Monthly Archives: May 2015

Share Your World – 2015 Week #21

Cee Neuner, the creator of the Share Your World  blogging activity, came up with a new way of doing “Share Your World” for this week. Here’s how it goes:

Begin making four lists and have at least four items on each list.  We were able to choose our lists out of the items that she gave us. And the most important thing is to have fun! Here are the lists that I chose to make:

  1. Favorite flowers
  2. Movies to cheer you up
  3. Things I want to have in my home
  4. Favorite songs

1.  FAVORITE FLOWERS:  My favorite flowers are daisies, roses, gardenias, and lilies.

Favorite Flowers

 

1. Daisies: Daisies are one of my favorite flowers for a few reasons. First of all, they are one of the first flowers to come in at spring time and here in Minnesota where the winters can be long and hard, any sign of spring is often a welcome one! Also, I love them because of their cheerfulness and their simplicity.

2. Roses: Roses are another favorite of mine for a very simple reason: what girl doesn’t like to receive roses from a guy? They were very often one of the first gifts I would receive from a suitor as a sign of his romantic interestin me. I guess they also bring back fond memories to me. But now when I receive them from my one and only love, my husband, I am still thrilled every time!

3. Gardenias: I chose gardenias for their beauty and fragrance. I also have a sentimental reason because they were my mother’s favorite flower and now that she’s gone from this life, whenever I see gardenias, I always think of her.

4. Lilies: My favorite flower of all is the lily. I love lilies – any kind of lily will do. I love them so much that they are growing in my garden, and as far as I’m concerned, there can’t be too many lilies in my garden. Their large petals are so lovely when they are fully opened. And they come in so many beautiful shades of color and are very fragrant.

2.  MOVIES TO CHEER YOU UP:  I really do enjoy watching feel-good movies. You know – the kind of movie that makes you feel all ooey-gooey inside or the kind that might even cause you to get a lump in your throat or maybe a few tears will roll down your cheeks at the end because everything turned out just the way it should have? That’s the kind of movie that I’m talking about. So let me tell you about my four favorite feel-good movies.

Dave the movie 2

1. Dave: Starring Kevin Kline. To avoid a potentially explosive scandal when the U.S. President goes into a coma, an affable temp agency owner with an uncanny resemblance (Dave), is put in his place. Co-starring Sigourney Weaver. This is a great movie with comedy, romance, and it will definitely leave you with a smile on your face.

 

father of the bride 22. Father of the Bride: Starring Steve Martin. This film is a remake of the 1950s Spencer Tracy classic. With his oldest daughter’s wedding coming up, a father (Steve Martin) finds himself reluctant to go. And it’s no wonder considering all the trouble that goes on around him. Co-starring Diane Keaton with Martin Short. Very funny and quite heartwarming.

 

mr. holland's opus 23. Mr. Holland’s Opus: Starring Richard Dreyfuss as Mr. Holland. He plays the part of a frustrated composer who, to his surprise, finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher. I’ve watched this movie over and over and I never get tired of seeing it again. But be warned – you will definitely need a box of tissues for this viewing!

 

the sound of music 24. The Sound of Music: Starring Julie Andrews. This is my all-time number one favorite movie. This movie is so famous that I probably don’t need to tell you the plot, but for uniformity’s sake I will. This is the story of Maria (Julie Andrews) who is a nun in an Austrian convent. She leaves the convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer who is a widower. Co-starring Christopher Plummer. Now this is the movie that I must have watched a hundred times, and I’m not kidding – remember – I’ve lived over half a century now (wow – that does sound like a long time, doesn’t it?) The first time I saw this movie was when my oldest sister Terri took me to see it for my tenth birthday and it has remained my favorite ever since. I love the music, I love the scenery, I love the drama, I love the comical moments, and I love the romance. As a matter of fact, there is a scene in the movie – the one with Maria and Captain Von Trapp in the gazebo – that I think is one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever witnessed on the screen. If you’ve never seen this movie, then this movie is a must-see for you. You won’t regret it, I promise!

3.  FAVORITE THINGS I WANT TO HAVE IN MY HOME:

1. Big Screen TV:  Okay, I admit it. I love to watch television. But I am NOT a couch potato. Or at least, I big screen tvtry not to be. When I was disabled in 2004 I really had no choice. I was pretty much restricted to my bed or my recliner and there really wasn’t much for me to do besides watching television. Of course, that was before I rediscovered my love of writing. And it was only this last Christmas (2014) that our wonderful son Joe gave us a big screen television for a gift. Before then we were watching a 32 inch television set that was 20 years old. It was not a flat screen and it was not high definition. So, now I’ve been spoiled and I love it!

2. Recliner:  Since I love to watch my big screen television, I must have a great viewing spot, one thatrecliner is comfortable, and that perfect place is my recliner. No, I don’t like to lie on the sofa because if I do, then inevitably I fall asleep (I’m over a half-century old, remember?) And with my recliner, I can also use my heating pad to soothe my muscles and joints when my arthritis, bursitis, back pain, or fibromyalgia flares up. And those times are often enough, believe me. Not only that, it’s great for my little toy poodle Lucy because she can jump up and curl up on the foot of the recliner right between my calves or on my lap or even on the arm of the recliner (she always makes this decision for herself, of course!)

3. Desk:  Now what would a writer do without her desk? My desk is located in what we now call the deskspare room. This room used to be our oldest daughter Sarah’s room before she moved out to get married. There’s still a bed in this room just in case we ever have sleep-over guests (usually one of our children), or if my husband snores too loud and I can’t get any sleep in our bed! I enjoy going into this room because my desk is located there and it has everything I need to write, including our desktop computer which I use for all my image needs for my blogs. Sometimes I like to use my chromebook to write because then I can sit in my recliner, but often times I use the desktop computer because it is quieter in the spare room. Yes, I couldn’t do without my desk!

4. Piano:  My piano is probably my most prized possession. You’ve probably heard it all before – that My pianoowning piano has been a lifelong dream of mine and that I finally realized my dream in February of 2014, thanks to the generosity of my dear church choir director, Therese. If you’ve never read this story, you can read it here:  A Dream Come True. Being able to play music means everything to me. I can express my feelings in a way that just isn’t possible with words. When I play the piano, I feel as though I’m finally found after being lost. It’s like the music makes me feel complete, whole, finished – I can be me, just me. I guess I don’t really have the words to explain exactly how I feel when I play the piano; I only know that I love it, and I love my piano. Here’s something that I may not have mentioned in my story before: I actually named my piano “Grace” because if it were not for the grace of God and the gracious heart of my choir director, Therese, I would not own her, my most prized possession.

4.  FAVORITE SONGS:

1. Imagine by John Lennon: This was the best-selling single of his solo career. It’s one of my favorites because it talks about imagining a world at peace with no borders, no disunity of religion, no borders between races or nationalities, and to consider living in a world without being attached to possessions, but rather to focus on each other as human beings. Now that’s the world I would love to live in.

 

2. Only Time by Enya: This song is her biggest solo hit in the United States to date. She donated the earnings from the sale of that single to the Uniform Firefighters Association’s Widows’ and Children’s Fund to help the families of fire fighters in the aftermath of 9/11. This is such a beautiful song, as all of Enya’s songs are, and you can interpret it any way you choose, but I believe that it means you never know what your future holds until it is your past. Only time will tell, and in time all of your questions will be answered.

 

3. The Prayer by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli: This song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song from the 1998 film Quest for Camelot. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2000. This is a beautiful prayer set to music asking for He who watches over us (whoever you believe that to be) to continue to do so.

 

4. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel: This is my favorite song of all the songs I’ve ever heard. It won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, including Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The song became Simon & Garfunkel’s biggest hit single, and it is often considered their signature song. It became one of the most performed songs of the twentieth century, with over 50 artists, among them Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, covering the song. It was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This wonderful song is about being there for someone in their time of need; it’s about giving them comfort; and it’s about being that person’s bridge over troubled water. It’s no wonder that it’s received all the accolades that it has. And this is why it’s my favorite song of all-time.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Concert May of 2015Last week my oldest daughter Sarah invited me to attend a concert of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  She and her husband Axel had a four-performance pack of two tickets, but he was unable to attend that night’s performance, and she was thoughtful enough to ask her dear old mother. They performed at the newly opened Ordway Concert Hall in St. Paul. Their performance included: Bach’s Concerto No. 1 in A Minor for Violin and Orchestra, BMV 1041; Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for String Orchestra, Opus 4; and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D. 485. After she invited me five days before the performance, I was so excited that I found it difficult to concentrate on anything else. It had been a long time since I’d been to an orchestra concert. And I was so happy to find that I was not disappointed. We had some of the best seats in the house – second tier, center. And the acoustics in the new Ordway Concert Hall are fabulous! But most of all, I’m grateful that I was able to spend an evening with my darling daughter Sarah. Both of my daughters are a joy to be with and I’m always happy when I’m in their company.

In the coming week, I’m looking forward to feeling better. I’ve been ill the last week and a half due to chronic medical problems, but I’m starting to come around, as you can tell since I am finally getting a The best is yet to come 2blog entry out for the first time in a while! And maybe, if I can gather enough energy, I would just love to finally clean out my sewing room – a project that I have been putting off for longer than I would care to admit. There’s more rain and thunderstorms in our Minnesota weather forecast beginning on Wednesday and going on through until Saturday, and if those predictions hold true, and if I’m feeling better, then I won’t be able to play pickleball so it will be a good time to finally get that room back to the way it should be. Then maybe I can start quilting once again. I just have to put my mind to it, that’s all. One step at a time . . .

So now you know a little more about me.

I’m glad we had this time together and I’d like to thank you for spending it with me. I’m so pleased that I was able to share a bit about myself and my world with you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Best,

Cindy's signature with flower and butterfly

 

 

 

 

share your world

 

 

This post is presented as part of the Share Your World Challenge. If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

 

Love at First Sight

 

 

 

lucy in leaves

 

 

Remember how we met in the corner of that crowded shop?

You captured my heart the moment you nestled in my arms and licked my face with puppy affection.

I didn’t believe that love at first sight existed until I found you.

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak

This week’s word:  STEAM

Daphne kissed her parents goodbye before leaving them on the train platform and then reminded herself as she climbed the steps to the passenger car: Don’t turn around and look back; it will only be more difficult if you do. She had barely SONY DSCsettled into a seat which she’d deliberately chosen that did not face the platform before the train began to pull slowly out of the station.

In her mind, she replayed all the events of the past few months: the chance meeting with William, falling in love with him, his marriage proposal, her heart being broken when she discovered his infidelity, the terrible argument that followed between them which led to their breakup, her search for a position as a schoolteacher in a place farther from home in an attempt to get away, and the acquisition of just such a position in California – all the way across the country.

For the first time in her young life of nineteen years, Daphne was going to be alone and she wondered for the first time in months: Am I doing the right thing?

And just as the steam from the engine was rolling the train down the track, so too were the tears from Daphne’s eyes silently rolling down her cheeks.

 

five sentence

 

This post is presented as part of Five Sentence Fiction  

If you’d like to know more information about Five Sentence Fiction, please click here:

Five Sentence Fiction

 

Share Your World – 2015 Week #20

What is the most important thing that you ever learned? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)

You’re absolutely right when you write that it’s not something that I learned in school because we all know that the best school is the school of life itself, or rather those lessons that we learn through experience. You know, I think this is a really difficult question because there are so many important lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life and I’ve lived for almost 59 years. But I think I’m going to say that the most important thing I’ve learned is the one thing that I’ve told my children ever since they were very young and I guess if I have repeated this to them umpteen times then it must be the most important thing, right? So here it is:

FAMILY MEANS EVERYTHING

FAMILY MEANS EVERYTHING

Friends will come and go throughout your life, but family will always be there for you. Therefore, stay close to your family and never let anything separate you from them. 

And I believe this with all my heart. I grew up in a family of seven children. We were poor, having been raised on welfare and in a low-income housing project, so we didn’t haven’t much. But we had each other. And we were happy. Today our parents are gone from this life, but we sisters are still close and our families still get together for the holidays. And even though we’ve had our disagreements over the years, we’ve always managed to resolve the conflicts, which served to strengthen our bonds. And I know that if I needed anything, my sisters would be there for me in a heartbeat, which they’ve already proven many times over, and I do the same for them. No, there’s nothing better than the love of your family.

What feeds your enthusiasm for life?

For me, there’s not just one thing that feeds my enthusiasm for life. First of all, I would have to give credit for this to the love of my husband and children, who always support and encourage me in everything I do. Then I’d say that my enthusiasm for life is fed by the interests that I hold. These interests include writing, which allows me to express myself enthusiasmin a way that is so satisfying and gratifying like nothing else that I know. One of the things I enjoy the most about writing is that it allows me to be exactly who I am, and who could ask for anything better than that? I also am fueled each day by my great interest and enthusiasm for learning to play the piano. I’ve only been playing the piano since January of 2014, and since I’ve only begun lessons very late in life (at age 58), you can be sure that it is something which I hold near and dear to my heart. In other words, you can believe that it’s not something that I am going to let go by the wayside, especially since it’s always been a dream of mine to play the piano. Along those same musical lines, I love to sing and always have ever since a very young age. I’ve been a member of our church choir since 1978 and I look forward to every Wednesday evening rehearsal and to singing each Sunday morning. As you can see, music plays an integral part in my life, as it has in our children’s lives, and it’s something that I would never let go.

What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane commercial or private flight?

I’d definitely have have to say that this would be my very first flight into the “wild blue yonder,” as the song says. This occurred about twenty years ago, and since then, I’ve only taken two other trips via airplane! Can you believe that? No, I airplanedon’t get around much, sad to say. My husband was attending a national convention in Philadelphia for a men’s organization of which he was a member and he invited me and my sister and her husband to join him. I had never flown before, and I was excited at the prospect but at the same time I was nervous. When it came time to board the plane, I did hesitate a moment before going through the door into the plane. Okay, so I actually stopped. I guess it was because all my bravado had temporarily left me. Then I took a deep breath and somehow my legs started moving once again. But what I remember the most was the takeoff and the speed with which the plane managed to get to before leaving the runway. I was downright giddy at that point and remember how I was giggling almost hysterically because it was just so much . . . fun! I was glad I had my wits about me enough so that I remembered to cover my mouth with my hands or else the passengers around me would have pegged me to be a crazy woman, for sure! I’d like to take another trip via airplane again some day, and maybe, just maybe I will. Who knows? So the next time you’re on a flight somewhere and you see some woman sitting there with her hands over her mouth with a wild look in her eyes, that might very well be me!

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

Okay, this may sound weird, considering the fact that I’ve only been on airplane three times in my life, but . . . if I could explore anything or anywhere, it would be outer space. I know, weird, huh? For some reason, I’ve always been galaxy-cluster-1e-0657-56fascinated by what lies beyond in the great unexplored territory of the vast cosmos. I’d like to know: is there life out there? And when I say life, I mean intelligent life. Did God really create only a human race (us) and place us here on this tiny planet we call Earth with no other life anywhere else in all of the umpteen undiscovered galaxies that there could be? Are we really alone? I was 12 years old when astronaut Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969. As our family gathered around the television set that evening to watch this historic event, I remember thinking how wondrous it all was. It’s not that I ever wanted to be an astronaut. But if it was safe and economical and an every day occurrence, I would absolutely book a seat on the Space Shuttle. Yes, I am very practical and well-grounded (pardon the pun).

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

grateful 5I’m grateful that I’ve been able to spend more time with my sisters playing pickleball. We’re getting better at it, although I can tell that I need more coaching on things like my serve and some of the little nuances of the game.

I’m also grateful that we have had more of the much-needed rain that we’ve been hoping for. It’s been pretty dry around here this spring, but now the grass is a lot greener and plants are coming up nicely. As a matter of fact, things are beginning to grow so well that I heard my husband complain just this morning: “Now I have to go and mow the lawn since we’ve gotten all this rain.” But I know that deep down inside he’s glad for it.better things are coming

Remember I said that I needed more coaching for pickleball? Well, I have joined the local pickleball club and so next week I’m looking forward to starting up with them. They meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. Not only will I get coaching, but I’ll also meet new people and make new friends, and I think that’s the best part. So I can hardly wait to begin. I think next week will be a very good week and I’m looking forward to it.

So now you know a little more about me.

I’m glad we had this time together and I’d like to thank you for spending it with me. I’m so pleased that I was able to share a bit about myself and my world with you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Best,

Cindy's signature with flower and butterfly

 

 

 

 

share your world

 

This post is presented as part of the Share Your World Challenge. If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

 

The First Half of 2015

How is my year shaping up so far? When 2015 rolled around, I decided that the only New Year’s resolution I’d make would be that I’d try to take life a little less seriously. I have a habit of becoming stressed out pretty easily, which may partially explain my high blood pressure. My husband and children are constantly telling me: “Chill out. Calm down. don't stressRelax.” And of course, all this does is only get me more upset. But I have been making a more concentrated effort to not get so stressed out about the unimportant things in life. I’ve decided to save it for real life emergencies like the house burning down. So far, I’m making pretty good progress. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m getting only slightly panicked when I have a bad hair day.

As far as my biggest achievements thus far for the year are concerned, I am proud to say that I have now been taking piano lessons for the last sixteen months. That’s not bad, considering that I just began taking piano lessons at the age of piano 50058. It has been a lifelong dream which was finally realized. And I can honestly say that it has been everything that I had hoped and dreamed that it would be and more.

I love playing the piano. It makes me feel as though I’ve finally found that piece of myself that I’ve been missing all my life. I’ve always had a profound love of music and have always been able to express that love through singing. But now I can do the same thing when I play the piano, which brings me even greater joy.

I practice every day, sometimes twice or even three times a day. Most of the time I practice for at least an hour or even longer if my back will allow me to do so. I have problems with low back pain, so sometimes I am limited in the amount of time that I can sit at the piano. Even an hour is too long at times, which is when I will actually wear a back brace so that I can sit at the piano longer. This is how much I love to play. I am willing to suffer to be able to play the piano.

I know that I will never be a great pianist. I know that I’ll never get to the point where I’ll be able to be an accompanist at our church. But that doesn’t matter to me. I play for myself and if no one ever hears me play, I don’t really care. All that matters to me is that I am able to play.

My other accomplishment is that I have begun to go out and get some exercise, which I truly needed, and it came in a form that was totally unexpected but very enjoyable. I have become a pickleball player. Have you ever heard of pickleball? It’s a great game which is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s played with a paddle and apickleball 2 wiffle ball on a short court, which is great for me because it means you don’t have to run as far as you would if you were playing tennis, which I’ve tried before and did not succeed at doing.

I’ve been playing mostly with my three sisters and we play what we call a “friendly” game, meaning that if someone doesn’t get the serve right the first time, we allow a second, third, or even fourth serve. We’re just beginners, after all. And we’ve been having so much fun playing together. But I’ve decided that I’m going to join a local pickleball club which meets three mornings out of the week because I could use some coaching. Yes, that’s how much I love this new game! All I can say is: “Watch out, Sisters! Before the summer’s out, I’m going to be the best pickleball player ever!”

All in all, I think the first half of 2015 has gone pretty well for me. Granted, there have been bumps in the road with unexpected twists and turns, but I think I’ve navigated them okay so far.

Now if I could just get my sewing room cleaned out like I promised myself I would . . .

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

It seemed like any other ordinary day as Amy picked up her mail. She found a small pink envelope tucked in between the bills. She noticed that it was handwritten and addressed to Ms. Amy O’Hara with no return address. Inside the envelope Be careful what you wish for 1000was a pink note card which read: Today you have three wishes. Be careful what you wish for.

How odd, she thought. It must be a practical joke.

Since she was a student at the local community college, her thoughts turned to the upcoming biology exam. I wish I didn’t have to take this exam today. Just then her cell phone rang.

“Hi, Sue. What’s up?”

“Amy, don’t bother going to class today.”

“But we have the biology exam.”

“No, we don’t. It’s been canceled. Professor Emmers called in sick and there’s no sub available. How about going to the mall instead?”

“Sounds great. Let’s meet at the food court in twenty minutes.”

“Perfect. See you then.”

Amy went to grab her keys off the kitchen table. Then she saw the pink note card. That’s right – three wishes. Maybe the first one was the canceled biology class . . . how silly! There’s no such thing as wishes coming true. It’s just a coincidence, that’s all.

“Hi, Amy,” Sue greeted her. “Can you believe the biology exam was canceled?”

“Yeah, it’s great. Let’s go shopping; I need to find some new jeans.”

“Okay, let’s try Janet’s Closet.”

“Are you kidding? Their jeans cost a fortune, although I did see the perfect pair last week.”

“Why didn’t you buy them?”

“I couldn’t afford it. I wish they were cheaper so I could.”

“Well, let’s go in and see if we can find something – you never know.”

As they entered the store, a sales person came over to greet them.

“Hello. May I help you?”

“I’m looking for a pair of jeans. Do you have any on sale?” Amy asked hopefully.

“As a matter of fact, we do. I’ll show you what we have.”

They followed her to the back of the store. She pointed to a rack that was off in the corner.

“These are all the jeans on sale today. Please let me know if you find something.”

Amy and Sue walked over to the rack. As they were looking through the jeans, Sue pulled out a pair.

“Amy, look. They’re perfect for you.”

Amy looked up from what she was doing and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Sue was holding the expensive pair of jeans she’d wanted. She looked at the price, which was cut down to 75% off!

“These are the pair I wanted!”

“Wow! You’re really lucky today, Amy.”

As Amy was driving home through the noon hour traffic, she couldn’t help but think about the mysterious pink card and the events that had occurred – the exam being canceled, the jeans being on sale – were those two of the three wishes? It certainly seemed that way.

But I can’t believe there’s such a thing as being granted three wishes. I’m a logical person, and it just doesn’t seem logical! But still . . .

Her thoughts were interrupted by a traffic jam. Sure enough, the cars were now bumper to bumper. The noon rush hour traffic had begun. Soon the cars were at a standstill, and Amy’s car was at the very back of the line, with no cars behind her. It seemed to her as though the line of cars in front of her were stretched as far as she could see and beyond.

If there was one thing Amy hated, it was rush hour traffic. She wasn’t a patient person, and soon she felt irritated beyond measure.

Are we ever going to move again? I’d really like to get home and get in some studying time. I know the exam we missed today will be given tomorrow. If I can get an hour’s worth of studying done, then I can sit on the deck and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Come on, come on . . . let’s get going! I wish someone would drive faster.

No sooner had the thought crossed her mind when Amy heard the sound of an engine racing. She looked in her rear view mirror and watched in horror as a black Explorer came speeding up towards her. Sitting behind the wheel was a man talking on his cell phone, and she knew he wouldn’t be able to stop in time.

Her final thought was: Be careful what you wish for . . .

 

 

 

 

A Thief in the Night

I’ve discovered that the older I’ve become, the more vulnerable I’ve become to the monster who creeps in the night and tries at all costs to rob me of one of my most valuable and precious commodities – sleep. I’ve come to call this monster “The Sleep Thief.” You may know it as “insomnia.” This is a truly horrible experience that I would not wish even on my worst enemy.insomnia2

Is the image on the right familiar to you?  If the answer is yes, then you, too, are familiar with this selfish monster, and the chances are very good that it has also robbed you of precious hours of sleep.

This awful creature held me hostage last night, and the same old tired (pardon the pun) story played itself out again. I was so upset that I even resented my poor husband, who was resting so peacefully on his side of the bed, deep in the throes of his own pleasant dreams. To tell you the truth, what I really wanted to do was hit him with my pillow so that he would wake up – after all, misery loves company!

But no matter how much I pleaded, I could not coax Mr. Sandman to sprinkle his magic sleeping dust over me so that I could obtain the blessed relief of slumber. I tried counting sheep, but even that did not help.

counting-sheepI found myself watching the clock as each second of every single minute of all the hours ticked slowly by.

So I thought I would get up in the hopes that I might fall asleep in front of some late night television program, but to no avail. I tried reading a book – the most boring book I could find – but even that could not lull me into slumber. By this time, I was getting desperate. A glass of warm milk, which normally I despise and under no circumstances would even think of consuming, did nothing to persuade my now-wide awake body to fall into the dearly desired land of dreams.

Then I came up with the brilliant idea of taking a long soak in a warm bubble bath. This always helps to soothe my nerves and makes me sleepy by the time I’m finished. So as I soaked my tired body, there were aromatherapy candles flickering on the vanity, while I listened to my favorite relaxing melodies. After a soothing twenty minutes in the bathtub, the lovely sleepy feeling that I had been yearning for all night long was finally taking its gentle hold upon my body.

I dressed myself in my pajamas and was just about to climb back into bed next to my sleeping husband when our little toy poodle Lucy awakened to go outside for her usual morning routine. And guess who had to take care of her? You guessed it. Yours truly.  And then the alarm went off. It figures.

At least there’s a bright side to my visit from the“thief in the night.” It gave me something to write about in my blog today. Thank God for small favors.

QUOTE FOR TODAY:“Oh sleep! It is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.”Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~

My Best Event

My Best Event

Joy in Suffering

joy 1

As you read the title of this piece, you may be thinking to yourself: How can there be joy in suffering? It is a contradiction in terms. I’d like to tell you that there can be joy in suffering. I know because I have experienced such joy in my life. Please let me explain.

I have been medically disabled from working since 2004. My problems started out small, and then steadily grew in proportion. I was diagnosed with medical conditions, one after another. I have many medical problems but I will not bore you by listing all of them here. Suffice it to say, I suffer every day. I suffer from pain; I suffer from depression; and I suffer from loneliness.

But I do have joy.

How can this be, you may ask? I am most eager to answer this question.

Before I became ill, I was a full-time working nurse, wife, and mother. I didn’t have time for any outside activities of my own. It was all I could do to come home from work each day and at the same time take care of my husband and children. But I was happy. I loved my life.

Then I became ill. Suddenly I was no longer the caretaker; I was the one being cared for. There are days when I’m in so much pain that I can’t even get out of bed. I’m confined for long periods of time to my bed or reclining chair.

I used to feel sorry for myself until one day I realized that I should be rejoicing instead of crying.

I’ve come to understand that God has blessed me with the most loving and understanding husband I could have ever asked for. I realized that when my husband took his wedding vows – the ones which state: “in sickness and in health” – he took those vows very seriously. He has proven it by taking on the roles of nurse, helper, friend, confidante, and lover.

Because I couldn’t work any more, our financial situation was in dire straits. So my hard-working husband took it upon himself to find a second part-time job just to help make ends meet. My dear husband works so hard that sometimes it makes me cry. But he never complains about it. He has never blamed me for it, even though at times I have blamed myself.

My husband also does all of the household chores and again, he does not complain. He does the cooking and the laundry, all without complaint. When our children were still in school, he was the one who attended the parent-teacher conferences. He was the one who drove our children to whatever practices or activities they were involved in for the day. He took my place at all the necessary social functions which I could not attend. He has done all these things, besides making sure that I have everything I need – sometimes giving those things to me before I even realized that I needed them myself.

Yes, my husband has brought me so much joy!

Our children have also been the bearers of joy for me. When I could not attend their school functions, they understood and never once did they complain about me not going. They only reassured me that it was all right, that they understood, and that they loved me. My children helped more around the house – doing things that I could no longer do. They have shown me nothing but love and understanding.

Yes, my children have brought me so much joy!

Since I’ve been ill, I’ve received so many telephone calls from my sisters and friends who check up on me, making sure that I’m okay, asking me what my needs are, and volunteering to fulfill those needs. Often times they’ll visit and spend time with me, just because they want to cheer me.

Yes, my sisters and friends have brought me so much joy!

Shortly after I became ill and was homebound, my husband thought it might be a good idea if I had a pet to keep me company during the day while I was alone so he bought me a little toy poodle. Her name is Lucy and she is my ever-faithful companion. She helped me through those long, lonely days and I believe she even helps to make me feel better. She always manages to put a smile on my face even when I am feeling low.

Yes, my little dog Lucy has brought me so much joy!

Because I have lots of time on my hands, I have been able to do some things that I never had time for when I was working. One of those things is writing. My illness has caused me to remember how much enjoyment I used to derive from writing. I’ve also discovered that writing is a wonderful form of therapy because it helps when I write down my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and my memories.

Yes, writing has brought me so much joy!

I have also discovered that when I’m in severe pain, if I pray and speak with my Lord, then my pain is lessened. I have come to know my God better than I have ever known Him before. To be with our Heavenly Father in prayer is a blessing.

Yes, God has brought me so much joy!

As a matter of fact, I have more joy in my life now than I ever did before.

So you see, there can be joy in suffering! You just have to know where to look for it, be grateful that you found it, appreciate it once you have it, and never, ever let it go.

 

 

 

 

Red Letter Saturday #10: “The Academy Awards”

On this day, May 16, 1929, the first Academy Awards presentation was held at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people. The post-awards party was held at the Mayfair Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for that night’s ceremony was $5 (the equivalent of $69 as of 2015). On that evening, fifteen statuettes were Oscarsawarded which honored artists, directors and other personalities of the film-making industry of the time for their works during the 1927–28 period. The entire ceremony ran for a total of fifteen minutes. The first Best Actor awarded was Emil Jannings, for his performances in “The Last Command and “The Way of All Flesh.” Because he had to return to Europe earlier than the ceremony, the Academy agreed to give him the prize earlier, and this made him the first Academy Award winner in history. The Oscar stauette which is given to the award winners is made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, is 13.5 inches tall, weighs 8.5 pounds, and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.

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So I wonder . . . how many of you, dear readers, watch the annual Academy Awards as they’re televised every year? I know that there are so many of us out there who do, so don’t be afraid to admit it, because you are just one of millions of people who do. As a matter of fact, in the year 2014, the viewing audience of the Oscars hit a 10-year high of 43.74 million viewers! But this year (2015), according to data collected, the 87th Academy Awards drew in only 36.6 million total viewers, the lowest total since 2009. But of course, there could be any number of reasons for the low numbers. Was it because of who or which movies were on the list of nominees? Was it because of what was playing on television opposite the Oscars that night? Or was it because the host (Neil Patrick Harris for 2015) didn’t quite fit the bill?

And what about watching the Red Carpet event that is televised before the actual Oscars ceremony itself? This year, ABC’s Oscars Red Carpet Live topped out at 24.3 million viewers in its final half hour of coverage leading into the ceremony. I don’t know about you, but watching the celebrities on the red carpet can be even more entertaining than the Academy Awards Ceremony itself. I mean – have you seen some of those dresses? Some of them are quite chic and others border on the outrageous, am I right? And then there are the sparkling jewels and the newest hairstyles and all the beautiful people to see and listen to as they’re being interviewed.

Nowadays many home viewers even have their own Oscar parties, complete with invitations, black-tie attire, catered food, and drinks to make it a night to remember. But I’d prefer to gather with a close circle of friends and keep tabs of my favorites with a score sheet and a pencil.

Whatever your preferences may be, whether it’s the Academy Awards Ceremony itself or the Red Carpet event, whether it’s an Oscars viewing gala or just watching at home with friends or maybe with just your own family, you can rest assured that even though those viewing numbers that I mentioned a few paragraphs before this may have been low in 2015, this will not be a good enough reason for the Academy to discontinue giving out the Oscars any time soon.

And the next time you hear those famous words: “And the Oscar goes to  . . . ,” who knows? Maybe, just maybe, it could be someone you know!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  Our minds are big enough to contemplate the cosmos but small enough to care about who wins an Oscar.”  – Dean Cavanagh

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This post is presented as part of my special weekly feature, Red-Letter Saturday. If you’d like to to know more information about Red-Letter Saturday, please click here:

Red-Letter Saturday 

Share Your World – 2015 Week #19

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

house 1Our house is a one floor house. As a matter of fact, we’re still living in the very first house we bought, which was thirty-eight years ago, and I’d venture to guess that this will be our only house because I think that the days for changing gears and moving into a different house have passed, and we’re getting up there in age, so why move now? When I was younger, I always thought that I wanted to live in a house which had multiple levels. There was a time when we entertained the notion of moving and there were a couple of houses that I would have liked to move to which did have those multiple levels. But now that we’re senior citizens (Wow! I can’t believe I actually typed that sentence!) I’m glad that our house has only one level because my knees aren’t what they used to be and they do give me trouble going up and down the stairs sometimes. So thank goodness for our foresight and our one level house.

If you have a TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?tv 1

This Christmas, our wonderful son gave us a big screen television as a gift, which we have mounted on our living room wall. It was a much-appreciated gift because the television we had was over twenty years old, was not even a flat screen TV, and the sound wasn’t working properly. But because we couldn’t afford a new TV, we continued using it. In addition to this, he gave us a home surround system, so now we’re really set up! I was so surprised by this gift, but ever so grateful! My husband does have a smaller set downstairs in his “man-cave,” as my oldest daughter likes to call it, which he uses all the time. We also have a small TV in our bedroom which I think we rarely even turn on.

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time? Explain your answer.

turn off lightWhenever I leave a room, I always turn off the lights behind me. I don’t think about it; it is something that I do automatically. Therefore, when we’re at home during the evening, you’ll find that there’s only a light on in the rooms which we occupy at the time. There absolutely is a reason for my compulsion. When I was growing up, my father was very strict about our usage of things like electricity, heat, and water. For instance, in the winter months if we came in from outside and didn’t close the door right away, he’d say: “Close that door. We don’t need to heat up the outside.” He was, of course, referring to letting the warmth from the furnace escape from our house through the open door. And it was the same for the electricity in our house. He was adamant about turning off the lights in a room as soon as you were leaving it, no excuses. And if a light was left on in a room, he would investigate to find out who had been the culprit. So I guess you could say that being energy-efficient was something I had drilled into me.

What’s your favorite room in your home?kitchen 2

My favorite room in my home is the kitchen. I’ve chosen the kitchen not because I love to cook but rather because it always seems to be the central gathering place when our family is together. After all, it’s the place where we share all of our most important family meals and discussions. Before our children grew up and left home, we shared every dinner meal seated around the kitchen table, so I have many happy memories associated with this room. And it’s also the room where we always play games, which we almost always do whenever we get together. So there’s also been a lot of laughter and high-fiving that’s gone on in our kitchen. Yes – I’d definitely say it’s the kitchen.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

OUR APPLE TREE IN BLOOM

OUR APPLE TREE IN BLOOM

I’m grateful that we’ve finally had some rain here in Minnesota. Everything was pretty brown and dry, with fire hazard warnings being posted on a daily basis. But now with the rain that has been finally sent our way, the grass has finally turned green and the apple tree which hangs over our deck has finally blossomed. And our apple tree in bloom is a sight which I look forward to every spring.

I’m also grateful that our youngest daughter Stephanie has just completed her first year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she’s pursuing her master’s degree in music performance. I just spoke with her yesterday and she’s so happy that she’s got that first year under her belt. She’s staying most of the summer in Madison, but will be coming home at the end of July for a few weeks, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Next week I’m looking forward to beginning a class which I’m taking online through Coursera called “Marriage and the looking forwardMovies: A History.” It’s a course that studies how marriage has been depicted in the movies, in commercials, and in advertising and its studies begin from the time that movies were first produced. We even get to watch movies with this course. Sounds interesting, right? I can hardly wait. And the best part about this course is that it’s free.

So now you know a little more about me.

I’m glad we had this time together and I’d like to thank you for spending it with me. I’m so pleased that I was able to share a bit about myself and my world with you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Best,

Cindy's signature with flower and butterfly

 

 

 

 

share your world

 

This post is presented as part of the Share Your World Challenge. If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

 

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