Thursday, January 29, 2015


Meet Alton, my father in law.
Describing this man is easy.  Wise.  That's how I remember him most.  Oh...and he loved ice cream. But,  he loved his family more.

I can still see my daughter crawling all over him as he lay on the floor with her.

He had just shy of a year  to be her grandpa, and then it happened.

I will never forget January 28 for as long as I live.
A Monday.

He happened to be in the basement of our house.

I was just about to head down the stairs, when "something" held me back.   Like an angel.  All I knew is that the steps were guarded and I could not get through.    I obeyed and stayed with my daughter.
Not long after...maybe 30 seconds...someone drove in.

The way down the stairs was paved, and I immediately made my descent.  

"What's wrong with Alton?  Is he sleeping?  I could see him in the window," this man questioned  as he entered the basement door.
Something was wrong.

Running into the office, there he was,  slumped in his chair.

"Help me get him to the floor and call 911.  Tell them that I am starting CPR.  My daughter is upstairs.  Go take care of her," I ordered.  
The man did as I asked, trembling and sweating as he dialed.

"Do you know what you are doing?" was all I remember him saying.

Relief saturated his sweating face as the shrill of my pager went off.    
Back then, I worked on an ambulance.  I carried my beeper with me everywhere.  Though loud, it comforted me knowing my crew was coming.

Pumping his chest, I  counted out loud.
15 and 2.  No...maybe 30 and 1.  The numbers from training raced through my mind.    I thought I had him as I wiped the bile from his stomach on my arm, not caring about the smell or the taste.

My crew arrived and kicked me out of the room.

"I want to stay.  I have him.  I got a breath.  Let me help,"  I begged.

He didn't survive.

Those were hard days.  I try not to think so much about his last minutes, but more about his life.
He lived it well.
I am grateful for his legacy.  I know he is watching over my family.  He never got to meet our son, but I know for sure he winks at him and our daughter daily from his perch up there in heaven.

I like to think he is their angel.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Around the world

Sitting here at my desk as I type, I am enjoying a cup of darjeeling tea.

My friend Heidi (her and I in a recent photo) just returned from a graduate class she took in India.

I spent some time with her intently listening about this BIG adventure this past weekend.

With all that she had to do and see, she thought of me while there, and gifted me with this black tea.

I love the box it came in.

How wonderful to know I share a common interest (tea)  with people thousands of miles away from me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Snuffed out

Around 7:30 p.m,  a woman starts her drive home.  

With seat belt fastened, the dial on the radio turned up just a little, she cruises down the country road thinking of all she has to do when she gets there.

Only, she never arrives.

Like the flame on a candle...just like that...her life is snuffed out.

The other driver may have had a bit too much to drink.  The cost for making one lousy decision just took the life of a wife of 37 years.
The mother of 3 children.
Grandmother of 5.

An untimely death.  Fatal injuries, pronounced dead at the scene.

I've thought a lot about her the last few days.  I am quite certain she never knew that day would be her last.  I'm sure she ate and laughed and was thinking of all she had to do over the weekend.  But in an instant...GONE.

I think there are times when we need to wake up to our lives.
Hearing about an untimely death does that.

Makes us notice the deep crimson shade of a cardinal resting on a tree branch blanketed with snow.


The laughter of our children as they beat us in a board game.

We all get this gift.  Life.

May we not waste the precious time given us.


Monday, January 19, 2015


Have you ever heard of the saying...Keep Calm and Carry On  ?

Wonder where it came from?

The story starts in a bookstore in the UK.  Barter Books. 
I was going to tell the story here, but if you go to their website:
they tell it so much better than I could.  Just click on their video right on the front page of their website. 

Indeed, this is somewhere I would love to go on a future trip to England. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In pencil

Reaching into my mailbox I pulled out the pieces.  It was dark and cold and I just wanted to get back into my car!    
I paid no attention to the contents and just shoved them in my purse and drove into the garage.  
Hungry and ready to relax, I unwrapped my scarf, zipped off my coat, and started my nightly routine.

After about an hour, I thought of the mail.
Collecting it, I found an envelope.
A long white one with real handwriting.

Who could it be from?

I slipped my finger under the seal and ripped it open.
Inside was this delightful letter from one of the girls I mentor.
Written on a sheet of notebook paper, she had  script  it in pencil.

I could tell she used an eraser.  Can't you just smell the sharpened pencil and see the crumbs the eraser makes?
She asked a favor.  I am tickled she asked me.
She has no idea what this means to me.
I do believe I am getting much more out of this mentoring gig than the girls are.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Claire's travels

At Christmastime, I just love receiving cards and  letters from friends and family.

Each one gives  a peek into what has been going on in their lives throughout the past year.  We read them and then place photos given  on the fridge to remind us we are surrounded by lots and lots of caring people.

One letter  in particular caught my eye.  A year in pictures from my husband's cousin.  Their daughter Claire did some international traveling.  Didn't take me long to recognize where she went. 
The red phone booth and the handsome Big Ben towering behind,  gave it away.  She went to England.  Like Buckingham Palace Guards standing at attention, she had mine!
I smiled as I continued reading.  What is it about this place that makes me so  giddy?  Its a fairy tale kind of land.  Magical.  I visit in my mind quite often! 
Her family came to visit  while she was studying there...a perfect time to go! 
They saw the famous sites, drank ales and even went to the Harry Potter movie sets.   The smiles on their faces proved a good time was had.  

The letter mentions her blog. 
I love it!   It has been fun navigating the site, seeing places that I have visited also.    
Here is the blog if you'd like a glimpse.    


Thursday, January 8, 2015

I "wob" her

Friends--they are kind to
               each others hopes.
               They cherish each others


 I drove in to my driveway and she pulled in right behind me.  Like an angel, she  appeared.  
She was thinking of me and had to stop by.  
I should have invited her in.  Instead we stood outside my car door, shivering as the snow whipped around us.
It was a quick hello.  She gifted me with a hug and a brown bag.  As swiftly as she arrived, she was gone.
I went inside, thankful for a garage and heat in my house.  Unwrapping my scarf and unbuttoning my coat, I opened the letter first.
Warm words spilled from the page.   Such love for me.  I was overwhelmed.

The gift......
This was my word for 2014.

Paula  gets the word thing.  My heart is glad.

I have been given much in this past year.  More than I could possibly have imagined.  But mostly, I have been given the gift of learning to trust more.
Friendships have deepened.  I am grateful I took some risks in being vulnerable to others.

Because I am learning to trust more, I BELIEVE it will be a good year.

Monday, January 5, 2015

An unexpected gift

Such great joy to receive something totally unexpected isn't it.
This past week, my dear friends gifted me with this lovely tea cozy.
Yvonne made this!  
I absolutely love it.
She knows how much I love tea and also Downton Abbey!  The fabric on the outside  is from the Dowager Countess Collection, and the inside from Lady Sybil's Collection.
The colors are so engaging.
It came hand delivered by her husband John in this delightful bag...
I have wasted no time using it.
New Years Day, we had friends over for a brunch.  The cozy made a grand entrance.
Tea was served along with this delicious meal...
What a great way to start the New Year.
The cozy knew its part with the dress rehearsal out of the way at this breakfast.
You see, the Main Event happened last evening with the beginning of a new season of Downton Abbey.
Yvonne states, "You must have it before the theme song begins!"  And indeed, I was ready!  The tea was poured and the next cup keeping warm in the cozy!

So begins the start of the booking of my Sunday evenings!
That Thomas Barrow...what a deceitful young man he is!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Happy New Year

It is true.  The word picks you.
 I started paying attention a few weeks ago.

First there was the stocking.    I knew the word was on it.  After all, I hang it every year.  Truthfully...never paid much notice until the red word winked at me.
My radar was up.  

It rolled along side me on the interstate acting as a moving billboard.   BELIEVE.  On the side of the semi.   "Yoohoo, your word maam!"

I daily read a devotion.  On this particular day, I was spent.  Didn't feel like reading anything but decided to just do it.  I open to the words, "Do I Believe?"  Hmmmm...

One night, I was reading.  There in the pages..."Will you BELIEVE?  Will you BELIEVE in miracles?

Flipping through the Macy's ad.  Red, bright magical word...BELIEVE.

Front of a card...the word BELIEVE.

One of my daughter's graduation cards..."The future belongs to those who BELIEVE in the beauty of their dreams."

A patient in the office where I work walked in from the reception area with the word BELIEVE splattered on her sweatshirt.

A friend's house.  There on her counter.  BELIEVE spelled out just for me to observe.

Listening to Josh Groban on the radio..."There's no time to waste.  Give your dreams the wings to fly.  You have everything you need--If you just BELIEVE."

And then this...

Dreamers padding through the  festive wonder of Christmas at the annual story of the Elves at Macy's.   I stood there mesmerized.  Indeed, my word.  Floating.  I had to laugh.  I said out loud, "Ok.  I get it.  BELIEVE is my word!"

I'm thinking lots is going to happen with this word this year.    I mean, just look at what it had to do to clinch a position in my journal!

I BELIEVE 2015 is going to be some year.