Sunday, March 23, 2014


if you keep up with
my life on the lane,
you know meester berrong
have been contemplating 
leveling our house 
and rebuilding 
here on our lot.
after writing this post,
i began to dream
by way of my pinterest.
i found ideas, 
shared them with john, 
and began to plan what each room 
would look like...
high-pitched, exposed ceilings,
beautiful light fixtures,
bright paint,
colorful furnishings and decor,
the fireplace.
counter tops,
innovative showers 
walk-in closets,
hidden outlets,
and tile flooring.

from ceiling to floor,
i was making plans 
with john,
and he liked them:)



a few days later,
i awoke to an empty house.
i made my way 
from my bed 
to my bedroom door,
opened it,
and took one barefooted
step out
onto the cool, hardwood 
that is our living room

the floor creaked
(just like it always has/
just like it always does);
this time though...
the sound was deafening:
it may have even echoed.

i immediately experienced
the raw emotion of


that experience 
was apparently 
a pivotal point
in my plan-making
for i quickly found myself
looking at ways 


instead of pinning
large country chic
kitchen plans,
i began to look
at galley kitchen plans
and pin 
ways to renovate 
our kitchen.
instead of pinning 
exposed ceiling ideas,
i began to look at and pin
new metal roofing
to cover the 9' ceilings
we already have.
instead of pinning
furnishings for 
an open-concept den,
i began to look at and pin
den furniture 
for the den we already have,
which could be made
much larger by moving
our utility room
and knocking out
a couple of walls.

i began weighing 
our options.
meester berrong
was good with that too.


(a few photos of "before")

tomorrow will mark
the first day of our
lane makeover:)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the bobby soxer and i...

(portrait by joseph martin: martin studio)

when i was in high school,
i spent a lot of time with
(mary ann (mcclure) blackwell),
on various occasions 
she commented that i reminded
her so much of shirley temple...
to which i always
tucked my chin,
tilted my head,
flashed a big smile,
poked my cheek
twisting my pointer
into my sole dimple.

(i was quite familiar
with shirley temple...
growing up,
she was my favorite!!!
i had seen "all" of her movies
dozens of times.
so, when mim 
said i looked like her,
i thought she meant
my curly hair,
my big eyes,
and my chubby, little-girl face.)

hence, her comparison
always made me


it wasn't until
my sophomore year in college
that i realized she meant
i REALLY looked like 
shirley temple.
i was in my dorm studying
one night
with the television 
turned on to 
the american movie classics channel.
i wasn't really paying attention
to our t.v. 
until i heard an advertisement 
for the movie, 
the bachelor and the bobby soxer,
which was to air next
 shirley temple.

i remember thinking to myself,
the bachelor and the bobby soxer?
i've never heard of that one.
i continued studying.

a little later,
my roommate, susan bennett,
came in from night class.
she put down her things,
grabbed her toiletries,
told me she was off to take a shower.
while she was gone,
the movie started.
i looked up
to see a grown-up
(well, my aged)
shirley temple.

i was shocked!

i did look like her...
like uncannily so!

when mimi said i reminded her
of shirley, she wasn't kidding.


i couldn't wait for susan
to return from her shower
so she could validate what i was seeing.
finally, she returned, but
the movie had gone to commercial.
she proceeded to tell me about
her day and night class
with vish.
(susan was crushing on vish,
aka "mr. msu"
whom she later married,
big time!)

when she paused,
i directed her attention to the t.v.

me: does she remind you of anyone?
susan: who?
me: the girl in the movie.
(i pointed at shirley.)
susan: YOU!  she looks
just like you!  who is that?
me: that is shirley temple.
susan: really? i don't think i've 
ever seen her at that age.
me: i haven't either.
susan: oh my goodness,
she even dresses
and wears her hair the same
as you.


it was true;
i always preferred 
the classic look over 
from her hair to her bobby socks,
we even shared style.

(looking back,
i was probably the biggest
nerd on campus, ha!)


when i awoke this morning 
and rejoined social media
i read
of shirley's death 
and was immediately, immensely 

my doppelganger 
had died at the age of 85.

my cousin, theresa,
had posted a status update 
to facebook,
"rip, shirley temple,
hope you land on the sunny beaches 
peppermint bay!"

i couldn't have put it better

shirley temple black,
may you spend eternity
Lemonade stands,
Crackerjack bands,
Fill the air,
And there you are,
Happy landings on a chocolate bar.
See the sugar bowl
Do a tootsie roll
In a big bad devils food cake
and never, ever
have to experience another 
tummy ache.

love and God's blessings, 
dani xxx

Monday, February 10, 2014

oh, brother...

as i wrote in a previous post,
i was thrilled when, for Christmas, 
meester berrong gifted me 
with a brother pe770, 
embroidery machine 
i'd been eyeing.

it was a proverbial breeze
to set up and start using.
not so long after doing so, 
i started experiencing 
a few kinks.
(immediately, john told me 
to take it back
and get a bernina,
which his sister has 
and loves.
he went on to say 
he was going to get me 
the bernina for Christmas 
but wasn't sure 
how serious i was about 
anyway, i worked through 
those first kinks 
with the help of youtube's 
vince arcuri,
who retired from the military 
and took up embroidering 
as a hobby.
if not for vince 
and his experience 
with the brother pe770,
i would have been totally lost 
when i started experiencing issues 
with my machine.


i embroidered and sewed 
pillows for my front porch 
and monogrammed
a couple of scarves  
experiencing only a glitch 
or two. 
the third scarf was a totally 
different experience.
doing everything the same 
as i'd been doing, 
i hooped my fabric, 
lowered my presser foot, 
and pressed the button 
to start embroiderying.
when it started it seemed fine, 
but about 20 stitches in,
i noticed my embroidery arm 
wasn't moving...

hence, i stopped the process 
and found my machine 
had pulled my fabric 
down into the bobbin
my machine was eating 
my scarf!
further, the only way
to get the scarf
(and wad of thread)
out of the chamber
was to cut it:(

hoping it was an isolated 
incident, i took in
a deep breath, 
re-hooped the fabric,
cleaned the machine, 
tried again on the other 
end of the scarf.

the same thing happened.

i thought maybe it was 
a fabric issue...
(like, maybe the fabric was too 
delicate or something)


that was not the case.
on friday night
my machine ate
3 of the next 4 
projects i attempted.
so, first thing saturday morning,
i called
to see if i could still 
return it.
the customer service representative 
told me i could...
as i was still under 90 days.
so, that's what i did.

afterwards, john and i went 
to evansville to the bernina store
and ordered a new machine.


i'm sharing this because 
several of my readers 
and fellow facebook'ers
messaged me about the type 
of machine i was using
and if i was pleased with 
the machine.

the bottom line is 
i would not recommend
the brother pe770!

(when it works,
it's great;
the other 30%
of the time...
not so much:/)

after losing several items 
i had purchased 
to embroider,
i knew it was time to 
invest in a better machine.


so, stay tuned.
i am supposed to receive 
my bernina
on tuesday.
i hope to report 
a much more positive experience!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, February 3, 2014

mosses monday LII...

a time to refrain
from embracing...
(ecc 3 niv)

fall came.
john went often
to visit mosses,
to listen to mosses' music,
to share in an afternoon toddy.

for the most part,
i was only able to
talk to mosses each evening
on the telephone...
as i had back-to-back
bouts of shingles.

that was the first Christmas
in sixteen years
i was unable to celebrate
with mosses.


i know that there is nothing
better for people
than to be happy
and to do good
while they live.

although i was unable
to physically be with mosses
that Christmas,
john went to visit him.
he took mosses
a bottle of makers mark,
he took jean,
mosses main sitter,
a snow angel...
as we felt
 jean had been so good
to our mosses.

i, however, saved the gift
i had for mosses.


(there was the year
we gave him a whiskey bottle
hummingbird feeder;)

shopping for mosses
was always fun.
he had everything
he could ever want or need,
i was able to shop
for things
"outside the box".

this particular year
i had been shopping
when i saw a hooded sweatshirt
by the mossimo company.
was appliqued on the front of it!
it was such a unique
and perfect gift!

i didn't want to send it with john.
i wanted to take
it to mosses myself.
mosses and i set a date
for me to do just that...
for later,
for when i was well.

(to be continued)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps. on my side-bar
you will find earlier entries
"our love story"
in ascending order. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

mosses monday LI...

and a time to dance

mosses was past his dancing days,
but he still enjoyed the music
of days-gone-by...
the music, perhaps,
to which he once
danced with his beloved lucy.


"dani, does john like big band music?"
mosses asked me one afternoon
while katherine and i were visiting.

"yes, he does,"
i answered.

"well, golly-muggins, i was thinking
earlier i still may still have some old records
and mike's turntable in the basement.
do you think he'd like to come over
and listen to them with me
and have a toddy?"

"i think he'd love to, mosses!
if you can't find yours,
we have a couple of glenn miller's cds
at home."


a few days later
my phone rang.
it was mr. moss calling to say
 maryhis afternoon sitter,
had found his records
and player
and he wanted me to call
john at work to ask
him if he could join mosses
that afternoon.

i told mosses to expect john
unless i called back to tell him


when john arrived home
late that afternoon,
he came in grinning.

"how was mosses?"
i asked.

"oh, he was on cloud nine!"
he answered.
"mary had a toddy
waiting for me
and was making mr. moss'
when i walked in the door.
we drank, ate popcorn,
and listened to a couple
of records."

"glenn miller?" i asked.

"no, he had mary play
some benny goodman.
you know,
that old record player
of mike's sounded pretty good."


a time to keep silent...

"what did he have to say?"
i asked as i tossed our salad.

"not much while we 
were listening to the music,"
he replied,
"we pretty much just 

and a time to speak...

"after we finished listening
to the second record,
he talked a little about 
the big bands that used to play
over at the trocadero.
he said his favorite
was harry james."


that each of them
may eat and drink,
and find satisfaction
in all their toil...
this is the gift of God.
(ecc. 3 niv)

i smiled...

john grinned again, 
"he asked me
if i'd come back and listen
to some more with him."
he continued,
"i told him, sure.
i think he really liked that!"

i'm SURE he LOVED that!

(to be continued)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps. on my side-bar,
you will find earlier entries
"our love story"
in ascending order.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

lane snow...

falling falling down
blanketing the sleeping ground
not making a sound
ddb 1-21-14 


love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, January 20, 2014

mosses monday L...

there is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity 
under the heavens
(ecc. 3 niv)


a time to laugh

seasons came,
and seasons went.
and by the grace of God,
mosses enjoyed
each for what it was.

a time to plant

when springtime finally arrived
mosses donned his
farming clothes,
his yard shoes,
a baseball cap
john had given him
to keep the sun out of his face.
mosses was ready to get
out of the house,
to breath in fresh air,
to work in his yard,
with a little help,
to plant and tend his garden...

from his outdoor-wheelchair
(which was half wheelchair/
half duct tape;)
he caged his
tiny vegetable plants,
he weeded around them,
he watered them.

a time to uproot


he reaped the rewards
of having done so.
he had a garden
and a harvest,
which was newsworthy!

and also that every man
should eat and drink,
and enjoy the good
of all his labour
it is the gift of God.

mosses shared his harvest.
most every afternoon
his family and friends
found on their porches...
plastic bags
of tomatoes, turnips,
cabbage, and green onions.
mosses loved sharing!

a time to love

he also loved receiving
calls of thanks 
at the end of the day...
not because he expected them
but because he loved hearing
the voices of his loved ones.
he loved talking about his garden
he loved hearing about
his loved ones' respective day.

mosses loved.


and a time to dance

(to be continued)

love and Gods blessings,
dani xxx

ps. on my side-bar,
you will find earlier entries
"our love story"
in ascending order.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

sew awesome!

so, when meester berrong
asked me what i wanted
for Christmas,
i didn't hesitate,

me: i want garth brooks' new cd box-set
and a new set of pots and pans...
red or turquoise.

with that,
my boy rolled his eyes at me.
(like all the way back-
i was lookin' at nothin' but whites.)


me: ugh, why? that's what i want!

john: not doin' it...

he went on about whatever
it was he was doing.

katherine (putting in her two cents from another room):
she wants a monogramming machine,
(my girl has ears like an elephant.)

i looked at john.

me: seriously, i really want pots and pans...
some pretty ones.


about a week-and-a-half
before Christmas,
katherine came to me
and told me john was in a real
(last minute dilemma...
that's how john rolls.)

katherine: mom, he really 
doesn't know what to get you?

me: i told him what i want.

katherine: mom, he's not getting you
pots and pans.
it's not going to happen.
so, what else do you want?

me: i don't know.

katherine: well, what about
a monogramming machine?

me: the one i want is too expensive.

katherine: all i've got to say is,
if you don't tell him something,
there's no telling what he'll
get you. 

she had a point.

me: tell him,
 the monogramming machine.
but, if he thinks it's too expensive,
tell him,
a set of red or turquoise
pots and pans
and the garth brooks set.


you know,
i would understand
pots and pans not being
the ideal present for a husband
to go out and purchase for his wife
for Christmas...
if she hadn't asked for them.
but, i really wanted a set.
that's different.

that being said,
i really, really, really
wanted a monogramming machine.
the only reason i hadn't bought for myself
was the price.
i couldn't justify spending that much
for a toy.


apparently, meester berrong
did though
because on Christmas eve morning
(when we always exchange with each other
on the lane)
i came into the room to find
him sitting in his chair next
to something BIG all covered
with blankets.
(gotta love his wrapping!)

john: well, are you going to come
over here and see what you got?

me: well, yeah!

i pulled off the blankets
to reveal the monogramming machine
i wanted
and atop...
the new garth brooks collection!!!

all i could think...
my boy is sew awesome!!!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, January 13, 2014

mosses monday XLIX...

"God, take him now if he is ready;
but, if he is not ready. leave him,
and leave him whole!!!"
(i had never prayed so boldly in my life.)

he was back
he was whole.

God knew before i
how important it was
for my prayer to be
answered completely.
to have kept him only alive
and not his
was just not an option!


just days after mosses
had started to make his recovery,
i was at family night at church
when my preacher asked
if i would like to share
my experience.

(i don't know what 
methodist churches are like
in other areas,
but our church is/was not really
the touchy-feely,
sharing type.)

although it was not the norm
to do so,
i graciously accepted his invitation
to share.
ric handed me the microphone,
and i turned around
to face a roomful of my church family
and began to recount
mosses' story
of answered prayer.

from the expressions
i saw on their faces,
i knew they were receptive
and genuinely touched.
this made it so much easier
to tell mosses story.
when i was finished,
i looked all around
to see only smiles
and happy tears.

God was with me!


after taking my seat,
ric led a short prayer
before directing us to go
to our wednesday night Bible studies.
i gathered my things
and started walking across the room.
as i passed by her,
a woman grabbed my hand.
i stopped and turned to her.
the woman greeted my smile
with her scowl.

woman: you are selfish!
you should have let george
go on to his reward.

i stood in stunned

woman: who do you think you are?

i knew her question
was rhetorical.  
the last thing she wanted me to do
was answer,
which was good
because i had no words for her.


looking, eye-to-eye, at her,
i jerked my hand 
from the woman's tight grip,
turned, and
walked away from her 
as quickly as i could.

for a moment,
i thought about her words.
for a moment,
i questioned my actions.

by the grace of God,
i remembered,
it wasn't about me or even mosses,
and it certainly was not about her...
it was about God!
i felt a smile creep
back across my face.
i pulled up my chin,
and stretched back my shoulders.
i walked away from that woman
with a blessed assurance
only God could bestow.


love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps. on my side-bar, you will find earlier entries entitled,
"our love story" 
in ascending order.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

stella was the mom...

stella had been bathed
a short while before i arrived
at the rehab facility
where she was receiving therapy.
she was soundly sleeping.
so as not to wake her,
i made my way over to a chair
in the corner of her room
and sat with donna,
one of stella's beloved care-givers.

donna is very easy to talk to:
she is fun and funny,
loving and caring,
most importantly, very kind.
stella counts her as a blessing.


the longer we sat and talked,
the more nostalgic i became.
donna mentioned
she had seen a photo of jack
i had posted to jeda's facebook wall
on her birthday.
i chuckled.

me: you know,
when i was growing up,
there weren't any other kids
in the neighborhood.
so, i played with jack.
he was my best friend!

donna (looking over at stella):
and stella?

me: no, jack was my best friend.
stella was the mom.

donna: oh.

me: don't get me wrong, 
i love and have always loved
but jack was my buddy...
while we did our thing outside,
stella was in the house
making us coke or sweet tea in ball jars,
and preparing dinner.

donna smiled.


 yes, most definitely...
jack was the kid, and 
stella was the mom.

from my little-girl-perspective,
that's how i saw it.
stella was a good mom to jack and me.
she had a hard job keeping jack in line,
but she did it beautifully.
she took care of him,
she took care of me.

with both of my parents
working long hours,
i was a latchkey kid.
i wasn't allowed to answer the door
but was allowed to go to jack's and stella's house
if they were at home and didn't mind.
thankfully they were home a lot,
they never made me feel
like they minded my company.

over the years,
jack taught me how 
to play basketball,
to air up my bike tires,
to shoot a bb gun,
to form political opinions.

stella taught me how
to crochet a chain,
to cross-stitch,
to make hot chocolate,
to play tunes on her piano,
to behave like a classy lady.

jack and stella were my
on the lane.

it takes one,
you know.


as i looked over at stella,
i noticed her
head was sliding
off the edge of her pillow.
so, i walked over to the side of her bed
and began to rearrange
her pillows.

me: hey, stella, it's dani.
stella: hey, dani.
me: is this better?
stella: yes.
me: do you want a drink of water?
stella: i think i do.

as she took a couple of sips of water,
donna began to rearrange
her sheet and blankets.

donna: are your heels
getting sore, mrs. davis?

i sat down the cup of water
and moved to the foot of stella's bed
to raise her feet while
donna placed a pillow beneath
the lower calves of her legs.
as i lowered her feet
i rubbed one of her heels.

stella: ah, that feels good.


i crawled onto the foot
of stella's bed
and began to gently rub her heel.
donna brought a jar of cream
over to me.
after greasing my hands with it,
i commenced to massage her feet...
first her heels,
then her arches,
lastly her toes.

when i got to her toes,
i began to feel really emotional.
i took notice:
they were worn yet soft,
they were curled and crooked
yet functional,
they were in need of a pedicure
yet showed signs of having 
had one recently.
stella's feet began to divulge
to me
who she really was.
each individual toe
spoke to me and reminded me
that stella davis was 
a humble servant...
to her husband,
to her mother,
to her children,
to the patrons of their
dry-cleaning business,
to her church,
and to her neighbors.

all at once,
i found myself
in a very intimate place
with this woman
whom i have loved and admired
most all my life.


so as not to break,
i quickly turned and 
looked over at donna.

me: does stella have any toenail clippers?

donna: no, but i have some
fingernail clippers in my purse
and a file.
here, will these work?

me: i think so, thank you.

i stood up and looked around
the room for something
to place beneath stella's feet
to catch her nail filings.


after i clipped and filed,
i found a washcloth
and dampened it to wipe
off her feet.
when i came out of her restroom,
donna looked at me
and crinkled her forehead.

donna: that better be warm,
or she will fuss at you!

at that,
we both laughed.
i returned to the restroom,
ran the tap until it was very warm,
re-wet the cloth,
and resumed my place
at stella's feet.
i gently washed,
recovered them
with her sheet and blankets.


last sunday,
God blessed me...
by allowing me to bring pleasure to,
by allowing me to remember,
by allowing me to experience a precious,
most intimate moment with...
this woman,
this mother,
this neighbor
i hold so dear.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx