I’ve come a long way since I wrote the first version of this. It’s like time travel. I see who I was “back then” versus who I am now.

Life is change … and change is the single constant. Change is neither good nor bad, but as we age, it tends to be difficult.


I broke my back when I was a kid. I was reconstructed when I was 19. For the next 35 years, I refused to pay any attention to my spine. I was not going to be disabled.

“Mind over matter,” I declared. It turns out, mind over matter only takes you so far. I had been to more than a few doctors, all of whom said I needed a new spinal fusion, the old one having disintegrated.

The solution made no sense because after the new, upgraded surgery, I’d be in more pain than I already am. My spine would be immobilized. How was that going to be an improvement?

I believe in miracles, but I don’t bank on them. If you can count on them, they aren’t miracles, right? In lieu of prayer, I took my case to a top spine specialist.

Boston road signs

He said I did not need surgery. “Ignore my colleagues’ scare tactics,” he said. “Your back got you through this far. It’ll take you the rest of the way. Pain control, gentle exercise, and recognize your limits. Don’t do anything stupid.” Like fall off a horse? Lift heavy packages?


Faith can help get you through times of trouble, but faith in what? Yourself? Friends? Family? It need not be a deity, though I often think it would be ever so nice to believe that an all-powerful deity was watching out for me. Otherwise, faith in something helps. I need to at least believe there’s a future worth living. That’s a big part of getting through life.

Sunshine after a week of rain ...

Faith is a tool, not a band-aid. You don’t apply it like a salve to heal all ills. You still have to take care of yourself and your business. Faith won’t make you young, stop your joints from aching, pay your mortgage, or make you immortal. It can offer you a context in which to see yourself and your problems, make you realize things could be a lot worse and you do have something for which to feel grateful. No small thing.


I believe there is something, but I have no idea what. I don’t believe we have individual guardian angels looking out for us. It would be nice, but I don’t believe it. Yet, I will not commit to nothingness.

One way or the other, to suggest I have answers would be absurd. I’ll let others duke it out on details. I shall stay unaffiliated.

Meanwhile, whoever or whatever has helped me get this far, I’d very much appreciate it if that force would stay with me.


Post by Marilyn Armstrong

Photographs (except 2) by Kaiti Kraus (aka The Granddaughter)


It’s one in the morning and you’re exhausted. You ate so much at dinner you are uncomfortably aware of how full your tummy is.

Full of great food you rarely eat. Despite this, you can’t seem to settle down.

  1. It must be Christmas because you are so full you can hardly breathe, yet you want another piece of peach pie.
  2. You’re in bed. Warm. Finally got your feet up … but you need to go and look at least one of your gifts. It will still be there in the morning, but you need to look right now.
  3. You are wondering if you should have kept more leftovers so you wouldn’t have to cook again until New Year’s.


Even though there’s no more room in the refrigerator.  Or anything in which to store more of anything.


It really must be Christmas … because you’re too tired to move, but you really want to …


Not so long ago, I bought a bunch of Beatles albums and one by John Prine. The day before yesterday, just in time for Christmas, I got this email:


And when I opened my Kindle last night, what to my wondering eyes should appear but three Beatles albums and the John Prine, ready for my listening pleasure. I didn’t even know I was entitled to the download. Golly.

So I decided to put them on this computer, too. I downloaded the Amazon App for music.

Amazon Music App

Quick as a wink, I created play lists … and realized I have thousands of album cuts and single songs in my library that I don’t remember acquiring. Obviously, I did. In my sleep maybe?

Merry Christmas to me! There are days … many days … when I really love Amazon.