REFLECTIONS

REFLECTIONS

Saturday, December 2, 2017

IT'S NOT EVERY DAY

    It’s not every day I sit at my desk at my old XP computer. However, yesterday I had a few things I wanted to scan and knew I could do them more quickly positioned there.
    As I was busily approaching the end of my projects, I glanced out the window where I saw the now familiar golf cart pulling an open wagon, slowing to a stop in front of our house. A neighbor travels and that reminded me, “Oh, I meant to text (neighbor) to remind her that we’re home enough that if she wanted to leave a note for packages to be left here, we’d be happy to keep them until she is back to get them.”
     As I continued to watch, I became more convinced I should have made the offer to my neighbor sooner, because the boxes the young man and young woman were taking off the trailer, AND piling up, made it impossible for me to turn away. At some point our dogs caught sight of the happenings and when their barking increased, the pace my heartbeat did as well! That young couple were coming up OUR walk with some of those boxes stacked in their arms, then making a quick return back and forth to do likewise, delivering fourteen boxes altogether! If you find it difficult to believe what I am saying, you should have been with me to see what I was seeing! Oh, well, here is a picture:

is it worth a thousand words?  :-)
    By then, I was at the front door, and all I could say to the young folks was, “Our son is always joking . . .” Since Chip and Sue were in Maine this past summer and each of the boxes had the name of a city in Maine, BIDDEFORD, as part of their permanent print. That was enough for me to make an automatic connection, but the boxes also seemed to indicate the contents were electric mattress pads, twin and king-size. Since they were clearly addressed to him, after John got home, he opened a couple of the boxes that indeed, did contain electric mattress pads.
     Receiving those when we did seemed akin to the “late Friday afternoon Political News Dump”. It also brought to mind one May evening in Maine many years ago. John came in from a trip to the coast saying, “I brought something home for supper.” In his arms he was cradling only one box and there were scritch-scratch sounds emanating from it. I immediately though “lobsters”. I was wrong that time too! It was, up until that moment ,motherless baby raccoons, You noticeI did say, “Up until that moment”? At that moment those babies had five hearts with five sets of willing hands to “mother” them as they’d never before been nurtured! But, before we could securely do so, we had to check with a friend who said he’d let the game warden know because it was illegal to have them (Oops!) and if he came, we’d have to give them to him. The way he explained the law was, once you have them, you cannot return them to the woods, you cannot keep them, you cannot give them away, you cannot kill them . . .so-o-o, we “mothered” them and kept them away from the 70 mph highway past our house that they not suffer the same fate as their mother had. They had a home with us like fast-growing puppies, until the early fall, when we asked a friend who had a fur-bearing license if he’d add them to his menagerie. Thankfully he agreed to do so.  That way we didn’t break any laws and we got to go back to visit.
    Hopefully these boxes won’t be with us anywhere near as long as those raccoon babies were. We have taken them in for now so Santa, if you’re pacing some store floor somewhere in Missouri where the John Moore we have come to believe these mattress pads were met to meet, they have a Texas home until someone comes calling for them. (Perhaps I need rephrase that: if no one comes calling for them, there will, of absolute necessity, be a space crunch in our patio home, You see, because I wanted and my brother made, a wooden sign, “WESTWIND HOUSE” for our 3-bedroom patio home, there have been folks who have mistaken it for something other than a private dwelling. Just yesterday morning I posted an explanation about that on my blog
    I’ve had to laugh as I’ve considered what those young ones thought as they delivered so many mattress pads to such a small home!  Westwind House would have to have beds throughout the whole house packed nearly as tightly as the boxes presently are in our front hall. Oh, well, it doesn’t happen every day!
M Sue

12-2-17

Thursday, June 15, 2017

BABY-WHISPERER - DO YOU KNOW THE SENSATION?

When I recently beheld the picture of a friend cradling her new grandbaby close to her breast, I made a comment similar to, “Looking at this picture, I almost ‘get the sensation’! Once you've had such, a true baby whisperer NEVER loses the power to receive it!”
Following are a few remembrances that should help explain my "true baby whisperer" belief. From my teen years, I have had the absolute blessing of being able to comfort a crying babe. It has brought me some of life’s most fulfilling moments. A true baby-whisperer will understand that comment; others reading this are likely to think, “Poor soul.”
Every one of us has heard a crying baby in any one of a number of public places. I am not talking about just being aware of a noise; I mean a sensation - a feeling – a personal call from that particular baby directly to my heart. It is not to say I am the only one who is able to help; it is to say, at that moment my heart’s being called by that baby’s cry with a great desire to help.
There were the evenings when our daughter, a teen babysitter called for me to be her momma’s help. By the time she’d call, she was nearly in tears herself, begging me to come quiet the infant who, upon her arrival, obviously had it figured out that he could frighten her. Then, once he started crying, frightened himself so much, that he couldn’t stop until he felt the baby whisperer wrap the blanket around his tiny body that up until then, had been taking turns in rigid rebellion and wanting to give in, to the softness now wrapped around him. Within less than 45 seconds he had chosen the soft clouds of slumber, and I continued to cuddle another five minutes or more to be sure he was really off in dreamland. (Or, was the extra holding-close time more for my benefit, when it’s likely he was already in a deeper slumber than I was ready to admit?)                       A most unexpected occasion arrived early one morning while I was at work at a huge crafts and fabrics store. A young woman with a well-bundled 1-month-old came in planning to choose ribbons. Her baby girl had other plans. Ribbons held no interest to the little one because she was searching for immediate, direct attention from her mom. Anyone who has dealt with an infant knows when a baby has its mind set, it’s sometimes difficult to distract them. Likewise, in this situation for the young mom as she was trying to hold a starting-to-squirm bundled baby with the one hand, while comparing colors as she picked through rolls of ribbons with the other. Within seconds, the wiggles from within the blankets became more vigorous while the sounds grew more voluminous! I had already approached with an offer to help if the mom had any questions or needed any help, then as usual, I had stepped back while staying reachable. Once things started looking difficult, I questioned my actions a very few seconds before I stepped closer with the hopeful offer, “I know you don’t know me at all, but if you would let me, I would love to hold your baby while you choose your ribbons.” It took less seconds for her to pass the little one to me than for my offer to have been made! My having that baby in my arms made my day, but of even greater importance, as soon as I started talking directly to the little one, she began to stop her fussiness in order to study me, then pay even closer attention to this stranger who was giving her the full attention she had been seeking all along. Not only did the store have a successful ribbon sale that morning, but I also had another in a good run of baby whispering experiences along with the long-lasting memory that is more than a picture image in my mind. It truly is a “sensation of feeling” as well.
One of my most favorite, almost-unbelievable experiences was with our own newborn granddaughter. Her parents had had to run an errand the day they brought Emily home from the hospital, and because her Paw-Paw John and I were there, we got to babysit with her 3-year-old sister Alyssa Sue, my namesake, and Emily Shae, (her paternal grandmother’s namesake).  Because the opportunity was presented with such ease, with Emily on the waterbed, I decided it the perfect time to get a few new-baby pictures. This was pre-digital camera days, so it’s likely it was after we got back to our Ohio home from their Washington State abode before we saw the pictures. Obviously I hadn’t lost my baby whispering touch! The questions with which I was left are: was this newborn laughing at me or smiling for me? Either way, there is no denying, that was a smile! Our bond was immediate.
As most of you know, I seldom meet a stranger when I have more than 90-seconds in a quiet space with a new-to-me person. At least 95-97% of the time, the experiences are pleasant and I walk away feeling I have gained a new friend. However as much as I love offering my help as a baby whisperer while making new friends at the same time, there are occasions when I recognize it wise to restrain both. John and I walked into a doctor’s office last week where a young mother sat holding a dear little girl. I absolutely had to stop to admire the baby, learned she was 3-months old, chatted briefly with the mom, smiled a lot at the baby while talking a bit to her, then said my goodbyes and left to join John in the row of seats behind. The baby was very peaceful while her mom held her as the grandmother sat by them filling out paperwork. With the paperwork completed, the grandmother could not wait to get her hands on that baby! When with the mother’s permission, I was right there in spirit with the grandmother … until … she picked the baby up under her arms to hold her out away from her to be able to get eye contact. The baby was safe enough but was obviously uncomfortable. Eye contact not being gained, grandmother rather swiftly moved the little one onto first one shoulder, then the other, bouncing the baby up-and-down, up-and-down, most of the time, not allowing her time to settle in any one position. Soon, she sat the infant in her lap, and tried to force her to cuddle as she had been doing with her mother 5-6 minutes earlier when the probably-by-now-dizzy-one started to protest, then fuss. Minutes ago, I had wanted to do so! That’s when the mother turned from her texting as she realized the baby seemed needy, gave her a pacifier, then some liquid in a bottle. Now, Grandma held the baby quite still in her lap, cuddled against her body. No more protests as the now once-again comfortable child fell asleep. Whew! Now, I could rest, too . . . until I think about it all over again!
Earlier I mentioned my teenage start with the seeming almost-expected acceptance of babies and me to one another. The years in between only encouraged and increased “the sensation” as I took part in helping/teaching the infants in the church nurseries in Northern Maine-Tucson, Arizona-Rantoul, Illinois- and finally in San Angelo, Texas. Now, those wee ones are either married or preparing their weddings! It’s a bit sad to me, and I think for them, that the sensation has passed between these very ones and me. An age has come when though many still know my name, they no longer remember my heart. While it’s true that much attention is given to the fact that elderly are forgetful, I wonder if there might be more camaraderie between the opposite ends of the age spectrum if more emphasis were put on the “sensations remembered”.
 I believe this “sensation” or “baby whispering” as some call it, is a gift from God. While for a long time I was able to use it in a more active manner, my arms and heart still hold the security an infant desires. Now, as I continue along the way, my ability allows me to share and to teach what I’ve gleaned. It is truly a joyful sensation to share what I’ve learned to try to make life more comfortable for current mother/caregiver and infant.

(c) M Sue    6-15-2017
p.s. Some of the VIPs upon whom I have been blessed to share Baby Whispering sensations:


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I REMEMBER


I remember the nickel
I remember the day
I remember the joy
Boys so long away

I remember home from work early
I remember the car 
I remember the smiles 
Yes, there they are!

I remember the men
I remember the whoops!
I remember Daddy and Pat
"Here, a nickel for ice cream!
   …Maybe TWO scoops with THAT!”

Yes, I remember the cheers
I remember the joys
I remember the nickel
But most, I remember the boys

Two were my brothers
How longed for they’d been
They, like so many, left home boys,
Came back full-grown men.             

In our small part of the world
Though much joy spread around
Sorrow was once again shared
As grief poured through our tiny town
 
I remember the pride we had
In every one who had served
Whether home or abroad
We were proud of each one . . .

I remember . . .  because . . . EACH ONE WAS OUR SON,

OUR BROTHER, OUR HUSBAND, OUR FATHER,  
 OUR UNCLE, OUR NEPHEW, OUR COUSIN, OUR FRIEND  
                             and I REMEMBER
THE BROKEN YET MERRY HEARTS WE ALL SHARED . . . TOGETHER!

© M Sue  In Honor of D-Day  6-6-2017






























Here is a close-up of the names of the boys grown into men; of course, some were men with families prior to leaving while others had not finished high school.


Our big brother Galen C. Libby 
with Kent W. Libby and me.











            Our big brother Lincoln L. Libby 
                  with Kent W. Libby and me.



Friday, June 2, 2017

SEWING MACHINES AND MEMORIES


    I have no time for adding more because I am not getting done what I should. I have little energy to accomplish what I absolutely must. However, with a couple of straight stitch projects that have been waiting, either for a machine to borrow or, as a friend offered, for her to do, when I mentioned a sewing machine, my husband said, "Get one."  
    That comment was all the “go-ahead” encouragement needed for me to start an Internet search. I was pleasantly surprised to find a less-than-expected prices for machines I liked. After I had read the qualities of this one and the other, I narrowed my search and took my laptop to my husband to look at as he sat in his recliner. As I showed him the one I felt I would be comfortable for me to work with, before I could explain much more than that, he swiftly reached out and poked the "Buy Now" button!
     For once in our life together, I was (almost) speechless! So, I completed the order delivery process and was able to pick up the machine the following day. I also brought my sewing boxes from their hiding places and was delighted to find the bobbins I used in my worn-out machine from many years past still usable. Now, the sewing machine is waiting ~ for those straight stitch projects that have been “on hold” ~ plus at least a couple doggie belly bands to be made. We call them "Speed-Os" for our little male dog...after all, what proud male dog wants to wear a "belly band"? After that, if I can avoid mending, I will be most happy; otherwise, I will repeat Eeyore's favorite saying, "Oh, bother!" oft-times! It has been years since I did anything except hand-mending.
…and yet…
    Just as I was writing all this, I remembered!  John’s and my first apartment was a furnished corner basement apartment in a city dwelling that went from 89-99 Marian Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. In it we had all that newlyweds needed that one would expect, but I had a lot of time and desire to sew with no machine. Therefore, the first piece of furniture we bought after our marriage was a Model 99K Singer Sewing Machine in a cabinet, a floor model so not only was it one with which I was very familiar, but also it was on sale!
    Looking back perhaps that should have been a forewarning to John about what was ahead regarding my ability to find and make use of sales. Because of our several moves and houses bought and sold, he developed the tale that “I once had trouble selling that one house with the escalator in the back yard.” Of course people had to question him as to what that had to do with me and my buying sale items. “Yeah, Sue always would buy anything marked “DOWN”.
    But back to that little Model99K and me: we stitched many miles together! We made clothes for maternity, baby, toddler, First-Day-of-School, School-Play-Costumes, and Special-Occasions-Along-The-Way. Model 99K was still working when she went to live with other family members in the following generations. Her replacement in the years in between wore out, thus the replacement for her replacement has come to grace our home. I wonder what memories she and I will create.

(c) M Sue 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

NURTURING ARMS OF LOVE

    There is just something built inside, a God-given spirit to nurture. Some of us recognize it earlier than others, and for some it’s fulfilled in different ways.
    As this Mother’s Day draws near, I am once again reminded that this imagery we tend to have of MOTHER is that of first taking that solid little body into our arms to hold in gentle firmness against our breasts while at the same moment holding forever in our hearts. However, the point of view from the infant at that time is one of looking around in wonder. Recent thoughts have come to mind that from the child, there is a great deal forever unrecognized about their mother.
    One way that has come to light has been in that my mother was a firm believer that animals helped teach children responsibility. Thus, we had a family dog, my brother and I each had a cat at one point. One late spring day as I walked home from our country school, my mother and my brother, Kent, age 12, were huddled in the grass by our house when I heard Kent, as though upset, say, “Don’t let Marilyn see this!”  Mamma hurried me right into the house and told me, “Sonny Boy is dying.” What? Sonny Boy was my beloved, smooth-haired, yellow and white striped kitten. How could he be dying? He was too young to die! (This was right after WW2 and vet visits were for people with more money than we had, plus country cats were just that – country cats.) Sonny Boy had worms, apparently from an unhealthy mother. My 8-year-old broken heart must have been nothing compared to the one my brother suffered as a result of his careful attendance of Sonny Boy’s death and probable burial. Hopefully, his Jeep cat brought him some cuddling comfort, or, more likely, our dog, Peggy.
    Not too long after, when we visited our maternal grandparents, as so often was true, there were kittens for our playing pleasure. This time, having asked permission from my parents beforehand, Grammie gently picked one tiny grayish-striped one with an almost black pointy tail from the box , offered it to me with the explanation, “The mother kitty of this one is old. She doesn’t have enough milk for all of her babies. If you think you can raise this one, she can be yours, but you will have to feed her milk from a dolly’s bottle for a while.”
    “Oh, yes, Grammie! Yes, I can do it! Thank you!”  Thus, baby kitty was passed from grandmother’s hands into my waiting, cradled arms. Today, I can almost relive the ride home in the one-seat pick-up truck , still cuddling my mewling kitten, and Daddy’s wondering, “What have we gotten ourselves into this time?” attitude. (He was not fond of cats, but he did love his little girl!)
   
We named this beautiful, almost Maine Coon Kitten, Tippy because she had white tips, one on each of her four paws. With her close-up striking coloring view of tan-black-white, she had a defined “M” in her forehead. Mamma told me that was for Marilyn. Tippy thrived on her diet of milk; I thrived on being her mamma as I had to hand-feed her several times each day and sometimes during the night those first few nights! She suffered through my dressing her in doll clothes and loved being cuddled close. Within a year or so she became a mamma kitty herself and before long we all became city folk. Tippy tolerated the move well until several years later she got poison somehow, “probably from killing a poisoned rat,” and after most of a week at the vet’s which our family could ill-afford, the vet said, “She lived just because she wanted to.” She also had God and prayers on her side and a good vet who was opened New Year’s weekend!
Following that episode, her health declined and there came a time in which we knew the best parts of her life had passed. Having the services of a vet was a blessing and with the decision made, my mother took the deed upon herself. This was no simple task: my mother did not drive and Daddy was at work during vet hours. My brother was away in the AF. and so while I was in school, my mother (once again in helping me avoid the pain of separation) took Tippy on the bus, likely having to change buses at least once on what was about a 5-mile trek one way, to the vet. We did not have a kennel, so Tippy was probably cuddled close to my mother’s tremoring breast all the way. Wiping tears that had to have been falling must have been painful, troublesome, and even a bit embarrassing all along the way. How I wish I had been thoughtful enough to go with her! So often that thought returns when I remember this trip my mother made to save me from pain.
    This was all brought back to me “in full living color” this past week as I writhed in my mind over what our daughter and her daughter were painfully suffering. A far different time, but not such a different scenario was being played out. A little girl once asked, “Can I please keep this kitten? I’ll even pay to have her fixed.” And so a companionship began for the kitty’s lifetime with the little girl through high school-college-into marriage but now Minny Kitty needed medical care that the vet felt could be accomplished with surgery since all the blood tests indicated “Okay.” Minny Kitty had been brought to the trusted vet at the growing-up home and since her Emily Girl had to return to her home to work, the grandmother person, the “Mama’s Momma”, was there to nurture and comfort. The antibiotics for an ear issue were given faithfully until that last evening prior to surgery when Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Not tonight. I’m tired. I’m old. Surgery is not the answer.” With the signs given of a possible stroke and past the vet’s open hours, the Mama-Grand-momma sat holding Minny Kitty in as comfortable a position as tolerable for her while both were on the floor. A little mewing from Minny Kitty seemed to say, “Thank you for loving me so much,” as she took another brief breath or two and went to sleep in the nurturing arms of love.
     For those same nurturing arms of love that once first held her baby Emily Shae back to the arms of my mother who once first held and nurtured me, little knowing the prices they would pay for loving us so much, beyond the pain they had just endured, we could ask, “Would you do it again, or is it too high a personal price?”   
    Perhaps this simile answers well:
“You see only the best views
when you have climbed to
the top of the mountain.”

© M Sue Libby Moore




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WELL-CHOSEN

Our mother was a widow 39 years, lacking a very few days. When our dad passed suddenly all those years before, she had no hesitation in exactly what was to be on his tombstone: Psalm 1.
Each time I hear it spoken or see it written, I am reminded of how fitting of Daddy and how wise of Mamma 's choice.

"Through the Bible In A Year"

Chronological Reading for Today:

Psalm 1New American Standard Bible (NASB)

BOOK 1

The Righteous and the Wicked Contrasted.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A PAGE FROM THE PAST - LITERALLY

In searching for something else, I  came across this summation of the summer following my daddy's death.in March, my mother had come to live with us, our youngest had just turned 4, the other two were 6 and 8, and John's new job took him miles and days away ~ thankfully summer came:
 I'm unsure who the BUDDING vAN GOGH was!
This was on the back side of the page.