AdaLamar's Blog

A Sassy Girls Guide to a Life of Wanderlust

Obituary: Geneva (Genny) Burch

Posted by adalamar on July 19, 2016

My lovely mother:

Geneva Burch Obituary

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“He drew a circle that shut me out
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!”

This quote describes Genny’s life philosophy. She dedicated her life to serving others, whether through helping foster children, cooking a good meal, serving in church, helping a stranger or consoling a broken spirit.

Geneva (Genny) Sams, was born on May 16, 1941 to Coy and Ada Sams in Oneida, Tennessee. She went to Scott County High School and graduated in 1959.

After graduating, she joined the Air Force and followed her wanderlust to Washington DC. There she worked at the Pentagon on Project Mercury and with Lieutenant General Thomas K. McGehee, General Curtis Emerson LeMay, and General Isaac D. White. After leaving the Pentagon, she worked on classified government projects with AT&T, until leaving Washington in 1967.

In addition, to achieving measurable career success in Washington, DC, she met the love of her life, James Burch. Genny and James wed on November 21, 1967, a wedding date set and shared by her soon to be mother-in-law. With this union, Genny was also gifted three stepchildren – Carolina (Carie, James and Byrn Boothe (Boots). Genny also blessed her husband with two daughters, Rita Lynn and Ada Lamar.

In 1969, she and Jim moved to Ontario Canada, where they lived for 5 years. After that they moved to Lake City, FL in 1974 where she was a dedicated mother and home maker. The family also spent time in Albany, GA, and Wauchula, FL before calling Valdosta, GA home in 1985. She and James moved to Donalsonville, GA in 2001.

Genny was a devoted wife for 49 years and an amazing and patient mother, who in addition to raising her own children, fostered 63. She loved children. Genny was small in stature, but had a personality that can only be described as larger than life – a force of nature, having survived stage 4+ ovarian cancer in 2001.

She was feisty and was often described as mischievous, loving to play practical jokes. Children gave her the most joy, as did her extended family and friends. She loved gardening, reading, cooking, talking, politics and drinking wine. She also loved writing, and even wrote and published her own children’s book titled “My Name is Bobby Claus”.

On July 13, 2016, Genny succumbed to complications from a short illness. She was surrounded by love and family. She will be greatly missed

She leaves to cherish her life, her loving husband, James, their two children Rita Lynn Mahoney (Brian Mahoney), Marietta, GA and Ada Lamar Burch, Lawrenceville, GA; three grandsons (whom she loved very much), James, Brian Jr., and William Mahoney; and her sister, Maxine Sams Berryman, Jacksonville, FL. She is also survived by three stepchildren, Carie Burch Quigley, Pleasant Hill, NY; James Oswald Burch III, Wilmington, NC; Boots Burch Quimby, Bethesda,MD.

She reunites in heaven with her parents Coy and Ada Sams, and her siblings, Dovie Sams Foster, Wiley Sams, Juanita Sams, and Cora Bell Reed.

A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday July, 23rd at 2pm at St Barnabas Episcopal Church, Valdosta, GA. Please bring stories of the mischievous lady.

Genny Burch – she loved.

 

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My Mother’s Passing

Posted by adalamar on July 19, 2016

She was magic.  She taught us how to catch butterflies, make home made bread, make a bed with hospital corners, tie my shoes, sing silly songs, how to read, she is the reason I am a writer…she is the reason why I am who I am, because I am my mother’s daughter. And now I must learn how to live without her.  This wonderful, magical, strong, independent, feisty, loving loyal woman.

On July 13th, my beautiful mother, passed away.  My father and I were holding her hands. She did not suffer. She very peacefully and gently slipped from our hands into the big hands of God.  While it was the most painful moment of my life, it was also the most beautiful.  It was my honor and privileged to be there for her, in her moment in that her journey.  She was surrounded by love, and I believe she chose that moment herself.

You drew a circle that shut me out, but love and I had the wits to win, we drew a circle that took you in.

Even though we were very close, even though I was there for her during the last 3 weeks, even though we talked almost every day, what I would not give for just one more hug, just one more chance to tell her I love her, just one more chance to hear her voice.  Hug your loved ones close, tell them you love them every chance you get, make sure they know.

Even though it is the way of nature – that children say goodbye to their parents, it is a very painful time.  I loved my mother very much and I will miss her every day of my life.

And there really is no way to describe such a wonderful woman, who was so full of live, so magic, so wise, and so loved.  She was a wonderful wife for 49 years, and an amazing mother. She raised 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 63 foster children.

So many memories, so such laughter so much love.  And above everything that is her legacy: Love

Genny Burch. She LOVED.

Posted in Ada Burch, ada lamar burch, adaburch, ADALAMAR, family, Geneva Sams Burch, Genny Burch, human spirit, humanity, I miss you, Life, Love, loving parents, Mom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reunions and house Sitting

Posted by adalamar on June 17, 2016

There are two things that just feel so good in life. First is spending time with family. This weekend is a great family reunion, the first of its kind really, because of the family that will be there. Some I have not seen in many years. There is always much love at family reunions. And, as we all sit together at the same table, love will continue to flow.

The second is knowing that you home ia safe. One of my best friends will be staying at my house while I am at the reunion. She just needed a weekend to get away, nothing to do and no where to go. So when she asked if she could come up and rest, relax, read and enjoy, the answer of course was yes. House sitting can be a great mini-vacation.

Once in high school, my friend who is house sitting for me now, invited me to house sit with her. It was a beautiful house, with a hot tub, animals and a full fridge. However, by the end of the week, the hot tub had over run with bubbles from not rinsing our bathing suites, the dogs and cats had fought all week long, the cows got out of their pin and eaten the lady’s prize winning tulip garden, the fridge had broken and quite a few other disasters…it was an adventure to say the least!

But hopefully her stay at my houae, watching over my kitties, will be much more relaxing.

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Time and Grace

Posted by adalamar on June 9, 2016

So, for a Klutz, that title at first sounds a bit ambitious.  I saw a piece that I wrote about 5 years ago. It talked about accomplishing goals except for balance. But now looking back, it seems that has been accomplished, and replaced.  It is now Grace that seek.

Though life is wonderful right now, there is always room for better;  to do better, be better, work better.  And faith.  Even when my faith is short, somehow prayers get me through.  When I am frazzled and worried with family, work, career, and just life in general.  While it seems that I have mastered the art of balance (at least for the most part), I am still ever chasing that illusive Grace.  (Yes, I know I am a klutz).

Sharing space and a home together with  my boyfriend, as we start a new life, so to speak.  Making plans to build a life together, step by step, one heartbeat at a time. It has been a long while since someone else has lived in my house.  It has made me aware of so many wonderful things, including the need for Grace in every day life.  To give more, be more kind, be more loving, be more patient, than ever.  Because your home should be sanctuary, should be where you are protected and loved and where things are sacred.  But it takes work when you are frazzed after a long day of tasks, or after a 4 hour total commute in traffic.

And it is faith that helps me remember Grace.  Yes, even for a klutz, Grace is possible.  And I find that I have more and more every single day, as I explore and strengthen my faith.

You can still be passionate, still stand up for that which you believe. You simply do not have to be ugly about it.  Imagine what the world would be like if more people aspired to have Grace?

Imagine just what politics would be like if more people practiced Grace? No more name calling, or comparing hands, or arguments.  Just kind discussion.  Well, a girl can dream right?

Here is the original post form 5 years ago that started me thinking today:

Time, Energy and Balance

At the end of last year, I made a goal board.  It had several things on it that I wanted to accomplish for 2011 – exercise, travel, balance, love, laughter, a great pair of shoes and peace. So far everything has fallen into place and every day, inch by inch, baby step by baby step, I am getting closer to meeting those goals.  The hardest one, the one that seems could be the most illusive is balance.

There are so many things to do, that needs to be done, that I want to do, that I should do, that sometimes it is overwhelming. And I get stressed and irritable.  There are meetings, phone calls, outings, projects, laundry,working out,  friends, family, pets and life.  All calling my name, all wanting time, all needed a piece of me. I makes lists so I can keep track of tasks and feel a sense of accomplishment as I cross them off.

I know how to work hard, I know how to accomplish a great deal of things, but somehow the balance escaped me sometimes .. And I struggle to get it back. I write for a living, but sometimes I am so busy living that  do not have time to write and that is when I feel most off balance. And as I scramble to get everything done and accomplished. I have been frazzled, I have been careless, I have been exhausted.

Maybe the secret to balance is not to speed up and get everything done, but to take a  moment (or three) and prioritize.  And at the top of the list? ME. I have to remember to take care of myself if I am going to be able to be balanced AND cross things off the to -do list. Sometimes to accomplish balance, once must take pause and be still.

So I take a breath. And another. And another. And soon the moment passes. And as I make my way through the list and tasks, I take a breath. And then another. Maybe balance is something we strive for, always working on it, never ceasing to reach for it. Maybe just as our lives are liquid and always a work in progress, so is our balance…Or maybe i just need a vacation.

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Alcohol is Not Consent

Posted by adalamar on June 8, 2016

Usually I save this space for lighter topics, but this one really stuck a nerve.

When I was in college, it was standard that if a young lady drank too much, she was protected.  The gentlemen or female Friends around her would make sure that she got home or at the very least, some place safe to sleep it off.  My house was usually the place everyone crashed, so there were often friends in the couch, or on the floor even, safe and sound.  I didn’t drink in college, so I was usually the designated driver, or the person who poured the coffee the next morning and handed them an aspirin.

Never, ever was it considered OK to take a woman to bed if she could not stand, much less if she were unconscious. So I am wondering when, in the space of 20 or years, did it become OK for someone like Brock Turner to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, or anywhere for that matter? When did drinking too much alcohol become a free pass to take advantage of a woman, or anyone, in a sexual manner?  When did the presence of alcohol become confused with consent and when did rape become condoned as “2o minutes of action” that was basically the fault of the defendant?

It is easy to boil this story down to a bunch of privileged, narcissistic egomaniacs thinking they are beyond reproach, and yes I do believe that is part of it.  But I do think that there is more.  Look at the person who did this to the woman, then read his father’s reasoning in his letter to the court.  We all understand loving and standing by your children no matter what, but to say that young Brock is the victim over the young woman is beyond outrageous. It it reprehensible.  And the apple does not fall far from the tree.

But the sad fact is that no matter how disgusting Brock and his father are, that the judge agreed is even worse.  And no matter how outraged we are that this happened, unless or until law enforcement changes their attitude toward female victims, nothing will change.

And I have harsh words for the current situation and those who believe it is acceptable.

It has long been the habit of law enforcement to blame the female victim when it comes to violent crimes.  If a women says someone beat her, attacked her or even raped her, she is immediately put in a place where she is guilty until proven innocent.  A fact I found out the hard way five years ago when I was brutally attacked.  Despite twenty witnesses, police photos of my injuries and my attacker’s prior criminal record of domestic violence, the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Police blamed me for the attack and did not believe I did nothing to “provoke him”.  Bottom line is there is nothing any woman could do to deserve being beaten and strangled within a few seconds of her life.

And, despite the comments of Brock’s father and the judge in the case, no amount of alcohol makes it acceptable to blame the woman for being sexually assaulted.  And if you are of the mentality that it is, then you are part of the problem. It doesn’t matter if she was naked at that party and completely drunk, no means no, and being unconscious means, beyond a shadow of a doubt, NO. The fact that young men, older men, and even some of Brock’s female friends do not understand this is repulsive.  It is basic human decency to not attack or assault someone when they are unconscious – how she became unconscious doesn’t even matter.  Whether she had a medical condition, drank to much or was in a permanent vegetative state, she was not able to say yes or no.

Meanwhile, women are also often criticized for being feisty, for not giving men a chance, for being bitchy independent or too picky when it comes to men.  As a single woman I can tell you that it is rough out there, and women have to be feisty in order to survive. And the fact that any women may be expected to lesson her spirit, her fire, her independence, her feisty, to make it easier for men, is unacceptable.

I have a wonderful man who loves me, but that does not lesson the fact that while most men are wonderful, women must always be on guard for the ones who are not.

A man will never know what it feels like to be a woman walking in a dark parking lot, or on a deserted street to her car.  A man will never understand how it feels to have to be aware of your surroundings all the time when out, even when with friends.  How protective we have to be in bars, even when out with friends, what kind of lines we are fed in those bars, in grocery stores, in the gym, at the bank, at work, and pretty much everywhere.

When I have a daughter, I will not only teach her how to be discerning with the friends she has in her life, but also the men she has in her life as well.  I will teach her to be smart, and feisty, and confident.  I will teach her to be fierce enough to make any man who mistreats her cower in the corner because he should know better than to mistreat or raise a hand to any woman. In short, I will teach her to breath fire, and be proud of it.

But I will also teach my son how to be a gentleman. That no means no, and that basic human decency is the very least he should do, and he better do more than that. It isn’t enough to just treat others with the most basic excuse of minimum treatment. He should rise and lead by example to not only be a champion of women, but to all those who are weaker than he.  Because the bottom line is that if you want to know what is wrong with the young men in the world, look to their parents.

And, one of the most important things to teach, one of the most obvious absent values in Brock’s life, is accountability for one’s actions.  It is not enough that his father thinks what was done is acceptable. Or that the attorney attacked this young woman on the stand, splaying her guts wide open for everyone to see, dissecting her life as wide as possible to humiliate her.

Brock is of legal age, he is a man. If he can get into that nice and expensive of a college, he has the power of deductive reasoning, and he can tell right from wrong. In that moment, behind the dumpster, he made a decision that forever changed her life.  And the fact that he doesn’t like the consequences shouldn’t even be taken into consideration. If we freed or suspended the sentencing of every criminal who didn’t like being caught and paying the price, this world would truly be a terrible place.

If Brock Turner didn’t want to go to prison, if he didn’t want to be a registered sex offender, if he didn’t want to be known as a rapist, then maybe he shouldn’t have raped an unconscious women behind a dumpster. And if his father didn’t want to be embarrassed by having his son in the news for such a terrible act, maybe he should have taught him better morals and character.  NOT raping an unconscious woman should never be the exception, it should be the rule.

The one good thing that might have come from this terrible situation, is that it is causing a tremendous amount of dialog,  and people are becoming aware.  It has brought attention to the fact that rape on college campuses is rampant (something that was true even when I attended). That many times, maybe even most times, law enforcement blames victims and makes it so hard for them, that many don’t even bother to come forward and report the crime. And that there is a subset of men out there, who are successful. good looking, accomplished…and completely devoid of conscious or remorse in how they treat member of the opposite sex.

Promiscuity and alcohol have nothing to do with rape. It doesn’t and should not matter how much a woman has had to drink, what she is wearing or what she was doing up to the point she says no. And to say that any of those things means a women is asking to be raped is unacceptable. We don’t say kid who talks to a child molester is asking for it.

No means no and alcohol is not, and never will be consent.

 

 

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Motivate, Inspire and Don’t Listen to Naysayers

Posted by adalamar on June 8, 2016

We have all read many times that as you go through life, there will be people who motivate and inspire you, and there will be people who try to tear you down, demoralize, dehumanize and demotivate you.  People who are jealous, threatened or who just may be miserable themselves, who will do their best to stop you from succeeding.  And then there are those who will lift you up, inspire, motivate and encourage.  Those are the true leaders in the world, regardless of job title or position.

It was may years ago that I sat I her office one afternoon.  As vice president of the company we worked for, I was shocked to hear the words that same out of her mouth.  She told me that I was too stupid to work at that company.  And as I listened to her, I made a promise to myself that as a leader, I would never do to her what she was trying to do to me.

First, let me say that I thank her now, so many years later. Because that negative experience motivated me in a way that I then could not have imaged. She was not a leader she was just a boss.  A leader would never have said anyone was “too stupid”, even if it were true.

Had I been younger, less confident and more impressionable, she as the vice president, would have greatly damaged my confidence and self image.  There is a saying that with power comes great responsibility, and that is true.  What was not true was what she was saying. The only thing it did was show how little class she had, and motivate me to be a much better leader than the example sitting in front of me.

I want to always inspire others. Because to be able to inspire others, to make them think or feel, to help them believe in themselves, to help them feel love for themselves and others, to me, that is the most amazing thing to do.  And if I can do that, just a little, then that is can incredible blessing.

So when someone shows you that they are a boss and not a leader, when you have someone who says something so cruel and unprofessional, you can use that and turn it into a positive.  An example of what not to do and how to be better than those who are beneath you, even if they are above your pay grade.

Why do some want to tear you down?  Who knows.  It could be that they are threatened, or jealous of you and your success, or they are just miserable themselves. And honestly it doesn’t really matter why they do what they do, just that you do not listen to them.  Or that you use what they do or say as a platform on which to build.  You should be so busy working to make your life fabulous, that you don’t have time to take what they say to heart.  Build on their words and negativity. You have the power to turn it into something positive, something beautiful.

From that job, have been blessed to be a successful writer, working for some of the most amazing companies. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some incredible leaders, and they have never demoralized anyone like that one boss.  Every great leader I have had, has inspired others to believe in themselves and their abilities.  They have taken opportunities to teach and give constructive criticism that made that person want to be better.  That is leader.

So please, please, don’t let let those who would try to tear you down, break your spirit or just be mean, affect your self worth.  Whether it is on a professional or personal level, only those who are there to inspire you have your best interest at heart.  A leader will never insult you, never tell you are you stupid, or ugly, or dumb, or defective in away.  if someone says these things, it says more about them than it does about you.

That is not to say that those who love you will never criticize, but learn the difference between those who may be concerned and are truly trying to help, and those who simply want to entertain themselves watching your pain.  And then, reach deep inside you, deep where light does not even go, and turn that pain power.

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Beauty and the Chainsaw

Posted by adalamar on June 1, 2016

I had wanted one of my own for quite a while but was not since I was not allowed to use one until in my 40’s. Maybe because I am such a klutz that loved ones were afraid I would cut off fingers or even a leg.  Nope.  So, when my father’s chainsaw quit working, I took that as a sign that I needed my own.  Yes, now, the Pinktank has a gas powered, powerful chainsaw. And I like it!  The only thing that would make it better is if it were pink.

So, my wonderful boyfriend and I were out in the middle of the South Georgia heat, at 3pm, sawing through vines, limbs and trees (nothing motivates a man like his girlfriend having a chainsaw). Now it is it is HAWT down there if you have never had the pleasure to visit the area in the summer.  So, if working outside you need to make sure you have tools that make whatever you are doing easier.  I think I lost weight working outside, lifting the chainsaw up over my haed to cut as high as possible, and sweating like a very non-southern belle.

There is something very liberating about being a girl and handling hard “power tools” like a chainsaw. Doing such things makes me feel empowered as I let out my inner Lucy Lawless (think Xena). It is good to get out of the house and have dirt under your nails, leaves in your hair and sweat on your brow.  Not only is it good exercise, but it is fun…once you get past the whole it’s-so hot-you-can-melt part.

And it was helping my parents, who are getting older and do not enjoy working out in the heat anymore (Even though it is so hot in their house they should have a tropic island theme and hand everyone lei and an umbrella drink). So even though it was hard, dirty work, it was good for all parties involved.

And  I still have all fingers, toes and limbs!  (BTW, my boyfriend has been exceptionally wonderful since buying said chainsaw…)

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The Quirks of Works

Posted by adalamar on May 26, 2016

Into every working life some quirks must fall. And let’s face it, no job is perfect.  First, I love my career as a writer.  I still get the biggest thrill – I mean butterflies in the stomach thrill – when I say that I am a writer.  And I love my job.  It is very enjoyable with just the right amount of challenge to make sure I don’t get bored. But there are a few quirks.

Like we can’t talk. Conversations with our coworkers are greatly unappreciated, even if it is about work.

Now I am a very talkative person.   If you are close to me, I am talking to you.  I remember always getting in trouble for talking in homeroom during high school.  And the teacher would move me to a different seat…except that did not work because i talked to everyone.  I talked to them if they were doing something interesting, wearing something interesting  or if i thought they had something interesting to say.  And if they didn’t, I did.

So when a co worker mentioned that it was a thing that we don’t talk at our desks, I was in sheer horror.  How can you learn about your new position if you can’t talk to people? How can one even exist like that? Ninety percent of what you learn (or what I learn) is from communicating and asking questions. And the irony that I am on a team that writes training materials – much of which are group and brainstorming activities- and we are not allowed to brainstorm, is not lost.  Take a minute to let that sink in.

So, I must go down this road alone, with my co workers right beside me.  I did notice the break room and rest room are full of chatty people, so there is hope. On the bright side it is great for editing or having to concentrate…because it is so quiet.  It is like what I imagine it’s like to work in a library.  Complete with hearing the faint sounds of whispers every now and then.

The other quirk is our style guide. This is used to make sure all writers go by the same standards so there is consistency in the way things are written for a company.  Most are based loosely on AP or Chicago style. Not us.  We are based on….well, I am not exactly sure.  Pronouns are not used.  At all.  Do you know how hard it is to write training material, or anything really, without the use of pronouns?  Things get rather wordy.  They say you often want what you can’t have.  Well, I want pronouns.  I think they may be my favorite parts of speech (Only fellow writers or grammar people get that last statement).

Another variation from the normal…are our rules when it comes to a bulleted list.  Most of the time the first word is capitalized, and there is a period at the end if it is a full sentence. Nope.  Neither one of those.

Do you know what writing is without punctuation?  Anarchy.  Pure and total anarchy.

I can barely breath thinking about all those poor words, stranded on the page, just sitting there in black and white.

All in all, I have a wonderful life, an amazing career and a great job.  But there are still some quirks.  Which makes for good writing. I can hear you laughing.

 

 

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The Peace of the House

Posted by adalamar on May 25, 2016

I done been through too much hell and high water to come there and let you come up in my adult life where I’m supposed to be at peace and give me all sorts of hell. There’s only two places on earth that you’re gonna have peace: the grave and your house. If you can’t walk up in your house and you ain’t got no peace, then something’s wrong.   – Medea, Tyler Perry’s Medea Goes to jail

When I first saw a clip from that Tyler Perry movie, it was like big light bulb went off. If you can’t walk up in your own house and have peace, then there is something wrong.

I have never understood why people let others make their house a place of unpeace and unhappiness. But you must also have peace within yourself and that is hard to do, even impossible, if you don’t have peace in your home. We have all encountered people who will put up with just about anything to hear someone say they love them.  We’ve all known people who seem to have a never ending stream of unrest in their life and are always miserable because they won’t let go of those who are making them miserable. And their life will continue that way until they take purposeful steps to have peace.

How do you get it? I think it is a process really, or at least it was for me. First, I let go of those who were causing unrest in my life.  Anyone who upset calm waters had to go.  But even more than that, because sometimes I can be dense, I had to realize that there was a reason when someone did not return to my life. Bad things happen when we try to force it – love, friendships, jobs, and careers, whatever.  And there is a reason why sometimes people just fade away. It’s usually because that person no longer serves you – that’s the nice way to say it.

In real life, it means that your mentality no longer matches theirs, or your values no longer align and staying with them can cause you harm. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. It doesn’t mean they are a bad person either, or maybe they are and you just haven’t seen it yet. I have an ex-boyfriend who is a great guy, aside from the fact that he is completely crazy and very unstable (thus why he is an ex).  We kept in touch for a few years, but then just faded out of each other’s lives. I decided to keep it that way because, while he is not a bad person,  I do not want that unstable element in my life.

When another friend came to visit me recently, she said she could tell that I was at peace because she could feel it in my home. I had not thought about it before then, but she was right. I am at peace. And that permeates through every part of my life, especially my home.

My wonderful happy little home, stuffed with love and furniture, cats and aloe plants. A place where I go to rest and be protected from the world, a sacred space for those I love most. I have long said, that which gives you peace will make you happy. You cannot have one without the other. And indeed it is true.

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Riding with My Dad

Posted by adalamar on May 23, 2016

First of all, my father is the most adorable older gentleman that ever existed, and my parents are the cutest couple in the world, still holding hands and talking care of each other.

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Their last trip to see me was one of the best visits we have ever had.  My parents adore my boyfriend, and they get along very well.  We laughed, ate, talked a lot and just were together as a family.
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And then something happened was delightful and a little surprising.
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Sometimes it is hard to imagine our parents as they were when they were younger, before we existed, when they were single and maybe even a little wild.  I have always known my father to be quite…well, fatherly.  But I have seen pictures of how handsome he was when younger (and he is still handsome just older).  I know when he was younger he had either a Maserati or Karmann Ghia (I am not a car person and get  them confused). So I do know that he has an appreciation for cars. And as a professional engineer, he has worked on many of them over the years, tinkering with this or that. And he watches the History Channel programs on planes and engines and such.
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We were just going up the store to pick up a few things, when my father strolls out of the house, with his slick sun glasses on, announcing that he is ready to go…in the convertible.  It is my boyfriends car, and it really is a wonderful, speedy, sporty thing.  But Dad, requesting the convertible? With a big grin on his face, he slipped into the passenger side and off we went, zipping through the neighborhood, classical music blasting on the stereo (his favorite)
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When I said it was a beautiful day, my father happily corrected me and said that it was a beautiful day to be out in a convertible.  It was a wonderful drive and made me wish the store was actually further away.
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So it is now that whenever we can, Dad will go for trips and rides in the convertible, smiling big, maybe remembering times gone by. It truly is the simple things in life, like a ride with the top down on a pretty day, with your dad. I will forever hold that sweet memory in my heart.

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The In of the Move

Posted by adalamar on May 23, 2016

We all have those big life events that get us excited, make us think, plan for our future, make plans, put away the past, look forward or just remind us of how great life can be.  This weekend, it is that fact that my boyfriend and I have moved in together.  Huge step in the relationship and life in general.  The idea of sharing my space with another has been, well, scary.  But not so much with this wonderful human being.
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And as with most life events, there is much work to be done.  As a woman who has been on her own for twenty (yes 20) years,  It has been about 11 years since I cleaned out my closets, cabinets and drawers.  Yes, there have been Mini-cleanings” where I didn’t want to pack things for a move, but a serious, if-you-haven’t-used-it-in-X-years cleaning out?  Not so much…
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It is said that going through your old unused things is cathartic, and I have to agree.  You see items that have been buried away, deep in boxes, and the emotions and memories along with them.  And something else happened too. I realized, over the past 4-5 years, just how ragged my life had been. The proof was right there in front of me, in the ragged way clothes had just been thrown on hangers, un-straight (yes that is a word in my dictionary), disheveled and worn.  Things had holes in them that I just shrugged off, prized dresses and such wrinkled and jammed up.
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It has only been in the past year that life has been settled and good enough to breath again. Before that it was rushing from one crisis to the next as I took care of family, pets and myself.  And as my boyfriend separated the sets of good sheets and towels from the worn, torn, and ragged sets, I was reminded of just how torn and ragged I had become after those years as well.
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Taking care of all others and not having anything left for myself. When that happens you simply settle for what is the closest, easiest thing.  You work hard for others, and afterward the energy left is barely enough to get the basics for yourself.  You are running on empty – fumes and prayers. And that is what I did.  Wrapped up in tattered hopes and dreams, having left pieces of me; of my heart, mind, body and soul, along the path I had traveled.
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It is amazing to me, how some things only become apparent when they are literally staring you in the face. Making sure I was surrounded by pretty seemed irrelevant when taking care of so many. Taking care of myself, taking time for small little things that made me smile was so far away.  It was more along the lines of put my head down, nose to the grindstone and do what needs to be done.  There was no time or energy for pretty.
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And now my closet has what is whole and good.  Sheets are whole and good, so are the towels.  My boyfriend reminds me every day that I should be surrounded by pretty every day.  What a beautiful thing to say.  And so it goes.
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After a year of rebuilding it is now that I find myself whole again.  And when you are whole, you can truly get rid of that which is tattered and worn, because that is no longer who you are.  You have evolved further than your past can take you.  And you must shed the skin of your old self because it is too tight and small.  I never knew, never thought that moving in with someone would teach me these things. What a wonderful discovery.
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The other part of moving in together is figuring out how the furniture will blend.  I have a full 4 bedroom house!  Well, three bedrooms and a huge office.  We have to figure out which dining room table, breakfast table, desks (I have 3) and chairs stay and which leave.  And as we went through the kitchen, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to compromise – as never before have I ever allowed someone else in “My kitchen.”  Like mother like daughter…
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And it seems symbolic of making a life with another, as it is a gentle weaving of thoughts and styles, meshed together to make one beautiful life.  Letting go of old fears, to make room for new hopes. For me it is exciting to have a partner, not just someone taking up space, or using for as much as they can get. This is a person with whom to build.  And all those fears are outdated, just like the worn out clothes and towels.
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And so it goes, the weaving in and out of life, the building, piece by piece, as we sort though what is to be kept and what to let go. And the load is lighter.

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The Guts and the Glory

Posted by adalamar on April 27, 2016

In this life you have to have guts.  Guts to say how you feel and do what needs to be done.  You also have to have the guts to do what is right for you, because it’s your life.  You ahve to be willing to sometimes make people upset, if it means that you are following your truth and what will make you happy.  Basically, you have to have the guts to have the life you want, a life that feels the way you want it to feel.

I have long said that instead of asking what job title you want, or what things you want to accomplish, or put on your bucket list, think about how you want you life to feel?  For instance, you may want a job title of VP…but what if that means that you are working 100 hours a week, never have time for your friends and family, and are always tired?  Is that how you want your life to feel?  No?  Then you probably will not be happy as a VP.  Instead, what makes you happy?  What inspires you?  Go after what will make you feel that way…not the job title, or zip code, or flashy car.  If you have to work all the time to afford that big house on the hill, maybe downsize so you can afford a house and sometime off (maybe a vacation?) Go after the feel.

And do to that, you have to have guts. And you have to follow your guts as well.  That means following that gut instinct that tells you where and what will make you happy, what will make you feel fulfilled and good.  Follow that positive energy that feeds the soul.

Oh, but that can be hard can’t it?  But it’s worth it. And that is what a good friend reminded me today as I was making a decision .  Go after the quality of life that you want, and don’t try to force it because of expectations.  And a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  It was a decision that I already knew, but wanted to run past someone to validate that I was not crazy. And indeed, having a the guts to follows your gut instinct is what will lead you to happiness.

How do you measure success?  By my quality of life.  That doesn’t mean fancy, expensive things.  That means being happy, being fulfilled, having a purpose and loving what I do.  Having a life I am excited to live every morning.  Sound corny?  Not at all.  Happiness is priceless and your guts will never lead you wrong.  Do it and start building the life you want.

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The Fire in the Flood

Posted by adalamar on April 27, 2016

It is amazing to me how things can just fall into place.  How many times, after such hard work, it can all come to fruition.  But first we have to make room for what we want in our lives.  And that can take a lot of work, and some time.  But the result is beautiful, as I have witnessed in my own life.  A great career where I can follow the quality of life I want.  My family is good and a wonderful relationship that amazes me every single day with how much happiness it brings into my life. Life is beyond good.  It is bliss.

But first, we all have those times in life, where we have to let go of that which does not serve us any more.  And this serves a great purpose in our life, even though it may be hard.  It makes room for the good a wonderful and positive. But we have to let go first. Even if it is family. And many times it is, or those with whom we have been close in the past, but whose path is different from ours.

Sometimes it is letting go of those who do not have the same values as we do, or those who actually may do us harm to have in our lives.  You have to let those people go, or they will deplete you of everything you have that is good.  They will replace love and light with their own darkness and hate filled skewed version of the world.  Let them go.

I have often wondered why some people insist on hanging on to what is not good for them.  I may never understand, but maybe we all f=do to some extent.  I know that I will try everything that I can before having a to walk away. So that when I do, I do so with the peace of mind knowing i could do nothing more, and to try would be damaging to me.

When we let go, there is a silence. It can be deafening at first, even heartbreaking.  But then there is peace. And joy. Written by a friend:

I should be use to the sounds of silence. Although it rings loudly ever still , I am no longer surprised by it. I see the weakness in it. I feel stronger in the echoes of it…because I know what causes it. And it’s not me. I know there’s no changing it and I don’t plan on trying to anymore. I will allow the hush to cover over me and I will find safety underneath…I will use it as my shield of protection that guards me from what I don’t want to feel anymore or deal with any longer. And that which covers me, will separate me from what hurts. And it will take away what could have been or should have been and make it something that doesn’t ever have to be. And that sound of silence will be a gift, that allows me to become someone else and a memory of sorts to those who have yelled and screamed and made known that ever present silent disapproval. And they can have it. It can be theirs. Continuing to deafen their own mind and heart, telling lies. But I won’t hear it. I will only listen to the music of love. And there I will find myself, my peace, dancing in the tranquil sounds of harmony in every note, every voice, every person that wants to shower me with song. And I will sing back in a beautiful, meaningful conversation with those who chose to speak.

And when we do let go, often the flood gates open.  At least this has been the case with me. And I have found the fire within the flood.  A fire in my heart that burns so pure and bright, it is blinding to all those who wanted to do harm, even a whisper of it. It will not pass.

And in this flood of goodness, light and love that is flowing ever so swiftly in my life, there are so many possibilities. There are smiles, and laughter and weddings of friends.  There are cabins in the woods, late night conversations and early morning coffee talks.  There are wine glasses and concerts and travel and fun. And sweet, intoxicating kisses, that last a lifetime in an instant. And there is happiness.

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Bahama Mama

Posted by adalamar on April 11, 2016

In life we have to take the opportunities that come along.  We must make the best of the moments that are given to us, take chances and enjoy what comes our way.  Some people shy away from new experiences and chances, maybe out of fear.  They stay on the shore where it is safe and known, never venturing out or willing to broaden their horizons.  TO me, that is a waste of life.  When we stop learning and experiencing new things, we stop growing,  And when we stop growing, our spirit, our spark, dies out.

So when a friend asked if I would keep her company on a short cruise to the Bahamas she was taking with her daughters – who where teenagers and would be doing their own thing – I yes Yes. And it was great.

It had been about six years since the last time I was in the Bahamas, snorkeling in Bimini. That is also the time I got my worst sunburn ever, and it was worth it.

I flew out Early Thursday morning to meet my friend and her daughters in Florida where we boarded the ship.  Several years ago I went on a barefoot cruise, which was a small luxury catamaran with 5 guest cabins, but this was the first time I had been on a cruise ship.  It was pretty fabulous. There were little umbrella drinks, hammocks on the top deck a little bit of tanning (I actually have tan lines, Which is huge), there was relaxing on the balcony of our wonderful terrace cabin (a great upgrade) and some beautiful sunsets.  There were pictures and shopping and looking at cool things, there was laughter and smiles and fresh salty air.  There was the beach, god food, and lots of fun.

There was singing Adele at the top of our lungs on the drive back, a gas station corn dog, some great shots with the shot glasses included, some great conversations and great memories.

And I am forever grateful to my friend to invited me along on her adventure.  Inviting me to meet and spend time with those two wonderful young adults.  Thankful for the trip and the experiences and most of all, thankful for all of the love.

So take those chances and see what happens.  I promise you will have some smiles along the way. And maybe even some good stories.

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The Guide

Posted by adalamar on April 11, 2016

And now for something completely different.  Enjoy!

The Guide

Some days must be dark and dreary.
But remember those days are only temporary
Days are only hours and not meant to last
soon they pass to become the past.

So take thy dark days and learn them well.
the lessons you learn will be ones to tell
and don’t forget that the sun is only hiding
when the darkest ray of moonlight’s shining.

And shine it shall, dark and gray
as life seems to drag on another day
but just behind the darkest hours
comes the light of dawn with all it’s powers

As shadows run and hide in fear
our heart skips a beat because hope is near
we can see it, smell it, almost touch it
Stick your tongue out to taste and catch it.

How sweet that taste of hope it is
Intoxicating, bubbly fizz
But first the night we must make it through
You guide me and I’ll guide you.

Ada Burch
4/11/10

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The Unexpected Path

Posted by adalamar on April 1, 2016

It was a normal morning… I got up, did some reading, worked on writings.  Then got ready to take my car in for repairs. It was only supposed to take a few hours at most. Four and a half hours later, and it was finally done.  And that was pretty much the day…no going to the gym because I still had work to do.  No cleaning up or such.

Irritated that my perfectly planned day was not going to plan, I grabbed a sandwich, planning to go back home to work. Traffic was terrible and it took twice as long to get to the sandwich shop by my house.  By the time I get there I was starving.

But then something happened. Something that made me realize why everything had gone so late. When I walked in, a disabled young man was there as well.  Clearly in distress, he was trying to get the store owners to call the police, because he did not want to go home as his parents beat him and he did not feel safe.

Another patron and I calmed him down and called the police (the store owners refused??). We sat with him and talked. I bought him lunch and we waited with him until the police arrived to help.  When the police arrived, we told them what happened, they talked to him and took it from there.  Both the other patron and I waited to make sure everything was OK before we left and gave the young man a hug.  He had been very brave.

Sometimes, when things are running late and taking way too long, as they often do, maybe there is a reason. I believe that God put both me and the other person there to help that young man at just the right time.  I believe that was the reason everything took so long yesterday.

So take a deep breath and know that maybe there is a reason, even if we don’t know it and can’t see it.  Maybe a bigger picture is being put together and we are a pixel in the brilliant tapestry.

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Conflict is Not Love

Posted by adalamar on March 31, 2016

I read a woman’s blog recently that talked about conflict being a good thing.  That things do not move forward without conflict and that conflict signals caring.  This made me very sad for her, because I know her and know her very tumultuous marriage and how full of conflict it is.  But she does have a point, though the view is very skewed.

Conflict can be a positive when there is something very wrong, but someone cares enough to step up and say thing, to say it is wrong, to say this must change because it is wrong.  Yes, that is good.  But if an entire relationship is built on conflict, that is not love. When the only thing that moves that relationship in a positive direction is conflict, that that is not love. It is not positive either.  Conflict does not signal caring or love. It indicates that something is wrong, that someone wants to fix it, and another does not.

In a normal, loving relationship, it should not take conflict to create positive change. It should not be a fight to have your needs met, or to have something that has gone wrong to be corrected. You should be able to talk to your partner, tell them how you feel about whatever the circumstance is, and come to a resolution. There really should not be any conflict at all, no fighting.  That is how healthy relationships work.

And more over, you and your partner should be able to engage in enough communication that you are on the same page with the same goals and values.  There should be enough peaceful communication that any potential negatives are discussed and taken care of before they become serious issues. If something slips through the cracks, it is discussed and a peaceful resolution is the end result.  Also, you do not keep having the same problems over and over. Once you have let your partner know that there is an issue, you work together to solve it, it doesn’t keep coming back up. The behavior changes without conflict. That shows love and passion for each other,

The man I am dating is wonderful, and if there is an issue, one of us simply makes a request of the other. That’s it. It is that simple. No conflict…and it does not mean that there is no caring, love or passion. It is because we have all three, in addition to respect. We are gently with each other.  Does that mean that we will never have conflict? No, it just means that conflict and fighting are not what is normal between us.

But she has been married to an emotionally, verbally, physically and mentally abusive, drug-addicted, dead-beat, manipulative man for 25 years; so that is all that knows.  That is her normal.  And she loves the “energy” that the conflict creates.  She loves the Trauma Bond that the conflict has created between them. He behaves badly, there is violent conflict when she objects, and she is reassured that he cares for her. It is a very sick cycle. And that is just one of the ways that constant conflict harms and manipulates the perception of those around it.

I had a crazy boyfriend once, who was very abusive, and our relationship was a constant state of conflict.  He was verbally, emotionally, mentally, and eventually very physically abusive.  I see many similarities between my friends husband, and this crazy ex of mine. The difference is that I left after the first time he hit me. This woman stayed.

It boils down to this: Love isn’t conflict. Love isn’t someone treating you badly, calling you names, yelling at you, cussing at your, calling you stupid, or especially hitting you. If someone loves you, and you tell them that there is something wrong, something that bothers you, or hurts you, then they change that behavior. Period.  It’s that simple. If they don’t change the behavior, even when they know it hurts you, they don’t love you.

Conflict is not love, and constant conflict in a relationship is a huge red flag, not a sign that the other person cares. You have to be selfish enough to know when to leave.

There are only two times in your life you are going to have Peace: When you die, and in your own house.

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The Road to Happiness

Posted by adalamar on March 30, 2016

Recently it has come to me…I am happy. Beyond happy actually. I am blissful.  After a lot of hard work, life is wonderful.  I have a job I love, a lot of freelance work, a wonderful relationship with an incredible man, my family is healthy and life in general, is great.

There is travel this year – a trip the Bahamas this month, a family trip to Belize, a few trips to the beach, and a few out of town wedding.  There is also a wonderful family reunion with all of my siblings that I am so thrilled with and excited to have happen.

And it is all about love.  When you make your decisions with love, when you set your intentions on love instead of fear, magic happens.  I promise you.  Love in my family, love in relationships and love of life.

I have long since said that which gives you Peace will make you happy.  And life is peaceful. And wonderful. And loving.

iIt has been a long, hard road. And I have walked barefoot, in the snow, uphill – both ways…but here I am. Not just traveling on the road to happiness, but it seems to be where I have taken up residence.  And it feels delicious.  Yes, this Spring, this summer, will be spectacular.

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The Secret on My Success

Posted by adalamar on March 30, 2016

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. – Ayn Rand

Many times people see a successful person and which they themselves could accomplish such things.  In my life, I have has many successes, and many failures.  I think the two really do go hand in hand.  Because you have to be willing fail brilliantly to succeed brilliantly. When people ask me about success, I tell them what has worked for me. These are my secrets:

Faith and Prayer:  Pray and have faith that those prayers will be answered.  It may not be what you expected, but you will get an answer.  And have faith that the answer is what is best and work with it.  You really don’t have a choice but to work with it anyway.

In my career, as well as in my personal life, every one of my prayers have been answered. And there have been many prayers, tear stained cheeks or just needing guidance.  And don’t forget to say thank you.

Hard work:  There is a saying that many people are afraid of success because it looks an awful lot like hard work. There is no way around it, you have to work very hard if you want to succeed and anything.  You must have a sick work ethic and be determined to go through as many Nos as you have to to find that one YES that you need.    If you don’t work hard, you will never make it.  But you get to play hard too.

Help People:  I owe a lot of my success to the fact that I will help anyone I can if they ask for it.  This means help them find a job, give career advice, tell them who to contact for what if I don’t know the answer.  You have to help people, because people have helped you.  No matter who you are or what you have done, you did not get anywhere without someone believing in you enough to give you a chance.  You can be the best and hardest worker, but if no one gives you a chance, you are not going anywhere.

You also want to help others because people help those who help others.  And we all need help at some point.  Miss Karma can be a bitch, so make it pleasant when she visits.  Which leads to the last secret…

Giants:  I have been successful because I have had the privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants.  The people who have had faith in me an helped me along the way…I could not have done it without them.  They have taught me, coached me, given me contacts, supported and helped me when I have had nothing to give in return, believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and just been my heart.

But even when you have reached a level of success, you still have to work hard.  And you may lose friends, as some will be jealous of your success and resent you for it (sometimes, even your own family).  That’s OK, let them go.

Never feel guilty for reaping the good that you sew. The Karma of resentment will come back on them too. Those people will never be successful themselves as long as they resent your achievements instead of celebrating with you. Resentment is so negative and destructive that it will hold them back.  Get as far away from those  people as possible and limit your contact as much as you can. They will suck the happiness out of you and whatever you do for them will never be enough.

 

Keep people who do celebrate your achievements close.  And cheer them on to.  That positive energy is contagious too, and we need more of it in the world.  Your  inner circle should be filled with those who are positive and love.  And those who can be honest with you as well.  Those who will not only support you, but keep you in line.

Those are my secrets of success. I have been beyond blessed to have the opportunities I have had, the people who are in my life and the things I have done.

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To Need

Posted by adalamar on March 17, 2016

It makes sense in a way, to need, to go back to what is comforting and known.  And as I think back, my mind wonders through the memories of laughter and peace.  Quiet afternoons, outside reading or relaxing. Taking pictures there, it was the first place I learned that I had an eye for photography.  Taking pictures of all the flowers and grass and bugs, and sunspots on the leaves.  It was a place of comfort.  It was home. My parents home on the water.

And going home to my parents was always where I went to stay grounded, to be at peace, to sort out the heartbreaks and scraped knees, bruised dreams and noise days.  I remember taking walks and finding quiet places to think.  It was my safe place.

But now it has changed.  Not because of any event or person, but just because of life.  Instead of a place where I am being taken care of, it is place where I care for them.  The roles have reversed, as I guess is the natural course of life.  When I go there now, I am the one who is doing the comforting, making sure Mom and Dad have what they need.  I mow the lawn, dust, clean, work, so whatever they need.  I tell them that it is all going to be OK, they will be fine and all will work out.

And it is my honor to be there for them.  After all they have been there for me for so many years.

But I do miss those days from time to time.  When I could go down and rest and reflect. Even when things are going to great in my life, I miss the convalescence that I had known when visiting.  In short, I miss being taken care of by my parents, just for a short time, a break in all the daily life of living and working and existing in the city and the rat race.

And so time marches on, and the sweet memories leave a melancholy smile on my face,  I am glad to return the favor, but miss the days of being the youngest. The sweet wonderful scent of my father, and the smell of dinner cooking while my Mom worked in the kitchen. The warm tones of the sun pouring in through the windows as we would sit and drink wine, discussing the important issues of the day.  Or the times I was broken and and weary, I would sit on Mom’s couch and she would hold me as I cried.  Oh, those wonderful wonderful memories.  Those memories will carry me, and my heart.

I guess no matter how old you get, you never outgrow the love of your parents.

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Spring Cleaning

Posted by adalamar on March 15, 2016

It’s that time of year again, when we get all excited that the days get longer and the weather is warmer.  Windows are up for fresh air to come inside, the heavy blankets give way to lighter, breezier sheets.  Bulky sweaters are put away for another season and the skirts and short sleeves are once again brought out.  There is camping and time outside on the patio, and we all seem to be just a little bit giddy.

It’s Spring.  And it is here just in time.

Spring also means spring cleaning, and this year it is especially exciting for me.  Life has come full circle and it is time to really clean up and clean out.  And isn’t there something so cathartic about getting rid of all the old baggage and that which is no longer needed or used?  Dusting off, turning on, cleaning out, getting rid, slimming down, and lifting up.  And this year it not only extends to things, this year, for me it also means people.  I have gotten rid of those who no longer serve my interests.  And it must be done from time to time to keep things well and healthy.

The fact is, cleaning people out of your life doesn’t mean that they are bad people, just that they no longer serve you, or any purpose in your life.  We  must learn discernment in our circle.  We must be careful of whom we let in.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn – I always thought everyone deserves a chance and the benefit of the doubt from the beginning.  No, they don’t.  You must trust your gut and if your gut tells you that there is something off, then trust it and keep a distance.

And getting rid of someone doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, it just means they have no place in your life anymore.  And sometimes it is hard, when relationships and friendships become unhealthy.  A dear friend told me recently that he had feelings for me. He was very drunk and the confession was followed by inappropriate advances and suggestions. After my refusal and letting him know I was dating someone, there was lasing out with angry text messages.  It was hard, but he was out.  No one treats me, or speaks to me, in that way.  His actions and words were disrespectful and extremely hurtful. Maybe one day, when ample time has passed, and he is geographically distanced, there will be contact again.  But for now the toxicity of the friendship deemed it worthy of termination.

Keeping your inner circle closed shows self respect and value.  Not everyone deserves a seat at your table.  Not everyone has something to add to your life. And indeed, some will deplete you if you let them.  Toxic people and relationships will bleed you of your energy, emotions and intention. You will give so much to that relationship or situation, that others positives in your life go neglected. So make sure you take a look at those who surround you, those who are close. Examine your relationships to make sure that you are not settling for less than you deserve. Friendship is not free; loyalty, honestly, respect and integrity are the wages and must be paid in full.

What is important is that who is left in your life are those who are truly the best for you.  Those who will support you, cheer you on, and even give you a kick in the pants when you need it. After that what is left is space for everything good and wonderful to come in.  You cannot make a new life, holding onto what, and who, does not serve you.

Now I am feeling lighter than I did before the cleaning process began, I breath easier, and my shoulders are not as tense. I truly believe that one of the keys to happiness is making sure you have genuine, loyal, positive, supportive people around you, who truly know how to love and be good humans.

Yes, welcome to Spring!  I look forward to many good times, smile and great memories ahead.

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Falling in Love with Your Life

Posted by adalamar on March 3, 2016

“She wins who calls herself beautiful and challenges the world to change to truly see her.” — Naomi Wolf

I have a secret that I have been keeping for a little while now. I am in love and it is wonderful.  I have fallen completely in love…with my life. which is wonderful, because for along time I was completely disenchanted with it.  But now, what a difference.

There is something very cozy and wonderful about being inside  on a cold, wet rainy night.  A nice fire, cats purring, TV on, a warm blanket and writing away.  The best seat in the house is always under a warm blanket.  And soon I will have a new full time opportunity.  It is not perfect, but this little life, is all mine.

And I am such a homebody that, at least to me, being home and cozy on a cold is just perfect.  Once the sweat pants on are, I am in the for night.  Comfort is king, even though it might not be sexy or seductive. oh, and the warm fuzzy socks. Those are a must.

Because it really is about the simple things, when it comes right down to it. Those creature comforts that we grew up with, that make us feel secure, and make us feel nice and warm even on a cold dark night.

And when you have worked hard, rebuilt your life from scratch, then  you deserve to enjoy the spoils of all your hard work.  To reward the spirit for working hard, you must also play hard. Because you have to reward yourself for reaching your goals.  And part of that is taking the time to really enjoy all those wonderful creature comfort..

And you can never forget to be grateful and still pray that gratefulness.

So if your life is still under construction, if you are still working hard to get to that place where you can feel the sunshine on your soul again, know that it is there and you can reach it.  Know that all  the hard work, tears, heartache, restlessness, fear, blood and sweat are not in vain.  You will get there, to that place where you look out and realize that you are in love too.  Just breath and have faith. You can do it.

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The Road to Happy

Posted by adalamar on March 2, 2016

Sometimes you have to travel many lines down the road to get to happy.  Sometimes it takes years, sometimes it comes faster.  Whichever way, it seems that there are books galore about how to obtain that illusive happy.  I myself have been through a rough time that just in the past year I have recovered and feel like my life is back on track with where it was headed.

A string of bad luck and hard times hit about five years ago, starting with being brutally attacked by the then boyfriend. Being stalked by him for the next 18 months didn’t help the situation or my happiness factor.  Add to that, my father was in and out of the hospital with complications from chemotherapy. And then there was the House of Mold, as well as some minor things like loosing jobs due to budget cuts, family issues and a few break ups.  It was rough and there were thousands of  steps, hundred of miles, millions of heartbeats, countless tears and so much re building that I was beginning to wonder if Happy would ever happen.

And them, one day, I realized it had.  I was finally there.  But there was no fan fare, no big  moment or event, no epiphany. It just slowly, crept up on me. I was smiling and laughing more, feeling lighter and freer, enjoying life more.

But how exact;y did I get there?  How does someone who is going through or has been through a rough spot, get back to happy? I don’t know.  But here is what worked for me.

Pray:  Pray and have faith.  I have prayed some of the most sincere prayers  after sobbing in the shower where no one could hear the tears.  Bottom line is that faith got me through the worst of times, when there was nothing else to hold onto.

Forget what other people think:  If you live your life trying to please everyone, or trying to keep up the the Jones’s, your will drive yourself crazy and end up unhappy and frazzled.  Do what you want, live your life, follow your gut and forget everything else.  IF someone doesn’t like what you do or how you do it…so what?  Move on.

Family and friends – the right kind of people in your life can make ll of the difference.  And the wrong kind of people, those who are beneath you, can hurt you much more that those who are your kind.  This is because those who do not play fair know how to cut you deeper, because many times they will hit below the belt.

And when I say the right people, I am not talking about those who make a lot of money, have big houses and expensive cars.  I mean those who are loyal, those that will stand behind and support you when you are down. Those friends who will inspire you, motivate you, kick you in the pants when you need it, and bring wine and ice cream when you need them too, are invaluable. The kind of people who have your back make any situation better.

Celebrate the little things – In life there a few really big wonderful moments, but they don’t happen very often  So celebrate all the little things, those perfect moments, that happen every day.  A beautiful day, your favorite song on the radio, a great meal, a good glass of wine, a beautiful sunset, can all be celebrated and appreciated.  Do this and those big moments won’t seem so far apart.

“The best kind of laughter is laughter born of a shared memory.”–Mindy Kalin

Laugh, a lot – Having the right kind of people in your life in important, but so is having the right kind of relationships.  The ones where you can really be yourself and laugh. A lot. Laughter truly is the best medicine and if you find the relationships where giggles are plentiful, it can get you through the worse of times.

Breath and let go  – One of the most important things that worked for me, was letting go of all the negative. All of that old baggage, all the hurts and tears. This one may take some time to work through issues , but it is well worth it.  When it is all done, you feel lighter, more hopeful and l have room for all the good positive things in your life.

 

 

 

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Having it All

Posted by adalamar on March 1, 2016

“What have you done, on your own?  What have you accomplished, standing on your own two feet, to make a positive contribution to society and show you are not just a burden to those around you?”

I have so much respect for those who get off their butts and go out into the world to make something of themselves.  Those who do not expect others to support them while they sit and play.  So many of my friends are amazing women (and men), who have carved out a space for themselves. made a positive contribution, worked hard and accomplishes much.  But that is not all that they have done.

They have become some of the most amazing human beings along the way.  They are amazing, strong, compassionate women and I am beyond proud to have them as friends and confidants.

I was having a conversation with one of them last week, catching up, talking about the many thing going on in our lives.  She is pregnant, and she and her husband will have 7 children in their blended family when this little girl is born (yes, Seven!). She has been one of the top rated female Dj’s in  Atlanta and Nashville, she has written a book, hosts a podcast, has been the spokes person for autism and is now raising a bunch of children, making sure all are fed, cleaned and homework is done.  I am in awe of her.

“Let’s face it, having it all sucks!”

And yet she cannot do it all.   And neither can any of my friends.  And these are amazing women who are smart, confident, capable and confident.  My pregnant friend said she was talking with a mutual friend who said that she was exhausted trying to have and do it all, and she was just accepting the fact that somethings we not going to get done.  But that she was afraid of being judged because she couldn’t do it .

To me, this is a refreshing reminder that no matter ow together we are, or together we think other people are, we are all just human.  None of us can do it all.  Which means that when one part of our lives is going well and is perfect, another part is a mess.  Am I am bad person because this makes me happy?  No, it makes me human that I am happy that others are human, just like me.

I have always , been on my own, everything I have I have worked hard for and earned on my own.  And the same with all of my friends.  None of us have depended on another, a boyfriend or husband, to support us.  We got out and made it happen ourselves.  And I may not have as much as others, but what I do have is mine.  But…

But often times my house is a mess.  The bed isn’t made, dishes are in the sink on any given day, the floor needs to be mopped and carpet vacuumed, and let’s not even get into to the dusting of things…If you try to do it all, have it all, you will just end up being tired and cranky.

The bottom line is, whether you stay home and take care of the kids, or you have a career, at least work hard and contribute something. Don’t depend on or be a burden to those around you. Don’t use people or expect them to support you if you are not willing to go out and support yourself.  Basically, don’t be a mooch.

You can’t do everything, but at least do something to contribute. Be passionate about providing for yourself, being in control of your own life.  Stand up on your own two feet. As long as you do this….don’t worry about not being able to do it all.  The fulfillment you will have in contributing what you can, is enough.  There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you made your life for yourself.  Then, and only then, will you be truly capable of sharing life with another.

 

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The Lent of Discipline

Posted by adalamar on February 12, 2016

It is the Lenten season once again. Time for inner thoughts and contemplation and quiet.  maybe I am strange, but I do enjoy the season of Lent, even though I give up something that I greatly enjoy, this year it is Cokes.  It is a time to slow down and really appreciate what and who I have in my life.  It is also a time for put my head down and work  towards my goals.  And that takes a lot of discipline, especially for me.

And there are many goals that will take a lot of work.  Like my personal writing. And then there is practicing Grace, even when made or upset.  Let’s face it, it’s easy to be Graceful and nice when things are going well.  the test is when you are tired, and angry, and hurt, and…

And the exercise.  It’s been six months since I’ve been to the gym.  I really can’t complain about those 10 extra pounds if I am doing nothing to shed them. The house is a mess, but it just looks lived in, right?  Seriously, the Christmas tree is still up, floor needs to be mopped, and the dust bunnies are waging a war against the tufts of cat hair…and I’m  not sure which is going to win.

And sometimes we need a little kick in the pants, some motivation for reaching higher for our goals, for working just a little bit harder.  It’s only 40 days right? We can do anything for 40 days. So use this time not only for spiritual reflection and discipline, but also as an excuse to do better, work smarter, try more, reach farther. And see how it is at the end.

Who knows, maybe by Easter my Christmas tree will be down!

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The DISC: America’s Legal Way to Launder Money and Save on Import Taxes

Posted by adalamar on February 11, 2016

An edgy sample written for a client…politics, religion, criminal masterminds and money laundering…sounds like a great mystery novel, or a corporate blog…

It actually sounds pretty shady:  You take the profits from your export company and put them into a shell company that only exist on paper, specifically to distribute those profits to shareholders.  Those shareholders then pay taxes on the money leaving  you to reap the benefits of saving millions on corporate export taxes, because that money no longer shows up on the books.  It sounds like something Bernie Madoff created himself, but it’s absolutely legal.

The year is 1971 and 60% of Americans are against the war In Vietnam.  Love Story is the top movie, James Taylor is the number one selling artist and Walt Disney World Resort opens in Florida.  The same year, Intel releases the world’s first microprocessor, the 4004 and Texas Instruments releases the first pocket calculator. Also Apollo 14 lands on the Moon, Charles Manson and three of his followers receive the death penalty and oil Production from the North Sea begins in Norway.

Average Income per year $10,600.00, the cost of a gallon of gas is 40 cents and United States postage Stamp is only 6 cents. President Richard M. Nixon ends the US trade embargo against China, removes the gold/silver backing from the US Dollar, and in an attempt to control inflation, implements a 90 day freeze on wages and prices. But the big news, is that Congress creates the DISC as a means to subsidize US exports.

That is because even in the midst of fighting a war, opening up trade and trying to stabilize the economy, Congress recognized that the key to stimulating foreign, and especially domestic growth, was increasing exports. And this is a benefit that you can enjoy today through the use of a DISC or Domestic International Sales Corporation. A DISC allows an export company to save $1 million on every $10 million of profits, and you don’t even have to feel guilty.

So leave the illegal stuff to Michael Milken, Kenneth Lay, Jack Abramoff and even Martin Shkreli.  You don’t have to look over your shoulder or worry about Uncle Sam coming to get you. Uncle Sam might even just give you a pat on the back for using one of the oldest tax rules on the books for exporters.  You are feeling smarter already aren’t you? And the best thing about saving all that money in taxes is that you don’t even have to go to confession!

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A Writer’s Peeve

Posted by adalamar on February 10, 2016

I happens more often than you might think, and it can be quite a pet peeve of mine.  As a writer (or web designer, graphic designer or anyone who “creates” for others) it is very important to understand exactly what those who are hiring you want.  As a writer I ask a lot of questions – Who is the target audience?  What is the tone? What is the POV? What information needs to be included?  Any do’s or don’ts? Anything else I need to know?

And I always send a rough draft soon into the project to get feedback.  This makes sure that everyone is on the same page, expectations are met and that I don’t do a lot of work when the client is thinking in another direction.  Also, sometimes a client will change their mind once they see things written on the page.

So it is a pet peeve of mine when a client, or someone who is thinking of hiring me, answers all the questions but either doesn’t know what they want or is very bad at communicating it.

And this happened recently.  I was tasked with doing some sample work for a top company where I  live. I asked many questions and followed the instructions that they sent – Target audience was CEOs and CFOs, with certain qualifying information included in the pieces, and modeled after several other writings that had already been published online.  Got it.

I sent a rough draft of the first piece to get feedback, making sure they liked tone, audience, content, etc.  Crickets…..Nothing. …..No feedback.

I turned in the rest of the samples by the requested deadline only to hear back that they did not like the samples. They didn’t think the writing was engaging and did not think that I could write content that would interest the readers.

Ouch. First, as a writer you really cannot have any ego. Writing, like art, can be rather subjective. So you must take criticism with your chin up and with a grain of salt.  You can be the best writer in the world, and not everyone will like you. And that’s OK.

But this was different.  I did as they asked and followed directions specifically.  It was especially frustrating that I scrapped my original drafts, which were quite creative, after their instructions to write like the other assessments that had were online. I read the example articles that I was to model my writing after…and they were very dry, reading a bit like a text book.  I, as was instructed, followed suit. So I wrote in a more conservative and traditional financial tone.

This is why it is so important to send a rough draft, and for those you are writing for to send feedback!  Getting a rough draft is the perfect time to communicate any changes that need to be made.  It would have been the perfect time to tell me “Hey, we need something less financial textbook and more exciting to get the Millennials interested.”

Because at the end of the day, I am a writer, hired to write what the client wants.  And I am a very good writer. But I can only write what they tell me they want.

So if you hire a writer, designer, developer, {insert creative title here}, make sure that you communicate what you want very clearly. And if they send a rough draft for approval/feedback – for the love of God and everything holy- Respond!  If you don’t it is your fault that you do not get what you want, not that of the writer.

 

 

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Stardust

Posted by adalamar on January 19, 2016

It seems that January has not been a good month for classic artists.  Already we have already lost Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glen Frey. Then Celine Dion lost her husband and brother.  And it is barely the third week of the year.

It is hard to believe that some of these amazing talents are no longer with us; that they are now the dust of the stars, and if we are lucky, we might see a glance when we look up on a clear night. The news of Bowie and Rickman actually hit me pretty hard, and I am not one to get upset at the passing of celebrities whom I have never met.  Jim Henson affected me, as did Robin Williams…

And I think that one of the reasons is that all of them had this amazing ability to wow us, to make us think, to make us laugh, and sometimes to make us cry.  They were all bursts of light and creativity. They entertained us in ways we could have never even imagined.

In a world of Kardasians, and where people get famous by twerking, leaking a sex tape, or by simply wearing a “man-bun”, Cole, Rickman, Frey and Bowie are people who were so brilliantly talented, that they dazzled us. It is sad to think that these talents are gone, not only because I grew up listening to or watching them, but also because they truly seemed to have been good people. And the world just seems a little more dull.

It makes me wonder, will this new generation on millennials ever reach that level of creativity and talent?  In a time when it seems dumber is better as long as it looks good, what kind of true talent is out there now that we are losing these great musicians and actors?  How many of the new Hollywood can actually pull off Shakespeare? How many can truly make us feel something as we are watching the screen?

And as for music, how many young artist can truly pull off morphing themselves into so many characters…just for the hell and thrill of it?  And the parting gift Bowie left his fans, a hauntingly beautiful album, again showing his brilliance,talent and amazing vision.

And so it is, as I get older, that I appreciate so much more those who came before me, those whom I have watched and listen to, those who have entertained and dazzled, just by the shear brilliance of their talent. I simultaneously hope and look forward to seeing what the next generation of young whippersnappers comes up with…because they have some mighty shoes to fill.

 

 

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The Birthday

Posted by adalamar on January 14, 2016

It’s a very special day, the day you were born.  And it should be celebrated.  No matter how old or young you are, a birthday should be a celebration. It is the eve of my birthday and I am excited to finally begin.  Oh the year has been great so far, but it seems there have been tissues and cold medicine and coughing all night…that has gotten in the way of my month long observation of the birthday.

And I think back to where I was just a year ago, and how much better life is today.  I think back and shake my head at what a silly girl I was, just  year ago. Two years ago, and I have lost track of the person I used to be.  She is like a distant friend I used to know.

And that is how it is with life, love and the pursuit of happiness isn’t it?  Ever changing, ever evolving, and always interesting. And would we want it any other way?  Think of how boring life would be if we really could see into that crystal ball anytime we wanted.  Sure. it is tempting – that is why psychics are so popular.  But to always know what is around the corner?  No thank you.

Being older and wiser, I still have the same theory on life – always be curious. About everything. Ask questions, take changes, take risks, and always, believe in yourself. And love with all your heart. This theory has served me well in my years on this planet.  We may still make mistakes, have unpleasant happenings, but even those are chances to learn, grow and be better the next time around.

Today is not a dress rehearsal. And tomorrow isn’t promised. So drink it up, every last moment in life. And that, to me, is what this birthday and this year means.  I want to spend time with my loved ones, enjoy their laughter and stories.  Looking in the headlines of the three celebrities who have passed just this week from cancer, makes me acutely aware of how blessed my family has been. Now excuse me while I blow out some candles.

 

 

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The Resting

Posted by adalamar on January 3, 2016

Disclaimer: Am under the influence of cold medicine…please excuse typos.

The holidays is a time of year where things can get so busy that we get run down and forget to take care of ourselves. Indeed, with gathering, work obligations, friend and families…it get get downright overwhelming.  And then…

And then quick as a flash, quick as it got here, the Holiday season of running at full speed and then some is over.  A countdown to resting as the countdown to the new year was done. And it has been wonderful, with lots of family, friends, get together s, music, trips and travel, incredible food and love.

Yes, this New Years was the best I have ever had, and there is indeed much for which to be happy.  I am exhausted, sick with a cold, the house is a mess, washing machine needs fixing, and laundry needs to be done….and it was all worth it. Every second. It was amazing. Many smiles, laughs and memories were made. Life was truly lived in these moments.

But now it’s time to go back to normal life, before the holidays.  GO back to work, go back to regular days, and going to the gym. But mostly for me, right now in this moment, it is time to slow down and rest a bit.  And when you won’t, life has a way of making sure you do. When I get run down, from too much of everything, I get sick.  It always happens when I do too much at once.  And this year is no different.  I am down for the count with this awful cold. So rest, and relaxation are in order, along with chicken soup, cozy blankets, snuggling with the kitties and binge watching a few TV shows.

Sometimes you just have to take advantage of the Resting.

 

 

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