A Quarter Century of Motherhood: TToT

mothersday1990My first born turned 25 this week.  Twenty-five-years-old.  A quarter of a century.

Nearly half my lifetime ago I became a mother.  Looking at this photo of us on our first Mother’s Day through my bifocaled eyes today, I now believe I was about as much a baby at the time as she was.

There is so much about motherhood that I love, but these things make me particularly thankful:

The awesome responsibility for the sheltering and safe-keeping of small people. No other challenge in my life compares in importance.

Earning the trust of those little ones who relied on me.

The closeness and simple joy of breast feeding.

Memories of bath time and bedtime stories snuggly, warm and sweet.

The opportunity to have my child think I know everything—and then decide I don’t—and finally decide that even though I don’t know everything, I know enough.

The realization that there are things (people) for whom I would lay down my life.

Seeing other loved ones in the faces and actions of my children.

The gift of the long view–where I get to see the adult version of the traits and talents I first recognized in my small children.  What a joy to watch their childhood personalities lead them into their life’s work.

The memory of fluttery, shuddery movements inside me letting me know a healthy baby was really growing there.

The incredible sound of the baby’s strong, even heartbeat.

All the firsts.  First tooth, first step, first day of school, first love.

Watching my parents fall madly and helplessly in love with my children.

Feeling a deeper appreciation for my own parents and how they raised me after acquiring first-hand knowledge of what a difficult job parenting is.

And most of all–Two young ladies and a young man who need to do nothing more than be themselves to make my heart swell with pride, love and joy.


#932-951 of My One-Thousand Gifts

I could have predicted that I couldn’t do this one in 10.

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Filling an Empty Nest

workshop-button-1Prompt: If you could have given yourself a snapshot five years ago of what your life is like now, what would the picture be of and how do you think you would have felt about it?



Five years ago, I had adjusted well to my oldest child being a college student three states away.  My other two kids were in high school though the end was in sight.  I so enjoy having the three of them around that I was not looking forward to the emptying of my nest.book store

My wise friend June was in the same stage of life.  She told me that we had to figure out what made us personally happy and pursue it.  What she understood was that our nests wouldn’t feel so empty if they were filled with what we loved other than our children.

paris bookstore

And so I rekindled love:  the love and friendship that my husband and I shared as newlyweds;  my love of creating art or something like it;  and my love of reading.  While all my rekindled loves bring me joy, it is my reading that has surprised me with its voraciousness.  Each night as I lay in bed it is not the stillness that has replaced footfalls on the stairs that I hear, but the adventures re-experienced with characters I’ve known forever or new escapades with those I have just discovered.  I feel no loneliness in the wee hours as my husband sleeps peacefully by my side because I am kept company by historical figures and fictional friends page after page.paris bookstore

The greatest accomplishment of my life is motherhood.  The times that my children are nestled under my roof are still my favorite times of all.  But the other times–the quiet times of solitude and contented partnership have a magic of their own.  Like all great stories, as life unfolds I am surprised and entranced by the plot twists, especially those which I could have not predicted such as an empty nest where a sense of emptiness is completely foreign to me.


Snapshots taken at an English bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris, France.

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Ten Things of Thankful:The Bubble Man

bubble man

The Bubble Man, Innsbruck, Austria.

Bubbles are a universal symbol of happiness–rainbow filled promises of joy.  It’s been a good week, a good year, a good long while, and I am feeling thankful.bubble man

Three days before the start of the semester, my son found an apartment.  It is an old-fashioned little charm-filled place.  Tiny, in a just-perfect-for-one sort of way.  He was so pleased with it he kept calling it cozy.

And that apartment will house him in the U.S.A. where we can see him regularly for at least six months!

My eldest got news that she passed her first round of Boards for dental school.

My middle child has been named Outstanding Student in her French program at Southwestern in Texas.

The empty nest is filled with books, puzzles, board games, visiting by the fire.  The place is simply, but fully brimming with contentment.

A couple of the students I work with had contact with parents they had not seen for a very long time over Christmas.  Both families are feeling a cautious hope for a face to face meeting between parent and child sometime down the road.  bubbleman

The days have been warm and bright.  The light is energizing.  The warmth has me gathering supplies to begin planting seeds in a few weeks.
bubble manEach season of life is unique. Experiences inevitably come along to burst our bubbles.  I won’t spend time wondering what the future might bring; I’ll remain thankful for lighthearted joy that is filling my days in this season.



#922-931 of my One Thousand Gifts

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Portuguese Sweet Bread

not by bread alone

After reading William Alexander’s 52 Loaves last summer, I launched my own project making bread of one type or another each week.  Between the holidays and being stuck in a rut of bagels and zucchini bread, it has been a long time since I have shared a new recipe or type of bread.

I came across a post that charmed me at Farmgirl Gourmet.  The author wrote about her ninety-four year old grandmother and the memorable Portuguese sweet bread she had made many times through the years.  The two spent an afternoon in the kitchen baking the bread together.  Photos of that day fill the post.  Reading it I felt the loss of having never had the chance to learn baking at my Grandmother’s side.  Working my hands through my own batch of the sweet dough helped satisfy the dull ache I felt inside missing the women and the warmth of kitchens that came before me.


The recipe is here, but even if you don’t plan to bake a batch yourself, it is worth looking just to see the experienced hands coaxing a big bowl of dough into something sweet for a lucky family.

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Toasting My Marriage


Marking our 30th Wedding Anniversary with Ten TOASTS of thankful…


To my husband who knew much sooner than I did that our union was both inevitable and genius.

To the haters who cast doubt which made us do soul-searching to determine if this is what we truly wanted…and the deeper commitment that comes of having love challenged and survive.

To imperfect people working at making something strong and good.

To the family that resulted.

To a partnership that makes the lows bearable and the highs amazing.

To stepping outside oneself to place another person’s happiness first.

To the lean times and difficult days that seal our teamwork.

To vows sworn before God that mean more after thirty years than they did even as they were uttered.

To generations of role models who went before, providing examples of weathering life’s storms gracefully together.

To at least thirty more years by each other’s side!


#911-921 of my One Thousand Gifts

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