What’s on your list?

My favorite cake made by my son.

Family will always mean the most to me. But as I ride the waves of life, there are many things, and I use that word broadly, that have been significant throughout the years. These are just a few…

Those camping trips when the kids were young: swimming in sapphire-colored lakes and cooling off in sparkling rivers, listening to the them play in the tent – their imaginations leading the way. Sitting around the campfire: singing, laughing, roasting marshmallows. Not just college, but all graduations were joyful events. The dogs that became special family members. Patio time – the talking, the reading, the wine – the outdoor living. Happy blooms in the garden and the hummingbirds flitting about. Walking among Redwoods and the sound of ocean waves. Pinecrest for our 30th, Bodega Bay getaways, and backpacking into serenity. The most loyal friends. Relaxing motorcycle rides. Winter’s coziness: a crackling fire and glowing candles. Chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven and homemade carrot cake (a veggie in our home). Kissing and hugging. Songs that resonate. Acts of kindness.

Lantana smiles

And the list goes on…
Isn’t it wonderful that the list goes on?

Though we live under gloomy skies at times,
there is always sunshine waiting to peek through…


What would I read on your list?

Lauren ❤️❤️❤️
Carrot cake photos: My son
Lantana: Our garden
Gratitude stone: Google

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 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

Cake

I opened the oven door with my young children peeking around me and we all laughed! Instead of the meringue cascading in still perfection, cracks engulfed every inch as though an earthquake rumbled over the top. Through giggles, we yelled, “The Earthquake cake!” A Blitz Torte. It was my dad’s favorite, stemming from past generations of his German heritage.

The memories! There was Mom, standing in the kitchen of dark wood cabinets, hand mixer purring as she blended the magical ingredients for dad’s birthday each year. Mixing up this feather-light textured cake was no simple culinary experience; separating egg yolks from their counterparts, the egg whites, was a step mastered with practice over time. The meringue topping had to be whipped to precision like an image of still cascading waves in the ocean. Having only attempted this recipe once with the result resembling the earth riddled in quakes, Mom and Dad cracked up when they saw the cracked-up cake! Hilarious to the eyes, but the slight almond crunch of the meringue and creamy texture of the custard filling decadently pleased our palates.

And then one day I tasted carrot cake – the mixture of spicy cinnamon, tangy crushed pineapple, shredded carrots, and crunchy walnuts immediately deemed this cake my utmost favorite. Add the smooth, delectable cream cheese frosting (that I could eat by the spoonful) and you have life’s essentials on a plate! And it’s advantageous that carrot cake counts as a vegetable in my kitchen.

It was the day of my bridal shower. I walked into my maid of honor’s home, instantly inhaling the spicy scent. Carrot cake! She knew me too well, and her mother created the best recipe. Our moms and all the girls were in dessert heaven with each bite of that delicious piece of art. And so, the top of my 5-layer wedding cake was carrot – it had to be that way for my special day. Fortunately, my husband was a fan, too!

My two teenagers on a spring March day pulled on their carrot-shredding gloves and presented to me their creation while belting out, “Happy birthday to you...” With its two uneven layers, it wasn’t pretty, but it brought on the biggest smile. Their efforts earned them an A+, and when I treated myself to that first bite, I tasted spicy, creamy excellence. With their love and thoughtfulness stirred into the process, satisfaction was redefined!

I often delve into the carrot shredding and cream cheese whisking myself, watching my family revel in each forkful of the sinfully delicious dessert. This recipe has become a treasure in my collection evoking these precious memories. Whether it’s a Blitz Torte bringing to life images of my parents who have since left our physical world or a Carrot Cake from wedding and birthday celebrations, the stroll down memory lane becomes more poignant with each new bite.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Header: My birthday carrot cake this year that a wonderful friend made for me. 🧡🧡

Twinkling Magic

Their eyes see twinkling magic
Unaware of worldwide discord.
Children, innocent in youth,
Show how joy can be restored.
Let their wonder guide and excite
With their eager anticipation
Let our worries fall to the floor
As we welcome exultation.

Christmas memories from when our son and daughter were little are still so vivid – how they became excited awaiting the rooftop-arrival of Santa Claus and Dasher & Dancer & Prancer & Vixen & Comet & Cupid & Donner & Blitzen & Rudolph!!!
They were my little helpers in the kitchen baking cut-out sugar cookies for Santa and we made sure to leave a bowl of carrots for his reindeer to chomp on.

Those were magical times of make believe, yet times also for believing. 🌟🌟🌟

May we hold that magic of innocence and our inner child in our hearts during this holiday season. 🎄💗

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Another world…

Walk with us into
the magic of autumn
where tree-lined
serenity surrounds…
the old swimming hole
evokes precious
memories of when
they were young.
We stumble upon
a home for one
lucky critter,
but built by who?

We’re touched
by the Compassion
on a bench…
Only a short drive,
but as we walk
in the light rain,
reveling in the

fragrance of a
new season,
it seems we’ve
stepped into

a whole new world.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020 💗


Just Yesterday

Dressed up in satin and lace, I walked slowly down the aisle of the church sanctuary. Strolling arm in arm with my father, I loved hearing the swish from my dress with each graceful step. My eyes focused on my to-be-husband standing in front of the sanctuary. He looked quite dashing in his black tux. Wasn’t this special occasion just yesterday?
Yesterday that transported into thirty-one years of marriage.

Well, it was just yesterday when I saw the item sitting on the shelf: a gift from my bridal shower in 1988. I recall opening the box and pulling out a white mini food chopper. A great gift, but did I expect to keep it for three decades? I thought for sure it would’ve been replaced with an updated version sometime between then and now. Yet, over the years, it has stood the test of time, still working, and the only change is its color; instead of a glossy white, it’s now faded into a pale yellow.

The question is: should I replace the little food chopper because it looks weathered? If so, shouldn’t anything old be swapped out for a newer version? Think about cars. They may have all the parts, their engines may roar when the key is turned, but if they’re scraped up and bruised, shouldn’t they be traded in for shiny new models? Let’s expand our thinking even further: Should spouses sprouting gray hair, wearing mazes of facial wrinkles be substituted with younger partners? Is the end-all goal a better-looking copy?

Let’s do the math: if that mini chopper has aged, so have I and I am not going to be traded in. Buying brand-new, shiny, and flawless is exciting and I won’t lie and say that I never have, but sometimes the memories deep within are more valuable than the “itemitself. Regarding life partners, what about the good memories: the laughter, tears, adventures, intimacy, and the love both partners felt in the beginning when that spark ignited? This is why my faded chopper still sits on the shelf, rather content with the cookie sheets and mixing bowls.

I don’t know how long the chopper will stay in the family, but as long as it does, I’ll remember that Saturday afternoon: women gathered to celebrate my upcoming wedding day. Silly games brought fits of laughter, deep conversations evoked precious memories, words of wisdom were spoken by women who had lived through the cracks and crevices of life. Most importantly, my faded gift reminds me of when my mom and mother-in-law were still in my life. They were two amazing women with more stories to tell and wisdom to share and I miss them more than words convey.

Mom on my right and
my mother-in-law on my left.

So, if you’re questioning whether you should toss that old worn-out item even though it functions perfectly, allow yourself to pause in the moment, to reflect upon the wonderful memories.

January 21, 1989

The answer could just be in one of them.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

A Silver Spoon and So Much More…

Matt and I pull into the parking stall of our camp sight, and our first task is to unload the car and dump our gear onto the picnic table. A slight breeze floats through the pine trees cooling us from the sun’s burning touch and the blue lake water invites us in for a swim. The invitation is tempting, but first the labor of setting up camp. I dig into the big green tub looking for kitchen stuff and my breath catches when my eyes focus on the old set of silverware. When I was a little girl, we had a cabin in Big Bear, California, which is where Mom used the silverware. After both of my parents had passed, the set came to me. It’s black and silver, service for six, a little faded, but I couldn’t believe how sturdy it was to have lasted over fifty years. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought, so I added it to our camping paraphernalia.

As Matt and I enjoy the stir fry dinner he prepares on the first night, the old silverware evokes fond memories. An image of our cabin on the corner lot enfolded by sugar pines comes to mind. I remind Matt of the time when our little brave dog, Duffy, climbed up the snow bank, standing on the roof as if to say, “I am King!” That cozy mountain retreat also held many kitchen-table conversations full of laughter. Although Matt never had the chance to see the cabin, he remembers Mom’s delicious cooking. We especially savored her lasagna that was contest-winner-worthy. I recall the aroma swirling around, enticing Dad, my sisters, and me as we were eager to capture it and dig into the mouth-watering dish. I line up evenly in my mind each nuance of those childhood memories with my parents – days of playing badminton under a cloudless sky and a blazing sun, and then tobogganing when the ground was blanketed in snow and the temperature was bitter cold.

I am wrapped in a sentimental blanket on this trip, thinking of Mom and Dad, wishing I could feel their hugs, hear their laughter, and listen to their advice one more time. But would one more time still be enough? I don’t wallow in sadness; instead, I revel in the good times letting the memories advance like pictures on a camera roll. Before Matt and I realize, the campfires, swimming, hiking, and reminiscing have catapulted time into lightning speed. Our trip has ended and in the blink of an eye, we’re home doing clean-up. It dawns on me that I don’t want this set stashed away again, hidden beneath pots and pans and forgotten until the next trip. These forks, knives, and spoons have their own stories to tell. I combine them with our sets and I’m not bothered that they don’t match our decor. Years ago, the difference would’ve mattered. Now, life is a far cry from when mom and dad were still with us, so as we sit at our table using this shiny silverware, the family tales continue. We smile, we laugh, and now and then, tears that we thought had dried up, slowly find their way down our cheeks again.

Maybe I didn’t see the true value when this set was given to me. Perhaps I was blinded by tears, existing in my world of grief where a dark cloud was parked above my head. It could be that I hadn’t processed the finality of their death. I would see them again, wouldn’t I? The phone will ring and I’ll listen to Mom’s, “I just wanted to hear your voice.” Or, they’ll be over for lunch next week. When enough time had passed, reality sank in: I acknowledged their passing for what it was and accepted the truth. So, the timing and how I stumbled upon this treasure was relevant. My grieving had ended, widening the gap for remembering all the good things that keep us moving forward when we lose a loved one. Even in this set’s simplicity, its silver clean lines prove to be a nostalgic gem never to be buried again.

The painting of our cabin was done by a friend in Big Bear and my sister has it in her house – a treasure to keep forever.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020


The Way it Was

Is there someone in your life who made a strong, positive impact? Someone who motivated you to step out of your comfort zone? My answer is yes, and this is my story:

The year is 1970…and tonight’s special performance takes place in my home where the center of the living room is my stage and an antique mahogany chair is my podium. A small cassette tape recorder rests on the floral cushioned seat. I wear a powder blue dress and my shoulder-length brown hair usually worn down is swept up into pigtails. I press play on the recorder and sing my heart out. My parents and aunt and uncle cheer me on from their seats, and following my curtsy when the last melody is sung, they tell me the show was phenomenal. That night remains as glowing as yesterday’s sunrise. I was nine years old but already knew I wanted to be a singer. Barbra Streisand became my vocal idol. Her voice wowed me the first time I heard it, and regardless of how often I listened to her, my arms would get goosebumps. During those years, I fell asleep each night with one of Barbra’s albums spinning on my record player, lulling me to sleep. Unbeknownst to the amazing singer, many a night we would perform a duet using my special hairbrush-microphone. I had a wild imagination and wanted to be just like her.

Whenever I had the chance, I held concerts in my room, imagining sold-out crowds. As a teenager, I joined school choirs, but it was not until my junior year of high school that I truly found the self-confidence to pursue my dream. That year, the music department welcomed a new teacher, Ron Perry. He was in his mid-twenties and became more of a friend to his students than a teacher. He treated us as equals, and over time, it was natural for us to call him Ron. During his first week, he focused on listening to us individually to determine what part we would sing. I was nervous when he called my name, but I managed to echo the notes he played on the piano, and was surprised when he praised my singing ability. I knew I could carry a tune, but to hear these encouraging words from the new teacher boosted my self-esteem. 

I became part of the alto section and the choir soon began working on a Christmas repertoire for the December concert. The solo offered was a jazzy version of “Silent Night” and I was one of several students who auditioned. I was thrilled to be chosen – this was my first solo. The concert took place in the school’s historic Louis E. Plummer Auditorium; with the plush red seats and bold red curtain, I felt privileged to perform a solo in this iconic building. Little did I know then that another big solo opportunity was on the horizon.

Ron continued his teaching outside of school as the director of his church choir. In the upcoming summer of 1978, the choir was going on tour to the east coast. He was generous to invite the high school choir to tryout if they wished to join the road trip adventure. I auditioned for the rock gospel solo but had not planned to, believing I only had a voice for ballads; the song was “Hallelujah” by the group, Seawind. Ron wanted me to tryout; he felt my voice would be good for the solo. My feelings were opposite. I told him that I couldn’t sing a rock song! I probably couldn’t even reach that high note! Despite my can’t-do attitude, I auditioned, executing that high note! I was one of three contenders, though – not a shoo-in, but the solo was mine. I was ecstatic and thanked Ron for nudging me. 

With auditions complete and summer approaching, the choir prepared for tour. Excitement bounced off the walls. Mostly teenagers, we traveled in a classic yellow school bus, leaving Southern California and heading across country. What a crazy, fun time that bus ride was, laughing and singing and getting to know each other while blazing through state lines. We had several performances on the calendar and we stayed in the various churches where the concerts were held. I performed “Hallelujah” in each concert and was exhilarated by the positive reactions.

When the tour ended, that rock solo led me to perform for a convention with an audience of more than 2000, and what an experience singing for so many people. Before I walked on stage, Ron told me that if I get nervous, to look above the heads and don’t make eye contact. He said that a smile makes you feel good, but a negative look can affect your singing. I must say, the far wall of the concert hall needed a paint job! Afterwards, the event planner praised my performance, and I held onto her words for what seemed like eternity. 

“Hallelujah” also paved the path to winning 2nd place in the senior talent show the following year. I have tucked vivid memories of that exciting evening into a corner of my mind. I opened up the second act singing the rock song. My pianist, Kathryn, started playing the introduction as the red velvet curtain rose. In spite of the butterflies in my stomach, I walked on stage into the limelight and began belting out the lyrics. Hearing the audience clap after I sang the last note whirled me into euphoria. I closed the act by singing Barbra’s “The Way We Were,” and the audience’s reaction was even more passionate than the first. So this is what it feels like, I thought. 

Lauren talent show 1979

Even though singing was my ultimate passion, my priorities shifted after graduation. I lived with my parents at the time but was ready for a taste of independence; however, the only way to make this happen was to quit college and begin earning a steady paycheck. I made the choice. I put this plan into action, placing my dream of a singing career on the back burner. Several years passed when I met the man who soon became my husband, and in the years to follow, our family grew when our daughter and son were born. But this life trajectory did not stop me from singing. My husband and children stayed entertained with my serenading around the house. I even joined local choirs. Eventually though, my time was devoted to family and less and less to singing. But I was proud when my daughter developed the same passion, adding harmony to those years.

Memories of listening to Barbra – becoming mesmerized by her beautiful voice and even her quirky, yet classy Brooklyn personality – remain a dynamic part of my youth. She inspired me to pursue something I truly loved and my high school experience was better for it. I was also fortunate to see her in concert at The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. When she strolled on stage in an elegant black gown, opening the concert with the song “As If We Never Said Good-Bye,” my eyes welled up. It was an evening of pure magic.

I believe most of us have a favorite teacher who made a great impact on our lives. Ron was that teacher for me. To say that he was influential sounds minimal. His way of encouraging me to try for those seemingly unreachable solos, jolted me into stepping out of my insecurities. Because of his faith in me, I danced into a world where if we try new things, pushing fear aside, there is a good chance for positive outcomes.

I had my moments in the spotlight. I felt the excitement and anticipation of walking onto that stage, listening to the inspiring buzz from the audience when I sang those first few words. I am grateful for this time in my life and I will always offer the sincerest appreciation to Barbra and Ron. If it were not for them, my passion would have fallen by the wayside without the chance to crescendo into such a memorable musical past.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane, and if you answered yes to my question and feel like sharing even a snippet of your story, I’d love to read about it. ❤

 

 

 

 

Aglow

 

Image result for country road photo

On the little country road
to the country town we go
where hands on the clock
tick slow, slow, slow
leading to reflection
of memories that flow
where thoughts transport
to a time that stays aglow

Lauren Scott (c) 2018
Photo: Google Images

Their Year

Dear Grandma,

Before my life
began, your light
was growing 
dim.
You were going to

Heaven. I wish you
didn’t 
have to leave
because I never got
to 
meet you. I miss
you so 
much. I wish
we could’ve 
read and
played together. I wish
I could’ve held your

hand while we took
a walk together…
I can’t see your bright
smile 
that daddy told
me about or 
your pretty
brown eyes. I 
can’t hear
your voice, either, 
but I
know you’re my Angel in

the skies.
Sometimes, I want to visit
Heaven just to tell you,
“I Love You.”

(These thoughts are in memory of my
mother-in-law, Diane, who passed away

in January 1991 – written from my young
daughter’s perspective, who was born

later that same year.
Of course, Diane never met our son,
either, who was born four years later.
And even though that was a long time
ago, it still breaks our hearts that she
never knew her grandchildren.) ❤

Lauren Scott ©