Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011 CHET, JANE, and BOB and Welcome 2012!

As the sun sets on this past year, and rises on the new we wish everyone a most joyous and safe New Years Eve and a BEST Year yet to come! We thank the dozens of friends we have met through our book events this year!  We also reflect fondly on those we will miss.  We are so grateful that we have the likes of Jane (Russell) and Chet (Hill) and Bob (Sorvig) in the pages of REAL.  Their stories will continue to remind us of Balance, Hope, and Love.  They also remind us to appreciate those around us, even those we don't know, and how EVERYONE makes a difference in this life.  It truly IS a Wonderful Life!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Turning the pages, turning of the years... Address Book Memories

I have often helped my 91 year old mom address her Christmas cards.  This year was a bit different from times before.  It is always so heartwarming to sit at her table by the window and talk about how lucky we are to be so close.  Two weeks ago when I sat in my spot, she had placed a rubber band bound stack of tiny address books by the cards. These were address books that I had not seen in decades.  The familiarity of them tugged very deeply at my heart and brought back memories of my own, even sounds and scents of our home from decades ago. I remember being a little girl and pulling out one of them to look up an address of an aunt or cousin for my own notes.  I imagined the memories my mother must have  when she flipped through the pages of each one.  A couple of them were "before my time"and full of names and details from as far back as the 1930's.  It was precious to hear her recall who some people were and where they lived and how she knew them.  It was dramatic to see how many had been crossed out because they had died, more like they had passed on but not forgotten - their place and time recorded in her book.  The covers of the address books were worn by love and use, and the material and design reflected an era.  

We addressed the few envelopes that she would send this year, and enjoyed the minutes of reading through names and places.  It was a special surprise to go through her "Princess Gardner" spiral bound photo book to see the tiny black and white images she had stored their from her younger years.  This was the collection that would have fit into her "billfold" in her purse and traveled with her  everywhere so that she could share her photos with pride. There was something very warm and personal about holding these in my hands, and seeing them in hers. The collection of years of friends and family, comings and goings and staying connected through expressions of love.  Thank you, Mom, for reminding me of how such a simple thing can mean so much.   

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Music Looks Like!

I could not help but feel my heart singing to this! 
Clouds dancing to what must be joyous and playful music! 

Smart 'hop or Smart Shop, How does YOURS run?

Uncle Dave is in the introduction to REAL, his story is an affirmation of the stories our hands have to tell.  He is having a hard time remembering much, but his hands show the work he has done, and his creations show the ways he has impacted his community, his family and even the world. He created a contraption decades ago that looks like a giant turntable... it spun slabs of heavy steel and would bend the edges down so that it would provide a better seal for tanks of all types... He played around with an old hose from hair dryers and tubing and blankets and created the prototype for warming blankets.  His shop is gloriously full of materials and tools, full of life and ideas.  I love his tablets of commandments where it says , "The smart shop is not run by a computer" ... and "that the smart shop can be anywhere that we are"!  Everyone has his or her own smart shop!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flying, Family, Freezing and the Deep Dark Woods!

sunrise california from the air

cold farmland Minnesota December 10

Moonrise evening of December 10
so cold and crisp

the deep dark woods...

the deeper darker woods...

the moon peeking through the deep dark woods of Maple Lake Minnesota
cold cold winter

After the passing of Bob in Minnesota, I was thankful to be able to attend the service and family gatherings surrounding the time of tribute and memories.....
The flights and connections added up to a long day on Friday and Sunday, but were well worth day of gratitude and warmth in between.  Lots of hugs and tears and smiles, and lots of food later, I felt so close and  comfortable even though far from home.  

One of the most vivid and alive stories was about the "deep dark woods".  These woods are dense and along a dirt road that has been used for decades as a short cut or diversion from the ordinary  route to school, church or the market.  They were freezing cold and stark.  The trees and darkness inspire the imagination.... creatures, critters and things that do more than go "bump" in the night!
Loved the cold, the family warmth, the traditions and the love!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bob, You Will Be Missed

Bob's is a Love story, for the love of his life, Shirley, for  his sons and daughters, and their children... for his extended family, his farm, church, and especially God.  It is a good thing he was a big man, because that it is a lot of love.

Bob peacefully passed away yesterday morning.   His love will continue to be felt through generations.

-Bob and Shirley-
As he steadies his balance with the best grip he can get on his cane, Bob clasps the gentle hands of his dear Shirley.  Their wristwatches symbolize the importance of time.  They have had almost sixty years together, six children, many grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren.
He still has the broad lumberjack build of a Minnesota farmer.  Petite Shirley is even smaller with age, but there is a strength from within her that has rehabilitated Bob from the stroke.  Somehow she has been able to keep up her household routine with the same love for setting the table and feeding a large family as she has for decades.  Shirley is Bob’s extra hands and caretaker.  Bob has had to let go of some of his masculine pride so that his wife can lovingly button his buttons, click his seatbelt, and drive them to appointments or church.  There is a shared sense of humor between them and the bantering just makes the adjustment easier.
He was the head of the house, driving trucks and huge farm equipment.  She was the full-time mom, with an assortment of aprons for time spent in the kitchen.  There were cows to milk, eggs to gather, gardens to tend.  Days began with the sunrise and were long and full.  There were the seasons for plowing and planting, summertime fishing and mosquitoes, and the long, dark, cold winters.
From the beginning, their journey has been one of side-by-side togetherness. This season of their life together has brought them to a different daily routine.  They end each day with a precious ritual.  Bob must sleep in a hospital bed and Shirley has a bed adapted to her weakening knees.  They share the same room with their beds close together.  They take each other’s hand, give thanks for a wonderful rich life and they pray for loved ones. Hands clasped, they fall asleep.