Saturday, July 4, 2009

Still Waving!

Our day started like most others with a trip to the pool for an early morning workout. Things quickly changed, however, when our instructor ( a former marine) arrived and addressed us from pool side.

Pam discussed the history behind "The Star Spangled Banner" and explained that while Francis Scott Key was being held prisoner aboard a British ship he learned that the American flag at Fort Sumpter became the focal point of attack. When the symbolic flag came down, the British would declare a victory. Throughout the night they fired shot after shot trying to destroy their target, but it withstood the brutal punishment with strong determination.

After Mr. Key wrote his beautiful tribute he learned that the flag did not survive on its own volition. Each time the flag was struck, it became more and more unstable. The men, women and children inside the fort watched in disbelief as their beloved flag became more and more tattered and torn but as they watched they decided they would not let it fall. One at a time they took turns holding up the supporting pole until they sacrificed their very lives as shells fell around and on them.

While I listened to this incredible story my eyes filled with tears but when the daily slate of workout songs began with that great song I was overcome with emotion and renewed gratitude for our history and the people who continue to work tirelessly to ensure our freedom and priviledges. "The Star Spangled Banner" was followed by an hour of patriotic marches, hymns and military theme songs, ending with a 21 gun salute. My eyes watered throughout our workout, but today the cause was not the chemicals in the water.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Pay It Forward Moment

On the way home from my doctor's appointment this afternoon I observed a very simple but profound moment; a pay it forward moment, if you will.

Slowly making their way down the sidewalk was an elderly, unkempt, African American couple pushing a shopping cart loaded down with the bottle and cans they had gathered along their journey. Suddenly, a brand new car pulled up beside them and a Caucasian teenager with spiked green hair got out. He went around to the back of the car and opened the trunk.

Reaching inside the car he pulled out several large trash bags filled with bottle and cans, took them over to the couple and tied them securely to the cart. They exchanged a few words but the smiles on the faces of the couple remained after the young man had driven away.

Watching the interaction of these people who will probably never see one another again really touched my heart. The young gifter had gone out of his way to save throw away items and then made an effort to find someone whose lives demanded the collection of these precious items for their livelihood.

A quick moment. A simple act. Makes me want to go do something good!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Heard A Sermon The Other Day

I heard a sermon the other day that made me lie awake when I went to bed.

When someone is surrounded by a fire, all they can think of is how wonderful a drop of water would be. But, nobody is there to provide it in spite of the fact that buckets full of the wonderful liquid is all around, just out of reach.

When a person is not a Christian (or not living a Christ like life) it is as if he is surrounded by a fire that will eventually consume him. All he needs is someone to offer him the drop of water that is the gospel, but nobody is there to provide it in spite of the fact that Christians surround him, just out of reach.

I thought about this simple message all day. Then, when I laid down and closed my eyes an image popped up. I saw family members, coworkers, students and people I did not know standing in a field surrounded by a fire. Each of them were looking into my eyes saying, " You were my mother, friend, mentor or neighbor and you never once offered me a simple drop."

If you are reading this, please take a minute to reflect on the fact that God loves you and wants you call on Him for guidance, love and salvation. If you are at a place that needs repentance, He is there with open arms. It is impossible to understand His great love and power, but I know He has a plan for us and He wants us to return to Him someday. He sent His son, Jesus Christ to make that possible.

By posting this, I am attempting to offer you the drop that may get you back on track, or even change your life. If you need to talk or learn more, please call or post your concerns and I will get back with you. God bless.

Ray's Last Banquet

The end of another wrestling season has arrived and last night was the annual wrestling banquet to recognize and honor the athletes, their families and all those who helped make the year a success. The event was well attended, filling the room to capacity.

After the meal, the wrestlers presented their mothers, grandmothers, or "mother figure" a flower to show their love and appreciation. Then the boys lined up at the front of the room and one by one the coaches told a little bit about each one and related a story concerning their interaction with them throughout the year. This was followed by the customary plaques, awards and photo sessions.

At the conclusion of the presentations, Coach Boyd announced Ray's upcoming retirement and expressed his love and appreciation for everything he has done for kids over the past 38+ years in which he taught and coached teenagers. He presented Ray with a beautiful plaque and a parent gave him a little bear wearing an AVHS letterman's jacket. As Ray accepted these gifts, there was a tearful standing ovation.

When everyone was seated once again, all the wrestlers made their way to Ray and circled around him. Several of them took the microphone and expressed their feelings then the team captain said, " One last time, on Coach!" and they placed their hands on him, saying, "Devils on 3! 1-2-3, DEVILS!" After handshakes, hugs and a lot of nose blowing we were reminded of that saying : You should retire when people are still sad to see you go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

After The Thaw

About an hour after I made the repair appointment the phone rang and was told there was a repairman in the area and could come today! Woohoo! Remember the commercial about the Maytag repairman with nothing to do? Don't believe it!

Okay, so after a comprehensive examination of the white beast it was determined that the compressor had gone out and one had to be ordered. On an emergency order, the delivery and return date is next Tuesday. Six days without a fridge. (We have a small freezer in the garage.)
So much for not eating out!

A Big Thaw

Okay, so the stitches have come out and I am on the mend! But, on the mend with limitations. I have been instructed to refrain from using my left arm for such things as cutting, slicing, dicing, moving, pushing, lifting, and keyboarding (to name a few)...for at least the next 3 months.

Therefore, I am having to be very creative when searching for ways to occupy my time. When I returned home today from my daily pilgrimage to my Super Target I entered the kitchen to be greeted by an awful mess that I instantly assumed the dogs had created for me. Upon further investigation, however, I discovered that the freezer on our side-byside refrigerator had gone out and the mess on the floor was from defrosted and melted food items! (Imagine cleaning that up with one hand!)

As I cleaned the floor and emptied the freezer into trash bags, I and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the extended warranty we purchased a couple of weeks ago. Then I called for a repair appointment which is 6 days out. The really good news is this: My floor is clean, the animals are still "good dogs," and the warranty will reimburse $250.00 for food loss.

Ray and I have decided to limit our dining out experiences to Friday night dates, Saturday outings and after church breakfasts. Therefore, my new challenge is to locate something in the house that survived the big thaw!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Surgery Update

On February 3rd I underwent radial nerve entrapment surgery on my left arm. This is a condition caused by years of keyboarding and is very rare, according to my surgeon who treats a case every 2-3 years. More often, computer use complications rise up in the wrist in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Yesterday at my post op appointment the nurse removed my bandages to reveal what appeared to be a giant seven inch caterpillar snaking its way across my inner arm. Dr. Rice approved the removal of the twenty-five silver clips holding my skin together but sternly restricted my activities for the next three months: No sewing, no scrap booking, no piano playing, no housework or lifting and no keyboarding except for my modified right handed hunt and peck approach.

So, cleared to drive again I went to my favorite store, Super Target, to pick up meds and a few grocery items. It must have been quite amusing to observe my journey down the aisles as I pushed the cart with my right hand and left foot, but I got it done and made it safely home.

Today I got up with Ray and after breakfast and morning prayers he left for work and I began to face the realization that my life was about to become terribly boring and predictable. Thank God for my good right hand which will allow some semblance of normality.

Headlines in the morning paper included a plea for community volunteers to work with the San Bernerdino County Sherif'f's Department in the Citizens On Patrol program. Perhaps my life won’t be boring and predictable after all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Regarding Walton Family

Okay, now that retirement has blessed me with more time than I know what to do with at times; I have decided to enter the World of Blogs! Most blogs seem to have a theme or at least a purpose but because I currently have neither, I am beginning this endeavor with a bit of trepidation.

While contemplating my first entry, I was at a loss for topic until Rocky and Stretch made a suggestion. So, the following entry is dedicated to the two fuzzy noses that greet me eagerly each morning and cuddle by my side at night.

Barky Conundrums

"Family" is a term most often defined as a group of people directly related by ancestral bloodlines and lineages. Modern variances have expanded the famillal arms that reach out and encircle through avenues such as sports affiliations, criminal activity, common interests, occupational memberships and religious sects, to name a few.

It can be debated that in the final analysis, one's true family is that person or group of people who are loyal and present during the best of times as well as in the bleakest hour while keeping silent their selfishness, prejudices and harsh opinions. Sadly, few names will come to mind.

Notwithstanding, it has to be noted that these creatures do in fact exist and walk among us. They may be known as Spot, Rover or King but will always be recognized as "Man's Best Friend" and an important member of the family.

The furry chocolate ball with sweet smelling kisses of eagerness or the lop-eared orphan of abandonment who has loved his way into the human heart will never waste time questioning motives, judging appearances or making comparisons. Rather, he is quick to forgive after having been left in the rain, forgotten at supper time or ignored during a crisis and will quickly show his allegiance with the simple brush of a warm muzzle against the palm of a still hand.

Whether a show champion who works tirelessly to train for his master, a carefully purchased prize identified through the pet store window or a fortunate captive rescued from death row at the shelter; God's barky conundrums remain consistent.

It is they who incite a smile by quizzically tilting their head, attempting to understand words of endearment. It is they who ease the lonely suffering of a grieving widow and will protect their charges, often at the cost of their own lives. It is they who lead sightless owners confidently across busy thoroughfares and will walk hundreds of miles to reunite with their people. It is they who find their way to the marble identifying the love of their life and cover the soil with their warmth. And it is they who demonstrate the ease, simplicity and purity of unconditional love and family acceptance.

It is a wise person who fashions his life after the image his dog creates.