Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just Today

Be reverent before 
the dawning day.
Do not think of what
will be in a year, 
or in ten years.  

Think of today.

~ Romain Rolland,
Nobel Laureate





One of the things that
I love about living
across the street from
a large body of water
is the daily show of
sunrises and sunsets.

They are nearly
always magnificent.

Especially in the
winter season.





I'm not sure if it
is the reflection from
the snow and ice, the
angle of the earth to
the sun this time of 
year or what, exactly, 
makes the dawn and
dusk so lovely.

It just is.

I appreciate the wee 
hours most when I'm not 
rushing off to a pre-dawn 
exercise class, important
as they are.  On exercise
mornings I'm barely awake
and am simply focused on
getting ready and out
the door.






But the other 
mornings......

The ones where I
am the first to rise,
the house dark and
still....

Those are the days
when I truly feel

reverent before the
dawn.






Ordinary routines that
remind me of my
extraordinary blessings.

Flipping on lights
here and there, I'm very
thankful that we live
in a house with electricity.

So many in this
world do not.





Turning on the fireplace
to ease the night's chill,
I am grateful for this
warm shelter.

So many suffer on
the streets.





Tossing the first load of
laundry in the washer, I
still have to pinch myself,
after all of these years,
to believe that I have a
husband and children
to care for.

So many are alone.





Grinding the coffee
beans, putting water in
the machine, I move
softly around the kitchen,
enjoying a few more
minutes of peace 
and silence.  





I think how lucky we are
 to simply turn a tap that
delivers pure cold or
hot water.

There are places on this
earth where many poor
souls do not have this
basic necessity.





I imagine all the men and
women who labor on the
coffee farms to bring forth
a rich harvest of beans.

I'm so grateful for
their hard work.





At this time of day, I
don't worry about next
year or ten years 
from now.  

I am just here, with my
coffee, with my thoughts
and my gratitude and the
blossoming day, 
unfolding
like the gift that 
it always is.





Thank you for sharing
it with me, today.


xo
Suzanne  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Dress



As I pulled out of
the Goodwill donation
garage last week, the
peach chiffon dress,
nestled in its dry cleaning
bag, lay across a heap
of clothes and pillows
in one of those mega
storage bins.

My heart clenched.
My eyes pricked.

I took a deep breath.

via privetandholly on Instagram

And as the sunshine
on that bright January
day beamed through
my windshield,

I
smiled.

And gave thanks.



Thanks for the 95
year-old lady who
danced in that peach
chiffon dress at my
brother's wedding,
when she was 88.

Although she no
longer remembers her
dancing days, I, her
granddaughter, know
that until the last few
years, she danced 
through every decade
of her sweet life.

{GiGi on the right; bestie Mildred on the left. }

GiGi's parents scrimped
during her teen years, the
time of the Great Depression, 
so that she could have 
dancing lessons.

It wasn't peach chiffon
in those days, but fabric
donated and sewn up
by her best friend's older
sister, that she wore to
recitals.

{Third from the left}
When she graduated
from high school and her
dad saw the ad in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer 
for an audition with
Donn Arden's Models, a
traveling vaudeville troupe
similar to the Rockettes,
off she went in her 
homemade costume....

And made the cut.

An exciting new chapter
in her life unfolded.


{She later discovered that
the other dancers thought 
her audition outfit was
so funny....black velvet
shorts and a little top.}

Even after she became
a wife and a mother and
hung up her professional
dancing shoes ~ 

that's how
it was in those days ~

Gigi still loved to dance.



It wasn't uncommon to
see her do a little two-step
when she was really excited
about something : )

Well into her 80's, she
always told me that she
was going to learn
the tango,

someday.



In her golden years,
Gigi and a friend joined
Arthur Murray Dance
Studio for instruction.

Which is where the
peach chiffon dress 
first
came on the scene.


She wore it to a recital,
with a sparkly brooch
pinned to the bodice.

Oh, that dress just
floated.

She was so enamored
of its style that she kept
it in her closet for over 20
years, until it reappeared
for my little brother's 
wedding.



The rumpled chiffon
looked a bit forlorn
on that Goodwill pile.

But as she herself 
used to say,  

All good things have 
to come to an end.


{With the groom!}

Like her dancing days.

And the mind that was
able to remember them.

And the peach chiffon dress.

*****

Luckily, I still have
the brooch.

And her stories.


xo
Suzanne

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Handling It


Hello!

Come on in.
Pour yourself a 
cup of coffee.
Pull your chair up
a little closer 
to the fire.

How has January
been treating you?

I was on my way
home, yesterday,
when the sunshine,
bouncing brilliantly
off the thick ice of
the lake, caught my
eye.


via Instagram Privetandholly

I pulled over to take
a photo with my phone,
uploading it to share
with my Instagram pals,
adding this caption:

These are popping up
all over Lake Minnetonka ~
ice fishing shacks.  Now
it really feels like winter!
That and 5 degrees F on
my dash.....

One of my IG friends,
who lives in Florida,
commented,

How do you handle that??!!



It never occurred to me
that I'd been handling
anything.

I have really come to
embrace winter.  A lovely,
fresh start.  Cozy times
inside punctuated by brisk
walks down the road, the
frosty marsh on one side
and the frozen lake on the
other.



Having spent most of
my January days ill with
flu, then stomach virus, I
am relishing the opportunity
to get outside and inhale
the piercingly cold air.

If you have never
experienced air this frigid,
it refreshes body, mind
and spirit like nothing else.



Clogged head, cough,
chills, nausea, I don't
handle very well.  But
winter in Minnesota?

Piece of cake.

Last night, while taking
Gracie out, I threw
my head back to take in
the gazillion stars overhead,
snug in my puffy coat
and Uggs....



And I thought of so
many people, out there
in this big old world,
who truly are just

handling it.

Chemo treatments

Job losses

Depression

Care taking

Military service

Deaths of loved ones

Natural disasters

Broken hearts


I bet you are sending
prayers or good thoughts
to someone who is
courageously handling it,
whatever their it is,
each and every day.

I know I am.



Makes a winter's day with
a high of -2 degrees F
seem like a walk in the
park.....

{Although even Gracie and
I aren't too keen to set out
on those days : ) }



So pour yourself another
cup of coffee.  Let's toast
to all the brave souls who
are, indeed, handling it,

each
and every
day.


I was thinking about
the word handle, and
 all the unavoidable
things that get handled.

"I'm sorry," I said.

~ Hazel, The Fault in Our Stars,
by John Green

xo
Suzanne







Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Words





At our house, the
holidays aren't really
behind us until we've
acknowledged the gifts
we received with a
thank you note.

With a cup of something
comforting, I settle
in at a table or desk to
carry out this familiar
ritual, jotting them
off until I've finished.




The kids tend to pen theirs
one at a time, between
homework and activities,
until they are all done.


Yes, I'm one of 
those moms.

Like my own mom.

Her mom and my dad's
mom were, as well.




As a child, even if I
absolutely loved the
 present I'd received
from a grandparent
or aunt or uncle, it was
difficult to understand
the big deal about
sending a thank you
note, especially if I'd
already expressed my
gratitude in person
or over the telephone.

They were just words.




But as I grew older
and thoughts flowed
more easily from heart
to hand, those words 
ceased
to be a chore.  

And as I continued to 
grow, I realized how
much it meant to the
recipient of my thank
you note to be given
a gift, of sorts, along
with my words.


The gift of time.




Time I'd taken to pick out
just the right note card,
or crisp stationery ~

or even the time it took
to rip out a page of my
spiral notebook.

Time I'd sat for a moment,
my thoughts lingering
on the gift, as well as
the giver.




Time I'd taken to commit
my reflections to paper 
in pen or pencil, then 
stamped and addressed 
the envelope. 

Time I'd taken to trudge 
to the mailbox, inserting
the note and then gently
lifting the little red flag 
on the side so the mailman
would be sure to stop.

You really don't appreciate
the gift of time until you've 
acquired some mileage 
of your own : )




My dad's mom, Mie-Mie,
was an amazing correspondant
and one of my best role
models for connecting
through the mail.

She was a champion letter
writer and remembered all the
birthdays and anniversaries
of her friends and family.

All eight of her grandchildren
received cards for different
holidays, such as Halloween,
Valentine's Day and Easter.

Her mailbox was 
stuffed
at Christmastime.




I didn't post a lot of cards
until I went to college. 
Then, it gave me great joy 
to send greeting cards 
 to my grandparents and
my Great Aunt Helen, 
who lived alone.

I was certain a note in
the mail would make
them smile....

Because the ones I was
lucky enough to receive
 in my own little mailbox 
made me smile.




I'm not sure if any of
them would have 
considered e-cards
or e-mail thank yous
as substitues for 
the real deal.

Somehow it doesn't
have the same 
heart.


When my kids were
in elementary school,
I always wrote a thank
you note at the end of
the school year to 
their teachers.

I wrote an especially
heartfelt one to my
daughter's third grade
teacher, Mrs. Smith,
who she spoke of 
glowingly
every.single.day and
who truly stoked her 
love of learning.


On the last day, 
Mrs. Smith, young and
eager and full of energy,
stopped me in the warm
June sunshine to say,

I'll treasure your letter
forever.  It's the reason
I went into teaching.  It
is the best gift I could
ever receive.


And to think there was
a time when I thought of
a thank you note as

just words.

xo
Suzanne


PS:  Thank you for all the
love that you poured on my
dear little Cousin, Soup, in
my last post.  We are still
waiting to hear from Carrie,
but I truly believe it's just a
matter of when!