Archive Page 2

03
Oct
12

another photo from the family album

This picture of me, my sisters and my cousins as children is worth a thousand words.

Why is it that when we become adults we seem to forget how to laugh unabashedly?

18
Sep
12

1954

I love this old photo of my mother, her two sisters, and my grandparents. The date on the back says 1954, which would make my mother (lower right) just fourteen when the photo was taken. I love the way the family is all gussied up. I sure would like to know the story behind this photo…

20
Mar
11

Sunrise, Sunset

Lately, the song Sunrise, Sunset from The Fiddler on the Roof has been playing in my mind.

 Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don’t remember growing older. When did they?

 When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another. Laden with happiness and tears…

I guess I’m feeling nostalgic because another milestone is approaching. Eighteen years ago this week I set out on the greatest journey of my life. A baby boy came into the world, and he became my world.

 

Sunrise, sunset, and my beautiful baby became a rambunctious little boy. So many memories fill my mind, this week. Sunny Sunday afternoons when we’d take his little red wagon along the bicycle trail, hunting for crickets and grasshoppers and acorns. Rainy days spent inside making puppets and endless hours of playing Batman until I thought I’d lose my mind. Oh, but I’d take those days back in a minute…

Sunrise, sunset. There were Easter egg hunts, Halloween costumes, Christmas trees and birthday parties. I watched his Little League and La Crosse games.I sat in the auditorium and listened with pride as he read his prize-winning essay. And before I knew it, my little boy was a teenager.

I remember the day he took his driver’s test. I watched as he and the instructor drove off in my car. I waited what seemed an eternity for them to return, not certain whether I wanted the news to be pass or fail. Because in my mind, driving meant driving away…

The journey has not always been easy. The road has not always been smooth. I have not always done the right thing, but I always did the very best I could. I hope he knows that. This week my little boy turns eighteen, and I hope he knows how proud I am of the young man he has become. And that no matter how many years come and go, he will always be my little boy.

Happy Birthday, Noah James. Your mother loves you more than you could know.

18
Mar
11

Signs of Spring

It’s been a long, cold winter here in western New York. The kind of blustery, bone-chilling winter that starts in early November and makes you cancel your outdoor plans, and throw on an extra sweater, and look longingly through your collection of garden planners. It was the kind of winter that makes you feel like it will be winter for ever and spring will never come again.

We got our first reprieve yesterday, when temperatures soared to 65 degrees. It was wall-to-wall sunshine, and it felt wonderful! Yesterday I noticed a pair of blue birds hovering around the nest box. When I went outside last evening to investigate, I saw that the female had placed precisely two sprigs of pine needles inside the box. Today, when I arrived home from work, I went out to check again. Mama has had a busy day!

Touring the yard, I saw the beginnings of the sixty-five tulips I planted last fall poking up through the ground. Discovering a patch of crocuses nearby, I hurried inside to get my camera…

 

It made me really happy to see this little honey bee taking advantage of the warm weather and finding nourishment in the crocuses. And who doesn’t love these guys!

 

Though the temperatures today didn’t come close to the mid-sixties we had yesterday, and there are snow flurries in the forecast for tomorrow, these signs of spring, these lovely gifts of nature, give me hope that indeed, spring really is on its way.

17
Mar
11

Coming Soon!

When I set out, more than twelve months ago, to write the third installment in my Love on the Lake series, I had no idea what an undertaking it woud be. Aside from the usual distractions of work, running a household, and being a mother, life got in the way in some very unforseen ways. There were family illnesses, personal illnesses, financial difficulties, and even some broken bones. There were happy distractions, too, as my son entered his senior year of high school. There were senior portraits to sit for, varsity sports competitions to cheer at, and colleges to look into. That being said, Sunset Cove was a very challenging book to write. As much as I enjoyed creating these characters and their stories, it took a lot of time and perseverence to get from Chapter One to those glorious words, “The End.” Thanks for your patience, dear readers. I hope you will think Sunset Cove was worth the wait!

Sunset Cove

When the undercover drug operation he is in charge of goes horribly wrong, New York City police officer Chase Alexander turns in his badge and returns to his hometown of Sunset Cove, an emotionally bankrupt man. Desperate to put the past behind him, he takes a job as manager at Shadow Lake Campground and tries to get on with his life. But when the Shadow Lake community is plagued by a rash of drug-related burglaries, Chase feels compelled to get involved, hoping his success in eliminating the drug threat from his home town will help him come to terms with his past failures. He enlists the help of Lacy Kennedy, the beautiful, headstrong waitress at the local diner. She reluctantly agrees to be his eyes and ears in the community, unaware that Chase has a hidden agenda, that she is, in part, the reason for his return. For little does Lacy know that it is only in helping to make her dreams come true that Chase can truly redeem himself.

 On the other side of the lake …

Life has not always been easy for Polly Church. The young bride of an abusive husband, she spent her life living in fear, never knowing the meaning of true love. Freed from Benny’s cruelty by his death, sixty-year-old Polly finally finds peace. A certified wildlife rehabilitator, she lives out her retirement years in her secluded cottage on Shadow Lake, taking pleasure in the blue birds that share her four country acres. But Polly’s placid existence is shattered when she finds herself faced with the challenge of raising her drug addict sister’s teenaged daughter, Wendy. As her relationship with Wendy deteriorates and her health unexpectedly falls apart, Polly finds solace in her lifelong friend, Sammy Delaney. When Sammy hints that he would like more than friendship, Polly is reluctant to take a chance on romance. But though it sometimes arrives when least expected, Polly learns that love always arrives when it is needed the most. With Sammy’s help, Polly discovers hope, wholeness, and the healing power… of love on the lake.

Sunset Cove, Book #3 in the Love on the Lake series coming soon!

02
Jan
11

Time

A few weeks ago I posted one of my favorite poems on my website:

 I shall not pass this way again

Through this toilsome world, alas!

Once and only once I pass

If a kindness I may show

If a good deed I may do

To a suffering fellow man

 Let me do it while I can

No delay, for it is plain

I shall not pass this way again.

–Author Unknown

I’ve been thinking a lot about that poem, about all of the acts of kindness and good things I could have done in 2010, and for whatever reason, didn’t. If I could change one thing about myself in 2011, it would be that. If I could change one thing about me, I’d become the kind of person who takes the time.

I’d take the time to tell someone when they look really fabulous, even if I’m feeling jealous.

I’d take the time to have lunch with a friend, and ask about her life, and really listen to what she tells me. I’d plan that family get together, instead of just thinking about how nice it would be. I’d send that birthday card, that thank you note, I’d make that phone call.

At last year’s parent’s meeting, my son’s football coach said something that has stayed with me. He said, “I tell my men two words. If they can live by those two words, they will have success in every area of their lives.” The words? Do right.

 In 2011, I want to be a “Do Right” kind of person, because really, at the end of the year, and at the end of the day, it’s always better to say I’m glad I did than I wish I had. With that being said, I’d like to take a moment now to say to all of you, my readers, my family, and my friends, thanks. Your kindness and support means the world. You are appreciated more than you could know.

Happy 2011!

Jean

02
Oct
10

Autumn Treasures

What a welcome surprise, after a week of gray skies and rain, to wake up this morning to a sunny, sixty-degree day! Needless to say, as I sat on my porch with my pumpkin spice coffee, watching the leaves come down, my plans to spend the morning doing laundry went right out the window. It was just too nice a day to be inside, especially with the coming week’s forecast a little on the iffy side. 

With pumpkins on my mind, I pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and headed up the hill to Jenkin’s Farm Market, one of my very favorite places. When I arrived, I allowed myself the pleasure of getting lost in their gorgeous selection of mums, finally selecting pots of deep burgundy, variegated rust and gold, and my all time favorite pale salmon. With that decided, I moved on to their wagonful of pumpkins.

The nice summer weather yielded a better crop this year than last, and I’ll admit I had some trouble deciding. Especially since one of the items on My50List is “carve a pumpkin,” something I haven’t done since my son was ten or eleven. Decorating with pumpkins is one thing, but choosing a Jack O’ Lantern is quite another. You have to study each one carefully to get a feel for the kind of face you wish to create. Since I’d already decided my Jack would be the wide-eyed, smiling variety, this large, plump oval seemed the perfect choice.

 

On my way back down Stony Brook hill I spied a farmer set up with an unusual display of gourds. I chose a pretty, large white one and another of the warty, green and yellow striped variety. The farmer also had a great selection of home grown veggies, and I couldn’t pass up a couple of quarts of salt potatoes. Mmmmm! 

Back home, I wasted no time in carving my pumpkin. I took him outside and arranged him, along with my other autumn treasures, into my flower cart. 

 

The fall air was so revitalizing that I even had the energy to tackle that mountain of laundry!