Signs of These Times

Carol A. Hand

Do you ever experience times when all of the signs seem to converge? I’m recovering from being quite ill. Tomorrow, my blog will officially be three years old, and in nine days, I will officially turn seventy. I’m not afraid of death (usually). As my time here is growing ever shorter, I need to once again reflect on priorities.

February 9, 2017

February 9, 2017

 

I’m still teaching and probably will as long as I can move, think, and speak. I do love it. But to be honest, the income (though meager as an adjunct) is also a necessity to support a very simple life.

I’m still periodically a caregiver for a delightful granddaughter who will soon turn 10. That means we read, draw and play. It also means spending many hours preparing food and washing dishes, chores that are not my favorite things to do. But still, I do them lovingly.

Then, there’s the matter of a 400-plus-page book manuscript that is only 25 percent edited. As I was working on a beginning draft of a post about my mother’s parents, a follow-up to my last post about my paternal grandfather, I realized how important it is for me to finish editing this book. I had to turn to draft chapters for historical details that are not available on the internet.

Over the years, I have learned to view so many of you as beloved friends. I look forward to your posts and your kindness. I don’t know how many of you know that I always try to reciprocate. I try to return every visit to my blog with a like, and sometimes when I can find the words, a comment. I do take the time to read what you write before doing so.

WordPress doesn’t make reciprocity easy for someone with my lack of technical skills. The dropdown menu on the upper right of the screen only lists the past 10 “likes,” and often, the links don’t work. The images of “likers” at the bottom of a post don’t work then, either. The messages – “that blog no longer exists” or “there is no such blog” – mean I need to use google to try to find people. I know some of my friends prefer it that way. But I wonder how many bloggers check their avatar page to make sure the correct blog address is listed? That would make it so much easier for others to find you.

Blogging takes a lot of time for me, and I don’t even do it well. I’m interested in learning, experiencing the world through others’ perspectives, engaging in dialogue, and sharing my thoughts. I’m not here to sell anything or have massive numbers of followers. That would make reciprocity even more daunting than it already is.

I don’t know what all of this means for my blog in the immediate future. I do know that I need to carve out blocks of time to edit and that requires making sure I remain grounded in my own thoughts and voice. Reading or listening to others deeply for me can only be accomplished by shifting perspectives to see the world through other lenses. In the process, I lose my own voice for a period of time.

february-9-2017-moon-3

 

I may find that I need to limit what I post for a while. I’m sure some of you have already seen how long it has been taking me to respond to comments. I will still visit your blogs when I can because I care about each and every one of you. You have brought wisdom, laughter, beauty, music, and updates about important issues into my life. I will be forever grateful. I didn’t want to simply become silent or disappear without sending my blessings and saying chi miigwetch (Ojibwe  for “thank you very much“) to all of you.

***

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
This entry was posted in Gratitude and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Signs of These Times

  1. Lara/Trace says:

    Happiest Birthday to you and your blog. YOU deserve to take all the time you need to finish your book, Carol. Your card is in the mail…. XOXOXOXOX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. roach59 says:

    I understand exactly what you mean about the time constraints when it comes to blogging and also doing other things. I am working on a second book and I sometimes have to step away from the blogosphere in order to reach my ever-changing goals. Good luck to you, Carol! I’m sure you will complete your editing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wolfegeo says:

    Carol, I love your blog but even more so the friendship we have. Do what is best for you. I’m not going anywhere. When you post I’ll see it. Be it a week, a month, or a year from now. Wishing you only the best life has to offer. Happy Birthday my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maria, I’m deeply grateful for your lovely, thoughtful comments and for your friendship. Your smiling, joyful presence and the beauty of the gardens you have created continue to give me hope. Thank you for your kindness and blessings, dear friend. I send you my best wishes. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sojourner says:

    Carol, I echo the comments above. Do what you need to do. And don’t feel as though you have to respond every time I leave a comment. And certainly, don’t feel like you need to read all the articles I post.

    I just turned 67, and because of my health issues, which seem to be worsening, I may have to cut back on blogging as well. It is hurting just to write this at the moment.

    Take care of yourself, Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. desilef says:

    Chi miigwetch to you, too. Live your life! We’ll be here when you want us to be. I understand only too well as impaired vision limits the amount of time I can look at the computer screen and yet I feel guilty when I don’t check in regularly with the bloggers most important to me (and my mind and spirit). But sometimes, I don’t even get around to clicking Like. And sometimes the buttons don’t work. So we all go ahead the best way we can, and you will be in my thoughts and heart while you are busy elsewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Kate Houck says:

    I think you do an amazing job blogging…even the technical aspects. I look forward to your insights and the sincerity embedded in your posts. I hope you continue!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. steelcityman says:

    chi miigwetch to you mon ami … the words you write are anticipated eagerly by me and although we have never met in this life, I feel I know you by your blog (and the occasional Vlog too ). You certainly have a way with words that can stir emotions and invoke thoughts, a skill set that few possess. I’m about two years behind you in the birthday stakes, so you may call me a ‘whipper snapper’ .. lol.. anyway, in case I can’t do it on the day, I’ll send to you the very best wishes for a most memorable and wonderfull birthday….. and remember … 70 is the new 50.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. steelcityman says:

    P.S. Do you realise I have just written in 4 languages ?? Ojibwe, French, English and Rubbish. I never knew I was so educated…lol. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. smilecalm says:

    wishing you gentle, natural healing
    and restful support, dear Carol!
    i find it nourishing
    staying off line
    and being free of the latest,
    and returning when there’s
    something to learn, or share.
    what calls from out
    in the fresh air
    and your dear friends
    & loved ones, await 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. thejuicenut says:

    I understand, I have just had to take a 10 day break and am still struggling physically, but I miss everyone! Blogging does take so much time and energy and I always feel like I haven’t given enough, but feel like I spread myself too thinly and am then forced to take a break. Do whatever you need to take care of yourself and those close to you. I always appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog, but you can’t do it all. I hope you have a lovely birthday 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. hsampson says:

    Dear Carol, I hope you are doing better now. I didn´t know you were ill, I am sorry to hear that.

    I really appreciate every time you visit my blog and like my posts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will understand if you do not visit my blog often, but do know you are a good and dear friend to me. Besides, I am your fan too.

    Get well and share you Light with all of us when you can.

    Thank you ALWAYS!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chi miigwetch, Carol. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I didn’t realize.
    Go take the time you need to edit your book — blogging, especially visiting and replying, takes so much time! But the important thing is to let us know before you disappear. We do get attached to each other, you’re right, and it helps to know. Get well, and happy editing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tiny says:

    Happy to hear you are on the mend, Carol. And I so understand that you need time to dedicate

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tiny says:

    …to your book. Research and editing take such an effort. I have a 200 page manuscript about my years in Africa since 2 years… not enough time to even start the editing work, yet. So prioritizing is important. I wish you a wonderful birthday 🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Helen, and for sending birthday blessings. I hope you find the time to work on your manuscript some time. I would love to read it when you’re done. Your stories about about Africa are so deeply touching. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Bernadette says:

    Carol, I will miss your voice but you need to “thine own self be true”. Happiest of birthday years. May it be filled with contentment and ample blessings for you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Carol, you are an awesome blogger. Your truth and wisdom are deeply appreciated. Making what is most important to you a priority is very important. I know that even in the midst of such important work, there are other things which will surface or inspiration will seek to be expressed. We will be here eagerly awaiting anything that you wish to share. Wishing you love and peace on this next phase of your journey. May the next trip around the sun bring about a most satisfying culmination of your work. 🌞💕

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sha'Tara says:

    Lovely picture of the moon behind trees. 70 isn’t so bad – been here since October myself, so far, so good. I sense that many people are questioning their place and purpose in bloggerland. There are those who are just “social media” people and they are returning to Facebook. Others are spending more time on their writing, or have been busy with “climate change” happenings or non on-line stuff. I know that I’m much quicker at deleting the half-one-liners since for me blogging means to be taught, or challenged, or to exchange meaningful thoughts, not chatting. Aside from that, there’s a deep gentleness that flows from your articles that I have admired much. For that, “tugarez vras” (that’s Breton for “thank you very much”).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments, Sha’Tara, and for sharing your observations about the blogosphere. I especially appreciate learning how to say thank you in Breton and the inspiration to find out a little about a history I had never encountered before. ❤

      Like

  18. Wishing you a good and thorough recovery period, Carol, and long stretches of time to work on your manuscript. BTW, on the drop down menu in your upper right hand corner where you can see “likes” and “comments” and “follows”, there’s a light grey bar on the outer right that you can move downward with your cursor. This way you can catch up on as many people as you want. Hope this makes your life a bit easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Carol, you are such a thoughtful writer and person. Happy Birthday and Blogiversary! Do what you need to do. We’ll still be here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rajagopal says:

    Your jottings set me trying to foresee the state of things eight years from now as I will be turning all of sixty two on 27th Feb. So from one Februarian to another esteemed one, here is wishing you, Carol, the best of birthday years, a year loaded with fulfilment of your unfinished tasks and realisation of fondest dreams. Going forward, the priority must only be to host happiest of thoughts in the mind, wellness of spirit in the body and spread the cheer of goodness around your immediate circle. May life bring you all these and more. Best wishes…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Raj, I apologize for taking so long to respond to your kind and eloquent comments. I’m deeply touched by the beauty and thoughtfulness of your words and blessings. All I can say is thank you, my Piscean brother, born eight years later in another land. May the blessings you bestow on others come back to you a thousand fold. ❤

      Like

  21. richholschuh says:

    I wish you peace and clarity, strength and contentedness, Carol. Follow the path before you that seems good – let Creation guide you. Smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Your welcome Carol, with reciprocal gratitude, and thank you also for your Ojibwe chi miigwetch, and your blessing. Hope you have a healthy recovery and continue to enjoy and be with your granddaughter (amazing, our grandcildren!!), as well as to take time for your manuscript. It is wonderful to be able to learn and have support from one another in this sometimes sad, crazy and beautiful world…. Thanks again, for “Voices from the Margins.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, I’m deeply grateful for your kind words. Our grandchildren are indeed amazing, a powerful incentive for all of us “to learn and have support from one another in this sometimes sad, crazy and beautiful world.” Chi miigwetch for the work you do to live simply and responsibly and for sharing your insights on your beautiful, inspirational blog.

      Like

  23. I feel you.

    I hope you enjoy a wonderful birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Buster Appel says:

    Dear Carol, Please do what makes you happy; the rest of us can manage. Happy Birthday and Blog anniversary! Don’t forget that 70 is the new 50!! My old pappy says that there isn’t any “new” for 80, so enjoy life as much as possible while you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Carol, you have touched my soul with your posts. For this, I thank you.
    Give priority to finishing your book in progress. I know well the difficulty of switching our mental creative gears to write a blog post and to meaningfully engage with our blogging friends. May the moon glow forever illuminate the darkness ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rosaliene, I am deeply touched and honored by your kind and lovely comments. I have come to value your friendship and the depth and poetry you share with others. Thank you for your eloquent blessings. May you always be guided by light in these dark days, too, dear friend. ❤

      Like

  26. underswansea says:

    Hi Carol. Wonderful pictures of the moon coming through your big tree. Roots are strong, but even they don’t get to see that! That’s why living on this earth is a gift. Some look ahead and back and sometimes forget how they have make a difference now. Just want to let you know how much I enjoy your posts. They make a difference for me. Take care. I hope you are feeling better. I won’t say Happy Birthday for another few days. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bob. I’m always delighted to read your comments and posts. I know I will find compelling stories with deep enduring meaning and photos that have taught me how to pay closer attention the beauty of the earth and sky. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

      Like

  27. Oh Carol, I’m so sorry to hear that you have been quite ill. Do take care of yourself and do what you can, when you can and don’t worry about the rest. I find it amazing that at 70 you are still loving teaching and able to do so. I’m 74 and there’s no way I could still teach every day. We will all love hearing from you whenever you can find the time to drop us a line, and in the meantime, we’ll be praying for you to accomplish the things you need and want to get done. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Natalie, thank you so much for your support and kindness, and for your always thoughtful comments. A funny thing happened Saturday – it’s the day I teach. Every other week I drive 20 miles to the community college on an Ojibwe reservation. This Saturday, my past and present students surprised me with a birthday treat. When one asked if I was turning 31, I laughed and told them I was turning 70. They laughed and said, “No. How old are you really?” “I’m really 70, an elder now. So I guess I have to act like one.” They replied, “We thought you were kidding about your age!” I guess loving what I do keeps me at least appearing young to others…

      I appreciate your blessings and your friendship and send love and hugs to you, too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  28. DK Fennell says:

    I was surprised to hear that you were ill, but am glad you are much better now

    As for the other thing, yes by all means full speed ahead on the book, all hands on deck. If that means a hiatus in posting, so be it. We will miss you, but a book is a book, you name goes in the Library of Congress catalogue, and it is a lot more permanent than bits on a server we don’t own. My personal experience is that writing for paper and printer’s ink is very painful. Blogging often (for me at least) is a reason to avoid it. (As is, for example, looking up word origin, the history of polka on Wikipedia, figuring out where to get ingredients for a Pad Thai meal, or just about anything that doesn’t involve shoveling snow, raking leaves or mowing the lawn.) When you get it done, you will have much more to report, and we will all be here.

    (I’m really not trying to get rid of you. Just trying to offer moral support.)

    Cheers,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, DK. It means a lot to me. I’m excited by the progress I made editing last week. This week, I needed to graciously put it aside so I can be a caregiver while my granddaughter stays with me during her vacation from school. It also gives me a chance reply to people who have come to mean a lot to me. I send my best wishes to you. (And I appreciate your moral support!). ❤

      Like

  29. Kev says:

    I do hope you recover from your illness soon, carol. I’m sure there’s plenty of life in you yet, though. although I think we all need to reassess our priorities as time slips away from us. So by all means, get that book out there! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  30. dolphin says:

    “Blogging takes a lot of time for me, and I don’t even do it well” Au contraire. You write very very well and never fail to make me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Silvia TIC says:

    This post of you made me think even more about a topic that has haunted me for a while now. I will turn 51 soon (early March) but like you, reading, researching, answering and paying attention take time, on the top of my full-time job, commute, family and so many other projects in the horizon…unlike so many other bloggers, you truly take the time to reciprocate, that’s a warm feeling, the knowing somebody reads what we wrote, that we reached someone out there.
    But with time being short and so many other things to pay attention and enjoy (or be concerned about), prioritizing is really a must. We do miss a lot when we disconnect from internet for a while, but we also may need to remember that in the history of humankind, this type of exchange only has a few years, not even a decade! We wouldn’t have met if not for this, so I don’t regret the time spent reading your musings, they are always expected and welcome. But I sometimes wonder if this use of time doesn’t prevent us from reading more (books), engaging more (with real people and those beyond-human peoples out there) and enjoying more…
    Take time for yourself, I’m seriously considering reducing my blogs to one (but struggle about how to do that with different projects and “personalities” in my own mind) and post only once a month…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Silvia, your comments are always a gift. Your thoughts about how we might use our time, perhaps more wisely, without the internet are intriguing. Blogging is fairly new for me. It takes a lot of time, but overall, I will always remain grateful for the amazing people I’ve met and think of as dear friends, even sisters in spirit like you. I have never really had that in my “real” life. My intensity and sense of purpose scare people, I think, or make them feel intimidated. (I wonder if that’s something you encounter.) They tell me things like “I’m not in your league,” or “you read too much, or “how do you fit so many brains in such a tiny head?,” or “why are you so different?” I’ve discovered that it’s more comfortable for me to be a program developer, consultant, supervisor, or teacher – all roles that are somewhat detached. I’m not a follower, and I have no desire to lead others or tell them what to do or what to think. I can help others unlock their own ideas and find their own strengths. Yet on a personal level, when the show’s over, I still feel alone. Being able to connect with nature helps give me a sense of a connection to something larger, though.

      Overall, blogging has filled in a gap. It’s given me a way to connect with others on levels I’ve not been able to do often face-to-face. But I know finishing this manuscript is something I need to do, and it’s actually exciting some days to try something new and challenging.

      I just want to add that I respect and admire your incredible knowledge, compassion, and dedication to helping others. You are inspiring. I hope you keep doing things that feed your spirit and bring you peace and joy, dear friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Silvia TIC says:

        Carol, reading what you wrote about you made me realize how much alike we are. I have had the same “problem”, people tend to relate to me as someone who is very resourceful and full of knowledge but not so much at an emotional level. People tend to see me as distant many times, and it maybe true as I prefer the company of my books, a cup of tea and my animals and plants. i’m not a party person, not a follower but have been a leader many times, just not necessarily something I would do forever. I teach and share info and in my work, I work with “cases” which are actually people for me and try to do my best and sometimes beyond and around the constraints of the “system”…Like you, blogging and social media in general have been good outlets o get my thoughts out and sometimes have some interaction. I have met people like you or Jeff or Bruce or Helen and so many others to name here who also run blogs and seem to share similar world views, concerns and joys. But I’ve found that social media and blogging take a lot of my now even more reduced time, and many a time I talk to myself, as the replies are not so much as I wish they were…I do miss the exchange, as it doesn’t happen that much in my “real” life either: I exchange a lot in my workplace, but that’s around what’s being done here and not so much about the state of the world or any other deep topics. I am also a bit sick, so I’m seeing my time as human in this Earth as more finite than I used to see it before. Nobody (not even a healthy baby) knows how long each one of us has here, but when you are sick you have a different sense of mortality too. There are so many things I still want to do, such as being more in nature and learning more from plants and all the elements, like reading the many books I have in my shelves, or travelling to certain places, or completing some personal projects. Suddenly, all the community projects have become detached and small and inconsequential and I’m more focused in me and my close family and animals. I know I’ll get back to blogging sooner than I may know now, because there’s a calling to let it out and share, but I don’t know yet if it will continue in the same way…
        Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. The very best to you in all of your endeavors. Such an encouraging post for our own goals and trials!:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  33. JT says:

    Happy blogiversary and happy birthday Carol! Get well soon. I’m sorry to hear that you’re unwell. I, for one, enjoy reading your posts very much. I find so much sincerity and wisdom in your blog. For someone who admits to not being technical I think your online space is inviting and interactive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. khansana1000 says:

    I wish you a speedy Recovery Carol ! It is pleasure to see your comments and read your blog. Your caring nature is often reflected in your comments/likes/replies. Yours is One of the authentic blog I would say , Keep sharing and spreading the light !

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Annika Perry says:

    Carol, your post speaks with such clarity and calmness. To be spread too thin means no satisfaction in any area and it is only right you concentrate on your editing, giving that your full attention. I’m in the same predicament that my editing has suffered as I have shared and taken part in blogging, such an enriching sharing experience albeit time consuming and draining energy (the techniques hassles you describe are not help at all either!) The warmth, love and wisdom of the comments here to you are heart-warming and positive – come back when you have time, visit when you can but first and foremost regain your strength after your illness and then concentrate your book, on life. Warmest wishes, Annika 😀❤️️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Annika, and for sharing the similar challenges you face balancing blogging and writing. Your comments remind me of your recent post about friends. Creating space to edit does feel like abandoning dear friends for a while. I appreciate your understanding and encouragement a great deal. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  36. victorialise says:

    Hi Carol, I hope you are feeling well and no longer battling an illness. Also, a very happy birthday to you! 70 I would have never guessed but what an honor! I greatly admire your presence here but it will still be felt even if you aren’t always able to respond. Wishing you the very best on your manuscript and all of your passions!

    Liked by 1 person

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