Anything is Possible!

With Hope, Faith, 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.



Motherly Love

(During the month of February, I plan to write about different kinds of love.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your thoughts.)


JoAnne and Ayla baby at the beach (2)


What a surprise to feel that pull on my heart,

Maternal instincts beyond my control.

Men can have those feelings, too.

But my heart, soul, and body,

Were in it for the long haul.

The intoxicating smell

 of soft downy heads

Embedded a bond

Stronger than

Smelly diapers,

Projectile vomiting,

Toddler tantrums,

And adolescent dramas

When I wondered who took my son

And twisted his devotion into gnarly knots?

Who hitched my girl to a marathon ride

On that emotional roller coaster

Without my permission?

Yet they both survived

the bullies and angst

To grow stronger,

To fly solo.

I open my hands

To. Let. Them. Go.

But my heart strings

Stretch across the miles

Through darkness and light,

Because a mother’s love never ends.





For My Father


When I was in my twenties

searching for myself,

I did not understand

the man you were,

how you suffered and fought

and how deeply you loved

my mother,

my sisters,

and me.

As I got older, you got older.

And now that you are gone,

I am in awe

of the integrity of your life.

And now, as I pray for my daughter,

in her twenties,

searching for herself,

I wonder if this is how

you prayed for me

and if somehow, some day

my strength,

my faith,

will rub off on her

as yours has on me.


Dad in raincoat at rehab (2)

The Strongest Man I’ve Ever Known, 1931-2017




A Mother’s Vision

Heart above fairy face

I imagine you wise

A good mother

When the time is right

Comfortable in your own skin

Learning to laugh at yourself

It took me a lot of years to learn that

Why should I expect you

To learn it sooner?

My daughter

Your wisdom emerges

from the depths

Of your healing soul.

You will be

The mother of love

comfortable and comforting

Your sweet laughter

Lighting up the night sky.


Taking my own advice on positive thinking, I wrote this for my daughter who is 22 and searching for her own path.


My Mother’s Eyes


Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

I have my mother’s eyes. Her soft hazel, sometimes sad, patient eyes. I’ve often wished I had darker eye brows and lashes, like my daughter, so I didn’t have to wear eye make up.

My daughter has beautiful green eyes, and beautiful, full lips. But she complains about her nose being too big. I tell her she is beautiful.

She tells me I am beautiful, and I wonder what she sees.

Many years ago, in a rebellious stage, I went without make up, even at work. Then someone described me as “that woman with no eyebrows.”

And I started wearing make up again.

I don’t remember my mother ever wearing eye make up, just lipstick. My dad always liked the natural look. He complained when I started wearing make up as a teenager, especially the blue, or green, or purple, eye shadow.

I know he thought my mother was beautiful with her soft red hair, that never went gray, just lost the red, and her soft hazel eyes with no make up. He adored her. Dad hasn’t changed much in the house since she died in 2008. All my mother’s angels, maybe 1oo of them, still stand watch around the living room.

Today is my mother’s birthday. Her soft hazel eyes watch me with love, even though they know all my secrets now. She still loves me.

Here’s a story about my mom:

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Post was: “I/eye/aye.”

If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

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!


My First Art Show

Tree lady  w 2 hearts

Last weekend I went to my first art show as a vendor. For set up, I got to follow the sign on the front door of the the old church venue saying,

“Artists enter by side door.”

I’ve been an artist since I was  10 years old, but this was the first time I’ve gone in the special door. It’s the first time I’ve put my visual art out there for sale.

“What if I don’t sell anything?” whispered the voice of self-doubt. “It will be so embarrassing!”

“Shut up! That’s no way to talk!” responded my critical parent voice.

“Be positive! What if you sell a lot of your work?” said the nurturing parent. “I’m proud of you for doing this, no matter what!”

“Okay, as long as something sells,” said self-doubt.

I put in a lot of time creating art, matting prints, and painting angels and mermaids on rocks and shells to be included with each purchase. I ended up selling a few pieces which covered the $75 for the space, plus art supplies. And I have plenty of leftovers for the next show or to go in a gallery!

The “Tree Lady” (above) and the healing angels (below) sold. But not the larger pieces.

IMG_0918    Comforting Angels

And the original of “Delivery,” a practice piece on scrap wood, sold.

Angels w baby


I learned a lot from this first art show, like art is subjective. Some of the prints I thought for sure would sell didn’t. Small pieces of original art sold best. People admired the three larger paintings, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money, which I can understand. So for next time, I’m making a few prints of the larger pieces.

Seeing other artists’ work provided a feast of delight and inspiration.

But the best part of all was not about what I sold.

The best part was about what I gave away.

I’d brought with me paper and plastic bags for the art I’d sell. One bag came from my mom’s bedroom, the bedroom my father hasn’t changed in the several years since she died. I go in there now and then to look for things I can convince Dad to donate or get rid of.  The bag from Mom’s room was a lavender paper bag with handles. While sitting at the art show, I rummaged through the tissue paper in the lavender bag. At the bottom, I found a little, pink, crocheted purse. Or so I thought it was a purse.


(It actually turned out to be a holder for those personal sized Kleenex packets.)

I put the little pink purse in the basket I’d brought the painted rocks in, and put it on the table thinking someone might like it.

A couple hours later, a little girl, who looked to be about 5 or 6, came by with her parents. She stopped to look at the painted shells, lingering on each one. Then she came to the little pink purse in the basket.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“I think it’s a little purse,” I said. I could tell she liked it by the way she admired it and worked to figure out the button clasp.

“That’s for you,” I said. “My mother wants you to have it.”

My words came out spontaneously.

The little girl smiled and thanked me politely as did her mother. They figured out it was a Kleenex purse, and said she always had trouble finding tissue at school, so it would come in handy.

The brief and powerful connection with the little girl and my mother’s pink Kleenex purse made my heart sing. It was as if my mother had been there all the time, watching quietly, waiting for the chance to be part of my first art show.