Thursday, October 8, 2009


Well, the pile of wood to the left here is what it looked like after our wood was delivered. Phew. And above and to the right? Voila!! All stacked! And then Skipp and I standing proudly in front of our wood for this Winter. I feel warm and cozy just knowing it is there for us, seasoned and ready to go into our faithful wood stove. And, according to our weather report? Tomorrow night we will get our first dusting of snow. We are all ready. :-)

My Mom spent the day with us. She loves being part of such traditions. Of course, at almost 86 years old she is always cold so she mostly stayed inside, in layered clothing and with a warm afghan around her. Still, her lovely presence and delightful humor and zest for life is so wonderful to experience. Her soul is pure and loving.

Here she is - braving the cold to get a 'real feel' for the work of the day. :-) Her birthday is November 9th - A celebration of all that is glorious in this world. Well, our world for sure. My sister joined us later - she is coming along - as best as one can after losing her husband of 40+ years less than a year ago and also, her first born son - passed almost seven years ago. This November 9th, yes on my Mom's birthday - he died. And this November is her first year without her husband to carry this loss - to remember the day - to honor his life - she will do it for them both - she is amazing . She enjoyed our meal together of home made chicken vegetable soup with crusty bread - it was delicious.
The photo is dark, sorry - but this is her at our table, surprised as Skipp caught her 'off guard' for a picture. :-) We planned our Mom's birthday dinner while we were all together - stuffed shells with my home made marinara sauce, of course, meatballs, salad, Italian bread and a fruit filled cake of some kind. Today was a "million dollar day" and then some.

Which brings me to the next part of this post, or the "more" which is part of the title of this post. Let me preface this with saying that I went, in a matter of a few hours from a person that was very sad, fearful and unsettled to a person of surrender, letting go, and gratitude. I actually amazed myself. Please just take a breath and don't judge - or assume - just 'listen' with your hearts. okay? thanks......... A few posts back I mentioned my oldest daughter - Kristie - the one who lives upstate NY with her two children. She is doing quite well, all things and challenges considered. When her children were little we were very active in their daily lives. Kristie and Leanna lived here while she was pregnant with Jacob. Eventually we 'set them up' in a small loft apartment nearby. Note the 'near by', - In most ways we were responsible for my daughter and the children. She was just too young with little resources both personal and external. We filled in all the gaps - sharing our wisdom, support, love, finances and guidance hoping to move her toward independence. Eventually she found 'other people' to lean on that were, shall we say, less guiding than us and many, many upsets happened until eventually she moved back to upstate NY - that was just about 9 years ago. It was impossible to be involved from 500 miles away beyond visits a few times a year, gifts and calls and of course, the "rescues" when what ever poor decision required our help. I/we always felt so responsible and because of that we were never just grandparents - we were her answer to all of her life's dilemmas. And, in some odd way, as much as we helped it would be received with a twist - as if we were some how to blame - a very difficult dynamic to explain.

For a couple of years now - we have stopped rescuing. And although it was a difficult adjustment for Kristie it seems that she has pushed to improve her situation by getting her CNA license and securing a job with benefits, paid vacations, etc. Until recently, when she met a guy and he has moved in with her and the kids. He is much younger than she - he is 24. I really don't know anything about him. And on Tuesday, the day our wood was delivered? My other daughter told me the news - Kristie is pregnant. I immediately burst in to tears - every rescuing moment and fear based memory and recall of what it took to sustain her flooded through me like a Tsunami - I though my chest was going to explode with the agony of my frightening memories. I felt myself absorb the news - it seeped into my veins and bones and mind and heart and spirit - and it swirled and surged and tore me apart. I began praying for understanding - asking God to help me feel the miracle of a new life - to celebrate this gift - a baby has been created - I could feel myself wrestle and fight with the memories of how it was and the faith I knew I had to celebrate life, my grand child's life. By the time Kristie and I spoke a few hours later a calm came over me - I asked her how she was - she paused and said "Ma, I have to tell you something". I breathed and said "I am listening hon"......and she said, "Me and Lance are having a baby Mom".... I asked he if she was happy, and she answered "Oh yes"........and I said, "if you are happy then so am I".......She was thrilled and Skipp and my Mom were amazed at my shared love and hope and honest words. We spoke about names, and how she wants my name and my Mom's name as a combination middle name if it is a girl and she wants Skipp's name as the middle name if it is a boy.

So I want to share with you all that what started out as a recall of painful memories and endless draining responsibility turned into a "million dollar moment" I am going to be a grandma again and the baby's name will be Lilly if she is a girl and Damian if he is a boy with the middle name yet to be determined. Amen.

And as I turn this new life over to God - I know that Lilly or Damian are in good hands. Please take a moment to watch this video. thank you ...............

Love Gail
Peace...............and new life.


Diana said...

Hi Gail,
First I have to say that I'm glad that you have your wood! Now the next time your mom comes over you can turn up the heat! Your dinner sounded delicious, wish I could have been there!
The second thing I wanted to tell you was how proud I am of you! Your conversation with Kristie took a lot of courage. I know how it feels to want to remind our children of past mistakes. It can be so difficult to keep our mouths shut at times! You did the right thing. And I'm sure that your words to Kristie will lighten her load a little too. All that's left now is hope and prayer that things will turn out well for her.
The third thing I wanted to say is Congratulations! Babies are a beautiful blessing. The video that you posted was perfect!
Love Di

Eileen said...

Beautiful post!
And I understand completely about your feelings, the rescuing, the providing, the filling in, and the main resource at times.
Your initial feelings were more than understandable. That was your sane, sensible head talking.
Then the heart pulled ahead, as I think it does with most women.
Good for you Gail.
All God's Blessings be on this new little life, and all your family!

I loved everything else about this post too, your wood pile, your Mom, your sister, your husband, loved ones lost, your girls, and more of your life story told.
Thanks, Gail, it was a beautiful post!
Love and Prayers,

Gail said...

"thank you" so much for your understanding words and encouragement. It means a lot to me. I really felt good about the words Kristie and I shared - it was God inspired. And thanks for the congratulations on our new grand baby.

Love to you

Gail said...


Oh I know you know, as I read with appreciation your involvement with Jayden and Mia. And yes, my heart took over, all the love came through and my faith was strong as I celebrated in my heart one of God's gifts.

I am honored to know you.

Love and hope

Choices said...

Hi Gail,
It is wonderful that you and your daughter were able to have that converstation. You should be very proud of yourself as to how you handled yourself. Good for You!
What a nice picture of you and Skip. Congratulations on your new Grandchild.
Take care.

Gail said...


"thank you" so much for your kind and compassionate comment. It feels SO good to be SO understood,

Love to you

cordieb said...

This post made me cry....out of joy and of knowing how you feel. I could feel your every woe and joy ... I've been there; and if life predicts as I predict, I might be there again some day. There is a thin line from helping and hindering, and I cross over it all the time! One day at a time....
You have a beautiful family! and a super wood pile. So blessed you are!

Peace, Light and Love, C.

Gail said...


Oh my how I loved your comment to me. I am honored to share life's joys and woe's with you. And thank you for "seeing" my beautiful family and our amazing wood pile. "Million Dollar Moments".

Love to you my friend

Wanda said...

Isn't it wonderful when we amaze ourselves as well as others...Your daughter is most likely very appreciative of your reaction...good the other daughter relayed the order for you to digest and get past the initial fear and thoughts...we can't help but regress to a protective stage sometimes.

Your 86 year old mom does not look her age at all...we all should be that lucky at 86.

We have a stack of wood too Gail...and it's getting almost cold enough here to start using it.

Congratulations on the new grandchild Gail...your daughter has chosen very nice names.

Luv and Smiles,

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…Such a day; such accomplishments! You are really and truly growing in your daily walk through life. This is the recounting of a wonderful, telling moment…receiving the news regarding your daughter beforehand, reacting, knowing that change in your heart and mind was necessary, and finding the courage and strength to back and take the right road. You gave your daughter and future grandchild love. No one could have handled the situation better. You did really good, gal. Don't ever believe those doubts which whisper weakness and fear…you proved them wrong today.

I could say more, but just let me say I'm proud of you and admire your honesty and actions. And I appreciate you sharing in this lovely post.

P.S. Great job of wood stacking. And the meals sounds marvelous!

Margie said...

Gail, oh, your sweet mom reminds me so much of my mom had the same hair and the blue eyes.
They actually could be sisters.
My mom died in 1998 so it was kind of like seeing her again here in the picture of your mom
Oh, my mom was such a sweetheart just like yours is.

Gail, you are a wonderful and loving mother.
How wonderfully you handled that conversation with your daughter about the baby.
You did good ....bravo!

Warmest congrats on the new grand baby ... I like the names that are picked out.

Wonderful video!

So enjoyed this beautiful post.
Thank you!

Joy and blessings to you, always!

P.S Oh, such a nice picture of you and you Skipp.

Teacher's Pet said...

Gail...first of all, may I tell you how beautiful your Mother is! (Please tell her for me...) She seems to be a woman of great strength....and I know that you love her and she loves you...that is evident.
Second...the woodpile. Girl! That is one gorgeous woodpile. Whoever did the stacking: You get an "A" from this teacher. A Kodak Moment if I've ever seen one!!!
Next...I listened with my heart...just as you asked. You have used tough love with your daughter the last few years...and it is 'tough' (tough on you, especially)...but look at the wonderful results, Gail: she got her CNA license...has a job with benefits, and met someone she loves. That precious life that she carries is a life from God...knitted and created by Him. What a wonderful way you handled talking wiht Kristie...and I know that God has enormous plans...not only for Kristie, but for the new life that will soon bless your lives.
Last...may I say that you and Skipp are a loving couple. I know that you will continue to love and encourage one another and give God glory, honor and praises for everything!!!
I send you a big hug....and a smile a mile wide!!
Until later....
Hugs from Jackie

cinner said...

Hi gail. Congratulations on being a grandma again, I am proud how you handled it with your daughter. The video was perfect. It was nice your Mom and sister were there. As for the woodpile, lucky you to have one inside. I need it today because the weather turned and we had snow and it is quite brisk. I stayed in my housecoat all day today. I am glad you are well. bIG HUG ,

Bernie said...

Congratulations Gramma, I am so happy for you and your family.
You handled the situation beautifully my friend, a lesson we all can learn from.
So happy you have your wood in and are ready to nest for the winter.
Loved the pictures of you and your all look so happy Gail and I am impressed with your honesty and how you share your are a true blessing my friend to all of us....:-) Hugs

Gail said...

HI Wanda -

"THANK YOU" FOR 'SEEING' how beautiful my Mom is. :-) She is a real gem. And I know you understand bout the blessings of grandchildren - I so love that yours are so close - sometimes I 'look' for mine to come down the drive........

Love to you

Gail said...


Oh my, such amazing compliments! I am blushing here. And you described my process so well - I could feel myself 'turn' and reach for that place of love and faith and peace and what I thought ws a distance away was way closer that I imagined.
Thanks Grizz for "getting it", "getting me" - it means SO much.
Love to you

Gail said...

Oh my, your words about your Mom and how my om reminded you of her brought tears of joy to my eyes. felt so happy that you saw your Mom in mine.
And I know you understand some of the challenges of a "mother's love" and yes, my loving words to Kristie were warm and hopeful and true and she felt so good AND so did I.

Love to you

Gail said...

HI JACKIE of 'Teacher's pet'-

Oh my goodness "thank you" for all of your wonderful, kind, understanding, loving words to me in your comment.
I will tell my Mom how beautiful you see her to be - and she is lovely and strong and fun and just a complete delight. I thank God for her every day. And yes, Kristie has come a long way - she is mature now and knows what she needs to do and not do - and I Love how you rote "knitted and created by Him". Wonderful Jackie.
I told Skipp you gave him an A+ for his wood stacking. :-) AND, our love and home is a very peaceful and humble place where many find hope, solace, laughter, music and always a meal and a glass of wine. :-) We live simply and fully.

Thank you Jackie - "thank you"....

Love to you

Gail said...


thank you for visiting and sharing in all the glory of the day. I really feel so cozy just looking at the wood all stacked and ready. And yes, it is so peaceful and simple and loving with Kristie - :-) You have a great day my beautiful friend.

Love to you

Gail said...


"Thank you" for sharing in all the wonders of the day with me. I feel so blessed and loved and peaceful. I am surrounded by family and love and firewood and home made soup and now a new grandchild is growing - oh my, it is all so wondrous. Thanks Bernie for all your love and friendship.

Love Gail
peace to you

The Rambling Taoist said...

I envy your wood pile! : )

The earliest we can get a chimney sweep out here is Oct. 28. We don't want to buy the wood beforehand, in case there is a major problem in the flue (that we can't afford to fix). So, for the time being, our wood pile consists of only about 20 sticks.

Gail said...

HI R T -

Wow, only 20 pieces!! And ya, we have the chimney sweep done yearly too - so far sogood. phew.

Love and warmth

Mark said...

Congratulations on the new grand baby and on being able to transcend the fear and hurt that were ego based and come from a place of love. It is you, your authentic self which was able to open up your heart to this new creation which I am sure will be a blessing to each of you. Yours is an inspiring story, thanks for sharing.

Gail said...


Yes, it was me, it was very authentic - everything aligned - mind-body-spirit - I felt the sync and it was lovely. It was of love.
Love to you my friend

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Wood - the care provided - trees that have given of themselves for our warmth and joy - a special harvest of gratitude for nature's knowing gifts. Life to serve life. And so man and woman, duality, two as one for new life, love's harvest. Yes, dear Gail, October is a knowing and telling month for you in many ways.

A line in the heart touching video posted, most certainly is a loving description of you dear Gail, "...spirit grow bold for what you are called to..." You have beckoned well to the call of your knowing soul, ever "bold" in your shared grace.

Congratulations on all counts... Blessings and love to you and yours, the child to be, along with an extra hug for your mother... gifted we are by all you so openly share and make ours.

Rose Marie

Stephanie said...

Hi Gail-
Wow...I am so glad I found your blog.
Your family's stories are so rich with soulful moments in which your search for meaning inspired me.
I too am a counselor. I'm in private practice now but worked for a number of years in hospice work, supporting the children of our dying patients. You family, esp your sister has suffered so much loss. My heart aches for her but your family sounds resilient in the face of unbearable pain.
My Mom passed away 7 yrs ago almost and seeing your Mom made me smile.
I am writing a memoir in which I write about how firewood and our fireplaces always created such a warm sense of security for me in my childhood.
Finally you dear daughter Kristie. Good for you being able to shift where you were at first. I have a twin sister with whom my family had a very similar relationship. For years my family supported her and my niece and finally-after lots of therapy for all of us-she is married now and on her own-doing very, very well.
You sound like a wonderful Mom and daughter and sister.
Bless ya, Gail.

Wonderingsoul said...

Just read your post Gail and hae been so touched by your story.
I'm so so so pleased that you could turn it around... that God answered your desperate prayer and actually instilled wonder and joy where there was pain and despair.
Thank you for sharing the pics. It's so nice to see who you are writing about! Brings it to life.

Gail said...


So nice to see you and I SO appreciate your warm, kind comment to me. And yes, for a time I did feel desperate, - desperate to make it all be not so - and then with an open and loving heart I trusted and I knew, really knew that all was exactly as it should be and I felt so free to celebrate.

Love to you

Gail said...


I am so happy you found me too, and I will go over to your place soon. :-) Thank you SO much for your wise, understanding and loving words to me.
I admire your ability to work in hospice AND I am sure that those fortunate to have you along their life's journey in your private practice are being well served.

I am glad my Mom made you smile. She is SO precious. And yes, my sister has lost so much - sometimes I don't know where her grief ends and mine begins - we are very close.

I love the concept of a memoir about wood and fire places and family all blending. :-)

And yes, Kristie- my first born. I am so happy that my heart was open and able to hear her heart.

It is SO nice to meet you and I look forward to our developing friendship.

Love to you

Gail said...


I so love how you write in rhythm and with such wisdom and beauty and command of language, expression and depth.

And yes, mo Mom is SO precious and delightful. New life, older life, family bonds through births and deaths, tradition and wood fire warmth - simple meals and wine enjoyed - we come together and love, enjoy and celebrate, honor all that is, was and will be.

Love to you my friend

Whitemist said...

You asked about lamb marinades -
My favorite is a fairly traditional Greek one with several variations.
lemon juice - to cut the cat
mint - fresh or dried. dried with soak up juices and give flavor, fresh will have more flavor.
garlic - I prefer whole cloves and cut into the raw lamb and stick the clove into it. The garlic flavor is infused into the meat. I use as many cloves as is possible.
The twists are to use white wine with lemon juice (1 cup wine to half a cup lemon juice)
or to juice a sweet red wine (Port works and as I mentioned, I used a sweet vermouth) The smell before cooking is strange, but the flavors while cooking and eating are wonderful.
Some Greeks will add oregano instead of mint or with the mint. I prefer not to mix the flavors so it is either or.
Some English cooks (no jokes about English cooks here) will use Rosemary instead or mint or oregano. I think Rosemary is very strong and do not use it for cooking, but I love it around the house.
They also will serve lamb with a mint jelly. The sweet is a nice twist. I have used an orange glaze with mint for a very different effect.
The best way to cook is to slow roast in an oven or on a barbecue.
There you have my take on it.

Gail said...

Hi Joey-
I am going to copy your recipe and try it. thank you SO much -

Love to you and have a great weekend -

Tricia said...

I just mis-read your profile and thought it said, "playing wild drums." Sounds like a good thing to do on a cloudy Saturday afternoon

Gail said...


absolutely, "playing wild drums" or playing drums wildly - great fun on a rainy Saturday, indeed.

Love you girl

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord said...

Wow, Gail, that's an incredible turnaround that you had; thank you for sharing it with us.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I read the part about your daughter and your knee-jerk reaction to the news was with relation to those old tracks we all have in our brains --- the tracks of conditioned behaviors or beliefs that typically hurt, and that we need to hop out of and lay down new tracks. You did that in your way. You were able to have a new reaction - one that was loving, compassionate (to both you and your daughter) - and I'm in awe.

I believe we're being asked right now - in this year, and season - to abandon the old ways we've been so used to. It's a new world that awaits us, as light bearers, and Gail you're on the leading edge.

~ Peace & love to you ~

Gail said...


Thank you so much - I love the idea you shared about "old tracks" and new tracks - wow! and light-bearers- yes, I so believe that. I feel so much better in this 'light' place of love .
so nice to see you
love Gail

-andy said...

Nice, Gail. (OK, so I'm British - we like understatement) :-)

Have corrected the small font now.....

Andy said...

Gail, still getting used to the new computer so it didn't have my name or link. Don't know if you can correct it or not.....

Comrade Kevin said...


Gail said...

Hi Kevin,

"thanks" :-)

Love Gail

jackie said...

What a wonderful story, Gail! Thank you for sharing. If you dig around in my blog you'll find something almost similar happened in my life.. In the form of a transformation.. And how babies can be the catalyst for that. (I'm a never married single mom, who planned to place her baby for adoption for 8 months. I thought I wasn't ready and I thought I wasn't mommy material. Then I changed my mind. And NOT BECAUSE my mom had anything to do with it. Anyway.. I've come to learn that babies are God's way of saying.. The World Should Go On... I am happy for you. The next thing I learned a couple of years later.. was about grand parents! Yikes! All the cupcakes the baby can eat, and hundred dollar Easter dresses. Lordy!

Gail said...


"Thank you" for sharing your truth about your baby - wow - and yes, babies are proof that 'life goes on'...Amen.

Love to you

Teresa said...

Hello Gail,
What can I say? So much wisdom, and happiness for you, and you really acted graciously with your daughter. I loved your post today, it was so well written, and I felt your smiles all the way from Canada! ((((Blessings to you and the new grandbaby)))) T

Gail said...


Thank you so much for your kinf words to me and the congratulations too. A new life!!! :-) I am so glad my post made you smile. :-)

Love Gail'

giggles said...

Well, good on ya, girlfriend!! And ...congratulations!

Gail said...


"Thanks"!!! :-)

Love you