So Many Questions For My Mother.

 thank-you-mom

My mother was gone in what seemed like an instant. I kept talking to her as if our little corner of the world was normal…even thought she was in intensive care. One day…when she was still very alert, I excitedly told her about a new outfit that I had bought for our two year old daughter. I had found a resale children’s store just a few blocks away from the hospital.

She smiled as I chattered about the store. She quietly said…”Oh my! I wish that I could go shopping again with you and Kathleen! We’d have so much fun!”…my mother liked to shop as much as me. The art of finding a good sale…the art of the conquest…the art of looking for that special something. I suppose that I learned the art of shopping from my mother. Besides, we enjoyed spending time together. I assured her on that early March day in her hospital room that we would soon be out in the stores again.

That shopping trip would never happen. I lost my mother two days later in March, 1985. I was shocked. How could this happen? I considered her to be still young. She was barely older than I am today. That makes me remember that there are still projects that I certainly need to complete…some accomplishments that I would like to achieve… maybe travel to lots of new places…at least, I would like to feel organized. Ha! Good luck on that last one!!

I wonder if my mother ever felt like she was not as organized as she once was…if so, why did she feel this way? I have so many other questions that I would like to ask my mother. I have felt this very strong need for answers to my questions for years. I’ve never written about it before. I wonder why…

 

Maybe the mere thought that she was gone was just too sad for me. Maybe I just needed to get on with my life as a wife and as a mother to two young children. Maybe I had not had enough life experiences to realize what the truly important questions would be. I just knew that my Mom and Dad were at the core of my life. Little did I know that I would lose my dad exactly six weeks later…probably a broken heart.

 

Questions for my mom…questions for my dad in another post…

 

1. Did my mom remember vividly the years that her own mother was ill? Who took care of my mother, her sister, her brother during this time?

2. Who all lived in her family’s big blue house on Park Avenue in Nashville, TN? I think that there were many generations.

 

big%20blue2%20copy%20brighterMy family’s blue house in Nashville, TN…how many generations lived here?

3. Where she did her family live after her mother died? The same house?

5. When did Grandad start going out with Katie? Where were they married? Were you in the wedding? Katie was my much loved grandmother who was really a step-grandmother. She had no children of her own, but took on three children to raise. I considered her to be wonderful! Did my mother feel the same way?

6. Who were my relatives who lived in the pretty rock house in Antioch…not too far outside Nashville? We visited them quite a lot, but now I do not know how they fit into the family. I really loved that house!

7. Why did my Uncle Roy get to go to a well respected college in Virginia? Why did my mother and her sister not go to college? Was it simply not something that happened very much in that time period?

8. Did my mother ever seriously think about going to college after her high school graduation? She talked about Belmont College in Nashville being a good school. Is that where she wanted to go to college? When I was in elementary and middle school, she often talked about going to nursing school. Why didn’t she go? Was it because my brother (ten years older than me)  was already going to UT in Austin? Was it because I would go to college someday and additional college tuition for her would be expensive?

9. My mother came to Texas to visit her aunt and uncle after she graduated from high school. They had moved to Texas because of the oil boom. Did she intend to stay more than a few weeks? She met my dad in Texas! How did they meet? How soon did she know that he was “the one”? Did she want him to move to Nashville so that she could live in her hometown? I always thought that she missed Nashville so very much. Did they talk about her strong ties to Nashville? What was their wedding like? I have a few pictures and she was a very beautiful bride with a handsome husband. They were always happy…but everyone argues sometimes! Also…what about the singing career that she had dreamed about? What about the times that she sang on the radio in Nashville? Was she happy just singing at weddings and in church after she lived in Texas?

 

Nashville WSM

My mom was asked to sing on the radio…country music, of course!

10. When my dad joined the Navy after WW II began, my brother was a barely a toddler. Daddy was gone for two years. My mother lived with my dad’s parents… my MeMa and PePa. Her sister-in-laws also lived with them since their husbands were also in the service. What was this moment in time like? I can’t imagine the fear and the tears in addition to the responsibility for a baby. I’ve read my dad’s letters from the South Pacific. His love for his young wife was so very tangible!

 

 

That’s just the start of my questions. There are so many things that I would like to know…so many things that I would like to understand.

If you still have your mother…tell her you love her, hug her a little tighter and take the time to talk! Life gets busy and you might forget those little questions that will have meaningful answers someday!

all-of-the-childrenSeven of my parent’s great-grandchildren…before number eight was born!

 

And to my own mother…I love you from the bottom of my heart! You and Daddy have five grandchildren and eight precious great-grandchildren! Our daughter and son-in-law have a five month old son! Can you believe that Mike and I are now grandparents? Your new grandson has hair almost the same color as yours and a smile as bright as yours! I miss you every day and I try my best to live my life like you would expect! Thank you so much for everything, Mama!

 

IMG_1577Our new grandson and Nana (me)!!

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY FROM TRICIA!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/core/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stained Glass Chapel Windows Prompt My Blog Return After A Stroke.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have missed writing my blog these last few months. Yes…beautiful stained glass windows gave me the impetus that I needed to begin writing again. After my very surprising, yet fairly mild stroke last August, I struggled with maintaining concentration. To write for a few hours seemed to be a formidable task. I felt different. I found it to be quite impossible to be my lighthearted self again. I was frightened about such a serious occurrence entering my life. I am really not back to totally finding my old self, but I have had small glimpses of her.

I was reminded recently of the beautiful stained glass windows in a chapel at the college where I attended graduate school. I would often sit by myself in the small chapel…quietly thinking about the quotes etched on the stained glass windows. Oh my…the subtle solitude of meditation in a chapel gave me the confidence to face the challenges of teaching elementary school and taking graduate classes at the same time. The 45 minute drive to and from the campus was certainly not a fun endeavor. I needed that quiet chapel time.

I started thinking that perhaps I needed the chapel again. In fact, I yearned for the chapel. I yearned for the calming answers to my fearful existence. I planned a return…a triumphant return to a very much loved chapel and an attempt to return to the person I was before last August.

 

chapel in the woods

Pictured above…The Little Chapel in the Woods…

Texas Woman’s University, Denton TX.

As I entered the chapel, I felt the calm peacefulness emanating from every direction. I always feel this way when I enter this personally sacred place. Is it the beautiful trees surrounding the building? Is it the history of the chapel? Is it the beauty of the much honored architecture?

 

chapel wedding

 

Perhaps the honest reason is that I have poured my heart into my every thought and my every prayer in this chapel. I can feel the absolute presence of someone much larger than myself within these walls. I’ve found answers in this chapel on every visit.

 

chapel fivechapel four

chapel seven

The messages on the beautiful stained glass windows speak deeply to me. When I need to find myself again…I read the words over and over again.

 

My most treasured window includes these important words from Marie Curie:

 marie-curie-quote-two

There is the answer that I need…once again. I need perseverance and I need confidence. We must believe. The quote says so much to each of us.

 

rose-window

What I learned from my chapel visit…

  • I’ve missed the challenge of choosing interesting (sometimes!), yet heartfelt (always!) posts.

  • I’ve missed looking for the prompt each morning…and thinking “what in the world do I know about this?”

  •  I’ve missed the joy of coming up with something to write about that I have experienced or something that I hope to experience.

  • Most of all…I have missed all of you. I need to know what is happening in your part of the world. I need to know what new something you have learned. I need to know about your joys and triumphs as well as your struggles and challenges. I simply need to know how you are doing! Just because I truly admire you…my writer friends from around the world!

  • ***a link to my earlier post about the Little Chapel in the Woods… https://kindergartenknowledge.com/2017/02/21/little-chapel-in-the-woods-serenity/

She changed the pathway of her life. Forlorn no more.

 

poem with flowers

 

It was just a night out to have dinner at a small pizza and pasta restaurant. Last Saturday night…the night we met a particularly friendly waitress. The waitress we won’t soon forget.

We walked inside from the unusually cold Texas night. The warm atmosphere was immediate. Pretty linen tablecloths. A man playing the piano…beautifully playing Broadway tunes, current songs, jazz. Soft lights. Quiet conversations at several tables. This is not the normal pizza place. We felt like we were invited into someone’s home.

After we were seated, our waitress came over to get our drink order. So outgoing. A beautiful smile. Young. Perhaps in her very early twenties. Friendly and confident. Efficient. She even brought us an extra plate so we could share the salad…just because the salad was large. She thought that we might want to both have a salad with our dinner.  Thoughtful.

I remember thinking that she seemed especially mature for her age. Probably a college student making extra money. Parents who brought her up correctly…as if anyone really knows the correct way to raise a child.

We soon found out that her parents were far from good parents. As we were about to pay for our dinner, she looked towards the door. “Oh look! It’s my husband’s dad and brother! I love it when my family comes here for dinner!”

When she brought our receipt back, she apologized for getting so excited about someone coming in who we didn’t even know. She went on to explain that her husband’s family was all the family she had. She truly thought that her husband’s family was wonderful. Her own family was in another city, but she didn’t see them anymore.

She didn’t intend to see them until they got their act together. She doubted that they ever would make it. She told us that her family is seriously into dangerous drugs. She said that their lifestyle is not the lifestyle that she wanted. She had practically raised herself.

Without good teachers, she could not imagine where she would be. Eventually she left home…to make it on her own. She soon met her husband and was recently married. Her family did not even know about the pretty wedding. She was going to college and working at the restaurant in the evenings.

Once she started talking, she told us the entire story. She said that she could have been sad. She said that she could have been totally lost. She said that she had faith and that she knew that she was on the right path. She was planning to be a teacher and help someone else make something special of themselves.

 

What a heartfelt story. A story with such a positive outcome. A story that made us smile for this ambitious young woman who grew up to be so very resilient. Not an ounce of forlornness surrounding our waitress on Saturday night. 

Congratulations to a future teacher. She will probably change many lives!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/forlorn/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen teacher…it’s about my allergy!

 Food allergies one

Teachers can learn quite a lot on the first day of school….as I did about five years ago. When a six year old child arrived in class, he promptly told me that he had a “bad” allergy. He did not have a note from a parent, not a note from a doctor not a note from the school nurse. I asked him to tell me about his allergy. This was his immediate answer:

“Most everyone else has an allergy…so I do too. I am allergic to NOT having chocolate cake every day when I get home from school. If I have chocolate cake, I feel fine.”

 

The surprising fact was that his mother did indeed make him a small chocolate cake each day. The cake was hot and ready when he arrived home. She didn’t want to make him feel badly for NOT having an allergy.

 

True story…no kidding! But…allergies are serious and not something to tie in with popularity in a classroom.

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Teaching school these days is sometimes like being a physician without a medical degree or a nurse who never attended nursing school or a child psychologist with only nine college hours of psychology. There are multiple allergies in multiple classrooms and these allergies can absolutely be life threatening. It is a very frightening reality…even for a veteran teacher. I must admit that I rarely heard about serious allergies earlier in my career. At that time, I honestly never had a student to become ill from a negative reaction to an allergy source.

What caused the world to change? Medical research tells us that these severe allergies exist and exist at an alarming growth rate. A site titled everydayhealth.com states the following: “Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies among children under age 18 jumped 50%, according to a 2013 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”.

 

Food allergies three

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Why are childhood allergies on a quick rise? There are theories. Rarely is a definitive answer found.

A sampling of leading theories:

1. Better hygiene. Our much improved ability to prevent germs has caused our immune system to become off balance. This is referred to as the “hygiene hypothesis”.

2. Some American parents wait to introduce infants to foods that are potential allergens like peanuts. In cultures where peanuts are given to children at an early age, the number of peanut allergies is lower than in the United States.

3. Parents have been reporting food and skin allergies at an increased rate. Doctors are better able to identify children with serious allergies. Therefore, doctors appear to be reporting more cases of allergy.

 

What foods cause the highest number of allergies in children?

 

According to NBC’s Today Show, approximately 90% of all food allergies are caused by the following foods:

 

1. cow’s milk

2. eggs

3. peanuts

4. tree nuts

5. fish

6. shellfish

7. soybean

8. wheat

 Food allergies two

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Two possible preventive measures are:

1. breast-feeding for 6 to 12 months

2. a delay in introducing solid foods

 

Theories and speculation about a very real problem for young children. What is needed…more training for parents, more training for teachers, more research.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/allergic/

 

When you’re a first time grandparent…

Jack and Pat

 

Jack Mike and Pat

We became grandparents and we changed our focus.

We became grandparents and we were filled with joy.

We became grandparents and we felt a little older.

We became grandparents and we felt a little younger.

We became grandparents and remembered…

     

We remembered those first nights with a new baby.

We remembered our amazement at tiny, tiny hands.

We remembered waiting for the baby’s first smile.

We remembered singing a lullaby in a soft voice.

We became grandparents and loved…

 

We loved watching our grandson sleep in his crib.

We loved when our daughter held him so gently.

We loved when our son-in-law whispered to him.

We loved seeing a brand new Mama and Daddy.

 

We became grandparents and we realized that life goes on and on…for that we are so thankful!

 

Grandparent's love     

 

 

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies…One Dozen Just For Me!

 

Hassle-Free Cookies

 

Since it is January 4, I knew that the Valentine’s Day displays would be more than a little obvious in the stores. I saw the signal that February is just around the corner within thirty seconds after entering Central Market. I am surprised that I even had time to get a shopping cart before I was bombarded with bright red hearts.

 

Velentine heart two

 

 

Trust me…I would never forget the significance of Valentine’s Day! I simply need to recover first from the busy times around the Christmas holidays. I have not even found a place for the extra wrapping paper. I may do that today.

 

 

 

Christmas wrapping paper

Nevertheless…I have a wonderful cookie recipe that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. So delicious!!!

 

 

red velvet cookie two

 

 

RED VELVET THUMBPRINT COOKIES

 

What to have on hand:

*Parchment Paper

*4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter,     softened

*1/4 cup sugar

*1 large egg

*1 1/2 teaspoons red liquid food coloring

*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

*1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

*1/2 teaspoon salt

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*2 ounces cream cheese, softened

*1/4 cup white chocolate morsels, melted according to package directions. Cool.

***Garnish: white chocolate morsels

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the egg and food coloring. Beat 30 seconds.

2. Sift the flour with the cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press thumb or end of a wooden spoon into each ball, forming an indentation.

4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or until cookies are fragrant and dry. While cookies are still warm, press indentations again. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). 

5. Stir together cream cheese and melted white chocolate in a small bowl. Fill centers of cookies with cream cheese mixture.

 

***Garnish the center of each cookie with a white chocolate morsel.***

 

ENJOY!!!

colorful-1191019_1280

 

 

 

 

 

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