Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


January 18, 2013

Mulling a collection of random thoughts

— — Sometimes I find my brain jumbled with disconnected thoughts that share no theme. Other times, I catch a smart phrase or brilliant thought articulated by someone else that stands alone, without potential for me to expand on or enhance. Consider what follows a compilation of random thoughts collected over time and think about what you’d add to the mix.

I have a friend who calls her former spouse her “wasband.” She refuses to call him her ex-husband because, “You can’t ex someone out of your life, especially when you have kids together.” He was her husband, so now he’s her “wasband.”

Speaking of relationships, a certain amateur chef I know says relationships are like homemade tortillas. The first couple of tortillas don’t usually turn out well and you have to toss them out. You may have to throw out one, two or even three before you get one that stays together and works well. Hopefully, these are dating relationships but, unfortunately, sometimes they are marriages. Whatever the case, we should try to figure out what we’re doing wrong and change it before we try to make another tortilla.

The elderly couple looked lovingly into each other’s faces and clinked their coffee mugs, such a romantic gesture it made my then soon-to-be husband and I smile as we quietly observed them from our neighboring table. They cheered with coffee mugs rather than wine glasses, sitting at breakfast in a diner rather than cooing over a candle-lit dinner. But they were celebrating romance. My husband and I frequently say cheers with a coffee mug or a glass of soda, a tribute to keeping love and romance alive for decades to come.

In certain phases of life, especially when one is downsizing, the Container Store ironically looks like a huge waste of space.

I remember several years ago after nursing two sick kids for a week, I stole a moment to flop on the couch and turned on the TV. I saw a promo for that day’s episode of “Oprah” and started scheduling my day around trying to watch it. I was struck with a realization: I caught the girls’ flu. If I was scheduling my day around a talk show, there was a chance I was sick. It’s interesting what becomes important when our energy is stripped, our ambition is squashed and our health is compromised. I might schedule my day around a talk show. Any thoughts about my Bible study, a work out and a night out with friends sound too exhausting to even consider. Some people deal with devastating illness and have to learn to go on. Every day. No matter what. And sometimes, if we are lucky, we can sit and do nothing.

Did you know there is a huge market online for purchasing term papers, book reports and all sorts of writing assignments that high school or college students want to avoid? A shopper can go to a website and do a word search on a specific topic and virtually buy a writer, who will then produce the requested assignment within a few days. In fact, I suppose if I was feeling particularly lazy and not particularly inspired, I could simply go to a site, type in a keyword on a subject I’m thinking about, and let someone else do the rest. That is very troubling and I don’t know how college professors can combat it. Or newspaper editors for that matter.

Once at a restaurant, the server shared some interesting insight about life while casually scraping crumbs from our table. “He’s a philosopher/waiter,” my husband said after the server finished clearing the table and walked away. We should always remember: menial work does not represent a menial mind.

Although I’m not always a big fan, social media provides the opportunity to connect with friends you wouldn’t otherwise engage with in person or on the phone. Sometimes, you’ll type words you wouldn’t speak and healthy bonds are created where intimacy and opinions benefit both. It may be spiritual encouragement, diet or medical advice, parenting input, or gardening or cooking tips — but a friendship can thrive on the screen or monitor in a way it may not in real life.

When I went back for my first high school reunion in more than 25 years, most of them spent on the other side of the country, it felt like I was revisiting someone else’s life. When I returned home, I found myself mulling over much of that past life. I had life jet lag, I told a friend. My thoughts weren’t caught up yet with the present, or my current time zone, as I remembered a past so long forgotten.

Which brings me to an important point: It’s always better to live in the present. We can learn from the past and it enriches us with the wealth of experience, both good and bad, but we should live fully in the present. We can set goals and nurture dreams for the future, which can inspire us to be passionate and hopeful, and disciplined and focused, but we should still live fully in the present. We should be present in each moment because being present is being gratefully and fully alive.

It may be obvious I didn’t hire anyone else to write this but maybe you can connect to one of these random disconnected thoughts.

Jaletta Albright Desmond is a columnist who writes about faith, family, and the fascinatingly mundane aspects of daily life. She lives in North Carolina with her family. Contact her at


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