Sunday, December 30, 2012

closing down 2012

Jill and Lily, December 26

Hello again! I think we can all agree on the busy-ness of the season. A friend at church told me her family made three trips over the holidays. Three! We stayed home the whole time and still I didn't find time to blog.

I cooked. I got rooms and beds ready. I swept up dog hair. I went to the grocery over and over. I wrapped. I watched a movie or two and ate popcorn. Then came the snow - we've actually had three snowfalls in a week - and while I didn't shovel much, I watched the shoveling and readied the throw rug by the doors. My southern friends think snow is pretty. The older I get, the more I think it's a pain.

Best of all was having 4 of 6 kids here and 1 of 3 granddaughters too. It snowed and snowed the day after Christmas ... Lily loved tasting it! What a doll! So special having her here for her first Christmas, even though she enjoyed a set of car keys and the wrappings best.

This is my best photo of the week. Good light is a photographer's best friend and our house has none.My next house will face east and west, not north and south!

Good tidings and happy new year to all!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
As family arrive and the cooking and wrapping are finished,
I've found little time to blog.
But I pray your Christmas holds the joy, peace and wonder
of Christ. He is God, who became a man
to live among all people. He was and is and forevermore will be ... love.
Love to you this Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

home safe!

The upper plains, or whatever that area to the west and north of us is called, got hammered with a foot or more of snow the past couple of days. I don't pay close attention to the forecast 'cause I live with a weatherman, my hubby. He said we might get an inch or so.

This afternoon I had a couple of little errands to run and thought nothing of the snow. After all, I'm not Memaw. My paternal grandmother, ever the southerner, was horrified when she'd visit us in Connecticut and watch my mother head out to run errands in the snow. Memphians just don't do that. They stay home if it snows, no questions asked.

So. Errand number one went fine. Then I needed to run to Kohl's on the east side of town. After spending just 15 minutes in Kohl's, I headed to my car which was covered in at least 2 inches of snow. The state highway out front, a main artery into town, was packed. OK, the Friday before Christmas, I understand.

Apparently the snow caught the city guys off guard. There were no plows in sight. A usual 7-minute trip took at least a half hour. It was punctuated by icy roads, several inches of snow and slush, and holiday traffic. Slight hills up and over railroad tracks turned treacherous and our main street in town, Sandusky, suffered a gridlock of sliding cars and gobs of traffic.

I'm home now. Dinner is going to be whatever's on hand: no going out! Be safe, friends, wherever you are! (No, Karen, not moving south!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

the day my heart changed

No, it wasn't the day I became a mother.
While I did fall hopelessly in love with my first-born, David,
 it was eight months later that I knew my heart had undergone an incredible transformation.

A Sunday in June 1984 marked the opening day of Girl Scout Camp White Rock,
tucked in the hills of West Virginia.
Bill and I had taken jobs there directing and managing the camp.
Parents dropped their girls off, staff helped campers settle into the units,
and girls headed for swim testing at the pool.

As I finished check-in procedures at the dining hall,
a breathless staff member burst in to report an emergency at the pool.
I sprinted down to discover the waterfront director and nurse huddled over a ten-year-old girl.
Her dark, wet hair curled around her face and she lay motionless on the pool deck
while the staff administered CPR.
"She went into some sort of seizure in the pool; she's not breathing," they told me.
The squad soon roared into camp to transport the girl to the nearest hospital, in Winchester, Virginia.
Bill and I followed in our car, but by the time we reached the hospital, the young girl was dead,
her life cut short, we learned later, by an undetected heart defect. 
I was completely unprepared to serve as grief counselor for the girl's parents and a camp full of campers
and staff, and the next few days were undeniably the worst of my life.

Late that night, we drove back to camp and walked wearily into our little house at the edge of camp.
Our wonderful sitter had stayed those many grim hours with David, our 8-month-old son.
While Bill drove the sitter home, I tiptoed down the hall to David's room.

He was curled up with his blanket, sleeping soundly in his crib.
I bent over him for the longest time, stroking his blond hair, listening to him breathe,
touching his face, and slipping my finger into his hand.
As I thought of the mother and father who'd just lost their daughter, my tears fell onto David's pajamas.
I'd cried many times in my 29 years, but this time the tears came from a deeper place.
They welled up from a new mother's heart. They came from a place of deepest love and fiercest protection.
 I wept for that girl's mother because now I knew the measure of a mother's love
and could better imagine myself in her shoes.
Losing my darling David was unthinkable, yet countless women have lost their treasured
children through accident, disease and war. And murder. 

That June day 28 years ago stands as the day I grew up as a mother
 and the day my heart forever changed.

I am praying that the mothers and fathers in Newtown, Connecticut
who have lost their beloved children
will draw near to God and know his comfort.
He knows and shares their pain for he, too, lost his precious son.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the people of Heart of Ohio

Yesterday Bill and I took a little drive up to Mansfield, Ohio. At the lovely Westbrook Country Club we met the editor (well, we already knew her - hi, Diana!), publisher and others who write for Heart of Ohio Magazine. It was a cozy couple of hours, learning what's coming up for 2013 at Heart of Ohio. Especially fun was hearing from each person and what he/she has in mind for future articles and themes.

Ever since I decided to get serious with my writing, I've loved meeting and swapping ideas with other writers. It's an instant connection we seem to share: a geeky love of assembling words and working to get them published. I remember my first writers conference: I felt like I'd come home! At no other time or place had I been surrounded by so many people who loved writing.

Anyway, Heart of Ohio Magazine is going gangbusters! While you can access it online, you could also treat yourself to a subscription and help ensure that it continues to grow. Each issue, you'll find positive stories of the people, places and events that make up the heart of Ohio. I'm honored to be a contributing writer. Go to for more info!

Writing ... when I first met Ari.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


WOW, it's December 12, 2012 ... 12.12.12! I'm sure by the end of the day there will be stories of babies born today, born into a lifetime of being able to say his/her birthday is 12.12.12.

The closest we have to anything similar is our son Mark, born 2.8.88 and granddaughter Ari, born 1.1.10. But let's see, this won't be repeated until February 2, 2022? And on and on it goes.

Very busy in my little world ... planning, shopping, cleaning, and getting excited about Christmas with family. We won't all be together, but thankful for the time we just had in November.

Happy 12-12-12 .... and note the time this posted! Tee hee!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mr. Rogers: the original Google

My first job was as a babysitter. In fact, it provided my main income from age 12 until college. I received calls to babysit from many families but had a couple of regular favorites. One job involved watching the younger children of my sister's Brownie leaders one afternoon a week.

The kids mostly played outside, riding bikes on the driveway or running through the woods. But on cold, rainy days we stayed indoors. It was around that time that Mr. Rogers came on the scene. You probably know the show: Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers opened the show by stopping by his television house, tying on his tennis shoes and exchanging a sport coat for a cardigan sweater, all the while singing:

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
a beautiful day for a neighbor,
won't you be mine, could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?

As a 15-year-old, I found Mr. Rogers kind of annoying. His songs were awful and he didn't act like any grown men I knew. He talked to puppets and his best friend was the odd delivery man, Mr. McFeely. "Speedy delivery!" But the kids seemed mesmerized by all that went on in the neighborhood.

Fifteen years later, I changed my tune completely when I had pre-schoolers. While dinner cooked, we'd snuggle on the couch on snowy afternoons and enter Mr. Rogers' world.

It was then I saw Fred Rogers in a new light. An ordained minister, he was a kind, gentle man who cared less about entertaining children and more about showing them that they matter, that their feelings are valid, and they don't need to do anything to prove their worth. He showed that small children need parents who listen and accept them. Mr. Rogers loved life and those around him and always joined in a new project in the neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers, I believe, is the original Google. Ever curious, he found out how things worked or were made. I remember his trip to the Crayola crayon factory to see crayons being made. He once visited an underground mushroom farm, a shoe factory, and all sorts of others. He watched carefully and asked the questions a child might ask. He taught my boys and me so much, without ever using a computer.

Fred Rogers was a delightful man who quietly encouraged and taught two generations of children. I hope he's still influencing parents and children on snowy afternoons

Saturday, December 1, 2012

person of the year

I'm still pouting over this photo-posting problem.
Guess I have a photo addiction
. I almost can't think of a post without a photo, which is how I got in this pickle in the first place.

So ... words, not photos!

Well folks, come May, our family will have doubled in size since 2007. Wonderful blessings!
Dan and Jenny are expecting their third baby in May.
That's some close-together young 'uns, three in under three and half years!

Here's our little family expansion story:

2007 - Dan married Jenny
2008 - holding pattern
2009 - Mark married Jill
2010 - Ari born to Dan and Jenny
2011 - Ashlyn born to Dan and Jenny
2012 - Lily born to Mark and Jill
2013 - New baby due

Go to for Dan and Jenny's fabulous Christmas/baby announcement photo,
created by Katie. (
I know I'm her mom and all, but Katie's a super photographer,
so keep her in mind!

Pardon the ads!
Have a great weekend!