There’s a passage in the Bible that talks about seasons. You’ve probably heard or read these verses from Ecclesiastes 3.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

To me this is the essence of what is often referred to as the Circle of Life. There’s a time for everything and everyone.

Mama Chick’s time on earth ended one year ago today.

I miss her in ways it would have previously been impossible for me to understand. I miss her advice. I miss her caring concern. I miss our long talks on the telephone and our discussions about books and current events and politics and recipes and family and even the weather. I miss her hugs when I would come home for a visit. I miss seeing her walk into the kitchen in the morning and watching tv with her at night during those visits.

Mama Chick understood me and appreciated me in ways that no one else ever has or will. I guess that’s part of the unique mother-daughter bond and I very selfishly miss that, too. Probably most of all.

She was on this earth for 82 -1/2 years before she went home to be with the Lord. Mama Chick loved Jesus with all her heart. It truly is a great comfort to me knowing that she’s in Heaven with the Lord.

The loss of Mama Chick has impacted my life in so many ways and taught me lessons – some expected and some surprising.

  1. Faith is comforting. Mom’s passing has deepened my faith in God. She would be happy about that.
  2. Time with family is precious. I’ve always believed family time is important, but now I make time to travel home even more often to see them.
  3. Grief isn’t a journey. There is a beginning, but no end. It changes, gets worse, gets better, and just is.
  4. Making an effort, large or small, matters. I’m the type of person who always means to send a card for whatever occasion, but often forgets. When Mama Chick died, I received cards and other expressions of support from many people. These meant more to me than I can possibly express. I’m making more of an effort to follow up on my good intentions now.
  5. Tell them you love them. Our’s was never a family that verbally expressed our love until Nephew Chick was born and Mama Chick started telling him she loved him. Then she started saying it to me when we’d end a phone call. Though uncomfortable at first, I started saying it back. Eventually, it was natural. The last thing I said to Mama Chick on the day before she died was “I love you.” I’ll forever be grateful for that.
  6. Grief is deeply personal and life does, indeed, go on. It’s sometimes difficult to accept this. When grief is most acute, you want the world to stop. You expect others to feel the same sense of loss. But life goes on around you and everyone continues with their daily routines. No one can understand exactly what you’re feeling and they have their own lives to live. They may be sympathetic, but your grief is your own.
  7. You forget the bad stuff. Mama Chick and I had a very good and close relationship, but there were times I was annoyed with her over the years. I know there were many times she was irritated with me. None of that matters anymore and the good memories outweigh any bad ones you may have.

Mama Chick tried to prepare me for the day when she would no longer be here. We were talking on the phone one day and she mentioned something about the not being around forever.

Me: “I don’t know how some people seem to handle loss so well. I’ll be a basket case.”

Mama Chick: “You’re just more emotional. You feel things more deeply. You’ll just need to keep busy and keep your mind occupied.”

She was right. I’ve had a few days where I’ve wallowed around in my grief and it was not pleasant. For me, staying busy, praying, and spending time with my family have all played critical roles in helping me get through the worst of my grief and learn to live without Mama Chick.

She’s in Heaven now, but her legacy of love lives on.

Well done, Mom! Love you!

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The life of a freelance writer is similar to fishing. You cast out your line and wait for the fish to bite. In order to catch enough fish to make a living, you have to do a lot of casting. As a work-at-home freelance writer, I’m often casting my line to look for new paid writing opportunities. One such opportunity recently asked me to describe my personal hero in order to get a better picture of my writing style. I knew immediately who I wanted to write about in my essay and my response is below. There is no one I look up to or admire more than these personal heroes.

When most people think about a hero, they envision someone like Mother Teresa, who worked tirelessly as a champion for the poor; Jackie Robinson, who helped break down the color barrier in professional baseball; or US Airways pilot Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who successfully made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York City, saving the lives of 155 passengers and crew. While each of these individuals deserves the title of hero, none of them serves as my greatest inspiration.

That position is held by my parents.

Mama Chick and Papa Chick Mama Chick and Papa Chick

 

If the accomplishments of Mother Teresa, Jackie Robinson, or Captain Sully are the measuring stick by which a hero is assessed, it might be easy to believe that Papa Chick and Mama Chick come up lacking. However, if a person’s worth is measured by the lessons taught, values instilled, and the depth of unconditional love offered, my mom and dad are on a pedestal of their own.

The Value of Independence

Mama Chick taught my sister and I the value of independence. Unlike many women of her era, she pursued a career and lived on her own before getting married and having children. What is commonplace now was not the norm when she was a young woman and her choices required self confidence, personal strength, determination, and perseverance. Through her example, Sister Chick and I learned to be strong, independent women with a well-defined sense of self and a healthy dose of self respect.

Do It Right, or Don’t Do It At All

Papa Chick’s approach to any job is always the same—if you’re going to take the time to do something, you might as well do it right. He employed this philosophy throughout his 50+ years of work at the local steel mill and continues to tackle every project in retirement with the same determination. I often hear my dad’s voice in my head when I’m tempted to cut corners in order to expedite a project.

The Value of Your Word

In our house, a promise given was a promise fulfilled. If you said you were going to do something, you followed through with it or faced the consequences—usually a heavy dose of shame and guilt. I still believe that your word is your worth and you need to stick by it.

Holding Your Tongue

One of my mom’s favorite expressions is about tolerance. “You can hold your tongue for twenty years if you have to,” she said many times in my youth. It took me years, but I finally figured out what she meant—sometimes it’s better to hold your tongue than to rock the boat, i.e. choose your battles wisely. Learning to hold my tongue was a constant battle in childhood and resulted in being grounded many (many) times. Sister Chick did not have this problem as she was not nearly as inclined to talk back to our parents.

The Value of Family

At 5 o’clock, any day of the week, everyone knew where to find us. Like clockwork, our family gathered around the table every evening to eat dinner, share tales about our day, and spend quality time together. Though as a child I often resented the rigid schedule and how it infringed upon my play time with friends, I now cherish the memories created and sense of stability that our dinners created.

We don’t get to choose our parents, but I will forever be grateful that God blessed me with Papa Chick and Mama Chick as mine. I am fortunate, indeed.

Who is your hero?

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When are two lines better than one?

January 13, 2014

I’m starting out the New Year by tackling a very dark subject. It started with a conversation among friends at a Christmas party. I have to admit that I actually introduced the topic as it was something that had been weighing heavily on my mind for some time. Girlfriends tend to be excellent sources of […]

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Old El Paso Frozen Entrees Are Muy Delicioso PLUS A Giveaway!

November 11, 2013

Quiero la comida mexicana. I want Mexican food. Usually, when I have a taste for Mexican food, I either make it myself or the Big Man and I head to our favorite local restaurant where the chips are crisp and plentiful. It’s like our very own Cheers where everyone knows us and one of the […]

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Boobs, breasts, hooters, ta tas –- We are more than the sum of our cup size.

October 28, 2013

Men can go topless and no one raises an eyebrow — unless they’re topless in a totally inappropriate location like church, or a courtroom, or an audience with the Queen. For women in the United States, it’s a different story. While the beaches of Europe and are filled with topless sunbathers (ouch!), and European television […]

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Ageless Derma helps Chicks stay young and healthy

September 18, 2013

It’s tough being a pale, Rubenesque Chick at a pool party with Fitness Chicks. While they’re rocking their itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikinis, I’m sporting shorts and a tankini top desparately hoping that the dark colors of my ensemble hide a multitude of sins. Naturally, the Fitness Chicks are not only fit and thin, they’re also […]

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Lifeway Kefir Is Packed with Probiotic Warriors

July 24, 2013

The word of the day is probiotic. Say it with me, boys and girls, proh-bahy-ot-ik. The term references a type of good bacteria, or microorganisms, that may help digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria. At least, that’s what a nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic says. And, according to the folks at WebMD, these bacteria may […]

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Words With Friends and Ruzzle Should Come with a Warning Label

May 21, 2013

When Nephew Chick was just a wee tyke, one of his favorite activities was playing games. It didn’t matter how many times he played the same game, he always wanted to play it one more time. Though I worked hard to earn my self-proclaimed title of Coolest Aunt, this was one area where I fell […]

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Chicken Soup for the Winter-Weary Soul

March 26, 2013

Spring has most definitely not yet sprung here in Western Pennsylvania. A crafty lawyer in Ohio has even filed paperwork to sue poor Punxsutawney Phil for his poor prognostication skills. Another Ohio prosecutor believes the furry little rodent deserves the death penalty. I’m just as sick of the cold, snowy weather as everyone else, but […]

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Oh the places you’ll go on a Segway

March 4, 2013

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, wasn’t referring to taking a ride on a Segway when he wrote those words, but they certainly apply. What is a Segway? It’s a personal, electric transportation device. You’ve probably seen them on TV. They look like […]

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