“It’s a…….”


On this last day of the year I’m far from my St. Louis home still in the dry desert here.  It’s black as Santa’s coal out my guest bedroom window here.  When I open it to breathe in the fresh air “SWOOSH” it feels as cold as his North Pole.

Stretching my neck to free nightly pillow kinks, I cock my head this way or that.  If I slip out the window a tall Saguaro cactus will surely catch me, OUCH!  I see a prickly tumbleweed ball blowing down the dark dusty street, and hear the haunting howl of a lone coyote near the rocky mountain base. God’s country.

What a year we’ve all had.  Children have grown, others have wed, babies were born, some became sick, and a few have left the nest.  Back in St. Louis…… my heart melted when a wee hand clasped mine to say a simple seven letter word in her sweet voice aloud, “Grandma.”

While I’ve been here a “present” arrived.   It was a surprise.  A square white box with a pink printed sticker from a bakery, no less!  My cell phone rang.   It was my son.  “Face-Time” it said.  The small colored screen suddenly came “alive.”  There he was with my daughter-in-law, too.  Something was “different” this time.  Something in their eyes, in their secret, silly smiles.

My son told me to, “Grab a kitchen knife, to open the box.”  I did what he said.  Inside was a beautiful cream-colored frosted cake with pink and blue polka dots.  On the top it read, “It’s a …………..”

With much anticipation I sliced into the lovely decorated cake to see what “color” the cooked batter might be.  While my son and his dear wife looked on from states far away (thanks to technology), they saw my reaction in “real” time.  There it was.  Inside the frosting, a moist cake of baby blue!  I was overwhelmed.  I cried a tear or two.  I’m “expecting” my first grand-son sometime next May.  What a “New Year” for me to look forward to!!

Happy New Year to You, Be Healthy the Whole Year Through, and May All Your Dreams Come True.

Croaked


As the year comes to a close my fingers click white lettered keys on a borrowed black laptop with mixed emotions.  I started my blog this past October as a novel idea, not exactly sure of what I was doing, where I was going or what to expect.  To be blunt, I knew nothing.  Like many other writers I bet.

In the spring of last year on Easter in fact. a respiratory illness befell me.  Most of my body bounced back except for my throat.  I had no voice!  Who would think such a thing?  For months I went to five different doctors and endured every kind of test.  I lost weight.  I couldn’t eat.  I had a sore throat.  Some doctors came up with a “diagnosis.”  I didn’t trust them.  Nothing made sense.  One day I sounded like a “Member of the Mob.”  The next I could have been “Kermit the Frog.”

The ironic thing is that I’ve found a different way to speak.  My new voice became this little blog of mine.  My way to communicate, my way to speak.  If I wouldn’t have gotten sick, perhaps I never would have found this new “voice” of mine?  Surely I wouldn’t  have met all of you out there.

Last month I saw the very best specialist at the very best hospital here in St. Louis.  The doctor had done his homework.  He read thick files of records and examined my swollen throat.  He listened to me croak.   An ultra-sound machine was brought in to look at my vocal cords.  A probe was stuck in my mouth while he asked me to sing.  Poor doctor!  His face lit up like a light bulb all aglow.  He knew….he had an answer for me then!  Paresis.  Simply put, it means that I have one vocal cord paralyzed, while the other is currently “less than perfect.”

How relieved to know what is wrong with me, to have a diagnosis!  Happier still to know that I will get better in the coming new year.  I share this with you because my treatment may impact my writing schedule.  Soon, I will be going to vocal therapy every month.  Doctors will assess my progress to see how it is working or if it is not.  I have “Plan B” followed by “Plan C” which is surgery, keeping that as my last option.

What I find amazing is how God works in such mysterious ways. The Lessons He teaches, the Blessings He leaves.  God gives us obstacles in life, leaving us treasures to discover along the way.  I was not able to speak, yet He gave me a new voice in order to communicate.  I’m writing in a genre new to me, one I never thought possible!  He’s introduced me to friends all around the world.  People I don’t know, yet I’ve come to care so much for them.  I have a new sense of purpose in life because I write words on a screen rather than speak them aloud.

Thank you to my “Readers” for always being with me since the first day I began.  For supporting me, for your prayers, for telling your friends.  I will not let you down, I promise.  My schedule may lighten a bit and I’m not quite sure what to expect.  But, I will be writing here.

Thank you, too, for all of your wonderfully written blogs.  They challenge my mind, help me to cook, inspire me, make me laugh and cry, and bring me closer to God.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul.

I wish for you a Happy, Healthy New Year and the very best of 2014.

Blessings……….

Kermit The Frog

Scars


Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack.  A scar is healing.  After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.”

China Mieville, The Scar

Thank you to all who gave their time, their thoughts, their folded hands in prayer.  My “family member” of 13 years had surgery early yesterday.  The lengthy surgery left a long and lasting scar.  Some will likely point their bony fingers, shake their shaggy heads or simply shy away.  Instead, my family member praises God today.  His leg has been saved.  The scar signifies his “wholeness.” There was a chance it wouldn’t be this way.

Now we pray to God, for healing, for the massive infection to be cured, to go away.  We pray for strength, for courage, for faith and perseverance.  It will not be easy.  Even if all goes well there is a long and winding road ahead.  Please light his path, be his guide, take his hand….

“A scar is what makes you whole.”

Sedona Mountainside and "Hidden" Chu...

Sedona Mountainside and “Hidden” Church of the Holy Cross

Prayers


Yuletide tidings have turned.  I ask for your prayers today.

A member of my family in every sense of the word is in a hospital here in Arizona.  Rushed via ambulance with non-twinkling lights early on Christmas Day.  Today, we are now waiting to hear.

Several months ago this “member of my family’s” body was crushed and torn during a head-on automobile collision on the other side of our country.   Having just left his new home on a crisp colored fall day, he was hit head-on.  Driving to his new job in a new town for a fresh start,  he held out hope for what was ahead.  The radio sung softly, excitement thumped in his chest, and a smile slid across his face.  Within seconds a car crossed the center line changing his life forever.

Let’s remember the poor, the sick and the needy this holiday season. The homeless, those who are less fortunate and the forgotten too.  Others who have lost families or loved ones, and the man on the street.

May God bless and keep you close to His heart. Please heal your wounds, free your pain, and bring you back to family who worry and wait your return.

Amen

Rainbow Valley

Celebrations


How are my readers doing?  Hopefully, a good holiday was had by all celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

My desert sand family first spent both attending church services where beautiful candles were lit in tiny vestibules  dressed in bright red.  We watched children play “Mary and Joseph,” while singing joyous songs saved for once a year.  It was a calming and peaceful time.

Later, we toured streets of candied-colored light displays, visited friends (some we’d never met before), opened presents with delight, and ate foreign food.  Oh, the food…….The traditional turkey took center stage, surrounded by vessels of every edible fodder imaginable.  It was a feast for hundreds it seemed.  A large table was full of homemade sweetbreads, tamales, cookies and cakes.  There was a great big ham, potatoes, fresh vegetables, bowls of steaming macaroni and chocolates on fancy plates.

The above was a celebration on Christmas Eve.  We ate on great big picnic tables covered in red checkered table cloths.  My back soaked up the warm Arizona sun while several dogs ran around in circles to play tag near a pot-bellied pig (his house had lights, too!).  Later, a horse named, “Midnight,” nuzzled my cheek.  I felt his warm, wet breath near my nose.  I talked to him too. He was gentle, staying near me for several minutes.  Not wanting me to go?

On Christmas Day we repeated the day before, eating “leftovers,” enough for an army or more.  A live band played “Faliz Navidad” on the cement patio with a curtain to shield the sun from their eyes.  When dinner was done we had a party of sorts.  A big cake was presented to my father to celebrate his 81st birthday.  He was embarrassed of course with presents surrounding him.   Sitting at the head of a long wooden table, I thought the only thing missing was a bright jeweled crown to top his grey head!

Near the end of my dad’s party, I gave him one special gift.  About a week ago I wrote a post entitled, “The Gift of My Father.”  Several messages were received, comments, and e-mails about this post.  A reader “friend” of mine suggested I print this out as a gift to my father, which is what I did.  I found a lovely wooden frame with a cream-colored mat.  I printed the post on steel-blue paper to match the blue of the church in the picture scene.  Although it was hard for me to read aloud, I did get all the way through.  Looking over at my dad, he wiped away at least a tear or two.

Yes, it was a wonderful Christmas Eve and a magnificent Christmas Day.  A time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and that of my dear father too.

Happy Birthday


Everyone knows this is the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus: December 25.  When I was a child, my father taught me to sing a song of joy.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.  It was and is the most important birthday celebration of all.

For just one moment, maybe a minute or more I’d like to say, “Happy Birthday” to my father too.  I love you, Dad, and wish you many, many more.

Candle

A Desert Christmas


The desert view on this Christmas day is like no other I’ve seen before.   The bristled land is flat, sprinkled with cactus and sand: a few houses too. Majestic mountains lie in the distance near.  Surely the skies this dawn are a gift from God himself.  Colors of painted pots have spilled from Heaven above.  Shades of turquoise, tangerine, and mahogany are brushed loosely with uneven perfect strokes of color.  Birthday presents for us to share, a reminder of God’s son who was born today.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my readers and your loved ones.  I wish you a very blessed holiday, much peace, rest. calm and happiness.

Desert Sunrise #1

Desert Sunrise

Christmas Eve Sister


As most of you know, when I wake in the morn, I have no plan in my head.  What will I write about?  Either I sit at my cozy desk or like today,  in a darkened desert guest room to type away at what  appears on the screen.  It’s Christmas time! This should be the theme.  “Yes and No”….”Yes and Yes.”

I’m thinking of my middle sister, nearly five years younger than me.  Wouldn’t you know, she was born on Christmas Eve?  How was I blessed to have so many birthdays surrounding Christmas?  My sister’s falls today.   My father wakes to his tomorrow.  How lucky my family is to ‘share’ this sacred time with Him!

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Letters to Santa


santa claus images

My letters to Santa have changed over the years.  When I was young, we’d sit at the kitchen table.  The one with the speckled grey Formica top.  Nearby were baskets of lined notebook paper together with sharpened pencils and plain white envelopes.  My parents helped me lick the stamps.

“Dear Santa Claus,” I’d begin,  “I hope you and Mrs. Claus are good.  I’d like a new book to read, a doll and some candy too.  Please bring my mom something that helps her smell so sweet.  Please bring my dad something new to wear on his big, white feet.  My little brother hit me on the arm yesterday.  It still hurts, but not quite as bad.  You can bring him something small, I guess.  I hope it’s not a BB gun.  Love, XXXX.” 

The day my young son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes back in 1992,  someone……..a doctor?….a nurse?….told me there would “probably be a cure within the next five years.”  At the time, my facial expression must have looked a bit like “a deer in headlights.”  To think there would be a “CURE!”  Five years was unfathomable, but there was hope!  We’d get through!!

“Dear Santa Claus,” my mental letter read that year, “Please bring my family the strength to survive the next five years.  Keep my son as healthy as can be.  YES, please bring us the ‘Cure’ within the next five years.”  That was my  mental letter all those years ago.

Researchers fought for a cure each and every day since my son was diagnosed.  No one will  stop until a great big celebration is announced!  In the interim, technology has improved.  Lives have been saved.  ‘Tools’ are so much better than ever before!  Compared to what was available when my son was diagnosed, miracles exist today.  I am so thankful for the many positive changes in diabetes living.

Still, if I wrote a letter to “Santa Claus” today it would read something like this:

Dear Santa Claus:

Please keep all of those living with diabetes safe and ‘healthy.’  Bring young children a special kiss together with an extra wish.  

Help technology to keep improving!  Allow those who are sick to live better lives each and every day.  More than anything,  I’d like a cure for diabetes within my lifetime.  Until then, please keep my children and grand-children happy and healthy.  Today and all of their tomorrows.

Thank you, Santa Claus. 

With Love,

XXXX

Happy Christmas to You!