Fire Gear, Lois Stories, Favorite books with video links, and more

Many thanks to my neighbors downstairs for letting me connect to their wireless network, now I have Internet at home. Today, since I have the time and energy, I want to share some stories with you.

I received messages that three Georgia fire departments received their bunker gear and other items. Madray Springs Fire Chief Ashley Dent sent me pictures of some of his firefighters wearing their gear so I want to share it with you. Chief Dent said it’s like Christmas in September and that the firefighters are so excited to have new gear. It will allow more of them to serve their communities and be safe in the process. Another plus to this new bunker gear is that on the back of the jackets it says MSFD which is the initials to their department. The other gear they have has the initials LCFD for Long County which is the county where they are located. Since their budget money comes from the county, they had to have the county initials on their gear. Because this new gear was purchased with the donation I gave them, they are able to have their own initials on this gear. Now, when they fight a fire or are at a scene it will be known that Madray Springs firefighters are there and be identified as their own department, not only as a part of the county district. You can read about my visit with the Georgia firefighters when they drove down to visit me in July. At the end of that post are links to stories written about the donations I have been making to volunteer fire departments.

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Many of you that have been reading my stories for a while know that I had a mentor many years ago named Lois, she passed away in May 1989, However, her influence on me is still a part of my daily life. She helped me become the person I am today. She always reminded me to look for something to be grateful for. I knew I had a picture of her and me together and I was able to find it. Since it’s a picture of a picture it’s not very clear but I wanted you to see it so you will know what this very spiritual person with a great laugh looked like.


Lois and Carol

I would go to her house and sit on or near her bed for hours at a time and we would talk, tell stories, read books out loud, and talk about life and how to live it on life’s terms. Lois would frequently laugh when I would tell her something that was happening in my life. Sometimes in response she would say “Honey, will this matter in 100 years”, or “how important is this.” She would tell me often to keep a sense of humor. Lois was confined to bed the last 7 years of her life. She had 1/3 of a lung and was on oxygen. When I would call her or visit her and tell her something I thought was serious or a matter of importance at that moment she would tell me to stand up, take two steps, and say thank you God that I could walk, talk, and breathe at the same time. She was unable to do that. Like I’ve said before, it’s hard to stay in self pity when someone says that to you. Then she would ask me what I was grateful for.

In May 1989, it was about 3 weeks before Lois died, I had to have foot surgery. I called and told Lois about my foot surgery and that the doctor said I would not be able to take a shower or get my foot wet for 10 days. That felt like an eternity to me. I said to Lois how can I not shower for 10 days, I needed to wash my hair, clean up, etc. Her immediate response was that she had not had a shower or bath in 7 years. She only could have sponge baths since the only time she could get out of bed was to sit in a chair next to her bed. Lois asked me how many days are in a year. I said 365, then she said so you can do 10 days easily. How could I disagree.

I have so many Lois stories. At the time Lois was first a part of my life I took everything so seriously, and she made light of them and taught me to just enjoy the moment and not be so serious. For examplein October 1989 my dog had puppies. When they were about 3 or 4 weeks old and starting to run around my house they began getting into things and making messes, finding things to get into, just being puppies. Only back then I was more serious and not who I am today. I called Lois and told her they ate their cereal and got it all over them, and then instead of staying in the kitchen with the vinyl flooring they would run into the living room where there was carpet. So I told Lois and she suggested putting plastic sheeting on the carpet so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Then she told me to put old clothes on and just sit on the floor and be a kid and play with the puppies. Another time I called her and said you know what they are doing now. First, she laughed, then asked what they did… I told her they took the end of the roll of toilet paper and ran all over the house with it. Well, that made her laugh harder and then I did too. All she said was they are doing the best they can, they are just puppies and doing what puppies do. Then she asked me what I am grateful for and I came up with a few things of course… Always be grateful, no matter what.

Other things my pets did that she helped me laugh through are when one of my dogs chewed the pillow cases and sheets on my bed which at that time was a water bed. I told her what the dog did, her first response was extreme laughter. Then she asked what am I grateful for… it took me a few minutes, then I said that they did not puncture the water bed mattress. Another time, the dogs chewed a hole in my sofa, again, laughter and what am I grateful for… that the hole on the front could be covered by a pillow and the back could be pushed against the wall. Somewhere along the way I just learned to look for something to be grateful for automatically even before I called her. I also started to think if I will be able to look at this later on down the road, why not just learn to laugh at the moment. Lois was in my life for about 10 1/2 months, then she became a heavenly angel. But, during that 10 1/2 months she significantly changed my life, all for the better. Without her influence in my life, I know I would not be who I am today. I am so thankful.

I will share another story with you. This happened a year or so after Lois died, but this shows what a powerful influence she had on my thinking. It was late one fall evening, I was living in Texas and it was cold and dark outside. I thought that a nice hot relaxing bath would be a great idea. So I put my two dogs outside and took a nice bubble bath with soft calming music. I get out of the tub, get dressed, and decide to paint my fingernails bright red. (Lois’ favorite color was red, I even wore a red outfit and shoes to her funeral. I felt her presence at the funeral home just laughing and glad I did it.) Anyway, I opened the bottle of nail polish and started polishing my nails. About then the dogs started barking loudly so I put the bottle down on the counter and went to see what the commotion was outside. I didn’t see anything wrong, so I came back and picked up the bottle and went to shake it… you might have just guessed… I had not screwed the top on the bottle and I didn’t hold the top when I shook it.  OK, now you maybe get the picture… go ahead and laugh…

So, here I am shaking the bottle of red nail polish, the top is not screwed on at all… the red nail polish goes all over my bathroom… it looked like a crime scene… red polish all over the sink, tub, glass shower door, towels, blue bathroom rug, mirror, etc. At first, I thought oh my look at this mess, how could I forget to check the cap. I started to clean up the mess before it dried too much. As I was cleaning it up, I thought if Lois were alive and I told her what just happened what would be her reaction. First, she would be laughing so hard it would probably use up the little oxygen she had in her lung. Then she would ask what am I grateful for… so I thought what am I grateful for. The only thing I could think of was that it missed the wallpaper. It was the only thing it missed in my tiny bathroom.  So, I cleaned up all the nail polish I could and I washed the towels and rug. I continued to use the towels and rug as a reminder to not take life so seriously and to remember to keep an attitude of gratitude.

Lois and I would read Shel Silverstein books out loud to each other, and of course we used silly voices, it’s the only way to read his books. This would always make us laugh. If you are not familiar with Shel Silverstein books (he passed away a few years ago) check out Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Light in the Attic, The Missing Piece, etc. You will most probably laugh when reading some of these poems, or they will make you see life differently. Especially, The Missing Piece. This book is about a circle who is missing a wedge in his circle so he can’t just roll along smoothly through life. He has to stop and see things as he sort of rolls along looking for his missing piece. He finds pieces that are too large, small, etc. then he finds his missing piece and is able to roll along faster. However, then he realizes that he passes life by and doesn’t see the flowers, etc. You can go by a bookstore to glance through these books. Feel free to do a search for Shel Silverstein and read about this talented man who made so many of us laugh and look at life differently. Here is a link to a video of this book.

Another book that is one of my favorite books is Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.  I love reading this book out loud in funny voices. In fact, I have read it so many times to some of my friends when they call and are in a slump, funky, sad, or place they are uncomfortable with being in, or don’t know what to do next. It almost always gets them unslumped or at least laughing. I have also gifted many copies of this book to people… Do you want to have a great life experience, than buy yourself a copy of this book and read it out loud in funny voices frequently. You might also find you know some of your friends or others that you want to gift this book to. I think adults get more from reading this book, and especially looking at the pictures carefully, than the children do. Here is a link to a video of this book.

We all know the story of the Three Little Pigs and the big bad wolf… Well, years ago, I found a beautifully illustrated book of the The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, it’s written from the wolf’s point of view. Here is a link to the video of this book.

There have been many, many people that have had a positive influence on my life. I am grateful to all of them. Another special person tells me frequently that… It couldn’t have happened any other way.  Also, I owe the people that have been a bit more difficult to deal with my gratitude. They helped me learn a lot about myself and because of them or situations I was in, I had to learn ways to find serenity and walk with dignity even though I was not happy with the situation. I learned sometimes I am just a player in the life story of someone else. God is the playwright, I am just an actor in the play and I don’t know my part until I need to know it… Also, God does rewrites frequently throughout the day.

If you are wondering what else I have been up to, not too much. I went and had 4 new tires on my car. I have still been doing jigsaw puzzles.  A few of the puzzles I bought were a larger size than the picture frame I was doing them on so I went to the craft store and bought some really large sheets of foam board to use. This is great for assembling puzzles and also for spreading out the puzzle pieces. I’m doing a puzzle now that is a scene of candy. All the pieces are different shapes and colors, it’s lots of fun to do. Except the large picture of the puzzle is on three sides of the small box it came in, so I am continually turning the box to see where pieces might go.

For some reason, the puzzles I am buying now are really challenging ones with colors that are similar or not many colors in the puzzle. I just bought one with two brown horses running in snow, with blue sky in the background from the snow upwards.

Here are more puzzles that have been completed or are being worked on. Look at the shapes and colors in these puzzle pieces. This is more fun than when all the pieces in a puzzle are in rows and similar sizes and shapes. There are only 500 pieces in the candy puzzle. The puzzle with the lady and child was really challenging. Pieces were not always the color we thought would go in a spot. We would be looking for days and finally find the piece that fit and it was a surprise to us. There were 1000 pieces in that puzzle, and most of the puzzles I am now buying are 1000 pieces.

IMG_1430 IMG_1432IMG_1428I have also been updating my door poster with pictures and cards that are being sent to me, or that I found in a box I went through. I have a picture in the top center of the middle poster of Don and me. Don and I were together for almost 18 years when I lived in Texas. Don, who was a police detective, died about 14 years ago from cancer.  I have almost always looked younger than my age in years. When we first started dating, we went to his family reunion and Don’s dad asked me to show him my drivers license, he didn’t think I was of legal age. I’m not sure if he was serious, I think he might have been, so I showed it to him. He was shocked… I was 32 years old. The picture of Don in the cowboy hat was taken our first year together, the smaller pictures on the left were taken 2 months before he died.

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I am still trying to read some novels as time and my eyesight permit. I just read a great book by Tony Moore called One Of A Kind. I met Tony through the fire gear purchase for a town in Illinois. Tony is the Regional Sales Manager for Fire Dex in the Upper Midwest. After a few email exchanges about fire gear the department needed, Tony read the stories on my website and let me know about the book he wrote, and he sent me an autographed copy.  Tony’s book is about amazing success and overcoming the difficult times of being orphaned, twice, and coming through life’s experiences and challenges and becoming a successful businessman. This book will make you laugh, cry, and realize that you can accomplish anything when you are determined and to not let life get you down. He is truly someone with an inspirational story.

scrub daddyI want to let you know about a wonderful product I have been using for a few months and absolutely love. It’s called the Scrub Daddy Sponge. It’s wonderful, and even their packaging is unique. No more slimy and smelly sponges, and these sponges usually last for a couple of months. This sponge changes from hard to soft depending on the temperature of the water you rinse it in. I have bought lots of these and I’m giving them to friends as presents. I bought 20 of them and took them to my doctors office and gave them to the three doctors and all of the staff. Update: When I went back to the office a few weeks later and asked about the sponges everyone including my doctor told me that they love them and are going to buy more of them. Check out their website.

I love visiting Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee, Florida. They have some new babies… the latest are triplet marmosets born on Tuesday. Triplets are rare and the mom can only take care of two babies, so one of the triplets has to be hand fed. By the way, the male marmosets carry the babies around and give them to the female when it’s time for feeding. baby marmosetHere is a photo of the day old baby marmoset.

That’s about all for now…

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