Journey 212: Passing into Legend

This week has been quite the journey with Greg’s dad, Bob. Last Saturday this independent, sweet 94 year old man had a heart attack which caused a fall. The gash on the back of his head, while alarming, was easily closed. The weakening of his heart was a different matter. For several years we his family have known that a time was approaching when Dad Moore’s heart would give out, due to an age related condition that had no treatment, no cure. In spite of the difficulties this week, watching as he slipped away, and the weariness that has accompanied daily trips to and from the hospital in Arkansas, it has been a precious time of sitting with Dad, chatting, listening to stories from his past and simply holding his hand while he slept.

Bob Moore with mom and brother Bill

The shadow of death that crept over his familiar features could not dim the smile that appeared each time we walked into his hospital room. Nor could it dispel his courteous concern for the welfare of everyone else around him, including the medical staff and the host of people who brought his meals, cleaned his room, changed his bed sheets. Until late last night, he was still thanking us, and others, expressing genuine gratitude for the care he had been given, whispering that he loved us. He even cracked a couple of jokes, giving us a last glimpse of his well known sense of humor.

Dad Moore as a young man

Early this morning, Bob K Moore’s earthly journey came to an end, and he shed the worn out body that had weighed him down. He soared, free. The thought that entered my mind at his time of death was that a great man had entered into legend. I think I must have retained that line from one of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, where mighty men doing good deeds pass from life into legend. Great stories are told of such men, and they are remembered for their acts, both grand and small. Today those stories of this mighty man began immediately, from tearful nurses who had known Dad a week, to long time friends and family members who have always had this man of strength and character in their lives.

Bob Moore and the statue

Bob was born February 20, 1921 as the second son to William and Ruby Moore. He had an older brother, Bill. On November 21, 1941, he married his sweetheart, Leta Mae Davidson. They had two sons, Ray and Greg. Bob served his country for a little over three years in the Navy, working as an aviation machinist. His love for aircraft, although already present before this time, bloomed into a lifelong passion. Moving their family to Noel, Missouri, Bob and Leta, along with his parents, opened and operated a drive-in south of town, specializing in barbeque meats and hamburgers. Later his love of flying led him to Peterson Industries in Decatur, AR, where he worked until retirement as an airplane mechanic and pilot, flying baby chickens and personnel all over the US.

Bob Moore wedding day

Those are some of the facts about Bob. And while they are accurate, they tell little about how he lived his life, about how much he cared for others, and how generous he was with all that he had, including his time. I love the quote that says, “It isn’t the date on either end that counts, but how they used their dash, for that dash between the dates represents all the time they spent alive on earth.” February 20, 1921 – July 31, 2015. It is the dash that matters, it’s where Dad’s life was lived.

Bob Moore pilot

I met Bob and Leta Moore when their son, Greg, took me to their home on a Sunday afternoon after church. At age 16, I didn’t make an outstanding impression, I’m sure, my shyness and thoughtfulness keeping me quiet, especially after “the incident”. I followed Greg into his bedroom before dinner, and embarrased when he said he needed to change clothes, stepped willingly into the closet and closed the door, while he changed. Long moments passed. When I heard Greg’s parents ask, “Where’s Cindy?” I suddenly wished that the closet would morph into the wardrobe in Narnia so I could make my escape. Instead, I stood there, eyes big, as the Moores opened the closet door and peered in at me, puzzled by my unusual behavior. What thoughts must have gone through their minds! They accepted me anyway, and loved me as a daughter when I became their daughter-in-law three years later.

Bob Moore drive in

Dad Moore has had a huge impact on my life. He taught me how to fish and fry them up, and how to make his famous peanut brittle. He chased away my fear of flying, allowing me to sit in the co-pilot seat several times during flights with him. His wit was already legendary when I met him. I heard tales of his adventures as a youth and saw the pictures, his face lit up in a wide grin as his gaze met the camera as he met the world, full of grace and good humor and an infectious charm. He taught me to see the world as a good place, full of people with good hearts, and to offer to others out of the goodness in me.

Bob Moore with nieces

His loving heart was as remarkable as his sense of humor. He cared deeply for others, and put actions behind his love. I can’t begin to list all the people that he has helped over the years, always without a thought for being helped in return, never with the expectation of repayment of any kind. Did people take advantage of this good man? Yes, they did. That didn’t tarnish his desire to help those in genuine need, it only revealed the darkness in some, while allowing his light to shine brightly.

Dad was a family man. He loved his sweet wife, cared for her at home until her death in 1999. Before her passing, they were one, truly….BobandLeta. You couldn’t say one name without saying the other, so often did they serve and work and play together. Her death from Alzheimer’s was surely one of the most difficult journeys in his life, and yet I never heard him complain or bemoan his fate. And then he was Bob, alone….the woman that was one with him gone from him for 16 years. One of the happiest thoughts I held today was imaging their reunion. They are BobandLeta once more.

Bob Moore the kiss

My children adored their Papa Bob. He played with them, took them fishing as well, flew them in his airplanes and when the planes were grounded, allowed them to play in the hangar. How their imaginations soared as they sat in the cockpit, pretending to fly. They have their own stories to tell, how Papa snored at night, making them giggle, how he and Mimi took them to the Wildlife Safari, and fixed them chocolate milk with vanilla ice cream in it for breakfast. I am beyond grateful that the children, now grown, spent Sunday afternoon with their Papa, hearing his stories again, loving on him, making memories.

Bob Moore with grandkids

I think Dad’s greatest life lesson to me was demonstrating how to walk with faith and hope and perseverance, believing the best about people, laughing at the joys that appeared, weathering the challenges that arose with grace and dignity. He walked with God without making demands. He expressed gratitude instead for what he had. He didn’t linger on what was wrong. He focused on what was right. He remained a man of integrity and hope, true to who he was, even when his physical strength began to fail.

The last part of the quote, that I wrote above, says, “And now only those who loved them know what that little line…that dash…is worth.” I know. Greg and our children and their children know. Friends and other family members know. So many years, so much life, so much love, captured in a beautiful lifetime, the life of Bob Moore. Thank you, Dad Moore, for all that you have taught me, all the love you have shown me. The world was enriched by your presence. I was enriched. Go brightly into the night and soar high into the Heavens. And shine on us until we see you again.


Journey 211: Father-in-Law Day

How amazing, as this journey unfolds with Greg’s dad, to discover that today is Father-in-Law Day. Bob Moore has been an important part of my life for 41 years. I’ve really always thought of him as my second dad. 

Bob is one of the most compassionate, caring people that I have ever met. He cherished his wife and his sons and always wanted a daughter. I got to fulfill that role. He not only spoiled his grandchildren…he spoiled me. It has been precious to me these past two years, especially, to sit with Bob and hold his hand, chatting or sitting in comfortable silence. 

He handles life as it unfolds, without drama, complaint or judgment. I’ve learned so much about graciousness and generosity, observing his well lived life and the way he cares for others.  

This week has been no different. As he nears the end of his earthly journey, he continues to express gratitude toward others, even in the midst of pain and frailty and confusion. He is well loved by the medical staff at the hospital. Every nurse, therapist and CNA has been the recipient of his kindness and thanked for every task that they have performed. The doctor called him a sweet, sweet man. 

I truly believed that I was going to say my last good-bye today, ironically on Father-in-Law Day. He crept very near to death early this afternoon. But he surprised us late in the afternoon, with a rally. He became responsive again. He said his I love yous, his thank yous, and his go home and rests. I know his time with us is growing short. I am so grateful for him, for his love, for his life. I love you, Dad Moore. 


Journey 210: A Thousand Words

This is a simple post tonight, having just arrived home from the hospital in Arkansas. Things seem to be shifting with Greg’s dad. He slept more today. Seemed more frail. Greg and I have talked so much throughout the day, about life and about death. There’s no fear. Just love and peace and an acceptance that this is a part of the journey we all must take. 

Greg’s cousins came by. Pam from a pretty little Arkansas town nearby. And Linda and her husband Dale from the rich farmlands of Illinois. Bob slept through most of their visit, occasionally stirring enough to say, “Don’t waste your time here. Go rest.” We smiled. And his words held truth for Linda and Dale, who got on the road at the break of dawn this morning. 

It was so good to see these wonderful, supportive family members. I appreciate them, as I know Greg does. They brought love and light into the room. This picture captures the afternoon perfectly. And it truly is worth a thousand words. 

Although the day was hot, there’s a nice breeze stirring in the garden tonight, and a full moon overhead. Greg lit a fire in the fire pit and we are sitting thoughtfully, watching the flames leap and dance. Tomorrow we are back at the hospital. Tonight, we are just being. 



Journey 209: The Middle Way

On my way to Arkansas this morning, to spend time with Greg’s dad in the hospital and allow Greg to go get some much needed sleep, I listened to The Untethered Soul, by Michael A Singer, on Audible. Chapter 18 is called The Secret of the Middle Way. It was perfect, listening to this chapter, thinking about Bob and life as I drove.

untethered soul pic

Writing of walking the middle way, Singer gives examples of living life at the edges, at the extremes. For example, one can never eat….or eat all the time. Both extremes can’t be continued, without disastrous results. The middle way would be to eat, when the body says it is time to eat, and to eat something that sustains and nurtures the body. Another example I thought of would be, I can never speak….I can talk all the time. Or I can find the middle way and speak when I feel compelled to speak and have something worthy and uplifting to share.

Trying to maintain the extremes takes massive amounts of energy, energy that isn’t available then for living a joy-filled, abundant life. Singer uses the picture of a pendulum. If it is pulled 30 degrees to the right and released, it will swing 30 degrees to the left. That’s a physics law. If you pull a pendulum one way, it will swing the opposite way just as far. We often live life like that. If I starve myself for days, I am apt to swing the other way just as far, and overeat when I finally give in and eat. It’s not healthy. It’s not easy to maintain, without massive effort. How long, Singer asks, will a pendulum stay at its outermost position? Only a moment, without continued forces moving it. How long can a pendulum stay at rest? Forever, because no forces are moving it out of balance.

middle way pendulum

To walk the middle way is to stay in a space with no energy pushing me to the edges, to the extremes. It is to stay centered, balanced, at rest within. If something happens….a car cuts me off in traffic….I can swing to an extreme and react from that place….and stay in that agitated place for an unreasonable long time. Or I can let go of what rises up, immediately, and stay centered, stay present. If I start to go off center, I can return, as often as I need to.

This is the way I am journeying. This is the path that brings me such peace and joy. Lived with such awareness and such simplicity, life indeed becomes simple as it unfolds in front of me. And I am always present, always there, as it unfolds. When I am swinging from extreme to extreme, life is exhausting, confusing, out of balance. In reality, I am the one who is exhausting, confused and out of balance.

I loved this section in Chapter 18: “When you stop being confused, everything becomes simple. If you have no preference, if the only thing you want is to remain centered, then life unfolds while you simply feel for the center. There is an invisible thread that passes through everything. All things move quietly through that center balance. That is the way. It is really there. It is there in your relationships, in your diet, in your business activities. It is there in everything. It is the eye of the storm. It is completely at peace.” Ah, yes. Peace. I’ve been very aware of peace this week.

I needed to hear this today. I wanted to be reminded. As I journey with Greg and his dad, I am feeling for the center. I am allowing life to unfold and being present with it. I am not demanding that anything has to be a certain way. I trust that the Divine has brought us all to this exact point in our lives, together, and we will walk through this, with no expected outcomes other than we will walk together in faith and love and joy and peace. I feel that invisible thread. It runs through the center of this situation. It loops around our wrists as Bob and I hold hands while he sleeps. It encircles the bed and the room, the hospital and the medical staff, the family and friends who love Bob. We are open to everything, and attached to nothing. Life is continuing to unfold. I don’t want to miss a second of it.

middle way golden threads

Journey 208: Peace in the Midst of the Storm

Today was day three spent with Greg’s dad, Bob, in the hospital. Greg arrived at the hospital early this morning. After taking care of business in Joplin, I too arrived to find Bob having a very rough day. 

His enzyme levels show that his heart is stabilizing  and that damage isn’t continuing. The next few days will show the extent of that damage. But he said he felt horrible and strange, the worst he had ever felt, and this is a man who survived two plane crashes! He was fretful and sad and he has not been able to sleep. 

Greg’s presence soothes him. Yet it is so difficult to sleep in the hospital during the day, with the busyness outside the door and the frequent checking of vitals. I love the quote that talks about not being pulled into other people’s storms, but pulling them into your peace. Greg and I had opportunity to practice this today, patiently answering Bob’s questions, assuring him he is not a burden, which is his greatest concern, holding his hand.  

When he felt so strange, heavy and hurting, and was hyperventilating, we turned down the lights, shut out the noise by closing the door, and laid our hands on him. Greg cradled a foot while I held his hand and arm with both my hands, cupping them lightly. I opened my heart and asked God to pour His Peace, His Light, through me, down my arms and through my hands, into Bob’s body. I grew hot, my hands became hot. The trembling body of this sweet man grew still. His breathing slowed to match mine, match Greg’s. And at last, his eyes closed. 

It was a beautiful moment. A time of navigating this difficult time with peace and quiet joy. I wish I could say Bob slept like a baby for hours. He did not. Noise in the hallway made him stir. This continues to be unknown territory for Bob, for Greg, for me. We will walk with this dear man, until the day comes that his path strikes off in a different direction. That was not this day. 

Greg stayed with his dad at the hospital tonight. He is learning new levels of caring for his father, with patience and acceptance and love. I came back to Joplin. There was just enough daylight left for me to walk in my garden. The air was hot and humid, but peace continued to surround me, and the stillness within me was echoed without. 

I bought two new chairs for the meditation area of my garden last week. Tonight I finally unstacked  them and removed tags and carried them into the garden. I love how they look there. For a few moments I sat in that sacred space and allowed all the events of the day to rise and pass through my heart. This journey with Bob isn’t easy, especially for him and for Greg. Yet it is the journey we are on right now and journey well we will. Peace and love will guide us. 


Journey 207: Bringers of Joy

I’m writing a brief blog post tonight, as I travel from Arkansas to Joplin. This was day two of journeying with Greg’s dad after he experienced a heart attack early yesterday morning. He’s in the hospital and the future is uncertain. It’s a day by day, moment by moment journey through unfamiliar territory. 

Bob has had a long and full life, rich with relationships and love, laughter and tears. It’s difficult, this part of the journey. Greg’s dad says old age is for the birds. He’s weary and ready to go home. His body fights to stay. Greg and I are present with him, loving on him and listening, talking to him and holding his hand. 

Into this emotional space today came visitors, bringers of joy, bright shining souls. Bob’s grandchildren, my children, arrived, each with their sweetheart: Elissa and Josh, Nathanael and Megan, Adriel and Nate. The energy in the room shifted tremendously. Not only did Bob perk up…Greg and I did as well. 

I’m so grateful for these children, beautiful inside and out. Bob remarked on how grown up they are, how attractive, and expressed delight and pride that these were his grandchildren, his family. It meant so much to him, to have them there. It means so much to me, this time spent with family. 

In typical fashion, because his love compels him, Bob urged us to take this lively group out to lunch…and feed them. We complied, happily. And enjoyed a time of sharing over delicious Mexican food. When we returned to the hospital, with a chocolate shake for Bob, Greg’s cousin Pam and her daughter Charity joined us as well, contributing their joy and love, and a box of chocolate covered raisins. 

I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But I can treasure this day. I hold this time precious, spent with Bob, with Greg, with our children and grandchildren and Greg’s cousins. Love is the banner over all. I was promised long ago that I would be the joyful mother of children. I thought of that promise today, watching my children interact with their grandfather, their dad, and each other. I am joyful, indeed, and blessed. And I am so grateful for them. 

Journey 206: Norwex…and Water

It’s been a long and tiring day…an emotional journey with an older family member through uncertain times of change, due to health concerns. That’s a journey I’ll write about another day. I’m home this evening, knowing I’ll be experiencing a second long day tomorrow, but full of gratitude for life and the flow and Divine care. 

As I washed my face tonight, I considered what to blog about this evening. Always, something is provided, even when my plans for the day go awry. The hot damp cloth pressed over my tired eyes and face felt SO good. And smiling, I suddenly knew I’d found my topic for today’s blog. 

I’ve been using Norwex products for several weeks now. The goal of this company is to improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in the home. Norwex supplies a wide range of cleaning products based around their microfiber cloth. Their products provide ways to clean my home, my clothes and my body without using chemical laden soaps and cleansers. 

So for the past three weeks, I’ve been using a soft yellow Norwex body cloth to cleanse my face twice a day…a cloth and nothing else, except warm water. I wasn’t skeptical of this no soap cleansing method. I was curious and open to new possibilities. 

I can say, after a suitable trial time, that I LOVE using the cloth and water. My skin is very sensitive. Even facial cleansers designed for skin like mine, cause irritation. Not the Norwex cloth! I simply wipe the super soft microfiber cloth over my face and neck and rinse out the cloth and hang it to dry. My skin has responded remarkably. Pores are smaller, my skin is soft and clean and glowing with no hint of dryness or irritation. I’ve had oily skin all my life and with the cloth there’s no trace of oiliness after washing, just supple skin. 

I’m loving the simplicity of this cloth, and the other Norwex products that I’m using. Less chemicals does indeed mean higher quality of life for me. And I’m saving money because I’m not purchasing a variety of cleaning products. What a beautiful win/win. As I tuck my tired self into bed, it’s one more thing to be grateful for. 

 One tired but happy journeyer.  

If you want to know more about this wonderful company go to:

Rachel Mayfield Norwex Consultant

Journey 205: Cousin’s Day

Today is Cousin’s Day, and what a great time to think about my amazing cousins and the joy they’ve brought into my life. It is true that cousins are often our first playmates and friends, as children. We learn about sharing and taking turns, settling squabbles and watching out for each other, kindness and being fair. It’s our first realization that family is bigger than our mom and dad, siblings and grandparents.

I have been so blessed with the cousins that I have. Some of my happiest and most fun childhood memories involved my cousins…four on my mother’s side of the family…and thirteen on my father’s side. That’s a bunch of playmates! And play is what we did so well. In the playing I learned about life and adventure, about work and growing up.

It saddens me that as we all grew up and found our way in the world, our paths took us far from each other. Although geographically we all lived near one other, we saw each other less and less as we raised families of our own, worked, lived busy lives. Occasionally Mindy and I connected, because she lived closest to me, but I rarely saw the others.

As adults approaching middle age, we reached the point where loss began to occur within the larger family. When grandparents passed, we cousins huddled together in grief, comforting each other, reconnecting, vowing to see each other more often. We might have a cousins’ gathering or two. And then another funeral would solemnly remind us that time had again slipped away.

It was the loss of my father five years ago, followed by the loss of my Aunt Glenda, that deepened the desire to gather more frequently, to celebrate life, rather than meet at funerals to grieve and lament the passing of time. This year so many of my cousins have been touched by loss, bidding mothers and fathers good-bye. Two of my cousins this very day held a visitation to honor their mother who passed two days ago.  My cousin Mindy slipped away from us too this year. More than ever, I cherish my family, desiring to rejoice with the living, even while remembering the departed. And so we shall.

I am so grateful for my cousins, these childhood playmates who have indeed become dear friends. In fond memory of my cousins Bill, Steven, and Mindy, who have blazed the trail before us into the Beyond, I love you and miss you. And to my cousins Greg, Charlie, Sheila, Sarah, Max, Denny, Pam, Alan, David, Christie, Jim, Mike, Lisa and Jeff…Happy Cousin’s Day. I love you. Thank you for journeying with me. Let’s get together again…soon.

Journey 204: Energy Healing Session

I have studied energy work, also known as energy healing or energy medicine, for several years. Classified as alternative medicine, energy work includes such practices a Reiki, Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine, Quantum Touch, EFT, Chakra Healing, Barbara Brennan’s Energy Work, and Touch Therapy, which is another name for a biblical term….laying on of hands. In most of these modalities, the use of the hands to direct a flow of energy is vital.

energy work heart hands

Everything, including our bodies, is made up of energy. Energy flows and moves. When the body is not in optimal health, the energy flow can be slow and stagnant, operating at a lower vibration. The purpose of energy healing is to open up blocked channels of energy and to send energy to areas of the body which are injured or dense with stale energy. I have learned a lot about how energy flows through the body, and what happens when that energy is trapped or becomes stagnant. I have done energy work on myself, and on others, yet I have never had an energy healing session done for me. I have wanted to experience a session and I thought I would have to go to a bigger city, such as Springfield or Kansas City, to have one.

I love how the Divine directs the flow of Life, bringing events and people to me, or taking me to them. What I need is supplied. I have been in my reading group for a year now. We are about to complete our second book together. I knew that three of our members are massage therapists who share a suite of rooms in a building. I did NOT know, until a week ago, that Margit also does energy work. What an amazing opportunity, from a dear woman who not only contributes wonderfully to our book club discussions, but has become a friend.

This afternoon, I got to have my first ever energy healing session, with Margit of Massage and Posture Therapy. (Check out her Facebook page HERE) She asked me about any areas of discomfort or concern and listened thoughtfully as I told her about my car accident. Twenty years ago I was a passenger in a car that was rear ended by a pick-up truck going 55 miles per hour. Thankfully, my family survived with minimal injuries. My seat belt kept me from going through the windshield, when the car abruptly came to a halt after being knocked down the highway, but the back of my seat broke. While my belt held me in place, my whole upper body twisted and was thrown violently back and then forward toward the dashboard and then back again, into the back seat. My neck, back, sternum and shoulder were injured.

The short version of this account is, after five years of physical therapy, spinal injections, exercises, and treatments, I still had permanent nerve damage in my lower back that affects both legs and both feet, and damage to my sternum and ribs, from the seat beat. I live with pain, daily. I don’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do, but it does affect my mobility. (If you’ve ever seen me get up out of a chair, after sitting for too long, you’ll know what I mean.) I don’t want to be defined by pain, or accidents or injuries. I would love to know what pain free feels like again. However, I mostly desire flexibility and mobility.

After listening carefully, Margit had me lie on my back while she worked. She lightly rested her hands on specific points along my body, directing energy flow. Her hands quickly became hot, as energy moved. Even before she slipped a hand beneath my lower back, heat began to build there, radiating outward. I feel energy easily. It tingles across my scalp and face, courses through my body, hums, literally. I can often feel my own vibrational field as it pulses with life energy.

energy work healing hands

In the quiet, darkened room, with soft music playing, energy stirred around sore, tender places in my back, along the sciatic nerves down both legs, around my knees, which tend to get locked into position by muscles that tighten because of nerve pulses, or perhaps because of the lack of them. As Margit worked, I relaxed deeply, muscles sometimes trembling as they released tension or pain. Heat flowed with the energy. And as I lay there, I thought about how energy gets stuck in the region of the heart, as Michael A Singer writes about in The Untethered Soul. It must move, so it circles, buried beneath memories, until something triggers the emotion or pain that trapped that energy there initially. And then the energy surges, seeking release. We can relax and allow the energy and the old pain, the old emotion, to pass through, gaining release. Or we can resist the stirring of energy, push the pain and emotion back down, control ourselves tightly….until the next time something triggers the old energy.

What if an injury in the body causes the same thing….trapping energy related to the accident within the region affected? That energy must move, even if sluggishly….so it circles, runs along nerves, creating an uncomfortable loop. I realized years ago that I had held on to resentment toward the driver of the truck. When I released that resentment and anger, my pain greatly diminished. Now, perhaps by unblocking energy, and  giving it a way to flow properly again, I can further eliminate pain and restore mobility to my legs, knees and feet. I am ready to completely release that old accident energy. I believe Margit can help me do that! She also uses massage and posture therapy, which I am interested in as well.

Margit’s business card has printed along the bottom edge, “put the body in motion and it will heal itself”. I am so captivated by that thought and I am excited to journey with Margit to learn how to best allow my body to heal itself. I am grateful to have discovered that my friend has an amazing gift, offering healing and comfort with the touch of her hands. And grateful that we were drawn together through the book club, Divinely so.

Journey 203: Aunt Jeanie’s Homecoming

My earthly family became smaller today, as my Aunt Jeanie entered into eternity. She was a sister to my dad and my Uncle Rex and my Aunt Glenda, fraternal twin to my Aunt June. They turned 80 on July 7. Unfortunately, Aunt Jeanie entered into the hospital on that day, and was unable to join the family birthday celebration that was held on July 11. Today, she departed this life, on Uncle Rex’s birthday.

dad and sibs e

Aunt Glenda, Dad, Aunt June, Uncle Rex, Aunt Jeanie

Bessie Jean was one of six kids, the children of my grandparents, Dennis and Grace Lauderdale. Growing up in Tulsa OK, I frequently spent time with my cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom lived nearby, except for Aunt Glenda and her family, who remained in southwest Missouri after the rest of the family moved to Oklahoma. We spent time together, my cousins, sisters and I, especially during those magical summer months….running, bicycling, playing, and swimming.

As I moved through my day today, I let memoires of my aunt rise up. Her playfulness and laughter were contagious. She and my grandmother owned and operated a hamburger drive-in for a time, near my grandmother’s home in Tulsa. I loved spending an afternoon there, “working”, getting paid with ice cream cones and freshly grilled hamburgers.

My aunt journeyed joyfully through life, even though she encountered more tragedy than seemed fair, sometimes. Her baby sister died as a toddler. Her father, my grandfather, passed at a relatively young age. Aunt Jeanie cared for her mother, my grandmother, until her death. She said temporary but painful good-byes to three of her five children, one precious grandson, and more recently, a brother (my dad) and another sister (Aunt Glenda). Her health has been precarious these last five or six years, and yet, I know, through all these things, she fought the good fight, lived life well, loved her family, chose hope over despair.

Dad and siblings Bond Bread

Rex, June, Jean, Glenda, Curt…holding loaves of Bond Bread

I last saw her shortly after my father’s death, when the family gathered at the home of my sister Debbie, to remember my dad and share stories, shed tears. It was the last time, also, that I saw all five of the remaining siblings together, little Margaret having passed years and years ago. I feel sad, looking at the pictures from that day, knowing my dad, my aunts, and my cousin Mindy are now captured in memory and photos, but have traveled on in their journeys.

One of my favorite things about Aunt Jeanie was that she always said, “Aunt Jeanie loves you”, as she gave me a hug or a kiss. Never in the first person, I love you, but always in the third person. It was an endearing, charming expression that was uniquely hers. My sisters and I would wait for that phrase, and smile with delight. Not too long ago, Aunt Jeanie made a technology leap and got on Facebook, finding it a great way to stay in touch with family.

Last December, a few days before Christmas, I was up late and on the computer. On Facebook a message box opened up. It was Aunt Jeanie. She told me about falling, and breaking her back in three places. Rather than complain about that, she said she was grateful to be alive and wrote about how good God was to her. She sent blessings, and asked me to say hi to my mom, and said that she missed her. The remark that made me smile though, was her opening line….”Hi Cindy. Your Aunt Jeanie loves you girls.” I love you too, Aunt Jeanie. I am grateful to have had you in my life. Journey on, dear lady, and journey well. And we will all see you again.

Dad and family

The Lauderdales: back row – Rex, Grace & Dennis, front row – Glenda, Curt, June & Jean