Thursday, April 5, 2018

Breathe in, Breathe Out, Move On

I am popping in today to briefly comment on some of the wonderful things going on in my life.

I'm successfully using Mindful Meditation to help control my response to stress. I first learned the technique in a Stress Relief class at Vanderbilt University about 8 years ago. Basically what I can tell you is that IT WORKS. Sweet relief is at hand. The more you practice this type of meditation, the more effective it becomes. These days I am also using the award winning iPhone app called Calm while I am working. It's the same principles that were taught in my class. If you are bothered by stress, I encourage you to give it a try.    Journaling is another technique that I use often. I have two journals actually: one I use to unload thoughts that try to keep me awake at night, which eventually get thrown away; and the other is My Journal of Good and Terrific Things. The second is a journal / scrapbook of all the good things that happen to me. I keep this and often reread it, especially after a tough day at work. I add things like ticket stubs, photos, pressed flowers, you name it.

Don't let stress rob your life of the peace you deserve. Savoring the good side of life is a pleasure!

Stay safe and be gentle with yourself ~

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sweet Anticipation

Hey ya'll -

This morning I am taking a bit of time to savor some of the sweetest anticipation a grandparent can know: the impending arrival of a new grand baby. This child will be our 4th, we have waited the better part of 7 years for he / she to arrive. Yes, the parents wanted a bit of their own sweet anticipation so they chose not to learn the gender of this little one. In another few days we will finally get the big reveal and life as we know it will change once again!

The more birthdays I have, the more I think deep and long about the futures of these little people, and the long lines of generations that have contributed to their genes. Will this child have his mother's eyes, his dad's smile, his grandmother's curiosity about nature? All things to be discovered in their own good time. I can look at other children in my family and see the ancestor's contributions in them, it is fascinating to me. Better than Christmas! And I want so badly to help teach this little one about who they are and who his /  her family are.

Ever since we learned of the impending arrival, I have been knitting up a play blanket, which is almost finished. This weekend I will be up in the attic to pull down the bouncy seat, porta crib and box of infant sheets and things, to get them washed and ready. I have special toys & activities prepared for baby's Big Brother, whose world is about to turn upside down in a major way. I have casseroles in the freezer ready to take for mom & dad's first days at home to ease their load. It's such a sweet, joyful time of life. I am grateful!

My best to you and yours -   Carol in Tennessee

Saturday, May 7, 2016

An Unsung Hero

An Unsung Hero

I'm baaaaaaaaack. It's time for my annual blog post. As always, the speed of life these days resembles that of a Japanese bullet train. And it seems like the older I get, the faster it flies by!

There is something about springtime that always causes me to step off the train and look around for a while, though. This year, and this week, I have been thinking about one of my heroes. I want to share her with you.

She's a nurse. She has worked the night shift all of her career, and 99% of her years have been spent in the NICU of one hospital, where she has become a fixture. Over the years she has observed the ebb and flow of life through her unique point of view, providing love, comfort, encouragement, care and hope, to the tiniest of the tiny premature babies in her unit, and their families. 

Over the years of our friendship she has shared joyful triumphs and unimaginable tragedies from her day-to-day work. What a tremendous heart this woman has! When she has a little patient who is struggling and beginning to fail, she becomes a ferocious defender and steps in with her weapons of stimulants, CPR and heaven knows what else, to, as she likes to say it, 'snatch them back from the jaws of death!'. Just like that, it's an everyday thing in her life, saving these little lives. It blows my mind to wonder how many children survived because of the strength and training and loving care this woman gives. She couldn't be more humble, it's all part of a days' work to her. I try to see myself coming home from work one day and telling my husband 'oh, I saved a life today, just snatched it right out of the jaws!'  Really, can you imagine?! She is like Wonder Woman to me, truly a super hero for those in her care!

She always has her little favorite patients and stories to tell, and we pray for them together. I remember one little tiny boy that she was smitten with, he had been born at 26 weeks and was a real fighter. She took me in to visit one night while he was there, and I was completely awed. There in the clear plastic box, under the warming light, was this tiny little human wearing a 'diaper' that was actually a 2x2 gauze pad. His little body was the size and shape of a squirrel's, you could have held him in one hand easily with room left over. He had tiny little tubes and monitors and a tiny little white hat to keep his little head warm. His bed was wrapped in clear plastic wrap to hold warmth around him, He was absolutely precious. I kept track of him through her for several weeks as he had some ups and downs, and ultimately was able to go home in the loving arms of his mother. Another success for my friend, the hero!

Most recently she has the task of helping to turn an awful tragedy around. A woman delivered her first children, a set of preemie twins, boy and girl. And then this healthy young mom developed a complication that took her life two days later; just like that. It is just so devastating to think about.  Nobody thinks of that when they are dreaming about having a little sweet Gerber baby of their very own. But here is my friend with the huge heart, giving those little ones and their dad extra love and extra care, while the young dad and the family are in shock, dealing with a funeral, wondering why it had to happen. I have heard about how well the babies are doing, getting good baths and lots of lotion and loving care from all of the staff whose hearts are aching for this whole family. My friend says as the days go by, the family is rallying around the dad and the babies, and the babies are responding. These little sweethearts are pulling the whole family together, and they are going to grow strong and be well, and fine. Little doses of love and care, delivered regularly day after day by my friend the hero and others like her, are working a true life miracle. It's amazing. 

You can be a hero too, you know. If you have a minute, it would be great if you could say a little prayer or think good thoughts, and send healing energy to this little family, and the hero nurses  who are so dedicated to them. 

We can all be heroes for a time, if we step off that bullet train and pay attention to what is really important in life. I like that idea! Thanks for checking in - take care of you and yours.

~ Carol in Tennessee

Sunday, May 10, 2015

a drop in the bucket

I almost didn't write this, it has been a year since I was here last. The year flew by!
I only have x amount of time to do any writing and the last year has been focused on illustrated letters to loved ones and working my way through daily morning pages in the system designed by Julia Cameron, called The Artist's Way     

My mornings are generally rushed so it's not a pleasant flow with the morning pages. The point is to empty your head of all the extraneous mish mash thoughts first thing in the morning so your creativity can take a deep clear breath and start fanning the flames of inspiration to your now cleared, receptive mind. That's the theory.

I have journalled in the evening for years, but that's all thoughts about what happened after the fact. The morning pages, on the other hand, aim to help you start your day with a fairly clean slate so you can make your best of it. I feel that it's worth pursuing, so I'm still trying.

Image result for Mother's' day

Today our family celebrated Mother's Day by meeting for a brunch at a favorite local restaurant. The kids were scrubbed and on their best behavior, and we had lively discussion about the performance of everyone's baseball teams, fishing from the bank versus fishing from a boat, lawnmowers, bacon, and lots of other details of life. I loved every minute of it. My boys are SO busy with their kids, it makes our time sitting down to share a meal that much more precious to me. My own mother is long gone, except in my heart. I planted some of her favorite flowers in my garden to honor her. She is sorely missed and lovingly remembered every single day. So yes, my Mother's Day has been a happy one.

Made a recent change in employment when I decided I had fought the monster one hour commute long enough. It has been so good for me to switch gears, meet new people and start learning new things. Like Jimmy Buffett, I see my professional life as a kind of Swiss Army knife, with all sorts of different blades / skills rolled into one. I can wrap meat, prepare and display produce, collect tolls at the toll booth, run a photo shoot for a catalog, print and mail 15,000 newsletters, press check spec sheets at 3 a.m., tell a parent that their child has been suspended from college and offer them comfort, or teach someone how to use that new software that is the whizbang newest thing to come along. You want an oil painting to donate to your favorite cause for a silent auction? No problem, I can whip it up for you. And if you need a morale booster, I will set up an event with entertainment and the tastiest catering you can imagine!

Mostly though, I just want to be out in the world, making a positive difference, one day at a time.

Thanks for stopping by. Tell me what you've been up to!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Turn of the Wheel

What a whirlwind the spring semester was around here. We set a new record for numbers of cases heard in response to various wrongdoings on campus. I hope that isn't indicative of a social change, some of this mischief is seriously concerning. Clearly our freshmen of 2013 were not prepared for what awaited them in the final exams, and our athletes have a lot to learn about living peacefully in polite society.

I have spent the majority of the last year knitting - not much time for anything else but work and sleep. Even as the months passed and little league baseball season started up, I was hauling the knitting out at the ball field and sweating with its fuzziness in my lap during the playoffs in May.

FINALLY  my watercolor muse has resurfaced, after lo these many months, and I am going to spend some time with a watercolor journal / sketchpad type of plein air kit while we are out camping this summer, to see what we shall see. It will be a nice change of focus. I have been gathering up my supplies to make a couple of travel kits, one to take on the camper and one to take to work - during the summer there is plenty of time to sketch on campus.

In a completely unrelated topic, I was thrilled today to run across an Irish coat of arms for my (Irish)
family name at this website ->   . It fascinates me, and of course I have done many years of ancestral research along and along. I hope to contact the gentleman who is in charge of this website and see what more I can discover about our Irish connections to King Brian Boru and the O'Brians. I love Ireland, and the Irish people.

With watercolor brush in hand until next time - take care of you and yours! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Hello again, and thanks for checking in.

I am occupied these days by tremendous changes in my health and lifestyle. We all take our health for granted until something goes south, don't we. I have a long way to go but have excellent help and I am working my way back a step at a time.

We are neck deep in winter here in Tennessee, and I am counting the days until the annual Lawn and Garden fair at the state fairgrounds. By the first of March we have seen our first daffodils and long for more; this show delivers it. There will be 3 - 4 big exhibition buildings jam packed with full sized, fully landscaped gardens. Many will have water features, some are whimsical, some are really, really over the top. I recall one that had a waterfall that cascaded from the ceiling of the building, it was spectacular. Last year I was impressed with a Japanese meditation garden that had a little bamboo water feature, it was so calming.
Wanted to carry that one home with me!

Another favorite feature of this show are the vendors, everything from herbalists to antique dealers and all plant related things in between. I usually carry home a sackful of seedling herbs and a seedling tree or two to add to the forest around our house. What a happy tradition!

Hope you are enjoying the moment and looking forward to spring as well. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Success comes with Hard Work!!

About 6 years ago I was visiting friends in Lexington, KY and met a dynamic young lady who worked at the University of Kentucky campus bookstore. She was dating the son of my friend and was a bubbly, lively person to be around, I liked her right from the start. She was writing short stories in her spare time and submitting them to magazines, but hoped to become a full time writer some day.

This past week I found one of her novels in my local public library and squealed out loud, I am SO proud of her. She has done it!

Meet Tiffany Reisz. She specifically writes adult-only erotica, and was writing it well BEFORE the Fifty Shades novels appeared. She is quite successful in her genre and is now in a relationship with a fellow writer, so they are able to travel together a good bit. She has bid the retail job market adios and is her own boss with her own booming business.

So if you are awake in the middle of the night and need something to read, you might try downloading one of her short stories - or not - it would probably keep you awake...   ;)

I love, love, love to see people succeed by the hard work of their own hands. Way to go, Tiffany!