Thursday, June 1, 2017


Decoration Day/Memorial Day
I cherish my freedom. It came at great cost.

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France.. A total of 2289

2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium… A total of 5329

3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France… A total of 4410

4. Brookwood, England - American Cemetery... A total of 468

5. Cambridge, England... A total of 3812

6. Epinal, France - American Cemetery.. A total of 5525

7. Flanders Field, Belgium... A total of 368

8. Florence, Italy... A total of 4402

9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium... A total of 7992

10. Lorraine , France... A total of 10,489

11 .Luxembourg, Luxembourg... A total of 5076

12. Meuse-Argonne.. A total of 14246

13 .Netherlands, Netherlands... A total of 8301

14. Normandy, France... A total of 9387

15. Oise-Aisne, France... A total of 6012

16. Rhone, France... A total of 861

17. Sicily, Italy… A total of 7861

18. Somme, France... A total of 1844

19. St. Mihiel, France... A total of 4153

20. Suresnes, France... A total of 1541

The count is 104,366 brave Americans buried on foreign soil.
(I didn’t know this.  Did you?)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Voice from the Past

Recently I ran across a letter to my mother from a friend of hers who lived in Deer Creek, Indiana. My mother grew up in Onward, Indiana, not far from Deer Creek. This farm woman sent a crocheted doily she had made along with her letter. It is a darling piece of crochet I inherited and have displayed in my home for several years.

My mother's family home near Onward
The letter came from the very heart of this friend and thanked my mother for a letter of comfort she had recently received from her. As I read through her letter I could actually feel the sorrow she expressed at the recent death of her mother. She spoke of the tombstone finally being in place at the Hopewell Deer Creek Cemetery and how she visited there each Sunday.

I’m telling you about this poignant letter because I can’t bring myself to publish it even though I went so far as to type it into my computer. Somehow it seems rude of me to share a letter full of such heartfelt meaning that wasn’t written for me to read. 

My mother’s friend spoke of how difficult a time she was having coming to terms with her mother’s death and how blue she had been. She spoke of how crocheting in the evenings helped her feel more calm and relaxed. She talked about her husband and how ill he had been, but was still trying to work alongside his son to keep the farm going.

She wrote that the men were picking corn long hours every day. She said she and her daughter would love to get over to see my mother, but since the men were working so hard, they were trying to help them as much as they possibly could. 

I felt the strain the woman was under and also the sincerity of her words. My mother’s letter had been a God-send for her in her sorrow, and she expressed her gratitude simply, but quite eloquently. 

I decided I wanted to share the letter with my husband as he was working on a project in the garage. As I began to read the letter aloud to him, my tears would not stop and that greatly surprised me. I said, “Why am I crying? I don’t even know this person.” My husband said, “You’re crying because hers is a voice from the past.” 

I searched on, and I actually found a person who I’m 99% sure wrote this letter. I discovered her and her husband’s last name and their 1986 grave site at the Hopewell Deer Creek Cemetery. 

I hope I’ve given you some sense of the lovely message this letter holds and why it speaks so clearly to me even though it was written so very long ago.   

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Rich Life at Home

Growing up in Kokomo

I attended a Lenten Study at church recently. We were discussing the meanings we apply to the concept of “home.” Interestingly I had just run across a poem that reminded me of the very first home my husband and I ever owned. It was on ¾ of an acre in rural Indiana outside Fort Wayne. The home sat in the middle of a forest of trees and the backyard sported a fire pit and a basketball court. We were young with two toddlers and a baby on the way when we moved there. Reconnecting with that home reminded me of the richness of a life that spans over 70 years.

I’m surprised by the places where I’ve lived and traveled! Life began for me in Kokomo, Indiana, a place where I still feel connected. I called several cities home there before leaving for Virginia and a home close to Washington D.C. Then a giant move across the country to Phoenix, Arizona, where I’ve lived for the better part of 41 years with a brief sojourn living in Olympia, Washington. 

After traveling to nearly all of the 50 states, except for Alaska and Maine, and three foreign countries, I’ve come to know home not as a place, but as the people I love. It’s difficult to settle anywhere because those I love live “all over the place.” At times, I’ve longed to be “home for Christmas,” meaning not in the house where I live, but with the people I love. Haven’t you?

Obviously, I’ve chosen home to be with my husband Frank and our two Chihuahuas Peanut and Cleo here in Phoenix, Arizona. Everyone I love isn’t here, but I call it home anyway. What makes it home, I suppose, includes a community friends, familiar desert places, the plants I’ve planted, the rooms I’ve furnished and decorated with family pictures on the walls, lingering memories of patio picnics and gatherings by the pool and both the hot and the warm summer days unfolding all year round.

My Phoenix home encompasses love, comfort and safety along with rest and retreat. However, I know I still carry the best of home around with me in my heart.