March is mad. It seems to be mad at the world with its destructive tornadoes earlier this week and dive-bombing temperatures this weekend after spring was introduced weeks ago. The below freezing temps continue for 6 days, not just one night. And snow in the forecast!
I had my early spring sprouts emerge from the organic soil of the raised bed at least a week ago. Dean and I went to the farm last night between the spring showers and by lantern light we covered the vegetable bed with a plastic tarp. This bed is inside the screen house, so the baby plants just need an extra layer of protection the next few days. See what happens. Gardening is definitely one science experiment after another.
March is also the month to celebrate a few birthdays. Today, my father was born 81-years ago. He is no longer amongst us on earth, but they must celebrate birthdays in heaven! Happy Birthday, Dad! Hope you are celebrating with Grandpa and Uncle Lee! I miss you dearly! I hope you are proud of your family and what we are in our lives presently. That makes me happy to think you are. You must know about your granddaughter fighting a battle with cancer. I have asked for prayers and for the angels to watch over her. You and God must hear these supplications daily, hourly. Thank you for listening. In God’s hands…
The winds whirl late in October right into November. Such a reminder that autumn is amidst, and the chilly season will blow right into winter before too long. My heart has been so heavy these days. Not felt like writing. My Grandpa passed away on October 20, one day after his 99th birthday. Grandpa was the oldest of five generations in our family for almost 13 years. My oldest granddaughter will be officially a teenager this month of November. And I part of the “club generation”. Where does the time go? Grandpa Earl donated his body to science. We need to figure out how a ornery cuss like him lived so long. In Grandpa’s latter years, as his body was failing him, yet his mind kept him young. “There is a fountain of youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age,” Sophia Loren once said. I will miss my grandfather’s storytelling and sense of adventure. A simple welder and WWII veteran, Grandpa received a military honor at his memorial service on October 30 with “Taps” played with a single trumpet. Very touching.
The winds whirl with a cold rain this November day. Our labrador-flat coat retriever, Midnight has been Grandpa’s dog, my father’s dog, and now ours. Midnight is playful like Grandpa. Today our 9-year old dog sits in the rain amongst the leaves, probably dreaming of his earlier duck hunting days with Grandpa and Dad. I suppose Grandpa and Dad are catching up on hunting and fishing stories now … I rest in my home this weekend. A homemade veggie-herb soup will be simmering soon … maybe cure what ails me, or at least bring comfort.
Where does one begin to understand the timing of one’s life in this world? This complexity of life and death, and there are many, seems to be a mystery. I cannot comprehend with my mind, and my heart wrenches that my cousin, Sandra Witthaus Rau was taken from us on June 3. But with faith in my loving God, the Father, I pray for comfort and peace for Sandra’s son, daughter, brother, grandson, and so many family and friends. Sandra wrote poems and expressed words of wisdom beyond her years, shared with those God placed in her life. An old soul yet her laughter and zeal was contagious, and kept her young. A year ago I asked on this Word Press blog “Is The Grass Greener?”, and Sandra shared such timely advice and with grace. And it is true, Sandra, “The grass is always greener where you water it – With Love, Laughter, Family and Friends”. The last bit of wisdom left on Sandra’s FB account on May 23:
~Slow down sometimes~
Life often gets out of control. We live in busy times and as much as we try to take a step back and live in the moment often that’s just not possible. Before we know it a week has passed. A month. Maybe even a year or two.
People tell us to stop and smell the roses but instead all we see is the work that has to be done to make those roses grow. The digging and planting. The weeding and watering. Everywhere we turn we run into duties and responsibilities, tasks and chores. All those things that need to get done to make our world turn.
Is that the life we envisioned when people used to ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up? Weren’t we going to be ballerinas, astronauts and magicians? But that’s life. It has a tendency to do the unplanned. It does it without regard or consideration for our feelings or objections. It throws us in at the deep end with no life ring in sight and says swim.
Maybe we just need to embrace the unpredictability with open arms rather than constantly fight it. And more importantly, we need to see those roses for what they really are. A chance to breathe. An opportunity to live life at its fullest. A real blessing. Because after all, there are only so many roses left for each one of us.
Sandra, you are terribly missed. And I know you are with Grandma, cousin Billy, your Mother, your Father, and your Uncle Marty now. For this I rest my mind and find peace. I love you, Sandra!
Yesterday is gone, today is here, tomorrow may come … Live life to its fullest TODAY! … My Uncle Lee lived like this until the day he passed away, February 6, 2014. What a wonderful person, full of goodness and love towards all. An avid fisherman, hunter, gardener, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, friend … His smiling big blue eyes I will remember with fondness. A handsome man. He and my Aunt Shirley who passed before him 20 months ago have two amazing kids, my cousins Sandra (in the photo) and Robert. Uncle Lee now joins his wife once again, and my father, Marty, his fishing and hunting buddy in the heavenly realms. All the Witthaus family is in my prayers. We on earth will miss him.
Blessings come in different forms. Counting my blessings is a mindset when I buried my father less than 3 weeks ago after his 9-month battle with brain cancer. Still grieving. But I came across this website blog about a blessing jar: http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/11/the-blessing-jar.html. Cute craft idea! The photo below comes from this blog. Reading the blog, it reminds me to recall all the wonderful things that took place this year. It’s been a very difficult year, so I think a bit of a challenge with this blessing search … I will start with my family, my big, big family! To begin my husband, Dean is just want I need. He is multi-talented, jack of all trades. And he is so patient with me, my ideas, my projects, my moods, etc. And on top of that Dean is affectionate and thoughtful. My hubby rubs my stinking feet after a long day working in the greenhouse. And then there is my children … my oldest daughter, Rachel has a smile, kind word, and humor that will turn any sour day into a sweet one! And then my Elisabeth, her beautiful acceptance of this diverse life is such an example to me. She grows more saintly with her patience! Both of my daughters suffer with degenerative disc disease, but continue to bring joy to the people around them despite their pain. My son, Ben has the most tender heart that permeates through this tough world we live in. He held his arm around me during my father’s memorial service. Probably an uncool thing to do in most 19-year old young men’s eyes, but he does not care what others think. My grandchildren, well read about all five in my earlier blog: https://deannagreensandgardenart.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/they-are-mine-alright/. And then there is the extended family. My family grew closer through my father’s terminal illness. My sister traveled 3 trips from the west coast to be at my mother’s and father’s beckon call for months. My two brothers took over the needs of my 97-year old grandfather as my father could no longer take this role. My mother did not give up on my father’s wish to die at home. So she had many endless hours as his nurse, you know, 24/7. My employer was so patient, allowing me time away to run errands for my mother and visit my father. Co-workers and vendors I work closely with, asked how Dad was and I am doing even today. And the solace the greenhouse plants and soil gave me from this tiresome world we live in. So how I can summarize this year is “God is good”. He takes care of us! We are truly blessed! What will you put into your blessing jar? Funny thing about this photo, my Dad’s nickname is Marty. I wonder what musings he is having in heaven today?
My father’s obituary … more thoughts in a few days …
Martin K. Bates, age 76 of Bowling Green, passed away Thursday October 18, 2012, at his home. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday
October 20, 2012 at the Mudd-Veach Funeral Home in Bowling Green, with Rev. DawnVictoria Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bowling Green. Visitation for Mr. Bates will be held from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the funeral home.
He was born March 10, 1936, the son of Earl Kenneth and Anna Susanna Kurz Bates. He grew up in St. Louis County and on April 26, 1958 in St. Louis, he married Darlene Hudson. She survives. Also surviving are his father of St. Charles; two sons Martin Richard Bates and wife Joan of O’Fallon, Stephen Kenneth Bates of Bowling Green; two daughters
Margaret Bates of Los Banos, CA, Anna Gall and husband Dean of St. Peters; five grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; one brother Earl F. Bates and wife Sunny of the State of Montana and one niece Julie Fait and husband Jim of Romeoville, IL. He was preceded in death by his mother,
his step-mother Paula Bates and one nephew Drew Bates.
Mr. Bates lived in St. Charles County for 43 years where he owned and operated Bates Nursery in St. Peters from 1969 to 2002 when he retired. While owning the nursery, he raised many of his own plants, and did landscaping. In 2003 he moved to Bowling Green. Martin was an avid hunter, loved his hunting dog Midnite and enjoyed training dogs. He also enjoyed woodworking and painting and sketching. He was a good husband, father and grandfather and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal.
Serving as pallbearers will be Rick Bates, Steve Bates, Ian Bates, Nathan Bates, Benjamin Phelps and Dean Gall.
Memorials may be made to the Donors choice.
Oh it’s such a perfect day I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh such a perfect day
After I opened the curtains and blinds in my father’s bedroom to see the warm sunshine outdoors, we listened to this song and many others on his favorite Susan Boyle CD last Friday morning. It was next to the most perfect day being with him. The cancer just about has his life on earth, but I know I will be rejoined with him in Heaven.
“Time, you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare
Stripped me bare
Time, the past has come and gone, gone
The future’s far away
An hour only lasts for one second, one second
Time without courage, time without fear
Is just wasted, wasted, wasted time
Oh, oh, oh, ooh ooh ooh
Time, why you punish me?”
These lyrics from Hootie and the Blowfish’s song “Time” keep playing in my mind tonight. This post is continuation of my thoughts in my last post written 5 hours ago. I cried when I walked upon that boat dock at Island Lake last week. I felt my father’s spirit with me, though in body he could not be there with me. Valhalla was Dad’s favorite place to do his favorite thing, fish. Such an appropriate name. “Valhalla” is the Viking’s heaven after he dies from warfare. My father has been fighting such a battle. Dad’s days are running short. He is dying of brain cancer, and I keep thinking about his life. Dean & I visited his father, my 96-year old grandfather last evening. Grandpa Earl tells us stories of his childhood and my father’s childhood. Yet he is cognitive enough to ask about his oldest son, my father. A copy of a photo arrived in the mail today from my cousin. A 1945 family portrait of my Grandpa Earl, Grandma Anna, Dad, and Uncle Earl. Mom called this evening on the way home from work. A hospital bed is being delivered to their Bowling Green home. Yes, the bed my father will be in when he passes from this life. God, I am so thankful for my father, Martin Kenneth Bates. He has been strength to this family for many years. And now we are his strength. He will be with You soon. And I will miss him greatly. I do not want pain for him, just Your peace, comfort, and rest.