Monthly Archives: March 2015

My Little Blossom

Stephanie and Sarah as little girls

“My Little Blossom”

A daughter is a gift from God.
There cannot be a finer thing
Than watching while she’s growing up.
Her growth reminds me of the Spring.

She’s just like a little blossom.
A tiny bud in bloom is she.
It seems she grows a bit each day,
Like a flowering apple tree.

She’s such a darling little girl.
Her personality is sweet.
She can’t help but be so charming,
And when she smiles, it’s quite a treat.

In her world, her dolls are babies
And all of her stuffed toys are real.
She plays her games of make-believe,
While playing dress-up with such zeal.

Her hugs and kisses are precious.
I melt when she says, “I love you.”
She drapes her arms around my neck,
And then I know her love is true.

I wish that my little blossom
Could remain forever with me.
But I know that she must grow up
To become her own apple tree.

P39

 

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The Wedding Gown

Today we were going to look for my daughter’s wedding gown for the first time. A huge wedding gown sale had been advertised and she was determined that today she was going to find hers.

“I know exactly what I want,” Sarah said. “I want something simple, understated and elegant.”

And so the search began.

But after trying on at least nine or ten gowns, Sarah still had not found the perfect wedding gown. A frown now replaced the excited smile that had lit up her lovely face earlier that morning.

“Sarah, there’s still one more rack.”

She rummaged through the rack and soon she became excited and hopeful again.

“Look! I found two gowns I’d like to try on!”

Her cheeks were rosy with excitement and there was a smile of happiness on her face. I kept my fingers crossed.

The first gown was white and strapless with embroidered tiny pale violet flowers and small pearls in the center of each flower. The dress had an empire waist and laced up the back with a long train. For the first time that day, Sarah had stars in her eyes. The attendants placed a veil on her and tears began to well up in my eyes. All the attendants told her how beautiful she looked.

Sarah smiled. “I really do like this dress, but I think I should try on the last dress just to be sure.”

I thought: She’ll try on that other dress, but I think she’ll probably keep this one.

The last dress was a sharp contrast to the other one. It was white satin with spaghetti straps and a scoop neckline. There was no decoration on it whatsoever. Around the waist was a band like a cummerbund with four folds and approximately six inches in width. The full skirt was A-line and down the back were 26 satin-covered buttons. The skirt bottom fanned out into a circular full train of about three feet. There was a matching short sleeve bolero jacket.

This wedding gown was simple, understated and elegant.

Then they placed a veil on her.

Sarah’s face was suddenly transformed. The stars were still in her eyes, but this time her face was beaming and she smiled radiantly. She had not looked this happy since the day she and Axel had announced their engagement to us.

“I love this dress, Mom! This is the dress!

“Sarah, you look absolutely beautiful!” I said.  I stepped up on the pedestal where she was standing and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “I love you so much, honey. You’re going to be a beautiful bride.”

The attendants were watching us and I could tell by the looks they exchanged that they were a_2011-04-25 03.51.55disappointed with her choice.  “Are you sure that you wouldn’t rather take the other gown instead?” one of them said.

I smiled as I shook my head. “You don’t understand my daughter at all.”

Sarah smiled as she stood tall. “Let me explain, Mom. I believe that it’s the bride who makes the wedding gown beautiful, not the wedding gown that makes the bride beautiful.”

I had never heard such profound wisdom before, and I had never heard my daughter ever speak such profound wisdom. I guess I never thought she was old enough to do so.

I beamed proudly as I gazed at my darling daughter, and then I sighed as I realized for the very first time that my little girl was all grown up now, and that she was going to be a beautiful bride, no matter Read more

Essence of Reminiscence – Week 3 – Siblings & Childhood Friends: “A Friend for Life”

I believe that everyone should have the pleasure of knowing that they have a best friend, at least at one time or another in their life, and I’m so fortunate that I can say that I have. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who has been a lifelong friend. Her name is Laurie. I met her in 1960 and we are still friends to this very day! We were only five at the time, and she was my very first friend.

There have been periods throughout these many years in which we have not had a chance to communicate with each other for two to three years at a stretch, but when we do, it’s as though we had just seen each other the day before. The fact that we can do this is a testimony to our friendship. It shows that the sands of time have not broken our bond of friendship, and I am forever grateful for this blessing. There’s a song make new friends 10that the Brownie Girl Scouts sing which summarizes how old friendships should be compared to new friendships, and it’s called: Make New Friends: 

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long I will be your friend. A fire burns bright, it warms the heart. We’ve been friends from the very start. You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, we have each other. Silver is precious, gold is too. I am precious and so are you. You help me, and I’ll help you, and together we’ll see it through. Across the land, across the sea, friends forever we will always be.

And speaking of Brownies, I will tell you my favorite story about the two of us when we were six years old and in the first grade together. Laurie belonged to the local Brownie troop. Every Tuesday she would wear her Brownie uniform to school. I was so jealous of her. I wanted to be in the Brownies, but my parents could not afford the cost of the uniform. So I had to settle for Laurie’s accounts of every meeting. One day she came home with her Brownie handbook and showed me a story about Brownies. Now these Brownies were good deed-doers, and in the middle of the night when everyone was fast asleep, the Brownies would come out in secret and go  forth to do good deeds. When the people arose in the morning the good deed would be apparent, but of course, no one knew who did the good deed. The most important part of doing a good deed was to never reveal your identity. If you told anyone that it was you who did the good deed, then the good deed would be erased out of the Book of Good Deeds.

Of course Laurie and I, being six years old, were quite impressionable and wanted to be Brownies and do a good deed. So Laurie arranged for me to sleep over at her house one Friday night. Laurie knew that her parents went to bed at eleven o’clock every night so this was the perfect opportunity for us to do a good deed. The plan was that at midnight we would sneak down the stairs and into the kitchen at which time we would set out breakfast for everyone – bowls, spoons, glasses, cereal boxes, orange juice and milk. Since we were only six years old, we didn’t think about the milk spoiling or the orange juice getting warm. We were just concerned with the task at hand – to be Brownies.

So that evening, I went to Laurie’s house at suppertime. I remember we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I can still smell of the fresh tomatoes and the toasting cheese sandwiches. Naturally, the meal which I ate at my friend’s house tasted so much better than it did when I ate the same meal at my house. Mrs. Larson even brought out an apple pie for dessert. Mrs. Larson made the best apple pie. I can still taste the sweetness of the brownie dollsugar and cinnamon mixed with the perfectly baked apples and the flaky light brown pie crust. It makes my mouth water just  to remember it.

After dinner, Laurie and I played the usual game we always played: make-believe. We took turns playing teacher. We even managed to have her brother David and her baby sister Valerie sit in as students. We were allowed to stay up until nine o’clock since it was not a school night. But at nine o’clock we raced up the stairs to Laurie’s bedroom. We were so excited that we were going to be Brownies in just three hours.

Now Laurie’s parents had this beautiful wooden cuckoo clock hanging on the wall in their living room. Every hour on the hour the little cuckoo bird inside would come out and announce the hour by his cuckoo. If it was nine o’clock he would cuckoo nine times.  If it was nine-thirty he would cuckoo only once. This was the way we were going to know when midnight came. We decided that once we could hear the little bird cuckoo twelve times, the coast would be clear, and we would be free to sneak down the stairs and into the kitchen.

To pass the time, we whispered to each other so her parents wouldn’t know we were still awake. We whispered all kinds of things that little girls whisper about. And Laurie had a flashlight which she used to show me how to read underneath the blankets. This was a new trick to me. So we read stories. I remember our favorite book at this point was a book that Laurie owned: The Big Book of Mother Goose. There was one more book which Laurie owned and was also a favorite of ours: The Fairy Tales of Grimm.

I remember listening for the cuckoo clock and sure enough, just as Laurie had promised, we could hear it in her bedroom. The time seemed to drag by. We were so anxious to do our good deed that there was no way we would fall asleep.

Then finally, the time came. Midnight. We crept out of the bedroom, tiptoeing past the other bedrooms, hoping the wooden floor would not creak. We reached the top of the stairs. We had decided beforehand that the best way to get down the stairs quietly was if we sat on each step and then slip down to the next one, using our backsides instead of our feet. I remember counting those stairs as we slowly descended the staircase – there were thirteen steps exactly. I remember sitting side by side with Laurie, sliding down those steps. Because of the darkness it was difficult to see, but we managed by holding on to each other’s hand. When we reached the bottom of the stairs we tiptoed quietly into the kitchen, trying hard not to giggle. Of course, we had to do our good deed in the dark because Laurie’s mom and dad slept in the downstairs bedroom.brownies 6

Into the kitchen we tiptoed, as slowly and as carefully as we could. Finally we reached our destination and started whispering in each other’s ear about what to put out on the table. We set about our work, knowing that one day perhaps our good deed would be rewarded. I admit that it was hard not to giggle as we set out the bowls and glasses. We were having a wonderful time being Brownies.

As a matter of fact, we were having such a wonderful time that at first we didn’t notice Laurie’s mom when she entered the kitchen. Laurie saw her mother first and darted underneath the sink. There was no cupboard under the sink, so it was the perfect place to go. When I noticed my friend hiding beneath the sink, I knew something was up. I turned around and there she was – Mrs. Larson in her pink nightgown with her big fuzzy slippers. She was standing there looking at me with her hands on her hips. Now when I think about it, I know she was suppressing a smile. As soon as I saw her, I hurried to where Laurie was, but it was no use; the jig was up. Mrs. Larson flipped on the kitchen light and said, “Girls, it’s not time for breakfast yet. You still have about eight hours of sleep time left. Go on now. I’ll finish up in here; you two get to bed.”

We scurried out of the kitchen and upon passing the cuckoo clock in the living room, Laurie pointed it out to me. It showed the time to be only 11:15. I guess we had miscounted the cuckoos! We giggled all the way up the stairs and into Laurie’s bedroom.  We never tried to be Brownies again. But I think our good deed counted, anyway!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”   ~ John Leonard

essence of reminisence 5

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Siblings & Childhood Friends

Essence of Reminiscence – Week 2 – Mischiefs and Pranks: “The Little Girl in the Tree”

I’ll never forget the beautiful spring day in late May when our five-year-old daughter Stephanie found herself as the little girl who needed her daddy to be her knight in shining armor. It all started out as a bit of mischief on her part, and she was basically just trying to have a bit of fun, but it didn’t turn out to be as much fun as she had expected. I was working a late shift at the hospital at the time, but after I heard about what happened, I was glad that I wasn’t there, because I know that I would have been in panic mode. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me start at the beginning.

At the time this story happened, we had three children: Joe, age 12, Sarah, age 7, and Stephanie, age 5. Because Sarah and Stephanie are so close in age, they have always enjoyed a very close relationship as sisters and still do to this very day. They played together, shared a bedroom, argued with each other and then made up with each other five minutes later, shared secrets, and even took baths together. I have always loved their sister bond because it is like a precious gem – priceless.

OUR APPLE TREE IN BLOOM

Our apple tree in bloom

In our back yard, hanging over our deck, is our one and only apple tree, which we dearly love. This apple tree is not very tall, and it only bears these little apples which we don’t eat, but just let them fall to the ground and then my husband has the dreary task of having to gather them up from all over the ground and the deck. But the special thing about this apple tree, particularly for me is that somehow it always blooms on Mother’s Day weekend.

But our daughter Sarah loved this apple tree for another reason. She would climb into the apple tree (not very high, maybe just a a couple limbs) and then, thinking that the the rest of the world could neither see nor hear her, she would sing at the top of her lungs and to her heart’s content. It was her own little world up there in what she termed as “my apple tree” and she loved that she could escape to it whenever she wanted to. Oh, how I loved to watch her through my kitchen window. I would crack the window open very carefully so she wouldn’t hear, lest she’d catch me spying on her, and watch and listen as she sang her little girl songs, most of which were made up, suppressing my laughter. It really was quite charming.

Enter Stephanie. One day she discovered her sister Sarah in the apple tree and noticed just how much fun she was having. She didn’t mention a single word of it to Sarah or to me. She just mulled it over in her little head, which can sometimes be a dangerous thing for a 5-year-old, as we later found out!

Remember that beautiful spring day in late May that I mentioned earlier? The one on which I was working the late shift at the hospital? I forgot to mention how windy it was that day and I forgot to mention that my husband was home with the kids. The girls were in the back yard playing – nothing unusual about that, and Mike was getting supper ready, just like any good Dad should, right?  Just then, Sarah came running into the house yelling, “Daddy, Daddy, come quick! Stephie’s stuck!”

“Stuck! What do you mean, stuck?”

“She’s stuck in the apple tree, Daddy, and she can’t get down! Hurry! She’s crying!.”

Mike raced out the door and Sarah followed him to the back yard. As my husband rounded the corner of the house to the deck where the apple tree was located, he looked up, and there was our little girl – all the way on the very top branch, holding on for dear life, swaying to and fro with each gust of wind.

“Daddy! Help me!” Stephanie could barely get the words out between her sobs.

ISN'T SHE LOVELY?

Our daughter Stephanie

“I will, honey.”

“I’m scared, Daddy.”

“It’s okay, honey. Just hold on tight. ”

Then my husband had to rush to the garage, get the ladder, and even so, he was barely able to reach our youngest daughter from the top branch. How in the world she ever managed to climb onto the skinniest branch and not have it break under her weight, even though she was small, we will never know, although I believe Divine Providence may have had something to do with it.

Stephanie never did climb the apple tree again, although Sarah did continue to sing in it for a year or so after the incident, but then gradually outgrew it, a fact which saddened me. But all little girls do have to grow up sometime. It’s just that we mothers really don’t want them to, right?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Children have the unforgivable habit of growing up.”  ~ Bjarne Reuter

 

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Mischiefs And Pranks

There’s Nothing Like Mom’s Home Cooking

To me one of the best things in life is to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal, and the best part of a wonderful meal is if you are sharing it with family.

family eating 10I grew up as the middle child of seven children, and we never failed to sit down to dinner together as an entire family every single day. It was an expectation. As a matter of fact, it was a rule that if the telephone rang during the dinner hour, it was never answered so that we could eat our meal uninterrupted by the outside world. And we never ate our meals in front of the television set. That would be absolutely unthinkable! Instead, we shared the details of our lives, which later became the model for me and my husband’s dinner rules when raising our own children.

When I consider what my favorite meal is, it’s one that my mother used to prepare as I was growing up: chicken and dumplings. My mom made the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste (naturally, I’m probably biased). And my favorite part of the meal were the potato dumplings.

My mother was full-blooded German, and her mother taught her how to make those delicious potato dumplings that I loved so much. I remember that whenever I learned that we were going to have chicken and dumplings for supper, I’d look forward to it for the rest of the day, and could hardly wait for supper to arrive, just so I could eat those dumplings! And eventually I figured out that whenever we had leftover mashed potatoes after Sunday dinner that the next night was the time we’d have the potato dumplings, because the mashed potatoes were the main ingredient for the dumplings. She’d mix the mashed potatoes with flour and I think she used milk and then she’d dumplingsdrop them into the boiling water. Now these dumplings weren’t your spoon-sized dumplings. They were indeed the size of potatoes, and once they had chicken gravy ladled over them, they were so tasty.

After I was married, I tried to make those potato dumplings, but they’d never turn out the same as my mother’s. I’d call her and say, “Mom, the dumplings didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. What did I do wrong?” She’d just laugh and say, “Cindy, it just takes practice, that’s all.” Of course, she didn’t have a “recipe” for them. She just made them the way any good cook does – by memory and instinct. I never have been able to duplicate them to this very day.

And her baked chicken was always the juiciest, moistest, most tender chicken you’ve ever had. It makes my mouth water to think of it. Those two things, (the chicken and dumplings) together with some corn on the cob and hot rolls and butter makes the perfect meal.

I only wish my mom were still here to share a meal with our entire family, but knowing that she’s watching over us and that some day we will see her again makes me smile.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?”   ~ Lin Yutang

 

Share Your World – 2015 Week #12

When was the last time you sat on a park or garden bench for more than ten minutes? Describe the occasion.

me on park bench 1I remember this occasion well because it was part of a Mother’s Day gift two years ago. My daughters Sarah and Stephanie gave me one of the best Mother’s Day gifts ever that year. It was a “Mother-Daughters Day” which included time spent together doing facials, manicures, hair, makeup, and even changing into our best outfits. And naturally there were secrets shared sprinkled with plenty of giggling and laughing! And then they surprised me when my daughter Sarah’s husband Axel showed up. They me and girls on the bridge 1ushered me into their car and drove me to one of the beautiful parks located in our city. I thought maybe we were going to have a barbecue picnic, although that didn’t make sense because we’d already had lunch. As it turned out, we were there for a Mother-Daughter photo shoot (my son-in-law Axel happens to be a photographer). We went to all different locations throughout the park for our pictures, and sitting on one of the park benches happened to be be one of them. Axel captured some really great shots that day, and it was a day that I will never forget because it was indeed very special to me.

Would you ever be interested in observing a surgery or do you turn away when the nurse brings out the needle? 

or nurseAs a matter of fact, I’m a retired R.N. and I worked in the operating room for over twenty years. I’ve assisted in many surgeries, and I consider it to be one of my best accomplishments. I’m proud of the fact that I helped to make the lives of countless people better and I also helped to save many lives. And let me tell you, that is one fantastic feeling! I’ll never forget the first time that I observed a surgery, though. I was totally awestruck by the fact that we as human beings can actually cut into the human body and make it whole again. And I was also amazed at how the Creator made the human body so that it would work so perfectly. It was during that first surgery which I observed that I knew it was the field I wanted to work in. I even returned to college after ten years and went to school nights, working full-time during the day so that I could become an R.N. in order to work in the operating room. I must say, however, that whenever I must have an injection, I don’t like to watch when the needle goes in!

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?jax-cafe

If I told the truth, my favorite place to entertain guests is at my home, because I think it is a much more relaxed atmosphere. But if we were to go out, we’d first have dinner at Jax Cafe, which was chosen as one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities and as the Editor’s Pick.  Their steaks are excellent and I love the atmosphere there. During our meal we’d have a chance to catch up, and reaffirm our bonds.

And then we’d head over to Orchestra Hall so that we can catch a performance of the Minnesota Orchestra. As a Minnesotan, I’m so proud of our Minnesota Orchestra, which was founded in 1903 and which historically has been ranked in the top 10 of American symphony orchestras. The 95 musicians who form the Minnesota Orchestra are truly the most talented musicians in the country. It’s been said that one has a better chance of playing major league baseball than winning a job in the Minnesota Orchestra. Because of their talent and dedication, their music is beautiful. And I just can’t think of a better way to honor guests than to give them the gift of beautiful music.

 

 

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

quilt 100If I had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, I would choose JoAnn Fabrics and Craft Store. And the reason why I would choose this store is because I am a quilter. Oh, how I love to quilt! I can spend hours and hours quilting and never get tired of it. I revel in the feel of the fabric beneath my fingertips as it runs through the sewing machine. And I enjoy the aroma of the fabric as I press the seams open. So a shopping spree at JoAnn’s means that I could buy mountains of quilting fabric. Just think of all the different colors and all the varied patterns of fabric that I could add to my fabric stash. And yes – I have quite the fabric stash as it is! Believe me, it is hard to restrain myself from buying fabric whenever I go on a shopping trip. I just can’t seem to help it. It’s as though the fabric is calling out to me, begging me to take it home, and I usually give in!  So yes, I would definitely choose a shopping spree at JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Store. I’d probably never want to go home.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the fact that when I went to see my doctor for a post-hospital visit that my potassium had returned to normal, which means that I was given the green light for my cataract surgery. I was gratitudereally worried that my labs would not be normal and that my cataract surgery would be canceled. But Divine Providence had gracefully intervened, and everything is okay, and I’m very thankful.

There are a few exciting things happening in this coming week. First, I’m having my cataract surgery done on Thursday. I’m a little nervous about this, which I mentioned in last week’s post, but I’m going to gather up my courage because I do really need to have this done, and I know that I will be really happy with the end result, which will be clearer vision and a bonus of not having to wear glasses ever again after a lifetime of having to wear them.

water lilySecond, and most importantly, our youngest daughter Stephanie is coming home from college for her spring break on Friday. We haven’t seen her since Christmas, and I have missed her so much. I can hardly wait to give her a big hug and kiss and to spend some quality mother-daughter time with her. She’ s going to be home for an entire week, which I’m really thrilled about. I’m expecting that we’re going to have lots of fun while she’s here.

Third, since Stephanie needs to return to Wisconsin at 2:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday, our family is going to celebrate Easter this coming Sunday instead. That means we’re going to have our traditional Easter dinner with all the trimmings. After that, we’ll spend time together which involves some family games – we just love to play games. It might be a board game or sometimes we play charades. But whatever kind of game we play, it always includes lots of laughter and loads of fun. I can hardly wait!

So now you know a little more about me.

I’m glad we had this time together and I’d like to thank you for spending it with me. I’m so pleased that I was able to share a bit about myself and my world with you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Best,

Cindy's signature with flower and butterfly

 

 

 

 

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The Kiss

This week’s word:  ENGULF

 

Danielle could barely contain the excitement she felt as she practically danced through her apartment, lighting the dozen or so candles she had placed to create a romantic atmosphere. She had to make sure kissing silhouettethat everything was perfect because at any moment Josh, her brave and handsome soldier, would be finally coming home, and she could hardly wait to be in his arms once again.

When she heard the knock on the door, she gasped, her heart skipping a beat as she raced to the door. There he was at last, after all those months, after all those long and lonely nights, after all those tears that were shed into her pillow for missing him and worrying and wondering if he was okay, after all this time finally he was here. But there were no words spoken between them, for none were needed, and the kiss they shared was filled with all the unspoken love between them.

 

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