Friday, October 29, 2010

An Open Letter to the Political Candidates

Dear Candidates:

I ask you today, what has our nation come to? Every November it's the same thing. You all get up on your little platforms and start spouting off about how bad the people you're running against are. It's like it's a race to see who can be the meanest, nastiest person around. Why do you think I would want to elect someone like that?

I'm tired of it all. I want a politician who can run on their own background. One who will tell me, "This is what I can do for the city/county/state/nation." I want people who have a record they are proud to talk about and proud to stand behind. That should be enough reason to vote for you. "This is me and I have done this and that." I want to know about you and your qualities.

Instead I get a stream of ads that take sound bites and quotes out of context. You twist your opponent's words to try and make yourself look good. You dig up dirt on each other and then gleefully lob it onto the airwaves. Negativity is the name of the game in the fight to win.

It's shameful, really. We've become a nation of haters and anything is fair in the game of politics. We need to move our country in a positive direction and that's not going to happen until you take the mudslinging out of elections.  It's up to me as a citizen of this country to stand up and say, "Enough." And it's up to you as a candidate to say, "Enough already. Let me tell you about me and what I stand for."

Fed Up and Frustrated

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Christmas Wish List

It’s that time of year again. I was reminded on Monday that it is exactly 2 months until Christmas. You would think with all the bells and carols that go along with Christmas it wouldn’t be able to sneak up on me like it does every year. Sigh….

Every year around this time the family members are asked to make a Christmas wish list to assist the person buying for them. I have a hard time with making a wish list but one given on my list is Tom Hanks movies. My family knows that’s a good standby if they are ever in need of ideas. So, as I pondered what to add to my list this year this is what I came up with….

This year for Christmas I would like:

  • a shiny red sports car that goes zoom-zoom really fast
  • peace on earth
  • a pair of really cute boots that fit my weird feet and legs
  • to climb to the highest point of the Eifel Tower at night and look out over the city of Paris all lit up like a lady dressed for a fancy dinner
  • an amazing piece of artwork to serve as the theme for my bedroom décor
  • to know why we have an appendix since it seems to serve no purpose
  • a publishing contract for one of the books that is still in my head (I know, I know, I have to write it first, but this is a WISH list!)
  • to end the suffering of the people of Haiti who are now dealing with cholera as they try to rebuild their shattered lives
  • a new sofa and a great chair for my living room
  • to jump out of a plane and feel the exhilaration of free falling and then once the chute opens glide gently to back to earth
  • a secret super power so that my shiny red sports car would be invisible to the popo’s radar – speeding tickets are not on the wish list!

So, fess up, what’s on your wish list!?!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fairest?

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Do you remember this line from the fairy tale Snow White? The evil stepmother looks into the mirror and asks the question. She is haggard and bent and not fair at all, but the mirror answers, “Why you are, my queen.” The mirror has been asked this question before and knew the expected answer. It knew the consequences of answering wrong.

Humor me for a moment…I realize mirrors are inanimate objects and can’t reason and think like we humans can. It’s a fairy tale and there is a point here.

This week I felt like that Snow White’s wicked step mother. I looked in my figurative mirror and asked it to declare me fair and good and perfect. But what stared back at me was bent, twisted, and ugly. There was no denying it; my inner thoughts were a mess and I just wanted to make them okay.

You see, I had a couple of interactions this week that pushed me to my limit. I was frustrated and I acted out in a way that wasn’t very nice and it certainly wasn’t very Christian. I walked away trying to justify my behavior and make my inner image the fairest of them all, but I couldn’t. My inner mirror responded with, “That was ugly and hateful and you are not the fairest of them all.”

I hung my head in shame. I knew because of the circumstances, I couldn’t make amends. I wouldn’t be able to find the people I had zinged in order to apologize to them. I could only ask God to bless them with interactions with people kinder than I was.

Now, I am not normally an angry person who lashes out. I tend to hold it in and I try to be gracious with those who frustrate me. But, as I brought this all before my Lord and confessed my anger and ill behavior I realized that even though I don’t speak the words to the person, I often allow the thoughts to fill my mind and poison my life. I am quick to judge people and brand them in my mind. Wow, the image in my figurative mirror was becoming more and more like the vile stepmother. I didn’t like what I saw.

My friend Joy over at Joyful Journey wrote this post and I could relate to the women who spoke out to Joy and her friend. When I read the words of her husband I wanted to shout, “Yes, I need a muzzle for my thoughts!” Joy points out that her son wouldn’t keep a hat on his head but they compensated by using lots of sunscreen. She pointed out that her friend was going through a really tough time in her life. We never know what the other person is going through so we have no right to judge them. And, we certainly have no right to

So, while I am thankful that I don’t often speak out my mean and hurtful thoughts to strangers I am ashamed that I let them run rampant in my brain. And, I often repeat them to my friends or family. There are times when I truly do need a muzzle for my thoughts.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seedy Underbellys and Pink Sunrises

So, this has been one of those weeks were it seems the seedy underbelly of human nature is all exposed and leering at gentile society. Times like this I just want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the world.

But then, as I was sitting here thinking about what to post, I see my sweet kitty cat on his back in the middle of the living room. His feet were in the air and his soft white belly was just screaming to be rubbed. Suddenly the worse sides of human nature were forgotten and my mind was focused on the things I have to be thankful for. Things like:

  • beautiful pink sunrises
  • being invited to lunch with new coworkers
  • having two amazing sisters and a fabulous brother
  • the morning show DJs who make me laugh on my way to work
  • cigars and such with friends
  • pumpkins, fall leaves, and scarecrows

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sometimes This World Confounds Me

Sometimes this world just gets the best of me. There are days when I want to throw up my hands and whisper, “I’m done.”

Other days I stand in awe of a beautiful sunset or the smiles of an elderly couple as they hold hands while strolling in the park.

There’s just a lot about this world that is unknowable and that confounds me sometimes. Take, for instance, the sudden death of a young woman’s father who was in his mid-60s and the friend’s niece who is fighting for her life just hours after being born with a serious heart defect. These things pierce my soul.

Then I walk outside and I see the snow on the summit of Pikes Peak and the fabulous colors of the autumn leaves. I see the friends come around the hurting families and support them through their trials. These things are salve on my pierced soul.

We Christians like to say bad stuff happens because we live in a fallen world. Ever since Adam and Eve allowed evil into this world we have had to deal with the consequences. It’s true, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

I still don’t understand it, really. It just makes me sad, but also thankful that there is still good in this world to counterbalance the bad.

Monday, October 18, 2010

100 Moments in Time - Time

Time is an oft talked about subject these days. How to find more time in our days and how to manage our time weigh heavy on our minds.  Books and classes can be found on the subject. In this world time is something to be controlled and corralled.

God gave each of us a set amount of time. While he gave us the same amount of hours in each day, he hasn't given us all the same amount of minutes to walk this earth. Our job is to use wisely the minutes we've been given; not try to create more of them.

This is Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park. Old Faithful is called this because it erupts faithfully every hour or so and has done this for years and years. Over the years the geyser hasn't tried to move its show times closer in order to fit in more tourists. There is no time management techniques to change the schedule.  Old Faithful never waivers. It just waits until the time is right and then it spews forth an amazingly beautiful sight.

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.  ~Psalm 90:12

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do You Know Lewy?

Do you know Lewy? It’s easy to think that dementia such as Lewy or Alzheimer’s affect older people. Truth is, though, that dementia has no age limit on either end of the spectrum. In fact, I am hearing of more people who are young with symptoms of Lewy.

I would like to give you a brief glimpse of Lewy.

Lewy is one of my Facebook friends who is in his mid 40s, just a few years older than me. He writes frequently on Facebook about his struggles. I admire his outlook on life and the desire to make a difference for other people even in the face of what having Lewy means.

Lewy is the husband of another friend I also met through cyberspace who is also my age. She blogs about how Lewy has changed their lives. She deals with some tough things in life right now. Through it all the love for her husband shines through. Years ago she promised to love him and that is exactly what she does. No matter how hard life is with Lewy she does what needs to be done to care for him.

Lewy is the woman who bravely nursed her father through his battle with the disease. Now she has been diagnosed with probably Lewy also. Still, she puts herself out there to give support and love to other Lewy caregivers because she’s been there. And she’s not afraid to speak out about how it is affecting her.

Lewy is the mother of a married daughter. Day in and day out she sees Lewy affecting her mother. She is doing everything she can to help make her mother’s life better. In her search to improve quality of life she isn’t afraid to try the unconventional therapies in addition to what little medicine has to offer.

No, dementia knows no boundaries. It doesn’t discriminate in regards to gender, age, or race. It can strike anyone. Please remember these and the millions of others who are walking every day in the shadow of Lewy. They need our love, support, and to know they are not alone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Exactly Does Fluctuating Cognition Mean!?!

A friend I met through Facebook posted this article on his page today. I felt it did a good job of describing the types of cognitive problems Lewy patients have and how they are different from Alzheimer's.

Mental Help Web Site

I didn't have a chance to write a post last night so I was glad that I saw this article. Last night after having dinner with my dad, brother and sister-in-law in celebration of Mom and Dad's anniversary we went back to Dad's house. We let his little terrier mix dog out into the fenced back yard to "do his business." He was attacked by a Husky wolf mix dog that lives down the street who had jumped the fence and was in our yard. Scamp has bruising and gashes on both sides of his body near his front legs. As I write this he is at the vet undergoing surgery to repair the wounds. I just didn't have a lot of energy left after that to come home and write a post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

50 Years

The dreams became reality. The kids ran through the house leaving their finger prints on the walls, windows, and his and her hearts. There were diapers, moves, lost teeth, bills to be paid, school plays and teenage drama. Through it all they stood by each other’s side. For better, for worse.

Worse came in 2007 just after they celebrated 47 years of marriage. Lewy Body Dementia took her much too young. But Lewy couldn’t negate all those years of better. It couldn’t drown out all the years of love and laughter. Lewy couldn’t conquer the legacy of love that was started the day.

Today we commemorate 50 years since Mom and Daddy said “I do.” It’s bittersweet that Mom isn’t here to celebrate with us, but we know she’s looking down from heaven on the family their love built and smiling. We are celebrating the love they shared and the love that Daddy still has for his beautiful bride.

I love you Daddy! And I love you, Angel Mommy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Did You Know!?

  • Lewy Body Dementia affects 1.3 million people in the US

  • Lewy Body Dementia is currently under diagnosed

  • Estelle Getty who played Sofia on The Golden Girls had Lewy

  • LBD (and other forms of dementia) are more than just forgetting - they can affect multiple body systems

  • Lewy bodies which are plaques in the brain were first discovered by Frederich Lewy in the early 1900s

  • There are currently LBD support groups in 31 states

  • You can volunteer to help the Lewy Body Dementia Association even if you don't live in Atlanta - manyof the opportunities available can be done from your home or in your local community

  • Lewy Body Dementia has symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's

  • LBD patients can have problems with neuroleptic drugs which are often used to treat hallucinations which is one of the hallmark symptoms of Lewy
These facts can be found on the Lewy Body Dementia Association web site. The web site is chock full of information and support. You can also find out about volunteer opportunities on the site.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Little Purple

A couple years ago I wrote a post about Susan G. Komen and her sister. I wrote about how I was intrigued by the whole pink movement and the awareness of breast cancer it built. At one time breast cancer was a taboo subject and women (men, too) suffered in anonymity. Today people openly talk about it and thousands of dollars are poured into research and creating better ways of treating it. And, today, there are support groups for people with cancer so that they can talk to others who understand what they are going through.

I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor. She talks freely about her cancer. She can do so because Susan G. Komen made it okay to talk about boobies. This friend is committed to supporting others on their cancer journey. She supports the good work that Susan G. Komen does and she is grateful for the gains made because of this work.

When I wrote my post about going purple for dementia I didn’t do it for recognition. The thing about Susan G. Komen is that few people know her sister’s name; the sister who started the whole movement lives in the background. She doesn’t mind that. It’s not about her; it’s about Susan and the millions of others who deal with cancer. True, someday I’d like people to be aware of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia as they are about breast cancer. I want to help remove the stigma of dementia. And, like Susan’s sister I want people to understand the harshness of this disease so that they are moved to action.

Understanding is so important. The other morning I had the radio on in the car. The morning show was doing a quiz related to pop culture. The young caller said, “Oh I can’t remember the name of the star’s character. I’ve got Alzheimer’s.” And they all laughed at that. Susan could talk about her breast cancer and these days people with dementia are the butt of jokes. So I write and I talk and I post on Facebook about LBD and dementia. If the nation had a go purple day or month more people would know that there isn’t anything funny about dementia.

Dementia patients wish they’d forget inane stuff like the names of stars in movies. Instead they forget their spouse, children, and grandchildren. They forget how to feed themselves and dress themselves. They lose bits and pieces of who they have been all their life. Large parts of who they are get locked away inside them while the world goes on and mocks their illness. It’s a tragedy of growing proportions.

This week the LBDA is hosting the first ever Awareness Week for LBD. It’s an opportunity to bring a little purple to the world and with that purple some awareness of what dementia really is and what it does to the person and their family and friends.

So the next time you see a pink ribbon or the color purple stop a minute to remember the real people living with these diseases lest we forget that there are people behind them and they are dealing with these illnesses every single day.

How can you help?

  • Share this post with your friends.

  • Visit the LBDA web site

  • Come back Wednesday for another LBD post.

  • Become an awareness member on Facebook. LBDA Awareness Page on Facebook (make sure you log into Facebook before clicking the will then take you to the awareness page.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

No Longer Working for the Man

Several months ago I quit my full-time job. There were a lot of reasons, not the least of which was that I was driving 65 miles one way to work, five days a week. That’s 650 miles and 15 hours of drive time each week. After I quit I spent a while just catching up on life again and trying to focus on my writing.

Then, about a month ago I took on a temporary position working for a local medical group. The work is something I have done in the past. I don’t manage people and I don’t have some fancy title. I simply have a job that I can do “with my eyes closed.” I show up at work each day and give my best for all the hours that I am there. At the end of the day I am responsible for what I have done and I am proud of what I have done. And, despite sitting at a desk for 9 hours each day I find myself exhausted (in a good way) at the end of the day.

Some people look at my situation as a step down. To the world it would appear that I have fallen from grace in my current position because it lacks permanence, clout, perks. But, as I go through my days I find that I have pride in my work. I look forward to going in each day and contributing something of value to this company. As I have been pondering this place I am in my life, I realize that God is teaching me to be content in all things. He is reminding me of the value of putting my heart into my work. He is giving me time and energy for truly living and not just trudging through the days.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” That’s exactly what I feel while I am in this temporary place. I am working for the Lord; not for men, prestige, power, or money. It’s a good feeling. Honestly, in the last few years I lost sight of what’s important in life. I was working for the man and it showed. I lacked the satisfaction of doing a good job for the Lord and not for anyone else. I was trying to build up treasures on earth that moth and dust destroy (Matt 6:19) and there was no satisfaction in that. That lifestyle drug the life out of me.

Now, my circumstances are infusing my life with new vigor. I am happy to put my heart into my work and to work for the Lord. It is good to have left the man behind!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Race Has Just Begun

Shoot, this was supposed to post on Wednesday and I just realized it never posted because I left it in draft status. Oh well, a day late, but here it is....

On Monday I wrote about finishing my Journeyman course. I relished the feeling of being done, having completed the task set before me. Today, as I pondered the projects I have before me, I realized that this finishing was really just the beginning of the next phase. I think as long as I am alive on this earth I will never truly be done. God has something more for me to do. I am further down the path, but am I still following the path. As I move forward, I pray that I will have the endurance to to finish the race well.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1

Monday, October 4, 2010

Done. Finito. Complete

I'm done! In a good way, that is. For the last year and a half I have been working on my Journeyman Course in Fiction from the Christian Writer Guild.  This intense course is a great way to challenge yourself as a writer and to learn from some of the great writers in the field. It's typically a year long course, but with the struggles I have had in the last couple of years I had to ask for an extension.

I ended up having two mentors for the course. My first mentor, Carol Umberger, is a multi-published writer and I enjoyed her help. She had to step back from her mentor work for personal reasons and I was re-assigned to Eva Marie Everson.

I worked with Eva most of this year and so enjoyed her writing, help, spirit, and encouragement. It was a pleasure to have her mentor me.

Ironically, this course was geared toward my fiction writing, but one of the most important things to come from it was some clarity in the non-fiction book I am pursuing. I'm sure you will hear more about that as it comes together :-)

So, now I am done. It feels good to have completed the course. It is time to move on to other writing projects. That is exactly what I am going to do!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Specialty Center for Diagnostic and Treatment of Lewy Body Dementia

Yesterday the Lewy Body Dementia Association posted a link to an article on their Facebook page. NYU has opened a specialty center to diagnose and treat Lewy Body Dementia. This is something that is much needed!

You can read all about it in the Newswise article.

Score another victory in the battle against Lewy!