Time to play, “The Matching Game.” It was my husband who collected Hallmark ornaments. First Star Trek and then later, when they were released, Star Wars. He always said they were worth more if we kept the boxes too. Unpacking boxes and unwrapping from bubble wrap to hang them on the tree. Then, less than a month later, pairing up the ornament with the picture on the box and wrapping them up in plastic bubble protection once more. Love. His for space movies and their universe of collectibles. Mine for him. Our sons share his love of SciFi. I’m boxing them up carefully because someday this collection will be divided between my boys and hang in their respective homes. When that day comes there will be room on my tree for different ornaments. You know, all the non-SciFi ones.

January 1, 2014
2:35pm
I’m still procrastinating by writing, but at least I started AND I’m standing up!

like coke bottles

Teenage boy was up and at ‘em early today. We enjoyed sharing morning quiet time. Visiting. Breakfasting without a rush.
I went in to wake up ATB at 7:09am and said, “Last day of school before Christmas Vacation.” I sort of sing-songed it. I picked up his glasses to clean ‘em, from where they were sitting on the nightstand beside his bed. Sweet boy rolled over, while rubbing his eyes awake, and calmly said, “Mom, there are already coke bottles going off inside me.” Even after drinking my morning coffee I still had to ask, “Coke bottles?” My ten year old boy replied, “Mentos. Diet coke. Get it?!” Oh, yes. I so do. Christmastime is for children and grown ups who don’t really wanna be “adults” at all. Christmas is magic, excitement and lots of happy energy about to combust. It’s a feeling that, if you’re lucky, always stays with you. Joy that bubbles up from deep inside.
My first conversation of the morning was with a teacher on the sidewalk. It was sometime before 6am, maybe before 5am. I’m not sure of the time exactly. “Early” covers it completely. I was walking with my Blue dog. We were sort of lollygagging along. She had Blue’s best buddy, Jake, who was dancing at the end of his leash. We visited like the neighbors and friends we are, as the dogs romped and played. I said, “I’m praying for ALL the teachers today.” We shared a smile under the streetlights glow.
Now I know the fifth grade boy description of what it feels like: Every child has coke bottles inside them, you know, like mentos and diet coke. (I’m being sort of a grown up and resisting adding the “Duh.”)
I treated my younger boy a little bit today, by offering to drive him, instead of waiting in the drizzling rain to ride the bus per usual. He needed a little less rush too. By 8:40am both my sons were delivered safely to school.
Their days will go by fast. Mine will too. For this quiet moment though, while I catch my breath and plan, Blue is curled up next to me, each of us on our favorite halves of the family room love seat. I need to make a mega list and wrap up the remaining Christmas To Do. Best of all, I’ll be smiling about coke bottles while I do. Oh, how I love them, and rejoice in the gift of my two sons. Christmas time is about the birth of God’s Son. Long ago. In a land afar. Angels first foretold, then announced his birth. Shepherds followed a star. Wise men began the journey to meet him. Baby Jesus. Born of a virgin. Joseph the carpenter was there, beside the manger. His mother, Mary, pondered all these things in her heart. I’ve always loved that quiet little verse, nestled in Luke 2. I’m a heart ponderer too. Everything changes in a moment. My phone rang, Blue jumped down and front window wild woofed, only to return again to curl beside me, as I work to wrap this up. My heart squeezes, my eyes leak. Tears of joy and the ring of laughter intertwines with the ache of grief. Life goes on. Christmas is coming, whether I’m “ready” or not. I’ll be ready, well, ready enough. Joy. Peace. Hope. Love. Blessings. Thankfulness. The Gift of God’s Son. Christmastime. Like coke bottles going off inside. That covers all the important stuff.

December 20, 2013
Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

Life whirl

Life whirls by fast, like a marvelous dance.
Then the music stops and you’re dancing alone.

Some couples twirl for many decades.
They marry in their 20’s.
Their family grows with the arrival of babies.
Those babies grow to school age, then graduate from college.
Suddenly your babies have babies of their own.
Decades have flown.
The couple still holds hands and smiles.
They still stand and sway when music plays.
Inside they feel the same.
Outside their hair is silver.
They move a l’il slow, but get there.

Other couples have the music stop abruptly.
It’s the last thing they expect.
They spent a l’il over two decades together.
That’s all ‘twas meant to be.
She sat in the cemetery between their children,
as his body was laid to rest.
They won’t be dancing at their children’s weddings.
He’ll be watching from Heaven instead.

Life whirls by fast, like a marvelous dance.
Then the music stops and you’re dancing alone.
Life still whirls by at a breakneck pace.
Yet, your pace is set on savor.
Home feels good, like a cozy cocoon.
You venture out when necessary.
You pause and marvel at the sunrise.
You lift your face to feel the noonday sun.
You watch the moon wax then wane, and feel a tug.
Days pass.
Nights too.
Family and friends cross your doorstep.
Giving and receiving hugs for hello and goodbye.
Laughter returns, as joy bubbles from within.
Life whirls on.
Dance.
Set your own pace.

I do.
In the kitchen.
Alone.

December 19, 2013
I wish I could tag this “creative writing,” but it is a true story. Mine. After a two year and three month cancer fight, my husband died in August of this year. He had just turned 43. I was still 41. Now I’m 42. We were together over 21 years, counting from our first date. Together nearly half my life, married for 16. I didn’t want to write this poem, but when the words are there you learn to honor them and let them flow. Even when they make you cry crocodile tears that fall as you do. Perhaps this is why my dog was awake extra early today. Coffee and breakfast are next for me while my boys sleep a l’il longer and I can soak up the quiet of the house before chaos and commotion reign again. Zany. Crazy. Wild. Ornery. Rambunctious. Loud. LIFE! It is for living. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of today.
Love,
Janean

P.S. Nearly included this line, “Not quite four months ago, and it’s still hard to believe.” Adding it here as a footnote for now, to mull over later. It’s time to make that coffee, turn on music with the volume low, sing along and sway.

Taking Stock…The Things That Matter Most: my body…broke insideso no one can seebut i know now i will be finei’m…

takingstockofwhatmattersmost:

my body…broke inside
so no one can see
but i know now i will be fine
i’m on my knees…finally me

i look to the Heavens
my arms spread open wide
sometimes Faith takes time
for those who are broke…inside

He see’s what others cannot
He accepts my faults from above
He takes my hand and leads me home
He sacrificed His Son to show His love

He is my refuge and my fortress
He is where my strength comes from
He protects me in the shadow of His wings
He cares for me, loves me
He forgives me again and again
He provides for the sparrows
and also for me and my boys
I am thankful
So very thankful
What a journey it has been
Climbing mountains so steep
Wandering in the vast wilderness
Desert dry as we sought an oasis
Mountains moved by Faith
Paths appearing where there seemed no way
Hope springing eternal
A fount of many blessings
Through it all we pray
Renewal in the final weeks
Walking through the valley
of the shadow of death
God’s promises are real
His covenants
He goes before you
He prepares the way
Fear not
Do not be ashamed
He will never leave you
Pray “Your will, not mine”
Be still
and know that He is God
The God of Moses
The God of Daniel
The God of David
Father of Jesus
He is our Father
in Heaven
He is there
He will heal your heart
Trust Him today

October 27, 2013
two months and a day since my husband died

Taking Stock…The Things That Matter Most: my body…broke insideso no one can seebut i know now i will be finei’m…

Chicken Italiano laughs

Supper was nice. The three of us sat down to eat. Then, my oldest son spilled half his drink onto his plate. I was glad I cooked a bunch o’noodles because there was plenty to dish up more. Erin, my friend since second grade, and my mother remember the story I told next… About the night I made crockpot Chicken Italiano long ago, a nice supper. I can’t recall the year right now, but my oldest son cried all through supper about it being, “the worst day ever” because we expected him to taste/try the delicious food I’d made. My husband picked out all the tomato chunks out of the pasta sauce and left them on his plate. Then my youngest son accidentally spilled his ice water into his dad’s lap, at which point my husband’s plate, with uneaten tomato chunks, flipped into the sliding glass door blinds. I made a nice supper!!!! This is what happened instead that night. I remember. The boys laughed tonight in the retelling. There is more to the story, but it is a Blue-emergency. Today was/is A Good One. Best of all, it’s not over yet.

October 2, 2013

a pasta smile

Cooking TIE fighter pasta for supper tonight. That’d be “farfalle” or “bow ties” for the rest of you. My husband came up with the Star Wars name to convince our sons to try eating pasta in a new shape. The name stuck. Tonight when I said I was cooking “tubes” or “TIE fighters” my oldest boy requested the latter. I’m cooking it using the super fancy, really nice, saucepan with a strainer insert that my husband and the boys gave me one Christmas. (This was a week or so after I tried to drain the pasta fast, using just the saucepan lid to drain the water, and instead poured our supper into the sink with the garbage disposal.) Oops. May the force be with you.

October 2, 2013

a l’il lollygagging

I put on wake up clothes to walk Blue on our usual route through the park. Now the dog and I are home and my youngest son is awake early (because today is not a school day). I suspect my teenage boy stayed up late reading to finish the last 100 pages of his book. I’m going to put my pjs back on, add my cozy robe in the lightest shade of blue, and have breakfast next. Happy Saturday to you!

September 14, 2013

I baked the cake I promised my boys yesterday, after I said, “No” at the grocery store. They were both drooling over a display of square cakes near the bakery decorated in patriotic red, white and blue. Two heart shaped chocolate cakes are cooling atop the oven now. Those two cake loving boys are still sleeping which meant I got to lick the beaters, bowl and spatula all by myself. It’s a good thing I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror to clean the telltale chocolate cake batter off of my face before they wake up. I’m tackling the thistle roots in the garden next. It must be Saturday morning.

June 29, 2013

kitchen thoughts

blue skies and sunshine today
birdsong too
the boys in my house are still sleeping
even that big dog, Blue
once home from our walk
he fell back asleep
looks like he’s crashed for awhile
I’m putting coffee on and cooking an egg
“blue skies and sunshine”
the title of the painting I did
as part of a public mural
one rectangle among many
to decorate the downtown
I painted within a panoramic rectangle
sized 10’ wide by 3’ tall
while balancing atop scaffolding two stories up
that was a year ago
(yet it seems further away)
today I’m reminiscing
because it’s mural dedication day
complete with blue skies and sunshine
which feels very apropos

June 8, 2013
as of 7:40 a.m. on Saturday morning

I’m letting Blue dog curl up next to me in the empty love seat spot
There is a doorknob jangle
Nearly 8:00am
First boy is out of bed
My oldest, The Early Bird (like me)
He saw Blue on the love seat and said, “Oh boy. Mom!”
Then he pet Blue and said, “Look at him. He likes this I betcha.”
Yep. He does. Spoiled rotten love him too much Blue dog.
Nearly 9:00am now
Youngest son joins us in the family room and says, “There’s another Blue on the couch.”
To the dog he says, “Blue, you’re in my spot.”
What follows made me laugh aloud…
Youngest boy climbs across arm of love seat, surprised dog gets down, then once my nine year old son is tucked tightly up against my side, Blue jumps up again in the space remaining
Quiet from earlier is replaced with a WWII show from History channel being played back via DVR
Saturday morning has truly begun
Blue is even sleeping on the floor
Breakfast for the boys is next
Good morning

May 18, 2013