Friday, August 28, 2015

Rosy Memories

We lost Tim's mom a year and a half after losing our son.  In the midst of deep sorrow, facing her cancer diagnosis was difficult to say the least.  I worried so much for him, fearing it would just be too much too soon.

There would be times I'd think of her but would rarely mention it to my husband, afraid the sadness would cloud a rare good day he might be having.

Over time, we came to speak of Mamaw June again, especially around the holidays and whenever the topic of fried chicken would come up.

My goodness, that woman could cook.  And fried chicken with dumplings was her speciality.

Yesterday a reminder popped on my phone of a memory from exactly six years ago.  On that day she came over and taught me her secret.  We had such a great time that evening in my kitchen.  Watching her frail hands, I imagined how many batches she'd cooked over the years.

Seeing the love pour out of her with each motion, I realized, there truly wasn't a secret to it.  No exotic ingredient she used, just her special touch.

The memories of that day were so precious though, even more so now that she is gone.

Because of that reminder, she was on my mind throughout the day.  I would've never guessed that by the afternoon I'd end up in the apartment complex where she used to live.  Pulling into the parking lot and walking to the breezeway just next to hers, passing her favorite bench, I was flooded with pictures from the past.

One of the sweetest transitions from grief and loss is when a memory brings 
a smile instead of a tear.  

What happened next though gave me me goosebumps.

Talking with the kind lady I was meeting about her flower beds, she mentioned a rose garden in the back of the complex.  She had recently moved there and was happy to have a place to tinker in the yard.  The manager had mentioned to her there was an overgrown rose garden at the back nobody had taken care of for several years.  So she gladly did.  This season was spent digging out the weeds and leaves and pruning all the plants.  Next year she hopes the blooms will return.

That rose garden was June's.  

Aside from being a great cook, June had a green thumb like no other.  She could take a stick, plant it in the ground and something beautiful would grow.  Her favorite flower was the rose so every holiday imaginable, at least one of her boys would buy her a plant.  And thus, the rose garden began.  

It was planted on a hill alongside the "chocolate river," as her grandbabies called it.  We spent many an afternoon swinging or picnicking in her favorite space.

I shared some of those memories with this new friend and her eyes sparkled, as mine became misty.  Upon leaving her house, I opted for the back route, which led me around to the garden mentioned.  

June would've been so pleased with the progress.  

A lot has changed in the past five years.  Time passes on.  Yet I was grateful for the walk down memory lane and the fragrant scent of roses, if only in my mind.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend Reflections

My hope is that all women think their husband is a rock star.  I know mine is and I'm thankful every single day for all he does for us.  Seriously.  I love this man.

He's been on a roll lately of being especially handy.  While it cost his time, he's certainly saved us lots of money.  Tim's fixed the fence, the boat and my car.  The last two projects took a chunk of this past weekend.  I'm happy to report the boat was repaired in time for not one but three fishing outings.  But that was mostly because he took Friday off to do it.  For me!  He knew I'd really been wanting to go fishing and spend time together.  The weather was forecast to be amazing.  And being the wonderful hubby he is, he didn't want me to miss out being on water this weekend.

And I sooooo needed this.

where troubles just melt away....

And this...
mighty fine date night, if you ask me

Bonus being even more the next day....

Sunrise and sunset are my two favorite times to be on the river.  

There's a stillness to the water, a peace that settles in the evening.  When twilight comes and the river sighs.  Crickets and cicadas increase their singing.  And you just can't help but relax.  In the morning, before the sun comes up, a fog dances across and the reflections are beautiful.  I love watching the world wake up, especially from a spot nice as above!

My soul needed this time away, to pour out everything and replace it with goodness.  Nature, my husband, and time with God.  

Sometimes we sat in silence, a sign of a content couple.  Others we'd chat about anything or everything.  Most of the time he ribbed me for not catching any fish.  

The time with God is always welcome and needed too.  Part of it was spent in prayer, reading a devotion and catching up on my studies, and worshipping from the bow of the boat singing one of my favorites that the scenery inspired.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Saturday night, I surprised my mom and took her out to eat at the pizza place where Noah works.  She'd not watched him in action yet and I knew they both would enjoy seeing the other.  He was able to take a short break and snack with us.  Mamaw, of course, left him a sweet tip.  It was a special impromptu date with mom and I loved the time together.  Life is busy and although I talk to her almost daily, and see her every Sunday at church, we don't get a lot of one on one time anymore.

Sunday after church I was fighting a sinus headache and went to sneak in a mini nap.  I felt guilty for lounging when my hubby was hard at work repairing my car.  But Noah soon eased those feelings, when he hopped in beside me just to be close and play a game.  Although my eyes were mostly shut, we had a great conversation about nothing and I absolutely loved the unexpected snuggle time.

All of this was precious in the moment but after reflecting back, I am even more grateful today.  Within the past twenty four hours I've heard of the sudden passing of so many - both young and old. 

 Three children, siblings, I did not know.  My child-loss momma heart swells for that family and they've been in my thoughts and prayers since learning of the tragedy.  And two charismatic and unique individuals, one expected but painful for the family none the less, and one very much a surprise.  Though adults, both were still young by my standards and both the victims of terrible diseases. 

We know all too well how quickly life can change.  How fleeting life is.  It makes us appreciate the little things more and soak up time with those we love.  But even those of us who've survived tragic loss, still let life get in the way and busy dictate our schedule.  Sometimes it can't be helped.  Sometimes priorities need adjusting.  Sometimes we just have to grab hold of unexpected carvings and relish them for what they are.

So very glad I got to make memories with some important ones the past few days.  Because we truly never know when that moment may be our last with them...

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