Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Haller-ween!

Not a fan of Halloween, especially what it's become ... monstrous yard displays and money spent on endless Halloween junk (judging by the aisles of stuff at Wal-mart).

But someone in our family coined the term "Haller-ween" and I think it's so clever. My trip to the pumpkin farm earlier this week with Ari provided the opportunity for several adorable "Haller-ween" photos ...

I think her toothy grin looks like a little jack-o-lantern!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

the rest of our visit

Dear Ari,
A mighty October wind blew in
and you and I watched it through the kitchen windows.

I told you how God is like the wind:
even though you can't actually see him,
you can see and feel him working,
sometimes in big, windy ways;
and sometimes in slightly barely-ruffling-the-leaves ways.
Since you are so fresh from God,
I think you understand the concept better than me.

While you napped, Baba had a couple of chores ...
like folding your cloth diapers.
I love your "FuzziBunz"!

You are ready to go after naps ...

I love your active busy-ness, Ari ...
so sweet and full of life.
Thank you for sharing a couple of days with Baba.
Love you forever!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

visiting Ari

Dear Ari,

So good to see you again!
We had lots of fun playing,

(especially watching you eat)

and, oh my, a trip to the nearby
pumpkin farm.

Oh yeah, we took our time and found
the perfect pumpkin!

At the start, you smiled your big,
beautiful smile ...

... but then you weren't  feeling so great,
so our time was cut short.

 ... and back home we went.

We're not done yet ... next post: the rest of our visit!
love you forever,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

wedding revisited!

I needed one more photo for my mother-in-love's belated birthday collage. Bless her heart: she's 94! Anyway, last night I spent most of the Rangers-Yankees game going through Mark & Jill's wedding CDs. In a slip of the tongue, I once said to Jill, during her wedding prep, "the other wedding," meaning Dan & Jenny's, two years prior. She thought that was funny. Well, what can I say: middle-aged brain meets two years of wedding planning!

Oooops. I think I digressed. So in looking for just one photo in six wedding CDs, I was transported back to August 1, 2009. It was, er, a rather busy weekend and I missed many of the beautiful moments. So last night was a relaxed time of revisiting the love of that day.

Thank you, Mike and Kim Lotz, who captured it all for us. Here are just a few of my favorites ...

So tender ... the newlyweds right after the ceremony.

My youngest boy ... now a husband!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

happy birthday, Jenny!

Many years ago a friend invited me to pray weekly with other moms for our children, their schools and teachers. I learned from those moms how to really pray for my kids. I'd hear them pray for their children's future spouses; that God would already be protecting their hearts and minds and preparing them for the day they'd marry into a family. It seemed a little odd to me, but I began to embrace the idea of praying for my
future daughters and son-in-law. ("in-loves" I call them.)

Within ten years, my son Dan introduced us to Jenny, a bright and spirited college sophomore who had captured his heart. I eyed her carefully, not sure what to make of a serious girlfriend for one of my boys.

I soon saw Dan's attraction to Jenny: she had a zest for life, a genuine interest in others and new ideas, a love of God ... and coffee! She seemed a part of our family right away. 

Most of you know the rest of this story: Dan and Jenny married soon after college graduation and became parents this year. My prayers have changed to include their marriage, jobs, parenthood and all the challenges faced by a young couple.

Today is Jenny's 26th birthday. How thankful I am for her. The wonder years are ahead of you, Jenny: rearing children, supporting Dan, pursuing your personal interests. Enjoy it and chase after God ... wishing you a very happy birthday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

sunday drive

A couple of generations ago, folks would take a "Sunday drive" for ... entertainment, I guess. There weren't so many soccer practices or orthodontist appointments or the constant driving here and there as we have today. My dad pulled this on us a few times and I thought it pretty much pointless: driving in the country to look at houses, pastures and horses.

But yesterday just seemed like a good day for a drive in the country and we have lots of lovely country in our county. Brilliant October afternoon, crisp and clear. Off we went. Bill, Ellie and me. I posted on facebook that I was "going shooting," which meant grabbing my camera.

First stop: Prospect, Ohio. Rumor had it that we'd find a gigantic ginkgo tree in the Prospect cemetery. (Sure glad I consulted Websters: I thought it was 'ginko!') No rumor: she's massive. So massive that photos just don't do it justice. So go see her sometime. 'She' ought to have a name, like Gertie the Ginkgo, don't you think?

I recognized the shape of the leaves, but they seemed smaller than I imagined.

OK, so I'm a tree hugger.

At the edge of the cemetery, overlooking the river was the tiniest chapel you ever did see. It appears to have been painted recently and is jammed with old stuff. I wonder if funeral services were once held here.

If this shot looks familiar, you might have seen it last year ...
taken in the lovely Gallant Woods, our next stop. This park offers walking trails in both meadows and woods.

See the cute older couple holding hands as they walk?

I covet this ceiling for my house, but it's in the picnic shelter at Gallant.

Ellie, happy, always happy to be with us.
I should be more like that with people I love!

The longer I live, the more I realize how blessed I am
to have married a very good man.

October is racing by: oh, I don't want to miss its splendor!

Thank you, God, for this spectacular season!

Friday, October 15, 2010

farewell, Mike Harden

I opened the paper yesterday morning to discover a farewell headline to Mike Harden, long-time columnist for the Columbus Dispatch. An insidious cancer claimed him at the age of 64.

A husband, father, grandfather, and Vietnam veteran, Mike was an old school newsman who made it his mission to reveal real life and the common man to his readers. His skill for crafting words was unparalleled and I eagerly read his columns week after week.

Whether covering Hurricane Katrina victims, the death of his dog, or a search in Vietnam for his adopted daughter's birth mother, Mike took his readers on an emotional journey of the human condition.

A journey that has ended and will be missed by many. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

four strong winds

Four strong winds that blow lonely
Seven seas that run high
All those things that don’t change,
Come what may.
If the good times are all gone
Then I’m bound for moving on
I’ll look for you if I'm ever back this way.

This melacholy folk song about love lost came to me today as I raked leaves. I used to strum it on my guitar back in college, but without Google, I had no way made no effort to learn its origin. So today I did some research and found this. Four Strong Winds was written by Canadian folk singer Ian Tyson in the early 60's, first performed by the Brothers Four (a group of college fraternity brothers) and later popularized by Neil Young.

What's this got to do with raking leaves? Nothing! But I had time to think. Someone recently commented, and I realized, how blessed I am to have a husband who loves me, and four children who are like four strong winds in that they're determined to find their way in the world. They are delightfully different and certainly "blow" along different paths.

I think they're strong and I often wonder what made them so.
Did God just decide: "I will create those four Haller kids as strong!"
Or - having a mean mother, they couldn't wait to get out on their own
.... that's probably it!
So far, two have moved several times and very far away.
They take care of themselves, earn a living, pay bills, figure out how to cook.
It's evident I've been outsourced.
One moment this makes me sad,
but then
I consider the alternatives
and I'm thankful and content ...
to have raised four strong winds.

My four strong winds with me.

And in case you're unfamiliar with the song, here are the Brothers Four performing it in the early 60's. I find this clip a fascinating look at college-age kids of the time: politely listening, intently studying the performers and tenderly singing along. They lack the frenzy seen in today's concert venues.
Interesting, since it was the dawn of the turbulent 1960's. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the birthday girls of 10.10.10

Isn't 10/10/10 about the coolest date for anything special? I happen to have TWO friends with a birthday today! These are the gals who live right next door and right across the street. You know those neighbor non-relationships where the people come home, shut their garage doors and go in the house? Not here, oh no. I couldn't stay anonymous if I wanted to. Here's what we've shared over the past 17 years...

- illnesses, surgeries, and loss of a parent
- caring for ailing parents
- kids learning to drive
- hitting each other's cars on the street
- borrowing (we agree not to return the items so all are free to borrow) sugar, eggs, milk, tomatoes, butter, cream cheese, you name it
- bad - really bad - hair days
- snow days
- dog care -- runaway dogs, howling dogs, barking dogs, hungry dogs, peeing dogs
- rebellious kids ... countless tears shed
- funny, loving and honorable kids, too
- weddings and babies
- achieving kids and kids who don't
- clueless husband stories
- thoughtful husband stories
- what books we've read
- coffee, tea, birthday cakes, breakfasts
- mailbox balloons
- flower-growing contests by our mailboxes
- chasing baby raccoons around the neighborhood
- sun tea contests: who gets the first jar out in the spring
- graduation parties (I win on this one)
- gardening expertise (I lose on this one)
- computer knowledge (I totally lose on this one)
- kids moving out, moving in and moving around
- prayer with and for each other

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOVE AND LYNN ... thank you for keeping your garage doors up and your hearts open. I love you!

(This post is borrowed from 2008 ... some just bear repeating!)

Saturday, October 9, 2010


There's a neat feature on my computer that sends photos sliding across the screen. Not like I sit here gazing at them all day, though it would be nice. Once in awhile, a forgotten photo will appear and it makes me laugh ... or almost cry, shaking a memory of a special person in my life. Vacation. A day at the zoo, hike in the woods, or in this case, the riverbank at a nearby park.

Jack. All boy. He loves to throw stones and reminds me of the adventurous days I spent with my three sons.

If you've never spent a day with a young boy, you're missing out. Go borrow a boy and experience exuberant living!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Girl meets world

Dear Ari,

Your mom posted this photo of you on her and daddy's blog, especially to show off the scrumptious new outfits sewn by your Great Grammy Claire.

But it says so much more to me. In fact, I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes off this picture. I love everything about it!

You're grabbing not only your daddy's finger, but also the world. Your left hand holds fast to daddy and your sweet right hand is open wide for balance and maybe to catch something wonderful.

Your face exudes excitement for living ... you are bursting to see what's out in the world. Your determined tongue says to me "I'm on my way and no one's stopping me!" This reminds me of the mischievous spirit of your daddy and strong resolve of your mommy. Your eyes, the windows to your soul, are brimming with whimsy and joy.

Know this, my sweet Ari. Never let go of your father's hand. Your heavenly Father, I mean. He holds you while you hold Him, and it is Him you can trust with your hopes and dreams and future as well as the hard things of life. Hold tightly always!

That's what I see in this picture, my favorite 9-month-old. See you soon.
Much love,
your Baba

Monday, October 4, 2010

happy birthday, Lisa

Some people can really make you laugh. They are good at sharing a laugh and as it says in Proverbs, laughter [a cheerful heart] is good medicine. I believe it.

I am blessed with several such friends, but the one who's perhaps laughed with me most is Lisa. We were co-Girl Scout leaders and if that doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what would. The girls said and did funny things. Lisa and I did outrageous things, like sleeping on the same air mattress while freezing our buns off.

We traveled with our girls on countless camping trips, Mammoth Cave, Mackinac Island, and even Mexico. As it turned out, we found humor in nearly everything we did.

How blessed I am to call you my friend, Lisa. Happy birthday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy birthday, David: 27 memories

For your birthday, 27 memories and things about you ...

1. You astounded us with how early, and clearly you spoke. And I think you were reading by age 4.
2. The first name you ever called me was "Baba."
3. Your hair. Lots of history there. Remember when you'd charge people a quarter to rub your buzzed head?
4. You've hated football, and loved baseball, for as long as I can remember
5. First night in a big boy bed: attack of the yip-yips.
6. The leech on my salad at Fireside. To this day, it wasn't funny.
7. Neither was the f--- bottle. I can't even say it.
8. Most of your other pranks were devilishly funny. I don't even want to know what all you pulled at college.
9. Your Pacific coast tour with Shadow. What a cool and adventurous thing to do!
10. You were never crazy about sweet stuff. Funny kid.
11. But you sure liked my chicken and rice.
12. Calling me from San Diego, then Cleveland, asking for recipes, cooking or grocery shopping tips. I really liked that.
13. For a middle school science project you had to kill a butterfly with alcohol in a jar, and you cried. I think I did, too.
14. Age 3: admonishing Dan, age 2, for "scaring mommy" when he wandered away from me from Sea World.
15. Playing a Nazi, a rabbi, an old man, and other assorted characters in school plays: you loved it and so did we.
16. Practicing piano: I REALLY loved that.
17. The year you left your glasses at home as we headed out for vacation. And remembering three hours up the road.
18. The ways in which you give generously to others. You know what I'm talking about and would never want me to tell others.
19. Becoming part of a church everywhere you've lived.
20. Not "settling" for less than what you want in life, or what God wants for you.
21. Your laugh. It might be what I most miss about your not being around.
22. But I also miss your sense of humor. It's unparallelled.
23. Phone calls to us on your commute into work. Special.
24. Countless hours on the computer at home, crunching numbers. And learning, learning, learning baseball.
25. Opening the pantry when you're home and declaring, "wow, so many tasty snacks!"
26. Your gift of words. I love to read your writing. But then, it bites when you crush me at Speed Scrabble. Grrrrr.
27. Last year's road trip around Florida with you. Blazing hot. Hysterically funny. Deliciously filling (good food.) And well-planned by you. Awesome.

Though I know you're holed up at the Trop working
on post-season stuff this weekend,
know that I wish you a very HAPPY 27th birthday, and a year
of dreams realized. Love you!
~ Mom
p.s. Go Rays!

Taken last year at Good Samaritan Hospital,
West Palm Beach, Florida
where you were born.