Those who can, should teach.

The full quote is: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” In other words, if you are not able to run a successful business, then you should teach business. That makes sense, doesn’t it? I wrote a post a couple of years ago about me discovering I am a student and a teacher. Thinking about the quote above, what did I really mean when I stated that? At the time, my life mirrored the above quote. I had never “done” most of the things I have been learning so how could I possibly be qualified to teach?

So, when should learning stop and doing begin? I want to write but am I doing it correctly? Shouldn’t I know more about not only the subject but the method of writing? I will never know if I do not write. At this point, I am pretty much willing to write about anything that pops in my head since I can never learn from my successes (and failures) if I do nothing.

I have been an avid hoarder of educational materials since I got my first computer (a computer that a friend built me and if I remember correctly, ran on Windows 95). I can’t even begin to tell you how many .pdfs I have of old, out of print books that were wonderful sources of knowledge. In addition to those out of print books, I even have printed up entire websites (most of them posthumously, thanks to Internet Archive: Wayback Machine) but what good is all of that knowledge if none of it is practiced?

When I lived in Arizona I attended a (now defunct) career college. Despite the fact that my diploma in Small Business Management isn’t worth the paper it was printed on (I wish I would have known what accreditation was and how important it is), what I loved about the school was all of the instructors were from the real world. My marketing instructor left to work for the first soaker hose company that solely used recycled tires, my accounting instructor was an actual accountant, and my computer instructor ran a small tech support company (they were all teaching part-time). These instructors are my definition of a teachers. They do, therefore they teach.

I have information on just about every subject out there but my main love has always been all things relating to herbal medicine. I love the fact that the majority of ingredients contained within the various Pharmacopeia from the early 1900s and older are plants I can grow or purchase (and I do not need any special license or permit for those purchases). I have considered taking some courses related to herbal medicine but why spend the money if I have all this information at my fingertips?

That WAS my thinking until I actually tried to make an herbal salve. No matter how many times I tried, I could not manage to make a salve without it being too hard, too soft, too lumpy or having it separate over time. As much as I adore You Tube, there are too many people out there who know less than I do “teaching.” I knew I needed some actual instruction if I was ever going to do this right. So, in January of this year, I began taking an online herbal course: Herbal Skills Intensive offered by Cat Ellis. When I first heard she was developing this course, I knew I had to take it because, unlike so many teachers I have come across online, she actually does this in real life (this is the online version of the classes she gives in person). It’s a wonderful class and I highly recommend it.

So, this is my long-term project: to physically do everything that I have been learning about. There are way too many subjects I have no way of learning (like raising livestock) since I live in the city but I am making a conscious effort to “practice what I preach” (or, really, “practice what I share”).

 

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What Happened?

I have no idea what happened today. I woke up at my normal time, got everything done to make sure my husband wasn’t late for work, and did my meditation. It was supposed to storm all day today so I started watching blooper reels from the show “Supernatural,” It was a great start to what was going to be a wonderful day (I even had a topic ready for the blog)! Then this extremely dark cloud descended on me. I did my best to work around it. I started reading my next book (I just received my first Kindle on Wednesday) but it turned out I needed to read another one first. So, I grabbed that one but barely got through the first chapter (I could not keep my eyes open).

Thankfully, my son came over to visit or I would have been passed out on the couch and not able to sleep tonight. By the time my husband came home from work, I was in tears. What was I crying about? I have no idea and not being a crier makes it that much worse. I got angry because not only was I crying but I hadn’t written all day, had barely finished half my water, and it turns out it did not rain all day (so I could have actually done something outside).

I decided to relieve my husband of my company and go feel sorry for myself in the shower. I cried some more, then sat there envisioning the dark gunk inside me just washing down the drain. By the end of my “cleansing” this is the song that was rattling around in my brain:

I wish I could say the darkness is 100% gone but it is still sitting there just beneath the surface. Days like today rarely happen any more now that my kids are adults (and not quite so adversarial) but man, when they do it really sucks. I would love for every day to rainbows and sunshine but I guess we need the occasional rainy day so we can truly appreciate those sunny ones.

Building Fences

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My Visitor Today

Well, not quite building fences. Today I have been on the hunt to figure out how to repair/rebuild the fence surrounding our property. I thought it would be a relatively easy (though labor intensive) solution. Of course, with just about everything in this house, I was incorrect on my assessment.

The fence was built by the last tenants and while it is beautiful, there were issues in the construction of it. After spending the afternoon Googling … I mean researching, I think the two issues we have to tackle are warping of the wood and fence post spacing. I also discovered that our “normal” is not everyone else’s “normal” (the way fences are built is not standard).

That pretty much describes life, doesn’t it? You may think the problem is this but it turns out the problem stems from that and that but lead to this. It is so frustrating! You think it will be a quick, easy solution but you end up having to tear down the whole thing and rebuild it with proper materials and learn new techniques in order to accomplish your goals.

That is where I am at right now. I thought beginning this challenge would be a piece of cake. I told myself, “No problem! It will be easy! The hardest part will be drinking my water.” Well, I was so wrong! It turns out the hardest part is writing every day. I thought I had a nice stack of “rant material” (all the things I rant about to my husband after he gets home from work) stored away in my brain, just waiting to be shared. I guess I don’t. Perhaps those little rants just weren’t important enough to remain in my brain because I have been sitting here for the last three hours trying to figure out what to write about (and deleting three other attempts).

I really am amazed. Does this mean that the majority of the things I talk about (or think about) during the day are not important? Does this mean I should be more conscious of where my head is at instead of letting run loose like a toddler who ate a whole bag of candy? I have done the “that’s not important, so stop thinking about it” thing before and I was one miserable, cranky bitch. I wasn’t depressed: I was perpetually angry. It was awful. So, I will never become that person again but what should I do right now to enable me to have something to say every day that has some meaning behind it? I haven’t a clue.

I think I will make sure I keep a notebook handy and just write random things down that pop in my head throughout the day. I know I have plenty of things to say about our government but I really do not want that here on my blog. I have always wanted this blog to be a bit deeper than me describing the idiocy of our state and local government (as I said, I live in California, so I have plenty of material to work with).

So, in parting, here is one of my dear online friends, and one small way he is adjusting to his life that isn’t so accommodating to what he loves to do (I swear, aside from his lack of colorful language, he is me, as a male truck driver).

The Devil Made Me Do It

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I have a confession to make. All my life, the Devil has played a role in my way of thinking and acting (heck, “the Devil made me do it” should have been the national motto). I want to blame my mom (she was pregnant with me when she watched “Rosemary’s Baby” at the theater) but I think it all stemmed from the 1960’s “free love movement” pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. The movie “Rosemary’s Baby” started it, followed by “The Exorcist”, then, after a cocaine-fueled disco era which lead to the “gay plague” (AIDS), you had “The Omen” and “Amityville Horror.” This isn’t even taking into account the real-life events that happened during that time, such as Charles Manson and his followers, Jim Jones, and the rash of Satanic cults “discovered” (and charges of devil worship levied against innocent people). It was like the Red scare all over again but instead of Communists behind every door it was Satan.

I remember the days of the rock music (I’m not sure if disco was included) album burnings of the 1980’s (thankfully I did not participate but some family members did). In case you do not know, all rock music was considered “the Devil’s music” (watch “Footloose”) and churches would, with the help of the teenage members, build huge piles of vinyl records in their parking lots and set them on fire (think of the book burning scene from “Indian Jones and the Last Crusade”). Music became the cause of all the ills of society and it wasn’t just rock music that suffered (the 80’s was when rap music came onto the scene). That was when Jerry Falwell, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Billy Graham, and Pat Robertson of the 700 Club were household names. Did I mention that I live as far from the “Bible Belt” as you can get (Central California)? I am truly surprised Nancy Reagan wasn’t burned at the stake when it was revealed that she had consulted an astrologer during her husband’s term as President.

This insanity continued for quite some time but expanded to include pornography and video games (which could be described as anything that offended any “Christian”). Here. Instead of me listing all the shocking things that happened during this time, take a look at this web page: A Brief History of Banned Music in the U.S..

Then, a movie came out that I hoped signaled a shift in the way the Devil was going to be thought of (no, it wasn’t “Wishmaster”). See, this movie is how I thought Satan would be, if he was physically walking among us: “The Devil’s Advocate.” Oh, boy! No horns, no pinning a person down and forcing them to do something they didn’t want to do, no possessing a little girl. He was charming and only gave you what you asked for (after all, he is a “fan of man”). Even after “Supernatural’s” portrayal of Lucifer being a bit closer to the Biblical version (but a hell of a lot more amusing) followed by the newest television show, “Lucifer,” I am still hearing of Satan breaking people’s cars, bringing back their cancer, or preventing them from finding a job.

So, why am I talking (well, typing) about this? At the core of all this (blaming bad circumstances/behavior on the evil “over there”) is the abdication of responsibility. There are too many people in this world who refuse to acknowledge that they play a role in the events in their lives. Using the examples in the last paragraph, perhaps your car broke down because you hadn’t checked the oil in a year or your cancer came back because your cancer came back or maybe you can’t find a job because you are applying for jobs you are not qualified to do? Maybe?

I’m sorry but if your dear little Johnny took a gun to class and killed people, then, when the police searched his room and computer, they find (in addition to the standard culprits: rock music and video games) weapons, ammunition, bomb making plans and materials, plus a hit list, is it really the rock music (or video games) that is to blame or could it be something amiss in your parenting?

Now, the blame game is focused on just about anything (and anyone) but ourselves and it doesn’t matter if it is an individual person dealing with their own life or the governments of the world. Except now, it’s not just Satan who is being blamed. It’s “Big Pharma,” “Big Oil,” “Big Tobacco,” “Big Brother,” the Republicans, the Democrats, the Socialists, the Communists, Main Stream Media, etc.

When I started smoking cigarettes at the age of 18, I didn’t say to myself, “I am going to start smoking so I can lead an exciting, carefree life just like in the commercials.” I am positive it was not Satan who made me purchase the 30-count value pack of (disgusting) cheap danishes and forced me eat half the package in one sitting and (as much as I would like) it wasn’t my mom’s fault or my high school band director’s fault that I quit school and gave up my desire to go to college. Nope.

All of the things that have happened in my life were the result of either beneficial or harmful choices I made. It doesn’t matter whether they were proactive or reactive, they were my choices. I made them and I take full responsibility for the consequences (both good and bad). It has many years for me to break away from blaming the devil (or anyone else) for my actions, especially without it turning into a pity party. I can now look back at my life and critique my actions, so I can learn what to do (or not do) in the future.

My hope (and prayer) is that I have taught my children well enough so they can proudly say, “Yes. That was MY decision and I would do it again (or do it a different way)” without blame, just taking responsibility.

Joy in All Things

One of the biggest changes I made in this journey was to do my best to not dwell on the negatives but focus on the positive things in my life. I have a house. It’s not perfect (nothing in life is) but it is mine (well, will be in three short years). My husband has a wonderful job. My kids are adults (age-wise, at least) and are out of the house. My dog is just dumb enough to make us laugh but not so dumb that we have to worry about him accidentally killing himself when we leave the house (He is an awesome dog. He doesn’t even eat the dog food that is sitting in a bag, right next to his bowl or chew up anything he isn’t supposed to).

I whittled down my friends list on Facebook to those I truly care about (and figured out how to block certain kinds of posts without unfriending too many people). I discovered that I do not need to internalize every single news story I read (and have become very choosy about which stories I will even attempt to verify or just toss them to the side). I have also discovered that my “normal” is not shared by everyone (and that is a wonderfully pleasant surprise). For instance, I did not realize that I wasn’t the only one who had never thought about whether aloe plants flower or not (or what the flowers would look like) until today:

My Aloe Flower
My aloe plant in flower

Through the process of finding joy, I have been forced to distance myself from some people in real life, also. Misery loves company while despising solitude (at least this is the case with those I know). If these people are miserable, they see it as their duty to ensure that all those around them share in their misery. Heaven forbid anyone break away and refuse to participate. I had to build a moat around myself to keep these people as far away as possible. The negativity that exudes from them is like a black smoke that penetrates everything and made me feel the need to take a shower after each visit. Now, I have learned the joy of muting my phone and not answering my door.

While I am not a bundle of joy at all times (you really do not want to see me angry), I post my fair share of goofy animal videos and silly memes on Facebook. I make “evil monkey” moves at the mice who have insisted this is their house, not ours and I take great delight in giving my dog the middle finger just to watch him jump on me in excited glee. See? It’s the little things in life that can add up and finally, through trial and error, make each day end on a happy note.

So, aside from getting ready to sit down with my husband, eat dinner, and binge watch the show Supernatural (we are re-watching it, again), here is the happy note I will end my post (and day) with while happily embracing the former band inside:

Beware False Gods

When I began the process of discovering “what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Google was my friend (well, still is my friend). I used every search term I could think of until I found the people who I thought would help me in my discovery. I subscribed to more newsletters, podcasts, and You Tube channels than I care to admit. I have even taken some courses (some free, some paid, and some I am still in the process of taking). The biggest lesson I have learned so far is, “Everyone is human and has their own journey to take.”

You see, I am a HUGE fanboy (or would that be fangirl?). When I like you, I like everything you say or do and sing your praises from on high (share as much as I can without being too spammy). My behavior could be described as “stalker-ish.” I will hunt down everything you have ever done publicly, no matter how long ago it was, just so I can absorb every word you have ever said or written. I hang on your every word and anxiously await your next post, tweet, video, interview, or podcast. I will buy every book you have ever written (even if it has nothing to do with my interests). You become my new “god.” Yeah, it’s bad.

So, when you (my “gods”) decided you had enough of it all or had your own mid-life crisis, I took it personally. I felt lost, unsure of what I was going to do with my life. I know, that’s an exaggeration but it really is pathetic how emotionally invested I can get in these strangers who take up so much of my time and thoughts. I almost felt betrayed. How could these people who were handing out such wonderful advice and insight NOT be happy with where they were in life? How could they abandon me? How could you be so human?

I had an epiphany while listening to yet another podcaster who, thankfully, has already been through his life-altering pivot. I started looking at my life and realized I was living vicariously through all these other people. Their joys were my joys, along with their sorrows. I had kept myself safely hidden in my cave, not taking any risks within my life. Instead of taking all the wonderful advice (and training) I learned and applying it to my life, I stashed it away, hoarding it like a dragon and its gold. What good is knowledge if it isn’t used? How is my life going to improve if I am unwilling to change? How can I discover my true desires and accomplish my goals if I continue to follow instead of lead?

So, today is day one of me sorting through all the information I have amassed over the last few years and slowly apply it to my life. Today I begin to change the things I can and plan the best course of action that will enable me to make the required changes that are too life-altering to make right now.

So, the four baby steps I am making, which began today (I have a checklist to keep myself accountable):

  • Step 1: Drink my water. I do not like water. Period. The only way I have been able to (in the past) drink water is to bribe myself: take a drink of water and you can have more coffee. Whatever it takes, I will get that stuff down!
  • Step 2: Meditate every day. I have a tendency to get extremely distracted with just about anything (and everything) and there are days when it feels as if I have no time to do myself (even though I do not work outside my house and my husband is gone 8 hours every day). Taking just 10 minutes a day to rest my mind will give me the focus I need to get me through the day as productively as I can.
  • Step 3: Do something physical every day. This step, since it is Spring, is actually written as “Work in the yard every day.” I am a very “all or nothing” person. My yard work tends to be a marathon day for 8 hours followed by 2 weeks of recovery, then not wanting to even venture outside for 3 months. Perhaps I will actually mange to grow something edible this year (aside from a single tomato).
  • Step 4: Write every day. I decided on a goal of 500 words per day (not counting normal Facebook posts). They may be here on the blog or not. Whatever manner they take, I will keep a tally every day.

So, those are my baby steps on the road to recovery … I mean the road to life.

“But You Will Look Like A Man!”

Rachel McLish - The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.
Rachel McLish – The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.

I do not hear this nearly as much as I did when I first looked into lifting weights. I hope it has something to do with people being more enlightened but I’m pretty sure they just don’t want to be accused of gay bashing (or whatever). There are too many people out there who are either trolls who relish in stirring up controversy or the “eternally offended” who actively search for something to protest. Either way, I am tired of them all. And, since I am a female, I am allowed to say a bunch of stuff that will probably be considered sexist (or whichever -ist you may choose to embrace today).

The book I am writing is how embracing 9 virtues will make me a whole, well-rounded human being. While I have the 9 virtues separated into chapters and defined (and my whole “this is how I messed up and how I am fixing it” dialogue in there) I am trying to figure out how to explain the method I am using to fundamentally alter who I am. At first, I thought it was like embracing a new habit (so, I read a lot). It did fit the bill but then I began weight training again and that’s when it clicked. If you want to fundamentally change your life, it’s just like when you finally decide to get healthy.

If you want long lasting, sustainable changes, you don’t immediately throw all the “bad” foods out the door, get rid of all your sodas, and take up the same weight training program Arnold used to win Mr. Olympia. Not only will you get withdrawals, not have enough food to eat, and possibly hurt yourself (and other people with your wild mood swings), on your first “cheat day” you will scarf so much food you will not be able to walk for a week. Then, you will beat yourself up for being so weak-willed, and, after resupplying your pantry with all those “bad” foods, you will throw them all out, and repeat the pattern over and over again until you just decide you will be happier unhealthy.

No, the key is to start small. Change your sodas to diet sodas. Then, add some water to your drinking habits (which I did by bribing myself, “I can have some more coffee when I drink this water”). If you are going to reduce your carbohydrates, have 2 instead of 4 pieces of toast at breakfast but add an egg or slice of bacon. Do that for a while, then change another small thing. After a while, once you have altered your food intake enough and done it long enough, your tastes will change and your new dietary habits will now be normal (I now feel physically ill if I eat a Hostess cupcake, so I haven’t eaten one in 6 years).

If your goal is to write a book (and you haven’t written a dang thing outside of a school essay), the same thing goes: write 500 words a day, whether that is a blog post or a journal entry or your book (for that, do research and find out exactly how to write the kind of book you want). Write some letters or emails to people. Just write, then add words every day. After a while, your day will not feel complete until you have written.

And when it comes to improving myself, like the 9 virtues I am implementing within my life, I am taking each virtue, defining it, and changing each aspect of that virtue that I am not embracing or I did not fully understand. Once that change is implemented and fully embraced, I am moving onto the next aspect.  Through this process, I am taking copious notes about what has worked, what hasn’t, and that is the basis for my book. It is taking much longer than I expected. I thought I was a pretty decent person before I began this process but sheesh, was I wrong!

 

Podcasts and Twitter

I am about to head into my cave (well, the bedroom with the laptop and no distractions) to write some more. It’s funny. I started out with the basic outline of a book (well, Scrivener’s version of one). Got 9 chapters ready to be filled, found quotes I wanted to use to support my thinking, have written a good chunk of most of the chapters, and now I’m thinking the scope of it needs to be expanded (just a bit). It’s morphing into basically a multi-part lesson on changing and establishing habits, really. I didn’t envision that when I started this.

I just signed up for a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/brendanolen3) that is just me, not solely Atkins/Keto related or homemaking. Just me and all my tangents. Until now I have never been an active Twitter user but will do my best to be better at it.  I think I will have to take a Twitter for Dummies class.

I have always loved the spoken word. The first time I remember listening to an audio book was in my sophomore English class in high school. The teacher was fantastic! We had to read “Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare. Have you just sat and read Shakespeare (silently)? Ugh! Our teacher turned on an audio recording while we followed along in our books. THEN, we watched the movie version with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (to understand their relationship, you need to watch that movie and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”. They were electrifying together). Since then, I have been hooked. It takes my attention-deficient brain a long time to sit and read a book. I cannot tell you how many times I have to re-read a page two or more times because my mind wandered while reading BUT if I listen I get it: I comprehend immediately. It’s a beautiful thing. That is why I enjoy podcasts so much. As long as I am not doing anything loud (running the vacuum or lawn mower) or something that requires all of my attention (like reading) I do not have to stop everything to be entertained or learn.

So, I wanted to give you a list of the podcasts I am currently listening to. It’s difficult for me to find someone I resonate with, so my initial list was much longer. I just started listening to Barbell Shrugged and The Fat Burning Man, so I don’t know how well I will ultimately like the shows. I am sure I will find others to listen to (and if you have any suggestions for me, fire away).

48 Days Podcast

Barbell Shrugged      Here’s the video version of a fantastic episode discussing how to not only change your eating habits but those of your family in a smart, sustainable way:

Darkness Radio

Hunt Gather Talk

Northern Runes Radio

RPCast (My Almost Baby Brother)

The Fat Burning Man

The Publishing Profits Podcast

The School of Greatness

The Tim Ferris Show     This episode was the last one that I had to share on Facebook: The Importance of Being Dirty: Lessons from Mike Rowe

Creative Badass Challenge – A Year Later?

 

Wow. It’s difficult for me to believe it has truly been a year since I posted about this challenge. It has also been a year since I put it on hold (that was the month of my husband’s cancer diagnosis and he is, so far, still cancer free). I decided to go back to it, see where I left off and get the ball rolling again. What a shock for me to discover that the challenge has disappeared from the web. The only consolation I have is I kept every email sent out and, thankfully, Dave Conrey did not delete the private videos from his You Tube channel. I am thoroughly disappointed that he chose to set that challenge aside, especially since it took very little effort (at least on the public side) to just park the entire project and let people discover it on their own.

On the other hand, look at me and what I have done. I have spent so much time over the past few years trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I have grown a lot but throughout that time, I have kept the majority of these changes private (unless you are my friend on Facebook). A while ago, I shared that I am a student and a teacher. Well, what did that mean? What does that have to do with “the price of tea in China”? That’s what I have been working on and I finally discovered what that meant to me.

I started by getting a real URL: www.brendanolen.com. I cleaned up my website a bit (it is still hosted on a friend’s server). Then, I thought I would start a business making things for people. I made some crocheted and knitted items but I also sewed some quilted bags. With each project, I learned more about my skills. Then, I got physically tired. For me, it is extremely tedious doing the exact same things over and over again. I got tired of counting and my hands got very angry with me (carpal tunnel). So, someone suggested the real money is selling supplies, not the finished product. There is no way I could ever compete with Hobby Lobby, Jo Anne’s, or Walmart, so I thought I would create patterns.  Well, guess what? I have to crochet or knit each size of each pattern to make sure I wrote the pattern correctly!  Didn’t I just say doing that made me tired?

So, I put all of that aside. I have had an idea for a book for a while (all it took was for my son to say one sentence and that sent my brain into a dance of ideas). While that idea was percolating, that’s all it did. I did nothing with the idea until about a month ago. That’s when I decided I needed to get busy and take this writing “thing” seriously. That involved (which it always does with me) extensive research. I have absolutely no formal education in the art of writing. I thought about taking a college course. Have you seen the price of community colleges today? WOW! So, I turned to my favorite research tool, Google.

I have been a podcast listening/webinar watching/information downloading fool! I have also begun my book (which became two), almost finished a compilation of some public domain works that I have fallen in love with, and have about 6 more books percolating in my brain.

The best thing about this process for me is realizing I don’t have to focus on one subject. I can publish whatever I want about whatever subject I want! Isn’t that fantastic? With all the knowledge I have gained over the years on a wide array of topics from low carb eating to cooking to crafting to business to surviving this life, I am so relieved I do not have to solely focus on one topic and cast aside all the other knowledge I have swirling around in my brain.

I will be sharing about what books I publish here (and my other two blogs if they are too subject specific). If you would like to be emailed when I release my book(s), be sure to join my email list. I just wanted to warn you that this blog, right here, is truly the heart of who I am and will encompass every aspect of me.

In the words of Cartman (from South Park): “Whatever! I do what I want!”

So, have you figured out what you want? What you are going to do about it? Let’s get busy!

The Importance of Preparedness

 

I used to be a huge proponent of preparedness (I still am but I just don’t shout it from the rooftops any longer). Food, water, emergency essentials are all important.  So, what kind of preparedness am I talking about?  Wills. No matter what age you are, if something were to happen right now, does anyone know not only what your final wishes are but have the legal authority to take care of them?  Now is the time to get these important matters dealt with.

As I may have mentioned, this year has been one heck of a year.  There have been many accomplishments made, some setbacks but mostly it has been a year of discovering what is truly important and a year of reflection.  See, my husband was diagnosed with cancer in June (as of right now, he is cancer free).  May 1st, my mom (step-mom) was diagnosed with liver cancer (she passed in August).  Then, in October, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He just passed November 1.  Our family is no stranger to loss.

My mom is the last of the children on her side of the family and both of my grandparents on my father’s side passed away, most of them before I turned 30 years old.  The one thing that remained consistent with each passing was the breakdown within our families.  Siblings who always had issues in the past let it all out.  There was no holding back for the sake of the family.  I don’t even really remember (in those instances) the offending parties allowing for grieving to take place.  Heck, when my husband’s grandmother was still with us (hospice) things were being stolen from the house during visits (we cannot confirm or deny exactly who it was but only someone extremely close would have know where she kept all of her valuable jewelry and that stealing just the stones made it more difficult to report/track).  As soon as the patriarch (or matriarch) passed, it was every sibling for themselves.  Well, that is now happening with my dad but it isn’t the children stealing from each other, it is another relative!  I am so livid that his brand of poison is infecting even more members of my family.

And this is why I am writing to you today.  Do you have a will?  Is it with a neutral party who will not take sides and favor this person over that one?  Do you have your valuables stored securely?  If you look at someone and say, “They will never steal from me” are you sure about that?  A death in the family can bring out the absolute worst in people.  Is there anything you would like someone to have that you can give them NOW?  If so, do it!  If there is someone (like a child or sibling) that you do not want to have anything, be sure to name them in your will and give them 1 dollar (or penny).  They cannot contest, saying you forgot about them or some other such nonsense. Does someone have an item of yours that you want back?  You better get it back soon or they may claim it for themselves.

I found this website with free wills and other legal forms that can help you if you have no idea where to start.

http://www.free-legal-document.com/how-to-write-a-will.html