Robert’s reflections of 2018

Robert Challis
6 hrs ·
now that we are on the last day of 2018 I have reflected on the past year for me

  1. had a heart attack
  2. had heart surgery
  3. my lupus flared up due to being off my medicine during the time I had surgery and 6 weeks afterwards
  4. retired hardest thing I ever did
    5.sold as much property and items as I could to cover medical bills
  5. spent much more time with grandkids
  6. spend more time at church helping where I could
  7. spent more time with my wife and girls
  8. played Santa for the schools and church
  9. started writing 2nd book
    all and all a good year the good out weighed the bad for sure
    I am hoping for a much better year in 2019 moving to some land with a shop for me to work my projects and the grandkids a place to run and Kat wants a Llama again I want chickens and a garden Kat wants a She Shed and Kassidey wants a cabin put on the property I think a quieter life out of the city would be great for all.

Happy New Year 2019

2019, is full of promise. We will be selling our home in the city suburbs and moving to the country. We have seen some really nice land parcels with houses and barns on them. We are thinking of brand names for our farm. the lazy cs= u~ farm or double cs =ccs farm both derivatives of challis-smith or something creative like double K farm, the twinkling brooke, RK’s cabins, it will be interesting to find out what the name will be and how far off I am from it.

We are going to wait one year so we can gauge the season’s on our property before we get any animals. We are thinking llama-alpaca to keep snakes down, a pig for meals, horse (miniature) for a show, chickens for the eggs, a goat for pleasure and a cat to keep rodents down. I’m not sure what kind of cat that I want, it will live in my office since Robert is allergic to them.

A garden will be started this Spring with plenty of veggies and flowers. We are looking at lawn tractors right now, the cub cadet is winning out because of all the attachment capabilities. We need a mower, box blade, and utility trailer, and a sun canopy.

end

Season’s Greetings 2018

Jesus is the reason for the Season!   The boys are excited that Christmas is coming in 12 days.  They prepared their ‘Dear Santa’ letter and mailed it each asking for something Santa had in mind all along.  They went shopping at their schools’ shopping fair.  Have attended parties and festivities with joy.  Nate age 9yrs learned that the Santa at the events were actually grandpa dressed up as Santa. Grandpa explained that he was really good friends with Santa and that the real Santa has so much to do that he asked grandpa to help share the joy of Christmas and the spirit of giving to others; that story satisfied him. Zack had stopped believing in Santa two years ago at age 6 yrs, of course, he accepts the generosity of spirit is real and once upon a time long ago there was an actual man named Saint Nicholas who gave gifts that he made to children all around him to remind them of the gift from GOD above. 

I have switched focus on my educational pursuits from being a Master SPED Diagnostician to becoming a Master Professional Educator with Writing and Literacy emphasis.  I am finally following my heart’s desire to write and to teach the joy of writing to others.  Dr. Edythe Leupp was correct in telling me that I needed to get back into a classroom, teaching the love of writing to others.

A new chapter of living

    We are planning to move in February 2019.  We have two companies interested in buying our home in a short sale for a reasonable price without any effort on our part as compared to listing our home the conventional way.  We are stuffed to the roof and would have to place allot in storage to show the benefits of our house off.  We have been living here five years and twelve days and accumulated more than we have given away or sold in yard sales.  To my husbands’ joy, I am decluttering my office. We have a lot of boxes now designated for the community thrift store.   For example: in my home office, I have 15 rolls of transparent tape and 6 bags of ink pens. Really, who needs that much?  I use the computer and printer daily. And there is limited space for hanging things on, so too much tape.  But it’s new stuff, and I don’t want to throw it away- hence, community thrift store donation.

     Making decisions is tedious, do I keep my knick-knacks or downsize by donating them? I don’t even have a new house picked out. We are wanting to leave the city and move to the countryside again. I miss raising Llamma’s. This time I am going to try Alpaca for the show, rather than the full sized Llama. I could never replace RJ in my heart, and it would be too painful to replace him with another full-sized llama. Robert wants to raise other less exotic animals like a horse for equine therapy and chickens for the eggs. We still have our two lovable and ornery dogs, Summer a Bagle puppy (Beagle and Bassetthound) and Macie a Labrador, who is 14 years old. We also have a parakeet and lots of fish in a 40-gallon aquarium.

     We have had aquariums for at least 35 years. One time we had twenty aquariums working and wound up selling them to the fishery store when we moved 50 miles away in the Arizona heat. At least us moving in February in Texas, the hot heated days won’t be a factor- watch it snow just for kicks on moving day… I made the last sentence with hilarity in mind because Texas , USA is known for wild temperature shifts you can have snow one day and 80 degrees Fahrenheit the next, the only thing we can agree upon is the summers are Hot, HOt, HOT!

A tribute to Raymond

Tonight we had a viewing of Robert’s brother Raymond Challis. Afterward, the Chaplin led the family into sharing stories about Raymond. I would have liked to have known the man they described instead of the broken man I knew. He a world traveler, fisherman, and humorous person who loved life. I am happy that his other brothers and sister has fond memories of him; they are missing him greatly.

My husbands’ memory of him that stands out was a painful one. He was in high school, and his parents had a custody fight in court over the two young boys in Kindergarten and 1st grade; Raymond and Patrick.  His mother threw him under the bus lying about him to the court so that the court ordered a restraining order against Robert. His mother excuse later was that she had already lost him (Robert) and she didn’t want to lose the other two boys. Robert had to observe his little brothers from a distance, and he died a little each time.

Fast forward five years, I am in the picture now.  Raymond and Patrick take turns visiting their dad and brothers in another state. There was a lot of tension surrounding their visit so that we were discouraged by dad and step-mom to not go around and visit them.  My mom and dad Jack- an electrician- would visit with Raymond every day when they lived in the country and Ray was working on a job site near their home as an electrician. Raymond ate dinner with them and just visited on many occasions until the job was done.  I learned about him through mom’s phone calls, as we lived in a different state. Dad was pleased that Raymond had chosen to be an electrician too.

Ten years later, Robert & I move our little family back to Oklahoma.  We meet a damaged Raymond and his co-hab wife who had two children from another marriage.  We put effort into trying to get to know Raymond, but the wife discouraged it as they were too busy to get involved with us and I was a “holy roller” (I was involved in church).  All our children grow up without being involved in each other’s life.

Raymond visits his mom, and Robert gets to see him occasionally as Raymond visits because Raymond had moved out of state and married Kris. Unfortunately everytime I saw Raymond as a teenager and adult he was buzzed or just plain drunk,  with alcohol drinking and couldn’t carry on a conversation of substance.   Finally, Raymond moved back to Oklahoma four years ago, but Robert & I had been re-established in Texas by then, and I didn’t get to see him but twice for a few minutes when I went to Oklahoma to visit my mom. Robert talked over the phone with Raymond a few times and visited him in the hospital a year ago.

The tension was thick; Robert & Raymond didn’t have anything in common save being brothers, the damage had been done, their fate had been sealed a long time ago.  It’s easy to blame the mother and dad for the fighting that destroyed the brotherhood at such a young age and set into motion a change of events to where we were gathered at today.  It is tragic.  Raymond was an atheist and Robert, and I believe and worship GOD. Raymond was an alcoholic, Robert and I are tea-toters by choice.  Although they were separated 40 years, Robert still loves the Kindergarten Raymond very much and misses the boy he was and mourns the man he never really knew.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 2018

It could’ve been worse!

2018 brought perils of its own in the New Year. Robert’s health declined, and he had to quit his job on Feb. 06th. March 20th he had a widow maker heart attack at the hospital emergency room and was taken into surgery where stents were used; the hospital wanted $18 thousand down to do the heart surgery- the emergency heart attack made them forgo the requirement and admit him into the hospital. We had to make some hard and fast decisions about our finances liquidating assets to survive on while keeping our home. We don’t have any medical insurance, so we pay as we go on smaller charges under $300.00. Our central heat and air condition went up in the dust. We made temporary changes with portable a/c units, then we finally bit the big one and had the unit replaced. God and the lawyer got him SSDI in September. We began attending church regularly in March and are active participants in two ministeries. Our brother Raymond passed away in November. God has seen us through this time of transition and change and given us the wisdom to make drastic changes for survival. I share this with you because I want you to know that God is faithful and loving and he wants us to prosper in money, health, and spirit as we develop a relationship with him.

I am thankful that my husband is alive- for I am not alone

I am thankful that we have a mortgage- for at least we have a place to call home

I am thankful that we have reliable transportation

I am thankful that my five grandchildren and two daughters and son-in-law love me

I am thankful for my church where I can freely and securely worship God

I am thankful for having a mental illness- I can be very emotionally astute and appreciate and relish the good days as they come

I am thankful that I am healthy and have plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink

I am thankful for the internet- communication has never been faster while reaching the multitudes at once

I am thankful for the curve balls- at least I am still in the game

I am thankful for exercise classes- I can still move my body

I am thankful for your feedback- I touched your life briefly

 

An Ode to Alcohol

You let me say whatever I thought,

you gave me courage when I fought,

you came before relationships that I sought,

and even food when I bought.

You lied to me when you said you were my friend,

You couldn’t see the pain on their faces that you caused,

Or smell the alcohol on your breath as you cursed

and blamed and shamed yourself.

You were my everything, and now my body is wasted and my enlarged heart is very small as I take my last breath while drinking you- alcohol.

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

3 Bones About It

Reba McIntire said, “You need a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone” to be successful.

My wishbone is telling me that I want my family to happy, healthy, and wise, spiritually and physically.

If I could wave a magic wand and wish all my bills paid, good health, and mental wisdom, I wouldn’t use it. It is bad that allows us to see the good. It is not the struggle that defines us, but the result of the struggle.  I would prefer to have a wisdom all the time, but there is something good to be said about exploring an idea and creativity in solving it.

My backbone is telling me to stand up for what I think is right, just, and fair, otherwise, my silence is an affirmation of agreement.

I would love to stand up to people and tell them what I think, but I have discovered through patience that listening to what they have to say is often more rewarding. Sometimes it is in the telling that truth slips out through the folds of  “its all about me”.

My funny bone is telling me to live life fully but understand that humor goes a long way in lightening the burdens on one’s heart.

Do you ever get the impression that ‘that one zipped by’ over your head? It’s not a comfortable feeling- being a tad bit slower in recognizing sarcasm and humor.  I am often the brunt of that one got by her, again. It’s not that I lack funnybone- I have a refined pallet of what is actually funny.

I don’t take life too seriously, but serious enough to moderate what happens with my wishbone, backbone, and funnybone in place.

 

 

Seasonal-affective-disorder

Seasonal-affective-disorder (SAD) is the pits.  I have the fall version of SAD and it is difficult to function. Having Bipolar (schizoaffective-disorder) and Major Depressive Disorder is making my symptoms worse. I have depression that ranges from sleep deprivation to excessive sleeping.  Last Sunday, I slept all day- getting up to take a shower after my daughter thoroughly made me angry about being SAD.  She goes through this every Fall with me and see’s me sink into depression and apathy.  So she deliberately goaded me trying to get me to snap out of it.  Well, it worked… after I got over being angry the next day I got up 5:00 a.m. CST and stayed up and have been doing this every day since. I still wake up in the middle of the night for about three hours no matter how late I stay up.

I force myself to stay awake and be active even though everything inside me is rebelling at the notion.  I have been unable to write in my blog for a month now because of the depression. It dries up my creativity and desire to be positive in nature.  The overcast days and reduced hours of light aren’t helping. I use an overhead light and a desk lamp both with daylight brightness LED bulbs to help stimulate the hormones that prevent SAD.  They have professional light boxes available for sale but they are expensive so I make do without them.  The doctors recommend cognitive behavior therapy, aka talk-therapy in addition to anti-depressants. I am already at the maximum therapeutic dosages for my illnesses and have to manage with mind-over-matter thinking on a daily basis. SAD just makes it more difficult.

This year I am actively acknowledging SAD and asking for prayer from my church families and support group.  I continue to write the “welcome to our church” and “get well and sympathy” cards even though my heart really isn’t in it to be encouraging to others. I rely on scripts that I wrote when I was not depressed to help me provide this much-needed service.  One of my support groups has ended for the holidays till January 2019. This makes it harder for me to have fellowship and get out of the house. That’s one of the triggers for me is hibernation and wallowing in despair, not wanting to do anything to help myself.  Hence, getting up early to combat this notion.

Are you or someone your support going through SAD, write to me in the comments and let me know how you are dealing with SAD, maybe we can encourage each other.

For Professional information go to:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722

 

More to Consider – October 2018

October 2018,

I have reached 100 blog posts this month.

My advocate job finally played itself out to nothing. However, I have been busy taking classes for a Masters Degree and doing quite well at it.  The ministry Loving Embrace has really started to get busy. Creating original art and sentiment can be time-consuming but well worth it to those who receive a card from me.  I’m not boasting. There are hurting people and they deserve to be acknowledged in a time of illness and grief that they are not all alone, someone cares about them.  God receives the harvest of souls seeking him out.

I am trying to make a go of writing as a career path- wish me luck!  I know in my heart that I can become an effective writer given an opportunity to shine. I am learning the craft every day that I write for school or this blog. I am creating a portfolio of works that I have written, so your feedback is very important to me.

Look for my writing… Publications: Literary pen names: Kat Challis, Kathy Ann Challis, and Kathryn Aubrey.
1. “The Dreamer’s Soul,” Kathryn Aubrey, Vol.1, Kathryn Aubrey Publishing. 2003, ISBN# 0-9747822-0-3. It is a book of poetry and short stories about people as teachers, hero’s, and friends.
2. “Teenager’s,” American Poetry Anthology, Vol. X, No.2, Kathy Ann Challis, Robert Nelson Publishing 1990 ISBN: 0-88147-100-3. Pg.231.
3. “Poetry,” Kathy Challis,  Poetic Voices of America, Fall 1990, Sparrow-grass Poetry Forum, Inc. 1990 ISBN: 0-923242-08-2, p.162.
4. Poetry’s Elite The Best Poets of 2000, ISBN: 1-58235-901-6, International Library of Poetry Publisher, work “Unleashed Into the Sky” Kat Challis, Hardcover
5. Nature’s Echoes ISBN: 1-58235-564-9 coauthor Bob Challis, work Soul Mates
6. The Sound of Poetry, 2002, “The Squirrel Watcher”
7. Class Planting Seed for Businesses, Amy David, The Daily Oklahoman II- Oklahoma City Times, Community, Nov. 8,1996, p.1
8. International Library of Poetry
• Famous Poets Award of Recognition for 1995
• Editor’s Choice Award – June 2001
• Poet of Merit Awards – 2000-2003
• Merit Silver Award Bowl –2002
• Merit Bronze Metal 2001
• Honorable Mention – several 1996-2003
9. Tarrant County Texas Poetry Association memberships 2005
10. Writers Blog: https://katchallis.com  (100 + posts)

I hope that Y’all have a safe and happy children’s fun day on October 31st. In the USA it is known as Halloween. It is not a religious holiday or Satanic- I don’t give him a chance for credit.  Children dress up in costumes, example: mind-craft creeper, stampy long-nose, a fire truck are costumes my grandchildren are wearing.  They are quite creative in their personalities and costume choices.  We dress up our car in a “trunk or treat” for the Homeowners Association Fall Festival and the churches’ Halloween Fun Night.  We wear costumes, too. I am a pirates mate this year, my husband is a futuristic pirate captain.

 

 

It’s Mid-term Scholarship Time, again!

Thousands of hopeful students apply for the same scholarship every semester but only one is chosen as the winner. Am I a winner, will it be you, or someone else that is celebrating free money to help pay for college?   Below is a sampling of a question asked on scholarship applications.  I copy the question in Word, then answer it… moving text around to make it sound more purpose driven.  These questions can also jump-start you on writing your entrance essay for college. The scholarship website I go to is reviewed at https://fastweb.com or https://www.fastweb.com/login.

Q: When you feel stuck on a topic or assignment, what helps you get unstuck and truly understand what you are learning?
A: I read the question then I start by breaking the assignment down into manageable parts. Write down 1, 2, 3, etc. on your paper(screen) and put what is asked for first, then second, and so forth. An Example problem: Andrea went to the city zoo. She wants to know how many people like birds and which one is their favorite among Flamingo’s, Ducks, and Sparrows Make a chart, take a survey of your class topic favorite bird and tally the responses. Do these steps: #1. Create a 3 heading Chart #2. Create a class survey. #3. Tally the results. By making the word problem manageable you will have success every time.

Q: Tell us about the best class you have ever taken. What made it so great?
A: The Foundation of the Legal Aspects and Special Education. The class was purposeful and meaningful. Online law classes can be a dry subject to follow but my professor made it very interesting. Dr. Casey used the online discussion board for peer-to-peer instruction and dialogue which brought the law to life as students debated their point of view of a scenario. She gave frequent open book tests with automatic correct answers at the end time of the test and kept a running tally of your grades available at any time day or night. Dr. Casey provided a grading rubric of what she was expecting from us for minimal and maximum points that we could score which equates into a letter and grade point average. Dr. Casey provided instant feedback on all the assignments regardless of the grade scored. She allowed us to choose among the topics for our final research paper which gave us the opportunity to develop a rationale on the court cases we were comparing so that we would have ownership of what we learned. I would take additional classes from Dr. Casey when offered in the future.

Q: Describe a time collaboration played an important role in helping you grow. What did you learn and what were you able to achieve?
A:  Taking Master level classes increases the pressure placed upon the student. The school wants what you think about a topic rather than just regurgitating facts on the topic as you did in undergraduate school. I was assigned two random partners on a 100 point multitiered assignment. My partners were online students as well as me and we had to connect through a campus discussion board. We broke the assignment into three sections plus an abstract of the whole paper. It was hard to achieve because changes being made to the paper by others which necessitated re-writes on other parts. Then there was the editing of writing mechanics to get through. One partner wanted an entirely different look to the paper than the other two, and she re-edited it her way, so we were stuck with her changes, at least we all earned an ‘A’. Collaborations can work even through virtual media, it takes extra time, forethought and planning but it is worth it in the end results.

Q: Why do you want to do an internship for ABCXYZ Publishing Company?

A: It is my understanding that getting employed in publishing requires a lot of experience, the experience of which I do not currently possess.  It is my hope that my intern application at ABCXYZ Company will be accepted.  I am a diligent and hard worker, paying attention to details, I think creatively and out-of-the-box and have strong work ethics.  Selecting me for your intern position will save your company money through free labor, and build on your assets of getting necessary tasks completed. In exchange, you will have my loyalty and an opportunity to teach me new skills and perhaps get outside the box solutions to some work issues.

False Memories & PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom can attack a person’s mind without warning. High-stress jobs, childhood trauma, or traumatic injury can all lead to PTSD.  I want to talk a little about false memories.  I suffered from PTSD as a  high functioning schizophrenic and bipolar disorders person in my early 30’s. I also had dissociative identity disorder.  As part of my delusions, I had moments where I had thought something was true and could logically explain it or justify my stinking thinking with almost scientific clarity.

On one particular occasion, I had convinced myself that my father had actually murdered someone and disposed of the body in the quicksand bogs of an area river/lake backwater area in Oklahoma.  It took a lot of counseling to convince me that it was a false memory projected by my fathers’ behavior towards my mother.  You see, my father took me to an area where quicksand was available, only I didn’t know it. We were walking a trail over the river banks and I took a misstep and was in quicksand.  It wasn’t very wide of a section on the surface. I couldn’t lift myself out and got to my knee/thigh area before my father finally gave the gun butt of the rifle to pull me out of it.  I was justifiably scared for a few moments. A while later my father took me back to the same location where I had stepped off and there was a deep chasm in the ground that was hollowed out and a deer skeleton was in the bottom. He told me that if I didn’t tow the line that could be my mom there instead. True story.

False memories usually have a small basis in fact. As recently, evidenced in the political arena of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.  I have no dought that Dr. Ford experienced some type of trauma at some point in her life. She is suffering from PTSD in my opinion and perhaps false memories.  Some things occurred and her mind tried to make sense of it.  It put two and two together and it made sense to her, and she kept remembering more and more details that were available in her subconsciousness until she felt she figured it out.  The only problem with false memories is they can’t hold up under intense scrutiny.  (I am not a political person, I am using them as an example of what can occur not as a factor or supposition of events).

Another incident from my mind was about my son-in-law Wayne (he’s dead now). But when he married my daughter at her age of 19 yrs and he was 59 yrs old.  I had an awful dream about him. And I recalled it and kept re-dreaming the scenario. I then began thinking about it during waking moments, and pieces started falling into place in my mind. Within a few weeks, my behavior changed towards him, I was suspicious of his motives and convinced her was mistreating my daughter.  It took a lot of talk-therapy to convince me that it was false dreams based upon my anxiety of my daughters’ marriage. I felt out-of-control.  I took real memories and twisted them in my mind like a sinister plot.  If anyone had taken me seriously I would have destroyed his teaching career and possibly life. Luckily, I was in deep psychiatric almost daily couseling with a trained therapist who recognized what was happening.  I could be quiet persuasive in my mindset of righteous indignation. I don’t remember if I told my daughter about my suspicions and theories, but I do remember getting to the truth and being set free of the stinking thinking towards him. My fears and false memories could not stand up to empirical evidence.  All I’m saying is that false-memories are real to the person experiencing them.  They could pass a polygraph test because in their mind the incidents make sense and therefore are true.

If you are suffering. There is help available without stigma. Just reach out to your local health department or  2-1-1 operator and tell them you need to see a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Counseling can be very expensive if you don’t have medical insurance or sometimes even with it, but there are places that offer cash discounts or sliding-scale fees. I do not have a list but you could check with religious affiliates like Catholic Charities for assistance. If you are enduring PTSD and False Memories, remember it is not your fault. You didn’t ask for this to happen to you- it just did. But you have to take responsibility for getting well and asking for help, you can’t do it alone.

If your reading this blog and feel hopeless, helpless, unworthy of help, or any negative feelings of diminished capacity then reach out to someone, even if it is going voluntarily to a psych ward of the hospital (go through Emergency Room) for a few days or calling 9-1-1 to get help, don’t suffer in silence or kill yourself.  Depression and PTSD often go hand-in-hand and are untreated or undertreated a professional can help you.

END

The following can be viewed at https://www.psychguides.com/guides/ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Estimates suggest that up to 70 percent of American adults have experienced at least one significant trauma during their lifetimes. Many of those people may subsequently have suffered from an emotional reaction known as posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Further estimates suggest that 5 percent of the population currently lives with PTSD.

What Is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder occurs in some cases when people are exposed to a very stressful event, which is known as an extreme stress trigger. To be diagnosed with PTSD, they must continue to experience symptoms of PTSD for at least one month after exposure to this trigger.

Who Experiences PTSD?
Although women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, anyone who experiences an extremely traumatic event may develop a post-traumatic stress disorder. Examples of extreme stress triggers include:

Criminal assault or rape
Natural disasters
Serious accidents
Combat exposure
Child physical or sexual abuse or severe neglect
Witnessing traumatic events
Imprisonment/hostage/displacement as refugees
Torture
The sudden unexpected death of loved ones
Although other types of stress may be severe and can be quite upsetting, they typically do not result in PTSD. Such events might include the death of an elderly parent, divorce, or job loss.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
People living with PTSD typically experience three main types of symptoms. First, they may re-experience the traumatic event that led to developing PTSD. This can include:

Flashbacks in which they feel that the triggering event is recurring even while they are awake
Distressing recollections of the traumatic event
Nightmares of the event
Exaggerated physical and emotional reactions to triggers that remind them of the event
The second type of symptom involves emotional numbing or even avoidance. It may include the following symptoms or behaviors:

Avoidance of places, thoughts, activities, conversations, and feelings related to the event or trauma
Feelings of detachment
Loss of interest
Restricted emotions
The third symptom type relates to increased arousal related to the event and may be indicated by:

Outbursts of anger
Irritability
Difficulty sleeping
Hypervigilance
Difficulty concentrating
Exaggerated startle responses

Back to college at 57!

Well, I finally launched! It has been 25 years since I graduated from Southern Nazarene University as a Teacher. And thirteen years since I graced a classroom in that capacity.  My daughters earned their Masters degree at the University of Texas of the Premium Basin in Odessa, through the internet.  I thought why not keep it in the family. This August I began my degree plan to become a Diagnostician for Special Education.  There was a lot of backlash from my daughters and mentor– they don’t feel that is a good fit for me. My mentor wants me to teach again, my daughters do not. My mom doesn’t understand why I want more education. My husband is supportive of anything I do.  So, I am in limbo.

I thought about switching to get a Certified Public Accountant degree in accounting because I am good at bookkeeping. But, what I would really like to do, in my heart of hearts and dreams of dreams is to become an effective writer. To support my husband and me in the future I would love to write. Textbooks, Poetry, Gift Cards, Publicity Media, Technical Manuals, you name it I may want to write about it.  I even have a rough draft of a novel sitting on my computer banks.  Currently, I have been writing the welcome cards to visitors at our church and started the Loving Embrace Ministry, which is a card ministry. I have created handmade cards for grief and get well sentiments enclosed with a prayer request card and bookmark.

The trick to this higher education is finding a market niche then pursuing the additional training.  I would like to find myself in a dream career while earning a Ph.D.  I would feel more accomplished than I already do. I changed the tide in my family circle. I was the first to get a General  Education Diploma. The first to go to college and earn a Bachelors Degree. The first to bring child abuse in my family to the forefront and get it stopped.  The first to talk about mental illness and its effect on our family members. But, I am not the last in getting an education.

On my sister’s side of the family. My great-nephew and great-nieces are in college pursuing their dreams. Two are wanting to become Teachers, one is in Video/Electronics for Movies area- he has been co-shooting and co-editing football games for his local college team that is aired weekly. Another great-niece is taking general studies until she decides what career track she wants to take; which is smart of her. On my brother’s side of the family. I have one niece that has pursued her Associates Degree in Childcare Development. She now operates a daycare from her home. I am proud of her because she stepped out of her comfort zone (no schooling) to pursue a dream career, that takes guts and tenacity.

 

 

 

The Homeless- Hope on the Horizon

This wonderful lady named Tammy at Eagles View Church in Fort Worth, Texas has taken to hand the task of creating Christmas Care Gift Boxes for Fort Worth’s surrounding areas homeless population. We have tent city areas in the more remote regions of Tarrant County. These people live off the grid and do not partake in the use of sanctuary shelters. Tammy’s mission is to work with another group of individuals who serve these people already but are understaffed and have very limited funds, to reach their goals.  Tammy said, “God has put it on my heart to do something to help our areas homeless population. I have resisted for three years, but am now obedient to his call.”

We are filling about 100-150 gift-wrapped boxes with toiletries, socks, scarves, gloves, and hat sets. Some candy and cookies will be included for a festive touch along with a Christmas card I am designing.  It is an ambitious undertaking for about a dozen women in our small group. We are trusting the Lord for donations and our pocketbooks to be full so we can make generous donations of time, talent, and the monies required.

Eventually, I would like to make these care boxes a four-season event. We are not enabling them to stay homeless, but while they are homeless they can be given some of the basic human would-be-nice items that we would feel are just necessities for civilized people; like soap and water, toilet tissue, dental aides, basic first aid supplies,  and towels, etc.  If you want to donate items or money contact me at my email address and I will give you the church’s address that you can send stuff to.  If you don’t want to participate that’s alright, too. I hadn’t planned on making this a donation page- but I thought someone else might like the opportunity to bless a stranger and make their day a little brighter.

 

 

One’s Faith the substance of belief

Faith, you can’t see it, touch it, taste it, or feel it with ordinary senses; bit you know it exists and that it is real. The holy bible tells us in Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is a faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

I’ve been asked recently to trust and have faith in God for the healing of my mind and body. What would that look like to me? It would have to be supernatural for someone to create a cure for the schizo-affective disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Medications today can control the wild up and downward swings in mood. A cure would be the next logical step. The scientist has tried for years to come up with a cure or the cure for these and other conditions to no avail. That doesn’t mean their not close.
But, for those who endure and even suffer in their mental illness maladies each day is laden with a dependence on medication, meditation, and determination to be an overcomer through Christ who is in them. The other cure would be God’s direct touch of healing; a miraculous event that is personal and intentional. I don’t doubt that GOD has cured the multitudes in biblical days and today. I, however, do not feel worthy of his time and talent. I do not noteworthy in anyone’s eyes but Gods’. I believe my illnesses to be insignificant to other peoples illnesses that are on waiting list for donors, or hovering between life and death. It’s not that God can’t handle more than a few at a time for he can, and he probably does it just a matter of faith and acceptance of the healings. There are people of faith that die not having their needs heard or met. Illness is not discriminatory it is an equal opportunity chance we all live.
“you receive not, because you ask not,” is a familiar quotation that comes to mind. Faith is the belief in something not seen yet but, is accepted as it exists. Putting God to the test of faith and being disappointed that you are answered in a manner that is unexpected is powerful thinking. I am sure Abraham felt powerless when he was told to sacrifice his son’s life, yet the story came out right as God provided a different sacrifice in place of Issac. Abraham had faith that God would provide, and he was not disappointed.

The crucifix of our body

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. 1 Colossians 1:15-17.

When we look at the vast universe, ever expanding with galaxies, stars, asteroids, comets, planets, and other heavenly bodies we are amazed at Gods creations.  Are we no less amazed at the creations on earth?  Have you ever wondered what the glue was that held our skin on our bodies, muscles and ligaments, nerves and cells together? I found out today in church that the glue is a protein molecule named Laminin. What is unique about this protein is the shape it takes on itself.  It is a crucifix, a symbol of the cross of biblical days of capital punishment. It is also in the heavens known as the Crux Constellation.  God gave us this symbol hidden in our bodies to the naked eye (invisible) yet providing an essential function within our bodies, notwithstanding, if we did not have this miracle protein we would not exist as human beings.

Since God created mankind we have yet to fully understand all the molecular and electrical fields of our brains and consciousness though we have made great strides in both areas of study.  Why did God create the Laminin in the shape of a cross? I think it is so that we humans can be amazed by science and prompted to theologize the significance of finding something so small to be of great worth.  Just like discovering the Crux Constellation is a reminder of the crucifix- a symbol that God created the heavens and the earth.

 

Image result for laminin

Laminin – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminin
Laminins are high-molecular-weight (~400 to ~900 kDa) proteins of the extracellular matrix. They are a major component of the basal lamina (one of the layers of the basement membrane), a protein network foundation for most cells and organs.

InterPro: IPR009254   Symbol: Laminin_I
Pfam: PF06008
Function · Pathology · Use in cell culture · Laminin domains

The Crux Constellation

Image result for crux constellation origin

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Silence: Simon & Garfunkel

The Sound of Silence
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Songwriters: Paul Simon
The Sound of Silence lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Loving Embrace Ministry

We have four church services on Sunday at Eagles View Church in the far north Ft Worth/Saginaw area of Texas.  The church is rapidly filling to capacity at each service and yet has a hometown feel to it.  The people are friendly and caring and the messages are bible based and Christ-centered labors of love.   I have begun a card ministry as a branch of the Visitors Card service.

In the days of mass production and 0.50 cent Dollar Tree cards, it is easy and convenient to buy and drop a quick card in the mail; but mostly impersonal. I have proposed that we send out handmade Get Well cards to our patrons.  I am currently making one-card-at-a-time unique in both design and verse with a healing bible scripture enclosed.  I plan on having a 100 cards made by Nov. 01, 2018 launch date. The ones I have made and sent have been well received, so far. One of my cards hit the mark and the receiver said it made her day to know that the church really cared about her.

Currently, I am using my scrapbooking supplies, embellishments, fabric, and other do-dads to make each care one of a kind. I will be asking for volunteers to bring in small stuff that can be used to decorate the cards with. I think I will call it the Loving Embrace Ministry because that is what we are doing, we are giving a piece of our heart to someone in trouble with an illness or trauma to help them feel better and have hope.  I will need to purchase card stock and color laser ink in bulk, with my lack of resources this will be the difficult part. At least, I have some pretty scripture ink blocks to decorate with and my imagination is flying off the walls. So my friends, pray for me that the ideas will never run dry and the uniqueness will always remain fresh.

 

Blessed beyond measure

The first six months post-retirement has been full of financial duress and prayers to overcome them. Happily, I am able to say that GODs timing has allowed our needs to be met and/or exceeded upon.  Our savings lasted thru June 2018 and God provided for us in July. August is upon us and I know our needs will be met someway that is unknown to me.  I have faith in God’s plan and timing.

On the home front, Robert has developed relationships with fellow churchgoers. It is amazing how he has opened himself up to new people- broadening his spiritual horizons.  I find myself swept along the tide, trying to grab ahold of anything stationary. I have joined the church, participated in Vacation Bible School services, created a stationary ‘Get Well’ and assisted in the ‘Visitor Welcome’ Ministries. We are joining a life group which is a bible study at night that meets bi-weekly.  I am uncertain where my path will lead- I know I must take care of myself to prevent burn out.

Robert’s health continues to decline daily as the ankylosing spondylitis disease progresses. There are limited results with medications– prayer is the only viable solution.  I have discovered through x-ray’s that I have a bone spur and am gliding bone-to-bone in my right shoulder. The repair solution is a total shoulder replacement. Without medical insurance, there is little hope of getting the surgery.  My job if you can call four-hours a week working, doesn’t have major medical coverage only AFLAC, dental and vision plans and I don’t make enough to even dream of taking them out.  Enough sadness!  Things will work themselves out through prayer and effort.

 

 

 

Peanut butter Log- candy

2 pounds confectionary sugar

1 small potato (Irish preferred)

1/2 cup peanut butter

Boil potato until done (soft) and drain well

mashup potato and start adding the sugar – a liquid paste will form

keep adding sugar until a soft dough is achieved

on a sugared board roll out potato dough 1/4″ thick

spread peanut butter onto dough

roll dough adding sugar as needed to form a “log” shape and cut 1/2″ slices

optional: chocolate, diced nuts, candy sprinkles

History:  This is a sharecroppers candy from the potato, peanut and sugarcane fields of the southeast USA. It is hundreds of years old, passed down through the generations.  My family Alabama & Georgia regions made this for all occasions as a dessert.