Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another Bigger Than Me Day!

I really didn't have a reason to have a bigger than me day today but...I did. Maybe because I was home alone a lot while everyone went to church? Maybe it's because it has been a month ago since Lauren left for college ( and she is doing great). I am not hurting too bad, just tired of sitting and not doing much.  I am still downstairs, so it's not like I want a lot of visitors when I haven't even been able to shower since my surgery! ( I do take bathes, so don't get too worried ) But I sit in my big chair here with all my stuff around me, the family calls it my COMMAND CENTER. Ok, so I do ask them to do a few things for me since I am not getting up much. I have a big ice machine beside my chair and so that ties me down too, but it feels good and I think I haven't really had much swelling. I go to the Doctor tomorrow and we will see what the results are? I just feel down, I feel sad to be once again not able to go places with my family and just trying to get my body to heal, seems like I have been doing a lot of that these past 3 years.

My family has taken such good care of me and everyone has been so thoughtful with meals,cards and calls...so I really shouldn't complain, but I still just feel sad. Just another bigger than me day and I knew that I would have some of them and so I will try to keep it in perspective.

Learning from Life....what a good title for me and my blog! It does seem like I am ever learning how to be patient, how to grow, how to develop into the Lynn Woodard that I should be. Thanks for always being there for me, you have made a huge difference in my life and the life of my family.

"ANYONE WHO IMAGINES THAT BLISS IS NORMAL IS GOING TO WASTE A LOT OF TIME RUNNING AROUND SHOUTING THAT HE HAS BEEN ROBBED.

MOST PUTTS DON'T DROP. MOST BEEF IS TOUGH. MOST CHILDREN GROW UP TO BE JUST PEOPLE. MOST SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGES REQUIRE A HIGH DEGREE OF MUTUAL TOLERATION. MOST JOBS ARE MORE OFTEN DULL THAN OTHERWISE...

LIFE IS LIKE AN OLD-TIME RAIL JOURNEY-- DELAYS, SIDETRACKS, SMOKE, DUST, CINDERS, AND JOLT, INTERSPERSED ONLY OCCASSIONALLY BY BEAUTIFUL, VISTAS AND THRILLING BURSTS OF SPEED.

THE TRICK IS TO THANK THE LORD FOR LETTING  YOU HAVE THE RIDE!" ~ Jenkins Lloyd

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not quite the same

While living on my own, going to college and working two jobs I became best friends with one of my roommates. It seemed like even though we came from totally different backgrounds, there was a connection we made ...that was one of a kind. I got a brilliant idea that if I wanted to keep her in my life that I should introduce her to my brother. Long story short...it worked and she has been my sister ever since. I was so excited the day they got married, because I knew then I finally had a SISTER...after having 4 brothers! Now we don't look like sisters but she is from West Virginia and we do sound an awful lot alike and for some reason ...just being around her makes me laugh and happy.

Not only has she become my sister but my personal  nurse. Every time I have had surgery, Shirley has come to be with me. Some how she has made a scary situation more tolerable and no matter what was ahead of me, we would find something to laugh about, that is why this surgery was harder than normal for me ( although is wasn't a terribly tough surgery compared to my others) because Shirley wasn't able to come and be with me. I understood why but for some reason I was dreading the fact that she wasn't going to be with me.  I realized the day of my surgery how very much I had depended on her and how much I appreciated all that she sacrificed to be with me. So when I read this poem, I thought of her...except her name is Shirley.

I really have been blessed with many friends who feel like my sisters and for that I am terribly grateful! Thanks to all of you for your calls, emails and prayers. Today was even a better day, it only hurts when I stand up or sit down! :) So I think things are looking up!

Sister, we've been there through life's sorrow and pain
But together we have always endured the strain
We've argued and bickered and made each other mad
But if you weren't my sister, life would be so sad
We've cried till we laughed and laughed till we cried
Sometimes for no reason we didn't even know why
When we're not together our bond is just as strong
Because we are sisters we know when something is wrong
We've whispered our deepest secrets only sisters could share
I love my sister dearly because she really cares
So whether we are together or we are far apart
Helen,( Shirley) you're my sister, my friend and forever in my heart.  ~ Cyndi Moore

"THERE CAN BE NO SITUATION IN LIFE IN WHICH THE CONVERSATION OF MY DEAR SISTER WILL NOT ADMINISTER SOME COMFORT TO ME."  ~ Mary Worley Montagu


 

A Better Day!

Last night was pretty tough, my knees kept throbbing and so I got up to take some more medicine. Finally I was able to get back to sleep. Today was much better and I was very surprised, usually the 3rd day after surgery has always been my toughest. But actually the toughest part today was having to just sit down all day, but I know I need to for awhile. But the family is taking great care of me and only once or twice, have I had to yell upstairs and ask for some food. :)  So life is good.

I will go to the Doctor on Monday and have my dressings changed and then a week later for the stitches out, not sure what happens after that. So I will have to be patient and lay low. It is late and I need to head to bed, thanks so much for checking in on me and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

"Patience is the art of hoping" ~ Marquis de

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  ~ Helen Keller

Friday, January 29, 2010

Love

Each month I receive emails and stories from Care pages, mostly it is about cancer survivors. The article I got today was interesting and I thought I would share it with you...Why? Because I believe that each of us knows someone that is going through a tragedy in their life. I think any pointers on how to help them and comfort them is important. I always try to remember when I am reading something that some of it, I may not believe or agree with. My goal is always to glean as much good out it as I can, I hope you will do the same. See what feels right and what makes sense to you and then go out there and improve the world with the love you have in your heart! Good night dear friends, many of the suggestions you will read in the article won't be new to you...because you have already showed many of these wonderful attributes to me, thank you !

 

 

One New Yorker Asks, What Is Love?

By Marie Suszynski

what is love

Karen Porter Sorensen, the Brooklyn, N.Y., author of love (luv) n. who asked perfect strangers for their thoughts on love in New York City, saw first-hand that people do, in fact, have a yearning for love and connection with others.

She also learned that one of the most important gifts we can give someone — especially someone who’s going through a health crisis — is love.

It’s easy to get swept away by love when you’re in a new romantic relationship. The real question is: How do you show love to a family member or a friend when you’re filled with grief over their illness? Sorensen has some ideas.

What Love Research Revealed

For seven years, Sorensen ran a “love research booth” in New York City and offered people walking by a single rose in return for answering five questions about love, such as, “What is love?,” “Who taught you love?,” and “Has your love ever been tested?”

Why did she embark on this project? In part because Sorensen’s brother was diagnosed with a mental illness and he couldn’t express his emotions. Suddenly her brother didn’t believe in love anymore. “In some ways [the book] was a testament to him,” she says.

Loving Someone Who is Ill

Her research also helped her learn how to love family members when they were going through a health crisis. Not only was her brother struggling with a mental illness, but her mother fought breast cancer and survived, and her grandmother also became ill and died a week before Sorensen finished her book. Here’s what her research taught her about coping:

  • If nothing else, just listen. One of the greatest things you can do when someone you love is sick is to be available to her and listen to what she has to say without judgment and without having expectations of what you want her to say, Sorensen says.
    Being with a loved one living who is ill is uncomfortable, but it’s important to put your own feelings of discomfort aside and focus on her. “If you can, make space available for people to share whatever they want to share,” she says.
  • Be present, even when it’s painful. “It’s easy to check out and get caught up in your own grief,” Sorensen says. But it’s important to enjoy the moments you have left with someone who’s seriously ill. She and her family played Hungarian music for her grandmother during the last days of her life, which was something her grandmother loved when she was younger. And everyone in her family decided to dance for her grandmother, even though their sadness didn’t make them feel like dancing. “Find moments of joy even in the most difficult situations,” Sorensen advises.
  • Wear bright colors. When Sorensen did her love research on the streets of New York City, she always wore a red suit and red hat. Simply bringing color to somebody is powerful, she says. She used the same philosophy when she visited her grandmother when she was sick. When she walked into the room wearing bright colors, she noticed her grandmother light up.
  • When the person who is ill wants to be alone, try helping their family members. People who are sick sometimes don’t want others to see them vulnerable and in pain. Sorensen has a friend who volunteers to sit with people who have life-threatening illnesses to give them company. But she noticed that one of the men she visited, who had always been friendly and usually welcomed her, started sending her away. Instead of leaving, she sat next to his daughter in the next room instead and offered her a listening ear.

"Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is."  ~ Gary Zukav

"Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy."  ~ Sai Baba

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surgery Day!

Surgery went well today, all I really know is it's the best sleep I ever get! We (Jeff and I) around 6:30, then they had me change into the gown. Next the nurse came in and asked me to sign a few more papers and answer a few more questions. Then she handed me marker and told me to right the world YES on both knees, then the DR came in and initialed it. I had to do that for my mastectomy too, that made a little  more sense.  I imagine it is to make sure that surgery isn't done on the wrong knee or whatever body part!

I walked into the surgery room and then in just a few minutes, I woke up and I was in the recovery room with my dear friend the nurse taking care of me. Of course all I could think of was how nauseated I was. Not as bad as in the past, but still that is one feeling I really don't like.

They brought me out in a wheel chair and put me in the car and by10:00 am we were home. I went straight to bed for the better part of the day. Tonight, I have been in the recliner chair with my legs elevated and ice packs on my knees.

I guess because it is getting late that would explain why more things are beginning to hurt. I am walking to and from the bathroom or bedroom but very slow. It is getting more painful as the evening comes on but isn't that always the way it is. When I am sick, hurt, worried or scared...it always gets worse at night.

I pray that I will be able to get some sleep. Thanks so much for your calls, dinner, rides and emails. So far this surgery was much easier than my last one and for that I am grateful. Need to lay down, wish me luck getting there...everyone is in bed. However we did take the baby monitor that we have here for Jenny, and Jeff is using it tonight just in case I need him during the night. I am not sure how that will work, since he sleeps so sound, but at least I don't feel so alone down here.

"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love."  ~ Hubert H. Humphrey

I am just grateful that it is over and pray now that I heal properly. Good night dear friends!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Connections

I have this quote all my life ...

"It's not what you know but who you know that makes the difference."

I have also come to know that there is a lot of truth in that quote. I was happy to find out today that my nurse for the surgery will be a dear friend of mine. She called me today and told me that, I didn't even know she worked there. Our surgeon is also a good friend of ours, so at least I will be in good hands. Now I am not excited about going into surgery again but at least it should be much easier than my last one. Thanks to all of you who have put me in your prayers and have sent me so many well wishes. My surgery is at 7:30 in the morning and I should be done and home by 9:30am so, it won't be too long.

Thanks for your love and support, like I said it is important who you know! I feel blessed and comforted to have such dear friends who care and love me. I need to head to bed and try to get some sleep. Good night dear friends.

 

"Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because not matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Instinct and Motherhood!

in⋅stinct

–noun

...natural intuitive power

....a natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency.

When I was young I used to be amazed at how a mother could tell among lots of crying kids, which screaming voice belonged to her child? I wondered how she knew the difference from one cry to another? "Oh she's hungry, she has got a full diaper, she is just teething, or she is just tired". I used to think to myself ...how do they know those things?

Well, to be honest with you that INSTINCT that all mothers seem to have is something they mostly learn, after many, many hours of trial and error. I have to say that I can usually even tell  you now when it is my granddaughter that is crying... I am good!  Being a mother for over 26 years helps too. Although as soon as I think I am doing so good at this instinct stuff then I mess up. I was talking to Amy the other day and half way through the conversation this is what I heard "MOM, it's me Lauren!"  I knew that! :) The truth is that those two sound just alike and so I have gotten myself in trouble quite a bit before Lauren headed off to college.

Now I look around my house and see Brad and Lee together, they just had their haircut the same way and so once again my Instinct is being challenged. This motherhood thing is much harder than it looks. So to all you mothers out there, beware...as soon as you start feeling cocky about how good your instincts are...you might mess up! And to all of you mothers out there, who have never had your instincts challenged or be wrong...CONGRATULATIONS! You are amazing!

But seriously the most important thing I think we need to remember about motherhood is to enjoy it, try to live and be present for each moment. It doesn't matter if you can't remember which kid you are sharing the moment with...at least you know it's got to one of them! :) Good night dear friends!


'The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less"  ~ Author Anna Quindlen

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Service for any season

Well, it is Sunday and all my family has left for church. I didn't go today because I feel like I am coming down with a cold. Since my surgery is Wednesday, I knew I had better stay home and rest and get lots of fluids in me. I do feel like I am keeping it a bay so far!

I was reading a talk that a friend of mine gave, after looking at the notes I thought...even though she gave this at Christmas time it is very appropriate for any season. She herself is a great example of service and so it meant even more hearing someone who lives it, talk about it! I will share some of those with you today, I know it's not Christmas but wouldn't the world be a better place if we all acted like it was every day?

In John chapter 21 we read where Jesus asks Simon Peter "lovest thou me?" he repeated it three times. At the end of that conversation, Christ said then "Feed my sheep". I don't think it was any accident that Christ repeated that question more than once. I can imagine that if He were here today, that He might ask me the same question. Any time we repeat ourselves it is usually to make sure that we are being heard and that is probably the point of this scripture. "Feed my Sheep". Service!  It sounds so simple but there are many times in our lives when things get so busy that maybe we don't serve or look for opportunities to serve. For some reason at Christmas it is a little easier to do so, why?  Maybe because hearts are softened, many  people are thinking more of Christ and the purpose of His birth? Whatever the reason, Christmas is just a kinder, sweeter and more giving time than any other time of the year. I think we need to keep that spirit of Christmas, spirit of giving and the spirit of Feeding the Sheep all year long.  Christ asks us to give of ourselves, to help lift others around us, share with those in need, to strengthen and gladden, to help them come unto Him. If we do so then we can truly be called disciples of Christ.

"Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. . . . In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers"  ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In Matthew 25:40 Christ says..."Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye  have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"

The Savior gave himself, that first Christmas, for, the very reason He was born that glorious night in an animal shelter was to show us the way, and to one day, give His life for each of us.

The gift He gave did not come from a merchant, in fact it was without price

It was given in humble circumstances without any thought of reward

It wasn’t wrapped in shiny paper with an expensive bow

It was a gift anticipated by prophets and adored by simple shepherds and wise men alike.

It was a gift that everyone, throughout the ages, would need

It was a gift that would stand the test of time and ultimately last forever.

So even though it is not Christmas time, it is almost Valentine's Day, what a perfect way to get ready for it ...by serving and loving others. Thanks to each of you, who have shown that type of Christ like service and love to me and my family!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reverence

I was at church last week and during Sunday School I watched a dear friend of mine who had just gotten diagnosed with cancer just 2 weeks prior. Not a lot of people knew of her situation, but I did.  I had a flash back as I watched her glazed over expression through the whole class. I wanted to go over and put my arm around her and tell her everything is going to be ok, but the room was full and I was on the other side. I remember people telling me that everything would be ok, and I would just looked at them and smiled. I thought to myself ....maybe it will be fine, but who knows how long that will take or what I will have to go through first? All these questions and thoughts ran through my head as I watched her. I could still remember vividly sitting in her exact position just over a year ago. It is weird when something tragic happens in your life. It is hard to explain, but it is like your whole world has stopped... but yet you still are living in a world that is still going on. You are numb and yet you still function, you are heartbroken and scared and yet you still have to make decisions, go places and keep certain schedules, yes it is a weird and hard to place to explain. Now seeing it from the outside in , it feel as it if there should be a reverence for that place, space and actions that are going on around that person. I remember wondering how other people could possibly be smiling and talking and functioning, when my world seemed to be crashing down all around me? Yes, I felt a reverence for this dear friend.

I looked up the word reverence and here is what it said...

rev⋅er⋅ence

–noun

1.
a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.

2.
the outward manifestation of this feeling: to pay reverence.

3.
a gesture indicative of deep respect; an obeisance, bow, or curtsy.

To me it could all be summoned up in one word RESPECT, may we try a little harder to RESPECT the situation that these dear friends are going through, RESPECT their grief, RESPECT their fears and concerns, RESPECT their need for more comfort and support. Yes, it is hard to stop and remember to be respectful for those around us who are hurting in so many ways. There is a whole lot of pain and fear in the world, could we try to help comfort and respect those who are going through it?  That is my hope! Good night dear friends.

Please don't forget to look outside of yourself, your schedules, your day... to see how life is treating those around you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

More appointments...

Well, the morning started off early with my pre-opt. appointment for my knee surgery. I was nervous and I had to keep telling myself... that I am just getting information and not going to have anything happen to me today. I came home and got to spend the day with Angie and Jenny and so that was fun, yet tiring. I will be glad when my knees don't hurt so much and I will be able to spend the days playing with the girls without being worn out.

So the appointment today was just to let me know exactly what Wednesday's surgery is going to be and what I need to expect. It doesn't sound like it is going to be too tough of a surgery, so I am grateful. Of course I would love to have my body stop needing surgeries each year but ...such is life!

I have to admit that I am so blessed to have so many friends and family that love and support me that I really can't complain. I have had so many loved ones call me this past week and tell me that they will keep me in there prayers and how can I say thanks enough for that, especially when they have to pray for me so often?  :)

So tonight someone sent me this sweet poem about sisters and even though I didn't have any sisters as I was growing up... I certainly have A LOT OF THEM now, and for that I am very grateful. Thanks to all of you for your friendship. Good night!


'Sisters' are there, no matter how much time and how
many miles are between you.

A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you
have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life
will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,
praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on
your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the
valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk
beside you...Or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,
daughters-in-law, Mothers,
Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended
family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and
neither would I. When we began this adventure called
womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or
sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much  we would need each other.

"TO THE WORLD YOU MAY BE JUST ONE PERSON, BUT TO ONE PERSON YOU MAY BE THE WORLD."  ~Brandi Synder

 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Smile

Some times words are hard to find and so all is really needed is a simple smile! I think there is a great power in smiling! A smile says things that words can't, it can change someone's whole mood or outlook that day. You might say the wrong words to someone but a smile never gets misunderstood. So when I read this story today from www.inspireme.net , I thought I would like to share it with you. Smiling is important, just as much for you, as it is for the one who receives it!

I hope you had a good day and that you were able to share your smile with someone, or at least you benefited from someone sharing theirs.

About ten years ago when I was an undergraduate in college, I was working as an intern at my University's Museum of Natural History. One day while working at the cash register in the gift shop, I saw an elderly couple come in with a little girl in a wheelchair.

As I looked closer at this girl, I saw that she was kind of perched on her chair. I then realized she had no arms or legs, just a head, neck and torso. She was wearing a little white dress with red polka dots.

As the couple wheeled her up to me I was looking down at the register. I turned my head toward the girl and gave her a wink. As I took the money from her grandparents, I looked back at the girl, who was giving me the cutest, largest smile I have ever seen. All of a sudden her handicap was gone and all I saw was this beautiful girl, whose smile just melted me and almost instantly gave me a completely new sense of what life is all about. She took me from a poor, unhappy college student and brought me into her world; a world of smiles, love and warmth.

That was ten years ago. I'm a successful business person now and whenever I get down and think about the troubles of the world, I think about that little girl and the remarkable lesson about life that she taught me.

Author Unknown

 

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."  ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

" Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful."  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sanity vs insanity

Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard to learn something. Especially when over and over you have tried it and it really doesn't work for you. I was talking to my son the other day about this and he gave me this quote...

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results."

Not sure, but I think it was an insult! :) I try to explain to my kids some of the faults and unproductive habits that I have and see what their input is. Nice that they are all older now and we are all growing and learning together. They amaze me at the wisdom they have. It seems like the answer to some of my problems should be as easy as... "JUST DON'T THINK ABOUT IT THAT WAY, OR DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT". For me that has always been easier said than done, for I have always been a PLEASER, oh... I know that isn't good or healthy for me but old habits are hard to break. Today I once again had an experience like that and I sit here and wonder why some things are so hard to learn or change. Then I remembered these quotes...

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." ~ Alan Cohen


"If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong."  ~ Charles Kettering

  And so I will go to bed and try again tomorrow to be the person I need to be and just remember to keep trying. Good night dear friends, thanks for all you teach me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

There is a world of possibilities out there!

Today I talked to Lauren, she is doing pretty well...still trying to figure out all of her schedules, classes and just getting used to the whole college life. I am so excited that she is there. I miss my kids when they go away (terribly) but I am thrilled that they have the chance to grow and develop. I didn't take advantage of that opportunity at that time in my life and I believe it made a difference. I had other opportunity's, they  were more hands on type of learning, but still having an education is important. I especially love that my girl's have this chance. I love this quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley....

"DEVELOP SOME INTELLECTUAL CURIOUSTY. IF YOU HAVE IT, YOU WILL NEVER BE BORED. IF YOU HAVEN'T, CULTIVATE IT, HOLD FAST TO IT. NEVER LET IT GO. TO THE INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS, THE WORLD WILL ALWAYS BE FULL OF MAGIC, FULL OF WONDER. YOU WILL BE INTERESTING TO YOUR FRIENDS, TO YOUR SPOUSE, AND A JOY TO YOUR CHILDREN. YOU WILL BE ALIVE TO ALL OF THE WONDERFUL POSSIBILITIES OF THIS WORLD."

"One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it." ~ Jack Canfield


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." ~ Mahatma Gandi

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Bridge Builder

I read an article today that struck home to me. It compared our life to a journey and how we are all here to learn and grow. There will be steep roads to travel and turbulent waters to cross. In this article by Thomas S. Monson he also added this  poem was written by Will Allen Dromgooles called "THE BRIDGE BUILDER".

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide—
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."1

I loved this poem and idea that what we do on our journey on earth, is important for us and for the next generation. How we take care of the earth, how we handle adversity, what we learn from our difficulties, what we give to others, basically how we live our lives. Everything we do effects others, may we take thought not only for ourselves but for others as we journey through life. No one should have to go travel alone!

"PEOPLE ARE LONELY BECAUSE THEY BUILD WALLS INSTEAD OF BRIDGES"

"LET EVERY MAN PRAISE THE BRIDGE THAT CARRIES HIM OVER"  ~ English Proverb

 

 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Habits

Today at church the message was about Patience. I loved the quote that went with it.

"IF WE DON'T HAVE PATIENCE...

WE WILL SEE LESS, WE WILL HEAR LESS, AND WE WILL FEEL LESS"

I think some people believe that either you were born with patience or not. I don't believe it is completely true. I mean sure, there are some more patient people in the world but... I do believe that any could learn to have more patience. I would wager that most of us could use a little more of it in our lives. Sometimes I believe that we just get into habits and we really need to watch what our habits are. It makes me think of the quote..."WE FIRST MAKE OUR HABITS, AND THEN OUR HABITS MAKE US."

Yes, everything is about our choices.

 

"You are always only one choice away from changing your life." ~Marcy Blochowack

"Our patience will achieve more than our force."  ~ Edmund Burke

"Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. 
Every day you need to work on it."
  ~ Eknath Easwaran

Good night dear friends, thanks for the example and friendship.

The changing of the Seasons!

Well, today we took down Christmas, we had to do it while Angie wasn't here...she loves Christmas just as much as Nana does, if not more. I put on the Christmas music and tried to get excited about the Valentine's Day decorations. They will be the next ones to put up this week. It went down faster than normal because everyone helped, plus some friends of ours came over too! That is true friendship don't you think to help someone like me ( who has tons of decorations )? That is what you call...ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY! Thanks dear friends!

So here I sit, it is late... I am waiting for Lee to get home from a church dance and looking at my empty house. I am not sure where I first developed the love of decoration for the seasons? My mom decorated for Christmas but that was about it. When we had Amy ( our first ) I had already been making and selling crafts for a business and of course the best seller is whatever the season is at that time. But for some reason, I was excited to decorate and celebrate every season with Amy. By the time Bradley was born... I already had quite a collection built up. I am not sure if something is called a collection if  you make all of it? Whatever!

angie mother mary

I have been tempted (in my old age) not to put up ALL the decorations for the different seasons, but that went away as soon as I became a Nana. To watch Angie's little face when she reaches in and pulls out each decorations...is worth it all! There is not a kid that come's over to Aunt Lynn's house that doesn't love it too. When I told Angie the other day that we need to take down the Christmas decorations she said " Oh Nana, don't take down the deawations". When I said we had to, she then said " Are we going to put up Halloween?" :) Then I explained Valentine's Day and she threw up her arms and said "Oh Nana, are we going to put up hearts everywhere?" How can you turn a face like that down?

I hope that each of you are able to enjoy the changing of the seasons and holidays! I really am grateful that I get to be here to celebrate each one. Good night dear friends!

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." ~ Dale Evans Rogers

"The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each other's burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts  and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas." ~ W.C. Jones

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cheaters never win

Many kids who are abused, do whatever it takes to survive. For some of them it is to excel in school...something they can control. Others it is to over achieve in sports... something to get out their aggression and so the list goes on and on. Mine however was ART, my art took me to a different place, a safe place, a place that only I created, I was doing art since I was a little girl. My abuse started young, I don't remember (thank goodness) anything much younger than 4 or 5.

One thing I do remember was how much schooling I missed, oh I was there.. but not really there, if you know what I mean?  I would just sit at my desk and doodle, my thoughts were far from the math or geography lessons that were being taught. Because the abuse went on for years, I really didn't do well in school.  Actually it was so bad that I cheated to just try and get by. I was warned that if I told anyone...then that would get seriously hurt. I did try to tell at the age of 5,  but was scolded and not believed, that silenced me for many years. I did not want to fail my classes because that would bring attention to me and my situation and that scared me. I wasn't to tell anyone no matter what  and so....I cheated.

I remember well in Elementary we had Spanish taught to us. I was terrified, just trying to keep up with the regular curriculum was tough enough, without adding a foreign language too!  During one test, I got so nervous about trying to label the parts of a face in Spanish that I begged my girlfriend to help me, reluctantly she did. That was bad enough, but then I realized I didn't even know how to spell some of the words she told me. Not a smart thing to do, neither was cheating but I think I just took it a whole new level? Long story short...I got caught and I had to tell the teacher, I also told her it was all my fault so my girlfriend wouldn't get in as much trouble. I don't think I ever regained her friendship. That alone made me feel bad. How I wish I could have told her why I was having so much trouble in school, with all my classes not just Spanish. I wish that she could have understood but....that would have put her in jeopardy. ( or so I thought! ) 

And so that is basically how most of my schooling went, oh I learned some along the way, but as a teenager the abuse was still happening and so I  had a lot bigger problems to worry about. I look back on those years as something I hope never to repeat, and yet tonight I had to remind myself, and all those other survivors of abuse ...that Cheaters never win and I am not talking about me.  I am talking about those abusers (cheaters) who pretend to be dear family members, teachers, and or friends. They will not get by without having to be responsible for their actions.... they will some day have to accept and pay for the consequences of their actions.

Not to end on a negative note but a happy one. I believe the greatest thing we can do to combat abuse is... to do all that we can to get healthy ourselves. To love ourselves. To not cheat ourselves out of a life! To tell, to report and most important to protect those around us that might fall into the cheaters sick web. Yes abuse is bad, it is wrong... but I do think that we all have in us... what it takes to conquer whatever life gives us. We will be the better and the stronger for it, if we learn from it and go on and LIVE!

I pray that ANY OF YOU that are in an abusive situation whether sexually, physically or emotionally, that you will honor the feeling in the pit of your stomach that is telling you this is wrong and do all that you can to get out of it!  I pray you will tell someone, that you will seek help. No one deserves to be abused!  Be strong, be able to find someone to talk to and most important to BELIEVE you. You are worth it!

May you find the strength and courage that you need! Don't give up! Life truly is worth living! I know ...because I am finally living it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Things aren't always as they appear!

A young woman was in the hospital, recovering from major surgery. She hated being stuck in the tiny little room all day and to make matters worse, the daily routine was starting to get to her. Every morning, for example, the nurse would bring her breakfast (which always consisted of an egg, piece of toast, and glass of apple juice). She would then return a little bit later to empty the urine bottle. And so it continued. . . Finally, one morning, she decided to have a little fun. She ate the eggs and the toast, but went to the bathroom where she cleaned the urine bottle out, then poured the apple juice into it. When the nurse returned later that morning, he took a look at the bottle and a frown came over his face. 'Obviously, you enjoyed your breakfast, but something must be wrong because this looks a little cloudy, ' he said, pointing to the urine bottle. 'Oh, really?' she replied, picking up the bottle in question and putting it to her lips. 'In that case, we'd better run it through again. . . '

A long time ago I remember hearing this joke. It reminded me of when I used to go to my monthly/weekly OB appointments, when I was pregnant with Lee. Lauren was almost two and quite a handful. She wasn't the type of kid that you could just drop off at a friend's house very often. She was a bit harder to handle and most of the time she just stayed with me. Each week we went through the same struggles. I would come in and have to go straight to the bathroom for a urine sample. I would of course have to bring Lauren in the bathroom with me and while I got the sample I would always distract her by looking at something near the door or on the floor. As I got ready to open the door, Lauren would see me carrying the sample and think it was apple juice and begin crying because I wouldn't give her any. The crying turned into a major fit and screaming followed. Each time the nurses would knock on the door and ask if everything was ok and if I needed help. I would respond the same...."no thanks, we are fine!" Although to them I am sure it sounded a lot like someone being murdered. :)

"And this too, shall pass away." -unknown

After a few visits I started trying to remember to bring Lauren a small container of Apple Juice and then we were all happy. Isn't that funny, no matter what I did or what I said to her, she did not believe that it wasn't Apple Juice. It is a cute memory now, but more important it is a good reminder that things aren't always as they appear! Just a great lesson for us all, especially our teenagers! Good night dear friends!

"There will be things in life that aren't what they appear, many of them are dangerous" ~unknown

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." ~ Franklin P. Jones

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Perspective

I have always had a hard time watching the news. It seems like it is so depressing to see all the terrible things that are going on in the world. My heart ached yesterday when the images of the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti, came up on my screen....

People search for survivors amongst the rubble of the Caribbean Super Market in Delmas on January 12, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti today, followed by at least a dozen aftershocks, causing widespread devastation in the capital.

Perspective is something that can change in an instant. I have been struggling the last couple of days with the pain in my knees and I am having some trouble with my teeth and will need to go in right after my knee surgery to get 2 crowns. I am also trying to get my heart to stop aching for Lauren (who just left for college,) and my son Lee is getting sick again and we are trying to figure out the cause of that. So I have been having a bit of a pity party for myself lately. I try to keep those things to myself, but non-the-less my perspective was bleak.

One look at the head lines snapped me back to reality, how in the world could I be thinking I was having a bad day when  you see how hard life truly is for so many on a daily basis?  They already have a life that is a daily struggle, and now after having such a devastating thing like this happen is unthinkable to me. I have never traveled the world at all, I know part of my family have and they say it is eye opening to see how others in the world live. Not sure is my heart could take it. It hurts today to just see the images of the people suffering so bad. In the article is talked about the people that are digging non-stop to save their loved one, they say that they are running on pure adrenaline and will power, but they know not even that... can last forever.

So today I will remember these people in Haiti in my thoughts and prayers and I will also count my blessings as I sit in my warm home, safely surrounded by those I love. I will remember, and keep things in perspective!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

When you get to the end of your rope!

I remember as a  young girl around 10-11 years of age, my dad put a rope up on the back of our basketball hoop. He was into creating things and so it was higher and stronger than most hoops. I was grateful that he did that because in school... one of the physical tests in gym was to climb a rope. I never really understood why that was necessary, couldn't think of any reason that I would need that skill in my life but ...nevertheless it was part of the test.

I would practice over and over again and never really had much success, the difference in our rope and the one at school was this... the school rope had a knot in it but you had to climb to get it. Mine on the other hand had a knot at the bottom and so at least you had a little success right at the beginning. I finally after many many tries  got to the top and man, was I excited. I was in a hurry to get down and run in the house to tell my family what I had done. I figured coming down had to be the easiest part, because all you had to do was slide down real fast. Well, since I had never been to the top OR never slide down before, I didn't realize how badly it was going to burn my hands. It hurt so bad that I pulled my hands away just for a moment but I was still too far from the ground, when I fell I broke my toe. I knew it was broke but I was so embarrassed and in so much pain ...plus I was scared to go to the hospital, that I hid it from my parents. I wore covered shoes (which was a painful experience) till I got down the road ( 3/4's of a  mile ) to the bus stop and then I would put on sandals. I wrapped it as tight as I could to the big toe but finally after it healed, I was left with a crooked toe.

So there has got to be some lesson learned here right? A couple of things come to mind. Practice makes perfect, but even though you understand maybe one part of your test, you may not completely comprehend the next part. Or maybe I should have just hung on and yelled for help, maybe by asking someone who had already learned the art of climbing rope...could have talked me down safely.

I do believe that both lessons are important...there are so many things in life that when I finally get to a certain point, I think I am done with the learning and low and behold there is much, much more. Life truly is about ever learning. Some lessons are harder than the others. I also think it would have been a great idea to have yelled for help. Why is it that we sometimes wait too long before we ask for help? Often trying to do everything by ourselves, without the help of those who have been there before can be a PAINFUL experience.

As I look at my crooked toe every day, I am reminded that I should have asked for help. How many of us need and want help, but try to keep doing it on our own? I do think that much of life would be less painful if we just ask others for help. There are many who have been there before and maybe we could ask them, before we hurt ourselves. Now the next time you see  me, I know you are going to want to see my crooked toe. I need to warn you... that I am a little self conscience about it, so I probably won't show it to you! Then again I have so many other issues on this poor body of mine, I guess my toe should be the consider the least of them. :)

I hope you have a wonderful night and try to remember it is important to hang on when you get to the end of your rope, but also you can yell for HELP too!

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn."  ~Author Unknown

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." 

~Barbara Bloom

Maybe I should have a golden toe then? Heck, I should have my whole body made of GOLD! :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Envy

I was talking today to some dear friends of mine, we had mentioned that some times when you go to someone's home or visit their blog, that you feel a bit of envy, for what you don't have. I usually do pretty good in that area but some times I slip up. It doesn't take much to snap me back to reality when I think of all the blessings I  do have. We reminded ourselves that when we are feeling envy, that it actually keeps us from focusing and appreciating what we do have.

Jeff and I went to a movie the other night and one of the main points in the movie was to make you think about this question ....If you only had a few minutes to get out of your house because of a fire or something ....what would you take? In the story the girl realized that the guy she loved and was dating, cared more about his possessions than her, that was a sad realization but also life altering for her. She realized exactly what was more important and finally tried to let go of her old habits and thoughts, and live in the here and now. To have healthy thoughts and to ask herself that same question...What would you take if you only had a few minutes to get out of your home? 

I hope we will try and remember not to be envious about what others have but take a good look at what we spend our time and money on...that is where are heart is!  There will always be someone better off than you in the world and yet there will always be someone less fortunate than you too! Service seems to help with so many things, maybe the transformation happens when we stop worrying about ourselves so much and start worrying about others.

This poem went right along with my thoughts tonight. Enjoy and good night!

Service

Supposing today were your last day on earth, 
The last mile of the journey you've trod; 
After all of your struggles, how much are you worth, 
How much can you take home to God? 
Don't count as possessions your silver and gold, 
Tomorrow you leave these behind, 
And all that is yours to have and to hold 
Is the service you've given mankind. 
Anonymous, 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2nd Chances

I just finished a book called FOR ONE MORE DAY by Mitch Albom, it was very thought provoking. It is a book about what would happen if you had a 2nd chance to be with some loved one who had passed away, a chance to go back and fix what you did wrong in your life. It is a neat reminder of the POWER OF LOVE especially a MOTHER'S LOVE!

In the book the main character gets the chance to see and spend time with his mother ( who had already passed away). During this time that they had together, he learned about family secrets, why his dad left and was able to to seek her forgiveness. It was a powerful reminder to me that we need to live each day with those we love to the fullest, that we need to let go of the pains from the past ( much easier said than done ). We also need to never let a day be wasted. Don't forget to say that we are sorry and try to truly forgive. Always telling those around you, how much you love and appreciate them.

"You're writing the story of your life one moment at a time." ~ Doc Childre and Howard Martin

I only wish that we could have that ONE MORE DAY with our loved ones who have already passed away. I still miss talking to my mom, asking her opinion on things, asking her how to make a certain recipe, asking her who the heck these people are on all these photos that were left in a box? Yes, there are very personal things too that I would like to ask her about her past, hoping to understand more of why she did what she did. Yes, I would love to have ONE MORE DAY with her, my dad, my 2 grandmothers, my Aunt and on and on. I do believe they are never far away and that each thing that happened in my life happened for a reason.

Although we may not get 2nd chances, we do at least have the chance to have ONE MORE DAY with those around us and we need to be grateful for that. I am grateful for having ONE MORE DAY to be your friend. I am very blessed to know you. Thanks!

"People always make time to do the things they really want to do."

Life's lessons

I got a call the other night from a lady that I know and she had just been diagnosed with Cancer. I went over to see her and to try and explain some of the information that she had already been given in her previous appointments. She was scared, she was overwhelmed and wondering if she had the strength to handle what lied ahead of her. As I spoke, I tried to be careful NOT to say the word JUST.... " At least it is just a stage 2" or "Hopefully you will just have to have this one surgery and not two". No matter how you word some things they just don't come out right. Why is that? Because usually the person is still in shock, they don't know what to think or feel they are just scared.They don't know what the future is going to bring and many times wonder if there is going to even be a future. Now many things that others say to comfort you don't really help only because they have never been there. Still I caught myself planning out the words before they left my lips, well remembering how I felt when others said things that didn't help. Most people really don't mean to hurt your feelings or treat you and your situation lightly, most people just don't know what to say at all. So my suggestion for those who have just been hit with news of this depth, try not to take things too personally. Majority rule, people are concerned and just want to help.

Each time I talk or counsel with someone who has just been diagnosed with Cancer, I try to see where their faith is. I try to see what they believe in, I try to help them find hope, dig deep for their faith and help them... in some small way to be inspired, to keep trying and keep going. Life seems to stop for a little while, when something like this enters (uninvited) your life.

I hope that we will continue to remember that we are here to learn from our life's lessons. Some of the toughest trials teach us the most. I hope you will look around at your family, friends and associates and see if they are going through things in their lives that are, just too tough to go through alone. Remember you don't have to fix things, some things  you can't fix ...but you can be their friend. You can pray for them, remember that prayer is very powerful and truly does change lives. Remember if you are worried about finding the right thing to say...LESS IS MORE! Just a quick "I'M THINKING OF YOU", "YOU ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS" really help a lot.

So tonight I hope that my faith and prayers will go out to all of my dear friends who are struggling with some tough life's lessons. Even though I have had cancer twice, there is still much I don't know. Everyone is different too, we all have different bodies, different immune systems, different weaknesses and strengths. Let's be very careful before we say the words " I can imagine what you are going through", "I know how you must be feeling right now".  May we all be able to learn through our lessons in life, they will be hard but can always be a bit easier with the love and support of someone we love. Good night dear friends!

"Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves you."  ~ Anthony Robbins

 

"WE ARE NOT MORTAL BEINGS HAVING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES. WE ARE SPIRITUAL BEINGS HAVING MORTAL EXPERIENCES" 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Families

I read an article the other day and the title was...What Makes A Family Strong? I was interested in what points they would say would be important to keeping that strength in a family. They had great points and as I read the news each morning, I realize that we all should really put more effort in trying to keep our family strong and less in entertaining them. Parenthood is a sacred responsibility and I truly believe we are to take our job very seriously. Enjoy!


Trait 1: Commitment

The most important trait in strong, happy families is commitment. Commitment to the team—putting the family first—and commitment to each individual on the family in helping him or her become everything he or she can.…With commitment comes the desire to help family members reach their potential. A winning attitude is "I’ll forgo my own immediate gratification to help a family member succeed, because I know the personal joy that I experience when I help another family member."

Trait 2: Appreciation

Do you let your family members know that they are appreciated? Do you give them positive attention?…Strong families focus on the strengths of each other—not the faults.

If you think your family needs improvement in this area, try serving a compliment at each practice…"I really like the way that you…" "One of the things I like best about you is…" "You make me happy when you…" "You have real talent when it comes to…" "You make me proud when you…"

Trait 3: Time Together

Healthy families enjoy being together. They work together, play together, and enjoy leisure times together. They may be very busy, but they…plan time together.

Trait 4: Communication

To understand each other, a family has to be willing to invest the time necessary to share their feelings and opinions. Because you are a product of your experiences, each day you are a new person. Without talking and listening to each other, family members can soon become strangers.

Trait 5: Religion

Praying together, as well as, praying for one another are extremely important for a strong, happy family. Worshiping together is a bonding experience.

Trait 6: Sense of Humor

Happy families have fun together; they play together; they laugh together. Having a sense of humor during tense, troublesome moments…defuses the tension and has an immediate calming effect.

Trait 7: Share Responsibility

Flexibility is an important trait in strong families, especially when it comes to sharing responsibility and roles. If family members will do whatever is necessary to meet each other's needs, even if the task does not happen to be on their list, everyone is happier.

Together
Everyone
A
ccomplishes
More!

Trait 8: Common Interests

The more that family members have in common, the more they tend to do together. Having similar interests and developing common goals gives the family something to look forward to, to plan toward, and to experience together.

Trait 9: Service to Others

Just as a pond grows stagnant if there is no outlet, so does the family. Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter…agreed that nothing (not even the White House experience) brought them as much joy and satisfaction as they received when pounding nails and painting walls in houses they were volunteering to build for others. Your own problems and worries can become insignificant when seen from the perspective of others who have so much less than you.

Trait 10: Seeking Help

Healthy families are not problem-free; they just admit to problems and get the help they need to solve them! The longer a problem drags on without a solution, the more discouraging family life becomes. Do not allow this to happen.

When you are a big enough person to admit you are not perfect and when you choose to get the help you need, not only will you gain the respect of your family, but you will find that your goal of living "happily ever after" is attainable after all.
by Kay Kuzma 

 

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
-- Jane Howard

"Remember that having religious observance in the home is as important as providing food, clothing, and shelter."   ~ Quentin L. Cook

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Celebration!

Today is Lauren's 19th birthday and I realized that I am wishing I was with her, to celebrate. It did my heart good to hear that her roommates put up a banner this morning and then sang to her. Friends make all the difference in the world don't they?

Speaking of friends I was able to connect with an old friend today ( well she's not old, but we have known each other for many years ). She is just the sweetest girl, she actually was our babysitter years ago. It was so great to connect with her again and to hear her sweet voice again. Fun to have such a good friend that even though you are miles away and haven't talked for years, that you can pick up the phone and talk just like it was yesterday that you saw each other. That is a TRUE FRIEND!

I am also grateful that my kids are such good friends of mine and that I had the opportunity to marry my best friend! Yes, friends are the treasures in life!

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you."  ~ Winnie the Pooh quotes

So tonight I will leave with this sweet poem about friendship and I want to thank you once again for being my friends!


How Many Friends   ~ author unknown

The old man turned to me and asked
"How many friends have you?"
Why 10 or 20 friends have I,
And named off just a few...

He rose quite slow with effort
And sadly shook his head
"A lucky child you are
To have so many friends," he said

But think of what you're saying
There is so much you do not know
A friend is just not someone
To whom you say "Hello"

A friends a tender shoulder
On which to softly cry
A well to pour your troubles down
And raise your spirits high

A friend is a hand to pull you up
From darkness and despair...
When all your other "so called" friends
Have helped to put you there

A true friend is an ally
Who can't be moved or bought
A voice to keep your name alive
When others have forgot

But most of all a friend is a heart
A strong and sturdy wall
For from the hearts of friends
There comes the greatest love of all!!!

So think of what I've spoken
For every word is true
And answer once again my child
How many friends have you???

And then he stood and faced me
Awaiting my reply
Softly I answered
"If lucky...... one have "I"

"You!!!!"

"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world."  ~ Brandi Snyder

 

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Faith and Happiness

I believe that we all want happiness in our lives. I also believe that many of us may have trouble finding it on a daily basis. In my reading I found an article about this very subject, and I would like to share part of it with you...

" 600 years ago on the New Year of 1412 in the small village of Domremy, France a baby girl was born who, a little later, changed the political and religious landscape of her world. Through military developments and a variety of personal religious experiences, Joan of Arc, sometimes called the Maid of Orleans, was made a captain in the French army at the tender age of 16. In a rather remarkable series of battles and victories, she brought acclaim to herself and her cause, inspiring not only the men under her command but also the entire French nation. Later she was captured, tried, and put to death---burned at the stake---her life complete at 19 years of age.

Joan of Arc

As the fires were being ignited around the stake to which she was tied, Joan was given a last chance to save her life and regain her liberty if she would deny her religious---and thus some of her personally motivated political---beliefs. She refused to deny anything she believed or anything she had said about her faith, and thus chose fire above freedom, and principle above politics. Maxwell Anderson, who wrote a moving drama about this young woman and her courage, has her say in his play as the flames begin to consume her, "THE WORLD CAN USE THESE WORDS...EVERY MAN GIVES HIS LIFE FOR WHAT HE BELIEVES; EVERY WOMAN GIVES HER LIFE FOR WHAT SHE BELIEVES. SOMETIMES PEOPLE BELIEVE IN LITTLE OR NOTHING, [AND YET] THEY GIVE UP THEIR LIVES TO THAT LITTLE OR NOTHING. ONE LIFE IS ALL WE HAVE, AND WE LIVE IT AS WE BELIEVE IN LIVING IT, AND THEN IT'S GONE. BUT TO SURRENDER WHAT YOU ARE, AND LIVE WITHOUT BELIEF----THAT'S MORE TERRIBLE THAN DYING---MORE TERRIBLE THAN DYING YOUNG" (Joan of Lorraine, act 2, interlude 3)  ~ Jeffrey R. Holland

This story of Joan of Arc's life is very impressive, she had a faith and beliefs that she stood by her... whole life. I believe that is where true Happiness comes from. I think we need to remember to be like her courageous, strong, truly understand our opposition and remember above all else ....what truly matters in this world!  This article and this example of Joan of Arc, reminded me that we need to "GET SERIOUS" about our faith, beliefs, the changes we need to make in our lives and serious about the decisions we are making on a daily basis. We are all living in a world that is morally coming apart at the seams. We need to know what we believe and value, then live it!

What a great article for the beginning of a new year. I pray that we each will take a personal inventory of our beliefs and faith, then ask ourselves if we are truly as devoted to them as we should be?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fathers

Today was Lauren's first day of college and she really enjoyed it! However the part that was hard for her was when her Dad left today. I am so grateful that Jeff was able to go with her and get her all settled in for her semester of college, what an incredible Dad he is. I think that is a large part of why our kids are so happy. Doesn't every person want a great relationship with their Dad, especially a girl? So today was what they call Sweet Sorrow, Jeff said that he was so happy to see how well Lauren seemed to be adjusting yet, he had a hard time saying good bye to her and realizing that his little girl has grown up. It just seems like yesterday that we used to worry about her, what a tough toddler she was! :) I really need to write a book about her and all the trouble and mischief she got into. She was quite the character, actually Angie my granddaughter is a lot like her now but with red hair! :) Watch out Amy and John!

When Lauren was little she used to come up with every reason in the world at night not to go to sleep. She would creep down the stairs, when Jeff would ask her why she wasn't in bed here were some of her excuses. 

" I am just too tired to sleep", "Daddy, I already waked up", "I am hungry again", "Brad is making too much noise" and the best was ..."Because my belly hurts, why does it hurt?" "Me finks me read too many books!"

So tonight I hope my Lauren is able to get to sleep and realizes that her dad is only a phone call away and that her Heavenly Father is only a prayer away.

I hope all of you that have a Dads that you are close to, one that is truly your protector, your example and your friend, that you will tell him that you love him... and be grateful for that wonderful blessings in life. Good night dear friends!

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off, and lets you try again.
A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.
A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail.
Dad, you're everything a dad should be and more...

Susan Ceylise



"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me."  ~Jim Valvano

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wisdom

I have always loved to spend time with older people. When I was little I loved spending the day with my grandma, Aunt and their friends. I loved to hear all the things they would talk about it and they seemed to know everything about everybody. I loved that they were so willing to share their knowledge with those younger than them. As I grew older it hurt me to see how many people got frustrated with them and all their stories about life and such. I just loved their stories and always felt like I learned something valuable.

When my grandmother lived with us, I would beg her to tell me the time when she did this or that. As I am getting older  ( "Old age is fifteen years older than I am."  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes),  I realize now, that is because I made her feel appreciated and wanted. When she left our home and had to enter a nursing home, I thought my heart would break. I knew that wasn't what she wanted but, my mom had surgery, made dad was always working and I was leaving home for almost 2  years. When I came back and visited with her, I always loved going to the nursing home. I loved getting to know all the ladies, although some had struggles with their memories...I was always amazed at how much they still had to offer.

I remember Amy ( about 2 years old at the time ) and I going to visit my grandmother. It was never a quick visit because everyone of the ladies called Amy her girl and she and I would stop and visit with each of them before we even got to my grandmother's room. In some ways it was sad to see many of them just sit there day in and day out without ever having any visitors. Yes, I wish that we would have had more time to spend with them but my grandmother needed us too.

Wisdom, when I looked up the word here is what I found...

–noun

1.
the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.

2.
scholarly knowledge or learning: the wisdom of the schools.

3.
wise sayings or teachings; precepts.

How I wish that we could all tap into the wisdom that our elders have. They have seen and lived so much more of life. They have had their share of heartaches and trials. Most of them have all the time in the world, sometimes too much of it and they are lonely. I would encourage all of us in this year of 2010 to find one elderly person whether it is your neighbor, grandparents or just a friend, and really spend time with them.  Learn about their live and their experiences, make them feel important, make them feel loved and needed. You will for sure make a difference for the better in their life, but I also promise you too will be the wiser for it! Have a great day!

 

"The years teach much which the days never knew."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigor.  With such people the gray head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life."  ~Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First things first!

I have never really been one for a lot of New Year's Resolutions, but I do try to find ways to improve my life throughout the year. I get a bit frustrated with all the incredible marketing from October on. In October it seems as if all you hear and see is Halloween Candy adds. Then in November every add is about food, the comforts food and everything for the Thanksgiving Feast. Then December adds and commercials are all about the sweets and treats for Christmas, more and more comfort foods. Then in January all you hear is..just look at yourself, don't you want to look better for the New Year? Lose weight so you can enjoy life more? It is quite the marketing scheme. I guess that is why I don't like just January goals.  I do like the idea of evaluating our lives and trying to remember that the important things don't get left out. Here is a wonderful story to remind us of this very thing!

 

Dr. Stephen R. Covey,
First Things First

One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"

"No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!" Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all."

What are the big rocks in your life? A project that you want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these Big Rocks in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

"The key is not to prioritize what's on our schedule, but to schedule your priorities."  ~ Stephen R. Covey

"Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, these can be changed as your priorities change, new one added, and others dropped"

Happy New Year!

A dear friend of mine called me the other day after reading my blog. She knew that my heart was aching with Lauren getting ready to leave for college. She and her husband suggested that we just pack up too and come to their beach house near Port Townsend. I am not really good at being spontaneous a lot of the times, but this time I decided to try it. I asked the rest of the family and of course they said YES! So only an hour or so after Lauren and Jeff left, we packed up some things and headed for the water.

I was surprised how much it helped. Before we left,I went over to a dear friend's house and cried on her shoulder for a bit and then we had to get ready for our trip. It was the perfect solution to my problem. Keeping me busy, getting things packed and ready. Then when we arrived and everyone got settled in, I looked out my bedroom window at the water and realized how calming and peaceful the water is. The ocean seems to have some magical calming powers, just watching the waves come in and out.

That is why I did not blog yesterday, I was gone... I was taking a vacation from my problems and it was great. There were 8 of  us in total that went and that too helped my heart. We all were missing them and so it was fun to just get away together! Yes, I still missed Lauren and Jeff but I reminded myself over and over again, she is where she wants and needs to be. This is what I wished for her!

We arrived back home this afternoon, I have to admit it was a bit hard coming home and having it be a little more empty but.... how grateful I am for dear friend  who was kind enough to invite us to her home. It was the perfect two days and just what I needed to get everything back into perspective. I will close tonight with a part of a wonderful article I read about evaluating your past year. I hope we will learn from our past and look forward to the new year. Happy 2010!

Reflections:
A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions

Michael E. Angier


In order to embrace the new, we must release the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go. An important part of preparing for the New Year is to review the past year—to release it—and to learn from it.…

The following questions should stimulate your thinking for this process.

Reflect upon what you did, how you felt, what you liked, what you didn’t and what you learned. Try to look at yourself and your experience with as much objectivity as you can—much like a biographer would.

Here are some suggestions to get you started in mulling over the past year—perhaps the last decade.

  1. What did I learn? (skills, knowledge, awareness, etc.)

  2. What did I accomplish? A list of my wins and achievements.

  3. What would I have done differently? Why?

  4. What did I complete or release? What still feels incomplete to me?

  5. What were the most significant events of the year past? List the top three.

  6. What did I do right? What do I feel especially good about? What was my greatest contribution?

  7. What were the fun things I did? What were the not-so-fun?

  8. What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?

  9. How am I different this year than last?

  10. For what am I particularly grateful?