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


Friday’s Five

We measure time in the strangest ways. Secret anniversaries. Milestones. Before this/after that. Eleven years ago today, my father-in-law passed away. We planted a cypress in his memory. It is enormous now. I can’t look at it without thinking Papaw,
and smiling inside. He lived. Something came after him and now lives to remind us.
Twelve weeks tomorrow my Sam has been gone. Gone, but only in body. Everywhere is filled with his memory. Thank God.

What would he say about this? I bet he’d laugh at that. Hmmm…he wouldn’t care for that.
An inner monologue. Running all the time…because people don’t really leave us completely. Thank God.

My list below of five good things from the week may seem trite or frivolous, or even strange and mysterious, but once you are where I am, you know different. Each effort is a victory. Each “something” — something to celebrate. Believe me.

Double pointed knitting needles and the promise of a new technique coming ~~

A yellow chair and a surprise hug in the aisle of Pier 1~~

Kohl’s coupon and a hug there, too…(guess my friends also like to shop)~~

Euro pillows …ok…Target & Bed/Bath/Beyond~~

Lamps that sparkle.~~

I know…

Seems to be a little retail therapy theme here. Well. That’s how it is this week and that is how it is. Period.

And #6, because I can’t write this list of good things and leave out the gift of Maya Angelou’s words to us. May she rest in peace and may we keep her words alive. Here is one of her pieces which I only recently discovered. A blessing:

My Lord, my Lord,
Long have I cried out to Thee
In the heat of the sun,
The cool of the moon,
My screams searched the heavens for Thee.
My God,
When my blanket was nothing but dew,
Rags and bones
Were all I owned,
I chanted Your name
Just like Job.

Father, Father,
My life give I gladly to Thee
Deep rivers ahead
High mountains above
My soul wants only Your love
But fears gather round like wolves in the dark.
Have You forgotten my name?
O Lord, come to Your child.
O Lord, forget me not.

You said to lean on Your arm
And I’m leaning
You said to trust in Your love
And I’m trusting
You said to call on Your name
And I’m calling
I’m stepping out on Your word.

You said You’d be my protection,
My only and glorious saviour,
My beautiful Rose of Sharon,
And I’m stepping out on Your word.
Joy, joy
Your word.
Joy, joy
The wonderful word of the Son of God.

You said that You would take me to glory
To sit down at the welcome table
Rejoice with my mother in heaven
And I’m stepping out on Your word.

Into the alleys
Into the byways
Into the streets
And the roads
And the highways
Past rumor mongers
And midnight ramblers
Past the liars and the cheaters and the gamblers.
On Your word
On Your word.
On the wonderful word of the Son of God.
I’m stepping out on Your word.

Peace, friends. Find your blessings…


Saturday’s Snapshot: Possibilities

So, the art studio is changing locations. Life has a way of throwing us curves. Like cancer. Turmoil. Loss. We cannot live there forever.
Am I through grieving? No. I’m pretty sure there isn’t an endpoint. I’m almost positive we learn to live with this new visitor, no matter how unwelcome. But, in the process we can choose some things. Make some choices.
Decide an art studio will be a nice element of this existing home.
Start a new space.
Post a happy sign. Let it be a welcome guest. (Thank you darling Avery…I’m so glad it’s my first piece of art hung here today!)
Gather the colorful yarns and think about what they are still destined to be. With some care and thought, and yes, action, those fibers will be transformed. Like us. Works in progress. Possibilities are waiting. This is just phase one.



Friday’s Five

Seeing the rain fall. No…really seeing it. Sometimes it’s silver.

Old dogs and young ones. There’s something to pet therapy, I’m sure of it. I am not looking to learn about it; just happy knowing there’s really something to it.

Laughing with a close friend at a movie. Even the parts you think should be funnier. Then they really become funnier.

Talking to someone you really trust. Knowing your stories are safe.

Nightly FB messages with a sister. We could text, but this is really a lot more fun. Our ritual.

Was it a pretty good week? Not really, but there was good in it.
More than I’ve listed. Better days comin’, God willing.
Hang on if you are grieving. You have to experience it all, every lesson it has to teach. You’ll come through it. Really.

1 Comment

Sunday’s Song: Remembering

It’s been a good Mother’s Day. Samuel, Sara, and Daniela went to mass with me. We ate at a great pizza place (my Sam would have loved it), took pics of course, opened thoughtful gifts.
Then Sara and I took off for coffee and shopping. We all met back up later for conversation and just the familiarity of home.
I received a call this morning from Carolyn Moor, the founder of Modern Widows Club; not a club I ever knew existed, but one I’m glad I know about, now, thanks to a mutual friend.
It was good to talk with another woman who understands that grief isn’t over in a snap of the finger, that it has a way of returning over and over and over. I’m learning to live with that reality. Life does go on, but it is different.
Yesterday, Sara and I set up shop for a day in our downtown. It turns out that one of the building’s owners showed up at my house a few months ago in the middle of the night to troubleshoot Sam’s pain pump. We talk about that time. How she knew she should just come. Her mom had been a hospice patient. She knew it mattered. It did. And now, she’s opening her home and doors to us to set up shop and to return for other events if we want.
How can I do this now?
I do not know. How can I not? What am I to do? Sit and stare? Every day? Forever?
Sam’s words ring in my ears:
Do what’s best for Agnes. You’ll get going on an even keel. You won’t see me, but I’ll be running ahead. I’ll be praying for you.

A year ago, I sat beside my Sam on his hospital bed in Little Rock. He hadn’t had his stomach removed yet, but that day was around the corner. A year ago. I think of all the days and events since then. Mind boggling.
I pick and choose what to focus on, most days. Tonight I remember Sam holding my hand like always. Telling me I love you. I have a card for you at home. Thinking of cards and gifts and me when his whole world was crumbling. Our world.
I pull up notes on my phone from that day, a year ago. I’m right there again. I see it all.
Sometimes that’s what I need to do.
I share this because someone else is going to need to know it too. I’m sure of it. You do what you’re led to do.
Grief is a powerful motivator. I am going to do my damnedest to let it motivate me to remember the most precious moments.
Let me name a few:
I am the mother of his children. I can still see his face when I told him I was expecting. Pure joy. I see him standing on our porch at Beech Street decades ago, touching my belly. Saying Take care of this baby as he’d leave for night shift.
Bringing me my first Mother’s Day gift before I was actually a mom. I was a mom to be. He always celebrated the life we created.
Today, I’m honoring memories. Life. The fact that our children are part of him. That he will always live in them.
I’ll always cherish the fact that I can celebrate Mother’s Day. Because of Sam. How can I be sad knowing that?
Sweetest gift…
Today, remembering is what’s best for me.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Leave a comment

Friday’s Five

It rained hard last night. I woke to that filmy haze when the day hasn’t quite made up its mind yet…but the birds are singing and the dogs are content. It’s going to be a good one.

Five of the many blessings from the past week:

Honest mechanics. $54.00 vs $1200.00 is what I’m talking about…and the car is fixed.

Sewing machines that are worth repairing…recognizing that this decades ago gift has led to so many intangible ones…Thanks again, honey.

Autumn texting me a pic of my son receiving a teaching award last night. First year teacher. Those students are fortunate.

Listening to my daughter tell of challenges and successes and thinking
She has self respect.

Moms: old ones, new ones, ones that watch us from heaven. Remembering a line I read this week: “Mother is a verb.” Ahhh. Help me remember…

Peace, dear readers. Press on.


Sunday’s Song: Connections

My sister Mary and I met up in Little Rock a couple of years ago in October 2012 to commemorate what would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. We ate, visited, celebrated. We didn’t worry about work because we knew then what was most important. Family. Relationships. We also stopped by a yarn shop.
“Yes, I can teach you this stitch” led to more purchases and a night of laughter and good memories. Tangles and restarts. Unique fibers. New ideas.
Stories of our mom and how she loved us, encouraged us, believed in us.
That led to new energy and excitement. Then it led to friends ordering scarves back home. Trails of fibers throughout the house. Sam saying, “Would you like an art room?” Compliments from strangers. Then a couple of successful local craft shows.
At my retirement celebration this past December, my friend Kim made a sign with the unofficial name we were using on it. My husband smiled.
Fast forward to waiting rooms in Little Rock hospitals where I was stopped more than once and asked about my knitting projects as I worked on them.
Watching Sam smile as Sara and I created and sold more pieces.
And this past Friday, we have an “official” opening of Eylau Lane Creations as a small business. (kind of neat it was on a day I try to reflect on the good)
And, as life often reminds me, there’s more.
I went to the main branch bank to open an account and waited quite awhile, but they were understaffed and busy. I decided I’d come back later. By the time I thought of it, it was 5:30 pm.
I knew better than to walk into a smaller branch of the same bank at that hour, but sometimes we do as we are called. When we listen.
It was on my way home anyway.
The associate that set me up was helpful and friendly. As she started typing information, she paused.
“Do you know [mutual friend] ?”
“Yes,” I answered, “and you prayed for my Sam, didn’t you?”
“All the time.”
And then both of us were quiet.
Her eyes filled with tears and she said that she’d need a minute.
“I never thought I’d meet you, especially here.” But she had prayed anyway. And she still does.
And as she sat there, I did what I do more and more, day by day. I thanked my God for yet another message. Another sign. Another Keep going because you’re on the right path. Another connection.
He sends them all the time through people, circumstances, decisions we make. He helps us sort out our stories.
When we are ready to see.
Hear me clearly: these days are hard.
I can tell some true stories even I would not believe, except for the fact that I’ve lived them. But I’m here to tell you, some days the sun breaks through. It all becomes clear. And you smile and give thanks. And you keep walking.
What’s next?
Well, the art room Sam wanted me to have is taking shape in our old master bedroom. Day by day, a new section is planned. It’s going to be perfect. It has windows that he looked out of everyday. I look out of them, too. He’s near.
Sara and I will set up Eylau Lane Creations for one day next Saturday as part of my hometown’s effort to show citizens how downtown could look again. It’s not lost on me that my grandfather’s old and now vacant tailor shop will be a few blocks away. Or that my mom’s favorite place in the world was downtown. And it just happens to be Mother’s Day weekend.
Then, maybe etsy. Then, we’ll see.
Celebrate it all, dear readers. All the good you are given…it is there for us all, in just the shape that’s right for us.
Sometimes we stop and recognize the years and people for what they really are. Celebrate your journey, too.