Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Roses and Perspective

I received a lovely bouquet of roses for Mother's Day from our girls.  They were so pretty that even when they started to fade and wither I couldn't make myself throw them away.  The odd thing about them was that as long as you were across the room they still looked beautiful.  It was when you got close to them you could see that the petals were browning at the part next to the stem, and some of the petals were very withered.

One of the things that I cherish about this point in my life is perspective.  That ability to know that you've faced hard things before in your life and you made it through.  It's a gift.  It tells me that when great loss happens, there WILL be some compensating joy.  You CAN survive and better yet, THRIVE in spite of the hard things that you're facing.

I do tend to speak about this idea a lot.  For a reason.  If anyone is reading this, they may not need to hear this idea repeated.  I DO!  I never said that I was completely unselfish, I try to be unselfish, but I ALWAYS learn the most from the things that I teach, or write.  If you happen to gain something as well, that's awesome!

Have you ever had a "Terrible, awful, no good, very bad day?"  There is a delightful book and movie by that name.  It's about a young boy named Alexander.  His day went from bad to worse.  Yet along the way he gained some perspective.  He saw things in a creative method.

When your life is dark, and let's face it, we all will have dark days, try this visualization.  Imagine an enormous sink with a huge drain.  All your problems are represented by marbles.  Now you are going to take those problems and either one by one, or all at once, dump them down that big drain.  See how they are all sinking, going away, and you can't even see them anymore?  Doing this at bedtime is especially helpful.  I don't know about you, but my problems seem to grow enormous when I'm trying to go to sleep.  This exercise has been very helpful in giving me a peaceful mind to sleep with.

Speaking of sleep, I'm always amazed at the difference a good night's rest makes on my perspective.  I feel better able to face life, good, bad, or indifferent when my body has been renewed through rest.

Find yourself stuck?  You need a fresh idea, a creative solution, or just some new ideas?  Go for a walk, somewhere where you don't usually walk.  Dance...if you don't usually dance, even better.  Turn on some music that makes you laugh, or feel empowered and dance.  If anyone teases you, you will reply, "Come dance with me!"  Change...move closer or further away from the rut your mind wishes to stick in.

My dear Mama was far ahead of her time in parenting ideas.  For example, when my Brother was frustrated or angry, she sent him off to run.  When I was struggling she had me dance, or sing, or both.  Now we understand better that these physical activities create feel good endorphins, and serotonin.  When Mama was telling us about doing these things she just felt that we needed a positive outlet for our negative emotions.  I think that both are right.  Creating serotonin and endorphins DO help make a more positive outlet.  On the other hand, finding a positive outlet helps produce serotonin and endorphins!

A new day is fast approaching.  Today, do something fresh, different.  It can be as small as eating somewhere new and different for lunch.  Or making a new recipe for dinner.  Maybe you want to do something larger?  Dance with your honey, at home, or in a store, or where ever you happen to be.  Walk, hike, read poetry, go to a horse race (not to bet, just to watch the beauty of horses moving with a need for speed), drive you car on an old road where you need to go slow...roll all the windows down and let the wind whisk your hair into a frenzy.

On this new day, forget all the days that came before (except to remember that you thrived through hard before and you can do it again).  Then find a way to renew, rejoice, and rejuvenate.  I would LOVE to hear some of the ways that YOU seek renewal.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day to Remember...Boating?

What a glorious thing it is to remember the lives of those folks who lived and died before us.  My life has been enriched an infinite amount of times by learning about the history of PEOPLE on this planet.

In school I found History incredibly B...O...R...I...N...G.  I mean, come on, in the grand scheme of things who cares what YEAR Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  Well, actually the native peoples that he enslaved, tortured, and called "Indians," when he was nowhere near India, no doubt care, but that's a topic for a different day.

Once again, Memorial Day is approaching.  I have joyous memories of this holiday.  My parents would load up the trunk of our car with enormous containers filled with water and flowers they grew themselves.  They would weigh the containers down with rocks to keep them from spilling the water they contained.

Once we were laden with flowers, then Mama would pack our things...and I actually think that more than once I witnessed the kitchen sink joining our belongings!  OK, probably not, but really and truly, if we were left to survive on the things that Mama packed I think that we could have lasted at least a year.  Trust me, that's a conservative estimate.

Once the poor car was so filled that the tires were bulging, we would climb in, and off we would start.  I was much younger than my siblings (please remind them of that if you see them), and so I had many golden Memorial Day memories with just my parents after my siblings were married and creating their own Memorial Day wonders.  (We did the same Memorial Day wanderings before they were married.  I guess I was just too young to remember)?

The drive was punctuated by stops at family tombstones that led from Utah along a wandering path to Idaho.  We would sing together such notable hits as, "Old Grumbler is Dead and Laid Under the Ground," (it especially seemed appropriate on Memorial Day), "Oh the Moon Shines Tonight on Pretty Redwing," all the old family songs that we had sung all of my life as we drove hither and yon.  I'm serious in saying, I'm certain that I saw YON many, many times in our travels.

We would also play car games.  One involved looking for things on a list.  The list that I'm certain my parents had created.  You won immediately if you saw an outhouse with the door open, or a white horse.  It had to be completely and totally white, the horse, not the outhouse, what were you thinking?  Wink...sorry, you'll have to provide your own emoticon for the word wink.
As we wound down from those enjoyable activities my parents would tell me family stories.  One of my favorites was about Jane Tinto McKechnie Bee Hatch, (her name is so pretty).  She and her Mother were widowed at almost the same time in Scotland.  They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.  Their wish to be joined with others of their faith motivated them to leave all that was familiar.  They left their old life in the quest for a better life.

Janette (the Mama) married after arriving in Utah.  There were stories passed down through the family that it was not the happiest of marriages.  She was buried in a small cemetery.  Her grave was left for over a hundred years unmarked, unregistered.  My Mama's family organization discovered where she had been buried, and they all contributed to get her a tombstone.  That was one of the places we went each year. 

This was before I realized that the flowers we were placing carefully on each grave that we visited were only symbols.  Important symbols, to be sure, but symbols.  My parents lovingly gardened.  Our enormous garden was their happy place.  They had planted, nurtured, and witnessed the growth of each and every bloom.  Those flowers meant far more to them than any carefully arranged flower shop creation ever could.

Remembrance was the symbol of these flowers.  My parents taught me that each of us has a backstory, a heritage that must be remembered.  It's not about being stuck in the past, especially if your past has more negative than positive.  It's about using the past as an example, a template to guide our lives in the present.

These two intrepid grannies of mine, (back to the story) left their past homeland, heritage, and traditions, to carve out a new future for themselves and their children.  Literally, because of them, and their children, entirely new settlements were carved out, places where many reap the blessings of their sacrifice.

I always felt closely connected to Jane Tinto McKechnie Bee Hatch.  I love the rich Scottish march of her surnames, and the stories that they tell.

I often dreamed of traveling to Scotland.  I wanted to be physically in the place and space where she spent the first portion of her life.  My husband, and our two adult children traveled there.  We sat on a bench and ate lunch.  The area around the bench had not changed much in two hundred years.  The same rowhouses were behind us.  The same lovely church was in front of us.  In my unlimited imagination, she were there to meet us.  I could imagine her speaking with her Scottish accent.

Why is Memorial Day important?  It's a lovely thing to have a paid vacation.  I believe most folks these days see it as another day to boat, hike, bike, any and all of which are worthwhile occupations.  Maybe, just maybe, as you take your family to bike, hike, etc. you could tell them stories.  The very best types of stories, the stories about who they came from, and what the ancestor's life experience taught them.

Passing our heritage along to the next generation may lend them a source or serenity in times of conflict and trial.  We all need examples.  Inspiration from examples of the past can enrich our lives.  Even when the examples are negative (there is a reason for that skeletons in the closet phrase), we can see that we wish to do better, be better!

You don't need to literally decorate the tombstones of your family.  I believe that they wish to be remembered and don't really care where you perform that activity.  I realize that in today's fast paced, technology driven lives it can be easy to overlook remembrance.  Maybe, just maybe you can sneak one story in while your teenagers are stuck in a boat, and can't escape to their bedrooms, or their technology.  I believe that those beloved folks who lived and died before us, those same people that often sacrificed so much for their families, are watching US.  They are witnessing what we are doing with this precious time that we call life.

One last story.  When we moved to Portland, Memorial Day made me very sad.  We were not near enough to drive to any of he cemeteries that I had visited with my parents in the past.  I had wanted to pass on my parents tradition of remembering all those loved ones who had passed away.

Then the inspiration hit!  We could adopt a grave.  In the 19th century people were buried in cemeteries with no maintenance performed except by the family members.  Literally, Memorial Day was used as a day to clean and improve graveyards where your loved ones were buried.  I remember in my childhood going to the small cemetery of my paternal grandparents.  It was a party.  People would come in the morning, and decorate their family plots.  They would bring cookies, or lemonade, sandwiches galore, potato salad, all types of delicious foods.  The family would stay all day connecting with loved ones as they came to honor their dead.  It was a grand family reunion.

I believe that each and every human born on this planet is connected.  I believe that we are brothers and sisters.  With this philosophy, we adopted a grave that seemed to be particularly neglected.  One tombstone we literally had to dig up out of the earth each and every year.  It was the humblest stone that I had ever witnessed.  It was made from some sort of heavy aluminum.  An electric pen was used to scratch the name and dates.  Helen Klaypacz.  She was in the humblest part of the graveyard.  There was a section where people were buried when they had no family, and no resources.  Helen was in this section.  Year after year, we would again dig her tombstone up, up, out of the thick Oregon peat.

Why?  Why did we care about a total stranger?  She wasn't a total stranger to us.  She became family as we lovingly cared for this final resting place of her earthly life.  I don't know if our girls learned from this simple activity.  I DID!  I learned how important it is to remember the lives of others.  I learned that this type of simple service created a special feeling of love in my heart.

 In the Old Testament in the Bible a prophet named Malachi spoke of a time when he would, "Turn the hearts of the children to their Father's, and the hearts of the Father's to the children..."  Connection, remembrance, memorial, all these words are important, but especially on Memorial Day. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

To Life L'Chaim

I wish to initially clarify what I mean when I speak of happiness, or joy.  I am not discussing the transitory nature of fun, or pleasure.  To me, happiness and joy are on a deeper life level.  There actually IS the possibility that you can be happy in the most difficult of circumstance.   

Greatness isn't about being born with privilege.  Greatness is about doing the best you possibly can with the life that you've been given.  My friend George Watanabe's quote, paraphrased a bit by me.

These words have been ringing through my soul.  I already knew that greatness was not necessarily shown by a splendid house, fancy cars, and designer clothes.  An example?  My youngest daughter was in the restroom at her middle school.  Two other girls came in.  One was complaining to the other, "My clothes are not all the same designer!  My Mother didn't get all of them washed in time!"

My girl was amazed. Her life had been a little different.  Most of her clothing had come from thrift stores (proudly so), clearance sales, and hand me downs.  There were rarely any "designer labels," in her wardrobe.  She was totally puzzled by the foolishness of these girls worrying that their underwear were a different designer label than her outerwear.  She later said to me, "Nobody should even be seeing your underwear!  Who cares what label is on it!"

I'm NOT saying that it is evil to have money.  Great wealth can bless ever so many lives in ever so many ways!  Think of Bill Gates and his lovely wife.  They have put millions of dollars into the world.  They are firm believers in giving back.

I also believe that with great money and resources there should be a higher level of responsibility in how those assets are used.  I realize that defining this can be very tricky.  With wealth often comes lots, and lots of people with their hands outstretched.  I think most people have heard horror stories about lottery winners and how they are bombarded by requests for sharing the wealth.

I honor some of those that chose their financial blessings as ways to help their entire family.  Celine Dion is a grand example of that.  She was born into a very large family.  As her career sky rocketed she shared with siblings, nieces, and nephews.  Her success translated immediately with love into blessings for her family.

A debate goes on, does money create happiness?  There are ever so many examples of wealthy people killing themselves, or leading absolutely miserable lives.  Wealthy folks with young children worry about kidnapping of those precious children, think about the son of Charles Lindberg.  The father was a famous airplane pilot that flew around the world.  He was the first to achieve that goal.  When his son was kidnapped and then found killed, none of that wealth could comfort him.

On the other hand, is poverty the answer for happiness?  Surely not.  There are far too many people who can't afford to feed themselves, or their children.  In my own life I have felt the fear of not knowing if I can pay my bills. In those times I was aware that I could face many negative consequences due to that lack.

What IS the source of happiness in life?  Is there only one source?  I believe that there are as many sources of happiness as there are people.

Being able to dance brings me great happiness.  I live with invisible disability.  Nobody can see the damage from the tip of my neck to the base of my tailbone.  Pain can't be seen unless you know what to look for.  I was a dancer in my youth.  Being able to dance again is a huge blessing to me.

The greatest source of my happiness is my faith in God.  Believing that there IS a purpose to this life, and that there is a Creator who created this world for us, brings me joy.

I had a neighbor that was a psychologist.  She chose to work with children that suffered with post traumatic stress disorder.  She saw the worst of the worst, children who had faced horrors of abuse and neglect.  Her belief was that there was no God, no purpose in our suffering, sorrow faced is random, and death is the end of existence.  Her way was obviously not my way.  Yet I validate her choice as giving her sense in the senseless.  The sense to her was that life is completely random, and we needed to make the most of our lives because there was nothing more.

Am I right, is she wrong?  It does NOT matter.  What matters is how we find our way through the twisting, turning, confusing maze that life is from time to time.  Both of us had systems that worked for us.

I am NEVER saying that causing harm to others, or choosing addictive behaviors of any type, sex, food, drugs, etc. are appropriate answers to life's difficulties.  Using these behaviors will NEVER lead to happiness.  They may bring transitory pleasure, but that pleasure will quickly be followed by consequence and sorrow.

Today, this very moment as you read this post, make a goal for yourself.  Life is busy.  Do not choose to make that an excuse not to take my challenge.  We all have twenty-four hours.  We all have the choice to fill them as we see fit.  So squeeze out a few minutes.  This is the challenge, take half an hour and do what brings you genuine, healthy, joy.  If that means being with your children, or husband, or other family or friends.  If that means going on a walk, or hike, do it.  Maybe your happiness comes in serving others, or reading a very good book.  You may be surprised how one half hour, thirty short minutes of happiness can change your entire outlook.  Squeeze in TODAY moments of pure happiness.

This life is so very precious.  It is also fragile.  I have had the honor of being present as caregiver to dear friends and family as they made their journey into death.  It never fails to amaze me that one moment we're alive, and then we're not.  Well not in the same way that is.  Use the fragility of life to motivate you to stretch, challenge, and improve, TODAY!   

The Cruel War is Raging!

I should explain that I am NOT anti soldiers!  I am grateful and proud of the men and women that serve in this way.  I'm also incredibly grateful for the strong women and men they leave behind.  My own Father was a veteran of World War II.  He was incredibly proud of the service he performed for his country.  On the other hand he did NOT wish to talk about the hand to hand combat, the friends that he saw shot, or blown up.  He wrote home in a letter, "Well, I have now seen war.  It is not something that I wish to talk about..."  The American flag meant something intrinsic and sacred to him.  It represented all of the lives of young men and women who died or were injured in war. 

To me, it seems that war is endless, and the lives of the soldiers, and their families are collateral damage.  

Each and every generation has war songs!  I am familiar only with the American variety, but I know that each and every land on the globe has their own war songs.  You know the songs, Civil War, "The Cruel War is Raging, Johnny has to go, how I want to go with him, no my love no..."

Every time that I have heard this song I envision a young woman singing.  In the American Civil War there were also older women singing.  These women might have six, seven, oh so many children at home, AND a farm to keep running.  Can you imagine with me how many women were sobbing into their pillows at night, trying to keep their fear and sorrow from their children?

War seems to have an initial appeal to young men.  Something about the strategy, the sense of protecting and serving.  I think that there should be one war when we only send the old men...the politicians behind the war.  Let's leave the young men behind to create a new generation.  If the old men have to fight...will war still be the answer?

There IS legitimate reason for war.  Battle should be in the situation where our homes, our faith, our people have been attacked.  Even then, shouldn't there be a better answer? 

Moving on to other American fight songs.  World War I brought, "Over there," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me," and other songs for marching, and fighting.

World War II had music, the Korean Conflict had music, the war in Vietnam had songs.  It seems as though every conflict that we face creates music.  "Billy Don't be a Hero," "Soldier Boy Oh My Little Soldier Boy,"  and one that gets my blood pumping, "War...What Is It Good For...."

There has not been a single moment in time in my entire life when there is nobody, in no land, in anywhere on the globe that is not fighting, and causing people to die.  I'M SICK OF IT!  Can't we finally now realize that war does NOT create peace?  That idea is ludicrous!  It's like the foolish idea of my childhood when one sibling punches the other sibling and the parent spanks them for hitting their sibling.  Or, "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about!"

I placed a video on Youtube, CJ Smith, Where Have all the Flowers Gone.  It was originally sung by "Peter, Paul, and Mary."  The lyrics take us on journey of a circle.  It's a circle that I'm very familiar with, and oh how I wish that I could see it STOP in my lifetime!

There is one simple thing that we CAN do.  Let's teach our children how to focus on things that we have in common with others.  Let's STOP focusing on our differences.  Let's teach the newest generation ways and means to problem solve and negotiate, instead of choosing conflict as our first choice.  Wouldn't it be marvelous if we could create peace, even if it was just in our own sphere! 

I will end with a quote that has changed my life.  There was a time in my life when I was completely unable to do more than care for our children, and my husband.  The house work often did not get done, and I wasn't able to connect with family and friends beyond my little sphere.

One day I received a card in the mail from a friend. In the card was a bookmark, and this is what it said, "When you can't make waves, MAKE RIPPLES."  That's right, ripples, tiny, smooth water reactions to stimulus.  The ripples do NOT stay tiny.  No they spread outward, growing, and continuing out to the edge of the body of water.

Today, let's do our best to make those ripples.  When we are tempted to judge others harshly, or to quarrel with anyone in our families, let's make a conscientious choice for peace.  If we must communicate about issues that are controversial, let's do our best to take the emotional heat out of the discussion.

Let's not ever make the mistake of blaming our soldiers for the conflict in the world.  I respect and honor the contributions of our soldiers.  I would just wish that those old men that I spoke about before could work to find better solutions.     

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Woman's Day!

Once a year there is a special day.  It's a day that was declared long ago for the purpose of paying tribute to our Mother's.  I was blessed with an amazing Mother.  She not only loved and nurtured her three biological children.  She fostered many that came from hard homes and needed a caring adult in their lives.

On the other hand, I remember sitting in Mother's Day meetings at church as a young single adult, with no children.  I watched as so many other women my age received a tribute gift, such as a plant, a nice recording, or a small book.

One year I taught Sunday School to ten darling little eight-year-olds.  I sat in the front of the chapel with them on Mother's Day.  They all sang a song to their Mother's and then came back and sat down with me.

When all of the congregant Mother's stood up to receive tribute gifts, a lovely little girl pulled on my arm.  "Stand up.  Why aren't you standing up?"

I whispered, "I'm not a Mother.  I don't have any children."

She whispered back, in a fairly loud whisper.  "You're like a Mother!  Stand up!"

Mostly to quiet the loving child I stood up.  I then felt ever so conspicuous as many questioning eyes turned my direction.  I felt as though I was being judged, "You haven't any children!  Why should you get recognized?"

In the years since I've come to recognize that the only one worrying about that was me.  One of my favorite quotes has become, "What others think of you, is none of your business."  Phew, what a relief.  All of those years that I let others color MY self view, what a waste.  I'm going to try my best to not let that happen anymore.  (Unless, of course, it's a very nice point of view)!

The first year that I was a Mother, everything changed, well for me.  It didn't change for so many other dear women that I knew that never had the opportunity to give birth in this life.  I have friends who do NOT attend church on Mother's Day because it makes them feel less than.  It makes them feel as though somehow something that they did or did not do precluded them from this privilege.  There are women who never married, and there are women who married but can't give birth.

To all of the beloved women in my life, my Mother, Mother-in law, Grandma's, Aunts, Friends, Sisters, Daughters, and oh so many, many wonderful Women in my life, THANK YOU!  Thank you for teaching me that you can be a Mom without giving birth.  Thank you to those who have nurtured me with the tender love of a Mother when my own Mom's (I count my husband's Mom as one of mine) can't be here physically.

Thank you so many beloved women for teaching me that life is not about what you haven't got!  It's about remembering each and every one of the blessings that you HAVE!  It's ever so easy to focus on the negatives in life, which we all have, and much harder to sharpen our focus to the positives, which we all have.

So today, I will rejoice in the joy of being a Woman with all of the possible attending roles, a Mother, Daughter, Sister, Sister-in law, Friend, Grand-daughter, and on and on.  There will always be people who need nurturing love. In the end it truly is a grand blessing to have others to love, whether or not you gave birth to them, or they gave birth to you.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Remember the Song?

"Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes.  Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose."  This is a song that I learned as a child.  As you sing this simple song you do the actions.  You touch each part of the anatomy that it is referencing.  You sing it faster, and faster.  I never lasted very long.  Quickly I would be touching my toes when referring to my eyes, or touching my nose when I should be touching my mouth.  As an adult teaching this fun little ditty to children, I'm even worse.  That is a good thing for the kiddies as they laugh hard watching me flail about!

As a soon to be sixty year old woman I have learned a different version of this song.  I preferred the original edition.  In the version for folks fifty and older, when they sing, "Heads," they are possibly thinking how much they miss those remarkable abilities to think clearly, and memorize without a pause.

Shoulders?  I know of at least four adults in my circle of friends that have had one or both replaced.

Knees?  Oh that one is ever so personal for me.  A little story will explain.  I have had severe, grinding pain in my knees for at least a decade.  I had issues before that, but the pain was always temporary.  I went to a Orthopedic Physician's Assistant to see what was causing my severe pain.

Solemnly he walked into the room.  He snapped an x-ray onto a lighted surface. Pointing to my knees he said matter-of-factly, "You have TERRIBLE knees!"

I felt like replying, "Thank you, yours aren't very pretty either."  (Sarcasm is often my minds way of dealing with difficult things).

He pointed to my right knee.  On the left side here, the joint is bone on bone.  It's wearing the bone down in your lower leg.  Your left knee is not quite as bad, but only because your right one is the worst of the two.  You need both of them replaced, and as soon as possible.  If you don't have the right knee replaced soon it will become more and more difficult to do the procedure."

As I picked my jaw up off the floor, (I was NOT expecting such dire news), I told him that I needed to go to another clinic because I had found out that my insurance did not cover this clinic as well as they would another clinic.  Sigh...medicine by insurance, how did we let that happen?

Off I whisked to another clinic.  This doctor echoed the first clinician's diagnosis.  On the other hand, he gave me a tutorial of knees, how they are supposed to function, and what surgery is supposed to do.

I called my insurance to figure out how to get the surgery done.  Imagine my sorrow when I was informed that they would only cover 80% of the surgery.  Granted, it's a good thing to get at least 80% coverage for major surgery.  The surgery can cost $10,000.00 or more.  It's a bad thing when you're disabled and living on a teeny, tiny disability income.

I live in a charming home, with two sets of stairs.  The stairs are a great blessing/curse.  They are a blessing because they help me keep the muscles in the knees working and functional.  The curse is because sometimes I can barely drag my TERRIBLE knees up and down.

Does anyone out there in cyber land know an orthopedic surgeon that would be willing to replace my knees for the payment from insurance?  It has been two years since my negative knee diagnosis.  My knees have NOT improved.  I manage to keep going by virtue of various types of pain management.  There is the alternative route, a topical rub that is made of essential oils, it's called Deep Blue.  Deep Blue is undeniably helpful.  Then there are lidocaine patches that literally numb the pain.

These tools are useful but they do not heal the wound.  I know for a fact that pain has a purpose, a value.  Pain is our bodies way of telling us to "Fix it!"  If you have a terrible toothache, it is probably due to a decaying tooth.  If you sprain your ankle it will hurt.  Again your brain sends the same message, "Fix it!"

If you are unable to address the issue under the pain...as it lingers on, and on, more damage is caused.  If you tear a ligament, or damage other soft tissue, it will continue to hurt, but the pain will become damaging to not only your wound, but the rest of your body.  Fibromyalgia, and arthritis join the choir, and soon the pain issues are not only in your knee but may impact your internal organs, and cause more damage, which cause more pain, etc. etc.  The worst type of cycle!

Back to the simple song.  My childhood had periods of absolute wonder.  I often marveled at our bodies and the many, many functions they perform at any given moment in time.

The wonder has changed.  Oh I still think the human body is a marvel, but degeneration, also known as ageing, and chronic pain have changed my perspective.

I do not wish to end on a negative note.  I am grateful every single day for the wonders of modern medicine, and the blending of western medicine combined with alternative medicine.  Our bodies are remarkable, and when they have problems, there ARE ways to address the problems.  "Heads, shoulders, knees, and toes...I'm so grateful to have all of these parts!