Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Glory to God, He Healed Me!

So last week was I was miserable in my low back. Felt like I'd fallen on my tailbone and/or lifted and twisted an 80 pound dog the wrong way--but I hadn't done any of that. Just couldn't walk more than a shuffle. Couldn't sit for 10 minutes without ice or heat on my back. Was taking ibuprofen like candy.
Getting out of bed was the worst.  Nothing was helping for very long at a time.

By Saturday I was in tears while driving home from Joann's with quilting pins.  I was under a deadline to get my quilt to Preeti, my friend who has a quilting blog and offered to quilt this for me.

Driving at 3:00 pm on a back road toward home, I began to sob and feel broken.  I cried to God, "Oh, please, dear Father, heal me. Please! I know you love me so much. I know you hate to see your child in pain. I don't deserve mercy but I am asking you to fix what's wrong. Make me well. Take my pain. Please! Abba, Daddy, my Father, you can do it. I believe you can!"

Two hours later I was sitting with Preeti, showing her my quilt.  We chatted and laughed and I learned more about her and her culture. I was happy.

More than that, I was free! Free of pain! I didn't realize until I got up and began driving that I was healed!

God did this for me! I had to tell it!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Crap Shoots and Spanx

calamitous, glittering, fraction, ambitious, spanx and indispensable

Delores at Under the Porch Light must have had extra fun wrapping the gift of words into a clever package this week. The bow on top was "Spanx.' Let's just say, it's unusual "material" as writing prompts go, which makes it all the more exciting. 


Irene wondered if she were making a calamitous mistake by saying "yes" when her best friend Gladys asked her to be her matron of honor. After all, Irene had watched Gladys change boyfriends as often as some people unload the dishwasher. 

A first wedding for the 77- year-old Gladys, she had  spent the better part of 60 years pursuing what most people would call a glittering career as a Las Vegas showgirl. Plastic surgery provided the nips and tucks needed like oil changes every 5,000 miles on her Mercedes of a body. Gladys thrived on the ambitions she'd dreamed for herself when she'd left  the plains of Nebraska. 

Gladys's second best friend, after Irene, was Spanx, the rubberized brand of material known for punishing the largest fraction of the female torso in the name of vanity. She endured the punishment heroically; after all, a showgirl's tight curvatures--derriere, midriff, and cleavage-- were indispensable to her paycheck.  

What's more, she knew she couldn't retire the Spanx unless she herself retired.  

Or got married, whichever came first.   

It was the crap shoot of all crap shoots.


Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time
It's been too long since I posted, and it's not for lack of desire. I've been spending most of my free time at my sewing machine, making a gift which has a deadline in early August.   Not only that, I am so behind in editing all the photos I've taken, I have felt overwhelmed.

1.  It's hard to edit when clicking on photos causes a "big Mac attack."  And by that I mean the Apple laptop. Ours  has been crashing every half hour  or so, at random times, mainly when clicking on an image or video.  This Mac holds all my photos of 2014.  So "picture" this: I'd open blogger, select a few photos, write a few captions, continue, and then POOF!  Crash!  Aggravating to the max .

2.  We finally had the sweet privilege of having our 22-year-old computer geek son come and diagnose the problem.  He said it appears to be a flaw in the graphics card. A hardware problem.  That explains why it's been crashing when I've clicked on photos or other graphics for this here blog or when surfing the Web. We are pretty sure that Apple will take care of it at no expense.  And it's not my fault. That's the main thing.

3.  I've finished five baby doll quilts and most of a sixth. My goal is to send seven in all through Operation Christmas Child, AKA "the shoebox ministry."  A friend who loves to make cloth dolls is making seven dolls, dressed in colors to coordinate with each quilt.  Our small group will be adding the extra little things (school supplies, toys, candy, etc.) so it's a collaborative effort I'm excited about.

4.  Our master bathroom is all but finished. Just a better window treatment and a piece of art and I'll be able to show pictures.  Provided, of course, that Mac gets fixed soon.

5.  My niece will turn one on August 12th.   Wow, a whole year has FLOWN by!!

6.   Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the death of my dear friend Carol. She left a legacy of prayer and joy.  I hope I leave as wonderful a legacy as she did.

7.  Please don't abandon me for lack of frequent posting. Honestly I do care about all my bloggy friends and readers. I just have had to focus on other creative elements of my life lately--while the confusing, paralyzing stuff like computer hardware malfunctions really screw up my plans.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peppering the 'Podge with P's

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?

That eventually cancer touches every person's life. You, someone you know and/or someone you love will be affected by this  horrible disease. Last year I lost a friend to breast cancer, a co-worker to brain cancer, and my fifth grade teacher to brain cancer.  Monday we got the shocking news that one of our family friends died of liver cancer just one WEEK after his diagnosis.  And yesterday,  when I picked up my friend to take her to her oncology appointment, she was saying goodbye to her son who was loading a U-Haul heading to California. It was all too much to bear.   In my car she sobbed and screamed,   "It's just not right! This is all SO WRONG, ZO!  I AM SO OVER THIS WHOLE CANCER THING!"

With a little bit of time and tears, her spirits were lifted and she was telling me that she's going to every appointment wearing pearls.  They make her feel pretty. She also asked the doctor if she had kids, because the only way to describe her chills was to call them "pee shivers."  The doctor didn't have kids and she'd never heard of pee shivers. Have you?

2. Where did you last 'roam'?

Around the house, looking for something I just had.  Happens too often.  Perchance you know what I'm talking about?

3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pasta.  Of course we are assuming it's topped with marinara or meat sauce.  right? Or shrimp and scallops with alfredo?  No? Well, that's okay. I've been known to eat cold noodles pulled right out of the fridge. I'm  99.9 percent sure that when my organs are harvested when I die, the tissue will all be made of  pasta. They won't be worth a penne to me at that point.

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Rome wasn't built in a day.  All these projects I want done NOW, take time. Take redecorating a bedroom, which is the big goal I have set for myself at the moment, home wise.  There's planning, preparing, purchasing, purging, and --while I'm using annoying alliteration--pinning pictures from Pinterest for pleasure.

5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

Roman Holiday

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

I've not been to the California park but we took the kids to the Disney World (Florida) when "the baby' was 3.  Our fondest memory is when that "baby' decided he did NOT like Mickey Mouse touching him for a picture,-it was creepy to my boy-- he turned around and punched him in the stomach!

I'm not an amusement park fan, but I do like bumper cars  and dolphin shows. Anywhere to plop my posterior down after walking miles,  or standing in line for an hour for a 45 second drop from Pluto to pavement.

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

Last year, within 3 hours' time, I was stung twice on our front porch steps as I attempted to take my son and his friend out for a game of laser tag. 
It was as if that darn bee said, "Not today, lady. If I can't go, THEY can't go. 
And if YOU can't go, THEY can't go.  So ----bzzzzst!--gotcha!.....Gotcha again!"

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I am grieving this week (see question 1) .  Too much heartache. And on top of that, I screwed up my back.  It's hard to get up out of a sitting or lying position. It's uncomfortable to walk or bend over. I'm not sure what I did but this is the third day of near-misery .

Okay, I promise not to wallow here. I will be back with fun pictures of my baby niece, 
maybe some doll quilts I've finished, and something to make you smile. But today is the middle of a hard week emotionally and physically. It's real life and Jesus promised, "In this world you will have trouble, but I give you my peace, that where I am, there ye may also be."

His presence and peace...yes, that is where I'll end my post. Think on Him. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pleasantries Under the Porch Light

For the first time in a long time, I'm joining Delores at Under the Porch Light for her meme called Wednesday's Words.  Each week she presents six words; the idea is to craft a literary something- story, poem, memoir--whatever you want. You don't even have to post on Wednesdays, and there are no rules.  Sweet.

This Wednesday's words are: insinuate, method, reverse, pleasantries, donkey and darker.


Sixteen-year-old Colleen pulled her long, red, frizzy hair into a tight knot on top of her head as she leaned  against a fence post on the north side of the pasture.  It was the quickest method of getting her messy tresses off her neck.

"Sure is hot out here!" she moaned to her friend Shaniqua, whose short, wiry cornrows made Colleen jealous sometimes. "I wish I had your hair today!"

"White skin, freckles, and cornrows.  Girl, you crazy!"  said Shaniqua.  She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, gazing out over four acres of flat fields.    "You know I never get to see this much grass--I mean the green kind sticking up from the ground--where I come from.  All this land. All this sky. All this fresh air. Girl, you don't know you good you got it."

Such pleasantries were a treat to exchange between city girl and country girl, who had become friends four years prior, when Shaniqua's grandparents bought the adjacent farm . Every summer , Shaniqua would spend two weeks here, enjoying the company of Colleen O'Neal and her six brothers and sisters and their parents.

Shaniqua folded her much darker arms on top of the whitewashed fence and gazed out at the two horses and one lone donkey in the field.

"Ever wonder what they're thinking?" Shaniqua asked.

"All the time. But honestly, I think they only think about food and sex.  In reverse order." said Colleen.

"They all guys?"  Shaniqua laughed.

"No, just Martin, the donkey. Goldie's a mare,  Dotty's a filly, her daughter.  But are you insinuating that only guys think about food and sex?"

"Of course! Everybody know we girls think about all kinda stuff, not just that!"

"Speak for yourself," Colleen quipped. 'Why do you think Irish women have so many kids?"

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Boredom and Attempted Burglary in Today's Hodgepodge

Lest you be bored with a long intro, here's the cure--getting started now with the fun Q & A.

1. July is National Anti-Boredom Month. When was the last time you were bored? What's your go-to cure for boredom?

 I was bored on the 4th of July, quite honestly.  Or maybe restless is a better word. No parade, no fireworks, nothing, because my husband and son had no desire and I wasn't going to rain on anyone's parade by inviting myself to go with them. The worst part? It was the most gorgeous weather of the year so far! 

I'm seldom bored because, as my mom has always said, "there's no room for boredom in the life of a reader."  But instead of reading, this time I sewed. 

2. What's the last thing you made a reservation for?

A hotel room for my nephew's wedding at the beach in September!!!! Can't wait. It combines
family reunion with a getaway with sand and sea and ultimate romance!

3. What's one thing on your summer 'bucket list'? Any plans to make it happen?

I have a 50-thing bucket list this summer, and have checked off a few. One thing on the list is to sand off all the textured paint from my bedroom walls, and strip the wallpaper border. That's actually two.

If you remember the decorating rage of the late 90's, everyone was into faux finishes. "Ragging off" is the one I chose for this bedroom, and hubby was against it . But I had done 16 square feet of faux finish (Floral White plus Botanical Beige) before he got home from work one day in Y2K.  He had two choices, but begrudgingly caved into humored me. 

He said a month  ago he would absolutely not UNdo it. That was my punishment job.

Doesn't that sound like the cure for boredom? Yes, and also the cure for any harebrained ideas in the future that run along the lines of, "Oh, wouldn't it be cool to add a faux finish to 288 square feet of wall?"  I could just fa
ux up.  My plan is to sand one section at a time for  week .Should be fun with a bad right shoulder.

4. What's your favorite summertime sip?

This question should not  rattle my brain, but it has.  It's a three-way tie for 
pink lemonade, suntea with fresh mint, or a mango Seagram's Escape. 

The best part of a summertime sip is the company you sip with, and I usually sit on the porch with my friend Bonnie after we walk our mile/mile-and-a-half through the hilly neighborhood in the evening.  Our most frequent after-walk sip is good ole' ice water with lemon but sometimes we rehydrate with something "stronger." Ahem.

5. What do you find is the best way to handle another person's hostility and hopefully ease the tension?

The Bible's answer is 'a soft answer turns away wrath.'  I have not always been the best at knowing what that means, but I'm learning that acknowledging a person's feelings is a soft answer, and probably the best first step.  "I understand"  is a good phrase (and I can always understand that trivial things can set a person off , that have caused deeper issues to boil to the surface).   Finding out what they want , even if you can't or shouldn't fill their want, is an in-road to understanding.

Usually people want to talk about it. Even when they say they don't or "there's nothing to talk about." There is fear, grief, shame, jealousy, ego, loneliness--all kinds of stuff that come out as hostility.

6. Your favorite film set in summer?

Hey, I read that question 10 times and couldn't think of my favorite "film set". I was thinking, "Film set? Not a single film? Like a trilogy? As in Bourne?"  Then I re-read an 11th time and I THINK it means "favorite film that is set in the summer"--as in a summer setting?   I'll go with that. 

I absolutely snorted and wheezed out of my  seat watching "Meatballs" with Bill Murray years and years ago.  So hysterical . It's a summer camp movie. I should watch it again. Maybe it was just seventh grade humor??

7. What word are you using too much lately?

"Now."   Can you please do that now? Are you coming home now? I don't want to play Stratego right now. I'm hungry now.  I'd rather sew right now than cook. Can we go out now?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday morning my daughter-in-law was home alone, folding laundry,  in their apartment when two black men attempted to break in. She had heard loud knocking on neighboring doors and knew she'd be next.  She looked out the peephole and saw the men whispering. There were no clipboards, no uniforms, nothing that would make them look legit. 

She didn't want them to know there was a girl inside alone, so she quietly got up, hoping they wouldn't hear her loud breathing, and pushed hard against the door as they pushed from the other side.  

Eventually they gave up. She sneaked into the bathroom with the phone (unsure if they might come back) and called 911.  Cops came and there was a search with K-9 units and helicopters! Unfortunately, they didn't catch the guys, and she is still afraid they might come back for revenge since the cops were called. I assured her that no, I highly doubt it. Burglars aren't usually going to return to where they almost got caught. They wouldn't remember that apartment anyway (and she removed the identifying wreath on the door, "just in case").  

Besides, they live in a good area.  This was very unusual activity.

Needless to say, my son was really angry when he found out. Two men had tried to break in to his place while his sweet, young, LITTLE wife was home alone??? How DARE they! Not much makes my son mad, but threaten his family and LOOK OUT!!!    Thank GOD for protecting our girl.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Are U-ey with Me in Hodgepodge Number 180?

Whoa!  This is Edition 180 of the Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce . Every week, with few breaks, she poses 7 questions and lets us insert a random thought as number 8.   That's a heck of a lot of questions and  a whole lot of randomness, but it's fun to get to know other bloggers this way. 

Check it out and play along. 

1.  Speaking of 180...when was the last time you 'did a 180' on something?

Literally--and when I say literally, I mean it literally, not figuratively, as some are wont to do, but I digress--the last time I 'did a 180' was about two weeks ago when I was saw a disabled vehicle on the side of the road with a young couple in it.   It was  mid-afternoon, 96 degrees , humidity at about 99 percent, and I was not going to assume the couple had cell phones or that anyone else had stopped to help.  I know from experience that an hour and a half can pass--plus 3 cop cars--with a dead cell phone, no gas, a full bladder, and rain coming down--and no one stops. 

The situation was safe for me, so I turned around at the next neighborhood and went back to offer help. They said someone was on the way, but appreciated the offer anyway. 

Figuratively, I changed the course of health I was on right after Easter, started Weight Watchers and have been walking our very hilly neighborhood fairly regularly.  I'm down almost 10 pounds and a dress size. Woot!
My figure-atively is literally shrinking. 

2. It's Independence Week in the US of A! What's your favorite thing about America right this very minute? Favorites only! Let's hear what you love about America.

If you're playing along today, and you're not an American but have been to America, what do/did you like best about this country? If you've never been to America, do you have any desire to visit? What's the number one thing you'd like to see?

Right this very minute?  12:45 a.m. is this very minute, and I'm thinking how --for all the lousy changes in health care lately--we still have incredibly amazing hospitals, doctors, nurses, therapists, and EMTs in this country.  Living as close as I do to Baltimore,  I feel spoiled to have the best hospital in the world--Johns Hopkins--just an hour away. 
We also have the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center when we need it. And, unfortunately, my oldest son did need it once. 

3. Stars or stripes? Red, white, or blue? Watermelon, homemade vanilla ice cream, or blueberry pie?

Stars. Blue. Ice Cream.

4. When did you last see stars, figuratively speaking?

In January, when I was at the gas station. I tripped and hit my head on the metal pump, and my knees and shoulder hit the concrete platform.  I probably had  a concussion but never had it checked out. I could have--I'm five minutes from yet another hospital!

5.  'Clear as a bell', 'with bells on',  'lots of bells and whistles', 'saved by the bell'...which phrase 'rings' truest for you lately?  Have you ever seen The Liberty Bell?

Saved by the bell.  On Sunday we had a guest speaker fill in for our amazing pastor.   The guest speaker's gifts obviously lie elsewhere. Thankfully one of his gifts is his military punctuality, so he ended promptly at 1230 hours. 

Yes,  I've seen the Liberty Bell.  When I was a kid, our fifth grade class went to Philadelphia. 

6. Are you caught up in World Cup fever? Have you watched a lot or a little or none at all?

No, I'm not.  I have watched a tiny bit, but I just have a hard time watching any game that takes forever to score. 
And when a goal is scored, it's only worth one lousy point. I think soccer goals should be worth 20, at least, since they're so take so daggone long to make.

7. Bid farewell to June in 10 words or less.

Goodbye, June. Hello, surgery, chemo, radiation, intense prayer and support.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

My older sister turns 50 this week!!  I'm 13 months behind her.  OY!!!
But still younger!!!!!