You cannot capture a dream until you reach for it.

Archive for the ‘blessings’ Category


blue ornament

Someone asked if I was dreading Christmas season this year. I think they were joking. 

Maybe not.  Last year I got the flu, was ill through much of the holiday season and the year before I fell & broke my ankle curtailing many holiday activities.   Both still were very special Christmases full of blessings.

tree with star

Many times over the years the holidays have been bittersweet missing lost love ones and facing life challenges.  Yet the eternal spirit of Christmas always shimmers through– whether it’s a choir singing like an angel chorus, or wonder sparkling in the eyes of a child, or the joy deep within as we listen once again to the story of baby Jesus.

star above

So I intend to celebrate the holiday season this year  and will try to share a few moments with you,  family & friends.


Thanksgiving Blessings

by Karen E. Rigley

Happy Thanksgiving!

Though my blog’s dedicated lately to mystery wrter interviews to help MysteryMost Cozy celebrate their 10th anniversary, I’d like to reclaim it today. Thanksgiving is such a special time.  It reminds us to reflect  upon our loved ones, the beauty surrounding us and all that’s good in our lives with thanks and appreciation instead of fretting about what’s wrong. 

I am so blessed with the wonderful people in my life and wish to extend my gratitude to each of you who read or follow this blog.

Here’s a “rerun” of my post from 2010:

November is the month of Thanksgiving and remembering our blessings. At times we can find ourselves so caught up in problems or hectic schedule we forget to appreciate the bounty of blessings surrounding us. From the promise of sunrise to sharing a smile with a loved one to the giggle of a child, we often fail to appreciate the most precious things. I challenge you this month to offer thanks for those you care about, for the beauty surrounding us and for the good moments of your life.


Sometimes we get lost

in our daily crush,

letting life demands

get in the way

we forget

to note the blessings,

great and small,

showered upon us each day.


Beauty radiates in the silver spill of moonlight
upon undulating ocean waves.
Beauty radiates in the delighted ring of children’s
laughter as they play hide and seek.
Beauty radiates with a night-blooming jasmine’s soft
haunting fragrance drifting through the air.
Beauty radiates in the shimmering peace of snowflakes
blanketing a sleeping landscape.
Beauty radiates with music of a songbird
welcoming the iridescent dawn.
Beauty radiates as a scarlet rose blossoms,
revealing velvet petals one by one.
Beauty radiates with a hushed lullaby as a mother
sings her baby asleep.
Beauty radiates in the luminous reflections
mirrored within a sparkling lake.
Beauty radiates as a glowing sunset
flames the horizon ablaze with color.
Beauty radiates in the warm accepting embrace
of brotherly love for all mankind.

Karen Elizabeth Rigley

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Mother’s Day Tribute: SHIMMERING SPIRIT

by Karen Elizabeth Rigley

For those of you who still have your mother – cherish her, appreciate her and enjoy her.  Some things are too close to your heart to write about. That’s how I feel about my mom. Even though it’s been over a decade since her passing, it’s still so hard. I miss her every day. Sometimes it a tiny thing – ice skating on TV, a snapshot of her or a sudden memory of her soft voice and warm hugs.

 Such an amazing woman, she possessed unbelievable inner strength throughout all her earthly struggles. Yet, she shimmered with a sweet compassionate spirit, never hurting another soul. She taught by example. She always put others first. No matter her personal hardships, her concern was the well-being of others. She believed in us, expecting the best of all, yet offering forgiveness when we faltered. Never judging or preaching. She lived by an unshakable quiet faith.

Oh, how I admired her. It tears my heart that I sometimes disappointed her. She endured so much, weathering storms of life that would shipwreck most. Yet, even during her darkest times, she’d reach out during the depths to care for others and make sure they were okay. They say that good deeds we do in life stockpile rewards in heaven. Mom earned a lifetime of them just by being herself.

Even toward the end, after a valiant seventeen-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Mom hung on as long as humanly possible despite her agony, knowing we still needed her. How I still miss her!

I’m forever grateful for the wisdom she taught me. She lived the Three Cs: Courage, caring and compassion. She knew the secret of life is how we treat others. There’s no one I admire more and it stirs my heart each time I see Mom’s kind, loving spirit living on in my daughter.


Even as she sleeps

her legs

tremble, tremble





She awakens aching,

body weak





in the


Kind, arthritic hands







Constant battle of

mind with limbs






Courageous spirit


Memories call







by Karen E. Rigley

Mom’s spice cake with penuche frosting, Dad’s lemonade, Aunt Della’s fudge, Uncle Joe’s pancakes, Grandma’s griddle cakes. Mmm. Each evoke memories of taste and aroma and love. Emotion swirls the memories into mental warm fuzzies.

I can remember as a child sitting in my grandmother’s cozy kitchen watching her toss ingredients into a bowl while oil (probably lard) heated on the stove. Not sure of my age, but my legs dangled because my feet didn’t reach the floor. Grandma smiled and hummed as she dumped flour into the bowl, cracked eggs, added this and that – never measuring. Anticipation bubbled along with the griddle cakes as she poured the batter into the sizzling oil. Years later, I begged her for the recipe and she tried to estimate the ingredients, but since she cooked by instinct I never could replicate her delicious griddle cakes. Same with Uncle Joe’s heavenly pancakes – because he cooked free-form in my Grandma’s style.

My mother cooked that way to a degree, but she also used recipes. She adjusted them, tweaking them to perfection. One of my prize possessions is an old, yellowed recipe card where she had scribbled her own changes onto the original recipe. No matter what Mom made, she did it her way and created a dish beyond any recipe she used as a guide. I could never begin to list all her wonderful creations from simple meals to superb desserts. How she found time and energy with seven kids and working around the clock as Dad’s secretary and office manager still boggles my mind. That was Mom. Amazing in every way. Sweet memories of her cooking filled my life.

My dad could cook, too. Yet, beyond his Sunday roastbeef, my favorite by far was his homemade lemonade. It took countless lemons and a nice chunk of time — considering the volume of lemonade to satisfy our huge family, but the icy taste on a hot summer day was pure delight.

Recently (at special request) I made my sister Kathy our mom’s spice cake with penuche frosting. Yum. So today I’ll share that recipe with you:

Leila’s Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 ½ cups flour, 2 ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla,

½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon,

1/4 tsp cloves, ½ tsp. allspice, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1 1/4 cup sugar,

1/3 cup molasses, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup butter, 1/4c shortening

Place dry ingredients (except sugar) in bowl. Stir flour, salt, baking powder & soda and spices until blended. Set aside. In mixing bowl blend sugar, molasses, butter and shortening. Add eggs. Beat eggs into butter mixture. Add flour and milk alternately, mixing as you go. Beat batter until well-blended. Pour into greased and floured 9×13 pan.

Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool.

Penuche Frosting

½ cup butter, 1/4 cup milk, 1 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 ½ cup powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar. Boil over low heat for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and bring back to boil. Cool at room temperature without stirring., until lukewarm. Stir in powdered sugar gradually; mix to consistency to spread.

Frost cake and enjoy!



by Karen E. Rigley


This past autumn, early snowfalls hit three weekends in a row, then strangely when it was actually winter, the snowstorms stopped – resulting in the driest December on record. Not much snow so far this January, but the weather pattern is shifting and a snowstorm is predicted for tomorrow . Soon, I expect to hear grumbles about the snow, ice and cold, but at this moment I’m looking forward to the still quiet beauty of snowflakes floating through the air and later the squeals and laughter of children sledding down the hill, pelting each other with snowballs or building Frosty the Snowman – and hoping he comes to life.




Snowflakes tease and kiss as they dance

from cloudspun skies

Soon, trees laced with snow and ice glisten

in unveiled moonlight

A world of white drapes upon the earth,

a purifying blanket

as luminous silence curtains

winter night.




by Karen E. Rigley

It’s an event I look forward to the first Friday of every month. The evening highlight is more than dinner at the Grill. Usually several artists are featured, the displays mixing media. Generally, one or two artist collections of paintings or photographs, punctuated by three dimensional pieces such as sculpture or pottery in two different gallery shows.

It’s a treat to attend the new art shows, plus if time and weather allow to stroll along the renovated heart of town wandering into art galleries and antique shops.

Unfortunately, this month I’m sitting it out. Broken bones midwinter can do that. Knowing my disappointment, my sweet daughter brought me a take-out order of chicken carbonara and a yummy soup that tastes like Italian wedding soup minus meatballs.

This evening, I miss the art, the artists, as well as the delightful dinner company First Friday usually supplies, but next month I intend to attend the event and to appreciate it more than ever.

This is the just the first Friday of 2012, so the year will produce many more. As we flip the calendar to this new year to share New Year wishes, count our blessings and muse about the future, melancholy blends with anticipation. It’s a good time to reaffirm our faith, goals and dreams.

Time to celebrate the blessings in our lives and those we love as we step forward into a new year with hope and determination. This poem of mine fits a new year as well as a new day:


New day



fresh sheet of paper





bit of history


the book






As the year is ending, a new year begins full of promise. We are so blessed to be able to continue to learn, grow and evolve each day.

I wish for each and every one of you to reach for your dreams and to savor the all the little victories along the way.

May the New Year be a healthy, happy year full of joy and blessings and love.

Hugs & love to all,




by Karen Elizabeth Rigley

About 3 AM Sunday morning, I took a tumble down the stairs. Not that I’m terribly graceful at the best of times, but this happens to be an extraordinarily bad time to be a klutz. It’s just about ten days to Christmas.

Don’t have my shopping done. Nor baking. Forget wrapping. Thank goodness I had just finished my tree and decorations, including hauling all the boxes down to the basement, then stashed away – mere hours before my mishap.

Already missed my little Lexi’s first-ever Christmas concert. That was harder on me than the fall. Fortunately, she has one more and I am determined to see that. A party scheduled at my house has been moved. Parties, concerts, shopping, suddenly transform to huge challenges.

Even trying to clean the house or carry something from one room to another turns into an obstacle. Or up and down the stairs. It’s hard enough to get me up and down those stairs. ;-)

Yet, with my broken ankle came a tumble of blessings. My family, friends and neighbors are rallying around me and I’m so touched and grateful. I couldn’t begin to list all the wonderful thoughtful things they’ve done or prayers and get well wishes they offer.

Yes, breaking my ankle is a bummer, but I am so lucky and blessed and feel very loved. Thank you all for everything. You have made this Christmas special.

May the peace and joy of the holiday season light your heart all year.