Today would have been your 80th birthday. I was wondering what I would say to you if you could be here for just one more birthday, one more Mother’s Day. Then I remembered a dream I had after you passed. I was at a family gathering looking for you. Disappointed I couldn’t find you I sat down at a table and when I looked up you were sitting right across from me. You looked so young and so healthy, you smiled and we got up and embraced. As we hugged I actually felt your hair brush gently against my cheek and it suddenly seemed I was no longer just dreaming, this was an opportunity. I quietly said, “You were a good mom” and I woke with tears in my eyes. I know what I would say to you now if you could somehow magically appear like that for just a few moments today. I would give you a big hug, and then, as I felt your hair brush gently against my cheek I would simply whisper in your ear, “You’re a good mom. Happy birthday, happy Mother’s Day.”
I was listening to the Mumford & Son’s song the other day Ghosts That We Knew and at one point I heard the line, “…you saw no fault no cracks in my heart, and you knelt beside my hope torn apart.” For some reason those words really touched me. They seemed to sum up in such a visually poignant way what we all want and need from the people closest to us; our partners and parents, our children and siblings, those we call our friends. We want to know that someone will look beyond our failings and still love us, will look past the cracks and still love us, will kneel beside our brokenness and still love us when we need them most.
I’m lucky to have my husband Doug beside me still as we celebrate 34 years of marriage this week and that is my Wednesday wish for you–that you know the joy and blessing of a love that is quiet and kind and constant.
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For the past two years my husband and daughter have been working hard to develop a new, all natural toothpaste that is not only effective but is safe for the whole family. They started out with an idea and now that idea has become a reality as they launch their new company and it’s very first product, Mellow Mint Toothpaste! They have just begun advertising and getting into retail stores but if you’re interested in an earth, animal, and people friendly toothpaste go like their Facebook page now and then better yet, check out their website and try a tube! I am one proud mama and wife, way to go Doug and Lizzi!
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” ~Walt Disney
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This is a photo of the oldest, dearest man in my life, my dad, and the newest, sweetest boy in my life, my little grandson taken two weeks ago at Ashton’s 1st birthday party. This is why I fell in love with photography when I was just a teenager. Because a photograph is never just a photograph. The light and shadows of an image hold the mercy and vulnerability of life itself, the beginning and the end, a single breath—in one hundredth of a second the shutter is released and a secret is revealed. Sometimes I think it’s almost selfish, the way the camera allows us to capture a moment like this, snatch it right out of thin air before it disappears forever in a stream of faded memory. And yet…this is why I fell in love with photography when I was just a teenager.
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Watched the grandkids for a few hours last Sunday and had us some much needed soul soothing fun and laughter.
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“To become a grandparent is to enjoy one of the few pleasures in life for which the consequences have already been paid.” ~Robert Brault
My husband took this photo when were visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Louisville this past October. They live in the quintessential Kentucky home, a lovely updated farmhouse on several rolling acres at the end of a long, winding driveway. When we got to their house that afternoon, their son Evan greeted us at the door. Evan has autism. He has worked really hard, undergoing intense therapy and schooling for fifteen years now and I know the journey hasn’t been easy for the entire family. But I also know that despite the ups and downs of his challenges, the young man that opened the door that afternoon has one of the purest, gentlest souls in our family.
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For a long time after my mom passed away, I lost my voice and my creative juices. It wasn’t just the losing her, although I had never experienced the death of someone so close to me before, but it was also the many months that led up to that day. It was her long illness and the heartbreak and helplessness of watching her disappear before my eyes as she slowly lost her breath to COPD, and finally her life. There were other losses during that time, many other reluctant goodbyes, and it all simply emptied me out. So I set my writing life aside and tried to figure out how to process the layers of grief and regret, how to regain my emotional footing after a yearlong free-fall. Eight months ago, words started to bubble up in my head, little teases and glimpses of ideas and improvements for the book I was working on before my mom got sick. At first I ignored them. I just wasn’t interested. But eventually, I couldn’t ignore them anymore and I reread the book and began to work on it again.
And now it’s finished, and although I thought it would be published early in September, it somehow happened that September 30th was the day it was finally ready to go, which I think is pretty cool. Because it was three years ago on 9/30/08 that my mom died and it suddenly felt like I had been given the opportunity to take that date back and fill it with something joyful to honor my mom and my own creative spirit. By the end of the day on the 30th however, it didn’t look like I’d get the okay from CreateSpace in time to publish and I was pretty depressed as I got ready for bed that night. Just before midnight, I went downstairs to check my e-mail one last time and the notification was there! It felt like my own moment of ordinary magic as I sat in the dark in front of a glowing computer screen and hit the “publish” button just minutes before September 30th ended.
A blogging friend wrote this recently in a comment, “I still miss my Mom, and she died a long, long time ago. Luckily, her spirit still inspires me.” Now, every year when September 30th rolls around, I will still think of my mom. I’ll think how lucky am I to have had her in my life for as long as I did, to have grown up in a house full of books and love, to have so many wonderful memories of my mom to inspire me as I go forward. How lucky am I? Damn lucky indeed.
If you think you’d like to take a chance on a newly minted author and read my book, the paperback is available now on Amazon and it will be coming soon to Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Nook, and iBooks:)
Shot these pics when Doug and I babysat for the grands a couple weeks ago. They sure have our hearts wrapped around their cute little fingers!
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