Recently some of us were having a discussion on whether it is okay to “scare” kids with movies, fairy tales and the like.  Here was my contribution:

Something I learned long ago that really surprised me (I raised 7 kids).  My kids loved all kinds of stories- fairy tales, Lord of the Rings, etc.  Some of which IS scary.

We watched very little TV (none for many many years), saw few movies.  My kids (the younger ones) would be afraid at movies like the Wizard of Oz (the wizard).  yet they could listen over and over again to Lord of the Rings with nasty creatures like orcs and nargals (or whatever they are).

When the movie came out (much later after they were mostly grown) they watched it, I KNOW as kids they would never have been able to watch it.    Finally it dawned on me.

When you read something (or are read to), your mind produces the images based on the words.  It’s only going to come up with something it can handle- it won’t be “too” scary.  I am sure as I read about orcs, each child had a different picture in their mind, some probably more gruesome than others, but none of them anything more frightening than they could handle.  And all was based off the very same words.

But with a movie (even an illustration to some extent) you are “stuck” with what the creator has decided an orc looks/ sounds/ acts like.  And that may indeed be too scary for some (like me- I hated those parts).

So, I think scary fiction, fairy tales, Lord of the Rings, whatever, IS okay, and good.  Being scared (not too much) IS fun- with written fiction, the reader/ listener is the one in control of the level of scariness.

It may be that if a child is exposed to lots of visual frightening scenes, perhaps their mental images of things they read would be too scary, but that’s another issue (how much scary TV/movies- TV/movies in general- our children should be exposed to.)

As I said, it was an amazing insight.

Making peace

So… this is on my mind.   We just got news that our youngest brother (51) is seriously ill and probably has only 2-3 months left to live (liver problems).  He has no faith life, and I think is terrified of death and God.   I cannot imagine facing major crises in life without some sort of faith.  My prayer is that he make peace with God (however he comes to know Him) before he dies.

Are you at peace?  At peace with your Maker?  Is He there for you?  Lending strength and solidity in times of crisis?  If not, may I suggest you spend some tiem considering this?  Who God is for you, adn how you can make peace with him, reconcile if need be.

Truly, truly, I cannot understand living without some form of faith.  I am a Roman Catholic and that faith has served me very well all my life.  I am eternally grateful for it.  But if your faith is different, I can accept and understand that.  I can’t understand no faith, no idea of any kind of higher power of God or Supreme Being.

Prayers for you all.  And feel free to pray for my brother, Jay.


Go to the Source- Let’s Communicate

So often communication fails because people don’t address the problem directly.  And it causes problems.  Yesterday I posted something in a forum I belong to.  It was entirely misunderstood, the person who started the thread was horribly offended and quit the community (despite having been an active member for some time).  I consider her a friend, I have met her in real life.    When I was informed by a moderator of this, I really thought I had lost it.   I truly had no idea what I might have said that was so offensive.  The thread had been removed.    I really wondered if something was seriously wrong with me- I know sometimes I have posted things that might be offensive to some, but yesterday, NOTHING.  Yet she was upset enough to quit!  After really stretching my brain, I figured it had to be something I said about writers.  I am on a (different) writer’s forum and we were having a discussion about how I think young people are less well educated than prior generations.  In particular we were discussing things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence usage and so on.  Quite a number of folks (these are WRITERS, or aspiring writers) felt that those details were not very relevant.  I pointed out that you could be a good writer and not know those things, but you would then get them fixed by proofreaders and editors.  But several felt it wasn’t necessary.    Anyway, this woman is a writer and homeschooler.  I had pointed out in my writer’s group that homeschooling is one possible solution to some for children to learn proper grammar, etc.   But I was really lamenting (and judging) writers who choose to ignore some of those basics.   Apparently whatever I said, however I phrased it (her thread had to do with why she homeschools) she took to mean I was referring to her, directly.  (She is a good writer, she knows about grammar and all.)  It bothers me a great deal to have offended her.

So, I lost her email (computer failure a few months back), I am trying to (and will) contact her to try to amend things.   But it would have been so much better had she contacted me right away and said, “Hey, you are terrible to say something like that!”   Perhaps she was hurt and just wanted to retreat.   But I’ll bet she lost sleep over it last night, and I can’t concentrate today because I’m thinking of it.   I take full responsibility for my words, and am sorry they were misunderstood.

How many times are we hurt and never go to the source and work it out?   Possibly many times you did understand the other person, and the hurt was valid.   I have seen in some families DECADES of not talking/ communicating because of things said (or done).   I’m not suggesting we allow ourselves to be doormats, but I think it is good to go to the source and try to figure things out.

Say a prayer for me today, and my friend.

Words Mean Things

I have been frustrated lately.  There is a woman I know who is continually putting herself down by saying things like, “I’m a terrible wife/mother.” She may haev faults a s a wife and mother (we all do), but to repeatedly say those words about yourself just build up that very negative image.  So much better to think in terms of something like, “When _______ happens, that really challenges me, but here is what I try to do to overcome it.”

Another person today said that we all attract rejection.  I called him on it and said I do not want to think in terms of attracting rejection.  Sure at various times and places in my life I will be rejected in some way or form.  But to say (and think), “I attract rejection,” is absolutely crazy, in my book.

Words mean things.  The words we say and use affect our thinking.  Our thinking truly does affect our reality (that’s not just New Age hooey).  One long time saying in our house is, “Fake it till you make it.”  So if you’re feeling grumpy, fake feeling nice (meaning your actions, facial expressions, words and so on reflect a person feeling nice).  I’m not suggesting you deny negative feelings like grumpiness.  Accept them, then make a choice what to do with them.  You can act on them, you (truly) can choose to banish them.  They may return, but you do not have to allow them to linger in your mind (or words or actions).

Think today about your words.  Are they uplifting?  Do you need to chnage the way you express yourself?



We all haev things in our lives that trigger “negative” emotions/ feelings in us.  If we know what they are, we can anticipate them, and maybe plan for ways to deal with them that are not destructive (like gritting our teeth, steaming and bottling it all up inside).

Perhaps another way to phrase what triggers you , or related way, might be to ask what causes stress.  Let me share some of my triggers to get you started about thinking about your own..

Expectations are a trigger for me.  3 areas: others, self, the world

Biggest by far are expectations of others.  Some main ones that really annoy me: people who play games, people who don’t say what they mean, people who don’t live up to what they say (not really trying), people who lack common sense, people who don’t THINK.

Continuing, quite honestly, people who are not smart.  This depends, though.  I recall being QUITE upset and frustrated with my oldest, a dyslexic.  I did well in school and here he was, I was homeschooling and he wasn’t getting reading.  I couldn’t figure out why not.  Bothered me a lot (I knew little then about dyslexia and learning disabilities).  On the other hand, someone like my daughter, rosemary, who has Down Syndrome, doesn’t bother me that she’s not academically “smart”.  I don’t care if people don’t know something, but it bother s me if they don’t want to know or find out (and it is relevant to them).  Example: me to Wal-Mart employee: do you have X?   Employee: I don’t know.   Okay, fine, so FIND OUT!  Don’t just stand there looking dumb.

To some degree we MUST have expectations of others.  I expect people to obey traffic laws and stop at red lights.   I expect the shop keeper to accurately represent what he sells (ie, this tire will fit on your car and is a good snow tire).

Next would be self: I expect a lot of myself and am annoyed, disappointed when I don’t live up to those expectations.  In regards to perfection in diet, goals, daily activities, etc.  I am not a perfectionist, but do find myself annoyed when I don’t do what I plan to, or want to, or wish to.  Or when what I do is what I WANT to do (some self-indulgence) but know (or think) it is not in my best interests.

Expectations of the world: this might be something like expecting abundant fruit from a tomato plant.  When I don’t get it, I am frustrated.  Or that if I do certain things (really do them), I will have better health (natural law).  I expect a sunny day and get rain.  The world is the least disappointing of the three areas.

Another big trigger, usually due to other’s behavior is being late, or nearly being late.  I don’t like this.

Think about your triggers and how you can deal with them in a constructive way.