August 4, 2009

Can't BELIEVE how quickly time is passing!  This year has totally flown by at a rate that is alarming and just downright hard to believe.  It freaks me out!

My little Zoe got stung on the butt a couple of times last month.  Don't know what's going on with the wasps this year, but they are more aggressive than normal.  Plus, they are flying around in the grass in huge numbers...more than I have ever seen before.  The first time, Zoe started showing signs of having a mild allergic reaction to the sting.  The vet visit cost me over $100 and they basically gave her a shot of Benadryl.  So, the 2nd time it happened, not wanting to have to part with another $100+, I simply gave her a Benadryl, which seemed to do the trick!  But wouldn't you know it, the sting got infected, so I had to take her back to the vet and it cost even more than it did the first time.  It's a good thing I love her a lot, because otherwise...ah, what the heck, there is no otherwise.  I'm totally smitten by the silly little dog and I can't stand it when she's hurt or sick or in pain.  Sigh.

I want to share the following with you because this individual is important to me and I'm very concerned about her well-being.  I recently posted it on-line for my friends to read because of my concern.  If you would pray for her, it would be much appreciatedThank you in advance for taking the time to read this...and for caring...

In my (many) years upon this earth, I have encountered a lot of different people.  For the last 25 years, I have been responsible for the human resources function of several companies that varied in size from 100 to over 600 employees with locations all over the world.  I have interviewed thousands of individuals, counseled hundreds of employees and had a ton of “people contact” during the course of carrying out the various duties of my job.  I was also active in a local church for 14 years and have met and gotten to know a somewhat large group of people through that avenue.  While I can’t say I’m an expert, I have definitely had a rather extensive exposure to people.  During this time, I have encountered a relatively small number of individuals that I would label as “extraordinary;” this is out of the thousands I’ve talked with, gotten to know in some capacity and worked with.  Interviewing gives you a unique perspective and insight in this regard.  Truly, most of us are rather average, so when one is fortunate enough to meet someone who really stands out and is special, it’s evident fairly quickly and it really gets your attention. 

 Today, I wanted to tell you about one such extraordinary individual…someone who is truly remarkable and who is a person I greatly admire and respect.  Please let me introduce you to my friend, Ellen Payne Osborn.

 What is so special about Ellen?  Well, for one thing, we share a name (her first name is my middle name…it was my grandmother’s first name…another extraordinary individual…so the name has some positive vibes for me).  Ellen is intelligent, witty, funny, interesting and creative.  But beyond that, she is one of the most amazing people I have known because she fights for her life every single day and she does it with grace, strength and dignity in a way that totally astounds me.

Ellen has MS.  She has a very, very, very bad case of MS.  She takes more medication in one day…just to survive and manage the pain…than most of us will take in 5 years.  She is young; only in her 30’s.  She has had more surgeries than can be adequately comprehended and they have been very difficult, horrible, debilitating types of surgeries.  The kind where you lose more than you gain.  Where you have to try to adjust to a new and awful reality.  The kind that change your life in a not-so-good kind of way, but the only other option is to die, so you do what has to be done.  My heart has totally broken while praying for her and at times, I simply don’t know how she does all the amazing things she does, how she keeps fighting, how she keeps caring and laughing and crying and loving.  She is technically disabled, but doesn’t use that as an excuse to stop looking for the good in life or to stop being that good in life.  She squeezes good out of the worst situations; fights for happiness and enjoyment each day in spite of horrible and frightening odds.  And she wins!  She perseveres!  She conquers!

She has bad days.  Days when she needs to cry and scream and rant.  Days where she is down.  I understand this.  What amazes me is that those days are fairly infrequent.  Her positive attitude totally floors me and puts me to shame.  The strength of her character shines through even in her darkest moments.  She has every right to feel sorry for herself, to rage and question why this has happened to her.  Instead, she gives, she creates beauty, she writes inspiring stories, makes fun of her misadventures and minimizes her pain.  She keeps going.  With dignity and grace.  I seriously doubt most of us who know her have any concept of the depth and breadth of her struggles or of the battles she fights every day.  She makes it look so much easier than it really is.  And still, through it all, she reaches out to others.

 I have never had the opportunity to meet Ellen in person.  I got to know her when she wrote me a wonderful e-mail about the jewelry I create with silver, Swarovski crystal, gems and lampwork glass beads that I buy from various glass artists across the country.  Her note was so complimentary and encouraging, I was truly uplifted and blessed.  I responded and we started “talking” via e-mail until a solid friendship was formed.  I am much richer for knowing her.  I am humbled by her.  I am amazed at her.  I love her.  She is a dear and wonderful friend.  She has touched my life and has made me better for the touch.  She is one of those few truly extraordinary people I have had the good fortune to get to know and I am grateful beyond measure for her friendship.

 I’m writing today to introduce you to my exceptional friend, but I would also like to ask you to pray for Ellen.  I have a dim concept of how MS has ravaged her and how it wreaks havoc in her life.  It has stolen from her physically even as it has allowed her to shine mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  But the battle she fights each day to continue to live is a daunting battle, to say the least.  I don’t know if God will heal her, but that is my hope.  That is my prayer.  I certainly know He can.  Prayer never hurts…it always helps in some way.  So, please pray for Ellen’s healing.  Pray for her strength,her physical healing, her spiritual growth, her financial needs and for her emotional well-being.  Her needs are great; love is greater.  Pray that God would pour out His love in her life, in all areas, in all ways, touching her, healing her, blessing her, strengthening her, encouraging her, comforting her, holding her.  And if you would like to get to know her a little bit better, you can visit her blog at justplainellen.wordpress.com.  Additionally, if you would like to learn more about what she has done to raise money to fight MS, you can visit her cause “The Squirt Squad” on Facebook.  She has had a tremendous impact fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation in spite of the many obstacles her health presents in her life.  She is committed to making the world a better place for those around her and for those who will come after.  The light within her remains strong in spite of the pressing darkness.  She is truly a shining star…who may fall down, but who keeps getting back up over and over again and who always keeps dancing. 

 

August 11, 2009

Once again, time is slipping away from me.  Here's a funny I've been meaning to share.  Hope it gives you a chuckle! 

WOMEN WHO KNOW THEIR PLACE

Barbara Walters, of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to, and are happy to, maintain the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, 'Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?'

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, 'Land mines.'

~ Moral of the story is (no matter what language you speak or where you go):

BEHIND EVERY MAN, THERE'S A SMART WOMAN