As the sun goddess sat on her throne today, I witnessed…I mean, she witnessed…many beautiful signs of spring.
Wasps and carpenter bees….Booooo! Budding trees Green grass Hostas Butterflies
And to know that spring is just getting started is beyond exciting!!
I hope you are just as thrilled about spring as I am. I only wish it could cure the problems of this country like it cures me. Wouldn’t that be grand! But regardless, our little patch of this earth can be made just a little brighter because spring is finally here! ♥️
Philippians 4:6–7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Praying you might have a peaceful rest this night. ♥️
Life’s challenges will either make you or break you. I’m teetering today.
Trying to excel in all aspects of life is probably just a little too aggressive. But where do you draw the line? How do you not try?
And when trials bombard you in a variety of ways, and from every.single.direction possible…what do you do?
And when others tell me that God won’t give me more than I can handle…well, I just don’t believe that particular thought.
I’m not handling things today. Not very well, anyway.
My sleepless mind is weary, yet it won’t rest. My body is fatigued. My heart aches. A ship without sails on a motionless sea. Yet loneliness, fear, and anxiety sweep over me in waves.
I can’t fix everyone else’s problems although I wish with all my heart that I could. My own bury me as of late.
Life’s challenges. Can you relate? I am alone in my decision-making and in my battles. I do not have a partner to help me. I am trying to pull strength from God. Am I not listening, or what?
I understand many are struggling today as our world is way off-kilter with all that has transpired over the last couple of years. It’s not a secret that more and more people are feeling fearful, anxious, and insecure. The many trials are all consuming. The burdens are just so heavy. Today, I am one of them.
Thankfully, I am able to still witness blessings in every day. And I am truly blessed beyond measure.
The scripture that comes to mind this morning is this beautiful one. This will be my focus for the day.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.
I know tomorrow will be a better day. ♥️
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 is the passage commonly used as the backbone for the concept that God won’t give you more (burdens, trials, and suffering) than you can handle. But Paul is actually referring to sin temptation in this context, not burdens, and finding a means of escape from that temptation of sin. If I am in error, please help me to see differently. ♥️
Photosall taken by me: Ferris wheel, county fair 2021; covered bridge near me; the sun; ship off the coast of Maine, 2017; chair, 2021; Lake Michigan, Pointe Betsie Lighthouse, 2009
I spent Easter weekend at my oldest daughter’s home. It was a wonderful time spent loving on my grandchildren and having some long overdue quality time with my daughter.
When I was getting ready to go to our Easter dinner at my son-in-law’s parents’ home, my daughter watched me as I put on my makeup and did hair. Just like when she was a little girl. And it’s the same thing I did with my mom.
When I finished my makeup, I pulled my brush from my travel bag and started to run it through my hair. My daughter caught a glimpse of my brush and grabbed it.
“Mom! You need a new brush!”
“Ummm…no, I don’t. I’ve had this one for decades and it’s perfectly fine.”
“But, Mom, the bristles are falling out of it!”
“Oh, I know. I find them on the floor every so often. But I have had this brush for such a long time that it kinda means something to me. I will use it until there are only two bristles left.”
“Well, this explains a lot about me! I have to show Mando!”
Denae took the brush and ran downstairs. “Mando! Mando! Look at Mom’s hair brush! This is why I’m the way I am!”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her words. “This is why I’m the way I am!”
I think she’s a pretty awesome girl so if my weird ways (and an old hairbrush) had anything to do with her character building, I couldn’t be happier. ♥️
I collect skunks. It’s a lot of fun actually, because skunks are a challenge to find. I have found an array of antique skunks. Salt and pepper shakers, an ashtray, pins, and figurines. I have several Pepe Le Pew Christmas ornaments, salt and peppers, and a cookie jar. I even have a light switch cover. But let’s not forget Flower from Bambi. My collection also includes greeting cards, a butter dish, dice, key rings, plates, and a glass.
My love of skunks began in the ‘60s. For Christmas one year I received a red and white talking skunk that smelled like peppermint. His face was soft plastic and his mouth moved to talk when you pulled the string. I loved that skunk.
When I started to turn gray, the grayness began right in front. I wore bangs at that time. I wanted to grow them out, but I couldn’t otherwise I would have looked like a skunk. Love ‘em but don’t want to look like ‘em.
Oh….and a stinky fun fact, I don’t mind the smell of skunks. Ferrets and other smelly critters, yes, I mind. But not skunks.
Below is a sample of my collection.
Whenever a grandchild is born, I give him or her a stuffed skunk. Skunks are just a little fun part of me that I want to share with them.
Now I’d like to introduce to you the newest addition to my skunk collection.
Meet Luka. (A.K.A Moonz). ♥️
I have five little stinkers now and could not be more blessed. ♥️
(adj) 1. smitten 2. state of nervous excitement 3. how I feel aboutcha
I feel alive again. Is it because of the lovely trail walks with its touches of greens, purples, and yellows, or the warmer temperatures and open windows, or the tiny bit of tan on my cheeks? Do I have the fever?
What I feel is the excitement of this new season and of the months ahead. Spring makes everything new and fresh. Adventure is in the air. The senses are filled with excited anticipation of hope and love. Twitterpation. The state of being twitterpated.
I first heard of twitterpated on the Disney movie, Bambi. Well, actually, it’s the only place I’ve ever heard it. As a hopeless romantic, I’ve always be fond of the word. Longing for love; to love, and to be loved. I may be pushing 62 but my heart is still 18. When I was young, I believed that the mind aged like the body, but that is just not so. It’s a pretty cool reality. A welcomed gift.
Hopefully, you feel this spiritual awakening too. No matter what you choose to call it, spring fever or twitterpation, just run with it. Leave old man winter behind and feel the excitement of another spring. Bask in the warmth of the sun and let youthful love fill your heart and soul. ♥️
There are two times during my life when the world came to an eerie silence. The first time were the days following the 9/11 tragedy. Especially those first three days when the skies were void of any air traffic.
The second time were those two weeks of Covid lockdown. Fear kept us quiet. No one made a sound. No car or plane traffic to speak of either which kept our whole world silent.
You don’t realize the amount of noise around you until…it’s not.
But I can only imagine the silence this Saturday all those centuries ago. This was the day after Jesus was crucified. And I imagine there was now a great amount of fear attached to the sadness that already overwhelmed the hearts of those who loved Jesus.
Today marks the day of the loudest silence in the history of the world.
The people were confused. They lacked understanding of all that had taken place up until this point. I cannot fathom the depth of loss and helplessness these people felt at their loss of Jesus. And all seemed hopeless. I have felt loss, helplessness, and loneliness in my life. But to have physically walked with Jesus, heard him speak and teach, and witnessed the miracles firsthand…I can’t even imagine the depth of despair of having him gone.
Today is a good day to reflect on the silence. Where was Jesus then? Where is he today? Even though we did not walk this earth with him physically he is still walks with us today. We have the complete story. The people of yesterday did not have the completed puzzle. The puzzle was being assembled at that time and they were part of it.
With that being said, we should rejoice that we can see the whole picture. We don’t have to walk with Jesus as a physical man in order to believe or feel what the people felt back then.
Listen to the silence. Feel the silence. It’s pretty loud. ♥️
PS If you still feel you need something to move you, the Passion of Christ will do just that. It’s intense in its portrayal of the events of this holy week. I could only watch it once as it was just that powerful.
Life is full of situations that can teeter one way or another. We can make a bad situation worse though simply by not thinking things through.
Sometimes when we see a loved one hurting at the hands of another, we get angry right away along with them. We talk smack about the “evil” doer – even without hearing the whole story. We suggest retaliation rather hastily. We feed the hurt. Things get ugly. But ugly doesn’t solve anything nor is it conducive to healing.
I’m not saying we don’t have a right to be angry. We can be angry. But anger needs to be kept in check. Anger can destroy you from the inside out if you are not careful. Use the energy in a positive way, and not for revenge.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
As hard as it is, we must minimize the ugliness by being mindful of the thoughts in our head and the words that we speak. Our actions affect all of those around us. They can greatly affect the most innocent of all, the hearts of our children. You just never know who is watching from the sidelines. So we need to be very careful not to ugly-up our character.
Minimize the ugliness. It’s the healthiest, most positive way to move forward. ♥️
My youngest daughter and I took Nyx for a walk one lovely Sunday afternoon. For most of that day, I’d been going through my jewelry, trinkets, and keepsakes; sorting and pitching as I went. There were a lot of journeys down memory lane. Happy and sad journeys. Much of what I own is from loved ones who are no longer here. So I just needed a break.
Nyx’s favorite thing is running. So if no one was present in any direction, I would unleash her and let her have some fun. She never goes far from me though. She’s a one-person dog. That person being me. She suffers from separation anxiety so she needs to be near.
As we walked, Mattea and I laughed a lot at this crazy dog of mine. We talked a lot too. Walking is always a special time for us. We have each other’s full attention. No distractions. Well, except for Nyx who is trying to grab a tree root to play fetch with, or dragging a huge limb into the pathway.
I enjoyed our mother/ daughter conversations. Mostly, she vented about how hard life is. And I agreed. It is hard. And it doesn’t get any easier the older you get. I simply told her: There’s no learning in easy.
There really is no learning in easy. Learning and growing. That’s what we do from birth until death. Trials, hardships, and challenges build character. They mold and shape us into better, more compassionate, people. Or, they should anyway.
Be grateful things aren’t always easy. Rejoice when you find a patch of peace. Pray for relief when life just seems a bit too much. Love those who come to your aid during hardship. I know I am blessed with those who care.
If you have a chance, go for a walk with a loved one. Enjoy conversation with each other without distraction. Well, unless you have your own Nyx to entertain you along the way. ♥️
Life is meant to be colorful. Otherwise, why would God have created our world so beautifully? When you look at the blessings of the ability to see in color, and the endless array of color, how could we choose to not live colorfully?
A colorful life isn’t by chance. It isn’t “let the blocks fall as they may”, or, “if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen”.
A colorful life is about working hard for something, or someone. It’s about nurturing, and holding onto, and not letting go of.
This is another wonderful blessing of life. Painting our canvas; our ability to make our own world colorful.
Don’t stifle your creativity, dreams, or goals only to live in a black and white world. When I was young, I thought if you got off a plane in Germany the world there would be in black and white. Why was that? I believe it was because of all the black and white war films around the time I was growing up. I haven’t been to Germany but pictures prove it is anything but black and white.
We tell our young children they can reach for the stars. They can be firemen or doctors or astronauts or teachers. We encourage them to dream, and to dream big. But what happened as we got older? Why aren’t we still reaching for the stars? Why do we leave the dreaming to the children? Dreams can come true even in adulthood. I believe this. But sometimes it means taking chances and making sacrifices. Note to self.
Just to clarify though, a colorful life doesn’t mean we have to do big and extravagant things. You don’t have to have a boatload of money to paint your life beautiful. It’s simply about making life better and happier for ourselves and those around us. Sometimes it’s as simple as the giving and sharing of our time. Quality time.
Dream. Create. Be motivated. Paint your canvas. ♥️
Yesterday I went hiking with my daughter, Charlie, and my dog, Nyx. It was a gorgeous day after lots of windy, cold, and rainy days.
It is a beautiful park with many nature trails. About a mile into our walk, along the creek, I rolled my ankle, and in the slowest of slow motion, I hit the ground. It was so slow you’d think I could have stopped it.
Charlie yells, “Mommmmm! Are you okay?!”
I’m laughing. Lying on my back, I answer, “Yes.”
She asks what I tripped on. I said it was a tree root. She glances back. “Mom, it was a walnut.”
“I’m sure it was a root!”
“No, Mom, it was a walnut!”
“A walnut?! Are you kidding me? Don’t tell anyone it was a walnut!!”
I’m still lying on the ground with my left foot in the air. She started recording this. I’m laughing hard. She is too. She asked what did I want her to do with that foot in the air. I’m trying to tell her through the laughter to pull my foot. I know it needed to move. (My time as a chiropractor’s wife is about to pay off.) She is still laughing so hard. And I can barely talk. She stops recording so she can straighten my ankle. She pulled and it popped. Instant relief.
I wasn’t making any attempt to get up. I was doing a internal scan of myself to see what else might be an issue. My right palm hurt bad from all the rocks that left indentations.
Charlie says, “Someone is coming, Mom!”
Oh, great….a jogger. How embarrassing. My first thought was that I used to be a runner now I’m an old lady lying on the pathway.
I needed to get up. I did, but I was filthy! I had on a pink sweatshirt. I usually wear a dark, but, oh…not today. Since the ground still held some of the dampness from the last several days, trail remains were plastered to my backside, from head to toe.
As we continued on our walk different parts of my person began to hurt. Right elbow. Leg, just below my right knee. Left shoulder. Of course, my left ankle. Oh, and that problematic lumbar disc. Yay. Good times.
In bed, I feel like….well, I don’t know what I feel like. Too many parts hurt. Run over by a truck or hit by a train, or something . Not to mention the black eye I gave myself the night before last. Yeah. Don’t ask. It’s been a weekend. I think I’ll be safer at work. Oh, that’s right. I’m taking ME with me.
The fall took place about a little over a mile into our walk so we had a long ways to go to get back to the car. This trail is over 3.5 miles. Still it was a lovely day, fall and all.
As we walked, I would think of things to write about. Future posts. That part of my brain doesn’t sleep. At all. But I thought of one. This one.
I related my fall to Christianity. One small step toward sin, a step so small that we barely even recognize it, and before we know it, we are falling, falling, falling. When we get to a certain point we cannot stop ourselves from hitting the ground. And as we are lying there in a heap, we wonder how did we not see this coming.
Often it takes just one tiny seed to be planted in our thoughts. We cultivate it by being curious. One thing leads to another and soon we find ourselves in a bad situation. Trusts broken, lies told, stealing, cheating, an addiction granted, unfaithfulness, etc., etc., etc.
Who knew one little walnut, or one tiny thought, could lead to such a great fall. Not great as in something amazing. Great as in huge, painful, life-changing, debilitating. That’s what sin does.
As I still lie here in bed, not wanting to move, my final thought is that we need to be very careful about what is on the path in front of us. While I’d like to pretend that something big caused my fall, truth is, it was very small. And it caught me off-guard.
Just as in our walk through life, we need to cautious about what we think about, where we walk, and what we put before our eyes.
So as we begin a new week, let’s be cautious in our walk. Our physical walk and most importantly, our spiritual walk. ♥️
Whoever said aging was graceful, didn’t age, otherwise they’d know there’s nothing really graceful about it. Trying to get out of bed is anything but graceful. Not to mention putting on my jeans or socks, or trying to retrieve something I’ve dropped on the floor. Which is pretty often. My body doesn’t like to bend especially in the morning. Once I get up and move around a bit my body does a pretty good job of lubricating all those stiff joints. I’m also finding that my mind and body are no longer on the same page. And, more often than not…not even in the same book!
Yes, I’m having an awakening of sorts as I face the realities of aging. Realities I find to be quite ungraceful and most unpleasant.
I love yard work. But, I’m feeling the fruits of that autumn labor now with a very irritated lumbar disc. I can no longer dig, rake, or even pull like I used to. Not so long ago, I was as strong as an Amish workhorse. But now my new best friends have become my inversion table and an old floral heating pad.
The feeling of slowly losing some independence is almost more painful than actual physical pain. I am coming to the realization I might not be able do things I once enjoyed.
I’ve been trying to explain this aging process, my aging process, to my younger generation. They want to believe I am ageless. I can sympathize with them as I thought my parents were ageless too. But, I’m not ageless, nor am I timeless, and neither were my parents. I’m beginning to show signs of wear and tear. I just read that it takes approximately 2,000 years for a rubber tire to breakdown. I’m not made of rubber…or even steel, for that matter.
This is unfamiliar territory to me, as with everyone who reaches this age. The journey was quite eventful but rather quick. I am still trying to sort it all out myself so it is difficult to explain to younger people.
I do know there is a total, more serious shift on how I view life (and death) and everything theyencompass.
At this point in my life, my focus is now:
…what do I want to do,
…what do I need to do,
…and how am I going to get it all done,
….before I can’t.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a doom and gloom post. There is so much to enjoy at this age. It’s pretty great to finally have peace with who I am. I now own a more patient spirit – which I worked really hard for. And then there is this freedom like I’ve never felt before.
This point in my life is confusing yet wonderful. But it also needs to be understood, to some extent. I think differently now becauseI need to. It’s as though I’m preparing for this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip, (which I am,actually) and I’m gathering things of necessity, and of joy, to put in my suitcase. (Suitcases. Plural. My kids know how I pack. 🙂)
So instead of focusing on what I cannot do, I will focus on new things that I’m able to do. Just as I am unable to run anymore since my hip replacement, I can replace it with hiking because that interests me as well. As for as my yard work, I can still play in the dirt to an extent as I tend to my hosta bed and plant flowers.
Life is just one short season after another. Each consisting of their own unique challenges and joys. Constantly changing. Always evolving and refining. And as we travel from one season to another, hopefully, we enter each as a better, more passionate person. ♥️
Photo credits: map by dreamstime.com; my hosta bed
There is great power in words. We know what it feels like to have a harsh word spoken to us with sarcasm or in anger. It cuts like a knife and leaves a scar forever embedded in our heart. Our mind marks it unforgettable.
Knowing how words have the ability to leave a lasting impression, how often do we choose words to lift rather than wound?
If I was dying, what would you share with me, and why? Would you be more mindful and cautious with your choice of words? Would your presentation be sweeter, kinder?
If I was dying, would you tell me you love me…and perhaps, more often? Would you fill my heart with daisies instead of scars? If so, what changed between us that you should treat me differently now?
Why do we hesitate to lift someone? What are we waiting for?
Today, give someone something wonderful to etch as unforgettable in their mind, and fill their heart with daisies. ♥️
I’m a dreamer and a pretend planner. I want to do this and that. But do I? No. Because I’m afraid of absolutely everything. I might talk big with all my ambitiousnesses. But in reality, I’m a horse, tied to a little plastic yard chair, believing she is powerless against the almost weightless anchor.
Today, I am disappointed in myself. Life is moving so much faster than I am. I want to be moving like these 50-60 mph winds we are experiencing today. But fear keeps me tied.
And I really want to be free.
I can’t put off living until I reach my goal weight, or until my kids move out, or I pay my property taxes, or I save extra money. There will always be something to give me an excuse to tightly embrace fear and remain in the safety of my home.
Time is not on my side. And my world is terribly small. I desire to meet new people and see new places. I can’t stayed tied to this little plastic chair any longer. I’m sooooo restless today. It’s time to be brave and kick fear to the curb. Wish me luck! ♥️
Jeremiah 1:5a Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…
God knew me before he formed me in my mother’s womb. Just as he knew you.
He designed us just as he wanted us to be. And we are perfect. We should embrace who we are and rejoice in the fact that God cared enough to be a part of our design.
Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
As God knits us together, I believe he subtlety adds gifts and talents to our being. Gifts that we need to discover on our own and work toward perfecting. Anything that we work toward is more valuable than something just handed to us.
I believe that God gave to me the gift of expression, through writing. That might be up for debate by some, but it’s how I feel. I learned about writing in my junior high school days and fell in love with it. I wrote a lot of poetry and journaled at that time. Then life happened and for four decades my writing was pretty much non-existent. Well, except for my “letter to the editor” writings. Then I got it back in my 50’s and began writing poetry again. And as you can see, I write faithfully now.
I may not be able to do many things with any amount of expertise, but I feel I can express myself fairly well through the written word. I believe this is my gift. And when you find your gift you need to share it. The gift isn’t about you. It’s about giving it to others. And it’s about glorifying God through it.
A gift given.
Find your gift. Embrace it. Share it. ♥️
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Have you ever thought about how much time and energy we spend pitting what is fair, and what it not, against each other?
We are bombarded daily with situations and issues that first run through the filter in our brain to be categorized as either fair or unfair. Depending on which it is labeled determines our mood and manner of deployment. This all takes energy and time. Especially if found to be unfair. Then we have to stew about it. Call our friends about it. Send out angry texts about it. And of course, post about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Maybe even create a Tik Tok video about it, complete with a rhyming rap song that we spent two hours to write. Time and energy.
Life is unfair. It just is. Well, not everything is unfair but you can definitely expect unfairness to pop up at any given moment in any given day. It likes to surprise us.
How we respond to unfairness reveals a great deal about us. I used to instantly get upset or angry. Angry sailor words would sometimes whirl through my head like a mini tornado. My reactions were often not my prettiest moments.
But it never ever helped to get upset. It only delayed in taking care of the situation through rational thinking.
With age, I’ve become a much calmer person. I’ve had my unfair share of unfairness, but really, who hasn’t? So I’m just used to it. Looking back I can’t even recall the majority of unfairnesses that stole days from me. Wasted time and energy.
We live in a world made up of humans. Each complete with their ideals and perspective on life based upon everything that’s happened to them from their intrauterine days til now. So life here on earth is going to be unfair.
Choosing battles comes to mind. Which unfairness is really worth fighting for? I guarantee you that some unfairnesses are worth fighting for. There is no doubt in my mind about that as I reflect on the tragic, heart wrenching event that took place in Nashville on Monday. Changes need to be made, in many areas, to protect our most precious and our most vulnerable. But for the most part, the unfairnesses we encounter on a daily basis are minute in comparison, and forgotten in a week.
Jesus, though, came to save us from unfairness because he is just. He himself did nothing wrong. Ever. He stood before humans, falsely accused, and judged unfairly. And put to death based on lies.
But to his death, he willingly carried all the sin of this world, yours, mine, theirs, even those who deny his very existence, knowing he’d be separated from his Father because of them.
And he did all this out of love.
And we should be grateful.
Dwelling on things unfair keeps us a victim when we need to be more positive and proactive. (Granted, I am not referring to tragic events as mentioned above. I can’t even…) Life is not, nor will it ever be fair. If it was, would we strive for eternal life in heaven?
Find the balance. Change what you can. Recognize which battle to fight and when to just roll with it. Spend your energies and time on matters that truly matter. And be grateful to God that there is more to our existence than this. ♥️
Tonight was the Celebration of Life for my father. It was held at his favorite Italian bakery, La Casa del Pane in St. Pete Beach, where he visited every day. Except for Mondays. They are closed on Monday.
These wonderful people prepared lots of authentic Italian food for this open house. They truly loved my dad so much. He was a pain at times but it was very much a love relationship. He was family to them, and they to him. Dad even went to Italy to one of their family weddings.
My dad had his own seat at the end of counter. My sister once took a picture of him sitting there so when he called or texted from the bakery she knew his view.
People from all over the world would come to the bakery but no one ever left without knowing who Denny was. After 25 years or so of sitting at their counter, Dad was just about as permanent as any fixture in the place.
My dad and his wife once played in a ukulele band called the Bandaid Band. Two of the members came together tonight to play in honor of Dad. They played Dad’s favorite song, That’s Amore, and everyone sang along. It was wonderful. I imagine Dad would have shed a few tears.
I heard several stories all evening. Beautiful, touching stories. Funny stories. Sad stories. Love definitely filled this room tonight.
Here are just a few of those:
My dad’s appearance is combination of The Godfather, Colonial Sanders, and Einstein. There is a story in question that someone in the film industry begged Dad to go to Germany to play Einstein in a movie. His friends encouraged him to do it. His wife knows nothing about it. So did it really happen, or was Dad having a bit of fun with his friends?
There was a picture on the display table of Dad in Africa wearing a red shirt. An African man greatly admired the red bandanna that Dad wore so Dad gave it to him. In return, the man gave him a club that he had carved himself which he used to kill lions.
My Dad and his wife went to see Sister Sledge in concert and Dad was asked by them to come up on stage with them while they sang We are Family and apparently his dancing was quite entertaining to watch. I can only imagine.
Then one morning, out of the blue, the owner of the bakery saw my dad park out front. She noticed he was slower than usual to come in. When he entered, he was having difficulty catching his breath and his color was not right. He said he just got his haircut and wanted to come by. When he asked for coffee they told him he needed to go home. He thought that was a good idea too. So one of the girls got Dad to his car and she drove him home. She hugged him after she dropped him off to his wife. When she got back to the bakery, she told her family she felt that was the last time she was going to see him. And it was. The ambulance was called and that was the day he left home to never return. His Italian family felt it was as if he came to the bakery to say goodbye without even aware of it.
It was such a nice gathering. I know my dad would have appreciated it very much. To have so many of his favorite people together in a place he loved, well…there just aren’t words to describe the depth of gratitude and love.
I felt my Dad’s presence there. It was warm. Oh, how he is missed so much already. He touched lives from all corners of the world. I found great peace among his friends. I am proud to be his daughter.
I pity the poor soul who wanders into the bakery today and sits in Dad’s seat at the end of the counter. They just might be run out of town. Maybe even tarred and feathered first.
Last year, Dad’s wife went to the bakery to visit with friends of Dad’s from Germany. She discovered this picture of Dad in one of the glass cases. So appropriate. He always made everyone laugh.
If you are ever in the St. Pete Beach area, you should stop by the La Casa del Pane and ask about Denny…and grab yourself a coffee as you might be there awhile.
Dad’s presence will continue in the hearts of all who knew him for a very, very long time. ♥️
Original post: March 30, 2021. Edited. These were my thoughts after Dad passed.
My father passed away at 12:30 pm. Life support was removed at 12:23. He was on his own for a mere seven minutes. The hospital staff was beyond gracious. They kept Dad comfortable and pain free as he crossed that thin line between here and there. The three most important women in Dad’s life were by his side. His wife of 22 years, my sister, and me.
There is a very thin line between life and death. I witnessed this firsthand. We take for granted the abilities of our body to work as it was designed. We take for granted the nutrition found in the food we eat, the water needed for every bodily function, beginning at the cellular level, and the clean air we need to oxygenate our blood. Without any one of these, we cross that thin line.
Sometimes we walk that line; challenging it, testing it, teasing it. We don’t realize the fragility of the body and spirit. We were designed in such a way that our bodies will fight its hardest to survive. But sometimes that’s simply not enough anymore.
My dad wasn’t ready to go. He was caught completely off guard and not at all prepared. Dad spent six weeks in three different ICU’s. He kept telling me not to come down yet. I should not have listened to him. But he never once doubted he was going to get better.And he was so looking forward to his big 80th birthday bash in October. But things don’t always go according to our own plans, or our desires. From a distance, that line appears to be quite broad, but the reality of it is this: there’s a very thin line between here and there.
My heart is in pain. My eyes burn from endless tears. My body aches from fatigue. And I want to go home. I have much to sort out, reflect upon, and think about. Life is so very short. And that line between here and there is even thinner than I ever imagined.
Original post: March 28, 2021. Edited. On my way to St. Petersburg for a second time that month to meet with my sister and say our goodbyes to Dad before his final journey.
After my parents divorced, my father bought a sailboat and set sail out into the Atlantic. This was quite a shock to me as he never sailed before, nor had I ever heard him speak of his interest in sailing.
He bought a beautiful sailboat called Dire Straits and lived out on the Atlanta for quite sometime. He sailed the coast of Florida and up the Atlantic coast. He even sailed to Cuba. Dad turned 50 out on the seas by himself. He was even on the cusp of The Perfect Storm. My dad is brave like that. Maybe that’s where my children get their strength. You know…maybe it’s one of those things that skips a generation.
I can only imagine the peace and solitude of living on the sea. The sunrises and sunsets would complete the days. I’d be in Heaven. Storms would add exciting adventure. I imagine that watching from a distance would be both humbling and exhilarating.
Dad is preparing to set sail once again. And this time it is unbelievably hard to let him go.
I’m on the plane and nearing Tampa. Soon I will see my sister and we will do this week all over again. Only this time is our last time.
I’ve tried my hardest to hold back the tears on this flight. There will be opportunity later in the privacy of our room. My brother cancelled late yesterday afternoon. He is at peace with the last moments he had with Dad. I hope to find that same peace tonight.
Dad is preparing for his journey. He just needs to say goodbye one last time.
Original post: March 28, 2021. The night before my dad was to be taken off life support. Two years ago. My brother did not make this second trip to Florida. He had said his goodbye and was good with that. I flew down from Indiana. My sister drove from North Carolina. This was our time together.
Our first night together has lasted about two days…so it seems. My sister made it to our hotel about 7:00 last night. It took her eleven hours to get here by car. My flight was a little late but I had arrived about 3:30. Once in my room, I cried hard for about two hours and then fell asleep.
My sister had a picture of Dad on the dashboard of her car. She talked to, laughed at, and yelled at him for eleven hours, as if he was in the car with her. He kept her from crying as she drove. And he got her here safely to me.
Our night was spent in conversation of various topics. Mostly about our family. Funny things our kids have said and done, and the trials she had in the final two years of Mom’s life. Dementia is cruel. There’s no other way to describe it. We laughed, and we cried.
We sat in the room. We sat by the pool. And we went back to the room. Wow, it didn’t take long for the humidity to work it’s magic on my hair. (Thanks, Dad. ♥️)
We turned on TCM since my brother isn’t here. I’d start to fall asleep so we turned it off. As soon as it was turned off, I was wide awake again. We’d turn TV back on and talk, and I’d start to fall asleep. When it was off my mind kicked in. It wasn’t about to let me sleep.
Finally, at 2:00, after several turn-offs and back-ons, she asked me, “Do you know what bananas are good for?” Well, I know they are good for many things but I figured she must have some new information. I asked her what.
“Bananas are supposed to help you sleep. Want one?”
“Yes, I do.” So she and I ate bananas at 2 am, and I believe it was the best banana I’ve ever had. Did it help me sleep? No, not really. Not tonight anyway. But it was the best ever. Just another special moment shared between two exhausted sisters.
Time is moving slowly. In the darkness, periodically, I hear her sob into her pillow. She tries to stifle it so as not to wake me. But I’m already there. I don’t let her know as she needs her own moments as I had mine earlier. We meet with hospice at 10:30 this morning. That is what’s weighing so heavily upon us tonight. This night is never ending. But the alternative is for time to go by quickly, and frankly, neither of us is ready for that. 💔
Time. I will continue to write about it until there is no more time. And I’ll probably write about it many more times. Everything runs on time until we run out of time.
Time is of the essence.
A waste of time.
Time on your hands.
What time is it?
A horrible time.
Race against time.
Matter of time.
A lovely time.
Nick of time.
Ahead of time.
Behind the times.
Making time for the things (and people) that really matter. That’s what I’m talking about.
Anything worth caring for is worth the time. Anything worth loving is worth the time.
So why do we find excuses to take time away from those important things? Does it take too much planning? Too much energy? Have too many other things that “need” our attention?
Be stronger than your excuses.
I read that somewhere recently and it really hit home with me. We never run out of excuses, but we always run out of time.
It always hurts to run out of time…
Appreciate time. Use it wisely. We make excuses to why we don’t have time to do important things, yet if we are honest with ourselves, we make time for exactly what we want to do. We don’t always make sense to how we spend our time. Sometimes we use it foolishly. At the end of the day it would be really nice to go to bed without regret.
May I offer a few suggestions?
Spend time with God.
Visit an elderly neighbor.
Lift up a broken heart.
Call your dad.
Teach children an appreciation for nature.
Cuddle a puppy.
Write letters to shut-ins.
Allow yourself to fall in love.
Oh…and call your dad again.
All of these take time but they will give you much happiness in return. You cannot put a price on quality time.
Time is precious. Use it wisely because time waits for no one. ♥️
Photos: taken outside of my workplace on a spring day in 2021
I went to the farmers market one Saturday morning a couple of years ago and came across a booth of homemade jewelry. I’m a sucker for stuff like that. I try to get ideas so I can make my own jewelry.
Right away I saw a stone that caught my eye. I asked what it was. The woman said it was a raw emerald. I was quite intrigued with it as emerald is my birthstone.
She helped other customers while I admired this stone. She came back only to tell me that it’s worthless. That’s when I said I’ll take it.
What she saw as worthless, I saw as beautiful. I had examined the emerald closely and I looked past its imperfections. And what I found was perfect. I also saw a very darkened place embedded on the stone in shape of a heart.
Emerald is my birthstone and I think it’s one of the most beautiful stones in all the world. But this raw emerald has a beauty all its own. I relate to this stone as I am quite imperfect myself. I hope though that my heart stands out from among all the roughness and flawed edges of my being.
I am a raw emerald. Maybe worthless to some who care not to know me, but I’m not worthless to those who can see past the imperfection to my heart.
I’m truly thankful that God sees the potential in this old raw emerald and continues to bless me each and every day. In many ways, I understand why I’m not a shiny, perfect gem. Humility is a part of that reason. Working through imperfection has, in many ways, only made me stronger.
Have a great start to your week. Know that God accepts what others find to be unworthy and finds them absolutely beautiful. ♥️
Today was quite breezy. In fact, it’s been windy for the past several days. I love the sea breeze in my hair, but here at home, the wind blows my hair in my face when I’m trying to work outside so I have to pull it back. While I was burning the pile of branches and sticks, the wind blew the smoke in my face no matter where I moved. The wind can be frustrating.
The wind may seem useless and more of a nuisance than anything. But the wind is pretty important. What would a sailboat be without the wind? It would have no use for sails. What about the energy lost in a turbine field without wind?
One day, a couple of years ago, I read something on Instagram about trees. Scientists once grew trees in a sealed biosphere. They couldn’t figure out why the trees were unable to stand up. Finally, the scientists realized that wind is what’s needed. Wind puts a great stress upon trees; therefore, the trees must grow stronger in order to stand on their own.
This made me think of our daily trials and stresses. I know firsthand that my hardships have helped me to grow stronger. I believe that through hardships God can use us more fully. Maybe a better example is that of the Potter and the clay. God molds us by allowing the stresses of His hands to shape us. Without the stress we’d remain a cold lump of clay.
Stress gives trees the strength needed to be able to stand; which then provide us with shade, oxygen, and homes for many of God’s creatures. And stress shapes us into something beautiful.
Stress. It’s not always welcome. Well, rarely ever. But we actually need it. Stress is a reality of life. Find strength in it and become as strong as the trees. Allow God to guide you through it all and shape you according to His will. ♥️
Photos: a ship in Maine, 2017; an angry sky over a turbine field, 2017; a windy day in Florida with my sister, April 2, 2021
On December 28, 2018, I had a hip replacement. This event happened that day as well.
A second chance…
The surgeon stopped by my room while making his rounds for the day. He told me that my hip replacement was much more complicated than he expected because of the severity of the damage so the surgery took longer than what was planned. I was in recovery longer than expected as well.
It seems almost cruel for them to make you get up so soon after surgery. I know there are good reasons for it though. My first time up went as it should. When the physical therapist came a second time to get me up, I informed her that I didn’t feel well. She encouraged me to get up anyway. I told her I did not want to. I did not feel well at all. She said that I had to. I took two steps and told her I really didn’t feel well. She must have believed me this time because she quickly sat me down in a chair. And then there was nothing…I was gone.
My kids were in the cafeteria a couple floors down. My daughter heard them page the Fast Team to my room. They scrambled to get upstairs.
I remember lying on my back in bed. I couldn’t move or talk. I could hear everything around me but could not respond, verbally or physically. My whole body was paralyzed. Was it even mine? I found myself in such a beautiful place of peace, and I was more relaxed than I’d ever been in my life. The warmth I felt was like no other. There was absolutely no pain. It was wonderful. I cannot fully explain it but I will never forget it. That beautiful, glorious place of peace. I wanted to stay there, forever.
I heard voices around me and I could tell there was a woman on each side of me. Although they took turns hitting my chest, I felt no pain. Again and again, they hit me. I heard them repeat “She’s not responding. She’s not responding.” I wanted them to leave me alone and let me go, but they wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t tell them that I did not want to come back. I was warm and safe, and exactly where I wanted to be. Let me go. Quit hitting me.Leave. Me. Alone.
When I finally did come back, my room was packed full of people. Wall to wall people. I could hear them talk about my color, because I had none, and it wasn’t coming back.
Later that evening, a young nurse stopped by my room to check on me. She was in tears. She was still quite shaken after witnessing what had taken place earlier. She said she was so scared. I reassured her that it was okay, that I was okay, and I gave her a hug.
I was told that I had no pulse, but nothing more. The issue was completely avoided except by that one young nurse. No one seemed to want to discuss it. And, honestly, I didn’t push the why and what happened. The experience was very personal to me and, the mystery of it all, quite beautiful. And I cherish it to this day. I didn’t need to know anything more. They didn’t get me up anymore that day and my hospital stay was extended.
A second chance…♥️
Why I had this particular experience, I do not know. But it changed my views on some things. Maybe I’m a blockhead and God needed to shake me up a little. But honestly, I guess I do not have to understand the why. I just need to recognize that I was given a second chance. It wasn’t time for me to go even though I didn’t want to come back. I’m here for a reason but not because I am any more special than anyone else. God is not a respecter of persons. But God deals with each of us accordingly. Just like in parenting. Children respond differently although you love them all the same.
I felt strongly about posting this so I did a couple of years ago. Maybe today someone new needs to hear it, or maybe I need to be reminded. We are such forgetful and neglectful people. We are often given second chances in life. It’s up to us to acknowledge them, accept them, and to use them for good.
A second chance? Be wise. Accept it. Welcome it. Embrace it. ♥️
Original post: May 3, 2021. Written by my youngest daughter, Mattea, as she reflects on the home where she spent her first eleven years…before divorce moved us to another home. This place was gorgeous and I spent much time outdoors, planting and perfecting, or walking through the woods, dreaming and reflecting.
Sweet house, oh…dear, sweet house. You once welcomed a family of seven on Thanksgiving in 2001. A couple months later you welcomed another member of the family. Me.
Oh…dear, sweet house, your walls echo with all the voices and the sounds of those eight people. You…oh, sweet house. Your floors of which those people had walked still carry the sounds of their footsteps.
Oh, sweet house. You were once filled with warmth, laughter. But now, you stand alone and empty with nothing but the echoing voices of the children and people from years ago. From being once alive and warm, you are now cold. You are a good, sweet house. The memories of laughter and joy still run through you. The memories of a little toddler learning how to walk and to talk. The memories of the children putting on plays for their parents and grandparents. The sounds of the people’s voices still echo through you.
I once stood in your beautiful presence and felt the past. The past that was once both joyful and painful. Oh, sweet house. I feel the presence of the children that once were but now are grown. You sweet, gentle house.
It was a lovely home with twenty-six acres of land that resembled a state park. We had many good memories there. And, yes, painful memories too. But we will just focus on the good.
I appreciate my daughter’s thoughts. They are sweet. Just like her. ♥️
This is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible. Leaning on my own understanding has probably been my greatest downfall in life as I knew what was best (for me) most of the time. My history proves I’ve been wrong, a lot.
I’m aware that I would think and act on a whim. Or maybe, not think. Just act. This has caused much heartache not only for myself but also for others who happened to be in close proximity.
Learning to lean on Jesus hasn’t been easy as the very human side of me argues and fights for the number one position. But that’s really a no-win situation as I ultimately find myself running to him to fix the mess I created.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to be quiet so I can listen. Or, honestly, I should say, I am learning to listen. I think I have the quiet part down though.
Going to try my hardest not to lean on my own understanding today. ♥️