On a Mission That Will Take Me Away…For a While

I may have said this before, so forgive me if I am repeating myself. I hate New Year’s resolutions. Hate might be a strong word, but it is close so let’s go with it.

Someone recently defined a New Year’s resolution as: “In one year and out the other.” I own a gym so trust me, that definition is spot on.

Between corporate America and now my own small business, I have been goal setting my entire adult life. Can I be honest? When it comes to setting a personal goal, all I want to do is close my day planner and sit on the beach.

Obviously this flies in the face of motivational gurus like:

Earl Nightingale: “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.”

Napolean Hill: “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

Anthony Robbins: “It’s not about the goal. It’s about growing to become the person that can accomplish the goal.”

C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal. Or dream another dream.”

Yeah, yeah, I get it. After all, we challenge our Curves members monthly to set one or two goals that will promote their good health.

Other than laziness, there’s another reason I wonder about the gung-ho goal setting routine. Could they become an actual hindrance to what we were truly made to do?

Take my personal life, for example. The journey that led from stay-at-home Mom to vice president in corporate America to small business owner had nothing to do with any personal goals. Shoot, I was tickled to earn enough to pay bills and save a little.

Each one of those milestones came as a result of following a path. Not one that I created or even dreamed, but one that presented itself as I went along. I was not even “qualified” by today’s standards to hold some of those positions. But I did. And fared more than well in most.

Which reminds me of Jesus and His disciples. Jesus entrusted a world-saving message to a dozen rag-tag followers, most of whom were uneducated blue collar workers, full of the same human frailties as we are. Yet, 2,000 years later, the Holy Bible (their message in book form) is the most read book in the world.

I may be wrong, but I don’t picture Peter or Paul sitting around a map of the ancient world saying: “Okay, by year end we need reach five cities, 5,000 people and obtain 1,000 converts.” Nope, I don’t see it.

What I do see is men committed to a mission with a purpose and passion.

Commitment. Passion. Mission. I like that.

As a matter of fact, I have one myself this year. A mission.

Many of you are familiar with the story of Ken’s and my divorce and reconciliation. It is a story of hope, to put it mildly. A story that many have encouraged us to share – which I do frequently as a speaker. But now it is time to put it in writing.

So my mission (should I choose to accept — and I did) is to write a book this year. Since it is a story about two people, Ken and I are writing this together. Our story.

Consequently, I will be suspending my blog for now. Between running a business, being married, and sleeping, I only have so many hours. I hope you will still follow me on Facebook @theDianeMaxey and, when the time comes, read our book.

In the meantime, I like Walt Disney’s philosophy best of all: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

I’m with you, Walt.

What is your mission this year?

Why Your Good Enough Should be Good Enough

I have a performance problem. And I’m not talking about … well, you know.

It’s the performance problem in my head. Not to get all psychological, but I grew up with a dad who was all about excellence. He lived it personally and raised us kids to do likewise. The process wasn’t perfect – it never is when humans are involved.

“Di, I see you got all A’s except for that one C in art. What happened?” for example. Not harsh, nor unkind. Just his way of making sure I didn’t settle – that I kept striving to improve. Not a bad notion, really.

In that particular case, it took me years to realize that my mom’s incredibly creative genes skipped me and went straight to my sister. Apparently, I inherited the dad business gene. Thus, I came up short in the art department in third grade, much to my chagrin. As a little kid, I didn’t know that. I just thought “I’ve got to try harder, because a ‘C’ is not good enough.”

Good enough.

Think about it. Most of the time, when we say something is “good enough,” it is an indication that something has come up short but will do. Like it barely squeaked past the acceptable line. In other words, it is not really quite good enough, but we will settle and call it good enough.

Kind of like all A’s with one C on the report card. If only it had been all A’s and a B. Who am I kidding? Even that would not have been good enough, for either of us.

Which begs the question: How much is enough?

Webster’s defines the word “enough” as: occurring in such quality, quantity or scope as to fully meet demands, needs or expectations. Fully meet.

So technically, according to Webster’s, enough should be enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming my dad for my perfectionistic tendency. I have been an adult over twice as many years as I spent under his guiding hand.

I also know I am not the only one who struggles with feelings of inadequacy, disappointment or self-doubt. There are lots of us who feel like we are somehow just not “good enough.” And I think it is time we challenge that assessment.

I just finished reading a book which has confronted – and I hope changed — my perspective of good enough .

Jody Macallister-Humbles recently published a book, Counting It Joy, in which she shares the story of marriage to a gifted man who suffered from mental illness. It is a honest account of their life together – the ups and terrible downs through the years when he ultimately took his life in depression and despair.

At the end of Jody’s book, her now-adult children write a brief but touching account of family life from their perspectives. I was incredibly impressed by both. But Bree’s closing line in a note to her departed father touched me to my core. “Thank you for loving me. Your best is good enough.”

Your best is good enough.

For the first time, I saw good enough as something better than just barely passing. I heard Bree’s approval of her dad, wanting him to know that in spite of what he undoubtedly knew were his deep inadequacies, in the end, his best in her life was good enough for her.

Which leads me back to my dad. He has been gone 13 years now. As long as he was alive, I never truly stopped seeking his approval. In my 40’s, I landed a huge promotion in a new job. I still have the congratulatory card he sent framed in my office at home.

But I will never forget our conversation long after I took the position: “Dad, see what I achieved even though I didn’t get my college degree?”

“Yes,” he acknowledged, “but just think what you could have become if you did.”

That’s okay, Dad. I know your heart’s desire was that I would strive to be my best. But I think it’s time I strive a little less and embrace the fact that more times than not, my best is good enough.

Do you struggle feeling like you’re not “good enough?” If so, how might you change that?

When Your Peace on Earth Gets Interrupted

“Does anyone own a red Toyota?” asked Nick, the young man who had just entered Curves. Stepping out the door, I see he is pointing towards my car.

“Yes, that is mine,” I acknowledged.

“There were three teenagers running through the parking lot laughing as they leaped into the air landing on car hoods. When they saw me, they ran off,” he said as we walked over to examine the huge crater in my once sleek hood. “I called the sheriff already,” he finished.

Needless to say, the hoodlums were long gone. I was surprised at my peaceful reaction. More than angry, I was disgusted. All I could think was “what in the world were they thinking?”

They weren’t. Thinking, that is.

I recalled my same reaction years ago when a young friend got caught up in tagging. Even if you don’t know the term, you have seen the results. Signs, letters and pictures spray-painted on buildings, walls, sidewalks. Some actually quite artistic. Again, that anyone would think it is acceptable to deface someone else’s property is beyond my rational thinking.

Rational thinking. That also seems to be in short supply these days.

There have always been hoodlums in society. That is nothing new. It just seems there are more of them. They are more brazen. Even more disturbing, it is becoming socially acceptable to disassemble, deface or destroy someone else’s property – whether it be for “fun” or “protest.”

But I am here to say it is not acceptable. Ever.

Right now I can hear some of my soft-hearted friends saying, “But you don’t know where they came from, Diane. They have lived a tough life. Their parents are neglectful, or maybe even mean and abusive. Perhaps they are poor; they have never owned anything nice. No one has taught them these things.   They just don’t know any better.”

My response? Hogwash. (I love it when Grandma lives on in my vocabulary.)

I am fairly certain if one of those young men owned a decent vehicle for which they had paid and someone stomped the hood, they would be ticked.

Why? Because right and wrong is not relative. Meaning, your circumstances don’t change what is right or what is wrong. I know countless people who grew up in dire circumstances. They became responsible adults, respectful of others and their belongings.

Every day, you and I choose which path we will take – the high road or the low road. Whether it is how I respond to my spouse, react to my children, interact with my co-workers or treat strangers – and their belongings — it is always a choice.

Obviously this hood thing still bothers me. Blame the $500 deductible coming out of my pocket to fix it.

It is unlikely I will ever meet these young men, and even more unlikely they will read this blogpost. So perhaps the best I can do is pray for them. Pray that they will have a change of heart leading them towards a more productive life – both for themselves and our society. Yes, I will do that.

On the other hand, God help them if I ever find their car. I may not be able to jump very high, but I am fairly certain my derriere could make a lasting impression on their wallet.

How can you react differently when your peace is interrupted?

Little St. Nick Meets the Grinch

“I feel my aggravation level rising,” my husband casually mentioned as he watched us decorate the Christmas tree. Our 3-year-old granddaughter, Siri, was eagerly helping me hang ornaments. Or rather, I was helping her. We were having fun, even if she insisted on placing multiple ornaments on a single branch (which may or may not have been rearranged when her back was turned). No amount of coaxing could convince her to do otherwise.

“But you are not even decorating,” I observed.

“I know,” he admitted sadly from his recliner. “It’s a hangover from my childhood…and our first 20 years of marriage.”

I literally laughed aloud at his comment. He is so right. Our earlier Christmases were a horrid mix of Little St. Nick meets the Grinch. Decorating the tree was not a happy time in our early marriage. One could set a clock by the annual argument that ensued every year as we retrieved the tangled mess of Christmas tree lights from the storage box. No amount of Christmas music, cookies, or holiday cheer could overcome that sad tradition.

Lest you think my hubby is the Grinch, let me set the record straight. I have never enjoyed decorating for the holiday. There, I said it.

As a working mom (and now nana), it is one more thing on my never-ending list of things to do. To top it off, a few weeks later, like a boomerang it will be back on that same list. Only this time, I have to put it all away in containers that seem to have shrunk in the meantime.

Does anybody else feel like this is a waste of precious time and effort? Or do you all truly enjoy holiday decorating as much as your Facebook posts imply?

I am the first to admit when it is finished, I love the result. The house is bright and cheery, filled with twinkling lights and the heavenly scent of pine wafting from the fresh tree. But the process stinks. And that thought makes me laugh.

Why? Because many things in life that ultimately bring joy are not often very joy-filled in the process.

Like marriage. It takes many years of enduring “tangled lights” to mature into a relationship that can laugh at the very same thing that once set tempers ablaze.

Or raising children. Many a parent has suffered sleepless nights, toys constantly underfoot (especially those painful little Lego pieces), runny noses and sticky fingers – only to have such inconveniences melt away with that same child at a first recital, receiving a diploma, or walking down the aisle.

Many things in life – learning how to read, ride a bike, drive a car, play an instrument, crochet, cook, golf, you name it – require a learning process. Oftentimes, the process is not necessarily fun. It can be nerve-wracking. Frustrating. Exhausting. But somewhere we decide the outcome is worth it, thus we persevere.

So although I do not like decorating, I remember how much we enjoy the finished product. Plus, this year I have a 3-year-old who is over-the-moon excited about decorating the tree. Only the heart of a Grinch would not melt at the sight of a 3-year-old squealing, “I can see myself!” as she places the shiny barble on the tree. With a smile and a click of the camera, I admit that perhaps it is all worthwhile after all.

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That, and the fact that the furniture gets a thorough dusting at least once a year.

What is your favorite – or not-so-favorite – part of this holiday season?

Why I Am Ticked Off

Apparently I am a hater. At least that is what I am led to believe after this past election. And it ticks me off.

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Am I a misogynist? I was the fifth women appointed manager in a Japanese-American company in the 1980’s. I have served hundreds, actually thousands, of women in my lifetime. I still do.

Am I a homophobe? Were you to ask every homosexual employee, member or acquaintance who has interacted with me, you would find none who would say they were treated any differently than their peers. Not one.

Am I a racist? In the 1970’s, one of my best friends and choir roomie was black, my son-in-law is Tunisian, and my daughter-in-law is Filipina. My business is an amazing blend of races who complement one another in their singular pursuit of health.

Am I a xenophobic? Let’s see, both of my in-law children are foreign-born and immigrated to the U.S. If you like, I can give you their phone numbers and you can ask them yourself.

Nope, I am none of these haughty labels that are so easily applied by those who disagree with me.

God is not Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Well, He is independent but not in that sense.

The only side God is on is the side of love through His Son Jesus Christ. He does not play politics, although He does establish rulers and depose them. Yet there seems to be this notion that “real” love has no rules, no boundaries. Love is tolerant of everyone doing anything they want, anywhere they want, anytime they want. But that is not true love.

Yes, God is love. But loving everyone is not the first commandment, as Matt Walsh once posted. Loving God is. Jesus himself said the greatest commandment is to love God with all my heart, soul and mind. Then, to love others as myself. Matthew 22:37-39

If I make loving you my first priority, you have become my idol — pleasing you, making sure I don’t offend you. But that kind of love has never been true love in anybody’s dictionary. You don’t show your children or grandchildren love by giving them carte blanche to do whatever they want. You provide healthy boundaries and hopefully call them to moral accountability.

For me, loving you is in response to my relationship with Jesus. He says if I love Him, I will follow His commandments. He’s pretty straight forward about that. He also established boundaries and morals for our benefit to maintain order in our world. I may not always understand them, but since He created the world, I figure it is His prerogative.

Therefore, I can stand firmly, yet lovingly, on my beliefs. I can act with wisdom and love towards those who do not act or believe as I do. And I do. Which is why I get ticked when I am lumped in with a bunch of lunatics who act otherwise.

My grandma used say: “Look at the pot calling the kettle black,” a 17th century idiom.

The greatest irony in being labeled a hater is it seems to define the very attitude of those applying it. So listen up. If you want to practice your brand of love and tolerance, time to start with me.

In what way have you expected someone to be tolerant and yet did not afford them the same courtesy?

In Defense of the Weak

“There are things you will only be able to learn by the weakest among us. And when you snuff them out, you are the one who loses…” said the young woman speaking to an audience on the video.

My mind immediately jumped to my grandson.

I affectionately call him Ken-Ken. His formal name is Kenneth Maynard Maxey, IV.

Lest you get sidetracked, Kenneth Maynard was a cowboy star back in the silent movie days when my father-in-law was born. Skip a generation or two, and the television show Dobie Gillis introduced a character named Maynard G. Krebs. Suffice it to say, the nickname Maynard was never an option in my book. But when there are four Kens in the family, you have to figure out some way to differentiate who you are talking about at any given time.

Back to Ken-Ken. Saturday was his 15th birthday. Do you remember when you were 15 years old? For most of us life consisted of family, friends, school, maybe sports, and perhaps a beginning attraction to the opposite sex.

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For Ken-Ken, it is all about family. Really, that is all he has known for 15 years. Read more about him here.  A missing chromosome made all the difference between what we would call a “normal” life versus one where someone has to tend to your every need.

Suddenly I am drawn back to voice of Gianna Jensen telling her story. Gianna survived a saline abortion, being born alive with cerebral palsy as a result of the botched attempt. Understandably, her passion is for life – particularly unborn life. Life that our society so easily discards when we disconnect our emotions and use clinical terms to assuage our guilt.

I think of Ken-Ken because he is exactly the kind of child a mother would be encouraged to abort. Why? Cost, inconvenience, heartache to the parent. Or, lack of quality of life for the affected child.

But Gianna nailed it on the head when she said: “What absolute arrogance – and it has been an argument for so long in this human place we live – that the stronger should dominate the weaker. Should determine who lives and who dies. The arrogance of that. Don’t you realize that you cannot make your own heart beat? Don’t you realize all the power you think you possess, you possess none of it? It is the mercy of God that sustains you, even when you hate Him.”

Sadly, I have come to realize as an American, I want it easy. I want it convenient. I want it my way. Perhaps that is not exclusive to being American, rather it is the condition of the human heart. We crave the path of least resistance.

But it is resistance that makes me stronger. It is inconvenience that challenges me. It is yielding to another’s way that teaches me compassion.

“We misunderstand how beautiful suffering can be. We forget God is in control and God has a way of making the most miserable thing beautiful.”

Gianna did not choose the life she was given. But she uses it for a glorious purpose – to stand for the millions like her who have been and continue to be cast aside like so much useless garbage. And in her sharing, Gianna reminds me of something very important.

Ken-Ken may be viewed as weak in this world. He may not have gotten the life we wanted for him. But he is the beautiful gift. The gift that has shown our family God’s unique love extended through such an imperfect life. Something we could have only learned from the weakest among us.

Is there someone weak in your life for whom you can be grateful?

Big Trip in a Little Car – Mission Complete

Everyone should have some disconnect time. Time to set aside duties and responsibilities. Time to live in the moment. And if you have the blessing of doing it with your 85-year-old Mom, all the better.

I had such an opportunity last week (Big Trip Little Car). To say Mom and I had fun is an understatement. It was more than fun, it was an adventure. A lot of you had questions so I thought I would answer a few.

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Question 1: How did you cope riding in such a little car for five days? From inside the passenger cabin, the Smart car is not as tiny inside as it appears on the outside.   The seats are comfortable, getting in and out is a breeze, and we had plenty of leg room for ourselves and, most importantly, our snacks. Honestly, from the inside you feel like you’re in a “normal-sized” vehicle.

Question 1a: How did you cope riding together in such a little car for five days? Personally, I think this question says more about the person asking it. But the answer is, we got along great. Never a cross look, sharp word, heavy sigh, not even an eye-roll – in spite of giving Mom several opportunities to do so.   Like when I ran out of gas. Late at night. In the middle of nowhere. Mom is a saint, I tell you.

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Question 2: Where is the rear end (of the car, just to be clear)? There is no rear end per se, which means no trunk. The back end does feature a pop-up window and tailgate with enough room inside for a small suitcase and a couple of other items.

Question 2a: Did you and your Mom actually share one small suitcase for the entire trip? Yes, we did. Probably the first time I wore everything I packed. More than once.

Question 3: Did you have trouble keeping up with the traffic? This little car has more get-up-and-go than you might think. Although I encouraged Mom to peddle faster up a couple of steep mountain passes, a quick downshift in gears moved us right along. No peddling necessary.

Question 3a: Why did the Park Ranger give you a warning instead of a ticket for speeding in the Badlands? When he asked if I was in a hurry, I responded candidly I just wasn’t paying attention while chatting with Mom. Apparently honesty and traveling with one’s elderly mother pays off.  (My Mom does not take offense when I call her elderly; we have learned to use it to our advantage – such as being first to board the plane, etc.).

Early on in the trip, I told Mom we should name the car “Manna.” It comes from a story in the Bible. The Israelites were wandering in the wilderness and ran out of food. God miraculously provided a little wafer-like substance on the ground every morning. Upon first sight, they exclaimed “Manna!” (translated “What is it?”). Yep, that was pretty much the expression on most faces whether we were parking at the hotel, zipping past a big rig on the highway, or pulling up to the drive-through window.

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You would think they had never seen two silver-haired ladies in a Smart car. Come to think of it, maybe they hadn’t.

What adventure can you plan for yourself?

How to Hit a Curve Ball

“Uh-oh, we just ran out of gas,” I sighed as we coasted off to the shoulder of the highway. We were pushing an extra 120 miles before stopping that night to make time for sightseeing the next day. We were “somewhere” on Interstate 90 in the state of Minnesota in the dead of night. We were tired, it was late. Curve ball.

“Oh great, that Park Ranger just spun a U-turn and is tailing me,” I blurted as we cruised the Badlands in South Dakota. I watched his lights flip on in my rearview mirror. Moments later a young man barely old enough to shave was asking me for my license, registration and proof of insurance. Oh yeah, and why I was in such a hurry. Curve ball.

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Curve ball is an expression used to describe something unexpected, surprising or disruptive. It comes from the game of baseball where a pitch is thrown in such a way that it drops and veers to the side as it approaches home plate, thus enticing the batter to swing and hopefully miss.

Life seems to throw plenty of curve balls at us. Some are minor. Some are major. But one thing is for sure – they all drop in at the most inopportune moments.

Like those first two I mentioned. Both happened this week on my cross-country road trip with Mom (see Big Trip, Little Car). Neither one was necessarily life-threatening. That is, unless a big rig would have swerved onto the shoulder wiping us out in the dead of night as we waited for gas to arrive. Or a 2,000 lb. bison would have wandered onto the road in the path of my speeding 1,994 lb. Smart car.

In this case, though, they were minor. Both were human error. Mine. But both were certainly unexpected and disruptive.

I was annoyed at myself for allowing the car to run out of gas. Yes, it was a car unfamiliar to me and I had miscalculated my next fill-up thus ignoring the blinking gauge. I could hear my husband’s voice “Don’t let the tank get so low; fill up more often.”

And the traffic stop? Distracted on a straightaway by fun conversation with my traveling partner. Gratefully the young ranger felt sorry (or perhaps amused) for what he surely considered the geriatric version of Thelma & Louse in a Smart car. We got off with a warning.

Be that as it may, neither one unspun me. I was not twisted up inside. Sure I was momentarily annoyed with myself and slightly embarrassed, but it wasn’t the end of the world.

I have not always responded calmly. But as I have matured, this I have learned – the curve ball is not my issue. How I respond is.

Curve balls happen for two reasons. Stupidity, neglect or ignorance. Or purposefully calculated targets tossed by my enemy. Either way, the goal is to throw me off and to get me to swing and strike out in life. Sidelining me through my own frustration, or encouraging others to follow suit.

How do I swing and strike out? It’s pretty simple. When I whine, cry, throw a tantrum. Pitch a fit, cuss, yell, scream. Wring my hands and cry “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Slump into defeat, depression, despair. I have done one or all of these at one time or another.

But this is what I have learned. Does that help me maintain a calm demeanor to evaluate my situation? Or does it throw fuel on the smoldering fire inside me or on my listening audience? Does it contribute to the solution of my problem? Or does it alienate those who might otherwise be inclined to sympathize or help?

Yes, some curve balls are more serious than others. Like death. Cancer. Even presidential elections.

But the fact is, being calm in the face of the curve ball is what enables you to hit the home run. Don’t let the curve ball sucker you to strike out. The goal is to win the game. Win with maturity. Who knows, you may even hit a home run in the process.

How will you handle the next curve ball in your life?

Big Trip in a Little Car

“Tom is giving his Smart car to your brother, Mark,” Mom shared with me a couple of weeks ago while I was visiting with her in Oregon.

“How is Mark getting it from Ohio to Oregon?” I wondered aloud.

“Looks like he’s going to have to fly out and drive it back. Shipping is too costly,” she replied.

I recalled how I had hoped to take Mom on that same road trip last summer. We are fond of road trips in our family. Growing up, that was the family staple of vacations. Last summer, however, our desire to spend more time visiting family won over our call to the road. So we scrapped the road trip and took to the air instead.

A small thought started percolating. What if Mom and I flew to Ohio and drove the car back instead? I broached the subject with my brother. After all, maybe he was looking forward to the trip himself. Turns out, he was all for it since he would lose time at work to make the trip.

“Let me check with Ken,” I told him.

Honestly, I was pretty “iffy” about my hubby giving me his go-ahead. He’s a big-vehicle kind of guy who thinks everyone should have nothing less than an armored tank when driving the road — especially me. I don’t know if that is for my sake or the sake of the other drivers, but that’s a story for another time. Consequently, I thought it a far stretch he would bless the idea of me and my 85-year-old mother traveling across America in a tiny Smart car.

Over the phone I broached the idea casually. When he made no comment, I thought I had my answer. Until the end of the conversation when much to my surprise he said, “I think it would be great for you and your Mom to make that trip together.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

As I hung up, I turned to Mom and asked if she’d like to go. She was already mentally packing her bag before we finished our conversation. We sounded like giddy school girls planning for a holiday.

As you are reading this, I am headed up to Oregon to meet Mom. Saturday we fly to Ohio where we will spend a couple of days visiting Tom and his wife, Mary. An added bonus to our trip. Then, our journey will begin.

Our big trip in a little car.

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A whopping 2,430 miles from Ohio to Oregon.

You may wonder if I am concerned about any challenges along the way?

Jockeying around big rigs on the highway? Wind or rain through the plains? Snow over the Rockies? Fatigue as the solo driver on long stretches of road?

Nope. That is not what bothers me.

My biggest concern? The trunk space. Or lack, thereof, I should say. For two fashion-conscious women who normally pack for all contingencies, paring down to one small, shared suitcase is by far the scariest part of this trip. The rest should be a piece of cake.

What was your biggest challenge on a road trip?

Follow Di and Cla on their Big Trip in a Little Car. “Like” Diane Maxey on Facebook. #bigtriplittlecar

Caution – Serial Hugger Ahead

“Listening to all these radio reports, never knew a hug could be viewed as a sexual assault,” my friend Chuck posted on Facebook.

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Although I did not hear the radio reports to which Chuck was referring, one thing I do know: we live in a world where right is increasingly wrong. And wrong is increasingly right. All in the name of political correctness, I’m afraid.

I was hardly surprised. Disgusted, dismayed — but not surprised.

It’s as though the pendulum has swung from the ridiculous (sexual predatory behavior is to be “expected”) to beyond-ridiculous (every act of friendly affection is suspect).

Before you start marching around my home with placards and a bullhorn, let me make myself perfectly clear. I am not talking about someone using an intimate hug for personal gratification against the wishes of the huggee. Nor am I referring to a superior demanding a hug from an employee or vice versa. And don’t even try the “you don’t know what it’s like” excuse, because I do. I was molested as a child. So now that we’ve got those ground rules out of the way, let’s get serious.

I’m a hugger. Always been a hugger. When I married into the Maxey clan, I hugged my future mother-in-law. She was stiff as an ironing board. I am pretty sure she didn’t know what to do with me. And that was true in more ways than one through the years.

But that didn’t stop me from hugging her every time I saw her for the next forty years.

Some of you are aghast. You’re thinking, “How rude! Obviously she did not want to be hugged. You should have respected her personal space and stopped hugging her!”

She did mention something about personal space once. She told me how much she appreciated that I didn’t push “my religion” on her. I considered that quite a compliment coming from my red-headed second mom. She could have easily added, “So by the way, stop hugging me.” She never did. So neither did I.

You know what? Over the years, she softened. At first it was almost imperceptible. In her latter years, I thought I felt a little hug in return. Eventually, she did hug me in return. Warmly.

So I say, huggers unite! Not only can we overcome, we can conquer.

Chuck ended his Facebook post with, “Times have changed, guess hugs are completely out now.”

Don’t stop hugging, Chuck. You might have to be a little more discerning these days. But this world needs more hugs, not less.

To hug or not to hug, is that the question?