Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness: Nancy and $20

Random Acts of Kindness Blog Fest

Standing in a long queue at the pharmacy is always stressful.  It often seemed to Nancy as she needed medication for shingles and was at the end of an emotional tether, all the people ahead of her needed so much. 

Some needed translations into Spanish.  Some needed calls made to their doctors.  Some elderly people needed a multitude of help.

Queue Line: An abstract picture of people standing in a queue line
Source: COBRA Soft

Nancy needed to return home; shingles was eating up any energy she had.  But she would not give up her spot in the line, since she was the next person up, after a frail old woman finished talking with the pharmacy technician.  Nancy gritted her teeth, and then overheard the old woman speaking.

“That much?  It costs that much?”  She opened her wallet.  “I don’t have enough…I guess I will have to wait until next week to pick this prescription up…”

purse: little blue purse
Source: bies

The technician explained to her that the doctor said she needed to start taking this prescription today.  The woman stepped away and said she would have to think about what she could give up today, so she could buy the medicine.

Nancy took her place in front of the technician.  Impulsively, Nancy leaned in and whispered, “How much does that woman need to pay for that prescription?”

The technician hesitated, but leaned forward and whispered, “About fifteen dollars.” 

Nancy checked her purse.  She had a five, three ones, and one twenty dollar bill.  She pulled out the twenty.  “Here…I’ll pay for her prescription, but you can’t tell her who gave the money.”

Surprised, the technician took the money.  As Nancy left the counter and walked through the store, she heard the elderly woman called over the speaker.  Then she heard the woman exclaim.  Relief was in her voice.

Nancy smiled.  She needed to hear that.

This is a true story.  I was there.  With my shingles.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday Words: Lucky

deluge in Singapore: pouring rain - umbrellas at the ready, everyone...
Source: fishmonk
Dashing through the downpour, Jackson could see no other shelter than a shadowy doorway.  Within the doorway lay a trembling dog, soaked to the skin.  Even with its matted fur, Jackson appreciated that this dog had some breeding. 

dog: dog
Source: lauralucia
Attached to Jackson’s key chain was a tiny LED flashlight.  “Here, boy…” Jackson rubbed the wet fur with his woolen scarf, while searching for a chain or some ID. 

The flashlight caught the glint of a tag in the shape of a four-leaf-clover, with the name “Lucky” and a phone number.  Jackson dialed it, hearing the ring, and finally an answer.  “This is the Blank residence.  How may I help you?”
Doggie ID Tag with Four Leaf Clover
Source


After telling about finding “Lucky”, Jackson heard a boy in the background shouting with joy.   “Lucky!  Lucky has been found!...”  Moments later a car pulled up and the boy jumped out into the rain, wrapping his arms around his dog.


“You need a ride, mister?”  The boy turned to ask.  But no one remained, the doorway was empty.  Jackson had disappeared into a sheet of rain.

Many thanks to all who read Delores @thefeatherednest and find her Wednesday Words a challenge!  Take a chance and see what you can create!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness: Anniversaries of Tragedy

Random Acts of Kindness Blog Fest May 27-31

Anniversaries of personal tragedy are the hardest days for me.  The first year anniversary or the fifteenth year—time does not change the depth of grieving for the death of someone beloved.
 
Bill when he was in high school with his horse, Sonny
December 12, 1999 was the day my youngest brother Bill died, at age 44.  It was 11:30 at night, Sunday night.  His fiancée had phoned from Louisiana that afternoon at 2 PM to tell me that Bill was very ill and would be going into surgery to correct problems from surgery done earlier that week. 

Very ill.  May not make it.  Doctor says….

The rest of the day was spent in pacing around the house, calling the nurses’ station, pacing some more.  Until 11:30 that night.

On December 12, 2009, I sat, watching my granddaughters playing.  The oldest, five year-old Bright Eyes noticed how quiet I was and how sad my face seemed.  She climbed up on my lap and asked in her little sweet voice if I was sick. 

I told her about my brother and how he had “gone to heaven” ten years ago.  Bright Eyes listened solemnly and nodded.  She knew about heaven since their dog Shelby had recently gone there, too.

“Well then, Grandma.  I’ll hold you 'til you feel better.”  Then she settled into my arms, laid her head upon my shoulder, and soaked love into my very being. 

I have never been given such a kind gift like this before, or since.

Hands - Old and Young: Hands of an older female and a baby.
Source: xymonau

Monday, May 27, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest May 27-31, 2013

A teacher gives so much, almost everything inside the brain and heart.  That is what I always believed, always did.  I arrived at school an hour and a half before the required time to make certain that the day’s preparation was just right.  I stayed two hours after school to review student work and make adjustments for the next day.  

Every day for years, this was my work ethic.

Then, one day I received an irate letter from a father who ripped me apart.  

He had found typos in an assignment I had copied from a professionally produced  book of black-line masters.  He did not appreciate the topic being pursued and wanted to adjust it to his superior understanding.  He thought his child needed more explanation and monitoring—by discussing each lesson taught and assignment given, after the rest of the class had been dismissed.  


The letter, written in small font, covered a full page.


My entire being sagged in defeat, taking my heart and brain with it.  I left after school, numb and confused.  Was there more I could have done?

Flashing forward-- I tightened up my checking-for-typos, adjusted my explanations of all assignments, and double checking everything.  It didn't change that father, but it changed me.  For better?  I didn't know.  


 MANY years later, I received a card from the parents of another student.  

While going through old videos, they discovered a video of their son’s reading and speech presentations recorded that same school year.  They expressed their thanks and appreciation for giving their son such a wonderful year, for teaching him.

They will never know how much this act of kindness meant to me.  I could tell them “Thanks!” but that would be inadequate.

I still have the letter and read it occasionally.  And I praise God for these parents who gave me more than they could ever know.

Chocolate Thank You: Chocolate Thank You - contact and credit for public use
Source: ChIandra4U

In Loving Memory

Memorial Day: Memorial Day in a veteran's cemetery.
Source: RWLinder

Don't forget: wall memorial reminder - ANZAC war memorials - slogan - lest we forget
Source: TACLUDA


A NATION’S STRENGTH
Not gold, but only man can make
A people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honor’s sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly—
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON


Friday, May 24, 2013

WE are THEY

Anger: A human emotion in words...
Source: SisCel
The world-wide political situation has become untenable.  

Syria—just saying that country’s name brings shivers throughout.  

Benghazi—will the truth ever be known? 

Pedophiles—how can a person who preys on children be allowed to mingle with an unknowing public?

Racism and Anti-Semitism--how can any intelligent human being support such hate?  

THEY should do something about these issues.  THEY cannot allow these issues to continue.

Who are THEY
I just looked in a mirror, and I think I saw one of THEM in there.   

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Words: Sam and Nora

Moon and Water 2: A giant moon on a watery horizon.
Source: xymonau

Champagne bubbles were illuminated by the full moon overhead as Sam and Nora snuggled on a bench along the boardwalk, enjoying the sounds of the rolling surf. 

Champagne Gold: Ok so it's not champagne, it's hair gel, but at least the bubbles all sit still long enough so that you can capture the reflective detail in each one! :-)
Source: brainloc
They touched the wine flutes together with a clink.  Nora found a tissue and wiped her teary eyes.  The moonlight glinted off Sam’s balding head as he smiled. 

“Oh, Nora!  We’re not done yet,” he chuckled.  Kissing her deeply, Sam stood and pulled Nora to her feet.  Another sound kiss all but cemented them both in place.

“Same time, same place next year, Sam?”  Nora smiled, gazing up at Sam tenderly. 

Sam nodded as they broke their embrace, reluctantly pulling away.

As each headed off in different directions to their respective spouses, Sam raised his glass.  “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” 

As the fog rolled in, each disappeared into the shadows of their other lives.


Fog: No description
Source: mjio
 With apologies to Casablanca.  Many thanks to Delores/myfeatherednest!  Delores is faithful in finding amazing words for each Wednesday.  Please see what she has created, along with others in her comment section.

Crazily Creative kid entertainment



AS if there were not enough baby equipment to go around, here is another "must have" !

It is called “Baby Einstein Musical Motion activity jumper”, and is for sale everywhere.  It defies description, so here is a YouTube demonstration:



Our grandchildren are beyond this, but I am considering getting this and setting it up in our living room.  It would give us grandparents something to do during commercials and between bathroom breaks.  This might qualify as exercise. 


When I recall how our children had such simple toys and entertainment, I wonder how in the world they managed to grow up to be the creative adults that they are today.  Surely we could have done more?  We just didn't know back then.

Extreme creativity is the mode for children today.  Extreme visual stimulation is the ticket for everything, including video games. The market demands more and more.  I wonder what will be next? 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Samuel and the First Baptist Church



central cross: modern plain church building with central wall cross
Source: TACLUDA
With Nana living in the guest room, a heavy handed clamp fell.  Lock-step grated on Samuel, creating a bubble of suppressed creativity.  If something does not free me from this hell hole, I cannot be held responsible.  Samuel steamed.

Destiny intervened.

 Nana’s long-time friend Pastor Beech of the First Baptist Church had recently called, leaving a flyer that boasted of the innovative and structured childcare available. 

On a fateful Sunday with Samuel clutched between them, The Mommy and Nana dragged him to the childcare room, a delightful sunny room with a large painted mural of Jesus and little children. 

Samuel smiled.  So this is Jesus…let the children come unto Me…

Nana perceived a mental warning bell.  She ignored it, leaving Samuel with four smiling women and one sullen teenage Goth girl.

Samuel scoped out the room.  Window—no problem.  Paint—only tempera, but usable.  Jesus—His face within reach.  Goth girl’s purse—open with make-up.  Lipstick—black. 

A boy and his art mediaOh, God is good, all the time.  This is gonna be epic…

Church service had moved beyond the songs and offering collection.  The Mommy and Daddy were smiling.  But, Nana felt hackles rise.  ‘Samuel.  Oh no, not here.’

When the Head Usher scurried to Nana, she rose without a word.  Seeing a look of horror and a black streak down his left cheek, Nana sighed. ‘He found someone’s lipstick.  Damn.’

She ran to the child care room, where the toddlers were huddled behind Mrs. Beech. 

The other women chased the other screaming three year terrors; they had streaked the walls with rainbows of Crayola markers.  The Noah’s Ark poster was a sodden mess of yellow and red paint, while the window glass had splats of green and black.

Samuel was just putting the finishing touches on Jesus’ face with the lipstick.  A uni-brow and a tattoo, perfect!  Now, just some heavier body hair…

Nana scooped him under one arm and stalked from the room. 

In the seething silent drive home, Samuel hummed, Yes, Jesus loves me!  Yes, Jesus loves me…  “We go again, Nana?”  He asked.

Carl Heinrich Bloch, Luke 18: 16-17

Friday, May 17, 2013

Big Breath...


Mary had so much to say, so very much.  Being the youngest of eight children, squeezing in a word was impossible.  Shouting over the din was even worse.  Add to that, Mary was a tiny girl with towering giants as siblings.

Mary had a skill: if she took a deeeeep breath and managed to plunge through the loud voices, she could speak so rapidly that everyone stopped to listen to her.  By doing this, Mary could relay a day’s worth of talking as long as the air in her lungs allowed her.

Someday, Mary would excel at pearl diving.

This is not a true story, but it had your attention, right?  Watch this video so that you do not feel betrayed.


Hope you enjoyed this lady's talent and her message!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday Words: Cowboy Bob

cow: a photograph of a cow.


just for you.
Source: fishmonk

Cowboy Bob loved sitting around the campfire, watching the flames and listening to the muted sounds of cattle.  He spread out the horse blanket on the hard ground and leaned back against his saddle. 

Instead of feeling that familiar dozing-off, Bob felt queasy.  He bolted upright and sniffed the night air.  The foul odor came from beneath his horse blanket.  He ripped it off the ground, unveiling a fresh cow-pie. “#?%blasted#@sh*$”

Thanks again to Delores @thefeatherednest who always fines the best, most challenging words.  Check her out!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sock Drawer: The Great Sweep


The Open Plain of Bureau Top

Few remembered the Great Sweep, as this event occurred sporadically and quickly.  Those who did could give only sparse details and explanations.  This time, however, the Lace Trouser Socks had been taken out and lay upon the Bureau Top:  they witnessed the Great Sweep.

After all was done and they had been returned to Sock Drawer, they lay stunned as the other socks gathered around them.  Slowly, Mr. Lace Trouser began to explain. 

Having been pulled from the Sock Drawer and placed upon the Bureau Top, they had observed a flat plain stretching as far as could be seen.  Treasures of all sorts were strewn on this plain, along with glittering cylinders titled “Inis” and “Regenerist”.  So many treasures, such a wealth beyond imagination lay on the Open Plain. 

Then the Sock Drawer was opened, just beneath the Bureau Top Plain, and all the small treasures were swept into the Sock Drawer.  Whoosh…sweep…slam.  It was over so quickly. 

Mrs. Lace Trouser continued to speak of Stranger entering the Room Beyond as the socks were being pulled upon the Owner’s leg.  The Great Sweep had something to do with the Stranger coming to the room.  Clearly the Alpha, the Stranger gave approval for the now empty Bureau Top Open Plain.

Questions, so many questions had to be asked about this Open Plain, the Bureau Top, and the Room Beyond. But for now, the newly-returned Lace Trouser Socks needed to rest. 

What treasures!  


The residents turned their attention to the treasures.  Wonderment would soon fill the world of Sock Drawer.

P. S.  The last post on the Sock Drawer is this: http://thecontemplativecat.blogspot.com/2012/08/massacre-in-sock-drawer.html


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Breasts? Really?

Solomon's Rose Royalty Free Stock Image - Image: 7708606
Source

Nancy’s clutched the Bible and stared at the verses she was to read aloud.  Song of Solomon 7:7 and Song of Solomon 8:1-----Seriously?  I am supposed to read THAT aloud??

Nancy whispered to Sister Opal, “Would you trade verses with me?  I would really appreciate it.”

She must have sounded too desperate, for Sister Opal turned her down flat, holding onto her Psalms 42: 1, 2 tightly. 

Preacher began calling on the verses to be read.  

'What'll I do...what'll I do?  I can't say those words.'  Her mind raced.  'Should I go to the bathroom?  Throw up here in the Sanctuary....'  The answer came from something her Speech and Debate teacher told her.  So she did exactly that.

Nancy’s turn came.  She stood tall, pulled her shoulders back and tilted her chin up. Clearing her throat, while making eye contact with the expectant faces turned to see her, Nancy spoke in a clear and loud voice, pausing at the commas.  She emphasized the important nouns, and let her voice reach to all. Just as she had been coached during Speech Contests.

“Song of Solomon 7:7, This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes…chapter 8:8,  O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breast of my mother…”

Grapes Royalty Free Stock Photos - Image: 14986778
Source
Silence fell across the small sanctuary, then some snickers erupted and throats cleared.  Flustered, Preacher looked at Nancy and then down at his list.  “Let’s move on, shall we?” 

Sister Opal leaned over and whispered to Nancy, “There are some verses that shouldn’t oughta be in the Bible.  That there is some of ‘em.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bible Verse: Song of Solomon

Country Church Stock Photo - Image: 3739550
Source
Wednesday night Bible study, prayer, and praise meeting was a command performance for everyone in the small church.  If one was absent, either they had to be very ill, called out of town, dying or dead, or buried in the local cemetery.  No pass cards were ever given.

Nancy had no choices, being a freshman in high school who was unfailingly healthy.  The only tolerable point of Wednesday night was stopping by the small grocery to buy gum or candy.  The owner’s teenage boys manned the store then, and it was a chance to flirt.

This one Wednesday night was to be a real test for Nancy. 

Preacher had decided to change the order of service, move people out of their comfort zones.  The teenage contingent sitting solidly in the back rows were being scattered around the congregation, to sit next to some of the elderly ‘saints’. 

Nancy was placed next to Sister Opal, a dear woman in her mid-eighties.  Well, this isn’t so bad…

Then Preacher handed out slips of paper with a Bible scripture address to be looked up.   “When I call out the reference, y’all stand and read the verses.” 

Sister Opal opened her slip, something in Psalms.  Nancy opened hers, something in the Song of Solomon.  She looked it up.  Oh, dear God!  Please save me…

What will happen?  Will Nancy read these verses?  Will she drop dead of embarrassment???

Friday, May 10, 2013

I've Been Robbed!

Erin in one of her creations. All her costumes are accurate to the time period.  The skirt alone weighed nearly ten pounds!


Recently, my daughter Erin and family attended the Renaissance Faire near Pasadena, California.  In years past, Erin had been an active member of the Guild which provided an Elizabethan presence, complete with all degrees of nobility.  Normally, Erin and Brian would have been clothed in expensive and accurate costumes she has created over the years.
  
Sunshine's first Faire in her mother's arms

The problems were that Bright Eyes and Sunshine have outgrown their old costumes.
 
Erin, Sunshine, Brian, and Bright Eyes

They went to the Faire as tourists, in shorts and sandals and lathered in sunscreen.  The girls wore tattered fairy wings left over from Halloween, and they had a grand time, the best Erin could remember.  

Freedom from the heavy costumes and the burden of being in character allowed them to explore, experience, run, and play.  

Freedom—aaahhhh.

At the end of the day, they arrived home drenched in sweat and caked in dust-turned-mud.  Erin took the girls in through the garage, stripped them down, and threw the damp clothes straight into the washer.

Bright Eyes is a modest 8 ½ year-old.  She wrapped a large shirt around herself, and ran up to the bath tub. 

But Sunshine, oh 7 year-old Sunshine.  She was born nude and would live her entire life as a nudist, if given the chance.  She stripped down and streaked through the house.  She ran into Daddy at the foot of the stairs, only then realizing that she was naked.

Sunshine smiled big, threw her arms open wide, and exclaimed, “I’ve been robbed!”  Giggling, she raced up the stairs to join her sister in the tub.

Robbed, in deed.

Freedom: aaahhhhhh!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wednesday Words: The Intrepid Benjamin

Warm laundry...mmmm


Being intrepid did not always work in Benjamin’s best interests.

When Mummy turned her back, he crawled toward a vase, which resulted in a crash and broken glass.  Then Benjamin discovered a spoon and Daddy’s iPad.  Just a few bashes resulted in a clang, a flash¸ and some loud buzzing.

Yes, being intrepid could possibly drive Mummy over an emotional cliff.

I crawled here, and stood up.  NOW what do I do?
Many thanks to Delores at myfeatherednest  for the Wednesday Words.  Please visit her site and read about Tod in a cliffhanger.

Reflections on the A-to-Z 2013 Challenge






April has ended, and with it, the A to Z 2013 Challenge!  What a rush!  What an outpouring of writing and talent!

Reflection time?  You betcha.

Introspection:

I approached this year differently.  I wrote two letters in a combined theme---A with B on April 1 & 2, etc.  I really enjoyed this as it was a challenge and mentally entertaining. 

Also challenging was keeping the posts short, two-hundred words or so.  The K-L posts were the longest, since those were stories.  Using less and more precise words strengthened the writing.

Playing with words and ideas—those are the joys of writing.


Overall Reflections:

What others’ blog postings did I consider successful? 

Topics which were universally interesting engaged me immediately.  I enjoyed reading and learning about people's lives, countries, cultures, etc.  Good writing is good writing, period.

What made some blog postings hard to read, thus shortening my interest?

Lengthy dense writing lost me.  

Long, over-written paragraphs with no space-breaks were difficult to follow and to maintain interest.
 
I have migraines and my eyes suffer as a result. On my own blog, the background is almost black, the print is white, and the font is “Bookman Old”.   This helps my eyes.  

As a teacher, I found that using a pale blue or green was easier for students to read; the glare was reduced and the words were ‘anchored’ on the paper.  Fonts and colors should be considered for readability, not for artistic value.
   
What made some blogs better than others?

Most people enjoy visuals, photos, cartoons, YouTube, etc.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words. 

The A to Z Team was awesome.  

An over-used word, “Awesome”, but it applies here.  I loved the daily suggestions and helpful hints found at different Team Members’ sites.  I appreciated how the two-thousand participants attached their genres next to their URL. 

Will I participate in the next A to Z?  You betcha.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shopping for the Dress


As we last left "Father Daughter Dance", Lisa and Mommy were locked in a battle of the dresses….

I was there, witnessing the whole thing.  Being Grandma, I had this same battle with the Mommy years ago, and knew how this would all go down.  Whoever holds the credit card wins the battle.  But it won’t be easy.

Ruched Print Dress w/Tutu Skirt (7-16)
From this site!
As Lisa sobbed about the discarded hooker dresses, I picked one up and examined it.  The seams were already splitting, the threads were ragged, and one washing would rip this sad excuse for a dress apart. 

In the end, Mommy and Lisa took home a beautiful yellow eyelet dress tied with a spring green ribbon and a daisy, perfect for a Father-Daughter Dance.

Soutache Floral Dress with Eyelet Hem
Not the actual dress, but close enough
What bothered me about the whole dress saga was how girls are being bombarded with the image of sexy dresses as the acceptable fashion wear for under-teens

This development stage of giggling little girls is being ripped away from my grandchild.  Who she is and what she will be--all is being undermined by current societal standards.

She is being told that her value is in how she measures up to other females.  Her value is how she fits in with today’s market.  

Her value increases when she displays her 'goods', before there are any goods to display.

Females everywhere:  You are more precious than any jewel or gem.  
Who you are cannot be decided by the time you are 18 and eager to take on the world.  
Hold yourself tightly;\! 
Understand your personal value comes from within, not from the world. 
God created you and has a plan for your life.  
You are precious.

Dancing with your daddy in your pretty yellow dress is more important than one can ever know. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Father-Daughter Dance


The Father-Daughter Dance: who could talk about anything else?! 

This Friday, it is this Friday!...OMG!  What are you going to wear?...and I get to wear make-up, Mom said.  REAL make-up…My dress is gonna have sequins and tiny straps, you know, like they wear on “iCarly”….and new shoes with tall heels, just like on “Monster High”…

The bell rang and the cluster of eight year-olds broke up.  Parents listened to the excited girls rage on about what the friends were wearing.  All of them sighed.

Mommy took “Lisa” to Burlington Coat Factory to peruse the dresses for the dance.  The eight year old Lisa was bouncing all the way to the racks where her size dresses awaited.

She was now a size 8 in girls; life was much simpler when it size 4-6X.  Now the rack would hold sizes 7 to 16.  Damn.
Mixed together were dresses of all types, styles, quality, and value.  The battle lines were quickly drawn.  Neither side was going to budge.


Ombre Ruched Dress w/ Shrug (7-16)
From same source as above.  
Dress after dress was pulled out.  Lisa grasped the strapless glitzy 'hooker' dress (note: a hooker dress is any dress designed to be worn by a 16+ teenager, not by an 8 year old) to her baby chest, claiming that she had to have this dress.  Mommy held out a sleeveless dress of floral blue and purple voile, tied with a bow.  Yes. No. Yes. No.  Both were in tears.
Sleeveless Foil Dress with Ruching(7-16)
Same source as above
What will happen?  Will the hooker dress (note: a dress like this looks terribly terribly wrong on an 8 year old; disturbingly wrong) be worn to the dance?  Will Mommy lock Lisa in a convent until she is 18? 

On Wednesday, the battle of the Father-Daughter Dance continues…