Category Archives: personal experience article

And That’s Why the Cows were Out

Recently, I lost one of my closest friends to cancer; she was just a few years older than me and she fought a very brave battle for as long as she could. It was tough battle complicated by other health issues, that left her very weak and tired. I tried to be there for her but I will always feel that I should have done more. Because of her strong faith in Jesus, she was not afraid of death. She knew without a doubt that she was going to heaven. So, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, August 31, 2017 my friend Cindy B. passed away.

A certain scripture soon came to mind from John 14:2-3 where Jesus is speaking to his disciples, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go there to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will also come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.” So, in my heart I know, that very early Thursday morning, Jesus came by to take my friend Cindy B. to live in her new glorious home in heaven with the Lord Jesus.

Now memories of her flood my mind along with the image of her smile, the sound of her voice and her laughter. Also came to mind are favorite stories and special moments we have shared over the years of an enduring friendship. One story came to mind which I have decided to share. It is a peculiar tale that I have always remembered.

 Cindy and I had been friends for a long time: we had met at Hope Baptist Church in 1988 shortly after I had moved to the Mankato area to attend Mankato State University. Little did I know then that Cindy and I would be lifelong friends.  And we were more than friends, we also were sisters in Christ while attending the same church for years as we both continued to grow in our faith. Over the years we would sometimes go on little adventures. Cindy would say something like, “I want to get out of Mankato for a day.”

And being the agreeable friend that I was, I would respond, “Sure, where should we go?”

And so, began our little Sunday trips to Fairibault just to eat at the Golden Calf Corral.  They had a baked potato and salad buffet that we both enjoyed.  On one such bright Sunday after church, we once again headed to Fairibault. As we drove along the scenic country Highway 60, we suddenly became aware of cattle roaming about on both sides of the road. They clearly had escaped their fenced pasture.

Cindy was instantly worried, “Oh no, what should we do?”

“About the cows?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Cindy,” I responded, “I don’t know how to herd them back into the pen. And I certainly can’t do that alone.  I don’t even know where the fence may be broken or how to fix it. When the farmer sees his cattle out he will take care of them.”

This did nothing to subside Cindy’s concern about the wandering animals who continued to walk along the road and into some nearby fields munching away on tall blades of grass, “Well, at least we should tell the farmer.”

“As soon as the farmer looks out the window or comes outside to do chores, he will see that his cows are out and will herd them back into their pen.”

“We should still tell the farmer.”

“Ok, Cindy,” I answered with a hint of exasperation in my voice, “we’ll find the nearest farmhouse and tell the farmer.”

A few moments later, we found a nearby farm but it appeared that no one was home because there seemed to be no vehicles. Now Cindy was more worried than ever about the cattle and I tried my best to reassure her, “As soon as the farmer and his family are home, they will see that their cows are out and they will get them back into their own pasture.”

Thinking that was the end of our conversation about the wandering cows, I stepped on the accelerator and prepared to continue our day adventure to Fairbault.

However…

Cindy still wasn’t convinced, “We should leave them a note.”

Incredulous, I asked her, “Are you kidding me? It is obvious the cows are out. They are wandering all over the place. The farmer will see that the minute he comes home.”

“We should still leave a note.”

I protested, “Cindy, I feel really stupid leaving the farmer a note telling him that his cows are out when it is perfectly obvious that the cows are out.”

And suddenly right then, I knew Cindy was not going to change her mind. She was so worried about the wandering cows that she felt something needed to be done. So, I drove up the long driveway and proceeded to knock on the farmer’s door just in case they were home after all. No answer. I returned to the car and somehow, we found some paper and pen.

 And so, I wrote, “Dear farmer, I am so sorry to tell you that your cows are out. I just thought you should know.” We managed to find tape in the car too and so I taped the note to their door.

We then continued to Fairibault where we enjoyed a lunch and some sweet fellowship.  On the way back, we passed the same farm and this time, the cows were safely in their own pasture.  Cindy gazed out the window looking at the peaceful scene, “I don’t why I got so worried about those cows and made you write that note.”

I smiled and shrugged, “I don’t know why either.”  And we continued our journey home.

But now, many years later I do know why. That day was to serve as a sweet memory firmly planted in my mind and heart. I often think of special memories and friendships as gifts from heaven. Again, I remembered a scripture in which Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Instead lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 My memory of that day is an everlasting reminder of the unique and special friendship that Cindy and I had shared. And our continuing friendship is a treasure waiting in heaven. So, I now know that having that special memory of Cindy is the reason why the cows were out on that one bright Sunday so long ago.

 

Blogging 101 and Writing 101: A Letter to my Visitors

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Welcome to my personal blog and I am so happy you dropped by. I was recently given the assignment to blog about “Why I write.” It is my hope that you find something that you enjoy here. I now have been blogging on this site for a little over a year. I use this blog site as an avenue of expressing myself through writing poetry and some stories. I also try to share some of my photos. I tend to be this very introverted person who is leading a very quiet life most of the time. I try to be more extroverted but that is often quite a challenge for me to do. I go to work almost every day and have contact with co-workers and some very close friends. I also keep contact with family and visit them when I can. But at times I will try to be more outgoing or something. If I do seem to become somehow too outspoken or say the wrong thing, it doesn’t take too much to knock me down and I just disappear for a while; sometimes a long while depending on the situation.

Anyway, about a year ago, I became very frustrated with myself being stuck in this shyness cocoon where I am too afraid to come out and just be myself.  I felt I had neat things to share and needed someone to share them with. So I got this great idea to try blogging. I set up my blog on WordPress but then didn’t know what to do with it. So I read and studied up on blogging to see what it was all about. I also visited other blogs to see how it was done. I found blogs on all sorts of subjects. I learned that a blogger needed to write with a purpose and maintain a consistent theme. That way, readers may become familiar the type of blog one writes and come to know what they may expect at one’s blog site. I then arrived at the idea of using my blog to share my poetry and to hopefully, be upbeat and encouraging to others. So I came up with the theme, “on a quest to find inspiration in everyday life.” It is often too easy for me to become downtrodden and discouraged. So,  I am on this personal quest to discover inspiration for myself and for others who might want to follow my blog.

Keeping up with the blog is very motivational for me as well as a challenge as I do go through dry spells. But overall, I tend to write poems and try to share interesting stories as a way to share a piece of myself. I write about my faith, things I find in nature that inspire me, and some personal stories. I continue to hope that all who visit find something that might encourage them. Blogging has become a winding and spiritual journey; I hope you enjoy seeing a piece of my blogging journey. Thank you again, for visiting my blog and may you be blessed in a very special way today.

 

Thankful Thursday: TYGIAF

 

 

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TYGIAF! TYGIAF! I’ll say it again, TYGIAF! ‘What is that?” you might ask. Well, on Fridays, you often hear “TGIF” meaning “thank goodness (or thank God) it’s Friday. I am starting a new mini feature on my blog that i’m calling Thankful Thursday and choosing to declare, “Thank You God, It’s Almost Friday!” I am making a choice to be thankful on Thursday while looking forward to Friday. I find that during the week, my busiest days are right in the middle; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Often by Wednesday night and especially by Thursday night, I’m very exhausted. And then my tiredness leads to grumpiness and, I have to admit it, grumbling!!

Then after being in such a discontent and complaining mood, I get reminded to just take a moment and let myself enjoy the day. Today was no exception. The last two days were long and tiring, and yep, I was grumbling. I had to deal with some very unpleasant tasks which led to extreme tiredness and a lack of patience. Then, today, I was reminded of the beautiful day we had and I had the opportunity to be outside to enjoy it. I do have a job that allows me to be frequently outside and I look forward to that. Not too warm, not too cold, and the sun was brightly shining. Each person I worked with was cheerful and a treasure to be around. And now, it is Thursday night, a beautiful summer evening with a sliver of a moon hovering above me as I journeyed to my tiny home. God is quietly shining his light along my path. As this Thursday gently ends I am thankful for it while anticipating tomorrow. So TYGIAF; Thank You God It’s Almost Friday.

Geocaching Adventures with my Cousin Part 3

 

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I am still here in this beautiful evergreen state visiting my cousin. We share a number of interests and recently we’ve added geocaching to that list.  My delightful cousin was very aware of my geocaching adventures and asked that I bring my handheld GPS unit when I visited. Along with a friend, we’ve ventured on two successful geocaching expeditions. The challenge and the success of the previous ventures have contributed to a sense of achievement and a desire to continue. Now bitten by the geocaching adventure bug, we planned another hunt.

This time we planned to visit the university which is a larger campus adjacent to a thick and hilly forest.  We consulted a geocaching map to study the hidden cache sites. One was located in the arboretum; we eliminated this one due to lack of accessibility for my cousin’s wheelchair. We studied another possibility which we found required the use of a webcam. We dismissed that site too. We then zeroed in on one near a dry “dock”. I programmed the north longitude and west latitude coordinates into my GPS unit. We then chose another site deeper in the forests which appeared to be accessible for my cousin. We also recorded clues for each site.

With our plans set, we headed to the nearest city bus stop. We were blessed and thankful for the pleasant bus drivers we encountered that day. Sometimes the drivers are not so courteous for my cousin with her wheelchair. Although inwardly hurt by their behavior, she has learned to quietly endure this with patience. We took two buses before arriving at the university. Once we arrived, I turned on my GPS unit and waited for it to connect to the satellites. Once ready, we followed the arrow image to a campus commons area.

We began the search for the first cache by looking under wooden benches. Having no success we consulted our list of clues and were reminded of a dry “dock.” We journeyed out of the commons area, ventured down a nearby paved path, and soon discovered a long wooden, multi-layer dock on dry ground. I checked my GPS and found it indicated to continue in the direction of the dock. My cousin wasn’t able to get too close to it but she anxiously watched as we conducted another search. We looked along the top of the dock, dove under to check beneath, and wandered all the way around it. No luck in finding the hidden cache. I kept checking the readings which indicated we were very close. We also found that a portion of our search area was sealed off for construction work. The cache may be hidden in that section so after considerable time of hunting for it, we very reluctantly gave up the search.

At this point, I want to stress something important about geocaching. Sometimes the real treasure in geocaching is not finding the cleverly hidden container but often it is in discovering something in nature. While we concluded our unsuccessful search on the dock, a quiet visitor flew in to rest in the leafy foliage of a nearby tree, a lorquin admiral butterfly (according to my research afterwards). He caught my attention because I had never seen such a butterfly. Actually, I haven’t seen very many butterflies at all in recent years. At this cache site, he was our hidden treasure.

 

A Washington Butterfly

We continued on our journey to the other side of campus where the forest started. This university was so covered in trees and shrubbery that it was almost a part of the forest. I had reset my GPS for the next cache site, and we were led down a paved path and through a tunnel. My cousin commented at this point, “Going through a tunnel sounds mysterious.”

We then entered the forest where the terrain was rough with loose gravel and exposed tree roots. We stopped to access the situation. The uphill trail just ahead looked too treacherous with a large exposed tree root. There was no way for cousin in her chair to avoid that bulging root. Any hard, jarring movement of the chair could result in painful muscle spasms. She also didn’t want to risk damaging her wheelchair. Our friend hurried ahead along a narrower path and found an easier route. It was still gravelly and windy with a portion of the trail going downhill. At this point, I gently encouraged my cousin to take it easy on the path and go slow. I feared she may go too fast over the uneven ground and that any sudden jarring movement would hurt her. I also grasped tightly onto the arm of the chair (as if I could stop a 300 pound wheelchair from rolling too fast, oh hum). But I needn’t have worried so much as she expertly drove her chair and gently traversed the rough terrain. Once again we all enjoyed nature’s beauty. There is just something about being in nature which is nourishing to the spirit. When I can I like to just journey to a beautiful place in nature and it seep into my soul

We rounded another bend in the trail and found a small clearing. Here my cousin relaxed in the shade of the forest while we began our search. We soon found out that this would not be an easy find at all. Our target area included rough terrain, with steep paths, rocks, trees, and bushes. Our main clue alluded to a “foundation or lack thereof.”  My GPS kept directing us to a certain tree atop a small hill, so I wondered about the “foundation” or trunk. Every time I climbed that hill, I could see my cousin and I would wave to her as she continued to soak in the greenery and shade of the gently swaying trees. I circled and searched for a hollowed opening of the nearby tree. Found nothing there. I also slipped along the steep and slanting hillside but managed to maintain my footing. We looked for other hollowed out trees and checked beneath the loose base of a light pole. Still found nothing. Deeper in the woods, our young friend found an old and crumbly foundation with large circular openings; we searched inside but only found lurking spider webs. Looking at the GPS again, I retraced my steps back to the first tree upon the small hill and waved again to my cousin. I also shrugged my shoulders to signal that we haven’t located the cache. The tree or that immediate area appeared to be the target. I let myself slide down a steep bank of dirt and found a rock wall embedded in the hillside. We studied and felt along it looking for any loose stones which may hide a container.  Again, we came up empty.

Upon studying my GPS again I arrived at the unfortunate conclusion that my readings were inaccurate.  Therefore we needed to expand our search area. We traveled back towards the crumbly cement foundation hidden in the forest and reached a small wooden cabin. Our friend trekked around the far side of the building and after a few minutes of quietness she suddenly called out, “I found it, I found it.”  The cache was hidden beneath the floor of the cabin where normally would be a cement wall support.

This time it was a large cache; a plastic storage container filled to the brim with small trinkets. With bubbling excitement, she raced through the trees to show my cousin. My cousin was just as ecstatic about our find. We sifted through the “treasure” and opted to make a trade. Our friend added a pin/button to the cache and removed an orange, striped rubber snake. She dashed back through the woods to replace the container for the next hopeful geocache seeker. We are all pleased with our latest success and wish we had time for more such adventures. But my visit here is nearing an end. Thus concludes my geocaching adventures with my cousin in the state of Washington (at least for this visit). Stripe the Orange Snake will be on his way to a new cache in the state of Minnesota.

 

 

 

Adventures in Geocaching with My Cousin Part 2

 

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I am still visiting northwestern  Washington spending some wonderful and cherished time with my very dear cousin and a new friend. Having a desire to experience a little adventure, we’ve attempted a few geocache hunts.  My cousin uses a wheelchair and was not able to get close to our first geocache search area but, having a knack for being logical she was the first to determine where our search area would be. I had entered the longitude and latitude coordinates into my handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) unit which indeed led us to the area my cousin had already determined. At that point our  friend and I trekked through the nearby woods seeking the elusively hidden cache.  With everyone helping out, our first hunt was successful and this gave us all confidence to try it again.

Off we journeyed by foot and by wheelchair further away from home, to find another geocache located somewhere near a community college. It continued to be a beautiful and warm day; I marveled at the greenery, some wildflowers, and natural beauty around me. I had voiced my amazement a number of times about the numerous trees, shrubs, and other natural greenery in this small city. I felt sure that it is the greenest city I have ever visited.

I had already entered the needed coordinates and this led us to a sculpture of a globe. The globe was our first clue and indicated we were on the right trail. But, this second geocache was not going to be so easy. According to the directions on the geocaching.com website, we were supposed to calculate the next coordinates. I had hoped we wouldn’t need to do so. We had other clues about “Roe, Roe your boat” and “where a troll might hide.”  So we all determined to look for a nearby bridge. I was also wondering about a fish hatchery when considering the word ‘roe’. My cousin went searching in a different area and called us over because she found flowing water. We rushed to comb that area in search of a bridge. No such luck as we only found a bubbling fountain and no bridge. We returned to the globe sculpture to reconsider our options. None of us knew the area well enough to continue the hunt. Deflated for now we gave up the search for that day. But we determined to return as we each were caught up the excitement of finding that hidden container. We all sensed the challenge to find it and did not want to admit defeat. To me, this is a fun and clever way to “hunt” without shooting anything. It was also a time of enjoying the beauty of nature.

As we headed home, my cousin reluctantly commented, “We may need to perform those calculations.”

I didn’t trust my math skills with determining multiple sets of coordinates and so I answered her, “maybe not yet; I have an idea but it will take some planning.” Yes indeed, we will be returning. We all had tasted a little success in our hunt and were eager to taste it again.

Back at my cousin’s home, I went to work on the computer. I brought up an Earth Google map to study our search area. In thinking about the clue “Roe” I was so sure there had to be a fish hatchery near. I studied various structures on the 3D map but found no such thing. I commented to my cousin, “What else could ‘Roe’ mean?

She thought about it, “It could be someone’s name.”

“Well, then there could be a unique building named after someone.”

I then searched on the internet to find a map of the nearby college. The first map I found was blurry. I squinted at it until I found something that said, ‘Roe Studio’ and showed this to my cousin. I also compared it to the Earth Google map. She became excited again, “I think there is a bridge near there.”

A few days later, I found a clear and colorful campus map which confirmed what I found and it also showed a small bridge. Our friend joined us and we show her the map, memorize the route, and set off once again. We found the globe sculpture and journeyed past it paying careful attention to the building names.

“There’s a bridge.”

“And there’s a sign for ‘Roe Studio’.”

This time due to paved paths, my cousin is able to get very close to our target area and watch us continue the search. She watched us and smiled in anticipation. While I searched along one side of the small wooden structure, our friend, searched on the other side. There really was no water but it was damp like a marsh.  The grass is vividly green and we all comment on how pretty the campus was. At this point, the search does not take long as our friend called out, “I think I found it.”  And sure enough, she had.

This time the cache container is a plastic baggie containing the log to sign as proof we found it and one little ‘treasure’.  We signed the log using our geocache name. We also leave the treasure for the next geocache seeker. My cousin decided to add a little something to the ‘treasure’. It was another fun find adding a bit of excitement and adventure to our day.

I also learned that my cousin and friend are enjoying this so much that they start planning yet another day of geocaching and this time at another campus further away which required taking the city bus. They have been seriously bitten by the geocaching bug and  were eager for more adventure and more success in finding the hidden caches. They instructed me where they want to go. They also gave me the task to research for hidden geocaches on the other campus and to input the new information into my GPS. Therefore this geocaching adventure will continue one more day.

 

Adventures in Geocaching with my Cousin Part 1

 

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During summer of 2014, I arrived in the beautiful city of Bellingham to visit my cousins who is nearly the same age as me.  Among other things to do, we hoped to be a bit adventurous; we do have a history of going on adventures together. We have had several misadventures with the city bus system when she still resided in California. My cousin already had an idea for this and instructed me to bring my handheld GPS unit. She is aware of my geocaching ventures and wanted us to attempt to find some geocaches near her home.  For those not familiar with geocaching, it is a technology based sport which involves the use of a handheld GPS device and internet access. Having its beginning roots in the US, geocaching is now popular in many countries The cache is a hidden container and can be almost any type of container and any size. Some caches are very small while others are very large containing items for trade. One rule in geocaching is trade fair or trade higher so that there is always a “treasure” to be found by the next geocache seeker. The “treasures” are usually small inexpensive trinkets such as key rings, small toys, and tiny ornaments. Some geocache seekers will track their items via the website to see how far away their items travel.

Once a hidden cache is chosen, I record its coordinates into my GPS and note any helpful clues. Usually, I research the geocaching.com website to find nearby hidden caches. There are other sites to use. I logged onto this site and began research based on my cousin’s location. We found several hidden caches within walking distance.

The first cache we focused on was described as an easy cache. Many geocache seekers have reported success in finding it. I record the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates into my GPS and review for clues about it on the web page. As I scanned the log entries about it I commented, “It seems to be near the co-op store.”

My logical and detective of a cousin, well versed in Nancy Drew mysteries, came to a very quick conclusion even before I finished inputting the coordinates, “It must be near that park.”

“We’ll soon find out.”

Soon we were on our way being also accompanied by a new friend. It was a beautifully warm and sunny day as we all journeyed along. I also enjoy the bright green scenery here. I scrutinized my GPS as we walked along and my cousin’s reasonable conclusion appeared to be accurate. We were headed to a nearby park. Just to test the GPS, we walked a bit past the park but, sure enough, it directed us back. We returned to the park area and found we needed to venture further into the woods surrounding the area.

That part was a disappointment because my cousin uses a motorized wheelchair which cannot travel over rough terrain. We discussed this. The fear of her getting stuck deep in the grass or other rough terrain was real. The chair was heavy and if anything happened I knew I wouldn’t be able to help her get out. She decided to patiently relax near the park while we continued the search.

Following my GPS reading, we journeyed a short way through the woods arriving at a parking lot on the other side. A few business buildings were nearby.  The readings indicated the cache was hidden in a tiny area of small bushes and slender trees.  We searched and searched the same bushes and trees without success. I have learned to check areas where the cache would be safe from the elements of weather and be completely out of sight.

After seeming to exhaust the area, we tried wandering to a different location only to be instructed by the GPS reading to return to our original search area. We rechecked and considered giving up. I didn’t like to give and tried to continue the search. In doing so, I happened to bump the heavy metallic base of a light pole. The circular base around that pole moved. My new friend stared as a strange expression must have appeared on my face. I turned my attention to the movable base and started to lift it. My friend came running to help and we found success. The cache was carefully hidden beneath it; it was a tiny camera film container with a log. As I record on the log of our find she took a picture of it to share with my cousin. We soon returned to her to report our success and show her the picture.

With one success met, we confidently continued to the next hidden cache recorded on my GPS. This one proved to not be so easy. The web page for this next cache had instructed us to find a spinning globe. The coordinates in my GPS led us straight to it. Then we were supposed to perform some calculations to continue our geocache hunt. We did not determine those calculations and were now stuck. Having no clue of what to do next we returned home unsuccessful with the second cache.

My cousin was so excited by this first find though, that she lost no time getting onto Facebook to share this with our family and friends. She very enthusiastically described my trek through the woods in search of it.  And we weren’t ready to give up on the second hidden cache. We had an idea, a new plan to implement. We all enjoyed the sense of adventure in searching for the hidden cache and were determined to try again. And I hoped to determine a way to get her closer to the next geocache site.

When Dad Said No

 

Me and My Dad

A Special Tribute to my Dad on his birthday (June 4th):

My father has been on my mind. His birthday is here and soon it will be Father’s Day. He was born in 1942 and passed away at just 58 years old in 2000; his quiet voice has been silent and missing from my life for almost 14 years now. Of my two parents, my dad could be sterner and be more likely to say no when he felt that was best. Dad was also very loving and could erupt into a very hearty and jovial laugh; a laugh so contagious that others around broke into laughter with him. I also miss the sound of his infectious, bubbling laugh.

When I was an infant, Dad said I was so small that I could fit inside of his shoe box. He also said I could fit perfectly on a sofa pillow. I was born prematurely, was very small, difficult to feed, and had a serious visual impairment. I didn’t realize for years, how much this visual impairment greatly bothered my dad. I was born with a cataract in my left eye and was therefore blind in that eye. Mom and Dad took me to various doctors, including specialists at the faraway Marshfield Clinic. Doctors decided to not remove the cataract.

Just as I was beginning school, I also was found to be near-sighted in my right eye and needed glasses. I received my first pair of glasses when I was in kindergarten; I was the first kid in my class to wear glasses and I knew right away that made me different. My kindergarten picture shows the sadness I felt about this; no hint of a smile. I was also quite shy and received plenty of teasing over the years. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not pretty. I felt certain that my glasses were the cause of this.

As a teenager, I began seeing commercials about contact lens and deep inside my mind, a wonderful idea was born. Oh, contact lens, that a great solution because that means no more glasses! I began asking my parents if I could get contact lens. They said no immediately. My dad was especially stern on this matter and when Dad says no, he means no. But I was so convinced of that wearing contact lens was what I needed that I kept asking. I was very determined and was just not going to give up. My hopes were soaring high as I had visions of going to school looking like a completely different person; a person who was pretty and beautiful. How I held on to that dream! My parents finally made an appointment for me to see the eye doctor and I kept my hopes up for my first pair of contact lens.

On the day of the appointment, I found that it was my dad, not my mom, who would take me to the doctor. This was a much unexpected surprise because my mom went to all of our medical appointments and sometimes dad came too when he wasn’t working and when the appointment was for a serious illness or injury. But this time, it was just my dad and that worried me but I still was holding on to my dream of being a different person who looked beautiful because I was no longer wearing glasses. We went to the doctor where my eyes were examined. My father was quiet and waited patiently. Then much to my surprise and crushing dismay, the doctor would not recommend contact lens for me. I couldn’t believe it; I was so sure that the doctor would agree I could have them. We left the office and climbed back into the truck. I looked at the floor and wouldn’t even lift my head. I felt so defeated as my hopeful dream dissipated to nothing.

Dad took a deep breath and said in a most gentle voice, “I knew the doctor would say that.”

I burst into tears, “I don’t like my glasses, I want to be pretty!”

Dad sighed again and wiped a tear from my cheek, “You are pretty and you have a beautiful smile.” I wasn’t so sure and continued to sob. Dad was especially gentle that day as he let me cry for a while. When my tears started to subside he spoke again, “You need to keep wearing your glasses not just to see but to also protect your good eye.”

He then told me a story about his dad, my grandfather. One day long ago when my dad was young, my grandfather was chopping wood. He did not wear glasses, goggles, or any sort of eye protection. He brought down the ax splitting a chunk of wood. A wood chip flew up and sailed into my grandfather’s eye splitting his lens. My grandfather became blind in that eye.  Dad had never forgotten that and apparently always worried that something could happen to me; an unexpected mishap could cause me to lose vision in my only good eye. He did not like it when I would come home from school, take my glasses off and refuse to wear them again until the next day. He also did not like it when I would sit in the car without my glasses and have the window rolled down. He always worried that something was going to happen to my only good eye.

So after listening to my dad’s story and hearing the worry in his soft voice that day, I reluctantly and dutifully gave up my dream of wearing contact lens and to this day I never have worn them. However I still did not wear my glasses all the time either. I never thought I would meet up with an accident which would endanger my only good eye. Little did I know that over 20 years later my dad’s words would return to haunt me.

I grew up, went to college, found a job, and started living on my own. Mom and dad were only a phone call away and dad still found ways to help me. He helped me to purchase my first car, and came up with a plan for me to be safe on the road. He intensely worried when I did so much traveling alone and didn’t like the idea of me becoming stranded far from any source of help. So he came up with plan for me to be able to summon help on the road if I needed it. I still have that plan in place today and, yes, I have used it when I’ve had  emergencies while traveling.

One summer day while living on my own, a few years after my father had passed away, I was mowing my lawn. I was not wearing my glasses at the time nor was I wearing any other type of eye protection. As I mowed around a tree in the front yard, I gasped as I spotted a wood chip flying in the air towards me. My dad’s words instantly came to my mind as I thought of the wood chip that struck my grandfather. As quickly as I could, I tried to turn my face away from the tiny, flying missile propelled by the swift blade of the lawn mower. No matter how fast I tried to turn, I wasn’t fast enough. At the last possible second my eyes blinked shut. The wood chip barreled and impaled itself in the inner corner of my right eye; my good eye. I was unable to reopen my eyes and fell to the ground with my hands clutching my face in pain. I hovered on the ground in tears and in total darkness. Unbelievably, it seemed that my father’s worst fear for me would come true.

Being single and completely on my own, no one was there to come to my aid.  I sat hunched over in agony not knowing what to do. Those moments in utter and complete darkness were the some of the most frightening moments I’ve ever had as I remained curled on the ground. However I needed to quiet my tears and regain my calmness as I needed to help myself.  Taking several deep breaths, I gently felt my face letting my fingers slowly travel across my skin until I found the invading speck of wood firmly lodged in the inner corner of my right eye socket. I hesitated and then not knowing what else to do, I gripped it firmly and pulled it out. I felt for signs of bleeding but didn’t find any so I slowly opened my eyes. I was so immensely relieved that I could see. Daylight had never looked more precious. But now my eye still hurt and everything around me was blurry.

I went to Urgent Care as soon as I could see clearly enough. The doctor was very alarmed when he realized that I had injured my only good eye. He examined me and conducted deep eye scans to ensure there was no hidden damage from the accident. Although my eye was painfully sore and red, he didn’t find any signs of deep or permanent injury. It seemed that the involuntary blinking of my eyes is what saved me from serious harm. The very concerned doctor reiterated what my dad had said all those years ago; I needed to do whatever I can to protect my eye which meant I needed to wear my glasses! I was incredibly thankful for this good fortune and was sure that God in heaven had kept me safe that day.

Since that time, I have become more cautious in life to protect myself from danger and most certainly, any danger that threatened my eyes. I wear my glasses almost all the time now with the exception of taking some photographs of myself. I have learned to like and appreciate my glasses more than I used to. I now have a good understanding of how enduring years of teasing can affect someone and I have seen bullying, teasing and disparaging, hurtful remarks extend into the adult world; it is not confined to the school halls and playgrounds. I’ve especially witnessed it in various forms in the social media.

Therefore, I try to encourage others because I had been so discouraged in my own life especially through my school years. And God in his own loving way continues to be good to me by blessing me in special ways. He has led to me to a career where I help, instruct, and encourage others.  I also know now that dad was trying in his own quiet way to encourage me even when he had to say no. Furthermore, I also better understand that when my stern father said no to those contact lens so many years ago, it wasn’t just to protect my eye from sudden danger and save me from blindness.  But when dad said no, it was because he loved me so.