LIFE LESSONS: Patience is a Beautiful Art

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

Some people are born with patience. Most of us are not. Like most lessons in life we learn it through experiencing hard knocks.

From the moment we’re born we begin waiting?   First, we’re crying for a diaper change or breast milk.  Then, gradually, we acquire language and with it the responsibility of learning patience. From the time I was in grade school my report cards always said “lacks self-discipline.” In other words, I was impulsive and impatient. I found it too difficult to wait for recess to talk to my friend.

We try to be increasingly patient with slow moving traffic and with elevators that seem to linger on high floors. Or the neighbors in the condo that stop the elevator by holding the door open so they can talk to each other. How about waiting for our phone calls and emails to be returned, and—of course—for our checks to arrive? We wait for love. I remember waiting for return calls from dates. It often seemed like an eternity. Sometimes it was.

Chill out and be patient, we tell ourselves.  Holding our breaths, we anxiously wait to hear if our kids are accepted into impossibly selective nursery schools, high schools and colleges.  Everyone waits at the doctor’s office, sometimes in several different rooms, before we’re seen. Then we wait again –often in an agony of anxiety—for the results of our medical tests and the eventual, all-important diagnosis.

Some choices are obviously more difficult to make than others.  Sometimes there are reasons to wait for more information before you make a decision. On other occasions waiting is a bad idea. One cliché advises you to “look before you leap.” Another warns that “he who hesitates is lost.” 

As I’ve aged I have learned to become more patient. When I was paralyzed from the waist down I learned a great deal of patience. I learned it by having to move slowly when motivating my wheelchair through doorways and around tables. I still dented a lot of things and tore the molding off my bedroom door twice. Every time I dropped something I had to retrieve my reacher, unfold it, and fish for the item.

Waiting for the Metro Mobility bus was a true test of patience. The busses were usually on time, but the times often left an hour on each end of the appointment. That’s when my avid desire for reading began.

Elizabeth Taylor said “It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”

This is probably what makes grandparents so appealing to grandchildren. They have the time to devote their entire attention on the younger ones. They stop. They listen. They have nowhere to rush off to.

The Bible says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Galatians 5:22.

Patience is a lot of things, but for most of us it is difficult.

Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.Saint Francis de Sales

 Patience

Marguerite Elisofon is a blogger who’s article inspired me to write this one. Her words are incorporated throughout this article.  To follow her go to http://the-never-empty-nest.blogspot.com/


LIFE LESSONS: Burned Biscuits

The following is a story I read. I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s definitely one that is worth repeating.

 

Burned Biscuits

 

Burned Biscuits

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad.

I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship! “Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket–keep it in your own.” So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

“ Life is too short to wake up with regrets…Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don’t.”

 

 


LIFE LESSONS: Remembering Mother by Kathi Holmes

 

As we morph into adulthood we take life as it comes, never stopping to reflect on how or why we got where we are.

Merge a single mom with an only child and you’ve got the makings of a close relationship. Mom as a dating mother and me as a teenager, eager to experience everything in life, were both trying out our wings. We did not always get along. As I grew to adulthood, she became my best friend. 

During the last years of her life I got to know the person behind the title mother. I was out of work, and she had just fully retired at age 83. She made the monumental decision to move to a community that offered assisted living services – should she need it in the future. 

I arrived mid-morning so she could sleep in. We packed a few of her treasures then went out to lunch. I left early because she started to get tired late afternoon. I joked, “This is the best job I have ever had.”   

Mom never moved to her new address. Four days before the moving van was to come she had a massive stroke. She didn’t speak. Occasionally she opened her eyes a sliver. Mom licked her lips when I fed her fresh crushed strawberries so I knew she was aware of my visits. 

After 93 days of daily visits I said to her, “Mom, we always had so much to say. Now I just can’t think of anything to talk about.” Then I left her side to get a breath of fresh air on the bench outside the nursing home. 

Suddenly a raging burst of wind came from nowhere. I looked at the sky wondering if a storm was developing. Nothing more than a few clouds in the sky. The gust lasted only a few minutes. Then the air returned to normal. I went inside to check on mom and found her in her final rest. I believe that is when God took her home. 

Mom was my inspiration, the platform from which I leaped into life and my sounding board. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but she set the stage for much of who I am today. 

She nurtured my self-esteem and gave me self-confidence – even before she knew those words were important. She led by example and never imposed her standards on me or her grandchildren. As adults we now know how much work she put into making us feel special. She expected perfection from herself, but not from us. We got the message though and expected much from ourselves. 

To me, Mom was a rock.  She was the solid ground I could always come back to. Mom was the second oldest in a family of eleven children. Her younger sister told of how she calmed the family when her baby brother died shortly after birth. Whenever there was turmoil they would say, “Call Eileen.” They knew she could be lured into listening to their problems with the words, “Come over. I made a cake today.” 

Three and a half years after my mother passed away my daughter was married on a hot, calm July day on the patio of a country club. As my daughter stood saying her vows next to the man she would spend the rest of her life with suddenly a gust of wind blew her veil. She and I both knew it was a sign grandma was at her wedding. 

During this month, when we honor mothers, I honor my mother. Yes, Mom, you were “once, twice, three times a lady.” I still love you and I miss you.

 iStock_000019543512Small

 

 


LIFE LESSONS: Still Learning

 

Rock a bye

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

And down will come baby, cradle and all.

I never read these more violent nursery rhymes to my children. I didn’t want them exposed to anything that would scare them.

Unfortunately, life sometimes gives us scary wake up calls. Our life may be going along smoothly and calmly. Suddenly, like a gust of wind, our life takes a rough turn. It may be a death, divorce, loss of job, or medical problem that blindsides us and turns our world into a tailspin. It’s like a tornado passing through our life. Everything is turned upside down, leaving us frightened, depressed, angry or simply confused. Maybe your experiencing a challenge you set upon yourself such as weight loss or a lifestyle change. What do we do?

On May 9th and 10th these five women will be present a panel discussion entitled Challenge, Choice and Courage: An Insight into Working Through Adversity at The Refine Conference.

Caryn Sullivan is a freelance writer, contributing columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and speaker on autism. As Caryn stated in a recent presentation “I’ve experienced so many challenges I can probably relate to all of you.” Caryn faced breast cancer, two years later experienced the anxiety of having a daughter with a rare blood disorder who underwent a bone marrow transplant, nurtured a child with autism, and had her world shaken by her husband’s premature death.

Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami is a former fat girl who is passionate about helping busy working women achieve weight bliss. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, she made the choice to live now. Over 13 years later, she has maintained a total weight loss of 100 pounds. Now a weight loss leader at Weightless, Jennifer shares her inspirational story of lifestyle change by ditching the diet and escaping the gym.

Nikki Abramson is chair of the Resource Committee of Adopted Adults (RCAA), a speaker and instructor. She recently launched her inspirational memoir and self-help book entitled “I Choose Hope: Overcoming Challenges with Faith and Positivity”. Nikki grew up with several severe medical conditions that challenged her, her parents and the medical community. As an adoptee she also faced the challenge of wanting to “fit in” with her schoolmates.

Nadia Giordana is the president of Thinking Skinny LLC and of Cloud 9 Publishing.  She’s an active blogger and conducts interviews for her Internet television show, WomanVision TV . She is the author of two books,Thinking Skinny and “Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at Any Age.”  Nadia had the courage to reshape her attitudes, overcome the fear of public speaking, and write an exciting new chapter in her life. This sparked her passion for mentoring other women living the second acts of their lives to resurrect their sidelined dreams and do some of the things they always wanted to do.
 
Kathi Holmes. I am the moderator of this interesting and informative panel as well as a participant in sharing my story of the challenge of paralysis, the choice to be the best I can with what I have and the courage to step beyond expectations.

 We are just one part of the many workshop options at The Refine Conference.  

Join us at The Refine Conference as we keep it personal with ourselves, others and God seeking to refine our lives emotionally, spiritually, financially, professionally, in health and wellness and in relationships. Our goal is that your heart will be fulfilled, your mind inspired and your soul nurtured no matter where you might be on life’s journey to …. take your next steps with purpose.

“Each one of us is on a journey, from the first gasp of breath, and we go on it according to our understanding of grace, according to our own courage.”…”We live this journey and make it and know that it’s not easy. But we try to make the crooked road a little straighter, the hurly-burly streets a little cleaner and just a little bit kinder.”   Maya Angelou

THE REFINE CONFERENCE

 May 9 & 19

Hilton Airport/Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota.

 Tickets available at www.therefineconference.com . For a $25 discount enter code honey.

Speaker

 


LIFE LESSONS: Build Your Life On Hope by Charlie Kundinger

Hope“Charlie, you have 30 minutes to gather your belongings and leave this building. In your three months working here you have not sold one lease! Your leasing days with this company are over.” What? What did my boss say to me? I was fired? I took a risk and left a secure building management position, a decision my wife was strongly opposed to, in order to accept this position.   I had big dreams of becoming a real estate professional with a new car and large commissions.

After dinner I approached my wife, who was playing with our two small children.  I said, “Molly, today I was fired, what are we going to do”?” My shocked wife looked up at me and said, “Charlie, not what are we going to do but what are you going to do? I can’t support our growing family with its expenses on my salary alone.”  What? Did she expect me to live with the misery of being unemployed all on my own?

After that I was speaking with my mother and I told her that I was fired.  Her advice was, Charles, “build your life on hope and that will always make your tomorrows’ brighter.”

What I heard from her felt good so I decided to approach the situation with hope.  Only then did I begin to see possibilities of changing my life.

Shortly after I was fired, my wife’s friend Mary Ann asked me to repair shower tiles and other needed repair work in her home.   When I finished she said to me “Charlie, I love your work and I want to refer you to my friends.  Would that be okay?” I was elated.  I would begin earning my way again.  She followed through on her promise and her friends hired me to do small repair projects on their homes.

I began to realize that my being firing was a gift.  I stopped feeling resentful of my boss and the real estate company.  I began to feel grateful toward them for the opportunity to be my own boss.  I began to remodel my life realizing that I had the power to build a life with greater possibilities.  Now, I was able to create with my hands, attend all of my three children’s school and athletic events and partner with my wife to share the duties of raising our three children. Being fired forced me to change my story from one of leasing real estate to one of remodeling homes.   

For the past twenty-eight years home remodeling has been a better suit for my personality. I have experienced much less stress and more control of my life.  After I decided to accept my mother’s advice and “build my life on hope”, my life improved.  

If you are thinking of changing or remodeling your life, apply hope and it too may brighten your tomorrows as it did mine.

Charlie Kundinger has remodeled homes for the past 28 years.  More recently he is speaking to audiences on the topic of hope realizing that with this powerful emotion in their lives significant changes can occur.  Charlie lives with his wife in Forest Lake, MN. You can reach him at Kundinger Remodeling651-283-0017.


LIFE LESSONS: What is Love? by Kathi Holmes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHis sandy brown hair laid stiff and straight with bangs extending to his eyebrows. He was too busy to worry about his hair. Mike was the class clown. His chubby cheeks puckered when he smiled. And he smiled a lot. He was constantly fidgeting with something – flipping pages in his book, twirling his pencil, or wiggling his body to get comfortable in his chair. Today one might say he had ADHD. Mike was funny and had all the third grade kids’ attention. He was my first love.

By the time I had reached sixth grade my taste had changed. I had a crush on a tall, dark haired, chisel-faced seventh grader. My girlfriend and I stalked him until he hurled a broom at us. That put a damper on our pursuit but not necessarily my interest.

Yes, there were many more infatuations up until high school when I fell in love with the blind date a girlfriend had arranged. Bill had the “boy in the hood” look that Elvis made popular. His ducktail haircut and quiet demeanor made him even more intriguing. I married that boy. Seventeen years and two children later we divorced. There was no blame, we just grew apart.

Having married four months out of high school I never experienced the “dating scene”. It was a jungle out there. There were times I wanted to throw in the towel and just sit by myself with a bowl of popcorn and a good movie. There were some hurtful times but also some funny experiences.

Seven years of riding the dating roller coaster, and I had my first blind date after becoming divorced. Although Charlie and I started out thinking we didn’t have much in common, the more we got to know each other the more I began having concerns. We shared so many characteristics I actually feared his mother had met my dad in the past, and we were actually related! After we married, I found out we weren’t that similar.

February is the month when love is in bloom. Scalloped paper hearts abound. Chocolate packaged in red heart shaped boxes, for the lover who wants to impress. And roses, the flower of love. But when the paper hearts have curled, the box of chocolate is filled with empty wrappers and the roses have shed their bloom, what’s left?

Charlie and I have been married twenty-one years and I think I finally know what love is. And if you’re looking for it you can find it everywhere.

Love is the husband who takes the limp hand of his wife in the end stages of cancer and tells her he loves her as much as he did the day they were married.

Love is the wife who helps her husband from his wheelchair onto the bath chair and wheels him into the shower week after week.

Love is the older sister who retrieved her brother when he wandered onto thin ice.

Love is the father who gives up his Saturdays to coach his daughter’s soccer team, even though it is clear she will never be a soccer star.

Love is the daily visits to the care center to brighten mom’s day.

Love is the mother who glows with delight as she wheels her son into dance class. “He loves to dance,” she says as she helps him out of his wheelchair, and he drags his legs toward his walker. She raised this child with cerebral palsy for fourteen years and is proud of all his accomplishments.

Love is the person who lets go of the past, and the one who offers the apology.

Love is the grandparents who eagerly volunteer to care for their grandchildren even though they know the house will be left in a mess and they will be exhausted when the kids leave.

Love is the wagging tail that greets you at the door.

Love is the man who waited for his love when his long legs forged ahead of her.

Love is the wife who waits for him when his pace has slowed with age.

During this month, celebrate love. Reflect on the love that carried you through your darkest days. Savor the love that brings you joy in the little moments that you take for granted.

 

 

 


LIFE LESSONS: A Wild Notion by Chris Heeter

Lacking expressive ears, tails, or fur on the back of our necks, we humans are left with our big brains, our intuition, our assumptions, and our words in order to understand each other. It would be much clearer if we approached a co-worker, for example, and could see their ears back and the fur ruffed on their neck. We would know it would be a less than ideal time to interrupt, or perhaps we would see it as an opening to reach out.

A powerful element of living wild–having the courage to bring the gift of all of who you are to all of what you do–is vulnerability: being willing to reveal more of who we are; to risk showing the more “messy” parts of ourselves; and to have compassion for others and the shared tendency to want to hide our softer, more vulnerable sides. Watch for opportunities today to be a little less guarded. See what openings may come. . .

Honey, my dogA layer of snow at our feet
with more, they say, on the way.

This same route we walk
most every day,
me and the dog,
brings illumination
this cloudy morning.

Today I see
some of what it is
that she stops to investigate.

Concrete and hard-packed trails show little.
But today’s snow
reveals the wanderings
of rabbit, deer, a stray cat.
Tracks outline what my nose cannot smell.
And show me what excites my dog so,
as I stand, coax, and sometimes tug her away
from the scents that elude me.

How helpful it would be
if we could see as clearly
what tracks and scents are calling
those with whom we interact.

How much more clarity could there be
if we could see the snow outline
of the trail of each other’s thoughts, hearts, and actions.

It starts close in, of course,
with observation of our own path
of where we wander, the steps we take
and scents we follow.

From that place of our own humility,
we may see one another
with grace and a hint of understanding
when some form of snow falls
and the faintly outlined tracks
of each other’s paths are revealed.

Written with permission by Chris Heeter, leadership speaker, wilderness guide and poet. To subscribe the “Wild Thoughts” and receive the email newsletter to go http://www.thewildinstitute.com/subscribe.php . The Wild Institute, thewildinstitute.com . Photo of my dog, Honey.


LIFE JOURNEYS: Living BIG by Jade Sholty

While most of us were still recovering from turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin and/or pecan pie last year, a dear friend and her husband were caught in a fire that engulfed their home. They, along with their dogs and cat, perished in that fire. Not only did they leave behind three wonderful children, but a multitude of people who were impacted by their love and kindness. This year, on the date of her mother’s birthday, her daughter posted a message that I wanted to share with my readers.iStock_000006323478XSmall

LIVING BIG

I don’t want to dwell on sad things but I also could not let the anniversary of my parents death go by without writing a little something here because I know many of you knew my mom (and dad) personally and may be feeling a little sad today as well.

It’s funny because no matter how much I think about this horrible day and the fire a year ago, the things that keep reigning bigger in my mind are their lives and their hearts.  That made me think about how important it is that we all live BIG.  Something like a fire could easily be a big enough event to steal our focus and memories.  A fire that size is scary and almost has a life of its own because it is so uncontrolled.  If someone lived a small life, it might be the scary fire that kept invading our thoughts when we remembered them. But neither of my parents lived small lives.  They did many small (and big things) with BIG kindness and BIG love.  They reached out and made people everywhere feel welcome and special.

So yes, I think about the fire sometimes but that fear and sadness gets so quickly pushed away by the bigness of their love and the way they impacted us all while they were here.  What an important thing that we all live with big love and passion because that is what we will leave behind for others to remember no matter how we leave the planet.  That step into the next life is so quick but what we do with our lives while we are here impacts those around us forever.  How many people can we help while we are here? How many people can we love? Are there people we could make smile today with a phone call? Is there someone whose day could be turned around by a little encouragement? That is the BIG stuff of life.  So yes, a little fire may be occasionally thrown into our lives but that is so small compared to how BIG we can live. I want to make sure the things in my life that should be big are BIG!  It is our love and our passion that will live on long after we are gone and that really is a wonderful legacy.  God bless you all.

Thank you Jade Sholty for sharing this message with us at this time of year when we remember how blessed we are and how important it is to “LIVE BIG”. Those who knew Sandy and Brian Humphrey will always remember the love they shared with us.


LIFE JOURNEYS: Impossible? No way! by Betty Liedtke

iStock_000015137613XSmallOne of my most firmly-held convictions is that nothing is impossible, and you should ignore anyone who tells you otherwise. Impossible feats are being accomplished every day by people who don’t know, don’t believe, or don’t accept that something can’t be done.  I have several friends who belong in this category – people who refused to accept that something couldn’t be done, and then achieved what others said was impossible.

One of the most inspiring examples of this is Kathi Holmes, the author and host of this blog, who was paralyzed years ago and told that she would never walk again. If you remind her of that today, you’d better move out of the way quickly in case she decides to chase you down and smack you with her cane.

Another accomplished friend of mine is a man named Dana Lamon. He is a graduate of Yale University and of the University of Southern California Law Center, a retired administrative law judge, a world-renowned motivational speaker, the author of four books, and recipient of numerous prestigious awards. He’s also been blind since the age of four.

Dana spent his whole life listening to people tell him, “You can’t do that. You’re blind!” Or rather, he spent his life not listening to them. If there was something he wanted to acquire or achieve, he didn’t let anything or anyone stop him. Even if something wasn’t on his list of goals, all he had to do was hear someone say that something would be impossible for him to do, and he would set out to accomplish it – if only to prove that person wrong.

“The truth is,” he once told me, “I’ve accomplished much more because I was blind than I ever would have as a sighted man. Hearing that something would be ‘impossible’ gave me all the incentive I needed to pursue it.”

Because of this, Dana considers his blindness a gift, not a disability. And he’s not alone in thinking this way.

One of my speaking programs is entitled, “Where Do Diamonds Come From? A Lump of Coal and a Lot of Pressure.” It focuses on the fact that when something awful happens to us, such as an accident, an injury, or a debilitating disease, it often leads to – or becomes – an amazing source of strength and determination that we never realized we could possess. I have heard many people say, long after they were diagnosed and treated, that “Getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me.” They came out of the ordeal with life-changing wisdom, compassion, understanding, and determination.

I was in my early 30s when I developed breast cancer – right after the birth of my daughter, the younger of my two children.  Less than a year later, I sustained severe heart damage from chemotherapy. It was so debilitating that I couldn’t walk up the three steps from my back door to my kitchen without stopping to sit down on the top step and catch my breath.

Yet with each of these medical ordeals, I was given a sign that opened my eyes to the fact that other people were dealing with much more severe issues than I was, and that the situation could have been a lot worse than it was. They helped me develop a positive outlook and a sense of gratitude that I still maintain today, 25 years later.

It may sound cliché to talk about looking on the bright side, or finding the silver lining, or seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.  But doing so does more than improve our outlook or put us in a better mood. It gives us strength, confidence, determination, and a sense of control over our lives and our circumstances. It gives us the ability to change our world. And it helps us see that if there’s something we want badly enough and are willing to work for it and to ignore anyone who tells us otherwise, we can achieve anything we set out to do. No matter how many people say it’s impossible.

Betty Liedtke is a writer, speaker listed on www.wowspeakersnetwork.com, certified Dream Coach® and Founder/CEO of Find Your buried Treasure. For additional information check out her website www.findyourburiedtreasure.com

 

 


LIFE JOURNEYS: HANDS by Mike Holst

handsWhen my wife and I were married almost a half of century ago, one of the photos in our wedding album was a picture of our crossed hands. I don’t remember it being taken and it must have seemed insignificant at the time. I was probably lost in the excitement of the day. For a few brief minutes the other day, looking for a different photo, I took out that album and I stared at that old black and white picture. Then I went and took her hand in mine and looked at the physical differences all of these years have made to our hands. Those same hands, still wearing the same rings we gave to each other on that day. Those hands that were so vibrant, unwrinkled, and unblemished back then; now showing the ravages of age and time. The bones are so much more apparent today, the skin parchment thin and peppered with age spots.

But then my meandering thoughts went in another direction and I thought of where those hands had been and how much they had accomplished over all of these years, and the stories they could tell if they could talk. I looked at her hands again and I saw them white with flour from the kitchen counter and black with dirt from the garden. Stained with berry juice at canning time and splotched with paint. I saw them dabbing tears from a little girls eyes and holding a wet cloth to a sick child’s forehead. I remember them turning the pages on a Doctor Seuss book while our son sat wide-eyed on her lap. I watched as they raced effortlessly back and forth on a typewriter keyboard and remembered the yards of cloth they had pushed through a sewing machine. I recalled how good they felt when they massaged the tension out of my shoulders after a hard day’s work, and the times they gently held my face while she softly kissed away all my troubles.

Then I looked at my own hands and remembered the day I cut my finger off at work, –the scar still visible. I remember the countless nails I pounded building our home and the nail I shot through my finger– the one that no longer bends. I remember the times I played catch with my kids in the backyard and showed my son how to throw a curve ball in little league. There were the times they were black with soot from my days on the fire department or sticky with someone’s blood. There were the days I stood by my parents’ grave and wiped my own tears away with the back of my hands. The times I baited hooks for my kids in the boat and all the times I offered them in friendship to so many people, and the times I just held them to my face and clasped them in prayer.

But the times I remember the most is when I took her hands in mine and we walked and talked, or just sat and tried to give each other a transfusion of caring and love, as if our empathy and emotions could just flow miraculously from fingertip to fingertip. Her hands fit so well in mine that first time I held them way back then, and today—well they fit even better. It’s as if our hands somehow became the coupler for us, the point of origin that joined us together over all of our years of partnership and remarkably today. Their simple touch can convey our innermost thoughts through some unexplainable process, which defies explanation and needs no words.

Mike Holst lost is wife a little over two years ago. After retiring as a Brooklyn Park firefighter he began a second career as an author. He has published nine compelling books, most of which take place in Minneapolis. His latest book is “An Absence of Conscience”. For more information check out his website www.mikeholstbooks.com or his blog www.mjhfictionville.blogspot.com.