A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. Lou Holtz

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The baby chickadees are learning how to fly by using the back porch as their obstacle course.  I stood for 15 mins watching them tremble on the arm of one chair, and hop with wings spread to the next chair, wobbling when landing.  In just those few minutes, I saw a confidence in the babies start to grow.  They landed with a little more bravado, and one even decided to join the orange decorative bird on the shelf, surprised by the wire under its tiny feet, instead of a sturdy board, it teetered there its short tail feathers not long enough to really offer much balancing help…yet.

I didn’t move to get my camera, I just watched as it settled, its little heart fluttering the downy feathers at its breast.  The orange painted bird stood stoically beside it, and if it could speak, I think it would say, “I wish I could fly”.


Saving Marge

1897985_10201408186713543_223053923_n 1655882_10201408186473537_361554792_nMy friend called and left a message on my phone on a beautiful Autumn evening last October.  She said, “Well, I have leukemia and am headed downtown.  They got a bed for me right away, and I will begin treatment immediately.  Please say prayers, and put me on the prayer chain.  I am told I’ll feel pretty bad soon, but I feel really good right now, love you…”

She’d gone for a skin check and the doc noticed bruises and one call after another call and one appointment after another, and then she was in the hospital and a million times sicker feeling than when she went in.  Oh, the irony of chemotherapy and cancer.

Marge endured months of treatment, and every side effect that you can imagine, she had someone with her most the time, her daughter mostly, and other family.  Marge is the “card lady” she sends literally hundreds of cards a year to random people, forget about birthdays, you get birthday cards, Marge sends them when you don’t expect them.  Her writing is hard to read, which is also a lovely irony about Marge.  You can only imagine the cards she received in the hospital, I’m told hundreds.  All the years of random kindness turned into mail bags full of mail, returned with love.

Marge is a beautiful Christian woman, she has a naughty side to her, too, and I find that blend of faithfulness and naughtiness so irresistible.  She is always laughing, she is always making others laugh, she’s always chatting when we are supposed to be quiet, and she is a DELIGHT to know.

She was a teacher, she got her last degree just a few years ago before turning 80.  She’s traveled all around the world, and knows not a single stranger.  Marge has maintained lifelong friendships even though many miles may separate them, Marge shows that love has no understanding of miles or space, it’s all what is in the heart.

Marge was declared cancer free in December, and put on low dose chemo that she will take for the rest of her life, until they found out that it wasn’t really doing any good, so she continued on with getting her blood checked weekly, and basically getting infusions weekly of whole blood or platelets, and here it is June and she’s not only ticking, she’s thriving and it’s all because of the goodness and mercy and the burden placed on people to give blood.  Oh, and God, she is considered a miracle on two cute feet.

We had a blood drive at church a few months ago that brought the largest crowd ever, and we know it was because of Marge.  The phone rang at our house a few weeks ago and Rick saw it was the Heartland Blood Centers and normally, he admits, he would just let the phone ring, but he picked it up…because of Marge.  He was told my blood type A+ was in severe demand, we went right over after work, and as I watched the blood flow through the tube, I prayed for the person or persons who would receive it.  I saw Marge’s face, her beautiful eyes, and that infectious smile, and I thought about all the people who love the person or persons who will receive this bit of my blood, and how grateful they will be to have the one they love with them longer because of this life source.

The doctors say Marge is a miracle.  But the real miracle is not only Marge’s beautiful life, it’s the love that brings people to the blood centers from one ocean to the other because they know that it is saving their beautiful friend, and if it’s saving her, it will save many more.  Something so scary and so hard has turned into a lifesaver for strangers across this great land.  The miracle is Marge and the way she’s conducted her life and her faith, and gathered friends and honored them, and now their blood is coursing through the veins of others and saving lives.

We make our plans, but truly, God is the One who has it all worked out, and through one person’s faith and friendships, He heals thousands.



Put a Cap On It

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So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  For me it’s caps.  I want the original caps on until the vessel they came on are empty.  I have a weird affinity to proper capping technique.  In the world of face creams, hair products, tooth pastes, and cleaning products, there are funky caps that can easily be lost, but that is not acceptable in our house, particularly in the girls bathroom.

In our house, we have a boys bathroom and a girls bathroom, even though, I don’t think it was ever a spoken deal, it just happened that way.  One day after I’d taken my nightly bath, I was brushing my teeth and I heard Ricky ask his dad, “Dad, why doesn’t our bathroom smell as good as the girls’?”  That still makes me smile, but anyhow, back to the caps.

Thankfully, Bethani has also inherited  this quirky flaw in our character, and is equally as obsessed in making sure the caps get on, and they get on the right tube.  I love that about her, because, even if there is some clutter in the bathroom, it can easily be solved because the correct caps are on the correct spray cans or hair products and contact solutions.

It seems so simple, but, it makes sense and creates a certain kind of order in the bathroom, and even more, when I take the time to put the right cap on the product, it shows I value it and the money I spent on it.  Girlie (even guy) stuff does not come cheap anymore, and there’s a product for everything–straightener, curly hair serum, SPF 30 lotion, night cream, day cream, zit cream, exfoliant, tooth whitener, contacts solution, contact cleaner, contact sterilizer, patchouli lotion, lavender lotion, lemon grass lotion, basil and lemon bath oil…face cleanser, hair gel curly, hair gel straight..  Aye yi yi!  Just put the right cap on that’s all I’m askin’, then I’ll be happy.



What This Man Saw His Little Boy Doing Is Amazing. But What Happened Next? Even Better.

I cannot write today anything more powerful than the heart of this little boy and the father who loves him. Hug your pooches, and be glad for those who love the “unlovable”. Precious.

Kindness Blog

It’s not every day that you come across a story that is this inspiring.

A few months ago, news emerged about a little boy in the Philippines named Ken who began taking walks every day. His father followed him out of curiosity and discovered that his loving son was looking after three very sick puppies that were living on the streets. After that, Ken and his dad Kay began looking out for them.

Not long after discovering the puppies, Ken and his dad decided to rescue them. First, they were taken off of the streets and put into a temporary home inside of a garage. Given the nature of their mange, they had to be isolated and handled carefully.

That decision to rescue them turned into so much more: The Happy Animals Club.

Ken had wanted to start an animal shelter since he was 8 years old.

What This Man Saw His Little Boy Doing Is Amazing. But What Happened Next? Even Better.

So it makes sense that…

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Walk for a Dog


Eugene, Lily Belle, and I and our friends are making money for local shelters just by putting one foot or paw in front of the other foot or paw.  Walk for a Dog (Wooftrax.com) measures your walks and for each mile logged, they will contribute money to a shelter of your choosing.  Lily Belle, Eugene and I have chosen As Good As Gold Golden Retriever Rescue.  Who knew that such a fabulous time with our dogs could help animals in need?

I am goal oriented, you know how I love numbers, well, I need to lose a few numbers on the scale if you know what I mean, sigh.  So, my goal with Eugene and Lily Belle is to log in 40 miles before twinsie’s and my trip to see our dad in New Jersey in July.  That’s means roughly 15-18 walks on the river or at the doggie park.  Of course in my mind, I plan to overcome that number by at least half, but if not, I want to be successful and maybe lose a few numbers on the scale while I’m at it.

All I have to do in our house is say “Doggie Park” and I have two very attentive canine’s at my beck and call.  I find it ingenious that someone would come up with a way to walk your dog, and raise money for shelters and rescues.  It’s a win, win, win situation, because I will have a healthier body, my dogs with be healthier, and so will the rescues!

Check out the app website www.wooftrax.com and consider joining us taking one step at a time to help the less fortunate.  If you don’t have a poochie, don’t fret, you can still log in miles by virtually walking “Cassie” one of the developer’s dogs.

All you need is a pair of sneakers, a phone, and a dog or a virtual dog, and you are on your way to making a difference in the lives of animals in need across the country one step at a time.



photo (3)When my husband and I were dating, his sister, who was my good friend and worked for four months to convince me to meet her brother, said, “When you have children, I want them to call me Aunt Rie Rie”.  And so they did.

I get the auntie thing.  Twinsie and I were eleven when our first nephew was born, and we spent hours holding up this infant saying, “I’m your Aunt Bonnie, and I’m your Aunt Beckie.”  We could not wait to be called “Aunt”.  We tested him all the time when he was first starting to talk, and I bet these were some of his first words, I kid you not. This little being was connected to us through our beloved big sissy, and we were proud to be his and later his brother’s and then their cousins’, Aunties.

Even to this day, while I do not beg, I let it known I don’t care how old you get to be — our first will be 44 — please still call me Aunt Bonnie.  And he does, God love my sweet baby, they all do.

But, I’m a little confused by the grandma and grandpa thing.  I hear from a lot of friends they feel those names conjure up an old person’s face, and they aren’t old!!!  Or some, like my sister-in-law just love to have a fun name.  So, they go with all kinds of names, and I never can keep them straight.  Are you Mawmaw?  MeeMaw?  MeeMee? MooMaw?  Paw Paw, Pee Paw, Pop Pop, TuTu? What?

It’s not a secret that I want to be called Grandma or Grammy, and if my children continue the way they have, one will not have to go far to conjure up the face of an old person when I finally am made a Grammy…  Hint.  But, then it comes to my two “other” children.  No, hubby doesn’t have two surprise children, I’m talking about twinsie’s girls.  I have been with them from birth, literally hands on at birth, even got twinsie’s epidural medicine shot into my face as she leaned into me and the syringe popped out of the catheter and sprayed my face.

As I tried to stay calm, I was thinking, Oh MY GOSH, I’m going to be blind and not see my niece ever, and it will be remembered that I was BLINDED on the day of her birth by the epidural... Thankfully, it led only to having a completely numb face, including my lips, inside my nose and my eyes.  So, yah, I didn’t give birth to them, per se, but they have been my girls, just as my children have been twinsie’s as she was present at their births, too, so Aunt Bonnie just seems too ordinary of a name for their kids to call me. And we’ve not begun the discussion for twinsie’s name…yet…

Actually, it started a few years ago when the girls were talking and saying, “We need to find the perfect name for our kids to call you, Aunt Bonnie.” And I had to try hard to keep my heart from  popping out of my chest from such love.

So, recently, I have been thinking a bit more about it, and I should say right now, that all my great nieces and nephews are special to us, so much that Uncle Rick and I go shopping for weeks for all kinds of kiddie stuff, have a kiddie table, and lots of goodies for our sweet great nephews and nieces when they come to visit.  We are in love with them as much as we are in love with their parents.  I mean, you can’t imagine how an auntie’s and uncle’s heart can hold all that love without exploding.

But, these little ones, they will be here, we will be called upon to babysit, YAY, and there is a physical and emotional connection to these girls having babies, since, we literally helped raise them.  We’re talking about  “eat your supper (they loved my cooking) and do your homework” kind of raising while my twin and her hubby got the business off the ground.  And it was the same for my kids as I worked late at the hospital, so these four truly do have two moms for sure and actually feel more like siblings than they do cousins.

So, about this name.  I came up with this on my own after a few months of rationalizing my need to have a different name.  So, the other day at the shop, it was twinsie, me and the girls, and I finally said, “I’ve come up with my name for your children.”  They all looked at me, and I was feeling oh so bashful, because I’m usually not THAT person, but I took a deep breath and said, “Nonnie”.  And we all laughed and loved it and decided it was the best name ever to call me and twinsie and I smiled those big momma smiles because, yah, it’s fun, just like when we were just dreaming about having babies and remembering holding up our first nephew and schooling him in our names.  It just means something.  Something important and real and meaningful for our babies to have babies, and for us to have our special names.




And the Beat Goes On…

downloadI wake in the morning and I have to slow my thoughts.  There is so much I want to do in the wee hours.  I want to walk the hills and paths at the doggie park by the river and watch Eugene splash around in the water, and sit and feel the early sun on my face. I want to write my blog, as a million ideas are chatting like a bunch of old ladies in my mind and heart, each speaking over the other to be heard.  Of course, I want to play my sis-in-law and try to beat her on Words With Friends, and catch up with my friends on Facebook, and I could really do a little housework every morning…and soon I’ll be watering my flower gardens as I swat blood sucking mosquitos from my damp flesh. And I can’t do it all in the few hours I have before I go to work, so I have to choose, and it’s a close fight this morning between the ladies chatting in my head and the doggie park.

I used to take Brinkley to the doggie park a lot, and I can’t remember what was troubling me during a certain time, but it was late in a not very snowy winter, and so I bundled up, passed by the dog people with their cups of coffee steaming in their hands, and Brinkley and I would head down the steep rocky hill to settle on a stump at the water’s edge and I would sit for a long while with Brinkley beside me looking out over the cold water while the sun came up in earnest. And I would think.

I don’t remember now what was so troubling that I needed to meditate through it on the river those months, and it just goes to show that most things causing us to worry and be anxious do pass and are forgotten, even though they become part of who we are, just by having lived through them with a big yellow dog at our side, and a muddy river flowing unceasingly like time on a clock, or calendar pages floating lazily — discarded one month at a time — to the ground.

Today, I chose the blog and my abs and strength training exercises.  I simply don’t have time to do both the blog and the doggie park/walk and exercise  and get to work at a decent hour.  When I started my blog which was exactly three months ago today, now with 74 blog posts (not including this one), 4205 hits, and 69 bloggers following along with another 20 or so non bloggers, I realized early on that I would not be able to get my blog written and my exercise or dog walking in and get to work at my usual hour, so I delayed my start time by one hour, and that seems to be working. Except when it’s busy and so I need to drop something else here to get there…  And so the beat goes on.

The choices I made today will impact many different things — my physical health, my emotional health, my doggie’s health, my writing health.  And those are just the ones that I CAN choose from, some I am unable to make a choice about  because they are there and I must take care of them because I am the one to do it. Like a very busy shop, and payroll, and flowers wilting in a summer drought. And yes, the beat goes on…and isn’t it wonderful?

I’m so grateful for this blog and for the people who take the time to read it.  A couple of days ago a beautiful woman stopped me to tell me that she reads my blog everyday and had not connected it to me.  She just read this “person’s” blog and it turned out to be a familiar stranger with whom she has many common connections and now the blog is another.  I got goose bumples all down my arms and legs as she was talking to me, because it was amazing that this person related to what I’m writing so much that she looks forward to reading it everyday.  She told me a lot of other complimentary things, but I honestly can’t remember them all right now, I just know that it made me feel like what I’m doing is relevant to more than just me, and worth more than just my time.  It’s worth hers.

Ring Around the Rosies…

Ring Around the RosieHubby and I were putzing in the yard and gardens last night and we could hear the children in the neighborhood singing, “Ring around the rosies, pockets full of posies. Ashes, ashes we all fall DOWN!” And then squeals of laughter and delight followed.  They sang it over and over again, and Rick and I couldn’t help but smile and be totally enchanted listening to their singing and laughter. We love our neighborhood with the sound of children’s voices ringing in the new summer.

We live in a lovely family neighborhood, that surrounds a “Co-op” where people with limited means are able to “buy” a town home with very little down, and then earn good credit, and some equity and move to a single family home, or wherever their hard work takes them.  When we first looked at this house 21 years ago, there was a field to the west of our neighborhood of 70s tri-levels, and the co-op and more expensive homes on the other side of it.  Grammy used to tell the ladies when I’d come and get her from her retirement high-rise in a nearby city that she was “Going to the country to be with Rick and Bonnie.”

The “country field” soon grew houses instead of corn, and raised children instead of chickens, so now our neighborhood is completely developed and it’s a mix of all levels of earning, and feels so great.

When we first walked into this house, everything about it said home, though, I didn’t like tri-levels, it had hardly any back yard, and was “newer”.  I wanted an old house, lots of old shade trees, and a big back yard, yet, when I walked into this house with twinsie at my side, we both knew that it was going to be the house Rick and I would buy.  With tons of windows facing the south, the house allowed me to stand in my kitchen and hear the children on all levels. Sit at my desk writing and see the kids in the kitchen.  I mean, it was a family home and besides that, it smelled really good, too.  Ask twinsie, she thought the same thing. Hubby was thrilled beyond measure that I had fallen in love with a newer home instead of an older one where the work lists were long (and little did we know all the work we’d do to this “new” house over the years.)

We had little children when we moved here, a gonna be 4th grader and gonna be 1st grader, a momma cat with four newly born babies Eenie, Meanie, Mynie, and Mo, and Paxton and Marty the dogs.  There were children up and down the street, it was a family home in a family neighborhood.  The co-op is a place where kids of all ages live, and so there were always kids here and there, riding trikes, training wheels and then bikes, and scooters, and skateboards.  Our neighborhood is surrounded by bike paths, and just a hilly mile to the river.

With Ricky now 30 and Bethani turning 27 tomorrow, all the kids that used to play on this block have grown and moved, or maybe still hang out around a fire in the back yard, or in garages watching the Hawks and playing beer pong.

But there is a new wave of young families coming now, and the kids are riding bikes, and scooters and hollering and chasing the last light of the day while singing Ring around the Rosies, and it feels so good to be the people who live in the house on a really great corner lot, with lots of room on either side of our house to play ball with Eugene, and sit in our garage and watch the kids riding back and forth, or stopping over to say hi and get some lovin’ from Lily Belle.  To be honest, it just makes us happy to hear children playing together as twilight draws near, and to watch and listen to them play up and down the street.  It’s just hopeful to us old parents who grow flowers instead of children, and wait for grandchildren…someday…to come and play.