Undo and Redo Tuesday, Jan 24 2023 

As I sat at my sewing machine removing stitches for the third time from a quilt that I’d been working on, I thought about how much in my life has been about doing, undoing, and redoing. Stitch, rip out, stitch again, only to rip out and stitch again until it is right.

My profession is like that, too. I write once but rewrite over and over. I really don’t mind the undoing and redoing because I then have an opportunity to write it better the second or third or fourth or fifth time. I can step away and see what I’ve written from a different perspective. In the end, I have a product I’m proud to put my name on.

Looking back, I see that my education was sort of a redo, as well. I did not attend college after high school but instead married two years later. My parents actually discouraged a higher education for me. What was the point, they asked? Being a good wife and mother was the ultimate goal. It was the early 70s, the end of a period when women were raised solely to be housewives and mothers.

Both of my grandmothers worked while raising their families. But my mother, and most women of her generation, did not. During the first couple of decades after World War II, men returned home and back into the workforce replacing the women who took over for them while they were gone. The working mom was the exception, and she was often looked down upon by other women.

My mother attended college for three years and worked as a chemist for General Foods before marrying and giving birth to her firstborn, my brother. I never understood why my mother never returned to complete her college education or wanted to work again.

Nor did she understand my desire to do so. She agreed with my then-husband that returning to school was a waste of family money.

But I longed for more. My solution was to apply for every available scholarship. I ended up with much more money than needed for junior college. Progress was slow as I’d take one class at a time. It was 18 years before I’d completed an associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degree. During those years, I had three children, divorced, worked, and remarried. School had to be squeezed in between other priorities, my children being the most important. Most likely, earning those degrees immediately after high school would have been easier, but I was fortune to have the opportunity and perseverance to accomplish it later.

Unfortunately, we can’t completely redo every decision we make. Some have lifelong repercussions. Those are the times that require major alterations and adjustments. We often can get where we want to go, however it may be via the long and winding road.

***Have you read Young in the Spirit, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God, or The Rosary Prayer by Prayer?

Please write a review on Amazon if you’ve read my books. I’d be most grateful.

Making the Right Decision Tuesday, Oct 7 2014 

John.adult

One of the most valuable lessons my father taught his children was how to make a decision. He didn’t rush in to fix things. He guided and allowed us to take care of ourselves and succeed on our own.

Together we would discuss the pros and cons of going one way or the other. We talked about repercussions, cause and effect, what we wanted to achieve, and which direction to go to make our goal happen. And then Dad encouraged us to make that final decision. If we wanted to discuss the end result with him, he was available, but he never criticized or judged what we did, even when we knew he would have done things very differently.

Decades ago, people had fewer things and fewer opportunities, therefore, fewer choices. Although that limited potential in some ways, it omitted the continuous challenge we encounter every minute of every day today. We have so many decisions to make. Our lives our stressful because we begin with which shampoo to use, what outfit to wear, which shoes go with that outfit, and what to eat.

Most of the decisions we stress over are insignificant. How much does it really matter if we have Cheerios or Shredded Wheat for breakfast? If a choice has little impact on our well-being, or that of other people around us, it’s not likely our decision is worth the time and effort to worry about.

Many decisions also can be back-tracked. We may go in one direction and find it isn’t working as well as we hoped, so we regroup and go another way.

Then there are those decisions that are life-altering, such as a marriage, a major residential move, or a split second decision that results in a traffic accident.

In some cases, making a list can be quite helpful. Gather as much information as possible, and then sort the entries into columns showing the benefits and drawbacks. One item may make the decision clear. For example, our child may have an opportunity to develop her interest in music at a particular school but the tuition is beyond our budget. We simply can’t afford to send her there.

To avoid being on edge all day, every day, we must let go of the little stuff. If we don’t stress over every little move we make all day long, we have more energy for the big things.

And then follow my dad’s guidance by asking yourself:

  1. Do I have all of the necessary information?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an action?
  3. Am I willing to do what it takes to follow through with this decision?
  4. Am I prepared to accept the responsibility, criticism, or accolades that may come with my decision?
  5. Will this action achieve my goal?

(Photo: My dad, John Doyle)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Because the Bear Said So Saturday, Dec 14 2013 

You don’t argue with a bear. If you are hiking down a path and encounter a bear, you take another route. You don’t barge on past him or demand that he gets out of your way.

Life can be like that. Obstacles can be so insurmountable that if we try to force our way through, we just spin our wheels and go nowhere, or we are outright prevented from proceeding on our planned direction.

But that does not mean it is the end of the line. It doesn’t mean we have to give up. Nor does it mean that when taking the path of least resistance we are taking the easy way out.

We often can get to our destination by another, better, route. The key is in thinking clearly.

There always are options. Rarely are we left with only one choice. One may seem the only alternative weighed against everything else, but another path does exist. And in the end we may find that the direction we seemingly were forced to take really was the best for reasons previously unseen. That bear was a catalyst for us to veer off in an area that is so much more than we imagined.

When encountering those bumps—or mountains—stop, think creatively, and be open to new and alternate ideas. There’s always hope for a positive outcome.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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