#25 – Pressing On, or Tenacity

Meme found on internet

I thank God that He keeps me going, though I have a chronic disorder called Fibromyalgia (and that’s bundled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), along with my unstable asthma and morbid obesity challenges.

I’ll talk to different folks about their struggles, and I know that somehow I’ve pressed past the places they got stuck.  That’s not me bragging.  I know that for every wall I pressed through I was crying out prayers, throwing tantrums of “why ME!?”, and really REALLY trying to find ways around what I had to do (exercise, rest, avoid certain foods, s-t-r-e-t-c-h stiff limbs, etc.).  So there’s nothing to brag about, just a gratitude that I didn’t stop where others had to stop.

It doesn’t help when others will dismiss my weakness with over considerations or just plain impatience with my limits. But I honestly understand that brattitude easily because I share it. I get mad at my weakness(es), and impatient with my limits, too. I have to learn more grace for the journey, even if I don’t find it outside of myself. It’s just part of the cost. In spite of it all, God has pulled me beyond what I thought I could do, and even beyond what I might settle for. 

I still deal with barriers, but none that keeps me from working full-time, or from living a life well lived.  I don’t know why, other than I took the message “this pain is not causing physical damage, as long as you don’t accommodate it” as the truth and made it my mantra.  I can’t fight off the fatigue, the digestive problems or the sensation of pain that keeps me awake at night – but I can darn well snarl at my body’s fear of movement and say, “C’mon!  Life’s not going to wait!  Get moving and the reward will help you get over the entrapment of the pain!”  For reference, my days are spent at level 3-5 with breathtaking peaks of 7 here and there, depending on the influences.

There have been really helpful therapies or medications available from time to time. However, for reasons God has not given me, (but I trust are very good for me) I haven’t been able to find something that makes it all go away. Opioids helped, but now I can’t get them. I only used 4 to 8 a year, but the epidemic is making all health care providers concerned and I’ve had to manage without them. I can live with that. The side effects were unpleasant enough that I didn’t use them often, anyway.

Lately, the brain fog is my biggest worry, since age has helped it smite me more than it did before. So, I’m still healthy and fighting my way through the haze that fibro tosses at me.  And it’s ME – overcoming fibromyalgia adversity!  Awesome!

Many of us have other obstacles to overcome, though. It’s not just physical health that smites us. I deal with clinical depression, and I have beloveds that fight with crushing anxiety, bipolar illness, and ADHD issues (thanking God for medications that really help!).

I have dear folks who have fought battles with cancer – and WON! I have others who have battles that are gaining them time to see milestones, though the cancer is still resident. They are still grateful to be alive and achieving their goals for those milestones.

There’s a lot to be said for tenacity. It often demands courage that nothing else will. Some folks think that high courage is the same as high strength, but that’s just not so. If you have someone you think of who seems very courageous – stop and say a prayer for them, or give them a call and ask how their strength is today. I bet they will be stunned that you called when their strength is at a desperate level. We help folks with flagging courage right away. But for some reason people with courage get waved at without any offers because we think they’re strong. Courage is not the same as strength, though. Be sure to help them grow their tenacity and strength by finding you near to lift them up, too.

My tenacity is held up by my faith in God, pretty much.

Where does YOUR tenacity grow?

#24-Fireworks!

Many family members are probably going to do one of three things at this title: Cheer, roll around laughing, or shout FINALLY!

Found here: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-fireworks-ban-repeal-20180211-story.html

I can’t explain what it is about fireworks that has been a joy to me, but I have great memories around them. And quite a few memories are as a pyrotechnic crew member, and family to others who were crew chiefs or crew members.

When I was young, it was a familiar park shaped like an auditorium with bowl of hillside to roll down, and then plant our blanket in the patchwork quilt of others as the day folded into dusk. The frames of the fireworks in the bottom of the “bowl” that had evergreen trees behind it, were there when we arrived in the morning. Men worked on them all during the daytime as my sisters and I went to the playground, annoyed the parents trying to play bingo, or joined in some of the games that were set up for kids to win prizes for winning.

It always began with everyone lighting a match, candle, sparklers, or lighters (no flashlights, tyvm), so we could see the wonderful glittery show of all the lights around us. It always ended with a display of the US flag on one of those frames in the bowl, and everyone singing the national anthem somewhere during the show.

As I grew up and began my own tribe of two sons, the firework shows were in a different park, and framed firework shows were becoming lost to history. They were just too time consuming, and too exacting for performances to guarantee success. Almost all municipal shows were aerial shots, and were fired faster, more close together. All of the shows ended with a “finale” of multiple shots in one targeted area. A great way to end a day of family time, barbeques, and skeet swatting.

As time went by, my sons grew into young men, and one of the guys at our church was recruiting for his firework crew. My youngest son would turn 18 just before the fourth of July, and he was STOKED to get paid to blow things up. Thus began my years as a supporter of professional pyrotechnic shows, and even joining as a crew member for a few of them. I take some blame for promoting my son’s interest. That’s because each year for his birthday, we’d ended his birthday parties with legal stuff for a quick thrill and send off for the weekend to come.

The rest was all on him, though. His sense of adventure, thrilling risk, lured him into the business for more than 20 years. But it was thankfully tempered with an appreciation for when things can go wrong. Because they went wrong several times with no loss of life on any of his shows, thank God. There were sometimes injuries, but stunningly, their guardian angels were amazing shields for the most part when cannons fragmented, finale’s fell over after being lighted, sparks lit things before they were supposed to be lit, etc.

That’s why we readily speak up about not having amateur’s shoot their own shows, or try to create their own shots. We’ve seen how – even when you are wearing the best safety gear, have strong equipment to guard against mistimed shots, and rules for the crew to follow that keep everyone safe before, during and after the show – bad things can still happen when you work with explosive materials. We have recordings of screams of terror, and children’s anguished crying, to sober up anyone’s sneers.

I have enjoyed knowing more about fireworks than I did before, and the magic is in no way diminished. I haven’t worked on crews since I got older and tired; but I wear my pyro crew shirt with a lot of pride and a wink at those who ask me, “For reals?” Yeah! For REALS!

I have to admit that when I watch a show, I can sometimes get so excited that I become a bit of a show myself. One time my son heard a crewmember on one of his shows yell, “I heard your MOM’s yell on that one!” [blush]

Well, we all need things to cheer about in life, right? I’m the family cheerleader, with no shame on my face. I cheer loudest for things that go sparkly, twinkly, and BOOM so close it’ll change the way your heart beats.

How do YOU feel about fireworks?

#23 – My Birthday!

{Author’s Note: This post was delayed due to a variety of details that are not interesting to anyone else but me.]

I don’t want to seem self-absorbed when I say that I really like my birthday, but I really like my birthday!

Found on internet: Fourth of July Cake

It’s not because I am showered with gifts or even greetings on Facebook, though that happens (the FB greetings). Gifts for adult birthdays in my family of origin were rare, and birthday parties were even rarer. In my step-mom’s family, you traditionally hosted a party for your friends and family on your milestone birthdays, and no gifts were needed, because you have all you want by that time.

As a kid, no one in the family got much for birthdays, though there might be a cake or some kind of gift. The real word is “might”, since my family of origin was usually too poor for gifting, and I think my parents were taught that celebrating birthdays was immodest somehow.

My birthdays outside of the family of origin were in jumbled places or times. The good thing is that I never feel neglected if I have nothing happen for my birthday from others. I do what I can manage and like for myself, when my birthdays come around. I’m honestly quite satisfied if the day ends without calamity or strife, and I thank God nicely for it. Aging means we’re not dead yet – a very good gift all by itself! So I’ve never been the sort of person who pouts about a missed birthday after my 21st birthday or so.

My sons are grown, and they usually make sure that I get noticed, and it blesses me to know that they make that effort. But if they are busy with their lives, and it’s nothing bad that diverted them, I’m ok with being overlooked. Life is really like that, and it’s not rude at all to just ‘manage’ the day. I’m proud of them, too.

This year, I am just newly returned from a trip to see my foster mother in Colorado and got to spend some time with a foster sister I rarely get to see (Debbie). After my other foster sister (Bebe) and her husband (Ray) and I left CO, we drove to SD to see Mt Rushmore. We ended up going to the Crazy Horse Monument first, and really enjoyed the gift shop and museum there. We drove to Hill City and enjoyed a meal at the Bumpin’ Buffalo (get their corn nuggets with ranch sauce!) after we checked into our hotel. Then, we went to Mount Rushmore and stayed for the lighting show before leaving.

We had a long stop over (due to a tire that needed to be replaced) at the Lewis and Clark Rest Stop in SD. I loved seeing the Dignity (of Earth and Sky) statue there, and enjoyed the shaded picnic areas within its grounds by the Missouri River.

I finally got home on Sunday; just in time to enjoy a Zoom meeting with my five sisters (one of whom shares the same birthday as me!). I was exhausted yesterday, so I slept a lot after work.

But today, I share my birthday with my sister, Susan; and with the US flag, Ol’ Glory. Yup, it’s Flag Day here in the US.

I have a LOT of flag themed things in my home, because for most of my life, the rules were that nothing could have flag designs other than official patches for uniforms or the flag itself. After 09-11-01, flags began to have permission to appear on anything and everything – so I began to buy a whole bunch of things in those designs. It’s been pared down a bit over the years, but I still have more than the average person would have.

All of that to say, I am enjoying my workday and glad that it’s my 68th birthday today! Birthdays are great because it means I’m still living, and that it’s an approved day to do something special for myself. Yippee!

[By the way, I had both of my sons check in today, and talk about doing something more later. Yaayy!]

Humble Pie – I’ll Take Another Piece

I found something I wrote in a different place, from April 30, 2009. I’m glad I found it. I miss you very much, Steve. I also needed to be reminded of what Humble Pie does.

Read On:

I had the MOST incredible day yesterday :rolls eyes with a grin:

First, I was so stirred up with the interview I had scheduled with a job search firm, that I couldn’t sleep at all Tuesday night.  I had printed out extra business cards to put in my case (they are specific, designating me as a Corporate Administrative Assistant with a pleasing admin graphic), and attached one to each of two resumes along with a sheet of references behind the resume.  I had two spare resumes – just in case.  I had made sure my information was updated, too.  I had the yahoo map printed out, and tucked them all into my black leatherette portfolio.  I had my black business suit laid out, along with the dress shoes.  My glasses and portfolio were set next to my purse, so there’d be no scramble for keys, glasses, etc.  But, I couldn’t relax and fall asleep.  So, I finally gave up, made my bed, washed up and got dressed and ready to go.  While I waited until it was time to leave, I refreshed and updated my resume on the Career Builders (CB) website.

When I went to pull out of the drive, my car wouldn’t move at first, then it seemed to move in spurts.  It was immediately apparent that there was transmission trouble.  I began calling anyone who might get me to my appointment – or a family member who could lend me a vehicle, while I moved in the general direction of where I was calling for help.

My son, Ben, works at CarEx, and he was already at work – “Ok, hon, you’re not my answer.  Don’t worry I’ll call you back later and let you know how this works out.”  Called my brother who had our birth mother’s car (he’d been hit and had his car totaled on Good Friday), and found out that I could borrow her car from him for the interview, so I headed to my sister’s house where he is staying.  Quickly, I shifted from my car to Ma’s, and called my interview to explain that I was dealing with car trouble but on my way and only 15-20 minutes later than arranged.  Mr. J was gracious and nice about how good it was that I had an alternative plan, and things were fine for that new time frame. Whew!

I hurried on my way, and thanks to cell phones, I was able to confer with Ben who said he’d stop by and see my car after he got off work sometime around noon.  On another call my brother said that the leak I noticed just before I left was transmission fluid, so he’d walk over to the nearest car supply shop (about 8 blocks away on a cool but not cold morning) and get me more fluid so they could see where the fluid was coming from now that I had none showing on the dipstick.  I got to the interview exactly 20 mins late, as promised.

When I sat for the interview, Mr. J was very encouraging, and enthused.  He noted how well my resume design showed not only the usual job history (which is complicated since as a temp, I worked for two companies and supervisors at the same time), but also my specific skill set summary on the right side column in a bulleted list.  This makes it a great document to use during an interview as well as an aid in discerning what value or fit I have to the openings they have.  I can’t tell you how good that felt to hear, since I’ve had NO calls or feedback from August 2008 until April 13th 2009, when I got one call for a pre screen on a job.  Just one pre screen call in seven months!

Mr. J had me fill out all the documents for me to be hired (they have health insurance that begins when I do!) as he explained that they have two clients that they wanted to submit me to.  One is for an Executive Admin position, and the other an Admin position.  We discussed my wage hopes and where I was willing to compromise, all in very positive tones (another encouraging feeling).  The background check shouldn’t take more than a week, so I should hear (or call him) before the end of next week.

As I left, I was just feeling a glow and talking to God about how nice that went, now please help me deal with my car…

When I was back with my brother, just after taking Ma to her doctor’s appointment (yeah, it wasn’t just me who was inconvenienced), I got a phone call (how did we ever live without cell phones?).  It was from a gentleman who’d seen my resume on CB, was I still looking for work?   I was?  Great!  Was I still willing to drive as far as I had before?  He had a client with two openings that he thought I’d fit well with.  I admitted that there had to be a wage that would ensure I’d be able to maintenance my car if I took a job that far away.  The wage range he cited was one I’d be HAPPY to drive that far to – in pantyhose and heels on a snowy day even, lol!  I admitted to the car troubles I was dealing with for the next week and a half, and he was fine as long as I had internet access to take the tests he needed me to take and forms to fill out there.  I have that, thank God, and that is something I’d been without before for over six years.  See how God gets us ready at the right times?

The car:  At the end of the day, we decided that the leak was in the forward part of the car, near the radiator.  The radiator itself is less than 2 years old, so we’re all thinking (hoping on my part) that it may only need a new hose of some sort to fix the leak.  If so, it can be fixed for just around $100.00, and I’ll have that by next Friday (yaaaayyyy!).

Now, I had to tell you all of that, cause I was getting whiny lately.  Not to any of you, and not to any family members; but to God.  I was doing what every good wife does: complaining at my Spouse – rather bluntly even.  I was telling Him that my previous husband had not put me in any similar precarious and dangerous positions as He has done; with my benefits on the wane and a bad job search response.  I won’t say more, except that I knew something in my younger years that I had forgotten in my whiny rising rant aimed at God.  I used to say, “Every time I want to whine at God about all the things I see going wrong,  He shuts my mouth by showing me all He’s done already (most often He was moving before I even noticed the danger) to respond to all of those troubles.”

Well, I remember it better today; and I’m saying it again.  I’ll take another bite of that humble pie now, with a generous dollop of Praise topping!  Don’t tell me that it’s a coincidence that my Friday Bible study was been reading James 1 last Friday.  I won’t believe it.

Jas 1:2  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Jas 1:3  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

Jas 1:4  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Jas 1:5  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Jas 1:6  But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

Signing the Lease in 2022

internet picture

I was able to sign my lease for another year at my home address, and I enjoyed considering how differently I feel about signing this year than last year.

Last year was all about changes and hopes and anxiety that things weren’t what I thought they were. I was moving from a quiet small place to a bigger apartment in a thriving complex. The rent was certainly more, but still affordable for my income. There would be an indoor pool and a banquet room – once the pandemic concerns were relieved.

I had furniture to buy for this bigger home, so there was a lot of anxiety for me about decorating when I didn’t get the decorating gene like others I know have it. I still managed to find the right things for me to feel comfortable and ways to include others when I would get company.

camouflaged! I didn’t make it, I bought it.

Having my own laundry facilities in my home made as big of a difference as I thought it would make. It’s still a new thing for me, and I love taking stuff from the basket to the closet/armoire without too many steps between the machines and where the clothes go.

Being able to afford renting a garage in my complex was another huge blessing, as it keeps my car clean for me during the snowfalls, and I don’t have to compete with neighbors for a place to park no matter when I come home. Having an extra place to store things certainly is part of the thrill of the garage, too. Though it’s small enough that I keep the storage low and mostly seasonal stuff.

I look back and see how I managed to host two family gathers (Thanksgiving and Pool Luncheon), and enjoyed them SO much in spite of things that went a bit wrong for each of them. The biggest things were the things that went right.

I signed the lease this year, being thankful for the hours my grandson and I have swum in that pool, no matter what the weather, now that I live closer to him. I have a wide grin as I think of the day I had all of my sisters who live nearby bring their beloveds and we had the pool to ourselves to play and enjoy on a really cold February day.

I am more comfortable with the memories I’ve made here in the past year, and for the routines I’ve been able to establish as well. I am beyond grateful for the new experience of having a patio to sit on with my coffee in the morning/afternoon/evening. My bedroom is a restful place, and my guests feel more comfort when they come thanks to the roomy layout. I enjoy painting in the dining room when I have no company other than myself, too.

I never expected to be able to live in a place like this, as most of my life has been in places with financial struggle. I’m grateful to be here, and know that it was God’s provision for me to find the right job, and the right situation for my mental health. These things allowed me to overcome the poverty and thrive in the years I was certain I’d be even more marginalized than before.

There’s no imposter syndrome going on, but I’m still sitting here feeling the thrill of knowing I’m in a better place than any logical timeline would have anticipated. I’ve learned that we can work hard, and do our very best in budgeting skills, but if you can’t earn as much as it costs to live, it’s a desperate lifestyle. I know many folks who are still in those places who are courageously working on hopes to see a better outcome, too.

So, I’m signing my lease, with a nudge in the rent with more gratitude than displeasure. I’m glad to be where I am, and that God has helped me to make it happen.

Internet picture

#22 – FAMILY!

They have been our witnesses of when we were thinner, stronger, and at our best. They’ve seen us stumble and keep us humble. Some cheer us on when we lose confidence, and they are willing to do more to help and support us when we have struggles. Not the kind of help that enables what is keeping us weak, but the kind of help that not many will invest in you when you desperately need it.

More than that – they give us opportunities to do the same. We can be there for them, and help them through the hard times. We can hug, cry and say “I love you” without a blush or reservation. We’ve proved it too much. Some of us live far away, but we keep in touch with phones and Facebook in ways that wouldn’t have been possible or affordable since 2005 (when free nights and weekends for phones became standard).

Friends will leave our lives for different reasons, but family just can’t leave us until they leave this world. Some of my family have left this world for the next. The grief is fresh at the times I would have told them about something they favored, or when I thought about calling them spontaneously, and then realized I couldn’t. Some I just feel the resounding echoes of their empty place in my world. I’ve gotten old enough to have many empty places. They still influence me, because of our love and familial bonds, and that’s why I smile when I miss them.

I thank God so very fervently and gratefully for the family He brought to me. I have a LOT of family, so I couldn’t find pictures of all of them (some I have shouldn’t be seen in public, lol). So even if they aren’t pictured here, my heart has some wonderful ones tucked in a warm and love filled place. To my Family! I love you all.

Where I’ve Been – Springing Ahead

I have been so distracted with health issues and enjoying the blessings of my overnight visits with my grandson as well as family gatherings resuming.

One of the best things I got to do, was to have my siblings and some of their beloveds come to my home in February.

I have an indoor pool to use where I live, and I invited them all to come over for some time to splash. I ended up with nine guests! Seven of them decided to swim, so we had a lot of splashing going on. I had them all bring their own food (we have a number of them on special diets), and some to sample if they wanted to introduce us to something fun.

My heart took way more pictures of different folks smiling at each other and hugging and even just talking or listening to each other. I asked one of my sisters to take some actual pictures for us, and she was wonderful in doing so.

I still hear how wonderful it was to break the season of “cabin fever” (where we’ve been inside for too long and we need to get OUT) with a water outing. We actually ended up having the pool all to ourselves, though any of the residents in my complex could have joined us.

I’ve also had some intense time at work. I had a young coworker die in February, and though I was grieving his loss, I still had to focus on training in his replacement. So, emotionally it’s been a challenge, too.

I’m hugely thankful that there’s no surge going on in my area, so we’re in a “mask is optional” phase of the pandemic right now. I’m still careful to wash my hands when coming back from shopping or any time in the public, really. I also will use a mask when I feel things are too crowded or just uncomfortable. It will take me some time before I trust that the people around me are safe enough.

We’re working on planning something for Easter, though it’s staying between my kids and myself as well as a sister who has kids about my kids’ ages to socialize with. I’ll let you know how that worked out, later I guess. For now, I’m just glad to be healthy, working and enjoying life right now.

Let’s get more of those spring temperatures going!

#21 – Word Processing Software

I want to thank God for WORD PROCESSING SOFTWARE.

I have often been asked if I wished I had attended college at the same time as my peers (1973-1977); rather than coming to college late in life (1994 when I began Community College full-time, and graduated in 1996 with Associate of Arts Degree). The answer is always a resounding “NO”!

First of all, there was no plan for me to go to college at any time in my younger life options, so I can only be grateful that a way became available to me AT ALL.

However, had I gone to college in the early 70’s, I would have had to master the typewriter, and my hands are not able to honestly hit the keys with real force because of how short my little fingers are. They can’t reach without having to tip my hand. That won’t work with a manual typewriter.

But let’s consider higher math activity. Do you remember how the ground crew confirmed the calculations of the space crew in Apollo 13? With slide rulers! I had calculators and spreadsheets for my college career.

These are only a few of the reasons I was grateful to have a newer (dare I say fresher?) education than my peers. Let’s add that while I was in college, Windows 95 began the changes that moved computer users’ necessary skills from a need to know DOS codes and other computer languages to wysiwyg screens and icons for shortcuts. The concept of “user friendly” had finally become a reality, and getting better every day.

All of these innovations made going to college in the mid 90’s a great time to begin a higher education. It allowed me to understand how much spell check can’t fix (only 65% capable of figuring out if that you need to change something when using the word alter or altar), and how much value a font face had for display purposes.

Today’s word processing software capabilities are far more extensive than they were 20 years ago, and I am grateful that I have enjoyed each new innovation as the years have gone by.

I enjoy all kinds of writing, though I don’t always have both the time and inspiration to do it. More to the point, I enjoy using the tools within software to find another word for the one I used twice in the past 2 sentences (Thesaurus, Synonyms: another word for….). I utterly enjoy using different fonts for expressive posters or homemade Greeting cards. And how many ways can I sing a fervent song of praise for the Undo feature and the Redo feature? O man, they are SO helpful and can save hours of work. Using a copy, cut and paste feature far outshines the old typing options of whiteout or having to redo the page.

I could talk about templates for resumes, when creating my own distinctive stationary (with letterhead). Templates for business documents like invoices, receipts and statements as money saving options for people with businesses and how they save on stationary when an address change happens.

When I was on a search for a job, I used the same letterhead for my introductory letter as I did for my resume, and I also created a calling card to offer to the person I interviewed with. All very possible with the word processer, a printer, some paper, and precut card stock. I was able to do the same for some friends who needed to feel better about what they had to offer, too. You feel special when you have something special to offer, y’know?

So, I know I’m not alone when it comes to being very thankful for word processing software, and all that it helps us to do, since doing it all by hand or on a typewriter is a process that takes so much more time and is an inspiration killer.

Hello 2022! Getting Help for the New Year

I’ve been busy with so many things that really put some hard demands on my energy levels (remember that I am a spoonie).

For the first time in almost 10 years, I had a home where I could invite my family to come and have a Thanksgiving gather. Since we were still unsure about Covid strictures, it was only the immediate family households of myself, my two sons and their beloveds and one room mate. I had to shop for a number of items, including dishes, glassware, and tablecloths – because that’s what the occasion means to me. I provided some appetizers, the turkey (and a chicken), stuffing, gravy and a really good chicken noodle soup. The rest was provided by the attendees (fresh mashed potatoes, bread rolls, veggies, sparkling grape juice and desserts).

It was a wonderful event for me, but it was also one that left me drained. It won’t cost me so many spoons next time, because now I have all I need to do it, and I have a plan that worked. But the first time always costs more in spoons. Even the work of putting it away made me realize that I needed to get some help in my life for those times. Christmas was suffering!

So, I finally found a service that does more than housekeeping, that is especially designed for senior clients who need help. Thanks to a wonderful energetic young woman’s help, I was able to get my home decorated for Christmas, get several pumpkin rolls made to provide as gifts, and even a few other organizational chores done that were overwhelming me.

I now have Raquel coming for 3 hours a week, and I can’t sing her praises loud enough! This young woman has energy I used to have, and cleans any area thoroughly. When she leaves, I am already inspired to do better work on my home the rest of the week, saving some of the harder stuff for when she returns. My sons no longer have to wince about coming over and wondering if I will need something done, and that’s a blessing all its own, too. I am so glad that I had no trouble asking for help, and then being humble enough to admit that I had limits. No one needs to hear an apology about my home if they stop by, and I never have to cringe about it now, either. It’s easier for me to keep up on it with R’s help.

We had been able to get a helper of this kind for my birthmother in her last years, through the department of aging (a federally funded program in the USA). It cost us nothing, because my mother was living on only Social Security for her income, and was considered low income for that reason. When she was describing her “worst” day, we were able to get her 20 hours of help each week. That wonderful helper did housekeeping, laundry, took Ma to her doctor’s appointments, and made her a good hot meal before she left. Life for all of us was improved with that wonderful woman’s help. I knew I needed it at this point in time, though I wasn’t low income. God has provided the means for me to pay for the small hours I need help.

The new experience of having someone ask me if I took my meds was amazing to me. It is always asked in a sweet way, showing a real caring. Living alone, I missed out on that kind of “care”. She’s learned what to do when my grandson has been here (vacuum the couch where he eats his muffins) and clean the toilet area because he’s a young boy, chuckle. She moves things to storage for me when the Christmas decorations came down, and helped me pack it all, first.

I don’t want to go on and on, but my life is so enhanced with this one big decision I made!

I was talking with two of my sisters on Zoom, and we talked about the different relatives we’ve watched go through their older years, as they brushed off our help, and become isolated. We agreed that it’s a pride thing that stops most of those who need help from getting it. I hope that they are able to get help when their times come, too.

I want to add that my son disagrees with my saying that it’s a pride thing, and said that it was insulting for me to put it that way. He said that there is a lot of grieving involved for the person who is realizing that they can’t do what they used to do very easily.

I agree that’s certainly a part of my journey as well, and that he’s being insightful about how it may be insulting for people to hear “pride” is their problem. But, there’s always the need to set aside grief and do what’s necessary and practical, too.

I don’t want to discourage anyone with a condemnation of pride. I want to encourage someone with the revelation that it’s only pride that is depriving them of a richer way of living – by getting some help. I’ve learned that helpers need to be needed, as much as we need to let them and express our appreciation for their efforts when it’s working in the right way.

Have you brushed off help when you needed it, too? Sometimes, if you need it and it’s not offered, have you given up and not tried finding it in a different way? I had thought of hiring a teen from a church, but I knew I needed an adult for my helper in this instance. But otherwise, I would have been glad to have even that kind of hired help!

#20 – CELLPHONES

I thank God soooo much for CELLPHONES.

When they first came out, they were too expensive to buy, and the cost for air time was horrific, so I couldn’t afford one. 

Then, I had a car breakdown in 2002, in the middle of a factory/warehouse area – at night.  Someone stopped when they saw me, and let me use their cell phone – for which I thanked them profusely.  When the tow truck driver heard that I had to borrow a cell phone, he gave me the side eye and sternly said, “Lady, there’s no excuse not to have one for emergencies.  Now, when you get home, you check the internet and find you a phone for about $35 a month, and it will be worth it to you.” 

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I couldn’t afford the internet at that time, nor a home phone. What I knew was that there was email at work and at the library, and I found an advert for a phone for just that $35/month.  Texting was extra, but I had 150 minutes and that was more minutes than I needed for any emergency I could think of.  I let friends and family know I had a phone now (couldn’t afford a home phone back then either), and told them we had to keep discussions brief. They were great with that, and I only ever went over during the holidays, which was ok by me.

About two years later, I had added texting to use with my younger son and eventually his brother. By this time, long distance became free; but I still had to be wary of roaming fees.  Already I was finding out that I liked being able to answer my phone while I was away from home. That way I could go straight to the caller’s location without pause, unless I needed to go home to put away some groceries.  The thing is, I didn’t HAVE to go home to find out who wanted to talk to me, now.

I loved being able to talk to my sister in GA for more than an hour, and not have to worry about the cost of the call.  We did more talking about everything we’d been missing out on for the passing years! Just that feature alone could bring me to tears about why I appreciate that cell phones that came into being.

I got a phone with a camera, and was astounded to find out it could take videos, too!  I have been able to record so many great things ever since I have had those features, and I’ve never looked back.  I always put the pictures and videos on my computer, too.  So I’ve never lost any that I valued.

As time went by, I found that I enjoyed being able to text when I had a quick question or needed to know sizes while buying gifts or just out looking at rummage sales.  Getting pictures from folks via text messaging was frustrating until I got my first smartphone, though.  I was late in getting one, but when I did in 2016 – a whole world opened up for me, and I mean that literally. 

I have used that GPS app more than 100 times (no exaggeration) because I moved to a new state, city and county.  I also worked in a city I’d never been to for much, so now I needed to know how to get around in my new hometown and in my new job town.  Sometimes I’d know how to get somewhere from my home, but I worked an hour away from home. So I’d need to know how to get there from work, instead of home. My son had given me his old GPS a year before, and I had already loved using it, but I have to admit – it was an extra thing to keep in the car and to hook up.   The phone is much easier and simpler to use – as well as being more accurate since the updates happen pretty much automatically.

I love distinctive ringtones that let me know who’s calling, when I have a phone that allows for it, too!

I especially like being able to connect with friends when we go to places that we can get lost in, but we send each other texts and find each other so much more easily than we did before there were cell phones.  I like being able to get recorded messages without having to go home to hear them, too.

It’s a bonus to use it to access the internet. So many of my friends do that, rather than own any other kind of computer.  That means that my currently homeless friend and I can still keep in touch, as long as no one steals her phone from her. I like that it makes their lives work well that way, and it doesn’t have to cost more than $50 a month in fees.

Really, there’s not much I dislike about a cellphone – as long as I still can visit with your face when we’re together.  Huggerz.