I never dreamed that when a teacher for the visually impaired entered my fifth-grade classroom, that I would fall in love with the braille code, thus launching a career as a Brailliest which would span thirty-one years. The same thing happened when in my forties I took a basic English class where the teacher encouraged writing. His open forum allowed my fellow classmates to read their works. Out of thirty-some students, the teacher invited myself and another to read what we had written. Not once but twice! Encouraged, at home one evening while sitting at my computer Jordan was born. A woman who saw into the future through dreams. Seven books later, she is still trying to live a normal life despite her unusual ability. Still needing some polish, I hope to start releasing these books soon. In the meantime, other characters are out there for enjoyment. You can meet Mira and Damien in Through Similar Eyes; Alexis and Baron in Edith’s Inn; Amelia and Marty in Where the Heart Leads and soon Sam (Samantha) and Jason in Playing Games. All these e-books available for purchase through Smashwords, iTunes and Barnes & Noble. Now that I’m retired, I wonder where the next crossroad will lead me.
When my beloved husband of 40 years left this world, I felt like I was half of a person. That wasn’t true, for though we did much together, I had my own interest. And yet …
He worked out of the home, running his own business, while I continued my career as a Transcriber for the Visually Impaired, which included producing Braille. I never thought much of what he contributed while I was away during the day until he became too ill to continue. Little things, like emptying the dishwasher or running the laundry through the washer and dryer. Sometimes I‘d grumble about having to fold the clothes and put them away, but when he had to stop, I quickly realized how much doing those chores REALLY was a help.
After his death, decisions he normally made for us became my responsibility. There was time dealing with those tasks became confusing and difficult. Thankfully my son was there to help, but in the end, I had to decide what was best for me.
I also had to find ways to fill the void my husband left behind that was healing and brought balance back to my life. Some was revisiting what had interested me before his illness, as well as reaching for new horizons. And finally coming to terms with the activities we shared, letting some change and others go.
If you are where I am, I hope my words are a comfort. If you still have your partner, cherish them and be grateful for what they contribute to your union. Take the time to share and learn each other’s responsibilities, for remember; our time together on earth is finite.
What can I say, I’m a faboholic. Yes, I know it’s a crazy thing to be addicted to, but I so love working with cotton fabrics. The funny thing is that when I tell people, they look at me like I am crazy. Who knows maybe I am. And yet when I talk to someone who loves to sew as much as I do, they truly understand. I’m not making lite of an addiction, but I can actually hear my credit card moan when I enter a store that has fabric in it. Luckily I haven’t gotten into deep trouble, but it’s been close.
Then there are the nights that a quilt pattern pops into my head. That happened one night not so long ago. I could honestly see a new design take shape. The image running around in my brain was so vivid I couldn’t sleep, so I got up at one in the morning and began playing with my cut scraps. My poor dog sat on the floor with his head cocked, looking at me as if I lost my mind. Maybe I did.
My latest design is a “Reflection Quilt”. I’ve made four panels identical, but have arranged each one to reflect the other. Since the first one came out so great by using shapes, I’m doing a second with flowers, to be followed by a third made of butterflies.
Do I have just one quilt started? NO! I have eight right now that are at different stages and am contemplating on starting two more. Now you ask if I finish what I started. Yes I do and I love when I can snip the last thread, signaling its completion. Some I sell on the different website like eBay and Esty. My true pleasure is giving one away as a gift and seeing the joy makes the work well worth the time.
I am so thankful that God has touched me with such a beautiful talent. It is my way of leaving a mark and adding beauty to the world.
My love for sewing comes from both my grandmothers. Some of my earliest memories come from being around my maternal grandmother Amelia as she worked at her sewing machine. Among my treasured possessions is a simple pin cushion she made. Each time I use it, the cushion reminds me of what was passed onto me. When I married, she was the one I entrusted the making of my wedding gown. Over the years I received quilts made by my paternal grandmother Mary. The process of making a quilt fascinated me much that in my late forties I began the time-consuming process of making them. Both of my grandmothers have passed away, but I carry on their legacy.
Color and patterns draw my attention and send my mind racing off in all kinds of directions. My hug bin of precut strips can make up endless possible combinations each time I dip my hand inside. Once finished, I enjoy watching people’s reaction when they see one of my scattered quilts. Then at other times I like to set up an interesting pattern. Those quilts can be tricky and a challenge, but the work is so worth the end result.
Once while spending some time with a friend, she suggested we drop by the local fabric store. Laughing, I said that wasn’t a good idea. “It would be like taking a kid into a candy shop.” When we walked out an hour later, and I had over a dozen one-yard pieces of fabric, her only comment was, “You sure have one sweet tooth.”
Sewing is such a dying art. Now that I’m retired, my hope is to find a way to find a way to get people once again interested in this creative pastime. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear it.
If you asked someone what they do for a hobby, you could end up with a funny look as the person ponders the question. Or they might wiggle their smartphone at you. Did you know there’s even an app now that tells you how long you’ve been on your phone and can help you reduce the time you spend on it? (I have to admit I’ve been known to waist hours on mine.) Then there are the people who state they don’t have time for hobbies. How did we let our lives get so busy that we don’t find the time to enjoy living?
Hobbies can teach skills, reduce stress, give a person a sense of accomplishment and even center us. It is a way to spend time nurturing yourself, a good way to relax with family and friends or enjoy some special time with your children and grandchildren.
When my son was a baby, I realized I needed to do something to nurture myself. So, when he napped, I’d study the Braille code. An interest of mine since childhood. Never in all my dreams did I realize it would prepare me to step into a career as a Transcriber for the Visually Impaired that would last for 30 years and help me earn a retirement.
Braille Translation: Hobbies can be fun!
As a young boy, my husband loved to build model cars and planes. As his skill grew, he added his own adaption to make them unique. There was pride in the telling of this part of his life. This might be the reason he was able to build quite a good reputation in the field of classic automotive restoration.
The variety of hobbies to choose from is endless. Anything from clearing off the dining room table, and working a jigsaw puzzle, to dragging out that sewing machine you have stuffed in the hallway closet. Be creative and explore this fun activity. You never know where it might lead you.
Communicating is a combined act of talking and listening. Many people want to be heard, so they talk without thinking. Often people hear, but are they really listening? Some people are blessed with the gift of listening, while others take the time to develop the skill.
These last few years have been a struggle for me as life has changed in ways I never expected. I have met several people who have that beautiful gift of listening. They have let me speak my mind knowing all I really wanted was someone to hear want was heaviest on my mind. Because of their kindness, I’ve emerged stronger and able to cope better with the changes I face. In turn, I have tried to nurture the gift of listening for people who need that friendly ear from me.
When we are alone is another chance for us just to listen. God talks to us all the time. Few of us will actually hear His words, but the Lord’s voice is in the beauty that surrounds us. Even when life can be so hard to get through, He is right there listening. I can’t tell how many times I’ve said a silent prayer of need and had it answered. A friend calls out of the blue, or a spiritual reading hits the right note. Then there are the times I find a gift once given in love that stirs comforting memories.
A true story about listening was told to me by my grandma. When she was a young girl walking to school just before the Christmas holiday, she saw a beautiful doll and wanted it very badly. She never told her family of her want, but stopped by the store window each time she passed it. While admiring the pretty dress and blond curls, she prayed to God that the doll would be hers for Christmas. On Christmas morning when all the present had been opened, the doll was not among them. Her young brother had figured out what she’d been doing each day and laughed at his sister saying, “See, God didn’t answer your prayer.” My grandmother even at that tender age was a wise woman, responded by saying, “Yes he did. He said no.”
The next time you’re with a group of people, or alone by yourself, chose to be silent and listen. You might be surprised what you hear.
While opening a new checking account, the pain of my new marital status hit me. Staring at the different choices, I asked my son. “Am I a widow?” “Yes mom,” he answered as gently as he could. That was the first of many changes I had to face.
After forty years of companionship, I was on my own. I had family and some very good friends to help fill the void and guide me, but they could only do so much. That was when I realized I needed to find some answers for myself. Seeking guidance, I became involved in a grief counseling group. I’d like to share with you some of what I learned.
Because grief can be a very painful experience, your emotions can make you feel like your life is on a constant roller coaster. It takes work to slow down the crazy ride. When you’re having a good day rejoice and give thanks. On harder days, take care of yourself and know eventually the good days will return.
Spending time alone is okay. We all need our own space as we travel through life. But isolating yourself when dealing with a HUGE loss isn’t healthy. Seek out your support system. Allow the tears to come as you grieve. Some days we need a good cry before we can get on with the challenges of what lies ahead of us.
It takes strength and courage to reach out for help. Through prayer, talking with family and friends, and even a little counseling when available, we can learn to let go of the pain of the loss of our loved one and live again.
My husband’s wish for me was to live as full of life as I could until we meet again. I’m still learning what that is. So far, I feel he’d be proud of what I’ve done. I know I am. The future is there for me to take hold and that’s what I plan to do. I hope you can do the same.
Since I’ve retired, I’ve increased my walking time and distance. With my dog Peite by my side, I spend this time in prayer or let my mind wander through the different stories I am currently writing. It is also a great way to get exercise and spend time in reflection. I vary our paths so not to get bored. Like my feet, my thoughts can go in many different directions and places. So often I come up with a new twist or solve a problem between a scene or characters. Other times I give my mind a rest.
As I walk, people in the neighborhood have gotten to know me. We exchange smiles and simple greetings. This easy contact with others warms my inner soul. One day I stopped to chat with an elderly woman who’d I seen walking her dog. We had a good laugh over our walking companion’s antics.
The other day I watched two teenage girls trying to ride a bike. They were filled with the silliness of youth as the bike wobbled. Not very far into their slow ride, they toppled over onto the street, laughing like loons. Enjoying their foolishness, I continued my journey, only to spot a couple of young girls walking their potbelly pig named Truffles. It’s not every day you see a pig on a lease. Might have to consider using Truffles in a story. What adventures can I create around him?
The changing of the season is another enjoyment. It’s fascinating to watch trees going through their cycle of shedding their leaves, sleeping, then waking as new leaves appear. It makes me more aware of our world and the beauty God provides.
Find the time to take a walk in your neighborhood and see what you can find. Who knows where your feet might take you.