First the Lights Went Out

Can you believe the holidays are just around the corner? It seems unreal because of the virus – how our everyday living has changed. Even though it’s hard to fathom that the year is coming to a close, my trusty calendar says it is, so I thought it would be a good time to post this Christmas tale from last year.

In excitement we wriggle from head to toe anticipating our daughter and fiancé’s visit from Nashville. The newly-engaged couple flies out early December to beat the holiday airport chaos. Thanksgiving dishes barely sparkle when we push and pull our Noble Fir through the front door. I want the house to be dressed in holiday attire for when they arrive. But the day after Thanksgiving is early to buy a tree, so the pickings are slim and the cost is a heart-stopper. Yet, there in the living room by the window stands the evergreen, reflecting in the paned glass.

My husband takes charge of putting up the outside decorations – hanging the Christmas flag, stringing the lights on the house, and sprinkling big ornaments on our shrubbery. My son and I begin indoor decorating by winding the lights among the branches on the tree. As we hand the wiry bunch to each other, around and around, they blink awake like eyes opening brightly. But then suddenly, they go out like sleepy eyes closing. When we tested them earlier, they lit up just fine, so their slumbering is surely a mystery. Feeling frustrated, we fuss with the tiny bulbs, and eventually, they blink “Merry Christmas” again. (Problem solved or so we think.) Then come the ornaments – many made by our children’s’ little hands: photos of them skirted in gold stars or in the arms of pink angels. The clothespin reindeer look excited to join Santa on Christmas Eve, and the homemade sequin ornaments from my husband’s grandma transports him back to the sixties. His grandma was stern but kindhearted, and when she cooked each Sunday for the following week, there was enough food to feed everyone in the county. Then my fingers feel around in the box for another ornament, latching onto the white puffy heart engraved with Dad’s birth and death date. It’s like hanging memories one by one, triggering teardrops or raising smiles. When the tree stands fully adorned, it truly looks Noble.

Copper’s on full alert for a Christmas treat!

Outside for onlookers, the house lights blink a winter white with a splash of red, gold, green, and silver hanging among the greenery, but more Christmas spirit arrives with our Nashville kids. They gave us a beautiful wreath which hangs on the front door and completes the decorating. In the evenings, we gather around the table, catching up on life and sharing delicious food. They share their wedding plans and we hear their excitement to search for a special place to exchange vows. And we bake! Having my daughter home to help mix up some sweetness conjures up delightful baking memories.

I want to freeze time – for it alone is an illusion: drifting by like the slow drip of honey, yet, flying by like a hummingbird seeking nectar. With a blink of an eye, our visit with them has ended and it’s time for goodbye-hugs which are never easy; bittersweet tears fall like liberated water over a broken dam. Too soon my cell phone pings, telling me they’re boarding their plane. Once their feet safely touch Tennessee ground, I push the restart button in my routine. Phone calls, Facetime, and text messages don’t replace their presence but will suffice until their next trip.

Our focus is back to the Noble Fir and we notice it doesn’t appear to be thirsty. This evergreen that cost an arm and a leg is beginning to dry up faster than a drop of water on a sun-kissed sidewalk. Then to our surprise, the bottom lights go out! A couple of days later with one tilt of our heads, we spot the lights on top of the tree are out! Frustration seeps into our veins for a second, then trickles of laughter follow, and because we’re too busy to shop for new lights, our tree remains topless and bottomless where festive colors once shimmered! We join Charlie Brown and call it our Peanut’s tree – a little forlorn to our eyes but beautiful just the same. The angel our daughter made years ago, though only a toilet paper roll with lacey craftsmanship, sits in a place of honor on top of the tree. Replacing this dear angel is out of the question, so we look to her for hope that the tree lasts until the big day!

Moving on from our tree-light calamity, it’s time to bake again. I find my mother-in-law’s gingerbread recipe, preheat the oven, then press the button on my faithful hand mixer. When all ingredients are blended, I dip a spoon into the sweet-spicy batter. I have to make sure it’s fine for others to eat. Of course, I do. I was about to put the pan in the oven, opening the door, when I realize 350-degree heat did not whoosh out at me in the face. I call my husband over and we do some button-pressing, hoping our magic touches will perk up the oven. No luck, but no need to panic fully because the burners work, so not a total loss. The gingerbread stays overnight in the fridge, but I’m unsure as to how refrigeration will affect the batter. I call on a friend for help and use her oven the next day. When the timer beeps, the bread looks done, except for the molten-looking center – mushy, but honestly, gooey and delectable.

Two weeks pass since the oven’s demise, and no repairman is available until December 30th. It sounds like the death of many appliances! At least the oven functioned when my daughter and I needed it to for our upcoming cookie exchange. Four dozen buttercream-frosted sugar cookies were displayed on glass platters: stars, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, and angels all bejeweled in red and green sprinkles. Now, as Christmas draws closer by the minute, I feel off-kilter because I’m unable to bake.

While the oven sits waiting to be repaired, the alternator in one of our cars dies! First the lights, then the oven, now the car! But wait, there’s more…our big TV is next on this chain of events! What a kerfuffle this holiday season has been with things going kaput! I won’t ask, because if I do, we’ll wonder what’s next! I didn’t ask!

Because of the unexpected and unfortunate events, our shopping sprees have barely begun. But we’ll still find merchandise sitting on the shelves, contrary to popular belief that Black Friday is the only day to shop for Christmas. And each time I walk past our unique Christmas tree, I am reminded of the quote, paraphrasing, of course, “It’s not about the beginning or destination; it’s about the journey.” Well, the tree’s middle glows with Christmas enthusiasm and so does our journey through this holiday season in spite of the blips.

These hiccups caused us to pause, but they’re not the end of the world. Baking later could develop into a new tradition. Our tree will remain noble until Christmas Day, or at least we hope it will. Those temperamental lights will be tossed when the tree comes down. The car is on its wheels again. So, regardless of these glitches, the blessings stand tall: precious family time, safe travels for our Nashville kids, and gifts beneath the tree acting as an evergreen anchor. Saving the best for last – our family’s good health. What more can we ask for besides new lights for our tree next year!

I hope this account of my family’s last Christmas brought smiles and maybe even a few giggles. And I have a strong hunch, this holiday season will look a little different. But if good health abounds, that’s what matters most. And Cheers to hoping 2021 is much brighter for all!

Lauren💓💓💓

Tanglewood

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It was a townhouse
that stood two-stories
tall, where fond memories
float about, and where I
wore pigtails and a smile.
I recall my foot landing
on the bottom step, and
Morton would offer his
feathery hello, and in my
language, the same I
would bestow.

This is the home where
Mom gave me a frog
that would live forever. It
was made with time, love,
red corduroy and beans.
I named him Sam, and he
meant the world to me.

Events from two days ago
can be obscure, yet visions
of my first day of kindergarten
remain vivid, wearing a
plaid jumper, black and white
saddle shoes, and riding in the
big, yellow school bus. This was
a time when Mom and Dad
were still with us…

family
Lauren Scott © 2018
(re-write & I’m the baby)❤

 

 

 

Family of Giants

We’re home after camping among the Redwoods in northern California. While walking among these amazing trees it is absolutely a magical and spiritual experience…

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Generations

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Living together

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Baby

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From death comes life

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Perspective

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Inside Big Hendy Grove

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Fallen

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Over 1000 years old

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Sun’s peeking through

“This is their temple, vaulted high,
And here we pause with reverent eye,
With silent tongue and awe-struck soul,
For here we sense life’s proper goal.
To be like these, straight, true, and fine,
To make our world, like theirs, a shrine,
Sink down, O Traveler, on your knees,
God stands before you in these trees.

~Joseph B. Strauss from “The Redwoods” 1932
Chief Engineer of The Golden Gate Bridge

Scene Change, Full House, and Balloons!

Sunny California is finally sunny again with warmer temps on their way. Our son flew home on Saturday, following the end of his political science internship in DC. He wanted to be home for my birthday (Sunday), and what better gift than to have both of my children home. My excitement to see him couldn’t be put into words. Then to have the four of us together again was awesome! And the awesomeness continues for the week before he returns to college for his final quarter. Yes, then graduation in June. More celebrating! 🎉
The picture below was taken on the speaker’s balcony of the capitol.

michael on the speaker's balcony of the capitol 2018

My heart was full from all the birthday wishes from family and friends, but this year, 
I wanted a celebration with just my husband and children. It was a great family day with lots of surprises and carrot cake (my fave) to top of the day. I made my wish, so we shall see. I’m also not shy about sharing my age. I’m simply grateful to be alive to celebrate each new year.

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Thirty-nine again!

 

 

And with the seasons changing, I wrote a sequel to my previous poem and post,
A Cup of Spring. 

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Scene Change

Mr. Winter bows as the
curtain gently falls
His mood is melancholy
yet, he understands

Miss Spring adjusts her
petals, poised with grace,
for the welcoming applause
Hats off to her glow and
the warmth she evokes

 

I hope you’re applauding Miss Spring’s arrival, too, and I’ll end with some wise
words that you’ve probably heard before…

Life is full of give and take. Give thanks, and take nothing for granted. ❤ 🌻 🌼 ❤

Lauren Scott © 2018
Daffodil Photo: Google

 

Motherhood

You are little now,
unable to understand
my deepest feelings

Emotions overwhelm me
when I hold you,
when I see your tiny lips
form your biggest smile,
when I hear you laugh
it’s a joyous melody,
when I hear you cry
it’s a heartbreak to bear

I want to protect you
but I’m not in control
Life will bring adventures
meant only for you –
I’ll have to let go

I’ll marvel, though, in each
new change as you grow

I may be your mommy now
but I’ll always be your
Mom
Loving you more each day
as time takes you away
so you can fly
and realize your
own life

Lauren Scott © 

(It seems like a hundred years ago 
when I wrote this, when I first
became a mom. It was the most
wonderful feeling. I felt like I was
walking on clouds. I still feel this
way even now that my kids are
in their twenties. They have been
the biggest miracle in my life, along
with my husband, and I’m beyond
grateful. I hope you enjoy these words
from 
back when.) 💕

 

Dear Dad,

family

daughters

Your beloved wife has been with the angels
Your time has now come, our hearts ever faithful

For you wear your wings now, as you soar beside Mom
Two more angels in Heaven, as we play your song

Swaying to the oldies, you both loved to dance
The timing is now for your second chance

Lauren Scott 2017
(Today is the two-month anniversary of my Dad’s death. The
grieving process shifts from one stage to another. It’s still with us –
we miss our parents, but knowing they’re together again grants us
comfort and peace. These are just two photos of many more that
will be cherished forever.) 💕

The Simplest of Treasures

my parents' black silverware

It’s not uncommon to find sentimental possessions after parents move on to their eternal life. When my husband and I camped earlier this month, and while preparing for our first dinner, I found the box of silverware that we always use. This set came from my parents, who used it at our cabin in Big Bear, CA back in the sixties and seventies. How funny that I can vividly remember using it in our rustic mountain get-away, even though I was very young. It’s amazing how some memories stay in our minds over the years.

Anyway, after arriving home, then in the midst of doing camping clean-up, it dawned on me that I didn’t want this set stashed away in the camping tub anymore – not to be seen or used until the next trip, which currently is unplanned. This set of black silverware suddenly held an abundance of sentimentality and tugged at my heart. I even broke down during that first night of camping after coming across this treasure, crying hard for several minutes. Oh, how my heart was hurting…Yes, I’m still grieving, but I’m also appreciating those vivid, loving memories.

Then I thought even deeper and had a good talk with my husband about how sturdy this set is to have lasted through about five decades! No, it’s not fancy, and black doesn’t match the interior of our home; however, it is neutral, versatile, and durable (as we now know). So, as much as I love to coordinate decorations, themes, and colors, I’m bending my own rules because this black silverware has become a vital component in our kitchen. Whenever we use it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we think of my parents, Mom’s excellent cooking, the conversations that flowed around the table, and family love and contentment that followed those delicious meals. It just goes to show that the simplest of treasures can hold the most significance.

Do you have a similar story to share about a simple treasure that means a lot to you? If so, I’d love to read it…

Lauren Scott 9.28.17

 

Happy 7th Birthday to Our Forever Puppy!!

 

Copper in Autumn by Steph 2016

Copper by Michael 2

Happy 7th Birthday, Copper!!

I remember where you lived
as we walked to the door,
a little cramped for three
dogs on one tiny floor

But after a ten-minute walk
we took you to our car,
you jumped in the back
and it was only the start

You couldn’t see how
your life was changing
We had no idea just how
much we’d be gaining

I wonder where you’d be
if we hadn’t seen that site
Nothing matters now, though,
because everything is right

Lauren Scott 9.27.17
Adoption date: 3.27.12 ❤️
Photo credit to my Son & Daughter

 

Fairytale

Mom and me as a baby

When my interest in boys began
I shared my fairytale with Mom
She smiled like a movie star, then said,
“Sweetheart, your time will come”

She never crushed my dreams
Because in her heart she knew
My prince would someday arrive
I suppose mothers always do

Lauren Scott September 2017
(I miss you, Mom ❤)

(I was much younger in this photo,
but it’s one of my favorites 🙂 )

The Roses

Easter rose

Their colors brought infinite joy as they were cared for with pride
The thorns did not lesson their beauty; not one delicate petal was denied

Red velvet symbolized eternal love forever nested in their hearts
Carrying them on a cloud of nine so they could almost touch the stars

Their presence, bending towards the sun, bestowed radiance to the hours
The fragility of their petals revealed true beauty in these flowers

The elegance of their appeal interlaced in the fabric of their love
Now pure white roses hold true an enduring devotion in Heaven above

 

Lauren Scott August 2017 –
In honor of my parents
who are together again 💕
(Photo: Google)