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June random thoughts

Isn’t it kind of bizarre that a very minor crash is enough to “total” a car? Maybe it’s just because I drive a really old car, but last year I was hit in a roundabout, so we were both going less than 20mph. Think how much we pay for cars, even used ones, and so many accidents and problems often cost a great percentage of what the car is worth to fix. People often complain how a health crisis can throw a family into poverty due to the high costs, well, so can a car crisis. For some, cars are considered a luxury, but in America in most places you really need them to get around. On the flip side, it’s can be a good thing that a minor accident can do a lot of damage, because it probably incentivizes people to drive safer as a whole. If we had indestructible bumper cars, it could mean more would recklessly drive, as a minor hit wouldn’t hurt them or the car.

Notecard story: Planning on getting another card out this weekend sometime. So far it has been a fun and challenging writing exercise and I’m thinking there’s potential homemade Christmas presents in this idea.

Priest slapping baby at baptism video. Not sure how viral this video is, or if you’ve seen it, but it is an amazing example of how parents and especially fathers are the main protectors of their kids. As the mom struggles even against a very old man, to get her baby away from him, it is the father’s physical strength that ultimately succeeds in the getting the kid away. As we recently had Father’s Day, it’s a great example showing how the fact that fathers are both willing and able to protect the ones they love is the primary reason they are needed. Really don’t know what was up with the priest, senility, or as some cry, demon possession of some kind, but it’s certainly scary to watch, especially because in a church and at a baptism that kind of violence is the last thing expected.

Trolls for Dust, Season Two: Revisions and proofreading are underway, and I hope to be able to share the awesome cover soon. I am really excited about this story and I am getting to reveal the longer arc of the series. In rereading Season One, it’s been fun to see that I really like some parts, some maybe could use work, but that as a book as a whole it is a good jumping off point for where Seasons 2, 3, and 4 are going. At first I thought the series would end up being a trilogy, but there is so much going on and so much material that I really want and need to do four books. Hopefully, each book won’t take four years to write, but I think as I get better at writing and storytelling and the whole process, things will come faster and faster over time.

Kid crisis/border crisis: Many Trump supports say that the biggest impact of his presidency is going to be to harshly deal with trafficking, especially child trafficking and abuse. And there’s been thousands and thousands of pedophile and trafficking rings busted all over the world since he’s taken office. The current outcry with kids being held at the US border is a part of this. Many of these children are not with their parents, but with traffickers and abusers. So, it’s just going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Christian apologetics: Attended a conference for that this week and just found it so crazy that like in other fields, politics, medicine, law, etc., religion is the same. People are taught lies and not shown the facts that are available. There’s so much out there indicating the Bible is true, but what is taught in many places is this lie that there is no evidence at all that the Bible is true, and people grow up believing it. Believing in the Bible and Jesus as one’s Savior from sin is a work of the Holy Spirit and of faith, but if that is indeed the truth (and I believe it is), then it makes sense that there would be some amount of actual evidence indicating that it is the truth. It’s actually similar to the whole vaccine topic, because people often hold a different, higher standard for evidence for those two things above and beyond what in regarding other topics and fields they would accept as sufficient evidence. It’s fascinating and it really hit home to me that what evidence is accepted by the individual ultimately says more about the individual than the subject under consideration. We have a harder time with the facts and insist on more evidence when something does not confirm what we already believe, but readily accept almost any evidence that supports our current beliefs. This way of thinking is our nature and very hard to overcome to truly look at and judge things objectively.

–P. Beldona

Your Best

Once in a while in life, one is forced to admit they aren’t giving their best. I had one of those moments not to long ago, not with writing, but with piano. I was accompanist this past year for the high school choir at our church. Most of the songs were easy and they only actually performed a couple of times, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Practice once a week for a bit seemed to be enough–at least for weekly choir practice.

Why, when tasked with this position, didn’t I practice more? The job certainly called for it. I had ample opportunity and access to a grand piano and I had enough time if I would put it aside. The answer was simple: I figured that by practicing a little bit a week, things would just come together. If you are relatively smart yourself, you recognize this attitude. It is the attitude of skating by instead of giving one’s all. Sadly, I spent most of my school years in this mode, having the capability of being an A student and getting by with B’s because, well, other things were so much more interesting than studying. I would throw together research papers the night before and get B’s, sometimes even A’s without even trying or without really considering the topic of the paper. This sounds great, but it has actually has been a great sorrow to me all my life.

Only giving one’s part, not one’s best, eventually will catch up with one, and boy, did it catch up with me the other day. The one song that was really hard for me to play we ended up singing. I hadn’t put in a full effort of practice on it and also hadn’t asked for help in figuring out notes I could leave out in order to make it easier to play. So it was two mistakes, really. In finding out we were actually going to perform the song, I got really angry and blamed the director. Didn’t she know I just couldn’t get it? Wasn’t she concerned I would let everyone down?

But after I cooled off, I admitted to myself that I really hadn’t given my all on it. I hadn’t practiced enough, and worse, I hadn’t taken up the director’s offer of help with it. Swallowing my pride and realizing it was silly to demand we didn’t perform at all because of me, I got help with it, figured out the fingering, and practiced, practiced, practiced. It could have ended up miserable–it really was a difficult song for me to play–but amazingly enough the changes and the practice helped. Most importantly, the change in my attitude helped. I really didn’t want to let those kids down. Both our performances went well and although my playing wasn’t perfect, I felt that I had truly done my best.

My thought after was, “how can some people keep up this passion all the time?” It was an amazing feeling and a little tiring, but it gave me confidence to put in more effort in every part of my life. In writing, especially, I don’t think I’ve even begun to give my BEST. I have so many great ideas and spend a lot of time working and thinking things through, but often still feeling like I’m just skating by. The challenge is making each project my focus for the time I’m working on it. I am so distracted by other things–politics, K-dramas, daydreaming about whatever handsome guy I just met, and so on. If all females are like this, I can see why men tend to be the real achievers in life. I long for that male single-mindedness sometimes, though I suppose they have their distractions as well.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little story and say that if things aren’t going well, the first step may be admitting to yourself that you are guilty of not giving your best. Even if you fail, if you at least give your best to something, you can let it go without worry. Victory for that project wasn’t going to be yours, yet you tried your hardest to achieve it. That is an accomplishment in and of itself, because it is the shaping and refining of you, of your character. If you didn’t give your best, you’d never really know if you could have had that victory. There would always be that little voice saying “what if? What if I’d simply had given my all and done my best? Would x project have succeeded, then?”

Give your best. Easy to say, hard to do, especially if you’re smart enough to just skate by. It’s a sort of curse that only you can dig yourself out of, because to other people it may seem like you are trying your hardest. But they don’t know you as well as you know yourself. You know when you’re only giving a partial effort. You know the greatness you are actually capable of and the gifts you’ve been given. So, strive, give your best. Have passion in your work and life. The world doesn’t really care how hard you try, it’ll use you up either way.  But YOU care, you really do, which is why that “what if” nags at the back of your mind. Give your best. Refine your character and, win or lose, you’ll have a golden satisfaction in life that can’t come from anywhere else. You can’t be on fire for everything in life, but be on fire for YOUR life. We only get one and what we do on this earth matters more than we can possibly imagine.

Storytelling with Visual Aids

NotecardsMaybe it was just that the notecards are so fancy compared to my Minnesota life, maybe it was the thought that there must be some wonderful story ready to be unveiled in the slim, 10-card pack. Maybe I just really, really wanted by pretty stationary. Whatever the reason, ages ago, I bought this pack of notecards and envelopes from Barnes and Noble thinking that I would use them for a story…somehow.

Feeling creative, I’ve unearthed them from by box of (ahem) other unused cards and stationary. What I’d like to do is tell an intriguing story written as letters or notes on the cards. This is more problematic than you might think. A) I am a lefty with atrocious penmanship, so I will have to write painstakingly slow just to make the words legible. B) How do I go about different characters writing to each other? See problem A. How can I make my penmanship that of a lord or prince or captain or spy, much less a simple belle of the ball? C) What will the story be? Star-crossed lovers? Napoleonic spies as in The Scarlet Pimpernel? Humorous commentary on society, marriage and like, as in Jane Austen? Or will the story be about people writing from a far advanced future where physically writing on notecards to each other is in vogue again? So, so many possibilities.

Next week I plan to have the first card ready to present, so stay tuned. Maybe I’ll even attempt writing in cursive after too many years to say. At any rate, it will be a pleasant side trip from regular story writing. Back to my revisions, I go!

 

The Story of Saving

At first, I wanted to title this article, “The Story of Saving Money,” but then I realized that wasn’t quite accurate. Saving money is only the start of being a “saver.” Along with saving money, you save yourself worry, trouble, and stress. You can also save relationships and save time.

I don’t know if it’s the woman in me, but I’ve always been more of a spender than a saver. Part of my attitude probably has something to do with the fact that often when I do save, I end up having to spend the money right away on car repairs or other issues.

This year I wanted to try out Dave Ramsey’s savings plan and his every dollar app, because, as he says, I was finally “tired of being sick and tired.” Ramey’s plan begins with budgeting your monthly income to the last dollar and also reaching stepping stones he calls “baby steps.” The baby steps themselves are pretty simple, but it’s been the budgeting every dollar that’s given me some trouble. I’ve learned I’m someone who just likes to have a random amount of money not set aside for any particular use. On the one hand, that can be fine and good, on the other, the sum most often gets used for eating out or buying things I may want, but really don’t need–often, books.

Oh, let me tell you about books! I have bought so many books, thinking the story is going to be awesome and being terribly disappointed when the stories are duds. Using the library to borrow the books instead has been a struggle because I often don’t have time to read the books in the time I’ve checked them out. This can go the same for movies and even music. Often I wonder why I feel compelled to own these things, especially stories that I haven’t even read or seen yet. In using the every dollar app, I made myself really look over my books and saw that I had a whole stack of bought and borrowed books that I hadn’t even read yet.

I admit that like most, I’m not following Ramey’s savings plan to a T, but I am saving. Currently I am on baby step 2, paying off all consumer debt and plan to be done with that by the end of the year. As I watch my every dollar get spent, I’m become more and more conscious of impulse buys (Walgreens is a real trap for me for snacks, as is Kwik Trip). With elation, I realize that I have bought so many clothes over the past five years that I don’t need to buy anything in that regard for quite awhile. Instead of just buying things for my kitchen or office, I am planning out when to buy them and how to save the money. Because I now find Korean dramas more interesting than American ones, I gave up Netflix and watch on cheaper sites like Dramafever or Viki.

At first, this new mindfulness seemed like hard work. I’ve never had trouble paying bills or going over budget, especially as I’m single, but I never made a real effort to keep track of what I was spending on. Using every dollar was strange at first, because that generic lump sum of money was gone and I felt like I had no money. But I do now have money, just in a new category: savings. Part of this interesting financial planning stems from my desire to write more. I wanted to see if it was possible to work less, write more, and still have enough and even still save money. My dream, as most writers’ dream is that one day I can make a steady income from my writing, and I wanted to put more time and energy into striving to make that happen.

Only a couple of months in, I am already seeing the benefits of this lifestyle change. I am not as stressed and have plans if things go wrong. I am eating better and getting more sleep and exercise. Stores and their wares don’t compel me nearly as much and I am spending less without crying over it. My unread books are getting read. In the mornings I have more time to read the Bible, to cook breakfast, and to just enjoy the mornings. I am able to get out in the spring sunshine. I’ve written more in the past few weeks than I did all of last year and have been steadily working on revisions for TfD, season two as well as starting another story.

Along with thinking of saving and following Dave Ramsey, I’ve been watching some other savers on Youtube and they really have some creative ideas. It’s doubtful I will ever be as hardcore as them, but if you want to check out some fascinating perspectives on budgeting and saving money, try these channels: The Dave Ramsey Show, of course; his daughter’s channel, Rachel Cruze, who is very bubbly; Debt Free Dana, who has great tips on how families can save; Beat the Bush, an engineer who quit his job to be on Youtube; Stacey Flowers, also following the Ramey plan and shares great incites on finances but also personal stories that resonate; and, Prepper Princess, whose focus is on prepping and also saving for retirement.

Thinking about saving generally leads one to think about minimizing the stuff one owns and so, although I’d would never do it myself, I’ve been watching a lot of great stories on tiny houses. Many of the people who build and own them are artists and this is their work, some just want a change, and some really are trying to save and/or live minimally. The most upbeat channel I’ve found is Living Big in a Tiny House. The host, Bryce, visits tiny and unusually living spaces all over the world and finds the positive in even the strangest of designs. This could easily be a show on cable, but it’s on Youtube and it’s hard not to be infected with the enthusiasm these people have for mindful living.

The big statement that gets to me from Dave Ramsey is “the borrower is a slave to the lender,” which is a part or paraphrase of Proverbs 22:7: The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (NIV). Being in debt isn’t a healthy thing, and I think I first really started to consider that fact when I read Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, which tells the story of a family living in a debtor’s prison and what it does to them. For the dad, even when he’s able to get financially free, it’s like he’s still in prison. Thank God we don’t have debtors prisons today, but in our society we borrow, and borrow, and borrow without even a thought. Even if our debt can’t legally be passed onto our children, doesn’t it do something to our soul to just die leaving a debt? Someone, even if it is a heartless banker, lost out money because we didn’t pay them back. Shouldn’t we be striving for more?

Plan a Time

Well, it’s about 9:30pm at night and I totally forgot what I wanted to blog about today. It was a busy Thursday, full of work in the morning, cooking for a new mom in the afternoon, and Maundy Thursday church service and choir practice in the evening–are we really singing the Hallelujah Chorus for Easter in three days?!?

My house smells like Indian food, I’ve got Hallelujahs running through my head, and my soul is quietly contemplating my Savior’s death. How could someone love a person so much to die for them? Not only that, but to die for someone guilty when oneself is innocent? Forgiveness of sins, full and final and not free, but paid for by the only truly innocent man to walk this earth, who is simultaneously the God that created it all in the first place.

With all those thoughts, I realized I didn’t put it on my calendar: Blog post, this date, this time. This is the thing with writing. You don’t set aside time for it, it doesn’t happen. That being said, what I did with my normally free time today was more important than blogging. There’s a sweet, new baby in the world whose tired parent got a home-cooked meal tonight. I spent time worshipping and singing along with the fellow believers at my congregation, and I got to know some of them even better. Back at home, I washed a pile of dishes, sat down on the couch, and realized that although I couldn’t remember what it was I wanted to write about tonight, I still had something to say.

And the main thought in my head: Plan a time! Plan a time and/or date for what it is you want to do or it will surely get lost in the shuffle. We only have so many tomorrows. On the other hand, have fun throwing those same plans to the wind when something more important arises.

Tomorrow is Friday, the day that Christians mourn the death of Jesus, who was the only one who could save the world from sin. He took on our sins and gave us His holiness. Although we are sad it had to happen, we rejoice that did happen, because it means our salvation. And on Good Friday, I am planning times to worship, to sing, and, yes, to write.

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History – Review

Not too long ago I wrote a post about vaccines, that I had started reading and researching about them and that the criticisms regarding vaccines were hitting home with me. Since then, I’ve been following the “anti-vaxx” movement and reading some of the articles, books, etc., that detail that side of the argument. I’ve also looked some into the “pro” side, as well, however, I don’t find that side quite as interesting, just because it is the default view everyone seems to have. It is the view that I used to have and I didn’t really care about the evidence that vaccines were safe and effective. I, like most people, just believed what I was told.

If you look into the anti-vaccine movement, the first thing you realize is that these people  were at some point pro-vaccine until something happened. Some they knew or they themselves, had a reaction that made them question just how safe vaccines are. Or they got the flu shot or another shot and got really sick with similar symptoms shortly after, prompting them to question how effective vaccines are. The second thing you realize is that legitimate or not, right or wrong or not, the anti-vaccine movement has an enormous amount of studies, examples, historical accounts, personal testimonies, and other such literature to back up their reasoning. At some point being pro-vaccine, I realized it was foolish of me to keep that stance when it wasn’t resting on any true knowledge I had and also foolish to think the other side had no validity when I had never fully researched or looked into their arguments. We fall into the same traps with many aspects of our lives, but vaccines are especially interesting.  For most on the pro-side the idea of even questioning vaccines seems ludicrous. As a Christian, I realized it is not the questioning that is ludicrous, but holding up vaccines, scientists, doctors, drug companies, government, and the like as equal to God. No, scratch that, we’ve placed them even higher, asserting that vaccines are so safe and effective, they must not even be questioned.

God himself welcomes us questioning and wrestling with Him. If it’s okay with God to test His scriptures and see if they are true, why not mortal man-made vaccines?  I tell you, I don’t think even Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propagandist, has anything on the pro-vaccine spell cast on the world. People will come up with the most bizarre rationalizations in order to never put any vaccine in a list of possible (only a possible cause!) causes of a negative health issue. Some of those rationalizations may include: it’s all genetics, the human race is simply deteriorating, the non-vaccinated are spreading more diseases. Let’s just take that last one. Think about it. You are not vaccinated for smallpox. Does that mean you have smallpox? Is this really a reasonable position to hold, or are we avoiding really looking at vaccines and how they work? Vaccines certainly are not responsible for every health malady in the world, but it’s truly odd they are rarely considered a cause, especially when a person just had a shot and then has a major health issue like a seizure or brain swelling. Actually, we do worse than not questioning, we are told these reactions to vaccines are “normal.” With more chronic health maladies, we easily jump to medications and drugs as possible causes, but never vaccines, even though they should be considered if we’re doing a thorough investigation. Even if you still end up agreeing vaccines are great, I think it’s a good practice to look into them to make sure you have the facts, and that includes taking a long, hard look at the massive evidence the anti-vaccine side has that vaccines are actually quite a problem.

If you’re looking for fact-based arguments, Dr. Suzanne Humphries is a good place to start. She’s a nephrologist who also used to be pro-vaccine until her patients mentioned they had kidney problems after getting the flu shot. Instead of blowing them off, she took their complaints seriously and was surprised by the hostility she received from her coworkers merely for considering vaccines a factor in this. The hostility was especially surprising to her, as she knew had she been questioning a medication they would all have said of course they should stop the medication, do more research, tests, etc. In essence, medications were allowed to be a cause of kidney issues, but not vaccines. Vaccines were safe and effective and had eradicated both smallpox and polio, never mind that the complaint was with the flu shot. So Humphries started to look into the history of the smallpox and polio vaccines, and she found that what we had all been told was far different than what actually happened.

Of all the people on the side of the anti-vaccine movement, I find Dr. Humphries to be the most persuasive. She has a practical air about her and has made it her life’s work to research health and vaccines. If you don’t like reading, she has hours and hours of her talks and speeches on vaccines, Vitamin C, and general health issues on Youtube.

Dissolving Illusions, by both Dr. Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk, another vaccine researcher, is a fairly quick read. It first lays out why they wrote the book and how they fell into researching vaccines. It then launches into the historical account of just how dirty everything used to be, especially in the 1800s and early 1900s. This is the basis for their case that it was public cleanliness in the environment, water, food, and health practices (the doctors washing their hands) that actually caused the massive impact to the disease death toll.  The graphs are certainly hard to argue with, a ski slope of falling death rates, and close to the bottom, only when fear of death of the disease was near non-existent, did vaccines enter into the picture. I would say for most of us, that fact was likely not mentioned at all in school.

They then go through vaccine after vaccine, starting with smallpox and show, with historical examples, just how unsafe and ineffective they actually are. One fascinating thing I learned was that the smallpox vaccine caused several hand, foot, and mouth outbreaks in both animals and people. What I learned with polio is that they changed the way polio was diagnosed after the vaccine was put into public use, thus falsely making it look like the vaccine lowered the polio rate. We still have polio, it’s just categorized as Guillain Barré syndrome and other diseases. I learned that physical therapy contributed largely to the restored health for those who did have immobile limbs. There was also some disturbing connections made theorizing that tonsillectomies and other medical procedures were the actual cause of the “outbreaks” in school children every year.  With measles I learned that good nutrition and sunlight are the best ways to fight it off, especially Vitamin A (it depletes your levels severely, causing blindness in some), Vitamin D and Vitamin C.

Dissolving Illusions makes a strong case that vaccines may be more harmful than helpful. It makes a strong case that cleanliness, good health, and nutrition are our best defenses against malady, better than any manmade medication. That is the positive.

The negative, is how much the book highlights the lies of both government entities and the medical professionals that invented, still invent, and to this day promote vaccines that they knew from day one were neither safe nor effective, especially compared with other, more natural options. It shows the reader their own ignorance. How many people puffing up their chests and declaring all vaccines should be mandatory know even a tenth of this information? How many people are aware that just like the vaccine lies started on day one, so did the anti-vaccine movement? In England the only thing that stopped forced smallpox vaccinations and jail time, was voting in politicians who believed in freedom of choice.

And the book barely touches on all of the massive reactions, side effects, and lifelong health struggles for the vaccine injured today. And we are arrogant enough to think that the non-vaccinated are spreading disease? What great mountain of evidence do we have for this, exactly? How many people even understand that you are injecting a disease into your body when getting a vaccine and that you are also vulnerable to that disease as well as being capable of passing on that disease while it’s going through your body and building antibodies? In addition, the book also talks about antibodies and lays out a case that this is no true measure of immunity or eradication. It also indicates that medicine and science still have a long way to go in fully understanding our immune systems and how disease affects them.

If the information in Dissolving Illusions is true, then it is truly staggering how much we have been lied to. It’s such a huge, incomprehensible lie, and whether it was made in malice, for profit, or just wishful thinking, the reason seems almost irrelevant. How do you even begin to reteach people the truth when everyone’s been so brainwashed by lies that only at a severe turning point or crisis will they even question vaccines? The good thing is, lies can’t last forever, because, well, they’re lies, and the truth eventually rears its head. Due to so, so many reactions and problems today from vaccines, people are waking up more and more every day. The anti-vaccine movement would be happy if we could simply actually properly study vaccines and make them truly safe and effective. The unsettling conclusion from Dissolving Illusions is that even that desire may be a pipe dream. The big question I have is, are vitamins the answer? Are cleanliness, good nutrition, and sunlight, the collective miracle pill we’ve all been looking for? How strange it would be if we were to find that we’ve been injecting ourselves with poison to ward off disease only to ignore that simply caring for ourselves and our bodies would give us the best health we could ever want or need, at least on this side of heaven?

In doing this reading into vaccines, I’m mostly on the “anti” side now. The last time I had to get a vaccine (the flu shot aside), I didn’t I had much of a choice at the time because I didn’t have a record to prove I already had the shot. I thought it would be no big deal to get an additional shot, and a few weeks later I was very, very sick. My immune system really felt like it had taken a severe blow in a way I’d never felt before, and it took a long time for me to fully recover. Now, I’m not saying it was definitely the vaccine, but it was a possibility often nagging at the back of my mind, so much so that much later I was eager to watch the documentary Vaxxed and find out more about this anti-vaccine movement and what they thought were the problems with vaccines.

My view on health is different today. I’m more careful of what I eat, what I drink, and more aware of how much sleep and sunlight I’m getting. Since vaccines ultimately cause inflammation in the body, I try to destress as much as possible, too, get outside, get walking and do other exercise when I can. The difference is, mindfulness. It takes few brain cells to get injected with the latest vaccine, or to pop the latest drug, but it takes dedication and persistence to truly be invested in one’s health. Parents instinctively know much of this, as they are tasked with nurturing and promoting the good health of their children. For us who are childless, we need to be parents of our own bodies and treat ourselves with care and nurturing, too. Even if vaccines were totally safe and effective, how could a quick injection possibly be the ultimate answer to health in a world where anything worth anything has to be fought and strived for? This question can also be applied to the numerous health remedies of the natural medicine industry, and even Dissolving Illusions‘ touting of Vitamins A, C, and D. We can’t just pop supplements, either, and think they are going to be as effective longterm as getting real sunlight and eating real fruits and vegetables.

I have to say the best thing about this book is finding how much there is to read and study. I also really appreciate the times I live in and the fact that our environment, food, and water are all so clean today. I appreciate the fact that we still have a choice in whether to get vaccines or not and pray they will never be forced on anyone again. As a Christian, I appreciate the fact that many of the loudest voices in this struggle for truth when it comes to vaccines are also Christians. Christianity teaches us that the truth isn’t some mysterious thing only for the authorities, or experts, or those in power. Truth is something that God wants everyone to know, even (and perhaps especially) lowly commoners.

On Being an Invalid

Illness is a stumbling block. Cold, flu, measles, whatever it is, it throws a healthy person off their feet. Some illness is so mild that the people land immediately back on their feet, but sometimes it takes a person a few tumbles and wobbles before, shakily and uncertainly, they rise to the health they previously held. The ones who never recover are either permanent invalids or dead.

After being sick this week and unable to do much else but sit and stare and maybe watch some YouTube, I recalled to mind the strange desire I had as a child to be Colin from The Secret Garden. What would life be like, I wondered, if you weren’t required to do anything but lie about all day? Well, there’s my laziness for you! I didn’t see Colin’s loneliness, poor health from simply not moving much, and what he’d suffered from actual disease. Would I have been as happy as he was to find that he wasn’t crippled after all? Would illness have been so romantic to me had it been a permanent state for myself?  Probably not.

I turn 40 in about a week and have definitely had my share of illness over the years. I began life too early, so early, in fact, that my mother had to be air-lifted to the Twin Cities way back in 1978. Back then being 2+ months premature was a dire state, today, babies are born and thrive even months earlier than that. When I popped out of momma, I was blue and had a heart murmur.  Today, I’m still rather wheezy, but my heart has no murmur and I’m generally healthy except for loads of allergies likely due to being stored in an incubator for the first few months of my life. The biggest thing health wise, I lack, is energy. Is this a troubled spirit thing or a troubled body thing? I don’t know, I just know I seem to get tired a lot, no matter how much I sleep, or how much coffee I drink. As an adult, there’s no way I would happily dream about being confined to my bed for the rest of my days and I am so sorry for the people that have that as their life and I hope they are able to find joy hiding somewhere in their circumstances.

Sometimes illness and disease are parts of characters for stories. What would Moulin Rouge be without Satine’s tuberculosis? It’s both part of her character and part of the plot. What would Unbreakable be without Samuel L. Jackson’s “glass man” to Bruce Willis’s secret superhero? I’d like to write a detective series where the detective was continually dying of something. It wouldn’t be a long series, but the urgency in solving the mysteries would be somewhat unique. Actually, it’s probably already been done somewhere, so if you know of a series like this, add a comment, as I’d like to read it.

So I’m on the mend, tumbling back to my feet, and I think it’s going to be a really great spring. That warm weather energy is hovering and waiting until just the right moment, and then everything will be humming with life, including my writing. Oh, the stories I have to tell! No, not ready to be a permanent invalid, not even close. And thank God for health. Sometimes, in this world, it’s all we really have to keep us going.