Missing Her Again.

I’ve been crocheting a blanket for my grand-daughter  and listening to Christian music, specifically, the CD from Heaven is Real and the Newsboys CD. While listening to the Heaven is Real CD and crocheting that little blanket, my thoughts turned toward my mother. This time twelve years ago, she was in the hospital dying of ovarian cancer.

I never would have imagined missing her so much. Sure, I knew I would miss her. I just never thought it would be like this. You know, to the point where tears fall from your eyes when you least expect it or where  a mere look from your sister can remind you so much of that lady who took the best care of you she knew how. A word uttered can remind you of the  way she said something or the emphasis she put on that very word.

None of us are given a handbook on how to raise our kids. Nope, we are pansters where that is concerned- we just fly by the seat of our pants and hope we are doing it right. Even though I thought my mother was doing it all wrong when I was a teenager, I found out later, she couldn’t have done a better job if she’d had that handbook. Some of the things she taught us, like  loving each other (“blood is thicker than water”), we were taught to love God even more. I remember wondering when I was a little girl how in the world it was that I was supposed to love God more than I loved my mother? That was more love than was fathomable to me.

As an adult, I can see that is how much my mother loved us. More than we could fathom. And she still had more love for God. It is much like my feelings for my own kids. My mother taught me how to love God and for that I will be forever grateful.

I took my mother to the hospital just after Thanksgiving in 2004. She supposed she had a virus and couldn’t keep anything down. I hated spending time at the hospital, having a son who was there a lot, but she had spent her time with me at the doctor, so it was the least I could do for her. She was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. There was nothing they could do for her and I knew she wouldn’t be here much longer. I stayed with her every chance I could, wanting to spend as much time with the woman who gave and sustained life to and for me. We talked and laughed and said all the things we hadn’t said to each other.

I told her what a great mother she was, even though I didn’t always act as if she was and in fact sometimes acted as if she were my worst enemy and spewed hatred towards her. I never hated my mother. I loved her deeply. The way we love our mothers is with a love so deep, it is just too difficult to understand. She told me I “turned out pretty good, after all.” I cried. I needed to know that even though I provided my mother plenty of disappointment, it was not a complete loss. She loved me anyway. And she was proud of me. That’s all I ever wanted to hear from her. She didn’t disappoint me.

My sister and I were there when she passed away. Truly, she had already gone, but her body kept going, slow to give out. I miss my mom terribly today and I am crying as I write this. If you have not told your mom today that you love her and thanked her for doing her best to bring you up, please do it today. Let her know she is the greatest mom ever and you appreciate all her hard work.

As for me, while it seems like ages until I see my mother again, I know it will be just a blink of an eye. I love you Mother and I miss you.

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A Word from My Publicist (Cover Reveal)

Anna Blake’s got a new book! Woohoo!!! You must get it soon!

Anna Blake: The Print Version.

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My name is Edgar Rice Burro. I’m the publicist for Prairie Moon Press. I got the job because I have the loudest voice, and I’m not afraid to use it. Also, I’m not afraid to tell humans what to do. I’m helpful that way. 

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I am the human and I used to think I had a thin veneer of control on this farm. I might have been exaggerating.

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My human finally took my advice and put my handsome face on a book cover. She’s slow on the uptake, but she gives a good ear rub, so I’m patient with her. This book will sell like cold carrots on a hot day.

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I do the hard jobs for Prairie Moon Press. I wrote the book, for instance. I paid for everything. He just came in at the end and brayed about it. Like it was all his idea. Okay…

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One Last Time

I couldn’t help but think about my mother this Thanksgiving. I thought about the many meals she planned just for her family to come celebrate with her all the things she was thankful for. She didn’t have the happiest of childhoods, she lived through the depression and life with my dad was difficult because he suffered from a mental illness. Still, she was thankful she made it through all she did.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she would grab a couple of used envelopes and on the back of one envelope, she would write everyone’s names . On the other, she would write her shopping list. She had rather large handwriting, so, in the end, the whole envelope would be written on.

She would go to the store, bring home the groceries and hide anything she thought we might get into before she cooked, like the colored marshmallows for her cathedral cookies or the large marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Mother began to cook. As she  cooked, the house filled with the savory aroma of a big old Tom Turkey roasting in the roaster,. That roaster sat on the washing machine while it cooked that turkey to perfection.. She had a humongous bowl in which she mixed the dressing. She made two  extra large dishes of it. Her dressing was by far the best thing she made. There was  a time when I realized it would be prudent to get the  recipe if I wanted to carry on the tradition.

“I won’t know how to make it after you are gone and no one will know how to make it,” I told her.

“Well, I just put in a pinch of salt, some sage, bread crumbs, chicken stock, you know.”

“Yeah, but how much of it? I need measurements.”

“Honey, I don’t measure it, I just know how much to put in.”

“Can’t you just measure it and tell me?”

“I wouldn’t know how.”

I never learned that dressing recipe and I have tried to duplicate it as best as I can, but to no avail. Now that my mother is gone, so is the dressing I loved so much. Oh, what I would give to have just one more Thanksgiving with Mother. The cooking, the laughter, the late nights with her during the holidays-now gone, but never forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Compliment

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This past week, I have had shingles. I’m okay and it didn’t get bad, but it has lasted a little longer than I thought it would. As a matter of fact, I thought I’d be well by now. Nevertheless, I went back to the doctor today to make sure I am no longer contagious as we plan to have Thanksgiving dinner with my son’s in laws. My daughter in law is expecting next month and I wanted to make sure I would not expose her to anything.

Well, sir, a routine  doctor’s appointment turned into the best compliment I have ever gotten. Here’s what happened.

I walked out of the office and entered the reception area. I handed my paperwork to the receptionist when she started a conversation with me.

Receptionist : I saw your book at The Well (a coffee shop in town). It looked so cute, I bought it for my kids.

Me: Oh really?? That’s so nice. I hope they are enjoying it.

Receptionist: Oh they love it! They ask me to read it every night . It’s their favorite book; their bedtime story.

Me: Oh, that’s so great! Thank you! You’ve made my day!

As an author, I don’t think there could be any higher compliment than a child loving the book you poured your heart into,  and wanting it to be read at every bedtime. I actually got goose bumps from that interaction with the receptionist.

I hope there are more children who go to bed with Jack Learns to Grill. It’s a book written for each child who reads it.

Thank you to the receptionist who made my day by reaching out to me. I am truly thankful and grateful for all my readers . Happy Thanksgiving!

Jack’s Fight, an Update

Thursday, I took Jack to the vet for the surgery to rid his body of a cancerous skin tumor. The vet, Dr. Brittain, thought it would be approximately a forty-five minute surgery. As it turned out, it was a little more complicated than that. But, he came through the surgery with flying colors . The incision was quite long , due to the size of the tumor and it looks as if he’s had a tummy tuck.

But, the news is good. No cancer in his lymph nodes and she doesn’t suspect any on the inside. The tumor could grow back, but in the event it does, we’ll catch it when it is small and it will be easier to remove.

Two days after his surgery, he is happy as a lark and last night resumed howling with the coyotes promptly at 11:15 p.m. as is his nightly ritual. He is on antibiotics for two weeks and then his stitches will come out.

I am so grateful to my friend and fellow author, Jackie Smith, for setting up a Go Fund Me account for Jack. We could have never gotten the surgery without it. For those of you who donated to the account, thank you so much. Our Jack is on the mend!

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Jack’s Fight

It has been an emotional time here at Baker’s Acres. Our Jack, an American Dingo, who stars in his own book- Jack Learns to Grill , was diagnosed with a fast growing cancer. He has a tumor on his side and it has gotten quite large very quickly. The vet told me surgery was needed, but I didn’t know how that would play out since we  live, like some Americans, paycheck to paycheck. How we were going to pay for his surgery, we didn’t know.

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Enter my friend, and fellow author Jackie Smith. Jackie is such a great friend and would do anything for her friends. Upon hearing my sad tale of Jack’s cancer and having helped me publish Jack Learns to Grill, she offered to create a Go Fund Me campaign. Maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe there was some hope for my Jack!

Once I sent the information to her, Jackie then set up the campaign and got it off the ground. She didn’t waste any time. Our goal was met in two days time! Two days!

This whole ordeal has restored my faith in humanity and reinforced the importance of having good friends. I want to thank all who donated, some were friends and relatives of Jackie’s and some of mine. Whoever you are, whatever your reason for helping, please accept my sincere gratitude.

As of now, surgery is set for next Thursday . I will keep you updated on Jack’s progress. He is a lovely boy who deserves a long life. I’d like to think that’s possible now.

Thank you all for your help!

 

 

 

 

 

“And James Arness as Matt Dillon”

As a little girl, Saturday nights at our house was a combination of Westerns and country music. We had a black and white television as did most families back in the sixties. I can’t remember if The Grand Ole Opry came on before Gunsmoke or vice versa and it doesn’t really matter. I could never wait for Gunsmoke to come on because I had a huge crush on Matt Dillon. I was four or five -somewhere around there when the show aired. I would watch Matt mount his horse and run after the bad guy, with Festus, the deputy, by his side. I was more than sure Matt Dillon was going to ride up to my house, put me up on his horse, ride off into the sunset promising to marry me. Even at a young age, I was a romantic.

For those of you who are not familiar with James Arness as Matt Dillon, let me go back just a bit. Matt Dillon was the Marshall of Dodge City. He was tall, rugged, fair but firm, handsome and the ultimate protector. He smiled an easy dimpled smile, made a few jokes, took the law seriously and the idol of many.

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He had that shabby chic, but ruggedly used cowboy hat that sat just so on his head and the suede western vest that hung on him just perfectly.

I was thinking about Matt and the long-ago crush one little girl had on him. I discovered it was not the man I had the crush on, really. Rather, it was what he stood for. All the things a girl might want and/or need in a husband.

A girl looks for a handsome man, sometimes ruggedly so. She looks for a man who is not necessarily tall in stature, but tall in her eyes. She looks for a man who will be a protector and some, dare I say it, look for someone that reminds them of their dad. Nothing wrong with that.

My husband is not at all built like James Arness, doesn’t look like him. He certainly doesn’t wear suede vests, but has been known to wear a hat on occassions. He is not as tall as James Arness, but he is the guy I was looking for in Matt Dillon. What Matt meant to me, what I saw in him way  back then are the things Stephen means to me and what I see in him everyday. Funny how that worked out!

I realize this does not apply to every girl. But, it was true for me. I found it interesting how Matt Dillon was the symbol for the kind of guy I wanted to be with and to look up to.

If you had a childhood crush on a star, I’d love to hear about it. I know I was not the only one!