Dandelion Bouquets


“She’s so slow,” said Tommy with exasperation.

“Hi, Mom!” added the blue-eyed brother.

“Hi,” I responded, “Where are Jimmy and Maggie?”

“Jimmy’s waiting for Maggie. It’s his day,” Tommy said over his shoulder as I watched the two brothers fly down the stairs to the basement.

BAM! The door flew open five minutes later, and in stomped my third son. “Why is she so slow?” Jimmy asked me as he grabbed a chocolate chip cookie off the plate with avocado flowers that sat innocently on the island. “I had to wait forever at the top of the hill.” Then, reaching out his hand, he grabbing the doorknob, opened the basement door, and followed his brothers down the stairs.

“Hi, Mommy,” came a little girl voice behind me, a voice bubbling with excitement. My little-girl daughter eagerly looked up into my eyes, her hand outstretched. A golden ball of dandelions was held securely in her chubby little-girl hand. A warm feeling spread in my heart like hot fudge sauce on ice cream. My eyes lit with a wonder glow as I reached out my hand and gingerly took the offering. Bending down, my lips kissed her rosy cheek.

“Thank you, Honey! They’re so pretty. Let’s put them in some water.” A little dried beef jar became the vase that humbly displayed this sweet gift. No fancy, store-bought bouquet could rival their beauty in my heart.

Now, many years have passed. I look back to those days of childhood innocence when all of God’s creation was delightful and enchanting. I gaze back to my little girl child, my sweet, little girl-child daughter who loved to bring me wilted dandelion bouquets and wild snapdragons with love in her eyes and joy in her heart.



So many whys-

Why do letters make sounds

and sounds make words

and words make ideas

and ideas change the world?


Why does one man love one woman

and why is that woman the one?

Why does that man become the one

to that woman?


Why does love kindle desire

and desire bring babies

and babies grow love?


Why does time go by

and people grow old

and people pass away

and why does time leave us…alone?







Commenting on Commenting


I can tell you right now the name of fellow slicer who gave me my first-ever comment when I was a brand-new member of the Slice of Life community last year.  Why can I remember her? It was shocking and thrilling and invigorating, all at once.  I have thought a lot about comments over the past year.  I have thought how I have appreciated each comment and have enjoyed commenting on the slices of others.  In light of all that thinking, here are my thoughts on commenting.  What idea can you add to this list?

Ten Reasons Why Commenting is Important

  1. Commenting gives bloggers something to read when they check their blogs zillions of times a day just to check for comments.  Yea!  Someone stopped by…
  2. Commenting shows the writer has an “authentic” audience, something all writers need and crave.
  3. Commenting helps writers and commenters become long-distance friends.  I have gotten comments from people in Thailand and Australia and Pennsylvania and…
  4. Commenting sends sympathy when slices speak of sadness; encouragement when slices reveal discouragement;  reassurance when slices show vulnerability; and cheers when slices are celebrations.
  5. Comments identify favorite lines or phrases. Wow!  Someone liked that part…
  6. Commenting blesses the commenter.  The blessing can be an inspiration, a new form to try out, a new idea, a chuckle, a tear, or the connection to a long-lost memory.
  7. Commenting tells the slicer that their teaching or coaching idea may be borrowed by the commenter.  What a thrill!
  8. Commenting expresses the excitement of seeing the world through the eyes, words, or perspectives of others.  Did I mention the photographs of others, too?
  9. Commenting is the laughter bubbling up from the humor in the slice.
  10. Commenting is the bridge that connects writers!

I’ll be watching for your comment today…thank you…and please share your ideas about commenting.

Learning Language


Her eyes locked on mine; she became still.  “What is that big story you are telling me?” I asked in a quiet voice pitched a bit higher than normal.

Her brows came together just a bit as she worked to get her lips to make an O shape.  Then, “ooo” she replied

“You’re talking to me,” I answered with a little smile. “Ooo,” I added.

Again, the little brows furrowed.  “Ooo-ooo,” and the corners of her lips turned up.  Her eyes were still locked on mine.

Awe filled me.  Mabel is learning to talk.  This is how language is acquired.  What a miracle.

Some may say that  these were random baby sounds, but I know better.  This was communication between Mabel and me.  She was answering me by trying to imitate the words I was making.   Mabel is learning to talk!



The time has gone fast today. We visited some old friends (about 96 years old and about 91 years old). When we were younger and my youngest children were only a month or two old, my husband traveled all the time. This couple became like a third set of grandparents. My parents lived 500 miles away, and there is nothing like family when you are far away. That was in a different state and 22 years ago. Now our “grandparents” live in our state, only over an hour away. We visited them today. Returning some of the love they gave us when we needed it so much.

Spring is Playing Peek-a-Bo0


Spring’s sunny face was smiling

          only yesterday.

She peeked amidst ol’ Winter’s clouds

          And warmed us through and through.

I wish she’d come and play again

          And disperse ol’ Winter’s gloom.

Today my friend is hiding;

          She’s nowhere to be found.

When will she come again to play

          And make my spirit soar? 

When, oh, when will Spring come back

          And peek-a-boo once more?

Math Autobiography


This slice idea was “borrowed” from Teri Cote who “borrowed” it from Terierrol.  Thanks to both!


  1. One Lord, Jesus Christ
  2. Two brothers and two sisters whom I dearly love
  3. Three identities: Wife, Mother, Teacher
  4. Four years older is my husband than me
  5. Five is the time I get up in the morning to go to the gym
  6. Six beautiful children (4 boys + 2 girls)
  7. Seven colors of yarn in my temperature afghan so far this year
  8. Eight hours I wish I could sleep each night!
  9. Nine is the date of my birth and the number of states in which I lived
  10. Ten years difference between my oldest and youngest child
  11. Eleven is the date of my wedding and multiplied by 3 equals years married
  12. Twelve is the number of the month that has my favorite holiday, Christmas
  13. Thirteen times I moved to a different state or country in my life

Good-bye, Faithful Old Friend


Today, I said good-bye to my faithful friend, Gracie Ellen. I petted her head, her fur still soft and golden. Her eyes, dim with age, glanced up at me as tears rolled down my face unabashedly. I thought about all the joy she selflessly gave to me through the years as I said good-bye. I knew it was her time. I cried as I kissed her and told her I loved her. I left for school. My grown sons and husband cried with me. Would she be there when I returned?


I met her 15 years ago, less 3 months, at a farm up north. Two tiny puppies were laying in the hand of the farmer. Both, with eyes still closed and almost hairless, cuddled together. One sleeping quietly, the other half-lying on her sister and whimpering for her mother. “We’ll take the sleeping one,” I announced without consulting anyone else in the family. I knew about dogs that sat on their siblings, and I wasn’t going through that again. A pink satin ribbon was all that recorded the choice.

On the way home, we debated her name, but Gracie Ellen seemed so perfect for her that that was that. After all, when the kids started praying for a dog, my mom wisely warned me to start praying for “a good dog.” And so I did! And that is how Gracie Ellen got her nickname, “the prayed-up pup.”
Two weeks later, the puppy was weaned and riding in her crate (so gigantic then) in the back of the burgundy and tan Suburban. All the kids were with us, all happily chattering about the new puppy. The first night, she whimpered so pathetically that my husband moved her into our room and put his hand on her all night. That was all it took. After that, she was a part of the pack and didn’t long for her former life.

I was skeptical about dogs, after all, our last dog was a real rascal and was not that enjoyable. But this little fluffball won my heart when, out in the back yard, she came running over as fast as her little legs could carry her, straight to me, with a humongous stick in her mouth. It must have been 3 times her size! Who couldn’t love a little puppy like that?

Then, that was the hard, thesis year. It was my first year back working full time after staying home for 18 years being a full-time mom. It was the last year of my master’s program, too. It was unbelievably hard. I’d wake up at 2:00 in the morning, get up, and work on my assignments, and later, my thesis. My little friend was never too busy or tired to come over and cuddle up on my feet, keeping them warm and giving moral support. We had a special bond after that.

In the summer, she’d be tethered to my belt as I hung up laundry in the summer breezes. Later, no tether was needed as we worked together to hang out the wash. A full laundry basket on one hip, and Gracie on the opposite heel. She’d lay patiently in the shade while I finished my work, and then get up and trot back in with me. We made a pretty great team.
Of course, the kids were part of her pack, and they’d often be seen playing together. Like the time the kids hitched her up to the scooter and had her pull them around the block. Or, the time she went up the ladder of the play house just to be with them. She came down the slide after them, too.

You’d think swimming would be an instinct with Goldens, but no. Not for Gracie. Whenever she tried to swim and her feet left the bottom of the lake, she panicked! Frantically splashing and paddling and with terror-filled eyes, she’d quickly return to shore. That wasn’t the life for her. Until one day…she saw a stick splash out a little ways from shore. She swam after it, retrieved it, and wanted more and more and more. After that she loved swimming so much that one time, she took off swimming without waiting for us to throw the stick! We thought she was going to swim all the way to Michigan! Off came my husband’s shoes as we kept throwing stick after stick and calling for her to come back. Getting ready to rescue Gracie, my husband started in. At the moment, Gracie saw the splash of a rock in her periphery vision and turned toward the splash. Then, she saw the next stick we threw. Retrieving it, she proudly swam to shore, much to our relief. She had found her calling in life! She was a Retriever!

Gentle and intuitively knowing, my mother-in-law (and the other elderly people in the care center) felt the joy of having my 80 pound Golden Retriever gently put her head in her lap to be petted. How did Gracie know to be so careful and gentle? How did she know that Grams had arthritis and was in pain?

Whenever a stroller went by with a little baby or toddler, gentle Gracie would sit quietly while they squealed and petted and pulled her ears or hair. No growling. No nips. She knew. She knew to be careful.

Then there was the time when we thought she was dying. How did we know? She stopped wagging her tail, stopped looking up with her doggy smile. Something was wrong. She had her head on my lap as I cried and cried, thinking this was the end. She just looked up at me with her chocolate, eye-liner eyes as if to say, “I”m sorry it hurts.” Happily, that time, we cheated death with surgery for her. But, that “near-death-experience” served to spoil her rotten. Mischievous, but generous children, would slyly slip her some table food. A bite of pizza, a piece of hamburger, a part of a cookie. She never ate so well. She never got table food before! “After all,” they’d say, “she almost died!”

I could write and write and write happy little vignettes about Gracie and me and the family. This could be a novel. I hope you see why I have to write, to let you get to know, in some small way, this friend of mine. She was the best dog ever. I still say it was because she was a “prayed up pup.” Maybe it the love, too. All the love she kept giving and giving and giving. We loved her in return, but I think it was only a paltry down payment compared to what she gave to us. Our lives were so rich, and still are with the beautiful memories and selfless love she gave us!

Good-bye, faithful, old friend. I miss you!

Gracie loved the snow. She also loved to stand in the yard with her nose pointed into the wind and smell all the wonderful outdoor smells.

Gracie loved to ride in the car with her head out the window, and her ears flying like the wings of a plane.