Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Magic (Moments) Monday

Okay, last fall I "talked" with Sarah (MightyMom) about an idea for a weekly topic on inspirational ideas, thoughts, events that happen to us all the time, but maybe we tend to forget in the day to day scheme of things. She thought it was a great idea and encouraged me to do it. That was about the time I was starting to feel really exhausted and overwhelmed, so I never followed through with it. Now that I am getting more rest, things are looking brighter again, and I am so grateful for that. But I don't want to lose sight again of the little things that remind me life is worth living even when things get tough.

SO, beginning Monday, March 3, I want to start a Magic Monday "column". Mondays, for most people, are the "Ho hum, weekend's over, work is WORK, and can't wait 'til Friday" type of day. My intent is to help us begin our week with something positive, something to hold on to, to get us through the rest of the week.

This is an experiment, so guidelines are a bit fuzzy. Your entry can be a Scripture verse, a quote, an insight, something that touched your life or changed the way you look at things. I expect some of the first entries to be from the past, until we learn to look each day for those magic moments that remind us how wonderful life really is.

I don't have a logo yet, and to be truthful, I'm not very computer literate, so wouldn't know how to make one anyway. And I don't know how to do those "Mr. Linky" things, so if anyone can give me pointers, I would appreciate it. Until that happens, please leave a comment on the post with a link to your blog entry, and on your blog, link back to my site. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I will try to leave this post up top the rest of the week so everyone will get to see it in preparation for Monday. Be thinking about what inspires you!

(edited 3/3/08)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Signs of Spring

One of our Bradford Pear trees.

It doesn't grow any pears, and has a shallow root system, so will get only so tall and then break. We've lost 3 to ice storms and hurricane remnants since we moved here 4 years ago. But they are the first to blossom in the spring, and the last to lose their leaves in the fall.

This is what it looked like a month ago:

It will have loads of beautiful white flowers in a few weeks.


They come up so early, but just grow tall, and don't bloom til June or so. They are too crowded again and I haven't figured out where to replant some of them, but it won't be long until they are too big to transplant. Gotta decide in the next few days!


I have purple, white, and pink, mostly from grocery store plants that I can't resist bringing home in January.


I planted some new bulbs last fall--we'll see if they come up this year. There are never enough daffodils.

Forsythia buds

Forsythia bushes just say spring to me. I want more of them, too!


I need to cut it way down. Sounds brutal, but it needs to be cut back to about 6 inches high and shaped so all the branches don't grow to the center. According to a lecture I once heard as a Rose Society was pruning bushes at a library, a rosebush should be trimmed between "the ides of February and the ides of March" (2/15 - 3/15)

Hens and chicks

I thought these died in their container last fall, so just dumped the contents of the container off the deck, figuring the dead plant stuff could just be absorbed. Today I was re-filling my bird feeder and caught sight of some green. Guess the little thing didn't die after all, so I better find a sunny place to plant it, and soon.

I see lots of dirt in my future.

Edited to add: Photos of Isabella and Tandi added to the previous post

Monday, February 25, 2008


1. I am trying to get caught up on my blog-reading AND commenting so you will know I really, really like you and do visit! (Yes, I watched the Oscars last night!)

2. Tandi is over whatever that was last week, either lingering effects of the anesthesia, or the pain med, not sure which. Thank goodness!

3. DD, a certified cat person, came home for the weekend, bringing her new, rescued chihuahua-mix puppy for us to meet. What a HOOT! We had to separate the two dogs once in a while, but watching them interact was endlessly entertaining. Tandi was surprisingly jealous at times, and would put Isabella in her place. Normal dog behavior, but Tandi has always been so easily startled and shy, it was unexpected.

Did I mention Bella is a "talker"?

4. I am in the middle of 5 nights off and loving it! Trying to work on taxes (boo, hiss) and DD's string quilt (applause).

5. I have been wearing the C-PAP more hours each night than my therapist predicted, and no longer feel the desire to collapse out of exhaustion 5-6 hours after rising! There are some mask issues, but when I report in to my RT (respiratory therapist) on Wed., he will be able to tell if I need a different mask or if it's just the adjustment period.

6. My Compassion family has grown to 2--joined by Aduri, an 8-year-old girl from Bangladesh. My package with info should arrive in about 2 weeks, so I will be heading over to Staples for another 3-ring binder and page protectors in which to keep all her info and letters. DD also had some great ideas this weekend about paper items I could send Dalia, now that she is far past the coloring book pages and stickers phase.

7. It's supposed to rain and sleet again tomorrow night, with a high Wed. of 33F again, but the daylilies and hyacinth are starting to peek above the ground. I need to separate some of the daylilies, as they are way too crowded for that small space, but it's still too cold to work in the yard for very long. Oh, but spring is coming!

Photos later!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The last few days have been topsy-turvy on so many levels. I just need to vent a few minutes, so feel free to skip this post if you like!

Disappointment, disgust, and cynicism: Our unit manager threw up her hands and quit after administration performed another butt-chewing over staffing. She really was a good manager and I hate to see her go, but totally understand. Admin announced a staff meeting (with less than 24 hours notice) to address "questions and concerns", but I didn't bother to go. I've been working in hospitals long enough to know they say what you want to hear, then do what they have always planned to do. Don't waste my time, you clueless idiots--just get out of my way and let me do my job.

Anticipation, panic, concern, relief and gratitude:
Friday night I had my second sleep study, this time with a C-PAP, and oh my, what a difference! I was so ALERT Saturday night and I had so much stamina--I've forgotten what it's like to feel GOOD! Since I'm claustrophobic, I had a little trouble with the mask, but was able to get past it that night, and will be working on it. Today I got my own machine, and found out the detailed results of my sleep study: Severe, with 62-75 episodes an hour and changes in my heart rate and rhythm, as well as dangerously low oxygen levels (73%). This is the stuff heart attacks and brain damage are made of. Throw in an absence of stages 4 & 5 sleep cycles (deep sleep) plus mild restless leg syndrome, and there is no where to go but improvement. I am so grateful my PA listened to my whiney-ass complaints and put the puzzle pieces together to treat this potentially life-threatening condition.

More concern, fear, frustration and relief: Tandi, my cocker, had 4 teeth removed by the vet yesterday, and then has had some strange type of reaction to one or both of her meds. We're still trying to figure out which of them it is, but she has been disoriented, possibly hallucinating, and managed to leave the yard despite the invisible wireless fence collar shocking her neck. Two neighbors helped me look for her, and we found her being watched over by another neighbor who recognized her from our walks, but didn't know where we live. Tandi was aimlessly crossing the street, walking around in circles, and finally just laid down in the woods. She almost didn't recognize me when we got there, and now doesn't want me out of her sight. She's really pitiful, with her little heart beating so fast and her body just quivering, and I hope this wears off soon.

Disbelief, sorrow, hope, gratitude, humility and pride:
The Compassion bloggers.
The conditions so many children must endure, IF they live long enough, make me ashamed of my petty complaints about my regular income (okay, I just did that, didn't I?), the neverending piles of laundry and dishes, gas prices, grocery shopping and insurance nincompoops. I am so wealthy--I have a non-leaking roof over my four walls, two working indoor bathrooms with toilet paper, food in my pantry for endless meals per day, ice water, shoes, a C-PAP machine, books to read, headache medication, hobbies. I live in a country where I CAN complain about my employer or my governor without fear of retribution, where I can drive to the store and pick up a variety of foods, where I can drive, period. My daughter always had good health care, went to school, is pursuing a career she has chosen for herself.

I am wealthy.

I am blessed.

Now I think I will spend a few minutes viewing the lunar eclipse, put Tandi in her crate where she will feel safe and secure, and put that C-PAP to good use.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Valentines. Hearts. Chocolates. Cards. Sweethearts.

All this commercialism pales when you read this last weeks' entries from Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer, and Sophie of BooMama.

I just discovered Rocks in My Dryer within the last month, and had read she was going to Africa, but didn't know why. Yesterday I stopped by her blog--and could hardly pry myself away for an hour or so. You see, she and several others went to Africa to tour some of the Compassion International Projects, and they have told stories and shown photos that will uplift you even as the tears trickle down your cheeks.

Several years ago, while living in New Mexico, I received a brochure in the mail from Compassion, explaining their program, and seeking sponsors for children throughout the world. Now, I have seen lots of commercials on TV for first one organization and then another, and was a bit skeptical about how much of my money would actually go to the children--and how much went to pay the photographers, celebrities, etc. who do these pleas for money. Okay, let's say cynical.

But I researched this organization, a Christian organization, because I had wanted for years to be in a position to sponsor a child from another country, to provide some of the things my child and I took for granted. I was totally blown away by what I read. I won't go into details here, because they do a much better job than I. Suffice it to say I was convinced and I began to surf their site for a child. I could have searched by age, by country, by birthdate, or let them choose a child for me, but I wanted to see the photos and read about the children.

One little girl from El Salvador grabbed my heart. I emailed right away and asked for her specifically, if she had not already been sponsored--and she hadn't! Dalia was 7 years old, standing in a little pink top and blue checked shorts, with a smile on her face that didn't quite reach her eyes. That was in December 2000--and an earthquake hit El Salvador in January of 2001. I was on pins and needles, knowing that one of the Compassion children in the area was killed, and praying it wasn't Dalia. God preserved my little girl, who wrote me later about the earthquake and how they all "held hands with each other and their teachers and prayed for mercy".

Dalia just turned 15 this month, and she is growing tall and beautiful. She is no longer in school, though I am not certain why, but still goes to the Project when she can, and still goes to church. There were plans to have her learn to sew and do hair, but the waiting list is long and she is not able to attend that school yet. I do not know what her future holds, but God does, and I will continue to support Dalia and her family as long as I am allowed.

That said, I am a sorry letter-writer, and don't send her letters as often as I could. Because of the danger of items being confiscated by customs, we can only send paper products and the envelope cannot be more than 1/8 inch thick, or it is at risk to be stolen. In the past I have sent her postcards of different places, a couple of photos of me (though I HATE to have my picture taken), pages from coloring and activity books, stickers, bookmarks, etc. Ah, but she is older now, and I must think a little harder.

But what has struck me more than anything from the postings by Sophie and Shannon and the others others is just how much difference a measly $32.00/month makes in the life of these children, these families. And even more than that, is the way their faces light up when they talk about their sponsors! It is very humbling to think that my letters could mean that much to Dalia--and shames me to think how many more letters I could have been sending these last 7 years.

Please go read these blogs and then check out Compassion's website. You can choose from any country, any age, either sex, and please consider those who have been waiting for a sponsor for more than 6 months. How devastating it must be to be approved for the program, and then think that no one in the Wealthy country of America could care about you.

I think I might go find another teenager to sponsor (like most folks, I went for a younger child for my first sponsorship) and give up a few fast food meals a month. There will be a trip to El Salvador in the fall, but I don't know if I can manage it this year. I would really love to go meet "my little girl", the one who prayed "for (my) knees be heal" and who was sorry my other dog died. She has blessed me far more than she will ever know. Pray that if I can't make it this year, that I am able to go before she turns 18.

For now, I'm going to go write my girl and give her a paper hug.

Edited 2/19 to add: Over at Shaun's blog, you can read many more stories of Compassion sponsors!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine thoughts

I've been reading different posts about Valentine's Day, the commercialism versus home crafts, and listening to gals at work talk about their plans to observe the day--or not. J-Man and I have never done much to celebrate Valentine's Day, though I did surprise him today with a funny card and a box of Hershey's Kisses.

I remember a book I read several years ago, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, who is a Christian Marriage Counselor, we have different love languages, and if we don't learn how to express our love in a manner our spouse can understand, it's as if you speak English and he speaks Chinese--you will never truly be able to communicate unless at least one of you learns the other's language.

His list? Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch.

J-Man's primary language is Acts of Service, with Gifts a close second. It's what he understands, and how he expresses his love for me. I cannot remember the last time he said the words, "I love you", but he hunts up the best gas prices and fills my truck up a couple of times a month, and he faithfully provides some sort of supper the nights I work so I won't have to get up early to cook. Today he went to Arby's for lunch while I slept, and came home with a chocolate turnover for me.

I used to be a Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation gal, but have learned new languages. Because of the J-Man's disability, walking and holding hands is just not an option any more. Hugs are difficult too--they can throw him off balance. He appreciates it when I tell him I love him, but it means more to him when I keep his clothes folded in his drawers, because it's easier for him than trying to hunt through a basket for clean underwear.

Do you and your Sweetheart speak the same love language? Have you learned to communicate in a way that truly says "I love you and I want you to know it?"
J-Man knows I love him, but he FEELS loved when I get supper on the table by 6:00 pm. I think I'm going to read this book again. I really need a refresher.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter Swap

For those of you who left a kind comment on the last entry about my contribution to the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, I thank you kindly. But THIS is why I am not satisfied with my project:

Is this not FANTASTIC?? Laila in Norway had my name and made this beautiful Christmas quiltlet for me. The words over the top are "And it all happened in those days" in Norwegian. I wish it was December again so I could display it--I can hardly wait til next year! It's hand quilted, too, can you see that?

She also included an outline of an angel to embroider, and beautiful angel fabric. I will have to ponder on how best to work this up, but what a wonderful challenge.
Laila, thank you SOOOO MUCH!

Spring always seems so busy, trying to get work done in the yard before it gets too hot, that I might not participate in the spring swap. On the other hand, I love those spring colors and have seen a couple of cute patterns I'd like to try.

Ahhh,yes, too many quilts, too little uncommitted time.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Quilty stuff

Gee, I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted anything. I've done some lurking in odd moments this week, but have only left one or two comments.

Well, I finished my quiltlet for the Winter 2008 edition of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap, and sent it off. I was in a creative dry spell--that's my only excuse. And that's all I have to say about that, to quote Forrest Gump.

But I have four nights off, so in addition to working on my taxes, I plan to get some sewing done! Even if the floors don't get mopped or vacuumed! I cooked breakfast this morning--might not cook again for a couple of days, so DH better have enjoyed it.
I've finished cutting strips for DD's string quilt, and will be sewing those together into squares today. As I go, I'm taking photos, so all you beginners out there can be looking for a tutorial soon.
Our quilt guild will be doing a show at the community mall on March 8 to celebrate National Quilting Day (which isn't until the next week, but that always gets bumped due to St. Patrick's Day activities.) Our challenge this year is entitled "B" in the Mountains, adapted from the theme of last year's Symposium, "Bee in the Mountains", that we hosted. We have bright yellow/gold fabric to use, and I have an idea, but don't know if I can get it finished in time. If you've been reading my blog for several months, you can probably figure out what "B" I plan to use.
Maybe I can post more later. Hope you all have a pleasant day!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Anytime a hospital lets its bean-counters dictate the quality of patient care, you can bet that hospital is on its way out.

Enough said.