Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Avacado to Purple

This idea of writing away from home has some merit. I'm at our new McDonald's. The only problem is I'm getting hungry. I like this one better than the one I was at on State Street, as they play music, like I would listen to on the Summit.
Whoever would think a writer would hang out at McDonald's those many years ago when I hung out at this fast food restaurant in high school? We ate at McDonald's often because it was fast, cheap and everyone was there. Our friends worked there. Cars cruised at the now abandoned one just a few hundred feet from the new one on State Street. We necked in the parked cars, until the policeman shoved us along. The security could tolerate loitering only so long. Now they encourage the coffee crowd to linger.
My high school Micky D's decor in avocado green and mustard yellow provided the background for our talks and grabbing food. The diet for supper, Quarter Pounder, open the Styrofoam package to dump the french fries in the top with ketchup squeezed on top of them from many packets. I loved the breakfasts, as well, with hash browns and egg mcmuffins. When they introduced the sundaes, I ordered the hot Carmel over the fake white soft serve. Shamrock shakes in the spring filled requests then.
That young girl, who sat in those booths or made out in the parked cars, what ideas did she have for her life? Nursing was the safe bet. Didn't seem like it would last a lifetime, nothing did at that time. Writing, a dream so far up, seemed unattainable. But I planned books even back then. The one for my friend, Marilyn and I- maybe I still will-Stop the Comedy, Girls, or Can't Stop the Comedy Girls. We stopped often at McDonald's till in our senior year we became more health conscious.
That makes me think of Mr. Yarian. He followed a vegan diet, before it became a badge of something. Yet, in his gentleness, as I explored this diet, he told me how he chose not to be judgmental, he would eat a piece of chocolate cake when visiting someone, that didn't subscribe to his beliefs. I read a letter he wrote later to the Herald, kindly voicing his opinion, promoting his Buddhism.  I know I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but because of relationship, I accepted him. He was a kind and gentle soul that I have written about before. I don't know what happened on his deathbed, but I know I prayed for him when I heard he had cancer.
How our world has changed since the avocado and mustard. I stare at the luminescent purple and green booths, fake oak chairs, as I can sit at small device with no eraser ribbon, writing. I think of the polarization of those who say they are for openness, but put down other opinions. I know David Yarian would not have done that.
I am a nurse who has to listen to many opinions without showing disagreement. I have sat in living rooms of elderly, who moan about being alive. I tried to give hope, but glanced the eye seeing me as a young whipper-snapper who has no idea what death is about. I know my philosophy of life is the same as another woman told me, she, at age ninety four, is going to live until she dies. She had difficulty breathing, legs swollen with congestive heart failure, falling a little too often, kidneys failing. She does know the shadow of death, but chooses to live each day.
I choose, too, to live until I die. I have hard times. I have an aging body, as we all do. I'm far from ninety four, but you don't get to that age by belly aching. Again, I go back to Philippians to rejoice always, again I say rejoice. Lord, help us to live this way.
I guess this was better than a writer's confession I had first intended to post about. I hate any more to hand write letters or even send cards by mail. I need to do that today, so pray that I will put aside the other distractions and write those important letters.

# 12

http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=dae05dbebc6cf01f669d8e7ec&id=dd819e4f6c&e=3993f86520Mary DeMuth, an author, I believe is slightly younger than I, but has been writing for the public longer than I have, wrote this post yesterday. I have been following her advice. How do you, my readers think I measure up with my posts and my blog? Be honest(# 12).

Monday, April 29, 2013


I promise some day to stay on a theme. Maybe. Yet, just by the title of my blog, you know I meander. I promise I do stay on theme in a book or with help of editors I will. Since my birthday, well being has flooded my soul with expectation, even though some life circumstances don't change or actually got worse. As my friend Susan says, "This too shall pass."
Great words, just have to remember them in good times, as well. Half crooked smile spreads on my face. So true. Paul say we should be thankful, give thanks, in all circumstances or things. He didn't mean give thanks for all things. One of many misunderstood verses of the Bible. But I am thankful for a God who has my back (and my front) He goes before me and fights the battle behind me as well. If I learned anything, God loves me. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so...
I do wish this conquering spirit stayed. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. I'm quoting from Philippians. This four chapter book full of many memory verses from my childhood,I have as an adult, tried to memorize the whole. I used it to describe my mother's last four years, "Content in all things." She truly lived that at Woodland Place.
I look to the future and know that every knee will bow to Jesus name. I put my trust in God and have a peace that passes all understanding. Without grabbing my Bible these life giving verses float into my mind.
Today, the sun still hides behind the clouds. I have to be get ready for work in about an hour and half. A Sunday atmosphere hovers over me, as I rest, yet. The sun is to shine the rest of the week, so I'll make hay, then.
Take some time today to read that little power house of a book in the Bible. You'll find it in the middle of the New Testament. I doubt it will take you long to read it. Tomorrow, I'll pick a thread of what I've been writing and follow it. Today, reflect on God's Word.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Great Things to Come

Well, I met with the writers' group in Barnes and Noble this afternoon on a drizzly afternoon. Usually a nap on a Sunday afternoon shoved away by renewed motivation. They are great gals with different genres. I love, too, how talent is not limited to writing, but spreads over to drawing or photography and jewelry making.
The crushing feeling I usually encounter when I wander the aisles of B and N stayed away today. I had goals. I may acquire readers soon. My writing is not a dream, but what I am. They see me as a writer.
I endeavor to write more today. We talked about staying on point. I think my last few posts addressed that. Keeping with a story. Oh, Country, I promise to finish you, soon. Great things to come!

A Month of Sundays

Glorious spring day, not too hot, but definitely warmer than last Saturday and Coolspring Presbyterian Church held a rummage and bake sale. Coolspring church is across the road from the farm my grandmother, Hazel, lived. My mother spent her summers here, or at least part of them. In all these years, I had never set foot into this church. Today, I did.
The pastor, a young man wearing a black short sleeve shirt with collar, probably has a child or two under six. His wife, a pastor, too, in Sandy Lake, so they live in that manse. I asked if I could see the sanctuary. He led me in and showed me the small room. I thought, "What a beautiful place for a wedding." I was surprised to read later in the two hundred year history of 2000, that no weddings had taken place for one hundred forty years in the church. I guess church weddings weren't as common as I assumed. I thought for sure at least Aunt Jim had married here.
Many funerals in one hundred fifty years, but no weddings. One funeral I know my mom told me about was when Grandpa Evans' father died in 1932. Great grandpa's cousin arrived from Boston with his chauffeur. Henry Evans, I think was his name, owned a steel mill there. I would assume his father did not go into the ministry, like David R. Evans did.
I scratch the surface of this bit of family history. Hard to truly get the whole feel of those times. I crave generous times for research and reflection. The members proved gracious, listening to us, as we kept going back and buying little things, as well as cream puffs and cookies.

We leave after pictures to find a gun store, David found an old address for. Sheep and lambs catch our attention, David stopped for me to take more pictures. I love these old country roads, and yes, one time this too was my territory for a home health job.
I had no idea where David is driving, scary part he has no idea either. We see the sign for the gun shop. I think it is close to a mile to this little store at the end of a gravelly path.
After reading comments on Huffington Post, the gun shop breathed a fresh air. Mary Ellen and I enjoyed the Rottweiler, Pork Chop. An adorable bear of a dog greeted us wagging his stump. He wandered into the shop, a narrow hall, really with a counter and guns on the wall, a few T-shirts that are definitely not politically correct.  I love it. Pork stares at a man behind the counter.
"You must have some food?" I hazard a guess.
"No, he knows I have a laser. He's smart enough to know where it comes from, but not smart enough to discover he can never catch it," a man in a green shirt flickered the black device.
The dog chased, wildly attacking the circle of red light, just as I was readying to take his picture. I decided, I want a Rot, next.
I enjoy talking to the men, with views we don't hear much on the national level. They proudly joked about probably being on some government hit list. I agree to a point, then as David and one start arguing over General Patton, I suggest it is time to exit. Mel wants to be with her friends, anyways. A couple hours with the 'rents is enough. The talk of  'Nam made her gills green, especially if he used one word one more time, she told me later. I listen to so much as a nurse I can keep my cookies.
Outside, the chickens roamed at this place in the middle of nowhere. We cross a pond that seems more than a pond, but we can't see it all. I thought, I'll look at a map when we get home, but just think of it now. We bask in the afternoon sun on the forty minute ride home. I am amazed every year at our spring beauty.
Why do days like this seem to go so fast? Yet, I relaxed enjoying the history and the rednecks of the country. I think, yeah, I'm proud to be a "bitter clinger."  My family has lived in this area since the early 1800's. The other Thompson's over in Kennerdale and Grove City, till mines closed, bringing them to West Middlesex. Either farmers or miners to later steel workers, we are bright, intelligent people making a living. I wish I could write every story. I hope to catch a glimpse of the history and portray their courage.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chose a Thread

So many threads as I scan through the Gerald Thompson Lewis side of my genealogy researched by my dad's cousin, Becky Ahern. She, too, shares a birthday with me, along with another cousin Freda Likens Smeltzer. I met a distant cousin and I'm trying to find his thread.
My life is feeling like that, too, trying to find the thread. At my new job, I'm finding many connections. Relatives, neighbors, I know. Some have relatives I graduated with. When I found that out about one, I started calling her aunt, because her nieces were in my class. Another man graduated with my mother. Or as I found out last night, a son-in-law is a cousin, who's father influenced my early morning devotional routine. I have fallen in love with all the residents.
My thoughts for my blog also seems to being looking for which thread to use. Following up on my government trips when I was in high school flirts. More on my junior high and senior high birthdays is an option. Then I spend too much time looking on the genealogy. Families and interesting names rushing around the papers. I really need to place these papers in a ring binder. I love the tid bits of family history that Becky included.
That raises more ideas for JT stories about my dad or that generation. Becky talks about swimming, camping, gardening and flowers, high blood pressure and head aches. Now I'm trying to focus on finding the one thread for this cousin.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Have a Cupcake

Actually Katie's birthday
So what does a birthday mean? As a kid, presents, parties, special dinners, cake, lots of cakes, unless you like pie. As I grew, sometimes drinks with friends, especially that twenty first birthday, when I also was near the end of nursing school and maidenhood.  Almost a month after twenty one, I graduated and got married on the same weekend. No wonder, I felt the need to drink.
After marriage, for me, the drinks slowed down. Special presents presented to me at expensive restaurants by my husband. A trip to Cape Cod one year in the cold, but bright sunny weather, staying in an old bed and breakfast in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Or driving to my friends' house in Foxboro, Massachusetts in dark rainy weather after work, because David was in the north Atlantic playing hide-in-seek with the Russians. Terrie made pasta served with John's homemade Italian wine. She also invited a friend from her work, who disdained me with sour glances. That was not a highlight of birthday dinners. Oh and Terrie and John's new baby seemed to cry incessantly. Twenty five, not so good.
Later, back home in Pennsylvania, my last birthday with my dad, I worked afternoon turn, then,so he made me stir fry for lunch. He had just found out his cholesterol was high, commencing the process of cutting down on meat consumption. Still he was dead by the next year from leukemia. I also had a huge belly, as one month later, I delivered my first little girl.
Lunches with friends continued celebrations. The girls grew, we had picnics, like at McConnell's Mill or dinners at Eat-N- Park for my free grilled sticky. Denny's for the free meal some years brought me there.
We celebrate our special days. Now, a quick note on Face book fillss me with pleasure. I think after my walk, I'll try the grilled sticky. The changing of the clock at midnight, (what does it mean?), and now technically, I really am fifty two at ten AM. Diane got the call into the office, while she was in eighth grade, reporting the best current event for April 25, 1961, according to her social studies teacher.
The actual day, though, how does that make a difference in my life. Yesterday, I was fifty one, today, I'm fifty two. Now that day I was born created a big difference for my mom and dad and siblings. But today, what really does it mean- besides getting a free grilled sticky?
My administrator in my new place of employment sent me a card, with birthday wishes and thanking me for being a hard worker, joining the team, with a gift card from McDonald's. That raised tears to swell my eyes last evening. The unexpected element of birthdays surprise us, pleasing some, me included.
My husband looks at his birthday as another day, preferring no one even mention it. In his perceived unselfishness, he makes it hard for people who love him and want to greet him with good wishes or gifts. He has mellowed greatly since I met him. He is gracious in celebrating my birthday, though.
Celebration of life enhances a person. Yes, we did nothing to be born. One resident talked about conception last evening. He marveled at watching the video of egg and sperm and growth in uterine. "What starts that heart to beat? I guess that is where religion comes in." We talked mostly about big bands and places he played. Found out he graduated with my mother in 1941, but Sharon had classes of over three hundred back then, so unless a student were in classes together or were neighbors, he couldn't possibly know everyone.
I believe in celebration. Thank you for all the celebration. Have a cupcake and think of me.

Another Rant I May Have Written

http://theguiltyconscience.com/2013/04/23/mission-trips-are-just-baptized-vacations-you-want-me-to-pay-for/I was nice compared to this. Although, I would probably add the parent leaving their children, and asking me to pay for it.

Look What Was in the Sharon Herald

http://sharonherald.com/local/x437172957/Death-spurs-woman-into-actionI hope something positive can happen about Teddy's death. I'll write more on this later.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

In honor of Shirley Temple Black's birthday yesterday, a child of a woman from the Great Depression. Yes, those curlers were hard on Saturday night!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Confessions Continued

Any time a person opens up about hurts or perceived hurts, a chance for misunderstanding remains. As yesterday, I feel I came on strong about divorce, which is one aspect. I want to celebrate longevity of marriage, enduring love, but not in the grit your teeth way of we made it. The temptation for me had been strong over the years to think divorce would take me to a better place than where I was. But because I understood that to be a lie from the devil, I don't want anyone who was in a horrible marriage to think I am putting you down. In fact, I hoped to convey that I understand.
I am concern about divorce in the Church. I see many second marriages with blessings. I ran from thinking that divorce would free me. I don't see it that way. I feel in a way I may be back pedaling. I hope to encourage. Remember my spiritual gifts, mercy and encouragement, I wrote about before. Maybe I stand so strong against it, because it has hunted me.
We have to fight against the martyr syndrome. Hey, I stuck this out, why couldn't you? I see the blessings in my marriage of keeping it together. And I look to future blessings. This being said, I will go into the next confession.
Keeping family first is something for which I strive. Whether taking care of my mother or my kids or seeing my nephew return from Iraq, I put my family first. I find myself getting that little tinge of annoyance or condemnation if for a second, I think someone isn't doing that. Maybe, I need to be the one asking for forgiveness. Each story has many aspects. I'd get mad because some could go on missions trips and leave small children alone with friends or relatives. I thought, "Yeah, save the world and lose your family." I'd fume because I felt they were saying by taking this action, they loved the Lord more. Of course, they weren't. And the Lord does the saving, we only have to witness His love, wherever He leads us. Back to the prayer closet. I don't want to go too much into this because again, I fear I'll sound judgmental. I know I would never join the reserves or do twelve hour shifts in Cleveland, where a nurse could make a larger amount of money than here in the sticks. I couldn't leave my children. Was I afraid, maybe of losing that control that I never really had?
Even as I think I had forgiven, I'd glance down at that bloody hatchet, as I recollected something. I push it behind my back, trying to hide it even from myself. I have been doing a great amount of soul searching, hoping to reconcile. I know as busy as I am and everyone else is, many slights are so far from intentional. Each has a story.
Being a writer, I should know story. I want to listen now, hear your story. Jesus, too, listened, even as He knew the story. I think of the woman at the well, in John 4. He knew her story, but opened Himself to listen. And He had no confession to make.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Confession Monday

Chilly's sermon had me thinking more as I slept and woke today. I hinted at the hatchet in my hand yesterday. I do have some hard things to forgive. Sometimes this not involve personal forgiveness. I can gloss over these, because they are not offenses at me, face to face.
One is divorce. I endure relational problems, like we all do from time to time. I try not to do so with gritted teeth, but as my husband shouts out, "Ouch," I know now he is biting his tongue. I, too, refrain from many killing remarks. When I am confronted with ladies in the first bloom of new love, I think of their children's hearts being torn apart. But a part of me, too, wants that renewal.
I pray for renewal in my marriage. I try not to put on the survivor stiff upper lip. I look to older couples that have been through many trials, as my inspiration. That is not a popular idea today. We are to be happy. Especially in the Church, the infantile thought is God wants me to be happy, as they leave an unpleasant marriage. Yet, both parties remain in church, choosing different services to avoid seeing each other. This happened years ago at my old church, part of their divorce agreement was the wife got the early service and the husband could only go to second service when his parents, grandparents and uncle attended.
That first divorce cut through my heart that day. By the time these decisions are announced to the extended family, the hearts are so hardened that they don't realize how much the friends have to grieve a death of a marriage and that somehow it could infect us. Especially, those many years ago, when my husband didn't attend church with me, any where, and seemed so distant from God. I hung on.
Many times, I admit, I wanted out. Being single seemed like it would be so much more less painful than what I was going through at those times. I would hear on the radio, "Marriage is to make you holy, not happy," or I would read about the importance of testimony. One in a book seemed written especially for me. The woman, wanted out of her marriage. The husband had done hideous acts, that you could say she would have been justified. She taught a class of sixth grade girls and thought how this would affect them. Through much work, her marriage was resurrected. I also mentioned Evelyn Ryan a few days ago. That movie encouraged me and David was never a drunk, thank You, Jesus.
I walk down my halls at work, gazing in at the couples we have. A man holds his wife's hand, while she is lost in some nether land of the mind, laying in her geri chair. She has been gone from him about six years, yet, he loves her. They are allowed to share a room. Occasionally, she responds to his love; he continues to love her every day.
I don't want to lose that blessing, when I get older. I praise God, I have some days endured unpleasantness. I praise God for all His ways of encouraging me to stay in this marriage, with the vows David and I made before God and four hundred people, almost thirty one years ago. Our relationship has grown sweeter as we, too, have grown from selfish, youngest children, to really learning to cherish each other, more than just words in a song. Sweaty sex is not love, although, it can be a great part of love in marriage. (Sorry, Katie, no immaculate conceptions in this marriage.)
I guess it is a mixture of envy and sorrow, when I see the broken couples in our congregation alone. Marriage helps us understand God's relationship with the Church, with us. He never gives up on His Bride. Divorce is a severing of a living thing. Maybe it is the spirit of divorce that I can't forgive. I know the challenges of marriage. I see the rewards that bring glory to God as well.
I agree with all the teaching, though, if you are in an abusive relationship, you must get out. Keep yourself and your children safe. I guess that is where non-judgmental attitudes are needed. We don't know the whole story. I pray and pray though for reconciliation, redemption and resurrection. I bury my hatchet on divorcees gleaming on their new relationships. The falling in love feeling is addictive. I recommend staying steady and falling in love again with your spouse.
Tomorrow, I post about another hatchet to bury.

How Dark and Deep Do We Go?

The writer's meeting is actually next week. I go on the e-mail list, I hope as changes occur, I will be made aware. I need to chisel time to write. I see that now.
Of course, now, I am trying to do too many things. I'm listening to a podcast from a church in Detroit, Chilly Chilton is the pastor. Now, I'm hearing about burying the hatchet. With his message, freshness blows in.
We have to determine our forgiveness. One thing we do that shows we have not forgiven involves retelling how we have been wronged or hurt.
I always wonder about that. I feel I forgive, yet, how often, I look around, finding the hatchet still in my hand. I find it mostly when I meet new people. Even as I'm telling a story, I wonder if Jesus prevails in the story. I hope to show how to get over a test, but am I showing I'm really not different than anyone else. Not that I'm in a contest with my fellow man, especially the one I share a bed with on the weekends, but I do want to honor God.
A blogger, Anita Mathias pondered how much darkness should be shared during story telling. Do we share the wrongs, so we show redemption? Light does shine brighter as darkness grows stronger. How much do we share, though, and how do we keep bitterness out of the stories of hurt? We have to show a contrast, I believe. The question is how deep do we go?
For a listen to the sermon, Bury the Hatchet.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Swimming in Acid May Help

Today, one of those cold days, when I don't want to be outside, but I want to be out and casual, I pushed going to Lake Tavern in Mecca, Ohio, home of Mahoning Valley's best burger. I have driven by this establishment for twelve years, never stopping for lunch or even going back on a weekend off with my family.
About a year ago, an article in the Vindicator raved about the burgers here. I love hamburgers and determined then we would go some day. Today was that day. Sun streamed through the heavy clouds, but for the few snow flakes this morning while the sun took a nap, the light prevailed. We raced across the Ohio farmland.
The Lake Tavern, although on Mosquito Lake, does not take its name from the lake, but the family who built in 1837. In 1837, Mosquito Lake would have just been the creek. This is about the same time David Thompson built the back part of Mt. Hickory. The beams over the bar are from the some of the original work. A tavern, in the literal sense, is one big room, sort of dark, but quiet on an early Saturday afternoon. After nine, we would not have been able to take Mary Ellen into this establishment. Today, I chuckle, because she is dressed more adult than I in my oversize pink Penn State hoodie. The waitress asks if this is three checks or one.
I stare at the wooden beams, trying to imagine Mt. Hickory when the first Thompson's lived there. Their home, too, was probably dim, like this too. Depending on where the rooms caught the light. I have been in the updated Mt. Hickory, which is more like a modern home(like in Home Beautiful) inside than this tavern. The part David built is longer and narrower than the tavern, which is squarish. The Thompson's had windows on both sides of their home, catching the north and south. Probably had west and east windows, but General Pierce added on the west side. David used poplars found on the property.
David Lyon, clueless to my feelings yesterday of Dad's storytelling, starts a story my dad told him to Mary Ellen. She is getting double dose with the grandfather she never met. David then laughed that Uncle Dave, Dad's brother told David the story at the funeral home, as somewhat a confirmation of Dad's story, not that David had doubted it.
The story is about one of their friends, Dad and Uncle Dave were thirteen months apart, who had a non-healing wound on his ear. According to David, the friend's mother was rather well off, taking the boy to specialists, without any results. The mother worried, not letting the boy out much at all. I'm thinking with good reason as the Furnace Hill gang was boys. He sneaked out one time to swim with the boys in the Shenango River. They had to hose off after because of the acid from the mines at the time. When this boy's mother found out, she was beside herself, but after about a month or a month and a half, the wound had not come back and it never did.
The funnier thing to me, is I never remember Dad telling me this story. I have no idea even who the boy was. This is how my dad told stories. Something must have moved him to tell his son-in-law. Were they down by Valley Mould?  Talking about boy things? Growing up in West Middlesex? And why did David tell Mary Ellen today?
How does all story telling start? We want to pass on more than facts to the next generation. Stories covertly hide values. The boy sneaking out of his house for a swim proves in some cases, swimming in acid may help.
I'm finding I crave writing fiction. This is an example of "JT" stories. Stories I want to write about my dad as a kid and young adult. We are losing this generation of the Great Depression and World War II, as age and death take over. Dad would be ninety two and his brother, ninety three. Aunt Pick, even older. I guess one hundred, as she was the oldest, at eight years older than Dad. I find a freedom in fiction that uses a lot of truth, faith and values.
I'm wondering which way this blog should go often. I think constantly of my writing. I'm not as anxious as before to get out there, being published, to be free of my day to day job.  A journey of writing to enjoy stretches before me. Summer Triangle freed me to express a great deal of myself through Maria, but I am in no way Maria, nor is my husband her Brendan. I need to write.
More fiction writing, but continue this blog as is. I'm not sure how a blog of fiction would work. I meet with the writer's group tomorrow and I feel like the mother in The Prize Winner of Deliverance, Ohio, meeting her peers for the first time. The attempt is foiled by her baby boy bringing only the tops of the neighbor's prized tulips, unable to embark on the trip then. She tries another time, with the daughter who writes her story later. The engine heats up and they are stranded in a middle of nowhere town. But the car gets fixed and she arrives, late, but she arrives to embrace her soul mates. She comes alive with the other participants in contests for product jingles. I am excited about tomorrow.
I recommend this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406158/?ref_=sr_1 or book http://www.amazon.com/Prize-Winner-Defiance-Ohio-Mother/dp/B002C8D5M8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366514480&sr=1-2&keywords=prize+winner+of+defiance+ohio

Willing to Forgive

Friday, the weather turned rainy as the temperature dropped. I needed coffee, short term and long term. I needed to go to West Middlesex for O'Neill coffee, first at the Diner for breakfast and then to the store for bags at home. The moist drizzly day drew me back to riding in the car with my dad for errands.
Those days, a kid could sit up front and Dad could point out objects in his story. I feel sorry for kids strapped in their car seats, unable to explore the world with ease. I know, they're safer there and all that. I kept my kids in their seats as required by the law, even for short distances. But oh how they miss that closeness I had with my dad, when he and I drove around the Valley.
Well, my daughter has long outgrown car seats and even sitting in the back when it is only us two. I felt so much like my dad today. I wanted to channel his understanding, his history telling and quietness, as well. I showed Mary Ellen where Dad's childhood home would have been. His aunt Kate had a restaurant across the street, Dad's cousin, Becky told me. She also wrote that Grandma Rebecca Thompson lived on Garfield Street. That street in town, always had the old town feel to it.
We ventured into the feed store to see the live chicks. Mary Ellen loves animals, clucking at the chicks and ducklings, laughing at their responses. I told her Uncle Dan always came here, bringing home animals, saying they were for me. Mom and Dad couldn't say no, then.
I also remembered watching our neighbor's chick when they went away for a weekend. I stared intently at it in their shed as the morning light filtered through the window. I lowered my face closer to its intense eyes and quickly felt the prick of those hard beaks. I jumped back and held the tears that sprung from the pain.
I thought of when the tree in this picture needed to come down from Dutch Elm disease. We lost five trees in those first years up on Main Street. Dad let me ride with him as he borrowed the tree trimmer's old dingy, one time bright green pick up truck. The weather, rainy in spring with cool temps, I stared down at the holes through the floor watching the muddy road below us.
I felt so safe with Dad. We visited Aunt Eleanor and I played with the pie dough, while Dad visited with Uncle Eddie. We went to Aunt Anna's  in Sharon, in her second floor apartment in an old white house on Silver Street. A great time would be driving to Mercer to Aunt Pick's huge dark old house, and she would just be pulling homemade bread out of the oven, the only time I ate crust on bread when I was a child.
Today, I did hope I helped Mary Ellen feel like I did when I was with my dad. Dad didn't lecture or talk much. When we rode across the bridge on Haywood Street by the cemetery, I told Mary Ellen how Dad and other teen boys in the 1930's rode on running boards across the creek, only the bridge didn't have any rails then. The story came to surface while I lay in a hospital bed after my concussion from falling off the hood of a car. Dad had a way of making his kids not feel too stupid or maybe keep us from feeling too proud in thinking we were the first to do stupid things.
Oh, and the sign is still bent on School Street from my first driving lesson. I will post a picture of that sometime.
I look at that picture of our side yard and think of how as I passed by it today, the yard seems so much smaller now. It is much more overgrown. Dad plowed down the hedges I think in the fall. He didn't trim them so much as give them a chance to grow new every year. Is that what Jesus does with our sins? We get a clean slate every day. We grow and hope we don't have too many weeds in our lives. But Jesus is there, willing to forgive.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Power of One

http://teddyslaw.org/our-mission/I guess as a writer one has to toot their own horn. I feel sad when a post like the one I wrote on Tuesday, with much prayer ahead of it, seems to get little pageviews or even more than one comment. I wonder at my effectiveness, or lack thereof. With a title of Musings, I haven't established my brand. I do enjoy writing what I feel, yet, I think I haven't found much of an audience without declaring a focus.
The articles about Teddy and the one I wrote on cancer are some of the ones I want to create dialog and thought. I desire to be that agent of change, stirring up a bit of controversy. That may be the problem, I'm too kind. I do think of the other side, maybe too much to be of one side, be it popular or not.
I'm crying out for causes, but do I live them? I think Teddy runs deep with me because I did know the mother superficially. I felt my quiet Christian witness while she cared for one of my patients did nothing. I observed her before she met the man who abused her children. Looking back, I see how her work ethic changed by the end of that summer, shaving a half hour off her paid time, but not on paper.
She didn't work for my company and I told the client she needed to tell Shain's supervisor, not me. As so many old people, they do not want to cause any trouble. But they sure voice their complaints, just not to the right people.
I want the right people to hear my voice. I don't want to always be the preacher, preaching to the choir. Yet, in person, I shy from the controversy. My work environment involves more personal interaction with co-workers, now. I am new to this work place, exploring the territory. I marvel, how at almost fifty two, I still want to fit in, be liked, but that is not my job. I am to lead a shift. I hope to inspire, but I am not naive to feel I can change years of habits.
I also have a strong faith and as I grow older, I am growing less ashamed of the gospel. As the days grow more chaotic, I grow bolder. I do want to speak the truth in love, but the question is what kind of love? When I did a spiritual gifting test many years ago, I tested to be merciful and an encourager. Those are often seen as weak traits. Is Mollie Lyon a push over? That is a bad thing. Don't let those kids walk over you. Don't let the staff fool you. Don't let the patient play you.
I heard a sermon about the Welsh revival in 1904. Many people were changed to the quick of their hearts. Bars and taverns closed due to lack of business. The donkeys in the mines didn't know how to work when treated with kindness. My question is, "What are your donkeys today?" Who in our lives have not learned to respond to kindness? Is it futile to treat those donkeys with kindness to get any thing done?
I was raised with kindness and respect. I truly will treat you that way at first, until I find you are a donkey that knows no other way.
But how can I make a difference? Pray for readers for my blog? One on one or in a crowd? Or as the day leads me? I must walk and live in the Holy Spirit. I must trust in the Lord's leading. I must hope I'm reaching the people who need these words. Each one reach one.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                                         California Dreaming

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Looking for Bombs and Not Giving Up

http://teddyslaw.org/our-mission/http://missmolliesmusings.blogspot.com/2013/02/for-teddys.html   http://missmolliesmusings.blogspot.com/2013/02/more-on-teddy.html
I had wanted to write a fun piece on my memories of Patriots Day in New England, when I lived in cold New Hampshire thirty years ago. That drawn out spring as they celebrated the 18th of April for the "shot heard around the world." Spring that dragged, but those hearty New Englanders had the Boston Marathon, taking a holiday.
You know what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon. It is all over the place. A tragedy marring a wonderful celebration of freedom. Children killed. A coward bombing a public event.
Amidst all the posts for Boston, I noticed one about the mother of Teddy Foltz and her boyfriend. The attorneys are petitioning for separate trials. I'm sad for Boston, but every time I see Teddy's name or face, tears well up in my eyes. As I wrote before, the system failed this little boy. Two school districts and several times he went to the hospital for various maladies, like frostbite on his feet, no one further investigated these incidences.
The terror and abuse have no more revelations when I read about the pending trial. It shocks and sickens me. I cry. We lose children every day to abuse and killing. If they are not physically killed like Teddy, they are murdered in their souls. If they grow up, they are likely to be monsters to children in their lives. No statistics here, so site me on that.
The children lost at Sandy Hook and in Boston, yesterday, are tragic losses, indeed. I am in no way downplaying their deaths. I think, though, they had happy lives with parents who loved them. If you saw them, you would no more feel sorry for them or fear for their lives the day before the tragedy than any other child from stable homes.
We have to look beyond and see the Teddy's and his twin brothers. We have to look beyond the smiles that children seem to have naturally, even when the life they have behind close doors is horrible. Children are forgiving. They love their abusers or the enablers to the abusers, because they have no other compass. Children love their families.
Just as now, we have to be on the alert of suspicious characters in public events, we need to have radar up for the every day abusers. Pray for teachers, public health workers, other adults and yourself, that diligence in getting to the bottom of  the evidence of abuse, neglect and stories of cover up. We need to pray for noses for the facts, not letting go, like a dog with a bone.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lost Weekend

Something hit me Friday and kept me in its grip all weekend. One bright side of working afternoons, I don't have a Monday morning to dread. I spent twenty four hours on our living room couch. I would get up feeling my feet were planted on the road to recovery, only to feel the ground sway in  about twenty minutes with queasiness.
I felt bad Saturday night, as just my back hurt and I couldn't relax. I tossed and turned, knowing I was probably disturbing my husband, so Sunday night, I remained on the couch. This morning, I crawled into bed by myself for the needed REM sleep I didn't get on the couch.
So many plans and I watched them delayed on the couch. I must return to the new job this afternoon, in less than an hour. I'm OK. Unless, I throw up, I don't have time to feel sick.
So I will get back on track about my government trips. I had fun looking up the old places. Interesting I think I wanted to be a Murphy Brown. I really am glad for the choices I made. I wasn't made to be a Murphy Brown. I am too rooted in family and marriage in my family to be the single working mother. And with the alcohol Murphy drank, was she happy? Is anyone really happy without Jesus?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lots of Dreams Need Discipline

http://anitamathias.com/blog/2013/04/13/happy-third-birthday-blog-reflections-on-three-years-of-blogging/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitterHappy anniversary to my friend, Anita. Three years of blogging. How amazing and wonderful. She writes of the joy and benefits of posting on a blog. She has changed formats so I'm not often able to read her blogs anymore. I'll see the link on Face book or Twitter, but her blog has left my reading list, but not my heart.
I, too, have found posting to be beneficial. The deadlines, I impose on myself, give me the impression of writing for a newspaper.
I loved being on the Smoke Signal as a senior. I gave up being in Concert Choir, the premiere choir at high school at that time, so I could be on the staff of the newspaper. We actually cut and paste to fit our articles for the printer. We loved the journalism shows at the time, like Lou Grant. This spin off of the Mary Tyler Show, bore no resemblance to that comedy. The editor of our paper saw herself as the woman reporter, Billie, I believe was her name.
I do find it interesting that we didn't make a living out of journalism. I became a nurse and the editor, a speech therapist. Both of us now working in Skilled Nursing Facilities. I know Dawna could write, probably better than I, she being incredibly talented.
Another thing I delved into about this time in high school goes hand in hand with journalism, politics. My junior year, in February, another friend, Bobby and a girl from Sharon and I headed to Harrisburg in her father's car, for a week long Youth in Government, sponsored by the Synod of the Trinity- Presbyterian Church. I longed to be an intern or some job there, after this week in the big town. Hard to call Harrisburg a city, especially socially, at least for state government, big town where everyone knows your name and business. I think I dreamed more of the glamor of hob nobbing with important people, living on my own, catching taxi's or running places on those old streets by the Susquehanna River. I also realized when I met with students from around the state what a slacker I was. Mr. Shaffer spoke truth the year before that I was the runner up for sliding through school. These kids were in honor bands, choirs, classes. I don't even know if we had honor classes in West Middlesex at that time.
The end of my junior year due to my deep interest in government, my mom, always on the watch in the paper, found out about Washington Workshops. http://www.workshops.org/site/Staff.html In this week long program in June, we stayed at Marymount College, now University- http://www.marymount.edu/  So, I had the taste of college life, well, dorm life and Washington commute.
I angled ways to get sponsored with Mom's encouragement. I met great people from all over the States, Massachusetts, Montana, Georgia, New Jersey, Long Island, Philadelphia and California are a few I can remember. We hand wrote letters for years, but all got busy in college, as I did in nursing school. They were surprised I chose that path. We called each other Senator. Most became poli-sci majors.
Our session met in the middle of June, very hot, humid weather, but beautiful. We had a small group, because many schools still were in attendance across the country. We dressed professionally every day to go into the city. We met with our senators, mine was John Heinz, a very handsome man and Republican. The Massachusetts delegates had a hard time to meet Senator Ted Kennedy. We did see the Secret Service entourage and knew he was in the middle of that.
My congressman, Mark Lincoln Marks, a Republican from Sharon, in fact his house was just a few blocks from where mine is now. I forget if it were Lillian or Richmond, I think the corner of Lillian and McDowell. He was on a health care insurance committee, which I sat in on for the few days we were on Capitol Hill.
Besides work, we enjoyed touring the Smithsonian Museum and eating at the private dining halls.
When the work week was over and we finished learning about the process of bringing bills to the floor, Saturday morning, we sat in an auditorium watching Patsy Schroeder and George Will debate on a live NPR show. Guess what? They shook hands after the program. Pasty, of course encouraged all us young girls to enter politics Then we headed to the Watergate Complex for an afternoon at the condo of the founder of  the Washington Workshop program, Leo. (I'm sorry I can't say for sure what his last name was, and it is not on the web site.) This is the first time I witnessed a phone in a bathroom. His love for young people seeking knowledge could not be hid. Saturday evening ended the week with  a night at Wolf Trap http://www.wolftrap.org/Barns.aspx.
Sunday, bleary-eye and sad, good-byes made the rounds. A week effecting us for many years. We met in the fall over Thanksgiving break at Harriman, New York, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arden_%28estate%29., the first conference center in America. So great to see old friends, making new friends with other alumni.
After writing this, I do wonder at my choice of nursing. It was safe, I think. I felt I could succeed at this. I think nursing is probably harder than any career choice I could have traveled down the journalist or political path. I have learned much and though, I do not want to be a journalist, I embed myself in the writing life. Am I still like that sixteen year old with dreams in her heart as she has fun with her friends on the streets of her state capitol? Who knows what a fifty two year old  woman can do?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Courage Don't Fail Me

Another fear that came from doing our taxes is how financially illiterate I am.  A fear that holds me back from self publishing. CreateSpace asked for a federal tax number. Panic gripped me, one thing detouring my dream.
I suck up my picture of the year, representing courage. I will find out. I will learn about all this financial small business tracking. I will find the right people to help me. Half the battle won by knowing one's weaknesses.
I started once in the home business adventure with Party Lite, selling candles. In earnest I learned about care of candles, burning them safely, decorating, and sales tips as well as encouraging people to join in. I came into that having no idea about tax deductions, didn't even know what to ask or that I had to ask anything on taxes. The tax preparer filled with surprise that I had no deductions. Not a good year then at the tax office.
As I learn how to hone my writing craft, I now will learn the business side. I can do it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Passive and Prideful

I did not heed my advice from yesterday to not look back, as I started reading my journal from last year. I wanted to see when I started an electronic journal and it threw me into the midst of the the bombings. I'm glad my husband called and drew me away from that. He asked, "So what was happening last year?" I love male passive insensitivity. I replied, "Nothing important." Female prideful independence.
I'm thinking, My world falling apart and hating my job as I struggle with wanting to just crawl under a rock, but nothing important. My words from last year reveal I was full of hope. I knew I wouldn't stay there forever. In the intense battle, I held on to my God. I waited expectantly for spring and improvement of my mood. Last spring, the natural remedies didn't help, so I decided after much debate, trepidation and yes, fear, to commence Zoloft, as well as adding iron to an already over active gut, to cope with life. But I never forgot prayer. Most of the time, it was "Jesus, help." In the shower, as hot water pounded my back, I cried out for strength to get through the morning.
So I remember, but not with regret. Some things are fun to remember. I reread Gabrielle and Brian's wedding program from March 2011. They used the Beach Boys' song God Only Knows. I used that heavily in my novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo, and had forgotten they had it played in their wedding.
I ran across another blog on self publishing reinforcing my desire to publish my work. I have felt since September this is the right path to take at this time. It has only been three years since I finished my first novel, Main Street. This summer, I hope to be peddling two novels. A learning process that delights me. I have often asked for patience and the Lord gives me reason for it all the time.
Sun is shining through the gray clouds. I think a sleeping dog would love to be awoken for a walk. I do hope my revealing of the tip of my iceberg of troubles helps someone along the way. I think, though, how we in America are the top two percent. My husband always told the whining girls, "If life were fair, we'd all be living in a mud hut in Uzbekistan." Sometimes that male passive insensitivity keeps perspective, if done right. We female prideful independents can help.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Can't Put a Price on Peace

http://ichilly.com/new-series-getting-past-your-past-begins-tomorrow-couragechurch-11amToday seems to be the day to cheer us on. Pastor Ken's sermon encouraged us after failure. A sermon series starting at Courage Church in Detroit will tell how to deal with your past. Both, I think, inform us not to look back.
Yesterday, we started the tax process,with papers from last year showing just a year ago what terrible shape I was in mentally. It seemed bombs exploded on our family from everywhere. The battle geared up before last April, but as I reviewed those forms, the shakiness of the sense of losing control on many fronts flashed into my mind. I filled with joy at what I have learned this past year, though, as well. I don't feel like I'm searching all over for solid ground in quick sand, today. I know now like never before, I am anchored on the Rock of Jesus.
I knew I was before, and I clung with all my might, but doubt and despair cause distress, not only in my job, but crashed everywhere. The stress relievers of walking, laughing, rest, did not work. Depression at some points can be compared to the flu. We wash our hands, stay out of crowds, don't kiss people, eat a proper diet and get plenty of sleep, then suddenly, the virus blind sides us, anyways, and we are in bed.
Precautions help, but may not always prevent an illness. As I recover from this past year, I have thought often on the malady. I haven't read much about Rick Warren's son, but I feel I understand how in our darkest moments, suicide plays at being the best option. Living is too painful. I know I sometimes just didn't care if I wrecked in the car and didn't make it.
I knew though the Lord would see me through. I kept calling myself a diamond in the making. Even when hope glimmered so dimly, it still glimmered. I didn't put myself in dangerous situations. I didn't take more pills than I should, although I thought briefly about it. I stayed away from alcohol.
Many days though, I know it was only God holding me up. I had to learn deep in my heart He loves me. I've believed this from a child. I had it easy with such loving parents and others demonstrating God's love to me. But as I continued to feel like a failure, beating myself up, God reminded me over and over, I am His child and Jesus is my righteousness. I can't ruin His reputation. When I felt guilty for my past sins, that I wasn't a good mother, He reminded me of His children that failed, but recovered. I learned from the parable of the prodigal son, how the father reacted. He had to let the son go, but he watched every day for the son's return. He didn't cling to the child, but let him grow. Oh, how hard that is.
We don't dwell in the past. That is not healthy, for sure. Part of my problem last year, I kept comparing myself to my past when I had been very strong in my Christian disciplines and life. I didn't fear. I had a scripture always ready. I jumped out of bed to be with God, reading my Bible and praying. Some days this past year, I could hardly drag my big toe out of bed. The down comforter was my friend. Yet, God, I sensed, met me there, in dreams and comforting thoughts.
That is how I know depression is not a person's weak will. It is an illness and the sooner we all realize that, I think people can help. Depression sometimes cannot be stopped as many other diseases can't either. Heart disease may be delayed if it is in one's family. Cancer in some instances may be avoided. Yet, how many of us can say, a person, who never smoked, got lung cancer? We live in a diseased world. We also have medications, treatments and are learning more each day how to enrich our lives.
The first three things on my to-do list every day are 1) Praise God! 2) Don't worry! and 3) See Beyond! Writing them down, seeing them in letters with my explanation marks, pushes me forward. I don't look back on my old job, as I read in the want-ads that they now have part time positions for RN's. The burden could have been lessened, but I truly am glad to be off the road. I love the people at my new job after only two weeks. I am adjusting, finding many blessings. I am where God wants me. I have peace.
Peace is something on which one cannot put a price has been said many times. I know it is true, now.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Concert at Fresh Grounds

I'll add actual pictures later. Many people are taking pictures with really good cameras, who do that for a living, that I'll share. Let's just say in color, there are more people here tonight.
I love this coffee house, with the molded metal ceiling and brick walls. Greenville is an old river town, too. Shenango River is a much smaller river, a tributary of the Ohio. Main Street of Greenville surrounded by the old store fronts, actually looks like an old town.
Dave Buchannan and his band, Final Commute of three guitars and a drummer, who is really rocking it tonight, play Christian songs. The youngest member is a thirteen young man, the tallest in the group. I feel connected because I knew his great grandparents,(friends of my parents), his grandparents and his father from high school. The other young man, isn't much older and his dad, on the drums, beats to the spirit.
I looked at Dave, seeing him in his mechanic overalls during the day. Who would think such talent is in this young man? He plays, sings and composes music with the lyrics. This group improves each time I hear them.
The crowd is filled with friends and some different faces I haven't seen. We try to make it as we can to listen to these men lift up worship songs to Jesus between brick walls, as the sound of coffee drinks whir in the background. Is there any thing better? I even got a comfortable cushy chair this time.
Now Dave is singing How He Loves. I absolutely get lost  in this song. http://missmolliesmusings.blogspot.com/2011/09/how-he-loves.html?spref=bl
Fun stuff, different styles of a simple song before the last song. Great evening.

Friday, April 5, 2013

No Bad Moon Anymore

Writing journey continues. Last month, David and I drove to East Liverpool to a coffee shop to meet independently published writers. Four of them used CreatSpace. We got there a little later than I wanted, because I wanted to make sure they were there that day, as the weather could have been iffy. The sun shone, though cold, in a car, the drive was pleasant.
David and I discussed my old job, as I pointed out many places I drove in Columbiana County. He kept saying,"That is crazy." I agreed, "Yeah, but for a while, it was fun."
Just long days with little time for patient care. More time being paid to listen to the radio. Frustrating, as I couldn't figure out a way to chart while driving. I did meditate often on my writing, though.
I love the hill, valley descending to that old river town of East Liverpool. The bridge spanning the River to West Virginia. I never crossed it. It looms huge and inviting. We wound our way through the old city with too many abandoned buildings. The coffee shop sits on the side of a hill, an old Victorian house. I'd be happy just to sit on their enclosed front porch.
I felt like I walked into my home. These women have books displayed with their names on them. They have made it. Susan Dexter has been doing this for twenty years. She lives in New Castle, Pennsylvania. I feel bad, I don't buy her books, though. The one about Woodstock and Kent State written by three women pulls my interest. Bad Moon Rising, by Debbie Schukert, Cathy Seckman and Darlene Torday.  Helps that we have been listening to some Credence Clearwater Revival. I had little time, as their session ended at one and we only arrived twenty minutes after twelve.
I talked fast about my novels I've written and the one about David and Mary Thompson, weaving the baby beginnings of steel in Shenango Valley, I plan to write when I have the dedicated time to do all the research. Darlene is intrigued and she e-mailed me later.
I am invited to their writing group later this month. I am so excited. I hope to learn much. Maybe get critiques, ideas and suggestions to enhance my writing. I still dream to start a writer's group here in Shenango Valley. But I'll travel to Boardman to begin. It is at one of our favorite places to hang out, Barnes and Noble. The girls can shop for two hours, and still want to stay longer.
I have lost some writing momentum as I adjust to shift work and a new job. I see now as I stay on afternoon turn for this month I will regain my ground. And the sun is shining, as the temperature rises. No bad moon anymore.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Word's Worth

Working shifts full time has been an adjustment. That is why by Wednesday, I am tired and have decided to make Wednesdays- Wordless by posting a picture. Wordsworth did say a picture is worth a thousand words.
That reminds me of my eighth grade English teacher, Miss Cook. She definitely encouraged my writing. She made up a folder for me, Mollie Lewis' Anthology. I wrote and wrote, instead of doing the drills we were to do for homework assignments. I learned early to get my way. I couldn't see writing unrelated sentences when I had so many stories waiting to escape from inside me. I used lovely words like emerald green salad, with all the trimmings, about a daughter who prepared a dinner for her dad. I had, and I guess I still do, a great imagination. This father was divorced before we even heard of that much in small town America as we do now.
The March weather also reminds me of Miss Cook. After a sunny, but cool day, she would remark how driving in a car made her roll down her window. I still picture her driving on a sunny Sunday with her black hair blowing in the wind. I never witnessed her driving, but I see her that way.
I read my journals from high school and realize how much I always wanted to be a writer. My daughter, Katie, who is a writer, started early, always writing in wire bound notebooks. By her actions, I felt for a while, I was just a wanna be writer. I allowed myself for the longest time to only write in private, in the early hours. How much I missed by not writing on trips, like California and Scotland, but keeping to my standard of privacy.
I think I need to get back to hand writing in a journal. I try to do the electronic journal, but I have been very lax with that in the all the changes of my life recently. I think it is too much like posting in my blog or writing e-mails and Face Book posting.
"More pictures," was one of the comments when I asked about improving my blog. You can count on a picture on Wednesdays, anyways. I will work more in with my writing. Who am I to argue with William Wordsworth?