Thank You

For the last seven years I’ve suffered at the hands of those with greater power and lesser insight.

It’s not that my life has been all hell and horror, but it’s safe to say the worst moments of my existence happened during this time. So I’m thrilled to announce it’s officially over.

That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to live with the consequences, nor does it vindicate those who caused this pain. And for my part in it, I’ve paid the price. A proportionately higher price than our society accepts. Life isn’t fair sometime.

But we are not a product of what happens to us. We are a product of how we respond to those events, the accusations, the unjust decisions. I’m not saying the events themselves don’t change us. They do. But what shapes us, in the end, lies within our hearts.

So I thank not only those who stood by me, but those who inspired me over my lifetime. All of you who shared your wisdom and built a tower of strength within me.

And I thank God for holding me close.

Thank you.


Photo Credit: © stock.adobe.com

Consistently Changing

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”
― Bernard Berenson

Hmmm. I get his point, but there’s value in consistency, too. Depends on your consistent pattern. Do you routinely come home, watch the same TV shows and eat one of the same three frozen dinners? Or are you someone who can be counted to stay up-to-date with current events, give comfort to a grieving friend, or dare to have your hair cut shorter than its ever been?

If you’re consistently exploring, you’ll be wiser and more informed a year from now.

A balance of routine and exploration helps prevent both chaos and lethargy. There is comfort in routine, although in the first scenario described above, I’d recommend you add a class (or perhaps a book club) and learn how to cook at least two new meals.

Having a regular pattern gives you structure, a foundation to build on the daring side of you. It also helps you be on time and maintain healthy habits. But the person so committed to that same schedule that they pass by on the bountiful opportunities our world offers is somewhat boring.

I got to wondering what I’ll learn in the next year. I’m not anxious for tough lessons, but rather, new insight into the world around me and the people I love. It means I have to get out of my comfort zone a little more and be willing to ask questions that might leave me vulnerable.

Vulnerable, because I don’t like looking ignorant or naÏve. Thank goodness for the Internet and search engines. But there are limits to what you can learn from Wikipedia, and I want to break those boundaries.

I’ve changed so much in the last few years, and sometimes I forget what I’ve accomplished. The difference is subtle sometimes, but I’m proud to say I’m consistently changing.

 

“Have a nice trip?” “Last Fall.”

A nice trip, indeed.

I’m working in a warehouse now as a technical writer. The administrative aspect of my job doesn’t mean I get an office, however, or even a traditional desk. I’m smack dab in the middle of 95000 square feet of bedlam.

They strive for high safety standards, but with that much STUFF it isn’t always easy.

So I’m walking to the ladies’ room when BAM! I find myself face down on a cement floor. Turns out a piece of plastic strapping tape — used in this case to bind a pile of empty, flattened boxes — was jutting out from said pile. I slid on it, which is what caused me to fall forward.

I landed smack dab on my side, seriously bruising my rib cage, liver and kidney, and the surrounding muscles. I spent hours in the ER, where they ruled out any cracks, breaks or damage to organs.

But, ow.

Even with painkillers, things like feeding my cats and lying down in bed hurt like the bejeebers. This is likely to last a little while.

So if it isn’t this, it’s that. Still, I remain grateful for overall good health and wounds that will heal.

The kitties haven’t left my side. I swear, we must secrete something when we’re in pain because cats and dogs always know when they need to take care of you.

And I’m well taken care of.


Image Credits: (Fallen Elephant) © maxbol — stock.adobe.com; (Leaves) © graphicstock.com

 

The Value of Things

“They’re just things. We’re all okay. Things can be replaced, people can’t. I’m just grateful everyone is alive.”

How many times after a fire, tornado or hurricane have we heard those brave words, sincerely spoken in the moment? Yet we know, sitting in our chairs in the comfort of our safe and secure homes, that sooner or later the woman on the screen will realize some things can’t be replaced.

The stone your daughter brought you because she thought it was so pretty and would bring you good luck. The books you’ve had since childhood, worn a bit, but beautiful. The Christmas decorations your mother and your children made.

The pictures, taken before digital cameras and cloud storage.

Yes, any of us would rather have our children, spouses, siblings, parents, friends and neighbors alive and hugging us close than a household of “things”…but the loss of the material is real, and eventually will hit the people struggling to find a change of clothing and water the day after their home is destroyed.

We say “you can’t take it with you” and as true as that is, you have it here on earth. While often that expression refers to money, here I’m talking about things, objects, what you know is in your house and makes it home for you. You treasure it, at times it sustains you. There’s nothing wrong with valuing those things.

A tragic loss does put all that in perspective, of course, and you can always find new objects to hold close to your heart. But they can’t fully replace what’s been lost.

To those who’ve lost everything, my heart is with you. I know your loss is real. I pray you have the support in your life to get through whatever has brought this loss into your life, all that it represents, and that you will soon find joy again.


Photo Credit : © marima-design – Fotolia

The Simple Truth

My high school French teacher challenged us one day to “write about why you believe — or don’t believe — in God.”

We were cautioned not to recite our church’s theological platform, but to give our own heartfelt reasons for our belief. All in French, of course.

Well, easier for me to translate a simple thought from the heart than any complex theological belief to French, so that part wasn’t difficult for me. And I would no doubt offend my French-speaking friends today if I tried to repeat what I wrote then, but here’s a short portion of it, in English:

“I believe in God because the sun rises and sets each day. The mountains speak loudly to me of his presence, the rivers and the valleys, more quietly…”

I struggled with that essay, because I wanted it to flow smoothly in French, and since my teacher was a native speaker, I think eventually it did. I regret I no longer have it.

My life, like most, has been a series of sunny days and stormy ones, of peaks and valleys, of mountains I couldn’t scale and oceans I couldn’t swim, along with unexpected and glorious triumphs. Perhaps small, but glorious nonetheless.

I’m grateful to Mr. Keplinger for giving us that assignment, for early on forcing us to think in two languages of our deepest-held beliefs, for whether he knew it or not, it formed a foundation for my faith over the years.

It’s simple, yes, and there are much more complex issues that crowd my mind every day. The details of my faith change year to year, but the core remains the same.

And part of the core is this:

I believe in God because the sun rises and sets every day.


Photo Credit :© Kotenko Oleksandr — Adobe Stock

Another Year Older (and deeper in debt)

Well, tomorrow is my birthday…the years keep rolling by…I plan to celebrate! But it brings to mind this much-loved song from my childhood (well, a little before, but I heard it a lot as a kid):

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

— music and lyrics by Merle Travis

Well, whatever else may rain down on me, at least I’m not a coal miner. I know those who built their lives around the mines are often profoundly loyal, literally to a point of death, but from my lofty vantage point, there’s little return for the workers.

Abstract background of Department store interior , shallow depthWhen I worked part-time at a department store, I used to joke I “owed my soul to the company store.” Hey, my full-time job, at least in theory, paid the bills, so that was extra cash to spend as I pleased…and I did. I kept track, and about half of what I earned there went straight back to the company coffers.

Thirty years later, I still have some of the Marimekko dishes I purchased, one place setting at a time, always on sale, until I had nine settings (eight, plus a spare). So not everything was thrown away on clothes and makeup. The first setting I got on my birthday from my sister, Beth, who thankfully has good taste.

But I digress from my original point. Where was I going with this? Oh yes! Tomorrow is my birthday! Yup, another year older…but not really deeper in debt. Except for the debts of gratitude I owe so many people in my life.

  • My mom, who is always there for me in every way. She will sacrifice just about anything to help me. I would give her the moon if I could (although cash may be more practical).
  • My brother, who has proven his love and commitment to me in ways I can never repay. He has shown me the value of family, and more importantly, myself.
  • My dad, who is so in tune with my thinking (or I suppose it should be stated the other way around since I’m his offspring) and never fails to surprise me with just the right support when I need it most.
  • My friends Beverly and Bill, who, like family, gave me emotional and practical support, often at personal expense.
  • My best friend from college, Laurie, who “gets me” like few others — and still loves me!
  • My friend Deb, who thinks nothing of putting others before herself and finding the right gifts on any day of the year.
  • My blogging buddies, for all the support you’ve given me in the past two years, as well as the gift of your friendship…and blogs!!!

So many others, but I’ll keep the list concise so it doesn’t lose meaning.

Thank you, everyone of you, and have a piece of chocolate cake (or whatever) this Saturday — it’s my birthday, and I want to celebrate with you!

birthday cupcake

Another year older, and deeper in debt — to all who have given me love and support.


Make yourself smile today with this catchy tune from Tennessee Ernie Ford, which spent a combined 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100 and Top Country hits lists back in 1955-56.

 

 


Photo Credits: (Department Store) © torsakarin – Fotolia; (Birthday Cupcake) © Studio KIVI – Fotolia

Quote Challenge Accepted!

nio astronauta en el espacio

“A friend is someone whose journey always brings them back to you.”
— Belinda O.

farm-girl-small

No matter where your life may take you, whether it’s exotic or traditional, sophisticated & cutting-edge or tried & true, a friend can sit down with you and talk for hours, share your pain, add insight to your troubles, and give you something new to laugh about. Thank God for friends!!!

About the Quote Challenge (you’re invited!):

Thank you, Dede, for including me in this challenge. I encourage anyone who’s rebuilding their life to visit her site.

I confess, I’m not good with quote challenges, so this is a bit of a compromise. It’s a three-day challenge, and I’m supposed to nominate three people each day. Choosing those select people is overwhelming to me. So anybody who wants to accept this challenge is welcome to do so!

Three quotes over three days. Thank the person who nominated you, and nominate three new people each day.

And they don’t have to be your own quotes. This one just said what I wanted to say today.

Image Credits: © cirodelia – Fotolia

The Inaugural Post!!

I imagine several of you, knowing what today is, have been thinking as you go about your day, I wonder how Belinda is doing with her new laptop? You probably pictured me tearing open the box, pulling out the slim new piece of equipment, opening it up for the first time…

Oh, get over myself. If any of you remembered, thank you. One or two of you maybe had a nagging thought today was important for some reason, and rolled your eyes when you remembered why.

But if you’re wondering, yes, it’s exciting! After I get this posted I plan to download a few things I rely on, connect to Google Drive, and a few other “fun” things. I still have to figure out how to get some things done, but I am certain I have the option to do them.

One thing that is disappointing. The space bar on this keyboard is a bit sticky. Let’s hope that’s a minor adjustment.

This post was almost subtitled Get It Over With, and part if the reason why is the frustration of learning a new keyboard. It’s inefficient. That’s the nice way to put it.

Also, it is a bit troublesome that I keep getting a message to sign up for Office 365. I am signed up for Office 365. Shouldn’t that automatically be recognized with my Outlook account? Hmm…

But the screen resolution is good, which I’m very pleased about, and it isn’t as disconcerting working with the much smaller screen as I thought it might be.

I was lucky when my computer crashed, and I know it. I was able to replace it rather quickly. I’m grateful for the timing of this situation, the extra work I’ve been getting, and my brother’s help.

And the support of the blogging community. Back to blogging as I know and love it!

Image Credit: © SCPhotog — BigStock

comfort

In the middle of the night, I wake up and they’re sneaking in to snuggle up next to me. They know if I’m awake I’m likely to move them, because their warm bodies overheat me and I don’t like being pinned down by dead weight. But if I’m asleep, I don’t know any better.

So I smile and just hope I’ll go right back to sleep, because I don’t want to turn away their love.

jaunty…or, my best gifts given, part two. my best gifts received, always.

Ten years ago my friendship with Mary began, and two years ago it ended when she passed away at the age of 53.

Mary had outlived the odds from the day she was born, when her birth mother was told she wouldn’t make it more than six months. Later, her adoptive parents were told the same thing repeatedly throughout her childhood — and as an adult, Mary heard it so often she stopped telling her husband, Mike.

Mary was one of those people who had hundreds of “best friends.” Selbu Modern - pink & gray tamShe would do whatever she could for any of them, including me. She was gutsy and kind. When she went into the hospital for what turned out to be the last time, Mike asked me to make her a “jaunty beret” because her treatment had caused much of her hair to fall out, and she was self-conscious about it.

I immediately set out to find the right pattern and right yarn — something soft for what I imagined might be sensitive skin — and knit up this little hat here.

Actually, this is the second hat I knit in this pattern. I never took a picture of the first one, which went to Mary. When I asked Mike if she liked it, he said she hadn’t had a chance to try it on. After a short time, I caught on. She was too sick for this to matter the least bit.

She maybe never saw the hat at all, or the slippers I included with it. However, I don’t feel anything but gratitude I had a chance to show her my love by knitting this for her, in the off-chance she knew about it.

Last week another Mary in my life died, one month shy of her 41st birthday. It was stunningly sudden. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been entirely surprised, however, for this Mary had lost her eldest son ten years ago to leukemia, and hadn’t been the same since. In many ways she’d moved on beautifully, but her heartache showed itself quietly. It’s possible that pain influenced the way she cared for herself. I don’t know, and it would be wrong for me to assume.

Kims Slippers red rose IIOne day on impulse I gave her a pair of slippers I’d knit from a pattern I designed. She started to cry.

“You don’t know what this means to me,” she said.

They were only slippers, so I really didn’t, but I was touched it meant so much. And oh-so-glad I’d done it. If my one small gesture made even a tiny part of her life better, I only wish I could have done a hundred times more. She was special and deserved to know it.

I’m lucky I have a skill I can use to show my love to others, and far luckier for those I have to receive those gifts. Rest in peace, my friends, your suffering is over. You were a gift and a blessing to me. My life is better because you were in it.