Simply Sunday

Today I will be driving back home to Oklahoma from Arkansas. It is hard to say goodbye, but I am grateful for these past two weeks with my parents. I leave with a thankful heart. Thankful for doctors, nurses, family, and friends. Thankful my Dad will be going home from the hospital today. ❤

Love this tree near my parent’s house.

Sightline

Sightline is a common term in theater and art. It is also a buzzword in T.V. home renovation shows. As in, we must have a better line of sight to see the kids at all times. I understand the concept. And I can see the value at certain times.

Yesterday, I experienced a surprise sightline. One I never even considered. But once discovered, oh, so needed.

Due to COVID restrictions, we waited at an outside seating area during Dad’s heart surgery. Mom was the only one allowed in the surgery waiting room. Not complaining. We understand and appreciate the precautions.

However, the thought of her waiting alone…well, that was a hard one.

Of course, we could text and call, but nothing is the same as seeing, something we have all experienced during this time of the pandemic.

So, Mom calls:

“Are you still outside?”
“Yes.”
“I think I see you. Stand up and walk a few tables over.”
I walk.
“Yes! There you are!”
“Where are you?”
“Turn around and face the building. Now, look up toward the second floor.”

And there she stood, in the corner of the waiting room. We waved and laughed. It was a sweet turn of events.

A perfect sightline through several layers of glass and steel. An instant sense of joy and relief. A few moments of light-heartedness erasing the distance.

Update:

Dad’s surgery went very well! He is currently in ICU. This morning, he was sitting up in a chair. ❤ Only Mom can visit, but I was able to talk to him on the phone. So good to hear his voice.

Gone Fishing

I have not thought about going fishing in a long time. As a child, I used to go all the time with my Dad. He still calls me his fishing buddy.

Today, all I could think about is the chance to go fishing again with my Dad.

He is currently in the hospital. A test this morning revealed an artery blockage and heart valve problem. So, he will be having open-heart surgery on Friday morning.

I am thankful for a job where I was able to just pick up and go. I needed to be with my parents. And when I called to tell Mom we were on our way, what do you think my Dad mentioned? Oh, yes-his fishing buddy.

I saw him this afternoon. He looks good. We talked about what was happening and how much better he will feel after recovery. And I told him, maybe this summer we would have to go fishing.

The Missing

I am here
You are here
We are all here
Tomorrow we go
Our separate ways
But the missing
Begins today…
Even in the smiles
Currently creating
Memories to
Carry us thru
Days ahead
The missing
Finds its way-
Sneaking in the
Backdoor of our
Thoughts trying
To distract us
From the present-
Unable to steal away
The happiness of
Togetherness
It quietly tiptoes
Back outside-
Tomorrow there will
Be no denying
The missing-
We will welcome it-
A reminder
Of lasting joy
Rooted in yesterday

Last weekend I visited my parents for the first time in six months! We were so happy to be face to face, holding on tight.

This past year, we could not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or birthdays with them…to say we have missed each other is an understatement.

We knew the visit would be short, but that was ok. And even though good-byes may have brought a few tears, the smiles are what will last. ❤

Home to Home

I left home at the mature age of seventeen and, except for one summer, never came back. My mom often reminds me. 😉

Before college, I had lived in the same house my entire life. I attended the same school, first grade through senior year, and was surrounded by extended family.

And even though I needed to find my own path, the place where I grew up would always be home.

A recent visit with my parents caused me to think about the word home. Especially the idea that home has little to do with the actual place.

As I pulled up in the driveway, my dad was waiting under the carport. Mom came right out as if she’d been listening inside for my car. Soon, we were talking about everything from the kids to work, politics, church. And, of course, the pandemic and quarantine.

They’re so cute. ❤

As an adult, I enjoy this time alone with my parents. Being there by myself means my only role at that moment is a daughter. Even if this visit brought some adult daughter anxiety.

Due to the current pandemic, I had to be very careful about where I stopped on the four-and-a-half-hour drive from our house to theirs. My parents are over seventy, Mom a breast cancer survivor and Dad with diabetes and kidney disease. Their health is currently good, and I couldn’t bear the thought of exposing them to this virus.

My anxiety quickly faded as Dad asked, “How’s my little girl?” Mom said more than once, “I’m so glad you came.” At face value, simple phrases. Yet, they wrapped me in the love and security I experienced growing up.

When going to visit my parents, I say I am going home. And when it’s time to leave, I use the same phrase. I guess both are true. Home is about the people not the places.

I may have to leave tiny pieces of my heart behind when leaving one, but I know they will be refilled upon arrival at the other. Not the same, but new, and whole.

A sweet paradox, traveling from one home to another. ❤

Green Green Grass of Home by Claude “Curly” Putman, Jr.

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train
And there to meet me is my Mama and Papa…
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home


For My Dad

My dad loves classic country music. Growing up, we would always listen to The Grand Ole Opry on AM radio, static and all. Sometimes, it would drive me crazy but thinking about it now makes me smile.

He also had quite a collection of 8 track tapes, all country, that we would listen to in his truck. Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty were some of his favorites. And though I don’t currently listen much to country music, I loved listening to it back then.

That love stemmed from two things. First, it was, and still is, great music. But more importantly, it was my dad’s music. And for that reason, it will continue to influence my life.

Music has so much variety, so many genres. Each new style influenced by the previous. Whether I like them all or not, I can appreciate them for their place in music history.

I have recently shared some recordings of myself playing favorites on the piano. They’ve included some Classical Scarlatti, Romantic Brahms, hymns and James Taylor. Honestly, no country songs crossed my mind…until now.

My mom called after listening to my latest recording. We chatted for a few minutes. As we were about to say goodbye, I could hear my dad in the background. My mom chuckled and said, “Dad says you need to record his favorite song.”

So, what is his favorite song? It is a piano solo recorded by country musician Floyd Cramer in 1960. If my dad ever has a music request for me, it is that song. I learned to play it years ago.

Why had I not thought to record this song already? I do not know.

Here ya go, Dad! ❤

Last Date

Special Guest

I am excited to have a guest writer on my blog today, my mom. ❤

When I was a little girl, my mom loved to write poetry. Sometimes for special occasions, usually written for or about an individual. She would share them with family and friends. Her words are displayed in frames in many of her siblings’ homes. But more importantly, her words have been stored in hearts.

She has not actively written in many years, but she has consistently encouraged my writing. Our current world circumstances influenced her to write again. She was a little nervous about sharing, so now I get to encourage her. 🙂

I hope her thoughts bring you peace.🌺

Break of Day

Birds singing
Break of day
Tune’s different
In harmony
This day

Flower Blankets
Covering ground
Soft colors
Fragile-Beautiful
This day

Gentle breeze
Dancing leaves
New life memories
New beginnings
This day

Joyful reminders
Hope and love
Steadfastness
Break of day
This day

Great Shepherd’s hand
Gently leads
On mountains
Through valleys
This day

Stand still
Know peace
Given by God
Break of day
This day

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Just Like a Kid Again

Over thirty years have passed since I moved from my childhood home west of Little Rock, Arkansas. I always enjoy trips back to visit. And I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon which often occurs on these visits. It lasts only a few seconds, yet reflects a lifetime.

Time at home typically includes seeing my parents, my brother and his family, aunts, uncles, and sometimes cousins. Time for catching up is a necessity. How are the kids? Gart? Your new job? Who’s getting married? Having a baby?

Our conversations flow freely from current life events and challenges to past memories. Laughter fills the air as we reminisce about things that happened years ago. Remembering those times is refreshing, solidifying, even more, the importance of family in my life.

And then it happens. For a few brief moments, I’m a little girl again. Skipping across the yard to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins. My parents, aunts, and uncles are suddenly young adults once more. No gray hair, no aches or pains.

Just as quickly, reality snaps me back. I am no longer that little girl. They are no longer those young adults. Now, I am also a grownup, walking beside them. I may no longer be skipping, but my heart is smiling.

These moments leave me grateful. Moments in which the memories of childhood wash over me. Sweet moments in which I feel just like a kid again. ❤

More Waiting

Wednesday did not go as planned. Yes, I had a moment of clarity which encouraged me to be patient and focus on others. My mood improved and I felt prepared to face the rest of the day. At least, I thought I was prepared.

After being in pre-op for more than two hours, my dad was informed his surgery was canceled. Apparently, previous surgeries had taken longer than expected. A new anesthesiology policy would not permit the procedure to begin unless there was a guarantee of being finished by 5:00 P.M. What?!

Although the doctors were sincerely apologetic, I was extremely frustrated. You can imagine how my dad was feeling. I could not simply walk away without advocating him.

I not so quietly reminded them that Dad is 75, diabetic, and had been on a liquid diet for five days in preparation for this surgery. This was not acceptable. The doctors agreed and offered other possibilities, none of which were “best scenario” options.

Returning to the waiting room, I informed the rest of the family. By this time, I was angry. I shot off several texts to friends and family, expressing my frustration. Let’s just say, that patient attitude I had reclaimed earlier-well, it was gone.

Some dinner and quiet provided time to think about the situation. Maybe dad is not supposed to have this procedure right now. Are there other options to pursue? I don’t know. I do know we will do some more waiting. And for now, that is ok.

Waiting provides time for praying, researching, and asking questions. Which hopefully means the waiting will lead to wisdom. Which brings us back to patience.

My sweet dad with his youngest granddaughters. ❤

On a positive note, we were able to enjoy the Fourth of July. A small family cookout and some fireworks at a local park. For that I am thankful.

St. Henry’s Christmas Bazaar

I’ve been attending the annual St. Henry’s Christmas Bazaar for almost twenty-five years now. The first one I remember took place a few weeks after our car accident and before the birth of our first son., Robert. That was a special one. We were greeted with smiles and tears. So many expressions of thankfulness that we were ok.  (See post Struggle for Control)

This event takes place at St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Owasso, OK. The home church of my in-laws and the church where my husband grew up. We have many happy family memories associated with the Christmas bazaar, especially our kids with their Grandma and Papa.

If you arrived early enough there were homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. But if you missed those, no worries. Frito chili pie and tamales were on the lunch menu as well as pie. Any kind of pie you could possibly want! It doesn’t stop there, oh no. We also had to visit the bake sale section before heading home.

The kids could expect to be spoiled by their Papa at the bazaar. He always bought too many desserts. Plus, there were toys, books, Christmas ornaments. I still have a pair of green earrings he helped Robert sneak around and buy for me one year.  The kids also witnessed Grandma making crafts or baking items for the event in the weeks prior, and we always enjoyed looking for her items on display.

Probably the only thing Papa bought more of than desserts were the raffle tickets! Sometimes the kids would get to help draw names out of the wire basket and call out the next winner. Such anticipation and excitement followed by a celebration for the lucky name called.

Looking back on the happy memories associated with our family through this church, it’s funny how nervous I was about meeting my sweet in-laws for the first time. My husband was raised Catholic and I was raised Baptist. Seemed like a big difference at the time. Not only that, I had been married and divorced, which would affect his membership in their church.

I was not excited about Gart sharing this information with his parents when we were dating. How would they respond? Would they understand? Of course, my worries were for nothing. They loved me like a daughter from the very beginning.  And we’ve had many occasions over the years to attend services at both Catholic and Baptist churches all together as a family.

Today I think about the special place in my heart for St. Henry’s Catholic Church and their annual Christmas bazaar. Tomorrow I will go once again, look at the crafts, possibly buy a Christmas gift, eat lunch with my mother-n-law and of course, eat pie! My father-n-law, my kids Papa, will be missed as we reminisce over times past. But we will continue to make new memories and form new relationships.  

Who would have thought so much joy could be found in a simple Christmas bazaar?

I hope I can get there in time for cinnamon rolls this year…