Friday, February 12, 2016

My "AHA" Moment

Recently I had an "AHA" moment as I read in the 2013 Daily Guideposts for August 4. This moment came as a surprise and an answer to a question about why I need to write notes.

The writer quoted Oswald Chambers who wrote, "If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in His hands."

God gave me the gift of encouragement. Because I have lost loved ones to death and in divorce, He has used me to encourage others going through those things. So when I write a note to someone, He uses me and that note to offer encouragement.

I have written notes to people for as long as I can remember. There have been times when a name would come to me as I sat in the choir loft at church. That was the person who needed a note.  Sometimes I would write the note and mail it the next day.  Some times, when I really wasn't "tuned in," I would ignore the nudge. Usually there would be more nudges until I finally wrote that note.

Now it has become a regular part of my morning.  I know people who might need a note, so Don and I write to them. Sometimes they are people I know personally and sometimes they are relatives of people I know - then I may ask the person I know if it would be okay to write a note. Sometimes the note is simply to say thanks for being part of my world. I find that my life seems to go better when I am writing notes to people who might need to be reminded that someone is thinking about them.

Now I understand why I write notes.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

God Winks

Have you ever thought about the ways things come together?  Sometimes, it happens just like magic. Everything is there and it all fits together perfectly.  Some people call these things coincidences. I heard someone call them "God Winks."  I like that because I'm not sure I believe in coincidence.

My son was going to make a mission trip to the Ukraine in 1994. His wife asked me why I didn't go along.  I had many reasons - had to work, no time off, and no extra money to pay for the airplane ticket.  Well, I got money back from the IRS, already had a passport. The money was enough that I could pay myself for not working for ten days or so. I jumped at the idea and made the trip with my son. It was an experience that changed my life forever. It was something I had never even dreamed possible. Being an asthmatic, going anywhere can be a challenge.  However, I know God's hand was in this because I had no trouble with my asthma while there.

When Don and I got married, we moved back to our little home town - it was a real change for me to go from living in a small city with over 100,000 people to moving "home" to a town with 1800 or 2,000 people.  Very big change.  We came back to visit family in Cedar Rapids and talked about looking at some homes for sale - just a few.  We called a realtor and she took us to see a number of places.  When we turned the corner off 34th St onto Terry Drive, Don saw the house and immediately fell in love with it. So we made an offer and bought the house and moved from our little home town back to Cedar Rapids.  It was no coincidence when Don saw the house. It was in God's plan for us.

I usually visited my oldest brother in Colorado over Easter when I could add a day on the beginning and one on the end to have some extra time there. I usually was able to take a couple personal days to do this.  Those personal days were taken away from us in 1994. So I worked several Saturdays to make up for the time I would be gone. I flew to Denver to spend Thanksgiving with brother Bill.
This visit was a gift to me because Bill passed less than a month later. It was no coincidence that I was able to visit him one last time.  This definitely qualifies as a God wink.

The way Don and I got together was certainly a God wink. A friend of mine wrote an article for the local newspaper about my son and me making the mission trip to the Ukraine.  Don's sister, my classmate and friend, saved the news paper for a period of time.  Don had moved back to our hometown. Several months later, his sister showed him the article. He read the article, sent me a Christmas card. December 24, I read a book titled "Merry Christmas, with Love" written by Sandy Patti and it moved me to call Don. That was the beginning of our love story.

At a class reunion in 1990, I turned to my friend sitting next to me and out of the blue, I asked her if she was happy. She blinked and then answered me. It was not a happy time in her life. We'd been friends for years and we became ever closer after that.

The next time something happens that seems coincidental, I challenge you to think long and hard about it.  Maybe you just experienced a God Wink!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Condo

     I moved into my new home, my condo, 18 December 1989. The job at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics allowed me to buy a condo close to I-380. It would make my commute to Iowa City easier.
     I had possession the week before I moved in. New silver gray hi-low carpeting was installed.  Several friends helped me paint where it was needed.
     On moving day a number of single friends and family helped me - making several trips across town. My son-in-law told me whenever I sold the condo, I needed to sell the piano with the condo because no one was going to be able to move it down one flight of stairs.  It had been difficult enough to get it upstairs!
     The condo had a large living room and master bedroom with a smaller second bedroom, a full bath, nice dining area, and a narrow galley kitchen. It had a wonderful airy feeling.
     I loved the fireplace and used it often. The chinmey cleaner took care of it annually. Big brother Bill warned me not to put the hot ashes in anything and never set them out on the deck!
     Every piece of furniture, with the exception of three pieces, I chose and bought. There was one dresser that I painted black, my piano that I brought with me. The third piece was a beautiful pyramid chest of drawers that was a gift.
     Things that made it home were the clown poster, the lighted glass curio cabinet, photos of family, a beautiful stained glass butterfly that son Tony made for me and my piano.
     A later addition was the beautiful painting titled "Looking Forward" painted by a local artist, my friend Barbara Jones Prall.  I call the  painting simply "The Lady."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

March/April Jewelry

This is what I do when I am not blogging.  I love to make jewelry.  I usually find a design I like and then use the beads I have on hand.  The final project looks different than the photo in the magazine - and that's fine.
The above bracelet was made based on a pattern in the Dec.2011/Jan.2012 Beadword magazine. The bracelet is designed by Barbara Falkowitz. It is reversible with the slide clasp.
The above is the first bracelet I made using Barbara's design.  I didn't have the gold pearls so I just made it a flat, reversible bracelet using seed beads with a right-angle-weave base (for all you beaders out there.)
The earrings are a design by Alice Kharon in Feb/March 2012 Beadwork magazine.  They are fun to make and take only about an hour per earing.  The main color in the left pair of earrings is Tanzanite.  The right one has a center bead that is white opal with Fern Green around the edge.  I've made six different pairs of earrings, using different colors and different sizes for the large center bead.  I am really pleased with the final results.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Divorce, Revisited

I love to read fiction - suspense, mystery, romance - but at the beginning of this new path, I quit reading any fiction. Every book I read was positive and/or self-help. The best book on divorce I ever read was Jim Smoke's "Growing Through Divorce." It is no longer in print but probably can be found somewhere online. Smoke's contention is that we have a choice - we can grow through divorce or go through it. We can make the choice to be a victim and go through it or we can become strong and grow through it.  I chose growth.

At the beginning of this path, Life was from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m (work) and Existence was from 4:01 p.m. to 7:29 a.m. It wasn't much fun. Fortunately I didn't stay in that place very long.  Life took over for Existence.

I read books by Leo Buscaglia, Peter Marshall, Wayne Dwyer, Doug Manning, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bernie Siegel, John Powell, and a wonderful book by Marie Chapian titled "Discovering Joy." It is out of print, too.  These books combined with lots of loving people, who walked beside me, helped me grow.

I will tell you I do not believe in divorce but sometimes it is necessary. I struggle with the Bible verses regarding divorce but I know Jesus loves me and forgave me.  I know that He used me and what I experienced in many ways and many times.  I am truly blessed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Chevrolet Beretta

The first year Chevrolet produced the Beretta they had a print ad in Parade Magazine. I fell in love with the car right then and there. It was a nice sporty-looking car. So I started shopping. I wanted a red Beretta with A/C, radio-tape deck.  I found one at Aronson's Chevrolet dealership near Cedar Rapids, got the financing and took it home. 

On day 20 of ownership of the Beretta, I left LeFebure's parking lot to drive home. About a block from the LeFebure entrance is a "road" that is more like an alley. As I came even with it, this car pulled out and hit the Beretta on the rear quarter panel and knocked the hubcap off. I was in shock. I hadn't had the car even three weeks and it got smacked! I took it to a local mechanic.  He told me the quarter panel was only scuffed and he could fix it up to "look like new."  I told him the car was new and I wanted a brand new quarter panel.  That's what I got.

There was another interesting adventure.  Several years later, I had it in for service at the dealership. Another lady in the customer service area asked me if the red Beretta was mine.  Then she pointed out a white Beretta. She told me she had driven it into a Casey's parking lot. She opened the door and the hinges sheared and the door fell off the car.  She said it was very heavy to pick up that door and put it back on the car.  I think she had adrenalin working for her!

Some time passed. One Saturday evening I parked in front of our church, opened the door, reached for the music on the seat - I was accompanying Tony as he sang a solo that evening. I started to push the door open and noticed the space between the door and the frame looked strange. I was on a one-way street and parked with the driver's side near the curb. I remembered the white Beretta! The top hinge had sheared. So I crawled over the console to get out the passenger door. I walked around the car, grabbed the bottom of the mirror and the door handle, and used my hip to help me get the door closed. I locked the door.

After the church service, I crawled over the console, looked the driver's side door and drove home.  When I got there, I crawled over the console to get out the passenger's side again.

The following Monday I drove to work, called the service department to tell them about the door. The service manager gold me it was impossible for the hinge to shear.  That really made me angry because I knew what had happened - and the dealership had fixed the white Beretta so the guys in the service department would have known about it. I hung up and called back to talk to the sales managed.  I knew him and related the story. He assured me he would send a "loaner" for me and the driver would drive the Beretta to the dealership and they would fix it with new hinges.  The driver started to open the driver's side door but I stopped him, explained he would have to crawl over the console and that he should not open that door under any circumstances.  They fixed the door.

Several months later there was a recall notice due to a bad batch of hinges.  Impossible to happen???? It must have happened more than once or there would not have been a recall. So the hinges had to be exchanged again so Chevrolet would be happy with the dealership.

I did enjoy driving that car for about ten years. The photo of the car below is the only one I can find.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Ego Boost

One of the side lights of the job at U.I.H.C. was meeting so many interesting people; docs, interns, nurses, support personnel, a prof who taught American Sign language and worked with Social Services. the head of campus security and the campus fire chief.

The fire chief stopped by the communictions center pretty often - enough so that the telephone operators teased me about him. He was nice looking and pleasant.

We had lunch several times. When I discovered he was 16 years younger than I, the idea of dating him was really an ego boost. Ladies do enjoy an ego boost - and I did enjoy the attention. However, for me, sixteen years was just too great an age difference. So that was the end of that. May and December relationships didn't interest me - especially when I was the "December" part!