Choice: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Choice and possibilities

Sometimes we blame others for a poor choice we have made. However, if we have the full information, the responsibility for the choices we make rest squarely on our own shoulders.

As someone who never had much in the way of physical ‘riches’ when I was young, I thought God was a bit unfair taking the ‘talent’ from the man who had been afraid to do anything with it, but kept it safe. (Matt 25: 14 – 30.)

Now, I am older, I can see the spiritual meaning. I took it literally before.

The man who had been given five talents, used those talents and was praised for the result – because he used his God-given talent, made some wise choices, and in this example, increased the money.

The man who had been given two talents also made a good choice; he also made a one hundred percent return on what he had been given.

Using a talent is a choice.

We all have at least one talent. Some have the talent of encouraging others. Do we choose to encourage where appropriate.

Others are talented singers, and I know some people with beautiful voices, though they would say otherwise.

One of my neighbours has such a talent. She joined a group of other singers who go around local old peoples’ homes and sing for the residents.

There are talented musicians, and then some people find it easy to teach others.

Many of us say, “I don’t have a talent,” but I doubt it is true. Even if the talent we have does not bring us the attention of others, we all are gifted in some way.

A former neighbour did not think she had a talent. But her grown-up family all queued up for her mince pies, her cakes and pastries.

She was truly talented in baking. 

Choice of baked goods

Another person I knew was brilliant at organizing the home, and another at budgeting.

We are all different and have need of each other’s talent, if we decide to share. That, too, is a choice.

Talents are not always obvious

But each is important and we have to make the choice to use it. To decide not to use it is also a choice each of us make.

You might be surprised what you can do that would be a great help or encouragement to others.

If you need some ideas, consider some of the things mentioned in this post…

God bless


Why I hated Silent Night

desert scene, reminds me of Silent Night

Silent Night was my favorite carol when I was young. I could sing the first verse in French and German as well as in English.

So what changed my opinion?

One year the police knocked on the door in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

Yes, it was the news parents most dread hearing. A child was dead. A teenager actually.

Why the connection to ‘Silent Night?’

I don’t know if the TV, radio and shops played that carol more than usual, but it seemed to be played everywhere, and my husband remarked, ‘yes, it is a silent night for our son.’

After that every year, when the first carols were played in the supermarkets, or on TV, it was a reminder that an anniversary we would rather not have was approaching.

Even yet, Silent Night is a carol that will have me reach for a mute button, or if in a shop… walk the other way.

Silent Night announces the approach of Christmas

Christmas is a sad time for many people.

Regardless of whether or not you celebrate it, Christmas is one of those fixed times when the focus is on the season.

However, for anyone who has suffered the loss of someone dear to them it is a reminder of the missing person in their lives.

teenager in cap, meme

Another December death

In a little less than two weeks will be the anniversary of the death of my husband. His death was no accident, it was the result of a long battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Although he lost the battle, he lived longer than the usual prognosis for that condition. In fact, most people did not know he was terminally ill, and he touched many lives, encouraging them.

When we were told the end was fast approaching it was a shock. However, I didn’t want people sending me cards saying how much they loved him. Instead, I asked people to send him messages. I had them bound in a book and called it ‘Messages of Love.’ And they were, because he was well-loved.

No, December is not my favourite month, and I still dislike ‘Silent Night’ – in fact I do not like this time of year at all. It’s a month filled with lies, teaching our children to distrust us, and in a way showing them it is okay to lie.

I will see those two special people from my life again, and I miss them every month, not only December. But December is the time of the anniversaries of their deaths.


Fragrance sensitivity is a REAL condition

fragrance sensitivity cannot cope with these

Yes, fragrance sensitivity is real in spite of the anger it can arouse in someone who loves to ‘marinate’ in their favourite perfume or deodorant.

“Marinate’ in perfume was a term used by an Internet friend many years ago and since it describes what it seems like, I remembered it.

What is fragrance sensitivity?

Fragrance sensitivity can be defined as an irritation or an adverse reaction to chemicals in a perfume or other scented products such as air fresheners and cosmetics. Sensitivity to strong odors can make allergic people severely ill. People with asthma or other respiratory illness can be more susceptible to fragrance allergies compared to healthy individuals.

In the US Federal courts have ruled that an allergy to scents can be considered a disability under ADAAA (the most recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act). Under this law, when an employee has a severe reaction to exposure to an odor or scent their employer must act on their behalf to remedy the situation

A study by Anne Steinemann of the University of Melbourne, states, “All fragranced products that I tested . . . emitted chemicals classified as hazardous air pollutants,” Steinemann said in an email. “You may not realize you’re being affected until it’s too late.”

A sensory Assault

A horror to someone with fragrance sensitivity

For many people, repeated exposures can bring about a constellation of symptoms,” says Tracie DeFreitas Saab, MS, a human factors consultant with the Job Accommodation Network at West Virginia University.

Those symptoms, she tells WebMD, can range from classic “allergic” reactions, such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes; to headaches, inability to concentrate, and dizziness; to respiratory issues, such as breathing difficulties and wheezing; to skin reactions, such as itching, hives, and other rashes.

Let’s get personal

Why am I writing this now? People who know me, know that I am one of the 500,000 people in Australia with fragrance sensitivity.

Two things happened this week. One, the bank. I went into my bank and stopped in my tracks. It smelled like a perfume shop.

fragrance shop

Even the care worker with me was surprised at the perfume that ‘hit’ us. I had to wait on a bench in the shopping centre mall and leave the care worker to do most of my transaction.

More surprising was the fact that the staff member I spoke to when she brought something out for me to sign said that the bank had installed the fragrance as a signature for their bank.


What are we coming to that bank branches choose to smell like a perfume shop?

I opened an account at a different bank after asking if they knew of any plans to have their bank branches perfumed. The answer was disbelief.

The second incident was on a different day with a Care worker who came into my home smelling strongly of perfume. My Care Plan specifies that no one is to wear a fragranced product when in my home or taking me out.

When I asked her to leave she chose instead to make a call to her supervisor, all the while her perfume was permeating the air in my lounge room.

When she eventually did leave she was angry and told me she would not give up wearing her signature perfume as she stomped out of my home.

reaction to someone with fragrance sensitivity

Psychological issues

In Australia, last year, people with fragrance sensitivities were 2% of the population. We are vastly outnumbered by people who love fragrances. We are often ostracized, or disbelieved, therefore isolated.

By the way… I used to like wearing perfume.

As for the physical complications, the articles referenced cover much of these, and you will find links to Canadian Lung Foundation documentation in the memoir/help book I wrote called Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube. 

I do not deny your choice to wear perfume, or strong deodorant, or any of the many fragranced products. All I ask is that you respect my need to avoid these odours. Please do not try to prove me wrong and wear something fragranced and come near me. It has been done before. Please know that long after you have left, whatever you were wearing is either still lingering in my home, or affecting me. This is not an ‘affliction’ I would have chosen, it isolates me and limits where I can go… and I am already more limited than I would like to be.

having fragrance sensitivity is isolating

There is much more I could say, but there is enough here, although I would like to hear your opinion… no matter what side of the fence you are on.

Struggling this week,


Dehydrated, I am told

Dehydration of the earth

I would describe the way I am feeling as having been run over by a ‘steam roller.’

Perhaps a steam roller is before your time, I remember them.

Well, this is how one looked, approximately.

being dehydrated feels like being run over by a steam roller

Why am I talking about being dehydrated

Because I have just had a phone call from the oxygen monitoring service and dehydration is what they figure I am suffering from.

(I have to log in online every day and enter a bunch of stats. Things like my oxygen saturation, flow rate of oxygen, and a bunch of questions to be answered.)

Cause: Fluid restriction, several days of 100 f plus days, lots of appointments.

Solution: Told to drink a bit more water, go watch a movie, or at least not do very much.

(When I was in hospital recently the consultant doctor said they wanted me to be dehydrated so that I would lose the fluid.)

Just looked at what’s on TV – not worth  wasting the electricity. Maybe read a book.

Since I do not have the energy to argue I will find somewhere to sit and drink some water. Preferably in front of a fan.

Hopefully, I will re-hydrate instead of dehydrate.

I have to smile,


Bonfire Night


Bonfire night was celebrated when I was young in Scotland. As it took place on the 5th November the weather was not always conducive to burning wood, which at that time of year was often damp, if not wet. Therefore it entailed planning. On a suitable open space, and there were many when I was young, the ‘bones’ of the bonfire were set. Nearer the time, twigs were collected as kindling. Old clothing was also needed, and either straw or newspaper.

In those days we could also explode fireworks.

fireworks on bonfire night

There were sparklers, and penny rockets – which would be launched from empty pint glass milk bottles. Catherine wheels might be nailed to a fence, if there was one nearby. Then there were the ‘bangers.’ I think the only people who liked ‘bangers’ were the people who lit them, dropped them on the ground and watched people jump in shock.

Bonfire night was a community affair, although if your ‘community’ did not build a bonfire, you could still have your own family celebration with fireworks.

So, what is Bonfire Night

There are a number of ‘bonfire night’ celebrations or commemorations, but the one I remember as a child was also called Guy Fawkes Night. The clothes were ‘stuffed’ and someone made a ‘head’ to make an effigy called ‘the guy.’

There’s a ‘ditty’ we used to chant…

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

After that there are different verses that may be included. One goes:

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King!

But Guy Fawkes was only one of the thirteen conspirators, and depending upon which account you read, Guy (or Guido) Fawkes was a mercenary they hired to set off the explosion.

Why did they want to blow up the British parliament?

Well, they were Roman Catholics and James 1 (or James IV of Scotland) was on the throne, a Protestant king.

The plot was centred around a group of Roman Catholic revolutionaries furious at the persecution of their faith in England.

(Lots of history and information here

In short, they had hoped for better treatment from the new monarch James I after 45 years of hounding under the reign of Elizabeth I, and decided on drastic measures when things did not improve under his reign.

Warwickshire-born Catholic Robert Catesby and his friends planned kill the King, his ministers and scores of nobles by blowing up the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605.

The plotters rented a house nearby and managed to smuggle 36 barrels of gunpowder – around 2.5 tons – into a cellar under the palace ready to blow it sky high.

The explosives were discovered with hours to spare after an anonymous tip-off warning one peer to stay away.

To this day the cellars under the Houses of Parliament are ceremonially searched before the annual State Opening.

Crispijn van de Passe the Elder [Public domain]

Although some would say Guy Fawkes was the ‘fall guy’ for the group, he is the one who is (or was) burnt in effigy on bonfires throughout Britain on the 5th November.

That is the Bonfire Night tradition I remember.

Execution of the plotters…

Had nothing to do with bonfires, or burning at the stake. The sentence was that they be hung, drawn and quartered. (Penalty for high treason in those days.)

“To be hanged, drawn and quartered was a punishment in England used for men found guilty of high treason. The full punishment was made up of the following – the victim was: Dragged, usually by a horse, on a wooden frame to the place where he was to be publicly put to death. This is one possible meaning of drawn.”,_drawn_and_quartered


Well, tradition very rarely is truth. Sometimes there is a kernel of truth somewhere, but the tradition of burning a ‘guy’ on a bonfire because Guy Fawkes was blamed for something thirteen conspirators did is stretching the imagination.

But that’s tradition for you. It doesn’t need to make sense, you ‘do’ it because you always have.

The first in the tradition series started last week with Tammuz, but it only introduced it, didn’t explain it. Maybe next week.

Have a wonderful week,


Tammuz – who, or what?

Tammuz, cakes made for the queen of heaven

Who or what is Tammuz. Well, he is a who, and it is a what. When I was young, I would have referred to such a statement as being ‘Irish.’ (No offence to the Irish intended. I am part Irish myself.)

It was my intention to write on ‘traditions,’ however, I find I need to go a little back to cover the source of one of the traditions.

So, who is Tammuz?

As a ‘he,’ Tammuz is an important person… or god.

“Tammuz, Sumerian Dumuzi, in Mesopotamian religion, god of fertility embodying the powers for new life in nature in the spring. The name Tammuz seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid, The Flawless Young, which in later standard Sumerian became Dumu-zid, or Dumuzi.”

Then there are rather confusing statements.

He has to do with Easter

Nimrod was killed because of his violence and iniquity against the true and living God and his body was cut in pieces and sent to various parts of his kingdom. His wife/mother told the people of Babylon that Nimrod had ascended to the sun and was now to be called “Baal”, the sun god. Semiramis was creating a mystery religion, and with the help of Satan, she set herself up as a goddess. Semiramis claimed that she was immaculately conceived. She taught that the moon was a goddess that went through a 28 day cycle and ovulated when full and that she had come down from the moon in a giant moon egg that fell into the Euphrates River at sunrise at the time of the first full moon after the spring equinox, on a Sunday. Semiramis became known as “Ishtar” which is pronounced “Ish-tar” referred to as Ashtoreth in scripture, and her moon egg became known as “Ishtar’s” egg.” One of her titles was the Queen of Heaven, and two of her fertility symbols were the rabbit and the egg. She soon became pregnant and claimed that it was the rays of the sun-god Baal (the ascended Nimrod) that caused her to conceive.

Here comes Tammuz

The son that she brought forth was named Tammuz. Tammuz was believed to be the son of the sun-god, Baal. Tammuz, like his supposed father, became a hunter. The day came when Tammuz was killed by a wild pig. Queen Ishtar told the people that Tammuz was now ascended to his father, Baal, and that the two of them would be with the worshipers in the sacred candle or lamp flame as Father, Son and Spirit.

To add to the confusion…

There is some link to Christmas…

The Saturnalia was named for Saturn, otherwise known as Cronus. Cronus is an alias for Tammuz. Tammuz was Nimrod reborn – alias, his son. His wife and mother was Rhea (Semiramis). Egyptian and Babylonian antiquities recognize his mother as Semiramis, and his birthday is celebrated on 25th December. Semiramis was depicted as a virgin Madonna holding the “Christ” child.

Ezekiel sees the women weeping for Tammuz

The Saturnalia, therefore, was just another observance for Tammuz/Nimrod, the Babylonian, counterfeit redeemer.

Ezekiel was shown some of the abominations taking place in the temple with the people incorporating the worship of Tammuz in their religious observances. (Ezekiel/Yehezqel 8:15-16).’s_Birthday

Confused? There is more…

What is Tammuz?

Tammuz (Hebrew: תמוז‎: Standard Tammuz, Tiberian Tammûz), or Tamuz, is the tenth month of the civil year and the fourth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar, and the Assyrian calendar. It is a boreal summer month of 29 days, which occurs on the Gregorian calendar around June–July.

The name of the month was adopted from the Assyrian and Babylonian month Araḫ Dumuzu, named in honour of the Assyro-Babylonian god Tammuz.

And here we have something that has answered something that puzzled me when I looked at the Hebrew months back when researching the Apostle John Series. Why would the Hebrew calendar have the name of a Babylonian/Assyrian  god?

They brought the tradition back with them after the Babylonian captivity.

Next week, God willing, I will cover what I intended… tradition.


Balancing the Books

time for balancing the books

These days balancing the books means making sure I write down all the appointments. Then, that done, I have to arrange transport to those appointments. 

LOL – yes, my life is more complicated nowadays.

It is also more difficult to keep track of things, and I find there is a reason for that.

Background: I have two life-limiting conditions that see me hospitalised from time to time. (Three times in this last year.) The last admission was for the CCF or CHF, the other condition stayed in the background, the COPD, but the coughing, which is always there, is annoying.

I noticed this article…


COPD is a major risk factor for cognitive impairment. Among patients with COPD, hypoxemia is a major contributor and regular use of home oxygen is protective. Health care providers should consider screening their COPD patients for cognitive impairment.”

Aha! There is a reason for my forgetfulness. <smile>

Balancing the books of living - mmm

This is more difficult with so much to keep track of. Despite this challenge, if everything is written down at the time – it is possible to balance those books.balance the books by keeping them up to date

As I mentioned in Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube 

“It takes the planning ability of a Field Marshall or a 5-star General to organize my life now.”

Every outing, even if it only to the local doctor (1 km) away, needs a plan, a time estimate and sometimes help to accomplish it.

I will be able to run a small town by the time this is over.

Now that I think of it, I need to go do some balancing with next week’s books. There is a bunch of appointments to check, plus fitting in the services to sort out. Then I need to check if I need oxygen cylinders replaced and ensure the POC batteries are charged.

Keeping the cognitive impairment at bay,


Self-Absorbed or Narcissistic?

Self-Absorbed or Narcissistic?

Is being self-absorbed the same as being narcissistic? Sometimes, but not always. Looking at the dictionary definitions… Self-absoribed is “absorbed in one’s own thoughts, activities, or interests”


Having or showing an excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.

They sound pretty similar, although narcissism is also described as a personality disorder.

Being self-absorbed

Could be a pre-cursor to narcissism, or it could be a self-protection check. What do I mean by the latter? I mean that if you have one of the many chronic, or life-limiting diseases it is necessary for you to monitor what is going on inside your body. Are you well enough to…

  • Go out to the shops
  • Go to the cinema
  • Go for lunch with a friend
  • Have a friend, or friends, to your home for a visit.
  • Do some chores?

Being Narcissistic

Self-Absorbed or self love

From the Mayo Clinic…
“Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

Self-Absorbed monitoring

I have many friends and acquaintances with life-limiting conditions that I am glad I do not have. However, I can ‘speak to’ having to monitor my breathing.

I can go nowhere without an oxygen delivery device. In my home, it is an oxygen concentrator. Then when I go out it is a transportable version, or an oxygen cylinder. Given the amount of oxygen I now need per minute, the oxygen cylinder allows me to be ‘out’ longer. This is necessary for hospital appointments, but has the drawback of being impossible for me to manage alone.

So, what do I need to monitor?

  • Is my oxygen saturation dropping when I walk from room to room? (If so, going out might be foolish.)
  • Am I well enough to drive? (Which includes loading the Transportable Oxygen Concentrator into the car?)
  • Will there be a lot of ‘fragrance’ where I am going? (This is not always possible to figure out.) Same with ‘Will there be smokers where I am going?’
  • How long will I be there? (Needed in order to estimate how much oxygen, or how many batteries I will need.)
  • If traveling by taxi/transport, will it be full of fragrance? (Most people with lung disease find it difficult to breathe where there is strong fragrance.)
self-absorbed needing a system check

“Chemicals used to add scents to products can cause serious health problems for some people, especially for people with lung diseases such as asthma or COPD . Being near a scented product can make some people sick.”

Perhaps the most difficult to deal with is the situation where someone says, “You’re looking well,” then treats you if you ARE well, although you are struggling to cope.

Some medical conditions are ‘invisible’ to others, but not to the person with the condition. That is why they need to be self-absorbed… and that IS different from being narcissistic.


When I first had to learn to cope with home oxygen it felt as if I was being sucked into a vortex and all the equipment piling in on me.

Eventually, I started documenting the learning curve, and I published it to help others.

Bushfires and the Vulnerable

Season for bushfires

I read an article on the bushfires, one which gave me pause to think in a deeper way. Currently making the headlines are bushfires in New South Wales, Australia. Two people have died as well as the homes which have been destroyed… and more. California has fires too, and it was an article about those fires which broadened my understanding.

People lose homes, stock (animals) and equipment, but the article pointed out the long period of time without power. Food can spoil, shops lose their stock, the vulnerable – those who are dependent on electricity to run medical equipment can lose their lives.

Bushfires burn out power lines

Because I need to use oxygen 24/7 power outages are something I have to plan for. My home is registered as having life-support equipment, and I have a backup oxygen cylinder but it had not occurred to me what would happen in a bushfire situation. The backup cylinder would not last more than half a day.

Fortunately, a bushfire is unlikely where I live, although not impossible. But what about those people living where there are fires? If they are unable to make it to a hospital which has enough oxygen they will die.

“But the biggest fears were for the sick and older residents and those who rely on medical devices and equipment like electric wheelchairs.”

firemen after a bushfire

Preparing high risk bushfire zones…

“Every year before bushfire season, our crews are hard at work preparing high and extreme bushfire risk zones to reduce the likelihood of a network-related spark that could cause a fire.

However, it is not only residents in high risk zones who might be impacted by a power outage as the result of a bushfire. As the article says, some of the regional power lines are hundreds of kilometres long. So, if you, or a friend or relative needs electricity to power medical equipment, or a home oxygen machine an emergency plan needs to be in place before one is needed. Plan ahead.

  • Ambulances might be busy
  • The nearest hospital might not have power

Only the person who needs electricity for a medical reason knows how long he or she will ‘last,’ but might need help with the planning.

Something to think about,



Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube has a new cover.

Check it out

And another P.S. so it will be a PPS

Half truth… is it a lie?

Well, half a truth is also half a lie.
Quite a confrontation if you have never thought of it before. 

Dictionary definition… “a statement that conveys only part of the truth, especially one used deliberately in order to mislead someone.”
Or, there is this … “Half the truth is often a whole lie. … If you do not tell the whole truth, you can mislead people just as if you tell them an outright lie.”

Does a half truth harm anyone?

Sometimes. The obvious reply is through ‘half truth advertising.’ But there is another way…

Even though the reason might be to spare someone, the whole truth is hidden. However, in most instances, a half truth is to protect the self. Other times it can be to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings.

With the latter – does it protect the other person in the long run? This is a question a friend confronted me with over the fact I was not fully being honest about how bad my health is. She had a point, and I will rectify the situation because I saw from what she said that it would be more hurtful when/if the full truth comes out.

The same applies to not telling the full truth to cover a fault, or something we have done that we don’t want known. There’s an old saying, ‘The truth will out.’ In this day and age there are more ways for the truth to come out than there were before.

A half truth can be dangerous when it covers depression…

What about ‘fake news?’

Is it the same?

I had to look this up to see what it really meant.

half truth and fake news

Fake news is written and published usually with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership.

So, there may or may not be an element of truth in the ‘fake news.’

Half truths and lies

I will close with this quote from rhl school…

“Advertisers will sometimes use half-truths. It’s against the law to make false claims so they try to mislead you with the truth. An ad might boast, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Yucky Pills to cure nose pimples.” It fails to mention that they only asked ten doctors and nine of them work for the Yucky Corporation.”

This kind of deception happens too often. It’s a sad fact of life: Lies are lies, and sometimes the truth can lie as well.

Therefore, we must be on guard, and monitor ourselves as well as watching what we read, see, and checking ‘facts’ carefully.

Half truth+half truth ≠ truth

Sharing some thoughts