Leaving Behind and Carrying Forward

So, here we are on the last day of 2009. New Year's Eve has never been a big thing for me; it's just another night as far as I'm concerned. Tonight, Gerry and I will likely enjoy sitting in the hot tub, perhaps looking at the skies with his new telescope, and I'm sure we'll be fast asleep before the clock strikes twelve.

The message that our pastor gave last Sunday was about things we should leave behind as we move into the new year, and other things we should carry forward. This morning, in a less spiritual vein, I was thinking of some personal things I would like to leave behind as we enter 2010 tomorrow.
  • high cholesterol
  • about "nn" extra pounds
  • sore feet (sorry Val!)
  • hot flashes
  • insomnia
As I look over this list I realize that it's the list of an old woman - a grandmother even! And I realize that it IS the list of a grandmother, and that is the greatest blessing of 2009!

I'll take these things as we move into the new year and I'll try to improve what I can and embrace what I can't.  I'll do my best to carry foward:

  • healthy eating habits
  • commitment to exercise in a way that suits me
  • flat shoes
  • refreshing sleep
  • my memoir
  • new writing goals
And most of all, I'll carry forward being the best wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend that I can be.

And I'll close this year with yet another picture of my beautiful granddaughter!

Have a Happy New Year all!

Raise a Reader

Here is a picture of Makiya on Christmas morning opening one of her Christmas gifts.  Look at the enthusiasm with which she is pulling off the paper!
She is not quite one year old and already showing signs of being a bookworm like her Mom and her Grandma!

Here she is later, still engrossed in her book.

I think that the love of books is one of the best gifts we can give our children and grandchildren, don't you?


So you're back; my on-again off-again nemesis for the past thirty years.  You surprised me this time; I thought that perhaps you had moved on for good. The hints to your imminent return were there, I just chose not to see them.

I am amazed at how quickly you get into my life, how all-encompassing your presence is each time you come back.  You are a worthy adversary to be sure.

Last night I lay awake hour after hour, tossing and turning, bemoaning the fact that you had returned.  Every inch of my body seemed to cry out as witness to your reappearing. 

I will not concede defeat; I will never concede defeat.  Though you are strong, I am stronger.  You may occasionally win a battle, but you will not win the war. I have learned a thing or two about you over the years; I know when to fight and when to sit back and let it appear that you have your own way.

I know your appearance is fleeting and that you will eventually move on; I can be patient.

I'm on to you, Fibromyalgia.

Christmas of Another Kind

It's Christmas Eve day and I am remembering Christmas' past, Christmas' of another kind.

I think it is of utmost importance that we try to keep our focus on the Reason for this season, but we have wrapped so much emotion and hype into the holiday that it's impossible to keep them separate.

While many of you will spend this evening and tomorrow enjoying family, friends, and feasts, it will not be that way for everyone.  Some are grieving the loss of a loved one and trying to get through a first Christmas with out them; some have financial struggles such that there are no gifts under the tree, perhaps there is no tree at all; some are wrapped in clouds of depression and are just holding on until the season passes.

So if you are one of the blessed ones this year, I ask that you remember those who do not count themselves as one of you this year, and do what you can to help who you can and where you can.

Christmas Blessings,

Merry Christmas

As I drive into my neighborhood I am greeted by light. 

The house on the right has woven colored strands of green and red into the tall maple tree at the front.  White icicle lights hang from the inverted V on the top of the house. The house to the left has red and white candy cane lights bordering the front lawn. 

Farther down is a house that is a display of white: white lights in the trees and bushes, white icicles hanging from the eaves, and white lights circling the large wreath above the garage door.

Around the corner is a garish inflated snowman waving as I drive by. In the yard next to that is a train, it's lights sequenced so that it looks like the wheels are turning.

I turn onto our street and each house has lights of some sort - some subtle, some not. In addition to our outside lights, this year we have chosen to put a single candle in every window pane.

I wonder how all of these lights look from high above our little neighborhood.  I hope that they look like a giant cake cake covered in candles. 

We are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus. 

Merry Christmas, all.


I was in pain yesterday and it got worse as they day went on. By the time I arrived home the pain was so widespread and deep that it was hard to tell where it started and ended. It happens. I took a sleeping pill and went to bed early and this morning, while not completely gone, it's eased. 

A number of years ago I was consumed with pain of another sort. I was in the midst of a deep depression and every waking moment was overshadowed with emotional pain and despair; I was barely able to function. I listened to in those days to an album by Mary Chapin Carpenter that contained a song called This is Love.   That song had a phrase that put into words what I could not speak.  This is the kind of pain from which you don't recover. 

Fast forward to today. I could never have imagined the blessings that were waiting for me just down the road a bit.  It took time, and help, but I did recover from that emotional pain.  Recover, but not forget, because when I remember those dark days I can find hope in any circumstance that I find myself in today.  Whether it be a a bad week, worries about something, or the kind of physical pain that can knock me over, I have learned that in my life there is no pain from which I won't recover in some manner.

And the winner is.....

Thank you to everyone who graciously participated in my informal survey to find out a bit more about who is reading my blog and why.  This information will be helpful as we prepare for the upcoming Stories From The Heart conference. 

A highly scientific method was used to select a name from those who commented (writing your names on pieces of paper, tossing them on the floor, closing my eyes and picking one) and Jeanette, from Audience of One was selected to receive the incentive award!

Jeanette, please select a book from the recent reviews posted at the Story Circle Book Review site with my thanks for participating.  Send me an email with your selection, and I'll get it off to you.

Relocating for Health Reasons

My feet hurt.  Perhaps it's a product of growing older and wearing too many ill-fitting shoes throughout my life, but I am spending more time these days thinking about my feet. 

It started as an occasional bout with something-or-another in the ball of my foot that would cause it to sieze up like an engine without oil.  That pain actually had me remove my shoes in the mall one day and walk stocking footed to my destination.  It's happening more frequently.

I've tried insoles: full insoles, heel insoles, toe insoles, gel insoles, you name it. I'm trying to migrate away from wearing heels but the problem with that is that most of my pants are of the length that require a heel.  Now I'm faced with hemming my pants, NEVER a task that I have enjoyed. And I still need to dress well for work, so I have to find something to wear on my feet that's comfortable yet looks nice.

In the summer months my feet don't hurt.  I usually wear flat sandals or flipflops or, best of all, go barefoot. 

So, now I'm faced with a dilemna: hem my pants or move to Mexico where I can go barefoot all the time.  Tough choice.

Sister Surprise

As an adoptee, I have often speculated about whether who we are is influenced more by the environment we grow up in or our genetic makeup.  This week my mental tally of votes for each court received another vote in the genetic makeup category.

I met my birth-sister Wendy when I was about thirty years old.  She came to my home and we spent that first night sitting up all night talking. I couldn't stop looking at her face that had many similarities to my own.  We learned that we had much in common, and were stunned to learn that we had lived in the same city for a number of years as children, lived just a few blocks apart, and even went to the same school at the same time.  It's very likely that we could have passed each other in the hall or come across each other on the playground.

Over the years both of our lives have taken unexpected twists and turns - some good, many not so good.  We've kept in contact with one another, although sometimes a long time as gone by between phone calls or emails. Every time we connect we immediately pick up where we left off last time though.

As I worked through the last pages of my memoir last weekend, my thoughts turned to my sister and I gave her a call.  We caught up on each other's lives and had some good laughs.  I hadn't told her about my book yet because I was waiting until it was in more of a finished state so I could share some pages with her before sending it to anyone else.

As the phone call was winding down Wendy said something that stunned me.  "I've written a book."  My talented sister has written a book about her experience with breast cancer.  Neither of us knew that the other was working on a book, neither of us knew that the other had a desire to write a book.

You tell me: nature or nurture?

Weekend Wrap-up

With Gerry away for the weekend, the girls (Chelsea and Maya) and I have been enjoying some girl time. We've spent most of the weekend enjoying the sweet solace of silence. I'm convinced that for me, it's the best way to connect with God. It's only in the quiet that I can hear that still, small voice, that whisper that directs and guides me.

It's been a productive weekend.  As you can see by the picture I've got my memoir ready for the next round of revisions and rewrites. There is a huge sense of accomplishment as I look at a hard copy of this document that I've worked so long on. In hard copy form it seems more like a tangible piece of work that is one step closer to publication.

It's been a relaxing weekend as well.  I picked up some Sugar 'n Cream Twists yarn and I've started on a dishcloth.  It's something I can work on that calms me and allows me to justify time spent sitting still.  Last night we also enjoyed a Hallmark movie called The Note.

I'm finished work for the day and now I'm off to curl up with a quilt and see what I can find on the Hallmark Channel.

Oh yes, and if you haven't yet left a comment letting me know why you come back to My Own Velvet Room along with your demographic info, please do.  I'll be drawing a name from everyone who leaves a comment with this info on December 15.  The winner will receive their choice of books from the recent reviews on the Story Circle Book Reviews site.

C'mon don't be shy, let me know why you come back.  Whether it's your 2nd visit or your 254th visit (yes, that's how many posts I've done here) I want to know!

Mornings...and a request

I must confess that I do some of my best work between 3:00am and 6:00am.  Honestly, those quiet hours when I'm laying awake in bed often provide inspiration and ideas for projects I'm working on at work and at home. Mind you, those sleepless hours can often provide much frustration as I've written about previously!

Better still is the time I spend in the shower in the morning. Now, I don't want you to get a visual here (heaven forbid!) but the truth is that my mind works best first thing in the morning, and my first activity of the day is a shower. There is just something about that hot water and the movements I make by rote that puts me into right-brain mode.

This morning my mind is on some things going on at work and so the original inspiration I had hoped to come up with for this morning's post didn't happen. So, my good blogging friend Becky Lane who will be a panelist on the Finding Our Voices Online panel at February's Stories From the Heart V conference has allowed me to borrow one of her ideas.

We are doing some pre-work and trying to learn who is reading our blogs and why they keep reading.  So would you please leave a comment and let me know who you are (names aren't necessary, you can leave an anomymous comment if you would like).  Let me know your gender, age bracket, and any other demographic information you would feel comfortable including.  Then, and here's the good stuff, let me know why you keep coming back to My Own Velvet Room. 

To thank everyone who leaves a comment, on December 15 I will do a drawing for your choice of a book that has been reviewed recently on the Story Circle Book Review site!  Why December 15?  Because I may have more blog-related questions over the next week or so and I want to include everyone who answers all of my inquiring-minds-want-to-know questions.

So that's it!  Happy Wednesday, and let the comments begin!

A Short Life, Long Remembered

Last night I dreamed about Mom.  She's been gone for twenty-five years and it was bittersweet to see her face again like it was just yesterday when I saw her last.  We never lose that place in our hearts that our mom occupies. 

In the dream it was her birthday and we were getting ready for a big birthday celebration. In reality, I'm not aware of her ever having a big celebration in her honor.  She was a private woman, fun-loving in her own way.  She didn't share her thoughts and feelings openly; those few times I can remember doing so are like nuggets of gold in my memories.

She had simple dreams, never travelled far from home, and went without so her children could go with.  She wasn't a powerful career-woman and wasn't wealthy.  She married at eighteen, was widowed at fifty-three, and died at fifty-five.

Her life was all too short but the impression she left remains. I speak of her to my children often, though as time goes by their memory of her is fading.  I like to think that I am keeping her alive in their hearts by sharing stories and memories that will become a part of them as well.

One day, Lord willing, I will tell Makiya about the simple, loving woman who was her great-grandmother.