Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Count Down to 60-------I am a Believer

No matter how bad it looks, no matter how dark the storm, I believe. I believe that things will work out for the better. I believe there is a grand plan for everyone's life, but we have to believe in it, to find it.
 As the title reads, I am counting down to my 60th birthday. I don't fear age, nor the eventual end that we all must face. I fear never living up to my potential. I fear missing out on that dream. But, I do believe that there is always the possibility for that dream to become a reality. I have but to believe, to trust and to act.
 Believing is nothing, without action.
Once can believe that they can swim, but until the get into the water, they aren't swimming. Truth be told, they may and probably will, sink the first time they attempt swimming. Eventually, with practice, they will swim.
 One can believe they can cook, but until the combine those first ingredients, its all talk. One must gather the needed ingredients in the needed amounts. One must have the tools necessary, bowls, measuring cups, pots or pans at hand and ready. All of the ingredients must be combined correctly and prepared in the manner for the intended dish. If everything is done properly, the meal prepared should turn out right. Should, but there are times it won't. That should not stop you from believing you are a competent cook.
 One can call themselves a person of faith, but unless you understand what you follow, unless you educate yourself, its only words. Without a proper understanding, one can misinterpret, misunderstand and misconstrue their beliefs. One can in that incorrect knowledge, create more confusion or dislike for faith based lives. One should practice what they believe in. Christians for example should not just practice, but act in and show the love they are instructed to day by day.
One can call themselves a gardener, but unless you clear and plow the land, plant and care for the seeds and plants; unless you work and harvest what you have sown, you are a talker, not a gardener. One must sow, to reap..
  You can believe many things. It is possible to believe in things you haven't seen. The Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, UFO's fall into that category.
You can believe in the things that seem only to be wishful thinking, such as travel to Mars.
Believing in things is important. It gives us something to anticipate. It gives us a dream. It gives us the hope that tomorrow will be different and better. I will be a better person. I will have that better job. I will write that best selling novel or have a video go viral on the internet. But, one must be willing to work for their dream. Otherwise it is just a way to pass the time, daydreaming of better, new, different. One isn't going to get washboard abs sitting on the couch eating popcorn. You have to get up and move, you have to exercise. You have to eat right. To write that best seller, one must write and write well.
One must act, one must try, one must do. Then, believing has merit.
To believe in a dream is a good thing. To act and work hard to see that dream become a reality, is a better one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Count Dow to 60-- balancing act

To-- the --penny.
I just spent the last few hours balancing our checkbook. I had gotten way behind. I had gotten way behind because I totally despise anything math. Oh, I'll do it, eventually. Like tonight, this was only part two of my trying to get it balanced before my husband found out how far behind I was. He trusts me to keep up with the checking account and I do, I just don't document it as I should. Hopefully after this marathon session of catch up, I'll do better.It did get me to thinking though of all the balancing acts we do every day..
 The parents who work, who must balance their time between taking care of their kids, their home and work. You have to get the kids ready for what ever the plans are for the day. One must take care of their home and make sure that it is kept clean and kept maintained. Work is that time to time position where you do what is expected and hope to get home in time to do what is expected there.
Then you hope for a few moments personal time. No matter who you are, or what your responsibilities, you hope for those few moments when its only about you. Those moments where you can find a bit of peace, a bit of calm in the midst of the every day storms.
 You balance your emotions moment to moment. Like those times when someone feels it is perfectly okay to take an attitude and speak to you in a manner that they would not accept in return. Not that you would do that. You stay calm, when someone seems bound and determined to make things difficult. You know the type, those who gather in the middle of the most narrow of aisles in the store and hold a long conversation with the neighbor they saw right before they left to come to the store.
 You balance your life. The time for work, for exercise, for play, for rest. You balance your diet in the hope that it will help you to remain healthy and able to balance everything else with less problems and stress.
 Balancing a check book, balancing one's life, its all a game of numbers.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Count Down to 60--- sugar, sugar

 I- am- addicted- to -sugar. There, I said it.
I remember reading a conversation between some folks who were very angry about someone saying they were addicted to sugar and that it was as bad as drugs. Those who were angered by the statement made their point with the discussion on how drugs cause one to do some very illegal things, not to mention that drug abuse is illegal where sugar is not. Point made. However, there is this, Research Shows Cocaine And Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos
or this:
So, anyway,
 With the full  understanding that there is a difference in those addicted to drugs or alcohol and being a junk food junkie, I have decided to make some changes in my diet and cleanse it of sugar as much as possible. Yes, even the chocolate/ peanut butter cups must go.
A lot of people know how much I love my coffee. For years I added cream and sugar, a lot of cream and sugar. Then I started considering what I was putting into my system and began cutting back. Finally the sugar went completely, then I accidentally found out that there was a lot of sugar in that powdered cream. So the powdered creamer went as well, and since I don't do dairy, my coffee is now consumed black. Unless I'm at a restaurant where the coffee walks itself to the table, then I will add what ever cream is available.
I no longer purchase those to die for desert trays that I see at the local warehouse club that I shop at. They rarely last over two days once they get here so its best they are left where I see them. Going by the local donut shop is pure torture, but again, temptation is best left alone. Chocolate covered, cream filled or the apple cinnamon just call my name. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered raisins, thoughts of chocolate just set my mouth to watering.
 I have bought candy in the past, and stashed it in my desk. My mother makes the best chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge at Christmas. I have brought my share home and hidden it in the refrigerator behind or under things like, celery. When the cravings would strike I would wander into the kitchen as if to make a cup of coffee, when I was alone, I would grab a handful of fudge and quickly slip back into my little office to enjoy my guilty pleasure in solitude.
  At one time, I could go through an entire bag of chocolate kisses in a day, same with a bag of m&m's. A bag of trail mix, maybe three days.
  Then I hit the big 5-0 and the weight gain started. Then a relative was diagnosed with diabetes. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. During the cancer battle was my first real escape from sugar. I couldn't go near it. That sugar rush thing? It never happened. During the time I was undergoing radiation treatments, if I consumed any junk food, I immediately crashed. My energy levels were nonexistent anyway, but that nearly put me under. So I did without, and I did fine.
But, once I was healed, sugar slowly crept back into my diet. A little here, a little there. Suddenly it was as if sugar was in everything. It nearly was. Until I began doing research and reading more labels, I had no idea how many ways sugar is hidden in our food.
 So here I am, not trying to go cold turkey, but definitely trying to cut back on the way to cutting out. I read labels. I read articles. I seek out recipes that are low to no sugar. I have tried to eat healthier ever since the cancer thing, but even that slipped a bit.
I did notice this, when I don't eat it, I don't want it as much. If I break down and buy one pastry at work, then I want one every break. If I break down and buy a tray of goodies, I will binge eat every one of them.
 Sugar addiction is different than drug addiction. I know that, but there are still bad side effects from this addiction. It causes  health problems, diabetes and weight gain being the two biggest. Your diet suffers, and your body does not get the nutrients that it needs. And you do begin to crave more and more sugar. You can go into a form of withdrawal just the same as with drugs or alcohol should you try to quit cold turkey.
So I am trying substitutes. If I get to craving something sweet, I grab a banana, or I drink a small glass of dark chocolate almond milk. If I must have something in my water, I make sure that it is low sugar or honey sweetened. A healthy diet is not easy, cutting out sugar is not easy. It is however, not impossible. I know that with just what I have cut back on so far, I feel better. I know that as I continue along this path of going as near sugar free as possible, I will continue to improve and feel better and be able to do more than I have lately.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Count Down to 60... Those First Day of School Nightmares

Oh those memories...the good, the bad and the ugly memories......of that first day of school.

I'm not sure where my terror of the first day of school began. I honestly can't remember, but I do know it was because I was terrified about not being able to find my homeroom class. I was also terrified of wandering into the wrong class and being laughed at. Kids laugh at other kids for any and all reasons and don't even consider whether feelings are hurt or the victim is embarrassed. As an individual who is lacking in social skills, fear around others is my middle name and it seems that it always has been.
 Preparations for returning to school were exciting. It was the usual things, some new clothes, new back to school supplies and the knowledge that we would get to see friends we had not seen since school ended the year before. But the eve of that first day brought the fear, complete with the upset stomach, headache, trembling and nightmares once sleep came. Would I find my class? Would I be on time? Would I manage to enter competently or would I somehow manage to make a fool of myself?
 School in itself was not bad. I enjoyed learning, I loved reading and studying (to a point). I enjoyed the friends that I made. It was those who seemed to enjoy making my life miserable that brought on the fears. Year after year I was laughed at. My attempts at participating in various projects and not being totally successful were often ridiculed. I tried to join chorus once, that was when it was proven I can't sing. I tried acting in a school play once, I was hidden inside a large sandwhich board and my lines were "welcome dude" to Christopher Columbus. I love spelling so I was entered in the spelling bee, in front of the entire school my mind went blank and I missed my very first word. During outside recess I often wandered off by myself, that was how I managed to step on a nail that went all the way through my boot. My mother seems to love to tell me about the teacher who was going to fail me because of my handwriting until she went to see him. Yes, its bad. I got into an argument with a football player one day that ended with him calling me ratwoman.. that name followed me a couple of years. It was always fun to be walking the halls and here the theme to the old Batman television show only have it end with Ratwoman. There are so many memories of things that happened, memories that lurk in the subconscious waiting to be triggered. 
 Why am I telling all of this? Now, when I am counting down to 60 years old. Now, when my school years are long behind me, why am I bringing all of this up?
  Because I am nearly 60 years old, and because my school years are long behind me and I still remember it. I don't cling to it, I don't wear it around my shoulders like a towel to cry in. I don't start and end every day thinking of those years.  But it is a memory I have, it is my nightmare from time to time when I am facing doing something in front of people or with people who do not know me. It is because school is starting back up and millions of kids are returning to class.
How many of those kids are going to be facing the same fears? How many of them are to some degree, not socially savvy? How many of them are in any way different than what is thought of as the so called normal? How many of them, will be laughed at, ridiculed and maybe even physically attacked by other classmates? How many parents will think that it can't be that bad? How many will tell their kids to suck it up and go on? How many parents will go to the school only to have administrators tell them it can't be that bad or simply ignore them? How many kids will come home crying begging to not ever have to return to school? How many will take the ultimate way out?
 How do we teach out kids to be strong in the face of bullies? My own son took Tae Kwon Do and that helped, but the best move was getting him away from high school drama and into the local college where he earned his high school diploma and went from there. But what of the others? How do we tell them that bullies are the weak ones? How do we convince them that words are merely words and cannot hurt you when they do? They last longer than a physical bruise because they bruise the spirit. They bring the nightmares and the fears.
 How do we teach our kids not to be bullies? How do we get them to understand that being cruel to another is not cool? How do we teach them to be compassionate and kind in a world that seems to know neither? 
 What do we do, how do we manage to stop the nightmares of those who face them?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Count down to 60- believe in yourself and keep swimming

I learned to swim today, well not really, but it seemed like it. Today was a day of accomplishments, just not that one.
I have been looking at a carport that was so badly in need of cleaning, I just simply could not find what I needed to do the job. Some days I didn't have the time, some days I couldn't load the truck as I cleaned, some days it was too hot, and some days, my husband would be home and I really hoped that he would clean it for me. He did start on it a while back, but the dent he made was very small.
Today, everything fell into place for me. I got outside early so it wasn't too hot. Everyone was gone but me, so I had little interruptions. I had all day to work if I needed it, so there was the time. I found my work gloves, I found a box of trash bags and I set to work. I had asked my son to move the truck down next to the carport so I could load it. He moved it, but he did not let the tailgate down and since the latch on it is broken and takes someone with more strength that I have, it remained up. so, I climbed up into the bed of the truck and one by one pulled the trashcans up and shoved them up against the back of the cab. Once they were in place, I started going through what was piled up before me. It took several hours and I was soaked through by the time I finished, or should I say stopped. I had no more room in the truck, so I had no choice.
 I rested for a few minutes and then began on the inside of the house. After I finished what I had planned to do inside, I got ready to head out to walmart for groceries. I was beginning to feel my body letting me know it was not happy with me. But, since we do have to eat, I went. As I was shopping I heard the pounding of rain on the roof, it sounded bad. A few minutes later you could hear the thunder. Not too far away from me I heard a child whimpering. Something I myself felt like doing. When I checked out and headed for the door I saw people waiting. I made my way around and looked out the door at a wall of falling water. I was by myself meaning there was no one with me to watch my purchases and no one to go for the car. Squaring my shoulders I headed out into the rain. I hadn't gone five feet before I was soaked through. I made it to the explorer and used the hatch to protect me somewhat from the falling wall of water. Once the cart was empty I did what I have never done before. I shoved the cart up next to a tree out of the way and in a way that it shouldn't roll away. I then ran around the suv and jumped inside. Water dripped from my hair and pooled at me feet. The rain was still pouring down. I started the car and waited for the windshield to clear so I could see where I was going. The roads looked like rivers, where the water couldn't escape looked like ponds. Driving through the standing water sent it flying skyward.
By the time I got home it had quit raining, even as you could tell that a serious storm had gone through. Leaves and sticks littered the roadway and side ditches were filled with water. James was home and he helped me get everything inside. The one casualty to the downpour was my bag of flour. The rain had ruined the bag and flour poured everywhere. There is a lovely white mound in the back of the explorer and I guess I should clean that up. James even took pity on me and helped put things away.
We had really needed  rain, even though the best kind is a slow three day soaker. The kind where the water doesn't immediately run off and away. The kind where you want to sit on the porch and watch it fall. I won't complain though, we got rain.
After I was finally able to change into dry clothing, all I wanted to do was sit down. Instead I've already washed two loads of laundry. Our work is never done.
 I shared all of this, not to brag on myself, but to share a thought. We can do, what we set our minds to doing. We may need help, we may need a bit of encouraging, we may simply need to know that others believe in us. They believe, even though we understand that we must believe in ourselves because sometimes, others simply do not understand. Don't allow excuses to stop you. Don't allow fear to stop you. Don't allow the comments of others, stop you. Believe, take that first step, and go for it. Its your dream. Its your hope. Its your desire, go for it.
I wanted a clean carport, today I have managed to get it 85% clean. Somethings I simply can not lift and will need help. Don't be afraid of asking for help, to be able to do something perfectly, one must ask questions.
Know, that you can, if you want and if you will.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Count Down to 60-- broken but not without worth

What good is a bucket with a hole in it? What good, is a pot, where the handle is broken off? What good, is a Frisbee that is split down the middle? How are they broken, but still with worth?
 Our German Shepherd, Bella, has learned how to catch a Frisbee in flight. It only took her a couple of tries before she had it figured out and was chasing and catching the thing in mid-flight. I'm sure our neighbors were either loving the show yesterday or thinking I had totally lost any sense I had as I cheered Bella on with each successful catch. We were back out there for a while this afternoon. I don't play with her long as I fear the heat being too much for her and all of that running. Today as we were playing it happened. She brought the Frisbee back to me and it was split almost down the middle. Telling her it was broken was useless as she still sat there expecting me to throw it again. So I did. Surprisingly it still flew. It had a new wobble to its flight, but it still flew. We played a while longer, with me expecting that plastic disk to split completely at any moment. It held together though for the rest of our game. The new wobble giving it that extra challenge to this over achieving dog.

 How many times do we look at something and think it is useless because something is broken? A pot with a broken handle, can become a food or water dish for a pet. It can become a planter. It can be used for storage for kitchen gadgets, bathroom or office supplies. Therefore it is useful not useless.
A bucket with a hole in it, can be used for measured watering of plants. It can be used as a planter, where the hole allows excess water to drain out. Items can be placed in the bucket, with water poured over them to rinse with the hole allowing the water an escape route. Therefore it is useful, not useless.

 Its the same with people. People can be broken in many ways. Growing up in dysfunctional families can cause them to be less than trusting. Surviving an abusive relationship, being one who is either a member of the military or a first responder who has seen or been involved in incidents that cause post traumatic stress, can be seen as broken. The truth is, their very wounded state, can be a benefit and a tool for others. They know and understand what one who has not gone through what they have cannot. They are wounded, they are hurt, they are constantly walking a fine line, but their very walk, can be what someone else needs to see. They need to know that they too, can still stand, walk and even run in the face of what they have endured.
 Some are born with handicaps that have the uninformed looking at them as if they are broken and of no real worth. There has been incident after incident after incident showing just how much a person with learning or other disabilities are able to do and even excel in. Again, their walk one of proof of their worth.
Many people have lost limbs for different reasons, some due to being in the military, some to disease or accident. Once they healed, once they found their way and their determination, if you call them broken, they will laugh at you. Watch the videos of those without legs running in marathons. Watch as children use new prosthetic hands to pick up items, to color, to do for themselves where they couldn't before. Watch, as they live their life, just as well and sometimes better than one not considered broken.
A pencil with a broken lead cannot write, but sharpen that pencil and it is again useful in its purpose. Watch a person who is wounded, who has through education, through medical intervention, through faith, who is "sharpened" and watch as they are again useful in life. Watch as they move forward and lead the way into a better way. Watch as they are the difference for those like them.
Broken, but not without great worth.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Count Down to 60-- What Having Cancer Taught Me

I will be honest, for a while there, I was not the best at getting those yearly physicals. You know, the ones that are meant to help keep you healthy. I felt fine, I wasn't having any problems to speak of, so why go? Then, I reached the big 5-0. So I figured that I had better go, just to be on the safe side. After many times before telling me that I didn't need a mammogram yet, my primary care physician told me it was time. Not a problem, I thought. Unfortunately, the first mammogram found that I had  cancer in my right breast.
I had surgery to remove the cancer, I did not need a mastectomy and I did not need chemotherapy. I did have radiation therapy. That, to me, was worse than the surgery. I was left weak, with no energy, and wondering where I was going to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other. But I made it through, and I made it through stronger.
 During the treatments I would walk every afternoon. It was in the woods where I found my peace. I could walk and feel all the worries fade away. No matter how tired and weak I was, I could take those walks and feel so much better.
During the treatments I learned that junk foods made me feel worse. If I dared to eat a candy bar or pastry that was loaded with sugar, my system crashed and burned big time. I learned to fully enjoy vegetables and especially fruit. I could only tolerate one cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The rest of the day it was all water, and a lot of it.
 I had to get a certain amount of rest each night. Anything less and my system could barely function.
Every chance I got, I was doing research. I wanted to know how to feel better and I wanted to know the best ways to try and prevent the cancers return. It turns out that I was doing a lot of the right things. Eating better, finding a stress relief and rest. My body needed to heal, and my taking better care of it was allowing it to take better care of itself.
 I learned which foods were good at building up the body's defenses and helping fight off cancer cells. I learned simply ways to prepare them and whether they were better cooked or raw. I planted a garden and continue to plant one every year, some years doing better than others.
 I know a lot of people were praying for me, and I felt those prayers.
I never once said, why me? Because I think, that the reason I had cancer, the reason it was caught early, the reasons behind each step of the way, was so that I could share my story. So I could share what I have learned. So I could share the thoughts and knowledge that it can be beaten. It can in lots of ways be prevented.
I learned that we do have a way to go yet and we may never eradicate cancer, but we can fight, we can work heard, we can set that goal and strive daily to reach it. I've learned, never give up, never lose hope, never say never. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Count Down to 60-Differences That Make Us

What have we become?
This morning as I was waiting on time to leave for work I was surfing social media and read a post by a friend. From what she said, she had been to a fitness center and the people behind her made some disparaging remarks. Their comments, obviously that were meant to be heard, about her size were rude and uncalled for. It has become sadly commonplace for so many to think it okay to insult, ridicule and verbally attack others. And before you say it, that freedom of speech thing, that is not a license to be rude and insensitive. It is not a constitutional okay to be abusive through the spoken or written word. Yes, we have a right to speak our mind, but we should have the common sense not to be cruel.
Before we speak, we should consider our words carefully. There are always possibilities that we may not know. That person who is over weight, may have medical issues. They may have an eating disorder. They may have reasons that they are unable to exercise to keep the extra weight off.  Eating may be a way they find comfort in difficult times. They may have genetic reasons. The very fact that someone is trying to help themselves and improve their health should be applauded not ridiculed.
We are all different physically. Our sizes vary, our height and weight as individual as all of our other attributes. Our eye and hair color, the sound of our voice, each individual traits. None of which are found in the 'things to make fun of' column.
Everyone has a talent or several talents. We can all do something well. But one who writes, should not ridicule the ones who are not able to write as well. Some have impressive musical talents, whether as singers are who play an instrument. Those who are able to sing and play, should not ridicule those who are less talented. There are those who are able to create an amazing work of art on a blank canvas. Those who are able to dance well enough to bring tears to the eyes of the ones watching.. Our intellectual levels differ, each one of us learned in different things and ways. Our talents and gifts each make us the individual who we are. They are not us, but they are a part of us.
 There are those who are handicapped. Some of the handicaps are not obvious or visible. Some are due to diseases, physical or mental. While on the outside they may appear to be fine, but they are severely limited in what they are capable of accomplishing. There are those whose handicaps are obvious as in the missing limbs. Some have birth defects such as Downs Syndrome. These things are not reason to ridicule. These things are not cause to curse, embarrass or slur another. Because one is different, does not make them less. Because one has handicaps does not make them targets. The very handicaps can and often do give the individual more cause to strive harder, move forward quicker and show, the talents and capabilities they possess.
This planet that we call home, is inhabited by many different ethnicity. From the many different continents, countries, counties we come. Our skins vary in hue, our words a mix of the many accents and languages. We are separated by natural barriers and man made barriers. Yet as separated as we are, we all inhabit the same planet. We are different and yet we are one, we are all human. Because this person is different from that person, it gives no one the right to insult or ridicule the other. Because one is different does not make them less of a person or less worthy of life and respect.
It saddens me when I see or hear someone attacking another.  Words hurt and words last. They become embedded in our mind and echo repeatedly, tearing down the confidence, destroying the desire to move forward. While we may think that our words are harmless, they hold great power. We should use that power to uplift and build up, not tear down. When we see someone trying to better themselves, we should use our words to encourage them, to stir them on to finish the quest they have set out on.
Our very differences, the things that we allow to divide us, are the very things that could and should strengthen us. The alphabet is made of twenty-six letters, apart they are merely letters, taken and placed together in proper order they make words that make sentences that create paragraphs. Words that allow us to express our thoughts and feelings.
A table full of ingredients , is just that, a table full of ingredients. Using the ingredients to follow a  recipe creates a tasty meal or wonderful desert.
Bricks, boards, nails and wire alone are simply that. Following a design and plans and they become a house.
The list goes on and on. The point is this, if we take the things that make us individuals and use them in cooperation with each other we can do amazing things. Together, we can do wonders and make great things happen. Together, as individuals working with each other, using the many talents and abilities, we can move the world.
If we can get past the childish, immature, cruel and rude acts of attacking others simply because they are different.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Count down to 60-Where I had hoped to be- where I am- and where you should stand.

Once upon a time, a long lifetime ago, I had all these dreams of being an author. I was going to write amazing stories that helped kids learn to read and imagine. I was going to spend my time happily in worlds and lives of my invention and thrive.
My earliest memories of my writing something that was read by someone other than mom, was in the second grade. I was back in North Carolina, after having started second grade in Florida. In Florida, I was in an advanced class, they didn't have that in North Carolina so I was actually back doing what I had done long before. Boredom. I recall that we had to write sentences using the list of spelling words. I wrote the sentences but I put it all together in the form of a story. I even underlined the words as we had been told. The teacher loved it, she read it to the class. So I did it again the next week. I got a low grade because I was only supposed to write sentences not a short story. Bummer. All of the excitement from the week before was destroyed.
 My next memories was as a high school student. I wrote a lot of poetry, some the sappy love type stuff that teenagers write, and others were those odd, have to read it several times to try and figure out where that one was going poems. Those were actually fun to write. I loved writing book reports and any other writings that we were instructed to come up with. Truth be told, I wrote things for anyone who would ask, just to be able to write more. I was popular, but some liked me just long enough to do their work for them. Such is life.
 During the summers I would do my chores and then spend a lot of the days writing. A friend and I were both writing these wild teenage stories of adventures with who ever was famous at that time. I'm not sure how many deserted islands were managed to get marooned on and with how many different artists, but it was fun and it was challenging and it did stretch the known boundaries outward. All of those wild stories and the teenage poetry were long ago lost. That is sad really, I wish that I had managed to keep at least some of it.
I took a children's writing correspondence course and even qualified for their advance course. Yep, send more of your money now.
Then, life as it was, happened. For a few years I traveled a very bumpy, rutted, rough road. I dealt with some storms that I never thought I would have to deal with. All of that imagination was being used to find the right path to surviving to see the next daylight. It wasn't all bad, but enough was and that is that.
Then, I returned to my roots. I returned to this short, narrow, dead end dirt road. From the main road it passes a few houses and then disappears into the woods. In those woods awaits the magic. In those woods, along the banks of the narrow, winding creeks awaited healing and the once lost imagination. In those woods, I could hear the echoes of long ago, the sounds of history that rode the winds. In those woods, I found what I had left behind.
My first paid writing was a very short couple of paragraphs to a magazine. I literally jumped for joy.
Then my son came along and writing was set on a back burner until he got a little older. As a preschooler I wrote and put together a few picture books. He and his teach really loved them
Then I found a web site that was a wonderful place for writers. Every day I wrote, inspirational poetry, through provoking, historical, odd, poetry. I wrote for challenges and for fun. Then, one challenge had me writing this poem that went on and on, epic and different than most anything I had written. The poem then evolved into a story and the story into a book of adventure, fights and dragons. Mythical creatures lurked around every bend and in every bog. It was fun to write as the characters followed me around everywhere. It was not unusual to find me talking with then at work, in the store, at home as they told me what was going on. This story became the self published Legend of Dragon's Doom.
I have also self published two books of inspirational poetry.

It was exciting when someone would purchase a book and ask me to sign it. It was exciting to do an online search and see where the books were available.
Then the web site I was enjoying imploded and was sold and everything changed. Since then even though I write, I don't write as I once did. I'm hoping that these postings for the count down to sixty will re-inspire me and set me back to doing what I enjoyed so much.
The dream is not dead. The dream and the hope is still alive, still lurking back in there somewhere with all of the characters of the dragons and poems. Maybe, if I wanted it badly enough, I could find a publisher who would be interested in what I write and I would be able to step away from the self publishing route. Or maybe, I will stay on that road so I can do what I want to with what I write. The main thing is, I need to write- something- every day.
Just as with all dreams, no matter what it is, if you dream never let it die. You may have to post pone it, you may have to set it on that back burner, but don't ever let it die. You had the dream for a reason. You believed you could do it, you wanted to do it, so don't let it die..believe in yourself. Believe in the gifts and talents you have been given and use them. You may have to use them in or for things other than what you meant for a while, but at some point, you can and will be able to use those talents to see the fulfillment of your dreams. Stand solidly in faith. It will work out if you want it badly enough, work for it hard enough and trust long enough.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Count down to 60---the gift of rainbows--

Some know I am an amateur photographer. I almost always have a camera at hand or within easy reach. I love attempting to capture the special beauty that is around us. I haven't been as active this summer for many reasons, but as the temperatures cool I hope to get out there more often. Yesterday was a start. I was sitting in front  of the computer, minding the business of everyone who shares on social media when the phone rang. My brother called to ask if I wanted to get a picture of a rainbow. When I asked where it was, he told me that he was standing in his front yard. I told him I would be right there.
 Grabbing the bag that contained my cameras I hit the front door at a dead run. I drove down which is something I do not normally do, but I was in a hurry. Note, my brother lives on the same road that I do, but my house and yard is covered by many huge Oak trees so that was blocking my view. Pulling into his drive I found myself looking at an incredibly beautiful rainbow, with a faint second rainbow directly above it.

 Taking out my camera I set to taking photos, lots of photos. I wanted to make sure I managed to get at least one decent shot. I even walked down the road to see about a different angle. Still taking photos I began to notice that there was what appeared to be a bad storm off in the distance. The flashes of lightening still not deterring me from taking more photos. Even the neighbor's small dog suddenly spotting me and going  into guard dog mode did not stop me. The dog's barking didn't bother me, I've been past it many times and so far all it has done is bark, a lot, at me.
It was misting rain heavily, but it actually felt good. I almost felt like a kid again, playing in the rain, chasing rainbows.
I did eventually decide that I had taken enough and put the camera away.  I talked with my brother and niece for a short while, accepting some good natured teasing about growing older and reminding my brother that he wasn't that far behind me.
 My brother thinking of me and calling to let me know about the rainbow was better than any gift that he could have purchased. (Even though the card was cute) It reminds me, once again, how some of the best things don't cost anything. A few moments playing in the rain chasing rainbows will forever be a priceless memory. Thank you my brother, I love you...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Count Down to 60

Yesterday was my birthday. Yesterday I celebrated 59 years since the moment of my entrance to the world. As I went through the day I began to think of the future that is so quickly approaching, and of the past. I know that as each milestone is reached we do this, once we reach a certain age anyway..but what I decided to attempt and actually hope to accomplish is to keep a daily journal of my journey to 60. I hope to record memories of growing up here on this dirt road and of the experiences away from here. I want to discuss all the things that you would expect to find in a blog and some that would surprise you. I want to be honest and at times imaginative and dreamy. I want to hope for the future and that I am allowed to see 60 and beyond.
I don't fear growing older, especially since there were times that I wondered if I would see the next day.
As a teenager I had what I took to be a near drowning experience. Whether it was actually as bad as I thought at the time, or if I simply panicked, I don't know. But I do know that I can still hear the sound of the water as I sank, I can remember the struggles to regain my footing and the gasping for breath once I broke the surface. My nightmare, is that I will die by drowning. So I avoid water that is too deep to keep my footing or that I cannot see the bottom. I have never learned how to swim and that doesn't help. Maybe some day.
As a twenty-something I was in a bad marriage. The next to the last night was the last straw. It took a very imaginative strategy that involved some deception of several people but I had to escape and I hoped that at some point they would forgive me. I packed a couple of bags, got a ride to the bus station and waited for the bus. Someone however gave me away. It took two police officers and a bus driver who waited to get me out of Louisiana and on my way home.
In my late twenties I was involved in an auto accident where a van broadsided the hatchback pinto I was driving. The car was a total loss, but I wasn't hurt too badly.
As a thirty-something I had a vehicle rear end my car, hitting my car so hard it knocked it twenty feet, putting me out of work for several weeks. I had stopped for a red light and the man driving the car that hit me told the officer he thought I was going on and he had to as he had to use the bathroom. Really?
At fifty, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught very early, the surgery and treatments not easy, but nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
For most of this time, thoughts of the future were not foremost in my mind. They did sneak in from time to time, but it wasn't until the big 50 that I realized that I had gotten much further than I had thought I would so now what?
I started eating healthier. I quit drinking soda except for the times when I'm not feeling well and the soda will settle my stomach. I started walking (something that I have not done lately but I use the heat as an excuse). I have learned to lean more on my faith and not myself.
But sitting here now, on the day after my 59th birthday I am looking forward. I know that we are not promised tomorrow, which is why I will take this one day at a time. I don't know that I will be able to post every day, there may be days that I'm not able for what ever reason to get online, but I'll attempt to make a note and get it here as quickly as possible.
What does the future hold? I can make guesses, but I won't. I know what I hope for, but who knows if that will come to be? Only God knows and I will wait for His time of revelation. For now, I am one day into the count down to 60 and if Lord willing I make it, I hope that I can count on my friends to help me celebrate big.