Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Carry Your Heart With Me!

When I was young girl, the holidays were always an amazing, almost magical time for me.  The precursor to the holiday season seemed to be when my mom took her "half dozen" to Sears or JCPenney for back to school shopping.  In the northeast, (Sewickley, Pennsylvania to be exact) the school year always started right after Labor Day.  

As the summer would come to a close, and the seasons began to change from summer to fall, I have always thought during the early fall, Sewickley reached a peak of natural beauty.  As the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania approach the month of October, the autumn sun always worked her magic on the leaves.  The golds, reds, shades of green seem to sprinkle color along the hillsides.  

So from the time the first school bell rang--signaling students back to the classroom, my mom turned her attention to decorating the house for fall!  That generally meant she would bring out all of the ceramic items she made during her clay/glaze phase.  I miss those fall leaf candy dishes she had in varying sizes.  But for me the best part of autumn was that Halloween was right around the corner.  Halloween was always incredible, because she would conjure up an incredible "one of a kind" costume for her kids.  The first real costume I remember my mom created specifically for me was the "Gypsy" outfit.  I think I loved the silk scarf and all of the bracelets she let me wear...I remember even winning a Girls Scout costume contest for it that year.  We were Hobos, Hippies, Pirates...but one of the funniest costumes she made was the one she made for my younger brothers.  My mom took felt fabric, cut it into a toga, and made the bottom of the piece jagged.  Then she proceeded to cut many green garbage bags into an ellipse shape.  Then starting from the bottom of this green felt toga looking frock she proceeded to staple these oval plastic green garbage bag "leaves" onto the entire garment, in rows, overlapping one on top of another.  Once the entire piece was covered in "leaves" she started another one, but this time the toga smaller...she was creating the beginnings of the cutest stinkin' custom for Craig and Brian--they went trick-or-treating as the Jolly Green Giant and the Little Green Sprout!

We moved through the Thanksgiving holidays, (which I will share at another time)--just in time for one of the most cherished Official Days Off from School which was just days following Thanksgiving...

I did not cherish it for the pursuit of the gaming (heck, the movie Bambi scared me for life, as it relates to hunting)...I never wanted to be around or learn to use a gun...but not only did we get out of school--but the entire landscape of the community changed...camouflage clothing became as common place as jeans and a polo shirt.

Then Christmas Season was upon us.  Once again, my mom would bring out the boxes from the basement that held her ceramic poinsettia candy dishes,  Santa, all  which announced the Yuletide Season.  
She would also make a paper banner that read, "Happy Birthday Jesus".  

One of her favorite pieces she made in ceramics for Christmas was the green "light bright" ceramic Christmas tree.  You know this type of Christmas tree--it's hollow and had a base that a light bulb would occupy.  This glazed beauty also had holes scattered all over it in order to insert the multi-colored plastic pegs, so when illuminated looked like a lighted Christmas tree--my Dad still has this Christmas treasure!  

As a young mom, I shared with my mom how I loved to look just look at the lighted Christmas tree in the still of the night.  She shared how she would do the same, especially Christmas Eve--after Santa visited.  She would gaze at the packages, mentally checking to ensure each of her children had the EXACT same number of packages.  She would marvel at the work that went into Christmas Morning...and try to savor every moment.  Because once her half dozen awoke...Christmas magic and surprises were over within minutes of tearing into the piles of gifts carefully arranged for each child.

Christmas cookie baking, tree ornament making, the Nativity set, Midnight Mass and early morning breakfast following Mass, champagne...are wonderful memories and traditions that can flood back to me instantly with just the smell of evergreen or the sound of Bing Crosby singing, "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Memory making, time honored traditions, sights, sounds and even great smells of my youth...I take with me always and I thank my mom, my sweet, sweet mom for these things I cherish in my heart.

I Carry Your Heart With Me
by E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

I miss you mom! 

I Lasso the wonderful memories I have of my terrific mom!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life is Like a River...

When I was in college I had a silly sign on my dorm room door that read, "Life is like a river..."!
This statement was always a conversation starter.  People would come into my room and try to guess the answer to the statement...but in fact there was no real answer.  However, it was always fun and often interesting to see how different friends and acquaintances would finish it.  I saw the statement as a way to define the journey I was on in college...trying to find myself, trying to strengthen my faith-life, (which was not really fashionable in the late 1970's), trying to discern who were true friends, how I felt about social and religious issues.

This May I will have been out of college 30 years...I am still on a journey.  As my personal little world changes around me with children coming and going from college, a recent marriage and the closeness I feel to my husband of 25 years, losing family members and friends to awful diseases, aging--I am still evolving.  I have been a mother for 24 years.  As my kids take off on their adventures in role as a mother has to be redefined. But, I have great comfort in knowing who I am, what I stand for, and how important my faith is in my life.  Because God never changes...

Life IS like a river...ever flowing.  At times the river is moving through rapids, calm waters, or even stagnant but always moving and changing.  People who enter our lives become ripples or waves...
But the water of life that renews our spirit is our faith in God, He is the one constant.

I Lasso God as the center of my life!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Puppy Ellie

As a young girl, I was number 3 out of six children...we were always referred to as "Boots' half dozen".  Boots was my mom's name.  An incredible lady!  I was blessed to be raised by the most incredible parents.  Both people of strong faith, strong sense of what is important and a moral code that is still with me today.

My mom is holding Pierre
During my childhood we had three dogs...two toy poodles (Pierre and Bingo), but the dog that won our hearts was Sox.  Sox was actually my oldest brother, Mark's dog he brought home from college when Sox was discovered in the dorm room.  My mother embraced having a dog in the house.  The comical thing about having a dog named Sox and a mom named Boots, was the questions I would commonly get from my friends, "Now, Kathie is your dog's name Boots or Sox...I don't want to call the dog and mistakenly call your mom!"

As a married woman, mother of three small children, it took a great deal of convincing to have a dog.  Joe was never allowed to have any pet growing up.  Boy that becomes a challenge...not just in agreeing to a dog, but understanding the a family dog is exactly that...a part of the family!  When Joe finally acquiesced to my plea for a dog, I originally wanted a Springer Spaniel.  But Joe had a Navy buddy who had the "coolest" dog--so if we were going to have a dog, it was going to be an Australian Shepherd!  Well, fast forward 25 years of marriage and we have had three awesome Aussies. 

Pirate, is 15 1/2 , Ellie is almost 9 months old...Holly died shortly after her first birthday from seizures. 

Pirate is moving slowly...I actually thought we were going to lose him last year so I contacted his breeder to see if she would have any litters in the near future...Ellie arrived Oct. 20th...I was able to bring her home the week of Christmas.  I love my dogs.  Since the litter Ellie came from was called the New Moon Litter...Moon needed to be in her registered name...since It's a Wonderful Life is one of my very favorite movies, and the fact that we brought her home the week of Christmas...her registered name is Chase's Lasso the Moon...(Chase is the kennel Ellie came it too needed to be in the name).  I need to work with Ellie more with obedience commands, but truly, I love this puppy!  She has put pep back into the step of Pirate!  He is approaching 16, and doing well!

I think I continue to be amazed at the loyalty and unconditional love our four-legged pets give to us so affectionately!

Stoeckle Siblings with Sox & Abby

I can't close this entry without mentioning Ducati...much like, Mark bringing home Sox, and my mother being so receptive to this son Adam brought home Ducati from Baylor University Humane Society. 

The biggest difference though, is Adam has spent the time and money to really train this sweet dog!  So while Ducati is Adam's dog...we consider Duke part of our family!  While at times it's a three ring circus...I love the life and love these canines bring to our home!

I Lasso our four-legged family members!

Monday, July 5, 2010


There is nothing like a board game, card game or even various Wii games to bring a family together--great joy, delightful conversation, wonderful laughter...and even a great escape from the pressures of life...


Everyone has a purpose in life...I think Mother Teresa of Calcutta (one of my heros) says it best:

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world." Mother Teresa

I Lasso the time I spend with my family!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seasons in Life

Many blessings abound in my life. I don't consider myself lucky, I consider all of my good fortune to be a true blessing. But I will also note, with many blessings come many more challenges. I really 'get' the saying that looks are deceiving. I think people often see a person from the persona they project and assume that his/her world is amazing and perfect, but in my lifetime, I have learned--in many ways the hard way...that looks are deceiving...

Like everyone on the planet, I have had many passages or seasons in my life. Some seasons have been better than others. As I get older, the value of living and the wisdom that comes with age gives me comfort as I brave the 50's!

This blog is more for me--to think through capture moments I might otherwise forget.
If you are reading this...please share your thoughts, comments, insights to the season in your life you are living right now.
Many blessings,

So I Lasso blogging for the first time!  Hope you'll come back!