Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Word Picture Reveal

Every year since I started blogging, I have a picture for the year with word or thought to go with it. The first one was Jesus yoke. I needed to be yoked with Jesus, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I had a problem finding the actual picture of an old yoke in the snow with the morning sun shining behind it, as I envisioned my picture. I finally found it, but with no snow. I photographed an antique yoke at the Munnel Run Farm Museum outside of Mercer in late August or early September. I knew I had to go there, but as with so many plans made the last week of December, it got lost in the calender of other obligations.
The next year as I prayed, the picture came easier. I hadn't published any novels, yet, but I had two completed. I forged ahead with saying “I am a writer,” instead of “I want to write.” In this new world of writing, I needed 'courage,' which I found in a stylistic new sculpture at Buhl Farm Park on an early winter walk, a lion, the symbol for courage. That lion often reminded me as I walked to keep my courage in this publishing world.
The next year, 'abundance' in a lush Pennsylvania summer, the picture came to me. I prayed for abundance in all my endeavors, but mostly for my writing. The next year 2015, the picture came again in warmer weather as I was down town Sharon. 'Rest,' at a green bistro set, welcoming me to sit down with Jesus.
Last year, two doors representing 'hope' were my pictures. The first door at the Hermitage Historical Society home was my wallpaper until I found the second one. The door at the When Words Count Writers Retreat in April gave me hope for my writing. This reminded me of my hope in Jesus and my writing as a vocation.
Which has lead me to my word picture for 2017. As I gazed at my books on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble last week, I remember when writing was a dream. I walked into this Barnes and Noble many years ago, struck with the dread of even if I published a book, how would it compete with all these books? I couldn't give up, but I didn't dream that day.
I snapped pictures with my phone of my books pointing out where they were in the store. I saw a nurse I had worked with before. I admire her. I fought with her image during The View controversy staged by Joy Behair's insult to Miss Colorado and all nurses last September. The nurse I know, works hard, has three children and continues her education. I may have inspired her in a small way, when I visited her grandmother for wound care many years ago.
My careers collided that day in Barnes and Noble. I inspired a girl to be a nurse, as I, now try to escape nursing. She congratulated me on my novels and took my picture with them. She wished me luck in both endeavors.
I found my word and my picture. 'Dream.' I keep up the dream of writing. In this case, dream is not passive. Work accompanies the dream. I can only see the dream when I work.
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As my daughter said at Christmas, “They told our generation, 'You can be anything.' They needed to add, 'If you work hard at it.'” I believe in my dream, but I know work is involved. 2017 will see an increase in the work as well advertizing. I will dream, but much work is also required. Dream on.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

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Last week's winter solstice sunset

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Scene with the Wilson's

From the Outside of Time:

Christmas was approaching. Barry grew restless. He decorated their home. Amy shrugged, “It’s pretty. Kind of a waste of money and time, but I guess we have to do it for Allen.” 

“Oh, Amy, come on.” 

“Well, it is a lot of work. Christmas is just commercialism for the capitalists, as much as you try to say it is religious or how do you say it? ‘The birth of your God.’ What do pine trees, snow and bells have to do with it? And Santa Claus, whoa, there is confusion.” 
“Allen will know the meaning of Christmas. See, I have this Advent calendar with Bible verses my mom sent us.” 

“Yeah and chocolate. Hmm, sweeten the deal, huh?” 

Barry waved his hand, “Speaking of Mom. She wants us to come for Christmas Eve. She thought since you probably didn’t have any traditions.” 

“You mean religious traditions. My family celebrates. They would love to see Allen, too.” 

“Well, we kind of did your family thing last year and it would be boring for Allen.” 

“I can see right through you, Barry Wilson,” Amy stomped her foot. 

“Getting drunk and champagne breakfast is hardly any way to celebrate a child’s holiday.” 

“I suppose. Still, stuffing their heads with baby stories and a fat guy in a red suit is kind of cross purposing, isn’t it?” 

“Amy, please, this year, can we please go to my parents’? Next year, we can go after Christmas. We will have to start making our own traditions. You know if I keep taking Allen to Sunday school, he’ll be involved in Christmas programs.” 

Amy sighed, “Ugh, I can’t wait ‘til January second. Ruin a good break from school. You know how much writing I can do on break?” 
“It’s a two-hour drive. We’ll spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Mom and Dad. Allison comes home. Amber will be there.” 

Allen woke from his nap, toddling into the study, rubbing his eyes. His curls bounced, “Aunt Amber? See Aunt Amber?” 

Amy’s heart melted. Amber did delight her son and that delighted her. Amber’s joy shown through and she had no judgment of Amy. She was modern enough to think nothing of Barry shouldering most of the child care and household chores. She hadn’t channeled into role expectations. 

“Yes, we’ll see Aunt Amber on Christmas Eve and Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s house,” Amy hugged her boy, as she smiled at Barry. 

Barry beamed back, “Just this year. I promise. We’ll make our traditions.” 
Amy nodded. 

They both got out of school on December twenty third. Last minute shopping, they divided. Barry didn’t cook that night, as they ate at a favorite restaurant. December twenty fourth, they managed to sleep in. Allen seemed to be just as exhausted as they were with the end of year running and Christmas excitement. 

“Mom would like us there for supper before the church service. I thought we’d leave around two.” 

“I guess. Allen should sleep in the car for the two-hour ride. Hope that snow holds off.” 

“It will. Mom tapped into that higher source. She always does for the holidays. Allison got in yesterday. She drove straight from work again. I do worry about her five-hour drive from Ocean City, through those mountains.” 
“Yeah, we just have flat roads.” 
“Good thing about Ohio, huh?” 
“Unless, you’re from the south near West Virginia.” 

“Kind of glad we’re not going there. Hope the weather holds out ‘til next week when we visit your folks down there.” 

“Well, don’t worry. They’ll be fine. They will understand if we have to cancel,” the unspoken words, ‘not like your mother,’ hung in the air between them. 

Barry jumped up and rinsed their breakfast dishes and coffee mugs. He plugged them into the dishwasher and set it on light load, so it would run before they left. 

Amy hugged Allen out of his high chair, “I’ll take my shower first, okay?” 

“Ah, yeah, sure,” Barry didn’t look from the sink, as he wiped it down. 

“Hey, I’ll be good, I promise, Santa,” Amy had let Allen run into his bedroom and now, hugged Barry from behind. Barry turned around with a grin on his face and kissed her. 

“Unless, you want me to be naughty, Santa Baby,” Amy coyly asked as she returned the kiss. 
“Mm, we’ll see how Allen sleeps.” 
“He’s playing now, want to try a few things before the trip?” 

Barry raised one side of his face in a conspiratorial grin, “Maybe a few.” 

“What toys you got in your bag, Santa?”  Amy snaked up to Barry and felt in his pajama bottoms. 

“Don’t you want to know?” Barry grinned, and bent his back toward the sink. Amy kissed his neck, chest, and continued. 

“Mm,” Barry moaned, “preview, Amy, just a preview. Allen can walk in any second.” 

Amy threw her head up wickedly, “Yes, let’s do this at your mother’s.” 

“Um, Mom and Dad are not prudes. They are still very much in love.” 

“Yeah, I know,” Amy put on a pouty voice, “but I still want to do the ‘nasty’ under the tree.” 
“In my bedroom. We’ll pay Amber to play with Allen tomorrow afternoon.” 
“Oh, Amber won’t take any money,” Amy flirted away. 
“Okay, we’ll take her to a movie,” Barry shouted after her. 
“I’m not a cheap date.” 

Barry ran after her and tackled her around her waist, “No, you cost me dearly,” he growled as he tried to give her a hickey on her neck. 
Allen trotted down the hall, “Mommy and Daddy playing?” 
Amy laughed as she grabbed her robe around her tighter, “Yeah, Allen, we’re playing. We’re excited about going to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, aren’t you?” 

“Oh, yeah, Amy, get him antsy, well you take your shower. I have to pack the car yet.” 

“I think both my boys are a little excited,” Amy smirked, “I’ll be quick, then I’ll read a story to Allen while you pack the car and get ready. How much packing do you have to do? Seems you have been packing all week.” 

“Just hiding some things,” Barry raised his left eyebrow. 

“Hide and seek” Allen jumped up and down. 

“I like that game,” Amy mocked in a Mae West voice. 

“Like that game,” Allen nodded enthusiastically. 

“Get in the shower, woman,” Barry faked exasperation. He loved when Amy played. She usually put herself under such pressure with working and writing. Her neck would be so tense in the evening, as she tried to relax, with too much wine, he thought, as soon as she quit breastfeeding, but he never said anything. He only tried to make her life easier. She had agreed to taking the two days off from writing. Yes, she deserved the holiday, she agreed. 

Happy and safe traveling to those who are. Have grace in your preparations for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

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War on Christmas.
What does that mean to you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

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Winter drive to work. Pink sky filled me with wonder.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

In honor of my mom's birthday. She loved blue. She decorated with blue and silver.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Cypress in Fall on Lake Julia

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Interesting building in Sewickly, Pennsylvania

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What Are Our Wicked Ways?

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.

This verse is quite popular this week, especially. For quite some time, it has been on many Christians' hearts. A person can go to almost any website for Christians, at least evangelical, conservative Christians and he will see this verse. It is a great verse with splendid steps to follow.

I have a question about this verse. Well, first, this was written to the nation of Judah. Can we say it applies to us? Yes, I think the principle does. What can be wrong with humbling ourselves? Praying? Seeking God's face?

Then pops the next question. What are our wicked ways? Remember this verse is for those who are called by God's name- Christian, little Christs. The name was first an insult to the early believers. So, we Christians, who don't do blatantly evil things, right? What do we turn from? What are wicked ways?

I welcome discussion

First we go back to Jesus, who talked to the original people called by His father's name. The Pharisees were the best of those people, at least in obeying the law. The law, we later find out in Romans, written by the chief of these Pharisees, cannot save anyone. No matter how well a person can follow the rules. Is this correct? Is this how you read it?

Jesus had the harshest criticism for the head honchos. What did He say? He brought the law down to heart level. It was more than what someone did or didn't do. Anger became murder. Lust became adultery.

I prayed about the wicked ways this morning, because this verse has been thrown at me. I felt almost viciously. Civility, even among Christians, is taking a back seat to our country. And believe me, I am concerned about the direction our country is going. Then I was reminded, it has been bad before, as I read about England during the 1770's last night in If You Can Keep It, by Eric Metaxas: “There was open disregard and even public disdain for public and private morality in Great Britain. In a word, it was fashionable to be immoral, especially among the upper classes. Public drunkenness, even on the very floor of parliament, was common. The wealthy were typically drunk on claret, while the poor slowly killed themselves with gin, as the famous Hogarth print Gin Alley illustrates. Politicians openly traded money for votes; indeed, this was so normal that it was entirely expected. It was a time of open debauchery in every sphere of the culture; such behaviors were flaunted. For one index of the cultural climate, we may recall during this period in London, 25 percent of all single women were prostitutes; their average age was sixteen.”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote. “If ever there was a time God's children should cry day and night to Him, it is now.”

King Solomon quietly wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

OK, so Christians are against sin is a well-known fact. They do seem to be blurring the edges of sin, but again that is nothing new. What are we to turn from?  Is it actions?

I prayed. It is a heart matter. Always at the heart of all good deeds is motive. Proof is the saying if a man says he's humble, he isn't. Even as I read about a call to prayer and fasting for this nation's Christians, the warning is not
to seek a solution. So, what are we to do?

What is wicked?

Unforgiving spirit, I thought firstly. Also, the Lord, in the dessert, held the mumbling and grumbling in their tents against the children of Israel. He disciplined them quite regularly with that one. How about pride and a judgmental spirit?

Finally, I thought, anything against the Fruit of the Spirit. What is the Fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The opposite is indifference, pessimism, strife, demanding, meanness, badness, unbelief, brutality, anger or fear. I heard once that the Fruit is singular. Our wickedness then is also one rottenness.

How does the Fruit become rotten? I theorized many years ago, our busyness distracts us from first hearing the Holy Spirit. We are not quiet in our spirit, so we think only of ourselves and our agendas. We could say, selfishness is wickedness.

Our wicked ways then, stem from not listening to God. We don’t read our Bible daily and then some more. We don’t pray often, seeking God for moment to moment decisions. As we crowd God out with our constant activity, we lose who we are in Christ. We don’t lose salvation, but there it is again, we lose Joy. And when we lose bits of the fruit, we lose it all. Our wickedness is a heart matter that leads us away from God.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Iron bridge just below the Pymatuning Dam, the Shenango River

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Maybe Aunt Judith's house?
Last Free Exit

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

My Problem Child is Published

Last Free Exit finally is live.
Will soon be on Amazon, and I order copies for Etsy:
I have a Meet the Local Authors at Leana's Books and More October 1, 12-3. Hoping Frank Secich will be playing.
Barnes and Noble, Boardman, Ohio October 8, 12-4.
Shenango Township Fall Festival October 15, 11-3
My books are also at Christy's Crafters Emporium,
825 Main Street, Boxcar 2
Volant, PA 16156
I hope to see you in October.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

On my way to the ladies room at my cousin Dick's funeral dinner, I spotted this picture, today. Mr. Munnell started the drama department at West Middlesex High School when I was a junior. I student directed The Miracle Worker with him. He lived on the North Farm in Coolspring Township, where my mother spent her summers at her grandparents' farm across from the North Farm. He loved looking at the pictures of the old farm during the cast party at my house.                     In vein, with the English teachers, Mr. Dave Yarian lived next door to my aunt and uncle's on Blacktown Road,  just outside of Mercer. Dave and Dick were the same age and friends during those teen years. Dave is the teacher, who believed in my writing and I dedicated Main Street to his memory and all English teachers, who inspire their students. Tom Munnell is in that category, too. A moment pondering on men dying too soon, it seems. Dick was a lot like his uncle, my dad, too. He loved his granddaughters and was proud of his children, a hard worker and a handsome man.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

His mercies are new every morning

Friday, August 26, 2016

First Football Game of the Season

 An exert from soon to be released Last Free Exit:
They arrived early at the football game, as the seats filled quickly in the first of the season, at home. Adults continued to flood the stands, long after their children had graduated. Grandchildren dragged along for the excitement of the state championship winning team.
The Wilson's sat in the reserved seats. Jordan sported a white and red T-shirt with “Go Reds” on it. Rolled up jeans and black shoes finished off his first football game outfit. Morgan and Mike jaunted over.
“Hey, how does it feel to be in the stands?” Maria Wilson winked at the twins.
Brendan stood to shake Mike's hand and Morgan leaned in to hug her friend's parents.
“Oh, interesting. I wonder what the half-time show will look like. I wonder how many freshmen are filling our places.”
The twins found seats near the reserved section, but closer to the student and band section.
The band bunched together at the north end of the field, hard to tell the size. The trombones held vertical, flashing in the late summer sunset rays. The sparkles of the dance line, majorettes and flag line formed a ball.
“Courtney made it last minute for the flag line,” Mike bragged to Morgan.
Morgan smiled, as before, just the year before, they looked at the dance line as a step down from actually playing an instrument. They were proud of Amber being the drum major. Now, at least Courtney participated. She had not the advantages they had had. Mike is falling for petite blonde Courtney.
The cheerleaders formed an honor guard, the first two holding a paper banner with “Go Reds” hand painted. Their legs skipped in place waiting for the football team to emerge from the locker room to charge the field. When the team did, the crowd in the stands jumped to its feet screaming.
The band then ran on the field into formation to play the National Anthem and the Alma mater.
“The band looks smaller this year,” Morgan stated.
“The drum line is huge, though, isn't it?”
“Always,” a tinge of disgust in Morgan's voice.
“The band still sounds good,” Mike stood up for some of his drummer friends.
“Well, yeah, it's what everyone should know.”
Brittany and Tiffany joined them after the music, as the fight song flooded into the stands with the band marching off the field.
“Wow! We didn't know the parking would be so bad.”
Morgan laughed, “We wouldn't have known either as inspection for band was so early. The Wilson's would just stay. Mrs. Wilson loved the concession stand food and she helped too with the band boosters.” They waved to the Wilson family as they talked about them.
“Yeah, we dropped Courtney off and decided to go to Burger Bin. We had to park up the hill from the stadium. Well, guess we needed the exercise. We got to see Courtney march in from the side lines, but we wanted to sit in the stands and yell.”
“Sorry, we didn't warn you,” Mike soothed.
The band made it to the stands, attempting to settle in but the first touchdown happened before they all were there. The fight song blasted into the air. The sparkling girls on the top row raised their arms. Courtney sported a sandy brown pixie cut, allowing her natural hair color to return from the many colors she played with over the years. The little chief tattoo glistened by her eye. After the cheering for the touchdown and the extra point died down, she waved to her friends, a blush at seeing Mike.
Derek had joined the group with a kid from the grocery store, Cameron. Cameron graduated from another local high school, but his team was playing on Saturday afternoon.
“I'm going to talk to Mr. Danes,” Morgan jumped up from her seat. Morgan skipped down the bleachers to the front pathway. Mr. Danes watched the game and the band, waiting to direct the fight song or other rifts to fill the stadium with team spirit. He wore a black suit with a white shirt, red tie and white gloves.
“Hey, girl, how's Ohio State?” his face brightened at his former band member.
“It's great. Amber really loves the band. They're at Syracuse this weekend. She says it is really hard. I hardly see her. I miss being in the band, but I knew I didn't want to commit to so much my first year.”
“Yeah, when music isn't your major. You kids are mature and wise,” he waved to Mike and Derek in the stands, “Wow, another touchdown,” he patted Morgan quick on the shoulder and raised his baton to lead the band again in the fight song. Morgan waved, and slipped away.
“Looks like a great start to the season, again,” Morgan yelled when she returned to her friends.
The train whistle and cow bells escalated the excitement. Brittany and Tiffany screamed with the rest of the crowd. Cameron smiled at Brittany, “Wow, you are full of spirit.”
Brittany grinned back, “You have no idea.”
Derek and Mike chuckled because they knew Brittany, Tiffany and Courtney came full of life in June. They were like the children that they hadn’t a chance to be before. The girls never bothered with the school spirit in their high school career, bored with life without living.
Cameron cheered some for the team. It was hard for him to not get caught up in the excitement.
The first quarters flew quickly with four touchdowns and scoring of the extra points by the Reds.
Morgan exclaimed, “I love to watch the boys break away and run those eighty some yards.”
“Look at Courtney. She is swinging with the music. I think she is getting into this marching band stuff,” Brittany's pride in her friend bubbled to the surface.
The marching band as a unit slipped back into their jackets and hats. The sun lower in the sky painted them with a glow of rose. They wound their way to the field.
“I'm looking forward to the half time show,” Morgan wiggled.
Cameron stated, “This is the biggest band in the county,” a little bit of envy tinged his speech.
“Were you in your band?” Morgan asked.
“Yeah, I played the trumpet like Derek.”
“Oh, I play the flute, then the piccolo. Our friend, Morgan, plays the clarinet. Her senior year she was drum major. Now, she's in OSU band.”
“Wow, they're a great band.”
Mike intercepted, “I played the trombone.”
The teens quit talking to listen to the visiting band. They had powder blue and white uniforms, a small flag line and one majorette. They produced a good sound for being few in number.
“Still amazes me, how good horns can sound, even when there aren't that many. They did pretty good. They practice, you can tell,” Morgan analyzed.
Tiffany admired Morgan's air of expertise, “You should have been a music major, too.”
“Ah, no, I love history too much. I want to study that and teach. Maybe I can enact at an historical village during my breaks.”
“Wow that sounds like fun. Where would you do that?”
“Where ever I can get in. Maybe Gettysburg or Hale Village. I've always wanted to do that.”
Mike announced, “Look our band is ready.”
“Ooh, I wonder what the half time show will be.”
“Now, under the direction of Mr. Danes, the Red marching band will do a medley honoring the Jersey Sound. Mixing the shore, working class and hard times with high hope, let the sounds of the Boss, Bon Jovi, Steve Van Zandt and Frankie Valie take you there.”
Morgan felt her legs jiggle like Jello. Oh, she had forgotten Iggy for a minute, but hearing that distinct horn sound of those Jersey songs, the saxophone wailing, the trombone section mixing all those songs reminded her of his talk of under the boardwalk, listening to the band sounds escaping the bars' open doors on hot summer nights. Whether what he boasted was true or not, Morgan had no way of knowing, but this music made her think of Iggy. A sigh escaped, so low, only Mike sensed his sister's agony.
Oh, boy, Mike thought, she's still thinking of Iggy. Why did it have to be Jersey Shore sound? Sure, it was fun to play and jived. “Roar.” Mike stared at Morgan. She glanced briefly at him, and shook her head, mouthing, “I'm OK.”
The third quarter, the band had freedom to be with their friends, families, or go to the concession stand. Courtney jumped over to her friends. Mike hid a smile as she approached. This time Morgan observed a twin's inner longings. At least, Courtney follows Jesus. They can have a future. Another sigh tripping over her lips, hidden this time even from Mike.
“Hey, girlfriend, how is the flag line?” Brittany asked.
“What did you think of the songs? We had a lot of fun,” Courtney offered.
Tiffany laughed, “I love the little tattoo of the Chief.”
“Yeah. This is really a lot of fun.”
Mike didn't hide his admiration of Courtney. She sat with the kids until the end of the third quarter, then jogged up the bleachers to join the others in flag line, dance line and majorettes. Morgan sighed again, as she watched her twin not let go of the sight of the cute sixteen-year-old. Where had Iggy gone and did she really want him?
The Red team won their first game with no effort against the opposing team. The kids still waited till the band played the final version of the fight song, then the Alma mater. They watched Courtney fit right in with the flag line, linking arms and singing the soulful last tune.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Summer sunset, earlier each night.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Jersey in August- 1968

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Presque Isle, Erie, Pennsylvania. I think it looks like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

When I first got my old phone, which the camera died, I don't think I've posted this picture of my husband. I named it, "Born to be mild." This was taken in the old Pizza Hut, Hermitage, PA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Morning walk for a change

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Inspiration to complete Walking with Eternity, sequel to Outside of Time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tall Grass and Tears

Our home was always open to our friends and relatives. My parents wanted a big family, but Mom wasn't able to have more than the four given her. The year I approached eleven, in fifth grade, Mom and Dad took in foster children.
Debbie, fifteen, arrived with her caseworker, carrying her possessions in one brown paper bag. She came from the jail because they said they had no room at the Childrens Home. Her smile lit up the room and she settled right in to being part of the family. She shared my room from then on that cold February day.
Debbie's personality brought many friends her way and she even had two boyfriends in succession. She practiced and practiced in our side yard for majorette try outs. She was really happy one day coming home, walking in the door, “That Reverend Hatch is a funny guy.” Somehow my parents found out she had a bag of weed in her sock. They sent it out to be tested and were told it was only oregano. Debbie laughed at that.
Mom tried to instill some lady like character. She was intensely opposed to Debbie smoking. Debbie would say she quit, but then the smell told on her. One Saturday morning, Mom, in anger, sprayed and sprayed perfume all over Debbie, more because she lied than the actual smoking.
We had a great summer. The summer of '72 goes down in my record books. Debbie loved to swim and accompanied me to the pool. My parents took us and Aunt Eleanor and my cousin Elaine to Indiana to see the older sister, Paula. Debbie and Elaine were the same age and I felt stuck between childhood and wanting to be a teen, a little rebellion setting in.
We traveled to the Jersey shore, Wildwood, with my sister and niece, too. We camped and spent the days in the ocean. Debbie dove and swam. One time surfacing, she gasped, “I lost Dominic's ring.” She kept diving and searching for that class ring, but never found it.
August, we felt like family. Dad took us and our two friends to Niagara Falls for a day trip. The trip happened to fall during Hurricane Agnes. She showed her furry all the way north and inland. A truckload of pigs overturned on I-90 in New York state. Our camper van didn't have a radio, so Dad had no idea what he was driving into. We did indoor activities, which was fun, too.
Debbie attended church camp. She came home, “saved.” But then she started acting truly bizarre and rebellious. She ran away in mid August, before school started.
Dad stayed out all night searching for her with the police. Mom and I didn't sleep well, so we were up when Dad stopped in. Wearied, he told how they were all over West Middlesex, and out to Kiwanis Park.
“I was wet up to my knees and half way down my shirt from the grass and my tears.”
Debbie wasn't his natural daughter and she hadn't lived with us long, six months, but that day, I saw Dad loved her wholeheartedly like all of us. I never felt jealous or better. Dad had so much love, we all felt special. He always wanted the best for us and in us. Debbie had to leave our home and we were sad, but everyone advised my parents to be careful for me, as I was eleven.
On Father's Day this year, the ache of missing Dad isn't there as much. He has been gone for twenty six years. I try to live like he did. And Dad lived Christ. That is the best way I came up to describe his life. I remember as a young child, I thought, I see Jesus, when I see Dad. He wasn't above any job at home. He wore an apron and cooked. He ran the sweeper and cleaned. He loved his yard. He painted our three story house using a picnic table and double ladder. Mom almost had a heart attack with every thud. On rainy days, he car pooled the neighborhood kids to school when it was his turn.
Dad knew his Bible because he read and studied it. He never went beyond eleventh grade high school formally. As my husband said today, the Army Air Corp only took the top ten percent. His dad and my dad were both in the Air Corp during WWII. Dad held a responsible job as a sergeant, assisting an officer.
In later years, Dad took a real estate course and passed his test. He could have been a nurse. He had what a nurse needs, great observation skills and gut instinct.
An Inn in an Indiana State park
Dad also took us on day trip to Sea World

Seaside Heights, NJ
He cared for my mom in her illness and didn't give up on her recovery. He wouldn't accept her being an invalid and two years after being temporarily paralyzed, she walked.
I found a page of Scottydog stationery my mother wrote on a year and a half after Dad died, yesterday when I was looking for the picture of him hanging cloth diapers. She talked of her grief when someone you love dies. She wrote how well he took care of her. I turned the page over and she wrote, “God healed me for a purpose.”
Mom remained a widow for eighteen years. A love great and strong held her. She knew he was a wonderful husband and father. I say she made an excellent choice when she was seventeen.
As I remembered the story of Dad searching for Debbie as she watched them, I thought how Christlike he was. Tears wetting his shirt as he wanted to rescue a daughter, hiding in tall grass. And he would have done that, crying for any of his kids or our friends. His heart enlarged with love cared for anyone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

From a few weeks ago. Seems time goes in a blink this time of year; spring changes frequently. These buttercups seemed to glow this evening, I took the picture.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Snowball bush, we called them when I was a child. This is what Martha was cutting in Main Street.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Slice of Heaven

I've been posting bits and pieces on Facebook about my father-in-law and his passing last week. The first of the week, I thought how in the mid nineties, I'd walk at Buhl Park in the morning on days off. I worked per Diem, so I had more days off.
In the distance, three men often walked in front of me. I don't remember ever really catching up with them. The first one wore a ball cap and had that stocky walk of my father-in-law. The second, also had a ball cap and was just a bit taller than the first, reminding me of my dad. The last of the trio had soft wavy white hair, like Uncle Homer, Lyle's new brother-in-law. I would watch them conversing as they strode the road. I called them Lyle, Jerry and Homer.
I'm glad in a way, I never caught up to them. These three men portrayed the camaraderie of that generation to me. They could be swapping war stories or of how they got they bought their first car and house. Maybe a camping trip mishap could be thrown in. An earlier story of skinny dipping in the river, maybe could have been passed between them. If I had known the real men, I wouldn't have thought of the three I knew.
The week before Lyle died, I approached the park with Harrison and snapped pictures. The sunlight low in the sky flowing into the groomed lawn and trees always makes me think of Heaven. A slice of Heaven, I called the picture I took.
The picture in my mind of Lyle, Jerry and Homer, now all in Heaven, entered my mind's eye. Now, arthritis gone, gives them a smoother stride. I see them without pain of cancer or dementia, still offering words of wisdom and concerns of love. There are no days in Heaven, but the group may mix up at times, joined by Leon and Clark with Lyle and Dave and Bill with Jerry. Maybe the baby brothers they never knew are playing with them. I don't know Homer's family to imagine who would join him in strolls through the garden of Heaven.
In the midst of it all, Jesus joins and plays, too. Yes, Jesus plays. Remember on the road to Emmaus? He literally played hide-n-seek with those two men and disappeared when they recognized Him.
I also think there is work to be done in Heaven to prepare for the coming days. So maybe Jesus is calling now on Lyle's resourcefulness. He made a log splitter for only eleven dollars, because that is how much the hose he needed cost. They had everything else on hand.
Lyle darned his socks and a few grandkids' socks, too. Dad Lewis taught me crochet's beginnings, as he made chains. This generation didn't have much, but they earned everything they had. They also shared what they had and were generous with materials and wisdom and love.
Tears spring to my eyes. I cry for Dad Lyon and the loss of a generation. They seemed to touch the past more than we have. They lived with no electricity. Lyle talked of when horse and buggy outnumbered automobiles in Emporium. Outhouses more common than indoor plumbing. Gardens supplemented the table and a family member slaughtered a cow or pig for meat. Chickens beheaded for Sunday dinner.
They could tell the seasons to come by observing the trees, caterpillars and birds. They could feel immediate changes in the weather and prepare for that. They also showed no fear. I can't believe we didn't mention John Wayne, Dad Lyon loved his movies. I saw a quote by John Wayne today when shopping that summarizes this generation, Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
Good bye to one more of the greatest, generous, gutsy generation.