When teaching children, they were precious to me and I wanted them to know just how special and unique they were. So, one class, we talked about all their particular ‘favorite’ things. We made posters. On the posters we put their favorite color, their favorite TV show, their favorite game, their favorite desert, etc-and we talked about their favorite song.
One of my little boys had a speech impediment. Usually, we just went with the flow and had no issues because he could show us what he wanted or needed, but when we asked what his favorite song was, he mumbled, ‘blamyamabla’ – some gibberish we could not understand. I looked at my assistant. She shrugged her shoulders. We asked several times- same gibberish. So, we waited. When the little boy’s mother came, we told her we couldn’t understand what his favorite song was. We asked again, he answered the same. She immediately said, ‘Oh, that’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine.’ (a song the raisons in California borrowed for advertising)
There was no way we would have ever been able to interpret that, but mom’s know the most amazing things. He certainly had a wonderful mother who loved him very much and could understand the un- understandable. Something I also attribute to God about all of us.
The little picture in today’s blog reminds me that there are majestic mountains, valleys, rivers, oceans, birds of all sorts, animals, reptiles, and all the living creatures on planet Earth, but only one and unique you.
Psalm 139 tells me:
‘O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and know me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it……
For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well……
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
Ps. 139.1-6, 13-14, 17-18
The God of the universe thinks of each one of us more times than there are sand particles on the beach! I remember how I felt when I first read this- like Someone really loved me. He loves each and every one of the one and only you too!
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I have always loved horses. When I was a young girl, I spent all my time dreaming of them, pretending to ride them, looking for any opportunity to ride them, and drawing them all day long instead of paying attention in school.
When I was 14 years old, every day I rode my bike 7 miles to swim at a lake. On my way, I passed a horse tied in her front yard eating grass. Each day I stopped and gave her handfuls of the same grass she was perfectly capable of eating herself, but it allowed me to talk to her and pet her.
One day, the man in the house came out, told me her name was Daisy, and asked if I wanted to ride her. I immediately said, ‘Sure!’ He lifted me to her bare back and then wrapped her lead rope around her neck- attached only to a halter – no bridle. This was the first time I rode without a saddle or bridle, but would never pass the chance to ride.
She and I galloped around their small front yard. Round and round we went. Then, I had the bright idea to ask her to jump a small puddle. To my surprise, she said, ‘No, thank you’ and stopped. Unprepared for her abrupt stop, I slid over her neck and plop! Right down to the middle of the puddle I fell.
I didn’t let that deter me from my fun. I cannot remember how I remounted that mare without help, but I did. We continued to gallop around the front yard. When I finished my ride, I approached the man who owned her. As I thanked Daisy for the lovely ride, he asked- in a surprised and puzzled tone- ‘Did you fall off?’
‘Oh, no,’ I fibbed. I couldn’t figure out how he knew. Later I realized I was covered in mud. Big give away. I thanked him for the ride and we took the mare into the barn where she was given her supper. Above her stall door was a wooden sign with her name- Upsidaisy.
I had a great day with Upsidaisy. The next day, my legs were so sore from riding I could barely walk, but it was sure worth it.
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I have been accused of being a ‘butt-in-ski.’ Some have said I care too much. I find that odd. How can one care too much? To me, it’s like the country song about ‘a car too fast, a girl too pretty, …’ and so on. It seems impossible to be ‘too much’ of something good.
While watching a movie one night, the young girl that had become friends with the author she cleaned and cooked for, made plans to leave with her boyfriend who was just released from prison. The girl told the author of her plans, the author said nothing. When it came time for the girl to leave, she was hemming and hawing and taking extra time to pack and actually leave. Finally, she asked the author if she loved her. The author replied ‘Yes.’
‘Then why are you letting me go?’ the young girl asked. ‘You know that man is bad for me,’ she continued. ‘And you are just going to let me go. You are not even trying to stop me.’
I was touched because I think she is right. When we care, how do we let those we love make decisions we would not advise without trying to intervene? I realize there are two schools of thought here. One is mine and the other is wrong- ha ha I write in jest.
Once, my step daughter dressed inappropriately for school-at least I thought it was inappropriate. When I saw her, I came a little unglued and began to ramble, ‘I have no idea what the right thing is to do here and don’t care what the books say, I’m telling you, you are not leaving this house dressed like that.’ I continued stammering how I may be upsetting her, but could not help it along with other things. I called her father to come to the house from his office close by. She did not react badly to my conduct and upset over her dress, but had the hint of a smile on her face.
When her father arrived, he looked at her and said, ‘Go upstairs and change your clothes.’ She did and I breathed a sigh of relief. She never did that again. All I have read tells me children ‘test the locks’ (to make sure they are safe) – they push our buttons. They need the limits and need to know someone cares. I may not have won any parent of the year awards, but she knew I cared enough to notice her and want better for her.
I have a loved one who needs to know the same. He struggles with addiction. I call myself the sponsor from he—, but he knows that I watch and protect him because I love him. I have done everything but lock him in his bedroom and would fight for him no matter what it takes and for as long as it takes. I know I cannot change anyone and in the end they will do what they choose to, however, no matter how many mistakes I make or have others tell me to just let it go, I cannot stop caring. Maybe it will make no difference in the end and maybe it will. That’s why they call me a ‘butt-in-ski.’ It’s just my nature.
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Irma was my first hurricane. 1 week before the storm was predicted to hit Florida, Dad said, “We need to go to Walmart right now.” Our mission was to find water- we were all advised to get water, batteries, and gas. When we arrived at Walmart, there was no water. We tried 2 dollar stores and a local grocery. The shelves where water once was were empty.
A little disappointed and stunned, I told Dad I recently purchased water and we should be fine, but he really wanted to have just a little extra. The next morning, I found water at 6am. By 10am the new water supply was gone.
5 days before the storm, I took a swim at the springs close to our home. There, a woman candidly said, ‘Everyone is acting like it already happened.’ I questioned what she meant. She replied, ‘Well, there is no water and no gas.’
No gas! I gasped inside. How could I be so unprepared? I searched all day and did not find gas- all the pumps were covered with plastic bags. I pretended not to be panicked. Fortunately, I found a gas station the next day and filled my truck.
Dad said he was going to get supplies. When he returned home, he had chocolate candy, crackers, chips and cookies. Great supplies, I thought. Good job, Dad!
Then came batting down the hatches. I pulled down the canopy of the trailer we own and fixed the roof and said my prayers for the camper. My brother’s truck sat parked near the camper.
Prepared we were. We had candles and canned food. Dad worried we would not be able to heat the food, but we had a propane camping stove that would do the job. We were all set. Everyone waited for the disaster to hit. The news flashed information every minute about the size of the storm and how it was huge compared to Andrew many years ago – the worst storm in history until Irma arrived on the scene. Now, impending doom was approaching as the worst storm ever to hit the mainland was on its way.
Evacuations were everywhere. We made the decision to stay and were in for the long hall. It felt like waiting for the end of the world to happen. Friends called concerned and saying they were praying. Dad insisted I pack a bag and go to a shelter. I could not leave him. We tried to keep busy while the storm approached. We were watching a movie when the power went off at 9:30pm. Without lights or TV, we played scrabble by candlelight and flashlight. About 11:30pm I was tired and went to bed. There were some strong winds, but nothing too terrible.
When I woke at 6am Monday morning, September 11, 2017, I could barely open the back door to let the dogs out. I could not see the mess in the dark. I called a friend in Ohio because I knew she is an early riser. She said the storm appeared to be in Tallahassee. We were out of danger.
When light came, I could not believe my eyes- trees had fallen, many large branches and sticks covered our 6 lots. One large tree fell and crushed a small section of our fence. The house was not damaged, the animals were well, we had survived the storm. I proceeded to thank all my friends who had called letting me know they prayed for us. The camper and my brother’s truck were undamaged.
When my Dad woke up, he said he was awake all night as the storm raged. He heard all the branches breaking, fearing they would hit the house. He said he heard wind that sounded like a freight train coming- a sign of a tornado. All night the storm raged. Then my Dad said, “And you were asleep.” I slept through the worst storm to hit Florida. I never heard a thing. In fact, I am such a deep sleeper that the more noise there is the sounder I sleep! I missed it all. No one can believe it.
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When I wanted to train Solomon to jump, I learned the best way to start was to use small wooden structures called cavalletti. These are long wooden poles attached to wood in the shape of an ‘X’ at both ends. This allows the wooden pole to be set low, or a little higher, or even one more measure higher if the ‘X’ is rotated to change the level of the bar. They can also be stacked. Cavalletti is used for training to jump as well as for helping horses become more flexible and conditioned.
I have great friends who knew my love for horses. When I told them I wanted cavallettis, they made 6 of them for me. I treasured those homemade wooden poles and took them wherever Sol and I moved to. They were a great help for Sol and I as we learned dressage and jumping. The same friends helped in another time of need.
One evening, when trying to load Solomon into a trailer, he refused to go in. A man helping me pulled firmly on his lead rope which made Solomon pull back. As he pulled back, his head went up into the air and the man let go of the lead rope. Not only did Sol’s head go further up, his whole body went into the air. He went up so high he went over backwards. When he landed, he struck the bones at the base of his neck against a concrete parking block in the driveway.
My precious horse was hurt. For a few moments I wondered if he was alive. I heard stories about horses striking the top of their head – known as the poll- and not surviving the injury. It was a blessing the cement structure was there and that is what he hit with the base of his neck so he did not hit the top of his head.
When he stood, the muscles of his shoulders and back tensed. Frantically, I called my friends and a local veterinarian. My friends came immediately. The veterinarian administered medication and took xrays. Sol broke bones called the withers at the base of his neck. These bones are not back bones, but boney projections off the back bones.
Even though the veterinarian assured me he would be ok, I couldn’t leave him. I pulled my car into the isle of Sol’s barn and spent the night. During the night, I was awakened by a loud snorting/snoring sound. I jumped out of my car and frantically ran into Solomon’s stall to find him quietly lying there on the comfortable shavings. He looked up at me as if to say, ‘What’s wrong, mom?’
I stood for a moment, catching my composure, happy to see him ok, and it came again- the loud snorting. It was the horse in the next stall. I laughed, patted Sol on the neck, kissed his face, and, relieved, I went back to sleep. The next day my friends drove me and Solomon to the Veterinary Hospital hours from our home. They knew I was too upset to drive my horse myself. I was assured again that Solomon would heal and be fine. His bones did heal and we rode again and again and again.
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I love Mozart music because I think it happy and tuneful. If anyone would have suggested that one day it would be my favorite music, I would have affirmatively denied it. Things change.
The books I read about Mozart say he was not wealthy and had sort of a sad life, but his music is wonderful and I agree he is the greatest composer that ever lived. I understand he did not have ‘rough drafts.’ The music was transferred from his thinking to the paper. Once his father asked about his next opera and he said, ‘It’s already composed, I just need to write it down.’ That is a great deal of music to store in one’s brain.
Another story I read was when Mozart was a young boy, his father had another musician visiting and Mozart wanted to play his violin for them. They dismissed the youngster as interfering with their visit and he went away crying, stomping his feet, and carrying his little violin. I smiled as I read this, imaging a little boy disappointed this way. The adults felt badly, so they conceded and allowed him to play. They were astounded when he played the piece perfectly and entirely and without any music to read from. They were elated and applauded and he proceeded to play another piece perfectly, entirely, and without music.
I understand Mozart and other composers wrote music to played once for an audience. I think they would be greatly happy to know their music is played over and over and enjoyed by many. Mozart will never be forgotten. He lived about 33 years and created 635 lovely operas, concertos, sonatas and other musical pieces.
I came to love and appreciate Mozart music when I experienced a long bout of depression. I could not shake the sad feelings and cried most of the day and dreaded going to work or being with others. I knew I had to do something and did not wish to take medication. I learned of Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, “Change Your Brain, Change You Life.” It is quite technical, but the information that helped me a great deal dealt with the recommendation to listen to Mozart music. It stated that Mozart music has the most profound effect on the brain. This may have been debunked by others, but I can say it worked for me. The pieces I was advised to listen to were the ‘Sonata for Two Pianos’ and ‘The Violin Concertos’ – 2 and 3 in particular. I listened and these lifted the depression.
The other reason I came to love Mozart music is I am dyslexic. The book by Dr. Amen also suggested to read Don Campbell’s book, “The Mozart Effect.” I agree, the music is from heaven. This book described how the music would help with my dyslexic brain and it has. I have a reading disability because I jumble up all the letters with my dyslexic brain, but now I can read well and more quickly than ever. Also, “The Mozart Effect” and “Superlearning” by Sheila and Nancy Ostrander and Lynn Schoeder, also confirmed that Mozart music helped the brain learn, study, remember, and be creative. I found this to be truthful as well. Some say, ‘garbage.’ I say, ‘try it.’ One piano teacher I learned under told me that students in the band at school had higher GPA’s. I think it’s something to think about.
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I have always loved birds. They, however, do not share the same affection for me. I worked with veterinarians with talent to treat birds, but I lack the skill to treat a bird that is ill. I, however, I am able to complete the menial tasks of trimming nails and beaks. I am also able trim the feathers to prevent a bird from flying- and flying away.
Since birds don’t typically love me, I have learned to be careful. Once a bird latched onto my finger and I feared it would break the bone. The larger birds are quite capable of this. Others that care for birds receive kisses and the birds climb all over them and their shoulders and come when they are called. Birds only want to eat my fingers when I try to play with them.
From ‘wolf whistles’ to uttering actual words, it fascinates me that some birds make noises and some can talk. Some, like African Gray Parrots, have sizable vocabularies. I realize much of this may be ‘parroting’ or mimicking – especially when a bird growls like the family dog- but when I attended bird shows, the birds seem to know what to say to questions they were asked. During a show at Sea World, when they were still in Ohio, I watched a bird answer all the trainers questions with perfect precision. When asked how the bird gets out of trouble, the bird replied, “I love you,” an gave the trainer a kiss. A piano teacher of mine owned a cockatiel that sang, “You are my Sunshine” while he played the song on his piano. Very cute. Sang better than I am able.
One veterinarian I worked with told me while he was trimming the nails of a full grown Macaw, the bird told him, “Don’t do that.” He was taken back at first. Afterward he learned that when the owners took the bird from its cage, it would try to bite them. They would tap the beak and say, “Don’t do that.” We all laughed.
It may be embarrassing to image what a bird in my home might say. Maybe something like- “Who’s the idiot who left … here.” “Somebody’s in real trouble now.” Or, “If you do that again, I’m going to give you a good spanking.” There are probably many things a bird could learn to say while living with people.
My favorite bird story is the story of the family that lost their little bird- a cockatiel- who flew out their open door. They were frantic and looked everywhere for him. When they decided to give up their search, a neighbor who knew them and the bird called to say he was at their house. They told the owners that when they opened their door, he miraculously flew in. The wife sent the husband, Norm, to retrieve the little guy. When Norm walked into the rescuers’ home, the cockatiel flew right to him, landed on his shoulder, and said, “Hi, Norm.” Whether they just repeat is debatable, but I know if I had a bird that did that, I would never want to lose him again. Sweeeet little bird.
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Some friends told me of a grave with a mailbox. They tell me the children write notes to Grandpa. I can image the notes the little ones write. “Dear Grandpa, we played today.” “Dear Grandpa, we miss you.” “Dear Grandpa, we are glad you are in heaven.” And on and on the little notes may go.
I think the mailbox is a clever idea. I wish all my loved ones had one. I have many little notes I would like to send them. “Dear so and so… I still miss you.” “…. I still love you and think of you every day…” “… wish you were here to share… with me…” “…. want to go on the river again and wish you were going too….” “…. want to let you know how thankful I am over and over for all the good times and things you did for me…” “…in the mood for Korean food? or Whoppers?” and many other little notes.
When checking on a friend whose wife passed a couple weeks after my brother, he shared how the writing on a sympathy card my mother sent looked like my brother’s handwriting. For a moment, he was freaked at the thought that my brother sent a card. I thought it was funny, but said ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could get notes from heaven?’
Mmmm. What would they say to me? “Stop worrying!” “Carry on!” “Waiting for you.” “Don’t be sad.” “All is well – no pain, no sorrow, I am in paradise…” I am certain the notes would be comforting. They would help ease the pain of loss. A friend at work said notes would clear up a lot of things. I asked what that meant. He said it meant it would help if whether what we believe is really real. I shared how some have said, “If heaven is not real, we have lost nothing, but if it and God are real, and we do not believe, we have lost everything.” The stakes are high.
Nevertheless, I am coming to see there are people who are still alive and in my life that I have the opportunity to write notes to. Notes to tell them how much I love them and how I am thankful for their love and friendship and help through the difficult times and sharing the fun and happy times. I am taking time to let them know all that is in my heart before I cannot send the notes. I want to keep connected to all my loved ones.
Don’t pass up an opportunity to write the letters to the ones still with us. We will all be somewhere else one day, but it is important to keep sharing our hearts with the ones here too.
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I am inviting all FB friends to share and post their cutest pictures. This little ballerina’s affection demonstrated as she kisses this lovely horse makes me happy. Cute always does.
I have a close friend who shared with me how one of her relatives told her that life is full of many hills and valleys ( – translated ups and downs -which comes as no surprise to anyone). She said to help with this, she was advised to surround herself with beautiful things. It has made me pursue surrounding myself with beautiful things and things that I find make me happy- like the photo above to help with the never-ending ups and downs of life.
I don’t think it takes a great deal of money to follow my friend’s admonition. I think taking a walk in a favorite park or sitting by a pond with ducks floating on it or being around good friends, talking and laughing, are things that are beautiful to surround oneself with. I have taken comfort in all these things as well as I find many photos while cruising the web- like the one above as well as the ones below-
Who couldn’t love a baby rhino with a budding horn? This makes me marvel at the world and all the beautiful creatures in it as well as wanting to grab that little thing and just squeeze it.
…Or these lovely platy babies. The only mammals that lay eggs to hatch these gorgeous little ones. More remarkable creation.
… And flowers ALWAYS make me happy. They are B-E-A utiful beyond my words. I may not be able to afford extravagant bouquets like this one, but…..
I can find these happy daisy flowers and many wild flowers scattered over my property and the fields in parks that I can take home to a vase on my table. These are more beauty to surround myself with and lift my spirits.
….And something else that makes me happy is to see a little boy praying and smiling even though he does not seem to have many luxuries in life. He has learned the most important thing. He reminds me what is treasured and beneficial and he helps me count my blessings and my ‘haves’ and …
….not my ‘have-nots.’ He reminds me to pray about everything- and that surrounds me with beautiful things and that makes me happy.
Please add your cutest photo.