a precious soul

“I like your paint colors. They are very nice. Sometimes, we must use colors that are… uh,uh,” remarked the painter shaking his head back and forth.

“Your swivel chairs are perfect in front of the fireplace!” said my friend. “I have just found my new favorite chair,” she continued.

“How did you find just the right colors for this room?” inquired a neighbor. “Everything blends so perfectly.”

“Each part of this remodel is done so well.  I’ve seen a lot of homes, and a lot of re-dos. I know the age of these houses in this neighborhood, and yet yours looks so current, yet classic. Who did your work?” asked the realtor who was a guest at a party in our home.

I am very appreciative of the kind words about our home. And I quickly respond with these words: “Our daughter is a designer, and it looks so good because of her. She deserves every bit of the credit!”

Yes, I am so grateful for our daughter’s design skills, and for the fact that she helps us with decisions at our home. She ALWAYS has good ideas. And she puts up with me if I can’t see her vision, or want to hang onto something that needs to go.  So I am also grateful for her patience with me.

She is such a gift!

A few years ago, I became a mother to an astonishingly beautiful baby girl. My husband and I just stared and said, “How can she really be ours?” She has enchanted us ever since.

She was right on track with childhood milestones. She hated bananas from the very first taste. She giggled joyfully and freely. She was meticulous with some things (art and school work) and “creative” with others (keeping her room). She loved to arrange things (tables, candles, etc.) into what she called her “set-up,” an early start to home design.

In elementary school she was a hard worker who loved doing her school work. In middle and high school that continued, even when she attended a quite challenging private school. She always gave everything her all.

She “excelled” at soccer even though, in truth, she wasn’t the best player. But she was the heart of the team, and she was the first (only?) to receive an award in her name. It is now given to a player who exemplifies this spirit, and it continues to this day.

She has memorized much of the dialog in the classic, “Steel Magnolias,” and no one cries alone in her presence. We were “best friends” when she was in high school, but I am thankful that I have been replaced in that role by her husband and soul mate, the perfect match for her sweet spirit.

And she is the BEST mommy. She knows her two precious children so well, constantly seeking ways to meet their needs – while at the same time keeping them challenged to move along with their skills as they grow.  (And she shares them with my husband and me, and trusts us with them. A privilege and an honor!)

She has a deep-rooted faith that she lives out each day. In good times and in tough times, she relies on her Father for guidance and care.

Our daughter has SO many qualities that I am proud of and thankful for. She is such a blessing to our family. If there were anything that I could change about her, I would give her more self-confidence.  I’d share with her the knowledge and conviction that I have about her: She can do whatever she makes up her mind to do – and she will do it well.

I love you, Beth. Thank you for being our daughter!

Thank you, God, for sending this precious soul into our lives.

 

 

 

a recurring book

Hi friend,

Hope this finds you and yours doing well in these challenging times. We are all doing fine, and I am thankful.

Goodness, I miss seeing you! I’m ready for a return to the carefree days when we could go and hear authors and travel to your beautiful home to enjoy each other’s company. Hopefully those better days will come back again soon.

I wanted to tell you a funny story. Remember that book that our friend recommended – and both you and I started it but just couldn’t get into it? I tried, and I know you did, but I finally gave up. I actually gave my copy away, as I knew I’d rather spend time reading something else – anything else! Well, I’ll get back to that book in a minute.

A member in my other book club saw that the bookstore was offering a session on “Book Club Reading Suggestions,” and she asked me to attend with her. It was a good evening, back in the “good ol’ days,” and we came away with some brochures and papers that featured recommended books and their summaries.

I had hit a dry spot in my reading so I pulled out those papers and read through LOTS of book suggestions.  I don’t always seem to like what is currently trending, so I quickly narrowed down my choices to three books. I decided to order the first one for my Kindle, and started on it right away.

I got about three chapters in and had this familiar feeling… Where had I heard of these characters and situations before?

Yep, you guessed it. It was the same book that you and I didn’t care for – the one I had previously discarded. Ugh. Now I’m committed to read it – I suppose.

I wish my memory were better. Sometimes I think I could own about five books and just reread them all from time to time, since I obviously can’t remember much about titles and plots. I would definitely save money, that’s for sure!

Take care, stay well, and let me know what you are reading these days.

Miss you!

look up and trust

a sky so blue

a breeze so light

a leaf so green

a bud so tight

the clouds above

are fluffy white

but

the weight I feel

is just not right

 

what happens next

we never know

in times like these

our spirits, low

we tend to fret 

and worry so

or

we can pray 

and watch hope grow

 

the choice is ours

the pathway clear –

share the smile

hold back the tear

look up and trust

and never fear

for

in all things

our Lord is near

Wishing for a peace that passes all understanding

to carry us through these troubled times

better days SOLC20 #31

In many ways this month of unanticipated changes and unsettling news has seemed to stretch forever. At last it is coming to an end.

But how can this month of writing be done? I have so much more to process. So many more ideas to consider, so much more to say.

Of course, I can still write.  The question is, will I? I am so deeply grateful for Two Writing Teachers to provide this outlet yet again, this motivation to write and share.

And in the midst of that work, it is good to find myself again. Thank you, ALL of you at Two Writing Teachers, for making this writing celebration happen yet again this year.

As the month went on it was easier – and more necessary – to write. Pieces that sometimes alluded to the strange world situation we find ourselves in, and sometimes just to escape. And as always, at the end of every March writing challenge, there’s that determination to keep writing. Perhaps the slower pace of today may help with the necessary follow-through this time.

As April starts tomorrow, I once again look forward to a new month. No one knows what this one will bring. The truth, that we often forget, is that this is true about every upcoming month and each tomorrow that we have.  No one knows.

So I will try to take every day as a gift, to celebrate the good that can always be found, to remember to be thankful for each day as it ends, and to look forward to the next tomorrow with hope.

 

Better days ARE ahead!

old yards SOLC20 #30

I love old yards.  Some would say it sounds better to say, “established” yards, but that’s not really what I mean.

Old yards generally have some size to them. Not huge, but not postage stamp, either.  I like that.

The landscaping up next to the house is often unique.  Not always symmetrical, sometimes overgrown, and maybe there’s mulch – or maybe not.

But it’s the rest of the yard I’m fascinated with.

The grass in old yards has a LOT more than just grass in its composition. My favorite “weed” is violets. Heart shaped leaves and tender purple petals. They can easily “take over” but they are just so pretty.

This time of year, old yards have lots of blooming plants. Various trees, some which will have fruit later on, are gorgeous right now. Redbuds, dogwoods, cherry trees, and more!

Also, vibernum plants, many of which we call snowball bushes, are loaded with big white spheres of blossoms.

All are so faithful to return year after year. To them I say, “Thank you!”

And all the perennials that line the driveways and walkways, or fill a certain patch of the lawn. Thick leaves, colorful blooms. Beautiful!

Sometimes I wonder what made the owners decide to put those bushes or trees or perennials in the spots where they have flourished.  Often there’s no determined rhyme or reason that I can see, but that’s why I am intrigued.

And there’s hardscape worth noting as well. Giant concrete planters, painted black or white, atop columns or at the base of stairs. Perhaps across the outside edge of the front porch. Sidewalks that sometimes leave the front door and end up in the middle of the yard. Numerous items used to outline flower gardens. (The only ones I don’t care for – and that thankfully we don’t often see anymore – are the old tires painted white.)

Our house at the lake has an old yard. We are enjoying the efforts of former owners during this season. To them I say, “Thank you!”

Our iris are starting to bloom.  This patch was so anxious to bring joy into this unsettled world that they bloomed before growing their typical long stems. But even hunkered down in the leaves they are beautiful.

 

There are two things that all old yards have in common.  The first is TIME.  It took a lot of time to plant and grow these yards. The second thing is LOVE – someone loved plants, loved their home (and yard), and loved to make things beautiful.

In old yards everywhere, plants are showing the beauty of the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.” To all of them I say, “Thank you!”

hands SOLC #29

Isn’t it a gift to have hands that can do so much? Today I am thankful for my own useful hands and for the hands of those I love.

These are my granddaughter’s hands.  I love the dimpled knuckles. These hands are so sweet, and when she places them on each side of your face and says “I have a secret,” I melt. Then she whispers in your ear, “I love you.”

 

They are also artistic. She is very creative and makes three dimensional art as well as all kinds of colorful drawings and designs on paper. Once at her house I saw drawings of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell she had made and cut out, after her first trip to Disneyworld.

 

I asked her to reproduce them on canvas, which I have now to cherish. Notice the fireworks – Tinkerbell lights the castle for the nightly show, you know.

 

Eeek! These are my old, plain hands. Brown-spotted and wrinkled, with arthritis in some knuckles, but I still appreciate all they can do.

 

Through the years I have tried to be creative. I have tried calligraphy, watercolor, cross stitch, smocking, and other attempts at art.  When I retired I gave some specially selected books to each grade level at my school where I had been the reading specialist. I wrapped them all in black and added some reading quotes to each package:

 

These gnarly hands belong to my hardworking husband. He is always busy with projects and tasks. He likes to work in the yard, do wood working, paint, and help others.

 

They can be tender hands as well as tough – our grandchildren love for him to pat their backs as they fall asleep.

 

His hands can be artistic too.  Look at this stylish mailbox he recently made:

 

Thank you, Lord, for hands!

May You always keep our hands busy in service and love.

a long time SOLC20 #28

When we are waiting, every moment seems like hours.

I’ve always heard the expression, “’til the cows come home.” To me, it meant forever. Or it seemed that way.

Definitions tell you that it could mean until the end of the day (as in, when cows come back to the barn for milking) or for an indefinite long time (as in, the fact that cows may wander a long time if they ever escape their pasture, unlike horses that tend to come back to their stable).

If you are doing something fun and exciting, you want it to last ’til the cows come home.

If you are anxious or worried, and you are forced to wait til the cows come home, it seems like a very long, long time.

Either way, the wait is over:

They’re Home!