Monday, July 16, 2018

True Friends

First I would like to share my definition of a true friend with you: 'A true friend is one who has been with you long before birth. You bonded in the heavens, fondly embracing each other's entirety, and vowing to walk throughout your earthly journeys and beyond together.'

Aside from my immediate family, I've been blessed with five true friends: Barb, Dolly, Anita, Ruthie, and Karen. Barb and Ruthie have returned home, while Dolly, Anita, and Karen continue to travel with me towards eternity.

You probably find my idea of a true friend strange, but it makes perfect sense to me. When you initially meet somebody, if it happens to be one of your true friends, there's an instant connection however subtle it might be. There's something about that person that is familiar although you can't seem to put your finger on it at the moment. It's like you know so much about each other, you think alike, your experiences are very similar, and even any quirkiness that presents itself is considered 'normal' to you both. As time goes on, you begin to recognize each other, certain qualities, some negative traits, and a sincere understanding of the importance each one is to the self-actualization of the other.

Of course your ability to recognize a true friend takes a while, maybe as long as ten years or so. Yet, for some unknown reason neither of you entertain any thoughts of walking away from this relationship because, in truth, it's not possible to relinquish the love of a true friend. Once a true friend, always a true friend! At times you may find yourselves miles apart having little to no contact for years, and then, out of the blue, one decides to call the other. From the first hello, your conversation flows easily, laughter resounds, and fond memories are recalled. You make plans to meet and, come hell or high water, nothing in the world will stop you from getting together.

A true friend is happy for the successes of the other; a true friend grieves when the other half suffers loss;  and a true friend is more than willing to stand up for the other in times of chaos and conflict.

True friends have disagreements, but none are ever so divisive that would threat to sever their ties. Explanations are offered and apologies are always accepted.

Your definition of a true friend most likely is different than mine, you are entitled to your own opinion. But, for me, my definition is not only plausible but in my mind, a certainty.

There may be more true friends out there I've yet to meet, or have already met but don't entirely recognize. If so, I eagerly await our reunion! For now, though, I'm quite happy with my five true friends and cherish our relationships beyond measure!

Blessings and Peace

Monday, July 9, 2018

You CAN Teach Old Dogs New Tricks!

Our sweet Shadow will turn sixteen this October. For the past two or three months, she's been slowly losing her eyesight. Now, completely blind, with a large percentage of her hearing gone, and very little in the way of scent, the only way she gets around is by touch. When she comes downstairs in the morning, she feels her way with her paws, touching the carpet of each step which signals that she's on the right path. I've laid throw rugs in the kitchen so she can make it to the family room door without much difficulty.

Once outside, her challenges however increase dramatically. In the beginning, she'd walk briskly and crash head-first into the patio bench or rocker which diminished her drive to find her favorite potty spot. The poor girl would simply lay down and refuse to continue. I'd have to pick up all thirty-five pounds of dog and carry her into the grass. If she needed to do more, I'd let her wonder around the yard, but without a good sense of smell, her ability to defecate was limited.

I began searching the internet for a solution to dog blindness. I read an article which strongly advised against coddling older dogs with special needs, but suggested to try and teach them how to navigate their world differently. Since the ideas presented in the article weren't very helpful, I thought that with my dog's apparent reliance on touch, I needed to come up with a plan that utilized touch to the fullest extent.

Now when it's time to go out, I give her a pat on the butt and say, 'outside.' I think she recognizes the intonation of that word and immediately gets on all fours and heads for the door. When I open it, I touch her head and say, 'down.' She feels for the doorstep with her paw and carefully steps out. From that point on, I use my knees, calves, shins and hands to guide her to the grassy area, just a little nudge here and there is all she needs.   I've stopped picking Shadow up and she is bumping less and less into obstacles that once kept her from moving forward.

I've also used loud clapping to inform her of my location. She'll turn towards me and slowly follow the sound as best she can. If she stops, I realize she's waiting for my touch so I approach and first pat her head, then knee her butt indicating she should begin to walk again. I stay by her side, using my legs and hands to lead her to the patio. This time when I say, 'up' Shadow knows to climb the step which brings her safely back into the house.

Shadow is living proof that you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! And I am living proof that she CAN teach this 'old dog' a few new tricks as well!



Monday, July 2, 2018

What is ESSENTIAL?

Last weekend, I received a lovely wall hanging from a sweet lady for our 50th  Wedding Anniversary. When I say I, it's because my hubby had never met her before, and she specifically stated it was one of her favorite sayings and it was for me. Now that I've established sole custody, I'm ready to write today's post.

Aside from the soft, beautiful pastel artwork that is the canvas background, the quote goes like this:
                                 'And now here is my secret,
                                  A very simple secret,
                                  It is only with the heart
                                  That one can see rightly.
                                  What is ESSENTIAL
                                   Is invisible to the eye!'

I placed this hanging on the wall directly beside the bed so I could see it first thing in the morning. I especially like its simplicity with a slight touch of mystery...any time a secret is involved, there's got to be an unknown, and after reading the quote for the umpteenth time, I realized 'the unknown' for me was, 'What is ESSENTIAL?' Those words keep rolling around in my brain demanding I give them my time and thought.

I believe the root word for essential is essence, and essence in my mind refers to 'the totality and the core being of one devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons.' So what is my essence, the totality of me, my core being devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons?

Since I've never taken the time to seriously consider this query, my explanation may be primitive, but nevertheless as honest as I can be. Thought, heart, and spirit best describe my essence. Thoughts are a large part of my existence, they enter my consciousness many times without provocation, and demand immediate attention. If an idea is truly persistent, it will keep popping up until I sufficiently give it the respect it deserves. At times, a solution is called for, at other times, mere reflection is enough. I think a lot so maybe that's why some see me as quirky or strange, both of which are not far from who and what I am. No offense taken...ever!

Heart is synonymous with love in my opinion. And love is the Life Force that permeates my core being. I call it, 'Life Force', you may refer to it as 'God,' 'Divinity,' 'Creator,' or any number of titles that suit your beliefs.

This Life Force infuses me with energy in the form of the 'Spirit.' and it is this Spirit that calls upon me to love all people and being somewhat instrumental in bringing about world peace. Now if I always did what the Spirit requests, I'd be canonized Saint Florence Frances Agnes and there'd be a statue of me in our church.We would be at peace within ourselves, our families, our communities, and ultimately in our world. Since we obviously are not totally at peace in any of these categories, I must confess that I run rogue often, ignoring the Spirit within  choosing instead the superficial trappings and add-ons that are fleeting and oh so unproductive!

There you have it, folks, what I've determined to be my essence, at least for now. I also have decided that my essence is always changing, so you can be assured that another post dealing with this topic isn't far behind!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, June 25, 2018

If Only I Could

If only I could tell the wonderful man who chose me to be his bride some fifty years ago what it meant to me then, and what he means to me still...to be his partner in life, to work side by side, to laugh and cry together, to share his bed, to live each day in hope and love, to look with faith towards our future...If only I could...

If only I could express how grateful I am to the wonderful families that were blended together on the day we married...to be embraced in their circle of life, to realize their support is a constant, to be accepted for who and what I am without reserve, to always know I have someone to confide in and someplace to belong...If only I could...

If only I could let the children we were blessed with know how truly amazing they are and how honored I am for them to call me, 'mom'...to be the first to hold them in my arms, to nurture and guide them, to be there in times of joy and sorrow, to understand their frustrations, to offer advice when needed. to chase away the darkness...If only I could...

If only I could sit down with each one of my seven awesome grandchildren and explain how precious a gift they are...to open my heart for them to see where they reside now and forever, to share the stories of my life with them, to encourage them to set and reach their goals, to teach them to embrace diversity, to implant the seed for world peace within all seven...If only I could...

If only I could impress upon my dear friends, both old and new, what an integral part of my life they've been and continue to be...to realize how empty each moment would be without them, to know how much they've enriched every experience we've shared together, to believe that I will always be there for them, to be assured that they are never alone...If only I could...

If only I could find the words, the right words that convey exactly how I feel about all the people in my life who have unselfishly given themselves to me, who have loved me unconditionally, who have accepted my talents as well as my foibles, who have sheltered me and kept me safe...

If only I could....

Monday, June 18, 2018

Human Trafficking Alert!


I was both shocked and saddened to read that human trafficking runs rampant in our area. Since I know next to nothing about this horrific  assault against humanity, I plan to attend this informative session at the Norwin Library this Tuesday. Hopefully you will realize its importance and be present as well.

Blackburn Center on Human Trafficking


Did you know Westmoreland County is one of the top gateways for human trafficking in Pennsylvania?
The Blackburn Center will be presenting “Human Trafficking in Westmoreland County” at the Norwin Public library.
Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.
  1. An estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world this very moment.
  2. An estimated 13 million children are enslaved around the world today, accounting for nearly half of trafficking victims in the world.
  3. The average age of a young woman being trafficked is 12-14 years old.
The program is free, but registration is requested. Please contact the library at 724-863-4700 x3 or stop by the front desk to sign up.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Longing For 'Home'

Lately I've had this longing lying just below the surface of my consciousness. I've been unsettled for some time and yet couldn't identify the cause. After trying very hard to discover why, I decided if I left it alone eventually it would reveal itself or subside.

In the wee hours of today, I finally realized what had been nagging me for months, I was longing for 'home.' Now I'm not talking about my family residence, nor am I referring to heaven, but where I truly believe all mankind begins its earthly journey, the ocean.

I clearly remember the very first time I stood on the shores of the Atlantic. The ocean's vastness was inexplicably awesome, yet a strange familiarity like I'd been there before washed over me. Being only twenty-two at the time, I had no clue as to the significance of this oddity. As I matured physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, I began to contemplate the origins of humanity and the Life Force that was directly responsible for mankind's existence. Since water is the key element in the survival of all living things, years later I concluded everything must have had its beginnings in the sea. The ocean is our ancestral 'home', I believed it then, I believe it now.

I haven't walked along the shoreline in a few years, nor have I sat alone watching the sunrise. I miss the sounds connected with the beach at daybreak, the waves roaring in the distance, the cawing of sea gulls flying overhead, the peaceful silence that speaks volumes to me. It is during these times that my body is replenished with energetic vitality, my mind, with inspirational creativity, and my spirit, with renewed love for all.

This summer's schedule is packed with occasions and activities that leave little time for a quick jaunt to Myrtle or Ocean City, and in September, since my hubby and I are going to Switzerland to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, the earliest I could satisfy this unfulfilled yearning would be sometime in October. I've never been at the ocean in the fall (or have I?), and have always thought it would be a perfect time to go 'home'...no crowds, plenty of cool ocean breezes and wondrous sunsets.

Currently I haven't come up with a plan, but like most things in life, if something absolutely needs to happen undoubtedly it will whether by design or by default. The possibility of returning 'home' in the near future calms my restlessness, putting a smile on my face and hope in my heart!

Blessings and Peace!




Monday, May 28, 2018

Creativity Blocked

According to today's horoscope, my creativity seems to be blocked. Ya think? After an eighteen month hiatus, I began writing again. Everything was going well, deciding upon a topic, even coming up with a temporary title was easy until I hit a brick wall, and haven't been able to climb over, go under or around it so I just quit!

I'm not a person who gives up easily, but I can't seem to ignite the spark needed to create a fire of ideas. My mind is cave-like, dark, cold, empty. This isn't the first time I've been in this predicament, and I'm certain it won't be the last. Matter
of fact, although I'm not consciously aware of anything worthwhile going on at the moment, I believe creative thoughts are bouncing around underneath the surface, waiting patiently for the opportune time to make an appearance. 

When a writer can't do what a writer does, it's very frustrating. But, forcing the issue isn't the answer for me. Trying to put something down on paper only serves to aggravate the situation more, not help. Better to separate myself from the project completely. Now I'm not talking divorce, just giving me and my creativity space to rejuvenate and return to our relationship with renewed vigor. It may take a few more months, maybe even a year, but one day when I least expect it, the right idea will pop into my head and the story that has been hidden for so long will suddenly reveal itself. When that time comes, I'll be ready to write it down and share it with the world.

'One Color, Many Shades' must be given life. I strongly believe it's message is vital to the eventual realization of world peace. By no means am I saying I have the key to this long-awaited treasure, but I do think this little children's book has it's place on the map that will one day show us the way.

However, until my creativity freely flows again, I'm in lock-down. The only way to emerge from this dark, cold, empty place is to wait it out. Hope to see you on the other side sooner than later.

Blessings and Peace!