Me in the Middle of Summer Reading



First Book

This poem moved me so deeply that I followed up with a Google search and found that Dawna Markova had written a  book by the same title.  “Why are we here?” is the question she asks both herself and the reader of this wonderful book ~ I WILL NOT DIE AN UNLIVED LIFE ~.  It’s written while Dawna is on a retreat to solitude in a cabin far away from the hectic pace of modern life.  Her story travels along different paths than mine has and that’s the whole point of her book.  We’re here to follow our own passion and dreams.

“Anyone on a spiritual quest, seeking to discover their own deep wisdom, and uncover their “calling” will be enriched and energized in a powerful and gentle way……”


“Like the rest of the natural world, human beings go through seasons.  At one point, we are in the full bloom of summer, harvesting, committed, in abundance.  Then, naturally there is an autumnal time of falling away, disillusionment, stagnation, a shedding of what has been used up.  Then must come the fallowness and dormancy of winter, death, rest.  Eventually, as is happening right outside the window of this cabin, there is a great melting into muck and mud, which, if one can persevere, opens naturally into an abundant yellow-green time, when everything is possible and horizons open.”

~ Dawna Markova ~

“In a similar way to A Gift from the Sea, the readers of this book (I Will Not Live An Unlived Life) are invited to accompany me on a journey to come to know more intimately the value and purpose of their lives.”

~ Dawna Markova ~


Men, Women and Happiness Cropped (2)

Ink Sketch and Watercolor by Mary Lou Q

Second Book

Gift from the Sea #3

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s bookGIFT FROM THE SEA ~ was shared with me by my mother back in the 90’s.  I packed myself a lunch and took a ride to the beach, setting up my chair in front of the ocean.  It was a restful day that I needed badly and I hoped to find nuggets of wisdom and truth from this book.  At the time it was difficult for me to concentrate on it.  I kept thinking ‘How can this wealthy woman whose life is so different than mine even relate to what I’m experiencing?’  It’s only been down through the years and coming across Anne’s various quotes from her book that I’ve decided to read it again.  Dawna Markova read it to inspire her book ‘I Will Not Live An Unlived Life’ and I decided to read them both this summer.



The Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of Gift from the Sea (2005)  is written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s daughter, Reeve Lindbergh:

“I read Gift from the Sea at all Seasons of the Year and of my life.  I never once had the sense that my mother’s 1955 book has lost its freshness, or that the wisdom contained within its pages has ceased to apply, whether to my own life or to what I’ve learned , overtime, about hers.”

“Above all, I think, Gift from the Sea offers its readers an unusual kind of freedom.  It is hard to recognize, or even to describe, but I think this freedom is the real reason this book continues to be so well loved and so well read after all these years.  I am talking about the freedom that comes from choosing to remain open, as my mother did, to life itself, whatever it may bring:  Joys, sorrows, triumphs, failures, suffering, comfort and, certainly, always, change.”

Thanks, Mom!  I get it!  


A Gift from the Sea


Third Book

Francis Friendship

Francis Mandewah is one of my Guest Bloggers

Me in the Middle introducing Guest Blogger ~ Francis

I was so inspired by what Francis wrote in his guest blog that I bought his book on Amazon Kindle and I’ve just begun reading it.  His story begins with his life as a 15 year old young man in the African country of Sierra Leone and in the heart of the African diamond zone.  His story too is a spiritual journey of trust in goodness in the world in spite of the hardships and realities that might come along.  It’s his trust in this goodness that makes it possible for Francis to be fully present when God opens a door in his life that leads him to the path of his dreams.

“As I chronicled my trials and tribulations I discovered my voice in between the lines of my story ~ a voice that was filled with faith.”

~ Francis Mandewah ~

“I suppose this dream has been the script for my life, because even as I sit, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always feel a tinge of uncertainty, as if I’m eternally looking for a flight itinerary. I have lived a life filled with the adventure of being ushered onto stage and the turmoil of being blindfolded and locked in a cage. Through my travels, my willingness to walk to and through the door, I discovered within myself a will to not just survive, but to thrive, no matter the circumstance.”

Blood Diamond ~ Sierra Leone

“There are people who are kind, and people who are not kind, among all races and cultures. It was a White man who gave me opportunity so I could realize the American dream.  Our friendship transcended race, and built a positive connection between the races. We can overcome racism through friendship and positive cross-cultural relationships.  “


Writing as Self-Indulgence: Is Publishing Really Necessary?

Thank you Lynette Benton! I’m grateful that you submitted this to Brevity. So many of us who love writing and have benefited in so many ways had our thoughts validated by what you wrote. This line made me laugh out loud : “In any case, my memoirs aren’t going to make me famous, unless it’s through lawsuits.” 😀

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz lynette bentonBy Lynette Benton

Many writers, perhaps most, believe that publication of their books would represent a badge of accomplishment and acceptance, an event that would bring them fame, catapult their lives into new and desirable directions, or at least validate the talent, time, and energy they invested in their manuscripts. Rejections of their work by agents and publishers can have a shattering effect upon them. I point out to them that the publishing world’s misjudgments are legion; note the many rejections of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which went on to best sellerdom and box office success; Tinkers, by Paul Harding, the 2010 Pulitzer Prize fiction winner, which the big publishing houses declined; the 22 rejections for Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, the 12 for Harry Potter. Sometimes the letters accompanying the rejections even contained snarky comments about the writer, the manuscript, or both.

Though I sympathize with their…

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Me in the Middle of Sleep Apnea

This post is a wee bit longer than my usual posts.  Awareness is Important!

It’s been four years since I started treatment for Severe Sleep Apnea.  It’s changed my life!  Or maybe I should say that I never realized before just how my living with undiagnosed/untreated sleep apnea over the years had affected my life.

OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions that can ultimately lead to serious, life-threatening consequences if left untreated.  It affects men, women and children; overweight and thin … and it has many causes.

Upon reaching my 70th birthday, what I considered to be a fairly healthy life began to spiral downward with a series of symptoms that were puzzling for both me and my doctors.  Over the years I had had what seemed to be age-related medical issues that I was quick to address for the best outcome.  Looking back, in hindsight, I can now connect the dots to what I’ve come to understand were symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

There were times over the past 30 plus years where I struggled with low energy, feelings of depression, racing heart, nausea, fainting spells and anxiety.  Coping with everyday stresses were also complicated by the early onset of menopause in my late thirties.  Most of the time I approached these symptoms in a proactive way without medication by learning about exercise, diet and mind/body balance techniques.  Never in all my proactive approaches over the  years did I ever learn, nor was it ever brought up by the doctors I’d seen, that I might have Sleep Apnea.  There were thyroid checks, blood tests and heart tests ~ along with reassurances that nothing abnormal was found other than an insignificant tricuspid-valve leakage.  In the early Eighties it was confirmed through FSH blood tests that I was indeed in the middle of early menopause.

Then, as I approached my seventies, symptoms became more troubling.  The expected onset of spinal stenosis, along with a family history of joint replacements, were complicated by vascular symptoms in my legs where I would lose control of coordination and feeling.  There was a series of surgeries over the next years for EVLT (Edo-Venous Laser Treatment), Lumbar Laminectomy and, last but not least, THR (Total Hip Replacement).  It was while I was in the hospital right after the THR surgery that my son, a cardiologist, saw that I had stopped breathing which immediately confirmed his suspicions that I might have Sleep Apnea.  My cardiologist was contacted and a sleep study was ordered.

Up until that time, it was progressively looking like I was developing A-Fib and Tachycardia.  I was prescribed blood pressure medication and set up with a heart monitor for tracking the events where my heart rate would become so fast that I couldn’t read a pulse.  I’d be waking up many times in the night with my heart pounding so hard I could feel it in my neck.  When walking up an incline I was finding myself short of breath and was attributing it to signs of aging.  A trip to the Emergency Room after I passed out at work forced my decision to stop part-time work.  The ER doctor did all sorts of tests while I was there.  His final diagnosis was Vasovagal Syncope (fainting) and he sent me on my way.  No mention of Sleep Apnea.

Image result for jokes about sleep apnea

So, when I received the call from the Pulmonologist who prescribed the Sleep Study for me four years ago I was stunned by what she told me.  I had Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea!  No way!  AHI 43 events per hour (stopped breathing); Sleep efficiency @ 51%; Oxygen level @ 80% (dangerous).

Sleep Apnea and Women

Image result for sleep apnea and dementia
Over the course of the last four years of treatment on CPAP I’ve been catching up on activities that I never had the energy for in the past.  Daily fatigue had drained me in so many ways and I thought I’d have to let go of so much that I’d hoped to do in retirement.  Well, it’s never too late!  It’s never too late to begin writing your story;  It’s never too late to begin watercolor sketching;  It’s never to late to try out on-line dating;  It’s never too late to do foreign travel;  It’s never too late to change your perspective on things; and It’s never too late to be young at heart!
This is the CPAP mask that I’ve found works best for me!  I hardly know that I’ve got it on and now my AHI is <2.0 and my oxygen level is 99%.  I wouldn’t go to sleep without it.
Image result for dreamwear nasal mask
All of my symptoms are gone!  No more anxiety, no more racing/pounding heart, no more fainting, no more waking up many times in the night and no more shortness of breath.  Now I get lots of restorative sleep (8 to 9 hours) and I’m dreaming again because I’m spending more time in the very important deep-sleep stages of the sleep cycles.  My blood pressure is back to normal and staying stable.  My medications have been cut in half.
So I hope my sharing my experience will encourage anyone who notices some of these symptoms to ask about having a sleep study done.  And if you are diagnosed with Moderate or Severe Sleep Apnea I hope that you’ll hang in there with the CPAP treatment.  It’s all worth it ….. and it may save your life.

~ Update ~

The cardiac symptoms have returned in full force after four years on CPAP treatment where I had no Atrial Fib/Atrial Flutter and Atrial Tachycardia symptoms. I spent 5 hours in the ER this week with high blood pressure and high heart rate. The ER team did a great job in stabilizing my heart rate and now it’s a matter of just finding the best medication adjustment for this new development.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea early on and to encourage anyone in staying with the CPAP treatment. I really believe I wouldn’t have developed this heart condition if mine was discovered sooner. I’ve been blessed in these past four years where treatment gave me back the energy and life that I was meant to have. 🙂

Me in the Middle of Lessons Learned ~ Letter Z

My Life Is My Masterpiece ~ Lessons Learned

My theme ~ Lessons Learned.  I’ll be posting a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet that fits my theme.   This blog/website has become one way to share about myself to my children, my grandchildren and my extended family who are scattered all over the country and the world.  Hopefully, anyone who reads this will be in some way blessed by my throwing my words out onto the World Wide Web and into the Universe.  

 My About Page gives me the focus so that, as I age, I don’t forget what I worked so hard to learn.  It’s going to be fun and challenging!   I hope you’ll stick with me as I strive to meet my goal!!




Zest for LIfe




Creative Living


celebrities time youtube what back


* Note:  My letter sketches were made from ideas I found on Google Images. *

****  This Alphabet Series is a recycle of the posts I created while participating in the A to Z Challenge in 2016 ***