Posted in Blogfest Entries, Life Writing, Saturday's Share..., Saturday's Share..., Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Stream of Consciousness Saturday’s Share: Being…

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life.

I’m trying something a little different, this week…I’m participating in Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the title for the rules….

Today’s prompt was to begin with a verb.  I chose “Being – one of my favorites, because so many people seem so interested in “Doing.”

Warning: This post may contain emotional triggers for some.

Elijah James, halfway through his life.

Being the mother of a child who died is never far from my mind. Two thriving children notwithstanding; at times like Mother’s Day, there are not enough hugs, and never enough years, to erase the indelible fact that there is another child who will never hug me, whose voice I will never hear, whom I never had the chance to know.

His life was cut off at twelve days, but whatever would have made him unique was already gone, leaving a newborn shell.

He was bigger than all the other babies in the NICU. Too big for an isolette; no need for an incubator for our full-term son. He was big and robust- and his brain was damaged beyond repair by the process of being borne from my body.

I watch his brother and sister grow, and I do what I can to fill their lives with love and joy. He would be almost eleven now, and he’d be closing in on my height. He would have, as they do, his own preferences, talents, aversions, and quirks. He might, as they do, remind me sometimes of myself, sometimes of my husband, sometimes of other family members…

And he would always be himself….

Except that he isn’t, because he’s not here. He’s been gone for many more days than he was alive-

And I still miss him. Even with all the joy and love in my life, I miss him. Who he might have been, the moments we would have had. His voice, his face that never grew old enough to smile, that spent most of those twelve days in a coma.

Tomorrow, I will revel in the love and sunshine brought by my living, loving, happy children…and, in the shadowed places of my soul, I will mourn the one who isn’t here – but always is, in my soul.


With Jeremiah and Annalise, September 2013.


What does Mother’s Day mean to you? IIs it a day you anticipate, or, like me, do you feel a hint of dread as the day approaches?  Do you have plans? Traditions? A desire to hide out for the day?  

I’d love to hear what’s on your minds -after all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share (On Sunday): Derby Day With My Girl


What joy looks like!

Welcome to a belated Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend.

Happy Saturday (Sunday)!

Today’s Shares were taken in 2009, during a trip to the historic Saratoga Race Course, which just happens to be almost around the corner from us.

Since I was a little girl, the first Saturday in May has meant one thing.

The Kentucky Derby.

In 1978, I watched Affirmed win…okay, I more than watched. I had a full-blown eight-year-old crush on that colt, and, when he went on to win the Preakness, and then the Belmont, I was as proud as if I’d somehow been involved in his Triple Crown success.

The next year, I watched a filly named Genuine Risk take on the field of boys – and win. While researching this post, I learned that she and Affirmed were half-siblings, sharing a sire.

The Derby remains close to my heart, for its heralding of spring, for the beauty and poetry of horses, for the tradition and the hope that another horse will do what hasn’t been done since Affirmed did it in 1978.

I’ve invited my kids to watch the Derby with me. “Smarty Jones did it!” Jeremiah crowed, as a toddler.

We all watched Barbaro win, and then, two weeks later, watched tragedy strike at the Preakness, and I was reminded that human avarice can lead to horrific consequences for these animals who don’t get a say in the matter, and who are so often seen as commodities instead of living beings.

The last few years, Annalise has been very interested in the Derby, and we’ve watched together. We watched Orb win, last year, and, when he didn’t win the Preakness, our Triple Crown dreams were dashed.

Yesterday, we watched a colt namedCalifornia Chrome run away with the race, white-stockinged legs graceful and powerful. He’s a horse with a story, as they all are. I was happy to see his owners and trainer scratch his head and talk sweetly to him. He’s clearly more than an investment, to them.

And I got to share these moments with my daughter, and remember being nine, and how my heart swelled when Regret made all those colts run through the dirt she kicked up with her girlish heels.

I don’t condone the profiteering aspects of modern horse racing – but I love my daughter, and that time spent with her is its own type of magic. We have conversations about how animals (and people) are, too often mistreated…but these few minutes are for sharing beauty, majesty, and the eternal hope of a perfect fairy tale ending…


Do you have your own Derby memories? Other springtime traditions that have carried on from childhood to adulthood? Things you delighted in as a child, that now you get to see anew through your childrens’ eyes?

I’d love to hear about your version of May magic! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Saturday's Share..., Story a Day May Challenge

Saturday’s Share: An Enterprising May!

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share is the scale model of the starship Enterprise (Designation NCC-1701), from the original Star Trek television series, which aired its last new episode a mere month and a half before I was born.

I took this photo myself, in 2008, at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. We were there as Jeremiah’s 7th birthday gift. He’d heard of the museum, and wanted to go, so….we went. =)

At the time, I was a little chagrined that they put “my” starship in the middle of the gift shop – but now the brilliance of the placing is evident.

I mean, people who dig Trek tend to become interested in space and space travel, even if only in a peripheral way. And we all know that Trekkies ( or Trekkers, if you prefer) are a rather….um, enthusiastic lot. If we know the Enterprise is in that museum, we’re going to find it.

And then we’ll be in the gift shop. Maybe with our family tagging along…

Yup, the gift shop got some business from the Burton bunch, that day. =)

So, why am I sharing the Enterprise today?

Maybe I’m trying to tempt you; or maybe I’m giving you fair warning, depending on how you see it.

This blog is about to go to the Enterprise.

Okay, not the same one. I’ll be focusing on the Warp Five Enterprise, NX-01. More specifically, I’ll be playing with the interspecies romance between First Officer T’Pol and Chief Engineer Trip Tucker. I do love exploring human/Vulcan pairings, and these two…well, these two stormed into my head last spring, demanding space for their stories, and they haven’t left yet.

So, I’ll be indulging them for the entire moth of May, with a post each day. I don’t delude myself into thinking that’ll be enough for either one of them; but maybe it’ll appease them for a while, so that they slow down on those plot tribbles they keep lobbing as though they were stun grenades.


I plan on having a great deal of fun, though, even if they don’t, and I want to invite you to come along for the ride, if you’re so inclined. After all, space is very big, and it’s sure to be an adventure…

Look for more mission details in Monday’s Coffee and Conversation post – until then, may you live long and prosper.

How about you? Are you a Star Trek fan, or is there another show you love? Have you ever found the characters whispering to you that there’s more to their stories? Do you feel compelled to tell them?

I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: Palindromic Word Art!


Palindromic Word Art by Annalise S. Burton, at age 5.

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share is courtesy of my daughter, Annalise. I’ve Shared the image before, here and here, but, since it’s the last day of Palindrome Week, I thought I’d take a fresh look at it, and, of course, share it, ’cause that’s how we roll round here on Saturdays!

Annalise made this art when she was 5. She was figuring out lots of things about letters and sounds then. If she’d been in school, she wouldn’t have been home when my husband chopped kindling wood, wouldn’t have been there keeping him company, wouldn’t have been tempted, on a crisply warm early fall day, by the fresh newness of the revealed surfaces, or free to make of them what she would.

Schools have set times for studying letters and sounds. On that weekday morning, as every morning, Annalise was free to explore as she pleased.

So she noodled around with the wood for a while, chatting with her dad, taking breaks to ride her bike, and to run around the yard. She made a picture of a horse. Then, a little while later, she showed me this – one of her first efforts at spelling and word creation. I took pictures, because I don’t have smiley-faced worksheets to mark her progress toward reading, and this, let’s face it, is a lot cooler, anyway.

It wasn’t until this week that I realized she had made a palindrome.

And she herself was the catalyst for the realization.

“Hey, Mom,” she said. I was Mommy when she was 5. Now she’s almost 10, and I’m Mom. “Did you know that, if you spell ‘racecar’ backwards, it spells ‘racecar’?”

I played with letters in my head. “Hey, you’re right. That’s cool!” And then I told her that that was called a palindrome, and we talked about it being Palindrome Week- where every day’s date reads the same forward and backward (today is 4/19/14 – give it a whirl!).

And then I thought of that long-ago AXAXA.

Annalise was tickled to know that she’d made something she hadn’t intended, so long ago, and that there’s a fancy name for what she made.

And so I wanted to share it with you, as just a bit of what our brand of learning looks and feels like, and how things can connect to other things, even across the seasons and years, making them new and wonderful again!

Have you ever seen an image or memory from your past in a new way? Do things in your life often connect in unexpected fashion? Do you remember when you began playing with letters and sounds, trying to make words of them? Did you know it was Palindrome Week? If so, did you mark it in any way?

I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!


Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: Flowery Girls and Writing, Too!

A slice of happily blended life…

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

I love this photo. I was writing and making pre-revision notes on my bed, where I’ve written since my pre-teen years, when Annalise, who’d been puttering around outside, brought me this basket of flowers from our little cottage garden. She stayed a while, to hang out and visit, and we chatted.

I’m reminded of this picture, this month, as I move through two writing challenges, and prepare for a third, while still being present as a wife, mother, and companion on this journey of life.

I do want to write – as often as I can manage. Writing is more than a passion for me – it’s the way I live and process my living, my best means of sharing my life and experiences with others.

I’m not as happy a person when I’m not engaged with writing. Things that I would write about, and thereby work through, stay within me, where they can fester. That, as you might imagine, isn’t good for me – or anyone around me.

Yet, here I am – the housemate of three other people. More than that – I’m someone’s wife, and two more someones’ mother. There are times I need to drop everything and give someone a hug, a snuggle, a canoodle, a conversation. There are laundry and dishes and places to go. There are things to learn, explore, and do. There is clutter to clear, food to buy, pets and people to feed, and homeschool reports to prepare and file.

It’s less a matter of balancing than it is blending. I’ve found that the more I stop thinking of writing as something that I need to balance with the rest of my life, and instead see my life as a whole, a blending of various ingredients in varying amounts. Sometimes I write while chatting with a girl fresh from her adventures i n the backyard. Often, I plot while washing dishes, doing laundry, or showering. Places we visit can become story fodder (certainly, they’re often blogging fodder!).

During this busily creative season, this way of seeing my life is especially important for me. Rather than choosing between writing or other things, I can blend them, and have elements of both.

How do you handle varying pulls and parts of your life? Are you a balancer or a blender? Do you have a different approach? I’d love to hear about it – after all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Please allow me to share a bit more – one of my all-time favorite songs, in honor of the flower girl in my life! =D

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Life Writing, Round 2 2014

Saturday’s Share: Framing the Sky!

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Ahhh, spring! Especially after a long, hard winter, there’s something about those first hints of warmth and softening, the dawning and dusk chirpings of the songbirds, the first ca-runkings of the Canada geese on their northward trail overhead.

We’re still a bit early in this season, and it’s been an up-and-down transition: a couple of warm days, then a chill in the air, and then another stuttering foray into rebirth. The times I’ve gotten outside, I’ve been enjoying the weather rather than taking pictures.

But I recently found this treasure from last year’s early spring. It was taken before the grass even greened up, on a day where the kids and I went outside and played with hoops and each other.

That’s Jeremiah’s 11-year-old hands there, holding up the hoop. Already, those hands are a year closer, verging on a teen’s hands. It won’t be that many more years, now, before they are a man’s hands, maybe too occupied with other pursuits to hold a hoop against the sky in a celebration of life reborn, laughter, play, and togetherness.

Too often, these times are called frivolous. All over America, there are children whose days are planned out, from rising to sleep, according to clocks and schedules. There’s little time off, and maybe less energy for this type of freeform, just-because play. No time, really, for simply noodling around, exploring, laughing together while breathing in air that holds the promise of green growing things.

These days are so very precious. My children keep growing, making their own leaps toward adulthood. Every moment I can give them, every laugh, every memory of just being outside together, is a treasure.

It’s a little like catching the sky with a hoop, and something I want to remember, as this iffy season slowly shifts into the warmth of spring.

How about you? Are there special just-because times you shared with your parents? With your children? What tickles your fancy? What would make your spring more- well, springy?

How can you catch the sky?

I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: Dem Bones!


Hanging out with a deceased friend!

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today, I hearken back a ways, to the first time I was brave enough to take the kids on an overnight trip without bringing backup (my husband or a friend who didn’t yet have children.)

It was also our first unschooling adventure – a gathering of a few families on a former dairy farm – camping in a meadow, celebrating an Orthodox Shabbos under a full moon (even though our family isn’t Jewish, we were welcomed to join in); playing with chickens, goats, and each other…

And then there were Dem Bones.

Our host family found them when exploring their new property, and left them there for visitors to discover.

They are the bones of some unknown horse…and, when Annalise found them, during a game of Explore the Forest with her new friends, she fell passionately in love.

That was no surprise:

  • For her third birthday, she asked for….intestines! No lie. That’s what she wanted. Telling her she already had them didn’t help – she wanted intestines she could explore and play with. Anatomy was an early favorite interest of hers.

  • She’d recently shifted her favorite animal allegiance from gorillas to horses, and she had a fondness for puzzles and mysteries.

In a single day, she visited these bones 5 times. Each time she lingered, and explored. She had many, many questions:

  • Are these bones plastic, or real?”

  • What do you think the horse looked like?”

  • What part of the horse is this?”

At one point, she decided to try to put the pieces back together. She was very focused on this process, although most of the skeleton was missing. She spent about 20 minutes arranging and rearranging, narrating her thought processes as she went along.

She was five years old, but she’d already had years of practice on the mastodon skeleton puzzleat the New York State Museum by that point, and she was confident. Eventually, she got that collection of skull vertebrae, ribs, leg, and a partial pelvic bone sorted out and arranged.

She opened the jaws as wide as they would go (considerably wider than the horse would have been able to). She talked to it, sang to it, counted teeth, and checked their condition when I told her that horses’teeth got longer as they grew older. She wondered what the horse had been like, how old it had been, and how it had died.

As the time to go home neared, she cried, because she wouldn’t be able to take those lovely bones home with her. So I took some pictures, so that she would have them to look at later.

I was reminded of this last night, when I took the kids toJourney Through the Body, an annual event held at a local mall. Annalise is still interested in anatomy, although not as intensely as she was at five.

She still likes the bones, but she was more fascinated, by far, at the safety tent and the giant colon. Best lines of the night? “Look, Mom! I’m advanced colon cancer!” She said she was hanging out with her colon friends (yrs, I took a picture, but I haven’t edited it yet).

One gentleman volunteer chatted with her, then looked at me and said, “Future doctor.”

I shrugged, and answered, “Future happy person.” I mentioned several of her other lifelong passions – fashion, wildlife, art, storytelling, and performing. No telling yet which will flourish and blossom into a way to make a living, or which combination. It might even be one she hasn’t discovered yet. And we aren’t inclined to push any over another – her life is her own, and we trust she’ll decide what she wants, when she’s ready. She’s nine, and there’s absolutely no rush.

The gentleman looked at me, then past to where Annalise had moved on to another exhibit, and was laughing as she chatted with someone else. There was something new in his eyes.

“Current happy person, “ he said, with a smile.

And yes – that’s the point of creating a life with time for noodling with newly-discovered bleached horse bones, or a giant inflatable colon, or supplying a nine-year-old with makeup so she can satisfy a passion even when I don’t wear makeup and don’t really understand it.

That’s why we do it; why our lives are arranged around our passions. Engaging freely in passions makes happy people, no matter their ages.

And happy people make a happier world.

What do you think? Do you make time in your life for indulging your passions? Did your parents nurture your passions, or treat them as frivolous? If you’re a parent, do you make space in your life for your childrens’ passions, as they grow?

I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!

See more of Annalise and Dem Bones!

See more of last year’s Journey Through The Body event!