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Friday, August 31, 2007


I offer condolences to Curtis and their extended families for Ellen’s service today. She was a loving, talented will-o-the-wisp that made Curtis’ heart overflow every time he looked at or thought about her. She was the same with him. Two people who were soul mates and will always be.

God Bless you richly Curtis and may you feel His love and peace as you continue on. You are loved by us all and we hurt with you.

Love you,

Essentially Esther

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I read over what I wrote yesterday and today I can say without hesitation there is good even in losing. I was sweeping the garage and my mind was randomly on “roam.” While I swept cobwebs and Napoleon’s feathers, some leaves and dust, I was thinking how blessed I am. Yesterday I talked about letting go and today I was thinking………. “yes, letting go hurts but thank goodness there is always something to make bad things easier to bear.”

The people I’ve lost all along the way have been good people. Not professional, poets, painters, musicians, engineers or political folk…..oh no! The people who have left me were the best of the good. Hard working, honest, forgiving, looking out for each other and all of them made me the person I am today.

I fear God so I try to do the things that please him. After you live seventy-five years you know without checking the “manual” what He likes. I believe in working for the things you get. I am charitable until you begin telling me how much, when and that you don’t intend working to better yourself. I love helping people who make use of a hand up……..not out!

I love my family. I love ALL of my family. From my own three children to Barbara, Marc and Aimee who married into the family, to Rocky’s children, his brother and wife and his sister and husband that I married into. I am truthful when I say I love them. I do not have to pretend……I think of the families who are so torn apart by drugs, and addictions of every kind, rich or poor, there are a lot of them. Then I feel very blessed I am not put through that pain.

While they live and when they die by their bad choices it is painful for the families they are part of. I have been spared all of that. I have been spared of things I can’t imagine exist and are unknown to me. It isn’t because I was smarter or more sheltered or had my head in the sand……it wasn’t a special commission by anyone, but somehow the good raising I had kept me from such things.

I was always taught that your name is the most important thing you carry with you in life. Never do anything that would ruin your good name. No, I’m not perfect but I didn’t want my family name drug through the mud or the married names I’ve had. I figure there are no perfect people “out” there………just people trying to make it through the best they can.

Genetics are important, heredity, the way you were raised and by whom, are important but not the end result. Bad kids kill their good parents, bad parents kill good children…….good, bad, bad, good………..it’s the toss of the dice what comes up when you throw them. With all of the ways of studying the brain and how it works, there is no explanation why we turn out like we do.

It boils down to who we are. Character takes a lifetime to form. We are individual and God still gives us the power of choice. Yes, power. One decision early in our journey can make our lives change forever. The most important thing to remember is, that it is never too late to make a choice for the better. It’s sort of a “free pass” that God gives each of us and it’s no good unless we use it……………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I don’t know if it’s genetic or random. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or just silly. The hardest thing for me is letting go. As far back as I can remember, I hated the end of anything. Be it ice-cream or playing outdoors until dark, whether it was old shoes finally thrown away or Christmas or family visiting. I always hated for things “to end.”

Unfortunately, the older you get the more you have to let go and for someone like me it literally hurts. I want to hold everything dear and never let go. In the space of four months I have lost my husband, my favorite cousin and now Ellen. Before I lost them, I lost three pets in a short time.

Missy was first and the Lord knows I tried to keep that cat alive. We took her where we went and kept her in the house for 15 months. I spoon fed her to keep her going and she was just a little ball of fur on bones by the time she died. The only way I could have her put to sleep was in my arms, outside the Vet’s where she could hear the birds singing and the warm sun on her. She looked around as if to take in one last final look before dying. I think she knew because I was crying so……along with Rocky and Becky.

Tuffy was next to go. He died at home while we were gone one day. We knew it wouldn’t be long. Mysteriously he just quit eating and for no good reason, just withered away. I still cannot understand it. Of course we spent a fortune at the Vet’s and with every test that could be done, it was of no use.

Then Morris died on the same day Rocky died. It wasn’t planned of course. Holly, Rocky’s daughter, was sleeping on the couch in the living room and he kept throwing up bile all night and was very sick. She is a veterinarian assistant and was up with him. I didn’t know until I came out in the morning that he was so sick. He was over 17 years old and we had him put to sleep because once their kidneys stop it’s a terrible death.

Rocky was very sick at the time and very weak. The Hospice nurse told us she thought he had another week or at least several days. She left and he died that evening. It has been a long year of losing. Still……..we cannot stop to feel sorry for ourselves because life has to go on. It isn’t easy after a string of losses and everyone has to find their own way to deal with it.

I have always been able to rally and turn in another direction when one road is blocked, so people think I am strong and able……but if I am so, it still hurts me just the same. I am not beyond pain but I have this idea in me that cannot be shaken. I believe we will live again and our loved ones will welcome us “home.” One day there will be no separations, which to me, is the greatest pain of all.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I guess I gave myself a 3-day weekend this time. Rocky’s daughter, Holly, came to visit on Saturday and stayed until Monday afternoon. Becky, Holly and I spent the time just doing what we wanted. That’s always a good way to spend a weekend.

Holly brought Memorial Shirts that people from the gym have ordered so we delivered them on Monday and had a nice visit with Craig, the owner. He has great plans for the “Strong Man Meet in the Street” which will take place October 13th. He seriously intends making two events a year in memory of Rocky. There will be a Weight Lifting Meet in the Spring sometime and then some Scholarships for the local high school at school’s end for the year.

I love to see the enthusiasm Craig has…..talking loud with his booming voice, eyes wide with the thoughts of what he’s talking about and eventually the tears come….he misses Rocky as much as any blood relative could. He will wipe the tears away and then tell us a funny story about something that happened while Rocky was at the gym. Our visit usually ends when he runs out of words and just shakes his head. After a point, words fail Craig. He gives us an enormous hug and once again tells us he loves us……and he does…….and we love him back. Craig and Rocky had a unique friendship that will not end just because Rocky is gone from him.

Today I drove myself crazy trying to reconcile some papers in Dale’s Estate Account and after calling every State in the Union I finally got it resolved. I am a creative person by nature…..I always hated math. It is too boring and never loves your fingers as yarn, cloth, crochet thread or painting…..I am always amazed at what beauty comes forth when working with your hands. No, I could never be an accountant.

Life is going well here. I am slowly getting some things done that I’ve had to put off either with the heat or fibromyalgia but I know my favorite time of year is coming up and I am looking forward to that. Fall, and October. The little Japanese Maple tree continues to grow green shoots around the dead parent tree and it gives me so much pleasure to see what looked dead before is growing beautiful and strong once more.

God shows us in so many ways that there is life after death and abundant life while we live. The little tree we planted with such joy is alive again and proves that death once is not the end……..we shall live again.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Those of us who followed Ellen and Curtis the past few years have a heavy heart tonight at her passing. She was a light in the darkness and a joy to know. Curtis was as tough as she was as they fought her cancer together…… but like Rocky and me, it wasn’t to be a successful outcome.

There are no words that can penetrate grief. It is a silence that cannot be invaded. I am better for having known Ellen as I did……and for Curtis who I grew fond of through Ellen’s writing.

The angels carried Ellen away this morning and angels will watch over Curtis. Please accept our condolences, Curtis, and know that your loss is also ours. We loved her and will miss her terribly……our prayers are with you.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Some days are magical and this is one of them. Waking up is something I can enjoy now that I’m no longer working. I actually lay still for a little while looking around the room and feeling so protected and loved I want to prolong the feeling. Before Rocky died he knew where his remains would be until we are buried together when my time has come. They would be on the shelves he built for me in our bedroom in a beautiful urn. It was not something dreadful for we knew he would be close to me in body and spirit. It was comforting to both of us.

When Dale died so unexpectedly I asked for his remains to be sent here so that when I finish with the work on his estate we can properly bury him with his mother and dad. He was a veteran so I will arrange for a small military presence to fully give him the respect he deserves for serving his country.

At any rate, Dale is on another shelf with a picture of him, his Navy ring and a couple of mementos. Each night and each morning I feel their presence as I go to sleep or wake in the morning. So much of our life is lived on a treadmill. The working years, raising the children, finding time for community and self expression must be worked into a few hours we call a “day” and oftentimes, far into our sleeping time.

I find waking in an unhurried manner sets the pattern for the day. Now that I’m alone, time is no longer a factor in my life. Nothing I do has to be at a certain time. Can you imagine being off the clock and taking your day as it happens, rather than jumping out of bed, feeling late, your mind racing about events of the day that must be met? I wonder if I could have found this much earlier in my life……I’ve always been an “A” personality and I suppose I needed to be to make the required rounds of those busy years.

I do not wish to be busy any more. I do not care how long it takes me to eat…..I enjoy my food. I am grateful I can eat normal food and it does it’s own thing without me worrying about it. I am happy I can laugh at things that either seem idiotic or funny to me…..or as today, going around with a smile on my face all day. I don’t know why…..I just feel like smiling and I feel happy.

I am glad I have the original packaging that God made for me. I do not yearn for a skinny little body, I do not crave my face to be pulled up and tied, I have no intent to battle wrinkles. My body parts are all in tact as they were formed in my mother and I have no need to improve on a miracle.

We are each a miracle, special, and in a body with a brain unlike any other on the planet. Why be silly and want to change the real deal? I am thankful I am common, ordinary and can live the way I was intended. I am so thankful I am just ………………….me.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Am I the only person who has gone blind watching Dean? I’m a news hound. In my next life I’m going to chase ambulances, fire-trucks and storms. The intensity of nature and the wonder of life captivates me. It’s amazing to think if we go right or left at the next corner our lives could change forever. Such little timely choices we make can set the course of history.

I am always blown away when I read that our national bird, the bald eagle, was only one vote from being beat out by the other choice….the turkey. Think how that would affect our country every Thanksgiving. Who would want to roast a turkey if it were the national symbol? Hitler came into power by one vote, so did Lenin. The power of one can make big differences world wide simply by exercising the opportunity to vote.

CNN has provided the ability to sit in our living rooms and watch wars, earthquakes, tsunami’s, floods, bridge disasters, planes trains and automobile crashes of every kind….the list is endless. Every thing from climbing Mount Everest to being buried in coal mines. We sit and watch and empathize with victims and their families as they are thrust into situations they never could have imagined.

This past week we were able to see Dean vividly from the space station in clarity and intensity. A storm as large as the State of Texas. And somewhere north in Utah, we were hoping against hope that the miners would be dug out only to lose three lives in the efforts. I cannot imagine the agony of the families or the fear of the miners. To be so far down in the earth no light could penetrate as hope faded and they began dying one by one. It would be a miracle if they ever get out.

The power of one. I am only one, now. I used to be part of two and mail still comes for that other part of me. There are many ways that one would think I am still two but I am not. What does “one” do? It seems to me that prayer would be a good thing and writing a simple little blog as I can about simple things that impact my life. If there is one person out there in cyber space who reads this blog and feels the better for it then I have doubled my power. The power of one.

And if I pray and God grants one favor to the person or groups I pray for then I am more than one. I am a senior woman now, children gone and husband gone but I can feed birds, give them water, take care of stray cats, encourage others by phone, give as I am blessed and lend a helping hand where I can.

I am only one but I will find all the things “one” can do and I will do them. I don’t want to waste one day of the days I am given…..and I hope to leave a light along the path……..

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, August 20, 2007


The week is starting out nice with a slow soaking rain. We have been so dry the past month I’ve had to forfeit a lot of beauty from my flowers and bushes. Just keeping them alive has been a chore for the heat drove me back inside more than once. I am greatly encouraged by the rain falling today.

I continue to wonder about Ellen and Curtis. I look every day to see if Curtis has written anything on his site. I’m sorry I can only read and am not able to comment. For some reason I’ve never been able to leave a comment or email as my password is never accepted. I can write to Ellen’s address and leave word there. I can only imagine the weariness he must be feeling……and of course emotions are at an all time high. Cancer seems to be invading almost every family and leaving a lot of sorrow behind.

As for myself I think I am some better with the fibromyalgia. Once the pain medication kicks in I have a pretty normal day. Eventually I can cut back on the medication and go back to my “normal” routines. However, I’m finding it’s a little harder to keep the pace I once did.

I don’t know if I’m lazy or smart……my body wants to sit on the couch and my brain is leaning towards the vacuum sweeper. The scary thing is, my brain doesn’t put up a fuss or shame me anymore. It’s like, “well, OK, if you think we should……but just for a little while.” Body is liking the soft sitting position and Brain says, “Hey, this is nice. Let’s just sit here a while…….Esther, you should rest more, you know…..it’s OK!! At your age you need more rest…..you’ve worked hard in your life. Be smart and wise up…..you don‘t need to work all the time.”

Stomach is somewhere deep inside and shouting up………. “Hey!! I’d like some ice-cream down here…..how about it? You should have some as a reward for all you’ve been through.” Brain…… “sounds good to me, how bout you, Body?” Body….. “Oh I hate to get up and besides it’ll make me look fat in my jeans!” Brain…….. “OK, let’s go at the count of three…..one, two,”…….Body…… “Oh OK……I’m going but you’d better not tell Becky that I’m eating ice-cream again or I’ll”…….Brain and Stomach……. “We won’t tell ……..pile ‘er up there and let’s go back to the couch!” Body…….. “sounds good to me, we can always do our work tomorrow. Yummy, yummy!!!!

After all that…….I think I’m due for a nap……

See you tomorrow, Lord willing,
Essentially Esther

Friday, August 17, 2007


God is always so far ahead of our thinking it catches us off guard at times. If I had lost my energy earlier I wouldn’t have been able to care for Rocky as I wanted to. I’ve always said, “I HAVE to be busy, I can’t sit still.” So many of my friends and family have had devastating health issues and when possible I packed my Florence Nightingale bag and moved in until they were better.

It’s a fact that when I got the call about my cousin in Illinois I got my wish. Suddenly I had a lot to do. I was so tired at the end of each day I didn’t have much time to grieve for Rocky. In a sense though, when he died it was almost anti-climatic. I had envisioned his death for so long I think I grieved every day after we were told he had terminal cancer. Wishing we could beat it but knowing it couldn’t happen without a miracle.

Cancer is a mean foe because it gives you hope on a high scale and then in a week’s time it can turn against you and claim more territory. In the months Rocky took chemo we noticed the pattern of the other patients. It was easy to spot the ones who had been there a long time and had their hope sucked out of them. They gave us looks like, “Well, you don’t know what you’re getting in to here.” Truthfully speaking, they had given up and were facing their demise. I’m so proud of Rocky because he wouldn’t allow sympathy on any level.

Since God saw fit for me to take care of Dale’s affairs, I truthfully was too worn out to mourn anybody. It didn’t soak in until a few weeks ago that I wasn’t just “tired” I was exhausted. Then the pain came and with it the realization that the fibromyalgia was back.

The funny thing is I find I like “resting” and being quiet. Slowly and surely God works in us until we are ready to listen. Who knows? I may learn to relax and not have to be “busy” all the time…….right now that seems like a stellar idea.

Have a good weekend everyone and remember to pet your dog and cat.

Until next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I wonder how many of the ladies who read this blog have fibromyalgia? Ten years ago I kept explaining away aches and pains and thought I must have a pinched nerve in my back. I hurt so bad I knew I had to deal with it. No hope of ignoring it or it going away.

Becky was adamant about me seeing our doctor in Springfield which is an hour and a half drive from here. I was widowed at the time and Becky thought the stress of Bear’s long illness and eventual death had something to do with what I was feeling. The outcome was that I had fibromyalgia.

I’d never heard of it before or known anyone who had it. Of course, in the beginning I didn’t believe what I had could be so foreign but it felt better to know my pain finally had a name.

It robbed me of 15 months. I hated to have to pick up anything off the floor or any task that I had to bend my back for. I had a terrible rash that drove me crazy. The dermatologist said my immune system had been compromised and my body was going haywire with misdirected signals. I had something different to contend with every few weeks until I didn’t know my own body at all.

Of course it also robs your energy, constant weakness, short term memory and a dozen other things waiting to add their share to your misery. Not being able to sleep for weeks, I finally went to the doctor. It hurt to move, and I was always uncomfortable no matter how I changed positions. It was an endless uninvited foe.

With time and a lot of study…..and good medication which allowed the restorative sleep needed to heal did more than anything. Also, I learned how to live with the devil I knew and how my body responded to pain management. Over the years I had spells of relief and spells of it’s return.

I was not prepared to have it come back after Rocky died with the intensity that it has. Of course I have learned how to cope so I am not a sitting duck like I was the first time but I had forgotten how bad it could feel. I am of the conclusion that stress is a large part of the illness. I cared for both husbands at home and because it was my choice I didn’t see how stress could manifest itself to the degree it has.

The evidence in my case is reasonable. Your plans or not, the body has it’s own idea about reacting to things and although you are “OK” in your head about it all…..the body has it’s final say. The past year or so has been heartbreaking and here comes my old nemesis calling once more. Stress cannot be ignored.

So “Esther now” is having to deal with her own issues and I realize I am not alone. At last women of all ages have a name for the pain they endure and my sympathy is with them. I know this will eventually run out with enough rest and effort…..and then I will have no excuse for feeling tired. I am thankful I am retired and can manage time to recuperate, I know there are a lot of you out there that can’t give yourself that much consideration. My prayers are for those faces I don’t recognize and names I don’t know.

I will simply say……….I understand and I care.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, August 13, 2007


We have been locked into three digit temperatures, or nearly so, and everything is “crackly” under your feet as you walk. Our once beautiful green lawn is brown and I’m having to water bushes that have other years been able to survive the heat spells. I’m finding it difficult to do anything outside, no matter how I plan my early and late chores.

The cardinals were always Rocky’s favorite bird but we have such an array of songbirds that it’s hard to decide which I like the most. I try to keep fresh water in the three bird baths we have which means several times a day they must be filled. They are so grateful and I enjoy watching them drink once I come back inside.

Our three outside cats, Callie, Chevy and Lovey head for the timber in the back of our property and hang out until it cools down a little in the evening. Last night it didn’t cool down much at all…….it’s just miserable to be out anytime. Napoleon has a regular routine and comes around grazing here and there. When it gets hotter he disappears until about an hour before dark……then he comes for his goodies and enjoys being on top of the van as he grooms his feathers. He has lost all of his tail plumage and no longer has all those feathers to drag around. I’m sure it makes flying up into his nightly roosting place much easier.

I was surprised as Becky and I drove to church Sunday that quite a few trees in the open timber are dying. Huge oaks that have taken years of weather changes are adorned with dead leaves and stand apart from the others. It’s such a shame to lose them when you consider how many years it takes for them to grow that large.

We continue to pray for Ellen and Curtis, along with the Minnesota bridge tragedy and the miners in Utah. I also pray for the people who have worked so hard to rescue victims. They have been working non-stop faced with unbelievable odds. Any time you work in a river or dig in a mountain it requires the best that men have to give. Still they work on……. trying to save or retrieve all they can.

I am never more proud of America than when we are faced with the impossible. The organizations snap into gear, volunteers arrive on every level and perfect strangers risk their lives to save others. America has a lot of heart and I pray she stays that way. I am always encouraged about the common man. Undaunted he will live and die for freedom…….yours, mine and anyone else’s.

I am proud to be an American and America needs our prayers.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, August 10, 2007


Friday afternoon and it’s extremely sunny today. In fact it’s a whopping 100* outside and my cats look like they’ve been wrung out. They’ve managed to stay in shade all day and we have had a little breeze now and then. I took care of the birds and made an inspection of the flowers and bushes. They’re really taking a beating and I can’t stay out to water them. Too risky with my heat problems.

I’ve been hoping the electricity stays on……I can’t imagine bearing this weather if we didn’t have a way of getting cool. I never had AC until 1982 and cooked hot meals and canned our garden things in pressure cookers……..when I think of it the temperature must have been 150* in the kitchen. Good thing I was lots younger at the time.

Becky will come in soon and begin sniffing for her Friday night pizza. That girl could eat pizza three times a day every day. She eats it cold, hot, thick, thin, with or without a lot of extras BUT she cannot do without jalapenos thrown on before baking. That girl has gone through enough family size jugs of pickled jalapenos to sink a battleship. Don’t know how she does it……it’s got to do something for her more than it does me. I like hot things but a little at a time.

Janet, thank you for my surprise in the mail today. You are so right, girl, that is definitely ME. Thanks for the laugh and hugs. We are looking forward to Holly coming the 25th when Rocky’s Memorial Strong Man’s Meet will take place at the gym. We have bought the trophies for it and they are very pretty. I’ll get pictures and Becky can put them on my computer maybe. If not, she has been able to on hers at times. Holly will stay over with Becky and me so we’ll have a girls night and slumber party.

Next Wednesday, Rocky’s brother and wife (Richard and Helen) are flying to St. Louis and being shuttled down to Rolla where I will pick them up. They purchased Dale’s ‘98 Ford pickup and will drive it home after we have a good visit. I will soon be finished with the lion’s share of Dale’s estate. Hopefully will be able to sell his mobile home in the near future. Old mobile homes aren’t very saleable and his was not in good condition, plus being in a “Seniors” trailer park so anyone under 55 will have the job of moving it. I may have to just let it sit there as options pass us by.

At any rate, it’s TGIF and that means kick back and enjoy the weekend. Becky and I will do our share and hope the same for you. Keep Ellen and Curtis in your prayers. I’m sure God is very close to them and will give them the peace they need. It’s just so hard to lose good people……Rocky, Dale and now Ellen is needing a miracle. I know her biggest miracle was Curtis and he feels the same.

God bless them both………

Until Monday, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Today was kind of tough. This morning putting the bird feeders up I kept hearing a little bird crying for help. It took me a while to figure where it was coming from but suddenly saw Chevy leap on a little cardinal. It must have been the same little guy I was watching at the feeder as his mom and dad fed him. His little top knot was askew and he was hollering for more food.

The little guy fell out of the redbud tree and now was in Chevy’s clutches. I screamed and ran after Chevy and was able to pick the little bird up. He didn’t look too hurt but was obviously traumatized so I kept him sheltered in my hand. I walked around the yard looking for a place to put him but anywhere I could, the cats would also be able to go.

After a while I got hot and tired and put him up on the big feeding table, hoping he would stay quiet and mama and daddy would come to his aid. Well, he didn’t stay quiet and made so much racket, the three cats came on cue. I tried to shoo them away while the baby hopped wildly around but to my dismay he hopped through the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. I couldn’t help him there.

Callie climbed over the fence and went towards the little guy who was making his way to a tree. With three cats after him and no strength he was a sure target. I said a prayer for him and came inside so I wouldn’t see the demise of the little guy. I hope he had a surge of energy and made it high into the tree.

A short time later, my grandson Jonathan, came with a buddy to get Rocky’s old International pickup on a trailer to take home. Rocky had sold it to Jessie who was one of his weight training buddies. Jessie and Jonathan had grown up together and are still good friends who help one another when it’s needed.

I took pictures as it as it left the place it has been since Rocky and I married. I don’t know what Napoleon and the outdoor cats will do for a place to climb and sleep on…..a favorite place for all of them. Rocky had hoped to get it running so he could drive it around but became too sick to work on it. Seeing it go down the road was tough…….more of Rocky being taken away bit by bit until there won’t be any of his unfinished jobs left.

I got myself together and went to visit my friend who is in the nursing home now and it was sad to see her efforts to accept the unacceptable. I’ve never known anyone who wanted to go to a nursing home and although they try to make the best of it, there is a lot of adjusting to do.

Some days are cloudy and some are sunny. I’ve never been one to expect life to go my way all the time…….I can still see some good things about today that will make another day better in the future. I can be glad for the birds I’ve been able to save this year and I can see how friendship works together to get a job done. It was Jonathan’s hope to drive grampa’s truck out on it’s own power but he and Jessie will work together as they finish the project and talk about Rocky and all the good he brought to our family. Jonathan loved Rocky every bit as much as he could love a “real” grandpa. Rocky was always good with young men to encourage them and to help them when needed.

As for my friend, she will eventually get to move to an assisted living apartment which will give her more privacy and more of her life back. If we look at the sunny side we can see further than we can in the dark.

God is in His heaven……all’s right with the world.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Friendship. There is a wide bevy of meaning in that word. Usually you have one or two that stand out from the rest because the two of you have a connection that is very special and meaningful.

I am blessed to have had many friends and actually, the three men I married were my best friends. Though my first husband and I divorced in 1970 I can still sit down with him and visit about old times, hear the news about people we both knew and about how proud we are of our children. We marvel they turned out so well with us as their parents.

Husband number two taught me a lot about being more aggressive. He was Military and a linguist. He had a lot of experience in his background and after he died of cancer near our 27th wedding anniversary I was able to stand on my own and get things done. He would have been proud of me because I had learned to stay with a problem (usually on the phone) and get results.

Husband number three is the one most of you know because I’ve written about our lives more recently……my high-school sweetheart that I still carried in my heart…..and it was the same with him. When we found one another after all the years passed from high-school we married at once and never looked back.

I think it’s important to be friends with your husband/spouse. Talking is the best way to complete a marriage…..to keep it young and loving. OK……so why shouldn’t I dish out a little theory? With three marriages to different men, I should be qualified to think about what works and what doesn’t.

Ladies, my mother’s advice still holds true. Men like to eat so learn to cook. Most men like a decent looking home so keep it as clean as time allows. Men like pretty women so don’t slouch around in baggy worn-out sweats, oily hair and no makeup. Trust me, if you don’t look as good as who they’ve worked with all day you’re doing yourself (and him) a dis-service. Men go by what they see, women go by what they hear. So ladies, fix yourself up and guys…….learn a very good line.

There is no perfect marriage so get rid of that idea right away. A healthy marriage has differences of opinion, lots of respect for each other and lots of ways to show either one. Love, love, love your hubby and he’ll be your friend forever. In the long run you’re gonna be one happy lady.

Remember: Only you can be yourself. No one else is qualified for the job………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


The people I read of, visit with and admire the most are people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. “From the earth we came and to the earth we shall return.” There is a primal connection between man and soil. Our food comes from the earth and if you stop to think of it so does almost everything else…..from it’s virgin origin, the soil provides life and products for all of us.

You would hardly expect an ex-president to become interested in gardening. Not only interested but to become a leader in horticulture……a master at growing a living canvas of color and beauty. Thomas Jefferson was master of many things but considered himself to be a learner when it came to gardening. “Though an old man I am young in gardening.” He spent his last years at Monticello tending his gardens and implementing new fruit trees and vegetables. I rather imagine he was a man who had dirt under his fingernails.

Barbara Bush was another who surprised their lawn crew at the White House. They had the freedom of the grounds except the rose garden. That was her turf and she wanted to care for the roses herself. I don’t wonder why……no matter what our “station” in life we are first individuals. Barbara and my mother had the “feel” of the good earth in their hands and carefully patted and watered each new plant.

Actually, if we think of it, we are much like the gardener and the garden. I was watering plants this morning and all summer I have been sad that our Japanese Maple died after a hard freeze when it was leafing out. I couldn’t imagine it dying for it had my undivided attention since planting. We had saved up for it and it was the creme de la creme of the berm we were planting out front. How could a freeze kill a tree? Well, apparently easy in Missouri.

Each time I watered, it got the same love and attention it always had. I knew it was wasted but somehow I couldn’t pass it by without water. A few days ago as I was pulling weeds away from the tree to my utter amazement there were shoots coming up from the root. It would be impossible for me to tell what that did for me. The tree Rocky and I planted was alive. Alive and growing around the dead skeleton of it’s former self. The dead branches were holding up the tender little shoots and sheltering them from harm.

God speaks to us so many ways in a garden. Where once I could bounce down on my knees to weed, water, plant or whatever……now it is a labor of love to care for them. This has been a year of changes for me and at times it seems I will never “catch up”…….but the maple tree has taught me that in due time there will be a new beginning once more and the ones in my life that were so dear will hold me up as I prepare to live again………………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, August 06, 2007


For those of us who feel we “know” Ellen and Curtis…..the past month has been very painful. Ellen’s fight with cancer has been documented on her blog and Curtis has talked to us about his feelings. Cancer doesn’t just ruin one life, it ruins all of the people who are connected to that life. Ellen’s legions of friends is legendary. We grew to love her through her writing…..then because of the inside person who was so loving and caring.

There was no guessing about the marriage of Curtis and Ellen. It was hard to tell who loved who the most. In my book, that’s the way marriage should be. Just head-over-heels in love forever with your mate. She didn’t have to describe her love or tell us the depths of it, we knew. Her big ‘ol hillbilly from the U.S. made her one happy little Dutch girl.

Ellen is so talented, so giving and so enthusiastic it seems a shame that she has to push those things aside to fight the fight she has with cancer. It is a robber of energy and strength, and a killer of hope in most people. For Ellen it just made her fight harder and determined to overcome her villain. I don’t call that fool-hearty or being in denial…..I call that “guts” to stand up to a giant and raise a fist in his face.

I have a heavy heart because I feel she is slipping away from us. My prayers have been indwelt with those of her other readers……and we have prayed for Curtis throughout as well. We know the suffering of the caregiver is as painful but in a different kind of losing.

It isn’t so much what we do in life, it’s who we are. It isn’t important to make a lot of money but to count the richness of a life well lived. It isn’t the way we leave this life but what life we leave behind.

People like Curtis will go on and he will make a life for himself but the sunshine will be a little less, their home will have a little less cheer and the music in his heart will be a little softer……but he WILL go on. That’s what people do who have loved and been loved so intensely and who wait for eternity to take us where our true loves wait for us……….

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, August 03, 2007

WE NEVER KNOW........ 

……….why some things happen the way they do. We have all been riveted to the news about the collapse of the bridge……how some were miraculously spared, while others had no chance. The stories of heroism and the gratitude of the survivors come to us first hand from victims and witnesses.

Death is for all of us. We cannot hope to escape it but at the same time our expectations are of a long life. One day we will each pass from this life into the next and then it is only what we leave behind that matters. The right stuff to be remembered by.

We wonder….would we be brave enough to dive in the river to look for casualties and would we rush to the aid of others without fear of harm to ourselves? I say we would because when crisis hits…….however, wherever, the survival part of us clicks in and we do remarkable things……many times with no recollection of our actions.

The best thing we can do is to live each day like it’s our last……I read a cute quote that said that and finished by saying……for husbands who have never been “right” in their wife’s eye’s this is one time you will be right. One day will be your last.

The good we’ve tried to do will be noted, the mistakes we’ve made won’t be nearly as big and those nice little things you did when you thought nobody noticed will take root and grow.

One of my favorite gospel songs is, “Death Ain’t No Big Deal.” I’m quite sure it isn’t the end of everything that’s good and wonderful but just the beginning of the life and beauty we would have had in the garden of Eden if things had gone the right way.

Don’t let a disaster rob you of letting your family know how much you love them and don’t let simple problems ruin your day because in the grand scale of things it really doesn’t matter. How we face up to the life-changing incidents that will happen to all of us is the measure of who we are.

To love and be loved is special. To love enough to “be there” when the going is tough is exemplary and to love enough to lay down your own life is Godly.

Until Monday, I am,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, August 02, 2007


A normal day for me begins around 6:30 when I wake up. I thank God every day for the gift of life and the normal function of my senses. As I thank Him for my eyes, I realize the gift it is for sight. Many people wake up each day in darkness and must go through their day depending on their other senses to get them through.

The blind are grateful for the sense of touch and smell…….and to be able to hear. I cannot imagine a life without sight and sound which provide so much beauty and safety. Our ears and eyes not only give us pleasure but they work hard to alert us to danger. God bestows mercy and ability to people who have neither sight nor sound but can describe color and flowers in amazing detail. People like Helen Keller who against all odds became a painter on canvas for the rest of us.

It is written of her: “That she is annoying to a certain type of mindset in describing something she obviously cannot know through direct sensation. The annoyance is mutual. Her sensations whatever expert opinion may be, are as real to her as any others.

Pink is “like a baby’s cheek, or a soft Southern breeze.” Gray is “like a soft shawl around the shoulders.” Yellow is “like the sun. It means life and is rich in promise.” There are two kinds of brown. “One is warm and friendly, like the leaf mould. The other is like the trunks of aged trees with worn holes in them or like withered hands.” Lilac, which is her teacher’s favorite color, makes her think of faces she has loved or kissed.” The warm sun brings out odors that make her think of red. Coolness brings out odors that make her think of green. A sparkling color brings to mind soap bubbles quivering under her hand. (Nella Braddy)

No matter how you see color, hear only what you want or a touch brings pain to your sense of feeling……..if you close your eyes, you will see color in it’s purest form, hear music singing in your soul and feel the touch of angels.

………but…….it is only if you want to.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther