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Hopscotching

Been working on a hopscotch area for our grandkids out under the shade of an old oak tree by the house.

titlepageHopscotch1

The hopscotch from my Jingle Ring book is becoming more real! Here’s the Mock Up in the woods.

 

Lately my posts have been a little sketchy and sparse. Been spending a lot of time either napping through fatigue or out using my hands in ‘gross motor’ ways, since they can’t seem to do the fine things of painting right now. They work okay for sitting and crumbling dirt and sifting out roots and weeds, and working with the mosses, creating spaces for grandchildren to play. Not much driving for me, and I seem to drop      and break lots of things. That’s one way to thin out stuff.

It’s dawned on me that I MUST find a way to still post here…because books are in the making all the time and every day, thank goodness! The moss whispers a strong call for me to create! No matter how much pain or fatigue! So I’m hopscotching along with posting here and there!

Briefly I’ve come inside for a cool drink and to rest. I need to decide what configuration is best for the hopscotch blocks…though the great thing is that I can move them around. For a start, I want to create a safe, flat, place for toddlers to have fun stepping, hopping, and playing. Later, if they want they can get into the more complicated ones or make their own if they choose. This is just a starter.

I recall one of my favorite books for this when I was teaching:Hopscotch@W

 

Maybe someday they’ll be interested in this, but for now out here in the country, we’ll start with a small wooded hopscotch area made with cement stepping stones. We’ll need to save the chalk for city sidewalks or somewhere else for now.

I think I’ll go for ten blocks and the easiest hopping scenario which is probably alternating one block and then two.

How do YOU remember your hopscotch as a child? PLEASE send me your pics and comments.

I’ll also post later when it’s all finished. Must give fingers a typing break for now and go do some more ‘gross motor’.

Francklin at the Hillock

Francklin is really the muse that makes moments come alive down at The Hillock.  Or at least he’s the ‘prime noticer,’ the one of bigger consciousness in the process. Nothing is out of his reach nor does it sneak by undetected. Having already defied the 4-legged rule for dogs by being a Terrific Tri-paw, here he is moving on up to a Two-paw stance to observe his lizard friend by the PondHole.

Francklin on 2 legs!

Meanwhile, I’m working away at pulling the weeds and working through the wild happenings of my life to sit long enough to listen to Francklin and the Mosswhispers trying to speak to me of what to write next. I miss my painting and work on my books. Writing has continued but not in post mode lately. For now, I’m readying for my next big posting period and forgiving myself for my lapses. All the while grateful for each precious Mossy Moment with my grand-children, grown-children, and great-parents and Alex. Grateful for spring and trying to learn to accept or at least deal with these ticks in our meadow. Gotta love the whole journey! all that’s in it!

Celebrate the Silence of the Snowflake

Snow Pitcher

On the mantel is my favorite pitcher. On it is written, “Celebrate the Silence of the Snowflake.” I found it at a thrift store, and a special friend and I share it back and forth. It happened to be here for this snow. I wondered if the words written on it were some famous quote. Sofar, I haven’t found the source. Yet, it is part of the snow celebration! For the snow muffles the sounds of school buses, the sounds of cars, and footsteps as we usually know them. With its silence it brings a brand new world of awe. Stay warm, everyone! And sleep tight!

Quiet scrunches of the feet.

A blanket of white tucks the world in tight.

Wrinkles of mud and crackles of leaves,

Hidden and smoothed from sight and sound.

Earthworms deep beneath the ground

Huddle round each other in a survival hug.

Light and shadows play their games

To celebrate the silence the snowflake brings.

A Big Love

image A very special person in our lives died last night. EVA…GRAN…the woman with the biggest heart and hugs for all babes and children, including us big ones! She cared so much that I think she must have been one of the strong ones who keeps all hearts beating and the world forever turning.
Something about just being in her presence made everything right. Eva, I’m sad not to have been nearby to give you one more hug, and to put our gran babes in your arms. So much of the love that comes through us, and now on to them and out in the world is because of you and how you loved us and so many more! We are so grateful to have been with you during our lives.
The tears coming down my face aren’t just mine. They water and nourish so many feelings and memories that will forever grow in our hearts and lives. Thanks for helping us learn big love. We love you forever.

House Full of Beds!

There’s an old card trick I remember as a child, called something like The Royal Hotel. There’s a hotel with only four rooms.  Each room has four beds. One day, four Jacks walk into the lobby and each ask the Innkeeper for a room for the night. The Innkeeper gladly obliges by giving each of the Jacks a room of his own. “Of course, you know,” he said, “I’m obliged tRoyal Hotelo offer the other beds if any other travelers come through for the night.” The Jacks agreed to oblige, never thinking anyone else would be traveling on such a dark night. Lo and behold, the Innkeeper hears 4 knocks on the door. In walk 4 lovely queens. Now queens are of such royalty, he could not turn them away, especially on such a dark dark night. So he put one Queen in each of the four rooms. After they were all settled and had gotten over the surprise of sharing a room with a Jack, there were four more knocks at the Innkeeper’s door. In walked four stately Kings! The Innkeeper shrugged his shoulders, bowed to the Kings and gave them each a bed in each of the four rooms. The Innkeeper was beginning to be quite worried, for these members of royalty were not even of the same kingdoms! And what would he do if the highest of the land were to discover what he had done? As do such things happen…there again are four knocks to the Innkeeper’s door. And in walk the Highest in the Land, Four Aces! The Innkeeper becomes faced with quite a dilemma. If he were to put the Aces in the last bed in each room, Bedlam itself would occur. Shrewd and wise as the Innkeeper was, he came up with a plan. He said to the Aces, “I’m so relieved you have come to set straight a terrible problem that has occurred in my Inn. For some reason, in the dark of the night, the royal families have all become quite scrambled! I must assign each of you to one of my four rooms and get you to call them all into the Central Lobby for an important meeting. Perhaps then, by candlelight we can help them find their right rooms! So each Ace went to each room. Then they gathered each group and met in the Central Lobby. While the lights were off, the Innkeeper mysteriously solved the Royal Mixup simply by dividing and conquering 3 times!

This cardtrick was always a mystery to me as a child!  I LOVED it, and just now I’m beginning to remember why. I grew up in a family where people were always visiting and staying the night. My mother loved that sort of bedlam. We’d juggle rooms around to fit the crew, to accomodate babies or a toddler or two.I loved waking up and running down the hall to greet our visitors. It added new experiences and adventures to our lives. The larger the mix, the more the merriment! And having any people sleep over for the night was as magical as my favorite lithograph done by my wonderful cousin, Dillard!

Princess & PeaSeems like I’m forever tweaking rooms in this house to create sleeping spaces! Interesting concept since there are only two humans here, me and Alex, and two dogs. Yet as everyone knows, there’s nothing like having family come  ‘to live’ even if it’s only for one night and even if everyone comes at once! Well, this weekend for one night our Motley Motel will be full almost to the brim! I remember for my Mom, such bedlam was bliss to her! Likewise, it is for me!

So tweaking away, here’s the set up for this weekend’s marvelous crew:

My brother and his wife in the Bird Nest Room, Hannah/Landon/Baby Oliver in the LadyBug Room. Oliver gets the cozy closet. Alex and I, and Lovely Little Lucy Dog have the BunkBeds in the Laundry Sunflower Suite (it’s in high demand, must make reservations early!), Jay and April luck out and get the Aciu Studio Apartment, and Daniel gets a choice between an antique bed in the front Music Room or our Circus Sofa in the Sunny Room with a View! He will be lulled to sleep by snores of Lacy, Francklin and Iris, the three biggest dogs!

We still have one more sleeping option if only I felt well enough to fix it up. I call it The Sleeping House. It’s ‘the little house’ and is only big enough for one double bed. Guess I’ll get that one ready for the next time ‘the relatives come’! Just needs a little heat and insulation and it’s ready to go!

The only hard part for me to adjust to is not having the energy I used to have for such gatherings. Seems I give out easier and need more recuperation time. Yet to be together with people I love, to sit up at night chatting and laughing, to play games, to wake up and share ‘morning faces’ over a cup of coffee or whatever is someone’s ‘wake up’ routine are gifted moments I wouldn’t want to miss!

So bring it on! and y’all come!

 

What Makes the Words Come?

InsideThisPencil

This is a poem posted on my refrigerator that I used to have in my classroom. It begins: “Inside this pencil crouch words that have never been written…” I love this poem and often think of it as I sit pecking away at my computer. As I think of pencils, I wonder….

If I wrote this with a pencil or pen, would I come up with something brilliant?
If I felt the friction of my hand pulling across the paper, would my thoughts pour more easily?
If I close my eyes and type while my hurting head lays back on my pillow, will my thoughts unfold and float to the surface of my head?
If I had started earlier today, would I have something more definitive to write?
If I could unroll all my tightened tired muscles, would words gladly appear on my sleeve?
What did I need to do today to have something written by now?
Perhaps if I’d not spent time thinking about my Mom,
had not spent time with Alex in the car, and hadn’t vacuumed words from the carpet to be ready for our son, daughter in law and grandbaby.
Perhaps if I take a nap right now…might I then discover something awakening in my mind that would be worthy of sharing?
Sometimes, Life just happens, and the process is hard to put into words.
Sometimes, just breathing in and breathing out is enough.
Sweet dreams to my Mom who ended up in the ER tonight.
May you have a restful night and awaken refreshed in the morning.
I’ll do that, too, Mama. We’re all holding hands. I love you.

Hands and Hearts

These are the hands that connect to the hearts of my wonderful Mom and Dad who raised me. Mom and Dad are so lucky to still be holding each other’s hands even this  very day!  The love they share grows even more every day at 94 and 96. Being with them is like watching two lovebirds. They give each other endearing looks, and also share a few squawks every now and then, to keep each other in check and to keep things real! Probably the phrase I hear the most from my Dad is “isn’t your mother sweet!” And Mom just bats her eyelids at him and smiles.  Now they go on adventures together with wonderful Carol in their hoverounds. So cute and dear they are. I love them to pieces!MimiPopHands

My Precious Mama at 94! and the Birthday Box

This Friday will be my Mama’s 94th Birthday! We have an old wooden box that we send back and forth to each other on our birthdays, though not always on the very exact day…since for us, every day gets to be a birthday!

BirthdayBox                                           mamapic

We started it one year when I gave her one of my favorite children’s books,  Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge, by one of my favorite authors, Mem Fox. It’s about a little boy that lives next to an old folks home and loves all the people there. He goes on a hunt to find  “ a memory” and in the process creates a box for an old woman there who has lost her memory. In the box were objects that triggered many memories and feelings and delight for them both!

Our box does the same. We each add little things as we send it back and forth. No box could hold all the incredible memories I have with my Mama, nor could it hold all the love and delight we share with each other. In the box there’s a fairy, an acorn cap, a feather, a tiny knitted fairy hat, my friend Becky’s Song to the St. of Lost Things, a Chinese bell, a slipper shell, a button with Great Grandchildren on it, a vintage doll dress, a grapevine wreath, a sparkling pine cone that has a baby rabbit curled up inside of it, some old slides of past houses and pets, the words ‘thank you’, a wishbone, a twinkly star, a button, a dime, an angel, a child’s spoon with the rhyme of The Old Woman in the Shoe, a little brass shoe, and some pins of Duke and Randolph Macon’s Woman’s College, and Mother Mary. Oh, and a birthday box can’t be complete without some fairy birthday napkins!

My Mama has always been in my life from the very start! She birthed me, nursed me, loved me every day that I’ve lived my life! You know what it’s like to have someone delight in you always? That’s what she’s like…ALWAYS! no matter what! No conditions, no measurements needed. I fit! I fit into her heart always! And so does she in mine.

We’re both left-handed, and right brained, and see everything as ONE! Our thoughts curl, our hair curls, and my goal is to have a beautiful heart and hair like hers when I’m her wonderful age of 94! And by the grace of god, we are an even 30 years apart! I’m so grateful for that! It’s my benchmark for remembering how old I am and how old she is. We even share the same birthday month and astrological sign! We both forget things but we always remember old Camp Junaluska songs since I went to the same camp she did when she was little. Probably either of us could talk your ears off, and we can care and listen as deeply as well.

My Mama taught me to have fun with just about anything! She helped me look for the diamond in everyone and never give up til I found it. She’s been there when I didn’t reach my goals, when I felt shy or not enough. When I would get scared at night, she’d read to me her favorite Psalm 121: I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help…. She taught me to welcome everyone into our home, fuller brush men, jehovah’s witnesses, strangers and even kissin kin!

I don’t know how to post this here, but here’s a video of my mom and me dancing after she worked so hard setting up for and cleaning up after my Dad’s 90th birthday at The Farm. This was a spontaneous surprise for my mom as she was driving off! I’m so glad Hannah captured this moment on film for all of us! Thank you Hannah! Someday I hope I can dance with you like this! Reminds me of another children’s book: My Mama Had a Dancin’ Heart! by Libba Gray

Here’s address to go to for Hannah’s wonderful video of My Dancin’ Mama!

 

 

A set of memories that keeps popping in my head about my Mama was our birthday parties. She could come up with the most amazing parties! And get my Dad involved, too! I remember roller skating parties in the Mill warehouse on Moss Street, and getting to ride with my friends in boxes on the conveyor belt rollers. Probably the best memory I have is of the Hobo Party Mama came up with. I think it was a year when I was around 11 years old and felt pretty shy. I wanted to have ALL of my friends but not have them split up into clicky groups, like preteens would do. She came up with the Hobo theme and a rotating game party. Each person was given a stick with a bandana tied to the end of it. In the bandana were a variety of objects. I honestly can’t remember how it worked but somehow we each moved from table to table mixing with different friends, to play different games at each table. At some point we opened our bandanas and traded different objects. I remember being really amazed at how she worked it all out.

My Mama’s clock ticks from her heart not from a time piece…and her sense of distance is non-existent…after all, we’re all ONE and that includes getting from point A to B. Everywhere is on the way to everywhere else.
The power of the heart still trumps everything in her life. She lives from it and through it and goes around polishing the diamonds in everyone, leaving a wake of joy and delight in her path.

There’s only one thing about Mama that’s hard to deal with…and that’s that she’s going to be a hard act to follow. Yet since she also taught me to be myself, I’ll let that be my guide instead.

Another thing about Mama, or sometimes Mom, is that she HAS to offer you something to eat and always to drink, and has to send something home with you…sometimes she works so hard at making you feel at home that it’s downright uncomfortable. She can empty the whole refrigerator just to make one sandwich. But it’ll be a good sandwich…just might take awhile to clean up after it.

Since Mama’s mind is always focusing on the best of things… sometimes in the process, she might not quite focus on what she’s doing or where she’s going…hence finding her eyeglasses in the top shelf of the refrigerator makes sense, and that she might come home with someone else’s groceries from the grocery store, or put her girdle in some man’s raincoat pocket at a restaurant and get home to find it not in her own. Yet these weren’t the important things…the important things had to do with being with people and loving them.

No worries about getting lost either, because my Dad always said that making a wrong turn was the beginning of an adventure, so we got to go on lots of adventures! My Mama didn’t just love to send us back to school with food or shove more food on our plates. She LOVED to take meals to other people. Seems like we were always holding some casserole to take to old Mrs. Somebody in time for dinner. I don’t know how she did it but she managed quite alot of meals on wheels. And she still manages to do that these days as well.

Making mistakes wasn’t really something that could happen with Mama. Or maybe it’s fits better to say that Nothing could be a mistake, only a learning. And things that others could interpret as mistakes or not socially sophisticated, really became being a fool for God. From her I learned that anything can be turned into something beautiful and valuable. Basically Life can only be a win/win in her book!

So thank you Mama, for being not just my Mama, but the most amazing Mama. If I spell Mama backwards, which to me is a true test of forever, it makes sense that Mama spells, Am am. Because of you, Mama, and Dad, I AM. Thank you for my life! You are forever my delight. I love you so! now and forever!

Happy Birthday! and thank you for mine!

Love,

Ann

 

Window in Time

Today a bird flew hard into our window. Stunned the bird but she flew away and recovered. Francklin, who was laying at my feet as he so lovingly does when I’m ‘potatoing it’ on the sofa, jumped straight up in the air as a good springer bird dog does and landed sitting upright on the sofa to check out the bird. Once he was satisfied that he couldn’t get to it (or unsatisfied?) he jumped back down at my feet, waiting for the next moment in time.

As for me, I’m realizing that I need to grab my short window of time during the day when I find some semblance of health, normalcy and a little bit of energy. Today it was long enough for a walk and a trip to the grocery store. I must have seen too much to do through my window of time, because when I got home with the food, my body said, “That’s it for today!” Sort of like back in the days of parenting when we tried to get huge amounts done while our children took their naps, or not! Off to bed!WindowInTime

In the Ice There is a Hole

In the ice there is a hole, a window to another world.

Perhaps a tiny fairie’s wish, sent in a frosted bubble of air, frozen by temperature & time.

Sealed with a ring of perfect white and framed with crystallized delights.

IceHole

In the ice there is a hole, a window to an outside world.

Perhaps a frog’s deep reply,  bubbling from his frozen lair, frozen too by temperature & time.

IceHole1

How it must be for you and me as we gaze into the sky.

Might there be some deep reply, coming to us from holes up high?

Frozen by our finite minds, yet windows still to other worlds…

As I wonder at the hole and all that may come and go,

Even though it is so small, it’s bigger still, I know.

IceHole2