dVerse Poets Pub: Quadrille – Hope

De is our pubtender today at dVerse. She is giving us the word “hope” to use in our quadrilles. What is a quadrille? It is a poem of exactly 44 words, excluding the title. A prompted word is to be used in the poem. Any derivative of the word hope is accepted. I have included one of my favorite songs from the now defunct program, Enterprise: Strenght of the Heart. I hope you all will listen.  This song has gotten me through some hard times.  I hope it will bring hope to your heart.  It keeps me from negativity!

Hope

As long as there are stars in the night sky
As long as trees endure,
As long as children sing and play,
As long as people share goodness with each other,
As long as we have love in our hearts
I will have hope.

Happy 2015: Faith of the Heart

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Happy new year, my friends who have become family. I wish you all the best of everything that is good to be present in your life and the lives of those you love.

I read your posts. Like me, I know you all have had rough patches, sad times, fear, despair….I have read of your struggles but mostly, I have read of your victories.  How you kept going in spite of everything.  You have lost jobs, homes, those you love.  You have been diagnosed with illnesses, had accidents. injuries.  But mostly, I have read of your faith and hope.

And always, I read your comments to me encouraging me.  I hope I have encouraged you all as well.

So….Happy 2015.  I know many of you will relate to this song which has reminded me many times of that “faith of the heart”.  I pray we are all of moving from the cold dark to the warm light.  You all lift me up and I hope on this first day of the new year, I can do the same for you.

My prayers go out for you all daily.  Bless you all.

 

Cup of Kindness – 2015

 

And so we come to the end of another year. This has been a year of tremendous changes. In spite of so many hard things, there have been many good things.  In March, I lost my job due to ageism and racism. Ugly combination, hey? And as time has progressed, my mother has become more fragile in her health and after rescuing her from a bad situation in Florida and taking her to live with her youngest sister in Tennessee, she just seemed to just step off the edge of the cliff. Health folks often call it that. She is now in and out of reality. Dementia is a demon from which there is no escape. I call her daily. The other day she asked me where my father was and why he hadn’t been to visit. I gently told her he died 30 years ago. She didn’t remember. This is a daily heartbreak for me. It is also a daily reminder of those fragile relationships that mean so very much and could suddenly….end.

But there has been highs in this past year. I’ve been able to devote more time to my writing, reading, cooking, independent study and went back to school for pharmacy. Being an engineer, my outlook isn’t the typical glass half empty/full thing. Our thing is, if the glass is half empty or half full, then get another glass. So I got another glass.

I am also ending this year finding out that my deep depression disorder is not that at all. I am bi-polar. Not a death sentence by any means but a life sentence none the less. But I can and will cope. I have the best husband in the world and I have friends – beyond excellent friends.  Hope and faith – words for the new tomorrow.  I promise, I’ll do my best not to be whiney about it!

Dear Chloe over at: http://sirenatales.wordpress.com did a post on Automaticity. Just what I was thinking for the past week or so. Basically, practice makes perfect. Practice a dance move, a speech pattern, whatever – until you do it automatically without thinking. Like when I draw my wakizashi with that single sweep and into fight position. I don’t think, I do.

What to practice in 2015 until it becomes so engrained? Here’s my list. What about yours?   Compassion, hope, joy, positivity, sharing, honor, humility of spirit, curiosity, open mindedness, open heart, gentleness, faith…big one – Faith. 

I forget who said this: When we worry today, we rob tomorrow of its hope.  There.  Nuff said.

I thank all of you who follow both my blogs; this one and Aki no Koe. Thank you for your likes, comments, kindnesses, prayers, positive thoughts. Thank you for your posts and all you have shared. Blessings to you in 2015.  I wish you all and those you hold dear, the best that can be granted to you.

And above all, let us practice kindness. Let us drink deeply from that cup o’ kindness and pass it on. Let us practice it until we don’t have to even think about it. Kindness as automatic as our hearts beating. Sharing it without thinking.

Six Years Ago Today – Return from hiatus, Cancer, and other such things

With apologies to my friend Bill Hamilton: I don’t like Florida. Good people there but it is just too darn hot and steamy – and the mosquitos…..like a biblical plague. Enough about that.  This is a long post and I hope no one will be offended by it.  I hope you will please read all of it.

This is one of those rambling posts and eventually, I’ll get to the points about the kindness of unstrangers (one of my favorite topics) and to tell you all, God’s not dead. Please don’t stop reading because this is an important post and concerns a diagnosis of cancer. I know many of you do not believe in the existence of a supreme being for whatever reason. And that is cool. I neither condemn nor attempt to convert. I just want you all to know: God’s not dead.

Six years ago, I should have died from uterine cancer, but I did not. Six years ago, I was not feeling well, was constantly tired, in pain, troublesome symptoms. I had scheduled an appointment with my MD and based on things I had told her, she determined I needed more of an exam rather than just the usual. It happens on that day, she was not able to come into the office so her PA (physicians assistant) took her calls. Being a bit hypervigilant, he examined me and took the procedure a little further than usual. A week later, my PAP smear came back with an abnormal reading. I was sent to a specialist who biopsied and then two weeks later, I found out I had uterine cancer.

Uterine cancer is normally a killer. It mimics other diseases and symptoms and because PAP smears usually are not taken from higher up than normal but this one time, the PA went higher. Because of his vigilance, the cancer was caught at virtually ground zero. Women usually die from this cancer because it is usually found and diagnosed too late.

The week before this diagnosis, I was teaching my adult Sunday School about acceptance and God’s timing. Tuesday, I was told about the cancer. I’ll be honest; I felt like I was sucker punched. I sat in my car and wept and shivered and wept some more. I kept hugging to myself that God would take care of me. I told myself over and over that what God brings me to, He will carry me through by His grace. I assured myself that the oncologist I was referred to, would take care of me. I went to him that afternoon because of the diagnosis. He told me it was nothing short of miraculous the uterine cancer had been found so early. That there was hope for my recovery. I then went home and told my family.

Telling my family was the hardest part. My mother was angry. She said that I didn’t deserve this, that I was a good person and God had no right to do this to me. My husband looked like I had kicked him in the family jewels and just stared. I was calm. I told them it would be okay that I believed, however it turned out, that it would be okay. The oncologist (one of THE best in Richmond for women’s cancers) would be taking care of me and was optimistic about my recovery. I had faith in the love of God and His plans for me.

I told myself this over and over and over. People at my church prayed for me and my family. People who didn’t know me prayed, sent their positive thoughts, vibrations, wishes…I was so surrounded by love and light from so many people, many of them strangers.

The day came for my surgery. I would be in hospital on my birthday – I took note of the irony of that. Now this is the really hard part. I know people are going to scoff at this but that’s okay too. My family and some friends were sitting in the waiting room, waiting to hear how things went and would go in the future. My husband said the doctor, when he came out was very still and had an odd look on his face. He thought to himself, he’s going to tell us she died, that she will die, that it is hopeless. My mother began crying.

The doctor then said, the surgery went well. When I opened her up, the parts that had shown up on the MRI and PET were clean. There was no cancer – everything was as clean as when I was born, no lymphatic problems, no cancer. He went ahead and performed the surgery to be on the safe side. He shook his head and told them, “This is a first for me. Your wife, your daughter is fine.” He then shook hands with everyone there and went back to perform another surgery. My mother said people began to cheer and hug each other. When my family was allowed to see me, they told me what had happened. Truly, it turned out okay. So again I say, God’s not dead.

For some reason, I was given this incredible miracle. No, it was not a mistaken diagnosis. I saw the results of the tests showing the infected parts of my body. I got a second opinion and went back to my oncologist.

I have been in Florida with my mother. She is currently in a rehab health center. She had decided to give up and starve herself to death and came really close. the week before I went down, every time the phone rang, I expected it. She asked me to please bring her some good juicy tangy Southern tomatoes. I made her tomato sandwiches twice a day while I was there and she ate every bite. I spoke to the Doctor and dietician about what she was being fed (pureed food that looked like a combo of pig puke and cow poop and smelled about the same) and why? So now she is being fed regular food and doing okay with it. We all know hospital food ain’t the best, but she is eating some of the food off her tray every day and drinking her nutritional supplement. She has gained four pounds. From being at death’s door, she is now waiting to be transitioned to assisted living.

I told Mama about all the amazing people and especially those of you in the blogosphere who sent prayers to her, who sent positive vibes and feelings of light and love. She was so encouraged by your kindness. I was as well. We still have some tough times to go through, but I feel better about some things regarding her.

And again I say, as long as there are people who care, even about strangers, no matter their belief or unbelief, that God’s Not Dead. I am proof of this. The way my mother was encouraged and lifted up is proof. I never cease to be amazed by the goodness and caring of my fellow humans on this earth.

So however you feel or believe, that is fine.  Just don’t ever stop believing in the goodness of our fellow travelers on this journey of life.  Never stop caring, never stop letting people know you care, always accept that care and love from others.

Monday Musings

Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions.
Small people always do that,
But the really great make you feel
that you too, can become great.
Mark Twain

You must always remember…
You are Braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think.
Christopher Robin

sky2

 

Wounded Warriors – Thank you – Faith of the Heart

I volunteer at our local Veteran’s Hospital.  It has been my privilege and honor to be of service to our service personnel who have been wounded in the line of duty.  It has been heartbreaking and heart lifting.   I can do so little and really, it is they who have helped me.

We all have our journeys and wounds – some wounds take longer to heal than other.  But I have learned from these courageous warriors, it is your attitude that is what is important – how you define your pain and suffering and healing rather than letting the wounds define you.  They encourage each other and when necessary, tell one another to get off their pity pot and start going forward.  Wow.

Several years ago, a new saga in the Star Trek mythology came on TV – Enterprise – the pre-history of the original Star Trek most of us know.  I was immediately captivated by it and not just because the luscious Scott Bakula (a long time favorite) was the star of the show.  The theme music, when first I heard it in the opening credits, brought tears flowing down my cheeks.  Faith of the Heart….the words said it all to me about my journey, pain, hard times, renewal, faith, healing.  A few Sundays ago, it was my time to do the special music for church service.  After much thought of so many other songs, I chose this.  I chose it because it is a true song. It says much about my journey of faith as well as my journey of life.

One day on one of the wards, one of the guys was having a hard time with his physical and emotional healing.  He had lost both legs below the knee and one arm at the shoulder.  He had been working so hard and today, he was so tired of it all.  I was sitting, helping a young man with his lunch when one of the other men, began singing this song.  In just a moment, it was taken up by the others.  Obviously, this song rang true to them all.  I sat there awed and humbled by these men – they were wounded for us and now, they were at their most vulnerable and yet, also at their strongest.  The young man was encouraged and began to sing along.  Afterwards, they all applauded and cheered and continued on with their healing process.  No whining, no blame, no holding back –

The video with the words is below.  As you continue your journey in life, remember these words, remember these heroes, remember: it is your choice how you heal or don’t. It is your choice how you move forward or stay stuck.  They were wounded for us, but they were healed for themselves and those they love.

Thank you again to all our service members, wounded, healed, whole, deployed, at home, retired…God bless and keep you every one.

My Words for 2014

Every year, I meditate and pray and then my words for coming year come and I use them to live in the next year. This year my words are: Choice, Joy, and No Fear.

I will choose to live my life with Joy and No Fear. The choices I make will have to do with Joy and No Fear. The choices I make will hopefully allow me to live a life of kindness, courtesy, curiosity, health.

Last year was a year full of events that caused me much fear and anxiety, depression, pain. Some I could control and others I could not. I am going to exercise my faith muscle. I do believe in a God that loves me and renews His faithfulness and love to me daily. I will choose to have more faith, more trust, I will listen to that Holy Spirit in me that whispers it is always close and there for me. I will work on that relationship of love and trust and in turn, have less fear and more joy.

I will treasure each moment and person I love. Oddly, it was a dog that led me to this, or rather, her person. I follow the blog, Rumpydog (http://wp.me/p1GPpQ-2D9) . DeDe, one of the dogs, has cancer. Her human is having a hard time with this and trust me, I understand this totally. My beloved Pugsley cat and I went through this a few years ago and it still makes me cry. I miss his sweet self. I try to be the person he always thought I was.

But anyway, Sundays, DeDe gives beauty tips. That sweet dog says, the best beauty accessory is a smile. She also said her resolve for 2014 was to live each day to the fullest because you never know how much time you have. And she is right. I’m probably too tender hearted in these things, but it makes me cry for her and for her human. And she is right.

My mom is not doing well. COPD, old age…it is scary and makes me feel like I will soon be an orphan. We never know from one breath to the next how much time we have in this life and with people we love. I lost two dear friends this year – cancer and suicide. I am still reeling from this and working through it.

So I choose to live my life full of joy. I can’t go about fearing the next moment or event. Passion, joy, excitement, curiosity. Smelling a rose, watching a robin pulling a worm out of the ground, the mental pleasure of making an A on a Quantum Mechanics course, doing the Quick Step with my husband down the hall, rubbing the sweet face of my Sam the Ripper Cat, hearing my mother’s voice on the phone. All of this and more.

What we have in this life if we choose it: grace, joy, hope, faith. I open my arms to 2014. Here’s to a year of living joyously: frying chicken, writing bad haiku and loving it, breathing in sweet winter air, tracking the progress of the flowering quince bush, smiling at babies sitting in grocery carts, being gente with elderly folks on the phone when they call for information at my job, trying to steer my teen Sunday class through the paths of righteousness, sharing my love of life and joy, being sentimental and not ashamed to feel, to making new friends, to letting my heart choose those friends rather than conventional wisdom, trying to be a loving and loyal friend, daughter, wife, woman….to continuing to blog and never getting Freshly Pressed and never having more than 300 followers which is fine because I’m okay but you folks are even better, to having a year of dreams and maybe one day…maybe sitting on the viewing platform at Ryoan-ji in the snow once again, to never having my heart closed to love…

What are your words for 2014? What are your dreams? What do you want? Face your fears – take your passion and make it happen. This is your now.

 

 

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