Tag Archives: huffington post

A Different View Point

24 Jan

Are you having an extremely cold winter? We certainly are. I had the first of two necessary total knee replacements this winter. I have been like a gangly legged new foal these past few months. Walking outside to my car through the ice and snow has been an adventure that I try to do without. My biggest fear at this point is that I will fall on the ice and need to have my new knee replaced. With the memory of the surgery only weeks behind me, I shudder at the thought.

The only time I go outside of my house is for physical therapy. A term from my child hood comes to mind…. shut-in. Our church would do special things for “shut-ins.” My mind would race as a child, what or who were shut-ins? I never imagined that I would for all practical reasons become a shut-in, even if only for a short time. This experience has caused another one-degree shift in my viewpoint.

Having had a brush with a possible knee infection early on and being unable to pin-point what the exact problem is, I have been placed on a wait and pray vigil for months. After several rounds of antibiotics the next step is another surgery. In order to rule things out, I am essentially a shut-in, so I don’t pick up the nasty germs floating around this time of year.

Needless to say, I am looking at the world differently. Without much human interaction and limited abilities I struggle to keep busy. I have time to notice and appreciate the little things. While the snow flies, the wind howls, and the ice freezes, melts, and refreezes on my drive and walkway, I am for the most part watching it happen from the other side of the glass, 150 year old glass to be precise. Many of the windows in our old farmhouse are still the original wavy glass from a by-gone era.

These are not energy efficient windows, but I love them. I can’t stand to part with them. Thick storm windows on the outside offer some protection but the wind howls through them, and the ice forms between the layers. This is a gift left over from a different time. Beautiful ice patterns form on the glass, some small some large, each as individual as a snowflake. They remind me of how individual and diverse each of us as people are.

My ears seem to pick up on every sound. You can hear the pipes and walls creak as they fight against the cold to deliver warm water through the walls. Our ancient boiler is working hard to keep the hot water running through the radiators this winter. So far it has proven up to the task. I appreciate my radiators as they can do double and sometimes triple duty. They make a great place to tuck damp shoes, wet mittens or a jacket to dry quickly. Radiators make a luxurious towel warmer, nothing like the feel of a toasty warm towel, pair of shoes, or jacket.

Sunny days have been far and between, when they happen they are glistening bright, reflecting off of the frozen landscape. On those days I find myself stretched out on the wicker couch on the long indoor porch room (that the mad-woman painted in my book, The Year of the Cicadas) absorbing the sunshine and pretending that I am in sunny Florida. Occasionally I can be found there between the hours of one and three wearing a pair of reading sunglasses while I work away. Aaaah …nothing like using your imagination.

I am unable at this point to lift or bend, making aggressive cleaning impossible. I have exhausted TV and movie watching, reading and Facebook are growing weary. I find myself coming down with a case of cabin fever, as my mother always called it. I believe it is way to early in the season for cabin fever. I still have surgery ahead for my second knee and possibly re-opening my first knee.

I know that my shut-in status is short lived, but it feels like forever. It does bring to mind all of those people who are permanently shut-in. What do they do to keep their minds and bodies sharp? How limited are their lives?

It brings to light the handicapped or elderly, and the insurmountable odds they face trying to get out their door to the car, bus, or train. The difficulty they face manipulating a body that doesn’t work to fit into a space designed for a body that does work. For many people this is a way of life. It is exhausting getting from point A to point B, add snow and ice it’s simply overwhelming.

The next time I am waiting for the parking space closest to the door, I will think of the person for whom this walk seems five times as far.

I needed this shift, to see things from a different viewpoint. Thanks for coming along on my journey of changing my world one-degree at a time.

Catie

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Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Life is like riding a bicycle…

26 Sep

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ― Albert Einstein

This is the time of year when so many children are heading out the door, to pre-school, kindergarten, high school or college. It is hard to let them go, yet you must. The job of being a parent is to give your children the wings to fly, and the courage to use those wings. The thing to remember is that each child is an individual and reaches this point when they are ready, not when you are. Timing is everything. It can be difficult as parents to know when they are ready.

I believe parenting is similar to teaching your child to ride a bike. First you discuss the process and spend some time teaching them to pedal. After a while you lower those wobbly training wheels until their confidence is built, eventually raising them so things can become a little uncomfortable. They may tumble a few times, but in the long run you know it’s necessary to help them find their center. Later you run along beside them holding onto the back of the bicycle while encouraging them to find their own balance. The day will come when you release them into the world. Before you know it they are flying along without you.

As your child navigates along the bumpy paths of life there will be bruises and a few set backs. We accept that. Sometimes they come back with more than a bump or bruise. We received the phone call that no parent wants to receive. Our son was being airlifted to a trauma center two hours away. We were told to hurry, the outlook was uncertain. After the long grueling trip we discovered that our son had fallen from a 180 foot cliff receiving a severe traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on one side. The future of our son, our marriage and of our family was hanging in the balance.

How does one receive news like this and find the strength to go on? The ripple effect was put into play that day… our family, our marriage, our spirituality, everything about us changed and will be felt by the generations to come.

Being a care-giver to your injured child can be taxing, yet a deeply fulfilling endeavor. I found it to be a life journey that I would never have chosen. However, it changed not only me, but our entire family for the better. Sometimes in life we are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. It forces us to dig deep within ourselves to find the strength to go on, not only for us, but for our children. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Our story has a happy ending. Our son’s paralysis was caused by a bleed into his brain when his carotid artery was dissected upon impact. The paralysis miraculously disappeared. Although his left side is weaker, today you would never notice, he keeps that to himself. His brain has slowly healed. He needed time to remember who we were, who he was, and to discover the new him.

After months of therapy and hard-work he knew he had one more obstacle to face. The day he decided to return all his Christmas gifts to purchase a rope to rappel the cliff he fell from just eight short months earlier, was the day I discovered my knees.

We do all we can to protect our children. We buy the protective gear, provide good guidance, but in the end we are not in control. I learned that day to give control to a higher power. When your child returns to the nest broken, you nurture and care for them. However, you must give them the wings and courage to fly once again. This is not easy. My son knew he needed to conquer the cliff that took so much away from him. He knew what I didn’t understand at the time…. that the young man at the top of the cliff holding the rappelling rope was not the same young man that landed triumphantly at the bottom.

We all face “cliffs” in our lives. I have found the quote “the only way out is through” to be true. I as well had to face my greatest fear, and discover that I was not in control. The woman writing this is no longer the same woman who raced to the hospital. My marriage, my health, my viewpoint on life has been forever altered. In a heart-beat I discovered what was important, and all that we can do is love them… and perhaps purchase a good helmet.

– Catie

Follow Catie Hartsfield on Twitter 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

Singing poor, poor, pitiful me…

24 Sep

An icon from my childhood, Linda Ronstadt announced this week that she has Parkinson’s disease and has lost her ability to sing.  One of her songs that I was singing for a long time without realizing it was, “Poor, poor, poor, me, poor, poor, pitiful me.” However, she is doing anything but saying, poor me. She is embracing her accomplishments and bringing enlightenment to the world by sharing her journey. It is wonderful that they are recording her voice via interviews for the generations to come, as she will more than likely loose her ability to speak clearly.  I have enjoyed listening to these interviews. She speaks eloquently about her Mexican heritage, growing up in the desert, and how she always carries a recorder with her to “capture the moments” that nudge her.  Linda states that if you learn to open up to the world around you, it will send you little messages or gifts, a flower, a bird, or a glimpse of something that speaks directly to you. That is how all of her lyrics have come about.  I think that is a beautiful sentiment.

As a young girl, I had dreams about being a journalist one day.  I put those dreams away with reality, along with my writing.  I was singing poor, poor, poor me for a long, long time. Once I changed my song, opened myself up to the world and allowed things to flow my way… I continue to be constantly amazed.

People actually notice what I have to say. Yes, I have found my voice….and I like it!  I am ecstatic each week when over 700 followers of The Year of the Cicadas blog read what I have floating around in my head.  If you are reading this blog, thank you.  It really does matter to me.

Last week I was asked to submit a blog for consideration to the Huffington Post. Do you know they have over 43,240,000 readers every month?!  I have no idea if it will be accepted or not, that is not the point.  The point is that I was asked and they wrote me back and said, “Perfect. Thank you so much for doing the work. It was worth it.”  Wow, this is a big moment for me, and for that young girl who one day long ago dreamed about writing an article that would be published.

I am an author of a book that at this time has eighty-six reviews on Amazon, and a lot more via Facebook and our website, www.TheYearoftheCicadas.com. Most of these reviews are positive, some are not, and that’s okay.  A reader commented that I was really a b*#@* some of the time, during our story.  The answer is yes, that is where I was at the time.  That fortunately is not who I am anymore. It has taken a lot of work for me to go from victim of my own life, singing poor, poor, poor, me…  poor, poor, pitiful me to opening myself up to the possibilities of life. My advice:  Open your heart, follow your dreams, and look for the gifts that the world gives back to you…. People do care what you have to say, and maybe you need to change the song you are singing.

Catie

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our marketing plan is driven by one person at a time, and you play an integral role in helping this book find it’s way into the hearts and the minds of the people it was written for.

Want to help? Here are some of the things you can do:

Write a review on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or our websitewww.theyearofthecicadas.com

Tell a friend about our book or purchase a copy for them as a gift.

Take our book to your or your friends book club, church group, or start a small group to read the book together. We have study guide questions on our website to help guide you through conversations about the book.  You can get a discount through our website for multiple books purchased.

Write your local newspaper book reviewer and tell them how much you like our book.

Send a copy of our book or write to one of your favorite shows, like the Ellen ShowOprahThe View or Kathie & Hoda, tell them what you think about it.  It only does so much if I say my book is good, you the reader carry a lot more weight than I do with the outside world.

Pray for our message, that our story will reach the hearts and minds of the people who can help us to open the doors.  Pray that our story will help to inspire people who are in need and that our story finds a way into their lives.

Without you, the readers of  The Year of the Cicadas, this story would be in a shoebox in the top of my closet waiting for my grandchildren to discover it after my passing. Thank you for letting me see it find the light while I am still here.  You rock.

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