December 1 Sunset Glory

my photography, nature No Comments »

Sunset Over Horsetooth Mountain, Fort Collins

Geese Sail the Sunset

Geese & Plant Life Mirror

 

 

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The Memory Power of a Chocolate Hostess Cupcake

current events, essay, non-fiction No Comments »

Just this morning, I am grateful for my friend Dee Meyer, again ~ we were on hold for a conference call, when we started discussing Hostess possibly going out of business…then we chatted about the fact that as adults we cannot remember buying twinkies, ho-hos, snoballs, etc. It was then that I shared a powerful memory I have as a child and Hostess Cupcakes.

I was 8 years old when my biological father took just me to Sunday Mass on this particular Sunday. After Mass, we went over to a drug store breakfast counter. Daddy ordered us both coffee (mine mostly milk). I was on cloud nine to have my father all to myself (I was the oldest of four children at that time.) My father asked me what I’d like for breakfast. I wanted the package of the chocolate Hostess cupcakes (my mother would have never approved of this choice~love you, mom, despite the lack of junk food in my life :) ). While waiting for cupcakes to arrive, my father held open the newspaper and I modeled his behavior by opening the comics. The cupcakes arrived and my father asked me if he could have one. To which I said, “No. I want to take the other in my lunchbox tomorrow.”

Four months later my father died from a 9 year battle with cancer. That morning, when the news finally sunk in that my father was dead, I ran to my mother, “I’d do anything to give Daddy that cupcake.” For years, I had that thought.

Well, as Dee and I continued to chat on this phone conference where no one else ever showed up…Dee said, “It’s never too late. Put one of those cupcakes on his grave.”

“Oh my God, Dee. I’ve never thought about that. Thank you.”

Seriously, Dee, thank you…

And I learned some years back that my father was not sitting on a cloud judging me, but at the same time, this offering of the cupcake to him feels like a wonderful healing gesture.

Ah the beauty of a good friend and a conference call where no one showed up but that good friend ♥

nannette rogers kennedy
November 21, 2012

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Fifty Sutchers of Gratitude

non-fiction, thoughts No Comments »

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul~Henry Ward Beecher

Thanks to everyone who has been sending prayers and thoughts our way. As some of you know my 17 year old son, Casey, was riding his bicycle to work on Friday morning and was hit by a car. The great news is that Casey will make a full recovery. He knows how blessed he is to be alive, have his brain still in order and that he has not lost any limbs and has no spinal injury. He has over 50 stitches in his face, two teeth on the upper right side of his face are jammed up into his cheek bone, which broke the cheek bone, he has a concussion, his left knee is seriously bruised, and he is fairly well covered with road rash from head to toe.

The accident was actually Casey’s fault and the man that hit him was only going 15 miles an hour (another thing for which to be grateful). The man that hit Casey came to the hospital during the 8 hours of emergency room treatment to make sure Casey was doing ok. Casey managed to tell me that he wanted to hug the man for not leaving the scene of the accident. I met the man, who had tears in his eyes, while standing in the emergency room waiting area. I told him that Casey was going to be fine and that Casey wanted to give him a hug, but that I’d have to deliver the hug. I hugged the man and we both cried….

While this event has been an extraordinary ordeal, Casey, myself and the rest of our family are very aware of how blessed we are. We are very grateful for all the ongoing prayers….thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you God.

And thank you, Dee Meyer for helping me keep people updated ♥

Much love and gratitude,
nannette, Casey and family

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Waking

poetry No Comments »

Another winter early morning
cold and steel-gray over
what cannot yet be seen.
Steaming black coffee
sends fingerlings
of aroma to my senses
when suddenly the fire
on the horizon paints
the awe of the morning
announcing all the glory
of the new day~

nannette kennedy
January 10, 2012

Photo and location unattributed

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My Mother’s Last Gift

essay, non-fiction 3 Comments »

Seven years ago today, my mother, best friend to her children, great friend to many, a star in the political world, a teacher and a writer, lay in a hospital bed surrounded by her children. Many a time during the last few months of her life, she would say, “Don’t hold a death watch for me. I will NOT die while you kids are in the room.” All of us kids rolled our eyes at this comment every time she made it. After all she was our mother and we were NOT leaving her alone.

On that morning in 2004 the Hospice nurses came into the room and assessed my mother’s condition. “Your mother has a good two weeks before she goes. There are signs of when the time is near and those signs are not evident. So if you all wouldn’t mind leaving the room while we sponge bathe her and change her night gown, that would be good. Give us ten minutes.”

All of us went to the coffee shop and sat in an outdoor courtyard. Within one minute of us sitting down, our cell phones started ringing: we were to return to my mother’s room immediately.

We ran through the hospital back to my mother’s room where one of the Hospice nurses informed us that our mother had just taken her last breath. Mom was right. She did NOT make her grand exit from this earth with us all looking on.

Mom, you always were a woman of your word~for this and a lifetime of many other kind and loving acts, we are all so grateful and blessed. And given the opportunity, we will choose you again.

With all our love,
nannette, ben, kellie, jennifer, amy, siobhan and tony

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By Chance

art, non-fiction, poetry 2 Comments »

This poem tells the true story of my father and my brother….and how one of my father’s paintings (he was a watercolor artist) found its way back to our family many years after my father’s death.

By Chance

This time
down in the basement
not far from the washer and dryer,
stacks of boxed Christmas ornaments,
a table filled with fly tying materials,
and shelves of things forgotten,
the son’s father allowed him to watch
and listen. The boy was seven.
He sat high near the work table,
next to where his father stood
as he swathed the rough textured Fabriano
with pale colors of moving water.
This will be the ocean, he’d said. Then he began
his vibrato whistle, like that of a wood-wind solo.
Pensieroso.

He whistled as the sable bristles,
an extension of his own long fingers,
dipped and twisted into the swirls
of thick titanium white, aquamarine,
emerald green, and ultramarine blue
on his pallet.
The son’s eyes followed
the brush’s movements while
his father created
an ethereal seascape for someone
who did not yet know
that by chance he’d see it,
have it speak to him,
make an offer
and carry it into his home—
a gift.

Azure liquid leaked from a sponge
his father wrung. He blotted in shadows
from the ocean up to the edge
of the masking taped paper
and then wisped thin lines of black
out lining the upper part of the indigo
and violet shadows
and the son watched
the dark run
into clouds.

Several more strokes
and a wooden weathered boat
tethered to a mooring buoy
emerged on the paper. Now he whistled
a shanty, as he worked
the impression of the rig.
A burnt sienna mast appeared and rose
into the overcast sky,
and then a loosely furled sail.
The father knew then what the son did not
and carefully drew
the brush from left to right,
to the stern. The father stirred
the brush in an old
peanut butter jar
full of blue-green water, whipped
moisture from it, set it down. He stepped away,
reached for an angular bowled pipe,
tapped tobacco, lit a match
drew in the smoke. The line of his
back tilted away
from the art and he ran
the pipe’s mouth piece across
his lips. He returned the pipe to its rest
and chose a finer brush, held it and waved
it like a conductor’s wand
through the air. He punctuated
the motion into white,
then black, then to the paper. This is a gull,
he said, and dipped again into the black
for the bird’s eye. The vibrato
in his whistle began
once more as a stiffer brush met
with a soft, washed-out yellow. Yellow bled out and away
from the sea bird, that stretched his feet
to light atop the mast.
In staccato fashion the brush dabbed in barnacles,
moss, sea foam, rippled reflections.
It’s magic, the son said.
Spirit, said the father.
Art is from God.

* * * * *

Thirty-three summers after
his father sold the painting
thirty-three summers after
his father died,
the son stood inside the frame
shop. Non-glare glass shards, soft
leaded pencils, gray gum
erasers, a rainbow
of matting scraps, metal squares,
velvety polishing cloths, Exacto knives,
moulding lengths, coils of wire, minute
brads, and powdery sawdust surrounded him.

Bells rang at the door—
unoiled hinges echoed its opening. A small
round, older man entered,
and in both hands he carried a large
paper wrapped painting.
Good morning, the son said.
The man placed the painting
on the counter, tore away the paper. It
means a great deal to me, the man said as he turned
it toward the son. Someone I loved
gave this to me. The man’s eyes
didn’t look away
from the art.
The son’s eyes focused
on a sea gull,
the yellow bleeding out and away
from it. The son ran
his hand down the glass
as though scanning prose and
rested his forefinger to the right
of the artist’s signature.
This is my father’s
work, said the son.
I sat next to him when he painted it. The man’s
eyes met with the son’s. He used to whistle,
said the son.

The man left the painting
for a new frame. The son
spoke to his mother, his sisters.
Come see, he said. The mother
set her hand near the name. The sisters
touched the frame.
The son stood back and realized
the sea. It is the ocean.
He watched and listened.

Two weeks passed and the son
called the man. I finished the frame,
said the son. The bells rang
at the door—the hinges now oiled
made no sound. The man stood back from
the painting, the ocean, the boat, the gull.
Your father would be happy, he said. The man
opened a manila envelope and handed the son
papers. This is a copy
of my will. The painting
will return to you one day. The son
did not meet eyes
with the man. Black type bled
through the yellow
highlighter—the son and the father’s name. The son
shook the man’s hand
and nodded. The son did not hear the bells
as the man closed
the door behind him.

Three days later the man
appeared again, carrying
a large paper wrapped painting.
This painting
belongs with you, the man said.
No need to wait
until I die.

Nannette Rogers Kennedy
November 17, 2002

This is the painting the man returned to my brother ~ it hangs in our home.

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Miracle~Out of Kyrgyzstan

essay No Comments »

CIMG2289Two weeks ago my oldest son’s girlfriend flew with the Peace Corps to Kyrgyzstan to stay for two years. Over the last week my son’s girlfriend has been feeling very uneasy about being in Kyrgyzstan, not feeling well and sensing that she wanted to come home to the United States. Two nights ago she spoke with her supervisor and said she wanted to return home. Last night (US time), my son’s girlfriend arrived in Istanbul, Turkey from Kyrgyzstan. While those of us in the US slept last night, violence broke out in Kyrgyzstan in the town where my son’s girlfriend had been and many people were killed and hundred’s injured. My son’s girlfriend is presently in the air on her way home to Colorado where she will land at 8pm this evening. Nothing happens without reason.

While I’m saddened by the loss of life in Kyrgyzstan, I am so grateful that my son’s girlfriend is safe.

Gratitude

Now watch the video of my son, Michael, picking up Brandie, his girlfriend from the airport~Happy Ending out of Kyrgyzstan

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Putting Away Christmas

essay, non-fiction 4 Comments »

red bowWhat’s with those of who hesitate, drag our feet, nearly refuse to “put away” Christmas?

I’m a member of this group.  And as I drove up to the store last night, I saw several homes remaining in ornamental light mode.  Some with just a tree or two in the yard lit, others “loudly” announcing Christmas with nativity scenes, Santa, reindeer, snowmen.  We don’t want the holiday feeling to go away.

My Christmas tree still holds all of its regalia in its branches.  A couple of days ago a friend let me know that she had just “unplugged” the lights on her tree ~ a start, she said.  Promptly, I walked into my dining room and took down the wreath.  I put away a wintry holiday snow globe yesterday.  Today I will begin to box up the ornaments. This got me to thinking that “dedecorating” might feel better as a process for people like us.

When most of us decorate, we set aside one day and transform our homes with not only nativity scenes, the tree, and endless stands of lights, but also with wreathes, mistletoe, garland, red ribbons, candles and gingerbread houses.  Within a matter of hours our homes change into our own personal magical kingdoms.  The air is different, the energy dances, sweet smells waft from our kitchens and smiles grow broader across our faces.

Of course if we leave up all the décor year round, then we would get used to it and the “magic” would fade.  But what if we systematically took down the decorations a little bit at a time so as to reacclimate into non holiday mode?  Well, I’ll keep you posted, because that is what we are doing this year.  The family has decided to do a little putting away each day instead of seeing the dramatic stark disappearance of the season.

The question remains though: How do we stay living in the season throughout the year?  Hark! I think the herald angels continue to sing.  Don’t store away your kindness, your sense of giving, love and gratitude with the décor in plastic tubs until next year.  I do, and have for the past several years left white lights (year round) outlining the large front window in my house~happy lights~happy reminder.

nannette

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New Year’s Eve is Like Every Other Night

essay, non-fiction 1 Comment »

2010New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

With great gratitude to all my friends and family for being part of my life this year, years before and years to come ~ for each one of you have brought me gifts that without, I would not be who I am.

Let this be the year that marks the beginning of real peace. Begin at home, then to take it to your neighbors and friends ~ if each us does this all the circles will overlap and we will see change in 2010 ~ every day is a holiday; every day is a new start. Get out of bed in the morning and greet the world with hope, love and peace ~ and every night be grateful for all that you have ~ and the hours in between learn to forgive ~ it is a double gift.

Happy New Year ~ love, nannette

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It’s a Wonderful Life

essay 31 Comments »

Dec 23 09 006If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

The journey of the holidays, the season of love, the start of a new year, the path of life is now. No matter what your particular tradition is, the energy is undeniable. If you are wrapping gifts, preparing a meal, building a fire, playing a game with your children, holding your partner’s hand, remember to open your heart and prepare to give and receive. As Yoda says, “Do or do not… there is no try.” Choose to do. These are the things of which memories are made. Make the memories good ones.

Pay attention to each precious moment, love all who come your way, live with purpose. Remember you are sacred and unique~ just as when Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, wishes he’d never born and Clarence the Angel grants him his wish, everything changes. Each moment is extraordinary. Savor these small increments of your wonderful life. Without you in the mix, nothing remains the same.

Remember, you are always on the journey of the holidays, the season of love, the path of life. It is always now ~Live in the season~

I am grateful for my followers on twitter, my friends on facebook, and all my family & friends.

Love & peace, nannette

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