Tag Archives: Writing

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!”

 

 

Pandora’s Box

yeah write top three #217

 

pandoras-box1-300x240

 

Pandora was the young girl’s name,

For mankind’s ills she’s been to blame.

Unleashing evil is the claim.

It’s such a shame, it’s such a shame.

 

The box she had to see inside,

And when unlocked, it opened wide.

Then all the evil flew outside.

And then she cried, and then she cried.

 

Her fellow man she had betrayed,

With all the evils now displayed.

She knew an error grave she’d made.

She was afraid, she was afraid.

 

Pandora was in such despair.

Her grief was quite a lot to bear.

She looked once more and breathed a prayer,

For Hope was there, for Hope was there.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The Chimera Whine

 

“Daddy, I want that one!” whined Bobby as he pointed at the monster in the cage 100 yards away.

“But you can’t have the Chimera, dear. How about a nice tiger cub instead?” coaxed Mrs. Montague.

“No! That one!”

“I told you we should have gone to a pet shop,” said Mr. Montague.

 

 

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This prompt is brought to you by: Shapeshifting 13 #4 Kickoff

Chimera

noun, plural chimeras.

1. (often initial capital letter) a mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and serpent’s tail.

2. any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, especially as depicted indecorative art.

3. a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination; a vain or idle fancy: 

He is far different from the chimera your fears have made of him.

 

4. Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.

 

 

 

The World is Mine if I Have You

couple holding hands 100

Our love exceeds the mountains’ heights.

In your embrace my soul delights.

Dark storms of life we shall pass through.

The world is mine if I have you.

 

Rainbow hues reside in our love.

You I wish to be worthy of.

With one kiss let our love be true.

The world is mine if I have you.

 

So may our love be like the dawn,

When all the fears and doubts are gone.

Let us our vows of love renew.

The world is mine if I have you.

 

Our love exceeds the mountains’ heights.

The world is mine if I have you.

 

 

 

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

 

Heartbreak

This week’s word:  STEAM

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

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

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

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

 

five sentence

 

This post is presented as part of Five Sentence Fiction  

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

Five Sentence Fiction

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

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

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

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

“Hi, Sue. What’s up?”

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

“But we have the biology exam.”

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

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

“Perfect. See you then.”

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

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

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

“Okay, let’s try Janet’s Closet.”

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

“Why didn’t you buy them?”

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

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

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

“Hello. May I help you?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Amy, look. They’re perfect for you.”

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

“These are the pair I wanted!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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