Just the Bears Watching

As a rule, I generally don’t talk politics on social media platforms. I may like or comment on something that is important to me. But I don’t engage in heated discussions.

The biggest reason for this is my writing. As an author of women’s Christian inspirational fiction, I want to reach readers with the redeeming message of God’s work in our lives. We are here for a purpose, each one of us. And it’s our responsibility to figure out what that is and live it to our fullest potential. I want my books to show that life is really rotten at times, but you can survive that and go on. You don’t have to be perfect, look beautiful, or have your life in order. You just have to keep getting back up and forging ahead.

I don’t want that message taken away by me fighting for my rights, or taking sides. All of us know what side we are on, what we believe. Some are more vocal about it than others.

Believe me, I’ve prayed, and thought long and hard about my position concerning social media platforms and writing. They are a huge help with any small business. They are a fantastic marketing tool.

But they are also developed by people that don’t have the same goals in life as I do as a general rule. Every decision I make in my life, every step I take is balanced with my belief in the Bible first, and then my beliefs as an American. I believe the Bible sets us free, and I choose to live my life by certain standards.

I firmly believe that all the social media platforms developed by all the names we are now familiar with have the right to control content. They developed them, it’s their site. They made the rules. We can play or not.

Because I believe I have freedom to choose, freedom to live my life the way I want, I may not play much longer. And that is my choice.

The problems begin when someone’s rights step on mine. Just because you have the freedom to do something, doesn’t mean you have the right to do it, or that you should. There are always consequences. You may like to run around in your yard with no clothes on. If you live in the middle of nowhere and just the bears are watching, that is your choice. But in a neighborhood, there are consequences for those actions. The biggest one being against the law in most places. On a more human level…just plain offensive to some.

Image by Annick Vanblaere from Pixabay

This past year, maybe more than others, has really clouded the freedom to choose. In past years, if you didn’t want to be exposed to something, you stayed home. If you were sick, you stayed home. Believe me, I spent many years working in church programs such as the nursery and AWANA wishing parents had made the decision to keep their sick children home! But, I could not control them. I could only make my immune system stronger, and be ready.

I think we are on shaky ground now because of fear. People don’t make good decisions when fear is controlling them. As a Christian, it shouldn’t be an option, but it is at times. Because we are human. Being informed, researching, and knowing the facts helps with that fear.

Anyone that knows me, understands that health-related topics have always been important to me. As I said in my last post, that stems from my mother having leukemia at a very young age and using alternative methods. That included her going to Mexico for treatment. There were risks involved. So, I have always believed that health-related decisions are a person’s freedom to choose. I’ve worked in the medical profession enough to not believe it all, and remember to be informed, and make my decisions based on facts. I have that freedom.

I use natural products as much as possible. My daughter recently introduced me to Earthley Wellness.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Their site: https://www.earthley.com/ I’m including that link for those of you that may be interested in more natural products. I’ve liked the few products that I’ve tried so far. I do not know the people that own the company, and I have no reason to promote them, other than what I read this morning. And that is what prompted this post.

This company was started because of a mother’s concern for her child. She had the freedom to do that. I think the company understands what is happening, and they are taking steps to do what they need to do to sell their products, and speak their mind. Again, their freedom to do. You can read about that here:

https://www.earthley.com/earthley-news-instagram-deleted/?redirect_mongo_id=607e1b80c931070022dccc1d&utm_source

My rights end when they infringe on your rights.

No company, business, or person has the right to share their content on someone else’s platform without consent to do so. I don’t want views that I don’t believe put on my author’s page, etc. Hence the reason I may soon disappear from the big social media platforms. That may be a bad decision from a marketing standpoint.

But I never began writing to make money.

I firmly believe that those readers that stand behind me, will still be there. I have a message to share, and I will until I’m no longer allowed to. I will keep adjusting my strategy until then.

As a side note, and another reason for this post this morning. My yahoo news feed informed me of this:

Yahoo News

The Postal Service is running a ‘covert operations program’ that monitors Americans’ social media posts

Really? A big sigh. More research for me to do! Have a great day everyone!

Oh Boy!

Sometime, I need to research that phrase. I use it a lot, and I should know what it means. Today it means we are in for some real fun around our house. I may have a few family members that disagree.

I really regret that I never became an architect, or an interior designer, or a landscape designer. I hugely enjoy doing any of those activities. If I had pursued any one of those careers, our financial load may have been lighter as well. But, I’m too old to go there now!

My husband would say that I still engage in those activities much too often. But, he’s still here 36+ years later.

Next week begins our kitchen remodel. We are currently living in our son-in-law and daughter’s home, so they agreed to be part of the fun as well. And they are greatly appreciated for it! (No, they do not live with us…so that may be why they agreed. They can run if they need to!)

My goal is to include pictures of the before today, and then some maybe along the way and after. I love seeing pictures like that! I also love watching DIY projects online as well as home makeover shows for that very reason.

Gray part of flooring is in the kitchen, brown, the dining room.

The floors in the house are in good condition overall. When we originally took up the linoleum in the kitchen, we were going to put down plywood and another laminate flooring we had from our last kitchen remodel. But the floors were still intact! So, we are renting a floor sander and we will be staining.

East wall of kitchen with paneling already taken down. Our cat, Feonie having a snack.

This is the east wall of the kitchen. You can see the gray-painted area where the bathroom door used to be. During the bathroom remodel about five years ago, this was closed off. There were two doors into the bathroom?! Strange…

Northwest wall of kitchen.

The refrigerator will be moved to the east wall. Our son-in-law’s suggestion. I actually take their input every now and then. 😉 Two pantries will be put here.

Southwest wall.

The passthrough will be enlarged to the ceiling. We tall people have a problem with it being so low. The dining room side will have a bar-height eating area for three. The sink will be moved to the right side of the passthrough. I have hopes for a door where the window is now, with a small patio area to sit by the goldfish pond.

Rabbit trail…those goldfish survived our sub-zero temperatures in February and they are still swimming strong! In some pretty mucky water as well. It’s been too cold to do a thorough pond cleaning as planned in March.

So there you have it. We are all hoping and praying that next week goes as planned. Tuesday is the gutting, Wednesday the floor sanding and maybe painting. Thursday and Friday the put together part is planned. But you all know how that goes. We could still be putting together in July! You just never know what you might run into.

Today I need to get painting the base cabinets which are going to be a warm butter yellow…just barely. I have a couple wall cabinets painted so far and I love the color. I’m thinking of making myself an office desk in the same color. It inspires me, somehow.

I will try to post again as we progress…but please understand that may not happen.

As another side note…our grandson has been staying with us prior to the kitchen project. He helped with seven post holes so far. And not digging in dirt. An old graveled driveway. We have thirteen more to go…six for the grapevines and the rest for the fence. But I’m hoping those areas are more dirt than rocks. More pictures to follow from those fun activities!

Have a great day in your part of the world!

They Are Not Gone

Visiting your parent in a nursing home is not for the faint-hearted. Add the restrictions…

I worked for several years as a C.N.A., and then as an Activity Director. I did home-health care a couple of times over the years. Back before all the rules. Back when you could care for someone without fear. I did it because I loved being with the elderly. I wanted to know them as a person, and be a part of their life. Even though it was the last part. The months and years that are not counted as being very important at times.

They are extremely important.

Just as important, and maybe more so than the first few years on this earth. Because people are stooped, wrinkled, and cranky, doesn’t mean that their soul is gone. Because they stare blankly, doesn’t mean their soul is vacant.

My mother went into the nursing home mid-September 2020. She had hip surgery, and then some rehabilitation. My father and I saw her for a doctor’s appointment the first part of November. We visited again on Saturday.

And it was heartbreaking.

Again, I’ve worked in healthcare. I know the routine. I know what the diagnosis entails. But seeing your parent in the situation somehow ties your hands behind your back, and you become an onlooker, stumbling along with all the rules.

And I really hate that!

My mother was a vibrant woman at one time.

She survived leukemia as a young woman with four small children. She struggled through more surgeries than I can count, suffered health problems for so many years. And she just kept going. We four children were told more than once to tell our young mother good-bye, because she may not be there when we awoke in the morning. We sat on her bed, a huge tank of oxygen standing guard in the corner as we held her thin, translucent hand, and begged God for her to be there in the morning.

And she was.

She learned to talk, walk, and play the piano once again when I was 12. Her memory was never the same, but she was there. She went on a campaign for our better health as well as hers. And we children dreaded every step of it. The green, sludgy drinks that did not taste like V-8. The hunks of stoneground wheat bread made from scratch, slabs of cheese with sprouts hanging out made our elementary school lunches a trial. We dreamed of fluffy sandwiches, pristine white and easy to chew. Then we could be like our classmates. My deodorant was lemon juice, and it worked for my face as well. At least that is what I was told. Toothpaste that tasted like baking soda, and shampoo that didn’t have suds were my companions until I reached legal age, and could purchase what was so prettily marketed.

But my better health, and no cavities at the age of 56, are my reward. And now an immense appreciation for what my mother did for her family in the areas of health.

And she is no longer there…most of the time.

Everyone that has had a parent in a nursing home has the same stories to share. Their parent’s were vital people as well. I always loved to hear the memories those over-middle-aged children had to share about their loved one. I wanted to know about those real people. Their accomplishments, their loves, their hobbies, and I wanted to see pictures. I wanted to know them as they were long ago. Before the years had taken a toll, before their mind had escaped to that far-away place we call Alzheimer’s and dementia. Because that person was still there…just watching from afar.

I never thought I would see the day that my mother, the woman that had escaped death so many times, would be sitting in a nursing home. Alone, sad, and afraid. And what I had done for so many others, I can not do for her at this time.

Life can be cruel.

My mother and me, Easter Sunday of 1965.

Easter Memories

Easter Sunday is approaching quickly. Here in Kansas we were experiencing sub-zero temperatures just a couple weeks ago. The past few days have been in the ’70’s. Now, another storm is approaching, promising lots of snow in some areas.

Spring…a season of new life, expectations, and hope.

So many of my posts are reflecting back on my life and thoughts. Easter Sunday was another day I looked forward to as a child. Yes, I understood that we were celebrating and rejoicing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the bigger picture for me at that time was a new Easter dress and decorating eggs. Remember…I was a child, and I thought as a child.

I have happy memories from those Saturday afternoons of dipping eggs. I don’t think we ever missed an Easter-decorating-eggs-day. Little cups of vinegar, the tablets melting into pools of color. The wire holder that was to help scoop the colored eggs. Always difficult for little hands to manage. But little fingers worked well. I think every child in Sunday school the next day had colored fingers! When the wraps came out in the 1970’s, I was thrilled. We could take our decorating to a whole new level.

My father always hid our Easter baskets first thing on Easter morning. We have pictures of us, proudly displaying our baskets. Our hair a mess from sleeping, mine usually in curlers. Those were the days when everyone bought a new dress for Easter Sunday, and you proudly marched off to church in it. When I was small, the outfit still included a new hat, shoes, white gloves, and a tiny purse. Of course more pictures were taken. And now they are included in photo history. A time when life was more simple, and it seems joy was taken in the little things.

Picture of my brother, Kreston, sister, Jennifer, and me on Easter Sunday, I think 1968?

Our youngest asked if we could decorate eggs this year. She’s 16, and very talented in the drawing, and painting areas. For me now, I don’t want to take the time to decorate something I’m going to crack, peel the shell off and eat. Because now I think like an old woman. No disrespect intended, and there is nothing wrong with decorating eggs. But it would be very special to have some pretty eggs for Easter Sunday.

I hope this post brought back your own special memories. The holidays are a time to reflect on those days…and that is part of making them special. Happy egg-decorating!

Love or Hate?

It’s the last couple of days to catch this deal on a favorite book. Love it or hate it, it’s the one with the most reviews and the one people have read over and over. Check it out!

And of course, if you have Kindle unlimited, it’s free! https://www.amazon.com/Thee-Wed-Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/dp/1517595010/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+ann

The English Language

My brother-in-law shared this poem on Facebook a couple days ago. At one time I really enjoyed poetry, and I read it a lot. I even tried writing it, but didn’t feel the pull as I do with writing books. I really enjoyed this poem, and it’s so very true when it comes to the English language. Enjoy!

English Pronunciation Poem 


I take it you already know

of tough and bough and cough and dough.

Others may stumble, but not you,

On hiccoughthoroughlough and through.

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

To learn of less familiar traps.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead – it’s said like bed, not bead.

For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat.

They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

moth is not a moth in mother,

Nor both in botherbroth in brother,

And here is not a match for there,

Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.

And then there’s dose and rose and lose

Just look them up — and goose and choose.

And cork and work and card and ward.

And font and front and word and sword.

And do and go, then thwart and cart.

Come, come I’ve hardly made a start.

A dreadful language? Man alive,

I’d mastered it when I was five!

Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004, by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981, and in Spelling Progress Bulletin March 1961, Attributed to T S Watt, 1954. 

I’ve shared the above poem and credits from this site: https://www.speechactive.com/english-pronunciation-poem/

A Little Helper

This post is for animal lovers, and cats in particular.

If you love cats, I’m fairly certain you’ve been exasperated by one as well. They have a way of growing on you, inserting their little personalities into your life…and then have you scratching your head as to why you’re sharing your home with them. That statement right there is part of the problem. It isn’t your home, it’s theirs.

I posted almost four years ago about some kittens that my husband found at the Transfer Station. It’s a neat story, and brings me to tears every time I read it. Happy ending of course!

Two of those three kittens made their home with us. Now they are big cats, with personalities to go with it. The furniture is theirs, the kitchen counters, and my desk. We have some birds that made their home along the eaves of our house, just above the windows where I write. So of course, it was terrible of me to put my desk area in the cat’s space for bird watching. This is my little helper most mornings.

Her name is Callie. She can be a sweetheart, especially with her mother, our youngest daughter, Catherine. But don’t engage her in something she doesn’t want to do. Taking her from my desk when she’s sitting on my keyboard can be dangerous.

Callie is very social, eating meals with us. She’s sits on the long bench at our dining table, usually next to Catherine. Her little head pokes over the top of the table, her eyes blinking, giving us love. Sometimes the paws come up so she can get a better view. If you try to remove her, you could be bitten as my husband experienced a few days ago. She’s quick! She certainly keeps the grandchildren on their toes. They usually give her a wide berth when she’s sitting somewhere giving them the eye.

This is Callie checking the time before her shower.

Feonie is Callie’s sister. Her demeanor is a little better. She loves neck snuggles, and isn’t so quick to strike out. But lately she gets in a bad mood and will give Catherine the eye. This began after Catherine put them on a little diet. Instead of having their dry food out all the time, they now have meals. Neither cat is liking the new routine. It’s making them a bit cranky.

Feonie spends much of her day in the little cat bed at my feet, curled into a tight ball. She appreciates a little petting every now and then. Feonie has taken to playing with the water running down the shower curtain after we take showers. This began about a month ago. Two shower curtains later we are draping it over the faucet. Cat claws and plastic don’t fair well. My light-blocking curtains can attest to that as well!

There are days I regret very much sharing my home with cats. The mornings I get up to find a broken glass and water on the floor from playtime on the counters during the night. The days that the cats choose to fight and chase one another across the counter with my just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie bars cooling. The times when we’d really like to sit in a certain chair, but it’s taken for a cat nap…by an actual cat.

I prefer cats over dogs. Always have. Someday I vow to not have any animals in the house. We’ll see. There are always pictures such as these that make them hard to resist.

Reviews

Reviews are a wonderful thing. I almost always review a product if given a chance. And as a side note, I rarely review books because I just don’t read as much as I once did. I do a lot of reviews through Trip Advisor.

I write a review because I know how extremely helpful they are to me when I purchase an item, or go on vacation, or eat at a new restaurant. (Also a thing of the past…;)) I rely heavily on them. They have usually been pretty accurate as well. If I read about a hotel being dirty, or the staff not friendly or helpful, and we stayed at that hotel, it was what the review said. Kind of rare that it was inaccurate. I don’t believe most people write reviews to be nasty or bring a product, or place down. If they are, you can generally see through that angst.

By their very nature, reviews are subjective. You are giving your opinion. Some people are more opinionated than others. Reviewers may look at the product as a half-full item, or half-empty. When I write a review, I try to highlight the positive, state the negative. If it’s mostly negative, again, I try to state it, rather than pound home my opinion. It’s better to let those reading it come to their conclusions objectively if possible.

As an author, book reviews are extremely important, and a huge marketing tool. Book sales, check-outs at the library, and reading groups are based on other’s opinion about that book. And it can be good or bad.

I greatly appreciate a reader taking the time to write a review. I love to talk with my readers and hear their take-away of my stories. I write what is important to me, things that I have struggled with in my own life. It is my therapy. If that reaches someone else and helps in any way…or gives hope, my purpose has been fulfilled.

Reviews are needed. Write them when available, state your opinion as objectively as possible.

Please, please keep this in mind. Don’t review a product you haven’t given a fair chance. If it’s a book, and you just can’t read it for whatever reason, state that. But please don’t review what you have not read. We’ve all had the experience of something not beginning so great and ending up to be the best thing ever.