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.”
Just got back from two lovely weeks in Florida. Two weeks away from the frigid Michigan weather, work pressures, bill paying, and the general responsibilities and stresses of daily life. It was a much needed breather for me and Mr. Bookbabie. The highlight of the trip was a ride on The Sanibel Thriller, a boat that tours the islands and attracts dolphins who love to play in it’s huge wake. Watching dolphins leap over the waves and zig-zag beneath the walls of rolling water trailing the boat was very healing as I continue to deal with the ups and downs of health problems. Their joy in the moment was so pure and so free, check it out if you’re ever on Sanibel Island!
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
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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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I’ve been thinking about the human spirit lately, that delicate, resilient, ageless part of us that holds fast to our dreams, hopes, needs, and wants. And I’ve been wondering, can we keep the changing circumstances of our life, both good and bad, from changing that essential part of us?
“The light died in the low clouds. Falling snow drank in the dusk. Shrouded in silence, the branches wrapped me in their peace. When the boundaries were erased, once again the wonder: that *I* exist.”
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We’re raking up leaves here in Michigan, cutting back the withered flowers in our gardens and planter boxes and thinking about Thanksgiving Day recipes and holiday shopping. I love both summer and autumn in my home state but I’m looking forward to winter this year. For me it will be a time of rest and renewal. I plan to hibernate like a bear beneath a blanket of silent white snow, I want to meditate in front of a warm fire, I want to sew puzzle pieces of fabric into colorful whimsical quilts, I want to read books that inspire me to dream with my eyes open, I want to play with my grandchildren and watch old movies and drink hot chocolate and gain twenty pounds and remember who I am.
Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
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So the summer is over and the truth is it was not a great one for me. Instead of frolicking in the pool and celebrating the weddings, showers, and graduation parties that were on my calendar, I went to doctor appointments and googled my way across the WWW trying to find an answer for the extreme fatigue, weight loss, and nausea I was experiencing. I’ve been here before (although not with the exact same symptoms) but I’ve been very sick for a very long time with “invisible chronic illness” and I really hoped I was done learning the lessons I needed to learn in that particular life course curriculum. Of course life doesn’t care whether we’ve been there before or had enough, it just keeps happening, and when the going gets tough we all have to choose if we’re going to be proactive-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other warriors or head-in-the-sand whiners. I must confess to have been a bit of both this past summer.
My health has recently improved a bit since this mystery illness first began, and although the weight loss has slowed to a crawl compared to a couple months ago, I still can’t gain even though I’m taking in plenty of calories. I know some of you are probably thinking “I have a few pounds I could send your way”, trust me, that offer has been on the table from friends and family for months and if I had been able to take them all up on it fitness guru Richard Simmons would be at my front door with a crane ready to haul me off to weight loss boot camp!
Still, I truly believe that no matter what is happening in your life there is always an opportunity for gratefulness and grace so here is my list of summer “bests”.
1. Birthday parties for my two grandchildren. Brooklyn turned 3 in July and Ashton had his 1st birthday party in May. I am thankful for those little arms that wrapped themselves gently around my neck this summer, the sweetness of those hugs helped me feel whole again.
2. I won a free night in Toronto with an Instagram photo I did for a contest organized by Josh Johnson and sponsored by ALT Hotels. My pic is now part of a permanent art installation in the lobby of the ALT Toronto Pearson hotel and me and Mr. Bookbabie are hoping to take a road trip this fall to see it in person and use my gift certificate, thanks Josh and ALT Hotels!
3. My debut novel, The Wonder of Ordinary Magic, won a silver medal in the 2012 Readers Favorite Award Contest! The awards ceremony will be held in Miami this November during The Miami Book Fair International, the largest book fair in America. As a first time author it is a thrill to be honored by this group, thank you so much Readers Favorite.
4. Always, always on my gratitude list is my husband Doug. Without him by my side I would simply feel lost and adrift as I navigate life’s bumpy waters.
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ~Meister Eckhart
These are flower photos I took and edited with my iPhone4S. I’m continually amazed at technology, at the way it not only links us to friends, family and people around the world, but also how it allows us to be creative in new and fascinating ways. Over the past few months I’ve been having some health problems and as a result the ability to connect and create with minimal exertion on sites like Facebook and Instagram has helped me feel like I’m at least somewhat still a part the “big picture” of my currently slightly diminished life.
As anyone who has been sick for a long time or suffers from a chronic illness can tell you, going to doctors, being poked and prodded and tested week after week, waiting for results and that elusive magic pill that will turn things around can be very isolating and discouraging. You feel like your body has betrayed you. You see the color and energy of life moving swiftly by all around you, without you, and sometimes you’re afraid. Afraid you won’t get well, afraid you will but you won’t be able to regain your footing and find your place again in the ongoing drama of daily life. But perhaps what you fear most is that it doesn’t matter either way. Because whether we are sick or well, productive or weary, sad or joyful, we all so want it to matter. We want to matter.
I’m happy that I can say I do feel better this month compared to last so perhaps there is a light at the end of this gloomy weight-loss-tummy-ache-tunnel. In the meantime I will keep my skinny butt moving toward that light with a little help from my docs, the love of a caring husband, the beauty of the flowers in my garden, a dash of patience, a sprinkle of hope, and last but not least…a pretty pink iPhone in the palm of my hand.
“Imagination is the true magic carpet.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
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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