Tag Archives: Nonfiction

My Temple

 

my temple

When I think of my body as a temple, it gives me pause to consider how much care and attention it truly deserves, for I believe that is what my Creator intended. He would not have allowed me to inhabit this temple if He did not think I would care for it in the manner that He intended. There are many different parts to my temple, and each one deserves my ministrations.

~ My head is the center of my intelligence. It holds the ideas which are borne from my creativity and imagination. It conjures up all the dreams that I dare to dream. And it contains every thought which directs my actions.

~ My eyes are the windows through which I see the world and all the beauty that it has to offer. My eyes can also shut out the world if I desire to do so. And if I wish, I can shield them from the ugliness and hatred which sometimes resides within the souls of mankind.

~ My ears are the amplifiers of the sounds surrounding me. With my ears, I can hear all the sounds that the world has to offer, such as the birds when they sing their morning song, the wind as it whistles through the trees, and the rain as it pounds on my roof during a heavy shower.

~ My mouth is my instrument that allows me to communicate with the world. It helps me to grow closer to those around me through the art of conversation. With my mouth I can speak volumes or whisper sweet nothings. I can also sing praises to my God and King.

~ My nose allows me to smell the delicious aroma of freshly baked cookies, the aromatic scent of pine trees in the forest, or the sweet fragrance of a newborn baby’s head.

~ My hands allow me to touch those that I love. With my hands I can tend to my loved ones when they are ill, I can cook the meals that sustain us, I can write the stories and poetry that I love to write, I can create the music that I so dearly love by playing the piano, and I can reach out to others in need.

~ My feet allow me to walk the path of life, no matter where it takes me, following wherever my God will lead me, trusting in Him and Him alone.

~ My heart and my soul are the center of my being, the part of me in which faith, hope, and love reside – faith in my God who sustains me, hope for a better tomorrow, and love for my family, my friends, and for all mankind. This is the very best part of me.

My temple is my own, given to me by my Creator, and only He can take it away from me. Until He does, I will reside in it, and I have vowed to love it and care for it until the day comes that I must leave it and finally enter my heavenly home.

Age is a Work of Art

I enjoy the summer with its plentiful sunshine, warm breezes, and gardens overflowing with green plants and colorful flowers. I love to sit on my backyard deck and listen to the birds as they sing their cheerful songs from the branches of the trees overhead and watch the squirrels as they chatter among themselves and scamper through the yard. It’s often a welcome relief from the cold winter months of Minnesota. It’s also a time for family gatherings like graduations, weddings, picnics, and backyard barbecues.cake with candles 1

There’s one other event that the summer brings to our family, and that’s birthday celebrations. During this time, our family celebrates three birthdays in quick succession, each one only a week apart. And my birthday happens to be one of them.

Usually I enjoy celebrating birthdays. It has never really bothered me what age I was. I always believed that age was just a number, a state of mind, and that you were only as old as you feel.

But this summer I’ll turn 59. For some reason, the thought of turning 59 bothers me. I suppose it’s because it means that next year I’ll be 60. My apologies to all the sexagenarians out there, but 60 sounds old to me! I still can’t get used to the idea that by all standards, I’m already considered a senior citizen. I don’t feel like a senior citizen. As far as I’m concerned, my brain still thinks like the 25 to 30-year-old woman who I once was. And when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I can see that I truly don’t have that many wrinkles and I can only find three or four gray hairs. As a matter of fact, when people find out that I’m 58, they always tell me that they would never have guessed that I was that old.

But maybe I should look at this from a different point of view. Perhaps I should leave my emotions out of the picture and instead of thinking about all the negative aspects to aging, maybe I should consider all the benefits to growing older.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this: “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that says it all. It’s true that when you’re young, you have the whole future before you. You have high hopes for tomorrow and so many dreams to chase. There’s so much to look forward to and you never give a second thought to growing old. But as we grow older, as we mature, I believe that we have so much more within ourselves than we had in our youth.

For instance, we have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter and better than when we were younger. We know what to do because there’s a good chance that we’ve been in similar circumstances before. We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and even our grandchildren if we’re lucky.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and usually we can deal with those emotions better (not all the time, but most of the time). We can enjoy other people’s company more because of the experience we’ve gained from our past relationships.

And I think we can love others more fully and more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I believe it’s true.

So maybe turning 59 won’t be so bad after all. And before I blow out those birthday candles, I’ll think I’ll make the wish that next year my 60th birthday will be even better.

 

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Why do we work? If we think about this question carefully and answer truthfully, most of us will answer that we work to earn a living in order to pay for things like a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and food to eat. But how many of us don't knowappreciate the fact that we can work?

For twenty-five years I worked full-time as a registered nurse at a local hospital in a busy operating room where we performed many different surgeries – from simple tonsillectomies to complicated brain surgeries. There were many emergency surgeries and I couldn’t even tell you the number of times when I was part of a surgical team that saved a patient’s life. My work could be very awesome and rewarding; it could also be very stressful.

During this time I led a very busy life. Every day, after working an eight-hour shift at the hospital, I would rush home to my “other” job as wife and mother. Our three children kept my husband and me very busy. We had to chauffeur them to all their activities, wherever they might be. Our children were involved in many activities from sports to dancing and music lessons. We spent countless hours in hockey arenas, on baseball and football fields, in dance and karate studios, and in gymnasiums for gymnastic classes. I cannot even count the number of times we attended boy scout and girl scout meetings, school plays, orchestra concerts, and cello recitals. Our children loved these extracurricular activities and we felt they helped to make our children well-rounded. In addition, my husband and I were active members in our church and we volunteered for many ministries. We were so busy; and now, many years later, it’s all just a blur to me.

While our children were growing up, I fervently wished I didn’t have to work. I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom instead. After telling my husband how I felt about this, we sat down and took stock of our financial situation. But even after much juggling here and there, we still could not find a way to make this a reality. Our finances simply could not support my wish of being a stay-at-home mom. I couldn’t even cut back to part-time! So I reluctantly resigned myself to this fact and went about the business of being a full-time working wife and mother.

Then a few years later, when our youngest was in high school, our world came crashing down. I was diagnosed with a serious illness which soon took its toll. After several attempts at working even though I was ill, I just couldn’t do it any more. It was simply too painful for me to continue and so I became medically disabled. My wish had finally come true – I could not work any more, not even part-time.

It didn’t take long for me to discover that staying home from work was not all it was cracked up to be, especially if you were sick and in bed most of the time like I was.

Not only that, but I missed my work; I missed my friends; I missed the busy schedule; and my husband and I really missed the salary I had been making. And even more than those things, I missed the person that I once was – a healthy, vital, happy woman who had something to offer to the world.

And now, instead of waking up every morning, jumping out of bed, and getting ready for work, here I am – sick at home with the days stretching out before me with really nothing to do. Sometimes I’m so lonely that I go into an internet chat room just to have someone to socialize with. And talk about being bored to tears! After all, there is only so much television that a person can watch in a day. And then the depression sets in. I’ve cried more than my share and have often wondered why I’ve been given this lot in life. Being a person of faith, I know it’s just part of our heavenly Father’s plan, but sometimes this fact is not so consoling.

With all this time on my hands, I do a lot of thinking. I think about those busy days when the kids were growing up, and I remembered that we really did have a lot of fun together. I think about the nursing job I had and all the worthwhile work I was doing, like saving people’s lives and making people’s lives better with the surgeries that we performed, and that maybe those surgeries went so well because I was there to help. I think about the conversations I had with my friends at work during coffee breaks or lunch, and how much I miss their company. I think about the days when I could buy something new and not have to worry about the expense.

As I think about the past twenty-five years, it is then that I realize something. I realize that all I’ve really done was wish my life away – instead of appreciating the life I was living at the time.

So my advice to you is this:  Enjoy your life. Live in the moment. Learn how to take the bad with the good. And make wonderful memories.

And remember that it’s true what they say:  “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it is gone!”

 

 

My 68-Year-Old Brain

yeah write editor pick #217

 

As a writer, one of your most valuable possessions is the wealth of knowledge that you have accumulated through the years and locked away inside your brain. It is there at your fingertips, ready to be accessed at a moment’s notice, whenever you decide to open those memory files and put them into use.

While I was growing up, I was always an A student, excelling in English grammar with a knack for writing. I enjoyed writing and it wasn’t long before I was writing on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, writing was so important to me that nothing stopped me from doing what I loved most – not even being bedridden for several years, the many hospitalizations and surgeries I had to undergo, nor the fact that I was pretty much literally on handfuls of pills every day.

But then five years ago I began to notice that I was having a difficult time writing. I was forgetting words. I’d be ready to write a word, have it right at the tip of my tongue, but then I’d forget it. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to write.

This scenario began to occur more.

I wondered what was happening to me. Was it just because of all the medication I was on? Was I going crazy? Was I going senile? Or even worse – did I have Alzheimer’s? I was only 58! On the other hand, I knew of people getting early onset Alzheimer’s. But I didn’t dare mention any of this to my husband because the prospect was just too frightening. So I kept my worries to myself.

Then one weekend my husband went on a camping trip with his buddies. As for myself, I was all set for a weekend of writing and watching movies. The last thing I remember is talking on the phone to my sister Friday evening. I woke up on the living room floor 24 hours later.

Two days later I was standing with my husband in our spare bedroom having a chat. I remember that I fell forward to my knees, and as my husband helped me up, he said: Are you okay?” When I asked him what happened, he told me that I had passed out.

This is when he brought me to the clinic. Although my doctor believed I’d lost consciousness due to dehydration from kidney problems, he wanted me to see a neurologist.

At first the neurologist thought my lost weekend was caused by a seizure. I know – scary, right? So they did an EEG, which was normal, although it was quite a pleasant experience – I even fell asleep during that test, much to my surprise.

Then the neurologist determined that an MRI of my brain was in order. I’ve had plenty of MRI’s done before – mostly of my spine, but also of my brain. I thought: They’re not going to find anything wrong with my brain – the EEG was normal – surely the MRI is going to be just fine, too, because it’s always been fine before.

But then the results came back. First the neurologist said that my loss of consciousness was in all probability due to dehydration, just as my family practitioner had diagnosed. And then there was something else.

I was told that I have spots on my brain. While everyone acquires these spots as they grow older, I have many more than I should.

“As a matter of fact,” said the neurologist, “even though you’re only a 58-year-old woman, you have the brain of a 68-year-old woman.”

Then the light bulb went on in my 68-year-old brain. I asked: “Is this the reason that I have difficulty remembering words?”

He told me that it was. And that it was probably a result of my chronic illnesses. Not my fault. But that didn’t make it any easier. He also said that I might start to have problems remembering events or dates.

My 68-year-old brain knows these things: I cannot reverse this process. I cannot remove the spots on my brain. As much as I want a lifeline, the neurologist cannot offer one. All I have is one more pill for my list, an aspirin every day. This may slow the spots down, but it won’t stop them.

And so I continue to write. Every day it is a struggle to hunt down my words, gather them up, and pin them down on paper. Sometimes it takes hours to write just one paragraph, sometimes days to write just one blog post, perhaps a week or more to write just one story, because the words are so elusive. But the struggle is worth it.

We all have our challenges. This is mine. But I will never give up. Never.

Because I am a writer. And I will find a way.

 

Grandma’s Lilacs

Our sense of smell is our most powerful sense and smell and memory are closely linked, probably more so than any of our other senses. Those with full olfactory function may be able to think of smells that evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example. This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience. This is because the olfactory nerve is located very close to the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory. In addition, the olfactory nerve is very close to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory; thus, the experience of the sense of smell evoking a memory. In addition to being the sense most closely linked to memory, smell is also highly emotive. The perfume industry is built around this connection, with perfumers developing fragrances that seek to convey a vast array of emotions and feelings; from desire to power, vitality to relaxation.

lilacs

As for myself, whenever I catch the scent of lilacs blooming in the spring, it reminds me of my Grandma Kramlinger. Grandma kept a beautiful garden, and her lilac bushes were her pride and joy. She not only had lilac-colored bushes, but also white, blue, dark purple, lavender, and pink. The blossoms were fragrant and cheerful, and as soon as you came upon her house, the aroma would drift all around you, assailing your senses with the sweet smell of springtime.

I have such lovely childhood memories of Sundays when she would arrive at our house for Sunday dinner. Her arms would be laden with lilac blossoms, and she’d say to my mother, “Here’s something to grace the table.” Mom would take the lilac flowers and fashion them into a lovely bouquet, put them into a vase filled with water and place them in the center of our dinner table. And there they would stay throughout the week, a reminder of Grandma, until the next Sunday when she came to visit again with fresh lilacs to replace them.

Now whenever I catch the scent of lilacs in the springtime, I wonder if the lilac bushes still bloom in her garden, and if the people who live in her house now are still appreciating their cheerful blossoms and simple beauty and enjoying their sweet fragrance.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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