I write and write and write. I am looking for authors and down-to-earth people who share my interest and can give a novice, like myself, good advice in this exciting but demanding field. Looking forward to hearing from you. God Bless!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Break

Oh my... it's been a month since I posted anything on this blog. That is very unusual for me. But to explain - I have been busy writing and working and trying to keep up with my 3 boys (one being a 6'3", 200 lb man). I decided that I needed a well-deserved break from all of this. I am still trying to get my "writing blog" up and running but it's been a struggle to say the least.

I am trying to get my first book finalized so I can send it off to numerous publishers (wish me luck!) and I joined the NaNoWriMo contest this month and I'm only up to 16,000 words. I figured yesterday that I need to write about 4,000 words a day for the next 10 days in order to finish at 50,000 or more by the end of this month. Whew!!  My keyboard is gonna be smokin'!
Post image for NaNoWriMo: The Right Rite of Passage for Writers

I have been busy checking out facebook writer/author pages and twitter. I'm learning so much from all of the authors out there and aspiring writers like myself. It's so exciting! I never dreamed I'd be going on this journey. Well, I hoped I would but it's turned out to be such a wonderful experience in my life. I'm looking forward to where it leads me and all of the wonderful people and contacts I'm going to make.

So, bare with me. I'm a diamond in the rough and I'll eventually get there. I always do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Runnebaum camping again

Wow! I hadn't realized how long it had been since I blogged last. It's been very busy around our household lately.  Here are some pictures I'd like to share from our last family camping trip in October.
 It was great fun spending time with family. And the weather was PERFECT!!

 Greg making his famous chicken noodle soup. It's wonderful!! There was some healthy competition, Runnebaum style.
 Brother Bernie going back for seconds.
Brother Ralph and part of the clan.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Addict

I'm coming out. The time has come for all to know. Yes.... I'm a vitamin addict. I know it's hard to believe that, I, Linda Runnebaum, that nice, kind-hearted, somewhat naive and gentle soul could be an addict. But I guess being an addict to  vitamins is a lot better than an addict of other vices. I think I always knew that I was a vitamin freak. But my husband finally pounded it home when he came into our bedroom this weekend after I had stormed off in a huff and slammed the door telling me to "STOP taking all those vitamins. You're going psycho again!" I laugh to myself now as I remember the scene. It wasn't so funny at first until I looked up at him and he had such a concerned look on his face and I realized that I had probably looked like a NUT! We both just burst out laughing. 

I have always thought that vitamins and supplements were of great advantage to your body and mind. BUT, I think you can overdo it. Some of my friends have already told me that. (Yes, Deb, I'm talking about you. :)) But when you're an addict, you don't listen, right. You just keep doing what you think you need. And you think you know best and have all the answers, right. And, since I'm also going through menapause or, at least, the early stages of it, my hormones are changing and that, in itself, can make for a pretty testy recipe for highly volatile emotions. That, combined with voluntarily injesting vitamins that I may or may not actually need can almost put someone over the emotional edge. My husband can attest to that.

He told me, "You stopped taking those 30-some vitamins that you thought you needed for your hormones and you got back to the normal Linda. Then you started up again and now you're going psycho again. Stop it!!" (I'm laughing again.) I'm sure God was looking down chuckling, too. It must have looked pretty comical. Greg made me come out and seperate all the regular vitamins that I always take from the weird ones that I've added and put them back down in the refrigerator. Not that the ones that I had started taking again weren't good ones, but they were probably duplicating with some of the regular ones I take and may have also been reacting negatively to some of them. I've always been a believer that if you had enough knowledge about vitamins and what your body obsorbs and needs in the way of supplements and foods, you could maintain your weight and health to the ultimate level. But that's hard to do even IF you have that knowledge, because you have to constantly monitor your body and blood work and then it starts getting very complicated and expensive.

SO, I have promised Greg to stop being so worried about the vitamins. Just so you know, I'm kind of in a sort of "detox" state right now. ha! That sounds so funny for me to say that but I guess it's pretty much the truth. Anyway, this isn't just a confession, so to speak, but a warning to be careful of vitamins and supplements that you put in your body, especially when your emotions are peeking already. We already have enough psychos in this world as it is. :)

Damn Tired

I'm 70 and I'm Tired

This should be required reading for every man, woman and child in the UK , United States of America , Canada , Australia and New Zealand .

(NOTE: This is not the Robert Hall of CSI fame !!)



"I'm 70 and I'm Tired"
ByRobert A. Hall

I'm 70. Except for having 4 children with only a 6 week maternity period , I've worked, hard, since I was 17. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and seldom called in sick in seven or eight years. I made a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, retirement is hard, and I'm tired. Very tired.
I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.
I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada , while no American nor Canadian group nor Australia is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate..
I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 70. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my grandchildren.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.
" I'm 70 and I'm tired."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rasafrats - Chapter 5

           The next morning came quickly, but John was well rested. He had ended up going to bed about 9:30, being extremely tired due to all the activities and adventures the day had produced. He hadn’t even said goodnight to his mom, dad or Gretchen. He had fallen asleep lying on his bed reading a book. He had awakened in the middle of the night, put his book away, crawled under the covers and fallen right back to sleep.

            As John lay in bed staring out the window, he heard his mom clanking around down in the kitchen getting ready to start breakfast. It wasn’t long before he could smell the fresh aroma of bacon cooking. “Yeah, she’s making bacon and eggs for breakfast,” John said to himself. “Maybe she’ll fix some of her great biscuits and gravy, too”.

            “John, breakfast will be ready in 20 minutes,” his mom called from the bottom of the stairs. “You’d better get up and get dressed. The cattle need hay and I need some more eggs. Your dad also needs you to clean out that rabbit hutch first thing after breakfast, so he can put those baby chicks in it until he gets a better place made up for them.”

            John sat straight up in bed. “Oh NO!!” John was out of his bed, clothes on, teeth brushed, and downstairs within five minutes. “Hey Mom! Where’s Dad?”

            “Well, that was quick,” his mom said, looking up as she flipped the bacon. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get dressed and ready that fast before. What’s the matter? Are you sick?”

            “Ha . . . that’s funny, Mom. So where’s Dad?”

“He’s still upstairs,” Mom said, as she stirred the sausage gravy then took the rest of the bacon out of the skillet.

Just then John heard his dad coming down the stairs. “Do I hear John up and about this morning?”

John looked up at his dad as he came into the kitchen. “Hey dad. Why aren’t you going to work today?”

“Well, I took a vacation day today in order to get that rabbit hutch fixed up and some things done up around the barn.” Charles answered. “I’m glad you’re up, though. I think we have enough time to go up and check out that rabbit hutch this morning before breakfast. I want to put those new chicks in there while I make a better coup for them. It’s just too dangerous with them in that big chicken coup with all those month-old chickens. They’re gonna get run over. We’ve already lost three. I don’t want to lose anymore.”

John’s dad, Charles, worked as a machine operator at a local factory. He’d worked there for nearly twenty years working himself all the way up to Senior Foreman. He had earned himself four weeks of vacation and several weeks of sick time. It was a good job and close to the house so if he needed to get home quickly to take care of anything on their farm or at the house, he could. He enjoyed his work but he enjoyed farming more. He owned about 100 acres just outside of town where he grew feed corn and beans. His job at the factory would provide a handsome retirement for his family, more that the farming would. Crop prices hadn’t been too good for the last couple of years due to the fluctuating weather. So, having a stable job helped out with financing. And since he’d been with the company for so long he had the flexibility of taking off when planting and harvesting season came around.

“Dad, do we have to do it now? I’m really hungry.” John said as he tried to stall his dad.

            “Yeah, come on. Breakfast won’t be ready for about thirty minutes. Isn’t that right, ma?”

“Yes, that’s right,” John’s mother agreed. “I’ll call you when it’s ready. Go on and check that thing out so we can move them after breakfast and get a new chicken coup made this afternoon.”

John just stood there. He thought, What am I gonna do now. What are Mom and Dad gonna say?

“Come on, boy! Let’s get crackin’!” His dad said as the door slammed behind him.

“You’d better get going, John. You know how your father gets when he wants you to do something. He expects you to be right on his heels.”

John turned and walked out the door. His dad was already half way to the shed. John picked up the pace and caught up with his dad. “Dad, wait. There’s something I have to tell you before you get to the rabbit hutch.”

John’s dad turned around. “What is it, son?”

“Well . . .” John stammered around wondering how he was going to tell his dad.

“Out with it, boy; we’ve got work to do and not much time to do it!” John’s dad was starting to get impatient.

“I found something a couple of days ago. Well . . . Pete, Billy and I did. It’s kind of some weird animal. We didn’t know what to do with it, so I brought it home and stuck it in the rabbit hutch.” There, he’d said it. That hadn’t been so bad. Whew! John was glad that was over with. He didn’t like keeping secrets from his parents.

“What KIND of animal?” John’s dad looked at him with his left eyebrow quirked up like a mountain top.

“Weeellllll, it’s kind of like a cat, dog, bird, and squirrel all mixed together.”

“What!! Where is this thing?” John’s dad started heading to the hutch.

“He’s really gentle and friendly,” John yelled after his dad, trying to catch up to his long strides. “We all found this really cool place inside the mine just out of town. That’s where we found Rasafrats.”

“Rasa . . .  What?”

“Rasafrats. That’s his name. He told us.”

John’s dad turned around and just stared at him. He couldn’t believe his ears. His son had been out in the sun too long. He had missed his yearly check-up this year. Maybe they needed to make him an appointment.

“Really, Dad. He told us. He kind of speaks this weird kind of gibberish, but we could understand him when we asked him his name. It was pretty cool, weird at first, but cool.”

His dad turned around and continued on to the hutch shaking his head. As he rounded the corner of the shed and walked over to the hutch, he could see something moving in the back corner. As he crept closer, suddenly the creature turned around and started hopping up and down, excited to see John. When he realized that John was not alone, he stopped and snuck back off to the corner peering out from behind his feathers.

“What is the world? What IS that?” John’s dad said with astonishment.

“That’s Rasafrats! Isn’t he cool?”

John’s dad just looked at John and then at Rasafrats and then back at John again. “What do you plan to do with him?” He said as he raised his eyebrow again.

“Well, Pete, Billy, and I are going back to the mine where we found him to see if we can find his home. I’m sure that’s where he lives. We went back there yesterday and Rasafrats showed us this COOL place in the mine, Dad. You wouldn’t believe it!

“No, I’m sure I wouldn’t.”

John continued. “There was a lake and flowers and sunshine. It was so cool. We all played for about an hour or so, swimmin’ and runnin’. It was great! We’re thinking that that’s where Rasafrats lives but there didn’t seem to be any other life around. And we ended up leaving early, because we didn’t want to be late for dinner. So we were all gonna go back today to see if we could find out anything more.

“John, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. You know how old and dangerous that mine is. There was that tragic accident years ago and it’s just not safe. I don’t want you boys getting hurt. Besides, what are you gonna do if you find out something? We can’t keep him, you know. He’s obviously a different breed of some sort and probably needs a certain environment and type of food; things that we wouldn’t be able to give him.”

John hung his head. “I know, dad. But we have to try and get him back home, if that IS his home. I’ll be careful, I promise.” John hesitated for a moment. “Are ya gonna tell mom?”

“We have to, son. But, I’ll hold off telling her until you guys get back this afternoon, okay?”

“Great! Thanks Dad! I’ll be careful, don’t worry.”

“Okay, now we’d better head back to the house. Breakfast is probably almost ready.”

Just then, John’s mom hung her head out the back door and yelled, “Breakfast is ready! Come on in and wash up!”

John’s sister, Gretchen, was just coming out of the chicken coup carrying a bunch of eggs. “John, you’re gonna have to get the eggs two days in a row since I had to get them this morning.” Then she stuck out her tongue and ran to the house.

“That’s fine, sis. I don’t mind.” John leaned over to his dad, “You don’t suppose she saw the rabbit hutch or Rasafrats, do you? That’s the last thing I need is ‘little miss big-mouth’ nosing around and telling everybody.”

“I don’t think she saw anything. Don’t worry and be nice to your sister. Come on. Let’s get to the house before your mother tans our hides.”

John and his dad picked up the pace and headed inside to wash up for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding Exceptance


Clara searched around for the flashlight. 

“I know that thing is here somewhere!  I just used it the other day!!”

Clara was getting frustrated AND scared.  The lights had been flickering during the storm for about 30 minutes and had finally gone out.  The weather forecast had been grim and tornados were being spotted all across the county but Clara had turned off the TV feeling anxious and bored.  Her mom had gone on her first date since her dad has passed away a year ago.  She loved her mom and wanted her to be happy but she just didn’t feel right about the guy she was going out with.  “He’s not like dad”, Clara had said to her mom as she watched her put on her make-up earlier that evening.

“He’s not supposed to be like your father, Clara.  Your father was a very special man and I loved . . . love him dearly . . . still.  I will never stop loving him but I want some companionship.  This is the first date I’ve gone on since your father died.  I think your father would want me to go on with my life, don’t you?” 

“I don’t know.  I suppose.”  Clara said reluctantly.  “But there’s just something about him.  I guess he’s OK.  I just want you to be happy, mom.”

Clara’s mom walked across the room and leaned over to Clara.  “Oh, honey.  I am happy.  I miss your father every day and there will be NO ONE that will ever take his place, OK.” 

She kissed Clara on the forehead and walked back over to the mirror to check her sweater and take a last glance at herself.  She was in her late thirties and still looked pretty good after having three children.  She gave herself a last look and then turned to Clara.  “How do I look?”

“Great, Mom.  You look great!”

“Thanks honey.  Now, make sure you get Tommy and Alisa in bed by ten.  There is leftover pizza in the frig for you guys.  I shouldn’t be late.  Have a good time and watch the weather.  I think there are some storms rolling in tonight.”

“I will, mom.  Have a good time and don’t worry.  We’ll be fine.”  Clara said.

Clara focused back on finding the flashlight.  Her brother and sister were already in bed and had probably been asleep for an hour.  They had no clue about the storms brewing outside; which was probably a good thing.  Even at sixteen, Clara didn’t want to have to deal with Alisa’s crying and worrying about the thunder and lightening.  As she rummaged around in the drawer her fingers touched a smooth round surface. 

“Finally!”  Clara picked up the flashlight and turned it on.

Everything was pitch-black.  It was about a quarter past eleven and the wind was blowing hard outside.  She walked over to the backdoor and peered outside.  Trees limbs were blowing sideways and she could see that the patio furniture had already blown out into the yard.

I wonder how mom’s doing, she thought to herself.  This isn’t a very good night to be out on a date.

She turned around and suddenly jumped, dropping her flashlight to the floor.  She stood there trying to focus her eyes.  In front of her stood, what looked like, her father.  He was just standing there looking at her.  It couldn’t be, though.  Her father was dead.  He had died a year ago in a car wreck.  It had been a terrible tragedy for the family.  He had been hit head-on by a truck driver that had swerved into his lane.  The truck driver had been killed, too.  Clara’s dad had lived long enough for them to see and talk with him, though.  He had been rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma and had gone into a coma for two weeks.  When he finally came out of the coma, Clara and her mom and brother and sister had been right by his side.  They were so happy to see him open his eyes and recognize them.  But then disaster stuck that night when a blood clot worked its way up to his brain causing him to hemmorhage and he died instantly.  Clara and the rest of the family had left earlier that evening and planned to return in the morning.  Shortly, after going to bed, Clara’s mom had received the devastating call from the hospital.  It was such a shock to everyone.  They all had felt such hopes that he would recover and be coming home soon.  Those dreams and been crushed in an instant.  All because a trucker had weaved over too much into her father’s path and lost control.

Clara rubbed her eyes.  “Daddy?  Is that you?”  Clara strained to see better in the darkness.  She tried to reach down and pick up the flashlight but it had rolled under the bakers rack next to her.

“Yes, baby, its daddy.  Don’t be afraid.”

“But how can that be?  Am I dreaming?”  Clara asked.

“No, honey.  I’m real.”  Her dad answered.  “I know you’ve been hurting for a while and I just wanted to come back and assure you that everything is going to be alright.  I’ve been watching you and your mother and brother and sister.  I miss you all terribly but it is so beautiful up here.  You don’t need to worry any longer.  I am fine and you all are going to have a wonderful life.  And I will see you again someday.”

Clara couldn’t believe her eyes or ears.  She was standing there looking at her father and listening to him talk to her.  She had dreamed about this so many nights.  Most nights she had cried herself to sleep.  She missed her father so much.  Her brother and sister did, too, but they were still young.  Tommy was just 7 and Alisa had just turned 4.  They remembered their dad but were still so young that it hadn’t affected them like it had Clara.  She remembered so many good times with her father.

“But why did you have to die, daddy?  I miss you so much.  I just want you back with us so bad.”  A tear rolled down her cheek.  She wiped it away with the back of her hand and looked up at her father.

“I know, honey.  But just remember all the good times we had and know that I’m watching out for you all the time and all you have to do is look into your heart and remember me and I’ll be right there beside you.  I’ll never leave you or your mother or brother and sister.  I love you all.”

Clara nodded and looked out the window at the rain beating against the windowpane.

“Clara, there’s one more thing.  Your mother needs to find someone to spend her life with; someone to love.  It won’t be the guy she’s out with tonight but it will be someone else.  And he’ll be a wonderful man and good to you kids.  I’ve seen him.  Don’t worry about him trying to take my place.  He’ll understand and just try to be a caring and loving person to your mother and the rest of the family.  He will be a good provider and a good listener.  And you’ll end up loving him… not in place of me but for the person he is.  Okay, honey.”

Clara looked up.  He was gone.  Her dad had faded away.  She wiped the tears away that had started streaming down her face and walked to the window.  It had stopped raining and a rainbow was showing through the clouds overlooking her backyard.  It was probably the most beautiful rainbow she had seen in a long time.

Dad’s right, Clara thought to herself.  Things are going to be alright.

Clara walked away heading back to her bedroom and felt a wonderful warm feeling; a good comforting feeling she had been longing for.

A couple of hours later, Clara heard the front door open.  She closed her book and raced downstairs.  “Hey, mom!  How was the date?”  Clara asked excitedly.

“Oh, it was alright.” Her mom replied.  “He’s not like your father and I probably won’t see him again.  But that’s ok.”

“Yeah, that’s OK, mom.  I know you’ll find someone and he’ll be the perfect one for you.”  Then Clara gave her mom a big squeeze and smiled to herself.     

Lost & Found

Where are my KEYS!!! I was late for work. I can't believe this, I said to myself. This is rediculous!! How many times did I get on my husband for losing his keys or cell phone and now here I was doing the same thing.I looked everywhere. They weren't on the hook where they should have been. They weren't on the counter. I checked every room in the house (and there are several rooms since it's a fairly big house). I check under beds, under tables, behind cabinets and shelves. I looked under covers in my kids' room. I checked in closets, in cabinets AND in the refrigerator! I check on the washer and dryer and behind art supplies in the utility room.

Where in the world could they be?? I finally realized I had to call my husband to ask him if he had seen them. Of course, my tone when talking to him was tense and regid and I'm sure he thought I was blaming him. And I was; sort of. My husband had a knack for losing keys, cell phones, papers; pretty much anything he put his hands on he would misplace somewhere. SO, I figured he probably grabbed my keys by mistake thinking they were his.

I prayed: God, please help me to find my keys. My husband, Greg shows up, gives me his keys and says, "Honey, I didn't do it." He climbs back into his truck. I get into my car, pull out of the garage and what do I see straight ahead of me laying on the ledge outside our garage door - my keys!  And right where I left them the night before.

Ok, so I lose my keys, too. And if I were to admit it, and I'm not saying I am, BUT if I were to admit it, I've probably lost my cell phone a couple of times, too.

Rejuvenation

You don't realize what you have until it's not there, right? You know that saying. It's pretty truthful, isn't it. I mean, it's hard sometimes to value something when you are so close to it. Sometimes you need to step away and then come back again to appreciate it. Now, that can apply to a lot of things; people, circumstances; just about anything you can think of.

My circumstance was with my kids. Of course, I don't REALLY want to get away from them but I truly think that to be good parents, we need to have some time away to appreciate our loved ones and to kind of "reset" ourselves.  The day-to-day gruel of schedules, activities and demands on our lives can sometimes seem overwhelming. Just that few minutes or maybe even days (as in our case) can rejuvenate and put things back in their proper perspective.

Our kids went to visit my parents as they do every year right before school starts. I think this gives them a break and us, as well. Plus, my parents get to see their grandkids that they don't see very often. And thank goodness they are still young enough and healthy enough to still enjoy their grandchildren.

They got back a couple of days ago and I was never more excited to see anyone in my life. I couldn't wait until the end of the day when I could race home (watching the speed limit, of course) to see my kids. I snatched them both up and gave them hugs and kisses. I had missed them so much. But I was rejuvenated and I think they were, too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Choices

What in the WORLD am I doing! It must be 100 degrees outside and I'm out here worshiping the sun in this blistering hot weather. A person has to be crazy to voluntarily go out in this heat. I look around and it seems like I'm about the only one that did not act on my inner intelligence that God gave me which tried to talk me out of exiting my perfectly air-conditioned house.

But it could be worse, I try to reason with myself. My oldest son is camping with his father in this sweltering heat. What could be worse than camping out in a tent in 100 degree weather with no pool around or option for cooling off in the water. Not much, I figure. But again, it's all about the kids, right. The things we do for our kids. We'll go out in 90 degree weather with no breeze just so our kids can swim in a pool or a lake that feels like bathwater. Or we'll head out in the biggest snow of the year to help our 5 year old build a snowman.

That's what makes life worth while, I guess. As I sit here baking under the sun in the early evening hours, I think of all the simple pleasures in life. Of all those little things that bring a smile to our faces; like an ice cream cone on a warm summer day, or the wet moist tongue of a puppy that seems to lick you more and more the harder you laugh and try to get away, or the sound of children laughing and giggling (there's no need for an explanation for that one).

We have so many daily choices. We can chose to be happy or sad. It's as simple as that. There's almost nothing that can't be resolved or made better with just a smile. Smiles and laughter are infectious and they are a choice. Everything always seems better when you smile, even in the heat.

So, as I sit here in the heat melting into my lounge chair, watching my son splashing around in the pool, I smile. It's my choice and a good one because I know it makes him happy. And when he's happy, I'm happy.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Small World

Is this world really all that small? I mean, we use that saying, "It's a small world" but it really isn't that small. I know...you're saying - "Tell me something I don't already know." Well, I'm not here to tell you something new as much as it's just been an observation on my part. I don't know about everyone else but I'm sure that there are millions that share the same viewpoint as I do. We all get so caught up in our "little world" and doing our thing that we don't have any conception of how large this big beautiful world really is.

My awakening was actually when I started tweeting more on twitter. Yes, I'm afraid I've become a social media junky.  I never thought it would happen, but it did. And I realized the more I followed someone and people, or companies for that matter, followed me, that there was SO MUCH out there that I didn't even know about.  There are so many other people going about their individual lives, doing their own thing, hanging out with kids & family, going to work, or whatever is on their agenda for the day.

And, yes, I knew all this before but it just became so apparent and opened my eyes when I started having people follow me from Canada and London and Europe.  People I didn't even know but had some connection with.  That's the whole point of twitter and all the other social medias, isn't it? To connect. To find someone or some company that has something that interests you. In my situation it was more about finding people that were authors or enjoyed writing and spending time with family. I started realizing early on that there are SO many people that have the same interests as I do; people that I'm pretty sure I'll never meet except on Twitter or some other type of social media.

But, most of these people are people that are good and want to connect to either give you info, kind words, or actually hear what I have to say or tweet about. I know there are alot of people and companies trying to sell something but most of it is something that will better you or your life. That's amazing. Maybe I'm naive about it but in going down the path of social media frenzy it has awakened me to the possibilities out there just waiting for us to take hold. There is such a vast amount of information out there and people ready to give it; all at our fingertips and by the click of a button. Amazing! I think I'm addicted and glad of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some day

My brain is muffled right now. So many thoughts running through it at lightning speed, so much to do and so little time. Isn’t there a saying about that? . . . I sit here at the keyboard wondering if I’m going to get thoughts down on my computer or not. Maybe I’m writing this just to accomplish something. My life is so busy right now with work (that part isn’t really busy, it just takes up 8 hours of my day that I could spend writing), kids, home, husband, pets, community, etc. The list goes on and on. I ask myself if my priorities are straight. Yes, I take care of my kids and I TRY to keep the house cleaned. I make sure everyone is fed, including the pets. I make sure everyone is tucked in snug at night. I’m usually the last one to go to bed. But by the time the house is quiet and there are no more questions, meals to prepare, messes to clean up, books to read, chores to be done, I’m so pooped that all I want to do is crawl underneath the covers and head off to lala land.


I have the same goal for myself every day and that is to write . . . write something . . . anything; even if it’s a few lines. Anything is better than nothing, right? My mind is cluttered with lots and lots of scenarios and plots to make a good story. The problem is getting my thoughts from my head to a piece of paper. I know they will come but sometimes I struggle so much with it that it makes my head hurt.

I decide to take a break. I walk out our door in our bedroom. It goes onto an unfinished deck. But, at least, the deck is there. It’s another one of our endless unfinished projects that is on a list that seems to go on forever. Will we ever get the things done that need to be done? Will the landscaping get finished? Will I get steps on our upper deck to get down to our lower deck? Will the dog pens get finished? I could keep going but I think you get the idea.

I hear something and turn around to see my youngest son peering out through the door. “Mommy, can you play Sorry with me?”

I think, well, I’m not doing anything else; might as well.

I lean down and look into his beautiful green eyes, “Sure, honey, I can play Sorry with you.”

I follow him down the hall and past the kitchen. My oldest son is sitting at the table writing something; maybe a project for summer camp? I don’t know; but he is diligently staring at the paper. “Mommy, what’s a word that means that you think someone’s really neat and you like them a lot?”

I stop for a moment and think, “How about, ‘special’.”

“That’s the word! Thanks Mom!! Thanks a lot!”

I walk downstairs to where my son has the ‘Sorry’ game all displayed on a table ready for us to begin.

My husband yells down the stairs from the hallway, “Honey, where is that email about the meeting this week?”

I stop halfway down the stairs and yell back up, “I printed it out and laid it on the dresser.”

“Ok, great! I see it! Thanks hon!

I continue down the stairs. My youngest is waiting patiently for me. His eyes are alert as he looks up and smiles at me. “Come on mom. Let’s play.”

I sit down on the floor and make myself comfortable. As we start the game I think to myself, the book can wait; at least for a little while. These are the priorities. As long as the important people and things are taken care of in my life, everything else will fall into place and work out like it should.

I look up at my son and smile. There are plenty of stories to be told right here in this house. I have faith that the words will come. And as Scarlet would say, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Princess

“Mommy! Princess is hurt! Something’s wrong!”


I had started fixing breakfast. We woke up happy, all of us did. Happy that we didn’t have anything to do on this particular day except try and get some yard work done and other miscellaneous jobs around the house. Very rarely did we have days like this so when they became available we relished in them.

But my oldest son’s frantic statement alarmed me into the reality that our peaceful day at home was only short lived. I raced outside barely waiting for the garage door to come up. I ducked down as I ran underneath it and made a beeline up to the dog pens where our 2 dogs were kept.

We had just brought them home a little over a month before. When Brandy died we promised the boys that we’d get another dog or two. Brandy had been my dog and I had known her longer than my kids or my husband. She lived to be 15. The boys loved her and we were definitely what you would call, ‘a dog family’. So, I knew having more dogs was going to be the norm with us.

Brandy had died the fall before so we had waited until spring had come around to start looking for puppies. We had searched in the paper and found a golden retriever and a German shepherd; just the two kinds of dogs our kids wanted. We had gone out on Memorial Day to different towns in Missouri to buy the pure-bred dogs. The Golden Retriever was 7 months and the little German shepherd was 6 weeks. They instantly became friends, hanging out with each other and playing.

As I raced up to the pens at full speed I expected to see Princess, our shepherd, laying there with blood on her and maybe whimpering. ‘Just hurt’, right? What I saw was way beyond what I expected. I ran into her pen and scooped her up in my arms. I immediately knew that she had already left us. My heart felt like it was breaking in two.

Princess and Goldie, our Golden Retriever, were so close that Princess would constantly climb through the cattle panels that separated them to be closer to Goldie. The first night we separated them, I about changed her name to Houdini. We came out the next morning and Princess was in Goldie’s pen. We looked around and couldn’t find out how she had gotten in. We soon realized that she was climbing up and through the openings in the cattle panel. She was still small enough where she could fit through comfortably. This particular night she hadn’t been so lucky.

As I sat down holding Princess in my arms, I felt so helpless and guilty. I felt mad and so sad for my two boys who had been the ones to find her stuck in the fence. Oh, what must have gone through their minds? I wish I could take that back and hit the "rewind" button. Why didn’t I go out first that morning?? I’d done it dozens of times. I enjoyed taking care of our many animals and even though it was a good responsibility for our boys, I also enjoyed doing it, too. Why hadn’t it been ME that found Princess; sparing the boys of this terrible turmoil.

Why hadn’t we made the pens more secure? We should have done something the first time we realized she was crawling through. I blamed myself. Greg blamed himself. I just sat cradling her in my arms and rocking; crying, crying, sobbing. I couldn’t make the tears stop. I gave the pup to my oldest son. It was his dog and he wanted to hold her. I had to leave and walk away. I felt so bad and so mad at myself that I wasn’t there to help her.

What must have gone through Princess’s head when she realized she was stuck? There was evidence that our other dog, Goldie, had tried to help her. How they must have struggled together trying to get Princess free. How they must have communicated with each other in their own language, Goldie trying to reassure Princess that she would try and do whatever she could to get her out and Princess pleading with Goldie to help her. How there last moments together must have been as Princess slowly slipped away; Goldie realizing that she had done all she could do for her.

Do dogs cry? Are they sad? Do they understand? I think they do; somehow, someway, in their own way. I know God was with them trying to ease the pain and discomfort. And I think Goldie knows something happened. As we buried Princess, Goldie would come up and sniff her. Goldie seemed more quiet than usual, and maybe a little lost.

My heart is still breaking. I know my son is sad but he will be fine. And I will be fine. But I know that I will never go another time without fixing a problem if there is any doubt in my mind that something could go wrong; whether it's with my kids or a pet. Sometimes we don’t get a second chance. Sometimes we have to try and live with the guilt and the pain. That’s the hardest part; trying to forgive yourself for letting someone else down. I’m working on that and I know it will take a while.

But I think Princess would have forgiven us. She was a very special pup. And, like all dogs, she was man’s best friend. She didn’t care what happened; she was always there to greet you with a lick and a wag of her tail. And I know we will see her again at the Rainbow Bridge.  Until then I think her and Brandy are probably becoming very good friends.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be there

Well, this morning didn't get off to a very good start, to say the least.  And it got me thinking, again, how I need to do a better job at prioritizing.  I, and I'm sure a lot of you can relate as well, tend to focus on the now and what needs to be done NOW.  Is the laundry done?  The dishes need putting away.  I need to finish up that landscaping out front.  Are the kids swimming suits packed and ready for tomorrow?  All these questions are insignificant in a child's eyes.  All they are concerned with is spending quality time with mommy and daddy.  Of course, as the child gets older they won't feel the need to spend as much time with family as they do when they're young.  Which leads me back to what is important.  I realize that if I don't show them that they are important and that mommy trully WANTS and ENJOYS spending time with them NOW then when they get older, they won't WANT to spend as much time with mom & dad because that's what they've learned.  God help me if I teach them that.  I can always put away the dishes later and the landscaping will be there tomorrow for me to finish. 

I remember my mom telling me that she would stay up until wee hours of the morning doing housework because that's the only time she could do it; after my sister and I went to bed.  That told me that she was spending quality time with us instead of worrying about other chores that would wait on her until after her children were put happily to bed for the night.

So, what I'm trying to say is spend time with your children.  Some day they'll be gone and you'll wish they were back again, small enough to snuggle up under your chin for some mommy or daddy time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stop the littering











I was driving home the other day and suddenly felt very sad. Before me was a long stream of trash and debris along the road I was traveling on. It looked awful. It made me wonder what God probably thinks. He gave us such beauty...such a gorgous landscape to live in.....













And we have repayed him with this............



Do you remember the old commercials with the Indian?


They were SO powerful.



I wish they'd run them again.

Please take note of what you are doing and the next time you think about pitching that cup or napkin out the window of your car, think AGAIN. Wait until you get to the next trashcan. It's not that inconvenient. Keep a plastic bag in your car so you can keep your trash in it until you can throw it out. Don't throw it out the window. Let's try and keep our country beautiful just like it was made.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good advice

I came across some great sayings the other day and thought I'd post a few. Enjoy!

1. Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3. Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

4. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

5. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

7. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live....AND it's beats the alternative.

8. Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once. (I love this one!)

9. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

And...

10. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Life's too short to worry, be sad, mad or hold a grudge. Be happy! You ALWAYS have that choice!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The birthday boy

It was 10 years ago today that my husband, Greg, and I went through a very dramatic time in our lives. But the person that suffered the most was little Michael, our first born. He was born 10 weeks early (that's 2 1/2 months early in terms of the 9-month gestation period). I gave birth to him at 6 1/2 months. He was so tiny. His entire body would fit in Greg's hand with his little legs hanging over. He looked so helpless. He was strong, though. I found that out early. He just kept fighting to hang on. He was only 3 1/2 pounds when he was born and got down to 3 lbs before he started gaining weight again. Slowly, he started getting bigger and eating better. We would visit him daily; most days, twice a day...driving from Boonville to Columbia and back.



Now, look at him. You would never know that he had to wear a respiratory strap for several months and have RSV shots for 2 years. He has grown into a big, strong boy full of orneriness (just like his father...ha) and curiousity. He is kind and caring and we love him dearly. Happy 10th Birthday, Michael! We love you!
Mom, Dad and Vincent






Thursday, April 21, 2011

Attempting and loving the busy"ness" of my life

Wow! It's been over a month since I've blogged. This may be the longest lapse of time yet. We've been terribly busy lately. Greg and I are both heavily involved in the community and our kids' school and we have family out of town that takes us away from home at times. Anyone that is a parent and is actively involved in their lives understands what I am saying.

I have also accomplished something in the last week. I have finished my first book. It's not published yet. I haven't even sent it off to anyone, but I hope to soon. I thought I would share a little of the book with you. It's a children's story, inspired by my husband. He actually told this story to our boys a while back at bedtime. Greg and I do this every once in a while - make up a bedtime story or a "fake story" as our boys would say and tell it to them before they go to bed. The stories are usually filled with adventure and magic; things that wouldn't normally happen but what kids tend to dream about.

Here is a paragraph or two of the story. I hope you enjoy....

....John was about to catch up to Pete and Billy when he heard a sound. He quickly turned around. Nothing was there. He started walking again and then heard the sound again. He was really getting creeped out now. John started thinking about Jed Mackey and what he must have seen. He was just about ready to run ahead to tell Pete & Billy that they had better turn around and get the heck out of there when something bumped against his foot. He thought, "Oh no, I don't even want to look down to see what that was." As he slowly looked down to the right of his foot, he saw a clump of feathers. The feathers moved and then looked like they were shaking. John walked over slowly and peeked around the rock it was hiding behind. It suddenly flew up and over John's head about knocking him into a cart that was behind him.

"Whoa!! What was that!?"

"Hey John, you OK?" Pete and Billy were running back in John's direction. They had heard the noises and John's shriek. John was standing there looking up at the ceiling. "What's wrong with him, Billy? He looks like he just seen Frankenstein."

"What is it, John? What did you see?"......

Friday, March 11, 2011

Strength is there even if it doesn't seem like it....


I read a story from one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. It was very inspirational and as I read it one afternoon walking on my treadmill, I cried. I want to share it with you:
The phone rang at 2:30 that morning and scared me out of my wits.
"Mom, I'm sorry to be calling so late, but I just have to talk to someone about this." It was my son Lee. He had just returned to his apartment after helping at the 9/11 Pentagon disaster.
I asked, "How are you holding up? Have you eaten? How are you feeling?"
He asked, "How is the rest of the family doing? Were there any events in Maryland? How are your patients handling it?"
The tragic story emerged throughout our nightlong conversation. Lee worked across the street from the Pentagon. He heard the explosion and ran over to help.
He went from bystander to rescue worker in one horrible heartbeat. His friends worked in that building and he wanted to help. Lee was not a fireman, military man, or medic. He was there and he was willing to do what needed to be done. Someone gave him directions and a flashlight and sent him to join one of the search teams.
He cried into the phone. "I wanted to help so I could say to one little girl, 'your Daddy will be coming home,' but that didn't happen.
"Mom, there were no bodies....only arms and legs. I wasn't able to save a single one of them. There were no pulses...not one, the whole time." He began sobbing. My heart broke for him. He struggled to continue. "I saw a hand, just a hand, on the floor, it had a wedding ring on it and all I could think of was my Crissy." (Crissy was the girl he wanted to marry.) That said, he wept again. "Mom, I never meant to lose my composure - I'm sorry."
"No son, don't be sorry; if you could go through what you just did and not feel anything, you would not be human."
"I'm supposed to be in control of myself. I'm falling apart here", he proteseted. "sorry to call so late," he continued in a whisper.
"I'm honored you called to talk to me," I whispered back.
"Since you're a nurse and have watched many people die, I thought you could tell me how to handle it," he said. Then he wanted to know how to regain his composure, so he could go back and continue the search. I told him that the devastation he just saw was not like anything I had ever witnessed.
"You're going to feel overwhelmed because it is an overwhelming situation. There is nothing you can do but rest and go back and do what you know you must do," I said.
He kept repeating, "I have to go back and try to help, but it's hopeless.."
With all the love a mother could give, I tried to explain that he had done all he could and that he was only human and he couldn't change fate. I tried to think of comforting Bible verses but none would come to mind. I just kept reassuring him that he had done all he could. He told me that once he rested and regained his composure, he wanted to return to the Pentagon.
"That's why I wanted to talk to you, Mom. How do you do what you do and not break down in front of people?"
"Lee, it doesn't matter if you break down. No one will care about that."
"But, he protested, "I'm supposed to be objective, controlled, and saving lives, not picking up hands and legs!"
"Who said you have to be composed through all this?" I asked. " Is there a rulebook on how you should act in the midst of a terrorist attack?" Son, you are reacting like a human. Are you really worried that someone might see you cry?"
"No. It's not that. I just want to handle this and keep my composure and be strong for the families, like you do at work."
Apparently he pictured me as Florence Nightingale attending to war-torn troops. The truth was, in the entire forty years of my nursing career, I had never witnessed the horrors he had seen in the last forty hours! However, I admitted that I had wept with the families when there was nothing more we could do to save someone they loved.
"Hon, we're only human, we feel human emotions."
"Then tell me how to control my thoughts. I have to think clearly," he pressed.
That I could do. "Even when I was crying, I prayed for strength and concentrated on doing my job to the best of my ability, and I continued to do it," I answered. "That's what you have to do, pray and concentrate. Remind yourself that you are there to do a job and do it. Focus on the task and ask youself what do I need to do next?"
He answered in anger, "I'm supposed to be rescuing somebody but there's no 'body' left to rescue!"
Just then, he let out a gut-wrenching moan and shrieked, "Oh my God!"
I screamed into the phone, "What's happened now?"
"Mom, I just looked down and there are fragments of other people's skin on my arms!" Then he broke into sobs. His heartbreak seeped into my heart and I cried with him.
My mind tried to think of something else to say to comfort or help him. I reminded him repeatedly that even when we can't see it, God is in control. I also reminded him that this life is not the only life we will ever have.
After an entire night of talking, "pray for the strength and do what you have to do to the best of your ability," was the only sound advice I had to offer. After all is said and done that is all we can ever do. Lee went back to finish the gruesome job.
The advice I gave him that night will help him through anything. Lee now knows he can get through any crisis by praying for strength and doing what he can to the best of his ability. That is all I could ask of my son. That was the best advice I had to give.
In the aftermath, I worried that such a horrible experience would scar my son for life. It didn't. In fact, he is a better man for having done such a tough task in a terrible situation. While I wished he had been spared that tragedy, he because a stronger person because of it. He has a deeper appreciation for his life and the people in it. He cherishes each day and he takes nothing for granted.
Lee and I are still miles apart. Yet, we are closer in heart and spirit because of a night spent talking on the phone, sharing tough times.
~ Joyce Seabolt

Monday, March 7, 2011

My epiphany





I am a person that enjoys writing my thoughts down on papers. I'm not sure how good I am at it but I do enjoy it. Maybe someday these thoughts/stories, etc. will make me some money but until then I am content with whomever reads them by chance and enjoys their contents.
About a week ago I was hit with a brick... it was like God was rapping me up side my head with a 1/2 ton truck to get my attention. I guess I hadn't been listening. (For those of you who know me, I'm sure you're saying... "Imagine that".. ha) My dad always used to say, "It just takes some people longer than others." Most of the time he was referring to ME.

Anyway, I had been strugging a great deal for sometime with life, my purpose and what I was supposed to do with whatever skills God had bestowed upon me. I had grown increasingly angrier over the years feeling defeated and wondering why God was not answering my prayers. I mean, I was basically a good person. I had good morals and values and loved my family. I had a great work ethic and tried to go to church every Sunday. People liked me. I had a lot of friends. Yes, I was overbearing sometimes and opinionated but when people took the time to get to know me, they enjoyed being around me. Or, was I just kidding myself... Well, you've heard the old saying.... "There are none so blind as those that can not see". Well, I think that I have NOT been seeing for a long time.





It's amazing how great your life can be with the right attitude, a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) as you might say. That actually comes from a book I've been reading. Well, that morning about a week ago I suddenly realized that I had lost that PMA somewhere along the line. I used to be such an optimistic and positive person. But there had been SO much going on in our lives. We had moved away from all of our family and friends to a small town where we knew NO ONE. Our first child was born 2 months premature and spent the 1st 2 months of his life in the NICU. I continued to stay home with the kids after we had our second child. Then I tried to get back out in the job market but couldn't find anything really satisfying or comparable to my education or degree. I was frustrated. Then, the reality of the finances started playing a part. We longed to try and be social and fit in with the community but found ourselves staying home to try and save a buck. I thought maybe getting more involved in volunteering would help (and it has) but I still had the wrong attitude.

I prayed for that right job to come along but it seems like God just wasn't listening. Until that fateful morning when he hit me with a brick and said, "LINDA!! Just be happy!! I have given you so many blessings. You have a wonderful family that loves you. You have your health, a house that has everything you've wanted in a house, food on the table, a job (even though it's not where you want to be yet). Be patient and trust ME!!!! I will fill your life with so many more blessings if you just trust me, be happy and leave it up to me."








Oh my.... now some of you probably don't believe that that's what He said but it was. I'm not saying that I actually heard God's voice BUT I did hear what he was trying to make me understand. And it's so AMAZING how things just work out when you put a smile on your face, give people the benefit of the doubt, have a positive outlook on everything and everybody and just trust in Him to make things happen. I was so concerned with controling my life and trying to do it all myself and I finally GOT IT. I can't do that. It's never going to work out like it should if I try and do it all myself.

WOW! The past week has been amazing. Life at home as been incredible. Everyone is happier and things flow better. I know that that perfect job (or, at least, a better one) will come along in God's own time and I can feel my natural smile coming back. Feels Good!! Try it... they say it takes less muscles in your face to smile than frown. Now, if I start thinking about something negative, I immediately smile and soon those negative feelings and thoughts are gone. Live is good and it's only going to get better!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Farrah

I just finished reading this book. It was so sad and made my heart just break. Everyone remembers Farrah Fawcett and how beautiful and alive she was. Her cancer just tore her down to nothing. I think it would have been a privilege to know her. She sounded like she was a very selfless and loving person.

I saw an article that came across email a while ago which goes right along the same idea as Suzanne Somers has been talking about regarding injection of the right things into your body. When you're down, angry, sick, not eating right or treating your body poorly, those cancer cells can come right to the surface. That's why it is so important to eat right and to exercise and to not take all the medicines/pharmceuticals if it's not absolutely necessary. The body is an incredible machine. God made us so we can be perfect and healthy if we just make the right choices.

This is just my opinion in trying to make good, healthy "life choices" and I'm not saying that Farrah didn't make the right choices. But after spending 2 years on procedures, surgeries, radiation and cemo to try and stop the cancer it just weakened her body even more so that nothing seemed to work after a while. Eating the right foods, exercising and staying away from the wrong chemicals/medicines can be SO beneficial to your life. Unfortunately, the results are NOT immediate but if you stick to it, the end result will be SO WORTH IT.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dream.....

I thought these images might be nice to think about while our window sills are being bombarded with snow!.....aaaaaahhhhh....I can almost feel the warm of the sun on my face and smell the ocean air. Well, at least, until I walk outside.