Things are getting fuzzy in our neck of the woods. The bare branches that have scratched like long fingers across the winter skies are softening up. Their outlines are no longer in sharp focus.  The greening leaf buds are blurring the edges and coloring our views.

My mother, born on the first day of spring, was reborn into heaven in the spring fifteen years ago.  If someone had asked me what day my mother passed away, I’d have said April 13.  But I was a little fuzzy on the exact date – it was actually April 14, 2003.  Yet I am clear about so many other details of her influence – her love and encouragement, her creativity, her sense of style, her housekeeping and financial habits, and her uplifting ways – all those linger still.

I wrote every day through the whole month of the March Slice of Life Story Challenge again this year, something I began in 2012. I haven’t been writing daily this month, and my writing brain is already becoming a bit fuzzy. I am slipping away from the fulfilling activities of noticing, pondering, evaluating, and wordsmithing that I was beginning to develop. And I feel like something is missing from the core of who I want to be. Fortunately I know how to get back on that path.

We began a remodeling project at our home last week, with the hoped-for end result a new kitchen, bath, stair railing, deck, and wood floor stain. Before the new can come in, the old must go out. I am already a bit fuzzy on how our old kitchen looked, but I look forward to the new spaces with a concentrated clear vision.

We recognize fuzzy because we also know what is clear. Here’s to shaking out the cobwebs and gaining new insights along the way.

sweet girl

We are dog people.

Our family members have included an assortment of versions of the canine variety through the years. All have had names starting with M – Muffin, Magnolia, Molly, and Megan. Then came Maggie. The rescue dog who captured our hearts and filled our empty nest with a different kind of love.

Maggs had her own unique personality, but she was a perfect dog for us.  We loved her unconditionally. And she was devoted to us in return. As long as she was with us – sleeping in our bedroom, watching tv in the den, on trips to the lake – we all felt complete.

I could only imagine how lonely we would be without her.

Maggie came to us when she was five. She was scared of her shadow, but her tail wagged vigorously for us.  She didn’t care much for other dogs, or other people if they were standing (sitting was ok).  She came when we called her, unless there was a scent of interest enticing her away.

She was strong and fast.  Our previous dog had suffered from bad hips and digestive troubles, and her last days at 11 years old were tough. Megan had been an outside dog, and Maggie was definitely not.  So we knew Maggie would be different.

But she wasn’t.

Yet, when she was 13, we didn’t mind carrying her up the stairs, giving her joint medicine, even diapering her at night.  We were content, as long as everything else was comfortable for her.

But it wasn’t.

Maggie began to have digestive issues just like Megan had.  She wouldn’t eat the food she had always loved.  Eventually she wouldn’t eat the soft food we had changed to. She was shrinking before our eyes. Her bones stood out and her steps were slower and more hesitant.

We had numerous trips to the vet, lots of uncertainty, loads of tears. What was best for our sweet baby? How can love hurt this bad?

Maggie left us just before her 14th birthday. I like to believe she is running free in a better place, But I still look for her here, and I see her sweet brown eyes in my mind.  I can imagine the feel of her silky ears, hear her toenails on the wood floor, smell the popcorn scent of her feet when she slept.

Since we are dog people, we will one day get another pup. We can only hope to be so blessed to have another little friend with as sweet a soul as our Maggie.

She wouldn’t want us to be alone.


Our joyous

Easter Day

comes   at   the   end   of   a   week

filled   with   rejection   and   grief,

and   in   the


of   a   plan

of salvation

formed by

our loving

Father, who


His only Son

 for you and me.



fairest of all – solc2018#31

On this last day of the month, the end of the Slice of Life Challenge to write every day in March has arrived. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for this inspiration and this opportunity.

This year, March ends and April begins on a high note.

We celebrate Easter as the pinnacle of our faith, the gift of new life after the cold, empty sacrifice made by our Lord.

Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Thank You, Lord, for Jesus.

I opened my front door to this view today:

Of course Easter comes in spring. New life springing up everywhere after the cold winter.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Evidence of renewal and growth in every twig, each blade of grass, even in the pollen floating through the air. All brought forth by the Master’s hand.

How I wished for this view in the cold days of winter. But I could do nothing to make it happen. Except wait… wait with hope and with faith. And now, here it is. Spring Beauty, indeed.

Thank You, Lord, for spring.

Last night, the first clear, cloud-free night in a while, the full moon lit the sky and warmed our hearts with its luminous glow. The moon is mesmerizing to me: always a puzzle, yet lovely and unfailing.

And today’s sunshine, wedged between cloudy days of yesterday and rain predicted for several tomorrows, is energizing and uplifting.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

Thank You, Lord, for the Light and Hope that Easter brings.

home for a lifetime – solc 2018#30

My precious older friend moved into her home when I was going on two years old.

She has lived my lifetime there.  And a large part of her own.

But now she has gone along with her children’s urging and sold her home. The first two offers were from people who were going to tear it down. The man who bought it is going to restore it. So she hopes.

Fifty-nine years ago, she and her husband restored an old gem and made it into a beautiful home, and a comfortable spot for raising their three children.

She once told us that the local history organization wouldn’t allow them to place a historic marker at their home because they had altered the original facade. “But’s there’s a marker there,” I said. “Oh, we bought that and put it up ourselves,” she replied.

Their backyard, which borders a city park, was a longtime home to a pair of buzzards, often written about in the paper. “They never got in my way,” she said. I suppose everyone felt comfortable there.

She loved for her friends to stop by and sit with her on the screened porch. No doubt she will miss that the most.

The large tree between the house and garage grew and grew and grew, raising the asphalt driveway into a formidable hump.  “Be careful and watch out for the tree when you pull to the back to pick me up,” she would always say.

My parents moved out of their home after 37 years. It was a tough, heartbreaking move for them.  It is now the same for my friend.

I can only imagine how hard it is to leave your home of 59 years.

What parts of your heart stay behind, whether you chose to leave them or not?

vision – solc2018#29

More road work in our area. This is the path I travel to get to our daughter’s home. The road is being enlarged from 2 to 4+ lanes (turning lanes in some spots.)

Someone has to have a clear vision to change the road’s path and its surroundings so much. It is incredible to me how the landscape is altered when roadwork is done.

There is a lot of UNdoing before any doing is accomplished.

  • trees are cut
  • ditches are filled
  • driveway entrances are demolished
  • fences are moved
  • electric lines are rerouted
  • dirt is brought in
  • rocks are taken out
  • bridges are replaced

And so many orange and white striped barrels line the way.

Have you ever eaten cookies like these?

Today I passed an area along the side of the road where blasting had lifted the ground and left a surface similar in appearance to these cookies. Cracked and separated by a powerful force beneath the surface:

Lots of trees have been cut down. On many that remain, branches have been trimmed, leaving only light colored circles against the gray brown bark of the trunk.

Were those missing limbs lush and full? Were the branches long, reaching towards the sky? I can’t remember what those trees looked like before.

Is that how it will be when this roadwork is finished? Will anyone remember how this place looked before?

Or will we be traveling so fast along the new road that we won’t take time to even consider the past?

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20 – but does this vision allow for that?

hallelujah – solc2018#28

A few years back, my book club read the Geraldine Brooks book, The Secret Chord.  (Note: I am not recommending the book.)  We tried to connect the title with this retelling (and oftentimes disparaging version) of the life of King David in the Bible. One of our grown children who came with her mom helped us by reminding us of the Leonard Cohen song that begins:

I’ve heard there was a secret chord

That David played, and it pleased the Lord

I have always been troubled by the words to Leonard Cohen’s beautiful melody, Hallelujah. They have seemed so bitter – almost unworthy of such a beautiful tune. (You can read those lyrics here.) I know he was writing about his own life, as everyone has a right to do, but both the encouraging title and then the lovely tune draw you in. However, soon you discover it’s not really what you thought (or wanted) it to be.

I was thrilled to know that a better story could be told. Kelly Mooney wrote an Easter version of the song. It tells the story of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, including this verse:

Took from his head the thorny crown
And wrapped him in a linen gown,
Then laid him down to rest inside the tomb
The holes in his hands, his feet, his side,
Now in our hearts we know he died
To save us from ourselves, Oh Hallelujah!

Many people were moved by this powerful version of the song, so Kelly Mooney decided to reach out to Leonard Cohen’s publishers. Now she has the official rights to record this rendition of the song.

This version, to me, makes the beautiful melody into a song with more truth and joy.