Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Place Like Home

Today I'm taking my mother HOME after  a three month "vacation" in a hospital then rehab facility.  She broke her hip and wrist on January 2nd and left on a stretcher. 
I know this will more than likely be a short stop on the way to an assisted living facility but she needs to go home to say good bye to the place where she served many a delicious meal to family and friends, planted posies, kissed her husband and scrubbed her welcoming floors.
A life well lived and sacrificial services rendered deserve to be honored with a farewell.
It will not be easy for either of us.  She in letting go and me in her limitations.  But there is a commandment in the Big 10 that goes like this:
"Honor your mother and father that it may go well with you and your days may be long on the earth.  This is the first commandment with a promise!"
I might not be able to trust my feelings or even my energy level but one thing I know -- I can trust God to keep His promises.
So off I go with my dear friend Barbie in tow to take her home for the last time.
Food in the fridge, music on the radio, sheets turned down...
Here is what my friend Sue Milton said about her mothers return after a long stay in rehab:
We were amazed at the difference it made once Mother stepped back into her own house. She just broke down and cried and cried when she stepped through that door. We had hired someone to stay with her, and she dismissed her after the first night! She had a wonderful therapist who came to the house to do rehab for a while and she loved him and she continues to use the big rubber bands and such that he had her work with. I hope the same for Loie. Will you just let me know when you think she's good for a visit? OH, and getting her hair done was also a turn in the road for Mother, so I hope that works for her. Mother loved the hairdresser so much that she considered going all the way back out there each week to get her to continue doing her hair! She liked the companionship in the beauty shop I think as much as the hair fixin. She was at Oaklawn which was just lovely, but moreso to us than to her I think.

Will you pray for our homecoming?  I hope she feels like the Homecoming Queen that she is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Goodnight Mother

  The first time I met "Mother Goose" I was leaving the dry cleaners in the shopping center at the end of our street. She liked to hang out up there and greet the customers. She lived in a yard a few houses away. Her owner was known to be eccentric and his pets were given free roam of the area. Not everyone found this as charming as I.

After complaints from the merchants the owner made a Sophie's choice and brought his menagerie to our pond.
Mother and Father Goose were the largest in size and persona. She was gentile and always deferring to his blustery manner. He was known to drive a child or two to the safety of one of the benches tops while he gave them what-for for being on his turf.
When Father Goose was struck and killed by a speeding car early one morning she was right behind him and suffered a broken hip and leg. After months of recovery at the office of Dr. Steve our hero vet (three surgeries) she returned to her beloved pond. For weeks she had to recuperate in our fenced yard because she was too weak to stand up on her leg.
Gradually she and two of her fellow ducks (Nelson Mandela and Harriet) who had also been treated at the animal hospital made their way back to life on the pond.
She was the Grand Dame' of the pond. Her limp gradually became just a little wobble and although she sometimes would honk out calls for Father Goose she was happy in her little celibate life of two square meals a day of special feed and gliding along in the water practically posing for the visiting neighborhood children and parents.

In the water no one could tell she projected herself with only one webbed foot while the other one dragged along behind her under the water.
She was uncomplaining and brave in her circumstances. She showed us what it looks like to carry on in loss with a well lived life.
Last week while I was at the beach I received a call one morning that she had been hit by a car that didn't see her crossing the street. I later learned that she was killed immediately and soon a group of neighbors had formed to protect her little body. Nelson was bloody too but we were relieved to discover that it was because he had gone to her side as she lay in the street. A faithful friend to the end.
The group of neighbors dug a grave for her and placed a marker on her grave.

She will be missed. We are so grateful for her little fluffy life and the lessons she taught us.

Nelson posts himself near her still.

There is a new book on the New York Bestsellers list named "Heaven is for Real".  It is written by a little boy who died on the operating table and  claims he went to heaven.  His parents decided his story needed to be told when he told them of meeting his little sister (who died and his parents never told him about her ) and his account of seeing his father praying for him in the hospital chapel when no one else knew he was there at that time.
Why am I mentioning this?  Because that little boy told Matt Lauer when he was asked what he saw in heaven "Heaven is full of lots of people and lots of animals."


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eat - Pray - Shop

The Rock and Rolls hit the streets of St. Augustine for a chance to effect the GNP.  This sign in the first shop cracked us up.  

One of my favorite places on St. George Street is a museum dedicated to the first Greek colony in the Western Hemisphere.
It is like a beautiful church and has haunting melodies playing in the background.  Very calming.
The frescos are stunning.
From the sublime to the ridiculous.  We went to O'Steens for lunch.  
Once while we were waiting in line a man sitting by us said he had been a Merchant Marine and traveled the world but this was the best fried shrimp he had ever eaten.  I concur!
And to make you really jealous.  Look what I found in a junk shop...
 Yes, I will be going to the White House with my monkey, banana necklace around my neck.  What a country!

 Ralph Lauren eat your heart out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Come on in -- The Water's Fine

The day dawned and we headed to the marina for a tour of St. Augustine by boat.  Captain J.P. was our escort and even had Reggae music playing on the sound system. 
We gave him a "Rock Star" mug since he is one to the Rock and Rolls.

The beauty of the homes on the Intracoastal wowed us.

We sailed under The Bridge of Lions and then headed to Aunt Kate's restaurant for fried green tomatoes and other exotic delights.
"Oh, we'll take one of everything!"

"Have you seen my glasses?"
 We had a dolphin escort.  He was chasing Nemo for his lunch.
"Swim Nemo -- Swim!"
To be continued....

Monday, March 21, 2011


The "Rock and Roll Mothers" are spending a week at the beach compliments of Papa Joe.  Look what greeted us the first night here.

The weather is perfect and the conversations rich with memories and laughter.
Oh, yeah -- there is a little bit of food and wine too.
We have concluded that we wish we had known these days of our lives were coming.  
Reminds me of the title of a book... "Wouldn't give nothing for my journey now."

 Somewhere along the way we learned to relax.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

High Brow

I remember my relief when Ali McGraw became the darling of my generation.  She had the most fabulous bushy eyebrows -- and so did I!   Those caterpillars on my forehead were in style. 
At this time in my life I realized everything has a season of coolness.  Just wait.
And then...
My eyebrows went on a diet when I slipped into menopause and I glanced in the mirror one day to discover they had turned into two little apostrophes framing my eyes.
Not a good look in any era.
So, when I bought at Walgreens some of the stuff that makes your eyelashes grow I noticed that it stated it could grow eyebrows too.
Each night I would smear a little across my former Ali McGraws and wait for the magic.
We'll yesterday as I was pencilling in the patchy spots I realized it worked!  But there is one detail I overlooked.  They didn't grow thicker -- they grew longer.
I was shooting for Ali
But I ended up with

Moral of this tale of woe?  Read the fine print.
In the meantime I'll wait for the Ernest look to take the runways.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Friday I will be participating in the For Japan with Love Bloggers Day of Silence (no postings) to acknowledge and help raise awareness and respect for the devastation going on in Japan, as well as to help raise money for relief aid to Japan. Please stop by the For Japan With Love site and contribute if you are able to do so. Every little bit helps!

“All of the donations {For Japan, With Love} will go to ShelterBox, which provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters at the time when they need it the most. Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Papa Joe Sent Me This Link for a Personality Test.

Just click on the “Get Started” button.  Then click on the free test option.

It takes about 20 minutes but you may pause to answer the door.  Very informative and all about our favorite subject -- US!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carrying An Unknow Friend

I wish I knew how to just plunk another blog post in mine.  But I don't.  So I'm pasting today's post from

In the wee hours of the morning today, a woman crept into my vision, then into my heart, and I have carried her piggy back all day long. She is a mother, just like me, and my same age. Her children, like mine, are off at school or in jobs in other cities. She likes to journal, enjoys decorating her home, loves her alone time, and collects old photographs. I live in Kentucky. She lives in Japan. And right now all she knows, all she wants to know is that her children are somewhere safe, to hear their voices, to know that they are out of all harm’s way.

A simple question, “What would I do if.......?” and there she was, and all day long as I've watched or read news, I have seen it through her eyes. She and I are a rather unwieldy entanglement. I have carried her sadness as mine all day long, and can't shake it tonight.
Dear Other Mother who I do not know- I will pray for your children as my own. I will pray for you. I will hold out the hope of a day to come when you may write in your journal, set a red pitcher on a table, tuck photos of your grandchildren into a book, fall asleep easily in your own bed.

My unknown friend is a mother who is tending her young children away from their home in a foreign place. Maybe a shelter or the streets. She is listening on the street for resources and trying to keep her children's innocence in the midst of horror.
If there are missionaries near you please seek them out and let them minister to your needs.  You are not alone.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Hello" Is Anybody Out There?

I have spent the last two nights intermittently praying through the night for the people of Japan. I have a haunting image of a mother trying to attend her children in a horrifying situation. I pray as if those prayers are driven straight to the heart of the Creator of the universe. Because I believe they are.

Almost thirty years ago I heard a woman speak of her experience of dying and coming back to life after they resuscitated her.
She had all of the glamour of a woman you would serve on the PTA with and had not written a book. She wasn't trying to hawk a story to make money. She just felt compelled to let others know.
She explained that she found herself standing next to what she imagined as an angel. Their presence was so bright and she felt very peaceful in their presence. She stood with him high above the earth and she could see the earth from the vantage point of an astronaut. The earth looking like a not too distant globe suspended in the universe.
From the earth she could see bright tubular rods of lights beaming to the place where they were. These lights were lit so brightly she could barely look at them. They hummed with a tone that reflected the enormous energy they possessed. She asked what they were and it was explained they were the prayers of the faithful going straight to the heart of God.
I believed her and it changed my perspective on prayer.
It is powerful. It is a responsibility. It is a privilege. And it moves the universe.
I am compelled to pray for Japan and my own little world.
It’s a big part of why I'm on earth taking up space and air.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yeah - Right?

I've believed for awhile that the slang of the moment reflects the subconscious of our society.  We are keeping all of our options on religion open but when we are taken by surprise -- good or bad -- we can't repress an "Oh, my God!" 
This season we are punctuating our statements with "Yeah, right?"
My adorable Nate Berkus says it so often that by the end of the show I want to sidle up to my TV and say to Nate "Maybe -- maybe not."
Being "right" has become our national fix.
I spend a lot of my life pushing crumbs up hills.  To me it seems like a big deal.  Like it is the whole universe.  The right thing to do at the time.
But from God's perspective it must be another thing all together.  What seems "right" might just be silly in the context of the whole universe.
So I try to stick my nose in the Bible on a regular basis.  Get a little "Righteousness Mo-Jo" to rub off on me.  My one way conversations with Him (me doing all of the talking and Him just listening to me prattle on and on). don't seem to get me far.
There is a verse I ran across that made me sit strait up in my chair and sharpen my pencil.
Matthew 7
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me...
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

This morning when our dear brothers and sisters in Japan looked up and saw that tsunami coming I don't think they said "Really, seriously, are you kidding me?"
I think it went something like this...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Feeding Time

So this is how it goes first thing in the morning around here.
Papa Joe greets his new girlfriend "Alley-Cat", or Ali for short, with her breakfast followed by her pill for the rash on her tummy.
She moved in on him when I moved out to take care of my mother in January.
"But Papa Joe is so cute!"
Then Joe and Miss Glorie Hallelujah
take a quick stroll around the block while I prepare her breakfast of dog kibbles and pureed pumpkin.
 "I'm not a morning dog."
The pumpkin is a discovery on Google when I asked what could prevent puppy diarrhea?
Then the kitchen door is flung open and "The usual suspects" come waddling for their fresh water and special feed from the Feed and Seed. 
"You can call me , Nelsen, Elvis or Mother Goose but just make sure you call us to breakfast!"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Me and Captain J.P.

Joe gave me a membership to a boat club for Christmas.  Forget diamonds and jewels -- I love the water. 
Captain J.P. is my certification instructor and we have a high old time.  He hardly ever slaps me  when I am slow to put 'er in gear and the tat tat tat noise comes from the gears.  He rarely threatens to push me overboard if I won't quit obsessing about the depth finder.  "We're only four feet from the bottom.  I better pull the engine up higher!" I panic.  He just calmly says we're fine and to watch out for that naval carrier twenty feet starboard.
This has been a thrill and I can't wait to have time on the water again. 
Our fair city has more water front property than any other city in the continental United States and I now have a propeller.
The water is like a tranquilizer.  And full of new friends lurking everywhere.

There is a sence of acomplishment and adventure in learning how to float my own boat.
"Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me......"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Open Door Policy

If you're coming to see my house give me two weeks notice.
If you're coming to see me -- stop on by."

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Do you feel guilty when you see a homeless person and don't know what to do?  If I can't take them to purchase a meal on the spot I'm not sure it's a good idea to give them money and maybe enable  a  possible destructive habit.
Listen to what my girlfriend Ray Martin (the mom of author Charles Martin who has written some great books) does....
She keeps a place in her car with bags for such a time as this.
Inside the bag is:
A granola bar --
A bus ticket
And a note that says; "I bought this granola bar so you can have a snack if you are really hungry and this bus ticket so you can ride to the City Rescue Mission New Life Inn downtown. 
Please go there.  Just give the person at the reception desk this letter, tell them Ray sent you, and they will help you," she writes, adding "So you see there is no reason for you to be hungry or sleep outside tonight."
Women may stay too.

What is the solution to these awkward encounters? 
 It's in the bag.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Baby is God's Opinion That the World Must Go On

We just returned from Philadelphia for a family Christening. 
This is our new granddaughter Alexis.  Honestly is she the most beautiful baby?  She is as calm and good as she looks here.

 "Amen" to that!

 This was the sermon. What a good topic for welcoming all of the demands of parenthood.

 I have never seen a more natural mother .  Our baby has a baby. 

  Can you stand it?
 What a comfort to know that our Lord is for Alexis and loves her even more than  we do.

Papa Joe treated everyone to brunch at this beautiful Inn.  These are the days.