Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Wanda!

I love visiting Wanda's blog, Moments of Mine, it is such a peaceful, joyful place to be. It's like an oasis for the soul. She takes us along with her on her walks through the woods, and she shares her amazing finds there (and more amazing to me is the fact that she never fails to spot and photograph the hearts that abound there!). Her beautiful photography always captures scenes of God's Blessings in nature. Wanda very kindly allowed me to use one her photographs, I loved the photo she took of the clover against the gray stone of her own patio, and this photograph has dressed my blog this past month as a beautiful background. Thank you, Wanda!
Wanda also has the Blessing of a big, beautiful family, and she uses her wonderful photography skills to share her precious moments spent with them, I've enjoyed seeing their visits to her home, and seeing how they have grown and matured.
And I love Wanda's appetizing food choices too and I enjoy seeing the delicious meals she serves.
Wanda is a very, loving, kind, gentle, spirit.

I am so happy to have met you, Wanda.
Thank you, Wanda, for your beautiful blog, and for your generosity. I hope you enjoy your special day!

With Love to you and all best wishes,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not So Cold Afterall... Not When There Are A Few Nice Things To Warm Your Heart

Yesterday morning Winter was back. Temperatures dropped, and it was cloudy, cold, and windy when Jayden left for school in the morning. It was just as cloudy, cold, and windy when I went to pick him up. On the walk home we talked about how cold it was again and he said to me, "Maybe when we get home we can have the Leprechaun hot chocolate and get warm." I had forgotten that "the Leprechaun" had sent us a little gold pot of green hot chocolate! Ray found it while shopping online and had it sent to Jayden.

And Jayden was amazed at the 'magic' powder in the pot. It's white powder...

...but it makes green hot chocolate!

And it's really very delicious, a very rich flavor, and Jayden I both like it very much. I enjoyed mine with a ginger biscotti and Jayden enjoyed his topped with lots of whipped cream!

It hit the spot and warmed us up! But two more things really warmed my heart yesterday. One was a package that was sent to me from my blogger friend Irene @ Irene's RE~VINTAGED, Irene lives in Australia and I was so lucky to happen upon her blog. She is very talented and makes wonderful creations out of vintage materials. I was lucky enough to snag these two beautiful pillows that Irene crafted out of a vintage tablecloth:

And this is Jayden mimicking my reaction when I opened the package! YES!

I'm sorry that my photography skills leave much to be desired and these pictures do not do Irene's talent justice, her workmanship is exquisite and I really appreciate her attention to detail!

And Irene was so sweet to also include in my package these beautiful cross-stitched works of art.

Thank you, Irene, I feel so Blessed!

And the next thing to warm my heart was Jayden. I told him I was very tired and wanted to lay on the couch for a little while. He said he was tired too and that he would take a nap with me, and I thought, oh well, I guess there goes the nap because he usually has ants in his pants. But he very sweetly climbed up next to me, and he started singing a lullabye to me very softly, one that he made up by himself, while at the same time patting my head. It was just the sweetest thing. And I really fell asleep! And so did he.
Blessings abound!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"God's Been Very Good To Me"


I am re-posting a story about my Mom, it certainly doesn't sum up the whole of my Mom's life, but it does sum up for me the whole of her Faith in God. And on her Birthday I love remembering this story and this gift that God gave to me when I needed it most.

The Gospel reading at Mass this past Sunday was The Transfiguration, and the sermon was about God’s Goodness and God’s Forgiveness. The priest said that sin disfigures us, but God through His Goodness and His Forgiveness transfigures us. And while the priest was talking I thought about how right he was. I thought about the many times in my life that sin disfigured my soul, and sin disfigured my life, and I thought about the many times that God’s Forgiveness transfigured my soul and the many times that God’s Goodness transfigured my life.
And I thought about the times I questioned God’s Plan. I never doubted that God Had A Plan, but I did question His Plan at times. And, in questioning God’s Plan I know I was permitting my soul to be disfigured and allowing my life to be disfigured. And I thought of the time I questioned God about my Mom, and God in His Goodness and Mercy answered me through my Mom.
Alzheimer’s Disease had disfigured her very being, my Mom suffered with this disease for the last seven years of her life, and our family lost her in bits and pieces until there was very little left of the strong, enthusiastic, engaging, likable, friendly woman that she had been. Each passing day left us missing her more and more. Losing my Mom to Alzheimer’s was one of the most heartbreaking experiences we’ve had to endure. In many ways, watching Mom deteriorate mentally was more cruel than watching Dad deteriorate physically. While my Dad’s body betrayed him, and he had to give up all of his independence, he was still my Dad, none of his personality was altered in any way. Not only did my Mom lose her independence, she also lost the unique qualities that made up her personality. One wonderful trait my Mom had was that she was a great conversationalist. My Mom could converse with anybody. She was interested in everyone and people found her easy to talk to. Sadly, Alzheimer’s robbed my Mom of her vocabulary.
Near the end, for the most part, my Mom spoke only gibberish. Here and there you could catch a word to make sense of what she was trying to convey, but most times she was just this sad, lost soul, wandering around, making no sense at all. On a rare occasion my Mom would have a moment of clarity, and for a few Blessed moments there was a glimpse of my Mom and there was the brief hope of a chance to have a familiar chat, just like we used to do for oh so many hours. But then in an instant the moment had passed, and the hope was dashed.
Mom was living in a nursing home for the last year of her life and sometimes a Eucharistic Minister would come by to offer Communion, and surprisingly my Mom seemed to understand that she was receiving our Blessed Lord, and when we said the Our Father together, well, most times the right words wouldn’t come to her, but she would bow her head in reverence, and she knew to respond “Amen” after the minister offered the Host up to her and said, “The Body Of Christ”. The day finally came though when she didn’t realize anymore what was happening, and she didn’t understand the Sacrament, and she didn’t want to take Communion anymore, or if she did receive the Host she would then try to spit it out after the minister left, and I would have to coax her to drink some water to distract her and to get her to swallow. That was especially depressing because my Mom was very devoted to her Catholic Faith, and for her not to recognize this Sacrament was devastating to me. And I questioned God as to why this too had to be taken from her?
Most times after that my Mom would shake her head no to the minister if he came by and she would point to me, but on one of the last visits that the minister made to us before my Mom passed she did bow her head for the prayer, and when offered the Eucharist she did receive. After the minister left I remarked to my Mom how nice it was that the minister came by and that we were able to receive, she was already busy with her coloring and didn’t look up or acknowledge me, and I didn’t expect her to, but then she lifted her head and looked at me and said, “God’s been very good to me.” And I knew then that no matter what may happen to our bodies or to our minds, God’s Goodness and God’s Mercy still touches our souls. Even in her confused and distorted state of mind my Mom knew that God had been very good to her. It validated to me my belief that she was more than this disease she had seemed to become. And it was confirmation that God didn’t abandon her, and even in her altered state, she did not abandon God. Our souls still have that connection even if the outside world can’t see it. Just because I couldn’t see her connection to God did not mean that it didn’t exist for her. And just because my Mom wasn’t able to participate in religious ceremonies didn’t mean that anything Sacred had been denied her. Mom was still united with God. Those words spoken by my Mom were a gift to me from God, one that I will always treasure.
Whatever the future holds for me, I know that God’s Goodness and God’s Forgiveness will transfigure me, and I pray that my soul can always remember what my Mom’s soul remembered -
“ God’s been very good to me.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Change In Plans

I had a very different post in mind for today, but a lot of my pictures got lost along the way. At first I found it frustrating, but then I visited my friend Jill's blog @ Grandma Honey and I was so touched by one of her post (I love Jill's blog, I always, always come away from there with something wonderful, whether it's a good feeling, a big smile, sometimes a tear or two, or something profound to ponder).

Thank you, Jill, for sharing this beautiful story.

(Please turn off my play list on the sidebar before you view the video.)

I think this post is the reason I lost my pictures. I think God wanted you to see this:
(For some reason the words are far to the right, you can view it better at Jill's HERE)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Just a quick post to wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day! The weather here is beautiful today, which makes me very happy for all the people participating in and attending the big parade in Manhattan. And for myself and my friend Barbara too as we make our trip into the city today.
I want to thank Carol @ Charli And Me for her wonderful idea of the Leprechaun Trap! Jayden was a little leery of actually trapping the Leprechaun, so he thought maybe we shouldn't make one. But I told him we could make it more of a Leprechaun vacation spot that the little guy could visit and maybe leave a few goodies for us. That idea he liked very much! ("Yeah, Umma, it's just called a Leprechaun Trap but we're not really going to catch one, right? He's just going to visit here.")

We thought of Irish things he might like, so we wrapped the box in green paper, and both Jayden and Mia had fun putting shamrock stickers on the box:

Jayden thought a rainbow and a pot of gold might make the Leprechaun pay us a visit:

And he also thought maybe green food would be a good idea:

(Looks like leprechauns like marshmallow and this one must really have a sweet tooth!)

Every few days the Leprechaun would leave us a little something, one day it was chocolate coins, and another day it was shamrock necklaces:

And over this past weekend at our St. Patrick's Day celebration he left a treasure trove:

I wonder what goodies he has in store for today?!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Forget Me Not

I love forget-me-not flowers, the colors are so pretty, and there is just something about these delicate little flowers that I find so endearing. And equally as endearing is the sweet sentiment of 'forget me not'.

Well, this post is not about those pretty little blooms, and it's not about lovely sentiments, it is about the fact that I forget everything! I wish I could say I had a photographic memory, or a mind like a steel trap, once it's in there it is locked in tight. But that is not me at all. As much as I love the forget-me-not flower, it in no way represents my mind. I forget appointments, I forget birthdays, I forget times and dates, when I say that I forget everything, I mean that I forget everything. I've heard that you forget things that don't really matter to you, but I hope that's not true, because that would mean that nothing really matters to me. I literally spend half my day drawing a blank on so many, many things. And I don't think I can blame it on my age, I think I've always been like this. I think that's why I didn't do well in school, I don't retain anything! Well, I retain bits and pieces, but not the whole of anything. I don't know geography or history, (and let's not even mention math or science!). Names, dates, places ~ I either draw a blank, or it's all a sort of muddled blur inside my head most times.
And it's not just facts and figures that throw me for a loop, it's people and faces too!
You should hear me trying to come up with the name of an actor or an actress, I'll say, "You know him, he has dark hair, and he was in that movie that I like with that actress with the blond hair, she was married to another actor but now they're divorced, and the movie they were in was that love story, and it was kind of a long movie, and he was also in that funny movie about the guys that went on some kind of western vacation with that old actor that did push-ups at the Oscars one year." That about sums up a conversation with me! I'm very lucky that Ray is used to me and most times he'll actually come up with the actor and the actress and the movie that I was thinking of! (Do any of you have any idea who I'm thinking about and what the movie was?)
But that's the least of it.
I have been late for and/or completely missed countless dentist appointments and hairdresser appointments, and if I had a dollar for every time I've raced out this door at the last minute to go pick up Jayden from school because I've forgotten whether this is a half-day or a full-day for him, well, I'd be going on a nice shopping spree now!
I forget to pay bills, I forget about lunch dates with friends, I forget to buy birthday cards (even when I have it all written down on a list for myself), I forget to mail bills and birthday cards, I forget ingredients in recipes, I forget directions, I forget where I put my glasses when I've just put them down! I forget what time I'm supposed to meet up with Ray when we are shopping, and I forget where we said we'd meet!
If you ask me to do something, you better remind me over and over again, because ten minutes after our conversation, it has probably gone right out of my head!

If you are one of those people that have a good memory for history, and facts, and figures, and dates, I applaud you! And if you are one of those people that has a good memory just for the everyday things in life, well, I am extremely envious of you! Please tell me, what is your secret? Oh, and if ever we get to meet face-to-face, don't be offended if I've forgotten your name!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not At All Sorry To See The First Sign Of Spring!

Just a few weeks ago this was the sight I saw looking out my front porch windows:

But someone didn't mind it at all!

Not too many days later, this was a much more welcome sight to my eyes:

And this little man came running into the house, all excited...

... to show us this:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Handmade Treasures

I was very pleasantly surprised by my blogger friend Linda @ Been There Done That when I received a package from her in the mail on Friday. I knew she was on a crocheting frenzy lately, making lots of beautiful hats, and I asked her to please make one for my granddaughter Mia.

I had sent Linda a picture of Mia in the coat she would be wearing the hat with...

...and Linda did a super job of matching colors:

This hat is adorable! And the detail work is amazing:

I was so happy to receive the hat, but as a lovely added surprise in the package from Linda was this sweet little drawstring bag that she sent along with the hat:

The bag itself is beautiful...

...but when I opened it wide...

...and peeked inside, I saw something sweet peeking back at me!

And when you turn the bag all way back it creates a little bassinet for the baby doll to snuggle in:

Isn't this just the most adorable little thing?!

And, again, I love Linda's attention to detail. Note the little baby blanket and the little flowers and pearl on the crown of the cradle ~ so sweet.

Linda also made this cute little kimono and knit hat for the baby as well:

Mia loved it all! She was especially thrilled with the baby and spent all afternoon taking off her little hat and coat and putting them back on, and taking her baby in and out of her bag.
It was a big hit, Linda! Thank you! Your talent amazes me! And I'm so happy to have these handmade treasures in our family!

Here is Mia enjoying her new favorite!

"Oh! It's a tiny baby!"
(Mia loves anything tiny!)

What little girl wouldn't love this?!

Thank you, Linda, for your kind and generous heart, and for sharing your beautiful creations with us!

I took a picture of Mia in her new hat too but it's lost here somewhere. I'll post it as soon as I find it, or I'll take another next time she's here and post it.