Yesterdays

With this incredible year coming to an end, as so many have, can we not take the time to look back on our yesterdays-our families yesterdays-our individual yesterdays-our nations yesterdays?

Family-

Many of us are watching our families grow and form their own families. Oh, we miss them when they are busy and we are not, or when they move away and we see them only several times a year. At the same time, we find joy and peace in their lives, their happiness, their successes, their adventures. We worry when they worry, and hurt when they hurt. Once a parent always a parent. The yesterdays passed so quickly when our homes were full of little ones, and school, work and church kept us busy. Life was and is good. Cherish your moments, they are fleating and quickly turn into memories.

Myself-

A young woman asked a question, “With this year almost over what is your greatest accomplishment?” Some said marrying the love of their lives. Others wrote graduating from high school or college. And some answered that the birth of their child was their greatest joy. All unique experiences to each of them and worthy of their proud answers.

I thought about this question all day before I answered. Her accomplishment had been graduating from the University of Arkansas. Education is one of the best ways to end any year. Finally, I found my words to sum up how I will remember this year of yesterdays. I have so many accomplishments, but they are little ones. I looked into the eyes of my children, and I saw the present. I looked into the eyes of my grandchildren, and saw the future. Then I looked into my husbands eyes, and found joy with our memories, and the time we have with each other and our family. So my greatest accomplishment this year, is the love of this life that God has given to me.

Our Nation –

Who knows where our new president will lead us as a nation? But, he is our President and we must embrace that fact. There are a lot of positives that Donald Trump brings into his new role. And yes, there are negatives. There would be negatives with whoever was elected-at least we see his…  Who would have given the man a second thought when he started his campaign? Who would have dreamed he could have walked away as the Republican party nominee? And then, Donald Trump pulled off an unbelievable upset, which stopped the “Clinton Machine” in its tracks, placing him in the White House. He has surprised us every step of the way. Now, we will all watch as he appoints those who are qualified as expert advisors in their fields to guide him-teach him. And we must pray for them all, as we have always done for our leaders.

I hope you will take the time to do this exercise and think about your greatest accomplishments.

Happy New Year!

 

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Season of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving has begun this season of thankfulness. A time when we pause, when we think about our relationships with family and friends, when we evaluate our spiritual life, giving is a priority.

These things are all tied together. Without our spiritual life in order, our relationships with others is superficial and giving is minimal. We are “Scrooge.” We don’t mean to be, and hope that others don’t see that part of us. We probably don’t even see it in ourselves. But, it’s in our hearts because of the void that has taken hold where love once lived.

We must give ourselves away, completely, in order to be able to give to others with a heart that loves. Our hearts should be overflowing with the love of Christ. There should not be room for anything else in our lives to influence our thoughts or actions.

If we want to have love based relationships with others, our spouses, our children, our friends, then we must first have a love based relationship with our Lord and Savior. Not just during this season of thankfulness, but all year, every day, we must keep our hearts in order.

To be able to give with an open heart, to give joyously, we must feel the joy that comes with a heart that’s overflowing with His love. The more we give, of ourselves and of gifts to others, the fuller our hearts and souls become.

Everything is tied together, not just during this season of thankfulness, everyday. We are thankful, so our love of Christ and His love for us overflows into our relationship with others, and our giving is abundant.

Begin with yourself during this season of thankfulness. Give yourself the best gift of all. Allow Jesus Christ to be the focus of your love, your relationships, your giving, and you will be truly thankful.

Gods love is the greatest gift of all.

 

 

THE GIFT

I wrote this back in July. I think it’s message for our new Commander-and-Chief, is an important one.

I have been trying to write this “Independence Day” message for a couple of weeks. And frankly, I have been struggling. Then, a new connection on LinkedIn sent me a message and through our exchange, I was inspired. If not me, who? I wrote at the end of my message, a reference to the firework displays. The veterans who have seen war, who have fought battles, our warriors, struggle during those fifteen minutes of, “Bombs Bursting in Air.” For many it is terrifying. The noise can throw them back in time when there were real bombs exploding, real danger, real loss of life, real friends dead. We are a young country with many wounds to heal. But, we are strong and need compassionate leaders.

Out history of the emphasis we put on this day of the year, to celebrate our nations freedom, to honor all veterans from that first day when we declared ourselves an independent nation in 1776, is phenomenal! We are a young nation at 240 years. But, we are a strong nation who needs strong leaders.

There will be family reunions, picnics, barbecues, parades, concerts, and baseball games in every backyard, small town, city, and state where people can gather. Th months of preparations for this single day, to show our patriotism is nothing short of monumental. We are a young country. But, we are strong and need righteous leaders.

This one day of the year has been stretched into a week, or more, of honoring our veterans in various ways. All the ball parks have a veteran throwing out that first pitch. There are charitable organizations honoring veterans with special events. And some families are gathering to remember the one that won’t be with them this year…We are a young nation, but, we are strong and the price has been high. We need honorable leaders.

All this attention to the veterans walking among us today, warms my heart deeper than any of you will ever know. Some of you have similar feelings from your own circumstances, and some of you stand proud that one of yours has given their livesvso we can keep this day of freedom sacred. We honor you too… This is a day about remembering the price as well as the gift. Yes, the gift. The gift of freedom all veterans fought for, and are still fighting for today. This gift of freedom…all gave some, and some gave all.

Remember this Mr. President.

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Walmart & Sam’s Clubs – Way Back When

Announcing my eBook,  Walmart & Sam’s Clubs – Way Back When, The only regional chain that became a national powerhouse, is now available! It’s a 30 minute read about the chapter in my life with Mr. Sam.

History was made!

I began with Walmart in 1975 during the set up of store #125 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. When I moved to the offices in Bentonville, I was the first associate assigned to start up the Sam’s Club division under the direction of Mr. Sam.

The easiest way to find it is to search my name, Diana Mankin Phelps, on the Amazon Kindle site. It’s free through their Kindle Unlimited program – 30 day free trial.

The Kindle app can be downloaded on any computer, laptop, tablet or cell phone.

Its a 30 minute read about the chapter of my life with Mr. Sam, and the beginning of the Clubs.

Enjoy the read! And don’t forget to leave me your feedback!

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You Are What You Are, Until Your Not

We are all born with unique talents and specific desires. Some of us are outgoing while others are quite, shy and withdrawn. Those who are comfortable talking to strangers and enjoy being in the middle of whatever is going on, are envied by those who would never want to be in the position of having to engage in conversation with people they don’t know. They don’t “mingle.” 

You know who I am talking about. You remember them from childhood. They were the ones who tried to hide behind the student sitting in front of them in the classroom, for fear of being called upon by the teacher. Do others even notice these timid, low-self-esteemed individuals? I’ve often wondered if those raising their hands every chance they get, even notice those who hide.

I was one of these introverted individuals. I can hear some of you doubting this. But, if you knew me when I had someone to hide behind, then you know this to be true. I didn’t have to talk or explain anything because there was always someone else to do that for me. I was told once that I seemed to disappear when more outgoing people would enter a room. And I did. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to hear what I thought, or had to say about anything. I was not important. I was of no value as a person. So, I stayed in the shadows of life. I was who I was.

Three things happened to change who I believed myself to be. The first thing was that I felt valued as an employee. I was good at what I did. I began to like myself. Secondly, the people I would “hide” behind were removed from my life. Again, I liked the person I was without them. Then the most significant, and most tragic, event changed who I was in an instant.

I was no longer anyone except who I needed to be at that time. I was a mother of a wounded warrior. He hurt. I hurt. He struggled. I struggled. He cried, I cried. He needed support. I gave support. He needed help. I looked for help. He needed to talk. I listened or found someone he could talk with. If I didn’t have the answers, then I went looking for them. I wasn’t anything close to being all that my son needed. But, I tried. I wasn’t who I had been. I was more.

I believe that no matter how you see yourself, no matter how important or insignificant you saw yourself in the past, who you are begins today. I’m not saying it’s easy to jump out from behind those doors you’ve been hiding behind. I know it is not. I was good at hiding. And I did not want to turn that door knob.

All I’m trying to say is be brave enough to “shine.” Wherever you are, whatever is going on in your family, however you are perceived to be in the workplace, it all comes down to you. You must begin to like the person you are, where you are. Step out from behind the wall you find comfort behind and “shine.” Just one little sparkle at a time. I know you can.

If I could stand back up and fight every time I’ve been knocked down, then you can too. Oh, it’s not easy. You are allowed to shout, cry, be angry and feel so low that the grass will grow over you. But, then it’s time to get up. It is time to stand, to stand tall, to shake it off and take that first step, over and over again. No matter how many times you are knocked down, get back up and stand taller. You can do it, one step at a time and as time goes by you will feel stronger, better, taller. Just concentrate on your “one step at a time.” No more hiding. that part of who you were is gone.

It is a process that repeats itself. You stand up and you are knocked down again. But, each time you grow. You never lose, you grow, you learn. Your steps will change and your choices will be wiser.

You are who you are, until you’re not, until you choose to be more.

 

 

 

The Family

On September 29th your daughter passed on, she is gone. You were holding her only a couple of hours ago. Your heart doesn’t want to accept what you know to be true… But, she will always live in your heart. Your memories keep her alive. Now,  you are the ones who must make the decisions, you must make the choices, the arrangements. It’s so hard to comprehend…so many things must be finalized…

My daughter passed over on September 27, 1978. I thought about my Amanda as I drove to Kansas. There is nothing worse than the waiting. I will never forget the feeling of being led from one place to another to make arrangements for her funeral. I felt like I was in a bad dream watching events unfold that hurt to much to be true.

When I looked at my phone, after spending a couple of hours painting yesterday morning, I saw the text with bad news from my cousin in Wichita, KS.. My Aunt Dody was spending the week with her son, Jerry. I called him back and my aunt Dody was still with him. They were still waiting on word about the funeral. I got in my car and arrived just in time for lunch. I stayed for several hours. Mainly, I wanted to keep my sweet aunt from worrying while we waited for the phone to ring. I really enjoyed all of us sitting around the table talking…remembering.

My aunt was the girls step-great grandmother, my cousins, Lew Ann and Lonnie were her grandparents, she was our family and she was loved. We felt her loss deeply, when she passed as a result of disabilities that she could no longer overcome. A couple of hours later the call came with all the information about the funeral arrangements. The unknowing was over. Plans could be made.

This child, who is whole and healthy now in a way she never knew in this life, was born with her disability. She lived with it for 18 (maybe 19) years, which was remarkable in it’s self. She didn’t have the use of her legs and she had a trach, which made it difficult for her to speak. But, that didn’t stop her from talking in short sentences, She would say hello and thank you when you told her how pretty she looked.

She was a blessing! She was always happy and she enjoyed being with family all around, especially at Christmas time. My aunt Dody sat with her for a couple of hours just two weeks ago. She was glad that she had that time with her, just the two of them. She was teaching her to  embroidery and they played some games. It is a good memory for my aunt to have.

All of this adds up to a Young Lady who brought joy into everyone else’s life in spite of her disability. I was a very lucky person to have spent some time with this special Young Lady. If you were lucky enough to have known her and seen her sweet smile. Or have been touched by her life story, you would know what a special person she truly was. We will miss her…

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My Amanda

July 30, 1978-September 27, 1978

 

My daughter would have been 38 years old today. I held her for nearly two months before she drifted away… I have been asked many times about the loss of a child so young; a child of any age. Maybe even more so since Aaron was so gravely injured. And I opened that door when I wrote about Amanda in my book. Questions like; How did you survive the loss of a child? Do you think they remain infants in Heaven? Or, do you think they age as the years go by? Surviving any loss is a personal journey that isn’t like anyone elses. There is no right way or wrong way to “get on with life.” And it can take years before we even want to begin to pull ourselves up again. On some days, I think of Amanda as an infant in my arms-rocking her in the nursery that was always shaded by the fullness of the flowering Mimosa trees outside the window. On other days, I imagine her as an adult. But, always she is my baby child…always I miss her…

I have no answers, no understanding, one day I will…

When a child is born, and stays but a short time in this life, angles wings seem to surround them, protect them, comfort them. It is as tho for those first few weeks, they exist between where they came from and this world where they have been born. We hold them tenderly, watching quietly as their sleeping faces slowly smile, grin broadly, cooing-speaking in the language of the heavens. Then, with a rich assurance of familiarity, reveal to us the Devine presence that fills their dreams. That glimpse from where they came, is what we hold onto. Somewhere deep within our own soul-no words to describe-we come to understand…they could not stay…they were not meant to stay…it hurts…it always hurts…it gets a little  easier as time passes…but, it still hurts…it will always hurt…

Baby blue, were the color of her eyes. Like a breath of Spring she came and left, and I still don’t know why…

My Amanda…

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