Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good-By Saint Pat





Palm Sunday's triumphant parade has come and gone. The resounding "Hosannas" have already receded. The trumpet fanfare has sailed over the last hillside, leaving a stillness in it's wake. We know what awaits the faithful in this journey thru Holy Week. We must go thru the darkness of Good Friday before the lilies amass, their cascading fragrances filling sanctuaries near and far.... and the brass choir returns with butterflies-a-flitter, amidst girlie bonnets with streaming ribbons. So this is a time of fore-shadowed knowing & anticipation.

Today as my mind attempted returning to this world, I started the day as I have for many, many months now. I said prayers of support for our Wilson-family and especially for my dear friend, their matriarch, known to so many as "Saint." I surmised that it was pre-dawn from the paper thin slices of light beckoning thru the Orlando Radisson's thick curtains, doing their striped best to keep us shrouded in darkness. I can't explain it in words, but this morning as I prayed my final petition for Pat, my heart was filled with a sense of peace-beyond-my-knowing, beyond-my-understanding. And I rolled over and fell into a blissfully contended sleep.

Was it minutes or hours later, when I awakened completely rested? I knew in my heart what had transpired. I merely reached for my Blackberry to confirm thru a Facebook message what I already had guessed. There was the confirmation of what I knew in my heart:


"My beautiful wife passed away about an hour ago. May the angels lead her into Paradise."


It was a week ago today that we had our last lengthy phone-call, the last time when I could read her posts from her well-wishers, her supporters, her friends. It was six days ago when I last heard her voice on this planet. This afternoon I went back thru old saved phone messages to listen to her sing 'happy birthday' to me, from this last year & the year before that. I'll always save the message that starts, "It's me." She was so happy. She was so proud. She was so alive.


We had the opportunity to say 'good-by' to say 'I love you' and to say 'thank-you' to each other. I think even at the time, we both knew it would be our telephone swan-song. She touched so many. She called sisters-in-need across this country as well as the Canadians on her phone plan. She encouraged. She listened. She laughed. She cried. She celebrated. She was one-of-a-kind.


I suppose it's selfish for me to think that God allowed her an "encore chapter" in order for her to be my rock and support me thru my own second diagnosis, surgery & recovery, but till my last breath, I will believe that with my whole heart. She was just stubborn enough to hang-in there, despite all her doctors prognostications, to keep me company these last couple of months, to cajole me, to mother-hen me, to retort me, and to inspire me. On more than one occasion, she told me she thought I was brave. The amazing thing is that she actually meant it.

She was fierce and she was brave. She was amazing.

I have received encouragement to write a book about "Saint & Faith"...... the idea seemed ludicrous to Saint, when I told her. She laughed heartily saying, "who would ever want to read such a thing as that???" I couldn't convince her that it was a story worth telling. She used her notorious honesty telling me what a crazy idea it was. "We're just two people sharing a story." I'd reply, "I think the story deserves a larger audience."

Today it seems like a genuine calling, to share what I know of this brilliant woman and how I came to love her. Can you hear her laughing, all the way from heaven?


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

More. Variety.




Variety. Amazing variety. From fairy castles or lunar landscapes. They make me giggle, they're so outlandishly unbelievable. It's fun to track them with my handy-Canon and capture their images.
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Spring is Bursting Forth




Azaleas. In full bloom. Riots of color. Cascading bushes. Exploding with blooms. Bursting with blooms. Erupting with blooms. Pink. Fuchsia. Delicate. Wispy. Willowing about in the breeze. Amazingly intricate. Details sketched by an angelic artisan with both imagination and a sense of humor. Opening toward the sun. Singing sweetly, trumpeting the arrival of new birth, possibilities, energy and growth. It's a day to celebrate. A day to consider. A day to inhale the opportunity at hand.
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy 16th Anniversary!!


Something about re-entering my life, this first week 'back' to my joyous cross-country romp from conference to classroom to children and mirth, whirlwinding from FL to SC to VA to OH to TN to FL, left me just a bit foggy as to what date was which? So imagine my surprise to have daughter Sarah call mid Georgia to wish us a Happy Anniversary. I knew at the beginning of the month that we were having an anniversary, but who knew that the 25th of the month had actually arrived?? Neither Allen, nor I. LOL.

So returning to our little happy home where there was no food, we decided to go straight to the clubhouse. Our dear waitress greeted us and asked what was so funny so we felt compelled to confess. She got the kitchen to decorate our carrot-cake-plate with drizzled chocolate AND we got to be serenaded by a live combo AND dance a cha-cha, not bad for a last minute awareness. I think we'll get to claim a do-over-celebration in the near future..... but in the meantime, here's to 16 great years of married life!!
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Designer Debbie-Duds





When I arrived at the second building for our older friends, Director Hilary met me at the door -- ostensibly to help me carry my gear into the building, but I think in retrospect it was to keep her from swallowing all the goldfish. Imagine my ABSOLUTE delight and surprise when I went out into the hall to gather up the "Chameleon Room" children, to find them dressed in individualized, designer "Debbie-vests!!!!" Oh, what medicine for the soul.


Look closely and you'll see that each brown paper bag has been cut to include an opening and sleeves. The details are adornments of scrap booking paper..... 'quilted' onto the bags. Talk about child-directed! Talk about design infused! Talk about open-ended!! Talk about support and encouragement. Wow. WOW. WoW. WOW. WoW. That's a five-star wow!!!!!


Oh and they are playing their personally created shakers, to accompany their all too amazing serenade. Some days are more than filled with memories..... they are just plain: WONDERFUL.

******It's been nearly two years since this amazing shower-of-love. I have now entered this delightful joy into a blog hop on all things PAPER-BAG, as part of Tinkerlab's creative challenge.

This particularly sweet greeting was done in honor of my returning to 'work' (as music-lady, author/illustrator woman) after my second diagnosis, surgery and treatment for Breast Cancer, the Sequal. Looking back from the vantage of the paper-bag challenge, all this time later, makes me so glad that I keep a blog! Makes me so grateful for the teachers I serve beside. Makes me ever so grateful  that I've had another two years of life.


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Then One Fine Day......



......I went to play.
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Let the Fun Begin



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Art Work in the Hall




Just a little peek at the children's artwork lining the hallways, which I always appreciate seeing. That's the state flag of Ohio and the state bird, cardinal as well. Don't ya just love a group project?
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Perfect Pips Perform




It's great to be among friends. Even the teeniest-of-the-tiniest.... maybe that's what makes it great, in fact? Seeing their eyes light up. Watching every finger wiggle and every eyebrow dance. They start to wibble-wobble as I strum my guitar. Full body wobbles make me smile from ear-to-ear. How they respond. Then the bigger toddlers with their amazing capabilities are just amazing..... probably more so, because of the stark contrast with the wee ones.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Snuggles & Jammies


Is there anything better than getting children ready for bed? The footie pajamas that zip into head to toe warmth, the cuddles, the reading of books, the last hug and 'snuggie-down' before waving them off to slumber land. Take a peek at last night's fun and sigh with me over how very blessed I am, to get to participate in watching another generation feel the love. Being a "gee-gee" has to be at the top of the list of all the blessings that are possible. I am very fortunate indeed. What a joy to be part of the rituals of growing up. What a treasure to store in my heart.

BIGGEST Reward of ALL



The biggest reward of all is spending time with family. It puts the surgery, recovery, and physical therapy into it's rightful position of a mere distraction from what is truly important. Traveling back from Florida afforded the opportunity for hugs and smushes of the very best variety. We've gathered together for a quick bite before taking the three children to church to see the puppet show and hear the handbell choirs.

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