Category: Uncategorized

Married in September (8)

Well, today is the 64th anniversary of the day we returned to Denver after our honeymoon in Grand Lake Lodge near Grand Lake, Colorado.

It was the fourth morning of our honeymoon (which had been beyond wonderful). And we had lodging in the rustic cabin, wood fires, three delicious gourmet meals a day (all for $16 a day, $48 total). And the weather had been fantastic. And…

However, the fourth morning, it was rainy and cold. All the excitement of the wedding was fading. I had worn each of the outfits in my trousseau. While I had looked quite fetching in each, they were now old hat. Actually, there were no hats at all.  

It was time to go back to Denver and begin the path we would share.

I think I say it fairly succinctly in This Path We Share:

The fourth day–a gray, foggy morning–we returned home to the chicken ranch and the little white clapboard house. The morning after our wedding Les' mother and his two youngest brothers had hurried back to North Dakota for the start of high school.

Les was lonesome for his family. I had rarely been away from mine. While I had thought the old farmhouse to be quite charming the several times I had visited, now it seemed cold, drafty–and empty. The realities of our life together began to set in.

Les was hungry. I didn't know how to cook.


(Excerpted from This Path We Share, (c) 1993, 2003, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)


And, of course, the special offier, through September 30 only, still stands.

We are offering copies of This Path We Share for just $10 (regular price $18.95) plus FREE shipping. This book makes a wonderful present for newly marrieds, harrieds, and old-timers like us. Limit 3 to a customer, please.

Go to the bottom of the page on  This Path We Share and click on "Order Direct Add to Cart." You can order as a guest if you don't have a Paypal account. If you want to send a check or have questions, call me at 303.781.8974. 

We offer a money-back guarantee. If you hate the book, I'll feel terrible, of course, but send it back and we will (sort of happily) refund the $10.

What can you lose? Do it now. I'll even personalize the book for you.

If you aren't interested, please keep following my blog, anyway! I love you all.



Married in September (6)

So now we're married. (Actually, we've been married sixty-four years and one day. We celebrated our marriage at Grand Lake Lodge where we spent our honeymoon. Went yesterday and returned this afternoon. The aspen were astonishingly beautiful.)

This is the poem I gave to Les sixty-four years ago on our wedding day. Please do remember it was written by a seventeen-year-old.  

For Les on Our Wedding Day

I come to you, beloved,
with all I am and own
I bring the gift of love
to you alone

I come to you with faith
although we cannot see
the days ahead–nor all
that is to be

I come to you with hope
that love will surely bring
a truer note of closeness
a song to sing

I come to you with joy
and yet I leave behind
my girlhood and its dreams
the ties that bind

I come to you with love
and in your eyes
I catch a glimpse of love fulfilled
and paradise

I come to you, beloved,
with all I am and own
No one else can bring this gift–
I come alone

(Excerpted from This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage, (c) 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

More tomorrow…


Resource for TweetChat re: Breast Cancer

Those of you who would be interested in a TweetChat about breast cancer, please see this Donna Peach post. Donna not only gives us a link, but explains just how to participate.

Have a great day, if you can. If you cannot, bear it as bravely as possible. I am so impressed at the fortitude and courage with which Donna bears her various side effects and setbacks.

Just a little poem from Fine Black Lines: 


I am grateful
my heritage includes

It is helpful
when Life's events
require one foot
in front of
the other

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, copyright 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)


In Memory of My Friend, Ray Houdeshell

Today I simply want to share a poem I scribbled out last week as we scurried home from Phoenix, arriving just hours before Ray’s funeral:

For Ray
They planned a wonderful retirement–
Ray and his beloved wife, Esther–
bought a motor home
studied the maps
forewarned family and friends

Then Life took a cruel turn—
felling Esther with a stroke
ten days after she closed
the door to her office
for good

But Ray stepped right up to the plate
taking her to rehab
by her side at aphasia group
helping her into the motor home
for a few trips before it got too difficult
cooking and cleaning and caring for Esther
with courage, consistency and compassion

Meanwhile cancer took up residence in Ray
with its wrong-headed diagnosis of “terminal in two years”
He battled bravely, rarely complaining,
worried only that Esther might outlive him
saying, matter-of-factly,
“That’s the way it is.”

And he sold the motor home

That was Ray—
pragmatic almost to a fault
exceedingly kind under that gruff exterior
good husband, good father, good friend
never wore his heart or his religion on his sleeve
and NO ONE pulled the wool over Ray Houdeshell’s eyes

Yes, that was Ray–
He stepped up to the plate
and then he knocked one
right out of the park

Wherever he is now—
Let us wish for wind at his back
Let us hope that the road is smooth and stretching far
Let us pray that the skies are forever sunny

After all his care and devotion
this big old Universe
owes him one

©2012 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad

Declutter Your Life When Ill – Relationships2

One of my breast cancer friends didn't open cards and letters because she knew she couldn't make the personal response that she had been taught to do. She died–with seven grocery bags of unopened mail sitting in her kitchen.

One of my other friends wondered why I had not responded to her note, asking, "Doesn't she know the etiquette?"

On a walk around the lake one afternoon the following poem popped into my head and I hurried, trying to remember it until I got home:

No Lifeguard on Duty

It is difficult
when one is drowning
to wave to the people
on shore

one wants to be
friendly, of course,

but perhaps it is
more important
to keep

As I recovered from the many surgeries and the radiation therapy and continued to struggle with the CFIDS, I wrote:

On Dealing with Limitation
My life has been circumscribed
by the aspects of

My priorities are
a series of nested circles
beginning with the center
that is me

Daily I choose
the farthest orbit
I can reach

Daily I carefully
spin out rings—
nutrition, rest, exercise
work, play, relationships

But what I really want is
to go zooming out
to the edges of my life
and dance on the periphery

(Both poems excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, (c) 1993, 2003, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)