Friday, November 27, 2015

Moving onward and upward and a gift for you

This photograph, taken about five years ago, represents the competition among our grandsons as they show off their strength and prowess. Every grandchild has had his or her picture taken in the crook of this tree at some point in their lives. The tree no longer exists; a red bud tree has replaced the diseased and rotted tree, which not only shed its leaves but also began to shed its branches.

Gazing at this picture evokes so many emotion: a fear of climbing and falling, the exhilaration of attaining new heights, proving to one's self that anything can be accomplished, reaching beyond
self-imposed limits. Change, moving forward...growing. SUCCESS.

Every writer probably has felt some of these emotions. Sometimes the fear of success is as great as the fear of failure. Fear of making mistakes hinders us. A word of encouragement or approval propels us. Let nothing stand in your way.

You may never know the impact of your words, a smile, a tender touch. Give generously.

Offer a word of praise or encouragement to someone today.

Her is a gift for my writer friends. be sure to check out all of these calls for submissions at Cathy's calls.  Link works.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My rambling thoughts

Thanksgiving feast
a mouthful.
Toothless baby grins
children with missing teeth and braces
shoveling it in.
Great grandparents
Me, eating up all four generations.
Year after year: hubby methodically carving the turkey, a blend of delectable aromas rising from the side dishes. 
Everyone crowding in our small kitchen waiting for grace to be said, then a rush to the buffet style serving counter, and the dispersal of all ages to different rooms.
Some go to the lower level rec room where we have a large conference table covered with a holiday table cloth, a seating area with comfy furniture, video games and television.
The elders upstairs seated around the table, taking small bites.
Laughter, card games, board games.
Lazy loungers sprawled in overstuffed chairs with full tummies.
One last hurrah at dark as we pick at the pies and say NO MORE, but take one more bite.
This year, my heart aches for those no longer with us, loved ones far away, and the world situation.
 I am blessed, and when I count my blessings, I regard each of you. Thank you for your comments and readership.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. I am going to take a break for a few days. I have several writing deadlines and a great idea. 

A quiet room, a cup of peach tea and
I will accomplish some goals.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rainbows and snowflakes

This is an ever so special repost especially at this time of year.

Years ago I was with my 52 year old best friend Rose. She was in her final days, dying of cancer, wishing she could survive long enough to celebrate one more Thanksgiving and Christmas, her favorite times of the year.

On a cold, dreary November day, with no chance of any precipitation in the weather forecast, we dunked donuts at her kitchen table. Then she laid down to rest.

I walked around her home gazing at her decorative wall groupings. She'd loved having friends over and hosting Home Interior Parties. As I looked at the displays, I remembered us young. I walked past her Grandfather clock, and as it chimed, I realized how fast time was ticking for

I sat on the sofa in reflective prayer, questioning, wondering, pleading. And then, two miracles happened. A ray of sunshine pierced the heavy cloud cover, shone through her window, and refracted off her crystal chandelier, splaying rainbows all around the dining room.

I rushed to wake her. "I have a surprise for you. Come see." I helped her shuffle, step by step to the dining room. It took a few minutes, and I hoped and prayed that sunbeam would stay till she could see the glorious colors. She smiled and laughed weakly as those rainbows bounced all over her nightgown. She tried to capture them in her hands, a smile on her face. Then the cloud cover and gloom returned, as the rainbows disappeared.

I helped Rose inch her way to the couch in the living room, dragging fifty feet of oxygen hose behind her. As we sat, lost in our own thoughts, her oxygen tank pumping overtime, I parted the drapes behind the sofa and gazed out the picture window. I could not believe my eyes. Huge, hamster-size snowflakes were drifting to the ground covering the yard in  a blanket of soft white. I helped Rose reposition herself so she could see out, which required major effort on her part. But oh what a reward. Silent tears rolled down our cheeks.

I talked to her about the snowfalls when our kids were young and we were neighbors. I reminisced about sledding, building forts and igloos in the backyard, our dogs romping in the snow. "This is your gift," I told her. We sat in silent reverence for fifteen minutes, then I helped get her back to bed.

Rose passed away before Thanksgiving, and she did not celebrate another Christmas, but together she and I witnessed her last snowfall. For this gift from on high, I am forever thankful.

 Above those wintry, frustrating snow clouds, past the rainbows, I realized as Rose slept, there was hope... hope everlasting.  


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What was that smell?

On Sunday we went to a dance at the VFW hall, about an hour away, where our friend's band plays once a month. There were about 100 patrons, almost all over 60 years old and into their 80s. They were all very active senior citizens. The women excessively rouged their cheeks, wore sparkly sweaters, fancy tops, short skirts, high heels. The men wore western hats, button down shirts, big belt buckles, and cowboy boots. It was their one night of the month to shine, and did they put on a show.

Observing their courting gave us a glimpse into the pasts of these dear country folks. The men would stroll up to the ladies with their hands extended, with beaming smiles ask them to waltz, or two step, or slow dance. Some of the old timers blatantly flirted and tried to get free feels; some of the ladies enjoyed belly rubbing. The men walked the women to and from their seats as they must have done in their youth.

Regardless of age, it's human nature to want to feel attractive, flirt and play the dating/mating game. It felt like being at "Senior Town" instead of "Teen Town." They switched partners a lot. One woman in particular thought she was the belle of the ball. It was fun watching the dynamics. Some folks didn't sit down at all; they line danced when they weren't partner dancing.

I left the dance hall to go to the bathroom. When I reentered the room, I was overcome by a familiar fragrance. With the women outnumbering the men, I thought it was cologne, Evening in Paris or Chanel #5. I kept sniffing, but could not identify the brand. Then it finally hit me.

I leaned over and whispered in Bill's ear. "You know when a group of teen boys are in one place, and the room reeks of Axe Cologne? Well I just figured out what that fragrance is... every old man in here gussied up for the dance, and they're all wearing Old Spice after shave."

The old guys outdid the gals.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


I saw this today, and it spoke to me. My heart aches for the victims of the unspeakable atrocities happening in all parts of the world. I feel helpless, and it seems all I can do is to allow a quiet tear to spill, pray, and share these words.
Did you see on the morning news where mothers were banding together to provide the Syrian refugees passing through their towns with strap on baby carriers? Such a simple and thoughtful gesture for those whose arms and hearts ache more than mine will ever know. If only all of us reached out in kindness instead of revenge, hatred, anger.

"...later that night I held
an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers

across the whole world
and whispered,
'Where does it hurt?'

It answered,
everywhere.' "

by Warsan Shire
posted on Face Book

My problems seem trivial today and my heart feels heavy. In a few minutes we are going to a funeral visitation for a friend who lost his mom. Then we are going to a VFW hall to listen to another friend and his band play music that will trip a memory or two and soothe my soul.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Here's how it unfolds

We are so blessed that the daytime weather is still in the 60's and sunny. This was taken at dusk on the banks of the Mississippi River. Lots of barge traffic. As I watched a tug boat pushing a dozen barges against the current, I thought of all the times I've struggled. Sometimes I felt weighted down, going nowhere, marking time. Other times I felt ecstatic and lighthearted because of success, and life seemed as easy as pushing barges downstream. Had to stay within the channel and go with the flow.
If I had taken a better picture you could have seen how the tree was tilted at a 45 degree angle, and it appeared as if Bill could have kicked it over.

Some days I want to kick everything and clear a new path. I have a restless nature, and would like to affect change in my family, in the world. Ease burdens of those who are struggling, ill or in pain.
Sometimes I just want to uproot and take off, but then I hear my mom's words. She always said, "You can run away, but you can't out run your problems." I suppose there's a lot of truth to that. 
I look outside my front door and realize that although some of our friends have bigger and better houses, our little ranch house is just right for us, cozy and homey, and in a good neighborhood.

I have been in awe of this tree for 38 years, even though we have lived here for only 20 years. I used to drive past the very house we live in now and secretly yearn for it. The children were small, I was married to someone else, and we had only one car. After I dropped their daddy off at work, I drove slowly past, taking in the beauty of the tree, telling my children to say, "Thank you God for my eyes." I never dreamed that almost twenty years later, my dream house would come to me and that very tree would be in my neighbor's yard. Every autumn day that prayer goes from my mind to God's ear.
Everywhere I look the leaves are shaking loose and boogying on  a breeze. Their colors are vibrant or fading. Life is as it should be. Every day is a gift and I try to find something to be thankful for.
 As winter teases closer and closer and the days grow shorter, cyclical changes take place inside me, too. I slow. I dream. I wish. I hope. I resist. I give in. I intend. I fail. I succeed. I burrow. I achieve. I smile. I sneer. I look backward. I count forward. Hanging on to yesterday, I rush tomorrow.

At this time of year I feel as if I have shaken a wadded up, scented, crocheted edged, perfumed hanky and tossed its contents in the air: tiny bits of the past, present and future mingle, bringing to life those I've lost, and those I've found, and those still to come into my life.

I feel a longing for the ocean's rhythm inside my soul. My thoughts roll away as if on a melancholy wave, and return with an unexpected treasure.

Today I am inspired by an idea that will eventually take shape as a poem, a story, or maybe a book. Perhaps my idea will lay dormant through winter, and erupt in spring. It is germinating, and when it takes root, I am confident it will flourish. To rush it would be a mistake. To live in the past is a mistake, to live for the future prevents one from experiencing the moment, which is really the only thing any of us have.

Are you affected by seasonal changes? Do you like winter? We haven't had to turn our heat on yet. But the day is fast approaching. Do you cocoon? Or are you productive?


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monkeying around

We were going to the zoo-zoo-zoo, but he lost his shoe-shoe-shoe.
The animals we most wanted to see were Liam's favorite, the elephants, but their compound was being cleaned after their Halloween frolic and pumpkin mess, so they were not on display. Instead we discovered the very entertaining orangutans.
Liam was telling me all about them, as he strolled around with his favorite blanket, observing.
He was fascinated when this adult one played on the ropes. I'm sure he thought he could, too. A mama orangutan had a baby clinging to her. She discovered a large square parcel of straw, and two bed sheets. I could see the "light bulb" go off  over her head as she got a bright idea. She dragged the material and her clinging baby down into a little gully away from the visitors.
She shredded the straw, spread it all around, and covered it with a sheet. Then she dislodged her clinging baby, and gently laid him down. He refused to lie down. After many attempts, this exhausted mama gave up and covered her own head with the sheet. As the baby tried to scamper away, the daddy or aunty came to assist. See the kiss she threw to Liam? Those babies puckered up at each other.
Then it was time to leave and have our snack. Look at Liam's jaws stuffed with peanut butter crackers.
It sure was fun to monkey around with my 16 month old boy. When he saw a lemur, he screeched, "Hi kitty cat." He thought it was our cat and couldn't understand why he couldn't pet it through the glass. We have been blessed with another week of warm weather. It's going to be almost 80 tomorrow, so my honey and I will take a hike. Come back for more photos of our adventure. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Puppy Love

In our town, it is tradition for trick or treaters to tell a joke or sing a song before they get their treat. Lots of cute jokes on this night. But let me tell you, sometimes the best jokes happen after Halloween, as was the case in our house this morning.
Hubby and I were watching TV. How he can tune out the commercials and be looking right at them is beyond me. I hate commercials, especially the guys who scream their advertising campaign messages like EVERY one in the room is hard of hearing. I can ask hubby what they said, and he'll reply, "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention."
He knows I often talk to the TV. I shouted, "If you're going to yell at me, I am not going to listen."
I muted the volume, and that got my honey's attention. He looked directly at me and said, "Okay, Say it again. I'll listen. I will. What are you mad about?"
I laughed and laughed. That's how much he listens to ME. 
Nana's girl is growing up. Nicole celebrated her 8th birthday. It seems only yesterday she was my little pumpkin in preschool. Still not too big for cuddling and getting hugs from Nana.

Her brother Nicholas is a great kid, excellent 8th grader, and thinks he may want to be an orthodontist or a chef. Hmmm, I'm sure he will change his mind a few more times. 

Liam walked in the door, took one look at Grandpa, sat down on the floor, and refused to move. Then Paw-Paw got his dinosaur, and as you can tell, they were good buddies.

                                                    PUPPY LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!
Liam marched right up to the cat, and said, "Hi, kitty cat." The cat is so tolerant of him.
My first grandbaby, Liam's mommy, and my first great-grandbaby. Gee, I'm getting old.
I am so blessed.