Category Archives: My Stories

What Is On My Mind Today: A Capitol Trip by A Lucky Duck

I have always believed that a promise given is a promise kept. Yesterday was all about memories and keeping a promise to myself.

When I was incapacitated from the fractures in every thoracic and lumbar vertebra in my spine caused by the cancer Multiple Myeloma, I found it heartbreaking that in only six short months I had gone from Assistant Communication Director/Press Secretary/Blue Book maker for Secretary Mark Ritchie to lying in a hospital bed in the Capitolview rehab center at Region’ hospital looking at our beautiful Capitol out of a window. At that time, I was very convinced that I was never going to get to go in it again, let alone climb any of the beautiful marble steps that I had raced up and down for so many years.

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Where I spent almost two years.

One day the social worker came to visit me. She picked up a notebook that I had been using as a journal.  My body at that time was broken and there was nothing that I could do to make it heal, so I focused on preventing my mind from slipping into depression.  After losing a baby, years before, I experienced a severe postpartum suicidal depression.  During the weeks that I had be hospitalized at Sister Kenny Institute’s Young Adult Depression Unit, I had been taught coping skills.  Boy, did that training pay off!

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Getting new stem cells

In my journal the therapist found I had written, “I will have better days!.”  Over and over again. She commented how amazed she was to find an affirmative statement under the circumstances.  Right then and there, I promised myself that some day I was going to again climb the stairs to the Minnesota Senate Chambers at our State Capitol. It may have taken almost four years, but yesterday, was the day!

The day began with a trip to see my oncologist.  I had already seen my labs so I knew it was going to be a good appointment.  He said that I should remain healthy indefinitely.  That’s just what I wanted to hear from that guy!  Then, we chatted about how far my physical recovery has come.  He recalled the first time we met in the emergency room at Regions and how very fragile I was.  My young Irish doctor noted that I was basically a conscious vegetable, completely incapacitated.   When we had finished our reminisce, I gave him the cookies that I had baked for him and his staff.  They all had worked so very hard to save my life and help me regain good health and mobility.  I felt they deserved a treat.

My next stop was the infusion room.  If you have never been in a cancer clinic’s infusion room, it can be quite overwhelming.  These rooms are lined with many, many reclining chairs filled with people of all ages, genders and ethnicity just like you getting chemo. Cancer does not discriminate.

Sitting next to each patient’s chair is their IV stand hung with a multitude of bags filled with blood products, liquids and drugs.  Some of us are bald and some of us are not.  I have been both. Scattered about the room are baskets filled with donated stocking hats of every color imaginable free for the taking. Chatting the patients up are the worried and tired looking family members and friends that accompanied them.

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World War II Buddy El Ewert and I enjoying our bald heads

My infusion was just for a bone hardening drug. For some reason, yesterday my oncology nurses all came by to remind me of the “fragile state”I was in the first time they met me.   Maybe I got their attention when I asked one of my favorite nurses where her bright green hair was today.  During St. Patrick Day’s past her green wig was a big hit.

The nurse got a hold of physical therapy. The therapist came to assess my movement and help with some trouble spots in my neck and back.  I still cannot completely lift either arm and have lost considerable motion in my neck .  Whenever I move my head from side to side or tip it back, I get pain in my spine, right between the shoulder blades.  Not being able to turn my head is what prevents me from driving and was going to prevent me from seeing the top of the rotunda at the Capitol.

She knew exactly what the problem was and went to work.  I had a muscle that was looped and a lot fascia that was being very stubborn. Then,she exclaimed, “Pat, you have adhesions sticking your muscles to your skull!”  Which explained my incredibly unpleasant under the chin Charlie horses. She went to work. Finally she said, “There it goes!”  At that moment, for the first time in years I could turn my head from shoulder to shoulder and backwards.  Bully!

With my doctor appointment, infusion and physical therapy behind me, my husband dropped me off at the side door of the State Office Building.  Fondly known to those of us who have called it home…the SOB.   That door is the one I used for many years when I worked in that building.

As I stood in front of that door I noticed two things.  Time had just been rolled back and it had been refinished.  Loaded down with a bag filled with my friends’ favorite cookies, I headed for the Secretary of State’s Office.  I barely got through the door when I was greeted by one of the two Brads.  I asked for Bert.

Bert came and he took me on a complete tour of the office.  It was wonderful to see all of the changes and meet new staff.  So many of my friends were still there and they all looked so good.

Then, Bert and I  had a good visit in his office, just like we used too. Bert used to keep me out of mischief when we worked together.  It was a necessary role and he hasn’t changed at bit. He felt that it was alright for me to climb the Senate stairs, but all other stairs were strictly off limits and elevators to be used.  When we worked together, he knew that I could rarely be found in an elevator if I could get some exercise taking the stairs.  I promised him, I would follow his advice, and that if I got too tired I would be back to sit with him in his office until my husband could pick me up.

My next cookie stop was House Supply.  I don’t think I will ever forget the look on Bill’s face when he saw me standing there.  I didn’t get to see Jess, but found Steve later.  I was introduced to Danny’s son, he looks like his dad, and was assured that one of the over a dozen gingersnaps I had made for Danny would be saved for him.  I bet he does only get one.

Next, I headed out for the Capitol and those senate stairs.  Bill was concerned that the incline to the Capitol would be too steep for me, but it wasn’t at all.  Heeding Bert’s advice, I took the elevator up to those stairs.

Stepping back into the Capitol after an absence of almost five years affected me a bit. Then, I headed for the Senate stairs.

Capitol steps by Pat
I took this picture myself from the top of the stairs. 

Stairs never looked so beautiful. There they were, just as I remembered them.  I had thought of them so very many times.  They were before me when I sat in a chair with a therapist helping me to lift one leg then the other.  They stood tall when I tried and tried to go up those four little steps in the physical therapy room.  I dreamed of those stairs when day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year were spent in a body cast trapped in a hospital bed in my living room.  Those stairs taunted me when I wanted to give up.  Those stairs helped me conquer my cancer and it was finally time for me to conquer them.

As I stood before my nemesis, I took a deep breath, said a prayer of thanksgiving to a merciful God, held on to the railing and up I went.  It wasn’t even hard!  When I got to the top, I took a picture.  Then, I found one of those big old oak Capitol benches and just sat for a bit to savor the moment.

It will surprise no one that, that did not last long. Soon,  I was back on the trail to find my senate friends. Many of whom had no idea where I had disappeared too so long ago.

After a great visit with John in the information office.  I went into both the House and Senate chambers.  I had worked in both.  It was then time to just take in all of the Capitol renovations, especially the artwork.  I walked into the rotunda, tipped my head way back and took in the whole dome.  Magnificent! The colors of the murals in the Supreme Court chambers were particularly glorious.  I did not go into the governor’s office, on purpose, because it leaves me a reason to return.

Next, I decided that I needed to explore the new Senate Office Building and see where Senator Mary Kiffmeyer had hung my painting of U.S. Grant. That building is so light and roomy and marvelous.  I was impressed!  As I headed out to find friends, they just seemed to find me.  David found me in the hall, then Ward showed up and Troy.  We had a good chat.

As I turned to continue on there was Glen.  He showed me where to find the other Sergeants at Arms.  Those guys have always been some of my favorite people.  Not all of them were there, but I got to see Herb and Bob.  Bob and I were always good friends, and he escorted me up to see my painting.  When I was standing next to it, as he took my picture, I noticed that I had painted it in 1997.  It was twenty years old!

Capitol painting

Bob and I continued our tour ending up in the Senate offices.  I saw Steve, Sven, Marilyn and of course Nick Thompson.  Since, they did not know what had happened to me, they were surprised to learn of my challenges. We shared memories and laughs.  Then, Nick gave me one of the best compliments ever.

After working in both the Senate and House for Republicans, I think many people were surprised when I went to work for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie a Democrat. Nick said that it had surprised him.  However, after he thought about it a while he came to the conclusion that the decision to hire me was probably one of the best decisions Secretary of Ritchie ever made.  I, sure, hope the Secretary felt the same way.

By this time I must have looked tired.  The infusion I had received that morning always causes fatigue and I had been wandering around the Capitol for hours by this time.  I told the folks that I was going to head back towards Bert.  Nick asked me several times if I needed help.  I am sure that he would have had the wheelchair out in a shot if he thought for one second that I did.

On the way back to the SOB, I needed to find the new press pool.  I had been in the old one many times and wanted to see if those hardworking folks had finally gotten better digs.  I could not find it!  Just then, I spotted Bill Werner, a reporter.  He pointed me in the right direction.

Several of the reporters that I used to work with were there.  It was so nice to see them again.  One of them, sadly told me that she’d had just lost another friend to cancer the day before.  We agreed that cancer sucks.  I did miss seeing my friend John from KARE 11, down there, but he was on vacation.

When I got back to the SOB.  I headed upstairs to see my House friends.  Rebecca and I had a great chat.  Seeing as how I am no longer an employee of that place, I feel there is no need for me to be politically correct. Making Rebecca laugh has always been one of my favorite pursuits. Success was mine!   I stopped by to see Mark’s office and where Alayne and I used to work.

Then, I went downstairs to get something to drink and ran into one of my favorite people Sean.  Sean, Michelle and Valerie have worked at the SOB cleaning up after all of us since my Senate days.  Sean looked great.  His little girl, that I used to help tutor, is now 17 years old and will graduate next year.  He has two more children.  He caught me up on the news of Michelle and Valerie.

By the time I got back to the Secretary of State’s Office, I was locked out.  It was almost five p.m. and I had been walking and chatting for over four hours. So, I sat down on a bench to wait for my husband.

Who should show up? Travis Reese.  Travis had worked with me in the Secretary of State’s Office doing outreach.  He reminded me of all the fun, he, I and Sara had working together at the State Fair.  He then reminded me about my being Minnesota State Fair Reserve Grand Champion in Animal Calling in the Ag Olympics two years in a row. Both years I was beaten by a team of folks from the Department of Ag doing musical animal theater.

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My state fair ribbons for animal calling. 

You might think that I lost because I was out numbered, but I cannot ever remember being outnumbered.  Far be it from me to cast stones, but scripted group animal calling was clearly a violation of Ag Olympic rules.

Interestingly enough, one of the years I competed, one of the other contestants was a former preschool student of mine who was then Princess Kay of the Milky.  I had both her and her sister as students and they both became Princess Kay’s. Yes, she recognized, “Mrs. Detergent.”

Then, too, only I would work for Mark Ritchie at the state fair, and be on Republican Lt. Governor Carol Molnau’s team for the Ag Olympics at the same time. I had forgotten that I used to practice my cow mooing and chicken crowing in front of Sara and Travis. Travis hadn’t forgotten at all!

Bert came out into the hall right about then.  He told me Becky was back  and we went back into the Secretary of State’s Office to say hello.

Bert gave me a hug and then Doug was there.

My magical day didn’t end there though.  When I got home, I went to the mail box and there was a letter from my cousin Chris.  Uncle Myrwin’s daughter.  In that envelope was the most perfect picture of my dad and Uncle Myrwin.  The two brothers are sitting side by side.  I will get a frame for it.

Travis’s comments reminded of my State Fair Ribbons.  I went to look for them, so that I could put a picture of them in this blog.  When I pulled open the drawer, there he was, right on top….my lucky Duck.

lucky duck

When I worked for the Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs it was my honor and privilege to be the project manager for our state’s World War II Memorial Dedication.  It was a neat day and we had over 25,000 people attend.  One of the events that day was a flyover by World War II bombers and fighter planes.

About a week after the event, I received a package in the mail.  The package was from one of my pilots. In it was a stuffed toy duck with a note telling me this was a lucky duck, because he got to fly in the cockpit of a World War II bomber on the day of our dedication.

As long as I am sharing memories maybe this is the time to report that the morning of the World War II Dedication Memorial I was informed that one of the pilots flying over our large crowd of men, women and children would be a World War II pilot flying his own plane.  I paused.  Asked if he had passed his flight physical, then informed the lads that he could fly as long as he did not fly over the crowd.  That is why one plane was slightly out of formation.

You know, I think I am probably still the only Capitol employee that ever had to get gun permits from the City of St. Paul for a tank, muskets and machine guns.   Or who, had Civil War cannon placed in the Rotunda.  We never scratched that beautiful historic floor even a bit!

Yes, there definitely are lucky ducks, I own one and am one.

Moral of story: The view is definitely best after the hardest climb. 

 

 

 

 

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Children’s Story: Chloe the Water Lily Fairy Princess and Bunny Bedtime

Chloe the Water Lily Fairy Princess and Bunny Bedtime

Once upon a time in the tree filtered soft blue-violet light of the forest glade at the edge of a shimmering pond, beyond the green grassy meadow, inside the dark cool woods, beneath the great blue mountain—on a wide green lily pad, there lived a water lily fairy princess—named Chloe.

Chloe 1

There in the middle of the yellow and white lily blossom was her house.  The house was made out of the smoothest, clearest and whitest pond stones. The stones were cemented together with dandelion glue.  The roof of the fairy princess’s cottage was a thick thatch of blooming white daisies—pink, blue and purple centers of course.

In the midst of the forest glade, Chloe lived a fairy princess’s life in every way. The sun was always shining, raindrops were soft and warm and the wind only came as soft evening breezes.

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Chloe always wore the finest fairy princess dresses that sparkled like rain drops, shimmered with the colors of rainbows and floated about her like gentle evening breezes.  Her slippers were soft and delicate, for they were made from the pedals of wild pink roses.   Chloe’s fine, fragile fairy wings fluttered so fast that everywhere she went, her wings played a perfectly pitched merry melody of light.

The very beautiful fairy princess, Chloe, was known for her kindness and respect for others, along with excellent table manners and social graces.  As fairy princesses go, Chloe was a real peach.

This beautiful water lily fairy princess had friends aplenty. She loved sitting on edge of her lily pad in the evenings and being serenaded by croaky-throaty singing frogs. She enjoyed conversing with the wise old painted-turtle while they shared a cool pitcher filled with morning dew drops. She always was seen giggling whenever she received a mouse whisker tickle as she hugged one of her field mouse friends.  But, Chloe’s best friend of all was Laney the Mother Bunny.

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Laney the Mother Bunny and Chloe had been best friends forever and were often seen playing together. With Chloe flying overhead and Mother Bunny running beneath, away they would race through the cool dark woods.  After their outdoor play had ended, Chloe and Laney the Mother Bunny would go over to the bunny’s house—a bunny hutch. There they enjoyed having nice quiet chats while sipping on steaming cups of clover tea and sampling strawberry, blackberry and wild blueberry muffins topped with honey.

Life for this beautiful fairy princess was, oh, so good, because all of her wishes always came true.

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Early one morning, Chloe received a special postcard from her best friend Laney the Mother Bunny.  All it said was, “Come see me, I have a surprise to show you.”

Chloe put on her best dress, and rose pedal slippers and quickly flew off to see what this “surprise” could be.

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When she got to Laney the Mother Bunny’s hutch she knocked on the door and went inside. There in a soft warm fuzzy nest was the surprise—five new baby bunnies.  Chloe was shocked to say the least, but after a quick moment of thought realized that this was probably why her best friend was called “Mother Bunny” in the first place.  As Chloe petted the sleeping little bunny babies she thought, “These are just more bunnies to love.”

Chloe was filled with joy for her friend.  Mother Bunny introduced her to her new sons and daughters.  Bob was the oldest, followed by Bailey who seemed to hiccup a lot.  Then there was Boots with her itizy bitzy white fluffy fuzzy front paws. Followed by Bonnie Blue and Butler. Mother Bunny just loved that movie Gone with the Wind.

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Chloe went to help her friend with her new family every day.  At first it was easy, those baby bunnies just ate, grew and slept.  Why even their bedtime was delightful, the well-fed bunny babies went right to sleep and while they were all a-snoozing, Mother Bunny and Chloe ate muffins and sipped tea just like they always had done.

Every day the babies grew and learned new tricks, they were so cute.  First they learned to wiggle their noses, then their tails, and then one day they learned to—bounce.  Soon the neat nest in the hutch was filled with five busy bouncing baby bunnies. Those pink noses, fuzzy tails and flibber-me-jibet ears were never still.

When the baby bunnies were outside, they chased mice, dragon-flies and frogs, which worried Mother Bunny because bunnies cannot swim.  They would jump from mushroom cap to mushroom cap and swing on branches in the bushes. One day Bailey hung onto a large butterfly and was almost carried away!

As bad as things were when they were outside, bedtime was bedlam—a complete circus.  Bob, Bailey, Boots, Bonnie Blue and Butler would poke, tickle, pinch and fight with each other until Mother Bunny was practically in tears. Poor Mother Bunny could get no rest, her babies kept her busy every moment.

“If only she could just get those bunnies to bed and to sleep,” wished Chloe.  Chloe tried to help put the baby bunnies to bed, she sang to them, held them, taught them to count mosquitoes and showed them her entire rock collection, but nothing seemed work. “Maybe,” Chloe thought, “It would be best if I flew off to see how other mommies and daddies get their babies to bed. Then, I can come back and help Mother Bunny with these babies.” And, that is just what she did.

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Chloe, for the first time in her life flew away from the pond and ventured deep into the forest glade.  There she spied Henry the Bee flying from flower to flower, collecting pollen to take back the hive to make into honey.

“Henry,” Chloe shouted over his buzzing, “Do you have any baby bees back at the hive?”  “Oh, sure we do,” replied Henry.  “Well, if I may ask, how do you get those buzzing baby bees to bed?” inquired Chloe.   “Why baby bee’s stick to their beds quite nicely thank you,” boasted a proud Henry. He then flew off to find the next flower.

Sticking bunnies to their beds?  Bee babies and bunny babies are not alike.

Chloe flew on and entered the deep dark woods.

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In the dark woods high up on a tree branch Chloe spied Pat the Possum with four possum babies all hanging on her back.  The possum babies were fuzzy like bunnies so Chloe stopped to ask about possum pups and bedtime.  “Pat, how do you get those baby possums to sleep?” asked Chloe.  Pat, shouted, “I’ll show you.”

Pat the Possum grabbed onto the branch with her tail and let go of the branch with her paws. There she was hanging upside down by her tail, and no-pawed from the high tree branch swinging to and fro—just like a clean black stocking on a clothesline—with her babies still clinging to her back.

Chloe’s eyes widened and she held her breath.  The beautiful fairy decided right then and there that she wanted no part of Pat’s bedtime practice of hanging upside down from branches in trees by a tail, with babies on board.  It could only end in tears.

Possum babies and bunny babies are not alike.

Chloe flew on toward the bright grassy meadow under the great blue mountain.

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Chloe flew through the deep, dark, dank woods until the woods unfolded and opened to reveal a wide wonderful golden grassy meadow.  There in the meadow munching on sweet prairie grass was Eli the baby elk accompanied by his mother Dora.

After proper introductions had been made, Chloe asked, “Dora, be a dear and tell me how you get Eli to go to bed and to sleep?”  “Ernst, Eli’s father, comes every evening and bugles him to sleep by playing the blues. Ernst, has soul,” preened the regal Dora.

In her mind Chloe pictured a bugling mommy bunny blasting out the blues for bouncing baby bunnies, Bob, Bailey, Boots, Bonnie Blue and Butler and decided it would encourage hopping and bopping.  While as fun and entertaining as bugling the blues may be, it wasn’t appropriate for a bunny bedtime.

Elk babies and bunny babies are not alike.

Chloe flew on.

Chole 10

At the bottom of the great blue mountain by a rocky rushing stream, Chloe spied Rory the grizzly bear with her two cubs Madeline and Mumfrey fishing for salmon.  Chloe and Rory were old friends.  Rory had visited the pond in the glade many times before and they also had gone honey hunting together. Chloe explained Mother Bunny’s situation to Rory.  Rory listened carefully to Chloe, and pondered the problem for a moment while still munching and crunching on her lunch.

The mother grizzly bear felt bad, but she had no good advice to offer Mother Bunny.

Chloe 11

Just then, Rory watched as her son Mumfrey made his little sister Madeline cry by slapping her in the face with a smelly dead fish’s tail.  For a grizzly bear mother enough was enough! Rory, stood up on her hind legs, bared her large white shiny teeth and let out a mighty roar—so ferocious that it scared Chloe.

Madeline and Mumfrey with heads hanging low slowly walked over to their mother.  Rory laid down underneath a great pine tree and her cubs cuddled in and were soon fast asleep folded into their mother’s soft furry arms.  “Why they look like a huge pile of teddy bears,” smiled Chloe.

Roaring and showing teeth would not work for a bunny bedtime.  Bear babies and bunny babies are not alike.

Chloe flew to the top of the great blue mountain.

Chloe 12

There standing on the summit of the great blue mountain, Chloe looked down the other side into a beautiful valley.  In this valley was a small farm. It was beginning to get dark and Chloe needed a place to sleep for the night.  So she flew down the mountain toward the farm.

First she came upon the barn and heard the animals inside.  Perhaps one of the farm animals would know a special secret that would help to get baby bunnies to go to bed.

It was warm and dark inside the barn, and smelled of alfalfa, straw, old wood and leather. After Chloe’s eyes had adjusted to the dim light, she saw that there were no babies in the barn.  Perhaps there was no one to help Mother Bunny after all.  As, Chloe turned to leave, she heard little squeaky noises coming from the hayloft.

Chloe 13

There in a straw nest was a mother cat and her new kittens.  Chloe was so excited.  They were fuzzy like bunnies, had pink noses like bunnies and they were in a nest like bunnies!  Chloe flew up and introduced herself to the mother cat.  She learned the mother cat’s name was Tammy the Tabby, and the kittens’ father was called Grand Ol’ Dan the Tom Cat. While Tammy the Tabby was sincerely nice, Grand Ol’ Dan required watching thought Chloe, he looked as though he might be interested in whisker tickling a beautiful fairy princess.

Chloe 14

As Ol’ Dan wiggled his whiskers and watched Chloe, Chloe watched Tammy the Tabby’s kittens bounce and frolic about in the hay loft.  Why those kittens even acted like the busy bouncing baby bunnies back in the forest glade.  So, Chloe asked Tammy the Tabby how she gets her lively litter of kitties to bed at night. “Well, I purr them to sleep,” replied Tammy.  “What is purring, can you show me how?” asked the confused fairy princess.  “Let me demonstrate,” then Tammy meowed to her kittens and they ran right over to her.  As she fed them their supper, Tammy started make a very pleasant sounding noise.

“This must be purring,” thought Chloe.  As she listened Chloe grew sleepy, and sure enough the kittens had all gone right to sleep too.

Baby kittens and bouncing baby bunnies are quite alike, but mommy cats are different than mommy bunnies— mommy bunnies cannot purr.

Chloe 15

It was a very sad Chloe that thanked Tammy the Tabby, and turned to fly out of the barn to return home to the glade in the woods.  She had not found any way to help her best friend.  She couldn’t stick bunnies to beds like bee babies, or hang them from their tails in trees like Pat the Possum.  Bugling them to sleep would never work, nor would showing teeth and roaring at them like a grizzly bear.  Purring would work but, mother bunnies cannot purr.  Chloe the beautiful water lily princess for the first time in her life had not gotten what she had wished for.  She couldn’t help her friend and she felt brokenhearted.

Lost in her thoughts, Chloe turned to leave the barn and noticed that night had come and it was black as midnight outside.  Just then a bright light appeared in the window of the farmer’s cottage.  Chloe decided it would be better to sleep on a cottage window sill than spend a night in the barn with that teasing Tom Cat, Ol’ Dan.

Chloe 16

Chloe stopped to pick leaves off the lilac bush to make a bed and found a purple Posey petal to use as a blanket. There on the cottage windowsill exhausted from disappointment and her long day of travel, Chloe quickly fell fast asleep.

Suddenly she was awaken by shouting, singing and laughing. Chloe stood on her tippy toes and carefully looked in through the window.

Inside the cottage she saw a room with four small beds and a whole gaggle of willy-nilly children running amok.  They were noisily bouncing on the beds, pinching, poking, tickling and teasing each other, but mostly were having a very good time.  “Why,” thought Chloe, “these willy-nilly children are behaving as badly as busy bouncing baby bunnies.”

Chloe 17

Just then the mother of the children walked into the room.  She smiled as she took in the merriment of her brood of children.  She didn’t say a word to them, but went over and sat down in a rocking chair that was in the middle of the room.  Slowly, she began to rock, back and forth, forth and back.

The children all stopped what they were doing and quickly jumped into their beds and pulled the covers up under their chins.  The mother rose from her rocking chair and went to each bed, listened to the child’s bedtime prayer and blessed each forehead with a kiss. Then, she went back to the rocking chair.  The mother waited until all of the children were still and quiet. Out of a large pocket, in her blue striped work apron she began to take out a huge…no wait… it was just a big book.

Chloe pressed her little nose to the glass as she strained to hear and see what the mother did next.   The mother sat back down in her chair, and in a low, tender, steady voice began to read the children their favorite bedtime story.

Chloe 1

“Once upon a time in the tree filtered soft blue-violet light of the forest glade at the edge of the a shimmering pond, beyond the green grassy meadow, inside the dark cool woods, beneath the great blue mountain—on a wide green lily pad, there lived a water lily fairy princess—named Chloe…”

Then, Chloe knew!  Her wish had come true and she knew how to help her friend Mother Bunny.  Busy, bouncing, baby bunnies and willy-nilly children are alike!   The best way to get them to go sleep at bedtime is to read to them.

Children’s Story: The Hen Who Wanted to Fly

Once upon a time there was a farmer.  On his farm lived many different kinds of animals.  He was a kind farmer and was always very good to his animals for he loved them very much. As fond as he was…

Source: Children’s Story: The Hen Who Wanted to Fly

Children’s Story: Pete the Christmas Apple

The Christmas Story as told by an apple.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

One of my favorite Christmas stories came from my Great Aunt Ida who recounted a Christmas as a child, at the turn of the 20th century, when her mother was sick and there was no money for gifts or to buy special foods for the Christmas dinner.

My grandmother Esther who was the oldest child in the family, and like a mother to her younger siblings, had been sneaking down to the barn in the evenings and making straw ornaments for each of her siblings out of the new fresh golden straw.  She was hoping to have some type of gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve for her younger siblings.

On that bleak Christmas Eve the neighbor from across the road came down their lane carrying a heavy sack….it was full of apples. Each child received their own apple and the rest were used for baking. Almost a century later, she lived…

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Children’s Story: Wendall, the Ghost in the Attic

Halloween is almost here. It can be a scary time of year. The goblins and ghosts come out on that night. To collect treats and give folks a fright. Here is a story from when I was young. When living in an old haunted house just wasn’t that much fun. Spooks are no joke when they live right with you. Especially when your parent’s don’t have a clue. So, as a young child my family I did save….from a ghost in our attic named Wendall the Brave….I hope you enjoy this Halloween story.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Wendall, The Ghost in the Attic

My very first memory is of screaming for assistance in the night and staring at a light in the hall outside of my crib. I wanted out and apparently the rest of the world had gone deaf. Two things became clear at that moment; cribs are prisons, and prisons are not for me—I need freedom, and staring at lights made my eyes hurt.

I quickly dedicated my every waking effort to establishing a method to release me from physical limitations that surrounded me—I learned to climb out of that crib. This skill, learned so young, is of great benefit to any person born on a farm that housed a variety of animals kept in pens.

My bedroom was at the top of the wide oak staircase, on the second floor, at the east end of the big farm house built by my great grandpa…

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Laney Hays Update, Go Fund Me Page and God’s Recipe for the Seasons of Life

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Chirping crickets always signal that the end of summer is near.  One season ends and a new one begins. Some seasons seem much longer than others. Winter is certainly one of those.  Other seasons, like spring,  flash by in the blink of an eye.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons and I have had a wonderful one, but I have been thinking a lot this week about the ending and beginning of seasons.   It seems to me that just as there are yearly seasons, life, too, has its seasons. At the age 57, I would like to think that even with my diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer, that I am still in the autumn of my life.  I am definitely not ready for winter yet.

So far the seasons of my life have been long and I thank God for that.

Throughout my life whenever I do not want to face reality, I disappear into artwork or writing.  They are my coping tools and I have done both this week. I have always had this need to make good out of bad, beautiful out of ugly, color out of grey and light out of dark.
This week was one of those weeks when there are just not words good or colors bright enough to make the storm clouds dissipate.

A 34-year-old young woman, who I watched grow up, was one of my son’s close friends, who was a sweet darling that was cognitively delayed, was brutally murdered and my three-year-old great niece Laney Hays’ health took a terrible turn for the worse.

This past Thursday, while waiting to attend Rebecca Drewlo’s wake, I and our entire family spent the day waiting for the bone biopsy results for Laney.  Laney was diagnosed when she was just two-years-old with AML Leukemia .  She has been through so much sickness and pain and just as it seemed she was getting back to being her robust happy trickster self…she relapsed.  After several more rounds of brutal chemotherapy her organs began to fail, then she contracted a horrendous intestinal infection called C-diff.

It was not good news that her family learned on Thursday. Doctors confirmed that there is no more that they can do and she has been put into hospice.

Her family are devoted Christians who know that God is a loving God who promises to never leave us or forsake us. Not during good times and certainly not during the bad.  He is our light in darkness. However, nobody knows the will of God, except God, but his scriptures assure us that all things work towards good.  God has and still does work miracles.  If it is his will, Laney will yet be healed. I pray that her family receives their miracle.

Laney’s seasons of life may still turn out to be long, but if they are short, the impact her young life has had on those that know and love her has been nothing short of awe inspiring.  Her battle with this awful disease will provide doctors and researchers with information and insights on how to better help other children just like her.  I am convinced that future lives will be saved because of the brave battle fought by cancer soldier Laney Hays.

Today I would like to ask all of my followers to assist the Hays family during this difficult time. There is a go-fund-me page set up for this young family to help out with medical expenses.  Please give and if you cannot give, please share this post or just the link at https://www.youcaring.com/laney-hays-607565

When Laney was first diagnosed I wrote her a story called, “Laney the Brave”.   The story’s message about being brave is a good one for both children and adults who daily battle cancer.  Please pray for this brave child and her family.   Thank you.

God’s Seasons of Life Recipe
This Biblical recipe can be found in the book of Ecclesiastes.  

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

 

Children’s Story: The Hen Who Wanted to Fly

When stuck at the airport, in a car or in a house due to really hot or cold weather it is nice to have a few new online children’s stories to entertain the youngsters. This story is about a real hen on our farm who raised some orphaned ducklings.

Find other original children’s stories in the categories of My Stories and Thor’s Stories.

I hope you enjoy my stories for children as much as I love writing them.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Once upon a time there was a farmer.  On his farm lived many different kinds of animals.  He was a kind farmer and was always very good to his animals for he loved them very much. As fond as he was of all of his animals, he had a special fondness for his chickens. The farmer really liked chickens.  Of all of his chickens his favorite was an old hen named Henrietta.

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Henrietta had been on his farm for many years, in fact she was the oldest chicken in his flock. In her youth she had been a very good egg layer and mother to the many chicks she had hatched.  She was almost always friendly to the other chickens, even when some of them had not been so friendly to her.  She was never the prettiest, or the smartest hen in the farmer’s flock nor was she the most…

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