My daughter, Amy has hosted this project in the past, with her friend Kam and although I’m going to be pretty busy in March, I thought I could squeeze in some time to do this for at least some of the days.
I’m not setting expectations to create journals or scrapbook pages or even create a book or anything, but I THINK I can at least write a list a few days each week. You see, I’m not even committing to doing it every day. I’ll just take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
I created the image above from the prompt: “Home is where…”
I’m already behind, but hoping/planning to do be able to get creative and share some of them.
Today I’ll be celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary with my very best friend!
Here are a few pictures that I dug up from our wedding day. Our wedding colors were mint and forest green which went well with the massive Christmas tree at the front of the church. It was the 70’s and we weren’t fancy folks, so no ties for the guys and that lovely wide lapel suit coat for my sweetheart. I couldn’t find a dress simple enough in the stores, so I had this one made for $70. I made the veil myself for a few bucks and I still love the simplicity of it all.We both love Christmas, so we thought getting married in December was a great idea. We were on a tight budget and paid for our own wedding (mostly). Since the wedding was so close to Christmas we asked our families not to get us any Christmas presents. The cool thing was that we went on a 2 week honeymoon and got back just in time to open all of our wedding presents on Christmas morning. What a fun morning that was! Sitting as a married couple for the first time in our little one bedroom furnished apartment near 7th Street and Camelback Rd., reading every card with reminders of love and commitment from our friends and family. Then opening all those precious wedding gifts from the people we loved! There couldn’t have been a better way to start our lives together.
It’s crazy to think that we’ve been together for all these years! We’ve changed and grown and learned so much about ourselves and each other. Even though any relationship that last this long has it’s ups and downs, I’m so blessed that this guy has been there beside me through it all.
These are just a few things that I’m thankful for:
Thankful that he’s been such a wonderful partner and provider in our family. Practical, strong, steady and careful with our lives and resources
So blessed that he’s always been there to love and care for our children. I’ve never had any doubt that he was 100% committed to them.
Thankful that we’ve learned to appreciate each other’s interests and strengths and realize that even though God created us very differently, He designed us to compliment each other perfectly.
Grateful that we’ve learned to love, forgive and protect each other’s weaknesses.
I love that he’s a life-long learner and constantly listening, watching, reading and analyzing everything. I’m continually amazed at all the information that’s stored in his brain. It’s such a joy to see that the same love of learning has been passed on to our kids.
Thankful that he’s been there to listen, comfort, and hold me through so many sorrows, losses and painful times.
Blessed that he lets me dream big dreams and encourages my creativity and adventurous spirit.
Most of all, I’m so blessed to know that as long as the Lord allows we’ll get to walk this earth together discovering new things, laughing, crying, and enjoying each other’s company. Thank you God, for placing him in my life.
I’m so thankful that we still have connections to all the people in this picture. What a blessing to have known (and loved) them all for so long!
Thank you Lord for a wonderful day to remember your goodness!
If you missed the beginning of this list you can find it here.
I’m realizing that this list could go on for days, so we’ll see what happens. I hope you enjoy learning about what a wonderful mother and person my mom was.
11. Saturday was usually Mom’s shopping day. She didn’t learn to drive until she was in her 50’s, so when we were young she depended on Dad to take her to the A & P grocery store on the weekends. Can you imagine only being able to go to the store once a week with 8 hungry mouths to feed? She did a great job of stocking up to make things last for the week, but I remember drinking powdered milk at times either because she couldn’t afford to buy more or she couldn’t get to the grocery store. I’m guessing her weekly trips were also a time of solitude that she looked forward to, but sometimes she’d allow one of us to go with her. Those were precious times when she let us help her choose food for the week and maybe even get a treat.
12. Mom would sometimes bring home delicious fresh rye bread, deli meats and cheeses on shopping day. They never lasted much more than a day because they were favorites for the whole family. That’s where I discovered my love for a good deli meal. We had Munster, Colby, Cheddar, Longhorn, Swiss and American cheese with fresh sliced Ham, Turkey, Roast beef, Braunschweiger and more. In the summer sometimes we’d add giant slices of Beefsteak Tomatoes and fresh lettuce from my grandmother’s garden. Mmmm!
13. As the family grew, Mom and Dad gave up their bedroom so that all of us kids could have one. They converted the living room to a sleeping area at night and added a sliding door for privacy. They kept their clothes in my oldest sister’s room. I imagine that was quite a sacrifice since they had no place to get away until we were all asleep in bed.
14. She often planned a once a year summer day trip as the sole adult with all of us kids to the northern Ohio amusement park, Cedar Point. We’d get up early in the morning and walk a block or so to the highway to catch the bus heading for Sandusky, then ride a ferry boat from Sandusky across the bay to the park. We spent the whole magical day riding thrill rides, seeing musical variety shows, and traversing the skies on the overhead sky ride. She always packed a substantial lunch for us, then later in the day she’d buy those famous Momma Berardi’s homemade French Fries and salt water taffy to hold us over. We’d stay as long as possible to squeeze out every drop of fun until either my dad came after work to pick us up or we caught the last bus for home.
15. Mom let us choose what kind of cake we wanted for our birthday and I often requested freshly baked Angel Food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. I can taste it now!
16. In August of each year she took each of us separately on a school clothes shopping trip – I recall riding that morning bus in the other direction this time – to the Midway Mall in Elyria – just Mom and I, eating lunch at the restaurant in the mall and buying new shoes and clothes for the upcoming school year. This was probably my favorite day of the year. Not because I was shopping, but because I got to have my mom all to myself for an entire day!
17. A limited budget and endless creativity brought forth unique homemade Halloween costumes for us each year. I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those unimaginative store-bought ones.
18. Halloween parties at the Vermilion-on-the-Lake (VOL) Clubhouse were organized by her. She dressed as a witch and made witches’ brew using dry ice. I remember dunking for apples, fishing for prizes with a clothes pin on a string, costume contests and so much more.
19. There was a Christmas play one year, written by my sister, Sharon and produced by Mom at the VOL Clubhouse with the neighborhood kids. The stage background was painted by Wayne Crozier, complete with his signature mouse hiding in the scene.
20. Each year she creatively decorated our 5 foot silver aluminum Christmas tree with matching colored glass balls. Since there would inevitably be breakage in the process of unpacking and packing the delicate glass, the following year she’d buy a set of a different color, then the 3rd year she’d use a combination of the previous years. The tree was often perched on top of a table up and out of the way of little hands and active pets. You can see a sliver of the tree in the background below. I remember spending what seemed like hours sitting in the living room gazing at the ever changing tree with the colored light wheel casting shadows on the walls and ceiling. It was mesmerizing!
Looking over these memories I can see so many things that I learned from my mother. How to use my creativity in decorating, sewing, having fun. How to shop wisely, how to plan ahead for special activities, the importance of saving where needed, but splurging once in a while…so many lessons that I still use today. I’m so thankful for her giving and teaching spirit. What a gift it was!
There’s a bit more to come, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!
Does this bring to mind some things that you’re most thankful for about your mother?
Less than a month ago, my precious mother passed away. She had a long, healthy and independent life, having celebrated her 91st birthday in January. Of course, that doesn’t take away any of the sadness of having her gone. Even though our personalities were quite different, we had many things in common…talents, interests, love of travel, etc. In honor of her on Mother’s Day, I thought I’d take some time to remember some of the things that I cherish most about our 50 plus years together. She was an amazing woman and a true friend and encourager to me, while still being my mom.
Let me start by saying that Mom’s primary love language was gift giving. Even though she was constantly on a limited budget, her favorite thing to do was find reasons to buy us special treats and take us special places.
She was always quick to offer a cool washcloth on my forehead when I had a fever
Hot tea with lemon to drink when I had a sore throat
Campbell’s Cream of Tomato soup with oyster crackers always hit the spot when I had a cold
I always loved staying home from school and watching TV, reading books and coloring in my cozy spot on the coach when I was ill. Partially because it gave me a chance to have 1-on-1 time with Mom when all the other siblings were at school, but also because she always made me feel so loved and cared for.
For many years, Mom made it a point to buy each of us an entirely new outfit for Easter Sunday. For the girls it wasn’t just a new dress, but matching socks, shoes, purse, gloves and even a hat! This special day of getting all decked out to attend church and then attend big family potlucks and Easter egg hunts was so much fun! It was even more special because we only got new clothes a few times a year.
Easter morning was also filled with sweets and treats of all kinds. Another chance for Mom to show us how much she loved us and how she wanted to spoil us. I’m sure her sparse childhood during the Great Depression motivated her to try to make up for it in our young lives.
She was also our biggest helper with school projects. Mostly she would brainstorm with me about supplies and ideas, then was my cheerleader rather than hands-on helper, so I could work through it and have success on my own merits. I’m so thankful that she didn’t feel the need to do most of it herself. What’s the point in that?
The aroma of big pots of spaghetti, slumgullion or one of my favorites, Pot roast on Sundays wafting through the house welcomed us home! I learned to cook from her without using recipes. Now I’m not intimidated if I don’t have all the exact ingredients for a new dish. I just see what’s in the cupboards and improvise something similar. Thanks Mom.
Occasionally Mom made Liver and onions, which I hated. She always made me eat a few tiny bites, which I reluctantly gagged down with huge gulps of milk. She said it was good for me, but it always tasted like I was eating a vitamin pill for dinner. Ugh! Guess what dish she taught me how to make first? Maybe she thought if I cooked it I’d eat it more. Oh well.
Today my sister reminded me of my mom’s button tin.
Some of my earliest memories are of my fingers sifting through this smorgasbord of buttons when I was too small to even get the lid open by myself.
As I grew older, on many occasions, I’m sure I dumped the contents all over the floor and watched the discs roll in every direction. Then I painstakingly searched all the nooks and crannies until they were safely recovered.
My mom wasn’t really what you would call a seamstress. She didn’t make our day-to-day clothes, but as someone who grew up during the depression she could handle any utilitarian task.
For years she created our Halloween costumes from scratch with lots of hand sewing involved.
She taught me how to sew on a button. I replaced missing buttons on my clothes, but also used them to make eyes for my sock puppets.
Mom also taught me how to mend the holes in my socks, which wasn’t so easy. I really didn’t like wearing socks that had been mended, because the repaired spot was always lumpy and felt strange. Sometimes it rubbed the wrong way on my feet and just bugged me. When I got older I decided that socks were cheap enough that I could get new ones instead of having to mend them. Now I use them for cleaning rags when they wear out. It’s much easier on my feet and my mending pile.
My Barbie doll wardrobe was created with a running stitch at the edge of a piece of fabric, carefully gathered into the shape of a flowing skirt.
I can still sew a mean blind stitch to hem my pants and dresses. I’m not sure if I learned that from her or in my 7th grade Home Economics class. Every person in the 7th grade, boys and girls included, were required to take Home Economics and Wood Shop. I loved them both! Home Ec was the class where I learned how to sew on a machine. We practiced curves and corners on paper without thread to begin with, then graduated to thread and eventually to fabric. I still remember the gold pin-wale corduroy jumper that I made in that class.
I don’t remember my mom having a sewing machine. Everything she did was by hand.
Mom’ll be 90 years old in January and she’s still proficient at hand sewing. She hems her own pants, shortens and hems her shirt sleeves – they need to be 3/4 length, otherwise they get in her way. She also adds darts to the shoulder area of her blouses because her shoulders are rounded and she needs them to fit better.
Between my mom’s hand sewing lessons as a child, a hand quilting class that I took as a young wife and my Home Economics classes in Jr. High, I feel fairly comfortable with sewing.
I made several outfits for our kids when they were toddlers, sewed a red and blue baby quilt for my sister’s oldest son, Jason (I wonder what happened to it), made a fabric baby doll from scratch for my daughter, various crafts and some nice quilt squares that are still laying around somewhere. Someday maybe one of my kids or grandkids will make them into pillows or wall hangings or something.
Now, I’ve become the proud guardian of Mom’s lovely vintage tin filled with all sorts of buttons. When she was moving a year or so ago she was trying to simplify and decided that she didn’t need them all. She let me have the whole spectacular tin.
It’s more than just a button tin though. It’s filled with so many precious memories. Do you have a button box? Did your mom teach you to sew?
He was in a band when he was younger that made an album and now we get to announce the release of a long awaited 2nd recording!
Bob Ryan does all the song writing and Terry adds instruments to the arrangements. They’ve played at local venues as well as at the Tucson Folk Festival and Sunnyslope Art Walk. They’re anxious to share their love of music with everyone.
I can’t believe that my last post was on January 1st. Wow! So much has happened in the last few months. Some good, some sad. I’ll try to catch you up on a little bit of it.
In the beginning of the year I was winding down after the holidays and very focused on developing my website, Traveling With Purpose. Things were going along swimmingly and we were inching closer to launching the next phase of the site when things hit the proverbial fan.
At the end of January my husband’s mother was admitted to the hospital. It’s a long complex story, but the final result was that she has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. It’s called a low grade glioma and is rare in people her age. It’s much more common in children and teenagers. She was in and out of the hospital for over a week while they did tests and a biopsy to determine the diagnosis. Then due to the fact that she was showing signs of confusion, difficulty communicating and had not been cooking for herself, the family and medical team determined that it wouldn’t be wise for her to go home to Prescott by herself.
Since I was the only one in the immediate family (in Arizona) that wasn’t working and we have a guest room, we decided that she would come home with us for the time being. We realized that it would be best to have someone with her during the days and she has been with us since that time.
She is such a sweet woman and has always been so kind to me. It’s an honor to have her here.
This is Carole and her oldest son (my husband) on a Skype call with her sisters back east on Saint Patrick’s Day. We’re realizing that she understands a lot more visually than by talking on the phone or hearing someone talk. She sometimes doesn’t know who we’re talking about when we mention a name, but if we show her a photo she understands, so Skype is better than a phone call. We need to do more of it.
Mom is Irish through and through and she loves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. So much so, that she requested that we bring down her decorations from her house so we could use them here. I don’t have a lot of St. Paddy’s decor, so it was fun to have her items to scatter around the house. As you can see she was dressed for the day as well, with her Snoopy sweatshirt and Leprechaun socks.
And of course we had corned beef and cabbage, even though it’s really an American Irish tradition. We all love it. I always cook it in the crock pot, which makes it so easy. For the first batch, I added chicken broth to the water, and for the second I added Guinness Black Lager (brewed in Dublin). Mmmm, both were very tasty. I cooked the 2nd one a week or so later to go with the potatoes and carrots that we had leftover from the first batch. Let me know if you want the recipe. So since the end of January we have all been busy with doctors and more tests, discussions about treatment options and how to best care for her in the coming months/years. They have a big family, so we’ve had lots of visitors to the house. She really enjoys her visitors for the most part. She’s been eating much better and has good times and bad when it comes to understanding all that’s happening around her. She will be starting radiation treatments next week…once a day, five days a week for 6 weeks. We’re praying that the side effects will be minimal, but we’ll see how she does with it all. The difficulty will be in explaining any side effects in a way that she can understand so that she wants to keep going with it.
Please keep her in your prayers. There is a very slim chance for improvement in her condition with the radiation, but mostly it’s just to slow down the growth of the tumor.
So this is just a part of what’s been going on since the first of the year. Am I forgiven for being away so long? What has your new year brought?
More to come on everything else…and there’s a LOT more.