The New Margaret’s Blog

laptop_for_blogHello readers:

Margaret’s blog has been on hiatus for several months while some major  hosting / domain / website updates and repairs were being done. Welcome to the new site. The focus for this site has changed to feature the author’s own works in progress and published materials.

Book Reviews and Author Interviews have been moved to the new Writers Unite to Fight Cancer (WUFC) Blog.

Articles and posts about previous published works will be transferred from their old site and will be available shortly. Coming Soon! Scenes from my upcoming short story collection based on New Testament Scriptures: Receivers of Light. I am currently seeking an artist to create one illustration per story – one of which will be used for the book cover. Please contact me via comments to this post or phone: 480-586-7902.

Thank you for your patience and support!

Margaret Larsen

aka  Margaret Turley or Rachel Andersen

Four Years of Joyful Service

Niels&Martha_KensingtonApt.DC-MissionFour Years of Joyful Service

By Margaret L. Turley

 

 

            Niels sat in the cardiologist’s office flanked by his wife and oldest daughter. The doctor looked up from the test results with a grim expression on his face. “Mr. Larsen, you have six months.”

Niels looked at his daughter’s shocked expression. His wife squeezed his hand.

“We need to start you on heart medication, place you on a strict diet, and send you home with oxygen.” The doctor closed the chart. “Your heart is weak and enlarged, that is why you’ve been short of breath.”

“But I exercise every day.” Niels didn’t understand. He lived an active life, and had recently accepted early retirement. Every day he walked hiked in the sandy wash lined with cottonwood trees and tamaracks with his cocker spaniel, D.O.G. He would circle back under the I-40 overpass and walk back through town, frequently visiting with friends along the way. His route worked into a five-mile jaunt. His plans didn’t involve being stuck at home tied to an oxygen machine. He had six children and eighteen grandchildren with lots of baseball and football games and other events to attend. He wanted to serve a mission with his wife and had dreams of riding cross country on motorcycles with his sons. [Read more...]

Music Therapy

black grand pianoMusic Therapy

By Margaret Turley RN

Norman was a frightened, lonely gentleman. He was an 86-year-old widower who had no children. While being treated for congestive heart failure in the hospital he developed pneumonia. He was sent home with oxygen and a PICC line so he could receive intravenous antibiotics. His card buddy, Ken, picked him up from the hospital and organized help from their other card partners.

The antibiotics were due every six hours. Norman was too weak and frightened to mix the medication and hook up the IV. So I taught Ken how to give the noon and 6:00 pm doses, and I gave the midnight and 6:00 am doses. About a week into this arrangement, my alarm went off at 5:00 am so I could roll out, pull a comb through my tangled hair, throw on some clothes and go to Norman’s home to administer the antibiotics. I hadn’t gotten home from the previous night’s assignment until 2:45 am. I threw the alarm under the bed after squelching the noise, and grouchily pulled myself out from under the warm covers. [Read more...]

Inspiration for Writing Save the Child

Parker Jensen Case

Daren and Barbara Jensen with son Parker

While I was traveling to work one day  in the fall of 2003 the news broadcast a story about Parker Jensen, whose mother refused chemotherapy treatment for her son. Because I am a nurse I asked myself why a mother would decide against the best that medicine could offer for her offspring. The story unfolded over the next few weeks. The doctors insisted the boy had a virulent cancer that needed immediate attention. Even when threatened with jail and loss of custody the parents were unrelenting in their premise that they felt their child did not have cancer, and they did not want him to receive chemotherapy. After they were charged with kidnapping their own child because they crossed state lines a judge listened to the parents and halted the medical community and government forces. What the parents wanted was an independent, out-of-state medical work-up for their son. The judge allowed them to seek this consultation. The result was that the child was discovered to be free of cancer. I sighed with relief. Thanks to Daren and Barbara Jensen’s persistence and an understanding judge Parker was saved from from the horrible side-effects of chemotherapy which include nausea, pain, sores, compromised immune systems, sterility, major organ damage, secondary cancers, and even death. One of the most important roles of a nurse is to be a patient advocate. During my thirty four year career I have observed more than one situation where a patient and or their family are not listened to. This can cause grave problems and errors, not the least of which being patients and families enduring procedures they do not understand pr agree with. It is my hope that the medical community and the law can expeditiously come together to serve the best interest for the child and family. In the United States parents do not have the right to make medical decisions for their children from the time they are born until they reach the age of majority. Doctors and hospitals need to respect the different backgrounds, cultures, religious beliefs, and preferences approaches to healthcare that individuals and families have. In Save the Child I have explored a few of these options. Thank you.

Christmas-Easter Scene from Save the Child

STC_Christmas-Easter_ScenePhyllis Reminisces about Sharon and the Toy Box

It was the Saturday before Easter, Sharon was four. Nancy’s family had come over to color eggs and have an Easter egg hunt. Robert held Baby Benjamin while watching a preseason baseball game on TV. Nancy helped Abby dip her eggs into the dye. Phyllis wondered where Sharon had slipped off to. It was so quiet in the rest of the house she thought maybe she’d curled up in a corner and fallen asleep.

She found her sweet blond little sprite curled up in the bedroom she had converted into a playroom for the girls. The toy box lid was open and all the clothes and animals were out on the floor. As she come closer she noticed Sharon had pulled the spare blankets and quilts out of the closet as well. Her granddaughter had a vivid imagination. Many hours were wiled away playing in her fantasy worlds.

As Phyllis looked down at Sharon she realized that today she had created her own version of the holiday.

Sharon had taken the animals and set them out in groups of three or four. Then she found empty flower boxes and set them down on the floor.  Sharon stuffed one of the flower boxes with the green plastic grass from one of the Easter Baskets.  She found one of the bald, naked dolls, and wrapped it in an old T-shirt, then placed it in the flower box.

Next Sharon took the large white bear with valentine heart stamped feet and dressed it with an old blue baby blanket and set it next to the flower box. On the other side she placed the Koala bear draped in a ragged striped towel and placed a gold scrunchie on his head.

Sharon moved the chicks down front and center and took two velveteen bunnies and put them in the bed with the baby doll. Dogs and cats with missing ears, and eyes lined the perimeter and the lamb that was flat due to a loss of stuffing lay next to the Koala.

The best part of playing at Grandma’s was dress up. Most often Sharon pretended to be a princess. This time was different.  She’d found a white dress and slipped it over her clothes. Next she found some white fluffy slippers and put them on, even though they were size 8 adult, and she was barely children’s size three tall. She found some gold star garland and twisted it around her hair and down her pigtails. Sharon had created what looked like a nativity.

At the time, Phyllis wondered if Sharon had gotten her holiday seasons mixed up.

Then she decided Sharon was had done an exceptional job of doing it right.

Christmas Scene from Save the Child

SaveTheChild_HighRezElephant_02232010-1

Elsie

Nancy Remembers Last Christmas

As Nancy drifted off her thoughts went back to last Christmas. They were struggling financially, but otherwise things were pretty normal. It was Robert’s last year of law school and they knew that next year everything would be better. He already had a position offered to him at the law firm where he worked part time as a clerk.

Abby hadn’t asked Nancy or Robert for anything. She made gifts for the family. The purple elephant Sharon kept with her in the hospital used to be Abby’s favorite fleece blanket. She drew the pattern herself, cut out the pieces and sewed them together and then stuffed it with old stockings. Sharon hadn’t slept a night without her purple elephant until those first days in the hospital.

Ben got a monkey Abby made from tube socks. He loved playing with it.  She made a tie for Robert in Home-Economics class. Nancy was impressed with the scented candle Abby made for her. She even made an extra for Phyllis, her adopted grandmother.

The Christmas decorations had been sparse. Abby talked Robert into taking out his electric train that he got as a boy and they put it under the tree. In the afternoon while Nancy was cooking dinner she walked into the living room to check and see what the children were doing and found Ben and Sharon had placed some the simple hand carved nativity set in and on the cars of the train and turned it on. Like the co-conspirators they were they watched baby Jesus and two angels ride round and round the track in the cargo car, clapping their hands and jumping up and down with glee. They were so happy Nancy didn’t have the heart to scold them for their irreverence.

Originally Posted on margaretturley.com STC Website December 23, 2009

Christmas Stories

CHRISTMAS_BEDTIME_STORIESI love Christmas Stories. I like to read them year around. I just finished reading Matchless by Gregory Maguire. He wrote this story for NPR 2008. It is a wonderful combination of Andersen’s Little Match Girl with his own magical tale.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has become an icon. The season isn’t complete for me without seeing at least one version of this movie.  Another wonderful Christmas story started with a father trying to comfort his daughter.

Christmas scenes from Save the Child:

Nancy Remembers Last Christmas

Phyllis Reminisces about Sharon and the Toy Box

Margaret will also share 2003 Christmas stories written and published by members of her chapter in the American Night Writers Association: Daytimers.

 

Censoring Religion Out of the Season

A friend from church sent me an email about her friend who is a talented artist. For several years she, among many others, has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The White House sends out an invitation to send an ornament and informs the artists of the theme for the year. She got her letter from the White House recently. It said that the trees would not be called Christmas trees this year. The will be called Holiday trees. Artists were asked not to send any ornaments painted with a religious theme. She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she painted the ornaments for Christmas trees and would not be sending any for a display that left Christ out of Christmas.

This message inspired me to declare that I am not ashamed to acknowledge that I am a Christian. Our country was founded on religious freedom. The first amendment in the Bill of Rights is the right to worship as our conscience dictates. I am happy to allow others to express their convictions and display their sacred symbols and images. I humbly request that this courtesy and right be honored no matter what cultural background we come from.

Holidays are times for family, friends and worship – whatever religion we practice. This month we express our gratitude to the Almighty for our bounteous gifts – a tradition that was started with the pilgrims. Next month I will celebrate Dutch St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, and Christmas on December 25th. This is a season where we are usually more charitable, more giving than other times. Let’s open our hearts to the diverseness that makes our country great and extend our tolerance to those of other faiths and spiritual backgrounds. But please don’t make me bury my joy of the sacred nativity.

[Read more...]