Yesterday our 17-year-old grandson graduated from high school. It was wonderful to be able to share this momentous occasion with him. He is bright, sweet, and handsome. I predict a wonderful future for this young man.
1. It is hard to think of who I am except in terms of my relationships. I am a wife (happily married for 46 years). I am a mother (2 daughters and 2 sons). I am a mother-in-law. I am a grandmother (eight beautiful, gifted grandchildren). I am a friend. I am a follower of Jesus.
2.The address of our first apartment was 99 Bellafontaine. I like the way that sounds. Our neighbor across the courtyard liked to sit around his house in his underwear, drink, beer and shout at his little boy whose name was Mitchell.
3. I play treble A and B in the bell choir at church. It is fun, and when we get it right it sounds glorious.
4. I wish I could hire a gardener. Yard work is hard and I don’t really know what I am doing.
5. Next summer we are planning to take a river boat cruise through France, I want to spend at least one day in the Louve.
6. I never wear any make-up. Once I went to a Mary Kay party and had a facial. When I got home my son said,”What’s wrong with your face?” My husband said, ”What that stuff on your eyes?”
7 I am currently reading three books. “The American Gospel” by Jon Meacham makes me grateful to the founding fathers who were very careful to use inclusive religious language in the writing of the constitution and to separate church and state. I highly recommend this book. I am enjoying “Leaving Church” by Barbara Brown Taylor. This is the memoir of one woman’s spiritual journey. I have just begun this one, but so far I am very much identifying with what she is saying. Then, for a change of pace, I am reading Jimmy Buffett’s “A Salty Piece of Land.” It is like taking a vacation in warm sun of the Caribbean.
That is my list. Now it is my turn. Tracy, I tag you.
We just returned from a trip to West Virginia to see our youngest granddaughter. Michaela is nine years old. She lives with her other grandparents in a small town on the banks of the Ohio River. Life is a lot slower there. Time seems to have stopped in the 50’s. Michaela, the daughter of our foster son, Todd, is happy and well loved. Her running leap into my arms with a bear hug around my neck made me know she loves me and made the journey worth the drive.
This afternoon my husband and I spent an hour with the lawyer. We signed our wills and papers for a durable power of attorney. It was a very straightforward thing. The lawyer went over the papers and made sure we understood all the legalese. His secretary came in and the two of them witnessed our signatures and put a notary seal on them. These are important papers. Everyone should have both of these documents in this uncertain world. I am glad we have them. The business-like nature of the afternoon did not prevent a lot of emotions from running around in our heads. We have now made all the legal preparations to become old, sick and incapable of making such decisions and eventually dying. It felt a bit strange. I know these things are an inevitable part of life, but somehow it is peculiar to plan for your own demise.
Do you have a will?
Today was “Music Sunday” at church. Music is always an important part of the worship service, but today was a celebration of the power of music. The choirs and musicians had worked hard in preparation for today. Their work and talent succeed in bringing us to a place near to the throne of God. The music was powerful. The last hymn was titled, “For The Music of Creation.” This song was so great. It began with the organ and was then joined by the voices of the choir. The bell choir soon joined and music grew in intensity. Finally in the third verse the congregation joined the song. The sound was glorious, like a giant tsunami of worship washing over us all. The lyrics were awesome, especially the third verse with, “All the voices of the ages in transcendent chorus meeting.” I had the feeling that all the saints who’ve gone before us were singing with us. The last line spoke of music’s power over discord and division that speaks of harmony and peace. A whole flood of emotion flooded me as I remembered past hurts and acknowledged God’s goodness in bringing me to this good place. I believe that God was pleased with the sound of our worship today.
For The Music Of Creation
For the music of creation,
For the song Your Spirit sings,
For Your sound's divine expression,
Burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the world's composer,
Hear us, echoes of Your voice:
Music is Your art, Your glory,
Let the human heart rejoice!
Psalms and symphonies all exalt You,
Drum and trumpet, string and reed,
Simple melodies acclaim You,
Tunes that rise from deepest need,
Hymns of longing and belonging,
Carols from a cheerful throat,
Lilt of lullaby and love song
Catching heaven in a note.
All the voices of the ages
In transcendent chorus meet,
Worship lifting up the senses,
Hands that praise, and dancing feet;
Over discord and division
Music speaks Your joy and peace,
Harmony of earth and heaven,
Song of God that cannot cease!
I’m jogging as hard as can and listening to the voice of Johnnie Mathis singing, “You Are My Special Angel.” The music of my youth makes the workout easier. I hear the voice of our instructor saying, “Come on, knees up, abs in. Faster.” The sweat begins to drip into my eyes, which seems like a strange thing to be happening in the deep end of the pool. I’m in my deepwater aerobics class, the perfect exercise for people with bad knees, trying to keep this old body in shape. “OK, leap over the barrel,” shouts the instructor. I begin simulating the motion of leaping over barrels and watch the heads of my classmates bobbing up and down in the water. We wear a flotation device as we jog and ski and leap through the water. I hear the Everly Brothers singing about poor, old Tom Dooley and we all “ring the bell,” which means we pull our knees up and swing back and forth like the clapper in a big church bell. This is fun and really works the tummy muscles. After an hour of working as hard as can we come to the edge of the pool for a few minutes of stretching and class is over. We are all tired, but several us head over to the smaller, warmer therapy pool for the Aqua yoga class. This is a very relaxing time of easy stretching and quiet meditation. The music in the background is soft and dreamy. I can balance on one leg and move into dancer or eagle pose. The water holds me up and I relax in its warmth. I hate to see this class end, but it always does. I head for the dressing room and get ready to face the rest of my day.
This morning we had our last rehearsal before our really big show. The senior chorale is one of my favorite groups of people. Rehearsal time is always a bright spot in my week. We always enjoy lots of laughter as we try to learn our music well enough to please our cute, young director. The flyer says to come enjoy your old favorites – I’m not sure if that refers to the music or the chorale members. Come hear us and decide for yourself.
Today is my 66th birthday. I enjoyed a lovely day spending time with people I love. My daughter gave me a cool watch. It has big, easy to read numbers and is bright and funky. The perfect gift for bright and funky grandmother.
What is one of the best birthday gifts you have ever received?
On Mother’s Day, 2003, I buried my mother. She was 96 years old. The picture is one of the last taken of the two of us. She no longer knew who I was, but I knew who she was. She was my hero.
These are the words I spoke at her memorial service that day.
One of my earliest memories is standing in my crib and listening to the mourning doves outside my window. They sounded so sad. Mom told me my first sentence was during that moment when I said, "They're crying for their mommy." I knew from my infancy that the safest place to be when life was sad or painful was in my mother's arms. It was always warm and secure there. I remember many nights snuggling in her lap while she rocked me and sent all my fears away.
I still long for the safety of her lap when life is scary and painful.
We all must grow up and leave that safe spot, and we all did. But mom had prepared us well for life. She gave us the tools we would need to survive. We just had to follow her example of faith, love, and laughter.
Mom's faith in God and confidence in his love were unshakable. She knew that a loving God would always be there for her. There was a purity and assurance in that faith that always guided her. Her faith was a solid rock, a safe harbor, as warm and secure as her lap was for her babies. The last time mom spoke to me was just a year ago. She could no longer carry on a conversation, but for a moment she was there with me. We sang, "Jesus Loves Me." At the end of the song she said, "That's right, honey, He still does."
Mom loved everybody. She loved her husband. She loved her children. She loved her grandchildren. She loved her friends.
Oh how she loved our dad. From the moment she met him on a blind date and sat in the rumble seat of the car with him, he was her man. She devoted her life to making him happy, and she succeeded. Their love for one another was a constant thing. They demonstrated true love and marriage everyday.
She loved my brothers and me with a fierce, protective love that knew no limits.
We all know that Dad loved me best, but mom loved us all. My brothers were the joy of her life. She was always so proud of them. I can't remember how many times we walked down the railroad tracks to watch the boys play football. She didn't want to miss a game. She thought we were all geniuses and felt sorry for everyone else because her children were perfect. We were frequently a trial to her. I clearly remember the time I stole some ice cream from the Beverly Market. I must have been about five. She was very angry with me and tied me to the clothesline with the dog's leash as a punishment. That probably would be an unacceptable punishment in today's' world, but it was very effective.
Then came the grandchildren. They were each perfect - intelligent, beautiful, and far above average. They could do no wrong. What joy they brought to her and dad!
Mom was blessed with a multitude of friends because she was such a good friend. And she was so funny and so much fun! Who but my mom would put on two bras, one forward and one reversed, and wear it in a fashion show as a double-breasted suit? What other 85-year-old lady put on a sweat suit and slam-dunked shots for the church basketball team? She never did take herself too seriously. Life was just too much fun.
I can only imagine what mom is doing now. I like to think she has settled into heaven and is talking with dad and all the others who are there. She once told me that one of the things she hoped to find in heaven was banana trees. She wanted to fly from banana tree to banana tree eating all she wanted. What I do know is that this world is better because Byrtle Burrow lived here and I miss her.
Yesterday we joined a group of friends on bus trip to the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA. We saw an extravagant, spectacular telling of the Biblical story of creation. It was an inspiring event
On the bus ride I couldn’t help but be aware of the fact that I really am a senior citizen. Nobody has time to take a day in the middle of the workweek and enjoy this kind of lovely outing except a bunch of retired folks. (Well, actually my husband and two other people took a vacation day from work to enjoy the outing.) Our “luxury motor couch” was comfortable. We stopped at a beautiful resort for a delicious lunch. Conversation and laughter were plentiful. Friendships were strengthened. It was a very good day.
There are times when being old is a very nice thing.
I began this blog one year ago yesterday. This is my 198th post. Blogging is a fascinating experience. Through this blog I have found old friends and found a way to keep up with their lives. I have made some new friends whose true names I don’t even know, but we have touched one another’s lives and feel a connection. I know more about local friends by reading some of their ramblings about life. It has been a window into the lives of people who are very different from me. Their blogs help me to understand and appreciate other ways of living and thinking. I find that we are all more alike than we are different and the differences make this medium a wonderful view of the world.
Thank each of you for helping me to make this journey
Two of my granddaughters have been involved in a local children’s theater production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” This past week was show time. They had two dress rehearsals and eight performances. The show took over their life. I saw the perfomance twice. It was wonderful! The kids did a fantastic job, as did their parents and relatives who pulled curtains, herded kids backstage, sold tickets and concessions and filled the audience to a sell out crowd every night. The girls had a wonderful time and glowed in the spotlight of stardom.
My husband and many friends have been involved in a production with our church theater troupe. The show, called “Love Song,” told the story of Jesus in an original and powerful way, using music and scripture. There was a dress rehearsal and three performances this weekend. I saw the show twice. It was wonderful!
Everyone is tired today, but it is the tired of accomplishment. That is a good tired.
When I was a little girl May Day was celebrated in a big way. At school we had a Maypole. It seemed to tower into the sky with its multitude of colorful ribbons hanging down. We children gathered around the pole and each held one of the ribbons. We then danced around the pole wrapping the ribbons into bright, beautiful patterns. It was so exciting. When we came home we spent the afternoon making little paper baskets that we filled with flowers picked from our yard. We would hang these baskets on the neighbors’ doors, ring the bell and run and hide so they wouldn’t see who had put the baskets on their door. It was wonderful fun and a lovely way to welcome spring.
My grandchildren don’t know about May Day. Does anyone celebrate with maypoles any more?