AVFM: Precious Moments…for when your little ones are all grown up

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

“Precious moments. . .sneak up on us. I don’t think it matters how young or old our children are.Sometimes it’s just a quick, funny smile, or a small gesture they make, that sparks that overwhelmingfeeling of total love.” – Shari Cohen, Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul

I got to see my grandchildren, Elizabeth and Alexander, in their annual school presentation last weekend. Their parts entailed making a biographical presentation of an historical person, including costume and 10 minute first person oral presentation.

They were brilliant!

lizzy as clara

Lizzy was Clara Barton

Xander was Nikola Tesla

Xander was Nikola Tesla

I enjoyed it immensely. . .almost as much as I enjoyed watching my eldest daughter taking in their work. It prompted memories of hours of Odyssey of the Mind competitions, volleyball and basketball tournaments, and academic honors ceremonies. That search for excellence is still within her and drives her daily. It makes her loyal to her husband and children and tireless in her faith. For this and many, many other qualities, I am truly proud.

On Saturday, I got to see my grandson, Crawford, and my new grandson, Roman. We joined my
daughter, Lora, and son-in-law, Dustin, at Crawford’s soccer game. It was a first experience with Roman, and a cherished one. Crawford was excited to have his grandpa there to watch the game and Roman was excited to pick the newly discovered grass from the field and place it in a bucket. Our parting moment, when he kissed my cheek without being prompted, ranks right up there with most beautiful moments in my life.

Lora Crawford and Roman

Roman, Lora and Crawford at the orphanage in Kramatorsk, Ukraine

I look at my sweet, sweet Lora, and so understand why God gave her the perseverance to rescue this child from his homeland. She has all the technical skills needed, certainly, but she and Dustin are the most consistent parents I have ever seen. If, as I believe, it is true that we can change this world one person and one act at a time, this desire to raise these two beautiful boys will make a huge change. What a legacy!

On Sunday, we joined my youngest daughter for lunch before she returned to an afternoon of homework as she pursues her Master’s degree in education. I watched her interact with others in the restaurant, taking in how beautiful she is and how charming she can be. She has a gorgeous love of color and surrounds herself in it. She teaches art, you know.

alexis

My beautiful daughter, Alexis.

She possesses an amazing talent—not just the artistic talent, but the ability to convey a joy of learning to the children she teaches. She has survived some traumatic emotional events, and continues to display an amazing amount of personal strength and determination. She is a natural caregiver, displaying a loyalty that few people ever possess. Give her a project, and she will accomplish it. Give her a challenge, and she will overcome it. I do so admire her inner strength.

I love this picture from her Junior Prom!

I love this picture from her Junior Prom!

Yes, it is true: it doesn’t matter how old or young your children are. There are those moments when you behold a smile, a turn of the head, a mannerism, and feel that total, unabashed love for your “little one”. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for my blessed family!

Blessings,

welch's

Me and my family….aren’t they beautiful?

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: Sometimes Action Speaks Louder…

Mom’s not here today, but she has a really great reason for taking a day or two off….

It’s been an emotional week.  I find myself raw with the weight of it all.  Lifted up by the prayers of so many family and friends, held tight by folks who consistently remind me that life continues to pulse through the hearts of those I love, and somewhat distracted by the everyday mundane.

Yesterday, I was inviting my mom and dad to my children’s living history presentation on Friday when it dawned on me that in my rush through the last few weeks…in my effort to survive through the chaffed heart that bleeds tears at the drop of a hat…I had forgotten that my daughter, Lizzy, needs to dress as Clara Barton.

I quickly ran down the list of sequined and sparkly clothing she has in her closet….do you think Clara Barton had a bedazzler? Or that her favorite colors were lime green and hot pink? No?  Weeellll….

As my mom watched this realization break over me, she picked up her debit card, grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s go get some material.” (The office we work in happens to be next door to Hobby Lobby….danger, Will Robinson..)

I watched as my mom gathered items to make my daughter a costume….from scratch…with no pattern, no picture…you know, just out of the blue…from her head…cause ya’ll, my mom is so cool!

I walked into my office this morning to find this:

2013-03-06_10-57-39_47

Yeah, so…she didn’t write a post for us today because she was busy being the best mom/grandma ever!  But no worries, she’ll be back later this week!

Grace and Peace,

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: I Am Not a Winter Person…for when joy falls like snow

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

snowy bench

I am not a winter person. The cold weather and cloudy skies have a claustrophobic effect on me and I have a deep desire to hibernate like a mama bear until the jonquils bloom.

But this morning, when I arose, there was a pristine blanket on the ground.  Soft, white petals were drifting listlessly toward the sidewalks, and silence filled the air.  I sat on my front porch for a few minutes just taking in the grandeur of life’s simple joys.  I breathed in the chilled purity of a morning cleansed in snow.  It amazes me that such a small amount of beauty can quiet our world for just a little while, wrap it in serenity and give us a moment of peace.

The snow melted off during the day, but the afterglow is still with me.

It was a high performance kind of day. . .I got the taxes done, the office has been rearranged, my daughter will be home from the Ukraine in a week with our new grandson, my granddaughter got her braces off, I had a lovely dinner with my youngest child,  Jim is feeling a little better today, and our doggies are freshly groomed and beautiful.  I also got to visit with old friends this week, I’m on the last load of laundry, . . .on and on.

I could look at all these things in a different light and tell you it took forever to get the taxes done, I had to make some changes in the office, my daughter has been in the Ukraine a very long time, my granddaughter had to have braces, my child didn’t talk much at dinner, Jim has been feeling ill, the dogs were really looking scrungy,  . . .see how this can go in an entirely different direction?

I am not a winter person.  But one cannot arise on a magnificent morning such as this and fail to see the work of our Heavenly Father as he cloaks us all gently in white snow feathers.   To wake up each morning with a grateful heart and search for the blessings in the day is a way of life that begets itself.  Joy produces joy, appreciation grows gratitude, and love for one another is contagious.  Please Lord, let it continue to be so!

Blessings,

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: I am a Social Media Rookie

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

facebook

I am a social media rookie. I have deliberately avoided getting too involved in emailing, facebooking,texting, and tweeting because I really like to speak with people face to face or phone to phone. Too much information is omitted when even the written words are being abbreviated. Recently, one of our children went to the Ukraine to finalize the adoption of a little boy. The need to communicate has forced me to blog and even skype. Can you imagine?. . . I find myself perusing facebook every day to
search for her latest news and to glean tidbits about our new grandson.

While I am ever so grateful for these lines of communication, I recall why I avoided them. I scroll down the screen, observing one person, recently divorced, bitter and sharing one-sided “war” stories. Another (or several) attack the president and his policies with far- fetched accusations and half baked truths. And then there are those attacking the attackers with more of the same. There are sweet friends who try to lighten the mood by sending me yet another witty saying or funny joke. There are birthday and anniversary reminders and simply quotations with obscure connections. I see young relatives who display inappropriate photos and use crass language , not realizing the impact they are making in a public forum. Very rarely do I actually see what I search for: news of friends and family.

We live in an age of technological advancement most of us could not have dreamed up in our youths. The communication technology is but a small portion of that. We can use our newfound technology to create immediate accessibility to one another or we can use it to create barriers and misunderstandings.

No matter how you use your social media outlets, use them with caution and forethought. We no longer are having a private conversation with a friend. We are conversing with a few million of them. It is so much easier to fire off a comment or two when you don’t have to look at the person while you do it. Somehow, it makes us feel less accountable for our own actions and more likely to speak before we think. I want to believe that we can use facebook to enhance our empathy and understanding for one another. Let us make it so.

Blessings,

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: Our Veterans…for when sacrifice costs everything

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

waiting-room-sign

Every few months, I accompany my husband to the Veterans’ Administration Eye Clinic in Little Rock.  As a middle-aged couple, we certainly did not expect the catalog of health issues that have besieged my husband.  Sitting in a waiting room which is always overcrowded with mostly veterans of the Vietnam War, I see a generation of men with eyepatches, diabetic retinopathy, and varying degrees of blindness all compounded by walkers, wheelchairs or canes.  I am overcome by the similarities among these men.

These were our young men, fighting a war for which there is still no reason for people who showed no appreciation.  Our soldiers weren’t treated properly when they returned home and they are not treated properly now.
We wait for hours for assembly line care provided by overworked and overscheduled professionals.  And then, we drive home for 3 hours because the Veterans Administration 20 miles from us does not provide this particular service.

I often see social media comments on how much we appreciate our vets.  I must say it is relatively easy to tell a vet how grateful we are—even easier to offer a discount on food or a hotel room.  What is not easy is to look squarely at the residual damage of war.  These are not our handsome young males anymore.  They are scarred and battered on our behalf.  To say they served their country seems to fall short based on the size of the sacrifice.  The men in that waiting room yesterday are still sacrificing –they’ve already given much.

I think of an entire new generation of men and women in the Iraqi war  and the Afghanistan war who will come home with afflictions unique and unidentified and wonder when we will learn to find solutions to disagreement that don’t require killing one another.

Every few months, as I sit in that waiting room, I have an opportunity to think about new ways we can make a difference for these men.  There is so much to be done, but as always, if we each just try to touch those we meet, we can change this world one deed at a time.  Thank you, Heavenly Father, for VA waiting rooms and the wonderful men who inhabit them.

Following is a poem I wrote several years ago as a memorial to our veterans.  It is engraved on a monument in Veterans’ Park, Rogers, AR:

The grasses here once ruffled
Underfoot of some young man
Who loved the rich, green fertile fields
Which stretch across this land.
He loved the freedom he possessed
And knew it was his own.
For, in the Light of Liberty,
He called our country home.
There came a day when he was asked
To heed our nation’s call.
Unswerving in his loyalty,
He answered with his all.
Thousands more were just like him—
They’ve served our country well,
Men and women, side by side,
Marching into Hell.
They’ve guarded our most precious gifts
And kept us safe through time
And sacrificed so much of life
To make our freedom shine.
The words we carved here aren’t enough
To say how much we feel
For all the veterans who’ve served us
And walked our rich, green fields.

Veterans park poem photo

© Carlene Welch, 2012

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: A Confession…for when life gets too full

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

hoarding-syndrome-clutter-01-af

The past week, I’ve been making a valiant attempt to de-clutter my world.  My home, my office at work, the garage, the yard, all my surroundings have become claustrophobic with piles of stuff.  I refuse to say I am a hoarder, but I certainly am a random treasurer.  I don’t save things for their material value.  No, I save get well cards, newspaper clippings, phone numbers of people I never get around to calling, projects my children and grandchildren have made.  I hang on to these things with an ardent fervor, hoping I can slow down the march of Time somehow if I just lay a memory in its path.

Nostalgia is an emotion best shared with someone who knows what you’re talking about and can appreciate how you got there.  No one in my world today can even envision me as an idealistic, change- the-world young college girl. Even if I share photographs of those days, my current circle has no concept of that person and no understanding of the journey to here.  Going through old photo albums, sorting poems and writings produced in my youthful angst, trying to decide what can be discarded when everything is emotionally attached, somehow is as cathartic emotionally as it is physically.

It has been said that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating and the second half giving it up.

There is truth to that.  I am finding more and more that the family treasures we have inherited over the years need to move on to someone else.  I don’t need those things to remind me of all the beautiful memories their owners evoked. I don’t need a four bedroom home with my children all grown.  I don’t need the extra car.   I do need a calmer, simpler, sleeker life style.  I haven’t yet untrained myself from my tendency to save things.  It is a lifelong skill set I have developed, and I suppose it will take awhile to undo.

For now, I will try to discard the things I don’t need and aren’t helpful, just as I discard emotions and influences that are the same.

The journey continues. . .Here’s to that calmer, simpler, sleeker life style!

Blessings,

© Carlene Welch, 2012

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM: Cocoon…for when it takes a village

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

It has been awhile since my children were in elementary school.  Cari was in the third or fourth grade and truly idolized her wonderful teacher.  When Christmas came, and Cari wanted to present her with a gift, I wrote the poem that follows and framed it for her.  Thus began a tradition I truly enjoyed as it gave me an opportunity to uniquely express appreciation and admiration for those special people who choose to teach our youth.

Today, as we had our first opportunity to skype  with our daughter, Lora,  who is in the Ukraine finalizing the adoption of my new grandson, I felt again the importance of those special people who are drawn to forming and nurturing young people.  What a legacy it is growing the generation to come!

Divine love

Cocoon

Wrapped in silky threads,
Secure against the wind,
Cocoon holds fast to tender leaf
As branches sway and bend.

Each day makes it stronger
As it feeds and grows and feeds,
And the gentle leaf it’s anchored to
Fulfills its every need.

The silken thread begins to loose
T0 free the life it holds.
The butterfly sees worlds anew
As shaky wings unfold.

Now it soars at edge of sky
With sun-drenched wings at flight,
And cocoons itself in memories
Of a tender leaf—FIRST SIGHT!

© Carlene Welch, 2012

 

 

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.