solc21 #11 free speech

I have signed up for the Nextdoor website where neighbors can communicate.  I frequently get emails linking to posts that Nextdoor thinks I would like. I guess it’s based on location, because I have never posted anything myself. Somehow they think they know me so they send me these posts. But I digress….

Yesterday I got an email suggesting this post:

Hey, friends & neighbors who raise chickens! I am sure your hens lay the most delicious eggs ever! And you care a lot for them. However, if you live in the city limits of Franklin, you may not know something. There is something called Title 10-Animal Control, a city ordinance that says it is… See more

This was posted by a neighbor of mine whose back neighbors do have chickens. Not penned up chickens, but “free range” ones, and they are often in her yard scratching up mulch and spreading it out of the planting beds. I think she is aggravated by this, as I would be, not to mention the noise and the poop these chickens also provide. But the beginning of her message starts out so nice.

So today I clicked to try to “See more” but all I found was this message:

Sorry, the post you’re looking for has been removed.

I hope she removed it herself. Otherwise, if it was “censored,” I want to know more.

solc21 #10 the return of a tree

We had a water maple in our front yard that was a lovely, full tree. However, the roots tended to grow at ground level and sometimes above, causing many problems, so we decided to have the tree removed.

It was quite an adventure (you can read about it here), as the landscapers used unusual methods to get the tree down. We also asked them to grind up the stump and roots, but that was only partially completed, and my husband continued to chop them almost daily with a long, pointed bar in the months following the tree’s demise.

I have missed the shade it provided, and the shield it formed between our house and the street in our small front yard. But it really needed to go.

We always planned to plant another, more deeply-rooted tree in its place. But as things often do, time went by.

Knowing that fall is a good time to plant a tree, we finally purchased a leafless red maple late last year.  The same landscapers came and planted it. It has had all winter to grow its roots down into our yard. From time to time I would say, “I sure hope that new maple tree comes out in the spring.”

This morning as I looked out the front door into the morning sun I saw a very welcome sight:

The new tree is alive!  It is starting to bud! See?

What fun it will be to watch it grow.

solc21 #9 better than

Last week we stayed on Hwy 30A in a condo resort that has a small beachside restaurant. You can’t beat the view, and the food is delicious, too.

We were able to talk with the owner one day. He told us a bit of his personal history with the restaurant world and with this establishment in particular. He had started – and sold – other restaurants in the area, and he continued to have two others besides this one on the beach.  “I will keep this one until I die, though,” he said, indicating that it was his favorite. “There’s just something about this place.”  And he was right.

So I said, “Well you have found your paradise!” but he shook his head.

He told us how he loved the business, and his workers, and the location. But the problem that spoiled his paradise is the people.

I was surprised by this, as he was one of the friendliest restaurant owners we had ever met.  But he said, “90% of the people who walk up those steps (from the beach) think they are better than everyone else.  It is hard to make people like that happy. That’s a full time job.”

My husband and I found it hard to believe anyone could be in that spot, with that delicious food and drink, and not be happy.

I guess we are just simple folk, easy to please. The “elite” would find us common and dull.

Boring, perhaps, but happy to be that way!

solc21 #8 a new day

Last year at the end of February I was so excited for that cold drear month to end.  I knew that the time would change in early March, giving us days that stretched longer and longer into the evenings, and the warm winds would blow, and things would look and feel better. I couldn’t wait!

Well… little did I know what March would hold. Who did, right?

March opened our eyes to a new reality, one I did not care for.  So I wished away that month and looked forward to April.

Well… April brought in troubles of its own.  And so on with May, and then riotous June, and on and on.

We have endured, and hopefully we have learned.  I have seen what people are really made of, and some have truly surprised me in this. I have discovered things I wish weren’t so, but at the same time I feel more “awake” and aware. And I am so thankful for the brave souls that are working to make things better. Bless them all.

This year I know to take each day as it comes, to celebrate the present and the good that is in today, every day.

Through it all, Nature has continued on, unaltered. What joy it brought to see the regular cycle of seasons, untouched by human problems and concerns. Carrying on its purpose, bit by bit, day by day. I have been more observant, and far more thankful, of the way Nature, and its Creator, support and encourage us.

And so today as I start to notice signs of spring,  I dare to smile at the beauty that is to come. It is there, and it is on the way. I can – and will – rejoice and be exceeding glad.

solc21 #7 chosen words

It is a common practice to choose a “word of the year” as a guide for your life.  I have tried this a couple of times, but I never ended up embracing this idea. I would forget about the word, or half way through the year I wanted to change it.

So I haven’t done it in a few years. I do find it interesting to read about what others have chosen as their word, though. So many people really put this concept to good use. I would often think, “I should give that idea another try.”

For 2021, however, some words have chosen me. A particular Bible verse started “showing up” seemingly everywhere during December, 2020.  It held a lot of meaning for me, especially considering the state of the world these days, and I appreciated the assurance and hope it provided.

My Bible study group decided to share a meaningful verse when we began our new study in January, so of course I chose this one, and I was able to tell those friends how thankful I am for God’s care.

Since then I continue to “find” this verse in multiple places – or it finds me – and often just when I need to hear it most.

So, this is my verse – my wordS – for 2021:

Isaiah 41:10

Thank You, God, for meeting my needs – as You always do.

solc21 #6 hidden gems

Lenten roses are one of the first signs of spring where I live. Their name comes from the religious season of Lent in which they generally bloom. As Lent helps the believer prepare for the joy of Easter, these plants help us transition from winter to the new life of spring.

You have to know where to look, though.  These plants grow low to the ground and often seem to be more leaves than blooms.  And the blossoms are quite shy and often hang their lovely heads over, as seen above.  Maybe from the weight of their large centers, or maybe shielding themselves from the cold.

I had some lenten roses once upon a time.  A sweet older lady who volunteered with our reading program at school asked me if I wanted some hellebores.  I had to look up this scientific name, but of course I said yes because I knew she was quite a gardener. No matter what they were, I knew they would be healthy and attractive. The ones she generously gave me were white.

They did not meet with a good end in my care. I can’t remember for sure, but they were either never transplanted into the right spot and eventually thrown out by my husband (“They never bloomed,” he said.), or possibly they were planted, like the coral bells I also once had, but were mowed down by the weed eater (“They never bloomed,” my husband said.).  So now I have to admire them from afar.  Again, when I know where to look.

Although we don’t have much snow in my part of Tennessee, I do know that even a good dusting can bring out the real joy in these plants. What is a more hopeful sign of spring than seeing flowers blooming in the winter?

Thankfully, spring is definitely on the way.  Maybe by next winter I will have some lenten roses in my own yard to enjoy!

solc21 #5 another miracle

As a reading teacher, I have always said that whenever a child learns to read, it is a miracle.

Just the realization that we humans have brains that can decipher little squiggles on paper to understand them as letters and words is astonishing!

Then to watch while those letters and words are combined by a reader into meaning is incredible!

And when you think about real comprehension – making meaning with mental images, connections, and inferences – well, that is nothing short of phenomenal.  Yes, a miracle, indeed.

Beyond that, when a reader uses this new awareness to become a writer, and can share his or her thinking through those same squiggles on paper, the world grows larger and smaller at the very same time.

I have been blessed to see these miracles occur over and over during my teaching career. None smaller than the last. None less life changing.  I have been so thankful when I have witnessed it, each and every time.

Ah, and when it happens with a precious child that is especially dear to your heart, it is almost too amazing and humbling for words.

This is my Kindergarten granddaughter reading a book she created herself.

A special miracle indeed! 🙏🏻

solc21 #4 weather or not

This is the time of year that we need a wide array of clothing weights and layers. The temperature and the clouds in the sky change almost hourly some days.

When seasons change, it can be difficult. Three steps forward and two steps back. You have to be dressed and ready for anything that comes along.

And in middle Tennessee it’s not just during seasonal changes. The weather can be unpredictable and inconsistent on any given day of the year.

This recent Instagram post sums it up pretty well:

 

solc21 #3 little liza

There are three grandchildren in our family. Sweet Madison, our first, is a six-year-old of many kindhearted deeds. Smart Grayson is a three-year-old who loves to figure out how things work. Funny Wade, also three, has non-stop energy and enthusiasm. What a blessing they are to my husband and me (Pops and Nan).

Grayson is the only child of our son and his wife. Mark and Landon have known each other for quite some time. Eighteen years ago, when their older sisters became friends during their freshman year in college, Mark and Landon, eighth graders at the time, first met at an Ole Miss tailgate. Four years later, when Landon’s sister, Lauren, was a bridesmaid at our daughter Beth’s wedding, Mark and Landon danced together at the reception.  This was the summer before their senior year in high school.

One disastrous date during their freshman year in college put things on hold for a while, but five years later a chance re-meeting in Oxford brought them back together and things moved along quickly.  They have now been married almost six years.

And Grayson will soon have a little sister, expected this summer.

Her name, I think, is so meaningful and sweet.  She will be named after Landon and Mark’s sisters, who are, as they say, the reason they got together in the first place.

Lauren Elizabeth – “Liza” – will join our family. Already, she has lots of history with us all.

solc21 #2 looking down

Our world today is quite different from March 2 of last year. How things have changed! I am glad I did not have a crystal ball to see the future. Dealing with one day at a time has been more than enough.

There is no need for me to even try to describe what we have all witnessed.  What we have felt. What we have mourned. What we have learned. Actually it is different for each of us.  And I have found it all so heavy that I have been unable to write about it. Living through it all was challenging enough.

So, moving on, here we are at today. I regret so many outcomes, and wish for many things to improve.

One of the main things that bothers me is how we treat each other. There is little room for civil discourse, and even when one tries to listen, preconceived notions keep us from hearing well.  I am guilty of this.

If one is honest with oneself, I believe we all are guilty to some degree.

There are so many conversations, speeches, addresses, etc., that I hear these days – most are pushing their agenda and trying to make you, the uninformed, understand. The hardest part for me to accept is the condescension that is omnipresent.

It’s in the nod of the head, the repeated words, the slow, careful, deliberate speech.

It’s coming from both sides of any argument.

It’s implying a lack of patience, and little understanding for walking in another’s shoes.

It’s time we stop this. We can all move forward more successfully if we choose to do it together.

It’s about looking ahead to the better days that await, instead of looking down on those around us.

We can ALL do better.

solc21 #1 shifting sands

Every time we come to the beach I remind myself, as we leave, that the beauty and bigness that reflect God’s glory are always there. Whether or not I am there to see it and try to take it all in, the beach remains.

A few years ago we broke from our normal routine and came to the beach in the fall rather than the summer. The beach is fabulous in the fall! It made us wonder what had taken us so long to come at that time of year. (And the answer to that question was…work. We had to work in the fall. And our children were in school in the fall as well.)

I am at the beach now as I write this. We haven’t come in the spring before. Since this is a separate season, of course there is a different feeling during this time. It is still recognizable, of course, but there are things that are not the same. And that is ok. This is spring at the beach (technically the end of winter…) and now we are aware of what that means.

The beach is still beautiful, but the water’s color (on the Emerald Coast) is a bit more dull. The welcome breeze of the summer is now the chilling wind of the spring. Flowers are not as prevalent – although there is pollen all around. We have seen evening and morning fog that is pervasive and indwelling – but what an interesting perspective it adds!

Above all, I am grateful to be at the beach. And now, seeing it in a different light, I know – and love – it even more.

long days

This Father’s Day the weather was a mixture of downpours and steamy interludes of sun.  No time to get anything started in between showers.  It was a day of sitting, and thinking. And remembering

One of my friends and I had an honest conversation the next day.  She recently lost her dad, and her husband has had heart surgery and cancer, and she has employment concerns that remain unsettled.

My friend has many things to ponder.  Overwhelming memories and concerns. So on Fathers Day, with all its time for mind wandering, she had told her husband, “I know yesterday was officially the longest day of the year, but I don’t think this day will ever end.”

I find myself thinking that myself.  Not so much about each day, but about the season we find ourselves in.

Yes, it’s officially summer.  The season that means long days, filled with fun activities and time for naps. Heat and humidity, bird songs and crickets, fireflies at night.

In my experience and memory, summer has always been a carefree time of lighthearted joys.

This year is different. In every way, 2020 has brought events and concerns that no one could have imagined or believed, if they had not happened as they did.

Nature continues her same lively pattern, and I have never been more thankful. It’s a welcome diversion from more serious concerns. A celebration of life, and a nod to fulfilled expectations.

Yes, there are lessons to be learned during these days, changes to strive for, and many blessings to be thankful for, even in the midst of these “unprecedented times.”

But the days seem long and the season of uncertainty continues.

harnessing energy

The water on the shoreline at our lake house was very high, so we thought it would be fun to drive to the dam and see the runoff that was surely going through the spillways.  My husband looked it up – 2800 cubic feet per second.

When we arrived, it was quite a sight:

The sound and the breeze reflected the power of that rushing water.

Our lake has a relatively small dam, but it does produce hydroelectricity through the Tennessee Valley Authority.

It isn’t an old dam – built in the 1970’s – but seeing it caused me to think about our discussions at Book Club of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) projects from the 1930’s. In a terrible economic time, workers were paid to do all sorts of public works projects, like building dams (and being pack horse librarians like we read about in Book Club.)

Someone at Book Club commented that they didn’t think that would go over well these days – being told what kind of work to do if you wanted to get paid.  Sadly that could be true.  These days the government is just giving away money, without requiring any work at all.

Back to the dam – the might and force of the water pouring through was mesmerizing. Such energy rushing past.

Then I thought of the pent-up energy and frustration we are seeing in the protests in our cities these sad days. The strength and intensity is alarming.

If only we could manage to harness that energy into life-giving work and support, just as dams are able to harness the water’s potential into producing electricity – and lighting the world.

lily days

It’s that time of year. The orange lilies are back!

Here in Tennessee, these beauties have gone wild.  Along with thriving in gardens, these lilies are abundantly growing along the roadsides. What a beautiful sight!

“It’s June!” they announce.  “Welcome to summer!”

Years ago a friend gave us some from her bountiful spread from the entrance to her driveway.  “I almost wish I hadn’t planted them there,” she said. “They multiply so quickly and take over.”

Not being much of a horticulturist, to me a plant that needs little care, multiplies, and almost never dies sounded right up my alley. I was thrilled to receive them.

We planted them along a retaining wall and they were perfect there. I enjoyed those lilies so much that when we moved to another home, I wanted some more. I had another retaining wall that needed them!

And, being a hardy Tennessee volunteer, I decided to dig my own. I had spotted some growing almost hidden in a roadside area that cried out to be dug up and replanted in my yard – to be enjoyed and admired by all.

So I took my daughter with me that morning – the day of her prom, she reminds me – and we waded through the swampy ground and swatted bugs as we dug up our lilies.

They turned out to be just as sturdy and as beautiful as the ones I had before, and we enjoyed them so much in our new home. Plus they also continued to multiply in the area where we had dug them, so no harm done, right?

Now we live in yet another house. We have been there 16 years, but we have no lilies.

This time every year I see them blooming and feel them calling my name.  Of course, I could go to the garden store and buy some, but where’s the fun in that?

Right now I have some other other pressing projects, so another year will probably roll around without new lilies.

But someday….

 

lake life

The weekend was filled with so much energy! Our family was all together at the lake – celebrating being together and ushering in the unofficial start of summer.

We took “scooter” rides, played in the blow-up pool, used squirt guns, threw balls, raced toy trucks, enjoyed boat rides, chased each other around, played Qwirkle, ate yummy food, read stories, watched cartoons, discussed current events, and laughed a lot.

A slower pace helped us recharge our batteries for a return to the real world.

Our children’s families left a day or two ago, and my husband and I remained for a few chores and a little cleanup. It has been much quieter since they have been gone. We miss them!

But there’s still life at the lake.

On our boat ride we saw geese and herons. From the scooter we spotted squirrels and deer. The call of an owl echoed through the cove. In our own yard we have spotted an armadillo, a big fat toad, several lizards – and a skunk!

And tonight we were thrilled to see the first fireflies of the season.

I’m so thankful for summer at the lake!

 

 

book women

I was moved by The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson and was able to write about the connections it brought to mind. So I am excited that it will be the book we discuss at our book club this week.  Unfortunately we are meeting through Zoom – we postponed this book from last month, and still can’t gather in groups of more than 10, so we will make do. It will be nice to “see” everyone again.

The leader has given each of us a question to ask, so all can participate (such a good idea on her part – everyone getting to speak can be difficult with a large group online). The questioner can also answer the question if she would like, or let the group respond.  My question is this: How has a librarian or booklover impacted your life?

I will give my response at our meeting, but only briefly, because I’ll also be anxious to hear what others have to say as well.  However, this question has brought many thoughts to mind, so I’m sharing my complete answer here.

I’m sure my parents read to me when I was young, but I don’t have any memories of that.  I do have some old Golden Books from my childhood, so I know books were present. I also remember going to the old East Nashville Carnegie Library, but I don’t recall the librarians there.

My first “book woman” influencer (that I remember) was my fourth grade teacher, Evelyn Burns. Her classroom walls were literally lined with books.  She read to us, put us in groups to read and share books together, taught us how to use the library to find books we liked, and required us to do fun projects that evolved around books.  Thank you, Mrs. Burns!

Again, as a student, I don’t remember any school librarian having a big influence on me, but I had high school teachers that broadened my horizons in books.  Sarah Stamps never helped me fully see all the analyses of English literature (she tried!), but she did instill a deep appreciation of literature, even those English works written in faraway times and places. Because Mrs. Stamps was enchanted with these books and poems, she helped me love them too. Thank you, Mrs. Stamps!

In my college Children’s Literature class, Dr. Elinor Ross brought classic works written for children into my young adult mindset, and helped me see them with new eyes. And I discovered SO MANY great books! I have been a devotee of children’s literature ever since. The class project where I cataloged books and their themes was helpful to me as I began my teaching career. Thank you, Dr. Ross!

During my career I worked at six different schools and with ten different school librarians, and each one helped me help my students learn to love books. They each possessed different levels of enthusiasm and exhibited various methods of presentation, but I am grateful for each one. Children learned to appreciate the magic of the written word through their efforts, and so did I. Thank you, Brenda, Dolores, Nancy, Karen, Thresa, Teresa, Rachel, Alice, Amanda, and Heather!

The most important and meaningful book of all – the Bible – holds new information and lessons each time I read it.  When I participate in a Bible study group, I can read the Bible, read the study text, answer the questions, and pray – and STILL get more insight when our group meets together and discusses the lesson. I have been blessed with good teachers and leaders of Bible study throughout my life. Thank you, Yvonne, Beth, Vicky, Lisa, and Nancy – just to name a few!

Book Clubs have been a part of my life for a long time.  I have read books I wouldn’t have chosen myself, and I have finished books I might have abandoned if left to my own choices. (And most of the time I have been glad I did!) Now whenever I read any book, I feel like it’s not complete until I discuss it with someone. I am grateful to the organizers of these groups for bringing together readers to discuss what we read – and more importantly, to discuss life!  Thank you Peggy, Marcia, Ellen, and Mary Kay!

Sometimes it is those one-on-one conversations that mean the most. One of my colleagues and I learned together about balanced literacy and critical thinking – she as a classroom teacher and I as a reading specialist.  We would share insights and discoveries along the way.   I remember how we inferred about illustrations in the Sarah Stewart book, The Journey. When my friend moved into the reading specialist role at a different school we continued to meet and discuss – books, lessons, and life.  These breakfasts continue to this day. Thank you, Kim!

So many book women have made a difference in my life. I am thankful for each and every one.

blackberries

The weather has taken a turn. It is so cold outside today – cloudy, blustery, misty rain mixed with showers.

Quite a change from just a few days ago.

It’s a tough transition from winter to spring.  That’s why we sometimes move two steps forward toward summer, and then three steps back into winter. Those cold snaps have names, and right now we are in the midst of Blackberry Winter. How do I know? Because I have listened to and learned from the folklore and old wives’ tales. And – the blackberry bushes are blooming.

They are so pretty and so noticeable this time of year.  But when summer comes, the fruit is hidden away.

I’d like to take a walk with my granddaughter right now and take a bit of brightly colored yarn. We can tie little bows on these blooming branches. Then when summer comes, and taking a walk in the humidity is like swimming through thick soup, we can go back and find those bows and see what has become of these blossoms of Blackberry Winter.

Wouldn’t that be fun!  I will go now and look for that yarn…

uprooted

In addition to the powerful, devastating tornadoes on March 3, and the continuing soul-wrenching COVID pandemic, the Nashville area has just had another round of strong storms come through on May 3 and May 4 (yes, back-to-back evenings).  Winds up to 70 mph! Power was out for 130,000 in Nashville alone – plus 40,000 in the neighboring county where I live – and countless more in surrounding areas. They say it might take two weeks for some to be restored.

The straight-line winds did tremendous damage to so many trees in the area:

Yes, some branches and trunks snapped in two, like in the last picture, but all the other trees in these pictures have one thing in common – their roots were not durable.

Some of the roots weren’t deep enough, or sturdy enough, to stay in the ground under the extreme pressure of the wind. Other trees broke off at the ground line – the connection between roots and trunk just wasn’t resilient or solid enough to hold tight in the raging squall.

*******

We all, like trees, face storms in our lives – uncertain times where we need strong roots to protect us and keep us grounded. And we need to keep our relationship to those roots in tact. That is what will see us through hard times.

How strong are YOUR roots?

I am thankful for the roots of faith in my life.  Mine were planted by my parents, watered by caring friends, and tested by trials. These roots are available to all – but again, like trees, some people have roots that are stronger than others.

Our roots must have something to hold on to. So most importantly I am grateful for our Father, God, the surest foundation for us all.  His Almighty Strength is more powerful than any trial, and that’s what I choose to grasp. He is always there, in quiet and supportive ways. He can carry us through and past all the tribulations we face.

In the Bible, Paul said, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power.” (Ephesians 3:17-18).

May we all grow our roots to be strong and deep, planted in God’s love.

three dears

1

Madison, our oldest grandchild, and her little brother rode with us to our house. As we pulled in our driveway, she squealed, “There’s a dandelion!” So my husband stopped the car to let us out before he pulled around to the back.

Madison scampered over to the dandelion and I followed, thinking of how I could convince it to blow towards the street or our neighbor’s driveway to stop from spreading more of these weeds into our yard.

But after she picked the long stem with its cottony top, she made no move to blow on it. As we walked down the driveway to the back of the house, I asked her about that.

“Wadie loves dandelions,” she said. “So you’re saving it for him to blow?” I asked. When she nodded yes, I replied, “Well, that’s a very nice thing for you to do – to share with your brother.”

Then she looked at me and said, rather matter-of-factly as though I should already know this, “That’s part of being a big sister.”

So true, sweet girl – so true.

2

Grayson, our second grandchild, was visiting when Pops (my husband) showed his a small cut on his thumb. “Look at my boo-boo,” said Pops.

Grayson frowned and then immediately went over to the kitchen sink, stood on his little stool, and said, “Tal, tal,” (towel, towel) as he stretched and tried to reach the paper towel roll.

“You don’t need a paper towel right now,” I said firmly.

But he would have none of that. “Tal, tal,” he continued. And of course I relented and tore one off for him.  Then he wanted me to get it wet, which again, of course, I did.

He hopped down from the stool and went straight to Pops.  “Boo boo?” he asked, and Pops held out his thumb.

Then Grayson took the towel and dabbed it on Pops’ boo boo.  He was careful to touch and clean it gently and then looked up into Pops’ face. “Better?” he asked, and smiled.

Much better, sweet boy – so much better.

3

Wade, our third grandchild (by only three weeks) was so excited when we came to his house. “Nan, Nan, come on,” he said, and he motioned for me to follow him.

We went to his room and he pulled out a thick blanket from the drawer. “Cape?” he asked.

I did my best to put it around him and tied it at his neck. He wiggled a bit and shrugged his shoulders. “Tank Ouu,” he said and disappeared.

Soon he was back without the cape but with a lightweight swaddling blanket in hand. “Cape?” he said again, and held it up.  I looked at it and smiled. “Better,” he said. And it was better – much easier to tie. So I suited him up.

“Now you can go fast,” I said. He smiled, ran across the room, and said, “Ready? Big hug!” Then he ran straight to my arms.

Yes I’m ready sweet one – always ready for this.

years upon years

April 14, 2003

Seventeen years ago.

I have to look this date up every year. I know it is in mid April. It is the day my mother passed away. It was the Monday before Easter that year. And it was a blessing, as she was suffering from the extensive pain of bone cancer. She was, as she had said, “Ready to go,” and she knew where she was going. But she left an empty space behind.

Seventeen years.  If you think back another seventeen years before that, our daughter was only two years old, and our son wasn’t born yet.

Seventeen years ago. So much happened in that intervening time. Our children married. Our grandchildren born. My husband and I retired and are growing old together.

While I ponder on the time that has passed, I have trouble realizing the amount of years gone by. I have recently been “cleaning out” (haven’t we all?) and I have uncovered and organized family pictures and other memorabilia.  So my parents are fresh on my mind.

In truth, they always are.

Today a redbird – two redbirds – hopped around on our deck and looked in the kitchen door at us as we ate our lunch. A visitor from heaven, as the old tales say?  If so, then I reply, “Hello, Mama! I’m thinking of you today.”

And I was cleaning out a bookshelf today, I came across this book I hadn’t thought of in years.  It was a gift from a friend when Mama died:

So many reminders. Happy memories to make me smile.

Maybe she is thinking of me, too.  “Love you, Mama!”