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Today is a day when we look back and remember. As people go, I am blessed with a rich heritage of wonderful people and good memories. But the truth is, there are a lot of things in life I’d just as soon forget – poor choices and the repercussions that followed because of them, people who’ve hurt me or treated me rudely or unkindly, money or things dear to me that I’ve lost, tragedies and heartbreak that have affected me, the people I love, or even the world in general. Yet here I am, blogging on a day devoted to memories, a day that memorializes the sacrifices made by those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we are so blessed with – a day that brings to mind some of the most painful episodes of history imaginable.

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Memorial Day is a day that can trigger tears and warm fuzzies, pride and patriotism, joys and regrets.

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When I visit the cemetery, I focus on the wild violets growing in the woods around the edge of the lawn, the pretty posies put on my Grandma’s graves – peonies and lilacs, lily of the valley, wild honeysuckle and columbine – sweet signs of life and living.

Flower - Lily of the Valley

I watch the flags blowing in the breeze and am so glad I can move, and feel and see.

Flags

I do not fear death because of my faith, but I do not like to think about it just the same.

Zion 2013 Sunset shadows

If I had my choice, there would be no more deaths. I like things the way they are right now – the people and things that are a part of my life. I really don’t want to lose any more loved ones – ever.

Grave

But that is not the way of the world. Time marches on. Borders and time are ripped in two, sometimes naturally, sometimes so painfully I can hardly bear to think about it.  Loss comes a visiting whether we like it or not. For every delightful event that occurs in our lives, there is a disappointment or a period of grieving that follows to balance things out.

175 Scotland - Cambo gardensraindrops

For me, the silver lining to all of this is my writing. Whether I’m hurting or sad or just going through an awkward transition in my life, writing about it, in fiction form, with names and details changed to protect the not so innocent, is very cathartic. Writing works a certain kind of magic, in which the real and painful and close becomes fictional and muted and distant. While my characters shed tears and endure the unthinkable, solving problems and masterminding solutions to their dilemmas, I am somehow freed from my past hurts, embarrassments and sorrows.

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On this day of remembering, I am thankful for the sacrifices people have made for me, the love that surrounds me. I am thankful for memories, for reminders of the wonderful things I have experienced in my lifetime. And I am thankful that sometimes, things that are best forgotten really are.

Scotland - Celtic Cross

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For 100 years, today was my Grandma Hansen’s birthday. She was born in 1900, and died in 2000, so there was never any doubt how old she was. Oh, the changes she saw in the 100 years she lived. As a child, I loved to listen to Grandma Hansen’s stories, both true and make-believe. She was a grand teller of fairy tales – The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk – and she loved to dramatically embellish stories of her younger years – from Indians, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and one room school houses to the tale of how she and Grandpa Hansen eloped to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. (They didn’t tell a soul they were married for months.) We were all mesmerized when Grandma started to spin a tale of days gone by.

So on this day of memories and love of country, my Grandma Hansen stands out in my mind as one of the individuals who truly made America great. She made my life pretty wonderful, too.  And she most certainly taught me how to tell a good story.

A Tribute to Grandma Hansen

May 26th, 1990

By Sherrie and Becky, her granddaughters, on her 90th Birthday

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Stepping back to yesterday –

Daisies strewn along the way.

Treasures in the chicken coop,

Racing ‘round the driveway loop.

Mousey ~ mousey’s in the house,

Hankies stuck in Grandma’s blouse.

Hanging clothes out on the line,

Bleeding hearts and dandelions.

Finding eggs beneath a hen,

Memories from way back then.

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Grandma sitting on her stool

Telling tales of teaching school,

Peeling apples, scrubbing faces,

Pansies put in little vases.

Making dolls from hollyhocks,

Darning all our worn out socks.

Pin curls glistening in her hair,

Corsets, baggy underwear.

Raking leaves and burning piles –

Memories of Grandma’s smiles

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Cousins staying overnight

In Grandpa’s bed, all tucked in tight.

Oatmeal, sweet dough, chicken pie,

Hiding while the dishes dried.

Silly plays between the trees,

Picking berries, bumblebees.

Stories told again and again

“Who will help me?” said the Little Red Hen

“The sky is falling” – the games we played,

Memories of Grandma’s ways.

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Pictures on the piano top

~A growing family ~ a “bumper crop”.

Her calloused hands and Godly heart

Inspired us each, right from the start.

Time goes on, and now it seems

So long ago ~ those faded dreams

But each fond memory has a place

In every heart ~ in every face

Our love for her ties us together –

Memories live on forever.

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Daybreak – New Release! (Sequel to Night & Day)

Night and Day

Golden Rod

Sweet William

Shy Violet

Blue Belle

Wild Rose

Thistle Down

Love Notes

Stormy Weather

Water Lily

Merry Go Round

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