Wednesday, November 30, 2011
By Katharine Britton
Unfortunately, as too often happens in life, it is a funeral that brings them back together. Finally, however hesitantly, one sister reaches out, and the other sister tentatively returns home. Both it is both sisters who need the healing of reconciliation. In the end, they realize they need each other.
- What's your favorite day of the week? Why?
- What's your favorite Christmas movie?
- Is there a Christmas Carol that's special to you?
- Is there an art or craft that you'd love to be able to do?
- Do you have a live Christmas tree or an artificial one?
1. My favorite day of the week is Sunday. We usually sleep in a little longer than usual, and most Sundays are NASCAR or football...or both! Ultimately, it is also a good day to just spend time together. Thankfully, Bill & I both enjoy the same things.
2. I have a few favorite Christmas movies. I love "The Gift of Love", with Marie Osmond. It is really a version of "The Gift of the Magi", by O. Henry. I also love "A Christmas Story" ("You'll shoot your eye out!"). And I love all of the Muppet movies and specials, as well as Peanuts. (Truth be known, my inner-child is still very much a part of me!)
3. I have many favorite carols, so it is hard to pick just one. "O', Holy Night" brings me to tears.
4. I always wished that I could crochet. I wish I could make throws and sweaters and scarves...I just never learned.
5. We have a live tree. However, we are conscientious about making sure trees are replenished. Tree farms are good for this, and there are several in our rural area. We also compost ours after it has served as our Christmas tree. It becomes part of the next year's garden!
Thanks for the visit Patrice and Wendell! Hugs!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
The prompt this week was: What the Heck?
Immediately, I thought: "What the heck...?" Is this prompt, "What the heck, why not?" or is it, "What the heck, what now?" After much pondering (thanks, Brenda), I came to the realization that there are many responses to this. In fact, often one leads to the other, and sometimes with surprising results.
Bill and I live a very simple, stable life. We planned it that way, worked at it, actually. We have lived over twenty-three of our thirty-plus years in the same simple house. We try to be good citizens and decent people.
It was a shock when after thirty five years in one career (22 years at one place and 8 years at another when the first place closed), Bill was laid off. After smoke and mirrors, false hope and empty promises, Bill was without a job. What the heck?! What were we going to do?
Unemployment only lasts so long and Bill is not one to be idle or complacent. He put out dozens and dozens of resumes! Finally he took a job to fill in the monetary gap, until a position within his field opened up. What the heck? What choice was there?
After a year of that job, it was not working out on many levels. The pay was poor. The environment was less than desirable. It was not Bill. The economy being what it is, there is nothing moving in Bill's field of work. He decided perhaps it was time for a change. What the heck?
He had to do something, so he went back to school. Bill completely changed careers. He is currently going through the rigors of orientations and trying to adjust to his (our) new life.
There have been many What the Heck? moments for us, from family to health, in the past few years. We have learned that sometimes the best-laid plans are not what actually happens, and we are left to wonder What the Heck? Ultimately, however, decisions must be made. Life does go on. It is what it is. What doesn't kill you can make you stronger.
So, What the heck; what now? leads to What the heck, why not? The future reveals the answer to both.
Oh, what the heck?!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Hosted by Hilary at Feeling Beachie is the host of this Hop.
Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank to fill in the answers on your own blog. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own check out her site. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Jen from Just Another Day , who came up with the last two statements.
This week’s statements:
2. When I fly, I ____
3. I don’t like ___ but I ___.
4. My favorite ___ is ___.
5. Do you do most of your shopping in stores or online?
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I'm not the one with the green thumb; that would be Bill. If it has fur and/or a pulse, I'm good. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy plants, especially flowers. I'm pretty good with my angel-wing begonias, and my mum gardens do well. I'm just much better with animals. I get critters; we connect.
I was skeptical when the locust tree popped up in the far corner of the back yard. I didn't like the thorns. I was sure we could find a "better" tree. I called it a “scrub tree”. Yet, Bill took to it immediately. His green thumb was itching to get this tree growing. He said it was perfect; it was meant to be there. Bill insisted that he had wanted a tree for exactly that spot. So there it was: a locust tree that just moved itself in. How could I argue? Along with all of the critters we rescue, Bill rescues plants.
This was not a tree that I would have chosen however, when the wildlife took to it, I finally accepted it. It was now part of our yard. As it grew, birds began living in it! Orioles would stop there. King Birds regularly used the tree. Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Brown Creepers could be seen skittering up and down the tree often. Cardinals and Blue Jays seemed to be present constantly. Wren would sit there and sing to their little heart’s content! The locust tree now had a purpose. If the birds loved it, so could I.
We had been given a birdhouse when our beautiful niece and god-daughter passed away. Dewey was only eight years old when she died during an asthma attack. She was an extraordinary child, so very full of life and love. There had never seemed the "right" place before for this special birdhouse. It just didn't seem appropriate to put it out in the open, unsheltered. The cedars and pines seemed somehow wrong, so serious, dark and stern. They attracted birds that showed no interest in this little house. Yet, this locust tree seemed to attract beauty and life. It was so busy; just like Dewey! With this in mind, we mounted Dewey's birdhouse on the fence post, next to the locust tree.
The wren moved into the birdhouse immediately. They worked hard to set up housekeeping. So, when the tornado came through, taking down half of our fence, we were devastated. The birdhouse was not damaged, but the fence post hung loose. By the time the fence was repaired, the wrens had been forced to abandon it.
The following spring, when nesting season began, we watched Dewey's birdhouse with much anticipation and hope. One morning we heard the wren cheerfully singing in the locust tree. By noon, they were filling the birdhouse with twigs and bedding. We were overjoyed at the return of life to Dewey’s birdhouse.
Unbelievably, the next day a terrible storm tore through our neighborhood, taking an adjoining section of fence with it. I was shocked! How could this happen again?! I could only imagine what the wren thought! I knew there was no family in the birdhouse yet, but I feared that the birds would never trust this little house again. I feared Dewey's birdhouse would remain abandoned forever now.
The fence was repaired, but the real damage was done. The wren had moved on. I could hear the wren, as they nested in neighboring trees. I would see them happily coming and going, but Dewey's birdhouse sat empty, now abandoned. This made me so sad. I imagined it made Dewey sad, too. We were devastated yet again.
One day shortly thereafter, I noticed the male wren sitting in the locust tree. He was singing loudly and joyfully. I then noticed twigs and grass sticking out of the birdhouse. I was hopeful, but cautious. I was afraid to get too excited yet. I knew Dewey must be watching from the heavens with anticipation, too!
Later, Bill was out doing yard work when he saw a little bird's face peeking out of Dewey's birdhouse. In the locust tree, the male wren sat singing with what seemed to be much satisfaction. The wrens were back! They had moved into Dewey's birdhouse!
Our hearts were again full of joy, as well! We are sure Dewey was, too. She was all about loving and sharing, always offering help to whoever needed it, in any way that she could. Dewey always wanted everyone to be happy, even animals. Her favourite song was, “Sunshine on My Shoulders”, which truly summed her up.
Dewey's legacy is simple: love, giving from the heart, unselfishly. Her spirit lives on.
For Dewey, with love:
16 November 1987-13 June 1996…
forever in our hearts.
The Golden Sky
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Every Thursday, Brenda of Fiction with a Purpose poses a topic to ponder. Inevitably, it becomes a challenge for me and my writing. Sometimes I ponder it so long that I end up not blogging about it! Brenda has really become a wonderful friend, an inspiration, and she moves me to actually share my thoughts. So...after reading her post, I thought. This is ultimately what I came up with to share.
Nature moves me. The seasons, the sky, the sun and the moon, the stars...lakes, waterfalls, trees...wildlife, animals. My personal connection with animals has been a deep one, an integral part of my life and who I am. From working with animals professionally to rescue work, I have learned much about and from animals. Animals are true to themselves and each other. Animals are genuine and honest in their feelings and in their actions. I am moved by this.
I am moved by the many homeless and abandoned animals. I am moved by the orphaned ones who die because humans don't care, because humans are irresponsible. I am moved by the will to survive that animals exhibit, in spite of man's inhumanity.
Last year, a woman took in a young, ill, stray cat. On Thanksgiving, the cat had kittens. She was too ill to care for her kittens. I took in the litter of four kittens. They were also very ill. For weeks I bottle-fed them every two hours. I kept humidifiers going so they could breathe. But they made it; all four kittens survived. Their will to survive moved me to help them. They wanted to live; they deserved to live.
Grizelda & Chloe will be a year old this Thanksgiving. They were from that litter. They move me.
Hilary of FEELING BEACHIE says,
- My first car was a ___
- I find a ___ very relaxing
- Red ___________ make me think of _______________.
- Next year, ___________ will ______________.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Growing Up Bipolar
By Terri Cheney
Many books have been written about the often misunderstood illness known as “Bipolar”, but few have been written about a bipolar childhood. Terri wrote this book with the hope of shedding light on this illness for the parents and loved ones of these children.
Terri Cheney tells her heartbreaking and frightening story of growing up trapped within herself. She explains that even as a child she was aware of her moods and her feelings being controlled by what she called “The Black Beast”. It controlled Terri and everything in her world. Though she was acutely aware of it, she was just as aware of its effect on her. She felt helpless, completely at the mercy of this relentless “Black Beast”. She also felt the strain of the burden of keeping it hidden.
Terri is honest and open in discussing her feelings and behaviors as a bipolar child. She tries to give insight and shed light on the actions associated with this illness. Terri tells of the moods that ranged from her “Disneyland Days” to her suicide attempt at age seven.
Throughout her youth, Terri struggled with extremely high intelligence that put her in advanced classes. This exposed her to situations far beyond her years, and excited the Black Beast to almost consume her.
Terri Cheney’s writing is powerful and compelling. This is an important book whether you are bipolar, know someone who may be, or want to understand this confusing, complex disorder.
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty.
That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed
when the gales of November came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most,
with a crew and good captain well-seasoned.
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland
and later that night when the ship's bell rang
could it be the North Wind they'd be feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
'twas the Witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and breakfast had to wait,
when the gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.
When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
sayin', " Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya'."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said,
"Fellas, it's been good to know ya'."
The captain wired in he had water comin' in,
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized,
may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her.
And the iron boats go, as all Mariners know,
with the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in a Maritime Sailor's Cathedral.
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times,
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!
~written by Gordon Lightfoot~
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
From Depression to Hope
By Julie K. Hersh
"Struck by Living" gives hope to those who understand the depths and desperation that may come with depression. There is hope, and Julie Hersh shares it eloquently. I am glad that she has been “Struck by Living”, and offers it to others.
1. Dreaming asks: What accomplishments make you the most proud?
2. Suzanne asks: When did your family first come to the country which you now live?
3. Wendell asks: What's your favorite way to serve carrots?
4. Do you decorate with anything that has Santa or Father Christmas when you prepare for Christmas?
5. Do you prefer big dogs or small dogs? Something in between, maybe?
1. The accomplishments that make me the most proud are those associated my writing. Even more however, are those associated when I overcome some struggle (health, personal, life lessons).
2. Good grief! My family is far-flung and fragmented! I know some relatives have been traced back to 1652, from England to America. However, there were Cherokee here already!
3. Wendell, I'm with you...I like them raw and fresh!
4. My husband, Bill, loves St. Nicholas ("Santa"). We do believe...
5. We love dogs! Our biggest was our yellow lab, Grits. He was our first "FurKid" together. We already had my elderly "mutt" Velvet, who looked like a small black beagle. We have had many in-between, through the years. I admit I am very fond of Shelties, in part due to size. Maisie was 14 lbs. She was perfect, in every way. We love critters!
Please join us on Patrice's Porch over at Everyday Ruralty!
Here is the link to the show: www.richeson75.com
I am hoping you will like his art enough to vote for his painting to win a "People's Choice" Award. Thank you, and enjoy the show!
Monday, November 7, 2011
By Mary Jane Nealon
For Mary Jane Nealon, she knew her entire life that she was meant to serve others. Her role models were saints, and those who could be saints: nurses, such as Clara Barton. She read the biographies of truly admirable women, mostly saints and nurses that she would strive to be like.
Mary Jane follows her dream into nursing school. There, her dream takes on a new and very personal meaning. Her younger brother becomes seriously ill with cancer. When she loses him to the disease, she finds healing for herself in her nursing career and in poetry.
Poets have used this medium for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Poetry can put feelings into words helping to sort out feelings and events in one’s life. It is cathartic and healing.
Writing poetry helped Mary Jane in her healing and coming to terms with issues, and it honed her skills as a writer. She brings her poetic sensitivity to her memoir. Here she speaks of some of her experiences as a nurse in many difficult, even desperate situations. She works for some time as a medical flight nurse. Later she works men’s homeless shelters, and the first AIDS ward in New York City.
This is a remarkable book, beginning with a title that is appropriate and poetic. I don’t know if she will achieve saint status, but I know some nurses should. Mary Jane Nealon may be one of them.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
of Fiction with a Purpose
Brenda's prompt this week is:
"Online Friendships I am Thankful For"
This is hard. I really am thankful for each and every one of my followers, and I have many friends. I have gotten closer to some, for various reasons. At Brenda's request and urging, I will attempt to list some of those that I am especially thankful for.
Brenda of Fiction With a Purpose...I adore Brenda. She is funny, intelligent, makes me think, inspires me, gets me writing even when I am having "issues", and she truly cares. She is genuine, and yes...I think we would be BFF...in fact, I believe we are working on it.
Hilary of FEELING BEACHIE...Hilary makes me feel good when I go to her blog or talk with her. She makes me feel like I am welcome and belong.She is creative, sweet and funny.
Kea of Fuzzy Tales...Kea always comments and we share a common bond of love of critters. I love her blog, her posts and I think she is very enjoyable.
Pat of A View from the Edge...Pat is fun and such a faithful friend. She is always there, interested and involved. I love her blog.
Old Kitty of Ten Lives and Second Chances...we see eye to eye on critters, okay cats in particular. She always comments and is very supportive. I think she is a sincerely nice person.
RoryBore of Time Out for Mom...she is another who comments and is involved. She is very supportive, sincere and likable.
Beth (my kindred spirit), Elisa, Sherri, Lesley, Susan, Amy, Tera, Michelle, Lori, Anna Jean, Marion, Anne, Tess...and the other many authors that I have connected with. You are all very special to me. It is you that keeps me reading and blogging about books. You are special writers. I am thankful for not only your sharing of your gift, but your sharing with me personally. I am thankful for your support and kindness. You are all wonderful.
Again...this does not exclude those I have not mentioned. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you all.