Military Wives Choir: Song Words From Their Letters to Husbands in Afghanistan

This video is worth watching.

Please read this first as it makes the music more enjoyable. Gareth Malone, a Choir Master for the London Symphony Orchestra, gathered a group of military wives whose husbands are in Afghanistan and turned them into a choir. They wrote a song based on excerpts from letters written by the couples whilst apart and this is the beautiful result. The single is out in the UK. Thousands have been pre-ordered and all the money raised is going to military charities. Enjoy!

No matter what issues surround war, compassion stirs for the wives, families and the men and women who are in harm’s way.

Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are always welcome. I don’t blog on a regular schedule, but if you subscribe, you’ll receive an email notice of my posts.

Hope your Monday is the beginning of a great week.

Gratitude List

Autumn Trees in the Pacific Northwest

On those days when grumbles surface, catching them before they rule the atmosphere, challenging the negative with the good things often brightens the day, lifting me out of a funk into a different place. While blogging tonight, the list got longer and longer, so I’ve left many big and small things out. Had to quit somewhere!

Below is the gratitude list I could think of tonight …

-Husband, Children, Grandchildren, Brothers and their families
-Friends and Freedom
-Continuing Community Education
-Continuing Writing Education
-Kindness received and given
-Reading and writing
-Music
-Social networking with readers and writers, Connections
-Imagination, Problem Solving
-Walking
-Logical mind, even though one tracked & at times absent

Fresh nutritious salad

-Fine Doctors to keep me ticking … and walking … along with access to great health care
-The Internet, Computers, Printers
-Universities, Colleges, and Libraries
-Telephone calls, and long conversations with loved ones and friends
-Cell phones.  What ever did I do without one?
-Television, especially PBS, and Radio
-Relatively good hearing
-My Prius automobile, and my husband’s Highlander 4WD ( we usually keep cars for 15 years)
-The dogs, King & Buddy (Yellow & Chocolate Labs)
-Gasoline
-Food, fresh, organic when available, Good well water
-Vegetable garden provided by husband in the summer
-The 24 minute drive through beauty to get to the outdoor swimming pool
-Pain medication, Vitamins
-Minimally invasive Surgical techniques to solve many problems
-Memories, Bird songs, Breezes, Boat rides
-The present moments
-Large bodies of water, lakes, oceans, rushing streams
-Photographs that quick start memories

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau AK

-Mountains, Glaciers, rain forests
-Trees, bushes, berries, flowers, grasses
-Autumn colors, Sunsets, Clouds, Blue sky, Rain, Snow
-Crocuses signaling the arrival of spring, and Pussy Willows
-Change that challenges
-All the senses, taste, smell, touch, see, hear and the 6th sense, intuition
-Compassion given and received
-Love, given and received
-Hope, Faith, Trust, Destiny and believing there is a purpose to all things, as in order in the chaos
-Freedom from practicing religion and respect for those who do

-Struggles.  Ouch.  Hate to mention this one, but all internal change, spurred by struggles, provided learning, an increased capacity to feel, to love, to reach out.  Didn’t learn much while having fun.  The hard times had a purpose.  They did pass.  Often understanding followed. But didn’t understand when in the midst of a struggle so eventually learned to wait it out.

The entire gratitude list is woven into the evolution of my soul.
Would love your comments and additions to the list.  Have a good week all.

TIME, WHERE ARE YOU?

BODY MAINTENANCE AFTER ??? YEARS OF AGE

Before: Prior to August Surgery

After: Taken in November 2011

Phase one: August 11 2011 gastric sleeve surgery provided a fighting chance to overcome lifelong obesity.  Appearance was not the issue.  Large gals can be beautiful. But as a nurse, I could see signs of health issues arising that might soon become irreversible.  Since the surgery I enjoy an energy surge, healthy lab reports, and a multiple of other benefits of weight loss.  Here are before [Aug] & after [Nov[ head shots. No, you don’t get to see the rest of me until I’m done shrinking.

Phase two:  I need a third hip prosthesis revision.  This is in no way typical, but the complications from the first surgery 11 years ago (infection) required further surgical interventions, but provided ten years of great mobility.  However, for every pound I carried, the load on knee and hip joints tripled.  Do the math.  I wore my poor baby out.  So February 23, if plans progress, the third hip prosthesis and I will shake hands—joined at the hip so to speak.

MY PASSION

 I’m a writer.  I want to write.  For readers and friends who read my blog who are not writers or authors, there is a difference between the two terms.  A writer typically is unpublished.  An author has published works waiting for readers to honor his or her craft by purchasing their stories, essays, or poetry.

But body maintenance and bookkeeping for two home businesses, plus domestic responsibilities have ensnared me in a time warp, gobbling up writing time (including this blog. But I love the connections with people, so what’s a gal supposed to do?)  Add the surge of energy directed at recapturing order in my home.  Most important, I love my husband, children, and grandchildren and friends.   Well, I love the dogs, too—I think.  But husband is their master and all I have to do is snuggle & coo at them.

Every problem has a solution.  The idea came quietly as I relaxed in Juneau with grandchildren.  When I got home, I juggled financial priorities, rented a low cost off-season room in a local B & B two days a week, and  left my home environment.  And wrote.

I’ll let you know if the seclusion works.  The wisdom in the writing world recommends writing every day.  I agree.  Hopefully, my two days will be a jump-start to new habit forming disciplines, guilt free.

Bloggers usually have a schedule for posting.  I don’t.  If I find something interesting, beautiful, funny, or informative—whatever it may be—I will post randomly as I’m moved or as time allows.   I would be honored if readers subscribed to my blog so they wouldn’t miss anything (smile and a wink.)  I strive to keep the blogs short, as your time is likely more valuable than mine!

Peace!

Holiday Season Juggling of Priorities

Christmas at our house another year

To family, friends, fellow writers and bloggers, may you reap some of the riches of the heart during this season when we dream. And play. And reminisce.

I’m also mindful of those whose grief is multiplied during this tender time of year when hearts are open and easier to break.  Reach out, and know that it will pass.

And to those who find the emotions of the season a burden, or the inevitable commercial involvement distasteful, hope you can look for the little things that make the struggle worth it.

But to all, at this time of year and always, may something wonderful happen to light warmth within.

Having  juggled priorities, I must remove blogging from a fixed schedule, and post when time and inclination coincide.  I’ll be waving from my daughter’s hearth in Alaska.

Here is a wee poem:

Christmas is the time of year
When hearts make room for love.
It keeps the Holy Dream alive
To visualize a Dove.

A sign of peace to give us hope
To warm the hearts of men,
We wait and wait, yes year to year
For world love’s growth again.

The hope is like a tiny seed
Surrounded deep in error …
But Hope gives service to mankind
To ease him from the terror.

For some, the hopelessness of life,
From the pain of Hell,
The tiny seed of hope does flicker
“Maybe we’ll get well!”

It’s like an intravenous
That keeps us duly fed,
During all the hubbub
As mankind lies in bed …

But once the earth does flood with truth
And error does recede …
Christmas won’t be needed
For man to do a deed

Of brotherhood, of loving
‘Cause it will be a part
Of the new created nature
In mankind’s loving heart.

Love to all.

Embracing change and love on Thanksgiving?

Was this the first Thanksgiving?

On this Thanksgiving Holiday, many of us will be in tight quarters with those we love.  Some we seldom see, some we dearly love, some we find irritating, some are tired and the celebration duties are wearisome, some have lost loved ones and are grieving, and some of us are simply alone, either by choice or by circumstance.

Is it possible to be carefree about tradition?  Unyielding to keep things the same and capture old memories can be destructive to relationships as folks often come from different traditional backgrounds.

The Thanksgiving celebration is not about food, though food is part of the celebration and tradition, but the day is set aside to give thanks, share hope and love, and keep in mind forgiveness, tolerance, understanding, acceptance, kindness, sharing, and change.  Yes change.  Nothing can stay the same … or like a pool of water, it becomes stagnant.

How many ways can we show our love? Giving thanks every day of the year?

  • Care for loved ones when illness strikes.
  • Back off when loved one is frustrated.   Ranting space is often a need.
  • Do something unusual and unexpected for another.
  • When you need praise or attention, don’t assume the  loved one will know it … ask!  We all need to be appreciated and for them to know we need that from them could make them feel valued.
  • Enjoy the freedom from judging those who are different, or who are struggling with problems.
  • Give loved ones freedom to grow, and let the loved ones know that you also, need to grow.
  • Trust, if not in them, in God (My spiritual life does not include religion, but to each his own.)
  • Allow freedom, accept the present, and give messages of hope.
  • Find something to admire and mention it.
  • Don’t expect loved ones to make you happy.
  • Happiness is within, but we grow through tough times, evolving to a higher plane.

This is a lofty list but can we be thankful for that which we desire to achieve, and for that which we already have?

Wishing a very wonder-filled day in America to all the Thanksgiving celebrants, and to the world in general.

Organizing Content in Social Media

How sweet it is when we see a life rope headed our way.

Good morning, West Coast, and good afternoon in the East.

Jane Friedman, holding many credentials,  writes an excellent newsletter.  Anyone who participates in Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler, and so on, would find the newsletter listed here something to consider.  The links she shared promise great help in organizing possible social network posts/topics of interest to your friends and readers.  She calls these linked sites “Curators.”  I hope those interested can find something that helps streamline managing social media.

Have a great week, all.  Put yesterday away, let tomorrow come as it will, and enjoy today.

A Cup of Assertiveness, Anyone? One Lump or Two?

A fun Photo: Barkerville old gold rush town. Summer 1966

I know.  The photos have nothing to do with the post.  But they are fun photos taken by my folks the summer after our wedding. Enjoy!

Assertiveness.  Yes, I would admire the skill. I remember years ago during a state inspection of a nursing home where I worked, feeling like a balloon,  air swooshing out of the stem, when someone gently said, “I can see you are upset.” Why did that calm me? Where does one find such a statement in the face of another’s anger?

Where does one draw the line between asserting the needs and wants of the true inner you, versus giving to loved ones or others when it brings you pleasure to give?

Whether or not we follow a doctrine or a religion, our culture is influenced by spiritual ideals.  Older women grew up during a time when expectations for women or wives were different and struggled either for or against women’s lib.  I chuckled when I read the home economics class advice given to girls in the fifties. We’ve come a long way.

As a caveat for having gastric sleeve surgery, a tool to assist with weight management, after my psych evaluation, the doctor agreed with the assessor and mandated psychological therapy for a year.  I’ll honor one more of six group sessions, and then I’m back to being me.  They can’t take the surgery back, (done Aug 11) so I’ll practice the assertiveness they so much encourage me to learn, and say, “I wont be attending any more sessions for a while.”

Barkerville old gold rush town - Dad beside stage coach. Summer 1966

Counseling can be about issues surrounding poor self-image, not being true to who we are (assuming folks know who they are), always yielding, and unsatisfying relationships—all believed to be the villains in the battle against obesity.

Recent research reveals the scientific basis for obesity, and society hasn’t caught up with the evidence. Yes, resulting psychology issues are involved, but genetic structure, hormones, and brain chemistry—shown through modern pet scans—tell a different story. The villains unmasked are dieting, yes dieting, and/or junk food—both guaranteed to set up folks genetically disposed, to experience obesity running full steam ahead.

Don’t misunderstand.  I believe counseling can help many if they are ready. (Can I see heads nodding?  ‘She’s not ready.’)

I am content, often living in the moment, connecting, giving, loving, not judging, (except against group therapy for me) and occasionally exploding under the self-generated pressure of needing 36 hour days.  I leave the re-shaping of my soul in the hands of the creative power of the universe—and inevitably I see growth and change according to life experiences.  Why would I tinker with the plan?

And the winner is Diana Murdock

On my October 25th blog, I offered a drawing for the Donald Maass book “Writing the Breakout Novel” to all who commented.  Diana Murdock was the name pulled from the bag.  Hope you find great things in the book, Diana.  I am currently reading “Fire in Fiction” and highly recommend it.  Now back to writing.  Weekend approaching, wishing you all a fantastic finish of the week, and something you enjoy on the weekend.

For your viewing pleasure, stick with this video to get the message.  I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Swimming at night, Exercise Resistance & Commitment

Stand of trees dressed for Autumn

November arrives and we lose an hour somewhere.

What’s it like to swim in the dark?  In an outdoor pool?  In cool weather?  Amidst floodlights?  Alone? Imagining  writers using the setting for thriller mysteries?

Chase the creepy imaginings away, feel the warm water like silk over your skin, and it’s wonderful.  The sense of accomplishment and the hot tub, aahhh,  rewards.

My swimming hole is a twenty-five minutes away, not because of the distance, but because the road winds through picturesque small acreages, ending on a spit jutting out between two ocean bays.  During the slow twilight drive amidst trees of blended gold, red and green, a pervasive peace pushes time pressures aside.

No, that's not me. The guy wasn't there either.

Back home, when swim day arrives again, self-talk is required. So lovely, why would I resist? Time pressures, yes, but memories can hitch on the negative. The wet walk from the locker shower, shivering  through the open area, feeling the cool autumn breeze adding a chill.  I switch the memory to the positive … like after the first half lap when I feel warmth again … and back to the pool, I go.  Maybe.

Readers, do you have an exercise program? Does it improve your lives?  Mood?  Health?  Is it difficult to stick to the plan? Please share your experience in a comment.

Not related to the topic, if you would like  wee Celtic music break, enjoy the video.  Have a great week, my blog friends.

SIWC gave us a live security demo just like TV, for Master Class Day

Juneau AK Mendenhall Glacier with Fireweed in the foreground

The expected arrival of two former US presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush, at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel on the same day of the master classes of the SIWC gave a live demo of the security set-up for such an event. Why did the presidents come to the Sheraton Guilford Hotel? For an economic summit.  An story there somewhere!

Roads closed, parking compromised, guards at the elevator doors and populating the lobby, and a heavy presence at every entrance. Secret service, Security, RCMP, crew cuts and suits, everywhere … casting eyes to and fro and maintaining that special blank blind look.

I had waited too long and barreled toward my favorite bathroom, suddenly blocked by two guards. As I pleaded with my eyes, already tinged yellow, a tall buff ‘suit’ wearing a squiggly wire leading from his ear to the back of his neck, and tucked down behind his open size 17 collar, gave me the, “One more word and I’ll shoot.” look.

Rumors? The Surrey Fire Department Hazmat team was on the way. Thursday slipped into the late afternoon, and they all disappeared.  Not a trace. Thankfully.

The writer’s conference rose above the milling ‘suits,’ limitations and elevator delays. Workshops, presenters from Canada, the US,  Scotland, and beyond, the MC nicknamed ‘Betty White of the North,’ the food variety served buffet style, the sharing at the round tables during keynotes and meals, the entertainment in “Shock Theatre” provided by presenters, and the hotel Sheraton Guildford service—all drew over 550 attendees into camaraderie—as we absorbed the full circle of instruction of immense value to writers.

Saturday night’s highlight, with a Royal Canadian Mounty standing on stage for protection, began as the audience buzzed with anticipation. Robert Dugoni, best selling author and presenter, stood beside the auctioneer, watched and perspired, as KC Dyer she auctioned off his T-shirt, the winner to strip

1958 photo of Mounties in Uniform, Musical Ride Cranbrook BC

the shirt away on stage.   The crowd cheered and laughed until muscles couldn’t bear it.  We heard a few bids by men and female shouts, “How much for the Mountie?” Bidders hiked the price to buy the symbol of the black T- shirt, “This day, we will write!” Our motto after his keynote speech Friday brought us to our feet. KC Dyer managed, using innuendo, to get the bidding up to $400, the final bid echoing through the banquet room from a male voice. Anyone want to guess who got Robert Dugoni’s T-shirt?  We laughed long and hard, loving every minute.

Congratulations all who put the conference together—atmosphere warm, superb education, agent/editor appointments plentiful, blue pencils with authors reading our work valuable, and workshops to hone our skills in writing, business, social networking, films and the future.

Many writers and presenters are heading to ECWC.  Wishing you in GSRWA another “best conference ever.”  Sorry I’ll miss it this year.

Last year I won a raffle basket.  Anyone who comments will be drawn for a free book, Donald Maass “Writing the Breakout Novel.” And if you guess the specialty item I won, you get an extra ticket in the draw pot to win.

My Blog plan is to write once weekly on a variety of topics,  so I hope you’ll stop by each Tuesday.  Cheers!

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 743 other followers

Follow Marion Spicher's Blog on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: