All posts by rosemaryheddens

Every day is an adventure.

It has been nearly four years since I retired. I’m not really sure how I thought my retirement would be. But I’m pretty sure that I would have attacked retirement just like I have every other stage of my life–full steam ahead and don’t look back!  In no time at all, I would have taken on enough commitments to fill a forty-hour workweek, and beyond.  Fortunately, our current situation has saved me from all that. It has helped me to learn to live one day at a time–not thinking and planning for a future–but enjoying each moment of today.

I say, “our situation” because whatever we face, we are in this together. I know that friends and family members think  what I am dealing with is very challenging. But I am not sure that I have the most difficult challenge. Craig is not able to articulate what he is going through, so there is no way to fully understand. But it must be frightening at times to face a world that he doesn’t seem to fit into any more. He should know how things work and what to do, but the fact is he doesn’t. He doesn’t understand why I have to wait at a red light. He doesn’t understand why he can’t open a package of food in a store and eat it without paying. I’m sure he has no idea why I’m upset when he does that. It must seem to him that the world is a very confusing place.

That’s why we are spending more and more time at home. He is comfortable and confident there. He marches through the house saying , “Hup, hup, hup, hup! He goes out the back door and around to the front door where he rings the doorbell over and over. While this is annoying at times, it seems to make him happy.  He roams our acreage and finds things to entertain himself, giving me a chance to do what I need to do. This is the world he likes to be in–our world.

Craig’s brother, Mark, stayed with Craig for a few days while I attended docent training at the Highlands Center. Mark described it as “hours of butt-numbing boredom interrupted by seconds of gut-wrenching terror.” I agree there are times when things get a little scary. Like the time Craig followed the claims adjuster up the ladder onto the roof. It was probably only a few minutes, but it seemed like hours trying to coax him back down the ladder. Then there was the time when he put the grill cover back on the gas grill while food was cooking on it. Or the countless times when I’ve lost him in stores and amusement parks and while hiking.

Yes, I agree with the terrifying part, but not the boredom. I have plenty to do around here. Just in case I might get bored, Craig keeps me on my toes. There’s always a mystery to solve– Where is the power cord for the television?  Why did he squirt chocolate syrup all over? What happened to that screwdriver I was just using? Bored–NEVER! As I like to say, “Every day is an adventure.”

No good deed goes unpunished.

broken-eggs

When the girls rang the doorbell, they heard Mrs. Henry shout, “Go Away.”

“Mrs. Henry,” Amber yelled through the door. “It’s Laura and Amber. We came to see if you need any help.”

“Come on in,” She yelled back. As the girls opened the door, they heard her say, “Might as well. You already woke me up.” The wrinkled condition of Mrs. Henry’s house dress told Amber and Laura that she really had been sleeping.  Her thin white hair was piled up on her head so that it looked like a giant spider had woven its web there.

“How are you feeling?” Laura asked, trying not to react to her appearance.

“I have a broken hip. How do you think I feel?”

“We were very sorry to hear about your accident.” Amber hoped she sounded sincere. “How did it happen?”

“It’s a long story,” Mrs. Henry sighed. Amber and Laura were sure it would be.

“I was late for my Bridge game and I had my arms full of old clothes I was taking to the thrift store. The gravel in my driveway was loose. I wish I had a cement driveway, but Mr. Henry said we couldn’t afford cement so we had to have gravel. Anyway, the gravel was loose and my feet started slipping. I tried to grab a hold of my car door, but I kept slipping. The next thing I knew, I was down on the gravel. I probably would have lain there until I died, but Doris Duncan came by to check on me when I didn’t show up at the Bridge game. At least I have one person who cares a little about what happens to me. She called for an ambulance and they took me to the hospital. The doctor ordered an x-ray and said I have a broken hip. The next day, I had surgery. They put me in rehab for three weeks, and now I’m supposed to take care of myself. I can get around some in my wheelchair, but no one cares if I starve to death.”

“We care, “Laura assured her. “What can we do for you?”

“You can go to the store and buy me some things that I can cook myself from the wheelchair.”

“We’d be happy to do that,” Amber managed a smile. “Do you have a list?”

“I just need eggs, bread, milk and coffee. Can’t you remember that without a list?”

            “Of course we can,” Laura smiled. “We’ll go to the store right now and be back before you know it.”

            “Sure you will,” Mrs. Henry sounded doubtful. “Here’s some money. Don’t lose it.”

            Laura and Amber jumped on their bikes and raced down the street toward the market. Laura had tucked Mrs. Henry’s money safely in her pocket. After they located all of the items in the store, they went to the checkout counter where Margaret, the clerk, rang up their purchases.

Amber put the milk and bread in the basket of her bike. Laura took the eggs and coffee. They rode back as fast as they could, knowing that Mrs. Henry would be annoyed if they took too long. Just as they were turning the corner onto Hope Street, a large yellow dog ran out in front of them. Amber managed to miss the dog, but when Laura tried to swerve around him, she lost control of her bike. With a loud crash, she landed on the pavement, the back wheel of her bike still spinning around. Amber ran to help her up. That’s when she saw the raw egg spilled on the pavement.

“Are there any unbroken ones?” Laura asked as Amber opened the carton.

“Only two,” Amber said. “Are you all right?”

“I’ll be fine,” Laura sighed, “But what are we going to do about the eggs?”

Just then Amber realized they were on Betty Jenkins’ street. Amber and Laura knocked forcefully on Betty’s door.

            “What’s wrong?” Betty asked when she saw the panic on their faces.

            “We were shopping for Mrs. Henry, and we broke the eggs,” Laura explained.

            “It wasn’t our fault,” Amber added. “A dog ran out in front of us.”

            “Don’t worry,” Betty said, calmly. “It was just an accident. We’ll think of something. Let me see if I have a dozen eggs in my refrigerator.”

            “We just need ten,” Laura said. “Two of them didn’t break.”

            “I’ve only got six,” Betty told them after checking her refrigerator. “Let’s go across the street to Doris’s house and see if she can spare four eggs.”

            “What took you so long? Did you have to milk a cow?” Mrs. Henry fumed as the girls came through the door with her groceries.

            After they had put away Mrs. Henry’s groceries, Laura asked if there was anything else they could do for her.

            “Not today,” she said, “but come back on Wednesday. I’m going to need you then.”

            “You’re welcome,” Amber said when they got outside.

            “You didn’t expect her to thank us, did you?” Laura asked.

            “Of course not.” Amber laughed “Those words aren’t in her vocabulary.” 

From The Handy Helpers: Seven is a Perfect Number, available from Amazon

With love from me to you

happy-valentines-day-clip-art-hd-wallpapers-2014Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you have plans to do something special with the one (ones) you love.

It is good that we have set aside a day to show others how much we love them. After all, we do need to be reminded from time to time. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we remembered to express that love every day?

Of course, there are different kinds of love. Today we are celebrating romantic love.  For love we share every day, I believe the best definition  is the one in 1 Corinthians 13:4.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous,  it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Imagine if we all took that definition of love to heart and practiced it each day. What a wonderful world this would be. It would be God’s kingdom here on earth.

 

 

What are you hungry for?

foodIt’s late at night. You can’t sleep. You’re hungry. What is it you want?–a donut with icing and sprinkles, a burger and fries, maybe some ice cream.  It’s not likely that you will give in to those cravings, but they are still there.

In his book, Resisting Happiness, Matthew Kelly tells us that we are all hungry for something. “Figuring out what we are really hungry for is one of the great spiritual quests of life. ” We may think we have figured out what it is we are hungry for, only to find out that we are really hungry for something else. Of course, Matthew Kelly is not talking about a hunger for food. He is talking about a hunger for completeness. We yearn for it, long for it and seek it in many ways.

Sometimes our hunger leads us in the wrong direction. Sometimes we use our hunger to avoid doing what we should to achieve happiness. But God speaks to us through our hunger. He uses it to lead us to Him.

Whatever it is you are struggling with, know that through your neediness, God is reminding you that what you are really hungry for is His love.

 

 

The Geometric Jungle

geometric-animals

 

 

 

 

 

THE GEOMETRIC JUNGLE

by Rosemary Heddens

Captain Angus T. McNarrie

Went deep in the jungle on safari,

Searching for creatures geometric

With his guide and companion Sedrick.

For twenty years they traveled through

From Zanzibar to Timbuktu.  

Returning to the United States,

With empty boxes, vacant crates.

When asked by reporters to explain

Why his efforts were in vain,

He said, “There is nothing more to say,

But that the creatures got away.

Once we caught a hypotenuse,

But we were forced to turn it loose.

Though we were able to trap-a-zoid,

We let him go when he got annoyed.

And the rare reticular rhombus

Died of an unhealthy fungus.”

Although visitors would gladly pay

To see such creatures, I must say,

That it is surely sad but true,

You’ll never find them in the zoo.

Happy New Year to All

happy-new-year-hi  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with lots of time for friends and family.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about 2016 not being a great year. I’m not exactly sure why. For me, personally, it was a fairly good year. We were able to travel a little. There were some big milestones this year. At the beginning of November, Craig and I attended our fiftieth class reunion from Washington High School in Phoenix, It was lots of fun reconnecting with old friends and finding out what they’ve been up to.

At the end of November, we celebrated my mother’s ninetieth birthday. While not everyone was able to make it, we did have a good representation of family members as well as many of the residents where my mom lives.

On a sadder note, we had some dear ones leave us. My Uncle George–whose family moved him from Chino Valley, AZ to Kansas City, MO a few years ago–passed away. He was my mother’s youngest brother, leaving my mother as the last sibling. At the end of October, I lost a very dear friend, Norma Bennett. Then on the last day of November, my father-in-law passed away. While they will be greatly missed, we have fond memories to carry with us.

This is the time of year when we may feel moved to make resolutions. I haven’t really made any. As part of my preparation during Advent, I made a dream list that I think should give me enough to work on during this coming year.

Whether you make a list or not, I think we can all benefit from these words from author, Jon Gordon:

  • “Stay positive. You can listen to the cynics and believe success is impossible or believe with God all things are possible.
  • Each day when you awake, complete this statement:  ‘My purpose today is ______.’
  • Take a morning walk of gratitude. It creates a fertile mind for success. You can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time, and when you combine gratitude with physical exercise you give yourself a double-boost of positive energy and natural antidepressants.
  • Instead of being disappointed about where you are, think optimistically about where you are going.
  • Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed-out charge card.
  • Believe that everything happens for a reason, and good things come from challenging experiences.
  • Don’t waste energy on gossip, past issues, negative thoughts, and things you can’t control. Invest in the positive, present moment.
  • Mentor someone and be mentored by someone.
  • Live the 3 E’s: Energy. Enthusiasm. Empathy.
  • Remember there’s no substitute for hard work.
  • Zoom focus: Ask yourself, ‘What are the three most important things I need to do today?’
  • Implement the ‘No complaining’ rule. Complaining is like vomiting; afterwards you feel better, but people around you feel sick!
  • Read more books than you did last year.
  • Get more rest. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte!
  • Before bed, complete these statement: ‘I’m thankful for ___.’ ‘Today I accomplished ___.”
  • Think of your mind like a garden. If you weed the negative and feed the positive for one day it doesn’t do much, but when you do it every day you create a magnificent garden.”

That is quite an extensive list, but I’m sure we can all find a few things we would like to make a part of our daily lives.  Happy New Year to everyone.

Be happy this Christmas.

christmas-tree-man-happyThis has been called “The most wonderful time of the year.” While many would dispute that–especially parents trying to make the budget stretch–it is a time ripe with anticipation.

It is a busy time as we go in search of the perfect gift for everyone on our lists,  wrap and bake and decorate. When it is all said and done on December 25, will we be able to say “Merry Christmas” and truly mean it?

Since I can’t shop for all of you, I offer this as my gift to you.  I tore it from a devotional I read everyday, and now it serves as a bookmark in my Bible. I read it often, as a much-needed reminder:

Jesus said, “Stop allowing yourself to be . . . unsettled” (Jn 14:27) .  You’re doing it to yourself! Learn to “let go” and work on developing the fruits of the spirit in your own life. Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care. It just means allowing others to learn in their own way and through their own experiences. It calls for focusing on Jesus rather than obsessing on the other person’s behavior. “You will keep in perfect peace. . . all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isa 27:3). Fix your thoughts on God, not others. Letting go means caring about instead of care-giving. It means stepping out of the middle and not trying to influence the outcome by fixing, judging, nagging, scolding, arguing, criticizing, and regulating. It’s about facing each day with God’s help and cherishing each moment. It’s about realizing the only person you can “change” is yourself. It’s about fearing less and trusting more. And it’s the only way to be happy.

Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

img_0672Today is my mother’s ninetieth birthday. Sunday we celebrated with a big party. While we didn’t have the entire family there, it was well represented. My sister, Shirley, flew in from Washington. Her husband, Curt. had surgery a few weeks ago and wasn’t released to travel, but was there in spirit. My brother, Rick drove down from Pine, Colorado. That meant that my mother had all three of her children with her for her birthday.  Shirley was accompanied by her daughter, Tara. My brother’s daughter, Andrea, drove up from Phoenix with her two daughters–Danyka and Rachel.( I’m always thrilled to see Andrea who followed in my footsteps and became a special education teacher.) Tara and Andrea, together with my two children, Mike and Kirstin, accounted for half of the eight grandchildren.  Danyka and Rachel, along with my grandson, Chris, represented the eleven great-grandchildren.  Mike’s wife, Vikki, and Kirstin’s fiancé, David, and my husband, Craig, rounded out our family group.  We were also joined by many of the residents of my mother’s home who wheeled themselves into the dining room. They helped us sing happy birthday, ate cake and ice cream with us, and watched my mother open her presents. After an hour of celebrating, she returned to her room for a much-needed rest.

I insisted that our out-of-state guests stay at my house so we wouldimg_0673 have time to visit. It was the first time the three of us had been together in more than a decade. We had not slept under the same roof for over forty-seven years. So many miles and so much living separated us, and yet we found we shared a great deal of common ground. My sister and I observed that although my son and her daughter had grown up a thousand miles apart and had only seen each other on rare occasions over the years, they are very much alike. Both are confident, successful adults with high-stress jobs. Together they were a kind of tag team, taking turns entertaining us with their outlandish stories and their knowledge of football.

The miles, we discovered, are just geography, and the years seemed to melt away as we talked and discovered our bond as a family is stronger than ever. We all felt fortunate to be able to come together for a happy occasion. We know full-well, that at other times in the future–hopefully the distant future–we will come together for not-so-happy occasions. It was a wonderful time together and I will cherish it forever.

I have a rule to never venture into a store on Black Friday. This year I will be going on a 6.8 mile hike around Goldwater Lake with Mike and Vikki. But for those of you who must, I wish you well and offer this bit of advice. As you sit around your Thanksgiving table, plotting your daybreak assault, just remember that there is nothing in those stores that is remotely as wonderful as what you already have–your family. Embrace them. Tell them you love them. Reach out to those who are far away. Cherish those blessings that we so often take for granted.  Have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving.

Remembering our Veterans

remember-our-veterans-1Last year I wrote a post with ideas for helping children celebrate Veterans Day. I thought it was worth posting again this year. I hope you find the suggestions useful.

 

 

Helping Our Children Remember Our Veterans

Many of our communities have parades or some other special event to honor our veterans. Attending one of those is a great way to help our children recognize the tremendous sacrifices made for us and our freedom.  But Veterans Day is not a day off for everyone and though children are home from school, parents may still have to go to work. In that case, there are many other ways to honor our veterans. These are just a few suggestions:                                            memorialday6

  • Pray for veterans and their families, especially those who have died or are wounded. Pray for those on active duty defending our freedom.
  • Make cards or write notes and deliver them to veterans hospitals or veterans groups in the community.
  • Adopt a veteran in your neighborhood, especially if there is someone without family nearby. Invite your adopted family member to Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Create an online memorial for a veteran–a family member or friend. There are many websites available that will host your memorial. Here are a few: forevermissed.com, remembered.com, Last-Memories.com.
  • Display the American flag on Veterans Day. With your children read the rules for displaying a flag. Make sure that you follow the rules carefully to show proper respect.
  • Donate to a veterans organization such as Wounded Warrior Project,  Disabled American Veterans, or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Have all family members contribute by doing extra chores or doing without something.
  • Play patriotic music or sing patriotic songs. Challenge your children to learn the words to our national anthem, “God Bless America,” or “America the Beautiful”–all the verses.
  • Watch a movie that shows sacrifices made during wartime. Saving Private Ryan, Windtalkers are excellent movies, but their R rating makes them inappropriate for children. Warhorse, Pearl Harbor, U-571, Behind Enemy Lines, and Unbroken are all rated PG-13.
  • Read the Gettysburg Address and discuss it’s meaning.
  • Green light a vet. Change one of your outdoor lights to green in honor of veterans. The green light represents hope and well-being.

I would love to hear how you celebrated Veterans Day. Please tell me by leaving a comment.

My thanks to those of you reading this who have served our country. You will forever be in my heart. And to those who have family members on active duty, you are in my prayers.

 

A Shout Out to Quiet Kids

shy-kidThere’s an old expression, “Children should be seen and not heard.”  Fortunately, by the time I was growing up this expression was more of a punchline than a practice. I do remember one time when we were visiting my stepdad’s family in Kansas. We were going to the home of a great aunt who was very boisterous in her dislike for noisy children. As we drove there, my mother cautioned us about being polite and quiet. Once we arrived, my sister and I sat on the sofa with our hands folded in our laps while my baby brother fell asleep on the floor at my mother’s feet. After our visit, the aunt told all the relatives what wonderful children we were, even though we never said a word.

Under most circumstances, parents hope their children will be confident and able to speak up for themselves even in unfamiliar situations. But for many children, that can be a challenge. In my day, we were called “shy.” I was one of those shy kids.

I don’t remember too much about first grade, but one experience sticks out clearly in my mind. As I recall,  I rarely ate in the cafeteria. On most days, my mother packed a cold lunch for me in my lunchbox. Students who didn’t buy a cafeteria lunch had to eat outside on picnic tables. On this one particular day, the grass in the picnic area was being irrigated.  There was a announcement about it, but I didn’t fully understand what we were supposed to do. Being shy, I didn’t ask anyone. At lunch time, I went to the picnic area as usual, but it was all wet. So I wandered around the school yard, hoping to find the other kids. Unsuccessful, I returned to my classroom. My teacher asked me if I had eaten my lunch. When I shook my head no, she took me inside the classroom. It was obvious from her tone and demeanor that she was not happy with this extra duty.  She opened my lunchbox,  took out my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and handed it to me. When my classmates returned from lunch, the teacher made it quite clear exactly why they had to remain outside. But my humiliation wasn’t over yet.  Instead of filling my thermos with milk that day, my mom had filled it with a soft drink.  The soda had been bounced and jostled as I walked around the school. Now, when my teacher opened the thermos, the contents exploded all over her.

I know my shyness caused my mother a great deal of frustration and at times, embarrassment. For me, it was a source of fear and feelings of inadequacy. Nothing my mother tried–yelling, punishing, forcing–made any difference. It wasn’t until I became an adult and chose to be in situations that required me to overcome my shyness that I was able to get it under control and eventually eliminate it.  I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert, but I am on that side of the midpoint. I like to think of myself as bold and confident.

To those kids out there who are uncomfortable speaking and don’t like unfamiliar situations, I say be happy with who you are. Quiet kids are deep thinkers. They are cautious and think things through.  For that reason, they usually make good decisions. Quiet kids are okay working alone, which makes them self-reliant. They are creative and come up with good ideas.

To parents of quiet kids I offer some suggestions. First of all, don’t worry. Most children outgrow or learn to manage their shyness as I did. Focus on the positive aspects–those things you child does well. Don’t push. Your child will come out of her shell when she is ready. If you feel it is necessary, talk to your child’s teacher for help. Relax and enjoy your wonderful child.