Why Bother Giving Second Thought?

Why Bother Giving Second Thought?

My life has sped up somewhat since publishing my first book. Though I thought the hard part was writing and finishing my memoir, I now realize that was easy compared to what came next: marketing the book. Selling my book requires me to process a lot of information and make wise choices in a short amount of time. I cannot count the number of emails and phone calls I have to respond to on a daily basis while at the same time, keeping my day job as a fourth grade  public school teacher. It is only during the quiet hours of my morning, before booting up my phone or computer, that I have the luxury to think slowly to ponder, ruminate and meditate. Though I do not regret having written and published a book, I’ve had some second thoughts about why I wrote it in the first place.  

      Think Time

Our brains are amazing organs. I can’t even begin to understand how they work, but I know this much, a brain needs time to process information. Thoughts and memories do not make an appearance simply by giving them command. Rather, I’ve found that they surface when given the freedom, room and time to do so. 

One of the questions an interviewer asked me was, “Who did you have in mind when you wrote A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness?” At first, I thought I was writing A Heart’s Journey, for myself, but when I shared some of my memories with my siblings in order to verify them, it opened up conversations that we’d never had before surrounding the tragedy we shared. 

Later, given more time to think, I thought that perhaps if sharing my story with my siblings opened the door to engaging with each other about the experiences surrounding our dad’s suicide, then it maybe this story could also help others through their tragedies as well. 

But most recently, I’ve given second thought to both of those answers. Yes, writing my story opened up conversations between my siblings and I and I do hope my story does help others through their shock and confusion as well. Then another concept made its way to the surface of my brain, one that I’d never considered before. The reason I wrote this story is because my father actually planted his story in my heart before he ended his life. 

I recall the scene so vividly that I am a little dumbfounded that it took me this long to understand its depth. It was a cold winter afternoon the day my father took me out to the front porch of our house in Durango, Colorado to tell me he would be going away to get well. Those words occupied my mind more than the next words he spoke. But he told me that someday I would grow up to be someone special. Those words seemed too far-fetched, ethereal, belonging to a time I could not imagine. 

Yet, now I believe that time has come to fruition. It was at that moment that he may have seen his own demise, and that I would somehow be the one to remember and recall who he was. That the memory of who he was, would not be forgotten. 

Why bother giving second thought. Though life calls us to make split second decisions, it is also important to consider, mull, and ponder those speculations that lie beneath, just waiting to have their say.  

Why Bother To Blink?

Why Bother To Blink?

Summertime is a gift, the best present of all to public school teachers. During summer break, I linger longer over breakfast, ride my bike instead of commuting by car, leisurely read the books I want and commit to catching up on important things I know I really need to do for myself. One such important and less than pleasant task was to find a personal physician. I have not had one since my last child was born, a few decades ago. Though I have made a few feeble attempts to find one, I knew this would be the summer to cross that off my list.  I appreciate those in the medical world and see their value and worth, but entering into a doctor’s office is not a pleasant experience for me. It is time consuming, expensive, a little impersonal and I worry a little about unexpected anomalies popping up. But after investigating a new physician or two, I settled on one, made an appointment and rode my bike to the nearby office. It was not as bad as I thought. After an hour-long personal and not at all painful conversation, I listened and took her medical advice: take one-a-day vitamins and get your eyes checked, something else I had not done for a few decades.   

Nourishment for the Eyes

For some reason, I was a bit embarrassed by one of the questions the assistant at the eye clinic asked me, “How long has it been since your last eye examination?” I recalled how our middle son had come to the same clinic, when around the age of two, he needed corrective surgery for a lazy eye. Since then, that particular doctor retired. I confessed that for me, the last time my eyes were examined was a blurred and distant memory. 

The assistant ran me through a series of tests determining how well I could read letters up close as well as off in the distance. Pictures of the back of my eyes were taken and when I met the young and well schooled physician he confirmed, with some surprise, that my eyesight was really quite good. When he asked if I have noticed any changes over the last few decades, I shared that sometimes, especially at the end of the day, my eyes feel dry and tired. 

He related that with increased screen time, reading or staring at the T.V. we blink almost 60% less. Blinking, he noted, is like a cocktail of oils that lubricate, cleans and moisturizes our eyes. He suggested that when my eyes become dry and tired that I apply eye drops. I wondered out loud, “Why can’t I just remember to blink more?” 

“You can try that, and if it is helpful, there are apps you can download onto your phone that will help you to remember to take blinking breaks.”

I smiled at this young and educated physician, but kept my last comments to myself, I’d rather not rely on something else to think for me. Instead, I believe I am still more than capable of remembering to take blinking breaks. 

Why bother to blink? If we don’t think to take blinking breaks for ourselves, then someone else will be telling us when to blink. 

Why Bother To Keep It Simple?

Why Bother To Keep It Simple?

Mother’s Day has become something other than its original author, Anna M. Jarvis,  intended for it to be. Anna M. Jarvis’ mother died on the second Sunday in May 1905. After her death, Anna desired to honor her mother and campaigned for the second Sunday of May as a time to honor all mothers, living or dead. 

Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed  a bill designating the second Sunday in May as to honor all mothers. Thus began the tradition of recognizing mothers during church services in simple yet respectful ways such as handing out white carnations. But what began as Jarvis’ campaign to honor mothers turned into something else.


Before Jarvis’ death, she wanted to abolish the very holiday she’d once worked hard to create. For her, Mother’s Day had strayed far from its origins of revering mothers in a church service and had instead, turned into a money making venture for florists, card companies and candy stores. Jarvis was dismayed seeing how the special day became a way for businesses to market goods to consumers. What had begun as a simple and good idea, turned into something else completely.

Mother’s Day is still on our calendars. Candy, flowers, and cards are still marketed to consumers who will spend billions of dollars just to say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” to their moms. But what do mothers really want on Mother’s Day? 

I think Anna Jarvis had the right idea. She wanted to recognize, remember and show appreciation for all that her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis had done. She’d taught Sunday school, and worked hard to improve the living conditions in her community. She mentored younger mothers teaching them how to care for their children. Ann lived during the Civil War and promoted peace among families no matter which side of the line they lived on, the north or the south. In essence, Ann Reeves Jarvis served others and her daughter wanted her mother’s service  to be remembered. Mothers do serve in selfless ways beginning with their families and rippling out into their communities. Just remembering what your mother has done for you and appreciating her job as a mom is a great way to say, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” 

Why bother to keep it simple? It is worth remembering and appreciating your mother, but you don’t have to wait for a special holiday to do that! Any day will do.