Thanksgiving Peace

Traveling to South Carolina to visit family including my grand-Babies of Two, I pause to reflect on surroundings along the way.  There is much to be thankful for and I wish to share some of it with all of you.


Driving south on a winding two lane road

To the left and to the right

In front and far behind

Are mountains covered in dark green pines 

As though God reached down to blanket the land

With one giant hand

Gently, gently


The sun has set, the moon shines bright

High and round amid golden stars shooting

Reflecting upon smooth glasses of water streaming blue

Flowing, flowing

Doe and fawn, lapping coolness

Liquid spilling over cliffs falling

Barely dawn

Tis a new day

Of peaceful blessings


Ours and theirs

Of celebration

On Thanksgiving….






Sunday Lunch Invitation – Anniversary Celebration and a cover reveal.


Congratulations are in order for our dear friend Sally over at Smorgasbord-Variety is the spice of life…for many reasons. So many reasons to discover them! :)

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

sunday lunch logo

A little change from the usual format since I am back and forth to the kitchen this morning. Today is our 35th wedding anniversary and instead of just inviting one or two of the amazing people I have got to know here in blog world; you are all invited.

I do not take the opportunity nearly enough, to thank the one very special person in my life who supports me in everything that I do and have accomplished. So today is the turn of definitely my ‘better half’ in the spotlight. My husband David.

First; what we will be eating in approximately 45 minutes.

roast lamb

On the menu is slow cooked leg of lamb that will be finished off in the oven to get some crispy skin – Potato bravas which is sauteed potatoes here in Spain – Brussel Sprouts – Carrots and rich gravy. For dessert some very special Turron…

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Celebrating Mother

rose black good


Five years forever whispers in my ear.  Five…five….five…five.  Warm breaths with tender lips barely brushing cheeks.  Last kisses of inevitable goodbyes.

Life-time sentiments of love between a mother and daughter.  I remember gently climbing into her over-sized bed to fluff pillows of down.  Wanting to snuggle close.  Careful now. Fragility.  With every movement of the mattress her body cried out in pain.  An agony of my own if you will yet one I prayed to never know.

Clasping hands, hers was tiny.  Blue-white from lack of oxygen, but soft and smooth. The feeling of velvet with a faint hint of lavender lotion.  I held fingers to the rose-colored lamp under the tip of my nose to breathe in the scent of her, wanting to remember it always and forever.

Looking around the room, Mother reminded me of one of her treasured porcelain baby dolls protected behind doors of glass.  So infantile she was lying in a near fetal position in order to be comfortable.  If only I could do the same for her, much like her beloved cabinet full of heart,

Still, we were awarded brief moments of heartfelt joy.  Memories of thankfulness never to be replaced.   Mother’s head resting upon my shoulder while movies of color played before our eyes of four.  Laughter.  Sharing cookies and cocoa.  Crumbs in the bed.  Warm, labored breaths upon my neck.  Closeness and bonding came full circle.  Sheets of cool cotton beneath chins of two.  Understanding. ComfortAcceptanceLovePeace.  We had it all during that those last few days before she was ready to go.

When lids opened from brief respite, it was a time for conversations in the shadows of the night.  Insignificant at first, we danced around the truth before the music stopped.  “Take care of Daddy…”  Near the end of my mother’s life this was her main concern.  She feared the love of her own would be left alone.  Squeezing her hand lightly, no more words were needed.  She had her answer then.  She rested.


It’s ironic that today, five years after my mother’s passing my husband and I are attending a neighborhood potluck of Thanksgiving.  Before realizing the date, I searched for a special recipe to cook, one that I knew my friends would enjoy.  Digging into mother’s mixed box of handwritten 3X5 cards, I finally discovered exactly what was meant to be.  Pulling the recipe from a clear plastic container, there was her familiar handwriting, scripted in wooden pencil.   Now faded, the yellowed index card is curled in the left hand corner where it’s nearly torn.  Splashed upon it are droplets of tomato sauce, dried from my mother’s days of cooking long ago.

I’m celebrating Mother today by sharing her recipe with all of you.  An unusual one perhaps, but delicious!

Wieners in Tomato Sauce (I think my mother simply made up a name)

1 lb. wieners

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 slices of chopped sweet onion

1 large chopped green pepper

½ c sugar

Dash of salt & pepper

Bring all of the above to boil-then turn down flame & thicken with 2 T mixed flour & water.  Simmer approximately two hours, covered. *Serves 4-6

**I tend to cook in larger quantities, doubling or tripling the recipe (except for the sugar) and putting it in my crock pot to cook the whole day through.



The Memory Journal

When I close my eyes, her smile is tilted slightly towards the sky, as if receiving a silent message meant for her soul alone.  She had an outward beauty of course, but her inward beauty was unsurpassed.  Calm in times of insurmountable struggles, tremendous trials and personal loss, she had an inner peace that gave her strength.  She was one of my father’s sisters who was diagnosed with a rare chronic heredity illness named, Friedreich’s Ataxia.  She was my special Aunt Joan.

Aunt Joan was a nurse by trade.  As a young woman, she took care of the sick and needy in a Michigan hospital.  She married a strict Lutheran Preacher with a dry sense of humor.  In turn, she became a minister’s wife who eventually bore and raised four children.  I often thought my mother was in a ‘race’ of sorts with her.  Together with my father’s other five sisters, they were forever having babies.  During family gatherings, some of my cousins and I peered under soft yellow blankets to catch the wrinkles of newborns cradled in their laps.  I was part of the older group.  It was our job to barricade running toddlers before they trashed our grandmother’s goods.  We were a lot like the “Kennedy’s” in that way, except our family was never rich or famous.

I don’t remember the order of such, whether Aunt Joan’s diagnosis came before or after her older sister, Helen.  They were fairly close in time, as I recall.  Either way, Aunt Joan was quite young.  I believe she learned of it soon after she bore her fourth and last child, a son.  She named her baby, Paul after my father who became his Godfather.   How difficult her life must have been, tending to four young children in addition to being the picture-perfect Pastor’s wife?  All this while living with such a devastating chronic condition?   If she ever questioned God, no one knew.  Instead, Aunt Joan was full of gentle smiles, taking her condition in stride while raising her brood of children proudly. Even after her body did not respond to her brain’s unmistakable commands, she persevered.  My aunt never complained.  Not ever.  Not after forty years or more.  Not even later in life when she lost her youngest son to a another chronic condition.  Life was not fair.

All of my aunts have given me exceptional gifts.  Life Lessons that can’t be learned by reading books or researching on a computer.  Growing up, I must have taken subliminal notes scribbled in invisible ink.  Lucky for me to have filed them away in a memory journal to be discovered during my own times of adversity.  Thank you, Aunt Joan.  For your life and the wisdom your shared with me.

Bless you together with your loved ones in heaven above.

English: My Heaven

Edited from one of my earliest posts 11/16/13 in dedication to my Aunt Joan

Trust Me

Please pause to thank the multitude of men and women who have served our country together with those who do so today….willingly.  They protect us on our own soil in addition to all around the world.  Soldiers who risk their lives for our freedom.  Many travel to far off places, other cities and countries, vine-covered jungles or wind whipped deserts to fight wars in the name of, FREEDOM.

Our country’s Armed Forces fight enemies we never thought of before.  Sometimes, the ‘enemy’ wears a mask making him look much like our neighbor next door.  We ask, why?  Why is there hate?  Why do we fight?  Can’t we get along?  Let’s live in peace, be happy, respect each other and love one another while remembering God’s word…please?

Young soldiers, men and woman, sons and daughters or brothers and sisters protecting us day and night…summer or winter, spring and fall.  They cry tears of loneliness with worry behind closed doors.  A cement sidewalk long ago poured in front.  Across the dewy ground lies an unridden bicycle.  Toys scattered and tossed atop an overgrown lawn.  There is a piece of puzzle missing…yes, it’s Mom or Dad.  If not, it may be a prized son, precious daughter or much-loved brother or sister.  Love is missing.

Dusk settles.  Lullabies in rocking chairs soothe crying babies to sleep.  Toddlers toss in cribs clutching flopping bunnies while ‘olders’ retreat in solitude to rooms where emotions can be stuffed waaay down deep.  They’re too B.I.G. to cry.  No matter the age, children wonder the same… “When is Mommy or Daddy coming home?”

Far too often, the unspeakable happens during war.  There is a knock on the front door.  Neighbors in the distance hear the agony of wailing.  I’ve heard it before.  Like an animal cry.  Low, deep down and guttural at first, then louder to a crescendo like no other.  To the top……as if in slow motion.  W..H..Y?  Life is not fair.

I ask all of you to pray for our soldiers today.  Those who have fallen before together with each of them who protect us during all of our tomorrows.  No matter your belief, ‘right or wrong,’ our soldiers are here for you.  Yes, you.  Doing what they believe is right.  Remember them, please and thank them with the whole of your heart.

If you know any soldiers, call one today.  Say, “Thank you for your service.”  A few minutes on the phone will mean the world to any of them on this day.

Trust me…..

Let There Be Play!

I’ve been thinking of the little children I saw over the weekend who took delight in Halloween, including my own grand-babies.

Throughout all of the years of my life, I’ve never bothered to research the word, Halloween. Sure, I’ve heard whispers of evil stories associated with October 31st.  At movie theatres, I’ve seen trailers for spooky picture shows, and in stores there are always the covers of horror books.   Still, seeing the excitement of children in anticipation of the holiday, I always wondered,  “How could that be?”

Long ago, when my own two boys were barely into preschool and kindergarten, my oldest had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Life for children and families was very different from it is today.  Insulin was our only defense and rules were rigid in order to keep children safe and healthy.  No sugar what-so-ever was ever allowed unless it was an emergency.  So what to do about Halloween?

Motherly instincts told me that Halloween wasn’t about good or evil.  Not inside the innocent minds of children.  I didn’t believe it was about popping melted chocolate into wee and waiting mouths.  No, in my mind, Halloween was all about traditions hidden with imaginations while taking part in play.  Behind eyes of brown or green or blue, everyone could see….

Within my mind, Halloween was about dreaming and dress-up.  Being cast in a new role to play a character on a neighborhood stage in front of a backdrop of orange and black. Painted faces laughing in mirrors of glass from deep within skinny bellies before snapshots were taken in kitchens next to siblings of the same.  Families together with bowls of candy.  Enough treats for everyone who might ring a bell.

My son living with diabetes dreamed of the same tradition as every other child.  He donned a clown suit of red and yellow, learned his line of “Trick-or-Treat” and went off to wait in the wings before taking part in his play.  Upon returning home, his face was all aglow at his performance.  He and his brother emptied brimming plastic pumpkins for all to see.  One-by-one tiny fingers counted each treat, tossing M&M ‘s together with peanut butter cups to the side for emergencies.  So proud my little boy was to show me his pile of loot!

Soon my husband came out of the next room.  He dug deep into side pockets, pulling out a couple of bills of green plus a few rounds of silver.  Our little boy clown jumped up and down..down and up.  So excited he was!  “Tomorrow we’ll go shopping,” I said, squeezing him tight.  That set a new stage for our Halloween every year thereafter.  No matter what, our son would always be cast in the annual Halloween play.

For young children everywhere, Halloween is all about tradition, expectation and imagination.  Taking part in play!  There is no doubt in my mind this still holds true today.

Hoping everyone together with their cast and crew enjoyed your own Halloween play!

Clapping my hands for you!


Christmas Grotto 2015 – Babies of Two by Kim Gosselin and illustrated by Alisa Belzil


With love and thankfulness to Sally for her beautifully written words.

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

Christmas Grotto

Today a book that may only have 32 pages but which packs a very powerful punch of emotion and delight. Perfect for a family who are expecting twins or who are already experiencing the delights of running around after them!  Also for brothers, sisters and grandparents who are excitedly waiting for the new arrivals.

Cover Final Babies of Two

About the book

A heartwarming story filled with love and humor told from the perspective of adorable baby twins shortly before birth. The secret is out! What do they see? What do they do? So much fun for me and YOU! Sneak a peek into Mollie and Maddie’s warm and wonderful ‘Bubble of Blue’ as they journey into a brand new world where Mama and Daddy wait for them with open arms and beating hearts. A special book for children and generations to share. 32 pages.

My Review – Five Stars – A wonderfully illustrated book…

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Special Delivery

An official announcement from the maternity department of hospital!

In the wee hours of dawn Babies of Two were born to Kim Gosselin and Alisa Belzil. Weighing in at over nine pounds combined, Mollie and Maddie sleep peacefully, gently swaddled next to warm and beating hearts.  Babies are healthy, Moms are happy.

Kindle subscribers read for FREE.  Thank you for all of your support.