Posted in Sunday Saying

Sunday Saying – Rewriting

“Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.“- Michael Crichton

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve rewritten sections of my memoir and I’m tired of writing/rewriting about myself. I’m ready to move on to the next book (whatever that is) so I need to read motivation quotes like these to keep myself going.

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” - Henry Ford

I’ve learned mountains about writing over the past few years, so for that reason I’m glad I didn’t publish my book earlier. The rewrites are making it a better book (they better be) The danger now is that finishing my memoir feels impossible, because knowing how much I’ve learned so far, I know that I still have so much more to learn, so I might keep rewriting until I’m 100.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.- Walt Disney

Trying to convince myself I agree with Walt Disney’s idea of fun …

Thankful Thursday – Post 7

Having lived in southeast PA my whole life, these fall colors say Thanksgiving to me.

I took this picture on a local trail. It’s not quite as colorful anymore and more leaves have fallen down. But I keep looking at it to relive the scene. I like how the path disappears into the trees … making me curious about what’s around the turn. The peace, beauty and possibilities of it fill me with gratitude.

Today, I’m thankful for the most important things in life … family, friends, love and health.

I’m also thankful for some not-so-important-but-still-great things … walking, running, my computer, books, healthy food, the internet, good coffee, salsa and reading glasses.

I’m also thankful for curiosity and hope … two things that I didn’t have for a time when dealing with depression.

May your Thanksgiving be as peaceful, beautiful and full of possibilities as this scene.

No Black Friday Shopping For Me

I love Black Friday … it’s my favorite day of the year to go shopping.
Crowds at The Epicurean - Queen Victoria Marketphoto © 2008 Alpha | more info (via: Wylio)

That is soooo not true …. I LIED!

Black Friday shopping is not my thing. I don’t like the chaos of the day. I know many that love it … for some it’s a special event with friends or sisters and I get that, but I won’t be fighting the crowds.

It’s not that I don’t like to get up early … I’m awake by 5 most mornings, but if I’m up early, I’d rather run, read or write.

It’s not that I never go shopping … but I only shop when I need something. I go in, find it and I’m done. And I often shop online.

It’s not that I don’t like a bargain … come on, I’m Pennsylvania Dutch, how can I not be frugal? Disclaimer: That frugality did get me out early on black Friday one year when the boys were younger. Walmart had a super price on a freestanding basketball hoop at 5AM … so I went, bought it and left.

Most years, we limit our Christmas gifts for our boys and others. We buy a few small gifts for the boys (there needs to be something to open on Christmas morning) and instead focus on creating experiences … museums, zoos, parks, travel, etc.

Experience ideas for kids are almost endless … and can be fairly inexpensive. Gather brochures from your local tourist welcome centers and take advantage of off-peak pricing.

For adults … try classes for specific interests, plan a day trip or event tickets for concerts/speakers. (if you don’t want to be killed, you might want to stay away from self-help type gifts unless someone specifically asks for it)

Have you ever given an experience as a gift? And how did the recipient like it?

Posted in Personal

Surgery Procedure

Hi, my name is Janet and I’ve had many surgeries.

These are not surgeries I chose to have … It is what it is.

Since I’ve had so many surgeries, both as a patient in a hospital and as an out-patient, I figured I should share the routine with the world. (this is for outpatient surgery, if a patient at a hospital, you can omit steps #1 to #6)

Hopefully you will never need to follow it.

  1. Go to the hospital.
  2. Find the outpatient surgical unit.
  3. Find your free-parking-day-pass in the middle of the zillion papers they gave you pre-op.
  4. Enter the building. Find a desk.
  5. Give your name and birthdate.
  6. Checkin at Admissions.
  7. Give your name and birthdate.
  8. Sign a bazillion papers.
  9. Go to the surgery waiting room.
  10. Give your name and birthdate.
  11. Take a seat and wait.
  12. Wait.
  13. Watch a morning show you could care less about.
  14. Wait.
  15. It’s a miracle — your name is called.
  16. Go into the examining room.
  17. Give your name and birthdate.
  18. Strip and put on an adorable gown.
  19. Lie on a gurney.
  20. Give your name and birthdate.
  21. Ask for another blanket, apparently the-powers-that-be like to feel as if they live at the North Pole.
  22. Be wheeled to the holding area.
  23. Give your name and birthdate.
  24. Answer some questions.
  25. Be prepped for surgery.
  26. Wait.
  27. Wait.
  28. Think of ways to escape.
  29. Wait.
  30. It’s another miracle – your name is called again.
  31. Be wheeled into the operating room.
  32. Give your name and birthdate.
  33. Smile as the black mask (that takes you to n0-pain land) is lower on your face.

Have you had surgery? What did I miss in this all-too-fun-routine?

Fun or Stress During the Holidays

Over the years, I’ve heard many people comment how glad they are when the holidays are over. It’s sad when the season that we say is about gratitude, love, hope and sharing becomes so stressful that we are happier when it’s over than during it.

I’m not particularly fond of this crazy holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I love parties, fun and celebrating, but I enjoy my friend’s annual party in February as much (if not more) then most of the holiday parties, because not much else happens in February.

I like the idea behind Thanksgiving, but won’t it be better if we didn’t stuff all our thankfulness into one day … while at the same time stuffing ourselves with too much food?

And I’m all for celebrating the love Jesus stands for… but not in a stressful way, rather in a love-your-neighbor kind of way. And not just one day of the year.

My less is more attitude towards the holidays has been developing for about a decade now and especially after my accident. When injuries prevent you from doing much … guess what, you don’t do much.

So how do I do holidays with less? I don’t do things just because everyone else does. Or out of guilt (btw … where’s that guilt coming from?)

Decorating … yes, but minimal.

Baking cookies … some years I do it, some years I don’t.

Christmas tree … a few different years we didn’t have a tree. Either we were tight on money, time or both. (one year we moved on 12/28) It made the tree more meaningful the following year.

Shopping … ugh! We only do minimal gift-giving. One advantage of having a traditional Mennonite family, they aren’t big on gift-giving.

So take a few deep breaths and think about what really matters to you and what doesn’t. What can you reasonably accomplish without blowing your budget or sacrificing your own health … by staying up late, eating lousy and/or not exercising?

What are you feeling as you think of the month ahead?

Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 6

Today I’m thankful for …

  • a good editor
  • low motel rates
  • the beach
  • the sun

As I mentioned here, I hired an editor to review my memoir. Her review was mixed … some praise for my writing and some suggested changes.

I’ve been at the Cape May, NJ beach since Monday by myself. (loving it!) I figured the uninterrupted time and walks/runs on the beach will help my creativity.

It’s been great (I think I should stay a month) I’ll be happy to see my gang, but I’m sad to head home this afternoon.

btw … one of the best things about being in a motel room by myself, I forget to eat.

Live showing on Wednesday, at 4:45PM

Going ….

Gone …

Back to work.

How’s your week been? And what are you thankful for?

From Almost Dead to Longboarding

Suddenly …
I realize this will not be as good
as I’ve convinced myself it will.
I hear words from the doctor …
bleeding, kidney, life-threatening!
I scream quietly for help —
give me strength and peace!
Rest of poem here

I wrote those words this past January after my 19-year old son fell while snowboarding. The impact ruptured his kidney and he almost bled to death. Thankfully he was near a premier trauma center and he received great medical care. Recap here.

He’s recovered well …. other than a long incision on his abdomen, he has no side affects from it. His need for speed has not diminished and he took up longboarding this summer and plans to be back on the snowboard this winter.

Now he has a chance of being seen during the Superbowl!

Joe’s in the white shirt. A few of his friends made this to enter into a contest for a commercial for Pepsi Max. (Voting is in January – I’m sure I’ll post details)

As I watch this and think about what could have been … I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m grateful for him, for bodies that recover and for great medical care.

And I’m even grateful for his endless desire to always live life fully alive and to the max. (Pepsi should like that)

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” – St. Irenaeus


Posted in Sunday Saying

Sunday Saying – Emotions

I watched this TED talk about emotions a few times after a friend posted it last night. (Thanks J!)

“We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the dark emotions like vulnerability, fear, etc. — we by default numb joy. We cannot selectively just numb the dark emotions.” – Brene’ Brown

I don’t care for the opening scene, but I like the rest of her talk.

Hoping I can learn from it … I need it for the next few days.

I will be rewriting/editing my memoir because my editor’s advice is to add more emotion to some of the scenes. (I agree with her, but am overwhelmed at the thought of doing it)

I’m locking myself in a motel room and trying to allow myself to feel every damn emotion I had in the past six years.

Gosh … I wonder if I’ll survive

Do you numb emotions? How?

And if you’ve learned not to numb your emotions, how did you do it?

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Time to Laugh – Creative Sentence

Funny! And interesting …

The captain of a freighter was notoriously strict. On one occasion the new first mate, whom he had just hired, became a bit too boisterous after hours, and the captain wrote in the ship’s log, “The first mate was drunk last night.”

The mate was an able, conscientious seaman, and he pleaded with the captain to strike this from the record. He had never been drunk before, he did his job faithfully, and he was off duty when the offense had happened. He begged for leniency, pointing out that such a record would cloud his whole future.

“I can’t help it,” the captain said. “You were drunk last night, and I can’t change the fact. The record must stand.”

Wounded, the mate returned to his duties, and he stood the watch that night without complaint. In the morning he wrote in the log, “The captain was sober last night.”

First this made me laugh … because he was clever and pulled one over his captain.

Then it made me wonder if there are any problems in my life that could be solved by a creative answer/action.

What about you … ever solved an issue with something creative and clever like this?

Posted in Thankful

Thankful Thursday – Post 5

During 2005 and 2006, I struggled with seeing anything good about life. I had almost lost my life and my leg in an accident and was having to learn to live with a new normal, which included things I did not want … pain, limitations and a deformed leg.

I was sad, angry and depressed.

Then a friend gave me this gratitude journal …

I was almost too miserable to be grateful for a gratitude journal … but I was grateful that my friend cared enough to give me a gift.

Writing or journaling anything at that time was too difficult for me, but answering the prompts in this journal wasn’t as overwhelming as facing a blank page.

At the time, I didn’t recognize how helpful the sequence of the prompts was. The first few prompts were easy and matter-of-fact. Though my world had turned upside down, I could answer what day/date it was. I felt success by that tiny step.



Today’s weather, news, events:

And more success! I could answer what the weather was. Then I’d add a sentence or two about the news and/or events of the day. Writing those sentences usually brought a feeling or two to the surface, so then I was ready for the next prompt … and so on.

Today I feel:

I am grateful for:

Spiritually, I feel:

People in my thoughts today:

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring and forgiveness):

For a better tomorrow (Goals, ideas, etc.):

Reflections / Notes:

As I look back through that journal, some pages are overflowing with words, others are blank and a few have a word or two scrawled across the page, ignoring all the prompts. Some of the writing is PG and some definitely is not.

I’m reminded of how valuable that journal was in my emotional and mental recovery — along with guidance from counselors and mentors (yes, both of those are plural, I needed lots of help)

So today as I thankful for …

~ Wise journal makers
~ Friends
~ Writing prompts
~ Pens
~ Counselors/Mentors

I’m thankful that I’m not depressed* like I was a few years ago, but now that I’ve typed out these prompts, I plan to use them in the coming months in a computer document as my journal. I’m putting a lot of time/energy/work into my goal of sharing hope through living, speaking and writing and I want to be intentional about being grateful during this time.

Your turn – what are you thankful for?

*If you are depressed, know you are not alone — or going crazy or bad for feeling the way you do! Talk to someone that will understand, a counselor, doctor, psychiatrist (maybe all three) Then go for a walk outside. Outdoor exercise has proven effective in fighting depressing, through professional research and my personal story.