Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lost Moment

This is the view outside of my kitchen window. Behind our house lays a tree-covered bluff and a creek that winds through the grassy slopes. Looking southward there are no houses in sight as our nearest neighbor in that direction is several miles away.

Tonight as I was doing dishes I spied 11 deer coming up from their hiding places. At first I saw just three, then more and more followed on their trek across the tall grass beyond our backyard. I wanted so badly to capture a picture of them so stepped out the door as quietly as I could. Of course, it didn't work. Heads erect and ears up they spotted me at once, turning tail and dashing off back to where they came from. I could've kicked myself. Not only did I miss a beautiful picture but more importantly, I lost the opportunity to watch them farther as they came out into a world that becomes their own after dusk.

Sometimes it's better to leave the camera alone and simply live the moment.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thinking prom

Today we picked up my daughter's dress for her school's upcoming prom. The very memorable and unique boutique where we shopped has a tradition of taking a Polaroid snapshot of each girl and her dress before she leaves, always posing her just 'so'.

I watched as my daughter held back, giving the floor to the girls who demand attention and want an audience; the kind of girls whose fanfare and drama more than likely continues long after they leave the shop. I see her quiet and unassuming beauty - a girl who doesn't see it when people stare because they notice the something "different" about her. But I see it. And I always have.

Though there's nothing wrong in getting dolled up and making the most of what shines on the outside, it is the inner beauty that tells the story of what true loveliness is really about.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Rita's reminder

Being from Kansas, hurricanes are one weather phenomenon we don't have to reckon with. These beautiful orange clouds were the remnants of the disaster that Hurricane Rita wreaked on Texas and Louisiana in September of 2005. Though her torrential rains and terrible tantrums remained far south of us, we were reminded of her fury by this brilliant display of color. It wrapped nearly all the way around us in a lovely cloak of tangerine, and was one of the most breath-taking sights I've ever seen from my own back yard.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


A quick update on my medical tests...
The mammography that was suspicious came out fine - a huge relief to my husband and me.
The results just came back on my echo cardiogram and showed that I have mitral valve regurgitation (doesn't that sound disgusting?) which is where the mitral valve doesn't close tightly and blood flows backward in the heart. It is pretty common and I'm taking medication that seems to be helping the symptoms I've been having.

I'm so thankful and appreciate very much all of the positive thoughts and prayers sent my way.
Though miles separate us and many faces and voices remain a mystery, I value you each and the support and friendship you have shown me.

To many more years together!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This photograph - taken in 1993 - is one of my favorites, not only because two of the dearest people in my life are in it, but because of "the touch". We are all physically connected in this picture: my son's hand on my foot, my arm leaning against my daughter, hers draped over my leg, fingers resting on a baby's shoulder, his little elbow on his sister's shin...and it makes me smile, remembering the soft touch of bygone days.

Some pictures need little narration.
This is simply a keepsake from a long ago moment, captured in a heart that has stood still.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Opening Hearts

Last fall my daughter and I were in the alleyway of a nearby town, looking for unusual backdrops for pictures.

It was dirty and gray and several stray cats were scouring through dumpsters looking for food. My daughter, with her soft spot for furry felines immediately stuck her hand out, trying to befriend the bedraggled and lost.

Some of them came right up to her, hungry for the human touch and a kind word. Others cowered from her good intentions and scurried away, frightened of the unknown; their fear more powerful than their hunger.

How much we are like those alley cats. Sometimes we welcome the embrace of others, opening our hearts to a friendly face. Other times we shrink away, afraid to open the door to the unknown.

On this Easter Day, may we remember that the door is always open to the heart of God, and that He is waiting patiently for us to step through and trust in the Love that He gives to us all.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Easter Promise

This picture is on my side bar, and the same fence post I featured on Sky Watch a couple of weeks ago. But with Easter on Sunday and the approaching sunrise in this photograph, it only seemed fitting for it to take front and center for my Sky Watch this week.

Happy Easter and many blessings to you all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday in the Park

Though yesterday was a chilly and cloudy day, we took advantage of time off from school to take some photos. My daughter's boyfriend was needing his senior pictures done during this break so we took to the great outdoors for some shots.

My son accompanied us too, as we headed to the alleyways, steps of old buildings and a nearby park. I snapped these photographs of moments spent away from the everyday pressures of work and studies.

Though I needed posed pictures, the fun and playful ones seemed to capture their spirit the best. The laughter was contagious and their youthfulness, just what I needed on this day.

I've long known that it is the exuberance of my children that keeps me young. When my disposition becomes cloudy and my thoughts muddled down, it is the radiance of their smiles and unconditional love that lets me soar again. They make up so many chapters of my life and help keep things in perspective.

I think I need to play in the park more often...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Love Helps

I always regret posting something that isn't uplifting or positive as there is already enough sadness and pain in the world. I should know better than to sit down with my thoughts on a dark, rainy night when news has been less than good. But thank you so much for letting me know that your prayers and thoughts are with me. It truly helped kick start my morning on better footing.

When things seem somewhat dismal, it is then that I turn to all the good things in my life; mostly those who hold a place in my heart. One of my favorite posts is written about Faces of Love and speaks loudly to what - and who - is dear to me. Some of you have been with me even before I wrote it, but some of you are new travelers along my pathway. If you have time today, please read some of the reasons how the loves that make up my life can truly help.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shaky Thoughts

At church we always have a time where people can express their joys and concerns. I am usually not one to speak in front of large groups as to do so, all eyes would be on me, and I am not one who cares for a lot of attention.

But today I had an echo cardiogram due to problems I've been having with my heart, and the routine mammogram that was also performed showed something suspicious as well. I'm usually optimistic that all will be well...but I have to admit...I'm feeling a little nervous tonight as I wait for results.

A slight digression from my typical thoughts on this gray and rainy evening...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

She's Taken A Shine

When my daughter left for New York, I told her the one thing I wanted her to bring back was a wonderful picture of her and the city. I knew she would love it there, and at one time I had hoped to accompany her. Though I've always longed to visit New York City, the draw for me this time was to see her experience it with all the thrill and exuberance of an 18-year-old's artistic heart. Since that wasn't possible, I would let her show me through her pictures and the words of her journal.

The photographs she brought home and the stories that she's told confirmed her love for the city. I am so happy that she was able to go and that she's brought back moments and memories that will be remembered for a lifetime, no matter where she chooses to roam.

And wherever that is, be it near or far, may she find comfort in knowing we wait for her with open arms and open hearts in this special place called "Home". Welcome back, ange....

On Her Way

My daughter is 9 minutes away from being "home". I have been tracking her flight and will breathe a sign of relief when I see "landed" come across my computer screen.

She has been in New York City for the past few days; a fairy tale trip she has anticipated for two years with her NHS group from high school. Even though I wanted to call her throughout the week, I held back except to inquire if she arrived safely and to check flight numbers and schedules. But I did get an unexpected call yesterday.

"Mom....guess where I am? We're taking a carriage ride through Central Park!" She went on to describe the sights of the city, how much she loved it there and how Broadway was "Amazing!" I am so thrilled that she got this opportunity, and imagine I will see somewhat of a different young lady when she arrives back home this evening.

I've missed her so....but I know this is just the first step in beginning to let go as new adventures and chapters take her to different places. As it should be, but nevertheless, hard for a Mama to untie those strings and watch her fly away.

Footnote: The plane has landed. And another page added to an already lovely scrapbook...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - March 14th

I'm really not a morning person, but awakening to this wondrous view is definitely worth showing up early to the day. It reminds me of the beautiful hymn, "When Morning Gilds the Skies" and gives me reason to believe that all is well.

And a story comes to mind that I once read: One morning a woman waited at a bus stop where a group had gathered in the pouring rain. Amongst the miserable group was one man, smiling and cheerful despite his place in the cold, gray rain. When she asked him why he was so happy, he looked at her and said, "I ain't never lived this day before!"

So gilded or not... rain or no... go forth and greet the new day that awaits.
Because in the words of the wise, "Ain't none of us ever lived it before!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fall and Rise of the Farm

Our neighbors are moving. They have lived on this farm for many years but the toll of bad weather and failing health has rung its bell for the final time....and it's time to move on.

It's evident in the rusted chair where once sat happy memories on back porch steps. The rumpled jackets in reckless abandon tell the story of tired footsteps that no longer care to sing the song of rural life.

The weathered barn, once erected with pride in hopes of golden years, now stands silent....and just barely. The warm breath of cattle and sweet smell of hay no longer resonates through rafters, and its hollowed emptiness echoes loneliness.

The old water pump still sputters a stream of cold water, but stands choked by tall weeds; forgotten in the look towards the future.

I don't blame them. Farming is a tough job, a tough life and there are times when the brave thing to do is to move ahead towards a life without the labor that can break one's back and try one's spirit. With the hope for better health and the need to be close to family, they will make their new home among beautiful hills and quiet respite. And that's how it should be.

In the late thrills of spring, another family will take their place with new energy, new ideas, new hopes. Once again the chair will sing its metalic melody as it glides across back porch steps. Old jackets will be replaced by new ones, embraced in whistling energy and hung on kitchen door hooks. Strong winds will still blow through rusted barn boards, but the sound of singing hammers will echo through the rafters in attempted restoration. Tall grass will fall around the the faded red pump, replaced by morning glories, and new life will take hold.

Still in the family, still in the name....the new generation takes over with hope for the farm, pride in their heritage and strength of the spirit. And that, too, is how it should be.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thoughts from my youth

Anyone who knows me well knows that I led a very charmed life in my early years. Though money was tight, my home was always filled with warmth and love. I had little experience with pain, struggle, or loss.

While looking through a poetry book given to me by a high school friend, I found a paper I wrote as an assignment in Analogy back in those tender, innocent years. Though I like to think my writing has improved over time, I found those words from my youth interesting and pretty much on target regarding how we live our lives. If you have the patience and on!

A person's life is like a book. There are many people in the world today and every one of them is different, just as the books in our homes and libraries have a different title and story to tell.
Each new life has a beginning; a fresh start with a whole future ahead. You can't start life at age twenty, just as you can't start reading a book in its middle. You must begin on page one and go from there. There are many chapters in the book of life, each with something new and different to learn...and they all must be lived. Some will be happy and memorable and some will be sad and painful, but they are each a part of it for they help us grow. One cannot go back and rewrite or leave out a chapter, just as he cannot go back in time and change things that have happened.
A book is sure to be torn as long as it passes through the hands of readers, and though the tear can be fixed, it's not quite the same. This, too, is true in life. One is bound to get hurt while he is living, and though that pain can be patched, there will always be a scar. Nevertheless, one cannot throw his life aside and just stop living because of a hurtful experience. It would be as foolish as throwing away a book that has a tear on one page.
An author usually writes a book for his own pleasure, but he still wants others to read and enjoy it, too. How unhappy he would be if no one did! One's life is also meant to be shared. How badly we would feel if no one wanted to listen . A life has to be shared to get any joy from it, just as a book must be shared between an author and his readers.
As time goes on and life goes by, one ages and with age comes the signs that tell us we're not that young person anymore. Hair grays and the skin becomes wrinkled like the worn cover and yellowed pages of a book. But though the exterior may be aged and worn, the inside holds that special something that can never lose it meaning, nor every grow old.
Then comes a time in life when the pages left are few. The book that once had its beginning must now come to an end. Sometimes one may look back and feel that he has not put his all into his book of life. But if he looks back and sees a lifetime with pages filled with love and happiness, then he can close his book with contentment, knowing he has written well.

May your chapters be many...and the pages that you written well.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sky Watch Friday - March 7th

This fence post is two miles from where I live, along the gravel road that leads to home. The canvas of sky behind it is constantly changing....and I love the stories it tells. This was captured in that moment between day and dusk when the sun bids farewell to the rising moon. Unnoticed by many who travel this road, it's always a reminder to me of the blessings I have received...and of the hope and grace for the new day ahead.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More than meets the eye

Our neighbor's old propane tank reminds me of my childhood on the farm. When you are young in the days before multi-station television, computers and cell phones the world is vast with endless possibilities; a place where a little girl's imagination can take flight in any and every direction.

Our propane tank was located out by the large elm tree and ran alongside an old wire fence. I remember vividly trying to climb its slick side and sliding off more often than not. I'd have to resort to climbing the fence then grabbing on as I straddled it with my skinny little legs, pretending it was a beautiful white horse beneath the canopy of rustling green leaves. Its coolness felt good on hot summer days, and I was anybody but a nine-year-old girl on a small Kansas farm.

I cherish those days - another lifetime ago - when the wonders of the world lay before me.......and I could see forever from the top of an old propane tank.