Memorial Day to the Fourth of July ~ Part I

No blogging has been done since May!  I’ve had a lot going on, so today, I hope to catch up just a bit.

Just where DO I start?  It seems that so much has been going on in my world since the first of 2018 that I just have not had the time, the energy, or the inclination to blog about anything.

Mid-May to Memorial Day

In mid-May, I flew to Utah for to attend my grandson Bridger’s graduation from high school.  I had the most wonderful time celebrating him and his accomplishments and spending time with family.  

Bridger, the youngest child of my oldest child, my son Ryan, is one of those very special kids that has always brought joy to each person he meets.  Honestly, I’ve never met anyone who knows Bridger who doesn’t comment on what a special person he is.  His genuineness comes through in every conversation.  He’s an adventuresome kid with a great personality and good looks.  All of that only takes you so far.  Thankfully, he is also very smart and he is a hard worker who is self driven.  He plans on attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah, next year.  I’m very proud of him and can’t wait to see what the future will bring to him.
Grandma Sally with Bridger
Bridger on the big screen
Son Ryan with Bridger and Daughter-in-law Sheridan

I must admit that some tears were shed when Bridger graduated.  When he tried on his cap and gown, he gathered up his gorgeous curly long brown hair into a thick pony tail as he looked into the mirror  and contemplated how the cap would stay on that head of hair.  As he gathered up his long locks into that thick pony tail, I saw the nape of his neck and instantly saw the exact same looking curls as my daughter Julie had at her neckline.  I then saw a pony tail just like one she would make on hot summer days. Those unique similarities caused me to become overcome with emotions.  I sobbed.  I must admit that I hated bringing a sad reminder to such a time of joy, but that is how grief hits sometimes.  In the tears, I rejoiced that Bridger rocks that beautiful mane and knew that Julie would be so proud of his hair and would say that they were genetic twins when it came to hair.  

I thought of the photo I had of Julie holding Bridger right after he was born.  She was living in Salt Lake at the time with Sheridan and was attending the University of Utah.  Now, eighteen years later, Julie is no longer with us to celebrate this occasion, but Sheridan is now married to Bridger’s father and Sheridan is the one assisting him in his graduation dress rehearsal.  Sheridan met my son at Julie’s memorial service.  I will always be so grateful for the deep and treasured friendship that Julie had with Sheridan that resulted in Sheridan joining our family.

And then, there were more tears on graduation day.  Sheridan has loved Bridger so much and has so loved being his mom that she is really having a hard time with him graduating and going on to college.  Her great boys, Max and Henry, are also a bonus that this family gained when Ryan and Sheridan married.  Max, Henry, and Bridger are as tight as any brothers you will find.  Yes, the smile on Sheridan’s face is bright and beautiful, but her eyes had great big tears falling from them.  Mine did too.  There is a lot of joy and love in this celebratory photo.

There were other great family times that I was able to have while I was in Utah spending time with my daughter and son and their families.  Times like these are treasures.  

Son Ryan, Sally, daughter Keicha, and grandchildren Gillian
Bridger & Regan.

I stayed in my very first Airbnb when I went to Utah.  The place I found was in Layton, Utah, which is midway between where my son lives and my daughter lives.  I loved staying in a place that became like a home away from home where I could stay up as late as I wanted, or go to bed whenever I wanted.  When I got up in the morning, it was great to have a kitchen where I could fix breakfast and make some coffee.  Also, I loved having a comfy couch where I could read, visit, or rest after a hectic day with the family.  This won’t be the only time I use Airbnb.  

Memorial Day is always a difficult time for me and for my family because my daughter took her life on May 29, 2010, on the Friday before Memorial Day.  My children, and those whom love me most and are always the most supportive, know just how hard that weekend and the days surrounding May 29th are for me and family.  I received many texts and calls from my family and friends asking, “Are you ok?”  Or, “I love you.  I am thinking of you.”  I so appreciate the gestures of kindness, concern, empathy, and love.

Most years on Memorial Day I go to the cemetery to decorate the graves, or I try to do a special activity to honor Julie’s memory. This year, I decided not to do any commemorative activities, but instead, I decided to take the day as it came while practicing self-care.  

On the 26th, I took some time to record my thoughts.  I said I was raw.  My emotions were fragile.  I recorded how raw I looked and how raw I felt.  In the rawness, I also recorded how I was rejoicing because I learned more from the great loss of a daughter about love than I ever could have learned any other way.  

On that day, the 26th of May, I also rejoiced because I had yet another day and another summer to look forward to with hope and joy.  I took the day to begin planting a bit more in my impossible garden.  I had flowers to plant.  That always brings me joy.  In my devotions for that day, I was reminded that the Lord’s mercies are new each morning.  I reflected on beautiful scripture card that I keep on my desk.

I love this verse.  I am held by One whom will keep me from stumbling.  What comfort this assurance bring me.

On Memorial Day itself, May 28th this year, we had a picnic in our little village where we live.  The day was warm and sunny.  A neighbor and his wife graciously set up tables in their driveway and in the garage where all of us in our HOA community could visit while eating great picnic type food.  It marked the official start of summer.  I was more than ready to see the season arrive.

As I toured my yard trying to decide where to plant flowers I had to snap a photo of this poor little tree because in many ways, this poor little tree is a perfect representation of the kind of winter I had.  

I planted the tree, a more mature Alberta pine, last fall because I didn’t want to wait for a smaller one to grow.  I had planted a smaller Alberta pine four or five years ago, and it had never been nibbled on by deer.  I observed that mature Alberta pines were thriving all over the neighborhood.  I even saw this label at a local nursery: 
The label gives the name of the tree that I planted, and it states that it is good choice to buy because it is deer resistant.  

I guess the deer in my neighborhood can’t read.  Or, maybe they haven’t had access to the labels and lists that inform gardeners about “deer resistant” plants.  

Several factors figured into the demise of this tree.  We had a terribly dry winter.  The poor deer were starving, and they were thirsty.  My tree was most likely the tastiest looking tree in the neighborhood.  It had been well watered, and the needles must have looked tender and moist and appetizing.  My tree became a food sources for desperate animals.

Desperate creatures do desperate things.  I felt like that tree through most of the late winter and and early spring.  I felt events beyond my control, and people within my family of origin structure chipping away at me.  I felt attacked and stripped as others nibbled away at me when I found myself in a situation I did not create and was powerless to change.  Yep, that tree represented a lot of what I was experiencing this spring.

Quite honestly, during this time, I just didn’t feel like blogging.  I did a lot of journaling.  Writing always helps me when I am going through troubling experiences.  Writing in my journal helps me because by writing in my own personal journal I can record my thoughts, experiences, reactions, feelings, and emotions in a safe place.  Writing gives me a sounding board.  Writing also allows me to sort out all of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that assail during times of loss, stress, joy, change, or tension.  Writing gives me a chance to reflect, to reconcile my emotions, and reflect upon what is going on in my life.  

Somehow, I got through the difficult month of May.  During the month of May, I also was able to celebrate the graduation of a dear grandson while also having the opportunity to spend time with children and grandchildren.  May brought time plant some flowers, and to spend more time out of doors rejoicing over the beauty found in my neighborhood.  This hillside is just around the corner from my home.  

Just a mile and a half from our home is a beautiful spot that was once a sanatorium.  It is now a retreat center, a nursing home, and the setting includes a cemetery and a church.  I love to walk on the grounds. Truly, I am grateful to live in this beautiful part of the world.  Spring, summer, and fall, I enjoy walking in the special places.  

On the very last day of May, I stopped for a late lunch after running errands and had a serendipitous meeting with a high school friend, her husband, and friend of theirs when they happened to eating lunch at the same Panera where I stopped.  We all lunched together, shared stories and laughter and marveled just how amazing life can be when we have chance meetings and are able to spend time together in rich conversation.

All in all, while the winter had been a rough one for me, and while May had certainly had its low points, it also mostly had some wonderful moments filled with love, family, friends, and milestones.  

More later.

April You Bring Such Joy and Such Sorrow

The sun was unseen and unfelt, as I, clad in a heavy wool sweater, entered an office building for a recent late afternoon appointment.  For days, a mind full of thoughts all over the map regarding sundry problems in my life alternately vacillated between agitation and calmness. The weather, nearly always given to sudden and seemingly unaccountable changes in spring in Colorado, was not helping my unsettled feelings about those troubling thoughts weighing down my mind. 

The day, one packed with activity and plans, was far from over when after the appointment I briskly walked towards the car.  Once out of deep shadows cast by the office building, I realized the sun was warming my back as I hurried down the street. As my mood lifted by the good visit and the sun at my back, my quick pace slowed down enough for me to glory in the beautiful spring scenes around me.

As I entered the building just an hour before, had I even noticed that the once brown bare bush branches near the doorway were now clad in green leaves? Why hadn’t I earlier drunk in the beauty of trees covered in fluffy white blossoms that lined the wide street on which I stood?

Since my husband and I had long awaited plans for the evening, I wanted to keep believing that the sensory input I was experiencing was true and trustworthy.  Sight, smell, touch: they all confirmed it was a warm, sunny spring day. I could feel the warmth of the sun.  I could see that Mother Nature had done her springtime magic by causing bulbs to emerge from their long winter’s nap in the earth. Hoping be eradicate any belief in the weather forecast of snow later in the day, I looked to the west.  Blue skies minus any clouds provided a beautiful backdrop for the snow covered mountains in the distance.  “No storm clouds are coming in over the mountains,” I told myself. Even the car temperature gauge reading of 70 degree supported my internal argument that surely snow would not ruin my day, and my mood.

Then, I turned around.  I looked south and east.  The forecast that had been in the weather for days was confirmed.  Sensory input coming from the direction I now faced, could not be denied.  A storm, not coming from the mountains in the west, but from the south and east, was brewing.  Dark, nearly black, low clouds forming and covering the entire sky to the south forced me not to be misled by only looking at part of the picture. 

Logic, rational thinking, and experience caused me to turn and to look towards the part of the sky where the weatherman had predicted the storms would form. The evidence was clear.  A storm was on its way. 

The skies above and around me provided a perfect metaphor for the juxtapositions we encounter in life:  Darkness meets sunshine.  Two extremes collide.  Springtime, a time of perfect juxtaposition between winter and summer.  Upon which image is one to focus?  Should one focus only on the springtime flowers and sunshine, or should one focus on stormy skies stirred into a fury by chinook winds which bring blizzards and destruction?


On the day I just described, I wanted to believe that the sun would keep shining.  I could substantiate that belief if I only looked at part of the evidence. 
Julie's Tree
April 8, 2011

Placing images of sunshine, spring flowers, white blossom covered trees, and dark, threatening, moisture laden dark clouds driven by fierce cold winds side by side in my mind, a new metaphor began to emerge.  It was a metaphor for strongholds in the mind.
April 1, 2017
Strongholds in the mind remind me of spring. 
They deceive. 
They don’t tell the entire truth. 
They ignore evidence,
 believe false evidence,
or they only consider a portion of the evidence. 

Strongholds of the mind are clung to as if they could save, rescue, restore, give peace.
They run hot and cold. 
They are sunny one moment, and oh so stormy the next.

Strongholds keep us from living the life we were meant to live.

Strongholds are like March.
March, the madness of March, could nearly drive one mad.
The weather vacillates.

Soft mountain breezes whispering hope for sunny skies stir the daffodils one day.
 Those same bright yellow flowers that brought such hope and joy, such optimism on a perfect spring day,
 are buried in snow the next.

April, no wonder you have the reputation of being the cruelest month. 

Spring, you are so capricious.

In those dark dreary days of being shut-up indoors during winter, we believe that when Spring brings forth her flowers, we will only have sunshine and happiness. Our beliefs on how spring should be suddenly become incongruent with our experience when a sunny spring day suddenly turns stormy and snowy. Uplifted, buoyant emotions change like the weather.

Strongholds are like that.

Strongholds take root in the mind based on some belief about how we think life should be.
Or maybe, strongholds are based on what we think we should be, or how others should be. Too often we base our beliefs, our emotions, on what we can see, think, or experience.

Can we always take that which we
as being true?

On that recent spring day when I wanted to believe the sun would not give way to a storm, I based the information I wanted to believe about the day by only looking in one direction.  I based my belief on only one part of what I could see.  I wanted to ignore the dark clouds forming to the south and east of me.  I wanted to focus only on the sunny sides to the west. 

I could have faced only to the south and east and stood in the shadow of a building and denied that the sun was shining, the skies were blue, and that winter’s dreariness was giving way to spring.  I could have. 

I could have insisted that my truth was informed by what I could see and feel while only looking in one direction.  I could have.

I could have rejected the evidence that a strong wind was stirring those dark foreboding clouds in the southeast and moving them westward towards the sunny skies.  I could have told myself, “I don’t think it will storm.”  I could have thought these thoughts, and I could have believed them.  Thankfully, earlier in the day, I’d heard the truth of these words:

Don’t believe everything you think.

Thinking that is not consistent with the truth will never bring peace.  Just because one thinks something is true doesn’t mean that there is any truth in what that someone is thinking
Spring reminds me of strongholds in the mind.
Strongholds of the mind remind me that there just as spring is capricious, so also are my thoughts and my emotions.

Spring nearly always breaks a part of me.


The breaking comes as I associate both the birth and death of my daughter with spring.  She was born forty-one years ago today on a glorious spring day in April.  I noted in my journal on the day she was born that the daffodils were blooming. 

A first peek at Julie by her sister's Amy and Keicha

Keicha, Julie, Amy
April 2010
The last photo of my three girls together
She took her life seven years ago just as spring was nearly over in 2010.

Strongholds in her mind brought on by depression, suicide ideation, and other addictions became too powerful for her to overcome on that day when her life ended.  So many other days and times she had not believed the destructive thoughts about herself and the future, but on that day, the day of her death, her battle with her mind, her body, her emotions, her beliefs, her demons, was lost when she took her life.


On this the day of her birth, I wish to remember all that was Julie.  The spirited joy that she brought to us all is what I remember most. Birthdays are to be celebrated.  As a mother, it breaks me each year as I seek to integrate the joy and sadness that Julie’s birthday evokes in my heart.  I also purpose in my heart and mind that Julie’s life will never be remembered only for the strongholds which ultimately destroyed her. 

Julie surrounded by daffodils in Ireland

Julie’s legacy to me is a lesson I hope to pass on to others.  
You just cannot always trust what you are feeling.

 I’ve learned a lot about strongholds of the mind since that fateful day when my daughter took her life. I’ve also learned how to fight those assailing thoughts which seek to destroy. 

After Julie died, a sticky note found on her desk became the message I believe she left for us all.

Live well was its simple message.*

That is the message of her life I hope to remember most. 

I wrote in my journal right after her death, that I hoped to integrate her life and death as I progressed through life.  I did not want to live as a person shattered in broken pieces that never were gathered up to make a new a new story for my life which had held so much joy and sunshine but now contained such grief and darkness.  I wished to live well and not give in to any strongholds which could destroy. 

Today, the girls, my beautiful daughters have each called and with brave voices asked, “How are you, mom?”  I heard their tears and my throat catches as I say, “I’m ok.”  I know they hear the tears in my voice.  We cry.  We remember.  Amy, says to me, “You have handled this all with grace, Mom.”


If it shows to my daughter, it is because I’ve been given so much grace. 
Grace is always a gift.
It is not one I could have conjured up for myself.
It is simply God's gift to me: 
Grace for the journey.

Grace has allowed me to take the darkness and the sorrow, 
the joy and laughter, 
the snow, 
the rain, 
the wind, 
the flowering trees, 
the jaunty daffodils 
and seek the grace to live out the message Julie left for us all.

Live well.

*The photo at the bottom of this post, and the photo of Julie's message to us all were taken by my daughter and her sister, Keicha.  You can read a beautiful tribute to her sister here: Julie, Do You Love Me?

Goodbye to The Month of April

April, you were given a bit of a bad reputation by T. S. Eliot in his poem The Waste Land.  He called you the "cruellest month."  

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain. 
Winter kept us warm, covering 
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding 
A little life with dried tubers. 

I wonder what he would have written had he spent this past April in Colorado.  His poem was not a happy one.  He was speaking as one with depression.  The reawakening of the earth is so often a difficult time of year to those with depression.  

Eliot  might have actually liked living here in Colorado because on this next to last day of April in 2016, the lines about winter and how the earth is covered in “forgetful snow” speak of the reality we are experiencing where I live.

 The snow, at times in thick curtains, falls silently to earth blanketing everything it touches.  The effect is one where everything appears to have been redecorated with thick white cushions.  As the day continues, the snow seems to be dissipating.  The warm earth that had soaked up sun a few days before is drinking in the snow quickly.  The trees branches weighted with snow, leaves, and blossoms droop and slough off the added weight of snow. 

 Some see this time as an extended time to do some cross-country skiing.  

Snow is April is common in the mountains and foothills of Colorado.  Snow in April is best seen as an unexpected gift where one is able to enjoy those things we most love about winter.

I’ve been trying to do that very thing myself.  I drink in the beauty of this unexpected snow.  I welcome the moisture which is feeding the life that wishes to spring up from the ground now covered in blankets of white.  I cast off the extra weight of being frustrated by things I cannot control.  I am reminded on days like this when snowy weather is not really what I might wish to have that I can choose to have a day of gold rather than a day of lead.   I welcome another day spent cozily ensconced in my home.  These days are as temporary as a spring snow.  They never last long.  They provide time for reflection, rest, and recharging.

Honestly, I’ve done so little for a month that I am beginning to feel as if I’m at risk of being completely slouched from the whirl wind of busy lives that buzz around me.  Will I ever again completely join the flurry of life that has been passing me by recently?  

Yesterday, my husband and I spent the morning doing a lot of nothing.  “I’ve wasted the morning away again,” I lamented as I headed to the shower when it was nearly noon.  “No you didn’t,” said my supportive husband.  “Did you enjoy yourself wasting time?  If you did, you didn’t waste it.”  Then he added this gem:

Beside, we have less time in the future to waste time than we did in the past, 
so we might as well enjoy wasting it.”


I can’t say that I have actually wasted time this entire month.  It just feels like it sometimes.  On March 31, I had cataract surgery on my right eye.  I spent the first few days just listening to a story on Audible.  I couldn’t bend from the waist or do heavy lifting, so I let housekeeping chores slid.  Once I was better, I caught up on my chores, did a little planting, had lunch with friends, visited the sick, and did a bit of exercise.

Ten days ago, on April 19, I had surgery on my left eye.  I again did not have any anesthesia during the surgery.  The surgery all went very well.  My doctor was fabulous.  He talked to me through the entire surgery to keep me calm.  I was quite proud of myself for being able to have both surgeries without taking any drugs.  

The day after the surgery, I could tell that the left eye was not responding like the right eye did.  I could not see anything but light and shadows.  At the one day follow-up appointment at my eye doctor’s, I could not see the big E on the eye chart.  All I could see was a lighted square on the wall.  That was a bit unnerving.  The eye doctor was quite concerned about the amount of inflammation I had in the eye and by the condition of my cornea.  He sent me home with instructions to do nothing for a few days but rest and put prednisone drops in my eye every two hours.  It is crazy how one eye had no problems, but the other eye had significant problems after surgery.

Following the doctor’s orders, I went home and listened to my story on Audible.  (Standby for a future post about the book I listened to.)  The Auschwitz Escape is a great book.  I really enjoyed it.

I was back at the doctor’s office in two days.  The eyesight was improving significantly.  Finally, at the one week mark, the eye was nearly back to normal.  I have 20/20 eyesight again.  I’m very pleased with the results after having the surgery.  It will be a month or so before I get new reading glasses.  


Now that the eyes are all fixed up, I’m working on getting some dental work done.  That is always a fun thing to do.  I’m also trying to resolve pain issues in the left sciatica and hip area.  This has been an on-going area of pain for at least fifteen or twenty years.  Monday’s MRI and the one from February don’t give us any definitive answers.  In the meantime, there are days when I have trouble walking and sleeping because of the pain.  Because of my allergic reactions to steroid shots in the past, we are ruling out shots for right now.  I see the specialist that operated on Jim’s back soon.  Hopefully, he will have a plan.

Quite honestly, I am now ready to see May arrive.  I have some travel plans for May and June.  I can't wait.

March in My Neck of The Woods

you and Mother Nature need to talk.
According to the calendar, winter is over.
Spring is here.

I always have such great expectations when you arrive.
My head begins to dream of  
flowers blooming,
sun shining,
and trees budding.
My soul longs for green grass and colorful landscapes.

you are typically the snowiest month in Colorado.
Do you think you and Mother Nature could talk and change that statistic?

when you arrive, I know your track record.
 You always seem to bend those optimistic looking daffodils over until they touch the earth from which they so recently have sprung when you cover them with your thick covers of heavy wet snow.
Soon their jaunty heads will defy the snow you bring.
They are hearty and resilient flowers.
They must be to deal with you,

I know you and your ways.
I've learned to adapt to your capricious ways.
When I was just a child, my grandfather told me all about you.
He'd say, "If you don't like the weather in Colorado in the spring,
stick around for five minutes and it will change.

even though I know how you are,
I fall for your ways on those days when you bring us sunshine.
Your whimsical nature
makes me dream of sunny, warm days filled with flowers, and birds, and shady trees.

I imagine warm spring and summer evenings on the new patio I just had built
for those warm days to come.

On those days filled with your whimsy,
I forget how temperamental you can be.
The very next day,
you bring snow, and wind, and blizzards that keep me indoors and shut down traffic.
Deer looking for food on March 26, 2016.
They are trying to eat pine needles on the tree they are under.
In my memory, I hear my grandfather singing, "When it's springtime in the Rockies,"
whenever it snows.

March, I know all about you.

you can be so volatile.

your days are coming to an end for this year.
I am so looking forward to


March has been as capricious as ever this year.

Easter plans were nearly ruined by the heavy snow that fell the two days before Easter.  Jim had to work on the day before Easter, and it snowed and snowed and snowed.  I had purchased food to cook for Easter dinner.  The weather changed all our plans for having family with us for our Easter celebration.  

That didn't stop me from cooking.  It was snowing.  The house was empty.  I had nothing else to do, so I cooked.  I made homemade rolls, a large bowl of potato salad, and frog eye salad.  As I cooked, I talked to my dear friend Linda on the phone.  She also was cooking for family.  Her family also had to change their plans.  I said, "Linda, come on over here for Easter dinner.  Let's put our food together and celebrate Easter together."  She said she'd made a cake.  I didn't have any dessert made yet.  I had a ham.  I told her not to cook her turkey.  She had cheese bread she'd made.  She also made a green salad.

After Easter church services, Linda and her husband Greg came over and celebrated with us.  It was good to have the time with the dearest of friends.  The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and we celebrated the renewal of spring that we would surely see in days to come.

I remembered to take a photo of Jim and Greg after dinner, but since I didn't take one of Linda and me, I am including a photo taken of us a few years back on Easter Sunday.

The last few days we have been able to get out and walk when it isn't snowing.
The dark skies over the mountains confirm weather predictions.
Snow is on it's way.
We live in a valley at the feet of the foothills.

As we walk up the steep incline that is just a few blocks from our house,
we can get just a peek of the peak that is Pikes Peak.
Storm clouds are gathering.

We live in the city, but sometime's you'd never know it.
We get the best of both worlds where we live:  close to the city and close to the mountains.

That means we also get the snow that others just a few hundred feet lower,
and just a few miles away,
don't get.

It is snowing again tonight.
The prediction is that it will be colder and there will be more snow and wind tomorrow.
March is not going out like a lamb.

I will have cataract surgery tomorrow.
I predict I will be spending the day after surgery wrapped up in blanket and enjoying the beauty of the snowy world around me.

April ~ The Cruelest Month?


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

May 2010


I've long since quit trying to analyze poetry for a paper that must be written for a college course.  Now, I try to enjoy poetry for its own sake without digging too deeply.  Yet, I must ponder why this poem speaks to me as it does.  Is it the whole of the poem, or just parts that reach the deepest parts of the sadness I have experienced this month?

I think the beginning two lines speak the loudest to me.  Spring with its evidence of new life, re-birth, the cyclic nature of life has always been comforting to me.  The first sight of my beloved favorite flower, the daffodil, has always filled me with joy.  

Did I lose my innocence about life last spring?  Do those happy, sunny jonquils now mock me rather than lift my spirits?  Or, must I dig deeper in my soul to find comfort that no longer finds joy just by seeing the early blooming of those bulbs planted with such hope last fall?  

The poet is right.  Beauty is not enough.  April, for what purpose have you returned again?  

Julie In Ireland
Your coming has brought new grief to a heart that was healing.  It reminds me of how much I have lost.  It reminds me of that sunny little girl who was born on a beautiful day in April.  It reminds me that the last time I saw her was as year ago in April.  I associate her with daffodils.  They were blooming when she was born.  I had them carved into her headstone.  

Life brings its disappointments, its failures.  Life brings grief, and for some, it brings unspeakable heartbreak.  

The poet makes a statement, and then she asks a question:

It is apparent that there is no death.
What does that signify?

For me, the answer is: in this life, beauty is not enough.  Faith is.  

Spring Chicks No Longer

We haven't been real productive during our spring break.  Both my husband and I are lamenting heavily that we have to return to work next week.  We really do miss our retirement life and schedule.  Also, I think we were both really shocked at how tired we were and how much we needed a break.  Working everyday is taking a toil on us.  I only have about a month to go while he has two months to go.  We don't want to count the days, but are certainly tempted.

One thing is for sure:  we are not as young as we used to be.

Early in the week, I had an appointment with a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor in Colorado Springs.  Last month, an MRI confirmed that I have stenosis in the neck.  This is what causes the severe shoulder pain and numbness in my left arm that I have suffered from so much in the past six months.  I already have been diagnosed with stenosis in the lower spine.  I have chronic problems with my sciatica which can cause me to suffer from numbness in my left leg and foot.

The doctor said I could go in for an injection in the lower back to relieve the inflammation, and I scheduled it for today.  I then chickened out.  I guess the whole idea of having to go to a surgery center for the injection, and prepare as if I were having surgery freaked me out.  I decided to go with chiropractic and massage for a while longer to see if that helps.

I've had a flare up of my hip problems since break began.  Most likely it is due to my leaning over from the waist and cutting back my lavender plants.  I had a massage yesterday, but didn't get much relief.  I have a chiropractic appointment on Monday.  Hopefully, this will give me some relief.

The doctor also prescribed a Saunders Cervical Home Trac for my neck problems.  Have any of you ever used this device?  If it gives me relief, I guess I am willing to give it a try.

The diagnosis of stenosis has set me back some because I have been suffering from its effects off and on for quite some time now.  I hate to be physically limited.  I also hate to take the anti-inflammatory pills because they are so hard on my stomach.  I do get relief from doing Pilates, so I will get back to doing that on a regular basis again.

In the meantime, this afternoon,  Jim and I went out and got started with our yard clean up.  I felt just fine while I worked.  I didn't have any pain at all.  Now, I am really suffering.

These photos were taken last year, but we did the exact same clean-up this year.  I got things done earlier this year.  I have not yet cut back the roses.  It is too early.   My daffodils are just beginning to bloom, and so far, the grape hyacinths have not yet bloomed.

I need to get rid of the lavender in the bed in the center of my front side yard.  (see photo below)  It is taking over the bed.  Lavender works better as a hedge.  I have a hedge of lavender between my yard and the house next door.  I am working on a hedge of it to line the backyard walk.

These are one of my favorite garden tools.  They are razor sharp and are just great for sniping back the lavender in the spring.  They also are really wonderful for harvesting lavender.

I also get frustrated with the grape hyacinths.  They also take over a flower bed.  I have dug them out, pulled them out, and then dug them out again.  I swear they are like gray hair.  You pull one out, and ten come back in the space you tried to pull out.  Do any of you also fight these little purple flowers from taking over a flower bed?