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>Words: A Letter To Mom


Well, it’s Mother’s Day. For some of us, that’s a complicated day. Yes, I loved my mother and I choose to believe she loved me. I’ve stated in the past that ours was a very complicated relationship. It helps to know that she was sick for a really long time, and I’m not talking about her condition. I’m talking about her depression. And of course the grandmother was the root of much evil, but that’s a story for another day….
My mother had diabetes and the last insulin she was put on was later (after her death) blamed for many deaths. My sister and I discussed whether we should pursue a law suit. In the end, we didn’t want to relive the pain and horror of it all over and over again. And truly, Mom suffered horribly. We had all been through enough, so we let it go. 
Mom entered the hospital for what the doctors told us would be the last time. We’d been here so many times before….I worked second shift then and I cleared it with the head nurse on duty to come after 12am and sit with her. Of course when I arrived, another nurse was on duty and she said I absolutely could not visit at that hour. I told her that. I. was. sitting. with. my. mother. She left me alone.
I sat for just over an hour with Mom. Her breathing was difficult but there was such a feeling of peace about her. She told me I needed to go home and get some sleep. I said I was staying. I am as stubborn as she ever was, and that’s saying something. We sat in a companionable silence most of the time. It was enough. Finally, knowing that I was worrying her, I kissed her on the cheek and told her I loved her and she said she loved me too. Those were the last words we ever spoke to each other while she was alive. Again, another story…..
When I came home from her funeral, still in my dress, I sat down and wrote her a letter. It came out almost exactly as you will see it here. It was the second poem I put on my poetry blog…’s a pretty good summation of our relationship.

I think of the words

I should say
sitting here with you
Please don’t worry
it’ll be okay
knowing they’re all untrue
There is no future
only the past
thoughts lay heavy in my mind
The second hand’s turning
time’s slipping fast
I’ll give you what I can find
Fumbling through the memories
locked deep in my heart
I cry out in despair
So many times
words tore us apart
neither of us seemed to care
We gave plenty of words in anger
and quite a few in blame
too many now that can’t be taken back
Saddened with bitter regret
I lower my head in shame
I’m stunned by the courage we lack
How simple it would have been
to say I understand
forgive the things I do
I wonder if we had
would you have taken my hand
could we ever have said I love you
Still we shared many a laugh
good times lasted for miles
I wish you could come home
I want to go with you
I guess I’ll stay for a while
I’m afraid of being alone
Words really aren’t needed
we know each other too well
the past already forgot
You leave me here
in my sweet private hell
I watch as the second hand stops
RSM 4/20/1994


>A Few Of My Favorite Things Giveaway


I’ve mentioned before that my mom and I had a complicated relationship. As an adult, I grew to understand that there were two major contributers to our often uneasy and sometimes brief truces. Her mother, my grandmother was a real piece of work and never passed up an opportunity to run anyone into the ground, especially Mom. The other thing I didn’t learn about until a few months before she died. She suffered from severe, chronic depression….

Needless to say, my life growing up was ‘interesting,’ but I survived. When I was 18, I moved out on my own, and we grew to be friends. Good friends. And I will always be thankful for that.

There are several things in my life for which I have to give Mom credit. My passion for reading. My love of Christmas. My creativity. My passion for learning. And my endurance. One of the biggest things she instilled in me was the habit of giving.

Mom always told us that whenever we had the opportunity to give, we should do it. She reminded us that at some point, we may need to receive….

So, I give. I contribute. I assist. And it gives me joy. Real joy. For the record, I have had to be on the receiving end a few times. It’s a difficult place to be, but, it’s also providing someone else the opportunity to be a giver. Yeah, it’s still not a fun place to be, but I am extremely thankful that someone took the time and resources to give…to me.

Recently, I reached and exceeded 100 followers. Something I never even dreamed of! In February, my blog will turn 1 year old – on my husband’s birthday.

In honor of Mom’s birthday, my Honey’s upcoming birthday, the first anniversary of my blog, and reaching 100+ followers, I’m having a little giveaway. I wanted to do it at Christmas, but I thought of how hard it is for some people at this time of year. So many get the blues….and I wanted to offer some cheer.

I also wanted to showcase a few fellow bloggers who are are also artists in some form or other. Take a few moments to check them out as you read through the rest of this.

I suppose I could call this giveaway A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS…..

Here, in no particular order, are the sets up for grabs (I’m not the best photographer and I really didn’t have anywhere to set up, so these aren’t the best pics, sorry):

Charlene is a fellow blogger who creates beautiful paintings. She also creates digital copies of her originals and makes art for hanging, bookmarks, and canvas covers for checkbooks, etc. I got two of her calenders for myself, and two to give away. This one is the Creeper Calender. You can get a better look at it here.

This set includes: the calendar, a votive holder from Yankee Candle (and a tealight), a mini-bookmark from Charlene, a mini stapler, mini post-its (because I’m not writing on my calendar-it’s too pretty!), pens, mini-clips, a bookmark from Barnes & Noble, and an OPI mini lotion.

I’ve been a Dean Koontz fan for years. I even have a signed letter from him. Written to me! This set includes his brand new release, What The Night Knows. This set also includes a hand-made soap from another fellow blogger, Kathryn. You can find her shop here. This soap is Ginger and Cinnamon Olive Oil and it smells divine. I have two pieces of her original art and they’re gorgeous. 
This set also includes a necklace from another fellow blogger, Linda Pruitt. I found this beautiful leaf necklace in her shop and had to have it. However, when it arrived, some little voice said to hang on to it, that it wasn’t for me. And I love leaves!!!! It’s okay. I’ll just order another at some point =P
Also, there is a bookmark from Barnes & Noble and a mini lotion from Bath & Body works.
I tried to think of something that would appeal to guys as well as gals….and I struggled. Finally, I thought of the upcoming movie, Cowboys and Aliens. Then, I found this cool looking book at Barnes & Noble. I thought about going with a zombie/western/north-western kind of theme and here it is. 
This set includes The Zen of Zombie, a cowboy mug from Hobby Lobby, as well as the two iron moose welcome hooks, a Twisted Peppermint hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Words, a mini OPI lotion, and a Creeper bookmark from Charlene’s etsy shop. There’s also a mini bookmark.
This set includes Koontz’s Odd Thomas, a wonderful book if you haven’t read it. It also includes a pair of earrings created by fellow blogger Nicole Murray. They’re little birds with tiny red beads and they’re absolutely adorable. You can find her shop here. There is also a lotion from Bath & Body Works, a bookmark from Charlene’s daughter’s shop, and a candle from Kathryn’s shop.
This set includes the Steampunk Calendar and you can see it better here. There is a mini bookmark from Charlene, as well as one from Barnes & Noble. There are mini post-its, a mini stapler, pens, mini clips, a votive holder from Yankee Candle (and a tealight), and a mini lotion from OPI.

***BTW, the stands are not included with the calendars. I needed them to hold the calenders up to photograph***

One of my all time favorite Koontz books, Watchers is in this set. It also includes a candle from Kathryn, a bookmark from Charlene’s daughter’s shop, a lotion from Bath & Body works, and a pair of OOAK handmade earrings from Val. I have several of her pieces, some are custom. These are dragonflies and you can see similar ones here.
I call this set the Harry Potter set. Fellow blogger Willliam picked up two CD’s for me. Lenoir Rhyne University, where William is a student, had a Harry Potter week, complete with concerts, guest speakers, and Quidditch games. The two bands that came….well they brought some CD’s to sell. They’re not in the plastic…because they’re signed!
William did mention that a few of the songs were naughty. I haven’t listened to them. Everything here (in all the sets) is new, not used….or listened to =P
This set also includes a CD I picked up at the ResFest. I have an old copy just like it, except this time, the guys used LightScribe and made your copy pretty. It’s called drums and drones. 
There’s also a journal and a bookmark from Barnes & Noble, a lotion from Bath & Body Works, a votive holder from Yankee Candle and a tart warmer from Kirkland’s (with a tealight for each), and a bookmark from Charnene’s daughter’s shop.
This set includes the Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theater CD’s. All of them. It also has a bookmark from Charlene, a tart warmer from Kirkland’s (and a tealight), 2 mini lotions from OPI and a hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works.
Here are the rules, and they’re pretty simple. You have to be a follower of this blog. No linkage; no tweets; no facebooking; not even any sidebar-ing. Just following.

Old followers will have their name counted twice; new followers will have their name counted once…..

Leave a comment telling me which set you prefer. Be sure to leave an email address if it isn’t linked on your blog or if you don’t have a blog.
This giveaway will run until January 12th. On the 13th, I will put your names in a box and have the children in my class draw the winners. The winners will be announced on Saturday, the 15th. 

>Some Mischief And A Head’s-Up

>I have a teeny weeny confession to make. I’m one of those people who can get up to some weird stuff when they’re bored.

For the past couple days, I’ve been fighting off a terrible cold. Today, I needed to run some errands but didn’t because of a sinus headache. Thankfully, it’s nearly gone now, but that’s not the point here.

Do any of you remember these commercials? Don’t raise your hands! If you can, like me, you’re probably old enough to lie about your age and I don’t want to out you…..

Anyway, not in the mood to clean or read, but feeling a little munchy, I decided to experiment. Since we have some rare Hershey Kisses in the house (not rare as in worth some money, but rare as in we never buy them), I thought I’d see what they would taste like dipped in some Jif.

Know what? It’s not too bad. Still, I much prefer Reese’s Cups. That’s my mischief for the day.

Now for an announcement.

January 3 is my mom’s birthday. She would be 68 this coming Monday. If baking is allowed in Heaven, I’m sure everyone will be clamoring for her secret recipe red velvet cake…..

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you all is this: in honor of her birthday, on the 3rd, I will be making an announcement. And you won’t want to miss it.

I know it’s gonna be a Monday and some of us will be getting back into the swing of things and might miss it. That’s why I wanted to give everyone a head’s-up. And now I have.

So be sure to tune in……

>A Christmas Tale II


My mom absolutely adored Christmas. She had a knack for it. Whether it was picking out exactly the right gift or decorating our little tree, she nailed it like no one else I know. No small feat considering our poverty.

We grew every kind of food imaginable, except citrus fruits. My grandpa and uncles grew cattle, pigs, and chickens. Summers were for canning and freezing and working in the garden. We always had plenty of food.

People Mom worked with, as well as an older cousin, were always giving us hand-me-downs, so we had clothes, too. We loved the hand-me-downs….it was like Christmas all over again!

She was also quite the seamstress. Mom created dresses and jumpers and pant-suits for us till I was in the 5th grade….

I had no idea we were poor until the 7th grade when a friend asked why I didn’t wear Levi’s. What were Levi’s, I wondered?

Our tree should have looked like this little tree. Not just in scrawniness, but with the same lack of presents.

In fact, all the way up to Christmas Eve, there would be no presents when we were little. (At that time, it was just Sister and me.)

The magic would happen while we were asleep.

We shared a bed, Sister and I, and we’d whisper far into the night about staying awake to see Santa and wonder about what he would bring.

More times than I could count, we’d hear Mom call down the hallway and tell us to be quiet and go to sleep or Santa would skip right over us. Of course, we’d just go off into fits of giggles then…..

One of my favorite memories, one that held so very much magic for me, was the morning we woke and found a child sized table with two chairs….just for Sister and me! Sitting in the chairs were two dolls and the table was laid out with a tea set. That was the first time I truly believed Santa had been in our home and that he’d set up that table for us. Just for us!

Our stockings had been stuffed full of candy and gum and crayons and coloring books…..

I can close my eyes and remember the magic of that morning.

My mom was pretty amazing at Christmas time. She was magical that way….

Now, knowing that she’s the one who took such care to make things special for us, that she had to sacrifice to do it, the memories I have of those Christmases are all the more precious to me.

We may have been poor, but we always felt like we had an abundance…..