Thankful


An unconventional Thanksgiving holiday for me. My husband and I are here in Arizona, spending it with my father in his new home. The one he barely had time to share with his bride Eileen, who succumbed to cancer a few months after they were married. I planned to cook my father an old-fashioned turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. To gather at his table of round with my husband and brother, where together, we would share a prayer of Thanksgiving.

When my husband and I arrived late last night, my father hugged me tight. His home was neat and tidy. A silver tray of grapes and crackers of wheat plus  yellow cheeses sat on top of a swirling black and gray granite counter.

“No cooking for you,” my father stated,” surprising me with a slight smile. “We’ve been invited to Troy and Ellen’s for Thanksgiving dinner.” I was taken aback at this news. Troy and Ellen was part of Eileen’s immediate family. I had been looking forward to spending a quiet holiday with my father, having flown all the way from St. Louis to Arizona. Still, Dad was part of Eileen’s family too, and I was selfish not to share him.

“That will be nice, Dad, I mumbled,” munching on a cracker while pulling a stool up to the kitchen counter.

After tumbling into bed last night, I pondered over the coming Thanksgiving Day.

I realized how lucky my father was to have Eileen’s family embrace him as part of their own. Her grandchildren often stopped to visit after school, where they shared stories of love that brought smiles to his face. Eileen’s daughter occasionally dropped off a casserole covered in silver foil before going to work, or one of her sons-in-law repaired something for him in his home. Sometimes, Eileen’s family members took my dad out for an evening of karaoke, where he sang his troubles away until another day.

In a few hours my Thanksgiving dinner will be shared with Eileen’s family. It is an unexpected blessing that my father has remained part of her extended family. For that I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours,

Kim

*in memory of Eileen 1939-2016

Both families

 

 

 

 

“Grandma Joan”


She was an English war bride, named Joan. Losing her first love shortly after throwing her bouquet, she left her homeland and all that she knew to live in America with her second husband while still grieving her first. It wasn’t long after the war, and she had dreams of the new world awaiting her.

Joan was a kind and gentle soul who had a soft lilting voice, the tone of which reminded me of a string of tinkling brass bells moved by mellow winds during the warmth of a late spring day. While I worked outside the home, Joan sat for my eldest son who was just a baby at the time. It didn’t take long before our family more or less adopted her, calling her, “Grandma Joan.” She touched my baby as though he was her own, rocked him gently and bundled him close. Joan took him for rides in a stroller where he dangled a pudgy fist, hoping her black poodle, Pepper, would tickle it with his pink tongue. She taught him to feed fuzzy, quacking ducks in the lime green pond of the park and read him fairy tales before tucking him in for naps before toppling A.B.C. blocks.  And, when my second son was born she joyously added him to the fold, kissing him from head to toe.

Before long, “Grandma Joan,” spent almost every holiday with us including Christmas and birthdays. I remember whipping up her favorite German chocolate cake for a milestone birthday one year, while my toddlers surprised her with presents she didn’t need but loved to receive. One Christmas day, she delighted me with the gift of an angel soft afghan colored in cream. Surely it took many hours of love and toil to make such a dream. Today, nearly thirty years later, I still wrap up in the warmth of it while dozing in her scent. Joan taught my children manners and messages that can never be replaced while giving me memories of proper grace.

Occasionally, I sensed a chasm of pain behind Joan’s golden rims of wire. Reflecting pools of blue never to surface. A life of  youth and love sunken by war and loss.  As close as we were, some things were better left unspoken. People come in and out of each other’s lives at just the right time as part of fate or from a plan high above in Heaven. During the time we spent with Joan, her husband was dying in a nursing home from Alzheimer’s disease. And, before meeting Joan, my own little family had just moved from afghanout-of-state. We craved the love and touch of maternal wisdom. Suddenly, out of nowhere hearts and homes collided providing both with an extension of a family. Kindness, trust, and love.

This morning a chill is in the air. Doodle dog is by my side as I sit by the fire wrapped in an afghan of cream where I am forever thankful for “Grandma Joan.”

 

 

 

What Will It Take?


What will it take to bring a smile to your trembling lips? Place peace inside your tender soul, and quiet your troubled mind? 

Clasp your weathered hands around the two of my own. Hold them close. Sand to silk. One by one count to ten. Barely there, skin to skin. Linger now. Close your eyes of blue to know that I am true. Here for you.

What will it take to bring a smile to your trembling lips? Look at me, see beyond the glass. Believe the dream to grasp the great of vision. Rest your beloved head upon my lap. Take a break until you wake. Push beyond the pain. Feel the burn, soon to gain.

What will it take to bring a smile to your trembling lips? Live your truths, take a step, climb a stair, stand your ground and walk the line. I am yours and you are mine.

We’ll be fine….

*photographs courtesy of Google Chrome

Costumed Charm


The other day we enjoyed Trick-or-Treating with two of our grandchildren in my favorite Missouri city, St. Charles. It is the third oldest city in the state. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles,_Missouri Founded in the mid-1700’s by a French-Canadian fur trader, St. Charles looks much like it did hundreds of years ago. The city has been preserved, making visitors feel like they’re stepping back into time. Quaint shops line the original cobblestone streets with a beautiful backdrop of the great Missouri river behind them. Rich in charm, original gingerbread architecture, and filled with history, St. Charles is the last known stop of the Lewis and Clark expedition way back in 1804. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition

Monday was such a perfect day for Halloween with temperatures rising into the mid-70’s. Surprisingly warm, it might have felt even hot to some of the costumed creatures covered in hair from head to toe. A few were sweating with chocolates melting. Still, others didn’t mind, so thrilled they were to soak up the sun. Charming shops shared treats with characters, big and small until our own little Super Heroes stopped to say, “I don’t want any more candy.” The kids were tired. Little legs had walked a long way. Grandpa carried our grandson on his shoulders while I pushed a stroller. Buckets were heavy, make-up dripped on the monster’s face next to me while a hot pink wig suddenly fell upon a bale of hay.

Afterward, dinner was enjoyed at my son and daughter-in-law’s house while a menagerie of children rang the bell. Ghosts and goblins came to the door, witches of black dusted off brooms and cheerleaders shook pom-poms before cheering for more. Our grand-kids donned satin capes, sure to save a mission or two before calling it a night.

Not long before the children’s bedtime, we gathered ’round the television to watch the movie, Room on the Broom adapted from the children’s book by Julia Donaldson, published in the spring of 2014. No tricks here, just one giant TREAT to end a terrific afternoon and evening of delight.

Below are links to a reading of the book as well as the movie. Please enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWB0goTWZic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuIZThG1APA

 

 

Do you know how to publish an ebook with pictures?


If you want to publish picture books, don’t waste any more time. Head on over to Jean’s blog to learn simple and easy steps to jump-start your publishing career! Thanks, Jean!

jean's writing

Using MS-Word?

Success at last! When I loaded it up to KDP, everything worked!i-did-it

If you write children’s books or comic books, I’m sure you’ve heard of Kindle Kids’ Book Creator. This program is terrific. However, the program limits which electronic devices that can open and read the book.

I wanted my picture books to be available on e-readers and tablets. I found out after using KKBC for A Most Reluctant Princess; this wasn’t possible. Using KKBC limits which electronic devices available.  Since publishing my first picture book, I’ve read tips, blogs, instructions, and watched videos searching a way to use MS-Word.

No one had the answers I needed. So, I began experimenting until I figured out a process that worked.

My new book, A Reluctant Little Prince, in e-book form, is written on MS-Word and can be read on a Kindle. Yay!

For the print version…

View original post 132 more words

Happy Halloween! Flash Fiction: The Ghostly Jacket of Discovery


A delightful Halloween flash-fiction story from Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx’s Blog. Excellent writing that had me on my seat right from the beginning and left my heart warm and inspired at the end. Please tune in!

K Y R O S M A G I C A

untitled

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

I’ve written a Halloween themed piece of flash fiction for Esther Newton’s flash fiction competition. Here is the link if you’d like to find out more. Esther Newton Blog: Last Call for Flash Fiction Entries. But today is the last day for entries so get on your witch’s broom and hurry up. The prompt is discovery, so doesn’t have to be Halloween related!

The Ghostly Jacket of Discovery

Last night the sliding wardrobe had been closed but this morning it lay open.  All of Ed’s shirts were freshly laundered and ironed. His ties neatly arranged in perfect rows, his shoes polished and shiny. Iris pulled his biker jacket off the hanger. It was his one aberration, the one piece of clothing that was different. He had loved that jacket, had said that it carried special memories of freedom, laughter, and happiness. He had refused to throw…

View original post 412 more words

Halloween Innocence


Trick-or-Treat for Halloween

Costumed monsters or movie queens

Door to door to ring a bell

Heart is beating thumping well

Treats of sweet sinking bag

Stuffed inside so full of swag

Chocolate pretzels plus kids to tag

Distant sounds and spiderwebs

Pumpkin smiles and waxy teeth 

Peek inside then run and hide

Witch’s hat atop hair of red

Have no fear she is a dear

Biggest treat I’ve ever had

Jokes and smiles to send me off

Treasures emptied upon my floor

Sit and count them to the door

One or two gobbled whole

Brush my teeth and scrub my face

Pajama time another race

Tuck me in with story time

Lashes long now falling fine

Friendly ghosts are in my mind

Magic wishes and floating dreams

Oh what a Happy Halloween

Some photos courtesy of Google Chrome

Hope and Fear


As we near the end of October, the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness, please pause to remember the many woman and men who are affected by this condition. https://siteman.wustl.edu/treatment/cancer-types/breast-cancer/risk-prevention-and-

Breast cancer in America is the most common type of cancer diagnosis, second only to skin cancer, among women. Over the course of their lifetimes, about 1 in 8 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Among American men, the odds are about 1 in 1,000 of being diagnosed with breast cancer. https://www.bcrfcure.org/breast-cancer-statistics Yet, thanks in part to the October month of Breast Cancer Awareness, education has increased, and research funds have continued to rise allowing improved quality of lives. Today, breast cancer is often treated as a Chronic Condition. Women and men live longer lives and are often cured!

I cannot begin to put myself in the shoes of someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t know how it feels to stare the unknown devil in the face or to wonder about my tomorrows. But, I do know the fear of the possibility. I know too, how it feels to lose someone to this disease. The sorrow and deep absence of a loved who is no longer with us. The pain and struggle of children whose mother disappears forever.

Many years ago, a friend of mine, a former college roommate was diagnosed at a very young age. Thankfully, she was cured! https://www.bcrfcure.org/ Today, she happily lives and works in the same town she grew up in, the one where she raised her son from toddler to young adulthood. She lives productively, giving back to the community, thankful to be alive each and every day.

In the years between, I’ve brushed the arm or touched the hand of many others who have lived with breast cancer. I saw the fear in the glass of their eyes while feeling hope through the warmth of their skin. With cancer, hope and fear seem to coincide.

Like every woman should, I practice a monthly self-breast exam. Still, I was surprised when my doctor discovered a lump during my last annual physical. It was about the size of a small green pea, she said. The size that rolls around your plate next to roast beef and mashed potatoes during a family dinner. Although I had a normal mammogram a few months earlier, my doctor smiled cautiously while scheduling another.

During the next few weeks, I followed my doctor’s orders by having a second mammogram. The technician performed it before asking the radiologist to do yet another. I was taken into the next room where an ultrasound depicted even better pictures. To my relief, everything was determined to be normal and they sent me on my way.

About a week later, while driving my cell phone rang. The speaker blared from the seat next to me, “Your doctor would like you to see a breast specialist.” Shaken, I pulled into a parking lot where I was able to jot down a name and address. Upon returning to my office, I looked up the doctor’s referral. My computer screen highlighted the words, Cancer Surgeon. Air left the whole of my inside. Quickly, like a bright red balloon floating across a western sky only to land atop a desert green cactus. “P.O.P!”

Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, I absorbed palatable emotions as each new person stepped through the door or waited for their name to be called aloud. Some women were alone while others held hands of supportive boyfriends or husbands. Arms of chairs were clutched tighter with knuckles turning white. Smiles of strained were seen here or there while ears listened to gentle whispers. Occasionally tired heads lay on soft shoulders for comfort. Arms all around. A sisterhood was felt between women who had never met before. Bonding and empathy. Soon, each one would be pronounced cancer free, or they would begin one of the most difficult journeys of their lives.

Fear and Hope….

*After the “Breast Specialist” examined me and reviewed all of my records, I received fantastic news, “Cancer Free!” Still, I don’t take anything for granted. I will continue to do monthly self-breast exams, see my personal physician regularly, and never miss an annual mammogram screening. They are proven to be one of our best defenses in the world of early breast cancer detection. So if you are a woman, especially over forty, schedule a mammogram today. Please don’t wait until tomorrow.