She’s Hot, Hot, Hot

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Please understand, it’s not that I don’t love my husband. It’s just that he simply does not understand what a hot flash truly is. I mean, I understand that being awakened in the dead of night by someone “kung-fu” kicking  your bed sheets and blanket to the South Pole can be a frightening experience. But, if he could just imagine how it would feel to have a blow torch suddenly ignited inside of him, and no fire hose to put it out, he might understand the panicked flinging of the bed covers and my sarcastic quips to his objections. One night, I awoke to find him completely exposed and curled up into a fetal position.

I gave him a nudge and asked, “If you are cold, why don’t you pull the covers over you?”

I heard a small groan.

“Because” he answered in a feeble, weary voice, “you keep ripping them off of me. I give up.”

I don’t know why, but his answer came unexpected. How many times had I actually deprived him of his protective coverings to warrant such a pitiful retreat? I was fully aware that I had sent the covers flying, only to sit up in bed and retrieve them five minutes later. In fact, in an effort to remain positive about my condition, I had decided to view this constant night time motion as a part of my exercise plan. Apparently though, I had not been effectively retrieving enough of the covers for both of us.

Seeing him curled up in a tight ball, shivering in the night, caused me to take pity on the poor guy. I crawled down to the bottom of the bed to reach the other half of the sheet and tossed it his direction. As it unfolded like a white parachute and settled over him, he quietly thanked me.

“Your welcome,” I replied, “But you may want to bolt that down.”

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Whatever You Do, Don’t Run!

                                                                                                                  

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I am always up for an adventure – especially those that promise an adrenaline rush or two. So, exploring new territories, and close encounters with the wild, hovers near the top of my priority list.

When I was growing up, summertime meant family camping trips, exploring national parks, and swimming in whatever body of water we could find. So it was inevitable that I marry an outdoor type of guy who grew up doing the same sort things. Camping has been a summer event for our own family for many years and has included several state parks.

Traveling to Canada and spending some time where the wild things are was on our “Gotta do it” list. So when our friends invited our family to join them on a camping excursion to a remote area of Canada, we were thrilled. We carefully planned our three week adventure and before long it was time to hit the road.

After a two day journey northward, we arrived at Moosehorn, a small, private camping area in British Columbia, with our travel trailer packed with enough food to feed an army for a month. No one would go hungry.

We echoed “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s” as we scanned the beautiful lake that curbed the secluded property.  We peaked into the windows of the few rustic cabins that dotted the lakeside and we watched the Loon’s flap their wings and glide across the water.

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Then we set up camp and settled in.

Over the next few days, we enjoyed fishing on the lake and taking rides in our small, aluminum boat. The lake provided the perfect perch to view the abundance of wildlife that shared the territory with us. I snapped my camera at nesting bald eagles, coyote, and deer drinking at the lakeside.

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Then we spotted a couple baby grizzly bears frolicking on the hillside. My husband steered our boat closer to shore for a better view, stopping about a hundred yards from the shoreline. I felt safe with a large span of water between our boat and the baby grizzly show. Although I have to admit, I wondered where the momma grizzly was hiding and if she could smell our fish cooking in the evenings.

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There were no septic hook-ups, so we had to use the grounds facilities, which were somewhat primitive. There was a flush toilet in the wash house across the campground, but our friend’s directed us to an outhouse which stood conveniently at a stone’s throw away from our campsite – if you had a good arm. It was also hidden by a large overgrowth of trees and bushes. This made me a bit nervous, but I decided not to be a wussy and use it anyway.

While inside, I contemplated the possibility of a grizzly meandering by and discovering the wild berry bush next to the John. I wished I had not come alone. I considered yelling for my husband to come and get me, but I thought I might sound like a wounded animal that would make the perfect no-cook meal. I also knew that my husband would not let me live it down. So instead, I pressed my face up against the splintering wall of the latrine and peeked through the tiny cracks of the wooden boards. When it looked like all directions were clear, I swung the door open and sprinted toward our campsite. Once I was in the clearing, I did my best to do a casual stride into camp. No one knew the difference. From then on, I walked the further distance to the flush latrine that was situated in a large clearing, stating that I preferred toilets that flush versus those which look like bottomless pits. That seemed to work.

Following the precautions given to us, I restricted my daily exercise to walking or jogging around the large field behind our campsite. I kept an eye on the surrounding forest and wondered if a grizzly with poor eyesight could mistake me for an over-sized jack rabbit. I hopped a little faster.

After a few days of running around in restricted circles, I told my husband I needed to expand my horizons and go on a long walk – on a straight road. He agreed to walk with me. We reviewed bear safety rules as we walked away from the open field and along a dirt road that led toward town. It felt good to have a change of scenery. We were about a half mile into our walk and were joking about what we would do should we encounter a grizzly. My husband said, “You know you’re not suppose to run.” I wondered just how fast I could run if death was chasing me. Then he added, “But if you do run, you better make sure you’re faster than the guy next to you.” He looked at me and grinned. My husband is a runner – and qualified for Nationals in the 800 meters while in college. I decided that it was time to head back to camp.

We walked briskly and spoke louder than usual as we made our way back down the road, hoping to ward off anything that lurked in the woods. I wondered if a grizzly was capable of sneaking up behind us and I wished I had a rearview mirror attached to my head.

When I saw the Moosehorn sign I was relieved. “Looks like we made it!” I said.

“Yep,” my husband replied, “Looks like we’re not going be a grizzly’s dinner tonight!”

I laughed nervously and looked over my shoulder.

We rounded the bend onto the Moosehorn property and started chatting about other things. It was then that I heard a low, guttural grunt come from the thick bushes to my right. The little hairs on the back of my neck pricked up like quills on the back of a porcupine. I kept my pace and I looked over at my husband. He was looking at me wide-eyed. “Did you hear that?” I asked in a hoarse whisper. “You mean that grunt sound?” He whispered back. We both looked over our shoulders and quickened our pace.

“Whatever you do, don’t run!” He said in a louder whisper. His teeth were clenched.

“You don’t run either!” I whispered back. I noticed I was having to double-step it to keep up with him.

Just then there was a loud crack about 30 yards behind us. It sounded like a small tree being snapped in two. I restrained a scream, but a stifled sound that mimicked a cow in labor made it’s way through my pressed lips. I won’t repeat what my husband said.

We both hit Olympic speed walking pace, with a few hops thrown in. Buns tight. Tails affright. Our feet were forward, our bodies faced each other, arms pumping, and our heads were whipping front to back. I wondered if the paddling Loons on the lake would think we were an odd species doing a mating dance.

Another loud whack came from behind us. I shot off like a steel marble in pinball machine. It was survival of the fittest. I was in front.

I heard my husband’s panicked voice hit high tenor, “Don’t run!!”

He passed me and took the lead.

“You are!!” I shouted and I reached out and grabbed the back of his shirt.

We both stumbled. I struggled to keep my legs from entangling with his, but held my grip.

“Ahh!!” He let out a labored yelp, “Let go!!!”

It’s strange what one can do when they face possible death. I gripped the back of his shirt with an iron hand.

“No way man! If I go, you go!” I shouted.

My feet bounced and skidded over the dirt like a bare-footed water skier. My husband’s shirt tail was my tow rope.

He burst into grimaced laughter. I joined him.  We struggled to keep in motion, and our laughter quickly progressed to wheezing with intermittent squeaks. I could feel my grasp on his shirt growing weaker. I envisioned doing a cartwheel off the side of the road and becoming human toast.

We came around a curve in the road and I saw the first cabin. I wondered what the occupants would do if a half-crazed couple came diving through their front door. I looked over my shoulder to see if our would be attacker was in sight. The road was empty. “No bear coming!” I gasped. My husband slowed his pace and I skidded to a stop. We stood solitude, hands on our knees and catching our breath.

We figured the grunt we heard was our warning to move on – which we did with enthusiasm.

“You ran.” I said.

“You did too.” My husband answered.

“So, who’s faster?” I asked.

“You held my shirt.” He replied.

I guess we’ll never know.

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Confessions of an Island Tourist

    I relaxed in a patio chair on the lanai of an island condo, enjoying a spectacular view of the Pacific ocean while I worked on my writing. What more could I ask for? I watched turtles gliding through the waves, as near by snorkelers bobbed up and down, and an occasional whale would breach the surface and come crashing down into the deep blue water. While vacationing in Kauai, I was privy to a true Paradise. However, I have to admit, during my tropical get a way I made a couple tourist blunders that left me a little red-faced.

One of my favorite activities is swimming and snorkeling in the aqua marine water that surrounds the Hawaiian islands. One day my husband and I were snorkeling in a popular cove with our good friends, Mark and Beth. Eventually, we all drifted apart as we each followed different schools of tropical fish. Although I thoroughly enjoy participating in submarine adventures, in the back of my mind I am aware that I am sharing the territory with some potentially unfriendly creatures – namely, sharks.

                                                              Fool Me Once

A most brilliantly colored fish had drawn my attention and I had been following it for quite some time, when suddenly I felt something sharp scratch at my leg. An adrenaline rush hit my chest and spread pins and needles to my extremities. I sucked a puff of air through my snorkel as I jerked my leg up toward my chest and looked over my shoulder, hoping not to see my worst nightmare staring me in the face. What I found was the face of our friend – with a snorkel-clenched grin. I shot to the surface and pulled my snorkel from my mouth just as he came to the surface laughing. “You brat!” I hollered, “You’re lucky I’m not carrying a spear-gun!” I laughed as he popped back under the surface. Then I looked around for my husband while treading water and waited for my racing heart to slow it’s pace. Now you would think after suffering such a nerve-rattling offense, that I would never consider inflicting it on someone else. However, I have always thought that one good trick deserves another, so when I caught sight of my husband’s bobbing snorkel, I headed straight for him.

                                                               Fool Me Twice

As I made my stealth underwater approach, I made sure that I stayed directly behind my husband so that I could make my attack un-detected. I maneuvered carefully until I was close enough to see his blondish leg hairs glistening in the sunlit waters. Then I slowly reached forward and was just about to give those hairs a good pull when I noticed that my husband was wearing a different color of swim trunks. I jerked my hand back as one of my fingers just brushed the stranger’s leg and I saw him turn in my direction. I whirled a 180 and shot out of there like a sailfish! Did you know that sailfish can swim up to 70 mph? If they were land creatures, they could out race the average freeway driver. O.K., maybe my fins weren’t going quite that fast, but I was on the move and I never looked back!

                                                                        I Give Up

I decided to avoid pulling any more underwater pranks, although I just couldn’t help but being playful while exploring the underwater world. I mean, life just wouldn’t be fun without playfulness…right?

I had been chasing a cute parrot fish, that would teasingly stay just a few inches from my reach, when I saw my husband snorkeling close by. I did a quick scan to be sure it was indeed the man I married – same color swim trunks, same color snorkel gear, body build matched, and short spiked light color hair – yep, that was him. I was excited about the brilliant fish I had been playing with and wanted my husband to see it. So, in my excitement I quickly made a submerged swim toward him. He was busy studying a small school of fish at the time, so I playfully dove under him and popped up essentially mask to mask and gave him a big grin. He grinned back. It is amazing how different your spouse can look while underwater. Hello? It is also amazing how you can feel the embarrassed heat in your cheeks while you are submerged in

cool water…

 

…reverse fins…

                                                          

                             

                                     

                                                                   Stranger Alert

I had been thoroughly enjoying every aspect of my vacation, including all the yummy tropical desserts which were available, which meant I had to burn off those extra calories somehow. We had just returned from a wonderful day on the beach and I had finished washing off my snorkel gear ahead of my husband and our friends who were with me. So I left them at the outside water faucet in the condo parking lot and I hustled up the outside stairs for some extra exercise. I jogged up a couple extra floors higher than ours, then down a three and back up one to our third story condo, feeling pretty good that with all that I was still the first one back to the condo. I was breathing hard when I walked up to our door. It was then that I noticed that the outside privacy door was closed, but the inner security door was wide open. I dropped my gear and in full alert I cautiously opened the privacy door to find a man standing across the room with his back toward me. The stereo was playing and he was casually leaning against the edge of the  sliding glass door which opened to the lanai. He apparently was feeling quite at home, as he had poured himself a glass of wine and seemed to be enjoying the ocean view.

I don’t consider myself to be the bravest person on earth, but when it comes to fight or flight, I become a fighter. I took a quick breath in and held it as I planted my feet and clenched my fists at my sides. I was just about to yell, “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” when I noticed that a different sofa was in our condo…then I heard the voices of my husband and friends echoing from the corridor on the floor below me. Really? I cringed and silently mouthed my panic. I had officially created an all new meaning to the word, dork. I took a cautious step back from the condo entrance and bit my lip as I carefully closed the privacy door in front of me, hoping that Joe islander would stay entranced with the scenic view. But the door clicked as it closed and he started to turn in my direction. I let go of the door handle, whipped around while scooping up my snorkel gear and shot out of there like a sailfish on land. Have you ever tried to run quietly on your tip-toes while wearing flip flops? The flapping sound reminded me of playing cards wedged into the spokes of a fast moving bicycle. The noise bounced off the halls of the corridor as I ran to the staircase and made my escape.  I didn’t slow my pace until I reached the condo with the familiar sofa, and a living room occupied by people I recognized.  My aerobics were done for the day.

Have you ever been, so to speak, caught with your pants down? I would love to know that I am not alone. Mahalo!

Cell Tower Melt Down

“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears”  Barbara Johnson

In thirty-six hours, I would be on my way to the airport to catch a plane destined for the Hawaiian islands. I had looked forward to this respite with my husband, but there were two problems that dampened my excitement. First, the list of things to get done before leaving town wasn’t shrinking fast enough. Secondly, cold and flu season had hit hard and seemed to be on a never-ending cycle at our house. I had just recovered from my stint of illness about the time it hit my husband – for the second time. Determined not to fall victim to the viral monster again, I disinfected all surfaces of possible contamination on a daily basis, and to be on the safe side, I abandoned my “chemical free air” motto and saturated our breathing space with an aerosol disinfectant. I gave my husband an arsenal of medicine and quarantined him to our bedroom, while I retreated to set up camp in the upstairs bedroom. Despite my Hazmat efforts, it seemed that my body had once again been infiltrated by “the bug.”

I called my friend, Lisa, who was a fellow mentor mom of a local young mother’s group, and lamented to her about my aching body. The group would be meeting the following morning, and it was my turn to bring a hot dish for breakfast. She listened sympathetically and graciously offered to prepare the casserole and deliver it for me the next morning. I felt the least I could do was bring the ingredients to her door step, so I told her I would drop by after dinner. I had not been to her house before, so she gave me directions and I made a note of it.

The next few hours passed by quickly as I moved at sloth pace to complete my check list. I had already cut the list it in half by asking myself, “If I died today, what items on this list would matter?” But the remaining number of “must do’s” made me groan. The clock struck nine and I still hadn’t dropped off the casserole ingredients. My body felt like it had been hit by a truck, so I swallowed a couple more Ibuprofen tablets and then asked myself, “If I died today, would I care about this list anymore?” After a short contemplation, I picked up a pen and wrote my kids a note. If our plane goes down, hire someone to clean the house, there is grocery money in the attached envelope, you know the rest. I love you!  Then I packed up the casserole ingredients, hopped in my car and headed across town toward Lisa’s house.

It was when I reached the half-way point that I realized that I had left the paper with the house address on my kitchen counter. I growled through clenched teeth. I just wanted to lay my head down on the steering wheel and go to sleep. I put my foot on the brake to slow my car while I contemplating what to do. I knew the general vicinity of where my friend lived, and the thought of turning my car around made me feel like either crying, or saying things I shouldn’t say, so I decided to wing it. Fortunately, my waning memory was able to bring me to the correct street. Great! I would just call her to get her house address. I took my cell phone from my purse to make the call. It was then that I noticed the no service symbol at the top of the lighted screen. I had forgotten that cell service was sparse on that side of town. Ugh! You have got to be kidding me! I shouted and squeezed the phone tightly.

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There are some great advantages of living in a small town that is nestled in the forested foothills. But street lights are few and cell service can be elusive. If you are in a poor service area, you may be lucky and find a sweet spot – if you are patient enough to maneuver your phone around until that one saving bar of service appears on your screen. Then you freeze frame your phone in that position, dial the number and contort your body until you can connect your ear to your phone.

I proceeded to drive slowly down the dark road, while holding my cell phone by my steering wheel and watching for a service bar to pop up. I strained my eyes to see out the side windows of my car, hoping I would find a familiar vehicle parked in front of one of the houses. Nothing. The long road seemed to be taking a gradual decent into the abyss and the space between houses had widened. I groaned. I had to find a sweet spot. So I shifted into reverse and slowly backed up the road, while I waved my phone across the front windshield area. My eyes shifted back and forth from it’s small screen to my rear view mirror. I was almost to the top of the street when a service bar popped up on my screen. I hit the brakes. The bar disappeared. So I shifted into first gear and slowly rolled forward a few feet. The bar popped up and disappeared again. So I shifted into reverse and inched backward. Voila! There it was! I held my cell phone above the steering wheel with clinched fingers, avoiding the smallest increment of movement. Then I reached across my body and pulled the emergency break with my left hand, wishing I would’ve thought to hold my phone in that hand instead of my right. I carefully dialed my friend’s phone number, then un-hooked my seat belt and pushed myself upward, twisting my body and tilting my head toward my phone. I heard a faint beep and the service bar disappeared. This is ridiculous! I shouted at my phone.

Over the next several minutes I repeated the same scenario, verbalizing my utmost frustration. I shouted that I hated small towns with tall pine trees and no street lights. I called my phone names that I would never consider calling people. I was in a state of rapid decline when at the far end of the road I saw something quickly moving in the darkness. It appeared to be bouncing down a slope on the right side and heading straight for the road. I drove slowly toward the moving object, when suddenly in the beam of my headlights I caught sight of my friend who was jumping up and down, waving her arms, as she ran down her long driveway. Apparently, the light from my bouncing cell phone had summoned an S.O.S..

When I pulled along side of her, my entertained friend was laughing. She had seen my entire in-motion saga. Fortunately, it hadn’t come with a sound track. I rolled down my window and admitted that I was going to have to go home and wash my mouth out with soap. She roared with gracious laughter. I shook my head in shame, but couldn’t help but smile. It’s good to have a friend who can withhold judgement and forgive your shortcomings – as well as laugh at your idiosyncrasies.

It’s hard to admit to such poor behavior when I would rather think of myself as one who has mastered patience – and can slay the drama queen despite my circumstances. However, I have found that confession is the first step toward change and it can bring accountability to my actions. I thanked my friend as I handed her the bag of casserole ingredients and then drove away. On the way home, I thanked God for the gift of good friends and for his perfect forbearance despite my daily failures. I also told him that I really didn’t mean it when I said I hated small towns with tall trees and no street lights. I was grateful to live in such a lovely place. But in my heart, I knew that He already knew this, and when my head hit the pillow that night I slept well.

Bacteriology 101

“Don’t touch your face!” I constantly warned my children during cold and flu season. Children’s fingers tend to gravitate toward the nearest nostrils.  “Bad germs that can make you sick like to live in your nose,” I would instruct, “and sometimes in your eyes.” Then I would direct them, “Scrub your hands and don’t stop until you’ve sung the entire ABC song!” But somehow those little buggers made it to the gateway needed to set up camp in a nostril, or two, and then wreak havoc in our household. Out came the thermometer, Tylenol, cough syrup and case of Kleenex, along with a new set of rules. “Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough!”

Today I sit with a box of Kleenex at my side, blowing and sniffling, while sucking on a Zicam tablet. While I don’t allow any of my fingers to nostril hang, apparently, at some point I broke my own proverbial rule and “touched my face,” or I was privy to someone’s uncovered cough, or sneeze. I’d like to believe that it was the latter of the two. Either way, an undetected viral organism made it’s stealth transfer into my body and has made itself at home.

When I was in college, one of my required science classes was Bacteriology. I learned more about bacteria than I ever wanted to know. The more I viewed the squirmy, crawly organisms under the microscope, the more I was aware of their encroachment of my surrounding environment. They became my invisible enemy. I envisioned them on my countertops, doorknobs and sink faucets. When I got into my car, they were on the door handles, steering wheel and stick-shift. I battled against them as I scrubbed and disinfected all surfaces of possible contamination. But when my husband took me out to dinner, they were at the restaurant too. I grabbed my little cleaning cloth from my purse and wiped down my fork, knife and spoon prior to use. The first time I did this, my husband took a quick glance around the room, then leaned toward me and whispered, “What are you doing?” I blinked. Didn’t he know the dangers that may lay on the surface of the utensils that he was about to put into his mouth? It was apparent by the look on his face that he did not, so I informed him. “You have no idea who has touched those, and whether or not they washed their hands first – they could be infected with E.Coli for all you know!” He rolled his eyes and retorted, “You are beginning to sound paranoid!” To which I replied, “I’d rather be paranoid than dead!” I’m afraid that it didn’t end there.

One day while working on my home decontamination plan, my husband said, “You know, you can’t avoid germs, they are in the air you breathe.” I promptly went to the closet and grabbed the Lysol spray and fumigated every room in the house with it. When I realized we were beginning to run out of oxygen, I relented to opening up all the windows.

I’m not sure when my germ paranoia began to fade. Perhaps it was my mother reminding me that I had made it through the first two decades of my life in good health. She informed me that in my first few years of toddling around on this planet, that I had eaten with dirty hands on more than one occasion and once had bitten a live snail in half. That totally grossed me out and I told her that she could have kept that information to herself. Perhaps it was reading health related articles about the overuse of antibacterials, that we were killing the good bacteria that protects us while trying to kill the bad stuff. Or coming to realization that mom was right (as well as my all-natural friend who refuses to use hand sanitizers), that we are made with an immune system that works, short of a serious condition, and some exposure to germs may actually be good for us. Eventually, my germ phobia dissolved. But I do have to admit that I still occasionally wipe down my steering wheel and stick shift in my car with an antibacterial wipe.

Yesterday my husband came home and promptly placed his work bag on top of the freshly cleaned kitchen counter. I asked him if he would put it on the floor instead since it wasn’t clean enough to be on the countertop. He said that it wasn’t dirty, that it had only been on his truck floor – and that was clean. I wanted to give him the entire run down on how bacteria is invisible to the naked eye, and how life threatening bacteria can be transferred to kitchen countertops and into the food we eat. But instead I replied, “Would you lick your truck floor?” Point made.

Old habits die hard.

Cyber Tells

Recently,  I was at the lab waiting to have my blood drawn when I noticed that I had a text message waiting on my cell phone. I opened it and found that someone apparently had the wrong number, as they were looking for a fellow named “Nick.” I didn’t want them to think that “Nick” was ignoring them, and so, with the intent of being helpful, I hit reply and sent a quick note saying that this was not Nick’s number. A minute or so later, I received a reply, “YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER.” I was a bit taken back by the all caps reply. I blinked while looking at my cell phone screen intently and thought, “Are you yelling at me?” After all, I wasn’t the one with the wrong number! I was only trying to be helpful! I thought about this as the all caps stared back at me without batting an eye. Humph! I thought. If this person had a half of a brain, they’d know that I hit reply and was responding to a message that came straight from their cell phone! They had the wrong number, not me! My pulse increased and my blood began to race through my veins.

This is ridiculous, I thought, and then the left side of my brain said, “Just put your phone back into your purse and let it go.” But the helpful, right side of my brain reasoned that I should educate this dim-witted person about how the “reply” button on a cell phone works. The right side won out. And so, I hit the reply button once again. I gave a short explanation that I had received a message sent from their phone for someone by the name of “Nick,” and that I was responding only to let them know that THEY HAD THE WRONG NUMBER. And yes, I did use capitalization in my response. Now the person on the receiving end must have had lightening speed thumbs because I received a reply within 30 seconds, “ONCE AGAIN YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER.” This time I knew that speedy thumbs was yelling at me – and it had to be a woman. After all, a man wouldn’t bother using capitalization. A man wouldn’t have bothered to respond to a misdirected text in the first place. He would ignore it, assuming that the other person would figure things out. He wouldn’t care that poor old Nick was going to be in hot water when he came home for dinner that night. It didn’t matter that Nick wouldn’t have a clue why he was in trouble, because he never received the text from his female counterpart. I felt bad for poor Nick, having to come home after a hard day’s work to Ms. Capitalization. But a man’s response would be simple, “Whoever Nick is, he’ll figure it out.”

I sat in my chair and clinched my teeth. I thought about all kinds of capitalization’s I could respond with. Then I heard the technician call my name. I followed her to the back room and took a seat. She swabbed my arm and was delighted to find a nice big vein to poke. “Wow!” she said, “You’ve got some nice veins popping up here!” I smiled in response, but thought, “If you only knew.” I held my cell phone in the opposite hand as I watched my blood shoot into the glass tube. The technician chatted away about the lovely weather outside, but my mind was busy formulating a clever, all caps response to Ms. Cyber-thumbs. I thought I could make it short and sweet, something like, “PUT A CORK IN IT AND LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR CELL PHONE.” The technician placed a Band-aid on my arm and sent me on my way. I rotated my phone in my hand while I walked across the parking lot to my car. Then a small voice in my head told me to put my cell phone back into my purse and let it go. “Humph!” I mumbled. Then I tossed my phone into my purse, but kept the feed so I would recognize the number should I receive another misdirected text from HER again.

Over the next day or so, I forgot about my cyber-rage episode. Then I came across the feed while sending a text to a friend. I re-read the exchange and began to analyze the situation. I wondered if the text sender was just having a bad day, or if they needed serious counseling. I thought about how I had let this unknown text opponent get under my skin, and then wondered if I needed to seek counseling. It is amazing how quickly we can react to another person’s words, or actions. We can let these things interrupt our day, our week, or even our sleep. By allowing negative thoughts to take up residence in our mind, we can miss the good things that come our way. I feel a little sheepish having to admit that my human nature got the best of me – and it probably won’t be the last time it happens. But I do hope that I’ll remember that such minuscule things in life aren’t worth expelling energy on, that letting some things go is the best choice. I tell my kids that we can’t change other people, or how other people act, but we can change our own actions and attitudes. We can choose to focus on the positive. Kindness almost always wins out. It’s not easy to take the high road, but the view is so much better from there!

Proverbs 12:18

Trust

I had an injury a few weeks ago that fast became a pain in the neck – literally. I was referred by my physician for physical therapy for pain reduction and correction of vertebrae position. I wondered silently if they could do wrinkle reduction and upward positioning of other body parts while I was there…But I knew that solution lay in an entirely different sort of practice, and after envisioning myself in tight-eyed surprise, with lips of an Orangutan in a permanent cock-eyed smile, and – well, I’ll stop with that, I decided to deal with old-er age and gravity as it comes.

So today my physical therapist decided to use cervical traction as a part of my treatment. He said most people either love it, or hate it. My mind flashed a scene of my body being pulled in two different directions and me screaming out for mercy. But I agreed to give it a try.

Once the therapist placed my head into the contraption that would soon be elongating my physique, he cranked two small, curved bars inward to the sides of my neck to firmly secure my condyle(s), which according to the Greeks, are a rounded projection at the end of a bone that anchors muscle ligaments and articulates with adjacent bones. I wondered if this was comparable to the Terminator taking a firm grip around my neck. Next, he started squeezing a hand pump that moved the unit which embraced my head upward. With each squeeze, my head was pulled northward as my body stayed at the equator. While laying there I began to think about what I was allowing this person to do. I had entrusted him with a very essential part of my body. Although I had never seen his credentials, or checked the America’s most wanted list for his name, I trusted that he was a competent, licensed physical therapist. A slight perspiration began in my underarms, and I wished that I had used deodorant. As my head continued to inch upward, I pictured it like a cork, stuck into the end of a bottle of champagne and at any moment it was going to pop right off my shoulders, bounce off the ceiling and roll out the door. But before that happened, the therapist asked how I was doing. I replied, “I think that’s good.” Fifteen minutes later, I felt like a giraffe and I was free to roam about the room. All in all, I have to say it was worth it. I had a better view of the world below me and I was in less pain.

On my way home, I thought more about the trust I had placed in my physical therapist. He said that he could help me, and without question, I believed him and placed myself in his care. I had put my faith in him. Then I thought about my life, my future, and those I love. I say that I believe in the God of our universe – the one that actually created it, yet so often I hesitate to completely place all that I am and all those I love into his care. When my physical therapist brought out the traction unit, I didn’t say, “Uh, I’ll take it from here”, I let him do what he knew best, even when I was feeling some uncertainty during the process. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, what the future would hold for me, but I had faith that he knew what he was doing.  As I write this, I can see a golden sunset on the horizon that lay in contrast to the dark grey clouds that dominated the day. In my heart I am resolute to give the God that I trust all aspects of my life. I give him the dark clouds that can hover over my day, I give him the good, the bad, and the ugly. I entrust those who are a part of my life to his care, and I look to the horizon of my life with the hope and assurance that he’ll be there with me.

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