Thursday, April 23, 2015

Left Me Smiling!


I was walking ahead of this little Precious to preschool class one morning when I began to hear a snapping sort of noise behind me.  The classrooms were all next to an open area overflowing with lush shrubs, plants and small trees.  It occurred to me that Precious was whacking the leaves of the philodendrons as we passed.

"Please stop whacking the plants," I asked, with a firm but pleasant tone.

"I not whacking.." was the reply from Precious.

"I know that you are whacking the the leaves...please stop it now," I countered in my bit-more-firm voice.

"Can't see me..." he countered with a "nanny-nanny" attitude in his voice.

"Oh, yes I can, my Precious," I replied, as I stopped dead in my tracks, dropped to my knees and lifted my shoulder-length locks above the nape of my neck to reveal a most exquisite single-eyed tattoo.  You know...the eye that all Moms have in the back of their head!

I turned around to find that Precious had the most incredibly surprised look (of shock) on his face.

"Mommy!" he shouted, and then he ran to his classroom ahead of me. I could hear him telling his teacher about his Mommy's eye in the back of her head!  It took everything I had to walk into that classroom with a straight face!

My work for the day was done.

Today's post is sponsored by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and is in response to the prompt "Something my kids said that made me laugh."  Please stop by Mama Kat's blog and enjoy the fun and frivolity of her many followers.  Just click on the link above.

Thanks for stopping by today....Oh, and I must come clean...I do not have, nor have I ever had a tattoo of an exquisite eye in the back of my head!  I so wanted to have one, but just didn't have the guts!



Mama's Losin' It






Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today, I Will....



Today, I will show up.

Today, I will try something new.

Today, I will accept those situations over which I have no control.

Today, I will surrender my fears to God, knowing that guidance will come.

Today, I will improve my attitude, because when I do, the jerks don't seem so bad.

Today, I will touch another with a kind word, because when I do, I feel a joy deep inside that no amount of money could every buy.

Today, I will be grateful for another day in this great life, where I will have a chance to learn and experience new things, which I will share with others.


Today's prompt is sponsored by Kat Bouska, Mama's Losin' It Writers Workshop.  Please stop by and read some really wonderful things that others have to say.

Thank you for stopping by today!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Far Is Heaven?





"No one wants to suffer.  No one wants to be lonely.  No one wants to live in fear. No one wants to lose everything. No one wants their heart ripped to shreds. No one wants to be sick.  And, no one wants to die. But these things happen in life.  So the least we can do is to be there for others, as we would like others to be there for us."  simplereminders.com

As I raised my children, I did everything I could to secure their well-being. I wanted them to have every opportunity to experience as much of life as they were able to dream. I tried to encourage them to have passion, and to follow that passion as much as possible.  They made it through the teenage years and into young adulthood with no major hiccups.  Then, it was time for me to let them go.  It was time to watch them fly and make their way in the world on their terms.  I’m not alone. I believe that this is a path taken by almost every parent. We all go through it, as did our parents, and their parents. As we set them free, we feel a sense of accomplishment and look forward to watching them flourish.  For some, it is their time to soar; for others, their time is cut short.  I am honored to share with you a few stories of some very special young men and women who left this earth too soon…by our timetables.


AUSTEN




Austen – This 19 year old promising rugby player greeted each day of his life with the anticipation and excitement of a child on Christmas morning.  He loved every minute of every day. He was blessed to have experienced so much in his young life.  He was a gifted athlete, a Boy Scout, and a loving son who lived his life doing all the right things with honor and grace.  As an only child, his parents made sure that he had every opportunity to explore and pursue his passions.  Besides the sport of rugby, Austen loved Formula 1 racing, history (WWII era) and doing just about anything with his friends.  His closest friends numbered around 13, both boys and girls, who had all grown up together.  

One of these friends wrote a tribute to Austen saying, "thank you for letting me share the last 11 years of my life with a best friend like you.  You've always had my back, been my brother, and I know you're still looking over me as you always will."  Austen's friends all remember the contagious smile he wore...sometimes a little goofy, but always a smile!





The St. Louis Rugby Community also acknowledged his contributions to the sport beginning with Parkway United Rugby Club in high school, to the Kohlfeld Scorpions of Cape Girardeau while in college at Southeast Missouri University.  He also made a few appearances with the St. Louis Bombers, the city's elite professional rugby organization that has competed throughout the United States and abroad for over half a century.  

Austen was very happy.  His life was not cut short from illness or poor choices. He was riding a motorcycle when he was hit by a car.  His demise came quickly and he did not suffer any pain. Austen gave the ultimate gift of organ donation and now lives on in in bodies of others. 



BOBBI



 Bobbi - was a bright, energetic and loving young woman.  Her story is more common that we know and I think it needs to be told...over and over...to bring awareness to the reason for her death.  Bobbi, a college graduate and in her mid-20’s, was well on her way to a successful life in a career, relationships and healthy living.  Her free spirit and creativity brought so much happiness to all who knew her.  Being an only child, she took advantage of every opportunity to spend time with her friends.  She was enjoying an evening out with some of her friends at a local establishment when her drink was spiked with a “date-rape” drug. Soon after ingesting, she had an adverse reaction. She became incapacitated and was having difficulty breathing. She was rushed to the hospital.  The doctors were unable to do anything for her and she passed within a few hours.  These drugs do not affect every person the same way, and can be dropped into a soda just as easily as any alcoholic beverage.

Bobbi was dearly loved by many and to this day, she continues to be a warm and loving memory for her family. I have two daughters. This is something I think about...a lot.  It can happen anywhere to anyone. 



BEN


Ben - an only child, and a 19 year old promising hockey player, was enjoying his first year of college.  He loved everything hockey, and gave back at his young age by officiating for youth hockey organizations. Although his passion was to play goalie or officiate at the highest level, he also dreamed of announcing hockey games and was working on a broadcasting degree at Illinois State University, Bloomington. 




 Ben lit up every room and every arena he entered.  From hometown friends, to college friends, to hockey referees Ben always left them smiling with his humor and caring demeanor.  Many of his friends all spoke of how Ben would drop everything to help them.  His sense of humor and grace under fire touched everyone who knew him. He once stepped in to sing the National Anthem when the scheduled singer didn't show at a game. He nailed it...not an easy song for anyone to sing!  
 
Ben was hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk in his college town. He suffered severe head injuries and was transported to the nearest hospital. After doctors exhausted all means possible to save him, they began discussing with Ben’s parents how Ben could save others.  Upon learning of Ben's accident, the Detroit Redwings sent him an autographed jersey that hung on the wall of his hospital room prior to his passing.  Ben also lives on in the bodies of others who received needed organs; one of them is now able to see because of Ben's gift. 


The individuals shared above were "only" children.  When they went left our world, they left incomprehensible voids in the lives of their parents.  Every day is a struggle for the parents to find their way in this new family situation. It takes strength and faith to keep moving forward. I believe that the love they shared with their children while on earth will carry them through until the day they are reunited.  


ERICA






Erica - knew how to make people feel good about themselves.  Her words touched souls in ways that changed lives.  She wanted to help others, whether it was through teaching in an educational setting, or by working with cancer patients who had lost their hair through chemo.  College educated and filled with a passion to make a difference, she struggled with what she was going to do with her life.  She wanted to know the whole picture and had difficulty accepting that she could not.  She seemed to always shine in the direction of others who needed it.  Little did anyone know, even those closest to her, that she was unable to shine for herself.  She always "smiled for the show" which many found so endearing.  
 

 Erica suffered from Depression, a disease that is more common than many want to admit because of the stigma associated with it.  It is a disease which symptoms appear in many different forms.  Anxiety, fear, and aggressive, obsessive and compulsive behaviors, can all be connected to Depression.  The signs are not always there, because "we don't want anyone to know" that we are weak, or that we are not "right."  Weak or “not right” can be described as a common character of almost everyone!  




 No one knew just how much pain Erica felt.  All of the intelligence and information available still could not save her from the emotional despair.  Even her strong faith in God was not enough to ease the pain. She just wanted it to go away and felt she had no place to take it.  Erica was found unresponsive by a sibling. I know this loving family, and if there had been any inkling that something was wrong, they would have intervened. 


Those who loved Erica found her independent, trusting, immensely creative, and willing to help anyone in need. On the flip side, she worried about the future and wanted to understand everything about everything.  That was important to her.  But life just isn’t like that.  She was unique in how she learned things, and somewhere along the line, she was given the impression that she was not "good enough" because she figured things out differently than others.

It starts early in life.  Our words have so much power.  We must use them wisely and with much love...not just with children, but also with our peers.

If you or someone close to you exhibits signs of Depression, please know that there is help at many different levels. It is a treatable disease. I started looking for help many years ago. I am grateful that I found it, when I needed it the most.     



I hope you have been touched by the stories of these beautiful children of God.  I became aware of the passing of Austen, Bobbi and Ben, all within a six-month period and felt moved to share them with others. As I began to write about them, I was reminded of Erica and wanted to share her story as a way to increase awareness of Depression.  Today is the four year anniversary of Erica's passing. 

Austen, Bobbi, Ben and Erica were all precious gifts and their loving memories will always have a special place in the hearts of those whom they loved. I wish to extend my thoughts and prayers to the families of each of them and my hope that they find healing as they celebrate the lives of each of these very special children.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Thawed Fragments!



It's going to be 60 degrees today!  Yippee!  As a SoCal girl, that used to mean, get out the coat, there's going to be chilly days ahead!  Now that I'm a MidWest girl, it  means, put away the coat and get out the flip flops!  What a difference a few miles can make!

I'm so happy to be here at Friday Fragments, a safe place to come and visit, and share my exciting experiences of the week.  I went to work, had lunch at work, came home, had dinner, went to bed.  Another exciting week to report!  HOWEVER....my weekends are full of fun with new places and people to experience!

After three years of living with roommates, my oldest daughter decided to go solo.  I helped her unpack and watched her blossom as an adult as she "downsized" her stuff (some of that stuff being stuff that I let go of last year).  She is on her way!  Next month, my younger daughter will do the same.  She will go solo, and start fresh as her own person.  I am thrilled for the possibilities she will experience with this change.

I took a leap of faith and submitted a piece of writing about Motherhood to our local chapter of Listen To Your Mother.  This is a great organization that calls on women and men who have stories about themselves, their mothers, their sisters, etc. and the comedy or tragedy experienced in their lives.  LTYM is a forum for sharing and receiving life experiences that make us appreciate mothers everywhere.  I was thrilled that my piece got me to an audition for the show.  The writing talent in Chicago is massive and I felt honored that someone liked my story.  I didn't make it to the show, but just having the opportunity to read my story meant the world to me.  There are shows being cast all over the country, and I highly recommend attending one in your area.  You will be moved as you listen and relate to almost everything you hear.

Tomorrow, we will take the Tootsie to one of the fantastic public parks that our town has to offer.  The snow has almost completely melted and we all are excited to "get out" and rejoin the human race again! I hope you are able to do something fun and exciting and tasty this weekend!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Please visit Friday Fragments by and see what is going on with the many friends of Mrs4444 at Half-Past Kissin Time!






Sunday, January 4, 2015

Brrrrrrr from Chicago!





It's SNOWING in Chicago!  To the locals, it is a dusting...to this SoCal girl, it's a full-blown, winter blizzard.  I know, I know...I'm a wuss!  WI, MN, MI, ND, MT and the Northeast know what snowing really means!  I've been waiting for the white stuff...shoulda happened on Dec. 24th, but I'll take this now.

The Tootsinator and I went out this morning, but I couldn't get her to pose for anything...


Hmmmmm...some boys have been here....




Who's there?  I know you are watching me...WHO IS THERE??????

We had a great walk...it lasted about 10 minutes. It was enough for me to get my winter wonderland fix!  Now I am ready to start thinking about longer and warmer days...or at least a time when my walks are longer than getting ready for them!

I'm from Chicago, IL.  Welcome to my City!  Please stop by Sundays in My City hosted by the illuminating Unknown Mami and see what's happening in some other great places!

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a wonderful week...give a way one of your million dollar smiles to someone!  It just might make their day...and yours!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Gutsy Story Anthology!


You simply MUST check out this new book by Sonia Marsh, author of Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family's Year of Gusty Living on a Tropical Island.  My Gutsy Story Anthology is the second book in her anthology series which is a collection of inspirational short stories submitted to Sonia's blog, Gutsy Living.

Sonia Marsh uprooted her family and spent a year living in Belize where her entire family learned a whole new way of living, as well as, a whole new appreciation for the things that so many of us take for granted.  Her blog, Gutsy Living, started as a working palette for her book, Freeways.  She received a flood of "you go, girl" responses from readers regarding her story. In addition her readers began relating gutsy stories of their own. She asked her readers to write about their experiences and submit them for posting on her blog.  From there, the submissions were compiled into My Gutsy Story Anthology (number one). As more stories have been submitted a second anthology (this one) was published.  A third is in the works as we speak (or read)! Please check out her books on Amazon where you will learn about Sonia, and the very inspiring stories she has chosen to publish. 

Sonia has been an incredible source of inspiration and encouragement for me and my writing.  She is always on the prowl for writing tools, classes, and events to help aspiring authors improve their talents.  There is always someone giving a talk on "how to" or "how I did" become a successful writer, and Sonia makes sure that everyone knows when and where the talk will take place! If she only lived in Chicago....

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  And please take a few minutes to check out her books...especially this one...you may just recognize the name of one of the authors...on page 17!




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gridiron and Tutus


Welcome to Writer's Workshop, a weekly collection of posts by very creative bloggers who are inspired by prompts offered by Mama Kat. This week I was drawn to the prompt of "football."  I used to be a die-hard Rams fan when they were in Los Angeles. However, when they moved...and I moved...ironically to the same new city...my interest wained and I found other outlets to replace the over-priced tickets, parking, snacks....etc.!  I found that my kids loved sports and I could enjoy a good soccer or football game from the comfort of my beach chairs and blanket!

I was elated when my boys showed an interest in playing football. I grew up watching my brothers play and watching games on TV with my dad.  I even dreamed of playing myself, but it was unheard of girls playing football back in the 60's! I still loved the game, just not the dog-and-pony show that it had become.  My boys played through middle and high school, and that was enough for me. I knew that at some point, it would end...I thought.

It was then that Edwina, my middle schooler at the time, expressed an interest in playing football.  She had played soccer, basketball, volleyball and took dance classes.  The Mister and I talked it over and agreed to let her give it a try, but she had to agree to finish the whole season, even if she hated it!  She was so excited, I thought she would jump out of her skin.  We found a local football organization that had never had a girl play, but that had nothing in their charter that prohibited girls from playing.  They let her register.  I don't know who was more excited...Edwina or mom!  I couldn't wait to watch another child of mine play the game!

The practices were grueling but she hung in there for all of them.  The majority of her teammates treated her as an equal, although there were a few that just couldn't accept that there was a "girl" on their team!  She was just as strong as any of the boys, but her conditioning was not on the same level.  She never let them see her sweat and she never complained of pain!

The day of her first game arrived.  It was August...hot and muggy!  After the second play, she realized just how out of condition she was and asked the coach to take her out of the game!!!  The coach made her stay in and told her never to make that request again!  As the season progressed, Edwina gained the confidence, the strength and the determination of a true football player and could stand toe to toe with anyone...in her division!  She became quick and agile, and even sacked a few quarterbacks.

Edwina understood the plays and strategies of the game and when asked questions by the coaches she was the first to get that hand up in the air.  She could talk football with anyone (except her girlfriends...they just didn't understand...but they loved to come to her games and check out the "boy" players!)  She managed to get through two seasons with no major injuries, just bumps and bruises.  I was called into the school nurse's office to explain some of those "bumps and bruises."

By the time Ed reached high school, the boys on her team had grown into much larger players than when she first played with them.  Her 5'3" stature, along with her lack of really, really large muscle mass, helped with the decision to not play another year. She legally could have joined the team, but my head and heart felt that she would either get hurt while playing, or get frustrated sitting on the bench.  Thank God for Field Hockey!

Ed will always have those memories, and so will I! In a way, I finally got to experience playing the game through her.  She taught me that sometimes dreams can come true if we are willing to work hard and be prepared for the best.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Please drop by Mama Kat's Writers Workshop and enjoy the stories of other inspiring bloggers!