Posts Tagged "All I Have Needed-A Legacy For Life"

Cowboys in the Park

Posted by on Jul 23, 2016 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Cowboys in the Park

In honor of National Day of the Cowboy, I am digging out an old piece. This was written originally for the Newberry Observer as a column. Then, it made it into both of my non-fiction books. Enjoy! Cowboys in the Park It’s not like I was hurting for something to do last Friday. I had a huge list of tasks that needed accomplished and a class for work on Saturday, so I really needed to stay home and put my nose to the grindstone.   However, once I saw the notice in the paper that the concert in the park downtown was Cowboy Music I knew there was nothing on the list that couldn’t wait—or wouldn’t have to.   When I got to the park I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were cowboy hats in the town square. Cowboy hats on people wearing jeans and cowboy boots. I could feel my heart rate jump. I picked a park bench close to the microphones. I wanted to hear every word.   Oh my. For the next hour I sat and alternately resisted the urge to jump up and twirl across the grass like a child unable to contain her joy, or sit and wail because I missed my family, especially my Grandpa Jones.   They sang a lot of the old cowboy songs and the crowd sang along. I heard comments about memories from the picture show when they were children. My memories were a bit different.   I remembered helping Grandpa saddle Brownie, the horse he kept for the grandkids to ride. I remembered riding with Grandpa to get some cows in and having my glasses knocked off my face when I failed to see a branch. I remembered watching hours of the old westerns on TV on Sunday afternoons at Grandpa and Grandma’s ranch. They all paraded through my head.   When they sang a song by “Grandpa Jones” from the Hee Haw TV show I laughed because my Grandpa Jones loved watching that show. When they sang a song asking where the cowboys have gone I wanted to stand up and shout, “THEY ARE STILL THERE!”   I thought of my cousin Gordon, riding across the Sandhills of Nebraska on his horse as he works his ranch. I wished every one of those people there could see a real cowboy, on a real ranch. I felt like I knew something they didn’t know. I felt blessed.   It was cool—one of those two nice days—and there was a chilly breeze. If I closed my eyes I could imagine myself in Nebraska or South Dakota. By the middle of the concert I was shivering but I certainly wasn’t going to get up and go anywhere.   I was right where I wanted to be, enjoying an evening in Nebraska and South Dakota right here in downtown Newberry, South...

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Music – Don’t Waste The Gift

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 1 comment

Sunday I had the privilege of playing the piano for church. At various times in my life I’ve played every time the church doors were open, but since we have been in transit so much the past few years my piano playing has been more of the fill-in kind. I’m thankful for every opportunity because music is therapy for me. It is how I worship best. Often when we have visited churches they happen to be in desperate need of a pianist that day. Their pianist is sick. Their pianist is on vacation. Their pianist moved. Because of the way I was raised—to jump in and help if I’m able—I volunteer. While this has been an incredible blessing for me, it brings up a troubling trend. There is a serious lack of church pianists out there. True, we come from musical people, but our parents were determined that we would have enough musical training to be able to serve in church. No, not everyone has the gift of music. No, God doesn’t want everyone to be a church pianist. But, I have a feeling there is a great untapped level of gifting and talent out there. The incredible power of music has been much on my mind lately. In my latest release the children use music to help an Alzheimer’s patient remember the answer to a critical clue. It isn’t just a made up plot element. It is solidly based in scientific studies! I am so impressed by the power of music in treatment of people with dementia. I would love for you to click on this photo and check out the website of this group who is promoting the use of music in patient’s with dementia. You see, whether we enjoy music in corporate worship at church, in the privacy of our own home, or in a concert hall, music is a gift from God. A gift that just keeps on giving. Don’t waste that...

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The Older Generation – Up For The Challenge

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

This is a repeat, a piece I wrote a few years ago and included in my book All I Have Needed-A Legacy for Life. This month is Older Americans Month and I am starting to really look forward to our family reunion just one month from today. So, I chose to re-post this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! The Older Generation – Up For the Challenge I love this picture from the reunion. It might be my favorite. To someone who doesn’t know our family it looks like nothing but a picture of a group of 60-70 something adults. But for those of us who know these people, there are some things that might make us look a second time. The fifth from the left is my Dad.  He is surrounded by his wife, sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, and their spouses. Oh, and his sister-in-law. This picture started as one of those spur of the moment, grab a group of chatting people, make them line up, and take their picture photo-ops.  I think we started with five or six. Then we started noticing more from their generation in the room and called them over. There are several pictures in the series and each has one or two more people. My dad’s brother, Jim had already left to go to the fair so he is missing, but his wife is there. My favorite part is that they are mixed up. With the exception of two couples they aren’t standing with their spouses. I love photos that give different groupings. I like the unexpected twist. Here we have a group of people who have grown up together, their spouses have been part of the family for ten to 56 years, and they are family. They have differences of opinion, differences of belief, differences of interests, but they are family. Another thing I like about this picture is the fact that none of these people have been divorced. A couple are on their second marriages, but that is due to the death of a spouse. These folks are in it for the long haul. They had a good example in my grandparents and their parents, all who stayed married until death parted them. In this day where families are so transient, ours stands out. I can truly say I have been surrounded by great examples. At a store in Broken Bow I saw a plaque. It read. . .  “a good marriage is a union of two great forgivers.” I’m thankful for this generation and their determination to stick it out and make their love grow instead of letting it die. I love you all! I understand why you aren’t quite ready to be called “the older generation” but I’m thankful for the wisdom and strength you bring and I really think you are up for the challenge. Your parents were proud of you and we are so grateful. You can buy the book by clicking here and it will take you to Amazon. Please also not that right NOW the kindle edition is...

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Always The Same, New Every Morning.

Posted by on Jan 16, 2016 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 2 comments

It is ever changing, the ocean. Yet, always the same. How incongruous.   From my vantage point twelve stories up, I watch. This time of year there aren’t many people out there, always less than ten. There’s the woman with her Irish setter. What a beautiful dog, even from here. They meander down the beach. A family with three teen agers stands on the edge of the water, huddled together in the cool morning air. Are they coming or going from the pancake house? They drift apart, each following his own thoughts and the element that has captured his interest until they come together again. For a picture.   The romantic couple walks hand in hand. They stand at the edge arms around each other and look out to sea. Are they just starting out? Are they here to rekindle their romance? Last ditch effort? No, these two don’t look like a last ditch effort. A woman races past them, her arms pumping. She is here for exercise. The elderly couple creeps along. No hurry. They have been here before. So many memories.   All day long I sit and watch the parade. Ever changing, yet always the same. Like the ocean.   Up the beach is a canyon of sorts. The storm drain at the next resort over has worn a path to the ocean. I first noticed it when the beach patrol pickup cruised right down to the water’s edge to avoid the crater. A river through the beach. That’s strange.   The sunrise this morning happened behind clouds so the show was delayed. An hour later the sun slithered its way out from behind the thinner clouds and a stream of light shot up through the clouds and down across the water where the beam of light made its own path, this time across the water and onto the beach. The cloud colors—not to be outdone—reflected off the water in the sand. The iridescence of the shallow water reminded me of the conch shell my daddy retrieved from the ocean in California. He came out drenched from head to toe, his hand triumphantly holding the shell overhead. That shell sat in our home and I could hear the ocean when I held it to my ear. Or was that shell really the one he rescued? Memories, real or how we remember them. I’ll have to ask today.   As the sun and water put on a spectacle, the birds get into the act. A line of black birds glides along the surf, barely skimming the top of the water. A perfect formation . . . almost. One, at the tail end can’t quite keep in line. He can’t fly straight. Must have missed his morning coffee. Either that or he’s a free spirit.   The sound of the waves breaking, always going in and out. Always the same. But, ever a different view. They remind me of God. Never changing. Always the same. But, no matter...

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A Growing Legacy!

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 2 comments

The grass shimmered with dew and the air was still cool when I gathered the rake, hoe, and a small bag of seeds and headed out to celebrate my birthday! Yes, you read right. I celebrate my birthday by planting things. It started about thirty years ago when we just happened to be planting our garden on my birthday. I clearly remember helping Daddy mark the rows with sticks and string, then planting corn and bean seeds every few inches. Something about putting those seeds into the ground, knowing that plants would grow, food would be created, and we would be able to eat it spoke to my soul. That may have been the first time I ever really helped plant a garden, I’m not sure. But it wasn’t my last. I was hooked. Of course, if my birthday was in November—like my older sister—it would be harder to keep this tradition. But, May 2nd clearly lends itself to such an activity. The seeds I planted were ones I received from a dear friend. “Mom” Clark has been an inspiration to me for over twenty years now. (See photo above for a view of their yard.) Every time I visit them I am challenged, blessed, and delighted to see the home she has built there with her husband. Not only is their house a haven, but she has a flower and vegetable garden that serves others. She has flowers that are cut and placed “just so” into jars, then taken to the shut-ins that she ministers to, or friends that need a pick-me-up. A couple of years ago she let me harvest some seeds from her cock’s comb and I have been itching to find a place to plant them. So, happy birthday to me. . . this year I did it! Last week we transplanted some daffodils and peonies which Bruce’s aunt gave us. She had thinned some of hers and sent him home with a car load. We planted the daffodils between the hostas we received a couple of years ago from friends at church when they were thinning theirs. The peonies, it turns out, originally came from “Over Home”—the name of Bruce’s great-grandparents place in Polk County. These are legacy plants. In my kitchen I have an African violet that came from one Grandma Jones had. I also have a mother-in-laws tongue that I got from Mom. It keeps growing little babies, so I have several plants I need to give away. We have a plant Bruce saved from his mother’s funeral and another plant his aunt gave us. If you look at all of the plants in and around this house, all but one came from someone. Even the huge Norway spruce tree beside the house was once the little Christmas tree for Bruce’s family. Heritage. Legacy. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It could be as small as a seed. Which reminds me. I have some Bradley beans which I soaked overnight....

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A Moment of Legacy

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

A Moment of Legacy

This morning I sit at my kitchen table, my de facto office. I’ve been sitting here a lot these days as I work on my latest book. I’m approaching final revisions and I’m ready to be done.  A couple of days ago I had one of those moments of recognition. One of those moments which, if you know me at all, you know I revel in. It’s not really déjà vu. It’s more like the quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s when they ask the man in the store to engrave a Cracker Jack ring. “Do they still really have prizes in Cracker Jack boxes? . . . That’s nice to know. . . It gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity with the past, that sort of thing.” That’s the kind of moment I had. Let me explain. Our home is a family home. My husband’s parents built it before any of their boys were born. My father-in-law hurried home on weekend leave from boot camp in South Carolina to make sure it was enclosed and safe for his wife when he left for Korea. They raised four boys in this home, and after her husband died, Bruce’s mom stayed here for many years. I never met either of them, but I’ve had the privilege of getting to “know them” through their home. For instance, our kitchen table is the very one that they used in their kitchen. I love it because it is a classic. It is yellow, and I like yellow. I like the fact that I can see the worn spot in the top where his Mama set her coffee cup. A few years ago we added an addition off to the side of the existing home. The addition includes our new, bright kitchen which looks out on the deck and across the back yard. It actually sits pretty much where an old red cedar tree sat. An ice storm took the top out of the tree several years ago, so we didn’t mind so much taking it down, but still it was sad. See, Bruce’s Mama loved to read, especially romances. She always wanted to travel, but by the time she could. . . well, she couldn’t, due to health problems. So, she sat at her kitchen table, read books about exotic places near and far, drank coffee, and watched the birds in the cedar tree out of the kitchen window. She especially loved a pair of doves that nested in the cedar tree. She read romances, after all. That kitchen window is now a doorway into our new kitchen. The table sits very close to where the tree once stood. At the old yellow table I write books about places near and far, drink coffee, and watch the birds come to the cedar birdfeeder on our new deck. I especially like watching the chickadees playfully swoop in and out, taking turns at the feeder. I write children’s stories, after all. So, when...

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GOD, GIVE US MEN!

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized |

GOD, GIVE US MEN!

This is a photo of my daddy, Marvin Jones and my uncle, Jim Jones. They both served in  the military; one in the Army and one in the Navy. Then Daddy spent his life serving God in the pastorate where he still  ministers. Uncle Jim ranches (still part-time) and spent twelve years in the legislature of Nebraska. They are great examples to all of us of real men. My life is full of such men. We need men like this for our country! This poem seemed appropriate considering that we just had an election and Veteran’s Day! What can we do now that the election is over? I believe that both of the men picture above would urge us to humble ourselves before God and pray. They’ve never given me bad advice yet! GOD, GIVE US MEN! GOD, GIVE US MEN! A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;    Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;    Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue    And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! Tall men, sun crowned, who live above the fog    In public duty and in private thinking; For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, Their large professions and their little deeds, Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps, Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.                                        —-Josiah Gilbert Holland    There IS a word in this poem I don’t use, but my daddy taught me to use language appropriately and I believe it is used as such in this...

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Benefits of Transitional Seasons – Like Snow on Leaves

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Leaves shouted their existence with riotous color as the branches, clothed in pure white demanded recognition of the soon demise of Autumn. I stood in my kitchen, gazing in wonder at the five inches of snow blanketing the deck and the back half of our property.     My heart jumped with delight at the whiteness. Snow makes me happy. But then the leaves,   jostled by the wind waved at me. What about us? We aren’t through yet, you know! We thought Autumn was your favorite season. Traitor!   That night the wind howled. I snuggled deeper under the covers and listened to the sound of trees bending and swaying, the gusts inevitably tearing more leaves from the trees. Still,  the wind comforted me. The sounds of windy nights always bring memories of my  childhood in the Great Plains. Comfort food for the mind.   The next morning, the view out the back window was admittedly less pleasant. No snow. Noticeably fewer leaves. But then I peeked as far left as I could and there they were. Some trees still gloriously covered in bright yellow leaves. On our way to and from church we saw more vibrant trees shouting the triumphant survival of Autumn.   Yes, the snow warns that winter is coming. We must prepare but we can still enjoy some Autumn before Winter arrives for good.   I love the fact that God gives us some warning.   I have a set of four paper “lampshades” that fit on top of a night-light. They are seasonal. So, on the first day of Autumn I fulfill my ritual and I change the lampshade. When winter comes, I change it again. Each season is acknowledged by the changing of the lampshade. It is a rare day indeed that I change it early or late. No, it must be on the FIRST day of the season.   God isn’t that way. Otherwise, one day would be beautiful crisp Autumn with picture perfect leaves, and the next Winter, complete with a blizzard. How would we adjust to that?   Not well, I’m afraid.   And while we are thinking about transitional benefits let us not forget aging. Now, I don’t consider myself old but I’ve had a rather shocking episode of aging this summer. With the failure of my tendon I’ve faced the reality that I’m not as young as I used to be.   If someone had told me in June that I would be JOYFULLY wearing a brace on my left foot, a brace I very well may have to wear for the rest of my life I’m afraid my reaction would not have been pleasant or accepting! But throw in a few months of inability to function and well, the brace seems like a friend.   So, I’ll enjoy the next few days of beautiful sixty degree afternoons and crisp nights. Maybe I’ll take my new brace and go for a walk stomping in the crunchy leaves,...

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Chocolate Chip Cookie and Coffee Friendships

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

I often laugh and tell people that the way to find out my life story is to give me chocolate chip cookies and coffee. It’s guaranteed to work.   I’m not kidding.   Back in the dark ages—well, the late 1980’s—I spent a year in Sheridan, Wyoming in nursing school. It was a grand adventure for me but the real value of the year wasn’t fully realized for years to come.   The first week I was there was kind of lonely. The older couple I was living with was gone on vacation and school hadn’t started. So, when the Pastor’s wife invited me to ride with their family up into the mountains for the annual church picnic I jumped at the opportunity. “Just come to the house and we’ll go from there,” she said.   When I arrived Donna had just brewed a fresh pot of coffee and was making chocolate chip cookies. While she finished the cookies and packed food for the picnic I drank a cup of coffee and ate a couple of cookies. Fast forward ten minutes. (That’s how long it takes coffee to kick in.)   I started talking and within thirty minutes she knew my life story. Now, I maintain that it wasn’t just the coffee and cookies. Donna is one of those people who invite confidence with a couple of simple questions. She is just sincerely interested.   That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!   Anyway, we have laughed about it over the years as our friendship grew.  During the year in Sheridan I babysat their children and spent many hours at their table visiting and seeking advice. Once I graduated and moved home I returned as frequently as I could. Over the years I attended graduations and weddings, we shared sorrows, joys, successes, and failures. I remember many conversations around their table with me seeking advice from this dear friend and her husband. And most of those times included coffee and sometimes chocolate chip cookies too!   For years Donna prayed diligently for me that God would send me a husband. I learned the precious truth of the value of a praying friend. Finally, God answered.   Since the wedding we had not seen each other. It had been nine years. That is a long time! But often, the mug I would pick from my mug wall was one of the two that Donna had given me. We occasionally spoke by phone, Donna always remembered my birthday and our anniversary, and I kept in contact with their children online.   This summer, when we were out in South Dakota we made the extra little trip over to Sheridan. I showed my husband around this town that I love. We went to church and I was able to introduce him to the people and church that have meant so much to me through the years. I had pictures taken with my friends and their children and their children’s children. Yes,...

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The Choir in the Pool

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

  The other morning I went to the YMCA to do my water aerobics. It seems this is the best exercise for someone with a pitiful tendon. Besides, I actually enjoy it and I read somewhere recently that “The best exercise is the one you will do!” My floatie belt securely in place I bobbed around the deep end and performed my interval  exercises. Between watching the second-hand on the clock I observed the class at the shallow end. There were approximately twenty people doing what looked like a senior synchronized routine. The leader, a cheerful lady who enjoys verbal class participation, had them motivated. All of a sudden I heard singing. Now, if you have ever tried to talk in a large pool you know what the acoustics can do. It can be really hard to hear what anyone is saying, but guess what? I learned that it is an incredible place to sing. As the seniors marched underwater they held floatie noodles over their heads like a rainbow. With each step they raised and lowered the noodles. And they sang. Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue. . . The sound swelled and filled the pool area. The beauty of the voices all joined in this classic song took my breath away. It was incredible. Almost like those videos where acapella  groups stand in a vast cathedral and sing. A few minutes  later they started singing “Oo” and “Ah” up intervals on the scale. They harmonized. Then I really felt like I was in a cathedral. Well, except for the water part. Suffice it to say that you never know when a moment of beauty might float into your day. And I bet you can’t guess which song I hummed all...

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A Sweet Legacy of Apples

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

It is apple season here in the mountains of North Carolina. The apple festival took place Labor Day Weekend and ever since there are apples everywhere. We have two apple trees on our property but we’ve had trouble the past couple of years. Something was eating all of the apples before they were even ripe. I mean ALL of the apples. There weren’t even any leftovers on the ground. The apples just vanished. We suspect coons or deer, but we weren’t sure. This year, with the trees loaded with blossoms followed by tiny apples I decided enough was enough. Someone suggested hanging blank CD’s on the tree with string. Evidently the critters don’t like the shiny things and will stay away! Well, it was worth a try. Out to the tree we went and up went the CD’s. All summer I watched the shiny discs twirl gently in the breeze flashing their glare all over the yard. I also watched the apples grow and ripen. Wahoo! We won! Finally, they were ripe and we picked them. About the same time we stopped by our favorite fruit stand to see if there might be some peaches left. There weren’t, but they had apples! So, we bought some. Then my husband noticed bags of “seconds” on sale. So he bought more. Fortunately, Bruce’s Aunt Alva showed up soon thereafter. I knew Aunt Alva had just what I needed, the recipe for her Apple Honey. It is an incredible treat on toast, pancakes, ice cream, or biscuits. I think it would even make rice cakes edible! After all, I had to do something with all of the apples. So, we did. We made apple honey. We’ve also dried some apples in a dehydrator we got from Bruce’s brother and sister-in-law. I’ve made apple crisp twice using a recipe from a book my aunt gave me. We’ll be working on the apples for awhile. But, I’ll enjoy thinking about the apples from the trees Bruce’s daddy planted and the recipe from his aunt. Kind of cool isn’t it, the way legacy can sneak into your day? Then there are the tomatoes Aunt Alva discovered. Four bushel boxes. . .   Aunt Alva’s Apple Honey Peel, core, and slice ½ bushel of golden apples Put in a PLASTIC tub. Add:     2 large (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple 5-7 pounds of sugar 2 Tablespoons lemon juice Stir and cover with a towel overnight. In the morning put the mixture in a canner and cook until the apples turn clear. Put in sterilized jars and seal....

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Of Failed Tendons and the Body of Christ

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 1 comment

The past few weeks I have been dealing with a betrayal. A betrayal of my posterior tibial tendon. Yep, that’s right. The posterior tibial tendon in my left foot is failing. No biggy, you say? The rest of the foot can pick up the slack?   I don’t think so!   I’ve always walked flat-footed and my feet are flat—the arches are practically non-existent. My parents shelled out good money for my first pair of special orthotics when I was in my early teens. With the orthotics and avoidance of too many hours barefoot or in non-supportive shoes I’ve managed just fine. I’ve never had what could be called a graceful gait, but that didn’t really bother me. I am me and that’s who I am.   But, over the past few months I’ve developed a problem. First my left foot grew from an 8 ½ to a 10. Go figure. No wonder all my shoes hurt and my left great toe nail is bruised.   But that wasn’t all. “Miriam, your ankle has turned in. Look at it,” my husband said. “The right one is straight up and down; the left is completely laying inward.”   Yikes. Something I had noticed in passing but had failed to absorb into the problem-solving part of my brain suddenly shoved its way front and center.   So, after two weeks of vacation during which I let my little toesies be happy and free in flat sandals, I went to the store and bought size ten supportive running shoes for work. Wide-toed shoes that I find ugly. After all, I have to be able to walk/run for 12 hours and I had no work shoes that didn’t cause severe pain in my toe.   Oh boy. By the end of that first 12 hour shift in good shoes I had pulled/strained/sprained all of the muscles in that ankle. Suddenly forced into a semblance of alignment my foot rebelled. So started my odyssey.   After a visit to the doctor and a referral to the orthotics people I was presented with the diagnosis. Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction. It won’t go away. It is progressive. Orthotics should help for awhile.   After two more weeks of x-rays, icing, ibuprofen, elevating, and painful 12 hour shifts, I finally got my orthotics. But they weren’t the end all. They helped relieve the pain, but by now my foot was hopelessly out of sync. My toe spasmed under with each step. All the other toes seized in response.   Add physical therapy where I was shown on a human skeleton what is happening with my foot! Wow, who knew all of those bones were so interdependent? Not me! I just went along assuming what had always worked would continue to do its thing. With the new information and the tools I need I am learning a new gait, one that puts the weight on the outside of my foot where it belongs. Changing how you walk at...

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Why shouldn’t I? Why Shouldn’t You? Praise!

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

A few days ago I drove to work with my window down. I like doing that whenever it is warm enough. Somehow hearing all of the chirping birds that fill the neighborhoods between my house and the hospital makes me happy. And honestly, anything that can make me happy to be going to work at 6:30 in the morning is a good thing! I’ve always loved hearing chirping birds. They are so happy. Somehow, it lifts my soul. As I waited at the highway for traffic, a song from my childhood popped into my head.   The birds upon the treetops sing their song, The angels chant their chorus all day long. The flowers in the garden blend their hue, So why shouldn’t I, why shouldn’t you praise Him too?   It’s a simple song. At first I couldn’t remember where I learned it. It seems like one of those songs I’ve always known. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that my mommy and Grandma McKnight used to sing it to me.  But then I remembered it was on one of our childhood records. I wondered if the birds are chirping because it is morning and they are so glad the dark night is over? I wondered if they are saying good morning to each other? I wondered if they are thanking God for everything they have? Today I started looking online to find the author and copyright information for the song. I couldn’t find anything on the original author but I did find a site (www.hymnal.net) that played a clip of the song and then there were comments after the clip. I was amazed by the number of people who remembered learning this song fifty plus years ago. But, one comment caught my attention. “This was a favorite of mine about 50 years ago as well. I am now doing research and writing on ecotheology and a number of theologians stress the fact that all of creation praises God just by being what it is, a witness to God’s creativity. Whenever we worship, we are joining our voices to an unceasing universal praise. Indeed, this little chorus sums up this profound idea in such a simple way!” Allan Effa  Then I realized another message of this song. It is one that resonates greatly with me. It is this: the birds, the angels, and the flowers were all doing what God created them to do. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s what God wants from me. I am to do what He created me to do, nothing more, nothing less. And, if I listen He will be glad to let me know what that is! WOW. So, tomorrow when I drive to work I’ll roll down my windows and sing this song. Then I’ll proceed through the day surrendering to be used how God made me! To glorify...

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The Key of Change – Guest Blogger on Christian Communicator

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Have you ever thought you’ve FINALLY learned an important lesson and NOW you are done with it? Me too. But, the truth is that it isn’t that simple. We learn best by repetition. Case in point. I am honored today to be the guest blogger on the Christian Communicator site. Go to this link to read my post. Those of you who have read my book, All I Have Needed-A Legacy for Life will recognize it. This seems to be something God has been teaching me over and over the past few years, and I can’t say this summer is any different. He peels away more and more layers. Every time I think I have ARRIVED I learn that there is yet a deeper level of trust to gain in our wonderful God. I expect I’ll be working on this subject the rest of my life! So, click on the little link below and enjoy the piece. Then if you want more pieces similar to this one check out the above mentioned book either here on my site or go to your favorite local or online bookstore and order one for yourself! The Key of...

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The Treasure of Time Spent Together

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

The Treasure of Time Spent Together

Today I saw online that one of my “Jr. Cousins”—a daughter of a cousin—is going to spend several weeks this summer with her grandparents in Nebraska. I am so excited for her. I would love to spend several weeks with her grandparents! They are some of my favorite people. Besides, they live in Nebraska. Enough said.   I told my junior cousin that she would never regret the time she spent with her grandparents. Specifically, the time where she is the only person there. I learned this lesson and I’m so thankful I did.   You see, when I was in my twenties I discovered that it was really cool to visit my grandparents without anyone else along. Especially without my parents. Now, don’t get me wrong. It was fun with them there too. But, I discovered an entirely different level of communication when it was just me and them. I don’t know if the difference was in my attitude or my grandparents’—maybe both—but I definitely felt like an adult talking to adults in a way I had never experienced before.   I heard some of the same stories, but I heard others. I found myself looking at them differently than I would have if my parents had been there to enter the conversation. I learned to appreciate my grandparents as individuals, adults, and even friends. That was the real treasure of the situation.   So today, when I realized a junior cousin was on her way to this kind of experience those mixed feelings bubbled up. Joy and even a bit of jealousy! All of my grandparents are now in heaven. I’ll have to wait until I get there to enjoy a day with them again. But, I AM thankful for every opportunity I had to spend time with them while they were here. I don’t regret one single moment. Not one.   What about you? If you have a grandma or grandpa still living, take it from me. It’s worth whatever you have to do to get there. Then you will understand the...

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The Value of The Long View

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

The Value of The Long View

As I get older, I often think about my grandparents’ lives in the whole. We look at their marriages as shining examples of success, and they were. We see them as hugely successful people, and they were. But, buried in those long marriages and successful lives were harsh and difficult days. Days when they failed. Days when their situation seemed impossible. Days when they felt like giving up. Days when they couldn’t see the road ahead. But, over all they came to the end of their lives and looked back on it with joy at the great life they had! This is a lesson for me. What about you? The value of the long view. It’s just another legacy they left...

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