Thursday, September 27, 2018

Special Announcement! The Day the Dollar Tree Came To Town

It is a big day. A big day indeed.  Here's the deal.  The Dollar Tree opened in Chaska today.  Yes, I shop there. But do you know who loves it the most? Lily. My 11 year old daughter Lily.  She makes jokes about dreaming about it, about roaming the aisles and about winning the lottery and spending all of the winnings at The Dollar Tree.  Why is it a cool store?  BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A DOLLAR!!!

What did I buy today? Three packages of clip-on pumpkins to dress up a front door wreath for fall.  A black tee shirt for Lily that she needs for her school play.  2 pairs of black socks with cats and polka dots on them for Lily's play performances next week.  6 rolls of tape and a dispenser for my son Zach. And a package of 4 sharpies. I spent 8 bucks plus tax. That is it. BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS A DOLLAR!!!

Might I add, Lily discovered chips that taste better than Doritos, have half the fat and they are A DOLLAR!

My favorite gluten free PopChips are only A DOLLAR!

I buy many things only from that store. I often shop at The Dollar Tree about three times a month.  I guess I am a bit of pro.

Here is my top 10 list. Because THE DOLLAR TREE OPENED TODAY IN CHASKA!

1. Zip Lock Bags
2. Medical supplies such as bandages, bacitracin, hydro-cortisone, ibuprofen, cough drops and allergy meds.
3. Hallmark and other high quality Greeting Cards
4. Party Decorations (all themes)
5. Christmas Wrapping Paper and wrapping paper for all occasions
6. Office supplies, calendars and school supplies ( the washable markers, both thin and thick are the bomb, but avoid the weird waxy crayons. Nobody likes them. Always stick with Crayola.)
7. School Snacks- Veggie Sticks, Rice Cakes, Pretzels, Fruit Snacks, Cookies.
8. Weird food items that are amazing. Shelf stable soy milk is great for traveling.  Their pizza sauce is wonderful. We make our own pizza's a lot, and we love it.  Dirty Rice and Beans. Fantastic selection of simple packaged sides. Cereal. Yes. My kids love the full size boxes that they sometimes have of name brand cereals. And full size jumbo movie theater candy. (See the picture above. Isn't that a beautiful sight?! All the shelves looked like that this morning! Perfectly stocked!)
9. Kitchen Utensils. I counted over 50 items for use in the kitchen. Not all of them are quality, but at least 40 were. Measuring cups and measuring spoons, plates, cups, bowls, pizza cutters, sugar jars, the list goes on and on.
10.  Holiday Decor. Every holiday, The Dollar Store is ridiculous.  SO many cute things and lots of  great items that I send to school with my daughter to give to her teacher to decorate the classroom. (They shouldn't have to pay for everything. Help a teacher out!)

Best of all. IT IS ALL A DOLLAR!

So shop. Shop local. Shop at the Chaska Dollar Tree today!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Summer Fell Into Fall

Early Fall in Minnesota is a lot like Late Summer in Minnesota. Unpredictable. Occasional storms. Occasional heat waves. Summer one day. Fall the next. Fall in the morning, Summer in the afternoon. When it comes to weather, Minnesota hasn't a clue what it is doing.

But last night, last night was different. It really felt like fall. There was a bite in the air as we zipped up our sweatshirts and pulled down our long sleeves.  That cold air made our ears cold and noses sniffle. But last night was also the first fall bonfire.  It was fantastic. All the rain earlier in the week made me worry that the wood we were saving would be waterlogged.  But of course, it wasn't. We burned a lot of twigs and branches from a pruned tree along with the logs that were ready for use. We had exactly what we needed to keep us warm and to ward off most of the bugs. These bugs will be gone in the better part of two weeks.  And then our skin will be given 6 long months of winter to heal before we are assaulted  again by the Minnesota state bird, the mosquito.

This summer was so very hot for about a month stretch.  Minnesota actually set a record for how many days it was over 90 with high humidity.  Well that was enough of that. But then I said the same of the snow storm that hit us last April 15th. That didn't just close schools, it pretty much shut the whole state down.  Apparently I like it when it is 75 and sunny. No rain, no humidity.  I just want it to be beautiful about 300 days a year. That may be a little too much to ask, but I still like the sound of it.

But now, as we enter into a season of everything pumpkins and apples, and warm scarves and sweaters and mittens, I will welcome it fully. Summer fell into fall.  And I fall in love with fall. I fall in love with the scents and the tastes and the beautiful changes I see around me.  The leaves become the most beautiful tapestry you have ever seen. Reds and oranges and yellows and lighter greens.  Our green surroundings are not missed when replaced by these beautiful colors.  But then, all good things do come to a end.  Those leaves turn brown and they crumble and fall. They become a floor that we must walk on until the snow begins to fall and and sheet of permanent ice begins to form as we prepare for a long winter.

But again, when winter has given us its last hurrah, and has fought the good fight, the snow begins to melt, the buds on the trees turn green and grass begins to show itself again.  Spring arrives and not a moment too soon.  So I will treasure this fall, I will tolerate the winter, I will anticipate spring, and bask in the summer sun.  Four perfect seasons that seem to fall into each other. I plan to fall in love with each one.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Abandoned Blog Posts

I have been editing like a mad woman. And when I say mad woman, I mean, in every spare minute I have, as if I know what I am doing, tears have been shed and I am already behind schedule on day 16. I finished writing my first book in August, and on September 1st, the arduous task of editing began.  Well, life then took over. Two kids returned to school, I set up and ran a three day garage sale during Steamboat Days, our small town annual celebration, and I resumed my fall work schedule.  I also began teaching a new fall bible study, attending my own regular study, and trying to keep up with all other demands of life, I quickly fell behind.  I have completed the first 30 pages of editing and formatting, and the last 25 pages.

My book contains 88 short stories and 25 poems. I was feeling overwhelmed and knew that I needed to make some progress fast, so editing and formatting the 25 poems first seemed like a good place to start. I then sat down yesterday and wrote and edited the cover page, the dedications and the preface.  Today, I edited the first 5 short stories which totaled 30 pages.  Hence, here I am taking a break. And using words like hence.

I didn't realize that I was actually writing a book until I was 50,000 words into it and was compiling my work all into once piece.  I started to see a flow, a rhythm and knew that a book was formulating whether I liked it or not.  I toiled wondering about story order, if I should break it down into stories about my childhood, present day and special needs parenting. I wondered if readers would be able to understand the message that I am trying to convey if they were to read it one story at a time.  I then found that the majority of my short stories can stand on their own.  The reader will be able to understand the background of my life easily just from the words that have already been committed to the page. There are nine stories that I will need to add additional information to once I start editing them.  Information that will give a bit more insight to who I am, what I was experiencing and what I was feeling. Sometimes what even compelled me to write about a certain subject matter in the first place.

Many of my short stories are snippets of emotions. Yes, of emotions and feelings I have experienced, but ones that the reader will connect with. Ones that the reader will pause and say, yes, I, too, have felt like that.  I want my stories to help the reader evaluate, remember, experience and move forward. To forgive, to  change course, to keep loving, to turn around, to run away.  I want the reader to be moved.

In the past 16 days, I have also observed that my blog posts are becoming few and far between. I often start writing and they end up being a mess. Those messy abandoned ones, glare at me in red print every time I sit down to write or edit. 

Fall Family Receipe's
When September Makes Me Ache
Why I Won't Continue
The Ballerina
Backpacks and Lunchbags
Golf in the Dining Room
Can't Stop, Won't Stop
Some Has To

These are the abandoned blog posts. All 8 of them.  Someday, they may be revisited. Maybe not.  But, these are some great titles.  They were the starts to some great short stories. But they were not stories I was ready to write.

Lily asked about the story Why I Won't Continue as she was sitting next to me on couch.  She was reading through her script for her school play, her attention waned.  "Mom, what won't you continue?" 

I smiled at her and replied, "I won't continue to send text messages that aren't appreciated. To put in effort when it isn't wanted. To care when it just ends up hurting so much."

Lily looked at me a bit confused. "Mom, you told me to never give up.  It sounds like you are giving up.  Maybe you should continue. You told me once that hurt was going to happen whether I liked it or not."  I just stared at her.

How is it possible that this amazing child can be so very wise and influence me when she doesn't really know what I am talking about? Needless to say, I have scratched this abandoned blog post from my list. I will continue today, because my 11 year old daughter told me to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fully Me

I began my first morning of teaching the Abound study today. A Tuesday morning women's bible study at the Grace Eden Prairie Campus. This week we will dive in and study The I Am statements in the book of John.  Using Lysa Terkeurst's book Finding I Am, I am excited to lead ladies in discussion of these 7 -I Am statements and to discover together how everything Jesus said was so perfectly timed and directed at the right people.  Knowing Jesus, who He is as Savior, and believing that He alone Saves us, Our Hope is found in Him and that we are able to find our Joy and Happiness in Him and Him alone, is so very important and encouraging as we take a stab at this thing called life.  We were never expected to do it alone. And I for one am so very thankful to have The Word as my daily guide.

I realized this morning as I pulled in to the parking lot, that I was filled with angst. I wasn't nervous but realized I was apprehensive.  I have spent my life encouraging, speaking truth to and guiding women, so what were all these unsettling feelings I was dealing with?  I figured it out quite quickly. Not because I am super smart or perceptive or even have a fine grasp of my own feelings. I realized what I was feeling because I have felt this way before. Many times.  I was apprehensive entering a room of women I do not know, because of the possibility of facing judgement. Judgement that has been placed on my shoulders in the past that has often times left me feeling defeated and burdened.

When I write, I usually dissect conversations and interactions with people. Sometimes, it will be a memory of something that happened 25 years ago. And sometimes it is from that morning in the grocery store check out lane.  I write of conversations that moved me, that hurt me, that irked me, that inspired change, that enabled me to move forward, conversations that made me laugh, and even cry.  I have even written about the the times when I have been clearly judged. Yet I put myself out there time and time again.

I have what some would describe as a larger than life personality.  I love to laugh and talk and enjoy the silly things that I seem to face every day. I usually remind myself to reign the silliness in and involve others in conversation. I will talk about the hard stuff, and make every attempt to find humor in the mundane and even challenging aspects of life. I smile more than most people. It is often brought to my attention that I am always smiling.  I enjoy life. That joy finds it way to my face. And that genuine smile sits comfortably and is rarely hidden from others.  But with a frequent appearance of a smile, those that have yet to know me, often will judge me. They decide that all those smiles must be for show, and that a disingenuous woman hides somewhere in there.

What has become of all this misplaced, ill suited judgement? I have become a women who is very aware of her words and facial expressions. I second guess what I have said and pray that I could have been more articulate even in one on one conversations.  I have made attempts at becoming a version of myself that I think more people can handle.  I have become an imitation of myself.

That imitation of me isn't someone I want to be. It isn't real, it isn't true. It might be someone else, someone that isn't judged so much, but it is someone who I am not.  In all my years, why would I want to live my life as an imitation of someone else? When I wake up each morning, I need to be who God made me, Fully Me.  I need to be the wife, mother, and friend he designed me to be. I need to be the smiling woman at the registration table welcoming women who aren't sure where they belong. I need to be the woman who hugs others and smiles freely when funny and touching stories are shared. I need to be who I am.  Created by a God who knew what He was doing. Who knew that smiles would be questioned, but not my heart when people get to know me.  I need to be a woman who is genuine, the same in public as I am in private.

So each morning, I make the decision.  The decision to be fully me, rather than who I think other people want me to be. Fully me, rather than the version I think is easier to handle.  Fully me, means a full on smile. Be ready for it.  I can assure you, one is coming.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

27 Weeks of Praise and Thankfulness- Josh Update

First and foremost, thank you again. Thank you friends and family and neighbors and even to those we haven't met that have been so incredibly encouraging these past 27 weeks.  Thank you for praying for us, for driving Josh to doctor's appointments, for feeding us amazing dinners and bringing us fruit to fill our fridge.  Thank you for loving on our children, for bringing me coffee, for spending time with Josh playing cards and just listening to him.  Thank you for mowing our grass and helping me set up for a garage sale.  Thank you for helping me tear down the sale. Thank you for hugging me and telling me that we are not alone.  Thank you for the amazing community that has worked tirelessly to keep our family functioning these past many many months. We are eternally grateful.

My husband Josh was diagnosed with Bilateral Vestibular Dysfunction with Complete Vestibular Failure. He will never fully recover from this condition and will most likely struggle from setbacks periodically.  He has been unable to work since April.

We have many PRAISES to report.

Josh most days is able to drive a car. He knows also when it isn't a good idea.

Josh has been able to attend church with our family for the past 4 weeks.  Using an earplug and headphones during the service, and avoiding worship (too loud and overstimulating) he has been able to come into the service just as Pastor Troy begins to speak and leave right after the closing prayer. 

Josh is able to do a prayer walk every morning.  (very important that remains physically active.) He tries to go on a short bike ride (three wheeled bike) everyday or every other day.  This physical activity helps with resuming every day life activities and is very encouraging to Josh.

Today Josh mowed our lawn for the first time!  He was smiling ear to ear when I arrived home with Lily. He was so proud and excited that he was able to do. He was exhausted and needed to rest after. But he did it.  His Vestibular Rehab Specialist believes by this winter he will also be able to snowblow our driveway and sidewalks.  She wants him to invest in a self propelled snow blower to make the job a bit easier on him. 

Josh was able to go out to eat twice this week.  This is a big deal. We had to sit outside with no one around us the first time, but the second time, we sat indoors with the kids and placed him facing away from people.  We ate quickly and exited quickly, but he did it.

Josh will be leading 2nd Sunday Prayer tonight at church.  This isn't something he has been able to do since last year.

Josh will attend his 2nd Elder Meeting  since January at church this Thursday.

Josh continues to work on his eye hand coordination and putts golf balls in the dining room and has even taken Zach to the driving range twice. This is something he was told may not ever be possible.

Josh has been approved to return to work tomorrow part time from home.  He will train two half days this week in the office and then work three half days from home. This is fantastic news!  Josh's employer has been amazing and so accommodating. Because he will never be able to work in the stores again any time soon, Lund's & Byerly's has created a fantastic position in Corporate Recruiting.  Josh is excited about this position and the fact that there is a job that he can do from home.  He may need to take rests throughout the day, but the way they have formatted this job, he will be able to do just that.  Josh doesn't need to return to full time work until the end of October. (26 weeks of short term disability) However, he and his rehab specialist believe a full time schedule is in the very near future. 

What do all of these PRAISES attest to? God's Faithfulness.  God is Faithful and True and Reliable. He is Never Changing.  He has never forsaken us or abandoned us through this trial!  This is why we continue to PRAISE HIM. He is WORTHY.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
But he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
For our God is a consuming fire.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
These verses, of which there are many, many more, are biblical truth of which I am compelled to share with each of you.  It is absolutely true that a testimony of God's Faithfulness can be formed even in difficult times.  And this is exactly what has happened. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
I promise to keep you updated as we approach the next 27 weeks of Praise and Thankfulness!

Do You Feel Me?

Sad, pathetic looks from my children.  August is done. Kaput. Finito. Summer is almost over too.  And what does that mean? School.  My children love school, but it so hard to let go of summer.  The warm sometimes even hot days, the never ending walks on the boardwalk. The hours upon hours spent in the pool.  I have to admit, that sad, pathetic look can also be found on my face.  I don't want to let summer go. Staying up late, not having to get up early.  Enjoying late sunsets and drinks on the deck.  Fun evenings out with friends that I wish wouldn't end.  But you know what they say?  All good things come to an end. Well I am not doing it. I am not having it.   I will protest if need be, but summer is staying if I have anything to do with it.

I will wear shorts and capri's and sandals until October if I can. Holding on to every last moment of summer, I feel that when I put on those jeans and those stupid thick winter yoga pants, I am almost defeated.  As if winter wouldn't have approached so soon if only I had tried harder.  Resist. Always resist. Here in Minnesota, we often have six hard months of winter. Frigid temperatures, mountains of snow and a sheet of ice covers everything. I do not participate in any winter sports.  I do not enjoy any aspect of winter except for cozy fires by the fireplace.  And that isn't enough to merit 6 HARD MONTHS OF WINTER! I am not doing it. I can't be the only one.  Do you feel me?

Last winter was a hard one. Lasted way too long.  Those six hard months of winter felt like an eternity. Our last storm of almost three feet of snow came the middle of April this year.  April is supposed to be spring and flowers and green grass and buds on the trees.  Nope. Not in Minnesota.  It was closed schools and waiting for snow plows and wishing I had stocked up on groceries from the store.  It was praying our furnace would keep up with our need for heat and hoping the heavy snow wouldn't knock out the electricity.

So September, God Love You, I am just not feeling it. I am not doing it. I will remain in denial that September is here because I know that winter will follow.  And I just can't do winter again. Nope.  Resisting. With ever fiber of my being.  But don't worry, I have a sweater in my car just in case.

Friday, September 7, 2018

All Five Senses

All Five Senses
The Last One That Can See

When I attempt to explain how it feels to be me, few understand. Actually, no one. The heft, the weight of my burden is more than anyone will ever experience.  I don't expect others to understand me or what it feels like, and I am afraid I have stopped trying to impress on them the difficulty I face daily.  I no longer attempt to even drop hints that I can see them. That I can see them and they can't see me.  To be the last one left with vision is no longer amazing. It is so very heartbreaking.

Yes.  Possessing all five senses is an actual gift, and I am fully aware that others wish they could be me.  But to be the only one that has functioning eyes? I still do not understand how it is possible.  I had intra-ocular lenses placed in my eyes in my late thirties when cataracts and glaucoma threatened my vision.  For some reason, the plastic lenses protected me from losing my vision when the ocular virus started to spread.  When I turned on the news and heard about the thousands of a people a day that would loose their sight instantly, I gasped as I believed that it was only a matter of time and I would face the same fate.  That fate wasn't mine.  Every person I saw, every person I came into contact with, every person I love, lost their sight. And I visually witnessed it all.  I never came to understand why there was an viral outbreak and why I was the only one immune to the globe crossing ocular virus. Now I believe, some things are better left unknown.

I would sit, silently, watching. Everyone who walked by me on the street would nervously pass me. Can she see? Should we ask for help?  I was able to tell that they could sense my physical presence even when they could not see me. I had free reign of the grocery store until the food trucks stopped coming to town. No one stands in line for food when you can't find where the lines are even being formed. People, desperate people, stumbling trying to find someone who can help, someone who can direct them to food and water. I was wounded severely once when I thought I could be the one to help a group of mom's with young children.  They clamored at me, reaching, grabbing, wanting my attention, wanting my help instantly.  Bruised and bleeding as if I had been in an alley attack, I limped back home.  I couldn't admit to someone I could see.  If I did, I would be risking my own life.  I had the one thing everyone in the world needed. The ability to see.

When the phones, televisions and Internet stopped working, it was one thing. But eventually radio silence.  Those that had the manual capability to reach out by transistor radio eventually stopped doing so also.  Did they give up hope?  Did the depression hit so quickly that they no longer saw a purpose in creating and fostering human connections?  When staying home, in self confined jails became too much to fathom, the loss of life was no longer measurable.  No one had the physical means after a month to even attempt to tend to the dead.  So there they lay. Where they decided their life would end. Floating in the rivers.  Rotting in their homes.  Stretched out if napping on the stairs of the church where they once went to Worship on Sundays.

I knew that I needed to flee. I would risk my mental stability by living alone, rather than my physical life by staying where everyone would eventually want to take advantage of the most horrible gift anyone could possess.  The gift of sight on a non seeing planet wasn't a gift but a torment.  I had every book at my disposal.  I read and made notes and tore out page after page from the books left abandoned at the library.  I would teach myself to grow food. To hunt. To build anything I would need.  To possibly figure out if I was capable to create energy which could be turned into electricity which could be turned into light.  I gathered batteries. I gathered wires, I gathered seeds and containers for water. I made time lines and plans as to what I would need to accomplish and when. My plans were foiled when sickness took hold.  Maybe pneumonia. I am not really sure.  I was about a week away from preparing to leave town when I was racked with severe coughing.  There wasn't a doctor that I could see, and I wouldn't even know if there were medications nearby that I could get my hands on.

So here I lie. In my bed.  Dozing.  In and out of consciousness.  This has taken me two days to write this down. Not sure who I am writing it down for. I know this sickness will end me.  If this notebook is found, who will be able to see it? Who would read the words on this page and be so flabbergasted at the fact that I am the last person with sight? No, someone will find it by searching with their hands for anything that is useful. This notebook will turn into paper to fuel a fire. Fire to keep someone warm. Until they decide that the church stairs seem like a mighty fine place to...

I Was There To Hold His Hand

     Our dad is dying. He is in his final days. My sister Angela is doing an amazing job caring for him in her home. She is overseeing care,...