Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday's Words for May 24, 2017

I think I’m at that place I never believed I would ever be: feeling a little as if the world is moving too fast for me and leaving me confused and unsettled as a result. The changes in technology notwithstanding, up until last November, I really thought I was doing all right—for an older broad.

I don’t try to keep up with every bit of technology as it evolves. That would really be futile, because whether I like it or not, the truth is that as we age, our reactions and thinking processes do slow down some. It’s normal. Maybe if the natural life span for human beings could aspire to two centuries instead of only one, then things might be different and I might just now be coming into my prime. But they’re not, and I’m not. When you couple being over sixty with the reality that my health is not the very best, well, it’s only to be expected that I begin to react as if I’m…older.

That said, I haven’t focused so much on the visual arts, or on all the cool apps a person can get for their smart phone, though I do have the ones I want, and have learned to use them. I focused instead on the skills needed to serve my vocation, writing. I have a lap top for travel, and a pc at home here, with a tower, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. I have a wireless printer beside me, and my Internet access is also wireless. I have a cell phone that I use to text, to call, and to play a game or two while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office. My cell phone is also my alarm clock and my camera, and I can take pictures that then get loaded onto my computer. I can even send these pictures to friends, or post them on Face Book. I’ve also got my banking app on my phone, though seriously, I’d rather not use it. I much prefer using my desktop for that.

We have a wonderful television we got just a few years ago that can be used to connect to the Internet, but no, that’s too much for me and we don’t use it for that, in any event. Actually, the entire television is too much for me. Fortunately, Mr. Ashbury is quite adept at using it. And since I can operate it sufficiently to tune in breaking news during the day, or to replay a recorded program in the early afternoon when I am having my “legs up” time, I’m content. We won’t talk about the blue ray DVD. Yeah, my daughter is going to have to come by and show me how to use that thing, all over again.

But despite all that, which I consider normal and acceptable, more and more I’m feeling as if this world is just moving too fast for me, and for once it’s not the technological changes that are the cause of this sense, but the societal ones. And maybe it’s not too fast, so much as life seems to be moving entirely in the wrong direction.

I have to tell you, I didn’t see these changes coming. In fact, a year ago I would have sworn—no, I did swear—that it would never happen. Such a large number of the people on my continent would not choose lying over honesty, meanness over fairness and compassion, xenophobia over intellectual curiosity, or hatred over love.

I never thought it would happen and yet I see this happening all around me, and I’m completely at sea. It’s almost as if all the morality, all the truth, with which I was raised, with which we all were raised, has been erased from the collective consciousness of human kind. And yet, as I think on it, I begin to wonder. Am I really being lost in these changes…or is my vision simply being skewed by smoke and mirrors?

As a teenager growing up in the 60s and 70s of the last century, I was taught to examine what was presented for my consumption against a set of tenets I needed to decide upon and then adopt as my own, in order to judge whether or not I was being sold—well, snake oil. As a child, I was taught that there were certain immutable moral laws by which we humans lived. Those morals didn’t change based on circumstances or time, or anything else. They held fast, were solid, and could not be brushed aside ever. In other words, as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be. Yes, there are truths that fall into that category—etched in stone.

Since the dawn of time, human kind has known that there are two great forces struggling for domination over the hearts and minds of the people: good and evil. And the truth is, that while evil may get ahead for a time, and even seem to be winning, there is one thing evil is simply not capable of doing: and that is becoming the good.

In this struggle, Good will never use evil in order to win. Anyone who thinks that it will, has been seduced by the evil. Think about that for a moment, because there are some truths in the universe, and that is one. Evil is evil, period. Lying is lying, period. Hate is hate, and racism is racism, period. And Good will never use evil in order to win.

Evil, on the other hand, has no such restrictions.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday's Words for May 17, 2017

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here in North America. I specify the location, because I know that in the United Kingdom the occasion is also celebrated, but quite a bit earlier—this year, it was on March 11th.

When I was a child, I didn’t always have any money to buy my mother something for Mother’s Day. I usually made the card for her, although once in a while, I bought one. Sometimes I managed to get Mother a fancy tea cup and saucer set (they had them at our local Kresge’s store, and at a very affordable price). Those times I couldn’t buy her one of those cups, I would go out to the garden and pick her a bouquet of her own flowers. She always claimed that as long as she was “remembered”—that meant a card when I lived with her, and at least a phone call but preferably a visit once I was older and out of the house, she was happy.

One of the biggest sins a child could commit in my mother’s eyes (and here the word child refers to adult children) was forgetting either Mother’s Day, or her birthday. I’m sad to say that one birthday did go by without my calling her, or even remembering the day. All these years later, I don’t remember the circumstances, only the result. I think I was more upset about my transgression than she was.

I find, as I get older, there are some ways that I’m becoming more and more like my mother. And this stance of “you don’t have to buy me anything, just remember me” is one of those ways. Flowers and cards are lovely—I have a drawer full of cards that I’ve been given over the years as I never throw them away—but the time my kids spend with me, either on the phone or in person, is truly the best gift of all.

This past Mother’s Day, my son Christopher and daughter Jennifer both came to visit me, as did my “second daughter”, Sonja. I enjoyed visiting with my son and his wife in the morning, and the girls in the afternoon. They all brought cards and hanging baskets of flowers for the porch. My great-granddaughter, when she visited the next day with her nanny, picked me a tulip from my own garden. I considered myself very blessed just for all those visits alone.

You can be sure, I cherish that tulip, even more than those lovely hanging baskets.

The traditions we honor in our families are important. They form the legacy that we, through our observance of them, hand down to the next generation. My parents have been gone many years now, and yet some of the things they did for us and the way in which they did them, found expression in my own family as I was raising my kids. For example, all of my kids got giant oranges in their stockings for Christmas, as did their children—and as did I, when I was little.

That’s not to say the traditions we pass down mean the same now as they did then. These days, large oranges in December are not such a luxury as once they were. There were Christmas mornings when we wanted to eat those oranges first, before even the candy and the wonderful full breakfasts our mother made. Those big oranges were juicy and sweet, and we didn’t even have to share them!

I hope those of you who are mothers were blessed to spend time with your children last Sunday. And I hope the traditions you’re building in your families blossom into loving legacies.

They’re a true and beautiful way to keep those long gone from this earth, close to your heart, and a way for your children and grandchildren to remember you.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury

Saturday, May 13, 2017

LAST DAY! 2 ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVELS JUST $3.00! Mothers Day/HolidayReading!



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday's Words for May 10, 2017

Just in case you were wondering (and I am sure you were) today marks 196 days until my beloved hangs up his hard hat, parks his safety boots, and turns in his final punch-card. Only 196 days to go, and I am nowhere near ready for the change that is headed in my direction at the speed of light.

I’ve been giving the matter a great deal of thought, as you can imagine. This is going to be a huge adjustment for both of us, and completely different than the one we’d imagined it would be, just a decade ago.

Ten years ago, my husband still loved his job, and really didn’t want to think about retiring at 65. He felt certain, in fact, that all things being equal, he’d still be happy to work at 70 or even 75, that they would have to drag him away from his truck, kicking and screaming.

The fact that he no longer loves his job, and the added complications that COPD have brought to his life changed things, of course. And while his bosses have known for several months that his retirement was coming up, it has come to light that they’re a little reluctant to see him go.

He’s still the go-to man when something in the production line goes wrong and no one can figure out how to fix it. They’ll ask him to supervise the repairs which he is happy to do. He just can’t do that work himself anymore as it usually involves a lot of climbing up and down stairs, and we’re talking a few dozen feet in the air. His boss told him they didn’t know what they were going to do without him. Who was going to train the younger ones coming on staff, in the proper way to do things? Last year the company hired several new employees, and David spent some time training every one of them.

There was a time he would have been persuaded to put off retiring. As they continued to try and convince him to do just that, he told them point blank: if they wanted him to stay that badly, they could provide him transportation back and forth, to and from work.

He doesn’t have a driver’s license, and hasn’t for more than thirty-five years, a consequence of his misspent youth. The long daily treks are too hard on me, and our daughter, who has been driving him every day for the last several years, has had enough. The distance is about 25 miles one way, so for my daughter or myself to chauffeur him, that’s 100 miles a day. Personally, I don’t believe they’ll take him up on his offer and that’s really just as well.

My husband, in his career, has left his mark. He has trained several men who are now supervisors—some at his own site (the boss directly below the plant manager being one), and some at other sites throughout the province.

The main crushing plant that he built himself, beginning some thirty years ago, has mostly been replaced now, but it did the job for a couple of decades. And while all the equipment in the production line is relatively new, the principles of how to turn big limestone rocks into various gravel products remains the same. In this day and age, more than ever, you have the case of people with a lot of book knowledge but no practical experience designing systems that never seem work, straight out of the gate.

But that’s the way it’s always been, isn’t it?

So here we are, counting down the days to something that not so long ago, really, seemed way, way off in the distant future. It’s funny how that works, but I know it’s a common thing. So common, in fact, that John Lennon once included that very observation in a song.

Life really is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday's Words for May 3, 2017

It’s finally May! This is my favorite month of the year, because usually, by May, the winter is past, and the flowers are blooming. Usually, by May, the aroma of freshly mown grass is mixing with the scent of those flowers in the air. Laundry can be seen flapping happily in the breeze, and the hope for new beginnings that seems to always dwell within my heart is alive and thriving with anticipation.

Yes, I’ve qualified all of the above with the word “usually” because we all know nature can and will have its own persnickety way. This must have been so when I was a child, too, because my mother adhered to what at that time was an old saw—that you didn’t plant your garden until the Victoria Day weekend, the weekend closest to the 24th of the month of May. This wasn’t just an adage, it was an acknowledged fact. I also reference the seed packets that we used to get. That caution on the back that warned not to plant until “all danger of frost was past” meant near the end of May, according to my mom.

In May, the days become noticeably longer. What May also use to represent to me was the end of the television viewing season. New seasons of returning shows and brand new shows began in the fall, and ended in May—freeing me from the addictive pull of the “idiot box”, allowing me lots of time to do yard work.

The television season seems to be constant now, but I still adhere to my own, admittedly old fashioned notions. All of the series I watch are on the same American networks from my youth—ABC, NBC and CBS. I really don’t do the cable programs, although my beloved certainly does. Being an author of romance, I probably shouldn’t admit I’ve never watched “Outlander”, but it’s true, and I have no logical explanation for that. My husband loves that show, and he’s also a huge fan of Game of Thrones. That one I can tell you without reservation I will never watch. I tend not to view anything with blood or violence.

When I’m not watching the handful of television programs I enjoy (mostly dramas or a couple that are considered reality shows. We won’t even talk about so-called comedies these days) I’m at my computer, writing, or at least pretending to be, or I’m reading a book. My beloved is happy to don his wireless headphones, so I can escape the noise of the box while I work or read. Yes, that does put us in separate rooms for a good part of each evening, with the added conversational hindrance that he’s wearing those headphones with the volume on high. Shouting from here to there gets me nowhere. But hey, that’s what cell phones and text messaging are for, right?

May is the month when I can leave the doors to my house open for a bit each day. Sadly, those doors lack screens of any kind, so as soon as the bugs begin to emerge, the doors remain closed. But at least I usually have a few days when I can air the house out from the long winter. I do have a couple of windows that still have their screens, and that helps, too.

May isn’t the month when the ants show up, usually. That’s April, and I was actually getting worried because April was nearly done and I hadn’t seen a single one. Silly, right? I was worried about not having the usual ant problem. But in these times of climate change and evolving (or maybe devolving) natural occurrences, no ants by mid April is different. If the ants can’t survive, what chance do we have? But whew, I can report seeing, and disposing of my first ant of the season on April 27th.

Curiously the little bugger was on my writing desk, not in the kitchen. Hmm, that’s still different. Maybe I should have stayed worried? Naw. Worrying is for those who don’t have any vision, who don’t have any courage…and who don’t have any hope.

I may not have a comprehensive vision, and I doubt I’m particularly brave. But hope? Yeah, I’ve got lots and lots of that commodity.

So much so, that I spend my life doing what I can, fostering that quality in others.

Love,
Morgan
http://www.morganashbury.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/morgan-ashbury