Farewell Summer

Summer is officially over…as of today.

When I was young, this made me sad. Summer, and all the activities we were involved in was one of the highlights of my youth. For a few years, I was in summer school. I know that may send shivers down some spines, but for me it was a few weeks when I could extend the classes that I really loved in school. I took art classes…fun stuff like pottery, and macramé. My siblings and I always took swimming lessons, and then spent every day at the pool.

When the first cool breezes hit Longmont, Colorado, (where I lived until I was thirteen), we knew it was time for school to begin once again. There was always a shopping trip to purchase new clothes and shoes for the school year. These clothes came with instructions from our mother of what day, under what circumstances, and what kind of weather those pieces of clothing were for…and we didn’t stray. You were not caught in school clothes if you were playing in the yard, and never on a weekend. Work clothes were not worn to school, and church clothes were for church, and only very special occasions. This list of instructions was the same for all children. When the cool weather changed to winter, you added a cardigan to your dress, and sometimes tights, or knee-high socks. I spent many mornings waiting for the school bus and wishing I had remembered my tights instead of the knee-highs. I would board the bus with red, chilled-to-the-bone knees.

After the first day of school, you had your school-supply list. That of course meant another trip to the store. I think I was in middle-school before a list was posted before school started. That second trip to the store was fun, and must have cost my parents a small fortune when all four of us were in school. But back then, those supplies were yours to use. A nifty little school box, (that we kept caterpillars in), stored our pencils, erasers, and little scissors. If you were really fortunate, you had your own pencil sharpener that didn’t eat up too much of your pencil, saving you the wait time of using the class crank one. Life was easy back then, and the little things meant a lot.

Memories make up so much of our lives, and I have many good ones. I started this post with the end of summer, and even as an adult, it makes me melancholy. The days are already becoming shorter, and the mornings have that autumn feel, even if the temperature rises into the nineties. Outdoor projects once again beckon me, but now they are a process of getting things ready for the winter. A winding down, preparation for the holiday season ahead.

One day, my goal is to spend a substantial amount of my year beside the ocean. Seaside is still my favorite place to be. A few trips to see my father’s side of the family in the San Diego area, made many good memories for me. Most notably the time we spent at the ocean. The beaches were a little more crowded than I liked, but the crashing waves, sand sifting beneath your feet, and that salt-water tinge in the air were always there. In my young-adult years, I was introduced to the Cape Cod surroundings, and I felt as though I had found my special place beside the ocean. It still beckons.

For me, summers always mean water, and that seaside experience. I don’t even want the palm trees and sand, but the sand dunes and beach roses. White picket fences trailing into oblivion, dune grass swaying in the ocean breeze. Even though I’ve lived in the middle portion of the United States for most of my life, this is my picture of summer.

And today, those pictures are replaced with the memories of trudging off to school in a plaid dress, wet leaves plastered on the sidewalks. That damp smell filling your head, as the heavy air lingers around the trees.

Good-bye summer…until next year.

Pray Without Ceasing

Good Sunday morning to you!

The title to this post says it all. We ask for prayer for our loved ones, our friends, to help us get a job, to be patient, and the list goes on. At times, I just need prayer for myself…without ceasing.

This video was from many years ago. Back when our family was doing concerts. Back when our three youngest children still lived at home, and only our oldest was married. There have been so many miles traveled since those days! So much prayer needed for our family, and struggles we’ve had. Just like any other family out there.

Here’s Catherine Emily singing. She has a beautiful voice now, at almost seventeen years old. Alyssa Lynn is on the mandolin, and our son, Nathan on the guitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcBA3Uc2XC8

Special memories!

A Walk With a View

Now that my husband is home more often…I think they call it retired, we have been trying to incorporate a morning walk into our routine. At some point, more than a mile would be great, but that will have to be after the temperature drops into the sixties. Walking in ’80’s and above with the sun beating down, and humidity at jungle level is not fun!

We are blessed to live in a small town with a lot of places to walk safely. Just from our front door, we could head to our River Walk in less than five minutes.

Those two trees on either side of the bridge are gorgeous in the autumn when they turn red. This past year, they have extended the River Walk once again, and you can meander along the Neosho River for quite a bit. Some amazing volunteers from our town also put in an amphitheater just down a bit from where we took this picture. It has been put to fantastic use several times in the past few months since it was finished.

Even though the River Walk is just a few minutes from our house, I always prefer to walk at the lake whenever possible. I love being near water, and in the summer, the cool breezes blowing our way make it very nice. Four times around this loop make it a little over a mile. This picture does not show the brilliant sunlight that day!

Our little town also has a portion of a rail trail running through it. For me, it’s not the best place to walk because of the vegetation nearby. (I seem to break out in a rash whenever I glance at something green and potentially itchy.) But it has been the location for a few family walks over the years, and great for bike-riding.

With lower temperatures just around the corner, our walking routine may pick up. Those cooler temperatures also make yard work, and kitchen projects a little easier to handle. So, keep checking in. I will post some after pictures of the kitchen soon. I haven’t forgotten.

Until next time, this is where I would love to be walking. Have a great afternoon!

Easter Memories

Easter Sunday is approaching quickly. Here in Kansas we were experiencing sub-zero temperatures just a couple weeks ago. The past few days have been in the ’70’s. Now, another storm is approaching, promising lots of snow in some areas.

Spring…a season of new life, expectations, and hope.

So many of my posts are reflecting back on my life and thoughts. Easter Sunday was another day I looked forward to as a child. Yes, I understood that we were celebrating and rejoicing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the bigger picture for me at that time was a new Easter dress and decorating eggs. Remember…I was a child, and I thought as a child.

I have happy memories from those Saturday afternoons of dipping eggs. I don’t think we ever missed an Easter-decorating-eggs-day. Little cups of vinegar, the tablets melting into pools of color. The wire holder that was to help scoop the colored eggs. Always difficult for little hands to manage. But little fingers worked well. I think every child in Sunday school the next day had colored fingers! When the wraps came out in the 1970’s, I was thrilled. We could take our decorating to a whole new level.

My father always hid our Easter baskets first thing on Easter morning. We have pictures of us, proudly displaying our baskets. Our hair a mess from sleeping, mine usually in curlers. Those were the days when everyone bought a new dress for Easter Sunday, and you proudly marched off to church in it. When I was small, the outfit still included a new hat, shoes, white gloves, and a tiny purse. Of course more pictures were taken. And now they are included in photo history. A time when life was more simple, and it seems joy was taken in the little things.

Picture of my brother, Kreston, sister, Jennifer, and me on Easter Sunday, I think 1968?

Our youngest asked if we could decorate eggs this year. She’s 16, and very talented in the drawing, and painting areas. For me now, I don’t want to take the time to decorate something I’m going to crack, peel the shell off and eat. Because now I think like an old woman. No disrespect intended, and there is nothing wrong with decorating eggs. But it would be very special to have some pretty eggs for Easter Sunday.

I hope this post brought back your own special memories. The holidays are a time to reflect on those days…and that is part of making them special. Happy egg-decorating!

The English Language

My brother-in-law shared this poem on Facebook a couple days ago. At one time I really enjoyed poetry, and I read it a lot. I even tried writing it, but didn’t feel the pull as I do with writing books. I really enjoyed this poem, and it’s so very true when it comes to the English language. Enjoy!

English Pronunciation Poem 


I take it you already know

of tough and bough and cough and dough.

Others may stumble, but not you,

On hiccoughthoroughlough and through.

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

To learn of less familiar traps.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead – it’s said like bed, not bead.

For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat.

They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

moth is not a moth in mother,

Nor both in botherbroth in brother,

And here is not a match for there,

Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.

And then there’s dose and rose and lose

Just look them up — and goose and choose.

And cork and work and card and ward.

And font and front and word and sword.

And do and go, then thwart and cart.

Come, come I’ve hardly made a start.

A dreadful language? Man alive,

I’d mastered it when I was five!

Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004, by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981, and in Spelling Progress Bulletin March 1961, Attributed to T S Watt, 1954. 

I’ve shared the above poem and credits from this site: https://www.speechactive.com/english-pronunciation-poem/

A Little Helper

This post is for animal lovers, and cats in particular.

If you love cats, I’m fairly certain you’ve been exasperated by one as well. They have a way of growing on you, inserting their little personalities into your life…and then have you scratching your head as to why you’re sharing your home with them. That statement right there is part of the problem. It isn’t your home, it’s theirs.

I posted almost four years ago about some kittens that my husband found at the Transfer Station. It’s a neat story, and brings me to tears every time I read it. Happy ending of course!

Two of those three kittens made their home with us. Now they are big cats, with personalities to go with it. The furniture is theirs, the kitchen counters, and my desk. We have some birds that made their home along the eaves of our house, just above the windows where I write. So of course, it was terrible of me to put my desk area in the cat’s space for bird watching. This is my little helper most mornings.

Her name is Callie. She can be a sweetheart, especially with her mother, our youngest daughter, Catherine. But don’t engage her in something she doesn’t want to do. Taking her from my desk when she’s sitting on my keyboard can be dangerous.

Callie is very social, eating meals with us. She’s sits on the long bench at our dining table, usually next to Catherine. Her little head pokes over the top of the table, her eyes blinking, giving us love. Sometimes the paws come up so she can get a better view. If you try to remove her, you could be bitten as my husband experienced a few days ago. She’s quick! She certainly keeps the grandchildren on their toes. They usually give her a wide berth when she’s sitting somewhere giving them the eye.

This is Callie checking the time before her shower.

Feonie is Callie’s sister. Her demeanor is a little better. She loves neck snuggles, and isn’t so quick to strike out. But lately she gets in a bad mood and will give Catherine the eye. This began after Catherine put them on a little diet. Instead of having their dry food out all the time, they now have meals. Neither cat is liking the new routine. It’s making them a bit cranky.

Feonie spends much of her day in the little cat bed at my feet, curled into a tight ball. She appreciates a little petting every now and then. Feonie has taken to playing with the water running down the shower curtain after we take showers. This began about a month ago. Two shower curtains later we are draping it over the faucet. Cat claws and plastic don’t fair well. My light-blocking curtains can attest to that as well!

There are days I regret very much sharing my home with cats. The mornings I get up to find a broken glass and water on the floor from playtime on the counters during the night. The days that the cats choose to fight and chase one another across the counter with my just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie bars cooling. The times when we’d really like to sit in a certain chair, but it’s taken for a cat nap…by an actual cat.

I prefer cats over dogs. Always have. Someday I vow to not have any animals in the house. We’ll see. There are always pictures such as these that make them hard to resist.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Our oldest titled her pictures of their Christmas decorating with those words. It reminded me that it always has been for me, and it really is this year.

When our children were small, the Saturday after Thanksgiving was our day to decorate. I wanted the most time possible to have decorations up and displayed. Some of you may recall that in Christmases past, many people did not decorate until Christmas Eve. Some even set up their tree that night as a way to surprise children in the morning. Talk about no sleep the night before! But, it would be rather magical to be a child and get up, seeing all the decorations and presents. In our house, Santa Claus was a fun concept. We visited him at the malls, our second oldest absolutely terrified on one video we have. But our children knew that he did not bring the presents, even if we joked about it on Christmas Eve as a way to get them to bed and sleep. We were more diligent about teaching them the act of giving to others, and buying gifts for others. At least I hope that was the end result!

This is the first year in a couple that we actually have our decorations up! It was on Sunday, but we are enjoying them now. And that makes me happy! We even have lights outside this year. We have an entire month to enjoy the sparkle, color, and coziness of the Christmas season. And I’m looking forward to it!

Here are a few pictures to share.

Christmas at our house, 2020

 

Now for some cold weather and snow to really set the mood! Have a great day, and a Blessed Christmas Season!

The Year 2020

I sit here trying to remember my last post date. I know it’s been far too long.

It’s been long enough that the format for this site has changed again. Why do we have to mess with what works? Is there always a ‘new and improved’ way of doing things? As many of my older readers know, it’s not so much the fear of change, the dread of a learning curve, but just missing the old and familiar. The comfy chair that fits you just right, and you know you’ll feel safe and secure in.

To say it’s been a wild and crazy year world-wide is an understatement. We’ve all had the ‘old and familiar’ way of doing things knocked from beneath us. Our lives have spun out of control, and some are still twirling, hoping to cease that motion on some remembered ground of what life was once like. Here in the United States, we are still in a political mess of who will be the next President. I don’t do politics on here, and generally not on any social media. I definitely have my opinions, but I don’t care to spend precious time battling them out. God is in control, and I have faith-rest that it will work out in His timing. It may not be an easy ride, I may not agree, but it will be taken care of. My job is to keep applying what I know the Bible says about each and every situation. My biggest responsibility is to applying it with love, using patience and consideration for all. My biggest battleground is myself, and each minute of the day at times, reminding myself of that love, patience and consideration.

Long before Covid-19 hit everyone’s radar, my personal life began it’s own spiral. With all the items that were thrown at us, by the time the Virus hit, it wasn’t much to consider for me. I had too many other devastating items taking place. This post isn’t about feeling sorry for the last year and a half, no matter how much I would like to wish it all away. It’s about sharing with my readers. The one’s that follow this blog, the one’s that read my books. And if you’ve read my books, you know I write about the hard parts of life. The parts we’re ashamed of, the parts we want to forget, the parts we don’t want anyone to know about. We all have them, and they have been forgiven, and forgotten in the broad scope of eternity. Out of the rubble, there is hope, and sunshine to be shared.

I left my job as Activity Director at our local nursing home in August of 2019. I loved the job, but my health wasn’t fairing well with the stress of working full-time. My husband was also struggling physically. Acting in ways that were very different for him. Ways that were scary to me since I had worked in nursing homes for so many years, and knew about some of the symptoms. Ways that a 59 year old shouldn’t be acting. After a general diagnosis from our local doctor in September, my husband was referred to a neurologist. After waiting several months, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the end of February.

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My world, our world was forever changed. Hopes and plans for our future were swept away with just a few words. I was devastated, hurt, angry, and I wanted to run away. Very far away. My husband has never been much for expressing his emotions, and I know he felt many of the same things. But I’m a fighter, and he buries his head. The more sand he can scoop for protection, the better. All the while I’m shoveling it away in bucket-loads. It has probably kept us together for 36 years now. But I know it has not been the peaceful existence he would have preferred.

In the midst of all this, two of our daughters were struggling in their marriages. One ending in divorce, another in separation. Four precious grandchildren involved. Again, not what we would have planned or wanted for their lives, and I know not what they wanted. But this road of life is treacherous at times, and it takes all of our being to get through the dangerous curves and drops. Both daughters are now living further away than what I ever would have wanted, but they keep close contact, and we have had wonderful visits with both of them just recently. Those times are precious!

Selling the house we had lived in for 15 years was another hurdle. It was the only home our youngest remembered. So, the first of June, we moved in with our oldest daughter and her three children. Her husband had started a job a couple hours away and was staying with friends from their church until they could move. For four months, during lockdown, we had the privilege of having three of our grandchildren right with us. God knew the timing, He knew I needed help physically and mentally. It was a cherished time for me…for the grandchildren, it may have been different! Our daughter and husband are now living a couple hours away, but they are so good about traveling to see us almost weekly.

As I read back over what I’ve written, I shake my head in amazement. I wouldn’t have planned the last 18 months. I would have run if I had known! Recently, my mother has been moved to a memory care unit. My father cared for her for several years while still working full-time. Again, with the Covid-19 restrictions, it has been frustrating. But she is doing well, and I talk with her often now. I am relieved for my father, and have appreciated the time we’ve been able to spend with him.

I have debated on whether I should take down my posts from when our daughters were married, the pictures I shared on here. I’ve had this blog for several years now, so I’ve shared our lives.  I’ve used it as a way for my readers to get to know me better, or at least that was what I was thinking when I started it. But it is therapy for me to write on here. I still cherish those posts, and the pictures. Those men our daughters married will always be part of our family…the fathers of our granddaughters. Nothing will change that. So for now, I will leave them, and I hope our daughters will understand that it is not for disrespect for their lives now, or for our new son-in-law. But it is what has made us what we are as a family. The good and the rough times we’ve shared.

My husband is doing very well on the medication for Parkinson’s Disease. He went from struggling to dress and shave to being able to do those ADL’s on his own. I am thankful. It gives us a bit more time to process this Disease and what our options are. For now we are renting from our oldest daughter and son-in-law, our son and youngest daughter living with us. Their help and support right now is making life easier.

That’s been our life in a nutshell. Again, not to feel sorry, but to let you know that I’m still here. I appreciate your prayers, and support for my books. I will write no matter what happens. I always have a story to tell. But my readers make it real, and very dear.

My newest release was in June. It is the first book in a series of four books about a very special family. Of course! 😉 The books are all written, several years ago as a matter of fact. I’m currently doing rewrites on the second in the series. I had hoped to have it out by the end of the year…but you just read the post! You may find the first book right here: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Hope-Jonathan-Elisabeth-Defined/dp/1708481419/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&s=books&sr=1-1

I’ve enjoyed sharing our life with you. Thank you for reading! Now go and make this day the best that it can be!

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Merry Christmas!

The day has arrived! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey over the past month. I know it was a great reminder for me…the Christmas story. Christmas Month Social Media (3)

Especially remember verse twenty in the above. We may continue the Christmas spirit throughout the year…glorifying and praising God. Merry Christmas to you!