Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

The Night The Animals Talked

In the frosty mountains and on the snowy fields of Norway, there is a legend that draws children to all kinds to stables and stalls throughout the country on each Christmas Eve night. They are hoping to hear a miracle. They are waiting to hear the animals talk.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. This was no abandoned place, but was a working stable, filled with animals of all kinds. Into these humble surroundings, encircled by the innocent creatures of God, the Savior of man came into the world.

Now according to legend, at least, Christ's birth occurred at exactly midnight. Inside the stable, the animals watched in wonder as the new-born babe was lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. Suddenly, God gave voice to the animals and immediately they began to praise God for the miracle they had just seen. This went on for several minutes and, just before the entrance of the shepherds -- who had hurried to the stable because angels had told them the Christ had been born there -- the animals again fell silent. The only humans who had heard them were Mary, Joseph and, of course, the Christ child.

The legend of the talking animals persists to this day in Scandinavia. And every Christmas Eve, wide-eyed children creep into stables just before midnight to hear the animals praise God for the wondrous birth of His Son. Of course, adults scoff at this. "Old wives tales," they grump. "Those children should be home in bed, not out in the cold waiting for the family cow to preach a sermon."

But the children know -- or at least believe -- that animals really do praise God at midnight every Christmas Eve. And who of us -- those who believe in an all-powerful God -- can say that it really doesn't happen?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Beauty of The Season

 I find that the past year and the event of my Fifth Season of turning 60 (a few weeks ago) has found its way into many nostalgic thoughts.   They bring to mind memories of Christmas past, quite long ago now, and the season's reason.  One lovely memory that I quite often reflect on is a simple one.  Nothing profound, nothing super outstanding but touches my heart deeply. 

I remember one December afternoon after school (high school ... many years ago ... ok, we're talking about 43 plus years ago) and my girlfriend and I walked downtown to do some Christmas shopping.  Did you catch that - we walked!  How far?  I would say a few miles.  We did that then, didn't think much of it.  Pounding the pavement, most generally, that's how we got around.   The main thoroughfare, of course appropriately named Broadway,  was where the department stores were; the main shopping district ... Sears and Robuck, Fishmans, Woolworths - the original five and dime,  lots of small shops, two movie theaters, restaurants.  The street was decorated with lighted garland strung across the street at each lamppost or pole, a wreath on each side,  for the entire length of the street.   A few years ago the city started decorating again but not to the degree of earlier days.  It was so festive, so beautiful, so Christmas.

A few doors before Sears and Robuck was Texas Weiners.  I don't think there's a person for miles around that didn't know Texas Weiners.  They has the most amazing hot dogs and chilli sauce.  As soon as you hit downtown the aroma of that sauce was in the air.  You could not go shopping without stopping for a weiner ... the scent filling the cold air just sucked one right in.  It was all part of the holiday, it was part of our Christmas.  One thing I do not remember is what purchases we made, there must have been something because gift shopping was what we were doing, but that's not what I remember.

I remember the crisp, chill of the air, the twilight and then the darkness coming making the Christmas lights so bright and bold and cheery.  I remember the bell of the Santa at the corner and people stopping to chat with him.  I remember hearing over and over again the words "Merry Christmas" ... in the stores, on the street.  The hustle, the bustle, the chatter among the shoppers.  I remember being able to walk the streets, just the two of us and there was no fear.

We walked back up Broadway almost as far as we had come down to where my father worked.  It had begun snowing as we started back.  It was almost magical, the waterglobe like snow, the lights, the sounds of  the season.  It was like a scene out of a movie.  It was a long time ago, a time that was quieter, a time where two highschool girls without a care in the world but to notice the beauty of the season and not knowing then that some day those moments would so reflect the blessings of Christmas.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sights, Sounds and Smells of Thanksgiving

Last week, a beautiful November Fall day, trees bathed in sunlight, their leaves shimmering.  Such beauty.  Fall always is my most favorite time of the year.

 As I am doing most days ... cleaning ... I opened a window to clean the window sill and a blast of air burst forth into the room.  The clean, fresh smell of autumn swirled about and jogged the memory and hugged the heart.  I had to pause.

The scent of the air was that of a crisp Thanksgiving Day.   I could smell the turkey cooking, I could hear the theme song of The March of the Wooden Soliders playing on the TV, I could see the family arriving through the front door, into the hall and onto the kitchen carrying pies and goodies for the Thanksgiving table and unknowingly bringing with them that fresh scent of air of the season.

It was the briefest of moments; it was for always.   The times have changed, people have passed but memories live on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Almost In My Season

Within a few weeks the 60th birthday will arrive. Life is as life always has been, some days a little brighter, some days not, but at this stage the not so days are put into perspective (usually (sometimes)...I smile as I write that, for humaness does still take over at times,) and for the most part removed from the others. Trials and tribulations still abound, I think that is just a part of life and where some of the greatest teachings and lessons surface. I've made a conscious decision to remain as active as possible and that too I find a pick me up. No plans for sitting around time! Does wonders for the age advancing body and assists the ever young mind in its plans and plots, and there are many. So, batten down the hatches, come along if you would like, fore with full force I'm entering the next phase. Good, bad or indifferent, taking it all in.
I ran into a woman a few years older then me the other day, she has been greyed hair for as long as I can remember (16+ years), unlike me that let the grey (and lots of white) fully present itself this past year. And I think I'm really liking it, I do once in a while think about a color, but that thought seems to dissipate quickly. We got talking and her husband said we should have a "Grey Hair Club". You know, we may just do that. I've already found that I like different colors now to go with "the hair", so there are some changes to be made. I know a few "greys" ... will talk to them. Would love any input!! It will be all about this special season and being ourselves just as God intended for us to be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thirty-eight Years Ago

Looking back its hard to believe that all this time has passed. What a couple of kids ... I was 21, he was 23. And all these years and two handsome grown sons later here we are. Still the same me, still the same him, a "tad" bit heavier and greyed hair and hopefully a whole lot wiser.

Happy Anniversary ... me and mine,
with love and blessings,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Blessed

July 23rd, 1976 ... I sat holed up in his room, for several hours, crying. I had been able to see him twice this past week, he had been moved to Special Care which was the final step before he was allowed to go home and he was to have come home today, 34 years ago. How blessed we were, at one point it was thought that he would need a complete blood transfusion as the bilirubin had hit the highest level. They had called one evening and said the transfusion would be done the next morning. The phone call the following morning informed us that during the night the number had reversed and he was at normal, no need for transfusion. God will take care of this. Other then that his time in New York had been spent with growing and gaining weight. Although making leaps and bounds he still was a tiny 4 pounds 6 ounces. At this time usually a baby was not released from the hospital before weighing 5 pounds, but he was doing so well there was no need to hold him any longer. He would come home on Friday the 23rd.

The call the night of the 22nd was with apologies as the circumcision that had been scheduled for that day had to be postponed another day as an emergency had occured at the hospital and staff was not available to do this. They would do so first thing the next morning thereby moving his go home date to Saturday. I remember telling myself "its only one more day, its only one more day" and then I just crumbled. I had never cried during this time, I think it was probably long overdue. In hind sight it wasn't just the fact of one more day, I think it was the whole experience. The long labor, the premature birth, going home without my baby, the waiting and waiting and waiting.

And Saturday did come. July 24, 1976, home at last. Just shy of one month old, almost two months from what had been his due date. The newborn tee's came down below his knees. Pampers were halved and still reached to his underarms. He was to have an ounce of formula every three hours and we were to set the alarm clock. All during the day and all through the night. He required night feedings for about five months, the night hours were almost magical. In the quiet stillness, along with Doris Day and Rock Hudson re-run movies we would feed and rock. I don't think I have ever cherised anything more in my life then those hours. A summer blessing for sure. We had been given the most special gift. God had taken care of this.

Today, at 34 years old, he is a medic. He cares for others and does a mighty fine job of it. Not too long ago he had arrived home with my husband and as he had gotten out of the car heard a voice asking "are you a medic"? He turned and said yes, she said "my baby's not breathing". He said he ran to where another neighbor was holding the limp body of an almost one year old. My husband said he was off like a shot. By the time the ambulance arrived the baby had been revived and was screeching, a most wonderful sound to his parents. He's the neighborhood hero. He didn't make much of this, said, just doing what he's been trained to do. My baby is now taking care of other people's babies. God is taking care. Always.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Remember Summer - part VI

Two days shy of his being three weeks old I walk, for the first time, into Cornell Medical Center. Up the elevator down a hallway, through glass doors where the world changes into pure, pristine white. We scrub and don gowns. There are rooms inside here with walls of glass so you can see in all directions and in all direction are incubators. My husband points out the room to my left as we are walking ... the intensive care section. Each IC room is quite large with a huge lazy susan like table that holds everything medical you can think of. At their fingertips the nurse and doctor have access for any kind of need for their charge.

He had gone there the night he arrived and spent a few days there. As these little ones improve they are moved along. The unit he was in now had a nurse and doctor for every five babies. Quite a move for such a little guy. He was doing very well.

My husband, having been there daily the first week and then several times a week following knew exactly where to go. He led me to his section and let me walk in first. I approached the incubator and then froze. There was this little life in front of me and my heart sunk. There was absolutely no feeling in me. Here I was standing before my baby and I felt nothing, how could this be, what was wrong with me? I turned to look at my husband and saw that he had almost turned white. A nurse had seen us, and I'm sure from the look on our faces, rushed over saying that they had moved him to another section, and took us to him. And then I saw him. In an instant the flood gates opened, the love poured like I have never felt. I still find it amazing how a mother knows her young. I will never forget that moment.

Seeing the look on my face the nurse said "haven't you seen him before?" I shook my head no as I was unable to speak, and she said, "oh, we have to get him right out of there". She grabbed a rocker, opened the incubator, disconnected a few wires and wrapped in a blue blanket he was placed him in my arms.

Have you ever held a baby under four pounds? Have you ever held a feather? I was so conscious of almost no weight. So, so tiny. I took his little hand ... he held onto my finger. His hand against my finger, it couldn't wrap around it like babies do, it only covered one side of my finger. I had made him a hat, I had used an orange as a model ... the hat was too big.

He was now drinking almost an ounce of formula. Initially he was fed by a tube down his nose into his stomach. He was too young and had to be taught to suck, an instinct that had not yet developed. While the formula was being pumped into the tube a pacifier was put in his mouth so that he would associate the pacifier/sucking with eating and his stomach getting filled. He now had graduated to bottle feeding. Ever so slowly he would suck and swallow. It took over an hour to feed him.

He was beautiful, he was amazing. I was speechless, I couldn't even talk. Then we had to go home ... oh no! I had to put him back. I don't think I have ever hurt so much.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Remember Summer - part V

The ambulance arrives around midnight staffed with a team of five; a doctor, two paramedics and two nurses. I am told they are here and after their first priority of tending to my baby they will be in to see me. My husband is with them. Easily and quickly they make their assessment, start an IV and prepare for transport. The doctor then turned all his attention to me and my husband. Talking and making sure that any questions we had were answered, saying that it would take at least seventy-two hours for them to know exactly how he was. The paramedics and nurses then came in with the incubator and our precious baby. We said so long, told him we loved him and off to the Big Apple he went at just over four hours old. The ambulance was like a mini operating room, it was equipped to handle almost anything.

My husband returned from Cornell Medical Center late afternoon the next day having spent the day with our little guy. He is oh so small, but his larger (?) size is a blessing. They so expected smaller for his time of gestation. He is 10 weeks early, there hadn't been any miscalculation. They confirmed that; he has no fingernails; no cartilage in his ears; these things had not yet formed, they will soon though. At eight hours old he had some respiratory distress. He is so tiny that when he becomes very relaxed and sleeping he starts to shut down. Alarms alert the medical personnel and they rouse him. He will continue growing, but now in an incubator. His feeding is 1/33 of an ounce. He is in the Neonatal Itensive Care. Here each baby has their own nurse and doctor 24 hours a day. At this time they would not allow any pictures to be taken until seventy-two hours old. Guess this was the magic number, seventy-two, by then they would know all the possibilities and probabilities. God will take care of it.

I will spend the next three days in the hospital, when I am released I am told that I cannot travel for a time yet. I go home holding a picture.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Remember Summer - part IV

8:28pm on 6/28,
3 pounds, 11 ounces,
16 inches long,
a baby boy.
Did you see that ... he weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces. My doctor, although wearing a mask, is smiling ... I can tell by his eyes, he tells me that the baby is much larger then they could have ever hoped for ... almost twice as much. God will take care of this. For a brief moment I see this tiny face, an almost exact replica of my husband. He is wrapped in warmed blankets and then wisked away.
A very bad storm is looming outside and has knocked out most of the power and phone lines to many parts of the city. Our pediatrician is affected by this and could not be contacted. The hospital contacts the police and they go to get her. She arrives in short order. The helicopter cannot fly in this weather, Cornell Medical University at New York Hospital in New York City is contacted, an ambulance is dispatched with arrival expected some time around midnight.
I have been moved to the hall outside the delivery room by a phone. Here I make calls to our parents giving them their new status of grandparent. Our pediatrician appears with information on her assessment.
APGAR is a quick test performed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score assesses how well the newborn is adapting to the new environment. The rating is based on a total score of 1 to 10, with 10 suggesting the healthiest infant. A score of 8 or 9 is normal and indicates the newborn is in good condition. A score of 10 is very unusual, since almost all newborns lose 1 point for blue hands and feet, which is normal for the transitional phase after birth

The APGAR test done will examine the baby's:
Breathing effort
Heart rate
Muscle tone
Skin color

Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition.
His scores were 8.5 and 9. 8.5 and 9! She (pediatrician) is in awe. She cannot believe the condition he is in. She tells us that if he were not that early she would keep him here and not send him out but because of how early he is she thinks its in his best interest that he go. Although larger then they thought he still is very tiny. Should a complication arise later it would be best for him to be at the medical center. She wonders did we miscalculate, maybe he was further term along. We don't know.

I Remember Summer ... part III

The wee morning hours passed slowly to the early morning sun rising. By 8:00am we were still holding. In the scheme of things a small feat but one not taken lightly. Doc had said every hour would make a difference so here I was thinking I was now three hours beyond where he thought we would have delivered. We were months away from what was supposed to be and here I was counting hours thinking it was a win. God will take care of this. The morning turned to noon, the afternoon saw moms-to-be come and moms go, evening shadows started falling. My husband had wiled away the day in a straight back chair to the side of my bed. My doctor had left my side only to deliver a baby. We had become a close knit threesome by the end of the day.

The straight back chair was now a straight back bed for the night for my husband. My doctor caught a bit of sleep on the couch in the father's room.

The night's quiet was broken only by the monitor's swishing sounds of our baby's heart beat.

Back labor, it was back labor... continued throughout the night. It was uncomfortable (understated), I spent most of the time rolled up into a ball to try to relieve the "backache". By the next afternoon all of a sudden it stopped. Early evening I was taken to a private room on the maternity floor. It was nice to be off the gurney of the labor room and actually into a bed. Whatever was going on medicine had no clue. I was more then three quarters dilated, the baby was and had been in position, and labor stopped. Mid evening my husband went home to get, hopefully, a good night's sleep.

I was now more aware of the moving of our little one. On the right side of my abdomen was a tapping, (kicking?), it would go on for a while, then stop. And start again a while later ... over and over again. I actually started to wonder if this little one had two legs or one, it was always just one side, the same side.

Labor started in again about 1:00am and I was fully dilated although my water had not broken ... back to the labor room, husband was called and returned, doctor came in and we all waited. An emergency delivery kit was placed on the end of my bed. It would be replaced with a new kit at 12 hour intervals so that it would not be contaminated. Although contractions were constant and at about 2 minutes apart my water remained unbroken, the baby's heatbeat was a strong 160 and doing fine. The question was me now, as long as I was ok, we would wait this out.

Wait we did ... Thursday, Friday ... At this point, each day my doctor would leave for some office appointments and return late afternoon where he would stay all night with me. If there was any change in me he would leave his office and come at that time. I was truly blessed with such an amazing doctor.

I had not eaten since Monday and now they brought in some light foods, broth, jello, sherbert. I loved the sherbert, wrote a note on my tray cover asking for more then one sherbert if that was possible. I didn't know if it would be seen in the kitchen but on ... Saturday ... I received several, on ...Sunday ... too. Sunday I had several visitors from the hospital. I was well known throughout the hospital at this point and head nurses from other floors were coming by to see me, to tell me that they and their staff were thinking of me, prayers were being said ... Monday ... I awoke to find two nurses surveying the room trying to see could wires be run to get me a tv.

It had been seven days. Then Monday afternoon I seemed to sink. Something had changed in me, I had been doing fine and all of a sudden I was weepy, feeling strange. Next thing I knew my doctor was there. They had called and he had come right away. A short time after that I was told that they had contacted Medical Centers in Albany and New York City to reserve an incubator in the neonatal ICU's. The one which responded with a "bed" is where my little one would go. A helicopter would be ready and waiting.

The doctor broke my water, the time was here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Remember Summer - cont'd

Thirty Four years ago ... the year was 1976, it was the bicentennial and a big deal with celebrations being planned throughtout the country. It was an even bigger deal in our own little world that year. We were expecting our first baby. There had been articles and talk of all kinds of things for July 4th and one of which was the baby that would be born on that day. Like the New Year's baby every year but only this was on a grander scale. Our little one was was due in September so no thought given to that, however, I do have to mention that my husband's birthday is July 4th.

I had gone to work on Monday, June 21st, with a back ache starting about mid morning. Oddly I had rearranged my desk, reorganized my files, etc., etc., a few were joking that I was into early nesting mode. My little office space was just so tidy. As the day wore on so did my back ache. Throbbing away, sometimes worse then others. Grateful for 5:00, I packed up and went home. I don't remember what was for dinner but do remember turning in for the night quite early. Sporting a backache all those hours does exhaust a person.

At 2:00 in the morning I was awoken with an incredibly sharp pain across my stomach. Upon going into the bathroom I realized that I was bleeding and in trouble. I called my doctor who told me to go the the ER immediately. They (nurses) were waiting for me when I arrived and took me into an exam room. I told the nurse that I felt funny, had stomach cramps and had had back aches ... she said "honey, those are contractions". Well, knock me over ... I don't know why I had never even thought of that, talk about being naive. For one I wasn't due for close to 3 months yet and secondly I wasn't sure what labor was supposed to be like; I figured someone or something would show up waving flags with a marching band. I had figured that you would just know! After the initial shock of hearing that the chill of fear struct. I had been the fifth child born.

My mother had lost four before me. The first two, girls, had been born at about the time I was at right now, almost six and six months. Their survival had been three days for the first one, less for the second child. I had been her first full term baby, and had reached that with full bed rest during the pregnancy.

This couldn't be, it wasn't time, it couldn't be the time. I asked the nurse what would happen if our baby was born then, all she would say is that with today's medicine things are much better then they were years ago. I kept asking her as I didn't get her answer at all, I wanted more, I wanted to hear it will be fine. She never said that.

The doctor arrived minutes later, although I was not completely dilated I was too far progressed now to try and stop labor. (Back labor, it had been back labor!) He thought that in a few hours the baby would be here, he also said that every hour I continued to hold would be a benefit to the baby and that they were hoping the baby was at least two pounds. I remember looking at the clock, it was 3:05am and the thought went through my head three pounds, eleven ounces. It was then that I just looked straight up and thought God will take care of this.

The doctor had spoken with my husband in the hallway away from where I was. He told my husband "its too early".

They transported me to the labor rooms and there I voiced my thought to the nurse ... God will take care of this. She hugged me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Remember Summer ... part 1

Today, June 21, 2010, at 7:28am the start of summer. Once again as it has 59 times before.

The day's start is picture perfect. A gentle breeze is moving the leaves, the sun is peaking through the trees and making its marks on the lawn in the early morning silence. Flowers are in full bloom. The birds are gathering at the feeders, a chipmunk has packed his cheeks with sunflower seeds, the squirels are darting about. Everywhere you look you see the touch of His blessings. I am thankful not only for these moments of grace but for the fact that I took the moment to see. Sometimes (most times?) I just jump into the day "unawares". Glad not today.

I am lazy today, following an unusually very busy week last week. My weeks often are scheduled with 3-4 days of work and this and that and mostly that! I am grateful for today's quiet.
I close my eyes and for a moment I remember summer...

My earliest memory (I had to be under 3) is very short, very sweet ... I remember sitting on a wooden fence, I can picture the fence, with my mother opening pea pods. They were in a brown paper bag. I don't like peas, never have, but that day I was eating the round green peas and I can still remember how sweet they tasted. I can feel the sun's rays and warmth. That's it, nothing more, nothing less. I know that it was in Dobbs Ferry because that was where I lived. I believe it was down the street from our house, actually there was a field on the side of the house to our left ... there was the fence. I'm not sure where we had gotten the peas. It feels good to remember that moment, there's a peace there I can feel. Seems sort of strange for a little one to hold this in memory but its a memory that seems to pop up every so often over the years.

Then I remember summer days of my elementary school years, in the mid to late 1950's ...

School was out, the days were lazy,the katydids sang loudly at night.
Hours were spent absorbed in Nancy Drew books.
Tetherball was a great game, leaving broken or sprained fingers for most of the summer,
ahhhh, it was great!

We played baseball and soccer and a two month long game of monopoly.
Talk about bailouts, we kept tally of the money borrowed to keep us in the game.
During the summer no one was ever out, the same game played from July to
the end of August with the winner being the one who owed the least.

It was 6 neighborhood kids who built towns
and cities, these also remained all summer, making
them come to life. These were built with
lincoln logs and building bricks (these were likeLego's only made of wood).

It was dragging dining room chairsoutside and lining them up along a tree line
and pretending it was a passenger train.

It was playing outside all day, everyday and
by nightfall waiting for the next day to play again.

It was fun.

It was carefree.

It was a lace curtain blowing in the gentle breeze from an open window

It was a special time, a special place.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Beginning In The Spring of 1942

and I'm thinking it was either the last week of March or the first week of April that my parents met. I'm back tracking on the calendar to arrive at that time as they were married on June 17, 1942, twelve weeks after they met. I guess you would say what a whirlwind courtship and I guess you would be right. And I guess you would smile when I say it lasted 58 years, 5 months and 3 days. I was there for the end, obviously not for the beginning.

I always remember though hearing that on their first date it rained. Heavy rains. I don't know where they went, I think maybe a movie...they both were 20 years old. The mode of transporation was most likely walking so how important on a rainy, spring evening to have an umbrella. And this dog head was the handle to that umbrella. It always sat, for as long as I can remember, in the china closet in the dining room in this bowl on this plate. Every once in a while it would come out and I can hear my mother say how it had rained on their first date and this was the handle to the umbrella that they had used. As I got older it struct me how this handle had been saved and what it represented to them and for them.

It was quite a love story, her and him. I have never seen a man love anyone as my father loved my mother. She was his every breath up to his last.

The year after my father passed my mother went into a nursing home. Upon cleaning out her house I handn't given thought to this in quite a while and then I came upon the china boat and handle. With great care I brought it home with me. It now sits, as it has for the past 10 years, in my dining room on my hutch still holding what was in it. Some wheat pennies, a book of matches, the newspaper announcements of the birth of my children and the priceless dog head handle. Six years ago she joined him where the rains have now ceased.

This is another little thing that will be passed on to my children. Something so simple, so profound; a dog head handle that represents a
love for all eternity.

Come this Thursday,
June 17, 2010,
Happy Anniversary,
God bless you both
... 68 years and forever.
with all my love

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Love Geraniums

This print hangs in my kitchen. Its my summer print. The frame holds 4 different prints and when the mood hits I bring forward the one for the season. This one usually makes its way to the glass if I have gone and gotten a few flowers for the front steps, which I did. Gives a quick change to my indoor surroundings.
Two days ago we went to the nursery for a few plants, very few to make it simple enough to take care of them. Luscious, healthy plants bloomed in abundance, it was a site to behold. It is always a decision to be made as to what to get for my outdoor pots. As we walked through there was a cart being pulled by a woman which was filled with a few different type of flowers including about 4 each of red and white geraniums. It struck me how pretty they (the geraniums) were. I have always bought red when I did get geraniums but the white were just striking.
Wandering around through the plants and flowers, peeking in the hothouses (I think there are about 8 of them) at more plants and flowers, so many flowers, so many plants. And then there it was, the last hothouse. It was a sea of red and white geraniums for at least the first half of the structure. It was magnificent. It was alive with color. There was no question.
Care time is a consideration so my planting/potting is extremely small. Just enough to add a splash of color, enough to marvel at nature. With only 4 geraniums, 2 red and 2 white ... they are big plants, one fills a large pot ... two ornamental grass type plants and 4 coleus, oh I can't forget the 20 tomato plants, we went home.
The house I lived in during high school had a white brick planter lining the sidewalk that led to our front door. Each spring/summer this planter held red geraniums. I remember seeing my mother plant these and thinking they were maybe an ok flower, nothing special. I actually didn't care too much for them, but I wasn't the plant person of the house and what does a teenage girl know about that stuff any way. A mere passing thought. Oddly though, one that lives on in a memory as I often can picture the moment I am talking about and clearly see the contrast of the white brick and the red geraniums. I'm sure that if I could plant that today I would see it as something all together different, something most beautiful. I now love geraniums.
The spring of my 16th year found me in the hospital. Nine days I was there, having had emergency surgery on the third day of my stay. Initally, on that third morning, I was preparing to go home as the nurses had told me that after the doctor had been in I would be released. A story I will not go into now, but when the doctor arrived he took one look at me, spoke little to me and the next thing I knew I was being prepared for surgery. To this day 43 years later I have no idea what prompted the decision he made, however, his actions are the reason I am sitting here typing this today.
Now where does this fit in with the later in life love for geraniums? I was released from the hospital on Memorial Day 1967. The hospital had a front porch which spanned the entire front of the hospital with huge white columns supporting it. Rocking chairs were scattered along it, still today you can find chairs and rocking chairs across the porch. But today there are not planters along the railing. Then there were and they were white and they held red geraniums. I remember stepping out on the porch and so very happy to be going home. And then I was just struct. The past nine days had seemed like a very, very long time, like a lifetime had passed. Stepping out into the air I was so conscious of being alive, of the fresh air, of my surroundings. I could hear the music in the distance of a marching band in a Memorial Day parade. And then the colors ... the geraniums were a red like I have never seen before or since, the grass also. I love the colors of nature, but never since have I ever seen anything so vivid as that red and green that day. It brought tears to my eyes. There really are not words to express what I saw, but in me it lives and always will.
Over the years my fondness of geraniums has grown and as I got older they now remind me of that day when I went home. Having arrived home I walked around the back yard for a few minutes taking in that which was around me. The blue sky without a cloud, it was a picture perfect day from every angle. I was in awe. I was in awe with life itself. With certainty, I knew, God had walked with me and always would.
I often think that heaven itself is the only place that could have colors that intense and that I was given a peek.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

This pin was my mother's. Its now over 50 years old. Not worth anything, at least in monetary terms, but it does hold a treasure of memories. She wore it every Mother's Day for 45 years or more.

I gave it to her when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old, or possibly a bit younger. I know I was young enough as I blurted out to my mother on the way home that I had gotten a pin, unable to hold in my excitement. I didn't say what kind of pin, just a pin. Once home it would be wrapped and tucked away to be presented on Mother's Day.

I remember going shopping in a store called Fishman's with a few dollars in my pocket to shop for Mother's Day. It was like a 5 and 10 across the street from Woolworth's. I can still remember standing at the counter on the main floor of the store, the woman who worked there helping me. Does anyone remember Woolworth's? Fishman's and Woolworths, they were fun stores, homey. I miss them.

I thought this pin was the cat's meow! I guess Mom did too. She wore it for the last time 6 years ago at the age of 83. Its been with me since.

It will be passed on, certainly not because of any dollar value, but because it represents life, mine and hers.

Happy Mother's Day mom
with love

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen

May the risen Lord renew our spirit today and always.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is Sprung

I love spring, I love watching the earth awaken and the vibrant colors that are coming to life. Right now this season shows signs of the springs I remember as a child. The mornings were clear and crisp and bright with sunshine.

I'm reminded of walking to the bus stop and while waiting for the bus we played hopscotch. There were four or five of us, five if Jimmy came running down from the bus stop up the street. Each one of us always carried a piece of chalk, the first one to get to the stop would draw the board if it wasn't there from the day before, or darken the lines if it was still there.


As soon as we arrived, we would deposit our lunches and whatever else we were carrying that day to school on the ground by the street sign, get our stones and the game would begin! Let me tell you, it was serious business for this group. We calculated where to stand to toss our stone to each number; when we had made our way to to blocks 8, 9 and 10, a running jump was executed.

We played each year during fall and spring from about third to sixth grade; elementary school years. I guess by the time we began junior high we must have thought that we were too adult to play anymore,the game ceased and the road no longer boasted of children at play.

I seldom ever see a hopscotch board any more. I saw one last year, the first I had seen in many, many years, and as ours had been, very simply drawn with white chalk on the pavement. It made me smile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The People We Meet

The third express lane declared 20 items or less and the line here consisted of two people, one just finishing checking out and another putting her 20 items up. Good enough for me with my two heads of romaine lettuce. I had actually just checked out not moments before when I realized that I had forgotten the romaine. Leaving my husband by the exit door I dashed toward produce, bagged my two romaines and took place back in line.

She, who was all of five feet, if that, slight of build, glanced in my direction and finished unloading her cart. I stood studying her (why? ... I don't know! just did.) Her hair was very grey, she was quite a bit older then I, simply dressed, beige car coat. The look of tired was there, the presence of strength showed, her movements were of gentleness.

She looked back at me and said to go ahead of her with my two items. Told her I was also going to get a pack of gum ... she smiled and stepped aside to let me pass. I paid for my items and thanked her again for the kindness. Again the small smile. I said that my husband was waiting for me and I knew he would appreciate her letting me go as well. She then said "my husband is home waiting for me. He is in bed sick." I said that I hoped that he would feel better soon. As soon as the words were out of my mouth I just knew what the response would be ... she lowered her head and shook no. I said I was so sorry, she responded with a slight nod. I told her that I would keep her in my prayers. And she nodded again and smiled, a smile that said more then any words could. The care of her husband is done with pure, pure love, I could see that. I had the thought to ask her for her first name but for some reason I purposely ignored the thought. I know that God knows who she is, who her husband is and maybe for some reason I am not to know her name.

What I do know is that I will pray for this woman and her husband. And my prayers will be heard, not because I am saying the prayers, but because prayer is being said.

For whatever reason, just for a moment, God put her in my path and a stirring took place in my heart. My meeting with this woman maybe was more for me. Who knows. God knows.

She will always be in my prayers. Will you join me?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Treasured Memory of a First Best Friend

PhotobucketOne of the blogs that I read is Nancy Lindemeyer's Journal ... the Nancy Lindemeyer from the original Victoria Magazine, oh how I loved that magazine!

Her post today involves her new book called My First Best Friend. You can hop on over to her site to take a look Reading this today stirred a memory of my first best friend.

She lived up the street from me, a short distance, a walking distance, so of course we went to the same elementary school. The bus would pick her up first in the morning, the next stop was mine. We always sat together on the way to school and more often then not on the way home as well, reversed bus ride, I would be let off first to go home. Our friendship, that was 50 - 55 years ago.

She would at times stay over night at my house. She had a giggle that I can still hear if I quietly listen. We were silly little girls. My father would work the bingo game for our church once a month and when he did my mother and brother and I would go to bingo as well. Many times she would come along with us and spend the night afterwards. She won one night, oh my goodness, it was so, so exciting.

One spring morning ... I really remember the day, it was very beautiful, such a blue, blue sky ... I got on the bus and took my seat next to her on the right side of the bus about half way back. We usually sat there. As soon as I got settled in my seat she handed me this little white box. Never having received a gift before like this I didn't think too much of it until I opened the box. Inside was a silver band ring nestled in a small rectangle of cotten, the ring had an open cutwork design and was so shiny. It was the most beautiful thing I think I had ever seen. She told me it was a friendship ring. Can you imagine how special that was? And how special that is to even this day, almost a lifetime later.

That afternoon after school my mother took me out so that I could get her a ring from me. Giving her her ring the next day was at least anticlimatic to what I experienced but nevertheless we cemented our friendship.

During junior high school we had moved and somehow we had drifted. Many years after high school my mother had run into her mother. They made plans to meet, her daughter would be there with her children and I would come with my sons. We were both excited to see each other, it had been a long time. The day before we were to meet she had gotten the flu or something so that we had to postpone our visit but shortly we would plan a get together again.

A few weeks later I was driving to my mother's and along the way I had passed our school bus stops ... and for some reason I remembered the friendship ring, the blue sky, the bus ride that one spring morning and it made me smile and warmed my heart. She was such a great kid! I had often passed this way but for some reason the memory had chosen now to surface.

Shortly after this my mother had run into her mother. It seems that the week that I had gone to my mother's, the week that I had remembered that spring morning, she had had a massive heart attack. She had died at the age of 41. That was 18 years ago. It struck me that I hadn't thought of that spring morning, of those two little girls, until that week and thinking that we would see each other again shortly.

I wrote to her mother, telling her of the memory that my heart held. I also told her that knowing the type of child she had been I also knew the type of adult she would have grown to be and that I could not begin to imagine their heartache.

She was my first best friend. Its more then a good memory, it was a special time of life. I can imagine now that she has and continues to fill heaven with her laughter and giggles.

Thank you for being my first best friend. God bless you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Finding Happiness

Simply put, sometimes it just takes work. Having come this far, and tripped, stumbled, and flat out fallen more times that one can count, you finally see the pattern forming which we call life and all that which we take for granted. "All that" is the key to happiness.

Happiness, like love .... (I had written earlier - Love cannot be boxed, wrapped in paper or adorned with bows, glitz and glitter. It stands unashamedly unwrapped, uncovered ... bare and bold. To receive it, there is no greater gift. It is the ultimate. -glor) ... cannot be bought, sold, inherited, demanded or prescribed. When you think about it, happiness unlike love cannot be given, but it can be accepted; it must be accepted to be. Think about it.

to be continued ...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Twenty Five Years Ago

Photobucket...the first words I heard upon awakening from anethesia. An 8 lb. 13 oz. bundle of blue. Actually I was disappointed at the weight as I had been sure that this child had to be at least 15 pounds, maybe 20, so much had I gained, so uncomfortable had I been. But 8 lb. 13 oz., ... so the rest was really me, well after the water weight and they told me there was a lot of that! After a short induced labor a c-section was performed and thank God as the cord was wrapped around his neck. Again we had been given a miracle. His brother, five months shy of his ninth birthday, was our first miracle, a premie and an amazing story for his birthday!

Three more tries to get to today, tonight, 25 years ago ... he was born at 7:55pm; I didn't get to see him until the next morning. Even with sedation it had been a difficult birth and night and with IV's in both arms I wasn't able to hold him until later the next morning but when I did I was in total awe. Again, all I could say was thank you God, thank you God. For the first time full term had been achieved. For the first time I would go home with a baby in my arms.

And here, now, 25 years later, how did we get here so fast? I smile, I'm still in awe, I still marvel at the young men that are our sons. I think I always will.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Color my world

PhotobucketThree of us (myself and two of my ten) started taking drawing and now watercolor painting lessons (an item from my 60th and forward list). Been at it now about 6 months although I am still quite the novice. Actually if there was something before novice I think I would have that hands down! We started with the watercolor paints two months ago and with time off for the holidays we have only had about three classes for this medium. Our classes are every other week with the week in between we meet at one of our homes to practice the instruction of the last class, this also is our third practice session.

Two of us arrive this morning at her house ... a table had been painstakening set up with props for the drawing and watercoloring. Much thought and love was put into this array of subjects with the most beautiful music in the background, meditative. A mouth watering selection of eats were at hand with wonderful cups of vanilla flavored coffee. It was delectable.

We sketch out the subject(s), start to mix the paints, conversation slows and each one of us drifts into the peaceful serenity called watercolor painting. For a few hours there are no tightened muscles, no problem thoughts, anything of tension seems to dissipate.

It has been a good lesson, a very good lesson learned. Is it something I would frame, absolutely not but it will be signed, dated and treasured as I look at what I have created and count my blessings. How many in this world have had the morning that I experienced. I come away thinking of what is going on around me ... in my own surroundings the schools have been cancelled, they've called it a riot, a gang fight. A life has been taken, others severely injured. In Haiti an earth quake has claimed thousands upon thousands of lives and left many victims of pain and suffering ... we must pray. Devastation is everywhere.

I pray for all and I thank God for the color of my world.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


The star burned like a flame, pointing the way to God,the King of Kings; the wise men saw the sign and brought their gifts in homage to their great King.
The Lord gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals what is deep and hidden; all light has its source in him.