• Lucy on couch

    My Ever-Faithful Companion

      I have a faithful companion, And Lucy is her name. She is my little toy poodle, And pleasing me is her game.   She’s always there to comfort me,

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  • joe and lola 100

    The Boy Who Was Meant To Be Our Son

    The time had come for my husband and me to make a momentous decision that would change our lives forever. Both of us had grown up in big families; Mike had

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  • Stephanie and Sarah as little girls

    My Little Blossom

    “My Little Blossom” A daughter is a gift from God. There cannot be a finer thing Than watching while she’s growing up. Her growth reminds me of the Spring. She’s

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  • FOREVER LOVE

    The Wedding Gown

    Today we were going to look for my daughter’s wedding gown for the first time. A huge wedding gown sale had been advertised and she was determined that today she

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  • Mike and Cindy on the deck 1

    Bridge Over Troubled Water

        Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel is a song which describes what my husband is to me. He is always there for me, no matter what the

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  • life friend 300

    A Friend For Life

    I believe that everyone should have the pleasure of knowing that they have a best friend, at least at one time or another in their life, and I’m so fortunate

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  • stephcello4

    My Daughter, the Cellist

    She was thirteen, and just starting middle school. She felt out-of-place and disliked. It was plain to see that she had no friends. There was no one to talk to,

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  • piano 500

    A Dream Come True

    Today’s prompt truly strikes a chord with me because I can say that without a doubt, music has always held a prominent place place in my life. Ever since I was a

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  • Family photo A

    Home Is Where the Heart Is

    Today’s prompt is an easy one for me and as soon as I read it, I knew in an instant what my answer would be. It asks the question, what special item

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  • hope springs eternal 300

    Hope Springs Eternal

    E’en though the darkness does ensue, When all things seem to be askew, Just hold on tight and you’ll come through, For God loves you, for God loves you. Your

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One Word I Cannot Stand To Hear

I love the English language. And I’m fairly certain that I can say the same for anyone who loves to write as much as I do. There’s just something about the ability of being able to string words together to form sentences and putting sentences together to form paragraphs and then to arrange those very same paragraphs so that they form a story that has always thrilled me.

I can still remember the sense of wonder and excitement I felt when I first began to learn how to read. It seemed almost magical to me – that the books I read had the ability to transport me into other people’s lives, different lands and adventures beyond my imagination. It was as though I had unlocked a door to a whole new world and once I stepped through that door, I never wanted to leave.

Because of my love for reading, I must admit that I was a good student, especially when it came to the subject of English. I enjoyed learning about nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, predicates, adverbs, etc. I think I have a fairly good command of the correct usage of the language, although I must admit that sometimes I do get hung up on our friend the “comma” and I do tend to use more commas than I should!

I also must tell you that when our children were growing up, I did correct them on their proper use of the English language. And I am proud to say that today they are very well-spoken young adults.

So, what word would I permanently ban from general usage? Well, let me say that there is one word that you would have never heard spoken in our household. As a matter of fact, I even hesitate to type it, but I will, for the sake of this writing, and that is the word “ain’t”. How I abhor that word. As a matter of fact, every time I hear someone utter that word, it makes my toes cringe. I’ve even heard people say things like “I ain’t got no time to do that.” And I think, “There’s that awful word – and a double negative with it! My poor ears!”

This word is supposedly a contraction for “am not,” “are not,” or “is not,” but its usage is generally considered non-standard by dictionaries and style guides except when used for rhetorical effect, and it is rarely found in formal written works. There’s a reason for a that. Because it is non-standard. There is absolutely no reason to use this word. We have words like “aren’t” and “isn’t” instead. We don’t need to use the word “ain’t.”

Now I realize that there have been some exceptions throughout history that have used this word quite successfully. There have been famous recordings such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “Ain’t That a Shame,” but these are examples of song lyrics, not everyday language. This word has also been used in both speech and writing to catch attention and to give emphasis, as in “Ain’t that a crying shame,” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But the above examples are exceptions to the rule, not the norm.

Now let’s get back to that last phrase: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In this case – why don’t we fix it? Let’s just eliminate this one word from the English language. It’s such a lovely language. Why don’t we keep it that way?

 

My Temple

 

my temple

When I think of my body as a temple, it gives me pause to consider how much care and attention it truly deserves, for I believe that is what my Creator intended. He would not have allowed me to inhabit this temple if He did not think I would care for it in the manner that He intended. There are many different parts to my temple, and each one deserves my ministrations.

~ My head is the center of my intelligence. It holds the ideas which are borne from my creativity and imagination. It conjures up all the dreams that I dare to dream. And it contains every thought which directs my actions.

~ My eyes are the windows through which I see the world and all the beauty that it has to offer. My eyes can also shut out the world if I desire to do so. And if I wish, I can shield them from the ugliness and hatred which sometimes resides within the souls of mankind.

~ My ears are the amplifiers of the sounds surrounding me. With my ears, I can hear all the sounds that the world has to offer, such as the birds when they sing their morning song, the wind as it whistles through the trees, and the rain as it pounds on my roof during a heavy shower.

~ My mouth is my instrument that allows me to communicate with the world. It helps me to grow closer to those around me through the art of conversation. With my mouth I can speak volumes or whisper sweet nothings. I can also sing praises to my God and King.

~ My nose allows me to smell the delicious aroma of freshly baked cookies, the aromatic scent of pine trees in the forest, or the sweet fragrance of a newborn baby’s head.

~ My hands allow me to touch those that I love. With my hands I can tend to my loved ones when they are ill, I can cook the meals that sustain us, I can write the stories and poetry that I love to write, I can create the music that I so dearly love by playing the piano, and I can reach out to others in need.

~ My feet allow me to walk the path of life, no matter where it takes me, following wherever my God will lead me, trusting in Him and Him alone.

~ My heart and my soul are the center of my being, the part of me in which faith, hope, and love reside – faith in my God who sustains me, hope for a better tomorrow, and love for my family, my friends, and for all mankind. This is the very best part of me.

My temple is my own, given to me by my Creator, and only He can take it away from me. Until He does, I will reside in it, and I have vowed to love it and care for it until the day comes that I must leave it and finally enter my heavenly home.

The List

It seemed like it had only been a few seconds earlier when the semitrailer truck jack-knifed across the icy highway, careening headlong into the Honda that Deborah had been driving. She didn’t even have time to scream.

Tunnel Light ImageOne of the highway patrolmen said: “Poor woman, she never had a chance.”

“It’s a shame,” agreed his partner.

Deborah watched as her body was transferred into an ambulance. She observed while hovering high above the ground. Then she realized that she was dead. At first she thought it was just a horrible nightmare that she’d awaken screaming from at any moment, but that moment never came.

Suddenly she was picked up, whisked away, and the next thing she knew she was flying through what appeared to be a long, dark, pitch black tunnel. She felt like she was being hurled forward at a very high speed which was so fast that she felt short of breath. This in itself seemed odd considering the fact that she was dead. Dead people shouldn’t be experiencing shortness of breath.

Gradually she slowed down. Then she noticed shadowy figures lined up on both sides of the tunnel. They were shrouded in the mists rising up from the bottom of the tunnel, but she was still able to recognize some of their faces. She saw her cousin Margaret who’d died of ovarian cancer five years ago; her Uncle Ned who’d been killed in the Vietnam War; her best friend Jennifer who’d been killed in an automobile accident; and her Grandma Jennings who’d died of a heart attack. They were all there, her dead relatives and friends, smiling at her, waving at her, and reaching out to her. But she couldn’t touch them.

Then a dim light appeared in front of her. As she came closer to the light, it became brighter and radiated an amazing warmth. It poured out a feeling of welcome. And there was something stronger. What was it? Yes – love. Unconditional love. She desperately wanted to go further toward the light. She knew that was where she was supposed to go. But it seemed she was only going slower.

“I want to go faster!” she pleaded.

“Not yet,” answered a voice.

She turned around to see who had spoken, but no one was there. There was only silence.

“What do you mean?”

The voice spoke.

“You must wait.”

“Why?”

“First we must check to see if you are on the list.”

“What list?”

Silence.

A very long time passed before the voice spoke again, and now it spoke like a patient teacher would speak when giving a student an answer that the teacher feels the student should already know.

“The list to get in.”

Deborah was shocked. The list to get in? She’d never thought that this was a possibility. She’d always assumed that when she died, she’d pass with ease into that realm where her loved ones were waiting for her.

Her mind began to reel with the reality of the situation. What if she wasn’t on the list? What if she couldn’t be with the people who loved her? How was she going to face such an awful fate by herself?

“How does a person get on the list?”

More time passed before the voice answered, as if trying to decide whether or not to tell her.

Finally the answer came.

“Good deeds.”

Good deeds? Was that all? That seemed so simple. Deborah was certain she had performed good deeds at some point in her life. She began to frantically search her memory, but couldn’t remember a single good deed.

Involuntarily, she began to move slowly backwards through the tunnel.

“No! Please, don’t take me away!” she pleaded.

“We’re sorry, but we don’t see your name on the list,” the voice boomed.

Deborah felt total despair.

Then she heard a bark and the panting of a dog beside her.

“Molly! Hi girl!” Deborah called, relieved at the friendly sound.

Molly was Deborah’s golden retriever who had died nine years before. Deborah had found Molly half-dead by the side of the road when she was puppy. She’d brought her home, nursed her back to health, and became her beloved mistress. Deborah had saved Molly’s life. And now Molly was going to save Deborah.

“Wait! My good deed! Molly’s my good deed!” Deborah cried out.

The voice boomed once more, and this time it sounded as though there were a smile within the voice.

“You are correct. You are on the list. Welcome home!”

Then You Found Me

Prompt:

FOUND

 

I was
broken,
hurting,
and full of despair.

I was
lonely,
isolated,
and desperate for company.

I was
hopeless,
despondent,
and needing a purpose.

Then you found me…

I am whole again,
no longer alone,
and full of hope.

Tomorrow will be better.

 

 

poetry 101 rehab

 

This post is presented as part of Poetry 101 Rehab  If you’d like to be part of this great activity, please click here:

Poetry 101 Rehab

 

 

 

 

Age is a Work of Art

I enjoy the summer with its plentiful sunshine, warm breezes, and gardens overflowing with green plants and colorful flowers. I love to sit on my backyard deck and listen to the birds as they sing their cheerful songs from the branches of the trees overhead and watch the squirrels as they chatter among themselves and scamper through the yard. It’s often a welcome relief from the cold winter months of Minnesota. It’s also a time for family gatherings like graduations, weddings, picnics, and backyard barbecues.cake with candles 1

There’s one other event that the summer brings to our family, and that’s birthday celebrations. During this time, our family celebrates three birthdays in quick succession, each one only a week apart. And my birthday happens to be one of them.

Usually I enjoy celebrating birthdays. It has never really bothered me what age I was. I always believed that age was just a number, a state of mind, and that you were only as old as you feel.

But this summer I’ll turn 59. For some reason, the thought of turning 59 bothers me. I suppose it’s because it means that next year I’ll be 60. My apologies to all the sexagenarians out there, but 60 sounds old to me! I still can’t get used to the idea that by all standards, I’m already considered a senior citizen. I don’t feel like a senior citizen. As far as I’m concerned, my brain still thinks like the 25 to 30-year-old woman who I once was. And when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I can see that I truly don’t have that many wrinkles and I can only find three or four gray hairs. As a matter of fact, when people find out that I’m 58, they always tell me that they would never have guessed that I was that old.

But maybe I should look at this from a different point of view. Perhaps I should leave my emotions out of the picture and instead of thinking about all the negative aspects to aging, maybe I should consider all the benefits to growing older.

One of my favorite quotes is by Stanislaw Lec and it goes like this: “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.”

I think that says it all. It’s true that when you’re young, you have the whole future before you. You have high hopes for tomorrow and so many dreams to chase. There’s so much to look forward to and you never give a second thought to growing old. But as we grow older, as we mature, I believe that we have so much more within ourselves than we had in our youth.

For instance, we have the knowledge and the experience to live our lives even smarter and better than when we were younger. We know what to do because there’s a good chance that we’ve been in similar circumstances before. We make wiser decisions and hopefully, smarter choices. Not only that, but we can help others to benefit from our experiences – those we love such as our children and even our grandchildren if we’re lucky.

Our emotions are more finely tuned and usually we can deal with those emotions better (not all the time, but most of the time). We can enjoy other people’s company more because of the experience we’ve gained from our past relationships.

And I think we can love others more fully and more deeply than ever before. And that’s the best part of all.

Do you remember that old jingle: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better?” I believe it’s true.

So maybe turning 59 won’t be so bad after all. And before I blow out those birthday candles, I’ll think I’ll make the wish that next year my 60th birthday will be even better.

 

School Days

appleSchool days, school days,
Dear old Golden Rule days!
Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of a hick’ry stick.

I loved being a student, from the time I was in kindergarten. I never minded it when it was time to wake up early in the morning and go off to school, even in the middle of the cold Minnesota winters. And there were no school buses to transport us to our elementary school. Yes – we had to walk six blocks, even in what was sometimes 30 degree below windchill temperatures! My mother would bundle us up to ward off the freezing temperatures, and to me it was worth it.

I enjoyed learning everything, from art to science. And the year that I began to learn how to read – now that was banner year for me. I remember how excited I was to learn that if you put together letters in a certain way then you could form words and those words could form sentences and that this was the key to reading. And from there you could write. Yes, reading opened up a whole new world for me.

I’ll admit that I was a good student and learning did come easily to me. My mind was always hungry for new knowledge and I soaked up any new knowledge like a sponge. I was receptive to any and all teaching. Maybe that’s why I was a good student. And when report card time came, I was always proud to bring it home to show my parents how well I had done. We were never rewarded with anything but praise for a job well done. And I was content with that.

I’ve always valued a good education and believe that it is the foundation for a good future. My husband and I instilled this value of a good education into our children as they were growing up. While they were in school, we always told them that they needed to do their best, and if their best was a “C” at report card time, that was okay. We never rewarded our children monetarily for their grades. And they always did their best. I’m proud to say that all three of our children graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. And they all worked their way through college, too. Not only that, but our youngest daughter just completed her first year pursuing her master’s degree in music performance on the cello.

Am I bragging? I guess maybe I am. But as a mother I just can’t help it. I’m so proud of all of my children. I’m proud that I was able to pass on my love of school to all of them and that it shows. And I know that my children will pass that love on to their children.

And this is one of my greatest accomplishments.

So what do I miss about being in school? Everything.

 

 

Share Your World – 2015 Week #24

What’s your favorite charitable cause and why?

St. JudeMy favorite charitable cause is the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And the reason is easy to understand, considering the fact that not only am I a retired nurse, but I’m also a mother. What better cause could there be than an organization which is dedicated to finding cures for children and saving the lives of children? I have been very fortunate to be the mother of three healthy children and never had to worry about whether they would live to see adulthood, but just imagine if you were the parents of a child who was facing the possibility of perhaps not even surviving beyond their third or fourth birthday? So you can see why I believe this charitable cause is a very worthy one. After all, I hope to be a grandmother some day, and I’d like to take comfort in the knowledge that if one of my grandchildren were diagnosed with what is now considered to be an incurable disease that by then, it will be curable, all because of St. Jude’s.   

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?pink

I really don’t mind wearing any color, to tell you the truth. I’ve always worn whatever color suited my mood at the time, although I have gone through periods of wearing just one certain color for weeks at a time, although I’m not really sure why that’s been, and in particular that color was black. I think I did that because black just goes with everything! But I will tell you that my favorite color to wear is pink. I’ve always adored the color pink. It’s so cheerful and it makes me happy. Did you know that the color pink evokes feelings of love, sensitivity, and tranquility? But it’s funny – I really don’t have that much pink in my wardrobe because I can never seem to find the right kinds of clothing to wear that are in the color pink. Now why do you suppose that is? There should be better pink clothing in the world, don’t you think?   

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? (guest can be dead, alive, famous or someone you just know)

benjamin franklin1.  Okay – the first thing you must know about me before I tell you who my first guest would be is that I am a HUGE history buff, and my favorite era in history to study is the American Revolutionary War Era from 1775-1783. Just the fact that the thirteen American colonies, struggling for their independence from Great Britain, were able to hold their own and eventually triumph over the greatest army in the world (that being the King’s British Army) has always amazed me and filled me with a sense of American pride. I know – I’m kind of a geek, right? So, my first guest would have to be Benjamin Franklin. From what I’ve read of him, Benjamin Franklin led quite an extraordinary life. Not only was he one of our founding fathers, but he was also an inventor, diplomat, author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, civic activist, and statesman. I’d have a very long list of questions for him!

 

florence nightingale2.  Being a retired nurse, I’d absolutely have to invite Florence Nightingale as my second guest. Florence Nightingale, a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, was also the founder of modern nursing. She’s most famously known as “The Lady with the Lamp,” a name which she received after making rounds of wounded soldiers at night during the Crimean War (1853-1856). While nursing the soldiers over this period of time, Florence believed that the death rates were due to poor nutrition, lack of supplies, stale air and overworking of the soldiers. She also came to believe that most of the soldiers at the hospitals were killed by poor living conditions. It was during this time that her advocacy of the importance of sanitary living conditions for the soldiers at the hospitals was the greatest contributing factor to the reduced death rate. I would love to interview a sister nurse!

 

eleanor roosevelt3.  For my third guest, I would love to have Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt was called “The First Lady of the World” by President Harry S. Truman because of her human rights achievements. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. During her time as First Lady, she was very outspoken, which didn’t earn her any points with the public, but she didn’t care because she stood up for what she believed in regardless. And on a few occasions, she even publicly disagreed with her husband’s policies. She was the first presidential spouse to hold press conferences, write a syndicated newspaper column, and speak at a national convention. When Franklin became partially paralyzed due to polio, it was Eleanor who persuaded him to stay in politics, and she even began to give speeches and campaign in his place. After he was elected as Governor of New York, Eleanor regularly made public appearances on his behalf. She also shaped the role of First Lady during her time as First Lady and beyond. She was a great lady and I think she would make an excellent guest.

List:  What are at least five places you’ve enjoyed visiting?

Yikes! I haven’t traveled to very many places in my life, but let’s see if I can come up with at least five.liberty bell

1.  Philadelphia, PA:  Okay, the reason for this is quite obvious. As I said, I love American history, and one of the best places to go sight-seeing, especially for history regarding the American Revolutionary War Era is Philadelphia, PA. After all, there’s Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Declaration (Graff) House, Betsy Ross House, Congress Hall, President’s House, and Society Hill. walt disney worldThere’s so much to see in Philadelphia!

2.  Disneyworld:  This was the trip of a lifetime for our family, and it was a place I had only dreamed of going to when I was a child. When the trip practically fell into our laps, I could hardly believe our luck! I’ll never forget the way I felt as we stood on the paddle boat and crossed the lake to Magic Kingdom Park, with my two girls standing on either side of me. I remember that I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as the music, “When You Wish Upon a Star” was playing all around us from the speakers which were positioned above us on the boat. We had a great time that week and made memories that will last a lifetime.cabo san lucas

3.  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico:  This was a stop on our 25th wedding anniversary Mexico cruise for my husband and me. We took this cruise with my sister and her husband and my best friend and her husband. When we first arrived at this stop, we took a ride on a glass-bottomed boat, which was quite unique. I could see all kinds of sea life! After that we were on our own and headed for the beach. I’ll never forget how blue the water was. It was absolutely breathtaking and so serene. I really hated to go back to the ship that day!

Rushmore4.  Black Hills, SD:  Our family has been to the Black Hills a few times, because it is one of our favorite places to go. There are just so many things to see in the Black Hills that I can barely begin to list all of them, but here are a few of my favorites: Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave, Deadwood, Reptile Gardens, Bear Country, and Badlands National Park.

 

5. See – I told you I haven’t been to very many places! Okay, so how’s this: “To be continued . . . ” 

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Top Three Pandora's BoxLast week was a great week for me! I’ve been entering my stories/poems at the challenges over at yeahwrite.me for almost a year now, but have never won any awards, but still I continued to post my stories not just because I enjoy the challenge, but because I enjoy writing. Period. Never didEditor Pick My 68-year-old Brain I expect to win an award because all the writers are so great over there. But last week I actually won not only one, but TWO awards! Can you believe that? I was so happy that (silly me) I cried tears of joy! The first award was the “Top Three Award” in the fiction/poetry category for my poem, “Pandora’s Box.” And then, best of all, I won “Editor Pick” for my story in the nonfiction category, “My 68-Year-Old- Brain.” I’m telling you, I had to pinch myself because it just seemed like a dream to me and I thought for sure that at any minute I would wake up and find out that it really wasn’t true! I guess it just goes to show that you have to keep trying and continue to do what you love, no matter what, because that’s what will make you happy.

hope springs eternal 500There are two things that I’m looking forward to in the upcoming week. I’ve been having so much trouble with my back; as a matter of fact, this has been a chronic problem which I’ve been suffering from for years and I’ve tried everything to get rid of it – medication, physical therapy, injections, even surgery, and all to no avail. So now I’m going to visit a chiropractor and I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I’m hoping that perhaps he will have a solution. I’m just so tired of my back pain preventing me from living a normal life. Some days I can’t even sit at my piano – and if you know anything about me, you know how much I love my piano! So I pray that this will help.

The second thing is so much better because this weekend is Father’s Day! This means that my son Joe,happy father's day my daughter Sarah and my son-in-law Axel will be coming over on Sunday to help me celebrate the wonderful man who is their father, my husband Mike. He is probably the best Dad on the planet. He has always put his children first, no matter what – even before me! And that about says it all, right? He would do anything in the world for his kids just to be sure that they are safe, healthy, and happy. And that’s only one of the many reasons that I love him. We’re planning on having a barbecue in the backyard and will spend quality family time out on our deck, and hopefully our Minnesota weather will cooperate. Right now the forecast tell us there’s a 40% chance of thunderstorms, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

And I’d like to wish all those Dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day. And remember: Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.

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.

Best,

Cindy's signature with flower and butterfly

share your world

 

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:

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

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