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Share Your World – 2015 Week #17

What is your most favorite smell/scent?little girl smelling sunflower

The sense of smell is really quite fascinating. As a matter of fact, it is the only sense that has a direct connection to the brain. Okay, so I’m a nurse and I can’t help but give you a few facts – sorry about that. But did you know that according to the journal Science, people can detect at least one trillion distinct scents? Isn’t that incredible? Not only that, but we can also smell fear and disgust! These feelings are detected through sweat. The researchers found that women who smelled the “fear sweat” opened their eyes widely in a fearful expression, and women who smelled the “disgust sweat” also displayed facial expressions of disgust. Isn’t that interesting? I thought so, which is why I couldn’t help but mention it. Also, smell is the oldest sense and women have a better sense of smell than men. Maybe that’s why we love our perfumes cinnamon rollsso much, eh?

As for me, my favorite smell is cinnamon. It could be that it reminds me of my days growing up when my Mom would make cinnamon rolls. It was always one of our favorite treats and it wasn’t something that she did very often, but when she did, it was so special. Usually she’d bake these yummy treats on Saturday morning because on Sundays there simply wasn’t enough time because of church. The sweet aroma of the cinnamon in those rolls as they baked in the oven would waft from the kitchen all throughout the house, and if you happened to be sleeping at the time, it woke you up for sure! And now, whenever I smell cinnamon, my first thought is often of my mother and those long ago days of my youth when life was so much simpler.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? dippity do

When I was younger, I wore my hair long, a little past my shoulders. I have naturally curly hair and believe me, that was not always easy to manage, especially thirty years ago when that type of hair was not “stylish.” I actually used to sleep in huge rollers after using “Dippity-Do” hair gel just to get my hair manageable! Then after I was married, and while my husband was away for a weekend camping trip with his friends, I decided that I’d had enough of all the fuss and muss of my hair, so I went to the hair salon and did the deed. I had them cut it short. I really liked my new haircut, but I was a little apprehensive about curly hairwhat my fairly new husband was going to have to say about it because I knew that he loved my longer hair. Believe me, he was plenty shocked when he walked through the door to our apartment that Sunday evening. He could hardly believe that I’d gone ahead and done such a thing without telling him about it first. It took him quite a while to get used to my new “do.” But gradually he did, and since then, I’ve never looked back. I’ve worn my hair short ever since. It’s a lot easier to manage. All I have to do is wash and wear, and the curls lay quite nicely with a shorter style. My oldest daughter Sarah has also been blessed with my curls, and she wears her hair longer, but she’s younger and she really knows how to work with her curls.

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)

Oh, this question is without a doubt one of the easiest questions I have ever answered in this forum. I am definitely a planner. And I’ve always been a planner for as far back as I can remember. When I was young, I was always the one to spontaneousthink of which games we were going to play, whose house we were going to play at, what time we would get together, etc. And everyone wanted me be the planner. I don’t know if it was because it was easier for them or if it was because they figured that things went smoother when I was. I’m not bragging; it’s simply the way it was. And I think that because I was designated this role from an early age, I continued on in this way up until now. Now that’s not to say that I don’t like being spontaneous from time to time, because I do. I do like – as a matter of fact – I enjoy surprises and doing things off the cuff. And so, my dear husband Mike, if you are reading this (and I hope you are because you do read my blog from time to time) I could use a little more spontaneity in my life, so don’t be afraid to throw some in, okay? 🙂

pickleball 2What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Oh my! I am so happy that you asked this question this week because now I can tell you what my new favorite outdoor activity is because I just began doing it a week ago and it’s so exciting! Or at least for me it is. First of all, let me tell you that I am not, nor have I ever been, any kind of athlete whatsoever. Ever since my youth, I was always the last one chosen to be on any kind of team because I was always the slowest runner. Sad, but true. I have the shortest legs and no speed whatsoever. So I’ve never really gotten into any kind of sport because I was never very good at it. But last Saturday my sisters introduced me to a new sport that yours truly can actually participate in. It’s called “pickleball.” Ever hear of it? Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton, and pingpong. It’s played with a paddle and a wiffle ball on a short court, which is great for me because it means you don’t have topickleball 1 run as far as you would if you were playing tennis, which I’ve tried before and did not succeed at doing. Anyway, I’ve been having a marvelous time playing and since playing last Saturday, I have played five days out of seven so far! Isn’t that amazing? What’s even more amazing is that my back, which has previously given me so many problems with severe pain to the point where I never thought I’d be able to play such a game, hasn’t even bothered me! Go figure! So, if you’re looking for a neat little sport to try out, then you really should give pickleball a whirl. The other day, I wrote a blog post about this new experience which is more in-depth, so if you’d like to read it, I’ve included a link here:

My Favorite Outdoor Activity

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

My new pickleball racket

My new pickleball racket

I am truly grateful to my sisters Diane and Terri for introducing me to my brand new favorite outdoor activity of pickleball. I’ve had so much fun playing pickleball with them. We’ve also introduced the game to one of our other sisters, Marge (did I tell you that I have five sisters?) and she also now has pickleball fever! This means we only have two sisters to go! 🙂 Not only have I had a “ball” playing, but as I mentioned earlier, my back pain is gone, which has been like a miracle to me. It’s also been a source of wonderful exercise for me, something which I know that I’ve needed to incorporate into my life for quite some time now. I’m also hopeful that maybe now I can lose some more weight, which to me, would be just icing on the cake. So, thanks, dear Sisters! You’re the best! But watch out, Sisters – by the end of the summer, I’m going to be the best pickleball player ever, and then you’ll be sorry that you taught me how to play . . . 🙂

I finished the Writing101 course that WordPress offered in April, which means that I’m looking forward to just relaxing this week with no real deadlines as far as my writing or blogging is concerned. It’s always nice to take a course and do your best, but it’s even nicer when you’re finished and not to have to worry about a deadline.thunderstorm picture

I’m also looking forward to more summer-like weather here in Minnesota. We’re scheduled to receive some rain and even some thunderstorms in the upcoming week, but we can use the rain. And guess what? I love thunderstorms. Yes, it’s true. As long as the weather sunny day at parkisn’t too threatening, and when I say threatening, I mean damaging high winds or even worse – tornadoes, then I don’t mind a good little thunderstorm. And that’s one more smell that I really love – the smell of rain. My husband claims that he can’t smell the rain when it’s coming, but I can, and I love that smell of the rain right before it arrives. And what’s even better is the smell after it rains. And right now everything needs a little greening up, so I say, “Bring on the rain.” But I hope that a few days of sunshine are thrown in next week, too! Because that means we can play some pickleball! 🙂

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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Writing 101: Day Nineteen – “Don’t Stop the Rockin'”

Day Nineteen – Don’t Stop the Rockin’:  

* Today’s Prompt:  Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop.

 

Up to this point, I believed that I was quite satisfied with my life just the way it was. After being medically disabled for the past eleven years, I had finally come to accept my situation and had learned to deal with the pain of my disability so that I could participate in the activities of daily living. It had been a very long road, but I had come a long way, and now I was at a point where I was enjoying many good days. But I knew that there was one thing that I was supposed to do that would make me feel even better and that was exercise. It’s not that I didn’t want to exercise, but every time that I tried, my lower back would go into spasm and then I would just stop. So I just never exercised.

Then last week my sister Diane phoned telling me that she and my sister Terri had begun playing a new game called “pickleball,” and she asked if I’d like to come on Saturday to try it out. I was hesitant at first, wondering how my back would hold out, but then a little voice inside told me to go ahead and try it and so I agreed. Here was my opportunity to get some exercise.

On Saturday morning, I packed up for the trip to the gym because we were going to an indoor court. I had decided ahead of time that I would bring my laptop, already thinking that I probably wouldn’t be able to play this game because of my back. I figured that I’d give it a try and then if my back couldn’t hold up to the strain, I could sit on the sidelines and do some writing while I waited for my sisters to finish their games (Diane had told me we’d be probably be gone for two to three hours).

After arriving at the gym, I noticed there were six courts set up to play this new game. My sisters had informed me on the drive over that pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and is played with a paddle and a wiffle ball on a short court. I was grateful for the shorter court because I had tried tennis before and had failed miserably. Goodness knows I am no athlete!

 

 

And so my sisters began to coach me on the game of pickleball: how to serve, how to hit the ball back and forth, how to score, etc. I began to get the hang of the game and before long, I was actually enjoying myself, and so we decided to play a game. By this time, a woman whom my sisters worked with had joined us so that we’d be able to play doubles. And so we began.

After about fifteen minutes of playing, right on cue, my back went into spasm. But I didn’t want to stop, so I pushed through the pain and before long, like a miracle, the spasm disappeared! I was ecstatic. Not only that, but the back pain never returned. This had never happened before. It was such a glorious feeling. I felt as though I had won an Olympic medal!

We went on to play four games of pickleball that day, which lasted a total of nearly three hours. I could hardly believe that I had accomplished such a feat. Imagine me – who led a sedentary life, doing that kind of exercise for nearly three hours! And I had such a marvelous time – with no back pain. It was incredible.

And guess what I did that afternoon? I went out and bought my own graphite pickleball racket because I knew that I was going to be playing a lot of pickleball.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: Just when you think you want to quit is when you have to keep pushing even harder because when you do succeed, that’s when you’ll find it will all be worthwhile. And it was.

 

 

Writing 101: Day Seventeen – “Your Personality on the Page”

Day Seventeen – Your Personality on the Page:  

* Today’s Prompt:  What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. 

* Today’s Twist:  Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

 

I don’t think that there’s a single person in the world who doesn’t have a fear of something. If there is someone who says that they’re not afraid of anything, then he or she is truly unique. Either that, or they just don’t want to admit it!

According to Psychology Today: “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger – if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus FEAR1hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”

Being afraid is healthy. Being afraid is normal. Being afraid is part of being human. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something that we all experience, and therefore, it’s something we can all relate to. The only difference is that we don’t all have the same fears.

I am no different from anyone else. I have fears of my own. And I can also tell you what I’m not afraid of. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid of spiders. I’m not afraid of clowns. I’m not afraid of thunder. And I’m not even afraid of dying.`

My number one fear is the fear of heights, otherwise known as acrophobia. In my research of acrophobia, I read that everyone who suffers from acrophobia experiences it in their own way and may have different symptoms. Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread. This fear of heights can be dangerous, as in situations where the person has a panic attack in a high place and becomes too agitated to get themselves down safely. Some acrophobics also suffer from urges to throw themselves off high places, despite not being suicidal.

Acrophobia 200In researching the causes for acrophobia, I discovered that the most widely accepted explanation is that acrophobia stems from the natural fear of falling and being injured or killed. A phobia such as the fear of heights occurs when fear is taken to an extreme, possibly due to unintentional learning, generalization of the fear response, or the result of a traumatic experience. Like other fears and phobias, acrophobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism, which agrees with the article that I read in Psychology Today, as mentioned earlier in this post. It could be that at some point in my past, there may have been an event linking heights or high levels and emotional trauma. My mind could be seeking to protect my body from further trauma and that is what is causing an extreme fear of the situation, in this case the fear of heights.

I have racked my brain, trying desperately to remember what event could have caused my fear of heights, but to no avail. As a matter of fact, in my youth, I had no such fear. I remember going to the fair or to the amusement park and absolutely loving it when I could ride on the ferris wheel. I also remember going to the top of the IDS Tower in Minneapolis and looking out over the city with its beautiful view, reveling in the feeling. And the IDS Tower has a total of 57 levels! Never once was I afraid in any of those situations.  But the very first time that I had to fly on an airplane, I was terrified. I almost didn’t get on the plane.conquering fears 100

Now I’m afraid to look out the window of a two-story building. Even worse, I’m afraid to stand on a chair for fear that I might fall. But what’s even stranger is that I have flying dreams. Now how do you explain that? Wouldn’t you think that a person who is afraid of heights wouldn’t have a dream about flying? Or maybe the two aren’t even related.

But I guess it could be worse. I could be afraid of people, intimacy, or even love. And yes, those are real fears that real people are afraid of.

So what to do about our fears, whatever they may be? I’ve thought about this and I think that the answer is not really all that difficult. First, I think that a person has to realize that they’re not alone. There are probably millions of people who have the same fears that you do. Then the next step is to face your fear by exposing yourself to it. And I realize that this is the hardest step. But if you do it, just a little at a time, then maybe one day you can conquer your fears.

ferris wheelAs for myself, I’m hoping that some day I can ride the ferris wheel again without being afraid. It would be so nice to sit in one of those ferris wheel cars with one of my children or my husband and enjoy myself as it goes up and down. And then when it stops at the top, I can look out over the fair grounds and think: “Wow! I did it. I’m not afraid anymore. Isn’t life grand?”

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Writing 101: Day Sixteen – “Serial Killer III”

Day Sixteen – Serial Killer III:  

* Today’s Prompt:   Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.

* Today’s Twist:  If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.

After being medically disabled in 2004, my world came crashing down and depression quickly set in. But then my husband suggested that I return to writing, a love that I had long since forgotten. It was a suggestion for which I will be forever grateful because writing changed my attitude about life and all of a sudden, my situation didn’t seem as tragic as I had pictured it to be.

With the event of my medical disability, I lost my nursing career, something which I treasured. But on the other hand, with the event of my medical disability, I found one of my first loves: writing, another treasure, which had been buried for so long and so deep within me. And I was so happy that I found it once again.

One day while cleaning out our basement, I stumbled upon a large cardboard box which contained hundreds of old photographs that I had totally forgotten were being stored in this particular part of our house. Curious, I decided to carry the box up to our kitchen and look through its contents, and I was so glad that I did.Mom Wedding pic 3

I found a photograph of my mother which was taken on her wedding day. This photograph was a black and white 8 X 10 picture and it revealed that she was indeed one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen. It could be that I’m biased, but I have included a copy of that very same photo with this entry so that you can judge for yourself. The photo brought back a memory of the story that my mother related to me of my parents’ love story, and it was then that I realized that this was the perfect first story for me to write about after rediscovering my first love – writing.

Regarding my parents’ courtship – now this is an interesting and romantic little tale to tell. As a matter of fact, it’s just like something out of a movie.

My father John came from a very large family of eleven children. Yes, my father’s parents were good Catholics and absolutely believed in large families.

During World War II, my mother was engaged to my father’s brother, Patrick, who was the second oldest sibling. At this time, my father was a sergeant in the army and was serving overseas, and my mother had never even met my father.

My Aunt Dorothy, who was married to my Uncle Ray, the oldest sibling, was good friends with my mother. She told my mother: “Marg, (my mother’s name was Margaret) if you like Pat, just wait until you meet Jack.” She was referring to my father, who was nicknamed Jack.

When my father was discharged from the service and came home, his brother Patrick then entered the military service. It was then that my mother met my father through my Aunt Dorothy. Somehow they began to date. I think my Aunt Dorothy had a lot to do with this. I think she felt that my mother and father were destined to be together instead of my mother and my Uncle Pat being together.

My mother and father fell in love. She broke off the engagement with my Uncle Pat. And she told me that this was one of the most difficult things she ever had to do, and she felt so awful doing it, but she knew she was meant to be with my father. My father proposed to her and she accepted. Now this is the stuff that romance is made of, and who would have ever thought that something like this would happen between your mother and father, of all people? Ah, such is love.

My parents were married on November 19, 1946. And my father asked my Uncle Pat to be his best man. According to my mother, on their wedding day, my Uncle Pat said to my father: “I hope you’re never happy.” Yes, I guess he was a little bitter. But eventually he accepted their marriage and later on, my father and my Uncle Pat became the best of friends once again. My Uncle Pat married a wonderful woman – my Aunt Colleen. They would always vist us on Christmas Day, and you would never guess that my Uncle Pat held a grudge against my father for a while.

I am grateful that my mother chose my father to be her husband. They loved each other totally and deeply. And even though they never had much as far as wealth is concerned, they always had the one thing that is the most important – true love. And who could ask for anything more?

 

 

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http://blainecindy.com/2015/04/09/writing-101-day-four-the-serial-killer/

http://blainecindy.com/2015/04/23/writing-101-day-thirteen-serial-killer-ii/

 

 

 

 

Writing 101: Day Fifteen – “Your Voice Will Find You”

Day  Fifteen – Your Voice Will Find You: 

* Today’s Prompt:  You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it.

* Today’s Twist:  While writing this post, focus again on your own voice.

The event that is near and dear to my heart and which would create quite an emotional reaction from me if it were forever cancelled would be the Minnesota State Fair.

The Minnesota State Fair, which is also known to us Minnesotans as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” runs for twelve days from MN State Fair 1late August into early September, ending on Labor Day. The state fairgrounds are located in the neighborhood of Falcon Heights, which is halfway between our state’s capital city of St. Paul (the city which I grew up in) and its largest city, Minneapolis. The Minnesota State Fair enjoys the reputation of being the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance.

I have been attending the Minnesota State Fair since my childhood and I have many fond memories associated with doing so. One such memory includes the time that my only brother (now deceased) and I rode the roller coaster together. I recall how terrified I was. I thought for certain that I was going to fly out of the roller coaster car and land on the ground to meet an early death. I began to sob, and so my brother put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Don’t worry, Cindy. It’s okay. I won’t let anything happen to you. Just close your eyes and hang on. Pretty soon it will be all over and when we’re done, I’ll buy you some cotton candy, okay?” He made me feel so safe and so loved.

bandshellDuring my teenage years, my friends and I would take the city bus every morning and arrive at the fair as soon as it opened. We didn’t have much money, but all we needed was just enough to cover the admission fee and the cost of soft drinks and lunch and dinner. Then we’d spend the day sitting in the audience at the band shell watching the free entertainment which was provided. And we had our favorites such as Billy ThunderKloud and the Chieftones and the Jack D’Johns. Then every evening at 7 p.m. the talent show was held and we’d stay to watch it, pretending that we were the judges, trying to figure out who were the best acts and who would be chosen to go on to the next round. We did this for every day of the fair, come rain or come shine, for three or four years in a row, until eventually we outgrew it.

After I was married, I didn’t attend the state fair for quite a number of years. This was due to the fact that my husband Mike has severe seasonal allergies and it is around this time of the year that he is most affected by them. There was one year, however, that he agreed to take me to the fair just to please me, but he suffered the entire time that we were there, so I never asked him to go with me again because it just didn’t seem fair to put him through such misery just so I could have a good time.

But then our children came along and I began taking them to the Minnesota State Fair and this is when many more wonderful memories were made. My two daughters and I have been to the fair together on numerous occasions, and when we go together, we have the best time ever.

Usually we park our car at Northtown Mall near my house and board a bus which shuttles passengers directly to the fairgrounds. This dairy buildingis the best way to go to the fair because then you don’t have to try to find a place to park your car near the fair grounds, and believe me, usually you wind up parking a mile or two away!

After arriving, we head straight to the Dairy Building where it’s chocolate shakes for everyone, and here they make the best chocolate shakes you’ve ever tasted – cold, smooth, creamy, and so rich and full of chocolate goodness! While we drink our shakes, we sit on a bench on the street curb and watch while animal owners walk with their goats and lambs and horses and other various animals up and down the avenue. I know this might sound boring, but it’s really quite a lot of fun. We’ve seen some very interesting things happen. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen some downright hysterical things happen. But then again, whenever we’re together, we always have a good time.

lambsSometimes we’ll take a leisurely stroll over to the Miracle of Birth Center. This building describes exactly what it is. It’s where you can watch all kinds of animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, horses, etc. – give birth at any given time. You just have to time it right. I’ll never forget the first time that we entered this building and saw a sheep give birth to her lamb. My youngest daughter Stephanie and I witnessed the entire birth, from start to finish, and had the perfect view because we were right up front. But my oldest daughter Sarah couldn’t bear to watch it. She actually had to turn away. You never saw anyone exit a building so fast! And my girls were not little girls then – I believe they were probably 12 and 14 years of age then.

We always head over to the Arts and Crafts Building. Now this is my favorite building to walk through. I just love to see the beautiful arts and crafts buildinghandicrafts that people like me have made with their very own hands, probably because I love to do arts and crafts myself. I especially enjoy looking at the quilts because again, this is a hobby of mine. And I enjoy noticing which projects received the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Grand Prizes. It usually takes us over an hour to get through this building because it’s not a building that you can rush through. But then again, we never rush through this day. We take our time. Everything is done at a leisurely pace because we want to enjoy the day and each other’s company. As a matter of fact, I always tell my girls before we leave to remember that we have to enjoy our day together and that we’re not going to rush anything. And they always chime together: “Yes, Mom. We know.”

We usually stop at the band shell at some point during the day to sit and watch the various acts for a while and then we always come back later in the evening to watch the entire talent show. And when we do, it always brings a smile to my face as I remember those days of being there during my teenage years. It is a nostalgic experience for me.

skyrideAnd what would a trip to the fair being without going to the Midway at some time throughout the day? According to my girls, it just wouldn’t be the same. And so we always go on at least a few rides. There is one ride that we always go on without fail, and that is the Skyride, which is located right before you get to the Midway. The Skyride is a cable car system that “glides” people above the treetops and across the fairgrounds. It’s a great way to see the Minnesota State Fair. Every time before we go to the fair together, I promise my girls that I will go on the Skyride with them, but then when it’s time to get on, I’m scared out of my wits because guess what? I’m afraid of heights! But I take a deep breath, gather up my courage, and get into the cable car anyway. Yep, that’s right. I sit in between my girls and I hold on to each of their hands and I squeeze their hands – hard! And while we’re on that Skyride, I think they have the time of their lives! The little buggers! Oh, well. I guess it’s good for kids to know that their parents get scared sometimes, too, right?

Now while we’re having all this fun, guess what else we’re doing? You guessed it. Eating. Our favorite foods to eat at the fair are: chocolate shakes, cheeseburgers, roasted ears of corn, pronto pups, cheese curds, cotton candy, french fries, deep-fried candy bars, caramel apples, mini-donuts, fried chicken, baked potatoes, chocolate chip cookies, and soft pretzels. Now remember – we do a lot of walking, which hopefully helps us to walk off all those calories!bullriding

We always end our day by going to the rodeo in the evening. My girls and I love to go the rodeo. But in order to go, we first make a stop at the bazaar and buy cowboy hats because you simply cannot attend the rodeo without wearing a cowboy hat, right? Our favorite event to watch at the rodeo is bull riding. My husband really gets a kick out of the fact that I enjoy the rodeo. He simply had a hard time believing that someone like me would ever enjoy an event like the rodeo, but I guess I surprised him! Yes, I’m just full of surprises.

fireworksBy the time the rodeo is finished, dark has fallen on the fairgrounds, and we hike up to the grandstand, where the performance for that evening is drawing to a close. As we get nearer to the grandstand, we can always hear that night’s band winding down. We find a spot on the street and settle down to wait for the performance to end. As soon as it does, we know what comes next, and we’re never disappointed. Soon the fireworks display begins high above the grandstand and we watch together, while we “ooh” and “ah,” happy in the moment, but also sad because we know that our day is slowly drawing to an end.

When the last of the fireworks has vanished from the skies, we walk at our slowest pace to where our bus is waiting to take us back to where our day began, and usually this is a quiet walk. It’s as though we’re all thinking about what transpired during the day. It’s as though we’re all trying to sear it into our memories forever.

We may not remember everything we did, every word we spoke, or everything we laughed about, but we will always remember the way that we felt when we were together at “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” – the Minnesota State Fair.

 

 

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #16

What are your favorite spices?spices

What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice! Okay, so that should give you a clue as to the kinds of spices that I enjoy, right? No? Well, I love the kinds of spices that help to bake up yummy sweet treats like cookies and cakes and bars – yes, I have a real sweet tooth! So my favorite spices are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, sugar – oops – they tell me that sugar is NOT a spice! Sugar is a sweetener or additive, but NOT a spice. So I guess I’ll have to cross that off my list. But just think of what you can do with cinnamon – cinnamon buns, cinnamon for tea, in your hot chocolate – yum! Ginger for baked goods like gingersnap cookies, ginger in cake recipes, gingerbread, and ginger also in tea. And you can use nutmeg in all sorts of delicious ways. Therefore, if it helps to satisfy my sweet tooth, that spice is definitely for me. I just have to careful not to indulge too much, otherwise my clothes start to get too tight!

What object do you always have with you when traveling and why?

our family 100There are three things that I must have with me when I travel. First, I must have my medications, and the reasons for this is obvious. The second thing I must have is my chromebook. As long as I have my chromebook with me, it’s my connection to the world. Not only can I receive my email, but I can also continue blogging and writing, which is important to me. It’s also a great way of providing entertainment because I can watch movies on Netflix, HBO and Showtime if I want, so that’s another great benefit. And the third item that I absolutely must have is purely sentimental because I’m a sentimental person, and that’s a photograph of my family. I know what you’re thinking – I could just look at snapshots of my family from my phone, right? Yes, I could do that. But it’s so much nicer to have a framed 8 x 10 photo propped up on the nightstand for me to see the last thing before I go to sleep at night and the first thing to see when I wake up in the morning. It just helps to remind me that they’re waiting for me to come back home.

What is one thing you love about being an adult?being an adult

I love the fact that I’m able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and however I want to do it. I can just be me and no one can tell me how to be me. I am free to be whoever I want. I guess the word that sums it up would be freedom. And isn’t that a great word? That’s what our country is all about – freedom – and I love every minute of it. It’s the best feeling in the world, isn’t it?

What item, that you don’t have already, would you most like to own?

Oh my goodness! I know exactly what I would like to own because I’ve been thinking about this and wishing it for the last year.

baby grand pianoEver since I was a young child I wanted to play the piano, but while I was growing up, we were very poor and my parents could not afford to buy a piano. After we were married, raising a family and other financial concerns seemed more important, so my piano dream was set aside. In January of 2014 I began thinking about playing the piano again and my church choir director actually gave me an upright piano. This was an amazing gift and I was grateful beyond words. I love my piano because it was like a dream come true. This piano is over a hundred years old and it does play very nicely; however, if I could have an item that I don’t have already, I would love to own a baby grand piano.

Could you just imagine how a baby grand piano would sound? I think that I would be in heaven if I could sit down to play music on my very own baby grand piano.

And my oldest daughter Sarah told me that when I get a new piano she would like to have my upright piano. “Mom,” she said, “just think how nice it would be if your grandchildren could learn how to play the piano on their grandma’s upright piano.” And that would be her dream come true.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? grateful 100

At the moment, my daughter Sarah is working as an optometric technician; however, she is considering changing her profession and is thinking of working as a veterinary technician. In order to see if this would be something that she’d be interested in, she decided to become a volunteer at the Animal Humane Society and has obtained a position as a veterinary assistant where she’ll be working closely with a veterinarian. I’m grateful that she’s been given this opportunity and hopefully, this will give her all the information that she’ll need in order to make an informed decision on her future in the field of employment.

hopeful smiley faceIn the coming week, I’m looking forward to getting over this bug that I’ve been sick with for the past week. I came down with it last Wednesday and it progressed from a scratchy throat to a congestion in my chest with a tight cough and wheezing. It prevented me from singing in my church choir on Sunday, which always makes me sad. I’m feeling much better, but it’s not totally out of my system yet, so I’m hoping that it will be gone soon. There is one bright spot though – it doesn’t prevent me from writing! So not all is lost! 🙂

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Boy Who Was Meant To Be Our Son

The time had come for my husband and me to make a momentous decision that would change our lives forever. Both of us had grown up in big families; Mike had five siblings, and I had six. We both knew the joys and happiness of being part of a large family, and we wanted to have the same kind of family – with at least three children

We had moved into our four bedroom home about eight years before, but the rooms were empty and the silence was deafening. We wanted to hear the sound of children padding down the hallway in their slippers. We wanted to say goodnight prayers with them before they went to sleep. We wanted to be good parents and encourage and comfort our children as needed. This was our wish, but no matter how hard we tried, our wish would not come true.

Actually, I had been pregnant once. It was right before we moved into our house. During this time, we were so excited and happy.  We thought it was the perfect time to have a baby. Naturally, I wanted to share our happiness so I called my mother, all my sisters and my brother and told them the good news.  Mike did the same with his side of the family. At that time, life seemed so perfect.

Then it happened.  Two days after my pregnancy was confirmed, I suffered a miscarriage and our perfect dream was ruined.

I will never forget that tragic day. I was so depressed and so unhappy. What if I could never give birth to a child? What would we do then? We had tried so many times to get pregnant and when we finally did, I miscarried. Our hopes and dreams of a big family soon grew dim.

Three more years passed by and still no baby. We went to fertility specialists and had all sorts of tests and procedures done.  Nothing happened. No matter what we tried, I still did not become pregnant.

It was around this time I decided I needed a change of pace.The plan was for me to go to nursing school, and when I graduated I could work in the operating room. I had two sisters who worked in the operating room and it sounded like the perfect job for me. My husband supported me in this decision, as he always did.

I started nursing school. I had a very hectic schedule. I would go to work in the morning, still working my full-time hours, and when I finished working for the day, I went to nursing school. Then I would get home around 10:00, eat something for dinner, and shortly after that I would retire to my bed.The next morning, I woke up and started all over again. My weekends were filled with studying and doing clinicals. These were the hours we spent at the hospital working as student nurses. It was valuable experience.

But no matter how hard I worked, whether it be at my job or in school, I knew there was still a hole in our lives. I also knew that the only thing that would fill this hole would be a baby. I talked with Mike about this and after many such discussions we decided that we would go ahead and adopt a child. After all, any child was God’s child, and we would be honored to raise one of God’s children.

We decided to go through Catholic Charities and begin the process of adoption. We wanted a newborn baby, and Mike wanted a son.  So after all the paperwork and red tape, it was finally just a matter of waiting for the baby. They informed us that it would be about three years for the adoption to occur. This meant that I would have plenty of time to graduate from nursing school and find a job working as a nurse before our baby came.

As the days passed by, we redecorated one of the bedrooms and made it into the nursery. We painted it blue because blue is Mike’s favorite color. I made curtains for the windows and a matching quilt for the crib. The theme for the nursery was “Care Bears”. . Care Bears were all over the room; in the curtains, in the quilt, in the pictures on the wall, and there were even Care Bear toys in the crib.

Next came the moment to hang a plaque on the wall which matched our sentiments exactly:  On the plaque were these words:

 Not flesh of my flesh,
 Nor bone of my bone,
 But still miraculously my own.

 Never forget for a single minute;
You didn’t grow under my heart

But in it.

As a final touch, we hung a cross on the wall; a symbol that our baby was loved by the Lord.

We  were finished.  All we had to do now was wait for our son to be born. We had already decided on a name.  We would name him Joseph Michael – Joseph after my husband’s father, and Michael after my husband.

Life continued with me working every day and going to school every night. Another year passed, and then it happened. I was home studying for a big exam that we were having that evening. As I was sitting in the kitchen, surrounded by all my books and notebooks, the telephone rang. It was my husband Mike.

“What are you doing?” he asked nonchalantly.

“I’m studying for the test – what do you think I ‘m doing?”  Because of the difficulty of the upcoming exam, I was under a lot of pressure, and therefore I was a little grumpy.

“Are you sitting down?”

“That is the standard position used to study for a test; of course I am sitting down!”  I kept thinking that we were wasting valuable time on the phone when I could be studying for the exam.

“Then I have something to tell you.”

“Okay, what is it?” I answered hoping the conversation was almost over.  I wished he would just hurry up and get it over with so I could get back to studying.

“She called!”

I could hardly believe it.  When Mike said “She called,” I knew exactly who he was referring to.  I don’t know how I knew it, but I did

“Really?  Oh my gosh, really?  This isn’t one of your pranks, is it?  Did she really call?”  He had finally gotten my attention and a shiver of excitement ran through me.

“Yes, dear, she did call.  I wouldn’t fool around about something like that. Anyway, she said that tomorrow we can come and pick up our son”.

Now this was too much. When Michael said we could pick up our son, I lost it. There was a huge lump in my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes. Before I knew it, there I was, crying like a baby.

“What’s the matter, Cindy? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine; I’m just so happy, that’s all, and it’s happening a lot earlier than we thought, so I’m surprised, too!” It was a minute or two before I gained my composure back, and then I started to ask questions.

“How big is he? When was he born? Is he eating cereal yet?” I questioned, as I gave Mike the third degree about our new son.

“Whoa, hang on honey. I didn’t ask her all those questions, but I knew you would, so she gave me her telephone number and said you could call any time and she’d give you all the details.”

So Mike gave me the telephone number and now I wanted to hang up so I could call the social worker.

“Well,” I said, “you’re probably pretty busy at work and I suppose I should let you go.”

Mike laughed. “Okay, okay, I get the hint. You want me to get off the line so you can call the social worker. It’s okay. I understand. Go ahead and call her and then we’ll talk before you go to class tonight. I think we have some planning to do.”

“You’re right about that. I’ll be waiting.”

When I put the receiver down my mind was spinning out of control. All I kept thinking about was the baby. What does he look like? How big is he? Does he have a family history of any medical problems? What day was he born on?

So it went on like that and after a few minutes, when I had calmed down, I picked up the receiver and started to dial the number Mike had given to me. My hands were shaking as I punched in each number, and the first time I dialed a wrong number. So I tried it again and this time I dialed the right number. After two rings it was picked up, and a friendly voice answered.

“Catholic Social Services. How may I help you?”

“I would like to speak to Lisa, please.”

“Of course, please hold and I will transfer you”.

As I was put on hold there was music playing softly on the line. I recognized the tune as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, one of my favorites. The melody was coming to an end when finally a voice caused the music to stop.

“This is Lisa.,  How may I help you?”

“Hi Lisa. This is Cindy. I believe you spoke with my husband a little while ago?”

“Yes I did. Tomorrow’s the big day! How are you feeling? Are you excited?”

“Oh my goodness, I am so happy and excited! \Words cannot even begin to describe how I feel. We are so excited, but we didn’t expect the baby for at least another year, so you have really taken us by surprise. Today we’ll have to go out and get diapers and formula and whatever else he may need. We do have the nursery completed, thank goodness.”

“That’s wonderful. Now tell me – do you have any questions?”

“Oh my, I have so many questions. How big is he?”

“He weighs 8 lbs, 9 oz. He is a big boy.”

“How old is he now?” I asked.

“Let’s see – here it is – he is eight weeks old”.

“Wow, he is young. What is his birth date?”

“Ok, let’s see – where did I find that before? Here it is. His birth date is listed as November 22nd.”

I could not believe my ears. November 22nd! My hands started to shake and I couldn’t hold back the tears that filled my eyes. Soon I was crying so hard that it seemed as though I would never be able to stop.

“Cindy – are you okay? What’s wrong? Did I say something to upset you?” Lisa asked as I was sobbing.

I tried to stop crying and gain my composure once again. After a minute or two I was able to speak again.

“I’m sorry about that. You just took me by surprise, that’s all.”

“Took you by surprise about what?”

“Okay.”  I took a big breath. “You see, a few years back I was pregnant. We were moving into our new house and it seemed the perfect time to have a baby. We told all our family and friends about our good news and then two days later I had a miscarriage, but after that couldn’t become pregnant again. That’s why we decided to adopt a baby. But the reason I was crying is because when I was pregnant, the baby’s due date was November 22nd, the same birth date as our new son. I can hardly believe it.”

At first there was silence on the other end of the line. Then after a moment Lisa spoke very softy.

“Oh Cindy, you just gave me goosebumps. This is wonderful. I truly believe this little boy is meant to be your son.  Congratulations!”

“Thank you Lisa. What time may we come tomorrow to pick up our little Joey?” I inquired.

“Ten o’clock. And bring an outfit for him to wear when he meets his new mommy and daddy..”

After my exam that night, we rushed to Target to buy essentials for our new son – bottles, formula, diapers, and an outfit for him to wear for his homecoming. When we arrived home, I placed everything where it should be. I also thought we should clean our house; after all, we were sure to have visitors over the weekend. We worked for a couple hours and then we settled into bed. I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep, but for some reason the minute my head hit the pillow, I fell into a deep and peaceful slumber.

In the morning, we were both in happy moods as we showered and dressed for the big day. Finally 9:30 arrived and we left for Catholic Charities. We made sure we had the car seat for the baby buckled up tight in the back seat. I also brought a couple of extra blankets since it was January and the wind chill was 20 degrees below 0. When we arrived at Catholic Charities, we told the receptionist who we were and soon enough, Lisa came and greeted us.

“Let’s go upstairs,” she said.joey-at-16-months-old

We walked up the huge staircase to the second floor. She showed us into a little room where we could sit and wait.  I gave to her the clothing I had brought for our new son. She left the room and gently closed the door. Not a word passed between me and my husband. We just sat there, holding hands, waiting for our new son to appear.

It was not very long before the door opened. Lisa came into the room carrying our new son. There he was – our baby, our son – our little Joey. I tried to hold back the tears on this happy occasion. Lisa said to us, “Mom and Dad — meet your new son.”  I held out my arms and she gently placed him into them. He was awake and alert and he didn’t seem to mind being handed over to me. When I looked up, Lisa was gone. My husband and I were alone with out new little bundle of joy.

As I looked into the face of our sweet little baby,  I felt unconditional love for him flow through me.

It was then I knew – this little boy resting in my arms truly was meant to be our son, our little Joey.

 

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