Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


Finally Understanding My Mother

Mom JoAne Mary Kaye 1967 (2)


Like another lifetime

Yet the same lives,

My dad, your husband,

Is off fighting the war

In Vietnam.

Your thoughts are with him,

Wondering, is he safe?

Is he hungry?

Will he make it home?

Not wanting to think about it,

Not wanting to watch the news,

But worrying nonetheless.

My little sister wonders too

Though it looks like she’s playing

Making lines in the dirt

Like a meditation.

I stand quietly.

Thinking. Pondering.

Wondering how to help.

Maybe just standing by your side.

Is enough.


Now, I understand

How strong you really were.


This photo is one of the treasures I’ve found as I go through the things that belonged to my parents, Betty and Jim. It was taken in 1967 when my father was in Vietnam and we were visiting relatives in Connecticut. Whoever took it had a good eye for capturing the moment. It’s very different from most of the photos I find where my mother is older, posing with a smile or volunteering at church or the soup kitchen with Dad.

When I was growing up, my mother suffered from depression that caused her to be hospitalized more than once. The last nervous breakdowns came when Dad was in Vietnam. For many years I thought of my mother as weak. She was always kind, but a little fuzzy in the brain. I wanted her to be strong.

Now, I get the fuzzy brain too, like: “why did I come into this room?” Now, when I look at this photo, I feel compassion.

After Mom died in 2008, I asked my dad what helped him get through the horrors that haunted him from Vietnam – things he didn’t want to talk about because they gave him nightmares.

“It was your mother’s love,” he told me.

I always knew they loved each other very much. But I had not known this:

My mother’s love was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever known.

Yesterday, I wished my mom a happy birthday.  I’m glad she and Dad are together again. Strong in faith. Strong in love.



Remembering the Lessons


Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Post Prompt is: Memory.

My memory isn’t what it used to be. It makes me worry a little about that illness that old people get that starts with an A. But I’m not going to worry too much about that. Memory is a funny thing. We can remember some things so well: the long term memories or those big mistakes we want to forget, but then we get to focus on remembering the LESSONS from those mistakes.

I do want to remember how lonely I was a few years ago when I wanted a partner, but not the wrong partner. Lots of bad memories about the wrong partners. But were they really wrong at the time? Or did they teach me things I needed to learn to appreciate the partner I have now? First,  I learned how to be alone and love myself. Now I’m learning how to be in a healthy relationship.

Memories are such fleeting, fuzzy things sometimes. In writing our memoir, we keep getting the feedback to add more detail. Somethings we remember very clearly even from out high school romance in the early 70s. But many things are fuzzy. Dang, I already used the word fuzzy. This is Stream of Consciousness, it’s okay. Where was I? So, in writing a memoir, sometimes you have to re-create the details and dialogue. We’re keeping honest with the feelings and moods we do remember. But how much detail can anyone remember from conversations that took place 40 years ago?

I do love refreshing these memories. I love knowing that even though there have been some really sad memories, things have worked out. There have been so many challenges that I saw no way out of, but I got through them. We all do. That is the value of memories. Even if we make the same mistake more than once, we learn. We get better.


If you’d like to be part of the Saturday Stream of Consciousness prompt, visit

It’s fun and easy!

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!


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Make Time for Memories

“I thought I’d never see you again!”

That’s what Aunt Ruth said when we surprised her by flying to Wisconsin for her 92’d birthday.  Dad had been talking about going to see his sister for months, but at 83 he was hesitant. His war wounds from Korea and knees that need replacing make every step a challenge, even with leg braces and a cane. But with Aunt Ruth despondent about being moved into an assisted living apartment and telling us in every phone call, “I’m praying for the Lord to take me,” Dad decided he needed to go see his sister.

Working on recovery from over-dedication to my job, I decided to use some of the ample vacation time I’ve earned to accompany Dad. Maybe I’ve learned not to put things like that off, since I never got around to visiting my sister in California before she died. I thought I’d have more time.

With help from airport staff, who wheeled Dad through security, through the Atlanta airport to our connecting flight, and all the way to the rental car, we made it to Milwaukee. We stood in the hallway outside Aunt Ruth’s door and called her on the phone since she didn’t hear the buzzer or the knock. Dad didn’t want to tell her we were coming, because he didn’t want her to worry. We just told her there was a birthday surprise on the way.

Her eyes sparkled when she recognized us. As she invited us in, I saw that she moved with enough agility to dance circles around her baby brother.

Aunt Ruth usually doesn’t remember what she had for lunch a couple hours ago. Sometimes she forgets that she even had lunch. But she and Dad collaborated to recall colorful details of growing up in Wisconsin. During our three day visit, I was privileged to soak up memories of family history, especially about the grandmother I never knew.

“Our mother was full of love,” Aunt Ruth said. “She could make do with anything.” Making do was an important skill for a woman married to an alcoholic who was “always right,” — but that’s another story. They talked about how their mother, Marie, made most of their clothes, often by re-sewing hand me downs from neighbors. She raised chickens and grew vegetables to “put up” in the basement. Every Saturday she baked 12 loaves of bread, and on Sundays, she made pies and cakes and took flowers from her garden to church. She cared for her mother who lived with them and took in the orphaned children of her brother.

During our trip to Wisconsin, Dad opened up to me more about the horrors of Vietnam, something he’d stopped talking about years ago because it gave him nightmares. He talked about drinking heavily when he got back to the states to try to medicate what we now call PTSD. He told me that he though about taking his own life when I was 12 and totally clueless. But the best story he told me was about the Navy chaplain who took him under his wing and helped him give his pain and guilt to God.

Taking this quality time with my Dad and his sister blessed me with rich memories that might have otherwise been lost. It was a blessing for them to be able to share their memories after having made it through all those years. I will treasure forever the afternoon I listened to them reminisce for hours as  I drifted off to sleep on Aunt Ruth’s sofa, feeling safe and comforted by the memories of love that prevailed over all the hardships.

What memories have given you strength or comfort in difficult times?


Me and my Dad

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JoAnne Silvia on a Blog Tour!

Boone Hillside

Path on a hillside in Boone, NC, by JoAnne Silvia

I get to be in a Blog Tour! This opportunity comes from my Online Writing Community via Andilit on Facebook. First I had to find out what a blog tour is. It doesn’t sound too hard. I copy, then answer the questions below and then tag other bloggers. So here goes!

“Upon what are you working?”

My biggest project, the thing that finally got me to pursue writing, is the memoir: Perfect Timing, Lessons in Love, Faith and Perseverance. It’s the story of two young lives coming together in the early 1970’s and being separated (against their wills) to learn all those interesting, and sometimes painful, life lessons they had to learn to be ready to meet again. David and I had no idea we would be reunited, after 39 years of no contact, in a way that confirms there are no coincidences.

        God and the universe are working with us to create our best possible lives.

I’m also writing for Wilmington Faith and Values ( which provided the inspiration to interview otherwise homeless men living in at The Rescue Mission of the Cape Fear, and I’m currently working on a couple of magazine articles.

“How does your work differ from others in the genre?”

I’m so glad you asked! Perfect Timing is actually two memoirs in one. David and I alternate chapters, each telling about our separate, yet often parallel journeys. It has sometimes been a challenging process, but we are growing into it. David, being a to-the-point, “no fluff,” recovering workaholic, put down the facts in his chapters. As I’ve learned more about creative writing, I’ve taken to interviewing him for more details and feelings (the stuff I keep getting asked for by my writing community.) I believe it’s been therapeutic. We’ve certainly learned a lot about each other in this process.

“Why do your write what you write?”

I write to inspire others. I want to give hope. There were some very dark moments in my life relating to divorce and unhealthy rebound relationships.  I want people to know this: Your future can be even better than you’ve imagined, if you work on yourself, believe and never give up.  David and I are encouraged to write our story every time we tell the short version and people say things like: “I just got goosebumps, hearing that!”

“How does your writing process work?”

Fridays are my writing days. I’m so thankful to have been able to cut back my job of 26 years as a  substance abuse counselor to 32 hours a week so I can live my new passion on Fridays. I do write at other times, usually in the evenings, but I have to be careful. I’ve discovered writing can be addictive for me. Being a night owl by nature, I have found myself typing away until the wee hours, and I need to be at work by 8:30 am.  Keeping a notebook handy, and slips of re-purposed scrap paper in my purse, car and bedroom help me jot down ideas as they come. That’s my low tech way of having fun. It’s messy, but I like the individual pieces of paper, because I can just throw them away after I’ve put them in the computer.

Recreating foggy old memories had been a challenge. I’ve emailed high school girlfriends for help which is a blast. We each remember different pieces. Interviewing David’s mother and my father has created some interesting revelations and off shoots for future projects, maybe even novels. So many stories!

Now to pass along the tag: Andi at, Suzanne at, Jennifer at

Let me know if you want to be tagged!