• 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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Discover Challenge: “Forgive and Forget”

I have received many pieces of advice in my almost sixty years of living here on earth, and not only that, but I was raised in a family of seven children. And believe me, my mother and father had plenty of advice to give out during the time that I was living at home – not only to me, but to my other six siblings! I heard it all – from “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” to “Treat others as you want them to treat you,” which I must admit is one of my all-time favorites. And in those days, sometimes the advice was given simultaneously with a spanking, so you never forgot it!

But I must say that the best advice I have ever received came from my dear mother. Because there were seven of us children, naturally we didn’t all get along all the time. We had our little arguments and we had our big arguments, too. And of course there were hurt feelings. And our mother told us that the best thing we could ever do would be to forgive and forget and not to ever hold a grudge. She said that when you hold a grudge it just festers inside you and makes you dark inside and all you are really doing is hurting yourself and the person you are holding a grudge against. But if you forgive the other person it will heal that grudge inside you and make you lighter and you will feel better.

Some years later after my mother passed away, I felt as though one of my sisters had done something wrong against me and we didn’t speak for quite a while. I was holding quite a grudge against her and I was finding it very difficult to forgive her. I knew in my heart that what I was doing was wrong, but something was holding me back from doing the right thing. I just couldn’t forget what she had done to me.

It was the day after Thanksgiving, and it was our tradition to decorate the house for Christmas. As I was unpacking a box of decorations, I found my Mom’s caroler bells. This was my special family heirloom. At that moment, her words “Forgive and forget” rang loud and clear through my head. I knew then that the healing inside me had begun. I could feel the grudge that I had been holding against my sister begin to slowly melt away.

I called her, we made amends, and things have been good between us ever since.

Forgive and forget. And never hold a grudge. It will only eat you up.

 

This is in response to the Discover Challenge: A Piece of Advice

 

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.

 

 

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