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Sunday Services and Sharing

20 Jan

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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If this is true, which I sincerely hope it is, there is a very good chance that I will never grow old. I have so many dreams and plans and hopes, and I certainly will never stop pursuing them.

This morning, I had the pleasure of joining Mom at her Sunday service that takes place in their activity room. A very sweet lady from St. Thomas More came to lead the service and pass out communion. About fifteen residents attended, most shuffling in behind their walkers, but determined to recite prayers, sing hymns, and give thanks. I certainly admire their faith and commitment.

I’ve been staying with my mom for a couple of weeks now, and the seniors here are very inspirational. Mom is one of the most loved little ladies at The Greens. Everyone knows and loves Trini, and a lot of her friends have come to know and love me, too. (The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree… We are both nuts…sing show tunes…and do arts and crafts.)

I’ve missed my senior art group back in McKinney, but I’ve had the opportunity to share a few artsy-craftsy projects with Mom’s friends. They really enjoy my funny stories, off key singing and art demos.

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We’ve been making notecards.

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Life is all about sharing, loving, and dreaming. May you always have dreams to pursue, and may all your dreams come true…and NEVER GROW OLD!

Montage Monday: Family, Fun, and Freezing Temps

14 Jan

“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning…proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.”
― Carl Sandburg. (Chicago Quote)
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Pelting sleet, walls of snow, and subzero temperatures that would make a polar bear cry could not dampen my spirit and the joy of being back home. I have spent precious days with family and friends, with many more to look forward to. My spirit is renewed and revitalized. Sometimes you just need that hand to hold and those shoulders to hug. My sons are my dearest treasures, and being able to spend so much time with them is amazing. Life is good!

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Sunday:Sermons and Sunsets

13 Jan

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
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This is an amazing quote. If only I could write such profound prose to stir the souls and senses of mankind. Perhaps one day I will, but for now, I am content to share my joys and sorrows with my simple words, poorly constructed sentences, and less than perfect punctuation. After all, it’s a blog, not Emily Dickinson.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend with my sons. Today being Sunday, I was filled with that nagging ingrained Catholic guilt. Not so much because it was Sunday, but because there was a Catholic Church right across the street from Matt’s place. The bells ring every morning from several different churches within a couple mile radius. But really…just out his front window…guilt…guilt…and more guilt! I was up early anyway. Could it have been from all the ringing of bells since 6am?

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St. Helen’s is a beautiful traditional Catholic Church nestled in the Ukrainian Village section of Chicago. With vibrant stained glass windows, well-worn wooden pews, and gilded golden adornments, the interior evokes reverence and reflection. (Hey, that sounded kinda prose-like, didn’t it?)

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Today’s sermon was about baptism, and Father Frank reminded us that we must take our faith seriously, long after that initial sacrament. Families should live their faith every day. An amazing thing happened while we all stood for the Gospel. Just when Father began, a brilliant beam of red light pierced through the rear stained glass window and caressed my face. Call me silly, but it felt like a sign from above and it shone just for me. It was God’s way of giving my a ray of hope and the gift of love. After Mass, I lit a candle and thanked The Lord for His blessings.

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After church, I packed up to go back to Mom’s, then Matt took me out for breakfast. Afterwards, we picked Joe up, went to visit Auntie Ann, stopped by to hug dearest Mike and Shirley from the old neighborhood, then off to deposit me at Mom’s place. Many, many miles were covered, hugs and kisses shared, and a glorious sunset finalized a long day of reminiscing.

As the quotes says…
“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
Yes, I did that today!

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Saturday: Sons and Sentiment

12 Jan

There is no stronger love in this world than the love a mother feels for her children. She cries for them, she worries about them, she would die for them.
-Unknown
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My two sons have always been my my greatest joy. Some thirty years have passed since the first cry, diapers, teething and sleepless nights, but it still seems like yesterday. Where does the time go? Spending this weekend with them has been the vital energy and spiritual boost that my soul has thirsted for. Gosh, that sounds kinda mushy, doesn’t it? Well, it is!

Yesterday was my birthday and spending it with my boys was the best gift ever. I took the train downtown to meet them. We trudged through the snow to Joe’s apartment, where we decided to order Pizano’s deep dish pizza instead of slushing back out for dinner. Then we watched “Fiddler on the Roof.” If you’ve never had deep dish pizza, well, basically it has a wonderful crunchy crust with 500 pounds of mozzarella cheese mixed with a fresh crushed tomato sauce. Maybe I’m exaggerating about the 500 pounds of cheese, that is more like how many pounds you gain in a weekend here in Chicago.

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Today, we went to a movie. I hadn’t been to a movie in six months. We saw “Saving Mr. Banks.” I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Tom Hanks fan, but this was rather interesting. I even had a few tears slip down a couple times, but that’s just me. It really wasn’t a sad movie. I think my sentimental mood attributed to the tears.

Here is a cool view from the movie theatre window. I was watching Joe and Lindsay walk from their apartment. They are very close to the theatre, which is awesome for Joe, the big movie buff. Look at this scenic photo. There are two little people specs walking about mid-left of the photo and the red and white center brick building is where they live. Cool!

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We walked around a while after the movie, then what do you think we did next? Well, we went out for dinner, of course. We walked pretty much everywhere, which is the nice part about living in a big city. As we trudged through the slushy streets, I couldn’t help but think about the reversal of roles that takes place in life. My boys were taking care of me, holding my hand and helping me across the streets, paying for my meals, and worrying about me. Yes, this is a beautiful sentimental feeling. Just like a mother’s love, I believe my sons would cry for me, worry about me, and would die for me. I adore my children! I am truly blessed!

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Friday: Happy Faces and Going Places

10 Jan

Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mothers face.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Coming to you live from the Metra train departing Big Timber at 3:22, arriving at Union Station Chicago at 4:49. Let’s see if I can write this blog before the end of the line. (Never wrote live from a train, not to mention on my teeny tiny iPhone. Bumpity-bump.)

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Today is my birthday. Why thank you very much! See… I know what you are thinking, and you are sending me good wishes. Thanks! I spent a lovely morning with my mom. Her lady friends sang and had presents and cards for me. Then, breakfast with my sister. Now, on the train to have dinner downtown with my sons and spend the weekend. ( Yes!!!! Chicago pizza!!!! I missed you!!!!)

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Yep, Mom is a cutey pie.
This is my birthday adventure. Glad you could join me. Almost there. More to follow. See ya!

Theme Song Thursday: A Hazy Shade of Winter

10 Jan

“So when you’re cold
From the inside out
And don’t know what to do,
Remember love and friendship,
And warmth will come to you.”
― Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome
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I’ve been cold from the inside out for quite a while now, but I’m back home in Chicago where the temps are freezing cold but the love and friendship is cozy and warm. Good to be home, at least for a while!

Simon And Garfunkel – Hazy Shade Of Winter Lyrics

Time, time, time, see what’s become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hear the salvation army band
Down by the riverside, it’s bound to be a better ride
Than what you’ve got planned
Carry your cup in your hand
And look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That’s an easy thing to say, but if your hope should pass away
It’s simply pretend
That you can build them again
Look around, the grass is high
The fields are ripe, it’s the springtime of my life

Ahhh, seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won’t you stop and remember me
At any convenient time
Funny how my memory slips while looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Drinking my vodka and lime

Ilook around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Look around, leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground…

Look around, leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground…

Look around, leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground…

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Look! We’re having a heat wave. It’s up in the 20’s and tomorrow maybe even 30’s. Any temp without a minus sign in front of it seems down right balmy. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday Tunes and Croons

8 Jan

“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained”
― Walt Disney Company
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Mom lives at a lovely place that often has live entertainment. Today, a talented singer/musician, Richard Gersten, performed for the seniors gathered around the piano. His charming voice enthralled the group with several Broadway classics and familiar sing-a-long tunes. I’ll be the first to admit that I have an unusual penchant for knowing the words to a plethora of old songs and show tunes. I also tend to sing along, solicited or not. Life is short…so, belt out a show tune if you so desire. I always desire.


Richard Gersten

Another melody. Pretty nice, huh?

Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed the music, the songs and a cozy afternoon with friends.

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Montage Monday: HOME

6 Jan

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
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A week in a peek is never so bleak when you are home!

Even the -37 degree wind chill temperature today could not put a damper on the warmth of being with my family. I even ventured out with my mother’s friend, Miss Dottie. She needed to go to Walgreens to get a prescription, so I volunteered to join her. She is 89 years old and still gets around like a teenager. I told her that I needed some things too, but I really didn’t want her braving the subzero temps all alone. Wow! Pretty darn cold out.

Life is good…very cold… But good. I’m sitting by the fire downstairs in the vestibule writing this now. (I just like to say vestibule.)

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Sunday and So Much Snow

6 Jan

“The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows, politely begging entrance and then falling with disappointment to the ground.”
― Jamie McGuire, Beautiful
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“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
― Carl Reiner
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A couple different viewpoints on the ambience of snow. We did have a few furious days of snow and ice in McKinney, but nothing like the breathtaking abundance of snow and cold in Chicago. I call it breathtaking because it’s sooooo cold, you can barely breath. I’ll confess, I got pretty spoiled living in Texas nearly ten years, avoiding the harsh winters of my hometown. But, there is still something amazing about the hardy and resilient residents who never let subzero temperatures and a few feet of slushy snow curtail their activities.

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My son Matt and I walked about a mile through tall drifts of snow to go to dinner last night. Call me silly, but it felt invigorating. People were out in droves, dusting off the mounds of snow on their hats and coats as they entered local restaurants and pubs.

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This morning, I sat in the car while Matt scraped off the crusted inches of accumulated ice on his car. It was pretty last night. Today, the plummeting temps and relentless snow kinda lost its initial charm. Welcome to Chicago! Hey, it’s still home and great to see family no matter what the weather conditions are. I love Chicago! I love my family!

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Another view from my secure spot in the car.

Saturday: Those Who Serve

5 Jan

“…It is a proud privilege to be a soldier – a good soldier … [with] discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to comrades and to his superiors, and a self confidence born of demonstrated ability.”
― George S. Patton Jr.
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Those who serve their country are a special breed. I was strolling through DFW Airport this morning, with a travel bag over my shoulder and pulling my roller suitcase. Though my hands were full, I found time to extend a handshake to the soldiers that I passed on the way to my gate.

The earlier flight out to Denver was delayed because of a snow storm and I was hoping that wouldn’t delay the next flight to Chicago. That would be me. I saw a young uniformed soldier sitting with his duffle sprawled on the seat, earbuds plugged in, just waiting for boarding. I walked over and said, “Thank you for your service,” then sat and chatted a bit. I always get a kick out of the extreme formal and polite,”Thank you, Mam.”

Private Zane Milegar was heading back to Fort Carson in Colorado. He had spent a wonderful twenty-two day leave with his family in Dallas. It was funny, he wasn’t one bit shy and happy to talk about his family and friends. He said he was born and raised in Dallas, graduated from Abilene Christian, then immediately joined the army.

I didn’t have a long time to chat with Zane, but I did ask him if he was familiar with Zane Williams, the local McKinney musician., singer/songwriter. He was not, but said he’d check it out. He enjoyed learning about and listening to hometown artists. The flight to Denver was summoned and I shook hands with Zane again and just said, “Stay safe.”

He said, “I will. Very nice to meet you,” then off he went. I sure hope private Milegar keeps his promise.

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