When an old man dies the community comes together to pay their respects. Family and friends gather. People who never knew the man, but know his grandchildren. People who work where the man used to work. Great-grandchildren who saw him on holidays when they came to town, and know him through the three or four favorite stories passed down through the generations. Many of his peers have already passed on. Others live still, but are too frail to attend the memorial.
Photos are shown from a black and white, by-gone era… as if from a dream world. Music is soothing. Tears are healing. The final chapter complete, the bittersweet sigh of sadness and relief. When an old man dies.
When a young man dies his family and friends come together to make it through the moment. People who knew him well. People who shared a meal with him only days ago. People who were laughing and making memories only hours before his passing.
The photos aren’t dreamy… they’re from our life. Our faces. Our clothing. Our celebrations. The stories are fresh. Emotions are choking. His life is shared through vivid and recent stories. Lives are forever changed. When a young man dies.
She’s three years old, so she talks all the time, but you have to listen carefully to catch all the words. She lives hundreds of miles away from here, and only comes to my home a couple of times a year. In her tiny life, there are plenty of big things to remember about visiting.
I have a cat that lets children pet her. I have luckily had snow on the ground for her two Christmas visits. I live in a barn, so it’s easy to spot. But when I was having an animated conversation with my great-niece about coming to see me in the summer, and what all we would do, she told me she would play with Peter Pan. I had to think for a second to figure that out.
Oh yes! I have a Peter Pan doll. He lives in a bag of very old toys in the closet under the stairs. A gift from an old friend who hoped the children in my life might enjoy playing with them. Obviously, the old toys are treasures… not just to me, but to the little ones. I just love thoughtful people! Thank you, Mr. Dunsworth.
I have this great big heart on a bright and cheery coffee mug. It seems to be a heart wearing a crown, but the crown is falling off to the side, so you have to study it a bit to make sure of this. There’s a great clue written there… “love rules”… and then below that, in a young girl’s handwriting, “Love is patient. Love is kind.”
It’s just beautiful! Not the kind of “beautiful” that draws your eye in the kitchen section of a wonderful department store. No, it’s the kind of beautiful with a grand story attached.
My cousin – well, I call her my cousin – she’s the daughter of Gary’s cousin… so anyway, my cousin did this adorable art work years ago while she was a cancer patient, undergoing treatment, after treatment, after treatment. And she was just a child. And we all cried, and we all prayed, and we all waited for good news as she endured the pain that goes along with this disease that was trying to destroy her leg.
I hope you’ll spend a few moments to click over and learn more about Art with a Heart. What a wonderful thing this Oklahoma organization does for children! What a treat it was for me to be able to purchase this mug to support Ashley and other children dealing with cancer. How I have loved drinking coffee from this mug over the years. It’s my special connection to Ashley… even though we’ve only seen each other in person a couple of times in our lives!
She’s such a beautiful young woman! She’s graduating from high school this month. She’ll be having her eighteenth surgery this summer. Just one more to make her leg the perfect length.
Tonight she’s going to the prom. Dance, Ashley! Dance your heart out!
My husband makes me cry. Yes, it’s true. He won’t like it that I’m telling you this… but you know me. I have to write everything in my journal!
It’s a big to-do month for us. At the end of May we’ll have been married 30 years. I suppose I’ve cried a few times over the years (well… yes… let’s be honest, there have been some tears of frustration… especially in those early learning-curve years), but mostly this man just gives my eyes reasons to spill over with happy tears.
An ill-timed phone call, coming in over the speakers in the truck, revealed his “surprise” anniversary trip to me. I squealed with delight. He frantically started pushing buttons trying to get the thing into privacy mode. He’d spent hours putting together a long weekend get-away for us. And what a treat! We’ve just come home from the fabulous time in Branson.
Oh my! The shows, the flowering dogwoods, the lake, the shows, the fudge, the shows! Every performance was so special, and yes… I’m pretty sure I cried at each and every one. What a wonderful experience. Put it on your list of places to visit. And if you’re already a fan, then you’ll join me in saying that you just can’t wait to return.
We spent the night there once on a road trip, fourteen years ago, passing through. I loved it and always said I wanted to go back someday. G made it happen. Somehow he seems to take great delight in coming up with ways to surprise me. I do love to see a different landscape! So thrilled he loves to show me new horizons.
You husbands out there… I’m giving you some hints here. Women like to cry happy tears. Plan a surprise weekend get-away. And if you have no clue where to go… might I suggest Branson, Missouri!
She arrived one day in April, but her name is Summer Day. She’s as light as a feather floating on a breeze, and her little fur is as soft as soft can be.
It was a sad winter for my mom. Her beloved boy Dusty, her “fine young man”, my darling little brother passed away after a very long and wonderful life.
If you have a little dog, if you have a big dog, if you have a cat… well, you know. They are precious babies in our lives. Delightful companions. Part of the family.
So we are happily welcoming this baby sister into our lives. Will she be able to speak Spanish? We’re not sure yet. Will she learn how to drive a Jeep? Probably. Will she fill our hearts with joy? Without a doubt!
Here’s the link to something I wrote about my Pobrecito Dusty when he was still with us. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Sweet Dusty… My “Little Brother”.
I have these earrings. I’ve had lots of pairs over the years. The other day I was laughing about some of them that have long since been given away… and how I’d like to have them back.
I don’t wear earrings very often. I used to wear them all the time. It all began in junior high when I put on a little pair of self-piercing hoops which eventually bore the tiny holes into my ears.
There was a time in my life when I felt quite the bohemian. No make-up, beach-walking, owned-no-stockings, no-need-to-curl-the-hair lifestyle. And I loved my long beaded earrings. We lived near Bali, and I had some wonderful ear decorations from that enchanted island.
I’ve got photos sitting at the top of mountains, hair in the breeze, dangling earrings blowing in the wind. Or pretty little jewels catching the light in photos from weddings. One silly picture with very short hair and very long earrings… picture day when I was a middle school teacher.
But one day I looked in the mirror and saw those earrings and thought the only thing missing was a cigarette. Those who know me will crack up at this thought. I’ve never even had the slightest temptation to have a smoke of any sort… but sure enough, I looked like a smoker. (I think I just looked a lot like a friend I’d had years before with the same exact hair style I was sporting at the time… and she was a chain smoker.) I couldn’t get past that image! The earrings just needed a cigarette to round out “the look”, and I couldn’t stand to have them in my ears!
And so, cold turkey, I stopped wearing earrings.
For almost fifteen years!
Amazing that those tiny little holes still exist. Amazing that I’ve decided I like the look of earrings again, and once in awhile I have fun with a pair.
What is the point? Why drag you through this drama?
Just thinking about tattoos. Be mighty sure about the design you choose and the place you choose to put it! You might just change your mind about the whole deal, and it won’t be quite as easy as taking off a pair of earrings!
This didn’t begin as an advertisement. Just me typing on a Monday night when my work was done and I thought I’d treat myself to filling a blank page. But since I’ve arrived at this place, I’ll wrap it up by sending you to my niece’s tattoo removal business! (Just in case you live in the Houston area and you’re weary of the look.)
Uneventful days. They aren’t our favorites. Put a long string of uneventful days together, and we start longing for something big to happen… a huge shift in the weather, a grand celebration, the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. We need excitement.
On the other hand, too many days crowded with non-stop activity, fun or frantic, and we’re ready to go right back to the mundane for awhile.
I’m a fan of uneventful days. And this isn’t the first time I’ve encouraged others to cherish them as well.
A terrorist attack at a marathon. A tragic boating accident among young friends. A flu diagnosis turned fatal. A late night explosion. These are the moments that always find me offering up a prayer of thanksgiving for common, nothing out of the ordinary, calm days.
Sometimes I have wishes you for you, my readers. I suppose today my wish is that you’ll just go along in a normal day doing regular things with the same old people. I hope you’ll be safe and sound, ready to rest your head on a comfortable pillow tonight, with nothing new to worry about. Yes, I wish you an uneventful day.
This is the good life. A cup of hot coffee, brushing the cat on the front porch.
This is the good life. Falling into bed at night, exhausted from a long day of work… missions accomplished and customers happy.
This is the good life. Peeling potatoes, setting the table, getting ready for a birthday celebration with family.
This is the good life. Showing up Sunday morning to a church building full of friendly and familiar faces, the ones you know are there for you, come rain or come shine.
This is the good life. Putting rolls of dimes and quarters, and eventually stacks of dollar bills into a savings account, dreaming of something wonderful for the future.
This is the good life. Watching a four year old ride a tricycle.
This is the good life. Cutting dandelions out of the front yard, just to stand back and say it looks better that way.
This is the good life. Marrying someone who loves you with all their heart, doing everything you can to be their very best friend.
This is the good life. The calm, day in and day out rhythm of just being here, enjoying the moment.
Young people… please grab this brass ring! Well, you probably don’t even know what that means. But this is the prize! I’m living the good life, and it’s right here for the taking. Grab it!
What a difference a photograph makes!
It was just a bad day. Nothing tragic. Just bad. Wind howling here like it can… dirt filled gusts over 50 mph. G’s phone ringing non-stop while walls blew down and sand filled the job sites. Customers unhappy because things aren’t screwed down tight. Jobs falling behind schedule. Hard to find enough people to do all the work.
For some reason my computer has decided to stop allowing me to click on links, so the silly task of copying and pasting every URL into the address bar is driving me nuts. (I don’t even know what URL stands for!) The new printer is grand, but I have to learn a new set of hoop-jumping tricks to run it, and these are the types of things that stress me out.
At the end of this long day I was trying to find my link for issuing non-taxable transaction certificates (and that’s all tied up in the new-printer-hoop-jumping routine), when I ran across an old e-mail in the business folder titled “Shop Fairies”. What in the world?
I clicked it open and the day was saved!
It was a five year old e-mail I’d sent to a few people, along with this message:
When the shop is a mess, I’ve been known to say “there are no shop fairies”. Turns out, THERE ARE!! However, I’ve been right in my assumption. They don’t come in and clean the place up… they just dance, and dance, and dance!
It’s amazing what a sweet little photo of two little girls can do for the nerves. They had abandoned a bridal shower to go whirl and twirl and giggle to the music while Gary worked in the shop. Sweet memory. Sweet escape from a hard day’s work.
Need a break? Dig out an old photo album today!
We were all in our twenties, right off the turnip truck, down on an island in the Caribbean, miles and miles away from home, no phones, no such thing as the internet, and more than a little bit homesick. We were three newly married couples, and we found each other through someone’s boss who told someone’s mother who told someone’s aunt (or something like that), and we all got together on a beautiful beach one day.
Tight friendships. Lasting friendships. An amazing journey for all of us that has stood the test of time, continents and oceans.
Every once in a great while, we find a way to cover the distance so we can be together. Although we’re always in touch, there’s nothing like real togetherness… sharing meals, talking for hours – just like the old days.
What a grand treat for G and me. One of the couples made the trek to New Mexico last week just to be with us. Well, that, and then there was this delightful reason for coming. Kristi needed to play in my jewel closet to find a couple of finishing touches for the bridal bouquet she’s making for her niece-to-be. Can you think of a better reason to come to my barn??
So our families continue to build happy connections that will last through the ages. I’m so happy that I had a tiny part in this lovely bouquet. I’m so happy my dear friends were willing to spend their time and money to come here… keeping our bond of friendship nice and strong.
Can I just say again? What a wonderful world!
When I was a child, one of my favorite tasks was setting the table. We had a fun variety of place mats, and I thought it was an honor to decide which ones fit the mood of the meal, then get everything “just so” on the round glass top table. Our family of four always sat down to delicious meals together… forks on the left, resting on a napkin. That’s as normal to me as putting a car in reverse if you want to back up.
For almost thirty years now, I’ve been a family of two. And I set a traditional table for G and me at all our meals.
Those who come to gatherings in my home know that more care will go into the plates and the chargers and the stemware, than will go into the food! Guests who stay in the guest room know that they’ve got to find a little space on the hanging rod among the table cloths.
To welcome springtime, we have a beautiful brunch at our church. A few of us decorate tables using a Bible verse for our theme. I wanted to share my table with you.
The new plates were begging to be used. I acquired them on my latest cruise. Holland America gives us delightful gifts, and one night we came home to our stateroom to find these beautiful plates. Word spread among my shipmates that I loved them, and in the happiest of swap meets, I came home with nine of them! So I found this perfect verse.
Psalm 104:24-26 How many are Your works, O Lord! There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number – living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan frolics there.
We typically put little gifts at each plate, and I knew right away what I wanted to give.
Every night on our cruises, we find delicious chocolate on our pillows, and a card. Sometimes wishing us a good night’s rest. Sometimes “gently” reminding us that we’ve got to change our clocks. I borrowed this idea, and found another perfect verse to make magnets.
Psalm 4:8 When I lie down, I go to sleep in peace. You alone, O Lord, keep me perfectly safe.
Wishing all of you, my dear readers, sweet and restful peace… and a happy April.
Maybe it’s because they’re young and a bit timid. Maybe it’s because they were watching the apricot tree foolishly bloom early in March, only to be bitten hard.
Whatever the reason, my little pear trees held onto their buds, and finally decided to put on their frilly and beautiful show this week. There are several in my yard, so I’m loving the performance.
I wish the apricot tree would take a lesson from them. But it’s always determined to be the first… splashing onto the scene, demanding the spotlight. Maybe I’m too harsh in my assessment of the apricot. After all, it’s always a thrill to see the first little blossoms of spring.
I certainly wouldn’t want them all to behave like the Crape Myrtles, waiting until the last possible moment to show even the tiniest hint of life. I won’t even look for a leaf until mid May. Okay, I’ll look sooner, and I’ll try not to get stressed out.
People are like blossoms, showing up when they’re needed, spreading joy at just the right time. It seems to me the pear trees are masters. I’d sure like to mimic them in the orchard of life.