A Soldier’s Boots


Please help bring me back

Pink eraser to wipe away pain in my head

Untie laces of dusty brown from sandy boots on feet

Remove them one by one to stroke white of limbs

 

Hold fingerless hand while stroking healing scars

Kiss my cheek with warm gentle lips

Like an angel’s light warm so bright

I’m more than a uniform of flesh and bones

 

Look at me and you may see what I used to be

I was your neighbor next door

A father or mother, a husband or wife

A sister or brother, an uncle or aunt, a cousin or friend

 

People loved me

Yes, I used to feel real…

With a body that moved this way and that

Before these sandy boots on my feet

 

I laughed and joked

Sat in the grass to play with my kids

Skipped in bare feet near the ocean so blue

Walked to the store or drove a car

 

Shared picnics in tall grass, played sports at the park

No panic attacks or tremors way back

Never afraid of the dark or sounds of lighting storms

No sleep in my head since sandy boots on my feet

 

Fear of bad dreams, flashbacks with sweats

Blood of red, children dying, tears on my face, I can’t stop crying

Screams of silence, guns and violence

Take me away, end the pain

 

Stop me now, I beg of you

Lend me your hand to pray with me

 

Hope arises to see all ahead

To be free again I must be strong

The boots on my feet I wear no more

I”ve left the sandy soles near the ocean shore

*In dedication to all of America’s devoted soldiers who serve our country day after day after day in the name of freedom.

I thank you more than you’ll every know. Wishing all and everyone a Happy Memorial Day!

 

**Photographs courtesy of Google Chrome

The Rainbow


My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began,

So is it now I am a man,

So be it when I shall grow old

      Or let me die!

The Child is father of the Man:

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.”

                                  William Wordsworth

rainbow-0457

Written 3/26/1802

Published: 1807

*Photograph courtesy of Google Chrome

 

As Long As You Both Shall Live….


“As long as you both shall live.”

*Those are the last words I remember hearing thirty years ago today, May 19, 1984. A few seconds later, I smiled beaming with the words, “I do. Although only a step or two away from me, the minister’s gravelly voice seemed to echo from far, far away. Off in the distance….perhaps bouncing off trees in a lush forest land.

At the time, I had eyes and ears only for the husband to be. There he stood, facing me. His green eyes pierced the blue of my own while he gripped my hands, squeezing them. It was his signal before God that we would always be together. My soon-to-be husband would take care of me, protect me, love me, and be loyal and true. Thirty years later he has proven this together with much more good than I ever imagined.

On our beautiful, warm wedding day in May, the two of us had no idea where the road of life would lead. A fantasy land we did not expect. Nor, the reality we ended up living. Still, neither of us would change a thing. In the end, we have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

When families raise a chronically ill child, there is a 75% or greater chance the marriage will end in divorce. My husband and I raised two children living with chronic conditions. Both were diagnosed at very young ages within six months of each other. Our odds of divorcing might have increased a bit at that point…

My husband traveled a minimum of 120 nights a year over a 20 year period as a district manager for an eye care company. He loved his job while I loved it for him. Still, it took a toll on the two of us. When the days and nights were added up, seven years of our marriage were spent apart from one another. I often resented him for being away, while he often resented me for being able to stay. Eventually, we both had breaking points.

When needed, my husband was there for me, taking a short leave of  absence from work. He jumped right in, took care of our boys, washed clothes and even learned to cook! In return, I did the same for him when the time came. Isn’t that what couples do for one another? We sought outside help to work on our marriage…more than once. No, it wasn’t always easy. I guess that’s why it’s called work. But, early on, we decided our marriage was worth it….we were worth it. For our children, for our family, for the whole of us.

There are lessons learned that I’ll pass on to others now that I have the opportunity. Take time…any time for couplehood. A walk in the park, a cup of coffee or a simple hour to hold hands and talk. No, not about the kids! Do not lay blame…ever! It’s okay to cry, go ahead and ask God, why? Find a church, ask for help, don’t be proud, seek support, tell a friend, and take a break for heaven’s sake!

Today as I celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary, I am thankful for the best husband one could ever wish for in life. I thank God for every hardship we ever endured, every lesson ever learned. How wonderful to have lived through ALL of the good times and the bad, the happy and the sad. We have such an enormous history together. Rich, full of memories and moments with more to come, God willing.

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband, with love, forever and always….

*Two years ago when I wrote this post originally, my husband and I were not able to officially celebrate our milestone anniversary. This year, we’re away for a few days, soaking up the sun and sand while celebrating 30 years + two! Blessings to all of you.

 

Miniature Miracles


A few days ago, I was invited by my dear friend to be a guest at a charity luncheon and fashion show, benefiting one of our leading hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). An annual function, tremendous effort is put forth by a group of tireless volunteers who work to make everything perfect. Donations of graceful blooms are gathered together with assorted gift baskets that hold everything from hand-made jewels to trips to Disneyland. All are proudly displayed on tables of long, draped in berry and gold. Baskets are beautifully wrapped in clear cellophane, where admiring bidders drool while raising funds to save innocent babies born too soon.

Not long ago, another friend of mine suddenly found herself in the midst of a hospital NICU. There, she came to know it intimately. In the beginning, she was shocked with pain and grief. The feeling hit her, unexpectedly. Fast, like a freight train running off its tracks. At the time, my friend’s daughter was six months pregnant with twin boys. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails….Quietly, God whisked one tiny soul off to heaven, leaving behind his fragile brother within the quiet of his mother’s womb.

My friend’s daughter lay in a sterile hospital bed, following doctor’s orders while praying to bring her last little lamb to a full term of “40 weeks.” Tears flowed for the infant angel that had already left an emptiness inside of her. Still, each morning she woke without having delivered, she whispered tears of thankfulness to God as well as both of her sons. One unborn, the other in heaven above.

There may be risk factors or possible causes of premature labor, but very little anyone can do to prevent it. Mothers should never blame themselves. Only God decides when a baby comes into this world. http://www.marchofdimes.org. Still too soon, my friend’s first grandson was born weighing not much more than a pound of butter. Yet, he was breathing and alive! Doctors and nurses rushed him to the NICU, where the child of innocence fought for his life. The whole of his family spent the next three months on a hospital roller coaster ride, thankful for each breath the fragile child took, each beat his tiny heart drummed.

Truly, God works miracles. Through the skill a fine team of pediatric physicians and neonatal specialists together with nurses who surely wear hidden wings under their scrubs, the day finally came for my friend’s grandson to go home. There, an extended family eagerly waited to give the three-month-old newborn more loving care than any child could imagine. Today, the little toddler of curly hair and smiles of pearls is exactly where he needs to be on all of the doctor’s charts! He’s a darling boy loved by all and everyone.

When God’s seed is planted within a woman’s womb, a mother’s love is instinctual, pure and undeniable. It exists the moment she suspects a tiny life-force grows within her. She glows from that moment on, knowing she carries a miniature miracle deep inside while fingertips gently caress a growing belly. Friends and families get excited, fathers support their wives while future sibling’s eyes grow wide with wonder.

Yes, a bouncing baby boy. Truly a gift from God to be forever thankful for…..

*With many thanks to the physicians and nurses in NICU’s everywhere for saving little lives. Bless you each and every day.

premature baby pic

Morning Tree


morning tree

Early shadows dancing

Near siding the color of buff

God’s gift of nature balancing

On branches….hiding

Listen closely, a chirp, a tweet

Cup your hand

Sweet songs to hear

A tiny rooftop home 

Swings side to side

Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye

Do not stop for fear 

Feathered wings shall soar

Toward skies of azure blue

Suddenly all is clear

No longer can I resist

Hopping up to peek inside the ‘O’

Ahhh…..baited breath beholds

A tiny toasted colored nest

In the bosom of infinite rest

Speckled sparrow eggs

1-2-3-4 for me to see

Warming in my Morning Tree

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Universal link


https://betulaworldpress.com/2016/05/11/wordlesswednesday-preening/

A lovely share of everyday life. A bit of ‘magic,’ indeed!

Peace, Love and Patchouli

I think of this life, how we move through it, relate to it and the people we encounter, wondering sometimes why it is we connect to those who become an attachment to our lives, stuck like a happy piece of Velcro to our hearts. We find ourselves in unexpected places sometimes, and often making a connection, perhaps with a smile, a word of positivity or a hug to console.

I heard a front screen door slam this morning and children’s voices, excitedly telling their mom that there were dogs out there. We were on our morning walk with the pups and two small boys came tentatively towards us, one asking if he could pet them. I turned and smiled, told them they’d love to be petted and that they were friendly. They took turns stroking Chi as Apple stood there with her Apple smile, staring past the boys who were…

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What Am I Feeling?


What am I feeling?

Shocked, thankful, emotional, teary, blessed, speechless, lucky, loved….

All of the above….and more.

With the slight move of a black computer mouse this morning, I  discovered a beautiful sticker in blue. A notification from WordPress of my 5ooth post.  The number….500 is a surprise. It stares back like a badge of honor, I suppose. And, although alone today, it’s already printed, carefully cut out, and posted proudly above my heart. Silly? Not to me.

Did I ever think of writing 500 posts? No, never, not in my wildest dreams. Still, it’s not the number that is most important. It’s the passion for writing together with YOU, the gift of readers.  At any given time on WordPress, I can sit down to tap letters upon a keyboard, knowing I’ll share words with an extended family of talented writers, and readers. I am forever grateful.

Thank you to each and everyone for reading even a single letter of my writing at Chronic Conditions & Life Lessons. Time is a precious commodity of which there is less than the day before. This thought rarely leaves my mind. Some of you have been here since my very first post, others stop by if possible while new friends may just beginning to pop in. The point is, I truly appreciate your time in reading my words, whenever that may be.

What am I feeling? Shocked, thankful, emotional, teary, blessed, speechless, lucky, loved….

All of the above…and more.

 

 

 

 

Monday Motivations


Our friend, Esther Newton https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/monday-motivations-45/#comments has invited us to enter her short story contest. Stop for a minute or two to read her terrific words in, “Her Face,” by Esther Newton.

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esthernewtonblog

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have that sluggish Monday-mind-syndrome. So to start the writing week off, I’m inviting you (yes, again!) to enter one of my twoshort story competitions(with prizes!). One of them is for a short story of up to 1000 words on the theme of TREASURE. How you choose to interpret that theme is up to you. You could write about jewels and gold or the treasure in question might not be worth anything, but is cherished nonetheless. The treasure may not even be physical, but the love of life or the treasure of a joyous moment.

Open your mind and see where it takes you.

Here’s one of my stories – the treasure here is love:

Her Face

By

Esther Newton

 

It wasn’t the clatter of carts or the low hum of chatter that woke him. Bert knew just when…

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