The Apron


apronblogThere is never a moment that I cook with this apron that doesn’t bring a warm serving of love. If this particular apron comes out? they know something homemade comes out of my oven. I am not even sure how long I have had this apron? It has to be over 16 years old since I have had it before my daughter was born.

The thing about my apron is that there are many more of them.. scattered throughout my West Virginia hometown. Mine was given to me by my dear Aunt Rosemary (“Moe). I remember when she handed it to me saying… it’s not much, but it’s made with love..tucked down inside a little brown lunch bag. The ladies from her church had made bunches of them to give away and she had saved one for me.

I remember pulling out the apron from that little brown bag and knew in an instant it was special. She was so good at sewing and crafting, I knew it would become one of my treasures. She went on to tell me that my apron was indeed special since it held a little surprise. I searched the pockets – empty. I inspected it carefully and she giggled and said.. “you won’t see the special surprise.. but you will always know it’s in there”. She went on to explain that every one that was made had a prayer cloth carefully sewn into the fabric. Prayers from some of the most loving women on earth I am sure… passed on to other women that will cook for their families and friends.  I have yet to actually figure out the exact placement.. but I can tell you I feel it’s warmth every single time I wear it.

There are trinkets in our lives, and then there are treasures. As I begin preparing our holiday meal, I will proudly wear the apron. I will remember the reason I love it so. Her. and the women that worked so diligently to give something more than cloth. There are many stains now, some of them from mishaps in the kitchen, I am sure there are some tear-stained places.. who knew the apron was good for wiping those too.

I miss her hot rise rolls… her apple crisp and the smell of fresh coffee brewing in her kitchen and her saying “come on in Neicy and sit a spell.” I can only imagine how her family misses her too.

As you count your blessings this year around your own table, I hope you will find a moment to inhale the sweet savor of the things that matter the most to you and never, ever… take one single moment of it for granted.



I’m the Baby… You gotta love me


From the time he could explain? This has been the answer. I was never jealous that he claimed the “Baby” that’s what he was when he entered my life at the age of four. I didn’t really know what his role was other than he was always “too little” to do anything I suggested to our Momma. Can he talk? no, he’s too little. Can he walk? no, he’s too little. Can he play with me? no, he’s too little. My response was.. “then what’s he good for?”  I’m sure Momma giggled at that one. He was always little. He was always “the baby”

Eventually, he did play and toddle along behind me. Always falling down while falling asleep standing up (he fought sleep horribly.. he would give anything for more sleep as an adult!) see… you should have just slept when you could have!

It would become my past time to read to him, big sisters do that right? Only one problem.. I made it a challenge to read everything backwards to him just for fun. “That’s not the way it goes!” he would say. I always replied, “Can you read, no?” just hush and listen to the story. He then proceeded to tattle, to which I always got.. Denise! He is the “Baby” don’t do him that way. (I learned to eye-roll early on)

Things changed somewhat when he became a little older. I was still able to drag him relentlessly through the house by the feet causing carpet burns, put make-up on him when he fell asleep first and always told him that I knew more than he did because I was the oldest and he was still just the “baby.” I will admit that I was a horrible big sister at times… unless anyone else tried to bother him, then I was his bodyguard. I nicknamed him very early from the words “It’s okay Buddy” I can never really bring myself to call him anything else. He was my little Buddy… and I almost always had someone to play with or.. atleast torture.

By the time he was an angry teen LOL … I was almost married off. His time with his friends kept him busy and away from home. I know he was bummed when he learned he had to take some time to be in my wedding. Girl stuff.. who had time for that, but he did and I’m sure he ditched the clothes and sped off as soon as he had the opportunity. Places to go and people to see. Okay, probably trouble to get into for the long weekend.

If I ever mentioned something he had done? It was always the same line with a funny grin.. “I’m the baby.. you gotta love me.” Yeah, Yeah. I used to claim that I could have my head cut off and Momma would assure me that I would re-grow one.. Buddy, on the other hand could stump his toe and she would wonder if he would ever walk again.

In true sibling fashion we always made jokes about who was the favorite, who was the baby (it was always a dumb question, because I already knew) and he never let me forget that I convinced him he was adopted when he was very small, and our parents were just going to wait until he was older to break the news (okay, I still feel a little bad about that one).

I have always given him a hard time about being the “baby”. The truth is… I have taken over Mommas role in that department since she has been gone. Someone has to do it, right? There are days I find myself worrying about mundane things where he is concerned.

Is he getting enough rest to drive that big ole truck…

Is he keeping his head warm in the winter….

Is he safe in the deer stand…

Is he happy….

Is he sad….

Is he taking care of himself….

The list goes on and on.

I am thankful that there are things about being his big sister that I don’t have to worry about..  like.. Is he being a good father to his boys, Is he making his days count with them..or if he is teaching them the important things in a life…

These things I never wonder about.

As we live out our adult lives, there are times that I still feel the need to baby him…and I often do (He can claim the 5th on this one!) There are times that I just get mad at him for the lack of time we get to share together or the weeks that go by without hearing his voice, or texting one word in reply to my paragraph. There are days I wish we could just grab lunch together, or stop by for coffee. It’s funny how that even now if I get on his case too harshly I can still hear the words.. I’m the baby… you gotta love me.

The reason I chose that photo of him and Momma? it  has always been my favorite.. yeah it reeks “look at me! told you I’m still the baby”  It is also her “happy” .. He had made the eight-hour drive to my Uncles for hunting season.. and she made the drive just to see him in between his hours in the woods. Only for the baby! AHA!

lets just see it again.. awe.







Okay.. that was funny.. I”m still a meanie of a big sister at times.

I am sure that the time is just going to speed up even faster as adults.. I”m still going to fuss at him for not calling or texting enough.. or visiting enough…. yep. and I”m sure once we do get together again.. he will just remind me how I have to love him because he is the baby.

I got it.

but I will always be the Big Sister.. the one that will love you unconditionally, pretend that I am the wisest..fuss at you when you need it..step into mommas role and always be your boo!

Sorry.. not much you can do about it.

You are the baby.. and I have to love you.





It was Sophomore year..another first day, and another year of expanding the wings. I find it difficult to blog about school while the year is still in progress. There are so many things to be taught, places to get to and through. In reflection, there is something about looking in the rear view mirror.. seeing the road behind you that gives the wind a chance to push you forward.

It is a new beginning.

The year began with less of a struggle. She was no longer the newbie and at least she had gained some familiarity in her surroundings. There were a few faces recognized from the previous year, but that was not a guarantee that there would be connections.

Be patient.

Be yourself.

Be positive.

The season was soon to change. Fall was upon us. I knew that it would bring Fall sports, bonfires and more involvement than the previous year.

I have often spoke of “lifelines” – those people who enter our lives that appear out of the ashes when we need them most. I prayed for them. (ok maybe I begged a little too?)  I knew that if she could just  focus on the things that interested her, the rest would start to fall into place.

It was a slow start, but joining FFA and getting the Animal Science class she wanted seemed to spark a little more interest than she would even realize. New people. YIKES! The days slowly went from mediocre to – “I look forward to my class.”  Lifeline. YES!   Not only did she enjoy the class but actually became involved in other projects relating to it.

I was encouraged.

So was she.

Finding a little happy in the Sophomore year was major for my Momma heart. The first semester passed by quickly. School was in full swing, busy days and busy evenings.

Then I realized that something else was taking place. The Lifelines I had prayed for were not only academically…but the social aspect was improving.

My high school years were full of friends. I had many great ones and there was always the best friend, so it was something I wanted her to experience. I encouraged her to be friendly.

She doubted.

I prayed.

Sophblog2There were days that we felt we had hit that old familiar slump. Some days we had to remind ourselves that God cared about the smallest of things in our day-to-day. He does not change.

Just as Winter break came and went, so came the next semester. New teachers, new students.

That semester was one of those Lifelines.

She made more friends than the last year and a half. More importantly, I think she learned to “be a good friend” to those around her. The quiet evenings became full of busy chatting and planning the next friend thing.

Her .. with Her Friends.

The Best Friend…..(whose Momma had prayed the same prayer) Yeah.. that was you God! He knows how us girls need a bestie!




So, no the year was not without incidents, hard days and different struggles – every year will bring its own.

We pressed on toward the end… more than ready for Summer!

Lastly……………a picture really does speak a thousand words. There are many photos that tug at my Momma heart… but I think this one has made me smile through happy tears the most. It’s kinda special seeing some of those Lifelines in person.

Sophblog4It reminds us both of these three truths…

God is Good

God is Good to Me

God is Good at Being God.


Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.





Returning to My Corner



“Ding… Ding” is sometimes the most welcome sound that an exhausted fighter can hear. In the boxing realm – it means time to return to your own corner, catch your breath, listening to your coach and get ready to go into the next round.

Who in the world knew that I would enjoy this heavyweight bag and gloves so much? My husband was not sure it was a real request at first, but.. it was, and I do use it actually. (more so when it is cooler weather)

I grew up around boxing. I watched my little skinny brother in the ring. (I have to mention here, that his first fight was a “TKO” in less than a minute…yeah we were pretty excited.. and my Momma was very relieved) So, yes.. I’m familiar.

Relating to that “TKO” today? I often find myself on the receiving end.. not pretty for anyone that lives in my space. Leaving me dazed and confused for a bit…. I hit the mat, face down…. and I hear the counting knowing full well? I’m out for the entire eight.   In my little world, that usually means a night of no rest and feeling the sucker punch the rest of the next day. The only thing to do? process the bruised pride, shake it off and try to stay on your feet the next time.

I wished I could say that it were that simple. Maybe in some way it is? but it’s still a process that has to be battled.

Ding…. Ding…

I retreat.

From my corner I can faintly hear my coach… His voice is not as loud when I am struggling to hear over my own breathing.

You can do this

Catch your breath

It’s going to be okay

Keep your guard up

I’m right here…………..

I am reminded of my coaches’ word…

Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

For my non-boxing readers? A boxing match is 12 rounds with 3 minutes each… that can seem like a lifetime, and so it does when your heart hurts, your are frustrated and you are dog-tired in dealing with things you want to see change.

One round at a time. 3-minute rounds. and you just dig in to make it to the 12.

Every battle will be different, every opponent will be different, but my Coach will not change. He doesn’t give up on me when I am all of the above and more.

He wraps me in His robe.

He refreshes my soul with life-giving water.

He massages my heart

He works my corner.

Each new day will hold its own battle. It’s life. and it keeps coming until the end of our rounds. I’m not always going to be successful in getting the “knockout” – sometimes it’s going to be  a weary 3 minutes. Sometimes.. that bell is going to ding before I am finished pounding away at the hard stuff.

The bell is there for my own good.


Settle down

Fight a good fight

I wish I could say that I never want an unclean fight…..I am being courageously honest here. I want to punch back. kidney punch and take some low jabs…I want them to feel the pain I feel, until they are sorry…. I tell my Coach this is the strategy I want to take.

He doesn’t disqualify me from the fight.

He coaches me by His word, it is up to me to take the advice.

I really want to finish well. No one finishes well by fighting dirty. I already know this. I want to be able to shake hands in the end and be okay with how I fought.

We all want the TKO… knock out our troubles in a matter of minutes and dance in the ring with the win… who doesn’t love that kind of victory? Maybe we learn more from going the full 12 rounds.

The truth is.. we all get sucker-punched in this life.. and man does it hurt! We must listen for the bell and return to our corners.. listen to our Coach… strategy for a clean win – finish well.

Rhythm is everything in boxing. Every move you make starts with your heart, and that’s in rhythm or you’re in trouble.” – Sugar Ray Robinson

That’s right… the heart.

I really wish I still had that video of my brother’s first fight. I remember the cheer of the crowd..people saying “Did you see that? Did you see that? I also remember how proud I was of him that night… and I am reminded.. if I listen carefully to my coach? maybe I can have a clean fight.. and finish just as well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – Timothy 4:7

Teachable Moments by the Sea


BeachBlog3_peThere are always “moments” that I take away from our annual beach vacation, often more than I can write about in one blog. There are more pictures on my cameras than I will ever post, and more photographic moments that I have embedded in my mind other than my camera phone or my Nikon. It is when I reflect and scan through the photos that my memories are enlightened to the simple things that sometimes tugged a little more on my Momma heartstrings.

I think this may have been the first year that my daughter and I spent this much time alone just sitting in the surf. We are busy beachcombers! always looking for treasures.

This year, the treasures were not always in the form of shells or sea glass, or even the endless walks on the shoreline – but a stolen moment that she and I shared together…observing the people around us.

I was content to sit and leisurely talk about the day and the excitement of her having some friends to visit in the next few days. Ahhhh! summer as a teen with your girlfriends laughing, enjoying every possible moment.

Time seemed to stand a little more still on this particular day for the both of us.

Standing on the edge of the surf we watched a Dad and his son, maybe about the age of three, tossing his bright sand bucket into the surf and waiting for its return. The little fellow anxiously ran to the sand bucket, scooped it up and handed it back to his Dad. Every single time the bucket left the little boys hands.. he giggled and clapped his hands. It seemed to be a repetition of the same over and over.. yet, the response was always the same. giggle..laughter.. repeat.

Several times the sand bucket was almost washed out of reach, but no matter – he waited patiently for the return. My daughters’ first reaction was “Aww, Momma look! He is such a happy little boy!

I remembered that we had purchased a “wave runner” ball more than a couple of years ago – I carried it in my beach bag every summer where it became stationary, no one ever actually played with it anymore.

I asked her to go get it from our bag and bring it down to the surf, I figured the little boy was having so much fun with that sand bucket, that he would actually enjoy the ball. The only problem with that idea? I had also asked her to take it over and ask if they would like to have it. It’s not that she didn’t want to give it to them, but that it was out of her comfort zone to approach someone she didn’t know to offer a gift – even if it was just a ball.

She gained some courage and offered the ball. The Dad said thank you, but you know it’s probably going to get lost? She told him it was fine, we no longer used it and thought he would enjoy it.

We watched the little boy play with the ball for a very long time. Same response.. giggles while he scooped up the ball and clapping his hands.

My daughter commented how happy that little boy was just playing with his Dad. No matter how hot it was, and how exhausting the same repeated action had taken place? The one thing that never changed was the child’s excitement over that ball.

We talked about the fact that the ball was just a ball, but the little boy was one of the happiest children we had seen all day. I asked her if she noticed anything “different” about him. She just chatted away about how that he was just happy and having a great time.

She didn’t notice that the child had Downs Syndrome. She saw “happy”.  It’s not that she wasn’t aware, she was.

Happy means different for all of us. It’s in the smallest of things that bring us the biggest joys… chasing a ball in the surf, spending the time with our children – even when we are tired and exhausted. Dealing with obstacles yet focusing on the joy of a moment.

Moments.. that’s all we have sometimes.

The sea has a way of making me feel small in a very large world, calm in the midst of storms swirling around us. Thankful in a world full of so much ungratefulness.

I whispered a prayer for the little family in the surf that day. I petitioned on their behalf for many more moments of giggles and laughter.

Teachable moments by the sea…? I think for that moment, the teacher in this Momma became the student. As for my own child… I witnessed the joy of giving through her eyes.

” It’s not how much we give – but how much Love we put into giving” – Mother Teresa




Prayers That Avail Much









There are many personal things that were left in my care that belonged to my Momma. Seems like I come across a new treasure as the time goes by and today I was blessed by an unexpected gem. A gift that was given to her by my Dad on her 43rd Birthday.. May 17, 1990. It has a tattered gift box, but upon opening the prayer-book itself is still beautiful. I know how she took special care of things that mattered to her. Prayers That Avail Much – for Mothers. Since I am older now that she was at the time of the gift? I found it comforting that I, too, could make use of those prayers.

I found myself turning the pages, so many specific prayers that a Momma could definitely incorporate into a day. However, the very moment I opened the worn box? I found not only notes…but specific prayers for those she cared about. At first, it felt intrusive… picking up the small scraps of paper that her hand had penned the names. Prayers for her, prayers for teen sons! prayers for her husband..prayers for her family as a whole… and there they are in her very own handwriting ….. Prayers. Specific. On-Purpose.







My Momma was a praying woman. I always knew that… yet I also took it for granted. What I gained from finding this little book? It was a reminder that being purposefully prayerful changes us and those around us. It may not change situations, but it changes us in a way that we receive peace in the midst of storms… Grace in the midst of disappointments.. and Joy in a heart that has been broken.. Strength to keep moving forward on your journey. She knew the source.

It has been 10 years this month that she has been out of my sight. There is not a day that I don’t think about her. Today, I was given the gift of gratitude… being thankful for every prayer she called out to God on our behalf. I think of these things as a huge part of her legacy to me, and am humbled to be able to learn from her even after she has been gone from this world.

One book led to another, and I found myself going to the bookshelf where I keep her Bible. I have to giggle when I realize it looks like today’s version of a Rainbow Bible.. it is highlighted in every color, and lots of it. Then there are the penciled in dates, promises, and confirmations of prayers that she had seen come to pass… and those that she still held onto. I continue to flip through the pages, cherishing every margin that contained a scribble.

And then… unexpected…(although I don’t know why it was unexpected) I find this.. my sobs became uncontrolled – not in a profound sadness.. but my confirmation that our very own bond is eternally penned here.









Above Psalm 91… in her pink highlighter.. “My Psalm” ….

The treasure in this? I would only come to know a year before she made her journey that we shared the same favorite scripture. She had marked this passage in her Bible more than 16 years prior. I had never seen it until today.  I placed the hand crocheted Daisy in between the pages and just looked at the sun gleaming on the words. Thank you Momma… for reminding me how eternal God’s word really is – having no generational gap and no end to its promises –  Prayers That Avail Much.. James 5:16

Her life lessons shared with me were too many to mention but I am always mindful of this “Grace is a Gift” to those that receive it, and to those that give it. It has nothing to do with deserving it. It is a gift that I have opened anew every morning that my own feet touch the floor.

I am thankful today for a praying Mother and am challenged to become more of one myself, surrounding those I love and learning to pray more for those that can seem to be unloveable.

Here is “our” favorite Psalm….. one of the Prayers That Avail Much..

Psalm 91King James Version (KJV)

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

The Good Luck Doll


This has been one of those stories from childhood that just keeps on getting more and more hilarious…The Good Luck Doll story has been told to me as long as I can remember. Most of this story was told early on, yet the more time has passed? the more stories seem to arise.

I’ll just begin here………

My parents lived in Maryland where my Daddy was a carpenter. He could build just about anything he set his mind to.. his main jobs were building houses. On many job sites there were remnants of other people’s junk to be tossed and a particular huge dumpster that was on their drive every day.. the usual spot for “one mans junk, is another mans treasure” kinda thing. Tales would have it that sometimes there was some pretty good stuff there that people had tossed out. They always made time to take a gander on the way by.

Not long after I was born, my Daddy came home with a surprise. He had found me a Doll!!! it was in pretty good shape and he just knew it was a real find.

My Momma was a little skeptical.

I’m not sure she saw it as the treasure that he did. She went on to tell him that the thing was the ugliest doll she had ever seen in her life, and why in the world did he bring that old thing home? He went on to tell her it was in fact a “good luck” doll…. it even said so on the tattoo stamped shamrock on its left arm. He was so excited about his find. She still held her opinion that it was in fact.. a very ugly doll.

So, from that day on… it was known as “my ugly doll.”

Judge for yourself…. behold.. the “Good Luck Doll”

StumpsDoll2Okay, yes, it does look like a “Chucky Doll”… but I assure you that I made a point to research, and no… it’s not where “Chucky” originated from.. that was a wooden doll.. hahahhhha

Since there were no photographs with me and this Good Luck Doll? I’m sure my Momma put it somewhere out of sight.. like a long-lost closet space.

After my parents had separated, time would move forward to us leaving the house in Maryland and moving back to West Virginia. However, the doll wasn’t part of our luggage. The stories would still come up from time to time about that “ugly doll” and Momma had no idea where it had gotten to. She enjoyed telling the story about it more than she missed it.

The Good Luck Doll apparently moved with my Daddy. Little did I know that it was in good hands with one of my cousins. For most of her childhood, the doll was a part of her baby dolls. The funny thing about her stories? She played with the doll a whole lot, not because she loved it so much, but because she said she had always felt so sorry for it because it was so ugly.. and if she didn’t play with it? well, she just felt so bad for it. (She still has that kind of empathetic heart to this very day)

When my own daughter was very young, my Aunt came across the Good Luck Doll once again. She decided to make the poor thing some clothes. Hand crocheted dress, hat and shawl. So much love poured onto that old ugly doll. You just knew she was worth the trouble.

StumpsDoll3We chuckled so much seeing the doll again.. and of course, we all remarked at just how ugly the doll had remained. Yet, here it was, wrapped in lovingly made clothes, more stories about how it came to be a part of my family. The Good Luck Doll… or “my ugly doll” as it was known.

It had been packed away for almost 10 more years, so when I recently came across it again? I decided that I would use the internet to research. I just wanted to know more about this doll. (okay maybe I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a  “Chucky”  protegé!!!!

And so the antics with this doll had escalated so much – it provided a weeks worth of more stories, and more giggles and laughs. Oh how my Daddy would have loved to have known just how many snorting laughs have surrounded this doll over even the last few weeks.

My daughter had taken special care to go over the doll and retrieving all of the markings and numbers and symbols. We were on a mission to find out the history of this doll. After all, it had been clear that it was an unusually ugly doll.

The more I researched? the more hilarious the doll became.

The first thing I noticed was a pair of dolls. A boy and a girl.

Sitting here looking at the adorable dress and bonnet on my ugly doll… I realize that she is in fact a “He”….. (okay the whole image of the doll has taken a really wide turn)

There was really nothing left for me to do except make the phone call. I’m still laughing when I replay the conversation in my head to my cousin.

Me: “Hey, do you remember the ugly doll?”

Her: “Oh yeah, I could never forget that doll”

Me: “Well, do you know that it is actually a BOY doll?”

Her: “What?” then a lot of  ………………inaudible laughing … “but Mommy made it a dress?”

Me: “Yes. the dolls’  whole existence has been a LIE!” Aunt Mert had no idea.

Let me tell you… the tears from laughing were epic.

For 49 years this “Good Luck” aka my ugly doll has circulated in my family… I felt it was appropriate to blog about it because it’s future must contain this story. It is so fitting.. mainly because my Daddy was a jokester..and was hilariously funny without trying. I wonder today if he, in fact,  knew all along. (giggle)

It would only be fair to reveal the true identity of the Good Luck Doll and a little of its history.

Meet “Stumps Shabby O’Hair” … hang on and let me stop laughing again.. I can barely type…


Vintage W. Goebel Charlot Byj doll #2902 made in Western Germany, 1957. Made of rubber he has bright red hair and wears the original grey checkered shirt and black felt pants with red pockets in front and a green patch on the back. On the front of his shirt he sports the original cloth tag that reads “Western Germany” albeit frayed, it is legible. On the back of his neck it’s marked “2902 – Charlot Byj – © – W. Goebel – 1957”. These same markings are on his back. On his left forearm is a tattoo that shows a four-leaf clover and reads, “Good Luck”. Another obvious mark is the number “02” on the back of both feet. One of the first dolls created by American artist Charlot Byj who passed away in 1983.

copied from Wikipedia

Charlot Byj (pronounced “bye”) was an artist known for her greeting card designs, posters and advertising artwork in the mid-1940s. She is most famous for the transformation of her artwork into a line of figurines created by Goebel.

Living in New York after art school, Charlot ducked into the doorway of a greeting card store during a rainstorm. She admired the greeting card line, noted the name of the publisher, and called the company for an interview. She was hired by the publisher, and began creating illustrations for greeting cards, featuring the impish, redheaded children that became her trademark, namely, Shabby O’Hair, his sister Raggy Muffin, and their plump mother, M’Lady O’Hair.

Franz Goebel, of the W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik company, took a liking to her artwork and invited her to his German production facility. Working with master sculptor Arthur Moeller, they designed the first figurine, entitled “Strike”, in 1957.

Between 1957 and 1988, when the series was discontinued, more than 100 different figurines were created. The line included both redhead and blonde children. The redhead figurines, as they are known, are mischievous characters, whereas the blondes tend to portray more serene characteristics.

Charlot became ill in 1980 and began cutting back on her designing. On August 7, 1983, Charlot died in New York City.


With all of that said…………………long live the Good Luck Doll in my family…

And thanks to Momma and my Aunt and Cousin for the loving preservation of my ugly doll.

and .. thanks Daddy… you have provided laughter once again for your little girl.






At the End of the Day



There are so many obstacles that weigh us down during the days. Often we are overwhelmed by the stresses of every day living whether it be our jobs, making ends meet, getting everyone where they need to be…managing our time and managing our conflicts, and well.. just catching our breath.

I have dwelt somewhat on the whole kit and caboodle lately. Mostly when my head hits the pillow and am supposed to be sleeping. More often than not.. the noise of the day or (clowns in my circus) are at full capacity. Doing their thing.. making too much noise and I lay awake trying to figure out who is going to tame the lions tomorrow? I become overwhelmed just watching the clowns running from one chaotic set to the next. Whoever coined the phrase “Send in the Clowns?” must have made their millions pushing sleep aids. Thankfully, a cuppa hot tea usually works for this old gal.

There are a few tricks up my sleeve on these kind of nights that do not involve my heavy tea drinking. It’s my battle against my own thought pattern, filling in the blanks….

At the end of the day __________________________________.

Focusing on the questions that I can manage – the ones I cannot? are not allowed to go into the empty spaces.

These are my questions I must answer every night.. yes. every night.

Did I learn anything

Did I make sure I said I love you to the people I live with.

How did I make others feel.

Did I make one person smile.

Did i offer/receive Grace –  regardless of being worthy.

Did I retaliate with harsh words when i could have chosen to be quiet. (that’s a hard one!)

Did I say one encouraging word to my spouse/children

Did I spend this day regretting who I am or trying harder to be better than I was yesterday.

Did I make “home” a place where my family wants be most.

Honestly? These are the hard questions. Sometimes the list is shorter.. and even longer.

They are questions I don’t ask about my outside world, even my outside family and friends..they are the questions I have to ask about the people who live inside of these walls I call my home.

I had a wise friend tell me.. in the scheme of everyday living? I have to say to myself. “if it breathes? it matters” nothing more. If I can manage this part of my circle.. the rest will seem small in comparison.

Not my laundry.

Not my cluttered car

Not my social media realm

Not my busy to-do-list

My people. My inner circle. The people who breathe in my air space. That my friend, is enough to manage at the end of any persons day. It takes work. every single day.

It takes trying when you don’t feel like it.

It means doing the kind thing when you feel nothing but the beaten down ugliness of the day.

At the end of the day… if I can answer some of these questions with a good conscious? then I can manage the next day to come. If not, then I ask for one more day to try again…

It’s not about silencing the big clowns.. there will always be noise in that circus.. It’s about quieting the parts I can manage. Choices that I make every hour of the day. Moments I choose to diffuse or attempt to smooth.

It takes a lot of prayer for me also.. I need that most of all. Not the begging kind or complaining about my problems kind either. The kind that simply says.. Here I am, God.. You know. You see. You hear. Help me to do the right thing. It sounds simple? Probably one of the most effective simple things I have ever known – not because of who I am… but because of who He is.  Simple.

Your first “At the end of the day” may start out a little rough and like me? you may come up a little short at times…but given enough conscious effort? It is an amazing process that gets you a little more zzzzz’s as an added bonus.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”  I Peter 5:7


And there’s always Grace that is new with each new day. Don’t leave home  (or come home) without it!

At the end of the day ________.









Saying Goodbye to 2015



2015…The close of another year. The last sunset of 2015 (only because it didn’t rain one particular day this week) No resolutions here, only reflections of what was and hopes of what 2016 will bring. The year doesn’t change when you look at it from the gains and losses.. they are always there. Change. it always comes with each new year.

There will be the same joys, surprises, heartbreak and disappointment.. the only thing that will change will be the circumstances that surround them.

Each passing year… we grow, change and even regress. Most of the time we learn.. if we choose it.  There are times we move backwards, needing a little more space to process, yet we manage to learn something in that realm as well – if we choose it.

Weeks ago I had envisioned a cold crisp night with some fireworks and a clear starry sky – New Year’s Eve, ringing in the new…

Instead…. this is the sky that has lurked the entire week of vacation

dreary. rainy. blah….blah…. blah….

lastblog2015so much for a blazing sunset whisking away the old.. and in with the new huh?

But…. the same as in 2015? It won’t rain always – there will be other sunsets, sunrises and clear skies in the coming year of 2016.

So many good and bad things happened in 2015. I’m choosing to learn from the bad..take the good stuff with me into the next.. and well, just keep moving forward.

Goodbye 2015… once again you have brought lessons…. but you have also brought blessings (of which I will write in permanent ink)

Here’s to a grace-filled 2016. May we give it as graciously as we receive it. – There are so many good wishes I could leave for you at the close of this year… I prefer to leave my favorite verse from Numbers…

Numbers 6

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.


Choosing a “Merry” Christmas


ChristmasBlog1It is no secret that I have a tendency to be a little “nostalgic” especially during the holidays. I can’t help it, I have always loved everything about it. From the memories of a White Christmas more times than not in my hometown of West Virginia, sledding down a hill with my best friends to curling up in front of the fireplace until the glow put me to sleep.. these were some of the best memories a girl could ever have. There were always sugar cookies, hot cocoa and popcorn to be strung. I am nostalgic when it comes to these memories, I hold them a little more tight as every year passes.

Although you may think from my whimsical, Christmas card-like photos – that all is peace and joy and that I just ooze with Christmas Spirit? Not so. I think Christmas can be one of the most depressing, lonely, and desperate times of the year for more people than I can even imagine. It’s true… there are a lot of hurt and broken people out there.

I gave up on the perfect Christmas a very long time ago. It doesn’t exist. What I haven’t given up on? Choosing the “Merry” in Christmas. It ends up being a decision more than a feeling. It’s one that I learned by observing.

I soon learned that just because it is the Christmas Season, people still depart this life, there are still tragedies, disasters and sometimes there are people who make Christmas their platform to “tell it like it is” – unfortunately leaving a wake of hurt.

I have had loss during the holidays just as others have. My maternal grandmother died Christmas Eve when I was a teen..I was very close to her. As hard as it was? the hardest part of losing her was watching my own mother grieve for many, many years to come.. Christmas was a time for mourning her loss.

What I learned from observing her? Eventually, she made a choice. She chose to make every effort to celebrate Christmas in a joyful way once again. Memories and new traditions were formed and we began to heal some.

Yes, I have a few reasons to dislike Christmas if I focus on those things. I have never felt sorry for myself that we had less than some.. more than others where gifts were concerned, but yes, I have felt sorry for myself on many occasion because of the loss of people… not materialistic things. I still fight it every holiday, however, I choose “Merry” in my Christmas. It is a decision that I make each and every year.

I hope that if you are in a position to choose? You can find a way to have “Merry” in your Christmas too. Sometimes it’s a process, it may take a while. It’s worth the effort… Make new traditions and find ways to celebrate those you have been blessed to love in the past and present.

From the first of December I begin with the baking of favorites, old pictures, revisiting Christmas past and lots and lots of Christmas music. Choosing “Merry”

Sometimes I fail miserably during December and that’s okay too. Our feelings are real – our hearts hurt at times, but at least we know that we can still feel things that matter.

So this year, light a candle…buy an ornament..plant something… choose a way to have your own “Merry”


Our stockings have long been hung….. and the oven is finally having a rest. For the remainder, I will try to hold onto the many reasons I love Christmas.. and push back the negative ones that I could choose just as easily.

If at all possible… my prayer is that you choose a  “Merry” that you can celebrate.





and if nothing else…. this is one that will always make sense. a reason to celebrate the “Merry”…

Merry Christmas from our home to yours.


Luke 2:11

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”