Brrrrrrr,It is cold outside.

Blog #2                                  Brrrrrrr, It is cold outside.

 

In the Midwest we have been experiencing extremely cold temperatures. We are in a 72 hour weather warning which started on Saturday, January 16, 2016. It will continue into Monday. Forecasters warned of being in the temperatures for extended periods of time. Our rural church was cancelled last evening in anticipation for today’s Sunday worship. With many elderly folks we do not want them to be out in minus -40 degree weather. With social media I hope all got the message to stay home and be safe. Our church prayer chain was also activated last evening to get the message to as many as possible.

Winter is a time to slow down and stay inside. For me, a time to get things accomplished that get overlooked during the rest of the year. The only occupation that does not feel this slower pace would be a dairy, cattle farmer or rancher. With the extra work that comes their way with caring for their cattle it can require a lot more time and energy.

My father’s occupation was a dairy farmer. He loved those cows. Hard work, yes, but he did it his whole life until retirement. Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of his death. After years of his battle with cancer his journey ended on January 18, 2013. The weather was much as it now. We looked at the upcoming weather and decided that we should have his funeral service on January 22, 2013 because the weather should have been not so cold. That plan did not work out so well because when we arrived at the church and started getting things ready for the service we discovered that the water was frozen. We could not begin to start making coffee and then realized that we also could not flush the stools. With 150-200 people going to be arriving soon that was not a good thing. The local well digger came, thawed out the pump and things would be just fine.

My father-in-law had his wake on the eve of the Midwest Hall-o-ween storm of 1991. Another Midwest winter snow storm. His service was postponed for five days and moved to a church in town from the same rural church because of no electricity.

Tomorrow schools, in our area, will be starting 2 hours late as the –temperatures continue into Monday. A break will follow the next day. Our 72 hours will be over.

A time in my past was shared with a very good friend as we enjoyed some time in the snow on the farm. Lots of fun things do take place in the winter with snowmobiling, skating, sledding and hockey. When our children were small a horse pulling a sleigh through the woods made a wonderful Sunday afternoon activity. With 63 days until spring we will need to find beauty in the snow covered trees, hoarfrost, sundogs and enjoy the beauty of winter. It will soon be over.

Spring is just 63 days (March 20, 2016) away. Camping season is just around the corner. Really—Camping is just around the corner. Stay warm.

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“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.

 

 

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.

“Do it”

“Do It.”

just my dad

My Dad

It is time to make sure that your New Years resolution is in place and you’re not going to let the year go by without following it through. It is almost the end of January 2013 and have you taken action yet? Have you put the foot forward to begun to work your plan? If not, now is the time to “Do it”.

I am a great fan of Dr. Peale and he always encouraged people to take action 365 days of the year. It was his idea that consisted of just these two words “Do it”. “These two words can generate enormous energy” he said.

I have some words that mean a lot to me. Integrity: it means completeness; to be sound. Competitive: it means rivalry in business. Hardworking: it means energetic, effort exerted to do or make something. These are words that describe my dad. He was laid to rest this week, after a long battle with cancer. His children of four took care of him for about 10 weeks 24/7. He was proud of his kids as he would talk to the hospice nurses and say “I wouldn’t be here at home, if it weren’t for my kids”. They thought it so cute since we are all in our 50’s and 60’s and still considered us his kids. I guess “Kids” has no age limit. As the pastor described him these words were used. He was always stepping ahead to “Do it”. Taking a risk to improve upon what he had for himself and his family.

Dad and me

Dad and me

I was only six months old when I contracted polio and from that day forward I just had to “Do it”. It would be necessary for me to gain courage from my parents, since I was so young, to learn to “Do it”. I doubt that I or my parents every thought of it as a New Years’ resolution. I think I just learned that to get ahead and be normal I would just plain and simply have to learn to dig in hard and “Do it”. I know it was a great financial burden to have my health to take care of. I never heard a grumble. I know I caused worry with all the surgeries I needed to improve my mobility. I never heard a grumble. Now as people read my book “All the Steps I Have Taken” I am hearing comments like “from what I know of him from Linda’s book, he was a man of faith, a man who shouldered work and responsibility, a man who loved his family and friends, and a man who put service above self.”

My dad told me he could never read my book. It had too many reminders of things he didn’t want to remember. I responded “that at age 87 all you have are loads of memories”. He said he could see who I was each and every day. He didn’t need to read it in a book. He carried many secrets with him that he just couldn’t express. He will be missed and I will thank him for making me the person I am today. He “Did it”.

The secret is to just tell the people that you love that you love them. Just “Do It”.

Then and Now

                                                Then and Now

Then: 1948.

Linda at St. Mary's 18 months old

Linda at St. Mary’s 18 months old

It was hard to know what to do.  They did the best they could with what anyone knew. This was happening to my parents. Imagine a small child, 6 months old, very sick with a fever that wouldn’t go away. I was a crying baby needing help and parents not knowing how to help. In the fall of 1948 I became very sick and my mother took me to the local Doctor for advice every day for a week. Sulfur was administered for an ear infection, but the fever didn’t go away. The day came when my mother lifted my legs to change my diaper, I cried so hard.  At that point my parents were told to take me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.  Do not call, just go. The Doctor feared that I might have Polio, poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis. He also feared that if they called they would say they were too full and send me to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Polio was a very contagious disease that crippled thousands of children in the late 40’s and early 50’s. I spent 14 months at St. Mary’s before I could go home. My older sister didn’t get to play with me, my parents didn’t get to hold me, and I became attached to the nurses that were taking care of me. It was very frightening for the nurses, as many had children at home and did not want their children to get polio.

Now: 2012

Because Jonas Saulk began his work at the University of Pittsburg in 1947 to find a vaccine for polio many children have be spared. In 1952 Salk first tried the vaccine on kids who already had polio and were recovering and found that their antibodies increased. In 1954 more than 1.8 million school children in 44 states participated in the filed trial of the new vaccine. It was the largest controlled study in the history of medicine. A vaccine became available in 1955. Rotarians by the thousands are working so hard to eradicate polio world wide so we will never have to see children affected as I was as a child. By 1964, only 122 cases of polio were recorded in the United States. The World Health Organization certified the Americans were polio free in 1994. But, polio is still crippling children in three countries today.  They are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Polio can easily jump the borders. India will soon celebrate that they are polio free. By 2008, Rotarians had contributed more than US $700 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more the two billion children in 122 countries.  Rotary is still working today to “End Polio Now”. We can’t stop. I wear my “End Polio Now” pin every day. I will share my story in  Schools to help children understand that some children are different than they are, as I was growing up.

Transitions

  

We are now in a transition time of our calendar year. The time of year that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The same time every year and yet it is a“Time” when we all become crazy busy and yet find time to have an amazing wonderful time with family and friends.

 Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we had a delightful day with our

Nolan and I at a book signing

entire family. Our daughter and her family entertained us just perfect. The weather was amazingly nice and our entire family of “16” was enjoying their time together. I am so Thankful for my husband, Nolan, and what he does to make my day better.  Today he will continue to make our home festive for Christmas. We will dine with friends this evening. A perfect day planned. 

As the day transitions from darkness to light, a lot of people are likely finishing or beginning their Christmas shopping in the frenzy of “Black Friday”. Last evening we enjoyed a few left over dinner treats for our supper, a wonderful Hallmark Christmas movie and then I spent a few hours at the sewing machine. (That activity usually starts and/or ends my day.)  The day couldn’t have been better. It is still dark out and I am enjoying a cup of coffee and writing this Blog.

 

The next transition is writing this Blog.  I would have never believed that I would be writing a Blog every week. That all changed when my book “All the Steps I Have Taken” became a part of my life on August 7, 2012. The content of the book is my life but learning all that I have learned over the last year was not. I could manage some tasks on the computer by managing my career as a dental assistant.  I was able to balance my check book, and I could type things for church but that was it. I keep in touch with family and friends on FB.  I am finding a lot of polio survivors on Twitter and I get to tell a little piece about me each week.

 

Transitions are life changing. At this time of day my father is being cared for by our daughter and my sister. The care shifts change daily as our family meets each of their daily obligations, but always loved ones are with the person we love. I will be picking up his Great-grandchildren later this morning and going to see “Grandpa”. What will tomorrow bring?  That transition is still in God’s hands. We don’t know what each tomorrow will bring. “God, only in your love can I learn the balance of choosing wisely by investing myself fully.”