Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Favorite Pastime

Again, blogging on a different computer, Katie's laptop.  Always seems to be something to upset the writing cart!  Next week, hopefully get the main computer to a professional for a much needed work over.  This is proving much more frustrating that I thought, since Kate's laptop keeps turning off.  I may not be able to blog and I have so enjoyed this. But I will push through.
I believe this started in my own family of readers.  I know my mother would read interesting stories from the newspaper out loud.  In my family now, as we are sitting around reading, if a phrase or paragraph grabs our attention, we have to share it out loud.  It may also start with someone chuckling and we ask, "yes"  meaning please share!
Yesterday, I thought, please if my books get published, may my words be read aloud, shared around a living room or table.  May I create clever, thought provoking phrases.  Now I'm asking for a reliable computer. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lamenting the Loss of Book Reading

Someone was going to throw out books without even looking to see if they belonged to anyone because they needed the space.  Just throw them out!
Someone else made the comment that she doesn't read books as much as she used because of being on the Internet.  I've noticed in my own life that the extra hour I used to read in the morning is now spent reading blogs, e-mail, news and Facebook.  I excuse this time as that is when I don't have to fight over computer time.  I don't have cable so I could read more, but always watch a DVD on the evenings I'm home.
I do like reading the monitor while I'm eating. When I was a kid, I read the cereal boxes and thought putting a story on the box would be the best thing.  I guess that is what a kindle is.  Some day I may try one.
The comic strip Dennis the Menace yesterday had Gina reading and the caption was, "Reading is fun.  It gives you someplace to go when you can't go anywhere."  I think that sums up reading for me.  How many books have taken me places I may never go otherwise.  I live the books even when I'm not reading them at that moment.  I remember reading Captive Princess, about Elizabeth I, feeling  as I wandered around my yard, that it was the garden at her castle, Hatfield.  Frank Perretti's novels about spiritual warfare I could only read during daylight.  I love words, but I really love the atmosphere of books, too.  Sometimes the simplest of writing immediately drops you into the story.  Laura Ingalls Wilder's books did that and still do as I revisited them later in life.  Netta Jackson and Betty Lewis  may not win prizes with prose, but the spiritual truths that come out of their stories stay with me.
Another sad day for me was when I was about 17 and realized I couldn't read in the car anymore without feeling nauseated.  Books on tape didn't quite fill that void.  Something about seeing the words left the impression in my mind.  I do like radio drama, which we listen to a lot.  Focus on the Family has quality material.   It is still a great gift for Katie- any Adventures in Odyssey CD's, Chronicles of Narnia, Bonhoeffer, Christmas Carol.
Yet, to me still, there is nothing like the feel of a book in my hands, laying in bed on a cold, snowy or rainy day, going to places I never been, meeting wonderful or not so wonderful people and having great adventures.  I also like to sit in the sun, and boy am I looking forward to that, reading a novel.  Sometimes, I hesitate to read an engaging book because I won't do anything else.  I don't hesitate long.  I love how books take me places and challenge my mind, my feelings, my ideas.
My husband told my girls when they first started to read on their own, as long as you have a book, you won't be bored.  They carry books with them everywhere.  Yet, we do look at this computer a lot, too.
My mother had a T-shirt that said, "Too many books, too little time."  So true.  Books piled that I'd love to read again and books on my list to read, as well as write.  Don't give up book reading.  Make time for a great adventure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tell Me Your Story

Pastor had a great sermon yesterday about compassion, Jonah and knowing people's history.  I like to say story- what is your story?
That is probably the best part of my job is hearing so many stories and getting a chance to tell mine.  I'm not a "professional" nurse in the sense that I do get personal with my patients.  One reason I left the hospital, so I could really talk with people.  Pastor even mentioned that yesterday, that we have a lot of professionals in the world today- preachers, teachers, nurses.  How many of us really get to know the stories?  Stories are what drive us.  I only had one patient tell me I was too personal and I backed off.  Hey, at 94, you have a right to talk or not.  Another man, who was 112, told me about history, but he did not want to live in the past and was much more interested in my laptop.
Part of the admission process is demographics with religion a topic.  I don't think it should be there, but I do like to know the religion of people.  We all have religion, whether we're church goers or not.  We have a background.  I easily can guess some people's religion from their home's interior- crucifix, pictures of the Pope suggests strongly they are Roman Catholic.   Plagues with scripture inform me usually that they take God personally.  If they say, "Jehovah has blessed me."  I know that they are Jehovah's Witnesses.  Yes, I get to knock on their door!
Everyone is still different, but knowing their story helps me understand them, treat them, and teach them.  Story is what we have that is original with each one.  There may be similarities but never assume it is the same.  We can learn from each story and we must.
I must say meeting people is what refreshes me in my job.  I can start out feeling totally blue and crabby, but meet some great people with interesting lives and I'm buoyed again.  Tell me your story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Thoughts have been bouncing around.  My handwritten journal is bulging with information that I've been scratching in it with almost no rhyme or reason, just writing while waiting for planes, on planes and then this morning trying to catch up.  No style has graced those words as I frantically throw them together quickly to not loose the weekend.  The coma sleep also overcame me as I tried to write yesterday and this morning.
I can't process what has happened in Japan in relation to such a wonderful, magical weekend.  I would watch the incredible images on TV against the calm Gulf of Mexico.  We were 6 stories above the ground and could see both the Gulf and the sound.  I could go out on the balcony and totally ignore the suffering on the other side of the world.  Also the extremely happy occasion of a wedding and seeing so many people I love contrasted again with a wife or sister on TV relaying their worry and almost certainty that they will not see their love one ever again on this earth.
I really don't know what to say.  Maybe it is too early to comment.  Ron Hutchcraft was on a radio program I listen to this afternoon.  He says it so well, I don't want to repeat it for fear of sounding like I'm stealing his words.  I do encourage you to read his blogs.  I just know we need to pray for the minuscule Christian influence in Japan.  No matter what the reason for disasters, it does bring people to ponder and seek a higher power.  I do not believe God causes it, but He may lift His hand of protection as a Father may with his children to help them grow.  Anyway of saying this can be misconstrued so I'm treading on shaky ground.  I know He uses everything to pull us closer to Him because He loves us with an everlasting love and He wants no one to perish.  He is not standing over people with some big hammer to punish.  He is extremely patient and gives people many chances.  It is our choice what we do with His love.
I suppose the best thing for me to say about this weekend of wedding and disaster is a lesson we all know, but need to often relearn.  Cherish your love ones and keep in touch.  Make every effort to be together, sacrifice if need be.  Show love to those around you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sweet Gabrielle

We are celebrating another wedding in our family today of my niece, Gabrielle and her Brian.  Something that is different about our families is divorce seldom occurs.
All of my siblings and myself have been married to the first spouse. My husband and his siblings are the same.  His parents will celebrate sixty five  years of matrimony this summer. (Lyle Lyon died a month short of their seventieth, May 15, 2016)  My parents, had they lived, sixty nine years.  My mother was a widow eighteen years and never dated. 
My niece's father's family has the same record.  They have all been married close to forty years.  And Gabrielle's grandmother also has never dated since her husband died.
Brian's family from what I hear has a similar record.
What is so special about marriage?  Why in this world of living together and anything goes, do couples want to go to the altar?
I believe we all have inside us the sweetest story from time immortal.  A creation of perfection, a tragedy, a ransom and a rescue provide the plot to this story.  Fairy tales follow this story.  Classics are centered on unselfish love.  Even modern popular stories have the elements of this wonderful story.  A love unconditional that we all crave for ourselves.  We want someone to love us for ourselves and to give up life for us.  It is inside all of us.  And we all want this adventure.
Human love can disappoint, humans disappoint each other.  It is in staying together in the vows we take, the commitment we make that continues and represents the Great Story.
This Great Story is Jesus and His love for people.  He created us in His image.  He paid the ransom for our folly, our sin by dying on the cross.  He rescues those who choose to believe and stay true to Him.  And He is returning for those who believe, He calls His Bride.
The Great Story is inside us all, whether we acknowledge it or not.  We are to model His love to each other and that is why we still want marriage.  Marriage is the symbol of this love.  Inside us, we all want  happily ever after.  God  put that there.
So I pray for Gabrielle and Brian today that they continue the Story with a long marriage of blessings and love.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's in the Face

We had a meeting Friday at work.  Being home health nurses it may be awhile since we've seen each other, especially since my company covers such a large territory.   I noticed one nurse was wearing make up, a new look.  She had just started selling Tupperware and the exuberance of a new endeavor was all over her.  Later, she remarked on Facebook that she is loving doing her inventory.
I remember my Party Light glow and Mary Kay smile.  The whole idea of starting a business where I could put on stylish clothes and sell a product while having fun is so appealing.  I enjoyed taking care of my candles and the make up, thinking of  party ideas, door prizes and for the candles, reading decorating magazines or visiting furniture stores to build up my knowledge of home interior styles.   Any way to promote my business consumed me.  Such confidence buoyed my walk.  Venturing out in these home business gave something the grind of blood and guts of nursing seemed to never give.  If anything, nursing sucks the life blood out of you.
Seeing this nurse the other day and her comment brought to my mind that I also felt this way when I started my blog.  No inventory to buy, no house to clean for the big kick off party, no innumerable phone calls to sell yourself is the big difference.  Writing and now blogging has given me an inner peace and confidence that I'm doing what I've always wanted to do.  It revives me.
Allowing Jesus to be Lord of your life is the best transformation.  Jesus gives you a new name.  He always did: Jacob the deceiver became Israel the prince, Simon became Peter, the rock, Saul became Paul, the preacher. They were also named before they fully became their name.  It isn't abracadabra with Jesus.  People do get that inner glow when they have a conversion experience.  Jacob walked with a limp.  Paul was blind for a few days.  But there is a growing process and a person has  to make the decision every day to take up the life that is set before him.  Unlike religion though, Jesus promised a Helper to enable us to walk the walk, we don't have to do it alone.  And He lives inside to guide us all the time.  Again, this may take time, practice to hear His voice. As in starting the multitude of businesses we can embark upon, there is help available.  The advisers, directors, and your team will encourage you, cheer you on.  The Holy Spirit does that, too, through the manual, the Bible, and people in our lives.
Allow His inner glow to fill you and transform you into the name He gives you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Play is Child's Work

Another influence in imagination and the storytelling process is playing.  We seemed to play so much when I was growing up and I always found more pleasure in it when older children participated. 
I loved to play with little plastic animals.  It was simply called "Animals"  I could do this by myself and I did a lot, but one cousin 5 years older than I, just brought so much life to this activity.  We carried our animals in boxes and when we visited we played on her porch or mine.  Mutilating lightning bugs was so much more creative when she was around as well.  We were Egyptian princesses with glowing jewels.  I know it sounds cruel but it just seemed natural to use that luminescence.
Down the street from me was a huge vacant lot.  It was our Indian village, and yes, now I have to say Native American.  Two pine trees' branches came to the ground, but were hallow by the trunk, and really seemed like teepees.  Another bush also grew in an enclosed circle and was our wigwam.  A tiny little bricked ditch was the river.  It was expansive and felt so like a village.  We all played there.  One evening two of the older girls in the neighborhood joined us with some old fashioned rolled oats they must have stolen from their kitchen and they conducted a very mystical ceremony, putting oats on our foreheads and then we had to eat some.  I wonder how they explained that to their mothers.
As well as playing with the plastic animals, I was often an animal.  My brother hunted and often I had the squirrel tail or rabbit tail to use as a prop.  If they weren't available, I use a hat tie to make a tail for me.  Our house was great with 2 stairways, that could be rabbit holes.  Or the blue-green wall to wall carpeting downstairs was a fantastic lake with the curvy stairs the waterfalls.
The public pool provided an arena to play mermaids.  That is all we had to say to each other, my one friend and I when we wanted to play- Mermaids, Princesses, Animals.  We named all our imaginary games with one word then we would be in that world.  Her sidewalk became the streets of London where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys met Oliver Twist, and Fagan's gang.  My friend was always Wendy, being kidnapped.
Our camper van became a cover wagon and we sang our way out West driving around the Shenango Valley.  Or I wore a Prairie dress and a sunbonnet my mother bought me, with my sister's old go-go boots from her time as a Morgan drive in waitress, and I was Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I played with dolls until 6th grade on my way to becoming a sophisticated Jr. Higher. The writing took over the imagination outlet as I bribed my English teacher to allow me just to write stories instead of those boring drill sentences.  She loved my writing so she obliged.  Play had become growing up.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Storytellers- Part 5

The adults in my life yarned tales.  Many Sunday afternoons were spent visiting aunts, uncles, my parents' cousins, and even just friends. Ah, the Sunday afternoon visits and falling asleep on the way home from some far off relative's home sometimes.  One aunt, Nome,- short for Naomi, had particularly engaged me on these visits.  Her children were much older than I, meaning not much playing.  Aunt Nome with an understated style made up this delightful story of a mouse that lived under the bottom step of the stairs.  The stairs were interior stairs with a little landing at the bottom and a heavy door, with that single step into the living room.  That wonderful step had a perfect round hole in one side.  I would stare and stare in that hole to see the mouse while the adults chattered.  It kept me busy imaging I saw that mouse.  One year, when I was much older, they gave me a 4 inch mouse made of a slimy material popular at that time.  I had quit looking for that mouse, but that was quite a joke.  
I can remember a cousin of my dad's, who was a bit older than my father.  We were sitting around the table eating doughnuts and he explained the goodness of a plain cake doughnut so well that I still think of him when we get doughnuts.  Again, the stories were of a time far away, yet they were real because of the words they used and that I listened.  Talk of outhouses, pumps, skinny dipping at the river, good homemade food filled my head.
Neighbors sat outside on summer evenings and talked.  I almost enjoyed listening to their stories over playing.  I did a fair amount of both, though  Our next door neighbors built their house in 1921.  The wife told me stories of when she was a little girl, like the day I was awarded my Bible, she told me how she got hers in church, too.  I remember playing with her daughter's kitchen toys- they were made of metal, very sturdy.  She told me many stories of her girl, who was the same age as my mother.
Teachers were great.  Not only did they read great stories, they told great stories from their childhood or their children's.   The 2nd grade teacher I told you about when I wrote about my father, explained prejudice to us.  When she was a little girl they had a African American hired man and he got cut, his blood was red like hers, and that's how she knew they were the same, and we should think of everyone the same, too.  I remember also she had us to ask our parents if it was all right to read from the Bible at Christmas time, and we all thought that it was strange she asked us.
Another teacher talked about the sacredness of cemeteries.  When she was small, they lived next to a cemetery and it had very tempting hills.  Yes, they gave into temptation and then were in trouble for rolling down those hills.  I believe she also was the one who told us about Prohibition.  Her father owned a general store and customers would try to hide that they were buying ingredients to make beer, but some were so bold they didn't mix up the ingredients, just asked for them straight out.
Great books, too- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankmiler,  and another one that went on and on about a swamp in FL, but the writer never got to that story.  And I can never forget Pippy Longstocking.  What wonderful flights from my desk at Oakview Elementary those stories took me!
School was so much more than book learning and tests.  We really bonded with our teachers because they shared so much with us.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Storyteller- Part 4

Another great influence in my life was my dad.  He was the quiet man before John Wayne's movie, displaying an inner strength he gained from his relationship with Jesus.  Sometimes, you really had to listen to Dad, but every nugget was worth hearing.
He didn't hold back his flaws or faults, what he had done wrong from childhood on.  How he and his brother would act up if his widowed mother had a date or how the gang stole pies warming on window sills.  He used his follies to make you feel better when you messed up.  Like the time my concussion came from falling off the hood of a car, he told me when they were teenagers, they rode on the running boards of the cars over the narrow bridge with no railing to the cemetery in town.  It had a shallow creek about 20 feet below.  He had humor about the incidents yet there was no pride.  It happened and it was a lesson to help us.
He loved to study his Bible and he was a lay preacher.  I know we had pride when he was in the pulpit.  He had a great speaking voice for a man who had never completed high school.  He was a self-taught man, using a Thompson Chain Reference Bible and reading old sermons- I have the book of sermons from famous preachers- I'm sure, many other sources.  He was a reader.
He wanted people to know Jesus.  At his funeral and afterward, innumerable remarks, notes and comments were relayed to me how he helped so many in their Christian walk.
He was so funny, too, his joy contagious.   Object lessons were a tool of his as well.  One time we were in the yard on those long summer evenings, he loved to be outside in his yard, he pulled the small sapling of a tree from the ground, "Mollie, do you know why they call this a tree of heaven?...Because they stink to high heaven."  I have a picture from many years later of him trying to get his granddaughter, Michelle, to smell skunk cabbage and I'm sure he was asking her, "Why do you think they call this skunk cabbage?..." She had an even chance and ran!  Tree of heaven vs. skunk cabbage.
Like many in that generation, he used descriptive and odd words that sparked my imagination again as a small child.  The women in North Africa during WW2 were peek-a-boo girls, so I loved to wear my mother's scarf just under my nose and be a peek-a-boo girl.  Yes, we were not PC.  Didn't even know what that meant.  Just said things they way they looked.  There many stories, like with my mother, of the Great Depression, WW2, and the 50's and 60's.  It helped we lived in the town where my father grew up.  In fact, the story goes he always wanted to live in the house he bought in 1964, that is featured in this blog.  I also had his 2nd grade teacher, who also taught my brother- but that is for another day.
He was always honest, yet full of love.  I learned that from him and I strive every day to follow his example.  and this short blog does not do him justice.  That is why it is hard in a way to write.  Just keep reading, I'm sure I'll mention him many times again.  Some really great stories!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I haven't written because I was unsure which direction to take for the next blog.  Continue with the storytellers or were we getting bored, needed a break?  Talk about having good reports at physicals and how that is affecting my thought life?  Or just write about how I'm unsure?  It's a Saturday morning dilemma. like so many of my Saturdays that loom ahead of me with so many choices and no direction, especially this past winter, when I have felt so tired, wanting to just read my Bible, the blogs, the newspaper, books I haven't been able to read more than a few paragraphs at night without then reading the back of my eyelids...
Yet, with positive feedback from my physicals- only anemic, which I'm taking care of with iron twice a day.  The next quantity will have no sorbitol in the fillers.  Sorbitol has a laxative effect and that has wrecked havoc in certain areas that may be evident or not.  Oh, no a run on sentence...
Back to the good health, I feel like I really better take better care of myself.  I mean if eating a hamburg almost every day and only walking the dog a few times in a month has produced such great effects, just think how much better I would feel if  I really watched the sugar intake- yeah, maybe I shouldn't have had that coconut cream pie at the Top Notch Diner, with my $2 1/4 pound hamburg and fresh cut fries- isn't that a great deal?  Oh and don't forget the Pepsi.  Well, I do try to limit the pop.  It leeches the calcium from your bones and I don't want to suffer after menopause.  Always try to have tomato and lettuce on my hamburger and if you go to 5 Guys, you can have green pepper, too.  Don't order the fries at 5 Guys if you are by yourself, though.  They are too good to not eat the whole order and there really are too many to eat all at once.  So good!  And really exercised.  Join a gym...ah, no.  Can't take the stress.
My philosophy is enjoying life.  Trying not to worry, yet I find myself waking to worry.  Some of my favorite verses from the Bible are- Cast all your cares upon Him(Jesus) for He cares for you. and Don't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.  and Jesus came to give life and give it more abundantly.
I think reading the Bible and praying every day should be credited.  Having a cat that wants to be near you counts for something, too.  As Steven purrs and keeps getting in the way of the computer screen.  Purr, purr.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Storytellers- Part 3

I need to mention my siblings and their various styles of story telling. I was born into a family of teenagers (or soon to be teenagers.)
My oldest sister, Diane, is witty and clever with words.  She brings roll on the floor laughter, but I must admit I didn't laugh at "Mr. Boo" when I was a wee girl.  That scared me so much, because my mother called boogers, boos, making me just imagine an enormous, unkind mucus plug, I suppose, with sunglasses or at least glasses, since all my pictures from that time in my life had people wearing eye glasses- everyone wore them in my family.  Diane also was always singing and I'm not sure if she made up the words for Hitchcock's TV show theme or not, but the worms and pus and green sparked a young child's inner eye!  She still takes me to the places she has been and her descriptions do not disappoint.
Gerri Lee, yes I still call her Gerri Lee, is quieter.  She gave up many evenings to read to me at night, probably  Diane's stories caused me to be afraid to go to bed by myself.  Wizard of Oz,  Shirley Temple Storybook, are two I remember.  G. Lee also introduced me to the library in the old Buhl Club, a huge cool mysterious place for me.  I think the book we got had something to do about strawberries.
Dan, I almost shouldn't write about, I'm sure.  He also was quiet.  He regaled me with stories of the Green Man(a real person, in Wikepedia) and haunted houses after his summer joy rides.  Remember when we didn't have to worry about gas prices?  He comforted me one time when my grandmother stayed with us while our parents visited their first granddaughter in NJ.  Grandma yelled at me for coming to the table singing and Dan chose to tell me some story about a king, like no other fairy tale I had heard- I was 7.
They have different styles, but more than information was transferred to me, ideas, values and some great memories are part of that legacy.