Today was an absolutely beautiful day! The temperature was perfect for me. And this evening was even better; just right for porch sitting and enjoying a good book.
I always seem to learn a lesson when I sit on my porch, and tonight was no different. First, the birds serenaded me with their beautiful songs. One Cardinal actually sounded like he was trying out for a choir. He hung on to the beginning of his song for quite a long time. It was beautiful. When I sit on my porch, I love to think that the birds are singing just to me. I get lost in their songs. Sometimes, I believe that those songs are little messages from heaven.
Then there was the breeze that floated softly through and around the bushes, trees, and from one end of my porch to the other. Sometimes, I like to believe my loved ones in heaven are surrounding me each time the breeze touched my cheeks.
I love the colors of summer, especially hydrangeas, leaves on a tree, a rainbow with its arc of many hues, and the yellow blinking tail of a firefly. I believe that God created specials colors for each season to help us appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
I love the sounds of summer; children laughing, people talking, music booming loud and clear through opened windows, fireworks celebrating, footsteps walking past my house, screen doors slamming, and hot dogs sizzling on a grill. These sounds remind me how blessed I am to be able to hear the beauty that fills my ears and heart.
My porch is my special place where I can read, think, pray, and remember those I love with my heart. It is a place like no other; where love floats into every nook and cranny. Where a cup of tea and my thoughts conjure up trips down memory lane. And for that, I am grateful.
Today was a feel-good Friday, filled with peace.
It was a beautiful Wednesday evening. The bright sun was slowly, starting its descent with its warming rays touching everything in its path. A soft breeze floated through the one tree in our yard, as my husband and I waited for my son. It was a special night, a belated Mother’s Day present. My son was taking us to DeSales University to see a play. I love the theater; always have. When we arrived, my son treated us to a lovely picnic-style dinner. As we dined, two young men dressed in Shakespearean costumes entertained us with period music. At eight o’clock, the lights dimmed, and the play began. The Mystery of Irma Vep had me right from the get-go! Although it was a mystery, it was full of humor. Mainly since two men played all the characters!
I was amazed at how quickly they changed their costumes for each scene. I have to tell you, I loved it. On the ride home, (by the way, it was a late night) and all day today, I thought about the gifts and talents those two actors had. Their ability to learn their lines, and perform in front of a crowd amazed me. The joy, and pleasure those two multi-talented men displayed touched my heart. They were following their dreams. Being a good storyteller takes patience, hard work, a love of the craft, and believing in the ability to make a difference. I appreciated their talent and never giving up on what they loved. It is not easy being an actor. Their enthusiastic energy has inspired me to keep following my dreams of making a difference with my words. It’s funny how God brings people into our lives just when we need them. I needed to see that play and spend time with my son. And for that, I am thankful!
Today, was overcast, humid, with a possible shower forecasted.
My day started out like any other day; however, my afternoon was sort of a washout. Picture this, nicely dressed in white capris, with a black and white summer top, and black sandals adorning my feet. I headed out to the gas station then continued on a few errands. My last stop was the grocery store. With my decorative bags in one hand and my list in the other, I grabbed a small shopping cart and got started. My list only had a few items, but like most of us, I veered off the list and filled my cart. Now it wasn’t raining, or thundering when I entered the store, but as I was heading out the doors that automatically open, I heard it. Now mind you, it wasn’t raining, well maybe a few drops.
I should mention that an elderly gentleman was standing watching the drops of rain fall oh so gently on the macadam. I looked at him, and said, ” It doesn’t look like it’s going to amount to anything. I think I will go for it.” As I started walking out, I heard him say, ” I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” As I kept walking, I heard another clap of thunder and felt a few more drops. I thought to myself, I got this.
As I got to the row, I was parked in, I hit the unlock button on my set of keys. Nothing happened. I hit the button again, nothing. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. Then, I accidentally hit the panic button, and I heard my alarm. It wasn’t coming from the car I was trying to unlock. In fact, it was not even in that row. My car was in the next row. As I hurried back to my car, every cloud in the sky broke loose. I picked up the speed. Within a few seconds, my hair was soaked and dripping, my sandals were squeaking, and water ran off my nose. I quickly opened the door, got the alarm off, then realized that my shopping cart had drifted down, the row. As I took off, I think I heard that gentleman who had warned me not to go, laughing. I finally got my cart back and threw the bags, in the back seat. Thank goodness, I didn’t buy any eggs.
I was still dripping as I pulled in my driveway. Then I heard the garage door open, and there stood my husband. As I got out of the car, with hair plastered to my head, and sandals playing a song as I walked, he looked at me, and said, ” Your wet!” I smiled and said, ” Very funny.” I could hear him laughing as he carried the soggy bags into the house.
Lesson learned: When you hear thunder, then see big drops of rain, you can either wait it out or be adventurous and try to outrun it. However, you must make sure you have the right car. It makes all the difference.
Today was a lovely day, even though it was a little warm. My husband and I had lunch out on this Tuesday. It is something special we enjoy doing; perhaps a little too much. None the less, it was a great time. Today, there seemed to be more senior citizens and more children than usual.
Our table was catty-cornered, which gave me a panorama view of the dining room. This is a story about what my eyes saw, my ears heard, and my heart felt.
A older mother, father, and a teenage girl in a wheelchair sat next to us. The genuine love they had for their daughter was so beautiful. Her mother gently pushed back a wandering piece of hair, smiling at her daughter. She held that smile for a bit. Father told her how pretty she looked. Together, they ordered her lunch. The tenderness in their voices, not only to their daughter but to each other was refreshing. When their food arrived, her father cut everything in small pieces then with his pointer finger, gently touched her nose, bringing laughter all around. What a beautiful family.
Across the room, my ears heard gentleman telling his waitress that they were waiting for a few more. Taking a sip from my ice tea, I saw an elderly couple walk slowly to the table. Those waiting stood up and hugged and kissed those who arrived. Family or friends, there was love all around.
Somewhere in the dining room, there was a child that was not happy. He protested everything until his food came. Then, he was one happy camper. My ears could hear his unhappiness, which turned into content, bringing back memories of my own children when they were his age.
Soon we finished our lunch, got our check, and walked up to the cashier. As my husband paid, I turned and gazed at the folks eating their food, talking, laughing, getting their checks, then getting up, some hugging and some thanking the person who treated them to lunch.
Today was a fantastic day all the way around. Touch my heart kind of day. A day filled my senses to the brim. A day filled with love.
I love to tell stories that touch people’s hearts. That is why I write. Hearing someone say, ” Your story was exactly what I needed to hear,” makes my heart soar. I have written over five hundred short stories, two children’s books, a short story collection, and am now working on a novel titled; Chipped and Mixed-Matched. It is based on my teacup series. Three years ago, I started writing the Skyler Letters as a way of helping me deal with the grief of losing my Great- Grandson.
My love of words started back when I was a little girl growing up on a small farm. Over the years, Mom shared with me how much she enjoyed listening to my stories. Especially those I said to the many kittens that gathered near the back porch stoop.
My love of words has never stopped. However, this morning, when I got up, a feeling came over me that I could not shake. It stayed with me all through the day and is still meandering around my head as I write this story. Actually, the thoughts I had today have been showing up quite a lot lately. In fact, they are not new to me. Ever since I was a school girl, the naysayers filled my mind with doubts of failure. I was young then and believed them, However, today, it is the memories of those doubts and new doubts that dance around my head.
This is where the first part of the story ends, and the real story begins.
How many of you, dear, readers, struggle with doubts? How many of you struggle with how you look, your weight, your passions, and yes, even things that you are good at? How many of you are afraid to take a chance because words might have been said to you, others laughed, or those who put you down in spite of something good you did? Those words and feelings are real and hang around a very long time. Some never go away. And some show up on a hot, humid Monday.
I want you to know that you are beautiful, your passions and dreams are real, and all the good things you do, make your heart shine. I want you to know that God created you to be who you are. He gave you your gifts and talents. I can’t help to feel His sadness when He sees any of children doubting themselves; including me.
Believe in yourself. Take one day at a time. Do not fear failure for it is when we fail, that we grow. Stand tall and keep doing what you love, learn from your mistakes, then rise again. When those doubts start to dance, hold your head up high, and don’t give in. You are better than that. I am better than that. We all deserve better than that.
One more thing, never forget how much you are loved. Dream big, work hard, laugh often, help others, forgive the naysayers, and love like there is no tomorrow. One more thing, remember how important you are, especially to me.
Today was a beautiful day, a little warm, but not as humid as yesterday.
At church this morning, our Pastor gave a compelling Sunday Message that has stayed with me all day. It was a sermon about acceptance, showing compassion and love, to all who walk through our doors; no matter what. As our church is getting ready to take a huge step, the message was perfect timing. It was food for thought, at least for me.
We may not know their background, their hearts, fears, and the needs of those who will open the door, leading to the pews, ears listening to hymns, head bowed praying, handshaking, then one last time, a hand that will open and close the door, ready to head home. However, from the time the door opens, until it closes, the opportunity to make a difference in a life or lives is ever present. I love that! I have always believed that is what we are supposed to be doing; reaching out, accepting, loving, and making a difference.
My Sunday Message…
Hearts can begin to heal when we find little ways to bring messages of hope to those who are broken, feel unloved, or have made their share of mistakes. Words of encouragement, a listening ear, and, what can I do to help, have the power to make a difference, one Sunday at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference, your heart will thank you.
This morning, my husband and I went out for our weekly Saturday morning breakfast. As I opened the door leading outside, I was taken back by the heat and humidity. I know its summer and hotter temperatures are to be expected. However, as I am getting older, I will admit, the less I like it. After breakfast, I came home and stayed inside with the air conditioner on.
Later in the day, the skies darkened and the storms moved in. A teaser at first, then blue skies, with gray clouds waiting their turn to build up more water. Finally, a fierce deep black cloud rolled quickly overhead, bringing with it wind, claps of thunder and bolts of lightning. It was as if the heavens opened up, directing the rain in every direction.
As I sat at my computer, I watched the raindrops running down my patio door as if something was chasing them. Oh, yes, it was more raindrops. Sometimes I get mesmerized by the patterns the rain takes.
Today the patterns reminded me of how each day begins, so to speak, as a fresh start, like a beautiful blue sky with bright rays of sun warming our hearts and spirits. Then, in a flash, life takes twists and turns like clouds starting out light gray but soon changing to an ominous darkness. On those days, no matter what we do, nothing seems to work, and we become frustrated, like clouds that burst open, pouring out drops that soak the ground.
I have days like that when everything goes wrong. Everyone does. No one is perfect. However, one thing I have learned is that the storm does not last forever. Life is trying our best, taking care of ourselves, reaching out to help others, loving family and friends, including those friends we have yet to meet and forgiving those who have hurt us.
Perfect days are few and far between, but if we keep trying, I promise the sun will come out bringing a brand new day with a world of opportunities.
So, on this scorching, stormy Saturday, hang on to hope for better days; including cool breezes with miles of blue and yellow sunshine.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom .” Marcel Proust
I started my day out by enjoying breakfast with a dear friend who was visiting from Ohio. We each had a version of French Toast that was to die for. We reminisced about the past and shared stories about our families. It was great to catch up. When it was time to leave, I asked her to keep in touch. I am hoping to continue this breakfast treat on her return trip next year.
This afternoon, I had lunch with two more friends. These two are very special to me. They have faith in my writing and continue to guide and encourage me with positive words, along with ideas and suggestions on how to broaden my audience. They get me! These two angels understand my goals and what is essential to my heart.
To Laurel and Carol… Thank you for helping me live my dream of helping others through my words and stories.
” Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” Mark Twain
Then there is Maria, who has been a dear friend for well over thirty years. She was there when my parents, husband, great-grandson, and sister passed. This sweet dear friend knows me better than most people. I value her honesty, loyalty, praise, and genuine, caring ways. She is a true definition of a friend who is always there.
” A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Bernard Meltzer
When I was teaching, I spent several days at the beginning of the school year, teaching my students about friendship. I read them stories, we wrote stories, and we drew pictures. It was important to me to teach them the importance of being a friend. I explained to them and reinforced the lesson: if you want to have a friend, you must first be a friend. It always touched my heart to see them trying to be the best friend they could be. Being children, sometimes they would have little setbacks, but with encouragement and reminders, they would try again.
” The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am grateful for my friends that have blessed my life by their conversations, laughter, tears, concern, advice, constructive criticism, and genuine love. I believe that God, in his Wisdom, places friends on our path. Some will come into our lives for a reason. Maybe they will be the teacher, and we will become a student or, vice versa. Some will stay a season to help us through a difficult time, or once again vice versa. Then there are the folks that stay a lifetime. They are the gems in our treasure chest of life.
Regardless of how long they stay, cherish the time. Each one is a blessing!
” If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.
Winnie the Pooh
Today is the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day. It is the anniversary of the declaration of our independence from Great Britain in 1776. It was a day when flags waved proudly from homes, marching bands played patriotic music, and red, white, and blue decorations adorned windows and doors. It’s a day to remember those who gave their all for the freedoms we treasure today.
July 4th is also a day for picnics, good conversations, laughter, and memories.
This is a story about family; a unique family whose members are gently aging, but whose hearts are still as loving as the day I met them.
To start, I must go back to 1971 when I married into this family. Oh, the fun we had over the years, celebrating family picnics, not to mention the milestones in our children’s lives; birthdays, graduations, showers, and weddings. The population of our loving family grew and grew to before long, we were quite large.
One of my favorite memories is the laughter that came quickly and frequently at family picnics. The silly antics of the children playing in the creek, cards being played at the table, catching up with the girls, sharing pictures, and the snitching of chips, as we waited for the main meal to commence. Good times with good people.
Then on December 11, 1994, my husband died at fifty-one from a massive heart attack. His family was there for my children and me. I continued attending the picnics, where I could count on the laughter and caring words. Those loving family members will never know how much they helped me during those difficult years. They were, indeed, my angels.
Six years later, I met and fell in love with a wonderful man. I often say that my late husband sent him to me. The family welcomed my new husband, which touched my heart beyond words. That was nineteen years ago.
This is where my story takes a little turn, a slight twist so too speak, that touched my heart and made me realize that what changes on the outside, doesn’t necessarily change on the inside.
As we all sat outside under the covered patio, my eyes went from one to another, taking in the outer changes of getting older; gray hair on most, and some with white. There were some with more wrinkles, and some without; some slowly walking and some a little sprier. Some are a bit forgetful, and some are sharp.
Suddenly, a little sadness came over me, and I asked myself, how did this happen? It seemed like just yesterday, our children were young, fishing for crayfish in the creek at Nazareth Park. Now, these same children have families of their own.
This loving family may be changing on the outside, but the love they hold in their heart for others has not changed one iota. My husband and I are still invited to family functions, and we graciously accept with thankful hearts. There is always laughter, teasing, and sharing on picnic days.
Nineteen years ago, one of my brother inlaws told me I would always be his sister. How blessed I was on that day. The blessing continues whenever I spend time with them, especially the times we share a meal together.
Time is precious! Enjoy your loved ones every day, and especially on this Fourth of July.