Through the Lens of a Child


Each and every day and usually more than once, I drive past a lovely Equestrian Center very close to my home.  It’s a beautiful place where horses of all breeds are boarded, competitions are held, lessons are taught, trail rides are given, and magic happens. Only recently, I found this out.

On any given day, behind white split-rail fencing in flat, muddy fields I’ll see Mares munching on bales of hay, Stallions kept at bay, Geldings trotting close enough to take a look, and if I’m very, very lucky, a Mama nursing her baby foal on spindly legs or a dewy colt barely born.

This past summer on a still afternoon, my husband and I pulled into the dusty parking lot of the above with our little grand-daughter who squealed with delight.  Clouds of brown welcomed our car with poofs of air the color of smoke.  A wooden porch of sun-bleached planks greeted us before we checked in.  Sitting on the plain pine bench, I almost expected a prickly tumbleweed to roll by!

The smell of open barns drifted my way, drawing me in.  My grand-daughter’s small of hand clasped my own, looking up to me.  Her eyes of saucer blue together with a smile that melts my heart-so-much stopped me in my tracks.   We went on to visit countless stalls of fresh cream-colored straw, most with horses living in them.  Others were out, taking a break.  Everything was ‘new’ to her, a story waiting, words to say, magic happening…..

Wafting through the first barn was the musty scent of sweaty horse hair together with manure from a nearby field of weeds.  Click-Click…sounds of fancy cowboy boots tapping on the pitted cement floor while silver spurs passed right in front of us!   So close we could almost touch them!  Shiny silver with sparkling jewels together with little stars twinkling from them!   On the wall to the left, a long row of black helmets hung from dark brass hooks.  “But, why…,” she asked.  Always a question, forever an answer.  “To keep you safe,” I explained.

“I want to see the horses, Grandpa,” our grand-daughter exclaimed, jumping up and down!  My husband lifted her with both hands, propping her up on his shoulders to get a better view over the fence-line.  Gorgeous, smooth, soft-to-the-touch heads in solids and spots sprung from their lunch breaks to check us out.  Pointed ears in brown, black or tan tapered just so, in curiosity.  Long, wiry hair of swishing tails swinging back and forth.  Sooo pretty!

Thinking it might be time to go, we moved towards the car.  “Where are the ponies,” came tiny words from little, ‘Moppet Head.’  My husband and I held her hands to walk several blocks to the last and final barn.  Home to all of the ponies.  There she hung on the rail, eye-level to ‘horses’ more her size.  She whispered close to their ears, named each and every one and visited their stalls, before blowing imaginary kisses to say, “Good-Bye.”

After all my time in living here, it took the innocence of a child for me to truly see the magic in a place I’ve barely glimpsed before.  How much MORE of life is there to live, if only I could look through the lens of a child?

 

 

My Happy Place


There is a familiar spot here in great St. Louis, where people flop inside or outside, leaving their troubles behind for another time.  Actually, the ‘hang-out’ is located in a toy town called Kirkwood, about ten miles from the chocolate color of my dusty garage door.

When summer begins to wane the weather is perfect, like this time of year.  Today, barely a soul of young or old can be found inside the multiple front doors of the welcoming café. Instead, eagle eyes scan the outdoor crowd, looking for any sign of movement in case an imaginary “Vacancy” sign pops up.  Deep breaths are taken.  Fresh air is inhaled while lungs expand.   Ahhh, relaxation begins!

It is here that a new discovery is made each and every time I visit.  Who would think that a simple, non-descript patio made of concrete cement would have such an impact on my life?  And, yet it does.  This is my Happy Place.  A corner of wired tables in black with matching chairs on top of grey.  Wait…take a seat, sit down to rest your feet.  Shhh, watch and listen.  This is a haven full of people who are living in the moment.

Do you see what I see?  There are mothers pushing strollers, babes in arms, Daddies giving horsy-rides and coffee cups made of china white.  Children riding scooters, chocolate milk clutched in little hands, bikers, joggers, bunnies in wagons and toasted bagels laden with cream cheese.  Kisses on cheeks, grandparents carrying toddlers, and dogs-of-all-kinds. Pacifiers in pink or blue, books being read and luxury leashes made of leather.  Working laptops, baked banana bread so good, couples on first dates, I-phones, singles and fountains splish-splashing.  Love is in the air, walkers, bottles filled with water, smiles, secrets and even bellies-SO BIG!

My husband clasps my hand to find me the best seat.  He pulls out my chair before inquiring what I’d like to sip and eat.  “A vanilla cappuccino,” he asks, expecting a “Y.E.S.” Next, his words so sweet, “A cinnamon roll warmed for you?”  He is the very best man and I am the luckiest of women.  Soon he comes back with my treats.

While nibbling, I stop to “people watch,” snap a few pictures, and meet new friends.  The sun feels warm to my skin, pinking my cheeks.  Next to me, I meet the cutest Labradoodle who excitedly poses for me!  And then, a “Hallmark” moment happens.

A few feet away, the sweetest girl of young reaches over and up on tippy-toes to kiss her loved one so dear.  She has long, lovely dark hair, wears shorts and seems to ‘surprise’ the woman who is older than she.  My heart skips a beat.

Seconds go by.  The freshly kissed woman passes our table.  My husband smiles, pointing to our phone.  “Look,” he says, stopping her.  A gentle grin, big and wide slides over pretty, white teeth.  She is touched by what she sees, going on to tell us a bit about her lovely grand-daughter.

Looking across at her table, more seats are taken.  This time by her husband together with a darling grand-son who wears metal and leather braces on his legs.  Briefly, we talk about “Chronic Conditions.”  “He was born with clubfeet,” she says, speaking of her other ‘darling’ one.  “He’s already had several surgeries with more to come.”

There is no doubt, no question in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be.   Right now, right here at this moment in time.  A new Life Lesson for me today.  How special it is to have and hold this “Hallmark” tip-toed kiss upon a grandmother’s lips!  From an innocent grand-daughter to her loving grandmother.  A story of life trials chock full of smiles on this very morning.  Lucky for me.

No matter how brief, this will forever be “My Happy Place.”

 

What Nature Teaches You


Sunlight shimmered, streaking through white window panes of my kitchen patio doors this morning.  Brightness woke my limbs from further slumber.  Six o’clock.  A smiling face of walnut wood from the clock on the wall told me so.  Scents of lemon oil drifted beneath my nose.  Time to wake-up!

“Doodle” dog nudged my feet of bare, signaling his readiness to go out into the world, to sniff wheat-colored plumes of grasses nearby, and to check invisible boundaries for any possible intruders.  My hand was on the door’s bronze lever, seconds from pushing it down to open it up.  Outside, a ruffle of feathers caught the corner of my eye.

Only a few feet from garden bricks was a new ‘family’ for me to see!  Beneath our bird feeder, the one where bright red Cardinals, Blue Jays and Sparrows of speckled brown rest on perches near, five Turkeys pecked leftover seeds on the ground below.

I have often seen one or two before.  The Hen, of course, who feeds for the invisible brood she hides safely away.  And once or twice in the last six years, I’ve witnessed a large Tom waddling up and over our backyard hill, his long turkey neck of reddish-blue wobbling back and forth within the breeze.  This morning, it was a true gift from God for me.  To see this sight of such rarity!

As the large Tom bobbed his head, pecking for seeds within the earth of clay, the Hen spread her wide wings, revealing three tiny babies, “Poults.”  Not much larger than the eggs of a goose, they were covered in brown and white downy feathers that glistened in the sun.  Their small eyes were dark black the color of wet ink.   Darting this way and that, they were already keenly aware of any possible danger.

Just as I was about to grab my camera, a doe and her fawn scampered by, spooking my new backyard ‘family.’  WOOSH went the Tom who flew straight up into the nearest, tallest tree!  I never saw a turkey fly, but most definitely they do.  The noise is shockingly loud, like thunder clouds of flapping feathers.  The Tom flew straight up into the bright blue sky, rather than soaring side-to-side, like most birds do.

As for ‘Tom’s’ family who were left quite skittish in my back yard, they took off very quickly.  The Hen tried to gather her poults, spreading her wings while running toward the forest.  Being ‘babies,’ the feathered toddlers waddled in different directions while ‘Mama’ yelped her loudest, trying to keep them close to her.

Like little wind-up toys zipping towards the woods, three baby ‘poult’s carried a lesson for me today.  Life moves forward in a flash, often unexpectedly.  Don’t wait to pocket a picture of your dream.  Catch it before something surprises you.

Mystical Magesty


 

 

 

 

Early morning fog descends

Surrounding mystical trees

Creating beautiful sights to behold

Hush now, silent words begin to whisper

Listen closely to stories breeze

Through winds of imagination

Sometimes stopping to rest upon a branch

Wondering what their needles and limbs

Have hidden beneath a peak of pine?

Tiptoeing near wafting scents so dear to me

One-two-three, don’t ever let me go

Plopping down to soak like sponge tales newly sapped

Dampness tickles barefoot skin sinking into grasses green

Atop the ground where seedlings fell

Watered from Heaven’s rain hovering in fluffy clouds above

To think how nature once so miniscule

Became God’s miracles of majesty

Children’s Need to Fly


kcg1974:

“ABC” or 1-2-3. Can’t think of anything more perfect than this. So lovely are the little children.

Originally posted on witlessdatingafterfifty:

Here is a fantastic quotation by Helen Hayes,

The American actress who my parents admired

from the movie, “A Farewell to Arms.”

She lived from 1990 until 1993:

“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put

one foot in front of the other.

But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.”

I shop at our local “Global Village Shop,” found at 27 N. Sandusky St.

in Delaware, Ohio. I know many of the retired individuals, some

from churches, who volunteer to work or ‘man’ the cash register.

I bought some stationery, where the monies from this colorful

note paper will go to somewhere in Africa.  I am proud to

say; We have the only Fair Trade certified

collection in Ohio.

On the back of the paper, it has another great idea about the World

of Children. It includes all the letters of the English alphabet:

I…

View original 64 more words

Special One


There you are sleepy almond eyes of greenish-blue

Fluttering chocolate lashes so long finally peeking up at me

Yes, I’m your Mama with a captured heart that’s already whisked away

Cozy now, swaddled in a warming blanket of softest touch

Underneath I’ve counted them, 1 to 10 on each fragile foot and chubby fist

Doctor, don’t you see the ‘perfect’ cradled babe within my weary arms?

Brushing such an angel face of pinkest warm next to mine

Glimpsing damp silkiness sneaking under striped cap of knit

Watching my precious newborn’s chest rising up and down

So shallow to my ear I’m bending near

To catch the spittle of the next hush-a-bye breath

Do you hear my own heart beating, brimming overwhelming love?

Like a waterfall rushing over mountain rocks…..surging solid strength

Rolling new of word on silent tongue…Mother, Madre, Mama… that’s me!

Oh, the sound so lyrical to my head ears are dancing new lullabies

On my chest this feeling of bliss is unsurpassed

Grab my finger hold it tight please God let me savior this specialness

From now until the end of time this moment will remain deep within

For I have a ‘special need’ within my heart and soul

To have you for my child, to be your mother today, tomorrow and the next

Yes, on this first day of your new life on earth

Together with the whole of my own lifetime too

I will always be blessed to be your mother, thanking God for you.

 

 

Forgiveness


There is another “Chronic Condition” living in this world.  Evil.  From the beginning of life it has slithered silently, tempting us with warm whispers in our ears while baiting puzzled minds.

Recently, I attended church where the pastor’s sermon could have been written for “Me, Myself and I.”  He seemed to look me straight in the eye, while reciting six simple words, “the guts not to fight back.”  The minister was referencing the movie “42, The True Story of an American Legend.”

The above movie is about Jackie Robinson, the first man to break the color barrier in major league baseball.  Mr. Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, beginning with his rookie season in 1947.  No, I do not in any way compare myself to the late, great Jackie Robinson. Yes, I needed to hear those words that day.  “The guts not to fight back.”   

From the preacher’s polished pulpit, a soft-spoken pastoral message spilled slowly throughout each wooden pew.  I was struggling with forgiveness….how to “rise above” someone who had deliberately hurt me without cause or provocation.

The pastor’s sermon helped me realize how important it is to be better than those who wish to harm our hearts and souls.  All of us, no matter how hard it is to forgive others.  If successful, the good in us will shine through for the whole world to see.

Jackie Robinson lived a life of class and honor where he eventually became an American hero.  Although he faced a nation of evil in his time, he rose above to live a life of forgiveness.  This is what people remember today.  This is the light that shines through for Jackie Robinson.

Thank you, Pastor.

‘Little Boy Blue’


‘Little Boy Blue’  lived near my family…close to the roof that covered my boy’s heads for most of his young life.  He grew from small into tall together with the two of my own.  I remember a pack of skinny lads dressed in baggy white pants of polyester.  Baseball teams were named after crawling reptiles in green or striped jungle animals outlined on the front of uniform shirts.  Mothers hoped elastic waists were tight enough to keep them from falling down to ankles or knees.  Each spring and summer and well into fall they’d sit on the bench sloshing down bottles of colored Gatorade between seven innings or more.  After one or the other slid into home-base, hands often slapped ‘high-fives.’  Miniature clouds of cocoa-colored dust burst above caps of red.  Poof!

Over the years, Little Boy Blue developed into a strong, caring and protective young man.  Knowing his buddy lived with diabetes, he watched over him throughout the years.  When my son was twenty-two, this man of young protectiveness, called me.  I rushed over.  With a face as white as chalk and eyes limp and closed, my son was clearly in danger.  Able to respond only to my voice, a bird’s sized mouth opened, allowing me to spoon sugar under his tongue.  Thank God for his friend in blue!

On another occasion, my son’s then fiancé telephoned his very best friend, the same one who wore blue.  Worried, she said, “I can’t get an answer by phone.  Please, will you go check on him?”  With no questions asked, this young man in blue raced to my son’s side, where luckily everything was fine.  Still, as always, my son’s tall friend of sweet soul was there for him.

A few years ago this young man of huge heart fell in love, marrying a delightful girl he met in college.  Her quiet demeanor together with kindness was the perfect match to his love of life and God.  Together, our family attended their glorious wedding, helping to celebrate their future of anticipated joy.

Yesterday, at my grandson’s Christening, the Godfather in ‘Blue’ was missing.  Having just been relieved from an all-night shift at work, he was home in bed.  I’m sure he preferred to be at the church service to fulfil his duty.   Instead, physical and emotional exhaustion had taken its toll on him.  His young wife, the beautiful girl chosen to be Godmother, smiled lovingly when speaking of her dear husband.  “It’s been very difficult the last fifteen days,” she said, measuring her words carefully.  “He needs to rest.”

It is not lost on me that some people do not look to see the other side of a policeman’s life.  First and foremost, this cop truly did choose his profession to “Serve and Protect.”

For this ‘Little Boy in Blue,’ I know it to be true.

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Christening Present from Grandma


Earlier today, my first and only grandson was Christened in a beautiful church where, afterward, my son and daughter-in-law held a lovely family reception.  Not long ago, I was asked to print the post below for the their son’s nursery.  Today under an old-looking frame painted in brushed green, were words from my heart ready to be hung on a sleepy baby’s hush-a-bye wall.

Wishes For Grandson

A breath, a cry, a baby yawn, you’ve made your presence known.  Newly bathed and swaddled in gauze, your mother cradles you to her breast where two hearts beat as one.

For my first grandson, I have wishes for you.  More than three, less than a million.  If I was near a fountain of gurgling water splashing into a pool of clear, I’d toss loose coins while wishing silently.  Instead, I will write them here for you to read one day.  A day not so far away when you grow from wee into a little lad.

Before you even arrived, I prayed to God above for all your life ahead.  And, as I slept the first night after, I dreamed of all I wished for you.  As you grow from infant to tadpole to toddler to teen, close your sweet eyes to imagine that wishes and dreams do come true.  I give them all and more to you.

While you are a baby I wish for you to nestle with Mommy, reach for your sister’s face of innocence and Rock-a-Bye with Daddy.  Choose your favorite blanket, roll on your belly, scoot on the floor, learn to crawl, and 1-2-3 please smile for me.

I wish for you to play with wooden blocks, build a tower, knock it down, eat green peas, spit them out, take first steps and pull my hair.  Catch a big red ball, say a word, and play in snow with Daddy who loves you so.

Before we can say magic words, babyhood is gone for good.  A little boy you now will be.  We will miss the small.  Soooo, B-I-G!  How lucky is your family?

I wish for you to hold a puppy’s leash while jumping in puddles of mud when the rain smells good.   Splash, splash, splash.  Now, close your eyes to soak warm sunshine like an ocean sponge.  Do you feel it on your sleepy face?  Toasty, like Mommy’s kitchen after baking cinnamon rolls.  Can you smell them if you sniff, sniff, sniff?

Oh yes, I wish for you to sleep in a tent  or catch a frog while listening to crickets chirping loud in the quiet of the night.  Soon it rains a melody of drops on dark green canvas for you to hear.  Plop…plop…plop.

I hope you’ll see a Mama bird build her nest  and feel a roly-poly bug crawling in your hand right up your wrist.  Not to worry.  It won’t hurt, only tickle.  Lots of itty-bitty legs…can you guess how many?  Grandpa says, “14!”   Soon I laugh at chocolate rings round your mouth from milk found in a cup at Grandma’s house!

I wish for you to win a race, build a back yard fort and watch firefly’s glow yellow in the black of night.  Skip a rope, jump a hoop, swing a bat, and hit a ball.  There it goes…..Look, squint your eyes to see.  Flying like a rocket ship…see?  A home run to be!  Listen closely now, do you hear the cheering crowd?

Please, pick up squiggly worms for me.  Ride a bike, get dusty dirty, fly a kite, and skip a rock.  Swim in lakes, underneath are minnows skimming crystal sand in waters of Windex blue.

I wish for you to bottle up bullies with a cork.  If words should sting, please tell Mommy or Daddy.  You will see bad words do not help…only hurt.  Rise above them. Remember this, be the best that you can be.

When old enough to fall in love, kiss the girl you will marry one day.  Please love her with all of your heart.  Look to Mommy and Daddy to see how good it can be.  Respect the ‘She’ you love someday.  Any part of your heart you give away will come right back to you….only bigger and better!  Do you feel it growing inside of you?  Be patient and you will see.

The greatest wish I have is that you live a long, long life of prayer, good health and happiness.  If this last big wish comes true for you, chances are that all these dreams and wishes will too!

Above all else, Grandson, be your father’s pride, your mother’s love and your sister’s shining knight.