Category Archives: Writing!

Mondays are for Memories – of Mom

Yesterday would’ve been my Mom’s 97th birthday. She’s been gone  26 years, but nowhere does does she seem closer than here at the cabin. From the ‘silver’ platter hanging on the wall – a wedding present back in 1947 –
to the reminder on our ancient refrigerator about what settings to use when,
to the “please remove spike shoes’ sign (from a short stint working at a country club) to the handmade Indian doll sitting on the neighboring shelf –
my Mom’s remembrances are all around us.
Earlier this year I wrote a bit about Mom for the Storyworth project our kids gave us for Christmas. (Yes, as Gary said – a Christmas present with homework!).
“What was your Mom like when you were a child?”
My goodness, what a BIG question!
In some ways, Mom was a superhero. When I was not quite two and she was pregnant with my brother, my oldest sister was diagnosed with Polio. Elna was whisked away to spend months and months in the hospital while the rest of the household was placed in strict quarantine. I was too young to remember any of that of course, but when I became a Mom and would become overwhelmed with my life, I would think of her managing the two of us girls at home, getting ready to deliver baby #4, all the while her first precious daughter was in the hospital. Somehow that always managed to help me get my life back in perspective.
She was a Musician. One of my favorite childhood memories is falling asleep while she practiced her cello down in her music studio (aka the dining room!). She loved her cello, played in several area orchestras and ensembles, and even began taking lessons (again!) when she was in her 60’s. While cello was her first love, she was also an accomplished pianist. Most afternoons neighborhood kids would come to our house for their lessons, and while I don’t recall her actually giving me lessons, somehow I learned how to read music and play sorta-kinda. She would come and help, but never insisted that I learn. She taught piano and played her cello right up until her death in 1996.
She was a Seamstress.
UntitledI think she made most of our clothes growing up – I especially remember one Christmas when I got the softest furry bathrobe that she had secretly worked on while we were in school. There were many a photo of the three of us girls in matching outfits, and sometimes ones that even matched hers. She made wedding dresses for my sisters, along with the bridesmaid dresses too! When I wanted to learn how to sew and my home ec teacher wanted me to start with an A-line skirt, I remember saying to Mom – “Can I make a lined cape instead ?” “Sure” was her easy reply!
She was Athletic. She loved to ski (she was the Snow Queen for one of the Snow Festivals in Vermont during her college days) and play tennis. I think  she would often outplay my Dad on the courts! I know she always beat me! She had a degree in both Music and PE from Ithaca College in NY so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

She was a Great Cook. Although my dad took over the gourmet cooking in the 60’s, Mom was always ready with a good home cooked meal. Her mac and cheese was legendary and I think my favorite was the classic 1960 chuck roast in foil with onion soup and cream of mushroom. She did hold to the logic that having liver once in a while was beneficial (all that iron, I guess), but I still loved her (and her cooking) regardless!

She was Fun and Funny!
She’d take us ice skating at a local lake ( we even had a small rink in our back yard when we lived in Willow Grove), she’d help us build snow tunnels when the drifts in the driveway were too high to even shovel, and she had a great sense of humor. We laughed a lot around the dinner table.


She was an Encourager. I don’t recall ever hearing her say – “Don’t try that, it’s too hard.”  When I wanted to sew my wedding gown – she helped me shop for fabric. She was always on my side.

Maybe this question was geared more to my younger childhood. And the memories I shared above are from when I was a bit older. I honestly don’t remember lots of warm and fuzzy moments with Mom when I was younger – but I certainly don’t have any cold and harsh memories either. Did she tuck me in each night when I was younger? I’m sure she did. Do I remember those moments? I do not. She was always there for us. Strong and steady, putting her family first and encouraging each of us to be the best that we could be.

And sending us off to dreamland with Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Miss you especially these days, Mom! So thankful for the promise of eternity in heaven with you!

February Goals

As I finished up my absolutely wonderful, spectacularly memorable and precious beyond words time with my sisters late this past week, I asked the question “How can we pray specifically for each other?” Of course, we’re always praying for each other’s health and family, but I was looking for a something more specific, more personal. Interestingly, we each asked for prayer that we would be more consistent with different forms of writing. Joie and Elna wanted to become more disciplined in writing notes of encouragement to family and friends, and I shared how I wanted to be doing a better job with this blog and with possibly crafting some articles/stories for submissions to different publications.

We’ve all returned home and life has picked up right where we left it! Joie will soon be welcoming a new grand baby and helping out with his/her four siblings.  Elna will be returning to her cancer treatment regimen.  I’ll be back to SOWER work and all that entails.   I’m not sure what my “doing a better job with this blog” will actually look like, but one of my strategies will be to do a post a day for the month of February.   So watch out – and Sisters,  keep praying!

Till tomorrow!

The First Time

I suppose there is a first time for just about everything. Well, yesterday was the first time I submitted a story to a publisher to be included in a book. These books (Chicken Soup for the Soul) get lots of submission, so while I’m hopeful my story will be chose, I’m in no way counting on it. But I have to tell you it felt like a very big step for me to have the confidence (with the expert copy editing from two wonderful friends) to actually hit that “Submit” button. While I don’t think I should share the actual story that I submitted, I can share with you my original blog post that inspired my story. It happened while we were volunteering at Teen Challenge Boys Ranch in May of 2008 –
Continue reading The First Time

Trying to process….

and I need an extension.
One would think, having just completed a WRITERS conference, that one would be able to put a couple of words together to describe the event. You know, like bloggers are supposed to do!

Well, yesterday the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference wrapped up.  I am still in major processing mode about all the information that I learned (actually it’s more like information overload ), the friends that I made (such delight!) and the encouragement I received (oh, my!).   Continue reading Trying to process….

Actually doing the homework!

I guess you can tell that I’ve been trying to do some of my Blogging 101 homework. If you’ve stopped by before you can see that I’ve not only changed my header picture, but I’ve also changed the whole template. It’s similar (I really like being able to easily change that header picture), but different. I’ve been learning about things called widgets and plug-ins and figuring out how to tweak the layout of things. Aside from main template change I’ve also –

  • Updated my “About Us” Page.  Not a big change, just tried to freshen it up a bit. 🙂
  • Added a Flickr widget in the sidebar that scrolls through my last 20 uploaded pictures. If you click on the “big” picture it will take you to all of my pictures over on Flickr, so that’s pretty cool.  And the widget itself is a pretty cool gizmo.  I can also have it just show pictures with a certain “tag” – like the cabin in the spring!
  • Added a page for my Instagram photos too! I don’t know how useful that will be, but it was fun to figure out how to make it work.
  • Re-installed the contact form on the “Contact Us” page. So if you’d like to contact us via email instead of leaving a contact that option is back.
  • Finally got the RV picked up after our unpacking and monthly mail delivery.  OK, so that’s not actually Blogging 101 homework, but it sure is Home Work! And it sure needed to be done!

If you have a moment I’d love to hear how you like the changes. Or how you don’t.  Is something missing that used to be on the page?  I was pretty happy with the previous blog-look and was in no hurry to change, but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit! And I think this old dog even learned a new trick or two in the process!

Have a good weekend, everyone!