Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


26 Comments

My Sisters on the Other Side

Yesterday was the birthday of my older sister, Linda. She’s been gone from this world now for almost ten years. Just a year less than Mom. I don’t remember her being in my life when I was very young, but there are pictures that tell a different story.

Infant joanne w Linda and mom

Linda is holding me as Mom plays with her hair.

Little JoAnne and Linda

I remember those wooden shoes hurt my feet. Maybe Linda is trying to comfort me with her hand on my knee.

She was ten years older than me, technically a step sister, but the father who adopted her when he married my mother was much more of a father than the first one.

Linda got married at 16. We saw her now and then, usually during a crisis, like when her son died, then the  few months we stayed with her and her husband and daughter when Dad was in Vietnam, and later when my younger sister died.

After my divorce, Linda and I talked on the phone more. Her love and acceptance reached all the way from California to the Atlantic coast. She was a welcome comfort during that dark time of my life. I kept saying my daughter and I were going to come visit her, but I didn’t realize how sick Linda was, and that sometimes we don’t have as much time as we think we have. Still, I’m grateful beyond words for her love and I know she is in a good place, probably singing hymns with Dad like they did when my parent’s visited her church.

A few days ago, I had all the loose the old family photos laid out on the table so I could add them to the family history album. That’s when I realized how much Linda cared for me when I was young.  I also studied the photos of my younger sister, Mary Kaye.  It’s one thing to die when you’re old – whatever old is… I’m not so sure anymore – But Mary Kaye was young. It was on her 16th birthday, in March of 1975, that Mary Kaye was killed by a drunk driver.

Mary Kaye was not interested in school. She smoked cigarettes and ran away from home once. But she also volunteered with handicapped children and helped with fundraisers for their group home.

Mary Kaye in candy spiper uniform with Lobo

Mary Kaye in her candy striper (volunteer) uniform with Lobo

Mary Kaye at bake sale and with Lobo

Left: MK is putting the hamster on Lobo’s head. Right: she’s wearing the smiley face T shirt and volunteering at the bake sale for the  Carobell children’s home.

We were very different in many ways. She was more of a free spirit. I was more serious about school and had bigger plans for saving the world.  We were just starting to get beyond our sibling rivalry when she died. I often wonder what she would be like today. I wish my kids had been able to know her. These were my thoughts when I started sobbing at the table full of old photos. My husband was there to comfort me and suggested I take a break from the photos since I’d been at it for a while. I picked up my journal and went to the couch to write my feelings. A few minutes later, I felt Mary Kaye’s presence. I have not felt her presence much like I have my parents who died more recently, but it was very much the same feeling of intense JOY. No clear words, like my father gives me, but clear and unmistakable JOY.

dandelion sun through trees (3)

This evening, I stopped writing this to go for a walk with David and Doodle. Breathing in the cool air, I reached out to Linda and felt the gentle joy of her spirit. Then lightening flashed in the distant clouds. Maybe that was Mary Kaye.

If you have sisters or brothers, parents or children, beloved family by blood or by choice, still living in this world, treasure the moments you have with them. And also know this, our loved ones who have passed on are alive in spirit and in love on the other side.


6 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday: He Kissed Her and Went to Hide the Head

A new head

“So what do you want for your birthday?” He hoped to cheer her up and distract her from the migraine.

She closed her eyes. “I just want a new head.”

A week later, on her birthday, he got Betty a new head.

“Oh Jim. That’s ugly! That’s what you got me for my birthday?!”

“You said you wanted a new head. Look, it glows in the dark!” He turned off the light and held the thing up.

“Eeew! That’s not not funny,” she said laughing. “My headache’s gone now. Don’t bring it back.” She turned the light back on and noticed he was hiding something behind his back. “What did you really get me for my birthday?”

“I got you what you asked for, a new head.” Then he grinned. “And this.” He brought his other hand around revealing the Whitman’s Sampler.

 

“That’s more like it.” She snatched the box.

“You gonna share?”

“Only if you get rid of that head.”

“Aw, come on. We can save it for Halloween.”

“Alright, but put it away where I won’t see it. I like my head better.”

“Yeah. Me, too.” He kissed her and went to hide the head.

….

I meant to make this a simple one-liner, but it turned into a story about my parents. It’s true that my mom said she wanted a new head when she had a migraine and that dad bought her a new one. I remember it hanging in his garage years ago and found it recently going through his stuff.

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

One-liner Wednesday is brought to you by our host, Linda G. Hill.

For more information and more one-liners, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/31/one-liner-wednesday-murder-for-dummies/

The rules for #1linerWeds, which we don’t always follow, are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our lovely badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!


26 Comments

SOCS: Bad Bones, Good Bones, and Boneheads

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is, “bone.”

Does my husband call his favorite dogs, “bonehead,” because he doesn’t want to get too attached? Too late. It’s an act. If they are ever sick, he worries like a daddy over his baby.

You probably know not to give dogs chicken bones or fish bones. Add pork bones to that list. Years ago, we gave our dogs bones we bought at the grocery store just for dogs. I’d done this before with no problems. A little while later, there were no bones! Then I noticed splinters! OMG! They ate the bones! Turns out they were pork bones and not beef. Pork bones splinter. Thank God they had no noticeable ill effects. It’s probably best not to give dogs bones at all to be safe.

Yesterday, I  took a chance and let someone come look at the house I inherited from my parents. I’ve been pestered with postcards at least once a week saying “I want to buy your house,” for over a year. These companies buy houses as is and flip them. So this guy comes in and looks the house over. He was very nice in a car salesman kind of way. (Sorry if you sell cars.)  He explained the formula and said they would give me 35,000 for my parents house. He said the house has “good bones,” but they would basically gut it and make it look like something from HGTV with state of the art appliances. He mentioned a $3000 refrigerator. What a bone head! I didn’t call him a bone head out loud, but sheesh. I did say I would never spend $3000 on a refrigerator. I didn’t even throw him a bone. If I did, it would be a pork bone.

Surely there are people who would like a nice three bedroom house with a big back yard, a metal roof, reinforced windows, imperfect walls, and regular old appliances that work just fine. (Well, once we fix that burner on the stove.)

I’ll be doing a little more painting and refinishing a couple of the cabinets, then I’ll be calling some realtors.

I’ve been meaning to let you know that the touch lamp in my mother’s room has come on a couple of times by itself. Unless I forgot and left it on, but I don’t think so. It’s  Mom dropping in occasionally to say hello.

Mom's lamp

 

 

To learn more about Stream of Consciousness Saturday, visit Linda’s blog:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/26/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-27-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


31 Comments

I Can Write a Novel (As My Parents Nudge Me From the Other Side)

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

 

Can I really write this novel based on my parents? Can I fill in all the gaps using my imagination? Yes! I can. I’ve always had a powerful imagination. But I’ve used it to fantasize (and sometimes catastrophize) visually. Now, I’m putting it to work. When I wrote my memoir, Trust the Timing, I relied on my memory of the facts. I took journalism and technical writing in college. I majored in a science (though they called psychology a “soft science”) denying my creative tendencies, more like squelching them.

Dabbling in fiction, with my recent post, The Postcard from Malaga, about my parents, gave me confidence to get back to the novel about them that I started a couple years ago. Yesterday, when I was working on it, I got lost in their world. The world of two young lovers in 1950 in Washington DC. He’s a marine and she left her abusive husband with her baby daughter (my older sister.) Those are pretty much facts. But I made up stuff about their first date. I do know, because my dad told me, that my mom, who was not yet my mom, called up the barracks asking for some other guy. Jim (that’s my dad) answered the phone and said, “Why do you want to go out with that guy when you can go out with me?” And that’s how their romance started. While making up the details, I became so absorbed in their developing story, that at one point I stood up to stretch (my body knew I needed it) and for a second wondered where I was. It was very cool. Then I got caught/distracted about wanting to research restaurants in Washington DC in 1950 where they might have gone on their first date. That pulled me out of the story, but it was still fascinating because it was about the story.

Anyways, I need to remind myself that I don’t need to research a lot just to pound out this first draft. Yes there will be holes in it, and I’ll want to edit as I go, but they say just keep going, otherwise, this could take way too many years and I’ve not got unlimited years to work with. But I CAN write a first draft. I know I can.

Mom and Dad in 54 in Washington

(Betty and Jim, 1954)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was: “can” with bonus points for beginning and ending our post with the word, can. Yes, I can do that, too!

For more information, visit our host, Linda at the link below. Linda, I hope you feel better real soon. Take care!

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-20-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


2 Comments

Learning About Autism

Sunflower w address

Personal News: A Good Visit with Family

My trip to the mountains was one of the best ever. I got to see all of my grandchildren!  It’s no coincidence that good news stories about autism jumped out at me last night after I got back. My grandson, L, has autism, and I want to learn more. On Sunday, we all had lunch at Daily Bread, a wonderful, cozy restaurant in Boone, NC. We got there just in time since the place filled up quickly. As we waited for our delicious food, the noise level increased steadily and my grandson covered his ears – a good coping strategy for him to signal the noise was starting to overwhelm him. His 14 year old sister left the restaurant to look for ear muffs since his were at home. Big sister came back about ten minutes later with a handsome and comforting cap with soft ear flaps that wrap under his chin.   I was so proud of them all and loved spending time with my family in the mountains.

Liam looking

L really likes his new cap.

Now for Good News in the world…..

Clonakilty, Ireland Goes Autism Friendly

To learn more, check out this article from the Good News Network:

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/this-entire-town-became-autism-friendly-after-every-business-agreed-to-apply-four-specific-measures/

Todd Gets a Big Nod of Appreciation from his City

Todd Kirnan, is more than just a delivery man, he also has autism and is well-loved by his city of Gresham, Oregon. He’s a clear example of helping others simply and directly by doing what he can. Watch what the city of Gresham did to show their appreciation for Todd.

Going back to personal news, on Sunday night at the mountain hotel, I watched one of my favorite TV shows which happened to be about an autistic boy.  God Friended Me reminds me of Quantum Leap, but with God directing from social media. Sunday night’s episode was about a non-verbal, autistic boy who discovers piano music. It ends with the boy playing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.”

 

After lunch at Daily Bread, we went to Blowing Rock. The air was chilly and the sky cloudy, but I loved the feeling of autumn and the misty mountains.

misty mountains behind rocks at blowing rock

mountains view from blowing rock with lichen

flowers growing in rock pocket

At Blowing Rock, we discovered these tiny flowers growing in a pocket of rain water. 

Good News is all around us!

Please feel free to share yours in the comments.

 

 


21 Comments

Find the Precious Moments

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

“These are precious times.”

“What? Are you crazy? We got hurricanes, wars, divided nations from extreme attention getting radials dividing us. We got all kinds of sh*t going on. Have you watched the news?”

“I try not to.”

“Well you can’t just stick your head in the sand.”

“I watch the news some, or read some things, but if I watch too much news, I just feel too much despair. The news is lopsided you know. There are good things going on they don’t tell you.”

“Right.”

“All that bad stuff is true. Well, maybe not all of it. But there are precious moments intermingled. We just have to look for them, or to see them when they are right there in front of our eyes. Have you noticed how blue the sky is since the last hurricane?

“Yes. And it’s finally cooled off some. That’s nice, but, well, I’ll think about it.”

“I’m going to go look at the sky and feel the cool air. I’m going for a walk. Wanna come?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“And we’re not going to talk about politics.”

“Okay. I’ll try. What about religion and aliens?”

“Maybe. But lets just look for the flowers, or fall leaves, and notice that the mosquitoes are not attacking as fiercely.”

….

I didn’t know this was going to be a dialog. I think that last part was because I’m planning to go to the mountains to see my son this weekend. He put something on Facebook about having a lot of family come visit and not talking about politics. I’m all for that. But sometimes we like to talk about religion and aliens. Mostly I want to go hiking and see my son and grand kids.

I was bummed out yesterday because I wasn’t feeling well – sinus infection or allergies, maybe a mild cold – lots of things blooming since the hurricane. Plus my daughter was having a crisis, but that seems to be stabilizing a little. Her whole apartment complex, like many in Wilmington, is closing down due to mold and water damage, etc. She has options and a temporary plan, but apartments and hotels are extremely scarce. This will make her stronger, I keep telling myself. God’s got this. Every crisis eventually stabilizes.

Look for the precious moments and patches of blue sky. I’m feeling better today. Rest, vitamins, echinacea, and lots of fluids have helped. It’s going to be okay.

Sending prayers to the people in Florida who’s homes have been destroyed and who have lost family and friends. To people all over the world who face challenges they do not think they can ever recover from. I’m asking angels to comfort you and bring precious moments of peace.

Today’s prompt for the Saturday Stream of Consciousness was: “precious.”

For more precious posts, visit our precious host, Linda, at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-13-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


25 Comments

The Postcard from Malaga

The Card from Malaga Spain

He knew she would love it the moment he saw it. Running his rough fingers along the embroidered lace, he remembered her soft hair. The woman on the card had dark hair, not like his wife’s soft red hair, but there was a look of love and that something else she had that drove him crazy. His wife was gentle, never loud. But her love was powerfuand full of compassion. And passion.

She would love to get it in the mail, but he decided not to trust the overseas postal service. Too much could happen between Spain and the States. He didn’t want to risk the post card getting damaged in any way. So he carried it with him in his Bible for the next two months. He’d take it out and look at it sometimes at night. And he looked at the photo of his loving wife, longing for her gentleness so different from the military life he lived. He wished he could bring her to Spain some time. Maybe it would remind her of her homeland, or her mother’s homeland, of Italy. Maybe they would travel some day, after he retired.

When finally he arrived back home, he was overjoyed to hold his wife in his arms and kiss her. He picked her up in his arms easily as she barely weighed 100 pounds. “Good things come in little packages,” she reminded him. She was right.

“That reminds me,” he said.” I have something for you.

He went to his Bible and pulled out the card he’d carefully wrapped in paper. He handed it to her. She opened the package and stared at the post card. She ran her fingers along the embroidered lace as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.

Post card from Malaga Spain back (3)

This is one of the treasures I found among my parents’ possessions. I sort of made up the story behind it, but the card is real. Maybe the story’s real too.

….

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was the word, “card.”

For more information, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-6-18/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!