Saturday, April 28, 2012

Where Were You?

D.'s campus has two, annual, scholarship fund-raising events a year.  For the spring gala they brought in a speaker to help raise funds for First Responders.  This will be an endowed scholarship to help students who are, or are working towards a career that involves first response.

Our speaker was Captain Al Fuentes (Ret.) of the F.D.N.Y.  He was a first responder to the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy.  The second plane flew over his head as he watched it bank and accelerate into the second tower.  He was helping civilians out of the crumbled Marriott when the north tower collapsed, causing severe injuries and burying him for over two hours.

We spent two evenings with Captain Fuentes, who is a warm and giving individual.  His recollections of 9/11 were heart wrenching and inspirational.  He has written a book American By Choice. Of the books he signed and sold at the gala he is donating a portion of the proceeds to our First Responder Scholarship fund.
It was a privilege and a pleasure meeting Captain Fuentes.  I hope we adequately showed our appreciation, not only for his moving speech and efforts on behalf of our scholarship fund, but for his efforts and all the New York first responders on September 11th, 2001.

We were living in Amarillo, Texas on 9/11/01.  As Captain Fuentes was bringing his fire boats across the river, watching the second plane fly overhead, I was in my living room watching the horror unfold and praying earnestly for my fellow Americans.

Where were you on 9/11/01?

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Metaphorically Speaking

I am not afraid.  I am not afraid to take out the screws and open up the machine.  I am not afraid to remove pieces and poke at the cogs.  I am not afraid to search the Internet for the part required and order it.  I will not be afraid to replace this part when it arrives (found a tutorial online). 

A quick call to a sewing machine repair shop and the price comparsion braced my courage, ordering the parts for $16.65 (shipping included) versus a $120 repair bill. 

The quilting production line has been brought to a stand still by a worn out feed dog gear set.  I'm bummed, the second child's blanket is prepped and pinned to finish binding the edges. 

So, I'm looking at the pieces laying around the upended machine, the inner workings bared for all (me) to see.  It makes the mind wander over the metaphors such a scene can conjure . . . . and I am not afraid.

The past year is a milestone for our family of three.  D. and I both turned 50.  We've embraced this birthday along with the stronger prescription for glasses, easily sparked aching joints, tired bodies; basic older ailments. 

L. turned 18, graduated from high school, moved away to college and throwing us into an unexpectedly strong swirl of empty nest emotions.  My heart has been as tender as my aging body; easily tired, vulnerable to bruising, quick to want to recoil and hide away.

Yet, as there are replacement parts to fix a broken machine time also heals the heart.  L. has settled into his new normal and so have D. and I.  We counteract the aging process by continuing our quest for a healthier lifestyle, getting good sleep and soaking regularly in the hot tub.  Sewing has been a balm to my frazzled feelings, pouring my emotions into fabric as D. pours his into cooking.  The results have been multiple quilts and fabulous meals.

I'm anxious to get my machine fixed because what was a panacea for the first year of college is becoming a productive hobby.  I expect D. will continue to cook too.

What milestone have you recently reached?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Body Tune-Up

January of 2010 D's employer embarked on a wellness program.  At start up every participating employee was given 17 sessions with Weight Watchers plus multiple other incentives to make healthy lifestyle choices.  D. led his campus, and our family, through those 17 weeks with much success. 

We have continued with the wellness program taking advantage of the monetary incentives earned by participating in tasks that direct us towards better health.

Along with all the information provided we have made our own discoveries that have helped in our personal journey. 

Achieving your personal weight loss is a time for celebration and deserves recognition.  Even as we struggled to remain steadfast in our efforts it was helpful when others recognized the loss and were affirming and encouraging.

Both D. and I believe that the toughest part of our wellness program is maintenance.  The initial kickoff and anticipation of embarking on a challenge with co-workers is long past.  Many of us reached our goals and incentives remain in place but the program, and all those involved, have moved to maintenance mode.

The excitement has waned and we no longer check each other's progress or encourage each other along.  I'm afraid to bring it up.  I've gained some weight back, as have others and who wants to be asked to admit it?  We realize it is time for a body tune-up, a Weight Watchers refresher. 

D. and I both put some weight back on and are going back to the basics to lose it before our determination turns to complacency.  We have gone back to WW Points Plus but we restart well informed which makes this experience somewhat different than the first time. 

A new discovery is a blog with tasty 'lightened'  recipes.  Emily Bites offers up reduced calorie recipes we find simple to make, enjoyable to eat and easy to plug into our wellness program.

To all those who are reaching for a better, healthier lifestyle I encourage you to; keep up the good work, don't get discouraged, continue to keep trying. 

What great tips have you discovered?

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Friday, April 6, 2012

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed.

Easter, like other holidays, has it traditions and memories.  I was confirmed into the Congregational Church body and understood the significance of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter morning.  My sisters and I also enjoyed the fun of Easter outfits, baskets of candy and the Easter bunny.

We were a rural family with limited discretionary funds so we made our baskets out of old shoe boxes.  My mother made this an anticipated activity by letting us design and create our own masterpieces with construction paper, crayons and the yearly recycled plastic grass.  We colored two dozen eggs to put in our baskets then hid them for the Easter bunny to find and re-hide.

By Good Friday we had been to Copps in Oshkosh, or downtown Portage, to purchase our Easter outfits.  My most memorable outfit is a sky blue pant suit that had a white stripped lapel and button front with yellow smiley faces for buttons.  (Who can date this outfit?)

Early Sunday morning we attended Sunday school and church then home to hunt our baskets.  Our baskets appeared to overflow with candy, socks, underpants (practical gifts of necessities) and small items such as a kite or small game, books, pencils or stationary.

D and I incorporated most of these traditions and even with our son away at college I put together an Easter basket and sent it to him in time for Easter Sunday.  We will observe the holy days remembering what Christ suffered and rejoicing on Easter morning for what the resurrection means for us.  I pray your life is full of joy and peace by knowing the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.

What is your favorite Easter tradition or memory?

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