The Right Word

Today was our last day of quarantine. It’s back to work tomorrow! Three of us have been together in this house for three weeks. All of us sick, but all of us together. And quite often, we were sitting in front of a warm fireplace.

As I sat down to write, I couldn’t seem to find the right words. So, I decided to read this precious book my daughter gave me for my birthday. I had read some of it before, but this time I read cover to cover. And there was only one word that would do.

Inglenook

Discovered a
New word today
Whose quirky
Appearance
Caught
My eye
Attempting
Pronunciation
Brought a chuckle
I read it fast
Inglenook…inglenook
I repeated it slowly-
In-gle-nook
As quickly as
Articulation
Made me laugh
Meaning
Made me smile-
Picture a bench
Nestled by a cozy fire
Imagine yourself
Sitting there
But not alone
A beautiful space
Happily shared
Your very own
Inglenook-
I like the way that sounds!

Arkansas Honey

My parents have been buying honey from the same man for years. There was always a jar sitting on our kitchen counter. Drizzling it over vanilla ice cream was a treat!

As an adult, these beautiful golden jars of goodness became treasured gifts, usually at Christmastime. My parents made sure we were well-stocked. Whether used to sweeten hot tea or drizzled on toast, the taste was unmistakable-rich, pure, and unfiltered.

In more recent years, I experienced the process of purchasing this honey for myself. The last time was in September when I was visiting my Mom and Dad. It occurred to me we were almost out at home. So, my parents and I went for a drive.

At the top of the driveway sat a quaint house with a simple stand. An empty jar with a slit in the lid placed there to accept my payment-the honor system. I deposited my money and picked up my honey.

Actually, on this trip, I bought two jars-one for a friend. 🙂

The beauty and innocence of this sweet experience gave me a whole new appreciation for the honey I’d been enjoying my entire life. My most recent jar, now over half-empty, sits on my kitchen counter. Every day it sweetens my hot tea and provides comfort thru its connection to home.

BUZZING BEE

Buzzing bee flits
From flower to flower
Briefly alighting on a petal.
But not to rest
To scope out tiny
Grains of pollen
Gather them up
And fly back to its nest.
Not its own singular nest
As is the kind belonging
To the bluebird and her babies
No, a communal nest
Endless golden hexagons
Connected to hold the future
While providing sweet gain-
Healing golden drippings-
Suddenly the spoonful
Of honey that sweetened
My cup of tea this morning
Does not seem so simple

Homesick

The mountain comes into view,
As I drive across the river bridge.
A drive I’d love to take today.
To me, a majestic outline, though
Small in comparison to other mountains
Barely high enough to garner the name

Hiking to its peak as a child was
Like standing on top of the world
Peering out over tops of trees
Roads, cars, and houses below
Appearing as toys in a tiny
Land of make-believe

Was home really as small as it appeared?

Time for exploring always
Ended too quickly-never enough
Time to stand on the edge.
But laughter followed as we
Made our way down the steep trail
Into the green valley below

The world again at eye-level
My head forever in the clouds

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Never too old to feel homesick. ❤

Season of Joy and Grief

Yesterday, I had the joy of watching adult children give gifts. Each gift was purchased with that one person or couple in mind, considering interests, wants, and/or needs. Cooking/kitchen, video games, music, and coffee were some of the themes.

We laughed, ate a delicious meal prepared by my husband, Gart, and enjoyed each other’s company. Yet, even in our joy, there were hints of sadness.

We missed my father-in-law, Bob, gone for five years now. Other family members, we could not invite because of Covid concerns. Not being able to go to the hospital and visit my friend who just had her baby. Not being able to travel and visit my parents.

While acknowledging our grief, I realize others are in much more difficult circumstances. Many have lost loved ones this season. Many are isolated and alone right now.

I need to hold on to our moments of joy in hopes they will grow. Not only grow but overflow. ❤

Vastness

The vastness
Of this world
Lies beyond my
Understanding-
Both above and
Below the waters
Lives a state of
Continuous motion
Where all move
From life into
Death and
Joy must exist
Alongside grief-
Many are left
In need of rescue-
If love is held back
What happens to
Those searching
Staggering
Feeling only sorrow-
Will they fall into
A pit of despair
Or will joyful
Hearts reach out
Their hands into
The vastness
Ready to raise up
Those who grieve
Into the light of
A hopeful embrace

Musical Legos

I can’t think of too many birthdays or Christmases for our children that did not include Legos of some kind. There were superheroes, Star Wars, dragons, even the Friends coffee house for Rachel last year. Some of the more intricate sets remain on display.  

I remember watching in amazement as they tore through the instruction booklets. It seemed like building times grew shorter as complexity grew harder. Pieces were sorted according to numbered bags, carefully following each step. A sense of accomplishment once each piece was in its place.

Several months ago, I read a story about a new Lego creation-a baby grand piano. The creator’s wife is a pianist, influencing his idea. Amazingly, this piano was to have working parts, gears, Bluetooth-somehow allowing it to actually play music. Even the piano bench would be adjustable-every pianist’s dream!

Casually I mentioned how cool it would be to have that set. Of course, the actual process of building it didn’t enter my mind. I was, however, fascinated with the final outcome.

Yesterday, we had an early birthday celebration for me and our oldest son, Robert. We share a birthday. Our family loves us so well. We each received thoughtful gifts pertaining in some way to our interests.

But I bet you cannot guess what gift I received from my husband. Yep! That grand piano Lego set! I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. ❤

As I type, my dining room table is covered with bags of tiny pieces-twenty bags. Wait, now there are nineteen bags. With a little help and supervision, I put together the first two bags last night.  😉

This project will challenge my patience and fine motor skills. It will help me explore other areas of creativity, different from my usual. It will be good for my brain. But most of all, it will be good for my heart. Reminding me how much I am loved and that everything really does come full circle-even Legos.

Thanksgiving Prayer

My heart is seeking
A place of safety
Not to hide
But to sing
At first, quietly
To myself
Until joy that
Runs deep
Becomes
Overflowing
Gladness, and
I can sing
Out loud
With confidence
Hearing my voice
As it mingles
With others
Looking not to
Stir up conflict
Instead, pursuing
Lasting peace…
My heart left full…
Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will look very different for most of us this year. Mine will be nothing like those of my childhood. At least forty people gathered in my Grandparents’ small house. Everyone would fill their plate and look for a place to sit. It really didn’t matter if it was a chair or a spot on the floor. Even outside on the porch if the weather was nice. All that mattered was being together.

Although those times are long past, the memories are forever inscribed on my heart. I always look back with a smile, grateful for my growing up years.

But there is no denying the difficulties this year brings.
It is my hope we can find ways to express thanks while also acknowledging those difficulties-joy mixed with our sorrow.

Sincerely wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

Picture Reel

Frames play
In the back
Of my mind
Blurry, like a movie
Of faded memories…
Familiar, yet,
Not my own-
A young mom
Children at her feet
Gathered around
A black and white
Screen watching
The World Series
An avid baseball
Fan passing along
Her love of the game-
I have seen these
Children before
Though not as
They appear
And the mom?
This version
Is unfamiliar-
We will meet
But she will not
Share her love of
Baseball with me
One of her children
Will splice their own
Childhood images
Permanently into
My life’s reel-
Mother
To daughter
To granddaughter

Beautiful Mix

This afternoon the sun was shining! It has rained steadily for the last four days. My mood instantly changed as soon as I walked outside after school.

On my drive home, I decided to listen to one of the “created for you” playlists on iTunes. No surprise, the very first song was by James Taylor-Angels of Fenway. As you might guess, it is a song about baseball, life, family, never giving up. The melody is happy, the music energetic.  

How is it then that two simple phrases from this song instantly caused me to choke back tears? Again, the song is about baseball! Yet, here I was, driving down the highway, about to cry.

What were those phrases?

Grandma watched from her hospital bed.

It doesn’t feel like a long time ago.

Now, I don’t recall ever discussing baseball with my Grandma Mahar. But I did spend a lot of time with her growing up. She and my Grandpa lived next door.  

Grandma did not have much formal education. She took care of her parents. She also married young and raised nine children. But Grandma loved to read! It seemed like she could discuss anything. Her set of Encyclopedia Britannica was the Google of my childhood. And the bookshelves in her laundry room were always full.

Today, when I heard that first line, an image popped into my head. 

It was my Grandma sitting up in her own hospital bed. She had suffered a stroke. But on this occasion, her bed had been rolled out into a waiting area. And she was surrounded by her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

It’s funny how some details are forgotten. I’m not exactly sure what occasion we were celebrating. But I know we were celebrating Grandma. ❤

The second line gave me a different thought. So many years have passed. Oh, how I would love to have one more visit. So many questions I would ask. So many things I would write down.  

My heart is grateful for the memories of my Grandma. And thankful for the beautiful mix of words and music that brought them to the forefront of my mind today while driving home in the warm sunshine.

Best Course of Action

My mom and her sister, my Aunt Elizabeth, are breast cancer survivors. My dear friend, Shannon, lost her battle with breast cancer. I witnessed each of these women respond with bravery and courage to a disease that has touched so many.

Geneva’s Daughter Instant Friends

Because of my family history and personal health issues, I have mammograms regularly and see a specialist. And though my personal health history does not include cancer, it does include a lumpectomy, multiple biopsies, and MRIs.

I DO NOT LIKE MRIs AT ALL...

Today was my six-month checkup, including an ultrasound. Dense tissue makes detection difficult. And even though the doctor saw nothing alarming, she recommended another MRI and follow-up again in six months.

When MRI was mentioned today, I kind of zoned out for a moment. I began to feel the anxiety that accompanied my previous MRI. Yes, I survived. But it was definitely an emotional challenge.

Once again, I found myself feeling anxious. For clarification, I asked, “So, you think I should definitely have an MRI?” “Yes. You meet the risk factors. I believe it is the best course of action for you.”

On the drive home, I was tempted to let worry start creeping in. But then I had some thankful thoughts. A doctor who is thorough and gives me her honest opinion. Health insurance to help cover this cost. The knowledge that if there is ever an issue, this test will find it early.

So, I will stay on this course of action, even though it makes me nervous. And I will continue to encourage all my women friends to remain vigilant in fighting this disease.

Get your mammograms! And even an MRI, if necessary. 💗💗💗

Front Porch Swing

Legs crossed
One foot planted
Firmly on the floor
Securely guiding me
Back and forth
A gentle rocking
Not the flying
To the sky
Back and forth
Of childhood
No-this is
The swaying
Of contemplation
A vantage point
For the familiar-
Scenes now fuzzy
Thanks to frayed lines
On well-worn
Window screens-
Yet, beauty remains
Holding power to
Release a rush of
Memories even
As clarity fades-
New-found gratitude
Blurs my restlessness
With each image seen
With each motion felt
With each moment spent
On the front porch swing