Tag Archives: singing

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.


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.


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*


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.

Thought Collage Thursday // Therapeutic Things

eleanor brownn quote

That’s my mom in the picture, enjoying her back yard! :)

Oh, it’s that time again!

That’s right, friends and familia, far and wide. This Thursday’s child is wild about Thursdays and my brain is inevitably running-over with an assorted array of somewhat disconnected thoughts and observations. Although I must tell you, I love finding the common theme after I have blurted it all out. That is always when the finished title emerges. Today? Therapeutic things, because you can and should attend to yourself, spirit, soul and body. Stay strong and healthy – it will bless everyone you love!

Enjoy spring.

I mean – can anyone really comprehend what it is like to have to live in a state that is so sunny-bright on these 70-some degree days in the spring with almost-zero humidity? Must I bear this cross alone? …Just kidding around with you, and maybe gloating a little.

The rainy days just past were purely lovely (more to come, I hear). They did what only spring rains can do. But the warm sun that follows, releasing the lilac’s deepest perfume – well, ’tis a glimpse of heaven, I am certain.

common lilac

NOTE:: If you do not own a lilac bush, go (immediately) make friends with some one who does and ask them if you might just stuff your face into the fully-florrid blooms in the heat of one of these spring-afternoons for just a few minutes. Therapeutic!

I wish I could dance.

I can’t. I can. not. Really. Everybody tells me it is possible, that even I could learn, but it isn’t. I was raised that dancing was a sin. My parents became Christ-followers through a “holiness” group that put the kibosh on most anything fun as being a “worldly amusement.” They pretty much lived by the mindset I am in the world, but I will not be amused by it.

Now my mom did say, many times as I was growing up, “Well, they tell me dancing is a sin. but if it weren’t, I’d get you ballet and tap lessons.” Haha. The obvious dilemma being that there was no differentiation, in the holiness standard, between dancing for joy, for art, for the beauty of movement and that shady stuff happening at dimly-lit parties with men putting their arms around other men’s wives after a few martinis, lusting and smoking cigarettes. No, just to be careful – rule out ALL dancing.

Never mind that the Psalmist, a man after God’s own heart, danced in the Bible! He also took his clothes off to do it. So that story never got told with flannel graph in Sunday School!

Somewhere along the way my parents figured out that dancing, that joyous release and movement celebrating being alive, and even the slow dance between married lovers, isn’t a chute straight to hell. They dance now! I even have video and photos of it, which makes me happy!

But it’s too late for me.

My feet are nailed by the heavy stakes of holiness-past to the ground. I’ve got rhythm. I just can’t seem to use it. I dream of it, though. I have dreams where I can run and twirl and leap and dance and practically fly. So, I can’t dance for now, but in heaven, I’m thinking I’ll be able to and wow, loving the thought!

HOWEVER – if you CAN dance, you should. You MUST! Therapeutic and free!

This really works.

Want to feel accomplished? Want your mind to be cleared and your life ordered in a way that makes sense? Grab your garden gloves (buy a pair at the dollar store), and a grocery bag. Head out to your garden squares or borders, the places where last week’s rains made the weeds feel all haughty and strong. Set your phone timer for 5 minutes. Grab hold of the obvious weeds at the base, the ones emerging in your borders and along fence lines. Pull. Tap lightly to return the soil to which they were clinging to its’ rightful place and fill your bag. In 5 sweat-free minutes, you’ll have stuffed that bag with unwanted, noxious weeds and given yourself a gift to enjoy later.

You can do this in the morning when you first arise, the cool of the day (God is always hanging around gardens, I have found). You can do it when you’re on the phone, or while the coffee brews. It works when you’re heading out or just getting back home, a 5-minute weed-pull here, another 5 minutes there.


Today it’s a chore, sure. But next week,  when you look at that small area, the ones where the weeds threatened to overtake your yard and garden (or where the grass hopped happily in to your garden beds), you’ll smile and reap the rewards of the time you tended your space. 5 minutes a day or a few 5-minute grocery-bag stuffings throughout the week: you’ll stretch and move and breathe and tend and have accomplished big things in short spurts. Good for the brain and body, satisfying for the soul.

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” Genesis 2.15

WARNING: Unused winter muscles will feel it and hurt, but in a good way!

Why you should sing.

Singing is amazing. This articles says singing (1) boosts cardiovascular health, (2) stimulates the brain, (3) reduces stress, (4) naturally heals and (5) builds confidence. But it’s also just fun.

You also need no special equipment to do it. And if you want to sing and be courageous, too, join a karaoke site. There are thousands of songs you can sing with just your smart phone and ear buds and it’ll be simply for your fun and enjoyment. And while I suspect it may have been considered “worldly amusement” by some for all of the “secular” songs there, I think it’s fun for the heart and soul. And they even have worship songs and church music if that’ll make it better for you. ;)

life is a song


You have to be brave and silly to sing on a karaoke site, but I’m doing it and it’s making me breathe deeper, which I need. I just posted “Harper Valley PTA” on a karaoke site this week and it made me laugh so much at myself. I loved that song as a kid, even though, as you might imagine, people who don’t dance also don’t like these types of drinking-adultry-miniskirt-type songs. :) But I did it. I just sang it anyway.

Len Sweet’s Bible Credo.

reading your bible

This poetic post about the Word of God, the scriptures, our Bibles – just made me want to go grab mine right away and get started on digging out the treasures, trying to comprehend the mysteries and just knowing the author of Love better, all over again.  Too much of my life has been spent shooting {or dodging} “scriptural truth bullets,” reading to try to figure out the “rules” or staying on the doggone one-year reading schedule** to earn divine points (true confessions). Sometimes this magnificent treasure has felt burdensome or life-killing. I do not want to pass that on to my grandbebes. I want them to experience the Logos and the Word made Flesh the way Len Sweet has so poetically  shared here.

“I believe you can’t go through the Scriptures without the Scriptures going through you… changing the drumbeat of your life as you dance to a new rhythm….I believe reading the Bible is not a disciple’s homework but a disciple’s holy play.”  ~Leonard Sweet

Did he say something about dancing??? :)

Read it. You’ll find yourself looking for the first available free moment to crack it open, to devour its pages and receive the words of life again! And again!

**PS I am not against reading plans…I have just botched them so badly I end up hurrying through and miss the whole {beautiful, “holy play” } point!

Call your mom.

Seriously. If your mom lives nearby, VISIT her. If she is far away, plan your next trip and call regularly. NO ONE has loved you longer! Except the Creator. But He chose her for you!

My mamala:

mamala collage

Let’s throw a parade!

As kids, parades were so easy, nothing but excitement, sound, color, horses (and shovels), Shriners in costume jewelry and little cars doing circles and patterns, with princesses on floats and marching bands. When you’re a kid, you don’t have to worry about where you’ll park and how you’ll fight the crowds or worry about who will clean up the paper mess afterwards.

But I liked this (from Pinterest, via Etsy):

kindness confetti

Let’s throw a parade! Let the kindness fly and the fun begin. First in our homes, with the people we love the most and then every where we go each day (school, work, stores, church) and give everybody the best parking spot and the curb-front seats to just being nice, in word and deed. We can make everyday a celebration-worthy holiday for some one, I am convinced!

I promise you, you’ll have the chance TODAY to be kind, or not. The confetti is in your hands! {No clean-up…now that IS therapeutic!}

Happy and Blessed Thursday, friends and family.

Take care of yourself and “Hey!” as they used to say on Hill Street Blues (which coincidentally aired on NBC’s Must-see-TV Thursday night line-up, “Let’s be careful out there!”

Thought-Collage Thursday // A Bountiful Bunch of Dis-jointed Reflections

I don’t even know what that title means.

In the back yard yesterday 1

In the back yard yesterday

Except, I do have thoughts. That is why – this blog.  But sometimes life is careening with such force and speed, the thoughts, the observations and ideas – well, they just zoom on by and I can only retain the barest interpretation of them.

Such is this week.


I get so romantic about the autumnal  season

In the back yard yesterday 2

Also the back yard yesterday. No kidding – I got to see all these colors including that Colorado blue sky!

I go out in the cool breeze of night and watch the leaves drifting down and start composing silly poetry in my head like this:

When the breeze picks up and the leaves fall down

And the Jack ‘O Lanterns are scowling all around town…

There is actually much more, and maybe one day I’ll share it with the grandbebes, but I’m no poet. I know it.  ;) So for today, we’ll leave it here. Bet you’re wondering what was going to happen, aren’t you?

In the back yard yesterday 3

Which leads me to this question: Would Dr. Seuss be able to find a publisher these days? I mean – he just made up words to make them rhyme.

See how random things just barrel through?


The song of the month: Autumn Leaves {of course}

I love the song. I first loved the song, as a child, when I heard Roger Williams piano version (my Grandma gave me his album). To find it had actual words, not that many years ago, was a bonus. It was originally in French (1945), and all the greats have recorded it. Jo Stafford (one of my favs) was first, but then Edith Piaf (who did both an English and a French version), Diana Krall (she makes all songs amazing), Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton – they all have recorded it. Eva Cassidy, too.

In the back yard yesterday malakai not wanting to pose

Kai did not want to model

And I have spent the entire month of October singing it and plunking around on the keyboard playing it. Rocky told me to come to his office and he’d play the guitar and mix my voice (read: tune me up and make me sound good) in his studio. But who has time for that? Neither he nor I.


I get more wordy and gooey each autumn

I have been blogging since 2006, so you’d think by now I wouldn’t have a clue what all I have said. But I always do recall, each fall, that I get a little more, shall we say, descriptive, come autumn. I become quite melancholy and overcome with passion for the season.

i feel like


  • I ponder autumn red, quote Marilyn Monroe and dissertate on being a woman in the autumn of her life. {{see here}}
  • In “Delicious Autumn,” I quote George Eliot and tumble head-over-heels into a sensory love affair with nostalgia – the sights, the smells, the tastes, the feels, the sounds of youth faded…while visiting my parents. Haha. {{see it here}}
  • I’ve often written about October being orange. But in looking back, I do also pay my respects to the reds of October. This one is an homage to red, to “a fully florid, cherry, sanguine scarlet.  A puce, a rufescent russet,  a bloody, blushing, gushing, infrared hot pink mixed with flaming chestnut and rubies and gleaming copper, all at once…shimmering and iridescent fuchsia, yet dense and heavy garnet, a ruby…bittersweet in both color and the evoking of raw autumn melancholy.” And etc! :)  {{see it here}}
  • Two years ago this very day, {{THIS}} was happening. The grandbebes and a little weather forecast.  I remember that light, those leaves…

kids in leaves 2012 10 23

Oh, there are many more fall, autumn, October posts. Some November, too. And miles of words down roads of the romance of the season. But I’ll let this part go with those few examples.


I voted.

Oh how I love getting to vote in the convenient  location of my home. And mailing it in…wait, did I remember to mail it? I will say that I wish I could change one of my amendment-issue votes because I researched a bit more later and I think I may have been…*w*r*o*n*g*!??

That is (1) highly unusual, and (2) growth for me…to think that I maybe/might have been/possibly was/super-small chance that I was ever-so-slightly wrong, but instead of demanding a fresh ballot, I’m just going with the flow. It is what it is. And really, in light of SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE VOTING WRONG ALL THE TIME, this one minor issue is of little consequence.  Just kidding…about other people’s votes. Maybe.

So now, if all the political ads would kindly remove themselves from my presence. Thank-you very much.


Loved her book!

Oh, and I won’t tell you how I voted. No. You couldn’t guess if you tried because I am an independent. Do not try to fence me in!

BUT if she wants to hire me for her campaign, “Carly Fiorina for President!”  On women, 53% of voters: “We are not a special-interest, single-issue constituency. We are half the country.” up-project.org


I was in the country the other day

In the back yard yesterday 5

The burning bushes are on fire!

The cows were mooing and a tractor was motoring by. The smell of manure was in the air and a pretty gray cat with grass-green eyes came by to say hi {totally unaware that I am not a cat person, apparently}.  The sun was sweet and you could see miles of mountains from there. And even though life was happening all around and “town” was just 3 miles away, it was quiet. So quiet. I think I was made for the country.


A {Country Baby} came to see me.


Sawyer with Guini and Gemma

Two of them in fact, with their parents. Sawyer and Wryder were here visiting from Holyoke. That is country. The term Country Baby comes from one of my fav old movies, Baby Boom, with Diane Keaton. Do you remember that movie? I think that is a good movie to watch near the end of October.


Arsenic and Old Lace

arsenic cary grant

And always-always-always try to view Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace near Halloween. Because. Cary Grant. He is hilarious in it and scary-good-looking!

It s such a great old black and white flick!


I miss my mom over there in Hoosier-land.

me and mom oct 6

I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to tell you a million little details about my time in NW Indiana recently (in Chicago-land). It was so windy the last day there, but I held on to my mamala for dear life. In this photo I was thinking, “Oh I love her and I will miss her.” And I was so right. On both counts.


Since the Cardinals did not make the World Series, we are for the Kansas City Royals.


Got it? OK!

I love baseball. I miss my dad, too, because we watched a lot of baseball while I was there. But he can’t take seeing his teams lose, so we missed some great comebacks. Oh, pops.  ;) Cardinals forever, anyway!


I threw caution to the wind and listed my Jeanie-green ornate, Baroque, Italianate, solid wood, custom-built green coffee table on Craigslist.


I think I am changing my mind. Because, I mean – even the paint was custom-mixed for ME, to match a sliver of a piece of one of the grandbebe’s art pieces. I don’t know if I can let it go?



A thought about relationships…

Tara brought me a bouquet of flowers just before my birthday, more than 2 weeks ago. It was a huge bouquet of purple lilies, hydrangea, lavender statice, various mums and Gerber daisies.  Stormie brought me a big mums-filled bouquet a couple of days later, as seen on the coffee table, above (those fall mums will go on forever!).

purple bouquet, day 17

At day 17, the purple bouquet from Tara – a third of its original size, yet still lovely.

I have never been one of those women who needs her husband to bring her flowers, though I enjoy the surprise of them, like anyone. I get joy from growing things in the ground.

But both of these bouquets made me so happy and are still bringing me a smiles, light, bright joyful remembrances of warm thoughts and pure love shown towards me.

And while a fresh bouquet is glorious, people often throw the whole thing away when a few of the buds begin to age or drop. But you miss something when you do that. There is still so much beauty there. Yes, the “fussier” parts of the bouquet are long gone. But in just the minute or so it takes me daily to tend to the arrangement, to remove drooping leaves or a dead-headed flower, then to snip the ends and add fresh water, in less than a minute, I have revived the bouquet. It looks a little different each time, some of the filler going away, but its beauty remains and I get to enjoy them much longer.

It is the same with the people we love and the relationships that mean something. Even if things are different now than they once were, a love or friendship worth having is worth tending regularly.

You could just let it go to waste, throwing away wilting expectations and brushing off the dust of disappointment. But you could also decide to spend just a few minutes tending and repairing, loving and caring. And in a very short time you might be made glad by the beauty of it again. Maybe it won’t look like what it once did, as busy and full, but that is OK, too, I think.

Love with all you’ve got while you can.


There are so many leaves falling in this post, you may have to rake now.

I shall bring this to  close (I’m a preacher’s daughter and that’s what they all say), but of course, you NEED an autumn quote, yes? Then this, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Life starts all over again, when it gets crisp in the fall.” Remember, I told you? October is the new January!

life starts again

Happy Autumn and Magical Thursday to you!

See? Too many words! I just cannot stop myself…


The BEST way to Spread Christmas Cheer

As Buddy-the-Elf loves to tell us~

The {BEST} way to spread Christmas cheer is {SINGING loud} for all to hear.

Read this blog this morning on nine lessons you can learn watching the Will Ferrell movie, Elf (2003), already a Christmas classic for sure. {CLICK HERE} I most love the scene where Buddy hears that “Santa” will arrive at the store the next day.  He jumps up and down screaming

S a a a a a a a n n n t a a a a a a a a a !!!!”

Everyone thinks he is weird, but hardly able to contain his exuberance he explains,

“I know him!”

I want to be like that about Jesus, my Savior!  I want to be almost unable to contain my excitement because I KNOW HIM!!


Gemma showed up for pre-school this morning, and upon seeing the family-tree lit up waiting to be decorated, exclaimed, “Well I didn’t see that tree coming!”

Later while doing some school-work, she exclaimed, “Aw, nutcrackers!  I forgot my bookbag!”  **hahahahahhaha!!  THAT is some Christmas cheer, too!

This is ME singing Really loud-can you hear me??  HARK, the herald angels sing….**

Top Ten Election Predictions

I ripped this off from a currently-circulating e-mail forward (20%) and added my own (80%).  I am grateful to have my legal citizenship in this great country.  I thank God that I live in a place where I enjoy the right and the privilege of voting, but this world is not my home.  I am part of the Kingdom of God and am really just an alien passing through.  :)  Each presidential election seems to increase fear in our hearts, on both sides of the political fence, but I am hanging on for that “peace that passes understanding.”

Top Ten Truths No Matter WHO Wins this Election:

10.  God is FOR us.  (If God is for me, who can be against me?)

9.  Jesus LOVES me, this I know. (This may be the simplest and most amazing truth ever)

8.  The Holy Spirit will continue to LEAD, GUIDE, and DIRECT our lives.

7.  God is thinking about us and has good plans for our lives (Jer. 29.11).

6.  When I call on the Lord, He will hear me and answer me – telling me the things I need to know (Jer. 33.3).

5.  The heart of the king (and the president) is in God’s hands and God can turn it whichever way He desires  (Prov. 21.1).

4.  This generation will declare the mighty works of the Lord to the next and there will be no end to the increase of HIS Kingdom and HIS government (Psalm 71.18, Isaiah 9.7)!

3.  I will praise Him.   The reason I live is to worship Him. (These are words from my two “life songs.”  This is my commitment, my declaration – He IS the theme of my song, wherever I may lodge, whoever is president.  Psalm 119)

2.  The Word of God will STILL be true.

And the #1 thing that will still be true regardless of how this election turns out?

God will remain faithful.  Because He is.

Stay in peace, my friends, for He is with us always…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Pray for the nation.