Sunday, May 8, 2011



“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

My story blog is my response to the assignment below for our Grace Writers Group, thanks to Pam Leggett!


I remember sitting with my counselor and telling her about my mother. In truth, I had been telling her about my mother for some time. Recalling all the hard stuff: the high anxiety, near hysteria my mother suffered from so much of the time; the love she just couldn’t seem to muster, or express, or maybe even feel; the criticism that fell, no, was hurled from her lips; the anger that burned within and scorched without; the blame that shifted from her to us (we destroyed her, we destroyed her marriage, we were responsible); the bitterness and disappointment that had taken root in her mother, my mother, and were threatening to find their home in me.

“Tell me something good about your mother…something you appreciate about her or admire her for…something you liked about her.”

“Hah…Huh? Hmmmm, I’m going to have to really think about that.”

Thankfully, the memories came flooding back…
A bright, spring day, flowers bursting, streams running, warm breeze. As we left our beautiful town, Mom could point out every magnificent flowering tree. “Oh, look at the pink Dogwood…I’ve never seen such beautiful cherry blossoms…Oh, kids, isn’t it just breathtaking.” We went to New Hope. We had a day off…and mom had taken me and a few of my friends on a little adventure. We had the perfect day to mosey on down the streets, popping into little Indian hippie dress stores, the kitchen gadget shop: we walked along the shore of the Delaware River, even took our shoes off and waded in a bit; the perfect ending - a mule barge ride down the canal, guitar playing storyteller on board, doing his thing, we all had Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream cones in hand.

Terry Lou Zoo… we drove past the old farm almost daily. Then every once in a while, we got to actually go inside. We petted and fed the goats, sheep, pigs, chickens. Oh so rarely, on very special occasions, we went on pony rides. Mom was happy, almost gleeful. We all were.

Cape Cod summers were filled with familiar, yet always wondrous sights, sounds, excursions. We loved Fairy Tale forest, complete with the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk fame. Trips to different beaches all over the Cape were rife with discovery, clam digging, and dramatic tides. And a vacation wouldn’t be complete without a cruise around the Hyannis Harbor, hot, fresh-roasted peanuts in hand, the sun setting in a blaze of red, orange, and gold glory. “Oh look, kids, have you ever seen such magnificent colors…don’t miss this!”

A simpler, spontaneous excursion would be, “Let’s go for a ride.” With Dad at the wheel, Mom and all five kids would pile into the car and away we’d go. No real plan, no gps, just sort of head in one direction and see what we’d find. Carefree, fun, exploration, and almost certainly, ice cream…

“Well actually, my mother had a great sense of adventure, a deep appreciation for beauty. She’s actually passed on to me some of her joie de vivre, despite being racked by anxiety and depression. I think I get my love of life from Mom.”

Today, I am delighted to accept, on behalf of my mother, the Joie de Vivre award. I can see why you would choose Mom. She has such a sense of adventure, wonder, appreciation for the good things in life. A simple walk on a glorious day, a drive through the country in the fall, even just cruising the colorful aisles at TJMaxx with Mom can really heighten your awareness of the color, depth, look, and feel of beauty all around us.

As mom says, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Mom always loved chatting with the fellows. I think it was a throw back to her days as a striking young woman who was always in the thick of all things social. Mom loved a good party.

Mom also says, “I never met a food I didn’t like.” Well, I think mom is one of the original foodies. She took us on many an adventure…and no matter where we were, we managed to find the best ice cream, melt-in-your-mouth fudge, the most adorable little lunch spot with the most delicious food.

So today I am honored to say, thank you. I think you have chosen wisely. Mom has used her gift of Joie de Vivre well. She’s lived life to the fullest; traveled the world over; and, at times, made a very ordinary day oh so extraordinary. And Mom has shared that gift generously, especially with her closest friends and family. Mom, here’s to you…Thank you!

So dear friend…What award would you give to your mother/grandmother/aunt or person who has been like a mother to you? What would you or she say in an acceptance speech?

If she is still alive, consider sharing your thoughts with your honoree. And, if not, consider sending up a prayer of thanksgiving!


  1. I love this! You, also, definitely took after this great aspect of your mom's personality and ran with it. I think you should get the award too!! You really know how to enjoy life and spread that fun energy to whatever company you're keeping. I often find myself wishing you were with me on random little trips and adventures because you make fun times more fun.

  2. Here's to my mom, the Persevering Award, the Creative Award, and the Curious Award. She has taught me how to keep going in spite of terrible times; sewn Barbie's and my clothes, baked and beautifully decorated all three of her kids' wedding cakes, and crafted many lovely things; and is very adventurous, always open to new experiences.

    I like to think the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

    And what a nice comment from Lauren, Elise!

  3. Thanks Lauren...your comment is a beautiful Mother's Day present that means the world to me.
    And Penny, your mom has given you many gifts. Your writing stems from that sense of adventure too!

  4. Wow Elise, what a beautiful celebration of Gammy/your mom :) I also have lots of memories of adventures with her- to Maplewood, the park to feed the ducks, Holsten's, New Hope, a random antique shop- and our trips always included ice cream!
    It is so true that ALL 4 Daly women also carry on the trait of joie de vivre! What a beautiful legacy, and reminder of where it came from.

  5. Elise, I too noticed this attribute of your Mom's over the years. She had a "get up and go" quality about her. Thanks for sharing your appreciation of barbara, after all she did raise some phenom kids!

  6. Elise, I love your blog idea. I'll have to come back to do some writing after your inspiration!


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