Snow Babies, part two

The weekend following Thanksgiving, I hung out with 5 giggly girls – and a bunch of snow ever-so-fortuitously dumped on us. A great excuse for hats and boots and mittens and Nonna snapping some pics!

snow babies

How perfect is this? Then…

snow babies amelie

Yesterday I shared Snow Babies, part one, with snapshots of 5 of my cherished grandbebes (Gavin, Hunter, Malakai, Evangeline and Oliver). Today the rest: Guinivere, Gemma, Averi, Amelie, and Bailey.   All pics snapped on the iPhone 6+

And as fate would have it, today is a major ***Snow Day***

Guini

Guini texted that she wanted to spend her snow day with me. How sweet is that? She’s 10. She came over for a few minutes, but actually formed a band with her brother and sister. Their dad posted a few seconds of their performance on Instagram and  3 hours later, it has 1100 likes. 

Guini

Guinivere looking so grown up and so much like her mommy. Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Bailey Bailey

Bailey-Baby, 2. She’s the little, but oh-so-powerful one.

Gemma Gemma  gemma

Gemma May is 8 1/2. She is all the colors!

Averi  averi averi

Averi. She turns 8 tomorrow! 

amelie

Amelie sent me voice memos saying, “FaceTime us, Nonna, we’re having a snow day!” That melts my heart!

amelie amelie

Amelie is 5 and was the ornery one. Snow was flying very which way. And she couldn’t quit giggling and incriminating herself.

 

bailey baby

A bonus picture of Bailey from craft time. We made Saint Lucia crowns.

It is a white out in the Denver area. I texted all my grandbebes and said, “Look out at that white, white snow. See how pure it looks? Well, that’s what Jesus’ blood does to our messy, ugly sin. He covers it and then we are WHITER, even, that this snow! Can you believe it?! Whiter than snow!

Psalm 51.7 “…wash me, and I will be whiter than snow”

Promise I’ll go easy on the grand-kid pictures for awhile.  But I am a Nonna. What are you gonna do? :)

Snow Babies, part one

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned I have 10 grandchildren?

Haha! Just kidding. I know I have mentioned it.

FB collage

Our FB header recently

They are so much fun, these grandbebes of mine. They let me kiss their heads and squish their cheeks. They let me hug them tight and call them by many silly names of endearment. They call me Nonna. And that is enough to melt me all the way.

IMG_0346Gav 12 1/2  Gavin, 12 1/2Hunter 11 Hunter hands raised Hunter, 11
the boys Hunter and Gavin, cousins and buddies

What is it about grandkids? Why on earth do they turn us upside down in the most dazzling and deliriously happy way?

When Gavin came along, my very first grand-boy, almost 13 years ago, I wasn’t really seeing myself as a grandmother at all. I sure wasn’t going to be one of those people bragging about them, pulling out a stack of photos and gushing with pride. Yeah, right.

But this thing happens. I looked at my daughter just having had a baby and thought, “Wow – she is amazing, look what she did.” And in short order, I tumbled head-over-heels for this little red-headed guy.

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Evangeline is 2. And always looking for a reason to smile. Here, we had tossed some snow her way.

eva in snow

Evangeline and Oliver

The snow was so deep this day, we had Oliver on a little chair. I decided to re-do their a shoot a week later to make him more comfortable. But we got some great ones this snowy day!

Then came Hunter and it happened again. By the time Guini came along, a grand-girl, I knew to clear my schedule for falling in love.

Each time a grandbebe comes in to my life, I know it will never be the same. My heart gets bigger. It gets expanded and beats hotter with love, stronger love than I knew existed. It beats with wild joy and passion for another little human being, something of me, a part of me I’ll leave to the world. I will never get over these ten…and anymore who may come along. :)

Oliver happy Oliver, 10 months. He liked sitting on the ground a lot more  (especially since I covered it with a sheet)eva and oliver

IMG_0872_2oliver 10 months

On 5 different days, each with snow falling or on the ground or still around from a previous snow, my sweet grands let me snap some shots of them with a tree-on-fabric thing I got from IKEA a couple of years back. All snapped on the iPhone6+.

kai kai

Malakai, almost 3 here, just wanted to lob snowballs at his Nonna.

kai throwing snow at nonna kai smile

I live in Colorado. There will be snow. We need the snow. I certainly long for snow every single Christmas. After that – not as much snow zeal here. But these pictures of ten little human beings who love me like I love them? Well, they make the snow oh-so-much-more enjoyable. Oh yes, they do.

Let it blister and bluster and blow…Let it snow!

Lucky you…I’ll share 5 more of my sweet snow babies tomorrow, when I’ll likely be snowed all the way in!

Snow Babies, part two

 

Singing solo…

I recently looked back at my very first few blog posts, way back in the olden days of blogging. The first few were right around Christmas of 2006, so of course, I couldn’t help but talk about Christmas and all the ways I love it.

In this post {click here to see the original}, I shared a quote from a cup of Starbucks coffee. I liked it. I am glad I wrote it there.

singing solo...joining a group #quote

We can sing beautifully alone, but to add harmonies, to join with voices blending, sharing the emotion and depth of meaning in the words: this is best.  Life and songs and Christmas are meant to be shared.

Family, Food and Good TV – must be Thanksgiving Week!

True story: Within 45 minutes this morning, Stef from the Holyoke homestead contacted me for my Broccoli Soup for a crowd recipe, my dad called from rural Indiana to have me help him “make up” a chicken-veggie-and-rice casserole, and my son Rocky texted from northern Colorado asking for the ingredients and recipe for his Aunt Julie’s famous Corn Casserole so he can make it for Thanksgiving dinner this week! Ahhh, the fam!  :)

grandbebes
Dave and I with the ten little grandbebes, ages 6 months-12 years

It’s in the air, excitement around the year’s biggest meal. All of my best day dreams and plans for the future include being surrounded by the people I love the most, sharing some kind of amazing meal together. Sometimes that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich under a tree at a park with little grandbebes. Once a year, it includes a turkey and all the trimmings – enough to induce a food coma. But at least we get to do it together. Food + Family = JOY!

Which brings me to the television part!

Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke

Affiliated links (below) provided for your convenience.  :)

As the holidays approach and it gets colder outside and darker earlier, I start looking for those great shows and holiday specials that warm you inside and out. So I was totally excited when Feeln asked me to preview their new series, Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke!

Feeln is the movie subscription service of the Hallmark Hall of Fame (Hallmark cards) and you know they have got what you want to see, especially around the holidays!

episode 1 with florence henderson

“Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke” is a food-oriented lifestyle talk-show that “celebrates the joyous interplay between family and food.” It features celebrity guests and in the first episode, Brooke meets with Mrs. Brady herself (Florence Henderson)! They share memories centered around special meals Florence has enjoyed with her family at a neighborhood Italian restaurant and get some amazing recipes from the chef .

I totally loved the episode I watched! It felt warm and inviting, the conversation was interesting and authentic, and Brooke fairly sparkles as she extends genuine hospitality and enthusiasm for her guests. I have one thing against Brooke Burke and it is that there are no visible physical effects on her from her passion for pasta. I want to know how that happens!

Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke

To help get the word out on the new series, Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke has launched a tongue-twister challenge. You HAVE to try this – you could win prizes!

  1. Just grab your phone and create a video of yourself saying BREAKING-BREAD-with-BROOKE-BURKE 5 times really fast!
  2. Submit your video on Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo or Facebook
  3. Then, tag your video with #BBwBBchallenge @BBBreaksBread. And be sure to submit it online here too.

I tried the tongue-twister. It didn’t go well. I have my pride. I didn’t submit it. But I got Hunter and his friends to give it a go. {see here}

Hunter and Friends doing the #BBwBBchallenge
#BBwBBchallenge

It’s all in good fun! I hope you’re having a fantastic week. Here is the link for viewing the first episode of Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke {CLICK}.  If you’re like me, you’ll really enjoy it and want to see more!

Blessings, friends and familia!

God’s Pleasure, A Prayer for Mi Familia

Before I forget ~ I love you, mi familia. That has been my heart motivation towards you from the beginning. Some days my motivations were obvious. Some days, I am certain, they were a total mystery, and had you scrambling to understand.

But if I could exchange, in your mind, the times you got the “mom look,” which made you squirm or feel anything less than the true brilliance I saw in you, if I could trade that out for the gazes you didn’t see, for the times I was pondering you in my heart and I was beaming out of sight when you were singing at the top of your lungs in your bedroom or being nice to that rascal-of-a-neighborhood-kid who needed a friend and I just thought, wowmy children are the most amazing ones ever...Yes, if I could trade some of those moments so you would know the depth of my admiration, my respect, and my abiding love for you (still, more than ever), so that there would never be a way for you to doubt how proud I am of you, well, then, I would. I would do it in a flash.

Meanwhile, this is true: your dad and I pray for you and we pray for your {JOY} because the JOY of the LORD will be your daily, ever-present, help-in-time-of-need, STRENGTH for all the life and living ahead! If you’re choosing between utilizing your own gifts, talents and abilities to achieve successful living, life and love (which you could do, because you have so much in you), versus living a Holy-Spirit-empowered joy-strengthened life, and an abundant joy-strengthened life at that, well, please, my darlings – choose the JOY-strengthened life for sure!

A & G, summer 14

What does that look like? It looks like when Averi and Gemma start doing cartwheels all over the lawn. Here they are, sweet littles and they just start going. And it takes all their arms and legs and gravity and muscle-control and trust and having their hearts and arms opened wide. But when they start and we clap and cheer, those two girls just keep going and going and going like it is nothing at all. They are filled with joy in the moment and the only reason they usually stop is that it’s time to leave or night has fallen. There is no worry about how they will feel tomorrow, for they know tomorrow, they will more joy-strength for many more cartwheels! That is some joy-strengthened living!

Let’s plan to get more {joy}. We are praying that for YOU!

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“Since we first heard about you, we’ve kept you always in our prayers that you would be filled to overflowing with the revelation of God’s pleasure over your lives. This will make you reservoirs of all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness! And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope and {JOY} in the Holy Spirit!”
Colossians 1:9-11 The Passion Translation

AMEN! Oh, yes – Amen!!!

Before I forget to tell you ~ God is pleased with you.

And so am I. {mom}

 

A Woman’s Life by Stonehouse

By Stonehouse, the artist

I just wanted to share this beautiful “live” drawing as a reminder to see past what we think we know about the women around us.

My sister-in-law, Dawn, recently shared these words from a Twila Paris song, “Same Girl,” in the comments at this blog, a post about my mom, who is dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Picture with me if you can, a little girl in a younger land, running, playing, laughing, growing stronger. But now her aged limbs have failed and her rosy cheeks have paled. Look beyond the lines ’til you remember. She’s still the same girl running down the hill, she’s still the same girl, memories vivid still. Listen to her story and her eyes will glow. She’s still the same girl, and we need her so…”

My mom on the right.
My mom on the right. 1942?

“Listen to her story and her eyes will glow…”  This is true of every woman, from the little girl so small she can barely express in words, to a young woman falling n love for the first time, to a harried wife and mother who is living to serve and run. It is true as the children leave the nest and the gray hair emerges. It is truer than true as age and aches and pains become the norm, And it is true for even the woman who is struggling to maintain some sense of who she is while suffering dementia.

{{Listen to her story: from my youngest granddaughter and the bigger ones, too, to my lovely daughters, to my sister and the sweetest sister-in-laws I have been blessed with to my cherished mamala, and all the dearest of friends and godly women who have invested in me and younger women who so kindly allow me access to their hearts...}}

My mom on the right.
My mom on the right. 1940?

If some one, anyone, will just listen, we have a story to tell. We know some things, in spite of anything we’ve forgotten or how old-fashioned and outdated we may seem to have become. Because where you are, we once were, too.

My mom on the left. School days. She might be 8 or 9 in this photo.
My mom on the left. School days. She might be 8 or 9 in this photo.

And to tell you, too, that even as Alzheimer’s robs my mom of more and more of her abilities, her confidence and cognitive skills, what we are seeing is, miracle of miracles, Norma Jean :: the little girl who loves all the pretty things and all the people and has the simplest faith – she re-emerges, she is herself, true and pure. “She’s still the same girl, and we need her so!”

Me, my mom, and my little sister :: out on the town
Me, my mom, and my little sister :: out on the town, Avon, IN. Oct. 2015

 

Everyone with a brain is at risk for Alzheimer’s.” – www.alz.org

See more things I have written about this Alzheimer’s journey here

I’d Buy Tickets to See…

We had our family October-birthday celebration a couple of days ago (three of us were celebrated, our years totaling 96…do not ask how many of those years I hogged up). We may or may not have had two big pans of homemade brownies, 2 types of ice cream, chocolate cake (icing on the side) a giant pumpkin pie and whipped cream, sang the birthday song three times with appropriate claps {happy birthday to you *clap-clap*}, passed out dozens of presents to oohs and aahs and had a major paper-fight with wadded up gift wrap.

We also did the birthday-question-hot-seat where we ask the birthday celebrants questions about anything at all, important and not so much.

10 30 15

Jovan, Hunter and moi.

One of my kiddos asked who I’d like to see in concert. I couldn’t even think, there were so many names in my brain. I totally forgot I started this list last February. So, here it is, even though I know I have more to add (who are they???)! :)

Kenny Rogers

Dolly Parton

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton together, I’d get front-row seats.

James Taylor

Carole King. Her story. Her songs. Her piano-pounding.

James Taylor and Carole King together would make me pass out with delirious happiness, possibly never able to recover.

Neil Diamond. Because. I love singing along with the Neil.

Elvis Costello

Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss. I’d see Alison alone and I love Willie, but I want them together!

David Cassidy. No question. Please come to Denver, David Cassidy (“we’ll go up into the mountains so far that we can’t be found…” But my husband Dave will be there, too, of course. I am simply after some singing.)  :)

Paul McCartney. I should not have to explain this.

Leonard Cohen. I say this. I said it once before on this blog and he was IN TOWN without me knowing it. That is not right.

Sigur Ros. Because my kids tell me their shows are amazing and they have such great taste, those talented children of mine.

Brad Paisley. Musical genius and such a great lyricist!

Elton John, again. Last time was with Billy Joel, which was very cool, but I want more Elton, lots more Elton. The man can write the anthemic like nobody’s business. His melodies and his fingers on those keys UN.be.liev.able!

The Eagles, again. Because they are The Eagles. Also, I really like Glenn Frey.

Boz Scaggs. He has just gotten better with age, I think. I would volunteer to be one of his back-up singers. :)

Bobbie Gentry. But she doesn’t tour anymore. Boo-hooooo.

Diana Ross. In Vegas – I want the whole over-the-top, coat-dragging show!

Matt Redman. In Denver TONIGHT! (Dave & Tara are taking me as part of a belated birthday gift, yaaaaay!)

Speaking of which, Dave and Tara Powers, at the Armory Performing Arts Center in Brighton, Colorado.  Check this out! :)

 

Oh, I am going to be at THIS concert for sure and getting my picture taken with Santa! ABSOLUTELY!

Sunrise, sunset

I decided to try something this summer-just-passed and I have been pretty good at keeping with it. I took note, via the weather app on my iPhone, of the time of each days’ sunrise and especially, each sunset.

I was inspired by my experiences in Maui, the two times I have visited. I loved how people rang dinner bells on their back porches and local restaurant personnel would all stop and invite you to notice, not time-to-eat, but rather, sunset as it occurred. There it was, the burning sun, hanging over, then sinking into the ocean, coloring the sky. The islanders invited us all to pause and observe the moment, the beauty of the setting, paying homage to the end of another day.

Why can’t we do that here, I wondered?

flag at blue hour

I was at a party and stepped outside to take a call, just a few minutes past sunset. The blue hour is intoxicating. Plus, my mom is thrilled by any photos of flags. This is at Tara’s house, so she’ll be proud of her granddaughter. :)

So I have been doing it. Originally I meant to try through the summer, but I’ve continued. I have enjoyed many sunrises (at least 50%, I’d say), and I can watch them from the comfort of my bed through the wide-open window, if I desire. But the sun-settings, I’m seeing almost all of them, at the very least 4-5 days out of each week. I just watch as the light of day fades into night, the light sky turning blanket-blue, a quick azure, then indigo. I try to be outside somewhere, watching, noting the passage.

It has made me so much more aware of the passing time and how I spend the hours I have. And let me just tell you, so much of what passes between the bookends of a sunrise and a sunset daily, even in the mundane rituals and running of everyday life, there is great treasure. It waits to be found and if we’re wise, we’ll observe these blessed two moments daily, first with anticipation, then thanksgiving and gratefulness.

Morning Sunrise Prayer: Wow, Lord, the sun! I am going to arise and shine because Your glory is risen upon me! Give me eyes to see all the things You see. I am so thankful for these new mercies and another day You have entrusted to me. I wonder what will become of these next day-lit hours? “Christ in me, live this day.”

Evening Sunset Prayer: What a day. Thank You for [list it all here – everything you can recall], and I trust You to redeem and restore [anything broken or marred; may as well list it, He knows]. I am so grateful to have had this day, knowing You were with me all the way. Now I rest, and let You tend to what needs tending…

Yep. I am STILL learning that last part!

10.31.15  Sun-up, 7:28 am; sunset, 5:59 pm, Denver time. Just in case you wanted to know!

Remember to set your clocks back tonight. You get an extra hour! :)

So kiss me and smile for me

So kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go*

My mom asked me a few months ago, having watched a documentary about the late John Denver on PBS, if I would maybe “go in” with my siblings and buy her a John Denver CD for Christmas. She didn’t want to tax me too heavily, lovely woman that she is. <3

jdenver leaving

So, Dave made a CD of John Denver songs from his iTunes and I took it to her when I went to visit 2 weeks ago. She was so surprised. She barely remembered the documentary, if at all, and certainly didn’t recall asking for a CD, but she was happy to have it.

My visit this time has a musical soundtrack. And it is the sound of John Denver music drifting from her corner room, from a little CD player she can no longer remember how to work on her own, even though my sister painted “play” in large white letters.

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My sweetest mamala is suffering dementia, being treated for Alzheimer’s Disease. And the changes are so gradual if you’re in the room with her, that they’re much less perceptible. But I am not there, so when I visit, changes are glaring, and I lose my breath for a moment when I see another part of her gone. My dad always asks me what I see as different because he is “in the room,” day and night, night and day.

When I visited 2 months ago in August, during our family reunion, she kept asking me what words were on a stitched pillow her best friend had sent to her. “Friendship,” I’d tell her. She’d look intently at it and then say, “Oh right, there is the ‘i.’ Oh, and that’s ‘f’.” Then she’d say, “Friendship.”

15 minutes later, she’d pick the pillow up and ask me again. Everyday I was there, several times.

I asked my dad, “When did she begin to lose reading?” He was so surprised, he had been wondering why she wasn’t reading her Bible each morning like she always has. Reading is not totally lost to her yet. But it mostly is. She still keeps her Bible and her beloved dictionary close by at all times, but they are rarely opened. Sometimes she has to really focus her gaze for a long time to make out what the newspaper article is about. And if the article is continued in another column, or heaven forbid, on another page, she thinks they somehow just quit writing and finds it foolish for them to have done that.

This time, my most recent visit, she couldn’t sing Mairzy Doats, a beloved song from her childhood, with me anymore. Wherever it is she is going, down whatever hall dementia is taking her, that song doesn’t make sense and those aren’t real words so she cannot remember them at all. And she has no desire to recall them. My mom sang that to me my whole life. Then she sang it to my children. She and I sang it to some of my grandchildren. She always thought it was so funny and delightful, singing those tricky words that were really other words. But now it’s just “nonsense” to her, which it really always was, I guess. But still.

mom laughing oct 2015
My main goal, when we are together now, is to laugh with her. Laughter is so good for the bones.

So she wanted to listen to John Denver’s soothing beautiful music. She particularly loves Rocky Mountain High and Sunshine on My Shoulders. And the song all our family legends are made of was on repeat one day, Back Home Again. She had to call to play it and sing it for her best friend in Tennessee. She mostly hummed, unable to recall words she has always loved. And she’d comment to her friend when a line of the song said something sweet, like, “…the light in your eyes that makes me warm,” She’d say, “That reminds me of you, Ronnie!” It was sweetness.

mom at sundown

But all week, Whenever the song, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” began, she’d come and hug me and say, “Oh, I don’t want you to go…how many more days do I have?” And I’d usual just say, “I’m here for a whole week,” even as the week was moving along. Because it would put her at ease and she’d say, “Oh, good.”

Then we’d giggle and sing along with John Denver, mom mostly humming and inserting comments.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I’m standing here outside your door*

“Oh no, Jeanie. Here let me help you un-pack your bags!”

I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.*

“Don’t wake me up for that!”

‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again*

“You better get back here again quick!”

That is so true, mamala. I know you won’t see this blog (computer navigation was one of the first things to go), but we’ll laugh about this in heaven…

A couple of days before I had to leave, three of us were sitting on the love seat singing together, my mom, my little sister, and me. It was hard finding songs my mom could recall the words and following lyrics on the computer was’t working either. I went to a karaoke site and pulled up “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” We started singing away, getting that tight 3-part harmony from heaven found among family members alone.

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But as we came to the words, “So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me,” I had to look away and I couldn’t sing. A catch in my throat and the tears began, because I heard her singing the words, but I knew, she won’t be waiting for me. She is going to keep walking this path and each time I see her, there’ll be a little less of her there.

I have heard Alzheimer’s called The Long Goodbye.  And so it seems it must be. My sorrow at watching her have to endure not just the memory loss, but the confusion, the frustration, and the growing inabilities to do what she loves is compounded by living over a thousand miles away. Knowing my time with her will be so limited by the miles between us, I will take every possible second of this long goodbye to hold in my heart.

Every chance I get, I will go to her and bless her and praise her for the woman she is and hug her tiny self as long as she wants (and she loves long hugs). I’ll massage her shoulders and brush her hair and stroke her face and let her curl up on my lap like she is my little girl. There is so little I can do, but I’ll hold on as long as she needs me to….

Hold me like you’ll never let me go*

IMG_8010

Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!” Proverbs 31.31 The Message

Learn more from The Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death and is not just about having a diminishing memory. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s loses their ability to walk, to sit and eventually to swallow.  Please pray for my sweet mamala, if you will. *Norma Jean*

*Lyrics to Leaving on a Jet Plane, John Denver.

The days grow short

A meandering post…

grands-14
The grandbebes.

Oh, it’s a long long while
From May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September

I refused to loosen my grasp on summer, as if it would cause it to remain. And we have had an unusually warm and dry Autumn, temperatures soaring daily in bright sunshiny days regularly, so it has been easy to pretend.

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Hunter catches and runs in the touchdown!

But the colorful-Colorado drive to the mountains a couple of weeks ago, yellow and orang-ish Aspen leaves tumbling and floating down the higher in elevation we got, the season changed for me. *snap* Just like that. I guess it really is fall.

When the autumn weather
Turns leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time
For the waiting game

sept 30 near allenspark, co
On our way to the top. Near Allenspark.

Oh, the days dwindle down
To a precious few…

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Our niece Lori”s place in Estes Park. She always has a room for us.

This Season

The days are shorter, the evenings are cooler. The grass is greener, enjoying the break from relentless summer heat. The garden has gone wild, producing madly, somehow knowing the end is in sight. Cool-season crops, planted in August’s warmth, are deliriously happy this year. Radishes, lettuce, kale and arugula can be seen dancing in the moonlight.  With a little love and occasional cover, who knows? Maybe we’ll harvest for the Thanksgiving table? It doesn’t have to be the end {yet} of the gardening year. But it’s close.

I brought in a shopping bag full of tomatoes, zucchini and peppers three days ago…

September…November…

Guess what?

If I were a garden vegetable, I would be a tomato plant. Of course I would. Search this blog for the word, “tomato” and you’ll see why.  The homegrown tomato is my all-time favorite, for no flavor like them can be purchased anywhere. They arrive all spring green and exciting on bushy-leafed plants and then become blood-red and juicier over time. Like we do.

Aging actually defines and colors who we are, what we bring to the proverbial table.

But the September and October tomato isn’t as flashy as the summer tomato.  The fruit is smaller, even as the numbers increase. Nearing the end, the tomato creates a veritable flurry of flowers-to-fruit, propagating itself for posterity. It’s like it is saying, “I won’t be around forever, these days are getting awfully short and I’m losing sunlight, but I’ll make sure to leave you with plenty to enjoy and seed for the future.”

It isn’t about being maudlin or morose, but I know things now I didn’t know 20 years ago. I know “the days dwindle down.” I recall my irrepressible youth. I couldn’t see the end of the blue-sky, sunny-summer days ahead and even though we always heard “We’re never promised tomorrow,” being young also makes you certain tomorrow will always be there.

Like my annual tomato plants, we have a certain number of days, the seasons set and measurable with some variations.  We have a limited supply of sunshine and rain. And then our days are gone. And we hope we will have produced life-giving, good fruit and plenty of it and have left extraordinary children and grandchildren to make the world better for the future.

I’m somewhere past the middle

Where am I now, September? October? I’m somewhere in the middle, over half my days are gone. I need to kick it into high gear, for goodness’ sake! :)

It has taken me the wisdom of the years I have lived to understand so many things and, wow, I have much left to learn. But so many seasons have come and gone and the people planted in my life’s garden to begin with are the ones still to tend, you know? Many wonderful friends and acquaintances pass by and we enjoy the love, the meals, but my people remain for me. Along the way, every possible distraction, possible (probable) offenses and seductive “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities beckon. New things and flashy adventure present and they are wonderful, but the home garden is where the best nourishment remains even as, and especially as, the days grow shorter.

Over half my days are gone, but the ones that remain are bushel-baskets full of sage advice, wisdom, love (oh the love), nurture, insight into the future (I’m further along – I can see things ahead you may not yet have seen, my sweets); there’s discernment I can share and prophetic words I am anointed to speak and though the fruit on my vines is not the flashy, all-knowing fruit of my youth, I bear prolifically now, enough for my household and those who need refuge. Come one, come all…

So spend your days wisely, the endless supply you seem to have now.  And feast on the days your most important people have to spend on you, receiving the grace of years humbly and gratefully.

And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

My favorite version of September Song

(lyrics above) by Willie Nelson. Naturally!