Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

There was a lot on my mind this past week. Some things were heart wrenching and some things made me smile and feel joy. Life is like that for all of us I think. It is up to us to come to terms with the different events that happen and perhaps learn from them. So I am sharing a few of my thoughts, things for which I am grateful and linking my post to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop where she provides us a place to share our views on this subject. Please pause and click her link to read some of the thoughts of other bloggers who have paused to reflect. 

There are very few things in life that are predictable. People will be born and people will die. Not everyone who begins their journey in the womb will live out their mortal life in this world. One out of every 160 pregnant women who are past 20 weeks of gestation end up with stillborn babies in the United States of America.  In 2013 legally induced abortions that were performed at less than 13 weeks gestation (91.6% of the abortions) was 200 for every 1000 births. These were numbers reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. See link. If that isn't staggering enough take a look at what the World Health Organization has to say about child mortality in the world. With Red Nose Day this past week, we were able to see some ways others are trying to raise money to support programs that help children in the world who have not had the vaccinations we take for granted. These are sobering thoughts, but there are many people reaching out to help make a difference in the lives children and families, and I am grateful for their efforts.

Speaking of babies, I am now a great grandmother for the fourth time. I am thankful for a sweet little boy that was born healthy, and for his mother who was able to come through this pregnancy just fine. He was born on the same birthday as my mother-in-law. I know his parents will do all they can to protect and guide this little boy and his siblings.

As it turned out, the same day my great grandson was born was the same day I learned that our niece had returned home after spending six weeks in the hospital many miles from her home and family. Unfortunately all the efforts to get her to a point where she could have some hope of curbing the leukemia has been unsuccessful. She is now receiving hospice care. Hospice workers are angels to my way of thinking and are such a support to the entire family. I'm thankful that our niece could spend this past weekend with her immediate family, and her mom, and her siblings who had traveled some distance to be with her to share memories and express their love to her and just be there.

With all the rain we have had this year in our area, including rain again last night and this morning, things have been growing like crazy including the weeds. It has been quite a long time, over a year, that I have been able to actually pull weeds, so you can imagine how excited I was last week to finally be able to pull some weeds in the shrub beds. I only did it for a half hour on the days I went out, because I didn't want to overdo. Because I have increased flexibility now from the neuromuscular therapy, I am taking it slowly, so I don't have a setback. I felt like the little kid shouting to anyone who would listen that he was able to ride his bike! I am thankful for having greater strength and flexibility.

We have seen evidence of young life on our property the past couple of weeks, such as baby swallows in one birdhouse, baby bluebirds in another, and baby hummingbirds emerging from the depths of a large butterfly bush where nests no doubt are there. It probably won't be long before we will be seeing some fawns on the property. We've seen a doe resting in kind of a cove among some of our shrubs. We think she may be looking for a place to give birth to her fawn. I love the springtime, which to me is a season of rebirth and growth.


Inside our home some of the houseplants have decided to bloom again. Some of our Christmas cacti bloomed at Thanksgiving, sometime after Christmas, and now are getting ready to bloom again! The begonia has decided to bloom for the second time in these past few months. I'm always grateful for flowers, their colors, the many types of blossoms and leaves. The creator of all things is so imaginative!

Windfall sticks and branches

Some of you may remember playing Pick Up Sticks. That was one of the few games we had as kids. Well I got to play an adult version this past week.  Because of the wind storms this winter, we have quite a lot of sticks and branches of all sizes on the ground that need picking up. Our version of the game is to pile them up and then shred them for mulch. The pile isn't even complete yet. I am thankful for a body that will let me bend down, and legs that will support me as I climb up and down the hilly area to pick them up and stack them on the pile.

Scotch Broom

We are a little late on getting rid of more Scotch Broom. It is best to get rid of them before they bloom! Better late than never is our motto. They are quite beautiful, but very invasive plants, both my husband and I worked to remove at least some of these one afternoon. I'm thankful for times to work together with him. I even found some sweet peas that were blooming out near some Scotch Broom plants. I took time to smell each sweet pea. I love the smell of sweet peas!

A week ago Sunday, I went out to the car to go to church and discovered a chip in my windshield with a foot long crack extending across the window. We frequently will hear rocks hit our windshield when driving behind some truck, but often don't see where any damage was done. This time the damage had been done right in front of the rearview mirror, but kind of hidden from view, and apparently the foot long crack from it happened overnight. I'm sure we would have noticed it immediately otherwise. I'm thankful for those who are skilled in replacing windshields.

Another car situation happened this Sunday, when a very strange thing happened. On the way to church I discovered that the dashboard screen went completely dark.  I got to the church, and I couldn't turn off my car. Since I have a keyless entry and can start the car without having to insert a key, as long as the key is nearby, there was no key in the car.  I decided that maybe if I put the key in I could turn the car off that way. That was a bad idea. Not only was I still not able to turn the car off, I couldn't take the key out. I didn't want to leave the car running with the key in the car, so I drove home and told my husband my predicament. He was as puzzled as I was. After a few minutes, he said that he would drive it and see if he was able to get it to turn off. He backed up to the end of the driveway then pulled forward at which point the dashboard screen came on. He parked and turned the car off! This is another one of the situations when hubby, the miracle worker, does exactly what I tried, but with different results. He felt pretty good for "fixing" the car. I got back in the car and went to church, having missed just a little bit of the service. I'm so thankful for these little mysterious fixes that occur in our lives.

Wishing you all a wonderful week to come and that you can each recognize those blessing in your lives and give thanks for them.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful - A week of taking it easy

It is time to post some things that make me feel thankful and link my post to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. She gives us reminders each week in case life gets too hectic that we might forget. She posts her link up each Thursday evening shortly after midnight Central time and we have until the following Tuesday to link our posts. That leaves plenty of time to give some thoughtful consideration to the subject. Be sure to go to her link later to see what others have shared this week.

Since the virus I was starting to come down with last Saturday decided to stick around a while, I took it easy, although it wasn't a fun "taking it easy." My bout with this stuff took a different course than it did with my husband. Fortunately by day four, I stumbled across a product that had thousands of positive reviews on Amazon. I had been reading about essential oils and wondering if I had some  that would give my sinuses some relief. In one of the articles it mentioned using a product mentioned on Amazon before using the diffuser with suggested essential oils. After reading the reviews, I was sold. There was only one store in our city which carried it, and they only had three boxes left on the counter. I ventured out and bought two boxes, not knowing how long I might be fighting this. To my amazement, it worked so quickly, that using the essential oils didn't turn out to be necessary. Today, my energy has picked up, and my sinuses, ear and head pain have improved greatly. I am thankful for being able to be rid of sinus and ear pain, and to have discovered a product that worked so quickly.

Home canned peaches and a cheery yellow primrose

A friend stopped by the second day I was sick with a quart jar of her home-canned peaches and with a yellow primrose to cheer me up. I put the peaches in the refrigerator for a while to get them nice and cold. Those cold peaches and juice sliding down my sore throat felt wonderful! I'm thankful for thoughtful and caring friends.

This has been a week of poached eggs for breakfast, something that I always enjoyed as a child when my paternal grandmother made them. I decided that I was going to try to make them the way she did. My first attempt wasn't so good, although it tasted as good. The second attempt was better, thanks to reading the instructions in my very old Joy of Cooking cookbook, © 1963. However, I didn't quite get the "swirl the water into a mad vortex with a wooden spoon," pg. 196, quite right. The last try was perfect, thanks to a combination of watching a youtube video and remembering how my Grandma tilted the saucer slightly before slipping the egg into the water. By the way, as it turned out, no swirling the water was required. I'm thankful for old cookbooks, for poached eggs which also feel good on a sore throat, and for memories of my Grandma's cooking.

Oops! The yolk and the whites separated in this failed try of poaching an egg.
Perfect poached egg
Poached egg and liquid it was cooked in served over pieces of  multi-grained bread

This week as I rested and tried to distract my mind from the sinus head pain, I read some interesting articles, such as one written by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Alex Tizon, who passed away March 23, 2017 in Eugene OR. A posthumous cover story in the Atlantic Monthly, June 2017 written by him and titled My Family's Slave is a thought provoking read. You can read NPR's interview with Alex Tizon by clicking this link. Within the link it also has a link to the article in the magazine. I am thankful for those who share their histories which stir our conscientiousness and broaden our understanding of how some people of different cultures live.

A vase of flowers I received for Mother's Day was very pretty, but the flowers hadn't quite opened up yet on the day they arrived. I have loved watching them evolve this week and thought how like people they are. We take a while to mature and bloom in our own ways. Some do so quickly, while others take their time. To see and know the real person, requires looking into their inner nature. I am thankful for the things that we are reminded of through observing the creations on this earth.

Vase of pink tulips and purple irises

Inside of a tulip

When I clicked on a post on Facebook this week, I listened to a Tibetan singing bowl.  I had never listened to one before, and I discovered how relaxing it was for me. When I have tried meditation in the past, my minds starts to wander and I need to bring my mind back to center, but I discovered that with the tones of the Tibetan singing bowl about the time a thought started to emerge, I heard another tone and I just relaxed. Because of my experience I read a little about them, and discovered that they have been used for both healing and meditation purposes. I searched on Pandora for Tibetan singing bowls and was happy to find some tracks that include singing bowls. I'm thankful for discovery. Although these have been used for centuries, for me, this was a discovery in how they are used.

Anne Frank: A Diary of A Young Girl was published in 1952 in the United States, and it was probably about three years later that I read this account of her life and became aware of some of the atrocities of war. I remember how I felt when I read of her plight, while at the same time feeling almost guilty for living in this land and having escaped these horrors. While in my teens and drying dishes one day as my Mom washed, I talked to her about this subject, of how come we were placed in this land instead of some other place where life would have possibly been one of much hardship. Although with maturity and added knowledge I have come to know that many have suffered here too and that man's inhumanity to man is spread over the globe. However, there is an ever growing sense among the populations throughout the earth to reach out and do something to alleviate the sufferings of the people, to help them rise above poverty, and disease, and to give them hope. There are even among the histories of past generations here and in other lands, accounts of courageous and compassionate acts to assist those who were in desperate need, and there were people who offered hope. I am thankful for all those who in whatever way they can offer a ray of hope to others. 

In pouring though some photos today, once again I was reminded of how quickly the years go by as children become adults and then grandchildren become adults, and then great grandchildren are born to begin their trek. What is said and done builds memories and influences and shapes who we are and who we become. I'm thankful for each one in the family for their love and example.

Wishing all my fellow bloggers and followers a wonderful coming week.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

What a week it has been! With the Ten Things of Thankful post I will hopefully remember the highlights and dwell on the blessings.  I'm linking my post to Josie Two Shoes, Ten Things of Thankful site, so you can check out the post of others who link up. Striving to concentrate on the positive when challenges come has a way of keeping one focused on what really matters.

1. We have niece who is fighting leukemia again for the third time. It has been heart wrenching to read of her challenges this time around. Her story has been shared by family members on Facebook, and seeing how many have added her name and the names of her family and the healthcare workers to their private prayers and prayer circles, etc. has been so uplifting. To see her be able to make it to this point has been very inspiring and faith promoting.

2. Before we left on our recent vacation, our 17-year-old dishwasher went on the fritz. We had to wait until we got back to have a repairman come. Once he did, we were told trying to fix it would cost quite a bit, so we decided to get a new one. We were able to get a floor model that was last year's model and was on sale, plus we got an additional $40 off. I learned that the average life for a dishwasher is about seven to twelve years, so getting 17 years of use from our last one was excellent. In addition to what I've shared already, the repairman was able to take care of an existing problem with installing the new dishwasher.  That was a plus!

3. I enjoyed having lunch with a few friends one day this week. Even though we see each other at church frequently, that is a time to worship or teach classes, so getting together at other times where we can just spend some time sharing bits of wisdom and such brings a sense of commonality and builds upon our friendships.

4. One afternoon I had an opportunity to try to help someone with her genealogy challenge. Although I don't know that I helped her a lot, because she is trying to find out who her Mom's birth Mom was, I was able to teach her a few things about using Ancestry. Her Mother was adopted. Some states have made it easier to find out that information than others. The good news is while I was with her, she received a call from someone who is an expert in the field of finding adoption records. I'm thankful for moments to share knowledge that may be of help to others.

5. The neuromuscular massage treatment went well for me this week, and he added another exercise for me to do at home to try to maintain the range of motion I'm gaining in the treatments. This truly is a case of no pain no gain, but it will be worth it. It is a slow process, but I am making progress.

6. My husband and I have spent some dedicated time this week to planning and purchasing some of the tickets for an upcoming vacation later this year. At times I think our patience was tested a bit, but we met the test. :-)

7. A few weeks back I mentioned in one of my blog posts about an encounter with a shrew. I'm beginning to think there may have been a nest of them, because we have caught three more now. They were caught using a strong type of glue board made for the purpose of catching mice and spiders. This is crazy! These are the pygmy shrews, so they are really little and almost cute, but I'd prefer they hadn't sneaked in. I'm thankful for traps.

8. There were several large vases of gorgeous Hawaiian flowers at the nursing home where Mom is. A family member of one of the residents had sent them. I was amazed at the size and variety of flowers. They are nothing like ones we see here in our area. I'm thankful for the beautiful creations on this earth.

9. If it weren't for having good hearing, I wouldn't have known about an animal that seemed to have made its way under a shingle outside our bedroom. Waking up to scratching noises in the middle of the night is a little disconcerting. When it finally quieted down, I assumed it had made its way out, but I heard the sound again around daybreak another day. No, I doubt this is a shrew, but maybe a bat. Bats love to wedge themselves under wooden shingles. 

10. I'm thankful my husband is feeling somewhat better. He has been fighting some "bug" for over a week that seems to begin as a cold and then settles in the chest. Today I awoke with a sore throat. I feel better tonight, so maybe my body won't allow it to hang around. He made me a pot of delicious chicken vegetable noodle soup this morning for me. 

11. And lastly, I'm thankful for my mother, my daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter who are mothers. I also honor other family members and others who are not mothers, but exhibit mother-like traits to others whether it be to children or those who need to feel loved and cared for no matter the age.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Maybe it is because I am getting older, or perhaps it is because of posts I see on Facebook where one can see historical images, but my post today for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop now generated by the Josie Two Shoes site is a product of my thoughts from my past and the present.

1. When I was approaching my teens, my mother bought me a pair of nylon hose to wear when I went to church. I hadn't even considered wearing hose at that point. (The girls at that time were wearing bobby socks with white suede shoes to school and leather or patent leather flats to Sunday School.) 

Unlike the pantyhose available at the stores now, which may snag and create a fairly small hole, the nylon hose that were available when I first started wearing them would create a run down the nylon if snagged. In addition, a girl needed to make sure that the seam was straight up the back of the leg. The hose came half way up the thigh so a garter belt was needed to keep them up. The hose came in many more sizes then, but after they began making hose that were stretchy, there was no seam up the back. I am thankful for the advancements in fabrics, improved designs and ease of wearing (for the most part).

2. No one needs to be reminded that people need to take care that they don't stink. (Now I do not mean to cause anyone to feel offended, because I do know that there are many people in this world who lack the means to obtain even the bare necessities in life, and may lack a way to stay clean and free of offensive odors.) I'm sure that there came a time when my mother realized after being around me when I was in my pre-teens that it was time to introduce me to Mum deodorant, which was sold as a cream in a jar and applied with one's fingertips. A few years later I was able to buy roll-on deodorants which had became available. I am thankful for deodorants and antiperspirants that can be purchased  unscented or scented and are available in stick form as well as in the earlier forms of application. 

Note: Many people are very sensitive to scents, and when they are in a room with a lot of people who have used scented soaps, shampoos, lotions, antiperspirants, scented laundry soaps, perfumes, etc., it can be overpowering. They become limited in where they can go, without feeling sick because of the overpowering combinations of scents.

3. One of the first sets of dishes I remember my parents buying, was a set of Melmac or possibly Melamine, probably because our other dishes had gotten broken from children dropping them. I am still thankful for dishes that are available that are not easily broken. There is definitely a time and a place for their use, although now buyers must also pay attention to unbreakable brands that are safe for use in microwaves and in  dishwashers.

4. Between the ages of three and seven I lived on a farm in the country. We didn't have an indoor toilet. The outhouse was a ways from the house, for obvious reasons, and a pot was set in the hall for use at night. I remember my mother carrying a bucket of lye water out to the outhouse to clean it and telling me to stay away when she was doing this task. There was always the warning to watch out for black widow spiders in the outhouse. Needless to say, when we moved to another state and had a house with an indoor toilet, all of us were very excited. Having the convenience such as an indoor toilet is something for which I am very thankful, which I am aware that not everyone in the world is as fortunate, and many also do not have running water.

5. Attending grade school for me required bringing my own school supplies, although the list was much shorter back in the 1950's. One of the items we needed to get was a cigar box to hold our supplies. Later on school boxes of similar shape with cute designs on them were available for purchase, but I started school with the real deal. School paste was one of the supplies that we purchased to put in the cigar box. I wasn't one who enjoyed using the paste, or eating it as some younger kids were prone to do. Adhesives have come a long ways over the years, for which I am very grateful. There is such an assortment of products now.

6. Although phone service was available in many towns during my early years, we didn't have phone lines that came out as far as our farm until I was about four or five. It was pretty exciting for me to be able to talk to my Grandma on the phone when she called soon after we got the phone. I'm sure it was a long distance call for her even though she only lived about 10 miles away. Having a phone made it so much easier to respond to emergencies. I am thankful for the many ways we can speedily communicate with people all over the world now.

7. When I was between five and seven years old, a young boy  living across the street from my paternal grandparents was stricken with  polio. He suffered from paralysis and had to be in an iron lung. He was not allowed to have visitors. The fear of being exposed to the polio virus was extremely great. Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was deemed safe and effective in April 1955, so sometime after the seventh grade I received my first polio vaccine. I am thankful for the discovery of the vaccine and that I was able to receive it when I did. There are so many people doing research to discover ways to prevent other deadly diseases, and I appreciate their research and dedication.

8. With the availability of books in public libraries and in school libraries now, one might be surprised by the fact that a two-room country school that I attended in the 1950's was first able to get some books in 1953 from a library (whether city or state, I do not know). These books were put on a two-shelf rolling cart. We were able to check out one book to read and then write a book report. I selected a book about John Paul Jones. I am thankful for the many sources of reading materials now for children and adults. Many books have been digitized and are available online. Click here to see one source.

9. One of the ways children enlarged their understanding of people living in other countries was by writing to a pen pal. I wrote to a girl in Sheffield, England, to a girl in Ireland, and to a boy in Kyoto, Japan. We also exchanged photos of ourselves and wrote about our schools and everyday life. Sometimes we sent post cards and we also enjoyed seeing the postage stamps on the cards and envelops. I am thankful for the opportunities I had to expand my world a bit and learn how others lived. It is my hope that children all over the world will want to become friends with those in other nations and help overcome the prejudices and misunderstandings that exist among some people.

10. I am thankful for the experiences I have had in life and for those early childhood memories my husband has shared with me. It has been interesting to compare them, and also to consider how our own way through life differs from the experiences of our children and grandchildren.

This life is short. May we each make the best of our journey and share some of those experiences with our posterity. 

What a great day to just look at the sky!

Be sure to take a break though and read the posts of others at Ten Things of Thankful.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #147 Leap&Throb

After a week's vacation, part of which was in an area where we needed to keep an eye out for snakes, the prompt at Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #147 Leap&Throb took a direction that I suspect not too many took. Curious what others wrote for the challenge this week? Click the link and see the links of those who took the challenge.

coiled and camouflaged
snake caused heart to leap and throb
with trepidation

Striped Rattlesnake

TJ's Household Haiku Challenge - Spring and Cold

Since the beginning of autumn, through winter and into spring the northwestern part of our nation has had record setting rainfall, so TJ's Household Haiku Challenge - Spring and Cold brought to mind a certain image.  I'm linking my haiku to his blog hop.  Check out his site to see the creations of others. It is always interesting to see the thoughts that have been penned by other poets.

craggy rock covered with moss

verdant moss conceals
cold spring water seeping forth
under craggy rocks

Ten Things of Thankful - Trip

This is going to be a really short post that is too late to link to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, but I will post anyway. That way you can click the link to read the posts others did link. 

We made a trip this past week to see one of our daughters and her family in the state south of us. We drove this time instead of flying, and my husband went with me. (The last time I went to see her, I fell and broke my arm, and he had to take a plane down to be with me. It was a much more enjoyable trip this time around.)

1. Invitation to see the California poppies in all their glory.

California poppies

A field of California poppies

2. Time to spend with my daughter.  Because of the wind and my need to stay shaded from the sun as much as possible, I kept covered up as much as possible, otherwise my hair would have looked like the 'featherdo' of the bird.

East African Gray-Crowned Crane at the Los Angeles Zoo

3. Different terrains.

Mt. Shasta
flat desert
Black Butte cinder butte
4. Freshly picked artichokes from the garden. I'm amazed by our daughter's green thumb.

artichoke plant

5. New games to play. We learned to play Five Crowns, a rummy type game. It was lots of fun! Of course, we did play more than one Scrabble game as well. I'm thankful for our children who tolerate, and I think enjoy playing this game with me. 

6. A visit with my brother on the way home. We got together at the Pizza Factory in the area where he lives. I'm going to have to see if there are any Pizza Factory restaurants in our state.

7. Being able to see my great grandchildren and their parents. We had not been able to see them the last time we were in the area, so this was a special time to be with them. Taking family group pictures can sometimes be like this.

giraffes looking all different directions at the Los Angeles Zoo 
8. Going to a JetHawks minor League Baseball game with our daughter and son-in-law. It was a very pleasant evening to watch a game.

9. Great food throughout the trip!

10. Fun, fun, fun, and relaxation, relaxation, relaxation with my husband and family!