Friday, December 15, 2017

Blueberry Moments

My friend Kristi and I walked briskly
down our local trail, somewhat 
euphoric at the gift of 50 degrees
on this Minnesota December day.

{It would be 20 degrees colder and
snowing by that evening.}

December is full of contradictions 
like this -- both physically and

Light and shadows.
Joy and sadness.
Present moments and the
presents of cherished
memories from the past.

As our unseasonably warm
walk took us back to our parked
cars, we were talking recipes
and blueberries.

My friend's teenage son, Jake, 
 had loved these sweet gems.

I still buy the huge packs of
blueberries when I see them at
Costco, Kristi said wistfully.

I don't know why.  

Touching her sleeve gently, I replied,
You are enjoying them for both of you.

This blueberry moment reminded
me of things I encounter daily that
bring to mind someone dear who
has passed away.

Especially during the holidays.

A favorite carol.
A sparkly pin.
The scent of fir trees.
A special game.
A delicious cookie.
A cuddly blanket.
The first snowfall.
A cozy fire.

Moments that I now savor not
only for myself, but also for the
beloved one not physically
here anymore.

With the four-year anniversary
of Jake's death approaching,
I wanted to do something that
would bring Kristi comfort.

Remembering the blueberry
conversation, I searched online
for a blueberry charm.

Imagine my surprise when this
search revealed many sites
selling glass blueberry charms,
which are meant

to symbolize and honor a
mother's loss of a baby.

I had no idea.

In the end, I decided against the
charm, as I wanted my friend to 
focus on the joy her boy had
given her, and not on the loss.

Instead, I delivered hugs, a
framed poem and a big bag of
chocolate-covered blueberries.

Light and shadows melded as
we talked, the Kleenex box
between us, sprinkled with
blueberry moments of 
remembrance, joy and love.

Wishing you all of these gifts as we
embrace this paradoxical, bittersweet,
but oh so beautiful time of the year,
holding close both those who
we can touch with our hands and
those who remain in our hearts.

I carry you with me
into the world,
into the smell of rain
& the words that dance
between people.....
& for me, it will always
be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being
alive together.

-Brian Andreas, Living Memory


Thank you to my bestie
from across the globe
for the lovely poem 

{all photos my own}

Friday, December 1, 2017

Princess Kate

A brunette, with soulful brown 
eyes, she is stopped on the street 
nearly every day, praised for her
 beauty and grace.

Waited on and adored by her
manservant, this princess lives a
life of ease, although she is quick
to dispense kisses upon request.

However, her fine and distinguished 
pedigree cannot cover up a
serious character flaw.

Kate is a serial moocher.  

This princess
will eat anything.....

A whole loaf of garlic bread,
including the foil.

An entire bag of uncooked egg noodles.

And (SO un-ladylike) --

As you may have guessed, I'm
not talking about that Princess Kate,


This Kate belongs to my parents.

One of her more heinous mooches
happened on my husband's birthday,
when she snuck into their kitchen and
ate half of his 
chocolate birthday cake.

Two layers of chocolate cake
topped with chocolate frosting.

Not surprisingly, Princess Kate
became very ill, but did recover fully.

She was a lucky pup.  Other dogs who
consume that amount of chocolate,
which is toxic to dogs, might not be.

The grandkids in attendance were
scared by Kate's illness.  Many didn't
know that other human foods,
in addition to chocolate, can make
dogs very sick.

That day, Princess Kate became 
my muse!

I researched what common human foods
can be toxic for dogs and wove that
information into a cautionary, but 
not scary, tale for children and 
their parents called
Kate Takes The Cake.

(I'm soooo excited to finally
share it with you!!)

The whimsical pictures that help tell 
the story were created by a brilliant 
illustrator, Charity Russell, who
brought my story to life from
 her studio in Bristol, England.

This Princess Kate, with her soulful
brown eyes and serial mooching,
will never take tea with the queen.
But I am so hopeful that the antics
which inspired this little book will
benefit many dogs and help to
keep them safe.

Nowhere is it written that you
have to be perfect
to help others.  ~ Howard Wight


Kate Takes The Cake is available
in paperback and Kindle formats
online from Amazon and B&
One dollar per paperback copy sold
will be donated to the 
Top Dog Foundation, 
which provides loving and
permanent homes for senior dogs.

If you purchase a paperback and
would like a personalized bookplate
to go with it, I'd love to send you one!
Just email your details to me at

(all photos my own)