not enough. That stand relies on my own abilities. That is surely not good enough. I am fallable and self-serving. I have to look upwards. I am not sure what this looks like but I can no longer be a Christian with no substance. It’s been 42 years since I said that prayer to know Jesus. I should have progressed further than this.

I realize this might not make a lick of sense but it is a new path , the only path, I have to take. I need to heal my spirit and be a follower of Jesus. Many do not believe in such things. To that point, I understand. When He walked the earth as a man, He was neglected and abused. How much more today?

I want to be part of some sort of solution rather than be part of the problem. Maybe if I can heal myself, than there is the possibility for everyone. The pain of the world today is unbearable. Man’s inhumanity is brutal beyond words. The daily losses try to kill the spark on the inside. I don’t know how, but I have to keep that spark, that light, bright for everyone to see.

If you do not agree with me, that is your right. I am not looking for name calling or verbal attacks. There are more than enough of those to go around. This is not that forum.

So as I close, I want to thank everyone who has followed this crazy blog from the start or any place in between. You have made this experiment quite fun.

Today, one less voice will be heard from. One less unsolicited opinion will be given. Hopefully the words will turn to actions. I pray for our world today, even if you loath me for the prayer. I believe in God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Let them guide me today and always.

Thank you for all your love. Your light has comforted me so many times and ways.

Words Never Uttered by Lois Hewitt

My father was a self-made man. Like many children of the Era, he had to leave school at a young age to go to work and then serve in the military. He was amazing even without the benefit of higher education. If it was mechanical, he could fix it. Electrical, no problem. Plumbing, he had that too. After his time in the military, he became a Chrysler mechanic and was one of the best in the area.

I loved elementary school. I could not get enough. Junior high is when I started to take some wrong roads, by high school I was totally off the rails. At 17, I found myself in a severe deficit of points to graduate and also pregnant. So I dropped out of school and was not concerned, at the time, of the future ramifications.

A few years of partying later, my mother set me up to get my GED. I never studied, got high before the test and went in without reading a question and completed the two hour test in about 20 minutes. By the grace of God, I passed. But it had nothing at all to do with me.

I finally settled down and decided to take a few college classes here and there. I actually enjoyed doing that. I began to realize just how much I did not know. I came to the realization of all the years I had wasted. I began to work harder to make up for the lost time.

No matter what anyone says, I thoroughly enjoyed community college. I gained practical knowledge that I was able to use in every aspect of my life. I went to school with adults who wanted to better themselves. There was a sense of community that I enjoyed.

As I tended to do when I was younger, my ego ran the show. The more classes I took, the more good grades I got, the bigger my ego. My thought at the time was how I pulled myself up from the bottom and I was finally moving forward.

My life started to become very small as my knowledge started to enlarge. I wanted to experience life from a perspective, not of a small town, but of a worldly person. Circumstances, at the time, were such that I felt I really could not go anywhere. Honestly, there was no way that I was ready to explore on that level. So I stayed where I was and became more bitter by the day.

One evening, after a very successful night of watching Jeopardy with my parents, ego at full mass, my father took my aside and said something I will never forget. He said that I should never get smarter than him.

I took those words with a perceived hostile intent. I could not believe my ears. How dare he insinuate that I was not worthy or maybe able to educate myself. I went home that night and fumed about those words. That night a chasm formed between us that just continued to grow.

Not long after that night, I had gone to the grocery store with my mother and when we returned we found that my father had passed away in his chair from a heart condition. This man had raised me by himself after the divorce. He was hard on me but also, albeit, a bit too lenient. Our relationship was strained but now it was done.

I eventually graduated from college and decided to pursue my bachelor degree at a local liberal arts school. There I found a different type of class work. We dealt with theories and conceptual ideas. Not as much real life experience and I floundered. I ended up leaving a few credits short of my degree.

My father’s words never were far from my thinking. I still could never rationalize why he said that to me. I have since gone on to be a student of my own college. I learn by reading and on line work. I ask more intelligent people questions. My ego got the point, finally, that I was not the smartest person in the room nor would I ever be.

As I tend to do, I repress those moments in time that present me face-to-face with some of my low points. One day, my father’s words came to my forethought and I had to come to some sort of term with them.

As happens so often, over time things do become clearer. False contexts seemingly disappear. I realized for the first time what may father had actually meant.

He wanted only the best for me. That is why he gave me a hard time about some things. He also wanted me to get the wildness out of my system early so I could move on. Those words he spoke to me that sad night had nothing to do with how much or how little I learned. The picture was much more personal.

My father wanted not to hold me back but what he wanted was for me to throw my arms around him and tell him that no matter what that he would always be my hero. Plain and simple. He did not want me to move on without him, which I basically did. I think I broke his heart that night when I abruptly walked away carrying all the indigent emotion that I could hold.

He has been gone quite a while now, but my life was forever changed by his legacy. Some good, some bad. And now always clouded with those words I never uttered. Dad, you are and always will be my hero.

Change, It Never Stops by Lois Hewitt

time for change sign with led light

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Before I begin this post, I feel the need to add a little pretext as to the situation at hand.  For anyone reading this in the future (slight possibility, but I guess it could happen), this is 2020 and the world is in lockdown due to a pandemic of Covid-19.  It is a situation that seemingly took the world by surprise.

As I sit here in lockdown, I realize that I have had way too much time to contemplate about life and all the things that go with that.  I have only left the apartment three times in the last 35 or so days.  You can imagine how the mind reels.

This morning I was struck by a thought that I either had not yet considered or was pushing to the back of my brain for fear of even thinking it.  These are strange times, no doubt, but I have been able to keep my head about me.  That, in and of itself, is a miracle given my history of panic attacks.

I woke from a solid and restful sleep with the reality that life as we knew it is ceasing to exist.  Not in a Beyond Thunderdome or Walking Dead kind of way, but “business as usual” is going to be forever changed.

When I ventured out on my new life, as many of you already know, I struggled to find a new equilibrium.  I suffered from insecurity of not knowing where I belonged and what I should be doing.  Then amazing doors opened and I met people who changed my life, experiences that showed me new ways and I gained a confidence I lacked all my life.  The change was drastic and truly amazing.

I felt that I had found a place that I could be, a place to grow old in and a sense of belonging.  I found a job that, although I never dreamed of it, was perfect for me.  It filled me with passion and pride.  I met people who challenged me and who supported my growth.  I had set my sights on retiring from this place in five or so years. Then came the Corona virus.

In a few short months, many people’s ideas of life have dramatically changed, myself included.  Life as we know it will be forever altered.  I am not even speaking of the economic changes that are going to play out in the next year or so.  As I can barely balance my checkbook, I cannot speak about such things.  But it is going to be an adjustment for us all.  I am talking about how we, as humans, gather and how we deal with other humans.

I prefer to see the good that has come from this.  People lending hands where needed.  People caring about their neighborhoods and extended families.  People who are adapting to a new reality, such as working from home and other changes.  Humankind are a resilient lot.  Unfortunately some people have become more angry and less tolerant.  That is the flip side of the coin, and is an unfortunate yet normal reaction to dramatic times.

Some of us are in positions where working from home or in a small staffed office is not an option.  Many people, in my area alone, work in what is considered the service industry.  Our livelihoods are based on tourism and the spending of disposable income.  Granted, as soon as this is over some will be able to carry on as they had but many others are going to have a different life.  Playing catch up financially is going to be a norm for many.   Reopening businesses, hopefully as many as possible, will be the nature of the day.  But are the masses going to be able to eat out, go shopping and visit attractions?  These are questions that have no answers yet, they remain to be seen.

My mind, however, is reeling from the fact that just a few months ago I had decided how my next five or six years would play out.  Of course, anyone with any common sense knows nothing is a given.  Life changes in the blink of an eye, but I, for the first time really, was looking to the future with a plan.  Then along came the big bad wolf and blew my house (of cards) down.  I am hoping that I get to continue doing what I am doing, but with the full knowledge it will not be the same as it was before.  Everyone will emerge from this pandemic different.

I am reminded that life has a way of taking your plans, no matter how thought out or how generous, and placing them in a cosmic blender, breaking them to pieces and creating something entirely new from the shards.  I have lived through the pureeing process before.  Easy it is not, but being better for it all can be done.  I guess we all have to wait to see how this plays out.  What things return, what things disappear and what things transform.  I have not one answer to any of the questions, but I am guessing it is time to get the big girl panties out of storage and put them on again.  I must learn to remember EVERYTHING CHANGES!!

So as it has been said before me “It looks like its going to be a bumpy night” but, at least, we have a new day to look forward to.

Can you afford it? By Lois Hewitt

Many years ago, deep into my retail addiction and self-induced looming financial disaster, I started an eBay store. It was small at first and over a period of about ten years grew into a store with over 600 items. The idea was this online store would be my financial saving grace. Over the ten or so years of having it, there was money made. Did it pay for itself, not really…

In order to make money on eBay, at least in my experience, you need really nice stuff that you are able to sell at a good price, stuff you just cannot find anymore and/or lots of cheap stuff that people still want but will buy cheaply. I had a mixture of each. Honestly though, mostly discontinued foreign stuff.

One day, I got the idea that if I opened a real shop I could (1) reclaim all the space in my house that was warehousing all the stuff and (2) make some money.

I had a friend who happened to have a small retail space available and I rented it for a very reasonable price per month. I got the licenses, insurance and etc. I never realized how much stuff you really needed to actually open a shop and just how many fixture you would need. I learned on the fly.

My husband made me furniture and I began filling the shop. I was able to buy quite a bit of inventory from another shop that was closing down (a red flag perhaps?). I sold jewelry, figurines, scarves, dresses, books, greeting cards and such.

The first day I switched the sign on the door from closed to open was exciting. I could feel all my dreams being fulfilled… Or did I?

Some people liked the shop but didn’t buy anything. Some people hated it and didn’t buy anything. Most people had an opinion on what to sell and how much to charge. Eager to please I listened to every suggestion. Mostly, I learned that I was not selling enough American made products.

I actually agreed with that consensus so I began scouring the Internet for small American businesses that I could buy from. I found a handful that made quality products and that I could afford. Many of the items I liked I could not afford even at wholesale pricing.

My thought was that I would start out small and then I could reinvest in more and varied products later. I made a lot of Made in America signs and did my displays in the front of the shop and waited for all the happy customers.

You could tell immediately that the quality was better. You could tell the items were made with care. You could also tell the pricing was much higher than the foreign mass produced items. I did not take as much of a markup because I felt strongly about selling these products. I figured quality over quantity was my new business model.

I waited for sales to start and I waited some more. The reviews were great but I was told repeatedly that the pricing was too high. I lowered the pricing and continued to wait. Lowered the pricing to just above my cost, made bigger and flashier signs. The sales never really came.

Now let me stop here for a moment, I had a lot of really good friends who supported my shop. They kept me afloat and I can never thank them enough. I also had a handful of customers who supported me. I was truly blessed.

The problem lies in that in order to pay rent, insurance, taxes, inventory and costs associated with selling goods, you need to sell a lot. Many days I made no sales at all. My main daily totals were under $50 a day. Luckily, I was working at a paying job during this time or the doors would have closed much sooner.

Almost one year to the date of opening, I sold my entire inventory at a huge loss, took down my store sign and closed the doors for good.

I know what you may be thinking… Maybe I just was not savvy enough to own my own shop. I agree. Maybe the economy was really bad and opening a retail store was financially a bad idea. I agree. There are a lot more reasons why I should never have done this, but I did. I had some fun, met some amazing people and finally realized that I needed to change my life completely. This was the last thing I did in Ohio. The realization that my life was not working finally came true to me. Soon after this I left and did not turn back.

What is the moral of this long story? Everyone talks about buying American. We all want to do it. It is the right thing to do in order to supply jobs in this country. The more we produce, the less dependency we have on other countries. Just be prepared for the sticker shock.

In order to provide living wages and the other financial aspects people need to live, the products have to cost more. I am, in no way, an economist but common sense dictates that in order to provide sustainable profits, a lot of customers need to buy your products. This is easier said than done.

Disposal income is harder and harder to come by as the prices of necessities continue to climb. People are, rightfully so, downsizing. Demands of certain items are just not enough to make the manufacturing process worthwhile.

I’m not saying don’t buy American. I try whenever possible to buy American full well knowing it is going to cost more because I have seen it first hand.

So many people clamored for American made but then balked at the price. The next time you are in the situation and you have to choose to buy American or foreign, please think it through. Not every item that is expensive to buy is making the seller rich. There are some sellers who have only the intent of that but many, especially small sellers, are just trying to keep their head above water. Knowing your seller is helpful when trying to weigh out all the considerations.

This is not an easy issue. I struggle every time I need something. I just hope my experience helps you make decisions right for you.

As we see our lives change due to the current situations, thoughtfulness has to become part of our every day process. Stay well and safe!

Lessons from Lockdown by Lois Hewitt

I made a promise to myself that I would not profit from the 2020 Covid-19 quarantine, then I realized that I make no money from this blog anyway. So here are the lessons I have learned since I have been quarantined for over three weeks now.

1. I suck at Jeopardy but I’m kicking it on Wheel of Fortune. I always knew this was the case, but now I have proof.

2. I LOVE to eat! I didn’t honestly realize how much I actually like cooking either. I have been enjoying planning meals, organizing shopping lists (with no hoarding) and cooking it all. I have not really baked since I left Ohio. I am totally enjoying all the homemade goodies that I am making.

3. I can survive as a vegetarian. Mike has been a vegetarian for about 40 years and I have always tried to maintain being a vegetarian when at home. Going out…. It’s always meat. Since we are not going out or even take out, I have adhered to being a vegetarian and am happy with the results. I thought I would get so weak without a hamburger or steak. Turns out the less you eat meat, the less you want it. This also goes for sugar which I am cutting back on.

4. Cleaning… Not so much. I thought I would jump at the chance to deep clean every surface. I thought the only thing holding me back was time. Turns out I just don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I clean. Just not Martha Stewart clean. I am not cleaning every nook and cranny with a toothbrush. Not happening. Decluttering is more my thing. Clutter is the enemy.

5. Not leaving the apartment is okay. In the time since this started I have left the apartment only twice. I’m good with that. Back in my questionable days, I had an almost two year stint of barely leaving the house. This is nothing compared to that.

6. Motivation can be difficult for me. I really hate to admit that but I do not always use my time responsibly if I know I can do it tomorrow or the next day. It seems to me that it is the mandated schedule from work that keeps me on task. I have gotten better at completing attainable to do lists daily, but it is a struggle at times.

7. With that being said, I do not write as much as I thought I would. I dreamed of time (not under these circumstances, of course) when I could freely write. I dreamt of my time being spent like Ernest Hemingway, writing my amazing opus, the one that would change the world. Again, not happening. This makes me very sad. In the back of my mind I worry that I have nothing of interest to say.

8. Depression easily seeps in during down times. It is a bad mixture of unrealized accomplishments with a slash of pointlessness. The news is overwhelming, everyone has an opinion and it is very easy to see only the dark side. I now turn off any posts where people are yelling or violent toward each other. I don’t know when our society went from basically cordial to downright aggressive over even the slightest infraction. This breaks my heart and makes me fearful. I do not react well to bullies, and so many people express their frustrations in negative ways. I need to overcome that fear.

9. Fear of the unknown. This is a situation many have never dealt with before. Fear is running high. I don’t mind staying in but I am also fearful of going out. I have taken this opportunity to explore a few online learning opportunities. I am taking a couple Theology courses and upped my time in Bible study.

My Christianity has been my comfort during good and bad times. I know God’s word but I have not studied it in depth. The words I am reading fill me with comfort and peace even during the uncertainty of these times. I am reminded of the bigger picture and how I am not in control of the chaos.

I want to control all that is happening but that is not my job. My job is to be patient, make a difference if at all possible and make choices every day that bring a positive impact into the tiny place that I call my world. Amazing things happen as do scary things. I cannot change that. But I can learn to choose the way to process the information and move forward differently. I do not need to be fearful or depressed as I know God is in charge.

I have forgotten that fact from time to time in my life. I tend to try to control it all. It is just to exhausting. So today I plan to choose to be more motivated and less fearful. I may even step outside on the porch today. It all starts with one tiny step.

Please be safe out there. This is a scary time. I know not everyone believes as I do, so I truly hope you can find peace during these trying times. If you do believe in God, hang onto Him tight.

For many years I volunteered at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. My heart and prayers go out to anyone that is locked down with an abuser. Please seek help.

A Critical Attack by Lois Hewitt

Have you ever had an asthma attack? I’ve had asthma literally as long as I can remember. I was born premature so my lungs did not get a chance to develop enough.

As a child, the doctors all thought the difficulty breathing were my attempts to gain attention. One doctor even told my mother to let me pass out, it wouldn’t do any harm. I never heard the word asthma applied to my case until I was in my 20s. When I had an attack, I would just have to prop myself up on the couch and wait for my breath to return… Sometimes four days later. A trip from the couch to the bathroom could delay the process of breathing normally.

I say breathing normally but I do not mean it. My normal is not normal for non-asthmatic people. I’m doing better, but I am still always out of breath. Breathing is on my mind every single day of my life. I can never turn my back on it. Just like anyone with a chronic disease. It is ever present.

I have had so many attacks in my life. Most I recovered from just by sheer stubbornness, which I do not promote as a way of handling this. I have landed in the hospital several times with extreme attacks. One in particular never leaves me.

I was in my 40s and doing home parties as a side gig. Many of my asthma attacks, especially the most severe, were brought on by cat dander. So I’m doing a party in the dead of winter. The temperature is hovering around zero. The extreme cold is another trigger. The house I’m at has six cats. The moment I walk in, my lungs immediately start to close.

I made a commitment and I was going to honor it so I continued on because I am that stubborn. As the night, the Neverending night, my breath grew more and more shallow, to the point not much air is getting in or out.

As your body reacts to the decreasing amount of oxygen, your body temperature rises to where it feels like it’s hovering around 150. Standing outside in the zero temperature and I was still profusely sweating. Your muscles get so tense that it takes days for them to not hurt any more. But before the attack is over, they start violently shaking from the now lack of oxygen. Your nails start to turn blue and all color drains from your face. You look like a corpse.

All the while, you are fighting the second worse part of the attack after lack of oxygen. The panic starts to intensify. Soon you lose the ability to comprehend what is going on around you as you mind singly focuses on staying alive. It’s like in the movies when a character is standing still and all the activity around them slowly disappears. As this happens you cannot speak because it takes breath to talk and you can’t concentrate on anything long enough to make a full sentence anyway.

Luckily I was not driving that night because there was no way I could. I got home and kept thinking if I could just sleep I would be better. Now by this time, I have used so much asthma medicine my heart is beating out of my chest, along with the adrenaline coursing through me. I was still in survival mode. Things were getting grimmer by the hour.

Somehow I made it to 5 am and I went downstairs to try some more medicine. I stood up, ran into the living room and yelled to Mike to call 911. My knees folded underneath me and everything went completely black. I was unconscious for the next four hours.

This is what Mike told me later. He ran downstairs and I was not breathing at all. He performed CPR. He said my eye were rolled up in my head and that I was turning blue. He got me breathing again and called my mother who lived right next door.

The ambulance came and they stabilized and took me to the hospital. They worked on me for a long time and I finally started to come around with no knowledge of what happened.

I was honestly spared from death. If Mike had not been home I would have perished right there on the living room floor and that is not an exaggeration. The memory of that night is clear as crystal some ten years later. The fear of reliving that experience is always somewhere in my mind.

Now what is the reason for telling that story now? It’s really simple. What happened that night pales in comparison to what the Corono Virus does to your lungs.

To those who think this is not serious, please think again. Lives depend on it. Do the right thing. Thank you

My First Rodeo by Lois Hewitt

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here we are quarantined because of the Corona Virus.  There is a lot of time to think in these very quiet times. Fear is all around from many as is indifference from some.  Some are welcoming the slower pace and others are going stir crazy.  It is uncertain times, for sure.

As I was thinking about this virus yesterday, and trying to stay calm, my mind traveled back to another time.  My first rodeo time back in the early 1980s.  I was a teenager in the 70s and acting rather reckless.  I did some things that I would NEVER even, for a moment, think about doing today.  But I was young, dumb and very angry at life.

In early 1981, I decided to clean up my act and start putting my life together.  Then came, seemingly out of the blue, a virus no one had ever heard of…AIDS.  Remember, at the very beginning, even scientists seemed blindsided.  Please note that I am NOT comparing AIDS to Corona, but I am comparing the FEAR of the unknown of each.

The general understanding at the time was cloudy as to how it was transmitted.  Airborne? Contact? Toilet seats? Risky behavior? It was unclear.  Since I was still very close to my reckless days, I totally freaked out with absolute blind fear.  This manifested itself in some extreme OCD tendencies on my part.

I started washing my hands a lot, sometimes 4 or 5 times an hour.  I was spraying Lysol on every surface over and over.  I took up to three showers a day.  I was afraid to leave the house.  Every time I left there was a two hour ritual, similar to hazmat cleansing, that took place: clothes were washed immediately and disinfected, the car was cleaned with Lysol, I showered again, everything that came into the house from the outside was inspected and cleaned several times.  Even stepping outside meant these procedure had to be done and it had to be done in the correct order or I would have to start all over again.  It was literally and figuratively exhausting.

There is no Internet at the time (thank goodness), so watching talk shows and news shows was the source of information.  Everyone had theories but no definitive explanations.  The panic continued for years.  I could not sleep I was so scared.  I kept tally of the number of cases and where they were, it was a crazy time.

I finally learned to function in my fear.  I looked only slightly crazy on the outside, but on the inside I was a complete mess.  I let the fear of the unknown grab hold of me and my constant worrying feed the fear and made it grow.  Washing my hands with bleach probably contributed to my future weakness to infections. The things I did then are still impacting me today.  I still have OCD tendencies, but I have learned to use them in productive ways.  Some times during stressful situations I find myself falling back into the chaos of checking and rechecking, but I can usually talk myself off the ledge now.

So what is the point here?  I spent a good part of my 20s in fear of an unknown.  While healthy fear is a good thing, that’s what keeps a person safe, unhealthy fear is as damaging as the disease itself.  Stress and worry can be detrimental to ones health and emotional wellbeing.  So as I ride out the Corona Virus, I plan to take the threat to myself and others seriously, but I also plan to not panic.

I have learned that educating oneself tends to ward off the panic.  Being fearful, no matter the extent of that fear, does not help the situation.  Understanding that the answers may be slow in coming, doing those things that seem necessary and staying calm are the choices we make that will see us all through this challenging situation.

This is an unprecedented time.  Everyone has the right to voice their opinions on platforms that can be read by many (heck, even I have a blog Lol:), but remember not everyone is skilled or knowledgeable enough to speak on every subject.  I guess what I am trying to say is, just because something shows up in print, it does not mean it is true.  Please take the time to research the facts, choose who you listen to and use common sense in your actions.

I want you all to be and stay healthy both physically and emotionally.  That is why I tell you these dumb things I have done, so that you do not have to live through them or if you did that you are not alone like I always thought I was.

Today, I choose to be calm.  Be safe as well as kind!!!  Love you all!!!

Going Home by Lois Hewitt

home-sweet-home-stencil-wood_1024x1024

Thomas Wolfe once said “you can’t go home again.”  I recently found that out.  The other day a random article was on my news feed.  It was a story from my old hometown and even involved an incident on the road I used to live on.  I was discussing it with my husband and he asked if I ever thought about our old house.

No, I told him.  Hardly ever.  He had recently went to Google Earth and looked it up out of curiosity.  So he took me there.  The house itself is almost completely torn down.  He asked me if it bothered me and I said no.  It was not a big deal to me.

Later that night. alone in my thoughts, I started to wonder if it should bother me.  I lived in that house for about 50 years.  We had birthdays, holidays, parties and other great times there.  I was a child there, a young bride there, a divorced woman there and a not-so-young bride there.  Then I remembered the not so great times.  As I have spoken in previous posts, the house itself overwhelmed me.  I constantly worried about the leaking roof, the outdated septic tank, pipes freezing due to not being able to afford fuel oil, bugs eating the wood and many other calamities.

Is it really possible to simply walk away from something that enveloped an almost entire life without any remorse?  My conclusion was yes.  I felt nothing, never had any intention of ever going back there.  Do I sound ungrateful?  Maybe to some, but I realized that my situation was not one that required me ever going to that home ever again.

I have learned over the years that going home, to me and me only, means going to where Mike and I are, where my friends are at and where my present day life is.  When we were on the road, Devi (the name of our car) was our home as we lived in her or the tent we sent up in Jackson Hole, WY or Lemon Cove, CA.  Home was the place we did some Help Exchange work.  And now home is in our small but wonderful basement apartment.

I guess I that maybe my soul needed to a little bit more freedom.  The old house represents to me a place where I hid from the world.  I did not venture out too far because it was way to scary out there.  It was my own self-imposed prison.  Many a day and night were spent wishing for something different.  I  had to  go through all those things to get here today.   That has been the main lesson of my journey so far.

I do hope that the people who live on the property are happy there.  It was beautiful property.  I hope they enjoy it and make it theirs.  I never was able to do that, so many good wishes I send them.  I am enjoying my less complicated life.

Every day after work, I look forward to going home.  Today that means one thing, tomorrow it may mean another.  Who knows?  That is part of the adventure we call life.  But for today, as long as our landlords allow it, we will stay here and call it home.

Whatever it Takes by Lois Hewitt

laptop remote working writing typing

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Money and I are not friends.  For some reason, money seems to be afraid of me because it never stays around long enough for us to develop a deep, lasting relationship.  It takes a while to get here, then it leaves very quickly.  Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining.  I have had much and I have had little.  Because of having both, I have learned money’s true meaning.  Do not make it your god.  It is fleeting and even in times of plenty, it can leave you empty.

During those “in want” times, you sometimes have to do a little extra.  I used to read article after article about how to get rich.  It came down to spend less and save more.  Great advice when you are not $70,000 in debt (plus a mortgage).  So I have spend much of my time working odd jobs.  Looking back on them, it is no wonder I am a little weird today.

I worked for a gracious company for almost 20 years but while I was there I had several second jobs.  I restocked books at a local grocery store.  I, at different times, also stocked Hallmark cards and health and beauty items at another local grocery store.  I measured ladies for bras for a while.  There was a time when I worked for a chocolate company and it was a tasty job!  Bartending was a very short lived gig because I did not know the difference between Guinness and Bailey’s.

I have had several writing jobs, those of which I loved.  I started writing articles for Associated Content until Yahoo! bought them.  Writing for Yahoo! was fun.  I also wrote for a small, local newspaper.  Today, I still write for a internet content company.  When you are reading one of those odd subject, filler articles it may have been written by me.

I have stuffed Sunday inserts into newspapers.  The time I delivered phone books was a story in and of itself.  I used to make and decorate cakes.  Mike and I had a full-fledged eBay store for about ten years.  I still have an etsy shop online.  For about a year, while working full-time, I tried to run my own gift shop.  The Eclectic Princess never really took off but it was an experience I will never forget.  I was. also, a temp at a law office.

Here are my at home party jobs:  Southern Living ( I was living in the north at the time), Dove Discovery Chocolates and Sweet Sinsations by Lois.  Yes, I sold adult toys for just about three years.  That was an adventure.  I had many repeat parties, and a very loyal following.  It just ended up being a little too much for me.

When I lived near Cherokee, I thought I could make a nice little living off of slot machines.  I had a plan and it was all figured out mathmatically.  I was going to not be greedy, but double my money a couple times a month.  No big deal.  The first time, I lost everything.  The second time, I lost everything.  The third time, I lost everything.  Then I figured out that was not a viable second job.

I am not sure what the moral of the story is.  Looking back on these mostly crazy jobs, I realize they have helped, not only pay bills, but have made me who I am today.  When I was younger, I was not too excited to work.  I would have rather stayed home and lived that kind of domestic life.  But bills and want called me out and I did whatever was necessary.  Those experiences made me a more rounded person.

I may not have ever traveled overseas or I may not have a long list of education advances, but I have seen some things and I have done some things.  Looking back, I think not bad for a high school dropout.  Hopefully, now I can just do my etsy and writing from home as my second jobs.  No more adult toys or phone books.  I am glad, however, that I had these experiences.

Gratitude Attitude by Lois Hewitt

thank you signage

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Happy New Year!!!!  Well, it is now 2020…a brand new decade.  As I do every New Year, I write down my resolutions for the coming year.  By about this time in January, I have already set them aside and forgot about them.  This year I hope is a little different.  When you are 20 or 30 and thinking about the changes you want to make, you think you have time.  No need to rush.  But as you get closer to 60, as I am, I realize if I want to make some changes, this is the time.  I need to take the ideals more seriously.

The most important ideal I want to do this year is have a heart of gratitude.  I have SO many things to be thankful for.  In my misspent youth, I felt guilty for anything good that happened because I felt I did not deserve it.  I would purposely trip myself up in an attempt to alleviate the guilt.  Now that I am older, I want to be grateful for everything.  Even the not-so-great things as they help make a person who they are.  So this year, once a week, I am going to write a letter to someone in my life who has influenced me and just say thank you.  We do not say thank you enough in our world today.  I have many things to say thank you for and many people who helped me throughout my life.

I also want to learn sign language, how to knit, and how to play the guitar.  I want to read more and take some courses online.  I want to read the entire New Testament this year.  I want to eat better and exercise more.  I want this to be a healthy year.  I am so tired of being sick and tired.  Cut down on sugar, fat and (the hardest thing of all) hamburgers.  More fruits and vegetables.  I am no longer young enough to overcome bad eating habits. I also need to start saving more money and being more frugal.  Those are tall orders, I know, but I need to step up my game.  I cannot live by the seat of my pants any longer.

I want to strive for more peace and less drama.  More quiet time and less useless noise.  More calm and less anger.  More joy and less depression.  I know things happen, life is like that.  Everything is going along nicely and out of nowhere life hits you.  I am not expecting that I can dodge those bullets, but I hope I can be better prepared for the unexpected.

Basically, I want to become the person I have been working to be all these years.  I always had an idea of who I wanted to be, but never had the discipline or the motive to become her.  Now is the time.  I am sure I will fall short.  I try not to let other people down, but I am the first one to let myself down.  I hope this decade, I have a little more respect for myself.

I am grateful for this blog.  It is my therapy.  I can work things out as I write.  It is cathartic.  Writing is good for me, maybe I will do it a little more.  It is one constant in my life I have always loved.  Who knows, maybe this is the year of my book????!!!!

As the new year starts, I want to thank everyone who reads my crazy musings and lives my ups and downs with me.  I could write just for myself, but I sure enjoy hearing from you.  I am blessed in so many ways.  Without the Internet, no one would ever have read any of my writings.  I sure have enjoyed writing about this crazy ride.  I hope this year brings a few more good stories and ideas.  Thank you everyone again!!

May your year be full of health, love, joy, peace and true happiness!!  Here’s to 2020!! ROCK ON!!