Monday, February 27, 2017

Thoughts - February 27, 2017

“It's a funny thing about love: you don't need to have it returned to love somebody. Loving's enough. -- A Prologue to Love”
― Taylor Caldwell.
My immediate reaction is "yeah...right....". But deep inside what I like to call my soul, I have finally gotten a glimmer of what this means. Simply loving is more than enough. And this encompasses all the types of love -- brotherly, eros, and the 'spirit' type. Our pets teach us this, as does much of nature ("how I love the bubbling brook"). Many people do, too. And the one certainty I have about the Creator (and it came with such force that I have never doubted it) -- is that we are all Loved. Regardless. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thoughts - February 25, 2017

“I've about decided that's the main thing that separates happy people from the other people: the feeling that you're a practical item, with a use, like a sweater or a socket wrench.” 
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams.

This made me smile, thinking about the practical. What am I? Probably not a very common item, alas, because I am not nearly as practical as I would like, spending way too much time with my head in the clouds. Maybe I am an umbrella - nice to have around if you can find it under the car seat or on the floor of the closet. We all like to feel useful, I think, and need to find our niches. I am not the one you want cleaning or organizing or even doing your grocery shopping, but I'm great for sitting with grandpa while you take a break, or working the election polls, or doing the children's sermon, perhaps. It is good to think about these things...and just might be a great writing topic for class! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thoughts - February 24, 2017

"I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma." Eartha Kitt.
As the years roll by (and they do 'roll' these days), I am often amazed at how many things I am still learning (and not just patience and perseverance and the like...those seem to be forever lessons). For those of us of a certain age (baby boomers and up), we learn technical things all the time. Many choose to learn through such activities as the College for Older Adults at the Reynolds Homestead (where I work and teach memoir writing during those weeks of fun discovery). I love to hear someone say "Wow....I didn't know that!" I said it myself the other evening evening when I was having a chat with my friends Peter and Leenie Beenie. We were talking about Patch Adams, M.D. and his clinic in WV, which is called Gesundheit. Peter asked if I knew what that meant and I said, "Bless you?"!! No, it means Health. Duh. Wow...I didn't know that! -Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thoughts - February 23, 2017

"The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped." - Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (22 Feb 1788-1860).

I've been sitting out on the front porch (wrapped in a throw, though 40+ degrees feels nice), pondering this quote. I've spent a large part of my life with the oldest of humans, starting with my grandparents moving in with us when I was 12 y.o., taking care of dad in his last years, working in nursing facilities, having many older friends, etc. And, in many ways, I am now 'there.' So, I determined I was qualified to agree or disagree whether masks are dropped or not! Most folks who are open, have always been that way. I think if we make the time to sit, listen, and ask questions (and folks in the 'closing years' now have this time), we hear and see a greater picture of the real person. It is more a willingness to delve into getting to know another than an age matter. And it is more if a person, whatever his/her age, has listened to their lives and is willing to share. What do you think? - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thoughts - February 22, 2017

".....all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously."
Tom Robbins.

I need this reminder every once in awhile. Granted, taking myself seriously is rather important for self-preservation, but there is that depth and balance thing. My grandmother, whose life couldn't have been easy though she had a positive attitude, taught me lessons for dealing with this very thing. She was always there for a hug and a hot homemade roll when life slammed me - and then a "little job" to do for her. The jobs took my focus outward -- taking flowers to a shut-in, reading for the blind, working in her garden, fetching something at the corner store, carrying the freshly made bread the quarter mile home for the family's supper. I know now, when I start the pity party, that I need to get out of my self-imposed wilderness - and go and find a "little job" to do. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thoughts - February 17, 2017

“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.”
― AndrĂ© Gide
We all seem to have some 'monsters' in our lives - phobias, certain people, insecurities. Some fears are warranted and even healthy, but this morning I'm thinking about those bugaboos that paralyze us beyond reason. At one time, I had a fear of bees. Any kind of bees. I was attacked by an entire hornet nest as a child (reaching under a pine for a 'softball' that turned out to be the nest). And from that time on, I could tell you horror stories of bees in my bed, flying in the car window, going down my blouse or up my skirt (truly). When I was in my mid-40s I decided I'd had ENOUGH!! So I went and worked in my friends' apple orchard for a few weeks as a 'cure' of my fear. There are thousands of bees around apples and the cider making process. It worked. Something that had made me a prisoner most of my life was now gone...and so have the crazy attacks. To confront a fear, I learned, is to take the sting out of it. (yes, I'm feeling punny this morning...the sun is shining, the crows are cawing, the song birds are full of music). - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thoughts - February 5, 2017

“It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.”
― Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.
When was a time you saw your familiar surroundings from a different angle? I remember being aware of this as a child, when my dear Cousin from the big city came to visit our little town in the hills of WV. I must have been 7 or 8 years old as I proudly walked her down our Main Street, pointing out the movie theater and Dairy Queen. And the first time I brought home a 'serious' boyfriend - seeing my parents and home in a new light. Or, being ill, seeing the daytime view from my upstairs bedroom. And most dear to my heart, the first time I share our "Wilderness" (cabin and woods deep in the mountains) - seeing the small river and waterfalls through new eyes, sinking down into the thick moss as if the first time. Am I grateful or do I see things as alien? Disturbing or relief? And, yes, a tingling of thrill as if seeing it for the first time. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review - A Year in the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich

A gentle memoir about living in a remote cabin in the Maine woods through the seasons of one year. I suppose many of us have the dream of doing this, but Heinrich's resources for the exploration of nature and knowledge of its many aspects make for a fascinating book about the inner world of a man and the outer world of his surroundings. This book might not be for everyone, since there are a lot of scientific terms, but even for a casual naturalist like myself, it was interesting. I once lived very near the area described in the book, but I discovered little about the area. I worked two jobs most of the time and just didn't explore and learn about the region. It was fun to see the names of places I knew something about and to find out more about the natural world there. - Leslie Shelor

Thoughts - February 4, 2017

"Because today, I think I'm leaning on the side of wonder.”
― Melina Marchetta
Because today, I want to look at things and people and ideas and marvel! I want to ponder 'why.' I want to be amazed, surprised, astonished by the very stuff I take for granted. I want to truly see my friends and appreciate their quirks and qualities. I want to sing along with the creek and birds and wind and awaken that little child who once lived in this old body. I wonder if she's still a resident? - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thoughts - February 3, 2017

“Know this. I think you could be special if you only thought there was anything special about yourself.”
― Pat Conroy, My Losing Season: A Memoir.
There is nothing that quite aggravates me more than someone saying 'they're nobody special.' It's not that I'm peeved with them, but the fact they can reach the age of talking - or after decades of living - and they've never been told the secret of life. We are all unique and special, given gifts to share with others, a road to follow. Somewhere down the line, a person who feels this way has been thwarted - or at the least - taught a false definition of modesty. Even those of us who were raised with love and encouragement need to be reminded we are special. When I was an awkward teenager, my dear friend Geoffrey looked me in the eye and said: "I wish I could be around when you realize how special you are!" Whew. Words that often reawaken in my mind when I am aggravated with myself.... - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - February 2, 2017

"An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine,
but because people refuse to see it." James Michener.
When I first started on FB - gosh, it's been a number of years now - I chose this quote as one of my 'favorites'. It speaks of the frustrations I feel when folks put forth a gloomy and negative attitude concerning our world. Perhaps I've been a pollyanna-type a few periods of my life ('life is always sunshine and roses'....), but for the most part, it is simply a recognition that God is light. And God shines that light all the time. It's a promise and I've known it. Through grief, pain, and aggravation, there is light. Through heartache, separation, and judgment there is light. And it is up to me to reflect that light. If I am mean-spirited or cruel, the light is deflected. If I am focused on proving my way is right, the light is splintered. "Let me be" an example, a torch, a tiny glimmer of the Creator. At times, it is a whisper of a single candle. Or the quick whoosh of a match. At other moments, I am merely an ember in the old fireplace, waiting for the wind of the Spirit to fan the spark. And so it is for all of us. Hide it under a bushel? No!! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Episode 30 - Old Age and Eldercare Are Not for Sissies

Ferrum College

Honoring Reynolds Homestead volunteers

Great Books and Great Conversations

Pearl Buck

A Little Sweet...

PussyHat Project by Kat Coyle

6-Day Kid Blanket by Betty McKnit

A Little Tart...

Living as caregivers to aging parents

"I believe that most caregivers find that they inherit a situation where they just kind of move into caregiving. it's not a conscious decision for most caregivers, and they are ultimately left with the responsibility of working while still trying to be the caregiver, the provider and the nurturer." - Sharon Law Tucker

"The best people are the good old wrinkled people with a sparkle in their eye, a wink when you walk by or a toothless smile saying you are doing just fine." - Robert Wesley Miller

"Never tease an old dog; he might have one bite left." - Robert A. Heinlein

"I've never stopped wanting to cross
the equator, or touch an elk's
horns, or sing Tosca or screw
James Dean in a field of wheat.
To hell with wisdom. They're all wrong:
I'll never be through with my life." - Rita Dove

"Even eighty-odd is sometimes vulnerable to vanity." - L. M. Montgomery

A Little Unexpected...


The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey by Nancy L Kriseman
The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love by Peggi Speers and Tia Walker

"My caregiver mantra is to remember: the only control you have is over the changes you choose to make." - Nancy L. Kriseman

"Embracing a healing presence requires you to just be in the moment together." - Nancy L. Kriseman

Music Attribution

Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone
Don't Be Scared ft. Christine Autumn by Calling Sister Midnight (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Ft: Klaus Neumaier, Christine Autumn

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Thoughts - February 1, 2017

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
― James Baldwin.
As anyone who has read my thoughts for awhile, you may notice I'm not too fond of sayings e.g. "she made her bed, now she can sleep in it" or similar ideas on choices directing our whole lives. It makes life sound so dire and the result of a few bad immature choices (and who didn't do that?). But I see a truth in Mr. Baldwin's words when he says 'what they have allowed themselves to become.' Every single day we have the choice to be kind, not to be bitter, attentive to others, nice to ourselves, to be in awe of Creation, and to be respectful. Even if at one time we were not. We may have a history of things that make us hang our heads in shame, but today we can turn them towards the Sunshine, ask others to forgive us (or we forgive, as the case may be), and do what we need to do. - Beth Almond Ford