Category Archives: blessings

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

Are You Still There?

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When author, Lisa Genova, wrote “Still Alice” she was hoping to

express the feelings of someone who had early onset Alzheimer’s

Disease. Julianne Moore is up for an Academy Award for her

authentic performance as Alice, someone who wishes to be still

heard and recognized, whether or not she is able to reciprocate

the recognition back to the greeter or family member.

Julianne is a gifted actress who studied and met many people

who were struggling with the challenge of having this disease.

There is a genuine quality I feel while watching her in any of her

various roles. I had recently watched “What Maisey Knew,” and

had mentioned this in the Golden Globes post which held a trio

of events which were meant to cheer the reader up. She played

a rock and roll star who was going on tour, putting her little

kindergartner on the back burner of her life. This has other good

actors and actresses in the movie. It is just my recent movie with

her in it. The one you may wish to seek out at the theaters is

called, “Still Alice.”

Julianne Moore, in an interview in the recent January/February

paper “AARP Bulletin,” she shared her experience of meeting both

caregivers and those who have A. D.  When she met some of the

victims of this ravaging disease she said they still had not lost

their own identities yet. “They were still present.” That is the point

of the title of both movie and book, sort of like saying, “I am still

here.”

Julianne Moore’s thoughts about “Still Alice:”

“People have been so touched by it (the film). There’s a great deal

of shame associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.” (Especially, she

focused and mentioned early onset A. D.)

“Suddenly you have your intellectual capacity diminished at such

a young age, it is embarrassing.”

On the  front page of the January/February “AARP Bulletin” there

are a series of rows of black and white photographs of famous

people who have dealt with and some passed away with, this topic

of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is a list of those faces featured:

President~ Ronald Reagan

Author~ Iris Murdoch

Singer~ Perry Como

Secretary of State~ Cyrus Vance

Boxer~ Floyd Patterson

Artist~ Willem De Kooning

Actor~ Beloved Jimmy Stewart

Prime Minister~ Margaret Thatcher

Senator~ William Proxmire

Singer~ The fabulous Etta James

Action Star~ Charles Bronson

Actor~ Peter Falk (“Columbo”)

“Washington Post” editor and journalist, Ben Bradley

Advice Columnist~ Abigail Van Buren of “Dear Abby”

Actor~ The legendary Charleston Heston

Go ahead and add a first or complete name of someone you know.

The numbers and cases are soaring. . . but the funding is dwindling.

Inside the January/February “AARP Bulletin,”  you will find the

devastating facts about this rampant disease.

Including an estimated 5.2 million Americans had this in 2014.

Two/thirds (2/3rds) were women.

The poignant article covering this topic is titled,

“Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s?”  by T. R. Reid.

I have not seen the movie, “Still Alice,” so I am not reviewing it

just featuring it to go along with the AARP information.

Interestingly enough, I sought out the Academy Award-nominated

historical trio of films I have mentioned in other posts. I chose not

to see (yet) “Wild,”  since Reese Witherspoon’s  mother and  the

author of the book, “Wild,” dealt with the deaths of mothers. Reese

used her own mother’s younger self’s angst and her vague childhood

memories of her mother crying over her grandmother’s death as her

inspiration for her portrayal. I was not ‘ready’ to sob or think about

the frailty of life, especially with my mother still here. It will be an

inevitable sorrow I will face someday.

My mother has not been diagnosed with A. D. but has been told her

memory loss is due to low thyroid levels. She is on her medication

and I am doubtful she will ever recuperate fully in her mind. She

is ‘still there,’ most of the afternoon and evening. Sometimes doing

strange and forgetful things so I was not yet prepared to watch,

“Still Alice,” nor read the book.   I will someday.  I  strongly will

recommend the Oscar-nominated film, as both critics and audiences

have found it a true testament to the spirit of those who have A. D.

I think the reason that I respect the movie and subject matter of

“Still Alice,” is due to my working experience of four years as the

Activity Director (1995-999) at a local nursing home. I had taken

the necessary coursework to be prepared to handle all sorts of

debilitating diseases, especially learning about aging processes,

including Alzheimer’s Disease.

I wish all people to treat the elderly, whether or not they know them,

with respect and dignity. Each has such fascinating lives, simple and

complicated lives to share with us. Their stories may not be famous

but they come to life, once you take the time to listen to them.

I still enjoy meeting the few elderly inhabitants of  my building,

having made friends with “Dee” who is in her 70’s,  yet is a helpful

volunteer driver for “Meals on Wheels.” “Delores” tells me rambling

stories about her childhood. I enjoy the one where she dressed up

a piglet to be her ‘baby’ and placed him in her mother’s perambulator

(baby carriage) to take him for a ride! My apartment building has

adults with Special Needs and Ohio Wesleyan University students

here also. I am blessed with many different people housed within.

There is a Dayton, Ohio caregiver and daughter of a mother who

has A. D. and she has a short list of good ideas, to spark ones of

your own to add here in the comments’ section:

1. To get her mother to wear disposable underwear for incontinence,

she calls this her ‘girdle.’ I can picture her saying, “Mom, let’s put on

your girdle” as she helps her to get dressed everyday.

2. She grew tired of arguing with her mother and struggling with her

to take her medicines so she pushes the pills into the soft filling of

her mother’s favorite cookies, fig bars.

3. She incorporates her mother’s past interests and occupation into

her daily routines, crocheting and using a simple math workbook,

(she had been an accountant.)

4. Her mother and she enjoy lighting the candle she bought at Yankee

Candle, called “Sparkling Snow.” It also masks odors at certain times

of the day, she delicately added.

The article inside Jan./Feb. “AARP Bulletin,” was the source for this

information, along with several other suggestions called,  “Being a

Family Caregiver Isn’t Easy.” You will find more to read there. . .

I am encouraging an Open Forum for discussing about anyone

you love or care about, those you have contact with or have

experienced dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I would also like to mention a fellow blogger who writes about this

very subject. Marylin is someone who shares daily wonderful and

meaningful activities she participates with her mother. She writes

such lovely posts about her mother. Her mother has dementia and

her father had Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thank you, Marylin Warner for the gift of numerous special posts.

Marylin includes links to articles and is very informative, while

being a warm and caring blogging friend to many. I am sure she is

a source of comfort to many who have been dealing with elderly

family members with different varying degrees of memory loss.

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com

Her blog is called, “Things I Want to Tell My Mother.”

And due to not being able to produce another award nomination

post so quickly after my last one, I would like to thank Rashmi for

her nominating me for “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

I encourage you to read about her perspective, positive and poetic

writing along with her international travels. I have enjoyed her

safari posts immensely! Thank you for taking us on your travels,

as well as lifting our spirits, Rashmi!

Please check out, Soul n Spirit, if you have not already done so!

http://soulnspiritblog.com

A sincere thank you for giving me the award!

On a lighter and happier note about those who are ‘still here’

sending a huge hug, big smiles and lots of love out to

BETTY WHITE!

Happy 93rd Birthday, dear BETTY!

I had a comment that Ian made about a poem/story about

a couple who met in a nursing home. They shared so much

of their present time, although the woman could not tell much

about her past due to her memory loss. It was such a well-

written post that I would hope future visitors will check it out:

Please read Ian’s post titled, “George and Marg” on:

http://aussieian.wordpress.com

Thank you, Ian!

Let’s have a conversation here since it is the weekend.

I plan on being able to respond on Sunday

after the library opens at noon!

Anyday Serenity

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There was a great inclusion from a site called, “Girlfriends in God,”

in my monthly church bulletin. I enjoyed this, along with a few other

worthwhile and meaningful quotations.

Hope this finds you peaceful, content and relaxing on this fine morning,

afternoon or evening.

 

You may find their website at:

http://crosswalk.com

http://www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears.

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth.

Count on God instead of yourself.”

 

(You may substitute Allah, Mother Nature or other form of

a Higher Being.)

 

This is a positive way of explaining a horrible experience. . .

I always like when people use pets to explain life’s situations.

 

“~Death~ What a wonderful way to explain it
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the

examination room and said,

‘Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.’

Very quietly, the doctor replied, ‘I don’t know. . .’

‘You don’t know? You’re a Christian man and don’t know what’s

on the other side?’

 

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side

came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the

door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager

show of gladness.

 

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, ‘Did you notice my dog?

He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his owner (his master) was here, and

when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

 

I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one

thing. . . I know my Master is there and that is enough.'”

(No author was listed. Please let me know if this is unknown or if you

know a name to tag this with.)

 

C.S. Lewis wrote of many subjects, some were Christian and some were

fantasy/science fiction:

“Every day in a life fills the whole Life

with expectation and memory.”

 

In Psalms 128:5 there is a lovely wish for those to hear. I like the idea of

psalms being songs and positive Old Testament wishes:

“May the Lord continually bless you with human’s blessings

as well as with human joys.”

 

A Prayer by Thomas Merton:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am

following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in me in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And know that if I do this you will lead me by the the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost

and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never

leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

This prayer by Thomas Merton is featured in his ‘Through the Year”

daily devotional book.

 

Gratitude Wisdom

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Beloved Companions

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This is a simple post with some quotes and thoughts about pets,

especially the four-legged creatures that are pups and hounds.

If you are a cat-lover, as my dear friend Jenny is, you may still

enjoy the quotes. One had a photo of a group of pets, two dogs

and a cat looking out the window for their owner.

I believe domestic animals of many kinds, can be our ‘children’

or our ‘angels in disguise.’ Native Americans believe their are

special ‘spirits’ inhabited in wild animals, too.

 

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic

treasures we place with curators in museums;

others we take for walks.”

(Found with a photo of a beagle pup, leash in his cute

puppy mouth.)

~ Roger Caras ~

 

“One of our oldest human needs

is having someone wonder

where you are when you don’t

come home at night.”

(Accompanied by a photo of a cat, beagle and Labrador

retriever gazing out the picture window.)

~ Margaret Meade ~

 

“I always say,

Friends are the family

we choose,

Is it any wonder dogs are

called,

‘Man’s best friend?'”

(Anonymous. Accompanied by a photo of an Irish retriever

licking the face of an elderly man in a wheel chair.)

 

“Family Circle,” February, 2014 had this collection of

subscribers’ comments about the ways people cherished

their pets, who had passed on.

 

“In Memory Of. . .”

 

1. “We used her ashes on the two dogwood trees we

planted. Which you can see outside our windows.

She’s helping them grow.”

 

2. “I put his name tag on my key ring.”

 

3. “I donated to the animal shelter in her name.”

 

4. “I have his paw print and his picture in a frame.”

 

5. “I bought a beautiful hand-stamped, personalized

necklace with her name on it.”

 

6. “I made a memorial shadow box for our beloved

boxer.”

 

There was an interesting pie chart that included the figures

of how long it took to get another animal after the loss of a

beloved pet, labeled:

“Healing Heart.”

 

It was divided into four quadrants:

27% answered, “I still haven’t replaced my pet.”

26% mentioned it took them, “Over a year.”

26% said they were ready in, “A few months.”

Only 21% waited a ‘few weeks.’

 

It reminded me of my Dad, when he had taken our dogs to the pound

to get them euthanized. He was unable to come back home without

another dog or puppy in his arms. He had never owned a pet while a

boy. The house and walks in parks and neighborhoods, he felt, would

never have been the same without them.

Mom often says her dog, Nicki, who she got a year after my Dad passed

away, (when she had the veterinarian take her Cassie out of her painful

existence) will ‘break my heart when she goes…’

 

I only hope her heart will heal.

Life and Death: Basketball and Christmas

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A unique and special idea for those children who are disabled, with illnesses and

cancer is to celebrate Christmas in July.  There was a Hallmark movie, called,

“November Christmas” that also follows the concept that “Life is too short. . .”

From babies to a specific college freshman basketball player named Lauren, who

have dealt with cancer and deadly diseases and illnesses, we are sending out our

heartfelt wishes for healing and relief of pain. Wishes for families to keep up the

valiant work in making their lives comfortable and meaningful. This post is not

meant to depress readers, but to show how much others are willing to extend

themselves to make special ones ~ young people’s lives~  dreams come to fruition.

 

Brian Rutledge has property set up in Ohio, where he has “Santa’s Hideaway Hollow.”

His friend, from Mecca, Ohio, B. B. Simons arrived in July with his own rendition of

the Tow Mater, (the red truck which has a country accent), in the children’s animated

films from “Cars.” His Tow Mater had a large furry white beard that caught children’s

eyes. Their hearts and hopes to see Santa, fulfilled by Brian’s large-framed Santa,

dispensing not only “Ho Ho Ho’s” but a grand and festive meal, ice cream treats and

other wonderful holiday ‘treats,’ such as red tubular ‘balloon hats,’ with white tubular

‘beards,’ blown by one of the numerous volunteer elves.  Children wore these, along

with visiting a ‘nails and beauty’ salon, where colorful nails with glitter were ones

that little girls and boys displayed.

The red clad volunteer ‘elves’ arrived on horseback, in golf carts and other means of

transportation for this event, where three large tour buses with over 300 hundred

people, families and children unloaded. Some were shy, some were outgoing and

dancing to the beat at the drum circle, where a parent of two special children who

include one with  battling sickle cell anemia and hydrocephalus were there.

Toys and gifts given by donations from others, are specifically labeled, since Santa

Brian remembers the children who have come here a few times, along with messages

sent ahead from guests’ adult members, making sure the gifts fit the little ones’

requests. Santa’s Workshop is filled with wonder and excitement by all who enter.

 

The song, “It’s a Small World” (After All), reflects the true meaning of this place and

the holiday spirit.

 

There is a young college freshman basketball player, named Lauren Hill, who has been

battling a serious case of terminal cancer, found in an inoperable mass in her brain.

She came to Ohio’s Mt. St. Joseph University, fully intending to be a basketball ‘force

to reckon with,’ but her aggressive cancer has caused the NCAA to give permission

and there is a special game to watch, nationally played on Fox Sports today. It is held

at 2 p.m. so put Lauren and her team in your thoughts and prayers. The Cincinnati

location of Xavier College basketball courts, with Hiram University versus Lauren’s

team causes me to hold my breath and heart in a pinch. I just felt so much emotion,

reading this in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday November 2, 2014.

The part that grabbed me and would not let me stop from writing this post, was the

doctors and family did not even expect Lauren to be able to wait for  the originally

scheduled November 15, 2014 game. Special arrangements between her Coach, Dan

Benjamin, and Hiram’s girls’ basketball Coach Emily Hays, plus the permission of

the NCAA meant this is like a ‘last wish granted’ to Lauren.  Everyone working to

make this ‘happen’ deserve: “Thanks!”

 

Go Mt. St. Joseph University Girls’ Basketball!

 

For those who are professionals in hospitals and doctors’ offices, all those who teach

and touch these young peoples lives, through paid positions and volunteering, all

are ones who get a ‘Big Thank You’ for making a difference in these families’ lives.

The ones who leave money to Hospice and “Make A Wish” foundation, along with

cancer research programs, also are in our hearts and minds.

 

Life, death, Christmas and basketball…