The Wall Around Me

Just thinking….

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.  (Mending Wall by Robert Frost)


There is a wall in my life, and I want it down.  It is the wall of hearing loss, and because it is invisible, it receives very little accord.  Disabilities and handicaps that are visible, such as being in a wheelchair, receive ramps and special bathrooms.  Hearing disabilities do not garner accommodations.  Don’t get me wrong:  I am very glad that those accommodations exist for those who have trouble on steps and with narrow doors, etc.  It is basic kindness.

Those of us with hearing loss do not get this kindness.  Sometimes we get closed captioning…. sometimes not.  Some places will provide a device to place in the ear to jack up the volume.  What they do not realize is that not all hearing loss is caused by lack of volume.  Some can hear the noise of the volume, but cannot distinguish what the noise means.  Sometimes it is the pitch or the tone of a voice that makes the difference.  Sometimes (and this is my case) too much volume is painful.  There usually is no preferred seating so that those with loss can be close enough to read lips, and take in the total body communication.  Many meetings or gatherings do not provide  anything in writing so that the hearing impaired can follow along.  Many speakers do not know how to use a microphone or sound system correctly.  Speakers will often put a hand over the mouth, or turn the head or mumble or talk too quickly.

This wall of non-communication sets up misconceptions and hard feelings.  Some will say (in so many words, tone and attitude) “We don’t care if you can hear or not. We do not intend to change anything about how we communicate.”

Some will try to be kind, but actually become condescending and shout:  “Can you hear now?  Did you get that? Do you understand?”

Some show frustration:  “Just try harder to hear!”  They have no idea of how physically exhausting it is to try and listen to a conversation or a gathering of any sort.

Some make you the butt of the joke….. the one to snicker about….. the one labeled “complainer” or “hopeless”…. deciding that you are totally disfunctional.

Sooner or later, the hearers give up and just ignore the impaired.  Sometimes they begin to treat the person with hearing loss as someone who also has memory loss, or impaired brain function.  And the walls keep going higher.

The irony of the entire situation for me is that I made my living being a speech teacher.  As part of the study on communication, I taught about the levels of listening, never dreaming that someday I would be the deaf old lady in the back row.

My hearing loss has walled me into isolation and loneliness.  It has made me invisible.   I try to be very upfront about my disability, and most people do try to be kind.  They just have no idea of how to respond.  Still…. I keep trying.  I remove a stone from the wall even as someone else is putting up a stone…….

And yet…. there are those who deliberately take a stone off the wall…. the kind lady who offered to do captioning for me at church…… the friend who makes sure that we have quiet places for conversation….. the clerk who when learning of my hearing loss, took time to carefully explain the product to me.  What a blessing these people are!!!

I get asked questions such as : “Do you think hearing aides would help?” (I wear two hearing aides).  “Did this happen because you went to too many loud concerts?” (I am child of the ’60s but I did not go to loud concerts.)  “Do you think you should learn sign language?” (I can talk just fine.  Sign language is OK if another person is there to sign what I cannot hear, but that rarely is the case.)  “Why don’t you have that surgery to replace the ear [cochlear implant]?  (There is certain criteria for the surgery; one cannot just demand it.)  Actually I am glad that people ask questions, for it does show interest and kindness.

I have no idea if Robert Frost intended his poem in any way to refer to the walls of communication surrounding the hearing impaired.  But it certainly fits.  I am walled in….. and I am walled out.  And it certainly gives offense.  And I want it down.

Father, I would love to have my hearing restored.  This wall brings more suffering than I ever thought possible.  And I regret all the years that I had the bad attitudes toward those who could not hear.  I did not understand, and I ask forgiveness.

To God be the Glory,



Published in: on August 6, 2018 at 3:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Mom and the Cemeteries

Just thinking….


The farm where I grew up was just up the road from a country cemetery.  When I had friends come over for a bunk party, we would sometimes walk to the cemetery and try to scare ourselves to death.

Mom didn’t mind us going to the cemetery; she had lots of cemetery history in her own life.  Every Memorial Day, we would cut the huge fragrant peonies, put them into mason jars filled with water, which in turn were put into cardboard boxes and packed into the car trunk.  Then we would fill a thermos with cold water, and make sandwiches, and off we went to the cemeteries.  We visited those graves of both the long departed and the short departed, and all the dearly departed received a blanket of peonies.  We all knew that the next day they would be dying and within a couple days would be ugly brown, but on Memorial Day they were fresh and pretty and their strong fragrance perfumed the air.  I learned so much family history by visiting those graves and decorating them all those years.


My parents never minded visiting a cemetery.  We went to Arlington and saw the graves of the famous, went to Boston and saw the graves of the freedom fighters, and went to tiny little Iowa cemeteries to see the weird shaped stones that in some ways told stories of the departed.  As we would travel, my mom would say, “Cemetery,” and Dad would yank the wheel of the car and pull into the cemetery drive.  If we knew the history of anyone buried there, we reviewed their stories.  And if we didn’t know anyone there, we just made up stories about them.

My parents had a wide circle of friends and a huge family.  As deaths occurred, they not only went to visitation and the funeral, but they would also get into the funeral procession to go to the cemetery and gather under the little tent to pay last respects.  That circle shrank over the years, but the commitment to honor these long time relationships carried on.

In later years, Mom would still say “Cemetery” as we would drive along.  She still had us purchase plastic flowers to put on the graves on Memorial Day.  She still attended funerals, but did not always join the procession to the grave, electing to stay at the church until everyone came back for the funeral dinner.  The last times I remember her walking across the grass of a graveyard was for my father’s funeral and then to visit his grave and place some flowers..  She could barely walk.

Over the years, I had fallen out of the habit of cutting flowers and taking them to graves on Memorial Day.  But this year, my first as an orphan, I felt the need to take flowers to my parent’s graves, and the graves of my grandparents.  We cut peonies from Mom’s flower garden at the farm, put them into water, and off we went.  We first traveled to the little country cemetery where my paternal grandparents, and their parents, and my great aunts and uncles all rested in neat rows with cows peering inquisitively over the fence.  Dark clouds were blowing in and thunder rumbled.  We placed the flowers, reminisced a bit, and hurried back to the car as the rain started to splatter us.  Then we traveled to the cemetery where my  parents are buried, alongside my mother’s parents.  By this time the rain had shifted into monsoon gear.  I grabbed an umbrella and the flowers, but the wind turned the bumbershoot inside out.  We placed the flowers on the graves and hi-tailed it back to the car.

I think Mom would have been proud of us visiting the cemeteries, cutting her peonies, and braving the rain. I think she would have smiled to hear me softly say, “Cemetery” as we turned into the drives.

O Father….. life and death are in Your hands.  We thank You for the gift of life, and for the ability to remember those who have lived.  We thank You that death can usher us into Your very presence….if we have believed in Jesus.  Thank You for parents who taught us about Jesus, and who made the mystery of death not so frightening.  Thank You for the peonies, which will always remind of the respect we pay to those who have gone before us.

To God be the Glory,


Mom and Her Mom-isms

Just thinking…

Mom had a subtle but keen sense of humor that jumped out every so often.  Usually it was accompanied by a tiny twinkle, but sometimes she just dead panned through to the end.  Here’s some examples:

1. Mom was hooked the first time she tried that gas station specialty….. “Cappu-keno”. She loved it so much that she made her own powdered version to mix with hot water whenever she wanted. We never did convince her to pronounce it any other way.

2. She had some other mis-pronunciations: A little boy named Eric became “Eeriek” when my mom pronounced it.

3.  Mom sometimes  would talk about getting the carpet fixed.  It was usually after a meal that contained cabbage…. or onions…. or beans…..

“Kenneth,” she would say to my dad, “we’ve got to get this carpet fixed.”

Or if we were outside, the line was, “Kenneth, we just have to get this grass fixed.”

If you are family, you can chuckle now.

4.  Mom loved the computer.  She was quite social and this was her tool to reach out and “chat” all over the world.  Her favorite social media?  “Facelift”…….

5.  We were poor.  Poor people have to find cheap ways to have fun.  So Mom introduced us to stomach rumbles.  This has to be done just a little after finishing a meal.  One person lays flat on the floor.  The next person lays with his/her head on person #1’s tummy.  Person 3 places his/her head on #2’s tummy.  And so forth.  The last person  has to have person 1’s head on his/her tummy.  Then we just rest and listen to the concert.  Other times we held a burp-off.

Guess you would have to be there……

Father, Thankful for humor and so very thankful to not live in a cheerless world.  Thank You for a mom who liked to laugh….. even at herself.  Amen

To God be the Glory,


Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mom and Her Hands

Just thinking…..


I contemplate my mother’s hands. She is dying….. minutes to eternity.  And yet, these hands hold mine, and give a slight move….. do I dare think it is a squeeze?

These hands held and carried me, spanked me, hugged and squeezed me, rubbed my back, wiped my tears. These hands combed the snarls out of my hair, and clasped in prayer. These hands made beds, cooked meals, washed clothes, weeded gardens, gathered eggs, slopped pigs, milked cows. These hands drove a car, played piano, wrote letters. These hands waved hello…waved goodby. These hands caressed my father’s arm as he was dying, and grasped her walker when she visited his grave. These hands signed her name in her Bible, and made hush-signs to her children when we were too loud. These hands created crafts, sewed on buttons, frosted cookies, decorated trees, played rummy cube, arranged flowers. When did her hands become so wrinkled and bruised? And what does it mean that my hands are looking like her hands? Towards the end, my mother could not talk, could not see, could not hear. But she could squeeze my hand.


Mom’s hands became so swollen and bruised as she aged…. the skin became so thin.


She liked for me to polish her nails.  Most of the time she wanted clear polish or a very light pink.  One time when I polished her nails, she thought that I put on a too-dark color. But she later said she thought they were nice, and waved her fingers about so that others would notice.  I would trim her nails, soak her fingers and clean the nails.  I would gently massage lotion into her hands and arms, careful not to hurt her.

My hand… over hers…. and my hand is now looking like the old hand.

After my mother took her last breath, the hospice workers asked us to leave the room for a few minutes while they arranged and cleaned her body.  When they ushered us back into the room, Mom’s hands were placed like this, with a fresh violet-colored flower in her hands.  I was so touched by their compassion.


The final repose….. Mom’s hands in the casket. No more bruising. The make up artist did a nice job, but I just keep thinking that her perfect heavenly body will have hands even better than this!  I miss my mother’s hands.  I miss the love they expressed with the many tasks she did and gestures she gave.  Now I contemplate my own hands.  Will someone…. someday…. hold my hands during my last breath, and remember me with love?

Father,  I praise You and thank You for the hands of my mother.  What joy to think that even now her beautiful hands are lifted in praise to You!  Make me worthy….. and help me use my hands in such a worthy way.  Amen.

To God be the Glory,


Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 3:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mom and the Flowers

Just thinking….


This carnation is from the casket flowers at Mom’s funeral.  Mom loved flowers. We had all kinds of old-fashioned flowers at the home where we lived when I was growing up: bleeding hearts, lilies of the valley, roses, tulips, morning glories, irises, a type of lily that made long-witch-finger-like flowers (in fact, we would pluck them and wear them on our fingers), trumpet lilies, hollyhocks, tiger lilies, sweet peas, lilacs, peonies, and of course….violets.


Just imagine walking thru the little gate to our front yard, with a huge lily plant to the left, and then the border along the garage being a riot of color from the jumble of all these plants, and then looking toward the front porch with the pearl white lilies of the valley along the steps, and morning glories cascading down the sides of the porch.  Imagine seeing us picking the hollyhocks from the fence line behind the house, and making little dolls from them, each doll having an antebellum hollyhock gown.  Imagine the heady, intoxicating fragrance of the lilacs and honeysuckle as you strolled about the front yard and then to the back yard.


Except for the violets, those were all outdoor flowers that just came back year after year with very little help from the humans.  In those days way back when, Mom didn’t do so well with indoor plants. While those wild violets flourished outdoors, they seemed to wither indoors. Maybe she was just too busy with kids and animals and everything else to keep up with indoor plants.  Maybe we just overwatered them.  However, in later years, her green thumb was evident in her indoor plants. Her windows and enclosed back porch were lush with greenery.


I have inherited a couple of her plants.  The picture above, top, is her Christmas cactus that has no idea of when to bloom; last year it bloomed at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.  It is quite happy in my sunroom. The other is a huge fern, about 6 feet from the end of one frond to the tip of the other. This particular fern was the decor at my mom and dad’s wedding, back in 1947.  It has been subdivided many times so that everyone in the family can have a part of it.  This fern, too, is in my sunroom, but it likes to stay out of the direct sun.  In the summer, we move it outside under the shade tree.  Fern is quite happy with lots of water.

Mom raised gardens and orchards, potato patches and sweet corn patches. We had a huge strawberry bed, gooseberry bushes, black berries and raspberries, and grape vines. The orchards yielded apples, peaches, and pears. The gardens gave us peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, radishes and rhubarb.


Today we are planting a rose  in memory of my mother.  Perry dug the hole.  We placed the rose and filled the hole with potting soil.  I said a prayer of praise as I poured water over the rose.  Mom’s name was Violet….. and the rose is lavender.  As it grows this summer, I shall remember my mother.  Her gardens fed our bodies.  But the flowers fed our souls.

UPDATE:  Aug. 5, 2018:  Violet Rose (that’s what I named this memorial rose) flourished this summer, tripling in size and bearing many lovely lavender roses.  Beautiful!

Father, we thank You for all creation, but today I thank You for the little grace notes of the beauty in the flowers. Thank You for my mother who loved the flowers and cared so tenderly for them.  Thank you for the friends who cared enough to send flowers as a memory to our mother.   Amen.

To God be the Glory,


Published in: on April 17, 2018 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mom and Sunday Mornings

Just Thinking…..


We went to a little one room country church when I was growing up. There was a small basement under the church and an outhouse behind it.


Going or not going to church was never an option. It was similar to no options on going to school, or going to the doctor. We just did it. We sang hymns loudly to the tunes on the old upright piano, put the numbers on the wall chart showing the offering and attendance, and played with the funeral home fans tucked into the hymnal racks. Mom would bring some cheerios in a sandwich bag to occupy our hands and mouths when we were little. Or she would take out her handkerchief (also known as “hanky”), and fold it into interesting shapes to keep us quiet. If I got really bored, I would go outside to the bathroom, and then march around the church a few times before coming back in. I’m sure my mother saw me pass the window during each round.


We had Sunday school in the basement, with wee ones in the kitchen around a little table. My mother was the teacher, and that was her passion. She loved the little ones. The rest of us were in other corners of the basement, but we could see and hear everyone down there.

Some Sundays Mom had to make the communion foods to take to church. Some Sundays she volunteered us kids to sing a special or to play a song on our musical instruments.

Now imagine Sunday mornings at our house. There were morning farm chores to be done, breakfast for our large family, dishes to wash, making sure everyone was clean and properly dressed (shoes were all shined the night before), Sunday school lesson materials such as the flannel board pictures to pack, making sure we had our music or musical instruments, and putting the pot roast into the oven before we left.


So it was no wonder that once in a while as we entered the church and slipped off coats, that Mom would find that she wore her apron to church. Or her old shoes. Bless her heart.

Father, thank You for a mother who taught us by example that worship was important.  Be with all the frenzied parents who struggle to get all the little ones to church.  Amen.

To God be the Glory,


Mom and the Old House

Just thinking…..

We lived in an old farm house, which didn’t even have running water or electric when the folks bought it. Dad put in the electric, but it was several years before we had running water. Until then, we used an outhouse, and had a cistern out on the back porch where we could pump water, and also a well. Bath time in the summer consisted of a metal tub set out in the yard, and in the winter, the tub was moved into the house near the heat register. I always thought going to my grandparent’s house, where they had a REAL bathroom was just the ultimate luxury.


Mom was patient most of the time with that old house, putting up with the inconveniences, and the mice in the walls, and the leaky windows. But once in a while she got that creative urge.


One time she decided to paint the upstairs bedrooms. She had seen a current fad about putting texture in the paint, which resulted in sandy looking walls. So she bought the paint, but what to use for the texture? Aha! She had extra cornmeal. So she stirred in the cornmeal, and painted away. Dad was not impressed. But we kids thought it looked cool except for the times we brushed up against it and got rug burn on our arms. However…… something began to smell. Yes, our science lesson was that cornmeal mixed into paint will eventually mold.


Another time she wanted a closet in her bedroom. It was a teensy little room off the living room, but had no closet. Mom walked around with a yardstick and paper and pencil, and announced that since the stairs bordered with a bedroom wall, then we could just knock out part of that wall and put a closet in the space under the stairs. Seemed good in theory. So one afternoon, she gave us kids hammers and told us to go at it. Those old plaster and lath walls were tough, and about all we really could do with hammers was knock off the plaster and crack some lath. Then we gave up, thinking Dad could do it when he came home from work. Dad’s reaction was not what we expected. He informed all of us that the wall was load bearing (oops…) and that the space under the stairs was too narrow for even a coathanger. So the patching commenced…..

Then there was the time the folks decided to finally put in running water and a real bathroom. They turned another little bedroom into half closet and half bathroom. They found a used claw foot tub, a used sink and a used toilet. They even found a used toilet lid made of wood, which unfortunately had a crack on it that would pinch when we sat on it. Turquoise and silver were big decorating colors then, and Mom dreamed of using those colors in the bathroom. So she painted the bottom half of the walls turquoise (I don’t remember what the top part was), but what to do about the silver? She found some sticky silver tape, and used it create the dividing line between the top and bottom of the wall. It did look amazing. Especially the place where tape went upward off the line. And the place where it never would stick…..


The last example is the kitchen. Mom wanted a little diner type of eating corner. So she designed some benches, which Dad built. One bench was snugged in under the window. The second bench was on the opposite side of the table. They were just plywood with a plastic upholstery, but we thought they were great fun. The slanted back would tilt down and we could hide things in there. It worked great. The unfortunate part was when their much loved oldest child set a hot pan on the seat of the bench…. melting the plastic….. scorching the wood. Mom had had a brillliant idea, but that hole and scorch mark were there the rest of its life.

Father, Thank You for the gift of creativity.  Thank You for perseverance.  Thank You for patience.  Thank You for parents who always did the best with what they had.  Amen.

To God be the Glory…..


Published in: on April 17, 2018 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mom and the Sewing Machine

Just thinking…..


Mom didn’t sew very much. I never saw her do embroidery, knitting, crochet, tatting, and the like. She did use her treadle machine to patch clothes, but rarely did she sit down and actually construct clothes. Mom had me use the treadle to learn how to sew in straight lines, but most of my sewing knowledge came from my grandma and 4-H.


However, I still remember one time when mom made dresses for us girls and a shirt for my brother out of matching material. The material was  bluish green with a pattern of happy little stoplights scattered over it. Mom did a great job sewing all of those and we looked pretty good.  (Note:  I no longer have any of this fabric.  This picture is only an approximation of the original fabric.  The background would have more green in it.  But it gives an idea…..)

Then we wore our matchy-matchy outfits to church. Someone at the church had found the same material, purchased bolts of it, and made curtains for the stage of the church. They were long…. probably 10 foot…. and were stretched on a wire that ran from one side of the church to the other. The idea was to have the curtain there in case we did some plays.

The problem became very evident. Four children in  bluish green material with scattered happy stoplights…. standing in front of a curtain of  bluish green material with scattered happy stoplights….. meant that the audience only saw us as chubby faces and spindly arms and stick like legs.

Really…. I wish I had a picture.

Father, thank You for the good memories.  Thank You for a mother who took time to sew for us.  Thank You for her willing hands.  Amen.

To God be the Glory,


Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mom in the Kitchen

Just Thinking…..


Mom was a culinary genius. Like most geniuses, she had the occasional flop, but I remember so many of her ideas about food. Although I like everything today except turnips, that was not true when I was growing up.  I was a brat about eating, and truly did not appreciate my mom’s cooking.  Most of her cooking was the everyday meat and potatoes type, and it was delicious. But a few stories come to mind about meals that were different.


One year, we visited my aunt and uncle in Denver, who announced that we were having pizza for supper. Pizza? Never heard of it. It was not an everyday word in our part of Iowa. So we were introduced to pizza, and Mom fell in love with it. She worked out all kinds of ways to make pizza…. far beyond the then-standard hamburger tomato sauce and cheese. Whatever was a left over could potentially find its way onto a pizza.


Usually she made pizza crust when she made the weekly bread loaves. But then she discovered pizza mixes at the store…. were they Chef Boy R D? Anyway, it was a box of flour mix (just add water), a packet of tomato sauce and a little packet of parm cheese. She still made most of her pizza with bread dough, but I remember that she bought those mixes one year for my birthday, and my friends could all help make pizzas.


Another food discovery for our family was spaghetti. We knew its cousin, macaroni, but were not aware of spaghetti. Macaroni showed up on our plates as mac ‘n cheese, or tuna noodle cassarole, or macaroni salad. We never called it pasta. But after our first experience of eating spaghetti somewhere, Mom perfected and then reinvented that dish. Spaghetti could come with hamburger, or sausage, or chicken, or…….


Mom usually only used salt and pepper to season her cooking. She had some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, which were usually put into sweet rolls. But my creative mom decided one time to surprise us by cooking chicken with some other spices. I could tell from the aroma that this was not a regular chicken. And when I tasted it, I must admit that I made a face….. and probably said yuck!


She had put cinnamon with the chicken. It just was not a 1950s Iowa thing. Now I know that she was ahead of her time. Many ethnic dishes, which I now love, will combine those spices with meat…. and even add raisins or apples. But at the time I had no appreciation of her cooking.

Mom liked to try ethnic foods.  We didn’t know they were “ethnic” at the time.  But Dad’s side of the family was Swedish, and Mom’s side was Welsh.  So we enjoyed a smorgasbord of foreign foods:  ostakakka, lute fisk, rarebit, yorkshire pudding, fruk soppa, and ostakakka.  We sometimes cooked out of a 4-H project book of foreign foods.  All of this gave us a taste of foods beyond Iowa….. just not chicken with cinnamon.


For a while our family had to receive “commodities”, which were basic staples from the USDA for poorer families.  Once a month, my parents went to town and came home with boxes of dried milk, peanut butter, dried eggs, flour, sugar, oats, olives, cheese, butter, rice, etc.  There were recipes that came with the boxes; one that I remember us eating often was Spanish rice.  Whether there was anything Spanish about it or not, it was good.  Mom would transfer the foods to other containers as she didn’t want people to know that we received commodities.  But the food was a godsend during a time that my parents were struggling to keep the farm and feed a large family.  We ate well during those times, supplemented by the garden and orchard, and our chickens and livestock.


Butchering a pig or cow usually happened in the winter, when the meat could hang and drain without spoiling in the hot weather.  We routinely killed chickens year round as we would eat them right away.  Mom would fry the chicken, grind pork into sausage and also have ribs, pork chops, and bacon.  The cow ended up being steaks and hamburger. Sometimes Mom would can the meat, with the fat rising to the top of the jar.


In later years, she was not able to garden or process the meat.  Yet it was important to her to have her freezer and pantry filled.  At the end, she had three chest freezers in the basement, two refrigerators, and a huge basement pantry.  She became unable to navigate stairs, and the food sat in the freezers and on the shelves, mummifying.  When it was time to move Mom out of her home, we had to empty those freezers and shelves.  This brought her to tears.

“This food was for you children,” she cried.  “This is your legacy.  You will never be hungry.”

Father, I am so grateful for my mother’s love.  Food was her love language, and she provided for us so well.  Bless those whose hands raise, and prepare food for their families.  Bless those who teach their children how to cook.  We ask that You continue to provide.  Amen.

To God be the Glory,



Mom and Easter

Just thinking….

Mom loved holidays and celebrating with family. Sometimes that included grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, but because we lived a distance from them, it was usually just us. Easter, however, was one of the holidays that we shared with grandparents.


During the week before Easter, we decorated our baskets. Now keep in mind that it might not be a BASKET basket. It might be a bowl…. or a paper sack. Usually we had some of the green grassy fluff laying around from a previous Easter to line the “basket”. We would put the “baskets” in various places on Easter Eve. And lo and behold….. the next morning, we found Peeps and jellly beans. There usually was no other candy. and I didn’t care for either, but it was still exciting! Occasionally there would be malted milk balls, which I called molded moth balls.


We would boil and dye eggs, sometimes using crayons on them to make a waxy resist. We loved seeing how plain food coloring mixed with vingar could make such lovely colors. Later, we would eat the eggs: deviled eggs or egg salad.


Then we put on our new Easter outfits: a cute dress, little gloves and bonnet, shiny shoes. I hated bonnets. One year, I hated it so much that I sat on it and flattened it. That brought tears to my mom.


Mom would have a special breakfast for us if we didn’t eat breakfast at church for sunrise service. She would make a round sweet bread ring, and decorate it with frosting and more jelly beans. Usually we went to sunrise service, held in conjunction with two other little country churches, with a fantastic breakfast. So wonderful to be in church as the sun rose, singing “Low in the Grave He Lay”, and “Up From the Grave He Arose”. And of course, smelling that breakfast wafting up from the church basement.


Unless illness or weather intervened, we would go to my grandparents’ in the next county for lunch. We could always count on Grandma having a big bunny cake centerpiece, the kind made with two round cakes (one cut into the ears and bow tie), and lots of coconut and frosting. And at each of our plates was a special favor: a REAL chocolate egg, with fruit bits, or coconut in it. Now that was more my style for candy.


Back home, we raided our “baskets”, with my brother snagging the black jelly beans. And woven all thru the holiday were the reminders of Jesus: Jesus in the garden with His disciples, Jesus being betrayed, Jesus led off for conviction, Jesus on the cross, Jesus buried, and Jesus alive again. I didn’t get it all at once, but over time, the message became clear. All the celebration we did was because of our joy in the resurrection!

In later years, Mom began to love doing craft work.  She was always too busy when we were growing up to do much craft work, and the irony is that when she had the time, her eyesight began to fail.  So I devised large scale crafts for her to do.  These pictures are of an Easter bonnet and an egg, for which she tore pieces of paper and glued them on.  I think it was cute….. and she had such a good time!.


For some reason, Mom loved Peeps. I don’t remember when they first came out, but she was enthralled with those little yellow chicks. Later, there were bunnies, and the color choices expanded. But every Easter we knew that Peeps would be at our table setting, and in the centerpiece. This year, I bought some yellow bunny Peeps early in March so that I would be ready to make my mother smile. But she died before Easter, and the Peeps remained in the cabinet until last night. I could not decide on whether to get them out and have a good cry…. or throw them away….. or….. So I decided to set them out on the table. I didn’t cry. Instead I smiled as I imagined my mom would smile on seeing those sweet little fluffs.

I imagine that every “day” is Easter in Heaven (I know that time will be no more there, so “day” is relative”). But Happy Easter, Mom, in Heaven. See you later!

Father…. I am so grateful for Easter.  All the reminders that Jesus is ALIVE!…. that He is coming AGAIN!…. that I can have ETERNITY!   Yes, even as I look at the little yellow Peeps, I can give You thanks for all that you created, and that it is a reminder that of new birth.  Amen

To God be the Glory,