Category Archives: Slice of Life

Being Grateful

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With our stay-at-home order, it is easy to get grumbly. To combat this negative thinking, I am listing 10 reasons for being grateful. I hope you enjoy these, and why not give it a try?

10 Reasons for Being Grateful

What a view!
I always wanted a window.

I am grateful for now having an “office” with a window…and a view. (My kitchen table is now my desk, and I have a lovely view of the backyard outside my sliding glass door.)

Fresh flowers on my “desk”

I am grateful that I can have fresh flowers on my table. These flowers are free and from my own backyard. They seem like such a small thing, but they brighten my “desk” and remind me that spring really is coming.

My super fashionable mask…Thanks, Emily!

I am grateful that my daughter sewed 156 local-hospital-approved masks and gave me two. Most of the rest were donated to local facilities. Since I had a mask, I finally went to a store yesterday after over a month of staying at home. My mask kept me fashionable and safe.

She selflessly sewed those masks night and day and generously donated them to essential workers. And…when a delivery man from Amazon came, he got a mask. The grocery delivery man who came with her groceries? He got a mask. When the men at Home Depot needed masks? Yep, they each got one. What about my mom who is 86? My sisters who are nurses-one in Ohio and one in Virginia? Yep, yep, and yep with packages showing up on their doorsteps. What? The mailman didn’t have one? He got one, too.

What about others who need one? There is a bag hanging on the door knob on her front door with a sign inviting people who need one to take one. That makes me feel good right down to my toes! Wow, this blog is making me feel happier by the second.

I am grateful for gas prices that are less than $1.00 a gallon. I never thought I’d see that again! I filled up yesterday (in my mask) with minimal pain to my wallet. I don’t really do any driving right now, but it is good to know that I have the gas if I need to go somewhere or if the stay-at-home order ends.

I am including a photo of the sign at the near the pumps at the gas station. Have you guessed where I went yesterday? Ah, yes, Costco!

Can you believe it? Go, Costco!
Do you see him? He’s the little bird who brought me so much joy.

By the way, something wonderful happened while I was pumping my gas, a little bird was cheerfully singing.

Yes, I am grateful for that little bird who serenaded me the entire time I was pumping my gas. Little things like that make me smile. I’m smiling right now thinking about it.

I am grateful for one of my sons who is an essential worker at Costco; the Costco at which I strategically shopped. And, guess what? Yes, you guessed it. I saw him and had short, but wonderful, time to talk with him…from 6 feet away, of course. At least I think it was him-not sure-it’s hard to tell with the mask he was wearing.

Was the masked Costco worker really Jimmy? Hmmm…
A personal best!

I am grateful that outdoor exercise is an approved activity during the stay-at-home days in our state. Riding my bike makes me feel free; I love the wind on my skin and just going fast. (Well, as fast as my legs can pedal me.)

My husband and I rode on the bike trail on Sunday, which was a sunny, warm day, albeit windy, but I earned a personal best! With a ride of 31.92 miles, it was a milestone for me. Wow! That made me feel good.

I am grateful that I do not live alone. Even though my husband is an essential worker and goes to work each day, I have a real, live human being with whom to chat and to read and to give person-to-person hugs.

My husband and I like to walk in the evenings, but it is eery. The streets are empty with spooky shadows from the bare branches of trees silhouetted on the road. This new normal doesn’t feel normal to me!

The mailmen are still going strong!

I am thankful for the United States Postal Service. I have been able to put my little notes out in my mailbox with the red flag up. (In case you forgot, that is one way to signal that you have a letter to mail without having to go to the post office or a post box.) I look out my front window later in the day and, wallah, the flag is down. I know my card is safely on its way-hopefully to brighten someone’s day. I wish I could be there to see their faces when they open the envelopes. Getting a real letter is so much fun!

Last by not least, I am grateful for you! Thank you for reading this little slice. I thought 10 might be hard, but I guess gratitudes are like tears for me. Once I start, I just can’t stop. I thought of one, then another, then another. I could keep going for hours. It is fun. Why don’t you give it a try?

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and write 10 of your own reasons for being grateful! Link them below. I’d love to read them!

Or, just add one thing for which you are grateful today in the comments below. I know I’ll enjoy reading it. Gratitude is contagious! I hope this IS something you will catch.

The Birdie Fashion Show

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I had a front row seat last week
for the Birdie Fashion Show.
I waited for the fun to start
with bated breath held low.

The robins all around me
hopping to their seats.
They chirped and bobbed and glanced 
about to see the new Spring treats.
                                                                          
As the sun, a spotlight true,
burst onto the darkened spot,
A cardinal fluttered down he flew,
his feathers fluffed, a deep red hue.

That was not enough, you see,
he turned this way and that,
And then he raised his royal crest
to show his wondrous hat!

Next came the little lady, 
her garb so brown and muted,
She swirled and twirled so all could see- 
her style was not disputed.

Again, the bold and dashing male
come to strut his stuff.
He took the stage, his feathers spread,
he was so sleek and daring. 

His mate, so shy, was not about
to be outdone by this display,
She alighted on the iron bar and tipped her head to say, 
"My crest is just as elegant, as his on any day!"
                                            
Alas, the little birdies had to flit away,
and all around the cheers were heard for those who had to go.
With heavy hearts, we turned away,
with hope again, next Spring to see, the Birdie Fashion Show.
                                   ©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

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This is an image from the internet, labeled for use with modification.  

The idea for this poem came to me last week as I looked up from my work in my new office (my kitchen table). A male cardinal alighted on the back of my wrought iron porch chair and showed off for me. On the rim of a clay pot, his mate awaited her turn. She and the male took turns, on right after the other, landing on the chair and having their own private fashion show. I was not fast enough with my camera…

Joy!

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This poem was inspired by ideas from Rita K. on Nurturing Literacy, “Technology Bridges the Gap.”

Joy!
A brilliant, yellow ray of sunlight 
piercing through darkened sky
sparkling, sparking, sparking
bursting through cloudy covers
A sunshine bath
drenching warmth,  swirling laughter
encircling, encircling, encircling
 with unseen arms
A spoonful of sherbert
melting, melting, melting
exploding with smooth sweetness
yumminess on my tongue
An eternal spring 
bubbling, bubbling, bubbling 
upward from the ground
 mysterious, unseen source
A twirling, twirling, twirling
around and around 
barefoot in cool green grass
head thrown back
arms stretched wide
Joy!
©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

					

Bad Hair Day

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Peeking out of my window, a faithful friend beckoned me.
“Come visit today," she seemed to say.
So reaching and grabbing my jacket so dusty,
Gaily, I waved and went slipping away.

Enjoying the company one of the other, 
“Oh, help me, please,”  silent eyes did plead.
So pitiful her imploring was, I scarcely could recover,
I decided right then, I could help my friend, help her to be freed.

Touching her fingers to wild, messy tresses,
“Could you, would you, help me please?
So tangled and matted and tattered and knotted," Oh, how she stresses!
I’ll do my best to fix this mess, I answered with unease.   

Running to go, to grab what's needed,
“Don’t be long,” she exclaimed and pleaded.
So knowing how quickly I’d return, her words I never heeded. 
I found the things so very quick, my task was soon competed.

Beginning to comb, this way and that, from every side and angle,
“Ouch! Be careful.  You're hurting me," she whimpered and did whine.
So gently I pulled, I pulled at the mats, I tugged at the tangles;
I snipped at the snags;  I combed at the locks 'til beauty did shine. 

Gathering dead and damaged hair,
“I'm feeling so much better,” the happy chorus refraining.
So I walked all around to inspect the repair,
I smiled to myself with my pride never waning.

Whistling cheerfully, strolling back home,
“Thank you, oh, thank you,” came floating along.
So I pondered how glorious my yard to behold,
and heard all the chirping, 
                 the rustling of leaves, 
                                   the joyful, the jubilant 
                                                         song of the spring.  

©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved





The comb...

The Call

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“Hi, Mom, how are you doing?”

I love my mom. She is an amazing lady. I’m glad she’s my mom. Memories began flooding my mind. Memories of Mom trying to carry a small mattress up the stairs from the basement. Tommy, my 16 year old son, said, “Mema, I am carrying that. “

“No, that’s o.k. I can get it.”

“No. I’m taking it. I won’t have my 70 year old grandma carrying a mattress up the stairs!” After a little tussle, Mom reluctantly surrendered the mattress.

Then this memory from July 27, 2003, Mom’s 70th birthday. I squinted as I glanced back, checking to make sure all was set. “Tension!” boomed my dad, the driver, the only driver, of his ski boat. Vroom, the boat shot forward, quickly accelerating. My gaze was focused behind us, up popped Mom, dripping and smiling…slalom skiing!

“She’s up!” I called to let Dad know. He glance behind, and then turned his head forward and scanned the lake for other boats.

Weaving in and out of the wake, Mom laughing and waving to us. I lifted my hand and waved back. I smiled jealousy. It still is so easy for her. Wow! Yes, I could ski easily…on two skis…but I always struggled getting up on one. After a long trip around the lake, Dad pulled back gently on the throttle, and Mom gracefully slid down into the water.

More memories…Mom cooking full turkey dinners, every Thanksgiving and every Christmas-and she still does! Mom working in the garden and canning 72 quarts of tomatoes, freezing quarts of golden corn, canning 50 pints of salsa, and much more. I remember the time I asked Mom if I could can some of the “extra” green beans from her garden when I came in the next day. “Yes, we have a lot still on the bushes. You’re welcome to them.”

So, when I arrived at Mom and Dad’s at about 6:00 PM that next day, with all 6 kids in tow, she suggested, “Let’s go pick some green beans. Want to?”

“Sure!” I replied.

Carefully setting the second brown paper bag overflowing with green beans on the kitchen floor, I’m sure ready to sit down and rest, I thought. After all, I’ve traveled over 500 miles by myself today…with the kids!

I did sit down, but now without getting busy. Mom walked in, a smile lighting her face, with two bowls. Then, two bags, and the two bags of beans. We began popping off the ends of the beans and breaking them into even pieces, talking and laughing all the while.

Mom left me to finish on my own while she made the dinner. After finishing, we worked together to wash, dry, and put away the dishes. It’ll be great to just sit down and relax. No sooner had the thought flitted across my consciousness when I heard the cheery, “Why don’t we can those green beans?”

What?!? You want to can them now? I glanced at the clock. It was getting on to 10 o’clock. I suppressed a sigh. “Of course,” I answered without a hint of my inward reservation, “Of, course!” But inside, I was thinking, I can’t let Mom outdo me!

So, we processed and canned that night until about 2 A.M. That is my mom… energetic…loving life…cheerful….alive.

Mom’s feeble reply jolted me from my reverie.

“Oh, I’m hobbling around.”

Alarm bells clanged in my mind. Who was this woman who answered me? I don’t know this person.

Mom, now 86, always so full of fun and vigor; Mom who so loved life even though the years chugged along; Mom, the shorter version of herself who laughed at the future; ; Mom who proudly wears her silver “crown;” Mom, who to me, seems forever young, had answered. She had answered, “Oh, I’m hobbling around”??

Mom hobbling around? Mom feeble? “No,” a thousand times, “No!”

I blinked as if in a dark room and the lights beamed on. I shook my head, tring to understand the magnitude of this statement. Mom, my mom, who thrives on being with people…cooking dinners…driving friends to church events…opening her home to visitors…Mom was isolated, lonely, sad, disconnected.

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“Oh, you know. My back in hurting so I have to walk so slowly now,”

But no, it wasn’t her back that was hurting, it was her heart.

Lovingly, we conversed…my words drawing forth the mom I know and love; our words breathing life into her death of aloneness and isolation; our words reviving her.

Yes, you were right, dear hubby. Right, right, right! Thank you for saying, “Make the call!”


This conversation was a wake-up call for me. I’ve been calling my mother every day since this conversation. With social distancing, our parents and friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, are isolated and alone…and, probably, afraid. Won’t you call, or write, someone you love or know today?

“…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak…’ I Thessalonians 5:14b

Quietly

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Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does laughter
fill the air;
No longer does door
on hinges swing.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does she
move with ease;
No longer does laughter
ring so free.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does the
doorbell ring;
No longer does the 
guest swing in.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

Brrring! 
shatters quietness;
Brrring! 
fractures aloneness.

Quietly,
Quietly, 
she smiles.
Connected. 

Hello?
Oh, beloved voice;
How are you?
warms lonely heart.


Quietly,
Quietly she speaks; 
Quietly, quietly
loves, lives.


 

My sweet, sweet mother

This poem was inspired by a phone call I had this morning with my sweet, sweet mother, now 86, who lives 450 miles away. I asked, “How are you doing, Mom?” I heard a shocking reply. I didn’t realize how hard mandated seclusion is for the elderly, for my mom who never seemed elderly.

Please, please, please visit or call your parent or friend or neighbor today! Help “shatter the quietness and fragment the aloneness” for them.

“Pure religion and undefiled is this, To visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction…” James 1:27a

I plan on writing about the conversation tomorrow in my blog. See you then!

Sing For It's Spring

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Chirping and warbling-sounds that woke my up this morning. Happy, cheerful, hopeful sounds. My face broke into a smile as I blinked away the sleep from my eyes.

Downstairs, when I opened the blinds, what did I see? Three robins hopping across the lawn. What happy harbingers of spring! Melodies of my feathered friends drifted into the kitchen. My lips upturned. The birds aren’t worried.

Turning, wonderings wove wistfully in my thoughts as I completed my morning chores : Has the snow landed 3 times on the robins tail? I think so. I hope so.

My eyes lifted and glanced out the kitchen window. There on my shepherd’s crook, still holding the skeletons of fragrant flowers from last summer, sat a little red-headed bird. How happily he sat, cocking his head this way and that, surveying the wide world around him. His feathers puffed and fluffed like a proud little soldier. How lucky I am to see such a sight! What a handsome fellow.

Using Bird Watcher’s Digest, I think this is a male house finch. You can see the screen, but I didn’t have time to take another picture from the sliding door.

My legs carried me quickly to my phone. Hurriedly, my finger pressed the button. Did I get it? Oh, I forgot, the screen. Do I have time to get to the door without the screen? My feet flew to the door. I peeked out just as my friend tipped his head as if to say, “Top of the mornin’ to ye!” Opening his wings, he fluttered off.

“Good mornin’ to ye!” I whispered back as smile spread across my face. “Come back soon, little friend!”

“…Sing unto the LORD a new song…” Psalms 149:1b

Wait…It’s Spring?

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Wait…It’s spring?  My thoughts feel jumbled and confused, like one would feel if one was a pebble tumbling in a creek, and how one would feel if all the while the creek is tinkling and babbling at the joke it is playing.  I blinked.  I blinked again.  My eyes flew open!   It is spring! How did I miss it?  I feel as if I’ve been standing 3 inches in front of a large oak tree…all I see is rough, dark bark…COVID-19.

Well, this is going to change.  Quickly, I sit up, my bare feet hitting the carpet.  I speed into the closet and grab my robe.  No time to get dressed.  I need spring.  How do I welcome spring?

I hurry around the house dusting winter away as best I can.

I know…I’ll change the wreath on my door.  So, I change this…

Winter Wreath          Forsythia Wreath

I’ll changed this…

Winter art         IMG-5322

That’s better.  But, why not this?

IMG-5316         IMG-5321

But this???

IMG-5319

Wait…It’s Spring?

 

“…He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.  He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold.”    Psalms 147:16-17

 

Hope for Today

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The darkness enveloped and a chill met me as I rose from my cozy bed and walked to the bathroom.  A gloom settled around me as thoughts of the coronavirus crowded my mind.  With determination, I did my morning bathroom chores…brush teeth…get dressed…put on make-up…swish & swipe toilet, sink, mirror…shoes, socks.

The fragrance of coffee met me as I entered the kitchen.  How great to have a timer on the coffee machine!  I grabbed my cup, filled it.  Next, my morning routines…open blinds, empty dishwasher, start diffuser (Citrus Fresh…what a happy start to the day), turn on CD player (remember those?) with the “New Boys” album, He Reigns. 

Sun through trees Turning, I noticed sunshine beaming through the kitchen windows. The sun came up again today. Is that a beam of joy entering my heart?

“As we lift up our hands, will you meet us hear? …God of mercy and grace…only you the heavens declare…Holy, holy is our God Almighty…Holy, holy is his name alone…” Jesus.

Peace and joy trickle in my dark heart and mind.  I felt the darkness splintering, shattering by HOPE.  Jesus still is in control.  He still holds me in his hands.

Before ever the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to lasting, thou art God.  Psalms 90:2

My God is not surprised or overwhelmed by COVID-19.   It is not out of His control.  He is still God…He is on his throne, reigning in majesty and strength.  I am not out of his care. How did I forget that?

Today, I choose HOPE.  I choose the eternal HOPE…I choose  Jesus!

Today, what will you choose?  Choose hope!  Choose Jesus!