Friday, June 29, 2012

Strength

Written for week #58 GBE 2 prompt - Strength

     I've never considered myself a particularly strong person.   That may surprise some people who know that I live with chronic pain, have endured 5 back surgeries, dealt with my husband's bout with cancer and several other health issues that have plagued our family the last several years.     

     I'm not sure that strength is what gets me through tough times.  First and foremost, I believe my faith in God has pulled me through many tough times.  I believe in the power of prayer and know that God's strength will see me through when mine is weak.

     Secondly, I believe that I get through many situations on pure adrenaline, fear, and determination.   When faced with an undesirable outcome, my survival instinct kicks in and I do what has to be done.  When the alternatives are considered, what choice do I have?  Is that strength?  Maybe.  But I see it more as a strong will to not let hard knocks get the best of me.  Life is too short and I want to make the best of it.

     Often times I am mistaken as the strong one in my family because I'm the one who doesn't fall to pieces crying when bad things happen.    They couldn't be more wrong.  Even though I appear on the outside to be holding it together, on the inside I am hurting just as bad and falling to pieces just the same as everyone else.  Mine doesn't show because of a condition called dry eye syndrome which prevents me from crying most of the time.  I do cry occasionally, but seldom at the appropriate time when you would be expected to.    Some see this as strength and some look at you like you are the most cold hearted person in the world.  They just can't see how deeply I am hurting on the inside.  Sometimes I wish I could cry like normal people.

     Everyone goes through tough times and we all have our own ways of dealing with them.  Life itself is survival of the fittest and we all do what we have to to keep going.  So, if that isn't strength, what do I think describes a strong person?

     Strength is my 90 year old father learning to live alone after 66 years of marriage to my mom and her sudden death in a car accident last July.  Strength is my 90 year old father-in-law who is living alone in their assisted living apartment while watching my mother-in-law in the neighboring nursing home slip further and further away after 65 years of marriage.   That is strength.  That is strength beyond my comprehension.  


     










Until next time...that's my view.
Kat

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Kenneth and I on our 40th Anniversary

     For those who have missed me the last few days, Kenneth and I were able to get away on a much needed vacation for a couple days.  We had a fabulous time even though it was way too short. 
    

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Celebration of Love and Life

     

     40 years ago this Monday, June 25, I married my best friend.  It was the happiest day of my life as we started on our journey of love and life.  At only 19 years old, I had no clue what I was getting into, I just knew it was the right thing for me.





     As corny as it may sound, I knew, without a doubt, I had found my soul mate.   That is such a rarity that I knew no matter what lay ahead over the years, we would make it.     Life offers no guarantees so facing it with the right person was more important to me than any education or career. 

     Living on a dairy farm was a great way to start our journey.  I fell right into farm life with the excitement of a kid in a candy store for the first time.  What I lacked in experience and knowledge I made up for in my desire and willingness to learn.  Before long I was milking cows, gardening, planting flowers, cooking and housekeeping.

     My first big task was to make the old farm house into our home.  Kenneth's parents had built a new home across the road and were just finishing the move the day we returned from our honeymoon.  Once they were all moved, then the fun began.   We were ready to  begin our new life in our first home.

     When our son Tim came along our family was complete and our lives only got better.  Watching him grow, exploring all areas of the farm and learning to appreciate the importance of home and family was an amazing experience.  I am so proud of the man, husband and father he has become.

     We are now 40 years into our journey.  Like all families, we've seen good times and bad, rough spots in the road, battled health problems, surgeries, and even the big C, all of which we've managed to come through.  The main reason we have faced them all successfully is because we always faced them together.  Side by side, no matter what.   Would I do it all over?  In a heartbeat!  I can hardly wait to see what is in store for us the next 40 years!  

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat


    

 









Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Day With Friends and Family

     The prompt for week 57 of our GBE 2 group is "Two Days Ago".  I had hoped to get this written on Monday but wasn't able to accomplish that.  Since this week has been pretty boring, I am going to invoke my creative license and pretend like I am writing this on Monday.  I won't really be cheating since the idea for my post actually came to me on Monday.  Therefore, my two days ago was Saturday.

     Saturday was an awesome day!  The entire day was spent with friends and family and it doesn't get much better than that.  It started out bright and early, well maybe not so bright, when I got up at 5:00 a.m. and had breakfast with my hubby.  I don't normally get up that early since he fixes his own breakfast so this is a rare event for me.  I always enjoy time spent with hubby.

     After that, I got myself ready and gathered all my food and supplies to go to our second monthly Women's Prayer Breakfast at our church.  This is one of our new projects that has come from our newly reorganized women's ministry group which encourages all women to get involved through various opportunities.   Sister Jane decided to start a monthly prayer breakfast and I volunteered to help.    For this one I made baked french toast with nut topping and homemade cinnamon syrup and melon balls.  Jane made mini bacon quiche.  

    
      As good as the food was, that really wasn't the best part of the morning.  This time of fellowship and coming together to discuss and pray about our church, our community, our country and each other is such a heart warming experience.  I need this monthly renewing of my spirit and commitment and look forward to it enthusiastically.  

     Saturday afternoon, Jane, my niece Cheri, great niece Jayna and I went to Indiana to visit my dad for Father's Day.  

     After visiting awhile at his apartment, we took him out for dinner at Cracker Barrel and then to Wal-Mart to buy a new razor and groceries.  We had a wonderful time and I am always grateful for time spent with family.   And who wouldn't have a great time with this little cutie?


     By the time I got home I was worn to a frazzle, whatever that means!  But no matter how tired I was, it had been a perfect day.

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat    

Wordless Wednesday - My Great Neice

2 1/2 Month Old Jayna

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Temporary Lapse in Judgement or Insanity?

      YARD SALE!  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Clean out your house, get rid of your junk and make some money.  You know the old saying, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".   How hard could it be?

     I thought I had a head start on it when my friend Brenda and I decided to have one last weekend.   I had been cleaning out closets and already had some stuff boxed up.     Even though it was last minute I was sure I could get a few more things ready.   I cleaned out my pantry where I boxed up several baking pans, small appliances and other cooking items that I no longer used.  I also did a second go through of my purse closet and managed to weed out several more purses and bags.  Once everything was boxed and bagged, it was loaded in my car, barely leaving room for me.

     Brenda had just found out mid-week that her subdivision was having a neighborhood yard sale.  We had jumped on it thinking it was a great idea.  That was our first mistake.   A yard sale is never a good idea.  What it is is a lot of work!   You wear yourself to a frazzle cleaning out and packing boxes.  Next you break your back packing and unpacking the car getting to the location.  Then you carry tables and set them up, unpacking all the boxes you previously packed to attrack customers, setting prices as you unpack.  Hopefully, by the time you are ready to fall on your face you are all ready to open for business.

    For most people this may not have been such a dumb idea, but for us, it was pretty dumb.  I had just spent a week down in my back and Brenda is still recovering from knee surgery on one leg and is now having pain and problems with the other knee.  Needless to say, neither one of us had any business trying to have this yard sale.  I plead temporary insanity!   And did I mention, it was the hottest 2 days of the year so far?

     Bright and early Friday morning we were set up and ready for business.   We were so into this that we even grilled hot dogs to sell along with chips and bottled water.  We were prepared!  All we needed were customers.    While waiting, we looked up and down the street expecting to see yard sales everywhere.    Did we get a shock!  There were none to be seen.  We were the only one on that street.    Eventually, customers did start to trickle in and we found out that we were not the only yard sale.   Unfortunately, the rest were all on the next street over and not close enough to draw the crowd to us.

     Saturday turned out to be our busier day and all in all we did pretty well as far as sales.  By early Saturday afternoon we were both wiped out and closed up.  That brought more packing and putting tables up.  We were both on our last leg by the time we finished.

     Every time I survive another yard sale I vow, "never again...it's not worth it".  And this one was no exception.  Brenda and I both uttered those famous last words with every ounce of energy we could muster.  But, if you need any junk treasures, my next one will be at sister Jane's the first weekend in July.

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat





Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If I Had My Life To Live Over...

     This is the question asked of our GBE 2 writing group for week #56.  If I had my life to live over...what would I do?   To answer this truthfully requires much soul-searching and real self-examination.  It also takes the strength to be completely honest with yourself.

     My first inclination is to say, "Oh, I wouldn't change a thing!"; and for the most part, that is true, although I do believe we all have some aspects of our life we would do differently.  But as for major choices and events, I an quite sure I wouldn't change anything.

     We all have both good and bad in our lives.  Some of it by our own choices, some beyond our control.  If you read my last blog post, you know I didn't have the type of high school experience I would have chosen.  Would I change that?  No.  If things had been different in high school, I wouldn't have been so anxious to leave Milltown that I moved in with my sister in Kentucky the day after graduation.   If I hadn't moved to Kentucky, I wouldn't have met Kenneth and married the love of my life.  Life is a series of events and it takes us experiencing the good with the bad in order to make us into the person we are today.  Sometimes what we think is the end of the world is just a detour in the road that will lead us to where we are suppose to be.  I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  We may never understand the reasons, and sometimes those reasons may seem like more than we can bear, but I do believe these times of adversity are a necessary part of life. 

     If I said there wasn't anything I would change I would be lying.  There are choices that wouldn't have ultimately changed the course of my life that I would do differently.  I would have saved more money, spent more time with my mother in later years, took better care of myself, etc., etc..  These are not regrets, merely observations.  Life is too short to live with regrets.  I believe in making the best choice I can at the time and moving on from there. 

     Because of my choices and guidance from Divine Intervention, I have had a wonderful life.  The farm was a great place to learn how to be a wife and mother and to raise an amazing son whom I am very proud of.  I have no desire to "do-over" my life.  Through the many ups and downs I have become a stronger and better person.  I am content with my life, and really, what more could you ask for than that?

Until next time...that's my view.

Kat 











Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Can I Say About High School?

     High School.  I think if everyone was honest about it they would admit that high school is four of the toughest years of your life.  Reasons may vary greatly for different people.  It may be shyness, or a difficult time figuring out where you fit in.  Maybe it's  peer pressure or grades.  Whatever the individual struggle I think we would all have to say it was a combination of both good and bad experiences, running the spectrum from one extreme to the other.  If you were lucky, your good experiences far out-weighed your bad.  No matter which  it was, the combination ultimately made you the person you became as an adult.

     I would love to say that my high school experience was wonderful, but if I did I would be lying.  Oh, there were highlights.  I would never say it was all bad because there were some great times.  My freshman year was amazing!  I was cheerleader, ran with some great friends and got along with everyone.  It was like the ultimate high school experience should be.  I was on top of the world.  Then came my sophomore year and the bottom dropped out of my world. 

     I attended a very small school, only 26 people in my class.  Because we grew up in such a small town we knew everyone and always felt like everyone was the same.  We didn't actually have exclusive groups of popular kids; we were all just kids.  That being said, anytime you have that many kids together, some are going to be more influential than others.  That was never me.

     These are memories that have affected my entire life and is something I rarely tell anyone because it is too painful.  Without going into a lot of detail, I think that it is time to quit holding it all inside.  Maybe if I do open up I will finally find some peace from the nightmares that still haunt me.   Most people, if they knew the whole story, would probably tell me that we were just kids and to get over it.  Believe me, I have tried.

     I have always been a very sensitive person and a people pleaser.   At the age of 15 and 16, I wanted nothing more (other than a drivers license) than for everyone to like me.  I take rejection very personally and very hard.  There were 3 major traumatic events that happened that year.
     1.  My very best friend quit school, got married and moved out of town.
     2.  My cousin, who was also like a best friend, also quit school and got married.
     3.  Another close friend, whom I would never have intentionally hurt her feelings, apparently
          misunderstood something I said (and to this day I still don't know for sure what really
          happened) and she got mad at me.   Please know that what you are about to read is
          only a hint of how I was treated.   For personal reasons and for the sake of not making
          you read an entire book I will spare you the painful details.

     I'm sure you are thinking this doesn't sound like the end of the world to you.   Let me assure you this was no normal bickering between girlfriends. First, because of the 2 weddings I had lost the 2 girls I had always spent the most time with, even though I was still friends with the girls in my class (we only had 26 people in our class so there weren't that many girls).  Second, this misunderstanding got way out of hand and became some well planned scheme to black-ball Karen.  I had no warning, there was no argument, I was totally blindsided.  My friend got some older girls into it and I spent my entire sophomore year pretty much alone because it got so bad nearly no one at school spoke to me with the exception of just a handful of people.  I still don't know what was said about me that turned so many people that had been good friends into people who whispered behind my back when I walked down the hall, laughing and calling me names.  It got so bad that I finally walked off school grounds and ran home crying in the middle of the day, planning to never return.  I went so far as to enroll in another school, and moving in with out of town relatives.  The principal talked me into coming back.  I had a job at the local restaurant and worked as many hours after school and weekends to keep myself busy.  Just so you know that even the year from Hell wasn't all bad, I did have some guy friends from other area schools that I dated some that year.  Plus, I got my drivers license (of course, if you have been reading my blog for a while you know what a nightmare that was)!  Needless to say, I was never cheerleader again.

     By my junior year, my friend was over it and wanted us to be friends again.  I let it drop because I was so lonely and anxious to have friends again, but it was never the same.  We  ran around some, but were never the close, best friends like before.  She and another good friend had gotten really close and they spent more time together.  For the remainder of high school I felt like an outsider, always working as many hours as possible at my job.  Also that year, one of my closest friends was killed in Vietnam.

     By the time I got through senior year, I still spent most of my time outside of school working.  Another friend had gotten married and the other one had a steady boyfriend.   I dated on and off over the years but never anything  serious.  In spite of feeling like a complete outsider I still managed to graduate Valedictorian.   I couldn't wait to get out of town, which I did, moving to Kentucky the very next day after graduation.

     Before finishing up, let me assure you there were some wonderful, nice people that I went to school with.  A few of them I have been able to reconnect with through facebook and I love them.  Some that were involved in the year from hell, I repeatedly apologized to for anything I might have said to upset them.  I thought I had fully forgiven them for their retaliation, never dreaming it would still haunt me 40 some years later. 

      I do think I have finally figured out why I haven't been able to forget it; why it has affected me all these years.  Because of events that happened my sophomore year, I have lived 43 years with an inferiority complex.  I am still trying to please everyone, wanting to be liked, wanting their approval, but never feeling that I am worthy.  After that year I built a wall around my heart and was always afraid to let anyone get too close to it; afraid to open the door and let anyone through for fear I would get hurt again.  When I met Kenneth, he was the first person I didn't try to keep at arms length.  But even after him, when it came to making friends, I still tried not to get too attached in case they changed their mind and didn't want to be my friend.  It is why I am still somewhat of a loner.

     For years I didn't even want to go back to Milltown for anything, and didn't much.  Over the years, the pain has softened and I do remember the good times more often and have again found a soft spot in my heart for my hometown and the fun of growing up there.

     I apologize for the length of this post (blame Beth and Jo).  Thank you if you have hung in there and are still reading.  I have kept this bottled up inside for so long, but think I needed to let it out.  Cleansing of the soul, as they say.

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat









    

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Life is a Battlefield

     Weeks like this one really kick me in the rear.   This has been a week long battle between me and my arthritis and unfortunately, arthritis is winning.   I have been nearly bed ridden since Tuesday morning.  I move from the bed to the recliner and that is about the extent of movement I can tolerate because the pain is so severe.  I went to the doctor but only got to see the PA who thought it was probably muscular and suggested I use heat.  After dealing with this for 30 years I don't think this is muscular.  I'm worried about what it might be.

     This morning, I really thought I was better.  For the first time since Monday I got up and cooked a decent meal for my husband.   Big mistake.  This afternoon I am suffering horribly with excruciating pain.   Looks like I am back to square one.  

     I've always been a big advocate for a positive attitude getting you through anything.  I've managed to control my depression through pain, surgeries and life changing limitations, accepting that this is my cross to bear in life and trying to find the bright side.  Weeks like this really challenge my strength.   

     If the disc in my spine keep deteriorating and I end up facing more back surgery, my strength will really be tested.  I'm not sure I can handle any more.  I've already had 5 and with each one comes more nerve damage and more arthritis pain.  Enough is enough.

     But I will get through it.  Like I always do.  I guess I'm just a little scared.  I'm not writing this to make anyone feel sorry for me.  I don't need or want sympathy.  Everyone has their own cross to bear.  I think I just needed to write this for my own therapy.  To let it all out.  To vent.  As the saying goes, "This too shall pass".

     Music always helps so please enjoy one of my favorites.


Until next time...that's my view.
Kat

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tag, You're It!

This post written in response to GBE 2 week #54 prompt - self; and also because I was tagged in Blog Tag.



     I haven't played tag since my son was little and he will soon be 39.  Needless to say, I'm a little rusty.  Luckily, the type of tag I was tagged in this week requires absolutely no running, and believe me, that's a good thing.  It wouldn't be pretty if it did!

     I was tagged in Blog Tag by Caroline over at four under 4 (plus two) .   It looks like a fun way to get to know each other so I decided to play along.  Since I am required to tell you several things about myself, it also qualifies for this week's GBE 2 prompt.  Because of the requirements of the game this may prove to be a rather long post and I apologize for that.  Here are the rules of the game (which I lifted from Caroline's post).

     Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her. No tag backs.

11 Things about me.  Since I have already shared pretty much my whole life in previous
      posts it was really hard to come up with something I haven't already told you.  

1.   I am the second in line of 4 sisters.  No brothers.

2.   If I could live anywhere in the world I would live on a quiet, private beach.  

3.   I started my blog in August, 2011 while laid up with a broken ankle.  I started it as therapy
      to keep my sanity following the month of July in which I not only broke my ankle but also
      had to deal with the unexpected  death of my mother.

4.  Before I started my blog I had only read one blog, my niece's.  I knew absolutely nothing
     about blogging.

5.   I was a certified EMT serving on our volunteer emergency squad until my first back
      surgery prevented me from re-certifying.


6.   I love flowers.  I wish I could have them everywhere, inside and out.  Unfortunately,
      there is a very good reason I can't.  I have a black thumb and I can kill them quicker
      than I can get them out.

7.   Two of my sisters and I owned a gift shop for 6 years called Three Sisters.

8.   There is nothing I love more than spending time with my family and friends but also enjoy
       my alone time.

9.   Cats or dogs?  I am definitely a cat person.

10.  Seeing a rainbow is a spiritual experience for me.  There is something calming and
        reassuring about the beauty of it.

11.  The legacy I would like to leave behind is to be remembered as a kind person who
        loved her family and friends.  If I accomplish this I will have lived a successful life.

Now for Caroline's questions I am supposed to answer.

1. If you could have supper with any three people, be they currently living or not,
    who would you choose?
    A.  Mark Twain, Mother Teresa, and my grandmother Williams

2. Why?
    A.  Mark Twain because I think his writing and his wit are genius and he would be
          so interesting.  
          Mother Teresa because I so admire her selfless generosity.
          My grandmother because she died when I was only 4 and I never really got to know her.

3. Complete this sentence: The world needs more ______________ in order to be a better place.
     A.  compassion

4. If you won the lottery, what are the first 3 things you would do?
    A.  Hire a financial planner.   Set up a  trust fund for my grandkids.  Take the whole family on
          a vacation.

5. What are three items on your bucket list?
     A.  For Kenneth and I to take a vacation together to a beautiful beach in Florida. (If you've
           read my blog for a while you know Kenneth seldom takes vacations but he does 
           want to go to Florida.)
         
           Have something I've written published.
          
           Win the lottery!  (I can dream, can't I?)

 6. If you attended Hogwarts, to which house would you belong?
     A.  I am probably the only person in the world who doesn't know one from the other,
           or even their names for that matter, but I would want to be in the one Hermione is in.

7. If you had to choose only 3 words to describe yourself, what would those 3 words be?
    A.  Loyal, sincere and  compassionate


8. Complete this this sentence: the world needs less/fewer ______________ in order to be a
    better place.
     A.  prejudices


9. Does knowing that someone has had body modifications (tattoos, piercings other than in the
    ears, plastic surgery, etc.) alter your perception/opinion of them?
    A.  No, my opinion of someone is formed based on their words and actions.


10. If you had only one day left to live, how would you spend that time?
      A.  I would want to spend the whole day with my family and closest friends just having a
            good time.


11. What is the most thrilling experience you have ever had? (NOT pertaining to relationships or
       giving  birth.)
       A.  I would have to say going on my first ever cruise and seeing St. Thomas and St. Maartens
             back in January was the most thrilling experience of my life, excluding all family and
             relationship events.

Now it is time for me to tag other bloggers whom I would like to know more about.  Some of you that I would have chosen have already been tagged by Caroline, so Daphne and Kelly, I apologize, but I'm tagging you anyway.  I love you guys and just want to know more about you.  So, here are my taggees.

Daphne at my distant husband
Kelly at Diminishing Gene Pool
Laura at "Stoopin It" In the Suburbs
~k~ at Bloggit Write
Brenda at Fact vs Truth
Jo at My Wandering Mind
Beth at Word Nerd Speaks 
 Kathy at The Giggling Truckers Wife
Amy at From the Mom Cave
Linda at Linda says...
Paps at Thoughts of PAPS

And now for the questions I want you to answer.

1.  Why did you start a blog?
2.  When watching a movie, do you prefer comedy or drama?
3.  What author, dead or living, would you most like to spend an afternoon with?
4.  Describe yourself in 3 words.
5.  What book are you currently or have recently read?
6.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?
7.  What would be your fantasy dream job, excluding writer?
8.  If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
9.  Favorite childhood memory?
10. What one word could change the world if more people believed in it?
11.  What is your biggest pet-peeve?

My apologies that this turned out to be so long, but I think I have fulfilled all my obligations.  My next post I promise to go back to a normal post.  In the meantime, check out Caroline over at four under 4 (plus two).
In the meantime, I can't wait to learn more about some of my favorite bloggers, if they choose to play along. For anyone who chooses not to play along, I promise not to love you any less.  This is fun, but time consuming so play along only if you want.  I hope you will.

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat