Monday, July 25, 2011

J is for :

 
 


Jacaranda trees are all over my community these days. They are in various stages of bloom as they blossom in spring and summer. The jacaranda  are stunning when in full flowerage, yet messy after their time has been spent and they float to the ground to form an amethyst carpet. (They do look lovely against the shiny black hood of my SUV!)


The  purple flowers resemble little trumpets and the leaves are graceful with a fern-like appearance. 

The flowers land on cars, and in swimming pools and when stepped on, sometimes make an oily mess. Personally, I don’t care for the aroma of Jacaranda, because it has slight urine-like odor, but I love the beautiful blossoms.

I especially enjoy them when they line up on either side of the street; forming an arbor of vibrant purple and green.

It's so awesome seeing God's Creation. May I never take it for granted!





Monday, July 18, 2011

It's Him!

 

This week's blog is brought to you by the letter "I" and is based on a true story-
                sort of.



It was one of the days when it felt great to be alive; the sun radiating warmth on my back, and a cool breeze caressing my face. Life was good and I didn't think it could get any better. I was wrong!

 Lost in thought, I mechanically scooped the large yellow paddle from  side to side in the  greenish-brown water, maneuvering my kayak down the narrow river in that verdant island of Kauai. The lush greenery and the aromas of the vibrantly colored flowers lining the hillside on either side of my watercraft flooded my senses; distracting me from noticing that storm clouds blanketed the sky. 

BOOM! A loud crack echoed through the valley. Zig zags of lightening lit up the now darkened sky and the water became choppy. Several times, my kayak nearly overturned as I paddled toward my destination. I was not near an area suitable for portage and did not know what to do or where to go. I was not frightened, however, for I loved the challenge of such an adventure.

Suddenly, a middle-aged man swung down from a rope attached to a gnarly tree on the hillside and crash landed in a sprawl across my double-seated kayak. I immediately noted his rugged good looks when  he looked up at me with a  sheepish lopsided grin. After assisting  him into the kayak, I smoothed down my hair before studying the hunk beside me.
 It was him! I’d know him anywhere; those khakis, the open shirt with the exposed chest. The hat! It was



Since I was once again distracted, I had not paid attention to the weather, but now, the river was more agitated and rain pelted us like we were in the crossfire of warring BB guns. I lost control of the vessel and we bounced around like a toy boat in the bathtub.

Indie stood up, and with his trusty whip, lassoed a large tree on the hill, tethering the kayak to a boulder at the base of the incline. He held me in an embrace …for protection ... he said, as the wind churned the river like water boiling in the pot.

Abruptly, my kayak capsized, thrusting us into the
angry water.    

 My glasses flew off and I could not get my bearings. The river was not that deep, but the strong waves knocked me down as I was being pulled along in the current. Struggling to keep my head above water, I cried out:
 “Indie, help!”

He appeared at my side and I felt his strong arm wrap around my waist. Indiana led us to a boat landing and we sat in the mud, gasping for breaths.
 The storm ceased as quickly as it began.


 The  overturned kayak floated into sight, towing Indiana Jones’s faithful whip. The adventurer turned over the vessel  and there was his hat; containing my eyeglasses! He gently replaced the glasses on my face, and donned his soggy hat.

He stayed with me and assisted in returning the kayak to the rental place. He shared amazing stories and tales of his journeys and we laughed and cried. As the sun was sinking into the hills, he escorted me to  my  car. Unlocking the door, I turned to him to say goodbye;

“Oh Indie, thank you!”

His face bowed down to mine and our lips met in a passionate kiss. He pulled away, and tipped his trademark hat.

“My pleasure ma’m”.

Leaping down the banana tree filled hill, he disappeared into the banyan trees at the bottom.

 I got into the car and drove to the hotel. I knew the others would never believe my story. But I shall never, ever forget him.     Indiana Jones, my hero!”      Sigh

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

H is for HELP

http://www.pattywysong.com/2011/05/2-z-4u-me.html
Come join the fun!


Back in April of this year, I posted a blog about my attempt at weight loss and asked for help: http://msbarbiesblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-name-is-barbara-and-i-am-obese.html 

                 This is an update



I'v stuck with my determinatioin to lose weight and am currently down 34 pounds since the beginning of the year! I’ve had to give away a lot of my clothes, and now fit into some favorites that I‘d put away as “outgrown.” I continue to wear pants that are baggy, but the elastic waist still fits. I don't want to buy new clothes yet since I'm still losing those excess pounds!

According to the goal weight set by my doctor, I have 20 more pounds to lose; the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. However, I think I should go further than that, because I still see a very fat body.

About 16 years ago, I'd lost a lot of weight and was quite small. Everyone said I looked great, yet my brain said I was still fat. (Been overweight most of my life). I was unable to maintain my weight at that prescribed range and gave up. I gained back the 53 pounds that I’d shed, plus an additional 40.  I'm more careful now to not set myself up for failure by having too low of a weight goal.  I'm short (5'3") so can afford to have a lower weight range, but I'm also a lot older and will need to work harder to maintain the weight loss.
Physically, I feel much better. I can move and bend faster and can turn over in my sleep without it hurting to move. I still walk with a pronounced hip and have problems with the left hip but Ibuprofen helps keep the pain in check. As a result of more endurance, I recently participated in a cancer walk. I completed  just one mile of the two mile course; but I did it!  My biggest feat, however, was walking up and down the hills of a local water park. It was not too painful, and since I was having fun, I did not notice how often I was taking those steep pathways!    There should be no excuse for not walking as exercise!


My niece, her husband, and their three daughters are coming for a visit in November. The girls, by that time will be nearly 6, 2 and 1 years of age. (They are all December babies) and we all are going to Disneyland!  

My niece, who I raised since she was age ten, is not aware of my weight loss. She rarely reads my blogs, so she won’t know and it will be a great surprise when she sees me come November! I’m expecting to shed another twenty or so pounds by then, so should be able to keep up with the little ones. I’m really excited for this event.

I want to give a special shout out of appreciation to Laury H. for the support you have given by starting the Face Book support group. We’ve shared some tears and prayers and even when we are silent, I know the group is there to post a praise or a need.

 As I continue on this journey, I’d still appreciate any HELP I can get in the form of encouragement and praises. I will make it, but not alone. I cannot do this alone.

Monday, July 4, 2011

We were Kindred Spirits


Elinor Flint

“Gramma” was not your stereo-typical grandmother who baked cookies and spoiled the grandkids. Oh no! She was a strong-willed woman who raised her three children without their father, in an era that was not tolerant of independent women. She cared little of what others thought about her and stoically endured numerous adversities in her life. One such hardship was that of losing her vision to glaucoma during her midlife changes. Yet, she never allowed blindness to stop her from going to work each day and living by herself in an upstairs apartment.

I was a toddler when my family moved across the country from my place of birth and there was no interaction with the relatives left behind. I grew up neither knowing nor missing my maternal grandmother. It was not until I moved out on my own that Mom made amends with Gramma. I then became determined to get to know this seemingly formidable person that I knew little about.

I was twenty-three when I embarked on the 3000 mile journey to her home to meet face to face. Upon my arrival, before I was even unpacked, her work worn hands caressed my face as she felt my features in order to get a mental picture of what I looked like. Relatives that  had picked me up at the airport provided verbal descriptions of my appearance. This stranger and I shared the same eye and hair color and sense of humor. I liked my grandma right away and she liked me. We became immediate kindred spirits.

That two week stay was very insightful into my own family dynamics. Gramma experienced a rough life and was not one to share of her past, so I had to pry information from other family members. It was then that I understood why both she and my mother behaved they way they did. Gramma's mannerisms were like my mother had and many of which I also tended to display. We were definately related!

Gramma was not a Christian even though her daughters and other grandchildren were believers. My aunt would share the Plan of Salvation, but she wanted no part of religion and time after time, would reject Christ. I made attempts to tell her about Jesus, but she closed her heart. I felt I could  better witness by being Christ-Like rather than coming on as the detested religious fanatic.


After returning home I made frequent contact with Gramma. She often “knew” when I was going to call and she would wait at the phone for me. She was usually right! I would tell her of the adventures I had and it seemed she lived vicariously through my stories. How I longed for my grandmother to move to California to be with us, but she would never even consider it.
Gramma, right, and Mom


 One year, however, she visited and what a thrill when she experienced the Pacific Ocean for the first time!

The years progressed and she began to grow frail and eventually could no longer work or live by herself. As time and money allowed, I would return to my town of origin but it saddened me to see my grandmother losing her spunk. Ultimately she became bedridden with a fractured hip and required to be in a nursing home. All along I kept the cards and calls coming and Gramma loved to hear of my everyday activities.

She died at the age of 87, and I grieved she was not in Heaven and that I would never see her again. However, a few days after her death, I was talking to my aunt and she declared that Gramma did accept Jesus shortly before she died. I wanted to believe that, but was skeptical, feeling that it was my aunt’s wishful thinking. I asked God for a sign that indeed, Gramma was with Him.

Two weeks later, it was pre-dawn and I was driving to work. As was my usual routine I was having worship time, but my thoughts went to my grandmother. I was stopped at a traffic signal when unexpectedly out of the darkness, a great white bird swooped directly across my windshield and then back up into the sky, I knew this was my sign. I knew, because Gramma loved hearing the birds and it was a treat for her to get out of the house to experience their singing. Gramma really was with Jesus!


I still miss her, yet cherish the 15 years we had together. She was blind but kept on going. She had a rough life, but it never stopped her. She was an example to me of being a survivor and I will get to see her some day when we meet in Heaven. And she will get to “see” me!