Thursday, March 30, 2006

Divine Interlude

The candle glows
it’s embers flickering

My soul stirs
conversing with you
finding security
in your invisible embrace…

New Crayons

oh the joy of endless possibilities
sixty-four delicious choices

all sharpened,
virginal instruments
yet to be broken in

burnt sienna
much more exotic sounding
than our primary friends
not a delight reserved for childhood
a respite from the glare of computer screen
my blank page awaits
a masterpiece begging for birth

careful selection
ah—brick red
a bold beginning

new crayons in a box
a voyage of self-discovery

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Isn't that just like life?

After our visit to the lake, Jenny and the kids and I were headed back into town. Suddenly, I veered off to the right onto this road I had never traveled. I've passed by it plenty of times and I knew that it could possibly lead to the lake somehow so I took a detour to check it out.

We wound our way through a residential section of town until we started spotting glimpses of water down below. As I had guessed, we entered a park surrounded by Lake Lanier. What we discovered was a little oasis of sorts--places to picnic, boat launches and a nice hiking trail perfect for taking Daniel on a nature walk on a quiet afternoon.

I made the comment to Jenny, "see what happens when you go down a road you've never been before?" She replied, "Isn't that just like life?" She's right.

As I think back on some decisions I've made throughout the years, sometimes the best ones were made on gut instinct and involved taking a risk. Like adopting our son. I never thought I'd ever use adoption as a means of starting a family. I just took for granted I'd be able to have a child when Keith and I decided it was the right time. When that didn't happen, we veered off to the right and went down the adoption path. It was scary, risky and possibly the best decision we ever made.

Give it try. Veer off to the right someday and journey down that unfamiliar road. You never know where it might take you.

All I need is a blue sky, a nice breeze...

...and a kite.

What a great day Daniel and I had today. My sis Jenny and my niece Alden came up for a visit (they only live an hour away) and we spent part of the afternoon at Lake Lanier watching a red and blue kite with a long yellow tail dance in the breeze.

I hadn't flown a kite in years. But, after reading the sparse instructions and tying a secure knot in the line, I was ready for take-off. Or so I thought.

The wind was blowing fiercely and whipping off the lake on my first launch attempt. My (brave) sister tossed it in the air and I took off running and it flipped on its back and plopped on the ground.

The next attempt was a little better but, just as it took flight, a gust caught it and the kite turned into a lethal weapon as it whipped around in violent circles emitting this machine-gun sound that caused Jenny to hit the deck. (Looking back, it was quite comical)

Finally, we tried it again and a strong, steady breeze carried the kite high up in the air. I quickly began releasing more and more twine and the kids took great delight in chanting as the kite flew higher and higher into a cobalt blue sky dotted with cotton ball clouds. We did it! I like to think I've accomplished some things in my life. But few have given me as much pleasure as keeping a little boy's first kite afloat as he watches with pure delight.

Our family may be going through a trying time right now. But, for a moment, life seemed perfect as I was surrounded by people I love, a beautiful lake, a perfect day and a bright blue and red kite dancing in the wind.

Friday, March 24, 2006

There's Just Nothing Like...

a pair of feet clad in footy pajamas running down the hall to give you a good night kiss.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Awaiting Spring

As I look out my window, the woods are trying to dry themselves off from the torrential rains we had overnight. Sprigs of spring are popping up everywhere as brave, yet cautious, flowers peek out of the ground thinking "Is it safe to come out now?" Along our road, dogwoods bloom in concert with pear trees creating a symphony of color. At first glimpse, it appears that we've had a light snowfall as the trees are bursting with brilliant white blooms.

Pansies around mailboxes perk up as if to say "Hey--don't forget about us!" and the daylilies we finally planted are just beginning to take root. A welcome patch of bright yellow daffodils made their appearance last week and it makes me happy every time I see them. I love spring time in Atlanta. The green is returning, replacing the bare branches that have become a familiar sight out our back door. The creek down below ripples as it slithers across mossy rocks and winds it way through twig barriers along the way and the birds enjoy singing to one another from the tall treetops.

I'm ready to be done with winter. Usually that's not the case. But having a four year old is a lot easier when the expanse green space in our front yard is available and we're not cooped up inside.

C'mon,'s time to get rollin.......

Monday, March 13, 2006


I know the last few blog entries have been a little solemn and, since today is the 3rd anniversary of my Mom passing away I thought this one would naturally be a little sad, too. But I changed my mind.

Pat Trotter was too wonderful a person to be summed up in a sad, tearful blog entry. She was funny. Boy, could she tell a joke and her stories always kept family and friends in stitches. She possessed a very dry, witty humor and she would often point out little everyday things and find something ironic and/or funny to share.

She was an artist. She could draw, paint, name it. Need a prom dress in 24 hours? No problem. How about a building-sized breakthrough banner for the football team? Coming right up! Whether murals in the hallway or a rainbow in our room, Mom always used her talents to make our home a bright and happy place to be.

She was a gifted writer. Funny poems, poetry for friends, and short stories about life--these have been an inspiration to me in my own work. Here is an excerpt from a poem she wrote about the BlueRidge mountains:

..."a million different shades of green moss-covered rock and kudzu vines, sun- dappled stone with yellow tones, and the dark gray green of ageless pines. Nights that are cool and days toasty warm. Explosions of fall color dazzle your eyes. Leaves falling down into cascading streams as my eyes are drawn upward to cloudless blue skies..."

She had such a gift and we are blessed to have a book that we found containing most of her writing. Sometimes, I just sit down and pick certain ones to read and it feels like she and I are having a conversation.

Favorite Mom memories include: her playing piano every Sunday morning as we finished getting ready for church, cutting up vegetables for her Thanksgiving dressing, her trying to sing the words to "Baby Got Back", the "box" of stuff she always had waiting on us every time we'd go visit--chock full of newspaper articles, recipes, funny emails (that we had seen a hundred times), harmonizing as she and I sang Amazing Grace and dozens of other favorite songs, teaching me how to sew, the sound of her cooking dinner while the Carol Burnett Show played in the background, the way she would tilt her head in the mirror if she thought her hair looked good, her love of Barry Manilow, John Denver and Neil Diamond and Danny Wright, cherry vanilla ice cream and lemon ice box pie, stacks of Readers Digests and her secret Skittles stash in her bedside table drawer.

I could write for a week straight and still not record all of the memories I have of my Mom. She was a surprisingly complex woman who devoted her life to her family and friends instead of focusing on herself.

So, I choose to celebrate her life today instead of focusing on her "losing" her battle to cancer. She did not lose. She fought bravely for eight months and, although she would disagree, she never lost an ounce of dignity in my eyes.

I am not sad today. I am lucky to have had such a wonderful, talented and caring Mom who poured her life into mine. For that, I am blessed.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Call

I'm a little emotional about this topic--so this will be a very short post. I got a call from my dad today and he shared with me the results of a test in which they found some "nodules" in his lung as well as enlarged lymph nodes.

For those of you that know me, this is a deja vu scenario mirroring the horror I experienced with a similar phone call about my Mom a few years ago. We don't know what it is or whether or not it could be the "C" word.

But, my Dad is strong and our family has weathered this storm before. Please lift him up in your prayers as we wait to find out next Tuesday what the next steps will be.

I'm scared. There's just no other way to describe what I'm feeling right now.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Balancing Act

"That's can do it. Steady...steady....ooh, put your left foot in front of you. You got it. That's reach for my hand...."

Such was the conversation my four year old and I had as he walked on a log across the creek behind our house. It wasn't the widest log in the world and, to a four year old boy who is scared to death, it must have seemed like a needle over a canyon. What a nice feeling to be needed as he wouldn't go unless he had a firm grasp of my hand. But, as much as I want to be needed, I knew he would feel an amazing sense of accomplishment by doing it on his own.

So, I encouraged. I cheered him on. "Just a little can do it! I have faith in're such a big boy!" All the while, the bigger metaphor for this scenario hung over my head like a giant cloud. "One day, he will not want or need to hold my hand in life. One day, he will roll his eyes at the very offer of help and it will break my heart," I thought to myself. But, he tiptoed on. a fine surgeon, he gingerly took one step after another until he was close enough to leap into my arms. He then looked up with a proud smile and giggled "I did it, Mommy! All by myself. I did it!"

I once found a note tucked neatly into the suitcase I had packed when I headed off for college. My Mom, with her infinite gift of writing, had written a short little letter to me titled "For Katie, at 18." It meant a lot to me then but, as a mother sitting on the edge of a log over a creek now watching my son take steps of independence, that note takes on a whole new meaning. She verbalized what I know I will one day experience. The note read:

"For years you let me pull you along, holding your hand. You stood in my shadow, behind me, clinging to my skirts, afraid to look ot at the world. You peeked out and found the world a friendly place to be--a welcoming place for a girl with white blond hair and blue-blue eyes. You grew, and your steps caught up with mine. You still hid at times when the world seemed too much to handle. But, your times to be afraid grew fewer and further apart. You held onto my hand less often and you began to pull away to walk your own path. The process is almost complete. Our hands still reach. Our fingertips touch, but even that small contact is slipping as your steps outdistance mine and you enter a world uncharted by me. I can only assure you that I'm here - always - as your hand slips out of mine and my grasp turns into a wave goodbye. You're grown."

Although you are not here anymore Mom, your words of wisdom live on through the gift of your writing. May I be able to leave the same legacy for Daniel some day. Thank you for holding my hand and also knowing when to let go. You made me who I am today. I love you.

Monday, March 06, 2006

41 years Ago Today... parents were married.

Although we lost Mom three years ago to cancer, I'll never forget spending that last anniversary with them on March 6, 2003. I went to a local restaurant in Selma, AL to get them dinner and Mom had babyback ribs. She was pretty much bedridden at that point but sat on the edge of the makeshift hospital bed we set up downstairs and ate every bit of her dinner...licking her fingers along the way! She insisted on signing her anniversary card to Dad herself even though her writing wasn't so good at that time. I recall it said "Hang in there with me..." Which he did.

7 days later we lost her at 7:14 pm.

To me, March 6 will always represent two anniversaries: their wedding anniversary and the night when I sat there eating dinner with Mom by the glow of the TV never knowing that just one week later I would soon be without that magnificent woman in my life. What would I have done differently?

I would have asked for her vegetable soup recipe. It was hers and hers alone and I cannot recreate it no matter how hard I try. I would have stayed there instead of going home and planning to come back the next weekend. I would tell her just how much I aspire to be like her and ask her all the parenting questions I now have about my own childhood that only she has the answers to. But, time slipped away before I had the chance to do those things.

I had 32 beautiful years with her and that is what I celebrate today. I say a special thank you to God for bringing a self-professed "techno-geek" and a young artist together in 1965.
And, 41 years later, I continue to celebrate and reflect on a love that resulted in my sister and I.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad...

My Boyfriend's Back

Seven days without my son was a lot tougher than I imagined. BUT--he's back! I have never seen him be as clingy as he has been for the past couple days (secretly--I'm kind of enjoying it) He wants to walk with Mommy, sit by Mommy and go wherever I go. I'm sure it will fade away as we journey back to a normal routine so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Daniel is no longer in the Montessori school in which we had him enrolled. Their communication (or lack thereof) was undermining us as parents. Their philosophy was "what happens at school stays at school" basically we were rewarding him every day for being good at school when that was not always the case. We're going to give it a try here until Pre-K and see how it goes. I'm excited about "teaching" him as we go through the day and hopefully I can adequately prepare him for the next step-- "real" school. Yikes! He's growing up too quickly!!!

Today is the first day so I'd better get a head start. I'll keep you posted on our "adventures"!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Empty Nest Syndrome???

Could I be experiencing a touch of empty nest syndrome?? My son has been at the inlaws since Saturday and I'm about to go stir crazy! Keith and I are enjoying our alone time together but the quiet, emptiness of our home without a busy four year old is quite odd. Yes, he drives me batty sometimes with his normal, little boy ways...but I long to try to pinch his cute booty as he runs up the stairs with him giggling to "beat me" and I miss him curling up under his little blue blanket in my lap as we watch "Ameri-Idol" as he calls it. I do manage to get a few sentences out of him on the phone each night but they are filled with tales of playing with his cousin or Mamaw's cooking and ice cream with Papaw. I know he's having a great time (sniff, sniff) but I sure am ready to get one of his famous bear hugs. (note: please remind me of this post when I'm pulling my hair out in about a week, OK????) :-)