Who could not love this woman! A Tribute.

Who could not love this woman! A Tribute.

As Valentine’s Day approaches and I realize that I don’t have a suitable gift,  I thought I would share one reason why I love this woman–Vickie–the embodiment of resilience.

For the second time in our married life our house was destroyed by fire.   In this instance in 1987, we were driving across town in Nairobi and saw smoke bellowing in the distance.  “That’s our house Vickie.” I shared with her, before we were even close to home.  Apparently rats had made a meal of the tattered electrical wiring in the ceiling of the old house we called home in a rather nice suburb of the city. Cross two bare wires and you get sparks.  As we arrived, scores of police encircled the house–to keep looters at bay. Fire fighters poured water on the house with blazes still reaching above the tall avocado trees that usually shaded the house from the heat of noonday sun.
Okay, so Vickie wasn’t that “together” when we arrived.  And she would have rather me hold her instead of grabbing my camera to document the fire for insurance purposes.  But, within a few short hours, she was quickly going through the cooling house collecting anything salvageable.  Who knew tupperware could survive all that heat!  What is remarkable in this photo is the ever smiling face of Vickie who has the ability to laugh in the worst of circumstances.  Humor is one of the best attributes to combat trauma, crisis, stress, catastrophe, and just plain hard times.
We are all stronger because of laughter and Vickie is an example and encouragement of a loving and resilient woman.  If there is any quality I see in all of my children, it is this ability to laugh, look for the positive amidst the worst, and to keep moving on–they come by it honest.
So maybe we will go to a movie together on Valentine’s Day, and have a nice meal.
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Sometimes Caged Birds Don’t Sing

Sometimes Caged Birds Don’t Sing

[About the photo: I took this at the Mt. Pleasant Pier near Charleston. This bird didn’t sing, and didn’t need to sing either–what a view!. 2014]

The other day a friend came over and asked me to go into an apartment with her.  Her neighbor had gone on a camping trip with a church group and left my friend to feed her two pet parakeets.  My friend is afraid of the birds (and most living creatures) and she wanted me to do the feeding while she watched.  It wasn’t a big deal really. The birds politely moved to the back of the birdcage while I lifted the door and placed the seeds in the front of the cage.  “That was easy.” She sighed.  The experience reminded me of story about my father, a somewhat eccentric person.

When I was in the first grade we lived in Illinois in a pastorium next to the church where he was pastor.  He loved animals and took every opportunity to fill our yard with an array of dogs, the garage with Persian and Siamese cats, and in that year one of the bedrooms of the house with canaries. I am not sure where my 3 sisters slept, but I remember this bedroom lined with cage upon cage of pretty little yellow and other brightly colored birds.  There was one problem–other than the obvious one of crowding his children into spaces so he could have the birds–the canaries wouldn’t sing.  He specifically bought the canaries so he could have bird sounds around the house. What to do? Continue reading

Heather’s 40th Birthday Story

Some family history for my daughter’s 40th birthday.

I don’t really remember the drive from Americas, Georgia Hospital where she was born.  Actually I really don’t remember too much about the first year in Montezuma except the way it go started.  We left Mars Hill, N.C. in the Appalachian mountains for the deeper south after looking for a teaching job for some time in 1971.  There were no job openings near home in the gorgeous mountains of home that had nestled our us, our family and friends.

We drove south past Atlanta.   Continue reading

Molding Clay and Shaping Lives

Reflections on Basic Art Therapy by Jaroslava Sickova-Fabrici

What child doesn’t like mud?  I grew up in the Southern United States in mostly small towns of farming communities. I remember the warm feel of the summer’s clay between my toes.  Making mud pies was a favorite past time with my sisters, especially after a spring rain—and long before cable and the Internet.  Playing in the mud was soothing, bonded me to my sisters, and most of all, fun.  Who knew it could be part of a healing process back then? Continue reading