Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bula!

Bula! Wishing you all health and happiness as I lift my kava cup to you on the eve before the eve of the  new year.  For those of you who have never experienced a Kava Bar or been to the Fiji  Islands where you were welcomed with the traditional ceremonial greeting, bula means Life - a blessing of health and happiness.

Kava. Life. They have a lot in common.

 Kava tastes nasty until you acquire the taste. Life can be nasty until you learn how to cope, be grateful and enjoy.

Kava makes your mouth and tongue numb for a bit. Life can sting for a bit.

Kava is a natural relaxer, made from the root of a plant related to the pepper plant. It is used for anxiety and stress. Life or shit happens. Difficult times only make us strong in character.

Kava is an alternative to alcohol. Life. It's an alternative to death.

Bula! To Life! To good health and happiness!

Cheers,
Nina

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Christmas Story


I hoped to get into the Christmas spirit by seeing "The Magi," a holiday production. I'm not much of a holiday person. 

I placed my filled out entry form into the bucket and passed it over to my friend sitting next to me in the theatre. "I never win anything," And if I do, it's never for me! Years ago I was at a Christmas party where everyone was winning grand prizes like TV's, sound systems, large baskets of scrumptious delicacies and what do I win? Two gallons of paint!" But that is a Christmas story past where I gave the paint to a friend  of a friend who had just lost his job and was in the middle of painting his home when he ran out of paint. Guess what colors he needed. You got it - the same colors as I had won! It was one of my first experiences being a link within God's little miracles.

The prizes today were several books, the Action Bible (I really wanted that) and the grand prize, a voucher worth $300 for Word of Life Summer Camp, a popular camp and retreat known all over the nation. I've heard amazing testimonies from high school and college students how this place positively impacted and changed their lives.

It seemed an odd time to draw names of winners during intermission because you had to be present to win.  My luck, I'd be in the restroom when my name was called. But I wasn't!  I stood as my name was drawn for the grand prize!  I tried to act excited but in truth, I thought, "Crap, now I have to find time to figure out who to give this to. I just moved here, I don't know anyone." 

My friends congratulated me and asked who I was going to give this to. I said I guess I could ask around at church, but I would have to pray about it. After contemplating what I thought was an imposition, I suddenly felt the need to turn around. Behind me sat a mom who was pointing at me and a daughter staring.  The mom seemed embarrassed because she was caught pointing and all I could say was, "What?".   She explained to me, she was just speaking with her daughter about the camp prize.  She told her not to give up. "Look how close you've come to winning," which is when she pointed at me. 

 It seems her daughter has been trying to go to this camp for a few years. They had hoped and prayed this year would be it, but there wasn't a way to fit it in the budget. "Hmm," I mumbled as I eyed them each suspiciously. "Let me pray about this," which I did in my head as I talked with them some more.  

I interrupted them at some point and announced, "I would like to give you the camp voucher.  I believe God wants you to go. Merry Christmas!" Well, mama had tears and the daughter was ecstatic, thanking me over and over. " Really?" she repeated several times. Everyone around me claimed they had goose-bumps. (probably from the spirit of Christmas!)


"You know," I told them.  "This is a double whammy of God's greatness. I too, was praying. You see, for months people have been giving to me while I recoup from cancer and I want to be able to be the giver again." 

Thanks Crystal and Aurora.  This is one of the best gifts I've ever received and have given.  That night, I went home and put up some Christmas lights while the spirit of Christmas shone bright.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Loneliness vs Alone

     Why are some people lonely? Why do they consume their minds and time with finding a partner? There is a huge difference between my friends who are afflicted with loneliness and my friends who have peace.  

      Those who dwell on their lonely situations induce their own anxiety.  They focus on what could be if they had someone, dreadfully unaware of what they have in themselves and in those around them. 
     Perhaps they don't enjoy being alone and confuse being alone with loneliness. Perhaps they don't like to be with themselves.  I think that is the key to why people feel lonely.  Myself, I love the time I have alone. I get to do exactly what I want to do. I can be still and quiet and enjoy a good book or I could go out and enjoy an activity with friends. 
      It's what you want to make of it.
      

Monday, September 26, 2016

Are you ready for some football?

     For once in my life, I want to play Life like a Wide Receiver- catch the football (Life) without fumbling or getting tackled and swiftly bring it to the goal (Survival)!  Wth all the titanic plays I've had to survive in my life, I'm certainly qualified!
    Addiction, my 3-year-old son kidnapped, and cancer to name a few.   These were just some of the most difficult plays for which I am grateful. Without these irritating, laborious situations, I would not be who I am.  There is strength in weakness.
      Many times people ask me, "How do you overcome?  How do you forgive? Where do you get strength?"  Without the Quarterback, God, Yeshua, I would be without direction.  Without my family and friends on my team, there would be no light.
        When I lived in Michigan where the winters were 10 below zero, if I wanted to be outside, I would prepare myself for battling the frigid weather with boots, coat, gloves and all the winter armor one needs to survive in the snowy cold.  When life knocks me down, I have prepared myself by having a relationship with God, finding strength, comfort, hope and advice in His word. It is supernatural and I do not use that word lightly.  I also have friends and family who reach out their hands and help me to my feet, a lifeline more than they will ever know.
     Today, I am exhausted from getting tackled with yet another cancer diagnosis. I am going to sit on the sidelines for awhile, then get back in the game, receive the ball and even if I just make it to the 1-yard line, I will do the victory dance!
 




Friday, September 23, 2016

Parenting Your Adult Child

 If I see one more parent enabling their adult child, I am going to scream!

I get it. Your child is still your child.  We still want to fix things and we always will.  But in this season of the parenting journey, there is a fine line we cross when we parent. 

  Here is something to think about to help with this transition:

Let go: I don't know about your household, but my kids were normal until they moved out of my house. Now they are all as they say, "missing a few crayons from the box!"  Well, not quite that extreme, although it might be for you!  But, if we don't let go and allow our son or daughter to take responsibility for their actions, then we are partaking in the making of a dysfunctional adult. Ask yourself, what is the role of parenting?  It is to raise our children to be respectful, self-sufficient citizens of their community.
      For some of us the letting go part is hard and you might tend to enable or even meddle.  This transition into this new chapter in our life can be emotional as well. You might feel as if you're not needed anymore.  Please remember-You are always needed- just in a different way.
   





Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Are you a bibliophile?

     Good writing should force a sensational burst of emotion out of our body. It's a natural high when a particular word or phrase skips through your veins and into your brain to omit reader endorphins.  I believe these are symptoms of "reader addiction".  Or you might be a bibliophile!  Which isn't a bad thing, as long as it doesn't become obsessive and turn into bibliomania.

      If you have to get to sleep or go somewhere, and you find yourself saying, "I'll just read one more chapter," but that one chapter turns into three-you might have a problem! Reader Addiction.  Do you have books in every room or in your car?  Do you carry a book or publication with you wherever you go, just in case you might sneak a time to read?  Do you seek out a library on vacation?  Whenever you see a bookstore, does it call to your soul to enter?  When you're in a bookstore, does it fill your being with joy and excitement as if you were a child in an ice-cream store with 32 flavors to choose from?


     If you fall into this category, there are groups that can feed your addiction such as book clubs and writer's groups. If you can yank yourself away from your book!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Alienation Brings New Friends

      It was an ordinary day in the predominately white Gentile tiny Michigan town. There was only one Jew to add to it's human population. That would be me!  Light haired pale faces cluttered the waiting room at the courthouse while I waited for jury duty. Then he appeared.
      
A Jew.  I was beginning to think they were like the West African Black Rhinoceros - extinct! His blue and white knit yarmulke shouted his presence in the room as he approached the front desk.   My legs became strong with excitement as it pushed my body out of the chair. "My people, my people." 
    
 Generational stories, traditions and memories of family mingled in my mind, missing the Jewishness of life.  I walked toward the man,not really sure how to greet him. But he finished his business, rushing out the door before I could say "shalom". 
     We did not find the comradery that day.  Instead I connected with a Jamaican couple. We had a lot in common living in this town; a sense of feeling different, a bit of alienation. 

They shared what they missed about their culture and now I have a hungering for some Jerk Chicken and Rice and Peas which I will have when I accept their invitation for dinner.  Still, they do not know the meaning of a kvetch.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Things I Learned From Cancer

     I just came across this list I made  several years ago when I was in the middle of my cancer journey:

Things I Learned From Cancer

  • Bald is Beautiful!
  • Go slow. Look up at the sky. Study the trees that you pass each day. Thank God for all He has created for our amusement.
  • Nothing matters that much.
  • God is still a God of Miracles.
  • Fighting cancer is hard.
  • Life is precious. A fleeting moment.
  • My love for my sons, grandkids, mother and father, sister and brother and some others is tremendous.
  • Don't keep the good china just for holidays.
  • I was right. Life IS a party. Seize the Day.
     Below that list was another list:

Things I Will Do When I Get Well
  • Send a card to someone who is ill with words of encouragement. It can be a lifeline.
  • Take a meal to someone who is ill or needs help financially. It is a great help.
  • Go fishing.
  • If it is within my capabilities, help my neighbors if they need help.
  • Walk and hike and power walk again.
  • Learn to dance.  
  • Never forget to tell my Dad and Mom, Grandkids, Sons and Siblings that I love them.
  • Read my Bible more.
  • Learn something new like the flute, keyboards and drum.
  • Throw a party for everyone.
      I have to admit I have not accomplished everything on the last list exactly like I thought I would. Some I cannot do anymore because of the limitations my body holds from life-time chemo side effects. But I did and still do most. 
     Sometimes I get angry with myself and allow thoughts of what I cannot do anymore to suck the joy out of my day.  I miss myself - the me BC. (Before Cancer). I was independent, physically strong, rarely sick and my body devoid of multiple scars and deformities. I know, it could always be worse, yada yada. Everyones pain is real and loud no matter the level.
      I do realize there's much I can do. I may not be able to help build a house for  Habitat for Humanity, but I can encourage with words or sending a card. When people tell me that they have found strength and hope when they've received something from me or have heard my story, it gives me a purpose and also strength. Like the air that gives an eagle that push to fly, it gives me that push to move on past the daily irritations.
     Here's my new list

What Ilness Cannot Do:
  • It can't take away your family and friends who love you.
  • It can't diminish your faith.
  • It can't lose your good memories.
  • It can't kill your true self and spirit.
  • It can't cut your ability to still help others.  
  • It can't take away your smile. 
  • It can't steal your purpose in life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rainbows in Winter


      I've seen rainbows in winter-an amazing sight. I've heard Phil Driscol's horn hit notes so high that it flew me almost to the moon! The Vermont landscapes took my breath away. Living amongst the Penguins in South Africa's stunning countryside will live in my memory forever but my son's smile as he engrossed himself in the experience will stand out as the best part of the trip.


     I've seen a plethora of the beauty and pleasures of life. Yet, nothing compares to the sight of a friend smiling. Nothing is as satisfying as hearing the laughter of my sons. When I can make someone laugh, I am as content as a kid with an ice-cream cone. Nothing compares to seeing someone I care about- smile.  

      Feel free to share how someone put a smile on your face or how you like to put smiles on others.              
how to make someone smile, happiness, share how you put a smile

Balance




Sometimes I want to cry,
So I laugh.
Sometimes I want to die,
So I live.
When 
I don't have the time-
I do.
When I don't have a dime,
I give.
My standard protocol to balance.