Let’s Wander Through Summer Memories

Wandering in Summer Memories

Summer beckons us to linger here. Let’s stay a while longer, please, lets stay another day or maybe two.

I love to wander through summer memories … to think about my family and friends. To remember those leisurely hours that roll over into days. I want to go back there! I find myself daydreaming of dancing waves, white sand, broken seashells.

The sweetest of summer memories are the ones of the little people in my life.

Isla Beach

Summer Memoriessummer fun 1summer funSummer has a way of healing and restoring. Summer gives me time to slow down, to ponder, to experience the beauty of grace over and over … I love to move slowly through the memories, to leisurely wander through the sweet times, to sing praises of thankfulness for these precious souls.

The Quiet Moments of Reflection and Stillness

Lake stillness

Hours spent on this deck drift away. Quiet conversations, making plans, sharing hope. Dreaming over-sized dreams. Our laughter bubbles over, slowly stopping with a smile, a wink and a sigh. The water is soothing. Birds are chirping. Geese follows the leader, honking for their young to keep up.

A Blue Heron catches the wind, flying overhead with a stick in its beak, landing on the very top of the highest pine tree, to build a nest.

Is there an Osprey nest close by? The great bird caught a fish in its talons and announced it loud. Searching for the sound, we look up to watch the grandeur.

We soak in the quiet stillness, giving way for the memories to carve a place to settle in deep.

There is a “for sale” sign in the window.

We will crave this moment when it is gone.

Lakelife stillness 2

The Flight of the Butterfly

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

In order to live, a butterfly must fight its way out of the cocoon on its own. It is only through this struggle that it gains the strength in its body to move its wings and fly.

Life is like a butterfly – You go through changes before you become something beautiful.

The following are photos of one particular butterfly I spotted while vacationing last year at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While the views of the beautiful resort are breathtaking in grandeur, I found myself captivated with following one particular butterfly gracefully move, carefree from one hanging pot of Impatiens to another.

So many hanging pots of flowers and so little time for a butterfly to taste the sweetness.

I wondered how long this beautiful fluttering of wings would last.

“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.”
― Jane Yolen, Prince Across the Water

Once upon a time, we had a Golden Retriever puppy. The cutest little puppy ever! Finding the right name for the newest member of our family was very important yet none of us could agree on the right name…until that day while in our backyard, our puppy began chasing a butterfly. The dog was running and jumping and zigging and zagging chasing the butterfly all about. That’s it! We had a name for our best friend to be. We named him, Chase.

I chuckled considering that I was running (not so much jumping) but definitely zigging and zagging to chase after this butterfly! Finally, it stopped for refreshment…I was ready for some, too.

Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies ~The Little Prince

This butterfly has certainly done its fair share of work! Flitting from one landing pad to the next, searching for the best nectar.

“…butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine. ” ~Jeffrey Glassberg

We should bask in the sunshine of God’s grace and goodness. We should notice God’s power through the tenacious strength of a butterfly. Count the moments you have each day to experience the Lord’s presence, to be strengthened by his grace. For the more your heart is strengthened by grace the more it will beat for God’s glory.

These photos are borrowed from my photo blog, Remember the Year, a scrapbook and journal of visual memories. I hope you will visit there soon. http://photolog365.wordpress.com

I Miss The Dog

Isla and Doc relaxing Best Friend, Indeed

Sometimes, you will always remember and you never stop missing. Like opening the back door to the kitchen, expecting to hear a loud bark and the sound of paws searching for traction on hard wood floors while toe nails, that are long over due for clipping, make another etch into the finished wood. “Welcome Home! It’s so good to see you!” is what those big brown eyes and wagging tail communicated every time I walked into the house

I miss that.

How quick to forget, however, the many evenings of nearly tripping over the dog while trying to cook dinner or sweeping up “tumble-weed” hair balls that collected in the corners of rooms or trying to avoid the dog from brushing up against me whenever I wore something black.

I miss that, too.

There was the yard to scoop clean from poo, the inspection of the soles of kid shoes for any signs of dog poo before walking through the house, and on those rainy days, cleaning four muddy paws before leaving the mudroom. (A mudroom is very nice when there are muddy paws or shoes with poo on the soles.)

I don’t miss that quite as much but I miss the sound of kids playing outside with the dog.

I remember those long walks and jogging through the neighborhood with the dog, holding the leash relaxed by my side…finding my stride and comfortable pace when suddenly I’m halted with a sudden jerk and arm whiplash because the dog had to stop and smell the roses. I always carried a bottle of water on those long walks. Not so much for me, but for the dog to have a drink.

I miss that.

The dog had no manners, though. He would pant his hot smelly breath on everyone he met or let loose a “silent but violent” odor in a room full of house guests. I think sometimes, one of my kids ripped their own and blamed it on…”the dog did it!”

I miss the dog and all of that smelly stuff.

There is no longer a need to fill a water bowl or hunt for an old tennis ball to play catch. There dangling from a hook in the garage is that old black leash that kept the dog close to our side, but was that leash really needed?

Perhaps the dog trained us to stay by his side and taught us how to be patient dealing with each others mess and to never take for granted when a family member comes home.

Good ole’ Doc! I miss that dog!


“Doc” The Dog

An Unexpected Reunion that Rekindled A Promise

40th reunion

I just got back from a great weekend celebrating a 40th high school reunion. It was fun to listen to everyone talk about the crazy times they had together and allowing us a glimpse into their life stories since graduation…try to pack in 40 years of life stories in a few hours! You hear the best and worst…the stories that possibly had the biggest impact in their life. I enjoyed observing the camaraderie and friendships renewed. The laughter was contagious.  I was glad to be a part of the reunion, even if it was not my own.

It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever experience my own high school reunion. It’s unlikely because I attended three different high schools within a span of four years. I wonder if there are other people who fall into the “three-high-schools-in-four-years” category.

There is a good reason for attending different schools…we lived in a particular school district for freshman and sophomore years; in my junior year, segregation laws required that I attend a school on the other side of the city; and my father took a new job out-of-state at the beginning of my senior year.

If I had a choice, out of the three high schools to attend a reunion, I would choose the one that holds the fondest memories…freshman and sophomore years. My junior year was a brutal race to survive–I couldn’t wait for the year to end…it was a rough experience for a good many students.  At the end of my senior year, I remember standing in  line, alphabetical order, with people (that I didn’t know) with last names that began with the same letter as mine. I recall introducing myself to them before we walked onto the stage to receive our diplomas, but quickly forgot their names after throwing my cap in the air. I was relieved to get in my car and drive away from high school.

The memories of my high school years are a compilation of bliss and anxiety. Whatever joys or hardships that I experienced during those years of change, helped to shape and define my character and to mold a resolute will to stay the course. I can’t take for granted that God is the author of my story. What I didn’t know then, but do know now is that God was faithfully rescuing me with his generous grace. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone else.

The best part about moving to a new city at the beginning of my senior year was meeting my future husband…that would take me to his 40th high school reunion one day! Honestly, I never expected this and for certain, my husband’s 40th high school reunion has never been written on my bucket list, but there it is checked off anyway.

While reunions are a lot of work to plan for a short-lived experience, it can leave a positive impact on those that made the effort to come. Besides making new contacts for business and new Facebook friends or following someone new on Twitter, this reunion unearthed many of the early memories my husband and I have of meeting each other as teenagers and eventually making a promise to one another that hasn’t been broken in almost 40 years.

We arrived together at this reunion with a lot of memories from the past but we left with a rekindled promise, a commitment to each other. We have been married all our lives, but not long enough.

My husband commented about a 50th reunion in the future. My answer to that was, “No thank you, we’re going on a cruise!”

Addendum: After my husband read this post, he said that he couldn’t believe I would choose a cruise over a 50th reunion. So, we’ll do both…especially when I just found out from reading a Facebook comment that I’ll always be a part of their reunion, an honorary “Wildcat!”  (Thanks, Sally!)




Rhythm of Cluttered Memories

Gardening gloves displayed on the porch soiled by years of digging up weeds or trimming the shrubbery or potting pretty pink flowers into the soil. The gloves are always on display, for years they have been draped over the rod…old and faded but pretty in a way. Some of the fingertips on a few pairs of gloves are worn through, yet there they are waiting to be used again and again. The rusted looking sparrow ornament hanging from the porch manages to still sparkle in the sun year after year after year.  Rhythm. Just a glimpse into my husband’s childhood home that has become a rhythm of cluttered memories.

We visited his folks recently. The clutter used to bother me, but this time I was soothed by the peaceful rhythm of good times remembered. The nik-naks have been sitting on the table in the same place for as long as I can remember. There are things my children made in grade school. Treasured memories.

There’s an old stuffed tiger that has lost both eyes and the tail has been stitched back on a dozen times or more. The tiger is still on the twin bed thirty years later. I think every grandchild slept with that old stuffed tiger. There is a silly wooden turkey decoration with lots of holes drilled for colorful lollipops to be stuck in because a turkey must have colorful tail feathers. When my children were young, they were delighted to pick out their favorite flavored lollipop from that wooden turkey decoration. For years that wooden craft has been perched on the kitchen counter, in the same place…without the colorful tail feathers.

There is a lovely rhythm of maintaining each piece of cluttered memory. She–the one who loves the memories–dusts and cleans and puts everything back in the same place. This time when I visited the folks, I stopped and pondered the clutter and was pulled into the rhythm of memories.

Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and lively community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: Rhythm.

Memorial Day is to Remember

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

~Ronald Reagan

I have wonderful childhood memories of the 1960’s. To mention a few: my parents renting a small carousel and having it delivered to our backyard for my birthday party, eating Jiffy Pop Popcorn while watching black and white movies of Tarzan, Jane and the chimpanzee, Cheeta, on a Saturday afternoon with my Dad and brother…so excited to have our brand new TV in amazing black and white “color.”

A most significant memory I have of the ‘60’s is being at elementary school when my teacher announced to us that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. School ended early that day. I remember my mother picking me up from school, tears streaming down her face, crying and crying; sitting in front of that black and white TV with my family, listening and watching Walter Cronkite retell the sad and terrifying news.

A lighter memory is watching The Ed Sullivan Show…a family favorite until the Beatles where showcased. My parents thought the Beatles were “long-haired rebellious punks” but I thought John, Paul, George and Ringo were the grooviest!

This Memorial Day, I am thinking about 1966. One of my friends, that lived on the next block in my neighborhood, rode her bike to my house to tell me her father was home from Vietnam. I was young and didn’t understand what the war in Vietnam was about but I had several friends whose fathers were soldiers in the Army. I knew that their fathers were brave and heroic.

My friend’s father had been home for just a few short hours, and she wanted me to meet him. I remember that he was bigger than life to me. Still dressed in his army fatigues, sitting on a kitchen stool with his beloved wife snuggled in his lap. He was so happy to be home with his family. I remember his kind smile, his military hair cut and his big black army boots and again, I wondered what Vietnam was like and wanted to ask him…but I was afraid to. Everything I had heard about this war sounded horrifying. Why stop their happiness to ask questions.

And then the day came when I learned the sadness of war; the day that the war in Vietnam hit close to home. My best friend, Janet, and I were inseparable while in the fifth grade. One day in March of 1966, the principal of our school came to our classroom and asked Janet to come out in the hall. Her expression was scared and I was too because when the principal called you out in the hall, it meant bad news. Janet did not come back to class and this troubled me. Our teacher told us that Janet’s father had been killed in a helicopter crash. I remember crying.

Years and years go by…while on vacation in Washington, D.C., with my husband and children, we visit The Vietnam Veterans Memorial—The Wall. I wanted to find the name of Janet’s father, Harlow Gary Clark, Jr. I found it! My fingers gently touched his name etched in the marble and remembered his sacrifice and the loss that Janet felt…probably continues to feel.

 LTC Harlow Gary Clark, Jr., is honored on Panel 5E, Row 128 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This is just one of many memories to honor today. Many of my adult friends, Moms and Dads, have lost a son or daughter in war. Friends have lost a spouse in combat for our freedom and their children have lost a parent.

137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed – it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy. ~Doc Hastings, U.S. Representative

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’ ~William Arthur Ward

So, I end this post with, “Thank You” and the memory etched in my mind as though it were marble, never to forget.

The Swan Story

Childhood friendship

Another Front Door to Home

Another Front Door Fall

The welcome mat, with faded hues of color from years of collecting sunshine and enduring the scuffing of shoes is there, in front of a threshold. Another front door to home. A new home. A wonderful home.

Whenever I think about “home,” I have a visual reminder of the many places we have lived and recall the hundreds of times we have opened the front door to our home to welcome new friends, first time guests, and family members that have traveled long distances to visit with us.

Home is here. This is where we are. wherever we live, we purposefully say the words, “This is home.”  It’s not a house where we live. We are home.

Do we miss the place where our family first began? Of course! Does my heart long to go back to that place where I feel most connected? Yes, I feel the tug.

But I don’t call the place that tugs on my heart as “home.” It is a place I visit.

Where I live now is home. This is the right place for us to find community.

Our home is filled with peace, love, security. A place to escape and retreat from the chaos of work and conflicts. Home is the place to meet Jesus. Home is a place to write memories and journal the adventures. This home is where God has us.

If only a welcome mat could talk!

I treasure home. I love thinking about the many times our front door has opened. I love experiencing a new community of friends and especially experiencing God’s love and His incredible plan for us to have another front door…to home!