Handicapped

I may be different from you
But that doesn’t make you better than me
And maybe the things you do easily
Are difficult for me, but they’re not impossible
So don’t tell me I can’t do this or that because I’m handicapped
Your attempt to defeat me will only make me try harder
If I believe I can do something great
Let me believe in myself and accomplish as much as I can
Don’t help me unless I ask you to I want to be independent as long as I am able   Above all, be my friend and love me, if you will
But don’t pity me –I don’t need it.   -1980 (age 32, gradual deafness made me sensitive and easily offended if told I couldn’t do something because I was going deaf)

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A love letter to God

Wrting a love letter to God is good for the soul.

Dear Father God,

I stand amazed in Your presence. Wherever I am, you are there…just as you promised. The only time I think you’re not guiding me is when I take my eyes off of You. In those moments, I have fear and doubts because I’m trying to be in control of my life.

Lord, help me to trust You in ALL THINGS! When I repeat that to myself, a peaceful feeling fills my heart and mind. You’ve walked by my side all these rollercoaster years of adulthood, and I know now that You carried me through when I struggled. Love lifted me! Your never ending, never failing, always unconditional love strengthens me.

I praise Your Holy Name, Father God! Make me a channel of blessing today!

Your loving daughter

Eerie Walk

I have always liked to boast
Not fear goblins or ghosts
Taunted and asked if I could
Go walking through dark woods

So off I went on my jaunt
To see if ghosts do haunt
Darkness and fog followed me
Toward a cemetery

I knew by then I was lost
And failed to count the cost
Of walking in spooky woods alone
Grumbling I lost my phone

At a grave I saw a bench
Alone sat a stone-faced wench
I paused and stared her down
Got no response from her frown

Lost and dizzy I wept aloud
I trembled in the misty shroud
And then collapsed on the bench
Beside the lifelike stone wench

Exhausted I leaned on her shoulder
Which was cold as a hard boulder
But she slowly turned her head
So maybe she wasn’t dead!

Missing Mama

I wish you were here to teach me how to be an old woman,
And how to cope without a loving husband.

You were a widow, and I am your only daughter to divorce.
You were there for me and gave me a birthday party.

Mama, how did you deal with all the physical pain on cold, rainy days?
I still miss your potato soup and carrot salad on those days.

What did you do on all your lonely nights?
How did you get through it all?

I think I know the answer.
It wasn’t just one thing.

You told me you prayed a lot.
I know you used to sing…one day at a time, sweet Jesus.
You got dressed up, put on your happy face and made friends out of strangers.

I’m missing you, Mama.
Sure wish you were here to guide me through old age.

Inappropriate touching

When I was 17 and went to the Zenith hearing aid dealer downtown, the male owner (in his 60’s) insisted on fitting my hearing aid on me. He had to stand very close to me face-to-face to put the aid on my ear. But then he rested his arms on my chest as he fidgeted with the aid, twisting his arms a little.

My second visit went pretty much the same, and I got the sense he was touching my chest on purpose. But I didn’t say anything to confront him or his wife who was in the store. I never told my parents.

The third visit to the hearing aid dealer I was feeling brave and went into defense mode by covering my chest with my arms and putting my hands on my face while he was checking the aid on my ear.

After that, his wife or another female in the store waited on me. Every time I had to go, I dreaded it and hoped he wouldn’t be there.

It’s so hard for young people, and some adults, to speak up or protect themselves. With all the harassment we hear about (not just today) on the news, it stirred up my memory. I haven’t thought of the incident in probably 50 years.

It’s never okay. Tell someone.

Healing in God’s Time

Standing in the front yard at age 12, I looked up to the heavens with tears on my face, and asked God to save my hearing or help me accept a future of limited hearing and possible deafness. That was after being diagnosed by five hearing health professionals.

In 1976, I was leading a ladies’ bible study in my home, and we always closed each session by sharing our prayer requests. On this particular day, my heart was heavy regarding my impending deafness. When I shared my feelings, one of the ladies encouraged me to attend a revival service that offered prayers for healing. It was a different denomination than my church, and I admit I was a little skeptical. Yet, I wanted so desperately to be able to hear that I was willing to go.

When I walked through the sanctuary doors that night, I prayed, “God, if you are here and have something for me, let me know it’s from you.” My hearing loss was moderate to profound, so I sat on the front row watching the evangelist and his wife. As a team, they shared a rousing sermon about salvation through Jesus Christ, and my heart was touched as was everyone’s in the congregation. This was a passionate revival.

They invited those with pain and afflictions to move forward to the front for healing prayers. I watched the evangelist pray and touch each person on the stage. Some of them fell down, and several claimed to be healed. I prayed in my heart, “Lord, I have the faith to move this mountain. I believe I will hear normally again.” I stepped up, and he cupped his hands over my ears, prayed for me to hear, and touched my forehead. He did not push me down, but I fainted at his touch and fell on the floor. Two people standing behind me broke my fall and helped me up in a moment. I later found out that was referred to as being slain in the spirit. To the current day, I don’t understand that part.

We stayed until almost everyone had left the service, and my friend asked the evangelist to pray for me again. She told him we didn’t want to leave without my healing. He stepped off the stage and came to me performing the healing ritual again. Afterwards I sat for a few minutes and finally decided we might as well leave.

I went home disappointed, put both hearing aids on the nightstand, prayed hard but desired God’s will above all things. When I awoke the next morning, I laid there a few minutes listening and hoping the silence would bring forth sound, but I still couldn’t hear.

Sending up my earnest prayer to accept God’s decision knowing in His time I would hear again, I put my hearing aids on and got out of bed. I believed I would hear with new ears in heaven, but about 20 years later God opened my ears to hear. When I experienced some dizziness, I randomly selected an ear specialist in my PPO directory. At the end of my visit with the ear doctor, he told me about cochlear implants. I remember his last words on that first visit, “We’re going to put you back into the hearing world.”

In September 1995, I had cochlear implant surgery on one ear. In February 2008, thirteen years later I had the surgery on the other ear. God answered my prayer in His time, His way.

Food memories from my childhood

Do you have food memories from days gone by? Some you could barely swallow and others you could eat forever?

I’m reminiscing today about favorite food memories from my childhood. Memories like mixing cocoa and sugar to eat with a spoon. I pooled my leftover lunch money with my sister’s and walked to the corner store for homework snacks of BBQ potato chips, Cokes, Snickers, Fireballs and bubble gum. We watched the Mickey Mouse Club and American Bandstand while we studied.

My playmate and I picked wild blackberries at the dead end street. I can’t believe we never got bellyaches from that. I explored Daddy’s garden to see what I could taste. I found a tiny plant under the shrubs and sucked the pods of sour grass and honeysuckle in our yard. I am surprised I never tried to eat an iris or daylily.

A scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass of Coca-Cola created a small foamy explosion like a school science project. I can still taste the Coke float. It was a thrill when my mama let me help make the Kool-Aid and Jell-O. I was an energetic kid and all that sugar fueled me on a hot day of summer fun. At Vacation Bible School, we sat in a narrow passageway between Sunday School buildings trying to eat our popsicles before they melted. We licked it off our arms as it ran down to our elbows.

Running with my nickel to catch the hunky man and buy an orange Dreamcicle was a weekly treat. The kids knew when they heard him ring his bell that ice cream was waiting for us. He had an ice box full of frozen goodies on his bicycle. A few years later, the local dairy started sending a truck to the neighborhood to sell ice cream, but my favorite was the hunky man on a bicycle.

At school, we had a tiny dining room for little kids beside the large cafeteria dining area. I think a glass of milk and a lemon sugar cookie for break time was five cents. When I worked in the kitchen prepping the dirty dishes to be washed by machine, I got milk and cookies free of charge. I didn’t get to eat hot meals very often at school. I had a lunchbox meal of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or fried bologna (we called it baloney) with mustard on white bread. Dessert was an apple or a cookie that my mama packed for me.

Sometimes on Wednesdays, I would sit at the kitchen table after school and eat pinto beans and loaf bread. That was Mama’s day off and our maid Georgia was there to clean while Mama cooked. Knowing my mama was home cooking on Wednesdays made me look forward to the end of my school day. She worked five days a week throughout my childhood. Neighbors babysat me after school until I was old enough to be a latchkey kid.

I can still visualize these memories: seeing the fruit & vegetable truck come down my street with produce bouncing and the scale swinging from three chains. Watching the aproned butcher cut and wrap meat in white wax paper, roll and secure it with brown tape. Walking with my parents to the Miss Georgia Ice Cream Parlor on Sunday afternoons. Five cents bought a vanilla cone. Daddy liked banana splits.

Most of these memories are from the 1950’s and are still vivid enough to make my mouth water.