Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." ~John Muir

Walking along a trail covered with dry, colorful leaves, listening to the crunch of each step and the birds alerting the forest to me, the intruder, surrounded by vivid multicolored trees, I find it hard to worry about the daily predicaments I feel I must solve and conquer in my everyday life. Here in amongst nature I am at ease, my mind is clear, I am inspired. My focus is on each step I take as rocks and roots along the trail can trip me up and steal my joy. I am sweating, my heart rate is up, I am breathing heavily and yet I move on…with joy in my heart. It was climbing up the old rocky creek bed at Big Hill that I made the connection…hiking builds character. The hard work is usually always rewarded in the end with a beautiful scene unable to be experienced unless I had worked hard to get there. I am physically stronger because of it…I am more experienced…it helps me practice preparedness…and mentally/emotionally I am inspired because of it. It’s an exercise in fortitude that enhances my everyday life.

Life can hit you with difficult relationships, difficult jobs, illnesses, etc…that if you work through them…watching out for those rocks and roots along the way that can trip you up…and keep moving through them, there is always a “pearl” at the end that makes it worth your time and effort. The pearl may be only the satisfaction of getting through the rough time. Like Molly exclaimed at the end our five mile hike a few weeks ago, “Mimi, you wore me out more than my gym teacher does!” Smiling really big and with a bit of puffiness she added, “And I feel really good about it!” Sticking to the task, pushing ourselves past what we think we can do creates stamina in us…gives us a determination that we can use in other areas when it is called for.

This hike at Big Hill was just William and me. We talked about hiking and how it relates to our walk through life.
And it was good.

I also reminded him of what he and my other children had heard so many times before…that I have one painting that is in my mind that I wish I had the skills to paint. It has been mental picture in my head for so many years. I can see it plain as day. It is an open area where there are several trees up close and the background is hills of trees but blurred…like a 3D picture, the focus is on just the three trees in the picture. Two of the trees have a touch of color on them, at the top and spreading down the ends of the branches. The third tree is still green but there are a few leaves turning red at the top. You can see two finger of God’s hand holding a normal size bucket of paint…it looks so small in between God’s fingers. The paint can is being held in such a way it is dripping drops of red paint onto the tree. I guess it was my childish thinking of years past of how the leaves turned color in the fall. I would paint that…if I could.

Then we talk about why the leaves truly turn. The science of it. Some people say science makes them believe there is no God. I find that science makes me more of a believer in an awesome, intricate designer…Just think the tree has a system much like the blood system we as humans have. Theirs is sap, ours is blood…either way, and it’s a life sustaining fluid that runs through the veins of each. When it is that perfect time, the tree starts shutting down its supply of sap. The tops of the trees, along with the edges of the longest branches began to turn color. Much like your finger would if you cut the circulation off from it. The leaves eventually die and fall off.

Now what makes me a believer in an intricate designer is that the same system is used in trees, people, animals, plants and so on…Anyone knows that when something is created the creator will reuse their best plan and make other changes but stick to the one ingenious part that needs no change. See, I think there is no way this could just happen…that the tree…and the human have the same system…life sustaining fluid running through a circulatory system.

I find it awesome…not only that the God I chose to believe in is a master designer…but that he chose to use the same design with us as He did the tree…even has a sense of humor, too, as our circulatory system gets older and doesn’t run as good, so do humans mark the seasons just as trees do…our hair turns gray, and even falls out…but that’s just a side note…you might not find that funny like I do…However, the tree’s sap flow is set up according to seasons and with each fall comes a dead and dreary winter…that evidently brings a brighter day as it turns to spring. Here I could get into the seasons of life…but I won’t. I do want to point out that again, the master planner who provides the trees to clean the air and provide oxygen…even sets into existence a plan to continue to clean the air and keep oxygen during the leafless winter weather…evergreens…just what the Doctor ordered.

Hope I haven’t lost you…the whole hike was not spent in deep discussion…As I hiked along in deep thought…William sporting his black rain poncho took on the role of a wraith (a tall, humanoid figure shrouded in a black cloak). He advised me as a wraith he moved like a spirit through the woods quickly. His only fear was the dragons that would be in the openings. As we stood on overlooks and the wind was blowing furiously. I was certain not to stand close to the edge as I might be blown off. The wind was whipping my rain poncho so hard I felt like a kite. I looked over at William and he was still a wraith. The wind was not blowing him…he was the wind.

FYI-You can double click on the photos to have a better view of Fall at Big Hill in Berea, KY

Slow and steady....

Buddy we met on the trail

William and I went hiking last Thursday. We left at 8:45, arrived at our destination in Berea and began our long walk at 9:45 am. We completed our walk about 1:00 and got back in time for me to shower and get to work. I’ve had a “blog” brewing even as I walked the trails. Here is it is six days later and I now have the time to place my thoughts in black and white...

…but like most of us who are not getting any younger, I have forgotten some of my most important thoughts. To be further honest, I’ve been a bit jealous over the time Mrs. Who has to place three postings up while I search for the time for this one. While I are being honest, here, I will add, that to spend time sleeping, eating and enjoying the sunshine on a beautiful scenic getaway probably has me greener than the fact of not having time to write. Is envy different from jealousy? Isn’t being envious wanting to have what another has instead of them having it? And jealousy is happy for the other to have it…but wants it, too. Or is that “jones-ing” I know the answer already…you don’t have to tell me…If you haven’t had a chance to vacation with Mrs. Who, you really ought to spend a minute or two with her in Puerto Vallarta at I think she should offer to take pictures for their menus there. Her food photos prompt me to know exactly what I would order if I were there.
Even LizzyBee found time to bless us with the Moose’s’ sweetness at …who is such a young age is dealing with “promotions” at his daycare, a girlfriend, graduation from the “sippy” and newspaper reading. His life is on the move!
Claire turned three over the weekend and Ariel was able to post some really sweet photos of the little princess at . Sarah and Nick are celebrating their first year of marriage at and sharing their trip with her sisters…which was excellent. Then to feel the pain that Lucy’s Mom was feeling, yet the excitement about her upcoming trip at made me stop and realize. Maybe, I haven’t written because when I did have had time to write I have been immersed in my family’s blogs, as well as, a few friends’ blogs on MySpace. And it’s all good. It’s good to be sharing the ups and downs of family and family and not just be stuck in my own thoughts. I will hopefully get to my writing soon but for now, I’ve stopped beating myself up for lack of time and resigning to a positive line of thought--- I am connected.

And it’s good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a natural moment

a chipmunk who was in the backyard running around through the dry fallen leaves...a very aggressive squirrel ran up to the chipmunk and appeared to be attacking it...they ran back and forth in a two foot line like there were imaginary lines drawn...(no blood or gore--an E rating moment)..with our cat Pikachu watching intently behind the screened in bedroom window...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sick Days

I despise sick days. They throw a wrench in my schedule and make me feel like a wimp. Totally despise them. However, it's a great thing be blessed with the Internet when having to endure sick days. This is day number three that I have called in sick. My life is plying up around me and I feel as if I am accomplishing zilch, zip, notta. So, I decided to create a blog that meshes with my families blogs. I have written on MySpace for some time now and today decided to transferred some of my writings to this new blog page so they are accessible to my family. I can do this with no problem from the kink in my left shoulder, the muscle relaxer or the frequent visits to the throne. I am making progress, I'm reaching out and it is a sort of therapy for me. I do plan on posting more up-to-date writings but for now, I feel like I have made success despite my wimpy self. I actually feel like taking the dog for a walk with Papa.

He’s the Song in My Heart--Written September 17th, 2007

George picked up his guitar, positioned himself on the end of the bed and began strumming a tune. He does not schedule his mini concerts so you never know when he will bless the room with his therapy of melody. I was due at work in a couple of hours and needed to get my routine going, starting with my shower. So, I placed the lid down on the toilet and plead, "Come sit in here and play." That he did. No complaints about the toilet seat being too hard, he just moved his concert from the bedroom to the bathroom free of charge.
First, he played an old tune by Ray Charles that he always plays for me when he picks up his shapely friend, "Hallelujah, I Love Her So." He has sung that to me since the beginning of our relationship 23 years ago. I never tire of hearing it. Even as I think about his dedication to this sweet tradition, it brings tears to my eyes. He never sings it out of "have to" and he sings it with feeling as if it is a tribute to his little woman. I am blessed.
So, he creates an atmosphere in my lowly bathroom that makes the dreaded going to work routine somewhat inspiring. I am taking a shower talking to God about my husband, relaxed, unconcerned with the upcoming eight hour shift.
He has created tunes that make my life hum. Just as his being my life partner compliments my life. His music is an intricate piece in my puzzle. And so I found myself making the shower last longer so I won't have to end the inspiration coming from the other side of the shower curtain. He doesn't complain…I believe I inspire him, too.

"New friends are silver, but old friends are gold." --Written August 17th, 2007

I was standing on the porch waving good-bye to my friend Deb and her husband as they drove off after a short visit last night. Texas is so far away and the visits are too short. As I was waving I felt my eyes tear up. But I held it back. I was determined to hold it back standing there by myself on the porch. I was taken back to my childhood and its vulnerability along with the feeling of abandonment that vexed me as I would watch her drive away. In that moment my childhood thinking returned and I told myself it would be too long before I get to spend time with her again, that I wasn't ready for her to leave. I never was. When I was younger it was the distance between Sharpsburg and Cincinnati. Now, on my front porch my tears were not permitted as I heard my mother's voice from way back as if it were just spoken now some 30 years later. "If I catch you crying anymore about her leaving I won't let her come back." And so I cut the tears and packed up my feelings in the way back place in my heart. But this morning, I got them back out again and reassured myself it's okay to cry. It's okay to love someone so much that you don't want them to leave. It's okay to have such a connection with a friend and not want miles to separate you. It's okay to love someone so much that your heart feels heavy when you think of living life without them. It's okay. It's okay to have someone who believes in you, shows appreciation for you, encourages you and wants your dreams to come true just as much as you do. I have that in my friend, Deb, and so much more. She met me in 1970…when I was five. She's loved me every since. I have been through periods of where I felt like she was sometimes a mother figure, a sister or a friend. And she fills those roles at different times, depending on the circumstances, without compliant, and with love gleaming in her eyes. And I don't have to be sad because with each visit, brief as they may have been here and there throughout the past 37 years, our friendship gets stronger and stronger. She has proven to me, that "a friend loveth at all times." That she is a constant in my life. And it's okay to never want to be without my friend.

Simple Philosophy--Written July 10th, 2007

The last two times I have wanted to go to the pool, William, has rejected the idea. Of course, he has to go anyway as his opinion doesn't matter in areas like this. If it were left up to him, he would sit at home play games on the computer, watch television, read his big thick books, listen to music and work on projects. My opinion counts more not just because I am "She, who must be obeyed" but also because I am experienced enough to know everyone needs time out of the house and they need exercise. The pool takes care of both. So we head out each time William's shoulders slumped over and reluctance written all over his face. He is always given the choice of which pool we will land at and each time refuses. So I chose.
Last week I chose Southland Pool. Arriving, we set up our spot, put the dreaded sunscreen on and get into the pool. It was sooooo chilly. I almost felt he was correct in not wanting to be there. But as we emerged ourselves the temperature seem to adjust and we began playing ball in the pool. Shortly after we began, I noticed a preteen female watching us. I threw the ball to her and the fun began. Her name was Lena and she was from South Carolina. I played ball with them for an hour. Then after break William got back in and played ball with her for close to another hour. He met her cousin, Tina. They had to leave before we did. We laughed about the changes of meeting Lena and Tina at the pool. William agreed he had a great time.
This weekend I advised William we would be going to the pool on Tuesday, my day off. I suggested he call Joshua to see if he could go with us. Yesterday when I left for work I again reminded him to call Joshua. This morning when I reminded him he needed to get ready for the pool, the opposition began. He doesn't want to go to the pool. He can get exercise by riding his bike in the neighborhood. He never has anything to do at the pool. I directed him to call Joshua and, of course, due to late notice, he already had plans. Pa came home for lunch; William got his stuff together and sits on the step by the computer where Pa was checking his stocks. He looked despondent and you could almost hear audibly his psyche calling out to Pa, "Help me out here! Make her let me stay home." He must have somehow forgotten that Pa has trouble hearing audible sounds let alone telepathic ones.
We left William's safe domain and again, I gave him the choice of pool to grace with our presence. He refused so I choose Woodland Pool this time. We arrived, set up our spot and applied the never wanted sunscreen. I inquired as to whether he remembered to bring the water balls and received confirmation. We headed into the pool. This time, I notice a teenage male close by and let the ball go toward him. He catches it and gets ready to toss it over to me. I asked if he wanted to throw with us and he agreed. I pointed William out to him, which isn't difficult; he's always the tallest in the pool. The play began. With two water balls traveling back and forth, introductions were made. We found ourselves to be playing ball with Nathaniel from Tennessee.
William had a blast with him. So much so that when the storm came up and ran us out of the pool area, they decided to go to the park and run obstacle courses. Nathaniel will be in town for another week and a half. We made plans to try and meet up again before he leaves. His grandfather picked him about 3 o'clock and we headed home.
Gleaning from this pool experience as well as last week's pool experience, we headed home with a new philosophy for life. William is extremely embarrassed that his mother came up with it, but agrees with it nonetheless. It is a philosophy I have asked him to remember next trip to the pool and one you can benefit from as well.

He who has balls can always make new friends.

Achieving the impossible....Written July 10th, 2007

It was a beautiful day and all was well as we hiked along the trail. A slight breeze was moving through the trees. There were no insects stalking us. I felt like I was getting away with something by stealing time for a hike before work with my husband, son and grandson. Pa had planned a hike that would take approximately 3 hours unbeknownst to me. I thought when we had started our trek to Turtle Arch that we would be back at the truck for lunch by 12:30 or so…a slight miscommunication, typical for married folk who have been together for so many years. Each one thinks the other is on the same plane of thought. Maybe, that is just a guy-girl thing and has nothing to do with marriage at all. This sort of miscommunication would have been a minute issue had our seven year old grandson not been along. The distance was not a problem as he is a strong individual that has spent plenty of time hiking with his nature loving mother. The issue was what most mothers would think about but eludes the minds of a man…replenishing the energy expended by the strenuous hike. IF I had known it was in the plans to be back to the truck for lunch at one thirty or two o'clock I would have tossed some M&M's in the back pack. Maybe, even an apple or two. As the journey led us to nice little fishing spots for Pa to throw a line in, William and Silas to sword fight and explore and me to watch and admire my clan through the lens of my camera, the time passed quickly. The infamous question that breaks the sound barrier on any journey found its way out of my mouth. "How much further to the destination?" My husband, the granddad simply said, "I've never been there. I'm thinking no more than another half hour to an hour." I began doing the math and came up with a mother's dilemma. If it indeed took another half hour and then the time there and back would put us at the truck for lunch at two o'clock. We ate breakfast at nine o'clock. Five hours between meals would be somewhat fine IF we were not hiking rambunctiously through the forest with a seven year old. As not to present a power of suggestion moment, I looked at my husband and again presented an infamous question all men hear from their little woman periodically, "What were you thinking?" Out of earshot from the younger generation, I proclaimed the idiocies of hiking for hours with children and no food. The quick energy concept and how children…and his wife…process food faster than men. After the nagging tongue lashing, I then began to tally up alternatives. "How many peppermints do you have," I asked. "Three," he answered. Great. My wonderful hike out in the forest with butterflies, dragonflies and smells that calm the spirit quickly became a survival hike that pricked my mind and made me march to a different drummer. So as to save our marriage Pa decided we would turn back. We cheerfully proclaim, as not to discourage, "Fellows, about face… this is where we start heading back down the trail." Both boys comply and we began heading towards the direction of essentials. It doesn't take long before Silas announces what I have been dreading to hear, as I know once the thought becomes spoken it can no longer be avoided, "This is impossible!" Getting Pa to give me a peppermint, I unwrap it and hand it to Silas. "Here you go buddy, this will give you some energy." Hand to mouth usual works in most cases but in this one it didn't. The peppermint went into his hand, his hand to his mouth and somewhere towards the entry; it jumped out of his grasp and rolled down the hill. Great. Two peppermints left. No, wait, one is all there is left as I turn to see Pa placing a pepo into his mouth. The ole power of suggestion must have kicked in and the true issue of getting this young man back to the truck without carrying him must have eluding his thinking and made him think only of satisfying his immediate desire. Yet another male trait that continues to create issues for the female agenda. Silas is then given the last pepo and advised to carefully hold onto it until his mouth is ready to close around it. With great success, the pepo is in and we have another hour to go without anything else to sustain our offspring.
I told Silas he would receive an energy boost from this peppermint if he held it in his mouth and let it slowly dissolve without chewing. He proudly told me has we walked along, that he still had it. All was well again and eventually he was running along the path acting out pirate scenarios with William. Just as with anything going well, running smooth, there tends to be a moment when you know all has changed. Similar to driving down the highway, at 65 miles an hour, listening to your favorite tunes, chatting with those accompanying you…when out of no where your tire blows out and the mood is stricken with responsibility and survival. This is exactly the case as we traipsed down the trail only for Silas's sugar rush to dissipate. Miraculously, a really nice fishing hole appeared and Pa announced, "Here's the keys, I'll meet you back at the truck. I'm gonna try and catch a few on the way back." William's pace increased and I was left with the ultimate responsibility of coaxing Silas up and down the trail to the truck. And so the dialogue began.
"Mimi," as if practicing his manly man voice for future use, "I'm dying here!"
"Oh, Silas, you aren't dying, you experiencing the desire to quit when you know deep inside you can't quit. If you stop you don't make it to the truck."
"I AM DYING HERE! I will not make it to the truck! It is impossible!"
"You know how to eat an elephant, Silas?"
I got his attention I could see and his paced picked up.
"No, how?" he asked.
"One bite at a time. It is so big it looks like it could never be eaten, but it can, one bite at a time."
"THIS has nothing to do with elephants!!!!" He said with a tone that probably sucked more energy out of him than the walk itself.
"Oh, it does, Silas," and I picked up my feet slowly and deliberately and with exaggeration set them down giving emphasis to each step. "The walk back to the truck is just like eating an elephant piece by piece. It is not impossible. It will be accomplished one step at a time."
He spoke some more about how it was not anything close to being the same, but I could see that he made the connection. We rounded the bend to find three grown men standing around what looked to be a boy a few years younger than Silas. They were heading the direction we came. The child was sitting on a bench. They were standing around him with that look of what to do with the boy. It was apparent the boy was having the same issues as Silas. However, there was no "pain is just weakness leaving the body" speech coming from these men. From the looks of their overgrown bellies and their slumped shoulders, I believe each one was rooting the boy on with their psyche to actually give up. Like it would be in their favor. Silas was not embarrassed or intimidated by this gathering and continued his discouraging "it's impossible" speech. I, too, continued my "we can do this thing" speech as we passed. I imagined that they looked at each other after hearing us and shook their head because no sooner had we passed did the crew fall in pursuit in direction of the parking lot. It was perfect timing as suddenly Silas decided he was not taking another step.
"Okay, Si," I said as I continued to walk, "After you decide to walk back, follow this trail to the parking lot. I'll be there waiting with lunch."
Silas doesn't care for people he doesn't know and he was clear of them in no time walking close to me. Now, I am not certain as to whether this is because he didn't want to be near the strangers or if he just wanted to continue the arguing, nevertheless, he was walking again.
I offered him my hand. Blaatt! No way! I encouraged him to take it as he could benefit from the energy I had that would flow from my hand to his. He wasn't having it. I suggested positive statements, like, "I can, I will" with each step. He advised he doesn't work that way. And our conversation went in circles. It was impossible; he was going to die out there. I would talk about how we had a good lunch in the truck to eat after we performed the impossible.
When we were about 100 steps of the parking lot, I told him and he denied the reality of it. Then at about 50 I told him, count 50 steps and you'll be there….Never, it was impossible…When we reached the parking lot I exclaimed, "Silas, you did it!!!!! You did the impossible!"
I guess he wasn't finished arguing…because he looked at me and with all sincerity said, "This is not where we parked. This is not our truck."
Just like a male, isn't it…a woman pulls him through…helps him achieve the impossible…with no credit and a totally different rendition of what just transpired.
As for the grandpapa…he showed up about ten minutes after we reached the truck. Of course, he caught a good size fish. Or so was the tale. Personally, I think he stood behind a tree waiting for us to get farther enough ahead of him and then started out on his own little tranquil walk to the truck.
What do you think?

Achilles Heel--Written June 30th, 2007

I awake from a restless and an insufficient amount of sleep. I sip my morning coffee. I slowly ingest the healthy cereal dotted with blueberries despite the fact that donuts appeal to me more. I am going to do what needs to be done. I can do it. I will remain strong in my decisions.

I dress to go run. My body is tired but I must go. Twenty pushups before I leave to hit the asphalt. On the last three I want to quit but I endure. Breathing and pushing to the end.

It is hot outside; I began sweating within the first 100 yards. My shins are tight despite the stretching before this two mile run. But I continue. I will persevere. With 3/4's of a mile left of the run I begin rationalizing it would be fine to only run a mile and a half today. Vacillating is not permitted and I trudge on. Head held high and sights set on the goal.

Back home replenished with cool water, I hit the floor and work through 20 sit ups. The resolve in me is overwhelming and I know I can do anything I set my mind to.

At work, faced with difficult people and difficult situations I remain calm and see to each task with purpose and strength of mind. I am strong. I am determined. I am disciplined.

Sitting at the triage counter I reach for the triage questions and the citation from the arresting officer so they can be placed in the manila jacket…something so simple compared to the rest of my day…sounds suddenly become magnified…my nerves are set on edge…my heart rate increases…a look of dismay appears on my face…I cannot deal with reality, I demand those around me stop talking and allow me to work through this horrifying experience. The hand sanitizer applied heightens the pain and I feel lightheaded. Blowing furiously on my hand I am faced with my one weakness... I slump in my chair, suffering from the reality of my vulnerability and allow myself to become incapacitated by a paper cut.

The Silence of the Lamb---Written June 29th, 2007

Sweet and cuddly…dependent bundle…
That is how he entered this world…
Protecting him as only a Shepherd can…
Leading him gently with my hand.
I read to him, I bathed him, I provided moments of awe and wonder for him.
He had questions that only I could answer.
His eyes looked at me in loving ways that brought tears to my eyes…
Only for years to take him into the infamous adolescent blues.
The giggling, fun adoring ways seem to have escaped through his growing body…
I can no longer communicate as his responses as short and closed.
I can no longer lead, as he is too wise to follow.
I can no longer protect as in his eyes I am too weak.
And so I wait as years pass, for maturity to come and end the silence of the lamb.

William is thirteen…and yes, we have our times. Some are just down right defiance and others are simply misunderstandings. I had lunch today with Craig…he talked about the love he has for his wife, the plans for their delivery, the hard work he endures to provide for them…the love he has for life. I am blessed to have this time. Blessed as it strengthens our relationship and also because it reminds me of how this turbulent time with William will eventually blossom into an adult relationship where we are equal…as Craig and I are…and my girls, too.

I went back into my journal for September 16th, 2001 where Craig was seventeen…or there bouts…I found this poem I had written…
There's a strong silence
Can you hear it? It's deafening.
Piercing my ears
I go from room to room trying to get clear of it.
No matter what, I can't escape it.
I think if maybe I open my mouth
I could scare the silence away
But no words come.
Engulfing me, as my heart despairs,
Afraid I will never speak again
Living with this booming silence
as my background sound for life.

Yes, about silence I was experiencing from Craig in his turbulent years…it has a familiar tune…to the writing of today…and I am reminded after having lunch with the same person…so many years later…this too with William will pass.

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” --Written June 3, 2007

I have completed my Criminal Justice Associates Degree!

I will graduate in absentia because I do not want to drive to Louisville to walk...I maintained a 4.0 throughout my courses. For all of you who prayed me through, encouraged me along the way, had to listen to me say, "I'm sorry but I can't talk right now, I have to work on this paper," or I can't have company right now, I've got to submit this paper before I go to work"...I thank you for your care, consideration and patience. I know I have missed out on so much. I wonder if my life will ever be the same again. I must add that I would not have been able to accomplish this task if it weren't for Papa's constant encouragement and making up for my inability to carry on with my normal duties. He has seen me at my worst, to the point of almost pulling my hair out over papers due. He has calmed me and lit a fire under me as needed. It has indeed made our marriage stronger. He should get a degree out of this, too!

(My choice for the title stems from the fact that my father, my mother, two sisters or brother has not ever obtained a degree.)