mantra --

i was playing around on stumble upon todayand came across this - it should be my mantra ;)

anyone else want to adopt it as yours  -- hehe


found this ---

---and liked it -- thought i'd share ;)

grounded . . .

sigh -- ever feel like you just can't get ahead?  that's how i've been feeling lately.

on sunday afternoon i pulled a muscle in my back.  ouch!!!  well -- monday i had to go to syracuse to pick paul up at the train station - he was just coming back from his annual HOBY trip - to chicago this time.  because of the pulled muscle, my sister drove up and i rode along.  i was also on the go on tuesday ---

long story short --- my back has been getting worse instead of better, nothing i was doing seemed to help -  so decided i'd better go to the doctor's today.  well --- apparently not only do i have a pulled muscle, but i also knocked my pelvis out of whack.  sigh.  how did i manage that you may be wondering  --- good question.  i wish i had a good story -- sky-diving, rescuing a kitten from a tree, a summer camp trapeze accident --- nope, i simple bent over to pick something up off of the floor. sigh ---

anyway -- so he re-aligned my pelvis.  didn't give me any meds for now -- i have to go back on tuesday for him to check it again.  told me to load up on IBU and apply heat -- and REST.  told me the worst thing i could have done was go to syracuse -- sigh.  oh well ----

he also grounded me.  i can only travel for 15- 20 minutes -- and if any of you could see where i live, you would  know that won't get me very far -- town is 10 minutes from here, and not much there.

so -- i had stuff planned -- of course -- for the weekend, a reunion a festival, etc. all atleast an hour drive one way ---sigh.  frustrating.

a friend who called to check in on my said --- "don't you hate when God doesn't check your calender before messing with you"  hehehehe --- exactly!
well -- at least i'm feeling a little better. sigh -- if it's not one thing, it's another - -


crazy bird --

lately, birds have been my nemesis.  i'm not terribly fond of them - and maybe that's why they've been bugging me.

this video shows you the latest.  this bird has been doing this off and on for 3 days now. 

sigh ----

it's pretty comical -- i guess i should just "let him in" - he knocks and waits so patiently.  yeah, right. 


good deeds ---

i don't get it --- i try to do nice things for people, including strangers, but lately i've noticed people are resistant.

yesterday - amongst the icky-ness of the bad day, i  tried to do good.

there is a store - maybe you've heard of it,  aldi's.  it's a low cost, grocery store - it sells store brand items at low prices.  to keep cost down the grocery carts are connected  together with a chain.  you deposit a quarter in the slot and your cart is released.  when you return it and lock it back in - your quarter is returned.

i stopped to pick up a few things yesterday --- BTW, i LOVE the house dressing they have.  mmmmm -- i could drink it!  ok, not really, but it is really good. anyway- i stopped to pick up a few things ---

yesterday was not the first time this has happened mind you --- but, after i loaded my groceries in the car and headed back to the corral to take my cart back -- an older man was headed towards the cart area to get a cart.  i offered him mine.  he waved me off and continued on quarter in hand. 

there was a disabled woman headed to the corral, and i again offered my cart.  this time she took it and held the quarter out to me.  i said to her " no, you keep it,.  have a nice day."

"no, no, no" she said "you take it." pressing it into my hand.  "you'll need it next time."

i took it, and thanked her and went on my way.

this hasn't always been the norm -- although it's usually the way things go - it frustrates me.  i mean really, it's just a quarter - i really do try to do nice things.

but like i said this isn't always the case.

years ago i stopped at the aldi's store in binghamton.  i remember having a lot on my mind.  and on the drive to binghamton for a doctor's appointment, there was a familiar smell in my car.  the windows were up, and the vents weren't even on - so it wasn't coming from the outside.  i realized it was the scent of my grandfather's cigar.  i loved that smell.  it startled me a bit -- my grandfather had died many years before, and he had been on my mind alot.  the scent disappeared in a few minutes.

i went to the appointment, and then stopped for some stuff at aldi's.  i loaded the groceries in the car, and noticed the woman next to me who had just pulled in.  i offered her my cart, and she took it.  she immediately went searching in her bag - i said "don't worry about it, just return the favor one day."

i got in my car, and to my surprise she opened the passenger side door.  as you can imagine i was startled.  she held her closed hand out to me and said "here."

i tried to assure her it was just a quarter, i wasn't worried about it- but she insisted i take it.  she opened her hand over mine -- it was not a quarter, but a small angel pin on a card.

i looked up at her and she said to me - and i remember it like it was yesterday.  " i carry these around in my bag for people like you, for people who offer a little kindness and a smile to someone.  i only have one left, it must have been waiting for you."

i thanked her, and she said to me "you look like you have a lot on your mind.  the answers are in your heart, you know that.  i'm sure you have someone  very special in heaven looking out for you, and they love you very much."


she closed my door, and headed off to the store -- i watched her walk away in my rear view mirror.

that day sticks with me -- i believe my grandfather was in that car with me for awhile that morning, and this woman carried a message to me.

so -- some days you are the doer and others you are the receiver.  sometimes you start off being one and you end up being the other.

i think as a whole society we all need to work on both being the doer - random acts of kindness, and more importantly we need to work on being the receiver.  people don't know what to do when some one does something nice for them.

have a good day --- look out for ways you can offer some kindness.  and if someone offers you  a quarter -- just take it! ;)


an awful day ---

sigh -- ever just have "one of those days"? 

i did -- today.  i blame it all on the thunderstorm that woke me up early this morning -- because it all goes down hill from there ---

first - paul called from work.  he needed dry clothes - he got caught in the downpour of the thunderstorm.  so -- i took clothes up to him.  while waiting for him to come out to get them -- a former co-worker saw me in the car, and came over to say hi. 

that wouldn't be odd --- except i have been having trouble with the drivers window in my car - it has a mind of it's own.  some days it works fine, others it won't go down -- other it won't go up once down.  i hadn't made an appointment to fix it yet.

so -- he comes over to the car -- i lightly touch the window button, and remembered it was broken - so i opened the door -- and a few minutes later the window went half way down on it's own --- and wouldn't go back up.  keep in mind -- raining, off and on.

so -- what to do.  i had a dentist appointment for an adjustment at 10:30 -- so i called the mechanic, and they could take a look at it at 1.

so -- i drove all the way to scranton -- in the occasional rain with the window half open.  i got to the dentist, and put plastic over it so the rain wouldn't get the seat wet.

at the dentist --- what i thought would be a quick trip turned out to be 2 hours.  long story short -- fixed the problem, but now have a whole new problem.  sigh ---they worked, re-worked, and got it sort of fixed.  it's all because of healing and the new shape of my mouth - so not a bad thing, but not what i was planning on for today.

so -- while i was waiting for the stuff to set --- i texted my sister, who was in the area to not wait for me for lunch.  her husband came home yesterday from afghanistan/germany, and they were going to get some groceries, so i was going to meet them for lunch.  that wasn't in the stars for today.

by the time we got things figured out at the dentist it was a just enough time to get up to the mechanic about the window.  i get in the car, and try the button for the heck of it -- window goes up.  sigh.  i had played with that damn button all the way down.  sigh.

so -- get to the mechanics --- they need to order a part, and i have to go back on monday.  meanwhile -- the car is sitting in the parking lot, and one of the girls goes out to get a soda -- and freaks out.  she walked past my car --- a bird, flew into the grill of my car - getting it's head stuck and dying.  sigh ---- what else could go wrong today.  thankfully one of the guys got it out for me.

so -- then i head back to scranton -- i had a whole list of errands i needed to do.

grabbed some lunch on he way through -- while eating i realized that my top dentures were now rubbing badly in the back -- sigh.  so after a few trips to stores, i called the office to see if i could stop by before i drove the hour home -- no problem.  so i went back to the dentist before i went for groceries.

she fixed it all up -- and good to go --- well sort of.  now because of all the work and healing, my bite is off.  i have to decide if i want to live with it until next month when she'll start the permanent teeth process --- or if i want her to re-make a temporary bottom.  sigh ---

so -- then off to go grocery shopping --- as i pull into the parking space -- the sky opens up and downpours - thunder, lightening.  sigh.  so i sat in the car and waited for a break.

by the time groceries were bought -- i'd had enough.  i quit.  and headed home.  i got home 11 hours after i left for the day.  sigh.

there is that old adage about getting up on the wrong side of the bed.  well -- i got up on the normal side this morning.  i wonder what would have happened if i got up on the other.  sigh ----

so, off to bed -- time to put this awful day behind me.  night everyone . . .


smile update!

i just realized i haven't updated in awhile about how things are going with my new smile! ;)  it's been about 3 1/2 months.

here is an updated photo:

things are going well!  the trips to the dentist are few and far between now, things get easier to eat every day -- there are still a few things that are tricky, but we're gaining.  the sore spots are pretty much gone.  i've been having to use adhesive in the temporary plates to hold them in place -- the doc tells me that when we get the new ones i won't have the problem.

things are going great!

for those of you "just tuning in", you can follow the story here.  you can go back a few posts, and forward some to get more of the story.

thanks for checking in!


here comes fear again ---

i've been noticing a common thread running through the fabric of my life --- fear.  i've worked through lots of it -- but there is still some sticking around.

my newest -- well, it's hard to put a handle on it -- or a name.  is it the fear of failure, or fear of success?  i ran across this qute the other day -- it hs stuck with me, it rings true for me today:

We walk away from our dreams afraid we may fail, or worse yet, afraid we may succeed.
well -- once again, i've faced it head on.  for months i've talked about opening an etsy shop - for months i've put it off.  i've done the research, made phone calls, got a mentor, and thought it all out -- but, i haven't put the plans in motion --- that is until recently.

last week i went to see a CPA, and figured out exactly what it is i need to do.  today, i filed a form to collect sales tax , and tomorrow i head to the county clerk's office to file a "doing business as" certificate.  then -- it's set up a bank account, a pay pal account, set up a store front, build some inventory and hit the ground running.

will i get everything right, well i hope so, but probably not.  but, i'm so excited.  it's time to get this ball rolling -- i won't know if i can do it  until i try it -- another quote i found today:
fears are temporary - regrets are forever.
so -- here is to living with no regrets!  i'll keep you posted as to when the shop is up and running.  i'm shooting for July 1st. 

with God's help things will turn out just the way they should!


the parable of the waterbug and the dragonfly --

when my mom died, my sister was trying to figure out how to explain it all to my nephew; he was 4 at the time.  she found a story book about water bugs and dragonflies -- since she has a love for dragonflies she bought it.  the book is very well written and i love how it explains to concept of death, heaven, and why we can't return.  the story has stuck with me.  a very good friend lost her mom over this past weekend.  i thought of the dragonfly story as i sat at the funeral today.  i found the story online, and shared it with her, and i'll share it with you.  i'm not sure of the author. . .

-The Story of the Dragonfly-
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you suppose she is going?" Up, up, up it went slowly. Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return. "That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second water bug. "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third. No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.

Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why." "We promise," they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water, and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings. The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly.
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by, the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were, scurrying about, just as he had been doing some time before. Then the dragonfly remembered the promise: "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why."

Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water. "I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least I tried, but I can't keep my promise. Even if  I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what happened to me, and where I went."  And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.


thought provoking . . .

i realized the other day that i haven't written in awhile.  no excuse, just didn't.

i'm not sure how many of you may have been an oprah fan -- i know personally i have watched her off and on in spurts over the 25 years.  i've read some of the book club books, tuned in for inspirational stories -- and wished i had had a seat at one of her "favorite thing" shows like everyone else.

i did, however tune in yesterday for her final show.  i wasn't sure what to expect - i was hoping for something with substance - she had done enough of the giveaways and makeovers in my opinion.

and i got what i wanted -- more importantly, what i needed.  there were no guests, no surprises.  instead she called it a "love letter" to her audience.

there were so many things that she said the resonated with me -- making me teary and emotional, and not because it was her last show.

but, there were 3 things that stood out to me ---

"what's whispering to you? your life is whispering to you, and will you hear it?" 

"use your life to serve the world." 

"do you see me?  do you hear me?"

those things are powerful to me -- and they touched a spot yesterday.  without going in to to much personal detail for "all the world" to see, yesterday's last show was just what i needed.

oprah did it again -- inspired.

her daily presence will be missed, but i do not think we've seen the last of her.  i hope she took a day off -- slept in.  but i'm sure she is off to work at the next thing - i've been watching her OWN network, and there are alot of great shows there.

so -- thanks oprah, for 25 years of thought provoking topics, inspiration, fun, and controversy.


fairy tales --

along with 2 million other people apparently -- i got up to watch the royal wedding.  it was beautiful - just right.  it touched on the fairy tale princess fantasy that most little girls dream of without going gaudy and over the top.

princess katherine's dress was beautiful, traditional and modern.  i loved that she kept her hair down and looked like we are "used" to seeing her.

i couldn't help but think about what she must be thinking.  a "commoner" (i dislike that term) when she woke up this morning - now a princess, a dutchess.

and william -- he has some changes coming his way too - he is now considered a "senior royal"  and has a new function.  not to mention his new name - have you seen or heard this? 

here are william and kate's  new "names" (courtesy of yahoo news):

Prince Williams of Wales got another set of titles in time for the wedding, according to an announcement on the official royal wedding website. His full name is now His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Early of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Master of Arts. (According to the official website of the British Monarchy, those who have the title of HRH Prince or Princess do not need to use a last name, though theirs is Mountbatten-Windsor.) As his wife, the former Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton is now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, but most people will probably call her Princess Catherine or Princess Kate .

wow. to read more interesting facts about today's event - click here.

so-- what is the american fascination with the british royal family?  good question.  i can't answer for all of america, but i can for myself.  i wouldn't say i'm fascinated -- in fact, i was starting to get tired of hearing all about it every 5 minutes these past couple of weeks - and debated on wheater i would get up early to watch, or catch a re-run, or news clips.

i guess i feel some sort of connection with this generation of royals.  i remember sitting with my mom at the age of 8 and watching charles and diana's wedding.  i remember where i was when we heard the new of diana's death, and watched the funeral.  i would imagine one day i may see prince william take the throne.  i ilke them.  they seem "real", humble.  i love that william is comfortable at kate's family home, and he would rather serve a meal then be served.

i think we as americans - or even as a world needed this day.  fairy tales really do come true - for a few hours we forgot about all the bad stuff happening, and watched the fairy tale play out before our eyes.

i love the prayer that the couple wrote together for the service today - read by the bishop of london:

"God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen."
i wish them much happiness, some privacy and respect, and a long happy life.

here's to fairy tales coming true!


rain, rain, go away

we have had such a rainy spring.  it rained most of easter weekend, it's raining this morning, it's supposed to rain all week long.

i get it -- many have said "atleast it's not snow".  true.  "we need the rain"  true. "april showers bring may flowers". true.

all of those are true - but does it have to rain every day?  wouldn't a little sun help the flowers grow and the trees bud?

i'm soggy.  rain makes me want to crawl into bed with a book, or a good movie.  doing this once in awhile is a treat, but the rate it has been raining nothing will get done.

so -- i guess i'll make the most of it.  settle in with a cup of tea, make some homemade soup for dinner - and listen for the call for the ark  ;)


hard days --

april has stirred up alot of things for me.  all having to do with mom.  it was last year in april that the crazy roller coaster began.  last year easter fell on april 4th.  the weekend before mom and i went on the spiritual life retreat - the last one of the wyoming conference umw, and our last "event".  i was the leader of the retreat - "finding our joy".  mom really went back and forth about whether to go or not.  she was on oxygen for 12 hours a day, and the oxygen condenser was big, cumbersome, and loud.  she had so many meds to take at different times -- she had one excuse after the other as to why she should stay home.  she didn't want me to have to keep track of her and "her stuff" and run  and present a retreat too.  as you can imagine, i wouldn't take that excuse - packed her and her stuff up in the car and off we went.  besides -- there were plenty of people there that i knew would help if asked, and a friend was coming with us.

i'm so glad she went -- she was too.  it was later in that week after getting home that she developed what we thought was pneumonia. we were all getting together on saturday - the day before easter for dinner because paul had to work easter day.  she really wasn't feeling great and didn't know if she should come down.  my sister and i convinced her to come.  sigh.  poor thing, she was so sick and miserable - couldn't breath very well, but she came and we had dinner.  that night, around 1 or 2 AM dad called me and said that she had had enough and wanted to go to the ER.  paul and i took her -- dad hates hospitals.  and so the roller coaster began.

she was admitted to the hospital on easter sunday, and by that evening she was put on a ventilator because they found her unresponsive.  she was on that vent for 11 days.  her stay in the hospital lasted 2 months - in and out of ICU unresponsive 3 times - on the vent twice and "bagged" once.  the 6 months that followed took us back and forth to the hospital, good days, bad days.  and finally hospice care.

today marks 6 months since her death.  is it any wonder that april has been an emotional month.

just the other day i was going through my email inbox and came across the almost daily emails i wrote to family updating them on her condition throughout those 6 months.  i found myself reading through them - reliving the emotions.  i did not erase them - i tucked them all neatly in a folder.

yesterday in church we sang one of mom's favorite hymns, and one we sang at her funeral.  it was a tough thing to get through, but at the same time i felt close to her too.

i've stopped myself countless times from picking up the phone to ask her a question.  i've thought countless times about buying something i've seen in a store.  daily glitches --

grieving is such a strange process.  everyone does it differently, and who is to say that someone does it correctly.  we all do it the best we can.  this has been the hardest thing i've had to deal with.  some days are better then others.  some days i feel so lost, others my emotions are more in check.  don't get me wrong - i'm not sitting around miserable by any means - but i probably am stuffing and not dealing with some of it too.  but -- it's a process.  and it's still "new".

there will be more tough days -- mother's day is coming, her birthday, etc. but i'll get through them - however i do, and it's ok.  time will dry some tears, but not erase.

the picture above was taken in september of 2009.  i love it -- she was feeling good at this point.  happy and playing with our brand new puppy - charlie.  none of us knowing what a year would mean.

i love you mom!  i miss you like crazy -- but i feel your hand on my shoulder.


a blog is born

i launched a new blog the other day --  serenity lane designs .  it's where i will post cards and other projects i'm working on.  it's very exciting!

i'm working on some other things -- letting my creativity out of the box i guess you could say.  i'm working on getting a shop opened on - under the same name - serenity lane designs.  i've also found a couple of paper craft and rubber stamping magazines looking for submissions.  this is exciting to me - i love to create, and i love to write, so why not.  i have to look into the writer's guidelines and editorial calendar and then get creative.

so -- be watching watching to see what i'm up to next!  stop by and visit my new blog -- the link is above, or in the sidebar to the right.  :)

til next time ---


extreme couponing --

those of you who are friends with me on facebook probably saw my status the other day about the show i watched on extreme couponing. 

well, it's still bothering me. :)

a little background for those of you just joining the conversation -- there is a new reality tv show on TLC called Extreme Couponing.  the premise is that people spend time cutting coupons, shopping sales, etc to get great deals.

don't get me wrong -- i love the concept of this show, i don't watch every episode, but i've seen a few.  a show i caught the other day showed a couple, the wife spent 6 hours researching online, cutting coupons, calling stores, browsing flyers for 1 of 4 weekly shopping trips.

the woman headed off to the store, loaded up her carts, and headed to the check out.  she bought $2000 worth of groceries - after coupons the total was $103.  AWESOME!

i use coupons -- ok, when i remember to pick them up from the counter when i leave, but i use them.  i'd love to be able to do this on a much smaller scale.

what bothers me is it all seems like such a waste.  this same woman bought 67 bottles of mustard.  her husband doesn't use it and the kids aren't crazy about it.  so, why 67 jars?  her reasoning was that she got them for about 30 cents each, and there is no expiration date on mustard.   ummm, ok.

same woman - lets the cameras into her house - it's like a grocery store.  rooms taken over by shelving units - stocked with "stuff". under their children's beds packages of toilet paper, paper towels.  the extra shower turned into a closet for toilet paper - the garage doesn't house a car.

ok -- i love a good deal as much as the next lady, but really?  i understand it's the "thrill" of the chase - but seriously, can you really use 300 sticks of deodorant before they expire?

now -- imagine one of these couponers pulling up a truck at the local food pantry, or homeless shelter and dropping off bag upon bag of this stuff - how rewarding for all involved.  this morning on the today show there was a story about how in one town -- i think in SC people are packing things - food,  to hand out to the kids to take home for the weekend so they have something to eat - alot of the kids in thier community are only eating when they go to school.  (you can watch the video here.)

the couponers could still have the thrill of the chase - feed thier family, and probably half of the town.

like i said before - i don't watch the show every week, or catch every episode.  maybe there are families who do this - shop for what they need and donate the rest, and if they do, good for them - please let me know,  and i'll send you my extra coupons. :)


update - 4/17

ok -- i just watched another episode of extreme couponing -- i know what your thinking, why do you torture yourself?  anyway ----- there was a guy on tonight who shopped (for alot of stuff!!!) with coupons -- but he also used his skills to shop and get tons of stuff to send to the troops overseas.  woohoo --- now, that's more like it!


new experiences -

this weekend was full of old, but new experiences for me.

it was the first time since the oral surgery and new dentures that i had real "public engagements".

on saturday i presented a short bible study to a wonderful group of women.  many of these ladies i haven't seen since the surgery.  compliments came rolling in.  the presentation went well - although there are still some sounds and letters that are tricky for me.  i was a little apprehensive - but this time not for how i looked, but for how i sounded, and if they would be able to understand me.  but it all went well - and i know with more practice, time and continued healing my speech will be back to normal.

on sunday we had a huge birthday party for my father-in-law's 80th birthday.  before this i would have done almost anything to avoid  the camera.  i found myself a little more comfortable when it came time for  family pictures.  still have some mental and emotional work - but it is definitely a start!

here are some pictures from yesterday's celebration.

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i love a good book . . .

as many of you know i love the author jodi picoult.  i have and have read all of her novels (i believe there are 17).  she puts a new one out each march - her latest novel is called "sing you home".

i love to read her novels for all kinds of reasons.  she writes about controversial issues and doesn't sweep anything under the rug.  her style of writing is like nothing i've seen anywhere else.  she develops deep characters and intertwining relationships.  you can tell she's done her research.  and her endings - sigh, gotta love jodi!  hehe --sometimes you don't see them coming, and sometimes you do see it coming and plead that she changes her mind.  i've cried - no make that sobbed over some of her books.  i have to admit there are a few books that are harder to "get into" but i've stuck with them and loved them by the end.

anyway -- i tell you that so you understand this.  below is a clip from the ellen show - she interviewed  jodi about the latest book, loved it, and is going to make a movie.  how exciting.  i love the interview -- they not only speak of the book, but they also talk about her writing and her family.  excellent.

here is the clip - very interesting.

i'd be happy to suggest a book of hers!  if you've read any - let me know what you thought!

until next time - -


hate to admit it . . .

. . .but i'm starting to get used to the dentist chair.  i no longer get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach about a mile or so before the office or the heart palpitations as i'm sitting in "the chair" waiting.

i do have to admit though -- today i was a little nervous.  the dental facility i've been going to is a "chain" sort of thing "aspen dental", and sometimes if they don't have an open appointment and you need an adjustment they have you just walk -in.  i've done that a couple of times.  the problem with this is you get whichever dentist has time to see you .  well, it just so happens that i've gotten "the other guy" the times i went.  i don't like him.  he is always in a hurry, and doesn't listen to what you need, and doesn't help the situation.  just a few days ago i 'walked-in' with 3 sore spots.  and i left with 2.  i guess it's good i had one less, but still.  he argued with me when i told him it still hurt - telling me to give it some time and it will clear up.  sigh.  it didn't.  it got even worse.  the sore spot turned painful - within 24-hours.  so.  i went back today - with an appointment, and an uneasy feeling -- what if my dentist wasn't there and he walked in, what if she was really busy and he was helping out (this happened once before).  i had made up my mind i didn't care how long i had to wait i was going to see the woman i started out with.

she walked in the room - "how are you today?"  "much better seeing you" i tell her.  i briefly explained my difficulty just a few days ago with the other guy -- and where the problems still were.  she smiled and laughed a bit and set to work.  in a matter of minutes the problems were gone - did i mention i love her! we had a good laugh over one of the "arguments" i had with him -- i knew i was right, but she confirmed it - and rolled her eyes over the guys un-professionalism.  i asked her how i could be sure that i didn't have to see anyone but her.  she told me not to worry, he wouldn't be back.  he was "on loan" from another office, and they had some complaints. 

a sense of relief rushed over me.  i had worked so hard to not be anxious about dental visits, and this man was starting to get things creeping back in to my psyche.

God still loves me -- hehe, and all is right with the world again.

things are progressing nicely.  eating and talking are all improving.  and i'm not so swollen.  i'll have to take some new pictures.  tomorrow marks 3 weeks!  feeling and looking better everyday!


the good. . .the bad. . .and the ugly

so, we are about a week and a half post-op, and i'm finally starting to feel more "normal" - still a little puffy in places, still sounding a little like daffy duck, but all in all doing well.  the doctors all say i'm doing really well, and healing nicely.

so -- time to take some pictures! ;)

first - where i came from - so we understand where i'm going.  just a warning, they're bad - not for the faint of heart.  these pictures were taken a day or 2 before surgery - they're not pretty.

told you -- not pretty.  what a differnece a few weeks make.  keep in mind - i avoided the camera, avoid talking about "it", avoided anything having to do with my teeth.  so there is is -- out there for all to see.  i know many of you who know me have seen it -- i get that, but i still think i did a decent job hiding just how bad it was.

so -- here is how things look now - a week and a half after - what a difference.

still some healing to do, and some adjustments, but if this is as good as it gets - i don't regret any of it.  surprisingly i have not been in much pain - the extraction sites don't really hurt at all.  the biggest discomfort are the sore spots that pop up as things are settling and healing.

anyway -- so, there you have it.  the good, the bad, and the REALLY ugly!  ;)

God is good . . .


word of the week . . . patience

well, we're one week post -op.  things are going well.  patience has been the word of the week, but i think things are going pretty well.  things seem to be healing well - and we're adjusting the "sore spots" as they come.
i'm starting to eat real food - soft foods, but more then pudding and yogurt!
talking is getting better - still a little garbled, but better.
so -- patience.  and practice.  it will come - in good time.  rome wasn't built in a day, and this will take time.
be watching for pictures soon -- i promise! ;)


baby steps . . .

i ran across this photo online - and i thought that it summed up where i am at this point.  the title of the photo is 'baby steps".

this process has been interesting to say the least --- the healing is going "as planned" i guess.  right now we are in the process of fixing 'sore spots' as they arise.  dwindling down the plastic as the gums and tissues heal and settle.

i'm not eating a wide variety of foods just yet -- still haven't been able to chew very much - but, at least i'm eating!  i didn't eat anything for 2 1/2 days after surgery because i couldn't get it down.  if it wasn't for the gag reflex, it was something else.  my mouth felt  like a tunnel - plastic everywhere.  once the dentist adjusted some of that it made it alot easier.

surprisingly i haven't had alot of pain.  mostly some discomfort as they settle and we figure it all out.  for that - i'm grateful.

i've been told my appearance is very different from what it was -- i see the obvious, but at the same time it is hard for me -- i still feel swollen and puffy, and i'm still getting used to how my mouth "works" now.  so i haven't taken any new pics just yet.  i will.  they will come in time.  i'll post some here - along with the "before" pics - which, btw, i was looking at -- i took some the day before surgery.  wow.  of course there is a difference.

all in all -- things are going well.  i don't regret my decision, and i'm in love with dr. k.  -- she rocks!  :)

i'll keep you posted! :)


free to live again . . .

ok, so i've been a bit cryptic lately - my facebook friends can attest to that - but it's been for what i believe is good reason.  isn't it strange how we share everything these days ---

anyway.  i want to share this.  there is something liberating about talking about it.  it had been my well kept secret for years, if not a decade.

all my life i have had bad "teeth and gums".  i had horrible dental visits, always resulting in pain and lots of bleeding - and the dentists we went to certainly didn't care.  so -- that gave me an excuse to avoid the dentist. 

i say that it was my secret, but i'm sure any of you who know me have noticed how awful my front teeth especially have been.  years of gum disease did my teeth in - broken, crooked, loose - it was awful.

it was paralyzing.  everything i did i stopped to think about my teeth - what i ate, how i ate, where i ate.  i haven't been able to use lipstick or lip gloss in years because i couldn't rub my lips together.  i hated how i looked - avoided the camera, or public speaking as much as i could (not easy being a teacher for about 7 years).  i got stares from store clerks and other strangers - paralyzing!  and i never spoke about it -- with anyone!

we were at my sister's house to celebrate her birthday.  we were enjoying a wonderful birthday cake paul made when i bit a chocolate chip wrong -breaking another tooth.  that was it.  i had had enough.  how long could this keep going.  it wasn't going to get any better -- all because of fear.

so -- i jumped online, did some research, and made an appointment.  i refused to let myself re-schedule it!  and i went.  they started with x-rays, which were uncomfortable enough for me.  i sat in "the chair" waiting for the dentist to come in -- hoping they wouldn't want to poke and prod my mouth - and hoping i didn't get "the speech" about not taking care of myself.  she didn't on both accounts.

the dentist walked in -- a woman about my age, she said "hello, you do know you're looking at getting dentures, right?  by the way my name is dr. k."  i was relieved!  i knew they were bad - i had even told people they will probably want to rip them out (once i started talking about it this week) - and they assured me it couldn't be that bad.  i was hoping for this news -- instead of countless root cannels, extractions and implants, etc.

she warned me that some of them were so loose they may come out when she took the impressions.  sigh -- fear coursed through my veins as she started the procedure.  all still intact - she called me very lucky.  i had an advanced stage of gum disease, i may even need to have some posts put in my bottom jaw because my jaw bone has deteriorated - told you it was awful!

so -- yesterday was the big day.  what a way to spend a saturday!  she spent lots of time numbing me up with novocaine - and got ready to yank -- almost literally 25 teeth from my head.  wow.  glad i don't have to do that again!  holy cow!  some teeth were so loose i bearly felt a tug - others, mostly molars were in  alittle tighter and i ienvisioned her bracing her feet against the chair for a better grip.  and the sound in my head -- spin tingling!

so -- now the healing process begins - i already have temporary plates put in - and go back tomorrow for a post-op visit.  but, all in all things are going well.  i don't have much pain -- keep in mind i've had some sort of discomfort or pain in my mouth for years.  the swelling is going down and i'm on the road to looking normal.  what what a remarkable difference.  i have some before pictures i'll post -- and once the swelling is gone i'll post an after shot.

there were posters all around the office saying -- "let us help you get your smile back."  they did more then that -- i've gotten my life back.


facing fear - - head on

Fear.  we all have something that scares us.  i have 3 big ones.

tomorrow, i'm going to face one of them head on.  i've been "psyching" myself up for it all day.

but, what i've learned is -- it's time.  time to leave the history in the past and dig myself out of the fear and get ready to live again.

this particular fear has been haunting me for years, maybe even decades.  as time goes on the problems it creates has gotten to be extensive - and i now realize that the fear has been paralyzing.  as much as i don't want to go tomorrow and face it head on, i know it's what needs to be done.  tomorrow will be just the tip of the iceberg, i realize that, but i also know that getting it all taken care of will be a tremendous weight lifted from me. 

i'll be able to live again - this has affected me mind, body, and spirit - physically, mentally and emotionally.  as fearful as i am about facing it tomorrow, i'm excited for the end result - in whatever shape, form, or time period it takes.

proverbs 3:5 sticks in my head - alot.  "trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding"  that will get me through tomorrow, and in the days ahead.  it will get me through the new life waiting for me - with only 2 big fears instead of 3.  :)


pieces left behind. . .

i was out running some errands today, and my last stop was walmart.  i was looking for the perfect bunch of bananas when a woman approched me.

"hi, how are you?  we were just talking about you and your mom the other day."

i must have had a strange look on my face because the woman went on to tell me she was one of my mom's nurses - and then i recognized her - took a minute, she wasn't in scrubs.

"we were just talking about how we hadn't seen shirley in some time, and we were hoping things were going well."  my mom had been in and out of the hospital from floor to floor - room to room - and unit to unit.  she was everyone's favorite.  she only rang if she truley needed something, she always had a knd word for them and would laugh and joke with them.  they liked to come into mom's room to "hang out" for a few minutes.

i remember - which time i'm not sure - i remember one time we checked her back in through the er.  as they wheeled her upstaris to her room - me following behind, the nurses waved and called her by name as we went past thier stations.  a clear indication that we had been there too much --or was it.

the woman was embarrassed when i told her of my mother's death in october -- she apologized over and over.  i told her not to be silly -- how was she to know.  i thanked her for everything she did for my mom - i remember she was my mom's nurse when she was signed out of the hospital on her birthday.  my mom's doctor - whom she was close with, sent her a small birthday cake.  we sat around eating cake with the nurses as we gathered her things to go home.  the nurse -- i remembered her name is nicole - - said she had never seen that happen before - a doctor sending a cake to a patient.  my mom and her docotor had that kind of relationship.  my mom had that kind of relationship with alot of people.

on the way home in the car i thought about the interaction.  it made me smile.  i realized that there were still pieces of mom left behind.  like the balloons in the picture - little things she left floating behind.  she touched many lives with her kindness - hope that is something i can do, something i've learned from her.

love you mom!   xoxo


have a little faith . . .

A life lived in fear is half lived.

   - Anonymous

Put off for one day and ten days will pass by.

    - Korean Proverb

You may be on the right track, but if you just sit there you'll get run over.

    - Paul H. Dunn

Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

    -George S. Patton

for some time now i've "had a dream", and that is about all that it has been.  it sits on a shelf, i pick it up and dust it off and set it back down.  what holds me back?  fear.  plain and simple.  no other excuses.
i let "others" who i don't even know freak me out and scare me off of it.  the things i tell myself --wow, if you could be in my head.
the opposite of fear is faith.  it's time to put that into action, quit making excuses and just do it.  one of my favorite books of the Bible is james.  and i'm reminded of james 2:14-26 --
Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

so - there's my answer, there is my nudge.  time to take it off the shelf and pay attention to the road signs.
stay tuned . . .


in pieces. . .

i ran across this photo today when i was looking for something else.

i really like it.  it speaks to me in so many ways.  it symbolizes alot of how i've been feeling lately - like things are coming apart a little at a time.  that makes me sound so miserable, doesn't it?  i assure you it's not as bad as it seems.

i seem to be on a "yucky" kick lately.  those of you who know me know i tend run in fast lane.  always something to do, and doing 20 things at once.  well, life has a funny way of changing without much notice.

i've been feeling like the dandelion in the picture.  pieces floating away.  i had been very active in my church, and for reasons i won't get into - i'm not anymore.   i had found a place on the conference team (united methodist women), and for 6 years i worked with an amazing bunch of women and had many wonderful opportunities for mission and service.  the conference was dissolved and so was "my job" - but i now am part of a new team, a district team, starting all over with new people - a challenge.  i worked at a job for 15 years - loved it, and was told "how wonderful and great" things were, and then i got laid off.  i had been taking care of mom for 15 + years - driving her to doctors appointments, being part of her care team.  i talked with mom daily on the phone, sometimes 2 or 3 times.  we went shopping and we were each others sounding boards. 

when mom became very ill last spring, all of the things that had been slipping away from me didn't matter.  i wouldn't have had "time" for them.  i threw myself into caring for her - i spent all of my time at the hospital for 2 months (an hour drive one way), and then when we brought her home we rotated being there for her.  i wouldn't change any of it.  i hated to "leave" her and go out of town - for very good things.

and now that mom is gone, it's more pieces that slipped away.

what do i have left? 

mom died in october.  november and december were busy with holidays, but january has found me in a funk.   i'm used to running and taking care of everyone.  life has slowed down to a virtual stop.

i need to figure out a new purpose.  i've been looking into job ideas.  i'd also like to go back to school.  i'd like to open up an online shop.    it's time to pick myself up and get back on the fast track -- ok, maybe not as fast as i was, but back on track.

the part of the picture that i like the most, is the part that we don't see in the photo.  the "pieces" that fall off sprout a new flower.  so, all the pieces that i'm missing will help me to build something new -- new growth and new reasons.


who do you think you are?

about a month or so before mom became really sick last year, i was watching a show - i believe on NBC called "who do you think you are?".  the show traced the genealogy of stars - like julia roberts, etc.  it got me excited and got me thinking.

i started to do some research, and then things became tricky with mom's health, and it got pushed, not even to the back burner, but off the stove altogether.  i have no regrets, but if i had though more i should have written down the stories mom told me over the years about which set of grandparents came here - when and where.  i remember to the stories, i remember the names, where they all fall on the tree branches -- that's another story.

then at christmas time i got a christmas card form my dad's cousin.  her oldest son took a class on genealogy and started to do some digging.  dad had told her that i had started to do some work.  they had hit a wall, and wondered if i could help.  i hadn't gotten very far, and could not answer many questions for her, but as soon as i opened up that file again - i got bit.  and the digging and piecing together of my history has begun.

i've been playing for a couple of weeks --off and on.  i haven't found many skeletons, or rich uncles, but i have uncovered a few exciting things.

my dad's mom was a whiting.  his cousin's son had traced quite a bit, and i sort of picked up form there are started to dig some more.  henry s. whiting (my great-great-great grandfather) was a soldier in the civil war and he only served a few months.  we began to get excited, thinking "wow, a civil war hero".  not quite.  my sister is a history buff, and i passed the bug on to her.  she started to do some digging on him and she was able to find that  he came down with chronic dysentery, and passed away in philadelphia.  she found where he was buried, and i ran across his death certificate.  ok -- not quite the heroic death we had hoped for -- poor guy, but it makes for a good story, and it sure fits our family's luck.  hehe.  i've shared this info with my cousin and her son -- we've all gotten a good laugh.

what else have i uncovered?  well, my mom's family tree i found does not go very far back in this country.  i knew that, but didn't really realize it until i started to dig.  i remember her telling me about grandparents coming here from sweeden and germany.  but i couldn't remember if it was her grandparents or great-grandparents.  long story short -- my mom's grandparents (on her mom's side) came here from sweeden.  i was able to find my great-grandmother's - marie nelson johnson's records at ellis island.  how exciting!  she arrived in december of 1892.  my great-grandfather is going to be a little trickier.  the info i have uncovered states that he arrived in 1891 - also from sweeden.  the u.s. government didn't open the dates to immigrants until 1890.  ellis island began construction shortly after the announcement -- but they didn't turn the ships away.  they set up a temporary "barge office" adjacent to ellis island while it was under construction.  apparently 80% of the immigrants during the beginning of the period -- some 400,000 people came though the temporary gate.  he was one of them.  so -- there are records, but they are a little bit more complicated to find.  but -- i'm determined to find it.  

i'm still working on my mom's dad's side of the family.  i did uncover that i believe my great-grandfather, and his oldest son (18) were mine workers in scranton,and his next oldest son seems to have been a breaker boy at the age of 13.  i need to dig a little more here -- i think it was also my great-grandfather, or maybe my great- great grandfather who came here from germany.  but, i've heard stories that thier name was changed when they arerived, so we'll have to see what kind of bump in the road that causes.

i'm also excited to see just how we are related to ezra cornell -- the founder of cornell university.  for years we've heard the story that we were related -- now, i just have to figure out how.  ezra had 5 children.  so, this might be an interesting dig - although there are plenty of resources of people tracing his tree, so eventually my research might run into someone elses.

so, i'm off and running --

i'm excited to see where i came from -- to pick up stories here and there.  be sure to stop by from time to time.  i'll let you know if i find anything interesting.  if you have any tips on searching -- leave me a comment.

thanks for stopping by! :)


thank you . . .

yesterday, january 11th, was international thank you day.

i tried to do some research on the "holiday".  i didn't find much.  some people think it is a day created by greeting card companies.  others think it might have been created to remind people to thank people for chirstmas and holiday gifts or host for recent parties.

for whatever reason it was created, it falls on the 11th of january every year.  what a neat holiday.  why not set aside a day to say thank you to our friends, our family, our neighbors.  i also like that it is an "international" day.  not just a national holiday.

it makes me, us, stop and think - do we say thank you enough?  and who do we thank?

i stumbled upon this quote the other day, that i'd like to leave you with:  If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.  ~~Meister Eckhart

so -- even though it's a day late, thank you.  thank you for reading, thank you for stopping by!


love, mom and dad

my mom was a faithful reader of daily guideposts, and got me hooked on the daily devotions too.  i recently joined the facebook page of guideposts.  i've read stories and devotions from rick hamlin often - but this one "got me".  

i had a similar experience this year at christmas time.   dad has been doing really well.  he really let mom take care of everything, and now that she's gone i think there is part of him that is excited about doing things she did.  he sent out chirstmas cards, and when one came in the mail addressed in his un-mistakable hand writing, i paused before i opened it.  i half expected to see a blank card inside.  dad would buy cards for mom that said "wife" on them and just put them in the envelope.  he never signed them.  he said the card said it all, and she only has one husband, she knew who it was from.  so -- i thought maybe there would be a card to "daughter" and blank on the inside.  thinking back -- this christmas card might be the first card my dad has ever given me - remember, mom did everything.  i opened the card - and got a chuckle.  it was signed "me".   classic dad!

but, like rick talks about in his article - it was different for me this year.  it was not signed love, mom and dad.  but i know that it was implied!  mom had special touches she sprinkled on all of us that shined through this year. we did things the way mom "would have", and kept the traditions she instilled in us.


epiphany . . .

Matthew 2:1-12

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

today marks the 12th day (last night being the 12th night with the celebration including the drums).  today is also epiphany, or three kings day.

epiphany is the traditional end of the christmas season in the western world.  we then enter into the season of epiphany which leads to the lenten season.

epiphany marks the arrival of the wisemen to visit jesus.  throughout history picture show the wisemen arriving at the manger.  in fact, the wisemen come much later and see jesus in jerusalem.  they bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
there are many stories about the wisemen - legends.  in the above matthew passage, matthew does not give us a number - he speaks of the magi in plurals.  the number 3 probably came from the gifts they brought.  there have even been names assigned to them - caspar, melchior and balthasar.  the eastern (orthodox) church depicts them as 12 in number.

today also marks the day that people un-decorate for christmas.  and so we will at our home.  it has been hard not to take down the decorations - put away the christmas hand towels and place mats, and turn off the tree lights before this, but it's time to drag out the boxes and pack away the ornamentations of the season.  we continue to remember the "reason for the season", and hold the joy in our hearts that jesus was born for us.

i hope you have enjoyed our 12 day journey.  i thought i was going to do another article about the carol of the 12 days of christmas, but i've decided to pack it way with the ornaments for next year.

be sure to stop back from time to time to see what's going on.  i have alot of things in my back pocket for the year - come follow my journey to see how they play out.

until next time ---


and finally 12 drummers drumming. . .

it's 12-night!  which means tomorrow is epiphany! the last gift you'll receive from your true love is 12 drummers drumming.

along with yesterdays bagpipes, the drummers were also part of the festivities with a special function. the drum (along with a trumpet) has been used throughout history to get your attention.  and this is exactly why it is used here.  the drums were saved for the end of the 12-night party - to get the party-goers attention.  the 12th night party was held on the eve of epiphany.  epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the three wisemen or magi to see the christ child bringing gifts with them.  the drums were used at the end of the party to signify the arrival of the kings.

the last christian symbol we get from the 12 days is the 12 points of doctrine from the apostles creed.  the apostle creed, with the points numbered, is as follows:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

hope you have a wonderful 12th night celebration! the 12-days are over.  but our learning isn't.  stop in tomorrow for a look at epiphany and later a final look at the popular carol, 12 days of chirstmas.


11 pipers piping . . .

the gift from your true love today is 11 pipers piping.  we are continuing the 12th-night party atmosphere.

the feasts during this time period were full of entertainment.  dancers, music, jugglers, etc.  the pipers here are believed to be bagpipers.  professional bagpipers were hired to preform during celebrations for music during dinner and for dancing later.

we associate the bagpipes with scottland, but they are also a common instrument in france too.  during this time bagpipe music was popular music for dancing.

the 11 pipers piping refer to the 11 apostles (not to be confused with the disciples) in the christian tradition.
  • andrew
  • james (son of zebedee)
  • john
  • philip
  • bartholomew
  • matthew
  • thomas
  • james (son of alphaeous)
  • thaddeus
  • simon
  • judas


10 lords a-leaping. . .

there seems to be a party going on!  today's gift of the 12 days of christmas is 10 lords a-leaping.

this seems to lend to the morris dancers (male leaping dancers of the time).  these men were part of the entertainment during dinner.  the morris dancers would preform between courses at feasts.

morris dancers were popular during this time.  this wild and strenuous dance probably came from ancient war and fertility dance.  it was a popular form of dance in the 15th and 16th centuries - maybe even before.

the ladies dancing from yesterday were ladies attending the feast, dancing socially.  these dancers refer to the hired entertainment.

the 10 lords a-leaping refer to the 10 commandments in the christian interpretation.


9 ladies dancing. . .

today's gift is 9 ladies dancing.

this goes hand in hand with yesterday's gift.  the ladies dancing reminds us of a party.  dancing and music were very large parts of parties and celebrations

in this case - ladies represents women of a higher social class.  and the dancing refers to them dancing socially, not as entertainment.  during this time women were not entertainers, so it is unlikely that they were a troupe brought in to entertain.

the emphasis is again on celebrating.  the 12 days were full of fun and festivities.  this highlights that.

in the christian light - the 9 ladies dancing symbolize the 9 fruits of the holy spirit; which are:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control


8 maids a milking . . . (what no birds?)

well, today we get a break from the 7 days of birds - today's gift is 8 maids a-milking.

there are 2 different themes that come from this gift.  the first is of food.  during the 15th and 16th centuries there was no refrigeration, so milk - and things made from it that would spoil without being kept cold and were saved for special occasions.  custard was one of these special treats.

the other theme we notice is the maids -- or maidens, milking the cows.  this gives us a bit of romance.  during the 12th night celebrations, some of the social rules for the unmarried ladies were a little lax, so there were opportunities for the men to sneak away with a young maiden into the dark corner of the rooms - the chaperons were busy eating and drinking, dancing and socializing to notice.  12th night parties were also sometime masked balls -- providing more mystery and opportunity.

the christian symbol for the 8th day is the 8 beatitudes, or 8 lessons taught by Jesus in his sermon on the mount.  the beatitudes are found at matthew 5: 3-12:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.