Friday, February 29, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - February 29th

I posted this photo a year or so ago, but it's still one of my favorite 'sky' pictures.

Our dog, G.T., seems to be waiting for spring.
I join him in that watch...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taking in the Moment

I remember this day from last summer. The kids, two of their cousins and I spent time out at the river; wading in the water, skipping rocks and soaking up the sunshine. When I look at the photographs from that glorious, lazy afternoon, I'm taken back to the moment when everything was vivid and peaceful........and the clock briefly stands still.

I cherish times like these.
And those memories made will forever be carried in the pocket of my heart...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekend Fun

There's no secret about it: weekends go by much too quickly. It seems like we're all celebrating on Friday afternoon and the next thing we know, it's Monday again.

This two-day hiatus was filled with shopping for my daughter's upcoming trip to New York, regional basketball games, sleet and baking.

As always, the kids found time for friends, both on the road and at home. When freezing rain fell mostly on the roads and driveways, they enjoyed sliding on the frozen surface, some staying out longer than others in the frigid air.

Extra sugar cookie dough was brought out from the freezer and made into a 'pizza' whose
looks left a bit to be desired, but whose taste was 'supreme'!

There's always laughter in our home when the kids are around and they keep my heart young and alive.

May your Monday bring sunshine and warmth. If not in temperature, then from the joy of having a new week before you.

Happy days ahead!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - February 22nd

I love the "technicolor" of this picture. The western clearing shone brightly on the ominous clouds that had passed over us just moments before, lighting up the field stubble and trees in a surreal golden hue.

To the southeast, white low-lying clouds danced angrily in a misty swirl; an impressive show that eventually dissipated into harmless blue.
Moments later I turned to face the glorious horizon as clouds parted in a shimmering curtain call.

A show of nature, at its best.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow Day

This picture was actually taken last year on a *Snow Day* when my son's friend was stranded at our house on his birthday, but it seemed to fit the day.

Early this morning I awoke to lightning, thunder and torrential rain that froze when it hit the ground, turning our roads into a slippery skating rink. Since our school is mostly made up of rural students and teachers from out of town, classes were called off for the day and we were treated to extra hours snuggled beneath our covers.

It's always nice to have a break from the everyday activities and have a day at home to rest. And I know I would miss winter if I lived somewhere warm and sunny all year round.

That being said, I'm looking forward to the first green of spring and waking up to birds singing outside my window. The calendar says that's just a month away...and I'm holding her to it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sharing a Laugh

I was cleaning out a closet the other day and came across this 'funny' that I'd clipped from a newsletter several years back. It's not mine to claim, but it always brings a laugh.

A group of senior citizens were sitting around talking about their ailments.
"My arms are so weak I can hardly hold this cup of coffee," said one.
"Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad, I can't even see my coffee," replied another.
"I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a third, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.
"My blood pressure pills make me dizzy," claimed another.
"I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," winced an old man as he shook his head.
Then there was a short moment of silence.
"Well, it's not that bad," said one woman cheerfully. "Thank God we can all still drive!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lovely Beginnings

"Roses are red, my love...
Violets are blue...
Sugar is sweet, my love...
But not as sweet as you."

-- Bobby Vinton

On Valentine's Day the special boy in my daughter's life brought a big balloon to school, carrying it through the hallways with his usual wide grin. Attached to the end of its red ribbon was a cute stuffed monkey with the words, "Our First Valentine".

When you tapped the bottom of the balloon it played "Roses are Red" in an old-fashioned, lovely serenade. As it hovered over her locker for the duration of the day, the melody resonated through the hallway each time a student passed by and tapped the red, floral heart.

My daughter was enchanted. And why shouldn't she be? In a delightful display of public affection, this young man scoffed at the inevitable teasing and stepped out on that high-up limb to offer his heart to my little girl.

I watch the two of them together: the smiles they share, the adoration in their eyes, the laughter and newness of early romance written on their faces. It's sweet, innocent...and utterly charming. In these beginnings there is a loveliness that speaks to the sentimental and ever hopeful.

And though this particular beginning may not stand the test of time, it is still a precious prelude to the everlasting love that I know, awaits her.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Mother's Love

"A Mother is one who can take the place of all others,
But whose place, no other can take."

The other day a good friend of mine and I were talking about our Mothers. We discussed the unconditional love they feel for us; the way they love us like no one else ever has or ever will. We talked about the connection between a Mother and a child...and the care, nurturing and tenderness only a Mother can give. The following day I found this Valentine in my mailbox:
I talk often about the blessings of my own children, but without my Mother's gentle hand and gracious spirit, I never would've known where love begins.

When I read this note, I cried.
Because truly, there is no Mother.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Still Winter

More snow is on the way. Though it's been a long cold winter, I have to admit each time we get a new blast of wintry air and snow, it brings beauty to the landscape.

Here's to warm blankets, a good book and a toast to the ground hog. Even though he gave us an extra six weeks, we'll appreciate spring when it finally arrives.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

It's hard for me to keep my camera off the sky. Its splendor never fails to amaze me and I never tire of its kaleidoscope of color that changes from moment to moment.

Life itself is like that. Turn your back for an instant...and you miss something breathtaking, inspiring, lovely.

Turn your face to the day and meet - head-on - the beauty, the joy that awaits...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love old handkerchiefs, but there's something about this one that appeals to my sentimental heart. It speaks of days gone by when it was o.k. for a lady to covet posy-covered linens, sweet smelling sachets and laced-edge dresses. There have been times where I've felt misplaced in this generation; out of step with my old-fashioned ideas and longing for romance. And yet, I wouldn't want to change.

Each February 14th, I set out this sweet reminder of a simpler time. I love its wispy, delicate feel..... and my heart remembers the ladies from my past. It is as dear to me as the Valentine boxes from my youth; other sweet mementos that always give me pause.

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to celebrate such loveliness. It's a day of roses and chocolate, winged cupids and soulful sentiments. It's not about the size of a bouquet or lavish gifts, but expressions to - and from - those who touch the gilded edges of our hearts.

May you remember those who have brought - and continue to bring - joy to your life, and may you be touched by the soft tip of Cupid's loving arrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The 100

I've seen the "100 List" at other sites since I began this blog in 2005 so thought it was time to put mine up...for whatever it's worth!

1. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina.
2. Though many find them creepy or annoying, I love hearing cicadas singing in the summer trees.
3. My eyes are hazel.
4. I had an appendectomy when I was 16.
5. I don't like being cold. OK...I hate being cold! And it seems like I am all the time.
6. I lived on a farm when I was a child where we raised hogs and grew milo, corn and wheat.
7. Someday I want to ride in a gondola.
8. I make great cut-out sugar cookies, courtesy of my Grandma Slater.
9. I played drums in my school band.
10. Daisies, pansies and iris are my favorite flowers.
11. I love the rain in the city. In the country, not so much!
12. I'm pretty good at tongue twisters.
13. I cry at the same scenes in "Anne of Green Gables" every time I watch it, even though I've seen it countless times.
14. I have yet to see an ocean. (Does the Gulf of Mexico count?)
15. I still love dressing up for Halloween.
16. I have a small scar under my left eyebrow from hitting my head after fainting when I was 17.
17. I really like clocks.
18. When I was in the 8th grade, I won a creative writing award.
19. I've never been east of Chicago.
20. I don't like being the center of attention.
21. When my daughter was 18 months old, I started sewing on a second-hand sewing machine I bought for $50. It's the same one I use today.
22. I've always loved to climb trees, though it's a lot harder now...and I can't remember the last time I did.
23. I have three brothers, two sisters and ten nieces and nephews.
24. For my parents' 50th wedding anniversary we all spent a week in Colorado. It was one of the best weeks of my life.
25. The people who have understood me the most in my life have been male.
26. I miss living where there is some concrete.
27. The person who first inspired me to write was Sibyl Carey, an older neighbor woman on the farm. I was about 8 years old.
28. I prefer doing laundry over doing dishes.
29. I have a dream to write and take photographs for a magazine one day.
30. I have a tremendous sweet tooth.
31. I prefer dogs over cats....but it depends on which dog and which cat!
32. My BA from college is in English.
33. Fruit pies are my favorite food in the world (see #30!)
34. My sister and I wrote stories when we were small based on our cats, Calico and Numpy. (I still have one of them)
35. I can remember birthdays of some of my kindergarten classmates, though I have no idea where they are today.
36. My favorite pop is Vanilla Diet Coke.
37. I have lived in Kansas all my life.
38. I can't imagine living anywhere else.
39. I still get excited when I see deer in the roads or pastures, even though I've seen them all my life.
40. Despite life's circumstances, I am a hopeful romantic.
41. I'd rather receive a card with hand-written, personal sentiments than a gift.
42. I procrastinate far too much, but seem to do better under pressure.
43. I am rarely early to anything (see the previous statement!)
44. Though both are spectacular, I prefer the twilight over the dawn. I'm more of an evening person.
45. I don't understand people who don't like their families.
46. I love flying.
47. I have only flown seven times, including a helicopter ride, a trip in a pontoon plane and a stunt ride in a Red Baron Squadron Bi-plane. (I lost my eqilibrium for a week after that last one!)
48. My first ride in an airplane was when I was 26.
49. I have a pretty high level of patience.
50. I've been wearing contacts since I was 17.
51. I get motion sickness easily.
52. I rarely get really angry but when I do, I get quiet.
53. I could donate blood everyday if need be, but I'm terrified of the dentist.
54. My middle name is Lynn.
55. I like a made bed.
56. I got pecked on the face by a chicken when I was a child and I've hated them ever since.
57. Chicken is now my favorite meat.
58. My children grew up way too quickly.
59. Autumn is my favorite time of year.
60. I'm not career-driven.
61. I'm very family-oriented.
62. No wonder I have no money. But.....great kids!
63. I miss the music from my old home town.
64. I love the peacefulness of the country.
65. I'd rather have a few close friends than a plethora of acquaintances.
66. I love birds flying around outside....but they're creepy as inside pets.
67. I have a freckle on my nose that people are always mistaking for dirt.
68. I can't drink a bottle of pop in one sitting.
69. Thomas Kinkade paintings do something to me.
70. So does Josh Groban's voice.
71. I think you can find God anywhere. It has less to do with the building than it does the soul.
72. I'm terrified of losing people I love.
73. I'm uncomfortable in formal settings.
74. I'd be a terrible socialite.
75. I wish I had more time at home.
76. I've become more interested in football this year.
77. It was boring before.
78. And I rarely get bored.
79. I wish I could take my kids on a vacation.
80. I wish I could have more fun time with my husband. Too many grown-up worries...
81. I love to laugh out loud till it hurts.
82. I think we should do away with Democrats and Republicans and just have an American party. How are we supposed to get along with the world when we can't get along with each other?
83. In some ways I really miss the 1970's...
84. I love the smell of puppies.
85. I'm probably a better mother than I am a wife...and I need to work on that.
86. I really want Big Foot to be real!
87. I think that ordinary people are far more interesting than celebrities.
88. My favorite class in college was Anatomy and Physiology.
89. I think shopping at Goodwill is fun.
90. One of my favorite old movies is "Friendly Persuasions" with Gary Cooper.
91. I dream of traveling: New York City, France, Italy.
92. I was 35 when I got my first new, "all my own" bicycle.
93. I'm not big on crowds.
94. I'd rather spend time with my family than anyone else.
95. I love warm tomatoes right off the vine.
96. I have been a Methodist all my life, but I think something good can be learned from almost every religion
97. I feel closest to God when I'm completely alone.
98. The first time I got in trouble was in third grade when I had to stand out in the hall with Carol Peavey.
99. Eight years ago the doctor found a bleeding lesion in my brain. After lots of worry, prayers, tests, hospital visits and the Grace of God, I'm fine today.
100. In everything that's truly important, I think I'm one of the richest people I know!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blue Winter

This is the road that we take to school each morning. I love to see how the trees change from day to day, even in the midst of winter.

I wanted to linger this day, to aim my camera at the blue iciness around us instead of continuing to the morning spent inside around a table. So I snapped this quickly out the windshield as a reminder of this beautiful morning and a new shot at another day...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Lighter Side

The new year started out a bit sobering with winter storms, illnesses and the death of a friend. Looking back through pictures of the beautiful Christmas holiday I decided to forego the darker mood accompanying today's drizzly weather and post a couple of pictures from the lighter side.

Our little guy was here for a couple of days over the holidays and captured our hearts anew. He is growing quickly and each time we see him he brings something new and fun for our memory's keeping.

Following a big dinner, his auntie swung him high on her shoulders, parading around the house with him at bird's eye view. The jaunt proved a bit much for the little fellow....for within a minute his dinner made a second appearance down her pretty brunette head! I snapped this picture as Grandpa rescued both......and mama's look at the side of the photo is priceless!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Daddy's Train

My dad loves trains. When we moved to town from the farm, a busy railroad ran two blocks from our house. When he heard the whistle blow in the distance, Dad would be out the door, walking down the street to watch the train as it passed by. In later years he would take his video camera and photograph different trains as they came through our little town. Our basement was home to a little model railroad that wound its way through plaster mountains on a plywood base. The grandchildren would watch from the stairway or try their hand at the seat of engineer, and colorful pictures lined the wall that they had designed and drawn for their "Pop".
Several years ago my parents were able to take a trip on the Silverton/Durango train in Colorado and awhile back my dad was invited to ride on a little two-man car on a track near Topeka. But in his heart of hearts, dad has always wanted to be at the helm; to drive a train.

At 80 years old, my father still rides his bicycle around town. Just two blocks from the house where they now live runs another railroad track. During his outings he has paused there to watch, befriending some of the workers who run the train and switch engines. One day, shortly before Christmas he was talking with them when they asked if he'd like to come along while they went to the edge of town to switch engines. His bicycle was loaded onto the train and he got on board for the short ride. The engineer must have felt the longings of a fellow traveler and asked my dad if he'd like to drive the train. In this picture he stands beside the engine that took him from being an observer on the sidelines to a participant in a wish granted. I won't soon forget the look on his face when he showed me the photograph, nor the thrill in his voice when he described the adventure. With one small gesture, these kindly men made a grand act. On a cold day in December, they made my father's dream come true.