June 5, 2016

Find Your Unique Quality in This World

We all have something specific we bring to the table and often, we need others to show us what it is because we can’t see it ourselves. YOU have this too.
I went to a writer’s workshop yesterday on VOICE. This is the unique style writers bring to anything they write. For example, Stephen King has his own unique style whether he writes a thriller or a memoir. I have never been one to write flowery descriptions or beautiful settings. I realized this year; it doesn’t matter because we each bring something different to this life.
At the workshop, we separated into groups of three. Each group had about eight pictures and we had only TWO minutes to write a really short story/scene for each picture. The two other people in my group read their eight stories. From the woman in our group, we could tell she’s good at inner thoughts of the character. We knew we would learn something from her style/voice. (No surprise, she has two Masters Degrees. You see, everything ends up showing itself somehow.) In the young man’s stories, we saw how religion and emotions are strong in his VOICE. Guess what? He has a major in psychology and went to a religious college.
When it was my turn to read my eight, I was a little embarrassed and I told the other two this. My stories didn’t sound anything like theirs at all. But after reading mine, the two people showed me what I couldn’t see. They said, “You are this apologetic person in life but in your writing you don’t apologize for anything. You go straight for the truth whether it’s good or bad. You might not set the scene or build it up but you go right to the story or heart of it.” The woman said through my eight stories she could see I was an advocate for people. I was floored because I LOVE when I learn something from other people. I couldn’t see this myself but it’s so true. Like a first sentence of one of my short stories goes, “Mama lost her baby boy in the bathwater in the earliest part of May. When April showers give way to the soft winds of springtime and everything which lays dormant in the winter springs up to grow again.” Most of my stories start with an unapologetic truth and I realize this is my VOICE or style and it is okay. I’m not meant to be Hemingway or James Patterson or anyone else.
My point to you is you can’t be good at everything but you can be amazing at something. At times, you don’t see it and others need to show you. It doesn’t matter what you do in life or who you are as a person, you have a talent for something specific. There’s no questioning that, it’s 100% true. Some of you know what it is; some of you are still searching for it. But it’s there. The hard part is not just in finding out what that is, but taking action to push it as far as you can.
We always compare ourselves to other people but in reality, we are not meant to be like everyone else. We need to grow and flourish what we can bring to this world. The young man in my group said something I thought was very insightful. Gone are the days when beauty is what people will be looking for. On social media alone, there are thousands of photographs of beautiful people. It has become common place. (You can even buy beauty with plastic surgery.) What will stand out in the future is what makes a person unique? So find out what you bring to the table of life and if you don’t know, ask people you trust and respect. We all have a unique VOICE/gift/purpose in this life. What’s yours, do you know?

April 7, 2014

Chewie and Tigger are 18!!

Chewie and Tigger
Chewie and Tigger turned 18 on April 4th! I am very proud. I have had the two since they were born. Chewie had a heart attack when he was sedated once, almost died. Tigger almost died and was opened up to see what was going on because he wasn't eating. We put him on medication and he made a full recovery. Doctor said it was a miracle.

Now, Chewie has cancer (had an ultrasound) and Tigger has cancer or something? When the doctor had opened him up he said something was wrong with a connective duct. Tigger had made a full recovery but it finally caught up with him. Not sure how long he will last. We are feeding him with a syringe and giving him water with an IV. He still is up and down so we haven't given up quite yet. He still has quality of life.

If anyone questions why we work so hard to keep our pets alive when there are so many who need a home the answer is, they are part of the family. It is a very hard process. To say goodbye to a pet or a person is quite horrible. If Tigger is in pain, we will make the hard decision to euthanize him. But like I said, it hasn't gotten to that yet. And Lord, I do not look forward to that day!

I haven't written a lot of posts lately. So much is happening right now. I do send messages and funny little things with Facebook so you can always send me a friend request. I will start writing more for my blog once we see how everything goes with Tigger. I can't complain though. They made it to 18! I begged God to let him live until his birthday and he did. I gave both of them a great life full of love, medical care, quality food and being held - always! They never knew what an animal shelter or pound was like, they were never lost or scared, they never were hungry or cold. I have to look at the bright side. I will still miss them (of course) but in the end, I gave them my best.

January 20, 2014

The Never Ending Pot of Pork Soup

My parents are visiting this week to help me with the kids. My husband is on a business trip in Texas and I have a lot of things to do.

I decided to stir-fry some pork. My intentions were to make sweet and sour pork stir-fry. The outcome, something which went very awry.

First, I thought I would add some cornstarch to the pork pieces because I read somewhere it makes a thicker sauce. Perhaps I put too much cornstarch on it, perhaps I starting shaking the white powdery substance on top and couldn't seem to stop. (I'm not admitting to anything.)

In any case, it looked like boiled squeegee pork when I was done with it.

So then everything started going in the pot. (I'm not sure if you read about my attempt at making Indian samosas and the green goop that unfortunately followed. It isn't a pretty sight when hell breaks loose in my kitchen and I start adding things.)

I added chopped vegetables into the pot along with oregano, cumin, Italian Spices, oh and I found leftover (maybe) expired chicken stock in the refrigerator, then I had to add another container because there wasn't enough liquid, and the nasty chopped celery my mom brought up from South Bend (even though I didn't want to but she would know if I threw it away) and by the end of it --- I had a soup.

I let go of a huge sigh when I was done. What the hell did I make? Nothing was going to save this pork and instead I made a great soup surrounding nasty pork pieces. Ugh.

So for the past two days (since I added everything in the refrigerator practically) we have had this pork soup. I am so tired of it yet I don't want to waste food.

When my parents and daughter ate it for the first time they were wondering what kind of meat was in this soup. My daughter thought it surely had to be chicken brains, my dad's bet was on under-cooked chicken. (No, it's pork people, PORK!)

So the never ending pork soup is still in the refrigerator waiting for yet another day and another lunch. Now if my husband were here, I could somehow pawn it off on him. But he is on the business trip. My daughter is picky, my son spits it out onto the floor, my dad can barely chew the pork (he's 80 and can't even chew lettuce) and my mom will say, "It's okay" in a nonchalant tone and then I'll find it dumped in the garbage with paper plates on top to hide it.

Even my dog won't eat a piece of that pork.

Lesson learned: Always - measure - cornstarch!

January 11, 2014

There Are Lessons Everywhere: Cutie Pie

Beautiful Cutie Pie
Last night, Cutie Pie, our FIV cat with the kidney and liver problems took a turn for the worse. He no longer moved a lot and when we tried to pick him up he would growl because it was painful. His belly was bloated because we gave him fluids and his body wasn't absorbing them. It wasn't looking good for him.

I held him until 3 in the morning and we didn't expect him to live through the night. He did and in the morning we made the hard decision to put him to sleep. We first asked the doctor if there was anything at all we could do. But our cat was in pain and some of the light was gone from his eyes. He looked uncomfortable and defeated.

If you have ever had to put an animal to sleep it is horrible. But it is necessary because I have also let pets die naturally because I couldn't give up and hoped for a miracle. It was the wrong decision.

Seeing a pet in severe pain, dying, is wretched. The sounds which they make can stay with you. So I had to put him to sleep before that happened. With his organs shutting down it would have been pretty bad. I had to do the right thing even if I didn't want to go through it. To me though, being with a pet (or human) when they pass away is important. You want them to see someone they love when the last light goes out of their eyes. For them to know you love them enough to be there in their most difficult and final time.

So I am very sad. I feel like today I'm in the twilight zone. With every pet I have lost (and there have been a lot the past ten years) and when our baby lived for a day, after it was all over, I felt like the day went on as usual, people busy and living life, but the day for me was going in slow motion. I felt like, everything that goes on in the world doesn't truly matter. The only thing which does are the relationships we have (pet and people alike) and how we love and care for others.

Anyway, there is a small lesson in this experience I would like to share with you. As mentioned, I feel very sad about losing him and I wish there had been something more we could have done. But as I was feeling bad, I realized I had asked God to please let him live past our Christmas vacation when we were gone for a week and he was boarded at the animal hospital. And he did live. The doctor was surprised at how strong he was. I begged God to let him come home and spend a little more time here instead of die in a hospital. He did. I got to hold him for a whole week, I got to hold him his last few hours, and I got to be there when he took his last breath. All of these were blessings which didn't seem likely. But he held on.

I could look at the overall end, my cat is gone and he died. But I also choose to look at how lucky I was to have a little more time with him and even though it was horrible to go through, he had a loving and graceful ending. There were four people petting him when he was injected and he purred to the very end. And after the light went out of his eyes, somehow the door to the examination room was opened and the song, In the Arms of An Angel, played on the radio in the front room. It has always been a special song to me (a story for another time) and it just seemed like it was a sign, he would be okay.

So even in the worst circumstances, it is possible to see a blessing somewhere. It is hard but this is how we get through life, knowing even in our most difficult times, God is looking after us - even if it's just a little.

January 7, 2014

Growing Up and Growing Cold

Olivia doing her homework
It has been a virtual ice land in the Midwest and with school closings because of frigid temperatures we have been inside for the past three days. It really has been nice. My husband is working from home because of it so with all of us stuck here and most businesses closed, we have been "made" so to speak to spend more time with each other instead of going everywhere: lessons, grocery store, work, school, and activities.

It is actually 2 degrees outside. 2! And I had to post the following because I thought it was hilarious. We finally had to venture outside for necessities like milk and stuff for the toddler and I asked my 7 year-old daughter to get dressed so we can leave. (She loves to wear comfy pajamas in the house.) She comes back to the living room with a long sweater and shorts. Yes, shorts!

"You're not wearing those are you?"
"Yeah, why not? I have on a sweater and I'm going to wear my long coat. They'll cover my legs."
I started laughing hysterically. I just couldn't help it. "Do you know how cold 2 degrees is!"

Sometimes, I think my daughter is growing up too fast. She is at a transitional age where Disney princesses are no longer interesting and video games and Disney teen shows are the new replacement. She isn't in to pink anymore but leopard and zebra prints. She doesn't want me to braid her hair and favors makeup and "cool" things. In the past two months, she graduated from having me help her take a shower to doing it herself. It's nice but it also means she is growing up. But when she says cute things or doesn't realize something like how cold it is outside for shorts, it is a nice little reminder she is still young.

They grow up so fast.




Noah and a tired big sister

December 22, 2013


Just went to Arby's to go to the restroom while traveling to Canada. First I had to slip and slide down the newly mopped hallway to the restroom. Then I open the bathroom door and there is a worker sitting on the stool. She screams, I scream, and I hurry and shut the door. Me, always saying the wrong things in awkward moments say through the door, "Don't worry, we all have the same parts."      

She comes out and to try to make her feel better I say, "I didn't really see anything." Even though I did. "I just screamed because you did and I thought something major was happening."    

Needless to say, I couldn't look her in the face when I went to order my small chocolate mint shake. (If you are one of the many who like chocolate mint ice cream you know you're a freak about it and at Christmas time mint is everywhere!)

So I turned and watched football stats on the TV behind me which if you know me, that's a joke. The only time I watched a football game was when I twirled Flags for Purdue football and I would fall asleep on my hand out in the hot sun on the bleachers.

Finally, after what seemed like 20 minutes to make a shake, she said it was ready. I didn't know what to say to her, I mean I couldn't say sorry that I saw your whole backside. So I just said, "Thank you." She must have not been too angry because she gave me a large shake instead of a small.

So in closing, if you want free food or a larger size order all you have to do is to see an employee half naked in the restroom. But is it worth it? Probably not.