THE DREAM

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img_0055Early this morning I had a dream. Not just an ordinary dream, destined to enter my sleep, erupt my thought patterns and leave just as swiftly as it had come.
No, this was a full-fledged dream, and as I awoke, I remembered the warmth and the glorious feeling of it all surrounding me in my warm bed. You see, in my dream I had a brand new baby, she was mine, and I held her and felt the incredible miracle of how a brand new baby feels, the cuddling and the softness of her skin, and the delight of being a mother. I marveled at how big she was and remembered that all of my babies, all boys, had been so big. But this was a girl and I was overcome with joy! I realized that we must give her a name and at first I thought of Elizabeth, my favorite name as a teenager. But then I thought of my mother, and the name became Leona, in my mind. My mothers middle name had been Leone. That was it. I hugged her and said “my sweet Leona”, and knew the joy of being a parent again as I held her and caressed her. I felt the certainty of it all and never realized I was dreaming.
But then I began to wake up. Remembering how vivid this experience had been to me, I began to wonder. Was it a dream or was it an experience? As I sit right here writing I can still know that something amazing happened to me, and in my mind I can still feel and see it. Who is to say what really happened? I know that dreams usually fade away, but I also know that writing this down will keep it fresh in my memory. In this strange and mysterious world of ours how are we to know what is real and what is imaginary? Years from now the scientists may tell us for sure that dreams fortell our experiences, either past or future. Maybe I was remembering an event of long ago in another lifetime.
What triggers a dream? Could it be all of the pictures of babies I see every day on Facebook, being held by granddaughters or grandsons or nieces? I don’t know.
All I know is, it felt so vivid and so real that now I know I must keep watch wherever I go in my daily life. Maybe this warm and beautiful little girl exists somewhere watching over us and I was lucky enough to hold her in my arms for a little while. But I will be sure to remember my sweet Leona, wherever she may be.

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THOUGHTS ON A BRAND NEW BIRTHDAY!

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First of all, I made it! Another year chalked up and I am still here. Despite all of the ups and downs that have been a major part of my life, here I am, still rising up each morning, being thankful that I made it safely thru another night, and the world is still my oyster. Looking out the window I can still see that the sun is shining, our yard looks absolutely beautiful, the hollyhocks are holding on to their last blossoms, and there are roses in bloom. And the concord grapes are almost ripe.

September is probably my favorite month, and it’s not just because it’s my birthday month. When I was a child I was eager to go back to school, where books and friends abounded. I always did love the learning process and the competition that school provided. Now that the main word around here is “retirement” nothing has stopped as far as books and reading and learning has concerned. The blessing of having enough time and choices to do whatever appeals to me most is high on my priority list. It is easier for the average person to continue their own education at their own pace than it ever has been before. Computers, tablets, smartphones, they are all at our fingertips.

So on a day when I am sending prayers and wellbeing for the friends and family we have in Florida, I am still thankful for all of the blessings we have received. Life is an up and down procedure, but at least we are proceeding in a forward direction. I have a heart filled with immeasurable love for all of the friends that get up every morning and go about their lives even tho they don’t always know what is in store for them. I try to remember that everyone doesn’t have the same priorities as I do. Maybe theirs are more important than mine are right now. It is good for me to remember that the viewpoints of the other people are at different stages in their lives. They will find, just as my generation has, that everything and everyone changes, and so will theirs, in time.

So this is enough reminiscing for another year. Hope that next year we are not thinking of another hurricane, but who knows. Thanks for the fabulous wishes!20141025_181549000_iOS

Mothers, Mother in Laws, Step Mothers

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It’s Mothers Day! The day that we share all of the love and affection that we feel for the women in our lives.

“Mothering” is the term that we bestow upon anyone, mostly female, but sometimes male, when we want to show empathy or caring for another person.

There are lots of kinds of mothers, who come in different sizes or shapes or colors. The term “mother” is applied to many different types of women in our life.  There are many women who will never legally wear the title, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do the mothering. We all know women who are the mothers to their brothers and sisters, or their patients as a nurse, or students as a teacher, or just about anyone they care about.

Being a mother can be difficult, but it has its own built in rewards. Many poems and odes have been written to glorify mothers, to show how much we care about them. Thinking of our mothers can bring beautiful smiles on our faces just thinking about them or remembering them from long gone days.

But I would like to add two more names to this select group. Mother in laws and step mothers. When I started thinking about this I was amazed at how many of the women in my life are at least two of them, and some of them are all three, as I am. When you become a mother there are all kinds of classes to help you learn how to do the job. You have the experience of your own mother as a backup.

But when you become a stepmother or a mother in law you are in uncharted waters. You want to succeed with all of your heart and soul. But there is a sense of competition when you add the phrases, “step” or “in law” to the mixture.  Someone else has already held the position that you now hold, and you are determined to do your best. Always there is a period of adjustment for every one involved, and it usually doesn’t happen as fast as giving birth.

But mothers, no matter what kind, have a way of bringing forth the nurturing ways that are inherit in most humans, and these are the ones we are honoring today.

So today while you are remembering your mothers with love and honor, I know you are also giving a “shout out” for those “other” mothers, the ones who have your best interests at heart, but came into your life at a later date.

Women, the odds are pretty great that someday you will be a mother in law also, and maybe even lucky enough to be a stepmother. We are all in this world to learn from each other, and these are pretty rewarding positions. Love and compassion and understanding are among the qualities we revere in our mothers, no matter in what form they show up.

Happy Mothers Day, everyone. Have a wonderful day, no matter where you are.

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OUR FRIEND VERNA THORNTON

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hearts_sSometimes  we have to smile  at our memories, be thankful that we had our friends as long as we did, and look for the words that express how we feel about them. Verna Thornton was probably the first friend that I made after I moved to Florida and discovered the Creative Writers Club at Betmar Acres. One of the original founders, she was an enthusiastic member that almost always showed up on Monday morning. As our facilitator she guided us in our writing, suggesting many subjects that she felt we would be interested in. As a poet, she excelled, and she and I felt a kinship from the very first time that I went. I was so impressed by the way her words could always make me see a picture in my mind. She just had a way with descriptive words that could make you laugh or cry or remember something in your own life.

Verna has gone on beyond us this week. She hadn’t been well after a bad fall a month ago, and we had missed her at our group meetings. I talked to her a few days ago and she was very determined to get better so that she could attend again in November. She lived alone, after having taken care of an ailing husband for many years. When I got the phone call I was shocked because I hadn’t expected it.

I found this poem written by Verna in our annual book put out by our group this spring, and am printing it to show you how she felt about moving on from us.

FLYING FLOWERS

I was just a little child

And watched the pansies die.

Grandma tried to comfort me

As I began to cry.

Then she sat me on her lap.

She hugged me close and said,

“Pansies droop and petals fall,

But they’re not really dead.

Notice how the butterflies

Have colors bright and gay.

They are wilted pansies, dear,

The ones that got away.”

Now, my pansy bed is filled

With deep exotic hues,

Yellow, purple, rust and bronze,

Mahogany and blues.

Vibrant colors, trimmed with black,

Their scent is everywhere,

Sunshine yellow on them all,

Their fragrance fills the air.

Rippled by the summer breeze,

They’re nodding in the sun,

A dark and somber little face

Peers out from every one.

Wistfully, they try to speak,

And each one seems to say,

“How much longer will it be

Before I fly away?

I’m bound to earth by stem and roots

My days are passing by.

How much longer must I wait

To be a butterfly?”

Today our Verna is a beautiful, shining butterfly, so watch for her wherever you go.

BACK HOME AGAIN

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IMG_0855One of the first things I look for when we drive into our driveway is  the beautiful forsythia bush.  It is about the first thing that blooms in our yard every spring and it seems to send a welcoming signal that it is glad we arrived home safely.     After a long ride north making the transition from hot weather to cool we are just thankful that we have made it once again.  Walking into the house and checking everything out, I am really glad that I left it looking great, everything put into its place and no heavy housekeeping to do.

Because of course now comes the fun part. Unloading the car, hauling it all in, and now it must all be put away in its place. Just the opposite of when we packed it all down south, now we must do the unpacking. But one thing I have learned,  I don’t have to do it all the very first day. There are plenty of other things to do. The batteries seem to have given out on the television remote. The clocks are all flashing, plus the stove and microwave. I know this means the electric went out, probably in a storm. There is no food in the frig and so I start my big grocery list right away. The water must be turned on and adjustments made to the thermostat.  Of course I must make sure the wi-fi is working.

Going on an extended trip is a wonderful thing. Coming back seems to be even better.  The birds are starting to find the feeder. Looking out at our beautiful green yard we can see the raking ahead of us. But there is no doubt, looking at the waiting bed is starting to look better and better. It has been a very long day.

Ah, it is so good to be back home and looking forward to the holiday with family this year. Tomorrow is another day, or maybe even Monday or Tuesday.

In the fall the cycle will begin again, and we will start the list making and the packing. We will be looking forward to a warm sunny winter with old friends and new.  The time will fly by until the siren call of Michigan beckons us again.  Two wonderful seasons and it is almost impossible to choose one over the other.  We just count our blessings, and name them one by one.

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW

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No matter what happens tomorrow

I know I will enjoy today.

Remembering all of the smiles that you have given me,

Remembering all of the encouragement that has come my way,

Thinking of all of the places that we have seen together,

Capturing the flavors and scents of lands that we enjoyed,

Picturing the towering mountains everywhere we journeyed,

The flowing rivers, the waterfalls that seemed to pour forth from the sky,

The sun baked deserts, the mountain trails, the red hot lava at our feet,

The glaciers, so wild and so beautiful it took our breath away,

The eagles soaring overhead, the wildlife putting on a show for us,

All is in our memories, and we will never forget them.

No matter what happens tomorrow

I know I will enjoy today.

Friends and family beckon, memories of the old days abound,

Pictures of our loved ones are always in our mind.

Children grow up and become parents such as us.

Grandchildren and even great grandchildren make their place in our hearts.

We marvel at how the whole world seems to work

As if there really is a pattern as to how we live our lives.

We watch and we love and we know why we are here,

No matter what happens tomorrow,

I know I will be happy today.

 

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MY HUSBAND THE DIPLOMAT

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It seems like I have been trying to pin my husband down on some subject or another for as long as I have known him. That has added up to 25 years or more now.

No matter what I asked him about something, what was his opinion about it, how did he feel, I could never get a “Yes” or a “No” out of him.

Even a simple question like did he like chicken, or salad, or did he prefer ranch or blue cheese dressing, do you think I could get a plain and simple answer from him? No, it would be “not too bad” or “I’ll eat anything” or “it really doesn’t matter to me.” On more serious questions like, “what do you think?” or “what color car should we buy?”, do you think I could get an unequivocal answer?

No way! Over the years I learned to adjust for it.  If he didn’t say “no”, that he didn’t like something, then I could just go ahead and do what I wanted, I reasoned. Most of the time it worked because I could more or less tell what he was saying by his actions, not his words.

So  basically we have pretty much been doing what I wanted! That ought to be every wife’s dream, right?  After years of trying to pin him down on his likes and dislikes I have finally come to a more reasonable conclusion.

My husband is really a diplomat. He looks at every side of everything and tries to pull them together. I think he has really missed his calling. A true diplomat is very important in our world. He is the one who pulls people and countries together. He keeps them from going to war with each other. Our families and our country are much safer when we have good honest diplomats who can work for the betterment of all.

Having decided to look at all of this in a completely new direction I can now smile to myself and realize anew I have the perfect husband. After all, didn’t I tell you he never says “No” to me?

Bob Rider, everyone’s friend, a great man to enjoy life with, and an excellent diplomat! Who could ask for anything more?
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