Keeping busy

keeping busy

Since I am house bound, I spend a lot of time watching t.v., reading, blogging, ‘window shopping’ on eBay and playing Harvest Moon on my Wii.

017I like to crochet and recently have made a few pillows for my mother and sister. The only problem with that is my wrists tend to complain after crocheting for a while. And my attention span fades when it has to fight against the nagging pain.

I recently returned to an old love. I like to make rosaries. I love to touch and feel the beads and pick out the colors and sometimes have more fun playing with the beads than actually making the rosaries. I learned how to make my own rosary years ago on a private retreat. I made mission rosaries and sent them to various places around the world. It was fun and satisfying. But arthritis made me stop for a while.

Since I started some physical therapy exercises, including wrist exercises, I decided to dig out my beads and try see if I could still remember how to make a rosary. And once again, I’ve become addicted to picking and choosing the beads and making the rosaries. The only problem is, you can only own and use so many rosaries. So, I decided to put some on eBay and maybe get enough money to be able to buy some more beads. LOL A girl can’t have too many beads! The problem is, browsing beads on eBay can be addictive.

3 23 2015 003_copyWhat I am finding out, is that there are so many factory made rosaries on the market that prices are really cheap. I use base metal components instead of sterling, for everyday use and fashion my rosaries one bead at a time. A lot of love and effort goes into even the simplest of my single decade or full-sized rosaries.

001I just thought I would share what is keeping me busy lately. And if you know of anyone who might be interested in a hand-made rosary, you can always drop by and check out my eBay listing. See ya next time…

Still kicking…

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Having an “OFF” day…

pooh-having-a-bad-dayToday was one of those days. The kind of day where you are blindsided by emotions that come from outer space, or Timbuktu or out in left field. The kind of day where you feel odd, ‘off’, just not normal but don’t know what’s going on. Why is today different? I have arthritis pain every day. My body parts take turn rearing their ugly heads to be obnoxious. One day it is my knees. The next it will be my shoulder and arm or my wrists. It is just a part of life. I take some Tylenol and don’t worry about it.

hormonesToday, everything was bothering me. Everything was hurting. And my coping mechanism was totally absent. It was as if I was hormonal. I thought my hormones took an extended leave of absence when I went through menopause. But every once in a while they show up unexpected like unwanted house guests. They always blind side me and since I wasn’t expecting them, I get overwhelmed.

So, after a few hours of continuous nagging pain, my emotions spewed out. I made hubby come out to talk to me and unloaded on him. You know, going down the list of ailments or pains and a few tears and nose blowing in between. Hubby asks what he can do to help, and of course there is nothing he can do. I just needed a sympathetic ear. When it was all over, I felt better. I guess I just had to let out some of the frustration and junk that sometimes builds up without noticing it until I was “full” and had to dump some of it.

I don’t know that it was this easy when I was younger, but if I have learned how to dump quicker and get it out sooner in my old age, than Halleluia! I didn’t want to post anything about how depressing depression can be and how utterly embarrassing my lack of coping skills during such an episode can be. But after the crazy emotions were gone, my natural tendency to recover showed up. I’m thankful that has become more of the norm than it was when I was young.

Anyway, the terrible, depressing day turned around and ended up fine. (Thank you Lord.)

I’ll see you next time with something more relevant.

And the journey plods along…

one step

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Baby steps

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ImpatientI’m discovering I don’t have much patience. I am a baby boomer, but I am living in the ‘we want it now’ world. I get impatient waiting on the toaster, the microwave and the tea kettle. None of those things take very long, but if I am standing there tapping my foot watching for results, it seems that nothing is happening. I hate making phone calls and getting stuck on those endless loops of intricate voice mail. I am certain some sadist designed those.

I have ‘bad’ genes. My genes gave me the body type that has to fight aggressively to get rid of excess weight. I come from a long line of people who think diet coke cancels out calories. We were taught you had to eat to ‘keep up your strength’ and ‘finish everything on your plate. There are starving children somewhere’. I have sturdy German ancestors.

appletreelgIf you look at my family, we are all similar. I remember someone, when meeting my daughter for the first time when she visited, said under his breath, “The fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree”. I hadn’t ever heard anyone say that in conversation before that, but I knew it was not exactly a compliment for either of us. We tend to have big butts and large hips and thighs, and I knew he was comparing us. We have to live with the blessings we were born with! Right? I can gain weight quite easily, almost without thinking about it, but losing it back is another story. I think that should be switched around, don’t you?

I’m finding since I had to quit work and have home health care and physical therapy, that I have to both expect and be eager for baby steps. Any progress at all is something to celebrate and I have to make myself realize that. I am one of those people who wants to lose 50 lbs. by next week, or go to bed one night and wake up thin.

I still don’t know exactly what happened to me or why. There was no warning. I was working. I could drive myself to work. Someone would help me into my wheelchair and take me into the shop, and I would stand up to my walker and transfer to my office chair. I have bone spurs in my knees which have grown and now prevent me from straightening my legs. And because I need two knee replacements, when I stand, it is at a low bent-knee crouch. It had gotten progressively worse over the years. I had progressed from using a cane to the walker to the wheelchair for anything other than very short distances.  I was beginning to have problems pulling myself up from my chair to transfer to the toilet in the bathroom at work, but it was still doable. I was still getting around and still working.

ch04_chairstand1One morning I got up from bed, got in my office chair, (it’s easier to push around and sit in all day than a wheelchair) and got my breakfast and went into the living room to start my day off on the love seat watching tv. When I tried to stand up from my chair, whatever muscles you use to lean forward and then lift yourself to a standing position…they all of a sudden wouldn’t lift me up. In general, we must depend on the strength in our legs also, which I don’t have, but this was a huge shock. Yesterday, I could get up. Today, I tried 3 times to get out of the chair and couldn’t do it.

IMG_6914That’s when I called 911 and decided a trip to the hospital for assessment was what I needed to do. The ER doctor was most encouraging. He hadn’t seen anyone like me before. He felt that my age and weight, and all the physical problems, together had decided to give out at once and now the only thing left for me was to move into a nursing home. I just looked at him amazed at his words. I was only 64 and I was still working. Move into a nursing home?

That was the end of May 2014. I immediately had to leave work, since I couldn’t get up without help. I took home a catheter and began physical and occupational therapy at home. (My lymphedema contributes to my problems. My lymphatic system doesn’t work too well during the day, but once I lay down at night, gravity helps it to remove excess water from my body and cells. This means I was used to making 6-8 trips to the bathroom during my eight hours of “sleep” each night.) Wearing a catheter has been a godsend.

h9991889_001When I had finished a few weeks of therapy, I realized I was no longer walking. To go to work, I had to get out of my office chair to walk out into the garage and get into my car. After work, I had to step from my office chair at work, to walk a few steps to my car. I had to use my walker, but I was walking some every day. Also, I was walking a few steps each night from my bed to the bathroom and back, and now that had stopped. I worried that the benefits of getting to rest at night might not outweigh the loss of my walking. The therapists assured me that getting the time to allow my body to refresh and heal itself during the night while sleeping was crucial and not to worry.

But it was still at the back of my mind. When I walk, I have to kind of scoot and shuffle my feet. Having all my body weight leaning unnaturally on my bent-knee crouched forward position makes it difficult to pick up my feet normally. The only place in my house without carpet, is the kitchen. So I decided it might be a good idea to begin trying to walk a few steps once again with my walker across my kitchen floor.

The first time I tried, I managed about 12 steps. It was exciting to know I could still walk. The less mobility and independence I had, the more handicapped I felt. I needed to know I wouldn’t end up where the ER doctor had prophesied.

It is now 10 months later. Progress has been slow sometimes, but progress has been made. I am stronger than I used to be, which is a good thing since the legs won’t get any better. My 12 steps in the kitchen has grown to 50 steps and then to walking across the floor, turning around and starting back before needing to sit down again. I can usually get about 70 steps now.

The last hurdle was being able to stand up and get up without help from my bed. Five days ago, I was able to stand up to my walker without help and transfer to my chair.  That was exciting.  Some day there are steps forward and sometimes steps backward, but always moving forward.

I have been consciously dieting since August and have lost 30 lbs. I still do my exercises each day. I am doing what I can to change what I can to better my situation.  The progress may have been slow and hard to see at times, but looking back, I have improved.  Now, more weight needs to come off so I can look into having knee replacement surgery in the future. I can’t even remember what it would be like to be able to walk like a normal person.

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And so, the journey continues…

See you next time.

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Freezing Child… Wow… Unbelievable… | Little Karl’s Blog

I knew this was one of those hidden video social experiments, but it was amazing to watch. I thought I’d share it with you.

Freezing Child… Wow… Unbelievable… | Little Karl’s Blog.

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Don’t let the negatives bring you down

images (2)I read a blog today. The writer was ranting about negative people and how they can drag you down. My mind immediately flashed back about 20 years.

I had been searching spiritually for a while. I joined a church and began singing in the choir. I began a time of growth and inner healing. Sometime during that time, the wife of one of the choir members called me. I vaguely remember meeting her. She said she had been led by God to call me. She felt we were meant to be friends. I was a little taken aback, but who was I to question or argue with God?

We began a friendship. We connected on many levels. We enjoyed each others company. I had never really had a woman friend before and it was nice. It lasted for a couple of years. And then things changed.

I have always been an insecure and shy person. I never felt like I was normal. I never felt like I was the same as the rest of the world. I always had one foot barely touching life and the other one lagging behind, unsure if I belonged and not wanting to intrude.

positive-455582_1280I lost three people in the span of six months one year. One was my pastor who moved away. One was a close friend who changed the parameters of our friendship. The third was the death of my father. These three happenings rocked my world. I put on a brave face but inside fell apart. I did 9 months of grief counseling and therapy and learned a lot about myself and grew stronger. I learned how to cope with day-to-day things and with my perception of myself and my place in the world.

This friend changed. She was also insecure in many ways and when her husband left her, she became needy. There is nothing wrong with that. We all are needy sometimes and depend on others to help us make it out to the other side.

The problem was, I had so many of my own problems and was just learning how to survive as a somewhat sane person that I couldn’t take on the burden of coping with her problems also. I had to withdraw emotionally from her to protect myself. I could give of myself in many ways and be supportive to someone else, but when the giving became a drain on my emotional well-being, I had to look out for myself first. It was a difficult choice and I felt selfish. I learned an important lesson that day.

360_lpositive_0727We all live in the world. There are people around us constantly. Co-workers, family, passers-by, all touching us, and in the touching, take energy from us in one way or another.  Some are intentional and others are totally innocent. It is the way life works. Life is touching and being touched by others. We choose how much or how little we share of ourselves when we interact with others.

turn-the-pageI learned early in life to keep a wall of distance up at all times to protect myself. But when you open up to others and let them into your life, you open the door to yourself and allow them to see you. When they want too much, or more than you want to share, it can be hurtful or damaging. I reached that place and had to put up a wall of distance, this time physically.

The people we share life with give us completeness and strength that we depend on, sometimes without realizing it. But there are always limits. Be sure to look out for your own emotional well-being. Don’t be afraid to say no. In your giving, don’t forget to give to yourself.

how to stop  negative thoughtsWhen I choose to write, I am sometimes surprised at what falls out. This is one of those times. That’s what makes the journey so interesting. It is always changing, and there is always something to learn. See ya next time…

And the journey continues…

One Foot In FrontCMYK

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Is it Lent already?

imagesThe one thing about living home bound is that the days tend to run together and I lose track of time. The only thing keeping me up to date is the news, or just checking to see what day/date it is on my phone.

I have a lot of time and have found it is so easy to waste most of it. I spend my days watching tv, taking a nap, playing Harvest Moon on my Wii or watching  movies on Netflix. I’ll fit in my daily physical therapy exercises and that’s about the sum of my day. My world has gotten very small and self-absorbed.

ash_wednesday_09I looked at the paper and realized Ash Wednesday was yesterday. It came fast this year and I was totally unprepared.

Despite the extra time on my hands, the easiest thing to forget to schedule into my day is time spent with God. He is the most important and the easiest to put on the back burner or totally brush off. As I type this I’m rolling my eyes at the irony. Whispered or thought prayer is easy. Taking the time away from other things to just sit and read the Bible or spend time with God is harder. We depend on Him in dark times or difficult times and tend to sluff off when things are just plugging away as usual.

Most people spend the season of Lent giving up something or using the time to improve themselves. It is a time for service and spending quality time renewing your relationship with God. I was reminded at how easy it is to keep prayer in my life and also how easy it is to ignore or forget fellowship with God and reading the Bible or other books to learn and improve my spiritual life.

I have a favorite little book I’ve used in the past. Every time I open it I am touched deeply and remember why I love God. I thought Lent would be a good time to dust off this book and get in the habit of reading it daily once again.

jesus callingIt is called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. This is what’s written on the back cover:

After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world.

In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace.

Jesus is calling out to you in the same way. Maybe you share the author’s need for a great sense of “God with you”. Or perhaps Jesus seems distant without you knowing why. Or maybe you have wandered farther from Him that you ever imagined you would. Here is a year’s worth of daily readings from Young’s journals to bring you closer to Christ and move your time with Him from monologue to a dialogue.

Each day is written as if Jesus Himself were speaking to you. Because He is. Do you hear Him calling?

It is an amazing book with a daily reading that seems to come directly from the mouth of God to your ears. It feels personal. I’m going to make a pledge to read in this little book every day during Lent. Perhaps it will lead to more. Have you decided how you are going to spend this Lent?

And the journey continues…

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I’ve always had an addictive personality

addictionI have always done things in an all-or-nothing manner. It was just how I did things. Now I guess it is defined as having an addictive personality. I gave up sucking my thumb in childhood for food. Food became my coping mechanism. I turned to food for comfort, solace, when I was happy, sad, depressed or just because. It set the pattern for a life time of insecurity, overindulgence and weight problems.

th (1)I would binge eat. My favorite afternoon binge was a big bag of chips and a 1# bag of M & M’s. I remember stopping on the way to places to get fast food and scarfing it down while I drove.  I remember sneaking food late at night.

Thank goodness those days are long gone. A time of craziness, grief therapy, and lots of prayer have changed me to a more manageable style of living.

Now, the addiction bleeds over into what I watch on tv, what I do in my spare time and the games I play. I’m the kind to indulge in marathons on tv. When I find tv shows on Netflix, I tend to wait until the season is over and then marathon watch a show uninterrupted and without commercials. It might take a few days, but I watch it until I’m done.

funny-Doctor-Who-TV-show-Netflix

When I do hobbies, I’m the same way. I might be interested in painting and it will last about 6 months and my attention moves to something else. I’d read books for a time, and then I’m done. I’d make rosaries for a season, and switch to something else. I would crochet or knit but had to make something quickly before I got bored.

I think it is because I have many interests and they all have to take turns. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have the attention span of a turnip.

HarvestmoonwiiRight now, I am glued for hours at a time playing Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility on my Wii. I recently pulled it out again and immediately got addicted again. I have about 3 different Harvest Moon games, all similar with slight differences.

150868-harvest-moon-tree-of-tranquility-1325The main part of the game is spent in starting a farm. Weeding, hoeing, planting and watering crops, and then harvesting and selling them for an income takes up most of your time. When you earn enough money, you can buy a chicken coop and raise chickens and ducks and silk worms. You can sell the eggs, hatch them to get more chickens, or turn the eggs into mayonnaise. You can cook them into different recipes.

Everything you do costs time and energy with the end goal of making money to survive. You can forage in the grass for herbs, along the beaches for shells, pearls, or clams, or you can go fishing. You can eat what you catch, or sell everything. You have to gradually buy cooking utensils and appliances for your kitchen, and better tools to help you water, hoe, chop down trees and churn butter.

Harvest-Moon-Tree-of-Tranquility-EMYou can get a barn and raise milk cows, sheep and ostriches. You can sell the milk, turn it into butter and cheese and impregnate your cow for more cows. You have to cut grass for fodder or buy it to keep the animals fed and milk them daily.

Trying to juggle all of your chores keeps you extremely busy. You have to milk the cows, gather eggs, feed silk worms so you can get silk cocoons to spin into yarn, feed the animals or put them into the pasture, and pick crops and water every day unless it happens to rain.

Once you play the game long enough to build up stamina and buy better, easier-to-use tools, you have more time to get things done. You can go chop down trees in the forest and beat rocks to get stone for building supplies. You can enter the mines and beat rocks for iron, copper, silver, gold or precious gems.

It is amazing how addictive it is trying to finish all of your daily tasks and make sure you remember to put something into the shipping bin to sell so you have money to live on for the next day.

hqdefaultBesides all of the daily chores, there is the goal to find and restore the lost rainbows to revive the island to previous health and to  find the Harvest Goddess.

You can befriend everyone in the village and get married and have children.

I’ve never managed to find the end to the game, if there is one. There are so many varied things to do you really can’t get bored easily. It is repetitious but you are always striving for a goal.

This is a game rated E for everyone and is still strangely compelling and sucks up a lot of time. I’m enjoying it immensely. I’ll probably play this every day for a month or so and then I’ll switch to something else.

Do you do things in spurts like this? To me it is normal. Is there anything you do that seems to be compulsive and addictive? It’s just a way to spend my extra alone time.

And the journey continues…

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I Love hot tea in the winter

124112141.GdYqfazzhot tea largeIt’s winter time. It’s colder than I like. Colder weather means it is time to drink hot tea. I drink hot tea off and on during the day. I drink hot tea in the evening.  I warm my hands on the cup. I blow on the hot tea and I sip. It’s a comfort thing.

I like a variety of teas. I ordered some new tea from Stash tea company. I somehow picked out mostly berry flavors, looking for orange tea. I also ordered some black forest tea and some chocolate hazelnut tea to try. They have become my favorites. I also like orange spice tea and apple maple. You could get lost for days browsing their catalogue. It is a tea lovers paradise!newteas_hero

I’m also dieting and my lymphedema has been slowing things down. Daughter decided to buy a “dieter’s” tea at her last trip to the store. Because of my mobility issues, I shy away from those who offer to ‘cleanse’ and ‘eliminate’. She picked out Laci Le Beau Super Dieter’s tea. On the label it says ‘supports weight loss efforts, helps eliminate impurities’. Huge red flags to me. But I drank a huge 32 oz. mug of it before I knew what I was drinking. One of the ingredients is senna. This is what I found when I looked it up on webmd.com.

Senna is an herb. The leaves and the fruit of the plant are used to make medicine.

Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative. It is used to treat constipation and also to clear the bowel before diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy.

Senna is also used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, and weight loss.

Senna fruit seems to be gentler than senna leaf. This has led the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) to warn against long-term use of senna leaf, but not senna fruit. The AHPA recommends that senna leaf products be labeled, “Do not use this product if you have abdominal pain or diarrhea. Consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you are pregnant or nursing. Discontinue use in the event of diarrhea or watery stools. Do not exceed recommended dose. Not for long-term use.”

How does it work?

Senna contains many chemicals called sennosides. Sennosides irritate the lining of the bowel, which causes a laxative effect.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it took till the next day to affect me, but when it did, it really did a number on me. I got terrible stomach cramps and tons of trapped gas. When it hit me, I couldn’t control it. It took awhile to get cleaned up and the pain and feelings of discomfort lasted another day.

That day happened to be my weekly weigh in day. I lost 7.6 lbs. But I don’t trust that loss. It was artificial. I’ve struggled too hard these past 6 months for quick fixes. The weight will probably show back up next week and then it will take weeks to catch up again. Another example of one step forward, two steps back. That has been a pain in my backside. Sigh…

one step

And so the journey continues…

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Definition of FRUSTRATION

swearing-294391_1280I was on a roll. I had a Eureka idea. I was typing away. Words were flowing and ideas were coming one after the other. It was exciting. It was interesting. It was insightful. It was a really good post. It was practically writing itself.

I opened another browser window to look up a quotation/saying to make sure I got it correct. When I came back, I did something…who knows. It happened to me the other day on another post. I don’t know what happened then and don’t know what happened this time. The post disappeared. I had a new page. A blank page.

I typed in the title again and I got a message box at the top telling me a previously saved copy was in the browser and did I want to restore it? Restore! Just like the other day, the restore button did not work.

I poked my cursor rigorously and nothing happened. The other day I somehow was able to get the button to work. Today? Nothing. I had written almost 900 words. I was on the last paragraph and wrapping up the whole thing. Gone. Sleeping somewhere in browser la-la land. Unreachable. Crap! ARGH! I am beyond bummed out. Where the heck did it go?

crying-146425_1280Sigh…

And the journey, after hitting a bump in the road, still continues…

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My Mother and I look like twins

017513When I was younger, my two sisters and I had our photo taken with our mother. We looked very much alike. It was uncanny. The older I get the more I am favoring my mother. It reminded me of a poem I had written a few years ago. I thought I’d share that with our pictures.

  Looking in the Mirror

March 26, 2008

When I looked in the mirror
I was surprised to see
a much older woman
looking back at me!

When did that gray
start streaking my hair?
Are those really crow’s feet
that I see right there?

The eyes a bit droopy,
skin not so smooth;
sporting wrinkles and sags,
where is my youth?

A face that seems weary
with lines that have deepened.
I don’t show “character”!
I just look “seasoned”!

Where once was a neck,
jowls have appeared;
a chin that has “doubled”
has sprigs of a beard!

Who is that woman
I see in the mirror?
“It cannot be me!”
I say with a shiver.

I then understand
all the changes I see.
I just need to remember…
that’s my mother, not me!

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I’m in a rut

rutNow that I am a non-working home body, my day-to-day routine never varies much. It is as if I fell into a rut and can’t get out. I’m not saying it’s bad or boring, just pretty much the same day-to-day. It makes the days and months blur together and time doesn’t mean much.

My daughter helps me get out of bed in the morning. I have my morning bathroom routine. I fix my breakfast and gather water, diet coke and snacks for the day and move into the living room onto the love seat. From there, I watch TV, blog, read, delete emails, 250px-Cityfolkboxplay a game or two, log my breakfast foods and morning exercises at Lose It, and I’m ready for that nap.

I can be writing a blog or playing a game on the Wii and will start dozing off in mid-sentence or while running around Eureka in Animal Crossing City Folk. It never fails. And my nap can last anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour or so.woman_asleep_at_computer

Then, it is time for hubby to come home from work, catch Ellen or Steve Harvey, and watch Family Feud before supper. Daughter comes over again for supper and to spend the evening with me.

We share TV shows, but spend a lot of time reading/editing/proofreading new manuscripts together. She has an online service at CritiqueMyNovel. I help with beta reading but mostly do proofreading. CMN is gearing up for their yearly writing contest and I’ll be busy reading a lot of contest entries. Typos and homophones tend to jump out at me without warning. And getting to spend time with daughter discussing what we read and crafting thoughtful, constructive critiques for new writers is fun.

workWriters send in the first 10,000 words of their novels. Four judges will read and critique each  submissions. Prizes include monetary gifts, writing resources, free critiques/edits of their complete manuscript and more. Winners in the Masters and Non Fiction categories move into an Agent round. CMN has eight Literary Agents this year who will read the top three winners with the option of asking those writers to send their complete manuscripts for publication!

I digressed. Shameless commercial plug. The evening passes in reading, blogging, Yahtzee, watching TV and then it is time for bed.

Those with children and activities get variation on their days, but many of us get up, go to work, go to bed and begin again. My age and being handicapped has reduced the boundaries of my rut to a small and manageable size. Is your life in a rut? Does it matter? Mine is comfortable now, but I have that long-term goal of future change I keep in the back of my mind.1210-12410701093yVu

Thanks for the visit to my ordinary rut. Come back anytime.  The journey continues…

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The Girl in the Blue Scarf

estherlou:

I was having a discussion with my daughter on how to get ideas for writing a story/book. I said it was hard for me to visualize. She said start asking questions…what if…where did…how did they…and I interrupted and said I have to have a place or person to begin with. The closest I got to being able to do that was when I wrote that couple of paragraphs about that picture of the girl. She reminded me I put that in a blog so I went back to look for it. Here it is. I was proud of it, but haven’t taken the time to do something like that since. How do you writers find story ideas?

Originally posted on Estherlou's Blog:

I saw this picture used as a writing prompt a few days ago posted by http://wp.me/p1dnHh-qT

I was immediately drawn to the picture and here is what I came up with…

I was people watching in the mall when I noticed her. She stood out because she was so still. The hustle and bustle of shoppers and walkers passed by her going both directions as she just stood there. She was slight and thin, with worn jeans and a sweater jacket. Peeking out of the collar was a bright royal blue scarf that accentuated her eyes. They were unblinking and staring at nothing as she stood leaning against the wall. She had a messy, cropped spiky haircut that seemed to surround her head like a fan. She had high cheekbones and a severe jaw line. I wondered when she had eaten last. As I watched, she straightened slightly and focused her gaze…

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Blogging for ideas

blog-327073_1280I seem to be on a roll lately. I am managing to come up with something to write about pretty often. It’s been nice. I’m enjoying it. It is interesting to see where the ideas come from. Usually I read other blogs and something will spark an idea. It might be a post that triggers a thought, or just getting the brain working on something besides watching TV seems to get the juices flowing.

creative-writing-388067_1280When I was painting, everywhere I went seemed to make me think, “that would make a nice painting.” Now, ideas for writing seem to come from the air. I hope it lasts awhile. The other night, I woke up with a little pain in my leg and then my brain wouldn’t shut up and go back to sleep. An idea came to mind and I kept rolling that idea around in my head for a couple of hours, plotting and thinking and remembering. It was interesting and a little exciting. Most of the bright ideas I have during the night are forgotten like dreams. At the same time, I was slightly irritated I couldn’t doze back off to sleep.

woman-213723_1280Reading blogs always triggers ideas. It might not even have anything to do with the blog post itself, but what it brings to mind might send my mind off in another direction that makes me think, ‘hmmm’.

I read a post that talked about friendship. That one stopped me for a few minutes. I have always been shy and never had many friends. I always found it hard to open up to others and invite people into my life, when I expected them to judge me on what they saw. It’s not as if I’m much different from anyone else, but home was always my sanctuary, my place of peace and quiet and where I could be me without judgement. I’m not sure why I grew up thinking like that. Perhaps it was because I was always made fun of growing up.

My earliest memory of being put in the spotlight was in the fourth grade. I began wearing glasses and they made fun of me. The kids called me ‘four eyes’ and ‘mow-fat’ because I was a chubby child. The ‘mow-fat’ came from my last name, Moffat. They just changed the pronunciation to suit them.

See how our brains work? I was talking about ideas for a post and while writing, my brain took a left turn. Our thoughts can be interesting to say the least. But, I digress.

friendsFriendship…I looked back and have never had many close friends. The kind you know will always be there. The kind you know you can tell anything, and they will still love you and be there tomorrow. The kind that won’t take what you shared in confidence and share it with everyone else that they know.  I was not very trusting and trust always has to come first. My best friend after I got married, became my younger sister. She and her husband lived elsewhere for a time, but once they moved ‘back home’ we grew very close.

I have another sister and a brother. The four of us would go to movies together. We would go out to eat together. Carol and I just seemed like we were so alike in our thoughts and what we believed that I told people that we were like twins. We did arts and crafts together and spent a lot of our time together. We became inseparable. She joined me in my church choir and later joined the Church. We planned a benefit concert together for the Nuns of The Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. She died suddenly and unexpectedly one weekend of a blood clot to the lung. I was left with a big hole in my life and felt incomplete for a long time.

And so we come to today. My life has gotten very small. It revolves around TV and my computer and my crocheting. I spend time with hubby and daughter in the evenings and talk with my son through texts or on the phone. I like playing Yahtzee on my Nook and catching up on my shows on Netflix. I usually fit in a nap in between.

Well now, this ramble took quite a turn.  Usually a blog needs to have some theme or a bit of continuity. This one traveled around in circles.  So I’ll let you go for now. I hope you all are having a great Sunday at home. See you next time.

And the journey continues…

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Books I’ve read and reread many times

Trying to sit down and think of some of my favorite books came to me during the night and kept me awake for a couple of hours. Here’s what I came up with..

.star trek book

  • Star Trek

My love of Star Trek began in the 60’s with the original series. That was followed by six movies. Then there came the spin-off series, Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and then Enterprise. The newest of the new Star Trek movies have given us a modern look to the popular characters. During those 30 plus years, various approved authors started writing new adventures for each crew of the Star Trek family. I read those books voraciously. New adventures with Kirk, Spock and McCoy, then Capt. Picard, Will, Geordi, Data, Worf and Deanna, Capt. Janeway, Chakotay, Tom and Tuvok and then Capt. Sisko, Odo and Kira. Then later, to tell the beginning, there was Capt. Archer, Malcolm, Trip, and T’Pol. I collected over 100 books of new adventures and stories of my favorite characters that I read and reread until my library and my bank account called a halt.

  • catholic bibleThe Bible

I have many translations that I’ve read and studied over the years. I own the New Jerusalem, NIV, American Standard Version, The Message Bible, the Revised Standard,  and even have one with four translations including Amplified version in one volume. I tend to stick with the New American or the One Year Bible which has a daily reading from both Old and New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover several times, even skimmed through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. My favorites are Psalms, parts of Isaiah and Jeremiah, the prayers in Daniel, and the Gospel of John. When I need to keep myself motivated, I use the One Year Bible.

  • jesus callingJesus Calling by Sarah Young

This is a little book full of daily devotionals. After many years of keeping a prayer journal, recording words and scriptures full of reassurance, comfort and hope given to her in fellowship with the Lord, Sarah Young decided to share the words which led her into a deeper more personal relationship with God. These daily readings are written as if Jesus is talking directly to you giving a personal message. It is powerful and inspirational. If you have felt the need to draw closer to Him or renew your fellowship, this is the book for you.

  • good morning holy spiritGood Morning, Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn

The story of Benny Hinn’s personal encounter with the Holy Spirit and how that experience dramatically changed his life is a story God has used hundreds of thousands of times around the world to touch the lives of others.

This inspirational work tells of Hinn’s encounter with the Holy Spirit, and the unfolding of Scripture that followed. Hinn shows how to recognize the voice of the Spirit; offers seven steps to a more effective prayer life; provides freedom from fear of the “unpardonable” sin; and shares God’s Master Plan. (Barnes and Noble.com)

This is an autobiographical book telling Benny Hinn’s journey from childhood to adulthood and his search for and experiences with the Holy Spirit despite objections from his family. I found it fascinating.

  • they speak with other tonguesThey Speak with Other Tongues by John Sherrill

A classic that has inspired millions of readers worldwide, They Speak with Other Tongues is the story of one man’s encounter with the Holy Spirit. John Sherrill, a young reporter for Guideposts magazine, set out to gather information about a strange new occurrence happening all over the country. A skeptic when it came to speaking in tongues and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, Sherrill was determined to retain his objectivity while digging out the facts. What he found would change his life.
As John Sherrill relates the biblical and historical background for speaking in tongues, examines contemporary events, and shares his personal experience, he gives life-changing insight into this still-for-today gift of the Holy Spirit. This book is textbook reading for any Christian seeking to better understand the Holy Spirit or walk in the power of the Spirit day by day.
(Barnes and Noble.com)

This is autobiographical and compelling. From skeptic to believer you get to share in his journey to understanding the Charismatic Movement of the Church in America. Written in the 1950’s it has been republished several times. One of my favorites.

  • nine o'clock in the morningNine O’clock in the Morning by Dennis Bennett

This  is Dennis Bennett’s autobiographical account of how a high church, Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian was drawn to the Pentecostal experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Barnes and Nobles.com)

My personal experience of converting to Catholicism and meeting a community of Charismatic Nuns who believed in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, led me to seek out more information on this subject. This is also one of my favorites, telling the story of skeptic to believer.

  • hinds feet on high placesHinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

This is the first and only allegory I’ve ever read. It is simple as well as deep enough to cause you to think.

Hinds’ Feet on High Places is one of the most successful works of Christian fiction. It is the story of a young woman named Much Afraid and her journey away from her Fearing family into the High Places of the Shepherd. It is an allegory of the Christian life from salvation through maturity. It doesn’t actually describe life in Heaven, but shows how the Christian is transformed from unbeliever to immature believer to mature believer, who walks daily with his/her Lord as easily on the High Places of Joy in the spirit as in the daily life of the mundane and often-times humiliating trials that tempt us to lose perspective of who we now are in Christ.

  • this present darknessThis Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

This is a page-turner. Peretti paints amazing mind pictures of the temptations we face every day and the unseen spiritual world of demons and angels. The best I’ve come across of this type of book.

Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a pastor begin to compare notes, they suddenly find themselves fighting a hideous plot to subjugate the townspeople—and eventually the entire human race. A riveting thriller, This Present Darkness offers a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare. Tyndale House Publishers

  • the beginning The Beginning

This is the first book in a set. All are told by the angels in heaven giving us a unique perspective on familiar stories. The Beginning tells the story of creation. Includes The Escape which is the telling of the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in the Old Testament. The Birth, The Triumph and the Return tell the life and death and resurrection story of Jesus. There is some anti-Catholic bias in one of the books, but if you can overlook that these are wonderful retellings of favorite Bible stories.

This volume in The Chronicles of the Door explores the mystery and marvel of God at work. In The Beginning, God’s creation of the world is viewed from the angels’ perspective. Man, the crowning glory, rules Creation in full fellowship with his Creator—until he succumbs to the fallen Angel of Light, and the Door is closed. Enthralling and fast-paced, this book can introduce non-Christians to the God of Creation and the purpose for living while offering believers a richer dimension to their faith.

This is a great ‘first’ list. If more favorites come to mind later, I can always add to this list or write another blog. Another look into the secret life of estherlou…

And the journey continues…

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Positives/negatives/Wants and desires

positive-455582_1280I was browsing blogs today and read the About page of one. They had this idea posted so we could get to know them better. I thought it was unique and decided to think about it and see what I could come up with. List three positive words, three negative words, three loves, three passions, three favorites and three burdens.

Three positive words: (or if single words are difficult, how about a phrase)thumb-456698_1280

  1. I think please and thank you should go together as one. There is nothing like being thanked for simple courtesies. Giving  a thank you for ordinary things tells people you appreciate them. It is a simple way to treat others with kindness and compassion. And you have to stick I’m sorry in with this. You have to admit your mistakes and apologize whether it is in family or work situations. If you don’t it will fester inside of you into something stressful and ugly. It’s much better to own up to messes and don’t let them grow bigger. Most people admire those who can admit when they are wrong and try to learn from their mistakes.
  2. I’m proud of you. The first time I heard this, I was an adult. I’m not sure my parents ever learned to use that phrase or even heard it themselves, but it is important to give positive reinforcement. I remember being taken aback when someone said it to me. I was so insecure as a person, I never realized I needed to say it to my own kids. I might be proud of them, but never knew people actually said that out loud.
  3. I love you. Never forget to tell those people who are important to you that you love them, appreciate them and are thankful they are a part of your life. Time tends to get away from you. Don’t expect others to read your mind. Of course, sometimes words are not needed. My husband tells me every day in the things he does for me. I need to tell him how much I appreciate that about him.

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Three negative words:

  1. This is making me think. I remember when I was younger, my dad was going through a time of unemployment and frustration. He took these feelings out on my younger brother. He would call him a ‘piece of s*** who would never amount to anything. Don’t make the mistake of telling negative words to your children. Those words will stay with them for the rest of their lives and color how they look at themselves and how they relate to the world.
  2. Never tell anyone You are stupid! No one is stupid, just uneducated or ignorant of how things are supposed to be. This is the most degrading thing you could ever tell someone and will mark them for life. Everyone is capable of learning and improving.
  3. Along the same line is You are ugly. None of us can help how we were born or the features we have. We can make ourselves look the best we can be, but that is all. You must look inside a person and find out who the real person is. We all tend to judge people by what we see and first impressions stay with us. All of us need to be more careful not to judge by appearance, size, color, clothes or just beauty. We never know what is going on inside a person unless we take the time to find out. We owe that to a person before we judge them.

Three loves: (prepare to have to think about this one. For some reason this one was harder for me.)

  1. My husband and my children. I have been married since 1970 to the same man. I didn’t believe I was pretty, or normal, or talented. I grew up fat with glasses and was made fun of. I leaned at an early age I was less than every one else, and became shy and withdrawn. I always felt like I was on the outside looking in at life in general, so I never understood what he saw in me. Over the years he has supported me emotionally and given me more than I could ask for. He has stuck by me during crazy times and years of living with clinical depression. He shows his love for me in his steadfastness and quiet presence. My son is my prayer buddy. We have a love of prayer and depending on God in common and he gives me lots of support. My daughter is my best friend and is my part-time caregiver. I couldn’t live without her. She is special to me on many levels. Son is a wonderful father, husband and supports his family with love, respect and a sense of responsibility. Daughter is hard-working, talented and loving and compassionate. I can’t imagine my life without my family.

Three passions:

  1. This one was also hard for me. As an extremely shy person, I grew up trying to blend in with the wallpaper. I never even thought I had the right to have dreams, wants or desires. My first real passion was singing. I had a God-given talent and loved to sing. People told me I had a beautiful voice. I sang in choir in high school and even took some lessons. I majored in music in college, but only finished two years before I quit to get married. Life, marriage and children interrupted. At almost 40, I went to community college and asked if I was good enough to take voice lessons. I then was given the opportunity to sing in some of the community operas and went on to finish my bachelors degree in music. I developed my voice and technique and was able to sing better than most. I got a lot of self-satisfaction and affirmation and confidence in being able to do something I loved. I even sang with the Symphony. I was a cantor/song leader in church and used my voice to minister to others. It was a wonderful time in my life.
  2. Passions can also be negative. Mine was food. I used it to comfort me when I was hurt or sad. Food became my best friend and steady companion. I ate when I was happy and excited, and ate when I was sad, hurt or depressed. Food became the most important thing in my life as a young person and the results have followed me my entire life. I have learned to live without bingeing or overeating, but obesity still follows me.
  3. I grew up going to church off and on. I had a born again experience when I was 13-15 at a summer camp and it remained a part of me. Time, differences in theology, and jobs kept hubby and I out of church for many years though we both believed God was an important part of our lives. We both were brought up to believe our spiritual lives and our secular lives were separate and private and you didn’t share with others the spiritual side of your life. Living with my insecurities, clinical depression and thinking I was crazy led me back into prayer and searching. I had another personal encounter with God and a hunger to get closer to Him. I developed a great love of prayer and a dependence on His presence in my life that has gotten me through much. I can’t imagine life without His presence.

Three favorites: I feel this one needed sub-categories of food, hobbies, favorite tv shows and movies.

  1. First has to be chocolate and salty. I used to binge on chocolate candy bars and a bag of chips. The binge days are gone, but chocolate and salty are still favorites. As long as I eat my protein chocolate pudding, or granola bars with a touch of chocolate, I can satisfy my chocolate fix. And even while dieting, I can have chips when I want as long as I pay attention to how many. My favorite kind of food has always been mexican food. I love tacos or burritos and could pig out on chips and salsa. Now, I have to be very careful and watch my portion control because the desire to lose weight and get healthier is stronger than the desire to pig out on tacos and chips. But I can still eat them when I want and plan for them. Pizza is a bad one. It could almost become a passion. I used to think I could eat pizza several times a week and again for breakfast when it was cold. Now, I limit my pizza to healthier options and the obsession for devouring a whole  delivered pizza smothered in cheese has diminished.
  2. My favorite hobbies are varied and almost endless. They go in spurts as my attention span changes. I like to crochet or knit, play solitaire, play Yahtzee, write blogs, read, proofread manuscripts, spend time with my daughter, think and pray and watch tv. I learned painting and made rosaries and jewelry. My favorite tv shows have to include, NCIS, Family Feud, all the Star Trek series, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and Project Runway. I like other Sci-Fi/drama/fantasy such as Once upon a Time, Arrow, Continuum, Beauty and the Beast, The Blacklist, Merlin and Eureka.My favorite movies include the Twilight Series, Thor, Star Trek movies both old and new, and most of the other super hero movies and Transformers. I like computer/spy/espionage/adventure dramas such as The Net, Eagle Eye, the Lara Croft set as long as they are PG or PG-13. My brain hurts so I think I’ll skip favorite books.

handicap-27963_1280My three burdens:

  1. Number one has to be my immobility. I developed bone spurs in my knees which prevent me from straightening my legs.  I also need two knee replacements. This makes standing and/or walking difficult. With age, over the past 15 years I have progressed from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair. The diet and the exercises I learned from home health care and physical therapy are my means to obtain the goal of walking again one day.
  2. Living with arthritis needs to be on the list. It is not debilitating for me, but I’ve learned to live with a certain amount of pain every day. Most of the time it is like a nagging headache I can ignore and other times, drugs are needed to bring the pain to a tolerable level. It becomes a part of life you accept as part of aging.grandma-486796_1280
  3. I couldn’t really think of a 3rd burden unless it is time. At 65, and with mobility issues, I recognize that I am past ‘middle aged’. There are fewer years ahead of me than behind me. I need to be aware of that fact and enjoy and be thankful for what I have while it is happening.

This has grown to epic proportions. Now you know more about me than you ever wanted or needed to know. But it was a great thinking exercise. Feel free to borrow the idea for your own blog.

And the journey continues…

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