Government shutdown turned park to crime scene

Day by Day
Government  shutdown  turned park  to crime scene

By LIZ THOMPSON
THISWEEKNEWS
Thursday, October 24, 2013

We’d planned our trip for about six months. My Girl Scout training of 10 years taught me to “Be Prepared.” In any case, reservations at a national park can only be made six months out.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a feast for the senses. October is our favorite month to camp. Crisp sweet-scented air, cold nights, rustling leaves underfoot, fewer campers and mostly the older set, like us, who are ready for conversation at any time and respectful as to when to interrupt others to engage in that chat.

Campfires are welcome as the temperature dips throughout the day and we get a lot of reading done while listening to the rushing creek.

We arrived on Sunday, Sept. 29 and planned to stay two weeks. Our campsite was all set and, a little weary from a long drive and the work, we were about to claim our chairs to relax. Before that, we walked to get a newspaper at the camp store. That’s when we read the headline that the government might shut down at midnight. If that happened, all the more than 400 national parks would close.

Tuesday morning the park ranger confirmed the outcome. We were told to pack up and go home; or wherever your next visit was to be. Home for us.

We headed to town for a cell phone signal only to be met with rangers at the visitor center setting up the orange cones, yellow tape — it felt like a crime scene actually — and we made sure we could get back into the park to retrieve our gear.

“Yes, but make your arrangements and be out by Thursday noon,” he said.

So the task of taking down what we had just put in place began. Campers started to vacate quickly. The local news station came through the park to get on-camera interviews asking the question our lawmakers should be asking, “How does this affect you?”

We enjoyed our last day as much as possible and when we drove out Wednesday morning, only four trailers were left in our area. To see the rows of vacant campsites was eerie at best. As we left the park, roads were blocked and when we got to one point, we had to open a metal gate and shut it after we passed through.

We didn’t see another car until we hit town, about 10 minutes or more out of the park. Not the usual occurrence.

While we were packing our campsite, it brought to mind what I’d heard over the years; different versions of, “If you had to leave your home quickly, what would you take?” The thought being, if you were to never return or if the house was on fire, what would you deem most important or irreplaceable? As long as my family was safe, the things don’t matter, in the long run.

Would I pack a suitcase full of the things of my life? Could I really do that? Pack the important things in a case or box? Not really. It’s the people and memories that matter.

While I sat by the rushing creek at our campsite, I was surrounded by memories we had made in the Smokies since 1977. I was sad we had to leave so quickly and 12 days before planned.

The sadness also came on another level that is difficult to put in words. I could almost see the people who carved out this particular national park so many years ago. In my mind’s eye, it was in black and white like a documentary. Then I realized if the park were to never reopen, the forest would reclaim all that man had made for access to this natural wonder.

The few campers still remaining on Tuesday milled around and talked. One couple from Arkansas were traveling all around the country visiting national parks for another few weeks and would have to figure out whether to go home or find a state park.

A couple from Illinois came to enjoy the sound of the creek. He had gradually lost most of his hearing but five years ago got a cochlear implant. A man from North Carolina had questions on details about leaving and said, “I don’t want to get political but …”

How could we not get political when the whole mess was just that? We all agreed, shook our heads and kept packing.

Will we return again? The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, yes.

Local author Liz Thompson writes the Day by day column for ThisWeek News.

The little things…

Day by day

The little things paint our days, make up life

By LIZ THOMPSON
THISWEEK NEWS
Monday August 19, 2013

It’s all a matter of perspective.

“That’s a cute dress,” I said to the young girl in the library. Since she was wearing leggings, I added, “Or is it a top?”

The Dad answered with a smile, “It doesn’t matter what it is called as long as it twirls!”

“Will you twirl for me?” She did. It was a great dress or top for twirling.

I found myself smiling for a long time after I moved on from the girl who loves to twirl. The 30-second conversation and a smiling twirl brightened the rest of my morning. Even now, hours later, I can still see her shy smile as she started to spin and the crooked smile of the Dad telling me, “See?”

How we see our day to day lives; the significant things and the moments paint how we count our day as a success or not.

Songs and poems have been written about the little and simple things in life that make it all worthwhile. My life experience has proven it really is the moments that make up the whole.

We have friends with acres of corn who offered to let us pick several large bags.

This was an unexpected and delicious gift. That we had so much we were able to share with our neighbors and family, made it more special. After we blanched, cooled and cut the corn off the cob to freeze and I realized I didn’t cut my fingers once — which is kind of a big deal for me — I was even more grateful.

More than once in my life, someone has told me to look out a window or out at something — a bird, flower, person — and I find I’m looking too far away when it’s right near me. Often I have missed the chance to share this sight because I looked too far.

That reminds me of the idiom about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Being too wrapped up in the details to enjoy the general situation.

One night I was peeking out from under our covered patio to see if there were stars in the night sky. I caught a glimpse of a shiny thread and followed the line only to see a spider the size of a silver dollar propped in the middle of its web.

Had I stepped two feet to my left, I would have walked right through the center. My focus was too distant to see the whole picture.

No matter what we think or what people tell us, time doesn’t really fly. It feels like it when we realize a month is almost spent or summer is almost over. Children back to school already? Where did the summer go? we think. Of course, it didn’t “go” anywhere and our minds tell us this fact but before we know it we are getting our cool weather clothes out again.

We have moved so many times that we remember what was happening at any given time by saying, “Where were we living then?” Our moves and various homes are markers for our life moments; where and when our children or grandchildren were born; when we started or left a certain job; and when time started flying by too fast and the little life moments became more precious to us.

I know when the latter started happening with me. It was when I slowed down a little at a time. Sure, life happened to slow me down but now I count it as a blessing in disguise.

When my youngest grandson, 13, asked me to do exercises with him, and I asked what kind — chin ups, pushups, sit ups and more — I said my sit ups aren’t the kind he described, and would he prefer a game?

He agreed and we played Tiddly-Winks, his choice, and he still beat me even though I said, “I grew up playing Tiddly-Winks.”

Then we played the card game War and much to my surprise, I won. We played till I had all the cards. My grandson said, “That never happens!” I said that is does when you play long enough. While we played, we also talked, laughed and joked. We enjoyed the moments.

It’s all about perspective. I see it clearly.

A quote by Frank A. Clark sums it up well.

“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.”

Technology lifts quality of life for those with hearing loss

Day by day

Technology lifts quality of life for those with hearing loss
By LIZ THOMPSON
THISWEEKNEWS.COM
Wednesday May 15, 2013 1:53 PM

The short of it: I became deaf.

The long of it: I learned how to cope.

Technology has become what was considered futuristic in the ’50s, when my hearing loss was discovered at age 9. It would be 30 years before my first hearing aid and 41 years before I was totally deaf and received my first cochlear implant. Four years ago, I had my second implant.

My ability to hear and understand speech and sounds went from 0 percent to almost 97 percent in a quiet setting. To be able to sit in a dark room and carry on a conversation was a miracle. I stand amazed and grateful for this technology.

I’m not alone in my hearing-loss struggles. According to Stanford School of Medicine, about 36 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss. Stanford also stated two out of every 1,000 babies in the United States are born deaf or hard of hearing, and close to a million children in America have hearing loss.

Kate Morris, 33, of Upper Arlington, is initiative coordinator for the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss. The Stanford Initiative involves hearing-loss research investigations in four areas: stem cell therapy, gene therapy, molecular therapy and targeted neural stimulation.

She says she has “a wonderful 3-year-old who wears pink hearing aids.” Very cool. I’m thrilled her daughter, Lily, has possibilities for a better scenario than I had available as a girl.

“Because of the newborn hearing screening … in the hospital on the day she was born, we were able to catch Lily’s hearing loss very early and to have her fitted with her first pair of pink hearing aids at 7 weeks old,” Kate said. “Lily now speaks at a level above what is considered age appropriate, and currently attends speech therapy at the OSU Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, but otherwise attends a mainstream preschool.”

Her family also feels “amazingly lucky to be dealing with hearing loss at a time when there is so much realistic hope for a cure, which could be beneficial for Lily or Lily’s children, should they have hearing loss, and that in the meantime, huge strides are being made in assistive technologies.”

Many obvious factors play into causes of hearing loss. Some include noise pollution from military service, industrial activity, illness and any prolonged high-decibel noise.

Hearing loss has side effects not often discussed. The Stanford Initiative, and most specialists, agree with my experience of withdrawing socially, being frustrated communicating with friends, family and coworkers, and facing depression and isolation. It’s easy to think you are the only one and, as the numbers tell, we are not.

Darryl Will, audiologist with Hearing Health Solution from OhioENT, says studies have linked untreated hearing loss to diminished psychological and overall health.

“Most recently, researchers have found that there is a direct relationship between the degree of hearing loss and the risk of later developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.

Will adds that “loss of hearing often coexists with other health problems and should not be ignored.”

With Stanford’s research, improvements in hearing aids and cochlear implants, children won’t need to wait years like my peers and I did.

Hermine Willey, 76, of east Columbus, has known of her hearing loss since she was 7. She got her first hearing aids in 1981 and now loves her digital hearing aids that allow her to be active in the hearing world.

Dave Scott of Upper Arlington marks his birth as “after Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall concert and before we entered World War II.” His sense of humor intact, he has sported hearing aids since December.

Wendy Brady, 44, of northwest Columbus, wears hearing aids as she waits to become a candidate for a cochlear implant. Her hope is that she will hear her young children with a clarity that is missing now.

Pat Vincent, 64, of Columbus knew of his hearing loss at 14 due to Meniere’s disease. He now has a cochlear implant.

We all encourage being proactive and finding support through organizations such as Hearing Loss Association of America or Association of Late Deafened Adults. Since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has spotlighted May — Better Hearing and Speech Month — as “a time to encourage Americans to get their hearing tested and determine if they have a hearing loss.”

Anything sound familiar? I encourage you to learn how to get your hearing checked at these websites: hearinghealthsolutions. com; speechhearingclinic. osu.edu; or columbusspeech.org.

Local author Liz Thompson writes the Day by day column for ThisWeek News. Reach her at lizt911@gmail.com.

‘Till The Last Petal Falls…

Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose

GUEST POST

Far More Precious
Elizabeth Rose

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31:10

All my life, I was told that God was the God of Love. I was told if I loved my neighbor, in return I would be rewarded with love. So when in high school, when I was lured into what would become a four-year abusive relationship, I found myself at a complete loss.

“This could not be what Jesus meant when he told his disciples to turn the other cheek,” I thought. I was spiraling into a cycle of being hit and then forgiving my abuser, hoping that my ‘love’ was enough to save him from his sinfulness. I could have gotten myself killed for it.

Many of my Christian peers at the time congratulated me for having the humility and patience required to remain with my attacker. To them, my suffering was just another cross that I needed to take up in order to bring more people to salvation. Surely, through by persistent example, my abusive boyfriend would see the light and come to Jesus. He would eventually have no choice but to see how I had stood beside him and never wavered in supporting him, wouldn’t he?

It would take a nasty break-up, a restraining order and several years before I would realize just how wrong I was. So today, I want to share some things that I have learned, in the hopes that it may be used to save others the same, long road of injustice:

• Christian love does not require women to remain in abusive relationships, no matter what the circumstance.
• A Christian woman knows that, just as all other children of God have an intrinsic worth, so does she. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 As God has commanded His children to protect life, and the dignity of human life, so does He command us to respect the dignity of our own persons.
• Christian love does not mean giving in to our beloved’s commands, nor does it mean retaining possession of our beloved. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do, especially in abusive relationships, is to keep ourselves from enabling attackers. Even Jesus rebuked Peter out of love (“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”Mark 8:33) when Peter insisted on his ‘humanly concerns.’ In that circumstance, Jesus compared Peter to Satan in order to show Peter the errors of his ways. In a way that seemed harsh, Jesus helped Peter become more of a Man of God.
• A Christian woman knows that she has been charged to be submissive to her husband (“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Colossians 3:18). At the same time, she also knows that God has charged her husband to love his wife as himself, and to behave himself as if he was Christ (“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” 33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-23, 33). Women do not have a responsibility to submit themselves to the good of men who do not attempt to make themselves Men of God; and men of God command respect from their women through love and care, and not physical or mental violence.
• A Christian man knows that an ‘excellent’ wife, though hard to find, is more precious than jewels (Proverbs 31:10 see above). An excellent woman is one who is allowed to follow her vocation as she is called to by God, one who is allowed to flourish in her family, in her Church, and in her larger community. A Christian man, therefore, should take care to cultivate his wife into such an ‘excellent’ woman through upholding her dignity.

God wishes for none of His children to suffer at the hands of another of His children. He died for the dignity and salvation of His creation and it is up to us to make sure that we are protecting those among us who are most vulnerable. This includes those in our community who are trapped in abusive relationships, and kept there in the name of being a ‘good Christian’, or a ‘good wife’, or a ‘good girlfriend.’

A good woman knows her worth and she protects it. A good man knows the worth of a woman and he protects that. Abuse is never acceptable. And by the grace of God, one day the world will see that. But it takes someone standing up to it. That someone can be you.

Elizabeth Rose, a twenty-something college student and the author of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, a modern re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. Available now from Mockingbird Lane Press, 10% of all author royalties will be donated to local battered women shelters.

Worship in Silence

This was originally posted on Jebaire Publishing’s website. Unfortunately, due to hard economic times, they will be closing their doors in 2013. They have served me beautifully as a writer and author. They published my second book God Whispers: Nudges, Fudges and Butterfly Moments in 2012.

Worship in Silence

By

LizThompson

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Going to church was part of growing up for me. The sound of our church bell roused me from sleep on Sundays, sending out a reminder to come worship. I didn’t even think about not going to church—it was an integral part of my life, and I loved everything about it. From walking in the doors, seeing familiar faces, listening to the music and singing in choirs since my youth, to listening to sermons—even when I could not understand everything said—and returning later for youth group meetings or other events at our church.

Music was a huge part of my worship. Singing was as natural as breathing for me. Walking two by two into church in our choir robes and holding our music high, we would sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” marking the time with each step. The words of the hymns soaked into my heart and soul comforting and teaching me.

Looking back, the ritual of worship and familiarity was something I sought out when I was an adult and on my own. There were times I moved far from God. I’m not proud of those times, but I know I learned from them. Those were lonely times thinking I could do things on my own without seeking God for answers; without looking for a place to worship with others and not listening to God’s direction.

But today I know God never moved. He was right there waiting for me to wake up and listen to His voice.

Listening was a problem for me physically since at least fourth grade when I was told what I already sensed:  I had significant hearing loss. The 50′s were not a time when technology would have helped me very much but acknowledgment from my family would have helped. Yet, I became stronger and learned to read lips and body language as my hearing worsened. By 29 I needed hearing aids but waited 10 years before taking action on this knowledge. The doctor told me my ears were 80 years old. When I asked what they would be like when I was 80, he said, “Learn sign language.”

With my first hearing aid, the world opened up for me, and I was better able to live in the hearing world. Then a few years later, a second hearing aid helped even more. About this same time, God inspired me with lyrics and music, and I performed them with my guitar. After six years of this inspiration, it stopped as suddenly as it started. That’s when I started taking American Sign Language (ASL) classes. If nothing else, I would sign the music.

Soon I realized I could no longer hear my own voice when I sang, especially in choir. So I relented and sat in the pew with my husband. Soon after, I was deaf with only about eight percent of my hearing remaining.

How would I worship without music? Without hearing? All my life, worship involved voice and now mine was silent. My life was silent with only snippets of sound.

God reached me in my silence. He spoke in a silent language of my heart. He taught me to listen in new ways and gave me courage to move on in the hearing world.

In the late 90′s, attending church meant my husband repeated the sermon highlights when we went home and the bulletins were how I obtained church news. People were kind, knowing I couldn’t take part in conversations and hugs were plentiful. I was part of a team that sought FM Listening Systems for the hard of hearing in our church. That helped me for a time but then, no longer. Life was silent and I sat in the pew praying while others sang and spoke.

One Saturday, I drove past a church I’d seen often and my car seemed to steer into the parking lot. I took a deep breath and walked to the door and knocked. No answer. I knocked again, knowing there were people in the church. Nothing. I peeked in the window and saw people and knocked a third time and someone saw me and opened the door. I was so nervous and embarrassed. Why? It was a church for the Deaf and I had been knocking!

Using my rough ASL, I asked a few questions about services and told them my husband was hearing. “How will he know what is happening?” I asked. The pastor spoke and signed back to me, “We speak and sign and have many hearing in services.”

We attended for a year, I grew and learned that worship wasn’t all about talking and music; it was about praising God and letting his love shine into the world.

God continued to reach me in silence, but in 2002, I had my first cochlear implant restoring 95 percent of my hearing. Thank God! Sound was back in my life, but I am still deaf when the batteries die. Music didn’t return with the implant, but I have a new appreciation for sounds of nature which is truly music to my ears.

Our loving God knows all our lives. He knew I would become deaf and need to learn the music of my heart—His heart. Over the years, my love of writing was developed through poetry, music, essays and various writing venues. Now I know why. One doesn’t have to hear in the true sense to write. But since I hear God in my heart, mind and soul, His messages come through loud and clear. And I write.

Interview

Read my interview at this link: http://www.sellingbooks.com/elizabeth-thompson-author-interview 

Be sure and check the other author interviews. One in particular, Donna Schillinger who is a good friend, great writer and editor. Also, a fellow Christian.

Writer Advice, with a twist Part 2…

25 Golden Rules for Writing Well

  1. Don’t abbrev.
  2. Check to see if you any words out.
  3. Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.
  4. About sentence fragments.
  5. When dangling, don’t use participles.
  6. Don’t use no double negatives.
  7. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
  8. Just between you and I, case is important.
  9. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
  10. Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary.
  11. Its important to use apostrophe’s right.
  12. It’s better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
  13. Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.
  14. Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop
  15. Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
  16. In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.
  17. Watch out for irregular verbs that have creeped into our language.
  18. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  19. Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
  20. A writer mustn’t shift your point of view.
  21. Don’t write a run-on sentence you’ve got to punctuate it.
  22. A preposition isn’t a good thing to end a sentence with.
  23. Avoid cliches like the plague.
  24. 1 final thing is to never start a sentence with a number.
  25. Always check your work for accuracy and completeness.

Author unknown