Meet My Family, Uncategorized

A Traditional Carlos

By, Louisa Cambridge

We have a tradition in our family that when someone we love leaves our home after an extended visit, we say our last farewell, with a Traditional Carlos. A Carlos is nothing more than a wave that is maintained until the car carrying our guest(s) has driven out of our sight. This tradition was established back in the 1970’s by Jeff’s brother, David.

At the time, David was an aspiring actor, living in New York City. Often, he visited a friend named Carlos. When it was time for David to leave Carlos’ apartment, Carlos walked with him outside and waved. He waved as David walked down the sidewalk, maintaining the wave until the top of David’s head disappeared down a stairway leading to the underground Subways. This was how Carlos honored his guests. His way of expressing how important they were to him. David passed this tradition onto our family; in turn, Jeff and I passed it onto ours.

I have come to learn, that the joy and anticipation of waiting for loved ones to arrive, far surpasses that moment when you kiss them goodbye. This knowledge first tenderized my heart when my son Chris left the safe embrace of our home to join the Air Force. I learned the lesson a new when my son Andy left to join the Navy. Today, that same ache fills my heart whenever Aldon leaves… the aftermath of sending him back to Mississippi, to his parent’s loving arms.

This morning as I watched Aldon leave, I waved a Carlos. As our car rounded a corner, disappearing from my sight, tears filled my eyes. Retreating into my house, I sought solitude in my bedroom, where I could be alone with my thoughts and the pain throbbing in my heart.  Too fresh is the memory of my grandson’s embrace. I still smell traces of his Captain America cologne, which I bought for his birthday. My house is full of reminders of him, toys, little gifts he has given me throughout his visit; notes he has written. Now it’s time to be grateful for his sweet mom and dad, who so freely entrust him into our care. He must be released, like his dad and uncle before him.

Strange are the mysteries of life as they unfold… In my youth, I learned to mold myself into a parent, changing my focus from me, to my children. Then one day my children transitioned into adults and I sought after the Grace to release them into the world. All the time, hoping that I had performed my job well enough for them to fly on their own.

Fly they have!

I’m carried back to a holiday when Chris was home, taking leave from the Air Force. This was before 911 struck and we were able to join our loved ones at the airline gates. Jeff, Grandpa Kissell and I went to see Chris off. Once Chris boarded the plane and was out of sight, I saw tears come to Grandpa Kissell’s eyes. His outward display of emotion embarrassed him, but his words echoed my own, “He’s the first!”

When Aldon left our house this morning, he was unaware that his Uncle Chris was waiting for him at the airport, to surprise him. Nor did he know that, Chris was flying back to Mississippi with him to surprise his mom and daddy (Andy).

They’re on the plane right now…

At the beginning of this summer, Jeff and I waited for Aldon’s arrival with eager anticipation. As a family, we have gorged ourselves on laughter, good food and outings. Aldon and I rode Dude, saw Broadway’s, “The Lion King” and went to Six Flags twice. I took him swimming and he rode bikes almost every night with Baboo (Jeff). We celebrated the 4th of July, his birthday and Grandma and Grandpa Kissell moving in with us.

Always, when we gather together as a family, we reminisce over the past, reliving fond memories while discarding the bumpy roads that came our way. We hold each other close, clinging just a little bit tighter How painful that moment is when you kiss a loved one goodbye. The pain is strong, because the love is strong. It is in that moment of departure when your love is the most exposed.

This morning, as I waved a Carlos to Aldon, I felt a swirl of these emotions. After retreating to my room, I let my tears flow freely. Oh, how the well of emotion tugged at my heart! Yet, there was stillness in the moment. Comforting stillness…

In that stillness I saw a gift… It hovered over me, as well as within. The moment I acknowledged the gift, it seemed to swell and radiate a soothing light. I grasped it with hands of faith, holding it close to my heart so the light could fill my soul, ease the pain of separation.

Another memory!

I’ll hang on to this one for a while and let it continue to tenderize my heart, before placing it with all my others… the fragments of time I carefully store in my treasure chest. Marveling, how one little boy can completely melt my heart…

Faith-Based Inspirations, Poems

The Master’s Path

By, Louisa Cambridge
Close the door to what haunts you, your fears from the past.
A new door has opened, Eternity’s path.
This path was created, before there was time.
Carved in it are footprints, with your feet in mind.
Each step, please listen and follow My lead.
This path was created for your life, your needs.
The words of a Poet will draw you along,
To the place where the Master of music and song,
Inspires your heart; your soul, it will sing,
The songs of His Kingdom, the words of the King.
His rhythm will woo you, He’s calling you near,
With the beat of His heart and the noise from His lyre.
His passion and fire swell into a song,
Lifting higher and higher, majestic and strong.
He calls through His Spirit. He knocks at your door.
Listen hard, listen closely, follow and know:
In Him are the answers to all of your needs.
His path reveals treasures, visions and dreams.
Submit to His music, dance with His call…
Move to the ultimate beat of His pulse.
Say NO to the past, to what held and what bound!
His door is wide open. He’s playing your song.

My Life Today!

Celebrating America’s Independence!

By, Louisa Cambridge

July 4, 1776, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a young Continental Congress officiated the United States of America, as a free and independent nation. Free from Great Britain and its king, George III. When the news reached George Washington, the commander of the Continental forces, the declaration seemed a mockery. Situated in todays New York City, Washington and his troops were surrounded by hundreds of British naval ships controlling the New York harbors. By all indications, the American’s were losing the battle by a landstorm.

Five days after congress voted for independence, George Washington stood in front of New York’s, City Hall and read the Declaration of Independence to a crowd gathered around him. The message of disassociation sparked a riot, spiking already frienzied military tensions. Inspired by the birth of our nation, the crowd tore apart a statue of King George, melting it down to make musket balls they used to shoot at the British. A gripping account of this moment in American’s first Revolutionary War is told beautifully in Pulitzer Prize winning author, David McCullough’s book entitled, “1776.”

Thankfully, today, we are still a free nation, independent from tyranny. And although there are nations and peoples that strive to destroy our national values and take from us the freedoms we are privilege to have, we Americans, throughout history, have demonstrated that we know how to unite when Liberty calls us to rally. We rallied after 911, when being an American became more important than our political differences. I witnessed flocks of young men and women independently make the choice to serve our nation by enlisting into the armed forces. My son, Chris, was already in the Air Force when 911 happened, along with my son Patt. Later, my son Andy enlisted, serving in the Navy.

As a parent, watching my children make the choice to willingly put their lives on the line for a cause that was bigger then their dreams, was a defining moment in their growth as individuals! Particularly when they chose a cause that was bigger than my need to keep them away from harm’s way. I watched them, along with dozens of other young men and women, enter boot camp as uncertain kids and graduate as confident adults. I cried as they deployed.

Chris was part of the opening arena of Operation Iraqi Freedom… remember the caravans we watched on TV the first day the war broke lose!?! He was in one of the convoys carrying medical supplies to Baghdad. Andy, was a Navy Seabee. He helped build a city in Ramallah. Both boys, along with their fellow soldiers, endured constant, onslaughts of insurgents firing at them day and night. The sound of bullets whizzing past their ears become so familiar, it was easy to forget someone was always trying to kill you. Both of them came home as disabled vets.

Patt, a Farsir linguist was stationed in Qatar. He flew in rickety old airplanes that were made in the 1960s. His job was to listen to enemy conversations and gather information that aided the United States. The flights were extremely dangerous, because of their close proximity to enemy boarders. But Patt told me, he was more concerned about the condition of the planes they flew in.

While my boys were deployed, I came to know first hand the types of prayers, a praying person who has sent a loved one to war… prays. Prayers that have been lifted to God throughout the history of our nation. Prayed from the hearts and lips of soldiers, and the family members supporting them at home. For me, my most earnest prayer was, “Please let me tell them, at least one more time, in person, how much I love them.” I am so grateful that such an opportunity was given to me. I am also keenly aware of the men and women who never made it home. So are my boys, having each witnessed soldiers that were friends, die.

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, is the message engraved on the Korean War memorial in Washington, DC. Years ago, when our children were young, Jeff and I took them, along with Grandma and Grandpa Kissell, to Williamsburg, Virginia. In Williamsburg, we saw a bit of America’s prerevolutionary war history. Old stomping grounds walked by some of our founding fathers, including one of Washington’s favorite restaurants. Next, we whisked our family off to Washington, DC, where we toured the White House and Capital building. The kids saw the Smithsonian museums and war memorials.

Dad stood, intrigued with the Korean War Veterans memorial. It was so lifelike, true to form. Even the rifles and canteens. The sight flashed him back to the time when he was dressed in the same attire, fighting in the Army his second war. His first being part of General Patton’s forces in WWII.

As a mother I am so proud of my boys for standing up to serve. As a daughter I’m also proud of my own father, Guy L. Ewing, Jr. for serving in the Navy in WWII. Daddy was issued his draft notice on the very day he graduated from high school. He left his childhood home in Lakewood, Ohio, to sail the Pacific Ocean, never to return the same. As a daughter-in-law, I’m thankful to my father-in-law for his service.

No, freedom is not free. The cost is extremely high! Freedom has stolen the innocence of our youth throughout the history of our country! From the brave soldiers in 1776, shaking in their boots, surrounded by the British, to the soldiers today serving, spending time away from their families.

This year, my family will celebrate America’s freedom by coming together for a barbeque meal, cooked by Chris, with Jeff and me supplying the side dishes. We will bask in the joy of being together, missing Andy and his wife Nicole who can’t be with us. We will rejoice in the gift of having Grandma and Grandpa Kissell with us. We will toast the freedoms we enjoy and those who have made them possible.

I would have loved to take Aldon to see fireworks. But his dad and Uncle Chris no longer enjoy them. The sounds and sights triggering memories from their days at war. I suspect Dad feels the same way, i know my Daddy did. Instead, we have sparklers for Aldon to enjoy and glow sticks along with fun hats. And it’s more important for us to be together than separate on this special day.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all the people who have served this great nation. Giving an extra loud shout of thanks to those in service now. You are not forgotten! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Be steady in your service. Most importantly, be safe! And if you’re abroad, know that a grateful nation awaits your swift return home! God bless America and the ones who have made her what she is today!

My Life Today!

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That, A Whole Lot of Feeling Very Blessed!

Summer is progressing quickly at our house. At the beginning of the month Jeff and I were in Davie, Florida where we, saw our beautiful niece marry the love of her life. This trip was also a family reunion. One that was a long time coming for me, having not sat down to enjoy and giggle over the past with my husband’s family in too many years. All of us being busy with our lives, raising children ect… We returned home with new memories and a light in our hearts. Immediately following, additional blessings came our way.

The first blessing was bringing Jeff’s Mom and Dad home with us. I wrote about them in my post entitled, “Fort Wayne, Indiana.” Mom and Dad are in their nineties now. Jeff and I are so privileged that they are staying with us for a few weeks. It is a joy to include them in our everyday life, such as driving the golf cart over to let the horses in and out.

The next day the second blessing came our way. Aldon, arrived to spend the summer with us. When Jeff (Baboo) pulled into the drive from the airport, Aldon burst through the door full of soon to be, nine-year-old energy and ran to each person distributing hugs and kisses and hordes of abundant love. He has been our joy and ambition, the fire that keeps us older folk going.

And we have been going…

Despite high temperatures hitting over one hundred degrees, we’ve managed to take care of the horses. Mostly, we brush and hose them down. I ride in the early mornings after Jeff has finished an even, earlier morning bike ride. I braid the horses manes in the summer because of the heat. Last Saturday Aldon and I rode Dude. Afterward we let him graze around us while we sat in the shade, enjoying a Kool Pop. Our barn keeps Kool Pops in the freezer as a treat for overheated riders.

Aldon’s gone on long bike rides with Baboo. Sometimes I take him swimming in the afternoons. I also have a collection of toys and books that we keep here at the house for his visits. They help create that home away from home feel. And this is his home. He knows that. He has three, homes; his home with mom and dad, Pawpaw’s house and his house in Texas.

My garden has been a great sense of joy. Aldon helps me with it. Over his spring break we went to Lowe’s and purchased an assortment of plants and vegetables, which we promptly planted. Our backyard is cloked in shade with filters of sunlight falling on the plants. Providing a soothing shield from the fiery sun. Aldon helps me water the garden in the evenings. Although we both get soaked in the process, which, of course, is part of the fun. I send him to the shower. Around eight, he pretends to go to bed. Then he and Jeff carry out a nighttime routine of sneaking out of the house to hit the bike trails. For such adventures we keep the bikes loaded in the car.

The third blessing has been seeing my children more often now that grandma and grandpa Kissell are with us. Juli lives close. We sometimes visit her after she returns from work in the evening, to share stories of our day and a cool, refreshing drink as Aldon puts it. Sometimes Juli comes to the house for a weekend meal. Our son Pat and his sweet girlfriend Sam met us for dinner the other night. We also met Sam’s parents which was a treat! Chris and Erin visited the house. For the 4th of July we’re gathering together for a barbecue. Grateful for America’s independence., particularly since Dad, Chris, Pat and my son Andy are all veterans!

Both Jeff and I had hoped to create a layback schedule for our family but found that we in turn run full tilt the moment our feet hit the floor. But it’s good to fill our days with activities, good meals, iced drinks and plenty of healthy (and unhealthy) snacks. In the evenings we unwind, sometimes sipping a glass of wine while sitting in our garden room, enjoying the garden’s lush greenery.

The plants has grown tall and beautiful, although I haven’t had the time to work the beds the way I hoped. They aren’t manicured and full of cedar mulch. Instead, my mulch consists of thick layers of leaves that insisted on falling all spring. In truth, the natural compost enriches the soil.

I’ll address neatness in the fall, when the weather has cooled and our schedule has fallen into routine. When Captain America is back in Mississippi attending school, leaving my heart a bit empty. For now, I’ve decided to simply enjoy my family and the gardens beauty. To bask in the pleasure of having my loved ones near, my horses, healthy and strong. Treasuring every day as a gift. Because everyday is a gift!

Faith-Based Inspirations, Stories

The People That You Love

rice fields during sunset
Photo by Tom Fisk on

Louisa Cambridge

Light surrounded her. A second later, her room, her family and the bed she was lying in completely disappeared. Light was all there was, sheer white, more brilliant than the sun. She marveled at her ability to look directly at it without its intensity hurting her eyes.

Weightlessness replaced gravity, suspending her in the air. There was peace! All of her burdens, all her pain, simply dissolved. At first, she wasn’t sure she was seeing flecks of color that faded into the light, until the light was color, vibrant and full of tones she never knew existed. The history of her life flashed before her, the good history. For a moment she saw herself lying in her bed, with her family around her, crying. She closed her eyes.

Opening her eyes, she was startled to find herself standing on a hill overlooking a landscape that was richly green, breathtakingly beautiful. Instantly, she had the desire to share this miraculous place with her loved ones. A familiar bark broke her thoughts. She turned to see her golden retriever, Daisy bounding up the hill toward her. Falling to her knees she opened her arms wide. Daisy fell into them knocking her over, licking her face. The dog’s body shook with joy, thumping its tail against her leg. Tears streamed down her face. In her whole life, she had never experienced a surprise that exceeded this moment.

Someone called her name. Recognizing the voice, she turned and saw her mother walking toward her. She ran to her and they fell into each other’s arms, filled with the joy loved ones feel when reuniting after a very long separation. They talked for a while, catching up on the details of each other’s lives. Then her mother said, “Come, I want to take you to the Banquet Hall,” pointing to a brilliant city that suddenly appeared far in the horizon. The city spread vast and wide and was bejeweled with golden light. “It’s in that massive building with the big towers,” her mother said.

They walked down the hill toward the city. Daisy at her heals just like old times. They passed a heard of horses grazing. Two of them lifted their heads as they walked by, grass hanging from their mouths. The sky was crystal clear, full of colorful birds taking flight. They looked like tiny ornaments flying, perching in the trees.

They entered the city through a gate. People greeted her as she walked by. Her mother led her down streets paved in gold, which paled in comparison to the architecture and precious jewels used to construct the buildings. They stepped into the Banquet Hall and she was startled to find it full of people busting about. Busy with the preparations for an unfathomable number of guest. Interior decorators worked on beautifying the hall, all in perfect harmony.

The hall was full of delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, produced by Chefs preparing food. She realized she was hungry. Waiters burst through the kitchen, swinging doors carrying trays full of edibles for the workers to sample. They even gave Daisy a bite. Florists arranged flowers. A construction crew hung fresh garlands from the rafters. The sweet smell of the flowers and greenery impacted her. How long it had been since she pressed her nose to a rose and the rose possessed the sweet rose scent? She realized, that heaven was a place of fruitfulness where a person’s gifts flourished. A flush of anticipation rushed through her as she realized that that her own gifts would flourish too.

Her attention fell on the multitude of banquet tables filling the hall. Some of them were exquisitely adorned. Row-upon-row of table settings carefully prepared. The people working on them radiated a spirit of great joy and anticipation. In fact, anticipation filtered through the air.

Taking her hand, her mother led her through a maze of tables, “We’re preparing for the celebration,” she said, “The banquet that will take place once the whole family has arrived.” They came to a stop in front of an elaborate place setting she knew her mother had prepared for her. And she realized, heaven had foreseen her arrival!

To her right, the table settings were a spectacular sight, exceeding the enchantment of any holiday décor she had ever seen. Each place setting was designed to represent the uniqueness of the person it was made for. Individual, yet connected, like a giant puzzle.
In contrast, the left side of the table was stark and bare, lacking any embellishment at all. Somehow, she knew who the empty places were for—her family still on earth! Instantly, she missed them with a grief so intense, she thought her heart would break.

Understanding, her mother whispered in her ear, “We left their preparations for you. I know this is difficult, but He will help you with this grief. What He will show you is thrilling!” Her mother took her into her arms, holding her the way she had done so many times when she was a little girl.

A great commotion drew everyone’s attention outside. Anticipation intensified as if the air were charged by an electrical current. Excited, her mother grasped her hand exclaiming, “He’s coming for you—to see you!”

At once her knees weakened. A tremor shot through her body as she tried to process what her mother said. She felt so insignificant, how could He possibly take the time to see just her?” Her heart fluttered with nervous anticipation. How should she behave? What should she say? Years of faith had not prepared her for this moment—the moment when you see Jesus face-to-face!

The adults around her stepped reverently aside. But the children abandoned their play and ran to Him calling out His name. He ruffled their hair and touched each little hand reaching for His, giving each of them a bit of attention. Then He looked up and His eyes linked with hers. Time instantaneously stood still, as her passion from a lifetime of faith received its reward. Opening His arms, He called out her name.

He smelled like the seasons combined, the blossoms of spring and the sweetness of summer’s grass, the pungency of autumn’s leaves and the frost of a freshly fallen snow. Their communion was intimate—void of all words. She melted in His embrace and once again the desire for her family entered her heart.

And then, quite unexpectedly, she saw her family on earth, all of them, congregated together consoling each other, filled with sorrow over her passing. She witnessed firsthand how important she was to her family, how appreciated and loved.

Next, He showed her His plan for the future of her family. She was filled with such awe that every concern of hers dissolved in the knowledge that one day all her loved ones would be reunited, her husband, children, grandchildren and future generations to come. She had prayed for them and He was answering her prayers. Together they would dine at the table she helped prepared for them, and when they crossed over, she would be there to greet them rejoicing over each new arrival. There was so much joy to look forward too!

Tenderly, Jesus took her face in His hands, brushing away the tears streaming down her cheeks, “Your journey has just begun,” He said. His broad smile caused her to laugh. They were like two conspirators sharing an intimate secret.

“I have so many questions,” she confessed, “I don’t know where to begin.”

“I have the answers,” He replied, “and all the time in the world.”

He led her to His favorite tree, where they sat under its shade on a soft bed of moss. They talked for hours. He was unhurried, answering her questions, telling her jokes. And then she realized… there was only one thing… only one you could take to heaven with you—the people that you love!