Remember how we met in the corner of that crowded shop?
You captured my heart the moment you nestled in my arms and licked my face with puppy affection.
I didn’t believe that love at first sight existed until I found you.
Remember how we met in the corner of that crowded shop?
You captured my heart the moment you nestled in my arms and licked my face with puppy affection.
I didn’t believe that love at first sight existed until I found you.
This week’s word: STEAM
Daphne kissed her parents goodbye before leaving them on the train platform and then reminded herself as she climbed the steps to the passenger car: Don’t turn around and look back; it will only be more difficult if you do. She had barely settled into a seat which she’d deliberately chosen that did not face the platform before the train began to pull slowly out of the station.
In her mind, she replayed all the events of the past few months: the chance meeting with William, falling in love with him, his marriage proposal, her heart being broken when she discovered his infidelity, the terrible argument that followed between them which led to their breakup, her search for a position as a schoolteacher in a place farther from home in an attempt to get away, and the acquisition of just such a position in California – all the way across the country.
For the first time in her young life of nineteen years, Daphne was going to be alone and she wondered for the first time in months: Am I doing the right thing?
And just as the steam from the engine was rolling the train down the track, so too were the tears from Daphne’s eyes silently rolling down her cheeks.
This post is presented as part of Five Sentence Fiction
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What is the most important thing that you ever learned? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)
You’re absolutely right when you write that it’s not something that I learned in school because we all know that the best school is the school of life itself, or rather those lessons that we learn through experience. You know, I think this is a really difficult question because there are so many important lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life and I’ve lived for almost 59 years. But I think I’m going to say that the most important thing I’ve learned is the one thing that I’ve told my children ever since they were very young and I guess if I have repeated this to them umpteen times then it must be the most important thing, right? So here it is:
Friends will come and go throughout your life, but family will always be there for you. Therefore, stay close to your family and never let anything separate you from them.
And I believe this with all my heart. I grew up in a family of seven children. We were poor, having been raised on welfare and in a low-income housing project, so we didn’t haven’t much. But we had each other. And we were happy. Today our parents are gone from this life, but we sisters are still close and our families still get together for the holidays. And even though we’ve had our disagreements over the years, we’ve always managed to resolve the conflicts, which served to strengthen our bonds. And I know that if I needed anything, my sisters would be there for me in a heartbeat, which they’ve already proven many times over, and I do the same for them. No, there’s nothing better than the love of your family.
What feeds your enthusiasm for life?
For me, there’s not just one thing that feeds my enthusiasm for life. First of all, I would have to give credit for this to the love of my husband and children, who always support and encourage me in everything I do. Then I’d say that my enthusiasm for life is fed by the interests that I hold. These interests include writing, which allows me to express myself in a way that is so satisfying and gratifying like nothing else that I know. One of the things I enjoy the most about writing is that it allows me to be exactly who I am, and who could ask for anything better than that? I also am fueled each day by my great interest and enthusiasm for learning to play the piano. I’ve only been playing the piano since January of 2014, and since I’ve only begun lessons very late in life (at age 58), you can be sure that it is something which I hold near and dear to my heart. In other words, you can believe that it’s not something that I am going to let go by the wayside, especially since it’s always been a dream of mine to play the piano. Along those same musical lines, I love to sing and always have ever since a very young age. I’ve been a member of our church choir since 1978 and I look forward to every Wednesday evening rehearsal and to singing each Sunday morning. As you can see, music plays an integral part in my life, as it has in our children’s lives, and it’s something that I would never let go.
What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane commercial or private flight?
I’d definitely have have to say that this would be my very first flight into the “wild blue yonder,” as the song says. This occurred about twenty years ago, and since then, I’ve only taken two other trips via airplane! Can you believe that? No, I don’t get around much, sad to say. My husband was attending a national convention in Philadelphia for a men’s organization of which he was a member and he invited me and my sister and her husband to join him. I had never flown before, and I was excited at the prospect but at the same time I was nervous. When it came time to board the plane, I did hesitate a moment before going through the door into the plane. Okay, so I actually stopped. I guess it was because all my bravado had temporarily left me. Then I took a deep breath and somehow my legs started moving once again. But what I remember the most was the takeoff and the speed with which the plane managed to get to before leaving the runway. I was downright giddy at that point and remember how I was giggling almost hysterically because it was just so much . . . fun! I was glad I had my wits about me enough so that I remembered to cover my mouth with my hands or else the passengers around me would have pegged me to be a crazy woman, for sure! I’d like to take another trip via airplane again some day, and maybe, just maybe I will. Who knows? So the next time you’re on a flight somewhere and you see some woman sitting there with her hands over her mouth with a wild look in her eyes, that might very well be me!
If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?
Okay, this may sound weird, considering the fact that I’ve only been on airplane three times in my life, but . . . if I could explore anything or anywhere, it would be outer space. I know, weird, huh? For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by what lies beyond in the great unexplored territory of the vast cosmos. I’d like to know: is there life out there? And when I say life, I mean intelligent life. Did God really create only a human race (us) and place us here on this tiny planet we call Earth with no other life anywhere else in all of the umpteen undiscovered galaxies that there could be? Are we really alone? I was 12 years old when astronaut Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969. As our family gathered around the television set that evening to watch this historic event, I remember thinking how wondrous it all was. It’s not that I ever wanted to be an astronaut. But if it was safe and economical and an every day occurrence, I would absolutely book a seat on the Space Shuttle. Yes, I am very practical and well-grounded (pardon the pun).
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to spend more time with my sisters playing pickleball. We’re getting better at it, although I can tell that I need more coaching on things like my serve and some of the little nuances of the game.
I’m also grateful that we have had more of the much-needed rain that we’ve been hoping for. It’s been pretty dry around here this spring, but now the grass is a lot greener and plants are coming up nicely. As a matter of fact, things are beginning to grow so well that I heard my husband complain just this morning: “Now I have to go and mow the lawn since we’ve gotten all this rain.” But I know that deep down inside he’s glad for it.
Remember I said that I needed more coaching for pickleball? Well, I have joined the local pickleball club and so next week I’m looking forward to starting up with them. They meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. Not only will I get coaching, but I’ll also meet new people and make new friends, and I think that’s the best part. So I can hardly wait to begin. I think next week will be a very good week and I’m looking forward to it.
So now you know a little more about me.
I’m glad we had this time together and I’d like to thank you for spending it with me. I’m so pleased that I was able to share a bit about myself and my world with you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
This post is presented as part of the Share Your World Challenge. If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:
How is my year shaping up so far? When 2015 rolled around, I decided that the only New Year’s resolution I’d make would be that I’d try to take life a little less seriously. I have a habit of becoming stressed out pretty easily, which may partially explain my high blood pressure. My husband and children are constantly telling me: “Chill out. Calm down. Relax.” And of course, all this does is only get me more upset. But I have been making a more concentrated effort to not get so stressed out about the unimportant things in life. I’ve decided to save it for real life emergencies like the house burning down. So far, I’m making pretty good progress. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m getting only slightly panicked when I have a bad hair day.
As far as my biggest achievements thus far for the year are concerned, I am proud to say that I have now been taking piano lessons for the last sixteen months. That’s not bad, considering that I just began taking piano lessons at the age of 58. It has been a lifelong dream which was finally realized. And I can honestly say that it has been everything that I had hoped and dreamed that it would be and more.
I love playing the piano. It makes me feel as though I’ve finally found that piece of myself that I’ve been missing all my life. I’ve always had a profound love of music and have always been able to express that love through singing. But now I can do the same thing when I play the piano, which brings me even greater joy.
I practice every day, sometimes twice or even three times a day. Most of the time I practice for at least an hour or even longer if my back will allow me to do so. I have problems with low back pain, so sometimes I am limited in the amount of time that I can sit at the piano. Even an hour is too long at times, which is when I will actually wear a back brace so that I can sit at the piano longer. This is how much I love to play. I am willing to suffer to be able to play the piano.
I know that I will never be a great pianist. I know that I’ll never get to the point where I’ll be able to be an accompanist at our church. But that doesn’t matter to me. I play for myself and if no one ever hears me play, I don’t really care. All that matters to me is that I am able to play.
My other accomplishment is that I have begun to go out and get some exercise, which I truly needed, and it came in a form that was totally unexpected but very enjoyable. I have become a pickleball player. Have you ever heard of pickleball? It’s a great game which is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s played with a paddle and a wiffle ball on a short court, which is great for me because it means you don’t have to run as far as you would if you were playing tennis, which I’ve tried before and did not succeed at doing.
I’ve been playing mostly with my three sisters and we play what we call a “friendly” game, meaning that if someone doesn’t get the serve right the first time, we allow a second, third, or even fourth serve. We’re just beginners, after all. And we’ve been having so much fun playing together. But I’ve decided that I’m going to join a local pickleball club which meets three mornings out of the week because I could use some coaching. Yes, that’s how much I love this new game! All I can say is: “Watch out, Sisters! Before the summer’s out, I’m going to be the best pickleball player ever!”
All in all, I think the first half of 2015 has gone pretty well for me. Granted, there have been bumps in the road with unexpected twists and turns, but I think I’ve navigated them okay so far.
Now if I could just get my sewing room cleaned out like I promised myself I would . . .
It seemed like any other ordinary day as Amy picked up her mail. She found a small pink envelope tucked in between the bills. She noticed that it was handwritten and addressed to Ms. Amy O’Hara with no return address. Inside the envelope was a pink note card which read: Today you have three wishes. Be careful what you wish for.
How odd, she thought. It must be a practical joke.
Since she was a student at the local community college, her thoughts turned to the upcoming biology exam. I wish I didn’t have to take this exam today. Just then her cell phone rang.
“Hi, Sue. What’s up?”
“Amy, don’t bother going to class today.”
“But we have the biology exam.”
“No, we don’t. It’s been canceled. Professor Emmers called in sick and there’s no sub available. How about going to the mall instead?”
“Sounds great. Let’s meet at the food court in twenty minutes.”
“Perfect. See you then.”
Amy went to grab her keys off the kitchen table. Then she saw the pink note card. That’s right – three wishes. Maybe the first one was the canceled biology class . . . how silly! There’s no such thing as wishes coming true. It’s just a coincidence, that’s all.
“Hi, Amy,” Sue greeted her. “Can you believe the biology exam was canceled?”
“Yeah, it’s great. Let’s go shopping; I need to find some new jeans.”
“Okay, let’s try Janet’s Closet.”
“Are you kidding? Their jeans cost a fortune, although I did see the perfect pair last week.”
“Why didn’t you buy them?”
“I couldn’t afford it. I wish they were cheaper so I could.”
“Well, let’s go in and see if we can find something – you never know.”
As they entered the store, a sales person came over to greet them.
“Hello. May I help you?”
“I’m looking for a pair of jeans. Do you have any on sale?” Amy asked hopefully.
“As a matter of fact, we do. I’ll show you what we have.”
They followed her to the back of the store. She pointed to a rack that was off in the corner.
“These are all the jeans on sale today. Please let me know if you find something.”
Amy and Sue walked over to the rack. As they were looking through the jeans, Sue pulled out a pair.
“Amy, look. They’re perfect for you.”
Amy looked up from what she was doing and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Sue was holding the expensive pair of jeans she’d wanted. She looked at the price, which was cut down to 75% off!
“These are the pair I wanted!”
“Wow! You’re really lucky today, Amy.”
As Amy was driving home through the noon hour traffic, she couldn’t help but think about the mysterious pink card and the events that had occurred – the exam being canceled, the jeans being on sale – were those two of the three wishes? It certainly seemed that way.
But I can’t believe there’s such a thing as being granted three wishes. I’m a logical person, and it just doesn’t seem logical! But still . . .
Her thoughts were interrupted by a traffic jam. Sure enough, the cars were now bumper to bumper. The noon rush hour traffic had begun. Soon the cars were at a standstill, and Amy’s car was at the very back of the line, with no cars behind her. It seemed to her as though the line of cars in front of her were stretched as far as she could see and beyond.
If there was one thing Amy hated, it was rush hour traffic. She wasn’t a patient person, and soon she felt irritated beyond measure.
Are we ever going to move again? I’d really like to get home and get in some studying time. I know the exam we missed today will be given tomorrow. If I can get an hour’s worth of studying done, then I can sit on the deck and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Come on, come on . . . let’s get going! I wish someone would drive faster.
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind when Amy heard the sound of an engine racing. She looked in her rear view mirror and watched in horror as a black Explorer came speeding up towards her. Sitting behind the wheel was a man talking on his cell phone, and she knew he wouldn’t be able to stop in time.
Her final thought was: Be careful what you wish for . . .
I’ve discovered that the older I’ve become, the more vulnerable I’ve become to the monster who creeps in the night and tries at all costs to rob me of one of my most valuable and precious commodities – sleep. I’ve come to call this monster “The Sleep Thief.” You may know it as “insomnia.” This is a truly horrible experience that I would not wish even on my worst enemy.
Is the image on the right familiar to you? If the answer is yes, then you, too, are familiar with this selfish monster, and the chances are very good that it has also robbed you of precious hours of sleep.
This awful creature held me hostage last night, and the same old tired (pardon the pun) story played itself out again. I was so upset that I even resented my poor husband, who was resting so peacefully on his side of the bed, deep in the throes of his own pleasant dreams. To tell you the truth, what I really wanted to do was hit him with my pillow so that he would wake up – after all, misery loves company!
But no matter how much I pleaded, I could not coax Mr. Sandman to sprinkle his magic sleeping dust over me so that I could obtain the blessed relief of slumber. I tried counting sheep, but even that did not help.
So I thought I would get up in the hopes that I might fall asleep in front of some late night television program, but to no avail. I tried reading a book – the most boring book I could find – but even that could not lull me into slumber. By this time, I was getting desperate. A glass of warm milk, which normally I despise and under no circumstances would even think of consuming, did nothing to persuade my now-wide awake body to fall into the dearly desired land of dreams.
Then I came up with the brilliant idea of taking a long soak in a warm bubble bath. This always helps to soothe my nerves and makes me sleepy by the time I’m finished. So as I soaked my tired body, there were aromatherapy candles flickering on the vanity, while I listened to my favorite relaxing melodies. After a soothing twenty minutes in the bathtub, the lovely sleepy feeling that I had been yearning for all night long was finally taking its gentle hold upon my body.
I dressed myself in my pajamas and was just about to climb back into bed next to my sleeping husband when our little toy poodle Lucy awakened to go outside for her usual morning routine. And guess who had to take care of her? You guessed it. Yours truly. And then the alarm went off. It figures.
At least there’s a bright side to my visit from the“thief in the night.” It gave me something to write about in my blog today. Thank God for small favors.
QUOTE FOR TODAY: “Oh sleep! It is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~
As you read the title of this piece, you may be thinking to yourself: How can there be joy in suffering? It is a contradiction in terms. I’d like to tell you that there can be joy in suffering. I know because I have experienced such joy in my life. Please let me explain.
I have been medically disabled from working since 2004. My problems started out small, and then steadily grew in proportion. I was diagnosed with medical conditions, one after another. I have many medical problems but I will not bore you by listing all of them here. Suffice it to say, I suffer every day. I suffer from pain; I suffer from depression; and I suffer from loneliness.
But I do have joy.
How can this be, you may ask? I am most eager to answer this question.
Before I became ill, I was a full-time working nurse, wife, and mother. I didn’t have time for any outside activities of my own. It was all I could do to come home from work each day and at the same time take care of my husband and children. But I was happy. I loved my life.
Then I became ill. Suddenly I was no longer the caretaker; I was the one being cared for. There are days when I’m in so much pain that I can’t even get out of bed. I’m confined for long periods of time to my bed or reclining chair.
I used to feel sorry for myself until one day I realized that I should be rejoicing instead of crying.
I’ve come to understand that God has blessed me with the most loving and understanding husband I could have ever asked for. I realized that when my husband took his wedding vows – the ones which state: “in sickness and in health” – he took those vows very seriously. He has proven it by taking on the roles of nurse, helper, friend, confidante, and lover.
Because I couldn’t work any more, our financial situation was in dire straits. So my hard-working husband took it upon himself to find a second part-time job just to help make ends meet. My dear husband works so hard that sometimes it makes me cry. But he never complains about it. He has never blamed me for it, even though at times I have blamed myself.
My husband also does all of the household chores and again, he does not complain. He does the cooking and the laundry, all without complaint. When our children were still in school, he was the one who attended the parent-teacher conferences. He was the one who drove our children to whatever practices or activities they were involved in for the day. He took my place at all the necessary social functions which I could not attend. He has done all these things, besides making sure that I have everything I need – sometimes giving those things to me before I even realized that I needed them myself.
Yes, my husband has brought me so much joy!
Our children have also been the bearers of joy for me. When I could not attend their school functions, they understood and never once did they complain about me not going. They only reassured me that it was all right, that they understood, and that they loved me. My children helped more around the house – doing things that I could no longer do. They have shown me nothing but love and understanding.
Yes, my children have brought me so much joy!
Since I’ve been ill, I’ve received so many telephone calls from my sisters and friends who check up on me, making sure that I’m okay, asking me what my needs are, and volunteering to fulfill those needs. Often times they’ll visit and spend time with me, just because they want to cheer me.
Yes, my sisters and friends have brought me so much joy!
Shortly after I became ill and was homebound, my husband thought it might be a good idea if I had a pet to keep me company during the day while I was alone so he bought me a little toy poodle. Her name is Lucy and she is my ever-faithful companion. She helped me through those long, lonely days and I believe she even helps to make me feel better. She always manages to put a smile on my face even when I am feeling low.
Yes, my little dog Lucy has brought me so much joy!
Because I have lots of time on my hands, I have been able to do some things that I never had time for when I was working. One of those things is writing. My illness has caused me to remember how much enjoyment I used to derive from writing. I’ve also discovered that writing is a wonderful form of therapy because it helps when I write down my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and my memories.
Yes, writing has brought me so much joy!
I have also discovered that when I’m in severe pain, if I pray and speak with my Lord, then my pain is lessened. I have come to know my God better than I have ever known Him before. To be with our Heavenly Father in prayer is a blessing.
Yes, God has brought me so much joy!
As a matter of fact, I have more joy in my life now than I ever did before.
So you see, there can be joy in suffering! You just have to know where to look for it, be grateful that you found it, appreciate it once you have it, and never, ever let it go.