Remembering……


Driving home the other evening, I was struck by peaceful lights of beauty appearing in a sky of dusk.  Nearing darkness, shades of pink and coral contrasted against the horizon of dusty blue.  Before I rounded the bend, I pulled off the winding road in order to capture such sights from the camera on my phone.

Ironic, how God works.  Just before the unexpected sight of “Heaven,” I was reminiscing about a family friend who had passed away ten years ago during holiday time.  I remember the late stages of his illness as being such a dichotomy.  Christmas trees at hospitals.  Smiles for the sake of children.  Death approaching while filling carts with Santa’s toys.

Has ten years passed me by?  It hardly seems possible…and yet, lifetimes have come and gone….  If I unearthed a time capsule from all those years ago, what would I find?  Deep down inside there would be snapshots of a jolly great man, tall and big with white, blonde hair together with a cheery grin.  This family friend of mine had a huge personality that was full and giving.  When I think of him now together with this time of year, I am reminded a bit of Santa Clause……

My friend had a terrific sense of humor, loved family more than anything and worked hard to support them as a manager for a car dealership.  Just before his cancer diagnosis he was about to be promoted.  Soon he would be the manager of a brand new dealership.  One that would be his very own!  He was fabulous with people and could talk to anyone on the street or in a jeep.  And, oh, how he loved life.  I never saw him waste a day.  Not a simple second nor a magic minute.

Today, my friend’s eldest son is a married father with two young children of his very own, a little girl and a baby boy.  Like my husband, my friend would now be a “Grandpa!” Together with my husband, he would be so very proud.  The two would forever be carting babies around on tops of shoulders to root for their favorite teams, shouting for the runner on third base to run into HOME.  For years, they coached baseball as a twosome, instilling life lessons into little boys while grooming them for high school teams.

A couple of months before this terrific man’s passing, my husband met me at the hospital for a visit one afternoon.  Sensing a mood of defeat, I remember taking his hand in mine. His grip was still strong and felt warm to the touch.  Moving in closer, I was sure to look directly into the dampness of his eyes.  “I’m a better person for knowing you,” I remember whispering to him.   At first his brows furrowed, not quite sure if I was telling him the truth or not.  Within seconds, however, the crystal blue of his eyes shined through with thankful acknowledgement.

This special gift of a friend passed away shortly after the 2004 holidays when he was 44 years old.  He left behind a loving wife together with five dear children.  Barely a day goes by that my husband and I don’t remember thoughts of him.

Especially during Christmastime.  When Santa Clause comes….

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Enough Already!


Each and every year during the holiday shopping days of December, tips of my fingers feel the softness of sleeping baby dolls.  Ears listen to Thomas’s bright red engine while colored buttons with bright lights flash and shout, “Green, Tri-Angle” or “Blue-Circle!”  With new grandchildren climbing aboard my own train this Christmas, my shiny cart of silver steel was filled to the brim, barreling toward the nearest check-out, albeit missing one black wheel.

The next day, assorted piles surrounded me.  I sat on our maple floor of stained cinnamon.  Behind and to my right, a beautiful golden glow exhaled from inside the fireplace.  Deep, coffee-colored knots, striations of grain and other imperfections shined within the wood of long, wide planks.  “What a picture,” I marveled to myself.  “One that only nature could begin to paint.”

Sorting gifts into piles, I quickly realized that I had far too many presents!  Did my two-year old grand-daughter really need three different baby dolls, one that even sparkled and shined?  Could my precious one year old change a ‘pretend’ diaper or whisper a doll to sleep in a new stuffed rocking chair?  Is it possible for my little 8 month old grand-son to dump a truck or play the drums?”  And the twins…well, they aren’t even here yet.  Still, Santa’s bag has several presents to put under the tinseled tree for the two nearly-to-be.

Enough Already!

Grabbing a couple of plain brown paper bags, I began to fill them with toys and clothes my grandchildren really don’t need.  Instead, there are other kids who truly do.  Tomorrow I’m off to one of the local charities in our community.  A nondescript block building where volunteers collect food, clothing and toiletries for all kinds of people.  People who are much like you and me.  Some are sick while others have lost their jobs.  Many work, but can’t quite make it from month to month.  Others have no home to call their own except for a car parked at the curb.   There are young families, elderly couples, single parents and veterans who have proudly served our country.  Shhhh…rumor has it that Santa will be stopping by, passing out toys to every little girl and boy!

Another lesson learned for me.  Little ones in life simply want the precious gift of time.  That alone is pure magic, enough to light a candle of wonder behind dreaming eyes of innocence.

Enough Already!

 

 

Lamplight


“Please, take all that I own, relieve my child of pain and make her well again,” begged the wealthy, young father.  He proudly stood in his home of thick sand-colored stucco, trying to comfort his sleep deprived wife.  Windows of bubbled glass cast shadows that danced in the light of the lamp.  Soon, soulful sounds of a wistful song were sung by a brilliant yellow canary.  Hanging high above the dusty windowsill was a hand-built wicker cage where the tiny bird fluttered and flit and flew.

“I’ll do all that I can” answered the wise doctor, who tenderly gazed upon his gravely ill patient.  “In the end, however, it is God’s decision.  And, I’ve come to understand that He has no need for material things.”

Let us Pray

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Gifts of Silent Darkness


The morning was dark as coal with barely a shadow in the distance.  Light of the moon flickered behind floating grey clouds, reminding me of scattering mice.  Perhaps they were parting in preparation for the morning sun, soon to rise above God’s great horizon?

It was an early hour, slightly before five am.  “Doodle” dog rustled under an heirloom quilt to drag me from the warmth of my bed.  “Noooo,” I remember mumbling silently.  It was too early to get up.  Grabbing his leash together with my shoes and a coat, I trudged to the out of doors where cold frost slapped my toasty face.

S.I.L.E.N.C.E.  Peace and quiet everywhere.  So much so, that I was afraid to breathe out loud for fear of waking something up.  There were no gusts of snow, no  swoosh of wind or snapping of twigs within my little forest land.  Creatures were sleeping, I presumed, resting within hallowed logs or under piles of musty fallen leaves.

Houses along my street remained dark inside except for a nightlight or two.  Friends and neighbors rested on down pillows while young children dreamed of Little Boy Blue or Santa Clause coming soon.  The moon cast shadows of light together with rooftop reflections of Christmas bulbs in different colored hues from glowing rooftops against the back of my yard.  Red, blue, green, gold and white.  They sparkled and shined in tones that snapped brightly against a sky of  blackness.   Then, out of the corner of my eye, a slight movement in the distance near.  Doodle dog did not move or even bark.  Instinctively, I quickly turned my head.

Between the trees of Bradford pear and Redbud, a lone majestic buck with antlers of eight stood tall and straight slightly up the hill.  His rack of antlers was large and wide, making me wonder how he carried the weight atop the crest of him?  He looked at me, as I did him without a single gesture.  Neither of us made a sound, nor did the forest or even the air surrounding us.  God granted me an early morning gift in the darkness before dawning hues.  What a magnificent surprise!

*God shall gift you with treasures if willing to listen to silence while seeing through darkness.

*all photographs courtesy of Google

 

Lost and Found


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The road is long don’t be afraid,

Take my hand, hold it tight, laugh out loud, skip with me.

See the light way up high shining bright within the sky?

Smile so big, dance a step, happy to be you and me,

Kick some dust, cover your mouth, bless you now we’ll find our way,

Don’t give up trust in me and you will see.

 

Shuffle more steps, we’re almost there,

Claps your hands to say a prayer.

Tired now rest your head within my lap, 

We’ve come so far, let’s move along, kneel right down to get back up.

Brushing off clouds of dirt with poofs of dust

Soon the ball of sun may fall,

Stars will twinkle one and all.

 

When dogs sing songs don’t be afraid, 

A moon of white shall light our path.

Boots of leather kick the road, pebbles scatter, friends forever….

In the distance candles flicker, melting tears in windows of crying homes.

Curtains part hearing hearts begin to thump, skipping faster.

Pickets of weathered fences weave to wave within prairie winds.

Don’t give up trust in me and you will see.

 

Thanksgiving Memories


Edited From 11/25/13

Wising All My Readers a Very Blessed Thanksgiving Day.

This Thanksgiving morn kindles fond memories of my Aunt Barb.  She was the eldest of my father’s seven siblings, always a special one to me on this day.  My aunt made Thanksgiving look and feel like a Hallmark commercial or a “pop-up” cut-out card to be treasured in a box under the ruffle of my bed.  If she were alive today, she would long be in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations, cozy and warm within the confines of her Bay City, bungalow.  Like a snow-globe found in a department store, a child’s hold could shake it to see her smiling there while stuffing turkeys, preparing pies, or filling crystal candy dishes for her nieces and nephew’s with colored, M&M’s.

My aunt Barb took it upon herself to create an extended tradition for my enormous family, one that I have never forgotten.  Generous in spirit, humble and kind, she was a special person through and through.  Blessed to have escaped a rare gene that ravaged the lives of three of her younger sisters, she made silent promises to God, I believe, in going above and beyond in ways others could not.

My aunt’s house was not a large home, two bedrooms and a bath.  Her galley kitchen was small with black and white linoleum covering the floor.  I remember the stairway going to the basement was directly in the back, with a windowed door in between.  On Thanksgiving, it was forever left open.  Once you passed through, magic began to happen. I can still hear the clicking sounds of my patent leather Mary Jane shoes as I raced my cousins down the stairway to the heart and home of Thanksgiving.

The basement was divided into two large rooms.  It wasn’t finished in a fancy custom design like basements are today.  No, simple cement block walls greeted me, painted in bright and cheery pastel colors.  I remember being in awe of an extra kitchen at the bottom of the basement stairway, making me believe my aunt was rich!  Looking back, it was nothing more than a row of necessities to make life easier on Thanksgiving Day.  An old farm sink in shiny white, a gold oven with a big round clock on top and a white refrigerator that made buzzing sounds.  Still, extra turkeys browned and baked within the oven’s warmth, jiggly salads of jello chilled in the refrigerator’s coolness, while dishes were endlessly washed within the basin of the sink.

The basement’s tile floor beneath our shoes was shiny and bright.  There was a corner where all of us kids took turns bending down to see our faces in it.  Windows were all around the bottom of the cement wall, allowing fall sunlight to peer in.  Our cousins smashed pink noses flat against the glass of dust to see us from the outside.  In return, we teased them from the inside.  They were missing all the FUN!  The smells of pumpkin pie, the games we played and oh, the mischief in the basement there!

In the next room was a table the length I’d never seen before.  Actually it was a combination of several little tables, all pushed together so one and all could sit together.  Anticipation seemed to last f.o.r.e.v.e.r!  Finally, my mother, together with all of my aunts took turns bringing in plate after plate of delicious food that smelled so-good! Carefully, they sat each colored platter and bowl on top of colored cloths while lifting lids up above, allowing sizzling steam to escape.  I marveled at the twirling smoke, watching it swirl to the very tip of the ceiling.  Soon my father said the Thanksgiving Day prayer, giving thanks for our many blessings.  Always, he added a special tribute to Aunt Barb who brought our great big family together, making us all one for the special day.

After bellies were full, women pitched in to help clean-up, children scattered outside to play make-believe, while men trudged upstairs to the living room to watch afternoon sports on a colored television.  Babies cried, mother’s bounced them on their knees, and daddies passed them back and forth.  Toddlers teetered, older cousin’s sneaked M&M’s from crystal bowls, little boys played cowboys, and I dreamed imaginary tales while talking with my cousin in the “woods” beside my aunt’s shingled house.  There wasn’t any woods, really.  An extra lot with a few trees, but to me it was Sherwood’s Forest….

When I picture my Aunt Barb today, I see her like she always was.  A beautiful face with skin the color of perfect porcelain.  With eyes as bright as the ocean blue, they truly were the “windows to her soul.”  She had a tremendous love for family together with an amazing zest for life.  She did almost anything she ever wanted.  My aunt traveled the world while helping others.  She laughed every day, smiled while twinkling her eyes and danced in life.   I remember as a little girl, she used to tell me I was her special gift because we shared the same birthday.  Truth be told, she was my special gift.

Year after year, my Aunt Barb brought our overflowing family together on Thanksgiving Day.  I’ve cherished those memories ever since.  I will forevermore.

 

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

First Words


Earlier this week I picked my little grand-daughter up from Day Care.  Peering around the corner, I caught a secret glimpse of her.  Tiny and petite at only 14 months old, she sat upon colorful sponge flooring, playing with A.B.C. blocks.  “Hi little Sweetie.”  Hearing my voice, she bounced up like a silver spring, running full force towards the gate where I stood.  Smiling big and wide, the two of her little arms shot straight up into the air.  “Pick me up,” they said!

Driving home in the already dark of early night, I heard her talking to her favorite doll, the one with the bare bald head.  A reflection from the car’s rear-view mirror revealed a little angel clutching her baby oh-so-tight.  What a sight to see for me!  A rubber face of Googly Eyes smack dab next to the rosy pink of my little one’s cheek.  “Bay-bee, bay-bee,” she repeated over and over again.

Important first words for this little grand-baby of mine.  Her mommy was in the hospital for yet the third of fourth time, waiting for her little sisters of identical twins to arrive.  Still far from being due, the babes could come at any time.  God would choose when, while we prayed that all would be fine.  “Bay-bee,” a soft voice said once again.  “Yes, bay-bee,” I responded back to her.

That evening, after my munchkin ate ‘mac-n-cheese,’ played in a warm bath of yellow rubber ducks and changed into pink fuzzy footed pajamas, I cuddled and rocked her to sleep.  Gently, I laid my grand-baby into a spindled crib lit by soft blushes of a nursery night-light.  Puffs of even breath spilled from her perfect pout as she snuggled a bald rubber head together with her favorite flannel blanket sent from home.

Tiptoeing carefully towards the door, I was almost ready to shut it quietly behind me. Hushed and silent, all was still within my grand-daughter’s crib.  Until one soft, sweet familiar word.  “Bay-bee.”

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Stuff


In thinking of the soon-to-be Thanksgiving holiday, I remember a quiet time spent with my mother a few days before she passed away.  Cuddled within one of her hand-knitted afghans, she sat to the side of her favorite burgundy velvet rocking chair.  We played a game of sorts, both of us tip-toeing around the elephant in the room.

Thanksgiving was only a few short days away, with Christmas coming soon afterward.  Only God knew for sure, but I suspected that my mother would not be sharing either holiday with the whole of our family.  Moving two steps back while taking one step forward, I pretended like everything was the same as the year before.  Except nothing was the same.  Not even close.  My mother was dying.

So what game was I playing a few days before Thanksgiving?  “Christmas Is Coming Early!”  Unwrapping a few decorations to delight my mother’s tiring eyes, I lit the fireplace mantle in sparkling miniature white lights.  Next I pulled a tiny tree from a new box, fluffing the faux branches of dark green up and down and to the right or to the left.  I wanted it to look perfect before placing it atop the red brick and stone hearth of the fireplace.  “Do you like it, Mom?”  I asked.  She nodded, “Yes.”

Next, I carried a box of decorations from my parent’s garage storage area.  There, I discovered some of Mother’s favorites, including various Christmas dolls made of porcelain dressed in ruffled red velvet or shades of green taffeta.  Atop their breakable heads were wigs made of mohair dyed in blonde, brunette or dark red, the color of wine. Looking at me, they smiled with eyes of glass blue.  Each had tiny hands with long, delicate fingers of polish that shined in the light.  Clasping their silk strings carefully, I held them to the rose-colored lamp in order for Mother to get a better view.   “Where should we display them?” I asked.

I waited for her then, but no response.  Instead, I saw slight hints of clear tears in the corner of her eyes.  My heart broke then.  I had tried to pretend…but the game was over.  I had drawn the wrong card, it seemed.  “Do Not Pass GO,” it read.

“I don’t want to see them,” my mother said, barely able to speak.  “Look around,” she motioned, waving her arms about the room.  “Everything you see is just stuff,” she whispered, with all her strength and all her might.

One of my greatest Life Lessons came during the end of my mother’s days.  Nothing is greater in all of this living world than FAMILY.  Remember this during Thanksgiving Day and each day afterward.  Everything else is just…..Stuff.

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Thank You, Lorrie Bowden


Months have gone by since I was generously nominated by the dear Lorrie Bowden for The Versatile Blogger Award.  It looked somewhat different than I had seen before with a beautiful red flower against the bright backdrop of green.  How lucky I am, to be honored by Lorrie!

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I had every heartfelt intention of accepting this lovely award long ago.  Within days of receiving it however, my bowl of life began to overflow with commitments.  Lorrie understood, telling me to, “Take my time.”  No matter now many days passed, her kind heart full of love and appreciation was never far from my mind.

I am most grateful to accept this terrific award from Lorrie, a special person to many here at WordPress.  If you haven’t had the chance to get to know her, please visit her beautiful blog at, http://lorriebowden.com/.

The rules of acceptance for this award are to share 7 interesting facts about yourself in addition to nominating 15 other bloggers for this award.

My best attempt at Seven “Interesting Facts”

  1. My first name is not Kimberly.  Whenever I’m asked, “Is your name, Kimberly?”   My answer is inevitably the same.  “No, it’s just Kim.”
  2. My favorite children’s book is “Charlotte’s Web,” by E. B. White.  I still read it to this day, sobbing uncontrollably at the loss of Wilber’s beloved and faithful friend, Charlotte.
  3. When I was expecting my first child I craved Banana Splits, gaining 52 pounds over the course of nine months. Before my last son was born, Grapefruits never left my mind or mouth.  I had to have them morning, noon and night.  During that time I gained 53 pounds.  Go figure!
  4. I’ve never been much of an athlete, choosing “Bicycling” to fill a requirement for a P.E. college class. So sad…
  5. As a young mother, I always hoped to someday have a daughter.  I never dreamed of having four grand-daughters.   Miracles do happen!
  6. If I could choose one author to have lunch with living or dead, it would be, Dominick Dunne.  I’ve read every book he ever wrote and couldn’t wait for Vanity Fair to arrive in my mailbox, flipping pages to find his column.  Although worlds apart, I always felt a special connection to him.  Several of his books are signed First Edition copies sitting on a prized wooden shelf in my library.  Such a fascinating time it would have been to sit with him in a New Your cafe, gossiping about people and places, life or anything at all in the world.  Oh, how I would have loved it!!
  7. Long ago I wanted to be an actress. How ironic, for if I had been an actress perhaps I’d be reading another author’s words today, rather than writing my own.

The Fifteen Bloggers Nominated for The Most Versatile Blogger Award:

*If you are an “Award Free Blog” or do not have time to accept please know that I understand.  Your work is always very much appreciated.

  1. http://irenedesign2011.com/
  2. https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/
  3. http://olganm.wordpress.com/
  4. http://kmihran.wordpress.com/
  5. http://graleview.wordpress.com/
  6. http://ramblingsfromjewels.wordpress.com/
  7. http://383g.wordpress.com/
  8. http://poetlou.wordpress.com/
  9. https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/
  10. http://ladiesbulletin.com/
  11. http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/
  12. http://mudpilewood.wordpress.com/
  13. http://apuginthekitchen.com/
  14. http://paintingrainbows.net/
  15. http://nofacilities.com/