Monday, August 11, 2014

And the Web has Exploded--Robin Williams gone..

And the Web has exploded

   I'm sure you have heard by now of the death of Robin Williams. The internet has nearly imploded with the news spreading quicker than a western wildfire. He was loved by many, tolerated by many and also disliked by many. It all depended on your own personal taste and preferences. While I personally was not a fan of the language that he used, (but in truth, it was language no different than so many other entertainers use) I could and will not argue his mind blowing talent.
  I remember him as Mork on Happy Days and then co-starring with other talents in Mork and Mindy. His rapid fire wit and imagination making for an incredible viewing experience. I have always been a fan of improvisation, my first taste of that coming from Jonathan Winters and then following the same path, Robin Williams. Mork and Mindy may not have been highly thought of at the time, I don't know and honestly don't care as it was fun, it was silly, it was goofy, it was unpredictable and it was fun. It was Robin Williams being Robin Williams.
  While I'm not a big movie enthusiast I have seen many of his works. His range of style was impressive, his talent, without question. Like him or not, the man could act. He was the rebel that he presented to us in Good Morning Vietnam. He was the genie he did voice over for in Aladdin gifting us with his tremendous ability and creativity. He was and will forever be Peter Pan. He will be our happy thoughts even in the sadness in our heart for his loss.
  It doesn't matter the cause of death, not really. The loss is great for us all. Depression is a serious problem no matter who you are. But if you are a creative person, especially a highly talented and imaginative person who feels everything a thousand times more than one who is not as creative it is a tremendous demon to battle. It doesn't matter how many times you think you have it under some form of control it manages to slip away and attack from a different angle. The darkness that tends to shroud the demons do not help. The truth that there are so many who can not possibly comprehend does not help. One who is depressed feel as if they are doing battle all alone and with each step forward are sliding three steps backward. Sliding backward into an abyss from which there is no rescue.
   Robin Williams was a great talent. Yes, he will live on in the movies he made,there is no doubt the fire he lit in others who watched and wished to emulate he will bring us other talented actors who will in their own ways entertain us. There will never be another such as Robin Williams. May he rest in the arms of peace, his demons finally stilled. May his family find comfort as they deal with the sadness of their loss.
 Good-bye Robin, we're leaving the window open nu.. na nu...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Considering You Lord

In the midst of the storms thundering around me
the rains of strife and fear pouring down,
You are my shelter, You are my refuge
Drawing me close to You, covering me with Your peace
What took so long, to realize what it is like
when I consider what You have done for me
Why did I hesitate to draw near to You

In my youth, I heard Your voice, speaking within my heart
calling to me, inviting me to come to You
Offering what no one else could, what nothing else could
serenity in You, a peace that can be found nowhere else
forgiveness for the sins of this earthly heart
Cleansing of a stained life by Your mercy and grace
What took so long, to realize, what it is like
when I consider what You have done for me
How could I take so long, to draw near to You?

In the time of troubles, I heard You
speaking softly to me, letting me know You are near
always so near to me, even when I wandered
You still remained, watching over me, watching over my life
waiting for me to see, how far away I had grown
the wrong paths that I had taken, leading me away from You
all the while You waited, knowing in time, I would realize
when I took time to consider what it is like
to walk with You, close to You through every storm
to walk with You along every pathway in this life
because of what it is, that You have done for me

Heaven's glory you left, to come to this place
God becoming man, to take on what no one else could
Walking this earth with a message of hope and words of love
Teaching all who would listen Your words of compassion
When I read Your Word, how could I not consider who You are
An apostle of our confession, sent with the authority to reveal God
To bring God to us, to me, so we may see
When I read Your Word, how could I not consider who You are
High Priest for our confession, standing between us and God
Your blood spilled, given for our transgressions
So that we, so that I, may draw near to God, and know God the Father
Whether I stand in the high places or struggle in the valley I can boast in You
Your peace surrounds me, Your love enfolds me
Your most merciful grace heals and forgives me of all I have done
How my Lord, my Savior
could I not consider You?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You called me Disturbed

                          photo taken at Cades Cove in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

 Recently I found myself in an online conversation that was civil, but just barely. I had shared something that I saw on a social media site knowing that it had potential to bring out those who are rabid in their beliefs and don't mind showing it. I was therefore not surprised when the derisive comments appeared. I will be the first to admit that I have at times, shared or posted things on social media sites  that I know will get a reaction. Knowing that those reactions will not always be good. I do this in the hopes of starting rational, mature conversations on those topics. Unfortunately, on many social media sites, mature and rational are rare and endangered. The comments that were made to this posting were really not all that bad and nothing unexpected. The problem was in one of words used. I am not one to use words that are known as curse words, while I know that to many they are merely words no worse than any other, I simply choose not to use them and would prefer others to not use them on my personal page. When I asked that people who commented on anything I post please not use such language that was when the problem began.
 I realize that people have things that they are very passionate about. If you bring that topic up the best you can do is stand back out of the way and let them get it out of their system. I love to see comments made on my postings. I may not agree with you, but you have as much right to your beliefs as I have mine. Maybe its my age showing, but I prefer that those words not be used, I think that there are way too many other options and alternatives available. Yes, certain words may show your feeling, but so may one of the options. Using those options may also get your points more attention as people seek out to understand what you are saying and what those new words mean. As it is, my requesting that those words not be used had the one disagreeing with me calling me disturbed. I was even called the White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland fame.
  This conversation happened early one morning. I could have allowed it to ruin my day but I didn't. In fact I did the complete opposite and had way too much fun with it. Commenting that if I were the White Rabbit- to which I disagree I'm more the March Hair (spooooooooooon) type, then Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter) is my neighbor. I laughed and had coworkers laughing rather than holding onto anger and hurt feelings.
  Then, I began thinking more on the word. I realized that they were right in one sense. While I'm sure they were not meaning to be complimentary by calling me disturbed, they have no idea how right they are. I am very disturbed, and wish that more people were as well.

 I am disturbed at the number of people in this country who are homeless and hungry while this country sends billions of dollars to other countries. Some countries who don't even like us.
 I am disturbed at how easy it is for illegals to enter this country then demand and get assistance while those who are citizens often can't get needed help. Those who worked for so long only to lose that job then find themselves at risk of losing everything they have because for what ever reasons they can't find another job or one that pays enough to cover their needs.
  I am disturbed at how easy it is for illegals to get medical help while our veterans suffer and die due to lack of care. (I'm not against immigration, I simply think that it ought to be done legally as it has been done by so many for generations. Where immigrants came to this country, became citizens adopting this country and this country's ways instead of demanding we change for them.)
  I am disturbed at the lack of caring for our children. How so many are so self absorbed that they forget they are parents and supposed to be caring for their children in a responsible manner. Instead so many are more concerned about getting their drugs or alcohol of choice. Too many children are neglected and abused. Too many children are going hungry, too many are doing without medical care, clothing, love. Too many children are dying because of abuse or neglect.
  I am disturbed that our country's infrastructure is crumbling from age while we still send billions to those other countries. That so many of our cities are nearly abandoned and rotting away around us.
  I am disturbed that it is so easy for illegals to enter our country while other countries guard their borders with deadly force.
  I am disturbed by all the things I see reported of what goes on in other countries. How innocent civilians are killed. How children are abducted and forced into military service. How children are abducted-or sold by family- into slavery. It disturbs me to see so many hurting, so many sick, so many afraid, so many forced to live under certain rules and regulations under threat of death. Not a quick death either.
  I am disturbed at the way the earth has been polluted and ravaged by corporations seeking more and more money without caring for the damage they are doing. It bothers me to see how the planet is reacting through storms, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and landslides. Forest fires are destroying more than forests as homes and buildings burn.
  I am disturbed by the greed and corruption that is rampant in governments. Not just that in this country but in almost if not all. While those that went in with good intentions are in the minority and are forced to battle against great odds, there are more that have greater strength and power and will get their way. Their way usually meaning better for them and well- do the best you can for the average citizen.
  I am disturbed by the abuse of the elderly, whether it is by family or attendants in assisted living facilities who are trusted to take care of them.
 I'm disturbed at the abuse of animals. Whether it is intention, whether it is out of ignorance, whether it is accidental, the results are often not good for the animal.
 I am disturbed by the many different groups of people who demand tolerance and acceptance but yet refuse to give to others what they demand for themselves.
  My heart bleeds and weeps for this list and for the many things that I haven't mentioned here. It seems that so many have lost that thing called compassion. It appears that self-serving has become the normal way of life. Without compassion there is no mercy, no kindness, no caring for others and their needs. You called me disturbed, you have no idea how right you are. I can only imagine what a different world this would be if others became as disturbed as I am.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 I asked some friends a question this morning, How does your garden grow?

 Yesterday I was out watering my flowers and considered the above question. I imagine the first thing that comes to mind is a physical garden whether it is a flower garden or a vegetable garden. Both of which take a lot of care. One must prepare the area, clearing it of weeds and stones. Once the ground is ready, you head for your garden center of choice and pick out your plants. Then you decide where you are planting what. Some plants do better in full sun, others only need partial sun. Some plants need a great deal of water while others do well with limited amounts.   All plants will need feeding, whether you use plant food specific for that particular plant or a fertilizer that will feed everything you plant. It takes a great deal of work- getting a garden to grow. Everything has its own particular requirements for it to grow into a healthy, producing plant. Once it is a fully grown plant that is producing, you must take care of it even then. Flowers may need to be kept dead-headed, or trimmed. Vegetables need to be harvested. For the entire growing season you are kept busy- getting your garden to grow. Especially if you want a bountiful harvest of edibles, or an array of flowers that would win awards and should adorn a magazine cover. Butterfly and Bee fight over the abundant flowers you have grown.

But, what of other gardens? What do you do to help those gardens grow? What other gardens you might ask? What about family? You haven't considered family as a garden? Consider this, as a child we were cared for when our parents gave us what we needed in the way of clothing and food with a few extras tossed in along the way. As we grew we learned how to get along with our siblings and various relatives. If we showered them with respect and love, we (usually) got respect and love in return. When we became adults we began to consider the type of person we wanted to spend the rest of our life with. When we met various people we invested time and energy into the relationship trying to determine if this person was 'the one'. Over the course of time, many hours would be invested, various activities- some that you probably didn't even like- but all to work toward the end results of the garden of your own family. When you marry, you will tend to the union through your emotions. Feeding it hope, faith, love, compassion while watering it with forgiveness and mercy. You will prune away the bad branches such as jealousy, envy and anger to name a few. When the time is right your union will produce your own children and you will care for them well. Feeding and watering them with the same emotions you did with your spouse. Training them as one would a vine that you wanted to grow in a certain direction you will train your children to be good, productive adults. Then you will watch them as they move on to their own family garden.

What about your garden of friends? Now of course to cultivate friends is not the same as vegetables, but, many similar things are required.  While you aren't going to be clearing ground physically, you will prepare your heart for new friends when you meet them. While in a physical garden there are times when a volunteer plant appears. You didn't plant it, for some reason it was just there. Maybe the wind blew in the seed or an animal dropped it. However it happened, there it is. The same happens with people. While we may think that we only want certain types for friends, there are times when others will find their way to us. Do we treat them as we do the other people that we deliberately sought out? Or do we rip them from our lives as one does an unwanted weed in the midst of an immaculate lawn? The friends that we have, we must take care of them, make sure they know that we appreciate them, be there for them when they have a need. We need to treat them well, as we would like to be treated. Shower them with laughter, wrap them in peace, take a how to weed out the bad things and feed them with love. Sadly though, there are times when a friendship falls apart. It is not good for either one of you, creating only pain and heartache. When the bad outweighs the good it is time to remove them from the garden.

You can say the same for careers. You prepare when you educate yourself for your dream job. You feed the dream when you practice. You water it when you continually seek out knowledge of and methods for doing this dream. When you land your dream career you feed it by working hard. You water it by continually learning from those who have gone before you. You water it when you seek out better, more efficient methods. You weed it when you remove the things that are detrimental to your career. You see it produce in the way of bonuses, awards, acknowledgements of what you have accomplished.

What of your faith? You prepare your heart, you acknowledge your needs and you seek out the answers to your questions. You feed it when you spend time with those who know more. Those who are like minded with you.  You feed it when you read the words that are given on it. You water it, when you pray, when you openly acknowledge and share without malice or judgement. When you seek guidance in this walk, you are caring for your garden of faith. You learn to discern truth from fallacy when listening to others speak. You realize that there is a difference in religion and in a relationship. Your garden produces when others understand what you are saying, when they seek out for themselves their own garden of faith.

There are many gardens in our lives. It is up to us to cultivate them, to care for them, to bring them to a state of productiveness. So I ask does your garden grow?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dear attacked and or attacker

 I was sitting here contemplating something I read recently. I've carried it with me since, considering what I would say, should I ever come face to face with either the recipient of an attack or the attacker. Having no way of knowing if the most recent incident was real or not and not knowing any of the people involved I can only go on feelings. I can only think of the 'what would I do?' if as I said, I stood face to face with one who has gone through, or is going through, this.

 If I were to be able to talk with one who has been attacked, I would have to be compassionate and tell them- stay strong.
You have a family member with one or more handicaps and you are doing your best to deal with them yourself. Good for you! That is not an easy thing to do yet you have shown that love of family over convenience is what is important. My hope is that you are able to assist as needed, to do for as needed all in love. I hope that in the moments that for what ever reason you are unable that you  reach out to others, allow them to assist you. Let other family members, and or friends help so that it doesn't become too much. Caring for someone who cannot care for themselves either in part or not at all is a very daunting task. It can become too much for one to bear. Let others help shoulder the burden (even though it is a burden of love) so that not all the weight falls on you alone. Even a thirty minute break makes all the difference.  It will be better for you, and for the ones you love.

One incident I recall is where a mother was anonymously attacked over her autistic son. The attacker did not like the son being outside, making noise or a multitude of other acts this boy was supposedly making. Mother, your son has as much right to be outside in your yard as much as any other child has to be outside. Making noise? We all make noise in some form or other-ignore the ignorance.

 There are times when as much as we want, it is impossible to keep a loved one home with us, but for those who can, the road ahead of them is difficult. You have voluntarily taken this road and I do salute you, I do applaud your strength, carry that strength on, especially should someone who doesn't understand attacks. Allow your love to carry you through.

 You, yourself have health issues. You see yourself in the mirror every day. You see the person you have become, whether through neglect of self or through no fault of your own, you see the struggles and the pain and you have decided to do something about it. You have begun to take better care of yourself through every faction that is your life. You have changed your way of eating. Fast food is history, comfort foods are ninety-nine percent history (you are allowed a treat every now and again), fried foods are banned. Your diet now is healthy, one of fruits and vegetables, whole foods- not processed. You have begun to exercise. It isn't easy at first. You have all that excess weight slowing you down. You have other health issues slowing you down- but you are trying and you are determined- good for you. I salute you, I am proud of you and your determination. Carry that on, especially when someone who doesn't understand attacks. Do not allow their actions or words to deter you from accomplishing your goals. Look past the insensitivity of others as looking through a haze of smoke and keep moving forward. Do not allow anyone to stop what you have set out to accomplish.

I could continue on an on over the various things that people have been attacked over. Lifestyle choices, religious choices, the level that radios are played, a yard not immaculate, flying flags..etc..

Sadly I believe we have become a very selfish lot. It has to be our way or not at all. Believe what I believe, live as I live or move. How wrong is that?

Attacker? Did you think I would end this without speaking to you? Did you believe I would give you a pass and not speak of how your actions make me feel?

You make me feel ashamed. Your actions in my opinion are the actions of a coward. You hide behind the cloak of anonymity and secrecy. You spew venomous words that only create hurt, anger and disappointment. Maybe you feel that your idealistic world has been tarnished. Maybe you feel that you have a right to control the actions of those around you. I know people like that and yes, it bothers me greatly. There are things that we have a right to complain about, illegal activities, domestic violence, a yard where danger lurks as in abandoned cars on blocks, a freezer left outside with the door on, dead brush piled high creating a haven for snakes or a risk for fire. If it is a risk, yes, say something to the proper people, if you cannot have a reasonable, mature conversation with the ones creating the hazard. Do not attack people who are trying to do the best they can in a given situation. Applaud them, encourage them, offer to help them but don't attack them.

We do not know the struggles of others. We do not know the storms and battles that the people we see are facing. We do not need to add to those struggles by acting out in cruelty and insensitivity. We do not need to hide behind anonymous letters. We are adults, we should act like adults.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What is Missing and Why?

              I kept thinking that something was missing.....something was different...something was wrong.  Maybe it was me, I haven't sent out nearly as many emails this year as I have in the past. I was allowing the fear of causing people to turn away out of annoyance of too many emails, to stop me. No one had ever complained. No one had ever asked me to remove them from my list. Not one person had ever said anything, but I still worried. Now I wonder, was that fear part of the reason for what was missing?

           I was also feeling tired, not burned out, but close. So maybe, just maybe I wasn't trying as hard as I have in the past. Maybe, just maybe, my brain was simply too tired to come up with something comprehensive and complete that would make sense and inspire the reader. It wasn't that my heart isn't in it, because it is. As a Survivor, as long as the fight isn't finished, my heart is determination, my desire for a cure will always drive me. But I didn't want to post dribble that would make the fight (at least on my part) into a joke.

            Where I work, we aren't allowed to do any fundraising. I understand the reasons and reasoning. No one can support every single cause out there. It is simply impossible. It is also now impossible to say yes to one and no to another because then the "another" cries discrimination and threatens lawsuits and before you know it there are lawyers and reporters and protestors camped out on the front lawn. So it is easier and safer to say no to all of them. I understand that....but it sure put a hurt on my fundraising as most of the people I know, are those I work with. Every nickel and quarter that they tossed in that cup added up and made a difference. Did the frustration of having that avenue blocked hurt my enthusiasm that badly? Was I giving up?

           A lot of the people who were on my team last year no longer work with me. In fact, so far this year all of the people who were on my team are missing in action. I could go ahead and sign up immediate family my son will help I know. My husband will probably be out of town driving somewhere..but at least that would be someone other than just me. No, I'm not feeling sorry for myself.. I have better more important things to do I simply do not have time for self pity.

       I need to figure out why.....the missing is missing.

    I can blame it on the economy.......because it really stinks. People are still out of work. People do not have the disposable income they once did. The cost of everything keeps going up but paychecks are not following suit.
    People may be having to help relatives or friends more than in the past.
    Health issues and insurance may be part of the problem.
    After reports have gone out on how "charities" are such a big business, people may fear that all the money is going into the pockets of the top dogs of the company and not to the various departments that are always mentioned.

  There could be as many reasons for the missing as there are stars in the sky, grains of sand on the beach, leaves on the Oak trees in my yard. I could guess all night and still not get the right answer.  In the past I have raised money online as well as in person. That hasn't happened but once this year. (Thank you Dennis, I still have a gift for you). I don't know what I can say that would convince anyone to donate. The reasons are the same....research, cause, prevention, treatments, medications all have come about thanks to donations. HOPE house, places where the cancer fighter and family can stay if they must travel for treatment. Look Good Feel Better a program for the cancer fighter to help them with wigs, scarves, hats and makeup tricks..Rider programs that help get the fighter to doctor visits and to get their medications. The online program that offers information and someone to talk with when you have questions. All of these take we work, we find fundraising opportunities and we ask everyone we know.

So, yes...I'm asking...would you consider making a donation to help finish the fight against cancer? Would you help as we work to help survivors celebrate more birthdays? We have all been touched in some way by cancer...lets work to put an end to the battle, put an end to the fear, the worry, the loss of friends and family because of cancer. Together, we can do just that.

We will be having our second annual 5K at Common Grounds in Stanley on May 9th.. message me for more details..

We are still taking orders for Luminaria Bags.. see me, email me, mail a check made out to the ACS and send it to my PO Box 371 Stanley, NC 28164. The bags are $10 each and can be either in honor of or in memory of..
Any and all donations...see me, drop a check in the mail or donate online at the above link.
sign up for a Relay near you..or if you're local join my team..

Thank you for everything you do in the fight against cancer.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rainy Days, weekends and those fond memories

  Its Friday, I've completed another work week. I have the weekend before me, and I did have lots of plans for that time. Only now of course it is raining. That means no yard work, not unless it decides to stop raining (and it isn't supposed to do that), or unless I don't mind getting wet. Even if it does stop raining the leaves that I haven't raked all fall and winter will not be mulched by the mower as I had hoped. If I do anything, it will be in the flower garden area and with a rake not the mower. I really do want to get started on that if only Ma Nature would cooperate a bit here.
  But, since its raining, and its dark (at this writing it is 8:13pm) I won't be doing any work outside, but I can share some rain stories from here on the Dirt Road..aka the Mud Run during times like this.
   I love summer showers, not so much thunderstorms but those sudden rain storms that appear, dropping rain here but not there, fast and furious or slow and easy. I've driven down the roadways to run in and out of rain or watched it fall on one side of the road and not the other. I've even seen the white lines of the road be the stopping point as the rain fall stops right on the line going no farther.
   As a young person growing up here I remember knowing when the rain was coming. The sky could be this beautiful, crystal clear blue, not a cloud anywhere but the trees gave warning of what was coming. Looking at the trees the area would be darker, the colors of the leaves more intense as they turned over. The air would grow quieter as all the woodland critters took refuge from what was coming. Soon, you could hear it approaching, the rain falling on the leaves on the trees and the dead leaves under them. You had two choices, take shelter, or enjoy the cooling off the rain would bring from the heat of the summer sun.
     Our Grandfather was a collector. He would bring home some of the most interesting, useable stuff. His yard was never cluttered or trashed, there was a place for everything, but he always allowed us to make use of the things he brought home. Like all of those sheets of metal. I have no idea what they were intended to be used for, where they may have came from or what his plans were for them. For us, they made great clubhouses. With careful precision we could stand them up and begin our shelter of the day. Building them as one would a house of cards only bigger and a bit more heavy. Each sheet had a line of holes directly down the center which meant careful layering to prevent leaks. It was a treat to be inside one of the clubhouses when a shower would come up. Listening to the rain as it struck the 'roof', hearing the drumming music that it made was mesmerizing. There was something special about having that privacy, a bit of secrecy even though all we were doing was sitting on the sandy dirt inside, out of the sun.
    Grandfather also built a large open shed behind his workshop. One end was open so he could simply drive his tractor in and out without hassle. At that time there wasn't any worries about anyone bothering his things. We all knew each other on this road then as there were only five families here. Times have changed. I stood many times at that entrance and watched the rain falling, watering the garden, cooling the temperature down a bit.
       One thing I have always loved was to take hikes in the woods on our property. There are several small creeks that run through it, more when there is plenty of rain ( such as now). Behind our house, down at the bottom of the hill there is a small gulch. During the dry times, it is dry. When we've had a rain storm, that gulch becomes its own creek. The land slopes downward, so the rain water starts at the main road and follows the gulch down through the woods until it reaches the pond and then once the pond is full to overflowing the water moves on through the woods, filling the creeks as it goes. If there is enough water I can hear it falling from my back yard.
There have been times when I've been walking only to get caught in a shower. Dad built a covered shelter down at the pond. The tin roof is wonderful to sit under and watch  as the rain falls and strikes the surface of the pond sending ripples outward. Raindrops hitting the surface of water has a totally different sound than anything else. Away from the pond if the rain isn't falling too hard I can take shelter under the trees, listening to the rain as it strikes the leaves. At times, I can feel the rain as it rolls down from leaf to leaf until it falls to where I am standing. I've walked along parts of the Dirt Road where the tree top canopy reaches out and entangles creating a covering that protects those under it from the rain. Once again walking and listening to nature's music. Of course those hard showers that can penetrate the canopy creates the puddles that I loved to wade through then and still do to this day. The feeling of red clay mud between your toes gets in your heart and stays there.
         As a youth, and now as an adult, I love to open the windows and listen to the summer showers falling. There is no better stress relief. Forget your pills, forget those self medications such as alcohol, forget that hot bubble bath- well no, lets not forget that, it works well also--but, the sound of falling rain is magical. Stress and frustration melts away leaving all the good memories in its place. I may not get to work in my yard tomorrow, but I will get to sit on the front porch with a cup of coffee and watch the rain falling. All the while remembering ...  with a smile.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

There's No Place For That Here

                               No matter how big this world is-there is no place for hate

  There's no place for that here.

  Where I work there is a good diversity of people. From the various nationalities, ages and more we are quite the mixed bunch. Being so different, there are always going to be problems. We dress differently, we speak differently, we act and live differently.  It is a human thing. We have disagreements, we have those moments when we react and over react to an action or word. We have our own set of likes and dislikes, our beliefs and our ways. A lot is due to how we are brought up, some is social conditioning, some is immaturity, selfishness and petty. And some, is just the opposite in that we are mature, compassionate and real.
  I've worked for this company for a long time. On August first it will be twenty-four years. We've grown over the years so now I don't know every individual like I once did, but I know a lot of them. Most of the people I work with, I only see at work so I honestly know nothing of their home life but what they share. Whether it is in personal conversation or one of the many online social medias.   I May not agree with some lifestyle choices that are shared, but that doesn't stop me from liking the person.  Every one, every single person has value. We all have attributes that make us worthwhile. Knowing that, is part of what makes me so upset over an incident that happened recently.

The position that I have in being Lead Person, means that I am all over the department all day long. I am interacting with each employee at different times. I am making sure that the jobs are running as they should be and giving each person specific instructions as needed. I've learned their different personalities and come to appreciate each one. No, none are perfect. Some will hog machines that are needed in the process of the job. Some will sneak around and slip away with materials that are not theirs in the desire to make their personal job easier even if it makes the other person's more difficult. They will extend a ten minute break into as much as they can get by with. Little things usually totally ignorable until they get too extreme and need intervention to keep the production floor running smoothly.  I have also seen how employees help each other. I've seen them stop a small frame malfunction before it became a major problem. I've seen them jump in to help straighten out a major problem because it wasn't caught in time. I've seen them helping each other with a smile. That's part of why I was so upset recently.

I know, how well I know, that there is a problem with attitudes over illegal immigration. I know that there is a need for change in how it is handled. But I know that hating an entire nationality over the illegal acts of some are not the answer. I know that times have changed, when once people immigrating, no matter where they came from changed to follow this countries laws and ways. Of course, not only that has changed. Our own acts, beliefs and ways have changed so much over time it is difficult to say we do this this way and that that way. This is acceptable and that is not. However that is not what this writing is about.

I know, that we all have bad days. I know that there are going to be those days when our attitude is less than good. For what ever reason, our day is not going well. We aren't happy, we aren't going around whistling a happy tune, we aren't smiling or wishing anyone a good day. We are in a word, miserable and nothing is going to change that. At that time, it is very easy for anything to set us off, for us to take our bad day and bad attitude out on others around us who may be totally innocent. While at some point I remember reading that we should never hold things in, taking out our bad day on others is wrong. Point blank wrong.

There is no place for what happened here.

An employee was having a bad day. I don't know why. I don't know what set them off. When I last spoke with them they were fine or at least appeared fine. At some point that changed, or maybe they had hidden it well when I was there. Nearing the end of the day I was hearing how they had blown a fuse and was shouting racist comments loud enough to be heard. Intended to be heard. This upset many of those in hearing- which was intended. I know these people. As I said, I've seen them in action. They did not deserve what was being dished out. I saw the expression on the faces of those in the area, even those who have been known in the past to have bad days were upset of this.

It won't happen again from this person.

But what about someone else? Someone who doesn't like this nationality or that one? Someone who has a problem with another person's sexual orientation or if they are one who goes clubbing on a regular basis? Someone who may not like Republicans or Democrats, may not like Muslims or Buddhists or Christians. The list goes on and on as to what we may or may not care for. No matter our preferences, and even though we do have the freedom of speech, that does not give us the right to be hateful and racist. We should choose our words carefully and compassionately. Yes, I know that there may be certain categories were we can set care aside such as in acts ---proven acts--- of terrorism, such as suicide bombers and those who murder the innocent. Otherwise we should act in compassion to and for others. Hate and racism is a societal cancer. It destroys us one individual at a time. It does however like a bad virus spread quickly and at times easily among those susceptible to the disease that it is. Think the Klu Klux Klan or even the Black Panthers. Think Westboro Baptist and their hatred. It is not for us to judge nor condemn others. We may not like their choices, but showing and spewing hatred will not do anything but create more hatred and anger.

Many years ago the musical band The Beetles sang a song with the words, "All We Need Is Love", then there was "Imagine" Coca Cola wanted to "Teach the World To Sing" all over the internet you see videos of people doing good things. I hope that thought, that hope, that action goes viral. We do need more people who care enough to spread good, to spread hope, to spread compassion. Because for hatred and racism-- there's no place for that here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Being Alone Doesn't Need to Mean Lonely

        Its very quiet here. My husband who is a long haul truck driver is out "there" on the road. He's headed from somewhere to some place. I can only hope and pray the weather is good for his drive. My son, left this morning to go to a race in Tennessee. For him, I hope that the rain stops and allows the race to be run. That is a nice, long drive to only miss out on the event. The cats are all curled up around the heater  and the dog is outside alternating between playing in the rain and curled up in her house on the porch. 

 So it is me, and sleeping critters. The only sounds in my house are my typing, the hum of the heater behind me and a radio playing in another part of the house. I can hear the rain falling outside when it gets heavy enough. When the wind picks up a small sapling brushes against the window near me. If it were dark, if I didn't know what it was, that could be an eerie sound that would make me nervous. As it is, I know what it is so I can ignore it.

Its times like this that allow my mind free reign. It is now, when I can allow thoughts and imagination to run wild, creating all manner of deep thinking or crazed ideas to seep through or to come barreling through like stampeding animals bent on getting where they are going in a hurry no matter what may be in front of them.

 With it raining as it has been since early this morning I know the river that is a mile from here has to be coming up. If the rain or other bad weather that is a possibility keeps up, how high will it rise? And what of the areas farther down river? How will they fare? In the area a mile from here, along the way I travel to go to work, the worst it does now is flood one section of the roadway meaning I would have to detour taking longer for my drive. Down river there are homes and businesses that are in danger. We have had a wild and bad winter this past season. It had been predicted, but then they often are. This time however they managed to hit it right and we have suffered. Even if we have not had to endure the amount of snow that others areas have, we are unaccustomed in this area to that drastic of a temperature change. If you are not used to it, it is very difficult to handle. So here it is, mere days away from Spring, and they are forecasting the possibility of a wintery mix. The only thing I did in anticipation of that possibility is getting more gas in my vehicle. I do realize that all of this rain is good for the soil. I'm also very glad that I have yet to rake or cut up the fallen leaves in my yard as they are helping the water to soak into the ground rather than wash away more topsoil. Soon though I hope to get that done and get flowers planted. I'm seriously missing the colors of the flowers.

I love having a yard full of flowers. Last year I was given a large amount of flower bulbs and I'm seeing evidence of them coming up in that corner where they were planted. I was also given a rose bush that I was worried about until I saw that it was leaving out nicely. I do have a lot of work that needs to be done in my yard. I simply have to get a time to do it when it hasn't been raining and stuff is easier to clean up and prepare. The flowers that I plant are the type that draws butterfly and bees. No insecticide goes anywhere near my flowers. I do have roses so I have to find something that will protect my roses and not harm the bees. (any suggestions?) While I am trying to create an area of Perennial flowers, there are some annuals that I have seen the bees flock to so I make sure and purchase seeds and plants of that type just for them. I've had to fence off that area of my yard as my German Shepherd Dog can't decide if she's a carnivore or an herbivore. Last year she not only dug up areas of my gardens, she pulled plants out of the ground to carry them around, literally shaking them to pieces. So now she is fenced out. I have plans on creating an oasis of sorts in that space. Moving in a swing to watch the butterfly, bees and hummingbirds. A birdbath for water, a feeder in the corner for wild birds and pans set up for the butterfly to also get water. With all this water soaking the ground it should be well ready for the upcoming planting. I even look forward to the work that will be involved with helping it turn out well. But what I really look forward to is photographing the results and the visitors.

Speaking of planting. I'm excited about my vegetable garden plans for this year. I have an area of my yard that I have been planting but the sunlight is limited there. Last year the cucumbers did amazing so I know I'll plant them again. But there simply isn't enough sunlight there for my tomatoes. I'm going to plant some in containers and put those inside the oasis area along one of the end fences. I may try to have some container plants along another fence but that is yet to be determined. My son has already tilled up an area down at my folks place that does get enough sunlight so there is probably where the bulk of the planting will go. There is also a fence up for planting green beans and on the other side of that I'll plant okra. My hope is to harvest enough to enjoy and to can for next winter.

I had hoped to get outside and make another video. I have two ideas and stories to share. Both are true, both involve in part the same room in this house. I want however to tell it from the outside and that isn't happening in the rain. I also wanted to get out and photograph some of what is blooming with raindrops on them. Unfortunately the rain never slacked off enough for me to take my cameras out. Reports say that it will still be raining tomorrow, so there is still the possibility of getting those shots. Raindrops always add interest to the shots, but it isn't worth getting soaked and sick over.

I usually don't mind being alone. I can always find something to get into. I can do some cleaning. I can enjoy some television if there is anything worth watching on but their generally isn't. I can play online, I can hike and hunt photography opportunities or I can write. There is peace in being alone. You can calm down and ease any high stress levels from what ever life has tossed at you. Taking long, hot showers or bubble baths, listening to good music of your genre of choice. Sitting down and reading a good book or sitting out in an oasis of flowers watching the butterfly and listening to the hum of the bees working. When weather permits sitting outside on the porch or out in the yard throwing sticks for the dog is relaxing and enjoyable. Especially when the dog shows off.

There are times though that I wouldn't mind an old fashioned card or board game. When the quiet does become too much there are options to change the situation. I can go shopping, money permitting. I can go visiting family, depending on the time of day. I can go to the walking track and chat with those who are also taking advantage of the facility. I can find ways, to help others.

Being alone, doesn't always mean being lonely. It shouldn't be looked at as a bad thing. Being alone offers up an endless multitude of opportunities to be considered and explored. There's no fighting over the remote or if the volume is too loud. You can decide exactly what to watch or hear. There's no fighting over that last brownie. Being alone, doesn't have to be a long as you  don't allow it to be one. Don't hide away from the world. It doesn't go away, it will be there when you step out of hiding. Don't avoid the world, it doesn't change the situation that you don't care for. Don't set yourself back to the side and watch hoping that the world will notice and draw you forward. Because then you wonder if it was because you are liked and capable, or if the world simply felt sorry for you. Step up, believe..and appreciate every moment..the ones noisy, loud and crowded.. and the quiet ones that give you a time just for yourself.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why I will always make time for my mammogram

      Well, I have my mammogram scheduled, and rescheduled and then rescheduled once again. The original time was scheduled for me and was in the middle of the day. I called and got it changed to first thing in the before 8 in the morning. Then they changed our work schedule so I called and got it changed to late in the afternoon. I'll miss less work that way. I was and am determined to have this done. No, I don't enjoy it. No, I don't think it is fun. No, it is not my idea of a good time. No, I do not look forward to this with any excitement. Yes, I will get it done. Yes, I will be uncomfortable and slightly embarrassed as I'm not one to let it all hang out. Yes, I know it is me I know. Yes, I will be nervous until the results are known.
Because I am a breast cancer survivor.
Because my cancer was caught by my very first mammogram.
Because should it ever return, I want it to be caught just as early.

In 2008 I went in for my very first mammogram. While I wasn't sure exactly how mammograms were done, I had a good idea from all of the horror stories that I've heard. I followed the instructions that I had been given, then when my name was called I went back to the room...the room with a radiation warning sign outside the door. I walked in and again began following the instructions that I was being given. All of those, stand here, lean this way, put your arm here, somewhere along the lines should have been the "this is going to hurt' warning. But I managed to get through it and then went to get dressed and leave. I was warned that since this was my first I might get a call back being they had nothing with which to compare the images. I did get called back. I was operating on the idea that it was all routine, until she kept going over the same area time and again and only on one side. After being told to get dressed and take a seat in the waiting area because they wanted to do an ultra- sound  I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
 The room for the ultra-sound was cold, I undressed to the waist and put on the little pink paper vest. The technician came in and did the test. She knew what she was looking for but all I could see was something with the appearance of a lunar landscape. Once she was finished she began to pack up and told me to get dressed, they would be in touch.
 All of the tests came back with results that had my doctor scheduling me to see a surgeon. A needle biopsy confirmed the presence of cells that might mean cancer but that a surgical biopsy was needed. The surgical biopsy proved all the maybe's to be definites. I had breast cancer. It was small, the surgeon was amazed that the technicians had seen it. But we knew it was there, time to get rid of it. The surgery was worrisome, as the anesthesia made me nauseous. Afterward though, the surgeon told us that she got it all. Once i had healed up some, then the decision would be made as to treatments. That turned out to be six weeks of radiation. By the end of the six weeks I was nearly crawling. I had no energy, no desire to do much of anything. I did manage some how to not miss any work other than the day of and the day after my cancer surgery. Everything else was set up so that I went in to work early and left early for treatments. When they were finished, I was glad. Now I only had to wait to make sure it was really, truly, completely gone.  And it was. Now, 6 years later I am still cancer free. Healthy, feeling better than I have in a very long time.
I followed my doctor's advice, and had the mammogram, even though it was embarrassing. Even though it was confusing. Even though it is not comfortable. It IS important. I'm thankful that the company I work for covers the entire cost of this test, otherwise there are many I am sure that would not get the test that they need. A test, that does go a long way in helping save lives.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Diffference is a matter of perspective. being purple in a red world

     I wonder about the diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. I wonder, if it truly is a disorder or if its called one because those diagnosed don't fit neatly in the box like all of the other good boys and girls or men and women. Is it a disorder, or is it called one because instructors must work more creatively to keep them focused on the lesson at hand and not everything else in their world? Are those diagnosed learning challenged? Or are they actually highly intelligent, advanced to the point that so called 'normal' studies bore them, making it more difficult to sit still as is expected?
     One of the things I have learned through observation is that people, no matter who they are or what may be diagnosed, pay attention to what interests them. An animated instructor will work better for some. One who doesn't mind showing off their acting skills, their voice characterizations, moving around, speaking in a varied level of loud or softness. One who uses props to emphasize what they are teaching. While public classroom schedules are all pretty well set if it is found that a student preforms better at one subject over another then allow them to work more on the one they prefer as long as they do a minimum of the ones they do not. Break it up in a way, instruct them in a way that is not disruptive to the rest of the class. Find ways to hold their attention while still teaching. Its possible, I've seen it done. Other students may need a more laid back instructor. One that allows them to hear and absorb the lessons more quietly.

  I know, that one with so called Attention Disorder, may not focus fully on a boring classroom lesson, but they can tell you everything else going on around them. They hear the tiny hum of electronics, the buzz of lights, birds outside, people passing, winds blowing papers or other items around. They miss nothing. Those who miss nothing, see what others do not see. Give them something they are interested in and there is no stopping them. They are the discoverers, they are the artists, the adventurers. They can and usually do succeed where others who were thought smarter, better more capable may not. They are outside the box anyway so thinking outside the box is easier for them. 

They must have the right instructors. One who is supposedly trained to instruct those with ADHD are not necessarily the best choice. When you are attempting to teach those outside the box, it is best if you are out there with a sense. One must remain in control at all times, teaching the students also that there are boundaries in everything. Explaining that while the steps one takes to arrive at a solution, if you follow set guidelines as a marker to where you wish to go, getting there is easier.

Now, I'm going to switch gears, or perspective if you will, and look at it from the ADHD person's point of view.

   Imagine that you are a young student, you try to listen, but your mind is going at warp speed and faster. You're thinking about what the teacher just said, what the kids next to you are doing, what is that noise coming from behind you, your legs is shaking making the pencil dance on your desk, oh, look at the photo on the next page of the book, you wonder if that window opens because you're sure the wind would feel good blowing in, you think that it would be much more fun to be outside running across the field but maybe its going to rain as there are clouds over there and something is hitting the window because you can hear the tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap..what, oh no the teacher just called your name and you have no idea what she said and to the principle's office again to sit in the chair in the waiting area and watch as the secretary answers phones and shuffles papers and why do papers and phones and computer keyboards make so much noise but there is a different clicking made by a keyboard than there is a phone, what is squeaking, oh its the chair but the voices coming through the door are interesting..oh, the poster is different this time it has more blue instead of yellow and the words are different, the globe that was on the table has been moved to the floor and now there are magazines there the ones that have pictures of wild animals and the ones that talk about the town, it must be raining now as the last person who came into the office is all wet and dripping water onto the floor...

 Or, you are sitting at your desk and the instructor walks in dressed as a pirate. You are going to sail the seven seas as Black Beard and learn about life at sea. The problems that pirates caused, those they fought with, the treasures they sought. The problems that sailors dealt with due to being at sea for such long periods. The instructor speaks with a pirate type accent, walks with a limp to imitate a peg leg, pretends that there is a parrot on his shoulder. Scattered about the room are props waiting to be used. A screen is pushed before you allowing a video to be played that explains further.
 The instructor changes subjects to science and nature. On the table are living creatures, tadpoles, pollywogs, young frogs. A caterpillar, a cocoon in a jar, a butterfly in a cage ready to be set free. Lined up you are all lead outside to see examples in the great outdoors. In your hands a list of items to find and challenges to complete.

You're now an adult. You have gone through the rigors of growing up. You've learned through various means how to 'be still' and do what you are supposed to do. That doesn't mean that you like it. You're not happy. You are trapped in a job that you do not like, that pays the bills but that is all. There are no challenges, no fun, nothing that drives you to seek new horizons. You functioning is robotic through the day, but you wander off. You forget things, make mistakes, leave things incomplete. You've found yourself in the bosses office more than once being reprimanded for those very things. All the while you're being lectured on what a good employee should do, you're mentally anywhere else but there.

You're an adult. You ignored those who told you to find a good, steady job and be happy. You ignored the find the dependable job advice and went for what you love. You wanted to be an artist, you paint amazing landscapes and people flock to your exhibits. Exclaiming on how you capture every detail. You're a photographer that finds all the great macro shots, showing other worldly looking things to those who stand awe struck. You're a writer who has just won the Nobel Prize in literature. You're a Doctor who has just discovered a complete cure for a deadly disease. You're excited, you're challenged, you're doing exactly what you want to be doing. You see, feel, hear what most miss because you have so many senses wide open and receiving information coming at you from all directions.

Managing to do things, managing to be somebody..daring to be different even when no one understands. Daring to be purple in a red world. And not caring what anyone else thought because you knew, that being different is not a curse but a blessing in disguise, and no reason to be ashamed and every reason to be excited.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Different is as Different Does

                                      a blurred photo of me and part of my family

  I was writing about being different yesterday, in a somewhat vague sort of way.  I thought about that today while I was working and felt that maybe I ought to visit that subject again. There are more reasons that cause one to be or to be considered different than there are stars in the sky. But lets discuss a few anyway.
  Socialization--or lack of said socialization. Sadly you hear of more and more cases where children are kept locked away in a house or room. They are left alone, possibly a crumb of food tossed in from time to time, other than that, nothing. They are underweight, under skilled and afraid- if they survive. Then there are those who are not abused, but are not around their peers enough to know how to act in a social setting. They may be a bit clumsy, confused as to how to act, what to say or not say, they may join in the discussions or activity, or they may find a place off to the side to stand and watch the others. You can see the 'want to' expression on their face, but they simply don't know how to join in.

Disease--For a very long time, AIDS caused people to be avoided and shunned. I recently read an article of how Leprosy is still causing the same actions and reactions in India. This are long term conditions that cause people to be afraid. They may not be educated enough to understand how many diseases are spread so they fear them all and do all they can to get rid of the one who is ill. Even when the one who is ill is not contagious, they are still treated as if they were.

Handicaps--There are too many different handicaps to try and list them here. We will just take a few to discuss then I'm sure you will understand. Autism, a development issue. There are high and low functioning autistic individuals. Yet, the very fact they are autistic makes them different. They may be able to function just as well or even better than one who is not autistic, but since it is known, they are treated differently. Sadly, there are individuals who think it fine to ridicule or deride a person with a handicap such as this..forgetting that these are individuals with feelings just like anyone and everyone else. Slower, even minutely, does not make them less.
 Handicaps that one is born with-there are unfortunately times that a medication that the mother takes, or if the mother uses drugs or alcohol when the baby may be born handicapped. There may be malformed or missing limbs. They may not be able to function properly physically. The strong live on in spite of the handicap.
 Handicaps that are life created-accidents unfortunately are a part of life. We get hurt at home, at work, on vacation, in auto accidents to name only a few. There are times that those accidents cause great harm to our body leaving us handicapped. Whether we become confined to a wheelchair, a walker or even a cane, we are changed. We are now different. Limbs may be lost, creating cause to change our lifestyle, another difference.

   Personality--one could have the personality that doesn't fit in the box called normal. They could have a greater, more unique sense of humor, they could be artistic, they could be simply themselves seeing life only as they can see it. They march and dance to the beat of their own drummer. One that no one else can hear leaving them at a loss to understand why someone would act the way they do.
 Maturity-some kids are slower to mature than others. Some people never fully mature in the way that society expects. They find enjoyment and entertainment in the simply things, laughing at the childish, delighting in the offbeat.

  None of the above is anything that hasn't been said many times over. We've all heard it, but how many times have you witnessed someone being cruel to another simply because they are different?  Think about the movie Forest Gump and how he was tormented by others simply because of his differences. Think of all the articles and news reports you've seen where people have been cruel, rude, and uncaring in public places. Think of the reaction that some of those articles have gotten when there was someone involved who cared enough to take a stand for those being mistreated.
Different, is not wrong. Different is not weird. Different is simply- different.

 We do not honestly want to all be the same, a cookie cutter humanity with no humanity. That my friends is machinery- robots, androids, what ever you want to call it. Everyone would be alike, likeing the same things, saying the same words, reading the same books, playing the same would be in a word, boring. We would find ourselves trapped in sameness. Nothing new would be discovered, nothing beautiful would be created. Even those, and sometimes especially those who are different for what ever reason are the ones who find the beautiful and create the new quicker because they aren't trapped within the boundaries of 'normal'. It is also very possible that for the same reasons mentioned, that these people called different, are able to in many ways have more fun.

 I believe that it is important that we realize the pain that we cause when we mistreat others. Even those with handicaps can understand body language and rude, cruel comments. They know when they are being laughed at. How would we feel if we were in their place? How would we feel, if we woke up tomorrow and found ourselves on the receiving end of cruelty? Different is as different does- be different today- be kind to someone. Be different tomorrow- pass it forward, kindness and concern, kindness and compassion, does not diminish, it only grows larger, spreads wider, moves farther when shared.