Tag Archive | appreciation

Fall Has Fallen

My Neighborhood in Autumn

My Neighborhood in Autumn

I live in an older neighborhood where trees are tall and colors in the fall are plentiful. Maybe it’s because I grew up rather poor, but I can never remember a time when fall color is something I didn’t revere.

As a child, all of the neighborhood kids raked leaves that had fallen in our yards and then arranged them in rectangles on the easement between the sidewalk and street. We pretended these rectangles of fallen leaves were our shops. We had a doctor, a barber, a bakery, a school, etc. Other rectangles served as our homes. We would play with no-cost leaves all day, visiting each other and our imaginations recreated the real world as we saw it as five and six year olds.

When I went to college, I drove down a county road which lead to campus. This road was flanked on both sides by old, large trees of several different varieties creating a breathtaking tunnel of dramatic Fall color. Rich oranges, reds, golds, and burgundies breathed a certain wonder as I drove to a day of classes on campus. It was a perfect way to begin every fall semester.

Now in retirement I still search out the color. Luckily I don’t have to go far because as you see in the photo above my neighborhood provides plenty of color. Oh, I still take a pilgrimage down to campus whenever I can, but I also can look out my window to witness the beauty of Fall which never disappoints.

If you live in a place where the seasons change, you are blessed. Just take a few minutes every day to become part of the Fall season. Recapture that childish joy of wonder because if you don’t winter will come and you would have missed the big show.

A Good Meeting

On Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting a 91 year old man wearing a leather bomber jacket. I asked him if he was an aviator and he said yes. Then I asked him what he flew and he answered, “A P-38.” Then I said, “In the South Pacific?” He said yes. He served with the Fifth Air force, the outfit with Richard Bong and Tom McGuire, the two biggest “Aces” in World War II. I felt as though I was talking to a celebrity! On the flip side, Dave was fascinated that I knew so much about planes which flew during the war. When I told him I had written a novel about women who flew planes for the Army Air Corps during the war, he was impressed.

We talked about fifteen or twenty minutes about his outfit and the kind of flying he did. I was in hog heaven. I had never met a pilot from the historical period I write about. I was like a kid in a candy shop — although, the closest thing to a candy shop I ever experienced was the candy aisle in the grocery store.

Anyway, we had to curtail our discussion because the caretaker meeting we were attending began. The five of us who attended the meeting introduced ourselves and spoke about our caretaking situations. I was the only one who wasn’t caring for a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s. That’s me–unique! Marilyn, the leader of the meeting, said Ken and I had a partner relationship instead of a giver and receiver relationship. At least so far, that’s the way things are between us.

When Dave spoke, he told us a month ago he had to put his combative wife into a facility, and he clearly hated making that decision. For several years he had taken care of her at home, but when she hid three guns in the house and he couldn’t find them, he feared for his life. He knew it was her disease that caused the behavior, but now he carried a load of guilt and sadness.

My heart really went out to him. He lived through a war; raised a family; was married for 47 years and now he had to face the end of his life alone. Life is really not fair.

Usually I hate going to support groups, but this one was special. I came away with a few ideas of how to accomplish having Thanksgiving at our house for Ken’s family. He always does so well when he’s surrounded by his brothers, sisters, and his parents, and it’s becoming almost impossible for us to meet them at their homes because we can’t get his power wheelchair in their homes. This one idea was worth going to the meeting. Meeting Dave was a bonus.

Enjoy your day — let somebody inspire you.

The Best & Worst on the Same Day

Do you remember that famous quote, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”?  Charles Dickens sure could turn a phrase, couldn’t  he? At the very least, he summed up my experience last week.

Last Wednesday, I confessed I celebrated a milestone birthday. I also confessed I’m a big kid about my birthday, and I pout when my friends and family ignore my big day. I also told you my friends are sweet enough to indulge me with great food, laughs and of course, presents. All of this happened last week—all week.

The worst of times concerns how Ken felt most of the week. He suffered debilitating fatigue from the damn MS. Most everyday he was unable to walk from the kitchen to the living room, which was heartbreaking because we live in a small 1100 square foot bungalow. We both planned to celebrate my birthday by enjoying lunch at Red Lobster, one of our favorite restaurants. But when July 31st rolled around, the poor guy was too weak to go.

He collapsed in the hallway after he struggled to get dressed, and I couldn’t help him get up. He was dead weight and even when my daughter Sarah tried to help us, we were unable to get him up off of the floor and onto the sofa. So, he lay in the hallway insisting Sarah, Joyce and I go off and leave him home.

The last thing I wanted to do was leave, I had been through this scenario several times before, and I knew in about thirty minutes he would regain enough strength to move to a more comfortable place, but I wanted to stay with him. He almost got angry with me when I said, “Let’s go another time.” He gave me a look that said, “Just go!”

As I drove to the restaurant, I wanted to turn around and go back home. I didn’t feel like celebrating anything without him, but I knew he’d be more upset if I went home. He would think his sickness once again put a damper on my good time. What he didn’t realize is, when he’s not able to enjoy the outing with me, I don’t have a good time either.

This birthday was the first time in almost twenty years we were apart. Up until recent years, Ken always made a special effort to make me feel special on my day, and now he can’t. He can’t drive to a store, shop for a gift, make dinner reservations, and take me out. His decline has made him dependent on others, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for both of us, but it was especially painful on my  birthday.

If you learn anything from me, take this away: Don’t take anything for granted. Be thankful for what you have and who loves you.  Appreciate people you love and tell them often how much they mean to you. Tell them you are a better person because they have wanted to be part of your life. Believe me when I say, the only sure thing in life is CHANGE, and I guarantee someday your traditions will fade, and you will end up apart from the person you love–and maybe it will be on your birthday.

Being Nominated is the Best Award

beautiful-blogger-award1

This morning I got a real surprise. I was nominated for the “Beautiful Blogger” Award from http://frametale.wordpress.com THANK YOU!

Here are the rules I must accomplish to be considered (as I understand them):

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link them:

The thank you went out immediately. The link is: http://wynwords.wordpress.com

2. Paste the award on your blog (Done. See above?)

3. Nominate 7 bloggers and provide links to their sites :  My nominations include:

Amelia: http://lifeintheblueridges.wordpress.com/

Dianne Gray:  http://diannegray.wordpress.com/

Brad Stanton: http://bradstanton.com/

Sandra Miller:  http://writersandra.wordpress.com/

Mary Morgan: http://davidanaturephotography.wordpress.com/

Marlene: http://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/

BW:  http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/

4. Post 7 random things about you.

1. I hate winter, but live in Wisconsin.

2. I love pug dogs. Especially my faithful Ernie who accompanies me on my daily solitary journey into the written world.

3. I believe in the power of POSITIVE THINKING in an otherwise negative world.

4. My favorite channels on television are Smithsonian, The Science and History Channels.

5. I don’t have a favorite author – but hundreds I enjoy.

6. My circle of friends are closer than family. I can count on them.

7. I found happiness inside myself after I stopped searching for it.

That’s all folks. I just hope this isn’t an early April Fool’s Joke on this first day of 2013.

A Greeting Worth Sharing

Christmas CardYesterday, I got a nice holiday greeting from Miranda — a woman who has been helping me find writing grants, which if I would be fortunate enough to win, would expand my exposure and talent to a wider audience and built notoriety in the writing world. I met Miranda through my publisher, PublishAmerica, when I signed up for a marketing offering almost a year ago. She works with me and other PA authors to find appropriate grants for their work. She also has offered other suggestions to help me build a following– including this blog, asking for reviews, attempting poetry, etc.

But nonetheless, here’s here greeting:

 

I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season. Thank you for doing what you have as authors.

Writing a book and then having the courage to seek publication is truly a rare endeavor that can change the world. Your hard work, dedication and commitment can provide inspiration to those who are starting out in their path as authors, or even those who simply want a good book to read on the topic you have tackled. Books were always a big part of my life growing up and continue to be so today, so I am ever thankful for authors who share their talents with the world.

Wishing you and your families a wondrous holiday and all the best ahead in 2013.

I thought her second paragraph would be inspiration for everyone who is brave enough to call oneself a writer. I know when someone tells me they appreciates my hard work, it makes me work harder to hone my craft. And I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ll bet all of you feel that way, too.

So share the second paragraph and forge ahead — especially seeing the Mayans were wrong; the world didn’t end; and we’ll have 2013 to conjure up more stores, poems and novels to keep people reading.