Friday, January 30, 2015

Revealing Self and Protecting Others

Last year, I woke hearing poetry. I penned several poems. I thought I would publish them in a book. Then I doubted. Left them alone. This morning in subconsciousness gray, I wondered that poetry left.
Poetry came at a time I needed to feel it. I always wake with words and phrases in my head. I worked and worked them on the mental sheet, sometimes pushing myself to the keyboard. Then the prose transformed into poetry for a time. When poems flit around, I wrote some, but some died in a recess. Recovery delayed, then abandoned.
One project I feared. The book of poems. Too small? Should I write more? And the biggest fear, too personal loomed over me. Not of my soul to be bared for all, but those involved. Writers struggle with that. As we lay it all out on the line, we have to remember, like a pebble thrown in the water, a slow moving circle reaches the shore carrying our insight. And it may be distorted. It may crash in social media. The pebble grows into a crushing rock.
In one sense, the society is all out there. On the other hand, privacy valued at a high cost. Violation of that privacy could result in high fines, at least in the medical field. Veiling antidotes may not be enough. Everyone at work offers I should write a book about "this place." But really could I? No.
Even in fiction, ah, caution edits. My girls noticed similarities to themselves in Summer Triangle. Yes, I used some events to mold them into Old Forge, Ohio high school. But Old Forge is some place close, but not here. It is imagination intermingled with my perception of reality. Antidotes step into that other world.
I also play around with that other thought, No one is reading me anyways, so write away. What are those few page views going to harm the subject? I'm sure plenty. In my revealing of myself, I hold others behind the curtain. I didn't do that when I first started. I learned the hard way. Some want to be in the limelight- my limelight is fairly dim- and others do not.
Fiction seems safer, but as I mentioned above, people think they recognize themselves. Some are happy, others are not. I've been reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the publication of her first book, Pioneer Girl, with more grittiness than her Little House books. This is only one example, fans want to know the story behind the story. For fiction, though, we combine people and events with embellishment or diminish to create the flow. Laura converting the stories to children's literature was genius, whether it was her daughter's idea or hers or both. I can understand working closely with a daughter, especially a published writer. I peer at the next generation with awe at times.
A fine line then exists with how much to reveal. I hope to help by sharing. Often, though, a guard must stand at words when others are involved. Opening the box of my experiences and thoughts may harm someone else. Yellow tape surrounds a scene yelling at me to not share what I see sometimes. Or the sign tells me that road is closed, don't go there.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Reflections and Resolve

This January proved to be a month of reflection and spiritual seeking for me. Last week with the stomach virus plague, I slept for hours with no dreams or pesky thoughts. I lived up my picture of the year-"Rest." As I wrote before, rest is not absence of work, though. I see giving up the striving, but continue the craft of writing.
In 2001, I determined to write every day in the first step on the journey of professional writing. My journals, now all tucked away in a tote in my closet, show seldom did I miss a day writing.a witness to my discipline of what I wanted to do when I grew up, not a fanciful thought of youth any more.
The journey took on more shape as I grew comfortable with a keyboard. I still bless my year at Sharon Regional Home Health with their insane insistence of writing out the whole "485," the initial order for a new home health patient. I typed so much, missing the check and click of the program I used for another company. I learned to think and type and now I find I do most of my writing that way. In high school, when  I was failing typing, I didn't know how the writers of old did that. I still don't as I look at things I typed back in high school with the old typewriter I had.
This blog commenced four years ago. I look back and cringe some. As I was building my platform, I thought I would dazzle someone with my writing. Oh, boy. I have read we all secretly go through that at some point in the beginning.
After Christmas this year, as I reviewed my numbers for sales. I sadly realize there was no Christmas bump or The Way It Was (the local paper I wrote a piece for) bump. In fact, not even a limp crawled out of the numbers. A funk waited, as they do, as I questioned why am I writing? 
I answered, "You wanted to hit the lottery with your books, admit it. You wanted to escape the work world." Another journey I never plotted the way it turned out is my nursing career. I never thought I'd leave home health, but I did two years ago. My decision to work afternoon turn at a local long term care facility encouraged the writing. And it does. Loving my residents and co-workers surprised me. Many days of despair, I reminded myself of my dream. A return to loving nursing became a surprised plot twist. Lately, the feeling I lost my dream became a blow to who I am.
I questioned the time I spend in this dream. I crave more time to write. I stare at all around me, the housework, the yard work, the continuing educational credits, the parenting I placed on the way back burner. As I dealt with sickness and only having energy to get to the better paying job, the thought stubbornly knocked on my brain. "What are you doing? Why do you think you can write? You are a fraud."
I'm reading Summer Triangle on Kindle and am horrified at the formatting. It is all wrong and my writing looks horrible. I am satisfied with the paperback, but not on the laptop. I apologize to all who have read it in e-form. That is not how I edited it. That again was a blow to my perception of my dream.
The doubts creep into my ego. Formatting, research, marketing, time management, and finances glare at my imperfection. Some days, even my consciousness of my writing ability turns tail and hides under the table. I asked for humility and the journey gave it. I think C. S. Lewis said, though, it is not thinking less of yourself, it's not thinking of yourself at all.  A hard feat to accomplish in this writing world with marketing and platform.
I have prayed a lot over the last few weeks as I wonder about my writing career. I do make money, not enough to take a friend out to lunch, but there is money. It happens slowly I believe for a reason. I do rejoice at others success. In my striving, I spy for keys to that marketing value. I fight back envy. And I fight being branded or wanting to do the popular venue. I am true to myself.
I want my art to mean something and touch people's lives. 
Back to my word for the year, "Rest." I am handing all of it over to God. Yes, I believe in my dream. I feel I will be successful. I also know my steps are ordered by God. I feel my mission now is to continue the writing, as I care for the residents in my care. I'm to be a vessel of Jesus' love wherever I am and whatever I do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Birthday Week, Harrison Lyon

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teddy Memorial Tuesday

Two years since I heard on the radio. Two years since Teddy stole my heart. Two years of speaking up to be aware of child abuse.  I had heard other child abuse stories for years, but Teddy's story struck deep into my being. Maybe because I had been acquainted with the mother before she met Bush. We weren't friends, never even exchanged pictures of our kids. I didn't realize Teddy was her son the first time the story broke, grabbing my soul. But when I did see her picture, I knew. The realization of how close abuse can be to me wakened a roar inside me. I need to speak out. I will keep speaking out.
Please, please, please, pay attention to the children around you. Report and keep reporting, if your gut tells you something is not right. Don't let Teddy's or any child's death or abuse be in vain.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ordinary Adventure

Liked · 3 hrs ·

Weekend Blessing: May God lift your chin, awaken your heart, and open your eyes to all you possess in Him. May you refuse to let your disappointments define you. Instead, may you stand on that barren land and envision a harvest. May you experience a revival of faith in that very place! Instead of rehashing your losses, determine to rehearse His promises because they're truer than your circumstances. Today's a good day to emb
race faith, to give thanks, and to worship the One who keeps His promises. Jesus loves you and He is faithful to His Word. May His love define you and His promises hem you in and shore you up. You've got everything you need in Him. Have a blessed and restful weekend!
 And my response:

My body is telling me to concentrate on the rest. A lot of wrassaling I've been doing. I felt peaceful after being violently ill and then sleeping without thinking or dreaming. A little caffeine, then back to bed, I think. I have felt angels requested by my mother and elation in an adventure of thirty five years with my husband. I rejoice in my life that follows Jesus. That is the supreme life.

And what I write more:

I am sorry for not posting much new material lately. I looked forward to this past Thursday to gather some thoughts and write about much of the journey paths I'm traveling. I woke, though, to a violent stomach illness that at least twelve of my immediate residents endured these past two weeks. I knew the map of symptoms and my body followed it. My daughter wanted to know what she could get me. I wanted to answer, a nurse's aid, housekeeping and laundry. Instead, I only requested clear Ensure, to help with electrolytes I sensed escaping my body leaving me with cramping in my legs and racing heart.
I'm still not quite up to myself, yet. As evidenced by the half cup of coffee stagnating beside me. I warmed it up a few times, but it sits. I sipped and that with some ibuprofen relieved the back ache of two days without caffeine. Yes, I'm addicted and I know the symptoms of withdrawal. I viewed a picture of a man strolling with his dog in the winter woods with envy. I planned that, too, Thursday and Friday, as the days were in the thirties. We had such a great walk on Wednesday, but too short. The joy of watching Harrison frolic on the retractable leash spread across my face in a smile.
I watched Love Story last evening. A lot of winter scenes in that movie. I love the beauty of a city in winter as well.  I feel sad seeing the logo of the movie. It shouts seventies and I ache for my parents.
We need the seasons. I like winter in January and parts of February. I desire to see spring in March, but too often, we still have snow or the wet, gray rain. As a child, we spent a lot of those end of winter days at the mall. Once foot ball season was over.
I'm looking forward to feeling better and returning to all my plans with zest. A journey doesn't end. Changes in sensing what I believe subtly sneak up on me. They don't shout, but I feel them suddenly. I didn't see them coming or even think I may have needed them. Life is an adventure following Jesus. I see it more each day in ways we don't normally think of as adventure. Not of travel or glamor, but sticking to the every day, but differently than a neighbor, are my adventure. Open my eyes to experience Jesus more in every day life.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

I need a little of this guy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Teddy Memorial Tuesday

And with this being January, to all the children dead from abuse or abortion. They certainly are missed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teddy Memorial Tuesday

Every day. 1-800-422-4453

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grandma Susie Lyon- Birthday Tribute- January 10, 1894

"Up on the Hill" (and yes "Hill" is capitalized)is the term for where my father-in-law grew up on Bryan Hill in central Pennsylvania. His sister, Twila, still lives on the homestead. Before dementia carried Dad Lyon's mind far away, he wanted to visit the Hill every day.
We made the trip on the Hill one day, when Dad still was at home. I have been up on the Hill many times, in all weather. My favorite is fall, of course. The first time I went with David to visit his grandparents was a dreary fall day that dissolved into snow. Grandpa at the time sat in his chair staring at me.
Grandma Susie in the middle with her brothers, mother, aunt, and uncle
I didn't get to know him very well, as he also had that dementia that runs in the family and died in 1981.
Then, it was the two ladies on the Hill, Grandma and Aunt Twila. David and I always made the visit up on the Hill. Susie Skillman Lyon, truly was a refined mountain woman, always gracious in her elder years. At her funeral, Ray, my brother-in-law declared she had a ministry to the down and out. All who visited her, knew they would have a praying ear.
The church on Moore Hill played (still does in Aunt Twila's life) a central part in their lives. It had originally been on Church Hill, where all the ancestors are buried now, looking over the slope to the new church, which is a white old school house. One of Susie's proudest moments was when she could play the pump organ, as they had installed an engine to power it. Instead of Little Brown Church in the Dell they changed the chorus to Little White Church on the Hill. The Sunday after Labor Day is Homecoming when members that had moved away, come home for a day with a picnic in the pavilion.
I gazed out the window on our trip up a few years ago, looking on the highway so very far down. I remember when the road up the mountain was paved, the biggest news in decades. There is the house on the bend that I wonder how many cars have run into it or at least how often headlights disturbed the peace inside. Hunting camps scattered over the area, old abandoned trailers left to rot. In the dreary rain with no leaves on the trees this is the least favorite time to look at the sights.
This day, a well was being dug in the front yard because the spring that never dried, did so that past summer. A buck's head with a rack always stares at us in the living room. Dad asks, "Did Dad get that in Hick's Run?" to the point I'm sure the buck was killed in Hick's Run.
I observed the living room, trying to imagine the family raised here. Dad was the youngest boy, Clark and Leon, the older brothers, Aunt Twila, the youngest and only girl. She remained on the farm. I think of the baby with a heart defect, that would stop breathing. Years ago, Dad spoke of him. When the baby stopped breathing, Susie would dunk him in cold water to shock him back to life. The baby didn't live longer than seven months, I think. The saddest part of Dad's dementia, was the  difficulty to carry on a conversation. He had to stick to the script.
Aunt Twila talked about a creek that Paul, David's older brother, played in. My husband sitting on his bent over legs, like a little boy, insisted, "I played in it, too." I wish I had that time machine to go back for an instant to see a small boy, not in black and white, but flesh, splashing in the creek that isn't there any more, either.
After David helped his aunt move wood in the small basement, we loaded up the car and drove away. David chose the other side of the mountain to go back into town. The old school, where Dad walked uphill both ways is gone. We go past relatives' homes, that remained on the Hill. David talked of riding his bike down this twisting road, after someone drove their bikes up to Grandma's.
The day was too cloudy and wet to stop at Look Out Point, but many times we rested and took in the town there. Before we know it, we crossed the Broad Street bridge, but it is a new one, not the humming bridge of years ago. No loitering on the bridge this rainy, cold day. The first day of trout will not see fishermen on this new one.
On this day, I really wish the Hill was in my deep recesses of memory, like the fact, they didn't have electricity until the 1950's, who lived where, riding down that Hill with the wind in my hair as a free kid. This is in my children's DNA, their ancestral history. They'll remember four wheeling, sledding parties, feeding the horses, and the rest deep down in their souls. I hope they take away this family's deep faith. Also from my mother-in-law's family that lived on the other side of town.
This past Saturday, January tenth, marked Susie Skillman Lyon's birthday. Especially after she turned ninety, we made the effort to celebrate her birthday on The Hill. The ninetieth birthday, the family got her a Troy-built rototiller, since gardening had gotten hard on her knees, afflicted from arthritis. David always remarked about the year she turned eighty, a tree was the gift and she outlived the tree. She lived to ninety eight and at that party, we sure felt we would celebrate one hundred with her. That was twenty two years ago, so I guess she would be one hundred nineteen.
David's cousin, Betsy, also was there with her family. Bill, her husband, loves the outdoors, with family skiing vacations, not uncommon. During one of these parties, snow began to fall. Before we knew it, Bill had his daughter outside in the few inches to slide around. The genesis of  the snow party arose.
I believe the next year, more snow had fallen and the birthday party officially became the snow party, with sledding down the hill in the yard- not The Hill. Munchies provided by us all and hot chocolate warmed us after the outdoor activity. Several years, we made the trip on the weekend around Grandma's birthday. After Grandma's death in July of 1992, we moved the date to around Aunt Twila's birthday, which coincides with President's Day weekend, (how convenient.)
One year, as it tends to do often, a great snow storm visited that week around Valentine's Day. By the time of the weekend's Snow Party, although it had been quite wintry with frigid temperatures keeping the white stuff on the ground, the sun shone on us that Saturday and heated up the air. In fact, my neck got sunburned. We shed outer wraps, sat on the crunchy crust, as Aunt Twila served us cherry pie on china with silver forks. No scrimping on the finery, even though we ate it outside. Aunt Twila also rode down the incline on the old toboggan.
As we talked about this, I realized how long it has been since we did this, since my twenty year-old does not remember these parties at all. A rumor went around
The road to get to the Moore Hill Road at Howard's Siding
one Christmas, Snow Party may be resurrected. Three years later, schedules kept us from doing so.
The older grandkids got busier with school and activities. To get away any weekend proved harder as children get older. These older kids now are married, some are parents, scattered over the world.
Maybe it is time for the great, great grandkids' trip down the hill on an old toboggan.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

This sunshine I placed on my phone touches me deep inside.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Teddy Memorial Tuesday

Yes, I've changed the name but continue the same cause: to raise awareness of child abuse and to encourage all of us to report anything that seems suspicious. I ran across a new face book page by accident the other day. Teddy's godmother started it.
Teddy's mother isolated her children from the extended family. Teddy's story breaks my heart. It can so easily happen at any time.
So I didn't get permission to share any photos from the page. I do suggest you look at it and like it to keep informed as to how you may help. I pray always Teddy's shortened life will not be in vain. I know the reaction, the first time I heard the news on the radio comes with purpose. Wake up and save the children. Keep eyes opened and report abuse.

child help hot line- 800 422 4453

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Sunday of the Year

I slipped into church, late again. This past year, as the afternoon turn takes over my body and mental status, I find getting to church, early or on time, harder and harder. Some Sundays, like one where I slept till two in the afternoon, I don't make it, at all. I'd love to just blame it on my job, but it is more than that. I do love the peace of being in God's word on His day and every day. I rebel at the idea of getting ready at times.
Yet, I am rewarded each time I make it to church. The songs lift me. I walk to my seat, late, singing as I immediately feel worship. We have a great worship team. The sermon powerfully teaches me or touches me. Or like today, it was all that and someone that I don't often talk to, telling me they like my posts.
I am reading a book that is self published. It evokes sadness in me on many levels. First, as a memoir of a WWII POW, the intensity touches me. Second, the War(growing up it was the only War, it seemed)story reminds me of my parents, as the main character is in the Army Air Corps, like my father and David's father, and his brothers. Leon was in England like Irwin. I cry because their stories are lost with their absence, either in death or in their memory, like Dad Lyon's. Third, because the printing quality and the pictures are sub par. A story this powerful deserved editing and finer printing. Steven Spielberg did like the story, and I can see why.
Irwin and Chase
  I met the author and the man who told her the story, at my first book signing in Poland, Ohio. Their words of the story are in a clay vessel. All our words are in clay vessels, that God will use. The last few days, my writing and what it means, I weighed in the balance. Some days, even when I have time, I write not. I used to write every day. Some thoughts run deep and dark and even though I desire to write, I can't. I can't bear to place them on paper. The accusing thoughts of it doesn't make a difference lies to me. I surrender to obscurity. I don't feel I can do all the research for the books I want to write. I give in to the lie of the pauper spirit in the extreme dark dreary rainy(any other adjectives for my horrible weather?) day. Yes, I could have gone on with the nastiness of yesterday, but I think just adding nasty is enough.
 I was reminded this morning that we are all only clay vessels. I have felt the pushing down of my clay under the Potter's hand. And this morning, the Hand reached me and pulled my clay up. He reminded me this past week that is was I, who was asked questions about salvation out of the blue. I answered according to the book of Romans in a way He wanted me. I'm sure of that. The lady hardly knows me, yet, she put forth the question of Gandhi being in Heaven. I didn't take offense, but answered that still we need Jesus or otherwise, He didn't need to come to Earth. How God sees hearts on death's door is up to Him. I know Jesus is the only way to the Father, He said it, not me. No one can make it on their own. People who take Jesus name, often don't live like we think they should. Gandhi rejected the followers, not Jesus. The sermon's title today, "Not Ashamed of the Gospel," must be my way of life. My words may be in clay vessels but they must serve Jesus, too.
On this first Sunday of the new year, I rest, but don't sulk, like I did yesterday. I am renewed with my writing, my ideas and life. I do covet my readers' prayers again. As I hone my craft, to not be  a hobby, as one close to me says, but for the transformation of my words in clay vessels to be used by God. And as such my life as well.