Tag Archives: Helping

The Quiet Hero

Despite Diagnosis McCain Returns to Senate Floor for Critical Debate and Subsequent Vote on Healthcare Bill

This is a man I respect and admire. He was not my choice for president but that had more to do with his running mate and his oppositions platform, but that had no bearing on my respect for him. To go through the hell he did as a tortured POW for several years, to take all that time healing both physically and as much as he could mentally, only to continue a life of service to this nation and its people…. That is someone to be admired and revered.

Not long ago I, like many of you, were watching the senate hearings and saw Senator McCain acting a bit out of character and became genuinely concerned, commenting to several people that I felt that something was wrong with him, he wasn’t acting right. The man is sharp as a tack and always on his game and he seemed almost sedated.

Then to hear about his health diagnosis just broke my heart. My prayers go to him and his family. His daughter was quoted that while they were all devastated with the news, the one who was calm and consoling everyone else was him.  That somehow doesn’t surprise me.

This man has once again been handed the shitty end of the stick in life and instead of immediately turning inward overwhelmed with what this means to him and his family and to spending whatever quality time he has to look forward to with his family, no that’s not his focus, not yet at least.   Instead, he’s returning to the floor to fight the good fight for the 23 million good, hard-working people of this nation who will not have the means to pay for treatment for a broken arm, their children’s vaccinations,  much less to pay for treatment for a cancer diagnosis like he has been.

Stop here and read that again, let that sink in.  Because it truly is mind-blowing to think about this in context.

How many of us would continue our duty and make it a continued priority in his situation? The answer is more than we realize. Maybe not because we want to or because we feel a higher calling or purpose, but because we have to. Yes, we take pride in our jobs and our contribution to our communities, but the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans get up and go to work each day, with pain, with a bleak prognosis, working 2 and 3 jobs, because we have to.  Because we have to pay the bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over our family’s heads.  And through all that, we hope that we can continue to have the medical care we need to make it through… another year, another month, another week, or just one day at a time because more than that is too much to bear.

I don’t use the word hero very often; as a matter of course, I find the word to be grossly overused.  However today I will say it here and mean it with every fiber of my being.  Senator John McCain is an American hero, his military service goes without saying, but for his unwavering service and dedication to his constituency, and his commitment to this great nation of ours.

I can only hope that his actions will humble and continue to inspire his co-workers to stand up for the people they have been sent to represent. Senator McCain is the man showing those in power and reminding all of us just how to make America great again.  It’s the word we’ve been looking for for a while now but it wasn’t in any of the sound bites.

“Make America great again” shouldn’t be a slogan or a brand, it’s an action and one that many of us have forgotten how to do or neglected to demand from our representatives. It’s done by standing up not just for those who stood in the polling lines for your party, but for all the people who should have representation.

The men and women who have been working to make America great again do so by reminding us of words and phrases describing what made the American people the greatest in the world… words like honor, loyalty, integrity, pride, work ethic, vision, community, melting pot.

It doesn’t have to be done on a battle field on the other side of the world for it to count. It can be done on the other side of the classroom or a coffee counter,  by donating or volunteering, by looking out for your neighbors, bartering for services, supporting local businesses, by showing pride in your community and making it a better place to be,  and not just in one place where everyone can, but in all areas of our lives, great and small.

To learn more about John McCain, click here.

Namaste` ~ Maggie ॐ


Restaurant Night – A Family Tradition

Pork chops w-mustard cream sauce

When I was a kid, eating out was really a treat.  Literally twice a year going to a restaurant.  It was always for a special occasion and we always got dressed up to go.  Fast food didn’t exist back then the way it was now and our budget didn’t accommodate it even if it had.

One of my fondest memories when I was young was when my Mom and Grandma joined a daytime bowling league.  That meant on Thursdays I couldn’t come home for lunch.  There was a pizza place on the corner across from our school.  So rather than packing a lunch for me, every Thursday I was given forty-five cents so I could get a slice of pizza and a soda.  Yes, I spelled that out so you wouldn’t think was a typo.

It was awesome at the ripe old age of 8 to have money and be able to go spend it unsupervised, not to mentioned getting to “dine out” with friends.  It really was a treat.  As a side note, it turned into a life skill since neither my mother or sister would eat in a restaurant alone as adults.

As I’ve told you before, my mom was the Queen of Frugalites, or as she called it, being a skutch (rhymes with butch).  I still don’t know if she made the word up of or if it was one of those words from the German relatives.  My mom learned when she was young that it was okay to be poor as long as you didn’t know it and didn’t act like it.

Since eating out was such a novelty for us, she decided to instill the family tradition of “restaurant night”.   You got to order from “the menu”, which was a list of the leftovers in the fridge.  It was the only time we could all eat something different for dinner!

My sister and I are five years apart so we each enjoyed the novelty (in separate intervals of course) of playing restaurant.. setting the “dining room” (kitchen table in a tiny kitchen), sometimes even utilizing Mom’s “formal dining room” (the living room with a card table set up.  Sometimes something as simple as lighting a candle on the table or some dime store fake flowers.

We would go all out, preparing the menu board and taking orders on an order pad (practicing writing and spelling), helping with the preparation (aka reheating – a big deal pre-microwave), serving the individual plates, and then having Mom sit down so she could be served as well.  It was also the only time that she wasn’t the last one at the table.

My mom would have made a great homeschooler and greatly regretted not having the opportunity to do that with me and my sister.  As such she was very involved with my daughter’s own homeschooling, even planning their own field trips.  She got us very involved in the kitchen starting at three years old… scrambling eggs, making pancakes & grilled cheese and washing dishes, all while standing on a chair.  I’ve done the same with my daughter as well.  At 16 years old she cooked Thanksgiving dinner by herself and it was AMAZING!

I’m now back in a position of eating out on rare occasion, now due to location.  With no little ones to play/school with and pass this on, I’ve now taking a new turn on “restaurant night”.

I worked in restaurants for years and have my certification in gourmet cooking and catering.  While everyone is busy watching reality shows and sports, I watch Food Network… mostly for different ideas.  I can cook my butt off so to speak, but even for me there’s the difference between everyday meals and “special occasion” meals.

So now every few weeks I’m doing my own spin on the “restaurant night” that Mom started all those years ago, only now it’s restaurant quality food.  For a while my hubby & I referred to it as “expensive meat night”.  Still cheaper than eating out even though it’s a bit outside of the normal grocery budget.

A few weeks back I made boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy – it’s a traditional French beef stew) over mashed potatoes with crusty bread.  Last night I made apple maple pork chops with a mustard cream sauce and served it with sweet potato & bacon hash and a sauteed slaw with apples, sweet onion and caraway. (That’s the picture at the top.)

I’ll post recipes later.  In the meantime, if you have short people in the house – have fun with them!  Get them involved in the cooking and everything else.  Playing is the best way to learn (and if it cleans out the fridge in the process, who’s going to complain?)

I’m not sure what’ll be next on my menu for restaurant night, it hasn’t popped in my head yet.  When it does, I know we’ll have a great time enjoying it!



Independence Is the Greatest Gift

We all have found out, whether from illness or injury, just how frustrating it is to be dependant on other people for things.  You don’t necessarily mind people doing things for you… until you have no other choice.

I used to be a very active, quasi-athletic person.. restaurant manager, unloading trucks, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, with all the perspectives of youth and health that made me feel “18 feet tall and bullet proof” so to speak.  Here I am 20 years later – I have COPD, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, a “bad back” and a list of other things that challenge my independance on a regular basis.

It’s one thing when you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t want to do something, it’s an entirely different mentally when you can’t.

Before coming to my present job for health reasons (I work at home doing tech support by phone/computer) I ran a small chain of tobacco stores.  Long hours, hard work and I loved it.  Well most of it.  My favorite part was the regular customers and the conversations.

There was a lady named Patty that used to come in to one of my stores on Saturdays.  Wonderful funny lady who was the victim of a stroke.  Arm folded up like she was using an invisible sling, cane with the other side and she would have problems processing her speech sometimes.  She would buy 5 instant lottery tickets, give you any winners she had and go on her way. Anyway, Patty loved coming in and playing her scratch off tickets, but due to her condition from the stroke, she couldn’t scratch them off and hated to ask.    Patty would come in when you were alone and not busy.  As soon as I figured that out, I asked once offering to help.. then I just did it and acted as if she was doing it herself.  I put it in front of her and scratched it so that she would be the one looking at the ticket instead of me.  Afterall, I wasn’t scratching them for me I was doing it for her.  She loved it!  After that, I trained my employees on how to treat Patty.  She started bringing us in muffins and cookies and would stay a little longer to talk and play a few more tickets, laughing and smiling the whole time.

We’re all willing to help out someone in need, but sometimes you need to be… less obvious about it and more mindful of the other person’s feelings of independence.  Especially if this is a chronic or ongoing issue.  This really comes into play with older folks.

I recently went through almost a week of being down due to a back spasm (kind of like a charlie horse in the back muscles) and I hated having to just sit there and do nothing.  Mind you any other time I wouldn’t be up doing a whole lot, but now I had to.  For lack of a better term… it sucked.

Then today I watched this video about a teenager named Dee who just wanted the ability to pick up something off the floor or turn on a light switch and it all came rushing back.  While his help had to be a bit more obvious (and a little less slick) his needs are more than most.  Kudos for the engineering students that put this all together for him!

That was my big smile today and I just had to share.

So get in touch with your inner Thomas Edison when you’re helping someone.  Be mindful of their pride and need for independence.  Rather than doing things for them, see if you can find a way to help them do it for themselves.  Independence is a precious thing.