Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘writing’

NOTES

Two phones calls arrived on Sunday. The first was from a friend sharing the sad news that her sister had passed. It was not expected. She hadn’t been ill — in the hospital for some procedure. The second was from my husband’s older brother. We knew he had lung cancer, we didn’t know that the cancer had spread to his other lung and he didn’t plan to get more treatment.

I decided to send my book JOURNEY WITH ME to them. The stories in the book were written when my father first passed over to the other side. I was just beginning to recognize “help” from the other side. Since I was writing my first book TO PAP, WITH LOVE — I became VERY AWARE of the fact that I had an unseen editor. Writing the book was challenging on two fronts. The first was in remembering the events that occurred in the right order. For the most part I hadn’t kept a journal during my father’s illness. Sometimes I wrote a few notes which were a great help but most of the events relied on my memory. The second front involved “my editors.” I had TROUBLE in the writing — sentences disappeared, computer shut off, printing a hard copy became impossible at times. I don’t know if I kept notes on all the fun I had writing and rewriting the book. When I finally finished I tried without success to get a publisher. I ended up publishing the book myself through IUNIVERSE — an online publishing company that only prints books to order.

The great thing about publishing through IUNIVERSE was not only the affordability and the professional help, but the books are still available. Not only TO PAP, WITH LOVE but also JOURNEY WITH ME from Amazon. I found TO PAP, WITH LOVE quickly — JOURNEY WITH ME was harder. I needed to add the author’s name to the search.

Before I mailed JOURNEY, I decided to read some of the stories I had included. Some were very familiar. I was in the process of taking a class in creative writing at our city college. Some of the stories were written for the class. Others came from incidents that I included in TO PAP, expanded into more of a story. Others were brand new — no longer in my memory. I realized that if I wanted to get the books in the mail, I needed to stop reading and mail. I decided to read the last stories before mailing the books. TaDum TaDum TaDum included my husband’s second cancer surgery. I included a sentence that stated I knew why he needed chemo again because of a dream I had. ?????? What dream? What message? CONFUSED!

Since the writing was at the end of JOURNEY I knew the timeline it might have come from. For many years I have kept a daily engagement calendar. I guessed on the date of the dream and thankfully found a tiny note. Because there was a long time frame from the discovery of the cancer and the removal, there was more time for the cancer to spread. I referred to it in my notes as weeds. There was also a note from the dream on eating more vegetarian meals to help control my weight.

I was glad that I found the note on the dream. It would have bothered me. I have to admit that I’m still not good on taking notes. I either think I will remember (WRONG) or hide them from myself. I thought that discovering the importance from notes might make me more apt to take them, but the reality is that it won’t.

GRATITUDE JOURNAL

January — grey skies, freezing temperatures, cold wind — it is enough to make anyone depressed. Blue skies, sun, green grass — hiding for days. Various vitamins, teas haven’t helped. Since I’m trying to regain some of my flexibility, I’ve committed to exercising EVERYDAY, except for Sunday. I haven’t seen a decrease in weight, and depending on the day, I’m not seeing a change in flexibility yet. But I have just started — I’m not giving up yet. I will admit that the soreness in my knees isn’t helping.

Recently we were at Wal-Mart and I happened to find a daily planner that had pictures to color. At first I wasn’t going to buy it. I already have two journals that I use on a daily basis. I have an inner reflections calendar that tracks the day of the week. It has lovely photos and inspirational sayings. I use it to write down important happenings of the day. I’ve used a new version of the planner for many years.

I also have a weekly/monthly planner in which I log doctor appointments, planned travel and other important notes. It has facing pages for the month — easy to see when we have plans for a specific period of time. I log the titles of my blog — trying to make sure I have something written. The daily pages I use to note the food I have eaten, how many steps I have walked and how much I have slept. I don’t use calorie counts or measurements on the food. That might explain why my weight is staying the same. This is the third year that I have searched for this particular planner. I’ve discovered that having the month in my face helps, especially since now I log in my husbands sugar numbers. It has allowed me to change doctor’s appointments when we have had a conflict.

Since I have these two books — why do I need another? I put the book back on the shelf and explored other spending opportunities. Checking off items on my shopping list, I remembered something my husband wanted. After I found the item, I found myself back in the aisle that had the planner. No surprise, it was in my hand, and checked out at the cashier. I still didn’t know why I was picking it up.

What to do with the new planner? I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve decided to make this planner my gratitude journal. I log in my exercise for the day and earn the opportunity to color a bit of the picture. The space for writing is very small. Sometimes I can easily fill in all the lines. Sometimes I’m digging for anything to write. I’ll admit that almost each day of my life contains something to be grateful for. Especially if I’m out and about. I might be in the right place, at the right time to help someone. I might hear a bird or meet a neighbor. I don’t always remember. Writing them down helps. If the day has been quite, If nothing else, I can always write down that I woke up. I will also admit that I don’t feel the need to finish coloring the picture.

I haven’t been doing this long enough to know if it helps with depression but it is a start.

STUMPED

There are times when everything I try DOES NOT work. Today is one of those times. Years ago, when I first wrote To Pap, With Love — I filed for a state tax number. I thought that I would sell some of the books myself. Actually I did, but the number that was sold was less than 50, possibly much less.

Years have passed and I have made no personal sales but I still needed to file the sales tax form. Since the amount of money I owed was zero, I was informed to file electronically. Trying to do that today wound up with nothing but frustration. I finally got to the right screen, after many tries but my user name and password didn’t agree. If this was supposed to be easy, I missed a step. I will have to get help from a real person. But since this is the weekend, I will have to wait until Monday. I’m hoping that since I’ve had so many challenges I no longer need to file. Wouldn’t that be lovely!

OFTEN when I’m blocked, I’m not supposed to do what ever it is I’m trying to do. Maybe I’m cooking and nothing is going right. It is aggravating when I ruin the dish, or burn or cut myself. Maybe I’ll spill stuff all over the counter or floor. Sometimes I can determine the reason for the mishap. Often it just becomes one of the great mysteries.

Recently I was trying to phone a friend — the call didn’t go through — twice. Then I tried a different person and received their answering machine. Not giving up, I tried a third only to learn that I was calling at a bad time. I finally decided that I wasn’t supposed to be on the phone. I don’t know why — it is another of the mysteries.

I have written a couple of thought rambles about our dog, Robin. We have had many dogs in our lifetime, Robin’s personality beats all of them. She is definitely unique. I think that I wrote that she lead our son upstairs because he came down without his shoes. He needed his shoes to take her for a walk. I had been closing our bedroom door to keep the noise of my TV from disturbing anyone else. Robin got mad at me, she thought I was keeping her out. It took a few days before I was forgiven. She opens the bathroom doors to see who is inside. Just checking! Recently she got mad at my husband — he is her person. He took her for a walk and wouldn’t let her eat something she found. When they got home, she turned her back on him. He tried to give her a favorite treat but she turned her face away. It took some time before she forgave him.

Life is busy. My husband has enrolled with the Veterans Administration and that has added more appointments to the calendar. Many of the appointments are at the hospital, 30 miles from home. We had a lovely, warm winter. IT IS CHANGING. Rain, turning to snow, turning to temperatures in the teens will turn to ice. Of course, none of the appointments are life threatening and we can always cancel. The next two weeks we will be gone more than we will be home. Our Christmas tree is still up and I don’t know when I will have the time to take it down. Valentines? Easter eggs?

My “friends” edit my rambles — if I share something that shouldn’t be said — the ramble isn’t saved. I guess this one is okay — no trouble posting it.

TOUCH

I’ve read that Mother Theresa had one visitation that so impressed her that it influenced the rest of her life. I guess I have to admit that I’m challenged or very needy. Either that or my current job is that I’m supposed to write — extremely challenged to come up with a topic or a title so I receive LOTS of HELP. For which I’m EXTREMELY grateful — most of the time. I’ll admit that GROUNDED was challenging.

What am I ranting on about now, you may ask. I’ve learned that often when I share a story, it awakens a memory with another that they were afraid to share, keeping it a secret, afraid they will be thought of as NUTS. Well here I go again.

I’ve often admitted that for the most part, I neither see nor hear “my friends in high places.” Occasionally something occurs where I experience a presence. Right after TO PAP, WITH LOVE was published, I was downtown, planning an advertising campaign. I thought of going back to a store that I had passed that advertised a sale. I felt a touch on my shoulder, urging me to go forward, skip the store. It was good advice — TO PAP never became a best seller but it helped many people. The book is still available on line.

After my husband retired — his plan was that we would sell our home and move to the country. I was walking down a main street by our home when I felt my feet root into the ground. A message that we should remain in our home for the time being.

Recently I felt a dog brush against my thigh. Looking down Robin was no where around. I have MANY four footed friends on the other side. Trying to guess which one paid me a visit is impossible. I’m sure that one or more wander with me on a regular basis. After Cuyler passed all of a sudden I was the Pied Piper of dogs. Dogs that were strangers wanted my attention. They often distressed their owners by the way they carried on. And that might explain Robin’s behavior. Before she always wanted to play with dogs we are passing. Now she growls and barks — protecting me? She isn’t happy when strange dog scents are on my hands when I come home after wandering without her. Dogs are able to sense many things that are mysteries to two footed humans. Recently a service dog at the hospital indicated that I was his friend. The owner finally agreed that I could pet him after he saw how his dog was acting. A neighborhood poodle also thought I was his long lost friend.

We live in a good neighborhood but sadly the world is changing — and not for the better. I’ve learned that I’m NEVER ALONE and I must admit that it is a comforting feeling. I will also admit that I’m not about to wander were my “helpers” are challenged.

PESTERED TO WRITE

Since I don’t see, nor hear my friends in high places, you might ask how I’m pestered to write. As time has passed since my father passed over, I’ve learned that many things are possible on the other side. For instance: I’ve learned that they can mess with electronics: telephones, computers, TV’s, lights just to name a few. My father didn’t know anything about computers when he passed over, although they were in existence, his memory was already affected by Alzheimer’s which didn’t allow him to learn how to use them. Now I can’t say for sure who it is that helps me with my writing — I would say “Dad” but it could just as easily be my mother, brother or ??

Writing To Pap with Love, I had PROBLEMS. Sentences disappeared, computer stuck, printer stopped — it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was receiving “help”. Once a skill is learned, it continues to be used. If what I’ve written in my thought ramble shouldn’t be shared — the ramble sticks, won’t be saved until I either fix what is causing the problem OR discard the thought. Sometimes the font changes — all of a sudden everything is in caps, or there are spacing problems or ?? I’ll leave more examples to your imagination.

But that doesn’t explain how I’m pestered to write. Just as I’ve learned that my thought ramble is incomplete or shouldn’t be shared, I’ve learned to recognize the signs that I NEED to write. Sometimes the first inkling comes from the bible: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. before you were born I dedicated you.”
Maybe I’ll open the bible to Isaiah 42: The Servant of the Lord. Since I start the day with a random reading from the bible, the choice is endless. Recently I opened to the empty space at the ending of the Old Testament.

The message might try to get through in other ways — at church — a song “Who shall I send?” Its not like I’m looking for a message or guidance, I turn on the radio and a song gets my attention, a TV program or even a commercial.

If I’m not inspired to write, but a theme has been given to me and I’m not taking the time to explore it — I’ll have trouble sleeping. I wake in the middle of the night, realize that I’m writing in my head and be unable to go back to sleep.

I REALLY DON’T LIKE being hit on the head! I try very hard to be open to messages to avoid that. Now I don’t know if I have anything really to say, but as long as writing seems to be my JOB, I’ll keep trying to put words on paper.

Coming back from the retreat, while walking Robin, I saw two neighbors who I hadn’t seen in a long time. The first one is experiencing leg circulation problems which has restricted his ability to get out and about.
Since I last saw him he had to put his Lab down because of cancer. The same afternoon I met another neighbor who had to have a kidney removed because of cancer. Of course I shared stories with each.

Back home again — at the grocery store, I met a woman from church who has had challenges of her own. I forget how many times in the last year she has been hospitalized but it was a lot. Walking home, another person waited for me to catch up to her so we could talk. I usually pay attention when three things occur but lately I’m paying attention to two, especially when they occur back to back.

TERRY’S BIRTHDAY

Following is an email I sent to family and a few friends after I was surprised by my brother. He passed over with my mother 60 years ago when he was two. A few years ago I decided that the “friend” who hits me on the head is my brother. Isn’t that how brother’s show love to their sisters? ” My friends in high places” often “help” me with my writing. Today is no exception.

“I have NO ENERGY TODAY! In order to accomplish something, I wrote two blogs. One titled GLASSES, the second SUNSHINE!

I was reading the preview of SUNSHINE on the blog’s finished page when in the MIDDLE, Sunshine disappeared to be REPLACED by GOOD IDEA which was published in AUGUST of 2013.

I probably should mention that today is my brother Terry’s birthday. Good Idea concerned the Fast Metabolism diet that I successfully lost weight on. Sadly the weight is back and my attempts to restart the food plan have not been successful. Looks like I should be a little more serious about it. After all, I have “friends in high places” who watch out for me.

There is no way I can explain today’s happening. I did wish my brother, Terry, a happy birthday this morning.”

I can not explain most of the things that occur unexplained in my life. All I can do is share the stories. If you can profit by my experience so much the better but don’t get discouraged. Remember I have had experiences for most of my life. For many years I was unaware of the “help” I was receiving. My mother was EXTREMELY GOOD at working behind the scenes and my brother probably followed suite. I didn’t start to become more aware until I REALLY NEEDED THEIR HELP when my father had Alzheimer’s disease. He passed over more than 19 years ago and my life became really more interesting after that.

Although I’m writing this on Memorial weekend which coincides with my brother’s birthday this year, it won’t publish until after my mother’s birthday. For years I didn’t know the dates of either of their birthdays. I didn’t know the date of the fire either. Facts were hidden from me.

I’d thought of taking the summer off, putting the blog on summer vacation. Evidently that is not in their plans for me. But I’m receiving idea’s so I can schedule rambles to publish while we are busy with other things. If life becomes really interesting, as it often does — I’m sure I will be inspired to put more ideas in print.

AMAZED

I’M READY TO BE WELL! I’m tired of this cough, being sick! I’m tired of this cold weather and snow and Ice! I’m ready to be out and about if only this cough would go away.

I read that people who were active — outside, exposed to the elements would be healthier. Until I came down with the flu, I walked Robin, our dog, a couple of times a day. I was outside shoveling snow or sweeping the snow off of the stairs. Taking precautions, I got a flu shot in October. I GOT SICK ANYWAY! I was told that the flu would have been worse without the shot.

Okay so I’m grousing and grumbling. I’m still coughing like a fool. The weather forecast is more of the same — snow then falling temperatures, another cold snap, well below zero. The cold is descending to the warmer areas of the United States — 33 degrees in Miami. Their houses are not equipped for this type of cold — neither are their bodies.

So why am I amazed? Stuck in the house, staying on the second floor because it is warmer and I need for this cough to leave — I’ve been going through stuff. Revisiting some of my past life — raising children, working, square dancing, writing, storytelling. SO MUCH STUFF and so much that I’m not ready to part with. OKAY, SO I’M A PACK RAT.

So why am I amazed? Last night I found an old e-mail — sent to one of my daughters more than ten years ago. In it, I wrote that a friend told me my words would be going around the world. Of course, I didn’t necessarily believe her but then I received an e-mail from a distant cousin in Sweden, wanting to read To Pap, with Love. My words going around the world.

Now I’m sharing thought rambles with you. And I have learned that through the internet they reach to Canada, London and points beyond. My friend 10 years ago was right — my words are reaching around the world. AND I’M AMAZED!

Look at all the fun I’m having stuck inside — I can’t wait till I’m free to wander again!

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