Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Wishes

"Over the meadow and through the woods,
To Grandmother's house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifting snow.
Over the meadow and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray,
Race over the ground like a hunting hound
For this is Thanksgiving Day!"

How those words resonate in my mind as the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. This has always been our family's big holiday; the one day that we're all together with no other obligations. I have sweet memories of grandparents and babies... music and laughter.....when the stuffing was forgotten in the oven and the turkey wishbone made its appearance after dinner....of walks to the spring for family photographs and always, lot of love. This year will be no exception as we gather at my sister's house to celebrate our blessings, one of which is our beautiful mother who will turn "80" on Saturday.

Wishing you a wonderful and safe holiday, filled with all that you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Accidental Falsehood

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

I was talking to a friend this evening and told her that I felt guilty. She asked, "Why?" and I replied, "Because I'm a woman. And that's what we do!"

I have felt badly because I said I'd be writing...and so far that hasn't materialized. After many months of anticipation, we finally got a new computer....but we don't yet have the internet. It may be a few more weeks before I can actually get back to where I'd like to be. But in all honesty, even if we'd had access at home the past couple of weeks, my site would - as the Christmas song says - "In solemn stillness lay."

I've been working 12-hour days to save money for Christmas. Even though in everything that counts, our family is rich, it would be nice to have some special gifts underneath the tree this year. It seems that no matter how many hours I work, the neccessities of life have a way of gobbling things up before I get a chance to explore the nicities. But with any luck things will hold out while Mrs. Claus helps Santa, and the new year will bring blessings with a smaller price tag.

It's been a long tunnel, but I never doubted the brightness on the other side. Don't give up on me.....I promise I'm still here.

Monday, November 06, 2006


It has been a beautiful Autumn; an eventful Autumn. Time has skirted by like the last fall leaves dancing beside me along the roadway. Thoughts are turning to Thanksgiving, and Jack-O-Lanterns are replaced with russet cornucopias, spilling pumpkins and colorful berries. With the coming of Earth's restful hiatus, I feel energized and alive.

Though I have been without words these past few weeks, my thoughts are ever present. I will soon be writing again, anticipate it with joy and have much to share.

Life is so very good. How could I ever doubt it?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pennies from Heaven

A couple of years ago I read a story about an upcoming businessman who was taking a prospective and wealthy client to dinner. On their way into the restaurant the well-to-do gentleman stooped to pick up a penny from the ground, paused for a few moments, head bowed, then continued on with the evening. The young businessman was perplexed. Why would someone with so much money be bothered with a simple penny? Halfway through dinner he could stand it no more.

"Why, if I may ask, would you stop to pick up a penny?" he asked. "Surely it is nothing in itself and hardly worth the effort. Why even bother?"

The wealthy man smiled. "Ah, but don't you see?" he replied. "Every penny has a message: 'In God We Trust'. Whenever I see one, no matter where I am, I pick it up and pause a moment to say a prayer. I feel it is a message sent down from God to stop me in my tracks and remind me to put my trust into what - and who - is important."

Ever since I read that story, I see a dropped penny so differently. I can no longer pass by one without picking it up. Sometimes I pause briefly to offer a quick prayer of thanks, yet there are times when I stop completely to listen for the message I am meant to hear. It's interesting how I often seem to find them during difficult times and in unexpected places....and they always stop me in my tracks. Perhaps they truly are reminders that I am never alone and that there is always someone to turn to whom I can trust.

People are like pennies. There are millions of us on this earth, circulating at any given time and place. To view us from afar we may appear insignificant and common. But we each hold value. We, too, can carry a message through our words, actions and deeds that can stop people in mid-stride and help them learn about faith; about holding on to what - and who - they are meant to. I suspect that the true wealth of the gentleman in that story went far beyond the monetary.

Pick up the pennies along the roadway of your life, stop for prayer..... and trust. Then see how rich you truly are.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Women of October

October has always been special to me; russet pumpkins on haybales, Indian corn and golden leaves against an azure backdrop. It is fitting that this is also the month of my birthday, a day that has grown more into a moment of reflection than a time of celebration. So many woman have shared this road with me. Some I have known for many years and others are new travelers who I've enjoyed sharing this path with. So today I pay tribute to some of the extraordinary women in my life; women who share this birth month...the women of my October.

Karen - You are the little girl I held upon my knee, a pixie face surrounded by fitting tresses of auburn. You came into my life during happy years when I was young and the world was still new and lay before me. You have grown into a lovely young woman whose voice is angelic and pure, charting your way on this journey through the college years. How good it is to see you making such wise and lasting choices and how thrilled I am to be called "aunt". (October 2nd)

Christie - One of my first friends of the early marriage years. When I think of you I see a smiling face; a radiance that glows from within. I miss your brightness and energy and the talks that we used to share. You have taken a courageous step, a selfless step that allowed your family to remain intact and I admire you for that. Where did those years go when we were young wives and mothers and so sure of all that lay ahead? (October 6th)

Ava - Did I ever thank you for all the wonderful things you gave me? Being there when my daughter was born and worrying right along with my family.... Standing beside me when I felt lost and powerless.... Supporting my decision to be a stay-at-home mom when you were a career mother yourself, and letting me know that you thought I was doing a wonderful job. You never judged me, but always saw the goodness. How I wish we lived closer... (October 7th)

Kris - Where do I even begin? We have been friends since we were just 15, sharing silliness as high school students - small town and country girls who were really quite different, but somehow the same. You have been a rock for 30 years, never wavering in your friendship, a constant no matter how hard the wind has blown. You live in the city where the world turns faster and holds more things. And though our worlds are different, our hearts remain the same as if time somehow stopped and we are forever young. You have loved me through it all, through every step and I cherish our friendship now more than ever. (October 8th)

Doris - I have yet to figure out why my husband holds you at an arm's length. You have been nothing but kind to me since I married him, and though I take a second seat in his life and heart, you treat me as if there had been no one else. Your thoughtfulness to my children means so much to me and your generosity and perserverance is much admired. You put up with a lot and deserve so much more. I applaud you for moving ahead and for staying strong. (October 8th)

Barbara - Though I've known you for nearly ten years now, really I barely know you at all. The love that your son and I shared at one time was powerful and real and some of the most beautiful moments in my life. You stood by and watched us struggle, helping us when we asked and yet, knowing when you had to simply stand back and let us find our own way. Our paths eventually forked into different directions and you allowed us the space to see it through to that point. I wish I had your strength, wisdom and faith for it shows in how you treat others. (October 15th)

Helen - What a path that was made between your house and ours! Your daughter was one of my best childhood friends and my time spent with your family was priceless. You were always so calm and understanding, welcoming me as if I was one of your own. I remember those trips to our house during tornado season and all the things you and Mother sewed for us girls. I'll never forget our graduation presents (!) nor all those memories made on our front porch. Can I be 17 again? (October 16th)

Tracy - We were three years apart in school; years that can be a chasm at that point in a girl's life. But we became friends immediately and I cherish that sweet time. Who would know that your brother and my sister would eventually marry? We shared songs and trials and days of laughter and joy. You were the precious little sister that I never had, a true friend and the very epitome of what a Christian should be. (October 19th)

Andrea - My husband's beautiful daughter, you are a complete joy. Your laughter is contagious and your thoughtfulness, endearing. You have embraced me into your heart when it would have been just as easy to dismiss me. I would never try to take your mother's place; a woman who left this world too early and whom I know, you adored. Thank you for giving me a chance and for allowing me to be a part of the loveliness that is your life. (October 25th - Happy Golden!)

Lyndsee - How can you be getting married in 2 weeks? Just a few years ago you were a little brown-eyed girl who held my hand and let me practice at being a mother. The first grandchild, my oldest niece, you are irreplaceable in my heart. Forgiving and fun, you are the sparkle in our household. You will always be dear and young, a tulip of color on a prairie of sunflowers. How blessed I am to be your "Ya Ya". (October 30th)

Happy Birthday to you all. May many years of sweetness, joy and blessings await us!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pondering Twilight...

An old, but favorite photograph.
Whiskers eventually climbed down off that pole and frolicked away into the tall prairie grasses; a gypsy cat who after seeing this view set out to see what else the world had to offer. You go, girl....

Friday, September 08, 2006

Questions and Answers

Within my eye's view lies a busy highway; a road that leads both north and south, bringing travelers up from Texas and Oklahoma and down from Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Canada.
The path I take to get there is made of fine, brown dirt; soft and velvety beneath bare feet, the kind that drifts upward like cocoa chiffon with every step. It is a road just wide enough for one vehicle, where wildflowers and Johnson grass sway gently on either side.
I walk across the overpass and look out over the speeding traffic; tires upon asphalt overpowering the shuffle of my sneakers, the faithful blue healer by my side.
And I wonder....
Where are they going and where have they been? Are they happy about their destination or dreading its arrival? Do they see me, too, standing above them...and wonder the same things?

Sometimes I feel envious. The smooth ride of a new SUV passes underneath me and heads north; perhaps going into the city where there is art and music and diversity. It's shiny paint tells that it has never traveled dusty country roads and the illumination from its DVD reminds me of all the things I cannot give my own family. A sportscar zooms by, its driver hurrying across my stretch of prairie so he can get back to his comfortable world of neon lights and expensive food.
I think of all the places I want to go, and all the places I never will. My heart feels restless and my mind wanders to what might have, could have been. There are question for myself, yet no certain answers as I contemplate life from another view.

Then I turn to look across the horizon...and there is home. Home, where the light burns through my lacey curtains. Home, where the music of laughter rings against the walls. Home, where my children know me...and like me anyway, and where my husband waits with unconditional love. Home, where the treasures of my life are fixed in memories built there and memories waiting to be. My footsteps quicken westward down the hill as it beckons. And though the longings of another world follow on my shirt tail, they're shaken loose as I open the door to all that matters and know without a doubt, where I belong.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Choosing Breathless

"Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take,
But by the moments that take your breath away."

In 1999 my entire family traveled by car to Grand Lake, Colorado to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. During the second day of travel, my 9-year-old nephew asked his mother, "When is our vacation going to start?"

"It already has," she replied. "This is the vacation!"

How often do we simply get through our days on our way to somewhere else? We look forward to the that the big moments are the defining points in our lives. We want the momentous, memorable, important to happen so that we can mark our journey with red flags of accomplishment and wondrous times.

But life is a journey....and the journey is our life. It's sometimes easy to think that nothing is happening, that there must be something else to it all, somewhere else that we are meant to be. We forget that what we have is all we have; that in order to have moments that take our breath away we have to notice the beauty along the pathway instead of looking ahead for the magnificent view.

We all have breathless moments, signatures upon our biography that lead us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

*Being alone on top of Coronado Heights and seeing it in different lighting.

*A hug from someone I adore.

*Listening to music that unexplainably touches me.

*Walking down a dusty country road with twilight on my heels.

*A certain look from my husband.

*Having a bobcat, deer, raccoon come out of the brush, allowing me to view it close up.

*A gift out of the blue.

*A sincere compliment.

*Candlelit services on Christmas Eve.

*Sitting around a campfire with my family.

*Sunsets on the edge of my back yard.

*Fireworks on the Fourth of July.

*Dancing in a gazebo during a rainstorm.

*Riding a bike downhill, the wind in my hair.

*An unexpected letter from a dear friend.

*The brilliant display of Autumn.

*An "I Love You" from the heart.

It isn't how far you travel down the pathway at all, but simply what you see - and how you choose to see it - along the way.

In everyday, in some form or another, seize the moments that take your breath away and leave an indelible mark upon the tablet that is your life.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Passing Thoughts

On this cozy, rainy evening as I sit at the computer in my husband's office...these thoughts go through my head:

* Tomorrow is my dad's 79th birthday...and he is still a vibrant, happy, loving man who fills our lives and hearts.
* The county fair is over with sheep shown and sold. Another learning experience in my daughter's life.
* I love the idea of having an office like this....and miss having one of my own.
* Actually, I miss my old job.
* I'm praying for my friend, Bev, who is going through a difficult time. I miss her, too.
* My son's new contacts change his appearance so much. As is typical for a boy his age, he's growing away from me - in the way he's supposed to - and I'm trying to respect his space.
* I'm not sure if I'm ready for school. It isn't school itself that gives me pause, but all the "stuff" that accompanies it.
* I wish I could meet some of my finances through my writing and photography. Surely Oprah needs something I can do!
* Vanilla Diet Cokes from Sonic aren't a necessity of life, but they come awfully close!
* My niece is getting married in October. Life is going too quickly!
* I love my husband very much.
* I wonder how much longer my car will keep going. But it's running proof that prayer works!
* I feel far away from my stepdaughters right now.
* The rain feels and sounds so good in the midst of this dry, hot summer.
* I really want my daughter to have a good school year. She's too hard on herself.
* My hubby's computer chair is really comfortable!
* I miss corresponding with my blogger buddies.
* I think I must have the absolute best family in the whole world.
* I don't deserve all the blessings I've been given, but I'm so thankful for them.
* I should probably start doing some Christmas shopping.
* I miss having a front porch.
* I'll be 45 on October 17th. Wasn't I just 25 last year??
* I appreciate a clean school 1,000 X more after working this summer.
* I told my daughter that the buyers at the fair would load up all the sheep and take them to a lovely meadow where they would frolic and play. Of course we both knew it was in jest, but it was a nice thought anyway!
* I probably need to air up my back tire before I go into school tomorrow.
* And then there's that laundry....
* I really want to paint some of the rooms in our house. Color...more color...
* I'd like to have a week where I don't have anything to do but scrapbook.
* I love all of the beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings they have in the stores right now....being a girl is so much more interesting!
* Most women I know are really strong. I think we have to be.
* It seems like all of our rains are torrential. I remember when I was little, going outside underneath an umbrella and walking barefoot through the rain. We don't have those gently falling rains anymore...
* I hope all of our kitties at home are safe and dry.
* My husband has the best laugh.
* Tomorrow is another day. Aren't we lucky?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Catching Up

It seems like just last week I was packing up my classroom notebooks and trading it for a bucket filled with Terminator. It's been a tiring, hot summer....but it really has gone quickly. A usual summer finds me at home, relaxing with the kids and catching up on everything that has slipped by me during the school year. But these three months have been less of a hiatus, and though I typically am not ready to begin the academic craziness, this year I'm anticipating those first few days of challenge for my mind, giving my body a rest.

I have missed writing...and I have missed you all. I had planned to write things out longhand at home, then type them on the computer here at school during my lunch breaks. And though the thoughts were many and constantly playing out in my mind, I couldn't seem to transfer them to paper. I'm hoping this will change soon and I can once again record the memories and moments that make - and have made - up my life.

I keep saying that I'll be back, and I truly do mean it. Though this summertime path has led me in a different direction than I expected, my return is around the corner and I look forward to the reunion

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Childhood Memories

Going back through my archive, I came across this post from last August. It tells a lot about where and who I came from and rereading these poignant memories brings a smile to my heart during these long, hot days. If you can remember, too....wasn't it all wonderful?


Riding on the tractor with my dad in the fields...
Catching tadpoles, and checking each day until they turned into frogs.
Sailing high on the lap of a gunny sack swing...
Watching The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday nights.
Straddling the coolness of our propane tank, pretending it was a horse.
Birthdays of grade school friends I haven't seen in years...
The smell of cool, wet carbon copies...fresh off the machine in the days before Xerox.
When AIDS was dietary chocolate squares, intended to help one lose weight.
The wooden marble game in the children's waiting room at the doctor's office.
My mom and dad, waltzing during The Lawrence Welk Show.
When we had to get up to change the TV channel....and when there were only 3 stations.
Saying "Dibs" to reserve our favorite chair...
How I prayed all summer not to get Mrs. Shirley for 4th grade...and I got her anyway.
The wonderful display of sparkling rings to choose from at the dentist office.
Paying 25 cents a gallon for gasoline up at the county line...
Walking a mile to I - 135 before it opened for traffic...and riding my bike down it with my mother.
When those rubbery shoes known as "flip flops" were called "thongs".
Record players, the Hi-Fi and reel to reel tapes...
How I hated tacos the first time I ate them...yet how I love them now.
Sitting on top of the ice cream bucket to hold it still while my dad turned the crank.
Party lines and rotary phones...
My mother's beautiful, black-lacquered music box.
Richard Chamberlain and Ricky Nelson LP's.
Making forts in the currant bushes in the ditch across the road from our house.
Our bus driver making one ornery boy ride on the steps halfway home from school.
When we could get six ice cream cones at Dairy Queen for a total of 30 cents.
Colorful, knitted ponchos and purple jeans.
Davy Jones and the Monkees.
Wearing dresses every day to school.
The Wonderful World of Disney at 6:00 on Sunday evenings.
Cross-country tennis shoes - the black ones with white stripes.
Fizzies - little flavored tablets you put in water to make it taste (supposedly) like soda pop.
Roller skates with keys...that never seemed to stay on.
Bobby Sherman records made of cardboard on the back of a Raisin Bran box.
Making little dolls from the flowers of old-fashioned HollyHocks.
The BIG snowstorm in the early 70's...walking beside the clothesline on top of the drifts, and getting out of school for a week.
Riding in the back of the grain truck with the grasshoppers.
Playing Barbie's with my sister in the low window of our bedroom on the farm.
Colored cups made of tin - one for each member of the family (mine was dark blue).
Seeing a bright star in the east early one Christmas morning.
My little brother and I sliding across the kitchen floor in our socks.
Making Calico and Numpy books, Julie and I, after our two favorite cats.
Throwing up in kindergarten..and hating that last "airy" taste at the bottom of the milk carton.
Playing in the sprinkler on a hot August afternoon.
Rabbit ears for "great" reception...
When gas stations were called "filling stations"...and they were full service.
Popcorn and no-bake cookies on Sunday nights.
That horrible sounding bell they aired on television during a tornado warning...and my brothers making fun of me because I was terrified of storms.
Showing new puppies to Henry, our rural mailman, when he delivered our mail.
The wonderful tree house my cousin, Joe, built one glorious summer...
The fat tummy chair and the big corner cupboard.
The porch swing under the big elm tree and my mother's beautiful flower garden.
Matching dresses my sister and I wore, especially the one with fuzzy cherry material, a white pleated skirt, and a big red sash.
Sibyl Carey, my mother's dear friend who lived up the artist and first inspiration.
The wonderful farm where countless memories were made and a family of eight lived, laughed and loved.

We were the richest kids I knew.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


It's a silly thing, really. Funny how such little things can make my day and yet, there it was...right under my nose. Insignificant in itself but with a bigger meaning on this day.

It's been hard: moving furniture in hot hallways amidst 100% humidity. We were all tired by 7:00 a.m. and tempers were short as exhaustion coupled with the Kansas heat took their toll. Later we scattered in different directions, one being the gymnasium where I began scraping bleachers and floors in preparation for an upcoming basketball tournament. As I was scrubbing off sticky soda pop under my feet, something caught my eye. There beneath the painted concrete was a distinct and perfectly shaped heart. In other places on the floor, the humidity had raised little circles or irregular shapes, but there was no mistaking this familiar icon; the symbol of love.

On a difficult day it was just the sign I needed. There in the most unexpected place I was reminded that I am loved and that there are so many who hold a place in my heart as well. Something simple, something profound. The greatest of these, the greatest gift.

Even when its found among the bleachers on a dirty gymnasium floor.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hello World!

Wow. It's been such a long time, or at least it seems like such a long time, since I've written on here and with the lengthiness of my absence, you would think I'd have a lot to say. And I do....
Unfortunately, my time is short and though my minutes are brief, please know that I haven't forgotten all of you who have become a part of my daily thoughts.

This summer has been challenging. I'm up at 5:00 a.m. and here at the school at 6:00. We work 10 hour days so we can have Fridays off (YES). It hasn't been the most pleasant few weeks, and it is hot, hard work. But....each day still brings a kind of joy and how thankful I am to be able to work. Though the days are long, I am blessed to work with a group of fun women who make the hours more bearable and who don't take themselves too seriously in this summer madness!

I do miss checking in with all of you, seeing what is going on in your lives and reading your blogs. My online time is rare, so I try to catch one or two people each time I'm here. I haven't forgotten your friendship and support and promise....PROMISE that I will be back to writing. Until then, to Bonnie, Mellissa, Mike, Clew, Martie, Naive, Cheryl, Pete, Rebecca, Network Chic, Alan, SRP, Nelly, anyone I've forgotten, and everyone who may read here, I send my fondest thoughts and wishes of health and happiness to you all and look forward to catching up on a daily basis again.

'Til we meet again....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another Step

Tonight my son will stand before his classmates, family and teachers as the Salutatorian at his 8th grade promotion. I will watch as his nearly 6'0" frame envelopes the podium and his deep voice echoes through the auditorium. He will read the words he's written around his class motto: "Dreams are not something to wait for, they are something to work for"..... and I'll wonder where the years have gone.

Last August I wrote something similar about the little boy who is quickly growing up. It is bittersweet, watching him change before my eyes. But holding onto something - or someone - only prolongs the inevitable, and guiding him with encouragement into adulthood is both rewarding and fulfilling.

Tonight that perpetual smile will fill my heart once again as a young man steps into the shoes of a small boy, forever altering his path....and forges ahead in a very blessed life.

A repost, my honor of 'that little boy of mine'.

That Little Boy of Mine...

"A tiny turned-up nose, Two cheeks just like a rose
So sweet from head to toes....that little boy of mine.
Two eyes that shine so bright, Two arms to hold me tight,
Two lips to kiss goodnight....that little boy of mine.

No one will ever know, Just what his coming has meant,
Because we love him so, He must be Heaven-sent...

He climbs up on my knee, He's all the world to me,
To me he'll always be....that little boy of mine..."

He has to lean down to hug me now. A few months ago I could easily slide my arm around his shoulders, accustomed to his childhood voice of the last 13 years. Now the words he says are deeper and from the throes of adolescence. And I wonder where those years have gone.

I wasn't prepared for the absolute delight of having a little boy. My first child, a daughter, was cautious with herself in the world. Though loving and beautiful, she was particular to whom she gave her affections to and carried herself delicately amongst things unknown. Her little brother bore an amazing resemblance to her with his dark eyes and sweet face, but he quickly developed his own personality, endearing him to me and marking his own place in my heart.

I remember holding him close when he was very tiny and him taking my hand and laying it gently upon his cheek. He was so affectionate with a perpetual smile and energy that temporarily came to rest alongside him in bed each night. A sensitive child, he learned early to guard the feelings of others and appreciate what was true and beautiful in life.

He was my helper in the kitchen, my champion brownie-taster. My partner in creepy-crawler-making, he kept me young and enthusiastic with his genuine wonder and excitement over little things.

Always our clown, he soon found that a silly face could bring a reaction, but has - for the most part - used it to entertain only a receptive appropriate moments!

Like his father and sister, he loves cats and has grown up with at least one curled beside him. And though his volume is turned WAY up more often than not, he seems to know when noise is nuisance rather than necessity... and learned that quiet creatures prefer peace over racket.

Though in many ways he is a "typical boy", he possesses a certain tenderness and a gentle spirit that serves as a guide in how he treats others. His capacity for reading right from wrong is great and his kind and forgiving heart is so very precious.

His babyhood days are vivid: Batman costumes and decorating sugar cookies, "treasure" walks around the neighborhood and refreshing sprinkler runs in the backyard. Swinging on the board swing at Nan and Pop's house, moving to his "big boy bed", that first haircut.....and little black cowboy boots. I feel a little hand in mine and soft kisses upon my cheek at bedtime. I hear sweet songs on cassette tapes and contagious giggling with his big sister. It's hard to see him growing up.

But he is. I cannot stop that...and I wouldn't want to. Just as there were memorable moments from his baby days and childhood, I know that ahead lies many adventures and exciting experiences. I really wouldn't want him to stay little, for I'm enjoying getting to know who he's becoming. The young man who sits beside me today is one I'm very proud of, knowing he is making good decisions and choosing a path that is leading him in the right direction. He is on his way to the wonderful man that I know he will be. I will have to let go, let him fly...and it will be all right. And when he is grown and gone from the nest and the safety of my arms he will still and always be....

That little boy of mine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The clock sits in front of me, just to my right. I watch it as the minutes spin faster, telling me my time is limited. It will soon be up and I will have to return to the classroom. Children's footsteps echo down the hallway and their little voices fill the long corridors with laughter. People come in and out of the lab, stopping to talk to me, interrupting the flow of thoughts, then sit down just a few feet away. Bangles clang together, keyboards tap out assignments and requests.....and I am at a loss.

Before my feelings were smooth and in my own time. Now they are scheduled, racing against a clock that taunts me. No photographs lay in a folder to help relay my story. No comfy chair to sit in or familiar surroundings to coax my thoughts along. This room is cold and impersonal, like a contemporary refrigerator box and evokes no memories from my mind.....and I am at a loss.

The hands of time tell me when to go. They dictate when I can write, then I am out of the gate; off to speed down the track to get something out there. But nothing comes. I am a stranger here in this space, with everything to say but with no way to say it.

I keep telling myself I'll be back. But for now, I am lost....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday is Mother's Day. As a tribute to my own dear mother, I am reposting something I wrote last summer as I don't have time to do justice to a new writing.

We each come from a long line of people who loved one another, and it is humbling to look back and know that if just one thing had been out of alignment, we wouldn't be here at all.

Wishing you all a wonderful Mother's Day, whether you're a mother yourself, are honoring your own mother or simply know an incredible woman who has brought joy and love into your heart. God bless you all!

Mother's Scrapbook

I have a treasure. Actually, I have many. But this particular one is a tangible, hold-in-my-hand keepsake; a bit of history...a memento of the past. My mother's past.

Inside a worn and faded scrapbook lies pictures...drawings by my mother. On the inside of the embossed cover is the date, November 9, 1943 - the last weeks of Mother's 16th year. The pages, now yellowed, are crisp in my hands and hold priceless illustrations of my grandparents, aunts and uncles; my ancestory in its youth.

My mother grew up in Fredonia, KS...the second daughter and third child in a family of nine children. I believe that during the time of these drawings her beloved brother, "Bud" was serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying across South America, Africa, Agra and India so he was not featured in her pictures. And her baby sister was yet to be born.

Looking at these illustrations transports me to another world: a time before I knew. Here my maternal relatives are children and teenagers, not the middle-aged adults that I first came to know; not the loved ones of present day, or those who have passed on. Their sweet faces and daily life is captured on the pages of my mother's memory. I picture her as she sat on the floor, sketching her siblings much as she sketched my brothers, sisters and me when we were growing up.

Her pictures tell a story of their life together, of little sisters playing marbles on the floor or a Chopsticks duet, her brother relaxing after his paper route and adolescents gathered around the radio, doing stitchery or practicing the latest style in hair of the fashionable 40's.

Mother absolutely adored her brothers and sisters and always loved spending time with the little ones. Being on the older end of the sibling spectrum, one might think she would have tired of them. But being a nurturer was her calling and when she speaks of this time, it is always with the greatest affection.

My grandparents, too, were a great source of strength and love in Mom's life. I have no recollection of my grandfather who passed away when I was very young, but see him through her eyes as a lovely man I wish I'd come to know. My grandmother is remembered as a woman of great strength, optimism and wit. How fortunate to have this peek into their life; the life that Mother knew.

Little did she know, in 1943-44, that the days of the radio, wood stove and crank telephone would be replaced with our modern technology; a world that now revolves faster and speaks louder. It was life as they knew it yet now looking back, it was so extraordinary in its own simplicity.

In the days of digital cameras and of the instantaneous, a fantastic picture is fairly commonplace. We capture the memory on small screens and printed photo paper, and how amazing it is in its clarity and brilliance.
But these illustrations sketched some 60 years ago hold a place of their own. They are not just a representation of what life was, but my mother's interpretation of the moment...her individualized memory.

I think of Mom as a young woman. At the time of these drawings she didn't know my dad yet. She didn't know that she would go on to have six children of her own and twelve grandchildren, all who completely adore her. She passed her love of art down to us all and we continue her legacy in our own unique ways.

These drawings, these people: Charles, Verna, Bud, Betty, Bonnie June, Georgie, Doug, Shirley, Dorothy, Thenie, Nancy... they are part of my life, my history. Thank you for taking me back. How humbling to meet you all...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Once Upon a Love

Once upon a time there was a young girl who fell in love...

We were nothing alike: I was serious, quiet and loved books and art. He was funny, boisterous, an athlete. Still, our foundations were similar and we felt we could build on their solidity, joining our worlds and starting our own, unique family.

He could infuriate me...but he could also make me laugh. It was hard to stay angry in the midst of charming company. His practical nature grounded my romantic soul and he watched over me like a man who adores his wife.

We traveled to Canada and Missouri to fish, and weekends found us huddled in a mass of brush in chilly fall weather. We would sit in the stillness of morning amidst chattering squirrels; waiting for the soft steps of a doe or buck on crisp leaves. A camera was my friend. A rifle was his. We shot baskets at the park and watched the Celtics and Royals on T.V. It was interesting, different, fun. was him.

Years passed swiftly bringing us a precious auburn-haired daughter and an adorable and delightful brown-eyed boy. They turned our world with their joyful antics and for awhile we forgot that there was supposed to be a "You and Me". Life became more about them and less about us, and growth was substituted with sustinence.

Life is a kaleidoscope of color and complexity, swirling around in a tube of ever-changing patterns. I began to find a stranger in the mirror each morning, as if someone had crawled beneath the covers of my existance in the middle of the night and chased the real 'me' away. And when the dust cleared and I stepped back into my life, I was a single mother, checking the ugly title of "divorced" on applications and forms.

It was my idea, the separation. People think that initiating the end makes it easier and pain-free. It seemed that everyone was angry with me as family and friends fell away. They could not see from my perspective and as a result, the light went out in my perfect, unblemished world.

It took years for me to forgive myself; I came from a long line of happy and lasting marriages and knew I had let so many people down. But slowly I made my way back to a place where I was proud of where I stood and content with my life.

Though my former husband and I had some bitterness at first, we sat down together and made choices that would be best for our children and for our own lives. We put aside the pain we both felt to make things right for us all. For us, it was the only option.

Ten years ago we took a terrible road and became lost, going in different directions, unable to find our way back to the same path. But the roads we took separately have led us to a neutral place of understanding and affection that will be with us til the end. We share a past. We share a family. He is still very close to my parents and siblings, and since his own mom and dad are gone, I wouldn't dream of taking away the only parents he now has. He comes to our son's games and to my daughter's programs. He takes them shopping for dress slacks and glittery gold shoes and is a part of many moments of their lives. He sits beside my husband at games where they discuss strategy and talk about their days on the court, and people stare, perplexed that we "work" as a normal and loving family.

Our children are young people who are strong in their identity, knowing who and where they came from and feeling safe in the love we each give them. They've never been asked to choose between us, but know that love is unconditional and has no boundaries. They are bright, intelligent people who are happy and grounded and secure because we have chosen to make their lives so.

It would be easy to drum up the hurtful moments; the things that ate at our marriage and caused it to crumble. But life is too short, too fleeting to be wasted on yesterday's failures. You pick up the pieces and find a way to make them fit. It's new and different from before, but the beauty is still there. It's called forgiveness, love, perseverance....and hope.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thank You

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who continue to check my blog and who have left comments and emails at my doorstep. It means a great deal to know you are still here, continuing to read and support me.

I'm hoping to get into the computer lab here at school during my lunchbreaks and get back to writing. I have a couple of posts in draft form that include photographs I saved prior to losing our PC. Now that testing with our students is completed, I should be able to get some things posted and move ahead with my writing. That's my hope, anyway!

Bless you all. You're proof that love truly is the greatest of these.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Still here...

The warm winds of summer have been blowing early across Kansas, stirring up dust from dry fields and ushering in temperatures usually reserved for June.
The world has been spinning quickly, filling up my time since I last wrote. My daughter hippity-hopped across the stage in three performances, then said 'good-bye' to this year's play in anticipation of her first prom. Track season began for my son as he races in the mile; a 'high-profile-vehicle' running against the strong Kansas winds! I met up with my youngest step-daughter; a college sophmore trying to figure out her future as her dad and I joined her for lunch on a nice day off. We traveled down to Oklahoma for another daughter's wedding and watched as she stepped over the threshold to begin a new family of her own. Easter brought lilies and worship, colorful eggs, chocolate rabbits and a loving gathering. With teenagers in the house now, the Easter bunny skipped right over us, perhaps being overwhelmed himself with life's turns and busyness.
My prairie has changed from washes of gray to waving green wheat and blue skies, and despite the drought we are in, life is beginning anew. The past few days have brought five baby kittens as well as two new sheep: an FFA project for my sensitive daughter who will have a hard time selling them at the county fair. Life holds up her gallant chin...and time marches on.
Despite our hectic spring, my absence is really due to something else. Right after my last post, we lost our computer to a terrific electrical storm. Though I have access to a computer here at school, my time is limited. Most days, as soon as I finish in the classroom, I clock in for custodial work. Then it's home to family and chores. With many other financial obligations, it may be some time before we can afford a new computer and I can begin posting as I once did. I'm sad at the loss of my photographs and the luxury of both writing for myself and reading all of your wonderful posts. There's definitely a void where that colorful part once was.
Until it's resolved, I'll be filling my days with school and home, meetings and banquets, the loveliness of May and my son's 8th grade promotion. Thank you so much for remembering my "place" and for your kind and caring comments. I think of you all often and hope that the sun is shining brightly on each of your paths.
A hug and a prayer....I will be back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sweet Dreams

The wind howls outside the window...
The computer hums a serenade...
The clock ticks in perfect syncopation...
A soft squeak from a chair of leather...
In the distance, the traffic flows by on the highway...
My son sighs in deep slumber...
The keys tap a rhythmic sing-song pattern...
Somewhere a plane flies overhead...

The sounds of night time are all around me, calling me to go to sleep.
I have a list a mile long of undone things and unsaid words and worries left to make all right. But today I've done the best I can, it's time to put the day to rest.
Tomorrow we'll all start again, but now it's time to say, "Good Night."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Louise's Luncheonette

The diner is open....and the costumes are finished - yippee!

I'm such a procrastinator, but with the end of spring break (sniff, sniff) and the play less than two weeks away, I finally sat down today and spent some time with my sewing machine. Now it's down to minutes with an iron.

The setting is a 1950's diner and there will be a lot of fun music from that era, a Ricky Nelson-style rock star and lots of poodle skirts and pony tails. With 6:30 a.m. practices before school, I think everyone is getting closer to being performance-ready!

Shoo Bop A Boo Bop, She Bop Do Dop!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Go Fly A Kite

My son and his friend are out flying a kite. They have taken a small piece of colorful plastic and turned it into something beautiful, setting it assail on a sea of air. It swoops and soars, dipping low on the horizon then suddenly zooms skyward, blending with the clouds as if part of its natural canvas.

It's amazing how something so simple can be so beautiful. And how giving wing and flight to such simplicity can make one's heart sing.

Put away your wallet; step back from the television; the laundry and dishes will surely wait. Set course, get your ticket, climb aboard, set sail. Go fly a kite.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Being Lazy

It is 10:30 on a Wednesday morning...and I am still in my robe. Though it's spring break, I've been working 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the past couple of days doing floors at the school, and I decided to be a bum this morning and sleep in. The last few weeks have been exhausting and harried..... and I feel like I'm always on my way to somewhere else.

Life has a way of rushing us along its path; our calendars filled to the brim, always on the move. I try to observe along the way and take breaks for small moments that can add beauty and solace to each day. I've found that if we don't make those times for ourselves, no one else will schedule them for us.

Today while you're looking both ways before you run across the street, notice the flowers on the corner, the sweet little girl in her father's arms, the feel of the sunshine on your back, the smells from the bakery, the smile on another's face. While you're living this life, don't forget to stop every once in awhile and really enjoy it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thanking his thoughtfulness

A package arrived yesterday from a small college in Nebraska. Inside lay two sets of CD's; two thoughtful gifts from one lovely benefactor.

I wrote earlier of a gentleman, the Chair of this college's music department, who honored my request, taking it to a higher level and giving both my friend and I a collection of beautiful, a cappella choral music.

The gray-shadowed light was beginning to filter in through the school's doorway this morning when I took my friend aside and handed her a small, lavender bag. She read the card, smiled and gave me a hug for the sentiments I had shared, then reached for what lay between the tissue paper. It took just a moment for her to realize what they were and her face lit up with both surprise and pleasure. I told her the story of this wonderful man I had talked with who turned out to be, her choir director from nearly 20 years ago. She held the discs close as her smile grew wider and hugged me once more, saying, "This is the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me."

We all have the ability to make someone's day. I made a phone call and in return, was given the beautiful gift of thoughtfulness and inspiration from a man who is no longer a stranger, but a kindred spirit. He understood both my heart and my friend's longing for the sweet music of her youth. With one simple thought, and one grand gesture he reached out to embrace us both with a Christ-like grace. How beautiful for us all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NY, NY...and home again

I want to go to New York. I want to circle the air above the Statue of Liberty and see what my ancestors first experienced on their voyage across the Atlantic. I want to have my picture taken in Times Square and ride the elevators in Macy's. I want to see "Phantom" on Broadway and sit on the veranda of a Jazz club, listening to the brass while surrounded by a thousand twinkling lights. I want to ride in a limo, a carriage, a taxi.....and talk to the people who are driving each one. I want to climb to the greatest heights and look out at the nightime skyline and across the harbor where the lady gracefully sheds her light on our weary spirits. I want to eat at a sidewalk cafe, browse through the stores and buy flowers from a corner vendor. I want to watch the people in suits and designer sunglasses as they rush madly about, wondering if they realize what is really important; studying their faces and looking for the soul behind the eyes that look past me. I want to visit museums and ride a subway and dance among the flowers on a garden rooftop. For just a moment I want to become one of the crowd, blending into the masses, tapping into another part of who I am.

And then I'll come home to my wheatfields and meadows where wildflowers bloom with reckless abandon. I'll ride in a pick-up truck with worn-out shocks and drive down dusty roads. I'll sit in the audience as my children perform in a little school play and pick flowers for the table from my own backyard. I'll eat at the small cafe up on the hill and generously tip the waitress who gives me a tired smile and keeps my coffee cup filled. I'll have my picture taken as I play with the dog or shoot baskets with my son, climb to the top of the bluffs and watch as the sun sets low on the prairie. I'll talk to those who have descended from the pioneers; people who bravely came out west to build what we now call home. I'll look into eyes that meet mine and find light, love, contentment.

Someday I'm going to New York....and it's going to be fabulous!
Though I'll be completely out of my element, I'll relish the chance to step outside of my box, experience new things and make lasting memories.

And then I'll step back into the box,
explore different things, have treasured moments.
I'll come back home again....and it's going to be wonderful!

Knitting 101

One night when my son was playing Jr. High basketball, I took my yarn and knitting needles so I could knit between games. I was in the stands, concentrating on the project in my lap when a little boy from my class came to sit beside me. He is a beautiful 10-year-old with fabulous charm and wit. His translucent blue eyes watched me carefully. "Hey, can you teach me how to do that?"
I looked at him, this enthusiastic ball of energy and smiled. Because there is a story behind this little guy.
He was born with hydrocephalus and has had many surgeries to place and work on a shunt which drains the fluid from his brain. Due to these circumstances and having missed so much school, he is in our class for learning disabled students. When I came here four years ago, I immediately fell in love with his charisma and perpetual grin; a ornery, happy-go-lucky child who is never afraid to tackle a project and put himself completely in the moment.
"Of course I can," I said. "I'll tell you what. Tomorrow I'll bring some larger needles and some yarn to the game and we can learn right here."
A heart-stopping smile. "Okay!" he said. We had a date.
The next night, true to form, there he was. His eyes found me in the crowd immediately as he worked his way up the bleachers and plopped down beside me. "I'm ready to learn!"

Teaching an exuberant little boy how to knit is difficult enough...but I had forgotten he was left-handed. He watched as I cast on a few stitches and began the knit stitch, then became impatient to try himself. He is definitely a participant in life and doesn't have a moment to waste on watching it pass him by. Needles flashed awkwardly and stitches were dropped. I watched as a usually patient little boy grew in frustration, beginning again and again as he breathed, "This is really hard!"
Then suddenly...he had it. The light came on, enthusiasm peaked....and he was off. He excitedly took his new found skill to share with others and I watched as he used his own technique to make the yarn grow and expand into something of his own making. He asked for help a few times and I would get him back on track, but I was amazed at how he proceeded with confidence and determination.

"I can't" are not words in his vocabulary. He is open to learning new things and is always ready with willingness and an undaunted spirit. A little boy who learns differently than most in this world teaches me often the power and loveliness of "I think I can!"

(August 2, 2005)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It's been sew long

I've had to step out of my writing mode for a few days to catch up on other aspects of my life. I'm a terrible procrastinator and have put off some serious sewing that has needed to be done for awhile now. My daughter is in a 1950's theme musical and will be playing the part of the Luncheonette owner. I had to make three of these dresses (shown here in various stages of construction!) and a couple of poodle skirts. Aprons and caps are still on the drawing table...

These 'little' projects always end up taking more time than I initially think...and it's been a crazy weekend of playing catch up.

Many thoughts are swirling around in my head, and I promise I'll be back with something worth reading before too long. But for now, it's back to the machine...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Julie

I never remember a time without my sister. We were companions from the beginning; those early days a collage of so many different memories. We were little girls in flannel jammies, pedal pushers, matching dresses and shiny pony tails. Wherever one of us was, you were sure to find the other; two colorful peas in a pod, twins born in separate years: siblings, sisters, friends.

Alike in many ways, yet so different in others.
Julie: standing patiently while Mom braided her long wavy tresses.
Lori: yowling as a comb went through her short strands of straight, fine hair.
Julie: wearing her delicate bracelets with care, then tucking them safely away. (She has them to this day.)
Lori: losing little gold squares, one by one that dangled from her Ten Commandments bracelet as she climbed trees, scattering them like little messages across the farmyard.
Julie: quick to anger - quick to forgive.
Lori: a pot, simmering on the back burner for hours in silence...and taking her time reducing the heat.

And the memories:
-Playing Barbies for hours inside the low window of our bedroom.
-Listening to Eddy Arnold, Ricky Nelson and Richard Chamberlain on our record player; pretending we were the cast of "The Monkies" and "Gilligan's Island".
-Lying back on the uppermost branches of our big evergreen trees, swaying with the breeze and enjoying the bird's eye view.
-Building snowforts in the winter, bread sacks wrapped around our feet inside our rubber boots, and in the summertime, making clubhouses deep inside the currant bushes that lined the ditches across the road.
-Riding in the back of the grain truck on the hydraulic lift at the elevator during deep harvest.
-Giggling at the supper table, at church, during my brother's recitals.
-Putting my cold feet against her warm ones in our big double bed.
-Our matching dresses, made by Mother, which we named: Our "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" pattern, our cherry dresses with the white pleated skirts and big red sashes, the cowboy vests and skirts, the cute bright-colored jumpers, the red scratchy Christmas dresses. And the colors; she in pink, me in blue.
-Mother reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to us in bed at night, long after we could read ourselves, just to have that time together.
-Lying in the sun on lazy, summer afternoons.
-Listening to America's Top 40 with Kasey Kasem, and trying to stay up to catch the late movie before the T.V. turned to snow and the Star Spangled Banner was played.
-Spending hours on the front porch with our friends during the long summer days, in the evenings, during a thunderstorm...
-Trick-or-Treating on the farm when we were little, then when we were older, dressing up just to be silly.
-Walking around town with Mom on Christmas Eve night, singing carols.
-Being more than sisters during the last 43 years: Being friends.
As our childhood and youth disappeared into adulthood, our paths came to a fork and veered off in different directions. We went to college, began jobs, got married and started families. We slipped in and out of sibling consciousness during those years of joys and trials in our lives, eventually coming back to the sisterhood that is so familiar and holds us close.

Life has touched us in different ways...but we are still the same; our names forever linked by our beginning and the years we've shared. My sister has been a lighthouse in my life that has brought me through stormy waters, waiting on a calm shore; an anchor who has held me on solid ground. Sharing our lives, our family, our experiences has made me a stronger, better person.

God knew I needed someone to hold my hand through childhood, to boost me through adolescence and help me grow up. He placed my hand in Julie's and gave us a gift.

My sister, my friend. My past, my present. A future together. A treasure, forever.

(Sept. 25, 2005)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Kindness of a Stranger

My friend, Shelly will be celebrating her birthday soon. We met three years ago at the school where we both work and had an instant connection. She is one of the few people here that "gets me" on so many different levels. One of those is our love of music.

Growing up in separate small Kansas communities, we both enjoyed being part of our school choirs and fostered an appreciation for music, both in and outside of our academic setting.

I have recently been listening to old tapes from my church choir, and Shelly expressed how she would love to have a recording of some of her college performances from the late 1980's. So yesterday I called the small college she attended and was connected to the Professor of their music department. I explained what I was looking for and why, and he listened with interest. He said it was definitely worth a try and promised to search through the archives and see what he could find.

This afternoon I received an email from this gentleman who unfortunately, couldn't locate any of the tapes. But because he was touched by this gesture for my friend, he wants to send us both a set of choral CD's, as a gift.

It is a small thing. It is a big thing. This gift of music will soon be on its way, and I am moved by the kindness of a stranger. The fact that this man stopped in the midst of his busy day to honor a request from someone he does not know is a tribute to his character. I suspect I am not the first recipient of his generosity and goodness. And though these notes will not be of my initial request, the music of his spirit rings perfectly to the tune of thoughtfulness.

What a beautiful melody.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Necessary Words

Remember Truman, the gentleman I wrote to last year who passed away before he could read my card? His brother, Ralph, a lovely man in his late 80's, is equally wonderful.... and this time I'm not going to delay my words until it's too late.

Dear Ralph,

So often we take people for granted. We assume they know our thoughts and feel our appreciation. We seldom stop to say, "You are valued", "Thanks so much", "I'm grateful for all you do".

I look out my window at school and see you pushing a mower around the yard, even though the temperatures rise with every passing moment. When I drive through town I watch as you work around the neighborhood. At church, games and activities, there you are, always ready to support and help. Yet, I know that for everything I see, there are countless of unseen acts of kindness where you are at the helm. I see the respect in the eyes of others when they speak to you and of you, and I realize that I am privy to greatness in action.

It is the quiet, gentle people that speak the loudest to me; those who expect no fanfare, but quietly do good because it is in their very nautre.

You are such a person; one who not only brightens the corner where you are, but lights the entire room. You touch lives with your kindness and grace and speak volumes with your caring heart. It would be difficult to find a man with more class and true concern for his neighbors, and I am honored to share this community with you. Actions do speak louder than words and yours are a living scripture of God's message to love one another.

I think these things each time I see you, but loving thoughts are useless unless they are shared. And for every thought I have expressed I know there are many who echo it.

So Ralph, please know that you are valued and appreciated, and that so many are grateful for all that you do. Your life is a blessing and testament, and an example for the rest of us to follow.
How rich we all are to share this journey with you.


(August 2006 - post date)

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Truman was a quiet, elderly man who often sat beside me at church. He was a lifelong resident of our community, except for the six years he spent in the Navy right after high school. He cared about everything and everyone and was such a dear spirit.

I remember visiting him in the hospital a few years back, holding his hand and talking softly about all that was going on at home.... and sneaking up to the doorway of his little apartment in town with a May Day basket, hoping he would understand the sentiments and tradition behind its contents. He was the kind of man we all respected, strived to be like, loved.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with his brother, Ralph, who told me that Truman was beginning to slip away. The Parkinson's Disease had taken over and his recent home had been the Hospice Care Center. His 87th birthday was approaching and his children had requested a card shower for him. Though I had known about it for a few days, it was awhile before I took the time to pen him this letter:

Dear Truman,

This card may arrive late with its birthday wishes, but please know that they are sincere and heartfelt.
Though I haven't expressed it in words, I have thought of you so often over these past few months. Your presence is missed in church and around the community, by many.

If someone were to ask me, "Who is the hub that turns the wheel of our town?" I would answer, "Truman". You were one of the first faces that became familiar to me after we moved to this community; a face, I soon learned, that belonged to a very gracious and caring man.

I grew accustomed to seeing you on the pew next to me: a quiet presence with a great soul. You spoke more to our hearts through your gentle ways than many can express through loud proclamations. And your message of grace and kindness was clear. You have truly been an example of how God wants us to treat each other.

Several years ago I saw a black and white photograph of a town parade with a strong, young man leading it. Years flew by and things changed, but the leadership of a man named Truman remained constant.

How wise your mother must have been when she gave you your name, for you are indeed a ' True Man' - the essence of what God intended for us all.

Happy Birthday, Truman! With Love and Blessings....

My words were too late. On February 22, Truman turned 87 years old.....and then gracefully slipped into his new life. My unopened card came back in the mail where it sits on the kitchen countertop as a reminder that I hesitated too long. It will be awhile before I forgive myself for sitting on my words.

The Saturday before his passing, I wrote about cleaning at the school and how a certain song, "Make Me Have the Mind of Christ" had spoken so strongly to my heart. As I sat at Truman's service exactly one week later, the minister left us with a Bible verse that described how this man lived his life. It was Philippians 2:1-11: The Mind of Christ.

He didn't read them on this earth, but perhaps somehow Truman felt my words..... and let me know through God, that he had heard me afterall.