Jewels

I found this photo
while browsing the archives.
In 2014, we vacationed
in Bend, Oregon,
which seems like
a million years ago.
A time of large gatherings,

not worrying about
what we touch,
and no mask-wearing.
It was a different world.
Sisters, Oregon was a

fun day adventure
and a destination
for beautiful
sightseeing.
I thought this
would make
a good Monday post.
So, I send wishes
of peace
for a new week,
and I’m grateful
for all of you
who stop by

my little piece
of blogland.
I hope you

continue to find
inspiration here

that keeps you
coming back.

Lauren 💗

4/24/20

The world suffers.
The patio is

our shield.
Wine fills

crystal
we’re careful
not to shatter

like human lives
across the globe.

The dog snores
without a care.
Hummingbirds

fly like
the Blue Angels.

A warm breeze
winds its way
in between us
and the roses
.

Silence –
a soothing
melody.

And yet,
we know
what lies
on the

other side
of silence.

The world aches
where peace
is far removed
from day-to-day.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Just Yesterday

Dressed up in satin and lace, I walked slowly down the aisle of the church sanctuary. Strolling arm in arm with my father, I loved hearing the swish from my dress with each graceful step. My eyes focused on my to-be-husband standing in front of the sanctuary. He looked quite dashing in his black tux. Wasn’t this special occasion just yesterday?
Yesterday that transported into thirty-one years of marriage.

Well, it was just yesterday when I saw the item sitting on the shelf: a gift from my bridal shower in 1988. I recall opening the box and pulling out a white mini food chopper. A great gift, but did I expect to keep it for three decades? I thought for sure it would’ve been replaced with an updated version sometime between then and now. Yet, over the years, it has stood the test of time, still working, and the only change is its color; instead of a glossy white, it’s now faded into a pale yellow.

The question is: should I replace the little food chopper because it looks weathered? If so, shouldn’t anything old be swapped out for a newer version? Think about cars. They may have all the parts, their engines may roar when the key is turned, but if they’re scraped up and bruised, shouldn’t they be traded in for shiny new models? Let’s expand our thinking even further: Should spouses sprouting gray hair, wearing mazes of facial wrinkles be substituted with younger partners? Is the end-all goal a better-looking copy?

Let’s do the math: if that mini chopper has aged, so have I and I am not going to be traded in. Buying brand-new, shiny, and flawless is exciting and I won’t lie and say that I never have, but sometimes the memories deep within are more valuable than the “itemitself. Regarding life partners, what about the good memories: the laughter, tears, adventures, intimacy, and the love both partners felt in the beginning when that spark ignited? This is why my faded chopper still sits on the shelf, rather content with the cookie sheets and mixing bowls.

I don’t know how long the chopper will stay in the family, but as long as it does, I’ll remember that Saturday afternoon: women gathered to celebrate my upcoming wedding day. Silly games brought fits of laughter, deep conversations evoked precious memories, words of wisdom were spoken by women who had lived through the cracks and crevices of life. Most importantly, my faded gift reminds me of when my mom and mother-in-law were still in my life. They were two amazing women with more stories to tell and wisdom to share and I miss them more than words convey.

Mom on my right and
my mother-in-law on my left.

So, if you’re questioning whether you should toss that old worn-out item even though it functions perfectly, allow yourself to pause in the moment, to reflect upon the wonderful memories.

January 21, 1989

The answer could just be in one of them.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Room 506A

As sudden as an earthquake, I ended up in the emergency room several years ago because of severe abdominal pain. It turned out to be pancreatitis. I didn’t know anything about this condition but later learned it could be life-threatening. Pancreatitis is often caused by excessive alcohol consumption, but since I rarely drink alcohol, this wasn’t possible. The culprit turned out to be a gallstone found in the bile duct and the pain felt like a million knives doing the twist. Since my gallbladder was removed decades ago, gallstones never again entered my mind. Apparently though, if the gallbladder is gone, the gallstones have nowhere else to go.

It was an autumn Friday morning and I had just enjoyed a good cup of coffee with my husband when those knives started dancing. My husband comforted me as I laid down, but he felt helpless unable to take away the pain. After a couple of hours, I knew I wouldn’t be going into work. Maybe stubbornness played a role in my decision to ride it out. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I wanted to enjoy my morning routine and have a productive day at work. Later I’d celebrate that it was Friday and the weekend was just around the corner.

However, things don’t always work out like we plan. That afternoon, I took in the sight of the emergency room where an IV was started, blood was drawn, and questions asked such as, “Are you allergic to any medications?” and “How would you rate your pain?” In full agony, I barely whispered, “It’s a ten.” The nurse gave me medication through the IV; soon the dancing knives ended their performance, although I wondered why it began in the first place.

While I waited for results, I couldn’t help think about the auto-immune liver disease my daughter was diagnosed with several years back – Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). So far, my symptoms were parallel to hers. Could it be that I’ve had PSC all these years? As hard as I resisted, tears welled up. I kept thinking I had passed this horrible disease on to my daughter which made my heart ache. I was letting my darkest thoughts grab the reins and spiral me into a deep emotional funk. I fought back though, sliding these thoughts under the hospital bed. I had to remain calm and continue to breathe deeply, otherwise, I’d turn into a big mess.

If anyone has ever spent the night in a hospital, they’re aware of the constant nightly interruptions. Just when I fell into a soothing sleep, the nurse would come in and cheerily say, “Hi Lauren, time for labs,” or, “Hi Lauren, I need to check your vitals.” I know they’re only doing their jobs, but when I’ve fallen into a wonderful, deep sleep and woken up abruptly, it’s like entering an alternate universe. I’d roll over, hold out my arm with eyes closed while they poked and prodded. Then I’d fall back into my much-needed slumber.

By Sunday, I was raring to go home. The noise had taken its toll; a headache was coming on like a tidal wave from the high-pitched beeping. That deep longing for my own bed would not vanish. I woke up early and walked a few laps around the hospital floor. I had to prove to the doctor I was in good enough shape to be discharged, so I took each step slowly in a forward fashion. I was decked out in my blue hospital gown, tied securely so as not to put on a show. The red, traction hospital socks were the final touch to the classy ensemble. The venture was successful.

When I returned to my room, the nurse came in to share some bad news – that I was slightly jaundiced. This fed my anxiety because I thought jaundice was an end-of-liver-disease symptom. I’m right; it is, but it’s also a common indicator for other causes. Regardless, I was still well enough to go home, but since we still had no answers, I had to endure more tests. The most logical was an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is risky since I’ve had pancreatitis, but it was the only method that could detect different causes, including cancer. Even though I was hesitant because of the risks, I agreed to the ERCP. On a stormy day in October, I walked through the hospital doors for the 1:00 pm procedure.

One memory that remains vivid from this procedure was the seconds of sedation consciousness. One of the medications slowed down my heart rate which concerned my doctor enough to halt what he was doing. It was during this time that I felt something down my throat, thought I was going to choke, and tried to get my doctor’s attention. In my mind, I tried to lift my hand but it wouldn’t budge. Just when panic was setting in…so did the sedation. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. I was happy to see my husband, who was relieved the procedure was over, and then my doctor walked in to share the results.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the camera all the way down, Lauren…your bile duct was heavily scarred…I’m so sorry,” he said.

What? I felt my shoulders drop. The bottom line was to repeat this procedure, but I had to wait until the end of November, a six-week wait. I wasn’t about to tempt fate, so I dealt with the anticipation as best I could. The nameless cause morphed into an elephant in the room. Everywhere I looked, there it was. I had to maneuver around it in order to live life.

The clocks on the hand seemed to move at a slower speed, but the day of the procedure finally arrived. I felt relieved, but as I sat in the cold hospital room, surrounded by machines and medical staff, nervousness overpowered my relief. To calm myself, I said a silent prayer – that the doctors would have steady hands and sharp eyes to bring solid answers, for strength on my part, and for a “third time’s a charm” not to be necessary.

Once again, my thoughts returned to the days of numerous tests my daughter underwent when the doctors remained dumbfounded as they were unable to come up with a diagnosis for her. It took three years for one doctor, who was head of the Gastroenterology department, to finally give it a name. During those years, my husband and I lived in a cloud of disbelief that our daughter could be very sick; everyone has that invincible thought at some time “it won’t happen to us.” And while sitting in the office listening to the doctor speak, I felt time stop on the spot. The world may have kept spinning, but our family’s world became suspended.

When I waited for my diagnosis, was I afraid I could have cancer? Was I scared of having PSC? Sure, but mainly, I wasn’t concerned about myself. I simply didn’t want to be a burden; I wanted to be healthy so when my daughter needs me in the future, I’ll be able to comfort her. That has been my primary wish – that nothing happens to my husband, my son, or to me, so that when her disease progresses and becomes life-threatening, she knows her family is right beside her. Although bile duct gallstones can be serious, this is the primary reason I was grateful that neither cancer or PSC weren’t found.

Because of this painful experience, I’m reminded of just how fragile life is and that no day is guaranteed. I was fully aware before, but this fact became even clearer. It’s so easy to take even the simplest of tasks for granted. I even had moments when I could’ve easily lost sight of optimism and hope if it weren’t for the support circle of family and friends. I admit to still getting annoyed at little things, but my moments of annoyance don’t linger as long. My perspective is changed because I’ve tiptoed on the other side. Moving forward, I am grateful for the blessing of these positive results and hope for many tomorrows ahead.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Her Offerings

Harmony lives in each flow of a breeze
In each gentle embrace of evergreens
The clear blue enchantingly shields
Let nothing stay concealed.

Blooms tender their affable smile
Leaves listen in for awhile
Birdsong soothes the whirling mind
A landscape perfectly designed
.

Nature’s lessons are plentiful
Shall our choices be flexible?
We are not ignorant to her offerings
Receive them for relief of suffering
.

A painting of beauty and brilliance
Mesmerizing even in distance
Can you deny the splendid view?
Allow serenity to fall into you
.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020
Photo: from our backyard

Tiny Nuances

The circle stretches miles long
Hands held, leaving no room
Baring the strength of steel

Some things cannot be forced
Tiny nuances glow in time
The truth, clear as pure water

Emotions flood out
Frenzied with freedom
The agony is extreme

Floatingdown, down
Falling reckless
Into arms open wide

To guide and to calm
Into moving forward

The circle remains as
is

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

It’s really that simple!

Deep rooted in youth
love unconditionally
more practice needed

Vulnerable heart
Tears in waiting if broken
All people the same

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

A.C.C.E.P.T.A.N.C.E.

Let’s find it in our hearts to practice kindness,
less judgement, more acceptance, and to spread
love exponentially. It’s really that simple.

Wishing you a great start to your week,
Lauren 💕

Photo credit of holding hands: Google
Flower photos from our garden.

A Covid 4th of July!

Since my husband and I had yesterday off for the holiday, we took a drive on the back country roads, stopped at a deli along the way for takeout sandwiches, then headed to one of our favorite parks. Our morning began early because we wanted to dodge crowds due to Covid. We were prepared, though, ready to social distance and sport our masks when necessary.

When we arrived, the park was already half full with patrons eager to enjoy this beautiful day – temperature in the mid-seventies, perfect. We pulled into a parking stall, and before enjoying lunch, we ventured onto the trails for a good walk. Surrounded by Redwoods and all that nature offers in this outdoor playground is nothing short of magical.

We embraced serenity while walking along the creek, but were saddened by the deserted camp ground. Empty sites dotted the road – the new reality. Aww, but look at the Redwoods and how tall they stood: Proud and Majestic! Soft ferns sprinkled along the trail provided visual sustenance. Oh, but if you don’t watch where you’re going, among the beauty lies something wicked: poison oak! Don’t let its radiant red bursts of color fool you! If you aren’t wise, you’ll pay the price. We gently moved past the pretty red leaves, careful not to let them reach out and grab us. Then we stumbled upon a Bay tree adorned in woodpecker art. Look closely at the trunk; isn’t the texture interesting?

The comfortable side note was that not many people were out. We donned our masks now and then when needed, but we felt safe to brave the outside world and visit this park before the holiday crowd showed up later in the afternoon. The sandwiches were delicious and time together outdoors is always special. Time for reflection and a chance to chat about life without distractions – only the trees bend to listen to our whispers, and the leaves sway in the breeze, as if to wave when we walk by. This was a wonderful prelude to our Independence Day festivities this year when things are so strange and surreal.

To celebrate today, we’ll take a walk in the cool morning before the sun warms us up. We’ll enjoy the deer as they saunter by in the neighborhood. We’ll give thanks that Covid hasn’t touched anyone we know and love. When the clock strikes five o’clock, we’ll enjoy wine on the patio and our son who lives at home will join us. I’m thankful to have at least one of my children home to hug, even if he is 6’2” and 25 years old. Then Matt will perform his grilling magic for dinner. We’ll make it a good day because we’re employed and healthy. We miss our daughter and son-in-law in TN, but thanks to Facetime, we’ll see them this afternoon. Will this July 4th be memorable? It sure will, but not in a way that was intentional. And we’ll think of those who have perished and whose families are hurting and struggling to make sense of it all.

I wish you all a Happy 4th of July, too, in spite of the pandemic we’re living in.
Love and virtual hugs,
Lauren 💗