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My Blog

April 2014

Chemicals...causes another disease for Fibromyalgia Suffers!

Good morning to everyone.  Hump day is here.  Half way through the week.  It is so funny to me how with each passing year these new phrases seem to appear.  I was watching Well of Fortune last evening and they had their 6,000th night.  The showed the shows that aired on their 1,000th night and the mannerism and what and who was popular back then.  Made me really stop for a moment and realize how much things are continuously changing.  I saw something earlier on the computer that showed how we would have lived 400 years ago.  I have placed it in my favorites and am waiting for a little time to sit and watch it.  I love to look back and see the evolution of things and people....although I think that we seem to be changing more quickly these days. 
Well, as for today's blog...I sit each morning and often I have an idea already brewing.  It is often something that is sparked by something seen or said...and then sometimes I can sit and wonder what you the reader are thinking about the blogs.  Are they of any use to anyone of my readers or are they just of use to me?  I can see the numbers of readers that I get each day and yet so often there are no comments.   I am hoping that the stories are of interest.  Perhaps one or more of them are helpful in someway.  Maybe they spark an idea or though to you.  If they do...I would appreciate it if you took a moment to comment.  Actually, it makes me feel like there is someone real on the other side of the screen. 
Anyway, today's blog came to me yesterday as I was waking through Menard's Hardware.  I, for some reason, am extremely sensitive to chemicals of all kinds.  I'm not sure whether this is a curse or blessing...but for the sake of this blog, I am viewing it as both.  I could not believe how heightened my nose has become.  I started to feel like Pinnochio as I trodding through the aisle.  I first went out to the garden area, which is on enclosed, yet still open...which means that it was an opened shelter.  You could feel the cold and wind and were somewhat covered.    Why Pinnochio?  Well, I felt that with each step I took, my nose got bigger and bigger with each seen that attacked me.  Between the smell of the chemicals in the dirt and the actual smell of the flowers, petunia's for some reason being the worse, I had to leave.  Before I left, I stared at the organic section and just questioned how organic they actually stay being placed in that type of environment. 
Between the storm outside which was trickling through the holes and the chemicals brewing indoors, I quickly had to leave through the sliding glass doors which placed me into the lumber area.  I have to tell you, that wasn't much better.  Ia a cruised up and down the aisles searching for my husband, by nose could smell the formaldehydes and chemicals used to treat the wood.  I walked a little faster to exit that area.  The next area that I was attacked from was the aisle filled with detergents and cleaners.  It is amazing to me how items that are in bags and bottles can emit such smells.  I looked around at all the customers who were shopping as though there was nothing going on around them, while all I could think of, was why I needed to perhaps start binging a mask with me to shop. Last night, when I got home, I progressively felt worse.  In fact, I needed a number of pain pills and smeared Ben Gay all over myself from head to toe.  I wondered about why I felt so horrible.  Even my wrists hurt! 
It made me start to think about the people who work in those types of environments. They are being exposed constantly by all of those chemicals that are being blended together.  I wondered whether they can smell them all or is it just me?  And if it is just me...why? 
Well, I decided that I was going to research a bit and find out why....and the results blew me away.  It seems that there is a disease called MCSS, and it is a side kick to fibromyalgia which I have.  The more I read the more it explained everything.  Here is was I read on the topic from fibromyalgia-symptoms.org.   
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome (MCSS)
Do you find yourself becoming more and more sensitive to certain smells, perfumes, or foods? Do you feel dizzy or nauseous after being exposed to these triggers? If so, you may be suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, or MCSS. MCSS often occurs alongside fibromyalgia, causing extreme sensitivity to certain chemicals and odors. MCSS can have a particularly negative impact on your life, making work, school, and daily tasks difficult. It can also exacerbate your fibromyalgia symptoms.MCS is a syndrome that causes hypersensitivity to certain chemicals and smells. It can also cause you to be extra sensitive to lights, temperature, and loud sounds. MCSS can hit suddenly and without warning, and tends to become more severe as time passes. Typically, people with chemical sensitivity find that they are first sensitive to only one particular trigger, but the syndrome soon intensifies, making exposure to a variety of products troublesome. MCSS causes symptoms that affect all systems in your body, including the skin, respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal tract, and neurological and immune systems.
Also known as Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance, multiple chemical sensitivity affects between 17% and 34% of Americans on a yearly basis. However, people with fibromyalgia syndrome tend to be at increased risk for this syndrome, probably because many of the symptoms of MCSS overlap with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Up to two-thirds of those who suffer from fibromyalgia pain will also have to deal with MCSS. Like fibromyalgia, MCSS typically affects women more than men, particularly those women between the ages of 20 and 50.
Types of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome
In order to be diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivities, you must show sensitivity to certain environmental factors. In particular, people with MCSS are sensitive to perfumes, pesticides, fuels, food additives, carpets, and building materials. These sensitivities can extend to include various other chemicals.
Well, isn't that interesting.  Thanks to my own blog and nosiness, I finally have found the reason.  A reason which by the way, most people I know can't imagine why I complain so much about smells and perfumes and even deodorants on people. 
So, if you are one of the lucky people who have been attacked by the masked bandit called FIBROMYALGIA....then pay heed to this as well.  They suggest you see your physician and I will definitely now bring this to his attention.  Only problem I see is that another pill will be suggested...which I am petrified to death to use...because of my sensitivities.  But I will now research this a little further and find some alternatives to the problem. 
I hope that this is of some value to some of you who are affected as well, and perhaps....to those of you who are not...to be aware of what happens to others...perhaps someone you know.  And if nothing else...I pray that this will open up your minds to the fact that chemicals are causing havoc...even if you don't smell them. 

Hop to it..I saw a RABBIT!

Good morning to all.  Another dreary and wet day ahead....at least here in the Chicago land area.  I must not complain.  I am feeling so bad for all the victims of the tornadoes that have blown through the southern states.  My heart and prayers go out to them.  I cannot imagine what that must feel like.  To lose all of your life's belongings...not to mention the physical losses, in the matter of minutes. The weather is one thing in life that we have absolutely no control over!  
Well, today's blog is about seeing a rabbit.  Yesterday, when I returned home from the store, upon parking in my driveway, there sat a full grown rabbit, beneath the bird feeder just chowing down.  In all the years that I have been feeding the birds, I have never noticed a rabbit eating there.  I was especially surprised over the fact that the car pulling in didn't frighten the rabbit away.  My husband and I just sat there watching as he chomped away.  The birds were not at all afraid and I commented on how well they all got along.  I was really mesmerized by this animal.  It was amazing that my husband didn't notice him until I pointed him out.  The more I looked at him, the more I realized that his coloring blended in quite well with all the stones and bricks.  Almost camouflaged if you will. 
We sat and watched so that it wouldn't get chased away by opening up the doors, so it could get it's tummy full. 
We must have sat there for 5 minutes and just watched.  Once we got out of the car, of course the rabbit hopped away.  I came into the house and I put away the items from the store.  I didn't give it any more thought until this morning.  I sat here wondering what the meaning for seeing a rabbit was.  It seems that some unusual sightings have occurred...first, the other day, there was an egg laid in our bird feeder...which by the way, is still there and it seems has been abandoned and now we had this quite large rabbit eating below it for us to see in broad daylight.  So, naturally, I had to look up the meaning of rabbit. 
. MEANING: When the presence of opportunity arises leap for it quickly. Rabbit is a symbol of fertility. Rabbit shows us new growth in artistic areas and new projects. Growth is assured when moving in balance. Are you moving to fast or too slow? Rabbit has quickness and agility. Take advantage of the opportunities that arrive quickly and may only be shown for a short period of time. Rabbit also is a symbolism for fear. Are you always running away from what frightens you? They ask you to face your fears with care and gentleness. As humans it is our nature to feel fear at times but we are shown to not let our growth and movement become paralyzed by our fears.
Now this was quite interesting.  The egg's symbol of course is fertility as well.  Well, at my age...I am not at all concerned over having a child, but the artistic fertility was interesting.  You see, I have been considering drawing up some patterns to submit for a national painting convention held by the Society of Decorative Painters that will be held here in Illinois next year.  I have tossed it back and forth over whether I should attempt such an undertaking.  Well, after chewing on it...I believe that perhaps I am being told to look at this opportunity.  It has not just been a whim, but I have discussed even the materials that I might consider using to paint on.  Now the alternate part of this is that it truly is scary. I am confident of my talent...but fearful at the same time. 
I suppose that now that I am presented with these symbols, that I need to act on them.  I will definitely look at this opportunity with fresh eyes.  We never know what will change the direction of our lives...yesterday, that simple rabbit gave me direction.  I am going to chow down myself and draw up those patterns and submit.  I have nothing to lose. 
The one thing that I have learned in this lifetime is that there are symbols and messages all around us if we only stop and pay attention.  Are you seeing symbols?  Have you ever thought to look up their meanings?  Perhaps it is time.  Perhaps we are so busy in this hectic life of ours that we don't pay closer attention to the little things. 

A Little Red Dress

Good morning readers.  Well, once again the weekend is over.  I hope you all had a good one.  I attended a baby shower and enjoyed the festivities.  Today, it is quite gloomy out with loads of rain and my body aches from the changes in pressure. 
As for today's blog, I was listening to a program yesterday and they brought up a topic that sparked this particular memory.  You see, my younger daughter received a gift one year from my Aunt.  It was a sweet red dress.  It was made of cotton, red with tiny white polka dots on it.  It also had little puffed sleeves, but the drama of the dress came in the front bottom half where there was one large pleat that was filled with layers of white eyelet lace.  My daughter was absolutely smitten with this dress.  In fact, it was hard to get her out of it.  She wore it just about everywhere we went.  I couldn't pry her out of it if I tried. People started to think that we couldn't afford another dress for her because she wore it on every occasion.  Now it took years, even after she grew out of that dress and I wanted to donate it and she stood her ground about wanting to keep that dress.  I am not exactly sure what it was about it that enamored her so, but whatever the reason she wouldn't let it go. 
It wasn't until we finally moved and I had packed box after box of items for the move that I was able to dispose properly of that dress and at that point she didn't seem to miss it...I mean, my goodness, she was 15 years old now.  I didn't have the sense at the time to cut a piece of it for memory and now....so many years later, I wish I had. 
This daughter at the age of 18 decided she wanted a different life than what we could give her and left.  It has been 18 years now and there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about her.  She is married and has children and I pray each day that they are all happy, as we have not had the privilege to be in her life.  It was extremely hard through these years to grieve for the loss of a child who is not deceased.  To dream of holding  and loving your grandchildren and not have that opportunity.  It took a long time for me to accept that God's plan for her is different than my own....I eventually accepted it...I may not like it...but have accepted it.  'Yesterday, when I heard the story about a little girl and her favorite dress, it flooded back  all the memories of happy times and days that we had together.  I can still clothes my eyes and see her in that little red dress.  I wish more than ever now that I had it or at least a piece of it.  I would give anything to smell her scent and feel her presence.  All I have are pictures of her in that sweet little red dress. 
Things aren't forever, so if you have  something that is special, hang on to it.  I wish that I could replace that little dress, but it is gone and it had it's day.  I often wonder whether my daughter still remembers that dress.  I often imagine that she must remember all the wonderful days that we spent together.  I miss her every day in my heart and in my mind.  Somedays are harder than others.  Mother's day with out her has always felt empty and lonely.  I have another daughter and 3 wonderful granddaughters, and they are my joy and happiness, but there is a hole in my heart that can only be filled by her and her family. 
I trust in God that things are meant for a reason.  All I can do is accept.  I pray for her happiness daily and ask God to watch over them as they make memories and a life, and while doing so...I hope there is a little red dress there in the recesses of her mind....and maybe one for her daughter as well. 

The Nesting Syndrome

Good morning to everyone.  Hope that your weekend has gone well. I have a baby shower to attend today, looking forward to enjoying the afternoon with friends.  The thought of a baby shower took me to also other showers and made me start to think about why men never have any things like a shower? 
Well, today's blog is about nesting.  It began with going to make coffee this morning.  My coffee pot is right next to the kitchen window and right outside my kitchen window is a make shift 3 foot long bird feeder where I feed the birds on a daily basis.  Still half in slumber, I began pouring the water into the coffee pot when my husband asked if I saw the egg?  In my morning blur I couldn't imagine what he was talking about.  He then proceeded to point out that there was an egg in the feeder.  When I looked out, sure enough...there it was.  I am so excited now to see what will happen next.  I am curious on whether the mother bird was just momentarily gone or whether she will return shortly.  It will be interesting to see just how the other birds will react to this.  I pray that all will be well with this egg and its valuable contents.  Seeing this egg made me wonder about the nesting habit that occurs in women.  When you are pregnant, you are awaiting the child to grow and become ready to face the outside world.  Others, upon hearing of the news, become excited over it as well, and of course there is usually a baby shower.  At least that is how it is done here with most people that I know. 
For me, when I became pregnant for the first time, my mother for some reason, didn't believe in baby showers.  she thought it to be bad luck.  If something should happen to the pregnancy...then what?  So, my mother, instead of hosting a baby shower....showered me with gifts for the nursery.  She would take me shopping and allow me to pick and choose the items that I needed or wanted.  She helped me decorate the room, which I had chosen Raggeddy Ann and Andy.  The colors were bright.  There were Primary colors of blue and reds and orange along with white. The room had white furniture and everything that one could imagine.    I was although disappointed that I wouldn't have a shower with all my friends and family to laugh and have fun with, but the room was ready...and so was I.
Now, unbeknown to me, a neighbor and a couple of close friends had decided to throw a small quaint shower for me. 
The day that the shower was scheduled for I was feeling quite tired.  My husband and I went shopping at a store called Venture.  One of those that would have been comparable to a Target store today.  When we were in the check out line, my back hurt so much that I literally leaned over the line where you place the items you are purchasing.  When we arrived home, my husband said he and my friend's husband were going to a shooting range and he would be back later.  I bid him farewell, and was supposed to go across the street to my neighbor's house, because she was going to hem a gown for me that I was wearing in a couple of days to my friends wedding. Well, that was not what happened.  I was so tired, I laid down in bed and fell asleep.  The phone rang and when I answered it...it was my friend asking me where I was,  I told her I was so tired and could we perhaps do this a little later.  She kept insisting that I come over right then.  I promised I would, but honestly couldn't find the energy.  I laid back down, thinking ....just a few more minutes...and fell asleep again.  About a half  hour went by and the phone rang again.  She was wondering where I was.  I told her I just wasn't feeling myself....now mind you, I was about 2 1/2 weeks away from delivery.  Well, I finally knew I needed to get myself together and go over.  I could barely make it up the two stories of her house carrying my gown.  When I walked in, imagine my surprise when they yelled surprise.  It was truly  one huge surprise!  There they had sat for an extra hour or so waiting for me.  I felt so bad.  Well, in the end it was a wonderful day, I had so much fun....and to top it off...I went into labor the next night.  It explained it all.  My body was preparing for the long task ahead.  The room for the baby was ready as was my body.  
When I think about babies and showers...it is almost as though all of our maternal instincts seem to kick in and want to be a part of the nesting for the new child.  Funny how things change through the years as well, the colors are so different these days.  Even the fact that you know most of the time whether the child is going to be a boy or a girl.
Well, today we will celebrate the coming of a little boy.  I have painted four canvas' to put in his room with the theme which is whales and his initial.  
I thought about that egg that I have sitting there in the bird feeder and  thought about its message.  Eggs are for new beginnnings. They represent spring and well, I am hoping that the weather will follow suit.  
As for me and their nesting abilities.  I guess my thoughts were that the men actually do the nest building.  they assemble the cribs, make money for the lives and leave the rest up to us.  Either way, the upcoming baby will be well cared for.   

Good Vibrations for You

Good morning to everyone and happy weekend!  Today is my eldest granddaughter's 18th birthday.  Happy Birthday Sarah!  My how that time has flown!  She has grown into an absolutely beautiful young lady that I am very proud over. 
Well, today's blog is about Vibrations.  You might wonder why I have chosen this particular subject.  Well, it goes back a ways....about 18 years ago, when I though life was turning crooked on it's axis.  I felt totally out of sorts and needed a change...not on the outside, but on the inside.  I began learning about the vibrations that are available to us and how to gain from them.  I began to read about stones and their vibrations, and colors and their vibrations. It moved on to food and drinks.  Then it progressed to sounds and mantra's.  It all started to make sense to me.  I started paying greater attention to how the sounds especially made a difference.  I had read about a mantra circle and a group of us tried and tested it.  It was amazing.  The vibrations that come off of human voices is truly touching.  We would sit someone in a circle and form a particular healing circle around the person and test the different sounds.  From an ah to om.  We could see different reactions to different people. 
Did you ever wonder why some music is better suited for you than others?  Did you ever stop to think about how the music makes you feel?  And did you ever why your tastes in music changes?  Each instrument is connected to a particular vibration and can cause a reaction to you physically.  Did you ever have a sound or a form of music that irritates the daylights out of you?  Well, evidently, that sound is too much for your chakra.  Did you know that drumming music is the best music to attune your body to the vibrations of the earth.  It can slow your rhythm right down in sync with the earth itself, making you more relaxed and calm. 
Did you know that music can aid in a babies mental growth.  A child's intelligence can be formed at infancy by the sounds they hear. 
I can remember playing Mozart all the time for my granddaughter when she was young.  In fact I played it in the house and in the car wherever we went.  I sang all the time to her and she has turned out to be a pretty impressive, intelligent young lady.  I even, at times, laid down and we listened to drumming music when she would become upset over something.  It would calm her right down.  There are all types of music out there...and we all have a special sound that we enjoy.  For me, depending on the mood I want to feel, I put on that type of music.  The sounds of drums and birds and water are very relaxing and soothing to me.  It  calms my soul.  When my husband plays his music...it is sometimes like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I love music and at one time in my life I loved the music he plays...but for now...it is definitely not the best music to hear.  Funny how our needs and likes change.  Nothing seems to stay forever.  
In my years of testing the sounds...I discovered that some can make a person weep and some could make one scream.  Some music can put you to sleep or make you want to jump around and dance. When music is played loudly...you can feel the vibrations through the floor.  The deaf are able to dance through feeling the music through their feet. 
If you have ever had to go through an MRI, you are given the choice of having music played to keep you from getting upset or anxious. 
Octaves above Sound - notes have color

We hear about ten octaves of sound and see about one octave of light with our eyes.

Because going up an octave is doubling, each octave has a bandwidth (range of frequencies) that is as large as the sum of all bandwidths of the preceding octaves (similar to each time a population doubles). This means that visible light, 41 octaves up from from the middle of our hearing range, is an octave with a bandwidth many times greater than that of all 10 octaves of the hearing range. So the human eye has a very wide range even though it sees in only one octave.


 
C Green
C# blue green
D blue
D# blue violet
E violet
F re violet

                        

F# red
G red-orange
G# orange
A yellow orange
A# yellow
B yellow green
So if the sounds are good...so are the particular colors.  Whether you see them or wear them...they are soothing to you as an individual.  Think of it in foods as well.  Consider what types of foods that you eat...what color are they?  My Grandmother always told me to eat every color on my plate.  Why?  To be balanced.  When we don't our bodies become out of balance. 
I started thinking about how relaxing I am when I am painting.  I am using the color wheel when I paint and am feeling instantly better.  When I have to paint in certain colors...it can change my mood. 
So take a look at it today....look at the colors around you...how they make you feel.  Think about them in terms of food...how does a freshly squeezed lemon make you feel?  and then play something in A#.  Is it uplifting.  How does the sun feel when it is shining.  Are you happy?  Get the good vibrations that will build a happier you.  Try it out today.  what have you got to lose?

               
 



Seeing the Number 444

Good morning to everyone.  Friday is here once again.  Hope that you will enjoy your upcoming weekend.  Here near the Chicago land area in Glenview, at Wagner Farm, they are hosting a Bacon fest.  Something different to do.  I am hoping to have a chance to stop by. 
As for today's blog...if any of you came to read because you have already had the 444 experience....great!  For those of you who are wondering what is all the buzz about 444...then here is my story. 
From the time I was a young girl...the number 444 seemed to always pop up in one place or another.  whether it was on a clock, an address or phone number...I would see it.  I started to think that perhaps I should buy a lottery ticket or something with those numbers on it and of course...nothing happened.  It wasn't until many years later that I was stunned and then introduced to an explanation of the 444 and have been considered informed and blessed ever since. 
One Christmas, many years ago, one of my daughters friends gave me a book for  Christmas of one of my favorite authors....only problem was that I already owned all of her books.  So, simplest solution was to exchange it for another book.  I would do that in the next week or so.  Now, one day, I was driving downtown on the expressway, and lo and behold I was stunned by this gigantic billboard of an angel.  I wanted to be able to read the billboard.  I mean....really??  how often do you see a gigantic angel on the expressway?, but by the time it caught my eye...I could read everything...so I made a mental note of the location so I could view it on the way home.  When I was driving home. it was later in the day and there was ample time to go a bit slower when I reached the mark to read it.  It was advertising a new book...and the book was called The Messengers.  Great...I loved to read about angels and I could exchange the book I already had for a copy of this one.  I mean...if ever there was a message...this gigantic angel was surely all I needed.  So, the next day, I went to Barnes and Nobles to exchange the book and get a copy of The Messenger by Nick Bunick.  I searched around the religious area, the metaphysical area.... to no avail.  I could not find the book.  I asked for help and was told it must be sold out.  I was leaving the store when I noticed one single copy just sitting there amongst a pile of other books!  Well, I grabbed that book and considered it....a miracle of sorts. 
Once I went home, I made myself a large cup of tea and settled in on the couch with the tea and book and a cozy blanket and began to read.  Well, by the time I reached page 22, I was on the phone calling all of my best friends to tell them to go out and get the book...it was the explanation for my 444 sightings.  I couldn't not believe that this book was all about people...of all walks of the earth who have the same experiences with seeing the number 444.  It is the message from the angels. 
The book continues on with story after story of amazing occurrences connected to that number sighting.  I was hooked and relieved...I wasn't the only one who saw it. 
Now, since that time, the 444 sightings have continued.  and I have many of them I could continue writing them, one after another...but for today, I will share one of my stories. 
It was November of 2001.  My mother-in-law became sick.  I had come home from setting up the show at The Grove and was going to start supper.  She informed me when I got home that she was bleeding vaginally...not typical for a 76 year old and told her that I would call the dr. as soon as I put dinner on and make an appointment.  While I was putting supper in the oven, she called me from the bathroom to see.  When I walked into the bathroom all I could do was gasp!  There was blood everywhere.  I immediately called an ambulance and had her rushed to the hospital.  Turned out, after numerous tests that she had a few small holes in her stomach from all the medicines she had been taking for years.  They decided to not cauterize the holes, they said they were small and would heal on their own.  They took her off all the meds and said she would just recover slowly.  Well, that was a joke!  By the time I brought her home, she was pretty much bedridden and in horrible pain.  I set up a baby monitor in her room and one next to me on the couch in the living room so I could be near her and take care of her.  Well, weeks went by and she needed to be taken to the bathroom but couldn't really walk well.  Even though I got a hospital bed pan chair...she refused to use it.  So pretty much all day and night long, I took care of her.  I would carry her back and forth and make her as comfortable as possible...just waiting for the turn of events where she would feel better.  there is nothing more heartbreaking that to be bathing someone who sits there with a look of helplessness in there eyes. 
Well, the next day, she called me to come take her to the bathroom.  I sat down in this large wing back chair to put on a pair of socks on her feet...now I have to tell you I was tired...not only physically but also emotionally.  I honestly didn't think I had any more in me.  I looked at the clock in her room which had enormous numbers that glowed in the dark and the numbers read 444.  I took her to the bathroom, got her back to bed and as I was leaving the room, she said :God bless you for everything that you have done for me".  I just told her to get some rest...that it was nothing.  I went to the bathroom and sat down and cried.  I was exhausted. I didn't know if I could do this any longer.  I prayed in that moment to God to do one of two things...heal her or take her home.  I then went back to the couch to lie down and heard a horrible noise coming from her and jumped up and ran to the bedroom.  She informed me that it was just the pain and she was turning...not to worry.  I returned again to the couch to hear another curdling yell form her and ran once again to her side only to be retold the same.  She told me that if she needed me she would tell me to come and not to worry about the cries of pain.  I returned to the couch and fell asleep.  The next day, as fortune would have it...My daughter who helped to take care of her was gone until noon...my husband didn't need to be at work until 1 and I had an opportunity to get away to do something.  All the stars were lined up that this could happen.  I was just about ready to leave when I decided to wake her up (she always slept in late because she was up most of the night) and see what I could make her for breakfast before I left.  When I crossed over the threshold of the bedroom, I knew instantly that she was gone.  We called the police and the ambulance and made the next steps for the wake and funeral.
Now, there was quite the disturbance at the funeral home.  Every family has its share of problems and of course, ours was no difference.  I was a basket case by the end of the night.  When I got home that evening I had no idea how I was going to make it the next day.  I wanted to deliver the eulogy and had no idea how I would have the strength to do it.  The next morning, I took a pillow outside on the front stairs of the house and sat down and prayed.  I asked for strength and help to get through it all.  Suddenly, the most amazing light shined down and in that moment I knew all was going to be alright.  I felt the presence of angels.  I got up and went in to get my purse and car keys and drove to the Polish store down the road to buy some polish sausage and rye bread to have in the house, just in case anyone came back to the house after the funeral and the luncheon...something we always did in these circumstances.  When I exited the store...one I had gone to a million times and sat behind the wheel of the car...there on the side of the building on a huge red billboard was advertising and there on that billboard were the numbers 444.  I knew all would be okay...the angels were there with me.  Now, you would think that would be enough for the day...but there is more.  We went to the funeral home and then to the church.  I got up and had the strength to get through the eulogy and I even drove the fan behind the funeral car and as we were exiting the parking lot of the church...there parked right near the exit, was a car with the license plates with a 444 in them.  We were astonished...the angels were traveling with us.  We went to the cemetery and then to the luncheon.  When the waitress brought me the bill....as you may have already guessed...the last 3 numbers of the bill were 4.44.  From beginning until the end, I was being told that the angels were with me.  I could probably overwhelm you with how these numbers and appearances have been part of my life.  I see them almost on a daily basis.  If you are ever looking for a good read....read the book.  If you are ever questioning a message or sign and see 444...then you have become part of the circle.  If you have another sign....God bless.  I am grateful for my signs.  I am grateful to have angels walk with me.  If any of you feel you could share you experiences...please feel free to share on the comment page.  I would love to hear them...whether they are a 444 experience or simply another sign.  I feel that when we share...it helps others understand...they are not alone.

Heaven...do you BELIEVE or KNOW it's for Real.

Good morning to everyone.  Well, today is already Thursday and it just seems like I blinked and Easter blew away in a big puff!  Yesterday, I was able to see the movie Heaven is for Real.  Good movie...I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the book.  Supposedly it was a real hit dollars wise.  Funny how so many are so curious about whether heaven is for real.  I never questioned heaven.  I guess hearing about heaven growing up in a Catholic home and attending Catholic schools all my life...it just became a norm for me.  I heard about the near death experiences...and well, I suppose I just believed them.  But it wasn't until I was 26 when I knew for sure. 
That is what today's blog is about.  My entire life, I believed and that is the operative word...BELIEVED...but there is a difference between KNOWING and BELIEVING!!  And so, this is where it all changed for me. 
Growing up, my mother and I lived with my grandparents.  I was very close with them both.  My Grandfather passed away when I was just 12 and so the next 14 years...I built an unbelievable bond with my grandmother.  We would speak to each other perhaps a dozen times a day on the phone.  She was a sweet, loving woman who had always put family first. 
One year, on Christmas day, I received a call from my Grandmother that she was not feeling well, her pain level was way too high...she had psoriatic arthritis, and couldn't come to my house for Christmas.  I, of course was devastated over the way she was feeling and told her not to worry.  I would just call everyone up...there were only a handful, and I would just bring all the food over to her house...and we would all just celebrate the holiday there.  I now sooner hanging up with her and called those that were coming when the telephone rang and it was gram on the other side of the line.  She told me she took some extra meds and decided she would come after all.  I questioned whether she was sure...and she insisted she was.  I called everyone back and the plan to have Christmas at my house resumed. 
Now when Grandma arrived, it almost broke my heart to see her climb up the back steps like a toddler with her hands faced down on the top stair as she slowly climbed up.  I got her settled in the living room where the children were more than happy to keep Great Grandma company.  They spent the next half of an hour showing off all their gifts from Santa.  Soon it was time for pictures and then time to eat.  After the meal was finished we opened presents and I snuck out to do the dishes.  Within 10 minutes, Grandma entered the kitchen with a gift for me.  I was quite surprised because we had already exchanged presents.  She told me that this was something special.  When I opened it up...there was Grandma's SPECIAL popcorn pot.  She was known for making the absolute best popcorn ever and no one could ever make it better than her...it was just like the popcorn in the movies.  She said it was my turn now....and the secret was in the pot.  What a treasured gift she entrusted me with. 
Now, the next day, my mother called and said that Grandma was feeling worse and a visit to the doctor landed Grandma into the hospital with of all things, pneumonia.  I was at Grandma's side almost continuously.  My mother and I took turns from day through the night.  Grandma was put on respirators and had lapsed into a coma.  It was New Years Eve, and my mother, after coming from work, told me to go home to be with my children and husband, but thought of leaving Gram broke my heart.  My mother insisted and said I could come the next day and bring lunch.  She would stay through the night.  I left and spent a half hearted New Years with the family.  The next day, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things when half way through the store, I felt the urgency to leave...right then and there.  I felt something was terribly wrong.  I listened to my instincts and left the cart right there in the aisle and went home.  When I walked in the back door of the house, my husband was there on the phone speaking with my mother.  He said we would be right there.  From the look on his face, I knew that there had definitely been a turn for the worse.  I told him to get his mother to watch the children and left immediately.  I raced at full speed to the hospital....the entire time telling Grandma she had better not leave me before I had a chance to say goodbye.  I got there in time and shortly after, my husband arrived. 
We sat in the room with my mother. I on one side facing the window in the room and my mother and husband on the other side.  I held Gram's hand and repeatedly told her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated all the things she did for me.  As I held her hand and lent over to kiss her I saw out the window the most peculiar sight.  The best way that I can describe what I saw, was that it looked as though the sun had literally dropped down from out of the sky and was slowly approaching the window of Gram's room. I was holding Gram's hand and it began to fell so cold...I kept looking out the window as that ball of light approached closer and closer until it almost looked as though it would crash right into the window.  I couldn't speak, I was in total shock and awe.  Suddenly, a nurse stepped in and distracted me and asked if we could please step out of the room for a few seconds.  We complied with her wishes and as we stepped out of the room, the nurse closed the door behind us.  We stood right there on the other side of the door waiting for her to finish.  In the meantime, while we were standing there, the overhead light in the hall flashed on and off very quickly.  My husband just stood there...nonchalantly, and said "Goodbye Gram" and in the same moment, the nurse opened the door and said "I'm sorry, she's gone".  GONE...GONE????  NO...she couldn't be gone and then I thought about that ball of light....then I recalled all the stories I had read about near death experiences and their seeing a light.  I....I repeat....I.....saw that light coming for her.  From that moment on...I no longer BELIEVED....I KNEW FOR SURE!  I knew in that instant that they were coming to take her.  There is more.  It is as they say it is.  I was not having a near death experience....I was there when they took Gram's spirit.  I saw it.  They can't say it was electrical malfunction going on in my brain...it was real.  Heaven is for real.  The light that comes is for real.  No one can convince me otherwise.  Not now...not ever. 
Now the most amazing thing....as though this wasn't amazing enough...when I had the pictures developed from that Christmas Day...All the pictures for the day were perfectly fine and clear....except for the ones that Gram were in.  Every picture of her had an unusual light and glow around her.  I  like to think the angels were already waiting with her on that day!  Perhaps the ball of light was the chariot to take her home. 
I still think of Gram everyday, but I KNOW she is is in heaven and someday...we will be together again.    I BELIEVE and KNOW!   

My Grandpa and Snow

Good morning every one.  Seems as though it will be a pretty fine day even though it has turned a bit colder.  The sun is shining and the birds are twittering away outside! 
Today's blog is a tribute to my Grandfather Joe.  As I sat here this morning and glanced at the date, it reminded me that today is the day that my Grandfather passed away.  Now that was a story and really quite a man.
I grew up with my grandparents along with my mother.  She was divorced and living with them....and therefore...so was I.  My grandfather was really the only man I had in my life.  And he was quite the interactive Grandfather..in fact, I attribute my learning habits and love of learning from him. 
You see, growing up, my grandfather was in law school and had to leave because his father had passed away at the young age of 42 from stomach cancer.  His parents owned a small mom and pop type grocery store in the city of Chicago near North and Clark.  He left school to come home to help his mother run the store.  Now eventually he got married, had some children and then his wife died and he remarried and had 3 additional children with my grandmother.  Now here he was, many years later, helping to raise me. 
Grandpa put a high value on education...more than likely because his was stripped away so briskly.  I can remember him calling me in the house for studies...even during the summer vacation. One hour a day was spent on studies.  Even before I started kindergarten, we studied.  He not only taught me to print, but he also had me writing before I started school.  I, in fact, got in trouble when I started school because the nuns wanted me to print and I thought it was dumb because I already knew how to write cursive.  Not the smartest thing to tell the nuns...let me tell you!  Handwriting was important to him...I was graded daily on it..as well as math.  We worked on math constantly.  He always told me that math was the cornerstone to everything in life.  Funny how later in life, I became a math major...any wonder???
Well, Grandpa spent hours with me and encouraged me in everything I did.  Aside from studies, this marvelous grandfather played every game imaginable with me.  From Barbie and Ken to board games.  He played imaginary games with me, encouraged my coloring and drawing and especially my singing. 
When Grandpa Joe became sick with Prostate Cancer.  Things went downhill at one point.  I can remember sitting in the living room with him.  He sat in his big green armchair while I was cradle at his feet with my head on his knees.  In those last days at home, he just seemed to stare out into space.  He stroked my blond hair and asked me to sing him his favorite song of Ave Maria.  I sang it for him and as he sat there with tears welling up in his blue/gray eyes, you would have thought that the angels from heaven were there in the room with us.  Thinking about it later...perhaps they were.  Soon after, I remember them coming for him with an ambulance and Grandpa went to the hospital. 
In those days, children weren't allowed to go to visit anyone in the cancer ward...I am not sure why that was, but those were the rules.  I hated that I wasn't able to be there with him...each day I would ask my mother if I could go and the answer was always no. 
Then on April 23rd, 1967, I was in a procession at church for the pastor's anniversary.  I was in a long yellow satin gown with daisies stitched on, and wore a fur stole.  I had come home from the church and was told that after lunch that day, I was going to get to go to the hospital to see Grandpa with my mother.  I was ecstatic.  We ate our usual Sunday lunch of Smoked Butt, mashed potatoes and cream corn and biscuits and just started doing the dishes when the telephone rang.  My mom was on the phone and the next thing I knew, she grabbed her purse and keys and left....without me!  I was devastated and confused.  I had no idea what was going on and neither did my older cousin and grandmother who I was left with.  We waited for what we thought was forever when the phone rang at 3:00 in the afternoon.  It was my Aunt telling us that Grandpa had passed away.  I couldn't believe it!  He should have waited for me....that wasn't fair...I wanted to say goodbye...and when I looked out the window...just at that moment, it started to snow.  In my mind...that was Grandpa's way of saying goodbye. the snow only lasted a couple of minutes and then stopped.  Was it just a coincidence? Well, only God knows....but I sure like to think that Grandpa and I were so close that he wouldn't leave me with out leaving me something special...and he did.  I will remember that day all of my life.  This was a special man to me.  A man who did everything he could to raise a child who definitely needed a man in her life.  I am sorry that it was such a short time...but what amazing gifts he left me with.  I contribute my love and thirst for knowledge to him.  I push myself to extreme lengths because of him and appreciate the smallest gestures made and try to do the same to my grandchildren whenever I can.  Grandpa Joe...if you are listening today...rest in peace until we are together again and I can once again sing with the angels...Ave Maria. 

Earth Day and What I Do to Help

Good morning to everyone...a bit of a late start here, but I had a number of meetings to go to this morning and time for a hair cut as well. 
Later this afternoon I am performing a program for Earth Day.  Well, I must tell you that is the topic of the blog today...but I really got to thinking today as I sat in the Weight Watchers room at a meeting about some of the other ways that we need to stop wasting and help the earth.
I myself have been asked about a million times during parties and red hat events why I use real dishes and plates and glasses.  Well, for one, it is my part in saving the earth.  I really don't believe in paper plates...for one...I just plain don't like the looks of them...call me a snob if you must!  The second reason is they don't do the job well enough...I don't care how GOOD they are!  And they cost quite a bit of money!  I am not cheap...by any means, but I would rather treat my guests to something else..other than throwing their serving pieces in the trash, and last but surely not least....have you ever thought to think about how much of that stuff is in the landfills?  In my 40 years of marriage.....through all the bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and other events I have hosted...I have probably saved the earth from a mountain of paper products! 
There is a wonderful story that I tell for earth day about a wasteful community.  Basically it comes down to the fact that we as a whole...tend to not consider the after effects of our actions.  For me...one way to help out was to make a one time purchase of 100 glass dishes, salad plates and bowls.  I have had to add a few along the way for a few minor accidents...but ooh the money I have saved through the years and I feel much better for the environment as well. 
As I sat today a the WW meeting, I thought about how many things today are sold in individual packages.  It is easy and convenient.  We use them as adults as well as for children.  I thought about how much waste those individual bags are!  Wow...it was staggering to think about it. And then I watched the leader hand out those Bravo stars and thought...really?? All that paper waste to say "good job"? 
Even stores like CVS  has electronic coupons that come to you via email...and then when you shop, they print out a gazillion coupons.  We give them our extra value card....can't it just go immediately back into the system and not waste all that paper.  I usually don't use 99% of the coupons that get printed. 
We need to stop and think about what is going on in this world of ours.  I read this morning a great idea to get rid of those styrafoam coffee cups.  Just have your won standard cup refilled.  I know...the next comment will be on sanitary...really....do you know who has touched that styrafoam cup before you.  And so you need to rinse out your own cup...is that really so hard.  I remember taking driving trips and filling up a thermos of coffee with the cup on the top as your cup..and somehow we all survived. 
I am certainly not a perfect person when it comes to it all, but I am trying to do my best to cut down on some of the items that can cause such damage for out generations to come. 
I walked into the Home Depot yesterday...and the first thing that attacks me is the smell of chemicals.  Now I suppose if you are not as sensitive to chemicals as I am it would never phase you....I walked as quickly as possible through the garden department in search of an oriole feeder and just about keeled over from all the chemicals in there,  I passed an end cap of Round Up...the weed killer and thought about the effects that the poison is doing not only to the weeds, but our ground which in turn leaks into our water.  It is now noted that when it rains...there are traces of Round Up in our rain....really?  Have we truly become such perfectionists about our lawn now that we are willing to contaminate ourselves and the future generations. 
I remember many years back, I watched a program on Channel 20 here in the Chicago land area and it was about recycling plastic.  Well, the toxicity in the recycling was said to be even worse that the production of the plastic itself.  And today...almost everything is made of plastic.  They even chop it up and put it in comforters and coats.  We are surrounded continuously by chemicals. 
So today, I implore you....take a moment to look at the things you do on a every day basis and even if you change one or two things....how much of a contribution we could all make in this world of ours.  

Earth Day and Days of Old

Good morning to everyone. I hope that you had a memorable Easter weekend. It was such a beautiful day here in the Chicago land area.  This was quite a different type of Easter for me, but so rewarding.  I spent Saturday with loved ones making Pierogi and we have now deemed that it will be a yearly tradition. I cannot remember how long it has been since I have made them and it was certainly an wonderful memory made.  I am so happy to pass down the tradition to them and I look forward to many more.  I was even asked by a friend if her daughter and she could come one day to learn as they no longer know the tradition and their is no one able to teach them.  I was very honored to be asked. Traditions are so important to me and the more that we can hang on to and continue, the better for everyone.  I pray that my own children and grandchildren will want to continue them.  When I spoke with my daughter yesterday, I was on my way home from working.  She told me about how they were invited for an Easter breakfast at my Granddaughters boyfriend's families home.  How they had breakfast and how the young ones went outdoors for an egg hunt.  She was now home preparing ham like I had taught her many years ago.  There are some things that are different for her and yet some that are the same as when she grew up.  It made me happy to know that she has kept some of them. 
As for today's blog, I thought that tomorrow being Earth day...I would touch on that subject for today.  Growing up, I don't remember an Earth Day.  But back then, things were so different than they are today.  On Saturday, my friends and I sort of touched a bit of the differences.  Back in the day when I was young, so many things were different.  For one, when we had soda, it came in glass bottles.  The soda tasted better and we returned the bottles for cash.  As a kid, I remember going around the neighborhood searching for bottles...that was extra change in your pocket.  People back them still tossed them around...just like today.   We weren't privy to all the fast food places that there are today and certainly there were no Styrofoam containers around.  I remember years ago, working in a restaurant....I am going back 40 years....and when someone wanted to take home their food...we literally wrapped it up in either saran or foil and it went into a bag.  A bag that actually said "doggy bag".  There were no containers, no plastic bags for the containers to go into.  Now, I grant you, the containers today are probably easier....but the old way fared just as well. 
The other thing I remember about how we contributed to a so called Earth day was...there were no plastic bags back then...there was only paper and they were recycled.  We either used them for garbage and also used them to cover        school books to keep them clean when we returned them at the end of the school year. 
Another thing I remember was that there was no such thing as a shower where water continuously ran down the drain.  We would take a bath....and it was not a daily thing either!  We did something called a sponge bath.  Now if  you have never heard of the term...let me explain.  A bath was usually a once a week event...in my home it was done on a Friday night.  The rest of the week...we filled a small container of water in the kitchen sink and used soap and a washrag to wash ourselves from top to bottom to continue staying clean. Today that might seem unreal....but we all did perfectly fine.  Our facials were usually done on rare occasion and it was with an egg white placed on our faces and we would let it dry and then wash it off.
Our laundry was often times done by hand...the small items....and all the laundry was hung out on the laundry line to dry...this was not a choice, this was just the way it was. There were no dryers at all.
We also walked...ALOT!!!  There were no taxi moms to drive us around to this and that.  We either walked or we took our bikes.  We also walked for enjoyment.  All the kids would gather after supper and we would just go for walks and talk. That was considered a fun evening.  There were many bus trips, many people back then did not have the luxury of owning a car...more or less 2 or 3 per family.
To rewarm food...we usually placed it in the oven or fried it in a pan on top of the stove...There was no such thing as a microwave or convection oven. 

Our appliances were basically hand held and hand powered...a hand beater was a masher or a whisk...not a powered machine.  Many used a fork as their mashers.  As for a can opener...we had a hand held one...in fact...I still use it today.  I recall my daughter once going over to a boyfriends house and was making lunch and needed a can opener and was searching through the drawer and was frustrated because she couldn't find one.  When she asked where it was....he told her it was on the counter...she still had no idea where it was...and when he came and showed her the electric one...she didn't know how to use it!  Funny how we managed to get along with out all the electrically powered tools.  The other day, while we were making pierogi, we talked about a bread making day and my friends husband asked if I used a bread machine....well, the look on my face gave him his answer.  We made bread by hand and I still do till this day.  I remember getting a bread machine...but it only made ONE loaf of bread.  In my house that would just never do...and it really didn't make the work any easier.  But it did need electricity!  
I remember hand squeezing orange juice each morning for breakfast, that was how you got you juice...pulp and all.  Then my Grandmother would use the orange peels and slice them up to make candied orange peels. 
We talked about making Root Beer and homemade Ice cream  My friend was amazed when I told him how simple it all was.  We are just too used to the way things are.  Some might be a little more convenient, but back then, it was more of a family thing and a way of life and entertainment. 
I ask you....tomorrow...just stop and look around.  Take a good look of how life is being run...look at how children are being occupied.  Take a good look at families and how the are all separated.  Look at how children are playing. Look out your front door and count how many people are sitting on their porches or gathered together to talk.  How many neighbors have your phone numbers and how many do you have?  Can you depend on them in an emergency?  Do you have automatic lawn service and automatic lawn sprinklers?  how many cars line up in your driveway?  How many of your children own cell phones...ipads?  How many computers and televisions are in your home?  Take a good look around and consider the old days.  Some changes are not all that hard to make our Earth a better place to live.


In My Easter Bonnet

Good morning and Happy Easter to all.  It has been such a journey for me with blogging.  I have been able to learn so much along the way.  I hope that you, my readers are learning and enjoying right along with me.  I have been able to take many journeys back in time, have thought provoking moments and the desire to research them.  Please feel free to make comments when you see fit.  I love hearing back from you as well.  It gives encouragement and direction for me as well.  I also like getting to know my readers. 
Well, onto today's blog.  In my Easter bonnet...well that certainly brings back memories.  I can still see some of my favorite hats from days of old.  From the cute, frilly ones as a child to one of my favorites which was a pink cloche type hat.  It matched a pink tweed suit that I wore when I was about 12.  It was, of course, my Easter outfit. 
I remember how exciting it was to see all the beautiful hats worn by the ladies and girls at Easter.  As I grew up and married, I continued that tradition with my girls...although hats by that point in time became rare for women of my age to wear.  My mother-in-law though always wore a hat on every single Sunday when she went to church.  Now that she has passed away, I have her hat hanging in my spare bedroom. 
I now belong to a society called the Red Hats. I now own at least 50 or so hats, all in red.  I love wearing the hats.  There are various types from the most elegant and wide brimmed to fun and whimsical.  I have to say, that when I and the ladies are out on an event....we draw so much attention....now granted...the colors of red and purple would draw almost anyones attention, but it seems that the hats are admired by almost all.  Men have come up to men and commented on how nice it is to see the hats on the ladies.  Young children have stood and pointed at us and I even remember one time at Navy Pier in Chicago, a young girl kept staring at us in our spenderous head gear and I asked if she would like to try one on.  Her eyes grew as big as saucers as simaltaeously she shook her head yes.  We asked her to pose as we snapped photos of her.  For one of our events, I had a fashion show of vintage hats, taking us back in time to the way that hats were made and decorated.  A real education.  To learn of Millenaries no longer a part of our culture.  The song about the Easter Bonnet was such a sweet song of days gone by.  The Easter Parade...no longer something done...at least not in the larger cities and if they do have a parade of hats...they are more of a show of large and often times bizarre instead of the sleek and demure and just purely elegant hats.  I miss those days of hats and hat pins.  I am so glad that at least I am able to don a hat these days when I go out with the red hats.  I also wear many styles of hats when I perform as a story teller...today, I will wear my Easter Bonnet....with bunny ears and loads of frills as I entertain the elderly at the Assisted Living....and I am POSITIVE that there will plenty of comments about it.   

Easter Corsages

Good morning to everyone.  Well, here it is Holy Saturday already.  The sun is shining and it is going to be a beautiful spring day. 
Yesterday, while I was driving to the grocery store...I passed a floral truck and it gave me a shot in the arm about what today's blog should be. 
That flower truck took me instantly back in time to when I was a young girl during Easter.  I remember how thrilled and excited I was on Easter morning receiving a corsage. I don't ever remember not having one for Easter.  Times were very different then.  Everyone was really dressed in their finest.  I was very fortunate to have those amazing experiences.  From the Easter dress with matching shoes, purse, gloves and an Easter coat.  And, on that coat was my Easter corsage. 
I remember as I grew older and had money of my own, buying my mother and grandmother a corsage as well.  It was our tradition. Back then everyone always wore corsages or flowers in their hair. On the week of Easter you would simply order your corsages at the local floral shop.  As years went by, you would be able to find them all boxed up in just about any of the grocery stores like Jewel and Dominicks.  From cymbidium orchids to small carnations or tea roses..  They all were propped upon some Easter like grass in a clear box. 
Once I married it became a tradition as well in our family.  I remember getting the corsages for my daughters to place on their Easter coats. And so the tradition continued...but today...I am no longer seeing the corsages worn.  In fact, I barely see the same type of Easter attire.  Everyone has become so casual about their dress code.  I remember as the years went by with my daughters as they grew up...asking whether they could wear something casual.  My answer was always the same....NO.  I would always remark that this was a holiday and they should embrace it.  Looking back, I suppose that the clothes we were really shouldn't matter...but when I look back at it...it wasn't just another day.  It was a day to remember and embrace.  Finally there came a time in my life when I became allergic to the flowers and can no longer were them.  It saddens me a bit, but I hold on dearly to the memories of that small corsage box and the wonder that it held.  I remember feeling so proud to wear the corsage. 
I wondered about floral shops today.  They send loads of floral arrangements on Easter time.  I suppose having flowers on the table is nice, but I cannot help but think about how very personal that corsage was. 
Funny how time changes things.  I can remember corsages for the holidays,proms for weddings and even when someone died...they wore a corsage in the casket
So this really made me think about when wearing a corsage became popular and why.    The word corsage comes from the same French word which refers to the bodice of a woman's dress. Women wore flowers pinned to their bodice, usually to the center of the bodice, and hence the flowers became known in French as a "bouquet de corsage."  
In the 1600's,Men wore flowers in their lapels to ward off evil spirits.  Women eventually changed from wearing the flowers in the center or their dress to the left side...the side closet to the heart.
For Easter, an orchid is often the flower of choice for a corsage but the wonderful, sweet-smelling gardenia is also popular, which., by the way was one of my favorite flowers of choice. One tradition that begun in the early 1900's is to wear a red carnation on Mother's Day if your mother is still living, and to wear a white
carnation if your mother is deceased.
It was also surprising to me to learn that when a young man picked up his date for a prom, he would bring a bouquet of flowers for her mother and they would choose flowers for her to wear and perhaps a flower for the young man as well.  This has been the thought to be the origin of the prom corsage that still exists today. 
So, there you have it.  A tradition that is somewhat vanished at Easter time...what a shame.  It was really a special treat back then and I for one would still enjoy seeing them on those Easter coats and dresses.

Easter Basket Tradition

Good morning to everyone.  Another Friday has arrived and for many is filled with anticipation for the holiday.  I am so looking forward to tomorrow.  It is going to be so much fun.  I have a day of pirogi making with loved ones.  It cannot get more special than that.  We will be making them to eat as well...from sauerkraut to strawberry ones. A tradition we had hoped to do at Christmas time...but things happen and so it was changed to making them for Easter.  It really doesn't matter when we do it..just being together is more than half the fun. 
Well, today's blog is about another Easter tradition.  It is the blessing of the food.  It is customary ever since I was a child, to prepare the Easter foods on Good Friday and on Holy Saturday.  Being of Polish background, we would prepare both smoked and fresh polish sausage.  I remember as a child, we would actually make the sausage.  My Grandmother would have the meat all prepared and loaded with tons of garlic.  She would pull out the grinder and it would be attached to an edge of the kitchen table.  She had these balloon looking things called the casings that would get blows up...I thought it would be pretty cool to blow them up...but as a kid, I thought they tasted too salty.  Once the casing was opened up it was then placed on the out end of the machine.  The meat was placed into the top and I would get to grind it by turning the grinders handle. The meat would enter into the casing and viola...we had polish sausage.  Now Grandma never smoked her sausage...the smoke sausage was always purchased and then cooked.  We colored eggs, and I have since that day associated the smell of vinegar with that job.  I remember all the newspapers spread out on the table and the cups spread out with the colors as well.  We would make several dozens so that there were plenty to give away.  Then Grandma and I would prepare the batter to make the lamb cakes...no cake mix here...the recipe was the best I have ever had...even till this day.  We had two molds, which I still cherish till this day.  A large and a small cast iron lamb mold was used.  We would butter and flour the one side and make sure to place toothpicks in the ears so the ears would stay on Saturday and not break off.  I love making the brown sugar icing that we used to frost the cakes when done.  The decorating was the best as we tinted coconut green for the grass and placed jelly beans all around.  We always purchased butter in the shape of a lamb as well.  There was always a special loaf of rye bread with a purple circle on the top displaying a white cross.  There were hot cross buns that we made as well.  Now aside from all the cold salads and jello molds, on Saturday morning, just before going to the church to have the foods blessed, Grandma would prepare the ham.  Now in my house..the tradition was that you couldn't eat any meat until after 12 noon. It was torture to smell that delicious honey baked ham slowly baking to perfection.
We had this very large basket that a certain amount of all the foods were placed into, along with horseradish and salt and pepper.  We covered it with a special Easter cloth and then went to the church hall to have it blessed. 
We belonged to St. Stanislaus B & M in Chicago.  The basement hall was set up with tables that formed a square.  We would all parade in carrying our baskets of Easter foods and place it on the table.  We would open up the lids of anything that was closed so that everything would get touched by the holy water that the priest would sprinkle during the blessing.  When the blessing of the food was done...then if you had anything else that needed a blessing...which for me usually meant a rosary...we would go to another area with rosaries and candles to have those objects blessed.  Then upon leaving there was this huge rain barrel that was filled with water that had been blessed.  We would fill our empty jars with some of the water to take home to place into our holy water holders by the door.  When I grew up, there was one of these at each end of the house to dip your fingers into to bless yourself upon entering.  Seems as though today, the only place you will see this is in a church. 
When we arrived home, it was after 1, so we were able to taste test the ham.  Oh, it just tasted so good after days of no meat. All the family that couldn't come on Easter to visit Grandma would arrive later on Holy Saturday and the festivities would begin. 
I loved that some of those traditions are still honored by us till today.  Those memories of childhood are something that no one can ever take away.  They are some of the most precious gifts received. 
I would love to hear your traditions.  Feel free to add them in the comment section.  I always find it wonderful to hear about other traditions.

On Our Knees on Good Friday

Good morning to all.  Well, today promises to be a good day here in the Chicago land area.  Sun is already bursting its splendor as it is rising into the sky.   Yesterday was a very busy day and today will hopefully be a bit calmer for me.  I have prepared for a performance that was surprisingly changed to another topic.  But out of that surprise came more.  I uncovered some wonderful new stories to tell. 
Well, today's blog continues an Easter theme.  I was sitting here this morning with my body aching from yesterday's marathon.  As I attempted to cross my legs, my knees spoke loudly that they are sore and aching.  It for some reason, took me back to my childhood and my Grandmother. 
On Good Friday, it was a tradition to go to church at 3 in the afternoon.  I remember walking from our home in Cragin on Latrobe Ave. to St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church about 4 1/2 blocks away from home.  Now St. Stan's was a magnificent cathedral like church.  It was tall and white and the front of the church greeted you with this long stretch of steps upward to the doors where more stairs greeted you indoors until you reached the main floor. 
On Good Friday, at the front, up by the alter, which by the way was a great distance from the entrance laid this large cross of Jesus hanging on it.  This was the day of the crucifixion.  We would enter the church doors and immediately lower ourselves to our knees.  It was customary to walk up the entire length of the aisle on your knees to the cross where once reaching it, you  would be able kiss the wounds that were on the feet and hands of Christ.  I remember that day vividly, but it wasn't until today that I realized just how difficult that must have been for my Grandmother to have done.  I know that when we are young...almost anyone over the age of 40 is perceived ancient.  My Grandmother must have been my age today and she also suffered from psioriatic arthritis and it was especially awful in her knees.  Yet, on that day, we knelt down together and crawled those perhaps 50 yards long.  It never dawned on me until this morning how difficult that must have been for my grandmother to do, but none the less we did it together and without a word from her.  When we reached the front and kissed the wounds on the statue, there was a basket at His feet to place a donation in.  Now this was a very big deal and something that was our tradition.  I remembered getting up from our knees and then walking the parameter of the church and  stopped at each station of the cross to pray and then at the end lighting some candles and leaving.  As we exited the church, it would amazingly be dark and gloomy outdoors.  Grandma always told me that those clouds and darkness was always sent to remind us of the crucifixion and the way it looked on the day that Jesus died.  Now, as I have grown older, and each Good Friday has rolled around, I notice that it isn't always so dark and gloomy outdoors, but in my mind, that time of the day and that memory remains.  Perhaps this year, at 3, on Good Friday which is tomorrow...I will get on my knees and reflect not only on that day...but the original day that Christ was crucified. 

Easter Horseradish

Good morning to everyone.  Outside here in the Chicago area the sun is up and shining.  We have moved on from the snow to maybe a spring day.  They are predicting 52 degrees...we can only hope. 
Todays blog is about Easter traditions.  Since we are in the week of Easter...I started thinking about things that are traditionally done by me.  It came to me yesterday while I was driving past the fruit market.  On the outside of the store there was a large bin filled with horseradish root.  Now, coming from the Polish background that I come from...this root is a big tradition.  I can remember for years and years making horseradish from the root.  This has definitely become easier once they invented the food processors, but before then...you would have to grate it by hand.  Now, depending on the strength of the horseradish, this could be a breathtaking experience.  Not so beautiful....but actually could take your BREATH AWAY!   I would try to get the hottest root that I could find...we liked it hot!  I would make numerous jars of it...both plain and with beets for those less brave when it comes to adding horseradish on their Easter food. 
Now with my family...my husband and daughter love it on their hard boiled eggs and the Polish sausage...me, well, I love it on my ham sandwiches.  It is quite the site at the Easter table to see who is going to get the hottest taste.  Not every single spoonful has that huge, powerful kick.  So when someone starts waving the hand in front of their face and their face becomes red at a beet...we know they got a spoonful.  As much as it literally can take your breath away...we love it! 
Now one particular year...I had gotten a really strong root and it made some powerfully strong horseradish.  It was so strong that every few minutes, I had to run out of the house to catch my breath and get through all the tears flowing from my eyes.    We have a Easter morning tradition for breakfast and had a gentleman friend of our over to join us.  We were eating when we noticed him reach for the horseradish.  I warned him to be very careful and use just a tiny bit, because it was really strong.  He looked at me as though I came from another planet!  He insisted that he was used to hot!  The food from his country was very spicy and he could handle anything.  I guess he didn't think we understood hot....well, he put a large spoonful of the horseradish onto a half of an egg and popped the whole thing into his mouth and began to chew.  I wish you could have seen the colors this man turned!!  I don't know if any of you readers remember about 50 years ago, they used to have this battery operated bartender who shook a martini in the shaker, poured it and then went to drink it...and his face turned red and stem came out of his ears...well, we revisited that mechanical toy that day.  If steam could have shot out of this man's ears it would have.!  Now if that wasn't bad enough...because it was so hot...he immediately reached for some water and drank it down as we all yelled NOT to.  Drinking water will only intensify the heat....you need to take some bread.  Well, we laughed and laughed for years over that day.  He never questioned us again when we said something was really hot! 
Through the years now, the children are gone and we buy the horseradish...always hoping for the hottest there is...but after seeing that woman searching through the roots yesterday...it makes me want to go back and pick out a root and make some of my own again. 
 

Miracles Happen

Good afternoon to all...Well, I have certainly missed being here on the blog.  I have been at a 2 day painting seminar and life just was way too complicated and long to have the chance to blog...I have now dropped off the teacher at the airport and life is somewhat back to normal.  It was a lot of work to handle being the chairperson for the painting seminar, but oh, so well worth the work.  A wonderful weekend, good friends, laughter and the chance at learning to paint projects from a marvelous teacher.  Thanks you Sandy Scales. 
So, on to today's blog.  Miracles happen every day, and I firmly believe that.  I fell that things happen always for a reason and we should not question them and just learn to accept them.  This weekend was one of those special days.  Now at home, I was preparing for the seminar, getting together all the things on my list that were needed to get done.  This was my first time at this job, so I wanted to get it right!
One of the items on the list was name tags....now for the past few years, they had used those hello my name is tags...and that was fine.  I didn't find any in the supply box and didn't feel like running out once again to pick up anything....and then I remembered many years ago, they used to paint on wood and put on a name. I had these little angels pins and thought...why not?? 
Now, I counted them out and had exactly the correct amount needed for match the attendees.  I was grateful and amazed at the same time...now you may think...is that the miracle?  No, just an amazing part.  I went ahead and got the angels ready with the names and all and checked the list.  Now the next day was the first day of the seminar and when each lady checked in, I handed them their patterns, extenders and a pin.  Many commented on how nice it was to get the pin...some commented on how sweet that it was an angel...another asked if the angel would help her to paint heavenly!  So sweet and nice and I was happy that I had them to do and give. 
Now, the second day...one of the ladies came up to me to thank me for her pin.  I brushed it off as it was not such a big deal...but to her it WAS!  With tears welled up in her eyes, she proceeded to tell me that the day before was the anniversary of her sons death.  That she for 10 years had attended a mass said for parents who had lost their children.  She proceeded to tell me that she had an angel pin that was given to her at the beginning and she had worn it every year on the anniversary.  Well, that morning, she couldn't find it anywhere.  She had lost the pin.  She was very upset and almost in tears over this.  She told me that when she walked in the room that morning and was given that angel that she felt like God and her son had given her that gift.  Of all the pins that could have been given,...she received the angel she so desperately needed.  I was so touched by her sharing her story with me that I had tears in my eyes.  I began to share with her my belief in angels and that God always gives us what we need when He feels the time is right.  Evidently, the angel pin and the exact number was all counted out by God...even though I couldn't see him.  But my faith knows and acknowledges that this was truly a special miracle. 
I know that we were both blessed that day all because of a little pin and a gesture. 

How to react in a busy life

Good morning to everyone.  Well, as quickly as a blink of the eye...here we are back to a Friday.  I hope that this weekend proves to be a good one for all.  I was happy to see the sun shining and the weather is already near 60 here in the Chicago area.  I am happy to wear short sleeves and consider packing away the winter clothes. 
Today's blog is about how much can one fit into their lives and how you handle it.  I must say...it is a variable for many.  Many often say that if you want something done...ask a busy person.  Now that might seem like an oxymoron, but it seems to be true.  A busy person is on a schedule, they make lists and strategize how to accomplish what is needed to do.  They are also more patient than the average person...at least according to me!  I find that it takes far more energy to get upset over a delay and takes only delays the energy to do the next step. 
But it seems to me, in recent days, that those who have more time on their hands seem to be less and less patient.  I was in the store one day, and of course it was crowded and sometimes, you have to wait for a person to more over...I don't quite understand why the person I was with was so upset and frustrated.  Their attitude was like the person in their way actually set out to be purposely there to aggravate them.  The tone of the person I was with showed aggression and was purposely rude to the person in their way.  It was actually quite amusing to me to watch this unfold.  I have the belief that life is hurried along enough. I can wait an extra moment or two.  It doesn't need to raise my blood pressure and send blood curdling through my veins.  With all the changes in todays world, things like prices being scanned on a computerized register...life is already faster...must we hurry it even more.  People had smiles and greetings to one another in a store years ago...now it seems like you are walking into a boxing ring.  If you cannot handle these small troubles...how in the world do you handle the big ones? 
When we finally were checked out...which I by the way thought was in a reasonable fashion, the person I was with was so frustrated by now that they were hurrying to rush in front of the person who was with their cart in the next aisle heading in the same direction....and once we were out the door....well, those people were just as annoying as well. 
When I got into the car, I was totally astounded to the anger that had built up over a trip to a fruit market.  Then the other day, this same person was angered once again over something on the Internet.  A comment was made lopping everyone into the same situation to my dismay and finally had to say something about it.    They stopped dead in their tracks and realized how right I was. 
Now, I must say that even though through most of life I try to take life as it comes.  But yesterday, I  was in some way assaulted with a comment from someone.  It was because I didn't respond instantly to a question...which in fact, I have already given them the answer, and to top that off, my day yesterday was a hectic mess.  When people don't have much on their plate, they seem to want instant satisfaction...my thoughts on this are...go and find a job...volunteer and keep yourself busy...I believe you will be by far a happier person and lot more patient because you will realize that the next person may be just as busy as you.  I seemed to settle down after a long and deep breath.  I cannot afford to get rattled over the trivial things in life...there are way too many important things on the list. 
So, my advice for the day is...the next time things seem to be running a bit slow, stop and imagine that this is a sign that you should relax....be kind, be considerate.  Maybe make some mental notes in your mind of other things you might want to do or see.  The time will go much quicker if you just show a little kindness and if the other person is being inconsiderate....do you really want to show them that you can do it better than them?  Or, would you rather show them a good example? 
Don't sweat the small stuff...because if you do...when the big stuff comes along...you will be way too frazzled to handle it. 

Laughter Over some DNA

Well good morning to all, Today looks like we are in for another nice spring day.  I am so thrilled to see sparks of life coming up from the ground.  My Hostas are now beginning to peek their little heads up in the front and I have seem a tulip coming up.  How exciting it is to see those sweet signs of spring. 
As for today's blog, I have decided to share some information along with a story of laughter over having our DNA tested by National Geographic. 
Several years back, when National Geographic first came out advertising that you could send in your DNA and have it tested form the beginning of your beginning, my husband and I decided to have it done.  It was simple enough, you paid your monies and they sent you a packet including a swab to swab the DNA from you mouth, enclose it in a container and send it in. 
Well, did it and soon after, I was telling a dear friend about what we had done and she and her husband were intrigued and did the same thing!  Well, we all anxiously awaited the results.  Once each sets of us received our results, we decided to get together to compare them.  Now it was quite hilarious to see us comparing them since they only go for the first 10,000 years stemming back 60,000 years ago.  My friend, who is 100% Italian went from AFRICA straight to SWEDEN and  nowhere else.  We laughed and laughed, but it made so much sense historically when you look back at what had happened with Italy and the Vikings and of course it stopped after the first 10,000 years.  My husband and her husbands lines were very similar...yet a couple differences were scene here and there....we laughed and began to call them cousins...since they both landed up in SCOTLAND from AFRICA.  My DNA, on the other hand, validated the traveling gypsy that I am.  I went from AFRICA and traveled it quite well before heading to Isreal, then I sparked off to Asia, to Hungary and Budapest, Kasakstan, Russia, Germany, Poland, France, Spain and more. 
Oh the laughter that surrounded that table that evening...only to reoccur several years later. 
Now this is where the laughter really began.  And if laughter is good medicine...we all got a good dose of it the other evening.  You see, my friend recently had brain surgery for a tumor.  She is suffering with that horrible big C....Cancer.  Now I had taken over some stuffed cabbages for their dinner and after dinner we were talking about that night when we received our DNA results.  Well, her husband then proceeded to reveal something that just occurred recently when they were in the hospital on the day of her surgery.  Last year he asked her what she wanted for her birthday.  Her response was that she would like to have more extensive research on her DNA....it really bothered her that she never went anywhere...and so he ordered the next kit and once again she had her DNA taken further.  Well, she began to tell us the results.  She informed us that the next DNA showed that she went from Sweden back down into AFRICA again and toured the whole northern area.  We just sat there and chuckled and this little Italian whose toes have still not dipped into ITALY!  But the story got even better.  Her husband then reveals that while she was on the gurney being wheeled into the operating room for her brain surgery...she looks up at the attending staff , which one of them was this tall strapping young black man and proceeds to tell them that she comes from AFRICA.  You can imagine the looks on all of their faces as they stared down on this pale little ITALIAN with questioning faces. When she was asked where she came from, she proceeds to tell them that she was all over AFRICA!  Now her husband is getting looks from the attendants and has no idea how to respond and then she proceeds to inform them that her name is LAKESHA....imagine??  We were laughing so hard by now, that tears were running down my cheeks.  I asked her if she was channeling another life,  Her husband said that he could perhaps understand if she was coming out of surgery and perhaps they might have snipped something...but this was on her way in and she really hadn't had any drugs yet!  Well, that was enough for the roar of laughter to fill the room. 
Now if that isn't funny enough...the young gentleman who was from Jamaica came back to her room a few days after surgery to see how she was and questioned her on her AFRICAN descent...her husband then explained their DNA testing through National Geographic and how we all start in Africa and then it tracks how our DNA moves from there.  He was very interested in it all and said that he would look it up and have it done.  Well, our little LAKESHA told him to let her know his results.
Now, I laugh each time I even think about this.  We all supposed started in AFRICA....but I myself need to now channel my past lives to find out my AFRICAN name...too bad that it doesn't come with the DNA results.

My Cross of Easter

Well, good afternoon to all.  It is not usual for me to blog this late in the day, but today I was performing early and so I always like to take the time to go over my stories before I leave.  Today I was telling Easter stories and the story I am about to share was not one of the stories I told, but going through Spring time and Easter time memories...this memory popped up.
So, it was 52 years ago...wow...it just seemed like yesterday.  It was a nice day.  Easter was always something I looked forward to for many reasons.  I loved the Lenten traditions and I will cover those in up and coming blogs, but today I want to go back to when I personally received my own cross...so to speak. 
It was a nice sunny warm Easter day, I was all dressed up in my newest Easter dress, hat, gloves and purse.  I had on my shiny black patent leather shoes on and my special Easter basket in tote.  My mother and I attended mass and then it was back home to Grandma's.  Easter was a fun day, because living with my Grandmother...all the Aunts and Uncles and cousins came over to visit.  After lunch and everyone had viewed me in my finest, I was allowed to change into a simple outfit.  The boy cousins wanted to play baseball in the alley, so I changed into a pair of rolled up denims and sneakers.  They went out into the alley with all the bats and gloves and told me to bring the balls.  Well, I went into the basement, got a couple of baseballs and started out the door.  Well, our basement door had 3 panes of glass in the top 2/3 's of it and I slammed it shut...just like I had done a hundred times before....only this time, my hand went right through one of the panes and before you knew it, the vein had exposed itself right out of my wrist.  There was plenty of screaming and crying going on.  My mom and Grandma quickly whisked me into the house and sat me down on the kitchen chair. No one quite knew what to do...  They were trying to clean up all the blood..I remember Grandma spraying Bactine into my wrist...which hurt like @#$%.  Now Bactine was in those days a spray of some sort of aid in cuts and bruises...why they thought that would work with blood squirting everywhere and my veins throbbing in and out I will never understand!  When nothing helped and they didn't know what else to do, so they wrapped up my wrist with some towels and quickly pushed me into my mothers car and off we went. 
Now in those days...no dr. would be found...not sure why I wasn't taken to the hospital, but I was driven to the Callahan clinic on Fullerton Ave. right near Cicero in Chicago.  I remember going in and the dr. saying that he would freeze my wrist area and would have to put in stitches.  Well, back in those days...the freezing didn't work all that great...or it just didn't work that great on me.  I remember the cousins saying they could hear me scream in the waiting room. 
Well, I got all stitched up and was sent home.  Now, this was probably the worse thing that could happen on Easter....but there was a plus side to this as well.  You see once all the commotion was over...Everyone left for home and they had all had the Lamb cake for dessert that Gram always made, but in the craziness and commotion, Gram forgot to put out her ice cream jello mold.  Gram felt so bad about my accident and suffering, I got to eat the whole bowl all by myself! 
Now years went on and I had really lost a great deal of feeling in my thumb, pointer and middle finger.  I complained about it quite often...but no one really paid all that much attention to it. 
Once I got into 5th grade, I wanted to play and instrument in school...I really wanted to play the piano, but we had no room for a piano in the house and I would imagine no money for one either...so I had to settle with playing the clarinet. 
Now that was all fine and dandy, but there was one major problem.  Without looking at the holes,I really couldn't feel them with the top two fingers....so once again, I began to complain.  Finally, my mother took me to the doctors to check it out.  Well, they couldn't really seem to find anything specifically wrong...so the big brains sent me to a shrink...yes a shrink!  And that idiot came up with the explanation that I was making up that my fingers didn't work so well because I wanted to play the piano and not the clarinet.  I tell you...I don't know who trains some of these people.  Sure I wanted to play the piano....but was totally understanding and knew that it wasn't a feasible idea.  That was just easier for them to say to my mother then try to figure out the real problem. 
It took about 40 years, when I finally said to my mother..."You know mom...I have a piano now and still don't have any feelings in those fingers."!  Well, I guess I am resigned now to the fact that they will never feel like the rest of my fingers...and that is fine.  The one thing though that reminds me of that Easter day is the large cross shaped scar across my wrist that actually sticks up and out.  It never healed like any other scars that I have gained through the years. 
Today as I look down on it...It reminds me of the suffering and the sacrifices that were made on the original cross and how Jesus had to bear it all...I am by no means comparing the two, but I know in life...sometimes you just have to make the best of the situations and circumstances given to you.  I continue to have very little feeling in those fingers, but have managed to sew...although I use a 4inch needle, and I manage to sculpt with clay and I manage to paint with that hand and those fingers.  The cross on my wrist reminds me that it could have been so much worse and that I am fortunate to have what I have and to have done the accomplishments that I have  done.  I may not be the greatest clarinet player, but I sure can do anything else I have set my mind to.   So when you receive a cross to bear...even if it is not visible, don't let it get in the way...make the best of it and carry on!

Treasure Hunting in a Thrift Store and More

Good morning.  I am hoping that your stay has had a good start.  I definitely have plenty on the agenda today.  The one thing the is critical is to prepare for a performance tomorrow....it is Easter stories.  One major difficulty with Easter problems...especially for adults is that it is politically incorrect to tell the Easter story itself and most other stories are for telling children.  Ergo my topic for today.
weekly trip to the resale shop.  We oftentimes will hit a few on one trip depending on the finds.  You wouldn't think you would spend a lot of money in a resale shop...but that really depends on the day and the finds and of course, what you might be on the look out for.  Well, yesterdays search was for pot lids to paint on. I am also on a search for shaped cake pans.  I like to search out the book department as well...you never know what might spark a story or two.  Well, yesterday, I put my husband in charge of any Easter books.  Amazingly, he found a couple...one wouldn't work at all, but the idea was perfect.  The book was about the Bunny and his hop.  Well, I don't know about you...but I cannot imagine any adult who wouldn't recognize the bunny hop song.  It was a real treasure!  I can incorporate a story and get them to move even if they are in wheelchair and even perhaps sing along.  I was quite thrilled at the prospect.  Then he handed me a wonderful Bunny book about an elderly bunny telling stories to the young bunnies.  Totally something that I can make them relate to...and I can use it on youngsters as well. A lesson about how much we gain from the elderly if we only stop to listen. 
The next thing that happened was that a man passed me by, knocking over an item.  He didn't stop to pick it up and when I bent over and picked it up and placed it on the shelf...viola...sitting right there was the hard cover book of the Velveteen Rabbit mixed in with various items.  I would have never found it if it weren't for the man knocking over the item and my picking it up!  When my husband walked over...I showed him the book and told him to look at my gift from God.  He looked a little puzzled and once I explained how it happened...he totally understood. 
The trip was a wealth of treasures.  I also found a perfect wooden chair to paint and it only ran me $2.00.  I found an old aluminum coffee pot without the glass knob on the top, but I figured that no matter whether I painted it as a Santa or a snowman, I could use a pompom on the top.  I even found one lid and one cake pan.  It was like striking gold...plus I found this great T-shirt that will be perfect for me to count on canvas as art to give to my granddaughters boyfriend as a graduation gift.   It will be something perfect for his dorm room!   I even found some bathroom tiles that are perfect to turn into coasters.  It was totally a stellar day. 
Once we left the thrift store, my husband started to talk about having lunch..so as I drove...I remembered this store that I have wanted to stop into for quite sometime...except that each time I have seen it...it was night time and it was closed.  So off I went to the store.  It is called the Staving Artist.  Well, what a treasure.  I found paint pens there that I thought were no longer available.  I was thrilled beyond belief.  I spoke with the young man about the changes that are going on in art and he had some very insightful comments.  He was filled with knowledge about what is happening in the art world and the makers of the products.  We chatted for quite some time and he even showed me a picture of what the newest generation is viewing as art and how many of them he frames a week.  I must say, coming from the old school of art, I was disillusioned to see the spray can art that he showed me.  But none the less...he was a truly a fountain of information and what a treasure.  Sometimes treasures come in all types of forms. 
We finally did make it to lunch and then a bit of grocery shopping. Quite the day.  A number of stupendous finds. 
You just never know what you might find when you are in a thrift store or even a random trip into a store unknown.  I suppose it is all how you look at things.  As an artist, there is always a treasure just waiting to be found.  I started to feel like Cinderella's fairy godmother.  With a bibiddy bobbidy boo....a little bit of Deco Art paint and something new it will all be!
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