Merry Freakin Christmas!!!!


Tis the Christmas season. Time to be stressed, underpaid, overworked and the biggest, pretend smile ever right? Nah, some really do enjoy that push and shove time of year. The time the gift you are holding and thinking to yourself, “Will they like this?”, and the lady behind you yanks it right out of your hand.

The time of year that you definitely have that grocery list of the most needed items and you find that the prices have doubled since last week. Makes you want to let the cart remain right there in the middle of the aisle and let people go around it if they want to shop. You are definitely leaving without the filled list and going to the neighborhood bar.

Remember that Christmas a few years back when you worked the hardest ever on that special candy recipe. You only had a few more degrees to raise the candy thermometer to when suddenly the front doorbell rang? You looked at the boiling candy. You thought how rude it would be to not answer the door, especially when every, stinking light was on in the house. You decide to answer it and gently and politely tell the person that you can’t chat; to come back at another time. You aren’t interested in any sales pitch.

You hurry to the door, brushing the hairs away from your face. You open it and to your surprise it is the members from your church that you have attended for over twenty years. They start singing Christmas carols. Oh my gosh! My candy! My friends. You put on that fake smile and you prop one leg on the other as if you have to pee real bad. When they are finished; you return to that black boiled, stuck on pan of candy.

Hey! Wait a darn, picking minute! It’s your life too, right? You can make decisions at this time of year also, right? Just do what I do. Don’t open the door. Turn the lights on low. Only cook after everyone is in bed. Turn your favorite Christmas music on. Grab a cup of hot chocolate. Prop your feet up. Breathe deep and smile. Hug the night.

Merry Christmas my friends!

 

Left Behind


It isn’t what we are doing today that makes us or breaks us. It is, however, some of our past decisions that molds us today.

Ever make a decision and it turned out to not be a good one and now we have to live with it for the rest of our lives? It happens; I’m sure.

Maybe we did and we don’t even think about it today. Perhaps we only think about that moment when we are reminded of something that connects back to that time.

What if the decision we made was done with the awareness we knew what we were doing? How do people go forward every day having to relive and relive that second?

I’m actually not talking about you and me. I am referring to those left behind. What do I mean by that? I am referring to those who can’t speak for themselves due to an illness.

Neglect is a huge, huge problem today. There is neglect due to ignorance. There is neglect due to greed for money. There is neglect due to just plain not wanting to take the time out of our own lives for someone else.

Nursing homes hold many patients that feel they are neglected. Families don’t visit. Sometimes a minister walks in the room for a few moments.

We see homeless on our streets. I used to never see that in my town; but I do now. It is sad. Sometimes I reach in my purse and help financially. Other times I just take the time to lend an ear or offer a safe haven place to go.

There are more patients remaining in their homes today than ever; for various reasons. Who’s responsibility does it fall back on to make sure that life is being cared for at least at the standard caring level?

Is the person being fed, bathed?  Are all measures of comfort being attended to? Are doctors involved?

It used to be when I moved into a new area, a neighbor or two came to visit and bring a small treat and a large welcome. You don’t see that very often today. People are more private than ever.

Maybe with all the pointed fingers, this could be one reason people stay to themselves. It really doesn’t matter what the reason is. We are living among these homes, our neighbors. We see things that are routine.

Do me and yourself a big, big favor. When you have seen so and so every day and you find yourself thinking, I haven’t seen them lately, go knock on the door. Don’t be a private investigator or cop, just say, “Hi, I was thinking about you and so decided to come over and say hello.”

How hard is that? Let someone know you are around and you are thinking about them. If your sixth sense is getting in an uproar, maybe you can get yourself an invitation to go inside the door. You will know in a few moments whether things seem to be alright or not.

Anyways, these are my thoughts for today. Decisions, good or bad and neglect happen every day and it happens right in our own back yard. Feel good about yourself, say hello.

 

heron 3

 

Almost in Tears


Today is not a day full of pain. Today is a day filled with almost tears. It sounds stupid and crazy right? I don’t blame you for thinking that. Sometimes I just don’t understand myself.

My parents have been gone for years. My brother has been gone for four years. Knowing this is fact, then why do I still have my sad days.  Last night I had different dreams that I remember well.

I dreamed of family and laughter and getting together to share a meal. I know that my children are grown. I know that my life is blessed with friends who care and love me. Yet, here I am, feeling in almost tears.

I was feeling this way when I read one of my blogging and personal friends blog. It touched me because I knew I wanted to be more like her than who I am this day. I am glad I read it. I gained some emotional power to deal with today.

Do you want to meet her? Awesome! Here is her link.

https://babyjill7.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/a-new-journey/#comment-10713

 

Today is a new day

Filled with promise

Memories of yesterday

My job is to give

To be my best

To show others

I care

That I am there for them

Yes, today represents;

New opportunities.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

 

terry

The Face in Reflection


One of the worst things I hate about where I live is the constant signs of death coming. When I lived outside of this retirement center; I lived for life, for being happy, for being able to move the knowledge of getting older aside.

 

There are over eighty apartments where I live. There is no way, unless I was blind, that I don’t see aging here. There are wheelchairs, walkers, canes, limps, falls, slow movement, sitting, gray hair, wrinkles.

 

Get the picture? You can’t escape this scenario and you can’t forget the fact, we are aging. What makes it even more concrete is when you hear the EMS and sirens. I know, someone has fallen or worse; died.

 

In the past week here; two have passed on to  heaven. Once again it is pounded in my brain; I will die too, but not today, hopefully.

 

I was sitting out back on the bench, waiting to take a photo perfect for this story, I knew I would write. The trash disposal dumpsters are out in this area. I looked at it and saw many pieces of furniture. There were miscellaneous items of household goods too.

 

Someone came out and I asked if there was another case of bed bugs and the furniture had to be thrown away. The reply was,” No, that belonged to the lady who just passed.” My heart instantly sank.

 

You see, living here, I know most of the people. We chat and eat dinners together. We share our feelings. I have helped her with medical issues in the past; so there was a connection.

 

On the other side of the coin, there are the rules of this building. If someone passes away, the family of the deceased may have rent to pay, according to how long the deceased’s belongings are in the apartment. The family has two weeks to get rid of all belongings of their loved ones and if it runs into the next month where rent would be due, the family has to pay for that.

 

On the emotional side; it killed me to see her belongings out in the trash. It killed me harder to realize my friend had only passed away twenty-four hours prior. Oh, I know the rules but Lord, to get rid of her things so quick made me feel like I am to pretend she was not here.

 

It is the way it is, I guess. It made me wonder what will happen if I don’t get the opportunity to move out of here, what will and how quickly will my belongings, the things I cherish the most, will be gone from where I lived and breathed.

 

Well, the photo I was waiting to capture for this story or post came in my view. A lady who lives here walked out the back door and down the ally. I captured her and when I looked at the finished photo; I saw my face in the reflection.

 

wordpressstory

You got this!!!


Are we unique in this world? Absolutely we are! God made no one exactly like another.
 
Are your problems bigger than mine? In your eyes; perhaps. Is your body sicker than mine? Maybe, maybe not.
 
We live within our circle. We see other’s issues, but we deal with ours more than anyone else. So what can we do about it?
 
Plenty!!! Be thankful you are where you are at right this moment. Why? Easy! You could be dead. You could be worse off.
 
Whether you believe in God or not; you are here for a reason and I believe when each of us wakes up each morning, the first thought should be thank-you.
 
Can’t walk anymore? Be thankful you can sit up in a wheelchair.
Having too much pain? At least you can feel it.
Are you living alone? At least you are living.
 
I’m just saying life could be so much worse. The best thing to do aside from my upper suggestions is; reach out and help someone else.
 
Send a text.
Make a call
Tell someone you are thinking of them
Tell someone you love them
Take a hot meal to your neighbor
Pick a flower for the lonely one
Take used clothing to the nursing homes
Smile to someone
Shake a hand; sincerely
Look around at your surrounds; find something to smile about
jump

It Should Have Never Happened This Way


She was poor. He was poor. The two together were rich in love. They scraped and saved and were able to put a down payment on a small property outside of town. It had one acre which was plenty big enough for the garden they wanted to plant. The house was needing a lot of love and they knew with time; they could fix it up real nice.

 

One by one the five children were born. Money got tighter but they made it. They grew their vegetables.  They butchered a cow once a year. They canned wild berries and peaches from the trees. They made their own applesauce. Nothing was wasted.

 

Christmas and birthdays were celebrated with a home-made cake with a vanilla frosting and there was always a stitched gift of some sort that each child needed at that particular time.

 

The kids were sent to the one-room school which had stood for over one hundred years. They attended until the parents thought they had learned enough and then kept them home to  help out on the land.

 

The kids seemed good in the parents eyes; but their deep thoughts were on anything but this home. They wanted more. They had read plenty of high society magazines and books and they knew there was a bigger world out there.

 

As each one grew up and found their own way, they either moved out and on or got married and bought a property in town. There wasn’t much communication between the kids and parents after those days. They seemed to be more interested in obtaining what they thought they lacked as kids and the parents were dealing with more and more health issues.

 

They didn’t have health care insurance. Oh, they got sick now and then. A cold, a flu to deal with or a bad stomach ache. Neither of them had thought or been taught about what would or could happen when they got old.

 

Pa had recurring pain in his chest until one day he fell down. He never got back up and the family came and paid their last respects out back underneath the big oak tree. It was right after that; they left to go back to their lives.

 

Ma tried her best to carry on what needed to be done each day; but she was not able to keep up. She was tired. She was ailing and she was old. Her gray hair was thinned. Her fingers had bumps in them from Arthritis. Her legs ached.

 

After about six months went by, she had a stroke. No one actually knew the real facts about how long she lay in that house until help arrived. She was checked over by the county doctor and placed in her bed.

 

Once a week the doc would come check on her. He would shake his head trying to figure out what was actually keeping her alive. She knew, but she wouldn’t speak of it. Words for her were hard to get out. Looking around her room, she saw work that needed to be done; but no one helped.

 

The kids came by about once a month. Their children played outside. It was almost like this was a task more than a visit. It was so filled with webs. The kids mainly sat by her bed and said few words. When they felt like the proper time had been spent, they called for the kids letting them know it was time to depart. No child ever said, goodbye grandma.

 

She was lonely. She yearned for the love of her dead husband. She had no reason to live. She made up her mind to take this in her own hands and so that next morning she willed herself to die.

 

Once again, the kids came to pay their respects. After the funeral was over, they went through the home and took what they wanted and took the remains and tossed it in a big burn pile out back.

 

When only ashes were seen, a sudden downpour of rain hit. Lightening struck. Trees were turned over. The sky dark. Thunder was as if it was cursing the kids for what they had done to their parents.

 

The lightening hit the barn and the house, burning it to the ground in no time at all. The kids who had run for cover, found no cover remaining. They were forced to watch as the home they grew up in was demolished. They were forced to hear the demons ravish their souls.

 

It was then, and only then, that the kids seemed to understand what had happened. They came together and held hands. They looked out and over the once loving home that their parents had given them and they wept; but it was too late. They would live with their guilt for the rest of their days.

 

school2school.jpg

Seniors, Poverty and Why?


I was watching the news this morning. This is something I don’t do much anymore for exactly the reason I am going to blog about. The bad news out weighs the good news. It seems people really want to hear the negative or else why would the news be so popular.

 

The topic this morning affected my age group.

A) Seniors filing bankruptcy at a higher rate more now than ever♦

B) Rents raise for the poor♦

 

Why would Seniors file bankruptcy? In my parents era, there was a savings of several years hard work that helped when they retired. In today’s world, so many included benefits have been jerked away in order to save the companies money. The fall-out in 2010 did a lot of damage.

 

The co-pays on insurance have risen above being able to meet, forcing out- of- pockets to empty faster. Insurance companies seem to fight more on even paying what they should. Costs of medications, doctor appointments, and the outrageous prices being charged for inpatient hospital stays are absurd.

No wonder Seniors are struggling. They are forced to work for longer years before retiring and without the extra help government and retirement benefits would be given at the age of sixty-two, life becomes financially in a ruin. Sometimes bankruptcy is the only answer in order to be able to afford what has to be paid for.

 

Why would anyone charge the poor more money on rental properties and leave the moderate and rich alone? Is the secret name of the game to actually dismiss and rid the poor, leaving the fortunate ones to thrive?

 

I don’t  understand any of this. I know in my area and I also have mentioned this before in my other posts, I live in the Orthopedic Capital of the world. Is everyone in my area working at one of these fine manufacturing companies? No, they are not. It is easy to see that the rental prices of homes and apartments are skyrocketing here; but what about those who aren’t fortunate enough to work in these places?

 

Go back to school, further your education; is this your thought? It used to be mine too, but today, the cost of technical colleges and the bigger colleges is almost beyond our reach. The almost guaranteed job offer is not so much in our sight and of course that leaves us with paying those high college loans off. Some people are bettering themselves some, but the paying off those loans is for many years to come.

 

Landlords don’t keep the properties up to date because they would 1. like to keep the profit and 2. some can not afford the prices to do the updates.

 

It is a sad situation. I know for myself, I would love to have a little more freedom and less rules. I would love to have the inner fears removed that if I don’t do this or follow that rule; I am out of here.

 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know there are rules, but rules are changed without voting. Rules can be changed and worded differently day to day. What about having the choice to sit in your yard and have a cookout? This is not allowed here.

 

What about planting flowers? We have employees that do that here. We can watch the flowers grow, but what about helping make that happen? What about having the joy of sitting out under the picnic tables, under the shade trees? Taking our tea or coffee and chatting with others?

 

We have benches here and the benches sit under the sun. We have one patio table with four chairs, that I am not sure would hold me and this patio table is to be adequate for eighty-two apartments.

I don’t mean to sound like I am bitching. I truly am not. My thoughts on this are; hey, we made it to our Senior years. We worked hard. We helped our spouses. We fought in the war. We raised our children. We deserve to not live in fear wondering where our next home will be and where funding will come from and; can we afford it.

 

We don’t want to have to file bankruptcy. We worked hard our entire lives and never saw those big, heavy courtroom doors. Why now? Why would anyone want us to have to wait for our retirement? Why would they raise only the elderly and poor’s rents?

 

Perhaps it is true. People don’t want us around or people believe we are children in grown bodies and are pretty much worthless and just taking up space until death takes us.

Well, this is why I don’t watch too much news. It makes me sad. It makes me angry. What is going to happen to our grown children? Their time is coming. What can we do to help them when we can’t even help ourselves.

 

greens 8

Seeing What We Don’t Notice


Maybe I shouldn’t admit it; but I am a little afraid when I go out in public to places I am unfamiliar with. When I moved to Florida years ago; I moved to a city by far larger than where my home town is that I reside in.

 

Everywhere I went; I saw a variety of people that I was not used to seeing. I saw many cultures. I saw homeless people. I saw purple hair and long hair, different clothing styles. Maybe I should change the word afraid to not knowing how to react, or is that a stupid phrase also.

 

My brother and I learned that we should not go outside in the dark of where we lived because there were rat snakes roaming about. I am sure that they have their purpose in this world; but considering the great inner fear of snakes, I didn’t care if they were rat snakes or garden snakes; they were snakes and I obeyed.

 

We really get used to ” our area”. When we live, work and play in the same surroundings, we get comfortable. When you venture into a new area and don’t have that comfortable feeling and we see new things and people; we don’t know what to think or how to respond.

 

I think this is me so I will erase the word afraid and not knowing how to react to; I need to broaden my horizon in culture. I  have been way too sheltered in my own little corner of the world.

 

God placed a lot of countries, cities and towns on our planet. Along with this comes culture, different foods, interests and lots of learning for us. I remember one day while living in Florida, my brother and I went to a gas station to put fuel in the car.

 

I didn’t get out of the car immediately because sitting beside the pump was a big trash barrel and going through the barrel was a homeless man. I glanced at my brother and he was staring at the man. I stared along  with him. I had never really witnessed a homeless person before; only read about them in the news.

 

As I watched him, I started to take his place in my mind, and my feelings of wonder turned to pity for him and then I found myself asking what could I do to help. Suddenly I was anxious to get out of the car and pump my gas. Afterwards, I handed the man a twenty dollar bill and told him to have a good day. He smiled big and shook my hand until I thought my arm was going to fall off.

 

I had a swelling in my heart. I had helped someone else instead of thinking of my  usual thoughts. It felt good. It even seemed that my brother and I had a better day than ever. Our spirits were lifted. I had torn down the uncomfortable wall and opened myself to something I had not dealt with before.

 

I have since then studied culture much more. Learning of rituals and habitats of others is very fascinating. Beliefs others carry is a great learning experience. God  sure did an awesome job at placing so many different people under one big, blue marble.

 

I look at life different today just from that one day years ago with my brother. Now with my illness, I am stuck in my comfortable surroundings; but I seek out what others are doing, how they think, are they hungry or cold; when I am able to get out from under my own roof.

 

Right here in my home town there are people in need. People who are hungry or cold, who need us. They may need a dollar or two or a meal from McDonalds and I am sure they need a prayer said for them as much as we need prayers said for ourselves.

 

So in conclusion; we need to step out of our comfort zone. We need to quit thinking of ourselves. We need to look for others who may look different or eat different but realize they need the same things as we do. To be cared about, to be loved, to be noticed.

 

I will never forget that teaching lesson from so long ago, sitting at the gas station, waiting to pump my gas and the man I helped. How it made me realize how lucky I am in life, how blessed and how much better I felt; helping someone.

 

Writing this has immediately taken me to the thought of beauty. I think I am going to use my camera to not only take beautiful nature, but to capture, or try to, the beauty inside each heart I pass.

 

The photo below is at my class reunion. I am the one on the bottom second from the right

reunion 90

Alan Alda and our common ground


God made us each unique.  There is no one else out there like me, or at least I hope not, because I still haven’t figured out who I am and what I am supposed to do here until he takes me home again.

Then why is it that we make such a lime light when something bad happens to us? We talk about it to everyone who will listen. We think about it and ask ourselves why me. We have our own crying parties and then we straighten ourselves back up again; ready to conquer all.

For me, I know my part of Parkinson’s is very common. I don’t know the statistics; but most people say something like, Oh, you have Parkinson’s. I know so and so  who’s father or mother had that too.

When the news came out yesterday that Alan Alda now has confirmed his diagnosis of Parkinson’s; suddenly I was shocked.alan

Why was I shocked? Beats me. I perhaps thought I was the only one in the world with it? Alan Alda said he has  had a good life and that this disease will never define him.

Wow, what an attitude. He is a big, super star and he got Parkinson’s, just like I did. My friends, I don’t know the reasons we get this or that interruption in our lives. I know that God knows and this was in his plan for me.

I will continue to talk to people about my illness because I hope that someone has a tip of how I can live a better day with my symptoms. I will continue to ask for prayers from my Parkinson’s groups.

I will continue to live life as normal as I did before. I probably will still have my very own pity parties because I am human and have weak moments, just like you and Alan Alda.

We are unique, as I stated earlier, but when a bump comes in our path and we stumble over it, we become less unique and find common ground with others seeking comfort and cures.

Writing this makes me sit up a little straighter in my chair. It expands my lungs a little deeper as I take a stronger breath, ready to tackle what is laid in my path.

Take Notice Now


I was up before the sun rose. It is a quiet time of day. A time to ponder on what I would do. How will I affect someone’s day today. A time to watch God perform his masterpiece when the sun finally rises over the moon.

 

I didn’t really have any big plans for today and yet I am amazed that it is now 9:30 p.m. Some would say that my life is boring and believe me; there are days I would have to agree.

 

I guess when you have a disability of some sort and you don’t want to succumb to it; you find other ways to spend your time. I look back on my life and everything was on a schedule.

 

The kids had to be on the bus at a certain time. The husband had to be at work on time.  Meat had to be taken out of the freezer early enough to thaw for supper preparation. Laundry had to be done daily to keep up with a family of five.

 

Coffee on, breakfast made, kids up, bedrooms straightened, sweeper ran, errands ran, school functions, dentist and doctor appointments made and attended. Oh my, I get tired just thinking what I used to do.

 

Today, I do have to get up no later than 8:30 a.m. to take my insulin and medications. I can choose when to eat, where to sit and eat. I can make my bed immediately or wait until later or I can leave it go all day.

 

There is no more fixing meals for five. I can have an egg and toast for supper, cereal for breakfast. I can take a nap if I wish, go to bed when I want, do my laundry when I feel like it.

 

Being older can have its advantages. I rarely set an alarm clock, unless a doctor’s appointment is scheduled for the next morning. I can have music on or the television or I can have peace and quiet. I can sit and watch the sun rise and watch the moon come out.

 

God is still taking care of me. He has allowed my illness to change my view in life and by that, I mean the view I take in from what I saw when I was a young mom. I appreciate people who want to chat with me.

 

I appreciate the small things in life. I appreciate the beauty around me. I take notice. I never had time for that before. Life can change at any moment for each of us. I think it is important to love each moment we are gifted. I wish I would have taken notice of my life earlier but then again, I probably would have seen it in a different light.

 

Take Notice Now

Always remember this day

Take nothing for granted

For the breath you take

Is on borrowed time

The flowers bloom for a moment

The sun shines for today

The moon may not shine tommorow

See it, love it, treasure life.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

07/30/2018

 

cropped-indiana9.jpgIndiana7