Joy Comes in the Morning

A poem I wrote this morning. We will all have weeping at times in our lives, but we must always remember that God has promised joy in the morning.

Pocket Full of Sunshine

There is a different quality
In the atmosphere of this morning.
The details of each tree leaf
And grass blade are sharper,
In sunshine that is softer
Than it was even a week ago.

The air smells fresh, sweet,
With a tinge of nip and moisture.
Almost fall, but not quite.

Darkness fell earlier yesterday,
As I prayed fervently and feverishly.

I know all will be well though.
For rejoicing comes in the morning
And shines with love and hope.
This beautiful morning, seen
From my back stoop,
Reminds me that God is faithful
And good and with us all….
Forever and always, amen!

© Elaine Wood-Lane

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalms 30:5

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Pocket Full of Sunshine

You know, sometimes, just when you think you have life pretty much figured out and know how to take care of all the basics, you find yourself utterly defeated by something completely ridiculous. In my past I’ve found myself challenged by big things like aging parents, angsty teens, mental illness, poverty, sexism, racism, and even sexual harassment. Those things are “normal” in the course of a lifetime I think unless you live on a pink cloud all by yourself where nothing ever happens. With God’s help, I have managed and can manage to face all those things, I think.

So, I’m feeling pretty confident about my life and myself this morning when my husband asks me to go buy gas for the lawnmower. He hands me the little red gas jug and proceeds to start mowing the back yard. No big deal! I’m happy to do it! So Buddy (my…

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Sunday Dinners

I found a recipe making the rounds on Facebook for Southern Banana Pudding and suddenly I was back in the kitchen of my childhood on a Sunday morning after church making banana pudding as Mother instructed me on how to make it.

Sunday dinners (which in the South means the noon meal) were the biggest and fanciest meals of the week. Inevitably they meant we had either pot roast, which cooked in the oven while we were at church, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, or some other delicious meat that we didn’t ordinarily have during the week. Along with that, we’d had mashed potatoes (always!), homemade gravy and two or three other vegetables, often picked right out of our backyard garden. Then, of course, we’d have one of Mother’s delicious cobblers or pies. Mother sometimes made cakes, but as she was always quick to point out, “Your Aunt Mary is the cake expert, while I prefer to make pies.” Mother had the best pie crust I’ve ever eaten and her cobblers were so delicious that often I would try to skip the meal right on over to cobbler, but Mother never allowed that, of course! If Mother hadn’t made what she called a “real dessert,” we’d make banana pudding or we’d whip up a lemon meringue pie or chocolate meringue pie.

I loved Sunday dinners because that was when Mother’s wonderful cooking shined and when she taught me how to cook. Sometimes it would just be Daddy, Mother and I eating these huge meals, but oftentimes other family would come over too. If it was just Daddy, Mother and I, we’d save the leftovers and eat them for Sunday supper and continue eating them throughout the week. My favorite was Mother’s pot roast dinners because that meant on Sunday evening we’d have roast beef sandwiches with warmed gravy to top them off. I think I enjoyed that almost more than the big meal at noon.

Isn’t it funny how seeing one old recipe can spark so many wonderful memories in our minds? As I’m writing this, I’m seeing our old kitchen in my mind with the yellow countertops, antique white cabinets, and our old O’Keeffe and Merritt stove that cooked better than any stove I’ve ever used. It was huge, old-fashioned, and I was always a little embarrassed that we didn’t have a built-in stovetop and oven like my friends’ homes had, but in all honesty, that old stove was far better. I’ve seen a revival of interest over the last 20 years in these stoves. I’ve especially seen them in many television sitcom kitchens and am always surprised.

We also had an old Frigidaire refrigerator that wasn’t really very old at the time, but always seemed that way. Those, too, have become very popular again in vintage kitchens. I guess it is true that given enough time, everything comes back in style!

I must admit, I’d give anything for one more chance to cook a Sunday dinner at Mother’s elbow. She used every pot and pan in the house to cook these wonderful feasts and I had to wash the dishes afterwards, but the meal was worth it! So are the memories…

Thanks for going down memory lane with me today! I must admit, there are days when I really enjoy these trips!

Peace and love always,


Middle Aged World Travelers, Chapter 5, Walking in Dublin

On our last day in Ireland, which was Thursday, May 21, we were feeling muchmore confident about getting around in Dublin and so made quite a day of walking and seeing as much as we could see in a rather casual, haphazard way. We crossed the street from our hotel to the little mall that was over there. We had crossed the street before and it was quite the nightmare with crosswalks telling you when you could go and not go and mums with prams and babies, teens and others all trying to cross at the same time. You see, in front of the mall was where you caught the bus to downtown Dublin. On this particular adventure as we zig-zagged across the intersection to the mall, we met a Polish mum with a cute little toddler jabbering away. They were going to the grocery store at the mall and she was quite pleasant to speak with. Many Polish people have immigrated to Ireland and Scotland over the last several years, seeking jobs and wanting to start over in a better economy. This young mum said she had just been home for a week to visit her family in Poland and it was a bittersweet visit. She loved seeing her family, but it was so hard to go back to Ireland where the only family she had was her husband and baby son.

After we all finally managed to get across to the mall, we went our separate ways as we were just stepping into the mall out of curiosity and she had groceries to buy. This was the most unusual mall I’ve ever been in, ever. On the first floor was a sort of hair salon that looked more like a barber shop, a candy store, and then the grocery store. You could then ride up an escalator to the second level where there was another part of the same store (I wish I could recall the name of the place, they were quite common in Ireland) and the second floor sold clothes, women’s accessories, children’s clothing, toys, and all the things you’d see in a Walmart or Target, but more along the lines in design of a K-Mart. I looked at women’s clothing out of curiosity and some things were ridiculously expensive and some things were ridiculously inexpensive. I could make no sense of their pricing strategies at all. I found a pair of jeans for €12 and tried them on, but their sizings didn’t make sense either. They were so large, two of me could have easily worn the jeans so at that point, I gave up on my clothing browsing and went to find Alan. We browsed a little more and then left the mall to catch the bus to downtown Dublin.

By this time we were feeling quite confident in downtown Dublin and when we were dropped off in front of Trinity College, we knew we wanted to see St. Stephens Green, which is a lovely, huge park in the middle of everything. We went through Grafton Street to get to the Green. Grafton Street was alive and hopping on this particular Thursday. It was the day before the national election to vote on same sex marriage in Ireland and there were all kinds of bands playing along the street, families walking through, young college age students handing out flyers, and overall a happy feeling rather like going to a fair here in the States. I loved it all and even taped part of a band playing where a little girl kept walking up closer and closer to them as they played. She was adorable!
(I tried to upload the video I made here, but it won’t let me do it.)

We thought St. Stephens Green was just a block or two farther on, but it was several blocks farther on. Grafton Street is where you go to shop for just about anything and/or go to pubs to drink just about anything! Amongst the typically Irish shops and pubs, there were American businesses like McDonalds, Burger King, and even a Starbucks or two as well.

Finally we arrived at St. Stephens Green, and honestly, it did not disappoint! It was quite one of the loveliest parks I’ve never seen! There were random ponds scattered throughout, hedges, flowers, and winding trails and it truly is very green! There were families, lovers, ducks, doves and sea gulls, a few of which decided we were friends as they kept hovering. (Ducks, doves and sea gulls, I mean.) They became quite our little entourage until we stopped at a fountain to sit and rest a moment. I was talking to our entourage of birds and they were all talking back to me. I kept assuring them I had no bread or food of any kind for them, but they just kept conversing with me. Finally Alan said we were drawing attention from people around us and to send the motley crew of birds away. So I told them once again I had nothing to feed them, I had enjoyed my visit with them and sent them on their way. I actually said “Goodbye, goodbye, it’s been lovely speaking with you!” and they went along their way! Here is one of the bird friends we made. Mr. Seagull was quite friendly. I had never seen one just follow people around on foot before! I suppose that living in St. Stephens Green, they are quite accustomed to people and their livelihood is found by begging food off of people and small children. It was fun!

After the birds left, we walked on through the park. We kept thinking we had seen everything, and then we’d walk around another hedge and see another fountain, with even more park beyond! There was a a petting zoo, monuments, and yet another pond! The hills began to feel like mountains to our tired legs and aching feet, and we felt we had enjoyed all we could of St. Stephens Green! Finally, we found the exit from the park on the complete opposite corner of where we had started and when we walked out of the park, we discovered we were in the Georgian area of Dublin! I oohed and I aahed over all the pretty houses and the lovely doors with the famous fanlight window design over them. Most of them are now part of schools and little colleges rather than private residences. I loved this one the best because, well, look, it’s a lovely colored door! Most were shiny black and very stately, but this one had some personality!

By the way, see those little motor bikes there all in a row for hire? If we hda been smart, we would have rented a couple of those for the rest of our Dublin trekking, but didn’t even think of it. At the end of this block, we found more shops and stopped and had coffee with a fabulous dessert. I had one of the best cheesecakes there I’ve ever had in my life. I never wanted it to end and almost needed some privacy as it was so heavenly tasting.

I’m sorry to say that by the time I noticed this placard on the table, my cheesecake was long gone or I would have been happy to post a photo of it on Instagram! This place was so busy, I could have sat there and people watched for hours. Sitting immediately to my right, about two feet from me, was even an actor who was meeting a play director/producer, quite smoothly, for a part in her latest, smash hit. (I don’t think she was convinced, as she hedged politely for a bit, took his card, and then left.) This was the view from the window outside our cafe table and I found it particularly inspiring because of the election to take place the next day. Both sides of the issue were politely represented and that was the way the entire election seemed to be anticipated. A very polite, happy voting campaign from both sides. It was also here, that I realized there were cameras everywhere on the streets. I mean, look at the top of this pole. There were two different cameras right there, both pointed toward St. Stephens Green!

After our intake of sugar and coffee, I was bound and determined to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral! Google Maps showed us the way, and after a 20 minute fast walking, high stepping trek through very old streets where I kept tripping over cobblestones or short curbs, we arrived, at the exact right time of day to hear the church’s carillon bells ringing, with clarity and skill. The sounds stirred our souls, and are in my memories still. There is a park where you can sit and listen to the bells play, see the church in full view in front of you and where along the side, we found literary memorials to Ireland’s famous poets and writers. I took pictures of as many of the memorials as I could, but it was as though all the famous writers and poets were all jailed, with decorative bars keeping people from getting too close so basically these pictures are awful. It was still fun to walk along and see each memorial and read about the artists of Ireland.

We spent some time listening and resting to the carillon bells until the sun started to fade. It was a very pleasant restful interlude.  (Again, I tried to insert a short video here of the church square and the carillon bells, but haven’t been able to do so yet.)

After consulting our Google maps again, we decided to find Dublin Castle because it was between the church and our bus stop on Dame Street. Dublin Castle is where England ruled for centuries, but now Ireland governs its own. Dublin Castle did not disappoint. Walking cobblestone streets so old and so worn, I felt spirits of the past, both glorious and spirit torn. We didn’t get to stay long, but I was so glad to see and experience that part of Ireland’s history.

We then hurried along Dame Street, past stores and full pubs, pushed along by the five o’clock people eager to get home. I pulled out of the traveling horde, needing a breather, you see, and leaned on a wall, panting a bit breathlessly. A very nice gentleman, dressed for business or law, stopped and asked kindly, “Ma’am are you alright? Do you need assistance?” Though my answer was still breathless, I answered, as Alan walked up, “Oh no, sir! My husband and I were just separated in the crowd, so I thought I would wait for a moment.” The man smiled cordially and then left, convincing me once more, the world has more kindness, than meanness by far.

We rounded a corner back to Dame Street and right there on that corner found an old stationer’s store and being an addiction of mine, we had to go in, to see what I could find. I sigh longingly over the journals and pads and bought two, one for me, and one for my lad. As we waited to pay for our purchases, I practically drooled at the sight of their fountain ink pens. They were gorgeous and perfect, but expensive as sin!

We then had to hurry to bus stop 22 and missed two buses going our way, so we had to wait longer, but oh it was great! We were in the heart of our Dublin town and I swear I heard it’s heart beat, in the footsteps of those hurrying by and in the people’s lilting voices lifting up to the sky.

There was an art school with a mural just over our shoulders, past the National Bank and it’s beautiful columns.

That shop across the street, The Pen Corner, was the old stationers store we visited.

We hopped on the bus to return to our hotel, this time riding on top so we could see Dublin as we rode. We passed bridges with banners for the election the next day, people handing out pins, it was really quite gay! As we packed our bags that night, we reflected on all we had seen, what we heard, and the fine people we met, and decided we loved Ireland. It’s beautiful in just about every way, as long as they don’t talk too fast, so we can understand what they say! LOL!

© Elaine Wood-Lane

I must admit, I got off-track with my travel logs from our trip to Europe in May. This has been a busy summer! This piece started out as a poem so if part of it sounds rhythmic in places like poetry, that’s because it was poetry at first with perhaps a Dr. Seuss quality to some of it. I would apologize for that, but the language of Ireland and the rhythm of Ireland brings out that poetic quality in everyone I think. The edges are softened and blurred somewhat with an upward cadence and lilt that sounds positive and hopeful, even if just discussing the weather. I loved Ireland and would go back there for another visit in a heartbeat! It’s nice to know that my ancestors came from a place that I came to love and easy to see why it was so hard to leave there and settle in west Texas of all places! From green, lush, and poetic to dry and flat, but fertile. What a transition!

Can’t Sleep? Write Something…

Between two snorers,
One a dog and one a man,
Fans nearly drown sounds…

More thoughts come at night,
When paper is nowhere near.
This time iPhone appeared.

Body is aching,
My old heart did some breaking,
That happens when friends
Go to heaven.
They’re happy, so happy,
But we grow oh so sad.

I found out today that a wonderful woman I had known since 1987, Carrie Wardroup, passed away last month. Today was her 80th birthday and I was going to wish her a happy birthday on Facebook as we do these days, and instead learned she had moved to heaven last month. I instantly burst into sobs and tears. My throat throbbed, my heart ached and, I just hurt.

I first met Carrie at TTUHSC when she worked in OB/GYN. She called me to tell me I was pregnant and congratulated me two hours before I miscarried. It was the last time I was ever pregnant. Carrie called me at home the next day to check on me, not as part of her job, but because that was just Carrie. She cared about people. We became instant friends even though we worked in different departments.

Fast forward six or seven years and suddenly we worked for the same pediatric clinic at TTUHSC, the CARE Center. I was her supervisor, which felt weird at first, but worked out fine. How often does one get to supervise a good friend that you think of as a mentor? I think we both learned from each other. We also had a lot of fun, shared joy, worries and griefs. She was 26 years older than me, but taught me how to be young as long as we live. She will always be a part of my heart and who I am. As a matter of fact folks, you can blame/credit Carrie for setting my weird, wild daring sense of humor free.

I’ll love you forever,
You’ll always be close,
I get to talk last,
So this time,
I love YOU most!

Viva los zapatas Carrie!!! 😂

Elaine Wood-Lane