Blank Looks

Image result for blank looksShe stared at the plate set before her.  It was the weirdest conglomeration of food she’d ever seen.  The blank look on Kate’s face must have elicited the response of giggles from her husband.  He had done this on purpose, but she really would never know.  The kids were to have chosen the meal for Mother’s Day breakfast, but little did Kate know that her darling husband, Ryan had assisted them in the choosing. The girls were elated to have made mommy breakfast in bed.

As she choked down chocolate cake, scrambled eggs, some fruit salad consisting of strawberries and bananas, and some leftover pork chop from the night before with peach compote, Kate thought of how lucky she was to have such a beautiful family.  She relished the thought of this happening every year, but knew this may be the last year.  She had been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and had just undergone her bilateral mastectomy 2 weeks before.  She couldn’t think of her little girls growing up without her.  She had a will to live that was fiercely strong.

Her girls, Ella, aged 4 and Emma, aged 2, were her life.  She was so blessed to have them as well as having the most loving and supportive husband.  Ryan worked so hard so she could stay at home with the girls.  How had she not felt the lump? Why did she stop doing the stupid monthly self breast exams?

Tomorrow she would start the radiation and next week her chemo would begin.  She knew how sick she would be from both.  She didn’t like to think about it, but she did think about it.  Of course she thought about it.  She was normal, for God’s sake.  And she prayed every day.  She prayed for healing.  She wasn’t sure how her girls were going to handle all this change.  She looked up at her husband.  Now it was his face that was blank.

“Honey, what’s the matter?” she asked him gently reaching for his hand.

“It’s just that I could tell by looking at your lovely face what you were thinking about.  You are so beautiful.  I want you to know that I will always love you.  I will always be here for you and we will get through this.  I love you, honey.  I love you with all my heart.  I know that you are scared and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t, but honestly, you’re going to make it.”

“Thank you,” was all she could manage to say between the tears streaming down her face.  The blank look was gone between both of them.  There love had lasted through these last 20 years of high school, college and the rest.  Their’s was a love that would stand the test of time.  If time was what God and medicine would give them.

The Lavender Dress

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She loved storms and this was a beautiful one in her eyes.  The sky was dark, so dark almost as dark as if it were night.  The brilliant flashes of lightning shattered the sky every few minutes and the thrashing rain pelted the windows as if they were going to break it at any second, an invader into her house, yet not so much.  Yes, this was a beautiful storm for sure.  Karri was hoping this one would last for a good long while so she could use it as an excuse not to meet him.  She really didn’t have any good reason not to meet Claude, other than she agreed to, one last time.

She continued getting herself ready.  She put on the short, lavender dress.  The one that went with her auburn hair so well.  People always gave her compliments and told her it brought out the color of her eyes when she wore it.  “What did they know?” she thought. She was in the mood to tell him off.  How dare he call her after not even calling her for over a week.  She had texted him everyday to see if everything was alright.  She hadn’t heard one word.  She was done.  She would tell him it was over. Karri wasn’t someone who put up with excuses.  She had done it before, but that was the old Karri.

Claude had gone to Syracuse to see his ailing mother, or so he said.  Why would he not text back, unless he chose not to. Well, Karri had decided after the 3rd or 4th day that it was really quite simple.  Claude was seeing an old girlfriend.  She knew who it was.  It had to be that one. The one who broke his heart years ago.  Cheryl or Carol.  Whatever her name was.  It really didn’t matter.  Whatever the excuse was, Karri wasn’t going to hear it.  Not this time.  She really didn’t care what he said.  All she could think was, “Oh no, not again.”  It was like that with her in relationships.  This one was just like Ricky.

Ricky had been her previous boyfriend, but he cheated on her several times.  When she found out, she broke it off and never looked back.  But she really thought Claude was different.  Claude was sophisticated.  He was more complex than Ricky.  Maybe she was wrong.  Maybe something more happened at home in Syracuse.  Maybe his mom was seriously sick.  Ricky was carefree and in a band.  He was no businessman like Claude.  Claude usually called every day.  She started to rethink things.  Maybe she was wrong about him.  He was a good man.  She really had no reason to believe that he had done anything wrong.

When the phone rang, her heart stopped.  She picked it up slowly.  “Hello?”

“Hi, Babe.” Claude sounded soft and rather sensual.  He did melt her heart when he spoke in that deep, soft voice.

“Hi!” Karri could hear herself sounding a little more excitable than she meant to. “How are you?  When did you get back?  Are you okay?  I haven’t heard from you in a week.  I’ve been so worried.”

“Babe, my mom…” he trailed away.  “She.. she’s dead.  She had a massive stroke and there was nothing that they could do.” She heard the anguish in his voice.  She knew she had been wrong, but felt so bad in how she had been so quick to judge.

“Oh my God! Honey, I’m so, so sorry. Is there anything…” Now it was her voice trailing off.  “Are you even back from Syracuse?”

“Babe, I need you.  I’m back, but I just came back to get a few things.  I have to fly out tomorrow again for the funeral and to get mom’s affairs in order.  It’s going to take some time.  I wanted to know…  Well, I wanted to know if you would come with me.  She would have loved you.  Like I do.  I just wish she could have met you.”

Karri sat down at her kitchen table trying to keep her emotions from getting the best of her.  She took a deep breath.  Her heart was doing a happy dance because she did really love Claude.  She hadn’t really realized it until this moment.  They had been seeing each other for 5 months and yet, she had such a difficult time embracing love and being in love much less the man of her dreams declaring his love for her.  Yet, he just did.  Was it the fact that his mother just died or that he truly did love her?  What should she say?

“Karri? Are you still there?”

“Yes, Claude, I’m here.  I’m just a bit overwhelmed.  You’ve just told me  your mom died and that you love me in the same breath.  I, I…”

“It’s okay, Karri. If this is too soon, or too much, I understand.”

“No, Claude, I do love you.  I love you so much! I want to be with you and I just feel guilty for thinking you were ignoring me over the last week.  I just thought maybe you didn’t want me, or maybe you had found someone else.  Now, I find out it’s all this.   Are you sure you want me?”

“Yes, Babe, I want you for the rest of my life.  When mom died, I realized that I love you more than I love the air that I breathe.  If I don’t have you by my side, I have no purpose.”

“When can I see you?”

“I’m right outside your door, Karri. Open the door.”

As she opened the door, she found Claude on one knee, red roses in one hand, 1 carat diamond ring in the other.  On his shirt, a sign saying “will you spend the rest of your life with me?”

“Yes, Yes! Oh my darling man, yes.”

This has been a fictional story created for The Blog Propellant which is awesomeness at it’s best!  My number that I have chosen at random is 27! I chose to  use all 3 prompts, because it’s so much fun!  I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  It took me about 25 minutes to write.  The hardest part was finding a picture to go with it!

 

Countless Blessings

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We are all given something which we can be grateful for.  For me, well, I have many.  I feel very blessed.  I have had a wonderful life so far.  I won’t say that it’s been a bed of roses, but I’m choosing not to dwell on the negatives in my past because it doesn’t do anyone any good.  It certainly won’t do me any good to think about those things that caused me pain or stress.  I have learned over the last six months, in particular, that I must be grateful for the many blessings that have bestowed on my family and on me.

I grew up with two parents that loved me very much.  I was adopted by strict, Roman Catholic parents from Ireland but they knew how to laugh and have a good time all the same.  My big brother was always there for me. In 1st or 2nd grade, in the good old days, I knew 3+2 but not 2+3 and my brother, who is 6 years older than me, let me ride piggyback on him until I got it!  How many older brothers do you know that would do that!

My brother always let me come into his room to listen to his room and dance.  He didn’t mind if I sang to the music either.  He would take me to the movies and I would pretend that I was his age.  We went for ice cream at our favorite ice cream shoppe.  It was amazing to have an older brother who loved his little sister so much.  I am so glad he still loves me!

My parents adopted me, so another blessing.  Raising someone else’s baby when you know nothing about the back round must be a little scary, but mom said that as soon as she saw me, I was hers.  How many countless blessings I have had just because I was their child.

Now, I’m all grown up.  Since growing up, I now have a family that I love with all my heart of my very own.  Such countless blessings I have been given. I have 4 wonderful kids, and a husband who loves me and would do anything for me.  I can’t repay my husband for all of the wonderful things he does for me, and I can’t tell him enough how grateful I am either!  We don’t have a perfect marriage, but who does.  I still wouldn’t trade him for any other man in world.

Yes, I have been given so many countless blessings in my life and tonight, I wanted to share just these few.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my memories.  What blessings have you been given in life?

Grains of Kindness

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We are all individuals. That being said, it takes each one of us to make the world a better place. In this Revolution of Kindness I want to focus on how each of us is like a grain of sand. Yes, a grain of sand.

You wouldn’t go to the beach if there were only a few grains of sand because it wouldn’t be a beach, right? It takes many grains to make up the entire beach. Well, bearing that in mind, we are like that. We encompass many views, each unique and different. We may look similar and act similarly, but if we look at each person, as with each grain of sand, you can see the vast differences.

It takes more than one view point to make a country work. No one person or viewpoint is inherently right just like there isn’t one individual that is wrong 100% of the time on every little thing. That is why we have a government made up of different individuals who are supposed to be there to do the work of those they represent. It doesn’t always work that way, but in theory it should. Ah, but I digress.

As we are simply grains of sand, alone we can accomplish a little bit, but together we can do so much. Think about a bag of sand. They use sandbags to make barriers to hold back flood waters. It’s very effective! It also takes more than one person to accomplish this task efficiently.  If one person shows kindness towards another, it pays off by making both of them happier. The second person is more than likely going to perform a kind gesture for someone else. This can and will grow if kindness is allowed to bloom.

We are the grains of sand that could make the world a much kinder place. We need kindness in our lives. First we must let the grain of Kindness grow within our hearts, then we can plant that grain in other hearts by performing random acts of kindness and using kind words. Let’s let the grains multiply to see what kind of world we can create. I know I would like to live in a world where we are more concerned with the welfare of others and less caught up in the small battles within our own hearts. What about you? Will you journey with me to a kinder world?

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It’s Just a Phase They Say

When children are small, they go through phases.  They go through the “Terrible Two’s”, the “Terrific Three’s” and so on.  We all know about the Terrible Two’s if we are parents.  Well, I will tell you that for some of us, two year olds can be quite pleasant.  I rather enjoy them, actually.  They are exploring the world around them and learning about who they are and how they fit in.  They are learning how to be independent most of all for the first time in their young, little lives.  Some two year olds are prone to tantrums.  I will tell you that I was lucky that out of my 4 children, only 1 child did something even remotely close to the tantrum throwing that other children did.  Instead, she would get frustrated and curl up into what we termed, the ball of fury.  She wasn’t loud about it, but her curling into this ball where her legs twisted into this knot was rather amusing.

When children grow older, around 9 or 10, they start learning more “adult” things.  They test us just a little bit more. It’s always interesting when you suddenly hear more mature words and ideas coming out of your child’s mouth.  Your innocent, or formerly innocent, child! It always happens when they think you can’t hear them.  Luckily, they don’t understand most of the new knowledge they are acquiring, but soon enough, they will.  Thus begins the tween phase, AKA, the brat phase.

The tween phase of childhood is one of the most challenging phases in parenting besides the all intensive teenager phase.  Your formerly innocent, lovely, and sweet child suddenly and quite unexpectedly becomes mouthy and will say, or attempt to anyway, just about anything and everything just to get under your skin.  It’s great.  It’s like they just have to press every button you have as a parent in order to prepare you for them entering high school and their independent stage.  They are simply trying to break those apron strings a little more while trying to fit in with the crowd.  Middle school and junior high are the roughest time for kids.  No one feels like they fit in no matter who they are.

And then it happens.  The teen years.  Do they ever end?  The mouth, the teenage angst to grind, the know-it-all attitude from hell.  And it goes on and on and on.  They are growing and learning so much at this stage and want more than ever to break away from home life.  They have no idea how good they have it at home.  They don’t have the experience that life has to offer yet to make really great decisions.  So, as parents, you pray that you’ve trained them well.  You pray that they know how to behave in public, that they remember their manners and to bathe frequently.  You really do a lot of praying at this stage of parenting.  You remind yourself frequently that this, too, is just a phase.

Eventually, kids grow up and repeat the life cycle themselves.  They get to learn the joys of parenthood just as our parents did.  Parents get to curse their children with that famous curse “Just wait till you have kids of your own.  I hope you have one just like you.” The phases continue and life goes on.  We as parents get to spoil our grandchildren and send them back to their parents saying, “well, they’re always perfect angels for me!” I, personally, look forward to those days ahead, and I consider myself lucky to have some pretty good kids.

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I Should Be Sleeping

Well, I should be sleeping but here I am at 4:17AM still awake. I’ll sleep soon enough. My mind is racing tonight. Thoughts of things left to do and things I should do. Thoughts of how I can be better and what I’ve done wrong amidst things I’ve done well and things I’ve done right. Why, at bedtime can I not shut this brain off, but during the day, I could fall asleep most anywhere?

Could it be my circadian rhythm is so screwed up? Yes. Could it be the middle years and menopause? Yes. Could it be a million things on my mind and I’m my heart? Again, the answer is yes.

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I have an uncanny knack for over thinking in a pensive sort of way. Yes pensively. I do think about things deeply while often looking angry when I’m really not. My girls call it “testing birch face” I think. What a description. Of only they understood pensive!

Life’s a Beach

20160331_123638.jpgWell, I certainly wish I was at the beach right now. There is no place in earth I love more. The sun on my skin, the sand in between my toes, the water to swim in! What could be better! I absolutely love the sound of the waves splashing against the shore and to watch the birds swoop down into the water.

Florida has my favorite shores or should I specify? My favorite is in Naples. The white sandy beaches, the sea gulls who I have been known to feed leftovers to and the dolphins that swim along side the boats. What’s not to love there?

I have such find memories too. I took 3 of my kids there a month ago which was great. I wasn’t able to enjoy it as I usually am, but I will again the next time. There will be a next time soon again but with my fabulous Hubs.

He deserves a holiday more than anyone I know. He works so hard to provide for all of us and hasn’t had a holiday for quite some time. Hopefully, we will get there this summer, but it seems like our time is filling in quickly as usual.

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There is nothing more romantic than a walk along the beach at sunset with the one you love. Hubs and I both adore the water and swimming so you can imagine how much it would mean for us to get away for our anniversary this summer. I just want to make it happen. It’s so important to keep the love alive in a marriage. Sometimes you just have to get away together to make things a little extra special. I’m the hopeless romantic so I try to occasionally do those special things. I like to show him how special he is to me. He shows me his love everyday.

My Hope for Our Future

It’s graduation time again.  This year, I have another daughter graduating from high school.  She is very bright and studious.  She exemplifies a student in her attitude.  As my dad would say, she is a worker.  I’m very proud of her.  I should be.  I’m proud of all my kids.  They are naturally good kids and so far, none of them have given us any trouble.  I hope that trend continues.  This one, however, has been mature beyond her years her entire life.

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When Clare was 2, she was very small and dainty.  I remember very vividly a day when she and I were home together.  Her older sister was at pre-school and Clare was playing quietly with her green, Mardi Gras beads.  She held them up to the window sill and said very clearly, “Mom, my necklace is approximately this long.” I was bewildered that she should say such a big word and use it correctly.  I might point out that she had just turned 2.  Most of the children her age were speaking in very short sentences but her sentences were very complex.  I stared at my child, asked her to repeat herself just in case I hadn’t heard correctly.  I had.  The look on her face was one of incredulity.  It was as if she couldn’t believe I didn’t know what that word meant.  This is my child.  This is my overachiever.

In kindergarten, she would come home from school every day and sit down immediately, without having to be told, and do her “homework”.  I have NEVER had to tell her to do her homework.  She always has done it and she has always done well.  She has also always done extra credit when it was given.  As I say, she is a worker.  I wish all 4 of my kids would do their homework so easily.  My oldest has to study on her own now that she is away at school but she had to be coaxed some when she was younger.  My younger 2 have always been terrible about doing homework.  It amazes me that they all came from me!

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These are my children.  These are our future.  They are my hope but they also have their own hopes and dreams which will lead them to their own desires and destinies.  Clare will start her pre-med studies this fall at university away from home.  Her older sister is in nursing.  My younger 2 will do other things unrelated to medicine, I’m certain.  They each have their own paths to follow and things to accomplish along the way.

20141206_204318.jpgMy oldest daughter, Emma, is an extraordinary vocalist.  She started her college career, as many do, not sure what she wanted to be, but began in music education.  She loves music, but was scared to death to think that all the hard work and hours put in would leave her without a job at the end of her college years.  She has now switched to the field of nursing and loves it.  She is compassionate and empathetic and will be an invaluable nurse.

In high school, she not only succeeded but excelled in music.  She achieved the female solo for the All-District performances her sophomore and senior years and went to All-State Honors Choir both her junior and senior years.  She got her silver cross, an accomplishment which is not easy to achieve in music which culminates with a beautiful solo recital at the end.  She was succeeding in college as well, but wasn’t happy.  One needs to be happy to have hope  and to be our hope for the future.

Clare has excelled in the classroom and in music as well.  She has a very high GPA, she is in the National Honor Society and French National Honor Society, but musically, she didn’t go for her silver cross.  She opted to go the route of senior recital instead.  For once, she chose the option of less stress.  She made All-State Choir her Senior year. She has no notions of majoring in music.  She will major in pre-med and something else which is still undecided.

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As I say, our children are our hope for the future.  There is no denying that.  We’ve all heard people say that, or sing it.  It’s how our world continues.  My hope is that I’ve done a good job rearing them.  I pray often that my children will be independent, intelligent and strong.  I want them to always make the best decisions they can but to think about things before they do make a decision.  I want them to make their future bright, as my oldest 2 are now adults, in the eyes of the law.  To me, they will always be my baby girls.  I still have 2 more that I can make a difference in and I hope that they listen sometimes.  I hope they will be like their older sisters and succeed in life.

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Music Gives Me Life

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And to think I nearly missed this daily prompt! Music has been my escape my whole life. I began playing piano by ear at age 4. I had the most wonderful teacher beginning at age 7, her name was Sr. Clare Therese Moran. Not only was she my teacher but also my friend. She was one of the most beautiful people in my life for many years. I was blessed to be able to tell her my second child was a girl and would bear her name. At the time. She was dying of cancer which have her so much pain. 

She had been a Dominican Sister for many years and had come to live here just as I was beginning piano lessons. She encouraged me always to be my best and was always kind. She truly encompassed Christ’s love and patience with her students. Mom and I would take her out for our favorite Chinese meal at a restaurant that No longer exists, but when I pass there, I think of her.

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My flute teacher also encompassed a great deal of compassion and love. Her name is Debby. We reconnected after all these years in Facebook which I love. She not only taught me to play my flute, she took the time to teach me to sew. How cool is that? I still remember the navy floral A-line skirt I made with her tutoring. How blessed I was to have such an awesome teacher!

We are musicians. We can all sing and sing well in our house, with one exception who shall remain nameless. It isn’t unusual for us to break into 4 part harmony if we all know a song. It’s just what we do and who we are.

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If you’ve read my previous posts about musicals, I have talented daughters. Very talented daughters. Music is in our blood. It’s who we are. It makes us whole. If I was more tech savvy, I’d add some of my girls singing so you could hear them. Maybe one day I will. They are amazing and sound great together.  The youngest can figure out how to play anything out on the piano or ukulele.

We are music and music is within us. It is one thing that makes us happy and gets us out of that funk like nothing else can. Our tastes are extremely varied and there isn’t much we don’t like. My oldest daughter will listen to everything from opera and classical to rap. Music heals the soul like nothing else can. What music do you like?

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The Crossroads of Life

Life leads us in many different directions.  Often it’s very difficult to know which road to choose.  I know I certainly have struggled more than my fair share with this problem over the years.  I have also seen my family and friends do the same thing.  Sometimes it’s our jobs that get overwhelming or too stressful.  Sometimes they don’t challenge us enough.  Sometimes we just seek other opportunities.  In those cases, it may be easy to choose which path to take, but more often than not, it is a very difficult choice. In relationships, especially intimate relationships, it’s very difficult to move on when faced with the knowledge that you would be better off either alone or with another person.  These are the crossroads we often face as adults.
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In our jobs, we are often comfortable where we are and although we are stressed to the max, the comfort of knowing our job and the expectations associated with it.  We may enjoy the people we work with but not the stress or hours that are required.  Perhaps it’s that we aren’t able to spend that time with our family. Perhaps, we don’t feel challenged enough in our jobs.  I have encountered both of these conundrums in my life.  These crossroads have been very stressful to me as have the search for and learning the new jobs have been stressful, but in the end, I was happy and satisfied that when met with that particular crossroad, I made the choice I did.
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Recently, I changed jobs.  I am older than I was when I started my last position as a home health nurse.  I have been a pediatric home health nurse caring for 6-7 patients a day for about 12 or 13 years and absolutely loved it.  The freedom of driving from patient to patient was great.  The independent practice and autonomy was great.  But with all the changes in healthcare, our caseloads and way of doing things was becoming overwhelming to me as well.  I have my children to think about.  I still have children at home and although I have 2 that will be in college in the fall, 2 will still be living at home.  It was time to look for something else.  Something with more regular hours, no holidays, no weekends and no call.  My 14 year old can manage at home just fine, but my 9 year old (as of right now — today is his birthday) deserves to have a mom, a real mom.  I feel like I have robbed him of that for most of his short life because of my job.

I just began my new career as an office nurse in a doctor’s office.  I know this will have it’s own issues, but at the same time, it meets all the criteria.  I am a float nurse for the departments of general and colorectal surgery, specialties and cardiology.  I decide which days I am available to work.  Bonus for my family.  If there is something going on, I just let my manager know I am unavailable to work that day.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I am learning the ins and outs of this new position and it will take time.  I worry and stress over wanting to succeed and do a great job.  I am a people pleaser.  It is completely different from the world I come from , but once I am finished with orientation, I think I will be alright.

Crossroads lead to choices.  Relationships bring with them many choices everyday.  If a relationship is a solid one, then the choices are simple.  I was married once before.  When I was faced with my first husband wanting a divorce, I found myself at another crossroad.  What the hell do I do now? How do I manage and go on without him in my life? Sunday would have been our 23rd anniversary.  I stayed at that crossroad, unable to move for 2 years before our divorce was finalized.  I was numb.  I was in pain and I just wanted him to stay and be the husband I needed and the dad to our girls like he always was.  It took the 2 years of realizing that it would never happen.  He was done and eventually, I, too, was done.  We grew very much apart in our marriage.  I can’t say that either of us is to blame although years ago, I did blame him because he left us.  I did that because of the gut wrenching pain I was feeling,not because he actually was in the wrong.  I realize that now.
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The important thing about the crossroads in life is this.  When we find ourselves in those crossroads, standing there feeling as if no one cares, we must remember that this life is a journey and God always help guide us.  If we just took some time to think before acting.  Crossroads aren’t there Be kind to others and most important.Be kind to tho u are surrroujy.  So, here endeth stidit tme.