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.

More to The Eye Than Black and White…..


She waddled a bit, her growing tummy leading the way. A black and white striped shirt stretched snug across the whole of her belly. Two rambunctious little ones, one with curls flailing to her shoulders, the other a tow-headed toddler of two leading the way to our finished lower level. There, near a fireplace waiting for short winter days, a tea party danced amid pink plastic china with baskets of assorted delights.

Raggedy Ann sat at the head of the scuffed green table where paint had peeled long ago, revealing a thick strong base of walnut brown. Mismatched chairs parked around the sides. Raggedy Andy sat in one, I in another and Toe Head to my right. Grandpa was finishing final computer work at a long table nearby while the belly rested in a plump corduroy sofa.

Soon, the doorbell sounded. Doodle dog barked while all chaos rang out. My son bounced down the stairway with his usual happy face, tossing kids in the air before kissing the belly of stretched stripes. Just then a wave of motion began with movements to the left, slightly up before swinging down. We could all see it.

Yes, there was a baby under the black and white stripes. Deep within my daughter-in-law’s tummy, not far under her heart of beating pink, she carried a mother’s love who had already become part of a family. A great big family…..

A few minutes later my younger daughter-in-law drove up with “Babies of Two” plus their older sister of three. Together, we all went out for an early dinner in a restaurant very much prepared for children of all ages. We needed three high chairs and a booster seat. To my left, a little lady of four-years-old, shared baskets of chicken strips, sides of mixed fruit or small bowls of macaroni & cheese.

Looking around the table, I caught sight of my husband, who sat at the opposite end.  I smiled, grasping the fact that WE began this great big family. For years and years, we were a small family of four, having only two sons. Eventually, they grew up and married, giving us the gift of daughters-in-law. Four became six. And, before I could blink an eye, grandbabies arrived, growing our family to eleven. Yes, you read that right…ELEVEN!!! This year, before the end of it, our family will have grown yet again with the arrival of tiny angel wings swaddled under blankets of flannel for me to rock around the Christmas tree.

By then my husband and I will have six grandchildren. All little ones, ages, 4, 3, 2, plus twins who turn 2 years old in December, and the new baby who will arrive about the same time.

Heaven sent from under stripes of black and white.

 

*striped shirt picture courtesy of Google Chrome

Taking Time for Change


Recently, I’ve gone through a period of feeling overwhelmed in life. Not depressed. No, I’d compare it to feeling like a small green pea in a big pot of vegetable stew. Small, while trying to stay afloat……

After helping my father with his wife’s memorial service in Arizona, I planned to catch a plane back to St. Louis where an estate sale was in process, selling off many of my home’s objects together with a long list of life’s memories.  Unfortunately, I was a day late getting back due to weather delays and missed connections. When time was of the essence, I ended up spending a total of 19 hours in the small airport of Grand Junction, Colorado. Finally, a day later, my plane was diverted to Denver, where I grabbed a quick nap from 3-5 am before catching a non-stop flight to my original destination.

Upon arriving, there was barely time to say “Goodbye” to the home I loved so much. Quickly, I walked through my turret office space, where blog posts were tapped on keys of black. I strolled into the periwinkle nursery where I remembered gently placing my very first grand-baby in her spindled crib, as though she was a porcelain doll. Images of magical tea parties danced in my head together with giggles, dress up play, and story book time.

Afterward, I stepped outside onto the red brick pavers of my patio where fingers traced petals of crunchy golden sunflowers. Looking around, I began to collect a few, forgotten colored clay pots leftover from my garden. Suddenly, a brown sugar doe leaped from the woods. Sighing, my heart knew it was God’s last gift to me….at least at this house, in this time.

It’s been three weeks since I’ve moved to my new house, and I’m mostly settled now. For whatever reason, my body and mind felt spent when all was said and done. In moves past, I worked until everything was completely in place, typically within a few days to a week. Not this time. I was tired. I let things go. My mind said, “No.”

I’m happy in my new home. There is lots of room for my grand-babies to stay for as long as they like. Nearby, there is a beautiful lake surrounded by woods and walking trails with lots of nature. In fact, it’s a nature preserve where I see something new each and every day. A different plant, the sound of a bird’s call or the beauty of a new sunrise.

Best of all, my overwhelming feeling is beginning to lift. I guess I didn’t drown in that pot of vegetable stew after all.

 

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?

 

 

Sweet Weeds of Future Inspiration


For several months my husband and I have been thinking about downsizing. Finding a house a bit smaller. Maybe even traveling to a warmer state? But in the back of my mind were smiles and giggles of grand-babies. How could I leave them? Then came an announcement that Grand-baby number six was on the way. The perfect package to rock under the Christmas tree. Still, we live about an hour away from my oldest son and his family. Even worse, we are more than states away from my youngest son and his brood of five who live in South Carolina.

Even our closest family is too far away to scoop our grand-babies up for an hour of play or take them for a ride through a shaded park. It’s nearly impossible for a spur of the moment visit. Rarely, are we able to watch our oldest grand-daughter jump off the balance beam or swirl and twirl in pink satin toe shoes. Everything we do together has to be pre-planned with much of their little lives passing us by. We simply live too far away….

So, a couple of months ago we decided to take the plunge. Make a move that will change the whole of our lives. Find a place to live that will give us more family time and allow us more time to travel too! I worked day and night to get our home ready for sale. No easy feat. Nowadays it must look like a magazine photo shoot. The old adage it true, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” After one showing we received a contingent offer which seems to be all wrapped up this week, allowing us to move on to the next phase. Panic has set in because I have no idea where I’m going, and I’m sad at the same time to leave my home. At the same time, I’ll be closer to my family which in the end will all be worth it.

I soon learned that sorting through boxes of memories stuffed in caramel colored cardboard is so very difficult. What to take to the next stage of life? Tape me up and tie me with a string! Of course, material possessions are not the most important thing. Relationships are. My family is, which is the reason for the move in the first place. And yet when I clasp a tiny clay bowl fired and glazed by my son nearly thirty years ago, how can I let go? Why do things like this touch me so?  Forever in the palm of my hand……

Although not finished yet, I’ve done a pretty good job of combing and dividing everything up. There are rows of boxes to take to the next house, wherever that may be, and other’s overflowing with treasures to be donated. Several cartons gently wrapped and packed with dolls carefully chosen for each grand-daughter, many of them handed down from my own mother. If only she were here to one day see joyous little faces pop pink peanuts from the very top! Currently, I’m in the midst of all the ‘fun’ stuff, calling for all inspections, making minor repairs, and praying I find a new home VERY SOON.

Before the end of summer, I’ll be leaving my cozy, turret office space where I’ve written words nearly every day for the last several years. And, yes, the back of my yard too, where deer, turkey, and other wildlife play. My little forest land where red cardinals and blue birds sing in the green of the trees will soon play lyrics for a family of new. They are the perfect couple to live here, which makes for a happy heart beating in my chest. I know the two of them will fill the brick walls of my home with warmth and love for years to come.

This morning, just after sunrise, I woke to walk Doodles where trees and grasses and weeds grow freely not so far away. The air was cool with a slight breeze that rejuvenated me from the inside to the out. Sunlight bounced off tips of trees, angling just right, allowing me to snap pictures of life others might not notice or simply pass by. I, on the other hand, wanted to lay among the damp grass, soaking every wet bead from each emerald blade into my pores while looking into the clear blue heavens above.

Sweet weeds of future inspiration……

 

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!

       

Loving Grandbabies


Anticipation was building the whole month of May. Finally, my grandbabies rolled in from South Carolina to spend a whole week at Grandma’s house last Saturday. Plans were made and parties were in place.

Grandpa and I met a mini-bus in the driveway to open sliding doors before the hum of an engine-turned off. Action heroes we were, straight from a giant movie screen except without the buttered popcorn or milk duds. “Babies of Two” tumbled out with their wee big sister of two and a half years. Yes, they were tired but thrilled to be FREE from the restraint of buckled car seats filled with crumbles of animal crackers. Grandpa lifted one grandchild while a toddler hugged his hairy, bare leg. Crying with joy, I picked up another who wrapped her arms and legs around me like a baby gorilla you’d see clinging to her mother at the zoo.

I lost my heart (times three) for all the neighbors to see. Right there and then on a driveway paved in burnt red bricks. Kissing silky hair, I soaked the warmth of soft, baby skin from tip to toe, never wanting to let them go. Soon, all drifted into a bubble bath, before being bundled in hooded towels. Then it was off to rock in a spindled chair. Little gorilla baby never left my lap, patting my back with her little hand to the rhythm of the chair. Pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward…pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward.

The next day it was a party at our favorite train venue where babies, toddlers, and kids played freely before eating pizza and breaking a piñata filled with unexpected treats. Later that night, the older cousins (ages 4 & 2) had a sleepover in front of our big screen where they snuggled under sheets of cotton blue to watch Barbie movies while sharing popcorn and sipping apple juice. In between, the girls of red hair and blonde curls put on a show while dancing and singing songs. I must say it was quite an impromptu production. If only I would have known in advance, surely I could have sold a few tickets within the neighborhood!

Yesterday, my younger daughter-in-law’s parents hosted a splendid BBQ with delicious food where everyone gathered from several sides of the family. Children of all ages played with toys, swam in the pool and bonded like never before.

I’ve always known how very blessed I am to have these little babies in my life. As my eyes darted around to catch sight of all five of them, I couldn’t help but ponder the beginning of their forever cousin relationships. The youngest two were dressed in twin polka dot bikinis while splish-splashing in a baby pool. Around and around, my only grandson tackled a riding toy while blowing kisses to all of the girls, and far to the right, feet of four jumped into a speckled pool so cool.

Seconds later, I glanced at my oldest son’s wife, who lightly traced her barely there belly bump. Yes, they’ve just announced a new baby-to-be expected around  Christmastime.

Another grandbaby to love for me. Oh, I can’t wait to see!

 

 

 

Gracie-Girl


I tossed and turned all night, the leftovers of a fever and a cold. For whatever reason my mind was writing in the dark, no keyboard present, no notepad to scribble upon. I have this blog of course and a book I’m knitting, but sometimes the best words tumble out at the worst times it seems.  2, 3, 5 and then finally 6 am. Safe to venture into the quiet of the morning where I sip a cup of decaf within the cocoon of library shelves.

It might have been anticipation that steered my mind away from slumber. It’s true that I’ll be at my desk for most of the drizzly day, but when the clock strikes four all sunshine and fairy-land will begin. “Ding-Dong” the bell shall ring. I will have to contain myself, for behind the leaded glass a smudged face of lilliputian size with blue eyes as big as saucers will be waiting there. “POOF,” there she is, a miniature magic princess is upon my front portico.

Until her parents leave she plays the timid mouse. It’s a dress rehearsal of sorts for she soon marches into independence becoming the boss of the house which delights me so. She reaches for my hand, “Grandma, come,” marching me into her playroom where the “routine” begins. Imaginary tea-parties dance along a make-shift table, where “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “Raggedy-Ann,” pull up miss-matched, antique wooden painted chairs. Carefully, she decides the perfect animal cookies for her guests, while rocking her favorite baby gently in the crook of her left arm. Not yet two years old, she is already the best of future Mamas-to-be!

Next, she chooses story books for me to read aloud long kept from years ago. We snuggle like two bugs under an old crystal covered floor lamp.  Much like I did when I read to my own children at her age, silly voices ‘high’ and ‘low’ are heard within the soft hush of the room. She squirms and twists upon my lap, reaching for my mouth with eyes all a wide. Soon she’s figured it out, “Yes, it’s Grandma!” Falling down into balls of giggles, quickly she jumps back up upon her feet. “Again!” she says before the cycle begins anew.

Gracie’s Poem

She’s a beauty

with skin soft and smooth

and eyes the color of “Bahama Blue.”

A genius like her parents,

full of spirit like them too.

I’d steal Cinderella’s castle for her or slay a moose if I must,

Instead, I’m gifted time and tea-parties…

Thank you, God, no  better way to spend upon this earth, I trust.

 

My Gracie-Girl has a birthday today, becoming a bigger girl at the age of four. I discovered this post together with a nostalgic tear in my eye. Happy Birthday, Sweet One.

Little Gifts…Soooo Big!


Over the weekend a milestone for my eldest son!  A B.I.G. birthday was celebrated last Saturday. Asking him what he’d like to do, his wish was to share some fun with his family. A dinner at his favorite restaurant followed by a game of bowling. “Bowling, with a one and a three-year-old,” I wondered? “We’ll see…”

Our first stop was a festive Mexican restaurant where traditional décor and costumes hung from the walls. Warm tortilla chips together with red salsa were devoured before ceramic plates floated aloft in dazzling colors. Turquoise blue, yellow to match the sun, avocado green, and a bright orange, reminding me of freshly squeezed juice. Each spilled with a variety of tacos and tamales, steak fajitas, or cheese quesadillas for my grand-babies to eat.

Digging in, our taste buds were treated to zesty spices when suddenly the sound of music sang throughout the room! Three or four employees, dressed in full Mexican regalia strolled towards our table, strumming their guitars while singing Happy Birthday in Spanish. Giant velvet sombreros trimmed in glittered silver tipped atop their heads. My grandchildren were startled at such a sight, yet enthralled with delight. Soon Daddy wore a matching sombrero of his own!

Before long, we were at the bowling alley, trying to find shoes small enough to fit the little princess child. My baby grandson was given a pass, allowed to wear the two already on his feet. Finding a bowling ball light enough to share with my grand-daughter was not easy. Yet, in the distance, my eye caught sight of a starry blue ball resting on silver a tube of shelving. Picking it up, I discovered it weighed a mere six pounds. Perfect!

Helping Princess to the starting gate, she sat on the floor eager to push the ball down the lane. Bzzzzz…….A loud buzzer signaled we crossed the foul line. Scooting backward, she shoved the round ball of big with all her might. S.l.o.w.l.y….it lollygagged to the end of the polished lane, knocking one pin to the floor. With arms and legs stretched up into the air, my grand-daughter jumped up and down with glee!

Next, holding elfin hands within his own, my eldest one led his first-born son to the same spot I had just been. Bending down, the two pushed and spun the ball. It rolled and rolled and rolled, bouncing bumpers of brown along the way. Finally, it jarred pins of white until they jiggled and wiggled. Two or three fell down, making a loud sound. PLOP! A pacifier popped out of my grandson’s mouth. All eyes were upon him. There he sat, clapping wee hands awash in baby pride.  “Dey go down, dey go down, Daaa-Dee!”

Little gifts-Soooo big!