Monday, January 20, 2014

Waiting There For Me

Today would have been my middle daughter’s 24th birthday. Bethany Rose was born on January 20, 1990, three months early. While  the medical field of neonatal care has made it possible for even tinier premature babies to survive and go on to live happy, productive lives, Bethany was not among them. I am thankful to God for the time He allowed me to have her with me, so close to my heart. This is a poem I wrote as a memoriam in 1993. The daffodils are because I’ve always loved them so, and they are what I planted around her headstone on her grave.


I’ll never hold you in my arms
or see your little smile,
but I know you’re with Him
     …waiting there;
I’ll see you in a while.

I’ll never get to play with you
or hold your hand in mine,
but I know you’re with Him
     …waiting there;
I’ll see you soon, in time.

I’ll never watch you walk or run
or playing hide and seek, 
but I know you’re with Him
     …waiting there;
I’ll see you, wait and see.

I’ll see you when my time has come,
as yours had come before;
I’ll see you Bethany, 
and hold you close,
and long for you no more.

And then my tears will fade away
at the sight of you and He,
because I know you’re with Him
     …waiting there for me.

Photos: 1.; 2.; 3.; 4.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Tribute to my Mom

Close up of Mom's Christmas cactus blossom

Recently my mother was going through a difficult time, being in an extreme amount of pain and unable to take pain meds, as they make her sick, and she only had the option of receiving a shot of cortisone to alleviate the pain. But she could not receive it for a full week yet. She happened to make a little remark about trying to get herself in the mood to crochet, so she could “be a productive member of society.” Now I don’t know if she was kidding around, as she often does because she has a wonderfully delightful sense of humor, or if she was being sarcastic due to the amount of pain she’s in. Maybe it was a little of both. ;) But it so touched me, that I wanted to tell her something. I wanted her to know what I know about her. So here goes:

Mom's Orchid
Mom, you *are* a productive member of society. You gave birth to 5 wonderful children, all unique, creative individuals. I see parts of you in all of us, in so many ways. Every one of us has an intense love of reading, and that love has enriched our lives in ways you just don’t know. Or actually, you do know, because you love reading too. 

Each one of your children loves food and cooking, because of all the wonderful cooking you did while we were growing up. You could take any ingredient and whip up a good meal to feed your family. You made everything from scratch, and just infused us with your passion for recipes and cooking. 

Mom's oldest Christmas Cactus

You planted a huge garden every year, and I always swore you could grow anything because, well, you did! Though I don’t have the green thumb you do, I still would prefer home grown vegetables over store bought. 

Kris and Susan got their green thumbs from you, and have always been able to charm a seed or plant into blossoming for them. They got that from you. 

White Striped Long Tailed Skipper sipping nectar from Mom's
purple portweed. She entered this pic in the Weatherbug
Photo of the Week, and the next day it was in there! 

You made the most wonderful memories for us kids. Growing up, our family was never well off. But we kids didn’t know that. Why? Because of *you* Mom. 

You took the littlest things, scraps of things, and made them work to sew presents for us, to make us stuffed animals, to sew our clothing, to give us little gifts now and then that just made everyday life so sweet.

I can remember coming home from school now and then, and hearing you say, go look in your dresser. I’d hurry to my room, open up the bottom drawer, and find some little thing, like new Play-doh, or new crayons. You have no idea how those memories have stayed with me, and make me feel so good inside thinking back on them. 

Who gave us a love of crafty things? When we were growing up, you did so many arts and crafts with us and made our lives so interesting and fun. You even made homemade paste and finger paints. Remember all the years we would make crafts to sell at the annual Fair on the Common? Finger puppets, hand puppets, painted rocks, decoupage items to hang on walls…I could not ask for more wonderful memories! 

Close up of blossom on Mom's white Christmas cactus

You encouraged and cultivated our individual creativity, one of the most precious gifts a mother can give her children. When I wrote my first poem at age 5, you had me frame it and hang it on the wall. When you discovered that I had some drawing and painting talent, handed down to me through you and to you through your father, you got me a birthday present of weekly art classes. And don’t forget taking me to an art store to buy oil paints, canvases, brushes, and charcoals and art erasers. Do you know how special and valued that made me feel?

Overall, you gave us a love of traditions, of family togetherness, by the way you made holidays so special. On our birthdays you let us pick the supper meal, no matter what it was we wanted. You also made all our birthday cakes, letting us choose our favorite flavors. Homemade chocolates on Valentine’s Day, Easter Bread and hard boiled eggs at Easter, cookouts on July 4th, green mashed potatoes on Halloween, butter mints at Thanksgiving, oyster stew and your clam dip at Christmas time…those are just off the top of my head. 

Mom's Chandelier Plant
Mom, I could go on and on. There seems to be no end to the special memories I have of growing up with you as my mother and all you did for us kids and our family. And that’s just what you did for us. I haven’t even gotten into what you did for your community; how you became an RN and for years cared for and touched the lives of so many. Or how you always get your pets from shelters. Or how you took in a Fresh Air child one summer. Or how you had an exchange student one year. Or doing 4-H, being a Girl Scout leader, and so much more. 

So, Mom, yes, you are indeed a very productive member of society. Especially since you raised five children to believe in doing right, to help others in need, to be the best we can be for our own families and our communities, to pursue our individual interests. And always…. *always*….to be ourselves, who we are, no matter what. 

Because that’s how *you* lived your life. You left each of us with a rich legacy, and a tough act to follow…but because of your love, support, and encouragement, I know we’ll make it. Thank you, Mom. I love you.

Mom says: This is our Confederate Rose in bloom. It starts
out white as in the left picture, but turns pink the next day!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014



How cold is it out today? It is co-co-co-co-cold!!! C.O.L.D. Good gravy marie, yesterday the schools in our town cancelled school for today due to dangerous weather. And they’re right on spot. Right now it’s -2° out with a windshield factor, as Phil jokes, of 20 below. That is cold. 

We wouldn’t let Ryan and Timmy play outside yesterday, and last night we let the cats out to use the Outdoor Facilities every fifteen minutes or so, trying to get them back in the next time we let a new group of them out. It didn’t take any coaxing; no bending their paws behind their backs to make them cry Uncle. We opened the door and jumped out of the way to keep from getting mowed over by them running back in! 

We played Revolving Door like that for an hour or so, until we just put the nix on cats going out at all. We have 2 litter boxes, also known as Feline Waste Management Systems, so the one puddle of pee I found this morning isn’t too bad for fifteen cats. I’ll assume that both FWMS’s were in use and one of the Baker’s Dozen Plus Two just couldn’t cross his back legs any longer trying to wait his turn.

Anyhoo, guess what I learned? Putting your contacts in when it’s this cold and the saline solution they’ve been in all night is just above freezing…wakes your eyeballs up! My goodness, I think I felt my eyeballs shiver in their sockets. 

It was almost as shocking an experience as the time I handled jalapeƱos and only gave my fingers a cursory rinse. Apparently washing them with plenty of soap twice is what I should have done. Remember the scene in the movie Home Alone when Macauley Culkin slapped the aftershave on his cheeks and then screamed? Yeah, that. Only mine was accompanied by outraged blood vessels and tears rolling down my cheeks. 

Mental note: Don’t do that ever again. Either one. 

So, when I got up earlier, I did the rounds, checking to make sure the water pipes didn’t freeze and we have running water, looking in on the chillens to see that they’re covered over and snuggly warm in their sleep, yada yada. Also set the dryer for 20 minutes to finish the load that was not quite dry, and also hopefully heat up that Arctic laundry room, which is in fact an unheated back porch. 

Since the sun is up I guess I’ll have to start playing doorman to the cats again. I seriously need to start charging them for this. But everything’s okay here, I’m the only one awake right now, so I can relax and watch a little TV or whatever.

The offerings on TV this frigid morning are slim pickings. I’m seeing Grill Like a Pro, Paid Programming, More Hair for Holidays.... I guess I could always just watch Sesame Street. ;) 

Oh wait! There’s a movie on the USA channel. Very appropriately named Eight Below. And I’ve only missed 20 minutes of it. See ya!