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The HSCC

There was quite a spread served-up today at the weekly Wednesday lunch (as usual) and thankfully a handful of people walked in right at noon, helping to keep the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center open. Six bucks is all it costs to have a home-cooked meal, including dessert and an ice tea or ice water. The money goes toward paying utilities and insurance on the building, so that it may remain open and available for rent.

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Several of the area’s residents each bring a dish to donate for the cause. There is generally a variety to choose from for all courses – the main course, side dishes and desserts. I like to try everything. Today, to save room, I mixed together two different side dishes and thought, “What a coincidence, they are both pickled!” Or were they? I don’t know, but I know they were both good that way.

A few of the folks who frequent the lunch went to high school with my mom and dad. I think that is neat. We sat with one of such friends at lunch. This person also attends the UMC in Waurika and we discussed how much we loved last week, seeing The Master’s Storyteller, and discovered we have had the same song rolling around in our head ever since. So, again I will say but in another way, if you ever get the chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly doubt you will be disappointed.

And, if you ever happen to be in the Hastings, Oklahoma area on a Wednesday promptly at noon, stop by the Hastings Senior Citizen’s Center for lunch. Not only will you get a great meal for only $6, you will be helping the whole town. No one wants to see the Center close down. It is located on Main Street across from the post office and available to rent for most occasions. If you go, feel free to say, “Susie sent me,” and, “hi,” to my mom and dad!

If you really want to know… I’m a Cathodist

Best I can figure, I am a Cathodist Misallievangelical with close ties to the Baptist’s. However, I am mostly Catholic, then Methodist. The other two churches I elected to become a member of, I did so during my seeking years. I spent a few looking for a place where I would feel that I “fit in.”

My mom might disagree with me and say I am mostly Methodist, since I was born into a Methodist family, baptized as a baby in the Methodist Church and where I attended for the first twenty-two years of life. A good case, but so is the one that claims I am mostly Catholic. I had to earn it.

After attending weekly classes for a year after we were married, I passed the test that declared me to be Catholic. I probably had an advantage as well, since I had graduated from Cathedral High School. The church accepted my baptism as a baby but not my confirmation, I guess because they called it first communion. So I took part in a ceremony with a class of second graders in order for the Catholic church to recognize our union under God. Whew, we pulled it off – married by the Methodists AND approved by the Catholics. Both in-laws were in luck.

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We did about a decade of semi-faithful Catholicism before long days at the community park took over the time commitment. Not for long though, for we started going to a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church after a neighbor invited us, which we loved, and then lost the pastor to a better town. A colleague invited us years later to an Evangelical Church, which we also loved, until the hour-long drive started to wear on us.

When my “church hopping” escapades ended up at the Baptist Church, my enthusiasm to study the bible really took off. For I had never heard of “the rapture” before, in all of my almost 40 years in a handful of churches. I was also looking for where the bible says that I would go to hell if I were not baptized Baptist. What I found was a little more shocking, at first, though so intriguing that I continued studying using the Strong’s Concordance. Suddenly, the bible made more sense than ever to me. And everyday, it continues to fascinate me.

Before I get into all that, I just want to say – my goal is to share what I have been studying about the bible, nothing more. I do not care to try to convince anyone of anything. I would simply like to share some things I have discovered, in case others are searching like I was and struggling with a faith not making much sense. And if what I have to share happens to add to your already sense-filled faith, well then that would be fine. This will be in an upcoming post.

As far as my faith, it is overflowing. Because of this, I feel I can “fit in” just about anywhere, even when I don’t. As far as what to call me, should you have a need to label it, we’ll go with Cathodist. Predominantly Catholic and then Methodist. And because Cathodist sounds better than Metholic.

How’s that for organized religion?

The Garden Gym

My dad and I shared some laughs today when I started to ask what a hoe looked like. “Here it is,” I hollered upon seeing it, just as the image of what I was looking for came to me. I hurried over to the garden where he was waiting to show me where to plant potatoes.

“No problem,” I assured him, “I can hoe a row for poe-tay-toe!”

In fifteen minutes, I was feeling muscles in my back that I didn’t even know I had. Thank God they are not the same ones required to do the “asparagus cutting squats.” Between the two, I should be getting tone while growing good food – talk about a win/win.

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The row of potatoes I planted

And speaking of winners, it was another hit last night as The Master Storyteller played Gideon. Tonight I am looking forward to the story of Jonah and the whale. I’ll be there at 6 p.m.! (Spoiler alert – he already said he is not playing the whale.)

The Revival in Waurika

As I am not a huge fan of organized religion, my immediate reaction this morning upon hearing of the “Bible Quest Worship & Drama” schedule for the week at my parent’s church was, I hope my parents won’t want to come to this every night. Church every night, oh, that just seemed like a lot.

Ten minutes into the service, my thoughts changed to, I hope my parents want to come to this every night! It was awesome! One of their brochures says it best – You’ve never seen anything like The Master’s Storyteller. His name is Wesley Putnam, of Wesley Putnam Ministries.

Tonight, Elijah came to life as a New York Bronx cop. Tomorrow night we get to see Gideon as a Yiddish version of Barney Fife. The music was also amazing. A little mini-revival, is what I would describe it as, although I have never been to a revival before. I just know that it is absolutely entertaining and soul shifting – girls and boys young and old alike laughed until they cried and then tried not to cry when their heart started to stir. I saw it. I felt it. Powerful stuff, and I am grateful that I get to be a part of it at the First United Methodist Church Waurika, where I have been a visitor ever since I was born. I used to be visiting my grandparents, now it’s my parents.

On the way back to their house in Hastings, I took pictures of the sunset. Not bad, considering it is through the window.

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If you ever have a chance to see Wesley Putnam, The Master’s Storyteller, I highly recommend that you do. Until then, you can find him at wesleyputnam.org. (And yes, we plan on going every night. I am so excited!)

Fruity Weather – Please don’t Freeze on the Trees

Two days ago, my mom’s peach tree and plum tree were both just starting to bud, and today they are full of flowers. I love the colors, as do the bees that were buzzing around the trees.

 

 

I hope I get to see the next stage of growth, and that it’s not thwarted by a freeze, which is what we may get tomorrow night. Today it got up to 75. Talk about fruity weather.

Hola from Oklahoma!

Hola, Hello, Hi, from Oklahoma where the air is dry, and sixty-five degrees and sunny seems like the perfect day. That’s how it was the day after I arrived. On Wednesday, however, when I flew in, it was in the 30’s, and I sure was thankful that I opted on bringing along the extra layer of warmth even though it meant carrying it from Florida, where it was in the 70’s at 5:30 a.m. when I left. Because, if you know me, you know there was no room in my carry-on for a jacket.

And yes, I was glad to have it, along with my hooded layer and my gloves while waiting for my parents to pick me up at 9:45 a.m., which was a little eerie. Never have I seen no one in an airport baggage claim pick-up area. There were three cars at the curb, but no people. Seriously, I was the only person around, at all. I found that so completely odd and I took a picture. Three, actually, looking one way, straight ahead, and then the other way.

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Maybe it happens all the time, I don’t know. I am surprised though.

So my parents picked me up and we went to the buffalo ranch and spent the night, where I have no cell phone service. Therefore, Dave could not get a hold of me. The last he knew when he had talked to me, I was standing on the curb at baggage claim in the Oklahoma City airport where I had an eerie feeling because there was no one else in sight. Was everything okay? Was something going on? Was I okay? Well thank goodness Dave didn’t torture himself wondering any of this. No, that is not Dave at all. He was more concerned that I knew he did in fact call. And I am so glad I have grown-up.

The sunrise in Hinton is something I love seeing every time we stay there.

Here, you can see the buffalo.

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The next day we drove to my parents home and when we pulled up, my dad said, eyeing his garden, “Alright, we can pick asparagus for dinner!” I walked out there, looked, and said, “Where?”

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He showed me and I said, “Oh wow!”

I picked enough for us to have for dinner, with some left over. I also left some in the garden to pick the next day. I have never had such fresh asparagus in my life. Man, it was excellent.

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Love and Fear

On this day a decade ago, Dave got to wake up at home for the first time in 9 days. He had finally been released from the hospital on March 1st. How appropriate it was, then, that on this day, Dave and I went out for the first time, just the two of us, on his newest, biggest project. I call it “the big boat.”

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It was also on this day 10 years ago that the magnitude of his accident hit me. Clients had to be called, doctor’s appointments had to be made, and prescriptions had to be picked up. And guess who had to do all the driving? Me. Can you guess that I did not have a very good attitude about it? Well I did not.

This is one of the things I needed to work through, as I mention in The Trauma 10 Years Ago, and a large part of why thoughts of his accident gave me such anxiety – I had a hard time accepting my own behavior during this time. Especially my attitude towards Dave. I was extremely selfish.

It took me a while to even see this, as I thought that anyone who was going through what I was, would feel the same way. My nice, comfortable schedule was getting all screwed up and I didn’t like it. Our income stopped and I really didn’t like that. When I found myself getting mad at Dave for the accident even happening, I knew I needed to change. I knew this was not the kind of person I wanted to be.

One day not too long after his accident, Dave bumped into something on his blind side, and I said in a not so nice tone, “Watch where you are going!” He turned to me and said, “How come when I get hurt, you get mad at me?” I know I wanted to deny it and couldn’t. I simply said, “I don’t know.” What a turning point this was for us.

I have since found out that this sort of behavior is typical of people in fear. I remember when I first heard that everything we do or say either comes from a place of fear or love, I had a hard time believing it. Now I have no doubt. Knowing this has helped me to change. Instead of yelling, “What are you doing,” when Dave docked the big boat, I was able to ask, “Can I help you with whatever it is you are trying to do,” and then actually try to help with a cheerful heart.

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My own stubbornness almost got my attitude stuck on the fear side, and then knowing full well this is not who I want to be, I silently said, “Oh God, please help me,” and He did. Instead of reacting in fear, I was able to respond in love. And for me, God supplies that love.

Afterwards, my truck wouldn’t start and fear struck again. We had driven separately since I had things to do in the afternoon. I felt the panic strike and immediately, my mind went to, “He’s going to leave without knowing I’m stranded, where’s his cell phone, will he hear my call?” All sorts of things raced through my mind in the 10 seconds it took me to reach him, the last one being, “God, help!” Today, I am working on it being the first thought, along with thanking Him for the many blessings He bestows everyday. Including Dave being able to fix the loose battery connection quickly.

A Last and A First

We seem to be going a bit slower here, compared to other pictures of us 4-wheeling.

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This was in late 2008, after Dave’s accident. It seems weird to me now that I would even want to go. And I likely did not, but did just to keep my eye on Dave. And no, it’s not weird that he would want to go. That’s Dave. And here’s me, keeping my eye on him…

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It didn’t do much good though. Before we knew it, we were calling our friend.

“Here comes Harold,” I hollered from where I was standing look-out for him.

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“What’s the problem,” Harold asked.

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“Dave is stuck over there,” and I pointed to where Dave was, waiting for us with the 4-wheeler.

Harold looked and then exclaimed, “He’s not stuck, he’s flooded!”

“Well, uh, I guess he’s flooded and stuck,” I said.

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So they tied a rope to it and did their thing.

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Thank you, strangers, for your help.

And thank you, Harold for coming to our rescue.

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This was our last ride.

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Harold towed us back to his trailer, where we laid looking up at the sun, shining through the trees. And then we took our first selfie. This was in 2008.

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When we were muddin’

We had fun in our 4-wheeling days, it is just not something I want to do anymore. We went out with our neighbor once after Dave’s accident, and that was it. I hadn’t given much thought to exactly how I felt about the activity until just a couple of days ago when I was talking with my neighbor about it. I don’t remember thinking anything bad about it, but I don’t remember having fun either.

As time went on, I couldn’t give it much thought because when I would recall Dave’s accident, I would feel some sort of anxiety. It happened to me when I came across pictures of us 4-wheeling and anything that reminded me of his accident. Well I have decided that I have had enough of that. I also decided that I am not against ATV’s in any way, it is just not an activity for me anymore.

I knew a few years ago that I wanted to write about his accident and other stuff that I just was not ready to tackle at that time. “Maybe when it’s been 10 years,” I said to myself, making a mental note to deal with whatever I needed to deal with to be able to talk about it and do the online photo album I have longed to do and share. It’s weird, but I could not start this journey of sharing my photos until I felt that I was not purposefully skipping over a big chunk of my life just because I was uncomfortable with it.

And Dave, well he is different. He has always said something like he sees no sense in using mental energy for anything other than what he is doing right now. In other words, whatever it is, if it is done and over with, then there is nothing to “get over” because it is over. He is very accepting of the past. Me, not so much. However, I have decided that I would like to change this. Therefore, being a person of sound mind, I should be able to change this!

So when I look at the photos of us 4-wheeling, I will choose to think of how much fun we had in that chapter of our lives (and secretly be glad that it is closed), and not be afraid of my feelings any longer.

These were taken in 2005. And it wasn’t always mud. Trail rides were fun, too.

I just came across the photos from our last ride. They tell a story. I remember now. Coming next.

Day 2 of the Trauma 10 Years Ago

It was a Friday night, around eight o’clock, when Dave flipped his 4-wheeler. We had not even been at the camp site more than a couple of hours when it happened. We were meeting friends from the close west coast, but they were not coming until the next day. Their young adult sons, however, had arrived that same evening as us, and I thank God for the one who pulled the ATV off of Dave.

“Oh my God, get it off him,” I screamed. And like a super-hero, the young man leaped into action. I was horrified. I could not believe what I was seeing. Next I was screaming that I had no cell phone service and a stranger hollered that an ambulance was on the way.

Some of this and what happened next, I wrote about in the previous post, The Trauma 10 Years Ago. And then I had to tell the kids. Both our son and daughter offered to do whatever they could to help. “Actually,” I said, “find a friend who will drive you out here so that one of you can drive my truck and one of the ATV’s back home.” I towed the RV with Dave’s truck and our other ATV on the back with my flashers on the whole way, afraid to go over 40 mph. What would normally take a little more than two hours to get home, took me four.

0222180001I arrived home totally exhausted an hour before dark and decided to wait until the following day to drive the 4+ hours to Tampa General. Our friends from the close west coast had been keeping Dave company in the meantime. Still, it would be another seven days after I got there before he could come home. Pneumonia caught him and did it’s best to keep him down, but if you know Dave, you know that he refused to stay down for long.

Finally, Dave was discharged on March 1, 2008. Still, it would be another six weeks before Dave was cleared by his doctor to go back to work. In that time, we went to many doctor’s appointments to see about getting his eye fixed. He even had an appointment with a world renowned eye surgeon in Miami, but upon further investigation, the doctor determined that it could not be done. It impressed me that we got back every penny of our deposit, which was a good thing because the economy was headed for a meltdown. Thank God we hadn’t a clue.

By the time Dave was cleared to return to work, we were wondering what in the heck happened to the construction industry. At first, I thought perhaps people were afraid to hire a one-eyed contractor. “I don’t know,” a friend suggested, “don’t you ever close one eye to get a better look at something? So it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” and we laughed. Not at him, of course, but with him, because if we can’t laugh, then we are taking life way too seriously.

The Trauma 10 Years Ago

On this very day ten years ago – February 22, 2008, at this same time – 8 p.m., I took this picture.

 

I was following Dave, who had flipped his ATV. The ambulance took him to the nearest hospital – Lake Placid, I think, and they said they simply could not handle such a case. So they set forth to find the best place for him while I whined, “Why not West Palm Beach?” When they said, “No,” I said, “Okay, then Ft. Myers.” I could not imagine not having the support of friends and family, and I hadn’t even a clue yet of what he was in store for.

Tampa General Hospital was where he would go and when I asked, “Why,” they said, “Because there, they have the best brain trauma unit.” I tried to keep it together for Dave’s sake, and it was hard. Our friend Patti, a nurse, stayed on the phone with me and was a huge help.

According to the hospital records, it was 10:07 p.m. when Dave arrived at Tampa General. At 2:47 a.m., it was decided that he would go to OR and at 3:11 a.m., the hospital tried to contact me to let me know. Awakened by the call a little too late, I tried calling back almost immediately. I was transferred to a nurse who transferred me to the coroner.

The coroner then put a priest on the phone who generically started a comforting spiel. “No, wait,” I cried, “for crying out loud, what happened,” I demanded. “Well, we are checking on that,” the priest said, and then explained how they did not exactly know where my  husband was at the moment. He was soft-spoken and gentle. The more gentle he was, the more I wanted to reach through the phone and scream in his face. I was the most terrified and shocked I have ever been in my whole life.

I did not want to hear this person, or any person, say one more word unless it was to say that Dave was okay. They tried to assure me that they had every reason to believe he was because there was no evidence suggesting he was not, and that they would get to the bottom of it and call me right back. I hung up the phone and called my friend Debbie in the middle of the night.

“What’s wrong,” she said, answering her phone at three-thirty in the morning, and I proceeded to tell her all that had happened. My call-waiting beeped and it was the hospital. They had found Dave. He was in the operating room and was expected to be there for some time. They must have been on their way to the OR, and were in “limbo,” they told me, when I had called. Mistakenly, I was put through to the coroner and the priest just happened to be there.

The next day it dawned on me that I had two trucks, two 4-wheeler’s and a 30-foot RV to get back home, over two hours away. I thought, “I’ll call our son,” and then, “oh my God, I have to tell the kids.”

 

Let No One be Left Behind

My previous post, Up One Rung, really started out to be about the following stuff. I decided the post was too long. So here is part two.

Having passed people-pleasing on the rung below me, I am now on a new rung. A new rung does present new challenges, however, I feel ready for this rung. For I saw this quality in myself some time ago and shared these thoughts with friends.

I shared with them how, ever since I was a little girl I wanted to save the world, yet my parents had to remind me twice a day to brush my teeth. I reminisced about friends who had “slipped into the trenches” and how, although my motive has been to help one out of one, after a while what I really found, was myself down in the trench with my friend. Not fully knowing how I wound up there or how to get out, one thing I did know – I could not just leave someone I care about, down in the trench.

And then, thank God, I had a great moment of growth.

Never before could I fathom the heartlessness required to be able to walk away from someone in the trench. Thank God I was wrong. For heartlessness is not what it takes for me to leave the trench. What I need is my own worthiness.

I gained worthiness by doing the right thing when the wrong seemed so much easier or profitable. I attained merit in my own mind when I stopped talking about other people’s woes. I am enjoying a life of self-esteem simply by doing esteemable things. And when you do this, I believe, it becomes impossible to remain down in the trench.

When I am worthy of stepping out of the trench and I know it in my heart, then what my friend does or does not do, is really not a factor for what I do. But when I am harboring hate, guilt or some other negative emotion, then my soul knows I am not worthy of stepping up. When this happens, it is much easier for me to say, “I can’t just leave my friend here in the trench!”

Today I can see that stepping up a rung on the ladder of life is not the same as leaving a friend behind. A friend who feels left behind, simply may not be ready for such work. Rest assured, my friend, I am not leaving you. Instead, I say, “Here’s my hand, holler when you need me.” I just hope you don’t let my arm stretch out too long.

Up One Rung

Most of my life, I thought that the secret to self-esteem lie in not caring about what other people think of me. That, and thinking highly of myself, were the ways to good mental health, or so I thought. Even after being told that I was wrong, I still remained convinced that the trick to getting over anxieties about what others might think, was to not care. Or at least act like it. But forcing myself to not care when I really did, created worse problems, causing me to set my site here to private. So if you got a message saying you do not have permission to access this blog, please know that it was not just you – it was everyone.

My seven faithful followers (as of 11.30.17) may remember my post about anxieties I experienced when I saw that people were reading my posts. While I have no way of knowing exactly who is reading (and if there is a way to know, I do not want to know), just knowing that someone is reading, really presented problems for me. When I saw the statistics, my heart would start racing and a sort of panic presented itself. I did not like this feeling and wanted it to stop, yet it did not.

All my wishing in the world did nothing to improve this. In fact, it sometimes made my anxiety worse. So I set my site to private and embarked on a mission to either give my fears merit or get over them, once and for all. I analyzed exactly what I was doing here and why I had this fear of what other people thought. This time I went about it differently, this time I prayed. And so far, this tactic has worked.

Today, I no longer concern myself with what people think of me. Neither do I try to fool myself into thinking that I do not care, for of course I care what other people think of me. The fact that it is none of my business, well that takes care of my caring. Just as it is no one else’s business what I think of another, what another thinks of me is none of mine.

And finally I feel free to be the me God intended for me to be. Finally, I can live with everyone not liking me. Finally I have moments of feeling happy, joyous and free, all at the same time even when life gets overwhelming. Finally, I feel like I am up one rung on the ladder of life. 

 

 

Let’s Talk

I discovered my love for displaying memories in a scrapbook long, long ago, a trait I also loved about my grandmother. My first album I believe was from her – back when they were comprised of what looked like black construction paper. For my 13th birthday, I got a fancy one with hard plastic covering the photo; I still have both and just recently took the photos out. I will be making decisions on which ones to preserve and looking for ideas on what to do with the others, which will number in the hundreds, if not thousands.

By the time I graduated from high school, I had two large albums full in addition to the two I mention above. Dave & I got married and as our children grew, albums were added to the collection on the living room shelves. Our scrapbooks were often looked-through and thoroughly enjoyed by many. So I started to wonder, is there a difference in this digital age?

Well of course there is, is what I am thinking, but exactly what is it – I am not sure. A couple of decades ago, if your picture was in my album, then it was fair game to show it to whoever stopped by my house. So what is the difference if your picture is on my website, is it fair game to show it to whoever stops by the site? The obvious difference I see is whether or not I know the person. I am not going to invite strangers in to my house to look at my albums. So why would I on the internet?

While this is a good point, let’s look at the other side. I know a few people who are very adamant about their picture not being on the internet. I love and respect these people, and therefore, started wondering myself if there is some reason why I should refrain from posting photos on the internet. I asked a couple of my friends what their reasoning was and if they thought I should also have their concerns, and a definitive answer I have not heard. The more I searched for reasons on why I should not post, the more I felt a sort of paranoia, like there was something out there that would hurt me and I must find out what it is because being clueless was creating too much anxiety.

So while trying to come up with my own Photo Posting Protocol, I found many interesting lawsuits over people posting photos on Facebook; some of them I would have never believed, though every one of them had one thing in common – there was something that someone wanted to hide. The biggest issue according to my search results was about pictures taken at house parties and then posted on social media. This seemed to be a common suit. People thought they were in private and therefore acted in a way they would not want their employer to see and they did. And you know what? It seems that people have an expectation of privacy in many instances where it does not exist.

For me, I have finally found that I am fine with posting my photo online, for the only reasoning I could come up with for not doing so suggests that I ought get over myself. The sinful sort of pride and an over-inflated ego were at the basis of why I would refrain, and so therefore, I won’t. And while doing my due diligence to ensure that I don’t wind up in a suit, I found that when it comes to old family photos, most courts classify it as “de minimus,” meaning “of too little concern for the courts.” I can see Judge Judy yelling, “Don’t waste the court’s time!”

002-1What about an old family photo that was sent to friends in a Christmas card nearly 50 years ago?  Who do you suppose owns this photo, and can they do with it what they wish? I was surprised to find out, although it really should not be surprising, that the owner of a photo has nothing to do with who is in the photo or has material possession of the photo. It makes sense that a person could not possibly own all of the photos in which they appear, and many people could not own the same photo. No, a photograph’s owner is whoever pressed the button on the camera, causing the picture to be taken. In this case, my mom owns the photo, as it was taken with a tripod and timer. And obviously, this photo is before I came along. About two years later, I took the cat’s place. And about ten years after that, this very cat died in my arms on the way to the vet. Her name was Tammy.

The photos I will be posting, unless otherwise noted, belong to either my mom, my dad, me, or Dave. If you would like a copy of a certain photo or the right to use it somehow, please send me an email. You will find my contact information on the Information Station page, which you can find on the drop-down menu above.

At any rate, when I was presented with thousands of family photos a few years ago, I set out to do some sort of photo-blog online. For some reason, I felt angst about starting it, so I asked some. My parents, of course, and my brothers, I also asked my aunt, and three of them said, “Yes, go for it!” My brothers were more like, “Well it depends, what are you going to do?” And since I didn’t really have a clue, I did nothing.

Today, I have a better direction and am ready to get this project going. Most of the photos will be on Shutterfly and you can request access by sending me an email. If you find a photo of yourself on my blog or Shutterfly site and would like it to be removed, simply send me an email. No need to get me in a suit, and I’m not talking about a cat suit, nor in the way of 70’s style, but with the court of law you file.

And speaking of cat suits, I told you I took the cat’s place! See –

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And you thought I was kidding… Nope, just crying.

The Q-tip Quip

For years, when I would complain of not feeling well, Dave would listen to me the first or second time and then suggest I not focus so much on the ailment. Although he meant well, this usually did not go over well with me. Whether it was my inflamed sinuses or a migraine headache, a shooting pain or blurry vision, or my favorite – my fuzzy ear, his solution almost always involved positive thinking. I accused him of not caring. He said if I cared I would get it checked-out and not just complain about it.

So a few years ago, I did just that. And after two rounds of a heavy-duty antibiotic, I got the “all clear,” yet I still felt something going on in my ear. My doctor was puzzled, so she sent me to an ENT specialist. I just knew it was going to bad. I had gotten my ear infection after swimming in the Gulf when there was bad bacteria there, before we were aware.

So the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist looked in my ear, and simply said, “Quit using Q-tips.”

I sat there a little dumb-founded. It seemed as though the appointment was now over, but he said it like an aside.

“That’s it?” I asked.

He replied, “Yep. Your ears are trying to heal themselves and you are not letting them.”

No, something else is going on, I thought. Does this guy even know my plight?

Trying not to seem like the hypochondriac that my husband has lately insinuated me to be, I inquired about the feeling of cotton moving around in my ear and the associated pain I felt. His response – “The ear canal is supposed to have skin.”

Yeah? And? I sat there a little confused. The questioning, and almost angry, look on my face prompted him to explain that what I am feeling is skin trying to form, and the lack of it means I have nothing protecting my ear canals. “Quit using Q-tips and go enjoy life,” he instructed as he walked out the door.

I was definitely dumbfounded.

The first thing I did when I got in my car, was cry. Is this guy for real? What if he is wrong? These were my immediate thoughts. Next, my thoughts revolved around the amount of money I had just spent to be told I was fine. I felt happy about this, being fine, yet scared of the notion that he could be wrong. And although I was sure that Dave would be happy to hear this news, I was just as sure he would not be thrilled about the cost.

I started thinking of ways I could spin this, to make it seem like less of a waste of money somehow, and after a few different scenarios went through my mind, I laughed at myself. “This is no excuse to go backwards,” I said to myself aloud, and when I got home and Dave asked, “What did the doctor say?” I sobbed and said, “Quit using Q-tips.”

The doctor’s words rang around in my mind for days. “Quit using Q-tips and go enjoy life.” Why did this make me so mad? No – he’s wrong, he has to be, I kept thinking. Doctors are wrong all the time. And then it happened. My “light-bulb moment” or “burning bush,” if you would, of how what I think, really does create the life I have – physically, socially, and of course, mentally. I could clearly see that I had two choices – I could go on a mission to prove the doctor wrong or I could go on a mission to enjoy life. Damn-it, Dave had this all along, for which I called him a “moron” many times.

The following days and weeks, whenever I felt that feeling of cotton moving around in my ear, instead of thinking it was some antibiotic-resistant bacteria multiplying close to my brain, I imagined my own skin cells, diligently organizing all the tools needed to repair my inner ear. When I felt pain associated with the process, I visualized healthy cells attaching themselves to my skin, much like nailing a stud to a wall.

Two and a half years later – a full 30 months after that appointment with the specialist – I am happy to report that my ear issue seems to be solved, all by not using q-tips, and I’m sure, changing the way I was thinking about it. I have experienced other sinus issues for which I have also found a solution that does not include decongestants, which I will be sharing about soon.

Until then, may our perspectives positively develop into something good!