January 31, 2007

A Musical Gift for You

I found a lovely music site with soft beautiful music, but Angel Reflections says we can't hot link to her site. Jim says that means I can't give you a "click here". Please go to http://.. jandingo.com and scroll down to Agnelic Music Midis for some really sweet music. Turn up the volume. Sit back and hope your boss IS listening...
Take Care on the Journey,

January 29, 2007

Updating www.photosbylinda.com

Click on pictures
for real close-ups

New pictures for the website. We can't wait for Shelley to 'surprise' us with the new updated site for Linda's wedding photography.

January 26, 2007

This One's For Sandy

My sister’s eyes hurt from reading all my stories to the very end, so today I’ll dedicate this one to her and keep it (fairly) short.

Yesterday I worked (at my nursing job) from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and was almost too tired to climb the steps to our second-story apartment where Jim greeted me with supper (almost) on the table and Sheba greeted me by jumping all over the living room chairs!

During the day I silently wished my good friend Floyd a Happy Birthday as I crushed pills for 30 patients (almost) and helped my partner nurse on the other hall admit a patient when she was overwhelmed with the additional burden of RN duties in addition to her own hall of sick patients. (One reason I’ve decided not to get my RN at this point in my life. They give you the same amount of patients; the SICKEST of the patients; and add IV meds and supervisor problems.)

Too much for one human being, I say! Too much for a faithful nurse who tries to keep up and still be civil and polite to impossible demands, endless questions and constant new doctor’s orders. A nurse who is as old as I am but has arthritis in her hands so badly that her husband has made a pill-punching appliance for her to use as she punches out hundreds of pills from the packages during her shift.

I stayed over for about a half-hour (after 12-hours!) to help her, but she was almost in tears as she still had to finish hanging IV meds and give report. I hurried out into the dark, snowy night being careful not to slip in the fresh inch of soft snow and to drive safely on the icy roads.

It’s amazing how a good warm supper will refresh a starving stomach. (I nibbled at sugar cookies and sipped diet pop all day. Jim brought me a salad for lunch, but I brought it home in my nursing bag.) Or, how a tired body that aches in every joint, and a back that feels like it will break in half is refreshed by a good night’s sleep.

Jim brought me my medicines last night as I kicked off my nursing shoes and fell into bed without even taking out my tiny earrings (that hurt my ears at night). I was asleep almost before I switched on the small fan beside my bed.

They say that on the February schedule I will be assigned to one hall.

I say, "One never knows what one month will bring."

Jim still applies for jobs – now including part-time accounting jobs that are advertised - and I’m planning for a great wedding season this year!

Take Care on the Journey,


January 21, 2007

A Cold Front Coming In...

I woke this morning with a cold black nose in my face. Dark brown doggie eyes looked into my sleepy brown eyes saying, “Mommy, it’s snowing outside. I want to go roll in the snow! Wake up and take me out.”

I leaned over to peek out the curtains and sure enough, our first real winter snow covered all the cars in the complex parking lot and glazed the landscape with the breathtaking whiteness that makes one blink and draw back at first. The small particles were still blowing northeastward in the gentle breeze.

Billy and Philip would be surprised that I didn’t know this winter storm was approaching. They know I keep tuned to the weather forecast almost as fanatically as NASA. My boys have been known to call me from several states away to ask if it would be weather-safe to make a trip.

So, I missed this “front” coming into the Ohio Valley.

But, that’s not the kind of “front” I’m thinking about as I write in the stillness of early morning.

How often do we, “put up a good front’?

Is it so much that sometimes we don’t even know what is real within our own self?

When I first married Jim, I was surprised how often when someone would greet him and ask, “How are you today?”, Jim would answer, “I’m tired”.

“People don’t want to hear that,” I’d fuss at Jim. “They don’t really mean ‘how are you’ when they say that. You’re suppose to answer, “Fine thank-you.” (Please don’t try and edit this paragraph.)

Jim often fights a great fatigue that comes from chronic insomnia. Doctors have not been able to find anything wrong with his bloodwork and other tests that I’ve dragged him to. But, I don’t believe there’s been one night in the last 10 years that Jim has had more than an hour or two of sleep at night. When he works a regular 8-hour job and goes to bed unbelievably tired, his mind still stays on alert and awake!

So, “I’m tired” is a very accurate and truthful response but not the “front’ that everyday people expect. (Or so I think.)

At my work, there’s a nurses aide who is much too bossy and lazy - by my standards. She has learned how to convince people she’s working when she’s not. She’s gotten the ear of the administrators believing she is the best worker in the place. I get so tired of having to pick up after her and listening to her blow about how hard she works, that I’m could scream!

But, in order to keep my job, I have to put up a “front’ and work with this person. We both know we’re playing a game. It’s cat and mouse all day. I’m sure everybody is watching to see who will play it best. Others have agreed with me that it’s not fair, but nobody is going to change this picture and the expectations are that we “work together nicely”. This compares to a major winter storm! Everyone knows there’s an ill-wind blowing! But, tomorrow I go at it again for another very long 12 hours. I'm so tired of this "front" that I'm almost paranoid about it now.

In my book, “Dusty Angels and Old Diaries”, I’ve written about a lifetime greatest act performances. Chapter 49 ends with the words, “I played the greatest act on earth – and few noticed how perfectly it was performed.”

So, who do you confide in when you need to vent about the real you? Many would say it is only to God who will take all your “fronts” and bury them into the deepest sea. But what if you aren’t sure who God is? What if you don’t believe there is a God like that? What if you don’t have an earthly partner who will share your grief? How do you get the strength to keep on being what everybody expects you to be? I've heard so many of your "fronts" in comments, personal emails and letters. My heart aches with the burden - mine and yours!

Perhaps that is why we have so many angry, vengeful, rude, judgmental and callous people all around us. They are angry too? For the role they have to play?

One more example: Remember the white-haired lovely-looking lady I met at the Worthington SDA Church? I went to her and asked the questions. How have you handled witnessing all the change? Have you changed with it? Why doesn’t it make you angry? How can this be right? She looked at me calmly and with a slow beautiful smile.

“It’s because I’m sure about what I believe. Nothing can shake me.”

I’m not there yet. I’m not sure what I believe, but I’m still seeking truth and purpose.

I wasn’t prepared for the winter storm – even though I profess to constantly seek information and plan for the weather. This does not mean I’m a bad person. People would laugh at me for degrading myself for that reason. But in some small way, I actually did feel a bit of disappointment for not knowing this was coming.

Our life is full of “fronts”. Cold fronts. Stormy fronts. Warm-weather fronts. Abuse. Divorce. Separation. Loneliness. Anger. Grief. Happiness. Love and Peace. These are also fronts. Technology has helped us come a long way in communicating and predicting these fronts and what our reactions should be. Many have the solution. Most have advice. A few confidently predict. But behold, there is always a Katrina.

"I’m sure about what I believe. Nothing can shake me," says one.

"The faith of a mustard seed," says another.

My faith? The faith that even if winter storms come along to surprise me, I will run out into the winter wonderland with my dog. While she rolls around making those happy grunting sounds only a happy dog can make, I will lie down beside her and make my own snow angel. So what if I don’t have all the answers.

I’m sure that I am doing the best I can with what I have. Let my faith believe in that!

Take Care on the Journey - I am with you!


January 19, 2007

Moving Forward

So many of your comments have touched my heart. I wish I could heal all the hurts; calm all the fears and write magical words that would bring peace and joy to every person who reads my website. But alas, I’m just a mortal like you, and not one of us is capable of having ALL the answers.

Thank-you for all your comments, questions and opinions. It’s getting hard to follow the new comments now that we have several postings. (I didn’t see Juanita’s until Sandy told me about it.) Every comment is important and I hate to see any of them lost in cyberspace. So, I plan to copy all the stories and comments (regarding church-going) into one place and create a booklet on Lulu.com. I’ll let you know when it’s ready – and if you’d like to have your 2 cents worth in the booklet, please add it soon (here or at the end of the last few postings).

I do have other things I’d like to write about, so in a few days we will move on onto other subjects that interest me – and hopefully you have added my website to your favorites and will stop by often for a peek into my diary of sorts.

Lastly, Jim (BAP) does have a website of his own that has not been used much. He welcomes your thoughts, questions and comments at

Take Care on the Journey
HOME - http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

January 16, 2007

Everyone Is Invited...

1) To accompany Linda to the Worthington SDA Church

2) To fellowship with BAP (Born-Again Pagan) on a nature walk

3) Read some serious comments at the end of the story, “I Went Back

I feel confident that those who know and love me were shocked to read where ‘strangers’ are pointing out my faults to include “complaining”, “sarcastic’, “negative”, “one who has problems with tradition” and “having a critical nature”. I hope that by now, they are having a good laugh over it!

The Cat’s Meow (my baby sister, folks) could be described as having an “attitude” but we love her for it. And, if you ever do read my book, “Dusty Angels and Old Diaries”, you would forgive her in a heartbeat. You always know where you stand with SandyZ.

Your loving BAP (my loving, supportive and faithful husband of almost 10 years) is not ashamed to call himself a ‘Born-again Pagan” (tongue–in-cheek) and does not have need of a formal sanctuary and fellowship of many worshipers to feel fulfilled. You will not find him at church unless he tags along at my urging to be a companion at my side.

I may return to your fellowship or I may not. You might greet me or you may not. That part, honestly, does not bother me because I’m sure there was many a Sabbath Day that I missed a lonely visitor who entered looking for just one person to welcome them and I wasn’t there for them. Please know, that is not my intent. I would love to get to know some of you and wish we could have started out on more equal ground.

To the pastor - to whom I DID throw some darts. I suspect your parishioners are in some small way protecting you by writing their thoughts to me. I did detect a lot of good response from your camaraderie with them both on the pulpit and in the sanctuary. You must be doing something right.

Take Care on the Journey,

January 13, 2007

I Went Back...

…To the Worthington SDA Church today… (When finished with this story, click "Worthington SDA church" on the upper left side.)

I arrived earlier than last time and got there between services. Guess what they were doing when I walked through the door?

Serving cake. Yep, chocolate cake with loads of fluffy white frosting. The kids were getting it all over their clothes and the women were ruining their lipstick.

“January birthday’s”, I was informed when I asked a young man leaning on a white pillar in the foyer eating huge bites of cake as only young men can do.

So I ruined my lipstick too.

“Eating between meals!” Grandma Mascunana would have admonished – and 50 years later her words still echo in my ears when I ‘eat between meals’.

But that was when I raided the musty mold-covered veggies left over from the stew she cooked 3 weeks ago.

This was CHURCH. (Not even potluck after church.) She would turn over in her grave.

Then, I stood to one side of the different groups of people actually listening ‘eavesdropping' to ‘Sabbath’ conversations since the room/foyer seemed to buzz with animated conversation and much of it did not really sound ‘Sabbathy’. (We used to be very careful about what subjects we discussed from Friday night sundown to 30 seconds after sundown on Saturday night – just to be sure we didn’t ‘step on the edges’.)

Of course, I’m in Columbus, Ohio and the men just had to get in a word or two about those Buckeyes and the 4th quarter. Actually, I don’t know any comments worth saying at all after the first run of the 1st quarter – but the subject was being thrown around between bites of cake and the opening hymn in the sanctuary.

Today there were lots of kids running around and I was interested not only in their seemingly delight at the service, but the clothing that looked like they were fresh from the dirty clothes hamper. No kidding. Wrinkled. Torn. Baggy. Jeans. Un-tucked. I didn’t get close enough to sniff…But, for the most part, the KIDS SEEMED HAPPY! Hugging adults, Greeting their friends. One small boy even did handstands for us. I think it was more than the cake being served.

Maybe the “New Rules” have accomplished a purpose? Get the kids to church? But why? What are we really promoting these days? Surely not the fast approaching Second Coming when everyone will be judged on Judgment Day and only 144,000 will be alive to be caught up in the clouds. (Well, that’s how I was raised to believe when that age.)

Admittedly, I didn’t immediately sign the guest book today. Mary, my sweet greeter from last visit, was going into the Ladies Room when I entered and she looked at me as if she thought she should know me, but moved on through the door and I didn’t see her again.

Another woman wearing a greeter name tag shook my hand and looked at me like she wondered if she was suppose to greet me or welcome me. An old man walked by and held out his hand and I gave him mine but he passed on by.

I confused them because I didn’t sign the guest book, I guess. But, I was eating cake so I must be a member?

Suddenly across the room I saw someone I knew. Who was that white-haired but simply lovely-looking well-dressed woman?

Why it was Lacy’s master. (Lacy, the poodle pictured earlier.)

She introduced me to her husband as, "The woman who took Lacy’s pictures”.

She asked where my husband was and my response slightly shocked her.

“He’s not an Adventist, I said.”

Jim disagrees with that comment, but I told him he has to believe in Ellen G. White if he wants to be a Seventh-day Adventist. Speaking of which, I honestly don’t think the SDA Church upholds many of her teachings anymore. I was raised memorizing the most important passages from many of her books and can quote them even today. Meaningless words as they are applied now. Maybe that’s why I’m so confused.

In the sanctuary, I sat very near the back this time. I really didn’t care if the pastor recognized me or not. I sang the songs I knew loudly and with a SMILE. Who cares? It makes me feel good inside to smile when I sing. (And, I don’t think the man sitting behind me could speak English anyway.)

Then, I left.

Nope, didn’t stay for the sermon or wait to be greeted afterwards.

As Jim commented as I kissed good-by when leaving for church, “You could preach the sermon."

I did stop by the guest book as I left, though. The foyer now empty and quiet. No one to watch me or ask who I was.

I signed simply, “Linda Meikle – Take Care on the Journey”

HOME - http://dustyangels.blogspot.com

January 5, 2007

Meet Lacy

EnglishRose Photography goes to the dogs?

Cute, isn't she? But, a precious little spitfire. I had to lie on my stomach for 45 minutes while her "mommy" kept putting her back on the blankie! And, she tore up my blue backdrop before we were done.

But, I'm so sweet!


New Pictures of the Studio

It changes everyday. In fact, it changed between the first and last picture! But this is how EnglishRose Photography Studio looked yesterday.


January 4, 2007

2007 Forecast

Sunrise - Sunset - Sunrise - Sunset
Wow! It's January 4, 2007! Thanksgiving, Christmas and the end of 2007 will be here before you know it.

Where will you be when the lights go out on December 31, 2007?

What are the questions we ask ourselves as we try to predict our year ahead? Here are a few of mine...

Sandy get to remember a great trip to Ohio and Indiana with Craig and Star?

EnglishRose Photography is going to flourish or hit the dust.

Will Jim find a job to keep him occupied and feeling better about his contribution to the family? If not, why not?

What is the future for sweet baby "V" and her parents?

What will my new website at
http://www.photosbylinda.com look like?

Is our mother going to have a family reunion in August. If so, will all nine siblings be there? If not, why not?

Will I find my brother "TJ" Thomas Cleveland and will I see him again?

Who will remember my birthday this year. (Hint: September 3.)

Are we going to finish fixing up our little angel room?

Am I going to write and publish another book before my birthday - as planned?

Will "
Dusty Angels and Old Diaries" ever take off?

Did Oprah and her producers get the book, "Dusty Angels and Old Diaries"? I sent them 5 copies!

Will all my family and friends stay healthy, happy and safe in 2007?

Is the garage going to get organized? If so, who will do it?

Am I going to be successful at Curves? If not, why not?

How many times will I visit my children in 2007? More than in 2006, I hope!

Will I get an automatic starter installed on the Saturn? And, seat covers for the cold leather seats?

Will it snow in Columbus, Ohio this winter?

Is there a new nursing job in the forecast for me? Or, less nursing and more writing and photography?

Will Jim and I take any vacation trips in the coming months? (Will I take a vacation at all?)

Will we get a new cat or kitten to replace Samantha?

Will this new Blogger site ever allow me to sign on without taking 15 frustrating minutes?

Will I ever understand all the intricacies of my digital camera and flash?

Can I get prepared for the 2008 Columbus Bridal Show in time this year?

Who is George Mascunana?

Is there an IPod in my future?

Whose birthdays/anniversaries will I remember in 2007? There are 33 on my list! Sandy and Craig's anniversary is next!

Whoops...Better go get that card!

Take Care on the Journey,