Monday, January 23, 2023



I was sitting at the wood stove the other day and contemplating starting a fire… my husband usually takes care of that, but he was out for a bit. I opened the door and noticed that there seemed to be a few lit embers left over from the night before, they grew brighter as the oxygen reached them. So, I added a few small pieces of tinder, and the flames caught within seconds.

After a few minutes, letting the flames warm the chimney above, I added a few small logs. It wasn’t long before I had a satisfying and warming fire heating the house. (Supplemental heat, it is not our only source.) I was surprised at how quickly the wood caught and was burning so very hotly, it was both frightening and amazing. Thinking of the firefighters who put out uncontrolled fires, I was in awe at the task they must have to make sure that smoldering rubble does not re-ignite.

I also remembered nights singing around the campfire at the local Girl Scout camp, and the times we entertained in the backyard around an open fire pit. Always make room to be careful, not to get too close to the flames, and of course to make sure that everything is safely out, or properly enclosed, when it’s time to walk away.

Then I made the parallel and realized that the smoldering embers are a lot like our memories and emotions. You think your tears are tamped down but add a bit of oxygen and they flare up; all you need is a bit of fuel, more memories, and the fire rages again. In a way, it is comforting that our memories, both happy and sad, are always there. We should never forget the people we love, whether they are still here or not.

While flames may reduce things to ashes, they can also warm our bodies when controlled. There are both good and bad memories you can dwell on, but if you choose to soak in the warmth of your good memories, it does feel comforting.

Meanwhile, a hot fire in the wood stove on a winter’s night certainly sounds nice.

Monday, January 16, 2023


Understandably as we grow older, mortality seems to be an ever-present tingle in our minds… and yes, sometimes the thought is VERY scary. We lose folks around us that mean a lot, and we discover new aches, pains, and things that just don’t work as well anymore. But instead of fearing the INEVITABLE (NO ONE ESCAPES!) and burying ourselves in what once was, I choose to look forward.


I choose to be thankful for the things and people I have had in my life, and the time I had with them. I choose to be thankful for what I have now. I choose to be thankful for now, who and what I am, my memories, and my ability to hope for a tomorrow. Yes, I still shed tears for people I miss, my parents, my sister, a couple of cousins, a few friends… and yes, even some beautiful pussycats. But I try not to let my tears consume me, and I know that those I love and loved wouldn’t want me to waste a single day or moment that I have left.


And yet I can’t help, every time my phone rings at an unlikely hour, and every time I don’t get a response from someone I’ve reached out to, just a little bit of a shudder and a slap of what could be reality… and thankfully MOST of these alarms are simply false as I breathe a sigh of relief. I just don’t ever want to waste a day, I don’t want to waste any time telling someone how much I love them, I don’t want to waste any time cuddling a pussycat. Yes, I want to spend time reliving some of our memories with my loved ones, and I also want to make lots of new ones.


And when the day comes when I am gone, and those I leave behind shed a few tears, I hope they will live and love the happiest lives they can… mostly for them (and selfishly, just a little tinge for me). I truly believe the best honor we can each do for our dear loved ones is to live each new day as fully as possible and to remember our shared memories long after we can no longer share.


Here is to EVERY tomorrow!


Thursday, January 5, 2023


The world is shaped by
two things – stories told
and the memories they
leave behind.
~Vera Nazarian

A few years ago, while we were packing up our home of nearly 40 years, the home where we raised our family, I had so much angst about the things I couldn’t take with me. The last survivors of the children’s school projects, certain pieces of bulky, and often dusty, furniture, and beautiful wall hangings lovingly gifted, or made, by a generation that had already passed on. Letting go of PHYSICAL memories has always been difficult for me.

We had to downsize to move to the beautiful and rural home where Mark & I planned to spend our retirement years, hopefully, without too much clutter. LOL, when you give shelter to a growing family with children still in school, you receive precious trinkets often. Sometimes the glue on those cherished keepsakes dries too fast to hold them together long enough for you to even dust them daily. But with the dust, cracked edges, faded colors, and more, some of these little knickknacks become too treasured to toss. As for clothing, even those pieces worn to wonderful occasions, go out of style, become frayed, or… shudder… just don’t fit your aged figure anymore. And then, of course, the neighborhood you lived in, with nearby stores and other conveniences, and neighbors that you hold dear as friends. There is just so much to be left behind.

So long as we are blessed with our full faculties, memories are the one thing we never do leave behind. We discarded MOST objects that we knew would not survive the move… and some more things we carefully packed did not live through the actual move. After living in our new home for four years, just my husband and me, there are STILL boxes we haven’t unpacked, mostly because there is no room to properly display the keepsakes within. I really do not miss the clutter, and certainly not the ability to “clean” for last-minute company in less than half an hour, but sometimes I do miss the artwork and photos adorning every single living room wall and corner.

I have my memories and in the event that they get a little foggy, I took pictures of almost EVERY arts and crafts project that my kids brought home; I took pictures of the rooms from different angles, not even minding when I caught some of the clutter; I took pictures of cookie jars that I donated (and almost never used myself); I took pictures of the back yard where my kids swam in the summer and sledded down in the winter; and I even took photos of the backyard corner where we buried our pussycats who had lived out their years sharing their purrs with us.

Mark and I have a beautiful home and property. We have terrific neighbors. And one more huge plus, our yard, and the surrounding community are often filled with various wildlife (deer, fox, bear, coyote, wild turkey, birds, squirrels, and more) who willingly share THEIR home with us. And I have my memories…

The ONLY problem I have is digitizing ALL of these photos to save room!