Category Archives: The Grandmother Journal

The Boundless Spirit

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Death does not come when the body is too exhausted to live. Death comes because the brilliance inside of us can only be contained for so long. We do not die. We pass on.

The vessel dies, but the Spirit lives on.

Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain. The next greatest adventure is death. Death is the natural progression of the human spirit. Not the end, but a new beginning in a realm we cannot fathom.

The human body has limitations. The human spirit is boundless.

We fear death so profoundly, not because it means the end of our body, but because it means the end of our consciousness as we know it.

A couple of weeks ago, my father’s spirit passed on into its next adventure. A few days ago my granddaughter’s spirit entered a body that took its first breath and cried its first cry. She began her evolution of consciousness. Into her father’s hands, she felt her first touch, opened her eyes and saw her mother’s face.

When you have lost people like I lost my birth mom at a young age and you remember the whole process of losing her, you want to grab on to something that makes you whole.

My children and career have given me that sense of wholeness, and my husband compliments that. Watching the grandchildren enter this world, looking down at them looking up at me, gives me a sense of continuity that I do not believe I would have achieved had I decided to remain childless.

The God of our understanding has entrusted us to participate in the enlargement of her soul, liberation of her spirit, and the lighting up of her brain. For that and all things, I am grateful.

baby Kira birth pictures 050315 064

Lightning Crashes~ Live

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes; the confusion sets in
before the doctor can even close the door
Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes;
the confusion that was hers
belongs now to the baby down the hall
Oh now feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
This moment she’s been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes –
pale blue coloured iris – presents the circle
and puts the glory out to hide, hide
Oh now feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it – I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it – I can feel it – I can feel it

As the World Churns


I’m emotionally churning today. It’s my husband’s birthday and my daughter is due to deliver my third grand baby any day. That’s a big hunk of happiness. So glad to have this man in my life. So proud of the mama my daughter has become.

Losing my dad really bites. There’s also some unanticipated fall-out associated with that, and I’m hoping it can strengthen bonds not rip them apart. So there’s that looming.

Recently I tried to find an old friend who was a Behavior Specialist in a psych hospital. We used to work together on the forensic unit and had an awesome relationship. I expected he would be a great resource for a psycho thriller I have in the works. When I googled his name, I pulled up his obituary. Ouch!

(My apologies if that comes across as selfish, but I’m resentful that his wife [whom he met after I left GA] was jealous, and wouldn’t allow us to maintain our friendship. Five hundred miles apart and a great professional relationship, but heaven help, I’m female.)

I have four writing projects in the works and all have been at a complete standstill for over a month. I don’t know where I’m going with any of them.

I’m reading a lot, but writing much of nothing.

I’ve been stopping by blogs when I can and reading, but my comments…I can hardly manage them. I end up whining like I am in this post. Bear with me. This, too, shall pass.

As for my own blog, this is about the best I can do today.

Not exactly exuding confidence.

Discouraged. Frustrated. Sad. Happy. Excited. Churning.

Did I mention y’all mean the world to me? Yep, it’s true. Being a homebody, my blogging buddies are the best friends in my world. So sorry to be tossing my personal problems at you.


I need a good laugh.

You want to laugh? Here’s something funny: I accidentally put Clorox on my husband’s jeans, so he got to go to work looking like a tie-dyed hippie today. I’m sure his associates at Lockheed-Martin will give him hell.


I’m  feeling as if I have fallen off the edge of the earth.  

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

My father passed away on Sunday, April 12, 2015 quietly in his home at the age of seventy-seven. He went to church, came home, hung up his suit, took a nap and went to his heaven. The pastor said his sermon that day was about Heaven and I think ole Henry was just ready to be there. Three years ago in February he had a coronary bypass graft and we were afraid we might lose him even then, but that didn’t happen and we were given a few more years of precious time with him.

For six weeks in 2012, I was able to spend time with him while he recuperated from that surgery.  We needed that time together. He was a great storyteller. Most of the way I helped was by listening to the stories he shared with me about his life and events that occurred in the 1950s and 60s, the social injustice of the era. Inspired by his stories, a cousin’s stories, and a ledger he knew I had discovered in 1992, I came home and on April 12, 2012, I began to write a book. I would love to share those stories with you.

I appreciate the life and time he gave me. May he rest in peace.

My husband is, like my father, Henry Koone, was, a not-so-anonymous recovering alcoholic. I attend open meetings with my husband and one of the things they say in the rooms of AA is,

“Do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

When you bury the past and fail to look back you miss the opportunity to grow and learn, to develop insight and character. While it may not be healthy to dwell or live in your past, in it there are lessons we will find nowhere else.

Experience, strength and hope!

The Promises go on to say, “We will comprehend the word serenity and know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I watched my father go through some dramatic changes over the course of the past fifty-four years and I learned the meaning of forgiveness.

He taught me about unconditional love.

I learned from the experiences, strengths and hopes we shared.

There is much social injustice in this world but change begins with each and every individual. Looking back at the past, in the manner that my historic novel does, it is my hope that the reader can recognize the harm of social injustice, oppression, poverty and ignorance, and perhaps develop some insights, in addition to being entertained. It isn’t a preachy book, but one that tells the stories of those who lived in an era we must move forward out of, never forgetting the sacrifices of those who came before us.

“A fictionalized true story of life in the Deep South during the time of Jim Crow Law, and before Roe vs. Wade. Women were supposed to keep quiet and serve, abortion was illegal, adoption difficult, and racism rampant. The discovery of an old ledger opens a window into the dynamics of the 1950s-60s.

Unspoken secrets are shared between Beatrice, The Good Doctor’s wife, and Moses Grier, their black handyman. The Grier’s daughter, Althea, suffers a tragedy that leaves her family silent and mournful. Her brother, Nathan, a medical student, looks for answers from a community that is deaf, blind, and dumb.

A summer romance between Nathan and Sybil, an independent, high-spirited, white woman, leaves more unresolved. Nathan is thrust into the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Sybil is torn between living the mundane life of her peers, or a life that involves fastening herself to a taboo relationship. Witness social progress through the eyes of those who lived it.”

Reviews are appreciated.

Spring Has Sprung


This photograph was taken by a childhood friend in Georgia. That’s Pine Mountain in the background.

I truly miss the four seasons.  The photo reminded me of my daughter’s first spring in Michigan.

My grandmother had daffodils on her farm as thick as these in this photograph; paper whites, daffodils, butter-n-eggs, doubles, singles, white, orange and yellow. They multiplied dramatically and had to be thinned every year.

I transplanted planted bulbs all over our farm when my children were small. These daffodils from Grandmother’s farm eventually blanketed the green floor of the pecan orchard beside our home.

The first spring my daughter was in Michigan I received a phone call from her. She was in a debate with her college peers about whether or not daffodils grew wild in Georgia. They do around the old homestead sites, but somebody planted them at one time. My daughter had no memory of me planting those daffodils, only that they were everywhere and beautiful.

You never know when you might be making a memory.

Birth of a Book Nerd

There was a time in my life when I tried to be a “normal” kid. This wasn’t an easy thing to do considering my father had three wives in four years, and none of them would have won “Mother-of-the-Year”.

Just before my sisters and I went into foster care, I signed up with the city to be a cheerleader for the pony league football team. I was eleven years old and had just started into the sixth grade. I was the only one without saddle oxfords. Already, I was different.

book nerd 005

Our team, The Moose Club team, did very well and we eventually got to the State Championship. Yay! Go Moose. The whole community of my small town, LaGrange, GA, got behind us. There were signs everywhere cheering us on.

book nerd 001


Then came the big day. We were up against Savannah, a school team. An enormous crowd showed up at the city stadium to watch the game and offer their support. The Savannah buses pulled up and a marching band came off first playing triumphant music followed by a team of boys in black and gold that made our team in blue and white look like midgets.

We knew right away that we were NOT going to be victorious.

To make matters worse for me, a cheerleader on my own team slapped me in the chest with her pom-pom, shattering my beautiful white mum corsage. All of the petals scattered and fell to the ground.  There wasn’t anything but a red, white and blue ribbon to save.

When we went over to do our H.E.L.L.O. cheer, this same cheerleader slapped me in the face with her pom-poms in the middle of our cheer. I retaliated by smacking her back across the chest, likewise destroying her flower.

When we got back to our side, the cheerleading coach benched both of us for the rest of the game…which we lost. Bad.

The following school day, my sisters and I were seated on the school steps awaiting our step-mother to pick us up. The team quarterback, Jeff McHugh, was teasing me in front of a large group of boys and spit a massive loogie into the back of my hair. Again, I retaliated by jumping up and kicking him hard in the crotch. That got us both sent to the Principal’s office.

book nerd 004

My dad showed up to defend me. I was really proud of that. But I didn’t score any points with the guys.

After a summer of riding bikes around the neighborhood and falling “in love” with a boy down the street, I started to the all-girls junior high school. I was done with competitive sports. While my sisters and friends practiced band, drill team, tumbling, and so on…I was seated in the back of the library reading books.

I would lose myself in the stories and drift off to faraway places and meet interesting people. It was my escape from reality.

The library had a set of National Geographics that covered the entire back wall. A lady had donated it to the school and it had every copy from 1915 to 1972. I traveled all over the world through those magazines and was certain, with all of the Jacques Cousteau articles; I would someday be an oceanic photographer.

That never came to pass, but I had found refuge in those magazines and forevermore reading was my favorite pastime. I was no longer interested in competitive sports or being popular, just give me a book.

During foster care, traveling through four schools in three years in four different towns, I always had my stories to keep me company. My familiars. My love for reading and writing grew out of those days spent in the library.

Thus, a book nerd was born!

My reading and writing skills were well developed by high school and I received much encouragement, from dear teachers and fellow students, to pursue those talents.

Are you a book nerd?

How did you develop your interest in reading and writing?

Have competitive sports ever been your thing?

Were you a popular kid in school?

Happy Thanksgiving: Gratitude Day

Happy Thanksgiving from Florida

Sweet potatoes are in the oven and the Cornish rock hens have been seasoned and herbed. There will be mashed potatoes and sweet potato soufflé with asparagus and cranberry sauce on the side. We’ll top it off with pecan pie stuffed under a mountain of whipped cream. That’s the table spread for today.

Why do we do this?

To let our family and friends know how much they are treasured.

To let strangers know they are cherished as hopeful new friends.

To express thanks for another year of blessings and give hope for the coming year.

To remember and honor all of those who came before us.

To let our God know that we are grateful and pray for peace, compassion, health, knowledge and comfort.

To say Thanks!

I especially want to say thanks to readers and writers, my many friends on WordPress; supportive bloggers, authors, new writers, seasoned writers, all those somewhere in the middle. You are my colleagues and I spend the better part of most days in your company. You make my days bright and give me the encouragement I need to keep the faith. The light you shine on my path is brighter than the Florida sun. I appreciate you!


Revenge of the Pumpkin

A couple of years ago, we went up to North Carolina where my thirty-seven year old son and his new wife were living for a Halloween visit. We took our little two year old granddaughter out to the pumpkin patch to choose a few pumpkins. 


Uncle Bryan is just a really big kid. They were having fun together.


They picked out pumpkins and Uncle Bryan had some really nifty templates to carve pumpkins. He had tons of fun teasing his niece with gobs of pumpkin guts and eating strings of seeds to gross her out.


He kept dunking her upside-down into the nearby trashcan playing like he was going to throw her away in between working on his masterpieces. He’s great with kids and had her both scared and laughing. She kept threatening to do bad things to him like turn him into a cat or a jack-o-lantern. In the end he had some wonderful creations, but his niece was highly irritated and wouldn’t get close to him.

(Notice his nose turning red and his eyes squinting?)

His sister made some toasted pumpkin seeds and Uncle Bryan ate a few handfuls…on top of all of the raw pumpkin he had consumed.


About an hour later, he was covered in hives with his tongue and eyes red and swollen. Turns out he had developed an allergy to pumpkin. He was red-faced and wheezing. I was scared we were going to have to take him to the ER if his breathing worsened. A heavy dose of Benadryl and the itching and other symptoms subsided but his niece had her revenge, as did the pumpkins!


The next day he was well enough to ride the choo-choo at the park.

Happy Halloween!

What’s your scariest pumpkin story?

A Missing Link

Many of you know that my mother died when I was eight. It was suicide, or accidental overdose depending on who you talk to. Either way, she was gone.

There are things that people don’t have the right mind to think about before they do something like that. Take pills to ease their pain until there is no conscious knowledge that one has found any relief.

I grew up without a mother, and I managed and did okay, but there are still effects of that dreadful event 45 years later and I’m going to mention one now. The motherless daughter as a parent.

My daughter was raised by a mother who had no mother. Her mother never had anyone to hold her or hug her when she was feeling despair, loneliness, fear, or pain. Her mother did not have anyone to call her to inquire about her day. Her mother wiped her own tears. No one ever helped her mother with her children or household. There was no one to answer those questions that only a mother can answer. God is good, but God is not your mother.

Sometimes parenting was confusing to her mother because she had no real role model. She had grandmothers who were loving and kind, but there was a missing link. Always. Grandmothers are not the same as mothers.

Her mother went to college to learn how to care for others. Seriously. And she went on to have an excellent career in nursing, but with all of those school hours and work hours, she wondered constantly if she was giving her own daughter what she needed from a role model.

I loved my daughter, hugged her, wiped her tears, offered her encouragement and hope and always wondered if I was doing the right things by her.  She had a few years of strife even I could not cope with well. There were times when there was only bitterness between us.

So when my daughter delivered her second child at home and needed help with the household, I called a housekeeper to come in and do the work of cleaning for a day. It wasn’t much, but it was all I knew to do. I don’t believe it was enough. What she needed most was for mom to be close.

Well, today, my daughter, upon hearing about my agony in back pain, came over to get my heating pad off the top shelf in the closet. She set me up in my bed for comfort and gave me fresh fruit with yogurt for breakfast. She gave me hugs, then cooked bacon for my lunch, cut up tomatoes and lettuce. She cleaned last night’s supper dishes and loaded the dishwasher. We chatted a while.  We hugged some more. It was a much warmer time, I’m sure, than if she had hired someone to come over and attend to me. She was here for me.

She’s grown up just fine.

I’m still learning to be a motherless parent.

You see, it takes generations to overcome what a suicide will do. I see my daughter nurturing my granddaughter and feel the warmth in her nurturing me and know everything is going to be okay.

I am truly blessed. Thank you, daughter. You are appreciated.

Way Back in the Day…


My grandmother never bought her clothes. She made most everything she wore. Sometimes her sister in Montgomery, Alabama, would send her store bought dresses.  That was a time when the sewing machine (and the piano) was the most prized piece of furniture in the house.

She baked her own bread, biscuits, cornbread, hoecakes, white bread, and pancakes. The flour and meal came in big fifty pound fabric bags. The feed sacks and flour sacks came in pretty floral prints and stripes, bright calicoes and solids.

cutting-the-pattern-out-pioneer-dress-300x225She would wash and dry the fabric and lay it out on the dining table, pin a pattern in place, trace it and cut it out. We would have to stand for what seemed like hours while she pinned the hems. She made all of our clothes that way. We literally wore flour sacks to school.


Here’s a picture that made it in the local paper of my older sister and I picking apples. These were clothes my grandmother made. Too bad it is not in color.




Sometimes she sewed rick rack onto them to fancy them up or did smocking across the bodice.


Here is the interesting part. She sewed everything on an old foot powered sewing machine. No electricity, just a rhythmic motion of her foot rocking the floor pedal back and forth. It rocked the entire house.


We have the old sewing machine up for sale now, trying to clean out the garage. All of the books and accessories are with the old machine. It’s a 1927 model, The Sphinx, and it was trimmed in gold, a really fancy number.

Can you imagine having to sew your whole family’s clothes by a pedal powered machine? I can’t even imagine doing that on an electric machine like my other Grandma had. And nothing got thrown away. If it did not fit, it was altered or passed along and altered to fit someone else. We’re such a throwaway society now. That’s hard to imagine. We take so much for granted nowadays.

Never Too Old To Fall In Love

I am going to get really personal here, and I am glad to share. This week has been lonely. The Rocket Scientist has been in Boston all week and spent the weekend in South Florida working on the boat. When you have someone you love in your life every day and that person is gone…well, things seem gloomy.

He makes me laugh every day and sings to me songs he recalls from the seventies and then some. His chronic jokes and puns make me roll my eyes but I giggle inside. He’s quite a comedian. He’s traveled the world and speaks three languages. Reads two or three books a week and works math problems I don’t even understand the symbols for. He loves art and music. A real Renaissance Man.

We have been together for eight years and celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary October 3rd.

It is sometimes difficult for me to recall a life without him. He is sensitive to my needs and the feelings of others, very gregarious, humble and warm.

We talk about everything from spirituality to current events. More than that, we both listen. He’s a great conversationalist. We’ve been from the oceans to the mountains together. I could not imagine life without his support. He encourages my writing and everything it encompasses.

I was twelve years single when we met and fiercely independent. I had made my own way, raised a family, had a professional career, and bought my own home. Marriage was the last thing on my mind. We had both signed onto a dating service, Great Expectations.

We had both had bad experiences with dating services…had ended up spending entire days and evenings with people we just didn’t click with. It broke the boredom of living alone, but got us into awkward situations with others. So we agreed to meet at a coffee shop.

We ended up talking for four hours, about everything. I loved his seafarer’s look with the graying beard and when he said he had a boat I knew we would be great friends. I grew up on the Chattahoochee River and spent the fondest days of my youth on a boat. He loved my snakeskin stilettos and complimented my pretty feet and soulful green eyes.

We fell in love that day.

Then he said, “I’ve enjoyed your company and I would like to go out again on a real date, but I need to be totally honest with you. I am over fifty, bipolar, a recovering alcoholic, and technically still married.” (Seriously? That was enough to scare anyone away, but he was straightforward and honest. I respected that.)

I told him very quickly that I did not date married men. He insisted the marriage was for paper purposes only and they had been legally separated for two years. I wasn’t dealing with it.

I had a rule. I did NOT date married men. After all…he could not possibly have closure on that relationship, nor had he had opportunity to explore others in my mind…he was not ready. (I decided.) He left me his number in case I changed my mind.

He says I broke his heart.

I was upset with the dating service and thought he had lied on his profile where it said “Never Married”, but they assured me that it was their fault, not his. They had recently updated their website. He had originally said “Separated” and someone at the dating service had keyed in “Never Married” by accident.

So I called him.

We gave each other a chance.

No regrets!

The rest is history. And it has been a wonderful history.

We still talk. We still hold hands. We still hug every day and say I love you. Forever and always!

 Happy Anniversary, Honey!

 Gregory Dymas Nicholls

I love you!