Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They will never look the same again...

Where do you wish to be fierce?

     I missed blogging yesterday.  Really missed it.  It was a day which probably would have been more enjoyable if I had taken the time to stop.  Regroup.  Breathe.  Slow down.  Write.

Be fierce at being yourself.
     It is Wishcasting Wednesday with Jaime Ridler and she asks where we want to be fierce.

     Where.  Not how.  Not why.  Not what.  Not when.   Not who. 

     Where.

     I want to be fierce here.  Today.  This life.  I want to be fierce at the doctor's office in asking questions, getting answers, understanding options.  I want to be fierce at home in taking time for myself, my needs, my time spent writing.  I want to be fierce at the job in standing up to those who try to insult my intelligence by thinking I can't see through their lies and deception.  I want to be fierce at finding another job, expanding my writing opportunities, and getting out of Texas.  I want to be fierce at succeeding, thriving, growing, being, living, healing, helping...

     I want to be fierce.

     I also want to be fierce in this advice:  if you've had a full or partial hysterectomy because of pre-cancerous dysplasia... and you think you don't ever have to suffer through another exam with ice cold speculums, microscopes peering into your most intimate place, and a room full of strangers... think again.  Dysplasia does not discriminate.  If it can't have your cervix, it will be just as happy with your vaginal walls.  And like cervical and ovarian cancer... there are no symptoms with VIN 2 or vaginal cancer until it is almost (or is) too late.  It is a rare cancer, but it is there, it can happen.  I know.

     If you haven't had a female exam in ages because you thought you didn't have to anymore... pick up the phone and schedule one now.  If you know a woman who thinks she is free and clear because she doesn't have those pieces or parts anymore... share this with her.  Ten minutes of hide and seek under the sheet may save your life... or hers.

     Be fierce in your body.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Eyes wide open...

Coffee - check. Check. Check.
Chocolate - check. Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.
Diet Coke - check. Check.
20 minute Power Nap - check.


Please let me be able to sleep tonight...

Monday...


I <3 this...
     Ugh.

     I did not get enough sleep this weekend.  Or coffee yet this morning.  I think someone needs to come up with a Monday Morning Coffee Blend that has double the amount of caffeine in it than normal weekday coffee.  Make that triple.  Oh heck, four times it.

     Especially for cloudy, muggy Mondays with rain in the forecast.  Can't we call it a weather day and just stay home in bed?

     Blimpies bakes their bread fresh in the mornings.  I know because the Blimpies in my office building... all the way on the other side of the building... has special fans hidden in the ventilation system to blow the smell of their warm Parmesan bread down to my office.

     Really.  There can be no other explanation for how quickly the scent of fresh baked bread can tickle and tempt my nose.

     Don't worry.  There's more.  I just bought one loaf.

     Where's my coffee????

     I'll be back after I wake up...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomorrow...

"I  am leading you, step by step, through your life.  Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day.  Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy ~ even precarious.  That is how it should be.  Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things.  when you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine.  This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion:  doubting My promises to care for you.
"Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me.  I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that.  Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go."
~ Sarah Young ~
'Jesus Calling ~ Enjoying Peace in His Presence'

     On Friday I got an email from someone I know through work.  Steff emailed me to thank me for my blog and how much my words had encouraged her at times.  She noticed we had the same book by Sarah Young ~ the one my aunt sent me ~ and commented that she and her husband recently had a medical scare on the 6th and 7th that changed their lives.  Especially after she was able to go back and read the pages for those two days once the crisis had been averted.

     I confess that I've not been as faithful in my reading lately.  I wake up tired from worry and restless sleeping.  The book has traveled from my bedside to the desk where I used it when I wrote a post about it just a few days before Steff's husband became ill.

     But today it will move back again in reach, to where I can read it each morning.  Because the message today is what I needed to hear.  Just as the one on the 4th was for me.  Just as the ones on the 6th and 7th were for Steff and her husband.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.
~ Psalm 32:8 NIV ~

Doubt not.
Worry not.
Fear not.

Relax.
Trust.
Enjoy.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday Selections

It’s Sunday again. Time for the Sunday Selections, hosted by Kim from Frogpondsrock.  
I thought it was the name of the island she lives on... but it's not.  She just believes that frog ponds rock... and they do. 

She created this fun meme (and I still LOVE that word) for those photos hidden away on your computer that you've never shared, or haven't shared in a long time.  So dig them out, dust them off, and link up!


"Travelling is almost like talking to those of other centuries."
~ Rene Descartes ~
* 1596-1650 *

Rhine River Christmas Cruise 2007 ~ from Koln (Cologne), Germany to Basel, Switzerland
Me!  I was pretty excited to be there!

The Lindt Chocolate Museum in Koln.  
The tree is a "liquid" chocolate tree.
nom nom nom nom nom they also had a store!

Kolner Dam (Cologne Cathedral)
The beginning of my architectural addiction.
And more drugs for my history addiction....
These are pieces of the Berlin Wall.
I'm blown away by the fact that there are/will be generations after mine,
that don't know what the wall stood for...
or what it fell for...
and that ... is a good thing.
In the town of Koblenz... incredible detail on a building... close up below

All carved by hand....



Unique and modern wall detail on a building that was probably built in the 12th century...

This is a clock with the face of a man who was arrested in the 1600's for not paying his taxes.
At his sentencing, he stuck his tongue out at the town council.
Now, he sticks his tongue out every hour, and as the seconds tick off, his eyes shift left and right.




Detail on a gate at the Heidelberg Castle.


Detail on the outside of the Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France.
I was fascinated by the minute detail, carved by hand, it was so beautiful

Signs...

     It's funny how sometimes when you make a decision, you all of a sudden see or hear things that confirm you made the right decision.  Sort of like when you buy a new car, suddenly all you see are the same make and model cars everywhere you go, as if everyone had the same brilliant taste in cars that you do.

     A few weeks ago I shared that I'd had "enough" at my job and had given notice.  On Thursday this week, Maxabella loves ... blogged about doing the same thing.  Reading all the comments that people wrote on her blog in response to her decision... it made me feel like my decision was the right one also.

     I'm not alone in my belief that sometimes office politics are just not worth dealing with.

     That same day, I read another blog by Leonie about following your heart and following your dreams to change the world YOUR way.

     Coincidences?  Maybe.

     Signs?  Definitely.

    This past week has been full of new challenges with car repairs, bent budgets and saying "See you soon!" to a good friend when he left (we really will miss you, Larry).

     My husband and I sat outside by the fire pit on Wednesday night talking about the recent events.  As we talked, I felt a shift in the Universe that suddenly ... felt like all the planets were aligning in our favor.  It was almost an excited feeling of anticipation... knowing that changes were coming, miracles, and all things good.

     This past Monday, I got a Note from the Universe that said:  "It's not from the known, but the unknown, Cindi, that creativity and inventiveness are born.
     Turn away from the predictable, cliché, and reliable. Brave the void where the darkness is greatest. Trust the quiet, find the stillness, feel the calm. Then steadily think, speak, and move as if you were led. Behave as if your vision were clear. Anticipate the emotional rush that will come with your triumph. And as if by magic, as you raise your pen to write, you'll find the words have already been summoned, flooded in light that was there all along, in a world that has just as anxiously anticipated your arrival."


     As I watched the flames leap in the fire pit the other night, I felt in my soul that this new book I'm beginning to write will be just that... words that have already been summoned...

     I can't wait to begin...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five on Friday... on being grateful and apologizing...

Henry's trick ~ High Fives!
     I've referenced statistics already this week ... and perspectives a few times on both blogs in the past two weeks.  That's not necessarily a good thing.  Perspectives, yes.  Statistics, no.

     I'm trying to find the positives during the week so that my weekend gets off to a good start.  It has been difficult to do that this week, but like statistics ... the numbers are all in how you look at them.

     Today I'm tying together two different blogs that I follow because I don't think that you can be grateful for the blessings in life [Maxabella loves...] without accepting some responsibility for the things that don't necessarily go right [Edenland].  Like Eden [and Toni], I could "ditto" most of the things that they have apologized for.  Been there.  Done that.  Outgrew the t-shirt and had to buy another.
     Like Bron, I am grateful for my Amazon Chick's courage that steps up and shoves me aside at times to put words in my mouth that I need to say but have been too afraid to say... and for the generosity of others when I really need blessings.

Monday ... the car died finally (-1), but at least we didn't use much gas that day (+1) and had everything we needed at the house (+1) and neighbors who didn't mind me using their truck for the one thing I did have to run to the store for (+1).  It was a holiday also, so I didn't have to go to work (+2).
     I'm sorry I didn't get the car fixed months ago when the check engine light came on and it started to sound like a squeezed rabbit.  I'm sorry I'm not willing to put up with the BS at work for another five years, and I'm sorry I moved to Texas for this job.  I'm sorry that I couldn't be the type of friend who continues to let "friends" take advantage of me and because of that we are no longer friends.

Tuesday ... I had to work (-1), but the car was partially fixed (+1).  It did cost a chunk of change (-1) that will force me to rearrange the budget for the week (-1) and not do some things I had needed to do.  But I was able to get it from the mechanic, and it made it home without dying (+1).  A quick diagnostic that my husband did leads us to believe that the additional repairs (new alternator) will not be necessary (+2) so I will find another mechanic and get it looked at again next pay day.
     I'm sorry I don't have a money tree growing in the back yard and all my attempts to pull money out of my butt to pay bills has so far been ineffective.  I'm sorry about wishing I could send with my bills the paper that does hit my butt instead of a check.  I'm sorry I trust people too often and try to believe that everyone is as honest as I am, especially when it comes to car mechanics and car salesmen.

Wednesday ... the car started this morning (+1).  I got paid (+1).  I still have a little money left until next payday (+1).  But I had to work, and David's "other brother" left (-3).  Oh... and I kicked David's butt in Yahtzee (+1).
     I'm sorry that people have judged my husband because of his tattoos and have never taken the time to get to know him and what a gift he has with music, or how hard he struggles to be different from what society expects him to be.  I'm sorry that because you've judged him, you will never know how wonderful this man truly is, or how much he loves me, or how much I love him.  I'm sorry that people who grow up poor and who are judged by society because of that get a raw deal in life. 

Thursday ...the car started again (+1).  Had to work (-1).  Found some fresh mullet at the local Korean market (+1) and had a fish fry with kimchi and rice for dinner (+1).  David showed me a mullet gizzard that doesn't look like the mullet gizzard I've eaten in the past so now I'm wondering what I ate before.  Oh well.  Didn't kill me (+1).
    I'm sorry that I see through the lies management tells in order to make herself look good while making others look bad.  I'm sorry that I can't leave Texas fast enough.  I'm sorry I'm still apprehensive about trying kimchi, but I remember what my Dad said about it when he got back from VietNam and somehow the phrase "in deep kimchi" makes me think of "in deep sh*t" and I just can't tell my mouth it won't taste like that.

Friday ... just the fact that it is Friday should be worth a +4 because tomorrow is the weekend and I won't have to work.  I had an awesome chat with mom last night (+2) and am so grateful for all the times we can talk and laugh (+2).  I know that by the time the day is over, there will be more things to be grateful for (+1 for my positive attitude) so will most likely update this later tonight.
 I'm sorry that so many people are hurt by words and actions, and so many people are hurt because they can't be grateful, or forgiving, or apologizing.  I'm sorry that it appears I have more to be sorry for than to be grateful for... but the truth is...

I am so grateful to be able to forgive and move forward in time, to have friends and family that love me, and to stand on my own two feet in defiance of people who want to control, manipulate, and verbally abuse me.  I'm so grateful to be me, and to never, ever, ever be less than I am to meet any one else's expectations.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Travels... Killeen, Texas

     It really isn't that I want to remember this place that I'm in right now, but I suppose the best way to move forward is to think of it as a place that I've been (past tense) and a place that I'm leaving (future tense).  I still don't know where I am going, only where I wish to be.  But I'm open to opportunities and new adventures.

     We arrived in Killeen in September 2010 after a long drive from Florida during a hurricane/tropical storm.  That might have been the last time Texas got enough rain because 2011 was pretty dry.  There were challenges from the start, with finding our way around the city, finding a place to live, getting utilities set up, finding the best places to shop for groceries, and so on.

Aerial view of Killeen
     Killeen is almost four times larger than Panama City.  The 2010 census put Killeen at 127,921 residents, and Panama City at just 36,484.  Where I lived in Parker actually only had 4,317 residents. 

     The on-post population alone here is 77,068, with a local supported population of 312,737 which would include people living in Copperas Cove and Harker Heights as well as Killeen.

     We're talking a half million people here at least.

     Traffic has been a pet peeve since we got here, especially with such a large military community.  A lot of them learned to drive somewhere else, and they all drive like maniacs.... at least in my humble opinion during rush hour traffic at 4:30p trying to get home.  My five minute drive turned into thirty or forty, and that was taking a different route that took me farther from home, but was actually faster than the direct route.

     Killeen is also land locked.  There are lakes to fish (thankfully) but no beach shores, Gulf of Mexico breezes, or very much rain.

     I miss the water.

     The mainstay of Killeen's economy is the military presence here.  If Fort Hood were to shut down, Killeen would become a ghost town.  There wouldn't be any way for businesses to support themselves without the transient population swells.  Panama City had the summer tourists for the beaches, winter snow birds, spring breakers, military both Air Force and Navy... and a good commerical fishing industry.  Even with the BP oil spill, they managed to hold their own and survive.

     While we have met some good people, made some friends, done new things, seen new places... I think we both will be glad to shake the dust of Killeen off our feet when we leave and sink our toes into some soft white beach sand to let the warm Gulf waters wash them clean.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How do you wish to spend your time?

     Jamie Ridler prompts us this morning for Wishcasting Wednesday with what seems like an easy question.

     But they really never are.

     Time is one of those things like statistics (you can just call it stats if you can't get that "tis" and "tics" out this early in the morning... I know I'm lucky spell-check works without coffee... I don't). 

     Time is just a matter of perception.  You can take it and twist it any way you want it. 

     It can be something we have too much of... or too little of.  We can feel like we are wasting it, then later realize that the memories made during that "wasted" time, were ones we will cherish forever.

     My "Note from the Universe" this morning told me "It may seem a bit backwards for some, but the first step one might take towards rearranging the present circumstances of their life is to stop dwelling upon the present circumstances of their life.  Secondly, they might start visualizing the circumstances they want, as if they already existed."

     So going back to this morning's question... How do I wish to spend my time? ... The answer is that I wish to spend my time with the sense of security of being debt free, and with the sense of accomplishment from seeing my book "Trooper's Run" turn into a small screen movie. 

     I wish to spend my time with the sense of achievement from seeing my fourth book and second non-fiction "If You Know'd Me Back Then..." on a top 250 books list, and with the feeling of humbleness of knowing what I write has changed lives and made an impact. 

     I wish to spend my time with the feeling of creativity that working on my fifth book and third fiction "Cierra's Soul" fills me with, and with the simple joy of writing for a living, and being able to provide for my family and support my future with my words.

     As I wish for myself... so I also wish for you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bioluminescence...

Bioluminescence in Vancouver
     Another blog I follow, Maxabella loves...., posed a question this morning and for some reason something popped into my head that I hadn't thought about in 30 some years.

     She asked what we wished we could see forever of the things we've seen.

     There was a night in Florida once when I was walking along the beach and I lucked upon some bioluminescence in the waves.

     It was magical, mysterious, and incredible to see.  I'd never seen anything like it before.

     I don't know why that image came to mind this morning.  Perhaps because I needed to be reminded of the magic and mysteries of life.  That sometimes there are things we've seen that come from things we've not seen.  That prayers, spoken and unspoken, are sometimes answered.  That sometimes things happen for reasons we won't ever know, but they put us in a place to receive something better than we've expected.

     Walking on the beach that night, talking to God, I wasn't "looking" for anything.  But what I found was so much more.

'nsomnia...

     .... or why won't my brain shut down?

     I was in bed just before 8:30p last night.  The car died yesterday afternoon and rode off on the back of a tow truck to the repair shop, so my ride to work this morning (who will arrive in just 5 hours) is earlier than my norm.  It was a stress-full day and I was mentally exhausted.

     Or so I thought.

Henry:  "Oh... you wanted some of the covers too?"
     I've tossed and turned (pain), scrunched over to make room for the dog (don't judge), and finally had a cold nose shoved in my arm pit when said dog needed to go out.  While waiting for him to take care of business... I sort of pushed the blinky button on this box here to my right...

     ... and wouldn't you know it, but Pinterest was awake too!  I noticed that some other Pinners liked my fav books and thought... hmmmm... wouldn't this be a great way to get some free addy for MY books?  So of course, I had to Pin It to them, then look and see what else had been Pinned while I was away... and now I'm semi-awake.

     ... oh, and now the stomach grumbles that it is awake too, and don't the burgers that the hubby cooked still smell yummy in the air?

     The brain doesn't like competition for attention so I shall shut the stomach up which should take all the blood from the brain to digest the potato salad I'm going to feed it instead of the burger...

     ... yes, Mom, white carbs are bad ... but they will put me back to sleep.

     Oh, and now the dog is nagging me to come back to bed... maybe if I run, I can beat him to most of the covers...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday (yawn...)

     It is a holiday Monday and I should be sleeping late but have been tossing and turning most of the night.  My fibromyalgia pain of late has been keeping me awake (too much stress in my life), and the meds I have tried to help me sleep do work... for that... but then put me in an absolute rage-funk the next day so that the trade off isn't worth it.

     My left shoulder, hip and thigh ache constantly, and cramp like a deep bone cramp when I lie on that side, or am still for too long.  I spent the weekend wandering from the chair in the BTR where I was cleaning (and organizing) to standing in the kitchen, lying on the bed on the phone, sitting in front of the computer, standing outside with the dogs... never one place too long so that my muscles and nerves wouldn't get too complacent.  I don't have that luxury at work, and so often when I stand after sitting at my desk for too long, I am stiff and slow to move.

     Sleeping on my back is sometimes comfortable longer, but I'm prone to weird dreams, nightmares, and talking in my sleep when I do.  Last night I dreamed I was with a group of medical scientists breaking into a prison by way of old water way tunnels to find the source of a mutant disease that was turning people into blue jello like zombies.  A few nights before I was talking in my sleep ~ at a wedding reading a letter from the happy couple's granny to them and she was asking them to pray for Michael Douglas' body.

     When I woke up, David wanted to know who Michael was and why was I talking about him in my sleep.  It took me a few minutes to remember.  I don't think he was a zombie, but I'm not sure about the newlyweds.  Do zombies know how to read?

     Told you they were weird.

     I don't often complain about the pain.  I'm stubborn that way.  The pain is a reminder that I can still feel.  I'm still alive.  I'm not a zombie.

     Yet.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tiny Dancers...

Just for you Toni... ;)
I love how their moves are so in tune to the music, and they are just so fluid.
I don't think I could ever dance like that without someone calling 911 thinking I was having a grand mal seizure, 
but it would be fun to try.
I even trip over my own feet doing line dancing.  
But I love the Cupid Shuffle...

Sunday's Selections

     As part of Kim at Frog Ponds Rock's meme, these are some random photos I took this past week ~ and a video clip ~ of fishing at sunset.  We were on our small motor-less john boat ~ the rowing keeps me from getting bat wings.  In the video clip you can hear how loud the birds were.  They were settling in for the night in the reeds and trees.  The guys only caught three bass ~ good eatin' size ~ but they made me laugh so hard on a really bad day that I was grateful I didn't choke on my snot.


I know it looks like these were just ugly dead trees, but they were actually covered with noisy birds.  I just couldn't focus in on them well enough in the dusk light.


     These photos were taken on a different day at the same lake...

    It's Sunday Selections time again!  Time to post photos that have been hiding away in your files, photos that you may have thought would never see the light of day. Find these shining examples and post them under the Sunday Selections title, then link your post back to Kim at Frog Ponds Rock, because this wonderful idea is hers. You can use random photos, or choose a themed set, or just put up one single photo.   Add your name to Kim's linky list, then leave her a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rainy Saturday...

     It's raining and cold outside... there is a fire in the fireplace.  I should have stayed in bed...  Henry has found himself the warmest spot in the house...

     I think I'm going to go take a hot shower to warm up and then work in the BTR to try to get it back together.  I'm packing to move and attracting positive doors to open for me.  May will be here before I know it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five on Friday...

Monday ... back at work, I changed my hours to a straight eight schedule.  I'll miss that three-day weekend every two weeks, but the trade-off is worth it going home an hour earlier each afternoon and miss all of the afternoon traffic that turns a five minute drive into a 45 minute road rage trip.  Actually... I won't miss it at all!  I did the math ... I was losing six hours a week to road rage, and maybe another four hours trying to unwind from it in exchange for a three day weekend every other week.  I think I'm actually going to gain a year or two of life by not working that 9/80 schedule!

Tuesday ... I got a beautiful hand painted canvas for Valentine's Day from my husband, and a heart-felt hand-written card.  Worth more to me than anything bought in a jewelry store, flower shop, or Hallmark card store.

Wednesday ... chillaxing on the boat at sunset ... listening to the starlings and grackles chatter as they settled in for the night ... laughing so hard at the guys cutting up while fishing I almost choked (in a good way) ... a quiet romantic evening of candles and firelight.

Thursday ... surprise that the word "chillaxing" passed on spell check ~ Webster must be spinning in his grave ...

Friday ... came home from work and took a much-needed nap.  Woke to some delicious homemade spaghetti and a clean house!

Blogs I follow... tho not necessarily the weird ones...

     Eden Riley on that big island continent down under is asking  for our favorite bloggers.  There seem to be several I follow faithfully, but for various reasons....

     Edenland certainly tops my list just because she is so freakin' honest in all that she writes.  She is raw, and "there" and I've been "there" too. 

     I love to read The Yellow Prose of Texas just because she is so right on the money in her portrayal of Texans and all their quirks.  And they are a quirky bunch.  Terrible drivers too.  I never had an issue with road rage before I came to Texas, and now it seems to have become a problem for me that I should truly seek out a 12-step program to resolve.  Except, I'm sure I would run over my sponsor in a heartbeat.

     I've also started to read Pearl, Why you little... because I just haven't figured out yet if she is really creative, insane or if her cat truly talks to her.  Either way, it brings a smile to my face because if cats could talk, I could imagine some of the ones I had having the same conversations with me.

     Chris at Serendipitous is such an awesome photographer that I love these glimpses into her world.  Especially her photographs of wild birds.  For some reason, they give me such a peaceful feeling, and I miss having birds and feeders in my back yard.  If I couldn't have a fish tank of tropical fish to relax and hypnotize me during the day (and I don't, which also explains why I'm so stressed most of the time) I could sit at a window and just watch the birds at a feeder all day.  I don't have one of those either, but one of these days I will again, and cannot wait for the hummingbirds to begin to arrive.

     I pop in to read Toni's comments at ChickChat because I think we are secret soul sisters, and if we ever met, Australia would never be the same... the trouble we could cause... I wonder if Australian jails are more comfortable than Texas ones?  Not that I've seen the inside of a jail anywhere, but there is always a first time, and while it isn't on my bucket list... I could pencil it in near the bottom.

     Amanda at Unfolding Creatively just makes me jealous with all of her talents, compassion, and bravery.  I've wanted to visit India since reading my first M.M. Kaye novel The Far Pavilions!  But her artwork is so inspiring, empowering, and positive.  I love the piece I won from her and have it featured prominently in my writing room... where I don't spend enough time writing my next novel.  I do spend far too much time blogging, however, so perhaps will just one day put all of this random babble in print.

Good genes...

Grandma and me on her 90th
     On February 17th, 2001, my grandmother turned 90 years old.  My Aunt Nan threw a surprise party for her.  My Mom and Uncle Brian were there, so three of her four children, as well as several grandchildren (like me).

     She passed away a few months later, I'm sure if she had any say in the matter, she'd still be here ready to party at her 101st.

     Grandma won several of the local Senior Olympics for swimming well into her 80's.  She would flash a Vogue pose in her swimsuit for the newspapers.  She had both of her knees replaced and heart surgery, but she refused to let any of that keep her down.  She was stubborn that way

     I didn't see much of her growing up because we traveled so often, but she kept in touch by letters and packages.  I have a small wall quilt that she made for me as a housewarming gift in the mid-80's with her note card that came with it still pinned to the back of it.
Aunt Nan and Grandma in 1997 after a mountain hike.

     I'm funny that way.  Keeping little bits of notes, letters and things to remind me of people I love... and to remind me of how much they loved me.

     I got my red hair from Grandpa ~ her husband ~ and they were pretty thrilled to have a red-headed granddaughter to carry it on.  Now there are several 2nd cousins with red hair in the family... it's the gene that keeps on giving.

     My mom apparently got her longevity gene... so I'm grateful for that.

     I got Grandma's stubborn gene, and what an inheritance it has been!  I have some pretty large shoes... or rather swim fins... to fit into.

     I hope I do her proud...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Travels... Paducah, Kentucky

      The fog yesterday morning on the drive in to work made me think of Kentucky.  Paducah, Kentucky to be precise.   Where the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers meet.  A beautiful community with an absolutely incredible quilt museum.
Kentucky fog...


      I haven't been there since April 2002. 

     I was there for a month in the mid-1990's, not long after a two week vacation during the more humid, "butt-crack" hot summer. 

     It was late fall, and the tobacco fields had been harvested, leaves drying in large barns, and the trees just beginning to change color.  The cooler days of fall were a welcome change from the summer months, and more than one morning I would wake up to thick fog hovering over the fields like a fluffy down filled comforter.  Some mornings were cool enough that I could smell the smoke of a wood stove or fireplace warming up a home with the damp musty smell of the harvested tobacco fields.

     That fall, I was there to help my then-brother-in-law after a tragic training accident at nearby Fort Campbell Army Post that nearly killed him.  His 49th birthday would have been this past Monday, but he died in August 2001 from complications of one of the many reconstructive surgeries after his accident.

     His death was a tragic loss that changed his entire family... and me.  I can't think of Kentucky without thinking of his laugh and his wry sense of humor.  His injuries and surgeries left him many scars in a "private" area, and he used that as a pick-up line when he began dating after his divorce... asking if women wanted to see his battle scars.  It was something that always got a laugh when he started to show them, but it was his way of dealing with a very painful experience and heart-wrenchingly difficult times.

     Later when I was dealing with picking up the pieces after my own battles and wounds... it was the memory of his sense of humor that carried me through many dark days.

     When I went in 2002, it was to see my "other mother."  My Gypsy Momalaw.  By then she was an ex-momalaw, but she still was my "mom" then and I went with her to see the brick memorial placed for her middle son.

     So here is a hug for Rob ... and a laugh ... I miss you so much, and cherish the memories of you in my heart. IMYMTWHWF.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fetch!


MSNBC.com Animal Tracks

What do you wish for the world...

    This wish that Jamie Ridler prompts us with on this Wishcasting Wednesday is one that can be interpreted many different ways.

     But whatever your beliefs ... whatever your faith ... we must recognize that we cannot continue to "have our cake and eat it too."  There cannot be double standards.  We cannot profess to want to 'save the Earth' and continue to abuse it.  We cannot say we are for freedom, when we hold prisoners.  We cannot say that we are for life... when we cause death.  We cannot say we are for equality... when we hold people back.  We cannot say that we are for the future... when we refuse to learn from the past.

What are your limits?
     What I wish for the World... for the Earth... for the Universe is that we would realize that you and I are the same.  That he and she are the same.  That we are the same, regardless of the color of our skin, our language, our faith, our sexuality...

     We are all composed of atoms designed to give us life... and that life is what we should cherish.  All life.  

     Because life is precious... 

     Life is short... 

     Life is... 

     Life.

     As I wish for the World so I also wish for you...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Biggest Losers vs Fried Pies...

     There is an annual weight loss competition here at work that starts on the first Monday back to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays and runs until March.  There was a $10 "fee" to join, and every Monday at weigh-in you have to pay $1 (up to $5 total) for each pound gained over the previous week.  At the end of the competition, the biggest loser gets the money pot.

Mmmmmmmmm!

     Recently, one of the women here at work found a new restaurant and has been raving about it for the past week.  The Original Fried Pie Shop.  She's actually in the competition this year and I think is trying some not-so-subtle sabotage!

     I'm not in the competition ... so can't wait to try one of these yummy looking pies!   Totally guilt-free!

Happy Valentine's Day




Wishing you happy hearts...

True Love...


Awwwwww


Monday, February 13, 2012

Winning the lottery... from a dog's perspective...

     Rags (I like to call him Ragamuffin)  is the boxer "puppy" that shares our back fence.  He is about six months old now, and the size of a small pony.  His feet say that he will get much bigger before he is full grown.

     The dog they had before him was a bull mastiff, so I'm sure they aren't in for any surprises.  Rags is an only "child" and therefore is bored much of the time he is outside.  So like all puppies, he finds ways to entertain himself.

     Like chewing up the garden hose.  Or dragging the seeder around the yard.  Or a garden trowel.  Or eating the boards left from the tool shed that was destroyed in a wind storm last year.

     This past Saturday morning I gave him some of Trooper's old toys that they don't play with anymore.

     You'd have thought he won the lottery.


Romans 14:13

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Source
     You wouldn't think that passing judgment on someone would become a stumbling block for them, but when you stop and think about what happens after you've judged someone, you might be able to see that you have created walls for them to climb.

     Walls like those at Jericho.

     When we judge another, we hold them back from their full potential.  Whether they know the judgment we've passed or not, we will alter how we interact with them.  That change in how we talk to them, act towards them, or tell others about them becomes the first wall they encounter.

     The second wall becomes how others treat them based on our actions.  We don't have to voice our judgment to anyone, but it will become known by our actions for those are more powerful than words.  When we shun someone, exclude them from opportunities that will allow them to grow and blossom, then we become like a invasive weed in their life.  A kudzu vine that will spread and choke them.

     Finally, the third tallest, thickest, and strongest wall is formed when that person begins to believe what others think of him/her.  "Everyone treats me as if I were stupid, so I must be stupid."  "Everyone acts like I'm ugly, so I must be ugly."  "No one likes me."  "I can't do anything right."

What walls have been created around you?  What walls have you created?

     Extend love.  Extend acceptance.  Extend a hand of friendship, not the cold shoulder of judgment.  Help someone to grow, blossom, and thrive.  Lift them up, don't hold them down.  Break down walls, don't build them up.  Encourage.  Inspire.  Believe in someone and watch the power that it has in their life.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:10 ~

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snow!

WTH?

Catching flakes on his tongue!

Awww Mom, do I have to come in?