Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Survivor duck

trying to catch fog

at the art teacher's house

the big tree in her front yard

making a mouse

I wish I could capture her laughter

November fog

woods life

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Comfort and joy

So many tears this year. Sorrow's shadows aren't far behind. Erin especially is feeling the loss. Our Rudy cat that died last January. A former neighbor and dear family friend who died in May, so young. Losses in goodbyes. And community. And trust.

Erin's face transforms to tears in seconds as she tells me of her friend whose Christmas wish was for a new mother. "She didn't even sound like she cared!" The sobs. I held her close for a long time.

"I love you, Mom! I love you!" I held her tighter, remembering last January's read of the woman who tore her house apart, and how outside stress and circumstance can steal so much more than peace.

Shane's mom died, and I think of a mother's heart all the more.

This morning, new news that a neighbor's dog was put to sleep yesterday, and I don't know how to tell Erin. Oh, she loved Sammie. I prefaced it with, "I have some sad news ..."

And she guessed before I could tell her. We sat together by the fire, and she buried her head against me and dug deeper into the folds of the blanket my dad gave me. She had lots of questions and so much to say--all this death, so much loss, all year and now. She counted it.

"Why does everything have to die? Do animals go to heaven?" she asked. "What if they don't?"

"Where else would they go?" I queried gently.

"What if they went nowhere?" The despair.

"Why would God make nowhere? When God is full of love and creativity, why would he make nowhere?" I wondered. We talked about how he cares for animals and delights in his creations and the things that were made that declare his glory--even Jesus said the rocks would cry out. She relaxed.

"Let's read a story," she suggested and cuddled closer. We are reading Christmas Remembered by Tomie dePaola (he is older than my dad by almost two years) and she pointed out the hearts in the illustrations. She lightened to find the heart on every page, even the hard ones in the trickiest places, she is convinced it's there.

She seeks in earnest. She finds.

There's a metaphor hidden in that as well.

Erin with Sammie on Halloween

She dons my readers and waits with mischief for my return.

Monday, November 28, 2016

And still counting (9686-9726)

Lanie helping to cook in the kitchen
pecan pie
fuzzy light
a full table

drizzly mornings
fires in the fireplace
handmade blankets by my dad
read alouds
hot cocoa

Michi's visit
flowers gifted

her kind words
good coffee
talks with Diona

the art teacher
Michelle and Nadiya
pumpkin muffins, gobbled

a week off
a home focus
good laughs
Marshall's mom

quiet time
Christmas carols
fox socks
kids' crafts

kettle corn

ornament shopping
a tree up

Rudy, remembered, as we hung ornaments
breakfast for dinner
that man of mine

for Jane, mother and grandmother
her pats of butter to a little boy
her memory of each of her four kids' birth weights
how she called Shane a "lucky boy"
for her rest, peace and wholeness in Christ


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day story


Outside my window, shades of white and brown. Overcast sky. Bare trees. Leaves spread out across the lawn. Shane is wearing his wool plaid jacket, winterizing things that need winterizing, and packing up the last of summer things.

Giving thanks for leftovers. Blankets to wrap up in. Shoes on my feet. A thankful banner hangs in the dining room window while white lights trim the living room window. The tree is up and decorated with the girls' short lifetime of ornaments. We had a fire going last night. But today, the rooms are cold. The heater clicks on to let me know that the bottom is reached.

In the school room, Erin puts together the last of a Thanksgiving craft. She is full of thoughts and sweet chatter, and I find myself smiling and grateful for her light heart.

This: "I wonder what the world would be like without any emails. Don't you?"
And this: last night upon the unveiling of the Fisher Price nativity scene with the stable that plays "Away in a Manger" ... "That song never gets old!" she said. She loves Christmas.

From the kitchen, boxed mac and cheese for the kids for lunch. I ate a cold slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Leftovers to warm when my man comes back inside. And soup, for me.

I don't ever want to forget to number my days. Each one grows more precious than the last. I listened to one man's sad reflections of dreams never pursued, a lack of identity or worth--what he could have been. I think long on Grandma Jane, and cherish all the more this mother to the son who is my husband. I am grateful for the love line that brought him here. We prepare our hearts for goodbye, and goodbyes not said. This season grows colder.

I am reading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, and I linger longer in "Little Women." Other books in the stack, waiting. A rush of advent pushing against the calendar frames.

I am hearing the girls clanking forks against bowls of hot mac and cheese. They talk to each other and I can't hear their words. Erin turned music on. Our Jesus tunes remind me of eternity.

Around the house, a quiet pause. Former days full of thanksgiving and merriment, now blanketed with somber sorrow of life gone. We all think of losses this year and losses to come, and they feel heavy and cold. Rest in peace, sweet Jane.

A view of my favorite things:

My family.
Linda and Dad

Their  happiness.

My man and best friend.

At the table, the cloth and holiday dishes to pack away from the dining room. Memories warm and fresh from just the other day. Shane and I share a meal space, and he is back outside, and I sit again typing. Now, hot tea in a mug. Now, a fire started in the school room stove.

On, on.

In sweet loving memory of a dear mother, and our Grandma Jane.  August 1933-November 2016.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. Minutes before it was supposed to go off, I turned it off so it wouldn't wake up Shane, and I closed my eyes. This is the sequence before disaster strikes, and I oversleep. But not yesterday. Quite miraculously, the alarm went off anyway.

I got up.

The dark hours of morning were spent in quiet thoughts and heartfelt pleadings. And then coffee. And then baking. I started with pumpkin cheesecake bars. Woke Lanie up to assist, her request, and we spent time cooking together. She helped with pecan pie and sausage dressing. She reminded me to make Linda's favorite sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and I did.

The turkey turned out dry (this is not surprising), and the sides were a favorite and hit.

Butternut bisque
Pomegranate and clementine salad
Sausage dressing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows
Dry turkey
Pumpkin cheesecake bars
Ice cream
Pecan Pie

The welcomes were warm. My dad gifted me a blanket he made. And when drinks were offered, he asked if we had cranberry gingerale (his favorite, and I made sure it was here). I'm thankful--for woodland views and my kids and Denise running and playing in the yard; my dad's smile; warmth in the house and in our hearts.

Erin drew this. Sweet.

Seeing hearts in cream splashes. Butternut bisque.

First ever homemade gluten-free pecan pie

Denise makes everything fun!

Selfie with Linda and Dad.


Full table

Catching Dad coloring on the tablecloth. (It had word searches, games, and fun things on it.)

My sister next to me.

After dinner smiles.
Next year, I'm getting a much smaller turkey and maybe a rotisserie chicken. Thankful for such a good day.

Monday, November 21, 2016

And still counting (9653-9685)

for a tear catcher in the morning hours
grace in a keyboard
words received well

for good and hope in double doses

turkey talk with strangers
a Thursday mall run with Erin
spices--so pretty and colorful

mug love

and hot chocolate

a nearly empty mall

eye candy

food court fries
warm fires at home

and chocolate
Marshall's Mom
her patience with my math skills
her generosity and creativity
paint pens with Ann

sunshiney day outside
brushed clouds in blue
Erin's head upon my shoulder
the giant bird bathing atop the pool cover
a big green bible
Giant bird--got as close as I could with a phone cam

this sky with Erin

and how she imagines the story unfolding in our backyard

a tapioca flour delivery
and gluten-free free sample of mini chocolate chips
a crown
a Tuesday tea with Amy
poetry provided by Rebecca

tea in the mail


some favorites!
 a chat with Connie
gifted things
reading My Side of the Mountain with Erin
and how she imagines the story unfolding in our backyard

Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee pods
a pot of tea with a bosom friend
two fires burning
after dinner chats with my man
a home focus this week to come