Believing in Magic


The magical innocence of children…it’s the wonder of it that draws me in like a vacuum hose to sawdust.

Recently, my husband and I spent some time in Disney World with my oldest son, daughter-in-law and three of our young grandchildren. Their eldest daughter, at just five years old was up for anything. Riding rollercoasters of tall and fast, lumbering in a log toward splashing white rapids and marveling at roaming wild animals during a jungle safari. She loved the beauty of colored gardens and especially, getting autographs from her favorite Disney characters.

My only grandson who is just about to turn three gripped his grandpa’s hand while eyeing Captain Hook during a boat ride through storyland. Soon he fell down Splash Mountain, opening his mouth wide in joyous laughter. And later, he was thrilled to discover the Wild Animal Park hopping up and down on windy dirt roads in a bumpy jeep. One of his favorite things to do was climb the ropes around Dinosaur Land, and later, dig for “prehistoric” bones hidden in the cool dry sand under a billowy canopy.

The youngest of my grandchildren was carried by her mother in a knapsack of sorts that fitted across her waist and chest. There, Mama’s infant was serene and sublime most of the time. Hardly a peep was ever heard from this little one on any given day. She was exactly where she wanted to be: nestled against Mama.

One of the biggest hits of Disney World was having breakfast while meeting some of my grandchildren’s favorite Disney characters: Goofy, Donald Duck, and Mickie & Minnie Mouse. To see their faces light from deep within, feel their emotions, and hear the bell of their giggles was truly priceless. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them happier in the whole of their lives. It’s a morning I shall never forget for as long as I live.

As we left, my grand-daughter posed a serious question. “Grandma, are the characters REAL or are they people just wearing costumes? “Hmmm,” I thought. “How shall I answer this precious child?” I certainly didn’t want to take the allure out any of the joy we had just witnessed. “Well, sweetie, we are at Disney World where everything is magic. So, yes, here the characters are real.”

*Think like a child again. Put a little magic in your life today!

 

New Life-New Year


Around the world people are counting down ‘till the hands of a clock strike twelve. Corks will pop atop bottles of bubbly, kisses and hugs will be shared while resolutions are repeated. Young and old will wish for a wonderful New Year through hopes and dreams and tears and laughter.

Recently, my heart spilled with joy while empty rooms of my home were filled shortly before Christmas. Father flew in from Phoenix, while my youngest son and his family drove from Nashville. Tired grand-babies tumbled from the car before falling into my squeezing arms.

During the silent night of Christmas Eve, a cell phone jingled its bells, waking my husband. He darted from under the covers before speeding to our eldest son’s to await sleeping children soon to discover Santa. My daughter-in-law was about to deliver my sixth grandchild.

Shortly after brunch on Christmas day, while stockings were emptied and presents were opened, my fifth grand-daughter was born in the quiet of a nearby hospital. Felicity Noelle, meaning “Happy Christmas,” weighed in at just over seven pounds, wearing a cap of silky hair the color of coal.

Surely, the gift of new life brings promises of a Happy New Year to all. Many blessings to you during 2017 with wishes of good health, success, and happiness.

“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.”

 

 

 

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

Silence of The Lambs


This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health conditions affect over 42 million people, approximately one in five or 20%. To my surprise, the statistics of one in five are the same found in children.  Yes, children…..

http://www.speakupforkids.org/report.html

I know of a little girl, who currently lay in a children’s hospital bed under mandated psychological observation after trying to commit suicide. She’s been abused emotionally and probably physically under the supervision of her single parent. Ever since birth, she’s been moved from one home to another while being kept isolated, often missing school. She has little to no social life, having been groomed to be her parent’s caregiver while being encouraged and/or allowed to take part in illegal drug abuse. Recently, a social worker stepped in, taking a drug test of the child, and indeed she tested positive. Like most abused children, this innocent one would do anything to protect her mother, anything in the world to sustain her mother’s love. Even to the point of taking her own life in order to silence herself.

I thank God for saving this child, and ask that she be provided the best possible mental health care. She needs true love, patience, and understanding, together with counseling and a stable home in the future. All of which are waiting for her.

We must remember not only the 42 million adults who suffer each and every day with a mental health condition but also the 1 in 5 children who are rarely mentioned. They must not be forgotten. Children most often do not recognize symptoms, nor do they understand that help is available! These innocent lambs are silent.

The above little girl’s case is rare. Most children living with mental health conditions are from warm and loving homes with parents who may not know their child needs help.

Mental health conditions should be treated as Chronic Conditions without any stigma. To all and everyone, please look for warning signs in children. No child should ever have to suffer.

Pick up the phone, you may save a life today!

Warning Signs of Mental Conditions in Children:

  1. Mood Changes
  2. Intense Feelings
  3. Behavior Changes
  4. Difficulty Concentrating
  5. Unexplained Weight Loss
  6. Physical Symptoms: Compared with adults, children may develop headaches & stomachaches rather than depression & anxiety.
  7. Substance Abuse: Children may try to cope with their feelings through alcohol or drugs.
  8. Self-Injury or Self-Harm: The act of deliberately hurting one’s own body, such as cutting or burning. Children with a mental health condition may also develop suicidal thoughts or actually attempt suicide.

Through The Lens of a Child


A reminiscent post that gave my heart a smile today…..

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 and lessons are taught, trail rides are given, and a bit of magic happens…..

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 newly 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, more magic happening…..

Wafting through the first barn was the musty scent of sweaty twine together with horse manure from nearby fields of munched on grass and 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 a child’s innocence for me to 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?

 

 

Tugging at Heartstrings


In deciding what books to keep or donate before my move, I came across a small volume of poetry I hadn’t seen or touched in quite some time. A small hardcover, it cheerfully greeted me with a child’s colored hearts in red, pink and yellow on a cover of white. The title is, Journey Through Heartsongs, by Mattie J.T. Stepanek, published in 2001.

For those of you who don’t know, Mattie Stepanek, (July 17, 1990-June 22, 2004) wanted to be remembered as “a poet, a peacemaker, and a philosopher who played.” He was an amazing child who published seven best-selling books of poetry during his short thirteen years of life. Mattie had an innate sense of being, an intuition far beyond imagination which he brought not only to his poetry but to everyone he met. I urge all of you to read about his life at the following link. Quite simply, he was a remarkable being. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattie_Stepanek

Mattie lived with the Chronic Condition of Muscular Dystrophy and left us all with gifts unimaginable. My own heartstrings sing a melody of lyrics thanks to his writing. It’s no accident that I rediscovered the jacket of this dusty book.  I stopped to read it from cover to cover this morning, carefully placing it in a box next to some of my very favorites, marked, “Library.”

Crystal Celebration

Sometimes, 

Sunrise is like a heavenly crystal ball.

Everyday,

In the little bit of time between night and day,

The angels look at the earth

To see how things are going and

To see how things will be.

The sky changes from dark

Into Angel-whites and Angel-golds.

The blackness of trees starts to glow with

Pinks and purples and oranges from their hearts.

And during each dawn,

All the Angels gather up and have

A celebration in God’s honor!

And sometimes,

You can even watch

And join them in the celebrating.

Just look out into the sunrise,

Then jump into your own heart,

Float into the air like in a dream,

And pray with love and thank-yous

For your life, for your spirit, for your sunrise…

And for being a part of this heavenly crystal ball!

                           Mattie-Age 6

Angels Sunset

*painting courtesy of Google Chrome

Save a Child Today


https://purposefullyscarred.com/2014/06/17/for-parents-and-caregivers-five-common-characteristics-of-sex-offenders/

Indeed, one of the most horrible of all Chronic Conditions, if you will is perhaps Child Sexual Abuse.

Although I am in the midst of relocating, together with all that it entails: sorting, packing, boxing items for selling and hauling, etc., I discovered a most important post Reblogged a couple of years ago. Definitely worth repeating as sadly, child sexual abuse is never-ending.

Together, let’s speak for little voices who are silenced by brainwashing or fear. Believe in what you may see or feel, the goosebumps prickling at the back of your neck together with your inner instincts that may gnaw at the pit of your stomach. When something does not appear quite right there is usually a reason.

Save a child today.

Link to "Five Common Characteristics of Child Sexual Offenders: Eliminating the Edge"

Boz Tchividjian – a former child abuse chief prosecutor and the founder/director ofGRACE – expounds upon five of the most common characteristics of child predators (linked above):

1. Offenders may have many victims.

2. Offenders can be the most unsuspected people.

3. Offenders are not strangers.

4. Offenders often prey upon trusting and vulnerable young people.

5. Offenders minimize their criminal actions [i.e. victimize themselves].

For more from Boz Tchividjian, read “7 Ways to Welcome Abuse Survivors in Our Churches”

Related Posts:

The Sexual Predator’s Greatest Asset

Maureen’s Story: “I Married a Sex Offender”

Resources for Talking with Your Kids About Local Sex Offenders

How to React to Local Sex Offenders

Boz Tchividjian

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Caterpillar Wishes and Butterfly Dreams


A bug on the ground, never seen before

Long and round, so different

Moving now, it floats on top of  bricks

No legs in sight, scary I think

Fuzzy, crawling towards me

Slowly at first, like babies do

I’m kneeling down, not quite trusting

Sizing it up,  close and cautious

Brown with yellow, it looks soft to me

Grandma says, “It’s okay to touch”

Gentle, with a whispered finger

Careful not to hurt

Guess what?  It’s a caterpillar

Soon to be a butterfly

How can this be?

God’s magic, it’s a miracle

Crawling creature, soon to be ruffled wings 

Lots of questions….

When will this happen?  Is it true?  Will the butterfly be blue?

Does it eat from a flower or drink from the fountain?

Will we see it dance in the garden or flutter near a rock?  

Tell me, Grandma. Please, Grandma, P.L.E.A.S.E?

Sigh….Butterfly, I will see you in my dreams

Up..up..up, high in the sky where angels sing

Please wave to me with wings of blue on clouds of cream

‘Till then, I’ll never forget this lesson of bugs and miracles of God

Good-bye, Caterpillar, I love you, Butterfly…..

 

 

Priceless


One by one the pins wobbled at the end of the lane except for two.  Jumping in the air, I hugged my team-mates, surprised that I would even score.  My husband rolled a blue marbled ball down a waxed wooden lane, next to me.  Ten pins fell down.  Strike!  Then my cell phone rang.  It was our son.  “She’s in labor, Mom.” Within an hour, we were picking up our grand-daughter, Gracie, together with our son’s diabetic alert dog, ‘”Nimbus.”

I remember the first morning of a May spring day when a five-week-old British Lab pup changed our lives forever.  A crawling warmness of black droopy ears, wet pink tongue, and four oversized paws was laid into our son’s waiting arms.  Standing next to him was his then, “fiancé,” brimming with love and support.  She smiled her gentleness of future hope for a married life free of blood sugar demons lurking beneath skin ready to snatch their independence away.

Now, four years old, “Nimbus” has grown to 65 pounds or more.  He bows  for ‘high’ blood sugar or raises a paw for ‘low’ blood sugar.  A member of their family, he is a life-saving tool.  Still, when it came time for baby to arrive, it had been decided that Nimbus was best left with Grandma together with his ‘sister,’ Gracie.

The next couple of days, my house turned into a sort of Fairytale Land, where I tried my best to see that Gracie got her rest.   Still, when awake, she was Number One for heaven’s sake!  On hardwood floors throughout the house, we took turns pushing naked baby dolls in pink strollers.  Faster and faster we went, like running an imaginary race with no finish line in place.  In the end, she always won with some silly prize she delighted in.

We played outdoors or walked the dogs.  Along the way we stopped to pick yellow dandelions with a toddler neighbor, blowing fluffy white ones into the wind.  Tiny pieces danced up and away into the breeze like wishes made the night before.  For supper, I cooked gooey mac & cheese.  Holding Gracie on my hip, she poured a cold mixture from a zippered bag, eyes wide with wonder watching yellow melt into white macaroni.  Afterward, we smacked on hot fudge sundaes for dessert, wiping dark brown chocolate from chins while staring at “Frozen” on the big screen TV.  Nimbus tried to sneak a bite.  Little Gracie’s voice stopped him by singing, “Let it go…Let it go.”

The last night before Gracie went home to a new baby brother, we finished with a bubble bath in Grandma’s deep jetted tub of speckled brown, like sand in sparkled sun.  Bubbles billowed while she lifted handfuls to share with me.  Before I knew it, Nimbus leaped up and over the rim.  Four strong legs stirred and splashed waves, everywhere.  A surge spilled over the side.  Froth and foam floated to the  floor.  Big black eyes peeked through soft clouds of pinkish-white.  Gracie patted more on top while squealing loud with delight.  “Oh, Nimby,” she giggled.  “Nimby’s in the tub!”

When darkness fell, Gracie didn’t want to climb into her crib.  “Grandma’s bed,” she said.  Resting her head on a feather pillow, she sucked on a pacifier while stroking her worn pink bunny between thumbs and forefingers.  “Gracie, did you have fun at Grandma’s house?”  She shook her head up and down through sleepiness.  I asked her next, “What was your favorite part of today?”  Abruptly, she sat up, cocking her head to the side with a knitted brow.  Yanking out her pacifier with one hand, it made a loud suction sound like pulling the plug from a drain.

“Oh, Grandma,” she said, dreamily.  “Your baftub.  Nimby in the tub.  Grandma washed my hair…sooo soft.”  She touched damp curls to her cheek and plopped back down to the plump of a pillow.

Then, in the dim light of my rose-colored lamp, I thanked God for that moment.  It stopped my heart with memorable love, leaving me with it until the day I die.

Priceless….

*A memory of two years ago. How fast life changes. Today, my son and daughter-in-law are expecting their third child! Gracie is now age four with her younger brother, the baby above and below over two! And, Nimby…well, he’s slowed down to working only part-time these days. During my son’s working hours at the National Weather Service, Nimbus is on full duty. At home, he takes a break by playing with the kids, chewing on bones, and taking walks in the park. You might say Nimby is spoiled most of the time, like any other pet. Either way, Nimbus has a dog-gone good life!