Monday, May 30, 2011

Dandelions---what's on my mind and in my heart today.

Sometimes the feeling to write what's on my mind  is too strong and it won't go away until
I put it down.

 Today was one of those times.

Not long ago I was shopping at Target in Twin Falls. A lot of the time when I go,
I seem to go on the day that the care facilities for the people with mental disabilities bring their residents shopping.

As a mother of a child with a severe mental disability that is obvious the minute you see my son,
I am always interested in the way that the public interacts with them.
Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, and sometimes I'm disappointed.

I am always amazed at how young people seem to view them as just another shopper, while the generations that didn't go to school with a person with a mental impairment because most were housed in a state run institution don't seem to know how to act around them.
Some seem uncomfortable, others avoid the situation all together by taking another route in the store, and some are simply wonderful and warm and take the time to say hello or nod and smile at the individual.

Several years ago I was appointed by the governor of Idaho to be on a state council for children with disabilities as a parent representative. I served alongside educators, heath care professionals, and state representatives who's job it was to better the lives of those Idahoans with mental and physical disabilities.

We worked to ensure that their rights as citizens were protected and that they received those 
services that would enable them to thrive in our state and in our country and in our world. 

My dreams were huge then. I saw a world that would embrace them and love them
the way I did my son. I have seen miracles happen in my community because my son was able to attend a public school. I watched the barriers come down with the inclusion of my son, who at the time was the only child with any kind of disability in our town of then 400 souls.

Children can be so understanding once the know the 'whys' of differences. Several years that Landon attended school, some of the teachers would have me come into their classrooms when the new year began and tell the little ones a few things about Landon and what made him different than them.

I told them about his likes and his dislikes. I would explain little things that they could understand like why he drooled and why he would stare at the back of his hand when someone would talk to him. I told them that his favorite food was tater tots and that he didn't like meat. They 'got' it, they 'got' him!

The day that Landon graduated, he got a standing ovation from the entire school K-12. Dale and I were asked to say a few words at that time. I told the student body how thankful I was to them for being so respectful and protective of Landon. I told them that when I was told by our doctors that Landon would never be as other children were, my biggest fear had been that he would not be valued as a person. That he would be seen like a couple of the doctors who had diagnosed him saw him. A child that wouldn't be worth our trouble to raise. That would drain the energy we should be using to care for our other five children at home. I thanked the students for seeing beyond what is thought of as normal behavior and seeing the person. The person that had the right to have friends and feel loved and valued by his peers. 

Sometimes when I see a stand of dandelions, I wonder if this is how some
 view people with mental impairments.

A substandard flower in God's garden. 

I am now thankful for the people that were put in my path when I was younger that I believe
helped prepare me to become Landon's mother.

As a child growing up in the city of Boise, I remember a little girl on our block
who had a severe disability. I also remember how devoted and loving her mother seemed to be towards 
her, and that made a big impact on me. I never went and said hello to her or her mother.
I never asked her mother what her little girl liked to do or what her favorite food was. 

You see...I saw her as a dandelion because she couldn't do the things I could do.

I also remember riding the the bus to school with a boy who had been severely burned and was missing
his ears and nose and eyelids. I don't think he was in my life by accident, I believe he was in my life to prepare me. I would sit near him on the bus and say goodbye to him when we got to his stop.
I went to high school with a boy who had cerebral palsy. He was a kind boy, who walked with a gate that I found odd.
But by this time I was starting to see them as me,
 more the same than different.
Not dandelions at all.

I believe that they were put in my life for a reason.

I was being prepared for the hardest challenge of my life.
My own beautiful flower.
My own 'little different', but more 'the same'.

In the beginning, his syndrome wasn't obvious, but as he aged and didn't meet milestones, it became
heartbreakingly obvious that he would have severe impairments in both body and mind.
He started to look different and when he did, people would stare. Most people don't mean to be unkind.
Some do.

I have had so many...

'kids like those'
'how long is he going to live?'
'there are places for people like that' (mostly doctors) a few friends))
'you must be a saint' (I assure you...a saint I ain't)
and I could go on, but won't because even with some of the hurtful comments I have had spoken to me,
I understand that most have never been said to cause me pain.

It is because of lack of understanding. 
Maybe they thought of my son as a dandelion like I did the little girl on my
block when I was growing up.

There have been hard times. There have been things I would never
ever want to live through again.
There are things I can't even think about to this day or I would start crying and never stop.

But after a time of grieving
comes the gift!

I have likened this experience to hiking a mountain trail. A rough trail. A trail not traveled by many.
 And along this trail, in the distance, is a highway.
On the highway are many, many people going about life at the speed of light.
I am picking along the trail, moving brush and rocks as I need to.
Sometimes I get so tired I want to turn back.
 Sometimes I want so badly to make my way to the highway and catch a ride far away from where I am.

But along this trail is beauty everywhere I look. Beauty that takes your breath away.
 Beauty that so few get to see unless you travel slow and look hard to take it all in.
 Things that I would miss if I were on the highway.
Things I wouldn't feel if I weren't on the narrow, rough trail.
 When I get tired and discouraged I think of all the others that are on this trail with me.
I am not alone. I am not the only person traveling this rocky yet beautiful path.
I am traveling this road with my son. I am envisioning the person he will be when we pass from this life.
I think of him taking me in his arms and thanking me for loving him, for caring for him, for giving him life,
and for thinking of him as the most beautiful flower in my garden.
Not a dandelion at all!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

White Wednesday...

I thought today I would join Kathleen at Faded Charm for White Wednesday.
Can you believe that this is Kathleen's 100th White Wednesday post???
White Wednesday has been such a huge success and has brought many a 'white lover' together
because of it.

I want to congratulate Kathleen on such an inspired party theme.
It has been such a pleasure to take part in it over the past two years.

Some of the whites residing at my house.

I collect little vintage books. Especially books in these neutral shades.

I haven't read these yet, but I will!
I'm especially anxious to read the Little Lame Prince.
Intriguing title, don't you think?

Jars of any kind are always on my mind when I go shopping.
The bottles shown here are not vintage of course, but I love them just the same.
Don't you love going to an auction or yard sale and finding a box of bottles
for hardly anything at all?

Speaking of-
I went to an auction on Saturday and came home with a few treasures.
I don't get to go to many auctions, in fact, this was only the second auction
that I have ever bid on anything.
I've gone to many an auction with my husband, but few that sale anything I would be interested in.
I just don't have any use for a running gear off an old hay wagon.
(but evidently hubs does)

I did come home with the coolest old cast iron cook stove with some beautiful
scrolly detail on it to use for a planter on the porch.
It doesn't have it's top, so it will be perfect!

I caught Jackson on my bed the other day and he looked so comfy I had to get a shot of him.

He was sleeping so hard he didn't even stir when I took them.

I sure do love this kitty!!!

And now...
for the best part!

I won two giveaways last month and had to share my wins today.
(since they go so well with the the WW theme)
I received this beautiful package from Marie at Lost Bird Studio
and inside were the prettiest things you have ever seen.

Don't you love how she wrapped this???

I am so excited to now own one of her beautiful charms!

This heart stole my own as soon as I unwrapped it!
Isn't it gorgeous???

this tag has my name written all over it, don't you think?

Such a beautiful piece of artwork Marie.

I love every detail!

All Marie's work is gorgeous. I have followed her for a long time and enjoy
seeing all the many things she creates.

The second giveaway I won was over at Debra's Capers of the Vintage Vixens.
Debra has a blog party called Bloggers' Bodega.
It is such an awesome get together of bloggers and I love going down the list when I can
to see all that there is out there. So many treasures to be had!  

I was lucky enough to win this pretty little shoe from Lynn at The Vintage Nest.

Love, love, love it!!!

Look at this!
It just makes me smile every time I see it!

Fit for a queen!
Thank you so much Debra and Lynn!

If you have the chance to go to Kathleen's, you will enjoy looking through the links of all the amazing bloggers that share their whites with us.

Who knew white could be so colorful!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grand opening for a beautiful new store and collage for my mom

Do you remember the store I posted about awhile ago called Warehouse Beautiful?

They are having their Grand Opening this weekend.
This is truly an amazing shop filled to the brim with all kinds of
treasures. I remember walking in and literally being blown away by the beauty of it.

I wanted to let any of my readers who live in the Boise area about it
in case you wanted to see it for yourself.

This Grand Opening includes all the shops located in what is called
the Warehouse District.

Warehouse Beautiful, Red Rooster Annex,
Garden Gate Antiques, Gatherings at the School,
Betty Lou's Estate Sale

118 37th Street
off Chinden between Orchard and Curtis
Friday May 13th
Saturday May14th

A portion of the sales of this grand opening will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma
My daughter Ember is participating in the Pacific Crest Triathlon on June 26th
 in honor of my sister-in-law who passed away in October from leukemia.
Her web page is

I am hoping that I can go, but even if I miss the grand opening, this is a shop I will be visiting
every time I make the trip to Boise.


I am so happy to be posting today. I have missed it since Easter.
I haven't had the opportunity to blog lately because of some events
that have kept me from the computer.
So today I am going to sit here all day and get caught up with some of my friends here.
It is only 47 degrees out here today and rainy, so it is the perfect opportunity.
Later this week we are actually going to have some warm days,
so I know that I will be in the garden doing some clean-up.

Can you believe that my forsythia still haven't bloomed and that my lilacs are
still in tight little buds???
Not a lot to post about on the garden blog yet, that's for sure!


I am so ready to plant these pretty red thrifts that I found at the nursery the other day.
I also bought some hollyhocks to plant by the shed.
I am getting that bed ready right now, but wanted to paint the shed first.
The weather hasn't wanted to cooperate with me on that plan however.

So I thought I would do a little photo shoot with the Thrift while I wait to put them in the ground.
It has been so hard for me to stay away from the nurseries and garden centers this Spring.
I am always tempted to push my growing season here by buying my annuals for pots and vegetables too
early and then have them die due to frost damage. I never remember to cover them with frost cloth
when I should.

I wanted to show you a fabric collage I made for my mom for Mother's Day.
As my mom gets older it becomes increasingly difficult to decide what to give her as gifts.
This year I thought that a collage would be fun to put together for her.
I used a photo that my father took of her soon after they were married.

I am new to collaging with fabric, and so it takes me ages to make these, and I have so
a lot to learn and much room for improvement.

It takes me days (weeks really) to choose the picture I want to use.

Then it takes me days to decide what I want to use as my fabrics.
Then it takes me forever to do the layering.
This one I kept pretty simple and I like how it turned out.
Get a look at those legs, will ya!!!!

I have so many great pictures of my mom, so I know that I will be making a lot more collages
of her as the subject.

I love using old photos of my own family for collages.
We have so many great ancestral pictures in my family.
My dad had a darkroom in our home when I was young and copied old family
pictures for people.
 I remember the days spent in his darkroom as the pictures
would develop from plain white sheets to the most wonderful images
of people's families.
My father was seldom without his camera, so we have sooo
many wonderful pictures of us as children.
 His favorite subject was my mother of course.

Mom seemed to like her gift, but not nearly as much  I loved making it for her!

I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day!
Wishing you all a lovely week ahead too.

big hugs from here!