A Question For Grandma

I have seven grandchildren; six grandsons and one granddaughter.  The six eldest are now teenagers ranging in age from 17 to 13.  Our youngest grandson turned 5 this past July.

When the six older grandchildren were little, I started calling them all Roy, including our granddaughter.  I told then I was doing this in case I became forgetful as I got older and couldn’t remember their names.  The boys thought it was hilarious that I also called our granddaughter Roy.

The fun thing was that when all the grandkids were at the house playing outside I would just yell Roy and they would all come running, laughing like crazy.  I thought of it as something special between us.  When our youngest grandson was born he was known as Little Roy.

Something else I always did with my grandchildren was to randomly ask them “who loves you”.  Their answers were always “you do”.  I realized the other day, after a conversation with my youngest grandson that I haven’t asked that question of my teenage grandchildren in a long time.

I will have to remedy that.

I have never seen myself as a very demonstrative person.  I always knew my parents loved me but I don’t ever remember hearing the words.  Saying “I love you” is not always easy for me.  With age sometimes comes wisdom and I’m working on that, consciously saying the words, especially to those who are important to me.  I don’t want them to assume, like I did, I want them to hear the words and know they are loved.

Unfortunately old habits and patterns are difficult to break and my most recent reminder came from Texas.

Hubby’s cousin, Patsy, moved back home with her husband, Len.  They are two very kind, thoughtful and caring people.

Patsy’s mother, Aunt Marian, was such a loving, kind, thoughtful woman who loved freely and shared that love with everyone.  The first time I visited Aunt Marian and her family as a young bride, I remember feeling so uncomfortable.  They were not the cause of my discomfort, it was something within me.  You see, Aunt Marian and her family hugged each other just leaving and entering a room.  “I love you’s” were said like “hello’s” and you knew they were genuine.  Aunt Marian was always telling someone “you’re so special”,  “you’re so wonderful”, or “you make me so happy”.

Patsy reminds me of her Mom and has also reminded me that the words are just as important as the actions.

The other day Little Roy was riding along with me as I drove to finish my last errand, and as always he talked about everything.  the changing colors of the trees, the shapes and colors of the clouds, what his brothers did, how he cracked his Mom’s cell phone and was grounded.

We were chatting along and I asked him “who loves you”.

“You do” was his immediate reply.  He then started talking about how he won’t be going to kindergarten because he doesn’t like school and his next questions was “Grandma, will you love me when I get big”?

“Of course I will” I told him, “just like I love your older cousins”

“Will you love me when I get older” I asked him.

“Grandma, you’re already old” he calmly told me.

“Yes, I know I’m old but hopefully I’ll get older.  If my hair turns white and I get wrinkles (luckily he let that go by), will you love me then” I asked him.

“Yep” was his short and sweet answer.

He changed the subject to where we were going next and we talked about that; one question leading to ten more.

“Will you love me forever, Grandma” he asked out of the blue.

“Yes I will” I told him.

“Forever is a long time Grandma” he reminded me.

“Yes, I know.  That’s exactly how long I’ll love you”.

Three little words, so very important to say.

 

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Just For Today

Driving home today I noticed that the leaves are starting to change colors.  I actually saw some leaves turning yellow with hints of orange.  It seems like just yesterday school was ending for the summer.  Now it’s August and time to think about going back to school in a few short weeks.  Seeing back to school commercials on the television I mentioned to Grandson #7 that he’d being going back to school soon.  “I’m not going to school” he told me and the look on his face spoke volumes.  I just laughed thinking that will be Mom’s battle when the time comes.

July was a month of heat, humidity and celebrations.  Sister #5 hosted a 4th of July picnic, we attended a nephew’s wedding, and our youngest grandson turned 5.  “A whole hand” as his older cousin once said.

I hosted our monthly sister meeting which was rather low keyed.  There were no games or disagreements,  just conversation and being together.  I did try a new recipe, BLT pasta, which was good but nothing that would tempt me to make again.

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No garden was planted this year as hubby wasn’t feeling it.  He said it was good to give the ground a rest. I told him that excuse worked for me.  However, our daughter-in-law discovered tomato plants growing among the weeds in hubby’s raised beds so she got busy pulling weeds.  It was a pleasant surprise to find several nice cherry tomato plants growing from last year’s tomatoes.  A little gardenner helped her with the weeding.  I asked him about the winter boots he was wearing.  “Grandma, the snakes can’t bite me when I wear my boots”.

When we bought our home in 1981 my Dad gave me a cutting from a wild rose bush that he let grow beside a shed.  The words “let grow” are important because Dad was not a flowery kind of guy but for some reason he liked that rose bush.

Hubby planted it for me and it took root and grew.  It has always been a tempermental rose bush, blooming like crazy some years, not flowering other times or only sharing a few roses.

Last Autumn, my youngest sister decided to sell the family home and she told me to take Mom’s rose bush which was planted in the front yard.  Last summer Mom’s rose was a cream colored flower with a salmon color around the tips of the petals.  In years past, when the petals would drop after blooming, a few weeks later, another rose would bloom.  It wasn’t always the same color, it might be a solid cream or a solid salmon color.  This didn’t happen every year but when it did it was special.

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Again, Hubby planted Mom’s rose bush for me next to Dad’s rose bush.  “I can’t guarantee this will take root” he told me and I told him not to worry, it would grow if it was meant to grow.  Well, I’m happy to say Mom’s rose bloomed this summer, just once, and Dad’s wild rose bush was full of roses.  It was kind of nice seeing them bloom together.

August began with expectations of Hubby’s surgery on the 7th to correct a very painful large tear in his shoulder.  The insurance company, however, decided that it wasn’t medically necessary and up until the evening before his scheduled surgery I was discussing the matter with “advocates” at the insurance company.

To say it was frustrating is an understatement.  I realized it wasn’t the advocate’s fault but knowing the conversation was recorded for review I politely stated that it wasn’t as if Hubby decided he had nothing better to do on the 7th so lets have someone cut into his shoulder.  I also pointed out that we pay for Medicare and the Medicare Advantage plan we have yet a “for profit entity” is determining what services we can or can not have.

His surgery was cancelled.  I was very frustrated and angry and I held on to those feelings much longer than I should have.   My bad but typical for me.

While driving home from the store this afternoon the phrase “just for today” popped into my head.  I thought about that as I drove, wondering where it came from.

Thinking about it for a while, I realized I wasn’t remembering the important moments.

Mom and Dad’s roses blooming.  The little gardener pulling weeds to help his Mom find the tomato plants.  The beautiful, sunny summer days full of bird song.  The music the trees make as the summer breezes blow through their leaves.  The beauty of a clear, brilliant, blue summer sky; a beautiful canvas for the cotton candy like white clouds as they slowly drift along.  The sound of thunder as it rumbles across the hills surrounding our home during a summer storm.  Joining together with family to celebrate life’s moments.  Visiting with Hubby’s cousin Patsy and listening to the music they created, he  on his guitar and she on her ukulele.  The sound of their voices blending so wonderfully as they sang together while we sat together on her porch on a warm summer evening.

The fact that each morning I wake up is a gift, to be enjoyed and cherished.

Someone was reminding me that I needed to take a look at what I was allowing to be important in my world.

I have said before that I tend to hold onto stuff when I should be letting it go.  I work daily on changing how I react to things and not let myself go into the land of “what if”.  Sometimes I win and sometimes that bitch, anxiety, wins.

I constantly remind myself to believe that what is meant to be is what will happen.  Fretting and over thinking won’t stop anything from happening.

Three little words.

Just for today, I will treasure each moment, great or small.  Just for today I will let go of all that belongs to yesterday.  Just for today, I won’t worry about what tomorrow might bring.

Every morning I’ll try to remind myself to think “just for today”.

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.

 

 

 

 

Can You Believe?

Have you ever had the feeling you weren’t alone when you were the only one in the room?

Have you ever thought you heard someone call your name when there wasn’t anyone there but you?

Have you ever known something was going to happen before it happened?

Do you believe there is more than what you can see, hear, touch, taste or smell?

I’ll admit to all of the above and then some.

Intuition, sixth sense, call it what you will, I believe there are some who are blessed with abilities we can’t understand.  I also believe each of us has some ability to tap into that area of the unknown, especially when needed.

I’ll often get the feeling someone’s there and the feeling usually starts with chills.  I’ll look behind me thinking it’s Hubby or the cat but nope, no one’s there, that I can see.

Just the feeling there’s someone there.

I still remember the time I woke up screaming because someone grabbed my shoulder and shook it until I was awake.  It was definitely a hand and I felt it even after I was awake.  My banshee scream had Hubby up and ready for battle but there was no one to fight.  In case you’re thinking it was just Hubby reaching out in his sleep, he was facing away from me and I was curled up facing his back.

That scared the shit out of him, and definitely me, but he told me I was probably dreaming.  He was able to go right back to sleep but I lay there wondering who it was that was trying to get my attention and why.  I even got out of bed to check on our eldest son who was a baby at that time.  This incident happened when we were living in the old farm house where Hubby was raised.

I used to hear someone call my name.  The kids would be napping, no television or radio on, just me and my book and I’d hear her call me by name.  Now, at that time in the late 1970’s, there was a local well-known psychic who had a weekly radio show.  Looking back, it was funny how I never had any trouble getting through to him each and every time I call in to the radio station.  I also remember how he’d be spot on in what he told me.

When I asked him about the lady I’d hear calling my name he told me I already knew who it was, just answer her and ask her what she wants.  He was correct.  I knew it was my Grandmother but my mind said that couldn’t be possible, she had been dead for years.  By the time I was ready to answer her she stopped calling out to me.

I knew the day my Dad was going to die because I “saw” something that morning.  I drove my mother nuts because I kept calling her by telephone all day asking how Dad was feeling.  Each time I called she told me Dad was having a good day and feeling much better.  Until he died that afternoon.

I was sitting beside my mother-in-law’s bed at the moment she died and saw her look up as if someone entered the room.  I felt it too, a slight movement of air and also looked up to see who it was.  There was no one there.  She was the only one who could see whoever it was that came to show her the way home.  My brother-in-law shared that experience with me.

What I’m about to share now is the absolute truth.  It happened, I don’t understand how or why, because it was just that one time but it did happen.

I was 16 at the time.  My sister Andrea, who was 13, was living in New Jersey with Mom’s sister and her family.  It was early evening and we were gathered in the living room watching a show on the television which was on a stand in the corner next to a window.  Something drew my attention towards the window and I saw my sister Andrea’s face and she was crying.

I immediately knew something was wrong.

A few minutes later the telephone rang and it was Mom’s sister calling to let Mom and Dad know that Andrea had run away and that the Police had been contacted and were searching for her.

That was the beginning of a very strange night full of worry, fear and confusion.

Throughout the evening and early morning hours I saw things like tree lined streets, houses, lamp lit streets with businesses closed for the night.  I saw the rain soaked sidewalks and felt the moist, chill air.  I heard the sounds of passing vehicles.  I felt so afraid and had no understanding of what was happening.

At one point in the early morning hours I had to use the bathroom.  As I pushed open the door to enter the darkened room I was overcome by such a sense of fear.  I heard music playing; tinny, old-fashioned music, the sound of people talking and laughing, I smelled the odor of cigarette smoke and alcohol, heard the clinking of glasses.  I could not bring myself to go into the bathroom so I backed out into the kitchen and slowly closed the door.  I saw a building with colored lights in the windows and a sign with the word “Tin” flashing.

Mom was talking to Aunt Dell at that time and I knew I finally had to tell her what had been happening, everything I was seeing and hearing, even though I doubted she’d believe me.  I had no idea what was going on but I felt a sense of urgency so I told her everything and she in turn told Aunt Dell.

I’m not sure how much later it was, but Aunt Dell called again, this time to tell Mom Andrea had been found.

She was outside a Bar and Grill called the Tin Lizzy, huddled up against the building, wanting to get out of the chilly rain but afraid to enter.   I knew then that I was feeling what she was feeling when I had tried to go into our bathroom.

My sister and I somehow connected with each other in a way that, to this day, I still don’t understand.  I don’t know if she reached out to me or I to her but I was there with her, sharing what she was going through, seeing and hearing what she did, feeling what she felt.  Certainly, through the years, there were times when I had the feeling something was wrong and I’d reach out to her or go see her, but nothing like that particular time.

I really wish it had happened again because I’ve always wondered why I didn’t have a clue as to what was happening to her the night she collapsed three years ago.  I finally came to believe the answer was so simple.  It wasn’t meant to happen again; that was a journey she had to take alone.

As I’m writing this I also realize she did reach out one last time; not to let us know she was in trouble but to let us know she was alright.

We were all with her when she was removed from life support but sister #4 knew she wouldn’t go anywhere without her make-up and teeth.  Sister #2’s daughter put her teeth in and sister #4’s daughter fixed her eyebrows and applied her lipstick.  If you knew Andrea you would understand.  Her hair was always perfectly styled and her make-up just a sperfect so it makes sense she wouldn’t go anywhere without looking her best.

Not even to go to Heaven.

Just as my niece finished applying Andrea’s lipstick I saw a “shimmer” rise up from my sister and suddenly she looked like she was 30 years old and so beautiful and peaceful.  I believe what I saw was my sister’s soul leave her body as she took her last breath.  This time I wasn’t the only one to see something.  Sister #4 and her daughter also saw this and were taken by surprise not knowing what was happening.  “What’s that, what’s happening” Sister #4 kept repeating.  “Can you see that” she asked the others.

“I saw it” I told her.  No one else saw anything.  We were the lucky ones.

In that moment I knew what had happened.  Andrea had reached out to us one last time and showed us something beautiful, something to remember and hold close, showing us that death isn’t the end but the beginning.

I write things down, stuff I won’t or can’t say to someone, ideas, feelings, things that happen in my world.  I don’t share everything.  It’s never been easy for me to open up to others, even my own family.  I’ve found the courage to share with you now a few special moments I’ve experienced, memories I’ll never forget.

I will also share my belief that there is more to life than what you can see, hear touch, smell or taste.  You just have to be able to accept it when it happens.

And believe.

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner with out the express written permission of the owner…..me.

 

Dad’s Geese

I enjoy browsing Pinterest because, in my humble opinion, there are so many interesting things to see.  Recipes, inspirational quotes, crafts, you name it and you can probably find it there.

One day I was checking things out and came across this picture.  It reminded me of a story I wrote several years ago about some geese my father had.  Two vile, mean, nasty creatures that Dad thought were wonderful.

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* This is what I imagine those damn birds looked like doing their happy dance after a successful surprise attack.

So here’s my tale of two geese:

One thing I remember from my childhood was that Dad always had animals of one kind or another around the house.  The only inside pets we had were a parakeet that hung itself by picking at a loose string from a nearby curtain and a monkey that we kids thought we killed.      Who Killed Dad’s Monkey?  told that story.

Dad decided he was going to get into the fur coat business so he was going to raise mink.  They were also mean, nasty creatures, but at least they were kept in cages underneath a very large hickory nut-tree in the field above the house.

We quickly learned to keep our fingers away from the cages when feeding and watering those animals.

The side yard was not flat, you had to walk up a slight hill, but to us kids it seemed like a large hill when carrying buckets of water.  That was the way we had to go to get to the mink.  This story, however, is not about the mink.  It’s about Dad’s other mean, nasty creatures that ran free around the house and surrounding field.

Two white geese.

Those birds considered that side yard their personal territory and it was cross that yard at your peril.  Between trying to avoid what seemed like huge amounts of goose poop that littered that side of the yard or the temperamental geese themselves, it was not easy navigating that part of the yard.   To make matters worse, Dad had planted a couple of goose berry bushes half way up that part of the yard and I’m sure those bushes  contributed to the birds’ rotten attitudes.

Whenever we complained to Dad about the birds, his attitude was basically “suck it up, you’re bigger than the birds”. I’m pretty sure he found a great deal of humor in our attempts at avoiding his geese.

As much as I hated helping with butchering chickens I would have gladly butchered, gutted and cleaned those geese myself.  Unfortunately, for some strange reason, Dad liked those birds from hell so butchering was out of the question.

On this particular day it was my turn to feed and water the mink.

Container of food in one hand and bucket of water in the other, I checked the yard for the birds and saw luck was with me.  The geese were no where in sight; they were somewhere else on the roughly three acres of field that surrounded the house.  I made it up to the mink, got them fed and watered with all fingers in tact, and was on my way back down to the house when I heard the honk of an angry bird.

Picking up my pace while looking over my shoulder, I saw two white heads bobbing up and down through the weeds and hay growing in the field as they came at me from above.

Luck wasn’t with me on the way down because I slipped on a patch of goose poop and went down hard on my rear end. I slid a bit further through more patches of goose poop smearing the stuff all over the back of my shorts.

Yeah, we had our own goose poop slip and slide compliments of those two damn geese.  Who knew two birds could poop so much.

By this time both birds were coming at me, necks stretched out, wings spread wide and honking like crazy as they charged at me.  Scrambling to make it to my feet, I slipped again and now I had goose poop on my hands and knees too.

I managed to get to my feet, still holding the empty water bucket and feed container, but I made the mistake of turning my back to those darn birds.

I forgot how fast they were and how long their necks were.  One of them got me on my butt, hard, and if you’ve never been bitten by a goose I can assure you it hurts like hell.  Swinging the empty bucket behind me at the birds, I braced myself for another attack while trying to avoid slipping on any more goose poop.

The full two bird attack never came.

Taking a chance, I glanced over my shoulder and was surprised to see they were just standing there looking at me.

Now I don’t know if geese can smell or taste but the only thing I could figure that stopped them from coming at me again was because my backside was covered in goose poop.  When the damn bird bit me it either caught a whiff or got a beak full of goose poop and didn’t like the taste or smell.

I had to change my clothes outside because of all the goose poop on me and then I had to rinse my clothes in a bucket of water.  Those two birds got a bath that day too when I emptied the bucket by throwing it at them.

They liked that about as much as I liked them.  I was hoping I could drown them but it didn’t work.

Dad eventually got rid of the geese by trading them for some pigeons and it’s a good thing he did.

In a prior story I told about how we killed Dad’s monkey, accidentally of course, but the geese would have been a different story.

The monkey’s demise truly was an accident but those geese would have died by murder most fowl.

*Picture found on Pinterest.

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.

Would You If You Could?

If someone told you that you could go back in time to a day of your choice and change it, would you?

I asked one of my sisters that question and she immediately answered “Nope, I have no regrets”.   “I’m not talking about regrets” I said, “Is there any one day or incident that you would change if you could”?  Her answer remained a firm “no”.

For me one moment in particular came to mind, a snowy day in January, 1978.  “I would have left the laundry soap in the car” I told her.   “Regret is a waste of time” she said.  I didn’t see it that way at the time but Sis was right, I was talking about regret.

January, 1978, was a very snowy month and another storm had hit the area two or three days prior to that day so there was still a foot plus of snow on the ground. I was unloading the car after shopping for our second son’s first birthday celebration.  Maintainance for the apartment complex where we living had still not cleared the sidewalks so I was being careful.  All bags were in the house except for the laundry soap.

“Leave it” my husband said, “I’ll bring it up later”.

I should have listened.

While carrying that single bottle back to the apartment I slipped and fell.  I don’t know what happened because I didn’t feel anything.  There was enough snow to cushion my fall and all I was aware of was the loud pop I heard echo through the apartment buildings.  Evidently, that was the sound of breaking bones.  When I tried to get up I found I couldn’t move.  I tried a couple of times but I just couldn’t move and I didn’t know why.  Luckily someone saw me fall and my struggle to move and the next thing I know Hubby’s kneeling by me telling me not to move.  My ankle was shattered and the two bones above the ankle were broken.

I can still see the faces of my two little boys watching from the bedroom window as I was loaded into the ambulance.  Their tears broke my heart.

In the operating room they told me my toes were where my heel should have been.  I was in a cast up to my hip from January until July and then a cast from the knee down until September.  That was nothing compared to the fact that I missed my son’s first birthday.

To add further insult to  injury, two weeks prior to the accident I had interviewed for a position as a nurse at the Elmira Psych Center.  The call that the position was mine came while I was in the hospital so I had to decline the offer.

Thinking about the four surgeries, bone grafts, many, many casts and knowing I have not had a pain-free day in 40 years because of that accident I was positive.  “Yep, the laundry soap would have stayed in the car that day”, that’s the moment I would have changed.

But then I started thinking about how my life and that of my family’s might have been different if I changed that moment all those years ago.

Working at the Psych Center meant I wouldn’t have taken the various jobs through the years working with several different lawyers, which in turn eventually led me to my last position as a Court Clerk.  I would have met and worked with different people.  I wouldn’t have met my youngest son’s wife who also worked at the same municipality.  If I hadn’t met her my son wouldn’t have either and we wouldn’t have the two wonderful grandchildren they gave us including our only granddaughter.

So many little things that would have changed that I couldn’t even realize or the effects those changes would cause.

If I had been able to accept that position at the Psych Center I believe that eventually the home we bought would have been a different home.  Our boys would have grown up in a different neighborhood,  met different friends, probably worked at different jobs.  It’s also possible my other sons may not have met the wonderful women they would eventually marry.

So many things probably would have changed, some minor but some could have been major and definitely life altering, possibly not at all positive.  Changes that could have been much worse than a few broken bones.

The difficulties we have dealt with through the years resulting from that snowy January day have made us the family we are now.  My sons grew up seeing their father cooking, cleaning, doing dishes and laundry every time I was  recovering from another surgery or was in a cast.  He has always been and continues to be my helpmate.  To this day he’s always concerned about me falling.  I’d like to believe that in some small way my sons are the caring, loving, hands on husbands and fathers they are because of the example set by their Dad through the years.

I will admit to having many “why me” moments through the years and will probably have more of them in the years to come.  I try to keep to myself during those moments because I will admit to sometimes being a bit irritable.  Hubby always knows when I’m having a bad day.  On the plus side I always know when it’s going to rain or snow and that can come in handy.  I have often joked that in a past life I was a very mean, unpleasant diva ballet dancer who is paying for her actions in this lifetime.

Was that day just a random accident or did things happen exactly the way they were supposed to happen?  A long time ago someone once told me that everything happens for a reason and I’ve come to believe that is true.  I was wrong when I told my sister I wasn’t talking about regrets because that’s exactly what I was feeling.  Regret for a choice I made on that long ago day and the consequences of that decision.

I will admit Sis had more wisdom than I did at that time.  Regrets are a waste of time and I now try not to let that emotion into my life.  Despite the daily aching joints and difficulty walking most days, I wouldn’t change that day or any other.   All those days, moments and choices through the years have led me to where and who I am right this moment.  It may not be a perfect life but it has been and continues to be a good life shared with those I love most.

If offered the opportunity to go back in time and change any one day or moment of my choice my answer would also be a firm “no thank you”.

Have you ever had one of those moments?  What would you do?

 

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.

Grandma, do you pray?

While cleaning out papers I came across something I wrote about four years ago.  In my humble opinion I believe it is worth sharing again.

“Grandma, do you pray”? was the question asked by one of my grandchildren.  “Do you pray” I asked him.   “Well, I talk to God sometimes” he answered.  “Well that’s what prayer is” I told him, “simply talking to God”.

That conversation made me think about prayer and whether there is such a thing as a good, better or best way to pray.  I remembered back to my school days, grade 2 through 8, when I attended Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School.  Prayer was an important part of each and every school day as well as weekly Mass.  We learned prayers such as the Hail Mary and Act of Contrition and the Apostle’s Creed.  As a child I loved the formality and ceremony, the sense of community.  Everyone saying the same prayer at the same time.  I believed that the more people there were saying the same prayer the more God listened.  Each night before bed I would recite the Hail Mary and Act of Contrition.  Is reciting something by rote a prayer?

     Growing older, life happened and for a lot of reasons I stopped going to Mass.  There were periods of time when I even stopped praying, stopped saying the words.  I continued trying to be the best person I could be, always trying to do the right thing, treating others with respect and care.  Is there such a thing as prayer by the way you live?

At this point in my life I’ve come to believe that prayer is, indeed, simply talking to God.  Certainly I will still sometimes say the Act of Contrition before sleep, just in case my morning wake up is elsewhere, along with other prayers from my childhood.  Now, however, it’s more a conversation between me and God.  I’ll talk to Him about whatever may be bothering me at that moment.  I’ll share my frustration with the way things are going with our country’s leaders and the world in general, asking Him to touch hearts.  I realize that only open hearts can be touched but I’ll ask Him to keep trying and not give up on us.

When some calamity happens that I hear about on the news I’ll ask Him to help those affected; to comfort them and ease their suffering and sorrow.  I always ask Him to continue to watch over my family keeping them safe from all harm or danger.

Sometimes it’s a simple “help me” when I find myself ready to give up or a simple “thank You” when the beauty of a moment fills my heart.  I’ll tell Him how sorry I am for disappointing Him but that I’ll continue to keep trying with His help and to not give up on me.  I let Him know how grateful I am knowing that He loves me despite my imperfections.

I’ve actually asked Him to help me not sweat the small stuff so much as I tend to worry a bit….okay, quite a bit, but I’m getting better with His help.  I try to remember to thank Him for the blessings He’s given me and for the beauty of the world around me.  Especially those times when a day or moment is so beautiful, so absolutely perfect, that you can’t help but smile and say “thank you Lord”.

Like all children, sometimes I too am guilty of not always listening when He speaks to me but I’m working on that.  He knows I am and will always  continue to be a work in progress.

I guess I’ve answered my question about whether there is such a thing as a good, better or best way to pray.  For me, prayer is a combination of words shared with God and the unspoken word of your daily actions as you live your life.

I also believe that even simple words that truly come from your heart are powerful prayers.  The important thing is to keep talking to Him and listen when He speaks to you.

All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I’ve been going through cupboards and drawers sorting and getting rid of stuff much to my husband’s ire.

While going through my recipe box and cookbooks I came across an Irish cookbook my Uncle Pete had sent to me so many years ago.

Flipping through the pages while checking out recipes I came across the letter Uncle Pete sent with the book. I have most of the letters Uncle Pete wrote me stored in a box in the attic but I was surprised to find this letter in the book.

It brought back so many memories of the years of letters we shared and the love that grew between a child and her beloved Uncle who lived thousands of miles away.

I was also reminded of a St. Patrick’s Day parade a few years ago and how the music and dancers sparked forgotten memories which in turn inspired a story about my Uncle Pete.

If you remember reading this before I hope that reading again will remind you of a special someone who touched your life with love. If you’re reading this for the first time I hope you enjoy my tale and that it will spark memories of someone special for you.

                   I Never Made It Home (previously published about 3 years ago)

Uncle Pete was my grandmother’s brother who lived in Ireland. Ballymote, Tuam in County Galway to be exact. I happened to visit my grandmother one day and she was writing a letter to her brother giving him information for her upcoming visit home. She told me he was family and that I should write to him handing me paper and pen

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My Grandmother when she returned home to Ireland for a visit and Uncle Pete

That was to be the start of years of communicating with a man I came to love even though I was only able to meet him once. I was about 9 years old when I wrote my first letter to Uncle Pete and I still remember the rush of pleasure I felt when I received my first letter from him. He was used to children, you see, because he and his wife, Aunt Delia, had 22 children. I know now that a family that large is very unusual but as a child the only thing I wondered about was how he could remember all his children’s names.

Our relationship continued to grow even after my grandmother passed away when I was 12. Loosing her broke my heart but I had Uncle Pete and he helped me deal with her loss. In my letters to him I shared my grief, my childhood dreams and worries, my teenage uncertainties and he would always offer words of comfort or advice as needed and always with love.

When I was older, each year when it came time for the Irish Sweepstakes, Uncle Pete would send me the tickets he had bought for me, always saying that if I won I had to come home for a visit.

The years passed, I married, had children and shared the joy of watching my babies grow into little boys with Uncle Pete. Sometimes I would ask his advice about something troubling me and he had a way of seeing to the heart of the matter. In our letters we continued to share our lives, the ups and downs, the happy times and the times of sadness. He told me of his loneliness after Aunt Delia passed away and would often mention how he looked forward to the time I would be able to come home for a visit.

I was finally able to meet Uncle Pete for the first time when he came to America to visit his son and daughter-in-law who lived in Connecticut. After years of corresponding I can’t begin to describe what it was like to finally meet this man who had become so important to me.

Uncle Pete returned home to Ireland and we continued writing. I don’t think he was too impressed with his visit to America because in one of his letters he mentioned how in Ireland a man could stop in for a pint and a visit whenever he wanted with no grief from the woman, unlike American women, and letting me know he was laughing about that.

Life has a way of keeping you busy so that you don’t realize how quickly time passes. We continued to write to each other and every so often Uncle Pete would tell me I had to come home for a visit; until the day the letter came telling me Uncle Pete had died.

Uncle Pete’s letters are stored safely away in a box in the attic and certainly I could still visit family in Ireland now but it just wouldn’t be the same for me.

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** This reminded me of the home in my grandmother’s picture.

I may have never made it home to visit but I was there in his heart as he is still in mine. I’ll have to try to remember that. It’s said that home is where the heart is, and if so, then I often went home for a visit with Uncle Pete.

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Feeling nostalgic, I baked a loaf of Irish Soda Bread using the recipe Uncle Pete’s daughter-in-law shared with me during our visit all those years ago.

A hot cup of tea, a slice of that bread with Irish butter and in my heart I imagine it’s a wee taste of home with Uncle Pete.

 

 

The bowl you see in this picture is a larger Waterford Crystal bowl which I bought in 2001.  The real deal direct from Ireland and, I’ll admit, a bit pricey.

Of course when I unpacked the bowl Hubby asked how much it cost so I told him.

“You paid how much for that eff’in bowl” he asked me, rather loudly, a couple of times.  I won’t use the word he did but I’m sure you know what it was.

I calmly confirmed the price and watched his face as shock and a great deal of ire slowly gave way to acceptance.

You see, there wasn’t really much he could say about what I’d spent for the bowl because, as I saw it, the bowl was a gift from my Dad’s brother, Uncle John.   When Uncle John died November, 2000, I was shocked to learn he that he had left me a bequest which allowed me to buy my Waterford Crystal bowl.

Hubby never said a word about returning my bowl and 17 years later the bowl still retains its place of honor on our dining room table.

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My husband still refers to it as the “fookin bowl”.

I think of it as a little piece of Ireland and a reminder of two special Uncles who hold a place at home in my heart.

 

** Picture found on Pinterest

 

All rights reserved. I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…me.