Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Nebraska City was a frequent destination when our little family needed a brief getaway. Nebraska City is a special place and holds precious memories. Here's a sampling of family, friends and a special place held firmly in my heart...
I go to Facebook every day. One feature that I really like is the “Facebook Memories”. A few weeks ago, a memory popped up of a picture of me with my two dear friends, Jane Polson and Sue Smith. I reposted the memory and said something to the effect that I missed these two women.
Jane Polson had been the President and CEO of Keep Nebraska Beautiful since 1991 and Sue Smith had been the Keep America Beautiful Affiliate Education Director – also since 1991. Actually, they were both hired on the same day in February 1991, and they helped each other find their footing in their respective positions. I met both of them (in person) in March of 1991 and we three became good work partners and over the years, personal friends.
I retired as Executive Director in 2017 and as a Financial Assistant and Trainer for KFB in 2019. Jane retired in 2019 and Sue retired a few times… but it doesn’t seem to work very well for her, and she continues to help out frequently.
It was so fun to see that memory pop up on Facebook. The three of us standing together at a KNB Conference – me in the middle – sandwiched between two of my most favorite human beings. I saw those smiling faces and I was reminded of how much I missed our times together.
Retirement has taken us in different directions and the Pandemic hasn’t made it any easier to travel. Luckily, we kept in touch via social media and Jane saw my post! She thought it was time for an in person visit! I suggested Nebraska City as we had met there many times for the KNB Conferences.
Vanessa (Keep Columbus Beautiful) saw the Facebook post and called Jane to tell her the KNB Conference would be held at the end of September in Nebraska City. Vanessa thought it would be a great idea if we three could arrange our visit to coincide with the conference – she missed us too – that was so sweet.
And just like that, Sue scheduled a flight from Chicago, Jane arranged to pick Sue up in Kansas City and I made plans with my daughter for her to take the night off her job so she could care for her daughter! Wow – we would all meet up at the Lied Conference Center – just like old times. I couldn’t wait.
On the day of the getaway, I had to deliver a painting to my other daughter Sara – she lives down in Ceresco. So, I started out early – well early for me… around nine or so and took off for Sara’s. Stopped for just a few minutes, hung the painting and then took off via county roads to Nebraska City.
It was a beautiful, sunny fall day. Perfect for driving through the Nebraska countryside. I was reminded of all the fall days that Randy and I would drive back and forth to Omaha during Septembers in 2004 and 2005.
In September of 2004 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He had surgery then chemo and then radiation. The doctors had given him 6 months to a year. We felt gratitude that he was doing so well and keeping the tumor under control.
In September of 2005, the tumor began to grow, and he started experimental chemotherapy and more radiation. Frequent trips to Omaha were a constant for the month of September and October.
Randy would sit quietly in his seat and watch the scenery as I drove. He commented every day, on how lucky we were to travel during such a beautiful season. The colorful fall leaves were putting on a show just for us, to make our drive more pleasant - he marveled at our luck to make these travels at such a wonderful time of year.
The route I traveled cross country from Ceresco to Nebraska City was not familiar but obviously I had a sense of where I was going. I felt more confident as I passed through Ashland and saw the Aero Space Museum, the Wildlife Safari and Mahoney State Park – I was traveling in the right direction.
The two-lane roads were clogged at intervals with semi-trucks exiting the harvested fields - loaded to the brim with corn. Farm machinery slowed the traffic on the rolling hills, but it was a most pleasant drive during a beautiful season here in Nebraska.
I arrived in Nebraska City a little before lunch and met up with Sue and Jane at a marvelous shop and restaurant in the downtown area – The Keeping Room. The business and restaurant are housed in a two-story historic downtown building. It’s a really cool space. The gifts and products offered in the shop are unique and fun. The food is delicious. I had a haddock salad croissant, and it was delicious! The owner of the business had caught the haddock herself – so that was a fun little fact! So glad she would share! Randy would have loved it.
It was so fun to see Jane and Sue – our friendship is one where you pick up right where you left off. We spent time getting caught up on the last few years and talking about all the great times we had together. We talked about what we missed from our jobs.
Sue and I talked about adjusting to widowhood and losing our biggest fans… it had been two years since Jim had died and over 16 years since Randy had passed.
Lunch finished, we headed for the Lied Conference Center. The newly hired Keep America Beautiful President, Jenny Lawson was scheduled to present her vision for KAB and the affiliate organizations. I didn’t really care if I sat in on the presentation or not but, because Jane and Sue were so interested, I decided I should make an effort.
I have to admit, I was a little confused. Since, I’ve been retired, things have happened with the National organization – it took me a while to get caught up. At the end of the presentation, she asked if there were any questions… no one raised their hands… I had a shit ton of questions. I remained quiet and sat on my hands. I kept reminding myself I’m retired.
After Jenny was done with her bit, Sue, Jane and I went to see if we could check in. My room was ready, but Sue and Jane’s room wasn’t. We decided to change in my room and go for a walk on the grounds. The place has amazing walking trails, and we were looking forward to stretching our legs.
We met in the lobby and ended up talking to a few affiliates – eventually we found our way outside… we oooooed and aaaaaed at how the trees had grown and we reminisced about the times we spent on the veranda – sipping adult beverages and meeting with old associates.
Peaking over the high stone edge, I spotted a fire pit that had been placed in what had formerly been a grassy area… Oooo let’s go down there! So, single file, using the hand railing, three little old ladies moved slowly down the massive steps, three abreast we walked the short distance on the wide sidewalk to the firepit. It was about a hundred steps – maybe not that far. Our hike was off to a great start – couldn’t wait to see the total on my Fitbit!
This fire pit area was new. This outside fire feature consisted of a large concrete circle with a stone wall around the edge of the circle. There were openings in the circle where the sidewalks entered from different directions… many paths led to the fire feature.
A single young woman was seated at the far side of the circle – in one of the largest and heaviest Adirondack chairs I had ever seen or tried to scooch over just a bit…uh – not budging. That’s alright I faced the sun.
The firepit wasn’t a firepit after all – it was a massive and might I add, well-constructed raised stone fireplace. We three ignored the young woman and continued our chatting and hysterical laughing. Even chatting about the trials and tribulations of running a national non-profit organization during a pandemic.
We three had been associated with KAB for decades. We had been true devotees to the organization and were dedicated to the success of the national organization and to the affiliates. We talked about what was important in our day and what should be important now. We talked about the challenges, and we talked about what Jenny had said to the affiliates during her presentation. We may have retired but we still very much care about our shared environment and making our communities cleaner, healthier and more beautiful.
Before we knew it, hours had passed, and we needed to get ready for the awards dinner. Our big hike was in the 190-210 step range; however, we did have to walk back up the stairs so that was kind of a big deal… And - yes, we were invited to the dinner, but it felt like we were crashing it.
The awards highlighted some very special projects that had been completed in the last year here in Nebraska. Projects that beautified our communities, increased recycling and helped manage our wastes in best possible practices.
The awards also highlighted how difficult it had been for some affiliates to maintain the Presidential Circle Award Criteria during the Pandemic. I was proud that Keep Fremont Beautiful was one of two Nebraska Affiliates to manage that level of achievement during a trying time.
I had overseen the Keep Fremont Beautiful program for 32 years… it was my baby. I’m glad that my baby is in good hands and is still thriving. Casey and Alicia are doing an amazing job and I felt fortunate to be sitting in the audience as they received the award.
The evening finished off with more talking in the lounge at the lodge. The new CEO of KAB sat down next to me, giving me a ring side seat to a less formal discussion of recent struggles and plans for improving the National Organization and relationships with the affiliates. It’s kind of funny – but over the years I’ve had any number of ring side seats to these types of discussions. One thing is for sure… change.
Shit happens and things change. More change is in the making and all any of us can do is hang on and adapt to the changes that have been thrust upon us. Luckily for Keep America Beautiful, and our shared environment, they have hired a most qualified person to lead the organization. I truly am grateful that I had an opportunity to meet with Jenny and get to know her and learn more about her vision for KAB.
I am grateful that I had such a fulfilling career – I truly enjoyed my job at KFB. I am also grateful that Sue, Jane and I were able to clear our schedules and have some quality time to get caught up at one of our favorite places in the whole world.
After a late breakfast the next morning, I took off for home. I traveled the familiar route and thought of Randy once again. It was another clear day and Nebraska showed off its lovely fall colors. He would have enjoyed the drive… he would have enjoyed visiting with Sue and Jane, but he would have enjoyed spending time with Ramie in Nebraska City the most.
He and Ramie would go to the conferences with me, and they would keep themselves busy while I was in meetings. The memories of them in the swimming pool came to mind. The memories of eating together in the dining room came as well… visiting John Brown’s Cave, going to the movies, visiting Arbor Day Farm and Arbor Lodge all came pouring back – just like that old Facebook memory of Sue, Jane and I… it was comforting to think about those precious moments we shared in Nebraska City.
Thanks to my old friends for our time together… Thanks for the best memories… Thanks for the NEW memories....
I have this thing I did when I was working… when I started brainstorming… I would have to get up and start moving around the office while wildly throwing out ideas – well maybe not so much like throwing out ideas as throwing up a rambling heap of word vomit… (Uh - nice visual)
Cathi would watch me as I moved around the room, dutifully taking notes and smiling, sometimes laughing or maybe she was cringing… I flailed my arms and exaggerated my steps, punctuating a thought with a little jump, followed by long strides and sudden stops and silences… When I was reasoning through some part of the job – writing a grant – figuring out an education program – putting together a response to a community complaint… I would go on these theatrical romps.
I didn’t do this all the time… only if I had an audience. Suffice it to say, very few people had the opportunity to witness my thought process antics, as I worked alone for many years – so maybe it was just Randy and Cathi who had the privilege to view me in my full-on animated glory…
Anyway – on Tuesday, I was particularly stressed. My thought processes were backing up on me and I wasn’t sure how to handle all the arguments bouncing around in my head. Sara (my oldest daughter) was coming for the day to continue the spring-cleaning purge – it’s an annual thing that spans many weeks. Tuesday was like day 3 or 4 in this year’s liquidation cycle and the split-second Sara opened the door, all good intentions of spring cleaning escaped the building… and just like that, I launched into what I consider to be a sensible, rather impressive Supreme Court of The United States free-associating rant.
You see… I am upset about the Supreme Court. I am upset at the prospect of Roe Vs. Wade being overthrown. I’m frustrated and I’m angry. And yes, I have been meditating but I think I needed to rant to truly get all those negative thoughts out of my system…
I fully recognize that I am a work in process maybe even a little progress… not totally detached, but aware enough to know that detachment is one of my personal issues that stands between me and calm – maintaining a state of “calm”, maintaining a state of detachment is off somewhere in the distance. I keep heading towards “it” but “it” is aways away!
So back to the rant… Just steps into the kitchen, Sara realized that this was different. Mom (speaking of myself in the third person) was seething. She put down her purse, grabbed her water bottle and sat down at the dining room table… she chose the seat closest to the east windows. It was like she had a premonition that she had to sit there to get the best view of the upcoming spectacle.
The pacing area for the rant was limited by the layout of my house but due to the recent wall removal and remodeling of the kitchen, I was able to move freely from the kitchen, through the dining room, around the living room and back again. The route was replicated numerous times during the rant and my whirling choreography visible to Sara for the entire performance. Good seat Sara!
Honestly, I can’t remember the exact wording of the harangue, but I think we can all be fairly certain it was laced with profanity from beginning to end. In the safety of my own home… I let it all hang out as I stomped, twisted, turned, pounded my fist and shouted out my list of grievances against the politization of the court, the corruption of the court and the overall lack of ethics and oversight of the court.
I explained to Sara what the leaked document contained and how it impacted all women – I explained that I wasn’t concerned for me, at this time in my life, but I was most assuredly concerned for the safety and health of the younger girls and women in our family and our nation – I told her that I was scared and I was angry. I brought up the rage I feel towards McConnell, Trump, Evangelicals, Republicans, Religious Fanatics, and even friends and family who do not support a woman’s right to choose – I was basically totally rat shit pissed at the current state of reproductive rights destruction.
As I was winding down the masterfully delivered and genuinely inspired bombast, I succinctly pronounced to my audience of one… “it is time for me to go to Washington and demonstrate. It is time for me to go get arrested for defending the rights of women.” I paused – waiting for her reaction, nothing… deer in the headlights… When I asked if she was in… she burst into laughter… she wasn’t sure she had time to get arrested in Washington. Fair enough. I sat down, joining her at the dining room table…
Calmer… not calm-calm… but somewhat calmer, I gazed into Sara’s eyes and my mind drifted back to March of 1981 and the emergency room in Omaha. I began to relive those details of that fateful night… how I had almost died when I was seven months pregnant with Evan. I remembered how difficult it was for me – even faced with my own death, to make the decision to end the pregnancy. It was a decision that I made in consultation with my doctor and other health professionals gathered in the examining room. Realizing that this pregnancy was out of my control, I submitted to God and asked him to handle it for me.
I stared off into space as I explained to Sara that if this leaked SCOTUS document becomes the final judgement of the court, then that would mean that women, like me in 1981, facing imminent death, would have no choice… they would not be allowed to end their pregnancy. The decision would no longer be up to her and her doctor. Her and her God. Women would have no right to privacy. Every woman dying from health complications caused by the pregnancy, every woman with internal bleeding and organs shutting down, would be forced to stay pregnant and die.
Again, I looked deeply into Sara’s soul and told her how much I would have missed seeing her grow up. How much I would have missed knowing Evan and seeing him survive and thrive. How fortunate I felt to have endured, and survived that horrible health crisis. I survived, because it was my choice. Me having the right to end that pregnancy had given me and my baby life.
I recalled the moment, when I woke up in the recovery room and learned that the baby was a boy and he had survived. He had come out and pissed all over the doctors and nurses assembled to save his life – they had laughed in relief that his plumbing was working. Evan had been whisked away to Children’s Hospital (which was 40 some blocks away in those days) and I was relieved he was getting the excellent care that only they could provide. I recalled how I thanked God for taking care of everything!
I reminded Sara, as I so often do, of that life altering moment while in intensive care, when I left my body. I was free of the pain – it was a glorious feeling. I described how effortlessly I moved through the darkness and towards the light. I recalled how the light was communicating with me in a telepathic method… there were no words… just an understanding. I wanted desperately to go into the light but the light thwarted my efforts to enter. The light was in control – I had given control of my life to the light and this was a not so gentle reminder to get my shit together and go back.
I have told this story of my experience with the light many times. It doesn’t vary in the telling – at least I don’t think it does. The light made it clear that I was not entering and if I had to put the telepathic message in words, it would be this… “I never said it was going to be easy. You have everything you need, inside you, to get through anything… now you need to go back.”
That type A personality thing I have going on, on the earthly plane, is a problem…it seems that personality can travel without a body – funny thing. Anyway - I tried one more time to work my way into the light… the light pulsated and grew from a circle to a cone – the force of the energy grew - it was immense, I was being put in my place… and then the light imploded into itself and boom - nothing... sending me violently back into my body and all my worldly pain and problems.
I explained to Sara how my experience with the light has guided me through so many hardships and losses. Life sucks! But I am comforted by the fact that the light is in control. The light gave me the strength to finally rid myself of her father and ultimately finding my way to Randy. I explained how trusting God and ending that pregnancy had enhanced our lives for the better. How ending that pregnancy had eventually led Randy and I to adding a precious little girl to our family through adoption. It was a tender moment… but just for a moment…
The calm had passed… I took my place on stage for Act II… it was a forceful performance, reiterating my stand on safe and legal abortion… (I must admit I was pretty shouty – projecting to those in the balcony, no doubt) “CARRYING A BABY TO TERM, OR ENDING ANY PREGNANCY AT ANYTIME, MUST ALWAYS REMAIN THE CHOICE OF THE WOMAN. A CHOICE MADE BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER GOD. THE CHOICE MUST NEVER BE MADE BY SOME DOUCHEBAG OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON D.C. IF AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL IS RAPED AND AS A RESULT OF THAT CRIME, BECOMES PREGNANT, SHE MUST NEVER BE FORCED TO COMPLETE THAT PREGNANCY – A PREGNANCY THAT COULD KILL HER – THAT IS BULLSHIT!
With that, I made a one-eighty, heading for the living room to begin another series of laps and rants… when to my surprise and de-LIGHT… (see what I did there - de-LIGHT... funny huh?) I spied with my little eye, the banner at the bottom of the television screen… it read… “WOMEN MOBILIZE TO PROTEST DRAFT RULING – WASHINGTON D.C.” I quick grabbed the remote and unmuted the audio… Groups across the United States were mobilizing to protest – Groups were mobilizing to determine best strategies to fight this ruling – Groups were mobilizing to get the votes out – Groups were mobilizing to protect the Right to Privacy… A great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I wasn’t alone… there are younger, more capable women who can wage this battle – it’s time to pass the torch. I mean... I still have everything inside of me to get through anything, but so do they, and it is their turn to shine the light!
My relationship with pregnancy was not an easy one. Some women can get pregnant and pop out a baby and barely notice. All my pregnancies were celebrated! The loss of the first baby was devastating - I mourned that loss. I had a rare health condition and I needed time to heal. I was eventually able to conceive a second child and she was a biggie - I didn’t think I could ever do that again. But I did, and that third baby almost killed me. The doctors advised against trying that again... I heeded their advice and the fourth child was a gift from a selfless woman who made our family complete.
I will be forever grateful that I had a right to privacy and was able to choose to end my pregnancy with Evan so we both had a chance to live. Women in that health crisis today would be denied the right to end the pregnancy… and that is religious tyranny.
On the other side of the Abortion Issue, I will be forever grateful that Deb chose to carry her baby to term and that she chose to give Randy and I the most precious gift we ever received! Those were the private choices made during our reproductive years, and I am so happy we had the opportunity to make those choices for ourselves.
We can't go back. Women have the right to control their bodies and their health. If anyone asks for my opinion on what they should do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, I will explain their options - all of their options, to the best of my ability. And then I will make sure that she knows that the choice is hers.
NOTE: Talked to my Doctor and he thinks going to Washington D.C. to get arrested is a bad idea. Evidently talking about Roe Vs. Wade raises my blood pressure... So anyway, he cautioned that if I thought I could fit in a trip and an arrest around blood tests, Dermatology visits, the new diet, new medication, new exercise regime… then maybe… but he’d rather I didn’t. OK – fine! I am happy that there are groups mobilizing to fight this Draft document… soooooo I “choose” to stay home and work on my health and staying calm. But just so you know – it is my choice. And FYI - I sure as hell won't vote for anyone who doesn't support a woman's right to choose - a woman's right to life.
I have a ton more pictures but here is a sampling of what I would have missed if the Supreme Court has their way...
My Mom Alyce and my Aunt Joey, were the first matching couple... just saying...
My mother’s sister passed away recently – she was 91 years old. Aunt Joey was my mother’s younger sister. Peggy was my mother’s older sister and she passed away a few years ago. Aunt Joey was the last remaining family member from the older generation of the Fremont Green family.
Aunt Joey married Mel Schwanke right out of high school. They celebrated 70 years of marriage and raised three wonderful kids. The two older girls were like sisters to me. Jo and Cindy were my earliest playmates, and we grew up together in the family business. We took our turns at being delivery bunnies during Easter and we helped out at the store downtown on Thursday nights and on weekends.
We spent holidays together and at Christmas, we three would open up our presents together – the same exact doll for all three. I remember one year Grandpa Joe made a wooden kitchen hutch for me to stack my play dishes… it was really cool. He made one for Cindy and Lynny – they had to share. I thought it was kind of nice that I didn’t have to share my little kitchen hutch with anyone – sharing wasn’t my thing.
One of the favorite things I remember about Aunt Joey and Uncle Mel is they would include me and brother Billy for special events. One summer there was a florist picnic in Columbus and Aunt Joey had made a special top for each of us girls - Cindy, Lynny and Me. She had spent hours smocking the upper third of the breezy light-weight tops. Mine was blue gingham, I think Cindy’s was pink and Lynny’s was light green. The edging along the sleeves and hem was a thin crochet lace. I absolutely loved mine and was so happy to be included in the “Family Dressing” ritual.
Dressing the girls alike – was a Green thing and even probably an Olson thing. There are old, old, pictures of Grandma Lil and her sisters all dressed in matching garb… it was a tradition that had been carried on for generations…
Grandma Lil (Olson) Green would dress my mom and Aunt Joey in matching outfits. Peg was tooooo mature and opted out of the sameness thing fairly soon. Mom and Joey continued on with the twin routine for years. Lynny turned out to be tooooo mature too, and soon gave up on matching outfits – she was a lot like Aunt Peggy – an individualist.
Another aspect of the “event” memory were trips to the family shows at Aksarben and getting loose meat hamburgers at B&Gs in Omaha - that was special. There were day trips to the State Fair in Lincoln and there were numerous times that Billy and I tagged along with the Schwanke's to see newly released movies.
When Mom got sick back in the 1950’s – Billy and I were shuffled from one friend’s house to another. Aunt Joey finally had enough of that chaos and declared it over… Billy and I would stay at their house until Mom was well.
A lot of memories about my aunt, center around food. She was a fantastic cook and I looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas each year – knowing that I would get the most wonderful home cooked meal. I loved her turkey gravy. She always made it look easy cooking for a crowd and her tables were set to perfection. It was a treat to eat at my aunt’s home. Oh and baked beans – there was nothing like Aunt Joey’s baked beans!
In the summer when I was a kid, I enjoyed going over to eat at Aunt Joey’s - especially when she was serving shish kababs – the beef and vegetables grilled outdoors were the best I have ever eaten… it was a true delicacy. The bed of wild rice… well that was something unheard of at our house… we didn’t eat fancy stuff like rice! My Aunt was always coming up with something unique and delicious to eat. One time she served a key lime pie and that was it… I was hooked. Key lime pie became my absolute favorite dessert of all time. She made it for me when I craved it while pregnant with Sara.
I went shopping for a wedding dress, in between taking classes that summer in 1972. I found a simple dress but it didn’t have a veil. I took the dress to the greenhouse to show my mom. Both Joey and my mom thought it was perfect, and Joey said not to worry – she would make a veil. Cool – that was easy. The veil was perfect!
Also, when I was pregnant with Sara, Aunt Joey hosted a baby shower. She always did that for new mothers. And when Evan was two months premature and was baptized at the hospital… she still knitted a christening gown for him… for later… for when we could do it right.
When I divorced Dan – she was fine with that – she never really liked him anyway. And when I married Randy – she thought that was a great choice. She and Mel weren’t going to be in town for the wedding, but they loaned us the use of their house (my Great Grandparents house) for our wedding. My Grandparents had gotten married in that house, my parents had gotten married in that house and I seriously wanted to get married in that house – I figured I wouldn’t have too many opportunities to do that. It was meaningful to me and I so appreciated their generosity. Joey and Mel supplied all the flowers for the wedding and reception – that was a surprise… and a very happy, sweet and treasured memory!
We kept it secret when Randy and I decided to try to adopt a baby. We weren’t sure it would work out and we didn’t want to explain it to a bunch of people. Aunt Joey was thrilled when we announced the adoption of Ramie! She hosted another baby shower – the first big event in her new house. Right next door to their old house!
Aunt Joey and my mom were great friends throughout their lives. They got into trouble together and they helped each other out. They shared a love of the greenhouse and their heritage. Aunt Joey was three years younger but she was always the boss… she took care of my mom. When they were kids, my aunt Joey would make sure that mom would eat – mom was too skinny and frail as a child.
As adults, Mom and Aunt Joey were pregnant at the same time. Billy was born in July and a few days later Jo was born in August. I’m sure they would have been dressed as twins had they both been girls! Mom got pregnant with me way too soon… something about when you are nursing, you aren’t supposed to be able to get pregnant. I was born 18 months after Billy. Cindy was born 9 months after me. Several years later, Aunt Joey got pregnant with J and mom lost twins. Eventually Stacy was added to our family and the Green Girls stopped at three children each.
There was some competition between the two – a sibling rivalry. Aunt Joey could make a fantastic turkey for Thanksgiving and Mom could turn out a wonderful prime rib for Easter. I loved Aunt Joey’s key lime pie but Mom’s Strawberry shortcake was a close second. I seriously loved that little smocked top that Aunt Joey made for me that one summer but I also loved that mom had a problem finding the house needle for repairing that loose button. Joey could make a corsage in her sleep but Mom could whip out a “Father” “Mother” or whatever in fuzzy wire for a casket - spray behind her back… Mom admired Joey and Mel for their devotion to the family greenhouse and appreciated their efforts in growing the business. Mom enjoyed working at the shop part-time but also enjoyed going home at the end of the day and not thinking about the business. I know that she was grateful that Jessie was willing to continue the “Bell Street” flower corner into the future.
I will always hold in my heart, the memory of stopping at the greenhouse and both mom and Joey would stop what they were doing and pay attention to my story or help me solve a problem. I find comfort in the memories of growing up at the greenhouse and being surrounded by people I loved and who loved me. I feel blessed to have had the most caring, loving and wonderful mother on the planet and I feel blessed to have had a spare. Rest in peace Aunt Joey…
I'm sharing a few pictures of my Mom and her sisters... also sharing a few pics of the rest of the family. Feeling a little nostalgic and missing those who have gone before!
As I sit and watch the unfolding events on my television screen, war in Europe is no longer a distant memory – it is a current event. A delusional dictator is wreaking havoc on a peaceful nation. The populations of Ukraine are putting up a fight and it appears they will fight to the death.
Just a few days ago, Kyiv was a normal European Capital City – a large urban society with its citizenry pursuing individual dreams and living a nonviolent existence. Today, residents who were unable to flee the city, are huddled in underground structures, seeking safety from the Russian bombing and advancing troops.
The Ukrainian President has enlisted the help of civilians to arm themselves and resist the Russian forces. I watched an interview of a young man who had just been issued an assault rifle. He was preparing to go home and google how to operate the gun.
Normal people, with no military training, are preparing to stand up to a far superior fighting force… and my heart breaks for all the blameless people who will perish to salve the ego of one heartless narcissist longing for the good old days of the Soviet empire.
As thousands of Ukrainians flee their country, European nations, as well as the United States and Canada, are preparing to open their borders to the refugees. As many as 5,000,000 Ukrainians may become displaced with an unknown amount of people killed and injured.
Meanwhile NATO has enacted the response force for the first time in its history. Our troops and the troops of all NATO nations will protect the sovereignty of their allies – an attack on one is an attack on all. This is a display of unity against the advances of a tyrant.
All sane people in the world are hurting for the people of Ukraine. You should care about this nation and what is happening on the ground right now!
Many are surprised how President Zelenskyy (a former comedian) has risen to the occasion. Initially he didn’t want to panic his people and held out hope that a diplomatic solution could be found to fend off an attack. It is now apparent that Putin had no intention of pursuing a peaceful option. Zelenskyy has remained in the capital city with members of his administration. Zelenskyy knows that he is the number one target – he knows that Russia wants him dead, he has vowed to stay and fight.
President Biden is to be commended for his efforts in repairing the damage done to NATO by the previous administration. Trump was quite willing to destroy NATO to further his ambitions, those of Putin and other dictatorships around the globe. Trump was also quite willing to withhold aid to Ukraine until they dug up dirt on his opponent… Trump and his cronies viewed a relationship with Putin as an advantage – a path to riches and domination – the lure of the glamour of power…
Thank God, we have a leader today who is filled with soulful qualities – a man who feels compassion and empathy for his fellow man. A leader who understands governing and foreign affairs – a leader who possesses a strong and true desire to help – a leader who understands the limits – a leader who knows the difference between right and wrong and actively builds coalitions to do what is right.
I don’t know how all this will end. Putin reminding the world that he has nuclear weapons is frightening – I certainly don’t see how you take that as anything but a threat.
The sanctions that the U.S. and other countries have placed on Russia is meant to hurt the Russian Government and the Russian economy. The Russian citizenry will suffer as well.
It is heartening to see the protests in Russia. Everyday Russian citizens protesting against their government – knowing full well that they face arrest and severe punishments. I sincerely hope that Putin is feeling the pressure or at least the demonstrations of love for the Ukrainian people.
I remember reading somewhere that when Putin was a KGB spy, a supervisor had evaluated his job performance and noted that he took more risks than was necessary. This invasion thing, sure appears to be an unnecessary risk.
It is well documented that Putin holds a deep, personal, stinging regret at the fall of the Soviet Union. The speech he delivered just before the invasion, revealed to the world just how delusional he has become. His views and interpretation of events certainly don’t match the views and interpretations of others on the world stage.
We don’t know where this is headed. I only know that my heart aches for those involved in this war. All war is devastating. Devastating to people and to the environment. This war didn’t need to happen. This is a war of choice. A war of choice by one man.
I am saddened that so many of my fellow Americans admire this man. What Trump, Tucker Carlson and Pompeo said in support of Putin, is beyond contemptable, its giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
Putin is harming Russia, Ukraine and the world! I pray that the evil of his dictatorship and other dictatorships will be immobilized. I pray that peace will be restored, the earth will heal and Democracies around the world will be protected and flourish. I pray that the Holy Spirit will work through each of us – directing us in the right activity in the plan. In Jesus name - Amen
For many years now, over two decades, I have participated in the meditation practices of a reincarnated master of wisdom - Buddha Maitreya. I found my way to this individual through a friend - joining in group meditations, attending Darshans (days of teachings), and participating in individual soul therapy sessions.
Before I was introduced to this teacher, I floundered in my focus and ability to meditate. I found the music and pujas Buddha offered, along with the meditation tools utilized during meditations, helped me to enter a truly meditative state and clear the energy.
People often notice my necklaces and tell me how beautiful it is. I tell them it is a weaver or meditation form – a tool that helps to clear the energy. Wearing a weaver (or other form) everyday helps to remind me that I have a connection to a higher being. The weaver is comforting, protective and betters my abilities in creating a grounded state of being in times of confusion and unrest.
I am grateful that my friend introduced me to this meditative practice and the use of the tools. The tools are based on sacred geomancy. Use of the tools creates an energetic space of calm and peace. In my experience, the daily meditations calm your emotions, strengthen your soul and help you heal.
A wise man once said – “Life is fucking hard”… I don’t know of anyone who has escaped hardships, despair and loss – we’ve all had our share – some more than others. For me, meditating is a spiritual practice – a personal healing practice. Meditation compliments my Christian faith and calms my soul.
If you are interested in learning more or experiencing the meditation tools, you can visit the “Buddha Maitreya Omaha Soul Therapy Center. The Center is located at 13013 W. Center Road in the Montclair Shopping Center. (877-444-7685)