Thursday, February 26, 2009


I am joining Kelli for Show and Tell Friday again. Go here to see more wonderful treasures. The above drawing, with poem overlaid on it, is framed and hanging in my home. You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it enough to read the poem.

I drew the picture and wrote the poem several years after having visited my mother’s birthplace in Aurora, Nebraska, during a family reunion there in 1984. I wanted to honor my mother’s wonderful storytelling ability and the generations of family historians she represented.

The drawing is of the house where my mother was born in 1929, and lived until she was seven or eight years old, when her family was driven by the “Dust Bowl Era” to move to California. The cellar door, between the bay window and the tree, was open to allow for quick access during an approaching dust storm or tornado. The windmill was a very necessary piece of equipment for a farm in those days to pump water for irrigation.

Each of the stanzas of the poem represents a different segment of time. The first three are from stories of my mother’s early life. The first is her very earliest memory of waking up in a house quieted by everyone else being outside doing chores, and her toddling to the kitchen to find something to eat. The second is a few years later, being fearfully sequestered in the cellar during a dust storm, and her father returning to the family with a mouthful of dust to assure them that it was the hay mower turning over that caused the crashing sound, not the windmill. The third was the painful transition of a Nebraska farm girl to the glitz and prejudices of life in North Hollywood, California.

The fourth stanza represents a transition to her adult life in the Rogue Valley of Oregon, where she is retelling the stories of her early life and of her ancestors. Many a Saturday morning with “plate-sized pancakes” were spent in those reveries! Although by that time my grandparents were gone, and we lived far from most of my mother’s other relatives, my mother had a way of making them come alive. If one of them came walking through the door right now, I would know them instantly!

The fifth stanza represents the time of the family reunion and visiting the homeplace. In the light of the atmosphere and landscape, the history and the personalities that had been attached to it were palpable realities!

The structure of each stanza is similar. The first line introduces the place and the season. The second line says something about the wind. The third line talks about eating. The fourth line mentions the attributes of the voices. The fifth line tells what they said.

Well, I hope my dissection here helps you to appreciate what this piece means to me. Enjoy!

Show and Tell

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mother: The Passions of Her Heart

Yesterday marked 21 years since my mother's homegoing. I spent all day searching through photo boxes and memorabilia for things that might express a little of what she means to me. But of course,I found way too much material for one little post. Trying to distill it was almost painful. In many ways, my mother was larger than life. The youngest of nine children, she was tall, loud, talked with her hands, spent most of her life fighting weight problems, and had an almost compulsive need to confront wrongdoing and injustice when she found it. But somehow this all added up to being wonderful! Underneath, she was very tenderhearted. What she chose to love she loved passionately. First and foremost she loved the Lord God with all her heart, soul, and mind. Then she loved her family. Though my father was the quieter one of the two, my mother had a very scriptural awe and reverence for him. She would allow no disrespect for him from anyone. And how she adored babies and children! Being a mother and grandmother was truly her life's calling. When we children started leaving the nest, she found others to nurture. Nurturing and service were definitely her "language of love". When there were no people around, she lavished her attentions on her pets, or her garden. When we moved to southern Oregon in 1959 and bought a half acre of very fertile ground, she had discovered a new joy. At first she had planted a large vegetable garden to help feed her growing family. Then when she and Dad finished building a house on the property, she took great delight in landscaping the yards. I don't think there was a flower she didn't like. Dad laughingly swore he was going to put blinders on her whenever they drove by a plant nursery. Once she had a dream of heaven, and in the end she was walking in a field of waist-high flowers that stretched as far as she could see!

Much of who I am and what I believe I owe to my dear mother. In my earlier post, called Mercy I described a seven year period in my life when I was angry. It was only many years later, after the Lord restored me, and after Mom had died, that I found out just how much she had prayed for me during that time. Thank you, God, for a mother that prayed! I can hardly wait for heaven to love on her again.

Here is a slide show that I managed to put together with a lot of difficulty (lol) that says a little of what I feel:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friend to Friend

Paul Summit
May 29, 1933--February 21, 2006

It’s been three years today since Steven’s step-dad, Paul Summit, passed away. Although he was only in Steven and my life for about six years, his imprint was indelible. He was more than just a father-figure for us and grandfather-figure for our kids. He was a friend.

He was a “self-made” man financially, having translated a lifetime of hard work and savings into some very good investments in the Bay Area of northern California, which made his retirement years comfortable materially. He was generous with advice on money management and the secrets of his success. (He hated credit cards, for one thing!)

We soon learned that his “language of love” was gifts. He not only loved giving gifts, he loved receiving them! Even the small things that we gave him from our more limited budget, he would display proudly and brag on them profusely if anyone asked. I stumbled upon something that he really liked almost by accident. Steve’s mom and he had decided to buy a very nice house in Bakersfield, California, and sell her house in Tehachapi, California and his house in the Bay Area. Since Steven and I lived in Tehachapi at the time, they asked us to be caretakers for the place in Tehachapi until they could get it sold. The place in Tehachapi had several large fruit trees on it and that year they were loaded with fruit! The apricot tree started dropping its very generous load of apricots on the ground early in May. Rather than waste all that good fruit, I decided to make apricot jam with them. So I did, and since the trees still belonged to Mom and Paul, I gave them the lion’s share of the jam. Unbeknownst to me, apricot jam was Paul’s hands-down-no-question-about-it favorite jam! He had it every morning on his toast. If someone came to visit at breakfast, he MIGHT, if you asked nicely, share a little of it. :-D Since it was such a hit, apricot jam became a tradition between us, even after they sold the house in Tehachapi. Every year when apricots started appearing in the fruit stands in May, I would make him a big batch of apricot jam in time for his birthday on May 29th.

There was one gift that we wanted to give him, however, that he wasn’t too sure that he wanted. We wanted to introduce him to our Best Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul’s health had been fragile for several years, having had several surgeries and life-threatening conditions even before we met him. He had even had a kidney transplant from one of his daughters. We kept telling him after we met, that the reason God had allowed him to survive this long was so that we would meet him and we could introduce him to a personal relationship with Jesus! Paul was not convinced. He was very proud of his financial success. He felt that his financial success allowed him to have very good health insurance, so that he could afford the very best doctors and healthcare. But early in 2005 he changed his mind. In spite of having the very best doctors and healthcare, he had continued to have severe health problems, including cancer of the jaw and cancer in the dead “native” kidney that they had left in when he had his kidney transplant. One of the times that he went into the hospital there was a very real doubt as to whether he would come out alive. It was at that point that he turned to Marguerite, Steve’s mom, and asked her if she would help him pray “that prayer” (to accept Christ as his Savior). So, she did. GLADLY! He did make it out of the hospital that time. And we were very blessed to see his spiritual growth during the following year. He lived until about three weeks after Steven came home from Iraq the last time. Then we had the very great privilege of being with Paul (Steven was holding his hand) and praying, as he took his last breath and was ushered into God’s presence!

At his memorial service a couple weeks later, I had the opportunity to give a eulogy for Paul. After sharing the previous story, I read the following questionnaire in closing. It was just one of those “trivial” things that get passed around the Internet a lot. Most of his computer time was on E-bay, or forwarding funny stories and pictures. He didn’t like to type, so I was really surprised when I got this in my inbox the month before he died. His answers to the questions were so typical of his personality and frame of mind that I had to laugh. And I think they are a fitting summary of this wonderful man.

Friendly Questionnaire
From: Paul (
Sent: Tue 1/10/06 2:28 AM

1. What time is it? 5:09 Marguerite, it`s dinner time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Full name: Paul R----- Summit

3. What are you most afraid of? Permanent loss of mobility.

4. What is the most recent movie that you've seen in a theater: Gone With The Wind, back in the 40`s I think!!!!

5. Have you ever seen a ghost? I thought so until I realized it was Halloween.

6. Where were you born? Bakersfield, CA

7. Favorite food? Linguine a la Grotto. The Grotto is closed now, So I`ll never have it again.

8. Ever been to Alaska? Never

9. Ever been toilet papering? Never

10. Loved someone so much it made you cry: Bawled like a baby.

11. Been in a car accident: Three times, and that’s enough.

12. Croutons or bacon bits: Both, in split pea soup????????????

13. Favorite day of the week: At my age, there’s no difference.

14. Favorite Restaurant: All Time favorite was the "Oakland Seafood Grotto” in Jack London Square.

15. Favorite Flower: Gladiolus that my Mother grew.

16. Favorite sport to watch: Golf or Bowling. Are there any others???????????

17. Favorite Drink: Cappuccino. Out of the "Orange International" can with small marshmallows melted on top.

18. Favorite ice cream: Dreyer’s Mocha Almond Fudge with Kahlua poured over it.

19. Disney or Warner Brothers: Disney

20. Favorite fast food restaurant: As soon as I try them I’ll let you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21. What color is your bedroom carpet? Pale gray with small brown flecks.

22 How many times you failed your driver's test? Once. A long extension ladder suddenly came out from behind a van right in front of me. When I slammed on the brakes I almost put the person testing me through the windshield. After that there was no way he was going to pass me.

23. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: It was either an online pharmacy or someone trying to sell me a fake "Rolex".

24. What do you do most often when you are bored? Read a book, take a nap or get on the computer.

25. Bedtime: 11:00 PM or the end of the chapter. Which ever comes first.

26. Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest: Probably my daughter Cindy with some snide remark about my typing.

27. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond: Jim

28. Who is the person that you are most curious to see their responses? Carissa

29. Favorite TV shows: Golf, Texas Hold-em Poker games.

31. Ford or Chevy: Chevy Corvette

32. What are you listening to right now? The tap---tap----tap of a two-finger typist.

33. What are your favorite colors: Black and Green. Is black a color?

34. How many tattoos do you have: Do scars count?

35. How many pets do you have? One, and her name is Marguerite. {You keep your kind of pet and I’ll keep my kind}!!!!!!!!!!!!!

36. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? My first choice is Heaven.

37. What would you like to accomplish before you die? Make a few more friends, read a lot more books and hold a great-grandchild on my lap.

38. How many people are you sending this e-mail to: 34.

39. What characteristics do your friends have to have: A willingness to pick up the check, agree with me at least ninety percent of the time and not wake me from my naps.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beautiful Hearts

Well, I thought I would like to join in "Kelli's Show and Tell Friday, so here goes!

Years ago I collected everything heart-shaped. As some of you collectors out there know, sometimes collections can become overwhelming--especially if you move a lot, like I did as a military wife. So eventually I stopped collecting and started weeding out some of the ones for which I didn't have a deep attachment. I ended up with a more manageable, but much-loved collection. I thought I would show you some of the heart boxes that I kept. These three are crystal. I love the way they reflect the light and they feel so nice to hold--very heavy and smooth. And I do use them to hold nuts, candy, dried flowers, or cosmetic items. I think it's wonderful when something useful can also be beautiful!

Show and Tell

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Celebrate Love!

Since Tuesday, February 10th, Steven and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary and Saturday is Valentine's Day, this is a week to celebrate love in our household! I've dug deep in my photo boxes to find some wedding pictures that mean a lot to me. (Not that there aren't some more out there in other loved one's photo boxes--you'll have to send them to me for the future. :-> ) But for this little slide show I have included these wedding photos in this order:

1. My maternal grandparents--Bert & Clara--married October 10, 1910

2. Steven's paternal grandparents--Henry & Martha--married September 29,

3. My parents--Ben & Ellen--married August 5, 1950

4. Steven and Denise (me)--married February 10, 1973

5. Our daughter and son-in-love--Sherri & Jeremy--married January 24, 2004

6. Our son and daughter-in-love--Phil & Darcie--married October 6, 2007.

Happy Valentine's to everyone and MUCH, MUCH LOVE!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Birthday Love

Thought I would share with you some photos that I've taken in the last few days. That way I get to spread my birthday joy out for a few more days! :0)

Here is the beautiful hyacinth and card that my sister Elena gave me. Wish you could smell the hyacinth. Heavenly!

Here is the card that my hubby Steven made for me. He made it small so I could carry it in my wallet. But I had to get a magnifying glass to read it! I couldn't stop laughing once I did. You may have to enlarge the picture to read it. I included a dime with the front side so you can get an idea of the scale.

Here is a pile of some of my favorite magazines that Steven indulged me with at Barnes and Nobles. However, my cat Kiki doesn't seem too impressed!

Here is the bouquet of lilies that Steven got me. The delivery date got mixed up, so I didn't get it until Monday, and they didn't start opening 'til yesterday. So another way to extend the joy! ;) You should smell these also--another of my very favorite flowers!

Love and Blessing to All! Denise