Friday, November 30, 2018

The promises we make... by Joe DeRozier

As the last pieces of turkey, a mouthful of potatoes and what is believed to be the last remnants of dressing are festering in your fridge until they are mercifully thrown to their final resting place, we start our stressful journey towards Christmas.

Each year we promise ourselves that the next Christmas will be better...

We'll spend more time with family.

We'll pick out the perfect gifts.

We won't let uncle Steve get on our nerves after his fifth glass of eggnog.
We'll go out and appreciate the lights, and the snow. 

We'll make a snowman.

We'll call friends and family to let them know we think about them.

We'll let every worker in every store we do business with, know how appreciated they really are...

Time moves quickly...especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Work, parties, schedules... Soon, we won't have as much time as we had hoped...

We'll end up getting gift certificates for everyone. 

Uncle Steve will get an earful.

We will be too tired to look at lights and it's too cold for building a snowman...besides, didn't the puppy christen that area?

Our friends and family know we love them...besides, they didn't call us, right?

The cashier was busy and wasn't in a good mood, so we said nothing except a nondescript comment about the weather, and left.  Never mind that a kind word of appreciation would have made her day just a little more bearable...

Let's make this year the one that we fulfill our intentions...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Proactive Like a Tree by Joe Scheidler

Welcome back, Joe Scheidler! 

Nov 8, 2018

There is a groundhog in the cover crop today.  We've been seeing him for a few weeks now, generally around the noon, feasting on the newly emerged radish and cereal rye.  I suspect this activity will come to an abrupt end if the weather forecast holds; snow tomorrow, followed by unseasonable cold.  Today the hog is working beyond his usual hours, laying on fat in preparation for the long winter’s sleep.  He apparently knows the forecast as well.

The groundhog is being proactive: acting before a situation becomes a crisis.  It
is responding to an anticipated event, which is winter, by ensuring it has laid on enough energy reserves to carry it until spring. If he were reactive, eating only what was necessary when the mood hit, he would one day soon find himself out of food and short of fat.

Evidence of proactive behavior is rampant in nature: squirrels and birds caching nuts and seed, waterfowl winging southward, insects laying overwintering eggs, frogs and turtles settling into the marsh muck.  During this autumn season even plants respond proactively by shedding leaves and building winter stores.

If a tree does it, then being proactive apparently requires little critical thinking. In nature, it is the result of eons of adapting and evolving, reacting to cues that are life changing or threatening.  It is the product of a lengthy process that bears impressive results.  That's not to say the process has gone uninterrupted. Dramatic, sometimes planet-wide disturbances have occurred over geologic time. Existing proactive measures were sometimes inadequate and entire species, even taxonomic families, were lost, and the slow, lengthy process of filling vacated niches with new life forms would begin anew.

A planetary disturbance is happening again and this time man, that singular species most competent in critical thought and most capable of proactive behavior, is responsible.  Our systematic destruction of earth’s balanced atmosphere has earned us a new title in the epochs of geologic time: the Anthropocene, and this new era has seen the launching of the earth’s sixth mass extinction.  A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund says globally, we’ve lost half of our wild animals in the past 40 years.  Freshwater ecosystems have declined by 75 percent during the same period.  The study looked at only vertebrate populations, but separate published research showed insects declining 45 percent in the past 35 years worldwide, and up to 75 percent in German nature preserves.

Contrary to the perceived abundance we may hear and see daily-- the bird songs, the flowers, the chorus of night insects-- facts are facts.  The studies are not fictitious, no more than running out of gas on the highway is fictitious, and neither is remedied if we ignore them.  As one reviewer stated, “It’s okay to freak out now”.  Yet, by all apparent indicators, we are continuing with business as usual, wielding our dominion over the planet, worried little of food insecurity, mass starvation, unprecedented displacement of people from climate induced disasters. Instead we look forward to the next new iPhone and support fossil fuel consumption at every turn.

We have a one way relationship with this planet.  Earth doesn't need us, we need it.  At our disposal is the technology and wherewithal to influence the end game, to heal the scars, to leave future generations a home.  It demands an immediate, all-in, proactive approach to sustainable energy and lifestyles. We are capable, we can save ourselves, and we owe it to the planet that has given us everything. 

And that groundhog, the birds, the insects? This is beyond their proactive capabilities. Their future is on us, too.

A groundhog lays on the fat
For a long winter’s nap
The birds southward wing
To await the coming of spring
Proactively they choose their course
While man, with his critical thinking,
Burns carbon without blinking,
With nary a hint of remorse.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Days 19-25

Not keeping up very well here. I hope you're seeing these on Facebook and that your Thanksgiving Day (and all your gratitudes) were wonderful.

Day 19 of 30. I wrote this once, but it disappeared, which leads me to think maybe it wasn't very good to start with... Today, I'm thankful for journeys.
For trips, because I've seen such wonderful things and beautiful places and met such great people.
For the mom journey, the marriage journey, the nana journey, the friends journey, the author journey, because they are the best ones, the most exciting, the most fun, the ones I hope never, ever end.
For the learning journey because, even if you're old enough you can almost see your brain cells disappearing, you can still learn new things every day and enjoy that particular ride forever.
Day 21, I'm thankful for people who share the things they know--even with strangers in hotel dining rooms, for pumpkin spice creamer, and for people who tell the truth even when it's not comfortable to do so.
Day 22 a few hours early. My greatest gratitude all in one place except three. Miss you, Mari, Charley, and Shea.
Day 23, I’m grateful for mountain sunsets, daughters and granddaughters, and things that sparkle when you need a little shine in your life.
Day 24 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I’m thankful for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and being reminded that it truly is.
Day 25 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I'm thankful for home. Which needs no explanation whatever.

I just noticed that I missed Day 20. Other than the fact that we were on the road to our own family celebration in North Carolina, I'm not sure how that happened. I kind of like this--it gives me an extra day to be thankful whenever I feel like it. :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Turkey, joy, and a small glass of beer

Yikes, it snuck up on me. I have a repeat here from this week's Peru Indiana Today. We're having family celebrations this week and hope you are, too. 

Quite honestly, I'm not sure when I wrote this, so if you've read it too recently to like reading it again, my apologies. The greatest gifts...the greatest reasons for Thanksgiving...are the people in our lives, and I'm so grateful for Aunt Nellie. She gave more richness to my life than I can ever explain.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust
Aunt Nellie was my great-aunt. She was born in 1892, loved and married two men, and never had any children. She was the other side of the coin from my grandmother, who’d undoubtedly been the Good Daughter, and even though I loved them both, I worshiped the ground Aunt Nellie walked on.
My mother’s side of the family were all teetotalers, but when my brother-in-law asked Aunt Nellie if she’d like a beer, she said, Yes, she wouldn’t mind a small glass. I don’t know that she ever drank beer again, but she did indeed enjoy every drop of that “small glass.” Where Aunt Nellie was, there was always laughter.
We used to go to her house for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure how many of us were there. It seemed like dozens at the time, but the number was probably closer to 25. She lived in a pretty little Cape Cod house on a pretty little street in Goshen, Indiana, and she had...oh, even in memory, it thrills me...she had a step stool you could sit on and the steps pushed out Windo over the Sink Logoin front! She also had a finished basement with its own kitchen! In the living room part of the basement, there was a cabinet Victrola with a stack of records. They were tinny and scratchy and it was hard to get them going the right speed with the crank, but there was such safety lying on the rug listening to Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore.
Even though I grew up on a small farm, the only time we ever had turkey was on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in it every year. I loved eating whatever I wanted and never having to touch the red stuff that slid out of the Ocean Spray can. The dessert table was impressive, to say the least, and it was pretty much stripped by the end of the day. Even then, leftovers went home with each family, and the feeling of fullness and warmth would go on with turkey and noodles the next day.
I imagine being poor was a key player in my satisfaction with Thanksgiving, but that’s really neither here nor there. What matters are the memories and the lessons Aunt Nellie left behind. She was somewhere in her 80s when she died. She’d been packing for a trip to Grand Rapids with friends when she passed away. Grief created a hard, empty place in my chest at the loss, and I just knew I’d never get over it. However, at the funeral the officiating pastor mentioned her preparing for her trip and said she’d been just as ready to go to heaven as she’d been to go to Grand Rapids. My grandmother, who’d loved her younger sister even more than we did, said she thought if she’d had her choice, Aunt Nellie would rather have gone to Grand Rapids. Laughter softened the grief and added one more rung to the memory ladder.
Aunt Nellie was one of the first people I thought of when I became a Harlequin Heartwarming author. She’d have loved the line’s premise, its joy and sense of family and its humor. She'd have also told everyone at the beauty shop all about her niece, the author. Knowing that reminds me again of how lucky I was to have her.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you have that small glass of beer, be sure to enjoy every drop.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Days 13 - 18

Day 13 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I'm thankful for blogs. I love writing them and I love reading them. Even when I didn't have a place for my column, Window Over the Sink--thank you, Peru Indiana Today, I wrote it in blogs. Review bloggers are a tremendous help to authors. Special interest blogs on virtually anything keep people in a loop they might not be able to reach otherwise. (They also help with research, not that it's all about me or anything.) Some are funny, some heartrending, some impart knowledge both relevant and easy to understand. There are political blogs, religious ones, and ones that will make you mad enough you won't go back there ever again.
If you have a favorite blog or blogs, please feel free to leave a link to them in the comments. Their writers will appreciate it and so will I.

Day 14 of 30 Days. Borrowing--okay, ripping out--a page from my friend Amy Vastine's book today, I'm grateful for Google. While I may miss the sturdy dependability of paper and ink encyclopedias, I love the instant gratification and choices offered by Google.
It is particularly helpful in checking the veracity of virtually every political comment or meme or missing person on Facebook, but sometimes it's just fun. (Smiley Burnette played Gene Autry's sidekick, Frog, in case you were wondering... I thought it was Pat Buttram. Duane wins again.)

Day 15 of 30 Days... I'm grateful for the arts and for chances to learn about and participate in them. Talented artists in local galleries offer lessons in addition to displaying and selling their work. The library has free programs on numerous crafts. There are writers' groups, musical Round Robins and open mic sessions nearby. Community theater at Ole Olsen, Logansport's Civic Players, and Tipton and Wabash theater groups, to name a few, are always looking for members.
I hear (and have probably said) that "there's nothing to do here." Yes, there is--you just have to go out and do it.

Day 16, continued from Day 15... I'm grateful that there are always opportunities to learn things and that it's perfectly okay not to be good at them. That it's not necessary to always be the best as long as you're having a good time and not hurting anybody. That music and art and writing come more from the heart than the hands.
That being said, I'm grateful to the artists, musicians, and writers who share their skills and the things they see and feel with the rest of us.

Day 17 of 30. All about me today... I'm grateful for windows. The one by my desk where I watch the deer, the activities visible when you live on an oasis in the middle of farmland, glorious sunsets, and the changes of the seasons. The Windows OS on the computer which was and continues to be one of the great Mysteries of Life, but added immeasurable joy to the writing process.
And the Window Over the Sink, which I started writing in the late 80s for the Peru Tribune and have written off and on ever since. It's where you've learned more about me than you ever wanted to know, and where (hopefully), I've said what you thought, made you laugh--or cry. It's done more for me than I'm sure a therapist would. My thanks to the people who have read it and still do--you are the best therapy of all.

Day 18 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I am grateful for conversations. Ones that inform, that make you laugh, that give you certainty and/or confidence. Ones that assure you that no, it's not just you. Ones that start with "do you remember" and end with feeling as if you got to visit the time and place you were talking about. Ones that clear the air so that you can go on either together or separately. Ones particularly that end with "Love you" and "Love you, too."

Friday, November 16, 2018

MUSTERING IN... by Joe DeRozier

It's late for Veterans Day, but here's a post from my favorite baker, Joe DeRozier, about the way it's been for a lot of new recruits in a lot of lonely places.

I was sitting in my living room, just waiting.
Mom was busy doing things around the house that didn't really have to be done, while my sister calmly sat on the couch. Dad had to work. He asked if I wanted him to stay to see me off, but I knew he hated to miss work. He WOULD have had I asked, but I'm not sure if I could have handled saying goodbye to him.
Mom had cut my hair a day earlier. It was long and I didn't want to draw attention to myself in basic training. I kept grabbing the back of my neck because it felt strange not to have hair back there.
We didn't speak, really. I was waiting for my recruiter to pull up to take me to the bus station in Green Bay.
I pulled my things together and said my goodbyes to everyone, being careful not to look my sister in the eyes.
My recruiter and I spoke in the car during that hour long drive. I asked questions that were vaguely answered. He honestly didn't know the answers, but gave me enough for pacification.
We got to the bus stop. I had never been on a bus. He handed me my ticket, and told me that I was the last stop.
It takes about two hours from Green Bay to Milwaukee, but by bus it was about four. Four hours to sit and think...
I had just graduated high school and had no idea what I wanted to do. College was out of the question and I wasn't sure about the local factories. The military seemed to be a good idea. I got the job I wanted, travel, and decent pay...but now I was scared....and alone.
No cell phones to text my friends. No one to tell me it was okay and I'd be fine....just yesterday's Green Bay Press Gazette....
On the bus I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes of people watching. These were not the same people I grew up with; no one wanted to sit by me and talk. I would have liked that...anything to stop thinking....
It seemed we stopped a thousand times. Towns I had never visited. Some got on, some got off.
A young guy, maybe a few years older than I, had a boombox. He was very respectful and played it softly. Music was changing, I noticed. Hard rock was getting softer, more keyboards, psychedelic.
We got to Milwaukee. He'd told me, last stop, I remembered. It was getting dark. I was the last one on the bus. The driver pulled into the bus terminal and shut down for the night. Dang it...I jump out and have to ask directions to the Howard Johnson Hotel. It isn't far...
I got inside and checked in. I had never been to a hotel. They give me directions to my room. I got up there, laid my things out, and sat. I didn't know what I was supposed to do.
Suddenly the phone rang. It was someone with MEPS. They'd do a wake-up call at four am. Be in the lobby by five. No problem since I won't sleep a wink. Okay. I knew what was next, just nothing after.....
I stared out the window at Milwaukee. I liked the lights.... I ventured outside. I didn't know where I was going or what to even look for. I stayed close to the hotel. I went back. I tried to find someone in the lobby in the same situation that I was in. No one... I went back to the room and turned on the three-channel TV... I wonder if Dad is out of work yet.... is he thinking about me?
I lay on top of the bed and tried to sleep. I'm not sure if I ever got that wake-up call at four, because I was downstairs by that time.
The lobby slowly filled up.
Where were all these people last night?
I talked to a few of them. No one was very festive. Maybe the time, maybe the environment...maybe my breath...
We were herded into giant classrooms...we had a ton of paperwork that we mindlessly signed and dated. No one knew what we were signing and no one questioned it.
My belongings were always on my lap... I was afraid to let them out of my sight. A small connection to home, I guess.
It still felt weird on my neck...
We were set up in groups of 12, more or less. We were taken from one room to another. We were physically tested on everything from eyesight to hearing to reflexes to walking around like a duck in our underwear. A full room of young men, in their undies, walking like ducks. The humor didn't escape me but it didn't seem appropriate to bring to their attention how funny it looked.
I don't know if it was the same group I had been in or not, but we were separated again and given plane tickets to St. Louis.
One young man was put in charge, Phil Arndt (my spelling is probably incorrect). He was the first guy to really talk to me. He corralled us and got us into the plane. He sat next to me.
Phil was my first friend in the army..... great guy. I hope he's doing well...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A THOUSAND CUTS by Joe Scheidler

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to welcome Joe Scheidler to the Window. He read this essay aloud at a Writers' gathering at Black Dog Coffee House the other night and I begged (with dignity, of course) him to visit us here. 

Joe is a native Hoosier with an advanced degree in ecology. He worked for IDNR as a wildlife biologist and owned and operated Springcreek Landscaping for 25 years. The solar advocate practices sustainable living with Lee, his wife of 40+ years. They live near Logansport, Indiana. 

Oct 8, 2018

This morning broke foggy, dripping wet and unseasonably mild. I let the dog out and stood barefoot in the yard, the October soil warm on my feet. Fall flocking blackbirds hung in the cattails at the marsh edge, filling the morning with a raucous symphony. The colors of autumn brightened leaves in the dim light of dawn, and a delightful dank fragrance of an ebbing season’s growth hung in the air.

In that moment, there seemed such hope and promise, a temptation to think things weren't as bad as scientists say. How could we have crashing bird and insect populations, rampant deforestation, melting glaciers, impending ecological disaster?  It's too easy to deny. And therein, perhaps, is the root of the problem.

We, as people, are in a tight spot. Surrounded by the technology and information to save ourselves, we are drifting passively towards certain doom. With a wartime effort we might avoid the worst case scenario, but the probability of acting soon enough appears hugely unlikely.

This old sphere is like a billion year old freight train, chugging along, carried by momentum, optimizing the perfect conditions for life and harboring a resistance to change. But our activities are leading to death by a thousand cuts.  The cutting continues while we experience the pristine, take long drives through endless forests, tally dozens of bird species in a day of watching, find solitude in wild places and breathe air sweetened by all things raw and untainted. The cutting continues as we go about our busy days, engulfed by our efforts to make ends meet, to maintain or improve our level of comfort, to earn and enjoy our leisure, to embrace the status quo.

Recently I learned our current administration quietly acknowledged a projected 7 degree F (3.88C) rise in global temperature before the end of the century.  It wasn't an admission of man-caused climate change, but rather that the planet’s fate is sealed.  It was a justification to freeze fuel efficiency standards because increasing gas mileage in vehicles would play no significant role in reducing global temperatures.  It was a nod to stay the course.

Then today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a warning that we have only a dozen years to limit total warming by 1.5 degrees C. Another half degree more (i.e. 2 degrees) and dramatic, perhaps irreversible changes to life on earth are assured. According to the report, “It's a line in the sand and what it says to our species is this is the moment we must act”.  The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is the difference in having hundreds of millions of people exposed to water stress and food scarcity. It means more forest fires, fouled air and heat related deaths. It means massive migrations of people from the world’s shorelines.

But the biggest change, according to the report, would be to nature itself. Pollinating insects would be twice as likely to lose habitat. Ninety-nine percent of coral reefs would die and marine fisheries would decline at twice the rate. Ice free Arctic summers would occur every 10 years at 2C vs every 100 years at 1.5C.

The report goes on to offer specific reductions in carbon pollution and indicates how goals could be met using current technologies.  Former NASA scientist James Hansen, responding to the IPCC, said even 1.5C is well above the Holocene era temperatures in which human civilization developed, but that number gives young people a fighting chance of getting back to the Holocene or close to it.

Meanwhile, we're on a solid course for a multi-degree rise, leaving 2C in our dust.

Tonight I heard coyotes singing. Instead of the typical yipping chaos, they engaged in long mournful howls. Maybe they know something, but more likely they, as so many species wild, are being led innocently to a senseless and needlessly cruel future, if not total extinction.

Coyotes didn't occupy our fair state when I was a lad. I can say the same for white-tailed deer, bald eagles, river otters,  peregrine falcons and wild turkeys. All are the result of applied wildlife science, a hugely successful reintroduction program, and a witness to wild habitats still capable of supporting species long absent. At this moment, just outside my doorstep, the night air is sweet, an ancient bird migration is underway, the songs of insects are reaching a crescendo, and the garden’s newly sprouted cover crop is lush and green.

And while the old sphere spins, a few billion years of refined perfection is being cut to shreds.

The old sphere spins
While time moves on,
We suck our resources dry
And think we do nothing wrong. 

The sun still rises,
The flowers still bloom,
And we're content and nourished
As babes in the womb. 

Our mother is ill
But we acknowledge it not;
We forge headlong in a race
To lose all that we sought.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

Days Eleven and Twelve

On Day 11 of 30 Days of gratitude, still thankful for these guys and for all who serve. Happy Veterans Day. (This was a memory day)

 Day 12 of 30 days of gratitude. I'm grateful for fuzzy socks, coffee, and quiet places.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The poppies still grow

From last year, and pieces and parts from years before. I'm not sure when I wrote this, but I've added and subtracted several times over the years since. It would be easy to make this a political post, but this is neither the time nor--right now, today--the place. I've changed my mind on many things over the years, and my own patriotism has taken a hard hit, but the things here--they're the same. Thank you again, veterans.

A few years back, the fifth graders at my grandson’s school performed their annual Veterans Day salute. They sang and shook hands with veterans in the audience. There was a long slide show of pictures of mothers and fathers and grandfathers and other relatives who had served in the armed forces. I thought my eyes would never get dry. After watching the program, I tried to put into words how I feel, how proud and grateful I am that so many have served so long and so well.

Except I didn’t have any new words, though my eyes are leaking again as I write this introduction to a tribute I still feel.

John Thomas and Amos Ash were residents of Miami County, Indiana. They fought with the 20th Regiment of Indiana. They died at Gettysburg in 1863.

Uncle Mart was ten years older than Aunt Ethel. They were married forever, but they never had any children. That always seemed odd to me, but it really wasn’t. They adored each other and never needed anyone else; they were a complete family unit unto themselves. He was bald and funny and liked to fish. He served in the first World War. The Big One, some people said.

I don’t remember what his name was, but he and his parents were visiting my family when something happened and they had to return to their South Bend home at once because he had to catch the next train back to his duty station. The day was December 7, 1941, long before I was born, but I still remember the empty look on Mom’s face when she told the story.

Thadd was a baker in the navy during that war, the second of the World Wars. The one
more people called The Big One. A couple of years after he came home, Thadd and Mary got married and they had five kids.

His name was Wayne. I was at his going-away party before he left for Vietnam. He was young and smart and eager to serve his country. There was a girl at the party who looked at him with soft eyes. We laughed a lot, had a good time, and wished him luck when we left. We were used to it, I suppose, to saying goodbye and hoping for the chance to say hello when they came back home, so we didn’t give it that much thought.

Wayne, though, and Mike Waymire and John Miller, to name but a few, came home in flag-draped coffins. We watched the news, read the papers, wept. We remembered smooth-faced, laughing boys and mourned with the wives and girlfriends and mothers who would never feel the same again, with fathers silent and stoic in their grief. We acknowledged empty places and heard remembered laughter and voices echo through them.

I married the second of Thadd and Mary’s kids after he came home from Vietnam. Like the Korean Conflict, no one ever called it The Big War, but to the ones who served there, and the ones who waited at home, they were big enough. Long enough. Sad enough.

When Desert Storm happened our son Chris was stateside, wearing the army uniform his father had.

We watched and waited and feared and prayed. It was the same with Iraq. With Afghanistan. With all the other wars and conflicts and skirmishes where Americans have served.

My grandson Skyler is 18, a senior in high school. He spent the summer in basic training. He's our handsome, sweet boy and even though he wears a uniform well, it makes my heart clutch seeing him in it. He has walked and talked and breathed military since he was eight years old so I shouldn't have been surprised when he was ready to enlist, but I wasn't ready for it. He wants to serve and I want to make him cookies--I suppose it is the same with all young military men and their grandmothers.

In October of 2010, the city of Logansport, Indiana welcomed Sgt. Kenneth K. McAnich home. The hearse drove slow and solemn through streets lined with flags and people, the Patriot Guard riding protective escort against those who might not be respectful. It’s symbolic, this ceremonial farewell we offer our fallen warriors. I’m sure it does little to fill the echoing empty places created by their deaths. But it’s all we can do.

My husband remembers how people looked at him in airports when he came home from Vietnam. How they sneered and then looked away. I saw the same thing in Indianapolis, when among the celebratory crowds coming home at Christmastime walked a lone soldier, carrying his duffel bag and staring straight ahead. Over forty years later, those who served in Vietnam know it wasn’t them people hated; it was the war. But they still remember.

We all hate war. All of us. Thank goodness we’ve learned how to welcome home those who fight in them. We’ve learned to applaud them in airports and on planes, to buy their lunch once in a while if they’re behind us at the cashier’s station, to say thank you and mean it. 

That’s why November 11 is Veterans Day. It is not a day of celebration, although rejoicing in freedom is probably never wrong. It is instead a day of remembrance and honor to the men and women who have for nearly 240 years and who continue to serve in the preservation of that freedom. Thank you to all of you. God bless you. God bless America.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Days Nine and Ten

Day 9 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I am grateful for civil discourse. It's harder to find these days--to pretend we're not a country divided would be disingenuous--but I still have hope if we can be civil to each other, if we can not call names or tell lies or purposefully hurt each other, we can come out on the other side.

Day 10 of 30 Days of Gratitude. As is kind of annoyingly obvious, I'm a quotes junkie. In the top three of my favorites is this one from A. A. Milne.
“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
I think I've used this before on gratitude days, although I'm not sure. Whether I have or not, I'm grateful for today. For another chance to get it right, to be kind to someone, and to laugh really hard.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Days Seven and Eight

Day 7 in 30 Days of Gratitude. I'm grateful to those who try to Do the Right Thing and when it doesn't work out for them, they try again.

Day Eight of 30. Today I'm grateful for editors. For ones who edit my books and my column, for ones who are also friends who clarify my blog posts--hey, Nan Reinhardt--and for other friends who have to make sense of my talk-to-texting, which makes my conversation even more inane than it might be otherwise. Any goodness I may have achieved as a writer is because of the goodness they've pulled from between the lines.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

She is not amazed... @Debby Myers

Every six months as part of my MS treatment, I have an infusion of Ocrevus. It’s the newest drug to treat Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. As new as it is, scientists and doctors will tell you that you need it. They say it can stop the progression of the disease and limit attacks. The only way to measure the drug’s success is through MRI’s to look at your lesions to see if there is any activity or any newones. Also done every six months, my MRI showed nothing had changed.

I am stable, and when I hear that I am amazed―I mean in the true definition. Which brings me to something I’d like to share with you today.

The nurse who administered my infusion was really a pleasant person.
She asked me a number of times if I was feeling ok or if I needed
anything. When it was over she said to me, “You did amazing!”
The dictionary meaning of amazing is to affect with great wonder &
astonishment. So, did I really do amazing? Was she really amazed? I’m
not sure. I don’t think my infusion affected the nurse with great wonder
or astonishment. It was a strange pick – you know, of all the words to
choose from. Why didn’t she say, “You tolerated this well?” That’s really
what I did. Or “You didn’t complain” which means to express feelings of pain or
dissatisfaction. Let’s face it—we don’t use our own English language in
the right way.

But back to the word amazing. It has become increasingly
popular. When you hear politicians speak, they tell you they have
amazing ideas. When an actor or singer accepts an award, they say they
feel amazing. When you hear someone describe something beautiful,
they will say it looks amazing. Do these things really affect us with
wonder and astonishment? If so, the politician’s amazing ideas translate
to “they have great wonder?” Is he wondering if they’ll work? Maybe,
but wouldn’t it be better for the politician to actually describe the ideas
as they are rather than amazing? Then there’s the actress that accepts
the award―is she astonished that she won? Like she wasn’t expecting
to, she wondered? I just think the actress would have been more suited
to say it was mind-blowing―meaning intensely affecting the mind and
emotions. Or when expressing feelings, use of the words emotion and
affect would be more in tune. And lastly, if it’s beautiful, it must be
amazing, right? Why can’t beautiful things remain beautiful, not
necessarily amazing.

I’m to the point where I just hate to hear anyone use it. Everything is
not always amazing. As a matter of fact, the use of the word for me
means I have truly experienced something that astonished me―filled
me with wonder, as the definition says. I just don’t like that amazing has
become overused. Maybe if it wasn’t, I would feel differently. The word
just seems to have lost its luster and its impact.

I challenge each of you to keep a log for day, marking down how many
times someone says the word. I did it one day before I sat down to
write this…you know, because I don’t have much to do these days.

Since I was going to my grandson’s birthday party, it was a great time
for my observations. I’d say there were 30 people there. I didn’t do a
great job of counting how many times I heard the expression once I got to 20, but it was in excess of that and the party only lasted two hours.

So, when I hear people say, “it’s amazing, even though it doesn’t
usually apply, I just say, “Yes, it’s amazing.”

Monday, November 5, 2018

Day Five of Gratitude

Day Five--4th year in a row.
"While I don't talk a lot on FB about either my religion or my politics (you're welcome), I'm thankful for my freedom to practice both in the way I see fit. I flinch on almost a daily basis at the names being bandied back and forth between differing factions--I will never understand taking pleasure in being hurtful--but am glad to live where you won't get arrested for disagreeing."
I have to add to that this year, though, by saying I don't think disagreement makes it okay to lie about someone--I don't care who it is. I know that when I was a little kid, I had only a glancing acquaintance with telling the truth. I am grateful to know better now.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Days 3 and 4...

Day 3 of Gratitude. I’m grateful for sleeping well, early morning everything, and never having to set an alarm.

Day 4 of 30 Days of Gratitude. I'm thankful for relationships, especially, admittedly, for the good ones that last and enrich and bring joy to your life. But also for ones that end or where you get hurt or that are as bumpy as an Indiana gravel road, because relationships are where the love is. The learning. The growth. The laughter when you need it the most.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day Two of 30 Days of Gratitude

Day Two of 30 Days of Gratitude. Last night I got an email from one of our grandsons, asking for my "skills as an author" in proofreading a paper for him. He signed the email, as he always does, "Your favorite grandchild, Skyler Wilson." Today I am so grateful to have our Magnificent Seven favorite grandchildren.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude - Day One

Day One of 30 Days of Gratitude. Today I am grateful for people who deliver things. Buzz, the mailman. The UPS man who offered to carry my new printer inside. The FFA girl from down the road who will bring our box of Clementines soon. Although we don't use their services, I'm grateful for people who deliver Meals on Wheels, who pick up and deliver others to appointments when for whatever reason they can't get themselves there. For medical personnel who deliver babies, the most precious things of all. For people who deliver both good news and bad with empathy and honesty. For the friends on Facebook and in person who deliver cheerful good mornings whether they're feeling cheerful or not.