Thursday, October 9, 2014

SIMPLY PUT...


"To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest
or a wildflower in spring ~
these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
John Burroughs

 
This week I watched a short clip of Matt Damon addressing the matter of sanitary 'water'...specifically of the exceptional shortage in Africa. The clip was from an interview conducted by Katie Couric. Damon is just one of those helping in a big way to make water available where there are such dire shortages...there are many others.

Having lived in places where sanitary water...sometimes just any water...was a major problem made me aware of how I use it...but guess what? I'm still wasteful/careless about it...like there's an endless supply. 


California is just one of the areas in the U.S. presently struggling through a long drought.  Stark reality...water truly is a precious commodity and needs careful usage by me...and perhaps you, too!

Michael spent one long, hot, dry year in Ethiopia...I was there only a short time; dependents were not allowed to actually live there. The first week, on his own, M didn't follow directions and foolishly drank some of the water w/drastic consequences. He actually thought he was having a heart attack...was hospitalized and ill for some time. Lesson learned. Be careful.

There also was a drought...                            
you know what that means, right? 
We pray for rain here...we need it
but it doesn't compare with
drought in places like Africa.

There's plenty of water in China but people don't drink it (polluted to the nth degree)...we bought  bottled water. They still boil water and buy bottled  water...everyone has a water machine in their home. Better safe than sick and sorry! 

When M and I were young marrieds we lived in Healdton, Oklahoma ~ had a tiny house a few miles out of town in a small subdivision. 
The community had its own water system...but it was a lulu...sulfur water! Ever had to live with sulfur water? It can be horrendous! Skunks and sulfur have something in common.  Even our washer turned out stinky laundry. Aargh. Needless to say, we bought lots of bottled water.

Good clean, clear water is awesome...I love it...call me a 'waterholic'. My mother didn't like to drink water...said it tasted like medicine. Well, must admit that it did...when we lived in Odessa!  

                                              I tend to take most of our blessings 
for granted...that is as long as I never see, hear or think about anyone, anywhere else!

How selfish is that? Could it be that I am too frivolous, extravagant...or terrible thought...wasteful? Am I living simply enough?

I first thought, "Of course I am"...but realistically I know I'm not. Old habits die hard...for instance?

I've always done my grocery shopping weekly...same as my mother. In Greece, Germany and China our foreign friends did it daily...as needed. I would like to do it that way but...okay, so I'm lazy and stay in. I am also wasteful...probably because of the 'weekly bit'...along w/no prior planning.  Not wise to be wasteful and I'm trying to improve in that area along with other areas in my life that...well...are not up to where they should be.

How about a new car...don't think so.  Our ten year old Toyota looks and runs like a new one...why would we want a new one when this one is outstanding? We have all the extras we can handle...our GPS (we call ours Jack) provides excitement enough...yikes.  (Okay, we would trade if it became absolutely necessary...sometimes one has no options.)

Might be sweet for me to have a small office...somewhere besides in with the washer, dryer and other paraphernalia.  Ooh...nice but don't think we want to complicate things.  Besides, we really like our little house...as long as we don't stuff it...then we get momentarily frustrated. The point is, we are happy here.

Peggy Lee sang the song "Is That All There Is?"  Peggy, for Michael and me...yes, that's all and it's more than enough.  Less is making us happier and life is simplified. I look M in the eye, smile and tell him I am totally content and trust me, it's true...so true! 

I read...I look...I listen...about what's taking place around me as well as around the world. Watching and thinking about others and the differences in our living conditions can be and is heartbreaking. It isn't those who have more that bother me...it's those who have so very little...oh my...never enough.

Water...walking miles each day to get just a little bit…such a little. 
House...what house? Sometimes a tarp/cover...not much else.    
Health care...what's that? It's sometimes non-existent. 
Food...whatever can be scraped up...thankful even for the dumps. Clothes...rags. 
 
 So?
Life goes...on and on…simple for some, not so simple for others.

Some would give almost anything to
find the air and water exhilarating;
to take a morning walk…
to see the stars at night;
to look at a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring;
to have a life.
Simply put, I have everything...how 'bout you?

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca



Thursday, October 2, 2014

BREATHLESS...

This post is not only about bad days/good days.  It's a jumping off place for something else...breathing.  Be patient and we'll be there in a jiffy, okay?
 
Do you recall a day that might have been the worst day of your life?  For the life of me, I can't think of one that was 'the worst'...but there are a few, and one that was rather eerie...personally unforgettable. 
 
My pain tolerance is high and I don't always exhibit symptoms...which can be good or bad, depends on the situation...as in life or death. 
 
While living in Norman I had been quite tired for a few weeks but nothing significant...no symptoms.  That is until I fell into bed early one evening and later I couldn't get up.  When Michael found me lying in bed and white as a sheet he rushed me to the ER; both he and the doctor were shocked to discover I had only two pints of blood left...Dracula must have been working overtime, right?
 
Less than 24 hours later my family was called in and I was on my way 'out' of the picture...good thing I didn't know that.  Oh my!  That was some dark day!
 
Several days later, while I remained, a nurse popped in and remarked how much better I looked than when she had last seen me...happy to see that I had some rosy color.
 
I told her I didn't recall seeing her; the only thing I remembered was sitting up in bed, looking down a hallway w/big doors at the end banked by soft lights.  A person was standing at the door beckoning me to come there; I wasn't about to go and in a loud voice I said, "I am not, I am not, I am not."  The nurse smiled and said, "Honey, two of us stayed over...we were by your side and trust me, we were losing you and you never moved." 
 
Recently I've had several tests and seen a few specialists...the most recent asked me about the above mentioned experience.  He is Indian and I was surprised about his curiosity...he said he really wanted to know...I told him and he listened.  I've no idea what he thought; he asked, who knows?
 
Near death experiences are not always taken seriously but I'm convinced they do happen...and are serious.  For several years I didn't tell anyone about mine, not even Michael...some might have thought I was out of my mind...all joking aside.
 
Having been born with health issues has provided a bumpy road but my motto is, "I'm Rubbermaid...more bounce for the ounce."  A good sense of humor is handy...plus the continual urge to smile.  I have both, in abundance.
 
Until four years ago M has been healthy; we made a nice pair.  What's this?  He has this thing about forgetting to breathe and tends to get light-headed.  Forgetting to breathe is most unwise.  One might just pass out, right?

Breathing is good; honestly I don't pay it much attention...like its natural, right?  Right.
 
I really hope I don't lose you over the next few paragraphs...but here goes.
 
Last Sunday morning...during our class...I was sitting by M (of course) and had an epiphany of sorts.  I know the word but looked it up and it fits what I experienced..."a sudden insight or intuitive understanding".
 
Don't laugh here...I'm serious.  I inhaled and it was so clear, so perfect that it surprised me...to me the pure simplicity of it was stunning.
 
After worship service and we arrived home...I opened our back gate and it happened again...I inhaled and the exact earlier feeling swept over me.
 
What about since then?  Well...I've no explanation other than my inner thinking has changed and moved on to another level, a difference is there and it seems to be much healthier.  might be much healthier.  Do I make any sense?

 "It is possible to experience an awakening in this life
through realizing just how precious each moment,
each mental process, and each breath truly is."
Christy Turlington
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca
 
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A HERO? WHO ME?

 
"We can't all be heroes,
because somebody has to sit on the curb
and applaud when they go by."
Will Rogers
 
I suppose we've all had our 'heroes', right?  I don't really know who mine were...but I liked Superman.  Possibly because he sat beside my sister and me on a bus once, later on that day he spoke to us again and we even had a table near him for dinner and he spoke to us once more.  It was Christopher Reeve (my fav Superman of all times)...let me tell you he was awesomely blue eyed, handsome (of course) and totally down-to-earth.  Nice, nice.  And he wasn't even busy saving Gotham City!  Just relaxing in civvies!  Like Will Rogers said, 'we can't all be heroes' and frankly, I don't aspire to be one...just call me 'chicken little'. 
 
But there are times...sometimes out of the blue, when we least expect to be stepping up to help in a way we might not dream of...when oops, there it is...in your lap.
 
 At least that's how it seems to be in my life. 
 
Some years ago, I was office manager for a dentist and was a pretty cool cookie; having four sons in college had something to do with that.  Kept my reflexes/responses sharp...good thing.
 
One day a patient came in for her initial appointment; very pretty woman but ha, we couldn't take care of her...she was so drunk she could hardly walk.  I got a tad tipsy just talking to her but she was sweet...we hit it off.  She was quite happy that I re-scheduled her for another day, hoping for some sober time!
 
Okie-dokie, she made the next appointment, sober...yay!  Success!  Only problem was she had a different name, okay by me.  She told me the 'other one' had died and pulled out a picture to prove it...there she was, in a hospital bed with flowers on her chest!  That was put to rest and voila!  I met the 'new woman'.
 
We became friends and even the doctor found himself listening to our conversations from the other rooms...in total amazement.  Said he'd never heard such conversations in his life...oh brother.  We had some goodies...but we were comfortable with each other...trust me, she needed someone/something to hang onto and I became a strap.
 
Some days she would just drop in for a visit...lonely as all get out.  In some cases I suppose things she revealed might have been figments of imagination...sadly, in her case, they were true.  Her life was a mess along w/a med problem mixed with alcohol...not a good thing.
 
"Heroes represent the best of ourselves,
respecting that we are human beings.
A hero can be anyone from Gandhi
to your classroom teacher,
anyone who can show courage when
faced with a problem.
A hero is someone who is willing to
help others in his or her best capacity."
Ricky Martin
 
One day she came in with her arms loaded with purses...all sizes and shapes...she put them on my desk and asked me to keep them for her...I said I would but asked her why? 
 
Seems she was going downtown to crucify herself...I wasn't alarmed because I rationalized she couldn't do that by herself. 
 
Don't ask why I didn't call the police...didn't notify the authorities; I did what I thought would help...in my best capacity.  Trust me, I do not consider myself an authority on anything...but I felt okay with the situation.
 
So, off she went.  Before long she returned, very contrite...teary-eyed... apologizing for everything she'd ever said and done; my heart ached for her. 
 
Long story...short.  Roosevelt said, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."  She and I hung on...together.
 
Happy ending...thankfully she accepted the advice and help I proposed...and after some time, professional counseling/treatment worked.  She became healthy, finished her degree, found and kept a wonderful position. 
  
So, can anyone be a hero?  Oh, I believe so, I know so...I really do! 
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca