Rose-Colored Glasses

A few years ago, I found a pair of glasses.  They were very pretty, indeed.  They fit perfectly on my face and  I want to tell you why these glasses are so special.

Before I found them, my world was a different place.  Before I put them on, I couldn’t see that well.  What I could see, was dark, dreary and usually out of focus.  Sometimes, it was so difficult to see, I cried, which made it worse. I could barely see myself without the glasses. Worse still, when I looked out into the world, I could barely see anything at all. Much to my chagrin, there was little to laugh about or enjoy at that time. It seemed as though I was trapped in a cave.  Light filtered through porous rocks in bits and pieces.

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The world was filled with images that I couldn’t understand, explain or embrace.  My eyes strained to focus.  People seemed to be frustrated, angry, and hurt as if I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t focus.  I read of murder, war and uncountable tragedies around the world and even in my own back yard.  People were dissatisfied with politics and economics.  Even social media platforms reflected these bitter tastes in everyone’s mouths.  I felt I would soon fall victim to the same.

The images prevented me from seeing clearly.  Children were starving and dying everywhere.  Women were abandoning their babies. People were killing each other over the most ridiculous things.  I would rub my eyes and wonder what made people act so irrationally and irresponsibly.

My broken heart had trouble healing, not just for my circumstances, but also for the world.  I fought to find healing in a divine power.  I struggled to rise up against the horrible things going on around me.  People I thought I knew, were cruel at times. They perjured themselves with their own perceptions of right or wrong.

It was when I fell into utter despair that it happened.  One day, without notice, I found these glasses.  I put them on.  They were a good fit.  Suddenly, I could see clearly.  Through the horror and devastation, there was light.  In the light, I could focus.  I didn’t have to drown in a world of darkness and foreboding.

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Strangely, there were people who said mean things to me and tried to get me to remove my glasses.  They claimed I wasn’t focused at all.  They thought I was fooling myself. They insisted the world was truly a ghastly place and everyone had to take care of themselves.  They believed evil outweighed goodness. They were convinced I was wearing the wrong glasses.

I felt sad for them.  They were frozen in their beliefs, bitter in their circumstances and spoke out of fear.  I refused to believe what they believed.  I refused to be fooled into thinking the world was a dark, hopeless place, filled with ugliness and terror.  I began to search for brighter things with my new eyes.  I began to find places and people who also wore the same type of glasses.  Eventually, I began to feel better because I had always believed that where there is light, darkness cannot exist. I wanted to be in the light.  I wanted to be the light.  I learned how to see better with corrected vision.  I began to feel hope and confidence in myself again.

I learned some very valuable lessons.

Without hope, there is only despair.  Without confidence, there is only failure.  I began to structure my mind and eyes around positivity.  I found goodness in terrible situations, including my own.  In fact, I began practicing this new mindset with myself first.  It took a few years to find the right focus.  I failed and tried again, but I never took the glasses off.

Over the last year, I encountered daily challenges that dared me to take the glasses off.  I persisted and overcame difficult situations.  I began to see positive changes occurring in my circumstances.  New things began to appear that weren’t there before – mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.  I knew that I ‘d made the right decision.

It is okay to be practical and realistic.  It is not okay to dwell in darkness.  Charles R. Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  In a world that seems discordant at times, it is important to find peace and harmony.  It is even more important to pass that peace and harmony on to others, so that they may share in the light.

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My message to you is this: If you should find a pair of rose-colored glasses, try them on.  They may be exactly what you’ve needed all along!  Step out of the darkness and into the light!!

 

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Sunday Peaceful Sunday

Hi again!

It’s Sunday and I hope that everyone’s day has been as peaceful as mine. As I am writing this blog, I am sitting outside listening to the sounds around me.  If I close my eyes, I can hear so much more.  I hear the cars buzzing by on the main road, people talking a few doors down on my left, a teenager riding his skateboard on his newly built ramp two doors on the right and a man mowing his lawn across the street

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I’m a bit disappointed, because these are not the sounds of inspiration for me.  The good news is that I am alive on this beautiful Sunday, and I can create my own sounds for inspiration, or listen to some really good music.

I was born and raised in New York City.  The city sounds are quite different from the country sounds. There are car sounds there all the time.  You learn to drown them out.  There weren’t lawnmower sounds where I grew up, so that was a different type of sound.  I associate that sound with the country.  More importantly, the sounds I wanted to hear were absent today.  The sounds of birds chirping or the sound of water gushing over the rocks at a brook or stream are the sounds of inspiration for me. Rivers, lakes, brooks, streams are all places of deep inspiration for me.  Still, overall, it was a peaceful day.

In the absence of water, I had to create my own method of inspiration.  Playing the drums is one of my passionate pastimes. I usually spend my Sunday playing them with my headphones on. Today, I decided to practice one song that my drum instructor is currently teaching me and teach myself a new song. I decided to teach myself “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones.  I just love that beat.  The lyrics – not so much, but I just love the beat to the song.

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I am also learning “Young Lust” by Pink Floyd. I have most of the song down, but I am still learning how to manipulate the high-hat cymbal between the open and closed position.  It sounds really cool when it’s done correctly, almost like suddenly inhaling breath or smoke. It’s called a “sssip” or “splash.”  I guess that’s weird for anyone who doesn’t know what I mean, but I’m sure drummers will understand. It’s a beautiful sound to me, and it is my goal to master it.  The splash is used in “Young Lust” and my instructor, Jonathan, is teaching me how and when to play it.

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After I gave some thought to both these songs, I realized the meaning behind both songs are quite similar.  It was merely coincidence, however, that I had chosen to play them today.  I enjoyed every minute of it! I love playing the drums.  I love learning new ways to play the drums, and I love the sound of the drums.  My favorite bands are Pink Floyd and Tool – both tied for the number one position.  I want to learn all their songs. I’m a rock-n-roll kind of girl, so there are plenty of other bands I love to play as well.  “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin is one of the first songs I learned to play.  The beat to that song is also soothing to me. Just for the fun side of things, I recently learned how to play “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.  I heard a live band playing it nearby, and thought, I want to learn how to play that song.  I like that drum beat, so I learned that too!

Well, that was my Sunday.  I hope you had a wonderful day and I will be back tomorrow evening with another blog.

Sleep well!

Why Americans Love Steph Curry

We need role models! I believe Stephen Curry is worth that title. Jeanina’s blog tells us why Stephen Curry is such a wonderful athlete.

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  • Stephen Curry is fun to watch. I remember years ago, my Dad told me to watch out for Curry when he was drafted in 2009, because of all the records he was breaking in Davidson. My Dad, being an avid college basketball fan, would know what he was talking about, and he wasn’t wrong about him. We could talk about the shooting records he broke at Davidson, or the shooting records he’s broken as a Golden State Warrior, or even that he’s the MVP of 2014-2015 NBA season and that he broke Reggie Miller’s post-season three-point record; but that’s what Steph does, he breaks records. He is one of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen with one of the quickest releases. He is unpredictable from his behind the back passes, to his reverse layups, left-handed and right-handed floaters. He gets his whole team involved and the brotherhood he…

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Can You Hear Me, Medicare?

This is not a random post. Please – allow me to explain.  As a citizen of the greatest country in the world, (My apologies to all non-Americans. I am sure you  feel the same way about your country, as well.) I have expectations and dreams, like everyone else, when retirement comes knocking on my door. Call me a dreamer, but isn’t Medicare supposed to be a good thing?  Aren’t we supposed to be able to rely on this system when we retire?  The good news is that we can – as long as we need surgery and medication. 

I took my mother to the ear doctor today.  He didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.  After a complete audiogram, the results indicated she had moderately severe hearing loss in both ears.  I knew this already!  Everyone in my family can testify to my mother’s hearing loss!   She needed to hear it directly from the doctor, though.  That’s how she is. Unless the doctor has spoken, it goes in one ear and out the other, so to speak.octogenarians

On behalf of the doctor, he treated my mom with genuine respect.  He was kind, courteous, funny, and made her feel at ease.  After all, she’s an octogenarian.  Not everyone makes it to 80 years old and still has their wits about them.  She does, however.  Sharp as a whip, that mother of mine!  She can work a smart phone better than anyone her age!   We like to kid her and tell her that all those years of games and puzzles have paid off in her twilight years.physician-examines-ear-of-male-patient

There’s probably some truth in that, isn’t there?  The brain needs exercise too, like every other muscle and organ in our body. But, I digress.  The doctor told my mother that there was no magic pill or surgery that could fix her problem, which caused me to start thinking about his statement.  More on that statement in a minute. The solution? A very expensive hearing aid.  Here’s the problem with that.physicians symbol

” Medicare doesn’t cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids.” (http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hearing-and-balance-exam-and-hearing-aids.html)  I was deeply discouraged when I discovered this information.
There was good news, however.  My mother has secondary coverage.  So I called her secondary provider and learned they would pay up to $1500 for the cost of one hearing aid.  I asked many questions to the young lady at the secondary insurance company.  At the end of the conversation, I was absolutely guaranteed a $1500 benefit from her secondary insurance company.  I became so excited, I promptly told my mother the good news.  She was elated and near tears at the thought of being able to hear at a normal range again.  She lowered her head and her voice became shaky when she said, “Oh good. I’ll be able to hear again.  That’s great news!  My mother is a very proud woman.  She doesn’t want a hearing aid!  She doesn’t want to burden anyone either.  She is a very strong-willed woman, who has been taking care of herself her whole life.  She didn’t want me to see those tears.  I understood completely, as the apple didn’t fall that far from the tree.  Needless to say, I was excited for both of us.
The doctor’s visit had estimated that the cost of the hearing aid would be approximately $1500.   It seemed the cost of the hearing aid would be covered and my mom would soon be enjoying the necessity of a good ear once again.dollar signs smiley face
Then, I called the doctor.  My phone call was routed to the audiologist, instead.  Her telephone voice was calm, kind, and firm.  I gave her the good news.  Then,   she gave me the bad news.   She told me that my mother would have to pay for the hearing aid up front.  My heart sank.  I became very upset.  I kept my emotions to myself temporarily.  I asked the audiologist why my mother should pay for it first if the insurance company is going to pay for it. She explained that the doctor’s office pays for the devices in bulk, or “large invoices,” as she put it.   She said that their experience has been that insurance companies frequently offer to pay “up to $1500” for hearing aids.  She said that whenever they say “up to,” it usually means they are only going to pay for a small portion of the cost. Age I reassured her that I asked the insurance company several questions, including “exactly” how much they would pay for a simple device.  She continued to say that they usually pay 1/3 of the cost and because the doctor’s office doesn’t bill balances to the patient, they have lost a lot of money.
At this point, my emotions ranged from disappointment to anger. disappointment I’m not exactly sure who I am angry with – the doctor or the insurance company.  Maybe I feel angry at both of them. I am thinking about my mother now, as the audiologist apologizes for company policy.  I don’t want to be harsh, as she does not make the company policy, but at the same time, an apology is not going to get my mother a hearing aid.  She doesn’t have $1500 to give to the doctor up front.  That’s why she paid for insurance her whole life.  Why should she suffer because a) the doctor’s office buys the devices in bulk,  b) some insurance companies don’t deliver, and c) some people don’t pay their bills.  I don’t understand the office policy.  I understand finances and overhead.  I even understand corporate economics.  I worked on Wall Street for 12 years.  I get it.  What I don’t get is why an otolaryngologist expects an 80-year-old woman to pay for her simple hearing device up front.  This hearing device is at the bottom of the device pool.  It’s not even the expensive one that comes with all the bells and whistles.  anger_quote
My mother raised eight children, almost by her herself.  She was raised in an orphanage and began working when she was 17 years old.  She has paid into Medicare for 58 years.  Let’s say she only paid $25 a week into the retirement coverage.  It’s way more than that, I can say, but let’s just be hypothetical and kind for the sake of argument.  She has always had a job.  Therefore, that would be a grand sum of $75,400 paid into Medicare in her lifetime.  We all know this is a ridiculously conservative figure.  Most of us pay twice that, if not more.  You would think that at the ripe old age of 80, Medicare could afford to buy her a hearing aid.  Even though her secondary coverage has offered to pay for it, the doctor will only supply a hearing aid if she pays for it beforehand.
What’s wrong with this picture?  Anyone?
After some research, I quickly learned that hearing aids are not the only necessities Medicare doesn’t cover.   Look at the following list that Medicare does not cover.  Examine it closely!

“Some of the items and services that Medicare doesn’t cover include:

    • Long-term care (also called custodial care)
    • Most dental care
    • Eye examinations related to prescribing glasses
    • Dentures
    • Cosmetic surgery
    • Acupuncture
    • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
    • Routine foot care”

(http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/not-covered/item-and-services-not-covered-by-part-a-and-b.html)

As the site states, these are SOME of the items Medicare doesn’t cover.  I can see that my mother, who wears dentures, will not be covered for the cost of a new set of dentures.  Her dentures are in desperate need of repair.  Being able to get proper nourishment is not a luxury.  It is a necessity.  Being able to hear is a not a luxury.  It is a necessity.dentures
My mother is also a diabetic, so proper foot care is also a necessity, not a luxury.    According to the National Diabetes Education Program, “10.9 million Americans ages 65 and older have diabetes..”  That’s a lot of people who need proper foot care.  It’s not covered under Medicare.  I’m not done yet, either.foot care
Medicare does not cover eyeglasses.  Here’s what the website says: “Generally, Medicare doesn’t cover eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, following cataract surgery that implants an intraocular lensMedicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps pay for corrective lenses (one pair of eyeglasses or one set of contact lenses).”http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/eyeglasses-contact-lenses.html”
My mother had an intraocular lens implant.  I am getting suspicious at this point.rolling eyesg  
Overall, Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, dentures, foot care, or eyeglasses. These are not luxuries.  These are necessities for many who will make it to 80 years of age.  You need to be able to see, hear, and eat to survive, but these basic services are not covered under the healthcare system that has at least $75,400 of my mother’s money.  I fail to see the point in paying in to this system if these services will not be available at my time of retirement, either!
The following is my opinion, but I strongly suggest you do your own research and get the facts yourself.  Consider this – hearing aids do not require surgery.  Eyeglasses do not require surgery.  Foot care does not require surgery.  Dentures do not require surgery.  That is not to say that ear surgery, eye surgery, foot surgery and dental surgery will not occur.  However, If you don’t need ear surgery, but still need a hearing-aid, you are not covered under the Medicare program. If you don’t qualify for an intraocular lens implant, forget about those eyeglasses, unless you are prepared to pay for them yourself!  By the way, they can become quite expensive.  Apply the same line of thinking to foot care and dentures. Do you see a pattern here?heart puzzle
It is my opinion that unless you need to take a pill or need to have surgery, you will have to fend for yourself at 75 years of age.  Unless insurance companies and some doctor’s offices are getting paid by you and the rest of these United States, you will be held responsible for your own eye care, dental care, hearing care, and foot care.  All of these types of healthcare can become very expensive.    
What does any of this have to do with the title of my blog, you ask?  My dream is that all people are created equal, regardless of race, creed, gender, or age.  My dream is that healthcare is offered to all people, regardless of race, creed, gender, or age.  I don’t mean affordable healthcare, either.  I mean free healthcare. After paying into the very same healthcare system for 57 years of one’s life, if they worked every day from age 18 until age 75, Medicare should be utilizing a person’s hard-earned money to provide them with basic needs. greedy hands  Where did that money go?  Why are insurance companies quick to pay for surgeries and medications, but decline to pay for the very basic necessities of life?  
As a beloved rock group of mine says, “Think for yourself.  Question authority” (Tool).  When you stop asking questions, you allow systems to become unchecked and therefore, fail.  Medicare has failed.
Fortunately, my mother is living in North Carolina.  There is a state program that will evaluate her need and provide her with a free hearing-aid, if she qualifies.  Thank you, North Carolina, for caring for the elderly.  I pray she qualifies, because I am going deaf with her.  
Thank you for allowing me to rant and rave about healthcare.  Thank you for reading this post.  All comments are welcome, as always.  I am done now.  Blog on!  praying_hands[1]
 

On Dreams

IMG_4799Do you have dreams?  Is there something in you that is begging to be released?  Have you ever wanted something so much that you could not stop thinking about it? Then, this is a good time to dream! Why? Because you are still here. You are still alive. Never give up on your dreams!
Every day that I am alive, I am fully capable of achieving my dreams and I intend to reach the goal!

When I was a teenager, I wanted a driver’s license. No one in my family had a driver’s license. Who needed a driver’s license if you lived in New York City? With public transportation, via bus, train, or ferry, the whole city was at your disposal. If you wanted to leave the city, you could buy a bus, train, or plane ticket and still get to your destination without all the hassle of driving a car. Many New Yorkers are content with public transportation and that is just fine.
Not me! I needed a driver’s license!  I wanted a car! I wanted to go places that weren’t on the bus or train agenda. I didn’t want the conductor or bus driver in charge of my destiny. I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny. I wanted to stop by the river that passed me by when I was on the bus or train. I wanted to take pictures! I wanted to visit places I could only see briefly on public transportation, because I was on someone else’s schedule.  A picnic in the woods or by a lake was one of the things on MY agenda. I wanted to travel the country and then the world! There was even a time in my childhood when I wanted to travel the universe! I had BIG dreams!
I finally got my driver’s license and it changed my world. I was now in control of my own destiny. I was very excited! Where should I go first? What kind of place did I want to visit? When did I want to visit? The Who, What, Where, When, and Why was all in my hands, now that I had a driver’s license.
I had accomplished my first dream.
I have been to many places within the continental United States. I have enjoyed every place for its unique taste and culture. I have been surprised and appalled at some of those places, but I have been there, nonetheless. Some of those places go into my data library for use in my stories. They are worthy of mention.

Daretodreamwaltdisney My second dream was to get a college degree. I had to put that dream on hold for a long time. I finally achieved an Associate’s Degree while I was raising four children. I even graduated Summa Cum Laude! It was a good time to dream! I set an example for my children, that no matter how busy life can get, you can still accomplish your goals if you will only dare to dream!
I’m not finished dreaming about my college education, though. I want a Ph.D. in Ancient Literature. I will get there!

My third dream is to become a published author. I am working on that dream now.

I often wonder what other people are dreaming about and how they managed to achieve their personal goals. So, do you dare to dream?  What are some of your dreams?  Have you accomplished something that you would like to share?  Share your dreams with me!  I would love to hear how you accomplished your goals.

Until we meet again, keep on dreaming.  May all your dreams come true!

It’s All About Writing!

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Hi there fellow bloggers!  I hope that you are doing well and living the dream – the writing dream, that is!

I am currently 16,683 words into the great American novel and I am having a blast!  I have developed one of the more sinister characters for this book.  He is the antagonist!  In fact, his name is Sinister (although I may change his name down the road).

In this book, everyone’s name serves a purpose. This is deliberate and something I learned during one of my short story courses when I was in college. I learned that every word matters.  Every adjective serves a purpose.  All the hidden details of the story are hidden in the adjectives.  So in my story, everybody has a name that means something to me and hopefully, my readers will learn to appreciate my style and mysterious messages.

The main character in my story is a female protagonist.  Her name is Destiny and I call her that for two reasons.  The first reason is quite obvious.  Destiny, by definition, is “the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events” (Dictionary.com).

The second reason is more personal.  When I lived in Florida, I met a little girl whose name is Destiny. She is 12 years old now.  She’s a wonderful girl with an enormous imagination.  I tutored her for a few months, learned a lot about her, and grew very fond of her.  During that time, I showed her pieces of my novel.  Quite frankly, she didn’t believe that she shared the same name as my main character. I had to prove it to her, so I showed her my manuscript.  She became excited and told me that she loved dragons too!  Well, I promised Destiny that I would not change the name of my main character and that every time I wrote that name, I would be thinking of her.  So there you have it.  Destiny!

What’s in your style of writing?  Do you have something special in your personal life that you’ve indoctrinated into your writings? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, write on!

And now…A word from your blogger!

Are you curious yet?

Today, I would like to tell you something about my book.  It’s been in the creative stage since 2006.  I have mistakenly put many things before my passion and that is why I created this blog.  Call it a self-help method, if you will, but the purpose of this blog is to keep me on track and prevent me from going back on a promise I made to myself – get this book published and off my desk now!!

My genre is fiction/fantasy fiction because it is my favorite form of writing, but I also write poetry and there are a couple of mystery novels roaming around in my brain.  I even have several inspirational faith-based books that I would like to explore with a pen.

Today,  I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. The title of this novel is Silver, The Dream Dragon.  Yes, I said dragon.  No, we are not done with dragon novels yet!  This book will not be your average dragon novel, either.  I plan to incorporate actual mythology with my own imaginative mythology.

It was Mark Twain who once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”   It is my intention to mix truth with fiction so that I may also enjoy the possibilities.  Besides, it is so much more fun to create your own world and live in it as the ruler and creator of all characters!

Dragons are wonderful and mysterious creatures, especially since there is no real evidence of their existence.  Yet, cultures throughout the world have incorporated dragons into their mythologies.  Interesting, I say!  Where did they come from?  How did they end up in so many cultures?  The possibilities are endless!

My story revolves around two human characters and two very talented dragons, who feel and think just like humans do, perhaps with a little more wisdom and compassion than some real humans I know.  These four characters embark on a journey to find Silver, a dragon who has been kidnapped by the dark dragons of another realm.  As the story unfolds, there are times when even I didn’t know what is going to happen.  But, my friend, that is the beauty of writing.  The story evolves as the finger hits the keyboard, which is why I am a passionate writer.  I love a good story, especially one that is happening right before my very eyes!

Today, I wrote two more pages of that story and as usual, the unexpected happened.  I just discovered what is so special about Silver.  You will have to read the book, of course, to find out.

Thanks for being here with me.