A Happy Birthday

My daughter pleased as punch
that she found
“the gift that keeps giving”
a bracelet with charms
to be added on
every special occasion-
she should know just being
remembered by her is
the gift that keeps giving

City BBQ with a friend,
Cheering our Colts to a win
and a perfect gift-
a writing journal

Great-nephew popping out
from his hiding place
and bursting into the
Happy Birthday song
then making cracks
about my old age

Hibachi dinner with
my sister,
talking and laughing
and a gift card for movies-
more fun to come
A birthday cupcake
with frosting piled high
and topped with sprinkles
One candle for a wish

Greetings from many-
All touch my heart
And make me feel loved

Posted in celebrations, home and family, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Haunting My Thoughts

I heard it on the news this morning, and it is haunting my thoughts. A gas station/convenience store owner telling the story of what is going on in his business. The accompanying video showing escalating violence. This man, his store, and his customers are being victimized by high school boys who come to the store in a group of five or six. One holds the door open while the others rush in to steal whatever they can quickly grab. Then they run off. While the owner calls 911, the boys are long gone before help arrives. This robbery is troubling enough, especially since it has occurred repeatedly. But their most recent spree included a new and terrifying tactic. One of the boys wielded a sock to attack bystanders. Sound amusing? Inside the sock there was a glass bottle.

This story is haunting my thoughts today…

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Across the street from our school is a church, which not too long ago was purchased by a new congregation, a group of African refugees. The building had fallen into a state of disrepair. The church members began working diligently, rebuilding the front steps, painting the trim, creating a new sign. The men were there working day after day, very devoted to their task. Once the work was finished, though, we didn’t see groups gathering during the week for church programs. A couple of teachers who live near the school reported seeing a big crowd on Sunday.

Recently, there has been more activity during the week. One afternoon as I was leaving school, a man in white robes was pacing in front of the church. He was practicing his sermon. He was very devoted to his preparation. I recognized that pacing, having seen my husband do that same kind of pacing many times during his sermon preparation.

A few days later, as I drove down the street approaching school a little after 7, a woman in white robes and a white cap was on the steps of the church. Her hands were clasped in prayer. She was devoted to her prayers so early in the morning. I was inspired.

Except as I got closer I could see her hands were clasped around a cell phone, not clasped in prayer. Very devoted.

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A Simple Celebration

A few minutes after I woke up this morning, as I was still sitting in bed reading (a Saturday morning luxury to celebrate), rain began falling. The soft kind of rain. Rain with that rhythmic, soothing sound. I am thankful for that sound, calming like music, yet somehow reaching even deeper than music. God’s whisper…

Posted in celebrations, faith | 7 Comments

Celebrating the Gift of Memory

I ate a bowl of cereal this morning. An ordinary bowl of Corn Flakes. I sprinkled a little sugar atop the flakes before pouring on the milk. And I remembered a story of my mother’s.

When she was a teenager, just out of high school, the family experienced a great loss. One of her sisters, still young herself, but married with young daughters, died unexpectedly. My mother was sent to care for the little girls. She had many memories of that time, many deep life lessons learned. Some of the memories were heart wrenching- like the long-haired little niece who cried when she brushed and braided her hair because “You don’t do it like Mommy!” But some of the memories were a little more light-hearted- like a morning when she set bowls of Corn Flakes before the little girls, sprinkled with sugar, topped with cold milk. The first one to taste them looked at her with shock on her face and exclaimed, “Aunt Verrena, why did you put salt on my cereal?!”

I love it when a story, a memory pops up, just out of the blue. All it takes is some small link to bring moments from the past to life, to be enjoyed or pondered again. Memory is an amazing, ordinary part of life that I celebrate today.

Posted in celebrations, home and family, memories | 6 Comments

Purple Shampoo

Many of my relatives on my mom’s side of the family share a couple of characteristics- most of us in the Blankenship clan start getting gray at a young age and when our hair finally turns all gray, it is actually white. My mom often spoke of her dad saying to his eleven offspring when they started seeing those first grays, “If you pull out one gray hair, two will grow back.”

My mom was one of those ladies who went to the beauty shop every week to get her hair done-teased and sprayed so the style would last all week. And every 4-6 weeks, the visit included getting her hair colored. Overs the years the color got gradually lighter, further and further from the dark black hair she was born with. She was almost eighty when she finally let her hair go natural. It was beautiful- soft and white.

Mom was the one who talked me into coloring my hair. I was forty when my daughter was adopted. My mom said I would have enough people calling me her grandma without gray hair. She also said in her experience, in the working world people did not treat a woman with gray hair the same. So for many years, I dyed my hair. It wasn’t too bad when I got it done at the salon. Eventually, though, I started doing it at home. Although I got nice results, I always dreaded doing it.

In my early 60’s, I had had enough. Keeping my hair cut short, I let it grow out. True to my Blankenship heritage, it is now white. At my last haircut, the stylist asked me if I was using purple shampoo. He wasn’t very tactful about it, either. He said, “It will keep you from getting this yellowing in the back.”

So I looked for some purple shampoo. I found it at Walmart. It is really purple, too. I haven’t decided if my hair is any whiter or shinier from using it. But I will admit, that squirt of purple makes me smile.

Posted in home and family, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Writing Slump

It seems like I have been in a writing slump lately. I don’t really know why. There has certainly been enough going on- back to school, wedding plans underway for my daughter, my daughter getting her first job, my great-nephew’s birthday, going to movies and dinner with my sister- lots of good things happening, lots I could write about. Maybe it was the effect of the hot, steamy weather. But we’ve had a few gorgeous days- still warm and sunny, but not so humid- that should wipe out the weather theory. So today I am just going to try to capture some random thoughts. I don’t want another week to go by without writing on Tuesday.

I’m happy to be back at school. Love being with the kids. But it seems exhausting, trying to get back into the routine.

My daughter and one of her bridesmaids went shopping, bought some flowers on clearance, and made bridesmaids bouquets, very pretty, for less than $40!

The bride and groom went to a bakery for cake-tasting and decided on the cake they want.

After her first day of training for her new job, my daughter is excited about her co-workers and job.

I found a cute pair of scissors made to look like the Eiffel Tower to include along with the bridal shower gift. (My daughter dreams of going to Paris someday.)

Simone Biles was so amazing at the Olympics, as well as Michael Phelps. The Olympics always provides so many great stories.

Praying for my friend battling cancer. At her last treatment, she began having a reaction to the drug which so far had the cancer in retreat (for the third time). She wants so badly to be able to finish the course of treatment. She has a couple more cycles to go.

My almost 11 year old nephew talks about the things he prays for. Isn’t that something?!

Trying to get a group of third graders all started on a computer program is trying.

I got four summer dresses, all the same style as one I already had, just different colors, and I have enjoyed the ease of dressing for school.

Last time I got my hair cut, the stylist said I should use “purple shampoo.” I found some to try.

Florence Foster Jenkins was a kind of odd movie. Meryl Streep is a great actress, though.

It was sunny and breezy Sunday. I loved the sunlight filtering through the leaves as they rippled in the wind, and the contrast of blue sky and green trees.

During the hot and humid weather, we had an unexpected thunderstorm right at dismissal one day. Lightning struck on the parking lot as kids and teachers were heading out to the busses. There was a huge boom and inside the lights all went out for a few seconds and then came back on. Kids were screaming. It was scary. Several people closest to it felt it, but no one actually was struck by lightning. It could have been a tragedy. We were spared.

I think I’ll stop by for a bowl of my favorite Mexican chicken and rice soup with avocado on the way home.

So you see, I really do have a lot to write about. Hope the slump is over!

Posted in random thoughts | 9 Comments