Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blog Review

Bonnie from MacroMoments had an interesting concept to post the first line or two from the first blog written for each month of 2005. Since I didn't start writing until June, my list consists of only half of a year! But it was fun to look back over some of the things I'd written and remember. Anyone else up for it?

P.S. A 'goal' for 2006: learn how to link!

1. Nineteen eighty-eight. Those seventeen years ago I was newly married and still young.

2. I woke up this morning and saw the daylilies blooming outside my window. Their faces were turned eastward towards the sun, and the brilliant orange of their petals lit the backyard like the glow of a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween night.

3. Wet clothes flapping on a clothesline....old autograph books from my past....

4. I love clouds; wispy strands of cotton, pulled like taffy across the sky....brilliant, fiery curtians settling over twilight, aflame from the setting sun....

5. I walk along the sidewalks, wet with the splattering from the sprinklers. Cleome, Coreopsis and Lantana are embracing in small beds around lit lamp posts.

6. The cottonwood tree is the essence of Kansas; the John Hancock of its declaration. Its branches arch over roadways and split into jagged V's that line the sky in dark silhoutte.

7. There is a short window of time when our youth holds us still in a magical, colorful world of perfection.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Wishing my wonderful and handsome hubby a very Happy 45th Birthday! I have to tease him that no matter what, he'll always be older than me (by 10 months - ha!)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Images of Christmas

A candlelit church on Christmas Eve....a star atop a sweet-smelling smiles and thoughts of good will....decorations in every excursions and laughter....sugar cookies and frosting....carols sung to the piano....lamp posts lit on every block....Frosty and Rudolph and Hallmark given and and friends gathered in and letters from those we hold dear....wrapping, unwrapping, popcorn and chocolate....a baby, a stable, a star, our Lord. The sounds and sights of Christmas....and the true reason behind it all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

O Christmas Tree...

Christmas isn't quite Christmas until the house is fitted and adorned with the Christmas tree; that ordinary evergreen transformed with tinsel, lights and ornaments into an extraordinary celebration.

As far back as my
life goes, we have had a 'real' tree. The trees of my childhood were cedars from our pasture wrapped with strands of large blinking bulbs. Ornaments were scarce, but each one special; glittery manger scenes, glass orbs with sparkled pictures, a home-made modge-podge made at home and school, and always, the little felt snowman stitched with hat and scarf from my kindergarten teacher. Sticky icicles fell upon each branch, catching the light and turning into little mirrors with the fall of night.

The smell of cedar filled our house, mixing with baking sugar cookies and peanut brittle, and though money was tight, there were always gifts. My mother had an account in the Christmas Club at our little bank and would put $5 in it here and there so at the end of the year there would be enough to make our Christmas special. Many times there were hand-made gifts and once in awhile, a much dreamed-about doll or special toy. Either way, it was always perfect.

In the 1960's and 70's when I was growing up, there were no "themed trees"; no certain colors or specialty items placed carefully by adults only. Ours was an interactive tree decorated by six pairs of little hands, sometimes filling branches beyond their capacity, but always with love and laughter. We didn't care if the tree was a bit misformed or lopsided, and finding the "good side" to face out into the living room while squelching the sparce side against the window was always a challenge!

As the years passed by and I grew and changed, the Christmas tree remained constant; sometimes picked from a tree lot, or cut at a tree farm, but always 'real'. It was a joyful comfort to come home during my college years to that familiar smell of evergreen and Mother's baking.

My children's own Christmas memories are filled with the live Christmas tree. In the early years we would traipse out into the pasture land we owned near the Nebraska/Kansas border and select the perfect tree for our home. No ornament was too sacred for little hands and as a result, my daughter and son learned to respect and handle with care both the trimmings and the tree itself.
As they grew older, we began purchasing our tree from a charity in our hometown. The anticipation was always great as we fought with the tree stand then coaxed it in the front door. And there it would stand; a fresh palette awaiting the artistic touch of a child's masterpiece.

This year in homage to our past, we once again returned to the pasture and cut a cedar for our
beloved Christmas tree. For most farmers they are a nuisance scattered across their fields and land, but for us they are our symbol of hope and beauty at this glorious time of year. Scattered needles across the carpeting and constant watering have always been a small price to pay for its wonderful aroma and splendor.

Someday we will probably purchase an artificial tree. I have seen beautiful ones grace homes with magnificent height and perfection. And often they outdo their live counterparts in their visual flare. But for now and for today I will revel in the scent of natural cedar as I watch the twinkling lights and remember precious moments reflected in their ornamented boughs.

"O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree"........
How beautiful, indeed.
Although it's been said many times, many ways....Merry you!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pushing Pause

Shopping, especially at Christmas time, is often a harried experience as shoulders brush against strangers and panic sets in as the minutes tick by and one goes from store to store, still empty-handed. This evening as my daughter and I were shopping at the mall, we decided to go into a rather exclusive store; its marbled floors and elegant setting an oasis in the midst of the holiday uproar.

It took up two floors and we rode the escalator downstairs to look around. On our way back up, we looked over the edge of the railing to watch and listen to an elderly gentleman, dressed in a dark brown suit who was tinkling the ivories of a grand piano. He was very good and Megan asked, "Is he really playing that?" I assured her that he was and then she asked if we could go back down and listen to him. When we reached the top of the escalator, we circled around and rode down again, as indulgence in beautiful music is always warranted. I leaned against a pillar a few feet away as my daughter stood next to my right shoulder and we listened as he played a lovely rendition of "Silent Night".

When he finished, he turned on his bench and smiled warmly at us. I approached him and complimented his fine playing. He talked to us for awhile and encouraged my daughter, who spoke of her desire to play, to keep learning and practicing. He was truly a musician, an artist who painted beautiful pictures with his notes and melody and shared his gift with us tonight.
As we got back on the escalator Megan said, "He was so nice, wasn't he? And he seemed very wise." I looked at her and noticed the light he had brought to her eyes...and the beauty I saw there brought tears to my own.

We headed back out into the noisy activity of the mall's hallways, and Megan commented on the change in atmosphere. And she was right. The sweet music had placed a calm in our hearts that transcended the rush of the outside world.
In pushing the pause button on our long day, we were fortunate enough to brush shoulders with a stranger and because of that, were given a lovely moment to remember.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Old Stove....

This was one of my first posts when I started writing last summer, but I thought that it was fitting now, at the Holiday Season.

I can still see the blue and yellow flames flickering inside the glass panel of the old propane stove in the living room of our farmhouse. A turn of the rusted knob at the back could reduce them to the smallest glow or make them dance intensely with a steady, hissing rhythm. In the ceiling just above it was a grated register which allowed the heat to penetrate the room upstairs. Luckily for me, that room is where my sister and I slept. I can remember on cold winter evenings standing above that register, my little girl feet straddling its sides. The warm air would fill the bottom of my nightgown, causing it to billow out like a hooped skirt, my face illuminated by the light from below. Then quickly, I would race to my bed, pulling the covers up tightly and curl into a ball, trying to conserve the heat against the coolness of my cotton sheets. Our Calico cat would sometimes get too close to the old stove and burn her coat on the glass panel, sending a pungent smell throughout the room. But for the most part, my memories of that stove warm my heart as surely as it warmed our bodies on those long winter days and nights. For the most part.
It was Christmas morning, 1965 and the usual chaos of flying wrapping paper and squeals of delight filled the living room. Underneath the tree that year I found the beloved Mickey Mouse telephone of my dreams. It was fashioned like a pay phone, upright and bright red with the receiver hanging to the side and pictures of favorite Disney characters at the top. Colored discs could be inserted into the appropriate slot and the voice of Mickey, Minnie or Donald would emerge through the handset. It was shiny and perfect and I'm sure, expensive. With six children and one paycheck, I knew that it was an extravagance and that for this holiday, my parents had indulged in a little girl's fancy.
It happened in an instant....and yet in slow motion. In all the excitement I placed my new telephone on top of the old stove and in the busyness of that morning, no one noticed until the shiny red plastic had melted into a rubbery, hot goo. I never got a chance to use it. Not one voice, one conversation. It was an act of carelessness and even at that young age, I knew that my parents had spent hard-earned and hard-saved money on this precious gift. I was in tears, partly from my own loss, but mainly because I knew it had been such a monetary sacrifice. The joy of that special present was short-lived......and I'd let them down.
I'm sure they were upset and thinking themselves, about the expense. But there was no scolding, no lectures. I was a little girl, just four years old, and I imagine they were wise enough to see that no amount of fussing would bring it back. My imprudence had brought about a bitter disappointment evident on all of our faces. But that, too, was short-lived. Sometimes quiet acceptance and forgiveness is more effective than harsh lamentations. And after was Christmas.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In a photograph dated December 25, 1965 there is a small girl, still in her nightgown, standing beside a tinseled tree. On her face is a happy smile and a few feet away sits a shiny red telephone. It tells a story, this photograph. But it doesn't tell the whole story.
How fortunate I was to have grown up in a family where material objects were never substituted for the things that were truly important. And though I never got another Mickey Mouse telephone, my parents' love rings in my heart still as I remember their sacrifices, the old propane stove and the true blessings of that Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Just a Trace

When I awoke this morning, I expected to find our home encapsulated in a winter wonderland. Forecasters spoke of a storm that would be moving into Kansas overnight, dropping anywhere from 4-6" of snow. Unlike our home in the city, out here the snow plows take their time getting up our road and a few inches of the white stuff is enough to shut us down for a couple of days. My husband stopped by the grocery store on his way out of town and my son's friend, who was spending the night, was forewarned that he might be stranded with us for more than just overnight.

When I crawled out of bed, the sky hung heavy in shades of gray and a mist had coated the ground with moisture. But no snow. My son was bitterly disappointed, as in true 13-year-old boy fashion, he loves snow. Once in awhile a few flurries would brush the sky, teasing us with their whimsical folly, but the grass remained brown as they floated away.

By the time we took our overnight guest home, the air was filled with large snowflakes. They fell fast in mad abandon, promising accumulation. In places there was enough to scoop for snowball fights and sledding down hills.

Driving down the gravel road leading back home we rolled down the windows, letting the snowflakes tickle our noses and breathing in that unmistakable scent of cleansing winter.

Though it soon stopped and could only be counted as a "trace", its peace and beauty captured my heart and was a lovely precursor for this Christmas week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Angels Among Us

"When life held troubled times,
And I was down on my knees,
There's always been someone
Who's come along to comfort me,
The kind words of a stranger
To lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend
Just to say, "I understand"
And ain't it kinda funny,
At the long end of the road,
Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope."


It was one of the darkest times in my life. My doctor had discovered a bleeding lesion in the temporal, parietal region of my brain. MRI's, arteriograms, CT scans, EEG's were all performed, but its origin and cause remained a mystery. The next step was a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where I would meet with both a neurologist and neurosurgeon.

I was a single mother then; my two children were 10 and 8 years old. I was scared and uncertain of the future for us all and wanted only to be well and free from worry. I had no family living near, though felt comforted by the support and concern of dear friends in our community. I had just begun dating a gentleman who took a week away from his job to accompany me on the trip to Minnesota. I remember the evening I left my children at my parents' house; my precious little boy running down the sidewalk, alongside the car as we drove away, and how I watched from my rearview mirror as he stood solemnly on the corner and waved until I was out of sight. The feelings of absolute terror and fear of the unknown are still vivid, and that picture of my son stays fresh in my mind, clutching at my heart.

I had gone to the bank and taken out a second mortgage on my house, hoping the new loan would help cover some of my traveling and medical expenses; clearly not the best answer, but a temporary solution in my quest for answers. A few days before I was to leave, one of my friends from church came to our house with a bulky envelope in her hand. The choir, which I was a part of, had taken up an offering to help with my expenses. One person, she said, had given a substantial amount, but had asked her for anonymity. She hugged me tightly before she left and I sat down to open the contents of the envelope. There in my hands I counted $2600; an unconditional, loving gift from Christian hearts disguised as a tangible blessing. I wept from sheer relief and overwhelming gratitude.

Because of this gift I was able to call home each night, talk to my children and sing them a bedtime song before they went to sleep. Because of this gift I was able to afford accomodations for a week's stay in an unfamiliar town while meeting with doctors. Because of this gift I was able to concentrate on my health and not on the expense. Because of this gift I was able to pay my medical expenses and not suffer financial devastation. Because of this gift, I am a better human being.

The specialists never figured out what was wrong with me. After many hours of waiting, worrying and discussion, their recommendation was for me to have annual MRI's and to watch for any neurological changes. It has been five years and so far, so good. Perhaps I still have a time bomb ticking away inside my head, waiting for eruption. Or perhaps the power of prayer, positive thinking and love has overcome whatever mystery this was.

And as for the anonymous donor, he too, remains a mystery. Sometimes I speculate and wonder who it could have been. Mostly, I respect his privacy and am all right with not knowing. But every year at Christmas time, I send a card through my friend at church, and she delivers it to my unknown angel. In it I tell him how my life is going, share my joys and once again, thank him for the incredible gift he gave me those five years ago. Through that generous and unselfish love, he restored my hope and passed a torch of human kindness that shall never be forgotten.

May God bless my unspoken angel this Christmas.....and for the New Year ahead.

P.S. The man who accompanied me to MN, sat for hours in the waiting room and helped relieve my worries is now my husband.

Catching up

It's been a week since I've written, though it feels like much longer. I've been busy with two jobs, extra activities and preparing for Christmas. Thank you for those of you who have continued to hang in there with me, despite the lack of activity in my own writing and the comments towards your wonderful posts. I've missed this part of my life and look forward to catching up with everyone.

I hope that you are all well and happy, and rejoicing during this magical and holy time of year. Bless you all...I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It was a cold Christmas morning and I lay snuggled deeply and fast asleep in my bed upstairs. We lived on the farm then, and I must have been about 8 or 9 years old.

I awoke to the sound of my mother's voice as she spoke softly. "Girls, get your robes and come downstairs." It was still night time, and though we always got up extra early on Christmas, it was far before our usual awakening.

Mother led us downstairs, explaining that our neighbor had just called and wanted us to look out our window. Together we quietly gathered at the doorway of our back porch, and looking upward and to the east we saw it: a large, brilliant star. The Christmas Star.

We stood and gazed at it; sleepy eyes and young hearts opened wide to receive its wonder; a moment forever etched in my memory.

For many years after, I would awaken during the dark hours of Christmas morning and creep out onto the porch, looking for the Star. I have looked out different windows, in different houses from different towns, always looking to the east, but I haven't seen it since that morning so many years ago. Sometimes I wonder if I imagined it and yet, I know I did not. For some reason, that year my family needed a Christmas miracle; a reminder of God's gift to us and of His eternal and everlasting love.

It's been a few years now since I've tip-toed on the edge of dawn, looking for the Christmas Star. Maybe this will be the year to re-open that tradition. Perhaps it was a once in a lifetime gift and if so, it will be enough. But whatever the case, I believe just as much now as I did all those years ago, in the miracle of the birth of a holy baby, and in the Star that still beckons us to follow its light.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Memories

There is a short window of time when our youth holds us still in a magical, colorful world of perfection. Everything holds wonder and enchantment, especially the holidays and most certainly, Christmas.

My children have always been close, and those moments were so often captured amidst the glow of a Christmas tree or surrounded by the trimmings of the season. I remember their gleeful laughter and the sparkle of anticipation in their faces at a time when everything was magical and yet, so simple.
How well I recall one cold, December night, the children snuggled in their jammies, when my neighbor called to tell me I should take the kids to the mall to see the castle. I bundled them up for the short ride, still pajama-clad, and watched as they absorbed the white, glittery world of Santa's kingdom.

If we want to truly capture the magic of this holiday season, we need only to observe it through the eyes of our children; a true reflection of the love - and the light - of Christmas.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holly Jolly Christmas

I took this picture several years ago of my three stepdaughters the first Christmas I was married to their dad. The two older girls were already in college and the youngest, a tender 16-year-old. We were still strangers then, not so sure of each other and trying to find our way.

Several Christmas seasons have come and gone, and though their jobs and new lives have taken them farther away, our hearts have found a place that's close; a place that we can share.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Tonight I began the transformation from autumn decor to the magic of Christmas. Since we had family here Sunday for Thanksgiving, I wanted to extend the beautiful fall season until after our celebration.

I love this time of year. Everything seems more beautiful, crisp, vibrant...and each day is filled with the loveliness of the season. It always goes too fast for me and I want time to slow down so I can savor the sights, smells and sounds sitting by the tree with only its lights filling the room.

I have two tapes that I cherish and look forward to hearing once November's turkey has been put away. The first is a recording made back in 1982. I was 21 that year and home from college. My brother was also home and playing the piano as my sister and I sang along. We didn't know that my mother was recording so played, laughed and sang uninhibited. My grandfather, who has l
ong passed, was talking in the background and you can feel the joy and love in the air. Listening to it takes me back those 23 years as if it were yesterday and I am once again in that living room, seated beside my brother and laughing with my family.

The second tape is one made by that same brother, some 15 years later. On it he plays many beloved carols and if I shut my eyes, I can believe he is in the next room, sharing his time and music. He is really far away, in Seattle, Washington, but for the moment he is here with me.

Christmas memories, Christmas treasures. As always, my past taps upon my shoulder as I get ready to celebrate a new year. I am blessed that my remembrance is of happy times and lovely people. May this season usher in new moments of joy and may our hearts be touched by its profound love.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Baby it's cold outside!

Old man winter interrupted autumn's extended stay with his bitter winds and falling mercury. Snow fell across our window pane this evening, but will leave us with just a trace. My days have been full and I look forward to having some time to write again. Just not tonight! I hope to catch up with everyone soon.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Over the Meadow and Through the Woods

There is nothing like spending time with family, especially on Thanksgiving. It's always been my favorite holiday to gather together. There is nothing on the agenda except good food and memorable times spent talking, laughing and enjoying each other's company.

Thanksgiving was always celebrated at home, first as a young child on the farm with my paternal grandparents then throughout my adolescence and young adulthood; gathered at the large, round table in Mom and Dad's dining room. The atmosphere was always warm, cozy and inviting and there was almost always an extra guest at our table; a neighbor who had no place to go, an older widow in our community, or one of our many friends. Like every other day of the year, our home was open and welcoming. As each year passed, our family grew; weddings brought us new brothers and sisters, soon followed by little nieces, nephews, and my own children.

Now we, the next generation, are taking our turn to host this special celebration. This year my oldest sister invited everyone into her home; parents, siblings, children, in-laws, friends. After a wonderful meal a word search was passed around as we raced through to determine a winner, followed by a few rounds of BINGO. Dollar items were scattered on the table in the breakfast nook for the winners and we played until each child had had his or her turn in picking something out.

There were many laughs, new faces, and much joy as we shared this warm and special day. Cameras flashed everywhere as the moments were captured and family pictures were taken for Christmas cards. And though I'm always thankful for tangible proof that it was indeed, a glorious day, the true memories are those that I'll carry inside; treasured keepsakes of a day filled with love.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

To the most beautiful woman I know....Happy Birthday, Mother. What would I have ever done without you?

(I am reposting something I wrote last summer, and though I know that is a blog "no-no", it only seems fitting to share it again today, on her special day. I Love you, Mom.)


In 1978 I had my "golden birthday"....17 on the 17th. My mother gave me a small book covered in gold leaf. Inside for every date there were quotes from Longfellow's works and a place to write names of loved ones who held birthdays on those days. The true gift was tucked inside: a letter from my mother.

It may not be quite legible here in this place; those lovely sentiments of sweetness and love given to me that day. But I know what it says and I cherish her words, both with that teenage girl heart of years ago and with the heart of the woman I am today. Besides...the letter really isn't the point. My mother is.

There were six children growing up in our home. I am the 5th, the baby girl. My mother spun our world with her genuine heart, her special songs, her kind and gentle spirit and her love for beauty. We had home-grown flowers, always....and paintings on the walls. Many of these she did herself in the midst of raising children and helping my father on the farm. She knit, sewed, baked, gardened, washed clothes in an old wringer machine, sang, gave, felt, loved. We were treated as individuals with our own talents and personalities and our dreams were inspired, encouraged and embraced.

In the days when many women roll their eyes at their mother's comments, dread maternal visits and fear "sounding like their mother", I feel fortunate, lucky, blessed to spend time with a woman who at 78, is the youngest - and most beautiful - woman I know. I am honored to be my mother's daughter.

I've had my moments over the years, made my share of mistakes....and I'm not sure that today I deserve those lovely words of 1978...nor her compliments now. But a mother's love is unconditional. It isn't about whether we've let them down or made them proud. There's no way to earn it and many times we probably don't deserve it. But when it comes from a woman of grace, a woman of God...there are no restrictions, no prerequisites. With a mother such as mine, it just is.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. May you truly celebrate all of the wonderful blessings in your life!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Two Blessings

I learned that I was going to have my first baby around Thanksgiving time back in 1988. In July of 1989, a beautiful auburn-haired angel came into my life....and I was never the same again. Not quite three years later, her younger brother joined her; a happy, precious little boy who stole my heart.

I feel blessed every day to have such sweet and wonderful children, but during this special time of the year set aside to ponder all the good things in our lives, I am truly made aware of how incredibly lucky I am.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Color My World

Yesterday at school I was coloring a picture of a turkey for a game we'll be playing with our students next week. The children love it when I draw or color, and always ask for their own pictures to take home. As a result, I incorporate art into my lessons as much as I can. It is a window for children, an opportunity; not just for learning, but for experiencing beauty as well.

I grew up in a home where art
was expressed and appreciated. My dad would bring home old blueprint paper for us to draw on, its purple-faced lines and words turned over to reveal a perfect and unblemished sheet of pure white. It was the best gift he could have given us. My sister and I would spend hours making our "Calico and Numpy" cat books, and Mom would write in the dialogue since we were too young to write. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a pencil, crayon, or marker in hand to create in the world of imagination.

Often we would look up to find my mother sketching us at our play. "Don't do me, Mom!" we'd cry, though secretly we couldn't wait to see how it turned out. Her favorite remark - if we'd comment on its lack of resemblance - would be, "I'm not a camera, kids!" And how blessed we were that she wasn't.

I truly don't know how she did it. There were six of us kids and a husband to take care of, clean up after, cook and wash for and still she made time to make beautiful things. We would often find her at the kitchen table with acrylics, brush and canvas, creating something new to color our world. We would lean on little elbows, watching the picture come to life with dabs of burnt umber, denim blue and harvest gold. Finished products decorated our walls with warmth and personality, and sometimes one was given to a special aunt or close friend. To us all, they were great masterpieces.

Coloring books were a treasure around our house. We would flop on our tummies with a new book, open it up to the most detailed and lovely page and mark it with a big "M". We wanted the best to go to Mother, and we would pass the time with a box of crayons until she could lie on the floor beside us and bring our selection to life. I have vivid images of brightly colored daffodils and azure skies where she would add her own birds and fluffy clouds; an ordinary black and white page transformed into a brilliant wonder. We would try to imitate her technique, but could never quite master it.

We are all grown up now with children of our own, yet color and art are still a big part of each of our lives. We have planted the rich seed given to us at birth and watched it grow through the years. It has bloomed in many various ways in our homes and gardens, and made the view much more interesting and beautiful.

So when a child asks for a drawing or a picture to color, I give it willingly. Perhaps he or she will be the next Monet or DeVinci, and at the very least, they'll have a chance to color their own world, like my Mother did for me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rear View

I have always been an observer; sitting quietly and looking through doorways that have been left open. One can learn a lot by standing back and letting the world teach through quiet observation. Like watching my parents alone on the beach; the morning sun reflecting off the water, absorbed in one another while shell-seeking. Or seeing the children as they witness the ocean for the first time, little hands held tightly together, pants rolled up in anticipation of incoming waves. There are barefooted finds amongst misty spray, and they are completely oblivious to my presence as they fill pockets with new treasures. I like to watch and listen; active fingers and scrunched toes, busy in animated conversation.

I see my son's father, hands clasped in his lap as they absorb firelight and roasted marshmallows; a little boy enamored with Dad and the magic of nature. I watch in silence as my brother shares a beautiful waterfall with my mother, ever protecting her as they stand on a rocky ledge

I hold my breath as my daughter and her friends step gingerly across the flow of water, knowing I have to let her go; to allow her wings to experience life, while trusting in her wisdom and her goodness.

I follow behind my mom and sister after a blissful day in the pumpkin patch and though am not privy to their words, am always close to their hearts.

Life is filled with wonderful moments. But it doesn't always have to be interactive. Sometimes it's all right to be outside of the box, peeking inside at the quiet lessons being taught. There is much to be gained by watching, listening, pondering, reflecting. And it's important to know that it's not all about us; that others can take the stage and sing, while we proudly and joyfully look on.

Words are not always necessary, and observation from a step back can enlighten and enchant us. As beautiful as one's face can be, the flow and syncopation of their grace in movement can delight and linger, saying much without saying a word.

Don't be afraid to stand still for a moment. The view can be amazing.