Simply Sunday

Hearing Again, Listening

Some stories we hear over and over. Ones from our childhood, our family’s history. It is easy to hear without listening. But when we really listen, we often learn something new. View that familiar story in a new light.

Yesterday, I heard a story I’ve heard before. But somehow, this time was different. This time, I saw the parents, my parents.

I was two years old. We lived next door to my grandparents in the country. (My parents still live in the same house.) Mom had done office work but was not working at this time. Dad worked as a carpenter.

One morning, I woke up covered in red whelps. Quite upsetting for young parents. They loaded me in the car, and we headed to see the doctor.

I had an allergic reaction, most likely a food allergy.

Grandpa and Grandma had a milk cow. And I had been drinking fresh, raw milk. Apparently, something in the cow’s feed did not sit well with me.

The prescription was simple. Go to the grocery store. Buy ham and applesauce. Only feed her those two things for an entire week.

Here’s the catch. Mom and Dad only had eleven or twelve dollars to their name.

They went to the grocery store. Bought ham and applesauce. And all three of us had the exact same menu for the following week.

Mom always laughs when telling this story. It is not viewed as a negative story. It is a doing what you must story. But this time, I heard it as a sacrifice story.

My parents did not ask anyone for help. They did not complain about eating ham and applesauce for a week. They did what was needed to take care of me, thankful for a solution.

I can picture them as I’ve seen in photos. Young, first-time parents. Nervous and concerned. Loving their little girl. That little girl just happened to be me.

Deep and Wide

So simple
So completely
Disarming
We celebrate
Its appearance
On babies faces
Then proceed
Doing everything
Possible to
Encourage
Its return-
A sweet smile
Lighting up
Faces
Lighting up
Rooms
Lighting up
Hearts
When noticed
By a friend
Mine somehow
Grows wider
Reaches deeper
Prompting
Inward
Reflection
Inspiring
Outward
Awareness-
Are the faces
Drifting by
Genuinely
Beaming?
Or are they
Searching
For a reason
To smile?

These five drove four-and-a-half hours to celebrate Christmas with my parents. The visit may have been short, but its sweetness will last a long time. ❤️

All packed Up and Ready To Go

Laundry
The night
Before
Means
Packing
The night
Before
Means
Bedtime later
Than normal
Restless sleep
Like a child
Waiting for
Tomorrow
To arrive
Except
No longer
A child
And though
My heart
Will be ready
My body
Will be tired
Counting on
A little caffeine
A little music
A little conversation
To carry me safely
Down the road
From home
To home
And back again…

As I head to Arkansas to spend a week with my parents, I am thankful.

Thankful for my husband who says-Go! This is most important.

Thankful for my adult children who say-We understand! We will see you there!

And for extended family and friends who say-We will miss you! See you another time. Safe travels!

Merry Christmas!

Simply Sunday

Ok, well…maybe not so simple this Sunday. 😉 This Thanksgiving was not what I had planned or expected. It did, however, remind me of what is truly important. And it reminded me to be thankful for time with those I love, no matter the amount. So many reasons to be thankful. ❤️

Already in Motion

A child
Growing
In love
Protected
Encouraged
Carried when
Stretches of
Road turn
Curvy and steep
By those
Refusing
To give up

A parent
Fluctuating
Between
Carrying
And being
Carried
Discovering
A profound truth-
Once a child
Always a child
Once a parent
Always a parent

Each role
Evolving
As the years
Slip by
Until a choice
Becomes
Necessary-
Whether
To embrace
Or ignore
Shifts already
In motion

Although
Avoiding
May seem
Easier
Embracing
Offers
Promise-
A heart
Filled to
Overflowing
Even when
It is broken

Thanksgiving Anniversary

Every seven years or so, my parents’ anniversary falls on Thanksgiving Day. This is one of those years. Today marks fifty-seven years!

We had planned to celebrate together this year. Due to my dad’s recent hospitalization and health issues, those plans changed.

Although disappointed we are not together today, I remain thankful.

Thankful for time spent with my parents earlier this week.
Thankful for the example of their marriage.
Thankful for the encouragement and support from my husband, Gart.
Thankful for our three grown children and daughter-n-law.
Thankful for the family I grew up with and the one I married into.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! ❤️🧡💛🤎

Tended Hearts

Tend to the one
Sitting near
Let them
Tend to you
Better, worse
Richer, poorer
Sickness, health
Isn’t that how the promise goes-
No longer
Left alone
With only
My thoughts
Fighting a fight
I will never win
Now together
Your heart
Close enough
That I can
Feel it beating
In time with mine
Better, worse
Richer, poorer
Sickness, health
Thankful
For each day
Our hearts
Are tended
By each other

Update on Dad. He is home from the hospital, feeling much better. With doctors’ guidance and mom’s help, learning to live with congestive heart failure. I plan to visit again soon. ❤️

A New Day

Bright
Sunshine
Ushers in
A new day
Along with it
A new perspective
Yesterday
The sky was
Sleepy
Gray
Still
Do you think
Like us, it also
Needed rest?
Thinking
Quiet
Still
Appreciating
Each moment
Given
Accepting
Each goodbye
Spoken
Certain
The sweetest
Symbol
For love
Rooted deep
In our hearts
Is a smile
Accompanied
By tears

We will be driving home today. And though I am confident in my dad’s medical care and progress, it was hard to say goodbye.

This morning, the sun shone brightly on Pinnacle Mountain. A landmark that was crucial in my growing up years. Whether viewing it from a distance or standing on its peak, always enamored with its beauty.

When trying to explain where I grew up. Have you heard of Pinnacle Mountain? I grew up out in the country, about three miles from there.

I was thankful for its beautiful colors this morning to guide us out.

I will be back soon! ❤️

Simply Sunday

Transformation

Look at you
Standing there
Confidently
Exposed
Pieces of your
Outer shell
Left shimmering
In the light
Gentle reminder
Of what was
Before
The release
Of all that
Was heavy
Smiling at
Passersby
No longer
Concerned
With hiding
What is
Underneath
Instead
Baring a gift
Story of
Transformation-
Beauty may
Only be
Skin deep
But love
And truth
Grace your roots

Driving to the hospital this morning, I couldn’t help noticing the trees. Colors are still beautiful, though beginning to fade.  A birch tree caught my eye.  Only a few of its yellow leaves remained.  As the leaves fluttered, I smiled. Look at you! 😊

My dad has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  I had heard this term but now have a better understanding.  It does not happen overnight. And though treatable, it does not go away. He is breathing easier and hence feeling better.  Doctors are working on a treatment plan which hopefully includes going home soon. 

Not having a definite timeline is frustrating.  But that is ok.  Life is precious.  And I continue to be thankful for our time together. ❤️

Woo Pig From the Eighth Floor

Here we are again. Not sure I know anyone who likes hospitals. Some display more adverse reactions than others, I suppose. But when medical care is needed, I am thankful for their existence.

My dad had open-heart surgery eight months ago. During those scary moments of the unknown, doctors and nurses were caring for him. Giving value to his life, even though they did not know him personally.

He is back in the hospital. Difficulty breathing led to the discovery of fluid in his lungs. No complete answers yet, but there is comfort in the familiar. Walking the same halls. Experiencing the same level of care.

No, it’s not where any of us would choose to be on this sunny Saturday. But I am grateful. Sitting here, talking to my dad. Excited to watch Razorback football with him this afternoon. Even if it is from his eighth-floor room at the hospital. Woo Pig Soooie!

No Increase

Why are we
In such a hurry?

Wishing
Our days
Away
As children
In a hurry
To grow up
As students
Hurrying
To finish first
As young adults
To get married
Start a family
Realizing
Our foolishness
At the moment
We wish
Time would
Slow down
Our children
To remain little
A bit longer
Our parents
To age
A bit slower
Ourselves
To breathe in
Each moment
Accepting that
Our hurrying
Offers no increase

Macaroni and Cheese

I like macaroni and cheese. In high school, that and baking a cake were the extent of my cooking. My mom even entered a recipe on my behalf for a church cookbook one year. Not a cake. Oh no, it was the instructions from the back of the Kraft macaroni and cheese box.

My kids also like mac-n-cheese. It was a staple in our house. Of course, I always tried to pair it with broccoli or green beans. Balanced meals, you know.

Some stories need to be remembered. Told over and over. Handed down from one generation to the next. And not just the ones considered to be pleasant. Also, the challenging ones. Those are the ones that show resilience, teaching valuable lessons.

This is one of those stories. And, of course, it involves macaroni and cheese.

My parents have always been hard workers. But like many others, hard work did not always keep hard times at bay. Some years were more difficult than others. And when I was little, money was tight.

My dad was a carpenter and was working on a house about an hour away from our home. One day, mom and I went along for the ride. Well, sort of. You see, he had not yet gotten paid for his work.

Macaroni and cheese…they had one box left. So, we went with him, taking the box along with us. While dad was working, mom cooked the mac-n-cheese on the job site in an electric popcorn popper. That way, all three of us would have something to eat for lunch.

That same day, the woman that owned the property retrieved a frozen chicken from her kitchen. And though my dad was a little uncertain about that chicken, it went home with us that afternoon, along with his paycheck. It was available that day after work.

Perhaps some would think of this as a sad story. Not me. I see the resilience of two people, able to keep going, making the best out of a difficult situation.

Anytime we talk about this time in our lives, Mom always reassures me. “No matter how hard things got, we always made sure you did not go without. You always had what you needed.” Without a doubt. ❤️

Truth is, not only did we survive as a family, but we also thrived! And though my cooking skills have improved a little, I still like macaroni and cheese.