Friday, January 31, 2014

Nikolaj Arndt

Beautiful and amazing art work was sent to me in an email.  Since I am an artist, I won't post the pictures.  However, I will make links to some of the amazing chalk drawings.....these are just amazing.  I stand in awe of such talent:

Artist at work
For those that like videos:

Perhaps he watched Mary Poppins one too many times....but whatever his inspiration his artistry is magnificent.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Passion leads to purpose

"If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right to your purpose."  Bishop T.D. Jakes

In another book I am reading, they are proposing the idea that whatever you do, bring your passion into it.  The example they give is the hospital orderly that brings his patients pictures to hang on their wall so when they wake up they have something beautiful to look at.  It was not in his job description, but he took his job to bring aide and comfort to his patients very seriously.  He recognized that a bit of beauty can go a long way to soothing the soul.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dare to Move On...

"All life is a chance. So take it!
The person who goes furthest is the one
who is willing to do and dare."
- Dale Carnegie 

When I first started blogging, I became immersed in a group of friendly bloggers that encouraged one another. Then crap happened. I was shook up. Uncertain. Sad. I backed off from venturing to far outside my little blog and a few recommended by my sister. I found out that in blogsville, people are still people. Several quotes on blogs and Facebook are reminding me that sometimes you meet a person for a reason and sometimes that reason is to learn something the hard way. Sometimes the issue is not about me at all. I just got caught in the crossfire. I changed my list of Inspiration blogs on the right hand side.  Some of the bloggers simply moved on and stopped blogging all together.  Others moved there blog with no forwarding address.  Some I stopped reading because I realized I am growing in a different direction.  blogsville is not much different then real life.  I used to remind people that real people sit at keyboards tapping out all the myriad of posts and comments swirling out on the Internet.  Real life I meet people and we seem to get along then things change and I loose touch with them because we go different directions.  Living a life time of chaotic changes triggered by PTSD leaves me off balance.  I become afraid to change and move on.  Then something happens and a bit of light is shown on my path and some of my fear subsides and I take a small step in a new direction.  Nothing too wild, I've had enough wild in my life time.  I am trying something new in real life, I joined a group of people at work that are taking the weight loss challenge.  I already lost a lot of weight but the holidays put me in a holding pattern to just survive.  Nothing to wild just patiently hold on to get through a trigger filled land mind called Christmas.  Now I am joining a group of like minded people that want to work at loosing weight.  They made a game out of it.  I am already a little discouraged. One of the requirements is 7.5 hours of sleep a night.  I sleep that long maybe once a month.  I was reassured that my shorter hours of sleep is acceptable.  I am going to work at sleeping more.  Perhaps have a goal of going to bed at the same time and not pulling 2 AM game playing or reading to avoid sleep.  The group is 16 people of varying ages, sizes, and backgrounds.  Communication is encouraged with in the group to encourage each other.  There is even a rule about no sabotaging by baking a cake for someone else in the group.  I decided that I am going to use the opportunity to kick start loosing the last pounds I had in my goal from last May.  I have a few more months.  I'll see how this goes.  It is very different from anything I have ever done before.  I am Daring to Move On...a little.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thanks friends

Thank you to my fellow bloggers.  Their posts have inspired me this week.  Here's a few:
Judy sent me to this next link.

Relaxation to Control Panic: What You’re Doing Wrong

How many times do I wait until full blown panic before I do something to help ease how I am feeling?  I do not get a badge for making myself miserable and waiting to do what works for me.  I do not need to wait until I binge on 5 lbs of chocolate to figure out I am stressed.  I do not need to tough-it-out when I know there are things that can help ease my anxiety. 

Feeling Blue - BREATHE 

Feeling anxious - BREATHE S L O W L Y 

Feeling stressed - start counting the ways....if I hit more than 5 different reasons, what do I need to do to ease up my schedule?  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Remarkable Woman

Shared on Facebook
Also found here:

BOLD: "Stagecoach" Mary Fields (1832-1914), the first African American mail carrier (male or female) in the United States Mary Fields began her life as a slave in Tennessee in 1832, the exact date is unknown. Mary’s mother Susanna was the personal servant to the plantation owner’s wife, Mrs. Dunnes. The plantation wife also had a daughter who was born within two weeks of Mary, and named Dolly. Mrs. Dunne allowed the children to play together. Over the years Mary was taught to read and write and the two girls became best friends. At sixteen, Dolly was sent to boarding school in Ohio and Mary was left all alone. Mary’s father worked in the fields on the Dunnes’ farm. He was sold after Mary was born. Mary’s mother wanted her daughter to have a last name, so since her father Buck worked in the fields, her mother decided her last name should be Fields. So thus Mary Fields came to be. After Mary’s mother passed away, Mary became the head of the household at the young age of fourteen. After Dolly went away to boarding school, The Civil War began. The slaves were left to fend for themselves. It was during this time that she learned many life survival skills. She learned how to garden, raise chickens and practice medicine with natural herbs. Around the age of 30 Mary heard from her dear friend Dolly. Dolly was now a nun and was renamed Sister Amadaus. The Sister asked Mary to join her at a convent in Ohio. Mary immediately began her twenty-day trip from Tennessee to Ohio. Mary remained with the Ursuline Sisters for many years – even when Dolly relocated to the St. Peter’s Mission in Montana. Mary never married and she had no children. The nuns were her family. She protected the nuns. Mary wanted to follow her friend to Montana, but was told it was too remote and rustic. However, that all changed when Mother Amadaus became ill with pneumonia and wrote to Mary asking for her support and healing. Mary wasted no time and departed for Montana by stagecoach in 1885. At 53 years old Mary started her new life in Montana. Mary helped nurse Mother Amadaus back to health. The sisters were all in amazement of this tough black woman. Mary was no stranger to rolling a cigar, shooting guns and drinking whiskey. She grew fresh vegetables that were enjoyed by the Sisters and the surrounding community. Mary was forced to leave her beloved mission and the Sisters after a shooting incident. Mary shot in self-defense, and was found innocent, but had to find a new home. Wells Fargo had the mail contract during that time and was looking for someone for the Great Falls to Fort Benton route to deliver the U.S. Mail. It was a rough and rugged route and would require a person of strong will and great survival skills to maneuver the snowy roads and high winds. Mary immediately applied at the ripe age of 60 years old. It was rumored that she could hitch a team of horses faster than the boys half her age and due to her toughness, she was hired! Mary became the first African American mail carrier in the United States and the second woman. Mary was proud of the fact that her stage was never held up. Mary and her mule Moses, never missed a day and it was during this time that she earned the nickname of “Stagecoach,” for her unfailing reliability. The townspeople adopted Mary as one of their own. They celebrated her birthday twice a year since she didn’t know the exact date of her real birthday. Mary Fields was known as Black Mary and Stagecoach Mary. She was considered an eccentric even in these modern times. She was six feet tall and over 200 pounds. By the time she was well known in Central Montana, she had a pet eagle, a penchant for whiskey, baseball (which was a new sport at the time) and a heart as big as the gun she was famous for carrying. Mary wore a buffalo skin dress that she made herself – you might say she drew attention wherever she went – even in a small western pioneer town. Mary was a local celebrity and her legend and tales of her adventures were known by surrounding communities and neighboring states. Gary Cooper (the actor) had his mail delivered by Mary as a young boy in Cascade County. As an adult, he wrote about her for Ebony Magazine in 1955. Her wrote of her kindness and his admiration for her. The famous western artists Charlie Russell drew a sketch of her. It was a pen and ink sketch of a mule kicking over a basket of eggs with Mary looking none to happy. Mary retired her post in 1901 and passed away in 1914. She is buried at Highland Cemetery at St. Peter’s Mission. Her grave is marked with a simple cross.

Happy today

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
they just make the best of everything they have.
Pam here: I didn't say this, but I sure think it's true!

Today was a day of happy, lots and lots of happy.  Our youngest son and his wife were blessed with a lovely little girl.  I am very happy today for them and for our growing family.  Enjoy your day. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Obedience becomes a barrier

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."
- Ben Stein

I was raised with a baffling mixture of no rules or extreme rules depending on the day and the mood of my mother.  Over all, absolute obedience was drummed into my life.  I remember her telling me situations where children died because of disobedience.  This fear of disobeying was escalated by the pedophile that threatened the lives of my younger brother and sister if I did not obey him in every way.  I learned perfect obedience unfortunately in the process I did not learn how to lead, not even my own life.  I struggle with knowing what my dream is.  What do I want to accomplish with my life?  I can obey but how do I choose?  How do I even know?  I want to decide what I want to do with my life but what do I do when I don't have someone telling me what to do?  Early in my counseling I remember KavinCoach asked me what I wanted.  I looked at him puzzled, wondering if this was some kind of trick question.  I asked then if that was an option.  He assured me that it was.  I am still struggling with the same question....what do I want?  The theme of my year is the best is yet to come.  Will I recognize it if lands in my lap?  Will I know what it is without someone telling me?  I excel at following orders.  My life is a bit more troublesome deciding what I want.  Perhaps I need an addendum to my theme...the best is yet to come when I know what it is. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pedestals are wobbly

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Mahatma Gandhi

The problem with putting someone on a pedestal is that they are more likely to fall off.  I started college in the engineering program then transferred to photography when my job required me to take a photography class at the university I worked at.  When I changed majors I had to take all the art classes for my major.  In a 3D design class I was given an 4x8 ft (1.2x4.2 m) piece of card board.  The requirement was to make something that would hold my weight.  I created a pedestal that looked spindly and fragile.  However, when I stood on it, I passed the requirement.  The teacher was astounded.  I used my knowledge from my engineering class to create a strong piece of art. Standing on it reminded me how uncomfortable it can be. 

One of the problems with counseling is the tendency of a client to put their therapist on a pedestal.  My expectations of my counselors is sometimes unreasonable.  I worked long and hard to improve my mental health.  My expectations of my counselors is to always be on higher ground.  I forget that sometimes counselors have bad days, get discouraged, or have expectations of me that feel uncomfortable for me.  I have a lot to think over. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Little black rain cloud

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” — Haruki Murakami

Sometime the rain clouds aren't so little.  I grew up in Tempe, AZ.  One of the phenomenons of the area is summer rain storms.  The wind tears across the desert throwing up a magnificent wall of dirt topped by thunder clouds.  Lightening flashes brilliantly across the sky; a jagged crown to the thunderheads. I loved standing on the roof of the house and watching the wild storms come straight at us from the desert.  Dirt would hit first, a wall of tiny little needles stinking my skin then rain gets dumped out of the sky and vanishes into the starving desert floor. Hold my ground and it will swirl past in time I will be left standing there, wet and alive.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quilt of Holes

I first read this in an email years ago when emails were a source of many inspirational story. This is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it, too.

"Quilt of Holes"

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged  and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each  square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false
accusations that took from me my  world, as I knew it. I had to start over many
times. I often struggled with  the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and  begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and  guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured  painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not  melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes,  creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with  warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life  to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine  through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!
Author: Unknown

Monday, January 20, 2014


"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you."
- Arnold Palmer

Moving forward sometimes takes every ounce of energy. I am maxed out. Other times, I charge ahead for a while then slow down again. Last year, my daughter and I did a mud run with different obstacles including mud pits. The first one the mud was only ankle deep and fairly easy to move through. The next mud hole was knee deep and slowed us down to a lurching gait trying to step high enough to get our feet out of the mud to move forward. The third mud hole was thigh deep. Our total focus was to keep the mud from sucking our shoes off. It was difficult slogging through that pit. We were relieved to finally get through.  Sometimes when I am trying to move forward, I explain to someone else my difficulty and they chide me for not trying hard enough.  Like if I could just do this or that then everything would be great.  I realize that they don't see the mud I feel like I am slogging through.  I want to do better but I feel so bogged down.  Today I had a day off and tried to get several things done.  I accomplished some but I am at the end of the day looking at several things I left undone that have deadlines.  I push and push until my body rebels and I feel miserable.  I feel frustrated that I can't do all the things I feel I should be able to do.  For several weeks now my leg has hurt.  I realized today that it wasn't just one thing that I did but several different things and my leg took the brunt of it.  I noticed that I don't recognize the things that I do that harm myself.  I was taught to ignore the early warning signs.  I joke that pain is my friend because it clues me in that I am pushing my body too hard.  I try not to take pain killers, not to prove how tough I am, but to leave my body's warning system in place.  Mostly I finished what I need to do.  A few more chores then sleep.  I really need sleep.  Good night. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Inspiring Quotes

Sadly over the past year several blogs I followed closed down.  Yet, it was also happy for those that moved on to living and no longer trying to decide if they had the right to live.  Raised by narcissistic parents, a child growing to adulthood, many didn't realize they had a right to live their own life on their own terms.  They questioned themselves.  They battled out of the fog.  They learned new ways of living.  Shutting down their blogs was there way to say, "I am letting go of old ways and moving on."  I am happy for them but sad to see them go.  Glad they feel free to live yet sad to loose those connections.  A few kept in touch other ways which I am very happy with these connections.  I am now looking for new blogs that I would like to follow and share.  I learned that some bloggers have a few interesting posts just like some readers find mine interesting occasionally.  I like this post at Alaskan Muse above.  I'll visit a few more times.  It is time for me to let go of those that are gone and change the follow links on my page.  I struggle with letting go.  I hope the bloggers I find will become sources of inspiration to others.  Have a beautiful day. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I used to believe this:
When other people are made to feel important and appreciated, it will no longer be necessary for them to whittle others down in order to be seen bigger by comparison.  Virginia Arcastle

 Please visit our websites at, or
I don't any more.  I thought I could pour into someone else until they felt no need to criticize, belittle, and tear me down.  It wasn't until my holes were revealed and no matter how much my counselors tried to make me feel important and appreciated, I couldn't see it.  I do believe we need to share with others how important they are to us.  I do believe we need to appreciate one another but no person can do enough for someone else until they are ready to believe they are important and what they do is appreciated.  There is nothing anyone can do to convince a person that tears others down to build themselves up that the only person they are hurting is themselves.  My counselors cannot make me feel good about myself.  I cannot make someone else feel good about themselves.  When Christ said, "Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." I might think about it as I can only love my neighbor as much as I love myself.  If I want to increase my love for others then I need to increase my love for myself.  The people that heap criticism on me will not do anything differently until they love themselves more.  What I do does not change the situation.  If I do everything my critic ask me to do, they will simply find something new to criticize, since the criticism is not about me.  In reverse, if I want to love others more, I need to love and appreciate myself more.  I am fascinated by this connection between loving others and loving myself.  I am still trying to grasp the width and breadth of what it means.  I finally understand how powerful the connection is.

Delicate connections

Friday, January 17, 2014

Recommended page

Dear Readers,
Some one recommended this page to me.  I am sharing it with your for the weekend.  ENJOY:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pesky and Fascinating....


One of the powerful things about multi-personalities for me was the ability of one persona to completely detach from all emotions.  When I started counseling there were times when KavinCoach would ask me how I felt about something and I would stare at him blankly wondering why I should feel anything at all.  He knew about dissociation but I think he was intrigued at how completely emotions would vanish.  He knew that part of the integrating process would put emotions front and center in my life.  He also knew it was not going to be comfortable for me.  I was so pissed when I realized that after integration I lost my escape hatch from emotions.  I was stuck with the pesky things yet I am fascinated and intrigued by them as well.  A friend sent me an interesting web page that combines emotions with a visual mapping of how the body reacts to emotions.
Well worth checking out.  I was intrigued that feeling blue your body really looks blue.  I am curious if it is how they purposely set up the test or a surprise to them as well when they ran the test.  I know that tests can be manipulated but it still is an intriguing view of emotions. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Both sides now

Cassandra commented on yesterdays post that "You've looked at clouds from both sides now.... ;)"  Her words warmed my heart.  Driving to work I was singing "I've looked at clouds from both sides now..."(Joni Mitchell
Tears were flowing as I sang the song.  I first learned the song when I was in high school.  I loved it then and understand it now.  Bridging gaps into my past loosens emotions long buried, forgotten in the sands of time, music tends to sink my mind into an image and becomes mine.  Perhaps some day I'll use my own photos to illustrate this beautiful song. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mostly Happy

I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.  Martha Washington

 Please visit our websites at

  I am fascinated when the same quote pops up over and over from different sources. I can't decide if frequency pulls my attention or the quote is harmonizing with what I am believing already.  When I started counseling, I felt that most of the time I was fairly happy.  I didn't know I had super powers of making emotions, memories and thoughts disappear.  The rules were drastically changed with integration.  But over all I describe myself as more of a cork.  Put me down or hold me under, eventually I'll pop back up to happy.  I look for it.  I decide to find it.  Amazingly it just keeps showing up.  One of the books that altered my thinking about happy is Life's Uncertain, Eat Dessert First.  Interestingly, KavinCoach didn't like it.  I decided that was OK.  He didn't need to like it.  The book encouraged me to worry less and have more fun.  I still remember the advice it gave about choosing to be happy.  I decided to take the challenge.  I stepped outside and it was a cloudy day.  Bummer.  Clouds depressed me.  Well, I am determined.  So, I stood on the door step and stared out the clouds.  M A G I C A L.  The clouds looked like a humongous painting, like Heavenly Father painted a magnificent skyscape just for me.  I've loved clouds ever since. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Not finding my path

I've learned...we have been all placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else's idea of life. — Unknown

I do believe that each person coming to Earth has a purpose.  Unfortunately, barriers, obstacles and just plain choices may keep us from our paths.  Sometimes we choose the wrong path in the first place.  On the other hand, a 'wrong' turn takes us in a whole new direction that makes all the difference.  Yesterday, in Sunday School a lively discussion percolated on this subject.  The general consensus was that we had a responsibility to find our paths.  My mother happened to be there.  She came over to me afterwards and was trying to state how I chose to be with her and other stuff that set off a deep trigger.  In high school, my father changed my schedule from home ec to biology.  I was informed that my mother could teach me that stuff and I was to focus on science.  I did.  My father also did not accept that my mother had no desire to teach me how to cook or sew or as little as possible.  She didn't like competition.  So I did science, I learned to love it.  I had an aptitude for math.  I wanted to be a math teacher.  This time my mother told me that I was not to be a teacher.  Sitting there in Sunday School my mother denied all of this.  Later that night she wrote a lengthy email affirming that she didn't want me to be a teacher since she had an unpleasant experience in teaching and felt it paid poorly, my parents decided I should not go into teaching.  The email was all about her and at the end she denied that my father changed my scheduled and claimed that they never went to the school other than open house and parent teacher conference.   At the time, I didn't rebel.  I did what I was told to do.  If I were a teacher now, I would get paid 3 times as much as I am being paid in the job I am in.  Computer science paid higher they said.  It did.  I was also laid off and hated doing it.  I learned that just because I am good at something doesn't mean that I should do it.  I decided that the path I am on is the right one for me and at any point I can decide to go in a different direction.  I could spend the money now and become a math teacher.  I could get recertified in computer repair and make more money there.  I can stay where I am and do what I do because at the end of the day I go home and no work comes home with me.  That is kind of nice.

I never made the poster that KavinCoach assigned to illustrate my dreams.  I give up on books that talk about my strengths.  I feel so  foggy when I look at where I should go.  I really don't know.  I am here.  I live one day at a time.  I don't even write my posts a day or two in advance.  I have about 100 half started posts.  Some are links to pages that I want to revisit.  Others I want to write some day but not ready to.  Others I go back and wonder why I saved the quote.  I'm afraid to delete it in case I remember later.  I am beginning to believe I have a future.  I just don't know what to do with it. 

Dreams should be guarded.
Some dreams are totally unreal

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Heart of a teacher

Simpletruths shares:

Heart of a Teacher

For a long time I've wanted to publish a book with inspirational stories about how teachers made a difference in the lives of their students; because I know they made a difference in mine!

Paula Fox helped to make that dream come true. She's a teacher with 35 years experience teaching and leading all ages from preschool through adult. 

Her book, Heart of a Teacher, is an inspirational masterpiece!! The stories, the quotes and Paula's beautiful original poetry will grab the heart of any teacher, or anyone (like me) whose life has been influenced by a teacher.

Today, I'd like to share the beautiful true story about Mark Eklund, which was written by Sister Helen Mrosla. I'm betting it's one you won't forget!

 An excerpt from Heart of a Teacher
 by Paula Fox
 He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minnesota. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, he had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.

 Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving. "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

  One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!" It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."

 At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it, Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third. One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish the assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend." That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

 On Monday, I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much." No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.

 That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip, the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, "Dad?" My father cleared his throat as he usually did before saying something important.

 "The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend." To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

 I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, "Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me." The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.

 After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. I keep it in the top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album." "I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists." That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

 The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

To Life,
Mac Anderson
Founder, Simple Truths

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness
Nursing note......Random act of kindness

An excerpt from
by Mac Anderson The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued; "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

I'm working on my priorities.  Not an easy thing to do.  Hope you enjoyed the story, its a favorite of mine.  Maybe a few marbles will go a long way to me focusing on what is important to me. 

Friday, January 10, 2014


I finally do feel better.  Amazing what a weekend can do for you...just knowing it is coming is lovely. 

A new book arrived.  Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life by Scott E. Spraldlin, MA This book is recommended by MyCounselor.  I was puzzled at first.  Way back over 10 years ago when I started counseling...I had no connection with my emotions....none.  I could not tell you what I felt.  Then counseling helped me reconnect with the pesky things.  It was painful, difficult, frustrating, confusing, a veritable flood of disorganized yuck.  Much like Pandora's box, all the ugly screamed out.  I attempted to slam the door shut.  Then a whispered, "Wait..."  KavinCoach encouraged me over and over and over again to "Wait..." I doubted for what was I waiting? More pain, more suffering, more horrors that were all a part of my life that I drew a dark blanket over.  For what was I waiting?  Hope.  Peace.  Happiness.  Joy.  Those are all emotions too.  This past couple of months I discovered emotions full force and unregulated.  Exhausting business - emotions.  I am sitting here reminding myself this was why I stayed in counseling so I could feel.  My friend posted a quote by Oscar Wilde, "To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."  I reposted the quote with the addition, "I existed until I could learn how to live."  I read the introduction to the book tonight.  I like it when I can see eye to eye with the author from the first pages.  His overview hit every point I am interested in learning:
Part I: The Nature of Emotion
Part II: Naming and Describing Your Emotions
Part III: Reducing Blocks to Emotion Regulation
Part IV: Leading an Emotional Skillful Life.
This looks good.  The Best is Yet to Come.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Feel Better?

If illnesses were treated like mental illnesses.
Graphic images.

 I found this image on Facebook.  Since copyright issues are a bit dicey, I am placing a link here on my blog because the image isn't mine.  I noticed on more than one occasion that people without any experience with mental illness have all sort of 'wonderful ideas' to help out that make absolutely no sense.  (I really want a sarcasm font.)

The picture covered some of them.
A few that come to mind:

Just let it go.
Get over it.
Think only positive thoughts.
It will all be better in the end.
Do you feel better today?

I decided that I really need to think of some answers that would meet my need of a pithy statement.  I am not sure I even want to maintain a relationship with a person making such statements but on the other hand burning every bridge sounds like a dicey choice.   I am going to try a few.  If you come up with one, please, post in comments and I will add them to the post.

Just let it go.  Answer:  I did, it came crawling back.

Get over it.  Answer: I am too short, I can't get my leg over.

Think only positive thoughts.  Answer: I tried that and got bored.

It will all be better in the end.  Answer:  I decided to not get to the end, so I want another alternative.

Do you feel better today?  Answer:  Oh yes, I felt much better; is my lying good enough now?

Did I mention I am feeling completely out of sorts but the germs took a retreat and I am back at work.  So I guess I feel better today.  :-p

Chihuly at Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden....taking pictures of his work makes me very happy.  :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sick and tired

Being sick sucks.  Yep.  The yearly winter cold finally caught me.  I also notice that my spirits take a dive too.  I did follow my heart yesterday and it took me to the Botanical Gardens and Chihuly glass.  This is a few shots with my new camera:

Winter Sun

Desert Pineapples

Swaying in the Garden


Sunset adds its own color

Dancing with Cactus