God made us Sisters

Hearts made us friends – as the little saying goes.

My sister is almost nine years older than me. Have you ever heard that song Heros, by Mariah Carey? When I hear that song, I always think of her. From taking care of three younger siblings, to leaving home at eighteen, to marriage and college, to having two children in her early twenties, then later having two infant sons that made their way to heaven way, way too soon.

Not letting that beat her and sap the life from her, she battled the pains with nursing school while working as an aide in the ER at Houston Childrens hospital until she graduated with her RN license. Today, she cares for children with more compassion and love than any nurse I’ve ever known. Why? Because that was her calling and she listened. It took her 15 hard years to get there.

My dearest friend, that I am so blessed to have related to me. May I offer this tribute to you to acknowledge your touching grace upon my life.

I am so proud to call you my sister. Every picture I have, you are holding me. Every one.

What I remember most about growing up with you is the nights when we lived in Pickett. The rut town off a two-lane Oklahoma highway, in the middle of nowhere. Our house at the end of the road, located next to the woods, and in front of a big field terrified you. A secluded place filled with shadows. I have a feeling Ghost Hunters would have recorded some data. Eeek!

You would drag me stumbling from my brass twin bed to sleep with you in your room, in your bed – every night. You put up with a six-year old having restless leg syndrome when you hated feet on you. I guess little kid feet on your head seemed preferable to being haunted. Worse than that were my nightly accidents in the wee form. Oops.

It was your room I began to read novels from your desk shelf. My first book, Little Women, then Island of the Blue Dolphins. I can honestly say, reading in your room ignited the treasure trove of stories that call to my heart.

The other great love, your big doll house. Oh I coveted it. I wanted it for my own, I’ll admit. It was a dream when I got to play with it. The magnificent colonial house with real furniture, a velvet clad staircase, and an attic that opened up. A child’s dream home.

Listening to Barry Manilow crone from the record player in your room, or maybe it was Neil Diamond, John Denver, or all the above. They just don’t sound the same anywhere else. And why you put up with a little brat always around asking questions when you were surely a busy teenager, I’ll never know. You probably don’t either, except to say it was a long eight years of wishing for me. I treasure those days in your room.

Taking me to your Cougann practice when they had the mini camp. Being your side kick (or lo-kick), in your big drill team performance during the Friday night High School football game. What an exciting adventure. Such a privilege for a little sister who wanted to be just like you.

My big sister.

My friend.

My hero.

I watched you hold Baby Will in your arms, desperate to keep him, his loss the greatest our family has ever known, such a precious soul. Seven days of sweet song touching his fingers, kissing his head. Nothing was more heartbreaking.

Then, for that pain to pale in comparison to the sacrifices made for Baby Cody. Born after Will, strong, yet still fragile. The 24/7 quest to eradicate germs as much as possible with a toddler in tow, and another child in public school. Four and half years doing things no mother could comprehend with tubes, wires, medicines and shots only to lose him anyway. I think I would have lost my faith. No, I would have, but not you.

Instead of cowering in grief you firmly stood up for all mothers of exceptionally essential children that lived most of their life from a hospital bed. You spoke in front of hundreds of mothers, doctors, and nurses – despite your fear of public speaking – so they could better serve families of children like Will and like Cody. So they could make compassion and service a first for families of the chronically ill. A place of warmth and care for their long stays. A place for direction when they did go home armed with the confidence to care for them. All because of you giving yourself to the cause and sharing your sad story. People listened. People learned. People cared.

Your selfless service to the needy is astounding. Next, you will marry a man who has an exceptionally essential daughter. Beautiful Chelsea, a hospital bed buddy to Cody. A miracle that lived long past what the experts predicted. She will walk down the aisle, unable to speak clearly due to her trach opening, unable to walk steady with her weakened muscles. Her twisted hands will hold a bouquet of flowers while her princess dress billows around her. She will have a big smile lighting up her face. It will be as if it’s her wedding. A forever child unable to experience one of her own. It’s only through your desire, that she will. She will feel just as loved, and just as honored as any bride would be.

You amaze me.

May the love you pour out, always return to you. Thank you for being the best big sister a little girl could ever have.

Happy Birthday my friend!

A Thank you to My Valentine

Dear Valentine,

You surprised me, yet again, with your thoughtfulness and care.

Valentine’s Day really crept up on me. With all the snow storms and flight problems…the long days. Finishing work a half hour late just to take care of customers. Valentine’s Day was the last thing on my mind.

But you didn’t forget.

We had talked about not making it a big deal. Not like the party the year before with the girls – we didn’t have the girls this year. The fun and child delight just wasn’t there.

But the simple sweetness you provided anyway? Divine.

You most definitely surprised me with your gifts. I am reminded of your love, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day before and after.

The beautiful card was the heart stopper.

I am typically used to not be a crier on sappy cards. In fact, I prided myself on my hard little heart and cynical ways. But you……you knocked down my outer crust. You broke the mold.

I cried reading your words to me, not because of sadness, but because of the great joy you fill my soul with. The security and peace you fill my heart with, your constant loyal ways. Besides who else can I text at 3am after I have had a vivid dream of dying? You are my faithful sponsor in every way.

How could YOU not be deserving of ME? I am not deserving of you. Thank you sweet Valentine. It is my desire to cherish you always, from the depths of my heart, I love you. 10-10-10

Planting Seeds

I had the good ole black thumb growing up. I think my first plant my mom gave me to sacrifice was an african violet. The second plant my mom made walk the plank was a hanging spider plant. That one took a little longer to end its misery, but eventually I did.

Those two experiences told me and my avid gardener mother, I didn’t get the gene. As a grown up, I had plastic plants. A little dust never hurt anyone, that was until my second marriage. We moved to his mother’s house. She lived with her husband in a different house.

This residence may as well been the garden of Eden. There were so many flower beds, I felt sick to my stomach. A HUGE island with a pistachio tree, a back garden filled with day lilies, three other side gardens with irises, and lastly a large container bed under a newly built pergola.

It was enough to make a non-gardener want to cry. Luckily, here came my mother from Oklahoma to save me, to save the garden beds before I sent them off to meet their maker. She was patient with me, oh so very patient, and she showed me how to clean them out, divide the irises, and then PLANT new flowers.

She had all the confidence in the world of me. Lo and behold, they all grew. None died. The next year they multiplied. I even got brave and planted seeds myself, grew those in little pods and transferred them to my flower beds. To my delight, they grew too. I bought a trellis arch and had morning glories growing on each side and up. They bloomed every day, my little plants – I grew from seed.

Even the container under the pergola was filled with baby’s breath that spilled over in great glory. I had moon flowers, four o’clocks, rosemary, lavender, roses and sweet peas. It was an oasis. A surprise oasis. I was so proud.

When things fell apart, I had to leave my oasis. I left my effort, my hard work, and mostly my love – my beautiful garden.

When we moved into a new house, I did some gardening as well (nothing like before). Elephant ears, oleander, zinnia, mexican heather, and, again, had a gorgeous rose-bush. AGAIN, I had to leave it behind.

I’ve been in the new place two and half years. I have some container plants, but I never made garden beds. I didn’t see the point at a rental, I was sure to leave again.

I never had the strength or fortitude to start all over again. Until this year…..

I fell in love with Jason’s house and empty garden beds. My love was re-kindled. What a blessing it was to me. I toiled and planted with all the spirit I had before.

As winter approaches (well our winter anyway, which doesn’t count but still kills plants), I am remembering a spring of gardening, a summer of blooming.

I am remembering that in our world today, we are a lot like flowers. We are all different and unique. We grow at different rates. Some of us need more care than others. Some of us need protection from bugs and the world around us. Some of us are fragile and easily broken, but some of us are tough, long-lasting. Some of us will die and not return next year, but some will birth new shoots that grow taller and stronger than ever before. But mostly, we all just need love and care to thrive, and grow.

Jason’s gardens, 2009

Angel Begonia

Impatients and pink stain-glass coleus.

Cooper’s memorial stone, an angel statue that reminds me of Jason’s oldest daughter, more impatients.

My pride and joy – the moonflower. They only bloom at night.

Amazing in the moonlight.

The front bed. Calidiums and impatients.


We each have our own beauty to display. Our beauty may not be pleasing to everyone, but to some it will take their breath away.

Revel in your beauty today, shine through winter, bask in your moments before they are gone.

A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions – so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Adabella Radici

Hope you enjoyed your garden walk as much as I did, live with long lasting effect.

Happy Friday!!

P.S. (I’m feeling like a fourth grader typing that) – I updated my photos on the About Me tab. New for November with some of my favorite photos.