One In A Million February 25, 2021

Today is my son-in-law’s birthday. Like many things in my life, Chris and I had a rocky start.

Seven and one half years ago, Ruth came home for Christmas. I didn’t know at the time but she was engaged to a young man named Chris. Ruth hoped that we would invite Chris to Christmas dinner. We didn’t know that they planned to marry two days after Christmas.

I found my daughter crying in her bedroom. I tried to tell her to give us some time to adjust to her boyfriend.

Ruth must have thought that we would disrupt her wedding so she and Chris married in a small ceremony at their condo. We were not told of the event.

Ruth and Chris posted the wedding on “Facebook”. My niece saw the post and told her parents, my younger brother Brian and his wife Ann. Brian called me up to wonder why he wasn’t invited to the wedding. I didn’t know what he was talking about.

Eventually, I called Ruth to ask what was going on. She admitted that she was married.

I indicated that I would like to meet this stranger that was my son-in-law. Ruth said, ” I will pick you up on Tuesday after work”. She pulled into the drive and drove us to a Panera Bread resturant. I think that they wanted neutral ground for the meeting.

Ruth and I ordered coffee and made small talk. A tall handsome man approached our table and smiling, kissed my daughter.

I put out my hand ,”This must be Chris”. He looked as nervous as I felt.

I don’t recall what we discussed, but by the conclusion of the evening, I remarked to Ruth, “I can understand why you are in love with him”.

During the evening I witnessed love and caring by the young couple for each other.

I gave my hurt feelings to God and decided to give them the chance they deserved.

It has now been over seven years and I still see a couple that shows affection and care for each other. They have weathered heart surgery, foot surgery, job losses and several house changes. Through all the highs and lows, Chris continues to love and support Ruth in her ambitions. She went back to college and pursued her doctorate and is finishing her dissertation. Through the long hours and time of seperation, Chris is Ruth’s number one cheering and support team.

Chris has called my husband and I Mom and Dad, this endears him to me. I have grown to love this tall man in my daughter’s life.

I have learned to forgive and look forward to many years with this addition to our family.

Happy Birthday Son!

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Tall as the trees

A straight arrow

A smile that melts hearts

He looks into my eyes

With hopeI shed my fear

To give this love a chance.

Living In The Present February 23, 2021

“Yesterday is history,

Tomorrow is a mystery.

But today is a gift. That is why we call it the present.”

Quote by Helen Keller

My day starts with a cup of coffee in bed, talking with John. Whoever is up first, starts the brewing, and bring two mugs to the bedroom.We have shared this private time during our whole marraige. It is a time to discuss, share thoughts or be present for each other.

During the rest of the day, I start tasks but regrets from the day before invade my thoughts

You should have called Ruth” or “You forgot to send a birthday card to Pam.” I am not paying attention to my present task and spill Jiffy Mix on the floor.

Later I think of the next day’s meeting. I forget to run my blog through spell check.

“Sufficient onto the day is the evil thereof” Matt 6, 34. The passage warns to let tomorrow worry about itself. Today has enough worries of it’s own.

Like many people, I worry about the past and day dream about tomorrow, but I fail to live in the gift of the present.

“Live today as if it was your last, for some day it will be.”

Steve Jobs

How much time and energy do we invest in the past or future and ignore what is on our platter for this day? What can we do to change.

Mystics train themselves to think about the steps to complete the task at hand and then preform the task. When completed, the task is put aside and the next task is started. Our multi-task training rebels at this mindful working. In the long run, you will get more done and enjoy the process when you concentrate on one task to it’s completion .

As I age, I find staying on task and focus keeps me from forgetting a step. So this lent, I will try to be in the gift of the present and allow tommorow to take care of itself.

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The Present

People line up their tasks.

Relying on memory to

Enjoy the multi-tasking each day.

Sadly, they think of yesterday’s work.

Even wondering what tommorow holds.

Not living in the moment,

Their time is running out.

Carol Farnsworth copyright 2/23/21

carolaspot@aol.com

Two will be as One February 18,2021

Yesterday was our anniversary . Many couples have stories of their weeding day but how many couples fly to Las Vegas to have the nuptials performed?

The story begins with John and myself finding we were pregnant at age 36. All my friends at that age were taking fertility drugs to induce pregnancy. I thought , wrongly, that it must be hard to conceive at my age.We decided to marry and asked our parents if they would like to be there. My mother, who was not happy with us, stated,”We are going to Florida, just be married before we get back!” John’s mom decided that the trip would not be needed. I was disappointed and told John he could make the wedding arrangements . My only request that we have a minister rather than a justice of the peace.

We flew out to. Las Vegas on Sunday after Valentine’s Day. My brother , Brian, was flying to California for business. He detoured his destination to witness the wedding and fly out the next morning.

My soon to be husband booked a chapel named, ”Graceland” It was a small white building resembling a church. True to his word, we did have a black Pentecostal minister. After pulling him away from watching Magic Johnson playing a basket ball game, he gave us an old fashion service. To this day, my husband reminds that my vows were to, ”love, honor and obey” while his were to”love, honor and cherish”. He can get my liberal up by reminding me of my vows.

The small space was intimate . One of the biblical readings was from the book of Ruth. I elbowed John. He gave me a warning look. We had decided to name our daughter Ruth. I thought that the picking of that book was funny since she was there with us.

My brother was our witness and photographer. Good thing we had min with us, otherwise we would have had to pay extra for the services. With the paperwork completed ,a tip for the minister and a flat no to the plethora folder for the marriage license we were back in our room by midnight.

I couldn’t sleep so we both got up and went to explore the casino at 2 am. Though no one was playing the slots, the machines continued to ring bells and make noise as if people were hitting jackpots.

We wandered out to the Strip to walk and watch the sunrise. We found our rental car and took Brian to the airport to catch his flight to California.

The next day we drove to Death Valley for our Honeymoon .

Now we have been married for 29 years. We still cuddle, talk and love each other more than when we took those vows.

On the 16th, John took me to a neighborhood Italian restaurant. I had shrimp scampi and John had a house specialty sub. A Brazilian friend Joao, had told of special desserts that his chef friend served in his Italian eatery in Italy. The Struffoli, le Frappe, la Cicerchiata, le Castagnole were temping ,but John said that he would look up a recipe and make them for us soon.

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one man

one woman

two minds

join together

to make one heart.

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com. copyright 2/18/21

Ashes to Ashes February 16, 2021

Today is known as Shrove Tuesday or the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. There are different practices surrounding Shrove Tuesday. Many ethnic groups take the day to clean out the sweets and fat from the home. My husband’s Polish family made Panczka’s, a fried twisted bread that is covered with powder sugar. These were made to use up the fat and sugar that would be limited in lent. Other countries have different foods for this day. The most popular food is pancakes. in Great Britain and France, the pancakes are crepe like and rolled up with fillings. In Ireland, people eat a type of potato pancake. In Russia, the pancakes are buckwheat pancakes served with caviar, sour cream or jelly. A friend told me about her Italian mother in law who would cook a crepe type of pancake with fresh shredded horseradish in the cake. Everyone was to take a small bite of the pancake. I think that the horseradish symbolized the bitterness of our life as in the Seder meal.

The day is set aside to contemplate and pray what changes a person will do in the 40 days of lent. Sometimes this takes the form of giving up a favorite food or activity. Other times the practice is fasting and more meditation and prayer time to be observed during lent.

On Ash Wednesday, a person may see a co-worker or a friend with a smear of ashes on the forehead or ashes sprinkled on the head. This may be startling but it is an opportunity to have a conversation and learn about another’s beliefs and practices.

The history of sprinkling ashes or anointing the forehead with the sign of the cross in ashes is less than 1000 years old. But Christians and other religious groups have used ashes to symbolize penance and remorse for sinful practices. The priest or minister will pull the ashes on each person while saying “You are ashes and to ashes will you will return.” In more modern times the minister may say, ”Repent and believe in the cross. The ashes are from the previous years palms from Palm Sunday. They are blessed and distributed through out Ash Wednesday.

There is no mandate to wear the ashes all day, but many Christians do wear the ashes as a reminder of the start of days of fasting and prayer.

In the Catholic church, Ash Wednesday and all the fridays of lent are meatless. In addition on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Adults are expected to fast with one meal or two small meals in the 24 hour period. This is the minimum requested but many Catholics and other Christians practice more fasting along with prayer time and bible reading.

On Ash Wednesday, some Christians limit their intake to bread and water to mimic Jesus in the desert.

This year, with the corona virus limits on crowds, many churches are placing ashes in an area for individuals to receive their own ashes.

Whatever way you chose to observe this day, a time of reflection and renewal coinciding with the renewal of nature gives a spirit of new starts and

reconciliation.

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The Cantical of ash

You are dust, and to dust you shall return.

But ash has a residue of

trace minerals

Farmers apply ash to fields to encourage new growth.

I embrace my ashes

to burn away distractions

leaving only my core

I embrace, follow and believe.

copyright 2-16-21

Dreaming of Summer February 11, 2021

As I watch the winter storm unfurling, I hear from my Brazilian sister Adelia. She describes the hot and tropical rain they are experiencing in Sao Paulo. I am reminded of summer storms here in Michigan and how powerful they can be.

Below is a poem of one such storm and the feelings we had being on a tandem bike and fourteen miles from our vehicle. My husband and I were alone, exposed and the tallest item on the trail.

I purposely have the first part of the poem stretched out with a empty between sentences to mimic a leisurely pace. The last half of the poem has line after line with no extra spaces. This mimics the quicker pace of our return trip. You may not note it, but this spacing changes the pace of person’s reading with voice over.

Enjoy and think of summer for a little while.

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With the Wind

On a sunny, sultry summer day,

My husband John, and I decided to ride a rails to trails.

The trailhead was the parking lot of an old abandon train station.

We unloaded the tandem, snapped on our helmets and headed North to Reed City.

The air was still and heavy with moisture.

I joked that we were creating our own rain as sweat trickled from under our helmets to drip down our faces and backs.

Setting a leisurely pace, we chatted about the growing crops, stopping to touch a wild flower, take a photo and buy ice cream.

When arriving in Reed City, the weather had taken a dramatic change.

The air felt cool and a breeze was blowing to the south.

Looking to the west, John saw a bank of heavy storm clouds blanketing the sky.

Quickly, we turned around as a clap of distant thunder was heard.

Normally, I am a slow biker.

I prefer to enjoy the ride and let my husband do most of the work.

But that day, I matched the speed and strength of John’s peddling,

as we worked to stay ahead of the storm.

Our faces were hot and sweaty,

but the cold wind on our backs cooled us

while propelling us southward.

Our conversation was limited to a phrase that could be said in a quick breath.

“ That thunder clap sounded closer.”

“Pedal.”

“Did you see that lightening strike?”

“Pedal!”

“ I don’t think we’re going to make it!”

“PEDEL!”

Dodging a Jogger, we streaked into the Parking lot at full speed and in high gear.

Halting at the truck, I felt the first drops of rain hit my helmet.

Stowing the bike, we bolted for the cab, as a cascade of rain and the fireworks of the storm erupted all around us.

copyright 2-11-21

Carolspot@aol.com

The mirror to the soul February 9,2021

I was reading a article in the Blind Perspective by Alice Massa about rules for giving a good speech. She made the point that even blind individuals must practice eye contact or imagine the audience and speak to them.

As a speech pathologist , I would work with low vision and blind individuals to have them face a visual speaker.

My clients would ask ‘Why do I have to make an effort to look at a in the direction of a speaker?”. I would give them three reasons to make accommodations for a visual person.

#1 The visual speaker is used to being looked at in the face. Many blind turn their head to hear the person. They think they are facing the speaker but they are looking to the side. This is distracting to the visual person. Training the blind person to locate the voice with equal volume in both ears will assure that you are looking in the direction of the face of the speaker.

#2. Some blind have what is referred to as restless eyes. The eyes jitter, roam and even may roll back to show the whites of the eye. If a person has this condition, It is better if the blind person wears darken glasses. They should still work on facing a speaker with the technique outlined in number 1.

#3. When speaking to more that one individual, The blind should learn to shift their facial direction to face the current speaker. This is normal for speakers with vision.

I have been asked,”Why bother? They should accept me as I am!” I will agree with them and point out what is more important? Not bothering to make an accommodation to the visual and not getting their conversation across. Or, having the attention of your listeners. We ask for reasonable accommodation for ourselves, Why can’t we think that others may need help to listen to us, the blind?

No it’s not fair and life is lopsided when it comes to presenting yourself to others. A little practice will improve your conversation skills and improve accepting the blind in groups.

The best compliment I received was,”You are looking right into my eyes. Are you sure you don’t see?”

Cicero , in 106 B.C. Said”Eyes are the mirrors to the soul, reflecting everything hidden and like a mirror reflect the person spoken to.” Who wouldn’t want to use such a powerful tool when talking to others?

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They roamed the fields together,

The sky was full of stars.

He met her at the gate.

As he lifted up the bar.

Gazing with love at each other

A love they could not disavow.

But he was just a hired hand.

And she… a Jersey cow.

unknown Scottish author

copyright 2/9/21

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

Goulash February 4, 2021

Today I made my Mother in Law’s goulash recipe with a few refinements of my own. Besides meat it had carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, peas, onions and garlic. It was layered in a roaster and cooked for several hours in the oven.

As the dish was cooking, I thought ,”Why not have a word goulash?” So with a bit of this and a little of that here is my goulash blog.

Earnest Hemingway said, ”Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter …and bleed.”

While cutting up the vegetables, I wondered where are all the fresh vegetables coming from in the middle of winter? When I was a kid, my mother had canned vegetables from the garden. We enjoyed, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, asparagus and cabbage as kraut. Other veggies were bought frozen or we did without. We looked forward to spring and new leafy vegetables.

We have many choices to put in our goulash but the flavor has been decreased by early harvesting and travel. I put in more spices to make up for the flavor difference.

The idea of slow cooking is very popular. Once difficult to fit into a day with work and chores. Now with more people working from home, watching a low temperature oven or crock pot, people are managing both tasks. The aroma of a slow cooked meal permeates the air. Words like, delightful, palatable , savory and pleasant. I am tempted to open the oven door or the top of the crock pot to allow more aromas to escape.

Finally, the roaster is out and resting before serving. I never understood why a dish must rest until I try to taste test the goulash directly from the oven. I burned my tongue for my trouble .

The meal was dished out on the table and we blessed the gift of a home cooked meal from the past.

May you make your own goulash soon. But let it rest.

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Goulash

Gather the meat and vegetables to start the dish.

Open the recipe box to see a traditional preparation.

Understanding our tastes have changed, I add and omit ingredients.

Good smells are released into the house.

A quick look into the oven to savor the escaping vapor.

Shut the door to complete the cooking.

Happy with the results but please don’t burn yourself!

Copyright 2,4,21 Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

Groundhog Day February 2, 2021

Since my blog post falls on this strangest of holidays, I decided to delve into the history of this celebration.

The holiday had it’s origin in Germany in the 1600 century. The date marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. it was initially the time that bears woke from their hibernation . As the bear population decreased, the weather predicting animal changed to a badger.

When German and Dutch settlers came to North America, they brought their tradition to a native animal, The groundhog.

The tradition states if the groundhog sees his shadow he returns to his burrow and there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If the day is cloudy and the shadow is not seen, the prediction is for an early spring.

This holiday has been celebrated in Punxsutawney, PA. since 1886. A local newspaper is credited with starting the holiday.

Over the 130 plus years, there have many Phil and Phillis groundhogs as weather animals. The average lifespan of a groundhog is three years. No matter what the sex, the Punxsutawney groundhog has been named Phil.

Though this holiday is celebrated in many states and Canadian provinces, Punxsutawney groundhog day is the most popular.

In the last several years the appearance of Phil has been live streamed from Punxsutawney. Phil appears between 7:20 and 7:30 a.m. This is great for this year of social distance and no crowd gathering.

Can’t get up that early? You will be able to watch the video on You tube all day.

So from Europe to the North America’s new world, to a computer or t.v. near you, Enjoy a bit of our forefathers and mothers cultural superstitions.

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A One Day Show

Time to awaken, get out again.

Day is dawning, climb out on the den.

The smell of humans, so much noise!

No wonder Phil retreats to the den much annoyed.

Copyright 2./2/21 Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

Tripping January 28, 2021

In my immediate physical space, I like to keep order and have it free clear of clutter. Doors are closed, shoes put away and furniture in the same place. This is how a blind person keeps the home safe. There are still obstacles that occur, such as an open dish washer. In December, I mentioned that by tripping over the open door, I fell and broke my left hip. Now that I am healing, what do I do to make my home safe again? My husband, John was all for attaching an alarm to the door. He went to the Hardware store and bought a window alarm. This would emit a very loud continuous high pitch sound. It would be great to thwart a burglar but It made me avoid opening the dish washer. After a couple days of washing dishes by hand, My husband removed the alarm. Now what to do? I needed a reminder when the door was open. I looked on the internet, most of the alarms were constant and not made for appliances. Finally, I found a website,”The Blind Mice Mega Mall”. The group of virtual stores are owned and run by blind people. In the store,”Journeys”,I found an alarm that would start after a door was open for 45 seconds. The beep was intermittent and loud enough to get my attention. The small devise attached to the outside of the door with industrial double sided tape and runs on two double aa batteries. Before you think this is an endorsement, which it is, I had to spend three weeks to find such an item on the internet. This item was not on Amazon, Walmart or any hardware site. A member of one of my online blind groups told me to research store for the blind on the web. The old joke of a blind person taking three times the work to do what a visual person can do was true in this instant. I was proud that I did find the alarm and order it with little assistance. My point, is that the disabilities act was passed in1992. In 2010, companies on the internet were taken to court to make their websites accessible to all disabilities. Sadly this is not always the case. What can we do? Report companies that make it hard to find and order items online. Use the website that are accessible. Support new entrepreneurs that have products that the disabled need to be more independent .

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Hey Siri,

Hi Carol,

What can I do for you?

Search for an alarm for dish washer door.

“I seem to be having a problem with the connection.Try again later”.

After several try’s, I sigh and give up.

copyright 1/28/21carolfarn@aol.com