One is Silver, the other Gold

When Autumn leaves start to drift by my window, I remember little things that my precious Mother spoke into my soul. Did you ever hear this bit of wisdom?

Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold.

It’s a lovely pearl that she imparted to me when I was young. Our family moved to a different town about every three years as we kids were growing up. Actually I went to ten different schools in twelve years! I was always the new kid in class. It seemed that as soon as I was a part of a crowd or had a few close friends, Dad would get another transfer and we’d pack it up and head down the road. Friends would come and go. Mom would remind me of that verse, and I know that she applied it to her own friendships as well.

Eighteen months ago I moved suburbs away from my grown-up girlfriends to live as a newlywed in Oak Park. I have missed my weekly tea parties and walks and talks very much, but try to stay in touch with my golden girls. And it has been very difficult making new friends in this town. Is it because I’m older? Do I look too cranky to approach? How do people make friends when all the ladies are working and so busy? Should I change my hair?

But YAY the other day I actually had two conversations with two different neighbors! Imagine! Maybe these will be silver friends! One of the ladies I call Squeaky Mom because of her unusually high pitched voice. The other mom is Georgia. Mother Goose overflowed with joy! New friends like silver!

Squeaky Mom (who is also known as Kim) is nearly as old as Mother Goose — she has older kids like me, but also a young adopted son from Siberia. His name is Lucas who always says “hi” to me — Kim explained that his birth mother in Russia is Natalia and perhaps that’s why he connects with me. Huge blessing that he waves to me!

And Georgia actually took a picture of Mother Goose with another mom for the school yearbook — they want to have a page full of parents’ pictures. Ha ha so funny that she included me, and I’m not involved in anything at the school. But still she made me feel special.

I forever love my golden friends! And now God has heard my prayer for silver friends too.

Angels, Friends and my good dog Fran

I must say that this has been a very unusual week for Mother Goose. I have nearly been killed (or badly maimed) twice, and happily ate octopus in Berwyn. But wait there’s more — my dear old dog Fran has an aural hematoma in her right ear flap! Omigoodness Mother Goose is certainly ready for the weekend after all of that, but first, let’s just elaborate on these incidents.

Poor old Fran with her poor old ear. I have gone back and forth all week about taking her to the vet, and keep coming back to the rationalization that she’s doing better each day, but maybe she’s not. Her ear is puffed up and tender, but it’s not getting worse. Maybe Mother Goose is not a good dog mommy at all. And maybe Mother Goose should spend more time taking care of her pets and less time updating her Facebook page….

Carrying a basket of clean laundry up the stairs could have proven fatal on Tuesday. I lost my balance and I believe that for a time was hanging by a thread between heaven and earth — only angels could have been holding me as I struggled with gravity for several uneasy seconds. Lo and behold! I didn’t drop one clean sock out of that basket!

And the maiming could have certainly been a reality today as I was frying bacon for Mr. Mother Goose’s lunch. The black cast iron skillet was hotter than the blacksmith’s anvil. The hot skillet and its evil contents slid off the gas burner and into my mid-section, heading straight for my tender Mother Goose legs. Gravity again was repulsed and defeated as the angels helped me push the whole burning mess back onto the stovetop without even a splatter.

Thankful beyond words for the protection of these dear angel friends!

I would like to recommend Autre Monde Cafe. Those amazing little octopus legs with all their little suction cups were just three inches long, but they were VERY big on flavor. And they were lavender. If you can even believe that. It was served as a cold dish with some bright and exciting grape tomatoes who had their own marinade stories to tell. But lavender. Mother Goose kids you not, friends.

Please stop back tomorrow when Mother Goose tells you the story of her new friends and old friends.

Imagine and Remember 9/11

Our country (and the world) is full of 9/11 memories today. I wrote a short blog about what our little corner of the world was like on that day. Strangely, the views at my blog have been high recently because of the picture of the New York City skyline with the World Trade Center towers that I posted with my Little Wife story on June 19th. It’s a beautiful picture — strange that so many people might meet Little Wife because of it.

I love that picture of New York. The towers look so elegant and strong. The Brooklyn Bridge is in the foreground and the river. It’s the skyline that I like to remember – I hate the images of the towers with flames and smoke, and especially the picture of the one plane banking to turn right into the south tower.

I imagine the hysteria in those planes — the crying and screaming is so real in my ears. I think I would have blacked out in terror of what was happening…

So maybe someone will find a smile on their face today because of Little Wife and her silly adventure in NYC long ago before the towers were attacked by hideous cowardly men who couldn’t control their hatred of ordinary Americans. What kind of monsters would commit such hateful evil acts of violence against innocent civilian people?

Did their consciences keep them awake the night before their vicious hijacking or were they sleepless with anger and hatred of Americans? Did they pace the floor with anxiety or were they on their knees begging Allah for guidance? Or mercy? How did their love for their God become such a bloodthirsty hatred of people?

Here is what is very sad — those terrorists were all little boys once upon a time on their momma’s laps. Surely they knew love at some place in their childhoods. They would have been hugged and cherished and tickled and kissed and snuggled and passed around as babies. Muslim fathers and mothers adore their children, of course. They would have been prayed for — prayers that they would grow up to be good and lead happy lives. These little boys probably played soccer and ate cookies and milk after school and had dreams of growing up and falling in love. Maybe they had dreams to be firemen, policemen, businessmen, teachers and store owners.

I’m sure they were normal little guys once upon a time. And then somehow something inside of them died or got badly broken. They lost their love and their dreams and their ideals. They became vulnerable to the lies of a madman and could not turn away in time.

Did they have second thoughts when the towers loomed closer and closer? Was there a tiny voice of reason in their steel hard hearts? Did any of them hear their momma’s whisper, “I love you, my dear child”?

I wonder if one of them wiped away one small tear as they realized they were victims of terror also. My heart breaks.

Even as we remember the day ten years ago when we were ruthlessly attacked by terrorists, the news headlines shout that 77 American soldiers have been wounded in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. My God, my Father when will it end?

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4

Ten Years Ago in Our World

We all remember the bright blue skies and the sunshine on that Tuesday morning. In Carol Stream, Illinois the beauty of the day was unreal. The horror in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania was unreal. The empty skies that night were unreal — so many airplanes were not in the air that night. The birds singing in the trees was a mockery to the terrible crying of the people who escaped the Towers. Tears flowed and flowed and flowed as the towers collapsed, and we knew that thousands of souls were still inside. In a state of shock, I managed to get the kids to school and even stopped at the grocery store for some basics before heading home to watch it all on TV.

I remember wandering out to my fenced-in suburban backyard, and just staring up at nothing in the sky. Just nothing. Not a cloud to catch my gaze. Just nothing. Tears flowing, I whispered to my heavenly Father, “God, what’s happening? Where are you? What’s going on? Why why why?” And no answers. I just dropped to my knees and cried. And then went back in the house to watch more of the reports for the rest of the day. I moved the TV into the kitchen so I wouldn’t miss anything, but when the kids came home from school that day I put the TV back in the living room so they could watch Arthur on Channel 11.

I didn’t watch much TV after the first day of the attack. I tried to shield my kids from the violence of that day — we put on our normal faces. I held them tighter than ever and nearly stopped all my housework for a week or so, just wanting to sit with them and be with them whatever they were doing in their worlds. I made meals and we ate together and prayed together at night. Every night we would go outside and look at the dark sky, enjoying the quiet and trusting that the great military presence of our country would deter any further attacks. There was comfort knowing that the F15’s were patrolling the skies and that America’s heroes would be remembered always.

We lived just a few miles from O’Hare International Airport, and soon the commercial planes were on their paths again. For months and years after we were attacked that day, I would still see the images of planes crashing into the towers. EVERY single plane flying overhead would remind me, and I would see it smashing into an imaginary building and balls of fire and black smoke billowing out. My own minuscule PTSD, I suppose.

Today life is pretty normal, except that we’re all changed and normal has changed also. We are still waging a war against an invisible enemy, but I have faith that America will somehow have victory in the long run. My sons are sailors in the U.S. Navy — a global force for good. I am proud of them, proud of our country, but so saddened by the horrible loss of life on 9/11. I cry to think of the supreme sacrifice of life — the brave men and women who have been killed fighting the War Against Terrorism.

I still ask God “why” but the answer is not as important as it used to be. We can only hope that things will get better, and that someday there will be no fears, no tears, no anger, no terrorism and no enemies. Belief in God’s goodness and His sovereign love can and will sustain us. He is faithful to remain with us to the end. May His love and peace bless you today. Love, Natalie

Linda Smiles

Mother Goose enjoyed a delightful dinner last evening with dear friend, Linda.

Unfortunately, the sticky topic of the grape jelly fiasco came up. Mother Goose declared, “We shall not speak of it!” And, of course, Linda smiled and suggested a very wonderful answer to the gooey mess. That’s what Linda does — she solves problems! She is an underpaid but professional problem solver. Knowing that she would have a grand solution up her sleeve, I listened carefully. Here is her advice:

“Call it Grape Juice Concentrate.”

Oh my goodness, the woman is brilliant! I could say that I have twelve and one half little jars of failed jelly in the back and bottom of my pantry. OR with Linda’s suggestion, I rename my broken product, rebrand it and remarket it to my family as an excellent juice that they will love so much. Of course, that’s what I will do.

A special thanks to Linda for that amazing idea! And a special thank you to the kind folks at Shannon’s Irish Pub in Glen Ellyn for allowing us to warm the seats of our corner table for nearly three and one half hours whilst we commiserated, cajoled and committed nearly indecent acts of breast exposure over our lovely dinner. Cheers to grape juice lovers everywhere.

And we shall not speak of it again…..

Important Stats for a Goose

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