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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Celebrating Us | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on April 3, 2018:


My brother, Dr. Jim Robinson, performed the ceremony. His wife JoLynn was our photographer.

This weekend was a very special one for David and me. Not only did we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary. We didn’t go out on Saturday because David felt like he was finally coming down with the various upper respiratory ailments I’ve been dealing with for the last two months. Instead, we had a nice dinner at home and bored our Facebook friends with wedding pictures and a Facebook-created video.

People were very kind, though, responding to our photographic memories with lots of “likes” and comments. Most of the comments were simple anniversary wishes, but a few went further. Several mentioned what a cute couple we are, and one said we looked like we were out to have a lot of fun. The most interesting comments, though, were the two that mentioned how evident my happiness was. One said that I “glowed,” and Connie, my photographer friend, made some very interesting observations about the differing attitudes of the bride and groom. (more…)


Daylight Savings Recovery Day | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 6, 2018:

DST6Next Sunday is one of my least favorite days of the year – the first day of Daylight Savings Time. On that day, people in seventy countries around the world and the entire Continental United States with the exception of Arizona will begin doing everything an hour earlier so that we theoretically have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. The truth is that most of us will miss that “extra” hour because we will fall asleep with our faces in our dinner plates, exhausted from waking up before the crack of dawn. (more…)

Packing – it’s a family tradition | by Linda Brendle

Published in The Rains County Leader on February 20, 2018:

RVNewer readers may not be aware that several years ago I wrote a memoir about Alzheimer’s caregiving. It was structured around a seven-week, sixteen state motor home trip we took with my parents, both of who suffered from some kind of dementia. In one of the early chapters, I shared the difficulties of getting ready for the trip. Following is a paragraph about getting Mom and Dad’s clothes ready to go: (more…)

Observations from the sick bed | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 6, 2018:

sick_coldTo be accurate, the title should read “Observations from the sick chair” because every time I lie down, I cough so much that no one in the house, human or animal, can sleep. I’ve spent most of the last several days and nights in a recliner trying to find the perfect angle of recline that allows me to rest without hacking up a vital organ. However, regardless of the state of my health, deadlines come around on a regular basis, so in this week’s column, I’m sharing a few things I’ve observed during my illness.

  1. One of the little known symptoms of the common cold is writer’s block. I may haveBlank notepad and pencil mentioned that when a blogger or columnist experiences a lack of creative inspiration, she often resorts to a list.


Malcolm Corley – Superhero! | by Linda Brendle

Marias FamilyMaria Thompson-Corley is an amazing woman. She modestly describes herself on Facebook this way: “Busy! Single mother of two, musician, arranger, writer–well, that’s enough explanation.” On the contrary, that’s not nearly enough to explain the inner and outer beauty of this talented woman and her two talented children.

Maria is a gifted pianist, composer, and arranger who doesn’t simply dabble in music in her spare time but is in great demand on the concert stage. She is also a gifted writer. Letting Go, her first novel, and is a five-star read. She describes it as “a long-distance love story that also examines race, religion, and the difficult choices we make following our passions.” However, she would probably tell you that her greatest accomplishment is her two children. Kiana and Malcolm take after their mother in their love of the arts. Her daughter Kiana has used her talent as a singer and guitarist to develop quite a presence on You Tube. Her son Malcolm, like his mother and sister, loves music, but his first love is art, and this is his story.

At three years of age, Malcolm was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. There are long, involved Malcolmexplanations of those initials on the Internet, but the short version is that he is on the autism spectrum. Maria explains that he takes in and understands information, both verbally and the written word, but he sometimes has difficulty expressing himself – except through his art.

Around the time his challenges were recognized, he began to exhibit his strengths. His first drawings were recreations of pictures he had seen on Blues Clues, a children’s program that was popular on Nickelodeon at the time. With the encouragement of family and teachers, his art progressed, and in the 9th grade he began to decorate tiles.

Malcolms TilesIn 2015, Malcolm saw a YouTube video of Julianatoren, an amusement park in Amsterdam, and he became obsessed with the idea of visiting it. The people in his life do not believe in limits, and they set about helping him earn the money to go. Through a Facebook site called Malcolm’s Tiles and a website by the same name, he began to market exquisite hand-designed decorative tiles, and last summer, Malcolm, Maria, and Kiana visited The Netherlands.

Maria and I met several years ago through our mutual writing connections, and although we have never met in person, I consider her a dear friend. Early last fall, when I was beginning to think about Christmas gifts for my son and his family, I approached her with a question. As Malcolm continues to expand his artistic repertoire, he has painted several stunning oil portraits, and I asked Maria if he could do portraits on tiles. She said he had never tried, but she would ask him about it. He agreed, and I emailed several pictures of Christian, Amy, Mattias, and Zoe and waited for the results. They were amazing.

Piatt portraits

In Malcolm’s story as told on his site, there are some details about the creative process:

It’s difficult to overstate the care and precision required to finish these tiles. The colors can’t be erased, since they are oil-based. The circles are traced, but everything within them is done freehand. As a result, no two are exactly alike. They are never completely symmetrical, but I think there is a message in this: that “perfection” isn’t a requirement for beauty.

Malcolm is now 18 and, after making a huge dream come true, he continues to develop his gifts as a means of earning his way in life. In a world where heroes are valued, this young man who faces challenges each day and overcomes them qualifies as a superhero. If you need a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one, pay a visit to Malcolm’s Tiles. You might see something you like, or you might make a suggestion like I did and spark a completely different line of tiles. On the other hand, you might just need a little bit of inspiration from someone who knows what it means to overcome. Either way, everyone wins!



Kitty dislikes changes, too | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 12, 2017:

Change is one of those things that few people are neutral about – they either thrive on the new and different or they cling to the old and familiar. I’m more of a clinger. I tend to buy the same brands when I shop, I avoid trendy fashions in favor of the classics, and I almost never rearrange my furniture. This week, however, I’ve had to adjust.

Garage Sale Screen ShotI mentioned last week that David’s sister has ordered a new sofa and is passing on the sofa and love seat that were originally in their mother’s house to us. Since we have no extra space in either the house or the storage shed, our existing sofa, chair, and recliner have to go. I took pictures of those pieces shortly after we returned from our Thanksgiving visit, but for some reason – probably my resistance to change – I didn’t follow through and post them on the Rains County On-Line Garage Sale. Last Friday, I finally got busy, and within four hours of my posting, the recliner was gone. Less than twenty-four hours later, the sofa and chair were sold, and by the time this column is published, they will be gone, too. (more…)

Daylight Savings Time | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 7, 2017:

DST3I understand the concept of Daylight Savings Time, but it seems odd to me that twice a year a large portion of the world’s population completely changes its daily schedule. After the spring change, the standard work day ends in time to enjoy more daylight hours before bedtime; and the fall change means that less of our morning commute to work or school is made in the dark. Still, considering the disruptions caused by the changes, I have to wonder if it’s worth it.

Some people seem unaffected by the change, but I once did some research on the subject and uncovered scientific evidence that many people are. I found a Swedish study that said the incidence of heart attacks increases by 5% after the Spring Forward event, probably due to stress; and a Canadian study said that fatal auto accidents increase by as much as 17% on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time begins, probably because of sleepy, inattentive drivers. (more…)

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