Tag Archives: New Year

Mrs. Dash

In the classic Christmas song, “Rudolf, The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the first of Santa’s reindeer mentioned is Dasher. You must be thinking, “Mel, we are past the holidays! It is a new year already!” That is exactly my point…the new year took off with a dash! 🙂 We kicked off the year by picking up my sister and brother-in-law from the airport…and with all family members and spouses present, we enjoyed a nice meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dayton, then came home to celebrate Christmas.

Yep, January 1, 2014 was a fantastic day and the beginning of a week filled with fun! We played games, shared memories and had good laughs, took loads of pictures, drank almost all the hot chocolate in the cupboard, played more games, “owl family” late nights resulting in late mornings and breakfast times, and took a short road trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. 🙂

At the Creation Museum, there was a small room on the lower level called, “Dr. Crawley’s Insectorium.” Now, if you know me, I am not a bug, insect or spider sort of person. Snakes I can handle if they slither slowly, but insects…yuck! However, because we were there, I wanted to get the whole museum experience. Besides, these insects were dead, so what was the harm in viewing them? The first of the display boxes contained locust, crickets and katydids. The plaque described how they form “God’s choir,” as they make beautiful chirping noises when using their mating calls to attract females.

I thought a few things were interesting: a) A female of the three insect species listed has to listen and distinguish among the chirps which mating call is for her and then respond; b) Out of all bugs and insects, only these three are listed for their beautiful noise; and c) The plaque also mentioned reference to prophets in the Bible, one being John the Baptist, and their eating locust. I didn’t think much about the eating part until the end of the museum tour and day, in which Mom, my brother-in-law and myself, found ourselves finished a half hour before everyone else. With nothing else to see, we went to the bookstore to look around and wait.

My choice of two post cards placed me over at the cash register and after I paid, I see at the side the selection of chocolates (not having anything to do with the museum…just a treat!) and other candies. Of course, the suckers with bugs in them would not my choice of a tasty treat. Under the candies was a shelf that had little boxes of flavored locust, but I didn’t actually realize they were real locust until I picked up the sea salt flavor and read the cover. Tempted, I almost purchased the sour cream & onion flavor, but right when I decided “no” in my mind, the store closed and we left. So much for starting the year off in a bold fashion. 😉 It may have had too much salt anyway…

Right before the new year, Dad and I discussed my left ankle. It has been swollen for quite sometime. When I sit, I don’t always prop up my feet, which doesn’t help any, but the fact is that I needed to try something new. I already deal with osteoporosis and numbness (which I have no control over), but the swelling I could try to bring down. The simple word: salt. Oh how I just love salt! So being told, “No salt,” was a sad experience at first, because I literally thought I could not have any. I was reassured that I can still have salt. If you think about it, salt is unavoidable-it is in everything! It is not a diet or new year’s resolution, but my new restriction was simply that I just can’t add salt to my plate and must practice self-control.

The tumor on my 5th nerve affected my sense of smell, which affects your taste. It has to be a very strong flavor or scent in order for me to smell and/or taste it. Every so often, I will get a giant “smell-wave” for a split second and it literally will take me by surprise. If anyone is around, they hear about it! With tasting food it is different. The typical routine is usually putting on a lot of salt and pepper just for a taste. Without salt, foods like vegetables can be pretty bland. That is where Mom suggested the substitute, Mrs. Dash. It is salt free and has a bold flavor!

Limiting my salt seems to be rewarding, as I have noticed the swelling decreasing. The whole experience has also got me to thinking of my own life. I have been out of my typical morning routine, coffee and readings, which I see is starting to result in becoming a spiritual life that is bland. I still have salt–but like my food restriction, I am not adding any to my life–not seeking the boldness that God intends…and I feel no purpose. It is the new year, and I seem lost. Praise God–He is bigger than my fears, bigger than my failures, bigger than my future here on earth.

He is like Salt–Unavoidable; In Him, I have no need for restrictions.

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times

Until the New Year

Typical middle school years are normally the worst for most people, but for myself, it was the best three years. I enjoyed all my classes, excelled playing my flute in band, secured amazing friends (a few I still keep in contact with to this day), blossomed from buck teeth and huge glasses to fancy braces and better shaped lenses, let my hair grow long and curled it every morning (yes…days of self-discipline!) and got involved with a few “behind the scene” jobs for Student Council during my eighth grade year since I was a library aid and often had the time to help. (Yes, LIBRARY AID! And I gave good book recommendations!) 🙂

It was in my eighth grade year that I took Algebra I. Besides English class after lunch–no one could make diagramming sentences or Sherlock Holmes more interesting than Mr. Peoples–Algebra was my favorite class! It made sense…your equations had to balance. Simple. Then freshman year of high school I took Geometry. What a nightmare; I have never been a shapes and dimension person, although I thrived in Algebra II/Trigonometry. Maybe I am just odd, but none-the-less, first year Algebra was the best.

Our teacher, Mrs. Elderidge, sat next to her over-head projector and faced the class when she began to teach or helped us work out our homework questions. I had only just failed one hearing test, so hearing loss was not a huge issue at the time, but this set up in a classroom is ideal for deaf people! I only had a handful of teachers in high school who taught the same–I really probably should have started interpreters for my classes even then.

Teachers can have a great sense of humor. I heard this comment a few times in high school, but it was Mrs. Elderidge who said it first in my memory. Scenario: Last day of school before Christmas break and everyone (students) is anxious to go home and enjoy days of sleeping in, skiing, and no homework. I don’t even know how teachers got their classrooms to concentrate! Anyway, we are in Algebra class and had just finished grading our previous day’s assignments, then start to load our backpacks. Mrs. Elderidge, in ever-cheerful spirits, pipes in, “Good job, everyone! No more homework for the rest of the year!” Our class gives a “Yay” with clapping hands, totally forgetting the obvious fact that we would be returning to school on January 3rd. Mrs. Elderidge brought us back to reality and then the dismissal bell rings.

After our relatives left this morning, I started scrambling around to see how much I could finish before the end of the day…something with the non-stop reminder from the world that it will be a last day of 2013, tomorrow is starting over–the time factor, the ticking clock. “It’s the end of the year, I have to finish everything and start new!” was the first mind-set…then I scratched all those plans and just acted as if it were a typical day. I think I accomplished more in doing so, but there was moment where I thought of eighth grade Algebra: I paid an online bill–“Yay! No more bills for the rest of the year!” I had a little laugh in memory of being brought back to reality.

Tomorrow is a new day of a new year, but that fact will not stop life from being lived in the moment just as we are at this present time. I think the season of the new year is special, because it gives us a chance to reflect back on the year past–the blessings and the hardships, the old friends and new friends, the expected and the un-expected.

Thank you for being part of my journey.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Funny Stories, Uncategorized

“Hey! Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!”

Yeah, probably one of my favorite lines from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Filmed in 1946, just timeless family classic. Growing up, we had a family tradition to watch Jim Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve after the church services and It’s a Wonderful Life on New Year’s Eve. Yes, it is a story that takes place on Christmas Eve, but the message always brought in a great ring to the New Year (“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”) No traditions seemed to be any greater than those two.

Yesterday, I had an eye appointment with the neuro ophthalmologist to see how my optic nerves are doing. I had another visual field test and everything seems to be going the direction that they are wanting. The plan is just to stay on the medicine they prescribed for me last appointment and have another follow-up appointment in February. On our way home from Cincinnati, Mom and I stopped by a Barnes and Nobles there in one of the suburbs. I did not have to have my eyes dilated so imagine the ecstatic feeling that I was having. 🙂 We synchronized our cell phone clocks and set a time limit we were for sure bound not to keep. Then we went inside. I just love books! I was not intending really to buy any, because I have been in the process of downsizing my own shelf. But as I passed by the Christmas selection table, my eyes spotted one titled, 52 Little Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life. I had seen this book before from a trip to BN a week before Thanksgiving–it was a coffee run (Starbucks are limited around this area). But I had decided at that point to wait. Then I forgot about it.

I skimmed over the introduction by its author, Bob Welch. Fifty-two lessons for each week of the year. I bought it and started it this morning. It is like a little devotional that incorporates the lessons taught from the movie. I like it so much I decided to finish it in 52 days instead of weeks. I believe that takes me to almost the end of January. So in essence, I will still be bringing in the New Year with the movie…even if I am not watching it on New Year’s Eve.

I just wanted to share this book with you, because it is a good reminder of little lessons of faith and life that we so often forget…we turn into George Bailey without realizing it. I know I have. It is then that God sends people like Clarence to show me once again how important and special my life is and that it is worth living to the fullest.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

~Clarence

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Filed under Books and Movies, Family Times