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  • Earlene Gleisner


In the 75 years that I have been alive, I have faced down a lot of challenges while making my way through personal and global turmoil and uncertainty. I have viewed these challenges as traumas that have either worn me down or built me up.

And I am not the only one. When I look back (which is what I’m doing because I’m enrolled in a 12-week Memoir Writing Class), I cannot believe I’ve survived half the things I’ve experienced. While I thought making it through high school was tough, that was nothing like living as a military wife for seven years. During that time, I birthed two children and moved from Denver, CO to California to Germany to Ft. Leavenworth, KS, and back to California to get a divorce. I am amazed at my stamina through that one story and the rest of the stories that have occurred since then.

That is my point, of course, for all of us. No matter what we have faced or what decisions we have made or what judgements we hold about ourselves because of our actions, we had to have learned something about ourselves and gathered survival tools.

We know what it is like to feel ‘down and out’ as well as ‘up and capable.’

In our current world, we might find strength for the future if we can look at our pasts and feel into those times when we made it through. We can also remember those moments when we felt joy, when we created for ourselves one small corner of sanity, when we felt calm. We can remember how we brought love into our lives.

From those memories we can build another set of memories today and everyday as we step through the uncertainty and anxiety of what is happening around us.

Now is our moment to build the absolute best light we can in our hearts so we can shine it to others around us. Maybe it’s just a set of shining eyes over our masks or a bump of elbows. Maybe it is avoiding an argument with a longtime friend. And it might be as simple as smiling at our own reflection in a mirror for the time it takes to say, “I love you” to our unique self. Maybe it is as easy as a phone call to someone who is on their own or a gift of flowers on a doorstep.

I heard of a woman in town who is collecting rocks, decorating each one with a multicolored heart. She has been distributing them in gardens or near businesses all around. Big ones. Little ones. And every size in between. She says it makes her heart feel glad. Her secret gives her ‘whole being’ a giggle.

Her action of love makes me smile each time I think of it. If you have any ideas for spreading a speck of joy in your life or surroundings, make a comment on my web site page or send me an email at and I will print a list of them in my next newsletter as suggestions to make the end of 2020 merrier.

And embrace yourself for being the survivor that you are.

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