Thursday, January 31, 2013

sacred ground

I've gotten into a sort of routine while I wait for God to call my mother home. I do things around the house in the morning and then head over to my mother's for a long afternoon at her bedside. I'm a "martha" so it's hard not to tidy up, do what I see to do in her room. I turn off the overhead lights and turn on soft lamplight. I play a classical music CD--not too softly, so she can hear since her hearing aids are put away. Or I play hymns for her on my i-pad piano ap and we sing--well I mostly sing alone now as she is too tired to join me. I decorate her window with valentine "clings" and try not to notice the dirty outside of the window as the sun beams through the gorgeous colors. I change the water on her pink roses and water her yellow tulips. I show her photos. We talk if she is awake.

I hold her hand and stroke it's thinness and think of all that hand has done for me throughout my lifetime. I think of the many letters written, sealed, and put in the mail to me and to many others. When we don't talk with words we look deeply into each other's eyes and talk that way. I often feel I'm an extension of this mother of mine, we are so alike.

It is a precious time for pondering, remembering, and trying to take in what life will be like without her.

We talked of heaven again yesterday. She said she knew she'd be leaving her pretty pink room soon. Was she afraid, I asked after she said she'd be moving to heaven. "Not at all," she responded. "Why would I be?" Always steady, never ruffled, that's my mom.

I reach over and offer some sips of water. Then I softly spread lip balm on her parched lips. I feel her brow, rub her shoulders, adjust her pillows, brush her hair that is due for a haircut. Her room is beautiful. She is beautiful. She is content. She is peaceful. She is always grateful and says so. Even if those are the only words she has energy to say, she will say, "Thank you for taking care of me." As she taught me how to walk, cut my food, put on stockings, plan a wedding, be a mother to my children, she is now teaching me how to die. A role model to the end.

The hours with my mother each day simply fly by. I feel like I am in a sacred place, on holy ground. I almost can sense angels. I feel so privileged to have these days with her as we walk along her path to Glory. I will never, ever forget what I am experiencing. I turn my face away to hide my burning tears. She is at peace, and she brings peace to me. And so we wait.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

history at its smallest

I'm not sure how I got to be so sentimental. Well, maybe I know. My mother and her sisters are not particularly sentimental, though they seem to enjoy my comments, questions, and zest for family history. But my father, he was another story. He was sentimental. I remember he would occasionally get out the old reel-to-reel tape player and play a tape of his parents talking and singing, and I'd watch him wipe away the tears streaming down his face. He taught me to love all history and especially our family history. He told me the stories about pieces of family heirloom furniture that are now mine. He instilled in me a curiosity about the unknowns of my ancestors and the detective method of looking at clues to guess about the past. Yes, if sentimentality is genetic, it was passed from father to daughter––in our family at least.

The little corner shelves I had built on the right side of my kitchen window and sink are even a nod to history, for that is exactly where my grandmother and my mother had shelves. All this chatter is a background for this: Not long ago we took the plunge and got rid of our landline and switched to only cell phones. (Do you wonder where is this going?) Our phones were old and we collected them to take to some local charity. Before I did that (we are now getting closer to the main point) I noticed the little tape inside the answering machine part of the phone. I rewound it and pressed "play." It was long so I sat down to listen. It was a little amazing. There was so much of our immediate family history on that little tiny tape. Discussions between father and son after a fender bender (they had forgotten to turn off the answering machine as their conversation went on). Calls from the realtor about our house on the market. Calls from friends about this and that. Calls from coaches, and my parents. It contained a lot of stuff I had forgotten to erase.

So now the little "power" tape sits on the shelf in the kitchen, waiting to be thrown away. I don't have a machine to play it anymore, but it impresses me that on that tiny tape are the voices of many loved ones, reminding me of times I had forgotten. Hopefully I can "let it go" soon, but so often I regret it after I throw something away. Do you have trouble getting rid of things? What would you do?

Monday, January 28, 2013

on our range

I think eight makes a herd, don't you? And yesterday we had a herd of deer in our yard. The most we'd seen before was five, but they must feel quite at home as they brought some friends this time and stayed awhile. They even let me take pictures. Yes I think they look sweet, and I feel sorry for their life in such shallow woods as are in our neighborhood, but I am not crazy about the ticks they share with us and the trampling they do to our garden. Yesterday they were eating grass and azalea buds. I hate to have a "discouraging word," but I think they are feeling way too at "home on our range."
"Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day."

Friday, January 25, 2013

over a cuppa

We are enjoying a definitive cold snap right now which I actually love, still having a bit of "northern blood" in my veins. Cold weather is easy to take down here as we know it can't last too long.  I have a few more "over the back fence" comments but since it's so cold, I'll invite you in for a hot cup of tea, rather than standing at the fence.

The other day I went to a craft store and found what I want but was appalled at the price. "Don't you have a coupon?" I asked the young clerk, eyeing the flyers next to the cash register. "No I don't, but do you have a smart phone?" And she proceded to walk me through to a 50% coupon, which, she told me, is there on my phone for every time I shop in the store. I may be not quite up on the coupon aspect of a smart phone but at least she thought I might have such a phone.

Whereas when at my next stop at T-g-t, checking out clock radios (which suddenly sort of sounds like a "dinosaur"), the not so young saleswoman asked if she could help and then said, "I assume you just mean a clock radio, not one that would play an i-pod or iPhone." I was a bit taken back that she assumed I would not want such things--or maybe didn't even know about them. That's more like what a younger person would think about an older person.
At our mentor group this month we taught about basic mending--how to sew on a button, mend a seam or sew a hem. It seemed to be much appreciated, and I'm trying to remember how I learned to do such things. We mentors had made teacup pincushions for the girls to take home. You can imagine how easy they were to do, and yes we did glue the cup and saucer together, and the cushions got a shot of glue to stay in the cup. We bagged them up with a bow along with some pins, a spool of basic gray thread and a pair of scissors. Cute! Now, how about a second cup of tea?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

lentil surprise

I found some already cooked lentils in the produce department the other day. The work of soaking and cooking was already done for me. I loosely followed the directions on the box with my own additions. It went something like this:

Chop and saute one onion, yellow sweet pepper and fresh spinach in olive oil and garlic. Add one finely chopped turkey kielbasa until slightly brown. Add lentils and one can of finely chopped tomatoes. Heat through.

I think I may have dusted it with a bit of feta cheese and served it over rice with veggies on the side.

The surprise was that it was so, so delicious. The Gardener  l  o  v  e  d   it.  We had enough for a second meal and the final bits joined a soup pot. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

a small thing

Dear Lydia Grace,

      You and someone else have made me the best chicken soup this week, as well as blessed me in other ways. You've watched over my footsteps during these days of sitting at my mother's bedside and have cared for both mom and me in beautiful ways.  But when you gave me this blue pen, you touched my soul in a deep place. It is a small thing, giving me your slightly used pen (the kind we can no longer buy) with the blue ink I love to write with. But the small thing is huge in love, from someone who "gets me," and what a gift to have a friend like that. 
     You read my blog about blue ink running low--blue ink I use to write in my mother journal. I was full of hope that it would last as long as I needed it to, but it is about dry. With this renewed ink maybe I can fill more pages, as God ordains my mother's each day here on earth. Thank you Lydian Grace,my friend.

                With love, 
                      my mother's daughter

Sunday, January 20, 2013

old favs

Cleaning out long-neglected photo files, I found some old favorites. 
There's something so relaxing and fun about making a mosaic of photos. 
Maybe because it gives us a different view of the images.
So, totally random, here are a few of my favorite photos that I'm NOT tossing!

Connecting to Mary's Little Red House for her Monday Mosaics.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I know there is a word "dismantled," so maybe when you dismantle your mantel decor, you enjoy a "remantling" of it. As I've said before, I find it a bit more challenging to decorate a mantle than I thought it might be, before we had our mantle. But I'm not complaining! I do have to be sure things show up against the red brick, and that might be where my challenge lies.
Here is a winter look ... introducing some blue with the silver as we were given a  b-l-u-e  chair that is so comfortable, so I'm giving a nod to that color on the mantle.
I'm having a little diversion here with this post before I run over to see my mother who is sort of in a "holding pattern." I savor this unexpected extra time with her. And find diversions a good mental rest. Just for fun, a photo below of the sweet grand cherubs on a recent visit to their great-grandmother. They love to visit these animals out in the garden where she lives.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

looking in or looking out

For Vee's party I've found four window views from previous posts. Windows are a
 favorite of mine ... is it because I'm a curious person, or could it be ... that they show 
me there's more to life than we initially view. Whether it's looking in a window, 
or looking out, or reflections in the glass of what's
behind us, windows reveal another whole world! 
Do you agree?

Do pop by Vee's blog tonight for a view of other photo cards! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


God shows His faithfulness and care to me in many ways. Over the past 10 days, as my mother lingers here on earth, I've seen His face through many caring family members and friends ... emails, texts, notes, pots of soup, a picture hymn book, phone calls, muffins, visits, snacks, a loaned mattress delivered to our door, a prayer shawl, the touch of a hand ... so many ways, and I've noted them all and been grateful.

And I continue to write in a lovely journal a dear friend gave me 10 years ago. It has become a precious possession. I started it with stories my mother told me about her life (and I read some of them to her today), and I now continue to journal in it about these last days with her. I always use blue ink when I write in it and am hoping my ink does not run out.

My sisters went back home. And my brother said good-bye to mom again today, for we know not how long she will be with us. He is thanking her for something each time he is with her, and today he thanked her for all the delicious meals she had cooked for us. A sweet brother.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


I'm missing visiting your blogs,
but right now my focus is on my dear
mother as I help her with a big transition.

"O that will be glory for (her) ... "

Friday, January 04, 2013


Have you noticed how often "we" coin new words? I say "we" loosely, as it probably is more common among the younger generation. I find it interesting how nouns are made into verbs these days. Such as I read recently: "We will train back home." (Meaning, we'll take a train back home.)

I think I've possibly made up a word myself. "Upgossip." That would be, saying something uplifting about someone or to someone. A sort of backhanded compliment. I just love telling people something positive I've heard about them. It can lift them right up! Try it. You might see a hint of confusion in their eyes initially--especially as you start with "I heard something about you ...", but then a broad smile spreads across their faces. Possibly beaming. And you've made their day a better one.

Far, far better than the other kind of gossip, usually something negative about someone ... and that can bring a person down, down, down to the ground quickly. It's very easy to do the negative gossip, but the other takes more thought and effort. But I find it worth doing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

an empty slate

A whole new year ahead of us--some think of it as an "empty slate" yet to be written on.
 What will it contain? I'm not big on resolutions, but I have 
been thinking of some goals, and many of them involve my time, and 
my life-long goal of focusing on others. And yes, I will try to laugh more this year. 

I thought if I put the year on my chalkboard plate, it might help me remember it 
since I won't be writing the date as often as when I worked in the hospital. 
How strange that last night, for the first time that I remember, I dreamt 
about being at work, caring for one baby in particular who didn't have a crib. 
How oddly our minds can work!

Wishing you all the best in the new year  . . . 2  0  1   3!

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