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Today is Tom’s and my 53rd wedding anniversary. I cannot imagine any other life. I could not have imagined the life and love we have for each other the day we got married.

Early on our married life a priest said to us. ” You do not just say “I do,” once in your life at the altar. “You say it everyday of your married life together.”

He was wise and he was right and we both “I do” each day. We are blessed to have this lengthy time together and to continue to love  and take care of each other.

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We’re going back!!  This time, Laura will be there too!

 

Archive for June, 2014

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The larger plan for this blog is to “one day” collect selected stories from my soon to be fourth year of faithful posts and put them into a bound edition for my children and grandchildren….a legacy to leave behind of my thoughts, dreams, family heritage, spiritual life, fun and games, things I cherish, and “what you didn’t know” tales.

If publishing holds no larger plan for me, that will be enough.

So I must include this June  vacation time with Kathleen and Greg’s family at Dufina Cottage.  Laura was unable to come because of her work schedule, but Carl and Amy joined Tom and me for three days of adventure and fun.

Just like Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robbin, we got up each day for our adventure on Mackinac Island (they were in the Hundred Acre Woods) and we found fun and beauty everywhere and lots of good eats on our island adventures.

 

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We found playgrounds and board walks and the butterfly house.

 

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Swinging by the bridge

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Butterfly house

My butterfly

 

Butterfly House gorgeous lilies

Walking trails and scenic views.

 

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No matter the weather, we stick together!

 

No Matter the weather

Flowers and gardens abound.

Walking buddy in the Grand Hotel Gardens

 

Behind the flowers

Petal Beauty

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At the Secret Garden

Pilgrims among the lilacs.

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Morning time on the labyrinth in the Grand Hotel gardens.

Another Labyrinth, Grama

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Good eats and family fun at Dufina Cottage.

Dufina and Amy

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Piano and OnLine Time

Kathleen and Greg and Devon and Andrew and their friends were on their bikes — A LOT, thus a lack of photos of them.   They braved the windiest day EVER on Mackinac Island.

Greg  Bike Trails

Kathleen skydiving

Practicing

Devon called us to ask when we were arriving:

 

telephone callls

And then, watched for our boat to arrive.

Family Looking for Us to Arrive

The three days went by quickly. Tom and I celebrated our 49th Wedding Anniversary on Thursday night and were treated to a delicious ribs dinner by Susan and Kathleen.  Joe also ventured on very early morning bike rides and captured this beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron.

Early Morning Sky on Mackinac - Joe

 

And this photo of beautiful wife, Susan at beautiful Arch Rock!

Beautiful Susan at Beautiful Arch Rock

Yet there were times techy communication won out over the outdoors.

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But there was always…..ice cream!

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Not to forget the horses and fairy tale weddings.

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And then….it was over like the clock striking midnight….

Walking Together

But here is Amy’s “Going Back to Mommy” smile on the ferry boat!

Ferry smile

 

 

Ferry smile

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Last week, I sat awhile on the memorial bench in Lucretia’s front yard, enjoying the balmy early March seventy degree weather.

Lucretia’s front and back yards are actually gardens surrounding her home and giving enjoyment to all who pass by or pause to reflect.

I sat reflecting on our precious friendship that spawns from the 1960s, while we lived just down the street from Jude and Lucretia Thomas and we were “growing up” our family of young ones.

 

There was quite a bit to reflect on. It is still so easy to see these adults now, who are raising families of their own, as the little children they were, it seems not so long ago now. We all played together, laughed together, and were so very busy with family stuff.

 

There were the purple crocus, reaching up out of the still cold earth. The crocus to me looks so gentle, a flower of blessing and lifting of spirits. But it is also a flower of courage, for it arrives usually before winter flurries have had their last say for the year.

 

 

And so it was, one short week later a snow storm of six inches covered the Lexington Bluegrass and trees.  It never deters the crocus from arriving however.

 

 

Over time, a blessed time, the family branches grow in varied directions and increase in number and we give thanks for all the blessings on our tree. We have planted our tree in rich soil and we honor and acknowledge the deep roots of all who have come before us.

 

 

The family tree reaches ever upwards, reaching for newness, becoming one with joy and with sorrow. Our lives are shaped by all that this tree contains.

 

 

Our tree does not stand alone. It is overseen by the God in whom we trust.

 

 

 

 

A heart that holds such sorrow, only the saints can understand. Judy, and her family, ever-present in our hearts and lives.

 

 

Linking the fun and promise with the grandchild generation….bright, bright, bright.

 

 

Lucretia goes to Mother Mary, and remains Mother and Nana to family.

 

 

Another summer visitor in Lucretia’s garden.

In the Nana is contained all the ages of the woman.  Walk with her in her garden.

 

In the Garden
Jim Reeves

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

(He speaks and the sound of His voice)
(Is so sweet the birds hush their singing)
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Songwriters: C. Austin Miles
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Songtrust Ave
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

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.AND NOW in 2018, I am happy at being 75!  Here is a little background I posted a few years back on Lois…

 

“It’s a sin to look so good at 70!” That is what my neighbor friend Lois called me next door to see.
“Sue,” she said on the phone. “Come over here and see what my sister got me for my birthday.” Out the door I went and she met me half-way across the front yard, sporting and showing-off her new t-shirt her sister gave her for her birthday.

It is true. She really did look good for 70. She still does, today, about five years or so later. She called me to wish me a happy birthday, for I have reached the same number in age this year.
I asked her how her t-shirt was. She said it was a little faded. I told her that what was important was that it was the t-shirt fading, not her.

Not her, indeed. We were neighbors in North Carolina for just a couple of short years, but we became close-knit friends. We didn’t spend that much time together, really, because we were busy with our businesses and gone from home long hours each day. But she and Jim moved into the home next to ours shortly after we had arrived, and together with Terry, the builder of both homes and his wife Judy who lived across the street from both of us, we were just good old “drop-in” neighbors, who shared some special times together.

Now the three homes are owned by others. I wonder if they built the same type of community we easily formed over a very short period of time. Somehow, I suspect not, but I could be wrong.
Lois, far from fading, had to be on the move…..always. She and I sometimes walked the neighborhood road together. Then, when I was away managing a fitness business, she would be on hiking trails, on kayaking ventures, and I don’t even know what else. If Jim was outside, you would find him mowing grass on his John Deere tractor or sitting on his front porch thinking about things. But Jim was most comfortable inside around the poker table. Lois needed the fresh air….and action!

Or a good joke; and she and Jim had plenty of those.

Today, Terry and Judy live in Wales, his homeland, we returned four years ago to our Michigan family area, and after Jim’s death, Lois returned to her beloved upstate New York home where she owns a cabin at the top of a long, wind-ey and steep hill in the Finger Lakes area on, none other than…..”Lois Lane”, of course.

A regular hiker in the summertime, she adds the snow shoes for her winter treks. Today, she told me she went to the sports store just to look at cross country skiis. She came home with the whole package and was probably going to be too busy skiing later to call and wish me a happy birthday.
She is in love with her Irish Notre Dame team who have gone unbeaten this year and is anticipating the big national championship game soon to light up the TV screens across the land.
Our first meeting came, when she and Jim pulled into their driveway, after having newly unpacked. I was on our deck and waved to the new couple appearing to be in “our age range” and welcoming them to the neighborhood.

“We are really friendly,” I warned her. “But you probably won’t see us much because we’re gone a lot on business.”

“Hey, hey, wait a minute,” she called, not missing a beat or sending me a hi either. She took a few quick steps in my direction and said, “I want to ask you: Do you play bridge?”
That was our introduction to each other.

Well, I don’t, but I thought that was the funniest thing. She, an ardent die-hard fan of the game, was drumming up her newest table of her favorite game. That’s about the only inside sport I think Lois likes. I told her she would have wished my aunt Kate was her neighbor, for they surely would have had the greatest tourneys going between them.

So I could tell by today’s phone conversation. She’s not fading. She’s still lookin’ good but somehow I think she has overcome the sin of it all and resides in the state of grace with her humor and her constant on-the-go activity. She’s just that good.

I’m happy about being 70. I feel good. And I drummed up a couple of pictures of lookin’ good so I can do right by this new gift of life given me. Blessings and God’s Presence abides.

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I am thinking of Lois and the stars at the same time. For He calls you by name, Lois and he counts the uncountable times you have served in His name. Good friend, happy joke teller, mover on God’s green earth and water passages. You are His glory, made manifest. And He is with you in your present challenge, telling you, in the words of the saint, “All is well, so very, very well.”

Tom’s and my  prayers and love to you.

(very personal, because I know you look for Napkinwriter)

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My friend, Lois Miller, called me today to lament the recent bad playing of whom she knew to be our favorite team, the Michigan State Spartans. She is quite the sports fan and her affections lay with that little leprachan in Indiana and the sacred name of our Holy Mother, Notre Dame.

I was having an “inside-day”, catching up a bit on every little thing from laundry, to stretching the menu another week with what we have on hand to eat, to last storing away of Christmas items and playing stupid games on my Kindle Fire.

She reminded me she hadn’t heard from Napkinwriter lately and tapped directly into my guilt vein, provided generously by my Catholic upbringing along with all the good stuff it brought too.

I explained I am writing, but not at Napkinwriter, but I will begin again immediately. I have been focused entirely upon writing a book I have for a very long time wanted to write and now, at last I am doing it.

Lois sounded like she was struggling a bit but wanted to bring me current since it has been since 2008 that we shared a neighborhood in Newton, NC.  During that time, she sported a terrific tee shirt “It’s a sin to look this great at 70!”, a birthday gift from her sister, Mary Lou.

She also brought health news of two more friends in that neighborhood, Terry and Judy. She said Terry is all right now, but had suffered a heart attack on Thanksgiving night. Terry was the BUILDER of our little three-some neighborhood. He built both our home and was in the process of building the one Lois and Jim moved into next to us. Terry, whose home country is Wales, and Judy, a realtor, lived in their beautiful home across the street from us and had a magical English garden and landscaping all through their back yard.

The neighborhood of which I speak had many beautiful days with small gatherings between us, where laughter and frivolity always seemed to find its way through when we were together. Separately, we each faced our challenges — us overworked and running three separate Curves exercise franchises with about three years of success and two dwindling years of hardship and creating an exit strategy; Lois was an on-the-go gal, moving, moving, moving and Jim loved his on-line and buddy poker times and sports TV, but eventually faced the curse of the big C – cancer; Terry and Judy looking for a way to find their way back to his beloved Wales.

So we each departed “our neighborhood” at different times; Tom and I were first and moved back to Michigan close to family, then nine years later on to Lexington, Kentucky where we had started our married life in 1965, to join one daughter who was moving there with her medical practice; Lois and Jim moved back to Cleveland near his family as the disease progressed and claimed his life and then Lois moved back to upper New York state, near Fingers Lake region where Tom and I had a fun, fun, fun visit to her cabin in the woods on Lois Lane; and Judy and Terry moved back home to Wales.

Now our neighborhood is kept intact through cyber world with occasional texts, tweets, posts and Facebook.  It was a short time we were together, yet we’ve never been “apart” since we met. These friendships are treasured and as the elderly years keep bringing those things called limitations upon each of us, it may be that we will not be able to visit each other’s neighborhoods again.

Lois had a very rough and tough chemo journey a couple years back, got back on the mend and now she has more to face. Her call today gave me an inspiration for Napkinwriter and I will begin to make posts with these scripture images I am receiving on Pinterest, which means they have been posted somewhere else.

I will begin a series for Lois and I hope I can get them copied to Judy and Terry.

We danced well together!!

 

 

 

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We need to come together and have an open, honest conversation about this.”

We hear that often on the television or speaking circuits in the noisy ways of the world these days.

There are two problems with this statement:

As a whole, we are not very practiced or adept at “coming together” when there is an issue at hand that has strong opinions about it.

Secondly, there are very know how to have an “open and honest” conversation about complex attitudes and actions in our changing world. Even with good intentions to be open, and even thinking we “are honest”, we all bring multi-factored bearings to the issue at hand.

We need to be able to hear ourselves and the other.

Or we end up like this!

Yep! A tug of war.

There are professionals who have all kinds of input, however, and  renewed scientific and human behaviorist practices that can help move us humans forward in the art and necessity of wholesome communication.

Heart Math Institute and the studies of Doc Childre is one such place. When I studied with Barbara Marx Hubbard in Conscious Evolution, I found the practice of Heart Resonance, bringing the resonance of your own heartbeat in sync with the pulse of the world a fascinating endeavor.  I was also introduced to a radically different type of group resolution communication that focuses much more on listening and speaking uninterrupted while others listened, and doing this many times over for the same issue to be resolved, to see how individual consciousness could meld and become one unified consciousness that felt right to move forward on.

Radical, indeed! No debates, no shouting, no “going home with my ball.” There are some experiments with this in religious communities and organizations, but to my knowledge, I have not seen it hit the big time in News or Documentaries for the mass public.

We are still going about, making our noise, and hoping for some instances of connection.

 

HeartMath provides tools that connect us with the heart of “who we truly are” for living healthier, fulfilling lives and building a brighter future.

Since 1991, the HeartMath Institute has researched and developed reliable, scientifically based tools to help people bridge the connection between their hearts and minds, and deepen their connection with the hearts of others.

 

Practical solutions to help you lower your stress, revitalize energy and resilience and restore your mental, emotional and physical balance.

 

Heart connections with family, friends, co-workers – even pets – enrich our lives. Deepen your heart connections. Add flow and energy to your field environment.

 

Global Coherence Initiative unites people in heart-focused care and intention, facilitating a shift in global consciousness toward balance, cooperation and peace.

 

The mission of the HeartMath Institute is to help people bring their physical, mental and emotional systems into balanced alignment with their heart’s intuitive guidance. This unfolds the path for becoming heart-empowered individuals who choose the way of love, which they demonstrate through compassionate care for the well-being of themselves, others and Planet Earth.

 

Their Cause: Activate the heart of humanity

HeartMath Institute is committed to helping activate the heart of humanity. We believe that when we align and connect our hearts and minds and connect with others, we awaken the higher mental, emotional and spiritual capacities that frequently lie dormant. HMI aspires to always conduct our operations with passion, compassion and a heartfelt desire to transform lives. This is in keeping with our desire to help usher in an era of ever-expanding heart intelligence.
HeartMath’s research, training and technologies are aimed at guiding all of humanity toward realization of its full potential and to rely on the qualities of the heart in its role as caretaker of future generations and our planet.

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