The Longest Goodbye

How do you feel about goodbyes?

Honestly, I have some mixed feelings about them. Sure, most of the time goodbyes are somewhat easy, everyday occurrences that pretty much go unnoticed.

But sometimes, goodbye is the last thing we want to say to somebody when time pours through the hourglass and all we want is for time to take several steps backwards.

Then, there are the times we don’t even get the chance to say goodbye. Those are some of the most heart wrenching times and it seems almost impossible to step over the regrets of not being there.

Yesterday, I was reading some new blog posts when a photograph caught my eye. It was a close up of someone holding hands. Then, I saw the name.

It was written by one of my dear blogging friends who has spent the past year on a difficult journey. As I read it, my cheeks were wet with tears.

I cried not only for the sadness of fate that seemed to go the wrong way, but also some joy tears were mixed in.

Here’s what I love about families, they stick it out, even if bad news is involved and heartache lingers.

I also love how her mum is triumphant! She survived brain surgeries and a tumor. What a miracle in that alone.

As soon as I read her account of life with her beautiful mum, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Love and hugs, Miriam.

Out an' About

On this, my 100th post, I’m baring my soul.  This time last year my mum went into hospital for what should have been a straight forward operation to remove a tumor on her brain.  Although the operation went well complications arose during her recovery.  She ended up back in hospital and contracted an infection.  To cut a long and painful story short the infection and two major surgeries changed her forever.

From the operation to today I’ve seen her suffer and decline, from a strong fit independent woman living on her own, who taught me so much, to one needing 24/7 care.  She can no longer walk or talk or feed herself, though we think she has moments of lucidity and understanding.  Which makes it all the more heartbreaking.

She’s now in a facility not far away from where we live and she’s well cared for.  I visit her as…

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I Love Today

What have you been doing today? 

It seems that something quite magical happened overnight last night. Our recent weather has dropped the temperatures so low, that it looks like it snowed the past few mornings. 

When Little Bit and I walked outside this morning, our yard was practically a radiant yellow! 

Suddenly, his sweet little lips belted out a gleeful, “dandelions!” They are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. It is almost like they were born overnight, because they weren’t there yesterday! I can’t tell you how excited we were to see them! 

Granted, most folks considered dandelions weeds, but I have a hard time with that.

I mean, who remembers the childhood game of seeing if you liked butter by rubbing those flowers on your chin? And, just look at those yellow petals. 

To me, dandelions are small pieces of spring and childhood all rolled up into one sweet bloom. 

After I snapped a few pictures of them, we decided to take the back roads to town. We live in such a beautiful and soulful area. In fact, a look out of each window in our home reveals a wonderful natural scene. 

As we started on our journey towards town, we passed the country cemetery that we love. In winter’s past, we’ve stood there looking to see if the eagles were in the nearby trees. 

I love its smallness and the sense of peace there. I always find myself wondering about those families and if they lived around here all those years ago. 

Further down the road we spotted the first box turtle we’ve seen this spring. He was kind enough to grace us with a picture, although he stuck his head back inside his shell. 

Next, we came to the swimming hole. You see, the river is within a mile from us. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time we’ve spent there the past seven years, swimming, playing, and fishing.

We sat on the bridge, just listening to the water sing its song. There’s such a relaxing tone as it ripples over the rocks. 

Then, we were off to town and got our errands done. Once we were back home, a nice rain shower moved in and  pitter-pattered against the deck. 

The sun is showing its shy side now as grayness has settled in. The buds on the trees seem to be dancing in the breeze and our wind chimes are jingling about. 

Oh, what a spring-filled Wednesday its been! And, I just wanted to tell you how much I love today! 

      
    
   

New Friends

Don’t you just love when opportunities for friendship fall right into your lap?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story called “Soul Service.” It was about a mini vacation we took to some state parks. Fate was on our side that weekend because a ranch we had never been to before had an open cabin on super short notice.

While we were staying there, my husband had a conversation with the owners and they mentioned some upcoming work  they were researching and needing help with.

Would you believe their project was something we’ve done many times and love doing? Funny how those type of things seem to fall into line sometimes.

So, a few days before Easter weekend, my husband, Little Bit, Ozzy (our dog) and I, loaded up and went back to the ranch.

I’ll tell you what, there’s just something about standing on the side of a mountain, doing manual labor, and actually feeling lucky to be there. I felt like I was inhaling gratitude. 

How awesome is that? I love how helping others seems to turn our thankful faucets on.

Three days later, with the task complete, we were asked to join them for Easter dinner.

Easter dinner with almost strangers? I can’t tell you how much it meant to sit down at that table. I don’t know about you, but sharing a holiday meal between families pretty much drops strangers from the equation and seals the deal in true friendships.

As we pulled out of the driveway to leave, an old familiar feeling appeared. I felt almost like I was leaving home.

My, how I love that. Here’s to new friends. 

 

Cavin’

Are you a fan of history and the outdoors?

We are. As a family, we especially love our local history. Today we ended up with a free Saturday afternoon, so we decided to go to a nearby cave. 

Little Bit and I had been there before, but my husband hadn’t. I just have to say, that the cave is truly one of those instances where Mother Nature outdid herself again! 

Part of the reason it ranks right up there with my favorite places is because from the road you can’t see anything and would never even know it’s there. The surprise of it lies up the path. 

The tour starts out near the building and the sidewalk bends around to the overlook where Henry Rowe Schoolcraft would’ve come up the creek. At that point, the tour guide tells the history of how the cave was discovered.  

A walk around the next corner shows what Mr. Schoolcraft would’ve seen when he came upon the cave in the 1800’s. It is pretty cool to imagine being in an explorer’s shoes over 100 years ago. 

The cave entrance is quite breathtaking. I’ve seen it three times and it still drops my jaw. At some of the other caves we have been to, we’ve had to crawl in. Not this one! It is massive. 

One step inside and it’s easy to see why people have been drawn to it for so many years. It’s sort of homey. For a cave, it is filled with a large amount of light.  

One of the stories I really like, is about how over 90 years ago families would meet there after church. They would spread their quilts on the floor inside, near the entrance and picnic. I love the idea of families gathered there to cool off from the summer heat. 

Further back the guide talks about how the Native Americans used the cave and there’s also a formation with names from the 1800’s carved in it.

At the back, there is a small, but powerful waterfall. And, for just a moment, they shut the lights off just to show what it was like before electricity graced the cave. 

It was really neat to look at the ceiling and see sharks teeth and starfish. Also, throughout the tour, we saw bats, cave crickets, and newly hatched salamanders. 

I feel quite lucky that we live in a place near so much natural beauty. What a wonderful day we spent as a family, going cavin’.

 

    

     
    
    
 

The Sounds of Home

Don’t you just love listening to things around you?

I do. Our life has slowed way down in recent months,  and I’ve really found myself embracing what I hear.

Do you ever do that? Just notice? Just listen? Just be aware?

I have been doing that a lot. It’s kind of funny how the act of simply listening can fill the gratefulness pails to the brim.

Lately, I’ve noticed how much I love the sounds of our daily life:

  • the hum of the dryer
  • Little Bit’s potato chip bag rustling in the other room
  • the cats meows 
  • water running in the sink
  • little feet tearing down the hallway
  • the opening of the garage door when my husband gets home from work
  • music on the iPad
  • the dog snoring
  • Little Bit’s singing while he plays
  • the thunder of last night’s storm
  • a car driving down the gravel road
  • bull frogs putting on a rock concert in the pond
  • spring peepers belting out a melody
  • when helicopters appear and we race out to see them
  • chit chat of the mourning doves
  • hoots of the owls
  • the pair of geese that flew over our heads at sunset last night
  • conversations of coyotes late on any given night

Ordinary? Maybe. Extraordinary? Definitely. 

Every single day, moments tick by. The second hand on the clock never seems to stop. What I love the most about listening is, that even though it doesn’t actually stop time, it puts us in the moment. This moment. 

Yesterday, listening graced me with multiple gifts:

  • In the afternoon, Little Bit burst into the room and announced that he was delighted that I am his best friend!
  • I got to hear the sloshes of little feet stomping wildly in puddles!
  • Spring’s serenade filled the house as we opened the windows to let in the warm March breeze.

Right now I can hear Little Bit’s breath as he sleeps, the cat pawing at the bedroom door, and a crow cawing outside the window. I don’t care so much for crows, but man, I sure do love the sounds of home.  

    
 

      I Love _______ List

      If someone asked you to make a list with the prompt, “I love__________”, what would your list be? 

      Would you fill in the blank with your favorite coffee, something about your family, your pets, or maybe your favorite season?

      Last November, I wrote a story about how every few months I make a list of my favorite things. (You can read it here if you like.) 

      This time I thought it’d be fun to change it up a little and put “I love” into the mix. 

      I haven’t made a list since that post, and I thought tonight would be a good time to make one. So, here goes!

      I Love________ ~ March 12, 2016

      • the spring peeps singing wildly
      • the white laundry basket full of Legos 
      • how the hall closet is jammed full of board games
      • that the white book shelf in Little Bit’s room is full of Little Golden books
      • that the entry closet is stuffed full of umbrellas, balls, and rubber boots
      • all the coloring books crammed into the magazine holder 
      • that there’s a basketball hoop, bikes, and sidewalk chalk in the garage
      • how Little Bit loves Archie Comic books and that they’re stacked up high on the desk
      • picking up little bits of his childhood throughout the day and putting them in my pockets
      • emptying my pockets at the end of the day and finding game pieces, cars, letters and Pom poms
      • when Little Bit still tries to squeeze into the chair with me to read, like he did in November
      • how Little Bit raced through the house this evening, announcing he was packed for college
      • that college is still 9 years away!
      • age 9, flying kites, playing cars, and picnics 
      • that the days are getting longer and that spring will be here soon

      It’s late now, as an hour has passed. The house is all quiet except for the ticking of the clock. It’s funny how gratefulness can sneak in and present itself at any and all hours, including this one. 

      I love the gift in that…

              
           

            Farmers Say, “Let the Women Vote.”

            Don’t you just love history?

            I am definitely drawn to things that happened around the time my grandparents were born. When my grandma Wilma passed away in December 2015, she was 96 years old.

            She was born in Iowa in August of 1919 and just one month prior, Iowa had given women the right to vote. Now, that is some pretty cool stuff. My great grandmother could vote!

            Since this is an election year, I have been doing a bit of studying on the history of women’s suffrage in this country. I thought I’d do something a bit different and include a link in case you are interested in reading about it as well. http://www.iptv.org/IowaPathways/mypath.cfm?ounid=ob_000320

            Also, I’m so excited to tell you that the other day while doing a blog search for vintage aprons, I stumbled upon this amazing blog. As I was reading some of her published articles, I saw this one in particular and really thought it was fitting.

            I asked and was granted permission to reblog it, and I am so happy that I get to share it with you! If you get a chance, please check out her blog. It is one of my new favorites.

            A Hundred Years Ago

            Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914) Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

            In 1915, times were a-changing.  Farm Journal asked readers to send in post cards telling them whether they supported women’s suffrage. A sample of the responses were then printed in the magazine (and every single response that was published supported women’s suffrage). Here are a few of them:

            Yes, indeed, let the women vote.

            J.C. Switzer (Carterville, Mo.)

            I am strongly in favor of women voting. Hope the time will soon come when women will have the vote; and good-bye booze.

            Morton R. Woodard (Dunsville, N.Y.)

            You wish to know what I think about woman suffrage. Being a woman who naturally objects to being classed along with the rest of the farm’s livestock, I certainly shall vote when I get a chance.

            Mrs. C. J. Colony (Lodi, N.Y.)

            Yes, I am in favor of woman suffrage. I am sorry to say that I used…

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