September 1, 2006

Try as I might, I just can't seem to keep the fast flying days together. I try...I really do. I keep a calendar of the month by my computer, and put dates on it regularly. Sharon creates my calendar for me, and already has many appointments and holidays typed on the various days. Beside that calendar, I have a daily calendar that I can check to remind me what day it is. To know today's date, all I have to do is go to my computer or newspaper and right there it is.In spite of all this wealth of dates available to me, shortly after looking or being told, I still have no idea what date it is.

In spite of all these reminders at my finger tips, mistakes are made, appointments are forgot and times are confused.

I was thinking of a meeting we had at church recently. From the church newsletter, I noted that it was to be held the fourth Tuesday morning of every month. I transferred that bit of information to my monthly calendar and went on to other things.

Last Tuesday morning, Sharon and I got up early and went to our church for the scheduled meeting. We arrived a few minutes early. We announced to the church Secretary that we were there for the meeting and was shown to the room where we would meet. She mentioned telling the pastor that we were there for the meeting.

Well, the time came and went for the meeting. There was still only Sharon and I sitting there. As we sat there and no one else came, I was beginning to think all sorts of things like how can everyone be late besides us and where were the leaders of the meeting?

Not long after the pastor came in and began some small talk with us. After a little, with some laughter to put us at ease, we were told that we had come for the meeting a week early. Lots of laughs.

After returning home, I rechecked my calendar and found that indeed, I had written down the meeting for a week early. I remarked the calendar, paying a little closer attention this time. An honest mistake had been made. Let's see how we do on this meeting next week. Lots of laughs.

September 2, 2006

Over my computer is a hand made sign by me that says," Happy? You bet I'm happy." If you want to know if I'm happy, just ask my wife, Sharon. She'll tell you that I'm happy.

I was just thinking about my life. It has been a good life. I have had my ups and downs like everyone else. But through it all, some how I knew that it would be OK.

Remember the old childhood stories that ended with, "and they lived happily ever after?"

I'm now 61 years old. I have dementia etc, and etc, and etc. To count the medications I take, takes time, lots of time and I don't even like to take medication. There are quite a few of them including vitamins and minerals. Some may feel that there's no way someone with dementia can be happy.

Perhaps it is in what we call happiness? What it means to me may be different from what it means to you.

Leo Buscaglia said that "what we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose."

To me, happiness is a choice I make.

Margaret Bonnano said, "it is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."

A choice I make each day, this happiness thing. But doesn't it depend on our circumstances? Martha Washington said, "The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances."

Other than the dictionary definition, what is happiness then? Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "to fill the hour - that is happiness." Now, I have to say that I agree with Mr. Emerson.

September 3, 2006

Emails...I get lots of emails. I bet you do to. Some I've ask for and some I haven't. I'm always excited when I hear from family or an old friend. At times the email is an answer to a question I've ask on one of the computer email communities I belong to. At other times I get a response to my daily journal. Then there's those emails that come because I'm on someone's address book. Many are of the religious of inspirational type. Some are just plain funny. Some are educational and some are just plain strange. Some of my emails are from salesmen. Who knows how they got my email address. On occasion some offer porno to me. What nerve. Then there are the chain letters.

Some of the emails are of a nature that I would want to pass on to another friend, but they have to go an include a message on the bottom. Send this to so many people and you will receive a prize, you will have good luck, you will be blessed or prayers will be answered. God will smile upon you but don't forget to send it back to me and so many others and please don't break this chain.

I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings here, but I don't believe in good luck or bad luck. I don't believe that I will earn God's favor, blessing or answered prayer if I send the email on to it to other people, or will have the opposite results if I fail to send it to someone. I refuse to send these on to others. I just can't make myself want to do it. So I make the decision not to. But there are many of my emails that I keep and reread. There are others that I want to send on to others. Some I want to respond to. Then there are those I just chose to delete. It's a choice I make.

I believe not in luck or chance, but in divine intervention, acts of a loving and caring Father if I deserve it or not. If I ask for it or not. If I'm good or bad. If I send a chain letter along to other's or not. What I do has nothing to do with God's favor. Now if I believe, trust and have faith, it does make a difference in many things that happen to me, but even if I didn't believe, God would still love me and provide blessings for me as a member of the human family.

As we say together as a congregation at church many times. "God is good..all the time God is good."

September 4, 2006

I am a member of my employees retirement system and just cast my vote by mail for a candidate running for a term as elected Retiree Representative. There are two running. I had a small personal bio on each of them to make up my mind on which one I would vote for. Not much information was given to inform one of why they should vote for them. I'm sending it four days early to make sure it gets counted. I'm running a little behind on this. I've had the given information for some time but I procrastinate a lot. Know what I mean?

I think it's important for me to let my voice be heard. I no that it doesn't always count, and that in fact, the will of the people, we the people, is often ignored in this country. Still, I won't give up trying and will at least participate in elections.

My next time for voting is in November. Both Sharon and I even after preparing to vote for pre election, were busy and totally forgot to vote. I felt bad about it.

Again this year there is a big debate over our votes being counted or not. It's a shame that in America of all places, this has to be an issue. I'm sure that many other countries have the same problem. For many elections now, questions have been ask if the votes were counted after the race was over. This time around, this important question is being ask across America not very long before the elections. Makes one feel real comfortable, doesn't it? I'm presently studying the issues and candidates running for office. It takes me some time to get all that is needed for a decision to be made. Information is not always readily available. I'm being told by the religious right how I should vote and by the left also. Haven't heard much from the Independents. I chose to vote by looking at the voting record more than the words of a candidate. I also want to know who supports the person and last but not least, what they say about themselves and what they plan on doing. This gives me something to go by before placing my vote. Party affiliation doesn't always tell the whole story. As one with dementia, I must work at it more than perhaps some others in voting my heart and conscience. There are those who feel that we should not vote. I disagree strongly. I feel that a time may come when I should not vote but no laws are needed in this area. As long as my conscience will allow me to prepare to vote and then for me to follow through on my own to vote, I chose to vote. It's a right I will not give up easily.

I not only vote but I write. Last night I sent an email to my state representative. Each day I read my local newspaper, I check out the news on my computer and I watch the evening news on my TV set. This way I feel I have a little more well rounded view of the news. I realize that many TV stations and newspapers are slanted either for the right or left. One has to read between the lines and get all sides before forming a viewpoint. I think it makes common sense to know all sides involved. There are many ways to makes one's views and feelings known. The older I get, the more I understand why voting turn out is so low in our country.

Now, I don't understand or remember all that I hear or read. Not at all. But even with dementia, I understand that I am still ahead of most voters. Go figure. The will along with gray matter is what counts. I may lack in one area but not in will. I don't think I'm strong willed. My Dad use to say for us to stick with it like a burr on a horses tail. You may have heard the saying. Goes way back. Well, the stick to it that Dad talked about is what I have a good case of. Lots of laughs.

I have to admit there are days when I'm not up to staying in tune with the world that surrounds me. There are times I'm overwhelmed, at times angered, frustrated and at times in disbelief as to how our world turns. Still, one voice does make a difference and as long as I have a voice, it will keep on...keeping on, attempting to make a difference in my relationships, community and my world.

September 5, 2006

I was thinking about my friends down through the years. Friends I've had, friends that I still have and friends that for some reason have disappeared along my journey in life.

My best friend through high school was Dale Morton. He was a good buddy. When we graduated, we went are own way and lost touch with each other. I tried to find Dale's name and address over the years but didn't seem to be able to. I found a lot of Dale's with the same last name but none of them seemed to be in the state where we both grew up. To further my frustration, there were many individuals across America with the same name.

Within the last year, I received an email from a Dale Morton. It was my old buddy. I forget how he had found me but we've been catching up with each other ever since by email. Building on our old friendship.

I think family members can be friends. I have a lost niece and cousin I'd love to hear from. I have no idea how to reach them. The phone books and computer has led me down a dead end street. There are those in my family that I consider friends.

I still have lots of friends from the past, but ya know, I feel I can never have too many friends. I value friendships and try my best to do my part to keep them going.

There are individuals that you recognize when you meet them. Individuals that you know where they live or their first name. Acquaintances that you know a little about but a friend... a real friend...that's someone pretty special in my book.

I found some thought about friendship that I liked. Some are by anonymous individuals.

St. Jerome said "a friend is long sought, hardly found, and with difficulty kept."

Jim Morrison said that "a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

A friend is someone, who upon seeing another friend in intense pain, would rather be the one experiencing the pain than to have to watch their friend.

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.

One that I especially like is a friend is someone who knows all about you and yet still likes you.

September 6, 2006

I just received an advertisement in the mail on classes for social workers and other professionals called Childhood Development Disorders. Practical Strategies, Interventions and treatment. Back before I retired from my profession as social worker, I would get many advertisements from classes of all types that we could register for and attend. At that time, I would take benefit of many of these classes of interest for continued education and for the continuing education credits that I needed to keep my state social worker license current.

I have list after list of continued education classes that I took over the years from 1974 till after I was diagnosed with dementia in 1997, I've looked at the list and find it hard to believe that I took all those classes, but I did.

Nine years after I retired, I'm still getting advertisements of classes, although they have slowed down considerably. I wonder after I dye and go on to my reward if my wife, Sharon will still receive class advertisements for me. I have no doubt she will. Lots of laughs. She'll have a choice to make at that time. She can either pitch the junk mail or put a forwarding address on it.

September 7, 2006

I've been having difficulty with my breathing for some time now. When I recently went to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, a doctor noticed my difficulty and ordered a test for Sleep Apnea.

This is some time later now and I have had not just one breathing test but two. These are all nighters when one is observed closely for sleeping and breathing problems. It was observed that I stopped breathing many times during the night as I slept and also that I would move my legs a lot. The problem with stopping breathing can lead to many medical difficulties for me, the worst situation I could have would be death. I don't even want to go there. I'm too young yet and besides, there are many things I want to do and see yet. In addition to all that..Sharon and my family are not ready for me to leave yet.

These tests resulted in some breathing equipment along with a mask to be ordered and sent to my home for my use during the night.

The first few machines were such a pain to me that I couldn't wear them. I tried really did but they would blow air into my eyes, makes sores on my face as well as bruises. After some time, they usually would come off of my face. An action I was glad to do.

The diagnoses I was given was sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Medication takes care of my restless leg syndrome but I'm still fighting with the correct breathing equipment for the apnea. I don't remember how many I've gone through, giving them the best try I had in me, to no avail. They just didn't work for me.

As of this week I've been given a bi pap machine with hybrid mask that I am now using. So far I've been able to keep it on my face during the night and feel that I am having some good results with it. I hope this one works out. I'm getting tired out trying all these machine. It's making me not want bed time to arrive. First of all they are a pain for Sharon and I just to get on me which can be very unsettling for the both of us. Cross your fingers for me, please, that this equipment is the answer.

September 8, 2006

I was just thinking. Although I no longer carry my social worker or minister's license, I still have the deep desire to help other's and to see change. I have a desire to see peace and harmony. Not war, hate and disharmony. I desire to see reconciliation and healing. Restoration. As always I want to see needs of individuals met, whether they be spiritual, social, financial, racial, emotional problems, loneliness or physical problems.

I still have the heart of a minister and social worker. I feel no need bragging about it or explaining it and I'm certainly not complaining about it. Old ministers and social workers don't fade away, we keep at it, right up till the end. As long as there are needs in my world, I want to be working on them in some small way. I am only one of the multitudes of individuals around the globe that do the same thing, but I am one. There is strength in one or a group. We work for change. At times it's just a shoulder to lean on, a confidential friend, suggestions, seeds planted along the wayside, bringing other's into the situation, working with others outside of myself, a pat on the back, a hug, a smile, encouraging words or advice. There are times when it's a prayer, a thought or verse. Some times just a reminder. There are times that funds are needed for emergencies and needs

Some times I work on the streets, at times in the church, volunteering, just being there for someone and times at home. There are those times honestly when I work on myself. At times words are needed and at times silence is needed but at all times love is needed. Love and acceptance.

Why did I go into the ministry and into the field of social work? I wanted to change my world. I had that urge before I went into those professional fields, during those times and now after those times. There is still work for me to do. It may not be great or noticed, but there is still and always will be much to do. So many times it is little and unnoticed. I have my limitations with dementia, but I believe...I believe that little is much, when God is in it.

September 9, 2006

When I hear the clock alarm go off in the morning, different things enter my mind. In my dementia fog and without my first cup of coffee, with one eye open and the other one only partially open, I rise to meet the day.

Some times my first thought it time to get up already? Some times my thoughts are on what I have to do that morning. Many times I have no clue and then there are those moments of brilliance that almost catch me off guard. Normally it's getting myself to the alarm clock before it wakes up Sharon. Although the alarm is not loud, Sharon is a light sleeper. Then there are the times when I wake up thinking about Heaven and my God. I don't mention this to sound super spiritual. I'm not a holier than thou type of person. I feel I am a well rounded person, but I do have a spiritual side that is constantly with me. As I think of how many years I've had dementia and how many years I am supposed to live with the disease, I begin thinking about my next stage, my next home and all that goes with it. I enjoy this life and tend to think it is way too short at the best but when I begin thinking of what awaits me when I close my eyes for the last time, I can get a little homesick for my next home. More and more of my family and friends are already across the river waiting for me to cross over. I will miss my family and friends but they too one day will join me.
I was just thinking of what I wake up with on my mind. This morning it's Sunday. I do love the good Lord's day. I'll save that for another journal entry.

September 10, 2006

Grandparents Day was just celebrated. It's not given much attention here in America, it seems, but I think as a grandparent myself, we are a pretty unique group of individuals.

Now, my grandparents had died early in my life. Too early to remember with the exception of one. My grandmother, Nora Kauffman, whose picture sets in my living room.

Grandma, as I fondly called her would come and visit on occasion. She lived in a city some miles from us and couldn't drive. She was still working when I was young, but on occasion, a big Greyhound bus would stop on the highway that went right in front of where we were living and off would come my grandma, suitcase and all. After seeing this happen with my very own young eyes, every time the big bus stopped to let someone off the bus, I would begin loudly declaring that grandma was coming. For me, Greyhound bus meant grandma. Many times I had given a false alarm and it wasn't grandma at all but someone else who had used the bus. I'm sure I must have been disappointed.

Me and my grandma had a very special relationship. She would only stay a day or so, but in that time, I had plenty of time to tease her and she had time to get to know me. I use to love to untie her apron strings and run. Now, grandma had a good sense of humor and would pretend to chase me. I can almost hear of now, "If I get you, you little snot nose..." but grandma had little short legs and I could run fast and she never got me. Really, she never finished telling me what she would do with me if she caught me. It was a game we would play.

Grandma gave me lots of attention and love. She taught me how to laugh. She was a fun loving, free spirit that I miss to this day.

Grandparents can play an important part in the lives of their grandchildren. We can pray for, play with, laugh with, teach, be an example, talk with, give candy, and generally have a good time without the other duties that parents have with their kids.

For me, being a Grandpa is a joy. I hope my grandchildren remember having loving, caring grandparents who only wanted the best in life for them.

September 11, 2006

The morning of September 11, 200l was a morning of terror, of destruction and of death. A morning that would go down into world history and shake the cores of the time in which we live.

That morning 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners, crashed them into the World Trade Center, both towers, one into the Pentagon and another, into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania as passengers grappled with them.

19 Hijackers, 2, 973 individual perished and another 24 are missing but presumed killed as a result of the attacks.

My heart goes out in memory of those that perished that day and the lives of countless individuals that will never be the same due to their great loss. Who can really say why there is so much hatred in the world and really, always has been since the beginning of time. How can one human so hate another human that they would destroy both themselves and many others in the name of their God and for a cause? I am unable to understand such hatred and destruction.

Fanny Crosby, the great blind Gospel song writer of old penned these words. " Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast. There by His love o'ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest." Those that died during this great tragedy are home at last, safe in the arms of Jesus who loved them so.

September 12, 2006

Some parents or grandparents tell stories to their families. Some tell proverbs that have been passed onto them by their families.

Now a proverb is an old saying that tells something wise. An Icelandic Proverb says that "all old sayings have something in them."

One might have to think about it a little or do a little research on their own, but usually the thought sort of jumps out a ya.

I still can remember many of the Swiss proverbs my dad would say to us children. I am the youngest of five children, way on the tail end but I have an older sister, Anna, who can fill me in on some I've forgot or never heard from Dad, but she remembers hearing them. These are gems. I'm giving you a few of them here for your enjoyment.

Early to bed, early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
The squeaky wheel gets fixed. Weight broke the wagon down.
A stitch in time saves nine.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Birds of a feather, stick together.
A rolling stone gather's no moss.
Stick to it like a burr on a horse's tail.
Stick to it like a bulldog to a bone.
A watched pot will not boil.
Work together in all kinds of weather to see what can be done.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
Don't cry over spilled milk.

I guess I just got reminensing about those good old days

September 13, 2006

While I was thinking of Swiss proverbs I did a little research on the computer and found a few more proverbs.

When you shut one eye, you don't hear everything.
The poor lack much, but the greedy more.
Sometimes you have to be silent to be heard.
You learn through mistakes. No man was born a master.
When in doubt who will win, be neutral.
Marriage is a covered dish.
When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.
Write injuries in sand, kindness in marble.
The night rinses what the day has soaped.
It's easier to criticize than to do better.

While I don't know always what the proverbs mean for certain, many times I am given a clue. Although proverbs are Swiss, author is unknown.

September 14, 2006

Besides my Swiss ancestry, I have two other sides. That being German and English. I thought it might be nice to see what some of their old wise proverbs were. I discovered these on my computer while surfing the net. These are German Proverbs, author unknown.

Set a beggar on horse back, and he'll out ride the Devil.
The silent dog is the first to bite.
Who begins too much accomplishes little.
Begin to weave and God will give the thread.
To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.
God gives, but man must open his hand.
The wise man has long ears and a short tongue.
When the fox preaches, look to the geese.
To change, and change for the better are two different things.
One does evil enough when one does nothing good.
The eyes believe themselves; the ears believe other people.
God gives the nuts but He does not crack them.
He who would rule must hear and be deaf, see and be blind.
A lean agreement is better than a fat law suit.
Love your neighbor, but don't tear down your fences.
Never give advice unless asked.

Ah, that's enough to think about for one day.

September 15, 2006

My proverb list wouldn't be complete without a few proverbs from my English side of the family. Compiled from computer search. Author unknown. Here goes:

Advice is least heeded when most needed.
Beware of a man of one book.
Danger and delight grow on one stalk.
Do not be in a hurry to tie what you cannot untie.
Don't dig your own grave with your own knife and fork.
Don't fall before your pushed.
Every path has it's puddle.
The eyes are the windows of the soul.
First deserve and then desire.
A full cup must be carried steadily.
He who says what he likes will hear what he does not like.
In times of prosperity, friends will be plenty in times of adversity not one in twenty. In the morning be first up, and in the evening last to go to bed, for they that sleep catch no fish.
Let him make use of instinct who cannot make use of reason.
A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart, his next to escape the censures of the world.
Never fall out with your bread and butter.
Spread the table and contention will cease.
Use soft words and hard arguments.
They are not all saints that use holy water.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
He that does you a very ill turn will not forgive you.
The best throw of the dice is to throw them away.
There are toys for all ages.
Some men go through a forest and see no firewood.
Never put off tomorrow what may be done today.
No time like the present.
One father is more than a hundred school masters.
One of these days is none of these days.
Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.
Poor man seek meat for the stomach, rich man stomach for their meat.
Practice makes perfect.
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Set a thief to catch a thief.
Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a women and eight for a fool.

I hope I've wet your appetite for more proverbs perhaps from your own ancestry or passed down by family. I've enjoyed my little net surfing and just may do some more.

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