Sunday, June 21, 2009


Dear Readers,

Awesome. I just finished watching a wonderful interview and highly recommend it to every one out there as a "must see". I expect that you can request a copy from your local PBS station or find it online. I worked in Liberia from 2004-2006, a country in West Africa that boasts the first female president in the history of the continent of Africa. An amazing story with amazing heroes. Check it out & you'll be glad that you did. It only takes someone ordinary to do something super-ordinary. Open your heart today and let God use you to move mountains and change lives and reshape the world into a better place. Let us all join hands and stand in prayers of agreement that we each will do our best to follow our heart and do the right thing because every little step counts. This has stirred up my spirit so strong this afternoon that I feel I could preach a sermon- lol! Be blessed as you watch the documentary film "Pray The Devil Back To Hell". It is about the Liberian struggle, when the mothers (local market women) rose up to declare that enough was enough. They fought for freedom.

Pray The Devil Back To Hell - a PBS television interview of Liberian Leyman Gbowee (she fought for freedom) and American Abigail Disney (she told the story of freedom). This topic is also presented by Bill Moyers on his web page: Bill Moyers Journal. Have a blessed week and do come back and share your feedback about the film. Thanks.


A Psalm of Life
What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! --
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, -- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Keep looking beyond tomorrow…
temptation whispers in ill-humored fashion.
Sand sifts smoothly through the hourglass
half full, half empty at the birth of twilight
and an eerie notion stills my heart.
Keep looking beyond tomorrow…
temptation now drones my name.
But sand has drifted in errant ways.
My path has steepened; I labor to climb.
Wind’s shifted north, I’m facing south
and pushing forth one inch at a time.
Keep looking beyond tomorrow…
temptation calls its wretched wish,
though I can’t see one grain of sand
past the one on which I stand.
Doubts pushing and pulling with equal force,
one step forward two steps back
till silence roars; temptation no longer calls.
Sand sifts quickly through the hourglass
half empty, half full at the birth of twilight
and a black moon eclipses the sun.

Carmen Ruggero ©2005

Friday, June 12, 2009

Musings In May

Dear Readers,
Hello and I hope you've all had a good month so far. This piece was written last month and I apologise for publishing it so late [I was waiting to upload more photos but my camera battery is acting up]. Well, lots happened in the past few weeks that caused me to be away from my blog quite a bit. Now I can't wait to catch up with all that I have missed on your blog posts and promise to respond to all your comments.

I went up to Massachusetts for my brother's graduation from Graduate School. It was a lovely 5 day trip and I traveled by train which afforded me time to write most of the pieces from The Train Ride to The Waterfront. My husband had driven me all the way to the station in the nearest big city. The train was three hours late arriving so I left Savannah around 0400h to DC; there I had about a 4h lay over and switched trains. The second train was much less comfortable than the first, and the reduced leg room was inconvenient. I got to Boston by eight o'clock in the midst of the morning hustle and bustle; tired. As often as I plan to travel light, I rarely ever seem to accomplish it. Struggling with bags, and following the hand-scribbled instructions in my pocket, I made my way to the Red line and got off at Harvard Square. There I walked a bit until I located the bus terminal where I was to wait for the 73. For some strange reason, sometimes you pay when you get on a bus and other times when you get off. I puzzled over this apparent flaw in the MBTA bus system for days, one that possibly makes sense to a certain breed of Bostonians but not to me. Sometimes you go to pay and the driver says "pay when you get off" and other times you walk in and have a seat only to see people behind you paying immediately. One evening when the bus carried a sparse population of passengers, I ventured to beg for clarity by asking the driver. He explained that you pay as you get off the bus only when you embark on an outbound bus from Harvard Square. Otherwise you pay when you get on the bus. How utterly confusing for newcomers to the city? Surely there must be an easier way ... just ask NYC. Anyway, the AMTRAK train journey was quite the twenty-four hour scenic route.

I arrived at my girlfriend's home as she was leaving for work. From there she would head to NC for a few days. So I had the house to myself- what glee! S' home has always been a safe haven in which to unwind and de-stress. It is like going for a retreat and checking in to a bed & breakfast. Heavenly. The spare room was made up for me, with towels, soap and a lovely lavender body lotion (by Clarence O. Bigelow) set aside for my use. Then there is the bathroom which is actually like a spa. The impressive array of face and body and hair and feet treatments, washes, cleansers, lotions, shampoos, etc. entices my senses every time. It was a joy to wake up with eager anticipation of the treat of a long shower each morning. Bliss. Then the kitchen, I mean cuisine, is so homely and inviting. Being a natural born cook, as is the rest of her family (including mom, sister and brothers), the kitchen lacked nothing. It is no wonder that I treasure my trips to Boston which never fail to leave me refreshed and rejuvenated. I can then return to my life, better able to cope and continue from whence I left off.

H's graduation week went well. I attended a dinner for students and their families the first evening. It was lovely. The day after, my brother and I spent time together in the city. Then on Saturday we visited a market in a posh part of town. It was great and I bought a huge container of the biggest, reddest and sweetest strawberries I have ever seen, for just $2. Awesome. I saw some lovely displays of garden herbs, a photographer's work, antiques and lots of other items. I bought some Rosemary tea and my brother got some lovely homemade cookies. Later we snacked on your all-American favourite, hotdogs and french fries. The fourth day was graduation day. I found out that transportation is difficult in that neighbourhood on Sundays. It took forever to get a taxi to the university. I finally went to the pay phone to call one and was told to call back in twenty-five minutes to see if one had become available. Imagine that! Golly gosh, where was I? I suddenly missed NYC's transportation system. Eventually I sighted a taxi and managed to flag him down. The pleasant older Lebanese driver proceeded to take me to the wrong school. Mildly anxious at this stage, I remained calm as he tampered with his GPS and soon we were headed for my brother's school, Brandeis. I made it into the hall just in time, laughing at the memory of the stern instructions to be seated at least a half hour prior to the start of the procession. The ceremony ended well, as did the day. My brother and I met up with S (now back from NC) and her brother to have dinner in honor of his recent achievement. He had done my whole family proud. Especially in light of the fact that after first semester, the student loan company canceled his loan because they were no longer offering personal loans (or something to that effect). Nevertheless, the good lord made it possible for my brother to stay in school and come out with great success. Praise God!

Upon my return home, another overwhelming event occurred. An earlier discussion had taken place where I had clearly stated that I have no desire for pets at this time. Firstly, I have never personally had to raise any animal so I would need to prepare my mind psychologically for it. Then I would want to start with something simple like goldfish. Plus, I have so much going on in my life that it would be a strain on me. Finally, I would get dumped with the task of taking care of the animal which I did not want. As words that fall on deaf ears are in vain, so my explanations were a waste. My husband came home one late night with a month-old puppy. A few days later he traveled and guess who was stuck with a pet and no clue what to do? My prayer was simple: God, please let not this puppy die. By His grace, Sailor is waxing strong today. I survived the five-day self-taught immersion crash course on Raising A Puppy Alone. I graduated but still have tons to learn :). While my husband was in SC for Memorial weekend, I had the house all to myself. Another gift of a "me" time from God. Besides tidying up the yard and getting the house cleaned, I spent time with my neighbour down the road and her children. It was nice to be able to operate at my own rhythm for a few days. Unlike my husband who always seems to be on the go and needs to be "up and doing", I tend to like a peaceful and tranquil existence. I love to work and be busy, but it needs to be busy helping people or doing my job as a doctor which gives me much joy, yet my innate tempo is on the slow quiet side ... curled up with a book, hours working at a jigsaw puzzle, gardening, a lazy long walk or short jog. It fascinates me how different people are. Whether naturally or as a result of learning or exposure, we become who we are.

Two days ago, I had a bit of a health problem. It was completely unexpected and for me who has generally been pretty healthy, it took an emotional toll. I tried to brave it for hours especially since I was at a loss as to what to do. An extreme feeling of anxiousness and confusion as the symptoms heightened caused me to finally ask my husband to take me to the Emergency Room. We must have gotten there about four or five o'clock a.m. and I was discharged after a few hours around nine.
I spent the entire weekend at home, receiving separate prescriptions for complete bed rest from my mom and aunt over the phone. Of course it drove me nuts to lie in bed all day. I had to get up and sit for a while, I dare confess, and even walk about the house a bit. I nearly completed a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, so you get an idea of how absolutely bored I was... lol. It is a lovely jigsaw that I bought at the Boston market from a couple who create the pictures themselves, then have them sent off to the factory to be made into jigsaws. Pretty cool process, huh?

Much later I realized that in actual fact I was depressed. Hmmm, this surprised me somewhat and ought not to have done so really. But of course, things tend to be different when they happen to "us" as opposed to "other people". Henceforth my empathy goes to patients who are prescribed "complete bed rest". It is easier said than done, doctor! I won't go into detail, but permit me to say that being unable to articulate my emotions and thoughts, this incident leaves me feeling a little numb and sad; bereft to be more precise. Perhaps at a later date I shall be able to process this entire experience psychically and move on. It can be a rather emotional ordeal yet the good lord remains our almighty physician. He is a healer [Exodus 15v26] and maketh all things beautiful in His time [Ecclesiastes 3v11]. Some illnesses are not unto death, but for the glory of God [John 11v4]. God has a purpose and a plan in every event, and I look forward to discovering the blessing in this incident. After the initial weakness and shock, and in spite of the intense pain that racked my body, all I could do was pray and praise [Acts 16v25-26] for I knew that what the enemy intended as harm, the lord shall use for my good.

Today I watched an awesome ministration by Pastor Schreve on "marriage". I caught it by chance and was glad that I did. Extremely insightful and invaluable information for all married folk and anyone who might be contemplating marriage any time in the future (lol). Check it out at Well, I just thought to share the recent goings-on in my personal life. Many-a-time it is therapeutic for me to do so and it might possibly also encourage or touch someone else out there. I wish you all a wonderful week as we leave May behind. Summer is in the air; let us all welcome June with open arms, fresh hope and reaffirmed security that our future will be brighter than our past. Afterall, God is in control and I admonish us all to stay focused and keep the faith because the best is yet to come:)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Give Me My Flowers While I Am Alive

I've often wondered about "soul mates" and what that really means. Somehow I concluded that a soul mate is like one's other half. All my life I have had a soul mate. Someone with whom I get along even through the rough times. Someone with whom I have shared secrets and for whom I have kept secrets. Someone who has been there since the day I was born. Someone I looked up to over the years and admired. Someone who set the pace and I followed in her footsteps. Someone who calls to check on me and offer sound advice. Someone who encourages me in my walk with God. Someone who has overcome grave trials and tribulation yet carries on and continues the fight called life. Someone who is always smiling even when her heart is heavy. Someone who is a wonderful inspiration in all that she does. Someone who is gifted in many ways and has so much to offer the world including her experiences. A gentle soul who is so wise beyond her years. A lovely spirit filled with so much goodness. Kind, caring, compassionate, dear and a true sweetheart. I have loved her; cried with her and laughed with her. Yes, truly I have a soul mate. She is my dearest, oldest and closest friend and she is my big sister. Some of you fellow bloggers know her as CathM and undaunted I do declare that she is simply the best. An aunt of mine always says "give me my flowers while I am still alive" and finally I get it.

Have a glorious weekend everyone, and may the good Lord show Himself to us in a big way this coming week ... in Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Excerpt I

Dear Readers,
I have decided to pen down some excerpts that develop in my head as they develop. One day they might be incorporated into full stories. In this case the whole story outline is already trying to form in my head. Here is the first one and I do hope you enjoy it ...

Her feet moved so slowly as she walked. Her hair hung over her face, matted by sweat and her tears. As she passed the lamp post the light caught the silhouette of a troubled soul. Just then it began to rain. For each rain drop that landed upon her, a tear rolled down each cheek. Lightening struck and thunder cracked. Her sobs grew louder and more intense. Her eyes continued to look at the ground unseeing. Puddles were forming all around her, coalescing into large pools of water. Absent-mindedly she crossed the side streets until she reached another street corner. The big clock above the gas station sounded the hour. It was ten o'clock at night and she was on her way home. A place that had become more of a prison than a home. A place where her freedom was denied her and she felt like a puppet on a string. At times she was merely a robot or zombie doing things automatically with no feeling or thought involved. Where was God? He who promised that He would never leave her nor forsake her and would be her helper [Hebrews 13v5-6]? He who said He was not a man that He should lie [Numbers 23v19]? He who said to call upon Him in her time of trouble [Psalm 50v15]?

Suddenly, she noticed that it was not raining on her but it still rained a few feet ahead. A gust of wind blew, so forceful that she fell to her knees. In a crack in the wall of the building on her left, she saw a light like that from a candle. It was a tiny flame yet produced such brilliant white light that she turned away a few times. Mesmerized, she stared at this light as it increased in brightness unsure of its source. Then the flame rose up the wall and following it with her eyes, she got to her feet. The light moved and she walked alongside it, being careful to keep it in view. It continued raining several feet in front of her and all around but not above her. After a few blocks the light disappeared and she found herself standing outside a huge Catholic church. Without thinking, as if in a dream, she walked up the three steps and pushed open the large wooden doors. She walked down the aisle and sat in the very first pew. An empty sanctuary. Alone and scared. The sobbing started again and the flame returned. Sensing a presence, she looked around but saw no one. She prayed and cried and sobbed. Finally she fell asleep where she sat.

Someone was tapping her hand gently when she awoke. The young man sat beside her and asked if he could help her. Kindness and love radiated from his face and she felt so sad. She had married a man who was stingy, selfish and drank himself drunk coming home in the wee hours of the morning. What she could not understand was why God did not change him? Yes sir, she replied eventually. You can help me. You can tell me why God won't change my husband and make him generous and make him stop drinking and staying out all night. The young man smiled and simply said, "all in God's time sister; all in God's time." He prayed with her for a long time and spoke kindly to her of hope and patience and love. She was reminded of the God of the Impossible as well as the Ghanaian word, Sankofa, meaning to take from the past what is good and bring it into the present to make meaning of one's life. It took her about thirty minutes to get home and find that her husband was not back yet. He walked in ten minutes later without so much as a greeting. God would get her through this new day and she would praise Him anyway. This experience was changing her forcefully. God was clearly working on her and she knew she'd become a much better person at the end of this season of her life. She accepted this as the words of Proverbs 3v11-18 came to mind ...

11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.

Monday, June 1, 2009

This looks grave

A face so brave

Something wrong

Hours too long

News not good

Depressive mood

Hovering too near

None could I hear

Another clinic
Emotions spill

Tears begin to well

Strength regained

These remain