Stripping away the rose colored glasses of denial concerning my reality. Getting in touch with truth. Reaching out to others in empathy concerning their reality and their walk to truth.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wrapping the week - the year - the body - it's cold!

Of course, once again, visiting the airport is out. I did get a bit scared today when a plane flew over the house kind of sideways(?) Maybe it was going back around to land - not sure - but I felt the need to talk to the Creator about it.  The plane disappeared into the clouds and I went on about the day's business.

I've had so much fun playing you songs (those favorite tunes of mine). I hope you had a chance to listen to some of them. Which reminds me - to tell you - I've joined a group that plays, "Battle of the Bands." We post twice a month and you're welcome to come over and listen to the new blog I've opened up to post on. Hey, you're welcome to join us! You pick one song, done in two different versions. Everybody votes for their favorite of the two (tell me why you liked the one you voted for). Then I come back a week later, add my vote, and give the results. Come on now!! 

The men's shelter has been full for the last few days due to the cold temps here. That means the shelter I volunteer with is going to be full capacity tonight! I understand a three piece trio will play tunes. Though I'm excused for the month of December, I'll still send goodies. They need an extra breakfast casserole - no problem - I'm on it! All of that lovely ham I got on sale before Christmas, has purpose after all(smile).

A niece gave me some lovely, pink flannel scarves for Christmas. They are so warm and appreciated. Also got a penguin hat - complete with ear covers(and little balls!).

How about  a year end song for us - dcrelief  is nothing without the Creator above, and lovely people here below! I know you know that(smile).

In memory of my Mom and Dad, and for my little Love Bird friend, Brisbane... all Sinatra fans. (And you too Billy Pilgrim!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Goodbye 2014 ~ Hello 2015

As the last couple of days of 2014 leave us, I hope you can claim that your goals were met. I hope every challenge has been satisfied - and whatever that 2014 resolution was - can finally be written off at last. Meanwhile, here's a poem:

2010 - 2014
I made a resolution, while having no solution ~
Instead I said a prayer.
Time was moving slowly, my heart was sinking lowly ~
I refused to feel despair.
Then the realization, of my true consolation ~
Provided strength and light to share.
The problem disappeared, and no more have I feared ~
Instead I've learned to care.

Happy 2015 to the ones who've "joined my journey," and to the readers that just happened by. Know that your comments are always welcome, always appreciated, and more than often - teach me something about myself or the place we all call home.

Taking a walk down memory lane with this song. Love the saxophone!
Maybe you remember Dan Folgelberg: August 13, 1951 - December 16, 2007

Monday, December 29, 2014

Brisbane home ~ power off ~ Spinach Quiche

Which end is up today?

Sunday evening I delivered Brisbane to his home. His owner, my neighbor, had stopped for take out - he bought spaghetti dinners for both of us. (Talk about a nice surprise.) I think it turned out to be a good transition for the bird. Either that or he was completely confused?! He kept flying from one to the other.  But it didn't take him long to remember where he belonged. Yay Brisbane!

Today I was trying to get caught up on things pushed aside from the holidays, and the bird babysitting extravaganza. You know how you get on a roll... great momentum... "nothing's gonna stop me now?" I was up and down the basement stairs to do laundry - it is THAT day! While waiting, for the machines to finish, I'm checking out possible menus for the week. The computer is humming along while I also catch up on reading blogs! Suddenly - no power!  Everything in the house is off. But I'm thinking like Martha Stewart: this could be a good thing. (Not) Well I know the bill is paid up, so help! I stepped outside and there sits the power truck, replacing a thingy. (I don't know what they're called - transformer?) They're going to have me back in business in 15 minutes. If it'd been an hour I'd have taken a nap. Oh well.

Thinking of what to make that's hot, cheesy and easy? Something I might even eat cold, besides peanut butter cookies, which I made the night before. Freezer diving came up with a bag of frozen spinach. Ah-ha! No milk - no problem - I'll substitute some cottage cheese. Ooh, and I also have a third cup of cream of mushroom soup left from Saturday's meatloaf. (For some reason, if I can taste it in my mind, I know it'll taste good when made - don't ask.) About the time I got accustomed to the ambiance of all quiet  - the power cames back on.

Time to move on again. Come on momentum! I know - how about a tune?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

All Creatures Matter

A little bell jingles in the background - Brisbane is slowly waking up. I'm an early riser, but he will need another hour before he is ready to meet the day. If the sun is not up - he's not up. Don't dare uncover his little house before then. So I'm very quiet proceeding with my usual routine. The lights on the fireplace mantel remain off as well. It's taken me a whole week to figure how to maneuver him - or has he been maneuvering me?(smile)

Today Brisbane's owner comes home from Christmas vacation - it's a long drive. The lateness of his arrival will determine if Brisbane stays another night here. Sure, I could take the bird home now, turn up the heat in the house, and leave him... but I can't do that. My neighbor suggested it... but I just can't do it. I don't take lightly the life of a tiny soul... I'm responsible for Brisbane while he's in my care. So we'll wait.

It's awfully quiet under that little blankie of his. I know I'm going to miss Brisbane, but not enough to go out and purchase a bird of my own. I can't stand to see birds caged. I want to open the doors and let them all out - free to fly. My ownership and loss of two previous birds profoundly affected me. I've even accidentally called Brisbane by their names. Or was it accidental? Each time there was a crushing moment and the heart strings pulled me back to a time of bliss. We do love our pets(smile).

Still I've had a good time with Brisbane. If nothing else I've been happy to post about this little fellow. I only hope I haven't traumatized him. It's been a very different set-up here than that at his regular home. Sort of makes me wonder how children of divorced couples deal with the split custody of their parents. Two Christmases might not be bad - but two homes with two sets of rules might be.  People say, "oh the children will adapt." Just like Brisbane's owner is not worried about Brisbane's reaction to all of this. Maybe I'm just being silly. But if it were my bird I'd want the person keeping him to have the same sense of responsibility... and love. Some might see him as, "just a little bird," but to me... all creatures matter.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Day after Christmas

Babysitting here - enjoying tunes, and movies with the little Love Bird, "Brisbane".
He loves to watch "Little Bear." He loves Frank Sinatra. And there's something about the "Celtic Woman" that makes him want to sit on my laptop keyboard - up close and personal!? Here's a little song Brisbane and I would like to share...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Enjoy the day - cooking is on - making memories!

Busy in the dcrelief  kitchen this morning. Apple pie - macaroni & cheese casserole - pineapple pie.  Let's make some memories out there - ones you'll want to keep!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Three Magi following a star...

...arrive at the palace, where a king ought to be. They ask the current reigning King Herod about the new King. They have been following his star - Herod consults the scribes and scholars...

...the song - "I Saw Three Ships" - has long been associated with the Magi's camels... indeed, in that time, camels were the great carriers of goods - ships across the desert...

...when the Magi found him, they worshipped him...

...worship means, "to bow down" - which they did...

...and now a version of the song I hope you enjoy...

Company for Christmas

I decided to babysit the neighbor's Love Bird, named Brisbane, for the week of Christmas. That way the neighbor could go see his only grandchild -  two year old Mason. I helped him wrap this huge train set with track. (Two years old - good grief  - that train rivaled Southern Railways!) So off the neighbor went with the train, and I got the bird(smile).

It has taken two days to get Brisbane to have anything to do with me. The best I would get is a nasty bite. But pretty soon he was itching to come out of his little house. I had rules and in order to be out he would have to play nice. It only took three, maybe four times of putting him back in his house before he caught on. Quite exceptional really. I was proud of him, and my fingers were no longer getting chomped on.

I sat reading "Favorite Christmas Memories," on a recent blog-hop. Some were so sweet - some were quite funny - and then there was a category I call, "what?" It was so very quiet in my studio. Oh the occasional airplane would fly over, but other than that...quiet. That's when I remembered... bird. Bird is very quiet. Is bird asleep? I tipped toed over to his little house and NO BIRD!! Not inside of it. Not on top of it. (Oh why did I let him out?) He could be any where and with that coloring... oh my goodness, check the fireplace garland! Check the wreath with the country birds! Top of the windows? Egad, what if he got out of the studio? I opened the door and started to walk through the door when I felt a little nudge at my neck. He had been asleep on my shoulder the whole time. He was snuggled up in my shirt collar. Between my hair and the collar, he was completely covered up.

A moment later he flew to his house, tapped on his food dish and I figured he must be hungry. I got a teaspoon of seeds, then covered his cage halfway with his "blankie." He ate a sunflower seed, then proceeded with this little sad whistle. I explained in the best non-bird lingo I knew - "Daddy is with the grandchild. He will be back soon. You'll see him soon. Brisbane is a good bird." (Of course I asked the Creator to translate. I hate seeing the little bird sad.) A moment later, he ate another sunflower seed, hopped onto his favorite swing, and that was that.

Song of the Caged Bird... quiet and sweet. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

"My Favorite Christmas Memory" Bloghop!!

Benjamin Bunny

It was a cold December that I remember. I was very young and stood on the stairs, watching my Mom. She was coming home after being in the hospital for four days! Behind her, through the door, snow was falling. It was so pretty. It was  Christmas! I really wasn't sure what Christmas was, but it didn't matter, my Mom was back. Then I noticed she was carrying something in a little pink satin bundle. Hmm? Once in a while a little hand would poke out, and she'd put it back. What did she have? Grandmother held the little bundle. Then Aunt Grace held the little bundle. Everyone was oohing and ahhing over this bundle. I had to see. (Hello, I'm only four years old - will somebody please pick me up or lower the bundle?) I wanted to have a look. Finally my Mom bent down and said, "Dixie, you have a new baby................

DOLL!! Oh my goodness... she got me a real doll for Christmas! I was so elated. I screamed and danced, ran up and down the stairs, jumped up and down, clapped my hands. I guess you could call it the, "Thank-you-Lord-happy-doll-dance!" But then Mom let me know he wasn't just for me. What?! I've got to share him? Why? He was so cute. Such a sweet smile. (And I had plans for him!)

I went and got my old doll stroller and really worked hard to convince them (Grandmother, Aunt Grace and my Mom), that I wouldn't hurt him. How could I hurt him? Look that at face!! And he had big blue eyes - just like me. Oh, what's his name? Mom said, his name is Benjamin, but we'll call him.............

BENJAMIN BUNNY!! Perfect, just like a favorite story Aunt Annette told me. What? We're calling him Benjie? Why? He doesn't look like a Benjie! Hey! Benjamin Bunny is perfect... I'm telling you. (No one listens to a four year old.)

Well the stroller ride went well, I thought. Yes, I almost dumped him twice but he giggled... so I didn't hurt him. I know I probably shouldn't have given him the candy cane. He really began to screech when Mom had to pry his tight-fisted little hand from around it... oops... yes ma'am... no more handing him anything. I promise. (Oh yes, he had a nice set of lungs. That's something that has never changed, even to this day.)

I showed him the pink flocked tree that Aunt Grace decorated. She was from New York. I figured they didn't have green trees up there. In fact she decorated Grandmother's entire beauty shop in pink, pastels, and snowy stuff. I guess they didn't have red and green Christmas stuff there either. The beauty shop looked like something from the nutcracker suite. It was lovely and the main focus of my attention, until Benjamin Bunny arrived.

They took turns taking me out in the snow. There must have been a total of three tea parties. I got to hang the star on the tree again. I don't know why they were all so concerned about me. What? I'm tired. I'm four years old. I like the baby - I'm not jealous... (and I really need a nap.)

Finally I climbed those stairs, two flights, separated by the landing. Of course I usually stopped at the stained-glass window with the window seat but...(I was dragging). Granddaddy scooped me up and placed me in the bed. That's all I remember. Christmas Eve was a blur.

Christmas morning, I got a doll but she was cold to the touch. It felt awful. Where was Benjamin Bunny? Mom laid out a blanket on the floor for me to sit on. Then she laid the pink bundle on my lap. My older brother was outside in the snow, but I didn't want to go. (Imagine that - the snow queen staying inside.) Slowly his little eyes opened and he looked right at me, and barfed. I laughed so hard, I wet myself. (I knew right then we'd be friends forever.) And that's my favorite Christmas memory!

 Thanks to Cherdo and Janie Junebug for this happy, happy blog hop!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Three weeks before Christmas

Three weeks before Christmas, I stood at the road,
Surveying the house lights and checking the load.
Most strands lit up brightly, one hung down too far.
I stepped in the road, was struck down by a car.

The driver was nice and he wore a red suit.
I glanced in his car and saw tons of loot.
He had everything, from mixers to trolleys
And bags full of toys, including small dollies.

The stars that I saw, when he hit me, were fading.
Though I dreaded the task of my home's light upgrading.
But he had me sit down while he went to work.
The strand hung too far, he fixed with a jerk.

From a bag he retrieved, in the back of his car,
He presented the most brilliantly lit golden star.
On the top of the house he moved like an adder.
I looked all around, but where was his ladder?

He danced and he pranced as he sang out with laud.
Dumbfounded I sat there, and could only applaud.
In the blink of an eye he stood on the ground.
The leaves were all dry, but he made not a sound.

It was then that I noticed the white beard and hair.
My eyes must have widened, he laughed at my stare.
This couldn't be 'him', he didn't exist,
But I just had to ask; I couldn't resist.

I turned to say something and found he was gone.
Had I merely passed out right here on the lawn?
Later that evening my family came out.
I flipped on the switch and heard a great shout!

The tiny lights twinkled with nothing to mar.
The biggest surprise was the golden lit star.
The years pass by quickly, and the star's always bright.
There's no cord connected, no batteries for light!

Yet every December the cheers always jar,
And I think of the “'dream” when hit by that car.
The words he exclaimed when he left with his load
"Merry Christmas to you, and stay out of the road!"

seasonal bargains

Finding seasonal bargains is wonderful. Still the price was definitely too much for "grapeless grapes." In fact, I'm not really sure what that means. Shouldn't that bag be empty if it's truly representative of "grapeless"?

Or maybe something like this...? Who couldn't use an extra pack of hot dog buns?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Airplanes- moving stars-The gift

Normally in warmer weather, Friday evening would find me at the overlook point at the airport. I have fond memories of going out there when I was younger - it was a family thing. Kind of a mini Christmas without the hoopla.

Thursday night I stood in my driveway and watched airplanes fly overhead. My home seems to be on an outer edge of two flight paths. One travels a southern to northern direction. The other criss-crosses in an eastern to western direction. At times it looked as if two planes would meet in the middle, directly over the street. I know there's supposed to be at least a thousand feet in height between the two planes, but it didn't look like that to me.

This criss-crossing seemed to be ongoing, and after a while I had to abandon the watching. It really spooked me. It's quite dark and the sky puts on it's own show. It wasn't long before I was studying constellations instead. That's when I noticed the cold night air, the breeze moving leftover leaves in the drive, and why did I think I could do anything about those planes? I might as well try to move a star! And that's when I saw the shooting star. Did I do that?(smile)No.

Once inside the house, the aroma of an almost-done roast, greeted me. Now there's a focal point - roast beef sandwiches for the weekend! Forget the stars. Forget the planes. As soon as the cook timer went off I removed the roast.

I don't mind being a small part of the picture. More and more I'm thankful when I experience peace no matter what else is going on. I'm thankful for the Creator, who has provided me with the one gift to bring into fruition, in my life - Faith, Hope and Love.  May you find this gift and it bless your life as well.

I'm always grateful to those who visit, and the light you share!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

There's a monkey wrench in the works!

Oh, I'm sick - really. (Cough, cough, ache, blah, blah, etc.) The main concern is the shelter - I can't cook for people while I'm contagious. My back up person will take over for this week. I hate that, but I would want someone to be responsible in the same way. Actually the back up person is all excited!

My neighbor will be going to Pennsylvania for Christmas. He asked me to babysit his Tropical Love Bird. I used to have three birds and they were so sweet and trained! This little bird, named "Brisbane" has no idea who the boss is - and I'm not sure I'm up for it. I'd hate for him to spend a whole week in his little house, but the last time we were around each other, he landed on my shoulder and bit me on the cheek! In fact - the scab just dropped off last week(sigh). Not to worry, I haven't given a answer yet. Maybe I should ask for votes on this? But the neighbor has a little two year old grandson that he rarely sees, (thank you heart strings - beat me up!!)

Meanwhile here's some stuff I'm making. I can't post everything or "the sweet God-daughter" will know what she's getting for Christmas!(smile)(I know you're here.)

Chocolate dipped candy canes...

Leg warmers made from sweater sleeves...

Gingerbread cake with stenciled design in powdered sugar...

Christmas gifts for the neighbors...

Copied this for my front railings - it's gorgeous!
It's also, probably the reason I am sick - outside too long...

Normally, you know this as "Thursday Wrapping it up," but I've got a moment and I feel okay - so why not make it happen?
Meanwhile... Happy Birthday, Mom - I miss you!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A wish

It's a town most anywhere,
where the snow has fallen deep,
and the people never sleep.

It's a town that has no name,
where people watch the stars a-glow,
that shed their light upon the snow.

It's a town not far away,
where people celebrate and cheer,
the love that's true and clear.

Help! What color ribbon?

Help! It's crazy - I do this for people all the time, but right now I'm blank when it comes to my own tree. I like to wrap the tree with lights around the inside trunk. It looks like it's illuminated from the inside. Then a second wrap of lights on the outer edges of the limbs. A few silver icicles... maybe... always adds a shimmer to the lights. Or maybe not(smile). Help.

A neighbor had a huge hydrangea with dried blossoms - did I want them? I'm not sure I even hung up the phone, before running out the door to get them! I really didn't want to deal with ornaments this year. Maybe one or two placed in baskets or as stand alone focal point/arrangements... but not on the tree. But I'd like your help with one final element and then the tree will (finally) be done. What color ribbon should I use? I love making bows or using it for garland. Solid, plaid, stripe, I'm game!

Dried Hydrangea blossoms

Red geraniums                                                          

Pine scented pine cones

My camera is not working so this is the closet visual I can get you...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Better not pout

You are an elf.
You make toys for Santa to deliver on Christmas Eve.
You have fallen asleep at your tinkering bench...

You sleep peacefully.
Your job is well done.

You awaken!
Oh no...
What to do?

Better not pout!

Melanie Thornton - Wonderful Dream

Melanie Janene Thornton collaborated with The Coke Company to make a special Christmas commercial in 2001. Coke wanted a song that incorporated their signature phrase, "it's the real thing," with a Christmas-time jingle. Melanie delivered one of the most beautiful songs. Packed with lyrics of peace and love - it promised to be a hit... and no one was disappointed with the results.

(On the heels of the World Trade Center events - we might not remember this. Indeed it took some research for me to realize, I did catch the commercial, but not the events surrounding this young woman's musical contribution, or her untimely death.)

Melanie held a dual American/German  citizenship. She toured Europe and went on to stardom as a solo artist in 2000. On November 24, 2001, Melanie was in Germany for a last concert before Christmas break. The singer was traveling from Berlin, Germany, to Zurich as part of a tour to promote her first (and only) solo album "Ready to Fly." (How ironic)

A plane was standing by to take her on the last leg of the tour. From Zurich she planned a "German Christmas" in Atlanta with her family. But on that cold, snowy night Crossair’s Jumbolino jet, flight 3597, went down just after 10 p.m. local time. Out of the thirty-three passengers aboard, nine people survived the crash. Thirty-four year old Melanie Thornton was among those who did not.

Ironically at the last minute, 24 people had canceled boarding the flight, due to weather conditions. There would have 57 people on board.

The following from Associated Press:

"Her latest single, “Wonderful Dream,” went on sale Monday (November 26), its scheduled release date, at the request of Thornton’s family. The song is also being used in a new Coca-Cola commercial."

I don't know that Melanie's dreams came true, but the line in the song says, "Celebrate a life where dreams come true, " and so I'm going to celebrate her life with this post. Listening to her last interview really made me think - what a message. Thanks Melanie. Rest in peace.

Remember: "Love is a reason - it's always the real thing." ~Melanie Thornton.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday - wrapping it up

It could be time for a new mouse! Though I have a laptop - I need my mouse! Lately the old copy/paste function is well... not functioning as usual. Or maybe my fingers don't dance like in olden days (no!) So here I sit in blogger-town writing this. I removed two previous posts - oh boo-boos abound!

Tonight is Men's shelter night. I was asked to make macaroni and cheese. Two beautiful pans are ready to pop into the oven. The hard part will be getting them out of the door without a little sample, (to make sure they taste right... right?), but I'll succeed.

A neighbor wants help with her door decoration. This is a photo she found and that's the one! It's just a partial piece of berry garland with a tiny house. She wants the heart shape a little more pronounced. It's taking longer to type this in, than the time it will take to make her door wreath! Isn't it sweet?!

From here I'm headed to Goodwill - I'm sure they have a mouse for me. Surely none of you are experiencing Holiday boo-boos, right?!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Carol of the Bells

One of my favorite songs, Carol of the Bells, didn't start out as a carol for Christmas. The song is based on a traditional folk chant, associated with the coming New Year, which, in pre-Christian Ukraine, was originally celebrated with the coming of spring in April.

It was introduced to Western audiences by the Ukrainian National Chorus during its concert tour of the Americas, in 1921 at Carnegie Hall. A copyrighted English text was created by Peter Wilhousky in the 1930s, and since then it has been performed and sung during the Christmas season. Its initial popularity stemmed largely from Wilhousky's ability to perform it to a wide audience in his role as arranger for the NBC Symphony Orchestra.  

There are many variations of this carol. Here are some I'd like to share. Enjoy!

Are angels among us?

Cousin Paul didn't come home from Vietnam. He "re-upped" for another tour. After that he "re-upped" again. Three tours in Nam and he wanted a fourth, but they wouldn't allow it. I wasn't in his shoes so trying to understand was impossible. It's ironic that everyone he knew he left behind, when he first left for Vietnam. Now the same thing was happening again.

When he finally hit stateside he came to my parents' home - stayed for three weeks - long conversations with my Dad. Paul's Dad had passed when he was very young. His Mom, my aunt was beside herself - unable to help him undo what life had done. She was just so grateful he'd survived.

He became a raging alcoholic and drug user. I say raging because he was always angry. I think I wrote more letters to him during those five years than all the previous years combined.  He never answered these. I don't think he could. To answer might give me hope that he had survived.

I've rewritten the above letter as best I can remember. On the year anniversary of his death I burned it. Thinking it was time for that last letter to stop eating away at me. He was a good friend, and I don't think he'd want me to hang on to old pain. This is the first Christmas I've felt real peace about him. Maybe I'm being foolish but I think he must have helped me do the tree. Either that or I've finally forgiven him for not being here the Christmas he re-upped. Funny the things we hold onto to and not fully realize that they're there, just beneath the surface.

He gave me a Santa Claus figurine many years ago. This past week while digging through old boxes, I found it. My parents kept it all of this time. Yep there he was - lying next to an angel. It made me smile(smile).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Shake up Christmas

The first time I watched this music video, I wasn't sure that I liked the music. I thought the little story it told was cheerful enough. So I watched it again. Four young people, each with requests, find that Santa can really take control. Oh! They don't realize it's him... but I know... because I'm watching. I got to see some of Santa's magic at work. By the time I watched this video for the fourth time, (yes, I'm that slow), I liked the music, I knew all of the characters with their requests, and I was pretty sure I needed a snow globe!

Let's watch it together!   (I'm sorry about the commercial.)

Train - Shake up Christmas

You might want a snow globe of your won!

Bless the children: Christmas cards for Addie

It's laundry day at dcrelief's house. While I step to the basement, please read, and consider the following post from "Children and the Earth, Inc. I'll be back!

Sending out holiday cards this week? You’ll want to add another name to your list.

Addie Fausett, 6, of Fountain Green, Utah, is likely celebrating her last Christmas this year due to an atrophy of her brain that has left doctors puzzled. And in the face of devastating news, her family has come up with a beautiful idea: They are asking people to send Addie a “lifetime of Christmas cards.”
So far, hundreds of cards have poured into her nearby post office. “We really just started spreading the word. I think it’s just going to grow and grow,” says Amber Brosig, managing trustee at Children and the Earth, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is assisting with the project.

While fulfilling wishes like this one is for the child, for sure, it also goes a long way for the parents, siblings and other relatives. “We’re creating lasting memories for the family, with the family,” Brosig explains.

Addie was just 3 years old when her mother, Tami, noticed that her girl could no longer hold a crayon or spoon, suddenly had difficulty speaking and her growth came to a standstill. Doctors found that her brain was shrinking and filling with fluid—a condition called diffuse atrophy—but the underlying cause of Addie's atrophy remains undiagnosed, a medical mystery. Even now at 6 years old, Addie has never weighed more than 25 pounds. Last month, doctors delivered heartbreaking news: Addie had roughly a year to live, and her mental state would deteriorate before her physicality—she will forget what and who she knows.
“She’s just darling and fragile,” Brosig says. “She has the sweetest little soul. We’re so glad we can assist.”

Making this time even more difficult for Addie and her sisters, Shayley, 10, and Audree, 7, is the unexpected loss of their father, who passed away over the weekend; he and their mother were separated. 

Cards should be addressed to Addie as well as her older sisters. “They are going through a hard time, too,” Brosig says. “We are encouraging the public to reach out to them as well.”

If you’d like to contribute a greeting, send it to:

Addie Lynn and Sisters, P.O. Box 162, Fountain Green, UT 84632

What kinds of cards does Addie like? All kinds—but especially homemade. “Obviously, you can go to Hallmark and get the ones that play music or this or that,” Brosig says, “but the handmade ones—or artwork, if you have a child—is even more special for the family, though, of course, they are just grateful for it all.”
Children and the Earth, a nonprofit that directly pays medical bills for those in need, is also taking donations for Addie. Donate here or send a check to Children and the Earth (write “Addie” in the memo), 252 W. Cottage Ave., Sandy, UT 84070.

dcrelief says:

I simply had to post this story. You can follow her progress on Facebook. I know Addie, Shayley and Audree would love receiving a card.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bless the beasts (and the children)

He's such a little creature
In my yard he's quite the feature~
Snatching nuts and hey, that 's my grape!

I know you love to play
But can't you stay away~
From the table when I'm outside?

You're the one who took my cracker
I'm not the only peanut butter snacker~
Don't give me that innocent look.

Just wait until Christmas eve
I've got corn in a netted sleeve~
A blessing for you, and the little ones.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday nights

image source

Cooking for a homeless shelter has blessings and challenges. I'll be there every Thursday from now through March, when the weather warms. I always feel a strange weight on my shoulders, that first night. It gets better!

I stood there gazing up at a moon - dancing with the clouds.
The cold night air made me shake and I felt sadness.
Only ten people - ten homeless people came to eat and find warmth.
Where were the others?

They fear being trapped by some authority.
They think - maybe someone will not let them freely leave.
So many stay away and feel safer in the cold - hungry - but safe.
Why do we fear them?

I listen to their chatter - quick banter  - and then sudden silence.
They're not ignorant - not stupid - not lowlife.
The circumstances differ and yet sound the same.
Where do they find the smiles they share?

In the bathroom lounge I choke back emotion - I feel what I don't want to feel.
I might find myself one, maybe two steps away from their life - their lot.
It terrifies me until I rejoin them in the dining hall.
What gives them courage to continue?

The moon is rising higher - tears freezing on my cheek.
Snuggled up cozy they sleep more peacefully than we - if we sleep at all.
One day a week from now though next March - this is their haven of rest.
Where will they go for the rest of the weeks - of days?

As I said above, it gets better. This year Christmas day is a Thursday - we will be rocking!

Frank Sinatra - Let it snow

Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas is you

Band Aid - 1984 - Do they know it's Christmas?

Faith Hill - Where are you Christmas? (The Grinch)

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tangled Wing

It's not a story or poem about a bird caught in a tree.
It's not a story about the wind twisting branches over and under.
It's not a story of how lovely Christmas lights look outside in the snow.
It's not a story at all.

It's trivia time.
It's indigenous to Guatemala.
It's often called a Cashew Tree.
It's my favorite nut.

Thought you might like a break from reading that long story I posted yesterday
I'm off to decorate the fireplace mantle!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Long ago a silent night

Little Boy Blue - The Graphics Fairy

It was Christmas time 1984 - the same year Mannheim Steamroller brought forth their version of Silent Night.

At the time I was a dispatcher with the Deputy Sheriffs who were assigned protection of the city's 134 schools. It was a quiet night until we received a call. A child was missing. The child was five years old, and no one remembered seeing him get off at his bus stop. He normally walked with his sister ad other children down the road to his home. But his sister was at home sick that day, so he would have walked the last few steps alone. But no one could remember. The parents made calls to neighbors, school officials and the police... nothing. The sun was going down.

Normally there were 40 incoming phone lines I was responsible to answer. I might have four calls on hold while coordinating the movements and locations off 28 deputy sheriffs. But that night I would have only three calls.

The first call.

Would we coordinate with the local police to search for the child? Our officers knew those 134 facilities like the backs of their hands. Everyone converged on the school in question, searching every room, every nook and cranny. Hours passed and yet not a clue.  To add to the issue the child had not worn the clothes his Mom picked out for him earlier that morning. No one knew for sure what he'd be wearing. After four hours we felt like we were wearing blindfolds in the dark. I was grateful all civilian calls were redirected to another department. The last thing you need is the general public or media calling to find out the status of the search.

The second call.

I almost let this call go through but a gut feeling said, "pick it up." It was the school's janitor. He wanted to know if it was the same child that disappeared at the first of school? What? I had no knowledge of that situation because they located him so quickly. In fact the police were never called - the search was over almost as soon as it began. But yes, it was the same child. The janitor suggested going to the child's bus and searching it. The first time the child was missing, they found him asleep on the bus - parked in her driveway! The driver used to take the bus home but mid-year changed procedures. Now she takes the bus back to the school and drives her car home.

I relayed this information out immediately. You should have heard the background cheers when the supervisor radioed back that the child had been "found." He was up on the backseat waving to the officers. Waving and Laughing. They gave him his own flashlight. Why not - there must have been almost a hundred people there with one of their own. I sat back exhausted, knowing several officers would be coming into the station. It was now a matter of returning to the usual. Several checked off for coffee breaks. I looked over at that monstosity of telephone equipment and thought, "okay - do your thing." Not a moment too soon, the phone rang.

The third call.

My Mom was on the line! Wow, I wondered if she knew I needed her at that very moment. Who doesn't want Mom when the world is upside down?

"Dixie, are you listening to any music tonight?" (There's a question. I was afraid to have anything playing in the background - which normally wouldn't have bothered me.) Her regular station was a soft sound FM station. They were playing Christmas music, and she wanted me to hear her new favorite. I know she said the name of the group, but I was blank.

"Hurry, they're starting to play the entire album. Call me back when you can.  I love you, goodnight." (She knew I had 40 incoming  - what a champ - off the phone in two seconds flat.)

There was a magnificent sound system in the building, and so I cranked it up. Yes, almost midnight and Christmas music was about to be piped everywhere, including outdoors. I sat there, listening, tears flowing, couldn't stop. The night had been too silent. Deadly silent. All the voices were at that school. Waiting is hard. Waiting to hear anything, anything at all... is hard.

So when I hear this song I think of a silent night and the love of laughter. The officers arriving at the station loved the song. I could tell it touched them as well. And as tensions really eased they began to tell me about the child's infectious laughter. And we all laughed. And I think we  all cried.

Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller - 1984

It is 5:14 minutes long. Return to listen later if you've run out of time. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


There's a tree in the forest that a-lights on it's own ~
you can visit at sundown and watch them come on.

There is no music playing but the wind makes a sigh ~
and the sound from the branches - a sweet lullaby.

Oh Auntie Em - it's me again

Short break, right? Well it was long enough for to realize I own this space. Might as well continue having fun. So I've dropped a few priorities, checked my attitude, and made some cookies - life is too short to let this space stay empty.

This is a season of perplexity sometimes. As a kid I could get into the worse battles with siblings. The threat of "Santa Claus is watching you," never phased me. For some reason, on some level,  I figured that was wrong. Why would an old man be watching me? What could I possibly do to get left off of the toy list? Then I would proceed to test the waters every other day. I had help - and two brothers.

It got so bad one year that my Mom decided she was taking a break from Christmas. What? What does that mean exactly? She wasn't going to shop, she wasn't going to bake, she wasn't going to play nice. The tree sat undecorated. The candles remained in the box. The cookie dough(!) remained in the fridge. This was serious. There had to be something we could do. She must have lost that holiday cheer. We didn't quite connect our behavior with her reaction.

I called my Aunt and had a long discussion. Took her all of ten minutes to give me the first clue. If you don't behave Santa is going to drop off sticks and charcoal, come Christmas morning. I immediately had conference with the brothers "Grimm" and we came to the conclusion that sticks and charcoal were passe.  Nevertheless it could happen, Auntie Em said so. She was never wrong.

Chores became joyous occasions(?). Dishes washed after supper and put away were greeted with happy smiles from Mom. Hmm? Maybe this would turn the tide? (What does that mean exactly?) Never mind - moving on. It took less than 24 hours and we had become completely different children. We now fussed over who would vacuum... well only for a minute... then we'd remember Auntie Em's warning: no fussing! We sweated it though. We took nothing for granted. We had respect for each then.

Time has indeed changed us so. I look for them but find sticks and charcoal.  I wonder what I did or if I did anything? But here again, there's no time to take a break. I keep moving on with what I can accomplish. I cannot make anyone like me, and at times that is a great relief. Maybe I did nothing at all... but it's convenient for others to have me think so.

Thanks Auntie Em - like you've always said: Open the door child, and let some fresh air in!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter bird - Winter rest

Oh Winter bird where will you rest
The old Oak tree that was your nest
has been cut down and limbs are taken
to heat the home of those forsaken.

But there you are in wooden pail
huddled close and without fail
you will survive this snowy day
and then be on your merry way.

A field of Pines await close by
and you will soon depart and fly
to build and shield you from the rest
of Winter's time inside  your nest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dim All the Lights, Baby!

image source

I spent most of Sunday getting up the nerve to change out a dimmer switch in my living room. Not being an electrical sort of lady - the task appeared, well - scary, at best. But determined to have that really pretty chandelier working, pressed me forward. I hadn't had any luck conning anyone into helping me.(smile) It was do or die.

YouTube was a wealth of knowledge. In fact I was now more frightened but needed that chandelier working for the holiday season. YES, I had plans! This was going to happen. I would be dimming lights by Tuesday - uh, sure.

The chandelier is fine. The dimmer switch was broken or so I thought. Please pause and read that sentence again. On YouTube, this one video spoke of having two separate switches on two different walls. My mind suddenly came to a screeching halt. I have two switches. I have two switches!!! Is it possible that for the last three years the chandelier and the dimmer have actually been working but.... I stopped the video and rushed into the living room. Sure enough, the switch on the opposite wall was in the on position. That meant the switch I had been using to turn the chandelier on and off was not broken. I turned the dimmer switch to the right and hot dang! Lights! Hmm, dc, feeling dim?

To celebrate: Donna Summer - Dim All the Lights

How about a cute water bottle party chandelier?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

To do - maybe

It's Saturday morning and my "to do" list is nearly complete. I've decided to decorate some for Christmas. Once the rooms are all nicely dusted, vacuumed or whatever else is needed - a new "to do" list will emerge. There might be minor changes in bows, trailing ribbons, ornaments, or design. I really never know - I let creativity take me down a path. I do know that once the front door decoration goes on - the rest falls in place. So the big question will be - what to put on the front door this year?

But wait! Maybe I'll enjoy the Thanksgiving after glow.
Maybe I'll give the sheaf of wheat on the door another day or so.
Maybe the golds and browns need more space,
before the reds and greens cover the place.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's Celebrate the Small Things for Nov. 28, 2014!

This week I'm celebrating:
1 - One of the prettiest Autumns I've ever seen in my neighborhood. (Winter is 24 days away!)
2 - Birthday boots and a sweater. (My god-daughter likes to surprise me.)
3 - A very peaceful Thanksgiving day.

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

For more information :