Friday, January 31, 2014

Be Careful What You Say and What You Do

Every day is a day for learning and for teaching no matter what your age.  As much as I like to believe I'm smarter than a 5 year old I realize that perhaps I'm not.  My 5 year old grandson has an i-pod, yes an i-pod.  That child can maneuver through that thing faster than I can maneuver through my phone.  I consider myself tech savvy but kids these days just seem to know a lot.  The thing is they can learn a lot from us grown ups and we can learn a lot from them.

Whenever my grandchildren ask questions I try to use that time as a way to teach them something new.  Often they simply want a one or two word answer as do most children but I still trudge onward into that teaching mode.  You should try it sometimes because, once in a while the child will become interested in what you're saying and truly listen.   Sometimes however my youngest grandchild will simply say, "OK, Gigi" and take off to his next adventure before I've finished the eloquent speech I had planned in my head.  

Many times I've heard the expression, "Children are like sponges."  And you know what, it's true; they soak up so much information whether good or bad.  That's why I like to talk to my grandchildren about everything; I don't want them to absorb false information or information that is too worldly for their age.  We've discussed manners, baseball, football, sewing, painting, drawing, washing hands, kindness, ethnicity and religion.  Children may not always be eager to listen but they're often eager to voice an opinion.  Ask them questions that can't be answered with a simple yes or no.  Give them  your undivided attention and truly listen.

Many years ago I worked in a day care and I listened carefully to the children when they talked.  Their simple wording or emphasis on words could give you an insight into their home life, or their personality.  Below are a few of the conversations I remember well.

One day in my classroom of 2 year old children I thought it'd be nice to make Mother's Day cards by having each child comment on "What is a mommy?".   We sat in our circle and I asked each child one by one and wrote their answer on a piece of construction paper along with their name for them to color later in the day.  Below are a couple of the responses I got when I asked my students, "What is a mommy?".
LJ:  She grows (I found out her mom was having another baby)
AM: She cooks, (me: What does she cook?)  AM: Soup & crackers (perhaps mommy isn't a gourmet cook or perhaps A.M. just likes soup and crackers)
That session went so well I decided to do it again for Father's Day.  However I got more than I bargained for that time. Below are some of the responses I got from that day.
My question was, "What is a Daddy?"
KJ:  He takes a sh*t. (I was shocked and my knee-jerk reaction was, "WHAT?"  KJ, kindly repeated the answer as I tried in a flustered manner to change the direction of the conversation.) It was obvious that KJ had picked up Daddy's term for bathroom activity.
KC: He beats snakes and he beats em real hard!  (I found out that KC's daddy had recently killed a snake at grandma's house.)
WG: He takes me to the car wash (WG said this because it was actually her favorite place to go at that age.)
Sometimes our children or grandchildren discern who we are by what we do, what we say or where we go.

My husband recently rededicated his life to the Lord and has stopped cursing.  While my youngest grandson was riding in his truck with him a few weeks ago he turned to my husband and said, "Granddaddy, you haven't said a cuss word in a long, long, long, long time."  Children listen and watch all the time even if they don't tell us so.

Be careful little ears what you hear (Be careful big mouths what you say.)  Be careful little eyes what you see. (Be careful big people what you do.)  Because the Lord up above is looking down below.  And children will repeat what they hear and what they see. whether good or bad.


Monday, January 27, 2014


Beauty is not simply the outer shell; it goes deep within to the very soul.  Social media and most of society has taught us that we must look a certain way, dress a certain way or speak a certain way to be considered beautiful.  Why should we accept the opinion or standard of a few select people to define beauty?

For most of my life I've had a complex about my body.  In the fourth grade I began to develop more than most of the girls my age and it made me feel a bit awkward.  I didn't know how to tell my mother and I didn't know what to say when other girls made comments about my size.  By the sixth grade I was taller than many of the girls and some of the boys.  There was one girl in my class and I thought she was so pretty and well dressed and carried herself so well.  It seemed everyone just adored her.  But one day as we sat together talking about "girly" things she asked to see my fingernails.  When I held out my hands her response was. "Ewww, you bite your nails!  My mom says that you're a tomboy if you do that."  I was horrified and heartbroken.  Her comment caused a lifetime of bad feelings for me.

My daddy was often making comments like; "You're not fat, you're just pleasingly plump," or no guy likes a fat girl.  One night when I was about 14 or 15, I was sitting on the sofa and my daddy told me, "Girl you've got ham hocks big enough to feed a family.  I was crushed.  I didn't realize I was that big.  So I began dieting, an extreme diet of boiled eggs and lemons.  I drank lots of water too.  I lost quite a bit of weight but, the diet took a toll on my body causing me to become anemic and weak.  I fainted before school one morning.  

Once I had lost the weight and was able to keep it off my daddy started telling me how "Guys don't want a bag of bones to hold, they want a girl with some meat on her bones."  He criticized the way I wore my hair, the way I ate, the way I walked and the clothes I wore.  My self esteem was so low I could never think of myself as pretty much less beautiful.

To this day I can't find beauty in myself.  I'm ashamed of my body even more now than ever.  I've been guilty of making negative comments about myself in front of my children and even my grandchildren.  I realize what a mistake this is and I hope I can rectify it before any more damage is done.

Parents let your children find their own beauty and build up their confidence.  It's our job to encourage them to grow and become confident.  Go to www.dove.com and watch their videos and read about their statements and view their mission to encourage women to find their beauty.             LOVE YOURSELF

Friday, January 24, 2014

Missed chances

Today I found out that a childhood friend went to hospice.  It tugged at my heart.  I've missed another opportunity to be a friend and to have a friend.  It's sad that life is slipping pass me while I wallow in self deprecation or self pity or whatever you want to call it.  I've let people down, I've cut off friendships and other relationships and I have no one to blame but myself.

Nearly 5 years ago I was happy to get dressed up, put on make-up, and style my hair.  I was happy to get up and go to work; I enjoyed my job.  I loved working for the University and I enjoyed the atmosphere.  I enjoyed taking classes and learning more and more. I enjoyed going out to shop or watch my grandkids play baseball or softball.  But all of that's changed now.   Tonight, I used the excuse that the weather is just too cold for me to get out simply because I didn't want to get dressed and style my hair.  It is extremely cold but I realized too late that I wanted to go.  I wouldn't have time to shower, dress and do all the girly things I once enjoyed doing for myself.  I cried because I've let yet another opportunity slip by.

I keep telling myself, I'll ask my high school friends over.  But I continue to find excuses; the carpet's too dirty, my furniture isn't good enough, or I'm too fat, I'll ask them after I loose some weight.  But I know in my heart, I'm not going to loose the weight anytime soon and I'm not going to get the carpet cleaned anytime soon.   So what is the real reason I don't ask them to visit?  It's selfishness.  Plain and simple I've become too selfish to share my time with others.  I'm ashamed to say it but I simply didn't want to go that extra step to be a good friend.  

Now here I sit 58 years old and feeling a bit lonely.  Sure I have family and they are important but I don't know if I have a true friend.  I don't know if I have one female in my life who considers me a true friend.  Is there one person out there who can call me anytime of the day or night to tell me her fears, her joys, her goals, her hopes and dreams?  Is there anyone out there who knows that she can depend on me to offer her comfort, prayer or support?  I think not.  But, I have no one to blame except myself.

Tonight as I reflect upon the sad news about my childhood friend and remember her kindness to me in younger years I hope I have the courage and strength to change my life.  I want to be a friend so I will have a friend. May this be the night my life changes, may this be the night I stop making excuses and stop being so selfish.  

Rest peacefully MKS

Friday, May 18, 2012


My heart aches to be able to give generously to those in need.  I'd like to be able to buy food for the hungry, purchase clothing for those in need and build houses for the homeless.  Unfortunately I'm not in a position to do those things.  There was a time when I counted myself useless in aiding those in need.  But, over the last few years I've realized I have a great gift to give and that is the gift of prayer.  It cost me only time but, it is time well invested in aiding others as well as myself.  Oh yes, I must admit I receive great rewards in spending time with God.  

Prayer can be said while you're standing at the sink washing dishes or standing at the stove preparing a meal.  You can pray while driving to work or stopped at a traffic light.  You can pray in the waiting room of the doctor's office, in line at the grocery store, or sitting alone on a park bench.  There is no limit to the places you can find time to say a small prayer for others or yourself.

After the horrible tornado of April 27, 2011 in Alabama I felt that sense of worthlessness creep up again.  I wanted so much to be able to do something and I made the statement that I can't do anything except pray.  Then it dawned on me... that's exactly what was needed.  I needed to be in  prayer for the safety of those in the midst of the tornado aftermath.  I needed to be in prayer for medical assistance, for food and water, for clothing, for shelter.  I needed to be in prayer for a change in our communities, for peace among races, for compassion for each other.  I needed to be in prayer for lives to be touched by God's love, for souls to be saved.    I discounted my own ability to help at first but, I soon realized I could do much by seeking out our Heavenly Father, spending time with Him.

I will continue to serve God, to serve family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers by offering up prayer.  If I see even one prayer answered I know that I have done my part.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Weighty Issues

I've battled with weight issues most of my life.  As a preteen I considered myself fat.  I looked at the other girls my age and I thought "They must think I'm a giant."  I was taller than many of the girls and boys in my class, at least I thought I was.  Actually I was probably about the same height as the majority of the girls but then I began to compare different areas of my body to theirs.  I had begun to develop breasts and I had a bigger bottom, I didn't see that on the other girls.  I felt so awkward.  I wanted to be little just like the other girls.  I never seemed to be accepted in their little cliques.  I was the odd girl out.  I felt this way through my teen years on into my twenties and beyond.  Here I am 56 years old and those old feelings came rushing back to me yesterday as I was dressing for church.  I tried on several tops and bottoms until I finally settled on an older skirt and top that luckily slid over my extremely curvaceous body.

I cried and belittled myself; all because I haven't been able to conform to society's idea of the perfect woman.  Media uses mostly women of slim, svelte figures, perfect hair, and perfect make-up to represent the majority of the world when the majority looks more like me, the frumpy grandma.   For years media has inflicted this unreal idea on women and now it's targeting younger audiences.    There's Toddler's & Tiara's, Dance Mom's for example; the young toddlers (as young as age 3) who are being told to exercise and keep fit, no pudgy tummy for their dress or costumes.   What significance did my little tantrum in front of my granddaughter place on outward appearance yesterday?  What are we teaching our young children, especially our young girls by exposing them to media that focuses mainly on outward appearances?  Can you imagine how much more accomplished, confident and successful our girls would be if we placed more emphasis on education, good morals, etiquette, and sensibility if we changed our focus.

I'm ashamed that I am so vain. Unfortunately people judge us by what they see on the outside, (including me.)  What a shame that we all miss the opportunity to truly know others because we are such a visual society.  Perhaps if people began using overweight individuals or individuals who don't quite meet the "beautiful people" standards to promote their products or do public service announcements we could begin to change our younger generation. Why not have these average people tell their own success stories?  Maybe we could begin building a generation of individuals who genuinely care for others

I suppose this has to start with me.  I pledge today to begin seeking the inner beauty in everyone I meet.
How about you? Are you ready to make a difference in the life of others?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coupons and Freebies

      Today is the beginning of a new routine, blogging instead of scanning the freebie sites.  Yes, I do frequent several of those sites that offer freebies to those of us willing to wade through the undesirable surveys and auto links from one page to another.  My secret is I set up  an additional email account so that it doesn't get mixed in with my private emails and to filter out all of the SPAM (no not that weird meat that comes in a can).  It's JUNK mail in email form. I also use this account for submitting entries to sweepstakes and contests.   For all you skeptics here's my proof that sweepstakes and contests can pay off.  During the past 5 years I've won and received a $25 Walmart gift card, a $50 Visa gift card, tickets to American Idol, 5 gift certificates from Restaurant.com and a basket of Mrs. Fields Cookies, (which I might add were absolutely delicious.)

      I personally like Mozilla Firefox as my internet search engine because there is an add on that let's me know if a website has been voted as trustworthy before I start inputting my name, address and other information on that site.  However at this time I'm using Internet Explorer due to issues with compatibility with programs I'm using.  Below is a list of some of the items I've received FREE over the last couple of years.
shampoos and conditioners (some sample size, some larger)
Olay Body Wash (travel size)
Anti-Aging Face Care products (5 full size-name brands)
Feminine Hygiene products
Laundry Detergent
Coffee singles
Coffee K-cups
Energy bars
Jewelry (bracelets & pins)
Cosmetic bag with varied samples
Ink pens
Coloring Books
Magazines (full subscriptions NO PAYMENTS)
Free KINDLE book and game downloads.
Tea (singles)
Lip gloss

      I have a large plastic container with a lid in my closet and I save up my better freebies over the year.  I use some of the better ones to give as small gifts for Christmas or birthdays.  You might consider doing some freebie-shopping yourself to create a guest packet for your guest bed or bath.  Use the freebies for tokens of appreciation to teachers or neighbors.  Consider donating to individuals in nursing homes or safe shelters for battered women & children.

      Here's a small list to help you get started building your own freebie site database.  I  use several others but they are not given the green light on the Web Of Trust; I simply took a chance on them and have not had any problems.   You'll notice most all of the websites have links to additional freebie sites.  However, keep in mind I am not making any claim as to whether any of the others are safe of unsafe sites so click at your own risk.  Just make sure you have a very good ANTI-VIRUS program in place.


Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blessing from a Disability

Past to Present

Three years ago on Tuesday April 27, 2009 I entered the hospital for what would be my 3rd back surgery.  I walked in of my own accord but what transpired next was something I nor any of my family had ever expected.  When I awoke in my room after surgery I was unable to move my legs.  My initial fear; I'm paralyzed.  But within hours I realized I just wanted to know what happened.  My family was distraught.  The next day I went for MRI's on my upper and middle back;  2 days later we still had no answers.  By Sunday  I was having additional MRI's on my lower back where the surgery had taken place.  Ah there's the problem, bones crushing the spinal cord.  My family was by my side day and night.  On Tuesday May 5, 2009, my husband, my mother, my children, my sisters, in-laws, uncles, cousins all began to accumulate in my room as we awaited surgery #4.  Late afternoon arrived and the time had come.  Family members kissed me as I passed the on the stretcher out the door.  

I lay in the pre-op watching minutes tick off the big clock on the wall.  First the nurse gathering information came over, next the anesthesiologist drifted by.  And after almost an hour my surgeon come in.  He marked my hip and talked about bone harvesting, rods and pins.  I think I was a bit shocked, I hadn't realized my surgery would involve so much.  I was awake all the way to the operating room where they immediately began setting up IV's and then the mask with made me feel as if they were trying to suffocate me.  But I lapsed into deep sleep very quickly.  The next several hours (about 7-8hours) were a total blank to me.    I was told that my youngest daughter was frantic at the sight of my face as it was so severely swollen.  She told me it looked like the whites of my eyes were bulging out of my head.  I had blood infusions, drainage tubes, broken veins, blown veins, morphine, Demerol,  and who knows what else.   A few days later I was fitted with a removable torso cast and lower leg braces which I had to wear every time I got out of bed.

   Well, that's really not important. What is important are the events that followed.   I saw the most beautiful angel.  I know most of you will think this is simply the drugs; but I disagree.  Once I saw the angel I had an unusual calm.  It wasn't the kind of angel you see in drawings or paintings, it was more of a white glow, the shape of a long flowing garment and wings that moved in an up and down motion  rather like a child creating a snow angel.  But at that moment I knew why this had all happened.  For several years I had been praying for God to give me patience, to help me relinquish my control issues (rather OCD) and to restore my marriage (which had almost been destroyed).  I had no control over anything except prayer and thoughts so I had to allow others to be in control.  The OCD was very much under control because I had to rely on others to care for me, especially in the most personal ways.  My husband and I learned a greater appreciation and respect for each other.  Also I developed a quick wit, and a better sense of humor.

After two weeks in the Main hospital I was transferred via an ambulance to the smaller hospital with inpatient rehabilitation facilities where I spent about 30 days.  I had to learn to put on my own braces &  torso cast.  I had to learn to transfer from bed to wheelchair. I exercised, and learned to be patient as other. Every time the physical therapists stood me up I passed out.  So I dubbed myself  "Scarlet O'Hara of Rehab.  Eventually I became better at just standing, then taking  a few steps.  There was exercise several times a day.  I eventually was able to walk a few feet with the aid of a walker and therapists.  As the days went by I was able to walk even longer distances.  We even had a bit of a "show off day" when I was able to walk 90 ft with my walker and a spotter.  And the day finally came that I could return home.  I can not begin to tell you the excitement and emotion that was in my heart.  

I spent an additional 3-4 months doing outpatient rehab, trying to build up  my strength so that I could function alone at home.  I am able to walk very short distances without my walker indoors; however outdoors is a different situation.  I use my walker for walking short distances at places such as church (car to door)  from car to house, etc.  On longer outings I use my wheelchair as my standing/ walking duration only lasts about 15-20 minutes.  My left leg is still very weak with nerve damage in the lower portion  and some deep vein thrombosis.  The right leg is okay with only minimal numbness in the right big toe.   

To add insult to injury my husband was fired from his job 25 days after I came home from the hospital.  There was conflict as to whether or not he should have taken more than 3 days leave during my first 2 weeks in the hospital.  Two months later my employer decided that unless I could immediately come back to work full time, full capacity I would need to contact the benefits office.  In other words, I was basically terminated but, offered disability retirement.    But I was okay.  I wasn't frantic as I had been in the past when faced with adversity.  We found a way to get through all of this.

Today, I'm a better, stronger person for having lived through all of the situations I faced.  But most importantly I have a stronger relationship with God.  Because God gave me the strength, the courage and the determination to excel under the life changing event that entered my life.  Most people want to know the name of the doctor who did my surgery but, that's not important.  I don't blame my doctor for the events that took place.  I look at it as a trial that God allowed me to endure to bring me to where I am in life right now. 

I just wanted to share this tidbit of information with you.  I hope you'll come back again because I plan to offer something for almost everyone including the business person, the grandmother, the brokenhearted, the down trodden and the joyful, happy-go-lucky person.