"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


Sunday’s Song: March

I’ve been thinking for awhile about this month. Exactly one week from today it will be a year. A year without my Sam.

365 days to learn to live without him…but the truth is I’ll never live without him. Every day, a reminder. A remembrance. He’s here.

There are things I know and things I don’t. I’ll start with what I know. It’s more important anyway.

1. Never stop praying for widows and orphans. Tell them. We get strength from knowing you’re with us on this journey. I’ve met many widows and learned many stories during this past year. Prayer is the only thing that universally seems to help. Just knowing someone is interceding for you when you really don’t have any more words is a gift.

2. Tell your stories and listen to ours. It helps to bring our loved ones back, through moments recalled. It helps to hear stories we’d long forgotten or may not have even known. It helps to be able to share a memory without thinking it might make you uncomfortable. We lived and loved and made a life with someone. It mattered. It matters.

3. I’ll never be over this. Why would I want to be? There’s not going to be a day when I’m “ok” again if that is defined as how I used to be. I am forever changed and I’m still figuring out what that means every single day. 

4. Every day is a challenge, not just angelversaries ( the day our loved ones passed) , anniversaries, birthdays, special days known to us alone. There comes a point we have to give in to this new reality. It doesn’t mean we are accustomed to it. No. It doesn’t mean we have accepted it. No.

We walk with it. We keep moving.

Which brings me to this word: March.

The month I kept thinking about. The month when Sam was born. The month he died. And all the days and Marches ahead. And within that word, another meaning: move. Move forward, keep going. Day by day and step by step. March on. Yes. Minute by minute is not a cliche. It is a truth.

I am indebted to the friends I’ve made this past year, and to the ones who stayed throughout the days. It was hard,  I know.  It  is hard. We sometimes don’t  know what to say or do, or we say or do the wrong thing.

There is no instruction manual.

At some point, we just all have to admit this grief thing really sucks. It’s horrendous and ugly and brutal and unkind. It’s a mental and physical war. It’s  a level of exhaustion I’d never known–mentally and physically. It is torment. Insomnia. White noise. Brain fog. Numbness and searing pain. You feel your soul cry. It is an attunement like no other. 

I am  learning to move again. Moving toward good things while I have this window of time. How big a window? We do not know. But today I saw an orchid bloom that I thought I’d  killed from neglect. Life is filled with surprises. Watch for them.

I wanted a book club and a bible study and by chance ( ?),  ladies showed up in my life with those very opportunities.

My sister and I travel when we can. My dearest friends and I meet for food, for movies, for laughter.

Sara and I opened our etsy shop. 

Samuel  and his beautiful  wife have  a baby on the way. 

I teach adults. I write. I create art.

The snow fell in big drifts.The jonquils spread their sunshine across the yard. The ducks and geese and cardinals show up.

I still say Honey, I  cleaned out the lint trap. 

And in the silence  I hear him say, OK good. 

And I hear him say a hundred other things. Because we can all move on with our days but our loved ones come with us. They are with us, marching ahead, just around the bend, and sometimes, they double back and we know it. You only understand that if you’ve lived it. I don’t want you to understand. I just want you to believe me. I’m living it and I know it.

I don’t want to dread any days of my life. I’ve already seen enough of that. Loss teaches us something. It taught me no fear.

I’m really not afraid of anything anymore. I say my prayers and ask for God’s help and keep moving. That’s what I do. 

What will  the  next  year bring? We cannot know for sure. We can meet it with determination, though. We are here for however many minutes, and we have something to do.

March on…

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Saturday’s Snapshot: Texas Snow

We don’t see snow here often. I always count it as a gift. I know my northern friends might not agree, but here in Texas, we rarely get a six inch snow. It was a beautiful transformation.

Snow reminds me that nature is in charge some days. And it’s okay to let the world pause.

I don’t have to worry about whether or not my employer calls it a snow day anymore, but I was happy to know many old friends were able to sleep in and enjoy a couple of free days too.

There’s a lot to be said for making snow icecream and a happy snowlady. And for listening to the youngest dog snore away a cold afternoon.

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February 14, 2015 Random Rambles

Jonquils are blooming.
There’s ice/snow in the forecast for Tuesday.

And that pretty much sums up life.

We just never know what’s next.

Today: 70 degrees and a watercolor workshop with Sara.
A winter storm watch starts tomorrow.

Roses from my son. Just like his dad used to send. My heart caught when I woke to those this morning.

Sweet Valentine surprises from my daughter and a handmade heart from my new friend Pam. It’s going on my prayer board.
Sweet things.
Messages of love from my sweet friends. This is how we make the days. We have help.

Tonight Modern Widows Club sent up paper lanterns with our loved ones’ names on them. My Sam is listed on the second row.
Kindnesses. Thoughtfulness. Honoring.

A lady I never met wrote his name and I can share this with you. You may never think of it again. Or you might. We just never know.

I posted funny valentines today and laughed a lot.
I have a lot of good in my life.
Good and bad. Happy and sad.
That is how it is.
But let me tell you something about February 14.
It’s a day on the calendar.
People are born on this day. They die. They fuss. Fight. Kiss. Pretend. Love. Respect. Remember. Get it wrong. Get it right. It’s another day.

If you get all bent out of shape because it’s Valentine’s Day, I beg you: stop.
You have the power to stop. Maybe not this year. But one year.

The lady who founded Modern Widow’s Club had a horrendous February 14 fifteen years ago. Her husband died in a wreck as she sat beside him. But tonight, she wrote our loved ones’ names on paper lanterns and sent them to the heavens ablaze with light.
Time didn’t make it easier. She decided. And it was probably harder than we can imagine. But she decided.

So. Happy Love Day. If you think you have no one to love, love yourself. Then you’ll realize there are many just like you who need that too.
We are waiting on you.

You are not alone.
Make whatever is next matter to somebody. God bless… ❤️


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Friday’s Five

A dove in the driveway. Well, hello.

The first jonquil of the year. Glad you’re back.

Logs that catch on the first try.
He used to always build me fires.

A ring around the moon. We might still get snow.

My hands in your old pockets.
I still feel you with me. Never leave.

And that’s my list for this week.
Pay attention to your life. Appreciate its gifts.


Friday’s Five

Yes, I realize it’s Saturday. That’s ok. I still have five good things to remember today and I’m going to write about them here and now. No silly rules about where and when matter.

That is my #1 this week: the joy of knowing it’s ok to be late sometimes–and not to be bound by self imposed rules that don’t matter. Be kind to yourself! You’re probably doing the best you can.

#2 : going into The Swoonerie (a wonderful artisan marketplace that has a mission spirit) and seeing handmade hearts attached to a prayer board. My daughter’s name was on one of those fluttering hearts. Why? Because the owner (Pam) prays for my child after only knowing her for a few months. She treats her like family. Because God connects us with people in many and wondrous ways.
Another name was on that board: Frank. I don’t personally know the Frank that the owner does, but I have two precious Franks in my life: my daddy who died in 1974 and my nephew, who just moved to Chicago to start a new chapter in his life. Seeing that name brought to mind two people I love, and I prayed for them right then–prayers of thanksgiving for a good and loving father–and prayers of direction and protection for my nephew–in the unexpected setting of a store.

And another blessing of course. I’ll call it #3: the inspiration that came from that moment. Seeing that simple cork board with a handmade cross near the bottom. Inked words inviting prayer. Hand cut paper hearts fluttering on tiny pins–names on front, intentions on back that only the Pray-er (Pam) knows.
I’m starting my own prayer board this weekend because of that moment. I hope you will start one, too.

#4: “Put the baby on first.”
Pam’s words to me made me smile for so many reasons. She knows I’m expecting a grandchild in August. She is expecting one in the next few months as well. We pray for good and joyful reasons. She knows this too.
The connections we make as humans are so important. I’m so glad I have been given the gift of knowing that. Pam’s name will also be on my board.

#5: names. Names that will come to me today as I cut out simple paper hearts from art paper. Names of people I’ve known for decades. And names of those I’ve only met recently. Each name gives me a story. A reason to pray. I’m looking forward to standing in front of my prayer board at times throughout the day and stopping to give thanks and lift these people in prayer. I’ve had a journal for years, and that is a blessing. But this is a new blessing: an open and constant reminder — and an invitation to all who might happen here to see.

I hope you are as blessed by simple paper hearts as much as I am. It’s really the perfect time as we enter the month of love, isn’t it?
God bless you, my readers. You’ll have a special heart on my board, too.

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Friday’s Five…More Like 25…

It’s been five Fridays since I last posted my weekly remembrances of five good things.
Why is that? I think more than anything, it boils down to procrastination because since December 19, I’ve had so many blessings to list, truly.
Let me start with #1:
I found out on Christmas Day that my son and his wife are expecting! I’m a grandmama in training! That truth is the happy place my heart goes to when I start thinking too much about
stressful things. A baby is coming in August!
A knit cardigan is in progress, new baby hat and blanket patterns are printed almost daily, and I’m thrilled at the thought of rocking my first grandchild. I hope to be the “old fashioned” grandma who always has cookies ready, who has time to sit in the floor and play jacks, who has an endless supply of crayons and paper and books ready. Bliss…

The camellias are all blooming or getting ready to, and on a walk a few days ago, Sara pointed out a new blooming bush we’ve never seen before. It’s about twenty feet from the three bushes that have bloomed on this property for decades. It was surely a sweet moment to see new red blooms welcoming the new year. Who knows? Maybe I planted it years ago and just forgot. Maybe Sam did. Whatever the case, it stands along the edge of the driveway today, and we notice and are glad.

There’s a pot of narcissus welcoming January in the back porch window, an orchid from last spring that has, much to my surprise, decided to rejoin us…its new shoots reaching toward the west window.
Hopeful, living things. Lovely.

No snow yet, but it’s coming soon I think. My mama used to say that it warms up to snow. We’ve had warm January days (60s) and more forecast for next week, so I’m holding on to the possibility!
I’m glad those old sayings live on in our minds. They keep our loved ones with us.
This time last year, Sam was still here and we had hospice nurses visit every day. It seems like yesterday, and it seems like a lifetime ago. His memory will not fade from my heart. The good days and bad and sweet and sorrowful, all become intertwined. Lives filled with stories.
I spent some time during the last couple of weeks with a lady I didn’t know. She was the mom of my husband’s best friend. Cancer decided to do its thing on her, but she was surrounded by love and laughter and good stories until she made it to her heavenly home last Monday. Her son asked me to speak at her service and I did. It brought to mind other times I’ve written or spoken in memory of people I loved. All I can say is God has His ways with us. He knows what we need to do. He makes things happen.
Two of my shop owner friends have husbands with a cancer diagnosis. I didn’t know them a year ago. I met them through “random” circumstances this year and somehow we all know it’s not random at all.
This week, a colleague talked at length about her father’s recent passing. She spoke of pain and family drama and medicine schedules and situations she never dreamed were part of life. Later, she thanked me. Just for listening.
And I realized again, sometimes that’s all we need. We don’t need judgment. We don’t need a solution. We just need a place to be ourselves, to say the things we need to say. I’m glad I could be her listener.
There’s been a lot of creativity the past few weeks.
Sara and I took a watercolor class and it was such fun! We learned a lot and I’m excited to get started on a new project.
I finished an acrylic canvas of trees for Samuel. I’m not sure what I was happier about: his positive reaction or the actual completion of a project. Maybe both.
Samuel entered a piece of prose into a local contest and won second place. It makes my heart happy to see him use his gifts.
I’ve started a bible study with a dear friend and a bible verse memorization with another.
There’s laughter. I drove to my book club get-together the other night and stopped at the wrong house, book and bottle of wine in hand. I was greeted enthusiastically and was on my way in when I asked if this was the right house. It wasn’t. My goodness. I’m glad for good souls and guardian angels on the way.
Joy jars. That’s how I’ll end my post today. I’ve made a couple and hope to share more. The premise is easy:
Decorate a jar. Fill it with colorful slips of paper. Write down the joys and blessings of the day. Save this rainbow of happiness until the end of the year and reopen. Relive the good.
Always, always, relive the good. I’m glad to share my “good” here, late or not.
Peace and joy dear readers.
Keep moving forward.


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