Saturday, November 29, 2014

November Means Gratitude

 November did not exactly fly by as I recovered from surgery.
Six hours a day lying down and using a knee bending machine allowed 
me to look up and out and watch the leaves slowly change color.
November has been a mix of physical therapy and trying to 
get back to normal living, or my "new normal" for
now. The Gardener helped me haul Christmas out
of the attic and it was actually fun to  s l o w l y 
decorate together. I'm happy to be going to church, book club, 
and even one big box store with my cane in use and the Gardener in tow.
It's so good to have time with the grandchildren again and
watch their sweet wonder as Christmas unfolds.
The bushes are heavy with red berries which can mean--if they are holly, per
an old wives' tale--that we have a big winter ahead. I wonder if its the
 same for this Nandina bush so heavy with fruit.
The Gardener has been preparing lots of firewood for us.
There is much to be grateful for this month, and not only because
it includes a holiday to be thankful.
My heart is filled with gratitude.

I'm joining with Cheryl's Gathering the Moments
and Judith's Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coming Home

It almost felt like coming home. Well, at least "home to Mitford." It had been a long time, 
so reading Jan Karon's new book (Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good)
felt like catching up on old friends (characters) in a small town 
we'd come to love years ago. There had been a break in Karon's books about Father Tim, 
his wife Cynthia and the town of Mitford, but when we heard a new book 
was coming, we knew we would do that for our book club. 
Maybe we love it because Mitford is based on a little mountain town
 (not quite fictional) in our state. Or maybe we love it because there is the enticement
 of community that draws us in, townspeople caring about each other.
Anyway we found ourselves gathered around a beautiful late fall table for a 
breakfast feast. Our hostess thought of every detail to bring appreciation 
and delight as we ate, drank tea, and talked about the book. 
Father Tim's favorite raisins, a map of Mitford, little take-home boxes of candy treats . . .
For those that know Mitford, yes that is Esther's orange marmalade cake.
We always like sharing quotes from her books and this is full of wonderful ones.
We talked about how Father Tim and Cynthia wrote each other love notes.
"Love letters are hard," Father Tim says. To which his wife replies,
"But that's what makes them good."
"No matter how far we travel, the memories will 
follow in the baggage car."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hugs from afar

It's easy to stay busy with life, responding to the urgent things that come along.
I used to be much better at writing notes or sending cards, keeping in touch,
but life seems to have changed a bit, and not entirely for the better.
So when I saw how friends cared for me after my knee surgery, 
it was a reminder to do better.
There is something so special about getting a card or package in the 
mail … especially when you're not feeling well. It's like a hug from afar.

My cousin sent me this amazing card she made. Wow, I looked and looked at it, and looked 
at it again, admiring her handiwork, being grateful for her words of encouragement.  
Even though there are no cats in my house, I loved it! 
I even heard from some blogging friends, sending a book or a card 
and cups of tea. I am so touched to be encouraged in this way.
 May I never forget this gentle lesson.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a season fades

Fall, leaves, fall, die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree
 ~Emily Bronte

Very soon the trees will be stripped bare of leaves 
and the green grass will be seen again. 
Amidst the bleakness of winter peeks out the cheery Pansies,
 always smiling, ready to perk up their heads no
matter how cold our winters may be.
Joining in Judith's Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

color on my street

For years I'd rise at dawn and head outside for several miles of fast walking. I haven't been able to do that the past few years because of the arthritis in my knees, so it was a special pleasure the other day when I grabbed my cane and headed outside for a walk. I needed to look down to watch my strides, but my eyes kept being drawn up to the deep blue sky and the beauty of the trees.
Fall is finally in full swing and the leaves have changed color and are dropping and dancing on their way to the ground. My rose colored sunglasses made the leaves even more vibrant in color as
I soaked in all their glory around me. Granted my steps were slow and the soreness
and feeling of weakness reminded me of my recent surgery, but I was walking
without the arthritis pain. It was just as amazing as I heard it would be.
I continue to make progress and now will go to outpatient therapy.
That will be a whole new game and probably new ways to experience pain.
But I know in the end it will be so worth it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

along the way

My sister and I were driving at the beach near her house when we passed a familiar
looking house. We paused and looked --- all the rich foliage around the house was gone,
as were trees in the side yards. How different it looked. 
This "beach castle" holds a special memory for us as we had an extended-family 
vacation week there after a family wedding. 
It is such a beautiful, romantic place. 
The stairs were in the turret, the rooms filled with antiques, 
and it was old even back then. 

Joining Judith at Lavender Cottage for Monday Mosaics

Friday, November 07, 2014

two stories of generosity and not so much . . .

The day started out warm and humid with rain and threatening clouds. By the time we were on the train headed uptown the clouds had changed to bright sun. But then, as if a gift withdrawn, the wind and dark clouds furled again across the skies ... only to be replaced once more by sunshine, this time bringing cooler temperatures. Friends were taking us out to dine on a gift card they had received. So generous of them--they could have used the card three times themselves rather than sharing it with friends.

The meal was lovely, and my entree--a favorite Chicken Marsala--was perfect. I boxed up the remains, thinking about the mouth-watering second meal it would make. And now my story splits.

Story One: Walking on the train platform, we were approached by our second panhandler of the day. A quarter for some fast food? That wouldn't buy anything.

My box of food suddenly felt very heavy in my hands. Maybe I should give it to him. But I didn't, sitting it down on the bench next to me as we waited for our train. Once we hopped off the train back at our car, I suddenly realized the box wasn't with me. I had left it on the bench. Serves me right, I thought to myself. Quick lesson here ... and I breathed a silent prayer that panhandler friend would circle back and find the delicious meal and enjoy it for me, as he should have--if I'd been giving.

Story Two: Generous gift card friends headed home, stopping on the way to try and find a pecan pie for a church Thanksgiving dinner the next day. No pies to be found. Then they passed a fruit stand with a "Pecan Pie Sale" sign. Alas, it had just closed. Cash register sales tallied, all in process of being locked up for the day. 

They made an attempt anyway, but the answer was "no," even if cash was offered.  Walking back to the car, our friend noticed that the pie seller was walking after her beckoning her to come back.  "Here," she said,"Take a pie. No charge. Enjoy. They are to die for. You will love it."

Sunday, November 02, 2014

the good, the bad, and the beautiful

I've often heard about the "good days" and the "bad days" when getting over surgery. I'm finding it to be true. One day upbeat, feeling strength and the next day thinking I can't get out of bed. Then there's what I call "T.Time." I'm not talking about drinking a cuppa, as much as I love that, but "T for Torture." That is, the exercises to get my new knee in sync with healing muscles, tendons and whatever else is in there, to enable me to walk normally again. Today was one of those bad days. Everything was hurting even before I began. The Gardener was ready to leave for church but had time to help me with the therapy. We had my phone nearby softly playing our Sunday morning music. 

The Gardener so patiently and tenderly helps me, keeping count for me, remembering the exercises I forget, and gently pushing beyond comfort as is the order of the day. Today I was a silly mess. It hurt so badly I burst into tears, feeling like I could go no further. Just then out of the blue, our wedding hymn started playing on the radio. "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven." Into my mind flashed a summer evening; I was walking up the church aisle, hanging onto my father's arm, looking ahead into the eyes of my beloved. I know today he was remembering too, as he gently
pushed me through the pain of the therapy. 

"In sickness or in health; for better or for worse." This was one point for the worse side, but it is what our promises were and are all about. The sunlight streaming in the window on a cold morning suddenly warmed me through and through, and my spirits rose.

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