Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging


April 2018

Another Day without Facebook: Coffee, Cats/Dogs, Unplanned Activities, Shalom

My pattern of activity before lying down in bed at night includes preparing coffee for the morning with the coffee maker set to automatically begin brewing at 6 AM. Theoretically that means I can crawl out of bed, take care of all bathroom necessities, grab my Ipad off the charger, pour my first cup of coffee before settling in my corner of our reclining couch to begin my day. Theories are wonderful starting points, but seldom represent the actuality of life.

For example, if Max our Shitzu/poodle rescue dog decides that 4:30 AM is an absolutely wonderful time to take a walk or ELSE [like this morning], the automatic coffee maker does not adjust. And since I would rather pull on puffy blue coat [yes, it is still cold here] over my t-shirt and shorts, push my bare feet into my calf high boots, push my sleep mask up on my forehead, rather than clean up the OR ELSE, Max and I take a walk. [NO! I am not posting pictures] There are mornings like yesterday morning when a sense of calm and awe settles over me as we walk along the road in front of our house. The Milky Way, the Silver River of which Earth is a part of dazzles the eye on crisp clear early mornings. There are also mornings when it is pouring down rain and the wind cuts right through. Likewise there are mornings when my eyes are open to the wonder and others when I barely stumble out and back inside. After these walks I sometimes can crawl back into bed and sleep. On others, like today, I simply get up, shower, dress and bypass the auto feature on the coffee with a push of a button.

IMG_1275We have a cat, also, Sweetie. She arrived on our doorstep last summer barefoot and pregnant. She lives indoors, but still hears the call of the wild. We let her out during the day with Max and she stays out until she is good and ready to come back in. When I take Max out for his 4:30 walk, she waits at the back door and yowls at us both when we return. Cats vocally express themselves, or at least ours does.

Max and Sweetie have what could only be described as a sibling type relationship if one sibling was from Mars and the other from Venus. In this case, Max would be the one from Venus. He delights in chasing and wrestling. She [Martian, for sure] delights in sneaking up and batting him with her paws and getting him to chase her. If one is on my lap or Terry’s the other one is looking sad [Max] or giving the evil eye [Sweetie]. Nevertheless, thus far there has been no bloodshed except mine when Sweetie dug her claws into my bare foot when I almost stepped on her in the dark the other morning after one of Max’s early morning jaunts.

With all this talk of Max and Sweetie, interrupted sleep, and unexpected outcomes, at the end of today, I will undoubtedly [God willing] prepare coffee to come on automatically at 6 AM. Tomorrow it might work like I plan it. But does it really matter if it doesn’t? Will it damage my sense of well being?

Truth is, I will never know. I can not remember a day [of course, I am having a few memory issues] when EVERYTHING went just as planned. I am not even sure I want that. Oh, OK I WANT THAT! But, I am learning, yes, that is still possible at my age, to roll with the punches, so to speak and to live the day God has given me. THE PRESENT, what a gift! Will I ever be completely spontaneous [maybe in heaven]? Will I ever NOT PLAN? REALLY!

I am exploring the word ‘Shalom’, so often translated ‘Peace’ in English and used as ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. To live the Christian life and embrace each day, I need to seek Shalom with God, with and for others, and for myself…the enriched definition promotes a peace of harmony, wholeness, prosperity, and well being. It means living with every intent of bringing into my discordant, disorderly, broken day SHALOM. It means no matter what the day brings, God is in control. I am NOT!



Another Day Without Facebook: Humor, World Peace, Barbara Bush, Regrets


I should have responded, “A strong faith in God, patriotism, and courage!”

IMG_6135The question posed was the last segment of the Miss Frederick [Oklahoma] contest, 1963. Yes, Yes, amazingly enough I once did a pageant. The first two segments were swimming suit and evening gown—and again, yes, that is what we called formal dresses back in the day. I enclose pictures although I almost did not. Back to the question asked each of us, out of the hearing of the others. I can attest that part is true, because I would have been listening and probably SHOULD have been listening to the others. I do not mean to imply that had I answered CORRECTLY that I would have won, because we all knew Ginny Stevens was going to win, Ginger Plott was going to be second, and third place, well, that was a bit more iffy but take it from me not one of us was surprised when Alana French took that. I did it mainly because frankly, I loved being on stage. Frightfully shy socially, unable to make small talk, I had discovered with a script, in this case a rather dark poem I had written, I could perform. I was having fun.

Back to that pesky question, which when you hear it you will immediately cringe at the gender bias expressed—but, hey, this was the 1960’s.

“Miss Ivy, with the Space Program training astronauts to one day go to the moon, what qualities would be most beneficial for the WIFE of an astronaut to have?

With no hesitation and a big Vaseline enhanced smile, I replied, “A strong faith in God [check], patriotism [check], and a Great Sense of Humor [WHAT???]!”

The MC was momentarily silent, as was the audience, there were a few nervous giggles, and then a smattering of polite applause. My coach and good friend Katherine met me back stage and her face said it all but her mouth followed, “SURE! You will laugh when he goes up and when he comes crashing down!”

Years later I heard an interview with several of the original astronaut’s wives which vindicated me as everyone of them sung the praises of having the ability to laugh and find humor in their lives, but at the Miss Frederick Contest 1963, mine was not a popular response.

My question and answer did not fit but I have heard it said that working ‘world peace’ into a response usually wins contestants points. Funny thing was my faith in God, my patriotism, my courage and even my sense of humor were barely formed in 1963. Still somehow I knew they were, as companies often refer to certain performance evaluation elements, Core Values. The same is true of Peace. Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ Trouble is we get so tied up in the lack of and need for WORLD PEACE that we don’t even see where Peacemaking might benefit our friends, family, and even ourselves. We and by that I mean “I” fail to understand how estrangement among friends, family and with myself requires a peacemaker.

On the way to get our nails manicured yesterday, my granddaughter Abigail and I had the opportunity to talk. Our conversation included discussion of an estrangement in our extended family. I remarked that the tension and alienation which exist potentially will cause great regret. I told Abigail that holding on to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and even anger over purposeful acts, damages relationships. Forgive so that you have no regrets. Make peace with others if you can, but let it go so that at least you make peace with yourself.

The last few days words Barbara Bush spoke in a commencement address have found a place in my memory storage.
At Wellesley College on June 1, 1990, Bush told the graduating class:
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”
I would add at the end of life, mine or someone I love’s, I do not want to regret holding a grudge or allowing animosity to divide. I want to promote healing and peace among those closest to me even knowing that is dangerous territory.

Terry once advised a man in our church to forgive his brother and sisters over a family land sale that he felt had treated him unfairly.  He became angry with Terry as well as his family and spent a whole year away from the whole lot.  He quit coming to church completely.  A year later,  His niece, his only brother’s only daughter took her life—it took that tragedy to bring him back, but alas! The niece who had pleaded with him to forgive died before it happened. During Lent the next year we each carried a nail, ‘my nail, my sins nailed to the cross’—on Good Friday, individually we came and drove our individual nail into a rough hewn cross. When this man came, great tears rolled down his face and he drove his nail violently so deep within the wood that the head was barely visible.
Regret is a bitter pill to swallow. He knew that Christ had died for his sins, but in this world we still live with the consequences of our brokenness and the brokenness of others. We live where war rages through out the world, in our communities, in our churches, in our homes, and in ourselves. Whatever peace we can carry into each day makes a difference.

Regrets I have a few, but not a one involves leaving Facebook….I am lying…still going through withdrawal.

Just saying…


Breaking/Braking One Day at a Time


Spring in a Vase, May 2015, colored pencils

Time Magazine has picked the 100 most influential people of 2018. I haven’t yet checked the list but I suspect some of the most influential people in my life this year to date or in my lifetime did not make the list. How about the influential people in your life? When you stop to think about the folks who have strengthened you, encouraged you, slapped you up the side of the head [metaphorically speaking] when you needed it, WHO makes the list? Who are the people you want to be more like?

I am contemplating that list today as I steer clear of any Facebook Stalking.

You can see my break with Facebook brings with it WITHDRAWAL, because suddenly I am without my daily fix of Angela, Carolyn, Betty, Jeanne, Claudia, Sandi, Pat, Patti, Tom, Lynda [Linda], Brenda, Bill, Terry, Kay AND oh, so many of you. Words with Friends even requires me to log in through Facebook, which I did with one eye closed so I could keep my promise not to peek. I realized MY FACEBOOK Friends are among my most influential friends, so how am I coping.

To steal from the 12 Step Plan: One day at a time. . .the temptation is real every time I open my Ipad.

What are the PERKS? Are there PERKS?

  •  So I now have more time for the Opening of the Day with God—I am working on a series of devotionals based on the scripture of the day in called Abide with Me, creating images to frame the scripture and then adding bits of verse from my heart dealing with the presence of God in me working to help me live out His word and to become more like Christ. I am reading David Jeremiah’s book, A LIFE BEYOND AMAZING
  •  I am reading more. Now I am a reader but I am ravenous at the moment. I finished THE GIRLS OF THE ATOMIC CITY by Denise Kiernan. Periodically, as I read it I would burst into Terry’s office to read him passages or share something I had learned. I passed it on to him and he is reading it now. All I can say is if you like history and human stories THIS IS A FASCINATING BOOK. I am also on the lighter side reading Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series …I am reading at present R IS FOR RICOCHET..and am totally enamored with Kelsey Millhone, because flawed person that I am, I love flawed but decent protagonists.
  •  I am getting my nails done with my granddaughter Abigail today. I will have to let you know how that goes later.
  •  And if I get my self up from here I am going to fix lunch for Tom, Terry, Abigail and myself.
  •  I have time to work on my influential people list—More about that later.


From another time of breaking/braking in my life [seemed to fit]

Sometimes things need to break to set the captive free
Sometimes I hit the brakes before I hit a tree
Sometimes giant waves break on rocks or sandy shore
The tides of life breaking so the captive can see more
In breaking there comes insight, not seen when tight and closed
In breaking comes the mending, a healing in repose

Ckisler, 2015


Are There Any Good 12 Step Programs for a Facebook Junkie?

I confess, I miss my daily Facebook Fix, the funny animal videos, the birthdays of friends, the family photos—you get the gist. I miss it so much that although I have deleted the APP from my phone and Ipad, my account remains active. So I confess I have snuck back in twice now to catch up a bit. Addiction is a bitch. This blog post will most likely show up in my Facebook timeline. I hate that being hacked numerous times with hackers engaging my friends in conversations that ARE JUST NOT ME! SPOILER ALERT! If you received an offer of money from FAKE ME, Delete it immediately. Likewise, I am not seeking to sell you ANYTHING!!!

I am considering giving up the morning and evening news programs, because I am tired of the whole docudrama of politics—but again, I want to know the weather forecast, local news, births, deaths, funny animal videos and human stories highlighting what is good and decent about our fellow beings. Did I mention, ADDICTION is a B-I-T-C-H!

I want to stay in touch. I want to see your pictures. I want to wish you a happy birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas—you get the picture.
Addictive personalities and I admit I got that gene, find themselves in a quandary, especially when they reach a point where THEY know they are POWERLESS and their ADDICTION is harming them and potentially unleashing destructive POSTS.

Some folks can enter the Facebook world without being sucked into a black hole of negativity or without airing thoughts better shared face to face or in a less public forum. Some people can tolerate being hacked without imploding. Some can take a drink or not without emptying the bottle.

BUT SOME PEOPLE I AM NOT. I need a good 12 step program for Facebook Junkies like me.

So this is my meeting…my one day chip in hand…My name is Carolyn and I am a Facebook Junkie!


I will not be checking Facebook so if you have any comments please post them on this blog page.


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