Category Archives: Creative Writing

2017 Resolutions and Prayers


2016 wasn’t a great year for me. There were some fantastic moments (like finding out I was going to be a grandmother!) but there were a lot more days full of frustration, anger, pain, and depression. I ran across my list of 2016 resolutions the other day and realized I hadn’t achieved any of them. With some I’d even moved further from my goals. So my 2017 plan will be completely different.

— 1 —

I will care my myself as I would a daughter, sister, or beloved friend. Remember the Golden Rule from Sunday School? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s great for little ones, but when we are adults we need to stop the negative self-talk. I won’t call myself fat, lazy, or selfish. I’ll think about what I would say to someone I loved if they felt that way. And I’ll pray for help seeing myself in a different light and making changes where I can.

— 2 —

I will accept my limitations. I can’t stand for more than fifteen minutes. I can’t sit for more than thirty. That’s on a good day. Taking a shower feels like what running a 5K used to feel like. I’ve got a new medication patch I’m cautiously optimistic about, but even with insurance it costs as much as a week of groceries. So I’m using it sparingly. My disease process is never going to get better, only worse. Hence the first word: Degenerative. I can only hope to slow it, because at the rate it’s going I won’t be able to bend my spine at all by the time I’m sixty. So I’m going to paraphrase St. Teresa and try to do small things with great love!

— 3 —

I will stay authentic. When I was having a bad day earlier this month I posted on FaceBook. Yes, I’m one of those people who shares both happy and sad moments on social media. I’ve been accused of “airing dirty laundry” on FB, but nearly all the comments I got on this post mentioned something about how “genuine” or “authentic” I was. There is no higher praise as far as I’m concerned. I refuse to be caught up in other people’s lies. Perhaps I have just worn out my filter after all these years working with doctors, but I enjoy being honest in all my interactions. Perhaps that will keep me from earning a Lexus selling Nerium with my husband, but I don’t think so. It may take me longer, but I know I’ll have earned it honestly and made no promises I can’t keep.

— 4 —

I will count my blessings. I keep a prayer journal, but in the warm months my entries are sporadic. If I feel up to it when the dogs want a potty break at 8 a.m. (my first pain med and muscle relaxer are at 6 a.m.) then I’ll stay up to check email, and perhaps have breakfast. But on a stormy or cold day I may need some time to make my way out from under the covers after seeing to the fur-babies’ needs. In the winter I always need my Happy Light, and that’s a great time to write in my prayer journal. Blessings I’m thankful for first, then prayers. I want to make this a habit every day, not just the hardest days.

— 5 —

I will continue writing. Again, it’s difficult with my physical limitations to write a blog post, let alone a novel. But I enjoy it, and it’s an outlet for my creativity. Hopefully once I’m ready to publish my books people will enjoy them. Being able to entertain others would make me incredibly happy!

— 6 —

I will become more organized. This one is going to take lots of prayers for patience on my part. Having my life, my home, and my thoughts disorganized is incredibly frustrating to me, and only worsens my depression. But spending hours sorting and dumping things, re-copying from one calendar to another, etc inevitably leads to me overextending myself and ending up writhing in pain in my bed for a day or two. Even after all these years I still need to use my timer every single day or I pay the price.

— 7 —

I will simplify my life. All the “stuff” that surrounds me is distracting and anxiety-provoking. Living simply will be easier, healthier, and much more rewarding in the long run. Yes, I’m going to finally buy the “tidying up” book that I’ve had in my Amazon inbox for forever. Or perhaps I’ll see how long the wait is at the library. That would force me to read it promptly to avoid late charges 😉

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Seven Things that Bring Me Comfort

— 1 —

Prayer. Yeah, I know you thought I was going to say chocolate, wine, coffee, or dogs first. SURPRISE! Since I’m alone most of the day every day I have an on-going casual prayer session all day long. I do keep a prayer journal to focus on particular things I’m thankful for and people or situations I’m praying for. If I comment on FB that I’m praying for you I really mean it. I also pray more formal prayers, rosaries and novenas, because the repetition helps me focus my priorities. My favorite rosary app has audio that I can listen to with headphones in bed at night and beautiful stained glass images for each of the mysteries. I subscribe via email to Pray More Novenas, and my favorite is the St. Jude rosary. He’s the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations, so I feel pretty comfortable hanging out with him at prayer time. This is the picture I have in my hallway.
st-jude
And yes, Portraits of Saints IS where I bought it if you want one of your own.

— 2 —

Cards in the mail. Weird, right? But in this age of email, text, and social media a card or letter is so unexpected I’m happy before I even open it! I have a couple of friends who send me cards “just because”, and it always perks me up no matter how bad the pain is or how down I’m feeling that day.

— 3 —

A “happier ever after, at least for now” at the end of a book. If I want something depressing and thought-provoking I’ll just live my life. If I borrow a book from the library I fully expect a happy ending. (Clearly, I’m not a fan of literary fiction.)

— 4 —

Soft socks. Really, it’s the little thinks in life. If it drops below seventy degrees I want soft, fuzzy socks. In fact, last night I slept with socks on my hands because I can’t figure out why this very minor rash on the side of my nose won’t go away. Michael suggested I might be scratching it in my sleep. It’s no better today, but my hands were quite comfy all night 😉

— 5 —

Snuggles. With my husband, my son (who hugs me every single day!), my two big fur-babies, and the two adorable little boys I hang out with most Friday nights, helping their GiGi keep them fed, clean, and uninjured while their parents have a peaceful meal out. Really, there is just nothing like a hug from a little one. If I could bottle that feeling no one would need Prozac.

— 6 —

Writing. Even though I can only write for 15-20 minutes at a time and I may never publish a single book I like knowing I have a creative outlet and that I’m being productive. That’s important to me.

— 7 —

Music. It’s amazing how the right music can be energizing, or romantic, or comforting. I’ve always found Country Christmas Carols comforting. I’m not ready for them yet, but once my decorations are up I’ll be listening to Thistlehair the Christmas Bear ASAP!

For more writing prompts go to Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop!

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Things That Make Me Crazy

7qt_lyceum_v2Crazy, in this instance, meaning more crazy than my usual amount. Just to clarify.

— 1 —

Being shushed. You know, when someone says, “Shhhhh!” I, myself, prefer the dagger glare with a finger to the lips for someone being loud in the library or movie theater. If that doesn’t work I go to the librarian or manager and have them show the offending parties OUT. They WILL do this. The phrase “Within sixty seconds after I resume my seat I want them GONE!” along with a smartphone clenched in your hand usually works well.

Being shushed is only for young children, usually those still in diapers. If someone shushes you as an adult, feel free to take umbrage and begin communication on the topic. BE WARNED: If you are cursing or behaving in a vulgar manner in public you are in the wrong. Tone it down or take it home. Being shushed by another adult in your own home is another matter altogether. NOT acceptable.

— 2 —

People who are “disabled” and can still live normal lives. As a nurse, I used to take this as a given. So many of our young patients came in on Medicare because they were disabled. And why should I even notice or care if my patients are disabled? Well, it’s part of the admission assessment (“What sort of work do you do?”). Also, we all know the insurance companies run the world, so when providing information to qualify a patient for a particular test, drug, treatment, or even length of stay I was always asked for their insurance information, which specified whether or not they were disabled.

Some people were clearly disabled. Some clearly were not . . . “Yeah, I’d gutted this eight-point buck and drug it ’bout a half-mile to my truck when my chest started hurtin’.” Dude, you can work for a living better than I can, clearly, since I’m in incredible pain just standing here with narcotics and muscle relaxers on board and an ice pack around my neck. Asshat didn’t even send me any venison sausage.

— 3 —

Kids who try to motivate other teens to do college “their way”. I know, peer pressure has been an issue since the dawn of time, or perhaps just since poodle skirts. Anyway, each kid should go to the school that works best for him or her, not for their friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, or their favorite teacher. Go to school where you feel at home or you won’t last. Listen up now or wait and see how many of those credit hours transfer later (50% if you’re lucky). If you feel the need to rush a fraternity or sorority, do so (if your parents can afford it – it’s more than you make!).

But first, before selecting a college, a major, Greek life, a job change, or any other big decisions . . . the pro/con list. I only do these for huge decisions, but they are certainly just as effective for deciding what to have for lunch.

— 4 —

Post-election whiners. It’s pretty much a given that this year no one got exactly what they wanted. Most years close to half the population voted for a candidate who didn’t win. The solution isn’t to whine about it or dramatize your “fear for the future”. And the #notmypresident thing is laughable, since both Canada and Mexico have made it clear you’re welcome to visit, but don’t plan on moving there without jumping through some hoops. Suck it up. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

— 5 —

Clean house snobs. Years ago, when both my boys were still young and I was working full-time and physically able to scrub floors, do yardwork, etc. I hosted Thanksgiving for a large group. Within the next couple of days I got a call from one of my guests. She wanted to apologize in advance for not accepting any future invitations to my home. She said that with my two dogs (chocolate labs) and the lack of cleanliness she just couldn’t justify putting her young children in that environment. Since I still had a “filter” back then I thanked her for being honest about her reason and for letting me know well in advance of any other gathering I had planned. My house is ten times dirtier now than is was then, so she should probably not even drive by.

— 6 —

Rude drivers. I usually don’t get worked up about this until the holiday shopping season, but this year people are already pushing me to my limit. Before you honk at someone in front of you because they are not going far enough above the speed limit to satisfy you, because they let someone pull in front of them, or just because they didn’t want to run a yellow light realize it might be me in front of you. And I might just put my car in park and walk back with my cane to discuss basic manners with you. Don’t make me do that.

— 7 —

People who duck out of Mass early. I’m not talking about people who have a fussy infant or a child who really needs the restroom. I’m talking about people who just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot and maybe get to the restaurant or country club for brunch before the rush hits. Stay for the final blessing. Stay for a little while longer and talk to the people around you. Sit in the car and discuss the readings, the homily, the music while the parking lot empties. And maybe once a month instead of going out to brunch give a gift card to the elderly people in the clunker parked in a handicapped space and go home to cook and eat brunch together. Just a thought.

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