Posts Tagged ‘love’

My mother now lives in the downstairs memory care section of the home where my Nana spent the last three years of her life. When Nana was upstairs in the assisted living residential area, one of my former CBS, Community Bible Study, teacher colleagues moved not far down the hall. Kyoko acknowledged me when I’d hug her and said hello then, but she didn’t chat much if I stopped by. She always had a warm smile and responded politely and respectfully. She still had a sweet-nature and was soft-spoken. I think sometimes she remembered me, and sometimes she simply didn’t.

After Nana went home to heaven, I only revisited the home a couple of times. I intended to go back and check on Kyoko, but the demands of daily life and the out-of-town commute soon ebbed away at my best intentions.

When my mom went to live there a year ago, Kyoko had transferred downstairs and was my mother’s next-door neighbor for the first few months before mom got her own permanent room. Most of the memory care residents spend their time in the large community room connected to the dining area.

My mom doesn’t know me or any of my sisters anymore. Shannon, my second youngest sister and mom’s former caregiver, visits mom daily and feeds her one meal, usually dinner on the weekdays on her way home from work, and lunch on the weekends. Kyoko is always there too. Most of my six sisters have come to know her and her gentle ways. She likes to be close to my mother, and she’ll point you to the chair next to mom and bow until you take it.

Many days when I make the commute to visit my mom is sound asleep when I arrive and she’ll doze for hours. It is such a disappointment for me not to catch her awake and alert. She still shows a flicker of a second of recognition, a smile flashes across her sweet face and then she’ll grab for my hand. But when slumbering, mom sleeps deeply. Kyoko is usually sitting on the nearby sofa and she’ll get up, walk over to me and it almost seems like she wants to speak specifically, as a comforting gesture like she can sense the depth of my heartache.

Back when we served together at CBS, we were both core leaders of groups with about fifteen women. One year I was also the secretary and another year I was the Prayer Chairman so our time was interwoven in a variety of additional ways. Kyoko T. was dearly loved by her ladies. She knew God’s word intimately and she lived the grace and beauty of the Lord in every aspect of her petite being. We used to sing together in the leadership meeting circle these beautiful songs of praise and worship and sisterhood. Sometimes we sat next to each other and raised our quiet voices in harmony with fellow CBS sisters gifted with lovely songbird perfectly pitched, and choir worthy cadence.

We also prayed together. That was my closest connection with this humble woman. We shared prayer requests and praises both within the leadership circle and outside of it. She knew all of my sisters names and my mother’s name, Mary. How faithful Kyoko was to remember to ask me about my family, my children, and my husband after a season of intercession.

She shared about her home and the longings in her soul. Those were precious days of special friendship within a circle of women that you often only experience once in a lifetime.

I eventually moved out-of-town and sent Christmas cards which eventually dwindled down over the next decade.

Kyoko’s tender heart remains despite the loss of the memories of herself, her childhood, her family, her country, me and all her other CBS sisters. A loving Father placed her in her current home where she unknowingly continues to be a blessing to my mother and all those around her. I watch the gentlemen and ladies respond to her meek compliance and kindnesses. Her outer image is much altered, but her inner-Christ light shines with a brilliance like a star illuminating a night sky.

I often sing to my mom if she is awake or to Kyoko if my mom is sleeping. Kyoko and I used to hold hands when we sang The Servant Song together in our CBS days. The lyrics hold a much deeper meaning to me now than almost twenty years ago. Kyoko remains a servant-hearted handmaiden of the Lord right where she is. There is hope where there is love.




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mom&Jenny dancing1987My mother has Alzheimer’s.

She has eight daughters she doesn’t remember. I am the second born.

In a way, I have a mother, but I don’t. There are flickers of a second of recognition every now and then after almost fifteen years when we all first realized something was wrong. Subtle at first, which is one of the cruelties of this invasive and devastating disease, most families don’t catch onto the unraveling layers for years.

My mother’s eighty-seventh birthday is eleven days away. She doesn’t know who she is, where she is, what year it is, how old she is, or what country she is living in. All once very important facts to her. She was a list maker, organizer, perfectionist, and a hard working woman with a dedicated work ethic. She worked full time and raised seven of her eight daughters with our teacher father who died when they were turning fifty-four.

I miss the mother I knew when I was growing up, when I first married nearly forty years ago, when the grandchildren she so cherished were born, and when mile stone life events happen, like my daughter graduating from college this past December.

There is a hole in my heart that only God can fill with His grace when the loss seems unbearable.

I love the sound of my mother’s laughter, the jibber-jabber she speaks, now the only form of communication she can master, and I love that I can still kiss her, hug her, and tell her that I love her. I know these things even if she does not.

Last year we finally put our mother in a memory care home. Visiting her in a community facility is so different than seeing her in her own home. Something we were able to do for much, much longer than most families because my sister Shannon was mom’s care giver. That blessing took a physical and emotional toll on my sister. She has no regrets, only gratefulness.

Alzheimer’s steals vitality, personality, memory, and eventually mobility. It gives nothing and takes all. It can divide families, another causality most don’t see coming. Each family member deals differently with the onslaught and ravages of Alzheimer’s. Each heart is pierced and broken. Some can talk about it, others never share. But it is always there, ever-present, chipping  away a little more each day.

I find shelter in the shadow of my Savior’s wings. I pour my heart out to Him and he listens and stays as long as I need comfort. Could my mother speak to me, that is where she would tell me to go. She taught me, never knowing the blanks the future held for her, the most important truth. And I know she is not alone in her lullaby land. The God she loved still loves and values her. She has forgotten, but He remembers, cherishes, and calls her by name.

Mom on my chair and ottoman

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This summer I’ve been thinking about the people who have influenced my life. I’m half a century old, born in the mid-nineteen fifties. It’s not that I possess any special wisdom or am of the opinion that my life is of such great significance that you should listen to my words. Many times though, I’ve been keenly aware of quiet blessings. I would like to share one with you.

As a military wife for most of my husband’s twenty year service in the United States Air Force, people and circumstances crossed my path that I otherwise never would have met. The littlest warriors during times of war are the children. The ones who do not understand why their parents are sent to far away, unfamiliar locations, some never to return.

We lived in off base, Capehart Military Housing at McClellan AFB, during the first Gulf War. All our neighbors sent loved ones ~  fathers, mothers, brother, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and grandchildren, to different middle eastern countries to fight in the war. My four children were no different. Their dad was deployed to Saudi Arabia and traveled to other counties during that time. And if someone had told me then that my oldest son would later grow up to fight in both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and leave his three daughters behind, I most likely would not have believed them.

I learned about true courage from these young people. Many times I overheard conversations while walking my children to school, volunteering in the classrooms, and when friends congregated at our home. Children are open, honest people until they learn to be otherwise. The tenderness of their hurting hearts and questioning souls are bared in innocence and trust to each other, and to adults they seek answers from to make sense of what makes no sense to them.

At the elementary school attended by most McClellan AFB Gulf War soldiers’ children, there was a garden planted and nurtured by the students. Yellow ribbons were tied throughout to remember the absent warriors. At first it was a great encouragement, then a trial as other classmates got to take their bows down upon the safe return to the states of their beloved. Many ribbons continued to flap, weathered and frayed, through the change of a season. To look into the eyes of a child who visited that garden was an unforgettable experience. The wide-eyed wonder present at the ribbon ceremony had long since been replaced with an aged wisdom exceeding their years of life. Even if the relative they’d tied the ribbon for had returned, many came home forever altered, both physically and mentally. These realities were etched in the children’s haunted expressions that pierced me to the core of my being. But it was their words of hope and embraces of love that imprinted my soul.

“Don’t worry daddy, I still love you.”

I can still hear the quiet voice of a first grade girl as she wrapped her arms around her kneeling father and listened to him weep. The deeper his knees sank into the forgiving earth, the stronger her embrace grew. She never let go until he was able to compose himself and she helped him to stand.  I later learned though he made it home, several of his band of brothers hadn’t.

That day, his daughter was his hero. Together they untied one yellow ribbon, he slipped it in his pocket, and they walked home holding hands.

I don’t believe either of them ever saw or noticed me at the far end of the garden. I pray I never forget the gift of being in that background.

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Confessions of a Poop-Eating, Mischevious Black Lab. (As told by his Human)

I am a professed dog lover. I can’t help myself.
As a child I longed to have a puppy but my mother felt raising seven daughters negated my incessant pleas for a puppy.
Every once in a while my father, an only child that had grown up with his father’s hunting dogs, came home with a puppy in his coat pocket. My mom couldn’t resist at first, she’d cuddle and cradle the warm little ball of fur. But after a few months of puppy accidents in the house while she was at work and dad was at school teaching, my frisky, chewy, playmate went to a new home.
I was always devastated. My mother would remind me I had six playmates that didn’t shed fur. I don’t believe I understood her reasons back then. It wasn’t until my husband and I got our oldest son his first puppy, then had to take Samara to a farm when we got a three-year accompanied-tour, military assignment to England. It was a six month quarantine for our beloved Boxer/Norwegian Elkhound if we kept her. Then I realized each decision my mother had made was painful for her too.
After thirty-eight years of marriage, my husband and I for the first time have two dogs, not one, that stole our hearts at the pound and came home to share our lives.
Well, Jake the Black Lab/Newfoundland Retriever, and Missy, the Rottweiler/German Shepherd, actually belong to our daughter, Jenny. But Joe and I share grandparent rights. I have main custody because as an author, I write in my home office, and Missy and Jake have their special personally selected spots to relax as I tap away at the computer keys. That’s right they lounge while I work away ~ Missy stretches across the carpet to the right side of my desk chair, and Jake spreads out on all three cushions on the black leather sofa behind me. And I have to look close to see him there because he blends in and disappears until his pink tongue hangs outside his gums.
Jake was but a two-month old puppy when Jenny and I were besotted by this adorable little runt in a liter of six siblings. He was the last one left after our three daily trips to the local pound. Three snuggling puppies stacked upon each other in two neighboring stalls. He was lonely that last visit and meekly approached us. “Harley” padded up to the the wire fence and licked our fingers and hands. Jenny and I looked at each other and without a word spoken, fell in love.
We had also had noticed an older dog, an eight-year-old named Missy. She was on the short list to be put to sleep. She had been adopted once and returned because she did not work out as a ranch dog. She didn’t bark.
Unable to chose between the two, we tried them together in the, “Meet and Greet Room”. We hoped Missy might show maternal instincts for the bashful pupster and it appeared she was quite taken with him too.
So we brought our furry children home. And then the fun began! Missy was not in love with Harley even after we renamed him Jake. It reminded me of when we’d bring home another baby and the older siblings went through an adjustment period. This happened three times.
Jake turned out to be not so bashful after all. Did I mention that Jen and I had noticed one of the puppies in his stall was gasp, a poop eater? Guess who. That’s right. And Missy was disgusted with this particular facet of Jakey’s quirky personality. Jenny almost renamed Jake, Chewy. And boy did that shoe ever fit. Nothing was sacred. NOTHING! Shoes, socks, purses, my favorite writing pens, Jenny’s favorite bras, Joe’s Cal Fire work boots, the dining room table legs, the pom-poms dangling from the patio tablecloth, the patio chair pads, my potted plants and planters, the picket fence plant table, and worst of all ~ BOOKS! The actual list is much longer but I think you get the general idea.
Jake still tests all of us but his zest for life, curiosity, and sweet cuteness eventually even won Missy’s heart. He isn’t such a chewy anymore but every once in a while he takes something and renders it unrecognizable, like my decimated vacuum cleaner attachments that I still haven’t replaced. Maybe Dyson will consider doing a commercial about Jake and give me new attachments? One can always dream.
Jake bolts out our front door like lightening every time we open it. One might think he was fleeing an unloving home the way he runs without looking back. Missy watches him go and shakes her head as she burrows in her comfortable bed. Oh yeah, Jake has chewed up six of his comfy new beds and he nibbles on Missy’s beds too.
Jake has many endearing qualities that outshine his testy behavior. He sits on the right sofa cushion, settles his chin in the high back indentation, and gazes longingly out the huge living room picture window. He is a people watcher. Jenny says she uses the window like some parents use the TV as a babysitter. He is a social butterfly and only barks at by-passers that give him an uneasy feeling. He is a good watchdog. He loves his human family.
When Jake was two, he’s almost five now, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy. His first grand mal seizure was on a Christmas evening and it was a bad one. Thank God he doesn’t remember any of them. The seizures scare our old girl, Missy stays back when they happen. But that’s okay, eventually they both forget about it and life goes on.
Two days ago Jake pulled the cord out of my son Matthew’s Xbox game and carried it out to the back patio. He didn’t chew it up, not a tooth mark. He’d never touched any electronics before, except for two small cell phones that had to be replaced. Needless to say our son wasn’t happy but he was relieved the cord wasn’t demolished and was still usable. Jake didn’t tell why he behaved so, but I don’t believe he will do it again. He was repentant and tried to make up to Matt the rest of the day.
Sometimes he’ll place something in the middle of the living room floor, it’s intact but you know he could have destroyed it if he’d wanted to. He did this with my Brighton wallet recently. And it was full of payday cash. (He has a penchant for twenty dollar bills) He sat on the sofa and watched me put my wallet back in my purse. The one he had unzipped. No explanation, but I suspect he was upset with me for lacing up my Nikes and walking my husband to work. We usually walk the dogs together. You’d think Jake would have left his leash in the middle of the room, now there’s a direct hint.
A few months ago both dogs slipped under the backyard fence and went for a stroll out in the wetland area behind our home. Missy ended up falling in a neighbors pool and almost drowned. Jake came back home to fetch help. I didn’t even know they had escaped. My neighbor later told me he was able to rescue Missy because Jake alerted him that she was in danger. It was freezing cold that day. Jake saved Missy’s life.
Other lab owners say Jake will outgrow his adventurous antics. I love Jake just the way he is. Some days Jake is easier to love than others, like when I cried because a friend had died unexpectedly. Jakey rested his big heavy head on my lap, and placed a paw on my knee to comfort me. He stayed for an hour. He knew my heart was hurting.
I still no longer leave anything I really care about at a level Jake can reach, especially on the upright piano. And he can reach to the outer edges on the top. I think he gets bored, goes hunting, and retrieves. Those large wedded paws can sideswipe anything down to the floor. He is a double retriever after all ~ Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland Retriever.
And whatever Jake eats, he poops out. That is my husband’s fun job, poop scooping the backyard with the extra large handle jaws of reclamation. Believe me, any crime we didn’t catch Jake in the act of, is exposed on the Saturday morning search and find, examine and dispose, “What the heck did this used to be? Jacob, come here! Now!”
Jake will also bring me his treasured nylon bone to exchange for something of mine he is curious about. Many mornings I wake up to a wet snout at eye level on my side of the bed, and a chewed-up bone dropped beside my mouth. Jake’s tail is wagging like an egg beater in hopeful anticipation of whatever it is that caught his fancy. I do a speedy scan of the room when this happens because the object he has zeroed in on is in imminent danger of a grab and go for it, if I don’t figure out the desire of his thumping heart fast enough. This is how I once ended up with a ratty gnawed down to a microbe hunk of plastic, and he made off with a handcrafted leggy bird I’d purchased for a friend for Christmas. Apparently the body was stuffed with yummy smelling decorative bark. He waited about ten seconds that time. Human must think faster in the future.

If you are considering getting a dog, I recommend a lab. They have hearts of gold, and bellies of steel. They will protect your children and guard your home with their life.
My lab, all 85 lbs of him, jumps on my lap in a lightening storm and curls up like he weighs 5 pounds. He begs for the “C” word (a cookie) and waits patiently for his daily “w” word (walk), and he is smart enough to learn what these letters mean if you spell out the word.
Visit your local pound and save a beautiful creation of God from the short list. Be wise and research the bred of dog first. If you’ve never longed for a dog like me, maybe a cat curled up in your lap is the companion you can open your heart and home to.
And older dogs and cats just want to be loved, like you and me. Try out the “Meet & Greet Room” first. I suggest a couple of visits over a period of weeks. And don’t be surprised if you end up with two new friends that become family.
P.S. ~ As I finish writing this blog, I have one dog laying on the right of my desk chair, and one laying on the left. I am penned in with love. Sigh…                                                                                                                      025

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Betty Ruth Weatherby's Book Launch

Today I had the privilege to sit with a fellow author and friend during her book launch for the third book in her WWII historical trilogy ~ Shingi, The Wind Blows Free. It was a refreshing switch from our usual all work, writing meetings.
Betty Ruth Weatherby has been with Amador Fiction Writer’s Critique Group for four of our five years. In that time frame she has published five children’s books, and three adult novellas.
Betty Ruth joined AFWCG as she neared retirement of her elementary school teaching career. Though she’d never been in a critique group before, she caught on fast and started working on fellow group members’ manuscripts with commitment and passion. And she’s a stickler for research; checking library resources, and interviewing WWII veterans.
(We use the, Suggested Format for Critiquing, for fiction. Every two weeks we hand out a hard copy to take home and read, reread, and critique.)
Betty’s daughter, Colleen Nestroyl, is the illustrator for all her children’s books. Colleen writes and illustrates her own children’s books, and she is the illustrator for another AFWCG author, Jo Sarti.
From 11 am to 3 pm today Betty, Jo, and I sat together during the All Art’s Show at Clark’s Corner in Ione where we regularly meet for our critique sessions. The third Saturday of every month Clark’s hosts an arts & crafts, mercantile type of indoor faire that draws people all the way from the capital city of Sacramento, and beyond. Clark’s is the local community hub/coffee-house/cafe/weekly Story Time Hour for children/musician’s stage/entertainment events showplace, and literary home for our group.

Today Betty’s book table was set up on the platform corner stage so she could chat with any customers that wanted to sit with an author and ask questions, and of course buy books she personalized for them. Normally a book launch at Clark’s is a separate event unto itself, but Betty prefers the ambiance the All Arts Show offers and the variety of people it brings through Clark’s welcoming doors. Today’s visitors included out-of-towners lunching after the Ione Historic Preston Castle tours, and cyclist enthusiasts seeking nourishment and refueling on their ride through our quaint three-block town. They all found their way to Betty’s book table along with a regular following of her readers eager for the new book. I think the highlight today was a young mother who shared about her nine-year-old daughter who is already writing and illustrating stories. Betty gave her business card to the appreciative woman and offered to help the youngster in the writing process. Don’t you love teachers!

Shingi, The Wind Blows Free is a standalone book but if you’ve already read the first two stories set during World War II in Africa, this book  brings a finality to the story of three women united in faith, then divided  across two continents by the atrocities of war. Not wanting to give too much away to new fans, I’ll simply state the women struggle with illness, the murder of loved ones, fears and doubts testing their individual faith in God, and challenges to sail to America from war-torn Africa. For protagonist Shingi, a young African woman who accompanies widowed missionary Mary Lanover on the Mercy ship voyage, unexpected and unthinkable circumstances befall her every step in this strange new country.

Betty has woven a fictional take on Biblical scriptures about a remnant of the Hebrew people unable to follow Moses’ exodus from Egypt. They flee westward and after eluding treachery and enduring hardship, settle in West Africa. Among the treasured remembrances they carried with them was a star sapphire amulet, which becomes revered as a totem by later generations and eventually finds its way into the hands of the missionary’s daughter, Charlotte, and her friend, Shingi.

Betty weaves her own missionary experiences in Africa into her stories. She has a B. A. degree from California State University Stanislaus. She earned her Teacher’s Credential from Chapman University, and Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate from The California State University Sacramento. Betty continues serving on evangelical international missions and is an active member of her church in the Gold Country in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.

She constructively critiques my manuscript along with several others and has faithfully stayed through the growing pains of our flourishing rural county gathering of writers aspiring to become authors. Gifted with an imaginative mind and an avid love for reading and writing, Betty gives so much more than she receives. You will be blessed to read and share either her delightful children’s tales of Pepper the Yorkie’s travels here in rural America, or on vacations to national monuments and state parks, and these descriptive novellas rich in history with a hint of romance.

Betty’s faith guides her daily walk with the Lord, and with her fellow sojourners traveling the narrow road to home. There is room on the dusty path to join her along the way. She’d be happy to listen to your story and share her own.

Betty’s books are available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CrossBooks Publishing ~a Division of Lifeway, Lulu Press, Inc. and Create Space. Shingi/ISBN: 978-1-6427-2555-7 (sc) and ebook/ISBN:978-1-4627-2556-4 (e)

You can find Betty Ruth Weatherby on Facebook


Gentlemen visitors ~ Stoney, and retired USAF veteran Joe.


010 - Copy

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Lake Tahoe Baby Boomer Recipe Share

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
I went digging through my Nana’s recipe cards to find the perfect 1950’s summer recipe to share. It was an adventuresome hunt that ended up taking hours.
At one point my husband questioned my unusual method of research as I spread out handwritten index cards from one room of our home into the next. He retreated to the backyard patio seeking refuge from the current home invasion of clipped, copied, and culturally diverse, historical records of a major Foodie’s lifetime.
I couldn’t help myself, every single magazine, newspaper, and friendship exchange recipe was a treasure, some dating back past the 1940’s. The cards penned in my Nana’s own cursive brought back memory upon memory. And not just of her fabulous cooking and baking skills, but a clear picture of her in my mind at either their winter home in the William Land Park area of Sacramento or the cozy Lake Tahoe cabin kitchen.
My Nana was gifted by God with a servant heart and she put that gift to use until she went to her real home at the age of one hundred.
This specific recipe I picked out to share first is a very simple one. I remember eating this yummy casserole during my teenage years at the cabin when my cousins would come up with our Aunt Bessie and Uncle Alvin and stay at the Tree House cabin. Oh those wonderful days when we’d spend all day the the private pier, six Boyd sisters and four Bland cousins. It was a beach party everyday.
We’d cross the highway with soggy towels across our shoulders, hauling the picnic basket we’d long since emptied, walk up Jeffrey Lane, and trek up the mountain a ways until our swimsuits had dried. When we’d reach the cabin, Nana always had the picnic table out on the deck set with a feast.
Looking back, I hope we were polite enough to savor the foods she’d prepared. This pineapple concoction seemed almost exotic to me back in the 1970’s. Nana created it after one of her and Papa’s trips to Hawaii. She doubled the recipe. I used to think it was for my cousin Chuckie’s benefit, the only boy in the brood. Poor Chuck, I wonder how his version of this childhood recollection might differ? Maybe he didn’t mind being encircled by so many girls.
A bowl of fresh fruit was always in the center of the table, a huge salad of farmer’s market garden greens, and either raw or crunchy slightly stove-top cooked vegetables completed Nana’s dinner menu. That was until dessert. ( If you are interested in the J-ello lemon light cheesecake or Aunt Beulah’s Chocolate cake recipes, just let me know. I still make them to this day. There is a hint of bacon grease in the cake batter. I think dear Beulah was ahead of her time.)
The grown-ups always sat with us at the extended table where we had a postcard view of the lake. Chatter and laughter filtered through the surrounding Ponderosa pine trees until dusk fell and the kiddos all had dish washing duty. Ah yes, the adults from that era knew the importance of teaching personal responsibility. Little did they know that washing and drying dishes by hand was fun. Or did they? Hmmm…
I’ve tried a few variations with this recipe over the years when I was serving my own four children and the friends they brought to our home or up to the cabin.

* substitute smoked sausages for hot dogs.
* crushed pineapple instead of chunks.
* a light sprinkling of coconut mixed in.
* can be doubled or tripled, depending on the number of family and friends you are serving.

I encourage you to give this old dish a try this summer. It’s also great to take for a pot luck, backyard BBQ, or even to the beach in a covered casserole. Maybe you have a variation or two you’d like to add, and share.

The tradition of families sitting together at a table to share a meal and engage in conversation is fading from our society. Even grace offered before meals is a disappearing act of faith. The intimacy of these family traditions is precious and worthy of continuing within and without our family gatherings.

The servant-hearted women of God that raised me and handed down these mini-historical documents in their recipes are a reminder of my Father’s love, provision, and blessings that are new everyday.
Let us rejoice and give thanks!


© Kathy Boyd Fellure

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Tossed back and forth, riding relentless waves,

Confused by addictions that viciously enslave,

Captured and held captive by illusions in your mind,

Searching for answers you can’t seem to find.

Locked in a world that’s turned in-side-out,

Frozen by fear and clouded by doubt,

Deceived by subtle lies through the years,

Left all alone to taste bitter tears.

The quiet engulfs the breath of each day,

You struggle to keep your demons at bay,

Dreams dies a slow death a long time ago,

Your heart came up empty with nothing to show.

Beloved overcomer, do not give up hope,

Reach for the lifeline, the Fisherman’s rope,

It touches the bottom of the deepest of seas,

To pull those drowning, who long to be free.

Listen intently, He’s calling your name,

It was for you, His child, he originally came,

You are precious and cherished by He,

The Fisherman who casts His nets into the sea.

Look to the clear blue skies up above,

Let Him forgive you and give you His love.

© Kathy Boyd Fellure

Requested by a dearly loved fellow, Sacramento Christian Writer, member. Critiqued and edited by SCW’s, Gerry Weiland, Clara Boyd, Arlet Vollers, and Lila Fraser. Dedicated to godly gathering of humble ladies that welcomed me with open arms and hearts when I stumbled into my writing life.

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Alzheimers Lullabys

I used to help out with my mom’s care giving but for years now, I’m just a visitor. It is my sister, Shannon, the second youngest of eight daughters, who is our mother’s main care giver. Shannon is now the nurturing devoted Mama and our mother is now the child ~ a sweet little girl with a heart full of love.
Back when I home schooled, I took my son and daughter with me to spend the day with my mom when my sister Shannon went to work. Those were some of the richest days of our lives. Though emotionally and physically grueling, nothing has compared since.
A decade has past since my mother still knew who we were, could say our names, and interact with us.
During my children’s junior college years mom’s memory faded, her language diminished, and she began to physically shrink away.
I could still take mom for rides in my SUV back then. I’d commute into town, drop the kids off at college, take care of her at her home, take her with me to pick up my students from the campus, get an ice cream cone, and wait until Shannon got off work, then I’d drive back home to the rural countryside.
Mom usually called me by another sister’s name in those days ~ Shawne, Maureen, Bridget, Kelly, Shannon, Meghan. Even once in a great while, Erin, our sister who’d died as an infant.
I began longing to hear my mother say my name, Kathy, and it was a great joy when she did, like a brief, sweet sing-song.
One time I filled in for a sister on her care day. When I arrived my mother had set the dining room table with six paper plates, six napkins, six forks, and each plate had equal portions of nuts, olives, and slices of cheese and deli meat. She sat weeping at the head of the table waiting. When she looked up and saw me, a smile broke through and she patted the chair next to her. After we finished our lunch she looked around the table and asked me when the other girls were coming home from school. Tears welled up in her eyes once again. I knew she meant, St. Mel’s. That we were all back in elementary school in her mind. No matter how much I tried to comfort her, there was no consoling her confused, aching heart. I just held her.
My mother grieved when my oldest son went to war in the middle east. She forgot him while he was away and when he returned, she thought he was a polite young man that came to her door.
In those dark days and nights God bottled all my tears.
Alzheimers is a battlefield and the casualties are strewn about, wounded, bleeding, in need of triage and sometimes, major heart surgery.
I go for treatment into the Book of Psalms and the Songs of Solomon. I crawl up on my Father’s lap, lay my head on His shoulder and weep. Loving arms wrap around me and an inner peace fills the gaping whole nothing, and no one else can mend.
Last Sunday My husband and I visited my mom after she and Shannon missed a beautiful family baby shower celebrating my sister Bridget’s first granddaughter. We brought hamburgers from the BBQ, cake, and paper baby shoes with little candies tucked inside.
I sang lullabies to my mother. She’s bent over forward now so I had to kneel on the floor, bow my head and hope she might catch a glimpse of me.
I sang all the songs she used to sing to me when I was a little girl, you know, songs like ~ Daisy; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Little Playmate…but it was Lavender’s Blue that she sang two verses right back to me. That was my favorite. And she looked me right in the eyes.
So I sang old hymns next ~ Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Be Thou My Vision… Mom tried so hard to join in. She’d get a word or two out, but then it would leave her.
I was silently praying off and on. It came to thought to call her, “Beatotz”. I know I am spelling that wrong. It’s the Sicilian dialect for my Noni’s village, Piana dei Albanesi, and it means, “Daddy’s girl”. I kept repeating it, Beatotz, Mary. My mother raised her head, turned to me, and eyes open wide, she began speaking a few short words. Then she smiled, took my hands and held them tight for the next half hour. During this time I repeated her sister, Sara and brother, Peter’s names to her. My mother now lives in the early days of her childhood. These were her happiest, before her mother passed away when mom was seven. For me it was a breakthrough. For slips of a moment, my mother remembered.
I left full of joy.
My sister Shannon lives this mixture of joy and heartache every day. Her own body is weary, spent, and aging beyond her years as she loves our mom with grace and tenderness as if Christ Himself is the one lowering His head to reach her.

There is no greater love.

Beatotz, Mary ~ Daddy loves you.

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