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Let There Be Peace

I have had a lot going on lately and I am trying hard to relax. I take big cleansing breaths and try to let my shoulders down. It finally dawned on me that thinking about peace would help me.

A long time ago, my mother used to tell us that she wanted more ‘peace and quiet.’ And that’s a good start. Here are some other definitions of peace:

  • The state prevailing during the absence of war. I clearly remember the 60’s and early 70’s when peace protesters were everywhere.
  • Freedom from disputes – ‘the roommates lived in peace together.’
  • The absence of mental stress and anxiety
  • The peace symbol
  • Peace is an Athenian Old Comedy written and produced by the Greek playwright Aristophanes.
  • The Peace rose is the most famous and successful garden rose of all time. Over a hundred million plants had been sold, as of 1992. It is a hybrid Tea rose with large flowers and a light yellow to cream color. (Doesn’t that make you feel peaceful!)
  • ‘Peace’ is Depeche Mode’s second single from their most recent studio album, Sounds of the Universe and their 47th UK single overall.
  • “Peace?” is a single from the hardcore punk band The Dicks released in 1984*

And, I will leave you with this:

“May we have peace”

 

Revelry and Reverence on Highway 218

A friend of mine recently drove me down to Sunset Beach.  Most of our ride was on country roads, and we enjoyed it immensely. As a matter of fact, we saw so many sites of interest that  we decided to document them as much as possible.  And, as we did, we spent most of the time laughing – almost in tears.

Here’s a summary of our sight-seeing adventure:

  • We passed dozens and dozens of barns – some new, some others worn down over many, many years. In fact, barns were everywhere, and seemed to be in a variety of colors. One gray barn sported an old-fashioned Coca-Cola image, and another had a worn-out Gulf sign.
  • When I was young, and our parents would drive to the country for an outing, we used to play a game called Cows and Horses.  If you’re not familiar with it, here’s how it works:  Every time you see horses or cattle, you try to count them all as fast as you can – but, there’s a hitch. If you drive by a cemetery, you lose all your ‘points’ – and then you have to start over.  We continued this exercise back and forth. (At one point we lost so much livestock we decided to count a ceramic deer in someone’s backyard!)
  • Seriously, the drive was wonderful.  We saw lovely countryside, tall pine trees, bales of hay, interesting dilapidated barns, and grazing cattle.
  • There also were a number of local churches on the road, and one had bells ringing in joy. In fact, we drove by a church and realized they had just finished a funeral. The most tender moment came when we saw that the deceased had been a veteran. We slowed down to watch, and we had tears in our eyes when they presented his family with a folded flag,  in honor of his service a long, long time ago.

So, next time you want an adventure, leave the city and aim for the country. You never know what you’ll see, and how it might provide fun AND relaxation!

P.S.  We also enjoyed the beach!

Last weekend, Greg and I flew to Pittsburgh to see my youngest sister Mary, and her two children Jack and Gracie. My middle sister and her husband joined us from Northern Virginia, so we had a nice family reunion.

Meanwhile, everyone in Pittsburgh was excited about the Steelers football team – and, indeed, they won the playoff game, which we watched on a wide-screen TV at the hotel. (Note to non-Steelers fans – you must run fast if you are wearing anything other than yellow and black!)

The reason we actually went to Pittsburgh, however, was Mary’s birthday. She was born on January 15…Martin Luther King Day. I can still remember the day Martin Luther King was assassinated. We watched the news on an old black and white TV.

There are many people who are important, but I count Martin Luther King, Jr. as someone who has helped change the landscape of our country. And, he was an eloquent writer and speaker. He truly made a difference.

Here are some of his most inspirational quotes:

  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
  • Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • Everything we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

And,

  • Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

 

Happy Birthday to my sister Mary, because she, too, works hard to help others.

The New Year has arrived, and some of you are making resolutions. I usually don’t, but I figure it might be a good idea as we roll into 2011.

So, here it goes:

  • Stay healthy! Eat well, exercise, lose weight (doesn’t everyone have that on their list?!!!), and enjoy the moment – whatever it is.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Try to relax, by taking deep breaths and paying attention to tight muscles, as well as going to a Yoga class regularly.
  • Plan outings with friends.
  • Continue to watch the birds at our feeder outside and admire nature – including the deer that occasionally gallop through our backyard.
  • Be especially joyous about the upcoming wedding in our family.
  • And, commit to memory many of the words on a box of ‘Grace Cards’ by Cheryl Richardson:

Love, Faith, Support, Trust, Comfort, Act, Ask, Rest, Partnership, Growth, Compassion, Anticipation, Vision, Imagination, Peace, Soul, Listen, Release, Presence, Watch, Dance, Self, Surprise, Perception, Receive, Affection, Choice, Illumination, Beauty, Shine, Honor, Gratitude, Devotion, Direction and Strength.

So, here’s my list, and if I can achieve just part of this, I will continue to be a happy person indeed!

AND, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear friends and family,

As the year comes to an end, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

For the past two years, we celebrated Christmas at the beach.  Our next-door neighbors kindly supplied the two-feet trees, decorated with small ornaments and a small wrap around the stand.

This year, however, we’ve decided to stay in Charlotte. We’ve put up a lovely tree, with wonderful ornaments that we remember every year and an angel on top. We’ve also stuffed the stockings, which look like they’re bursting at the seams. We’ve also displayed painted Santas all around the the house – on the mantel, in the living room, in the den, and more. My mother-in-law (whom I miss greatly) used to purchase casts of Santas, and she painstakingly painted each and every one. What wonderful memories they bring.

Meanwhile, as we Cebrating Christmas, we’re also celebrating something very special –The engagement of our daughter and her fiance’.

They plan to marry this summer, and we are thrilled for both of them.

As you can see, this truly is a VERY MERRY SEASON!

All the best to everyone,

Laura

A SECOND BEAUTIFUL DAY

As you probably know, Greg and were Honorary Co-Chairs of this year’s Charlotte Memory Walk, located at Symphony Park near SouthPark Mall. The Park has a large, lovely lawn — and a wonderful band shell, where Greg and I spoke on the stage to some 2,000 participants. Other speakers included a friend of ours who has Alzheimer’s Disease, and Former Mayor Pat McCrory, who made a touching talk about how the illness has affected his family.

We enjoyed welcoming everyone and thanked them for their support. Greg had been teasing me about being ‘queen’ of the walk and said I needed to practice my ‘royal wave.’ Apparently he told the Western N.C. Alzheimer’s Association staff about his teasing. Unfortunately, the staff took action by making us wear special crowns to designate ‘Her Majesty’ and ‘His Majesty’ — and they forced us to wear them on stage and during the walk. They did make for a fun, but ‘dorky’ photo opportunity!

Meanwhile, the weather was fabulous – and so were the participants. Grandparents walked. Parents walked. Young children walked, donating their allowance to the cause. Even dogs walked! Most of our family was in town to participate in the Walk, and my sister in Pittsburgh supported us long-distance.

While the Walk is for a serious cause, the event was fun. There was plenty of entertainment, including singing, dancing, face-painting, viewing old model cars, buying raffle tickets, bidding on paintings by an Alzheimer’s patient and more. At the end of the day, the Walk was extremely successful. We don’t have a final tally yet, but the overall Walk goal was $150,000, and we exceeded that amount by several thousand dollars the day of the Walk…and  money is still coming in!

Greg and I feel very blessed to have been so involved in helping the Walk succeed. Together, all of us were able to raise awareness, provide care and support for families affected by the illness, and generate donations to help us end Alzheimer’s Disease.

Most of all, however, it was a beautiful day – AND, a beautiful day to remember!

Most importantly, Greg and I REALLY APPRECIATE all the support you have given our family since my diagnosis. And, as you know, we’re very active with the Western N.C. Alzheimer’s Association – including serving as Honorary Chair-persons for this year’s Charlotte Memory Walk.

If you live in Charlotte or close-by areas, we cordially invite you to join us at Symphony Park near SouthPark Mall on November 13 for the Charlotte Memory Walk. (Registration is 9 a.m. and the walk starts about 10 a.m.)

If you’re not available (or live out of town), Your names have been listed online since you are on my blog list, and some of you already have responded! And, If you’re interested in writing a check, you can send a donation of any amount to:

Attn: Becca Carpenter, WNC Alzheimer’s Association/CLT Memory Walk, 3800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28215

In addition, I wanted to let you know that we’ve already completed ONE Walk – in Monroe, NC – invited by a former colleague of mine who asked us to speak before the walk. And, we’re coming up on Walk Number TWO – in Asheville – where our son is a student. He’s active in the Alzheimer’s Association and is part of the area’s Memory Walk Planning Team.

Finally, Greg recently read that you should thank someone seven times before they believe it. SO: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! THANK YOU!