Better Than an Antidepressant!

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Better Than an Antidepressant!

There are two things which can brighten my mood, no matter how dark; children and music.   Since no children live at my house it is a blessing beyond words to have the vast access to good music. We do like our music. We have almost as many music CD’s  as we have books. If you have been to our house you will understand what an amazing feat that is.   One friend walked into our house for the first time and said, “do you think you have enough music?”   Well!   Of course, with the ability now to listen to great radio stations on the internet we don’t use all of those CD’s very much. But we still have them.   I have found through the years that I can walk into a building in the darkest, deepest, emotional turmoil with no ability to smile and when I walk into a room of children the dark is gone. The sun shines again. For those moments when I am with the children I am happy again! It’s better than taking anti-depressants that’s for sure!   Likewise, the power of music is uncanny. I really only discovered this the past few years. Maybe that’s because my favorite “anti-depressants” were all in South Dakota, but the value of beautiful music became key in my life. I can put in a CD of Vivaldi and within minutes I can feel my spirit rising.   If there is no good music on the radio and I have no CD or other source all I have to do is sing. I remember one trip when for unknown reasons I was just a sad, pitiful, weeping mass. Bruce had tried humor. He had tried comfort. Finally I said, “let’s sing.”   So, we started singing hymns. Hymns like What a Friend We Have In Jesus, God Will Take Care of You, All the Way My Savior Leads Me, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, and Amazing Grace. I cried through the first verse of the first song, then the dark cloud lifted. As we sang those amazing old hymns my spirit was comforted. The smile returned.   So, now  if I get blue I turn on some good music. Sometimes Bruce turns it on for me! He’s a smart...

read more

The Power of A Story

Posted by on Mar 11, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Power of A Story

The topic came up this morning while we were getting ready for church. Somehow, in our “this-and-that” conversation a much-repeated phrase popped out.  “There will be no smilin’ on this bus.”  We both laughed at a reference to a remembered funny statement made by Bruce’s niece some 25 plus years ago. “Sarah will never live that one down,” Bruce said. I laughed and commented that I didn’t think she really minded. It is a sweet story that her Daddy and Uncles like to tell. It shows the adoration they all had. . . I mean, HAVE for the little girl become young woman. What’s not to like about that.  As I pondered the value of this story in the Bradley family one of my own popped into my head and I shared it with Bruce. I remember my Grandma Jones telling this story several times. She had a dry, quiet wit. She didn’t talk a great deal. When she told a story, you listened. She recounted that when I was three or four and we came to visit the ranch I was standing outside the hog pen. I watched. I listened. Then I proceeded to say with some disdain, “Pigs don’t say oink.” When Grandma told the story she would always laugh. I remember the glow and the feeling of love and security that always came with the telling. It’s just a simple story. I’ve heard funnier ones. But, the thing that was so breathtakingly remarkable to me was the fact that my Grandma, who had 23 grandchildren remembered that story and liked it enough to tell me and everyone around me. She delighted in a memory of me. She thought I was funny. She loved me for me! As I stood at the mirror this morning doing my hair I realized something. That was a powerful gift for her to give me. The gift of validation. The gift of love. The gift of a cute story! This is a gift I can give to my nieces and nephews and all of those children with whom I come in contact. I can build them up not by approving the things they do, but by approving the person God made them to be, quirky personalities and all. And this folks, is one of the reasons I tell...

read more

Something to Blog About

Posted by on Mar 3, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

“I can blog about this,” I told my husband as the Physician’s Assistant stitched up my thumb.   I’ve had a bit of a dry spell trying to think of things to blog about. Oh I get ideas, but before I get the time to write them they are gone, outdated, or just not as interesting as they seemed at the moment. So, I’ve felt restless, unable to settle, irritable—you know that feeling when you know you are putting off something you should do. I just couldn’t settle to focus and write.   Today instead of writing a blog I was slicing potatoes for drying. You can see where this is going. I enthusiastically gathered my equipment, set up the water with the teaspoon of citric acid to soak them in and washed the potatoes. Then I  started slicing. I couldn’t feel the potato go through the slicer so I lifted it up and looked. Yep. It was slicing.   Wow, I thought! This is a great slicer. The next thing I knew I had sliced the outer side of my thumb and nail. I almost cut the chunk clean off. I knew as soon as I saw it that we were headed to the doctor.   So, now I am forced to stop the potato production. Thankfully, Bruce finished the batch and is now making the best potato chips I’ve ever eaten.    I won’t be able to wash dishes or do any cleaning and I suspect that once the lidocaine wears off my thumb will be throbbing.   It turns out, though I can type just fine with my right thumb bandaged! Guess I’ll be blogging more after...

read more

A Gift Delivered in God’s Perfect Time

Posted by on Jan 28, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 4 comments

This morning I was cleaning out my email folders and I came across an email to my sister with a scan attached. I caught my breath. When we were at my parents’ in December I found a treasure. I was downstairs and I saw a bible sitting on top of the piano. I picked it up and opened it. It was my Mommy’s bible. I stood there, unmoving while I leafed through it. I found places she had underlined—she loved some of the same passages I do—and notes she had written in the margin. After several minutes I came to the back fly leaf and that’s where I found the real treasure. There tucked between the back page and the cover was a little card. You could see it had been taped on that page but the tape had come loose long ago and now it was just tucked in place. The card is faded. There are yellowed tape spots at the top and bottom. But it is one of the most beautiful pieces of paper I have ever seen. Here it is:   I cried then, and I cried again this morning. The fact that I had a mother who not only gave me life but desired to do anything she could to insure that I would have “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ and His will for (my) life” just overwhelms me. I am so blessed. The truth is, I had two mothers who prayed that for me. How can I be so double-blessed when so many don’t get one Mom like that? Amazing! This month—as in every January—I’ve done a lot of thinking about my mother. She was born and died in January so it has kind of become “Mommy month” in my life. There are times I wish I could just have one day with her now that I am an adult. I would love to see what she was like from an adult perspective. Oh, I know that isn’t how it works and it probably would be too hard to let go after that day, but I still wonder. Just think . . . when we get to heaven we won’t have to deal with that anymore. We will be with those who have gone ahead and I don’t believe for a minute that we’ll miss those left behind. How awesome will that be. . . to just glory in the joy of the moment with no regrets and no unfulfilled desires? But, the gift of today is that God gave me this awesome reminder. I believe that on November 19th, 1962 the Sovereign God wasn’t just working in a mother’s heart so that she would pray for her little girls. I believe God was preparing a card so that 48 years later that little six-month old girl could experience some Mommy-love. Thank you,...

read more

Of Nurses and Politics. . .

Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

I started my new job last week and I have two more days of corporate orientation. Then I get to start my “on the job training” in the ICU/CCU.   Since my official residence is still in South Carolina and I am a republican, I am voting this week.   Now, I realize there may be an apparent disparity between those two events, but I think not. I’ll explain why.   I started thinking about this last month when I finished my last week at Lexington Medical Center.  I was so, so, so glad to be done. But, I was desperately saddened. I was leaving “my peeps”. I’ve never called a group that before. For some reason—I’m unsure why—I bonded more than ever before with my coworkers. I think it may have been our differences.   The group that worked the night shift were from all over. There were some from the South, sure. But, there were some from the Midwest, the Northeast, the Philippines, Norway, and even one from that foreign-est of foreign places, South Dakota. But, that didn’t matter.   It also didn’t matter that we were of all different persuasions of religion and politics. There were ultra-conservative people, bleeding hearts, those who really didn’t have an opinion, and some in the middle. We were of every color, “red and yellow, black and white.”   We even had different styles of nursing. There were the “rule followers” who believed the policy is the ultimate document. There was the laissez faire, laid-back sort. There were the “Lone ranger” nurses who liked to do things themselves, and then there were the “it’s all more fun if we do it as a group” type.   Oh, there were differences. Differences of style, differences of personality, differences of beliefs, and even differences of opinion, otherwise called disagreements. Oh yes, there were disagreements.   BUT.   There was a unifying cause. There was something that trumped all of those differences and disagreements and that was what made us a team. The patient.   Nothing brings a team of nurses together like these words, “Call a Code.” Or even the slightly less terrifying, “I need help in here.”   When a patient is “crashing” the nurses come together and there is one goal, saving the patient. All differences are forgotten and they work as a team to make sure the patient survives. Maybe things aren’t done exactly like the “rule followers” would like. Maybe the “bleeding hearts” don’t get everything they would like. But, the patient gets their best group effort.   Here was my thinking as I finished at Lexington and now this week as I am being introduced to a new team. I was privileged to work in the midst of such a great and diverse group of nurses. I learned a lot from them, even those I didn’t agree with. Sometimes especially from them. My hope for my new job is that I will find a similar team of co-workers. There is nothing like it.   So, what on earth does that have to do with voting?   If only. If only our leaders in Washington would act like nurses. If only they would realize that our country is in crisis, our economy is “crashing”. In fact, it seems like...

read more

An Unexpected Gift

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on An Unexpected Gift

I am sitting in my dining room looking out the kitchen windows at the pink sky. It is sunset and I am having coffee with my twelve nieces and nephews. Now, lest you think our small apartment is a bustling mass of humanity let me explain. For Christmas this year my sister, Cheryl wanted to give me something special. Thinking that with three houses I might possibly have a free wall she concocted the idea of coffee with Aunt Miriam. Cheryl had Aunt Vonda take a picture of each of the kids holding a different coffee mug borrowed from Grandma, and framed them. I cried. You see, before getting married I lived close and was able to have a cup of tea with them on a regular basis. The older ones have some really great memories of those times. Their aunt does too. So now, even though I am 1500 miles away, I can see their smiling faces the moment I walk into my house, when I sit down to eat, or like now—when I am writing and watching the sunset. It’s not quite as good as having them here, but it is quieter! This past week hasn’t gone quite as planned. By the time we arrived back in North Carolina New Year’s Eve my dry scratchy throat and cough had turned into laryngitis and a nasty cough. My nose even had to join the party. I had a lot planned for this week between vacation and starting my new job but I had to put it all on hold. I was sick. Besides the mug photos God gave me some gifts to brighten my days during my forced “down time.” Let me share what I’ve been doing this week. When we arrived at the house in Hendersonville, I found a gift on the table from my favorite NC sister-in-law. She had come across a puzzle and it spoke my name. Seriously. It is of teapots. I brought it home to Salisbury and I spent the better part of three days putting it together with sporadic help from my husband. It is adorable and I believe I may mount it and put it above my mug wall in Hendersonville. Then every time I see it I can remember the special friendship I have with my newest “sister.”  She is a kindred spirit.                                                                                                                   When we arrived in Salisbury there was a package from my favorite Michigan Bradley cousin. Inside I found a smiley face mug. A big one! I love coffee mugs and there is nothing like a big cup of tea to soothe a sore throat and help tame an out of control cough! Besides who can help but smile when you see a bright yellow smiley face. It was a gift of comfort and joy.                                                                                     Last Sunday, too sick to go to church I was sad to be missing the opportunity to start the year out in church. Then it struck me. I had the DVD’s. For Christmas this year, my cousin Michael obtained and gave each of us a copy of several  CD’s and DVD’s of our Grandpa McKnight preaching. When I first got the packet I didn’t process the fact that there were DVD’s and what that meant. But, when my brother called my...

read more

The View From My Window

Posted by on Dec 4, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The View From My Window

This afternoon we walked downtown and poked around some stores. We stopped at a framing shop and while Bruce spoke with the owner about a project I looked through some prints they had for sale. There was a small one—about 5X7—which caught my eye.   It was a scene of some old house rooftops and featured the chimneys. I was startled and pleased but not so inspired that I wanted to pay thirty dollars, especially since I could take a picture just like it out my back window.   The apartment we are renting is on the second floor of a historic house. It was divided into apartments after World War II. It appears that the kitchen was tacked on the back at that point and it is very small, less than a hundred square feet which can be rather frustrating. The saving grace for the tiny kitchen is the wall of windows.   Almost the entire back wall is taken up with three 12-pane windows. When I am in the kitchen I almost feel like I am in a tree house.   I’m not an “outdoorsy” sort of person, or at least I didn’t think I was. I’m certainly not athletic but I do love to walk and hike if it’s not too strenuous. When I was a child I preferred to be outside playing than inside, unless I was reading a good book.   But there is something in me that needs to see outside, especially first thing in the morning. Cup of coffee in hand, I am drawn to the porch, the deck, or in this case the window. I have to see what the world looks like.   The kitchen window look out on the back yard—also known as the parking lot. However, since we live on the second floor my window looks out on the trees and the chimneys. No, I’m not kidding. I said chimneys.   From my windows, without even turning my head I can count 12 chimneys on three houses. Of course, most of them aren’t in use anymore since these houses have been retrofitted with modern heating. But still, there are those lovely chimneys standing like sentinels against the skyline in defiance of modern convenience.   Also from my windows I can hear the chimes over at Livingstone College. They ring the hour and at certain times of the day the chimes play hymns. Sometimes I even open the window and shiver in the chilly breeze so I can hear the chimes better. After all, a cup of coffee, chimneys to gaze at, and chimes playing majestic hymns. Nothing there to complain...

read more

Grandma. . . and Red Geraniums

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Grandma. . . and Red Geraniums

 RED GERANIUMS     Life did not bring me silken gowns,   Nor jewels for my hair,   Nor signs of gabled foreign towns   In distant countries fair, But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill, And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.     The brambled cares of everyday,   The tiny humdrum things,   May bind my feet when they would stray,   But still my heart has wings While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass, And low above my green-sweet hill the gypsy wind-clouds pass.     And if my dreaming ne’er come true,   The brightest and the best,   But leave me lone my journey through,   I‘ll set my heart at rest, And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill, And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.             Martha Haskell Clark   When I read the title of this poem I immediately thought of Grandma Jones. After all, she loved red geraniums and kept one on her porch in Broken Bow most summers. One of her geraniums ended up in my Dad’s office for several years where it often reminded me of her.   But then I read the poem and I knew that this one “belonged” to my Grandma Jones.   She didn’t have silken gowns, jewels, or great opportunities for travel. She once told me that there was so much that she hadn’t yet seen in the United States she couldn’t imagine why she would need to travel overseas. She did enjoy the few trips she was able to take, but travel wasn’t something she had the opportunity to do very much of.   However, out her window on the ranch she had green rolling hills. In her window sills she kept African Violets. And there, rights on her porch in front of her chair were her red geraniums.   She knew how to be content with the simple things in life. Oh, she liked nice things. She was thankful for her modern conveniences, especially since she had lived without any of them in that sod house out in the Sandhills.   I’m sure she also liked to dream. She loved to read good fiction. I have no doubt she imagined herself in other places many times during the humdrum tasks required of a ranch wife and mother.   But, she had her priorities straight.  She didn’t need the baubles offered by the world. She kept simple beauty around her and hers was a beautiful life. She’s not remembered for jewels or silken gowns.   She is remembered instead for faithfulness, peacefulness, gentleness, kindness, humor, and love. And red geraniums. ....

read more

The Poetry of Friendship

Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Poetry of Friendship

Saturday my mom, sister and I went out and did a bit of shopping. We ended up at an antique store close to our Hendersonville home. As we poked around, an old—oh yeah, I already said it was an antique store—book caught my eye. It was a poetry book.   Now, I’m not really much of a poetry person. I like the simple ones but not the ones that you have to work hard to figure out what they mean. I like plain talk I guess. I’ve written a few poems in my life, mostly when I’m feeling melancholy. But, the title of the book intrigued me.   “The Best Loved Poems of the American People.” Selected by Hazel Felleman   I picked it up. I opened it. I began to read.   After reading two poems I knew I had to buy it. It had my kind of poems.   The deciding poem was this one:   FRIENDSHIP Oh, the comfort—the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, Having neither to weigh thoughts, Nor measure words—but pouring them All right out—just as they are— Chaff and grain together— Certain that a faithful hand will Take and sift them— Keep what is worth keeping— And with the breath of kindness Blow the rest away.             Dinah Maria Mulock Craik   I have friends like that and my life is richer for them. I hope you do...

read more

Moment By Moment!

Posted by on Nov 7, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Moment By Moment!

I woke up before the sun this morning since the time-change just happened. From my bed I could see out through the kitchen to the lightness coming through the trees. I got up and perched at the table in the kitchen with my coffee so I could watch the morning come. After awhile, the clearness became hazy and the light fog settled in. I don’t remember a morning like this here. The thing is that the addition with its big south-east window and doors offers the perfect place to view the changing seasons, and even the weather as it changes moment by moment. Last weekend the trees were gorgeous with all of the riotous colors at the back of the property. This weekend most of the leaves are down and the garden is quite fall-ish looking with the dead corn stocks standing like sentinels. I couldn’t help but relate the change of the view to the changes of life. We are going through change with Bruce’s new job and the move. We are trying to keep up with three houses, two jobs, and prepare one house for winter and another for going on the market. But, isn’t that what life is about? Change. No change means we are stagnant. No change is like a dead pond with no water in and no water out. It stinks. But change can be hard. It brings stress and challenges. It stretches us. I really am not a big fan of change. Maybe that is why I am so delighted whenever I think about God’s attribute of immutability. That big word means this—God doesn’t change. Ever. He is always the same. I am thankful that through all the change that comes in life, moment by moment, He will ALWAYS be there. Always the same, moment by moment. Moment by Moment—by Daniel W. Whittle Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine; Living with Jesus, a new life divine; Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine. Refrain: Moment by moment I’m kept in His love; Moment by moment I’ve life from above; Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine; Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine. Never a trial that He is not there, Never a burden that He doth not bear, Never a sorrow that He doth not share, Moment by moment, I’m under His care. Never a heartache, and never a groan, Never a teardrop, and never a moan; Never a danger but there on the throne, Moment by moment He thinks of His own. Never a weakness that He doth not feel, Never a sickness that He cannot heal; Moment by moment, in woe or in weal, Jesus my Savior abides with me...

read more