Family

There Are Lots of Firsts

Baby’s of course, have many firsts.   It is wonderful for the child and brings happy memories for the family. Here this baby had his first ride on a train.   I am sure he won’t remember it, but the advent of the phone with a camera made it possible for the family to document so many firsts.

We go through life experiencing our first days at Preschool, Kindergarten, and each year when school starts.   We encounter new teachers, new lessons, and new expectations placed on us.   Do you recall the firsts of your school days?  It is good to focus on the positive times!File Sep 05, 7 35 29 PM

Firsts include the time we get on an airplane or travel to far away places. My grandmother was thrilled back in the 50’s to travel to Florida via an airplane.   She loved to travel this way.   It was a first for her.   She had come from Czechoslovakia by boat to Ellis Island at the age of 3 in 1885.  She remembered being so hungry and trying to catch a loaf of bread being tossed over the railing.   A sailor caught her by the ankle from falling overboard; all in lust of  the moldy food.   It is odd the things we remember.  But those were certainly firsts!   Do you have grandparents or family members that share their special times?  I think we need to savor those happy times.

Some firsts we would rather have not experienced.   Flunking a test, going into a hospital, or financial woos.  The first time our country felt the pain of being attacked on 9/11.  Channel 11 aired the Special, September 6th called 9/11 Inside The Pentagon.  It revealed how survivors and the first responder’s  reacted.  It helped us remember all the brave people who tried to help, as well as, all the sadness that day.   September 11, 2001 was a first we didn’t ever want to see or witness.  We didn’t want to see the pain or loss of so many people in separate, but unified attacks that day.  That day is haunting to so many families.   I still recall watching it all unfold on television.  My love, prayers, and best goes out to everyone affected that day.  That is everyone, because it affected us and how we react today!

There was a famous movie in 2012 called The First Time.  It was a romantic teen comedy film written and directed by Jon Kasdan.  In 1957,  a folk song with the lyrics “the 1st time ever I saw your face”  was made popular.   Many famous people sang it.

My father talked about the first time he drove a car back in the 1920’s.  Those of us who hop into our cars and get around easily can’t imagine how difficult it was to get around years ago.  People either took public transportation, walked, or rode their bicycles. People needed to carry shopping bags or pull carts to carry groceries.  My first car was an old Pontiac that got me back and forth to  the train station, but my first new car was an Oldsmobile Cutlass S.   I loved that car!

Many firsts provide good memories.   The first time we dressed up for Halloween or the First Christmas we remember St. Nicholas coming to our home.   May you have some really good 1st’s this week.

Well the next blog is a Podcast.  I try to get them up each week.  A simple message of hope and a tidbit to us thinking.    Enjoy the Mini Miracles raining down on you today.

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Hold That Thought!

Is it really so bad to return to things that worked well?

  • Like taking Sunday OFF of work, running errands, and shopping?
  • Like eating with the family for a nice easy going Sunday dinner or a special dinner with extended family on a week night?
  • Consuming less so that one spouse can stay at home and not work?

Since when did eating wholesome foods give way to drive thru’s?

  • Well was it when both parents began working?
  • Is it when all the sports and school activities ran into family time?
  • Was it when it is as cheap to eat out as to buy and make dinner?
  • Was it when food no longer was for just fueling our body and time to be sociable with family and friends?

I can’t remember what I wanted to say.1193814-R1-015-6

  • The television has taken over family time and now we forget to communicate “What is happening this week?”
  • Sports are more important on TV than having friends over for coffee or a drink.
  • When the car radio is on all the time, we never seem to talk about the important things we’d like to do or the places we’d like to travel.

So I am here to help you think about family times and how important they can be to the development of the whole family.   I think too, that although we can’t always be together, we can reconnect even doing chores together.  Washing the decks, sweeping the sidewalks, cleaning the garage,  or whatever.   Put on a pot of soup and gather the troops.   Assign a job to each person or create teams and use a cupcake as a prize.   Whatever it takes, just do it and have fun!

“Delight in Living” and see all the mini miracles pop up!

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Behind the Scenes

Hello Friends!  Welcome to Mini Miracle from Minor Moments.  This is your host Linda Gullo.  I treasure the small things in life, the encounters with people, and even the struggles that often bring us insight.  Each week I bring you a theme and thought provoking stories for these 10 to 15 minute episodes.  They are  based on simple ideas with upbeat and hopeful encouraging tidbits for you to take along.  You can contact me through the website, www.lindagullo.com  Please note that gullo is spelled g-u-l-l-o

So today I want to talk with you about what you don’t see behind the daily struggles of many people.   Back in 1991 when my husband had a terrible accident, it was apparent that things were out of place  to say the least.   I use some of these as examples.   I am sure you have your own.   But in spite of it all, there are resolutions that come in mini miracle form.

People saw me going in and out of the house.   They’d ask the question how’s it going?  I knew they were being polite; it is like saying how are you, but not expecting the person to tell you.   I’d tell them the most recent issue in an abbreviated form and go on with the task at hand.  Usually it was traveling to and from work or picking up children.

But what they didn’t see was all of the other frustrations behind the scenes.  I think you will appreciate this sharing because I know you have had similar experiences in your families.   To the outside world you look pretty together, but behind the scenes, you may have family members with a bad attitude or being really contrary.   We all know that people with bad attitudes can widdle down the strongest of people.  We also know some people are so tolerant and compliant.  Well at this time I think were all flustered.   Everyone was being self centered and not functioning well as a family at all!

Petey's pillow when he was left alone.

Petey’s pillow was this Bunny.  He’d drag it to the door when, he was left alone.  The ribbon about the Bunny’s neck ended up a mess.

Immediately following the 10 weeks my husband was in the hospital lots was dark in the house.   There was an incredible loneliness that every family member was feeling.  We were all so weak, tired, and wanted things to go back to normal.  It wasn’t happening and never did return.   We had to discover and recreate a new normal.

One of our kids was always breaking curfews.  That resulted in a lack of trust and fear.  Where was that child?  Why were they being so resistant?  We weren’t eating together as a family.   We were eating here, there, and everywhere.  I wasn’t sleeping well, because I was acting like a 24/7 cop.   Every day seemed to set me back.   I had fear and frustration building.   I found it hard to pray.  The miracles came from people praying for us.  There was no “get out of jail free card”, but time was healing and small things were changing in our favor.

After the initial rallying around us, many of our friends disappeared. While I understood that they had their own issues, yet I did not know who to talk with or how to share the feelings inside of me.

I have heard since then that this is true for most people after a crisis, that is why I am a counselor.  While I can empathize or affirm the reality  about many things, I also have distant enough to have some clarity and possible tools to resolve things.     People want to disengage and get on with their own life; it is too depressing to be with those in need.

I think that is why Mother Teresa was such an example for us.  She did what none of us want to do. She held the hands of people we couldn’t.   It just tells us that we all have skills and things we can do.  We can’t be a Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but we can help others in their Calcutta and we must go out of our way too.

So back to our family.  Whenever we were all together, there was tension and no real conversation.   It was the fear that one has after a death.  No one wants to talk about the changes going on in the family and yet everyone wants to talk about the changes and how to manage them.   My husband lost his sense of humor and was no longer talkative; he was in constant pain.   Phantom pain lingered, nerve endings were jarred.  He was unable to concentrate.   The medicine he was taking gave him other problems with digesting his food.   He couldn’t sleep, nor hear, nor see well.

The kids stayed kept busy. They didn’t bring their friends home.  The house was dull.  We were dull and so very serious.  Dad was start lecturing and I would get nervous and sad too.   I began to volunteer my time and decided to go back to school.   Both were wonderful ways to keep positive.

Our happy days had gone poof so in desperation we brought in a dog.   A silly, fun loving, frisky dog with two floppy ears and a personality!  At only 10 weeks, he was indeed a comic.  His name was Petey.   He warmed the house with his laughable and clumsy body.  It was bigger than he was coordinated.  The best part was that he would slowly walk next to my husband around the fenced in yard while Tony recovered from paralysis.   I guess it gave both of them time to be together.  The dog was never alone and neither was my husband.

The kids seemed to enjoy him too.  My son carried him like a lamb on his shoulders; my daughter dressed him up and babied him.

While I was back teaching at school, the lengthy drive was wearing on me.  I fell asleep at a traffic stop early one morning.   It was just a split second when the car behind honked and got me going.  It was a wakeup call of a different sort.  And so I returned to being a full time wife and mother, while we all tried to reaclimate.  While my being at home seemed to make things more comfortable; we missed the salary that we so needed.   Financial strain increased while our savings decreased.

Today, the dog we currently have now is my meditation partner.  She sits next to me and acts as a calming agent.   Did you know that the Latin root of medicine means “to remedy”.  She is my medicine on many days when things get stressful.  Well I think she helps me heal from daily stresses and this week there have been quite a few.  Let me share a few of them.

My business checking account was frozen due to someone trying to hack it.   The ripple effect caused me aggravation and discontent!

Then yesterday, I was at a religious gift store and backed into a fragile display of statues.    Yup, they came tumbling down and 2  broke. No one was hurt, but I felt horrible.

We all have our list of things that go on behind the scenes.  Every family needs help in some way.   But one of the problems is that when things go wrong we isolate ourselves out of embarrassment.  We are suddenly aren’t receiving the feedback that we so genuinely need.

Until next week, stay true to yourself.  Recognize the good people around you, the small joys that carry you forward, and the laughable moments.  Bye!

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You Went Where?

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The plans went down the drain along with lots of time and energy!

Have you ever had the best plans in the whole world, and they all went down the drain?  Well that hasn’t happened to me lately.  But I can share that happened to someone I know.   They had intentions to go downtown to *Maggie Daley Park in downtown Chicago.  The family consisted of the baby, a 6 year old, a college student, and Mom and Dad.

Their intentions were to meet one of the older adult children downtown for a pleasant Labor Day afternoon.   It was hot and muggy, but they were all psyched up for a great day.   Last year they had done a similar trip downtown and all was well.

So I get the first long text of how the train they boarded had a mechanical error on their way downtown.  They were dropped off in Wheaton.  It would be a 2 hour wait, since the trains were less scheduled for the Holiday.   Keep in mind as I tell this story, that there is a 6 year old with lots of energy and I am sure questions?   Oh, and an 8 month old!

They get back on the train.  Another mechanical error takes them to Glen Ellyn where there is a 30 minute delay.   Oh dear, this didn’t sound good.  While they were waiting, a man on the train, dressed all in black was sitting and reading a book.   Every few pages, he would close the book and slam his head with it.  He then started making gun figures with  his hands and pointing it at people’s heads pretending to shoot them.  He was sitting several seats ahead of the family.   It was rather distressing and frightening.

Thank goodness the older teenager was on the top deck with the 6 year old, so they weren’t seeing all of this.  Some people were giving him looks.  Most people were just being sheep and totally oblivious.  Probably thinking if they ignored the situation it would go away?  The parents made the joint decision to remove themselves and the family from the train.  A couple of other people sitting across from the man also removed themselves and exited.

Now the family decides to wait for another 2 hours.  Hopefully, there will not be another mechanical issue.  They decide to wait at a Donut shop to waste time and stay relaxed.   A lady who appeared confused and half dressed began to get inquisitive about the diaper bag.  It is a blah, nothing exciting there bag, but she did was unduly curious!

And then, she began to comment and get nosy about the teenagers purse.   This Criminal Justice student was getting uncomfortable. She said she was ready to toss her drink at the lady if she got any closer.   Oh boy, we do get suspicious and rightly so when it comes to our safety and possessions.

Daddy was totally unaware of the discomfort level at the other end of the restaurant with the ladies.    Oh boy, that wasn’t good.  Or maybe it was good.  When things are stressful, it is good to have one or two people emotionally disengaged.

Obviously, the family did not get downtown.  When the next train came, they headed for their stop to get back to their car.   Time to go home and unwind!  They were out of time, money ($24 dollars in round trip tickets), and energy.   Plus, I need to end this by telling you, that this was supposed to be a Birthday celebration for Mom.

The Mini Miracle was that all turned out well.   Maybe coming back at night would have been worse.  All things happen for a reason and maybe this was a “blessing in disguise”!

Having said that, I think Metro has to “step things up” and get Holiday trains a bit safer mechanically and with Conductor supervision.   “Just saying!”

*maggiedaleypark.com

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Party Time is for Every Age!

Have you ever really thought about why everyone loves to party?   Is it all the planning, the reason for the party, or just having a break from the ordinary?   Is it all the surprise elements that go into preparing for the event.  Where was the last party you attended?   Was it for someone turning  Sweet 16?  18? 40? 60? 80?

I began to think about how parties gather people of all generations.   I remeFile Aug 21, 12 33 08 PMmber a party for an older adult (who was turning 80). One whole  room was filled with balloons because the lady liked them.  Colors, food, and themes help us define the person or reason for the gathering.  What kind of party do you like?

So this past weekend there was a party for a 6 year old.  A picture booth was set up for the kids to dress up with costumes and props.  A high school student who is usually a wrestler and soccer player, took it upon himself to be the face painter for the party!

File Aug 21, 12 32 32 PMA magician from a local playhouse came and practiced magic acts with the kids.  That is something we don’t see everyday.  Unless you are on a cruise or somewhere special, magicians aren’t around us on a daily basis.  He brought a surprise element to the gathering.

The kids played with a traditional Pinata and gathered at a table to enjoy finger foods and desserts.  That element of eating (breaking bread) is so important in all our social gatherings.   A mere cup of coffee, a dish of fruit, or a bowl of ice cream ties us together to laugh, share, cry or talk.  We never get tired of that!   Here for the few hours the children were together, they entertained and learned great social skills.

What social skills do you need to learn?   I thought of that last night as I attended a local Christian Concert of Michael W. Smith.   He was at our local Raue Theatre for a show.   A lady next to me had come from Bloomington for the Concert.   She was very chatty and nice.  She said older people were pushing her to get ahead while coming in to the seating.  Ironic that at was her take away at visiting our area, but I had also noted that when we were coming in.   Lines were not very orderly.  I hope we changed her impression of the community as the evening proceeded.   All in all, I had a good time and thought people were polite.

So start planning your next gathering.   What do you want the atmosphere to be like?   Do you want a light-hearted and happy group?   Do you need to prepare in advance for props or party favors.  Who and how do you want the celebration to turn out?   Who will you invite?   Memories are made of gathering friends and family together.

Delight in Living and the memories you create for yourself and others!  Lots of Mini Miracles hopefully went down for all these children.

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You Found What?

I remember when I was a small preschool child, we lived in a  Brookfield, IL. This was before the Deep Tunnel Project  was introduced and flooding was a problem in the SW Suburbs.  We had a really bad rainstorm;  our streets flooded to a level where people were using boats. Salt Creek turtles and snakes came into our yards.

Our basement had a foundation made of old limestone blocks. Muddy water seeped between the old blocks and ran down the walls.  Dirty back up from the street sewers bubbled up and  was smelly.  My dad ended up replacing the rotting  wooden beams with iron ones following that season.

Our Wringer Washing Machine wouldn’t work; the engines burnt out on the that and the furnace. The old laundry tubs were dirty and needed bleaching.  We lost lots of Christmas Decorations that year including an old desk and my favorite colored chalk.  I never told my parents how sad that made me feel; no doubt they were more anxious and upset about the expenses and losses. When I see wasted chalk pieces on peoples driveways or at garage sales, I think how things that are precious to one child are taken for granted by another.

The house which once had a coal room had been removed and an oil furnace was installed. The basement had to be whitewashed and the basement doors were often left open to help dry it out after that.   My mom would use them to go outside to hang laundry; we didn’t have a dryer for a long time.

The house was over a 100 years old.  It was a farmhouse that had been moved to the suburb many years before.  It was a house of good memories along with these oddities.  But the story goes further.

My grandma lived in Cicero.  Her house was older too and it flooded during this same time.  She was already retired and needed help.  We went there and moved things out of her basement flat.  Including my grandma who had to reside with us and my aunt during this time.

Grandma who was a retired seamstress had barrels of fabric.  I was helping to unfold the material so it could dry out.  We couldn’t even wash clothes because of the water issues.   In the process I found a small satin bag and being an inquisitive kid, I opened it.   Oh no, it wasn’t lovely jewelry or buttons!20160819_075548

Inside were false teeth.  I got scared and quickly closed the bag. I had never seen false teeth; apparently grandma’s old pair!  I quickly threw them back in the bag and tucked the bag between fabric.  Later my mother had to go through stacks of material to find what had terrified me!

I laugh at this now, but think how easily frightened small children can get.   We really need to keep them open to talking and sharing with us.  Their precious little minds see things so differently in the formative years.  We need to stay connected with one another and help each other through fears and frustrations.  I am here for you at linda@lindagullo.com     Just email me.

May your “Mini Miracles”come in the form of sharing today.   Many blessings and “Delight in Living!”

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Sisters, Siblings, & Smiles

My mother and father had a girl and a boy.  That translates into the fact that I had no sisters.   I have been blessed with two sister-in-laws to create memories with, but unfortunately they both live far far away.

As a kid sister to a brother who is 5 years older, I knew how to get on his good side (feed him, LOL).  Seriously, I used to love hanging around with him.  He was always working with crystal sets, taking electronics apart, fixing radios and televisions, working with oscillioscopes, and projects.  I used to separate transitors and resistors into piles for him that he’d glean from old devices.  He entered the Air Force my Junior year of college and have missed him ever since.  When I look back I was a pretty good sister to him.

Are you a big or little sister to another sister?   What is the best thing about that relationship?  Would you like to change it or reconnect somehow? Were you close as children?

IMG_3752Here we have 3 sisters represented in this wax mold.  I asked them about their roles in the family and what they found important.  These girls are 24, 18, and 6. Note that they have 4 brothers scattered in age underneath each of them.

So then the youngest girl, who just turned six replied,  “The best thing is that they take me to the park;  they do fun stuff with me (like color with me). They show me how to do stuff, and I try!  It isn’t exciting when they aren’t doing stuff with me!”

The one in the middle told me– “I would say I am here  to protect my younger sister and to learn from my older sister.”

In a way, all are really blessed to have their roles defined by the pecking order.

The oldest child is now a young adult and student who takes her role seriously.  “For me, I think it would be the fact that there’s just a genuine bond. Although our ages are different we still find ways to connect and the memories are endless. I see my role not only as a big sister, but as a second mother. I want to make sure I set the right example for them. I want them to see that hard work & dedication pays off and that family is important. Family comes first and I want them to see that, because at the end of the day family will always be there!”

I think it is good to see yourself in relation to your family and friends.  Not to compare, but to evaluate what responsibilities we need to own up to. Our families can teach us so much about how to function well in the world.  It isn’t a surprise that  when our family units are broken, that we suffer.  Most of us learn to support our close friends who are alone.  We learn to reach out and love one another.  And we need to let others love us as well.  May your week be filled with blessings.   Catch those mini miracles and give thanks.

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The Power of Big

Even the smallest child can use so many things that give them power.   Just look at our youngsters as they pick up the cellphone or  I Pad.  Watch the smallest children work software on toys or computers.  Children are using pieces of equipment that allow them to do marvelous thingsIMG_7826.   And although they are learning things at a rapid pace, it is wise to make sure they are still learning the basics they need.  This includes reading, writing, hobbies, and outdoor activities.   A well rounded person will have internal fortitude to go through life feeling competent.

Can you recall a time when you felt powerful?

Power in the wrong hands or without good experience is dangerous and not the best thing.  Now of course, this child is not running this piece of equipment, but she has a mighty good view of things from that vantage point.  And we do want well rounded adaptable children.

It is great fun to be high on equipment, in cars, and on a ferris wheel.  It allows us to see things completely.   I often look out of our bedroom windows where one can see the whole yard and all of the activity.   We are on a corner and so the site is a good one.

What vantage point is the best for you?

Our children also need to learn to read out of a book.  To hold one in their hands and be connected to the skill.  Their imaginations need to develop naturally.  Now even as adults we are often represented by fun Avatars which distance us from the actual person.  We don’t hear each others voices, because everyone is busy texting. We need to stay engaged!  Shopping is always fun for me; my favorite location is the local bookstore.   Enjoy the world of learning at the local library or your bookstore too.

What subjects do you enjoy reading about?

We need to let our children create their own artwork by drawing and coloring.   We need for them to learn patience and the art of socializing with others.   Kids need to talk and walk with the elderly.  They need the hugs and cookie time with friends.  Sharing is not taught when even the littlest one has their own I Pad.   For years people complained that the television was being used as a babysitter.  While in many cases that was partially true, parents were still present and engaging with their children in conversation about the entertainment.  Now kids are glued to the screens of a different sort.

Have you taken up the coloring craze?

I have read online and heard on television that the American Optometric Association has concerns for all of us about the effects of computers screens on our vision. I can tell you that I have recently noticed eyestrain and  headaches when I am on the computer or phone too much. Myself and many friends are noticing dry eyes.  As a matter of fact when I went to buy eye drops for my husband I purchased some for me.  There were many brands, but the counters were lean on them.  Even our youngest people are using them.  We want to protect our eyes and the eyes of our children.

For those of us at a desk all day, it is obvious that the lack of exercise is also wearing on us.   We are a nation of people with weight problems.   We must get up and move each day.  I rather envy the fun of being on a tractor or climbing up the monkey bars.  Think I may go to the park and play.

When was the last time you played at a park?

Think big, but do it safely and with determination to help yourself and others.  Peace for the day as Mini Miracles rain upon you!

Think Big, but do it safely.

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Children Are Delightful

Hi, This is Linda Gullo!Lordw_Mary copy
Today I have a couple of stories about children and the wonderful intuition  they can provide for us.

The 1st story is about a child In Geneva, Illinois—-Swedish Days are celebrated in  June.  (http://www.genevachamber.com/swedish_days.php)

(http://www.7thheavenband.com)

The 2nd story is about our 3 year old, shown in this picture with our dog “Lord” .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So What Identifies You?

Years ago I had a patient tell me that I had my own uniform.   I began to laugh.   I did?  What is it?   “Well you wear black slacks and white blouses!”

That was short lived, as I thought “Oh my Goodness, how boring!”  Yet uniforms do 2016-07-10 12.19.26have a great purpose in many ways.   First of all they make it simple to dress and just get going; they allow us to focus on more important things.   Secondly, they take away the competition and equalize the playing field.  When I taught  I saw this value.   It also gave me permission to wear the same thing each Friday. 

3rdly, it puts us in our place. If we are at school or work, it identifies our mission.   How great is that?  Pretty great!  Next of all, it eliminates spending extra money just to have a variety.  In my quest to simplify my life, I am going to buy less and repeat wearing my outfits more.  Anyone else doing this?

Can you identify the brothers here?  These mission students are all dressed the same!  Although they are constantly in competition, they are pretty unified in their mannerisms and interests.   I suspect as they get older, they may be more on the same page than they want to admit.

Often we do things, or talk in the same way.  My daughter and granddaughter sound identical on the phone. My father and his brothers stood with their hands folded behind their backs.   It was obvious they were brothers.  Some brothers look alike, talk alike, or even dress similarly.    Here these guys 18 months apart are standing arm-in-arm.

Well, already we are on the 2nd of August and the allergies are in full swing for me and many other people.   We all seem to deal with them in different ways.   Some disappear and others blossom; sort of like the flowers, trees, and vegetation.   And because we are outside more, eat different seasonal foods, and have different activity levels, allergies flair-up.

Allergies certainly have defined me along the journey.  And many health related things may define you or your family.   The good thing is that so many of the things we live through can be helped by sharing with others.   In that way, we are a family with common concerns.   Now is the time to stand with your team just as these mission students stood together to help work on a common problem.

Have a great day.  Delight in the Mini Miracles you find along the journey today!

 

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