Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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M*A*S*H

 Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “mash. Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

The first thing I thought of was mashed potatoes which I really love if they are homemade. Then I thought Of the TV show M.A.S.H.

My dad loved M.A.S.H. and, watching it with him, I came to love it, too. Dad was in something like a MASH unit in Korea after he was wounded in the leg. It wasn’t a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, but something similar. He told me that the doctors there acted crazy just like on M.A.S.H.

Among my dad’s stash of MASH memorabilia is a hat he made to look something like Henry Blake’s hat. Henry was in charge before Col. Potter. Henry was a goofball, but he was a good guy. Here’s my dad’s hat which I don’t think I will ever be able to get rid of.

It was interesting to watch how the TV show MASH changed over the years with the characters growing deeper, yet still using humor. The show had a good mix of humor, drama, and thought provoking messages. The book was okay, but showed the characters as much more…. okay, my stream has been interrupted trying to think of the word to describe the men in the MASH book, because it was a lot more about the doctors who were somewhat lacking in integrity when it came to women more so than the TV docs. But the TV show was on CBS, so….

How many years was MASH on? Wait while I look that up… meandering down a side stream…. The show aired from 1972 to 1983. Eleven Years. I never get tired of watching MASH reruns.

Who was your favorite MASH character? It’s hard for me to pick one. Honeycutt was a nice guy. Hawkeye, was funny and had a good heart, but I have to identify with Margaret Houlihan who was the only female main character, though nurse Kelly was given more of a role over time. And Klinger, well, let’s not go there. Margaret, Hawkeye, and Radar where the only three characters who were in the whole 11 years of the show.

Here’s a scene from later in the series – as it started to mature – with Margaret and Hawkeye.

So as not to further disrupt the stream, I went back and looked for the photo of my dad in Korea. He was in an Able Medical Station around 1952. He’s the guy on the right in the first photo. Looks like he’s wearing PJs. I don’t know who the other guys are, but some must be medical staff.

* * *

SoCS is hosted by Linda G. Hill. For more SoCS posts and rules, visit:

Stream of Consciousness Saturday | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: California Canyon and Other Family Memories

Our prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was: “starts with cal.” Use a word starting with the letters “cal” as your prompt word. Have fun!

We lived in California when I was a kid. For first, second, and third grade, I went to Santa Margarita school at Camp Pendleton. We lived in military housing, an upstairs apartment, on “Wire Mountain,” next to a canyon. My dad used to go hiking in the canyon. I begged him to let me go with him, and one day, he finally agreed. The only part I consciously remember was climbing back up and whining because it was steep, and I was scared and tired. I can understand now, as an adult who likes to hike in wild places, why he didn’t want to take a second grade girl to the canyon. But he did, and I am thankful, because there are probably things I experienced still in my subconscious mind that are like buried treasures.

After California, dad was stationed at the naval base in Philadelphia where he became the brig warden. He said he liked talking to the prisoners, or rather listening to them which was what the training emphasized. Then in 1966, he was sent to Vietnam.

Yesterday, I finished reading Dad’s letters from Vietnam. There are 118 letters that I’ve counted. Some are missing, because there are gaps, but talk about treasures! He wrote about marking the days off the calendar and keeping track of how many days he had left, but sometimes he stopped doing that, because it seemed to make time go slower. He did a lot of different jobs in Vietnam. The first seven months were in Dong Ha near the DMZ which meant combat. He was a gunny and one of the few enlisted /non officer men to lead a platoon. His nightmares lasted the rest of his life. Then after seven months, he managed the staff and officers club in Khe Sanh and went back and forth between there and Phu Bai and Da Nang which he called, “the rear.” He wrote about losing weight and feeling good physically, except for the heat. Maybe the calorie intake was lower, or maybe he burned up a lot of calories being so busy. In addition to the club management, he did night watches, supervised security, and became the re-enlistment staff NCO. Not sure what all that entailed, but I’m glad he didn’t see much more combat after those first seven months.

Maybe you’ve seen these before, but maybe not.
I never get tired of looking old photos, now that I’m older.

The letters were often written by candlelight and are surprisingly sentimental. He wrote about the heat, the mud, and mostly about how much he missed my mom. I’ve typed them up and have been working on incorporating them into what I’m calling a “Fictionalized Family History” for my kids. Next week, I’m going to be listening to some videos I recorded from the many stories he told me.

Sunday will be my mother’s birthday. He sure did love her a lot. Every letter is signed like this:

All My Love

Forever Your Husband

Jimmy.

I’m glad they are together again in heaven.

My favorite photo of my parents with me on the left –
a picnic in Newfoundland, Canada around 1961.

Yesterday a bad storm was in the forecast, but it never materialized here. Instead we had some interesting light just before sunset:

For more streams of consciousness and rules, visit our host, Linda Hill at:


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SoCS: A Year of Challenge and Hope for Healing

Our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “day/week/month/year.” Linda also invites us to write about the past year of pandemic, “how we have coped or not, to share our common experiences as a way to connect, to feel a little less alone.”

As a citizen of the United States, these past 12 months have been heavy, not just due to the pandemic, but also with the political divide and the racial injustice of the murders of George Floyd, Breaonna Taylor and others. It has been strange and confusing to have stay at home orders, masks and social distancing recommendations along with protests and demonstrations.

My hope is that with the pandemic calming down and someone less inflammatory at the helm, we can move into healing. It’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of compassion, listening, compromise, and seeking common ground… or higher ground.

I find myself feeling tired as I write this. There are bursts of energy when things get done, but maybe it’s a tired that comes with age. Still, my personal life has not been bad. I’m the oldest one in my family – my parents and siblings are deceased. Even Aunt Ruth in Wisconsin crossed over last year after a full life into her 90s. I am thankful not to have to worry about my parents anymore and feel for those who do. I am thankful to have the luxury of time and the freedom to study my father’s letters from Vietnam, and to write and paint.

Staying at home doesn’t bother me, except that I have not seen my granddaughter, son and daughter in law since October. I miss the mountains. It was in October that I last visited the mountains and first brought mama cat home from the church. She has kept me company when David is at his woodshop, and she has become much less feral.

Mama Cat has a plate of food.
She wants attention while I’m trying to write.

Having a cat has been a big change after being a dog person for so long. The pandemic and people not being at church much was one of two factors that led me to bringing her home. The other factor was the abduction of her daughter, Gray, in June. I still go to the church once per week to see if Gray has shone up, but I don’t think this is likely. I talk to Saint Francis and pray my hopes and thanksgivings.

St. Francis with last year’s hydrangeas

Not going to church and choir practice is probably the biggest change in my personal life. We do zoom church and I’ve sung and played a little guitar for that, because music is my favorite part of church. My voice is way out of shape when it comes to singing anything challenging. My friend Anne, who is in her 80s and teaches singing, is helping me with that. I’m thankful to have had both vaccines, in spite of the side effects, I’m glad to have a little more confidence if I do want to go out. I’ll still wear a mask and avoid crowds.

Hopefully we won’t have as much to protest or demonstrate for or against for a while. Maybe things will calm down and justice will grow. Maybe we humans will wake up, bridge the divides, and focus on healing Mother Earth as we celebrate diversity in all it’s beauty and strength.

Thank you to our host, Linda Hill for the consistency of SoCS through the year.

For SoCS rules and more streams, visit:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 13, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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A Hippie Pacifist who Respects the Flag

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is “flag,” to be used any way we want. I like the freedom of that any way we want part.

It still hurts to remember that on January 6, rioters tore down the American flag and threw it on the ground to replace it with one of their TRUMP flags. It hurts that rioters carrying American flags beat other people in their attempted coup of the US government. I don’t often write about such things, preferring to share good news in an attempt to bring balance to the force, as small as this attempt might be, like throwing a pebble in the ocean…. But some things we need to remember, even if they are painful. We need to not forget that this happened. We need to work for peace and also protect our democracy.

My father, being a Marine for 20 years, instilled in me a respect for the American flag. Even as a hippie and a pacifist, I maintained this respect. Never let a flag touch the ground. Fold it properly. If you have to retire it, the flag is to be burned in a ceremony. There are few man-made things that I have this kind of respect for.

When I was a child and we were driving on base when the flag was being lowered as signaled by a loud bugle, my dad would pull over, or everyone stopped in the road, and we all sat at attention. Even as an adult, just a couple of years ago, when David and I were walking along the riverfront and the Coast Guard ship sounded a bugle to lower the flag, it was not unusual for us to stop and stand silently as the flag was lowered. David used to have a flag selling business, plus his dad was in the military too, so he gets that stuff. It’s imbedded in us.

Reading my dad’s letters from Vietnam has gotten me fascinated by studying the Vietnam war. I can honor and appreciate our soldiers even if I disagree with war.

This just goes to show that a hippie pacifist can be patriotic. One of my former co-workers was surprised to learn that I was a democrat. She said, “but you’re so patriotic!” I was surprised to learn she was not a democrat, because she’s such a nature lover. Just goes to show we don’t all fit into neat little boxes. In fact, we have a lot more in common, and more diversity within our groups, than the news media or social media might have us think.

This reminds me of something I have in my drafts….. I didn’t plan this, but it fits here.

“For all of you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian.
It’s also possible to believe in God and science.
It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.
It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.
It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money.
It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property.
It’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.
It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.
It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.
It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.
It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.
It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream.
It is possible to be different and the same.
It is possible to be spiritual and not follow a religion.
We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like.
Let humanity and love win.”

(I found this on Facebook showing  it is possible to find something good on Facebook.)

All or nothing thinking divides us. The world is much more complex than black or white, or even gray. There are many more colors and color combinations. Even more than red, white, and blue. When we recognize, respect, and honor our diversity, the world will become more balanced and more beautiful.

Here’s my Unity Bird in alcohol ink on tile

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to us by our host, Linda G. Hill. For more streams, rules, etc, visit: The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 6, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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Lessons in Perseverance From My Dad

Today’s Just Jot Janury prompt is, “limp.”

My dad walked with a limp. It started Korea when he got shot in the leg. They put a plastic artery in his leg – very innovative for the early 1950s. Then they shipped him around to major military hospitals for doctors to view the leg work.

Once his leg healed, he hardly noticed the old injury. He continued his military career, including a tour in Vietnam, until 1969. The leg didn’t slow him down until he got older. By the time he was 70, he walked with a cane most of the time, but he kept walking.

In 1993 he was in a major car accident which broke two vertebrae in his back and put him in the hospital for several weeks, then a wheelchair for a few months. He also wore a Frankenstein looking “halo.” It looked like this:

They had a ramp built to the back door which he used while he was in the wheelchair, but a year later, he rarely used the ramp.

Both of his legs were worn out by the time he was 80. The plastic artery prevented him from getting a knee replacement. His legs hurt at night, and he heard keeping a bar of ivory soap between his sheets might help. He said it seemed to. He had a walker, but preferred to use the cane. Climbing the three front steps to the front door was like climbing a mountain, but he only used the back ramp if he had groceries. Then he’d pull the groceries up in the big laundry basket on wheels they probably got a yard sale. But most of the time, he climbed the front steps, slowly to focus on balance, one step at a time.

Now, my dad is in heaven with mom. He doesn’t walk with a limp. He flies!

This is Dad in “cardiac rehab.”
He kept going long after his quadruple bypass.
He enjoyed the comraderie. It was like a club.

In case you didn’t know, my dad inspired the title of my blog,

“Anything is possible.”

For more about Just Jot January, visit Linda Hill at:

#JusJoJan prompt the 22nd – “Limp” | (lindaghill.com)


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Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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Christmas Letters from Vietnam

Today is my parents’ anniversary. They were married on December 21, 1954. Now, they are together again in heaven. In memory of my parents, I’m sharing two of the many letters my dad wrote from Vietnam. They are slightly edited to remove items about other people.

Dec. 25, 1966  From the Republic of Vietnam

My Dearest Wife,

You have made my Christmas much better. I received ten letters from you and a Christmas card. I was feeling real blue til mail call and you came through like always. I also received a card from (his niece). We will get paid on the 6th of Jan. and I’ll send you a check for $250. This should help you some. We get paid once a month and from now on, I’ll be able to send you a check. I went to church twice today, first to Roman Catholic and then to protestant. I also received communion. I prayed each time as I do at night for God to give you strength, health, and happiness. I also thanked God for my wonderful wife and family. I love you with all my heart and will forever. We had turkey, corn, powdered mash potatoes, nuts, and candy today for dinner, but it tasted rotten. They did try however, and I guess I should be thankful for that.

We’ve had rain again for three days, but it stopped at 1:00 pm. The mud is about six inches deep and it’s getting cloudy again. It’s 8:00 pm (2000) and I go on watch at 10:00 to midnight. ….. Please try not to worry too much about me. I won’t be foolish, I love you too much. Please tell our wonderful children I love them and give everyone my best. Remember, I love only you and our family and live for you. May God Bless you.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

December 27, 1966 from Republic of Vietnam

Darling Betty Ann,

It rained all Christmas night and yesterday too. It’s been raining all day today and hard. I hope I don’t have to go any place. It’s now 2pm. We were real busy yesterday and last night so I didn’t have time to write. So for today, it hasn’t been too bad….There sure are a lot of rumors going around but nothing certain. One is that we are supposed to go back to Okinawa soon, but like I say, it’s not fact. A lot of people start rumors just in hopes they will come true. I am going to enclose envelopes  that you may be able to use again as the stamp was not cancelled.

I sure do miss you honey. We have a radio in my bunker and all I ever hear is Christmas carols. I just sit and think about you and the children. I love you my darling and always will. I know things seem unbearable, but it will all come out in the end. As long as we have our love, we can endure anything this world has to offer.  I just want you honey and no one else will do. You’ll always be my only love….. I  guess I am not worth much to you right now, but I’ll do all I can to make it up to you when I get home. Lover, I want to hold you again in my arms so bad that I could cry just to dream about you. You are the greatest and most wonderful woman God ever created, and I love you, oh how I love you, forever and ever.  Please give my best to all and tell our wonderful children I love them. May God bless you all.

All my Love, Forever Your Husband, Jim.

My favorite photo of my mom and dad – 1960 Newfoundland Canada. That’s me on the left.
Dad in Vietnam
Post retirement photo of Mom and Dad on the road with Frannie


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SoCS: Family Options, Letters from Vietnam, and a Thanksgiving Day Hike

Our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “opt.” Use it as a word or find a word with “opt” in it and base your post on that. Have fun!

Have fun, because misery is optional.

We opted out of family Thanksgiving with extended family. It was me and David and Mama Cat who slept through dinner. (Mama Cat slept, not David and me.) We made an almost vegan dinner with stuffed acorn squash and a roasted cauliflower. David made an apple pie. There was a little butter somewhere which was not vegan and humane certified hard boiled eggs in the stuffing.

But that is not what I was going to write about. I was going to say that we always have options. But some people have fewer or more options than others. I was going to write about mask wearing options and how it annoys me when people wear a mask below their nose, but maybe they have a chronic respiratory illness….. I don’t know.

I’ve been reading my dad’s letters from Vietnam for NaNoWriMo research which has slowed considerably to a trickle, but has not stopped. And will not stop for more than a day, because I’m rolling slowly along. Gathering no moss so far.

My dad had options in Vietnam, but not many. Most were about attitude and whether to pray. Mom was having nervous breakdowns while he was there. It was an awful year, and we moved a lot that year. My dad did have the (illegal) option of deserting, or “bugging out.” But that option was so distasteful, so full of way worse consequences of shame and dishonor, that it probably felt he had no choice. He chose to make a commitment to the Marine Corps and to honor that commitment, to do his job well. But it was so hard. He had also promised my mom he would come home to her and us kids. He had orders to return fire, not knowing who might be killed. He was the only enlisted Marine (a Gunny, not an officer) in charge of a platoon in his company. He was a natural leader who would be haunted by nightmares for the rest of his life by what happened in Vietnam. I’m so proud of him and my mom who were half a world apart on Thanksgiving and Christmas when Dad was in Vietnam. They did a lot of good service work together after Dad retired.

My dad in Vietnam (1967) He lost about 40 pounds there.

I feel like I’ve spent more time lately with my deceased parents, through Dad’s letters, than other family members living outside of my household. Maybe for now, that’s okay. For now.

What happened to having fun? Fun is different now than it was when I was a kid, or a teenager, or in my twenties or thirties. Fun can be relaxing and watching a movie. Or taking a hike on Thanksgiving Day. Like this one at our neighborhood creek:

A pair of ducks
Graffiti on a drainage pipe

A pair of old hikers

For more Streams of Consciousness, rules, and maybe even some options, visit:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 28/2020 | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: The Lord of the Rings and Letters from Vietnam

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check,

but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday

deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…

small acts of kindness and love.”

Gandalf in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Today’s prompt is the word, “ring,” to be used in any form and to have fun with.

Fun comes in many forms. One way I have fun is to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit movies. Being a huge fan, I can watch these movies over and over again, especially the parts with the elves.

LOTR is about heroism, good winning over evil, sacrifice, fellowship, loyalty, natural magic, and more set in a place that allows me to escape the things I want to escape from that I will not mention. But the qualities and messages are still relevant in reality.

There’s a scene toward the end of the trilogy when Sam and Frodo are exhausted and don’t know if they will survive. They reminisce about their sweet home, The Shire. Sam imagines the goldilocks girl, barmaid he would like to marry. The reminiscing starts at 1 minute. Be sure to watch til the end when the Eagles come!

Coincidentally, but not really, I’ve been reading about all these things in my dad’s letters from Vietnam since Veterans Day.

I’m reading them for research for the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. Reading the letters is slowing me down, but it needs to be done this way. So what if I don’t write 50,000 words by Nov. 30? It will be okay.

My dad’s letters show how much he adored my mother. He writes of dreaming of her constantly while asleep and while awake in Vietnam. It almost seems like he puts her on a pedestal. The dreams and images of her keep him going, keep him sane, and give him hope to stay alive to come home to her.

I watched a video about another guy talking about doing this in Vietnam, dreaming about his girlfriend kept him going, sane, alive. Let see if I can find it…. The speaker, Dr. Earhart, was a high school teacher after he got back. Toward the end of the video, at around 13 minutes, he talks about the girlfriend that had sent him a “Dear John” letter. The whole video is eye opening.

My dad’s letters mention that a lot of guys got “Dear John,” letters. Maybe that’s why he expressed so much love for my mom in his letters and always signed them,

All My Love,

Your Husband Forever,

Jim

When things are going badly, when we don’t know what’s going to happen, even when it seems like we might not make it, dreaming of a better future, imagining holding our loved ones in our arms, being with family in our homeland, these are legitimate coping skills. Valuable survival skills. And so we keep on doing those small acts of kindness and love to keep the darkness at bay whenever and wherever we might be.

For more Streams of Consciousness, rules, and such, please visit our host, Linda Hill at:


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SoCS: The Road to Fruition is Lined with Caladiums

Our Stream of consciousness prompt for today is: “-tion.” Find a word that ends with “tion.” Bonus points if you start your post with it. Have fun!

Fruition takes time. Fruition is one of the words I thought of when I read the prompt. There was also communication, action, imagination….. I recently did a one-liner on imagination. Creation is a word close to my heart. But fruition keeps tugging at me.

When we want something badly, we don’t want it to take a lot of time. But fruition is about growing into, becoming, developing. There’s a readiness that needs to happen. Like in my memoir. 39 years is a long time, but a lot happened in the meantime. Life flows up and down, around and under, twisting on The Long and Winding Road which is one of my favorite songs.

My garden veggies are not coming to fruition as I’d hoped. David says it’s because there isn’t enough sunlight on account of all the trees. We cut some back, but maybe we’ll have to cut more in the winter. Not cutting any big ones mind you. Mostly we’ll cut privet. The basil has done well and the ginger seems to be growing nicely. The zucchini plants have plenty of leaves and beautiful flowers, but no zucchini. Maybe we’ll try spinach.

The caladiums have done great.

Behind the elephant ears are basil and ginger on the left, and maybe squash leaves coming through the fence. Maybe we let the squash vines get too long. I don’t know.

Prayers come to fruition over time, but not always how we expect. A few nights ago I stood in my backyard in the dark praying hard about a family issue regarding one of my adult children. The angels heard me. God heard me. Jesus heard me. I felt a bit of relief that comes when you can’t deal with it any more and have to trust a Power greater than yourself. Things have improved, and I am reminded that sometimes things have to get messed up before they can get better.

The long and winding road continues to twist and turn, and I will enjoy the caladiums. And the basil.

May all your best dreams, hopes and prayers come to the best possible fruition.

One more thing. US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. She was a strong pioneer for equality and justice. She lived a life that came to abundant fruition.

For more streams of consciousness, and the rules, visit our host, Linda Hill at: