Monthly Archives: October 2012

Do You Remember Halloween of 1991?

The year was 1991. Our children were so excited for Halloween, and all they wanted was to go out and do some trick-or-treating. At that time, Joe was 8, Sarah, 3, and our baby, Stephanie, only 1. Let me remind you that we live in Minnesota.

“Mom,” Joe asked, “When’s Dad coming home? It’s starting to get dark already!”

“He should be home at any minute.”

“Good, ‘cuz I wanna get out as soon as I can.”

The next thing we knew, my husband Mike came through the kitchen door way.

“Daddy, Daddy!” Sarah put her arms around my husband’s leg. “Can we go treating now? Please?”

“First we have to eat supper, honey, then we’ll go, okay?”

“Okay.”

It was difficult to get the kids to sit down and eat their supper that evening, but they did. Before we finished, the doorbell rang and some trick or treaters had begun to arrive.

“See, Mom! It’s time to go!” Joe said emphatically.

“Okay, let’s get ready.”

“Cindy,” said Mike, “It’s cold out there tonight. I think it’s cold enough to snow. You better dress them warmly, okay?”

“I know. Don’t worry. I’ve got covered.”

Joe was going to be the Tinman from the Wizard of Oz.  When I made his costume, I made it over-sized so he could wear plenty of clothes underneath. He looked like a very plump Tinman, but Joe was oblivious to that fact. He was just happy to be ready.

Then it was Sarah’s turn. I had also made her clown costume, and had made it over-sized for lots of layers. She was so happy because this was going to be her first time trick-or-treating. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

“What about Stephie?” Sarah asked.

“She’s too little.”

“Okay,” my husband said, “Is everyone ready?”

“C’mon, Sarah, it’s time to go!” Joe said.

Mike took Sarah by the hand and led her out the door.

“Have fun and stay warm!” I called after them. I noticed the air was quite chilly,and it had begun to snow very lightly.

There weren’t too many kids that came to our door that evening. It was getting really cold and the snow was coming down harder by the minute. Before long, you could barely see anything outside — it was like a blizzard. The snow was piling up fast.

After an hour my husband and kids came home. I will never forget little Sarah. The snow was almost to her waist. I watched them as they trudged through the snow. But they were smiling and seemed perfectly content to be outside. By the time they came back into our house, their clothes were covered with snow, which had begun to soak through to their skin.

“Oh, honey,” I said as I began to undress Sarah. “You must be so cold!”

“It’s okay, Mommy. ‘Cuz I went treating, and look at all the candy I got! One lady said I was the bestest clown ever! It was so much fun, Mommy! Can we do it again tomorrow?”

I smiled. Kids are flexible. They learn to make the best of any situation. That night I learned you must look beyond your troubles, and look for the silver lining — even through the snowstorm!


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Never Give Up

Dear Readers,

Okay, okay, so I haven’t written every day; however, I have been ill and that’s a bit of an excuse, don’t you think? Now I’m better, so hopefully my ratio of entries will become higher! Until I become sick again, of course, but I’ll keep on trying, I promise.

That’s what I want to talk about today. Perseverance. According to Dictionary.Com, the word “perseverance” means: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. In other words, perseverance means never giving up.

I found a beautiful quote about perseverance:

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown~

Never giving up. Did you know that:

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.

Charles Darwin, father of the theory of evolution, gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and refused admittance to Zürich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15 out of 22 in chemistry.

When General Douglas MacArthur applied for admission to West Point, he was turned down, not once but twice. But he tried a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!”

Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone with the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.

Richard Hooker worked for seven years on his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H, only to have it rejected by 21 publishers before Morrow decided to publish it. It became a runaway bestseller, spawning a blockbuster movie and highly successful television series.

Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard press, sold six million copies of the book.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Elvis Presley went on to become the most popular singer in America.

The father of the sculptor Rodin [The Thinker Statue] said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to the school of art. His uncle called him uneducatable.

These are all examples of people who never gave up and went on to become successful in their pursuits. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, the idea is the same. Never give up. No matter what. Keep on trying because you won’t achieve your goal if you stop trying. You have to try over and over and over again. Sometimes you have to even start all over again. But as long as you keep trying, you’ll keep going, and then, and only then, will you reach your goal.

A final quote to remember:

He conquers who endures. ~Persius ~

Short, sweet, and easy to remember. Never give up.

*The above inspirational stories were compiled from two excellent books by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul and A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul and found on the website, http://www.weboflove.org/060520nevergiveup

Autumn Leaves

Autumn 
leaves, in colors
of ever-changing hues,
are truly a feast for the eyes.
As they dance gaily through the crisp breezes,
they serve to remind everyone
that in their wake will fall
the gentle white
snowflakes.

Hope Springs Eternal

E’en though the darkness does ensue,
When all things seem to be askew,
Just hold on tight and you’ll come through,
For God loves you, for God loves you.

Your world is crashing all around,
It seems that evil does abound,
But if you look peace can be found,
God does astound, God does astound.

On days when you are full of woe,
It seems that you are at your low,
Great blessings from on high will flow,
God will bestow, will bestow.

When faith seems to have gone astray,
And sadness does your soul display,
Remember this is when you pray,
God’s here to stay, God’s here to stay.

Hope is a virtue you must own,
Deep in your heart it must be grown,
For then you will not be alone,
God’s grace is sown, God’s grace is sown.

Live Life to the Fullest

Have you ever thought that you were going to die? I have, and that was the most terrifying moment of my life.

In 2004 I had a herniated disc in my cervical spine (neck) at the level of C5-6 and therefore needed to have surgery to repair it with a plate and screws. Then in 2005 I had another herniated disc at the level of C4-5 and needed another surgery. In 2006 I developed bone spurs from the surgeries which were very painful, and my surgeon recommended that I have cortisone injections to relieve my pain. This is when all the trouble began.

The first injection proceeded smoothly, although I must say that it was quite uncomfortable. I was worried about an allergic reaction, but no such event occurred, and I was scheduled to return for a second procedure a week later.

The next week came, and for some reason I was feeling very apprehensive about the second appointment. I did not want to go to have the procedure done again, but my husband kept telling me that I must go. I changed the time of the second appointment to an earlier time, although I didn’t have a good reason to do so, but I did it anyway; something told me to do so. At that time, our daughters were in junior high school and needed to be picked up after school by me.

I also had my husband, Mike, accompany me, even though the doctor had told me after the first time that he didn’t need to come with me. For some reason I really wanted him to be with me and insisted that he take off work, and he did so, reluctantly.

We arrived at the office, and when it was my turn, the nurse brought me into an empty room and told me that the room in which I would be receiving the injection was not quite ready yet and that she would return in about ten minutes for me.  As soon as she left the room, I heard this voice say to me, “Pray.” I was shocked, to say the least. Then the voice urged me again, a little bit louder this time, “Pray.” So I began to pray. I prayed the entire time until the nurse came back for me.

She brought me into the procedure room and positioned me on my stomach on the narrow table.Then she washed off the back of my neck. This procedure is carried out under x-ray, to be sure they are shooting the injection into the correct spot. It has to be very exact. It was at this moment when the doctor entered the room and greeted me. I could hear him put on his sterile gloves and talk to the nurse about the medication. Being a registered nurse myself, I could understand what they were talking about. Soon he came over to me and was ready to proceed with the injection.This time I knew what to expect, having had the procedure only a week before. So I braced myself for the discomfort I was about to undergo. Only this time I was pleasantly surprised. The injection was not as uncomfortable as it had been the week before, but I still had a feeling that something was not quite right. He finished the injection, told me to make another appointment, said goodbye to me, and left the room.

Then the nurse began to wash off the back of my neck, but all of a sudden I began to feel hot inside and dizzy. I remember saying to the nurse, “I feel dizzy. . . ,” and then everything went black. The next thing I knew, I woke up and was lying on my back. I had a blood pressure cuff on my arm and an oxygen mask on my face. There were three nurses buzzing around me, and the doctor was standing anxiously over me.

I didn’t feel very good at all as I asked, “What happened?”

The doctor took my hand as he looked at me and said, “You had an allergic reaction. You were unconscious and stopped breathing. We had to resuscitate you. The paramedics are on the way.”

Just as he finished saying this, the paramedics came rushing into the room. The next thing I knew, they were transferring me onto the stretcher. After this, everything went black again. As I became conscious again, I noticed that I had an IV started in my arm and EKG leads on my chest. Apparently I had been resuscitated for a second time.

“I want my husband,” I said.

As I was waiting for my husband to be brought in, I noticed that I couldn’t feel my legs, nor could I move them. I thought for sure they were paralyzed from the injection I had.

“I can’t move my legs,” I said, panicked.

“It’s okay,” said the paramedic. “It’s from the epinephrine we’ve been giving you. That’s normal. Don’t worry about it.

Then my husband arrived. All of a sudden I had difficulty talking. My tongue was swollen, as were my eyelids, my arms and my legs. It was at this moment that I felt terrified. I felt as though I was going to die. After all, I had passed out twice and stopped breathing twice. Who was to say what would happen next to me? My throat was swollen. They were talking about putting in a breathing tube; I was finding it difficult to breathe. As I looked at my husband, I could see a worried expression on his face.

“Are you scared?” I mumbled anxiously as he held my hand.

“No. Don’t worry, Honey, you’ll be alright,” he said as he tried to reassure me.

The next thing I knew, the paramedics were wheeling me out of the procedure room and through the waiting room. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the people sitting in the chairs waiting to have their procedures done. I’m sure they were terrified, wondering if something like this would happen to them. The paramedics wheeled me outside and put me into the ambulance. My husband told them he would follow behind in our car. I remember him saying at some point that he was glad that he had taken off work to be with me. I guess my premonition had paid off after all.

The ride in the ambulance was a scary one. The sirens were blaring and I had never before been in a vehicle that was moving so fast. We zoomed down the freeway as I was jostled from side to side. This frightened me even more, although the paramedic, who was a female, kept reassuring me, telling me that everything was going to be all right, but I was still worried.

We made it to the hospital in no time flat. The hospital was about fifteen miles away from the office but I think we arrived there in about seven minutes. I was relieved that I couldn’t see out the windows while we were driving. I’m sure I would have lost my breakfast if I had. As they wheeled me into the emergency room, my husband had not arrived yet.

The hospital had called a Code Red ahead of time when they knew I was coming, which meant that they needed to be prepared in case I would need to have a breathing tube placed. There must have been ten to twelve  people in the room to take care of me — doctors, nurses, anesthetists, x-ray techs, lab techs, and then finally my husband arrived. After taking x-rays and blood work, and right before they were going to put in a breathing tube to help me breathe, the medication began to work, and my breathing became easier. I didn’t have to have the breathing tube after all.

After a long while, they finally sent me up to ICU to spend a few days. After I arrived in ICU, I remembered that the girls needed to be picked up from school, and Michael was able to arrive there just in time — only because I had changed the time of my appointment. If I had kept the original time, he would never have arrived there on time and the girls would have been waiting at school for a few hours, wondering where we were. So you see, there was a reason for me changing the appointment time, even though I didn’t know what had prompted me to do so.

As I laid in ICU that night, I thought over the events of the day, and I marveled at how good God had been to me. First, He moved me to change the appointment time so that Mike could pick up the girls on time. Then He had me insist that Mike come with me. Next, He had sent an angel to tell me to pray.

Then I thought about how important my family was to me and how I needed to spend more time with them. I knew that before long my children would be gone to be on their own and that I needed to enjoy them while I could. I also thought about how I needed to show my husband how much I loved him because I thought sometimes he didn’t really know. I also thought about all the things that I wanted to do and that I shouldn’t put off because the events of the day proved that you never know what tomorrow will bring.

But most of all, I thought about enjoying today and not worrying so much about tomorrow because tomorrow might never come.

“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”  ~Horace ~

 

My Ever-Faithful Companion

Hello, dear readers,

My sweet little toy poodle, Lucy, has been sick the last few days, and I’ve been so worried about her. We brought her into the vet yesterday, and thankfully, it appears to be just a virus of some sort, so hopefully, she’ll be feeling better soon. But she’s my baby, and if anything happened to her, I don’t know what I would do. Because of this, I thought I would dedicate today’s blog to her with a poem that I wrote entitled “My Ever-Faithful Companion.” I hope you enjoy it.

I have a faithful companion,

And Lucy is her name.

She is my little toy poodle,

And pleasing me is her game.

 

She’s always there to comfort me,

And soothe me when I’m down.

She does funny things that make me laugh,

And she takes away my frown.

 

She loves it when I play with her,

Especially when she’s bored.

She wants me to interact with her,

And she hates to be ignored.

 

She lets me know when she is glad

By licking me on my face.

She’s delighted when I hold her close,

And she feels safe in my embrace.

 

Her little tail will happily wag

To show her puppy love.

I’m sure the affection that she shows

Comes from the Lord above.

 

Whenever she wants a special treat,

She sits right up and begs.

Then she dances round and round,

While standing on two legs.

 

Because I’m ill and cannot work,

I’m home both day and night;

And when I’m in a lot of pain.

Somehow she knows I’m not all right.

 

She follows me where ever I go,

And always wants to be near.

I think she wants to make me feel better,

And I can tell that she is sincere.

 

She is my little baby;

She is my very best friend.

She only wants what’s good for me,

And I know she’ll love me to the end.

 

I love my little Lucy,

No better dog could there be.

I am grateful every day

God sent her to be with me

 

A Return to What I Love

Hello dear readers,

The last couple weeks have passed by in a blur for me. As I told you in my last post, I’ve begun a new venture as a freelance writer. Actually, I’ve been doing this on and off for sometime now, but I’ve now been writing full-time, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. It’s great to be able to do what you love and actually get paid for it! Now I just have to find more time to work on the two books that I’ve been writing the past couple years. As time goes on, I’ll keep you updated on those, too. I figure that if I do, then I’ll have something to keep me focused on them. Actually, it’s not really that I’m not focused on them–it’s more of a matter of finding time to write for them now that I’m writing other things. But I know that I’ll find my pace sooner or later.

Today marks a special day on my calendar, and I’m so excited about it that I just have to tell my readers. There’s only one other thing that I love to do even more than writing, and that’s singing. I have been singing ever since I can remember. Singing has always come naturally to me, as naturally as breathing. It has always given me so much pleasure to use the gift of singing that God gave me in order to give pleasure to others. My favorite quotation has to do with my gift of singing and goes like this: “The talent you have is God’s gift to you. What you do with that talent is your gift to God.”

I was a member of our church choir for twenty-five years, and as a choir member, I was also one of the soloists. Wednesday evening became my favorite evening of the week because it meant that my husband and I could attend choir rehearsal together. Not only did it mean spending time with my husband, because he was also in the choir, but it also meant spending time with wonderful friends.

Then about five years ago I underwent two anterior cervical fusions on my neck for ruptured herniated discs in my spine. One of the risks of this surgery is the possibility of severing the recurrent laryngeal nerve. This, unfortunately, was one of the complications from my surgery, and because of it, my left vocal cord became paralyzed. Over a period of several months, my right vocal cord gradually moved over to meet my left vocal cord so that I could speak fairly normally. But alas, the singing voice I once had disappeared. I thought I would never be able to sing again.

Now, five years later, I am rejoicing because my singing voice is almost back to the way it was before the surgery. It’s not quite as before, but it’s good enough that I can join the choir again. And guess where I’m going tonight? Choir practice! Yes, that’s right. For the first time in five years, I’m returning to doing what I love, to being among the friends I adore, and to sharing that special time with my husband once again! I’m so happy, I could . . . SING!

And come Sunday morning, you will find me in the choir once again, singing my praises to God, and thanking Him for giving back to me His precious gift.

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