ocean waves smooth stones

More mother’s advice

For years she taught me to be silent and patient, to be quick to listen and learn, to speak when it matters, to act when something needs to be done.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers are often described as a Force of Nature. But the force need not be a hurricane, water on stone eventually wears away the hardest rock. Mothers often wear the pants in the family, they do it by doing what needs to be done, often silently, forcefully when needed.

ocean waves smooth stones

What is the best advice your mother gave you?


Sunday, May 12th is Mother’s Day

So, my daughter suggest the following prompt:

What is the best advice your mother gave you?

“Be your own advocate and don’t eat the yellow snow,” my daughter said. The last part was tongue in cheek, so I said, what if it is summer, you are at the fair, and they run out of every color but yellow at the snow cone stand?

“Banana,” “pineapple,” and “mango” are flavors that beat the heat.

My mother was quite. With six kids it was more important what she did, than said. So her best advice was not advice but an attitude.

“Be who you are, just do it, don’t waste your life thinking and wondering who you are.”

Remember, how lucky you are who you are

I remember the books by Dr. Seuss that lay by my bed, dog-eared, and thoroughly read. On nights when I was restless, my mother would read a story or two. Three if I was mischievous like the Cat in the Hat.

“Did I ever tell you how lucky you are,” said mom.

Don’t grumble! Don’t stew!
Some critters are much-much,
oh, ever so much-much,
so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!

Hearing these words, who could fail to laugh, or at least smile, if you were afraid of what tomorrow might bring. Oh, the laughing was soothing, it chased the worries out of my head and out of the room. Where they went, I didn’t care, it was now just me and my mother, at peace with the world.

Go to sleep. Count sheep, what a ridiculous idea. I loved the foolish thought of Bartholomew Cubbins and his 500 hats each one more fabulous than the other with feathers galore. Until…

I screamed with delight, “Tell me more!” when my mother turned out the light.

And just before I fell into the deepest sleep, in the back of my mind, put in a special place reserved for loving memories, are the words I heard her say:

“You’re off to great places. [Tomorrow] is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.”

Who let’s their dog sleep in their bed?

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Who let’s their dog sleep in their bed?

About half of all dog owners according to the American Kennel Club, and the odds go up if you are a woman.

Should I? Why not?


In winter, a dog is better than a heated blanket. The sound of his or her snoring like meditation music, a holy Gregorian chant. The rustling of his or her body, a soothing, healing massage. Plus, look at it like a security blanket, a guard against intruders all night long. Okay, in summer, it’s too hot, but by then, Fido has figured it out just the same.

Hey, if we think in primordial times, dogs lived in packs. With you, it is a pack of two.

Dogs are loyal, brave, patient, and understanding, qualities that might, if your dog sleeps in the bed, rub off on you.

Celebrity endorsements

Super hero, Chris Evans, aka Captain America, likes to go home, after saving the world, and cuddle up next to man’s best sidekick — his rescue dog, Dodger.

Does this describe you?

Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee all through the night


Pardon me if I digress

Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee, all through the night…

Many was the night when Dylan Thomas’ mother, a simple and religious woman, sang this tune to her child as he drifted off to sleep. The original Welsh lyrics began, “Holl amrantau’r sêr ddywedant, Ar hyd y nos.” Translated to English, “All the stars’ twinkles say. All through the night.”

More familiarly, the tune was sung like this:

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O’er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

Sir Henry Boulton, 1884

I mention all this because I am of Welsh and English extraction, because I love the tune, I love the lyrics, the poet is in my soul, and because, like Dylan Thomas, my mother sang it to me.

Visions of fright turn to delight

Before there were night lights to keep a child company at bed time, the pale moonlight shining through the window brought comfort. Outside my room, the moon hung low over the blue Appalachian mountains.  Back then we slept with the window open, listening to the gentle rustle of the breeze through the trees, whispering the word, “Sleep.” But, the silence was broken by the screech of the cat, the bark of a dog, or the mournful cry of the night owl.

“Who?” it asked.

A frightened child, unable to sleep, was soothed by its mother’s gentle voice, all through the night…

View Gat Creek Beds


You got to get up

chanticleer farm supplies red horse signs

You got to get up, you got to get up,you got to get up in the morning. The morning, the morning, it was my mother’s warning.

You got to get up, my mother said, to study hard, to get ahead. Oh, let me sleep a minute more, I said to her, the day will wait for my dreams. You got to get up, she said to me, you got to get up, she said to me, a broken record, a refrain that repeats, brush your teeth, comb your hair, the bus won’t wait, the teacher will scold you if your late.

Later on, I joined the infantry and sang the song all soldiers sing while lying in the cot at dawn. Me a lowly private, and all I want is my privacy, a bit of sleep, the war can wait, while I dream and sleep in peace.

‘Oh! how I hate to get up in the morning
Oh! how I’d love to remain in bed;
For the hardest blow of all, is to hear the bugler call;
You’ve got to get up, you’ve got to get up, you’ve got to get up this morning!
Irving Berlin

Now, I am older, wiser, no mom, no sergeant telling me what to do, and a wife who likes to sleep and stay in bed.

Me, I have changed my tune, I get up to let the dog out, and make a cup of coffee, just to watch the sun rise over the tree tops. It is quite a show and just for me, the dreams are gone, the day can’t wait, there is much to do.

hazels cafe red horse signs robyns lake house

Hazel’s Cafe at Robyns Lake House

And the song I sing, is by Carol King. You will agree, it is beautiful, and quite inspiring. Perhaps, you will even sing along with me.

You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel

I rise, I shine, I am at my best, with a little rest, and a cup of coffee in the early, early morn, making up a poem for you.

I want to be alone

I confess that I am torn between twin desires – I love to travel, I love to stay at home. We travel, some of us, forever seeking other places, other lives, and other like-minded souls, and yet, we always long to return home, to be alone.

As the Russian ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo) in Grand Hotel (1932) said, “I want to be alone.”

To book your stay, visit Robynslakehouse.com


The eyes tell the story

Traditions Home has an extensive collection of artwork. Each one tells a story.

Speculum mentis est facies et taciti oculi cordis fatentur arcana. St. Jerome letter to Furia 394

In a letter dated 394 AD to Furia, a recent Roman widow, St. Jerome advises her to not remarry and instead devote her life to her children and aging father. He goes on to say, “The face is the mirror of the mind and a woman’s eyes without a word betray the secrets of her heart,” which has come down to us as general advice to both sexes. Perhaps that is why eyelids are painted, closed, or hidden by bangs.

It’s a most magical time of the year

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl



Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the sweetest of holidays. Wherever you are and however you celebrate the season, remember that no act of kindness, however small, is wasted or lost, and know this that kindness is the greatest magic of all, for it blesses two.


There is hope in honest error; none in the icy perfectionism of the pure stylist.
Charles Rene Mackintosh


He died in London in 1928 after a short illness. Perhaps homesick at his death, he might have recalled the words of Robert Burns: “Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise.” Youtube video.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868 in Glasgow, Scotland. His work there, alongside that of his equally talented wife Margaret Macdonald, influenced the fin de siècle Art Nouveau movement.

Stickley Furniture has redesigned Mackintosh’s Ingram Street Tea Room chair, and created its distinctive Highlands trestle table in the Mackintosh style. Solid oak or cherry, a natural wood for the bonnie banks of Loch Lomand. Then again, MacGregors and MacDonalds living lakeside in Kansas will enjoy it as well.


Stickley 2013
stickley highlands table and mackintosh chairs


What memories of home does this recall to mind?

Good times and bad, lovers separated, lives forever parted. If I close my eyes and remember, I can still hear your words as we parted.

Oh! Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

‘Twas then that we parted, In yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond,
Where, in purple hue, The highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.

The wee birdies sing, And the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens, Nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their greeting.