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Cindy L. Freeman – Meaningful Work, 9/10/19

Every September, I enjoy scrolling through the back-to-school pictures that are posted on Facebook. I’ve “friended” the parents of many children I taught at the Early Childhood Music School and children who participated in my choirs, some as long ago as forty years. What a joy to watch them grow up, go off to college, embrace careers and raise families of their own! It’s especially heartening to see how many are still involved in music.  

When I retired from teaching and choral directing four years ago, I never dreamed I’d be returning to music education. I even embarked on a new career as an author. But I missed choral conducting, and I dearly missed working with young people. So, when the opportunity presented itself to teach again, I couldn’t resist. With some trepidation, I accepted the position as director of the high school chorus at Walsingham Academy, known as The Madrigals.

I wondered if I’d have enough energy to work with teenagers again. I prayed about making the right decision both for the students and for me. I worried that the job might take too much time away from my husband, children and grandchildren … and my writing, of course. When I walked into the new-teacher orientation and discovered the other new teachers were young enough to be my grandchildren, I wondered if I had deluded myself into thinking I could handle the job at my age.

I needn’t have worried. After two weeks working at this superb school with these delightful students, supportive parents and dedicated colleagues, I find myself energized, motivated, and thrilled to be back in academia, doing what I love, what I was born to do. Since the position is part-time, I still have time for my family, my volunteering, and my writing. The only significant adjustment has been rising and trying to shine at 5:30 am instead of my retirement time of 7:30, but it’s not every day. In fact, the schedule fits my lifestyle perfectly.

When I visit elderly friends in assisted living facilities, they often remark that they feel useless, spending the bulk of their days in front of the television. The hours drag by as they have little more to look forward to than their daily naps, meals, and swallowing mega-doses of meds. After leading full lives of raising families, building and sustaining meaningful careers, and active volunteering, they strongly desire to continue being productive. Their minds are sharp and filled with wisdom that they long to share. Despite still having much to offer, they are often ignored, and their aged bodies fail them, resulting in frustration.

This September, I am reminded of how blessed I am by this opportunity to be productive even in my senior years. I understand my time for productivity is limited, accepting that my body will eventually fail me. Like everyone else, I’m not getting any younger, but while I’m able, I intend to be productive. Every day, I thank God for the blessing of meaningful work.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com  

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – A Day At A Time… The Journey Continues…August 21 – August 31, 2019

AUG 21, 2019:  I made the mistake of having the wax removed from my ear a few months ago. Ear was damaged. Back to ENT today. Lesson learned…don’t do that!

AUG 22, 2019:  Woke up feeling tired. Googled my symptoms. Remedy recommended..Go shopping!

AUG 23, 2019:  Went to see Lion King today. Even though I saw the television special about how the film was made, still can’t believe those animals are not real.

AUG. 24, 2019:  There are war games every night at the military base near my home. Jets fly low. Our windows rattle. But they never tell us who won.

AUG. 25, 2019:  Followed an ancient truck on my way home today. Bumper sticker said, “Honk if parts fall off.”

AUG. 26, 2019: It’s hurricane season and we’re beginning to get warnings about possible storms. Hope they stay out to sea and away from all land.

AUG. 27, 2019:  I was outside today talking to a neighbor, felt something on my foot. Looked down. Was a turtle, crawling over the toe of my shoe. Did he think it was a rock? Strange!

AUG. 28, 2019:  All my friends are downsizing. I listen to them whining about having to get rid of their “stuff.” After listening, I have decided to stay in my house and enjoy mine.

AUG. 29, 2019:  My cousin is going to a class reunion next week. She planned it after getting an urgent call from a classmate saying, “Must meet soon. Classmates dropping like flies.”

AUG. 30, 2019: Can’t believe summer is almost over. I just got my summer clothes out last week.

AUG. 31, 2019:  I enjoy funny bumper stickers. Saw one today that said, “If you’re happy and you know it, it’s your meds.” Maybe…

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups;Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library; Buddy the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry and Captured Moments.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – A Day At A Time… The Journey Continues…August 11 – August 20, 2019

AUG. 11, 2019: One of my dear friends is dying from the complications of ALS. I can’t help her but in her honor, maybe I can brighten someone else’s day. These are my goals.

AUG. 12, 2019:  Mend a quarrel. Search out a friend I haven’t talked to for a while.

AUG. 13, 2019:  Keep a promise made but nearly forgotten. Find the time, instead of complaining about being too busy.

AUG. 14, 2019:  Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Apologize if wrong.

AUG, 15, 2019:  Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle. Do something to make a child smile.

AUG. 16, 2019:  Appreciate the beauty of the earth. Breathe the flower-laden air. Enjoy the sun soaking into weary shoulders.

AUG. 17, 2019:  Share treasure with someone less fortunate without expecting thanks.

AUG. 18, 2019:  Tell someone you love them.

AUG. 19, 2019:  My friend died today of ALS, a disease which robs the victim of voice, mobility, independence but not soul or heart. She fought till she couldn’t fight anymore.

AUG. 20, 2019:  On August 20, 1940, my parents eloped. She was 17. He was 27. They hid it from both sets of parents for months. When Mom died, I found some of the love letters they wrote during that time.

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups;Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library; Buddy the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry and Captured Moments.

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Susan Williamson – Signage and Other Mysterious Communication

On a recent drive from Williamsburg to Norfolk, I encountered the following electronic highway sign: “Hakuna Matata, Buckle Up “.  To tell me that there are no worries on that stretch of I-64 is in fact stretching it, but it did make me smile. Driving home from Maryland on Highway 301, Labor Day, we encountered another piece of highway wisdom. This one said, “Camp in the State Parks not in the left lane.”

            My husband asked, “What does that mean?”

            I answered, “I think they are telling people not to loaf in the left lane.”

            “Isn’t that a little sarcastic?”

            And indeed it was. I wondered in fact if a certain unnamed publisher I know had gotten control of highway signage.

            But random highway signage is not the only strange communication. Due to a mishap with a delivery truck, our car had to be repaired and we received a Nissan Sentra as a rental. The dashboard would periodically flash, “Front obstruction radar not available.” I was likely to crash into a front obstruction while I was trying to figure out what that meant.

            We used to drive through Fort A.P. Hill on our way from North Carolina to our daughter’s home in Maryland. Signs there warn, “No emergency standing.”  The only time I’ve ever had to do emergency standing was at night when I get a leg cramp, but I don’t think that’s quite what they mean. I assume the location is downrange from rifle or artillery shooting, but wouldn’t the cars be equally in danger? And if your car did quit along that section of highway, what were you to do?

            I also like the signs right as you enter a bridge giving a height, width or weight limit. If you did in fact exceed those limits, are you to stop in the middle of the road? They are usually placed beyond any logical turn-around or alternate route.

            But confusing communication is not limited to highway signs. And things that should be clearly understood are often not. I recently received a request to answer a question about an item I had purchased on Amazon. “Are the 12” by 20” bags square or rectangular?” Enough said.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – A Day At A Time… The Journey Continues… August 1 – August 10, 2019

AUG. 1, 2019:  Today is National Girlfriend Day. It’s important to keep
our girlfriends close. They know too much!

AUG. 2, 2019:  Some days I feel like I’m fooling the whole world,
walking around cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

AUG. 3, 2019:  Mary Kay Awards Luncheon today. Year #38 as a unit! I love the opportunity to reward and recognize my wonderful team.

AUG. 4, 2019:  The Amazon, which provides 20% of the world’s oxygen, is burning. Will we only pay attention to the rain forest when WE can’t breathe?

AUG. 5, 2019:  I miss my three grandchildren who live in Kentucky. Talking to them or sharing pictures and videos is not the same as hugging.

AUG. 6, 2019:  Verizon revamped my voice mail system. Why? It works just like the old one but took me an hour to figure out how to re-set everything.

AUG. 7, 2019:  As politicians gear up for the 2020 elections and make wild promises, we, as citizens, must vow to “fight truth decay.”

AUG. 8, 2019:  Our military continue to be deployed and killed in Afghanistan. What is the end game and why are we still there?

AUG. 9, 2019:  There are conspiracy theorists who believe the world is flat. Don’t they know, if it was, cats would have pushed everything off the edge by now.

AUG. 10, 2019: One of my poems will be in the Fall PEN WOMAN Mag., joining previous contributors, Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl S. Buck, Maya Angelou, Hilary Clinton, and many others. Such an honor!

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups, Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library; Buddy the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry and Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A BEAUTIFUL NEW TRAVEL BOOK, OUT IN THE FALL OF 2019.