Tag Archives: Making a difference

A Word To Tackle: TOSKA

Even the outside of the Old Colorado City Library inspires you to read.

Even the outside of the Old Colorado City Library inspires you to read.

 

 

Local knitters keep the library trees colorful, creative and warm.

Local knitters keep the library trees colorful, creative and warm.

For Mother’s Day one year, I gave Mom a deck of cards for writers.  52 cards, not for playing poker or bridge or any card game, but for picking a writing prompt.  The idea was to “play your best hand” and write without stopping for fifteen minutes.

Mom laughed at the first prompt card she drew from the deck.  It said to write for fifteen minutes about where a lost child might be found.  “That’s too easy,” she said. “My first place to look for Marylin would be the library.”

I love libraries, especially very old, small libraries that smell of floor wax and have wide, tall windows and comfortable chairs scattered around the stacks of books. One of my favorite quotes about a library comes from Albert Einstein: “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”   I first saw this quote boldly printed on a map of the town of Chautauqua, New York.   The map was posted on the bulletin board of the Smith Memorial Library, and someone had used a marker to make an X where the library was: “You are here. Make the Most of It.”

Library bulletin boards are fascinating sources of information. Last week when I returned some library books, there were coupons for the nearby coffee shop, note cards with job opportunities, and contact numbers for poets looking to start a group. There was also one yellow card thumb-tacked to the board, with the word TOSKA printed in large letters.

Below the word TOSKA, in smaller printing was this message: “Among other things, Toska means melancholy, anguish, boredom, nostalgia, homesickness, sorrow, loneliness. If you know someone who suffers from one or more of these maladies, you can help heal them with a visit, a kind word, the touch of your hand on theirs as you listen to them talk about themselves and something they once treasured.”

I read this message again, almost feeling my mother’s presence.   If it weren’t for her dementia—and even though I doubted she had ever heard the word Toska—I knew she had helped many others by sitting beside them, holding their hands and listening.  Take that, Toska!       

Before the dementia, Grace and Gannon often enjoyed being read to by their great-grandmother.

Before the dementia, Grace and Gannon often enjoyed being read to by their great-grandmother.

Make the Most of itMG_5559

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, experiments, just doing the best we can, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, writing exercises

THE DIFFERENCE ONE PERSON CAN MAKE

Chicken soup. It's not just for colds and flu.  (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Chicken soup. It’s not just for colds and flu. (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Dear Mom,

When I began writing this blog, my goal was to remember, collect and record as many special memories about you as possible so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren could know how special and wonderful you are. Along the way, you’ve had hours and days when your dementia took a break, and I’ve read to you some of the blog posts and comments from the readers.

This week I would have loved for you to be alert and aware enough to read a very special email from a wonderful friend you and I met through this blog. (http://www.darlawrites.com/)  In our blog last week, I reminded readers about the upcoming April 10 “Encourage a Young Writer” Day. Here is an excerpt of Darla McDavid’s reply:

Hi, Marylin:

I spoke with Chiara for Encourage a Young Writer Day.  Chiara is a fourth grade student who wants to write “adventure and fantasy books” when she grows up. I told Chiara your mother’s name and age, and explained how Mary would love to be standing with her right then to encourage her, if only she could. Then I spoke in Mary’s name and encouraged her to follow that dream. Chiara smiled as she listened.She said to tell your mother “Thank you,” spoken in that pure, sincere way of a child…

With many, many thanks to Darla. Because of her kindness, April 10 also became the day to Encourage an Older Writer and Her Mother.  Each month when I visit you in Kansas, Mom, I will read aloud to you Darla’s full account of working with Chiara. During one of our visits, I believe you will understand and know what a gift this was. To Chiara, to you…and to me.

For the rest of us, it’s no secret that we live in difficult times, face pressures and problems, and often feel overwhelmed by the many demands and disappointments. How do you survive…and thrive?  If you have an experience, a special technique or routine for meeting and defeating obstacles, how about sharing it with others?  In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

Here are the full details for an excellent writing opportunity from Santa Fe.

30 Days to Sanity: We Want Your Stories!

Do you have heartwarming, insightful, and powerfully moving true stories about how to stay sane in this chaotic 24/7 world? A co-author of the New York TimesBest-selling book series Chicken Soup for the Soul is currently seeking personal stories to be included in 30 Days to Sanity, an online stress/resiliency program. We’re looking for inspirational true stories that give a personal account of an event, an obstacle overcome, a strategy to remain sane, or a lesson learned that helps the reader discover basic principles they can use in their own lives.

Some of the topics we will include are: Getting to Know Yourself, Your Needs & Dreams, Getting Your Priorities Straight, Learning to Listen to Your Heart, Discovering Your Passion, Setting Aside Time for You, Balancing Work & Family, Building a Soulful Community, Learning to Love Your Body, Taking a Mini-Vacation or Playcation, Setting Limits Both at Work and at Home, Putting Technology to Work for You, Making a Meaningful Contribution to the World, Growing From the Bumps in Your Life, Making Technology Free Times to Truly Connect, Creating a Space Just For You, Making Sacred Time for Your Family, Eliminating Time Wasters and Energy Suckers, Managing Technology, Banishing Your Guilt, Celebrating Your Gifts and Strengths, Expressing Appreciation to a Friend or Loved One, Asking for Help or Support, Discovering an Attitude of Gratitude, Using Life as Your Teacher, Cultivating Compassion, or Comic Relief (humorous stories about funny things you’ve done while stressed).  Submit as many stories as you’d like.

Story Length: Up to 1,200 words  Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013

Compensation: $100 one-time use fee for each story accepted for publication

Submit to: stephanie@30daystosanitycom or to 30 Days to Sanity, Box 31453, Santa Fe, NM 87594-1453 (please keep copies as we are unable to return submissions).

How Do You Stay Sane During Rough and Tumble Times???

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you pray and light a candle?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?

Do you cuddle with a buddy?

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren

Thanks, Mom

Dear Mom,

Before I post my newspaper op-ed, I want to thank you. All my life, you’ve supported, encouraged, and sometimes gently questioned, my writing. When I was working on the article about Notre Dame vs. Chapman, Kansas, you listened as I explained it, but you fell asleep twice. Dementia and 93-years have made you a fast drop-off napper, and I wasn’t offended. You slept, and I kept writing. This was only my second newspaper article since my days at McPherson College, and it was slow going.

When I cleaned out the house where David and I grew up and you and Dad had lived for more than 50 years, I found a wonderful gift tucked in folders on a closet shelf. You had saved copies of my published stories, essays and articles through the years. Some of them I know you enjoyed and approved of more than others, but you celebrated each acceptance letter with me, and encouraged me to keep trying when there were rejection letters. I doubt you remember that now, but I will remember.

After “Notre Dame’s Missed Opportunity” was published in the Chapman Times News last week, I learned that a wrestling coach read it to her team, and readers were talking about it all over town. One long-time resident of Chapman posted a note on this blog (see ABOUT US, the last comment) and he closed by saying this:

“…You wrote like you had grown up in Chapman and had the pride of the town that I haven’t seen for a long while. It seems we feel it but it is not expressed as you did. Very good of you to take the time, hope you do more of it.”

THAT is one of the reasons we write, Mom, to make a difference. You taught me that by your example, and supported it with your encouragement and support.

Thank you, Mom.

Love, Marylin

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, teaching, writing