Extravagant? Different strokes for different folks.

via Daily Prompt: Extravagant

 

The word extravagant may stir up visions of jewels or an exotic car for many folks. But to others it may be something as simple as a box of corn flakes with a quart of milk.  So many of us are blessed to be able to dream of jewels or fancy cars while others dream of having a meal in their stomach once in a while.  I learned this from a young man in Haiti whom I grew to love dearly.  He taught me so much about life.  I learned that there are those in Haiti who go days with no food. I also learned that an education there is not free.  They must pay to send their children to school. In many instances it is a choice between that and food.  To them a days wages may be only a dollar. That is enough to buy one bottle of pop at the local store. That is not enough for one person for the day let alone a family. While in Haiti I saw dirt cookies for sale on the streets and asked why they had them. They were eaten to absorb the acid in the stomach and curb hunger pains. It was uncommon there to see anyone who smoked. They could not afford the habit. Nor could they do many other things that we do such as have a pet.

Extravagance for him was a simple bowl of cereal and some clothes. How many of us would call that extravagance? Not many I would suppose. We sit in our heated homes sipping beverages and filling our tummies on a daily basis. Yet, so many in the world do not have a building to sleep in nor clean water to drink.  I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip. What I am doing is asking you to think about what your item would be if you were told you could have something extravagant for free?  As for me I am getting better at seeing how blessed I am in this world in which I reside. I am as a queen living in a castle my friend from Haiti once told me.  I sit in my castle while I dine on fine foods and fatten myself all the while knowing that there are people living in the villages starving.  Extravagance to me is no longer a classic car or diamonds. It is a desire of the heart to reach out to those in need and to help them.  If I could have something extravagant I would choose to build a hospital in a third world country that has a food bank for those in need. I would dream big, but not for myself. Yes, I could work at that facility but more than that I could help those stuck in a situation from which there seems no escape. That to me is extravagant.

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Cherish :Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Cherish

 

“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside…. ” These lyrics rang in the mind of my younger self.  I loved the words to this song and yet I had just begun to understand the true meaning of them. To cherish back then was to love in a simple way; holding another’s hand or to view a brief kiss of a couple nearby.  Yet, now I see so much more depth and breadth to that simple word.  To cherish now means to hold one’s heart in your hands and in your heart. To be blessed enough to have that person in your life for the long haul no matter what is to be able to cherish them. It is to know that person inside and out and to love when they walk into the room even after forty years of marriage.  Cherish is only one part of the vows I took so long ago – I pledged to love, honor, and cherish the man I love. Those words spoken to be done in any condition even in sickness. In the last few years since the accident that left me unable to work I have watched my spouse take on all of the challenges including the monetary ones without even one word of complaint. In those years I have watched him work hard as he always has asking nothing in return. He has even told me that all will be okay and has encouraged me on so many occasions. I am so blessed to have a man in my life that is so loving and caring. I cherish my time with him. The time home has brought us closer together and allowed me to love him through simple acts such as baking or cooking meals for him. To cherish is to love in a way that nobody else will ever know of. Even if you read this you will never understand the meaning of our love.

As I read posts on Facebook from those who are caregivers I see so much distress in their words. I see their emotions that they wear on their sleeves. I feel for them. Yet. I also feel for their loved ones with the TBI. I wonder if their loved ones read their posts. I wonder how they feel being caught in a world that they did not ask for with someone they cherish complaining about them. To lose one’s self has to be hard enough. To lose one they cherish and live through their opinions and blasphemy has to make it far worse.  My old self is gone. But parts of that old me remain. I am thankful that my love for my spouse remains. I am thankful that he cherishes me enough to not cast his problems on me as I heal.

“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside….” Do you cherish the person you are a caregiver for? if you do then think of how you show that to them in your every day actions.  I am blessed to have my spouse. Are they blessed to have you?

 

 

Daily Prompt: Penchant

via Daily Prompt: Penchant

         Okay, I am going to come out and just say it, I had to look up this word to know what it meant. LOL According to the online dictionary it means to have a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something. Well I have a bunch of those.
1. Chocolate – I love chocolate. In fact some might say I am addicted to those little chocolate pieces we call M&Ms.  My kids knew I love those little morsels and avoided eating them. They knew that momma had times where her cravings were too big for her and if they were gone a silent parade of events would occur. First up would be the finding of the keys and some money. Second would be the drive (20 minutes) to town to buy more. Lastly, the overindulgence of chocolate — as by now the craving was more intense than ever. If the purse was empty then a search of the house for anything else chocolate would ensue. Fudgesicles, cookies, you name it, even chocolate chips were in danger of being consumed. Chocolate is an obsession for me. It is my number one go to in times of stress.  I have a penchant for eating chocolate as many do.
2. I have a penchant to fight for what is right. I do not know why this is a part of me, but it is. If I see something I disagree with I do not just do it as some do, I stand up and say something. I must say that this has caused me a lot of stress in my life. My book, Molding Sharon, is an example of this. I wrote it as one who has lived life with the loss of a child due to an abortion. An abortion that neither the father nor I wanted. I wrote the book as a way to process what had happened and it helped me to heal immensely.  Following it’s publication, I was asked to speak in DC at the march and other locations locally. That was all fine. But the ramifications from family were the things that hurt the worst. I have found that even when you stand up for what is right (in your mind) there will be people who oppose your line of thought. Some are nice about it and others not so much. That is their right. After years of fighting for the rights of my special needs kids, asking for clarification in the laws as to be sure someone is not being forced into an abortion, and now the effects of a TBI on oneself and family I have slowed down fighting for what is right. My PTSD flares up easily and the possible threats from those in opposition scare m
e away for the most part. Typing on this site seems safe thus far. I will fight in a new way for what is right. It is a part of me, that part of the old me did not die.
3. I love animals. When I see a puppy or a pet of any kind my world turns into a childhood sea of emotions. I want to run to touch, pet, kiss, and love on them every time. In the past I was the person who had the imaginary sign that only animals could see in my front yard. I imagined it saying in bold print – SUCKER LIVES HERE – GO TO THE DOOR and look lost.  Worked every time. Over the years we have taken in so many strays. Some I kept following a search for the owners. Others I nurtured and set free. The last stray I took in was a little raccoon. He had been bit by a car and was stunned. I fed him with an eye dropper. He was too cute, but oh so messy. I love animals and always will.  It is one of the best things about working the farmer’s markets. I get to see all kinds of dogs there. I even get to pet the Amish horses waiting to pull the buggies home.
4. I loved teaching. It is in the past now but I yet find myself doing things that will help my grandchildren to learn. I buy the  gifts that will foster their creativity or love of sports. I miss teaching for it was a big part of me for over 30 years.
5. I love learning. Why, even today I learned a new word! Life is so full of wonderful things to explore! Why not explore it to the fullest all the while doing as you love. What are your favorite things to do?
 When someone asks you who you are do you answer and say what you do for your profession? Many do.  I have changed that now. I would say that I am one who is a Christian woman, in love with chocolate, animals. children, and learning. I stand up and fight for causes I believe in and love the little guy. I am me. How would you describe yourself? I would love to know.

Infatuated with Life

via Daily Prompt: Enamored

 

Enamored, a word not often used in day to day verbiage.  Defined it means to be filled with a feeling of love, to be in love with, smitten by, or merely having a liking for something is to be enamored with something.

As a young woman I would have stated that I was infatuated with the love of my life, my spouse, and although that remains true I would not be here to love the man of my dreams without life. Life, a word with only four letters and such a large meaning.  To have life, to breathe, to sustain a way of living is not a given. It is a day to day gifting.

Only yesterday a dear friend underwent an eight hour surgery. She is resting now and healing from the endeavor and she is alive. Alive to be with her family yet another day. Breathing and taking in air, enjoying a breakfast that only a hospital can make. 🙂 She has been given the opportunity as have all of us to reach out and touch people in a new way. As one who is fighting back at breast cancer she is a stronghold of the culture within we live. So many have fought the battle against cancer, so many have won the battle against death with accidents, illnesses, and on and on the list could go.  I have survived a few things myself but today I choose to focus on the fact that I live for a purpose, a reason.

What is that reason? I live to serve. I live to serve God and his church. I live to serve those who long to know more about what it is like to live with a TBI.  I live to love my friends and family.  I am infatuated with life.

This morning as I rose from slumber I came right to my PC to go onto Facebook. I knew that a post would have been made concerning the well being of my dear friend. A photo of she and her daughter greeted me as I slid down the page of entries. In that moment I knew she was okay. Joy entered my heart as I knew I would be able to talk to her again soon. We would be able to come together and make handmade cards for those we love and speak of our lives. We would form more memories and explore our lives. I am thankful for that opportunity.

In a few hours I will venture out to celebrate a birthday with someone who was in the rollover accident with me. We will celebrate another year of life. I will look at her and recall those moments wherein we were not sure we would make it. She will look at me and do the same. Then we will embrace and know that we are blessed to be here. To celebrate yet another year, to be there with those we love, and to serve.  To live, to celebrate life and to be enamored by all of its possibilities.

 

Dignified Responses Only Please

via Daily Prompt: Dignify

I am active on Facebook as many are. I state that as a preface to my blog today because I have found that my conservative posts are not always met in a dignified way. It seems as if others who are of a varied mindset seem to think that it is okay to correct me and to go on and on about how I see things wrongly.  I would like to clear the air and state that I see things differently than they do but in my eyes that does not mean they are wrong.

With many things in life there used to be a clear cut wrong and right. But in today’s realm we do not always have such a clear cut difference. We have become muddled with our beliefs and it seems that everything needs to be politically correct. To offend someone is bad. To tell your side of the story is wrong if it does not agree with another’s way of thinking.  I reflect back on my life and wonder when this line of thinking began. It has been within my lifetime. I know that.

I was raised to speak to my elders with respect and to call them by Mr. So and So and Mrs. So and So. First names were less formal.  Respect was expected.

I was taught to let the adults speak and to listen when spoken to. It was in this manner that I learned many things and how the adults seemed to have a wisdom I had not yet acquired as a child.

So, that takes me back to my original question – when did it become okay to challenge those with lifelong wisdom? When did it become common place to toss aside someone’s opinion if it does not align with yours? When did it become okay to punish or even kill those that we disagree with? Don’t like what they believe? Do something about it. Let me tell of a happening in my life wherein that exact thing happened.

It was in the mid eighties when I lost someone I loved very dearly to cancer. I mourned her death more than any other I have ever experienced in my life. I went with her spouse to shop for the tombstone and agonized with him over the perfect one to represent her. It was bought and placed onto the site. I took care of the grave and visited from time to time to take flowers as loved ones do. But, one day I went to find that someone had spray painted that stone with scribbled gestures. No words, just a mess of white paint sprayed upon the grey granite we had chosen. I became angry that someone would do such a thing. Who would desecrate her grave and why? She had hurt no one. Looking around the cemetery I noted that her grave was the only one that had been damaged. In that moment I recalled how a family had been upset with me at the school where I worked. I had made their child do the work she had been asked to do. Her mother had attempted to hit me, and if not for the principal being nearby she would have succeeded.  My mind wandered to thinking, wondering if they were so upset that they came here to hurt me in another way. Living in a small community it was quite possible.

I cleaned up the stone, painstakingly washing it down after getting all of the paint off with removers. I cried as I wondered it the remover would damage the finish. I never told a soul. But, inside I hurt as if she had died all over again. They had put me in my place. I would never forget that lesson.

By now that child is a parent herself. I have to wonder what she teaches her children. I wonder if they are a part of the minority out there desecrating the graves today and tearing down statues. Back then, I let what happened go. I did not tell anyone. I did not rise up and protect the grave of my dear one against another possible attack. But as for today I chose otherwise. I am going to speak up. Each of us has a voice that needs to be heard. Nobody has the right to tell us we are wrong or to eradicate our free speech.  I have opinions that are just as worthy as anyone else.  Please stop telling me that my opinions and the way I feel about things are wrong.

Lets get back to dignified responses only please. Ones that express how we feel without tearing the other person down. Responses that allow us to debate without hatred and malice toward those we do not agree with. Let us not have to feel like we are unworthy to speak. It is okay to disagree. But it is not okay to allow undignified mannerisms.

 

 

 

 

Homage to God and Nobody Else

via Daily Prompt: Homage

 

As days pass and the years go by I seem to see many things in a different light. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have survived near death. Perhaps it is just a normal part of aging.  Either way it is something that needs to be respected in our American culture (but seems to not be). With that said I wish to pay homage to the lessons my God has shown me. I hope that you glean something from this blog. It is why I write.

Lesson 1 – People who you think are your friends will use you for the sake of gossip. There I said it. I hated to tell you that one, but it is true. How do I know? I used to talk to someone almost every day. Our conversations could go on for an hour or more. But, I came to realize that as she spoke to me she slandered, or cut down, the people in her life that she called her friends. After years of hearing this I thought to myself, “I wonder if she does the same thing with what I tell her about my life?” If she were in fact talking to me to get information to tell them!  I began cutting back on telling her things and grew more and more sure of the fact that she was. I hated that I had fallen for that. I was a part of a gossip roundup – gathering and spreading the herds of data – manure and all. Since that realization I have decided to keep my mouth shut more than I used to. I have given up gossiping and use words to edify more than I did back then. People will use you. You have to set boundaries. If you don’t you will have repercussions.

Lesson 2 –  Private matters should be discussed with someone who is a counselor or trained to help you sort it all out. This is a follow up to number one. Confide in those who must keep your private matters private. I have gone to a counselor and not am ashamed to admit it. I know that they have taken an oath and will guide you. Friends and family on the other hand might think they know what is best and want to help but they are not always right. I lean on God and pray more than anything now to get my answers.

Lesson 3- Set boundaries with those who need it – I am not real good at this yet, but I am trying. I have people in my life who seem to think that they can tell me what to think even though what they think it completely opposite of who I am. I cannot do as they wish nor will I. To me, if I do as they tell me to do they become a sort of false God. Especially when they are telling me to do things that are not in agreement with the Bible.  I set boundaries and will listen to the one true God, not anyone who is a wolf is sheep’s clothing.

Lesson 4- When You Change People Will Not See it and Think You Are Still the Old You – Change takes timeI have changed but most still see me as the old me. I let her go a while ago. I am a new me dedicated to God. It is okay that people do not see it. That is not what matters. What matters is that God sees the new me.

Lesson 5- People will judge you even though they have no right to – It is a natural thing – to judge others for whatever reason. Maybe your eyes are a different color or you are in a wheelchair. Maybe it is something not physical but spiritual as you are of a varied faith. The reason is not important. It is the action that is taking place. Judge not lest ye be judged. Speak words of love, not judgement. If you are offended by someone pray for them. But more than anything, if someone judges you do not let it bother you. By doing so you give them control over your feelings. Focus on what God knows to be true. That is the only thing that is important.

 

I used to give homage to so many things. Those were the things that I spent an enormous amount of time on. Now, I choose to give homage to God and what he asks me to do. Homage to God as his disciple is not always an easy path to choose. But I choose it.

 

 

Magnets – Small Bits of Inspiration

via Daily Prompt: Magnetic

A dear fried was explaining to me that she was going to have a mastectomy. Cancer had invaded her body and therefore removal of one breast and the reduction of the other had become something needing to be done. I listened as she explained the procedure including the part where a magnet would be placed into her breast during the surgery. At that point my TBI brain went aloof as to why a magnet was being placed in there. My brain was yet trying to understand all that she would have to endure.

We had not known each other long, less than a year, but this dear friend had become the one to drive me to most all of my appointments for therapy etc. When we had met her health was good, not great, and we talked of many things. Don’t get me wrong, our talks are wide in breadth but we do speak of our health issues with one another. It is as if God placed us together to help each of us deal with the hand we have been dealt. Anyway, back to the topic. As I sat listening to her it dawned on me that we each have storms in our lives. We have those mountains to climb and we have those times of pure joy.  With some storms you can reach out to those who have had a similar experience and with others it is not so easy. So many have suffered cancer and its impact on their body and the soul. But, as for me, I have not met so many with a TBI. To be able to hear from those who are victims of a common thing might be comforting in some ways.

This morning as my dear friend and I chatted on Facebook I watched a news story about a local race for the cure. Cancer was the cause of this race and the people were helping raise funds for research etc.  My TBI mind began to wander. It began to ask itself if there are races etc for the cause of those with a TBI. I would hope so. Looking online I find a bowling for the cause idea and that the Veterans get help as well. That was a good start! In the end I realized that I have an opportunity to attempt to be a spokesperson for the cause of those with a TBI and their loved ones. There are so many of us. It is not to say that the other causes are not good, it is not that at all. I am now connected to this cause. My dear friend is connected to her cause. It is what we know. It is what we live.

Tomorrow my friend will have a magnet placed into her body and it will be a part of her forever.  In addition, she has the means to be a magnetic personality for the cause of cancer. She will be able to help those in need of assistance if she so chooses. As for me, I am going to choose to do the same for the cause of those with a TBI.  I am going to choose to begin to seek ways to help with the cause and help others understand the ramifications of a TBI.  There are so many who have not a clue about what we endure with this injury as a part of who we are. They cannot see it, so we must be fine. My friend and her circumstances has inspired me to reach out to others. To be like a magnet in the sea of people wanting to learn and to help. I am so thankful for her in many ways.

God, I ask that you be with my friend as she undergoes her surgery tomorrow. I ask that you guide us in the days to come. Thank you for helping me to be able to serve you and to be a magnet for those in need. I thank you that my life did not end in that accident. I am beginning to see why. Help me as I go forth. Amen.