Retired attorney from Pennsylvania.
A Strong and Kind Person
Dear Missy: I am writing this letter to you because you are not only one of the strongest women I know but you are also one of the kindest. You are such a good person I think you could be a saint one day. We have been friends since the day you were born. I am five years older than you but the age difference never mattered, we always had the best times together and when I need your help, you are always there. But you are always there for everyone who needs your help. You are not only a wonderful cousin and friend but you are an exceptional wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, and teacher. One reason we have such a great bond is that our grandmothers were sisters and best friends and we both took care of our grandmothers when they got older. We have always had much in common.
My Sister, My Friend
Dear Jill, I know you cannot read or understand this letter but I want to write this to you anyhow to express what a strong, wonderful big sister you are and always will be to me. I know that your illness has robbed you of so many things...your memory, your independence and the life you once lived. Since our mother had this horrible disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, which is highly genetic, there was a good chance it would be passed on to one or maybe even more of her children. I guess we all have the chance of being stricken by this disease and I want you to know how sorry I am that you have it now. You are such a young woman at only 57 years of age but you built yourself such a wonderful life. You are a wife, mother, sister, and friend. And you were a great teacher for over 30 years. Anyone who battles such a debilitating disease has to be a strong person.
Francie the Sheepadoodle
Francie is my nine year old mini Sheepadoodle. I thought mini meant that he was going to be small but he’s a little on the big side! Either way I love him to death. I grew up in a family that loved cats so I never really knew much about dogs. I assumed I would always have cats since that’s what I grew up with but I am definitely a dog person. When I got Francie “Adopt Don’t Shop” wasn’t advertised that much. At least, I don’t remember reading about it. So I did purchase Francie from a breeder but honestly I don’t think anyone else wanted him. I sort of sensed something was up with him when out of a litter of about ten puppies he was the only one available. He was spoken for at one point but that person backed out. Then when all the puppies in the litter were posted online every single puppy was posing in a little tub. But not my Francie...he was sitting on the ground, no tub and no pose! Regardless of my hesitation, I went ahead with my purchase of him. I often wonder what would have happened to him if I wouldn’t have taken him. He was born in Texas and I live in Pennsylvania so there was no way for me to visit with him beforehand.
Sometimes things never get better no matter how hard a person tries... Well, Ivy tried hard to turn her life around for years struggling with chronic pain and depression. She was not the smartest person but she had supportive parents who encouraged her to always do her best. She also was a person of faith and that faith got her through many trials. Although she was a mediocre student she went on to college not knowing what career track she would take. Ivy eventually ended up in education and went on to become a professor. She spent practically every moment in the library in order to graduate. It did not come easy for her but she was persistent and determined to make something of her life. Ivy found a job she loved and she worked long hours during the day. But she was also her grandmother’s caretaker and she dedicated herself to her care every moment she wasn’t working. After living and caring for her grandmother for over twenty years, it was an understatement to say she was attached and loved her grandmother deeply. So she pretty much lived for three things...her grandmother, her faith and her job.
Do you have Ophidiophobia???
I visited Hawaii back in the 1980's and I was told there were no snakes living there. This is something that I always kept in the back of my mind...because I am very much afraid of snakes. This is known as ophidiophobia. Actually, the human brain is programmed not to like snakes and I don’t find this surprising at all. But I really don’t like snakes at all and for some strange reason they always seem to end up on my porch. I live in Pennsylvania and there are different kinds of snakes, some even poisonous. Now I can't say I have done much research on the snakes in Pennsylvania other than how to keep them away from my porch. But where I live they are mainly Garter snakes although you can’t rule out other types being in the area. Can you believe there was actually a Copperhead snake at the entrance of a Dollar General store in a small neighboring town? Believe me that was the talk of the county! At least, Garter snakes are pretty much harmless. They do not really bother me, they slither away when they see me but I usually call for help to kill them so they don't return. My grandmother was not afraid of them at all and I will never forget her calmly chopping their heads off. Unfortunately, I did not inherit this talent from her!
Insomnia, Instagram and Some Great Products
I am a chronic insomniac and despite my best efforts I usually end up at 3 a.m. Well, due to my insomnia, it’s no surprise I have made a few purchases advertised on Instagram. Of course, they always seems to know what I like to buy but I have to admit they have put me on to some pretty great products. The following are a few of the products advertised on Instagram that I have purchased and that I would highly recommend:
A Few Simple Suggestions to Spruce Up Your House for Springtime
This year I have decided to do things differently come springtime and in preparation for summer. In the past, I always felt I needed to buy new decorations for upcoming holidays or other things to spruce up my house. It took me a long time to learn that is absolutely not necessary. After all, I have lived in the same house since the early 90’s and I have accumulated many “things”. I don’t need more things, I need to do some simple projects and declutter and reorganize to make my house a better place to live. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to buy maybe one or two new decorations or some new sheets or a bedspread. But buying new instead of reusing I find leads to more clutter and spending money unnecessarily. I have decided this year I am going to do small things I have learned through the years that I can do myself that make a big impact. I am not a very handy person but I have found a few things that even I can do to make my house look nicer without a huge expense. When you are done making a few do-it-yourself updates, you will not only like the way it looks but you will also feel proud of yourself and save a little money.
The Steel Magnate and the Monastery: Sharing a Beautiful Story Unknown to Many in Today’s World
Regardless of your religion I think you will enjoy the story of this beautiful monastery located in a small western Pennsylvania town. The story about this monastery and its connection to the steel magnate, Charles M. Schwab, who built it is very fascinating. The name of the monastery is the Carmel of St. Thérèse of Lisieux or “Loretto Carmel” and it is located in the small town of Loretto, Pennsylvania. Some people may have heard of Saint Francis University, which is located just down the road from Loretto Carmel and practically across the road from Charles M. Schwab's former mansion. Loretto Carmel is named for Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a very popular saint who lived in a monastery in Lisieux, France. There are many Carmelite monasteries named after Saint Thérèse but Loretto Carmel is the only one in the United States founded directly from France. The Sisters who founded this monastery came to the United States from Bordeaux in September 1926 at the invitation of a local bishop. However, before these founding Sisters traveled to the United States they visited with three of Saint Thérèse's sisters, who were not only religious sisters but they were her blood sisters as well. One of Saint Thérèse's sisters gave the founding Sisters a first-class relic of Saint Thérèse to take to the United States and in return a promise was made to name the new monastery after Saint Thérèse. In case you are not familiar with religious relics, first-class relics include the physical remains of a saint, such as, a strand of their hair.