Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lending A Helping Hand for Warm Heart Wednesday #7

Welcome once again to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

We were living in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1979.  I had gone to Sears with my three year old son to pick up a catalog order.   The order was for a lamp that came in a large box.  It wasn't heavy...just bulky.
(Can you believe I found an old picture online of the Sears store at Pembroke Mall?  This is exactly how I remember it.)

As we walked across the parking lot I told my son to hold onto the leg of my jeans and walk with me while I used two hands to hold the box.  His eyes lit up.  He had discovered a new game.  He would let go of the leg of my jeans, laugh, and run away.  I would have to put down the box, run after him, bring him back to where I'd left the box, and tell him once again to hold on.  We'd walk another five feet and the game would start all over again.  He'd run and then laugh.  I'd put down the box and run after him.  I was getting a little frustrated and still had a ways to go before reaching the car.  Suddenly an angel in disguise appeared on the scene.  She said, "Let me hold your son's hand and I'll help you to your car."

You know, that lady made my day.  That simple act of kindness meant so much to me at that time.  I vowed that I would never forget and if I ever had a chance to help a struggling mother I would.  For years I would stop and open the door for mothers trying to get strollers into the mall.  You older mothers will remember trying to hold the door open while you struggled to get the stroller through.  (I believe the automatic doors came into being with the Americans With Disabilities Act in the early 90's.)

I don't have the opportunity to help struggling mothers as much anymore.  I'll pick up a dropped pacifier on occasion, but the opportunities aren't there as much as they were before automatic doors.  And sometimes I just have to be careful because I can instinctively tell when a frustrated mother just wants to be left alone.

However, I'll always remember how that kind stranger at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach, VA came along at just the right time and how her simple act of kindness warmed my heart.  I firmly believe that sometimes another mother just needs a little pat on the back to make her day.
Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peace On Earth for Warm Heart Wednesday #6

Welcome to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

This time of year there is one song that always warms my heart.

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me..."

I enjoy hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing this particular song although there are many other versions on You Tube

If you'd like to sing along there's even one with the lyrics.

I hope everyone has a warm hearted and peaceful holiday season.

Be sure to visit Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Kindness of Children for Warm Heart Wednesday #5

It's time again for Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

When I watch the local and national news it seems as if bad things are always happening or being said.  It's like the world is full of only bad people and yet I know that isn't true.  I believe the bad are only a small part of the overall population.  Most people are good at heart!

I have this fantasy where there's a daily half hour newscast of only good news.

I've noticed that at the local and national level they seem to try and end their newscasts with an uplifting story.  That's always nice, but 20 or 30 seconds is just a small fraction of the time allowed for the bad news.

I know I'm dreaming and my idea will never take hold, so I look on the Internet for uplifting warm hearted stories.

I'm a big football fan and this one caught my eye.  It's a couple of years old but the kindness shown by these kids is timeless.   I hope it warms your heart too.  It's just 30+ seconds long.

I loved the acting shown by the defense.  A pat on the back to the coaches and officials too.

Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thanks for visiting...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Warm Memories for Warm Heart Wednesday

Welcome once again to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

This is such a busy time of the year and I'm late getting this up.  I've been busy doing the holiday shopping, decorating, etc.  I know I posted these pictures of my Christmas tree last year, but it looks the same every year and every year it warms my heart.  It's a beautiful tree if you're into old "Christmas with Santa" photos and faded construction paper ornaments.
See the reindeer?  The antlers are Reid's hands.  He'll be 40 in January, so that reindeer is pretty old...and faded.
I saved every Christmas decoration my three kids ever made.  My mother saved the ones I made.  See the colored Santa?  That's one I made way back when.  The aluminum snow flake was also made by me.  It was cut from a chicken pot pie aluminum pan.  They don't even put chicken pot pies in aluminum pans anymore.

I better post some pictures with decorations Keith and Troy made so they won't feel slighted.
Keith made the red stocking in the above photo.  He's 46, so that stocking is pretty old.
I can't remember if Troy or Reid made the painted tree.  My apologies to Troy if this wasn't his work of art.  However, you can see Troy with Reid in the Santa picture.  That was the year Keith decided he was too old to sit on Santa's lap.  Troy is now 45 so the pictures is pretty old.

It's just a tree of memories and I love decorating it each year.  I'll say to myself..."I remember this decoration.  We were living in Oklahoma when Keith made it."  "I remember this photo...we were at the mall in Virginia when it was taken."  So many warm memories to warm my heart.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Furry Friends For Warm Heart Wednesday

It's time again for Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

I confess...I am the crazy neighborhood cat lady.  I believe every neighborhood has one and I fulfill that duty here.  My cats are all rescues.  At times they drive me crazy, but most of the time they warm my heart.
 I know I shouldn't pick favorites, but Blackie is my favorite.  She kept wandering into our yard and I finally decided I'd better feed her.  The next day she came back with a kitten.  No one claimed them and so they were here to stay.  I had them both fixed and now they're inside cats.  Not a day goes by that Blackie doesn't show her appreciation.  A complete stranger can come into the house and she'll come over and sit on their lap.  She doesn't seem to realize that not everyone loves cats.
Zoom in another one of our cats.  She's the direct opposite of Blackie.  I have to warn people not to try and pet her.  She'll attack and bite anyone, but I love her anyway.  She was found after Hurricane Ike behind a shopping center and was undernourished and sick.  We nursed her back to health and she was also here to stay.
All the cats have a story.  I won't tell you how many we have, but the fact that I'm the neighborhood crazy cat lady should tell you something.  Let's put it this heart is very warm!  Some would say way too warm.

However, if anything every happens to us please tell the police it was the cats.

I woke up around 7 in the morning and immediately smelled natural gas.  I turned on the lights which I've since learned is exactly what you shouldn't do.  I went downstairs and could hear a swooshing sound as I approached the kitchen.  Yes, it was coming from the stove top.  The one burner was partially turned on and gas was escaping.  I quickly turned it off and started opening doors and windows.

I knew it hadn't been left on.  We hadn't even used the stove top the day before.  I woke up at 4 that morning and didn't smell natural gas then.  So, I know it was turned on sometime between 4 and 7.  You do have to push the knob down and turn it at the same time to light the burner.  It's not hard to do though.  One of the cats must have walked across the knob and their foot pushed it at the same time.

We now keep a casserole dish over the knobs.
I was telling one of my sons what had happened.  He said, "Yes, our cats have done that too.  Now we take the knobs off."

So, if you have cats (and cook with natural gas) be careful.

I've watched enough Investigation Discovery to know that the cats were trying to kill us for the insurance money.

Now head over to Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of this week's participants.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Teaching Children To Be Kind

It's week two of Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent.

Did you hear about the seven year old Texas boy in Pflugerville, Texas?  He definitely warmed my heart at a time when the world seemed so full of hate. 

A mosque in his small Texas town was found vandalized when community members arrived for morning prayer.  Feces were smeared on the sidewalk and torn pages of the Quran were thrown on the ground.  As the little boy's mother said, "It's disgusting, it's gross.  It doesn't matter what you believe, what I believe, or anybody believes, all faith is important." 

She explained to her son what had happened in terms he could understand.  She told him how someone had spread poop on a Muslim "church" and it was an awful thing to do.  She explained that every body's churches are important.  Little Jack understood and wanted to help.  He had been saving for an iPad and had almost $20 in his piggy bank, but decided he would donate his money to help.   He took it to the mosque and gave it to one of the mosque board members.  

You can watch the news story here.
Sometimes it isn't easy raising children in today's world.  Personally, I think Jack's mom is doing a great job.  She's teaching her son to pass on love and not hate.

A Muslim human rights lawyer who was moved by this story sent Jack an iPad on behalf of the Muslim community.  That kind gesture also warmed my heart.

Please visit Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  You can join in too!

Thank you for visiting...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Genuine Fall Foliage Warmed My Heart

Welcome to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Jenny Matlock at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

Jenny is back with something new!  Each week we are going to share something that gave us a warm  heart.  I'm excited!  This will be good for me.  I can focus on the positive and forget about the negative for a while.  I can remember to be thankful.  Every so often I need a kick in the _ _ _!  This came along at just the right time.

A few weeks ago I was asking my sister-in-law about the fall foliage in New Jersey.  "Are the leaves pretty colors?"  "Are they falling?"  I was explaining  how our leaves don't turn pretty colors along the Texas Gulf Coast and how much I miss a real fall.  With the A/C running 24/7 it's sometimes hard to believe that it's fall.  (We had a fire in the fireplace last week, but we turned the A/C down.  Is that cheating?)

Today I went and picked up my mail at the mailbox.  What a surprise!  My sister-in-law sent me fall foliage from New England!
It came from a company called and is genuine fall foliage from New England.  The leaflet explained how the leaves are preserved using some special process.  (I guess they don't iron leaves between wax paper anymore like I did as a kid growing up in New Jersey.)

What a neat surprise.  It certainly warmed my heart!

Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Join in!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Z" as in the end of the Alphabet and Alphabe-Thursday

Welcome once again to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."

Today we are studying the letter "Z."

"Z" is the last letter of the Alphabet.  Today is the last day of Alphabe-Thursday and I am sad.  I believe I was here for the very first Alphabe-Thursday.  Over the years I haven't been real good about blogging, but I always knew I could come back to Alphabe-Thursday and jump right in.

I consider Ms. Jenny a special friend.  She's one of the most thoughtful people I have ever known.  When my son had his first stem cell transplant she asked everyone on her blog to send him a card.  He was in the hospital for weeks.  Every day the nurse would bring in a handful of envelopes.  It helped lift his spirits and mine!

Over the years she has never forgotten us. She has sent many, many cards.

She has been through her own trials and tribulations for a long time now.  Somehow she kept Alphabe-Thursday going for us.  I'm hoping and praying Ms. Jenny's health will improve and this will just be a temporary break.

Please head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.

Bye for now...

UPDATE:  Ms. Jenny is going to be back next Wednesday with something new.  She's not going to be going away after all.  I am so glad.  Thanks Mr. Jenny for being such a good support system for Ms. Jenny!!  You are both in my prayers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day 2015 - Thank you for your service.

I remember sitting in front of the TV and watching.  Operation Homecoming had begun and our POW's were finally returning from Vietnam.

 Navy Captain Jeremiah Denton stepped to the microphone at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and spoke for all the POW's on that first plane.  He said, "We are honored to have served our country under difficult circumstances."

Yes, difficult indeed.   In 1966 it was Captain Denton who first let us know that our POW's were being tortured.  While being filmed for propaganda purposes he managed to spell out the word torture in Morse Code by blinking his eyes.
Between February 12 and April 4, 1973 almost 600 POW's returned.  Like many Americans I sat and waited until I saw "my" POW return.  I had worn a POW bracelet for Captain Hubert Walker, Jr.
I don't particularly care for politics.  I jokingly refer to politics as a necessary evil in a democracy.  Recently I listened in dismay while one of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for President spoke of former POW and current United States Senator John McCain.  He stated, "He is not a war hero."  When this candidate received some boos he backtracked slightly and made one of the stupidest comments I've ever heard.  "He's a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren't captured."

Senator McCain spent over five years as a POW in Vietnam after ejecting from his aircraft when it was hit by enemy fire.  In the process he broke a leg and both arms and was knocked unconscious.  He landed in a lake and came to and was able to activate his life preserver with his teeth.  He was dragged to shore by some Vietnamese.  One of them shattered his right shoulder with a rifle butt.  He was bayoneted in the abdomen and foot.  He was later put in solitary confinement and tortured.  You can read about it here.
I guess it's difficult to appreciate their service if you were fortunate enough to never have to worry about being drafted.  Anyone that had parents who could afford the cost of college could stay in school indefinitely with student deferments as long as they were full time students.  Part time students were not deferred, so if someone had to work a full time job in order to afford college they were out of luck.  There was a good chance they'd be drafted.
While this candidate for President/Commander In Chief led a carefree life as a college student our POW's were being tortured.  The troops on the ground were men that had been drafted and were mostly from poor or working class families.  Very few came from upper class families.  You can read about the unfairness of the draft here

The Vietnam war was an unpopular war that we were never going to win.  The draft was terribly unfair.  Way too many lives were lost.  Many are still missing.

Sadly, men coming back from Vietnam were usually not greeted as heroes. Back then no one said, "Thank you for your service."

I apologize.  I was one of those people.  It never even occurred to me at that time to thank anyone.

I was brought to tears when I heard Senator McCain disrespected by this particular candidate.  It meant that Captain Hubert Walker, Jr. was also being disrespected.  It meant all of the Vietnam POW's were being disrespected.  I am so sorry.  None of you heroes deserved that kind of disrespect.

I know this is long overdue.

To everyone that served during the Vietnam War...


Thursday, November 05, 2015

"Y" as in YEA!!! for Alphabe-Thursday

"Y" as in YEA for this week's Alphabe-Thursday!

Why YEA?

Because I'm jumping up and down and saying, "YEA!"
Some of you already know that my son had a stem cell transplant almost three years ago.

He's been cancer free ever since, but this past summer his PET scan lit up.  That can be an indication that the cancer has returned.  He ended up having a needle biopsy that was negative, but they said the needle doesn't get much and could have missed it.  So, he had a surgical biopsy and that also came back negative.  Still, it could have meant they didn't get enough.  Then he had a spinal tap that was also negative.  So, we were down to waiting until the next PET scan to see if the spot got larger.  It didn't.  If it was the Lymphoma returning it would have gotten larger.  There's just a small spot now.

Other things can cause the scan to light up, but once there's been cancer it's a big worry.  Needless to say, we're very relieved.  He had been told that reaching three years cancer free would be very good.   I guess kind of a landmark.   On December 21st it will be three years.

After a stress filled summer we're saying YEA!

Now head over to Jenny's blog...Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of this week's participants.

Thanks for visiting...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!!!

A friend sent me this picture.  Yes, it could have been me way back when!



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"X" as in "let's "X" out this football season" for Alphabe-Thursday

I hate to say it, but I think this football season is over for my Houston Texans.

I hate to give up.  There are still a lot more games to play, but so far things aren't going well.

Last Sunday's game was the worst game ever for the Texans.  It was a great game for the Miami Dolphins!  Congratulations Miami!  You earned it.

The Texans lost 44-26.  At half time the score was 35-0!

As if things couldn't get any worse...Arian Foster is out for the season.  He's our running back and was injured in the last minutes of the game.  He's one of our best players.  We were being blown out of the water, so why did they leave him in?  He was just coming back from a serious injury.
So much drama too.  Ryan Mallet our back up quarterback missed the team charter and had to catch a commercial flight.  On Tuesday the Texans released him.  I don't think he was a team player, so it's good that he's history.

I want to be a loyal fan, but it isn't always easy.  My Dad was a Chicago White Sox fan for many, many years.  He started rooting for them when he was a Boy Scout.  He never gave up on them.  Finally, when he was in his late 80's they won the World Series.  "Good things come to those who wait."  Dad waited...and waited.  He always loved his team.  That's the kind of Texans fan I want to be.

I'll be at the game this coming Sunday.  I won't boo.  I won't leave.  I might be the last remaining fan in the stadium, but I'll be there.  I'm always kind of dismayed when people boo and start pouring out of the stadium when the team gets behind.  That's not what Dad taught me.  Don't worry Texans.  I'm in this for the long term.  It might just be us left in the stadium on Sunday, but I'm still with you.

We might have to "X" out the season, but I'm not ready to "X" out the team.

Please head over to Jenny's blog (Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent") for a list of this week's Alphabe-Thursday participants.

I know I've been hit and miss in blogland lately, but I'm back for this week's Alphabe-Thursday.
Thanks for visiting...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GinnyFaith's Birthday Party

I decided it was time for a doll post.  I've been neglecting this blog and Alphabe-Thursday.  I just don't spend a whole lot of time online anymore.  I always intend to do better, so bare with me.

We had a lot of rainy weather lately and I kept busy playing with my dolls.  I decided it would be GinnyFaith's Birthday.  She invited some friends over and they had hamburgers and hot dogs.

There's always one person that hogs the ketchup!
After lunch they had cake and ice cream.  The girls even helped decorate the cake.
I didn't want you to miss GinnyFaith's cat!

I'll try and do better in the future.  With a little luck I'll get an Alphabe-Thursday post up this week.  Wouldn't you know it's time for the letter "X" which is always a difficult one.

Things just got very hectic and stressful this summer.  Reid lit up on a PET scan and ended up having two biopsies that were both negative.  However, right after that he developed double vision and had to see a neuro-opthomologist.  He already has Horner's Syndrome from the cancer that was in his neck, but this was a different eye condition.  They had to rule out Hodgkin's in his spine and brain by doing a spinal tap.  That was also negative.  It was also determined that it wasn't caused by the radiation he originally received when first diagnosed.  I believe at this point they think it's from the graft vs host disease that he developed after the stem cell transplant.  He had another PET scan yesterday and we're hopeful that this one will be OK, but time will tell.  Meanwhile, he's still taking online courses and remains upbeat.

I'll be back soon...