Friday, November 15, 2019

Insight: Honoring veterans all year long

By Lorraine Glowczak

This past Monday, November 11th, was the day we celebrated and took time to publicly honor and thank all veterans for time served in the military. Without their bravery, our lives might be different today. Although most of us prefer peace over conflict, we take into account the popular 1960s song that states: “To everything (turn, turn, turn). There is a season (turn, turn, turn). And a time to every purpose, under heaven. A time of love, a time of hate. A time of war, a time of peace…..”

It is during the season of war that men and women follow their calling and leave their families to
protect us in times of conflict so we can lead the life we love and dream. I know life is not perfect, but as Americans, we are afforded many freedoms that most countries do not have.

If we take time to think about our lives, even in the most disparaging and challenging of times, we have, in comparison with other countries, a pretty good life. We have access to running water, can speak openly about subject matters that are important to us, we can go to the library and check out our favorite books without any costs, see shooting stars on a clear night sky without the fear of bombs exploding in our midst - and the list can go on and on.

Often, during our daily lives when the struggle feels intense, we forget these simple pleasures and let stress consume us. Although stress is a natural reaction in times of challenge, we might respect those who have served best if we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and move forward the best we can. In fact, it’s possible that remembering to do this when we feel like throwing in the towel, might be one of the greatest ways to honor veterans.

Author, Cristina Oliveras eloquently reminds us about our everyday stresses in comparison to those who served in the military in an article entitled, “Six Lessons Everyone Can Learn From Soldiers On Veterans Day”. She stated:

“A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount up to and including his or her life. Imagine the stresses of a battlefield and making quick decisions with incomplete information with enemies at every corner hunting for a quick victory. There is no time to stress over these life or death situations. Soldiers learn to analyze, plan for the best result and execute it. Take this lesson into your daily life when you are up to your ears in debt, or when you feel there's not enough time in the day to finish your work. It could be worse….”

Technically, Veterans Day is now behind us but that doesn’t mean we have to stop saying - and showing our thanks. And one way to honor a veteran all year long is to remember, even on our most stressful and challenging days, just how lucky we are to be alive. When we forget that, then we forget those who risked it all. Let’s make a pack to not forget and honor our veterans all year long.  

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

While November 11 is widely recognized as Veterans Day, many people may not know that the entire month of November is both National Veterans and National Family Caregivers Month.  Both of my parents were veterans. My father served in the Army in World War II and my mother later on served in the U.S. Coast Guard. I encourage everyone to honor and pay respect to those who served our country in uniform and the caregivers supporting our valiant veterans.

There are 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers in the U.S. providing care to approximately 15 million veterans. These hidden heroes support their veteran loved ones with their daily needs—ranging from bathing and dressing to paying bills and transportation and assisting with medical tasks, providing an estimated $14 billion annually in unpaid care.

Numerous organizations have dedicated time and resources to address the challenges veterans face today, including their care needs.

AARP supports our veterans and their family caregivers through both the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and a partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to create a Military Caregiving Guide. I encourage everyone to visit AARP.org/Veterans to learn more about how AARP is working for veterans. Here in Maine, AARP pushed for November to be designated as Maine Family Caregivers Month – a perfect opportunity to celebrate our veterans and the unsung heroes who care for them right here at home.

Dr. Erica Magnus
AARP Maine Communications Volunteer
Windham


Friday, November 8, 2019

Insight: Fanning the flame of kindness

By Lorraine Glowczak

“Hi Lorraine,” the email began. “[I am] continuing to enjoy the Eagle, including your thoughtful editorials. It must be hard to come up with fresh topics week after week, but you seem to manage well!”

The author of this email had no clue how his kinds words truly made my day, and quite literally turned it completely around to one of joy in a matter of seconds. You see, this email entered my mailbox immediately following three other emails where the support and kind words were – well, um, how should I put this --- not present. It’s from that experience I became more aware how words have a great impact on others. Instead of provoking pain, words can be used to fan the flame of kindness.

Although freedictionary.com describes fanning the flame as; “To do or say something to make an argument, problem, or bad situation worse”, I would add that one can take an argument, problem or bad situation and dowse it with reflection and courtesy, making circumstances better.

I remember my mom telling me when I was a young child, “things just aren’t like the used to be in the good ol’ days,”. I may be channeling her right now, but it does seem things have changed recently in our approach to one another. Like the good ol’ days of my youth, respectful consideration was incorporated when communicating with others. Not that it was all peaches and cream, as life is filled with human error, but “telling it like it is” was reserved for those who hadn’t completed a thorough inquiry before expressing an opinion. Now, telling it like it is without reflection has become synonymous with courage and strength. But according to an article written by Dr. Karyn Hall, the director of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, Texas, the exact opposite is true.

Dr. Hall writes in the online magazine, Psychology Today, “While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength. Kindness is an interpersonal skill.”

This, of course, doesn’t mean that we should refrain from telling the truth as we view it, but it can be done in a courteous manner that abstains from hurtful discourse.

“Kindness is also about telling the truth in a gentle way when doing so is helpful to the other person,” wrote Dr. Hall. “Receiving accurate feedback in a loving and caring way is an important part of a trusted relationship. The courage to give and receive truthful feedback is a key component of growth and flexible thinking. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pieces-mind/201712/the-importance-kindness

I do try my best to practice what I write, but in all honesty, I fail from time to time. In fact, I think my mother has reached down from the heavens and popped me on the mouth more than once – because, you know, they did that in the good ol’ days.

The truth is, my mother was not much of a corporal disciplinarian. She instead chose to fan the flames of kindness when she spoke to others – as well as to me. I’m trying to walk more in her footsteps. And, I wonder, if we all tried kindness more often, how many bad days could be turned around in a matter of seconds to one of joy.

Benefits of leaf shedding

By Robert Fogg

The fall color is starting to fade and soon all the deciduous trees will be bare, except for some brown leaves clinging to the white oaks and beeches. Even the hackmatack trees are shedding their needles. Coniferous trees, such as pines, lose some previous years’ needles but usually cling to the past couple of years new growth. Over time, mother nature will turn these leaves and needles into compost to help feed future generations of trees and plants.

If you have deciduous trees along the south side of your house you can be thankful for the shedding of leaves, which exposes your home to some valuable solar heat and light throughout the winter. For this reason, I recommend you maintain deciduous trees along the south, east and west of your home while maintaining coniferous trees, such as pine and hemlock, along the north and northwest, to break the cold winter wind.

One benefit some people gain, come November, is a decrease in interference to their satellite TV or radio. Another big advantage of the deciduous trees dropping their leaves is the reduced surface area for ice and snow to cling to; along with reduced wind resistance. As we all know, resistance is futile.
The author is general manager of Q-Team Tree Service in Naples and is also a licensed Arborist. He can be reached at RobertFogg@Q-Team.com or 207-693-3831.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Insight: The maple and the blindfold

By Lorraine Glowczak

The other day while cleaning the yard and preparing our home for winter, I took a moment to sit on a lawn chair before storing it away. While I sat enjoying the sun’s warmth, watching the leaves tumble to the ground – one maple tree in the backyard caught my eye.

The limbs seemed to be holding on to the last rays of fall, keeping its golden foliage as long as it can before it must succumb to nature. The beauty of it all created a quick passing thought to climb that maple and to see our yard from the tree’s perspective. But since that would have required me to get up from the chair, I stayed put and imagined it instead. But now – I wish I would have gone for it.

So, what does one do when they don’t have personal experience to recall on their own? They “Google” it to live vicariously through others, of course.

In a livescience.com article written by Ailsa Sachdev, she shared what she had learned when she interviewed a master tree-climbing instructor, Tom Kovar. Kovar has lead climbing adventures and has climbed trees all over the world, creating many years of experience seeing life from a tree’s perspective. When Sachdev asked Kovar what one can see from treetops that could never be seen from the ground, his reply was:

“I had one example of taking a guy tree-climbing in the Amazon — a local community member, probably in his early 60s….asked if he [could climb with me]. He'd lived there his whole life. He got up maybe 30 feet or so and started looking around, and I saw tears well up in his eyes. I could tell he was having a good time, but something deeply emotional touched him. The translator told me as he came down that the man thought he knew the jungle; he could walk along all the trails blindfolded, no problem. But when he got up in the tree, maybe forty feet or so, and looked around the forest, he saw his home from a different perspective, and he had no idea where he actually lived.”

When working closely with others, we are often told and have read that considering other viewpoints can help us work collaboratively together, assist us when dealing with controversy, and can contribute to our personal and professional successes. But how often do we take the moment to step outside of our everyday routines to see a part of life we often ignore (or don’t even notice)?

Much like the man from the Amazon, we can easily perform our daily tasks wearing blindfolds because they have become second nature, so to speak. In doing so, I wonder how much we miss as we go about our daily lives. Is it possible we become so focused on the tasks at hand, not giving much thought to stepping out of our comfortable routines that we miss some pretty amazing things along the way? I think it is possible that I do.

So, perhaps next Saturday I will climb that tree and experience what it sees every day. But knowing how clumsy I can be most days, it’s possible next week’s Insight might be entitled, “An easier way to gain a different viewpoint without breaking an arm.”


Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

On behalf of our 230,000 members, AARP Maine thanks Congressman Jared Golden for participating in our recent tele-town hall on prescription drug costs.  Nearly 3,500 Mainers participated in the forum and many asked questions of Congressman Golden live during the call.
Much of the discussion focused on the latest news from Washington, including two bills which will likely be voted on soon.

Currently under consideration in the House of Representatives is HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019. Under HR 3, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would negotiate prices for at least 25 of the most expensive brand-name medicines. The bill would also cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 per year. In addition AARP is pushing for other improvements to Medicare such as coverage for dental, vision and hearing care. 

In the Senate, we urge Senate leadership to bring the bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019 to a floor vote this year.  The bill would cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries and require drug manufacturers to provide a rebate to Medicare if the prices of their products increase faster than inflation.

AARP Maine is committed to working with our federal lawmakers to lower prescription drug costs. Too many Mainers of all ages struggle to afford the medications they need to stay healthy, and to even stay alive. It shouldn't be that way. We cannot wait any longer for this to change and urge our elected leaders to pass these bills.

Patricia Pinto
AARP Maine Volunteer State President


Friday, October 25, 2019

Insight: A merry-go-round and the mulberry tree

By Lorraine Glowczak

It was September 30th, 1999 when I bolted from America’s heartland to experience life in Maine. As the tallgrass prairies of my Kansas home slowly retreated from my review mirror, I had no idea what to expect or how long I would make the beautiful rugged coastline my home. All I knew is I was ready and eager for whatever the unknown future had in store for me.

Well, it’s been twenty years and I’m still here.

My time along the eastern shoreline has introduced me
to new friends, new experiences, a new husband and more adventures – and challenges – than I could have ever imagine at the young age of 34. But what has surprised me the most about this long-term escapade in what is now become my permanent home, is the shock I experience when I return to Kansas to visit.

You see, while I was moving forward and living my life – for some reason – I thought the life I left behind would remain the same. But it turns out the lives of my friends and relatives back home have moved on, too.

I just returned from my most recent visit to Kansas to witness the wedding of my youngest nephew (who, by the way was a little over a year old when I left 20 years ago. Shouldn’t he still be a toddler?).

Although it was a very quick weekend getaway for me, I took some time to visit some old stomping grounds that included attending a Saturday evening Mass at the church where I was baptized. It had been over 35 years since I had stepped foot into that house of worship and I yearned to touch, smell, see and hear the sacred space I once called home and was a part of my childhood.

I must humbly admit, it wasn’t for religious or spiritual reasons that I attended Mass. The truth is, I had to see, again, the ornate structure that was built in the early 1900s by local farmers. This elaborate building with it’s baroque-like architecture sits in the middle of corn and wheat fields and is surrounded by less intricate priest parsonage, nuns’ home and a catholic school.

When Mass was walked, I walked the grounds to discover that the nuns’ home is no longer there, and the school will soon be taken down as well. But the greatest shock to me was the playground that housed a merry go round that sat directly underneath a large mulberry tree had vanished, too.

I don’t know why but seeing the empty spaces that once held the merry-go-round and the mulberry tree saddened me the most. It was as if I wasn’t quite ready to break free from my past. According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition of a merry-go-round is, “a cycle of activity that is complex, fast-paced, or difficult to break out of.” Isn’t it ironic that life can be like that too….complex, fast paced and not always easy to let go of those things near and dear to our hearts.

According to mametupa.tumblr.com, “[A carousel] has no beginning and no end. Like wheels, carousels imply motion: cyclical, repetitive motion and ups and downs. The carousel, as a metaphor, has several universal connotations generally dealing with the idealized innocence of youth, innocence lost, the constancy of life and fate, an allusion to the individual and society at large. As with the yin/yang, eastern symbol for the unification of opposites, it becomes clear how profound, yet simple, elemental truths can be. As we face the unknown of the future it is important to realize the essence of some forgotten truths from the past. In dreams, a carousel may represent memories of the past and childhood freedoms.”

Walking away from the church and the empty spaces, I relished for a moment my short visit to my past. As I left, my sadness for things and people that have changed was replaced for new freedoms and whatever the unknown future has in store for me.






Seeking classroom grandma and grandpa readers

The Opportunity Alliance is seeking older adults, age 55 and over, with time during the week to help children develop their reading skills.

Under the guidance of classroom teachers, volunteers are needed to sit and listen to children read,
pick out books and help them to sound out words.  As one volunteer said, “The benefits to me are seeing a positive change in a child. One little girl struggled to read but with encouragement and praise she now wants to read with me daily.”

Applicants who meet generous income guidelines receive a nontaxable stipend, travel reimbursement, ongoing training and are guaranteed to laugh and smile every day! 

Studies prove those who volunteer have better health and increased friendships. Call today to learn more about our volunteer opportunities at 207-773-0202 or toll-free at 1-800-698-4959.


Friday, October 18, 2019

Insight: “Three years on a rock”

By Lorraine Glowczak

I have always heard the words, “never give up” when we feel discouraged during times of challenge. But it wasn’t until I did some research on this week’s business spotlight, Sebago Kyokushin Karate when I came across the Japanese proverb, “three years on a rock” for the first time. For some reason, that sentence speaks more volumes to me than our usual go to adage when we’re ready to “throw in the towel”.

Basically, the Japanese proverb means to persevere at all times. On the Sebago Kyokushin Karate website, the author Shihan Cameron Quinn is quoted, “[perseverance] teaches the student to face the demands of daily life with a mature and enduring attitude. A budo-ka [martial way] is not easily shaken by the blows of adversity, realizing that for a person to draw near to their true potential, a never-say-die spirit of perseverance is required”.

It’s possible that the “martial way” can be applied to everyday life because we are constantly faced with hurdles and hardships. Although certainly times of rest to re-center ourselves is needed, continuing on despite the difficulties – with determination, agility and maturity - will only make the finish line more glorious. (Then of course, there are other finish lines after that).

Newt Gingrich said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did.” There are many, many stories of successful individuals who sat on a rock for more than three years. One of my favorite stories is that of Harland David Sanders, otherwise known at Colonel Sanders. According to the Unbelievable Facts website, his story goes something like this:

Colonel Sanders left school at 13, lost numerous jobs, his wife left him, and at the age of 65, he retired as a failure dependent on his savings and money from social security. One day, knowing he was a good cook, he borrowed some money, fried some chicken, sold it door-to-door, founded Kentucky Fried Chicken and became a billionaire at 88.

Sometimes, however, personal successes that make up our fullest potential are less grandiose but are just as powerful. A woman who currently lives in Australia and simply goes by the name of Gloria, tells her story on her website, Stronger Braver Fighter:

“Many women [people] go through tough times at one time or another in their life where they lose their identity – bad break-ups, abusive relationships, violence, and so on. I, on the other hand, never had an identity to begin with. That’s because I was taught from an early age that I wasn’t good enough . . . for anything.”

Gloria goes on to describe that she came from a culture where females were supposed to be weak and submissive. Not only that, but appearances counted for everything, so discrimination based on her looks was quite severe. “Being short and overweight, I grew up constantly being told…that I wasn’t smart enough, that I was useless and stupid, and that I would never amount to anything.”

But Gloria persevered, losing the weight through a martial arts discipline. “I realize now that people’s criticisms and judgments of me while I was growing up were like poison to my mind, working to keep me mentally small and weak. We’re all exposed to these poisons in our lives at one time or another. Fortunately for me, I was able to overcome mine.

I have no anger or animosity towards any of the people who put me down in my younger years and programmed my mind for failure, because I know now that it was just an expression of their own fears and weaknesses. In a way I’m actually thankful to them because I believe it’s my tough life that has made me so strong today.”

Sitting on a rock for three years is hard – in more ways than one. But even a cold hard rock warms up from the body’s heat. Even a boulder along the ocean’s edge is eventually reshaped by the waves. If you are experiencing a particularly difficult time in your life, I hope this reminds you to keep on keeping on – keep refusing to give up. Just so you know, I have my days too.

As Gloria stated, “I’ll do whatever it takes to get [to where I need to go next], and I want to help you do the same. Together we can’t fail.”




Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

This letter is written in support of Robert Muir and Donna Chapman who are running for Town Council. Diversity of needs due to age, financial resources, health as well as diversity of occupations, interests, desires, opinions etc. are necessary for a thriving community. When comments are made that the Town Council should have unity, should have the same thoughts and opinions about goals, it makes me shudder. Those comments do not reflect the diversity of opinions in town.

Even when goals are shared, there can be many alternative ways to achieve the goals for a better outcome. Windham does not need seven council members who all think and vote the same way. That is dangerous! Having served on the council with both Bob and Donna, I know that they share the same perspectives on some issues and not on others. But they both are honest, dependable, have historical knowledge, understand restraint in government, and understand that a lot of people in Windham cannot afford big increases in taxes. Their common sense prevails.  If you want to maintain the voice of diversity of ideas on the council, I urge you to vote for Robert Muir and Donna Chapman.

Liz Wisecup
Windham

Friday, October 11, 2019

Insight: The importance of gratitude and grace

By Lorraine Glowczak

At a workshop luncheon I attended recently, the facilitator offered a few guidelines on what makes a great leader - whether that leadership comes in the form of family, career or community volunteer efforts, she stated that the “rules” apply to all. The facilitator referred to the “ABC’s of Leadership”. At this gathering, we focused on 1) Accountability, 2) Be real and 3) Commitment.

It was the accountability topic that caught my attention the most. I always knew that accountability
meant accepting responsibility for one’s actions but as we discussed the details further, I learned that it also entails: trusting in others and others in you, not making assumptions, setting the example, saying thank you - and meaning it.

As we were about to discuss the “thank you” portion of accountability, the facilitator’s phone alarm sounded. “Oh! I apologize,” she said as she shut the alarm off. “That’s my gratitude reminder.”

Not only was I surprised by the synchronicity of the alarm as it coincided with the subject but the fact this leader makes a concerted effort, setting time aside every day to be thankful for things and people in her life. And, it’s not even Thanksgiving, yet!

Although, I never set an alarm, I do try to speak words of thanks during my most human and disgruntled moments to remind myself how truly lucky I am. It really does wonders in shifting me out of my humdrums. In doing so – it also alters my response to the world and people around me in a positive and graceful way.

It is no secret that we as a nation have become radically divisive and angry. We’ve become rude with each other, throw insults as if they were candy, make assumptions without knowing all the facts – and are incessantly ungrateful for the dedicated work of others. I don’t know about you, but this both baffles and saddens me.

I don’t have any real solutions to this issue, but I wonder what would happen if we all (or at least a majority of us) tried gratitude on a daily basis.

In a 2017 Business Insider online article written by Chris Weller, he tells the story about Sheldon Yellen, the CEO of Belfor Holdings, Inc. Yellen started composing handwritten birthday cards to thank his employees for their efforts and dedication after he was hired by his brother-in-law. He knew the employees felt he was being given special treatment, so Yellen decided to turn the perception around. He’s been doing this for 32 years and now writes over 7,000 handwritten birthday cards. 

Weller writes: “Over time, the gesture has made for a more compassionate, gracious workplace, Yellen said. People feel appreciated and reciprocate those good feelings outward. Some managers have even taken up the habit themselves to write cards for their team members, clients, and loved ones. Other CEOs may consider the gesture frivolous or a waste of time, but Yellen is quick to disagree. He said his experience has taught him that the value keeps coming back in spades. ‘When leaders forget about the human element, they're holding back their companies and limiting the success of others," he said. "Focusing only on profit and forgetting that a company's most important asset is its people will ultimately stifle a company's growth.’”

But I would stretch Yellen’s comment further by adding – without gratitude towards one another - a community’s growth, a nation’s growth - is stifled.

Author and mental strength trainer, Amy Morin writes that grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. “Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge,” Morin wrote.

Professor Dr. Kerry Howells is well known for her academic research on gratitude. She’s been on Ted.com and has written books and blog posts on the subject. She shared this story:
“When I was a visiting scholar in South Africa a few years ago, I was privileged to learn much about the role of gratitude in Zulu culture. The Zulu people have so many stories transmitted orally from generation to generation about the importance of gratitude and so many rituals where gratitude needs to be expressed. If one did not express gratitude, they would be considered uncivilized or even barbaric. Gratitude is what gives grace to the Zulu culture.” (www.kerryhowells.com/what-happens-if-we-forget-gratitude/)

If a simple thank you is what gives grace in the Zulu culture – wouldn’t the same be true for the American culture? I’m not a Ph.D. who has studied the results of gratitude, but I would like to believe that being grateful would have some positive effects and make constructive changes in our society.

I suppose the only way we can find out, is by experimenting with our own lives. Let me start now by thanking you – our readers who love us and thank us for our efforts. And, a thank you to area businesses who trust and support us in distributing the community, positive and solution based newspaper. Thank you! Seriously. I mean it. You are the ones who make my day – and you are graceful, civilized leaders in the truest sense.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Insight: Allowing the extraordinary to happen

By Lorraine Glowczak

She turned right instead of left and was heading in the wrong direction. I was sitting in the backseat and didn’t want to be one of those backseat drivers, so I didn’t speak up. Fortunately, the passenger in the front bluntly stated, “We should be heading the other way.” It was then I explained to the driver where we needed to turn in order to reach our destination. I don’t know if we made it, because I woke up.

It was the first of four dreams I’ve had in the past month where I am sitting in the backseat of a car, putting my life – my journey - into the hands of other drivers.
But finally, two nights ago, I found myself dreaming that I was driving my own vehicle. But this
time, although I knew my destination, I needed directions. I called the police from - believe it or not - a phone booth. They were frustrated with me and refused to offer the instructions I needed. Feeling a bit apprehensive but hopeful, I hopped back into my blue Honda Element and drove west, somehow trusting I would make it.

Then suddenly, I was swept into an airplane as it was landing. As we approached the runway, we flew under four beautiful rainbows. I knew I had successfully reached my destination and the real adventure was just beginning. I woke up.

The dreams provide a paradoxical message for me. It is apparent that I need to take control and be in command of the direction of my life, but in order to do so, I must also let go of the concept of control, trusting my instincts, and allow for the extraordinary.

This contradiction in life can be found in everyday events. In fact, it is such a norm that most of us don’t notice it unless it’s of the “hit by a mac truck” variety. Those experiences are deserving of another Insight altogether. Today, I will concentrate on the everyday type.

For example, our very own amazing gazebo builder and Boy Scout, Jamie Louko of Raymond provides the perfect example of being able to successfully live within this dichotomy. (See front page for his story). Reporter, Briana Bizier writes, “Louko discovered during the course of the gazebo’s planning and construction, building projects are rarely straightforward. Louko’s original plan for the gazebo proved to be too close to a land lot line, and his application for a building permit was turned down by the select board. This setback forced a creative reevaluation of his original plan.We were forced to move to the front of the library, which ended up being an even better place to build,” Louko told me. “I am very thankful because I think it was for the better.”’

Jamie had a plan, but he was required to adjust his expectations, and thus control over the situation. This eventually allowed for a more perfect outcome. Much like building construction and plans, life is rarely straightforward. And although we do have some control and command over our lives, most often there are things beyond are control and we must adjust.

I am both profoundly agitated and – at the same time – exceptionally enthusiastic about allowing the extraordinary to happen. When you know where you are heading but don’t know how you’re going to get there or how it’s going to look – your breath can be taken away. Your breath can be robbed by fear AND your breath can be seized by beauty. In between those two extremes, perfect beauty can arise.

If, by chance, on my way to the land of my dreams and goals, I happen to fly beneath four rainbows – you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll take a photo and capture the beauty to share with you – the extraordinary that was allowed to happen.


Letter to the Editor

Dear Maine Senators,

I am respectfully asking for your support by co-sponsoring S.892—Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019. This award is to be presented collectively to “the women in the United States who joined the workforce during World War II, providing the aircraft, vehicles, weaponry, ammunition, and other materials to win the war, that were referred to as ‘Rosie the Riveter’, in recognition of their contributions to the United States and the inspiration they have provided to ensuing generations.”

S.892 honors all of the women who made history on the WWII home front, and they have not yet been recognized for their historic contribution. I encourage you to co-sponsor S.892 that collectively honors and recognizes our Greatest Generation of women who selflessly contributed to the war effort—a group that continues to inspire future generations.

Republican Senators are asked to contact Rowan Bost (Rowan_Bost@collins.senate.gov) at Senator Collins’ office to be added as a co-sponsor for the Rosie the Riveter Gold Medal Act.

Democrat Senators are asked to contact Sara Paige (Sara-Paige_Silvestro@casey.senate.gov) at Senator Casey’s office to be added as a co-sponsor for the Rosie the Riveter Gold Medal Act.
I appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,
Rebecca A. Cummings

Friday, September 27, 2019

Insight: Beautiful interruptions


By Lorraine Glowczak

My day begins before the sun rises. With a soft lamp light on and a candle burning at my desk, I write for a couple of hours until the sun begins to peak over the trees in my backyard. I complete one chapter in my book of essays as the rays begin to peak into the windows. My husband and dog wake up and I stop writing to be with them and make my first cup of coffee.

Once my husband leaves for work, the dog and I go for our leisurely morning walk. I return to my writing until noon. I feel prepared to meet my copy editor for a late lunch in Portland. She will be reviewing my work and providing professional feedback I desire. Later, I meet a friend for a run around Fort Williams – along the rocky ocean coastline. Feeling accomplished and refreshed, I return home to help my husband make dinner. We eat by candlelight. I end the day reading “The House by the Sea” by May Sarton. I go to sleep. Life is good.

This is an example of a typical day for me.

NOT! NEVER! EVER! It’s all a complete lie. This is how I wish my days would go but life sweeps in and interrupts every plan I try to make to have at least one day as I envision.

A more accurate depiction of my life goes something like this: The six o’clock alarm to wake my husband for work, also wakes me. I oversleep because I didn’t hear the alarm that I had set for myself to wake up at 4 a.m. Disgruntled for wasting two hours asleep in bed instead of writing, I scurry around quickly thinking about everything I must do for the day – a meeting at 8 a.m., followed by another one at 11 a.m. followed again by a 2 p.m. interview. I hope I can meet my deadlines after my meetings are completed. I’m exhausted thinking about it but hope the coffee will put reignite my usual spunk.

I put the dog on the leash to take her for a walk. I rush her to do her business because I’m running late and want to get my own exercise in. My plan to do a 30-minute run turns into a 20-minute walk/run because I’m older than I think I am. I finally shower, dress and head off for the day. I rush from one meeting to the other just in time to get to the office to answer all my emails and return phone calls. After the day is done, I arrive home after 9 p.m. Lights are out. Dog and husband are in bed. I eat whatever is leftover in the fridge. I fall asleep with a half-eaten sandwich in my hand while watching a Youtube episode of “Unsolved Mysteries”. My May Sarton book sits on the coffee table and is covered with dust. 

Life is full of interruptions and rarely goes as planned.

But here is the deal. This is my life. As C.S. Lewis once stated; “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.”

I’m finding that this is true for me. In my typical ‘real’ life day, I experience more adventures than I can name. I get to meet lighthearted people who make me laugh. I am a part of organizations who do their best to make a difference. I’m introduced to artists, writers and lovers who’ve been married for over 60 years. And, I find that it is so nice to crawl into a warm, soft bed to snuggle with my four-legged and two-legged counterparts.

Yes. I will complete that book of essays. Perhaps not on the timeframe or in the manner I would prefer; but somehow, I know that the book will hold more gravity and carry more weight due to the beautiful interruptions that happened along the way. That seems to be my real life. And, although it is far from perfect, I’m not certain I would be happier any other way.






Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Windham needs to have affordable 1-bedroom housing. All the new housing is two or more bedrooms.

I have been looking for more than six months and have not found anything.  

I cannot get into senior housing as you must be 55 and I have one more year to wait to apply. There needs to be something for people over 50 but not old enough for senior housing.

Although I do not have a solid solution to offer, I would like to say that the next time there is new apartment housing being built, I would encourage the builders to consider one bedroom apartments.
I have lived in Windham over 50 years and would like to stay here.

Thank you
Pam Brown


Friday, September 20, 2019

Insight: The chance to start anew

By Lorraine Glowczak

School has begun, the nights are getting cooler and the days are shorter. For many, autumn is a special time of year that conjures up the feelings of warmth by the embrace of a cozy blanket, relaxing on a cool sunny day with a book and hot chocolate or watching fall sports in your favorite fall jacket.

It is no secret that people will drive for miles through the mountains of Maine to view the sun’s rays bouncing off the red, orange and yellow leaves - admiring the trees’ brilliant colors as if they are taking their bow before they let go.

There is also a feeling that in the transition from summer to fall, doors to new experiences begin to open and we, too, take our bow from one adventure into another. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald said that "life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall".

For those who take new year resolutions seriously, autumn offers you the moment to do it now and not have to wait for another three more months.

The thing about new adventures – they can be small (like deciding to run three miles per day, despite the fact you presently don’t own running shoes) or of the big variety (travelling to another country by yourself). Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Life starts anew when you do new things.

We’ve all heard the “letting go” or “embrace change” themed lessons often referred to during the fall time of the year. But sometimes there are those hidden lessons that can encourage us to “let go” and “embrace change”. This is where the changing colors of leaves can blow in and teach us to paint our own future. After all, it has been said that color can sway our thinking and change actions, providing meaning in everyday life.

It is much like the palette an artist uses and is one way a painter can express a feeling, thought or action. The fall colors of red, orange, yellow and purple are no different and may be quietly inspiring us in subtle ways – giving us an opportunity to mold our lives - much like the painter and the colors she uses on her canvas.

If we wish, we can allow red to give us strength, determination, energy and courage while incorporating orange’s enthusiasm and creativity into the new and exciting adventure we might have ahead of us. Yellow, on the other hand, can express freshness and joy we feel once we meet the transformation and adjustment we are so looking forward too – while gaining the purple’s wisdom from what we learned in the process.

So? What is that one small – or large – change you see coming? Are you ready to let the colors of fall help you paint your own new landscape? Me? I’m always ready for new adventures and have so many ideas that I don’t know where to begin. But that’s okay, I can take some time and pattern my canvas in my own way.

Fitzgerald is right. Fall really is an opportunity to start life anew. So if you are up for it, join me in taking a bow into a new adventure, no matter where you are or where you are heading.

Playground safety


By Robert Fogg

Since the kids have just gone back to school, it’s a good time to discuss playground safety. Keeping our kids safe is obviously a top priority for every parent. What many parents don't realize is that there could be hidden danger lurking in the playground, danger in the way of dead limbs or trees. 

Unfortunately, limbs usually fall heavy-end first. Even a small dead limb, plummeting toward earth from a height of 30 or 40 feet can injure a child (or worse).  

Winter is a great time to trim your trees, but it can be hard to tell the dead from the live so summer and fall pruning is more effective. Please let this be a reminder to you to look around any area where your kids (or grandkids) might play, be it at home, at school or at day-care. 

If you see anything questionable at all, insist that the property owner talks to a licensed Arborist about safety. When it comes to our kids, we can't be too safe.

The author is general manager of Q-Team Tree Service in Naples and is also a licensed Arborist. He can be reached at RobertFogg@Q-Team.com or 207-693-3831.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Insight: She who works with her hands

By Lorraine Glowczak

While interviewing one of the owners of Partners in Canine for this week’s business spotlight, I discovered that one of the owners, when asked as a young child what she wanted to be when she grew up, said she with confidence that she wanted to be zoologist. 

I remember being asked that same question when I was in the second grade. Mrs. Dooley asked all 15
of us what we wanted to do with our one wild and crazy life. I panicked. I really didn’t have a clue and I knew I had to think of something fast. I was in the second row, so I had a minute to think of something good – or at least a profession that is regarded as somewhat respectful.

Billy said, “I’m going to be a professional football player.” Vickie was next to answer and then it was my turn. “I want to be a ballerina,” she said. The pressure was on and I still hadn’t come up with anything unique. I wish I would have simply told the truth and said I didn’t know, because after, all I was only eight years old. But instead, I blurted out, “I want to be a cashier when I grow up.”

Silence. Complete silence from not only Mrs. Dooley but my classmates as well. I was embarrassed. I had no clue why I even said that. It must have been on the previous week’s spelling test.

The lesson from this story comes in the form of two questions: Why the silence? Why my shame?

What I didn’t know then is that I would go on to do something, by society’s standards, that might be considered a rung below a cashier. The perception was confirmed about six months after I started my own cleaning business – cleaning residential and commercial properties. While I was proud of being a sole proprietor, I was soon reminded of the seemingly unimportant career path when I arrived home one day shortly after starting my entrepreneurial endeavor to a message left on the answering machine (this was before the popular use of cellphones). The message went something like this:

“Hello Rainy!”, my Ivy League educated friend began. “I do realize that cleaning is quite the lucrative business, but – oh Rainy – cleaning for others is so beneath you.” I knew she saw within me a different potential, but she did not see the value in the service to others – but perhaps more importantly – the service to myself. I was preparing to become a writer.

If you ask anyone who works with their hands, they will tell you that some of their most creative thoughts occur during routine and mundane activities. In fact, according to an online magazine article from “Psychology Today” written by Carrie Barron, MD states:  “Research has shown that hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, and modifying depression. There is value in the routine action…. foster[ing] a flow in the mind that leads to spontaneous joyful, creative thought.”

In another article, “Lessons I Learned Cleaning Other People’s Homes”, written by Inka Linda Sarvi, captured what I learned myself in the cleaning business. Sarvi was hired by Zenith Cleaning as a communications and marketing professional – who was also required to clean homes and offices.
She said that every time she finished cleaning a space, she couldn’t deny how peaceful she felt. “I now look forward to how good it feels to get lost in the relaxing rhythm of wiping surfaces and the meditative concentration of focusing fully on one task at a time. The strangest and most fascinating part is how when I clean, I’m constantly struck with new ideas for short stories, poems, songs and paintings, as if my creativity is no longer gated by the constraints of time or assignments.”

She continued by saying that it didn’t make sense to her how cleaning something that inherently makes a space better and helps others is so looked down upon. “It illuminates the truth that the stigma around it is no more than a collective illusion, just one of many other falsehoods that make up the fabric of our society.”

I will admit, I’m glad that my career in cleaning is now behind me as it is hard physical labor. However, what I have learned is there is no shame in working with one’s hands. If I ever had an opportunity to go back to my eight-year old self in Mrs. Dooley’s class, I would proudly announce that I would grow up to be a sole proprietor of a cleaning business…and then I would add, “I’m going to be an author too. I promise to give you all a signed copy of my bestselling novel. Thank you.” And then I would take a bow.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Republicans in the Maine legislature voted down three of the four bond issues during the recent special session (August 26). This is a shame because all four bonds would be very beneficial for Maine, and voters should be given the chance to weigh in.

However, I’m very pleased that my representative, Patrick Corey, of Windham, voted yes on three of the four bonds.  Most important to me, he was one of only five Republicans who voted to support the Land for Maine’s Future bond (LD 1851). He was the only Republican to support the Water Quality Protection bond (LD 1847).

Representative Corey’s support of Environmental issues is exemplary; he’s received a lifetime score of 89% from Maine Conservation Voters.  He should be commended on his support of bills such as the Land for Maine’s Future program, solar power, and protecting drinking water quality, to name a few. 

In the last few years, many of the environmental issues we’ve made progress on have been because of the support and leadership of Representative Corey.  We need more people in the legislature like Corey, who will stand up for the protection of the Maine environment and the health of Mainers.

Representative Corey gave a strong speech in support of the LMF bond, saying that this bond “would invest in Maine's recreational access, conservation, and traditional Maine industries including agriculture, marine resources, and farming.” 

The next chance for the legislature to take up this important bond issue will be in January.  If Corey is your representative, please thank him. If he’s not, please urge your representatives to support this important bond.

Thank you,
Bill Briggs
Windham

Friday, August 30, 2019

Insight: A turtle’s stroll into adulthood

By Lorraine Glowczak

With eyes closed and face turned up toward the sky, soaking in the sun’s rays, I drifted into my own inner world as I sat in my kayak that floated toward the pond’s edge. “Wow! That’s amazing. There are eight turtles on the log next to you,” my husband said, whisking me out my Sunday afternoon stupor.

I had drifted so close to the log, I could have touched the hard-shell terrapins, also inebriated by the
sun’s warmth. I leaned forward slowly to gain a microscopic-like view, hoping not to shock them out of their own Sunday stupor and dive in the water away from me. There were many things I noticed about them - their different sizes, the various designs and shapes each individual shell contained and the way each tilted their head. But what fascinated me the most was how the turtles strategically separated themselves from one another. It was as if the ability to hide in their shells wasn’t enough to protect them from the harshness of the outside world so that sat as far away from each other as possible.

According to livescience.com, turtles are not social creatures. While they typically don’t mind if there are other turtles around them, they don’t interact or socialize. While, I am an outwardly social creature, I do have days when I feel like a freshwater turtle – and sometimes without the shell. But then, that may be what adulthood is all about - moving forward in the world, even on difficult days, when you feel exposed and lonely. Adulthood can come with some pretty hard blows, sometimes hard enough to knock off the protective shell we use to shield us in time of struggle and danger.

In his article, “How to grow up: A guide to humans,” author Mark Manson pointed out that although tasks such as preparing for job interviews, managing your finances, cleaning up after yourself is consider being a responsible adult, “[These things] simply prevent you from being a child, which is not the same thing as being an adult.”

Manson went on to explain that most people do these adult tasks because they are “rule- and transaction-based.” For example, you prepare well for a job interview because you want to get a good job. “Bargaining with rules and the social order allows us to be functioning human beings in the world. But ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the whole world cannot always be bargained with. If you have to convince someone to love you, then they don’t love you. If you have to cajole someone into respecting you, then they don’t respect you. The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with.”

This concept of “real” adulthood has been with me all week as I struggled to write Simone Emmons’ and Kristen Stacy’s stories (see “Service Dog Strong” on front page). Both sexually assaulted, they experienced loneliness and fear but admitted that telling their story makes them feel less alone – realizing there are others with similar experiences.

If there was anything I learned from my conversation with Simone and Kristen is during those tough and difficult moments – when we feel exposed and lonely – we are never truly alone. Much like the eight turtles last Sunday, there is always someone next to us. Even if there is distance between us – we are all in this together. We all sit on the same log – basking in the same sun. Perhaps this is adulthood at its best.

Route 302 road construction timeline

Below is the construction timeline on Route 302:

Sunday, September 8 to Monday, September 23 construction will consist of milling and paving shoulders from the Angler Road and Whites Bridge intersection approximately 7200 feet to the Windham Christian Academy - night work.

Tuesday, September 24 to Monday, September 30, construction will consist of shimming and surfacing.

Tuesday, October 1, construction will consist of hand work and stripping

Wednesday, October 2 to Thursday, October 3, construction will consist of back shoulders and gravel driveways.

The above schedule may change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Insight: Finding purpose

By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many things I love about my job here at The Windham Eagle. What I enjoy changes from time to time, depending upon when you talk to me. But today, my favorite part is the interesting, fun and amazing people I get to meet.

Having only lived in the area for just five years, almost everyone I interview, I encounter for the first
time. I like meeting new people because I enjoy discovering how they have successfully maneuvered in this crazy and chaotic world. By success, I’m referring to how one has experienced the extreme ups and downs of life and are able to keep smiling and moving forward. Because - we all know that it isn’t always easy.

In my attempt to learn about them, I always discover something about myself.

This week, I got to meet former Windham Town Clerk, Rita Bernier (be sure to check out her story on the front page). Rita is one of those individuals who finds a purpose in everything she does. Yes, she was a successful town clerk but just importantly she was a successful mother, wife and bus driver prior to that. In the front-page article, you’ll learn that she loved those children on her bus route as if they were her own children. She knew her purpose and she acted on it without hesitation. Then, when she became the town clerk, her devoted nature shifted. And, it shifts again when she teaches rug making.

You see, as a society, we tend make careers our purpose in life, including yours truly. During my 20s and 30s, I spent my time trying to “find myself” and my purpose for living. I believed there was one particular thing I was meant to do, and I was going to find it. Over and over, determined to capture it, I’d accept a position, hoping that it would be THE one, but would always come up disappointed, feeling as if I somehow failed yet again.

Somewhere along the way, my perception shifted, and I stopped worrying so much about it. I’m still not certain how it all transpired, but upon meeting Rita I realized that it isn’t necessarily a particular occupation that fulfills a life’s purpose but it’s what you do with what lands in your lap.

When I was 14, I worked at my neighbor’s farm gathering eggs and doing other chores. I learned that lamb’s quarter, a weed that grows profusely in Kansas, was a favorite food of chickens. In fact, they’d run toward me as soon as I walked inside their fence with a handful of it. It was such a simple thing, but there was a sense of accomplishment, laughter, joy – and yes, oddly purpose.

Rita reminded me that purpose comes in many forms and can be obtained in just about anything you do. Actor Michael J. Fox has been quoted as saying, “I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”

And speaking of purpose, if you are tip toeing on the edge of insignificance, I hope these 520 words help you find some value in the small things. If so, then I’ve done my job for today. Tomorrow? Who knows.




Letter to the Editor

Bear Editor,

What a relief it is to hear about campaigns that take aim at price gouging by pharmaceutical companies!  It is a long-standing problem that just seems to be getting worse.  Many Mainers find it very difficult to afford the medications they need.  Their treatment is absolutely necessary to keep them alive, but the price of Rx drugs just keeps climbing and climbing.  People are scared that soon they won’t be able to afford their medications and will have to start cutting things out like heat, food or home repairs.  It’s terrifying to get to a point where the medicines you need to keep your family safe become out of reach.

This is particularly true since our drug prices are the highest in the world here in the U.S.  Wasn’t this supposed to be the land of plenty and privilege?  Regular people need help.  We are tired of drug companies raising prices when these same drugs can be bought for less already in other countries.  This is contrary to the American way of doing business that has always focused on a competitive marketplace that creates fair prices for consumers.

It’s time we all make a strong appeal to our Members of Congress to put an end to this painful situation.  If you want our support, stop talking and take action.  Get some sensible solutions on the table for this impossible situation.  It’s inhuman when someone is suffering, and something that can help is out there, and you can’t get it for them.  It feels cruel.

Rosalyn Fisher


Friday, August 16, 2019

Insight: The lessons of spicy foods

By Lorraine Glowczak

The delicious but spicy tuna tartare I had eaten the night before was the culprit of the heartburn I was experiencing the next morning. Add on to that - the burning in my leg muscles on a somewhat humid morning while running (or rather, jog/walking) the Kelli 5K last Saturday, made for a slightly uncomfortable experience. “Please don’t get sick,” was my mantra for 30 some minutes.

To eliminate the possibility of creating an unpleasant encounter for the one or two runners behind me, I tried various techniques to take my mind away from the nausea: counting my breaths in and out, organizing my day in my mind, listening to the morning dove that seemed to always be on every branch I ran under…and I did my best to be grateful for the monarch that kept flitting around in front of me as if to say, “You can do this.” But atlas – I would return to the mantra, “please don’t get sick.”

At one point during the run I wondered why I just didn’t donate money instead of challenging my body, which was a former runner but seems to like the slower pace of walking these days. But then, wouldn’t you know it, something dawned on me to challenge – and change – my perception. Because, after all, challenging the body wasn’t enough for the day.

My first thought went to Kelli Hutchison, of which the run is named after. “All I have is heartburn, not cancer.” And then my thought shifted to Griffin Cochrane who received a portion of the proceeds of the fundraising event. Again, I was reminded of my minor inconvenience as I compared it to that of leukemia. It was at that point the run took on a different meaning.

You see, my personal life’s mission is to be of some use to the world, providing a bit relief in a positive way whenever I can with the hope that it somehow helps others.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking that my lofty “save or change the world” ideals put in action should be easy. Author, Bruce Kasanoff articulates my Saturday run realization the best in an online article he wrote for Forbes magazine. When referencing our thoughts as compared to action, he states: “You're not going to accomplish this by meditating once or writing a few passages in your journal. It will take a ton of consistent effort and focus.”

He goes on to say that when you shift from thought to action, you might hear an inner voice tell you something irrational like skipping your luxury vacation and work instead with gang members through a community center. “What? Does working with gang members sound like a crazy thing to do,” Kasanoff points out. “Did you think it would be easy or trivial to make the world more peaceful [or insert my many lofty ideals]?

Kasanoff also stated that the wishes you make while waiting in line at Starbucks don't change the world. In most cases, you have forgotten them after a few days or a week. To change the world, you need persistent and positive thoughts that are strong enough to change your own actions. In other words, before your thoughts can change the world, they must change you.

Luckily, I did cross the finish line without sharing with others the previous night’s meal. And, when I did, I was a slightly different person. I entered the race to remember a young girl and to help a young boy in my effort to ‘change the world’ – but it was they that changed me.

But what has also changed about me is this - next year, I will remember not to eat spicy food the evening before the race.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Millions of people are affected by the rising costs of prescription medication every day. It is wrong that hard working families have to choose between taking medication and being able to eat a meal.
My aunt was born with chronic lung disease and is a cancer survivor who has taken a great deal of prescription drugs during her life. Some of them worked, many didn’t help at all, and some may have made things worse.  Up until a couple of years ago, none of the medication she had taken helped her, until she found one that seemed to finally work. She was on that medication for about a year until the company that made the medication decided to change the patent by one little degree.

By changing the patent, the cost of the medication skyrocketed from $30 a month to $400 a month. She can no longer afford to take the only drug that helped her. It is wrong what big Pharma has done to hardworking people who rely on life-saving medication. The health of our loved ones affects the whole family! The greed must stop. 

Senator Collins, your home state did their job in passing comprehensive prescription drug packages. We hope you can bring the momentum back to Washington with you.

Harrison Quidort