I could never forget you

It makes me a bit sad when I re-read this post and am reminded I wasn’t able to care for mom in our home until the very end of her journey on earth. But, only a tiny bit sad. I know in my heart that moving her to BeeHive Assisted Living and Memory Care in her last year on earth was the right thing to do. BeeHive was so much more than a “place for those waiting to die”. The decision to move her into memory care provided her with so much more meaningful interaction, activities, opportunities to move about, more variety in her meals, and lots of tender loving care. I am beyond grateful for the time spent with her — I know that is something I will never regret. I’m thankful for a husband whose wise investments meant that she would not “run out of money” as she had often worried. It was enough. God is good…all the time.

Barefoot Lily Lady

When you have Alzheimer’s you can’t remember that you don’t need to worry about something. So you do worry. A lot.

Mom worries about such things as whether there is food in the fridge and if she’ll be able to afford the things she needs to live. There is, and she will.

When we have guests, she worries about how they’ll get home in the dark, or where they’ll sleep for the night. She will oftentimes tell our guests that they can sleep in her bed if they need a place to sleep.  Sad, but sweet.

Her worries are usually small ones. She worries every night about whether or not she has a toothbrush. She frets about leaves and twigs out in the yard, or the water on the deck after a rain.

Other times, her worries are big. Her biggest worries are about the future. Just today, she came…

View original post 270 more words

My Christmas Eve Reminisce

The Indescribable Gift

Journal Entry – December 24, 2016

It’s Christmas Eve. My church family is gathering this very hour to celebrate God’s Indescribable Gift by candlelight. I love the Christmas Eve service and am a bit saddened that I can only join my church family via “livestream.” While I appreciate having this option, it’s definitely not the same as being there.

Last year’s Christmas Eve service is etched deep within my heart. Our family all gathered together sitting in the pew beside Wayne and I remembering the giving of the Indescribable Gift with the birth of our Savior.

My favorite part of the service is a tradition that comes right at the end. Our whole church family gathers around the outer edge of the dimly lit sanctuary, the darkness of which is softened by the glow of a few decorative candles. Each one of us holds a single unlit candle while we sing a beautiful carol. Our pastor lights his candle. Then he lights the candle of those on either side of him. Each individual passing the light of their one candle to another, then that candle lights the next. The sanctuary becoming increasingly brightened by the shared light until we are all basking in the warm glow of candlelight, beautifully symbolizing sharing the Light of the World with one another.

With our granddaughters standing between us with their beautiful faces aglow in soft candlelight, Wayne and I listen to them lift their sweet voices in praise to their Savior. This passing of the candlelight perfectly symbolizes the passing of faith to the next generation.

This year our children are celebrating Christmas Eve with their families elsewhere. My dear mother is not up to venturing out on this mild wintry eve of Christmas. Alzheimer’s has stripped mom of her desire to do things socially, so the three of us are quietly celebrating here at her apartment. Together, we will enjoy a home-cooked meal followed by watching a favorite Hallmark Christmas movie.

Watching Hallmark Christmas movies

I must confess that my mind is awhirl with questions and a few uncertainties tonight. I look at mom and wonder just how many more Christmases we will celebrate together. Will this be her last Christmas with us? Will she celebrate her next Christmas in heaven, a gift she truly desires? If not, will she know who I am next Christmas? Will she be able to stay in her apartment another year, or will this next year bring more difficulties and change?

But, even in the midst of my wondering and pondering heart this year, there is a quiet inner joy. Joy in knowing Christ – the Indescribable Gift. Joy in having a husband who has also received the same Gift. Joy in knowing my mother and father each received the Gift by faith as well. Joy in the knowledge that my children and their spouses have each received that most precious Gift. Joy in the realization that one by one, our grandchildren are receiving this Indescribable Gift by faith too.

The symbolic candle lighting candle brings sweet joy as we are reminded that each of us has received this Indescribable Gift because someone shared it with us.

Aloha from the Garden Island

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.” Psalm 146:6

I’m taking a tiny blogging break so I can fully appreciate time spent with my husband Wayne and our beautiful grandgirl, Violet.

There’s no way to capture the splendor of this place in a photo, but here’s a glimpse of my happy moments on my favorite island thus far—Kauai.

Discovering a Secret Garden

Alas, today’s snow flurries and nippy temperatures are just a foretaste of what is yet to come. My gardening checklist has quite a few tasks yet to complete in order to finish preparing my flowerbeds for winter’s sleep. How can it be mid-November already? It seems only yesterday that I was happily plodding barefoot through my gardens, planting this, transplanting that, and digging out weeds, and muttering under my breath at the voracious bunnies who happily brought their family and friends to my flowerbed buffet.

It also seems that not long ago I took a wrong turn detour and found myself driving down a street on which I had never traveled and found myself in an older section of town in what appeared to be an industrial park. Upon making a Y-turn to head back to the known route, I spied a sign to a public garden tucked in a messy-but-pretty flowerbed between what looked like two warehouses.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon, so I parked my car at the curb and accepted the sign’s invitation to wander down a footpath toward what looked like the garden’s entrance. Native plants seemed to hum with busy bees and butterflies. Flowers criss-crossed and lapped over the edges of the ungroomed pathway. The busy bees didn’t seem to mind my presence, so I carefully ventured further down the winding path, and there I found a hidden slice of peaceful beauty to explore.

I invite you to wander its pathways with me, courtesy of a few photos I snapped as I walked and explored.

Upon crossing this rustic footbridge, I entered the most enchanting prairie.

Flowers lured me in to wander pathways, and God’s creation beckoned me to praise Him.

I’ll be back…

I am joining (last minute on a Thursday) the Five Minute Friday writing community for a little writing adventure hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s writing prompt is, “Wander.”

The Day the Caregiver Cried

This story still makes my eyes well with tears when I think of the things my mom endured in her journey through the last few years of life with Alzheimer’s. While I would never want to relive those moments, I’m glad God led me to provide care for her, as God used this incredibly difficult time to help me grow in my faith and trust in Him. I’m reposting this for those friends who are still traveling this road in life called Alzheimer’s. May God bless and keep you and give you wisdom for the journey. I’m here if you need someone to listen to you, share caregiving ideas and thoughts, and pray for you. ~Cindie

Barefoot Lily Lady

Momma had a good day on Saturday – well, as good as days get when you have Alzheimer’s. Wayne was out of town visiting a friend, so it was just the two of us most of the day. She had been alert, busy, and had a great attitude. I turned the clocks back one hour, looking forward to the possibility of an extra hour of sleep. But it was not meant to be – by the time my head hit my pillow she had her light on in her room and was rummaging through her drawers.

It was my turn to teach Sunday School the next morning, so I tried to sleep a little, staying on the edge of sleep, listening and keeping a sleepy eye on the monitor throughout the night, only intervening when I thought it was essential. Sadly, no amount of “redirection” on my part was going…

View original post 522 more words

The Garden Center Stalker

Facebook kindly informed me that one of my favorite garden centers was having a sale on mums and asters.

The ad looked like this.

The garden center is on my way home from work (well, sort of), so I stopped in today. Wow, Fitchburg Farms has an amazing array of healthy, colorful mums, and gorgeous asters in shades of purple! As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m noticing that my flowerbeds are in dire need of some more color. Well, “dire need” might be a slight exaggeration, but they are looking a bit drab.

I drove slowly down the gravel drive into the garden center, admiring the nicely shaped trees along one side and could see that the front of the store was awash in autumn colors. I pulled into one of just a few paved parking spots, then donned a face mask and made my way over to the area where the carts and flatbed wagons were corralled. Three mums and three asters was the “buy limit” I had in mind, so I chose one of those flatbed wagons and set off in search of just the right colors to complement the mums Wayne bought me earlier in the week. There were just two customers shopping in the outdoor section of the garden center, so I picked an area other than where they were shopping so that I kept adequate social distancing in mind.

Since I was in my own spot, I could play with colors. I’d find two or three that I liked and then play with the combinations on my little flatbed. I couldn’t help but notice that there was this lady staring at me as I played. I wondered if she thought she perhaps knew me from somewhere, but couldn’t quite recall. Before I knew it, she was in the same garden aisle as me, so I moved to the next one over to give her (and me) some space to shop.

She followed me.

I couldn’t help but notice that she kept an eye on me the whole time I was there. Wherever I moved, she moved.

Strange. It wasn’t creepy. Just weird. It reminded me of those detective shows where a private eye detective is tailing a suspect and trying to stay incognito (and doing a bad job of it).

I moved to another aisle where I spied more amazing colors that I could play with. She tailed me again. This time the lady finally spoke up and said, “Please, don’t mind me. I am watching you as you’re arranging and rearranging the colors.”

I chuckled, “Oh! I was hoping I wasn’t getting in your way.” She grinned as she shared that she had been there for awhile before me and just couldn’t make up her mind. When she saw me breeze in and start playing with the color combinations she knew what she would do. My garden center stalker-friend shared, “I like the color palettes you are creating and decided, whatever you buy, I’m buying.”

Sure enough, weird turned into a compliment when I looked at her cart and she had duplicated every flower I had chosen.

Rescued from my Easychair

No photo description available.

It’s a glorious September morning here in Wisconsin, with just a hint of autumn in the air. Entirely too gorgeous to be spending it indoors.

It would be a great day to take a walk in the park or perhaps get a little gardening done in the cool of the morning. I definitely have a mile-long to-do list of gardening tasks I could be doing outside on this day off of work. Alas, my all too often used excuse of I will do it later pushed the thought of outdoor activities out of my mind, so I nestled into my comfy chair and opened my laptop to begin working on a PowerPoint presentation for this week’s Sunday School lesson. Just as I got started, my phone rang.

“Hi, Cindie! This is Rita. I’m over at McKee park. What are you doing right now? Would you like to join me for a walk?”

To which I countered, “I’m just sitting on my duff in my comfy chair. I’ll put on my shoes and meet you there in a few minutes.”

Rita (a friend I met through our Fitchburg Garden Club) and I enjoyed talking about what has been going on in our respective worlds (and gardening, of course) and did a little meandering through and around the park. A walk in what I call “my happy place” turned out to be just the thing my heart and body needed today.

Our homes practically bookend the park – mine to the northwest and hers to the southeast, so we ended our walk by wandering through her garden together. September gardens are definitely fading in their summer glory, but we gardeners have the eyes to see the beauty that was and that which will be in the ebbing vestige of floral splendor. Even in its autumnal decline, I can see how my friend designed her garden spaces by layering trees, bushes, perennials and annuals to create a truly magnificent piece of paradise on earth.

Thanks, Rita! I’m so thankful you rescued me from my sedentary morning with just a phone call and an invitation to take an impromptu walk in the park.


Today I am joining the encouraging writing community over at Five Minute Friday for their weekly link-up. This week our common theme is Rescue.

Year of the Sunflower Update

One walk past my yard this time of year and you would definitely know that

I love daylilies!

To this gardener, a daylily just says “summer is here!”

When the heat of August arrives and most daylilies have finished strutting their summer beauty in Midwest gardens, another flower is poised to shout the news heralding “Summer’s not over just yet!”

The sunflower!

Sunflowers are charming – they make me smile. So, why do I rarely plant them in my gardens? Squirrels will occasionally steal some seed absconded from the birdfeeders and bury them willy-nilly in the yard, so I do get the occasional volunteer.

I am thankful my hubby surprised me earlier this summer with several packages of sunflower seeds, paving the way for 2021 to be the Year of the Sunflower at my house. At the end of that post I wrote:

We have a HUGE bunny population this year, so I won’t be surprised if my smattering of sunflower seedlings become their next snack. However, I hope they will save me at least a few to provide late summer splendor and autumnal color. I’ll keep you posted. 

Cindie Winquist, in the “Year of the Sunflower”

So, here I am again, keeping you posted.

I planted those gifted seeds a little later than I should have, but faithfully watered. Heavy spring rains threatened to drown them, and the heat and drought conditions that followed seemed to bring them to their demise. After nearly three weeks, they finally poked their little green heads above the earth! Then, seemingly overnight, those little seedlings made their way skyward. Even the forgetful gardener’s failure to keep them consistently watered didn’t seem to deter their growth.

One fateful night last week, as predicted, the resident bunnies decided they would make a smorgasbord out of the young sunflowers. Even though we had surrounded the raised beds with a plastic grid of garden fencing, they managed to find their way into the midnight buffet line in one of two raised beds of sunflowers.

They filled their bunny bellies and left one solitary sunflower and a few stalks standing.

The garden crashers came back the following night and polished off the remaining bits for dessert. You might notice in the photo below how the bunny leaned in on the fencing to finish it off.

They came back for dessert the next night

Thankfully, you can also see in the background of the photo above one raised bed of sunflowers they have not yet marauded.

Stay tuned…there’s still hope!

Five Minute Friday

encouraging and equipping Christian writers

Grow Write Repeat

Garden writing lifts me up.

Charisse Compton

Charisse Compton's Blog

OnlineGardenTools

Your best garden tools and tutorials.

Whole by Faith

Honoring God every day.

Gardening in the Prairie

I found myself living and gardening in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Devotions by Sheila

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 ASV

Know Stuff

Good Stuff to Know

Little Pieces Of Me

Everyone Has Something To Teach Us

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

M.B. HENRY

Following the Path to the Past

Home is Where the Boat Is

Potting, Puttering & Pontooning

Dad it's Liam

My carer story on Alzheimers (Dementia) to help and support others going through it