Friday, August 31, 2012

Fiction Friday: A Work in Progress

Part Two

First thing in the morning, I headed to the library to research Robert’s conditions.  Curious, I Googled his name.  His full story came up; he was featured in the news.  Nine years ago, he was a star soccer player for his high school.  At a championship game, he collapsed on the field.  He was 15.  He had a stroke.  There were fund raisers for care expenses.

When I arrived at the hospital, Carolyn was again excited to see me, but not surprised.  I didn’t need to be told to be with Robert.  One of the nurses that day showed me how to feed the various patients.  When we were a good ways away from Robert, I asked about his history.

“His father comes once a year to visit.  His sister used to come.  His mother doesn’t come anymore.  It is too painful for her.  Even though his father is a lawyer, they are poor.  They live in a town two hours away.  They moved here to be closer, but after three years with no improvement they moved back.  His mother hasn’t been here since, that was six years ago.  The state took over his care.

There was a small commotion happening from Carolyn’s desk.  An elderly man was arguing over his wife’s care.  He wanted to bring her home.  He claimed she was almost fully recovered and she was bored here, she missed her friends.  It was Alice, the most talkative of the patients.  She scooted around on her own.  She was absentminded, but no more than Carolyn.  But Carolyn would hear none of it.  She was quite patronizing in a bubbly way.

Who was I to get involved?  I went back to Robert and read him Treasure Island.

That night I wondered if he had a Myspace.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Shoe Polish Wonderful

Pay It Forward and Baked Potatoes

I was in line at the grocery store the other day not really paying attention, looking at the gum or something.  I snapped out of my stupor when the clerk told the total to the woman ahead of me and she replied that she was short the change. She started frantically (slight exaggeration) looking for an item that she could do without. So naturally being the uber generous, thoughtful, philanthropic, and most importantly, humble person I am, pulled out my change purse and asked how much the change was.

Yes I know, that forty four cents really isn't a big deal and it probably didn't change that girl's life (other than that she would have gone without her can of refried beans). Nonetheless I felt good about myself on my drive home, I even felt less guilty about the ice cream I had just bought. It's funny how something so small can raise our spirits so quickly. I don't know if it's the feeling of doing something we didn't have to do, or our reaction to the recognition we may get (but feel we deserve?) afterward.

There was a movie from 2000 called Pay it Forward that came to my mind when thinking about the events that had just transpired. The movie stars Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and a slew of other famous people. The story is that of a 12 year old boy who is given the school assignment of thinking up a way to improve the world. He thought up a simple yet genius way to change mankind for the better. The idea starts out by one person doing a favor for three others, then instead of repaying the favor; the three each have to then help three other people in some way. It's a humanitarian pyramid scheme. But try as he might, the plan didn’t seem to work out as designed, at first anyway… You’ll just have to watch it to find out what happens.  :)

Funny how it doesn't seem to take much to alter our way of thinking, but it takes so much effort to commit to a new way of thinking/existing/relating to those around us. I suppose it has something to do with our fallible human nature, we find it so easy to do think that we want, but we're so reluctant to do things out of our comfort zone. If I had made a pledge to lie around watching TV shows and eating baked potatoes I’m sure I could keep up with it pretty well. But if I was required to do something outside of my bubble like give a hug to everyone I see that wears blue sweaters, the follow through rate would be pretty low. Well, I'm getting ramble-y and off topic (what was the topic?), so I’ll say ttfn! Ta ta for now!

shoepolishwonderful <--- Click the link to check out her blog!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Healthy Eating

Fruit Salad!

Simple Fruit Salad:

Green Grapes
New Zealand Jazz Apple (my favorite apple!)
Mom's Homemade Yogurt (someday I'll make this...)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From One Poseur to Another by Sak

Inculcate my incubated mind
Reform me to your ways
The ramifications of your actions
You prey on the weak to make yourself strong
Chant rah-rah along with the crowd
Ignore your pride
You know I'm a poseur
As long as I continue the pose I'm welcome
"Give them no reason to point you out"-
Wise words once spoken
"Show no eccentricity"
Would you implicate me?
Impose your beliefs
Pacify my cries
Impotent your influence
Not permanent
Not pertinent
You are pert in conversation
Dull in practice


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Matthew 6:25-31

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" - Matthew 6:25-31

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fiction Friday: A Work in Progress, No Title

Part One

Even they didn’t know what to do with me.

My parents sent me away to live with my aunt and uncle for the summer.

They thought I could go, “find myself” in the middle of the United States.

I was wandering aimlessly that year after high school.  I had taken a few classes at the community college, but nowhere was there any inspiration to make something of myself.

My aunt and uncle were significantly older than my parents and all their children left them for NY or LA.  They gave me the guest bed/bath and all the freedom I desire.  I don’t crave much, but after two weeks of exploring the attic-it was time.  I rode my cousin’s banana bike to the bus station and rode into town.  The first thing to catch my eye would be the deciding objective.  All there was: Mercy Hospital.  I took a deep breath, volunteering would be good for me.

The sliding glass doors revealed a lobby with a few elderly people.  I walked up to the desk and was greeted by a bubbly lady with a big smile and big teeth.  “How can I help you, young lady?”

“I would like to volunteer…” I offered hesitantly.  “Doing what?” I silently thought.

But she never asked.  She excitedly told me to go to Wing D and ask for Carolyn King.  She was, "just dying for volunteers".

I followed the signs and stepped through an automatic door.  The hall was empty, but I heard the sounds of civilization coming from a room.  My shoes squeaked on the newly waxed aluminum and I winced with each stop.

I peered into a room of people in wheelchairs.  Some were hunched over, some drooling, some staring, some sitting straight up chatting coherently.  Most were over 40, or appeared to be, some quite older, maybe older than my grandma.  There were staff inside, nurses smacking gum and flipping through magazines,  while one woman flitted between the patients.  She noticed me.  She was short, with short brown hair, and wore a business suit with a skirt.  She greeted me with the same refrain, “How can I help you?”  “I’m looking for Carolyn King.  I’m here to volunteer.”

“Wonderful!  I’ll only assign you one, since you are new.”

“I don’t know what to do.” I thought to myself.

“Today we’re going on a field trip!” She announced to the whole room.

Turning to me, she motioned to a patient nearby, “You can be Robert’s today.”  She went on to describe his afflictions, the only word I understood, catatonic.  “He won’t talk, move of his own accord, he barely blinks.”

“What do I do?”

“We know he can hear, we’ve seen the results of the brain scans, he’s in there…somewhere, but we don’t know if he understands.  Just talk to him, hang out, push his wheelchair around at the park.”  She smiled and flitted away, chatting with some family members along for the day.

I walked over to Robert.  He couldn’t have been too much older than me.  He had short, ruffled dirty blonde hair, and deep brown eyes.  I sat down in a chair next to him.  He started straight ahead and never moved a muscle.

"I'm Michelle."

Eventually, we all loaded up in two vans and drove to the park.  It took quite a ways to get there.  The ride there I wondered who he was before this and how it happened.  My imagination ran wild, concocting up themes, circumstances.  I hadn’t wondered like that in a while, not since I was a little kid.  At the park, I pushed him around.  I picked little flowers and put them up to his face and held fistfuls of grass up to his nose.  I pointed to birds in the distance and commented on their calls.  I ran with him in his wheelchair and giggled at the ducks in the pond when Alice, an elderly lady, threw her baloney sandwich at them.  It was fun.

I learned from one of the nurses Robert’s full name, Robert Daniel Moss.

When I got home, no one noticed my absence or asked about my day.

This time when my head hit the pillow I knew what tomorrow would entail.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Life is Living by Sak

Life is living
It's breathing in and out, getting your head off the pillow, your feet on the floor
It's baby steps
It's falling flat on your face and getting up again and again
It's getting through each day, taking each moment as it is
It's learning to deal, rolling with the punches
It's letting go
It's forgiving, it's forgetting
It's moving on

Life is living
It's thanking God for each little blessing, grabbing hold of every beam of light
It's taking chances
It's holding tight to God's Hand
It's trusting in Him
Remembering His promises
It's never giving up, even when you feel like it

Life is living.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Matthew 7:7, 8

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." - Matthew 7:7, 8

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Messy Cooking Fun with Mom: Stewed Tomatoes

Today, my mom and I made homemade stewed tomatoes.  We made a huge batch.  If you want to make some stewed tomatoes, but don't need as much as our recipe calls for, use math.  Math is your friend!  Divide our recipe by two or three.  Cooking is one of those things that does not have to be exact, play around with the ingredients and amounts.

You will need:

18 cups diced tomatoes
3 green peppers diced
3 Vidalia onions diced
3 cloves of garlic
3 Tbs. of basil
6 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Fresh Garden Tomatoes

First, we dropped the tomatoes whole into boiling water for 30 seconds, then we plunged them into cold water to cool and peeled them.  We diced the tomatoes, which made 18 cups!  We used a twenty quart pot for this recipe.

They looked so delicious, we had to snitch a few.

Next, we diced three green peppers and three onions.

Lighting candles did not stop the tears.

Then, we minced three garlic cloves and three Tbs. of fresh from the garden basil.

To keep away the vampires...

Saute the peppers, onions, and garlic in the extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes on medium high.

Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and basil until well mixed.

Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes to blend the flavor.

Cool completely, then freeze.

Time to eat!

We decided to have the stewed tomatoes with bow tie pasta and mild Italian sausage topped with Paremesan cheese for dinner.

Bon appetit!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Ways to Entertain a Cat

What is it?

This little guy loves water.  He didn't exactly know what to do with it at first.  He looked at me for reassurance.  I changed the flow of water to a steady drip.  He stared at it a while, before diving in after the droplets.  He snapped as the water fell.  He whipped his head out when the water touched his head.  He can be a handful, but he is cute.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's the Little Things

My mom gave me some of her home grown tomatoes from her prosperous garden.  They taste fresh and delicious.  I love them slathered in basil, as the above picture portrays.  Thanks Mom. Your gift brightened my day.  You can check out her photo blog using this link:


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

As Two People Who Once Were by Sak

I can't even look at you
I close my eyes and turn away
but everybody around us sees the closeness that we share

As two people who once were
As two people who once were

We can talk about everything and anything
You make me smile
I'm surprised after all this time
You still talk to me this way

As two people who once were
As two people who once were

Nobody understands
Can't put a finger on or grasp
Finish each other's sentences
It's obvious we act

As two people who once were
As two people who once were

Even though you've found someone new
So have I, please don't make me cry
I know it's hard to stay,
but please just for my sake...


Let's just stay...

As two people who once were
As two people who once were


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Matthew 6:1-6

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." - Matthew 6:1-6

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fiction Friday with Guest Blogger: Jen

Camp Lake Dip
Part Six

Day Eight: June 8, Wednesday, 2011.

Boy, today was a long day, but it was one of the best I have had in a long, long time. The stars are just starting to come out, the trees are blowing slowly in the soft breeze, and everything is perfect. I'm very tired, and my flashlight battery is just begining to grow weak, but I will try to write everything that happened since I last wrote. For starters, we didn't get to pick our buddies for the camp-out, the counslers did that part. I got put with Helan, poor Abby got Kirsty. We paddled across the lake in tiny, wooden, two-person canoes. Helan's actually a pretty good paddler. We were soon ahead of all the other canoes, besides the counslers'. It was right then when I saw how hard she worked- with her back bent, sweat driping down her face, arms never stoping- that I knew my first impression was wrong. In that same moment, I knew I wanted to be her friend-and maybe even Leah's, too. I know it seems crazy, but that's what hapened. When we got to the island, we had several activities to do with our buddy. I just couldn't get up the nerve to talk to Helan, but I wanted to like crazy. But, after the marshmellow roast, we went into out cabin and somthing amazing happened: Helan talked to me! Yeah, I know it sounds dumb, but she just came over to me and we talked and hung out, and get this: Helan has always liked me. The only reason that she never talked to me was because Leah didn't like me that much, and she did not want to upset her. So then she went to bed, but I stayed up writing. And now, as the little red battery light is flashing, I end my story and sign my name: SARAH PLAINS.

                THE END!!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sittin' In the Back of the Van by Sak

Sittin' in the back of the van
Just holdin' onto my hand
Watchin' the world go by
It almost makes me cry
You were so perfect
I was so taken
Who was I fakin'?

I loved you boy.

All of those years
All of those perfect tears
Were they for nothin'?
No, I always remember you

You were so perfect
I was so taken
Who was I fakin'?

I love you boy.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Genesis 1:1-3

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." - Genesis 1:1-3

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August Resolutions

She Learns as She Goes has inspired me to begin monthly resolutions.  Check out her blog.  She is a beautiful soul with great ideas.

My resolutions will be broken down into four categories:


The above represent the four quadrants of my life.  While some goals may fit into more than one category, I will choose to focus on the aspect of each goal's appropriate category.

Spiritual Goal for August:

Read the Bible everyday.  I have many ideas for Spiritual Goals.  This excites me!  August's goal will be to read the book of Matthew.  Jesus Christ's words bring clarity, healing, and hope.

Highlighted because of a Homeschool Program

Mental Resolution for August:

Finish reading The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien and start the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!  This is my first experience of Tolkien's written world.  Yes, I did see the Lord of the Rings movies before reading the books. I hang my head in shame.  Usually, I like to read the book first and judge the movie later.  His book is full of descriptions and while sometimes these can bore me, he puts just enough without bogging down the story line.  The plot thickens and I'm emotionally invested in the characters.

Emotional Goal for August:

Write an original poem.  Most of the poems on this blog are older.  It's hard to think up emotional goals.  Maybe someone would be interested in giving me ideas on how to exercise my emotions in a healthy manner?

Physical Goal for August:

Work out 3.5 hrs/week.  This translates to half an hour a day, but I will not confine the goal to days.  Working out can be at the gym, at home with weights, or taking a hike.

Next month, I will grade myself on each of these four ambitions.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Fiction Friday with Guest Blogger: Jen

Camp Lake Dip
Part Five

Day Seven: June 7, Tuesday, 2011.

Tonight we are having a camp-out across the lake. Both cabins are going, so that means more time with Abby! Yay!! More bunk talk:

Leah: I just can't wait until the camp-out! Remember how much fun we had last year, Helan?
Helan: Yeah! It was awesome!!
Kirsty: What's so fun about it? There's lions, tigers, and bears. Not to mention the bugs.
Leah: Hey, Helan, want to be my buddy on the camp-out?
Helan: Sure, I'd love to!

I'm gonna pick Abby for my buddy.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

He Likes It!

Sure to make your mouth water!  This is something I thought up with what I had in the fridge and cupboard.

1.3 lbs of turkey burger
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
2 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp of garlic salt
2 cups of Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp of Basil

First, mix the turkey burger, Parmesan cheese, Olive Oil, and garlic salt in a bowl.  Use your fingers!

Next, mix the Mozz and the Basil in a bowl.

Make thin patties and put the Mozz/Basil in between two of the patties.

Put a little olive oil in the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Serve with a salad.

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