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.

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 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.

74205662_2601847986542553_5624729848476860416_n

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!

forest-2942492_1920

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!

We Thank Thee

Good Sunday morning to you! This week our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving here in America. We will gather together, family and friends, to remember and celebrate this day. This song is just a reminder of some of the things we should be thankful for in our lives. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pXzge4uhVs

Home Renovations

Two years ago…and yes, it’s been that long, I shared pictures of my kitchen renovation project. Our house has been a long process, taking place over the fourteen years we have lived here. Whenever I could, I worked on the kitchen, and bought cabinets. I begged for help from any family that was willing. Husband, sons-in-law and usually son have been a tremendous help. I thank them all for putting up with me.

Sadly, we’ve had our house for sale since June of this year. I’m no longer able to keep up with the yard, or the projects in the house. Too many years of rock-wall building, digging holes for trees and ponds have left me stooped and hurting. Health issues for my husband and me are taking front-row seats, and any free time I have I want to enjoy.

I have loved living in this house, working on it, and making it our own. We began our journey here in October of 2005 with all five children still at home. Now we have our youngest, 15 years old and wanting her own life, just as all teenagers do. With the exception of our son and youngest, three daughters are no longer close by. And they have our grandchildren. This house was the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my entire life…and it saddens me to think of moving, but it’s time. I don’t understand God’s timing in all of this, but I want to be ready.

So, I’ll include a couple before pictures of the kitchen:

Where you see the left wall cabinet, that was once the bathroom door. This is how it looked when we moved in:

Our family was ready for the ball in Cottonwood that evening. It was our first one and so much fun! This is the kitchen now:

To the right in the first picture, where the sink is, is where the wicker rocking chair was. I love this kitchen, and the colors! It has great flow for making a meal, great counter space, and even a little place to eat. We installed the floor this past summer and I love it as well. Flooring has come a long ways!

I’ve put a lot of myself into this home. It’s difficult to think of others living in it. My greatest wish is that they care for it as I have over the years. There is more to be done. The dining room project and second bathroom all came to a standstill.

72301736_1554018454740207_7868827093583265792_n (1)

But that leaves the opportunity for someone else to put their stamp on this little place that has existed for over one hundred years. And that’s the way it should be.

Vintage Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. Some areas of the United States are even covered in white as I write this. For many of us it’s a harried time of trying to work a full-time job, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, baking, and what seems like an endless round of parties, functions, and to-do lists.

And that’s not how I want to remember Christmas.

I stumbled upon this on Facebook today. It’s a long read, but a very well-written story, and one that will soothe your soul. Even though it was an account of years ago, I believe there is still this kind of love and humanity in the world today. It just may be a bit harder to find.

It was Christmas Eve 1942. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Daddy wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Daddy to get down the old Bible.

I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Daddy didn’t get the Bible instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon he came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now he was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew he was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my coat. Mommy gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Daddy was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Daddy pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.

“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

Then Daddy went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. I asked, “what are you doing?” You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. Mrs.Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” he said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, he called a halt to our loading then we went to the smoke house and he took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked. Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Mrs.Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Daddy was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was he buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Mrs.Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Mrs.Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Daddy said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then he handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at my Daddy like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” he said. Then turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Daddy handed them each a piece of candy and Mrs.Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of my Daddy in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Daddy had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Mommy and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Daddy insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. My Daddy took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Daddy and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door he turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Mrs.Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Daddy turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your Mother and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Mom and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Daddy had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. He had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Mrs. Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside of my Daddy that night. He had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life..

Image may contain: outdoor
Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, sky and outdoor
Image may contain: one or more people, people riding on horses and outdoor
Here is the link to the Facebook page. I do not know anything about the origin of the story, but I think the person that shared it has a heart for humanity as well. https://www.facebook.com/alan.riser.9

To Thee I’m Wed

Today, October 20, 2019, my husband and I have been married for thirty-five years. I never really thought we would get here. Just too busy living life and surviving on a daily basis…and now all those years are gone!

This is a transition time in our lives. So many unanswered questions about what we are to be doing now. So many tests in the areas of health and finances. So many thoughts on what we did wrong and what we could have done better.

Even though we are overwhelmed right now, we’re still on the right path…just walking very stooped and slow. The light is dim at times, but it hasn’t gone out. I hope and pray for better days, more memories to look back on and smile about.

To Thee I’m Wed is the title to the first book I published. The character of Jason Miller is my husband, and I hope that I portrayed my husband’s patience, his enduring love for his family, and his dedication to his marriage in that book. Men such as Jason and George are hard to find. And without George, our marriage would not be what it is today.

Happy Anniversary, George! I pray that we have many more years together. I share these three pictures because they make me smile, and I think of all the reasons that I fell in love with you back in 1984.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.