An Easy Mark

I am an easy mark.  It is written on my forehead.

I am naive and susceptible to others taking advantage of me.

I never thought I was, and I don’t like giving people the impression that I am, but I guess I am.  I like to project a strong, self-confident exterior to the world. In reality, I guess I am not as strong and self-confident and as suspicious as I would have others believe.  I will believe a good sob story when given one.  I will trust until handed a reason not to trust.

I judge people by the way I want to be judged which is to say…please don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.  I like to believe people in general are good-hearted. I don’t like cynics and I’ve always tried hard not to be one.  It is important to be positive in every situation, because if things are bad, they can always get worse. Believe me, I KNOW!

I have strived to live my life without judging others, without being a cynic, without being negative, by always looking at the bright side.  But sometimes, just sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t be a little more discerning;  A little more of a skeptic;  A little more perceptive to the mean spiritedness of people in general so that I am not seen as so gullible.

Several months ago, I received a friend request from a former student.  I taught him in 8th grade about four years ago. I thought it would be all right to accept his request because I always said to my students that I wouldn’t friend them on Facebook until they were 18.  Richard, I’ll call him that is 18 or 19 now and will be graduating in about a week, so I thought it would be okay.  Richard was a good kid in middle school, and I am sure he still is.  He never got into trouble and never gave me trouble when I had him in school.  He came from a good family, so I had no qualms accepting his friendship request.  As I suspected when he was in 8th grade, Richard is gay and like most gay adolescents, he came to terms with his preferences while in high school and somewhere along the line he came out. I do not judge.

One morning at the beginning of April, I was sipping my morning cup of Joe and perusing Facebook.  It was like any other morning, when suddenly a message from Richard popped up.  This is how the chat went.

Mrs. Cauler I need your help.

                                       What’s up?  (I was a little startled.)

I feel really bad for asking but I am totally out of gas and I need twenty dollars to fill my tank and I am  stranded and can’t get to school or anything since I live on my own.

                                     Where are you? (I began to wonder if this was really who it said it was. He wasn’t finished with high school yet.  Too young to be out on his own.)

My apartment behind XXXXXXX on XXXXXX XXXX

                                     Give me your phone number. I’ll call you.  (I wanted to be sure it was him.  You can never tell these days.  I figured that if he gave me his number and I called him, I would recognize his voice.)

71X-XXX-XXXX

Chat Conversation End

I called the number he gave and it was him.  I was sure it was, but you never do know these days.

I asked, “Since when have you been on your own.”

“A few weeks,” he replied.  We had a really big argument and I moved out.”

I asked, “Was the argument over you being gay?”

He responded, “Yes.”

I said, “Richard your mother still loves you.  You know that.  She just needs a little time to accept things.  She’ll come around.  You have to understand that she has to give up the dream we moms have for our kids like getting married and giving us grandchildren.  She’ll come around…she still loves you. About the $20.00…you aren’t going to use it to buy drugs, are you?”

He chuckled and said, “No, I’m just a little short.  That’s all.”

I asked, “Do you have a job?”

“Yea,” he replied.  And he told me where.  I suggested he ask for a few more hours each week.

“Okay,” I said.  “Give me an hour.  I still need to get dressed.  I’ll go to the bank and I will meet you at your apartment.”

In the process of getting ready to leave the house, my son called and I told him what was going on.  He insisted I should not go alone and said he would accompany me.  I am so lucky to have the kids that I have.  He had to drive 40 minutes to get here to go with me, and he did it without hesitation.

I telephoned Richard’s high school and told one of the counselors that I wasn’t sure if his mother knew where he was or not.  I explained what had happened and what I was about to do…give him the $20.00 for gas for his car so he could get to school.  As a mom, I would want to know where my kid was, no matter how old, and since Richard and his mom parted on bad terms…

My son and I arrived at Richard’s apartment.  I didn’t feel comfortable going into his apartment, so I had him meet us in the parking lot.

Richard was all grown up!  I hadn’t seen him in four years.  He looked great, and he had a nice big hug for me.  I introduced him to my son, Chris.   I told Richard he would probably be angry with me, but that I had let his mother know where he was.  He said, “My mother and I get along fine.  I live with my Grandma.  She and I had the argument.  My mother remarried and lives up north [end of town.] She has a few step-children now, so there isn’t any room in the house for me.”

I said, “Well Richard…your grandmother is from a totally different generation.  It might take her a little longer to come around.”  I asked Richard if he was sharing the apartment with his partner and whether or not his partner had a job.  He told me his partner was looking for work.  I also asked if he had food in his apartment, because I was prepared to take him grocery shopping as well.  He assured me there was food in their apartment.  He told me he had just paid rent, was a little short, and need the money for gas to get to school.  I handed him the twenty and told him I would always help him if I could.  I made it clear it was a loan and that I couldn’t always help with money.  He assured me he would return the money when he had it.

As my son and I drove home, I mentioned that I felt a little manipulated because Richard had initially led me to believe he had the argument with his mother.  At least, I had assumed the argument was with his mother and he did nothing to correct the assumption until we were face to face.  I let the feeling go, because Richard needed the money to put gas in his car to get to school.

The next morning as I was having my coffee and scanning Facebook I said aloud, “Well I’ll be damned!”

My husband asked, “What?”

“It seems the former student who borrowed the $20.00 for gas in his car to get to school yesterday is headed to California with his partner!”

“Not on the $20.00 you gave him!”  My husband replied.

I felt bamboozled…cheated!  I was lied to and used!  I felt as if my kindness was abused.  I trusted this young man, and he took advantage of me.  He had never ever given me reason to mistrust him in the past!  Shame on him if he ever asked anything of me again.  An apology would be nice.

This reminded me of an incident with the wife of an old friend from my husband’s past.  The wife had called asking to borrow money.  Several years ago, she called my husband to inform him of the death of her husband.  He was my husband’s very good friend while they were on active duty.  They had borrowed money in the past and always repaid it.  My husband hesitated, but I encouraged him to go ahead and loan her the money.  After all, she and her husband had never before given him reason to mistrust them. My husband had also borrowed money from them in the past, and Gary always repaid what he owed.   Once Gary sent her a check, she seemed to fall off the face of the Earth.  It just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished!

These feelings passed quickly.  I am not one to hold a grudge.  I know that at 18 years of age an individual becomes legally responsible for themselves; however, that doesn’t mean that at 18 an individual is all grown up.  At eighteen, most kids are still that…kids and kids will do dumb things.

A few days afterward, I learned via Facebook that Richard was home, back in school, and living with his mother.  At least, I assumed he was living with his mother.  There was no mention of the partner other than Richard’s heart was broken.  So, it was a good learning experience for both of us!

I am a generous person.  I will help a person in need again if I am able.  If I am able, I will help because “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”  Anne Frank.

I guess I am an easy mark…

Here is my card for this week; a new catalog sneak peak!

Swirley Bird-1When I saw this stamp set and thinlits die in the new Annual Catalog last month at On Stage, I knew I HAD to have it.  I think it is adorable!  The only things you can get right now to make this card are the Mint Macaroon,  Whisper White, and vellum card stock along with the rhinestones, triple banner punch,  and hand held stapler.  You will have to wait for the rest!  🙂  In case you are wondering, the sentiment is stamped on a piece of 1″ wide vellum card stock.  The dotted image is stamped directly underneath onto the Whisper White.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!

 

Josie2

 

 

Scared to Death!

 

WARNING:  Some people do not like to think of the prospect of death.  If you are one of those people, you may not want to read this post. 

In a few weeks, I will undergo a medical procedure known as Cardiac Ablation. Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).

According to the Mayo Clinic, ablation uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) that are “inserted through a vein in your groin and threaded to your heart to correct structural problems in your heart that cause an arrhythmia. Cardiac Ablation works by scarring the tissue in the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm.” In my case, the arrhythmia to correct is Atrial Fibrillation.  I have had this condition for several years. Until the latter part of this past year, I have taken medication for it and it has not been an issue.  During my routine yearly visit with my cardiologist this past December, I learned medication was no longer in control of the situation.

About a month ago, I wore a heart rate monitor for about 30 days, and it was determined that I am in A-fib 26% of the time.  Therefore, the doctor wants to do this procedure on me.  If it works, I will no longer have to take any type of heart medicine or blood thinner.

I am scared to death to do this!  As is my standard modi operandi (M.O.), I have been trying not to think of how frightened I am.  I am frightened of “biting it” during the procedure.  Moreover, by my thinking, if I allow myself to feel this way then it inevitably will happen.  How silly is that?

As I was stepping out of the shower this morning, I realized I needed to go with my emotions and not be afraid to feel. In experiencing my fear, I realized I am not afraid of dying.  I am afraid of what will become of those that I hold so dearly when I am gone.

Okay, so I am not one of those people that are so self-centered that I think my husband and children won’t be able to live life without me.  I know life goes on, but especially for my children…who will be there for them when they need that “motherly love”?  I DO know there is no love like a mother’s love.  I believe a mother’s love is the only true UNCONDITIONAL love we will ever experience.  Will they know how much I loved them?  Will it be enough to get them through to the end of their lives?

I experienced the devastating loss of my father in 2004.  I still have my mother. At age 58, I am not yet ready to envision what life will be like without her.  I still call her every Saturday to check in.  I continue to enjoy hearing how proud she is of me and my sister.  I still like to hear her words of encouragement when I need them.

If I die, who will do this for my children?  Yes , they are grown; ages 30 and 28.  They still have a long way to go before they are settled in their lives.  Who will encourage them?  Who will tell them how proud they make me?  Who will love them to the moon and back?

Garth Brooks said it best in the lyrics to his song If Tomorrow Never Comes.

If tomorrow never comes

“Will she (they) know how much I loved her (them)

Did I try in every way to show her (them) every day

That she’s (they’re) my only one

And if my time on earth were through

And she (they)must face the world without me

Is the love I gave her (them)  in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes.”

I have come to one conclusion.  I WILL NOT BITE THE DUST!   Not yet!

On to happier thoughts!  Here are some cards I’ve been working on with a few retiring products.  Hope you like them!  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2

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Five Signs You Are Loosing It

You  know you are loosing it when you ask where your cell phone is while talking on it,  or you mistake a kitchen cabinet for the refrigerator when you are putting away milk.  You also know you are loosing it when you put something away for safe keeping then can’t find it when you need it.  (This is true stuff here!  I’ve done all of these.)

You know you are loosing it when you walk around the house for 10 minutes looking for your glasses only to discover they are exactly where you left them…on the top of your head.  Honestly, I get so used to having them up there sometime, I don’t feel them after a while.  And sometimes, when they aren’t up there I think they are and reach for them.

I used to do the same with my classroom keys when I was teaching.  No, I didn’t wear them on my head; I’d wear them on a lanyard around my neck.  I would on occasion find myself teaching and keeping 35 kids in line, while looking for my keys to open my classroom  closet only for one of my students to say to me, “Mrs. Cauler, they are hanging around your neck.”  Invariably, the class would erupt in laughter, and so would I.  You just have to learn to laugh at yourself!

I think the root cause for having these kinds of memory lapses is having children and a husband!  They are also the reason for gray hair and wrinkles.  A colleague once told me of the time she asked a 97 year-old nun in Colorado Springs  her secret to such beautiful and wrinkle free skin.  Sister’s response was, “I’ve never been married, and I’ve never had kids.”

You know your husband is loosing it when he can’t figure out why his socks are too tight and you have to tell him he inadvertently pulled a pair of your socks out of the laundry basket; not his.

Here’s my card for today.  I used the Sheltering Tree stamp set by Stampin’ Up!

sheltering tree

Hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  Until next time…

Happy stamping!

Josie2

 

 

 

 

Lotus Blossom

I never knew much about the lotus flower until I decided to post a photo of one of the cards I made using the Lotus Blossom stamp set by Stampin’ Up!.  After reading this article, you will probably say I still don’t know much, but I was at a loss as to what I should write.  Surely, you want to read about more than what paper and ink I used, right?  So, in my brief research (enough to make me dangerous) about the lotus flower, I found two websites that were helpful in giving me information about the symbolism and meaning behind this beautiful  plant.  You can click HERE and HERE to go to each of these websites for more in depth information if you are interested. However, this is a little of what I’ve learned about the lotus from my reading.  (Don’t you just love the internet?  We’ve got a world of information right at our fingertips!)

The lotus flower has significance in Hinduism, Buddhism and the ancient Egyptian culture.  A lotus is a water lily.  DUH!  I didn’t realize that so please don’t laugh too much at my ignorance.  🙂

In ancient Egypt, the lotus is associated with rebirth and the sun.  It is a symbol of rebirth because Egyptians believed the blossom closed up and sunk back under the water from which it grew at night only to re-bloom  (reborn)  the next morning.  They associated the Lotus with the sun because the sun also disappeared at night and re-emerged in the morning. “Therefore the lotus came to symbolize the Sun and the creation.”

In Buddhism, lotus blossoms are symbols of purity, spiritual awakening, and faithfulness since the flowers grow from the bottom of ponds where dirty water, pond sludge, plant debris dirt, etc. surrounds them. They are symbols of purity because they grow up from all of this muck without a spot of dirt on their petals.  From looking at the blossoms, one would never be able to tell of their “dirty” beginnings.  How often do you think of all of the “stuff” that is in the water they grow in when you see the blossom?  When I see the flower that is just what I see—the beauty of its perfection and its purity, especially if it is white.  Different colored flowers symbolize different things. Red represents love and passion; the pink lotus is considered sacred. Purple even has a specific meaning!

The lotus in Hinduism symbolizes beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity with the white lotus having special significance. You can read more about the lotus on both of the websites where I got most of my information.

 

So here’s my card…

Lotus Blossom-1

Until next time…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2