Beforre

“Well you know you have to start somewhere.”

It’s like, okay, the idea is hear, now what? I spent all day on the clean up projects. Pulling out the paper tools, tablets, and binders that I have saved over the years. Yet I still feel like something is missing. What did I do with that list?

Cleaning up the Library is my next project. I am a bit of an old=school writer. I need my paper journals, my pens, my sticky notes and a good whiteboard. The ideas in my brain don’t just jump out and land on the screen in front of me. Even some scrap paper and some sharpie pens are helpful.

So I made a list of the women who as widows gave their hearts to me. And believe it or not there were a few men in the list too. Men sometimes get over the hurt faster by sharing those last years with yet another lonely heart. Sometimes the romances end up in another marriage like in the case of my husband’s Aunt Mabel. She and Arnie were so cute.

Next I decided to pick a few people today whose lives exemplify the biblical widows like Anna. People who spend there time in prayer, in church, in service, and in loving their families. Four of these people I sent hand written letters to invite them into my project. Hopefully they will say yes to my interview.

I also started doing my homework on the first chapter. Not telling much, but believe it or not those newspaper microfiche pages are horribly small. And yes I even went to some online cemetery maps. Talk about digging up old bones. Those things are kind of little too.

Today the library is swept out and the pieces not helpful to me will be removed. We will also have to move some shelving around. But dear hubby is busy trying to find all of his little pieces of paper for out tax appointment this afternoon. We will stop at Walmart and get me a few cases of pens. Picking up a pen that is empty really hampers the flow of these inky thoughts!

Then this evening we can put my writing world in order. I hope my kid does not want her stereo anytime soon. I think I want a radio in there to keep me attuned to the world while I work. Who knows I’ll probably do my best writing on the new loveseat recliner we purchased at the start of the New Year.

Now that I have bored you with the plan of action. Here is some fun things that I found while cleaning out the desk. The first four female characters have no real inspired person. However the bottom right male caricature is of a friend of ours from our Minnesota years. Perhaps there can be a caricature for each of the people that I share in my series “After.”

After

The last word of that so common phrase “Happily Ever After” receives so very little attention. Few people seek to hear the romance in the heart of a widow. Yt she is the “Same Girl” that she once was, just filled with memories and heart ache. Twila Paris put this poem into song years ago.

“She’s still the same girl running down that hill

“She’s still the same girl with her shining smile

“Listen to her story, and your heart will glow

“She’s still the same girl, and she needs you so.”

Link to the video and song is found below. I discovered this song on Mother’s Day years ago shortly after my grandfather passed away.

On Valentine’s Day this year while the world was feeling sorry for the singles, I spent my lonely hours of the day in prayer for the lonely hearts of the aged. All through the years my connection to widows has taught me more than I could tell in one writing. These are the stories of all those whom I found friendships and kinships with through the years. Today I share the beginning to the tales.

When we got married nearly 28 years ago I was truly a princess bride. I believed in Happily Ever After. Once upon a time I thought my role as a wife, mother and teacher-mom, and church pianist was all that there was to my life and calling. I nevert really considered that one day there would be an After.

I was one of those Happily married women. I am still a happily married woman. I also believe that we are one of those Ever couples. You know, the kind that’s married 59 years and no one ever sees them alone, they go everywhere together. We also are not one of those couples with the secret closet that once opened buries all future hopes of love, joy, and peace. Happily Ever After describes me and my dear loved one.

I am also one of those moms that is once a mother always, ever a mother. And now happily I am in the Happily After Grandmother days. My parents are again, and time marches on. Now what?

What about this After thing? After those days of mothering, of trying to straighten wrinkles, smooth out the gray lines and put on the new hoodies, now what? After those days of constant busy and happily fussing ever rushing about, is there really an After?

What am I to do in this ever silent hallway that my children, now happily married, once called home? How do I continue on in the emptimess waiting for the love of my lifeto come home from his long day? How do I fill these ever long, forever boring hours waiting for the After to begin?

As I wait for the days to burst anew with some grand vision or scheme, it finally came to me. Suddenly, I remembered… While I was once waiting for my Happily Ever After I met women in their After. First there was one woman adn then another through the years that came to my mind. Women in the “After ” of life whose friendships filled me with kinship and a sisterly, motherly, grandmotherly bond that could not be met by anyone else.

After. These are their stories.

James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” NLT.

Maybe all these years I did not really understand what my true calling in this world was until now. All through the years I have had a lonely heart connection with many widows. I hope to convey their silent years into the words that will help others understand their hearts the way that I have. When I spent time with a widow woman or man, I always felt so blessed. Some never knew anything about me. But listening to her stories filled me with such contentment. Hearing about his wounds always brought about humor somehow. The strength that they shared with me is undeniable. And now their strength to carry on can be yours. Just listen…

Pretty Ugly

Banners of love?

There is a story that my mother tells. Sorry sister, but it’s mot about me. It is about my eldest sister.

When she was a little girl learning about language and the true essence of words, my parents were also learning about such things. They would do this little conversation bit that went something like the following…

“Are you pretty?”

Little girl nods her head in the yes motion.

“Are you ugly?”

Little girl shakes her head vehemently in the no fashion.

“Are you pretty ugly?”

Little girl hears the word pretty and begins nodding head yes, then gets confused.

When I heard that story the first knowledgeable time, I was so sad. Why would a parent do such a confusing thing? Children in the toddler stage don’t understand all of the word abnormalities that our language has to offer. It seems mean to me to be so confusing.

I wonder what my parents did to me along this same line. Oh yeah, there is this one…

“Do you want an ice cream cone?”

I would nod my head lyes.

“Maybe you’d rather have a hot dog?”

I would shake my head no.

“Are you sure?”

Sure?

I distinctly remember being asked this frequently… I had no idea what sure meant. My name, that I knew. My want for the ice cream cone instead of a hot dog, that I knew. Sure–I did not know.

I was not sure. I was not sure what sure was. Sure was a foreign word to me.

The first phrase that my daughter repeated that I said was a bit of a shock to me. While unloading the dishwasher one day or doing dishes, not really sure which, something spilled. Usually it was a plastic on the top rack that got flipped over from the force of water and then filled up. Somehow, this happened too often and then spilled all over the silverware or the clean floor. My natural tongue wagging during those days was the phrase “Dog-gone-it!”

One day while my little girl was playing with blocks or a toy, her frustration became apparent when she too voiced her disgust with “Dog-gone-it!”

Today however, the words only match my spirit.

It is downcast and I echo the psalmist who repeatedly asked, “Why, o my soul, are so downcast within me?”

Like the sunshine blocked by the clouds. Or rather like the clouds themselves. There is this dark ominous sky that says the storm has moved int and the showers are about to burst forth.

Tears. On the brink of tears. The mist is covering my face and the moisture is making my eyes blink. And on top of the darkness, it is cold. Bitter, ice driving winds fling the sharp mist into my eyes and face until it seems I am about to face plant on the rocky gravel under my feet.

When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining.

Where did it go?

Into the empty despairing silence. The chores were complete. The coffee was made.

The dog refused her breakfast.

What was I suppose to do? Ignore her need? I decided, that just because I am blind deosn’t mean that I had not seen her do her business in a few days. We have been trying to nurse her back to health. Perhaps she needed a long walk to get out. Her energy level just has not been normal this last few days.

Why did I think that someone might want to go with me. The morning had dawned bright and cold. Freezing to be exact. Fall is officially here. No one would want to take a brisk morning walk in the sunshine.

By the time I returned home my spirit was completely defeated. The walk had frozen my tears on my face. The bitter words I had uttered told me that in truth, I was pretty ugly this morning. No one wanted to go for a walk on the first day of frost. Not even y dog.

She’s back to sleeping at the foot of my chaise. I’m back to not being sure about anything. And I feel like the whole morning has been a “Dog-gone-it!” Kind of experience.

Beets for dessert

Digging up dirt

Lately my mind has been its own war zone. Anyone who spends countless hours alone will understand. Time alone means time with one’s own thoughts. Unless of course the entire time is spent drowning out that option.

Sometimes the radio or the television or the Netflix just does not have the right noises. Going for a walk in the rain isn’t a good choice either. So the battle rages on. The past, resent it future gain the upper hand and suddenly words are like daggers and darts that pierce the soul and spirit.

Today was another mud slinging mess in my brain. I tried to get the reality zone with reading, walking, drinking water… nothing seemed to dispel the dark mood.

Until I found out that we were actually habing beers for dessert.

Beets

Beets for dessert.

Ugh. How has the seasonal life “diet” rewarded us so fondly? Could it finally have totaled up to such a disgusting bowl of staining roots? What has becoming old done to us?

Beets have a powerful color. Beets-have a pungent odor. Beets have a mild flavor. Beets are not a dessert they are a side dish.

Out side dish took thirty five minutes to cook. Out leftover soup took four minutes to dish up and warm in the microwave and another two minutes to eat. We had a salad and some cottage cheese. The beets still were not done. So we had beets for dessert.

Digging up dirt

Digging fir the beets was actually pretty easy. We have had a couple of recent rains that washed the dirt away from the pleasant little purple pieces. The cold weather has flattened the greens some. So it will not be long and they will al have to come out.

My brain has been a bit like that. A cold snap from an unsuspecting person just wilted my pleasant mood The lack of hugs or smiles seems to make my jolly green happy yup right over. Tears of loneliness wash away the protective soil and pretty soon big red blotches are all over everything.

Strong, pungent odors waif up before my mind. Before I know it I am digging up dirt next to my pleasant feelings towards someone special to me.

Wow.

Beets for dessert.

Sure hope I di not have to repeat myself too frequently. I better go get the dish soap. These purple fingertips could use a bit of whitening.

The crickets are singing

Of love songs and moving slow

The lazy yellow moon…

Those days of the lazy moon and the floating breezes have long gone by. Seems more like the the moon is racing to reach the other side. The days really do go faster when you get older. It’s all relative the the number of nights you have already sat gazing at the moon too long and the duties of life call your name.

We’ll be falling in love…

When thoughts of “Our Song” (Fishing in the dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) my heart automatically picks up that beat that begins the piece. Summer nights that began our love story so many years ago. Fishing wasn’t anywheres close to the plans that we made each and every time we were together.

Crickets are singing

Each time we take a ride on the gold wing, my mind is left to wander the landscape. My thoughts follow the terrain, the fresh breezes floating past my face, and my gaze naturally turns to the sky. The moon, the clouds, the sunsets, the deep vast endless blue bids me to stay in the space of our togetherness. Until one of us breaks the silence to comment on some passing object or thought.

My boyfriend is here to pick me up…

One Sunday a few years ago, we were blessed to watch one of the elderly couples in our church treat each other with that same “dating” anticipation that a young couple does. While the gentleman had gone home to get the car only a few blocks from church, the wife watched with expectant yearning for his return. And when he pulled the vehicle up to the sidewalk in front of the double glass doors, she quipped, “Well, I better go- my boyfriend is here to pick me up.” We loved that affectionate display so much. My husband and I still talk about it.

Counting the stars…

Only when one cannot get back to sleep do the nights seem long, Summer nights are actually shorter. The lightening bugs that arrive near midsummer signal beautiful nights of gentle breezes. But with them come all the other bugs. While sitting by a campfire might be someone else’s idea of relation, riding on the gold wing where the windshield finds them first, is more preferred.

Years ago I think it was a Honda something or another that we first rode on. We aren’t the typical riders. During our Minnesota and Iowa years, we found. a pedal bike more frequently. Having children to keep exercised was important. Lately we have taken to walking 3-4 miles then riding 10 or more to cool off.

Just moving slow…

The dog might need a run, but even the walk doesn’t seem to be enough to remove the extra baggage we have been packing on lately. So turning the big five-O this year, both of us are into finding what “getting healthy” means to us. My dear hubby seems to be focused on getting fit that involves loosing pounds. For me getting fit is about getting back into my jeans before it gets cold again. Riding the motorcycle into the evening means that getting cold sometimes comes at eight or nine o-clock, rather than in September!

Moving slow happens more frequently than ever some days. Like when I landed on the ball of my foot to hard and could hardly step up to throw my leg over the back seat of the bike. Often, I am wondering if anyone thinks, what do those two kids think they are doing anyhow. Maybe a car would be easier. But moving slowly is better than not moving at all, right?

It’s easy to just let things slide during the summer. The days seem lazy and the clouds roll by in their own gently way. Suddenly, it is four pm and the day almost over, the list has to be rushed through to get anything done. Maybe that’s what fifty feels like. It feels like Sunday afternoon of a relaxing weekend, and the lawn has to mowed and the laundry has to be washed, and theirs a new pile of dishes in the sink.

These days of summer go too fast. Summertime of life when the kids are home yet and the school days are a distant future. OUr love story started in the spring, twenty eight years ago before the June bugs hid the screens at night. Now it seems the cicada’s are drowning out the nice cool evenings. Their song is so loud the frogs can hardly hear each other.

Fishing in the dark…

One year ago in the early days of June we dashed off to discover some new roads in our state. We found the heritage of our state larger than expected. From the statue at Chamberlain to the small back road churches south of Newton Hills, we enjoy touring these open places. Fishing for things will bait our conversations, and keep the romance in us alive. Staying close enough to home, to sleep in our own bed at night is fine with us.

We try not to ride at night too often. For one thing,my idea of fishing is the dark is when I drop something and can’t seem to find it, because it rolled across the floor. (Like the time my grand baby spit out the pacifier and I could find it!). Fishing in the dark for a shoe in the stack of soles by the front door has become a new nightmare of mine. Riding at night is rather a ride by the Braille of Smell for me. It’s the scents, the temperatures and the Lund’s only for me, I can’t see a thing.

Crickets are still singing…

Their noise hasn’t let up much. My sister use to tear the closet apart to get rid of one cricket. I figured that by the time I found it, another would have spawned. If crickets do such a thing. So while my husband and I fight to find what “being fit” means to us, the crickets are still singing. Meaning the days are still long enough to find out perhaps what that means. When and if we ever find it, we’ll let you know.

Or maybe you’ll just figure it out by looking at us. We’re still “fishing” for what that perfect exercise plan looks like. Maybe that’s what makes our love story ours… We’ve never even been fishing. Gavin doesn’t like bugs. Or rather mosquitoes, their mean.

It don’t matter…

That we’ve never gone fishing. It doesn’t matter that we don’t take vacations to tropical islands. It doesn’t matter that dreams don’t always come true. I have YOU! And that’s what matters. That after all that we have been through, we’ve been through it together. Through the good times, the bad times, whether smooth roads or rough trails, it still feels best that I have done it with my beloved.

Feels so good to be with you…

There is not a moment of our togetherness that I would change. We’ve had 27 years married. Longer than the years we were under our parents ponder-inns. While we might catch ourselves turning into our parents the next half-century, it still feels so good to be with you…

Baby get ready…

Strings of the Heart

When love plays it’s song

Love stories can be pretty sappy …

So if you aren’t a believer in things that make the heart sing then this post is not for you.

Being the parents of daughters can be a heart wrenching, night watching , prayer vigilante experience. When the day comes that some young man calls for a supper date with Dad or a breakfast outing, well, it makes mom both excited and nervous.

A few years ago we had the joy of adding a ‘son’ to our family when our oldest daughter was tearfully marched down the aisle on her fathers arm. The joy on those two young faces as they swept out of the sanctuary some forty minutes later was oblivious to the pain of a sister saying goodbye to her playmate. And now another joy has come. That sister who felt so abandoned by the other is now experiencing her own incredible joy.

‘That boy ‘ called for a breakfast date with her father… and so we are blessed now with the hope of another ‘son’ to add to our family. The funny part is that this second daughter time, my heart is not aching for a sister left behind, so to speak. My mother’s heart is not torn by ones joy and another’s sadness. This time I able to feel the full joy of my daughter being engaged. Her excitement over God’s design to their love story is so contagious. And yes, Dad is now able to be excited about another son.

Years ago Dad would often be heard saying- “Girls are nice.” And now he gets to add and “son in laws are pretty nice too.”

The funniest thing in the whole evening of the proposal might was… watching her dad, his son in law and the nervous young man decorating the ‘proposal sight.’ The phone call from the soon to be fiancée with a desperate “I could use a little support here” plea was responded to with laughter and the tender love of a father. Watching the mean get into their romantic” nature was so sweet. I nearly cried just watching them prepare for this special moment.

Strings of the heart…

Both of my daughter’s play stringed instruments, so when I think of the old saying “love plays on the strings of the heart” I often wonder how it sounds. Yet I know from my own experience, it’s not really a song as it is a feeling. Then it’s not just a feeling, it’s a choice. Tugging on the strings of the heart, love pulls people together like the invisible force of magnetism. How this happens is such a mystery. Hearts do not really have strings, do they?

Yet maybe… Because three days back at work, my first daughter could hardly handle the way her heart was being tugged at by her beautiful baby girl. “Stay home” was the song that it was playing. Stay home with your baby girl and enjoy these growing up years. Indeed… She listened to the song and is now staying home with her lovely baby.

The burning flame…

Our daughter’s fiancée was so thoughtful in every detail. From the candles, to the roses, to the symphony tickets on the table, he provided an atmosphere that reflected his heart. Love is like that. Later in the evening, much later as the event happened after the scavenger hunt he sent her on, I took time to read “their verse” from the Song of songs.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Loves flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” –The Song of Solomon‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬. http://bible.com/59/sng.8.6.esv

Of course, my old brain came up with a bunch of old country western “burning flame” songs to meditate on as I fell asleep. The Lord’s love as a burning flame is not something my soul settled on until later.

The first of the Ten Commandments uses the phrase ‘”God is a jealous god.” Jealousy is something I always thought of as bad. When it applies to the negative actions of the spurned lover to his betrayed one, yes, there are often some very bad actions that follow the jealous heart. But what about the positive jealous of love that insists on serving the needs of the loved one first?

Now, this is a completely new thought to the idea of jealous love. Perhaps it really fits best into the passage from I Corinthians 13 verse five —

“Love is not rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”

This is a completely different way of thinking about jealous love. Love for another that demands a focus on the one we choose to love. Insists on the abandonment of selfish wants and desires and consistently desires the best for the ones we love.

Wow!

I am so thankful that after 28 years of knowing my sweet husband, I can honestly say that the love we share is one of jealous, fierce, burning love that will last until the grave. I hope that like my elderly friend who lost her dear one of 69 years, our love for each other will last past the grave. And be just as strong as when the candle was first lit so many years earlier.

My prayer for my daughters and sons is that same burning flame. Strong and sure, jealous and fierce, never ending flame.

Gentle on the ginger, dear

Smoothies, celery, and other confessions

Gentle on the ginger, dear!”

This past weekend was a full one. It began with a nice out to eat experience. One that we had not done in a long time. Just us. Then we had a visit to an “old” friend, don’t mind my calling her old. She’s well aware. The following morning however, my dear husband offered to make me a smoothie. It was all fine until the ginger. Then we spent the day at an art fair. The week since seems like a blur.

About that smoothie… A shake or two of ginger in the smoothie is great to jump start the digestive system. But when the jolt of flavor reminded me that maybe there was a horse radish instead of a ginger root! – oh, boy! “Gentle on the ginger, dear” became the phrase for the rest of the meals this past week.. Food that has taste is great, but too much spice can give it a bite.

Once upon a headache ago, my massive migraine left me unable to focus on anything in print. So, I relied on my six year old daughter to tell me the recipe for the meatball spices. She however, not familiar with teaspoon or tablespoon markings or for that matter fractions, read the 1/4 teaspoons as one scoop of four tablespoons of PEPPER! We had to eat at the drive-inn that night. The meatballs were not even fit for the dog. What a funny memory.

After the whirlwind…

Our daughter came through at eight in the morning on a Saturday. It felt like a whirlwind hit us. On her way to a wedding, we jumped out of our Saturday lazy-mode to get up and serve her morning rush supplications. The smoothie in the middle of all the giddy-up, made it quite memorable!

There was not dust in my eyes after she left Saturday morning. Sure should have been. Then on Sunday after her talk at church, the wet dew in my eyes. Said moisture would not let me read my music during the service. The whirlwind of emotions that filled my heart took much time to settle down. The feeling that I need something to hang on to while the wind rushes by has occurred to me several times. I had a strong sensation that this “wind” would probably continue for the next two months of preparation for her leaving to missions internship. Praise the Lord that I have Him and that her reason for going is His plan.

Checkout confessions of children

Last Saturday’s plans were made to go visit my niece and nephews to the north. We attempted to speed through the morning chores that had been delayed an hour or so. We all enjoyed our time at the art fair as much as could be expected with the heat. The three little kids did great in spite of the frequent disappointments to not buy stuff. Later in the day, we enjoyed a child’s “checkout confession” to the cashier at Wally-world. On the belt were a variety of candies, items for a meal and some napkins. The little girl begins to tell the cashier that the candy is for her daddy. “He eats a lot of candy!” She announces for the the surrounding audience. Who really cares if the candy is for them or for someone else. It was obvious that the child had learned the shame and blame game quite well. We could barely stifle our snickers!

Rewind the clock…

Visiting with our neighbor to the south led me to thinking about her picture window. To begin with shortly after her husband passed, the hail came through and took care of her roof and her large picture window. It took quite a time to get the replacement in, ordering it, getting the lumber company and the insurance company to agree. There were affidavits of “truth” and proof of hail damage to apply for proper placement. It was a rig-a-more-al that left her wondering what in the world she was doing living in such a large house.

It is not the actual window that I thought of after our visit, but the window to her world. Rewinding the clock is something that happens quite frequently when we are together. The time just flies so fast when she tells her stories of their early life. The past, present and future that keeps her going day after day. She looked incredibly weak and frail after her loss. But now nearly two years later, she looks strong and amazing.

The Widow’s Window

A look at the present

A view to the past

A glimpse at the future

Of a hope that will last

The widow’s window

Is a world gone too fast.

-written July 13, 2018 by Yvonne Annette Clark (myself)

Old sayings and old people are some of my favorite things. One of my favorites from childhood was this silence breaker…

A penny for your thoughts…

I never really knew where it came from. And I never seemed to have a penny when the silence stretched on so long. Being around my daughter and her husband more recently brought this old gem of a saying to mind. His silence reminds me of the proverbs about the wise holding their tongue. People of much silence, have more wisdom locked up their hearts than the fools that have waggin’ tongues. Perhaps a penny is not enough for my son-in-laws thoughts!

Go FIG-urge

The figs are finally putting on some plumpness. It’s hard to understand the patience factor in a tree that holds onto it’s fruit for so long. Taking up to three months to ripen, the little trees are delicate. But ours is quite do for a trim job. The little one is now taller that the bigger tree. A fall trim job will take care of that. It is trying to escape the dome-home, I think.

Getting ready to get ready- no try options

While the weekend seemed to fly by and there are many little anecdotes that stick in my brain, the idea that one cannot “try” has been the stickiest. We cannot try to visit the widows or the orphans. We cannot try to be anything. We either are or we are not. This consideration came to me, while sharing some figs with my brother’s family. I also brought the fig newton bar cookies to share. Explaining that the kids had to “try” a real fig first was difficult. Finally, I said “taste” the real one and then you can have a cookie. My mother would not even look at the figs. Her example left a “bad taste” on the kids. But after their parents each ate one, then they gave it a go. Go FIG-ure!

Top of the mourning to ya’…

The bottom this celery stalk was cut off nearly two weeks ago. I keep them in a glass right next to the kitchen sink to root out and grow. Being patient is my new theme in gardening. So while I am writing for the roots to sprout before I take this out to the greenhouse, having it next to the sink assures me that I can keep the water at about an inch deep.

So while we were shopping the other day… Mourning the loss of my kitten friend, my husband bought me another turtle for the greenhouse. It’s fake. And no it doesn’t pet well. In fact the fish in the pond can’t be petted either. But perhaps I learned my lesson about getting attached to a cat.

We saw the garden turn into abundance before the crop begins to give. We saw a widow in her world of sorrow giving away her love and stories until we were too tired to stay awake any longer. We saw things at the art festival that seemed like just junk. We saw people enjoying themselves and others. We heard much that could be repeated in laughter and joy. But what I hope is that while our window of the world might be different or similar to others, we are not so stained by our own view that we cannot glimpse the world through someone els’s window.

James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and faultless before our Father God is one that visits widows and orphans in their affliction and keeps oneself unstained from the world.”

As my daughter gets ready to go on to her missions internship this fall, there seems to be a lot of “getting ready to get ready” in our lives. There are so many different ideas of “missions” work out there. While the world sees charity as “giving” of funds, true charity gives of self also. This view, this glimpse, this hope is fare more enduring than the simple things of this world that I live in. Yet it is this world that teaches me each and every day more about my Father God.

More than eyes

The looking glass II

There are two types of people in our family. The partially deaf and the partially blind. Some struggle with the “What?’ And the others struggle with the where… Let me explain.

Recently my husband saw a mink or ferret cross the road while on his way to work. It so fascinated him that he told everyone about it. Before long like the “whisper in the ear” game, word got back to him that he had seen a parrot on his way to work. Much story telling and laughter insured as the family explained who said what and where had the story gotten mixed up. It turns out that the news had carried a story of someone’s pet parrot getting loose that winter day and sure enough Gavin had seen it on his way to work. For those of us that don’t watch a lot of television and get most of our information from the fake media of internet, there was no fake news about Gavin’s ferret. Bother what a mix up that was! Hilarious none-the-same.

While the telling of the story should include who has lost their hearing and no longer hears the right words, putting a news story with Gavin’s winters drive to work was the true mixup. Only a ferret would cross the road in the country in February in our neck of the woods. The Parrot would freeze to death around here!

Partially deaf can make for hilarious stories but can also leave one missing half the story.

And the partially blind. Some people still have driver’s licenses and see less that I do at times. That makes for scary passenger riding. I just choose not to ride with those people again. Being the one without a license has made my decision to not have to tell people about traffic, construction workers, which route to take, or follow a google-map. Driver’s that scares blind person should not be driving.

But there are other things that tell me much of the world has challenged eyesight. One is the lack of cleanliness that others might exhibit. Like failure to return glasses to the kitchen sink. Or Kleenex, napkins, or paper towels to the garbage can. Maybe I’m getting old. But that stuff bugs me. We had a puppy once that ate and choked and threw up that kind of thing. Soon I will have a grandchild crawling around. Cleanliness is a new “fighting the lack of foresight” thing for me.

The fridge and the cupboards of a blind person are all completely organized. Everything has a place. So important if you don’t want barbecue sauce on your salad. Marinade for meat just doesn’t go on salads. Funny how when the eyes don’t look so good, meat sauces and salad dressings have the same size containers. In my fridge anything for meat comes in a glass jar. Salad dressings all have to have the pop-up lid so they come out slowly.

We are more than eyes and more than ears.

Walking with Honey. She is more than eyes to me. She is my soon settled guide dog. Today she crossed the line into helper for me. I thought the puppy would never go away. Having a leash in hand tells her she is to help me. Of course she still tries to tug on the leash and play for a few minutes. Firm consistent commands are hard to give when a puppy is in tow and we need to flip the switch to helper.

Listening and feeling the oncoming traffic during our two mile roadway walk was such a blessing to me. My praise for her was ecstatic! While the first car came at us, and she did her thing well, the second vehicle came from behind. Harder to hear for me. But my trustee Honey heard, felt and saw it in plenty of time to react and nudge my knee, then pull me towards the ditch.

Today it is very windy. Flag day in our country. And the wind makes it a not so smart day to do the roadway walk. So instead we did some simple heel then help training right in the yard. First off, she followed my walking. Then I followed her. Trust.

Recently, my mother and I have renewed our interest in Psalm 119. Her study and mine were completely different, yet we had so much to teach each other about what we were learning. Verse 37 came to mind when I though of Honey and I leaning each other’s ways. “Turn my eyes away from all the worldly, meaningless that’s that distract me and let your priorities be mine, And restore me with renewed energy in Your ways.” This is a paraphrase of the amplified version.

Having a friend that is “more than eyes” is pretty amazing. Trusting her to take me places and to shut my eyes and let her guide me is not easy. What if she decided to play at the last second and I should fall? Well, it can’t be as bad as the broken rib, broken nose or a sprained ligament, so here we go.

Book review “Thank Heaven”

About listening to Leslie Caron’s memoir

So far I have avoided doing any book reviews because of all the copyright issues. But this actress so intrigued me that I spent hours on YouTube watching her film clips and listening to her many interviews. While most people get pepper books, mine come on a little floppy disc and I plug it in to my player. I am thankful for the technology today and the chance to still “read.”

The Title

Perhaps it might be fitting for her own thinking. But she gives no glory or credit to the the Creator. Rather it is to the “Stars” that helped build her career. She was discover by Gene Kelly and first performed in “An American in Paris.” Through the book she does five credit to the many film makers, directors, and actors and actresses whom she had the pleasure to work with. , be married to, or otherwise be engaged with during her life.

So the title is to her own belief that the “Stars of Hollywood ” are the Heaven that she is thanking. Perhaps her gracious mannerisms could be learned by a few people. We all have others who help to shape us and build our lives into the castles that we become. Perhaps we all could learn a few things about the thankful, grateful heart of Leslie Caron.

The Memoir

Writing a memoir has always been a dream of mine. So as listen to my talking book library it is the memoirs that I spend the most time on. Often to the point of going past due on my book returns! Sorry. Study yang the memoirs of others will be my next constant background work to writing my own.

Leslie Caron grew up in France and was old enough to understand the World War II traumatic effect on her family. Her references to both the past and the present and the lessons that she learned are refreshing. She gained wisdom through all of life’s events and writing the memoir late in life lends a grandmother’s knowledge to her many stories.

Being a teacher at heart (homeschool mom, said Bible school teacher, etc.) my listening catches the learning curve that people allow themselves. How did Leslie learn from her mistakes and her successes? If you get a chance to pick up the book, be assured she shares her expertise in light of her hands on experiences. Her drive to learn language, acting, and the other endeavors that she took on shows determination and grit.

The Writing

Her style as a writer was developed over the years that waited for an acting job. She has a present-tense style that lends to watching a film in action. Very fitting for both her life story. This too tempted me to to look up many of her her scenes and stop the book just to check out the movie. I enjoyed each one that I viewed.

The Language

The book was a good read. Recommended for those who can handle the lifestyles of the entertainment world. While I have no desire to learn their secrets and the way that people follow their”fashion,” Leslie Caron kept the book on the street in it’s language. There were a few bedroom and closet discussions that were not detailed to the point of listening ears embarrassment. Because my books are read to me, I prefer not to have bare floor bathroom talk in my books. This is just not my kind of reading material. So for a nod to the title thank heaven she kept it clean for the most part. Would I suggest this book for my mother? Probably not. Do I want to share it with my daughter? Well, as a learning tool perhaps. Would I listen while my husband was in the room? Yes. In fact I did a few times and then shared movie clips from YouTube with him also.

Final Notes

“Thank Heaven” by Leslie Caron was a good read. Worth the time if you enjoy films and movies with music, dancing, and depth of character. Her inner beauty as an actress did shine through the book as she gave credit to the many stars that invested in her life.