Tiger Tales


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I see words printed on pages dear

A-B-C, sounding them out reading silently

Pretty pictures touching them now

Raised with glitter, tips of fingers

Tickling, smiling with glee.

Snowflakes falling from the sky

Very, very s. l. o. w.

Turn the Page….

Look!  One is all alone by itself to land

Melting on the very end of a big black nose.

He, largest of all the jungle cats

Wearing a coat of warmth with stripes on back

Yes, a gigantic tiger larger than my house.

Turn the Page

Roaring loud with teeth so white and long and sharp

Until a baby bunny so small and soft and brown

Begins hopping near a moving stream of darkest blue

Afraid at first, the fuzzy brown stops in tiny tracks

Turn the Page

It’s colder now, the sun is setting with dark beginning

Nestled near a woodland tree with leaves upon the ground

Look to find the tiger with coat of stripes and warmth for night

Padded paws with claws to match for every catch

Gently cuddles baby bunny near and dear

Downy soft laying close to beating heart through orange and black and white

Sleepy now both rest weary eyes of big and small.

Turn the Page

The biggest tiger, larger than a house

Yes it’s true!

A baby bunny, smaller than a mouse

Yes it true!

Friends forever, from now until…

Turn the Page

“The End”

 

 

 

Winter’s Frost


 

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Stepping into the black of frosty night fingers lose warm mittens

Calling me hither to view magic sights more to see tomorrow will be

A yawn before dawn, God’s breath blankets all with freezing air

Below the moon of white glowing above so high and bright

There lies a patio table covered for winter with a frozen top

Patterns glisten in blinking lights below inky skies above

Where air stops to rest on camel-colored cloth

Stand back to get a better view

Snowflakes sparkle upon a frozen surface leaving

Speckled dust of diamonds shaved and carved to perfection

Diminutive sizes mirroring heads of straight pins in shining silver

Once draping fabric folds to dance within windy music stiffen to the touch

Brushing along one side, an unusual sound is heard

Kind of crunching, more of moaning, not quite frozen.

Morning light with sky of blue begins anew

Frost is sprinkled like powdered sugar everywhere

Wrought iron swings alone don’t sit there fall right through

Favorite bench beckons me in woods so grande shall have to wait

A small price to pay fore next year’s rays of early warming spring

Relish such artistry and elegance of winter’s frost until I sing

The Gift of My Father


An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

If I could give all I knew one present for Christmas it would be an itty-bitty piece of my father.  I suppose many daughters think this about their own.  The lucky ones.  Mine is like no other man I’ve ever met or known before.

My grandmother waited 36 years before delivering her, “only begotten son” on a snowy Christmas dusk in the year of 1932.  Five older sisters awaited his arrival, while an older angelic brother looked down from Heaven above. A younger sister of blonde and a baby brother lost were born during the years that came shortly afterward.  My father was always the only brother…his parent’s only son.

A humble man who has the kindest soul, my father is always loyal and true.  He’s taught me subtle, wise lessons in life.  As a girl, I watched his gentle mannerisms while listening to his quiet words, soaking up hushed teachings like a dry sponge dropped in a Michigan millpond.  One of my father’s most repeated  lessons was, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  Much like the Bible, I guess.  It has stayed with me forever and always. Shortly after my own two boys learned their first few words, I passed it down to them together with tender hugs and kisses.   They are having their own little ones, now.  If the cycle continues it will be a lesson for their children as well.  It is the most important one of all.

Of course there were other teachings to be learned.  Important mental notes written in imaginary pencil from my father for me to follow.  Like, “How to live life with a positive attitude in spite of adversity,” or “To smile when your heart hurts,” and, “It’s okay to cry.”

Once, when one of my sons was very young and very ill,  I called my father in Arizona all the way from St. Louis.  Choking back tears I remember saying, “Dad, I don’t think I’m going to have him very long.”  He paused for a few seconds before finding the right words.  I don’t remember exactly what they were, but together with his quiet tone, my father calmed me down.  I hold that single moment deep down inside of me.  Today, it is here within the whole of my chest…near the inside of my heart where it will stay for all eternity.

My father has taught me lessons my whole life through.  We are both older now.  It seems he is my guide and advisor only if I ask him to be.  We value our time together more than ever before.  Like children on a playground who have been friends all of their lives or even before, we laugh and play.  Sometimes we swing on a rubber tire hanging from an old frayed, cream-colored rope.  Like babes again, feeling our heads dangling in the wind! Other days we walk slowly along a new path, discovering speckled rocks to help us find our way.

Last night, I sat close to my dad in a puffy padded booth on a dusty patio.  Surrounding us was the warmth of a golden desert sun setting deep into the cocoa sand of a saguaro cactus land.  We talked for hours about nothing, telling old stories while sharing silly jokes.  I sipped cheap red wine from a glass bowl of clear.  He drank a little more.  Older teeth opened wide revealing burgundy red.  I giggled, he laughed.  A head of thick grey hair…formerly jet black, tossed back.  Like always…..

“That’s my father,” I whispered aloud,  to no one except coyotes hidden in the distance of the desert there.

 

* edited from original post dated 12/21/13

Letters To Santa


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My letters to Santa have changed over the years.  When I was young, we’d sit at the kitchen table.  The one with the speckled grey Formica top.  Nearby were baskets of lined notebook paper together with sharpened pencils and plain white envelopes.  My parents helped me lick the stamps.

“Dear Santa Claus,” I’d begin,  “I hope you and Mrs. Claus are good.  I’d like a new book to read, a doll and some candy too.  Please bring my mom something that helps her smell so sweet.  Please bring my dad something new to wear on his big, white feet.  My little brother hit me on the arm yesterday.  It still hurts, but not quite as bad.  You can bring him something small, I guess.  I hope it’s not a BB gun.  Love, XXXX.” 

The day my young son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes back in 1992,  someone……..a doctor?….a nurse?….told me there would “probably be a cure within the next five years.”  At the time, my facial expression must have looked a bit like “a deer in headlights.”  To think there would be a “CURE!”  Five years was unfathomable, but there was hope!  We’d get through!!

“Dear Santa Claus,” my mental letter read that year, “Please bring my family the strength to survive the next five years.  Keep my son as healthy as can be.  YES, please bring us the ‘Cure’ within the next five years.”  That was my  mental letter all those years ago.

Researchers fought for a cure each and every day since my son was diagnosed.  No one will  stop until a great big celebration is announced!  In the interim, technology has improved.  Lives have been saved.  ‘Tools’ are so much better than ever before!  Compared to what was available when my son was diagnosed, miracles exist today.  I am so thankful for the many positive changes in diabetes living.

Still, if I wrote a letter to “Santa Claus” today it would read something like this:

Dear Santa Claus:

Please keep all of those living with diabetes safe and ‘healthy.’  Bring young children a special kiss together with an extra wish.  

Help technology to keep improving!  Allow those who are sick to live better lives each and every day.  More than anything,  I’d like a cure for diabetes within my lifetime.  Until then, please keep my children and grand-children happy and healthy.  

Thank you, Santa Claus. 

With Love,

XXXX

*originally posted 12/23/13

 

 

What’s life without any move, on second birthday?


Get down on your knees and thank God, for Christmas gifts of life and breath this holiday.   “Thank You” to this special man for blessing us with courage through each word he ‘writes.’   A true gift to all of us.  Merry Christmas.

jamilzogheib, Flying Soul

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Dear friends,
My expectations in life were reduced to zero, the day I decided to undergo tracheotomy for continuous mechanical ventilation, without which I couldn’t spare life’s end. Every day since that moment seems like a new birth in life for me.
Today, it’s my second birthday, and I’d like to share with you the experience I had during these two years. I could put end to my life, but it would be a big mistake. Life is beautiful even with so dark conditions. There is always something to do and succeed in it; and I haven’t done badly.
In the first year, I’ve wrote two books: Ma vie, mon histoire and Conseils pratiques pour la santé des enfants.
In the second year, I’ve signed them via Skype, from my bed and because of my physical conditions, during the French book exhibition of Beirut at the end of October 2012…

View original post 1,295 more words

Merry Christmas Eve of Eve


Tis the Eve prior to Christmas Eve

Darkness in the house but for the glow of spruce

Heirloom ornaments clipped upon scented branches

Holding their own baited breath

Waiting for jolly old Saint Nick

To slip down the chimney near

Stockings hung up above

Toys and treats soon below

Dining room candles flicker on china cups with plates so rare

Poinsettias of red dancing to flames of golden hue

Hints of purple-blue

Christmas is waiting everywhere

When does it begin?

Wee ones linger in the wings

Nightgowns of flannel brush upon wooden floors

Sounds of swishing…wishing

Little feet and tiny tippy-toes

Peeking around door jambs

Hoping to catch the magic man

He of sparkling blue eyes with golden speckled rims

Wearing the brightest red with shiny belt of black

Oh, a long white beard soft like heaven might be

Mama’s promised he’s coming soon

Be patient now, come to me

Let’s share hot chocolate by the tree

Mallows of white one-two-three

Come sit to look at picture books

Stories by the light of moon and candlewicks

One more day I ask of you

Rest your weary head gently on my chest

Look to the tallest branch at the very top

See the star in silver bright

Make a wish for the whole wide world

I’ll wrap you in love and a quilt of down

Sweet dreams until the magic morn.

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Merry Christmas Eve of Eve

The Meaning and Magic of Christmas


What does Christmas mean to you?  For me, it’s a time of faith, remembrance and celebration.  The story of Jesus’s birth together with all that He represents.  Our savior, my belief in miracles, angels from above and of course the magic of the season.  A time when life is beautiful and all that is good in the world comes to be.

Last week, on Thursday, December 18th, I was busy writing my blog post “Traditions,” here in the comfort of my office space.  Outdoors, the morning had been blanketed with freshly fallen snow.  Deciding to stay cozy and warm, I wrapped myself in a fuzzy bathrobe of primary colored hearts.  If anyone peeked in the window, they’d see what looked to be a giant Valentine’s Day greeting card!  My hair was damp after a shower with strands falling from underneath a blue cotton towel.  Each time I took a sip from a “Favorite Sister” coffee mug, two or three curls in different shades of blond fell into puddles of cream.

“Ting-a-Ling.”  Sounds of my cell phone were ringing.  Almost singing.  An interruption.  Glancing down, I knew this call could be important.  My son was on the other line.  “I don’t want you to worry, Mom,” he said.  “She’s in labor.”  He went on to say the labor stopped.   The doctor was probably going to send them home.

Moving a few things to the side of my desk, I gathered my thoughts once again.  On the glass of my half-moon desk, a red stapler to the left.  Stacks of books to my right with yellow sticky notes and a pen of blue ink on top of a legal pad lined in green.  A shiny new mouse in jet black resting on top of a pull-out drawer.  Click-click.

Half an hour later, my cell phone rang again.  Call me crazy, but even the ring tone sounded different this time.  Without glancing down, I picked it up to answer.  A ‘trying-to-be-calm’ voice was on the other end.   Babies of two were coming at one!

My heart began to race together with the whole of my body.  Looking at my desk clock, I had exactly one hour to get to the hospital.  Pressing “Send” on my hopefully finished blog post, I dressed and drove to the hospital, arriving five minutes before surgery was scheduled.

There was my son, dressed in scrubs, looking taller and older than I ever remembered him to be.  Within minutes, I knew the big of his heart would forever slay a dragon for his soon-to-be angels without wings.

At 1:31 and 1:32 on December 18th God gave me the best Christmas presents I could ever wish for.  Miracles to be sure.

 

Payton Camille weighed in at 4lbs. 13 oz. while her bigger sister Olivia Lynn weighed 5lbs. 8 oz.  Both are 18 ½ inches long.  Born premature, they were immediately whisked off to the Special Care Nursery.  Finally, I was able to hold them yesterday.  No better feeling in all of this world.

Mom is coming home today, with her precious babies following by Christmas Day.

This is the true meaning and magic of Christmas.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus.  A time when life is beautiful and all that is good in the world comes to be.

 

 

 

Tradition


The sky opened early this morn, sprinkling miniature shrubbery of forest green with flakes of dry white.  Peeking outside from the inside of kitchen warmth, I was reminded of a silver-colored tin, bigger than a soup can, yet smaller than a breadbox.  It had a red-painted handle to the side, making it easy for hands of little ones to grab and hold and shake.  When turned upside down, magic dust sprinkled from the top of it.

My grandmother was a true gift in my life.  For most of her years on this earth, she loved to bake.  It is without hesitation to say that she was the best I ever knew.  Everything escaping from her oven door was stirred and whipped from scratch.   Years and years of recipes had been handed down to her from my Swedish Great-Grandmother.

My grandma was the very best at baking cookies, pies and cakes.  Her dark Swedish rye bread was out of this world and she loved to make home-made applesauce together with jams and jellies of berry red.  She was a wonderful cook, but her baking surely could have won awards from all around the world!  She stirred and whipped egg-yolk batters in colored bowls stacked on dusty floured counter tops.   Soon a round oven buzzer of black and white would ring announcing it was time to spring.  With big mitts upon her hands, she’d shove baking sheets of delicious confections in the dark while taking others out the door.

At holiday time, baking Christmas cookies was a long-standing tradition.  Some called for a finger’s pinch while others begged for my grandmother’s print of thumb.  Often she rolled out dough for me to press shapes into animals, trees, or a Santa’s face from cookie cutters made with rounded edges.  They were silver too, and had red wooden handles in the middle.  As a child, I remember Grandma helping me to first press down hard while carefully lifting them afterwards on to baking sheets.

A few of Grandma’s prized bowls were covered and set to the side for later.  Fancy dough of buttered shortbread plus balls in rainbow colors to make her special cookies of spritz.  Shades of pastel yellow, pine green and angel blue with some in a touch of peppermint pink.  Often too pretty to eat!

My favorite of all was Grandma’s puffy molasses cookies, the color of sugar brown.  Lined in rows of six across, she’d bake three dozen or more at a time.  When the buzzer on the stove would ring-a-ding-ding, Grandma opened the oven door to a flash of heat that warmed my face and smelled so sweet.  Lifting me up on a stool, she helped me grip a red-painted handle to hold a silver tin with piercings punched into the top.  Tiny stars, a sun and a half-moon, I think.

And then, magic happened!  When I turned the container upside down, shaking it ever so gently, powdered sugar of white lowered to the tops of cookies all around.  Like snow falling in slow motion, it floated and drifted until it landed inside the crevices of my very favorite sweets to eat.

Today, I am lucky enough to behold the magic of my grandmother’s silver sugar tin together with her basket of antique cookie cutters.  Whenever I use them, I remember little hands touching the love of them.  What a wonderful tradition to share with my own four grand-daughters one day.  They will be sure to hear the stories of my grandma’s Christmas cookie traditions and learn all about her.  To think it all began with the inside and the outside of my grandmother’s sweetness.

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!