Feed the Baby

Dreams!  It was my  3 or 4th baby dream… in this one I was solo parenting. I walked into my bedroom and was surprised to find a baby. If you know me at all, you will understand that without hesitation, I picked up this unknown child and attended to its needs. The real twist came when I left my room. There was another hungry baby at the bottom of the stairs. In fact, I found myself running room to room feeding babies. So many babies!

So what does ‘feeding the baby’ in these dreams represent? In real life I’ve raised my share of children and meeting needs comes naturally to me. My kids are now grown. I’ve moved from raising children to writing stories. I call these stories ‘my babies.’ So when I awoke this morning after caring for another hungry child in my nocturnal slumber I knew I was being prompted to feed the baby. Today’s ‘baby’ is this blog.

Normally, I’d save this post until Mother’s Day as it’s about moms, but this is on my heart and it’s pressing.

 I am unconventional. I first noticed this as a single mom. As a lover of children I discovered a way to satisfy my desire to nurture more children through the foster care program. You see, I’ve led a blessed life. I was raised by two parents that loved me. Both of my grandparents raised a gaggle of kids. (that means there were a lot of kids in the families!) I admired my grandmothers and aspired to raise my own gang. So it’s not surprising that I not only had a couple of kids, but I also babysat for the neighborhood.  I provided before school care and watched a few more young ones during the day. That’s when I realized just how deep my love for kids went. These children were beautiful, unique, and also very entertaining. I’d laugh at their silliness as easily as I was awed by how quickly they learned. Somewhere along the journey I decided that if I loved my neighbor’s kids this  much I might be able to make a difference by loving kids who really needed it. I became a foster mom.

These littles came to me one or two at a time. My first two lived with me for fifteen months  before returning to natural mom. It was heart wrenching to see them go. I had to evaluate whether I was strong enough to continue. When I decided to go forward, I begged God, “Please, only bring me kids that I can keep.” Without promises or guarantees I stepped out in faith trusting that God knew my path and theirs.

From a variety of backgrounds and life circumstances, they arrived. A mere phone call could change not only my day, but the course of several lives. Within hours my doorbell would ring and I met the child I had heard described. Some came injured, some were only days old, and not one arrived with extra clothing. The common thread was a need for a safe place to live and to be loved. That was easy. Taking them in and loving babies… easy!

I don’t want to romanticize things, these were children with needs, challenges, and tempers. Real life 101. I had two kids already when I started so I had a clue of what to expect. It took a lot of energy and prayer. And in exchange I received years of hugs, kisses, whispered secrets, and for some reason noodle necklaces. If you mix those with trips to urgent care, late night illnesses, too many messy diapers to count, and house visits by caseworkers it’ll give you a snapshot of what those years were like.

As time passed these littles officially became my littles. God honored my heart’s desire and brought me children I could keep. Three different adoption days. Five beautiful children were added to my family.

Now to the mommas behind the scene, the mothers of my children. I hold you in the highest regard. Their little lives began in you. You had the intimacy of hearing their heartbeat and feeling them move inside of you. Your expanding waistline evidence of your hidden treasure. It was your body that nourished theirs nestled beneath the safety of your ribcage. They were lulled to sleep by your heartbeat. Nine long, expectant, hormonal months you waited to meet them. Hearing their first cry.  Holding their soft form to yourself. Counting their fingers and toes. It was your voice they recognized at birth. These were your moments. Moments, that as a mother, I treasure.

I cannot fathom what internal fortitude it takes to surrender a child. I can only imagine the emotional struggle you endured. I pray that meeting your now adult child and the relationship you have with them will bring you much happiness.

You, dear woman, you are precious to me. You grew a child that I love with all my heart. Your sacrificial act has forever changed my world. I am grateful. Your child changed my life and brought me joy. Oh, so much joy. The Bible says that children are a gift from God. I thank you so very much for sharing your gift with me. 

Forever in your debt,                                                                                                                                                    ~Debbie

PS- Dear Reader, if this will bless someone you know. I’d ask you to share it with them.  Thank you.

Tarnished Treasure


It was a silver pot, blackened by sulfur and tarnished by time. Someone had attempted to clean the old thing so it had little collector’s value. Its owner simply wanted to clear space in her home and when I asked about it she passed to me as a gift.

I loved the shape of the little container. Its bent handle that fit through an ornate embellishment added to its charm. The fitted lid boasted an intricate overflowing vase of flowers with which to lift the top from the container. But the most attractive feature to me was the word ‘crackers’ engraved in a wacky font across the front. The meaning of the word wasn’t lost on me and it certainly was a reflection of my life’s journey. (Some people think I’m a bit nutty.)

In accepting this cast off I felt indebted to its proper restoration. After researching various silver cleaning methods, I began with what I had on hand, ketchup. The article stated that the acid from the tomatoes worked wonders. Sounded good to me. I took an old kitchen towel and piled on a gob of the red sweetness then left the slathered pot to marinate for two hours. I must say it did work to remove a bit of the black, and with a lot of rubbing some parts of the lid began to shine through the grime.

I moved on to another process calling for household ingredients. Unfortunately the baking soda and aluminum foil didn’t fare as well, probably because of the previous cleaning.

I decided to give it last try. This time I went with a commercial silver cleaner which decidedly worked best. The pot cleaned up pretty well considering the condition I found it in. However my arms ached from the deep polishing need to achieve a semi-clean container where the word crackers was barely visible.

At this point I consulted a friend who was familiar with silver cleaning and she said, “You’ll never get it all off. Just look at the pits on there.” Tiny pinhole-sized indentations covered my cracker jug. Apparently this was normal due to its use and age. Considering that this project had already cost me hours of time and that it would never be use it to hold crackers, I gave up. This would be a conversation piece, and perhaps used as a vase for dried flowers. Even in its imperfect, mottled state, I still liked the little jug. Its pitting gave it character, speaking to its long and arduous journey. Its mere existence a testimony to strength and fortitude.

I am reminded that our lives are much like that little silver jar. Life’s adventures can enhance or mar our surface, but the testimony of our strength is in getting up each day and being willing to shine amid our imperfections.

I proudly display my silver cracker jar hoping to be asked its history. My simple answer is that it’s a treasured heirloom like me.                                   As are you, my friend.                                                                                                    <3 Debbie

A few hours later…
A bit ‘Crackers’ like me.






I stood on my lawn and gazed skyward at the clouds. Each unique visible vapor in deepening tones marched silently past as if on a secret mission. Looking up from the earth we can only see the underside of clouds. In hues of blue-gray, they can feather across the expanse or gather in tremendously large shapes of various forms.

As a child, I once read a book about the power of one’s mind. One of the suggested exercises was to lay outside on one’s back, stare at the clouds and to try to mentally dissolve the clouds. I spent a good portion of that day staring upward without success; although one cloud did seem to split in the center as it floated past. Reluctantly, I decided that I had no super powers. I closed the book beside me and went indoors to console myself with cookies.

From a spatial vantage point we can looking down upon clouds. The wavy puffs of white, much like large cotton haystacks, endlessly fill the horizon. It’s as if earth itself has undergone a metamorphosis and the colorful world we know has been cleansed and awaits a painter’s touch.

But when traveling through a cloud there’s no opportunity to see anything. The window to the world is completely obscured in a bland oneness. It is at times like this that I long for a chance to look ahead, to look back, or to glimpse anything with variety.

On my last flight, the pilot warned of the turbulent weather we’d encounter. When the jet flew through the rain cloud the windows were pelted by the storm, the wind pushed and jerked our craft. The nose of the plane was aimed up, up into the rage surrounding us. Thoughts of the brevity of life passed through my head. I mentally sang a song of reassurance and I prayed. There was no panic, but the evening flight was eerily silent. I watched the lights on the wing disappear from view as the seat that held me shook. Long, long moments later the plane pierced the veil and a pocket of sky appeared, comforting my challenged spirit.

I was grateful that clouds have a top and a bottom. They are not endless even in the midst of a storm. Off in the distance I could see the red tint of the sun on the horizon faithfully setting between the clouds. Although earth-bound beings would not see it, my camera caught the promise of the day’s end.

My challenging flight reaped a wonderous insight. As I journey though this day’s challenges I am learning, like the pilot, to aim upward no matter my view. I am reassured that storms do   eventually end, and like the sunset hidden above my view, there is a promise of tomorrow. I move forward in hope, trusting in the lesson of the clouds.

Be encouraged.                                                                                                                                                           Blessings my friends.

Breaking through the storm clouds.                                        The hidden sunset above the storm.






Rainy day regroup

The sky is gray and heavy. As the storm presses in I set my distractions aside, and find a good window to watch the incoming deluge. I absorb the smells from an open window. The sound of the leaves sighing in refreshment stirs my memories.

My mind wanders back to my childhood when this exact scenario played out. At that time I was frustrated, angry that my plans to build a fort, or climb some imaginary mountain; soaring high with my conjured up wings to a place of untold adventure had been foiled by this dreadful set-back.

Today, I may be discouraged  that my plans for the  sunny day I had envisioned will not transpire as I had hoped, but I take heart as I have learned much from my childhood rainy days. This day, I push aside the week of concerns that had gathered. I allow myself the freedom just to be; to sit and ponder the birds, the squirrels, the beauty in the storm. And after some time I find myself refreshed, better able to conquer those challenges, and face those imaginary giants of my week past. The funny thing is that they don’t seem so large and looming now. The rain has refreshed my spirit and I feel stronger.

Perhaps the hidden purpose of a storm is that it provides a place of respite from our troubles. It may sound counter intuitive, but resting as the battle rages around us affords us time to stop worrying. We can just slow down and enjoy the beauty surrounding us.

That’s my encouragement today, my friend. I have a pretty picture that reminds us that all storms do indeed end, and there is sunshine ahead.

Sending you a blessing in the midst of your storm.                                                                                              Debbie

A Small Ceramic Horse

It is so small, a remnant from my childhood. Just a little ceramic horse with a lingering star sticker on its saddle that I placed there the day I claimed ownership. It probably was a yard sale purchase or something my grandmother no longer wanted, but somehow it became mine, and oh the magic it contains.

Holding the sleepy, cold porcelain  pony transports me back to a place of innocence. A land where I felt safe, care-free and loved. A world where tragedy and disaster rarely entered; play was expected  and where four kids in empty field often morphed into a kickball game. The outdoors was my playground and the setting sun was my clock.

Many days the morning dew would wet my bare feet as I chased butterflies  across the lawn. Green grass clippings, which I imagined heaven smelled like, stuck to my skin. Dangling yo-yos, balancing hula hoops, jumping rope, picking up jacks, flying kites, and shooting marbles were all courses of our summer feast. Sunscreen was rare, and dark summer tans with sun-bleached hair came naturally. You’d find me sitting on concrete steps mimicking the birds in trees or the watching the clouds float across the sky while thinking  deep thoughts like, ‘If I run fast enough can I fly?’

In this realm a neighbor’s pool or simply finding a swimming hole meant an afternoon of screaming fun. Picnics, long walks, and laying on my back at night staring at the stars filled my imagination with fresh dreams. A filthy bathtub ring was my badge of a day well-spent.

In the spring I’d watch my brother pull fat frogs from the ditch or scoop polliwogs into a kitchen pan to see if they had legs. A measure of string on a broken tree branch with a hand-tied hook made us grand fishermen in our eyes; and the occasional use of an actual fishing pole with worms- wow, that was the ultimate outing! Not that I ever caught much, although I do recall a very heavy catch that turned out to be a whopper of a boot. This was sadly followed by reeling in a small turtle. I felt pretty bad about the little guy and  fishing lost much of its appeal for me after that.

Making up stories, singing to record albums, putting on our own theater show, and riding my bike as far as I wanted to go-  these were all entertainment for those long days of summer.

These recollections are my ‘days of yore.’ The era before adulthood emerged seasoned with pain and hardship, crowding out  the days of ease. I can get lost in these thoughts. I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a childhood, and grateful that  a hand-sized relic can bring me such wonderful memories of lazy summer days.

How about you? Do you have something special that transports you back to favorite memory?