Thanksgiving 2018 ~ A day to remember.

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What a day September 22, 2018 was for our family, but especially the branch of the Julie and Ethan tree.  Marriage!  There are not bigger moments in the life of a young woman than Birth and Marriage. Julie had experienced both and I knew it would take someone very special to secure my independent, uniquely created and designed baby girl’s hand in marriage. He had to be someone to whom she could entrust not only her heart, but her son’s growing being to~ safely and with confidence. He had to be secure in his own identity, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and handsome wouldn’t hurt. He should probably be someone she respected for the long haul, or the flame would be doused by the burdens of daily living. His family background got an A+ from my observations from afar, when I heard they were ‘normal’  had been married ‘forever’ and  were ‘super close’.

When an adult child chooses marriage, as in all other things, one’s maternal yearnings to instruct take a backseat to instincts, and my instincts were positive! I finally met Ron, at least once before the nuptials were announced, and found him to be checking off every box on my ‘perfect mate for J list’, not the least of which was love my daughter well. Added to that formula was much prayer to God , Whom I knew to be faithful and compassionate and kind, and to Whom I had entrusted the care of this baby girl ever since her birth, so many years ago!

Now the wedding itself was not without prayer back up for me! I had not seen or been in the same space as my husband-aka-the father of the Bride- for 17 years. I was nervous and anxiety threatened to ruin this beautiful event for me personally. So I did what any God fearing woman would do- begged my girlfriends for prayer support, and looked to my elder’s wife friend for a pep talk, then I reminded myself that the wedding was not about me and my emotions, but about my baby girl and her happiness. Perfect peace? Not totally since I must always be honest, but perfectly calm and no impending storm on the horizon of happiness. 🙂

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If you can believe my mind, this blog post is about Thanksgiving 2018. See how my mind wanders and takes rabbit trails before it settles into the main thought? Imagine my world – I have to live with it!

If you are a parent that gives gifts to your children, or perhaps a person who has ever received a thank you note from anyone for something , read on.

When you are thanked for something given, do you want a description back on  what that gift was, or the ways it was used, or the importance of the gift in your life,? OR,  would you rather have the thank you note include reasons the person appreciates who you are, how you impact their life and how significant they make you feel? I thought so. Me too.

God has given me so much throughout my life. He gave me seven children to raise, sometimes with a father present, sometimes not, but always with Himself present. I thank Him for them this Thanksgiving, but there  is more.

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God has been my Creator, provider God, who loves my children more than I can think or imagine. Am I more thankful for these beautiful people He loaned me for a time, or am I more thankful for His generosity, guidance, help and provision over the years?  How about last year when circumstances came along, beyond my control, that felt out of my control?   The wedding was a gift worthy of thanks. Yet, again God was with me, answering the prayers of my heart and His people who prayed when I felt too weak, too vulnerable, too frightened. I’m thanking Him this Thanksgiving for who He is ~ my Shepherd (I am His sheep), my Savior (I am His child) my  Counselor (I am His one who often needs counsel and help), my Fortress (I often am hiding in Him), my Protector, (from so many emotional attacks), my Shield (always guarding my heart from harm), my Provider (always beyond what I need and often what I most want), my GOD (in whom is found everything else of value)! Yes, Thanksgiving needs to be so much more than the gifts HE gives me, for me…it needs to be thankfulness from the depths of my being for His Being . Thanks be to God!

The wedding was wonderful. The crises averted. The gifts plentiful. The new son already loved and appreciated. The Julie and Ethan tree has a solid trunk added on in Ron.

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Joel 2:25 says: So I will restore to you the years the swarming locusts have eaten…you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God  who has dealt wondrously with you, and my people shall never be put to shame.

I am so thankful this year for more restoration and I praise His name. Amen and Amen.

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The Winter

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It’s Sunday morning, from Albuquerque , New Mexico, and the rain has been hitting the roof of my casita all night long. I actually do prefer snow to rain, but since I am not the Creator nor in any way controlling the weather, it rains.

Two Sundays ago I decided to blog every Sunday , but last week I flew from Perkiomenville , on the East coast, to Albuquerque in the Southwest, and was otherwise occupied with grandsons and burritos, so sorry. The funny thing here is I am pretending I am writing to people who are reading this, when in fact, I highly doubt that I am, so it’s easier to be normal when you just put your thoughts down with no repercussions. 🙂

My mind is a scary place and deciding what to talk about is an act of grace. I am praying for the words I say and meditations of my heart to be acceptable in Gods sight, for His love and grace to me has carried me many years and through many seasons of my own life.  I decided to write about my mom while she is still among the living. If I wait until she is dead, or into her eternal life and home, I would get all sappy and maudlin rather than say what I want to.

Notice the big cottonwood trees I photographed last week? Aren’t they majestic and gorgeous? I last saw them along the Bosque at the Rio Grande River in Spring. They were equally beautiful, just different, adorned with leaves that crackled as the occasional wind drifted through them. One of these massive trees held my very first sighting of a large grey owl, and I still thank God for that moment when he swooped by me to nest in the limbs above! That tree had a purpose, other than just being beautiful, a grand and noble reason for existence.

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Well, as the story goes, then comes summer when I have never been to New Mexico. I am fairly certain, however, that in the 100* heat with blazing sunshine, one would relish the opportunity to sit under the shade of this mature cottonwood tree, soaking up the coolness of the shade it provides. It just needs to BE and it has a way of bringing comfort and relief to the ones seeking it.

Autumn was the best season for me personally to visit here and observe the aspens and cottonwoods and the varied vegetation around the Southwest. I  felt like the trees not only sheltered me from the lingering sun, but also gave a beautiful backdrop to everything else happening in the Bosque and mountainous regions. The leaves were turning to yellows and browns, which in no way diminished their beauty, but in fact made them more stately.

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Seriously, these aspens flapping in the breeze is the most fun sound!! Kind of like they are whispering to each other.

So, there we have it, back to winter in New Mexico and my promise of writing about my mother. Now do you see why I have trouble focusing my mind? I honestly began this morning with thoughts of mom, who turns a glorious 86 tomorrow, and is often battling with feeling unnecessary and outdated. I didn’t want to compare my own mom to a tree, but what can I say? It applies!

Mom, or Maude as I often call her when I feel Mom doesn’t quite work. No, it isn’t her name, just one of those names I stuck on her a long time ago, and it remains . Her full name is Marjorie, usually Peg,  sometimes Marge,and she hates Peggy unless it was dad calling her Peggy Sue. Her mom before her was Marjorie, they called her Margie, and I named my second daughter after them both-Margie. whew.

Mom was a beauty when she was younger, knocking the boys off their feet, I hear, causing my dad to fall head over heels while still in high school. They married while still teens and had me shortly thereafter, followed by 3 more girls and their beloved , longed for son. Mom was ignorant of the ways of raising children , so used her very capable brain to guide us all through the Springtime of her life and our childhood. No play dates back in that day, nor internet , or social media to tell you how to raise Susie. She just tapped into her mother’s wisdom and experience, who happened to be in her Summer, Fall years.

Somehow, by God’s grace, we were raised and I never doubted her love for me or her wisdom in her choices. She was Mom. As the kids left home, her role changed and she just was there for us as we entered our adulthood.

Sometimes in the walks I take,  I like crooked , gnarly trees as much as the tall , straight ones, and that was my Mom experience. She wasn’t perfect, but perfect for me. She annoyed me from time to time, but I am pretty sure I annoyed her too. She just faithfully stood her ground, giving wisdom as requested, usually in the form of cooking tips, housekeeping ideas or instructions on how to get dinner all on the table and Hot while chasing many children(I had 7, she had 5) around the kitchen.

Then Maude entered the Fall of her life, accompanying dad on lots of trips around to see grandchildren and vacation spots while he was alive, and then by herself  when he died. She boarded planes and flew to Florida, New Mexico, New York and then on to Italy and Europe. She drove hundreds of miles alone to see grandkids, or sewed  quilts for college grads, and bibs for babies, all the while canning dilly beans for a grandchild, while searching for a perfect recipe for a new Christmas cookie to send. Mom decided she needed a laptop, since the world kept spinning and she wanted to stay on it, so now she emails and prefers it to texting, but does not like that nobody mails thank you notes anymore. (I agree on that, so guess I am entered into the Fall of my life too 🙂 )

Then comes Winter. It can be hard on trees, knocking some over and bending others, causing branches to fall off, and birds to need other places to nest. It can be harsh or mild, who is to decide? Oh, the Creator knows what’s best. Winter can be discouraging in it’s lengthiness and purposeless feelings. It can cause depression or slippery ice to fall on, it can bring chill to the bones and brokenness to the tree branches.

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The end of my tribute to my Mom isn’t magical and profound. It’s just making me pause and realize how much I love her uniqueness(just like the trees , don’t you see?) and her strength and value. She has raised me, sheltered me, taught me and been someone who showed me many paths to follow, mainly the path of loving God through all the ‘stuff’. I guess as I contemplate her NOT being here,  one  of my main concerns is who else really will care when I burn the pasta or cry over the latest book I read, or am troubled by my children’s choices in life or need to gripe?  I am ever so thankful to know God cares, but I am equally as thankful He gave me Maude to season my life well.  Happy 86th Mom!

PS. I was wondering why I had to inherit the bad back ache instead of the ability to sew?

 

 

2017 Begins, shall we start again?

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ready for the wind

Happy New Year!

It is becoming apparent to me that life is quite similar to the dandelion I pictured above. POOF! A strong gust of wind will scatter those little seedlings all over the place. Not too long ago, it was bright and yellow and cheerful in appearance. Prior to that it was sprouting up with nary a care in the world.

Now look~ it is about ready to blow away, leaving only its influence  and perhaps new growth where it lands.  I wonder if it knows the power it contains in its ability to influence future lawns? All of those homeowners who cringe at it sprouting up in the Spring on their pristine green lawn. They will dash out and purchase all sorts of sprays and potions, in an attempt to remove it.

I am the dandelion. I used to be vibrant and bright, so ready to take on any homeowner or lawn care expert, pushing through whatever came at me, strong and sometimes aggressive in my growth into my prime.

As the years blow by I am watching with incredulity, amazed when young people card me they are asking for my AARP card, rather than my ID! What? I LOOK old? My bright yellow has seemingly changed into a faded gray, the hairs on my head numbering fewer and being less cooperative with my notion of a style.

My choice is clear. Resist or Embrace. Denial is not in my blood. Subtlety is for Southerners, not a Northern gal such as myself. I am getting old, and I need to influence for good anything that I leave behind.

Thus I will blog.

What started me thinking this way was that it has been suggested more than once that I write  a  Blog. Once I considered a Blog post a day . How about a photo a day? Wouldn’t a ‘wise older woman word a day be an important legacy? Sure, until I ran out of wisdom by January 31st!

Just so you know, I wanted to go watch a movie on Netflix, but made myself face the next challenge I threw at myself. Not a resolution, for I am not resolved over anything except Christ crucified for me, (no , seriously) but determined to go forth! Let the winds of time and aging throw their best punches! I will be vocal and wise, mixed with Godly and good. I will not take on politics. There is no religion for me, there is merely my relationship with God, through Christ Jesus. He loves me, therefore I am.

We must have photos. Birds will fly into this Blog often, as will occasional maternal moments and Grammy gratitude. Usually , however, I will just try to be me as God made me and is working on me. Thanks if you read, I won’t know if you don’t! 🙂 [ I amuse myself. :-)]

Shall I write every Sunday? OK. Except next Sunday I am flying to New Mexico, but I’ll try to chat.

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First morning on the Farm

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The first day after the family left for vacation appeared to be gloomy, early raindrops announcing that I most likely will NOT have to water the growing garden as carefully instructed by Becca. She had shown me, plant by tender plant, exactly which ones needed water, which needed weeding and which needed talking to.( I made that part up)
The dogs both slept in my bedroom last night and are surprisingly good sleepers. They slept way better than any of my fond memories of toddlers at their age, or even teens, as I recall! Last night they stopped their insane play fighting and took a quick nap near each other, ignoring the “DO NOT let them sleep on the couch ” rule imposed by the farmer’s wife.
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I wondered to myself as the family posed politely for my picture, if they suspected that rules are often suspended for vacationing farmers? My daddy always said, ignorance is bliss… did they not read that in the owner’s manual?
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Waking up semi-refreshed, I grabbed my glasses, put on the water for French Press coffee, and headed outside for morning potty duty with the dogs. They had not yet fully awakened, and were unusually cooperative, so I made a critical error in judgment at this juncture. I decided they could play in the back yard, off leases, and foolishly trusted the obedience factor would be stronger than the wandering factor.
Don’t yell at me, I’m a slow learner and they needed exercise!
“Time to go in now, Hazel and Louie!!” I called cheerfully, in my most convincingly sweet voice. “Let’s have our breakfast!”.
I am now going to post the picture of the problem that was about to happen:
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Please note who is looking at me and who is not. Please note which dog cousin will be in their crate by the end of my story.

Off ran Louie in the direction of the chicken coop. I assumed he would go visit the chickens, do his business and come obediently to the back door with his cousin Hazel. So I fed the chickens, looked for eggs and called Louie to encourage his homing instinct
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The next half hour was a blur of berries and blubbering, as I took my morning walk enforced on me by this canine caper. I just knew my little Louie was dead, stolen, or wandering aimlessly lost and frightened.Even in tragedy , however, these pretty berries growing along the road gave me a nutritious snack and fun picture 🙂

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The truth is, Louie was ignoring me and extremely nosy.
There is no way he did not hear my pleading, pathetic calls.
He crossed the road (which has a reputation of claiming critter lives) and went to visit Heather, the neighbor, who was taking out her trash. I saw her asking another neighbor if she knew who the little guy belonged to, so volunteered that that particular little guy was mine.
I had slapped on my fake smile, because I was thinking already how best to discipline the dog.

Now, as I reflect on this supposedly peace filled visit to the Farm, I am thankful that Louie is contemplating his crime as he sits in his crate, Hazel is content while smirking to herself at my feet, and the chickens are well fed and laying me more eggs for my breakfast.

Life on the Farm….to be continued……

Finding my voice

In a world full of beautiful blogs and intelligent bloggers, it seems a bit presumptuous to think I would add anything valuable to the mix. I love the blogs that showcase foods and recipes, showing glamorous food shots that make you gain weight just by looking at them! I adore hearing of people’s travels to exotic, other worldly places that I will only see by reading blogs, on the internet or by watching Amazing Race on TV. (I do, fyi) I cannot contribute to those categories, unless a visit to Brooktondale, NY qualifies and leftovers becomes a food rage.

One time when I was investigating the world of bloggers, I saw the question posed : Decide who your audience is and then proceed. All of these past years of adulthood I have been trying to decide who, in fact, might be interested in what I have to say. In my case, however, it is more what my brain is sorting through and spitting out to clarify, consolidate and consider.

The final answer came to me only yesterday, as I sat sipping coffee and thought, ‘wait ! this is the first day of living in a house with just me and Louie, the  peculiar puppy.’

Let me repeat that sentence, only  maybe rephrase it.

I AM FINALLY ALONE!!!!!!

Saturday evening found me closing the door behind son #2 as he emptied the last of his worldly possessions from his spot in my basement to his spot in North Philadelphia. Mind you, I have no address for him or details, but also be sure I no longer want to care. He is 30, I am done. His younger brother, son #3, left about a month ago, and at 27, I felt his time with me was over as well. Those lines between helping your children, enabling your kids, and wasting your energy, are lines to establish when the kids are in their teens, and hopefully with the help of a father who is still on the premises.

As I sat realizing the gravity of my situation, I thought , “This will be my intended audience! YOU are the women i will think aloud to- Middle aged to older women , life experiences overflowing and waiting to be shared; realization setting in that rarely does a younger woman care what those experiences have taught us, let alone ask your opinions on life!

A blog to the women between places …work maybe, although I just lost my job at age 65, having completed my career in home making, child rearing and teaching, quite successfully. [ Well, that might depend on whom you ask, since my husband of 31 years walked out the door and recanted his vows, my kids think I did a few things wrong, and I have never been too far above the poverty level for most of those years]

Maybe you are between the work world and the grave.

Maybe you are between raising kids and transporting your parent to a million medical visits.

Maybe you are stuck in a dead end job and need an outlet to discover who you truly are.

I am pretty sure my audience will be a woman who is frustrated and needs permission to just BE and be accepted and loved as a result of having experienced her own personal journey through life. Personality deficits and all.

Why do I think these things? Because I am actually not sure what I am doing any day except today-quite literally. It would help me tremendously to read about another woman struggling with similar stuff , and nobody tells you! We are a bunch of ‘slap a smile on your face and act like everything is fine’ women! We would rather deflect questions of How ARE you? and share about the weather forecast or the Obama pitfalls. Good grief- we all end up in the grave, so let’s at least help each other and struggle here together.

My house is on the market for sale and has not even a nibble of interest. I am no longer gainfully employed and I have no energy to un-gainfully employ myself anywhere. I have no income, no stash of riches, no desire to re-enter a new career path. I am finally ALONE (did I mention that ?), and want to simply think . Just think without interruption.                          Louie -stop barking!

I also would love to watch birds and take their pictures, while I visit all 13 of the grands, and included are the Southern 3 and Southwestern 2, should anyone wonder what perks my interest.:-)

My head is so scattered that I cannot function at full capacity, certainly not Blog anything that anyone wants to read, so today I am done with this and waiting for the Comcast man. He will guarantee to be here between 12 and 4 pm…isn’t life great? Guaranteed 4 hour window while I sit here and wait. Maybe I should work there next….

But my friend Loretta has challenged me to begin blogging, so begin I will. Today, right now.  Maybe it will be weekly, maybe daily, who can know? Check out HER Blog, now that’s worth a read! Safari of the Mind.….

Blog or Burst

In the olden days, one could purchase a journal and spend hours upon hours writing their innermost thoughts down, then tucking the journal away until another bout of verbosity struck them. I acquired many journals in my younger years, usually as gifts from friends who thought surely I must journal , since I wrote notes and cards to people, was a fairly good conversationalist and faithfully wrote my annual Christmas letter which circulated among family and friends.

Wrong. I hated  it !  The logic eluded me, and I resisted after trying time and time again to jot down my thoughts. If I wanted to write to God, I simply prayed. If I wanted to share thoughts, I wrote or talked to a friend. What was the point of writing in a journal for nobody to read?

However, age brings changes, and more times than I care to admit, my opinions are moving slowly from the right to the middle, from the white and black to the grays, and my thoughts fill my head and spew out like foam from a latte. I NEED to get those ideas, thoughts, and ponderings out! I have discovered that if I blog, I can fool my brain into thinking it serves a purpose for someone else and since God already knows my innermost thoughts, He has heard and knows my heart cries, loving me through them. Will my family love me through my thoughts? Will my friends ever ‘get’ me? Not so important as it was when I was in my 30’s and 40’s. In my 50’s I was adjusting to life alone and single , raising the last of the 7 kids to adulthood without the help of a husband and father, all the while adapting my talkative self to an internal conversationalist. The problem is that I cannot overfill my brain, or  I shut down and become depressed.  For me, one who has lived around depression, yet somehow personally avoided it, that becomes a scary place to head.

The other fact that often pops into my head, is that my thoughts are not pure, but tainted by selfishness and sin, so I need help filtering them. What sounds noble and true could easily be emotional and subjective. Placing the ideas and thoughts into a Blog is not for everyone. Privacy is one of the reasons people do NOT  Blog, or even ‘do’ Facebook. I think that perhaps I feel differently because of my personality combined with my history. It is not offensive to me if someone wants to read my thoughts, or comment on them, as long as the possibility remains that they might be helped to think things through a bit differently.

All this was to introduce my current thought pile. Plus, I am not sure this Blog site is even working, so basically I will test and see, then begin sifting and sorting.

That’s all for now.

Who says Dandelions are Weeds?

I wandered around my yard all week, searching for Spring flowers to photograph. It appeared that all of my neighbors had this whole ” plant them at the correct time and get results in the proper time” down to a gardening science. I, on the other hand, preferred the ” if God wanted it in my garden, He would blow it there” mentality.

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I’d say, based on my observations and results, that like many things in life, the beauty factor is in the eyes or lens of the beholder.

So naturally, for me at least,  I wandered and clicked the shutter, adjusting the settings and bending down lower than this aging photographer  should bend, as my youthful mind pondered life.

What about people? Babies being carried in their mother’s wombs at his very minute? Peoples aging in Nursing Homes, mentally and physically handicapped ones created by my Creator God? Deformed and less than perfect little flowers NOT blooming into movie stars, authors, astronauts, bankers, presidents, politicians, headmasters or even football players or World Cup Soccer Stars? [I try so hard not to show my prejudices and yet they flow from my keyboard]. What if the people around me are like the flowers? Some made for greatness and power, some just blown around by the Creator for His own delight and purposes?

Hmmmm…we all start out the same, hard to believe and acknowledge , yet so true. Egg, sperm, womb, woman, world. I was really , super bad in science, but I think I got that sequence right.

First I saw my budding dandelions, so precious as they lay scattered and random in my yard. They were particularly precious to makers of Dandelion Wine(my grandpa had a recipe!) and those who love Field Greens~a little bitter , yet adding salt fixes most anything. As an aside, is this truly organic or what??!

Then that BRIGHT yellow flower! Whew, it about knocks your eyes out if you stare at it. How could THAT beauty be called a WEED? As if unlovely and unnecessary rather than unique and bright and cheery?

Finally, in it final stage of life, the really healthy ones puff up and scatter themselves for the next generation of flowers, to become like them, adding interest and uniqueness to the yards of the suburbs, cities, fields and forests.

Makes a girl wonder as she wanders…..

….who decided one person is disposable and another indispensable?

….who is more significant than another?

….why don’t we value dandelions and roses in the  gardens and yards ?

…. how come we pay highly for fertilizer and gardeners, special food and large amounts of energy?

 

Well, should your mind match mine in any way, your thoughts will conclude the same way mine did.

We are all going to be scattering in the wind, no matter our careers, physical attributes, education, or choices of meals.

Perhaps we should concentrate some energy on noticing the value in the individual flowers as they are, before the Wind comes our way.

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