etiquette, family, family bonds, health, humor, love, manners, motherhood, smoking, Uncategorized

a child’s curiousity

My mom called me the other day and put my son on the phone. She said he had a question for me. His little voice lit up my day and I heard….”Ummm, mom? How do you smoke?”

He’s three and only been around a few people that he’s seen light up. My family are not smokers, but my neighbors do it on their front porch. My husband has a couple of family members that do it, but go in their garage to keep the second hand smoke from endangering the rest of us. So needless to say, he’s probably only seen it a couple of times in his little life, but was obviously wondering about it.

I asked him who he saw smoking and he mentioned my nieghbor’s name. I told him that I was proud of him for asking me that question and encouraged him to always ask me anything he had on his mind, but that we didn’t smoke and he should never try it either.

He asked why, and I told him that it would make his lungs black and would make him very-very sick. I said that we shouldn’t do anything that would put any of us in harms way, and for that matter not to breathe any smoke in when he sees anyone else smoking.

My mother’s policy when I grew up was: If a child is old enough to ask–then they’re old enough to know the truth. I find myself now with that same philosophy. I was so proud of him for wanting to call me to find out, except now that he knows it is not good for him or anyone else…he wants to call our neighbor and tell him and his wife to stop smoking.

Yesterday, I finally got around to calling that same nieghbor to thank him for my son’s Christmas gift. I got their answering machine. My little T got the phone and asked,”ummm, do you smoke?” Then he hung up.

Okay….like that’s not going to be an interesting piece of conversation once I see my next door nieghbors again! Coincidentally enough, this past Sunday’s sermon was about how to take care of yourself….body and spirit. The pastor mentioned giving things up like smoking. My son looked at me and said, “See that’s bad to smoke.” I think that’s something that will stick with him for a long son's feet on a rainy day

family bonds, love, nostalgia, Uncategorized

A grandparent’s love that lasts a lifetime…

My mom’s parents, my grandparents, were one of a kind. The last breed of their generation. They opened their home to many people to be fed and sheltered. My grandmother was a culinary genius and one of the oldest of 13 children. So she grew up caretaking before she started her own family. She raised 3 children while going back to the university to finish her degree. She was a school teacher as well…home-ec. Now keep in mind, this is in the 40’s. Women barely obtained an education, let alone while they were keeping a home and raising three kids under the age of 9. She gave sage medical advice on diet and first aid, that experts these days still swear by. She didn’t have to go to school to obtain that knowledge, it just came natural to her. She was a highly intuitive and intelligent woman.

I will always remember coming home, via our cross country road trips in our winnebago or our station wagon, and pulling up infront of their home in Oklahoma. I would be the first person to jump out of the car, partly because I couldn’t wait to go pee, but mostly because I knew her shoulders would shrug in anticipation. And I knew she’d throw open her soft arms to envelope me into her warm cuddly hug. The house would always smell of home-made rolls or cookies.

My grandfather was a jack of all trades; a volunteer crossgaurd, a telephone repairmen, an architect, a photographer, a boy scout troop leader, a carpenter with his own home-made hand tools, a red cross volunteer. He even volunteered at the old ’89ner baseball stadium at the red cross booth attending to those that needed it.

He was a stand up comedian before his time. I will always remember his silly pet names for kids on the street. He called all the boys Suzy, especially when they started wearing their hair long in the late ’70’s. I have too many favorite memories to share about my Papa, but will never forget how loved he made us all feel. He made me my own kitchen stove for Christmas when I was 3, with a working light in the oven. He always would cut out ‘Family Circus’ cartoons to mail me whenever he wrote a letter. When he hugged me, his hearing aid would whistle because he kept it turned up too high. My papa would act like he couldn’t hear anything but didn’t miss a beat. His faithful poodle, Lucky, was toted around with him everwhere he went, even if it was just a few short feet from his easy chair to stand and look out the back door. The man never went anywhere without that dog, and it almost killed him when she died. He never lost him humor though…it was in everything hie did…even when he walked, he tapped his cain on the ground a little too many times in a row. He just wanted to see if anyone would tell him to stop. Every action, he did with purpose to get a smile or a laugh.

I was with my papa when he died and I helped take care of my grandma when she was dying. Two things that still go with me wherever I go. They’re presence is always with me, but stronger at times than others. Sometimes I know they’ve visited me in my dreams, and others all I have to do is trully listen and now they’re with me when I’m awake. I can feel them now filling my heart with love.

I often drive by their house. I usually park at the curb just to sit and take it all in. I haven’t dared step foot on it since we sold it. Their humble home sits a few miles from where I went to college, and while getting my education, their home was mine. I was with them a lot, doing laundry–eating–or spending a little time. I don’t say ‘a lot of time’, because as a kid in college — you’re in a hurry to get back to your own life and friends.

Whenever I would leave to go back to my room or class, I would always hear my papa saying, “Hey what’s the hurry. Do you really have to go? You could stay the night.” And I would just roll my eyes and say, “No. I gotto go, but I’ll be back. Love you guys.”

Just recently, I was running errands with my son, and something just said…’come visit’. So I took my son to see where his Nana, my mom, grew up. He’s never been there and I thought it would be nice to bring little T to see where his family lived and loved. So I got him out of the car and showed him the bottom of the driveway, where my mom and sisters in 1945 stepped barefoot in the wet cement.

He took his little vans and placed his shoes one at a time over each set of foot prints to see which would fit best. It was so heart wrenching and warming at the same time. We walked a little further up the drive way and this is where I started to get emotional….I saw my grandparents initials written lovingly in the cement on top one another. In 1945, they loved each other so much. I stood there,frozen, as my eyes watered up. If it werent for my son running off and up the side walk, I would have stayed there staring at it.

It felt so natural to see my son running around the yard and trying to investigate every inch of the place. It was as if my grandparents were waiting inside to sweep him up in their arms to welcome him….and me home. We were home and all the memories of that house came pouring back as I stepped along the walkway. I passed the garden and remembered how I would cut through it to jump up on the porch to bypass the steps. I remembered playing on the porch swings, that were no longer there. Although I felt in a time warp, the realization hit when I saw a sign on the porchthat held the currnet name of the owners. All of the sudden, I felt like I was trespassing. Ringing the doorbell didn’t result in anything. No one was home…in more ways than one.

Coincidentally enough, a college buddy of mine lives next door to my old grandparent’s house. A house I also spent my summers growing up in. I rang to doorbell to ask if it would be alright if I took my little boy to the back yard, where my grandmother used to grow her own grapes for jam. The backyard, where Lucky, our poodle would run circles around me and would let me push her in an antique baby buggy. The backyard, where Papa had a door that led to his darkroom/basement to develope his own photos. The backyard, that we’d have snowball fights in and where I just needed to step one more time in to get a little closure.

Ofcourse I knew he would say to go ahead…the owners wouldn’t care…but I just wanted to make sure.

My son ran around and I took it all in. The grapes were growing up and were rapidly spreading. The owners built a large wooden trellace to support them. The vegetable garden was gone, but I knew where it had been and could still see it: Grandma’ fresh tomatoes and green beans. The yard was precious and now that my little guy had been there it was perfect.

I left and knew that my grandparents were there too. Only this time, I didn’t hear, “Hey what’s your hurry. Can’t you stay a while?” I only felt gratitude that I’d come at all.


faith, miracles, prayer

Everday Miracles

serene star fish on the shoreOne thing that always gets me is when people call me ‘lucky’ or when something good happens in their own life-they wonder at their own good luck. I think too often in our society we overlook our blessings! I know firsthand how many miracles have been preformed in my life, and luck had nothing to do with them. I know non-believers can’t give credit where credit is due because they don’t believe God is at work in their own lives….especially when it comes to the small stuff.

Trust me people–God’s miracles aren’t just in the Bible! From the moment we’re born we’re blessed with relationships, jobs, safe travels, a comforting shoulder when we’re upset, a smile from a stranger. We never know what God is delivering right in our own lap if we don’t pay attention. Someone asked me lately how I stay in tune with God even when life gets so bad. That’s when I try to stay more in tune than ever by counting my blessings.

I have made subtle little comments in previous blogs on difficult times in my life, but have never given any insight to my friends, who have asked, what thoses are. My real friends know these things, but you—reading this— probably don’t. I won’t bog you down with life’s trauma, but I will try to uplift you by telling you about God’s inspiration in my life.

My husband a few years back had a severe case of adult on set allergies that we were unaware of. He was allergic to many foods that he unknowingly kept eating until one night it was too late. We were heading home after a night of food and beverage, and my better half started acting irate and irritable due to the supply of oxygen slowly being cut off. Being a newly wed, I just thought I was seeing a new side to my husband and was clueless. We started home and was about a mile from our house when he pulled over claiming he was not feeling well enough to make it that last mile.

By the time it took for he and I to switch places and fasten our seatbelts…he was passed out with his neck swollen past his chin and clavicle. His face was so swollen that his eyes were sunk in and he wasn’t breathing. Thank the Lord for LARGE miracles, we had pulled over in a parking lot across from a hospital. So I took off running red lights, stop signs and driving into oncoming traffic….all the while beating his chest with one fist and trying to steer with the other.

Our life flashed before my eyes…the years we would never have, the children we’d never conceive….and all I could yell was, “God No, Please NO! Help me!” I pulled into the ER after driving around it twice trying to find the ER entrance….it wasn’t clearly marked back then like it is now. I rolled down my window and started screaming to get a doctor. It felt like an episode of ER. The doctor’s would not let me back to see him once I parked and came inside. From what I learned later … if I had gotten him there 20 seconds later, he wouldn’t have made it. His air way was so constricted that they couldn’t even bag him to get a tube down his throat. Afterwards, a nurse told me they weren’t having any success tubing him and didn’t think he would make it. She told me I was lucky. It wasn’t luck that my husband made it, & with 20 seconds to spare!

That night, God provided 1 of countless miracles in my life and I’ll never forget the panic and fear I felt. He kept me sane enough to drive with out crashing into oncoming traffic and around cars at stop signs. He got me to the hospital in the nick of time, and he saved the love of my life.

I just wanted to share with you that He loves all of you.

You all have miracles in your life as well. You just have to stop and pay attention.