Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Seven Years Married, No Itches

I have been so busy living my life that I have not taken any time to share the stories generated by that life. Many things have happened since I last wrote about anything. My best friend from college days passed away Thursday from cancer which she had been battling for several years. I am glad that her suffering is finally over, and that I had time to visit and play with her one more time on this earth. I will miss her terribly: her sense of caring, her interest in me and my family, her laughter, and the laughter she caused in me with her poetry, her fine sense of humor, and her love for me.

Sunday I returned from a wonderful mini-reunion of college classmates from Northrop House (Smith College, Northampton, MA) in Chicago. That will be worth a posting for several reasons. But today I want to celebrate my wonderful husband. He let me go off to Chicago with my friends (one of whom I had not seen in over forty years!) when it was our anniversary weekend. I was sent off with grace and the knowledge that we would meet again at our home on the Rappahannock River, God willing, for the actual anniverary date, October 24th.

Seven years married now, and more in love than ever. I celebrate my husband for his caring, gentle ways. He is the most patient man I know. And patient is the first thing that love is (I Corinthians 13). William planned a most wonderful time for us. We were alone together, walking over the land, admiring the river, holding hands, dancing to our special song (We've Only Just Begun), sipping champagne and he even prepared the smoked salmon with a horseradish sauce he concocted (and this man does not cook), with toast and fresh lemon juice! He had thoughtfully purchased things from the grocery store which he could fix for us, and we had flowers and candlelight, music and the sound of the rain which began to fall just after we returned from our long walk through the Secret Garden and the perennial garden, after stopping to talk to the trees.

William brought me breakfast in bed, complete with cloth napkin topped by a yellow hibiscus bloom. And that night I wore my wedding dress (which I had requested he bring from home) as William surprised me by appearing in a navy double-breasted velvet smoking jacket I had bought for him some time back. Complete with ascot and spiffy shirt, he cut a dashing figure, despite the blue jeans covering the lower half of his person. It has been a most peaceful time, especially contrasted with the rush of Chicago and the big city hubbub. We reviewed our life together and discussed the future we want to have. We have laughed much, eaten well, danced delightedly, and held and touched each other often. Life is good.

I just finished reading MARGIN, Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, the book by Richard Swenson, M.D. I plan to give it to every person I love who could benefit from its timeless wisdom. William and I enjoyed a most peaceful interlude here at the River, and it could not be a more fitting beginning to practicing having more margin in our lives. Thank you, Father.

October 25, 2005 at 09:55 AM in Marriage | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My 61st Birthday

My mother, an incredible woman who now lives in heaven, which must be a more lively place for her presence, gave birth to me 61 years ago today. Her name was Helen, and my father thought she was truly the woman who could have launched thousands of ships a while back. In any case, I celebrate her today, as my mother, mentor, nurturer and friend. Whenever I complained of something regarding my husband, I was told, "Now, don't you give that man any trouble!" which was very sound advice, indeed, for I have been blessed with wonderful, loving mates, both in David, the father of my children, and now William, my husband of nearly seven years. Truly, it is far more fun to be a bride than a widow, to which I can attest.

William gave me the pink one yesterday, as a pre-birthday rose, and the yellow ones today for my birthday. We opened a bottle of Dom Perignon in reckless abandon, to go with my quiche (leek, onion, tomato, basil and garlic), and the baby spinach salad I prepared after work. It was my joy to go to Christian Aid Mission today, to pen thank you letters to donors, bask in the fellowship of co-workers and to be surprised by a bouquet of flowers from Jo Ann. I am the happiest of birthday girls, having received greetings from family and friends alike. I am so blessed. Thank you, mom, for giving birth to me, and for the love my parents shared during their 32 year union before death parted them. My dad was a very special person from whom I learned much. The love he had for my mother was enormous, vital and passionate. I wish the same for all married couples. Thank you, Lord, for giving me life and a family with loving hearts, grace and good humor. All necessary components for living in a sinful world. Amen.

August 2, 2005 at 10:53 PM in Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Two days ago I realized, as I was driving down a mountain with my wonderful husband, William, that, had my first love not been taken from me by pancreatic cancer, I would have been celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary. That is one way of saying that my wedding day was July 24th, 1965. And I was 20 at the time, going on 21, holding on fast to a degree in English Literature, fresh from Smith College, and not knowing what the world held in store for me.

Now, I am graced with a wonderful husband who, while not the father of either of their parents, is a grandfather to our six grandchildren. A lot has happened in 40 years. I have had two sons and a daughter, and they have married, and in turn, had sons and daughters. Forty years ago, I was part of a couple. Now, the multiplication, a product of wondrous love, has come up with two marvelous daughters-in-love, (with my amazing sons), and one so patient and gracious son-in-love, with my daughter (who is a true friend), and six gorgeous, fun-loving and quite interesting, grandchildren. Altogether, we make 14 where once there were but two. Even last summer, we were just 13, celebrating my 60th birthday in Italy. To quote my son, Paul, some weeks after the holiday we spent in Tuscany, "I did not realize just how much fun we had. The baby is due in April!"
God has His way of making the world go on, in love and laughter, with respect and joy abounding. I feel so full of love for my family, scattered as we are. Distance, and different time zones cannot diminish the love I feel for my children, their children, these dear mothers and fathers of my grandchildren. Time and distance can make a difference, but I really believe that Love knows none of that, only that some of us are sleeping, while others are awake, and some of us are eating, while others are at work. It is a bit of an insight into eternity, where time and distance seem to be of no consequence to a Creator Who sees everything from beginning to end all at the same time.
And I am very grateful, for the love I have.....and the love I have had in my growing garden.
Daisies_and_stella_doro Florabunda
We are all growing, more beautiful, it seems to me, in God's Garden, as we learn about loving one another, and appreciating the different colors, textures and fragrances we exude, swirling in the wind and sun. I really love my family!!!

July 26, 2005 at 05:41 PM in Love | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thank you

It is with a thankful heart that I write. For the people who have read my posts, offered assistance with the photos I have still not put up for all to see ...but that is for lack of time, now, not for lack of know-how, I can say...I am very new to this genre, but I am so busy living my life right now that I am not taking the time to write about it! Yet, I wanted to let you know that I am happy, about to drive off to a missions conference in Vienna, VA (near DC), and feeling like a contributor to the world in which I live. As a full-time volunteer at Christian Aid Mission, I do proofreading, writing, donor relations, editing and some French translation (French into English). I am enjoying my colleagues, the things I learn everyday from reading the reports the indigenous (native to their countries) missionaries send about how God is working in their lands. These are impoverished lands where persecution is high: China, India, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, Latin America, Indonesia, and the Middle East, to name a few. Christian Aid Mission is non-denominational, working strictly in foreign countries with indigenous missions. We do a great deal of work with children, both in orphanages and with street children who are destitute. Needless to say, we have many native missionaries who are working with the tsunami victims, as well as being victims of great loss themselves. So many lives were lost and those left behind are dealing with personal loss as well as property/livelihood loss...fishermen without boats, for example.

All this to say, I am feeling very thankful today, for my Heavenly Father, my husband, family, friends, and for those of you who happen to read this. I am blessed, even as I hope to bless others with whatever gifts I have to share. My own father and mother, both gone now, have left me with so much love to pass on, and with so many fine memories, bits of wisdom, and fun times spent together, both working and playing. If you have not been so fortunate as I have, you can still be the wonderful parents to your own children you may have missed as a child. Or, if you have no children, you can be the kind of friend you would want to have to the person(s) God brings across your path. And, then there is the work scenario. The workplace is badly in need of love, I have noticed over the years. Spread some around today! Be lavish in the distribution of this delightful gift from God. He never runs out!
Clouds This is an example of His love, available to all who choose to look up! These clouds generate in me a sense of wonder, an appreciation of the beauty we can see if we open our eyes and enter into His rest.

July 21, 2005 at 11:36 AM in Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Importance of Being Positive

Today has been very full, very busy, even productive. I arose at six something, even before my husband, which is unusual. Before I went to the grocery store, which is really my subject matter here, I moved an enormous old desk down a flight of stairs (with help from friends, Kim and Gail, my cleaning angels), deadheaded geraniums and marigolds on the upstairs balcony, did laundry, and lots of ironing, worked all afternoon at Christian Aid Mission (handwriting donor thank you letters, and proofreading the August Prayer Line), and then headed to Harris Teeter, our local grocery store. It was by then, close to seven in the evening. I did a huge shop, taking advantage of my "5% Senior Citizen discount"(Tuesdays only), and headed for the cashier. And now to my topic.

Rarely, if ever, have I met a more negative person than the young man who checked me out. I know from past experience that the kind, yet routine, question addressed all who pass through those check-out aisles is, "Did you find everything you were looking for?" It is asked cheerfully, even brightly, but this young man said nothing. He was in his early twenties, I am guessing, sporting one earring, glasses, and a few pimples. What he was not wearing was a smile. Throughout the process he bemoaned the establishment, criticized his employers, and generally downgraded his situation. It was a diatribe, a running commentary of wrongs, and finally I said, "Do you like working here?" He replied something to the effect that he needed the job to pay his rent. His next comment floored me. It was basically to say that he was awaiting the day when he could be part of the establishment and be the one who pushed the little people around! I said, "So, you want to do unto others as you think they have done unto you, as opposed to doing unto others as you would have wanted them to do unto you?" This is my understanding of where he was coming from, with which he basically agreed.

I was quite tired by this time, so with my limited energy, I told him that I did not think I could leave without his saying something positive. (This reminds me of when my daughter, Katherine, worked one summer as a cashier at the Co-Op in Switzerland and privately decided not to give change to a customer until she could elicit a smile from him/her!) A gentleman shopper was already close behind me, and clearly listening to the conversation at this point. The cashier nearly sneered at me by then, but came out with, "I think you have put up with my attitude pretty well." That was the most positive thing he could come up with, and I was not at all satisfied. I suggested that he might be grateful to be alive. He parroted a version of that and I left. In the parking lot, I was addressed by the shopper who had been behind me. He remarked that he thought a package of mine had been left behind. On top of lack of courtesy, negativism and sarcasm, I could add incompetence to the list. When I returned to the store, this young man was nowhere to be seen. When he finally reappeared, (Customer Service located him shortly) he managed to come up with my left bag from under his counter, but neither an apology nor a comment slipped though his lips.

All of this is to explain that being positive is very important. You tend to get what you expect. I am not sure how or why I found myself in this fellow's aisle, or if my attitude was of any benefit to him. I only know that later it took a lot more energy tonight for me to be positive, and my husband only survived because I fixed an amazing whole wheat thin crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, yellow peppers, onions, fresh-from-the-garden yellow pear tomatoes and the first red tomato, pineapple (for which my grandson, Jason, is responsible), oregano, freshly ground black pepper, all washed down with a good bottle of red wine. We all need to reach out to one another in love and with a kind heart. We all need to receive this blessing of kindness wrapped in a positive package. I am not a Pollyanna sort of person, although I do have a very positive attitude about life. I like to find good things to say about life, about the person I'm with and I like to be with those who are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We all have our tunnels. But God is Light and Life, and He never fails us.

July 16, 2005 at 05:58 PM in Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Roman Holiday Remembered

This evening William and I chanced to watch the vintage classic movie, Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck and introducing Audrey Hepburn. It was made in the early 1950's and Hepburn won an Academy Award for her role of the runaway princess who returned to her royal duties after a 24-hour escape into "normal life." For some of us, we might think that the role of a princess would be the place to escape to, not from...but in any case, I happened to have been in Rome just a year ago. The scenes of the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the romantic Tiber River, and the many bridges over it, along with the Mouth of Truth, the Coliseum, as well as the Roman Forum were all included. Our hotel actually claimed that name and overlooked the Forum. Katherine, David, Emily and Jason joined us after the first night before our trek north to the Florentine hills, Tuscany and Chianti. Turning 60 for me was relatively painless. In fact, as I gathered all of my children and all of their children for the occasion at a 500 year-old villa complete with pool and vineyards, rose gardens and olive groves, it was quite a delight.
One line in the movie caught my attention when Peck says to the princess, who is unaware of his knowledge of her royal status, "We don't always get to do what we want to do", or something to that effect. In life, that is also so, but sometimes we don't really know what we want, or what is best for us. That is oftentimes when God says, "No", or at least "Not right now" and we are disappointed at best, and taken aback, if not devastated, at worst. I am so glad that I am not in charge of the world. The movie, if you have not seen it, is one to be savored. The moral, and there are many, is that we do not always get to do what we want, life is not always what we wish, but sometimes we are granted a reprieve from the duty and get to enjoy life fully, to love and to cherish. As I am not a princess, I even get to do that most of the time! The key is to live life fully, to savor and delight in who we are and what we have, use the gifts and talents God has endowed us with, and to love fully those God puts in our path...spouse, children, neighbors, shopkeepers, repair people, and yes, even those with whom our duty/position/job causes us to interact, when we might choose to turn and run the other way.

Love is an action verb. And do go to Rome before you die, princess or no.

July 6, 2005 at 11:13 PM in Love | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 04, 2005

I am lost in all of this quagmire

In this case, I need it! How do I really put photos into the posting? Please help me, if any one out there can. KATHERINE? DAVID? I have a Mac and I absolutely enjoy using it, but I am 60 years old, 61, God-willing, in August...early August...and I do not have a clue as to how to put all of, any of, the lovely, appropriate photos I have been taking to go with my words, into this medium! HELP! This is the asking kind, not the offering kind! I know how to cook, I can fold towels to beat the band, I can fold contour sheets to look as if they came from the store, out of the package, I am told I am a "stud proofreader", but I cannot seen to fathom what I need to get this web log up and running in the way in which I would like. I am able to listen, to love, to cherish (BIG TIME), I even have led Bible studies in different languages, but this seems to be beyond me.

Help! I hope I can figure out even how to post this plea, as my last writing did not seem to make it out into the world!

Again, Happy Fourth of July. I have a husband who has the patience of Job.

July 4, 2005 at 02:26 PM in Help---needed/to be offered | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July, to those of us who are American! I am in a beautiful place, overlooking the Rappahannock River, and we have our American flag flying, suspended from the balcony. The day is bright and clear, sunny and warm, bees a buzzing, and flowers so vibrant, one definitely needs sunglasses.

I wish you all a fabulous Fourth of July! As my children were all raised in Europe, and partly at the Geneva English School, we learned that today was actually the culmination of the War of Rebellion, from the British point of view! Is it not an interesting thing to note that it often depends upon how you were raised, what was emphasized, and which "side" you were on, how you look at life today? And partly, the Americans won their independence because they were able to engage the French in the battle against a common enemy, which was at that point, the British. Now I have a son and a daughter living in France, with their beautiful families, and a gorgeous, loving French daughter-in-love. These days, perhaps the British are more closely aligned to our thinking. No matter what we call ourselves, how we act is what really matters, and what is in our hearts. And God is the only true judge of that!

July 4, 2005 at 01:36 PM in Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Back to being a caring wife

Now that my youngest, with her family intact, is safely ensconced in France in their new, albeit as yet unfurnished, home, I am "turning my heart toward home." I actually went grocery shopping after work - I am a full-time volunteer at Christian Aid Mission - preparing my very patient husband, William, one of his favorite meals. He loves fresh grilled tuna. I prepared that with fresh homemade mango salsa, sliced, baked potatoes, with swirls of sour cream and chives from the garden. Fresh grilled vegetables, and a nice red wine for him, white, for me, et voila! Life is good!


July 1, 2005 at 07:48 PM in Marriage | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

His Perfect Timing

Looking out the window as I sit at the now empty kitchen table, I gaze upon three different hydrangea bushes. The largest is heavy with large white blooms, the next, less full of bright pink blooms, and the third, a mottled, beautiful blue with shades of purple. All of the soils have been treated the same, so I am at a loss as to why they are so different. I have given birth to three children, and they are equally interesting, vibrant people, but all have grown into quite different human beings. While I might have thought the soil was the same, very clearly, as time goes by, I was a different person as each was born and grew.
The youngest is on her way to Dulles Airport as I write, and her life will take another turn. The suitcases are gone, the carry-ons all stowed, and my oriental carpet is fully visible. The puppy made it. And I am still here. The washer and dryer whirl on, now filled with sheets and towels. Sometimes repetitive tasks, like laundry and dishes, can calm a troubled soul. In God's time, we will be together again, when I go to help with the unpacking. In the meantime, I am restoring the house, and restoring my soul with the knowledge that David, Katherine, Jason and Emily are in His hands and on His schedule. In my life Lord, be glorified, be glorified today.

June 29, 2005 at 02:03 PM in Faith, Family | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A New Skill Revealed

My daughter, Katherine, has many gifts and talents. Packing suitcases is not one she claims. So, tonight I have been trying to put some order into the process as she readies a family of four to move to France. They leave tomorrow evening, but tonight I am still a mother who can help her daughter do some necessary tasks. While she is upstairs using my printer to do more change-of-address labels, I am tickled to think that the last load of laundry is whirling around the dryer. We are all tired. The children are in bed, albeit Emily seems to be temporarily in her parents bed.
The assignment I happily accepted was to fill the suitcases with each family members' belongings in a rational order. My kitchen floor looks like a colorful tapestry, with six suitcases scattered over the oriental rug, and eight pairs of shoes and sandals vying for floor space.SuitcasesPuppyjpgPup2jpg
The small puppy perched upon the post has watched me all the while, urging me to see that he is not left behind when the BIG MOMENT arrives tomorrow. I promised, and all mothers, as well as grandmothers, understand about promises. So I am responsible for seeing to it no one is left behind. Except for me...

June 28, 2005 at 10:55 PM in Motherhood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 27, 2005

On the road of life...

RedbudriverrdjpgThis is an example of one of the roads I travel when in White Stone. The redbud was in bloom, and the road invites wandering, in body and in imagination. You are invited to join me!

June 27, 2005 at 01:43 PM in Garden, Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

My First Post

Today is a very special day as I am starting to share my life with others on a regular basis in this new format. My choice stems from a wonderful visit with my beautiful, capable, blog-savvy daughter. She is about to move to France with her loving family. En route, we are their last stop before they depart for this adventure. I did the same thing in July of 1974 when I moved with my late husband, from Massachusetts to Geneva, Switzerland. It was for a stay of a year, possibly two, and yet, our return to the US was not to happen until exactly 16 years later, in July of 1990. So, that decision of ours, is in one way responsible for their decision to move to a French-speaking country. As they prepare to leave on this adventure, it is a reflection of what both sets of parents did with my daughter and her husband. We struck out across the ocean, landed and resettled in Europe, for a time, giving new insights, adding new languages (among them French, Spanish and German), and many new tastes developed in us and our children. I will miss them, but I understand the call to have their children, now 10 and seven, experience a different culture. Who I am today is a reflection of my time spent in a very international community, with many opportunities to travel from Finland to Israel. More to follow, love abounding, the path open to new places, new thoughts and learnings.

June 27, 2005 at 12:05 PM in Life | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)