Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE MAGIC OF FACEBOOK

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Say what you will about FaceBook, but sometimes it brings wonderful surprises into our lives.

I just had one of those surprises!

Last week I had posted a group of pictures that I had taken from another FB group I am in of a unique and brilliantly colored wedding….very non~traditional but being who I am and loving colors the way I do, it so spoke to me and so I wanted to share it with my peeps in my newsfeed (or whatever it is called when you share stuff…I am old…do not judge me for my lack of technology terms!!!!) and I had commented in the original post group how I had thought it was the most beautiful wedding I had ever seen.

Yesterday, I see that someone I did not know, posted a comment to the photos I had shared from my timeline (?) saying that they did not know me but had to say they loved my love of colors and I had a new friend request from this person.

Now, we all get those random friend requests and usually just delete them but since she had gone to the trouble of commenting on the photos I had posted, I thought I would check her out (I think it is called, “creeping”) by going to her timeline (?) and seeing if she was real and/or a weirdo!!!! (Okay, that is the pot calling the kettle black as who is a bigger weirdo than me….but still….)

So I am looking at the posts she had posted to her peeps and her profile picture and her big picture (I cannot remember what our big pictures on our timelines are called) and I thought, “Wait a minute…..these people look like they could be related to my dad’s side of the family” and as I was scrolling down her posts, I see that she has a photo of someone with MY family’s last name!!!! We do not have a common last name so I commented on that photo that I, too, was a Van Wave….and did she know that?

Well shut my mouth and call me a biscuit (that may or may not be the right saying….I am getting more and more like my mom and can mix up stuff with the best of them), it turns out that she is my second cousin!!!!!!! Her dad and my dad were cousins! And no, she had no idea that I was related to her…..I saw that we had one mutual friend listed but I could not click that on to see who was her friends that was my friend, but after tons of texts on Messenger, it so happens that her friend and my friend is MY cousin also!!!!!

Talk about serendipity…..and sadly enough, she and three of her brothers were JUST here last week to spread the ashes of her older brother and her mom and had met with our cousins and she was staying just miles away from my shop!!!!!!!

She is from Texas (her family had to move when the steel mill in Morgan Park closed) and my family was not a traveling kind so we lost touch with the cousins who moved to find work across the US in the remaining mills.

I do not believe in coincidences. I lost a second cousin last week and he was laid to rest on Saturday and Sunday I find a “new” second cousin. You want to call that coincidence you go ahead, I call it the mercy of God. Of course, the loss of my young second cousin is not replaced with the finding of my older second cousin but what a blessing to me and to my sister and mom when I tell them, that there is a new connection made with my dad’s side of the fam.

I sort of pity my new found cousin…..cause if you know me at all, you know how I HATE talking on the phone but how I can go on and on and on in my writing texts and emails, etc. Because I always post stuff from my iPad and have an attached regular laptop sized keyboard, I forget that most everyone else is hunting and pecking from their phones!!!!

So FaceBook, thank you for doing what you were intended to do way back in the beginning of your function….to connect people and families……I am forever grateful for this communication tool.

Welcome to my world, Cousin Gale….hold on to your chaps, honey, cause I am a wild ride!!!!!!

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Why Funerals Are For The Living…..

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The older I get, the wiser I become.

When I was young and foolish, I was of the opinion that funerals and wakes only made the intense grief of the families last longer. I thought they were cruel.

Yesterday, I was once again reminded that instead of being cruel, they can be a like a healing salve gently placed over a wound.

I was at the memorial service of a young man who died suddenly and unnecessarily because of a series of medical missteps. He was 25. He was my cousin’s first~born son.

We all believe that no parent, no matter how old, should have to outlive their children. It is not natural in the course of life. But we also know that life can be unbearably cruel.

I think I can speak for all my cousins and their parents when I say that we were all so heavy~hearted knowing the pain our cousin and her family were in and how there was truly nothing we could do to lessen their pain. I am also sure had there been a way to take some of the grief and carry it for awhile, we would have all stepped up and gotten our portion….because that is what families do.

Kyler is the name of my cousin’s son. He was an employee of the Department of Corrections for the state of Minnesota. He worked with his dad and still lived at home, happily, one of the rare breed of young people who actually like their parents and want to spend time with them. So at the service there was a large contingent of officers in uniform as befitting the falling of one of their own.

When you see the respect and loyalty that these people show someone they may never even have met but because they were one of their own, they show up to honor their brother and his family. I was so impressed.

The woman who was officiating the service did not know Kyler personally but had spent time with his family getting to know him through their stories about him. She did a fantastic job retelling some of the stories so those of us that did not know him well, got a better look into the kind of person he was. That takes a special kind of compassion and gifting….not all who officiate funerals can do that.

Kyler’s two aunties (my cousins’s sisters) got up and spoke about him and even though their voices shook with so much emotion, we got to hear how much Kyler meant to them and their kids.

Kyler’s family each picked a song that meant something to them in regards to him and they were not your typical “funeral” songs….some made us cry while others made us smile.

But the part of the service that had the most impact on us all, was when they played a recording of the person who calls out to the officers when it is their watch time. Her voice called out his name twice and when there was no response, she said his watch was over and that he would be watching over all of them and the whole time this was being played, his father….his best friend…his co~worker….was overcome with emotion and the rest of us rode that wave of pain with him.

Because I am older and wiser, I understand the need for this time of grieving…..to cry with those who are also mourning the loss…to absorb the grief and then to release it….not fully of course, but enough that when you leave, the boulder hanging onto your heart has shrunk to a more manageable stone.

And to be able to gather afterward with family and to tell stories and to reminisce about childhood memories and other’s who have gone and to (in our case) pass around a bottle of a favorite adult beverage in remembrance of the one who loved it. It is all part of how we begin to heal after such a terrible tragedy.

Those we have gone before us are never truly forgotten as long as there is one person who still remembers them and shares their story…..

Kyler Lee Greene…..you will live forever in the hearts and minds of those who gathered yesterday and those that will think of you and speak of you in the years to come. You are away but always near in our hearts…..

Are We Propagating Hate Unintentionally?

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My brain works like a computer…..many open tabs…all running at the same time….(okay, I have no idea what I just said….I have seen memes like these on FB….but I am not sure what a “tab” is and if many can run at one time….back in MY day, tab was a diet drink and a key on a typewriter….I know…I am old…)

I was listening to a worship music site on Pandora and a children’s song came on and one of the lines said something to the effect that we can be a little light and they can be a little light in this world and my brain went here:

I “saw” from space (no, I do not astroproject…it was just in my mind’s eye) what one tiny little light added to other little lights can be. So bright they can be seen from space…..just your little light and my little light….added together….

Then my mind jumped to hate…(ya, I know…it is exhausting being me) and I had the thought of all of the political stuff I see on FB….from my friends…..I have friends on all sides of the political spectrum (can spectrums have sides? I should ask Siri but she already thinks I am stupid….) and when one side posts something, sometimes in the comments ugliness spurts from the “other” side….doesn’t matter which side is posting….we all have such passion for “our” side.

Then my brain (I think it was God this time) went to this thought:

COULD WE BE SPREADING HATE BY POSTING NEGATIVE STUFF ABOUT THE “OTHER” SIDE?

I was shocked at the answer I got.

YES. WE ARE.

Let me tell you why I think this…..

When I or someone else on my friend list, posts something good about our President (for example), all my friends see it and if they are on the opposing side of what is posted, they in their passion for their “truth” to be heard, reply with nastiness or an attitude of “what are you? Some kind of _______” and an ugliness permeates the post.

The same thing happens when my friends on the “opposite” side of whatever they feel passionate about post and my friends who disagree with them, post comments deriding them and their side, more ugliness……

So you see…..we are part of the problem in this world….and we never even knew it! ALL OF US….no matter what side of world issues you are on.

What if we were to STOP POSTING controversial stuff on our timelines (or whatever they are called) and only sent our strong opinion posts to our friends whom we KNOW believe the same way we do? Can we do that? Can we die to self and not feel we have a “right” to our opinions and the right to post them on our page…..because unless you have 100% of friends who think like you, you are causing someone else to have bad thoughts or to post a disagreeing opinion and there we go…..

I think we all know what “buttons” push our friends in the other camps.

Let’s try to practice “Loving your neighbor as yourself”….even atheists can get behind this….it is the ultimate goal to having a peaceful, loving planet….is it not?

Please think about this. Truly. If you want to be a little light that stands with other little lights that make a light so bright it shines into outer space, stand with me on this and tell your friends to stand and their friends to stand and maybe, just maybe, we will be the start of a whole new world…..

One person CAN change the world…..

In love and peace,

Robyn

How Longing For The Past Robbed Me Of The Present….

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This is not going to be one of my funny stories. This one is more of a warning to others to not do as I have done. I am going to get real and expose my self here for the purpose of sharing how I was delivered from the depths of the despair I had allowed myself to fall into.

I hardly know where to start…..

Perhaps it started the day I was standing by my kitchen sink and started to cry thinking about how much I had enjoyed when my daughter and my nephews were young and how the boys would come up to the farm to spend a night and now they were all teens and no longer were interested in playing outside making forts in trees or riding on the tractor, etc. and those days would never come again.

I could not look at photos of when the kids were little and watching home videos would send me into great wracking sobs.

I longed for those days with a ache so strong, I felt it in my soul. I felt the best time in my life was over…..I was 46.

As the years passed, the ache subsided somewhat but was like a part of my heart had died and an emptiness had moved in.

It got so much worse when my daughter got married and left our home to begin her life with her husband. I was not prepared at all for the changes that took place in our relationship with her. She now had a different priority in her life (as she well should have) but I had been under the delusion that nothing would change except we would now have a son in OUR life. Things went from bad to worse and it was all because I did not want to “let go” of the way things had been.

We had been an extremely close three~person family. We home educated our daughter and she was happy living at home even after she graduated and got a job and marriage had never been a big desire in her heart but when she met her husband, all that changed. I was blindsided by it.

I want to make sure now, you understand that it was totally MY unwillingness to let go that caused all the problems in our relationship. I just did not see it until a few years later when God revealed to me that I had made my daughter my “idol”. My world revolved around her…..my husband was just a moon that was in my universe.

Looking back now, with a clearer mind and a healed heart, I see so much pain I was the cause of…..not on purpose….but because I wanted to keep living in the past.

And the numbness and emptiness in my heart grew until it was barely beating. I saw no reason to keep on living and would pray to be taken up into Heaven. I was drowning in a vast sea of blackness and I could not find a light to dog paddle to.

I spent at least 18 years in this ocean of despair. I become more and more recluse. My body tormented me every waking hour with pain and to~the~bone fatigue. I could not find any joy in my being even though I was blessed with four wonderful grandchildren and a restored relationship with my daughter and a new understanding of my place in her and her family’s life and I saw that it was a good place to be.

But I still in my heart, longed for the past…..to where she was young….like my grands.

Sometimes God allows you to go through a “trial by fire” to refine you to be the person He made you to be. I believe I went through that to burn away all my wrong thinking and ideas and my strong, strong will of rebellion. I had to be melted down to nothing so He could mold me into the person I am today…..July 30, 2019 (which ironically is my daughter’s 37th birthday!!!).

Today I feel joy and happiness and contentment and peace and hope and no longer am stuck in the past. I see today and that is all I need to see. I feel like I have come up out of the grave of hopelessness into the sunshine of LIFE. I feel alive again. I had to choose to make that first step but God put those stairs in front of me and I finally had the will and the wisdom to step on that first one and then He took my hand and lead me up the rest. He was there with me in the dark black waters but I was too self~involved to take His hand then. Man, that can be another serious post!

Today I was reading in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 6:10 {“Don’t long for “the good old days” for you don’t know whether they were any better than these'”} and I knew it was a confirmation of my “”rebirth” if you will, and that I needed to share my story for someone who is in the same sea as I was.

To that person, let me encourage you that you just need to lay your will down and admit that you cannot fix/change whatever your circumstances are and that you are now WILLING to give it all over to God and you WILL trust Him to take care of you NO MATTER WHAT THE FUTURE BRINGS. No more looking at the past. The past is gone. It shaped your present and now let God shape your future. I promise that you, too, will feel the sunshine and the joy and the peace and the security that He has given me. Going through the fire of refinement is not easy, not by any means. It hurts like nothing you have ever experienced before but when it is over, the new vessel you are is beyond anything you can imagine. God is good ALL the time…..today, tomorrow, forever…..

If you want to discuss this with me, please email me at: robynbelsvik@gmail.com and I would be so blessed to share more with you of my journey in the furnace or what my first step was…..I am an open book (much to the chagrin of my family!!!)

With love and joy and peace,

Your new Queen

A KEN BY ANY OTHER NAME IS A BOB…….

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Not only do Scott and I have two businesses on the same property, we also own three storage unit buildings on that said property so I see various and sundry people who stop into my shop looking for my husband or to pay their storage unit rents.

Since becoming ancient of days, my photographic memory has run out of storage and I have no iCloud to pop all those useless bits and bobs into so I can free up more memory space.

So when this very friendly man came into the shop just as I was closing up, I was happy to see him because we have had some interesting conversations while he has shopped.

I told him I had seen him the weekend before heading up North with his new camper and did he have his dog with him….did he enjoy his trip…..and was he happy with the record albums he has bought….and how was he enjoying the salsa, was it not the best he had ever had? And because I wanted him to know I remembered his name, whenever I could naturally use it, I did.

And he answered all my questions….he still had a half jar of salsa and was loving it…he had not yet played the albums….he enjoyed his camping trip and yes, he had his dog with him.

Something he said to me, that I thought was kinda odd, but what do I know?…..he mentioned he was glad he was able to make it to the shop before I closed since normally he goes by much later in the day. Ken is retired so I was wondering why he could not come by earlier? And he was wearing a yellowish reflective vest and looked like he had just put in a full day’s work…..but who am I to pry???? LOL

So he gets three jars of my locally made jelly, and when he leaves, I say, “Bye, Ken. I hope to see you soon.” Ken replies, “Oh, I will be back for more jelly”! “I am going to stop by now and see Scott”.

Hmmmm, I did not know he knew Scott. But my husband seems to know everybody so I did not think too much of it but when I was locking my outside door, I noticed Ken was driving a different car but we have had as many as six vehicles for only two drivers so I figured he had an older car for just bumming around in.

Later that night, I said to Scott, “I did not know you knew Ken”. And he looks at me and says, “Ken, who?” (Now, my husband’s memory card is so full that I think it has exploded and he no longer remembers anything!) So I say, “You know, the guy who you were talking to when I was leaving the shop?” He says, “You mean, BOB?” And because we have conversations like this all the time, I say, in a kinda annoyed tone (hard to believe, right?), “His name is Ken”.

My husband then refreshes MY memory by telling me that it was in fact, BOB and that’s when my lightbulb in my brain turned on and sure enough, it was BOB.

Now I am mortified (well, as mortified as I can get because this kind of stuff happens to me all the time and like a wound that the scab gets ripped off of time and time again, I have gotten used to being embarrassed and it rarely ever bothers me) not only did I have the WRONG man, I kept calling him KEN and he was kind enough to just go along with me and not correct me. He does not have a new camper, did not buy any albums and I have no idea if he has a dog or not….but I did get the salsa part right!!!

So I made a vow, right then and there, to not call any customer by name that I have not known since birth……which I broke this weekend. A lovely woman came in and we chatted like long lost friends and she told me her name was Annette and when she left the store, I called out, “Stop in again, ANITA, it was fun talking to you”!

WHEN YOUR PAIN BECOMES MY PAIN

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Yesterday a woman with whom I had recently become friends with on FaceBook, wrote a post that she was saying goodbye and she was committing suicide. And I did not take her seriously because she had written just a couple of weeks ago that she had taken 70 pills and had called for help and had been in the hospital for however long you have to stay after trying to kill yourself and it did not seem like a big deal to her and so I was left wondering if it were even true. And she would post rants about her children (grown) and then post more uplifting things so I knew she was a troubled woman but felt that much of her postings were to gain attention from her kids.

In the comments left by friends and family about the suicide post, someone had called 911 and another person had said that she left directions to where she was so I felt that it was just another attempt to get her kids attention.

Today her daughter-in-law posted a tribute to her. She was successful in her suicide. Did she mean to be? Was she hoping to be found before she really died? I do not know this woman at all. She was a friend of a friend and seemed like a kindred spirit, which she was… when she was in a good mental condition, but so often she would post her hurt at what family members had done to her, and for those of us who knew her not, it was rather disturbing because you did not know how much was pure emotion for the moment and how much was truth.

So yesterday when I read what she had wrote, I dismissed it as “here we go again” and rolled my eyes.

Now I feel horrid.

And kinda mad.

This is where I break into two camps about Facebook. I so understand the need to share personal pain but when we do, it affects not only us but everyone who reads what we write. And when we are “friends” with strangers, we have no filters to judge what they are saying by. So we make snap judgements based on other postings by them. And we can fall into labeling them as kooks or drama queens or braggarts or whatever because we only see on the surface of what they say.

I am feeling very guilty today. Guilty that I “poo~pooed” her goodby as just a ploy for attention. I don’t feel I could have done anything since I did not even know where she lived….but I could have earnestly prayed for her, that they would find her in time to be saved. What gave me the right to judge her post as “trivial” and not the SCREAM for help it was.

And this is why I am kinda mad. What gives any of us the right to say we are going to kill ourselves on a public forum? Why does her decision to end her life and to broadcast it, override my right to not have to feel guilt or remorse over something I could not stop? Am I making any sense to any of you? I am so very, very sorry that in her mind she had no options left except to die and I feel sorry for her family whether or not what she had said about them was true (and I heard it was) for they no longer have the chance to make things right with her or to ask for her forgiveness and for all of their remaining days will have to live with the guilt/anger/confusion/etc. that her suicide left them all with. Including me. And I am sure others who were her “friends” on Facebook.

I hope she is free from all her pain, I really do.

Now, how do the rest of us deal with our pain over her choice?

ANOTHER BEAUTY & THE BEAST BITES THE DUST…..

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I am not a huge follower of celebrity hook-ups but who really thought this match up would last? I do believe that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but when you are 25 and a world class celebrity, hooking up with a man not as good-looking as you are and certainly not anywhere near you in status and monetary value….well, the odds of it lasting are pretty slim…..let’s examine some other short and probably not-so-sweet quick marriages Hollywood style….

Now I am not a country music fan so I do not know how romantic his songs are or what his sex appeal is but my question is: Did she ever see him without his hat? And when she did, was that the end?

This one really confuses me. I wonder if it confused her after a couple of months, also. I really feel bad for the men….it’s like being handed the trophy for “Dude, what did you do to get her?” and then Steve Harvey says, “whoops, wrong winner” and the whole world is watching. Oh, that has got to hurt to your very core! I hope Lyle went on to find a woman who was not only beautiful but loved him with her whole heart!

Who could have predicted that THIS coupling would not work out? I mean, didn’t they have each other’s blood in vials around their necks….seriously…if that is not true love what the heck it? I have often wanted my husband’s blood but not to wear around my neck….tho I have often fantasized my HANDS around his neck….but I digress……

These are just a few of the Beauty~Beast couples that we have seen over the years that crash and burn pretty quickly and I must admit most of them are women who do the burning and the men do the crashing….can you say, “JLo” and Mariah and Rihanna and Britney and Katy (tho to be honest here, poor old Brit got dumped by JT and Katy by Russell….did Brand really think he could do better???)

I have no great advice for you ladies out there except if you married a “beast” then you probably have a really good marriage since your man must thank his lucky stars everyday for a fox like you and I am glad you hung on to him. Speaking of hanging…..never mind…I am digressing again….

Your Queen who is not sure if she is the Beauty or the Beast!