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Happy Birthday Chris....across the miles.

Today is Chris’s birthday.   He is not with us and that saddens me but the other side of that is that he is celebrating his birthday in a place that he has longed to go to for a very long time.   I’m thinking it’s a gift to himself and that’s a good thing.
I’m not sure if we might have missed one other birthday but for the most part our family is very celebration oriented.   I  always loved having a party or family dinner for my kids.   Every year they would get to pick their favorite food and their favorite cake at that time.   Foods and cakes have changed over the years but never the dinner.   
Chris is in Burma  this year and I would suspect that dinner and cake and wine are not on his menu,  so Chris when you come home,   even if it’s very close to Christmas we will celebrate your birthday.   The one day set aside just for you.
I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday and at 7:06 tonight I will give thanks for the 36 years we have had together.   Your presence in my life continues to bring joy and laugher and if truth be known,  at this age you have taught me many things about life that without you I would not have learned.   You are my root to the earth,  to the mountains and to the night sky.   I look for you in stars and streams and wooded forest.   And you are always there.   These are the gifts Dad and I gave to you all those years ago when we camped.   Now you take it one step further and seek higher mountains,  scanty tents and far away places.   Good for you.
You travel your own path.   You live your life in honesty and kindness.   I don’t think we could ask more than that of a son.   As you work through your day today,  remember where I am as you hopefully take a moment to celebrate yourself.   When you left I told you if you were missing me to,  “just look in your left side pocket”   I will be there down in your heart.   
So this year,  until you return,  all I can give you is my words and my love.
I know it will be enough to sustain you until you come home and I give you that birthday hug that is also a gift of our comings and goings.
Stay safe,  rest well and know that you are loved and missed by many.
Happy Birthday son
Your MOM
November 15, 2010
1 Comment :
Nora Carol
I'm sure Chris will appreciate this :)
Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 07:25 AM



Happy First Birthday Lil Man

As I sit here and reflect on Liam’s first birthday I really need to go back to the beginning.   One year ago we waited for his arrival.   We thought that was the big event and in it’s own miraculous way it was.   On that day,  in November of 2009 this tiny little boy slipped into our world.   Our world,  mine and Jim’s.   We had no idea on that day how much of an impact he would have on our lives.   How many foot prints he would leave on our hearts and how many “jello kisses” I could squeak out of him.
Today we know him better.   We celebrate his first year.   It seems to have  passed way to quickly.   The baby is still there but the little boy is trying so hard to emerge.   He is no longer totally dependent on us for everything.   If you don’t believe me,  just spend a day with him as he directs you around his world.   He no longer spends his days sleeping peacefully.   As a matter of fact,  some days he doesn’t even have time for sleep.   He’s just way to busy learning about his work.  His work of growing and finding his place in the world.  No more sitting silently either.  He has way to much to say and he hopes you listen but if not,  no worries,  he carries on his own conversation with himself or whatever dog might be there to listen.   You see,  the dogs are his best friends.   And why not,  he entertains them and feeds them bits of his food.   Liam is a great sharer.
Jim and I have been blessed by the generosity of his parents.   I know some would say that they are the blessed ones to have parents that care for their child.   I have heard that over and over again.   From my perspective though,  I am amazed that they give us free reign with their most valuable possession.   Liam is a gift each time he comes for the day.   How lucky are we to rock him, feed him,  hold him and kiss him.   We go for walks and he points out the birds and the leaves and all manner of things that intrigue him.   We might have missed these lovely natural things if not for Liam’s observant eye’s and that great right index finger of his.   He teaches us to slow down and play and go for swing rides.   I even took a ride on the swing myself one day with him in his swing and he went into gales of laughter to see me go High.   How many of us take the time to listen to a child laugh.   It is music to my soul.   
Then he also teaches us that it’s o.k. to cry when your hurt.   It’s o.k. to accept the hug and kiss from someone who reaches out.   You don’t need a lot of words,  you just need a lot of heart.   I take Liam’s lesson of this year out in the world with me.   So yes,  we help Jenna and Luke out but we get back so much more than we put in.  So we thank his parents for their trust in our ability to bring their little boy up in a strong and loving way when they can’t be there.   Sure do wish my back was stronger though.   
Now he is moving and trying to walk and he know words.   Doggie and Dada and ought oh and he knows what they mean and where to use those words.    He know his Papa and his Nana and Gracie, his ball playing friend.   He can use his sippy cup but he doesn’t like it and he walks when you hold his hand.   There is nothing more cute than watching him scoot his butt across the floor going a buck ninety.   No crawling for this boy.   He’s working those abs.   
Yes this little guy is growing and on Saturday I was missing the baby part of him.   The part that liked rocking and snuggling and just being held.   At the same time I looked at him as he ate his first bite of real sugar and saw the relish in his face,  the shear joy of knowing something was special and wondering how he was getting away with this.   I saw how he opened presents with a little friend of his.  I saw his independence starting to emerge as he moved through-out his house on his own power.   So along with my mourning of the little baby he was a year ago I am filled with such excitement to see what the next year will bring.   What new tricks he will teach Papa and me.   It will certainly be a most entertaining year as we moved forward and work with Liam to lead him on his path.
As for me,   I’m just waiting for him to give me real kisses just because he wants to and I know the day he says Nana for real I will melt like a stick of butter.   
Happy Birthday Little One.....You are the joy of your Nana and Papa.
November 15, 2010
1 Comment 
As I sit here and wipe the tears from my eyes, I know exactly what you feel in your heart. I too feel the same things....and I thank God every day for the great gift of Grandchildren. Aren't we just the luckiest people on earth?!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 10:13 AM



Salem with Liam...the happiest little Devil in Town

Everyday with Liam is fun and entertaining but then there are those special days that stand out.   The days when he makes your heart sing just with the pure joy of being with him.   He has a way to make me see the world in a whole new light.   A way to make me slow down and know that there is nothing more important than that very moment that the two of us are sharing.  Wednesday October 20th was one of those days.
Who would think a a little boy of 11 months could be so much fun to hang with,   but Liam is.  We set off for Salem  on a sunny,  crisp fall day full of color.   Liam was dressed in his finest stripped trousers with lots of fall colors in them.   He had on his pumpkin hat I made him and so off we went.
Salem is so festive in October. It’s when all the witches and ghosts come to visit.   The smells of popcorn and friend dough fill the air and people are dressed in crazy costumes.  It was a day for walking and exploring all that Salem had to offer.  For Liam it is his first Halloween and he was ready to get into it.   
When we arrived Liam put on his costume. Right over his pumpkin hat went his devil hat.   He didn’t want to be left out of the festivities.   In Salem you have to be part of the scenery.   Liam is game for anything.   That’s the first thing that I liked about the day.   Just seeing him sitting in his carriage with those hats on cracked me up.   He laughed also.  See a good friend should always laugh with you even if they don’t know what your laughing about.
Off we went down Essex street and it wasn’t long before we encountered some strange happenings
I love pushing Liam in the carriage,  especially on a beautiful day.   It brings back memories of when I used to take Chris and Jenna riding.   We would talk about all kinds of things,  stop when something came along that we though was interesting and I always feel a sense of peace when I’m pushing the carriage. I know I am doing something good for him and for me.  Carriage pushing creates a special bond.   The first bond of getting to love the great outdoors.   Liam is so funny in the carriage.   Lesson #1....sit up straight,  hold on and look around and take it all in.   How can you see the world if your slouching down or resting.   Not my boy,  he’s sits up tall and holds the front tray of the carriage.   He doesn’t want to miss a thing.   I notice this about him and it makes me smile.
We walked down to the Peabody Essex Museum,  passing the wrought iron fences that keep us out of the famous houses.   Liam liked the fence so being a good Nana I snuck in to one of the yards and we played peek a boo behind the fence.   Gales of laughter from the two of us.   And of course a photo of Liam peeking inside.   No worries,  I’m from Salem and it wasn’t the first time I’ve ever gone through a gate I wasn’t suppose to. We continued on our walk.  Lots of people down by the museum,  some dressed up and some not.  I wonder if those young adults think tattoo's are Halloween dress-up attire.   Saw a lot of those but they were not up for discussion with The Boy and me.   We moved beyond them and went into the museum.
Ah now more our speed.   There was a group of Red Hats and boy didn’t they love Liam.   Well he just showed them his very best smile and sent them on their way saying what a sweet boy he was.   Liam does that to people.   Lesson number 2......always smile at whoever takes the time to speak to you.   You never know if you will like someone if you don’t give them a chance.   Most often you feel so much better after talking to someone that might need a bit of a lift.   Of course I would tell Liam not to talk to strangers on his own.   That would not be safe.   There were lots of children in the museum also and Liam had the best time just watching them jump around and play.   He likes kids and he likes to watch them.   He learns and listens.   Lesson number attention to your surroundings.   You could learn something new that you didn’t know before and even if you don’t learn anything people watching is lots of fun.   Me and my  girlfriends do it all the time but that’s for another story.
This day Liam and I brought our lunch to the museum.   Because I have a membership we can get in free.   They have a lovely atrium full of light and we got ourselves a table and had our yogurt and crackers and just enjoyed the lovely surroundings.   Lesson #4.  Enjoy lunch out with family and friends.   Sometimes it doesn’t have to be fancy.   It’s really just about sharing quality time.   We laughed over our simple lunch and both of us were very satisfied at the end of our time there.   Now off to the ladies room.   Liam likes the ladies room,  he gets to go into the big stall.....and I get to take care of business.   One last stop before leaving the museum.   The gift shop.   Well let’s just get to Lesson #5.   Don’t take babies in carriages into very small gift shops.   Liam was a bit upset when we had to leave quite quickly.   He was having so much fun pulling all those lovely expensive scarves and pocketbooks off the shelves.
We had time for a bit more of walking on the mall before heading home.   My  little guy was still sitting up so straight in his carriage and it’s a good thing to because it wasn’t long before we came across a very large witch.   She was a beauty (I really thing it was a he).   Very tall,  sepia in color and so still.....Liam was totally fascinated and so was I.   I knelt beside his carriage and he just kept pointing at this strange “thing”,   jibber jabbering away to me.   Of course I knew every word he was saying....”look Nana,  look how big she is.  Look how still she is”.....and then boom,  the witch spit out a cackle and Liam went crazy with laughter.   Me to.   What a wonderful,  fun moment. The sound of Liam laughing gives me a high like no drug could.  Then the witch invited him over,  stroller and all and let me photograph them together (for a fee).   Liam pointing up to her in his child like wonder.   Such an ending to a perfect fall day.   We walked back to the car,  both of us tired but knowing it was a fun day.
On the drive home,  as Liam was sleeping,  I thought about our special day together.   I realized that there was nothing that I would have given,  nothing that I would have exchanged for this one day.   The magic of being in his company to share the sights,  sounds, smells and laughter of his first Halloween season.   To see the joy on his face as he traveled through the day with me in all it’s simpleness was my “treat” this day.  I will savor the memory of it.
And finally.....Lesson #6....enjoy every moment that comes your way.   Both big and small because all we have is this one moment.   Thank you Liam for the smallness of you but also for the big moments that you create.
To see photo’s from our day in Salem visit my MobileMe Gallery:



It Was A Stellar Day.....

Sunday was just one of those days that from the time you open your eyes in the morning,  until you closed them again at night,  was just perfect. 
I knew it would be a great day when I saw the mist rising off the lake and behind the mist was a wall of  fall colors.   My favorite season.   The seasons that reaches out and touches all of my senses.   I feel more alive in the fall than at any other time of year.
I couldn’t wait to start the day so after tea and a bit of reading in bed,   I made maple and brown sugar bagels with cream cheese and my nose was ready for the smells of the rich earth and my eyes were ready for reds,  orange and yellows that can only be found together in abundance at this time of the year.   The touch of acorns and leaves made me jump into Stellar and head out to see what we would find on the Back streets and Main roads of Maine.   
For those of you who don’t know Stellar she is my 1964 Ford Falcon Futura.  She is bright  Red and is a  Convertible although today she had to keep her top on.   I like to think of her as a chick car.   She is a replica of the car I had in high school  except that she is red with black interior and my other one was black with silver interior.   Other than that,  they are twins.
This car is more that just metal and bolts she is a memory of my younger days and a gift from my brother Bob,  who died 6 months after he found this car for me.   He was so excited for me to have it.   I am so excited now to own it and if she never gets driven again that will be o.k. because she came from a place of love and so she stays.   Her name is Stellar.   The definition of Stellar is “of the stars” and it’s the perfect name for her because my brother lives amongst the stars and he watches over Stellar and me   Besides Stellar is just such a wonderful name.  It implies wonderful adventures.
So off we went loaded down with camera gear and Gracie.   We headed to Douglas mountain and along the way we saw the most glorious colors of fall in the trees and around the lakes.   Sun shinning brightly and a slight breeze.   Felt good after a long and stressful week.   We finally got to the top of Douglas Mountain ( I did have to talk Stellar into not giving up the climb,  although I could feel her pain) and we got to the top we  found the most wonderful views of the White mountains.   Alas though,   I wasn’t to happy with my photo’s this day  but then again I’ve learned that some views are just for the eyes and heart and don’t always have to be imprinted on a memory card.     
Sunday,  usually my day for church.   And I did attend but not in my usual setting.   Church today was on the top of that mountain,  then later it was while taking one last boat ride for the season on Long Lake.   It was a church without walls but God was everywhere.   He had also had a stressful week.   I swear he must have spent the entire week just painting landscapes for me.   The color pallet was bright and beautiful and then at sunset he painted the sky a bright yellow,  then he threw in some reds and finally a bit of purple.   He decided to add two groups of Loons to the mix,  just for texture and scale.   A few green trees and a sky full of great fluffy clouds to add a bit of drama.   Ansel Adams could not have performed any better, even from the floor of Yosemite Valley.   I felt God’s greatness all around me,   all day.   I knew that no matter the trials and test that we pass through each week,  that at the edge of the horizon there is always hope.
So we came down off the mountain,  more worrisome with Stellar than going up.   Remember back in the 60’s there was no such thing as power brakes or seat belts.   Once again Stellar didn’t disappoint.   She was charming.   She went back into the garage.   Hopefully she’ll get out one more time before the snow flies but if not,  she earned her keep in just this one day.    Such a joyous feeling when we were leaving on this glorious morning, feeling so free and at peace with the world.   Life is good and sometimes you just have to celebrate life wherever you are at the moment......because you never know when it will be your time to live among the stars....



Today I was missing Chris.   He has been gone two weeks now and I could feel such a strong sense of him and I had a need to feel connected to him.
My weekend has been rather stressful with events out of my control taking over.   I was feeling unsettled and a bit sad.   As usual on Sundays Jim and I most always go to church which I find comforting and today was no exception.   
The first of the month,   I didn’t remember this until we walked through those very large welcoming front doors.   The doors that seem to wrap you in their arms,  that say you are welcome here with all your grace and glory.   With all your troubles and woes.   Come and feel the peace.   Communion Sunday.   I felt better already.
At the beginning of each service on Sunday since Mike came to be our minister,  we are called into worship by entering into a time of quiet.   He has taught us through  a short meditation how to center ourselves and how to listen for God’s guidance and love.   He has since added the ringing of three bells which now automatically take you to that quiet and prayerful place.   
Today when I heard the first ring of those bells I thought of Chris.   I remembered his bells when he would enter his meditation practice.   The same bells,  the same sacred sound.   Then the second bell and finally the third bell.  Today thought instead of going to that quiet place I was struck by how strong Chris’s presence was.   I felt like he was right there beside me.   Yet the fact of the matter is he is very far away,  across many bodies of water in Burma.   Then I remembered that the difference in our time is almost a day and 1/2.   
It was the Bells.   As I sat in my house of worship being called into prayer.   Chris could have very well been in his house of worship listening to his own bells.   We were both being called to listen and come into that place where all is well and a higher power is in charge.   A place where comfort and care and love abound no matter how far the distance.   We were together at that moment no matter the distance.   The Bells confirmed it.     And I believe it to be true.   A sense of peace and well-being enveloped me and I’m  hoping that he also felt my love and presence through the ringing of his bells.  
God works in mysterious ways.   No mystery in the ringing of the bells though.   That ringing travels over many miles and across great bodies of water.    I am sure that Chris heard them and knew that I was also there with him as he was here with me at exactly the same time on a beautiful Sunday morning.   
October 3, 2010
1 Comment 
Thank you for this heart-felt speaks of the ways connection, and the mysterious ways we come to experience it, are always possible...and the way you and I are never apart despite geography.  Perhaps our "Buddhisms" and "Christianityisms" are just convenient labels for the universality of connection and knowing that is right here, like the sound of the bells ringing in a small church in Wenham and a small monastery in Burma, at the same time. 
Love you,
Saturday, August 27, 2011 - 10:19 AM