Carolyn B. Leonard.com
A Poignant Duty
Blog for January 2019
A POIGNANT DUTY
Carolyn B. Leonard, Jan 2019
Gathered them up from all over the house. Had ‘em all stacked on the dining table, waiting for boxes to store them in. Red and green hand towels, small tablecloths for the extra card tables set up in the living room, big tablecloths for the kitchen table and dining room, colorful wall decor, candles and candle rings, twinkle lights from the mantel, the wooden manger scene we brought home from Nazareth one year, big red felt stockings with white fur trim holding the names of each grandchild, the holiday door wreath and standing Old World Santa. Each piece holds special memories for this once a year occasion.
Long ago I gave up big fluffy six foot trees with all those breakable trinkets and shiny tinsel, and a week ago packed away the big electric turkey roaster, and gave away leftover food and pies. Everyone has gone home and the house is quiet, no longer ringing with laughter and children chattering.
Now the fence post Christmas tree is back in its box in the garage along with the three tubs of Holiday throw pillows, tablecloths, kitchen and bath towels, even the little dancing Santa and Mrs. Claus music box that has decorated my table every Christmas since our children were toddlers. The small lighted ceramic trees my daughters and I created back in the 1970s at “Lillie’s Ceramic Shop” are packed away in sturdy cardboard boxes inside a strong tub.
For us, a few special faces missing from the family prayer circle this season make the gathering bittersweet, having just lost my beloved brother. One granddaughter newly-wed living in a state too far away to come home for Christmas. Another deciding to establish her own traditions. But I am thankful for each one who chose to join us in the annual holiday dinner party.The idea of bitter and sweet, that's what really captures why nostalgia is so special or unique. The bitter part is knowing that the past is irretrievable, it will never be again.
In the meantime, those Christmas decorations are still here, hidden away in boxes in the garage, that is true. But the poignant memory is always with us, kept in the deep, quiet places of our hearts.
Glimpses of Christmases past: The gang was (almost) all here in 2004, They have all grown up and left the nest now, but most of them will be here again this year, maybe with a few new members. We’ll be missing Miss Kate, the young one in the green top because she grew up, got married to a soldier, and now lives in Savannah. But the others will be here…except for Shiloh the smartest Boston Terrier in the world who crossed the rainbow bridge the next year or so after the photo. Where was Ross in 2004? We are thankful for each member of the family then, and now.
The showing of the new Christmas socks.
Merry Christmas! Let the happiness begin.
My family will all be together this holiday, and I couldn't be happier. Since the 25th comes in the middle of the week, my working kids voted to postpone the party until the next weekend. That's okay with me as long as we continue the family tradition and we are together. Break out the board games, steam up some hot cocoa, bake some cookies, and light the fire...I'm ready! Everyone brings something to add to the dinner, and one gift for the drawing. We circle up for a prayer of thankfulness and remembrance. Then after dinner the women catch up on family happenings while the menfolk stretch out to watch the football game and the children play with their new toys. We will make some new memories, knowing how important this is. It's the best day of the year.
Entertainment: Singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the talent show.
The Piriformis —a real pain in the butt!
by Carolyn B. Leonard 11/19/2018
I have been on a learning curve to train the new body part to work correctly. You have certain rules to follow for several weeks, such as not crossing your legs, not turning your toes in, and not bending too far. Those rules are all necessary to prevent causing the piriformis to get angry, because if that happens it causes pain, and might even force the new hip joint to pop out of place requiring more surgery. You do not want that to happen!
The piriformis is just a very short pear-shaped muscle with a very important mission. For instance, piriformis holds the hip joint in place, rotates the femur, shifts body weight to the opposite side and prevents falling as you walk. This flat muscle, pyramidal in shape, is situated partly within the pelvis against its posterior wall, and partly at the back of the hip-joint.
The piriformis is a big problem for many people because their sciatic nerve courses right through the piriformis muscle. That can cause painful sciatica, causing pain in the buttocks and referred pain along the sciatic nerve. It is almost debilitating.
This difficult-to-reach muscle behind the hip joint in the buttocks, runs from your sacrum to your thigh bone, and is the key to success on hip replacement. The surgeon has to stretch the piriformis to reach the hip ball and socket joint, saw off the joint and insert a metal and plastic replacement. The prosthetic components may be “press fit” into the bone to allow your bone to grow or they may be cemented into place.
Many things can cause chronic hip pain, making common activities painful and difficult, such as walking or getting in and out of a chair or even putting on your shoes and socks. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, but there are other injuries and even the wear and tear of age. If medications, changes in your everyday activities, or the use of walking supports do not adequately help, you may need to consider hip replacement surgery. (When the pain gets bad enough and limits your activities enough, you will be ready to do it.
Since 1960, improvements in joint replacement surgical techniques and technology have greatly increased the effectiveness of total hip replacement. If you have a wonderful surgeon as I did in Dr. Paul Jacob, all will go well. After a night in the hospital, you will head home to do your physical therapy exercises, take 30 minute breaks during the day to put ice on the incision to reduce swelling, and allow that piriformis time to move back into place.
Guest blog 10/20/2018
Guest Blog by Mona Jean Reed
Election time is almost here. We have a wonderful privilege in these United States. We can VOTE!
There are people in our governance places who are at least supposed to pay attention to what we think and what we want.
Think what the power to vote would mean in North Korea, one of the poorest countries in the world, but a country that has one of the largest armies.
Would they have Kim Jong Un in power when he’s not supplying them with heat for their houses and food for their table? Or if they could, would they vote him out? Only that large army keeps him in power.
We have the power to control our government. If it isn’t what we and our peers want, the fact that it’s not working for us is our fault.
Do something about it. The first step is to vote. After we vote, we have to make sure the political persons are continuously made aware of our wants and how pleased, or displeased we are with their performance. Threatening to vote for someone else has enormous power to heal a politician’s ears.
The Newest Museum in the Nation’s Capital
There are at least 75 active museums in Washington DC. Some are more well-known than others, like the Smithsonian. We have visited several of them in the past, and this year we toured the newest one.
A member of the Green family from OKC, Danielle Smith, recently led our group in seeing the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. If you go, don’t miss the “fly over DC” virtual reality ride. That is, jump in for the six minute virtual reality experience if you are NOT susceptible to motion sickness. The point of this dazzling, multi-sensory tour, “flying” from the Lincoln Memorial to the Library of Congress is to point out many biblical references in and around the capitol city. Visitors stand on a moving ride that simulates flying over the city to see biblical quotes on monuments and other government buildings.In just five minutes, travelers visit twelve landmarks, highlighting fifteen biblical texts.
Surprisingly, some of the most important monuments, buildings, and landmarks do include religious words, symbols, and imagery. In the United States Capitol the declaration “In God We Trust” is prominently displayed in both the United States House and Senate Chambers. In the Washington Monument not only are numerous Bible verses and religious acknowledgements carved on memorial blocks in the walls, and the Latin inscription Laus Deo – “Praise be to God” – is engraved on the capstone. The Lincoln Memorial contains numerous acknowledgments of God and citations of Bible verses, including the declarations that “we here highly resolve that . . . this nation under God . . . shall not perish from the earth.” In the Library of Congress, The Giant Bible of Mainz and The Gutenberg Bible are on prominent permanent display and etched on the walls are Bible verses, so the spiritual heritage of the United States of America is obvious.
Located just a short walk from the Capitol and the National Mall, visitors enter the museum on the first floor through stunning 40-feet high Gutenberg Gates. According to the Museum brochure, the gates are comprised of 118 brass panels inscribed in Latin with the first 80 lines of Genesis. The $500 million, 430,000-square-foot museum focuses on the history and cultural significance of the Bible.
Most of the many museums in Washington are funded and controlled by the government, but this museum is privately funded by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, who comes from a deeply religious family. The purpose of the museum, Green said, is to educate, not evangelize. Displays include pieces from the family’s private collection.
The Greens are best-known for their craft store chain, Hobby Lobby, which sued the Obama administration successfully in the Supreme Court, saying the Affordable Care Act violated their religious freedom rights because it required providing employees with types of birth control that they see as murder. The Greens are heroes to many religious conservatives; however, this museum appeals both to people of great faith and to those with no faith.
We spent two full days seeing the exhibits, from the opening doors in the morning to the closing bell at night. The exhibits are so extensive, I believe it would take many days to see everything.
Opened just last year, The Greens added two new floors on top of the historical red brick building built in 1923. The sixth floor features stunning rooftop views of the capitol and a unique eatery, Manna, which serves kosher food connecting visitors to history through traditional dishes. Drawing upon the complex flavors and vibrant spices of the Mediterranean, flatbreads with fig and walnut toppings; as well as grain bowls and stews. I chose a Mediterranean crab bisque that was delicious and nutritious. The glass-enclosed promenade gives you some of the most stunning views of D.C., from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument.