I’m sitting in a hotel in San Diego as I write this blog. I came with my husband and son, so they can meet our newest family member, Dahlia, born two months ago. (Sorry. I’m still bragging about this.) Anyhow, while sitting in the continental breakfast room at our hotel, I got to talking to a lady who’s story is the inspiration for this blog.

Newly retired, her husband had been getting sicker and sicker. So they came over here for special testing. It turned out, his liver was so diseased (not alcohol related), they immediately put him on the transplant list. Now, keep in mind, they came over here for a couple days of testing, only. They’ve been here for six weeks.

You see, ten days after he was listed, he got a liver. It’s been three weeks since surgery. And she’s still living in this hotel. They don’t know when they’ll be going home, but he is slowly improving, so one of these days, they’ll see home again.

Man, what a miracle! To find out you’re SO sick, then have your future returned to you. It brought tears to my eyes as she recounted their story. I find myself sitting here, eyes misting over, giving thanks for the blessings in life. And crying a bit for the loss that preceded this gift.

We have a friend who had a liver transplant about ten years ago, again, disease related. He was in his mid 30’s at the time and is thriving now because of this gift. And we are so, so, grateful for that.

So life is full of miracles. All we need to do is look and listen and we’ll find them. So now, I’m going to go back to holding that baby, and giving thanks.

Happy Easter Monday and Patriots’ Day

Today is Easter Monday which is celebrated in several countries but not much in America. It’s a holiday in Australia and in many other countries, they have church services on this day. The Eastern Orthodox Church calls this Monday “bright Monday”- I love that. In the Republic of Ireland, this day is a day of commemoration for those who died in the Easter Rising which began on Easter Monday in 1916. Do any of you celebrate Easter Monday? If so, what are the traditions you observe?

logo_Annual_Patriots_Day_Weekend_CelebrationIt is also Patriots’ Day- not to be confused with Patriot Day (which marks the Sept 11th tragedies). This Patriots’ Day is celebrated in Massachusetts by the running of the Boston Marathon. It’s a day of commemoration for the battles of Lexington and Concord. It’s celebrated on the third Monday of April in Massachusetts and Maine. For some reason which is unknown to me, the state of Wisconsin also observes this day and the state of Florida also celebrates the day even though it’s not an official holiday.

The actual battles were on April 19, 1775 and were the first battles of the Revolutionary War. In the two towns of Lexington and Concord, there are reenactments of the battles. They also recreate the horseback rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes (with police escorts), calling out warnings.

I love that so much of history is commemorated this week. It just seems right that we remember the ones who’ve gone before us as we celebrate the love of God for us sinners, doesn’t it?

Sunday’s On The Way! by Valerie J. Patterson

When I was a child and it was Good Friday, my mom made my sisters and I be quiet from noon until 3 PM.  I’m not saying she didn’t allow us to speak or move.  I’m saying she had us be quiet little ladies instead of the rambunctious, high energy, giggling and carrying on powerhouses we normally were on a day off from school.  Every year she’d explain to us that this was the time Christ suffered and died for us and we needed to slow down and think about what that meant.

Most Good Fridays, we’d go across the street to our neighbor’s house and sit with the children that lived there on their front porch.  We’d color or read or play dolls but we were never loud or obnoxious.  My mom and a few of the neighbor ladies would gather in the kitchen at my house and talk amongst themselves.

As a child I never fully understood what it meant–this noon to 3PM pause.  It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I began to understand what an amazing sacrifice Christ made for me.  It wasn’t until high school that I fully understood what inconceivable pain and agony Christ endured so that I could be forgiven and have a right relationship with God.  As an adult, Easter has become my favorite time of year.  I cannot gaze upon a crown of thorns without tears springing to my eyes.  It’s personal between Christ and I, as it is meant to be.  I have His blood and His resurrection as my assurance that my transgressions are forgiven.  I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and the great thing about it is that Christ knows I’m flawed and He loves me in spite of those flaws.

This Good Friday–as with all Good Fridays in my lifetime–I will be quiet and reflectful and I will be thankful that Sunday’s on the way!

Until next time, I hope your Easter is a truly blessed one!

Memories From The Kitchen

imageI’m betting a lot of you will recognize this book. It was one of our wedding presents and as you can see by the stains and ragged edges a well used one.

Back then there wasn’t an internet complete with google to look up a recipe. We had to have books.

When I moved I cleaned out the drawer with books I had collected along with numerous clippings and hand written cards and scraps of paper. Some held memories but none as much as the old Betty Crocker. And it came along with me. Sadly I don’t use it anymore but can’t bring myself to get rid of it.

What about you? Do you have drawers with memories that abound from the kitchen? We would love to hear about them. If you’d like to post a guest blog let us know and as always we look forward to your comments.


It’s April that means tax time

This gallery contains 2 photos.

That’s how I’ve always associated April, with paying taxes.  My taxes are done and filed.  And I even have my refund back already :) My birthday is also in April so it’s a time for me to do some special … Continue reading

“It’s like riding a bike…”

P1090837How many times have we heard the phrase “it’s like riding a bicycle?” Just about every time we haven’t done something for a while, right? Someone mentioned this the other night while talking to someone taking a refresher course in grammar.

It got me to thinking. Riding a bicycle has got to be the most common rite of passage for kids. We all learned how, and most of us did it the hard way…without the training wheels. I don’t remember those first riding trips, only the barest memory of my Dad hanging onto the back of the bike. And I’ve got a nice scar on my knee from one of those failed attempts.

But once I learned, that bike was my ticket to life. We rode everywhere in our neighborhood. Our bikes were horses when we played cowboys and Indians (no offense intended). They were our transportation to the pool at a nearby park, towels strapped to the flat rack on top of the back fender.

Bikes were our lives and our communication lines back then. There wasn’t email. We didn’t pick up the phone. We hopped on our bikes.

My husband remembers landing in a patch of blackberry briars as he learned. He just lay there and hollered until his Dad came and pulled him out.

We helped our children learn to ride, and have watched our grandchildren as the training wheels came off. I don’t chase behind the bikes providing stability anymore. I leave that to the kids. But I love to watch the process.

I have to believe that just about every child, from every walk of life, has learned to ride a bike. I guess that’s why it’s such a universal phrase.

What about you? Do you remember learning to ride? Have any stories about yourself, your kids or your grandkids you’d be willing to share? I’m grinning from ear to ear as I write this blog and take this walk down memory lane, so I’d love to hear your biking stories.

A Diamond Birthday

My Christening

My Christening Day

You may not be aware of it, but on this day 60 years ago something unique and wonderful happened – I was bought screaming and kicking into this world! Obviously, I can’t remember that day although I can remember much from a very young age. Unfortunately, my mother cannot remember precisely the time I was born, so I have never been able to obtain a full horoscope reading, not that I believe in the stars and astrology, but I do find the whole thing fascinating, especially when it comes down to character traits. I’m an Aries, and many of the qualities associated with that star sign is me; contrary, many other traits are definitely not! An Aries is supposed to be independent, generous, optimistic, enthusiastic, courageous ­– yup, that’s me all right. Aries people are also supposed to be moody, short tempered, self-involved, impulsive, impatient – I’m none of these things! In fact, quite the opposite. Well, may be a little impulsive if the clothes and shoes in my wardrobe are anything to go by…

So, am I doing anything special on this, my Diamond Birthday? No, apart from wearing my best evening dress all day and being lazy. (So, what’s new? my husband might ask!) I’ve never really celebrated any birthdays, let alone milestone ones; I’ve only once ever had a birthday cake presented to me, and never had a birthday party, not even as a child; we just didn’t do birthday parties in my house. Yet I never felt or feel deprived. As a child I was always at parties, not holding one never seemed to stop friends inviting me to theirs. They were fun, full of games like pass the parcel and blind man’s bluff and the food: jelly and blancmange, sugar sandwiches, a piece of cake and a goodie bag to take home, often carrying a balloon or two. Happy, innocent days of childhood that seem so far away now.

Meeting up with a friend on Saturday, she asked me what it felt like to be 60. I told her it felt no different to any other day as it wasn’t my birthday quite yet. Now that day has arrived, I have begun to question where the years have gone, what I have achieved, not achieved and looking inwardly as to how I do feel. In my head I still think and feel the same as I did at 16, the brain certainly no different. Nor do I feel old, even if the hair is rapidly turning grey, a few wrinkles appearing; sadly but the body does feel its age, but then again, it has for years due to various medical conditions but not enough to prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I’m a fighter, nothing will stop me doing something if I set my mind to it (another Aries trait!).

Yet I do feel melancholy, almost afraid that my life is rushing by and yet there is still so much I want to do and see. I spent last weekend with my mother celebrating her 88th birthday, and I wonder if she felt this way 28 years ago when she retired from work – in limbo. For that’s how I feel at the moment. Is it normal to suddenly start thinking about how much longer I have, and to worry about what the next 10, 20 or (hopefully) 30 years will bring? How did you feel at this age? (If you’ve reached this milestone yet, that is.)

As an Aries, these self-doubts moments do not last long, and already I’m bouncing back, ready to crack open the champagne and start living. As I was reminded this morning written in a birthday card – 60 is the new 40. I’m hoping that is true, because if so, I’ve got a long way to go yet. Yippee! So perhaps there is still time to open that little art shop I hanker to have, one selling art supplies and paintings with a workshop and space to hold art classes and host writing groups. After all, it is the first day of the rest of my life and I plan to continue making it a good one. Cheers.

Cards, flowers, champers, crystal vase with sparkly inset, candle for the cake and mug with picture of my garden - a diamond day!

Cards, flowers, champers, crystal vase with sparkly inset, candle for the cake and mug with picture of my garden – a diamond day! Thanks everyone.