Sunday, November 30, 2008

~Hope For A Cure~

The "Gifts From the Heart Boutique", that I participated in last Sunday was a huge success. Its proceeds benefit the "Drew's Beads" program at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital Cancer Center. It raised $11, 978.65.... up from last that this wonderful program can continue another year. Read more about it here. I was honored to be a part of such a worthwhile benefit.

A huge thank you to all my customers who graciously bought raffle tickets, decorative bags made by the children in cancer treatment, and their generous donations. I saw many old customers....and met a whole lot of new ones.

The Cheeky Monkeys were a GREAT hit!! There were lots of "Oh my God.....look at those monkeys!". I'm happy to report that they are happily living in new homes scattered around Ohio! I know they'll make a lot of people smile!

And's to next year's benefit....and to the hope that there will be a cure, so that fewer children and adults suffer and die from this horrific disease.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

~To Grandmother's House We Go~

Over the river and thru the woods,
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!
Over the river and thru the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!
Over the river and thru the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

And now I'M the grandmother! I don't feel old enough to be a grandmother....but a grandmother I am. For years I traveled to my kids' 'grandmothers' houses for Thanksgiving. Now, the kids travel 'over the river and through the woods' to our house.....where we're waiting with open arms, lots of turkey, and much love.

From all of us at RoseCreekCottage:
May you have a Blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

~Cheeky Monkeys~

***PLEASE NOTE: There has been a lot of downloading of the pics of my monkeys. These are my copyrighted designs and are the property of RoseCreekCottage Studios.***11-22-08 C. Buehner

I love these kinds of days: I'm 'snowed in' here in the Snowbelt. We got zonkered with about 8 inches of snow. Many schools are closed. But...I was up and in my studio at 6:30 because I'm excited about my newest design: Cheeky Monkeys! They are adorable. Each one is a One-of-A-Kind. They're dressed in vintage sweaters, and they're guaranteed to melt your heart!

I have a huge show on Sunday called Gifts From the Heart Holiday Boutique. It's a great way to 'give back' for all the gifts I have in my life. It benefits the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital Cancer Center. This special program of courage is for children diagnosed with cancer. It was named after Drew Hoty Bliss who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and was a graduate of St. Edward's High School. Drew fought a brave, hard battle for nearly all of his life, but sadly lost his battle with cancer in March 2002. The bead program was initiated in 2004 with the support of funds raised by the 2003 boutique and a financial contribution from Drew's family.

The mission of the boutique is keep the bead program and the legacy of Drew alive. Each child receives a strand on which they string special ceramic beads with each bead having a different significance for whatever they endure in their cancer treatment (ie. blood transfusions, radiation treatments, bone marrow transfusions, scans, bad/horrible days, hospital stays, their birthday, even remissions, etc.). The beads provide a concrete way to record a child's journey from the time of cancer diagnosis through treatment. The bead program is an opportunity for these young patients to tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of the many steps throughout the course of treatment. We applaud them for their courage and value the many lessons they teach us as they proceed toward their path of survivorship.

Over 250 children and their families have benefited from this program to date! The boutique and basket raffle is the sole funding agent to keep this program alive. The 2007 boutique and basket raffle raised nearly $10,000.00! So....if you're in the NE Ohio area, please stop by. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, November 17, 2008

~First Snowfall~

The first snowfall of the year. I revel in it. Looking out the back windows each winter morning here in the Snowbelt, I become a little girl again. It's like unwrapping a new present each day. It brings back memories of a long-ago childhood.

It brings back leggings and snowsuits, red rubber boots, those itchy argyle woolen mittens...and those hats. The ones with the flaps that covered your ears. The ones with the silly pom-poms on top. I remember my dad taking us sled riding. The titillating fear-and-excitement of speeding down the snow-covered hill and rolling off the sled at the bottom. The gleeful laughing of my siblings as we trudged back up the hill dragging our wooden sleds so it could happen all over again.

I remember the hot chocolate that mom had waiting for us, afterwards, with the huge marshmellow melting into a sweet, sugary ooze. And that first sip. It meant home. Warmth. Love.

I remember 'Snow Days'.... those treasured days-off-from-school with nothing to do but play in the snow til you couldn't feel your nose, and coming back in to the aroma of Campbell's Tomato soup with little oyster crackers floating around the surface til they were soft and mushy. 'Hmmmm hmmm good' just like the commercial said. I remember coloring books and the smell of the waxy crayons.The scent of the little pots of oil paints in my paint-by-number sets with their pictures with a zillion little numbered pieces. My mom in her apron, peeling carrots at the sink as she stood in our kitschy chartreuse kitchen. One smell of her Beef Stew let you know what it was like to be cozy. Safe. Loved.

I remember footed pajamas that zipped up the front. Downy quilts. Waking up to the aroma of hot coffee 'perculating' on the stove. And hot, old-fashioned Quaker Oatmeal. No 'instant' back then. The REAL thing.

It brings back the anticipation of Christmas. Of counting the days. The threats of "You'd better behave or Santa's going not going to bring you anything but coal, Carol Ann!". It brings back riding the 'rapid transit' downtown to the Higbee's department store to wait in long lines to see the 'real' Santa Claus. I wore a lipstick red wool coat trimmed with black velvet. It had a matching hat. My mother bought it for me with the money she made doing alterations. I loved that coat. I remember lunch afterwards at the Silver Grille, where they brought you a miniature cardboard stove with a small chicken pot pie inside. I can still taste it.

And it brings back the first time each of my boys saw snow. The magical twinkle in their eyes as I prayed they would feel that magic again a million more times in their lives.

And so, the snow that many people 'dread' with a passion that causes them to flee to warmer climates, isn't an emotion I can relate to. Ever. I love every moment of it. It's part of me. My childhood. Who I am. It's home. Comfort. Love.

I wish you happy comforting thoughts of love. And home. Happy Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

~FingerPrints Friday~

There's a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called, Fingerprints, that starts:

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.

There were 635 in my high school graduation class…but I had a close-knit group of 11 girlfriends. Forty years later, all 11 us still get together every summer, although we are now scattered all over the United States.

We had a class reunion this past summer with a fabulous turnout. It was more fun than any of us could have imagined! This is the reunion committee…..and a few of those dear friends. (I’m the 6th from the left, in the black-and-white outfit) It’s so much fun to get together and remember the pep rallies, football games, school dances, pajama parties, boyfriends, ….lots of God's Fingerprints in those memories! I treasure them.

Stop by at Beki's blog for more Fingerprints.

Be sure to stop during your day today to think about the Fingerprints in your own life. The present ones….AND the past ones, too!

Make sure you look for God's Fingerprints in your travels today. Have a wonderfully memorable Friday....wherever you are in the world!

Monday, November 10, 2008

~Just An Ordinary Day~

It started out as an ordinary day. Or so I thought. I baked a pumpkin pie, took some to Mom at assisted living, and we shared it before going outside to enjoy the last of the unseasonably warm November day. As I wheeled her into the courtyard, a white-haired woman flagged us down, inviting us to sit with them. The woman, Irene, introduced herself and her friend, Mary. Like my Mother, Mary was wheelchair-bound, and had only lived there a month….which explained why we had never met her before. Irene explained that she had worked for a home-healthcare agency, and had taken care of Mary before it was necessary for Mary to live in the assisted living facility. A friendship had blossomed, and Irene continued to visit Mary a few times a week. I thought to myself that this Irene was a kind, sweet soul to do this. There was an obvious 20+ year age difference between them.

We chatted a bit, when Irene looked at me and said, “I don’t want to ‘freak’ you out, but there’s a man standing behind you”. I told her I wasn't. I was used it.

Irene continued, “He is tall, has a big smile on his face, and light brown hair”. I was elated. My father. It must be. I smell his cigarette smoke quite often, and I was sure this was him. She said, “He has on a brightly-colored flowered shirt. Like a Hawaiian shirt, but not with palm trees, just flowers.” My heart fell. No….that wasn’t my conservative, vee-necked sweater, shirt-and-tie, all-business father. My mother’s face fell. Was this women toying with us? Was she simply a whacko? Mom and I exchanged looks. My Mom is quite used to these kinds of experiences, too, as is my sister and my late brother. But we had our doubts about this new acquaintance. This stranger.

All-of-a-sudden, Irene stood up, and touched her eye. “Something’s wrong with his eye”, she said. I screamed, “Oh my God! It’s my FIL!”. Irene said she was sorry I was upset. I wasn’t upset. Just a bit disappointed and surprised. You see, my FIL had a glass eye. It had been shot out with a BB gun when he was a child. Not a ‘typical’ characteristic like height and hair color. And yes, he wore flowered shirts. Again….not a typical attire for a man living his entire life in the Midwest. But Mom and I were still skeptical. We said nothing, waiting for this woman…this ‘Irene’ to show us something more. Something we could be absolutely sure about.She continued, thrusting her tongue around her mouth and sniffing, “I’m tasting something strong. Like liquor. Whiskey, maybe. I don’t know. I’m not a ‘drinker’”. That meant little to me. My MIL was a recovered alcoholic, and I seldom saw my FIL drink. “He says to tell you it’s ‘C-C’”. Once again, this meant nothing to me. “He said he used to ‘sneak’ it”. Again….I didn’t know.

“He said to tell you he loved geraniums. They’re so bright. And they’re easy”. Well….there had been geraniums in their yard…but…..

Before we parted, she said that he wanted me to know that he intended to have another conversation with me, just he-and-I, one-on-one, before he died, but he never did. He wanted to know he was sorry it never happened, and was I okay with that. Yes…I understood that perfectly. In the 30+ years of my marriage, he and I had exactly TWO of the conversations he was speaking of. Two specific conversations that I loved him for. They were on the same subject. They were the only two times I ever remembered speaking solely with him. So, no…we never talked one-on-one again. I told Irene to tell him I understood. And I was okay.

Irene has had this ‘gift’ since she was five. At the age of 16, her family tried to have her ‘committed’, as they couldn’t understand why she talked about ‘seeing’ dead people. That was in the 50’s. The beginning of all the talk of ‘life-after-death’. Before the time of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ work on death and dying, the grieving process and out-of-the-body experiences. Yes…before John Edward came forward with his books and TV show, and before The Ghost Whisperer.

Irene asked if my husband was understanding of my ‘gift’. I told her that yes, he was. She said I was lucky. Her marriage had ended in divorce because of it. I shook my head. I felt her sadness.

We exchanged phone numbers, and plan to get together for lunch. I have a feeling it will be a long one!

As soon as I had a chance, I called my husband, and asked him if his dad had a favorite drink. “Yes….he drank Canadian Club. He called it his ‘CC’”. He snuck it so he wasn't drinking in front of my MIL. I asked him about the geraniums, but he didn’t know. I talked with my SIL, and asked if dad had a favorite garden plant. Without hesitation, she said, “Oh yeah. He LOVED geraniums. He said they gave SO much color, and were just ‘easy’ to plant”.

So, Dad, thank you. I could never be mad at you. And yes, I’m okay. Perfectly. And I know you are, too. Kiss Mom for me, 'kay?

This post won a Post of the Day award over at authorblog. Take a peak at the other winners for some wonderful reads!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

~Dancing With Mom~

Life was always a dance with her. A quick-step in the beginning of my life. She was always there. Standing firmly. Teaching me to take my first steps. She was there on my first day of kindergarten. Standing firmly. Waiting for me to come home. Always there.

Life became a fox-trot with the arrival of my two siblings. She was busier. The dance moved more quickly. There were carrots to peel, clothes to iron, pies to bake. She did it all. Always. She created a secure, happy childhood for her three children. Dancing quickly. Standing firmly.

She taught the three of us to dance quickly, too. Jitter-bugging our way through life. All three of us. Excelling. Striving for the best. Dancing faster and faster. Twirling and swirling our way with her watching us. Always. Ready to pick us up if we stumbled and fell. We faithfully followed her lead.

The dance took on a new rhythm when my brother, Dan, died. I didn’t think she’d ever dance again. And three months later, Dad passed away. Would any of us ever dance again? We did. The dance took on a meloncholy rhythm. A slow, sad two-step. Through broken bones. Surgeries. Chronic pain. Sometimes the dancing came to a halt. But it always began again. To much slower music.

Now with alzheimer’s riddling Mom’s body, the only way she can dance, is holding on to someone else. She barely hears the music anymore. You have to be very still to hear it. But it’s there.

So, I dance with her. Slowly. To a gentle, soft waltz. Swaying to the music. Lovingly. Still faithfully following her lead. Because, for now, it is as fast as she can dance. I am there for her. Standing firmly. Just like she was for me. Always.

This post won the Post Of the Day award at David's Authorblog.

Monday, November 3, 2008

~Home Again~

It's always good to return from vacation. The memories linger on...but home is best! Especially when you return to the glorious colors of fall! The photo on the left is what our street looked like when we arrived.

We had a wonderful time with our boys, Jackie, and the kids. Playing with Ella and Jackson always warms my heart. Stepping into their world and seeing the universe through their little eyes is something I find I carry with me even when they're not around.

Ella toddled into the ocean in spite of its cool temperatures. She tried her best to convince us that it was warm! I wish you could have seen her goosebumps. Nothing stops that little one! Jackson was content to sit and play in the sand.

Uncle Tom taught Ella to use chopsticks. She learned quickly that they were great utensils for ‘stabbing’ just about anything but soup and rice!

Her mom and dad enjoyed an evening out by themselves while grandma and grandpa and Uncle Tom babysat. They returned with beautiful earrings for her. As you can see, she loved them, refusing to take them off the rest of the week!

I finished another show before we left: The Nutcracker Sweets in Aurora. It was fabulous, and I’ll surely apply there again next year. The ladies of the church were wonderful, bringing me bags of ice for my ankles every 'hour-on-the-hour', because I fell in a hole on the way to my car on Friday nite. It was a dark, moonless nite, and I didn’t see the sewer hole in the grass as my friend Pat and I ran to make the light, crossing to the parking lot. Fortunately, I only sprained my ankles. The EMT’s and dr. in the ER were certain I’d broken them! So, it’s a gimpy lady here who limped down to the beach and now….to the studio! They say that time heals all things. I hope that goes for ankles, cause they REALLY hurt! I have a whole new compassion for the elderly with their canes, walkers and wheelchairs. We take so much for granted.

Fawn’s doing well, although he’s still walking on three legs. He and I are ‘gimpy’ together. He really looked at me strangely when he saw me on crutches that first nite!

So....I am hobbling back to the studio today....crutches and all. I have two more shows, and am still filling orders from the first one! I'm working on Santas this week. I know they don't mind that their 'creator' is a hobbling lady on way too much coffee, leftover Halloween candy and lots of Motrin!

Have a glorious November Week...wherever you are in the world~