Love, life, and happiness…

You can define it. You can even describe it. But, how do you actually feel love, life, and happiness? And how do you know you are in love and living life with happiness? To answer that, it all comes from
the heart. A part of us that we can see deep within the iris, like sparks between young love. aa2b57f7-2c82-4a28-8ec0-54793c8f37a8_zps28238790You feel it inside. To know what love is, one must know hate. To know what life is, one must know death. And finally, to know happiness, one must know sadness.

Some of the most inspiring people I know have gone through loss, have lived through times of sadness, and yes, lost love. My grandma, the most inspiring person I know is one of these special people. She had a young love many, many years ago. She still talks of him, the love of her life.

He was working in Illinois when she was living in Wisconsin. He was tall, dark, and handsome with the kindest heart is how she describes my grandpa to me. One day, she found out she was pregnant and like many at that time marriage soon followed.

The day they were married, he was to meet her in Wisconsin. The whole time she waited, months, her mother said he won’t show up, “he’s not coming.” She told her mom that he would be there, and she believed in him. She loves him still as he is gone. The day they were to get married, he was five minutes late, “I forgot the ring and had to go back.” They got married and had five children. My mom was the baby.

But, something happened. Something terrible happened. A furnace blew up while he was working on it in the house. The burns were so bad, that they took my grandma’s love from her and left her with their five children. Sadness.

Today, my grandma is the most inspiring woman I know. How? She’s gone through a lot and has learned that love lives on. It lives on in all of us. She is a special person because throughout all the sadness, she remains happy-grateful for the time she had with him. To know happiness, one must know sadness. She is one of the happiest people I know. She’s grateful for the happy memories she had with him, her love.

I think that’s what happiness and living is about. Cherishing the precious moments you can hold onto for a lifetime. He may be gone, but he is forever in my grandma’s heart. I know he is watching over her from heaven.

When she talks of him today, and I see those beautiful pictures from the past, her eyes always light up. Life, to me, is defined by the love we carry with us and the happiness that those loved ones and memories bring us. Love will always live on and I’ve learned to hold onto moments, moments with the love of my life. I know happiness, because I know what sadness is. The faster we learn to be grateful and love, the happier our lives will be.

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The countryside

 

As I stumbled upon this gorgeous photograph I couldn’t help but remember those precious times my cousins, sister and I had as kids. It’s amazing how fast time flies, yet, the connection we had when we were kids, running around in Grandma K’s backyard, is still the same. A connection you make as a child, somehow remains with you for life. As I moved away from my hometown and went to college, I didn’t get to see my family as much. But I know that in my heart, our friendship and love is there forever.

We were crazy as kids, too. We’d sleep at Grandma’s on the weekends and she’d feed us till we were so full. Always had midnight popcorn and she bought our favorite cereal, too. And how did we repay her on those weekends? We’d run outside early in the morning and jump on her lawnmower and fly around the land, the countryside. Me, Josh, Jacob, and Rachel. Us four, we were the kind of grandchildren you remember. One time, Josh had accidentally mowed over Grandma’s small patch of flowers that were given to her from her mother. He stuck them back in the ground and went back to playing. Next thing we know, Grandma comes hollering at us kids, “Who cut off my flower?” Oh, she was so mad at first, then she laughed, and I mean hard. She found humor in all the things we got into.

Another day, Josh got into a vehicle and started driving with Rachel in the back seat while Jacob and I got into more trouble with the lawnmower. Grandma was so mad, she sent us back to my Mom, and she made us pick up rocks from the yard as punishment. Oh, Josh was so mad, but what can you do? Then, when Dad got a four-wheeler, you know what us four kids were doing then. No helmet, no shoes just riding free on the countryside. That’s what the countryside is, it’s free. You might say there’s still rules, but really there are none. We’d fight over whose turn it was and jump on the back when it wasn’t. Those really were the days.

A spring holiday to celebrate: Planting Day at Grandma’s

Every year, my grandma Shirley has a Planting Day where the whole family gets together and we “fix up” Grandma’s garden. It barely needs fixing as it’s the most beautiful place to visit. She has the most fragrant of roses and you’ll always see Grandma with a beautiful sun hat on whenever she’s outside. Her deck overhangs so that the whole garden surrounds it. Stepping stones rest around the flowers to allow wandering feet to walk up the hill-like garden of bountiful flowers and the sweetest of birds.

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Last summer my sister, Mom, Grandma, and I would sit on the deck and eat ice cream together and have what Grandma calls, “talks of saving the world.” Everyone should meet my Grandma. She is the sweetest woman and a huge inspiration. Her home is the most relaxing place to go. She puts so much work into her gardening, pretty much every other day she is out there doing something when the weather is warm. But on Planting Day, when we all get in our sweatpants and sweatshirts to dig in the dirt and do a small project for Grandma, it seems to be the day I look forward to the most. Not to mention she serves us all fruit and ice cream and everything delicious when we all come.

I cannot write enough about Spring and especially this year as Grandma has just retired and now she really gets to enjoy the warm weather and I’m so happy for her. This Planting Day, with the family is going to be very exciting. I also, graduate college next month and get to move back home, closer to family and Grandma. I’m not sure if Grandma made up Planting Day, but it should definitely be a day every family celebrates together. Of course we all do gardening often with our family, but how often do we get the whole family together to plant at Grandma’s? It should be at least once every year. I suppose, I should mention Grandma has (counting on my fingers) 17 grandchildren. So our family gatherings get pretty big. Getting everyone together is essential, and makes for a day filled with happiness that continues to bloom every year.