Menagerie — An Animal Story

Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

We have always had animals since I can remember.
We had several dogs and cats when I was growing up.
Not all at once. Usually a dog and cat.
Yes together, and they got along fine.
I also had a few goldfish and hamsters.

Some of our fur-babies passed away from old age, others had been ill, or were wounded by other [outdoor] animals; two such required surgery. One recovered, the other died from a blood clot.
One fur-baby had been struck and killed by a car.

Hubby and I have had mostly cats since getting married.
We had a box turtle once, too.

We’ve suffered a few losses and it’s never easy.
No loss is easy.
It may seem like we’re gluttons for punishment…
So why do we do it?

We love animals.
They’re a part of our lives.
A companion. A friend. A member of the family.
They bring love, comfort, joy in laughter.
They can even bring healing.
I can’t fathom going through life without an animal friend of some sort.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Growing Old

Do you enjoy growing old or do you fight against it?

I was just thinking about something similar a couple of days ago:
When does middle age begin?

Google says: “According to one study, the average person believes youth ends at 35 and old age begins at 58. Therefore, the years in between–all 23 of them–constitute middle age.”

According to Wikipedia: “The US Census lists middle age as including both the age categories 35 to 44 and 45 to 54, while prominent psychologist Erik Erikson saw it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65.”

Being 39 years old I might or might not fit in said category, according to the above sources.

Since the age of 35, I have been finding a few silver hairs,
mostly towards the top/front of my head.
I have found just recently a few on the sides of my head.
I am caught between combating it (dyeing) and just not caring.
I think I’m leaning more towards not caring.
After all, the Bible calls grey hair a crowning glory.

My memory isn’t as good as it used to be. It’s been that way for a few years; however, I think that is due to stressful life circumstances.
I am concerned though, that it could be something more. At my age that’s a scary thing.

Growing old is something most will endure.
There’s really no way to fight it. It’s inevitable.
You can change your perspective of it;
choose to stay young at heart, instead of being bitter.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Blogger’s Skill

What is the one skill you see in other bloggers that you wish you had?

 

A strong vocabulary.

I may not be writing as a published author, but having a strong vocabulary would benefit any writer.

Some of my writing consist of such simple vocabulary. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be boring. I want color, vivid color, in my writing; and not just from my page’s theme.

One thing I miss when I write, my Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. It’s packed away with most of our possessions, so I use the online version sometimes, as well as other useful resources. (thesaurus.com)

Another reason I want to improve my vocabulary: sometimes I struggle with TOT (tip-of-the tongue phenomenon; sometimes called presque vu) or lethologica.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Extended Writer’s Block

Have you ever had extended writer’s block? How long did it last? What did you do to break out of it, and do you have tips for other bloggers?

writer’s block: the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Before I started blogging, the only thing I used to write were poems and short stories. Writer’s Block wasn’t a big issue because I wasn’t writing every day. I wrote when I felt inspired.

Before I started blogging, the last poem I wrote was for Father’s Day 2011. Prior to that was two years before we moved from Michigan to New Jersey in 2009.

Since writing the Father’s Day poem for my husband, I don’t recall writing much of anything until I started blogging. I do remember attempting to write…

There was a glimmer of inspiration. A single thought, to become a line in a poem…
I wrote it down.
Then, something that usually took minutes to pen, was suddenly lost…
the glimmer fizzled out.

I was discouraged.

I tried again the following day, still nothing.

I felt defeated, but it wasn’t just because I couldn’t write. The circumstances of my life at that time were taking a toll on me and my emotions.

You see, I write from the heart.
I write from my feelings, experiences, and dreams.
I couldn’t write about something happy when I felt so miserable.
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Fast forward a few months.

I found one of my writing notebooks and started thumbing through it. I read several poems before stopping on a page where I had started a potential chapter of a novella. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I knew I needed to improve my writing.

That’s when I decided to start blogging.

I had no idea what a blog was or what to do with it when I got started. I assumed it was an online diary or something of that sort. I found my way to WP and created my blog, then quickly proceeded researching what blogging is all about.
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My blog sat idle for a month before my first post.
Two months later, another post. A week later, another.
I was struggling for content. I still wasn’t sure what to do with my blog.
All I knew was that I wanted to keep writing.
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Sometimes I struggle with writer’s block. We all do. We could go days, weeks, or even months without writing. It’s frustrating when you want to write but can’t think of anything. Or when you struggle to keep going on a project you’ve started.

Because I have struggled so often, I’ve Google’d for writing prompts, use WP daily prompts, and have found other writing resources.

Have they helped? Um… check my post calendar.
I’m happy to say that I’ve been writing daily for the past two weeks. Sometimes multiple posts in a day.

Will it continue? I certainly hope so. But writer’s block will probably rear it’s ugly head again at some point.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Day 11 — Worry

Worry

If you could permanently get rid of one worry, what would it be?

I don’t worry as much as I used to. I do have concerns which I always bring before the Lord in prayer.

If I could get rid of my biggest concern it would be: Financial Burdens.

No, I’m not talking about being rich so don’t even go there.

My family would be debt-free, we would always have [enough] money to pay all of our bills on time, enough for necessities and maybe a few wants. It would be nice to live comfortably with a bit of added cushioning.

Friendship — Lean On Me

Image was created by me. Graphic of girl owned by copyright owner & used with permission.

Image was created by me. Graphic of girl is owned by copyright owner & used with permission.

What is a friend?

A friend sticks closer than a brother
A friend loves unconditionally
A friend is trustworthy
A friend is helpful
Even in trying times,
a true friend stands with you.
Your friendship may be tested,
but a true friend is always loyal.
A friend will lift your spirit
A friend will encourage
A friend is a gift
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~†~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope I am that kind of person.
Is that what you see in me?
I want to be the type of friend,
that God would have me be.

And now,
“An oldie, but a goodie…”

I do not own this video, but thought it was appropriate for this post.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Don’t Send Me On Vacation There

Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

China.

It really isn’t that I wouldn’t want to travel or vacation there. It’s just that I would be so overwhelmed by the vast amount of people.

If I could, I would actually like to go because I love diversity; I enjoy learning about new cultures, languages, and foods.  I just cannot handle being around a lot of people. It stresses me out.

I used to be a people person. That all changed during my previous relationship. (More on that some other time).

So please, if you ever win the lottery and want to send me on a vacation… don’t send me to China. Thank you.

[NaBloPoMo] Professional Blogger

Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

No. I don’t consider myself to be a professional blogger.

I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate, between toddler and teenager; the growing years.

In my opinion, a professional blogger is someone who has a great deal of writing experience, who posts daily or several times a day, and gets paid for doing so.

[NaBloPoMo] Day 4 — Favorite Holiday

November 4th Prompt from BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo page.
What is your favorite holiday memory? (And yes, you can pick any holiday, including your birthday.)

I truly struggle with this idea. I don’t have many happy memories. I don’t know if it’s due to a lot of negativity in my life or maybe it’s high expectations that weren’t met or it’s possibly sinful nature that we sometimes dwell on bad things. No matter what the cause, it is difficult for me to think of good memories sometimes.

After much thought, I do recall having a special birthday one year.

It was my 9th birthday.

We were living in Washington D.C. at the time; my dad was in the Navy.
My parents seemed to be in a big rush that morning. Breakfast was made and set out on the table. My sister and I were told not to waste time, “Hurry and eat, then go get dressed and ready to go!”

“Go where?”, I thought, while chewing. “There was no family near enough to visit and there was no shopping to do. At least I don’t think they would take me shopping for my bir–…”

“Hurry up!”, dad called, interrupting my thoughts. I quickly finished breakfast, then ran upstairs to my room to get changed and ready to go.

Almost done, and from the hallway downstairs I hear, “We need to leave now or we’ll miss it!”

(“Miss what?“)   “OK! I’m almost ready!”, I shouted.

I think I was the last one out the door and in the car.

I don’t remember the drive there. So many thoughts swirling around inside my head. I wonder where we’re going? I hope it doesn’t take forever to get there. What if Grandma is making a surprise visit?! I hope she brings Missy. Missy was her poodle.

I remember pulling up along side the road. There must have been a parking lot or something. Traffic wasn’t very busy in that area.
We got out of the car and walked along the sidewalk to an open area near the river; the Potomac River.

“What are we doing here?”, I asked. “Just be patient and watch. You’ll see.”, said mom.

Several minutes pass. Then several more.

And then, I saw something. “What is that?”, I said to myself. It was getting closer, and closer.

It was a schooner. Behind that came another tall ship. And another. And another. I was really excited! I thought this was all for me! A parade of tall ships just for me on my birthday!!

I asked my mom what all this was. “The tall ships are coming through. They are making a trip through the ocean to the Great Lakes. We thought that you would like to see them.”, she said smiling. My face was gleaming. “This is NEAT!”, I cried.

We stayed there over an hour, maybe two, watching ship after ship. I don’t know how many we saw but I enjoyed every single one of them.

I believe there was a replica of at least one of Columbus’s ships, and maybe the HMS Bounty. I will have to check with the parental units. There may be some editing to do later.

[NaBloPoMo 2014] Day 3 — Placebo Effect

I’m using a prompt from “365 Days of Writing Prompts” from WordPress in place of the prompt on the blogher.com NaBloPoMo page.

If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?
This is probably one of the most popular answers, but I would create a cure for Cancer–all types.

We have family and friends who have suffered from various forms. Not only is it a terrible disease, but the treatments for many of them are almost worse than the illness itself. Chemo treatments can make patients weak and very sick.

Both of my paternal grandparents had cancer.
We’re not certain what type my grandmother had. Her Doctor told the family that she had the Flu. (This was back in 1972). A month or two later she developed gangrene in one of her feet, then passed away a short time later. Years later my grandfather was told that she had had Cancer.
Five years ago my grandfather had Colon Cancer. He had surgery to remove it, but sadly passed away a few days later.

My maternal grandfather had skin cancer several years ago. Just recently he was found to have skin cancer again. Surgery was this past week to remove and patch it with a skin graft.

When my husband was a teenager his Grandfather died from Lymphoma. His father had two types of Cancer simultaneously. He had 2 surgeries and has been in remission nearly 25 years.
His mother developed Cervical Cancer five years ago. Several months of treatments later… she’s been Cancer-free for three years.
Other friends of my husband’s family have had the illness and passed away.

One of my favorite Christian Contemporary Artists, Carman Licciardello, has recently recovered from bone cancer (Multiple Myeloma).

One of our neighbors has been going through treatments and will be done with them before year’s end.

To rid this world of Cancer would be such a miracle. Too many people have suffered from or passed on because of it; some having passed away before living much of a life.