Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I have never been so glad to see the year's end!
So long 2009- we are glad to see you go!

Still, my husband is in the kitchen - upright and cooking!
My kids are in the next room- playing a board game!

and I have blogged my way through 2009- embraced and held by old friends....
and glad for the pieces of life that each of you share in your blogs
Blogging certainly kept me going through this last year

So looking forward to 2010 and all that it holds

Wishing each of you a blessed and happy New Year

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I stopped in a park to chart today. Snug in my car- eyes focused on the computer screen and ears attuned to the soaring voice of Susan Boyle (wow) I barely noticed my white, frozen surroundings.

Banshee screams pierced the air, and my eyes flew automatically to the lake in front of me- instantly fearful that a child had fallen through the ice. Nothing- and my eyes returned to the screen.
Screams again pierced the air and this time I swiveled my head to see 6 wild indians, dressed in various hues of purple and blue careening wildly down the hill to my left. This time, I let my attention wander from the screen in front of me to watch. What a great time they were having. Up they went and down again. Sleds escaped them and they laughed and ran following. Soon they were finding ways to enliven the experience, riding on their knees, their bellies, making ramps and flying though the air. When one fell, another ran calling "are you OK?????"

Now diverted, I paused to notice the scene around me. Pine trees- lined, like soldiers at attention across the frozen lake. Bare branches silhouetted against a blue/grey sky. I finally noticed the cold seeping abound my feet and the sparkling of the ice on the parking lot.

It was hard to leave that place, to pull out and proceed on with my day. Warmly sheltered in the home of one of my favorite patients a few minutes later, I couldn't resist telling him about the children at play. It was like opening a treasure chest, and I listened as memories poured forth of his own childhood in the hills of Pennsylvania.

It was hard to pull myself away from there also.... some days I just love doing what I do.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas gifts

Good times, good friends, great family

And so another Christmas season draws to a close.

We had a rather quiet Christmas, subdued I suppose. Not many gifts- but oh, how much meaning the gifts had. Framed photos. Books. A table made years ago by my dad, freshly varnished and put back together by his grandson. The two never met- it's nice to see something that connects them.

We were forced into simplicity last year. This year we embraced it. It's nice to feel Christmas draw to a close without feeling drained and overwhelmed.

I have loved reading some of the blog posts tonight. Moments where bloggers felt the presence of a living God. Moments of quiet reflection. Moments of appreciation for family and friends.

I'm sitting here wondering... what were some of the best gifts you received this year?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

cinnamon rolls- not

Yeast is not my friend.

My Christmas morning cinnamon rolls are a lifeless lump of dough, with no intention of rising for the occasion.

It is my own fault I suppose. Each year of my mis-spent youth I went to my aunt's home in the summer. There I was supposed to work on my 4-H projects and learn the intricacies of baking and sewing. We developed the perfect plan- or at least it seemed so at the time. While I went merrily off to the hay field to toss bales and drive the tractor, she stayed in the house baking my rolls and sewing my skirts. Seemed like a win/win. I got a blue ribbon every year- but I am paying the price for my tomfoolery now.

ah well, cinnamon rolls or not... Christmas will come...

Wishing each of you a blessed holiday, filled with the peace that this season can bring.

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Friday, December 18, 2009


I wonder why we cram so much into the Christmas season?
Concerts and parties. Tours of Homes and Madrigal Feasts.
Cards and decorations.

So many people seem so overwhelmed. I would have loved to tour some homes- but I would love it just as much- and most likely more, in JANUARY... when there is nothing else to do.

It seems to go by so quickly and then woooosh- it's all gone and we wait for spring.

I've picked up on one new thing this season that will get me through the duldrums of February- Tamika's challenge to 12 days of community in blogging. I've had a bunch of fun, late in the evening, by the light of the tree- following links to other blogs. Author, Jody Hedlund and Journaling Woman to name two.

This is one Christmas pasttime that is going to see me well into the New Year- actually makes me look forward to those short February days.

Hope all in blogging land are finding peace in this holiday season. Put your feet up and browse awhile.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random thoughts

We put our tree lights on a "clapper" Anyone looking in my window this morning would have thought that a witch lives here... I dance around the tree three times, clapping my hands, and suddenly- lights

The tree has fallen 3 times this year- twice before any decorations, once after. My kids heard me come in singing last night... "it's the most wonderful time of the year" then Oh My Goodness... and then, a pathetic clapping.... at least it had lights while lying on the ground..
The tree is now firmly tied to the wall

Dogs barking turn the tree off and on..

I love to get up early in the morning, light the tree and sit quietly in the darkened room, sipping tea, staring at the lights. I have to get up pretty early to do this- but it is worth it. It is a very peaceful way to start the day

These holidays require peaceful beginnings. It is very easy to lose your perspective in the midst of all the holiday "cheer"

It seemed that all the hospice families I visited yesterday were managing to balance their pain and illness with joy and rememberance. A wife was baking cookies. Soft Christmas music played in the backround. There was some type of decoration in each home- even if it was just a small tree. People seem to find a way to remember, to celebrate, to honor... even in the midst of illness and grief

Here's hoping that your season is peaceful and bright

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Saturday, December 12, 2009


This church sits on a hill in the midst of the farm originally owned by my great grandfather. My grandfather was born, and died, in a house just down the road. The original barns and much of the land can be seen from the vantage point of this simple church.

We went there tonight for a service, scripture reading and carols.

Tim leads this service. His musicality is amazing- it is as if he and the piano are one instrument.

I love sitting in the pews, knowing that my father, my grandparents and my great grandparents all sat in this space, singing the same songs- praising the same Jesus..

They rang the bell in the midst of the service. As the sound peeled over the valley, Tim got a tear in his eye. "There is just something about that bell" he said.

I agree... there is something about that bell- something about that place... something timeless.

Something lasting.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

A Year

It's my anniversary! One year of blogging!

I am filled with gratitude... for all that we have been through this year, for all that God has brought us through... I am grateful for all the blessings - all the people who carried us- through this last year...

Our hospice pastor often prays that we might be God's hands.... I surely understand that sentiment in ways that I never could have before. We have been the recipient of those hands- we have been richly blessed.

Blogging has brought clarity and focus to this year- and for that, I am also grateful... I wasn't so sure about the idea when I was nudged toward it a year ago. I am grateful for that nudging-for the focus and sanity it brought. Grateful for my faithful "followers".

As we head toward 2010- and hopefully smooth sailing..... I look forward to participating more in the blogging community. There are fascinating people sharing snippets of their lives....

Tamika, at The Write Worship blog, suggests that we spend "12 days of community" -visiting and commenting on other blogs. It seems a perfect suggestion for such a blustery weekend.

I remember clearly that a year ago, I was looking for some fun. Now, I believe, I am seeking joy. Quite a bit of difference in those 3 letter words.

I am looking forward to blogging along the way. Here's to finding joy in 2010. Thanks for joining me.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Piglet or Pooh?

I read the post of Shelli at "Market My Words" yesterday and laughed til I cried.... so much of what she was saying made me remember my own days of toddlers and preschoolers... Wow- it seems like that was a long time ago- a golden time. Days when I was greeted as I walked in the door with the excited shouts "mommy's home"

I must have had her post on my mind as I drove home with the wind pushing my car off the road. All I could think was "it must be the wind you know".... Now - who said that???? Pooh? or Piglet?

I remember other blustery days, curled up with Candy Land and Barney- PJs with feet and hot chocolate.

Walked in the door tonight to be greeted by teenagers. "Whatz up" "Yeah" My arrival barely raises an eyebrow these days. Still, as I settle here to catch up on the blogging world, they wind their way in and out. Kisses on the head. Half hugs. Snippets of their day. Laughter echoing from the next room- accompanied oddly enough by the song of Sponge Bob Square Pants...
Guess we're not that far from toddlerhood after all.

It was a long, cold, stressful drive home. Those memories wrapped themselves around me and warmed me.
Wishing each of you a cozy night- warmed by the ones you love...

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Dec. 7

The sun shone weakly today- while snowflakes fell lightly. Christmas music played in the homes that I visited, while old men faced bravely the end of their days. Pearl Harbor happened on this day- when those same men were young and strong. Virile and brave. Full of themselves, I'm sure, as only the young can be...
I watched today as grown women were reduced to children when faced with the prospect of losing their father. Although I saw an old man, lying in a hospital bed, they viewed him through the same eyes that saw him as their hero. In their eyes, he will always be young and strong- always their dad...
Pictures grace the walls, children with their parents becoming parents with their children..

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Friday, December 4, 2009

You Rock

In the midst of thinking about thanksgiving turkeys and pumpkin pies- I was issued a challenge

It came from the mouth of a 15 y/o and went something like this "YOU, play guitar hero? Huh!"

It was on.

Before I could catch my breath and realize what I'd done, another 15 y/o was walking in the door, carrying an array of plastic guitars and microphones. Microphones?

An hour later I heard the sweetest words I'd heard since someone announced "it's a boy"
I heard "your mom rocks"

who, me?

I often wonder, as I drive from home to home, what makes a "life well lived"?
I think.... that much of it is found in the moments like this one...

You may not find me blogging for awhile.... I have, over the last week, gone from beginner to easy and last night- to medium..... I'm pushing hard for expert- so I'll catch ya later...

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

What time do you dream?

That is when my dreams start. And that is the time that I normally get up to face the day. No wonder my life often feels out of synch.

I woke this morning at my usual time- and made a deliberate decision. I am not getting out of this bed until I am ready. What bliss. Why don't I do that more often?

I had the best dreams- vivid and in color. I don't know why the baby turned into a puppy and floated down the stream, but I do know that when it freed itself just before the rapids, it was the cuddliest creature that ever was.

I wonder what we miss when we are conforming ourselves to the expectations of this world- out of step with our bodies natural flow? I know that if I had the opportunity to live with my own clock, I would be up half the night reading and writing- and sleeping until the sun was midway cross the sky.

And I wonder- at this midpoint of my life- if there are opportunities to live differently - to choose differently. I believe I will try.....

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Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving morning - and no smell of turkey wafts through our house. The house is quiet and still-
I want to take a moment to process this...
It makes me stop and think of all the families I have seen in the last few months who are facing the holidays without those that they love. It makes me wonder about empty chairs and empty faces- it makes me stop and say a prayer for those who have lost the ones they love, or are facing Thanksgiving- knowing that it will be their very last one together.
I had alot of those conversations this week- people bravely assembling their families, trying to carry on traditions, wondering what the best thing to do is- how to celebrate life and thankfulness in the midst of death and tragedy....

I spoke with a lovely woman yesterday who had lost her beloved mate last week. "I keep trying to be thankful for all the years we had together, and what a wonderful husband he was" and then her voice broke and the line was silent for a long moment.

I know that these people will go on.... and it is my prayer that the experience they had in hospice will have allowed them to say what they needed to say- have had the time they needed to say good bye without regrets. I hope that their experience will help in their healing- that they will find their way to gratitude and thankfulness a bit sooner than they might have without the hospice experience.

I know that they will find their way- brave folks every one of them. I know that they will honor the life that they lost, that they will remember and that on Thanksgivings in the years to come they will celebrate.

I know that we -in this family- have much to be thankful for this year. After a year filled with chemo and angst, we are still strong. We will gather today at my brother's home- where the smell of turkey will fill the rooms.... We will return here together, stuffed ourselves- and I hope that we will remember to be grateful- to celebrate.

It is my hope that each of you has much to be thankful for this year. That there are memories to sustain you and goals to look forward to in the coming year. That whatever your circumstances, on this day, you will find your way to thanksgiving. Gratitude, it is said, changes everything..

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Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm having a difficult time facing the idea of working today. There must be a better way to make a living! Any ideas?
My day off yesterday included a few golden hours spent with my writer's group, a bit of house keeping that made me feel domestic, an evening with my favorite guys and a drive long enough to spend some time just contemplating life.
Wonder why every day cannot be like that?
I got up this morning to type industriously, trying to spin out 50000 words before nanowrimo ends, in just -can it really be?- 12 short days. I'll never make the deadline, but I don't care. At the moment my mind is in the woods- wondering what that hidden circle might mean. I'm going to have a hard time pulling myself back to reality.
But alarms are sounding upstairs, the day has begun and it must be faced.
hope "ya'll" have a good one..

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Saturday, November 14, 2009


Just came home from a concert
My "date" cancelled at the last minute- so I went alone
In a way, it was almost better...
Sitting quietly, eyes closed, letting my mind follow where the music led
A bit of respite in an overloaded week

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


someone I loved has died this week
i loved his family too
and though they are not mine to mourn
my soul demands it's due

I met them not to long ago
in circumstances dire
to help them and to serve
we walked together through fire

by the time the flame was spent
and the time had come to part
as we gathered round the embers
I knew they had my heart

I'll see them once again for sure
standing in a line
Hoping all the while
that they will be just fine

After that my prayers will be
all that I have
It is the best that I can give
and for my soul, a salve

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remember to Live

We spent last week at the beautiful Lake Lure in North Carolina.
We had no cell phone reception- thus no texts or emails. Rather refreshing.
We did stumble upon some computers midweek- and there was an email reminding me of this phrase..... Memento Vivere- Remember to Live....
Perfect timing...
It reminded me to take deep breaths, to walk around the lake rather than running to the shops. To stop and inhale the fresh mountain air. To appreciate a leisurely lunch lakeside. To stop. To remember. To appreciate, to be grateful......
It is a message that I hope I carry with me as I return to work this week. Even though your days together may be few... Memento Vivere... Remember to Live...

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Oct. 31, 1910
Andrew Berndt died Saturday afternoon. Funeral today - 2p at his home.

I sit in my parlor this All Hallow's Eve, wondering about the deceased Mr Berndt. We have nothing in common- except this home that he built.

We found his obituary while rooting through old records in the Tuscarawas County library- wondering about the person who built this home in 1875. It is quite descriptive. Andrew, age 88, apparently decided to visit the county fair, determined to shake hands with the govenor- thereby contracting pneumonia which led to his death.
He was married in Germany. After arriving in this country, he traveled from Cleveland to Dover on the canal boat- settling here to establish his harness shop.

He is described as one of Dover's most estimable residents, having retired to manage his farm. Always interested in politics, he was a great reader of high class literature.

We stumbled into Andrew's home quite by accident. Coming home from church on a chilly day 41/2 years ago- we spotted the open house sign and wondered what that old house might look like inside. Following a whim, we drove back to town that afternoon just to see.
I remember quite distinctly the feeling I had 2 steps across the threshold. I felt as if I had come home.

It is not a place I would ever have pictured myself living- yet I have never been sorry that we made the move.

From the description- Andrew is someone I would have liked- alot. I meander about his house now, often with my nose in a book, sometimes bumping into walls or furniture as I try to turn a page. I leave here and drive to the edge of town, to brush my favorite horse.

Andrew and I seem to have a bit in common- and that makes me smile.
Rest in peace Andrew...

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I had no idea!
Sounds like a martian invasion....

Instead nanowrimo turns out to stand for National Novel Writing Month. Who knew that the month of November would generate such a collective creativity. I am a nanowrimo virgin.

Encouraged by fellow bloggers- especially one of my favorites- Monda at the fabulous "No Telling" blog, I took the plunge. I signed up and dove in.

Who knew that I would so quickly become consumed? I lie awake at night, thinking of a character that I hope to channel in my dreams. I wake in the morning to snatch a bit of reading about plot planning and character development. Find a problem- create a struggle...

Such uncharted territory. Such a relief from the harsh realities I see every day.

This week I hope to meet with some other nanowrimo newbies.

It is quite likely that no one else will ever read our words.... It is also quite likely that we will have ourselves a bit of fun.
Just 4 days to go- let the games begin....

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Lady and God

I had an interesting day yesterday with this little Lady

She belongs to my good friend, Becki... and her name is.... Lady

Becki kindly offered me some equine therapy in the spring, when everything seemed dark and closing in. It did me a world of good to leave behind chemo and hickman catheters, and simply brush a horse for awhile.

Each time I arrived, she would come running to meet me, eager for some brushng and her apple. I was told she did not like to be tied- indeed had broken a board in the fence, so we worked on that a bit. I occasionally would lead her - just to get a feel for the horse. On one of those first occasions, I led her in a circle, set her up to look pretty and stepped in front of her. When I stepped toward her- up in the air she went. I've never been in that position before- it was somewhat like a movie- horse rearing over my head. I've been quite cautious with Lady ever since. I might not know much- but I do know that a horse without 4 feet on the ground is a dangerous thing.

We went along without incident until last weekend. I was there with my son, simply wanting to brush and fuss. I led Lady away from the gate, and without warning- those back feet were flying in the air. Thank God noone was behind her.

I've been talking to my friend Sandy about Lady. Sandy is fascinated by horses and their behavior. For years she has been training her own and helping others with their problem children. Sandy came with me to the barn yesterday.

The first 15 minutes were fine. She began teaching me to "ask" the horse to lower her head. Simply put a tiny bit of pressure on the lead and the Moment the horse Gives at all- RELEASE. The release is the reward. You must be quick with it.

That was all well and good. We stood and talked for a few minutes, then started to lead Lady toward the fence. Apparently Lady had enough- because up in the air she went. Stand back.

Then began the most fascinating demonstration I have ever seen. Sandy never lost her calmness or coolness. She got the long training whip from the barn- and without ever touching her- simply began moving the horse. When Lady came toward her, Sandy raised the whip and let out a "yah" Lady ran to the far side of the field. Sandy followed at a determined walk. Lady ran back, Sandy followed. The horse was perfectly free to run, but within 15 minutes or so, it became obvious that Sandy was directing the horse which way to go.

An Hour or more of this followed, and at the end of the hour- the horse was standing- without any type of lead or restraint and facing Sandy no matter what direction she turned. When the horse turned to face Sandy, Sandy would often turn her back and walk off a few feet. The horse turned to face her again. Any time the horses attention was off of Sandy- Sandy simply raised the whip. Lady would start to run off again, but she wasn't running far now- just a few feet- then turning back to face Sandy.

I followed them back and forth across the field- safe on my side of the fence. As I watched the last half hour or so, with Lady turning to watch Sandy- to keep her eyes always on Sandy- without restraint- totally able to leave any time she wanted- it seemed clear to me that this must be a picture of what God does with us. He lets us run, wild and free. When we are in trouble, when our behavior is such that it is going to cause a problem- does he perhaps simply say- keep running- I'm just going to walk behind you and patiently guide you?

Is God's goal for us the same as Sandy's was for Lady? Sandy was patient, determined, and intent. She would not stop until she was standing with Lady's eyes fixed on her. She did not restrain, she did not beat the horse..... she simply kept her moving until she was tired of running.

As Lady stood, eyes fixed on Sandy.... Sandy would approach her and rub her face- or brush her a bit. We're ok, that gesture seemed to say. I'm in your corner- I want what is best for you. Just keep your eyes on me.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

my mom

" I am so glad to see you, I brought this for you" and a virtual stranger shoved this picture into my hand... The event was a party to mark the 50th anniversary of my aunt and uncle.
In 1960, a little girl accompanied her expecting mother to substitute a fourth grade class. The little girl, so enthralled by the wind that plays with her skirt, is of course, moi. And the beaming lady....that's my mom.
This picture had been lovingly cherished for all these years
"The happiest days of my life" my mom pronounced upon seeing the snapshot. Her face beamed, and the stories began to pour forth. I've heard them all before, of course, a hundred times, but every once in a while, it's fun to hear them again... to watch her face soften and change and a lilt come into her voice that is not often heard.
Life got difficult for my mom after those days. This baby was born with severe birth defects and died without her laying eyes on him. The third child, longed for and loved, none the less brought a certain amount of anxiety after that experience. And then, pregnant with son number 3, she lost my dad- the love of her life. Nothing- nothing- was ever the same after that.
My mom is made of steel however. "I'm tough" is her favorite expression... and she is. She raised us all to be successful adults. She never let us forget what was expected of us. She worked hard to provide for us, and to keep a happy home. We always knew that we were her first priority.
A second marriage brought a new life, a little less frantic, a little more stable. Brother Steve joined the family and life established a new normal.
Through it all- through it all- my mom endured...
I like to remember my mom as I am seeing our hospice familes. I sat today with a family who found their way to laughter and to rememberance. It was good to see- good to hear. I know that they will go through their own trials- that time is coming soon, of that there is no doubt. It is good for me, as I sit with them, to remember my mom. To remember her strength, her determination, her stories, her laughter and her tears. I know this hospice family will find the same strength my own mother did.
Today is my mom's birthday. It seems a good time to thank her for who she is and what she has been in our lives. Thanks mom. Happy birthday, and many more.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Someone asked me recently what my idea of a perfect day might be...

yesterday might have come close....

Got up early for some reading/writing time- then went back to bed. I would say that constitutes a favorite thing.

Around 9:30, I decided to drive out into the country and see an old house. It's been on my list of things to do for a while..... I off handily asked my oldest son if he wanted to come with - and to my surprise he jumped at the chance. We had a great drive- way out in the country- poked around the empty house to our heart's content (yes, we had permission- :) ) and drove home passing Atwood Lake.
The day was beautiful, though chilly. The colors were magnificent. And the conversation...... priceless. I got to hear the hopes and dreams, the trials and tribulations, the laughs and the heartaches

By the time we returned, the other teens were awake- having rolled from their beds at the crack of noon. We got them fed- top priority- and of all things, they decided that the pumpkins needed carving. The gutting alone was hilarious- they felt the need for gloves and begged for help- but we showed no mercy. The carving speaks for itself. I learned later that one of the friends has never carved a pumpkin before.
Once the pumpkins were done, I decided I wanted to visit my favorite horse. Son #2 agreed to come- so we had a great hour or so. He's been with me a few times before, hanging back a bit, just watching. Yesterday he grabbed a brush, climbed the fence and we brushed and talked to our hearts content.

Rounded out the day with a quick trip to the library with Dan (the hubby) and then! wonder of wonder- miracle of miracles! we decided to go to the Y. I had to circle the equipment for quite a while- til I saw something with pedals and recognized it as an exercise bike. From that vantage point, I could observe the rest of the room, and actually figured out how to bend, twist and sweat- a little. I found a treadmill- also familar... and then, just before leaving was talked into something elliptical.... I think? In any case- it felt good.

I gave a big lecture to the wife of one of our patient's earlier this week. She is about my age. I told her to move herself up on the list- to take care of herself, to get out some. I told her everyone else would be fine- actually better, if she took care of herself a little.

I've given this lecture before- think it's # 51 ..... but this time, I must have believed it a little for myself.

Think we all had a good day yesterday...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

change in the atmosphere

Zooming along a windy country road yesterday, just before twilight, I barely noticed the tan and white bundle of fur lying on the yellow line in the center of the road. I might not have registered the road kill at all if it had not raised it's little head and looked at me just as I passed by.

For a moment I tried to convince myself that it must have been an optical illusion- my tired eyes playing tricks in the waning light. For a few more moments, I tried to convince myself that this was not my problem, that I had more important things to do than worry about a half dead dog in the middle of a busy road. But somehow, in that moment of passing, my eyes had met the eyes of the dog. I inhaled deeply as I signaled for a left turn, and let out a long sigh as I reversed onto the busy road. In the midst of shifting into drive, I noticed a car ahead of me making a quick U turn.

Safe! I thought- and pulled over for a moment to let his car go ahead of mine. Sure enough- as I reached the top of the hill, I saw a young man pull over and leap from his car. He efficiently stopped traffic both ways- grabbed a jacket from his trunk and ran to the side of the injured animal. A young woman was there ahead of him, and together they swaddled the injured puppy and placed it in her back seat. A few words, the exchange of a glance between them and traffic moved on. Passing the site once again a few seconds later- it was if nothing had ever happened.

Driving home,I let my mind wander back over the day. I had spent most of the afternoon in an unpretenious home with ordinary folks. Not the kind of people who would ever merit a second glance if passed on the street.

The conversation wound around- from death, to life and back again. Memories began to surface... Before I left, I was given the priviledge of reading some poetry that an ordinary man had written years before to his ordinary wife. The language was so beautiful that my eyes welled with tears.

It made me wonder, as I drove in the twilight. Does the atmosphere change in places where acts of kindness and love occur? Is there a shift in the universe? Noone would ever know that on that country road, two strangers met for a moment to save and protect a helpless creature. No one would guess that in an ordinary home such emotions spilled over and flowed onto a piece of paper.

My guess is that someone - somewhere- notices..... and smiles.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

we worry

A week of blood sugars between 350 -400 brought my eldest son home early this week. Looking sallow, peuky ( is that a word?) generally just plain ugh...

I am proud of him though... he has handled it, he did the best he could all week, and knew when he was over his head and it was time to call uncle

Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 9- this is familar ground, yet we worry....

He scheduled a visit with his endocrinologist- made the trip there himself, had some adjustments made and was told he is doing a "good job"

The last statement was probably the most significant for him. It is amazing how these kids base their self worth, and subsequently their compliance on whether or not the adults in their lives think they are doing a "good job" It is fascinating to see and hear how they rebell against the very things that save and enhance their lives... It is amazing how quickly perfectionism rears it's ugly head... convincing them that they will never be good enough....

They do the things we all do.... in one way or another.... yet for them, the outcome of their life and physical health hangs in a delicate balance.

He's back at school tonight. Last week was rough.

I'm grateful for the advances science has made that enable him to have some illusion of control. I'm more grateful for the adults who have come along beside him- for one in particular, Dr Sam Wentworth of Indianna. Without him, I don't believe we would be where we are today. I'm grateful for the on line community I have found.

One day at a time.... one day at a time.....

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Saturday, October 10, 2009


Oh baby, it's cold out there. There is a distinct chill in the air, the leaves are starting to change. I feel old man winter pushing his way in.

I woke up this morning feeling as if there were frost on my pillow. It took a while, but I finally convinced my foot to leave the covers, then the rest of me had to follow. I stumbled my way down the stairs, heading for caffeine and heat. Passing the thermostat, I flipped the switch to on, and heard the rumbling begin in the basement as I pressed start on the microwave. Now I'm snuggled under a blankie, feeling the house warm my outsides and my tea warm my insides.

I remember waking on cold, cold mornings in my grandparent's farmhouse. There really was frost on the windows on those morning. I was never sure what woke me- if it was the feeling of my body convulsing with shivers or the sound of my grandpa stirring in the room across the hall. I would lay as still as I could, trying not to shake the bed, knowing that I would soon hear his feet stomping down the stairs. Slam- the back kitchen door. Bang- the trap door on the porch that led to the basement. Next came the sound of the shovel hitting the coal and the rattle of the coal hitting the furnace. The distinctive smell came next. How I loved that smell, for it announced the arrival of blessed warmth. I was asleep again within minutes, warm, toasty and safe. Grandpa made his way from there out to the barn to milk and feed.

I wonder how many times he performed that same ritual. He came in from the barn one morning in his eighth decade, curled up beside the register to soak in some of that warmth, fell asleep and never woke. He departed from this earth in the same house that welcomed his birth.

I stopped at calling hours last night for a lovely 94 year old from our church.. I have never seen this woman without a smile and a kind word. She volunteered faithfully at the hospital- yes, even this year. One day this week, she got her hair done, made a pot of soup and went out to rake leaves and clean up the yard. When she came in, she sat down in her chair, fell asleep and woke in heaven.

It seems to me that these are the folks who keep the world on it's axis. The people who live their lives simply, who watch out for their friends and neighbors, who are always quick to lend a kind word or a helping hand. We don't think much about them, but they surely leave a void when they are gone.

I know that there are plenty of those people around me. People that are living their lives simply and well. I think I'll aim to pay a little more attention, to appreciate them a little more while we have them. The world can be a cold and lonely place- here's to those who warm it everyday.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

be still

I've been tempted to worry since yesterday afternoon
Tempted to fret
Tempted to stew
Tempted to what if myself into anxiety
To think ahead, to make a plan

This all involves a person who may or may not go home from the hospital today who I may or may not see

Each time a thought crept to the corners of my mind last night, I made myself think"you have grace for the day"

Today will take care of itself- if I let it....

I got up this morning and got very quiet Over and over I meditated on the words 'be still" "Be Still and know that I am God"

What I was left with was this:
"And I pray, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" Ephesians 3:18

Many days I feel so buffeted by what awaits me. I am grateful for the quiet solitude of the mornings.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Margin and Metaphors

My husband's leukemia has done one positive thing in our lives- it has created some margin.

Margin- a term I had heard before and aspired to, but never seemed to be able to achieve.

Margin- defined loosely as some space

So much has changed in our lives- so much has shifted. I'm trying to be very careful about how much I let back into those spaces. With a little space in our lives we are finding that we have some time for some of those things that never seemed to happen before- like running to the county library together this morning and researching the history of this old house. Like going out to dinner with our son before homecoming. Who would think they would want a couple of Parents tagging along- but they do, and we are.

Margin- time to appreciate each other a little more.

We are in a small group that is currently studying the book "One Month to LIve" I'm not sure I'm buying the premise- I don't see that many people who are told they have one month to live and begin experiencing a wonderous sense of freedom- but the concept is good. What would you do if you were told you had one month to live?

We are challenged in this study to find a metaphor for our lives.

I've been pondering this and one memory keeps surfacing

In 1994 my appalosa mare (Princess) gave birth to a beautiful filly, who we named Tango. That was all well and good- except that I had absolutely no idea how to train the young lady.

Three years later, Jill unexpectedly entered my life. Jill had trained dressage horses and graciously agreed to give Tango and I some much needed help.

Jill visited us weekly- and we improved slowly- from my being able to get onto Tango's back to circling and figure 8s. Tango learned alot- but I learned more- how to sit lightly, to communicate with my legs, how to be one with the horse.

On one particularly lovely summer evening, Jill instructed me to put down the reins, keep my legs off the horse and to cue her to move off in a straight line across our front field. About half way across the field, Jill instucted me to turn my head (and my head only) to the left and see what happened. To my utter astonishment, I felt Tango veer slightly to the left. A little while later we repeated the exercise and I turned my head to the right. Immediately I felt Tango angle slightly toward the right.

We repeated this enough for me to be sure it was no accident.

The horse and I were one....

I remember putting the horse away that night- still astounded- and writing a prayer to God. This, I said, is what our relationship to be. Please, let me be close enough to you that when you look to the right, I go in that direction...

If there is a metaphor for my life- I would like for that to be it...

I'm not sure it's possible - but I do know that to come close- I will need to keep my margins.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Last rose of summer

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. A time to mourn and a time to dance....
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

turn, turn, turn....

Funny, isn't it- how everything hangs onto life. And how the last rose of summer is often the most beautiful rose of summer..

Seems that the roses won't give up- won't let go. There certainly are people who won't either. They hang on long after it seems that they should have faded and blown away.

I wonder what holds us here- keeps us hanging on? I wonder what keeps us from moving on?

We know that the rose will bloom again - come spring.

I'm sure that we will too....

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

treasure the moments

It seems essential to be intentional....

I was reminded this week of how quickly things can slip away from us- moments that could be treasured can be lost forever...

I heard a story this week of a relationship that had been fractured- seemingly beyond repair almost 3 decades ago. This week, in that relationship, there was forgiveness and reconciliation. Four days later one of the parties died...

I won't tell the story- it's not mine to share. While in some respects- there was a "happy ending" there was also an absolute waste of time and the repercussions of that fractured relationship have affected many many other lives....

I hope that it reminds me though of how precious our families and our relationships are. I hope that it reminds me to take moments -like this one with my son and treasure them. Not to waste a moment....

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Day 3 since the boy has left for college.... it seems he is already becoming a man. I think perhaps I have talked to him more in the last 3 days than I have talked to him all summer- and the majority of those conversations have been as refreshing as a spring day after a hard storm.

A myriad of details have confronted him- getting up on time, being at the right place at the right time, new roommate and new friends. He seems to be handling all this with ease.... finding his way from place to place, participating in discussions, choosing activities, cooking his own food, and if he is to be believed, doing his own dishes!

He is planning his life, dreaming his dreams, and my prayer for him is that he soars. That he bcomes all that he can be, that he enjoys the ride, that he finds those that he can love with his whole heart (and it's a big one ) and those who will love him in return in full measure.

I love my boy... and I'm proud of him. I believe I'll tell him so...

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oh great mystery of life.....

Went back to the office this afternoon to do paperwork and ended up staying long after I should have been home- curled up in a comfy chair watching boring reruns under the guise of relaxing from a hard day's work...

I stayed, not because I was overworked (and underpaid- although I am both ) but because 3-4 of us started one of those conversations that make me remember why I work for hospice and I just couldn't seem to pull myself away...

It seems like a very long time since we've had some great conversations.... sharing stories- pondering the mystery of life, death and the beyond... We wondered why some people seem to wait, why some people cannot forgive or change even with the great beyond staring them in the face, how some can wrap up loose end and pass peacefully from this earth. We shared stories in which people dreamed of the death at the moment it happened, stories of breaths of air on people's face that let them know that their loved one, miles away, had departed. We considered sources of pain that have little to do with the physical and pondered the power of holding a hand and sitting quietly to bring peace and comfort.

I would love to understand how much is in our control and how much is beyond our control....

There are people in my life who stimulate my thinking, enlarge my horizons, keep me laughing, let me weep. There are people who stand by me, who let me fall, who pick me back up, dust me off and let me laugh at myself w/o distain.

Here's to those people in my life.... God bless you.... you know who you are... Here's to years and years ahead filled with laughter and tears, celebrations and sorrows, new vistas, new joys, new children and becoming childlike. Here's to taking one day at a time- realizing God's grace is present for today Here's to exploring the mysterys, pondering and wondering together. I am so very grateful....

Here's to coming to the end of life without regrets.... controlling what we can, celebrating what we cannot, totally able to die that way in which we have lived..... and I pray that we can live full out...

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

good morning mom

After 18 years of grueling work, I have finally perfected my technique. It is the perfect combination of alarm clocks and gentle parental proddings that result in a happy child leaving the house with a cheery "pip pip" "top of the morning to you" ..... a quick hug, a kiss to the top of my head and he is off out the door. No more yelling. No more threatening. FINALLY success.

He leaves for college tomorrow...

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A beautiful day....

Stopped in the park to finish "paperwork" on the way home

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood... and yes, I just took off my sweater. Just call me
Mrs. Rogers....

Teens boys are stretching their legs and strutting their stuff..... they have just taken off on long, strong legs. Co-incidently, a few teeenage girls have suddenly decided that is the direction they want to go.

Two 9 or 10 year old boys have been appearing and reappearing at my picnic table for awhile now. I feel them peering over my shoulder, and when I turn, they ask me a question or tell me a thought. Always starting with "hey" They don't seem to want much, just to chat. The swings are creaking and kids are climbing on the jungle gym.

The bikers are out. An elderly couple just strolled by.

Even the traffic seems to saunter.

It's a good day to soak it in..... the sun... and the sights.... and the sounds

Here in this park it feels that all is right with the world

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

beauty from ashes

I met a woman this week who took her grief and made something beautiful from it. Hours and hours were spent, sanding wood- fitting the pieces together. "It saved me" she said, as we stood and looked. None of the wood was new- and none of it matched- but sanded and carefully woven together - all the pieces fit together to form a pattern that is unique as it is beautiful. The wood was not strained - so that all the grains showed clearly- creating a wonderful pattern. I wondered, as I looked, how many of her tears had fallen to be mixed with the sawdust and swept away. I admired- and she acknowledged - with a hint of remaining pain reflected in her eyes- "yes, it is beautiful"

I sat with a friend yesterday who is writing- and speaking- and taking the horrific experience she has been through and using it to give others a message of forgiveness and reconsilliation.

We laugh as we talk- and we weep...

In the presence of woman like this- there is strength and there is hope.

I wonder what it is that makes some people take this road, while others languish for years in unresolved grief and bitterness?

I have heard the reference to the wounded healer- the concept that the places where you are broken becomes the place of your strength.

I am awed and grateful to be in the presence of thesse wounded healers- to sit at their feet...

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Sunday, September 13, 2009


Just trying to find some space in a very busy week

Haven't had much time for blogging- or even thinking about blogging.

Did receive an interesting CD from a friend this week. She heard Wm P Young (the author of "The Shack") speak and sent the CD from that session on to me. Yes- if you live anywhere close to me I'll be passing it on!

I've listened to it a couple times now- finding it absolutely fascinating.... He speaks of living just in the moment- looking for the places God is blessing and joining Him there- of the absolute importance of walking- not running- in the direction that you feel you are being led.

I think it is the last point that I have been pondering on the most. So many times, if I sense God moving in a particular direction, I am tempted to run ahead- to push.... Grace, he says, is given each day- for today. Stay connected. Be willing to stop and wait. Be willing to stop....

He says that when he learned to live in the present- without the imaginings of what the future might hold- he found JOY... and it came to stay...

I'll be listening to it again tomorrow while driving.... and I hope that what he says sinks in deep....

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Monday, September 7, 2009


Guess it's official-
The end of another summer.
Fireworks always seem to evoke memories-
sitting on the damp grass as a child, fingers in both ears
and eyes scrunched tight...
Cuddling my own boys, with my hands over their ears- listening
to assorted oohs and ahhs- watching their faces more than the fireworks.
My favorite fireworks are at Blossum - where we can sit on the lawn,
sipping wine- letting the sounds of Tshaikovsky's 1812 Overture wash through us while the lights explode in the sky.... The church bells chime, the cannons boom- Napoleon is pushed back and we experience it all over again...
Hope if we've learned anything this past year- it is to appreciate and treasure these moments

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Road Trip

My first born, Alex, is on his first Road Trip. He left with another guy this morning to visit his friend Zack at OU.

He dutifully sent a text about 2 hours later. "here"

Fifteen minutes later came another text (from Zack-they know how to work me) "can they stay?"

I wasn't surprised- I have been 18 myself, you know. I made them sweat it out for an hour or so before finally replying "k" (I know the lingo) followed by a brief reprisal of my lecture #31, just for show.

They are good kids- but still a mom worries....

I sat down here today to order Alex's books for school- but so far I have just gazed out the window, checked the blogging world.. and here I am....

I realized - somewhat to my surprise, that though I am indeed a bit concerned..... mostly I'm just.... Jealous....

Member what it was like to be 18 and Free! for the first time? Member what it was like to have a highway in front of you and the parents behind? The skies are blue, the air is crisp- it's a great day for a new adventure...

Soon Alex will leave for college. My youngest is in high school. My days of intense parenting are waning. No grandbabies for awhile, please...

Think it's a good day to plan some adventures of my own. I read somewhere recently that although you cannot change the facts of your childhood- there is only one person responsible for your second childhood....

Have I said that before? Doesn't matter really... I'm to busy thinking about road trips to care.

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