Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Years's Day

This holiday has always been anti-climactic for me.  It is just another day, except for the change in  my TV viewing schedule.  I never make resolutions as winter is the worst time for me, and holidays are also not a good time for me to make decisions.  Here, my schedule is messed up and I feel all out of sorts, not having a plan every day.  Needless to say, I am not a fly-by-night person.  

This was a most difficult year so far for me.  The worst was my dad falling.  It took 6 months of 3 weeks of traction, major surgery, 1 week in hospital, and a month in various nursing homes.  My dad is OK now, but he still uses his cane, even though he is not supposed to.  I think he is scared he will fall again.  I don't blame him.  I would be scared of that too.  I think it was the most horrible time in his life too.

I also had 6 months of pain in my arm and hand.  I have had 4 sessions of trigger point dry needling, which hurt like hell, the worst pain I have ever experienced.  But it helped.  But the pain is coming back, I hope not for good.  I guess we will just have to see.  

I still miss my cat, Chocolate.  It has gotten easier though, and not so painful.  This Christmas was a lot easier.  But I fear trying to adopt another pet.  I am such a light sleeper, but if I don't get enough sleep, I am depressed and anxious.  

I am also still going to school for ABE/ESL certification.  I hope to have enough credits in May to sub.  Although I fear leaving my volunteering will be hard.  I will so miss the staff and especially the students.  I have come to care for them and enjoy helping them.  But, I am tired of being unemployed.  They say it doesn't define me, but I can't help feeling like a loser being unemployed and unpublished.

I also have no new relationships in my life.  Just my family, my KFS group, and 2 childhood friends.  But they are busy and have their own lives, and I understand that.  We have gone our different ways.  I was too dependent, as I don't know how to make or keep friends.  Besides, I have my family, and they keep me busy.

But sometimes when I am in the throes of my period, I feel lonely and alone, and wish I had someone to share my life with.  I wish I had someone who believed I was beautiful, and worth it.  Someone who doesn't try to change me but accepts me as I am, and appreciate those parts of me.  I don't know why it's so hard.  I just can't seem to attract a mate.  It's like I have the plague.  I don't just look and sound weird, but I also struggle with anxiety and depression, which men don't seem to want to deal with.  I don't either, but I have it so I have to.  I have both disability and mental illness.  And I have to deal with it.  And sometimes it can be exhausting.  Even so, I still want a "normal" life, and when I can't seem to attain it, when I fail, I just get more and more discouraged.

I usually don't talk about all this much.  It makes people uncomfortable, and I don't want to upset them.  I don't expect people to fix it, I know they can't.  I just want people to hear it, and realize that this is my reality.  This is what I have to live with.

So no, I make no resolutions.  I know I have no control over my life.  I can't make a man like me, I can't straighten my spine, fix my nose, fix my brain, and fix my upper body.  I can't make people hire me, and I can't make people like me.  I am what I am and I am certainly not God.  Sometimes I think I would like to be, but still, people wouldn't like me when they don't get their way.  Because we just don't sometimes.  Because that is life.  

So no, I don't like New Year's Day.  It is an end to that magical season of Christmas, and a reminder of my futile attempts at trying to be "normal."  

I hope next week is a more cheerful topic.  Maybe I am this way because I am in PMS.  What stupid things these hormones.  Especially as I don't plan on getting pregnant!  The hormones mess me up!  How useless!  

I hope I don't upset my family the most.  Sometimes I think it is worse on the parents than their children, as the parents can't fix it.  They want to be strong and they hope for everything for their children, but sometimes it is not to be.  And they have to accept that, like I do, even though they, nor I, want to.  I guess we just have to try to see the good in things.  And appreciate life as it is.  For I am rather spoiled, with a great family, my own home, education, travels, pets, and health, such as it is.  I am not a woman in a third world country, suffering so horribly as they do, with no rights, no education, and no hope.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent: Joy

I assume this final week is about joy.  I follow 3 other bloggers who also are writers, and seeing their success makes me sad and feeling jealous, I have to admit.  I was not successful in my 10-year foray into this most murky of professions.  I get tired of trying and failing, trying and failing, and trying and failing in all aspects of my life: in relationships and career.

I was feeling great until I read my fellow bloggers' posts for this week.  I know I shouldn't feel this way.  I should feel thankful for what I have.  But then again, there is that word, "should," which should (!) not be part of my vocabulary, coming from such a legalistic background!  

Maybe I am just tired.  Maybe I am just out of sorts because my schedule is different these 2 weeks.  Being out of my routine, throws me off.  Relationships continue to baffle and repulse me (quote from Sheldon Cooper from "Big Bang Theory!")  Actually, they don't repulse me.  I just can't seem to keep them.  I seek them out but find no one, or only the ones that eventually hurt me.  But I guess, that is typical, people are not perfect, I hurt, as others hurt.  We all hurt each other, especially the ones we love.

I guess I compare my life to movies or TV shows, even though they are terribly unrealistic.  I mean, who looks that good all the time?  You never see them on the toilet.  Do fictional characters never go potty?  I know this is weird.  Maybe I spend too much time thinking.  

I live a life of fear.  I fear I will fail in my latest career venture.  I fear I will forever be single and lonely.  I fear I will never be able to tolerate another pet.  Change is just so hard.  I get used to things, and change throws me off and I feel on the edge of a precipice.

But usually, usually, I am happy,  Especially now as I love Christmas, the pain of losing Chocolate is dimming, my dad is healed, my arm is healed.

I live in the greatest country on earth.  I like myself, the way I look, that I am smart, and that I can write, even if few others think so.  I love that I am a good teacher.  I love helping immigrants learn to speak our complicated language.  

I love to read and am thankful I can read.  I love the internet, TV, music, and movies.  I love animals, wild and domestic.  I love art and history.

I think I am an interesting, smart, and funny person.  It really puzzles me why I can't seem to attract a mate.  I am not a typical woman though.  Maybe that turns people off.  I guess it is a miracle that my parents met each other.  Neither of them are typical, yet they met, fell in love, and have been married 55 years.

I guess I just wish I could have gone further in my writing.  I tried so hard.  It is hard to see what you work so hard for fail so miserably.  

But as they say, I have to brush myself off and get back on the horse.  I have to keep trying to do something with my life.  I just am tired of failing.

Well, I guess this post isn't much about joy!  Especially when a neighbor's dog keeps barking in the hallway driving me nuts.  But I guess the point of joy is finding the good even when life sucks.  Because I do have a family, a home, an education, memories, and freedom.  

I am safe and healthy.  And most of all, I am saved by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ.  Even in the midst of my failure, God still loves me.  He still see the beauty in me, because He created me.  And everything I love is because of Him.  I wouldn't be here without Him.  He orchestrated my life so that I could be here, at this time, in this place.  

I think most of us lead pretty ordinary lives.  Most of us aren't celebrities.  Most of us are struggling with something, something bigger than us.  We go through each day just trying to figure out why we are here in the first place.  

I think every life has a story, every life has a purpose, a meaning.  It may look boring or ordinary to others.  But it is not to God.  Life is a gift. I don't want to waste it feeling sorry for myself, feeling things that waste my time and energy.

I just want to enjoy it.  That's what Joy is about.  Living life as a gift from God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Advent: Love

This week I assume is love.  Wow, that is a loaded word if there ever is one.  I feel a certain lack of love these days for those who hate me just because the color of my skin.  Yes, I mean white.  I have been called a racist, and that is the most painful thing I had been called, because it was from an accuser who didn't know me, and because if I was racist, why would I take a job helping children of all races to get the help they needed?

It is also hard to love the Islamic extremists, who hate me for many reasons: being a woman, American, Christian, disabled, etc., etc., etc.  The plight of the persecution of Muslims around the world is so advertised, but not the plight of my fellow Christians around the world who are killed simply for being a Christian.

I have to remember that some people grow up in a world full of hate.  There is no respect for love, no respect for life, and no respect for death.  They think in the name of Allah it is right to kill all the infidels.  People can pontificate all they want about why they kill, but it boils down to this: theirs is a life of hate and death.

Why else would a couple abandon their own baby, as the San Bernardino terrorists?  If they loved that baby, and if that baby's life mattered to them, they would not abandon him/her.  But their hatred for us and commitment to Allah, superseded that.

It's interesting to note the difference between Christian and Islamic martyrs.  Christian martyrs are killed by others because of their refusal to turn their backs on God.  They don't kill themselves or anyone else.  Islamic martyrs kill themselves and others, in the belief that they are honoring Allah.  All they are honoring is the forces of evil.  God knows what they are doing, and they will suffer the consequences of their evil acts.  They have not won, they will never win.

Why?  Because God has won!  He won by showing His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  For God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten Son for us, so that, in Him, that we might be saved.   For those who believe in Him, He gave the right to be called children of God.

So even though I can't love my enemies in my own power, I can through Him.  And it is not a love that excuses what they do, or allows them to get away with it.  It is a love that understands that they know not what they do, like when Jesus was crucified, He asked God to forgive those who killed Him, for they knew not what they did.

I, for one, am glad that God is love.  Life is so full of hatred and death that without God's love, it would be hell on earth.  I shudder at the thought.  

So we celebrate Christmas because God demonstrated His love for us through the birth of His Son.  He spoke to the shepherds, He spoke to the Magi.  For Jesus is not just for some people, He is for all people!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Advent: Peace

I assume this week is peace.   I could be wrong, since I don't know much about these church rituals.  But it doesn't matter, as peace is something we search for all our lives, and something that we always need.

I see very little peace these days, here and abroad.  I see such deep divisions in religious and political circles.  We become more divided the more we argue, the more we try to prove our point.  We forget that classic quote from To Kill a Mockingbird:  "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 

Why can't we do this?  We are so quick to judge the opposite side, thinking it is OK, while thinking it is not OK to judge our own side.  

I get so tired of the ranting  and raving, the emotionalism behind such judgement,when people suspend all logic.  Whenever the screaming and judgement start, that is where emotions take over, and all rationality is lost.

I also get tired of the PC police.  I get tired of the feeling that if I am wronged, it is OK to take my vengeance.  If that was OK, I would have a long line of bloody victims.  I get tired of people feeling like they  are owed.  I thought that way too, for a long time.  Until I accepted the fact that I have to live with the cards I am dealt, and do what I can with them.  No one owes me.  

We want peace in the Middle East.  That is a lofty goal that I don't think will ever be fulfilled in this world.  But we can't even begin to create a peace there if we can't even create it here: in our homes, in our community, in our country.  

So that is why Jesus came.  To bring peace between God and man.  During that time that He came on earth as a baby, it was the Pax Romana, peace in Rome.  That was a joke.  "Peace" was only maintained through fear and punishment.  God's peace came through love and salvation.  In fact, Jesus means, "God saves."  

That is why when an angel appeared before someone, they first said, "Fear not."  It would be scary seeing an angel.  But the angels were messengers of peace, not fear.  Salvation, not punishment.

Let's start where we are. right here, right now.  I know I am as guilty as the next man to bring war instead of peace, but I don't like myself when I do that.  And I feel  at war with myself when I do that.  I want my words and actions to bring peace.  Oh, Lord, help me to do that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent: Hope

This week is the start of Advent, a time of waiting for something, or the beginning of something.  And this week the theme of Advent is hope.

Sometimes, hope can be a dangerous thing.  We can hope in people or things that may disappoint us, or never come to fruition.  That can create a sense of bitterness, a sense of entitlement, woe is me.

I have tasted this bitterness many times.  I hoped for marriage, children, career, normalcy.  None came to fruition.  

But sometimes, if we let it, our perspective can change.  We can see that sometimes, we have what we need, and we can want what we have.  

When I was in college, I had my group of friends, when I wasn't close with my family.  Now that I am older and out of college and on my own, I have my family again.  I want to hold them tight and never let go.

I may not have my group of friends in college anymore, as we have all gone our own ways.  But I do have my family.  Not only that, I have my church.  For the last year of college, I wasn't in Campus Crusade, I didn't go to church. But now I do.

See, God always provides.  What I lack in one area, I have in another.  Although I am not married and have no children, I am now glad of that!  

Although I have no career at this point, and may never again, I did at one time, and I have my parents who always provide.

Although I lost my beloved cat, I still have my parent's dog, Minnie.  And it is nice actually to be able to enjoy her company without having to be with her 24/7.  I love her, but she is so needy, and I am so responsive to her needs and wants that it is difficult for me to say no!

Today was yet another mass shooting.  They have almost become commonplace.  But this one was different as it was in a center for people with developmental disabilities.  If that is the case. mass shooters have hit a new low.  Shooting up schools is bad enough, here are people, from children to adults, who will never able to fully comprehend what happened, and never understand why.  I don't even understand why.  

I see people in our country who keep demanding this or that, thinking they are entitled to these things.  I used to feel entitled.  But when I grew up I realized I had my hope centered on the wrong things.

Life is hard.  Sometimes it sucks, and you despair of ever getting through whatever troubles you.  All I know is I think that is why our week's theme is hope.  Jesus came at a time where there was no hope.  Not just in the life to come, but in the here and now.  For the Jews, they had no hope.  From time to time there would be an uprising and people would be killed.  But then that would be quashed and the vicious cycle of despair would start all over again.

Jesus changed all that.  He came to feel all the things we feel, yet never did he give up or give in.  This is not to make us feel bad, for He knew that sometimes we would give up or give in.  We're human.  But He came to give us hope.  That this isn't the end.  That God is there and He knows, and He is in control.  He created beauty in the world to encourage us.  He knows what we need.   

So when I feel discouraged, I hope to remember that He is my only hope.  He is perfect, forever, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present.  He is hope.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Right now my elbow and hand hurts like crazy and it is very painful to type.  Our country seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket.  And winter is coming!  It is hard to be thankful when terrorists are attacking people everywhere, and I feel like our government has either lost touch with reality, or simply doesn't care about the people they represent.  I feel crabby about all this PC business, how people get offended, I feel like I have to be so careful of what I do or say, for I know I am outspoken and unable to fake it.  But maybe I could look at all this in a different way.

Yes, I have pain.  But I don't have any pinched nerves in my neck, so that is good.  And I am trying a new therapy next week, trigger point dry needling, so maybe that will help.

Yes, winter is coming.  But so is the holiday season, which I love.  And maybe I wouldn't appreciate the summer so much if we didn't have winter.

Yes, there are terrorists.  But there have always been terrorists, and always will.  They are just bullies with lethal weapons.  They only know hate, but I know love.  They only feel hate, but I feel love.

Yes, we are too PC, and I am too outspoken.  But maybe this awareness will help me to be thoughtful and use my words accordingly.  I don't always have to share my opinion.  Sometimes its best to keep my mouth shut.  I just need to think before I speak.

Yes, my government doesn't represent me.  But America is still the greatest country on God's green earth.  

Therefore, there is a lot I can be thankful for.  Family, God, my health, my safety, my education, my career.  I have a home, I have freedom.  I have all that I need and more.  I am rather spoiled.  

And I am thankful that I was born in this time and in this place.  For my life could have been so different, and not in a good way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Still Believe

Every Friday night staring at 5 pm, KTIS (98.5) starts playing people's "I Believe" statements that they call in, while they play I believe theme songs throughout the night. My favorite song is I Still Believe by Russ Taff.

I was driving to my parents house last Friday, with Popeye's chicken smelling good in the car, with tears streaming down my face as I thought of the terror attacks in Paris.  It affected me so, partly because I was sick and when I am sick I also am more emotional.  But also because I was in Paris during 9-11, and I love Paris.  I so felt for the people there, and I despaired of this never-ending battle against Islam extremists would ever be over.

So I turned the radio to KTIS and here came this song.  My tears turned to tears of hope, tears of belief.  So even back then, I decided I wanted this week's post to be my belief statements, in the hopes that someone else would be encouraged and not despair.

God is in control.
I have assurance of salvation because of the blood of Christ.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of man.
There is no other god besides God, Yahweh, Jehovah.
God is with me.
Jesus means God Saves.
God will never leave me nor forsake me.
The Holy Spirit is within me.
Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified for our sins, and raised from the dead.
The Holy Word of God.
God created the earth, and all that is in it.
Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will Provide.
God is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.
Salvation is a gift from God to be received by each one of us.
I am saved through grace, not through my good works.
God is perfect, I am not.
God knows what is happening.
God is bigger than the terrorists.  He has won the war against evil.
God's Word is true, always and forever.
God is love.  God is good.  God is great.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Veteran's Day

Two days ago was Veteran's Day.  It seems as the wars in the Middle East go on, the more we remember those who fight and die for our freedoms.  And not only ours, but for those who have never had a taste of it, this freedom that we take for granted.

For it is easy to sit here in our comfortable homes and criticize how the wars are being fought.  It is easy for the political pundits in D.C. to make decisions when it really doesn't affect them.  

But it is not easy for those in the front lines.  Those for whom, day in and day out, fight a war that their government back home tells them they can't win.

But they keep fighting, until the last man leaves for home.  They won't give up, or let their brothers' deaths be in vain.  

That is why I am so proud to be an American.  Because I live in the home of the free, because of the brave.  Because of those men and women, who never give up, who fight valiantly 'til the end. They know what a precious gift is freedom, and they will do anything to keep it.  

Every day should be Veteran's Day.  It should be more than one puny day in a whole year.  It should be everyday.  Everyday we rise up with the dawn, everyday we lie down at dusk.  Everyday we wake to greet the sun, everyday we can go to our safe, warm beds and sleep a peaceful slumber.

It is because of these brave men and women, that we can do these things.  Let us not forget, but be thankful, with hearts of gratitude.  Let us raise the banner of freedom high.  Let us never be ashamed.  Let freedom reign!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Walk: Be the Bridge

The Walk: Be the Bridge is a YouTube speech that Jenny Hill gave at Northwestern College last year, during their Disability Awareness Week.  As you may or may not know, Jenny wrote an excellent and thought-provoking memoir about her life as a woman with a disability.  She expressed the exact same feelings that I always felt but never expressed.  I'm not sure why, maybe shame, maybe fear, maybe not wanting to upset others.  I encourage you to read this book.

As I watched this I also thought how nice for the college to have this.  I don't remember any college that I went to to have a disability awareness event.   Neither do I recall any sort of disability awareness week or month in our country.  They have these events for all other minorities.  Why not disability?  Is it because it is a scary or ugly topic?  We live in the shadows, partly hoping we never get noticed, partly wishing we did.  Until this is recognized by the larger population, and celebrated even, it will never change.  Sure, we have Special Olympics.  But I think the difference is those of us without intellectual disabilities feel left out somehow.  We feel in the middle of two extremes.  We are not part of the developmentally delayed group.  Nor are we part of the "normal" group.  We are somewhere in the middle.  We are cute when we are young, but when we group up and see our peers doing "normal" things without us, we don't know what to do.  Nor does anyone else.  We are like the elderly, less respected, needing some help but not totally, and lonely.

So please watch this video, and think upon it.  Think about what it is like to be us.  It is not to shame you or to make you feel guilty.  You can feel good about not having a disability.  But you can also see us as we really are, look past the luggage we are traveling in, and see what is packed inside.  We are human.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


My dad is OK!  He came home last weekend, after a week in the hospital and a week in a nursing home.  He had hip replacement surgery, and 3 days after the CNA gave him a shower, of which she left him alone while she talked on her phone outside the bathroom.  Consequently, he fell.  But he is OK, aside from some bumps and bruises.  We think he fainted as he literally slid down the wall of the shower.  Unbeknownst to all of us, he was low on blood.  I can't imagine that no one knew this.  He had to spend 2 extra days in the hospital for tests and transfusion.  This hospital was not the best.  The light in the bathroom didn't work.  He did not get his pain meds when he was supposed to.  His call nurse pager didn't work.  His injury back in May was so complicated that the only doctors who treated this type of injury practiced at this hospital, the only place, besides the U of MN, that takes patients without insurance.  The moral of the story, if you don't need to be at HCMC, don't go there!  

But he is home now, Minnie the dog is happy to have her master back, and we are all relieved.  Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes.  There were a lot of cards and gifts. There was lots of help from the men in our lives.  It is all greatly appreciated, and we are so very thankful.  Thank you for being faithful friends, faithful prayer warriors.  Most of all I give the glory to God, for He watched over my dad and brought him home!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Don't Wait

I don't know why I love this song.  I've never seen the movies, neither do I like rap.  But when I heard it I cried.  I knew one of the actors had died from a tragic car accident.  He had a child, a family, lots of friends, a great career, and charities that he supported.  It seemed like he lead a full life and died when he was too young.  Living life large, it became too much.  

I guess I post this as I did on facebook a few days ago, thinking of the people I love, those I have loved and lost, my pets and grandparents.  My own parents, who are getting older.  My college friends that I haven't seen for years, but now have reconnected on facebook.

I guess I am more emotional as I am finishing my period, my dad is having his surgery next week, and my arm and hand have been pain-free for the last few days!  That last event brings tears of joy and relief.

But with my dad and my own injuries, I think it just brought me back to what matters.  That is the people and pets in my life.  They won't always be around.  I hope they know much I love them, how much they made a difference in my life, how much I wouldn't be  here without them.  

So I encourage you to do this too.  Remember the people and pets in your life.  Tell them that you love them.  Tell them how they made a difference in your life.  Tell them you wouldn't be here without them.  Don't wait.

Friday, October 9, 2015


I painted this picture of Chocolate last week at Cheers Pablo.  At first I was so bummed out by it because I thought Chocolate looked more like a raccoon.  But as the days wear on and I see it hanging in my bathroom, it is growing on me and I am able to see Chocolate in it.  He did look like he had eyeliner on in real life.  So I am glad I did it.

I still miss him.  Sometimes when I come home I forget he's not going to be there to greet me at the door.  It'll be a year this Sunday.  Because I have been having such a hard time letting go, I am going to go to the pet support group coming Monday.  I didn't for so long as I already volunteer teaching ESL Monday nights, but I realized I needed to do this for me.

I also joined a Bible study group at my church, and am loving it!  So glad to be back among fellow Bible bangers (ha-ha).  But really it is about experiencing the love of God through His people.  Which is what I sorely need right now.

As usual, I have been hard on myself.  I expect the best and when I can't deliver, for whatever reason, I feel like such a failure, or a loser.  Last week I got a cortisone shot in my elbow, as my arm and hand are still sore after 5 months, and PT didn't help.  The shot didn't help either.  In fact, I couldn't sleep and my anxiety went through the roof.  I dropped one of my ASD/ESL classes that I was taking online because I was freaking out.

But now that the side effects have worn off, I am glad I dropped it.  I got my money back, and it won't go on my record.  In taking the two classes I wouldn't have had time for anything else.  And the pain was killing me.  The pain is worst when I am typing.  So I dropped it and decided to take care of myself.

In  about 10 days my dad will have his hip replacement surgery.  He is in a lot of pain and needs to just get it done.  I hate to see my parents grow old.  I worry about them.  I know they worry about me.
It never seems to end, does it?  But I guess that's what love is, worrying about the people you love.  I know some people think it's bad to worry, but some of us just can't seem to help it.  I come from a long line of worriers!

My setback actually was a blessing in disguise.  I think God was trying to get my attention, and it seems to have to take a major upheaval, not a soft whisper, for me.  I was mad at God for a while. I think all that happened this summer, with my dad and me and our injuries, I was mad, stupidly.  But when I got that cortisone shot, it seemed to have jolted me out of my funk.  I just gave up fighting.  I seem to fight God a lot, like Jacob.  But eventually, so far, I stop and life goes on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Parents

A few weeks ago was my parents' 55th anniversary.  It was more poignant this summer as my dad had fallen and crushed his pelvis, and my mom had to help him at the nursing home, caring for him and yelling at the incompetent employees.  Now my dad is home but still using a walker and in pain.  He will have hip replacement surgery next month, and my mom will have to care for him again and yell at incompetence run amok.  Even so, when the anniversary came near, my dad always remembers, so he asked me to get her a card and flowers, specifying what kind. This is what he gets for her every year: a beautiful bought of a dozen red roses, and the biggest, fanciest card he can find at Hallmark.

Theirs is a marriage that started out tumultuously.  They were young and didn't have a home of their own.  They lived with his parents until dad came to the cities to get a better job.  After that, he sent for my mom, who came on the bus, and then they went to live with his aunt.  My mom learned how to drive and they worked hard until they had enough to buy a trailer house.  

From there, they kept working hard until my dad decided my mom should stay home with the baby (my sister), after when she came home and saw the sitter feeding her with cold Spaghettios from a can. I can just see the horror in my parent's faces.  My dad determined to provide for the family and so he did, while my mom did the paperwork for the business that he co-owned.

My dad got my mom's teeth fixed, my mom helped him improve his limited reading skills.  They were in it for the long haul, even though my mom didn't know how to cook at first.  One time when my dad was sick she had to drive him to the hospital, even though she didn't know how.   At another time my dad shattered his neck and was in the hospital, and my mom cared for him and yelled at the staff.

My dad taught my mom to speak up, she was so shy at first.  Now she has no problem!  She can mix it up with the toughest New Yorker!  They enjoy watching PBS, playing cards, and just being in each other's company.  Nothing could ever tear them apart.  But in each trial, they put their hands to the plow and determined that they were going to get through it.  And they did.

My dad likes to talk about how he first saw my mom as a teen, playing baseball with the neighborhood kids.  He said to his friends that was the woman he was going to marry, even though they had never met.  My mom was a tough nut to crack, as she had 5 brothers that were enough trouble.  But he persisted, and she gave in.  

I am amazed by their marriage, especially after this summer.  You don't see too many marriages like theirs.  Even though they have been married a long time, they still love each other, and are partners that seem to complete each other.  They epitomize the vows that are said in the wedding: for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.  

I never doubted their love.  I was lucky to rest in the knowledge and belief that they would never divorce or give up on each other.  Yes, that is rare these days.  But I am sure glad I have been witness to that.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MN State Fair

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Ever since I was little, my family and I went to the MN State Fair, every year.  We literally got up at the crack of dawn and drove, parking at first beyond Machinery Hill, later by the Coliseum.  And we stayed all day into the night, taking a break in the middle to enjoy a horse show.  Finally, we walked up that hill that seemed to last forever to our car, either beyond the farm machines, or up and over the bridge beyond the animal barns.

I loved the smells, that even I could smell, even the smell of smoke from cigarettes, as it reminded me of good times there.  I even loved the smells emanating from the animal barns, the smell of meat grilling, and the smell of pastries frying.

I loved the heat baking on my body, especially in the crowded areas of Heritage Square or Mexican Village.  And I loved to stumble about the dirt and hay trying to see the baby animals in the baby barn.

I was mesmerized by the machines that made the Tom Thumb donuts, or the weird robotic baker that stretched out the salt water taffy, around and around.  I marveled at all the cool new things one could buy in the Grandstand or Coliseum, usually things that once bought, collected dust in the recesses of my closet.

Summer is my favorite season of the year, partly because of the fair.  But it is bittersweet: it is at the end of summer, just before school starts.  And even though I am no longer in grammar school, I still feel depressed and anxious this time of year, knowing the cold will come again and the sun will no longer warm us.

But to get off my woe mobile and back to the memories, my family’s favorite rides and foods were: the Space Tower, carousel, and double Ferris wheel; and  the turkey leg, Indian fry bread, chocolate shake from the cow barn, and Tom Thumb donuts!  Along with these:

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Funiculi, funicula!
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With milk!
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The one and only!
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I bruised my tailbone!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Summer's Over

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Summer is my favorite time of year.  It is too short, and my days in the pool are too few.  I crave the warmth and the sun, and I love wearing as little as possible.

This summer my dad shattered his pelvis.  I had a car accident.  My sister's dog died.  My arm and hand are sore.  We missed our annual Duluth trip.  We missed our New York trip.  They stopped having Saturday night services at my church.  I did not get into the Transformation Center group at my church.  There is no more Women's Bible study at my church.

Aside from the miraculous rescue from my car accident, it has been a tumultuous summer.  But, I can look at it all and be thankful I am here and not trying to escape Iraq and Syria.  I don't live in an inner city that is roiling with riots.  I don't live in a poverty-stricken area, or a natural disaster-stricken area.  I have family, my own home, and all I need to live independently.  I have the opportunity for a new career.  I have a trip with my mom to look forward to next year to the South of France on a Vikings river cruise.  

So even though there are many changes that I am not happy about, I can be thankful for what I do have, instead of lamenting about what I don't.  

I do want to send a thank you for all the police officers out there who risk their lives everyday for a thankless population.  I want to thank our soldiers for their sacrifice.  And I thank God I am an American.  Even though things are tough sometimes, we are still the greatest nation on God's green earth due to the Constitution, and to our founding fathers who dreamed of a better time and a better place.  We are the recipients of their dreams, and I hope we will never take it for granted, or allow those dreams to be destroyed.  We owe them that.