What does it mean ?

There are many times in my life when I have searched for the reason someone that I care for becomes ill or suffers through some series of events.

I have sat by the bedside looking at tubes connected to someone’s body; and watched people struggle to find a new normal while coming back from a change in health.

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The amazing sanctuary of a library

My fascination with taking my fingers and flipping through the pages of a book began early in my life.
Beginning with the children’s books read by my mother, I soon found myself carried into other worlds created by the minds of authors. Once I started school, I soon spent any free time in the school library combing through the books looking for topics which were of interest. One of my early favorites was a biography of World War I hero Alvin C. York giving me a lifelong hero that still remains.
The comfort of the room, the quietness, the calm, and being surrounded by shelves of books began a fascination with these environs. Once I was old enough, I began volunteering my time, learning the inner workings of the library. Understanding the Dewey decimal system and the old-fashioned card catalog file system. I found I enjoyed reshelving books and often I found another topic that fascinated me.  Also gaining an operational knowledge of all the audio-visual equipment that we had.
Mrs. Dantzler was my elementary librarian and she became an amazing encourager in my early life. As I rose to high school, the library continued to be a sanctuary. A greater level of books surrounded me and I once again became part of the volunteer library assistants. The librarians again became great influencers and the room provided a sanctuary from the social dynamics of high school.
Though I have not reached the dream – I always wanted to have a library room in my home filled with books that I have collected. I realized one day; it is not likely that I will reach that dream but even today holding my library card is special to me each time I walk into that building. It makes me feel comfortable as I did as a youth when I look around the many shelves of books.
There is nothing like holding a book between your two hands, while you step inside through your eyes to a new world that its words create. It’s like dreaming awake.
As so many now find their passageway through a book reader or computer, I still feel the printed book is the greatest source of this style of entertainment and I hope we never see the disappearance of the printed book.
If you have not visited your local public library in a while, I urge you, stop by, find out about their great programs for all ages. Walk through the aisles of book shelves, pick out a book, secure your library card and check it out. While its not a trip to an amusement park, turning the pages can certainly take you on rides that are thrilling, provide mystery, hope, fears and elation, and they are all between the covers of a book.

The lasting effects of friends

     John Donne wrote centuries ago “No man is an island.” Sometimes I think we may run our lives in a fashion that we think we are an island.
     If we are blessed, we surround ourselves with family, friends, acquaintances, but are they really part of us and we a part of them? There are those who seldom find their way from their self-exile on their personal island to actually share with others a sunset, a walk on the beach or watching a kite bounce in the sea breeze.
     In the mirror sometimes I see the man looking back at me and wonder if he ever realized where he would be today.
     If the choices he made would add to the sands of an island exile or build bridges connecting him to the piece of continent making him part of the main, as Donne described. Have I broadened the world of the little boy that once stood there in the mirror or have I simply augmented his isolation?
     Sometimes in life though moments occur, things are said, news arrives that reminds us solidly, that Donne left an indelible footprint in the sand with his premise that no man is an island. No matter how isolated we may choose to become in life, in soul, in mind, we are connected.
     In years past it was by letter and phone calls, today our own private islands are equipped with an umbilical cord connecting us to the internet. As I sit at my computer screen, I can check the status of “Friends” on numerous websites and stay connected to see what is happening. I can find out the latest news without even carrying on a conversation because it is all there to see in bits and bytes.
     Does that make my island more connected or less connected? I can sustain an illusion of being connected to thousands of people now where before it was maybe a few dozen on Sunday at church or at musical events.
      I saw where this new technology helps me stay connected. While reviewing the myriad of sites where I stay connected. Some time ago I found a note from a childhood friend desiring to right some perceived wrongs and wipe the slate clean. That served as a wonderful bridge re-establishing connection.
      Sadly, on numerous occasions, I have learned of the passing of those who at some point in my life were in my close circle of friends but time and distance had moved us along in life. Those moments always leave me with the sense of loss that is expected. A deep spirit of melancholy will often walk in behind it. Thankfully though, just a little later I will feel the spirit of thankfulness that allowed us to share the walk that we did as I pan through the memories for the gold nuggets within.
      We are in a time when we need to realize that those who we hold close are the friends who will sustain us in times of trouble.
Those friends will be there to help us when we are in need, or protect our backs when folks are coming at us from what seems all sides.
     While we cherish old friends, if something happened in your town tomorrow, do you have a circle of people you could rely upon? Can you come together to make sure your town comes through a crisis? Say a tornado, a major fire, or some other unexpected happening? If not, I encourage you to start building that group of friends that care about your neighborhood, town, county, region. Those are the friends who will make a difference in your life in good times and bad.
      Help make a difference in your own life; make friends you know you can depend upon and together you can make a difference in the world you and your family call home. Live local – not on the internet.

Needing something you don’t have

Water faucet and refrigerator leaks, garbage disposal freezes from
working, blower motor on heating and air conditioning unit wears out,
dryer timer goes out, and the blinkers on my cars quit.
There is an old saying that says “When it rains, it pours.” I
feel like I have been on a never-ending marathon of late, fixing one
failed system after another.
I simply rise up in the morning wondering what the next adventure
might be that I will have to fulfill.
Thankfully, my folks gave me some great primers on life insisting I
learn the basics about most elementary fixes to household and
automotive problems.
Despite the skills learned and the available information now
available from experts on the web, inevitably, as I progress through
the basic repairs, I have learned one great lesson. There will always
be one more thing that is needed to complete the job.
Whether it’s another tool, or another needed part – because one did
not work or it turns out it was actually something else which was the
problem; I seem to always be ending my efforts, getting into my Ford
Explorer and driving off to the hardware store, being sure to use my
arm signals, to deposit more in the Ace or Junior’s Hardware bank.
Why is that the nature of such experiences? I must have made three
trips just yesterday to only have to return again today still trying
to complete the same project.
I, however, set out this weekend to break the mold. I vaguely
remember my late mother often commenting that my dad spent much of
his time rushing off to buy a tool that he already had but could not
find. A trend that has blessed me as I inherited his tool collection.
But that being beside the point, I really think this time allowed him
to clear his head from a tough fix-it job.
So, this time before I headed off for my hardware fix, I spent some
time going through my many boxes of stored away items to make sure I
didn’t already have what I needed.  Guess what? I didn’t. So back
into my Ford Explorer I went for another adventure scanning the
aisles at the hardware store.
I guess I need to invest some money in hardware stocks. One thing’s
for sure, their profits will be up because of me and all those like