Deanne Has A Blog!

May. 12, 2018

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

“I have always imagined paradise as a kind of library.” Jose Luis Borges

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King

According to Wikipedia, Johannes Gutenberg developed, circa 1439, a printing system, adapting existing technologies to printing purposes. That changed the world. Time passed, more printed works were available, more people learned to read and eventually there were local libraries, sacred palaces filled with books of every kind. Then, glory of glories, those libraries took to having Used Book Sales. When we were young and first married, we had lots of children, no money, and had just bought our house, a beautiful place, now 102 years old. Oldest daughter, Leah, and I had a common bond. We read. I don’t mean we read now and then, I mean we READ! Usually two or three books at a time. In fact, twelve year old Leah never left the house without three books; the one she was reading, the one she planned to read next and one more just in case. As for me, I had books propped up in the kitchen, the dressing room and my nightstand.

The Used Book Sales were a little slice of heaven for us. Arriving on the appointed day well in advance of the opening, we bought shopping bags filled with goodness knew what for $1.00. Novels went for a dime or a quarter and we staggered away with delicious booty that kept us happy for weeks.

We, of course, used the Library with gay abandon, taking the limit of books every few days, wallowing in words. Leah got special permission from the Librarian to have an adult library card so she could devour all the Perry Mason mysteries. I vividly remember telling her she was not to read Forever Amber or Lydia Bailey as I felt they were far too racy for her. Compared to what is available now along the lines of 50 Shades of Grey, they were about as racy as Dick, Jane and Spot, whom we met in the First Grade.

Time marched on and we could buy the latest books fairly cheaply when they came out in paperback at Costco. Time continued to march inexorably on and we became Kindle readers. I have published several things on Amazon Kindle and, occasionally, get a dollar or two in royalties.

So, all those Used Book Sales and purchases here and there have made it possible for me to have a bookshelf in every single room of my house and I add to them still with various hard or soft cover books. I love how they look. I love the fact that I have read them all, many more than once, and there is something about being surrounded by books that is immensely comforting. Have you ever visited someone and discovered they have no books anywhere? How do they exist?

However...and you knew one was coming...I now must divest myself of many of these beloved books as my partner in life and fellow book lover, John, is now residing – and reading, I’m sure – in heaven and I must let our house go to another family, hopefully, with children who will love growing up here and want to refill the bookcases with their own favorites.

Too many books! the real estate people say. Too cluttered. Books are not necessary. They are in the way. How is that even possible, I ask? But, happily, the Library is willing to take back their books and use them in yet another Used Book Sale. So, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and put together dozens of cardboard cartons that John had bought for some reason or other and I’ve spent the last week wandering through the house taking books off shelves and placing them in boxes. I’ve been to the liquor store and looted their box pile and; although I don’t think my back will ever be the same; I have gathered 442 hard cover and 75 paperback books. The Library folks, Martha and Jeff, came yesterday and took them all away. I was relieved the job was done but sad at the same time.

I am comforting myself with the thought that next month at the June Used Book Sale there will probably be another mother-daughter team, like Leah and me, who will be in book heaven as soon as they walk through the door.

 

Mar. 21, 2018

Bees and hummingbirds feasting on the blossoms on our lemon trees, sometimes those little guys fly right up to the kitchen window to take a look at me drinking my coffee!

The flowering cherry/plum trees all over town...glorious shades of pink.

My tiny wisteria vine twining itself around the fence again.

The sunrises every day this week and the glorious rain happening right this minute!

These things listed above are the most beautiful things I’ve seen this week. Yesterday was the first day of Spring and looking around our yard and the neighborhood, the following verse pretty much says it all:

“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” Is. 55:12

Sleep is an odd sort of thing these days, since John, my best friend and the person I woke up with for a little over fifty years has changed his address to heaven. We were always so glad we were both morning persons, waking with the dawn, ready to start our day. Now there's an hour or two of sleep and then an hour or two of not and then maybe more sleep....maybe not...but last night I awoke with a song circling my mind. It has stayed with me and for the first time in months, I awoke smiling and singing...

“You Are My King”   Chris Tomlin, Lyrics


“I'm forgiven because you were forsaken
I'm accepted, you were condemned
I'm alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king. would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
Its my joy to honor you
Amazing love how can it be?
That my king would die for me
Amazing love I know it's true
Its my joy to honor you
In all I do
I honor you

You are my king
You are my king
Jesus, You are my king
Jesus, You are my king.”

Then, the reading in “Jesus Calling” (Sarah Young) today ended saying:

“Remember that I am also your Song. I want you to share My Joy, living in conscious awareness of My Presence. Rejoice as we journey together toward heaven; join Me in singing My song.”

And I felt just a little less alone... sunrises, to me, always feel like hope.

 

Feb. 19, 2018

“Life’s a dance...you learn as you go.”

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening and live like it’s heaven on earth.” William W. Purkey

I’m not exactly sure who William W. Purkey was or is, but he has the right idea here about dancing and singing. Ya gotta do those things to please yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not, if it pleases you, do it! My husband and best friend, John, used to allow me one dance a year. Needless to say, dancing was not part of his Baptist upbringing so he never really could relax and enjoy it. Once in a while, though, we would be at a wedding and he would dance with me for a few minutes. I really liked it.

The last few years, an event has been occurring at schools all over the Nation: The Daddy-Daughter Dance. Last week our Texas girls, Jessie and Emily escorted their Daddy, the ever-patient Christopher, to their Daddy-Daughter Dance and, as you can see by the pictures, a fine time was had by all.

Also this last week I got to see pictures of my delightful neighbor, Craig, with his three daughters, Violet, Fay and Avery, dressed and ready for the D-D Dance. Also pictured was Craig and Lisa’s youngest daughter, Charlotte Helen, who is not yet in school and who collapsed into a major meltdown when she realized that everyone was going out with Daddy but her.

All these pictures have filled my heart with joy and caused me to laugh. Thinking about it, the first Daddy-Daughter Dances I ever heard of were when Jessie and Emily’s mother, Crissy, went to them at Alverno High School with her Daddy some years ago. They were both beautiful and I treasure the pictures and the memories. But this is about Jessie and Emily and their Dadddy-Daughter Dance!.

The Misses Emily and Jessie had a big night out last week.

Wally W. Watkins Elementary School, The pride of Wylie, Texas,

Where the Misses E and J, are the stars of second and fourth grade,

Was totally redone, redecorated, transformed,

Into a magical place, where memories were made.

The Misses E and J and their Daddy

Were dressed up to the nines,

They both were fluffed and buffed, and he,

Could not have looked more handsome.

The smiles on all their faces,

Were happy and sweet…and then some!

The Misses E & J and their Daddy enjoyed all the refreshments,

Hawaiian punch and cookies,

Chocolate chip and Oreos,

Have another two or three,

“No, no thank you, girls, that’s quite enough for me!”

Miss Emily spent the evening racing ‘round with friends,

While Miss Jessie and her Daddy talked and laughed till almost eight.

No, they didn’t dance a single dance,

Not a foxtrot or a waltz.

But they finally got into the photo booth,

Which you can see was quite a blast!

The Misses E and J and their Daddy, made memories last week.

They looked so lovely and he looked just grand,

Nothing they did was thought out or planned,

An evening together, dressed up, that’s all,

But the Misses Emily and Jessie, and their Daddy, who is their Prince,

Loved every single minute at the Wally W. Watkins Elementary ball.

 

 

Jan. 6, 2018

“Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone; you’ll never walk alone.” Rodgers & Hammerstein

I’m sure you recognize this wonderful piece of music from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, Carousel, which debuted in 1945 and is still being performed here and there around the world. This song is sung by Nettie, who runs the local seafood restaurant. Her friend, Julie, a factory worker, married the incredibly handsome and totally wrong for her carnival barker, Billy Bigelow. Julie has told Billy she is expecting, and he, in a misguided effort to provide for his soon-to-be baby, engages in a robbery and is shot to death.

Julie weeps over his body and sobs to Nettie, “He’s dead! Nettie, what am I gonna do?” Nettie replies that she’ll come stay with her, she’ll keep going and then sings, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” This song reduces everyone in the audience to tears and is truly one of the greatest lyrics ever. Sung at many high school graduations, by the way.

When I wrote this blog piece a year ago, I had no idea that I, too, would be in that same position as Julie, sobbing to my family that my beloved John was gone and what am I gonna do! Well, life does somehow go on and three months later, I’ve found that though there’s not a minute I don’t miss him, I’ve managed to keep going, through many tears, which is pretty much what Julie did, too.

There’s a concept going around, brought to my attention by Michelle Griep, successful author and blogger. Look her up, check out all her books and be amazed. Anyway, the concept is to pick one word to be your New Year’s resolution or mission statement for the year. There was even a book a few years back: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This is so cool as you can immediately dump those high-minded and probably impossible resolutions like reading all the great books in one year. Seriously? Have you ever looked at the list of Greatest Books? Here’s the first few:

1 . Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

2 . In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

3 . Ulysses by James Joyce.

4 . The Odyssey by Homer.

5 . War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

6 . Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

7 . The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

8 . Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

I repeat, Seriously?? There are some of you out there who have read these, but most of us are happy with a new Stuart Woods or James Patterson thriller, or maybe a new John Grisham. Here’s one I’d really like to read:  “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be,” by Rachel Hollis.

There’s always lose ten pounds, donate all the clothes that don’t fit and have butter stains on the front to the Salvation Army and on and on.

The word I picked last year is: HOPE!

And I’m going to pick it again this year. I’m going to lean heavily on HOPE to help me make wise decisions about my future. I’m HOPING for a number of children I know who have medical problems: Brooklyn, Caleb N., Jake and our own Jessie. I’m HOPING that this year will bring what they all need in the way of healing.

So much has been written about HOPE:

“HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”

“H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends”

“The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word...HOPE.”

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.” Christopher Reeves

“Where there is HOPE, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”

This picture is of hot air balloons floating over the Arizona desert that our Texas family and I saw just a week ago. There is such HOPE in seeing these gaily colored balloons lifting up and up and up.

So that’s my word again for the year, HOPE. I’m hoping you’ll pick one that will work for you. My beloved John, now seeing so many who have gone before us, and most especially his Lord, would like this.... HOPE!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jer. 29:11

 

 

Dec. 6, 2017

“Walking alone is not difficult...

but when we walked a mile with someone...

then coming back alone is...difficult.”

How is it possible,

How can it be,

That a lifetime of, “we,”

Overnight became, “me?”

Fifty years it was “ours,”

Which I thought was just fine,

Our children, our house, our car and our dog,

Our problems, our rough times,

Overnight became, “mine.”

The good times, the laughter, the hugs,

They were “ours.’

Now the silence, the silence,

The silence is “mine.”

So many sunny days in so many sunny places,

Beaches in Maui, in Mexico and Greece,

Champagne in plastic cups,

Unshelled peanuts, cheese and kisses,

All those good times were “ours.”

Now I wonder what I’ll do with all the things that were his,

His collection of hats, his favorite pink shirt,

The nuts and bolts and Lord knows what he’s got,

Down there in the basement, I just know it’s a lot.

Mostly I wonder what I’ll do with the rest of my life.

What about the music that was such a big part of his life?

Ceiling to floor, wall upon wall, CD’s and vinyl,

The music he loved, that his audience loved,

Thousands of radio programs, so many great songs.

Now I’m on a plane home from Texas, in a middle seat alone.

Last July it was “us,”

Sharing red wine and stale pretzels.

We laughed and we talked and planned the week to come.

And now, forevermore, it will be...just “me.”

There is no more “us.”

The winds of the last couple of days reminded me of the really horrendous windstorm that visited Southern California six years ago. We were without power for days on end, huddled in front of our gas log fire and burning candles for light, reading by flashlight and eating everything out. No power, No coffee! John figured out a way to rig up an old dial telephone, charge our phones and make my curling iron work so I wouldn’t look exactly like Broomhilda. Trees were uprooted all over town, huge trees hundreds of years old, tossed about like tinker toys. We live close to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, where 400 magnificent trees were blown over and ripped out of the ground. The Arboretum, in their wisdom, offered this rare, unique wood to artists who worked in wood and asked them to express through their art what was in the grain and hearts of these trees.

This piece, “Weeping Man” by artist Gonzalo Algarate, was carved from Eucalyptus globulus – Tasmanian Bluegum. I saw this work at the “Force of Nature II” Arboretum art showing last week and it pretty much expressed how I have felt since my beloved John took up residence in heaven last October 9th. The anatomy of this man and his posture are tremendously moving. This is a deeply moving work.

Learning how to be alone isn’t easy, but I’m doing it. I even decorated a little for Christmas and bought a bunch of Poinsettias from Trader Joe’s and put them around. Little by little, I’m doing the things one has to do and I know I’ll see him again one day. I’m grateful for family, who support me and love me, take me places, and pat me when I cry. I keep his pictures around me, I love that crooked smile.

I’ve quoted this poem by Annie Johnson Flint before and it’s never been more true for me...

WHAT GOD HATH PROMISED

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love