~ Perfect Memories ~

My fondest, earliest memories are of the water. . . in the water. . . under the water.
 
 
SWIMMING!!!
 
with my eyes wide open . . . feeling the water move me
 

 while I glided through – weightless pretending to be a Mermaid.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Ni Hao Y’all

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These photos were taken with a disposable water proof  Fuji camera ~ the day was partly cloudy to mostly sunny and perfect! ~ the first photo:  I added black and white –  I  then added a little of the  color back to the photo – the second and last photos are completely unedited
 
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My favorite part of the Day

When he first asked me if I wanted to travel to Rock Hill, S.C. last week ( a two hour car ride away)  to hear his girlfriend, Micaela, sing in a state wide choral group . . . and ” Oh by the way Mom” . . .”even though her parents would be there”, the fair maiden “Micaela would be traveling back home with us”  . . . “would you mind,  would you please go?   He didn’t want to travel all that way by himself.            My first thought was “Ugggg!”  But, I didn’t say that. Instead I said, “of course I’ll go with you.”   Honestly, I dreaded it all week and had secretly hoped something would come up so we couldn’t go.  There were so many things I wanted to accomplish over the weekend. . . and this would take all day. 


The only thing that kept me from dropping out were these thoughts:  “my 19 year old son had asked me to travel 2 hours with him – we would be alone: No phones, No other kids, No interruptions . . . just the two of us. . . for two hours.  That doesn’t happen very often around here. And then there was this reality: He is 19.  These times are not going to come around very often. He will be traveling off to college soon to full fill his dreams and these days will just be  memories for both of us. 



So, off we went to hear the State wide choral group and even though the kids were unbelievably fantastic and Micaela is a doll ~ my favorite part of the day was the car ride and the two hours up to Rock Hill alone with my oldest son.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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the Kingdom ~ 2011

On this  earlyTuesday  morning I sit here and think: “What should I write about today?”  “What do I have to show you?”  “How can I show you how much I love it when you take the time to come to my little corner of the world and say hello.”             and then. . .


It hit me.  




I haven’t shown you Christmas and the love our mother pours into her decorating.  I haven’t shown you the splendor of the ribbons, garland and tulle.  I haven’t shown you how our mother sets the tables and makes everything look as if we were living in a dream: the trees, the candles, the angles blowing their trumpets announcing the Savior is born.  

I haven’t shown the grandeur in the front hall adorned with deer, ribbons and berries.  Every year it gets better. . .each room makes us feel as if we are royalty and nothing could be finer.  Each year the love she has for her family completely inundates us.

I didn’t introduced you to the fair maiden Miceala.  I haven’t told you how this lovely girl  puts a smile on my Prince Matthew’s face and how she is becoming quite a regular at all the family gathering. 


I haven’t shown you how great the Squire James looks this year as he has grown into a fine, respectable man. 

I haven’t shown you the magnificent gifts that were exchanged with simple love.


I failed to show you: how battles are won in this kingdom of plenty,  


the pure love a growing boy has for his father,


the girl that is growing up into fine Lady,


and the new baby’s first Christmas. 


I almost missed showing you the magic of Christmas at our parent’s house. I almost missed showing you the pride our Queen Mother has as she looks on and celebrates not only Christmas but a life she built with her one and only King.   

                                                                              
                                                                                           Our World Tuesday ,
                                                                               My 3 Boybarians
     Communal Global

Getting Her Nana Home

Well! She had enough! 


Her bags were packed for weeks. She was finally on her way. At long last the time had come to see Nana . . .who had escaped to the Sunny Side.


“The Sunny Side” is where the oranges grow,



the skies are always blue, and the ocean is knocking at your back door: 



Jensen Beach, Florida! 



Don’t think for one minute this trip was ALL fun and games. 



She WAS on a mission: 

One . . . To bring Nana back home to South Carolina. 


Two . . .To bring Nana back home to South Carolina.


AND 



 Three . . . Mary Elizabeth wanted to make sure her dear Nana was okay after a fall off of a stability ball and an exercise nightmare. 



And here is another thing . . . Day two of our mother’s trip: The word is Nurse Auntie had to rush up to Nana’s apartment to assist in a sliced foot incident. This was due to an  attack made by shattered glass that cut the top of Nana’s foot rather badly. 



All this made us wonder. . . Is this place safe? 

We did our best to make due in this breathtaking land: 


We woke to the sun peeking over the water, warming our sleepy faces every morning . . . like clock work.  


We saw cousin Beth and her son Micheal. We learned it is not only good to know a nurse, it is good to know a pharmacist when you need one too.  


As Micheal fished, his mom saved the day by assisting with the medications our mother was taking for the pain from “the” fall. 




We went for long walks and suffered through these glorious warm days with the wind blowing through our hair and the smell of the ocean tickling our senses. 

 

On their way home, my sister Margaret and her boys who had also been visiting, stopped by our Father’s old stomping grounds  Kennedy Space Center. Margaret wanted to make sure things were still running smoothly and the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery would be off on time. 


This was a good thing too, those of us that stayed behind wanted to see a rocket in the sky once again. 


The feeling of watching the rocket take off brought back so many warms memories of years gone past. I could feel our Father’s spirit soring as high as the rocket that was launched. 


It was good to back again in this place that we loved,


 to feel the sand on our finger tips again, 

and watch the sun sink into the bay as it whispered it’s good night. 


To some of us . . .the best part of going to Florida was not playing in the salt water and feeling the warmth of the sun on our back; 


 It was going home and making sure EVERYONE was where they need to be. 


A Poem by Margaret

On the Eve of the Anniversary of our father’s death, the over cast skies are fitting for our somber moods. Our hearts are heavy but our Spirits are light: for we know the rain falls like  “Pennies From Heaven.” 

AND

We simply miss him.

To pay homage to this occasion, I thought I would post a poem my sister Margaret wrote. It is about beautiful memories that will always be close to her heart. 

Our Parents Home
In my parent’s home where we have grown,
A place that’s special, we’ve all known.
One of many homes our brothers and Father built almost daily,
A place our Mother and He grew, their amazing family.
In their home we learned how to love,
In this home, our Father left with God above.
A home where parental love was very strong,
With their marriage of fifty-eight years, it wasn’t wrong.
I remember it well as a child,
Although I will admit, it ‘s been quite a while.
In the early morn such happiness filled us, we would adorn,
For the five of us, the blessings we felt to be born.
In the late of the eve under a bright moonbeam,
Mother and Father would dance, as if in a dream.
In this home happiness grew for 30 plus years,
Until late evening that day in September, we felt only tears.
We all stood in wonder as the night fell still,
Our Heavenly Father took him, after so long being ill.
Yet today as that anniversary approaches,
We are comforted, by what his spirit possess.
And as we have cried in our own special way,
We are so happy we knew him, especially today.
Now it is our Mother who carries us each through,
As my Dad often stated She is his diamond, his true.
Although He is enormously missed,
Our memories are of the wonders, in a great big list.
How lucky are those who have felt his gentle touch,
A blessing his children, grandchildren and wife miss so much.
Our Father’s love remains in our Mother’s heart and ours,
How lucky are those who have visited, and felt those loving hours.
By: Margaret F. Hoverath

Black and White Wednesday & The Sisters

Aunt Ann came down for a visit with two of her daughters….and just like Aunt Ann does SHE started to sing…and my mom started to sing…and then Auntie started to sing and sing and sing and sing.
 
(Aunt Ann, my Mom and Auntie)
AND
Sing they did!
(Margaret, Karen, Me
Peggy and Regina)

There was so much singing going on…we just couldn’t get away.

the long road

April 18 1953

This day would have marked the 57th year of marriage for my parents. 

I am so proud to say my parents meant it when they said those words.  They worked hard on the marriage that seemed to come so easy to them.

Even though our dad’s body is no longer with us, it seems his strength and his spirit will live forever in our mother and in all of us. 

Christmas Eve 2009

~ Never forgetting the Reason for the Season ~

We started the night off with a family Mass.

We humbly honored the Holy Family and are thrilled to have Aunt Carolyn’s manger safely tucked away in the cabinet that Love built…Given to Karen by her cousins Aunt Carolyn’s daughters Anne and Kathy

The table was grand

The children were ready

Well….most of the children were ready…

and the giving began

Anthony was here…and again having the “Best Time Ever”

Many wonderful gifts were given and received

There was laughter, there was happiness, there was joy…

There was giving, there was receiving, there was remembering, there was love…

Some gifts were just great!

Some gifts were simply better then great!!!

It was Aubrey’s First Christmas and she was not too sure of what to think

Joe has never looked better

Mark and Reiner were exhausted from all activity

And the bigger boys were thrilled with the biggest gift of the night….

As I sit here looking back at Christmas Eve 2009 just past……It is nice to know…Even though things have changed ~ Some things haven’t changed…Thank God

So This is Christmas

"So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
So this is Christmas… If it were not for Kathryn and Stephen this house would still not be decorated. They got the tree down from the attic. Stephen put the lights on. We all decorated it and then a week later Stephen and Kathryn put the wreaths on the windows.

The tree looks nice. The wreaths need work…I don’t even care that they are crooked, need fluffing or whatever… It is just not important to me this year. To me they look fine…..they are up. Kathryn and Stephen took action with love…maybe I will fix them if they want too.

Mary Elizabeth is so excited about Santa Clause coming to Nana and Grandpa’s house this year and her three year old excitement is brings us all Christmas Joy.


It is true, this year has been a tough one…..a very tough one. But, in a strange way, I hate to see it end. I will be happy to get the Christmas Season behind us and then maybe the business will pick up.

I hope. 
Things have just been terrible with this business this year, which is just hard enough. But, this other thing is the real kicker. So, in reality, I just hate to see the year end.  

Here is the way I look at, simply:

This was the year our father lived….

This was the year we got to take care of him.

This was the year we got to see true courage in both my mother and my father.

This was the year we learned about life and death.

This was the year we learned about true love.

This was the year we learned how to die with courage and dignity.

This was the year we learned how to let go with honor and respect.

This is the year we got to honor both of our parents.

This was the year we learned about ever lasting life.

This was the year we saw love happen.

It was given to us freely from family and friends we didn’t realize we had.

We saw true character come out in these people… real kindness, real love, real friendships.

It is ALL truly amazing.


I know our Father will be celebrating Christmas this year, now and forever in a big way. Our parents have always loved this time of year. They have always gone out of there way to make the Season a time of real love, joy and true celebration. And that is what we are trying very hard to do.

So the trees are up, the houses are decorated, the Christmas music is being played, and the shopping is….getting done…the baking is starting…well, it will be….and the Celebration has begun.

Ready or Not…Here IT Comes.

So this is Christmas….What have we done???

We have truly loved. We are a family of survivors. We are strong. We are many and in a strange way we are one. It will be a wonderful Christmas….and a wonderful New Year.

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

Happy Christmas Everyone

Just spending time

It has been 20 days now…. Three weeks…Just three weeks……I still just can’t believe it….

My mother wants us to write about funny times or funny conversations we have had with our dad……The thought of this makes me hold my breath so much I just don’t want to let go…..I really am not sure why but I think I am afraid I will not be able to think of anything good enough. ….Right now I just can’t think of anything.

I know I should have thousands of stories……..I know I DO have thousands …I just can’t think of them right now. He spent so much loving time with all of us…….I don’t know why but I just seem to be having trouble with this one:

I think I maybe able to write about the time I took my dad to the hospital when he fell and broke his hand…..I could write that Matthew was just a baby and my mother was just home from the hospital after having surgery. I was at their house getting dinner ready for them. I walked out to the gym to tell my dad dinner was on the table and I found him on the couch just lying there with his eyes closed. When I went in to see what was wrong, I learned he had just fallen off a ladder and he thought for sure he had broken his hand. I wanted to take him to the hospital right away but he wanted to “get cleaned up, check on my mother and most importantly have dinner. I remember he even had a glass of red wine that night before he was ready to leave.

I could tell about the conversations we had that night, I remember them so clearly and I could tell how he would not let the doctor cut off his wedding ring to set his hand. How he showed the doctor just how to slipped a ring off a swollen hand with dental floss ……. When we were done at the hospital it was very late. I could then write about going out for ice cream with him and how much I loved every minute of that night I got to spend with him all alone.

I could tell about the times I use to exercise in the gym with him when I was a teenager and how I loved it all. I could tell about running around the block with him and when we would see the telephone pole closest to our house we would race and I would win…. every time. He was always so delighted with my win encouraging me to run faster the next time.

I could write about the times he would just walk his teenage daughter around the block and hold her hand because he knew it was important that we walk and not talk and he just be there.

I could tell about the many times he and our mother would be celebrating another anniversary. How he would take his three girls out to a night of fine dinning……And how he would have the wait staff bring out a splendid silver tray only to reveal a beautifully wrapped gift hidden inside the silver cover for his one and only sweet heart.

My sister and I would delight in the glory of just how much he loved our mother.

I could write about the time Ruff-o came to live at my parent’s house and my father would buy her hamburger and bacon; cook it all up, cool it off, throw cheese into a large bowl and then give it to this strange stray dog that just appeared out of the blue one day.

I could write about the time just last year when he was knocked off his feet by that same dog and broke his hip. How he had called me very matter of fact-ly asking if I had the crutches.

When I told him, I did he asked me to bring them over when I “HAD A MINUTE.” And if the boys where around ask them to come too. I would not forget to make sure I wrote about how he told me not to rush and most importantly “DO NOT! go through the house and upset your mother.” and how he said “To just go around back and you will see me.” I would have to say; I was just getting out of the shower when he called and how I RUSHED right over knowing my father never wanted to make a big deal out of him self or inconvenience anyone.

I would have to say as I drove up to the house I searched for him from the moving car. I would have to say when I finally parked the car I jumped out and ran around the back of the house thinking he had fallen in a hole and hurt his ankle by the garden. I would have to tell how I could not see him and then decided to call his cell phone.

I would have to tell how he answered my phone call with a “Bill Finnell” like there was nothing wrong and I was just another customer……… We would laugh here because we all know exactly just how he sounded.

I could write about the time I helped him lay out the new roads and how much fun we had ((I had)) that fall day. How we walked through the woods and how he held my hand….How I held the survey sticks and how he planned and told me how the roads would go. I would tell about the songs he sang and how he danced with delight and just how happy we were that day. How happy I was that day. He was so excited to be moving forward with his big dreams and how just very happy I was to have him all to myself in the woods spending time alone listening to him sing and dance the songs he loved from the 1930’s …….Like She’s Only A Bird In A Guilded Cage and They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa

They’re coming to take me away, HA HA
They’re coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA
To the happy home
With trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

But, I think I will tell about the time my parents evicted a woman from an apartment and how the woman called crying and how if they just gave her until tomorrow she could straighten it all out……… ((this was after 3 months of none payment and ignoring phone calls and letters written)) My father was ferrous and tired of all this by this woman. He had finally had her attention and boy was he going to let her have it!!! She was going to pay him or move and that was that. ……my mother and I felt bad for her but we knew if we allowed her back into the apartment for the night that would be it. She would not pay her rent or back rent and …….We would be the laughing stocks at the court house the following day.

It was February and about 7:30 PM. It was a cold night and the forecast for the early morning was to be in the teens. We could hear the conversation from the other room. My father’s calm voice telling her how it was going to be…. and how she could get her things from the apartment in the morning. He would not meet her that night…It was to late…It was to cold and that was that…..

Then the conversation changed.

He got off the phone and said he would be right back. He was going to get this woman a hotel room…..He couldn’t allow her to sleep in her car. After all it was going to be in the low teens that night. She said she would have all the money due to them in the morning if he would just give her a chance…..She didn’t want to leave her apartment. She liked her home where it was. She promised she would do better from then on.

When my mother and I heard this we couldn’t help but give a chuckle and say…

“WHAT?”

When I realized my father was seriously going to get a hotel room for this woman I told him I needed to go with him. He really didn’t see the point. As I explained to him…..”Father, it just looks really bad for you to be renting a hotel room for a tenant when a lot of people know you in our town” He said in all sincerity…”If you want to come with me that would be fine….. I would love to have your company.”

I remember many things he said to me that night and how it was just so nice being there in the car with him. I remember even though it was very cold that night the car was warm…the conversation was wonderful and the company was the best.

From that night on…my mother and I would kid my dad just about how tough he really was….I would say jokingly…”If you don’t pay your rent ~ I will be forced to put you in a nice warm hotel room. We would all laugh…..mostly him..and then he would say “Oh! Boy!”

We all loved our time alone with him and you know he loved it too.