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?

 

 

It’s Official!


Babies of Two are now in PRINT!

Yes, it’s true what they say about delivering two babies instead of one. The labor is much more intensive! In spite of their mother’s wishes, these wee newborns had minds of their own, deciding the exact moment when they would be depicted on paper pages for all the word to see. No, not even amazon.com knew for sure when Mollie and Maddie would arrive! But, today is officially their birthday in public print!

As a proud ‘Mama,’ I am sharing this official news with all who may love and care for them, together with my partner, Alisa Belzil. She too had an enormous part in bringing the twins into the world.  https://sweetafternoons.wordpress.com/

Yes, we carried them in the big of our bellies, but now both bundles are ready to be diapered and weighed, bottled and bathed.

Please love them with the whole of your hearts. Cuddle them close before sharing them with children and families everywhere.

Thank you so very much for your support.

***Special Kindle match price of only $1.99 with the purchase of the print edition at $9.95/amazon.com/author/2babiesauthor

 

*I have twenty copies of Babies of Two that I am giving away FREE if you are a Twin Blogger or Children’s Book Reviewer. Please email your request to kim@rockingchairpress.net. Please include all pertinent information including name, address, email address and blog link, etc.

Sharing Credit


Dear Readers:

Today is a happy day for me and I must give credit where credit is due.

Finally, our children’s book Babies of Two is being released in print on March first, to children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers everywhere. Since our printed edition has been expanded with more pages and illustrations than we first anticipated, our Kindle version will be updated as well.

My dear and talented illustrator, Alisa Belzil https://sweetafternoons.wordpress.com/ has stuck by my side all the way, passing through many obstacles in this digital age of the 21st Century. Together, we have spent countless hours suffering setbacks and sifting through our mistakes while learning our craft. Alisa is not only an artist extraordinaire, but has learned to format as well, not an easy feat!

Together, Alisa and I edited, proofed, and re-proofed. We discovered typos that magically appeared months after everything seemed to be perfect. We submitted our work, only to receive a hard-copy with a cover that curled! Needless to say, our eyes became weary, yet it was all part of the job. Together, we are a team who handled, lest I say, everything in between? To say that Alisa is my angel from above does not seem nearly enough, yet those are the words in my head.

Our new book trailer for Babies of Two has been produced by our very own Great Ape himself, Chris @ http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/.  Authors who want or need a book trailer on any topic what-so-ever should not hesitate to call on him. Chris goes out of his way to make you happy at unbelievable prices. I am truly proud of the fantastic job he did. Won’t you please take a look? https://www.youtube.com/embed/GZw6TR_vDho

On a side note, a big Shout Out to Jo Robinson and her recent book, The Absolute Indie! It is an indispensable resource that guides Indie authors one step at a time through the myriad of formatting. Unfortunately, it was released too late for me regarding Babies of Two, but regardless, I’ve read it two or three times. To those who have half a brain (yes, there is still hope for me, Alisa), Jo Robinson will no doubt take you right to the front door of Kindle and CreateSpace. Please visit her site to pick up a copy today! https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/

Finally, to all of you, my sincere thanks for your patience and support, and for always being here for me when it seems I am not. To say my life has changed since starting my blog is an understatement. My family has grown larger than ever before. My workload is heavy, yet spills with passion through and through. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams, yet I wish there were more seconds in a single minute, more hours before dawn to dark.

Please know in my heart that I am filled with your presence. Each and every day I pray for more time to read your books and blogs, connect with you on a deeper level and show you more appreciation on the outside as well as the in.

With Sincere Thanks and Blessings,

Kim

 

 

How Did The Easter Bunny Know?


Thinking of Easter, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.  Remembering frilly dresses of lace, bonnets of blue and baskets filled to the brim.  My mother loved to celebrate holidays like no other I knew.

When I was a child, there was a family owned candy story where everything was made the old-fashioned way, by hand.  Large copper kettles could be seen behind glass windows of tall in the back of the store.  To the front were rows of bins filled with hand-made confections plus tables where candy bars sat together with boxes of penny candy.

Easter time was my favorite in the store and my mother’s too.  Pastel decorations plus row upon row of individual cases held delectable delights.  Milk chocolate eggs, ‘sea-foam,’ caramel covered marshmallows and bunny rabbits in every color imaginable plus little lambs, baby chicks and rainbows of jellybeans.

Before the big day arrived, Mother always had the ruse of taking us into this most expensive candy store for something sweet, just for a treat.   She needed ‘Bunny’ ideas.  Our eyes lit at the sight of giant pastel rabbits hopping on top of tall cases every which way we turned.

On Easter morning, all of the children in the family woke early to hunt for Easter baskets.  It was a race of sorts to see who was the first to find his or hers.  Somehow we always knew the moment our own basket was discovered.  No names were ever displayed, but still we always knew.  If by accident we came across someone else’s basket, the secret was kept until all were found.  Sometimes it seemed to take forever, but miraculously a basket suddenly ‘appeared’ where once it had never been!

The Easter Rabbit filled each basket to the brim with our own special favorites, the same that had previously been seen at the expensive candy store.  The baskets would take our breath away, so big and beautiful they were.  Like magic, each one was enclosed in our favorite color of cellophane before being topped with a special fuzzy chick of yellow or soft white bunny at the top.  For years and years, I always wondered…. “How did the Easter Bunny know?”

For my mother who had grown-up as a child of poor, each and every holiday became the Christmas she had never known.  Easter was no exception.  Through no fault of my own, I’ve inherited many of her traditions.  Some may be needless but all are treasured.  Pictures of my own children at Easter time are glued into scrapbooks while last year, I had an egg hunt with my first-born grand-daughter on the back of my lawn.  She too, found an Easter basket.  The Easter Rabbit had carefully hidden it under a blanket between spindles of her nursery crib.

This year four more little ones are added to my brood, like bunnies in a nest.  No, not all will understand the meaning of the season or hunt for colored eggs beneath my birch tree of peeling white.  Yet, baskets for each one will be wrapped in colored cellophane, filled to the brim just like my mother would have done.

“How did the Easter Bunny know….?”

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Curlers In My Head


This morning, Grandpa woke me up from the slumber in my bed.  He shook my arm and shook my head.  He rubbed my nose with the tip of his.  He kissed my cheek while lifting curlers in my head.

“What are you doing Grandpa?  Why are you looking under curlers in my head?”

Reaching behind, silky hair slipped through the tight roll of a curler.  Soft and spongy, it was.  Before grandpa’s big eyes of brown, showers of colors fell down, down, down.

“Grandpa, I feel nothing under the curlers in my head!  Please, please, won’t you look again?”

Grandpa asked me to get out of bed.

“Get up, climb out,” he said!  “Wash your face, wear a dress and comb your hair.  I tell you, something is under the curlers in your head!

“We have to go.  We must do it now!”

I did what Grandpa said.  I washed my face, put on a dress and combed my hair.  My curlers of pink lay in the sink.  I looked at them and looked again.  I did not see anything under the inside of them.

Afterward, Grandpa waited for me in the car.  I sat next to him with my black purse atop my lap.  His two hands were on the wheel, driving me carefully ahead.

“Where are we going, Grandpa,” I asked looking out the window?

“It’s a surprise, Grandma,” he answered.  “Whatever was under the curlers in your head may still be there.”

Together, we drove down dirt roads and chipped cement, past woodlands and trees of green.  Soon, we found ourselves within a city of big where buildings so tall raised windows high into the sky.  Storefronts stood on sidewalks, opening new doors to me.  Grandpa pulled over to the curb.  Getting out, he came over to my side, offering his hand to help me out.

“Grandpa, what is this place?  What are we doing?”

“Not we, YOU.”  Go inside, others are waiting.  I will see you very soon.”

Clutching my purse close to my heart, I opened the front door to the nearest arch.  A handle of polished brass with twinkling bells played a pretty melody, making my ears sing a tune.   Inside were enchanted rooms made for Grandmothers and grand-daughters, alone.  Soon my own surrounded me, dressed in party dresses shaded in sherbet. Quickly, they told me this was all part of Grandpa’s surprise. 

First, we shared a tea-party on flowered china made in France.  A maid wearing a black dress tied with a ruffled apron, poured us tea from a bottomless silver pot.  Grand-daughters of of all sizes and shapes rested white napkins atop their laps while eating cucumber sandwiches of the palest green.  Next, a very fine Madame polished our fingernails in glowing bright pink before helping us choose a different flowered sticker to grow on the end of every other one.

Near the end of the day, a tall man wearing skinny red pants, washed and cut Grandma’s hair.   Afterwards, he added great big C.U.R.L.E.R.S.   All of Grandma’s grand-daughters gathered round to watch.

“Is that YOU, Grandma,” the oldest one asked?

“It doesn’t look like Grandma,” whispered another who wore a worried look upon her face.

When Grandma’s hair was dry, the hair dresser began to take out curlers.  Two or three fell to the floor.  Suddenly all of the others followed, one-by-one.  Slowly, they began to roll toward Grandma’s grand-daughters.  Clapping their hands in delight, each child picked up round brushes of blue, dropping rainbow dust shaken from the inside.

“Oh, my,” exclaimed the hairdresser’s head atop skinny red pants!  “There is something under your curlers!”

“No, there can’t be,” Grandma answered, turning to look at herself in a giant silvered mirror.

By this time all of Grandma’s curlers were out of her hair.  She bent her head down nearly to the floor.  She shook it back and forth as hard as she could.  As much as she would.

Before the young man styled Grandma’s hair with a comb and a brush, he lifted each curl, winding it up and down and all around with his long and thin fingers until Grandma’s hair looked beautiful.

“Don’t worry, what I saw under the curlers in your head wasn’t bad, only good.”

“What was it, what did you see,” Grandma asked?  “No one has ever told me.”

“I’ve only seen it once or twice before,” he said.  “I believe it to be the dust of magic.  You and your grand-daughters have been given a gift.”

Magic dust?  I’ve never heard of such a thing before.  Are you sure it’s REAL?

“Oh, yes,” the young man said with a knowing smile.  “But, only to those who truly believe…..like very special grandmothers and grand-daughters.”

“And, to think I never would have known without Grandpa looking under the curlers in my head,” grinned Grandma!!

The End

 

Copyright Kim Gosselin 2015

 

 

Carnival Day


Last year my husband and I held a Halloween carnival for children living in our neighborhood.  So much fun it was, we decided to repeat the affair.  Anticipation grew as fall leaves turned yellow and red within our trees.  It was that time of year again.  Soon, ghostly goblins and fairy princesses would come a-calling.  Of course, our grandchildren would be stopping by as well.  Little babes dressed in fantasy costumes would be letting their imaginations run away.

Our oldest grand-daughter, not yet three, spent that day with us.  Together, we baked ghostly cookies of sugared purple before she busied herself with Motherhood.  A doll under each arm plus two more stuffed in a pink seat.  A stroller of four feet pushed on maple floors before it was time to eat.

“Grandpa” had to wake our precious princess before the carnival began.  Out of bed she flew, like a hummingbird to sugar-water.  Upon entering our back yard, it was as if magic happened while she slept.  Chocolate cupcakes decorated in lavender fluted frosting sat under the umbrella table.  Games were strategically placed on the lawn waiting for children to play.  Near our tallest pine, a brightly colored pile of leaves was ready and waiting for kids to tumble in.

Soon children and parents from houses near-by began to arrive.  There were characters from Frozen, Mario and his friends from video games, and a darling girl proudly dressed in her very best dress.  She showed it off to me, even letting me touch it!  So soft it was, made of thin wale corduroy, black (of course) trimmed in holiday orange.

Shortly thereafter my grown children arrived, carrying costumed babies on shoulders.  Security was tight.  At six months old and smiling bright, there was a new sheriff in town.  Soon, a sweet cotton pumpkin toddled by.  All plump in bright orange wearing black tights with suede boots to match.  It was as if she escaped from our local pumpkin patch!

Moms from the neighborhood helped out, encouraging kids to play games, where each and every child won a prize…maybe two or three, or even more!  On the patio a giant black tub made of plastic was filled with prizes for all of them to see.  Carnival day is a bit of magic to last the whole year through.  Much more for me than any of the children.

As each one neared the tub to pick a prize, eyes would grow to saucer size.  What would you like?   Play dough, monster trucks or jewels of diamond pink to wear with your princess dress?  Try these skeleton gloves on for size.  Perfect for the cold of night.  They glow, you know!  Rubber dinosaurs or army men?  Glittery bracelets or Barbie stickers?  How about a pack of Halloween pencils with colorful erasers? Or maybe you’d like a sparkling magic wand?   Perhaps a puzzle for later play?

Splish-splash!  Sweet babies dunked chubby hands into tubs of water, grasping for swimming rubber ducks in their mother’s hopes of winning rattles, fuzzy caps or teething rings.  What a sight to see a baby grab a slippery duck!

Shaded In a corner, I painted lopsided pumpkins of yellow, red hearts or black kitty cats on cheeks of warm pink.  Girls with smiles of pearls gazed prettily in a hand-held mirror of blue.  It was the perfect day!

By far, the biggest “Hit” of the carnival was definitely my husband who drove his lawn tractor, shiny and green.  In the rear, a wagon was attached stuffed with straw and yellow hay.  Soft it was.  Kids could sit and sink right in.  And, yes, they surely did!!  Piling in and plopping down, they held tightly to the sides. Giggles and smiles, joyful glee.

Around and around the subdivision my husband wore a silly chicken hat atop his graying head.  An innocent child sat upon his lap.  More in the back.  Up and down straw flew all around.  Some landed on the ground and in the street.  Little hands up in the air helped it disappear.  A bright green machine trimmed in yellow drove through empty lots and up the curb where squeals were heard.

Carnival Day….The perfect one in every way.

Happy Halloween!

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Through the Lens of a Child


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, lessons are taught, trail rides are given, and magic happens. Only recently, I found this out.

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 barely 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, magic happening…..

Wafting through the first barn was the musty scent of sweaty horse hair together with manure from a nearby field of 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 the innocence of a child for me to truly 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?

 

 

May Memory


There they were.  As a child, I first discovered them while skipping along my maternal grandmother’s winding, weathered sidewalk path.  It led to beautiful backyard gardens of assorted tulip beds and pastel peonies planted along an aging wrought iron fence.  They were nearly growing wild in patches abutting cool cement basement blocks under Grandma’s kitchen window.  I kneeled too low for her to see or catch me there…I’d snip off a stem or two, until before I knew, I had almost more than I could hide or carry!

Sneaking off behind the back of my Grandpa’s shingled garage, I’d sit in the sun.  Crossing gangly legs on moist grass of green, newborn spring rosied my face.  Then, between youthful growing forefingers, I’d gingerly roll textured leaves, gently touching the tiniest white bells I’d ever seen.  Did they ring?  Lifting them closely to my ear, I swore ‘twinkling’ sounds could nearly be heard.  Ahh, my imagination.  An aroma wafted just below my nose, smelling sweeter than any colored rose!  The scent reminded me of Grandma’s perfume upon kissing the folds of her neck or the plump of her soft powered cheek.

As I grew up and older into a teen, “Lilly of the Valley” was always my favorite flower together with my favorite scent.  Memories from childhood carried on, I think.  When the time came for me to marry, I so wanted this blossom to be part of my wedding bouquet. Over thirty years ago this month, when the florist told me and my then, “finance” that a single stem would cost $15.00, I opted to carry silk instead.  I still had the beauty while the fragrance floated throughout my vast imagination…..

Guess what?  I truly did hear the twinkling of my favorite ‘Lilly’ bells ringing during that glorious sun filled afternoon!

May Memories to last a Lifetime.

*one of my favorite posts of May

 

Sunday Playdate


It was Sunny on Sunday.  Sunny and bright.  The light was dancing on our faces from the blue sky above.

We sat together for breakfast munching on loose yellow scrambled eggs sliding next to brown banana pancakes, relaxing in a cozy square booth.  My sweet grand-daughter plopped on my lap, spooning my eggs into her O-rounded mouth next to her full plate. “Grandma’s tasted better.”   Her parents were there too, my son so adored with my sweet daughter–in-law too, her belly growing bigger with my soon ‘grandson-to-be!’

In the midst of after church chatter we had time to ‘catch-up.’  It seemed like I hadn’t seen my little angel, “Gracie-Girl,” since forever and a desert moon.  I wasn’t far off.  The last time I felt her inner glow was during our early Christmas celebration on December 18th, a long time ago.  For a brief moment I wondered, would she remember my face, the sound of my voice, my butterfly kiss or the scent of my hair when I hugged her there?

 It had been a long time.  Almost a month for a child not yet two to remember….. For a brief second she was slightly tentative, with a cautious blue eye looking at me.  Suddenly like magic the spark was lit.  I could see it, there!  Kissing her on the nose, I cuddled her just right.  She jumped up and down, grinning her pearly smile while capturing all of my love in a mini-juice cup ‘to go.’

Next, we were off to the park where we played, allowing imaginations to whip away.  Gracie ran ahead.  So much to see, so much to do.  “What shall I choose, where do I go?”  She skipped ahead to the jungle gym where she ran up and down and all around.  She crossed the loose bridge, ducked through the blue tunnel, slid down the red ramp and ended with “peek-a-boo.”  I had to laugh, looking up towards her at the top, she slouched down.    In her sweet tiny voice, she asked, “Is that YOU, Grandma?

Ending the morning,  Gracie ran toward her favorite swing.  She would sit in the seat all day if she could!   “Push, Grandma,” she said, impatiently. “Do you want to go higher?” I asked.  “Yes.”  I pushed higher.  She giggled and laughed.  Letting her head fall loosely back, she appeared to be in her own world of dreamland.  Far, far, back…..Round blue eyes, wide and wondering.   Swinging back and forth…….back and forth.  Blond hair and hat of white, flying in the wind like baby birds from tree to tree.

Gracie did not speak.  She did not laugh.  Suddenly everything was  hushed.   The “O” of her mouth was closed.  She was at  peace…so at peace.  Locked in her individual dream world of imagination.  Quiet and serene.  Such an ‘oh-so-beautiful sight.’   One I shall not forget soon, to my delight!

  Dreams……..from Heaven above to Gracie-Girl, below.   They are hers alone.  I will never know…..

Grace in Pink Coak