Shifty Grace

My niece Colleen had a pet rabbit when she was a toddler. I gather he was a buck bunny, substantial for a rabbit, and held himself in excellent esteem. Colleen once stuck her finger through the wire of his cage, and got a nasty bite for her troubles. When she tried to carry the bunny around, he used those powerful back feet to nearly claw through her clothes. He tried to get away–imagine that!

bunnyLike all bunnies, this fellow died, and my brother and his wife were concerned about Colleen’s reaction. She’d seemed attached to her bunny, and this was the first pet to buy the farm on her.

She was overjoyed. She could finally, finally carry the dratted rabbit anywhere she pleased, and he wouldn’t wiggle, or bite, or try to run off. She could safely pet him, she could put him down somewhere and he’d stay right there. When she couldn’t find her deceased rabbit the next day (he’d been planted beneath the forsythia hedge), she was quite put out and wanted her parents to get her another dead rabbit.

Who’d a thought?

happy babyYesterday, I flew home from San Diego, and found myself aboard a 757 full of screaming babies. Tiny babies, nearly toddling babies, girl babies, boy babies, and that kind of baby we’ll simply call a cute baby. They were all in fine voice, for hundreds of miles at a time.

I love a screaming baby. A baby who screams and carries on at great volume has a sense of his or her own needs, and when they’re not being met. The babies who trouble me are silent, failing to thrive, passive, and ailing. They have fractures nobody is willing to explain, and yet, they try to crawl–without crying. Gimme a healthy little screamer for a seat-mate and I’m OK with that. Dead bunnies are fine, screaming babies are fine.

In these unconventional viewpoints, there’s an awkward grace. Somebody needs to sit next to those budding Caruso’s on the plane, and I’m just the person to do it–cheerfully! And how much better for my niece, that she found something positive about her rabbit’s demise, rather than be afflicted with grief.

ornamentsBeneath both unconventional viewpoints lies a shift in frame of reference: I deal in babies who can’t even scream, my niece had been hurt and frustrated by that rabbit. Often, when I’m rolling on a book, it’s because my characters are able to shift each others’ frames of reference, and insight can wedge a boot in a previously locked emotional door.

When did your frame of reference shift, so that what you regarded as a burden became a benefit, or what you or saw as loss became gain? Maybe you shifted perspective about a person or a job, or… yourself.

And Christmas is upon us, so I’m giving away another e-reader of your choice–Kindle, NOOK, or iPad.


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76 comments on “Shifty Grace

  1. For the last couple of day I had been feeling kind of down, for a few reasons. Yesterday as I was going through FB I saw this post on a 17 year old guy who has cancer and he only had a couple of months to live. He loved music, so he wrote a song called “Clouds”. His name is Zack Sobiech. He was living his life to the fullest, with the time he had left. He was able to record the song and it is beautiful. I thought to myself ” my life is pretty darn good”. Is it perfect, no. When I thought of Zack and everything he had to go through, I didn’t feel down anymore, I felt so very grateful for all that I have and I no longer felt ungrateful for the things I don’t have. Sometimes things are brought to your attention, so that you can realize just how much you do have, to be grateful for. Thank you Zack, I hope you are having a wonderful time up, up, up in the clouds…

  2. Hi, Grace! This was another wonderful reflection for me.

    I had two moments that flipped the switch for me: the first happened when I stumbled upon A Fortnight of Self-Adoration by Kylie Bellard and on one of the days, she gently reminded us that EVERYONE has problems and that we are all trying to make the best of our situation. It made me become more patient and understanding of the people around me — and to be more sympathetic in general. It also reminded me that I am participating in the very human condition of living. ^_^

    When I need to refocus and regather myself, I usually read Tuesdays with Morrie (it is a yearly New Year’s Eve habit) and the insights I get there carry me through the year. ^_^

    • Excellent book! And isn’t it interesting, how compassion for ourselves makes compassion for others easier, and conversely. Call it love, call it kindness–it makes the world go ’round in the right direction.

  3. My frame of reference shifted right around the time of my divorce. My 50’s upbringing and mentality had to shift in order for me to change from having a job to having a career, from a help-mate to a bread winner, and from a casual reader to a college student. I went from a “Father Knows Best” state of mind to the “Super woman” of the 80’s. It was quite a shift.

    • And Betty, I absolutely love that you made that shift and have never gone back. A lot of woman “rise to the occasion,” but then find a successor spouse who can “put things back to normal,” with the same old power imbalances and role restrictions. Good on YOU!

  4. A major source of frustration and worry is, for me, a maddening, but much loved, older sister. For years I have asked God, generally, to keep her safe and help her obtain a better life and, specifically, to get her out of her current precarious living situation.

    A few months ago she finally agreed to move in with me and it has been a surprisingly difficult adjustment – more often than not we fight and bicker like we did as children.

    Driving home from church after a particularly bad day it occurred to me – God has provided ME with the means to help my sister. My husband and I live on one income, and adding another adult has been slightly challenging, but we have managed. She is no longer living in a dangerous home and instead of going to bed fretting over her, I can go to sleep knowing she is safe in the next room and hopefully on her way to a better life. Instead of fighting so often, I try to remember that it is a privilege to have my sister with me and to thank God for the time he has allowed us.

    • My daughter handed me a similar insight when she was eighteen: If she’s above ground, sucking air, and on the radar, it’s a day to be grateful for. Hard lesson, but a good one. I hope nobody else has to learn it the way I did.

  5. About 20 years ago I began working with refugees. Hearing first hand the horrific situations they came from and knowing what they had to do to survive and escape made a profound impact on me and my family. When I watch an esteemed co-worker tearfully tell of his journey through the killing fields of Cambodia twenty years after the fact, welcome new refugees arrive from refugee camps in places like Kenya and Thailand with all of their belongings in one plastic bag, or see our adult ESL students struggle cheerfully with a new language and culture I am reminded of my good fortune. My worldview expanded beyond my backyard. There was no ah ha moment, rather a gradual lifting of a veil of ignorance and superiority. There but for an accident of birthplace and the grace of God go I.

    • Mickey, what strikes me is that a part of our nation is largely built on those cheerful, courageous souls, whether they’re fleeing the potato famine (my folks), religious persecution (Quakers, Mennonites), or the killing fields. That “Onward!” spirit is precious, and while immigration issues are real and complicated, I hope we never lose that spirit.

      Thanks for the insight.

  6. About 12 years, my company had merged with another and I was not happy. My usual modus operandi is to just sucked it up. However, my office partner at the time came back from a sales conference and gave me a recording saying you have to listen to this. I took the tapes and put them in my car and listened to them on the 7 hour drive to my mothers and then on the drive home. I listened to the entire presentation three times. When I got home, I called the man I had intervied with and accepted the new job. The topic of the presentation? “Are you surviving or thriving?” Thanks Steve – even if the results were not what you expected!

    • Martha, I recall attending a sales meeting at the second company I worked for. It was supposed to be a pep rally, but I walked out of there knowing I needed to buff my resume. Leaving the job was hard, staying would have been impossible. Clarity is a good thing.

  7. I stayed with my sister and as like you Grace, I hate screaming baby, every day my niece and nephew like screaming and crying, really faint especially after going home from work with all the stress day but sometimes I’m blessing to have my niece and nephew beside their screaming and crying ofcour, but looking at them with their action can cheer me up especially this moment when my mom has just passed away.

    Hope can win ipad so that I can give to my niece and nephew to busy them from screaming or crying lol

  8. I’ll have to put it in my mind in the worst concept not always sure I want to do it, I know it, but don’t always want to show it. The sudden death of my parents made me a nurturer, a fixer, do the right thing person. Even as a young person I was the one that was watching the other children usually younger than me to make sure they were okay. If I could find a way to solve a problem between people of things that was my aim. Once had a conversation with a relative unhappy about the way her grandchild was treating a parent, and was refusing to go to a family event. Uncomfortable conversations, but worth doing if it changed the outcome for all. As you probably know I’d try it even if it didn’t work. The bunny is the fun part of the tale, my children rescued animals from the neighbors (city) that raised a few to eat. The bunny was the first rescue my son did, bought that rabbit and placed him in the fenced back yard and our cat Dustbunny went out everyday looking for his rabbit. They were the best buds, running and jumping over each other on the thick St. Augustine grass. A summer of love for the pair. Dustybunny was recovering from a infectious cold he lived with for many years, Only cat I continually wiped his nose, because he was worth it. Meds helped but didn’t cure. Still golden cat days for the family as we sat in our backyard and enjoyed the pair of unlikely friends. Neighbors had a large protection dog, not naming bread cause know blame to be had there dog watched the pair between the fence with considerable interest. As you would think the rabbit finally eased out of the fence one day and was hopping down the street enough of a reason for the neighbor dog to do away with him on the spot. The neighbors apologized. My husband always had the best realization of the problems, he said the dog was just doing what a dog does and had no hard feelings about that. My children learned a good lesson there. So whose to say what developes us my Gracious, it’s how we live with what is put in our sphere that makes the difference. I’m still a fixer, trying to fix the parts of my lives and the lives around me. Sometimes for the better. Shoot the odds are that I have to win sometimes. LOL I enjoy every relationship in your books. I don’t say that with all my authors’ books. I do yours. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays, Good Will to humans. We need it.

    • Another worthwhile bunny tale. Dogs will be dogs, bunnies will be bunnies, but neighbors can still neighbor too.

      I once got into a situation where I’d nosed out too far into traffic (could not see oncoming traffic from behind the line), then needed to scoot back a few feet. I was in a strange city, after dark, and flustered. I backed into another truck.

      The guy got out, looked at his license plate (hit it with my trailer hitch), shrugged, and said, “That’s why we drive trucks.” Changed the way I felt about the entire city (and made me a more careful driver).

  9. People react differentlyto death. Was this her first incounter? It’s all part of growing up that we learn hard lessons.

    • Louise, it was, and she was about three. The notion of permanent loss probably lay outside her grasp at that age. Another year or two, and the story would probably have had a different and more teary ending.

      • And a note here about my comments for the day: I’ll be away from the computer for much of the day, but I do read, appreciate, and try to respond to every comment.

  10. I think that my “Oh I feel so sorry for myself” rant ended once my baby cousin died of brain cancer, she was almost 3. There were days I felt like the world was out to get me or I was so mad that I didn’t get my way. I then realized my life was wonderful, what was I complaining about? Here were family members of mine that were watching their baby pass away and she didn’t get her chance. I had my chance and I was acting like a idiot. Needless to say, that baby changed my perspective on things, God bless her little soul.

    • Sheryl, I’m so sorry your cousin and your family had to endure that. When we’re done being furious and heartsick over it, a death like that can really effect a shift to a healthier perspective.

      And as it happened, Collen herself did not enjoy a long life, though she was much loved and what years she had were happy. Her death put my daughter’s troubles in the same sort of, “What was I complaining about?!” light.

  11. I once had a job that I absolutely loved (or so I thought) for over six years, great work environment, great people, great pay, but then they decided to make some management changes that I wasn’t real happy with and one day just up and quit. It was scary and I thought that maybe I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Then I was hired by a new company (a small family-owned business) at a little less pay. At first I was just happy to have a job, but then I realized that this was the absolute best thing that could have happed to me. I never realized how stressed I was at my previous job until I got the new one and wasn’t in pain all the time. My whole being was so much more relaxed. Now that I am retired, I look back and thank my lucky stars that I took the gamble and actually won!!

    • Good for you, Sharon! I’m still holding down a day job, but trying to ease away from it. Every writer I’ve talked to who quit the day job said their only regret was that they didn’t do it sooner.

      Every. One.


    • Mary, I think people who ramble through life, from here to there, lots of travel, lots of interaction between social strata, have an advantage. They’ve done my job for a day, your job for a day, seen many neighborhoods, and so forth. Every walk of life has wisdom about it, and I just got the Crying Baby Lesson.

      I’m sure your path has lessons too, ones gained only by walking in your shoes.

  12. Over three years ago, I moved from my home state at the older age of 42. It has been a difficult move and I’ve suffered from never-ending homesickness. But I’m slowly coming to see that it is good for me, a person who has always resisted change instead of embraced it. I am very, very slowly coming to realize that change is the only constant thing I can count on and, the sooner I accept it, the better for me. So I would say moving out of state has forced me to come to terms with something that I struggle with daily.

    • Maria, moving is TOUGH. I’ve seen it listed second only to death of a loved on the scale of stressors in our lives, because not only is the actual packing up and relocating hard, you have to rebuild a lot of your social network, and support network.

      So in terms of changes, you started with the hardest one. I hope from here out, the changes are easier and more fun.

  13. Five years ago my husband was laid off from his job of 28 years. It happened the week before Thanksgiving and our holidays were subdued. He was given a generous package and I was working so we were not in dire straights. I was stressed out; we had a mortgage, a college age child and bills. There were not a lot of jobs available at the time. My husband interviewed for everything. No luck. I went to our church’s Easter Vigil Mass and afterward I saw that there were positives in our situation. We were not in debt or in danger of loosing our home because we are savers, not spenders. My husband was home and able to be there for our daughter. He taught her to drive and went on her college visits. He also filled out ALL of her financial aid forms. He does most of the household chores, including grocery shopping which I detest. So there really is a silver lining in most situations–sometimes it takes a while to find it.

    • Having just gone through that financial aid, college shopping/college hopping exercise with my daughter (again), I can only say the timing for Dad to be available for the whole drill seems providential. I hope whatever job he finds allows him to continue to handle the grocery shopping!

  14. I recently applied for a part time job in retail. I was having problems getting the paperwork done because they needed my Social Security card, which I had lost. This was during the government shut down, so I had to wait. Before the new card came, I actually got another job offer for more money & more hours, so things worked out better than if I had gotten the initial job! By the way, we have gone through many hamster deaths, a rabbit death & a bearded dragon death, and I am always the one who cries, not the kids. I guess it is because I am the primary care taker! I am the one that talks to the animals.

    • Sharlene, that is what you call your basic Forward Fumble! Well done, thought that might be the ONLY positive to come from the government shutdown.

      I’m a crier. No matter how long and lovely the animal’s life, when I lose a friend, I cry, regardless of species.

  15. this is a very deep perspective – there are too many people demanding their needs be met – I prefer being the person that makes this happen for myself without demands – I’ve tried being the demanding one and either I do it wrong or I am wrong in letting people know when I need something – we are such a generation of me me me – we need to remember to give back and not always get anything but inner satisfaction from it.

    • Vickie, oh, what an excellent point you make. When Japan suffered a nuclear meltdown, a bunch of elderly engineers volunteered to handle the clean up–their reproductive years were over, and their age meant any cancers resulting from radioactivity would be slow growing. In that culture, such a sacrifice apparently didn’t get a lot of attention, but I was sure impressed.

      That said, I’ve found myself a lot more aware of an impulse toward giving and contributing since my daughter left home. It’s as if I needed seventeen years of parenting to shut down the me-me-me response, and it hasn’t kicked back in (I hope). Other people are born with generous hearts, or maybe they’re quicker on the uptake than I am.

  16. When I fly to try to sit in the back of the plane because most parents of small children sit back there and I know I have a lot more tolerance for the screaming kids than most people. I have even flown with a screamer of my own once and thankfully the people around us were very good about the whole thing.

    As for you question. My perspective on kids throwing tantrums in public changed dramatically when my twins were diagnosed with autism and would have the most horrific meltdowns in stores, all because you skipped from aisle 5 to aisle 7. We don’t have pets so there is no need to go down aisle 6, but when one of your kids is obsessed with numbers, you don’t skip aisles. The whole thing made me realize that not every kid throwing a tantrum in the store is doing it because they can’t get a toy.

    My other example is with my reading. For years I only read inspirational fiction and (I hate to say it) didn’t understand how people could read books with sex in them. Two years ago I decided to “broaden” my horizons and started to read what I called “secular” romance. It took a lot of getting used to, but at the same time it made me see things about myself and other people that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I also have met some of the dearest people because of changing my perspective and this last year has truly been a life changer for me.

    • Sarah, and we’re glad you’re reading from our aisle, too!

      By the way, the very back of the plane is the safest place to sit. If anybody is going to survive a crash, it’s the people sitting in the tail section.

      When my daughter started having meltdowns, I could tell immediately who around us had a heart for children and who didn’t. Sometimes she was being a brat, but sometimes, she was tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated, or scared–or I was, and she was reacting to that.

      Fortunately, she was small enough that I could carry her somewhere quiet, and let the tantrum work itself out. There are days when I wish somebody would do the same for me.

  17. Oh, I did this at the beginning of the semester. My principal (for reasons I now find sketchy) decided to move me into a tiny classroom with a woman who ticks nearly the entire faculty.

    In a way only she can, she made sure I was completely unwelcome. Telling me that my stuff can go in storage while all the shit she doesn’t even use stays right where it’s at was not the most auspicious start to a new school year.

    After about a week of moaning and groaning on my part someone made this comment, in reference to this woman’s ability to come across high-handed and arrogant: “I don’t even think she knows that she’s doing it.” I thought about that for a moment and I realized they were right. This woman has no people skills. None. At least not with her co-workers.

    I made the decision right then I didn’t care any more. I even went to so far to tell my Facebook friends (a small, select group she is not included in) that I was done. I was done with this woman; I was done being annoyed and mad at the stupid things she said. I was done. I’ve been much happier since then.

    I have noticed that changing my perspective is often a conscience decision for me. I look at a situation, realize that anxiety, anger, and annoyance are not getting me anywhere and I simply make a very deliberate choice to change the way I feel/view something. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it is the thing that makes me a happier, healthier person.

    • Interesting, Sabrina. I suspect the principal realized you were one of few (on the planet), who could reason your way to a method for dealing with this woman, and get those deflector shields up and fully charged before you beaned her with the trash can.

      I’ve had some success with applying reason to emotion in recent years, but it usually first takes a period of fuming or angsting, and then a moment of labeling what I feel, and assigning an origin to it. THEN I can sometimes widgie a bit of sense into the equation, and get some perspective.


  18. I like your outlook and I too am okay with crying babies since that is what they must do but I’m afraid I’m not so forgiving of adults (sigh). I still strive to to accept people and their faults because after all, I have them too. I am content with most everything except when people are hurtful. I know I need to let it go but it’s hard. Logically I know life is not always fair so I’m really working on accepting that. I do think I’m getting better at it and that’s something to work towards. I tell myself that everyone is doing the best they can do and hopefully someday I will really believe that lol.

    • Jeanne, there are people who betrayed me thirty five years ago, stole money from me, violated my confidences, and so forth. On a good day, I can shrug and say, “We’re all doing the best we can, and I don’t know what load those people were carrying. That was then, and this is now. Onward…”

      But as soon as another whiff of betrayal or theft rankles my day, I’m not so philosophical any more. I think this sensitivity on my part is a step in the direction of not allowing the same kinds of wrongs to befall me again… though it’s a little judgmental of me, too.

  19. My frame of reference changed when I went from being an overpaid lawyer to an underpaid executive director of an environmental non-profit. I downsized everything about my life and never have regretted it.

  20. I used to feel really bad because I couldn’t walk like everyone else until one day when a friend of mine that I went to school with had an accident and was put in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I figured out that he had it worse than I did, You see, he had the use of his legs for a time and then lost them I never had the use of my legs at all. I guess that was God’s gift to me-the fact that I did not have to grieve the use of my legs. I tried to help him as much as I could but I finally had to stop because we moved away- I just hope that he learned to go on with his wife the way he was.

    • Gail, that’s an interesting and very constructive approach to a disability most people would find wrenching. I’ve never been skinny, but oh, I can feel the lack of a healthy weight… Maybe I need to get over that? Ya think?

  21. Grace my frame of reference has changed twice in the last 15 years, the first was when I became disabled and was forced to retire early. For someone who had always been referred to as “as healthy as a horse” , that came as quite a shock as did the fact that some some simple daily actions were beyond me. There was a time that I, like many others made fun of the commercial showing an elderly lady lying on the floor saying “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up”. After being diagnosed 1-21-01 with moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis that has happened to me more than once. I almost pulled a side by side freezer/ fridge combo over on myself once trying to use it to pull myself up from the floor. Thanks to aggressive treatment by my diagnosing doctor along with a new biological medicine that came out at the the beginning of ’03 I seldom ever have this problem any more.

    My other break through, or so I call it, came when I reached the age of 62 and decided to draw early social security, that small amount of income allowed me to live on my own and I’m very much enjoying it. I see my grandchildren quite often and love watching them grow up.

    The only time I have to be anywhere at any specific time is for a doctor’s appointment. I see my rheumatologist every three months, my primary care physician every six months, and my eye doctor yearly. I go monthly for blood draws and to pick up my injectable medication because it can’t be mailed and do both on the same day. It’s amazing how relaxing and stress free my life is now, I have plenty of time to read, play on my computer, and I also volunteer each Thursday with a program done by my church.

  22. This happened to my cousin. Her husband got fired soon after she gave birth and they were under financial stress, but him not having a job made it possible for him to stay home with the baby. They lost one income, but saved some in babysitting and so they came to see his firing as a blessing in disguise.

    • In my area, day care for an infant costs about $200 a week, or $10,000 a year before taxes. Add to that the cost of commuting, maintaining a work wardrobe, etc., and the wear and tear of leaving your newborn with a stranger every morning… remind me again why going back to work immediately should be a high priority? My nephew’s living in Sweden, where each parent gets a year of family leave after a baby’s born. THAT makes sense to me.

  23. Oh yes, I was always so afraid of change. I finally took a big risk and moved across the country to be near my son. Being able to sell my house for three times what I paid for it and pay cash for a house in my new home was certainly a blessing. But I stayed with the same company I’d been with for over thirty years, just transferred. Finally, a few years ago I got laid off, and it was definitely the best thing to ever happen to me. I found a new job in the public sector (a venue that was completely different than the business I was used to), with a fantastic boss, wonderful benefits, and great people to work with. I couldn’t be happier. And I think I view change in a better light now, knowing that really good things can come of it.

  24. I was working for AT&T, at their call center. I hated that job, but loved the people I worked with. My co-worker Trish became one of my best friends. So although it was a horrible job, the worst I have had to date, I came away from there with a life long friend.

    • Sometimes the people who endure awfulness with us do become comrades. Only other authors can truly appreciate the terror of writer’s block, the horror of an awful cover, the dejection of having your line cut or your contract terminated. In a largely isolated job, that support and understanding from other authors counts for a lot.

      Though I’m glad you got the heck out of that job!

  25. Many, many moons ago I had an internship with the inspector general’s office of the EPA. It was supposed to be a recurring position where I worked a quarter and attended a quarter of college classes. I loved the job!

    I only worked one quarter before the position was done away with because the new administration did not allocate enough money to fund the program. I was pretty devastated and developed a huge resentment of the president because he was a good person to blame at the time.

    I got another position as a technical writer with a major computer corporation that eventually led to my temporary move to the state I live in now, and meeting my husband. Needless to say, I realized that the job loss at the EPA was a blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t been working as a tech writer, I would not have had the opportunity to take a temporary job almost 1000 miles from home and would never have met my husband.

    • My first lay off was from a government contractor–so was my second, and in both cases, the door that opened was much more fortuitous than the door that closed (though I’m still available to the right husband…)

  26. Such a lovely article, thanks for sharing. We often lose our focus. My Mom is my challenge and I try very hard to be glad that after 83 years she is alive and healthy, thought very opinionated.

    • With the Aged P’s, I tell myself I’m going through with them what they went through with me. I was once very opinionated (for about 54 straight years), and so on. I do wonder though, when my parents are going to stop wishing I’d get married…

  27. Hi,

    My name is Lori and I’m a …. Grace Burrowes addict. This is not a joke; I can’t get any work done! It started out as hard copy books, then I recently discovered that I can get a quick “fix” by putting the Duke’s Obsession Bundle ebook on my iPhone. No other writer has inspired me to make the bold move from my beloved paper copies.

    And now I’ve discovered the Blog. Surely this has to be enablement of some sort. (Is that word?) More Grace! I HAVE TO READ THE WHOLE BACK-LOG BLOG! And there’s a NEWSLETTER – sign me up!

    Sorry for all the exclamation marks. I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, the dead bunny thing was hilarious and the blog entries are wonderfully thought-provoking. My favourite so far is that rest is not an option and it’s not just for being sick or lazy. It’s necessary to being a whole person. I think I’m going to print that out and put it next to my tea kettle and reading chair because those are words for a compulsive reader to live by.

    As for a shift in thinking that can change your life, mine is definitely coming to the realization that my body may be bigger than I’d like but it’s healthy and my husband loves it. Now I savour my food and remember to value the health and vitality I have.

    • Always happy to meet a Grace Burrowes addict! I once dated a guy who said unto me, “My dear, you are not dainty, but you have qualities that far eclipse mere daintiness for their attractiveness.”

      Good talker, that guy. Good at a few other things too.

      I hope to continue publishing a title a month through about Summer of 2015. After that, I might slow down, but I don’t EVER intend to stop.

  28. A year ago, I quit a grad program that I wasn’t happy in. It wasn’t my true passion at all but I felt like it was the best thing to do at the time. From there, I started a different graduate program in library science…which has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. It was so hard to quit the first program because apparently, what nobody ever tells you, is that quitting grad school might as well be the eighth deadly sin! But now, I am the happiest I have ever been. So, while it was tough, it was so worth it in the end. Light at the end of the tunnel and all that!

    • Good for you, Jackie. The first time I dropped a class in college (accounting), I felt as if I’d been freed from the ninth circle of hell. Wish I’d done that sooner with a lot more classes.

      I gave up on music when I was twenty, which seems quite young–except I’d completed all the degree requirements for a bachelor of music (which I ended up with through inertia), but by then I was supporting myself with music, dating a musician, hanging out with musicians, and I’d put thousands of hours in at the keyboard.

      Yeah, so what? It wasn’t making me happy, and it was hurting my back. To heck with it.

      Maybe it was Maya Angelou, but some wise person said, “Weak people give up and stay, strong people give up and move on.”

      Long may you move.

  29. A lot of my child-rearing viewpoints changed when I became a grandparent. I no react the same way to baby tears or dirty little hands. And changing diapers isn’t quite the drudgery it used to be.

    • I never minded changing dipes, which is good, if you’re a single parent. I did feel as if my kid was growing up at one tenth the speed of every other human baby.

      I don’t expect I’ll become a grandma, but I surely do treasure the company of children now….

  30. I have for much of my life, been shy! Not in Business, but personally.Don’t wish to intrude or put myself forward kind of shy…. I had an uncle who passed away by suicide, and we went to the other State to attend the funeral. When we got to the town, we got a hotel room intending to be there the next day and the day of… I called my Aunt and told her we were in town. She asked if we would come to the house. I in my stupidity said no we do not wish to intrude on you and the 5 (grown kids and their families) at this time. I’ll regret that till the day I die, I did not realize that this family needed me to come and speak to them because my mom went the same way as this Uncle, my mom’s brother. That family and I are not as close as we once were but it gave me leave to go with my instincts and stop “NOT” doing something.

    • Georgie, given that your mom and your uncle died the same way, that you even had the groceries to attend his funeral was remarkable.

      And in that situation, there was no manual of etiquette, no rule book, nothing to tell you if your aunt’s request was mere manners, a tired invitation, an offer she was hoping you’d refuse, or a heartfelt request.

      We do the best we can, and I’m sure you’ve shared your regrets with your cousins when the moments have been right. Tough situation, my friend.

  31. Boy, did my frame of reference change when I went away to college. I was so excited to leave, I hadn’t realized how homesick I would be! While I had been sure that I would never want to live in Texas again, after I graduated, I couldn’t wait to be back. Sometimes it takes some time away from it all to remind you what you truly appreciate about “it all.”

  32. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found my frame of reference has changed. As the saying goes…” With age comes wisdom.” Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone!

  33. I’m currently going through that perspective shift: having just been laid off for the second time in two years over a twenty-year career, I think I’m due for a change. So I’m considering skills, interests, and resources, and will be making decisions in the new year. Sometimes good things can come from bad ones

    Thank you for the giveaway, and particularly for your wonderful books. Merry Christmas to you & your family!

    • Oh, didn’t you just need another layoff to make your holidays really sparkle? Sorry for the lay off, sorry for the timing. I was laid off twice, and both times it was scary, nerve-wracking, and a nuisance. Both times, though, I ended up in better situations, and learned a few things about my own resilience, and who my real friends were.

      Message me with your snail mail addy if I can send you a few books to cheer you through the job transition (goes for anybody, for that matter).