Storm: Ending February and Beginning March

winter in full swing

Winter storm Feb 21, 2014

Ending  February 2014 and Beginning March 2014

You can see by the picture the snow is moving to the 3rd pane in the window. Winter has been challenging as life can be challenging. Have you ever wanted something so badly you couldn’t get it off your mind? Here in Minnesota we have wanted winter to be over. We have been reminded about every other day with new, fresh, white, beautiful snow falling that we are not in control.  We no more than get the drive way cleaned out and the street crews get things passable and the highway department gets the highways manageable and we get more new, fresh, white, beautiful snow.  The month of February has ended now and it is time for Mr. Winter to decide that spring is on the way. We in the midwest want winter to end.  We pray for people everywhere that have had to endure a really tough winter.

We have had many beautiful days that it looks like God has sprinkled glitter all over the ground and it makes you wonder how can anything be so beautiful make life so miserable? If you are one who enjoys outdoor play, this has been the winter for you. If you count of snow removal for a living, you have done well. The evergreens heavy with snow are an awesome sight to behold. We are fortunate to be able to enjoy these wonderful frosty days as many parts of the country do not have such a beautiful wintery view.

March, what will you bring? Calendar day, (the last Friday of the month,) predicted that it will be snowy, cold temperatures, more snow and a bit cloudy. Sort of a carbon copy of February. The farmers almanac does agree with that prediction. We do have to realize that we are not in control of any of these factors. We will just have to trust that spring will come with a slow thaw so we will not flood. We pray that the farmers, this year, will be able to plant a crop and that a bountiful harvest will prevail.

This is how we need to plan our lives. We need to trust that our heavenly father will provide for us all the things that we need to sustain ourselves.  We cannot change the weather pattern. We can change how we accept the things that happen to us in daily living.  As we move into our Lenten Season, let us look forward with trust that all will work for good.

“Star of Hope, A Season of Waiting”

Christmas from Stock exchange

Christmas from Stock exchange

Star of Hope, A Season of waiting.

Prepare, Watch, Behold and Rejoice.  These are the words on our banner at our local country church. Each week a new strip has be added and hung each Sunday through the season of Advent.  Tonight is when we celebrate our Saviors birth. Have you been preparing? It seems we have for the entire month with decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping and card sending to our loved ones. It’s done. It is now time to watch, behold and rejoice. A time to celebrate the Prince of Peace who has come gently into the “far-from-peaceful” world.  What a gift it is to rest in the joy of his coming to bring Hope to every soul who seeks Him.

”Star of Hope” was a service held for a local Hospice House. A time for families to come together to remember and reminisce about the loved ones they have lost this year. A time to remember when families spent time together with their loved one caring for them. A time to share the life they led and thank them for all they did for each one of us.  A sad time but a time when we could reassure them that we loved them and were grateful for them. The service gave those present the feeling of hope.

Life is a Journey.  It is about everyday struggles of lives and how people can move on stronger than ever after a conflict has happened to them. My father was in this “Star of Hope” Season this year. We siblings cared for him, in his home. With the help of a local Hospice Care unit we managed to keep dad’s wishes and cared for him. What a Blessing it was for me. Tough days mixed with rewarding days. The journey ended January 18, 2012 after many years of battling cancer.

It is time to behold and rejoice. As you celebrate this Christmas Season with your family remember the “Reason for this Season”.  Jesus came that we may have everlasting life.  We need to rest in the assurance that we will rejoice at the end of our earthly life. Today I am wondering what Christmas will be like in Heaven for my dad this year. He will be rejoicing with other loved ones, celebrating the Christmas Season with the heavenly angels for the first time.

Be prepared, keep watching, behold our Savior, and rejoice with your families with Christmas Joy.

“It is in darkness that one finds the Light….”   Keep looking. Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Merry Christmas Dad and all my loved ones.

 

 

“Survivors”

“Survivors”

The definition of a survivor is “someone regarded as capable of surviving changing conditions, misfortune, etc.  A misfortune means a mishap, illness or calamity.

On May 30, 1966 Randy Krulish had a misfortune.  On October 1, 1948 I had an illness.  Randy was injured in a diving accident and fractured his neck leaving him paralyzed. I became very ill with poliomyelitis (Polio). Both were changing conditions. Both of us endured our changing conditions the same way. We became survivors.

Randy knew what it was like to be normal. He had twelve years to enjoy all the running and playing a boy should be able to endure. I became ill at six and a half months old. I was probably just learning how to crawl and perhaps walk around furniture holding on. I would never know what it was like to run, jump, skip or be normal.

Over the years, we both had families that were there supporting us in all we pursued.  We both grew up on farms in the Midwest, We both had careers that enabled us to make a living for ourselves.  We both have a very strong Faith to keep us going. Today we have both survived our changing condition.

Now many years later we have meet and made a friendship.  Recently we both spoke for our church Guest Day and shared our stories of inspiration. Challenges come our way every day. This day was no exception for Randy.  On the way to the church Randy had a flat tire on his van.  God placed him in the path, for repair, just in front of a young man that he knew from his home town who repaired his tire and sent him on his way. He arrived at church on time for his presentation. When it was time to leave to go back home the elevator did not work properly in the church. After much trying to repair it,  we decided that our best option was to call the Blooming Prairie Fire Department for a rescue.  Upon their arrival many men were working with Randy to find the safest way to carry his heavy wheel chair down the flight of steps.  Other firemen were working in the elevator to get it working. The elevator was working in no time and they did not have to carry that heavy chair down the steps. We were so grateful to the fire department for their assistance.

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

Randy and I with the Blooming Prairie Fire Department

October 9 was anti bullying day in our school. Every one was encouraged to wear orange. School is back in session and we are looking forward to sharing our stories with the children. It is very important for them to see that because we are physically different, there is no need to treat us differently.  The #1 person bullied is a physically handicapped person. We share how we adjust to our challenges and make them positive.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are many survivors from breast cancer, thanks to early detection.  A good friend is doing all she can to fight cancer by joining forces with many in our community to raise money for the cause. As a survivor she will make a difference.

October 26 will be Polio Awareness Day. Rotary International has been working to eradicate the disease of polio by making sure that all children worldwide have their vaccinations. Please make sure that your children have their vaccinations.  Wee must all work together to “End Polio Now”.

Spinal cord injuries are making progress with research every day. There is always Hope.

 

 

“I Love A Parade”

“I Love a Parade”

Parades have always been one of my favorite summertime activities.  During the summer you can find a Hay Days, Rushford Days, Buffalos Bill Days, Jesse James Days. Any kind of days anywhere within a 50 miles radius.  There is usually a Parade to go to along with lots of other festivities. Going to a parade is not a shared interest by many in my immediate family so I don’t enjoy as many as are available or as many as I would like to. I will get to as many as I can in the summer season.  Then wait for next year to start all over again. There is nothing better than the Color Guard leading the parade with the American Red, White and Blue so we can honor our Veterans and thank them for all they have given for our country.  Bands bring excitement to the parade and of course you must have clowns and horses.

Lonna and Linda at Albert Lea, Minnesot parade

Lonna and Linda at Albert Lea, Minnesot parade

Enjoying a pushup, with my sister Lonna, was taken at a parade in Albert Lea, Minnesota back in the early ’50.  The beautiful dresses that we are wearing were made by our mother. She made all our dresses and they usally matched. I really don’t know why were so dressed up with the darling hats to finish off the outfit, but we sure were cute sitting on the curb enjoying the pushups watching a parade. I am so grateful to my mother for teaching me the skill of sewing as it is something that I thoroughly enjoy each day. It is something that I can do sitting down. Something that I can do for my family and others and not make myself tired. There are some things that are difficult for me to do because of physical limitations so what I can do, I try to do it the best that I can.

If you look close beneath that adorable dress, you will notice two metal and leather braces attached to my legs.  They were a necessary part of my growing up with Polio to make my mobility a possibility. As a young infant I was stricken with Polio in 1948 at age six and a half months old. Thousands of children and adults were stricken before a vaccine became available in 1953. I wore braces until I was sixteen years old, a sophomore in high school. The next two decades I completed as normal as I could. My goal as a child was to keep up with everyone else and be as normal as possible. A limp and some deformities were visible but life was always great.  I completed an education, married, had three children and continued in a successful career.  Then the need to return to a brace on my left leg became a reality at age 36. My husband and three children were so helpful in helping me make the necessary adjustments. We all have adjustments to make and those adjust have to control our attitude. I try to end each day with a positive thought. No matter how hard today was and how things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better. I see my limitations as a motivational tool. I use those limitations as a strength –not a liability.

Today, Saturday August 3, I will be attending a Minnesota TWINS game at the Target Field. It will be a Polio-Plus Day at Target Field.  Watching a TWINS game is also a favorite summertime activity for me. After a 13 inning game last night and a win I am very excited to attend the game today against the Houston Astros. Many Rotarians will be attending this important event to help bring awareness to the “End Polio Now” campaign. There is still lots of work to be done to eradicate the disease completely and the task will keep moving forward until all countries will be free of Polio. Please make sure that your children have completed the necessary vaccinations. We do not want this dreaded disease to cripple anymore children or adults.

“The missing Piece”

“The Missing Piece”

Piece: A part broken or separated from the whole. It is any single thing, a specimen, a piece of music.   Piecing: To add pieces to as in repairing, to join together pieces.

I haven’t taken time to write a blog for some time.  The pieces just don’t fit together with summer here and all the activities to enjoy. Winter stayed too long with our last snow storm May 2, 2013. Spring and summer arriving very late. In a farm community that is not the right combination. Concerns turn to prayers now that the crops are in that could get in.

Puzzles are joined pieces together.  While my father was in our care we put puzzles together. My brother had completed many in the past and it became something that we all worked on while we spent our time with dad during his final days on earth.  He shared with us the decision he made to no longer have any doctor appointments, diagnosis or treatment in October, 2012 and entered into Hospice care soon thereafter.  He was very fortunate that his four children and a grandson and granddaughter could help care for him, lovingly in his home, until his death January 18, 2013. I enjoyed the time spent with my siblings. As our lives stay busy we don’t get together as often and I loved the time we had together caring for dad.  I miss the connections.

Those puzzles completed allowed us to sit at the table and visit. Dad wasn’t much into the puzzle work. He would rather have a card game of huckley buck or 500 and that we did lots of.  The puzzles would become a conversation piece and when we couldn’t find a piece we were sure it was missing.  Then the next day it would appear. Friends and family would stop by to visit with dad and usually try to find a piece.  Two wild life pictures were completed and mounted.  The final puzzle we hesitated to start because we knew that it would probably not get completed in dad’s time.  However, we started it anyway.  “Nothing like a Jonathan” by Robert Duncan was given to us by a cousin. The picture of two little boys picking apples and their dog reminded her of the family dog, Patsy, that we grew up with and my two little brothers. Dad, the missing piece, shows up often in thought.  My daughter misses him awful and my son is caring for his land with a difficult spring.

The day of dad’s funeral service I rolled up the pieces completed in felt and moved them to my home.  I enjoyed working on it in the parlor by a nice sunny south window in the middle of winter.  As I completed sections I realized that I had a “missing piece”.  The color I needed just wasn’t among the remaining pieces. It really was missing.  Somewhat how it felt this past Sunday, Father’s Day, with dad no longer with us. He is now a missing piece of our family.

When I completed the puzzle I decided I wanted to mount it.  I made a piece from the cover of the box, with just the right color, and carefully shaped it to the missing piece.  It is visible but if you didn’t know the piece was missing you may not catch it. My husband got the board ready while I worked on getting the piece cut out just so with the correct color and shape. We bought the right puzzle glue and the project finished.  A few days later, while vacuuming, my husband said “guess what I found?” I knew what room he was in and I knew what he had found. I said “the puzzle piece.” It was the puzzle piece. Now I keep the missing piece in my desk drawer and every time I open the drawer I see the piece and I think of dad. A belated Happy Father’s Day to you dad. You are missed by your children, grandchildren and friends. God Bless you.

The missing puzzle piece

The missing puzzle piece

“Playing the Game of Life”

I love playing games. It can be a board game of “Life” or Monopoly, card game such as 500, Kings in the corner or going to or watching a Minnesota “TWINS” baseball game. I’ll play any game with anyone except Scrabble.  I don’t do Scrabble.

We all have adjustment and situations that we must deal with as we play our game of life. How many of you feel that you were dealt the “Lucky” hand for your game of life? How many of you are still looking for the “Full House” to play your game of Life? My life is no different than anyone else as I was dealt a hand for my game of life. However, with all sorts of adjustments, lots of medical attention and expense early in my life, it has been a successful life and I feel I was dealt a lucky hand. With bushels baskets full of love, much support, many caring hands and a very strong will to be “Normal” when I play my game of “Life” I have found many positive ways to make me the person I am today.

Since I was a child, I have worked extremely hard to be “Normal”. Being normal is being like everyone else.  I wear glasses like lots of other people so I can see better.  I have a stylish hair cut to enhance my appearance and I wear a smile on my face.  These things are the same as many people. You will also notice things that are different from everyone else. I use a cane to help with my mobility, I wear a long leg brace, under my pants, on my left leg to support my leg while walking and I have a distinctive limp to the left, my weaker side. These things make me different. How does one adjust to all these situations?

“Courage” and “Faith” are my strongest assets. When my life changed at the age of 6 1/2 months old, I was not able to understand what was happening to me. Through all the love, support and caring hands and my very strong will to be “Normal” I was able to adjust. The definition of Courage is “it is not the absence of fear”. “It is doing what it will take despite ones fear.” I have spent the last several months speaking to fourth through sixth grade children telling them the importance of treating some else that may be different, NOT differently. The #1 individual that is bullied has a physical limitation.  I am very differently abled and have learned to make my way in this world by doing everything that anyone else can do and do it the best that I can with lots of time and patience. Poliomyelitis, a highly contagious virus, has changed the way I play my “game of Life”. My Grand daughter, Emma (age 13), asks me almost ever time she is around me “Grandma, are you a perfectionist?”  No, but I have learned that doing something right is the right way to do anything.  With lots of Faith, Hope and Trust I make it through every day doing the best I can in whatever I am doing.

Linda at St. Mary's 18 months old

Linda at St. Mary’s 18 months old

Polio is three generations back from today.  You may have a parent who is living with the effects of polio. You may have a grand parent that lived with polio. Some of you reading this may not know what polio is.  Please read past Blogs to find out how a polio survivor can make their way with lots of Courage, and how I have over come a “Challenging dealt hand”.  My book “All the Steps I have Taken” was a dream I had my entire life.  It went live with Inspiring Voices in August 2012. When I retired from a successful career, as a Registered Dental Assistant, I took the time to write my memoir. This little book has lead me to find many polio survivors and we all have handled our dealt hand the same way with persistence and courage. Only with a strong faith could we have done this.  “Truly he is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62: 6-8)  Gods blessing to you all.

Community – Ties That Bind us together

We all belong to a community. It can be a family unit, co-workers, service organization, Church, Political parties, sports teams, volunteer groups, and many more ways of tying together. Some of these you joined to be an active supportive member.  Your family unit you became a part just by being born.  Whatever community you are a part of you have something in common and it binds you together. Lots of glue holds people together. That Glue is Love, Respect and caring.

I am going to pick just a few of these communities to share with you.  Family, especially our siblings, is our first and oldest community. They knew us as we grew into who we are now. Family communities might be delightful or difficult or both. Family builds deep and complex bonds.  Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, become part of this community. It will last a lifetime. My heart swells as I think of all my siblings and I have been through as a family.  Some delightful days, and some that we might struggle with.  However, the bond that ties will always be there to hold us together.

The Church is a distinctive community, unlike any other. It is not based on us at all. It is the stirring of the Holy Spirit, who calls us, gathers us and enlightens us. Our little country church, Red Oak Grove, has a mission statement that says, “Gathering in Grace, Growing in Faith and going forth to Service.”  What a blessing it is for me to be part of this family. For me being part of my church enables me to be quilting with the ladies for local and world missions, being apart of the Women’s organization that does so much for the church and allows me to grow my faith. We recently celebrated our 150th Anniversary of “Celebrating God…Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. May it continue to grow for another 150 years in God’s Grace.

Next,  I will pick two, as they fit together, Service Organizations and Sports Team.  Our little town just won the Boys Basketball Sub-Section Seat and will play for the section title this Thursday. This has not happened in over 40 years.  This draws a community together to support the team. Our  school is one of 80 schools in the United States with a one-of-a-kind nickname “Awesome Blossoms“. Our name was just in “most unusual mascot competition sponsored by USA Today. Unfortunately we lost to a much larger community by votes. Lots of votes were cast and we tried very hard but still came up short.  I live in a small community that cares about the people who live here.  While the Boys Basketball team brings lots of excitement and joy to our community a house fire, one day ago, brought sadness to a family and the entire community will rally around them to pray, support, comfort and help them anyway that

Boys Basket Ball "Blossoms" Team

Boys Basket Ball “Blossoms” Team

we can.  When you live in a small town people truly care about one another and show it. This small community supports a Chamber, Education Foundation, Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance, Cancer Group, Lions, PTO,  Semcac,  Scouts, Knights of Columbus, VFW-Legion and Auxiliary, Women of Today, Ministerial Assoc. and Local Boys and Girls Club that all work together to make this a wonderful community. Which organization are you a part of?  I am so proud to be a “Blossom” and live where I can count on my neighbors if and when I should need their leaning hand.

Whether you like it or not you are part of a community.  Being a part of a community has been God’s design for human life. Our lives will be better for being a part of a community and it will give us purpose.  Communities help us enjoy life, contribute to the well-being of our neighbors.  It helps us to learn new things and maybe we will live longer.  Let’s celebrate Community.

Reflections from a polio immunization team to Nigeria

Linda L Christianson:

work is continuing until the job is done we End Polio Now.

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

Members of the National Immunization Days team to Nigeria and their hosts. Photo courtesy of Richard Rivkin

By Richard Rivkin, assistant governor of District 6440 (Illinois, USA)

I have been home for several days now, decompressing and reflecting on what we have accomplished during our polio immunization team’s trip to Nigeria. It seems like so long ago that the idea of organizing a trip to Nigeria was first conceived. 

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All The Steps I Have Taken

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Inspiring, polioAll the Steps I Have Taken,” is a non-fiction novel that has been something I have had on my mind for several years.  When you live your entire life with poliomyelitis (polio), you have a somewhat different way of looking at the perspectives in your life. When I retired from a successful career as a dental assistant, I had time to finally put that dream into reality and begin writing my book.

My thought was that there are thousands of people out there that are the same age as me and I needed to get these words of encouragement completed for them. I also realize that a lot of people have challenges caused by other factors than polio.  These same words, in my book, can give them encouragement. I realized that I’m not getting any younger and neither are the thousands of people that lived with polio before a vaccine was available. I needed to get my words of inspiration in my book out for people to enjoy and be encouraged by.

My entire life has been made different due to contracting polio at the young age of six months. I never knew any other way of navigating my day. As a young child I was a “happy-go-lucky” kind of child. I always had a smile on my face. I never really noticed that I had to wear braces on my legs to walk and use crutches to help me get around. It was just the way I needed to get where I wanted to be.

As the years went on and my life was enjoyable, I realized that I had done a very good job of piecing a wonderful life together. I have a lot of color in my life just as I do with the quilts that I make.  All of the things I was able to accomplish made me realize that I have made a fulfilling life for myself. I have no regrets with anything that I have done. When I see someone else who is struggling with their day to get around it always makes me so grateful that I can do all the things I want to do, it just takes me twice as long to do it.

My journey begins everyday with the same thought; how I can better my life or the life of someone else .It’s a wonderful way to begin each day. My motto is live life to the fullest!

My father found it difficult to read my memoir. He said “he couldn’t complete that task”.  It brought too many memories to surface that he didn’t want to remember. He passed away January 18, 2013 and I can only hope that he read some of those pages.  I told him “he needed to see from where I had come to get to where I am now”.  He said “I see that everyday, I don’t have to read it”.  God Bless his memory.