What if We Couldn’t Smile?

A lot of what we say to one another comes not in words, but in the expressions on our faces. What if we wanted to convey to another a simple smile, and what if we couldn’t smile? Think about the number of times in a week, that we smile; at our family, at a co-worker or the other number of people we come in contact with each and every day. Often times our smile can comfort fears or stress, when we encounter someone who needs it.

Many children are born in the world with the inability to smile or eat or even breathe properly, because of being born with a cleft palate or cleft lip. In the poorer countries of the world there often is no medical care, of if there is the cost is just not feasible. That’s why the charitable organization “Operation Smile” came into being, the first time by Dr. Bill Magee and his wife making a trip to the Philippines in 1982. It has grown since then and now travels around the world bringing hope to thousands of children, and their parents who have to watch their child being ostracized by their communities, and in many cases not even going to school.

This organization travels to over 60 countries, with credentialed doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. Volunteers come from many countries to participate, in performing safe, effective and cleft palate surgery, and delivers post-operative, and ongoing medical therapies to children in low and middle-income countries.

I’m not going to give a lot of statistics, because you can find out more about this organization, with this link. Operation Smile… I decided to do this post on their work, because my heart was touched by their television show, and seeing the difference that is made in a family’s life, because of this very worthwhile project. One fact that I will mention that it costs $240 for this 45 minute operation, that changes a child’s life so drastically. If anyone has an interest, there is all the information that you need on their website. I realize that many of you most likely give to various places of  need, but I just felt led to draw attention to this one today.

The evidence is found in these before and after pictures. Notice their beautiful smiles, in the ‘after’ photos.

What if we couldn’t smile?






Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Prompt: Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Picture of JW around 3 years of age

Picture of JW around 3 years of age

The memory that came immediately to mind, is one from many years ago. We had just moved into our first house, and our children at that time were two,  and one year in age. Many boxes still remained unpacked.

Our youngest child ‘JA’ was fast asleep having a nap, and the older one was playing in the house. The telephone rang, and though I can’t remember how long I had been on it, it was long enough that ‘JW’ became curious about what was in some of the boxes.  The first I knew of it, was a loud cry to which I dropped the phone and ran to see where he was. I found him in the basement where he had opened one of the boxes, and was sitting on the floor rubbing his eyes and crying.

I looked in the box and it happened to be one that cleaning supplies were in, and was alarmed to find he had managed somehow to get the cap off the Drano container. For those who maybe don’t know, it was a very caustic bathroom sink drain cleaner, and as such very dangerous.

I panicked and ran quickly upstairs, one arm carrying our son, and in the other hand the container, trying as fast as I could to read the instructions of the effects it could have. I read that if it got into the eyes, to rinse with water and if swallowed to give as I recall, bread with honey on it to hopefully neutralize the ingredients. I held him near the sink and splashed water in his eyes for a few moments and then ran quickly to the kitchen to get him to eat the bread with honey on it. All I could think of, was that he was going to be blind, and possibly worse. I prayed that he would be okay.

He was crying all the time of course, frightened I guess also because of what I was doing. I grabbed the phone and called the doctor and they in turn gave me the number to call the poison control center for immediate help. At that time there was no 911. After telling them what I had done, they told me to take him immediately to the emergency department to be checked, which of course I did.

After the doctor checked him, I was so relieved to find that while he had rubbed his eyes, it was mostly inflamed around the eye but there was no damage to his eyes. The doctor said also, that it didn’t seem as though he had swallowed any, as there was no indication of any redness in his throat.

So we were sent home, and while we had to watch him of course, it seemed as though he was going to be okay. While it seemed we had handled the crisis, I was emotionally exhausted. As you can imagine it was a lesson learned, that you need to be aware all the time of not only what the little ones were doing, especially when distracted by things like the telephone, and also that all cleaning materials needed to be always out of little one’s reach.

I think I was definitely more stressed out, than even our son was.


Letter to My Children

Jim Jeff and Paul Tromba-004Jim Jeff and Paul Tromba-005P1160256_edited-003 

From the day each of you was born I had only one thing in mind for each of you. That was to love you with all of my heart, mind and soul.

With this same love I knew that you needed boundaries, and therefore discipline and though I wanted to give you everything your heart desired, I knew that would not make you happy in life. You needed to appreciate the blessings came from having respect for yourself and others. You needed to know that to enjoy life, there had to be an appreciation for working hard and to gain self-worth.

To watch as you went through each stage of life, from the scraped knees, to the tentative teenage years wondering what lay ahead for you in your life; to the days when as a young husband or wife and then parenthood you encountered ‘life’ and its’ ups and downs, brought so many joys along with concern for you.

I loved each of you for the very special qualities you had, and I loved you when you would falter in some of those qualities. There is no one who goes through life being perfect, never making mistakes. When you did make them, you learned from them and went on.

The love you have showed me over your lifetime is immeasurable. The joy you have given is immense.

You need to know that there was never one moment that I did not love you. Never a thought that I could have lived my life without you in it. I simply could not imagine that.

As a mother I too made many mistakes, but I believe whatever they were you forgave me. Sometimes I found it hard to forgive myself. Many times I second-guessed decisions I made, or words I spoke, or actions I took.

This would not be complete if I didn’t note that at times when I was suffering with depression, it may have troubled you or you may have wondered why I was the way I was. Many times I questioned that same thing. The only answer that I have is that mental illness just ‘happens’ sometimes, but God has used it in my life to give me a compassion and understanding for others who struggle with this debilitating disease. God in His wisdom allowed me to experience this for His purposes, but also healed me from it as well.

Thank you for loving me anyway!

I am blessed to be allowed to be your Mother.



I Can’t Believe this is Number 500

When I started blogging in November 2011, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, perhaps I would meet one or two people that were somewhat like-minded and I could write back and forth. I also thought that perhaps if I wrote about some of my struggles with depression, maybe it would help someone else.  Never did I imagine what lay ahead. But that’s not what I want to write about today. In fact as I write this first paragraph I’m still unsure of what to write about in this my 500th post. I’ll take a few minutes to think about it…. Okay I’ve thought about it.

As my husband ‘W’ and I watch the news each day, and tonight a documentary that involved a terror attack a few years ago, we thought about the current state of the world in several countries, and one in particular. But I’m not going to go into all of that either.

Instead, I’d just like to say that while there are wars outside of the country, and violence in our own country, wherever that is, there is also much goodness, kindness and joy. We can’t bury our head and pretend bad things aren’t happening, but we can choose not to let all of it color our perception of life itself and the people around us. There is joy in watching our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren learn and grow. I don’t ever want to be complacent in watching them play and laugh and love. Children learn how to love by what they see in the adults around them. We need to teach them how to treat others…… how to be kind and unselfish.

Rylee doing Gymnastics

Rylee doing Gymnastics

Our 5 year old great-granddaughter visited us this summer for a few days, and while she was here it was a joy to watch her as she drew pictures and colored them and told the story of what they meant. Since I have been painting lately, I thought I would let her do her own, but since it was early I wasn’t quite ready. Every few minutes she would ask if it was time yet, and after a few times I said okay!

I set up a little easel and small canvas for her with the paint I use, and not children’s paint. I did this to make her feel special hopefully, and to just let her have fun. One day she painted a picture of the sky, and sun and two butterflies. The next day I was showing her a picture of a bird that I was thinking of painting, and she wanted to do the same one. It had multiple colors and she asked me to draw the bird and then she would paint it.  I showed her how to mix some colors and she painstakingly tried to keep all of them the same as in the picture.

Rylee with her face painted

Rylee with her face painted

She was about three quarters of the way done, and she put the brushes down and her arms at her side and then said “I’m really tired”. So I suggested that she put her name on the painting and said it was beautiful and asked her what she was going to do with it. She said “I’m going to give it to Daddy”….note: she doesn’t live with her Daddy but sees him every other weekend and some miscellaneous days but was going to see him shortly. She knows she is loved by her Mommy and her Daddy.

Rylee and Mommy

Rylee and Mommy

What a smile she brought to me as she sat beside me and concentrated so hard and then as she simply said “I’m really tired”. The honesty and simplicity of a child!

So yes, there are many wars, disasters and there is a lot of sadness and illnesses around. Many reading this have situations in their lives that are tough things to be dealing with. I don’t want to minimize this fact or say that they don’t affect us and understandably so.

I guess I’m just saying that we need to remember to ‘let the sunshine in’ whenever we can, and try not to be overwhelmed at the shadows or darkness of this life. (note to self also) I am thankful for the sunshine in my life; Rylee….other family, friends, and of course… God.

This was a bit long, hope you don’t mind but thanks for reading, and thanks for so much support over this past year especially.



A Legacy of Love

When I was growing up I did not have a father in my life. I was the last of ten children and by the time I was born my father had left the home. I really missed not having him in my life.

While I did not have a dad, my husband became the father I would have wanted.

When I married ‘W’ and then had our children we determined how we would raise them. Not that we knew all that lay ahead,  but basically that they would be respectful and ‘likeable’.

Jim Jeff Kim Mom and Dad kids youngFrom the time our first child was born he was a father who would change a diaper, or do basically anything I needed help with. They grew up knowing they could depend on their father because he was always there for them.

He taught them how to work hard for the things they wanted in life and how to face disappointments.



Most of all he taught them that no matter whatever happened, he loved them unconditionally and that he would never stop loving them……………….  just as God loves us.

He has given them a legacy of love, that they will pass on to their children.





Wistful Thoughts and Reflective Moments

I guess I have two sides to my personality; the one that is content with life, and goes about the tasks of each day doing the necessary things.

Then there is the emotional, wistful part of me who while content in general, has feelings deep inside about issues which I sometimes have no control over, and for which in the quietness of the day or evening these reflective moments come. During the busyness of each day, these feelings are pushed to the recesses of my mind, only to resurface each day.


I feel that I should keep these thoughts to myself most times, although I do on occasion share how I’m feeling. This can be anything from wondering if we’re ever going to feel well, to wondering if we should move again, or to our family and the various issues facing them and us.  Our children of course are adults as are our grandchildren for the most part. Two of them are teens but the others are in their twenties or thirties. Our influence in our children’s lives was done during the years of raising them, but now we can only look on and while we would sometimes like to see them with more of an emphasis on the spiritual side of life, we can only pray. They are so busy ‘living life’ …. work and then the social aspects.  I’m not saying that they don’t think about God, but He is kind of on a shelf right now, to be taken down when there is a specific need.

Did we act somewhat the same way when we were younger? Yes of course we did, but we were perhaps more aware of  the realities of life earlier than seems to be the case with this generation.

Why do we have to be older before we think less of the sometimes superficial things of living and concentrating on ‘things’, instead of what is perhaps most important…. our spiritual being. I’m not suggesting for a moment that we don’t have fun or be interested in other things… just to have our priorities in the right order. There is a reason we are in this world; a purpose for each of us but so often we don’t really think of that during those very busy years.

The one blessing we have in this, is that God is very patient with us …….He watches, I’m sure shakes His head at some of what we do, but He waits until that time when we finally acknowledge Him, and then He smiles !!!

Will You Be My Friend ?

This past week one of our large television stations in Ontario, did a story on the predators that surf the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

While I knew this type of situation occurred I didn’t realize the enormity of it.

I am familiar with Facebook and not so much with the other ones. I know that weekly I receive requests from someone wanting to be my ‘friend’. However, if I don’t recognize the name of the person, I will go to their profile page just to ensure that for some reason I perhaps do know them but have forgotten because it was a long time ago that we had contact. If I find that I do not know them I of course ‘decline’ their invitation.

Unfortunately young people do not bother for the most part to do that. They blatantly accept any request. I think somehow it’s like a status symbol for many in that the more friends the better. When I checked three of my grand children’s sites, one had over 300, one over 500 and one over 800 ‘friends’.

In the story the mother of a 12 year old boy became suspicious when her son’s behavior became different than normal and so one day she decided to check his Facebook site, and questioned one of his ‘friends’. It seemed the conversation that had been going on was too explicit, and decided to call the police. She told her son and he was adamant that this friend was a 14 year old girl, and thought his mother was wrong in her belief.

When the police looked at his site, they knew that they were dealing with a predator right away and proceeded to ‘take over’ the boy’s account for the next month or so. They finally arranged so the other person wanted to meet the ‘boy’ and proceeded to do so. The investigation finally came to a conclusion and it was found that it was a 38 year old man who happened to be a teacher at the school that the boy attended. It also happened that several other students at the school were also interacting with the same teacher on Facebook.

I won’t go into all the facts, only that at the home of this man they found 18 computer hard drives, 9500 pictures and 2000 movies, many pornographic, of young people lured into compromising photos and videos. According to this special task force of the police department there are over 750,000 predators surfing the web in the various media sources.

The reason I wrote this was to just say that if you have children or know any young people, that perhaps it is a good idea to talk to them and monitor the information they provide to others on the computer.

My grandchildren are all young adults now, and so not quite so vulnerable but in any case I think I’ll have a conversation or two about the number of  ‘friends’ they have on Facebook!


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