Last night we were under torrential downpours with lightening strikes all around us and a tornado watch in effect. Both our sons had not yet returned home for the night, but my husband and I went to bed, saying prayers for their safe return while keeping one ear open, as all parents do, when awaiting their kid’s return.
I think of my own mother, how on earth she survived raising five children, and how many nights she and my father must have prayed as they waited for their children to return home each night.
My mom was not only a terrific mom, she was also my confidant and friend….sticking with me through thick and thin….cheering me on, encouraging me when down, and always believing in me no matter what.
She was and still is a source of inspiration to myself and so many. One of her greatest accomplishments, which still amazes me, was earning her nursing degree while raising five children. I can still see her in my mind’s eye sitting at the table doing her homework after we finished dinner, which she had also prepared.
Now that I have raised two sons myself, I am even more amazed at her accomplishments and am not sure which is more amazing, earning the degree or raising five children….probably the latter!
Eventually our first son came in with a few friends in tow, an hour later our oldest son safely returned home as well. Both stopped in to give us big hugs before heading off to their own beds, and my mother’s heart could rest peacefully knowing my beloved treasures were back safe and sound, and all was right in my little world.
Happy Mother’s Day to my fellow mothers!
Until next time,
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1
It is a quiet Sunday morning as I write this. The air is cool enough to leave the door cracked just slightly, allowing the sounds of nature to flow inside. The birds are singing their morning songs as they flit around in their busy springtime activities. A tufted titmouse pair are continuing their gathering of nest-building material for the box just outside my window, while a hummingbird stops to sip at the nectar feeder just below the future titmouse abode.
Gabby cat is enjoying an early morning walk around, simultaneously keeping a lookout for possible adventure with one eye and the approach of our neighbor’s dogs with the other…
A squirrel enjoyed an early breakfast of sunflower seeds scattered beneath the feeders before attacking the feeders directly. In due time he was joined by two other squirrels that soon gave him chase before they all raced up a tree, resembling a reverse playing of firemen sliding down a pole.
The male cardinal is visiting another feeder closer to our pond, and the sounds of the waterfall flowing fills the air with its soothing sounds, in perfect harmony to the music of the wildlife surrounding it.
The creek is at high-tide and is still and deceptively quiet under a misty haze and overcast sky. In the surrounding trees, the birds and squirrels make up for its silence aided by honking geese in the distance, while cinnamon ferns, jewel-weed, and iris decorate its banks as they continue to spring more to life with each passing day. Somewhere nearby a wood duck couple are certain to be enjoying its serenity, while playful otters and busy beavers are certain to be disturbing it.
At any given moment an eagle is likely to do a fly-by low along the creek, or perch in one of the nearby trees watching for fish and other small creatures to fill its stomach and feed its young.
Harold, our resident blue heron, has yet to my knowledge made his daily appearance, but that too could happen at any given moment and may even include a sighting of Henrietta, seen accompanying him of late…tis the season!
Peaches, the cat of unknown origins, who has unfortunately decided to adopt us, draws my eye away from the creek again as he takes up one of his favorite spots beside the pond…much to the dismay of Gabby, and Bitty as well, who is perched beside me now glaring at him from her window seat.
The cardinal seen earlier is now perched closer to my window, almost hidden in the lush leaves, until roused by a blue-jay who was earlier hopping up and down on a branch above him and making a general ruckus. For whatever reason, Mr. Jay felt the need to antagonize the cardinal until deciding to fly off towards the creek with the cardinal giving chase.
In a break from nest-building duties, Mr. Titmouse flies over to give his wife a morsel on a nearby branch, and the lone squirrel is back posing for a picture.
Our door is now shut and the fireplace is lit to chase off the chill-enticing kitty with its warmth-as my husband and I enjoy the quiet of early morning. The wood ducks paddle into view, and all seems right with the world.
I purposefully laid aside my camera for the most part this morning-deciding to add in older pictures later-and purposed instead to just sit still and enjoy all the sights and sounds outside the lens…
…because sometimes in our single “focused-ness’ of life we miss the peripheral beauty going on around us, and that is a lesson in and of itself.
The tender sprouts are an emerald green and do not seem to hold a grudge against the cold February nights, as people often will. ∼ Michelle, Rabbit Patch Diary
I found Michelle’s blog early on in my blogging and am so happy that I did! Her words paint such vivid pictures of nature you feel as if you are part of the experience, but what I love the most is she sees the beauty in everyday life…beauty that others may simply pass over. I asked her permission to reblog her post on “February” and with less than ten days to go in go in this usually unappreciated month, I hope it inspires you to enjoy what’s left of it as it did for me. Enjoy!!
So, this week I officially enter a new phase of parenting…my youngest is now an adult, gasp, where did those years go??!!
I always said I could have bought a second home in the islands if I had a dime for every time I took my kids to the grocery store and an older mom said to me…”enjoy these days, they go by quicker than you know.” They would always look at my kids with longing smiles and eyes seeing long-ago made memories brought fresh to the surface at the sight of my little ones-and now, I am that mom.
Yes, I am guilty of saying that exact same thing to moms I see with little ones in tow. And as I’m saying it, I’m thinking to myself, when did I become that mom, the older one, with kids no longer with me as I shop or run errands. Yes, it does indeed go by more quickly than we could ever even begin to imagine.
With each stage of their lives comes a new set of joys and concerns….the joys hopefully outweighing the concerns.
I taught pre-school before staying home with my own children, and I have to admit, it was the irony little, rascally boys that always brought a smile to my face. When the other teachers were wringing their hands and shaking their heads, I was laughing just a little on the inside at their harmless, mischievous little antics, totally oblivious to what my future held. Oh yeah.
Be careful what you wish for it’s often said, and before long I had my own little rascally boys, and oh what a ride it has been! I am convinced, though, that God needs fun-loving mischievous little boys in the earth as well as proper little chaps, and He seemed to know just the mom to give them to!
This belief was challenged just a bit when high school rolled around and I was convinced the school office had my cell number on speed-dial. I’m sure my hair color consumption tripled as the gray hairs seemed to increase exponentially during these years.
But now here were are, four months from having high-school behind us as well, and like the other stages of their lives, I’m sure it too will go by in a blink. I will greatly miss sharing an afternoon cup of coffee with my younger son as he relates the tales of his school day, and the tears of laughter I shed as he impersonates some very colorful characters. Yes, for all the gray, I’m sure the laughter he inspires has added years to my life.
So to my youngest son, happy 18th birthday “little buddy.” The joy, love, and laughter you have brought to my life and others far exceed what I could put into words. Follow those big dreams, climb those seemingly impossible mountains, use all those talents God blessed you with to enrich the lives of others, and always, always carry a bit of that playful, fun-loving little boy with you, as time keeps marching on.
To my dear friends and treasured acquaintances here in the blogosphere, I wish you a very merry and wonderful Christmas season!
As I sit here sipping my coffee, watching my cat sleep peacefully by the fire, I can’t help but recall all I have to be thankful for in my life, and I wish this same peace and joy on all who may read this.
We know it’s not about the material possessions, status, or any of those other things that have no lasting meaning…peace and happiness come from inside and the relationships we surround ourselves with.
One of my most peaceful Christmas seasons came at a time when I didn’t know when my next paycheck was coming…true peace transcends those things.
And at this time of the year especially, as we celebrate the birth of our savior, we find life’s truest joy…
I have been reading the last in the Thomas Kinkade’s Cape Light series, this one written by Katherine Spencer, and I loved the way a character in the book summed up the manger scene:
….it is a scene of community, cooperation, a coming together of so many diverse players in this joyful drama. Characters of high birth and low. A tradesman and his young wife, seeking a new home. A shepherd and a king. A wise man and even an angel. All from different backgrounds, with different perspectives on the world and different opinions, I’m sure. But their differences seemed suddenly trivial, eclipsed by their common experience the awe-inspiring experience that connected them, that brought them to common ground, both literal and spiritually. The recognition and adoration of the baby Jesus.
…finally, I thought of the beautiful, innocent baby in this scene. A baby who responds the same to the admiration of the shepherd or the king. A baby who doesn’t know the difference between any of the different faces surrounding him. He reaches toward all of them with equal love. Because that is the way God has created and loves us. We are all equal in His eyes and all worthy of love, respect, and care.
May you each experience this true and lasting joy.
It all began in a little recording studio where a mutual friend had taken me to cut a demo. The co-owner was engaged to be married at the time, I became engaged a few months later, at some point we both got un-engaged, and the rest, as they say, is history.
And how can it be we have created twenty-five years of history already….it seems like yesterday, and yet so much has happened in our little lifetimes together. Times of joy, times of tears, new beginnings and new lives…all because a song, needed to be sung.
We left the altar filled with dreams and hopes of a lifetime together…and we have been blessed.
First one precious son, then another, and a third child we’ll someday meet in heaven…
While our sons grew into young men, lines crept onto our faces, and gray, though fiercely fought, invaded our temples…and still we face our days yet to be written, thankfully together.
I smile, as the lesson in my Bible study this week just happens to be the love chapter…
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7
I wish I could say I lived up to all those wonderful words of wisdom on love…yet, it is love, along with God’s grace and a good dose of humor, that has seen us through the past and will hopefully grant us many more years in the future…because, a song still needs to be sung.
To my husband, with all my heart,
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
Well, today is that glorious day we set aside here in the states to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us from our gracious Heavenly Father.
It’s usually a day spent with family, enjoying one another’s company, grateful for each one gathered, while recounting another year of the many things to be thankful for. Our family is fortunate this year that we will all be present and accounted for…with a family of five siblings, that is no small feat!
Usually, I would be scurrying around preparing the corn pudding, baking pumpkin pies and the usual things I contribute to the feast. Today I will be doing those things and a few more at a leisurely pace, as our family will gather tomorrow so that all can be present.
I am reminded this year, as in many past Thanksgivings, of the importance of counting our blessings and truly being grateful for what we have, even in the hard, and sometimes lonely times which we all go through in life.
In doing so, I usually look back to a trip I took with members of my church to Haiti as a young adult. I vividly remember my first sight of the poverty-stricken country… I wanted to run back to the airport and catch the first flight back. I had never seen such conditions up close and personal, and it left an impact on me I will never forget.
What impacted me more, though, was the absolute joy and gratitude, and what could only be described as graciousness, from the Christian people we had the opportunity to meet with while there. I recall going to a church out in the country-dirt floor, rough lumber for pews, no electricity-and the absolute spirit of thanks these people had as they showed off their prize possession. We were also invited into their homes, where they shared enthusiastically from their very meager supplies, meals served with the greatest of hospitality.
After experiencing such phenomenal gratefulness in the face of such abject poverty, I remember getting back to the states where hearing complaints for the smallest of things felt like being slapped in the face with an ice-cold cloth. And, after determining I would never grumble or complain again, sadly, I too, soon fell into my old ways of not always being thankful for even the littlest of blessings in life.
Oh,there are many times I thank God just for hot running water, as there we experienced just a trickle in the shower, while some of the locals were bathing in mud puddles in the street. And when I take my first sip of steaming coffee in the morning, I am usually very grateful.
But, there are those times, when I simply forget and grumble about the smallest of things when I have so, so much to be thankful for….a loving family, friends, a warm home, food, clean water, books to read and the ability to read them, the love and care of my Heavenly Father… the list could go on all day.
My prayer continues to be that I will always be grateful for even the smallest of blessings and be mindful of those less fortunate than myself.
Wherever you are, whether celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States or elsewhere in this big, wonderful world, may you celebrate all the things to be thankful for in your life, this day and each day forward.
Until next time
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1
…The thread of our life would be dark, Heaven knows If it were not with friendship and love intertwined; And I care not how soon I may sink to repose, When these blessing shall cease to be dear to my mind.
by Thomas Moore
Of all the holidays and gatherings, I think Thanksgiving has to be my favorite. It is a time set aside to remember all we have been blessed with, giving thanks to God for all the bountiful gifts and blessings He bestows on us in so many different ways. It is simple, unpretentious, not bogged down in commercialism…just a beautiful season of gratitude, because, in each season of life, we always have things to be thankful for.
A few year ago I decided I would like to have a “Friends Thanksgiving” to celebrate the wonderful friendships in my life. I am so grateful to be surrounded by family, and we have our day of celebration on the actual holiday, but during this season I am also reminded of the absolute blessing that real friends bring to our lives.
Over the weekend we had a gathering of our closest and dearest friends along with their kids who are now treasured friends of our kids…double blessing! It was a night filled with much laughter, good food, and just plain fun. Among my dearest friends is one I have known since first grade. We could spend hours laughing till we cry reminiscing over past memories. She is my fellow nature lover, photographer, and incredible artist who hasn’t met an artistic medium she can’t conquer. She is a teacher any parent would love to have for their child because of her caring heart and common-sense approach. Long ago school days, ice-skating on frozen ponds, hiking through woods, cycling nature trails and kayaking all while solving the world’s problems then laughing hysterically are all cherished memories with this incredible friend. Knowing my love for plants, she brought me the beautiful rosemary plant pictured below, which Kitty has adopted.
Another treasured friendship is from my single, college days. This is my very practical friend, also a nature/animal lover and the one who taught me all a dog owner ever needed to know about cats. We call her the cat whisperer as she is the one who first dared hold the wild cats that showed up in our yard that we have since adopted and love…yes the one above was “wild.” I have so many fun memories of silly things single girls do and then the memories continued as we both went on to get married and have kids within the same few years. As our kids grew up together we shared play-dates in the park, baseball games, basketball games as the crazy moms on the top bleacher, family cycling days, campfires, beach days, and more recently, hikes through West Virginia. She gave us all a scare this year with a cancer, but thankfully she is well, and it was another reason to set aside a day and give thanks for her friendship.
Last, but not least, is a more recent friend made when our kids were older elementary-aged. She is also practical, but fun-loving and a loyal, trusted friend. We, too, have shared cycling trips, field trips with our kids, coffee time on our porches, pool days, Easter egg hunts and tears and laughter as we tried to figure out the crazy teen years together! She is an incredible mom, as are my other dear friends, and I have been blessed with her wisdom and understanding as I navigate through the stages of motherhood.
As I look at the fading beauty of the mums on my porch, I am reminded that the beauty of true friendships never fade. As I tell my sons, if you have even just one true friend in life, you are blessed- someone you can laugh with, cry with, be yourself with and be loved through the good times and bad…in essence, “family.”
May you treasure the beautiful friendships in your life!
An accumulation of a lifetime of memories does create a musical score that we can assess from an artistic if not scientific perspective. Each happy memory generates a beat of minor joy that when strung together form the musical notes demarking a person’s prosodic inner tune.”
― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls
One of my favorite places to visit in our area is the local park. I have taken my sons there since before they could walk and have fond memories from my own childhood visits there. There were family picnics, outings with my mom and grandmom, racing around the top of the big, brick, circular wall-which is still there-and sledding down its big hill with a send-off from my dad in the wintertime. It has, of course, changed some over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the gift of memories and nature it still provides.
When my sons were young, I made it a habit to turn necessary appointments in the area into fun outings by picking up lunch afterwards and heading to the park to picnic with the geese and ducks. I have many happy memories of my two little boys feeding bits of their lunches to the geese and then running along side them squealing and playing.
Those outings, like many things, have sadly ended as my sons have grown, but I managed to squeeze in one more just before school began this year with my youngest.
As usual, we were greeted by the ducks like long-lost friends. We know better than to be flattered as we are well aware they are excited about the scent of our curly fries and not so much us. We can no longer feed them, as it is now forbidden, but that doesn’t stop them from coming close to get a whiff and pose for pictures.
On this particular afternoon the birds seemed to be quite noticeable, so I was able to get many photographs of them as well as the waterfowl…I found this robin very agreeable to a photo session. I had no idea how different our American robin is from the European robin until I saw one posted on the blog 30daysofwildparenting. For the absolute cutest picture of a robin ever, check out his picture here. I actually thought it was fake at first glance….it is seriously adorable!
This cardinal was in a tree just over a path we took, and he was content to sit and preen while I took dozens of pictures. It’s obvious these birds are used to humans because the cardinals in my yard fly away at the slightest movement.
Cardinals are one of my favorite birds… besides being beautiful, they are very attentive parents sharing the duties of nest-building, feeding and training their young. They are also very docile at the feeders, unlike mockingbirds and feisty little hummingbirds.
We ate our lunch on a quiet bench in a shaded area with this tree directly in front of us. If I was in a fantasy world, I would swear this massive, barked image with leaf bangs was watching us…it did bear a striking resemblance to Treebeard!
After wandering the park for a bit, we ended our outing by the river and enjoyed one last look at the ducks before heading home.
Another beautiful day to add to the precious memory book of life….