"Bethie's Place"

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Archive for the month “January, 2015”

Friday Feature — “Let’s Talk Books!”

Now that you know that my two passions/obsessions in life are books and writing, I thought that the best way to go about getting a discussion going between us is for me to ask several questions. Answer one or all — Let’s talk books!

1. Who’s your favorite author?
2. What’s your favorite genre? Do you read more than one genre?
3. How do you choose a book? Author, cover art, plot?
4. Do you read more than one book at a time?
5. Do you read a physical book or do you read e-books? Which do you prefer?

A Day of Dread or A Day of Blessing?

I had been dreading this day.  I had made a decision about the status of a physician/patient relationship that had run its course.  It was time to say goodbye and move on. As the hours ticked by, I became more stressed and nervous. Would she be hurt? Would she think I was ungrateful for the care she had provided for many years?

And then there she was standing in the doorway. We exchanged hellos, but there was tension already apparent. I had been rehearsing for days so all I had to do was speak up. I began my explanation and my reasons for coming to the conclusion I had. She allowed me the opportunity to speak without interruption.

She smiled, and replied, “I have some news for you, too”. She was happy for the decision that I had made, and in turn, let me know that she was ending her current medical practice to devote more time to her newest medical venture and to her young son.

We both started our respective day dreading the outcome, but in turn, we gave each other two parting gifts — honesty and respect.

So I leave you with this thought….  “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, it will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)


Dr. Francis K. Moll, Jr — Doctor, Healer, and Forever Friend

As I’ve laid in many hospital beds this past year, I kept thinking about and wondering, “What would Dr. Moll do?” Dr. Francis K. Moll, Jr. (a Naval Commander and Orthopedic Surgeon) performed a spinal fusion surgery on me in 1969. I was 8.

In July 2014, I decided I was going to try to locate him, not knowing if he was alive or where on this enormous planet he lived. So I went to Google, typed in his name, and got a hit, but this hit was for another orthopedic surgeon residing/practicing in Florida, approximately my age. What to do? What else? There was an email listed for his practice, so I emailed him, identifying myself, and asking if “my Dr. Moll” was related to him. Days later I received an email back with the wonderful news that Dr. Francis K Moll, III, was his eldest son, and let me know that “my Dr. Moll” was alive and well, married 58 years to his wife, Sophie, and that they resided in a town outside of Atlanta, GA. Imagine my joy at this news! I’d found him!! Frank (the son) passed along my email and within a couple of weeks a letter from “my Dr. Moll” arrived in the mail, and we’ve been corresponding by mail ever since. Funny, strange, odd, but after we reconnected I began to heal slowly and steadily. Is he my guardian angel? You bet he is!

In a holiday package he sent, he enclosed three photos — one of him on the day he retired (at 71 years of age); a photo of the celebration of their 58th wedding anniversary; and on the card he wrote the letter to me, adorned with beautiful artwork. The artwork is done by his teenage granddaughter Eve, daughter of Dr. Francis Moll, III.

Please visit Eve’s website — http://www.artbyeve.org — and marvel at the talent and philanthropic causes that this young lady is sharing with the world.


He Called Me By Name

As I unroll a horsehair pallet and place a thin yellowed pillow at the top,  it’s quiet.  Too quiet.  The horsehair pallet beneath me is scratchy and the thin yellowed pillow beneath my head is squishy and old.  But this pillow of mine, we’re old friends.  I’ve cried buckets of tears into it; its softness has muffled many screams in the night. Screams of fear and screams of pain. I’m all alone.  It’s been only minutes since someone checked on me, but it feels like hours.  It’s in the quiet that I contemplate why I’ve been allowed to live.  My body’s been battered, broken, and bruised more times than I can count. And yet my life must have a purpose otherwise my heart would have already stopped and I’d be dust blown across this vast landscape surrounding me.

And then it happened. A voice.  Not a person in sight. Just a voice as clear and crisp as a soft  winter wind. I sit up, looking around. This voice has called me by name, and there at my feet stands Jesus. He tells me that He has chosen me and He has a purpose for my life, and that I’m not going to die today, tomorrow, or for many tomorrows in the future.

Matthew 22:14 says that “many are called but few are chosen”. He called his disciples, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and countless others (by name) who were nameless and faceless to those around them because they were outcasts according to society’s standards.

I have a purpose. You have a purpose, even if you’re  unsure what that purpose is. Listen. Feel the stillness. You’re safe.


“The Tender Troubadour”

The O.H. (Orthopedically Handicapped) Unit of Greg Rogers Elementary is divided into two groups of twelve children (grades 1-4 and grades 5-8) with a variety of disabilities. Mr. Olen Wilford, the Unit’s “Tender Troubadour,” teaches the older children.

My name is Beth.  I’m six years old.  We always go to Mr. Wilford’s room for music, and it’s now way past lunch.  Our teacher, Mrs. Shenners, keeps talking, but I’ve stopped listening.  I’m looking around the room, out the windows, and finally my excitement bubbles to the surface. I can’t sit still another minute. I’m happy in my room, but happiest venturing into the place where I hear the music.  I raise my hand, interrupting Mrs. Shenners.  “Is it time for music yet?” I ask. “I can hear the music coming from the other room already.”

She looks at me sternly and says, “Yes, Beth, it is.  Everyone line up at the door quietly.”

Connected by two sliding doors with a short hallway in between, we move single file — in wheelchairs, on crutches, and those who can walk unaided, from our room into a magical, musical world — a musical “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”.  As each of us comes into the room, a very suntanned Mr. Wilford welcomes us with open arms.  Thin but muscular, his hugs melt every little girl’s heart including mine. His hair shines like the color of a new copper penny with golden highlights.  His blue eyes dance.  His clothes are simple, sport shirt and slacks with low boots.

“Well I declare! Look at all your smiling faces,” he says , as he sits down on a chair that swivels, and picks up his guitar.  “Ready to sing?”


“What shall we sing first?”

“Puff The Magic Dragon,” we shout in unison.

And so it begins, like it does every afternoon. Mr. Wilford’s favorite songs are ’60s folk songs, with some gospel mixed in, too.  He loves teaching us the songs, and we love singing at the top of our lungs and clapping along.  A perfect end to the day.

I saw my “tender troubadour” and teacher the final time in 1977, when I’d returned as a summer school volunteer in the OH Unit.  While I was waiting for a ride home,  and watching the children being loaded on specially equipped buses, a man resembling Mr. Wilford caught my eye.  As he walked closer I let him pass me.  “Mr. Wilford?”

He spun on his heel and said, “Well I declare!  Hello Beth Casey.”

Seeing his face and hearing his unmistakable drawl transported me back to a time of innocence and indescribable joy.  He ran to me and kneeled down beside me.  We hugged for a long time.  I was six years old al over again.

Sadly, I learned that Mr. Wilford died in June 2012 at age 83.  If heaven is anything like the mythical land of Honah Lee that we sang about so often, I know that Mr. Wilford is in a happy place.

Olen M. Wilford


“Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea, and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.”

A Message To My Readers

I heard your voice in my head as I read your words, and without seeing your face, I knew that your heart had been broken. Over these past months, you’ve been there for me through moments of frustration, discouragement, anger, and sadness.  As I thought of your words of encouragement, love and support, this song came to mind… Thank you for reminding me that it’s all about “The Climb”. So when you need to be lifted up I’ll be waiting,  and when you’re ready, I’ll hold your hand and we’ll make the climb together.

My Introduction To The Blogosphere Starts Now

My name is Beth, but my friends call me “Bethie”, hence the name of my blog, “Bethie’s Place”.  Over many years I have tried to keep a private journal, and I always promise myself each New Year’s Day that I’ll do it, but it always ends up in failure.  So at the end of 2014, I decided to take my thoughts and make them public because it dawned on me that I wanted or needed an audience — someone to write to and for. If you’re interested in getting to know me, better you can find a two-part introduction of who I am posted on my blog.

I look forward to learning the tips and tricks of a successful blog and how to make what now is a pretty bland place, into something that reflects who I am and pops off the page.


My Reading List of 2015 — January

Hello to all my readers! I have chosen four books to start the year. They are:

Shopaholic To The Stars — Sophie Kinsella

Orphan Train — Christina Baker Kline

The Lemon Orchard — Luanne Rice

The Girls of August — Anne Rivers Siddons

Of the four books I’ve chosen, the only author new to me is Christina Kline Baker, so I’m excited to give it a try. What drew me to the book was the title and the plot. The other three authors I’ve read for years and enjoyed their writing styles.


Introduction: Part 2 — Reflections of 2014

My life as I knew it was forever changed on February 17, 2014. It was on that morning that I found myself being loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the nearest hospital. It wasn’t because of a car accident, or heart attack, but a medical emergency that for a person born with spina bifida could be life threatening had it gone undetected and untreated.  Unbeknownst to me or my mom who helps me with my care, I had developed a pressure sore, and a pretty nasty one at that. I was operated on nine days later, and discharged the following week to begin what would be a long recovery with home health care tending to my medical needs, dressing changes and vitals monitoring. My caregiver (who was in charge while my parents were away on a short pre-planned trip) and home care nurse noted that the staples that had been used to close the surgical incision had begun to pop open so it was decided that I should return to the hospital forthwith to close the incision, being operated on once again four days later.  March 26th I was discharged to resume my recovery with one addition, IV antibiotic therapy which ! endured for six long weeks.

Fast forward to September 2nd.  At my weekly appointment in the hospital’s wound care clinic, I told my doctor (not the surgeon)  that I continued to be quite ill with severe gastrointestinal distress long after the IV therapy was completed and that I needed his help to resolve the issue.  Yep, you guessed it, I was admitted again.  This time for twenty days diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis.

Back home again by the end of September, resuming wound care treatment.  A slow process indeed. Did I mention I’m not the most patient person in the world?  How did I stay busy being bedridden all these months? I read, and I read, and I read some more. Fiction, nonfiction, magazines on writing and genealogy (more about that, so stay tuned), and I learned to appreciate my mom’s love for old movies.

Which brings me to my final thoughts on the past year.  My unsung hero, my mom. Throughout my 53 years of life, she has always been my cheerleader, nurse, champion, and best friend. And along with me on this journey, we’ve cried; we’ve yelled; we’ve laughed; and at eighty years of age, she even learned how to do wound care and start and maintain my IV. She’s extraordinary, and I surely would have struggled and suffered far more without her by my side. “I love you, Mom, and I know I haven’t said it often enough over these past months, but, Thank you!”

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