Costumed Charm


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Thoughts On Mothers


“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them.”  

Victor Hugo

“There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps.”   

Archibald Thompson

“There is nothing sweeter than the heart of a pious mother.”

 Martin Luther

“She was the best of all mothers, to whom I owe endless gratitude.”

Thomas Carlyle

“All I am I owe to my mother.  I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” 

George Washington

“No matter how old, a child is a babe who carries the heart of their mother inside of their own.

Kim Gosselin

Thanksgiving Peace


Traveling to South Carolina to visit family including my grand-Babies of Two, I pause to reflect on surroundings along the way.  There is much to be thankful for and I wish to share some of it with all of you.

 

Driving south on a winding two lane road

To the left and to the right

In front and far behind

Are mountains covered in dark green pines 

As though God reached down to blanket the land

With one giant hand

Gently, gently

Lay-me-down-to-sleep

The sun has set, the moon shines bright

High and round amid golden stars shooting

Reflecting upon smooth glasses of water streaming blue

Flowing, flowing

Doe and fawn, lapping coolness

Liquid spilling over cliffs falling

Barely dawn

Tis a new day

Of peaceful blessings

Prayers

Ours and theirs

Of celebration

On Thanksgiving….

 

 

 

 

 

Let There Be Play!


I’ve been thinking of the little children I saw over the weekend who took delight in Halloween, including my own grand-babies.

Throughout all of the years of my life, I’ve never bothered to research the word, Halloween. Sure, I’ve heard whispers of evil stories associated with October 31st.  At movie theatres, I’ve seen trailers for spooky picture shows, and in stores there are always the covers of horror books.   Still, seeing the excitement of children in anticipation of the holiday, I always wondered,  “How could that be?”

Long ago, when my own two boys were barely into preschool and kindergarten, my oldest had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Life for children and families was very different from it is today.  Insulin was our only defense and rules were rigid in order to keep children safe and healthy.  No sugar what-so-ever was ever allowed unless it was an emergency.  So what to do about Halloween?

Motherly instincts told me that Halloween wasn’t about good or evil.  Not inside the innocent minds of children.  I didn’t believe it was about popping melted chocolate into wee and waiting mouths.  No, in my mind, Halloween was all about traditions hidden with imaginations while taking part in play.  Behind eyes of brown or green or blue, everyone could see….

Within my mind, Halloween was about dreaming and dress-up.  Being cast in a new role to play a character on a neighborhood stage in front of a backdrop of orange and black. Painted faces laughing in mirrors of glass from deep within skinny bellies before snapshots were taken in kitchens next to siblings of the same.  Families together with bowls of candy.  Enough treats for everyone who might ring a bell.

My son living with diabetes dreamed of the same tradition as every other child.  He donned a clown suit of red and yellow, learned his line of “Trick-or-Treat” and went off to wait in the wings before taking part in his play.  Upon returning home, his face was all aglow at his performance.  He and his brother emptied brimming plastic pumpkins for all to see.  One-by-one tiny fingers counted each treat, tossing M&M ‘s together with peanut butter cups to the side for emergencies.  So proud my little boy was to show me his pile of loot!

Soon my husband came out of the next room.  He dug deep into side pockets, pulling out a couple of bills of green plus a few rounds of silver.  Our little boy clown jumped up and down..down and up.  So excited he was!  “Tomorrow we’ll go shopping,” I said, squeezing him tight.  That set a new stage for our Halloween every year thereafter.  No matter what, our son would always be cast in the annual Halloween play.

For young children everywhere, Halloween is all about tradition, expectation and imagination.  Taking part in play!  There is no doubt in my mind this still holds true today.

Hoping everyone together with their cast and crew enjoyed your own Halloween play!

Clapping my hands for you!

 

Nature’s Fireworks


Fourth of July and I feel all of June has been lost…Much to weather and other conditions in life.  Still, it’s beautiful this morning.  The sky is clear and a rising sun is shining down upon me, warming the back of my neck ever so slightly.

Sigh….My beloved potted flower gardens have taken a beating.  Rain pounded the red bricks of my patio and all on top of it for most of June.  Petals of petunias are wounded.  Leaves have turned yellow and roots have risen to the top of pots.  Variegated ivy trails over sides of primary colored clay.  No longer are plants vibrant and full of life.  Their voices are weak and barely speak.  I’m afraid their days may be numbered.

I don’t ever remember the month of June being so soggy and wet.  Day after day it seemed to rain.  Rivers rose, roads closed, flooding ensued and everyone was forced to stay inside.  Even my favorite forest friends never ventured beneath their canopy of trees.  

Normally, June signals celebration.  Summer begins, school ends and voices of children begin to drift through wire screens of open windows.  How my heart aches for sounds of summer solstice!

Thankfully, there is no rain in sight today, not on this holiday.  Families are busy packing picnic baskets with favorite foods.  Coolers are being filled with ice and drinks.  Concerts will be heard in parks tonight while skies explode in sparkling colors all aglow.

As Independence Day is celebrated, I take pause to thank God for all that I have in life.  My treasured flowers may dry out, allowing new ones to sprout.  Or, perhaps beautiful blooms are flourishing elsewhere around me?

The world is full of fireworks if only we open our eyes to see….

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