Coincidence? I Think Not …


I RAN INTO A FRIEND, AS IT OFTEN HAPPENS, whilst shopping at Safeway. I haven’t seen her since I was at her house—about a month before I left for my trip to the UK, so it was a delight to find time to chat. Aaannd boy, did we chat! There was so much to talk about.

It wasn’t a chance meeting. Nope. There’s no such thing in God’s world. We were meant to bump into each other. It’s never just a coincidence. There’s always a purpose. Discovering that purpose can be a challenge at times, but I’m never disappointed when I delve deeper to find it. This time, it was easy. In our long conversation, I kept hearing a specific word used again and again—one I felt like I needed to embrace.

—verb (used with object)
•to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.
•to bear (a burden, charge, etc.).
•to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding.
•to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or affliction.
•to keep up or keep going, as an action or process: to sustain a conversation.

There were at least ten definitions in my iPhone dictionary, but the first five were the point of the discussion my friend and I were having—as in, God sustains us. It was like having a mini-bible study in the middle of a very busy store. It was kinda cool. And a blessing—for both of us.

We all have problems—whether personal, financial, health, or whatever … and we juggle the rest of our life around them. Some of us feel we must “marshal on”, doing the best we can with what we have—and feel the burden is ours alone to carry. We whisper to ourselves, “I can do it myself”. Like my recent ankle injuries … my stupidity (not paying attention to my surroundings, so I twisted my ankle and fell), my problem—right? “I’ll manage.”

Then, there are those that know from the get-go that they have someone very special they can draw upon—dare I say lean upon—to help them get through any situation. Not unlike each time my husband was rushed by ambulance to the ER. I never hesitated—I wanted Him to be in control of the situation, so I prayed. And gave the entire situation to Him.

Personally—and usually without realising it, I see-saw back and forth between those two very real “attitudes”—and sometimes somewhere in between. In most cases, it finally dawns on me and I eventually hand it over to Him—but not always (and sometimes I steal it back …). He waits—waits for me to realise he will gladly take the burden and carry me through. He wants to sustain me. But, I must remember to ask—to willingly give it to Him; to turn over the problem to Him. Until I do, I’m literally on my own.

Perhaps, by remembering that phrase—”He will sustain me”—making it a mantra until it is ingrained in my mind, then it will be second nature to give all of my problems to him in the first place and not waste a lot of unproductive time trying to do it by myself. This is a good week to practice, that’s for sure. I’m juggling way too many things, and in the process, some of the “balls” have been dropped, creating a poorer-quality than desired result. I didn’t give it to God … <insert severe eye-roll> … when will I learn?

Two events loom—Friday night (tonight!) and Saturday—and I am ill-prepared. It’s never too late to ask for help, but I must also be prepared to take on the consequences of my fumbling. I am willing. The events will go well, just not as well as I envisioned, God willing.

Have an amazing Friday and weekend … and may you find a balance between “doing it myself” and giving it up to that higher power in your life. May it be a blessed week … and if you are local and have time, please do drop by one or both events:

Open Ground Studios: Making Our Mark
1230 Fremont Blvd, Seaside
Friday, September 21  5:30-7:30pm
Artist collective group exhibition. Featured work by:
Alyssa Endo
Bonnie Rose
Cindy Davis
Deb Burke
Denese Sanders
Dora Lisa Rosenbaum
Helen Sakkaris
Koko (Donna) Kooyman
Kristin Peterson Guertin
Linda Lay
Noriko Constant
Paul Richmond
Renata Carettoni Abma
Susie Berteaux
Terese Garcia
Yvonne Gorman

Book Signing and Art at Gilroy Sidewalk Sale and Craft Fair
Downtown Gilroy on 5th Street between Monterey & Eigleberry Streets
Saturday, September 22nd. 10am to 4pm
Books • Art • Crafts
 Authors dj jameson smith and Joyce Oroz will be participating in the craft fair portion of this event. They will have their fantasy and cozy mystery book series available for purchase. Joyce Oroz has a new children’s book available—and she just finished another mystery (location is in Gilroy and Morgan Hill), which will be available very soon—find out details on Saturday. Author dj jameson smith will also be wearing her Painterly hat on Saturday and will have photographic and photopolymer prints on display, along with blank photo note cards—all for sale.
Come join the fun, poke around all the booths along 5th Street—we’re sure you’ll find something to your liking.
Event is free; family friendly.

Winding Up … Winding Down

{Oops. My apologies—I was having technical difficulties and was unable to get into my account, so couldn’t post this until now.}

IN WAYS, THE SEASON IS just beginning to warm up, in other ways, it’s finally winding down. Today is the very last day of my crazy book signing/craft show events.

The wind-down allows me to evaluate what worked and what did not. And it allows me more time to spend with friends and family as the holidays heat up. I’ve had to say no to friends and family so many times this year, I’m sure they thought I was a workaholic.

Being able to say yes feels wonderful! I love when I can mix work with pleasure, too—the two-day Christmas at the Inns was delightful, allowing me to photograph the Inns in all their Christmas splendour … and I was able to have some quality time plus a delicious meal with good friend. I’ve known this cool lady since we moved up into my little paradise—a good thirty-plus years! We have a mutual love for cars and photography, so it was natural to share the two days of fun with her.

There are a few more photography-rich events we are doing together, plus a concert before year’s end and I have a Writerly Christmas luncheon to attend, a sports car club Christmas luncheon, time with family, too … my social calendar is almost as crazy as my business calendar was earlier in the year.

It’s all about spending time with friends and family. Friends I’ve neglected through the year. I haven’t been quite so bad with immediate family—I’ve been able to spend time with my daughter and son-in-law fairly frequently. My brothers and their families … well, sadly, that’s something else again—with no one close by, it’s hard. Now … it’s time to catch up on all that has been going on—somehow.

The winding-down means I can relax, too. I can enjoy the holiday—my very favourite season. For me, it means Christmas lights, decorations, decorating the tree … giving of ones self. Nothing is rushed. Everything is savoured. Enjoyed. And lovingly shared. That’s the way is should be.

So, my friends, make sure to set aside time to truly enjoy the season—slow down, breathe. Fill yourself with the beauty of the time of year—whether it’s filled with snow, rain or sun … find it in you to be gentler, caring, giving. And forgiving.

May you find this day, this weekend and week to come blessed and filled with joy!

… Friends

YES, LIFE CAN DEFINITELY BE like a roller coaster ride … with plenty of ups and downs. Right now, I think I’m ready for a placid boat ride on a tranquil lake. I enjoy an exciting ride, just like most people … but let’s keep it to “now and then”, please. Maybe it’s because I’m becoming addled in my old age (tongue in cheek—honest … well, most days, anyway).

Yup … old age, as the saying goes, is not for the faint of heart. Sigh (and giggle … please insert eye-roll). I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m glad I have someone much stronger than I to lean upon—for all those ups and downs. And I have a whole village of friends for additional support. God is ultimately my pillar—the one that is there for me no matter what, but friends are definitely awesome too. I have friends that understand my cryptic comments on Facebook. Some are silent, waiting for me to give further information (they know it’ll come eventually), while others fill that immediate need by inquiring as soon as they hear I’m not up to par—allowing me to vent a wee bit … or to commiserate. We need all of it—well, at least, I do.

I hold my friends close like a precious commodity. Some I can go without seeing for ages … and when we meet up again, it’s as if we’ve never been apart. One or two, when I met them for the first time … well, it was as if we’d already know each other for ages, syncing perfectly, understanding each other. Others are there in my every-day life, tapping me on the shoulder occasionally (with a knowing comment or making a “knowing” face) to keep me in line, or are there to “watch my back” or give me a hug. Others simply shake their head knowingly at my antics and smile (or make a comment to diffuse a situation). And … there are those that are there, helping me to “let it all hang out”—goofing around, having ridiculous fun. Some know the agonies and trials needed to get through the writing, publishing and promoting of a book. I’m glad to have every single one of them in my life.

Sniggle. I must tell you of one such friend—a fairly new friend at that (so, I was delighted by her response). Over this last weekend, a bevy of writers (Central Coast Writers, to be more specific) planned on walking in the parade at the Good Old Days event in Pacific Grove. We were all at our booth when the text came for us to converge at a spot along the parade route. All but one (who had to stay and man the booth) headed up the hill to the location … and as we walked, I warned everyone that I’d be lagging behind because hills were my nemesis, but not to worry. They kept an eye on me & altered their speed to accommodate me (sweet of them!). I made it to the top (sadly, panting—sniggle) and we continued to our meeting point. Along the way, I was asked several times if I needed someone to drive me back to the booth—I declined each time. It was not necessary. When we arrived at what we thought was our meeting point, my body was screaming at me to lie down. So, I did (it takes the weight off the ankles, bad knee and aching back—and, oooh, it felt nice an’ cool on my achy back). I did tell them what I was doing … I think. Anyway, the next thing I knew, I had all sorts of people (including a fireman) asking if I was okay. I kept saying I was fine. Apparently someone thought I’d fallen. Once I explained why I was lying down (rolls eyes … isn’t saying I’m okay enough?), most of them backed off but the fireman kept asking if I needed anything … a pillow, water … whatever. I guess I said something that he laughed at, saying “Okay … you just want us to leave you alone, right?” I laughed with him and said thank you …

That’s when my relatively new friend (a writer) showed up. Perfect timing. She walked up to the “scene” and announced, “Is this a murder scene or something?” Laughing, I flopped my arms out in a “dead man” position … and she added, “Who’s got the chalk to outline this?” I laughed so hard. Nobody bothered me again. (Then she told us we were in the wrong spot, that we needed to go further down the line … groaning, I got up and we trudged off.) She diffused the situation so perfectly. Laurie, you rock!

They are all a blessing, in every phase of my life. During my ups, my downs, my goofiness, my trials and frustrations … in my sadness and elation.

I am blessed abundantly and ever so thankful for each one of them.

Until next Friday … have a blessed day and a gloriously wonderful weekend, wherever you are.




Techno vs One-on-One

WELL, I MISSED THE FIRST FRIDAY Art Walk in Salinas last week—I’d promised a new friend I’d make sure to attend. But, alas, it wasn’t on my calendar … my portable brain, so completely forgotten. Maybe today. Maybe …

I didn’t even get out and about till 2:30 or so that day. So, I also missed the Friday Farmers Market at Monterey Peninsula College, with all their lovely fresh fruits and veggies—and eggs. Plus the chance to walk around in fresh air. I just might make it this week (yay) as it seems I’m getting a better handle on getting my blogs done “on time” for a change.

“Curses to this computer!” I say … and to my smart phone! Sigh … too much—way too much—of my life is attached to it: blogging, my manuscripts, maintenance of my websites, keeping up with friends and associates on FB and the other social media sites, attempting to stay on top of emails (and failing miserably) … enough to make ones head spin. Unwillingly tethered to the technology to do the things I need and want to do to pursue.

Wonder how many other things I have forgotten and will miss because they are not on my portable brain(s)? I have the smart phone and a huge wall calendar that I try to remember to manually sync on a regular basis. I did so much better when it was just the monster wall calender. Now, many times I’ve had that nagging feeling there was something I was supposed to be doing, but when I find nothing on my wall calendar or in my phone … what can I do? (insert very sad face)

Getting out and being social is a good thing—away from the extremely non-personal social media of the internet. Yes, it’s fun to interact with near and far-away friends, plus it’s virtually (no pun intended) free. But, getting away from all of the technology is very freeing and allows for connecting on a more personal level. Sigh. I haven’t had much of that lately—the one-on-one stuff in real time—but when I have, it’s been delightful. Invigorating even.

I did manage to spend some time with a friend on Tuesday—it was delightful. An overcast—and eventually drizzly (yay! we need every tiny bit of it)—afternoon together, starting with a drink at Starbucks (well, I brought my own tea—I know, bad girl).

We continued walking around the Alvarado Street Farmer’s Market in Monterey, lingering at too many booths a wee bit too long (I eventually end up buying if I stay too long. Sigh). One place my friend wanted to check out was a used clothes store—we were there for a quite a while, managing a lovely chat with the clerk as we browsed the merchandise. I left with a beautiful pale green scarf. After even more meandering in the Market, we had a delightful dinner chicken special with artichoke and mushrooms at Rosine’s (I planned on having their salmon, but when he mentioned the special, I began to drool—oh, it was delicious!). There was absolutely no room for dessert!

Then, we popped into Old Capitol Books where a friend was doing a book reading (a tiny bit late—she’d already started her reading). My friend browsed the books while I listened. This is a neat store that I must revisit very soon and check their book selection. The monthly reading is definitely something I’ll have to sign up for. Looks like fun—and terrifying … intimidating for me with a fairly intellectual crowd of adults (country bumpkin that I am). Maybe a little too intellectual for a fantasy storyline? I did ask the group if they’d be interested in a MG/YA fantasy. They sounded surprisingly enthusiastic. I’ll be brave—remember, I’m a one-on-one kinda gal. I do okay in groups, but prefer small … very small. Perhaps I’ll even ask the proprietor if he’d be open to a book signing one of these days. We’ll see.

After even more wandering the streets of Monterey, we said our good-byes and I dashed home to take care of my critters. It was already dark. Five hours of exploration, interactions and fun. All in all, it was a wonderful reprieve from my time in the house (or coffee shops) on the computer. And for someone that hates shopping, all the outdoor walking made the shopping/browsing excursion far more enjoyable. The walking was delightful!

Guess I wouldn’t make a very good hermit 😉 I enjoy the company—personal, one-on-one (or three) interactions—of people too much. I do like my solitude, but … yeah.

I know I keep saying it, but I really do think it’s time to get back to Old School Ways. Get away from the Electronic Age we are so entrenched in. Ways I can do this is by working my manuscript by hand (to be transcribed into the computer later—can’t get away from that part completely), switching to a flip phone (just forward my calls from the smart phone to it), hand scribing my blogs (again, to be transcribed later) … so many things I could do to disconnect without completely giving “IT” up. Just stepping back a bit. Putting some space between me and all those electronic techno gadgets.

Engaging life again more fully.

Then again, there are days that are just the opposite—crammed full of things that I do, leaving very little time to breath. A little too engaged with life. Thankfully, those are only peppered into my calendar schedule … but some how this week had an abundance of those days scheduled in. Thankfully, a few of them fell through.

I know God helps me balance those chaotic days. Absolutely. Especially when I forget to do it myself. The unexpected call from my friend to spend some time together is one perfect example. Another is the last minute cancellations. He wants to remind me that balance in my life is important.

Now, it’s up to me to keep that balance. With His help, of course. It’s never wrong to lean on God when needed.

May your days be filled with blessings and balance.

It’s All About Taking Time…

THERE WAS A RECENT POST ON FACEBOOK that has me thinking (oh, that can be a very dangerous thing, y’know…). Thinking very seriously about where the digital social media is taking us — and that we seem to be following it without a thought.

We spend so much time on the internet and our phones. On Facebook, texting or sending out tweets to friends and followers. We gather up Friends and Followers as if they were a prize — the more the merrier. Liking the posts and comments made by Friends. Tweeting and retweeting. Facebook has made Liking almost mandatory if you want to keep seeing your Friends’ posts. So, it’s become a habit to Like a Friends post, just so they will stay visible.

Sadly, even I have been caught up in the frenzy on Facebook. When I first signed up with this new social media, it was to monitor my middle-school aged daughter, who pleaded with me to have an account when it became the rage. Then I let it go dormant for awhile after she came “of age”, but realized I could use it as a way to keep in touch with friends and family that were not close by. A way to communicate without having to spend money on postage. A way to peek into and follow their lives, where once I was not able. I made sure to limit my Friends (under fifty at first, then one hundred) to keep it manageable — so I could spend quality time visiting their pages, interacting. Later, I decided I could possibly use it as a tool in my business. I created a business page and began opening the doors to Friends in the writing and art world, and found I was collecting Friends of Friends, too — and then, even people I didn’t know directly or indirectly. I became Friends with total strangers, which is not a bad thing — if done with caution, and some have become good friends that I have met in person.

As time has passed, I found that I spent more time clicking on Like than commenting. I gave up on my Friend limit and am horrified to find that I have at least 226 Friends. I know some of those Friends are nearing four-digit numbers for friends (shudder). How on earth can we make personal interactions with so many? Somewhere along the line, personal interactions fell to the wayside. I guess I could justify the number by realizing a fairly high percentage are “business” contacts that don’t require constant visits, just an occasional nod of the head now and then. I do keep closer tabs on some of these business Friends. I need to go in and look to see just who I have as Friends and figure out how I’m going to keep a more personal connection with everyone.

I haven’t even begun to connect with the Twittersphere…I mean, I do have an account, but I’m not spending much time there. Just an occasional tweet here and there. I have a Pinterest account, too. Again, I’m having trouble justifying the time needed to keep it going.

For awhile, I tried to not just Like a post or comment, but rather take the time to interact. To make comments. And I did find it more enjoyable. But, as time has gone by, it has become exhausting due to the number of Friends I have. I’m finding myself slipping back into old habits — simply Liking a post or comment, rather than saying anything. At first, I justified it because I didn’t have anything to say, other than I liked what was said or posted…and why clutter up their page with meaningless conversation. Then, time became an issue. There’s so much to do (in my life outside of the digital world) and it seems like I have too many Friends to keep up the personal connection. Now, I’m almost back to square one and wondering what to do next.

It’s not just Facebook. I have a smart phone that gives me way too much access to everything…emails, Facebook, texting and of course, phone calling…guess I’m an old-fashioned kinda girl and all this technology is — well, daunting is the wrong word, but I’ll use it for now…it’s not like I feel like a ‘techno dinosaur’ with the technology. I know how to use it. How much do I want and or need to use it? Just how ‘in touch’ with the world do I want/need to be at a moments notice? Wouldn’t once or twice a day suffice?

Are you getting frustrated with the constant, easy-access of all the social media too? Let me hear from you. Tell me what you think.

So, for now I’m going to just let things settle for a bit, think about what’s happening and ponder over some choices. I need to stay ‘in touch’ because of the line of work I’m in, but to what degree? That’s what I’m going to need to decide.

Maybe I’ll just go back to the real world and do face-to-face connections. The old-fashioned way…

How do you handle all of this technology?




(I ‘found’ this draft recently, when I was finally able to get into my blog. I am working on another entry right now, but thought this would be fun to post before you see the next one.)

WHETHER IT IS MY MIND OR MY WHOLE being that is doing the wandering, I find it fun to explore.

I’ve done a lot of travel recently, and will be doing even more in the near future. Sometimes it all gets jumbled in my mind…where I’ve been when…and for how long. Little trips close together are the worst. If I have to consult the calendar, does that mean the trip was not a memorable one? Of course not! It just means this poor brain has become very dependent on the “portable brain” (aka iPhone calendar) for much of the “trivial” things like dates and places to jog the great memories to the forefront.

When I do physical traveling, there are always sights to be seen, new things to experience–even if I’ve been there before, I am always able to find something new. Always. And within the physical travel, well, there will always be mental wanderings…it just cannot be helped. My mindful meanderings can take me anywhere, which is a delight in itself. I may meander into the minefield of my writings, fraught with anxieties of how to proceed. Or perhaps I might find myself dodging through the lists of things that need doing.

…wait.  I did say my wanderings were a delight, right?  Well, even with the anxieties and lists, I find comfort in knowing things will get done, perhaps not right away, but they will get done. And, usually, within this state of mind, I am able to iron out some of the kinks and hiccups in my storyline or lists, knowing how and where to proceed.  Once those anxieties and lists are confronted, my mind can meander into memories of books recently read–reliving the adventure, or even just let my mind float around in dreams. And there’s always trips to be brainstormed or memories of past travels to explore in my mind.

My recent travels began with Pleasanton: two days of heat (oh, my…lots of heat!), Celtic food, Games, and music with friends…and more food.  Aaah…the music. Celtic music

Celtic Drummer

Celtic Drummer getting into the beat (for some reason, the drum was cut out of the photo–sorry!)

goes to the soul.  The drums.  Oh, yes!  My friend introduced me to a new band that was playing–I love Taiko (Japanese) drumming, but this drumming (amplified and accompanied by other instruments) was truly amazing! Here’s where the mind comes into play. The drums, for me at least, allow my mind to dance…wander freely. Like a release from the constraints of daily life. I always feel lighter after listening to this type of music. More alive, revved up.

The lines to buy their music (my heart sunk when I was told ‘cash only’ once I got to the front) were long, long, long…I was saddened that I didn’t have enough cash since I always refuse to use ATMs that pepper large events like this. So, I do plan on getting the music online…one of these days. It won’t be the same, playing the CD on my player…just won’t be the same. Sigh. But, it will allow my mind to free up all the clutter, become refreshed so I can dig back into my writing, or my art with new eyes.

The Seattle trip was mostly to see two very special friends that I met in Monterey when Lynne and I were learning German at Monterey Peninsula College. We became fast friends and even when (soon after class was over) she and Dan were shipped overseas, I managed to make a visit to see them in Europe. We had great fun, leaving me with lasting memories that continue to make me smile. Now, Dan was retiring and throwing a retirement party. I didn’t want to miss this, so I hopped on a train (without a sleeper berth) to Seattle. Again. Plenty of memories. Plenty of experiences. Some I do not wish to repeat, such as acquiring a sinus infection from the long train ride (aggravated by my stupidity, as I kept my face in the smoky presence of a fire I was trying to rekindle in a fire pit–just a day before the long journey home). It still lingers, but I am feeling much better…most of the time. It will eventually subside completely and I’ll be back to my busy self once again…but until then, I curse my stupidity. But, aside from that, it was an exceptionally wonderful time, meeting new friends (some that live “right next door” in Monterey!), touring the Seattle area in the style only known to these two precious people and their friends…their rental van was lovingly dubbed “the prison van” after the first ‘tour’ which I missed…but, no worries–I soon found out how it got it’s name. Great food, friendly conversations, incredible sights–and I even took some photos as we made a dash for the Wharf area and Seattle’s Farmers Market–walking all over creation one day (we even managed to sneak in

Fisherman's Wharf, Seattle WA

Fisherman’s Wharf in Seattle, viewing the ferries, carrying passengers to the Olympia Peninsula

a glimpse of the Space Needle before heading home); then the Olympia Peninsula, driving up the coast, then back to downtown Seattle the next day. Sadly, they dropped me at the

Space Needle behind a ginormous Music Museum in Downtown Seattle

Space Needle behind a ginormous Music Museum in Downtown Seattle

Music Museum...with refelction of Seattle Space Needle

Music Museum…with refelction of Seattle Space Needle

Hostel I was staying at that night so I could easily make it to the train station the next day. I didn’t want it to end so soon. We bid our fond farewells and I took with me wonder memories and visions firmly planted in my mind.

Shortly, I will be taking a PhotoTrip (as I like to call it) to Vegas. The destination is for a wedding, but I seldom find the opportunity to capture the stark beauty of the desert, so I decided I will drive. I am looking forward to this, both photographically and for the chance to spend time with relatives that I see far to infrequently. There will be a separate blog for that trip (probably in the form of a photo blog–flora and fauna only…)–I am planning on many wonderful memories to come from this trip.

Until then…have a blessed day!



Say Aaahhhh…

I HAVEN’T BEEN TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM for quite some time.  Apparently things have changed drastically since then.  Or, perhaps it was simply because of the overwhelming number of flu cases that have begun to poured into the ER this year.

The visit certainly provided me with heaps of fodder for blogging (she says with a smile), though, I think most of it might sound more like complaining than anything.  Well…maybe.

It was with great reluctance that I entered the bowels of the hospital…it always seems such a waste of time:  the usual four hours it takes to process, assess, poke and prod, then diagnose, no matter how bad I am feeling.  And, unfortunately, whether there for an illness or visiting a sick friend/relative, I usually end up leaving with a sinus infection (I forgot that little gem last night)…my body does not like air conditioning (especially hospital’s forced air a/c) for more than about 15 minutes.

At about three hours into the visit, I finally made it past the waiting room and was relieved, happy I’d still make it home at a reasonable hour. That feeling of hope was dashed when the lady escorted me passed several people sitting in chairs in the hallway.  She mumbled something about getting me into an exam room as soon as one was available.  And left me to more waiting.

Funny thing, waiting.  I’m working on a blog entry about waiting, so I won’t go there right now.  That’s a whole other story.  But, I will say, I don’t wear a watch anymore and depend on my cell phone for entertainment and checking time.  And I could not see a clock anywhere to tell me what time it might be, so occasionally, I’d check my cell.  I only had 23% power left on my cell when I walked in.  By then, I was down to 10% and had shut the phone off so I’d have enough power to call for a pick up.  I had not driven because I was plagued with bouts of dizziness, and it would have been foolish to get behind the wheel.

My dizziness felt like it was long gone, so I wanted to bolt — but since I’d taken a taxi, I was stuck and felt obligated to see this through.  The room did not materialize until after the nurse did another assessment of each of us in the hallway, the doctor had come through and questioned and “examined” us in plain view of each other, and I was temporarily escorted (I must have looked drunk as I weaved up and down the hall–at least not from dizziness, but I was having a wee bit of balance issues by then) into a tiny room to do an EKG…then, back to my seat in the hall for even more waiting.

I think it’s safe to say that my hospital has outgrown it’s emergency room facilities–again.   Even with all of the recent expansion it’s been doing, they need a larger facility (and more staff wouldn’t be a bad idea–those poor doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff were working their collective tails off!).  Stacking patients in the hallway behind closed doors to make room for the next wave of patients is not my idea of efficiency…but I guess, one must do what one must do…

Finally, in a room.  And things moved a bit faster then.  But my first clue about how much time had actually passed was when the x-ray tech came to take me for some tests — he mentioned he had come on duty at 11:30.  I was was shocked and asked what the time was — his answer?  “About 12:30 or 1.”  I had come into the ER around 6:30-6:45 in the evening.  All I could do was sigh.  Thank God for patience.

When it was all said and done, and I was properly assessed, poked, prodded, x-rayed and diagnosed, I had been there over seven hours.  A record I do not ever want to repeat.

A very dear — and clearly dedicated — friend of mine pulled herself out of bed to come pick me up and take me home…I will be forever in her debt for her rising above and beyond the duty of friendship to rescue me from the hospital and deliver me safely to my home and the sanctuary of a warm (did I mention the hospital was freezing?), cozy bed.

I thank God again and again for patience, and especially for friends like Nan.  They are precious gems, hard to find, to be held close to the heart.  Thank you Nan!

Corn Flakes Kind of Day

Today is a corn flakes kind of day. I certainly don’t need the carbs.  Nor the extra food. I just ate lunch.

But sometimes, I go with what my body seems to be craving — I know, with a relatively large common sense filter, it really does know what’s best. But, sometimes it is hard to discern what the craving truly is.

So, today, since I had a small lunch, I knew I’d want more of something. I tried a spoonful of Nutella, which triggered a desire for even more. I knew that no quantity of Nutella (I think I could eat a whole jar–I’d be sick, but I could eat it!) would satisfy the craving, so I thought about it. To satisfy the sugar needs & fill me up healthily, corn flakes seem to have become my standby.

Cravings come in all sizes and shapes.  Cravings for food, possessions, success, friendships, conversation, change in environment, intimacy. That only names a few, to be sure!

Constantly acquiring possessions or battling your way up the ladder of success doesn’t necessarily fulfill the cravings — it can be a symptom of something else. Conversations need to be more that filling silence. Constantly moving about to see new things may say more about you than you think.

Friendships and intimacy — “oh, yeah! I know what you’re talking about there! Wink-wink, nudge-nudge…” — also come in all sizes and shapes — not just in a sexual context.

Relationships with friends. An ongoing relationship, hopefully always growing, with God. For me, these are the most cherished of intimate relationships. To know and be willing to be known fully. Being available, rain or shine, no matter what your temperament or perceived availability is at the moment. Your friends could need you at any time, just as you might need them. God wants me all the time. And I know, though there are moments I don’t want to admit it, I need Him all the time! I love this about my relationships with my friends and God. It a wonderful constant. It is so much easier with my friends, though — to be available, but of course, do I try to put God at the center of my life to keep it in balance and to keep it running smoothly, which will allow me to be there for my friends.

There are times I do not always succeed. But, thankfully, both my close friends, and especially God are forgiving in my moments of weakness. I try not to let my cravings ‘lead’ my feelings, but it certainly does help that I do crave friendships. It makes me want to try to reciprocate my feelings. I am quietly reminded by God that I am not the only one in the equation. My friends are on the receiving end, wanting a giving friendship too. And conversation. Or, just a little time.  Time to be together.

I have a few that love an occasional change of environments — like me, enjoying tromping through bushes, up hills and down to creeks, to marvel at the cornucopia of beauty that has been placed there before us by God. We may speak very little, only soaking up all that we can, either visually or through what we hear, with only the clicking of our cameras disturbing the peace of the moment. Others simply want one-on-one time, with a cup of coffee to catch up on what’s been going on in our lives. Some like to drag me out biking (I do love it, really) or to go walking on the beach to collect sea glass. In each case, I treasure what makes each friend tick: their up days, down days, likes and dislikes, days of celebration and grief, triumphs and pitfalls.

I know that God sees in me all of these things (and oh, so much more) that I see in my friends, cherishing me in my good moments as well as my bad moments. I am ever so thankful for that. Thankful for His grace. Grace to cover all the stupid things I do in my life. And to still love me, despite my gross imperfections. In return, I simply must keep Him in my sight, trying my best to follow the path He has for me.

Oh. And that usually involves friends.