Fortunate Son: A book review

The only thing that isn’t clear is who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. Turns out there’s a little bit of both in most people, but not all.

Wow! This book grabbed me at the first page and didn’t let go. It’s hard to say what the story is about because there are several stories happening at once. They’re all connected, and J.D. Rhoades does an amazing job with the characters. You get to know them all and, love them or hate them, you have a clear understanding of their motives and how they fit in the big picture. The only thing that isn’t clear is who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. Turns out there’s a little bit of both in most people, but not all.
The ending couldn’t have been more perfect. I absolutely loved this book and will be looking for more from this author.
I was given a free copy of this book by Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

This book is scheduled for publication on August 14, 2018.

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What is strength?

Strength means different things at different times and different things to different people.

Hello dear reader.

The following quote comes from an article in The Mighty written by Mary Lynn Johnson. It really spoke to me when I read it.

“Strength isn’t the opposite of weakness. It’s in a category of its own. Strength is choosing to keep pushing and reaching when everything is in the way of where you want to go. Strength is born out of the imperfect places in our lives that stretch us farther than we ever thought possible. Strength means not giving up, and that means you keep showing up.”

You can read the entire article here.

This quote challenges one of the biggest misconceptions about what it means to be strong…it “isn’t the opposite of weakness.” People tend to see a straight line with weakness on one end and strength on the other, but that’s not the way it goes. Strength and weakness can, and often do, occur at the same time. There are a lot of ways they both come into play. They can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and more. I can be strong mentally and weak physically. I can be strong physically (it happens occasionally 😉) and weak spiritually. There are any number of ways they can happen together.

Strength and weakness are also relative. These days I feel strong physically when I can sweep my floors. Before I got so sick, sweeping the floor was nothing, just one in a miriad of chores I did daily.

Some days it takes all the strength I can muster to take a shower. Other days, that’s nothing.

Strength means “not giving up, and that means you keep showing up.” I try every day to get up, get dressed, and be part of the day. That’s not always possible. But I try again and again and again. I celebrate the days I can do it, and I accept the days I can’t. I don’t give up. I show up.

Strength means different things at different times and different things to different people.

There’s a comment box at the end of this post for comments, suggestions, and/or questions. What does strength mean to you? I’d love to know what you think.

Until next time…

Poetry

There isn’t a big life lesson or any words of wisdom today. I just wanted to share my poem with you.

Hello dear reader.

I want to tell you about a new adventure I’ve started. A better way to say that might be that I’ve rediscovered an old adventure. When I was younger I wrote a lot of poetry. I remember winning a poetry contest when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. I got an ice cream sundae for a prize. What a treat!!

Recently I joined a site called FanStory. They have writing contests on there for poetry, flash fiction, essay, etc. I entered one and took 2nd place. It’s a cinquain poem, which has the following parameters:

The traditional cinquain has five lines and a strict structure based on syllable count.

Line 1 – 2 syllables
Line 2 – 4 syllables
Line 3 – 6 syllables
Line 4 – 8 syllables
Line 5 – 2 syllables

My FanStory bio shows up on this link. I can’t figure out how to get it off, so just scroll past that, or read it too if you’d like. The poem is right under it.

Cinquain Poem

There are two more contests I’m signed up for which are essay instead of poetry. I’ll let you know how those go.

There isn’t a big life lesson or any words of wisdom today. I just wanted to share my poem with you. This is a big deal for me, putting my writing out there to be judged. It’s different from the blog. I don’t feel that what I write on here is judged.

Anyway, I hope the poem brightens your day a little bit.

Until next time…

Lessons

Some lessons are more important than others, some are easier to learn than others, and it’s a life-long endeavor.

Hello dear reader.

I hope all the mothers out there had a wonderful mother’s day. I had a very emotional day. I spent quite a bit of time talking with two of my children, my mother, and my mother-in-law, which was great. I also spent a lot of time feeling how much I miss the two of my children who aren’t speaking to me. I always miss them, but it hits me harder on holidays and birthdays. I’ve tried to turn it into a learning experience, though probably not the way you’d think. I’m not going to go into the whole mess about why the situation is the way it is except to say that most of it was beyond my control. The biggest thing I’ve learned from it is that I can’t hold myself responsible for other peoples’ behavior, only how I react to their choices. I can’t force my will on anyone else. I can choose to stop putting myself in situations that open me up for further pain. That was a difficult thing for me to understand. Lesson learned.

Here’s another situation that’s not nearly as important, but is still a learning experience. I read over my last post and realized how scattered it was, definitely not my best writing. I think it turned out that way because I was trying to fit in too many things. I was more concerned with it not being overly long than I was with clarity. What did I learn from that? I learned that clarity needs to be priority. I should have either let the post run longer or split it up. Lesson learned.

Some learning experiences are a work in progress. I’ve learned them in my head but struggle with learning them in my life. For example, I blew my back out yesterday. I’m in a huge amount of pain today and can’t walk at all without my cane. I guess I need to quit doing crazy things like vacuuming the floor. The lesson I’m struggling so much with is that I have no reason to feel guilty. I know for a fact I didn’t do anything wrong, yet I still feel guilty for not being able to cook dinner for my husband. I feel guilty about having to cancel a doctor appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow. It’s five hours round trip and even if I got someone else to drive, the ride would be absolute torture. I have no reason to feel guilty, yet I still do. Lesson in progress.

Some lessons are more important than others, some are easier to learn than others, and it’s a life-long endeavor. What are some of the hardest/most important lessons you’ve learned?

Until next time…

My Husband (part IV)

Tim told me many years ago that he would try to make sure he made me laugh every day at least once.

Hello dear reader.

Today I’m going to finish the love story I’ve been writing for you. No, that doesn’t sound right. Let’s say today I’m going to finish the story of how this relationship became what it is now. The love story continues.

Where were we? Oh yes, the Christmas Eve proposal. There’s one more piece of that still to be told. My daughter and son-in-law were on their was to spend Christmas with us. They had been in Texas visiting with his family. That’s a really long drive and I knew they’d be exhausted. So even though the plan was for them to meet us at the church, I texted Louissa and told her they should just go to the house and relax. At the same time, Tim was texting her telling her they needed to come to the church even if they were late and for her not to tell me that he said that. In other words, I was telling her not to come to the church at the same time Tim was telling her to make sure she did come to the church. She told me later that she had a pretty good idea what was going on. Thank God she’s smart! They arrived a little bit late, but they were there and got to see it. Needless to say, we had a wonderful Christmas that year!

Tim and I have called each other husband and wife since we moved in together. The joke was that we got demoted. He went from being my husband to my fiance and I went from wife to fiance.

We decided to have the wedding in August, right after Tim’s birthday. However, August is the busiest month of the year in Leadville. There’s something going on every weekend, from Boom Days to races like the Leadville 100 race. I’ll tell you more about those another time, but you can click on the links and find out what they are if you don’t want to wait. The bottom line was we couldn’t get a wedding cake made in August. So we moved it up to July 27th. Tim had never been married and he turned 50 just over a week after the wedding. Good timing!

This is where my best friend, Heather, comes in. Even though Tim hadn’t told her he was going to propose (he didn’t think she’d be able to keep from letting me know) and she wasn’t there for it (she still fusses at him about that) she jumped in with both feet to help pull things together. She was incredible!

You know, I just realized that I was writing this blog when Tim and I got married. Anyone who’s interested can go back to those posts and read what I was feeling and doing leading up the wedding.

Our wedding was wonderful. It was sacred and meaningful, but it was also a blast. We had a great time! I don’t know why I don’t have pictures on the blog, but I’m going to fix that today.

There have been very few days that hasn’t happened. So it was fitting that our wedding was full of laughter.

Somehow, once again, this post got long very quickly. I could write about Tim for days at a time. You’ll be reading more about him as this blog continues, but the bottom line is that I’m a very fortunate woman. Tim and I are very happy together and neither of us takes that for granted. We have a lot of fun together, and that’s important.

I’m going to put up pictures as promised, and please feel free to read the posts from that time. I’ll get back to writing about other things, I promise. But I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of our love story.

Until next time…

My Husband (Part III)

Once again, we started from a base of friendship.

Hello dear reader.

I’m continuing my great love story today. So where did I leave off? Ah, yes, I was recovering from major brain surgery…

About three years after the surgery, Tim and I split up. I’m not going into the how and why, that part doesn’t matter. We were apart for almost a year. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. It was also the best thing that could have happened. I grew so much during that time.

Anyway, this is about Tim and I, so let me get back to that. When Tim came back to Colorado we started talking. We were trying to rebuild our friendship. Slowly that happened. There was a lot of pain on both sides, so we took it real slow. We discovered the friendship that everything had all been built on was still there. Eventually we decided to get back together. We did couples counseling for quite a while and we both worked very hard.

All of this was a huge deal and I’m minimizing how hard it was because I want to focus on the good that came out of it. The good was that when we made the decision to get back together, we both knew for certain it was what we wanted. Our relationship became much stronger than it had been before the separation. Once again, we started from a base of friendship.

That summer, Tim, my son Jack, and I hiked to the top of Mt Elbert. That’s the highest mountain in Colorado and the second highest in Continental America. I had wanted to do that for seven years, and finally I did. That hike was life altering. I left all my can’ts on the top of that mountain.

Tim bought us a wonderful Victorian house and life was good. I was still sick, but was having more good days than bad.

Christmas Eve we went to the candle light service at St George’s, as always. The service was beautiful and moving, as always. At the end of the service the bulletin said “A Christmas question.” Ali (our priest) is good at that. I knew she was going to give us a question to think about over Christmas. Instead, Tim says, “Most of you know Lynnette and I know she means a lot to you. I don’t know if she realizes how much she means to me.” He then got on his knee, held out a beautiful sapphire ring (my favorite stone) and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked that I couldn’t speak! Tim had been chopping wood earlier in the day and had bruised his knee, and he’s down on that sore knee waiting and I can’t get a word to come out of my mouth!! I finally managed to stammer out, “Of course!”

I think that’s a good place to stop for today. I’m going to end by saying I’ve never regretted saying yes.

Until next time…

My Husband part II

The woman he fell in love with had vanished, in her place was a stranger.

Hello dear reader.

I kind of left you hanging with my last post about my husband. I told you I’d give you more of the story the next day. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I’m here now.

Refresher… Tim and I met at church and spent two years getting to know each other and building a friendship before we got together. Now I think you’re all caught up. Ready to continue? Here we go:

When we told Ali, our priest, that we we’re seeing each other she gave us an assignment. Tim had to cook for me and I had to let him. For most people, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but Ali knew it would be a challenge for us.

First of all, Tim doesn’t cook. He survived primarily off TV dinners and pizza. The first time I looked in his freezer, the only thing in it was an elk leg. Yes, you did read that right.. the leg from an elk, fur and all. One of his friends was a hunter and would save the legs for Tim’s big (100 lbs), beautiful dog, Sampson.

The other reason it was such a challenge was I love cooking and I normally would have been cooking this for him, not the other way around. I’m also just a tiny bit of a control freak in certain areas of my life, and cooking happens to be one of them.

But we did it out of love and respect for Ali. So I sat in Tim’s living room and he cooked. I was hearing things banging around and ‘not nice’ words coming from the kitchen. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was for me not to go into that kitchen! Eventually, I was presented with a steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans. Surprisingly, it was good!

We decided after several months that it was insane for us to be paying rent and utilities on two places when we were together every night either at his house or mine. So we rented a very small house together. Poor Sampson had to back out of anywhere he walked. There wasn’t any room for him to turn around.

I had my first Chiari decompression surgery 9 or 10 months before we moved. I was working three jobs (the General Store/Post Office, cleaning houses, and cooking one of the community meals at the church) when we moved into our house together. Within a month, the surgery failed and I was in worse shape than before. I couldn’t function at all. A good day meant I had made it from the bed to the couch. All of a sudden it was all on Tim. I told him several times that this wasn’t what he’d signed up for and I’d understand if he wanted out. He reassured me that he wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually (almost a year later) I had another brain surgery. This one was much more invasive. When it was all said and done, they had removed 12 cm from my skull, the C-1 and C-2 from my neck, and cauterized the back of my brain so it wasn’t pinching off my brain stem anymore. They placed a plastic mesh of some sort to hold my brain in place.

I know it sounds like I’m going of on a tangent, but I’m actually not (for a change) this time. I’m trying to express what Tim ended up dealing with very soon in our relationship.

That surgery took about two years for me to recover from. I had to re-learn so many things. But Tim was beside me holding my hand through it. It was as hard for him as it was for me. The woman he fell in love with, his friend, had vanished, in her place was a stranger. I had him to lean on. He was on his own with it.

Once again, this has gotten long very quickly. I won’t keep you waiting so long for the next part.

Until next time…