Words and Wishes!

“Mom, I love my new bed!”

Copper feels grateful for his new bed. He has three now spread throughout the house. So, as Thanksgiving Day inches closer, what are you grateful for? And don’t we all agree that showing gratitude isn’t just for this one day of the year; it’s for all year round. Let’s face it, watching the news gets depressing. The pandemic is still with us, people have lost their lives to this virus, fires raged in the summer, taking with them human lives and homes. Hurricanes landed causing devastation beyond our imagination. I feel like every day the news reporter tells us about another fatal shooting. Lives have been upended in the most horrific ways, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Still, if we dig deep enough, we can always find something to be grateful for.

Besides my family and Copper, I am grateful for the rain we’ve had, definite cause for a happy dance! We’re still heading into our 3rd drought year, but everything is green right now. Even the weeds are green for which I am grateful! We pray for more rainfall this winter so we can hear Mother Earth sigh once again.

I love the quiet early mornings when Copper and I go for our walks. We get to watch the sunrise and listen to the silence. The air is cool and crisp and wonderful!

I miss the long, light evenings from the summer, but hubby and I break out the candles for the long, dark nights. The coziness wraps us up in its warmth. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people living on the street or in their campers and vans. Having a roof over our head is not something to take lightly.

During this season, I love the smells of sweet and spicy, the baking of pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin cookies. Hello, Pumpkin! And who doesn’t love the wardrobe changing of the leaves on the trees? Those rich, warm reds, golds, and yellows. I’m thankful for my bookcase that is bursting at the seams. So many books make me happy! I don’t know what I’d do if paperbacks and hardcovers became obsolete. I love the feel of the pages and the smooth covers.

Earlier this year, I did a post about Gratitude and the list I shared had a beginning, but it didn’t have an ending. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?! I’m writing this on the fly without any intense editing, so please forgive any errors. Lastly, thank you for your continued support and friendship in this world of blogging. And a Big Thank You to those of you who have bought my book, More than Coffee, and to those who have written fabulous reviews.

My family, Copper, and I wish you all a very warm and loving Thanksgiving!
~Lauren 🧡🍁🍂🧡

The Early-Morning Walks

Carol still grieved the loss of her husband, Bill. Twelve months had slipped away, but forty-six loving years of marriage wouldn’t allow her to let go of her beloved. Living without him was like living without air. Sadly, they couldn’t have children of their own and Bill wasn’t keen on adopting. So, they lived their life together spending time in the outdoors and traveling when they could. At seventy-three years old, Carol recognized that her friends circle had shrunk. She had several acquaintances to occasionally meet for lunch, but she no longer had that best friend to rely on for laughter or tears or to confess her deepest anxieties. The friends she thought would be in her life forever had drifted away like the wind carrying a lonely leaf over a meadow. But Charlie, her friendly pug, needed love and attention, so he filled that role in this chapter of her life. She talked to her furry friend all the time and he was an intent listener. She swore that he could understand every spoken word. He was quick to pick up on her emotions by giving her a lick on her cheek or a nudge from his tiny wet nose.

Because of Charlie, Carol couldn’t wallow in the stronghold of sadness. By eight o’clock each morning, she had locked the door behind her, and she and Charlie were walking around the neighborhood. She had remained in pretty good shape and maintained to keep it that way. Carol and Charlie usually spotted Jenna who lived around the block and who was the first to introduce herself over a decade ago. During that initial conversation, Carol learned that Jenna was married to Tom, and they had one son, Jack. They had moved into their home shortly before the two women had met.

It was a Friday morning when Carol and Charlie were about to reach Jenna’s house on their walk. She was standing by her car but walked over to meet them. “Hi Carol, it’s good to see you,” Jenna said as she bent down to pet Charlie on his soft little head.

“Hi Jenna, how are you? Why the long face?”

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…Tom and I are getting a divorce. I haven’t seen you all week to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve had a nasty cold that kept me inside. I’m so sorry, Jenna! I didn’t see this coming!

“I didn’t either, even though we’ve had some rocky moments. But after Tom and I talked, we thought it was for the best. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I wish I had happier news to share.”

“Don’t worry about me. I feel bad this is happening, but it’s good you and Tom reached an agreement. I hope you’re staying in the house…”

“Actually, I’m moving out, but Tom didn’t ask me to. It’s my choice. I already found an apartment where Jack will live with me part of the time, and the move is Sunday.”

“This weekend? That’s so fast, Jenna. I’m at a loss for words, except that I’ll really miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, and our morning chats. You and Charlie need to take good care of each other.” Jenna wrapped Carol in a good-bye hug before the two women parted ways.

Carol felt the beginning of tears pushing through as she and Charlie continued their walk. She would miss her friend, but she was also saddened by the news of their impending divorce. So many young couples were separating, and these statistics made her heart ache. She missed Bill so much and wondered, why can’t couples find what we treasured for what felt like a lifetime? Ironically, Jenna had been friendlier than many of the new residents in the neighborhood – one of the reasons Carol felt a pang of sympathy and concern for this lovely young woman.

The neighborhood had changed since Bill and Carol moved into town decades ago. She recalled former neighbors with nostalgia. Mr. Angelino across the street no longer played his accordion – no music flowed from his backyard patio. Mrs. Miller didn’t toss saltwater taffy from her kitchen window for the youngsters; her kind gesture always brought high-pitched laughter that could be heard over the noise of cars rolling up and down the street. Then there was Mrs. Arnold who extended a generous invitation to the neighbors for a swim in her pool that amusingly resembled a kidney. Her joy in cooling off in the aquamarine water on those scorching summer days should be shared with others; that’s how she saw it. I enjoyed so many refreshing dips thanks to kindhearted Mrs. Arnold. These three lovely friends had passed away long ago, and these times are now distant, precious memories. Therefore, Jenna’s affable demeanor brightened Carol’s days. And now Jenna’s moving, she thought with a heavy heart.

Younger couples lived in these older homes now, but they seemed nonexistent. They were probably busy with their jobs, and occasionally, the cries of a baby escaped through billowing curtains. Maybe computer screens had become their new companions. Computers are terrific tools, but they can also be sneaky time thieves! When Carol does happen to see any of these young people, they don’t smile or wave much, not like her old neighbors did.

The following week when Carol and Charlie spotted Jenna’s house on their walk, it was apparent that Jenna had moved out. Her green SUV no longer hugged the curb in its normal spot. Two living room chairs, a worn sofa and ottoman, and a dresser sat on the dried-up brown grass. The roses and lantana in the front yard that once blossomed in soft pinks and rich reds had wilted, looking sad and forlorn. Tom’s black truck was still there, sitting in the driveway. But the tan stucco house looked exhausted, probably from emotions pulling its walls in several directions.

It was Thursday of that week when Carol paused for a moment…I want to believe this house could tell joyful tales from the past, but now I feel that if this house could talk, it might shed a tear or two from the second story windows, and those tears would fall into the neglected garden.

Carol missed Jenna, a bright light on those early-morning walks. Perhaps after experiencing the loss of my old friends, then losing Bill, Jenna’s move is one more loss added to the list. It’s a heavy burden Carol will have to bear but then let go of when the time is right. She was aware the stages of grieving differ for everyone.

Despite my own sadness, I hope this family can gather courage for acceptance of a new trajectory that lies in their future. I suppose I need to do the same thing. A year has come and gone and I’m no better off than the day I scattered Bill’s ashes on his favorite mountain.

Charlie nudged Carol out of her deep thoughts with his tiny wet nose as they began to turn another corner.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Like a Child

I’ve never seen him act this way
So listless rivalled to fun-filled days
Head hangs low with each new step
Where is his happy, bouncy pep?

Pacing round and round the room
Sunshine doesn’t fade the gloom
Seeking comfort with a whine
His distress infects my mind

He tucks his body in real tight
Leaning on my feet, he might
Those amber eyes touch my soul
Emotions begin to lose control

I’ll care for him until the day
He romps around, eager to play
His floppy ears will tell me so
My love for him will overflow

Our Copper Boy has been sick all week and
it’s been
heart-wrenching to see him not feeling well.
This is a first for him in his almost eleven years.
❤️

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Love in Every Flavor

Stepping inside
Grandma’s house,
their eyes zero in
on the white candy dish,
elegantly painted in pink
and pale green flowers.
Grandma gives them
her approving nod,
so their young hands
lift the lid where inside
they find magic –
gumdrops in red,
orange, yellow, green,
purple, white, and pink.
With each bite and
new flavor bursting,
they give her big smiles.
The candy dish
is only one way
Grandma shows
her love.

(Mom passed away in 2012, but this is one lovely memory of her and our children. My sisters and I can’t seem to find a photo of that candy dish, but I found the one above on the web – a close likeness.)

~ Lauren Scott 💗💗

Love Carries On

Another dog, that’s what I needed back then when our
Black lab, Lucky Girl, on that gray November day
Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Then Mom,
Doris to those who knew her well, gracefully entered her
Eternal home a few months later. I honestly
Felt empty inside – all enthusiasm drained,
Grasping for unreachable acceptance through the tears.
Handling the loss of our sweet furry family member
Involved revisiting those memories of the love she gave
Joyfully to her four adopted humans.
Keeping emotions intact, yet missing Mom – her voice,
Laughter, funny off-key singing, and mouth-watering cooking
Made greeting each sunrise challenging.
Naturally with active emotions, our family felt
Overwhelmed. Dad was devastated, losing his Gal of sixty-seven
Precious years that began in days of World War II. Mom was the
Queen. Another memory was her unequivocal love for dogs.
Riley was one of many canines she and Dad loved over the years.
So, amid these painful losses came Copper, our lab. The
Time was right, and I felt Mom’s otherworldly approval because
Underneath Copper’s quirkiness lies his loyalty, cuddliness, and
Vigilance in holding the guard dog role. He’ll be at our feet
When we call him, shake a paw when he sees our hand.
Xenial describes our friendly lab when anyone visits. Even at the not so
Youthful age of ten, Copper carries an abundance of
Zest for bounding through life, for loving his humans – reminding us that love carries on.

Lucky Girl
Precious, sleepy Lucky Girl
Mom & me
Mom & Dad February 24, 1945
Copper Boy
Regal Copper Boy

Lauren Scott ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Journal entry: April 16, 2021

Wrapping up my workday with fifteen minutes to go before stepping outside into Friday freedom, I hear my phone ping. A short text from my daughter: Hey, Mom, would you want to chat later?

It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked, and since she lives on the other side of the country, of course, I wanted to chat! My fingers tapped back: Sure! I’ll call in a half hour when I’m home.

For hours to fly by when we talk on the phone isn’t unusual at all. But this call turned out to beat that record by a landslide. When my husband walked through the door, home from work, I said, “Hi Honey, I’ve been talking to Steph for two hours.”

“Are you kidding me?” He asked, grinning, not understanding what in the world could keep a conversation going for so long.

And it kept going. We chatted about work – the fun and the annoying elements, and about friends. I asked her about the 3-year-old tabby cat, Oliver, she and her husband recently adopted. Somehow the weather swept into our conversation – another drought and fire season on the horizon for us, and lastly, about her brother who is moving out in a week, embarking on a new chapter of life. He’s been home with us for a couple of years post college graduation, working full-time remotely. But the time has come. The time is right.

Steph and I gabbed about Michael’s new chapter nudging “Dad and I” into our new Empty Nesters stage. Exciting times for all of us, but bittersweet where many different emotions whirl around in our heads and hearts. The thing is he’s moving across country, too, which means both of our children will be on the same coast as each other, but miles and miles and miles away from us. This is when our hearts become heavy. We can’t see Steph and Ryan on a whim, and the same will be for Michael when he’s moved.

I filled Steph in about Michael wanting to help us rearrange furniture in the bedrooms so that Mom and Dad can reap the benefits of having the house to themselves. Shortly after he signed his apartment lease, with each day came a new flood of tears for me. But as he moves furniture and rewires electronics, he has tamped down those tears by keeping my brain and emotions occupied. Though a tsunami will gush on the day he drives away. No doubt.

Steph understood. When she and Ryan moved, Michael lived with us. Tears still trickled down our cheeks, but it was different with having one of our kids still at home. So, when Michael leaves, it’ll just be Matt, me, and Copper, our crazy canine, who will watch the distance widen between us and his car. We know Copper will sense the emptiness in the house, missing the cuddles, too, from his brother.

After Matt watered the grass, he poured us some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and I carried the conversation out to the patio. He joined in, telling Steph all about his recent motorcycle trip, and how he checked off that box on his bucket list. He shared that his dad, two weeks shy of turning 98, is not doing well. “Give him a call,” he tells her. “And send him a birthday card with photos of Ollie. He’d love that.”

Before we knew it, tears from all of us struggled for freedom. The conversation stayed light-hearted, full of laughter, but also brimmed with love and poignancy. When we all finally said talk to ya later, four hours had passed!

Here’s my take-away: we love our children so much, yes, and sometimes to the point that it hurts. Parenting doesn’t get easier as age transforms into a larger number – with each new phase develops new sets of worries. But as our daughter and son pave their own paths, we couldn’t be prouder. They’re adulting and doing it well. We just wish their paths were on the west coast. Such is life. And as the gray hairs flourish and the wrinkles form, knowing they love us to the same extent is something so much bigger to be thankful for – and knowledge to sustain us until we or they hop on a plane, heading across country.

A phone call to treasure.

Lauren Scott ❤️

More than Coffee…

5:30 am. A song from the old, but reliable Sony radio wakes my husband and I up on work-day mornings. Four years ago, getting up before the sun would’ve been unthinkable, insane. Too dark outside, too quiet. Just too early. Four years later, our minds and bodies have initiated this routine we’re still acquainting ourselves with.

When that song enters into our sleepy minds, whether it’s rock, pop, or country, a new morning has arrived and so has coffee time. One of us heads for the pantry, grabs a filter and the bag of Peet’s for the good old Mr. Coffee pot. It may not be fancy, but it does the job well and has never disappointed. The delicious sound of coffee percolating is music to our ears, and when that music ends, we stroll into the kitchen to doctor up our mugs. Holding those hot cups of coffee, we take a seat in the living room – a quiet place for us to chat, read, or to simply sit together in silence.

During those years of raising our children, time was of the essence. There were never enough minutes in the work and school days to begin with leisure coffee drinking and casual chatting. It was more of a race, eyeballing the clock on the wall every two seconds, getting ourselves and the children ready for the day. Busy was the new normal. Busy was our middle name.

Yesterday, my husband drove out of the driveway on his motorcycle, setting out for a 5-day trip with several buddies. But as I sit on my sofa, lights turned on, with mug of coffee in hand, I think of him. How this early morning feels different. Peet’s remains our go-to coffee, but the taste seems duller, the effect inadequate. The silence in the house, instead of serene, feels empty like something is missing. As I turn the pages of my book, the thrill of finding out what the next page reveals has fizzled.

I realize that our early mornings aren’t just about a good cup of coffee, they’re about us. So I sip the brew anyway, and in a few days, I look forward to hearing the motor of his bike as he pulls into our driveway.

“The simple things are also the extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

~Paulo Coelho

“Love is spending time together.”

~Snoopy

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️

It’s about sharing the Love…

Candy hearts that say Be Mine
Red roses bestowing forever
Fancy dinners for two in love

A special night to remember

But what about the lonely –
The broken hearts and souls?
What about the hopeless
Where life has taken its toll?

On this day where hearts abound
Give love where you find sorrow
Let compassion be your guide
to fashion a better tomorrow

Lauren Scott © (revised & reposted)
Photo from Google

Wherever you may be emotionally on this Valentine’s Day,
know you are loved and virtual hugs are sent your way.

💗💗💗