Do you ever see an old house and something about it just strikes you as right? You couldn't quite put your finger on it...was it the open porch or the dormers rising from the roofline? Did it look something like this?
You're looking at a Craftsman style house and Tulsa is loaded with them. These houses were part of the Arts and Craft movement, a reaction to the Industrial Revolution where emphasis was placed on mass production. Arts and Crafts supporters valued quality over quantity.
This house represents more than a style, it's the embodiment of a philosophy about life. No, really, hear me out. This movement valued handcraftsmanship but also rejected the overly stuffed, ornate homes from the Victorian age.
To summarize, the Arts and Crafts movement focused on simple values:
-find joy in work
-design and create affordable objects
-live the simple life
-connect with nature
William Morris, one of the leaders in the movement, believed that the designs were a "uniting of the heart and the mind with the hand."
Next time you see a little Bungalow, maybe you'll understand the attraction.
My husband was gone on an extended business trip and the yard was looking neglected. I put on some old jeans and headed to the garage. Poured some gas in the mower, grabbed the plastic bar and tugged. Nothing. Tugged again...and flashed back to an earlier time...
"Again!" His voice was coarse, demanding. My girlfriend bent her scrawny body over the mower and pulled the starter with all of her might. Nothing. The cord snapped back into the engine. "Pull harder!" her father insisted. I held my breath and watched. She anchored her foot, jerked the cord. Nothing. "Do. It. Again." Katie looked up at her dad and cried out, "I can't do it." I believed her. This was not the first time for me to see this interaction between the two of them. I'd gone home and asked my dad if I could start the mower. He narrowed his eyes at me like I was asking to juggle steak knives, turned and walked away without answering. I was thirteen, just like she was. Katie let me try one day when we were alone in her garage. I was slightly bigger than she was, thought I was stronger. I couldn't do it, I couldn't start the mower no matter how hard I tugged.
Her father pulled the cord and the machine rumbled to life. She guided it outside where 3/4 of an acre waited for her. Katie could not stand upright to mow the grass, she leaned into the handle, pushed with her small frame. If she stumbled in the yard, lost her grip, the mower would die and she would be forced to try to start it again.
When we played alone in her room, Katie whispered that she had the meanest dad in the world. I thought so too. It wasn't uncommon for him to show up at the door frame and insist that it was time to do chores. She would beg for me to wait in her room... he would tell me in his gruff voice that it was time to go home. Unusual chores. Like working on the car and making home repairs. Nothing like the dusting I did. Meanest dad ever.
Are you getting the picture? Maybe not.
Let me tell you what that same scene looks like through the eyes of a... doctor.
Katie's dad had a perpetual frown and one eye squinted, which if you are a child, gave him the look of an evil pirate. He walked with a limp, his voice was rough.
He'd had a stroke.
He died by the time Katie was in high school, when he was still a young man.
He knew was going to die. He was preparing her in the only way he knew how to. Can you imagine?
Here's to fathers that work to make their children strong. For whatever comes their way.
I'm going on a Virtual Book Tour!
What does that mean? My book "The Oath: Maddy and Silenus" will be featured on several Book Blog sites. If you go to the site that day, you may just learn some fascinating information (some of them had some very odd questions they wanted me to answer!). I hope you'll take a moment and check it out...I'm listing the days and the corresponding sites. I'll also list it daily on Facebook. Happy traveling!
November 13: Christine Young
November 14: Edgar's Books
November 14: Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
November 15: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
November 16: It's Raining Books
November 17: The Reading Addict
November 20: The Avid Reader
November 21: Long and Short Reviews
November 22: Sorchia's Universe
November 22: The Kronicles of Korthlundia: A Window into Fantasy
November 24: Kit 'N Kabookle
November 24: Up 'Til Dawn Book Blog
I knew they weren't exaggerating. Even as they explained the trouble he was getting into at school, his head was dangling upside down from the exam table. I slid my stool over, pushed my hand through his sleek hair and stopped his downward progress toward a certain fall. Uninterrupted, his parents continued their litany while he threw me a toothy smile.
Today, I remember the feel of his silky hair and think of another boy. Eddie (not his real name) was my patient in the ICU. I was so scared, terrified really, for him that I was willing to stand up to his surgeon. I twirled from his bedside when the man finally arrived. Like missiles, I hurled out my concerns... the difficulty managing his blood pressures, the critical labs that worsened daily...the very real possibility that he could die if he didn't return to the OR.
The surgeon remained impassive after my fervent pleas. Crossed his arms over his chest and finally spoke.
"If I take him back, he will never be able to feel again".
Eddie had meningococcemia. I read a brochure once that described it as "a very serious infection". That is an understatement. Initially, Eddie had flu symptoms. Then he had a pink rash...that turned into bruises all over his body. Within hours, the blood supply to his extremities was lost and the infection was wrecking havoc on his little 3 year old body. To save his life, the surgeon removed his two legs at the knees, his left arm at the elbow. He took off half of his right hand. This was the hand I wanted removed, where the infection still lingered and shot out toxins that threatened Eddie's life.
I had no rebuttal. I watched the man pivot and walk away.
For two more days, I felt like I held Eddie's half-hand as he dangled over a large crevasse. I prayed, murmured to him and anxiously watched his monitors. Until finally, slowly, his color improved and his vitals stabilized. And Eddie was left with the ability to feel.
What are you grateful for? I'm thankful for the vaccine that prevents this illness, the surgeon that refused to go to the operating room...my ability to touch...to feel.
Are you a parent?
By now you've probably learned quite a bit. You're encouraging fruits and veggies, insisting on warm clothing in the winter and googling the signs of meningitis when your child complains of a headache.
But how do you raise a child to have strong integrity? You do your best to set an example...but can you be more purposeful?
Years ago I read "The Book of Virtues" to my children. It is a collection of stories from different sources...speeches, the Bible, even poems. It was compiled by William Bennet, our past Secretary of Education and it's a wonderfully sneaky way to teach your children morals.
Here's what that looks like...I would put the kiddos in their pajamas and we'd all climb in bed. I'd look through the chapters before hand and pick a story to read that night. The chapters are broken down into different virtues such as persistence, faith and courage. Some are short, some are longer. You might remember some of these tales from your childhood but you just haven't thought about passing them on. It's time. Afterwards, I'd listen to the kid's comments about what we'd read.
I'm pretty sure they made an impression on my children.
I'm positive that they made an impression on me. These aren't necessarily stories just meant for children! (Although there is now a version that is designed for this)
I still think about one story...about a ball of string and how if you would give the string a little tug, it would make time go faster. Wouldn't that be great to have...or maybe not...you should read the story!
You can find this book on Amazon (new and used) Colder weather is coming and I can't think of a better thing than cuddling and reading to your children when you're trapped indoors!
What do you think about when someone tells you to follow your dreams?
I picture a wispy-haired toddler running in a grassy field. Her hands are outstretched and she is reaching for a pink balloon that drifts and dances with the spring breeze. When she trips, the string slips from her hands. She picks herself up, oblivious to the grass stains, giggles and continues the chase.
A lot of you have bigger dreams than catching a pink balloon.
Dreams of going back to school after you've had children, managing your life after a divorce, struggling through one more day when depression does its best to smother you, making breast cancer part of your past.
What does that look like?
Imagine thick straps over your shoulders and a coarse rope in your mouth. Leaning forward...straining against the immense weight at your back. The rope cuts the corners of your mouth, your shoulders burn, your jaw aches from clamping hard.
And nothing happens.
Your thigh muscles spasm and your feet cramp. You struggle against the weight. Your heart pounds and feels like its going to explode out of your chest. Dark thoughts enter your mind. This isn't going to happen, I can't do it.
But every day you keep pulling. You're in agony, fighting to go just a few inches.
And one day, you do. Perhaps it's the wind at your back, perhaps it's your friends and family lending a hand, maybe it's divine intervention. But those inches are yours.
And some time later, you can feel the shift, feel some momentum in your exertion. Either you've become stronger or the load has changed. It doesn't matter. You're moving forward.
When the tension leaves the rope, you glance over your shoulder to find that you've been tugging a 40 ton eighteen wheeler all this time. Impossible. The cab door opens to your touch when you approach. When you get in the seat and roll down the windows, the wind whips around the cab and cools your sweat drenched face. You lean forward just a bit, only this time to press your feet on the gas pedal to go faster.
Your lips curve into a smile. You can see for miles and miles and the road is clear.
Reach your hand up... tug on the horn. You've done it.
Leigh and Renee want to give you hope.
Leigh was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with Hyperkinetic syndrome, now known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This was in 1979 when not a lot of information was available to help children like Leigh. No one had much confidence that he would succeed in life. But Leigh refused to be a failure. He did things...a little different than the other kids. But he found his path.
Renee used to listen to her husband tell light-hearted stories from his childhood to a friend whose child had been diagnosed with severe ADHD. Tales that were humorous and sometimes raw but had a common thread...they gave her hope. Hope that her child would overcome the adversity associated with this disorder...and eventually refer to it as the 'advantage' that Leigh claimed it was.
They wrote a book together called "Spaz". It's not only filled with stories but it has a healthy dose of science too. Research and studies blend with anecdotes from his past, allowing you to see the struggles and realities of living with ADHD.
Who would like this book? Anyone touched by ADHD. The anxious parent. The frustrated teacher. The forgetful adult who always wondered if maybe...
You can meet the authors at Piranha Killer Sushi on Saturday, Oct 21 in Flower Mound starting at 6pm on the patio. They have designed a special drink called the "Spaz" in honor of the occasion.
You can find their book on their website or on Amazon.
All of us want our children to be happy. But most of us overlook a really critical factor in everyone's happiness. Gratitude. We need to model this for our children so they don't grow up thinking that happiness comes with a price tag.
It's hard to remember that. We all have stressors and if you've been watching the news...it just seems like the world is falling apart. So it's hard to think of something to be thankful for. Let me help you.
Pretty simple right? Let me explain.
I had a mom come in and tell me about her teenager that went on a mission trip. They painted houses in a small village in Mexico. Afterward, they washed their brushes in the common spigot. They accidentally used up all the water in the well for the entire village! All of it. No drinking water. That's never been anything I've worried about here.
And another thing. My grandmother helped to potty train my kids by telling them 'it was time to make water'. Years later, I was taking care of a teenager who had kidney damage. He was bitter and frustrated because he was unable to urinate. He never imagined that he would want to 'pee' more than anything else in his life. I used to just take 'making water' for granted.
Right now in Yemen they are experiencing the worst cholera outbreak ever. Cholera is an infection that causes profuse diarrhea. The patients become so weak that they can't make it to the toilet. So they are placed on cholera beds, cots with holes emptying into buckets. Cholera is preventable and treatable. But 14.5 million people do not have access to clean water. Less than 1/2 of the medical centers are functioning with supplies like IV's (water) to take care of the sick. Thank God, I've never been in a position where I couldn't provide the most basic of resources to save a life.
Water. Pretty simple. Most good things in life are. Remind your kids.
I don't know anything about guns. Probably had something to do with my dad. He didn't tell me the story until he had several grandchildren. He had been playing in a basement with his friends when he was about ten years old. One boy picked up a gun and pretended to shoot another boy. Only he really did. In the belly...and the boy died. Right in front of my dad. My dad's lips trembled when he described what happened. His eyes filled with tears over an event that happened more than 50 years earlier.
I understand that hunters want to enjoy their sport. I understand that people want to feel protected by keeping a gun in the house.
But I think we all agree that in the course of a normal day, humans should not hunt humans. That guns bought with the hope of providing protection, should not cause accidental injury or death.
I don't know anything about guns. But I do know that we have finger-print scanning technology on cell phones. If that were installed on all guns, wouldn't that help stop a bullied teenager or inquisitive toddler from a horrible end? Keep a policeman's gun from being turned on him?
Astounding technological advances are happening daily and I bet someone could help fix this. Please.
Assault weapons? That one just boggles my mind. I can't figure out why in a society that does home inspections, seat belt checks and prohibits smoking in public places...someone is allowed to purchase a weapon that has a large capacity of ammunition. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Let's keep thinking about solutions we can all live with.
So that less people die.