1800's Farmhouse where I grew up

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nonagenarian Extraordinaire

I have missed my time of late to sit down and ruminate over recent events, or some old but heartwarming stories. A little oral surgery for a broken tooth, and plans to celebrate my father in law, who is now 90 years young, have occupied my time and mind.  As a matter of fact, the dental emergency over shadowed the party planning, and I am now ready to go into full swing panic.
The goodies are bought and the menu is set, but it's too early to cook OR clean. Throw another unrelated and scheduled-forever-ago doctor appointment into the mix...the day before the festivities, and I foresee a college style all- nighter of cooking, cleaning, and set up for Saturday.  I am thanking God right now for the blessing of a daughter who is willing to drive 3 hours to hold her dear old mom's hand and help with the last minute preparations.  How extremely smart my genes were to create such a wonderful daughter and best friend. Love you Kates!
The birthday boy, John Sr., who is symptomatic of short term memory loss after several small strokes, is thrilled to be the guest of honor a the celebration. At least he is when he is reminded there will BE a party!  Relatives, friends, and his 90 year old girlfriend will also be present to most likely roast the man who touched all of their lives in so many different ways.
He is a father and grandfather, a former Marine Raider, husband, coach, teacher, and general ball buster.  It amazes me how many lives he has touched, and the strong, intelligent, compassionate...irritating, annoying...way he immerses himself into your life.  He is loved and lovable, respected and respectful, playful as well as strict, and selflessly served our country so well during WWII.  We will all live and die free due to the time he (and others) spent putting their lives on the line all over the world for those ideals.
So here's to Corporal John, Farfar/Morfar, BBF, Coach Finelli. 

A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Everything is NEW Again

Here's to believing in new life, in resurrection, and in bursting into spring with renewed energy, hope, and passion for what life has to offer.
Everything old is new again....enjoy!
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

I have always wondered why today is called GOOD Friday, when in fact we commemorate a very sad day in our Christian heritage.  I tried to do a little research on the matter, just out of curiosity, and found no definitive answer.  The Bible actually states that Christ died on a Wednesday, which complicates the whole Friday thing even more.  As a kid I thought Jesus died on a Friday, because, in essence, that is what I thought I was being taught.
As an adult, I am finding I now have more questions than answers to most of life's mysteries, and have come to the conclusion that believing in the unseen, and trusting in something bigger than ourselves is a matter of heart more than mind.  I remember days as a child that I would TRY to contemplate the idea of a Universe that goes on forever. It literally gave me headaches trying to wrap my mind around the idea that there is no end.  The mind likes concrete answers. The heart instead soars to higher plains.
You can't see love, but it can be felt in outstretched arms, a gentle touch, and a heart bursting with affection. A heart doesn't physically "break", but the pain of loss is very real.  The point is we are merely human, and not meant to know or understand all of creation. At least that's an answer I can live with for now.
I hope everyone has a GOOD Friday.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg on Your Face

With Easter week in full swing, egg hunts are scheduled everywhere.  Our church has a tradition of hosting an Easter Egg Hunt the day before Easter for all the young and young at heart in our congregation.  When my kids were little, the youth group of the church hosted the hunt, gathering early in the day to color and hide hundreds of eggs on the church property. 
When Katie was about 3, she was pretty quick for a toddler from all the practice she got chasing after her older brother and the boys on the block.  She was very successful that year, filling her Easter basket with both candy-filled plastic eggs, as well as the real thing, decorated in pretty pastel colors by the youth group.
On the way home, both she and her brother helped themselves to their baskets of goodies in the back seat of the car.
As I was driving I listened to them ooing and ahhing over their finds, counting to see who found the most eggs.  Nearing home, I heard the first crack of an egg. My kids had been taught by their grandfather how to crack eggs on their foreheads before peeling and eating them. I thought this was harmless fun, provided the "crack" on the head was not too hard! I had not anticipated another problem that could occur.
After she had cracked the egg on her head, Katie began crying. Adjusting the rear view mirror to see her scrunched up and crying little face, I had to stop the laugh that burst from my very core. My little girl was covered from the top of her little head to the bottom of her little chin in gooey, dripping, raw egg.   She was startled and obviously mortified. Her brother and I were clearly amused as we tried to comfort and clean her.
Apparently one of our wonderful youth group members was unaware the eggs he brought should have been HARD BOILED before they were colored.  At church Easter morning we were able to track down the youth and share our egg in the face story.  He was apologetic, but like me had found the humor in the situation.
Katie laughs now too, but at 3....not so much. Regardless, it is a cherished Easter story for our family.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hello Harvey

For several days last week, my husband was doing his best to convince me he had seen the Easter Bunny.  While, as a child, I had never stopped to think what the Easter Bunny might look like, the one my husband purported to see was white. All white, albino to be precise, with pink ears and pink eyes.  Now I KNOW that's not the kind of rabbit you see in the wild, so I was convinced he was playing with me.
Nevertheless, each time he yelled to me that the white rabbit was outside our window, I would go running to look.  It was never there by the time I arrived, if it ever had been in the first place.  My husband is an aficionado of old movies, and a fan of Jimmy Stewart.  It's a Wonderful Life just may be his all time favorite movie, whether he watches at Christmas, or in the middle of summer.  This is not the movie that came to mind, however, whenever the white rabbit was "sighted". I instead thought of Harvey, another Stewart film, where he is befriended/stalked by a man size white rabbit. Whether it was Stewart or the rabbit that was called Harvey, I have no idea. It is definitely the name my husband was stuck with for that week, though.
After days of playing hide and seek with a very clever rabbit, I refused to be suckered into whatever game my husband was playing anymore.  Relaxing on the couch before dinner one night, I got a phone call from my husband who I knew had JUST pulled into the driveway. I answered anyway, and was told he couldn't park because the white bunny was in his way. Laughing I went to the window, expecting him to give me one of those "got you!" faces, only to see a pure white rabbit with pink ears and eyes sitting in the drive.
My husband had been truthful the entire time!
Following the moments where I had to admit I was wrong and he was right, John called neighbors to see if someone was missing a white rabbit. None were, but he gathered more Intel that not one, but TWO white rabbits had been spotted in the yard a few houses up from us. The couple was nesting under our neighbor's deck.
Chances are, someone's pet rabbit had broken out and had gone over to the wild side.  A country neighbor...who lives a few miles away....shared that his own white rabbits had escaped just a year before, and he had seen evidence of white-meets-wild in baby bunnies popping up in the area.  Hybrid white and tan mixed rabbits now populate our immediate vicinity.
It is nice to know my husband is not always trying to fool me, and that "Harvey" does exist.
Hoppy Easter Week!!
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Memories of My Life

Growing up with a mother who was sometimes organized, sometimes not, I learned some very important lessons about planning and being organized....from my dad!  Seriously though, Mom had a unique way of journaling and record keeping that I used when my children were small. Everyone keeps SOME kind of calendar. Mom's was covered in writing, recording everything from appointments, to bell due dates, to which days someone had called or stopped over.
As a young mother I had little time for journaling, and quickly fell into Mom's footsteps with calendar diaries. I too would record daily activities, phone numbers, and sometimes even predicted weather when a trip was coming up. ALWAYS I recorded my children's milestones, school, and social events.  It became MY diary family life. Somewhere in the attic there is a box of these old calendars. They are all from when my kids were young, and it seemed more important to write down everything to keep our collective and separate schedules in order. 
When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and we began boxing up her house and life piece by piece, I found her most recent calendar, still scribbled with the daily notations she had used for so very long. "Lisa called", "Katie's birthday", "visit from Lisa and family".  We remained her life and love long into the diseased moments that stole her memories.
As I am spring cleaning and going through items that should have long since left our house and closets, I stumbled upon old checks that needed shredding.  One in particular caught my eye, made out to The Official Star Wars Fan Club.  My son, still a Star Wars fan, joined when he was 12 or so. I had forgotten. There are so many memories we tuck deep to keep forever safe, but forget to remember if we don't bring them out every once in a while.
I plan to resume my Calendar Diary, so that when it is my children's turn to box my things, they are reminded also of the family life, loves, and activities we all shared....and SMILE.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

PS They have added LOL to the dictionary.  I think journaling should be added also. VERB: to write in a journal (or calendar!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Forgive you

A precious, little baby girl was baptized in our church today. Surrounded by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and two very proud new "big" brothers, she was quietly taking in the sacrament, making a sound only when blessed and washed clean with the water.  As members of the church, we are charged with seeing to the religious up-bringing of any child receiving baptism in our sanctuary. In essence, we are ALL the God-parents.
My first child received his baptism at my husband's former Presbyterian run prep-school, by the headmaster, who was an ordained minister.  It was such a special day, with warm weather, family, and God's presence in our midst at the outdoor ceremony. 
Our youngest's baptism was more traditional, performed in the church we still belong to, where she screamed through much of the liturgy and blessing, prompting some to suggest she join the choir and "sing" with me.  Today's celebration of baptism made me remember these blessed days fondly.
It also made me contemplate the concept of love and forgiveness.  We are all human. We all make mistakes.  It is much too easy to succumb to being judge and jury, or to indulge ourselves in the presumption that it is even our job or right to judge others, especially if we condemn others more harshly than ourselves in being accountable for our own wrong-doing.
Baptism washes away the sins of the flesh, leaving our souls, and hearts open to hearing God, and having a life that reflects the love He has for us...and the best He created in us. 
I know this. I have taught this to both my children and to those I have instructed in Sunday school. Unfortunately, we forget we need reminding of this, to reaffirm the promise regularly, and more importantly, to apply it to our lives on a daily basis.
I believe in my baptism, and because I am blessed as a child of God, I believe in second chances, in forgiveness, and in new life.  God has given us an avenue to move forward from heartache, failure, and sin. By this I am not only blessed, but grateful.
Life is too short to hold onto dark moments or memories.  My choice is to say "I forgive you".
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Friday, April 8, 2011


Fuzzy blankets, sleeping in, kick-back slippers, mashed potatoes, puppy hugs, hot tea, a baby sleeping on your chest bear hugs (from people), amazing grace, rich milk chocolate, over-sized sweatshirts, a roaring fire, the sound of RAIN on the roof, scripture, homemade chocolate chip cookies, forgiveness, a hot bath (with bubbles), favorite songs, being tucked in, a shoulder to lean on, staycations, someone to hold your hand, the smell of a new baby, dancing in the arms of the one you love, hugs and kisses XOXO, peace....family.

A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


My family has never officially taken a camping trip together. As a child I was a girl scout and "camped" on occasion; the most memorable being INSIDE a recreation center with running water, a kitchen, and (sometimes) working plumbing. The most camp-like feel to that trip was cooking one meal over a fire outside to earn a badge.
Tents, nevertheless,  have been a fascination for my kids since childhood. Who doesn't love the opportunity to cocoon oneself in a homemade or pre-constructed tent, to hide from the world, while telling scary stories, and making inventive flashlight shadow animals on the tent walls?
We graduated from a military looking tannish-green "pup" tent my husband had as a child, to a larger nylon pop-up variety as my kids feet began sticking out of the other...along with their father's. That tent provided space for my daughter to have birthday or summer sleepovers, with her girlfriends packed in like sardines. I can still hear the echoes of the screams and giggles that emanated from the zippered enclosure, or the stage- whispered "shusssshhh"es of the girls ransacking the kitchen for food when they thought I was asleep. Let's face it, who could sleep? No one slept on those nights, but a great deal of fun was had by all.
There was one specific tent that never made it from plans to completion. It was to have been a tepee,  constructed from the trunks of small hybrid elms we had removed from our property line.  My husband and I fashioned the framework, lashing the poles together into the traditional conical shape, awaiting the sheets to be sewn together by a neighbor child's mother, and then painted as the Native Americans might have done.

As summer cooled to fall, those poles stood erect in our backyard, but remained naked of sheets that were to cloak the frame. Summer had gotten away from us, and by the following year, the appeal of a tepee had waned. It remains a fond memory, though, of excited faces and a fun time building and planning.
Sometimes it really is the journey and not the destination that we remember.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Silence is Golden

Travelling half way across the state usually calls for radio, CDs, or a fully-loaded Ipod to pass the time.  Usually.  An unexpected trip yesterday, with hastily packed bags, and things on my mind left no time for tunes.  As the ribbon of road unravelled behind me, the miles passed silently, except for the chatter in my head.  Driving with only my own thoughts as company is not a first time thing. I often find the enforced solitude gives me much needed time for introspective thoughts and prayer.  And in some cases, to hatch a plan of action for something that needs addressing in my life. 

Yesterday was such a day.  The hours and miles passed quickly since I was deep in thought.  What a blessing when the road travelled is a long and boring one. I now know my own heart a lot better, and found some peace in my own company, with which to bolster my frame of mind for dealing with my daily obstacles both at home and work. 
Life is a winding road full of obstacles, and sometimes, should not only be approached carefully, but silently as well. 
Here's to listening to our inner voice and for God's presence in our life.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3