Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Passing Storm

After blowing relentlessly for 4 days, the wind is finally gone. 

We had very high winds here in the foothills during the height of the storm. 

We had no damage here at our little place in the world, except for one precious thing...

The blue glass gazing ball, a gift from my Mother, was shattered. 

It was my own fault. 

I usually take it in during storms. 

I simply forgot. 

But at 2 a.m. I was awakened from my fitful slumber, as the wind howled outside, 

to a dreadful crash and tinkling of glass. 

A noise that is guaranteed to get you right out of bed - fast. 

As we peered through the glass door, Blue Eyes said to me, 

" Did you take the blue globe off the stand?" 

It took me a moment to understand what he meant. 

And then I saw the sparkling, jagged fragments glinting in the porch light. 

The heavy clay pot holding the ivy plant on the railing
had blown down and broke it into a million little pieces like icy tears. 

I can't tell you how sad it was to be picking up
the fragments of my mirrored world on such a night!

The next morning as the wind blew steady and a pair of red tails hovered,
 suspended above me, 

I picked up the remaining pieces that had fallen to the ground. 

And while I worked, with gloved fingers to protect me from the gossamer shards, 

I thought of my Mother. 

She loved to give gifts such as this - gifts for the garden. 

Everywhere she lived, no matter what the circumstance or how hard she was struggling, 

she always planted flowers. 

All weekend I have been thinking of my Mother and her Mother before her. 

And how they worked so hard to beautify their surroundings. 

And how much I miss them. 

Now I am the Matriarch of my own family

and they are not here to guide me in how to do this. 

This shattered reflective orb

has brought forward reflections of my life,

 and the women who have come before me. 

And what I have learned from them. 

As sunlight finally illuminates my homely tasks - 
tasks that my Mother, my Grandmother and all those ancestors before me have performed to
put order and beauty into the lives of those around them - 

I think of how brave they were, how strong, and how determined they were to raise their families and pass down a legacy of hard work, honesty, resilience, devotion, and fortitude. 

As I fill the sink with soapy water, as I wash and fold laundry, 

I think of those before me, performing these same simple tasks. 

I remember my Mother's cozy kitchen, her delicious food,
her never ending quest to bring beauty to her humble life. 

I think of my Grandmothers and I remember their kitchens. 

The small white farmhouse kitchen of my maternal Grandmother with the amazing pantry. 

Oh, how I loved that pantry with its shelves of pies and preserves and big crockery bowls, 

and a window overlooking the garden where

her prized gladiola's bloomed, and red geraniums filled the window box. 

As the sunlight streams in, I dust and open windows
 and think of my Paternal Grandmother in her tiny cottage in the woods. 

And how she made the most amazing spaghetti sauce. 

She had a glass china cabinet on her sun porch filled with tiny salt and pepper shakers. 

There must have been a hundred pair. 

She would let me play with them if I was very, very careful. 

Now that is trust. 

I remember how these two remarkable women effortlessly served their very large families in their modest, humble, yet beautiful kitchens - with love and devotion. 

They made you feel welcome. 

I can't tell you the difficulties these women endured -
 both raising 8 healthy children during the depression and the war. 

As I bake bread for the evening meal,
 I think of them doing this very same thing to keep their families fed. 

Everything always made from scratch. 

From garden to pantry. 

Necessary tasks that seem like luxuries to us, now. 

But which tie us to the past. 

There is a satisfaction in these plain and simple rituals of life. 

Nourishment for the body and soul. 

I think of them as I go about my day and how, just by example, they
passed their wisdom on. 

Now it is I who must perform that task for my children and beyond. 

As I carefully negotiate this awesome responsibility, 

I think of my Mother and Grandmothers cheering me on.

But first on the agenda - a new crystal ball.

I think Mom would approve!

I need all the help I can to get through the storms of life

and pass the wisdom on.


Know well what leads you forward
and holds you back, and choose
the path that leads to wisdom.

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second by imitation, which is easiest;
and Third by experience, which is bitterest.

The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
The realist adjusts the sails.
-William Arthur Ward-

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
-Thomas Jefferson-


Today I am linking with Madge from 'The View From Right Here'


  1. What a beautiful post and great pictures!
    Hope sun will shine soon.
    Have a nice day

  2. This is such a beautiful and thoughtful post. Shame about the crystal ball, but each of the pieces brought back a special memory for you.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. aww sis picking up pieces of your fondest memories of your mom must have been so hard but your mom and grandmother were with you this day filling you with warmth and love and the 2 red tails were there presence. looking back to times that were so dear to your heart. I love and miss you

  4. Lovely post. I am sorry you lost something so special to the wind. It was crazy here all week as well. Must have been a nation-wide wind fest!

  5. So sorry about your glass ball from your mom... perhaps you could use the pieces for some sort of mosaic piece, still reminding you of your mom when you see it. Don't you just love the 'HERITAGE" that you got from the women before you in your life. I so appreciate the women who went before me, and see so many pieces of them in my own life. love your new glass ball, and also that great photo of your mom. she looks like an awesome woman, and know she is very proud of you as she watches your life unfold!

  6. Lovely post, Karen. It makes me remember my grandmothers and how much I miss them too! (My mother died when I was 6 - not too many memories). Your house is beautiful and I'm sure you would have made your mother and grandmothers proud!

  7. I am sorry you lost your orb from your mom - little things like that can feel like losing your mom all over again - I know. I love your statement "There is a satisfaction in these plain and simple rituals of life." - wow is that ever true. I often consider them to be the glue that holds it together - especially in tough and challenging times riddled with unknown consequences.

  8. I am very sentimental about my great grandmother and we wrote to each other all the time. I have saved all of those letters in a pretty box. I am sorry your blue globe broke in the storm. I thought the wind was startling and I am glad it over.

  9. i'm sorry you lost that gift. but your mother obviously gave you your spirit. :)

  10. Oh, so sorry for your loss. :( Sounds like your Mom was a totally awesome lady!

  11. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's gazing ball. The wind can sure wreak havoc. I hope you didn't lose power for too long.

  12. Oh dear, how the wind blew here as well. I put my pansies, in their urn pot, into garage it was so blustery here Saturday and Sunday. Sorry to know your glass ball broke. Great thoughts on homemaking. Even though I work, meals are made from good stuff and homemade cookies. I need to keep up with homemade biscuits better than I have been. Take care amd glad everyone is ok! Hugs!

  13. Oh no, I'm so sorry your gazing ball was broken :( You must have had really bad winds. It made me smile as you remember your family. I love to think about mine as well. My grandma gave me a lot of her old cooking tools, and when I use them I think about her using them when she was my age and wonder what she was thinking at the time. Thankfully, she is still with us and I enjoy my time with her!

  14. So Sorry to hear about your beautiful gazing ball...I too work full time but on my days off I have mega cooking sessions from fresh food to be frozan for meals for the family.... I can't wait to be retired so I can do more cooking & sewing...A beautiful homemaking post Karen.... Hugs May x x x

  15. So sorry about your gazing ball - incidents like this do bring us memories and reflections of other times.

  16. I am a wreck after reading your beautiful post. I am lucky enough to have my mum in the next village and we are SO SO close and still making memories. xx

  17. Oh, honey, I am so sorry about your gazing ball.

  18. It is very important things given from our past family I have a few things that I never use but that's so they don't get broken as I can no longer replace them, they do hold memories.

  19. This was such a heartfelt post! You really got me to thinking about my mom and grandma. Sorry that your beautiful blue glass gazing ball was broken. I often see hawks overhead or nearby when out of the ordinary things are going on in my life. It has happened so many times in my life that I am starting to wonder about why that would be.

  20. Hi Karen,
    I am sorry about your lovely orb, we lived on the plateau for 10 years and I know those strong winds well! I am glad there was no other damage...
    Through your blog, the thoughtful words and your warm well loved home... I know you are passing all the wonderful attributes of the strong women in your family down to the next generations...

  21. Mrs Karen,

    Thank you for visitng my blog and you always leave me such beautiful words. Sometimes what you wrote coming to my mind. I'm sorry about the lost gift. I know how it feels. But this is lovely post as always and beautiful pictures. I always get excited to see the things here.
    I love the sunlight come through to your bedroom, and the kitchen stuff just darling primitive :)

    Thank you for sharing.

  22. Dearest Karen,
    So sad to read that your sentimental and precious gift has scattered... No wonder it did open up the box where fond memories are stored inside your heart. Yes, it feels like a task to be the Matriarch and to lead on but we have had so many generations of strong women before us. Your soup and bread looked delicious. Was that the Artisan bread recipe from Stacy?
    Hugs to you and stay safe from storms.

  23. I can feel and picture in my minds eye - the scattered of the glass and the noise of it all happening through the awful stormy night that woke you - your written words on explaining the event hit my heart - Oh, I am so sorry...
    My favorite photo today of yours is number 9... it truly reminded me of my mother and grandmother and it's a beautiful shot of a still life.. Yes, they grew up in hard times.. My mother was still having to fill up with hot water in a galvanized tub for her bath that was placed in the kitchen right before she was married...And I miss her...

  24. Oh my dear Karen, I am so sorry about the blue ball from your Mother...I truly hope you are able to find one that will replace it perfectly.

    I do hope you are doing well, sweet friend. I always miss my visits to your blog. Take care and enjoy your week! Love and hugs!

  25. Hi Karen, yes storms can be scary and it's hard to remember to bring everything! I do hope you find another to replace he old one. I loved this post and your mother and grandmother sound so wonderful. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me those sweet comments. Have a wonderful day. Julie

  26. I am so sorry the wind took away your precious ball that your mother had given you but she has left you so many gifts that have made you the woman you are that no one can take away from you. This was such a heartfelt post and one I want to ponder for awhile....

  27. Interesting the thoughts we have when a treasure is lost... I have very little that belonged to my mom (she was not a 'thing' person) and only one small gold plated pin that belonged to her mom, they are precious...

  28. Such a pity! But think Karen, it could be worst with that bad weather you have had! Your home looks so peaceful and welcoming! There are better days ahead!
    Many hugs from me dear!

  29. Hi Karen siento mucho lo de su madre , lindo post , después de la tormenta siempre viene la calma y el sol ilumina

  30. Such a lovely post...so many wonderful memories.
    We had the wind too....but were lucky as nothing broke.
    Have a wonderful day. xoxo

  31. I am in awe of your ability to take this loss and turn it into a moment of reflection and appreciation for your mother and her mother and their imprint on your life. It is truly a gift that you have and thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

  32. Such a beautiful tribute to the strong women in your life that have brought you and molded you into the beautiful woman you are today. I am so sorry about the loss of the gazing ball but glad that was the only damage you sustained.

  33. Oh Karen...I'm so sorry your beautiful gazing ball from your mom broke in the storm. But through this event you were able to reflect and share your thoughts with us. And with that came inspiration for this mom way over here in Chicago. To sit back and truly look at the women who came before us is such an important thing to do. Their experiences were harder as they didn't have all the modern amenities and they were able to do it all...and that is amazing! Thank you for sharing the story of your grandmother and mom. I can just feel the warmth of their spaces and the food they created. And how wonderful that you have these beautiful memories! You will be passing these on to your grandchildren! I have no doubt about that at all! All the best to you sweet friend! Nicole xoxo

  34. lovely testimonies to the women in your life. I am glad you got a new ball. It seems right.

  35. Karen, what a beautiful what u wrote, deep and true. With the death of my father I remembered much of my generations, because I've always had a love and admiration for my parents. His blue crystal ball touched me, his sentences brought me a lullaby, a calm --- and how they worked so hard to beautify their environment.

    And how much I miss them
    Now I'm the matriarch of my own family.
    and they are not here to guide me on how to do this.
    That touched me!
    Why now am also matriaca of my family, and I love beautify the world around, doing these simple things that connect me with them. Until the hour of prayer call my mom and my grandparents.
    I will read and reread your post because I am delighted with his words, touched me very much!
    A big kiss my dear.....

  36. Such a beautiful post Karen. Your mother and grandmother sounds like to very special women. I think you are one of those too!! So sorry to hear the blue crystal ball your mother gave you, was shattered by the storm. I hope you will find something beautiful to replace it with.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

  37. How sad to lose your blue crystal garden ball, especially since your Mom gave it to you! This was a beautiful post, filled with lovely remembrances! I'm glad you plan to get another one. I loved reading about your Mom and Grandmothers, and seeing your bread baking photos too.

  38. Wonderful post and photography and lovely tribute to Mom and previous relatives ~ thanks, carol (A Creative Harbor) xxx

  39. I'm so sorry about your beautiful blue gazing ball, but I so enjoyed all the memories that you shared of your own dear Mom and Grandmother. Yes, we all strive to do our very best, to make our homes a place of comfort and beauty, in our own precious way. I know your Mom would approve of your new ball. I loved seeing her picture. Thanks for the beautiful post, Karen. xo

  40. Karen, I hope you write a book. You have so many lovely stories to tell with so much historical significance. The shards of the broken bowl seem so metaphorical for loss and grief. Beautiful and touching post and photos. Hugs xxoo

  41. Such a beautiful and thought-provoking post. I'm sorry it was occasioned by the loss of your mother's gazing ball. I have been thinking a lot about my mother and granny, too. They made the most out of what they had, and sometimes it would seem, out of nothing at all. They too had a love of beauty. I think now that you're the matriarch, you need to replace that ball with something that delights you just as much. Prioritising things that make you happy (and I don't mean just material possessions) sets a great example for your daughters! Think of it as a gift from your mother and grandmother. At the risk of revealing I am a Crazy Lady, I once bought a ring for myself from my dying cat - I still wear it, 17 years later, and think of him. I know he would have bought it for me if he could have!

  42. Beautiful post, Karen...I'm so sorry to hear about your gazing ball. But I'm with you...I think your mom will help you decide on a perfect new one...

  43. Such a lovely reflection. It's good to think about the mothers who have gone before us - to express thanks and to acknowledge our debt to them. They passed on to us so many seemingly insignificant hints, tips and skills - those things that beautify life and make a warm and welcoming home.

  44. How sad to lose the orb but the good news is that you will have your memories forever.

  45. What a beautiful heartfelt post!
    I'm sorry so sorry you lost the globe but in reading your post your Mom has left you with so much more.

  46. What a beautiful post, Karen. My maternal grandmother brought up 6 children and was widowed twice a time when the children were still small. She took care of them and had to make a living by running a store in a small village. She did not have transportation to bring supplies to the store, so she walked several kilometers to the city to get the supplies and she carried them on her back on the way home. I was before and during the war and during the war Poland was occupied by Germans for 5 years. After the war it was not much easier and for a while as dangerous with the Stalinist communists running the country.
    My mom raised 5 children (4 right after the war), when she didn't have a washing machine or a fridge or any modern appliences for several years.
    Women all over the world are doing amazing things to provide for their families and to fix, clean up and rebuild what politicians destroy during wars.

  47. You posted a very cozy post again Karen! I always love to read your blog :-)

    Hope you'll have a great week!

  48. I'm so sorry your glass ball broke. I know how much value sentimental gifts have. The memories of your mom will always live in your heart.

  49. you are such a beautiful soul, Karen. Makes me pause and appreciate the better things in life.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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