Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, Movies, and Family

I was so excited my son would be spending Thanksgiving with us. Then, the phone call.

Because his ship would be out to sea in a week, he wouldn't be coming home for Thanksgiving after all. Sad as I was, I realized that this is what it's like to be a Navy Mom. I was fortunate my son is still state side, and he would be coming home after Christmas for a nice visit.

Some of those who served our country and their families are grieving the loss of their loved ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. My prayers and condolences and my heartfelt thanks go out for those who served so bravely and their families. And this includes those who were gunned down in Ft. Hood. Thank you, is not enough words, but it's the best I can give you all.

I was sad he wasn't home. It didn't feel the same without him, but we did have a visitor stay with us, Andy, QH's son, stayed with us, and it was nice to have one "kid" home for the holidays.

I decided to splurge, so I rented some movies. "Star Trek", which was awesome; "G.I.Joe" was pretty good; "Year One", with Jack Black and Michael Cera was hysterical; "Angels & Demons" which was good as movie, but it wasn't as good as the book; and finally, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" was really cute.

On Sunday, I took the movies back and decided I wanted to rent some more. I rented two: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" which got to be a bit much with the graphics, and a bit long in the movie pace as well; and "Up" a Pixar movie about an old man who floats away with his house using helium balloons.

"Up," if you haven't seen it yet, is sad to start, in fact, have the tissues close-by, because your going to cry. It's a lesson in how you live your life, and what you get out of it in this crazy journey. It relays the message the dreams you have when you are younger don't necessarily die as you get older, but they might change a bit into something you least expected. And love never dies. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but I think it's a great movie to see, especially these days when we all think that we are beyond the age of having any kind of adventures, and our definition of "family" may not include those who are born into it.

I read something interesting today about age and whether you're too old to start over in your life, in your career, or in your business. In an e-book written by Bob Bly, the copywriting genius, he tells the story about the actor, Abe Vigoda.

Abe Vigoda, before he was a regular on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" was in a television show called "Barney Miller" and played a cop named Fish. But his career began in the movie, "The Godfather". Guess how old he was when he played in the "The Godfather"? He was 50 years old when he was in that movie, the movie that launched his acting career!

It's never too late. It's never too late to start over. It's never too late to tell someone you love them. It's never too late to be the success you were born to be. It's never too late to enjoy the moment you are in right now. It's never too late to be thankful for everything you have and everything you are receiving.

In counting my blessings this year, I am thankful for the lessons I've learned, especially the most painful ones. I appreciate them because I consider them growing pains. I've grown from last year (and not just horizontally). I'm not the person I was last year, and I'm glad about that.

I'm thankful for the family I have and the love and support they've given me this year. Especially, QH, who has taken on the role of breadwinner in this family since I lost my job in June. He's had a rough year this year, and I'm thankful he's been so patient and understanding with me, even when I wasn't patient or understanding with myself. I pray this next year brings his dreams and wishes and prayers to fruition. That would make me very happy, to see him get back all the good he's given, not just to me, but to everyone around him, and reap the rewards of being the wonderful man that he is. He deserves that and so much more. If they gave out medals for being him, he would get a whole box full of them. But a Harley will have to do. Or a 1969 Chevelle SS.

Thanks to all of you who read this little blog of mine. You are the reason I keep writing. I almost gave it up altogether, (AGAIN) and while I had such great ambition to win NaNoWriMo this year, life interrupted my intentions. Oh, well. I'm still writing, that's the main thing. And there is always something that brings me back to it. I get a call or an email or something from a reader who says they laughed when they read something I wrote, or it made them think differently, or it made them cry, or just that they felt SOMETHING from my writing. It's worth a million bucks to me and more.

So, thank you all for your prayers, your comments, your wishes and your opinions. I pray the next year brings you many blessings and adventures.

I have much more to do before this year closes, but one message I want to give is this:

Never give up. Never. Just keep going and listen to your gut, it will lead you to your dreams, even if it's not exactly the same dream you started with. The journey is worth it in the end, because once you end it, you can begin another adventure. And bring someone you love along for the ride. ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Best 38 Seconds You'll Spend Today

I saw this for the first time on the news last night on WCCO, channel 4.

When I found the video on YouTube, I was surprised it was originally posted in 2008.

It doesn't matter. Love doesn't know anything about time. Thank you Capt. Andrew Schmidt and Gracie, and his wife Jen for this wonderful example of what true love really is, and thanks especially for your service to our country.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Alive!

"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," which is one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain (if I'm wrong, I'm going to hear from all of you, right?).

For those of you who thought I checked out of the Universe this weekend, you are partially correct. I came home from my mother-in-law's house, feeling really tired, a little groggy and had a headache. Nothing really serious, right? Well, I took a shower, got out and had a case of the shakes I couldn't get rid of. Uh, Oh. The chills. I had a fever.

Thus began my journey into the darkness. I was feverish, my head felt like someone was trying to suck my brains out with a tiny straw, and I couldn't get warm enough, in spite of the piles of blankets and the flannel sheets I was under. I would lift my head and "BOOM" pain, then I would feel like I was going to vomit. Not good.

I did drink water, and I'm still trying to get rehydrated, but the only thing I could stomach all weekend was chicken noodle soup. When I was vertical and walking around, I felt like I was drunk, the floor was tilting and I didn't know if I was going to pass out or fall down. Back to bed I went.

Poor, QH. He was home, then went deer hunting, and spent the weekend peeking in on me to see if I was still breathing. I left him a note, "I'm not dead. Just sick. I feel like I got hit by a truck." He was so sweet, and I was glad I was in the spare room to keep him from getting this horrible virus.

And yes, the doctor confirmed yesterday, it was a virus, not the H1N1, but a sick and twisted version of it, and she also determined I had water in my ear and that my ears were very dirty (which explained the balance issues). I was also told I might have had a migraine headache, which I don't recall ever having one before, but they do run in my family. Oh, goody.

I awoke yesterday, still a little groggy, but I ate some eggs and felt a bit better when I started moving around. I checked my email, and then checked my temperature. It was 99.9 degrees, so it had gone down from the 102.3 reading I had on Saturday. I started drinking coffee, water, and then cleaned my house and opened up the windows to air the house out. I changed the sheets on the spare bed, and washed them and then took a nice long shower. I made an appointment to see the doctor, and I was glad to see the sun was shining.

What I got from this experience was I am so happy to be alive! Really. I see things much clearer, and everything is much more colorful and beautiful. I feel like I can conquer the world. I feel reborn. There's no other way to put it.

I also released a lot of the fear and the doubt I had, and reaffirmed my goals of being a writer and a public speaker. I have a message, and nobody else can give this message of mine, but me, in my way. I know a lot of people are out there saying similar things, but none of them know the things that I know, or feel the things that I feel, and can say things the way I can say them. I am moving forward, full speed ahead, with my dream and my career.

I know a lot of what brought this illness on is stress. I got way too stressed out about things, and instead of doing all I could to alleviate the stress, I instead did what most people do, I internalized it. I did this to myself, over time, and after what I felt this weekend, I don't ever want to go through that again. I did a lot of praying in the darkness. I prayed this would stop, I prayed if this was the end, please make it quick (yes, it was THAT bad), and then when I started feeling a little better, I was quick to pray,"Thank you for letting me live another day."

I'm alive. And I'm very grateful. Thank you for another beautiful day. Now, I'm off to conquer the world.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day and St. Jude

First off, thank you to all our veterans, men and women who have served and continue serving. Thanks to their families for sacrificing for our freedoms. It is a debt we cannot repay, but we are grateful. My grandfather, my father, my uncles on both sides of the family and my brother have all served this country, the greatest country on this Earth, and I am proud to be the mother of a son who is currently serving in the Navy. Honor the veterans, not just today, but every day.

The events at Ft. Hood last week are still shocking to me. I cannot imagine what the victims and their families are going through and I offer my prayers to all of them. When you think you're having a bad day, just wait, you'll hear or see someone who has it worse than you. We truly have nothing to complain about.

But I know there are times like these when you think things are hopeless and you can't make it through one more day like the day you just went through. Sometimes it gets worse, way worse, before it gets better. But there is something we all need to remember. It does get better. Maybe not as fast as we would like, but eventually, it does get better.

For those of you who don't know, I was raised in the Catholic faith, and while I am not a "practicing" Catholic, there is one remnant of my religious training I can't give up. His name is St. Jude.

St. Jude was a loyal follower of Jesus, and was martyred following a violent death. I was unaware the National Shrine of St. Jude is located in Chicago, Illinois, and when I saw the church it is located in, Our Lady of Guadalupe, I realized we had driven by there a few times when visiting my son after his graduation from RTC (boot camp), and when we visited over the Thanksgiving holiday last year.

Of course, most people relate St. Jude to the St. Jude Children's Hospital established by Danny Thomas as a fulfillment of a promise he made to St. Jude early in his career.

St. Jude is known as the patron saint of hopeless causes or when all hope is lost, or you have lost objects, it is St. Jude to pray to for assistance.

In the last few weeks, I have been praying to St. Jude a lot. I have lost some important things (yes, my mind is one of them), and felt at times things were as bad as they could be. In that time, I have also made some donations to St. Jude's National Shrine, as a way of saying thanks. Publication is also part of fulfilling your promise to St. Jude. Which is why, I am right now, right here, saying, "Thank you, St. Jude."

Now, for those who are thinking I'm bragging or showing off or just being blasphemous, this is not what this is. Some things have resolved themselves, some are still waiting for resolutions, but overall, I feel much better I have given them to St. Jude and God to help me. Sometimes, it's the best and the only thing you can do.

I believe for those, especially now, it's nice to find hope where you can, and if by sharing my story, you can help find peace, then I've done my job as a writer and a human on this planet.

Sometimes when things get so bad, surrender is your only way to survive. Surrending to a Power Greater Than Ourselves, is the way to go. He knows what is going to happen in my life, good, bad, or ugly, and it's not a sin to ask for help.

Surrender for survival is not showing weakness, it's giving you the chance to survive to fight another day. If you are in a fight you can't win, to continue to fight without retreat, is suicide. Pure and simple. It also depends upon the circumstances.

In my age of 40 years, I've learned to thank my circumstances. Good, very good. Bad, well, there's something I'm supposed to learn, and as painful as it is going through it, I know, I'll survive. I hope.

How can I not, when you have a saint on your side?

Thank you, St. Jude. Thank you.

Prayer to St. Jude

"O most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, people honor and invoke you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, for I am so helpless and alone. Please help to bring me visible and speedy assistance. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (state your request) and that I may praise God with you always."

"I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you by publishing this request. Amen."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

This Anticipation Is Fabulous

I have no idea what it means when you have all 3 recurring dreams in the same night. No, don't worry, they were all great dreams, all positive and fun and full of light and color. If you know a dream analyst, please let me know what it means. You can email me at and let me know.

The first dream was the standard "Tornado Coming" kind of dream. The sky is getting dark and foreboding. The wind is calm and in some edges of my view, there are trees bending over in the wind or being carried away. The tornado siren is blowing. We need to be in the house.

The house is a few yards away. I'm trying to find the kids, which is my brother when he was little, my son when he was little and my grandbaby girl and my nephew. Most of the time I have a hard time finding the kids, and then I have a hard time convincing them that the large funnel cloud coming will hurt them.

But we have to look for the favorite toy or blankie before we can get them into the safety of the house. Usually, the sky is black. If I see more than one funnel cloud touch down to the ground, lightening, wind, rain, and flaming meteors, the end of the world is coming, and I'm scared to breathe.
Not good.

But this time, the sun was shining. The birds were singing and the butterflies were flying around, the kids were playing happily and the siren blares off. I'm looking all around this very colorful, bright landscape and see a semi-dark cloud, and a "dust devil" with some paper and debris coming for us. I grab the kids, and put my back to the dust devil, watching the debris go right by us, the sun shining and this feeling of, "Well, that wasn't so bad."

The second dream morphed from that into the "Let's find the hidden suitcase full of money dream." Usually, this involves me and my Dad looking in an abandoned, run down building full of junk and soaking wet with water running some where, either as a river through the building or running down the walls. There is a lot of old junk we have to sort through, but I usually find the suitcase and Dad just laughs and says, "I knew you'd find it, you always do." This time, my dear hubby, QH, was there with me and his father, George, who passed away in January, was there. It didn't register George was there, and that he's dead, instead, it was as natural as him still being alive and well.

George was directing QH to find his suitcase. I became competitive and wanted to find mine before he found his, but he beat me to it. I could hear George laughing (how I miss that), and say, "You'd better hurry! She's gonna beat you!" and then see QH find his much larger suitcase full of money. Mine is full of money, too, but I have a feeling there's a third one someplace...

The final dream is in Alaska. We've never been, and here we are fishing for hallibut. The sun is rising in all sorts of wonderful colors. The mountains and the water reflect all the colors, and the boat we are on is awash in vibrant color and joyful feelings. It's like the feeling you get when you go to bed Christmas Eve and feel like tomorrow is going to be the best day ever.

The anticipation is fabulous!

"We" includes the following family members: QH, myself, my Dad, his two brothers, the captain of the fishing guide service and his first mate. QH is telling me over and over, "I'm not going home. I'm not going home." His brother Virgil is laughing, his brother Neal is in the cabin talking to the captain, drinking a beer. My Dad is just smiling and laughing and can't wait to get his line in the water. Out of nowhere, my son, Alex appears and he and my Dad begin to have a conversation. In the meantime, QH is still saying, "I'm not going home."

I'm just soaking all the ambience in and trying to take pictures. Then the fishing starts and it's phenomenal. I wake up.

This is the strange part, I still have that Christmas-morning-is-on-the-way- feeling. I've been buzzing all day, and feel better than I have in months. I feel like a switch has been turned on, or the gate has been finally opened. I have no idea what changed in such a short time.

All I know is, I don't want this feeling to stop.

(To Be Continued...)