“Peace and quiet”–two words that is so elusive. You can’t have one without the other. Whoever heard of peace without quiet – I haven’t. But I have found quiet times to be peaceful for very short time. I do not experience that situation often.

It seems lately that noise is so much louder and annoying than it used to be. Take the phone ringing – sometimes I feel like tearing the phone out of the wall. My dad used to do that, especially when his daughters were demanding their turn to use the phone. I understand why he did that. We had no phone calls for at least three days. The phone company couldn’t understand why they had to replace our phones so often. I remember when I ripped the phone out of the wall–I felt really good when I did that.

Then you have the doorbell. What can I say? It used to be pleasant to answer the doorbell. Nowadays you have to be careful before you answer the door. You never know who is there. So why do we even have door chimes? It used to be better than knocking on a door. Now I just resent having to answer the door at all.

I miss hearing the birds singing, but the air conditioners, pool pumps, and police car sirens, drown out nature’s serenades. The sounds of nature can be soothing and restful.

Where do we go to find peace and quiet? I don’t mean that we have to climb to the top of a mountain.  I would be so tired all I could hear was the loud beating of my heart filling my ears. You could go to the beach, but you still have all the noise of motorcycles and people. You can’t hear the soothing sound of the ocean.

I used to get up at four in the morning to take my walks. I loved that time. It was so quiet and peaceful. I used that time to talk to God. Eventually it was not a good idea to venture out on your own.

Now that I am retired, you would think that I would have plenty of peace and quiet. I wish. Whoever said retirement could be boring didn’t know what they were talking about. Every day I make a list of things to do – but it is not necessary to do everything. That being said, I now have the afternoons to pursue peace and quiet. Just shut the door to your room, hang out a do not disturb sign, and take the phone off the hook. Music is a good way to relax you. Finally, you can enjoy the peace and quiet. You can use this time to revitalize yourself.

All I am saying, peace and quiet is needed to survive the hustle and bustle of your life. Absolutely! Everyone needs peace and quiet. It is necessary for us to get our thoughts in order and to renew the energy we need to cope with whatever is going on.

I have realized that I am perfectly happy being alone. You can let your creative side of your brain take over. Your imagination comes into play and you feel happy. At least I do. I love it when it is quiet in my house. You can hear the grandfather clock chiming the hour. It is reminding me that time never stops.

In pursuit of peace and quiet, I have learned that the best peace comes from Jesus. John 14:27 says:  “Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you”. It is a peace that quiets your heart and calms your soul.  Jesus is the only source of genuine peace.

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How many times have you said someday? Maybe you were putting off something that needed attention but you did not want to deal with decisions at that time. ‘Someday’ can mean not now but later, or it can be an excuse for never mind.

Well, my ‘someday’ has shown up in full force demanding to be reckoned with. For example, deciding to face all those postponed decisions that were put off until ‘someday’ is here.

I thought I had a lot of time left to deal with those irritating ‘someday’–but I don’t. Is it time to face reality and get my self organized? Pick the most important ‘someday’ and deal with it. Then pick out those ‘someday’ that need to be taken care of and prioritize the most important or pick out the one that will be the easiest to take care of.

It is time to clean closets, get rid of stuff, and down size. I am having a problem with what I want to do with my library. Books I have had for fifty or more years, I just can’t let them go. So ‘someday’ I will get serious about what books to keep and what books to give away.

As I get older, the days, months and years fly by, but time stands still for no one.  I really thought I had a lot of time left and now realize I have to make sure my time is fruitful. All those things that I had to have, it is time to let them go. I have my memories and they will be with me forever.

So–self talk is needed here. That is the little voice that encourages you to get busy. It will never leave you alone until you do what you have to do. Self-talk has helped me to create a list of what I should do first. I did not realize how long that list was.

Now, ready or not, I am going to tackle one ‘someday’ per week. Maybe every other week would work be better? I don’t want to tire myself out by getting involved with ‘someday’.

I am having second thoughts about ‘someday’. I need to think this through before I make a bona fide commitment. What I need is a good excuse so I can seriously contemplate my future plans. How important is ‘someday’?

Shirley Sadocchi

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Attitudes: What are they and Where do they come from

Have you ever wondered about attitudes? How they can influence your actions and reactions ? Attitudes define how we think and react to words spoken. Do you ever have a day when you wished you had kept your mouth shut? Boy, I have. It seems as though you started an unofficial debate and you were not prepared with proper facts to back you up.

I grew up in a small house that contained parents, five girls , two boys and assorted pets. Our house was full of noise, laughter, fights, debates, arguments, discussions and attitudes. Everyone would would be yelling their opinions loudly and and calling for mother. Mother would not let whatever was being discussed develop into a full blown chaotic situation. Mother was referee and judge. You did not argue with the judge’s decision. Any comments were muttered under your breath. If we ever said what we wanted to out loud, we would have to suffer the consequences. Mom was great at defusing situations without showing favoritism. Although I personally thought she had favorites and I was not one of them. I remember that I did complain a lot about all the chores I had to do and mother would always respond with a saying. Her favorite was you can only do what a mule can do. I didn’t even try to figure that one out but I decided that a mule only works when he wants to. But that did not work for me. I do not remember mother having negative attitudes. She was such a positive person. Her decisions were fair and just for all concerned. She always looked for the positive in people.

Eventually we grow up and develop our own personalities. And then we had friends who would influence the way we acted. Before long, you begin to develop your very own opinions and attitudes to whatever was going on in your life. Attitude adjustments are necessary at all times of your life.

I got married, had children, helped my husband in his business, cleaned house, became a part time chauffeur and room mother. I became a referee trying to please everyone. Every day had a crisis and it started with a bad attitude that was negative. I was always trying to stay calm but it only lasted a short time. You usually had a family member who had one attitude and it was negative. You couldn’t even have a conversation with them. I would try to find something positive about this person but failed to do so. Bad attitudes create a negative atmosphere and before you know it you are positively negative. It is true, negativity causes negativity.

One day at Barnes and Nobles, I found myself in the self help section. Over the years I bought a lot of self help books and journals. I started writing about how the negative atmosphere was effecting my outlook on my life. I was not a happy person. Eventually, I had to destroy my journals because they contained personal expressions and feelings I did not want to share with my family. I will admit writing my negative thoughts helped me to change my attitude. It was a slow process but in the end it was good for my mental health. I was becoming the person I felt comfortable with.

Websters dictionary defines attitude as a manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one’s disposition, opinions, etc. WOW! This described me to a tee. I managed to use all of the above at one time or another.

Everybody responds to others attitudes or opinions. Something in the voice or the manner of speaking can trigger our response. What causes negative feelings that suddenly pop up? Is it the circumstances happening to you at the moment? Is it a feeling that you don’t want to deal with right now? Are you allowing others to influence your attitude? You need to search your feelings to find out what triggers your response to what is being discussed and your feelings of defending your opinions. I personally feel that people with negative attitudes or opinions have a knack for making everyone miserable. Bottom line, negative attitudes and opinions are a waste of time and will get you nowhere.

How do you go about changing the way you think and act? You start by changing your thoughts. Try to spend time with family or friends who have a positive attitude. This will help you to get a better idea of how nice it is to be a positive person. You can choose people who like to listen to you without trying to change you. Our attitude or response is a way of expressing our self. We have a choice of positive or negative. When you allow your thoughts to dictate your actions, be prepared to accept the consequences. There is a popular quote about accepting what you cannot change and change the way you look at them. When you focus on being positive, you are changing the way you act and feel. Having a positive attitude makes me feel better. Did you know it is easier to smile than to frown? When you frown you get wrinkles. When you do have a negative view and you will, try to find something positive about it.

I am not saying I do not have negative thoughts, attitudes or views because I do. The negative part of your personality is always with you. Every morning I ask the Lord for an attitude adjustment. It is important that I set the tone for the day. My days are better if I maintain a positive demeanor with a smile. But, there are days when that negative attitude pops up and makes everybody miserable, including me. Nothing happy about that. One more thing about being negative, it takes up energy and makes you tired and mad. Being positive does make your life easier and happier. Do you know laughter is contagious?

It was time for me to make a commitment to myself. I am going to have a positive attitude all day. I am going to be a positive person all day. If I have to bite my tongue from verbally answering in a negative way, I will. If I want my day to be pleasant and productive, I have to be positive. Enjoying your life begins with the thoughts and actions you choose. Remember to breathe, to think of something that makes you smile, tell yourself this is going to be a good day, thank the Lord for all his blessings, and keep your mind, mouth, and thoughts positively positive. Did you know positive people enjoy life and have more fun.  Shirley Sadocchi

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Do you ever question yourself about your relationship with God? Do you think you are becoming the person that God expects you to be? Or are you feeling that you are not progressing with your spiritual journey? I have asked myself all of the above questions at one time or another. One day I asked myself, am I trying with all my heart or am I just going through the motions that would please God. What was holding me back? Was it my reluctance to let go of the past and move on, or am I dragging my feet because I do not feel worthy to meet God’s requirements to be a good Christian. It is time for me to get serious about my relationship with God.

For years I have gone to various Bible studies, searching for ways to become a woman of God. The latest Bible study has made me look at where I am and where I want to be. I needed to know where I was in Christ and Christ in me. I was a part-time Christian. I took my relationship with God for granted. I never thought about what God wanted from me. I needed to re-evaluate my Spiritual life. I want to open my heart to God and His Presence in my life. I may not spend the time I want with God but I know that I can talk to Him any time. I am going to fulfill that need I have been searching for.. to have God’s Presence in my life. In the past I was reading scripture but not applying His word to my everyday life. God’s words are guidelines for each day. I cannot pick and choose His words for my situation because that would be controlling what I think I want to do. God is so patient. He is still waiting for me to stop being so busy so I can spend time reading and talking to Him.

I had to stop trying to figure out where God belonged in my life. In my head so I can understand His words or in my heart so I can live the way He would want me to. I have this image of God in His Glory by my side, holding on to my hand so I won’t fall, as we go down the road. I do experience His blessings every day. I still need to make some changes before I can be right with God.

I made a list of changes I needed to address before I could continue on my journey. I would like to share them with you: One is about forgiveness. It was necessary for me to let go of past hurts and feelings.God is very clear that forgiveness is necessary for living a Godly life. In order for me to pursue my journey, I really had to make an effort to let go of those feelings that have kept me in bondage. I had to let go of that stranglehold on my life. It was keeping me from moving in God’s direction. I found out that forgiveness brings peace of mind. You cannot hate others and love God at the same time. Jesus showed us that he forgave all those who treated him with cruelty. God says I have to forgive those who have hurt me so I can move forward and devote myself to becoming a good Christian.

Two is about attitudes. It was time to let go of pity parties, pre-occupations, giving up, fear, despair, worry and frustrations. I do not need any of this in my life but guess what, one or the other would show up to cause chaos. I am only human and I make mistakes daily. My thoughts become my actions. I allow negative thoughts to take over some time and I do not like it. So in order to change direction, I start talking to the Lord about what is going on and I need His guidance in this situation. I find that if I stop and take a deep breath and focus on the Lord, the problem can be taken care of in a calm manner.

Three is about being competitive with others. I plead guilty when comparing my achievements with others. It is boasting about all your wonderful abilities. Most of us are guilty of this action. We believe our good deeds will be approved by the Lord. Believe me, what I did or do in my life is a small trifle to what God does every day. It is wrong for us to assume we can do wondrous things. God is sovereign and Holy. God created the world and every thing on earth. He is in control of the universe. There is no way we can ever surpass His creations. Anything we accomplish we should glorify God, for without Him it would be impossible.

The fourth is about treatment of others. Mistreatment of others, whether in words or physical abuse, is not an option when dealing with your family or others. Mistreatment covers a lot of territory. It is hard to accept any form of mistreatment as a part of your life. Jesus suffered from cruel and inhuman treatment and He accepted it with forgiveness and grace. It was hard for me to show forgiveness when I was treated badly. Resentment and revenge are two of the feelings that are foremost in your reactions. God does not want any hostile thoughts to clutter up my journey. Besides, life is short and I don’t need this kind of treatment.

The fifth item I needed to work on was trust issues. Trusting people or things is not everlasting. Things and people come and go in our life but God will stay with you. In the past I have trusted someone’s word only to find out that it was untrustworthy. I still find it hard to trust people. In today’s world trust is hard to come by. To trust things  doesn’t work, because things don’t last. They come and go according to one’s whims. Things and people are transitory, in and out of your life. You can always trust God. You can always depend on God. God never goes back on His words and is always there for me waiting to trust and depend on Him. God will never leave me. His love for me is everlasting.

The sixth reason has to do with obedience. I had to stop thinking I could ask Jesus for His help then decide that I could do it myself. Just couldn’t wait for results. It’s like driving down the middle of the road, I can change my directions any time I feel like it. Making a U-turn is not a good idea. Changing directions in most cases is not safe. It is taking me away from the Lord. In order for me to be connected and committed to the Lord, I have to stop taking detours and going on my own way. In other words, focus on the Lord and go in the direction he wants me to.

The seventh is about dependence on the Lord. With the Lord I can endure. God wants me to be brave enough to surrender all my troubles and trials to Him. Dependence on God helps you to face the unknown. Fear has a way of keeping you weak. Only God can conquer these fears for me. I depend on God each day to show me the way to His light.

To get God’s attention is to talk to Him. Prayers are always welcome. God is ready to listen to anything you have to say. He also likes our prayers to be specific and consistent. If you feel your prayers haven’t been answered, don’t give up. God in His time answers all prayers. I love the idea that I can talk to God any time and anywhere, with the Holy Spirit helping and interceding on my behalf.

As I continue on my journey, I have so much to look forward to. God has given me the Bible with His words of wisdom. God has given the world his son, Jesus, who died on the cross for my sins. God gives us the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. God gives love, peace, and hope to all who seeks His Presence in their life. God wants to participate in my life. He wants me to trust and depend on Him unconditionally. What a wonderful feeling to know that God is my refuge in times of distress; He is my salvation, saving me from the  world; and my Savior, who is there for me forever. He is eternal.

Shirley Sadocchi

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Whoever said old age was the golden years lived in la la land. This is my story of
those golden years. When we sold our business, my husband and I were in our mid-
fifties and we had been married for thirty eight years. Our business was stressful and
demanding. We were in business for thirty five years. I did not want to work any more.
So, I gave notice to my boss, also known as my husband, that I was quitting my job as
bookkeeper, office manager, parts runner, dispatcher, etc. He had one year to find
my replacement. The reason I gave for leaving was I had a to-do list and working in his
business was not on it. My husband worked long hard hours but that was what he
wanted to do. In the beginning I was only working to help him out and soon it became
a forever full time job. Well, needless to say, my husband was totally surprised, to say
the least, when I announced my intentions to retire. About two weeks later, he consulted
with our dogs regarding his retirement. Evidently they thought it was a great idea and he
retired. We sold the business. It was time to do all those things I wanted to do. I was so
happy. The only problem was my husband has always worked and did not know what to
do with his time. I let him know that I was not going to wait on him and he had better find
some hobby. Meanwhile, I bought him all kinds of saws and woodworking tools. I also
bought patterns and the wood to start his projects. Enough said. He found out that he
really enjoyed creating unusual wood carvings. He did some awesome projects. Now I
could do my own thing.

I enrolled in a painting class–loved it. Started painting and sketching–what a stress reducer.
Finally, I was able to do my own thing. During this time we became caregivers for my
husband’s parents. The next seven years were stressful, frustrating and demanding. Let’s
just say at this point the days were endless. I felt I was back in bondage, never to be free.
We knew nothing about dementia or alzheimers disease. We had to ask questions and read
books to know what was going on and how to deal with it. What a learning experience.
Time eventually took its toll on his parents and they went to a better place.

Now, it was time for us to start going on long trips, see the sights of our beautiful country.
We enjoyed our trips very much. Took our history books along so we could visit the places
we had only read about. Time went by way too fast.

My husband was diagnosed with diabetes. I had to learn how to live with the ups and downs
of blood sugars, make a whole new food menu and live with a man that did not want this
problem to keep him from doing what he wanted to do. I had to cope with a man who
suddenly realized how restricted his life had become. These past years I have had to deal
with a man who resents everything concerning his health and what is happening to him.
I am a caregiver. I am his nurse. I dispense his medications. I drive him to his doctor’s
appointments. I am on call 24/7. I am still trying to work on my to-do list.

To make our days different and enjoyable, we started taking day trips to find out about this
place we called home. We started visiting historical sites in Kern County . When possible
we would go to the coast for the week end . This past year it has been hard for him to ride
in a car for long distances. We still try to go when he is feeling okay. But as usual, each day
brings it’s own issues that have to be dealt with.

There are many books that help caregivers to deal with every day care of your loved one.
Easier said than done. My husband has resented help in any form and becomes very vocal on
the subject. Lately, my husband doesn’t like for me to get involved in anything that might
be taking up a lot of my time. I try to understand how he feels. I know that I would
react in the same way, maybe . That thought only lasts a few minutes. Something
will come up that does not meet with his approval and off we go. He is having a hard
time understanding his short term memory loss and of those senior moments when your
mind is a complete blank. He relies on me to furnish the word he is searching for. Just
lately he has been short tempered with me and but not the dog. What did I do?

I have been attending bible study classes for years. Thank heavens for my bible study
group. We select studies that will help us deal with everyday situations and what is
happening in our life. I take the time every day to do my bible study homework. This
sets the tone for me to deal with the daily agenda. This helps me to cope with my life.
God keeps me grounded and he is always here for me. One of the blessings that I
thank God for every morning is bringing my daughter and son-in-law back home
to live right across the street. They give much needed help when needed. God brought
them here to be close enough to be my back-up relief helpers.

I find writing in my journals is very therapeutic. It helps me to release my feelings that
are better off unspoken. I also write about the reactions of whatever problelms are
at the moment overwhelming. There is something about putting your feelings
on paper. But, reading is my main source of escaping from reality for a little while. I
love books. Every morning before I get that first cup of coffee, I read scripture and I
thank the Lord for all the blessings and I need him to stand by for the attitude
adjustments I will need during the day.

My husband has displaced his sense of humor, well most of it. He doesn’t look for the
humor in anything that is amusing or funny. He likes to nit pick on everything and anything.
Who cares? I try to find something to laugh about even it is not funny. Laughter releases
endorphins and that will help you feel better about everything most of the time. Some
days I succeed, other days he gives me his view on the subject. He doesn’t realize how
he reacts to a question or the tone of voice he uses when talking to others. I wish he
could accept that he is in a place where he is not going to get better or it is going away.
I know this sounds like he should just give up, but you can live in the moment and
appreciate that you are still here. When you can accept the fact that you are okay and
you are doing better that you thought, you get a sense of well being. When you get a
mind set on something and you are not receptive to other ways to help yourself, it is
hard to look forward to tomorrow. I imagine everybody has experienced this feeling
at one time or another.

Several months ago I decided to have a pity party -I was the only one there. I seem to
never have time to finish anything I get started. It was causing me to be upset a lot. I
told my self this is the time to make some changes. I was going to start by taking the time
needed to finish whatever I was working on. And if I wanted to do nothing but sit in
my rocking chair on the patio watching the world go by that would okay too. I found the
rocking chair soothes the savage beast. In order to take care of my husband, I needed to
take care of my self. There is so much help available for care givers. You have books,
the internet, organizations that will providee all kinds of services. You can pick any of
those would be helpful. It might be a good idea to run this by your loved one. I did
and I found out in no uncertain terms he did not want any help at this time. Back to square
one. I really try to keep the “everything is okay” atmoshpere in the house but there
are days when I don’t care what atmosphere is hanging around. I need a break.

Several weeks ago my husband went ballistic over somthing I suggested (can’t
remember what it was) and I really found out about his feelings concerning his
disabilities and life in general. Diabetes has taken its toll on his body. He suffers from
back pain, has neuropathy in his feet, has a hard time walking (he uses a cane or walker)
and is hard of hearing due to past working conditions. He had a session in rehab
to help stabilize his walking and it helped a little. Anyway back to the ballistic behavior,
I found myself really listening to what he was saying. He stated that he wanted to be
able to do some work around the house without someone hovering, waiting for him to fall
and that he did not need babysitters. Wow! Hello! Well, I told him I was willing to do
whatever takes to make him happy. I was going to let him do his own thing. My only words
were: you know your limits; rest when you feel tired; and yell if you fall. It was hard
at first not to check on him every thirty minutes. So I would wait two or more hours,
then take some cold drinkds out to the patio and ask him if he would like to join me as I
was taking a break. Life is a little better now. He goes to his work shop to work on
some small project, or he looks for weeks to spray, of he power washes everything. I
finally realized that he had to find some work to make him feel needed and useful
and to be a part of the family helping in his own way. I could see a look of having
accomplished something at the end of the day on his face. He was tire but it felt good.

As a caregiver, I had to stop trying to prevent future accidents and injuries and stop the
constant observation to see if he was okay. I had to re-do all my safety first plans and
backed off on my schedule of what he can do and what he cannot do. It sure made life
easier. I now leave him alone so he can do his own thing. So far, it has worked out great for
him and for me. I noticed he pays attention to how he feels, he knows when he is having
a low blood sugar, and lets me know what is going on. He has finally learned that he does
not have to finish everything he started in one day. Each day is always different, you
never know what it will bring in the way of problems. But, I have learned to roll with the
punches as my wise mother use to say.

Caregivers experience many emotions. You learn to not anticipate or plan anything for
the future because there will be a problem that will upset the apple cart. I had to
really learn to listen to my husband when he wanted to do his own thing without
supervision and let him go for it. I also listened to his opinions, but I say nothing if I
should disagree. What he is saying is what he feels and why argue over it. No big deal.

The most important lesson is learning how to enjoy the day no matter what happens.
Tomorrow will be different, maybe even better that today. Our life is short and each
day will be a good day because we can still greet the morning sun.

Being a caregiver requires you to use ways to cope with your loved one. Our vows
included “for better or for worse and I need to remember that it is a part of our
commitment to each other. It is not an easy job. This man is my soul mate, the other
half of my heart, and I want what is left of our life to be full of love and laughter. I
intend to keep doing my best to see that his needs are addressed and I will always be
there for him. To accept what I cannot change and adapt to whatever is going on each
day. To make each day special for both of us. Take time out to set in the rocking chairs
talking about the happy times in our life and to re-live the special times that mean so
much to us. To find ways to deal with the problems without causing everyone to be
upset. To listen to each other without interruption and to respect each other.

Just remember, it is up to you to make decisions that will make your life more liveable.
You need to keep your attitude positive most of the time. Even if your day is full of
frustrations, try to smile, remember something funny and agree with whatever is being
said. Each day find the time to go outside to enjoy the sunshine, see the beautiful
flowers, find a comfortable chair, sit down and enjoy the peace and quiet of the moment.

Shirley Sadocchi

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