As I rise in the early hours of dawn,  typing in what feels like incoherent thoughts I find hat somehow these thoughts tumble into complete  sentences…

Looking back on this year it is hard not to think negatively about life and what has transpired over the last 11 months. Personally, I have seen so much sadness… people losing loved ones to COVID,  family businesses closing their doors, days upon days of isolation, protests, virtual learning, cancelled celebrations, divided systems… the list goes on but in all darkness, there is  a chance that a single moment or a  special person can change one’s perspective on how he/she view life. That person was my mom.

She turned 79 in June of this year. She never went to college but as I look back upon the years, I think she might be one of the smartest person I know. Books, magazines, ripped out articles were found all around the house and in the car. Literature could be found by her reading chair, in the kitchen, on the dining table, in the bathroom, and even in her purse. Mom was not afraid to learn about the world and its changing themes. She was strong in her religious beliefs, allowing it to guide her interactions with kindness and acceptance of others. I could be asking her about something new that had come out in the news and she already had read it, comprehended it, and had her own opinion on the matter. “Being of sound mind” was important to how my mom lived her life every day.
Growing up, I can actually consider that mom was one of my beset friends. I can recall many moments as a teenager that she would be in the middle of doing something and she would stop everything just to listen to what I had to say…really listen.
Cooking was not only a passion, but a way that she showed her love for others. Still one of my favorite food memories growing up was making sticky buns. We would make the dough on Christmas Eve. Each fluffy dough bundle would then be placed in pans on the warm radiators around the house to allow the dough to rise for Christmas morning. Mom would get up early and finish the process of getting the sticky buns into the oven, so we could wake up to the amazing aroma of freshly baked buns.
Gardening was part of our lives growing up and continued into my adult life. Eating fresh vegetable all summer seemed like second nature to my family. Mom was a big component of eating fresh and having lots of vegetables for dinner. Because of her amazing foresight to can these delicious vegetable, we continued to eat from our garden all winter. We really did enjoy the fruits of our labor…
Supporting our every event growing up was part of what mom loved. This support continued to her grandchildren in which she thought nothing of traveling hours to see a 2 minute run. Mom loved unconditionally to all and gave whatever she had to make others around her more comfortable. This legacy of genuine kindness and sharing of love is the mindset that so many of us need today. As I quietly walk the paths of Kalmbach, I am reminded daily of the wonders of nature and how it too, like mom, can give love unconditionally.  Through all the seasons their are new visions of nature… the snow covered pine trees that create a magical, protective canopy for all to walk under, the dark red berries of the holly bush peaking through the snow-clouded day,   deer creating new paths in the snow looking for a dropped persimmons that is could still be available for a sweet snack, and  finally a multitude of  birds picking around  the perennial garden and in the live Christmas tree located right outside our front door. All of these gifts are reminders of how precious life is and how blessed we are to witness these natural joys daily.
My mom passed on many gifts through her legacy of love.

I will forever be thankful to her and celebrate the natural gifts all around me here at Kalmbach Park..