Playing in the Snow!

Today I have been channeling my mother as Cleveland, that is the city proper, received the first snowstorm of the winter. My mother loved the first snow and being a part of the glorious beauty that God has given us in the form of snowflakes. Now I don’t dislike snow, but not since my childhood
have I really reveled in just being a part of it. I like to watch it from the window and I love to see the fresh snow on the trees, but to just hang out in it – Not!
Today was different, I re
ally think she was egging me on so out I went to take photos and just enjoy the beauty of it. The weather reminded me of a snowstorm we had in I think in 1999 or so. The city
was basically shut down and when I looked out of my house there was a couple of feet of snow in the driveway and on the streets. At the time I lived down the street from my parents and at the height of the storm who comes traipsing down the street but my Mom. She’s wearing her fur coat and trying to get me to come and walk with her. I was not game. Now, she really wasn’t a dog person, but that day she asked me to give her my dog – CoCo so she could take her for a walk. That was one of the funniest things I had seen and today it was a wonderful memory! I now only wish I had gone out to play with her.
One advantage I had today was that I did not have to drive in it! So I’m writing this post at 6:15 p.m. and although I don’t have to drive in the gridlock that is Cleveland right now, I am becoming impatient. I have been waiting for my husband for over an hour, but there is n
o need to be angry because he has been trying to get from E. 21st St. to E. 13th street for over an hour. What a mess! This storm really caught the City of Cleveland by surprise. Hopefully I will arrive home before 8 p.m. and upload the photos that support this post. So it’s now 10:32 p.m. and I have only been home
about an hour!
I just received a message from my brother in Virginia telling me to come down for a visit. I think I will soon, but as I said I’m not one of those Clevelanders crying about the weather. The snow
will get old sooner than later, but I love living in an area with four distinct seasons and hey the cost of living is good!
Below are some of the photos I captured.

#reverb10 – Community

So what exactly is community? My interpretation is a place of nurturing, a safe zone – somewhere I feel comfortable. Now Merriam Webster has a slightly different take, but it is a definition with many variances. I will recount a few of them here: “a unified body of individuals: as a :state or commonwealth; b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself ; c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location.”
My reflection of community is best associated with example ‘c’ – an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. That I believe is a good definition of Facebook, and remarkably I have found a definite home on this social networking site.
This year as I dealt with the passing of my mother the many messages and heartfelt sentiments received from both near and far acted as a healing balm and made this most difficult time more bearable. During and after this time the many messages that were meant just to bring a smile achieved their goal. I also reconnected with many people I had not heard from in more than 20 years, so I would say that social networking sites have become a community of support for me.
Additionally, in the last several weeks I have participated in a number of classes online that have opened up many new communities. In particular the participants in two classes over at Big Picture Classes – “The Gift of Words” and “Picture the Holidays” have been inviting and represent a true interacting population of various kinds of individuals. Primarily women, but I have noticed a man or two in the forums, we all hail from various corners of the world and have been brought together in support of an art with all love.
With all of this online activity is there a face-to-face community I am hoping to join or re-engage? I would say that the passing of my Mom has left a huge void in my family and that sense of community is something that I am longing for particularly during this time of year. I will pray, meditate and contemplate the best ways to remedy this situation.
In the meantime I will continue to value my new online communities and nurture the face to face communities I belong to and call home.

#reverb10 – What is the Last Thing You Made?

So on my second day of participating in #reverb10 I am happy to say we have a happy topic, or one that does not dwell on any sadness. The topic today is what is the last thing you made and this works well with my previous post on feeling a little scatterbrained because I have been doing so many things. So technically, the last thing I made was one half of a pair of foot warmers. These are hand knit and made first and foremost with love, because I love the person who will wear them and I hope that each time they put them on the depth of our friendship will come through and warm them both physically and emotionally. The yarn used to knit these warmers is Artful Yarns Circus and it is 95% wool and 5% acrylic so they are nice and warm and you can toss them in the laundry – making them convenient.
I have knit these over the last several years for a number of friends and I receive rave reviews after the fact. It is such a joy to knit something and then have the recipient genuinely enjoy the gift. This is something that really brings a smile to my face!
The completed project are a couple of hand knit hats, again they are made with love, but t
he fiber used was Cascade Lana Grande a bulky yarn – also a mix of wool and acrylic.
I can’t wait to pass on the love!

Reverb10 – "What (or whom) Did You Let Go of This Year? Why

Today is my first day participating in Reverb10. If you’re not familiar, this is an annual challenge held during the month of December and you – the writer are given prompts each day to tell the story of the year and look forward to the new year. That’s my interpretation and I think I’m on point.

So I’m five days behind and I would start on the day they pose the tough prompt. So herei it goes!
February 27, 2010
Have you ever woke up and gone through the day without a clue as to the devastation and pain that was quickly approaching? Well that is the only way I can describe the day I had to say goodbye to my mother, Chris Shockley. I’ve never felt so much pain.

The day started at my parent’s house where I had spent the night with my Mom. She was having a difficult time at night, but I never thought the end was this close. Mommy was restless Friday night constantly going from bed to chair, from bed to chair. It was almost as if she didn’t want to sleep, and now as I reflect I wonder did she know the end was close and she wasn’t quite ready? I think maybe. I now know that she was telling me the time was near, but I continued to hold on to hope that she would continue to fight.
At one point during the night she would wake and ask me to hold her as she went back to sleep and then a few hours later she woke with a start and yelled “I’m leaving” and I quieted her and said I was there and everything was okay. Today I know that she was letting me know that her journey was coming to an end.
I left my parent’s house the next morning with my Mom seated on the side of her bed. She said “I love you,” and I told her the same and that I would talk with her later. When I got home I went to bed and slept for most of the day. That evening I was to attend an American Legion dance with my husband so I got up and got dressed to spend a night on the town.
Less than an hour after arriving at the Party Center I received a call from my sister saying Mommy’s pulse was thready and weak and I needed to get to the house. I grabbed the keys from my husband and began the fifteen minute drive to my parent’s house. We were in the midst of a snow storm and I traveled as fast as I could – praying all the way “Lord, let her hold on until I get there. Lord, please don’t take her.” The snow was coming down thick and heavy and the roads were becoming slick, but I made it.
I drove into the driveway and ran to the back door where I was greeted by my aunt, and I knew before she said anything that I was too late. The pain grabbed me deep within my stomach and a scream of “Noooooo!” could be heard throughout the house. I slumped to the floor and cried before going upstairs and laying with my mother and saying goodbye.
Cancer had once again knocked on the door of my family and taken a cherished member away. My world is emptier and I am regularly reaching to call her on the phone and recount something special, interesting or funny going on in my life.
A piece of my heart has gone, but I now have my own personal angel watching over me. Below is the tribute I wrote in honor of my Mom.

The Birdie on My Shoulder

From the beginning you fought for me

That fight would continue for many years in many forms.

Your strength was always present even when we were apart.

You assured me that whenever I had trouble all I had to do was look on my shoulder

On my shoulder a little bird sat watching – that Red Robin was you.

You watched over me as I spoke my first words, took my first steps and ventured out into the world.

As I ventured into the world you assured me that you would be there, “I’m the little bird on your shoulder” you said.

With every step I’ve taken since I’ve paused to think “What would my little birdie think?”

My birdie said “Reach for the sky, there are no limits if you work hard at it.”

When the ceiling seemed short and I couldn’t see my birdie. You said take your arms, wrap them around you and squeeze.

That ever present hug is what I’m holding on to, because my birdie still watches over me, but she has taken flight and is perched on the right side of God.

From that perch on high she will guide and protect me.