Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

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Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This was a special birthday

 In Nebraska on November 19, 1915, my mother, Lavina Catherine was born.  Her middle name has been passed down in the family for generations.  Her first name was uncommon.  People often mispronounced it.

Family - Her parents were Molly and Roy.  It was Molly's second marriage.  Her first husband, George, died leaving her to raise their son Leonard.  Molly and Roy's first child was a son named Norval.  Lavina was thus, the baby of the family.

Lavina and Norval were both "redheads," a seemingly remarkable trait for those who knew them.  Other traits they shared included a lively sense of humor, sociability, willingness to work and adaptability.  Because I loved my mom dearly, I also adored my Uncle Norval, as they were so much alike.

My mom's rural upbringing was relatively conventional
for a western farm kid.  She learned to do housework at her mom's side.  The men and boys worked in the fields.  They all spent time "neighboring" with those nearby, sharing work, visiting, having fun, marking passages. . . and moving farther west.  My grandfather sometimes was able to make a living, sometimes not.  When things got too bad, he found another place to farm and the family came along.  Mom graduated very young from a central Wyoming high school.  She moved west again with her parents and married in her early twenties.  I was her firstborn, arriving in 1937.  Eventually Mom had five children 13 years apart -- one boy and four girls.  Our upbringing was also mostly rural or small town.  I moved to Texas to go to college, married and started my own family.

After Mom and Dad's kids had all left home, they also moved to Texas to be nearer to our four children.  Over time they had nine grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.  Each of her kids and grand kids always got a birthday card with a dollar or two dollar bill in it.  And we all came to her house for Easter dinner and egg hunts.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were with us while they lived in Texas.  Mom was the best cook and gardener I ever knew.  Home made bread and fancy Christmas candies were her specialties, along with the fresh vegetables and fruit from her ever present garden.  Art work and needlework were her passions, however.  She painted, sewed, crocheted, did embroidery and made quilts.  Handwork was her constant companion.  From before I was born until she made her last quilt shortly before passing away at the age of 93, she was making beautiful things.

Mom was also a dedicated diarist who left us all histories of her life, travels and activities.  My own writing was inspired by my mom's, even to the point of trying my hand at poetry when I was in my 50's.  I wrote several poems for or about my mom, who was a faithful member of the Lutheran Church.  I composed the following piece when Mom was 84 and added to it when she was 87.

A Sign from the Lord

“He’s not through with me yet,” says this indomitable lady.
A bushel of yarn, passed on from one who is now dead,
Was the banner the maker of colorful warm things saw ahead.

They moved once again to his hometown, the man and the red-haired lady.
“It must be a sign from the Lord.”  But then the heart-broken daughter fled.
Calling on faith in the Lord, she turned to quilts and her old crochet thread.

Time passed for the couple.  The lady learned how to cope, the man took ill.
Many folks prayed to the Lord.  There were fears it might be his deathbed.
But he rallied, vowed to come home.  The indomitable lady was overspread.

“I don’t think I can do it by myself,” says the lady, now fragile herself.
Her changed mate and his many medical needs must have spelled dread.
He wants to come home.  “He’s not through with me yet,” she must have said.

“Nothing’s broken this time, at least,” says the lady of her confused mate.
He fell, “a crisis.”  She alone cannot get him up; he’s just out of his sick-bed.
She adjusts ONCE AGAIN, as he needs his own place to lay down his head.

“He’s not through with me yet.”  Will the lady to see a sign from the Lord?
She wants far-flung kids to be in on the plan; they delay decisions instead.
No offspring live in town, so for now, kids get Helpers to act in their stead.

So the far-flung wait and keep in close touch.  For this tough little lady,
Partner roles have reversed.  She will now have to decide for this hard head.
So as in the past, she’ll wait for her sign from the Lord to give the go-ahead.

Two more poems (in pdf) conclude today's post honoring Mom's birthday:

  • "Everyone ought to have a Princess time" was composed in 1999 whild Mom and Dad still lived in Texas.  Not long after that the folks moved back to Wyoming to the small town where my dad was born and where they met and married in the mid Thirties.  Mom became a widow there, and it is where they both now rest in peace side by side.
  • "Honoring your years" was written in honor of Mom's 90th birthday.  My Wyoming sisters gave her a big party at the assisted living facility in central Wyoming, where she spent several happy years.  The celebration included a "card shower" with dozens and dozens of greetings from Lavina's friends and relatives from far and wide.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.