Friday, December 30, 2005
There’s nothing better than the smell of bayberry candles like my mother used to burn.
There’s nothing better than the smell of Christmas pies baking in the oven….or turkey….or dressing….or…..
Having to choose between 4 kinds of pie.
There’s nothing better than the laughter of small children ringing through the house.
There’s nothing better than putting in the last piece of a 1000 piece jig saw puzzle.
There’s nothing better than the chaos of 7 small children and their parents opening gifts all at once.
There’s nothing better than watching eyes light up and hearing squeals of delight.
There’s nothing better than seeing a 5 year old HUG his spiderman-copter.
There’s nothing better than wrapping paper, bows, and empty boxes in a heap in the middle of the floor.
There’s nothing better than eating leftovers and not having to cook a new meal.
There’s nothing better than the one year old walking up to you and holding up her arms to be picked up.
There’s nothing more bitter-sweet than the quietness after most of the family has gone home.
There’s nothing better than (please feel free to add your own)….
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I got up this morning before anyone else, so I ran to Wal-mart to do some last minute Santa shopping. There actually weren't too many people there--maybe because it was raining. I gathered up my few things while exchanging Christmas greetings with fellow shoppers. No one seemed rattled or angry--most were smiling, or whistling, or singing! Maybe it's just Kansas shoppers. I even asked the check out ladies how the customers were behaving. There were two of them, and both said they had not encountered any mean, angry, or nasty customers. Even when the lines were long last night!
Gift giving is my "Love Language" (see the book by Gary Chapman), so I really love this time of year. It is so much fun planning on what to give each person. I really enjoy making things to give to my family that will mean something to them.
For example, I found pictures of my mother (who has been gone for 3 years now) and made my sister a small 8 page memory book that included not only pictures, but different memorabelia. I can't wait for my sister to see it. I hope she likes it.
I made Jayme a plaque (that I already gave her because it was too big to wrap). I cut the board myself, sanded it, and routered the edges. Then I put primer on it, and then gave it two coats of paint on it. I had ordered "Wallwords" that said the following: "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art." - Eleanor Roosevelt. I've had the quotes for over a year now, so Jayme was really pleased to finally get her plaque!! Now I just need to finish SEVERAL other projects for her!!
I made Emerson a tote to carry firewood in from the breezeway. I already gave that to him, too, because he was carrying the wood in by hand! He was really surprised and even more so when he found out I made it!
Well, just wanted to share a few things from my hap-hap-happiest day(s) of the year!!
Again, God's richest blessings to all of you, and peace in believing!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The one I will share though, is one I FINISHED today. I made my four granddaughters matching ponchos. One poncho is little bitty, and then they just stair step up from that! I can't wait to take their picture all together!!!
I'm working on posting a picture of one of the ponchos.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
It doesn't seem so funny writing it. But it sure was funny when it happened. Guess you had to be there!
We sure had fun with our company. Dinner went well and then we played pictionary with Christmas carols, like we did at Jayme's cookie exchange. Out of 24 lyrics, the 8 of us only got 9 right. The women 5, the men 4--but we sure had a lot of fun. Thanks for the idea Jayme!!
Must go--projects to finish before Christmas!!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
We meet with a small group on Sunday evening. Our group has taken on a couple of kids whose Mom doesn't care about anything except finding her next boyfriend on the internet. The kids have nothing. I guess there are 8 kids. Mom has taken care of none of them. Two are at a group home run by the church. There are still 3 at home. The two youngest have been coming to church and our small group with friends of ours. We know they don't have heat because Mom doesn't pay the gas bill. They don't bathe, because there is no hot water. Mom doesn't bother to wash their clothes. But the kids....the kids are sooooo sweet. Zenobie is an 8 year old, blonde hair, blue eyed, lost her two front teeth beauty. Robert is a shy 11 year old, who has learned to love taking a shower at our friends house, because there is HOT water! Older sister, Sara, is a senior in high school, has basically been raising the 4 younger siblings. She is a good student, but is growing weary of being the child care provider of the family. She's working toward getting a good scholarship so she can get out of the house.
Well, tonight, at our small group we had a little Christmas party for the 8, 11, and 18 year old. Unfortunately, Sara (18) was sick and could not come. Robert and Nobie had no idea what was about to happen. We had our usual songs and Bible study (although somewhat abbreviated) and then the magic. We had all brought gifts for the kids. So, one at a time, presents were given to Nobie and Robert. You should have seen their faces. Especially little Nobie's. The first present was a warm fuzzy pair of socks. She was delighted! Then Robert got a pair of jeans! He was a little more controlled, but you could tell all the same that he was pleased. Then the presents kept coming. More clothes--warm sweaters, long sleeved shirts, jeans, underwear, warm pajamas--It was such fun to watch Nobie. Her smile just got bigger and bigger and bigger--as did her eyes. When she opened the Barbie doll, she squealed! She said she had NEVER owned such a doll before, and hugged it tight to her breast. As we all lined up to get our supper, Nobie went and tried on all the clothes--her eyes were so bright, she was simply RADIANT!! She came and modeled them all for us. She was so HAPPY! Robert was pleased, but after all, he's a boy. An eleven year old boy. But I know he was happy, too. As we were eating, Nobie came and hugged each one of us.
Now THAT's what Christmas is all about.
Jayme hosted a Christmas cookie exchange last Friday night. We had a blast!! She had us play Pictionary and used lyrics from Christmas carols. She and I (who have ALWAYS been huge fans of Christmas carols), were amazed at how many of her guests didn't know the carols associated with the lyrics. So here's a quiz--not exactly the same ones Jayme had--to see how many you know. If you'd like to participate, in your comment, just say what numbers you know, NOT WHAT THEY ARE, and then in a couple of days, I'll puplish the answers, and you can check to see how many you got right!
1. I've brought some corn for poppin'
2. Here we come a wassailing
3. The stars are brightly shining.
4. Said the shepherd boy to the mighty King
5. Oh tidings of comfort and joy
6. Joyful all ye nations rise
7. Angels bending near the earth
8. Let every heart prepare him room
9. The weary world rejoices
10. Certain poor shepherds
11. Star with royal beauty bright
12. The silent stars go by
13. The world in solemn stillness lay
14. Peace on earth and mercy mild
15. Hither, page, and stand by me
16. 'Tis the season to be jolly
17. Sister Susie sitting on a thistle
18. Tiny tots with their eyes all a glow
19. Gone away is the bluebird
20. Blink a bright red and green
All of our kids and grandkids were gone to their spouses families for Thanksgiving, so Emerson and I decided to take a cruise! We chose this particular cruise because Jeff Walling (a well known Church of Christ speaker--one of our very favorites) was going to be speaking aboard the ship several times. He was great!! He enlightened a couple of scriptures in such a way that I will never forget!!
We also got to explore some Mayan ruins at one of the ports of call. In fact the ONLY port of call we made. The other port of call was cancelled because the water was so rough they wouldn't let us into port because they didn't think it could be safely navigated! So we spent a rough day at sea. Not fun.
One night when the sea was rough, Emerson and I were standing aft looking out into the darkness. The only light was what was being cast by the ship. And it didn't illuminate far. The wind was blowing. You could see the whitecaps. The sky was DARK. Even the ship, as big as it is, was convulsing. And I thought about the passage in John 6:16ff, where the disciples are out on the boat and a gale swept down on them, and the sea grew very rough. (Mark's account says they were rowing hard and struggling against the waves). As I stood on the ship watching out over the rough sea, I thought about being out there on a tiny fisherman's boat. I know I would have been TERRIFIED!! And then to see someone WALKING toward them ON THE WATER--out of that inky black darkness, with the wind and the waves crashing around them. SHEEEESH! I certainly have a greater appreciation for their terror. And for Christ's ability to calm the wind and the waves with just a word. Mmmmm. I've always loved the quote that says "Sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms the child". Now it means even more.
A friend of mine and I played at the Christmas meeting of our garden club. Ann plays the harp and I play the cello. We played six Christmas carols. It was great fun! We had a lot of fun practicing (I hadn't played in years) and it really got me into the Christmas spirit. The lady who was hosting the event, has an old pump organ with quite a history, and so the audience demanded that she play the organ with the two of us. So we played one impromtu carol. It was really neat. A nice combination.
I have a 10 year old grandson, Aaron. He and his 5 year old brother, Daniel, stayed with us last night while their parents went to a company Christmas party. When they came in, I was cooking supper--a pork stew.
Aaron: Grandma, are you cooking eggs?
Me: No, I'm cooking stew.
Aaron: Are you sure? It smells like eggs (he loves eggs).
Me: Nope, just stew.
Aaron: Sure SMELLS like EGGS!
(Aaron goes over to my Christmas village (I have about 25 pieces). He's always loved to look at it and move the people and cars around on the streets. So I'm not paying much attention. He looks for quite a long time.)
Aaron: Grandma, I checked and no one in the village is cooking eggs either!
Me: Haahhaaheeeeehaaa hheeee haaaaa aahhh ahhhhhaaaa eheeheeee!!!
We have a Christmas train, which has always been a fascination for the boys. But last night it was Daniel who was particularly enthralled with it. He called me downstairs several times to look at what he was doing--but the one I thought was the best was when he showed me how a tiny lego spiderman was now clinging to the side of the locomotive as it went around the track!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Ten things about me:
1. I love the sound and the smell of shuffling through leaves.
2. I want to go to Africa to visit a mission hospital site.
3. I love being creative--scrapbooks, quilts, etc.
4. I used to be afraid of the dark--God took that away from me at a really important time in my life.
5. I'm trying to get an interior decorating business off the ground.
6. I love cooking. Hate doing dishes.
7. I have Restless Legs Syndrome. AND ITS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!
8. I want to make a difference.
9. I want my prayer life to be better.
10. I love watching the glowing embers of a fire.
But, acutally, this is the continuing saga of the antique cabinet. All of the old stain and varnish has been removed. And THEN. THEN I started on the red paint that covered the inside of the top of my antique cabinet. One coat of stripper. Red begins running everywhere!!! As I began to scrape away at it, globs fell on to the floor. I must be careful or it runs onto the newly stripped parts. And even though I am extrememly careful, it runs over edges, behind the shelves, down onto the other stripped surfaces. Another coat of stripper. The rags are now so red, I am wiping more red on than off!! A third coat of stripper. The paint is finally gone--but the wood is stained. I don't know how far I would have to sand it to completely get rid of the red.
The color is growing on me.
I think I'll leave it!
I rather like it.
As I was fighting the battle of the red paint, I thought how sin is like the red paint. James talks about the progressive nature of sin--and boy was this progressive!! Just a little stripper, and the paint ran everywhere. And like sin, the red paint affected everything near it. The other parts of the wood, the rags, the table, the floor, my clothes, my shoes, the tools--EVERYTHING. Sin is just like that. We think that sin only touches that one area of our lives--but in reality it not only touches every area of our lives--but the lives of everyone close to us!
And try as I might, I could not completely get rid of the red. I can't get rid of sin either. Oh, I can try. I can scrub it. I can try to cover it. I can try to get it out of my life. But all my feeble attempts only make it run further and spread faster. Only God can clean it. And even though I am STAINED with sin--it is HIS blood that makes me clean. And not just surface clean--it washes me WHITER THAN SNOW!! How can something so red, make me so white???
"Amazing Love, how can it be, that you, my King, would die for me?"
"There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.
Dear dying lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more.
E'er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be still I die.
And shall be till I die."
Friday, November 04, 2005
He picked them.
Sigh. So now I felt compelled to "do something with them". I got on the internet and found a recipe for green tomato relish (actually it was called "Indian Relish"), that sounded like it might be pretty much like what his mother and sister used to make. So I gathered the rest of the ingredients, found some jars, bought some more jars, and set to work chopping all of the igredients.
Sigh. There were a LOT more tomatoes than I realized. Tuesday evening, I had just finished making the SECOND batch of 16 pints of relish. All the jars were filled. All the rounds and rings were in place and I was waiting to hear the jars "ping" indicating that they had sealed. While I was waiting, I began to clean up the mess from all the chopping, cooking, and jar filling. I happened to lick the spoon out of the pan.
Gasp!! Choke!! Sputter!!! I had left out one very important ingredient--the SUGAR!! Oh, it was so awful. Emerson suggested just putting sugar in as we opened each jat--but really, it was SIX CUPS of sugar that I had left out!!!
Big Sigh. I opened all the jars and dumped them back into the pan. I added the sugar. Turned the heat back up. I washed all the jars and lids. I put them back into the dishwasher so they would be hot again. Finally, all the jars were filled for the second time. And with great apprehension I waited for the "pings". This time, when I tasted the relish--it was sweet and quite tasty.
Now isn't that how Jesus is in our lives??? Without Him, our lives are all vinegar, salt, and onions. Very sour and completely awful. But when you add Jesus! How Sweet it is!! He doesn't take away the vinegar. He doesn't take away the salt. He doesn't tke out the onions. He just sweetens everything and makes life SO MUCH better. He makes it all come together into something good.
Hmmmm....I think the Bible says something like that....
"All things work together for good, for those who love God, and are called according to His purposes." Rom. 8:28
I'll be remembering to add sugar to my green tomato relish from now on. And healthy portions of Jesus to my daily life--to keep it sweet!!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
*You can NEVER get ahead.
*You can NEVER stay caught up.
*Sometimes you can ALMOST catch up.
*Laundry increases exponentially while you aren't looking.
*Three year-old girls are beautiful with French Braids.
*Walking in the rain with a giggling three year-old is precious.
*There is nothing sweeter in this world than a baby asleep in your arms.
*EVERYBODY is cranky when NOBODY gets enough sleep.
*Painting your daughter's toenails, or reading books, or playing with the baby is far more important than a neat & tidy house.
(Jayme has learned this better than Nana has. Good Jayme. Bad Nana.)
*Baby "words" are music to the ears.
*Dishwashers are a NECESSITY for young mothers.
*It's a good thing we don't remember teething....
*Biter Biscuits are made to be worn as well as eaten.
*Halloween songs that are passed down from previous generations still bring smiles to little faces. (Thanks Mom)
*Thirty minutes can either be brutally brief or agonizingly long.
*There is a lot to be said for ranch style houses.
*Baby Einstein movies are worth whatever it is you have to pay for them.
And there are a multitude of other things which I have learned or been reminded of. But I'm too worn out to remember what they are.
Hats off to Jayme and every other mother who does this everyday for many, many, many days.
"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains (of laundry), from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heave and earth (and washing machines)."
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I am busy, busy, busy--trying to do my best impression of Jayme taking care of two children. Wow! Are they time & attention intensive, or what!!!!! Addy is --very good at entertaining herself, but has not learned the art of putting one thing away before getting something else out. Now Ellie--sweet little Ellie, has not been feeling well. A cold, cutting multiple teeth. And she is just VERY high maintenance right now. She seems to have gotten attached to her Nana--even wanting me to hold her instead of her Mama! Repayment for all those times Jayme wanted her Grandma instead of me!
I've been trying to help Jayme catch up on all her laundry--I think she has been behind since they moved. I can't count the number of times I have gone up and down the stairs in the last couple of days. The bedrooms are all upstairs and the full bathroom. The kitchen, dining, family room, etc., are on the main level, but the washer and dryer are in the basement. Up and down, up and down, up and down!!! My knee is complaining quite loudly at this point!!
We were getting ready for bed tonight and Jayme asked Neal to find the portable phone for her before he went up to bed (she has been sleeping on the couch). He couldn't find it, so he hit the page button. We could hear it, but we couldn't find it. It sounded like it was coming from behind the couch, but when he pulled out the couch a little ways, he still couldn't find it--BEEp, BEEp, BEEp!!! He found numerous other items, cords, cds, quarters, and lots of cheerios, kicks, m&kms....heeeheeeheee. He finally had to lift the couch to find it. Earlier, I had been looking for a remote--and IN the couch found a pair of Neals socks, a pair of scissors, several cords to a stereo or vcr, pens, pencils, cheerios.....but NO money. RATS! Heeheheeehe. I hope nobody looks in my couch and then blogs about it! At least Jayme has an excuse--she has kids. I have NO excuse!
I get to take Addy to Preschool tomorrow. She has a cool preschool. They even have a sandbox INSIDE! There is a bird, a hampster, a guinea pig. They have neat centers--a writing center, playdough center, light table, sand & water table (currently full of popcorn), a reading center, puzzle center, a little toy kitchen, a computer center, and I can't remember what else. They also have a one way window where you can watch without the kids seeing you--that's really fun. Addy loves her preschool. I think I would love it, too! But I guess I'm probably too old!!!
Well, enough for tonight. I have to get up early to take her to school!
Blessings to all!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
But there are some definite bright moments! Take for example the following conversation after church tonight:
Addy to her Papa: Can we go OUT and get something to eat?
Papa to Addy: I don't know, you'll have to ask your mother (who is standing nearby listening).
Addy to her Mama: Can we go OUT and get something to eat?
Mama (giggling): Ask your Papa!
Addy to Papa: Papa, can we go OUT and get something to eat?
Papa to Addy: I don't know, ask your sister!
Addy to 9 month old Ellie: Can we go OUT and get something to eat?
Ellie: (Happy babbling)
Addy announces: Ellie says YES!
Papa to Addy: What do you want to eat?
Addy to Papa: I don't know.
Papa to Addy: Ask your sister?
Addy to Ellie: What do you want to eat?
Ellie: (happy babbling)
Papa to Addy: What did she say?
Addy to Papa: I don't know, I didn't hear her!
I love being here to hear these little conversations. Addy just came and gave me a goodnight *mah* (kiss) and says in her sweet little voice, "Goodnight, Nana!"
And so, I say goodnight and God bless to all of you!
Friday, September 30, 2005
I cannot believe how much time is passing between posts for me. I just seem to stay so busy doing things, and my dear hubby gets upset if I stay up late at the computer!
One thing that has kept me occupied lately is an old antique cabinet that I am repairing and refinishing! I'm really excited about it. It was in such bad shape before I started. Emerson thought I was crazy when I bought it and brought it home. I started working on it last week. I've done almost all of the repairs by myself--I've only had to ask Emerson for his help a couple of times. After I got the repairs on the bottom part completed, I started stripping it. It is going to be BEAUTIFUL. When Emerson came in the shop and saw it, he was really shocked. He said, "When I looked at that before, all I saw was a piece of JUNK! Now it's beautiful!" I can't wait to get it finished. I still have a lot of work to do, stripping doors, drawers, repairing and stripping the top section. When I get it finished I'm going to put either scrapbook materials in it, or quilting fabric and accessories. It will be great!
You know, as I was typing this about my cabinet, it made me think just how much my life is like that antique cabinet--no, no, not that I'm OLD, but about how my life was in such a shambles before Jesus began to "refinish" me! He's had to make some major repairs. He's had to remove a lot of scratches. He's even taking off the old finish. And there's still a lot of work to be done--He says He's not finished with me yet (See Phillipians where it says "He began a good work in me...."). I know that there's still some major work to be done, but the structure is becoming more solid all the time. I know He considers me precious, because He paid so much for me. And I'm sure He is just as excited to see the finished product (in Heaven) as I am to see my cabinet finally sitting in its appointed place!
Tuesday, I got to go to Jayme's house. Michelle and Jayme and I scrapbooked--we had everything out all over everywhere!! But what fun we had. We sure got a lot of scrapbook pages made. It was fun to pool all our resources and get to make such neat pages! Of course, I got some "Nana" time in there, too! What beautiful babies they are! And sooo much fun! Addy "scrapbooked" with us. She had a picture her mom had given her. She put buttons on it. She laid it on different papers. She rounded a corner or two. She played with a lot of my embelishments. She especially liked the big cardboard letters I had just gotten. She laid out a few and then said, "Nana, what does this spell?" "Pladgnr", I replied. Then she added a few more letters. "Nana, what does THIS spell?" "Pladgnrmsuf." Addy, giggling, adds a few more letters. "Nana, what does THIS spell?" And the word got harder and harder for Nana to pronounce! With much giggling, the game continued, until finally she had ALL the letters lined up for me to pronounce. Whew! I was glad I hadn't gotten two sets of those letters!!!
We also took time to go to a couple of antique stores. I'm collecting antique rolling pins (among other things) so I love to go look. I didn't buy rolling pins, but I found a really neat old sewing machine drawer for $5--it will sit on my new cabinet! I also bought a little red bench. It will go perfectly with a little red stool that I've had since I was a little girl. My grandkids argue over who gets to sit on it, so now at least I'll have 2 red things for them to argue over!
I got 2 antique rolling pins on e-bay last week. One of them has already arrived and I am expecting the second one anytime. I am going to do a program for our antique club on rolling pins--I am having trouble finding any information about the history of antique rolling pins--so if any of you know anything--PLEASE share!!
Today, we'll be getting ready for our Garden Club to come to our place Monday evening. We're having a weinie roast with all the fixin's. I love this time of the year, when the air begins to have a little "nip" to it, and you can smell the leaves (we NEVER rake here, since we live in the country), and I love to *shuffle* through them. I'll be putting up our outdoor fall decorations today. Down at the entrance there will be a scarecrow, a bale of hay or two, some pumpkins and squash, and a BIG lighted (plastic) jackolantern!
By the fire ring, I'll be putting out the cowboy & cowgirl jackolanterns--last year we used real pumpkins, but this year I'm going to use craft pumpkins so we can keep them from year to year! It takes quite a while to make them!! I'll try to post pictures later.
Well, I don't know how many of you read clear to the end--I know it's a long post. But I'm glad you came, and if you read this far, I'm glad you stayed.
May God continue to hold each of you in the palm of His hand.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I don't know how long Jayme and Emerson had been planning this one, but I was totally clueless!
Jayme had told me that she wanted to celebrate my birthday at her house the weekend AFTER Emerson's big party. She was afraid that my birthday was going to be overshadowed. She said that Ladd & Donna and the boys could come up, we'd watch a movie and eat pizza. Sounded great to me!!!
So, when last weekend came up, I called Jayme to see when she wanted us to get together.
Me: How early do you want us to come?
Jayme: Neal & I have to go to meetings for Addy's preschool--ALL AFTERNOON--from 2-6!!
Me: Emerson and I can come up and keep the girls while you go to the meetings.
Jayme: No need. I already have plans for the girls. They're going to a friends house and they're all going to the zoo.
Me: Fine! We'll just be there about 6 then.
Saturday morning, Emerson and I go to Aaron's soccer game. Emerson asks me if Ladd and Donna and the boys are going to the party. I said I thought so, and then turned and asked Donna. She said, Ummmm, I think so--depends on how Daniel feels.
Later that afternoon, I ask Emerson if he doesn't want to call and see if Ladd and Donna want to ride up with us. He putters around and wastes time. And I'm thinking....Sure, you and Ladd yell at Donna and me for making a little trip to town and wasting gas, but you're not going to call and see if they want to ride with us to Jayme's house 50 miles away?????? Boy!!! Emerson finally calls, but gets no answer at their house.
We leave for Jayme's house. We don't leave on time. We will be 15 minutes late. I take a bag of popcorn along because I am already starving. I try to share it with E, but he says he is saving room for pizza. I tell him that if they are in meetings untill 6:00, chances are the pizza won't be there yet when we get there. He does not eat any popcorn. About 5:45 Jayme calls to see where we are. She says she will go ahead and order the pizza. I say, "See, she's just now ordering the pizza. Emerson starts to eat popcorn, but then changes his mind. Fifteen minutes later she calls again. Where are you? We had just pulled into town. She asks what kind of pizza we want--supreme or meat lover's. We discuss the options. She hangs up. I say to Emerson, "She STILL hasn't ordered the pizza." He reaches into the bag--"Hey, you ate it all!" I told him he'd had his chance!!
We pull up in front of Jayme's house. We go to the door. Jayme meets us there. She takes my purse and camera and tells me to close my eyes. She begins leading me through the house. I think she is taking me to see a present. She leads me all the way to the back door of the house and out onto the porch. "Open your eyes!"
When I do....what on earth???? There are about 10 of my friends, including my best friend ever since the 8th grade (she lives about five hours from Jayme's house), PLUS Ladd & Donna and the boys, and Jayme and Neal and the girls. Nineteen of us altogether. And the backyard! She had turned it into quite an impressive setting. Lights in the tree--which bloomed just that day!--lights on the fence, candles in jars on all the tables. A 3-D scrapbook table, with memories and pictures from my life, jazz music playing in the background. And a table set up LOADED with food from a caterer!! Barbequed beef brisket and pork, baked beans and coleslaw, potatoes, buns, the whole works!!! YUMMMMY! So after much laughing and hugging, we all dug in and had a wonderful meal.
While we were still eating, Jayme says, "Oh, here's another surprise!" And she introduced a lovely lady from their church who serenaded us with three very lovely pieces on the violin!! My mother was a violinist, and it was just like having her with me again. The music was SO BEAUTIFUL!! It brought tears to my eyes!!
THEN, the next surprise was that Jayme had baked me a home made angel food cake. My mother had always baked my sister and I angel food cakes on our birthdays for as long as I can remember, and Jayme knew how much I loved them. So, she had used my mom's recipe, and baked an angel food cake with boiled icing. It was PERFECT!!! Soooooo GOOOOD! I won't tell you how many pieces I ate!!!! :) And Jayme also made 3 kinds of cookies and tied them up in little stacks of 3 with ribbon. They were so pretty! And Yummy. Oh, and these oreo balls that were to die for!! WOW!!
Then we went through everything on the memory table. Jayme and my friend had written captions about all the pictures and objects on the table. It was really neat!! And then, my friends husband said his favorite memory of me was when we all sat around and I played the guitar and we sang together. So Jayme brought out a guitar that she had borrowed and I played a few songs that I could remember and we sang!! The presents were wonderful as well:
A new iced tea maker--Jayme knew that the handle had broken off my pitcher on the old one.
A new coffee mug--Jayme and I have a collection of the same cups--so that we can have coffee/hot chocolate together even if we're apart!
A homemade bread basket--that lays flat when not in use.
A heart shaped wire and bead basket.
A mosaic covered watering can.
And an Iris fountain that I had been admiring all summer.
The weather was wonderful. The food was excellent. The friends and family were perfect. The music and the angel food cake were heaven sent. We even played a couple of rounds of a computerized trivia game. What fun!!
We were the last ones to leave. My friend and her husband spent the night, but then came to our house the next day. We had another fun afternoon visiting and laughing and remembering.
This 50th birthday has been so wonderful!!!!! How could I ever say just how much it all meant to me??!!?? I am soooooo blessed!
Thank you Jayme and Emerson and all my friends for loving me so much.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I set up my ironing board and started carefully pressing the blocks. As I was ironing, I started thinking about who made these blocks to start with. I could imagine her with her old iron sitting on top of a wood-cook stove, and taking it off and ironing for a little while and them putting the iron back on the stove to heat again. Did she think about who might some day look at her quilt blocks and think about her? I can't imagine ironing with one of those old heavy irons. I'm sure she couldn't imagine an electric iron!! And now I wonder who will some day in the future look at these same quilt blocks and think about who owned them before.
I know the blocks are very old. The fabric is old. The blocks are hand pieced. There are some pieces to the blocks that had to be pieced themselves. Then I thought about how much my life is like a quilt block. Each day of my life is a new piece in a block. And God has carefully cut them out--just right. And sometimes he pieces them together with a piece from someone else's life. Sometimes, there are pieces that also have to be pieced because there wasn't enough fabric from that day of life to make a whole piece. He carefully stitches the various pieces together to make a beautiful block. And just like life is always changing, this quilt is a sampler quilt, with no two blocks the same. Instead of new fabric, He's using old fabric--because I'm getting older every day! :) I guess one day He will be using *vintage* fabric!! My life is the quilt top--but it is layered on top of the backing and the batting--the lives of those who have gone on before me--like my mother and grandmother. And our love and the Father's love is what binds the quilt all together.
I really like these quilt blocks that I've decorated with even more now!!
Monday, September 05, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
I just have to believe God got in on the surprise! Emerson decided we needed to have one of the elders from our new church over Thursday evening for supper so that we could ask some questions. Sooooo....Emerson didn't ask any questions when Jayme came to help me clean house!! And then the secretary from the middle school called begging Emerson to substitute on Friday, soooo....I was able to go buy all the groceries and stash them away before he got home.
I was beginning to think, however, that it was all going to fall to pieces when Emerson decided he was going to go finish mowing the lawn. I tried my best to talk him into taking a shower and finishing the mowing the next day, but NNNOOOOOO, he wanted to get it done!!!! I told him that Ladd and Donna would be here soon and it would be time to eat--he says, "I'll just WATCH for them"! SMACK! (That's me hitting the palm of my hand against my forehead!!) Shane and family (from Houston) were due to drive up anytime!! I called Donna and she and the boys dashed over. We decided to take the boys outside and *pretend* we were taking their pictures. I had made letter signs that spelled out *S*U*R*P*R*I*S*E*. Emerson saw us headed out in the front and drove the mower over to see what we were up to. So we held up the signs just as the Houstonites started up the drive way--honking all the way. Emerson just kept looking back and forth between us (with the signs) and this van driving up the driveway, honking. Back and Forth, back and Forth, until finally he could see the Texas tags. He THREW his arms UP in the air and SHOUTED, "OH, MY!!" The look on his face was WORTH every bit of the preparation it took!! He didn't have a clue!! Did I get a picture, you ask? Well......no he stopped the mower in a place where I could NOT get a clear picture of him! But it was still perfect!!!
E finally came in and took a shower!!!! Much talking and laughing began. We let all the grandkids head out to the pool. Much swimming and splashing. Also swinging on the swingset we got earlier this spring (we've gotten our money's worth). We fixed oven toasted sandwiches and salads. The kids quit swimming long enough to eat! Seven of the grandkids spent the night. Lots of little bodies all over the place!!!
Saturday morning I fixed mini chocolate chip muffins. We devoured 4 dozen of those and 2 GIANT cantalopes (we had eaten 2 giant ones the night before, too). Then we got ready for the photo shoot. I asked everyone to wear khaki pants (or shorts, skirts, etc.) and white shirts. We were really a sharp looking bunch!! The photograhper came and picked out the perfect spot to take the pictures. We started out by doing individual families first, because one family hadn't arrived until the last minute. So we did that while they were changing clothes. After all the individual family pictures we took the giant family portrait--all 19 of us. The photographer said she thinks they turned out really good. She complimented us on how well behaved everyone was and that we all were dressed alike. She said inevitalbly one person always wears something totally different!!! But I think my favorite picture might be the last one she took. We had E bring his tractor around to the picture spot and all the grandkids and E stood on and around the tractor. E always give the grandkids rides on the tractor, so it's a big deal. I can't wait to see the pictures!!!
After the photo shoot, the cooking frenzy began. Two of E's sons bought a WHOLE prime rib and cooked it on the grill. Then we had potato salad, baked beans, devilled eggs, brocolli and califlower salad, rolls, and more! Then the feeding frenzy! Much talking and laughing. Much gnashing of silverware!! (If you can do that with plastic silverware!) Then the cleaning frenzy. All the dishes and pots and pans. The kitchen was spotless. Then it was time to make the ice cream. I'd already made 2 kinds of cake. I made 2 kinds of ice cream. While I was doing that the grandkids were swimming and splashing and playing and laughing. More company came. E's b-i-l and s-i-l and his Aunt and her kids. Much talking and laughing! The grandkids talked uncle Ladd into getting out the go-cart. All of the grandkids (and quite a few of the adults) took turns riding it. Much more laughing and squealing!
Then we had cake and ice cream. And gave E his birthday presents. He had figured out that I was making him a scrapbook, but was totally blown away by the 100+ pages and the content. In fact, it wouldn't all fit in one--I had to put it in two!! He looked at them and then everyone else looked at them. Much laughing, giggling and teasing!! More swimming and splashing and swinging and running around and chasing and....whew! Finally, most everyone left or went to bed. E took time to really look at the scrapbooks, and I could tell that he was really pleased. Finally all of us went to bed. Much snoring!!
Sadly, Jayme and Neal and family, had to go back home since he is the preacher-man. But the rest of us all went to church together this morning at our new church. Fifteen of us took up nearly 2 whole rows! It was really good to get to sit together as a family and worship the Lord and feel good about it!!
After church, we went to Johnny Carrinos and ate lunch. Much talking and laughing! The Garden City bunch parted company with us at this point. The rest of us came home. We took the five grandkids (ranging in age from 10 to 4) that were still here fishing. And boy were the fish hungry. All of the kids caught fish--and some had never ever fished before. Much laughing, squealing, and flailing about of fish, hooks and children!!
Then came the kite flying. It's a giant yellow and pink plane kite that I won several years ago in a school raffle. I had given it to one of the grandsons, but had never seen it fly. They brought it out today, and there was enough wind to fly it!! It was really neat. It's about 5 feet long and has a long curly, spinning tail. Then more swimming, splashing, laughing, swinging, running about, chasing, giggling and squealing!
Hunger once again drove the grandkids inside and so there was munching of many delicious leftovers. Much laughing talking, squaring of accounts (how much do I owe you for this, etc.)--I think the same $50 got passed around several times!!
And finally goodbyes. Jayme and Neal were already gone. As were the Garden City bunch. The Houstonites loaded up their van after the snacking frenzy and made their exit (amongst much hugging and kissing and laughing and giggling). Ladd and Donna stayed until about 9:15. Some of us worked on a jigsaw puzzle, some watched tv, some snoozed. And then finally all was quiet. But even though it is very quiet, this is a very content house. Full of the echoes and love and laughter and sharing and family.
ReJoyce in the Lord always, and again I will say, ReJoyce! God is good!
Monday, August 29, 2005
He even had us practice!!!! He would say, "Jesus is Lord!" and we would say "YES!".
Preacher: He died to save us from our sins!
Preacher: He is risen from the dead!
Preacher: He is coming again!
Preacher: Jesus loves me!
And then he read one of the psalms (I forget now which one) and he would read the regular verses and when it came to "Prasie the Lord", we (with great gusto) would say that part. It was sooooo uplifting. Now mind you, none of this is "normal" Sunday worship in the Church of Christ. We usually just sit and listen (and *sigh* sometimes fall asleep--I hate it when I do that). But not this time!!! It was sooooo good!!
Then toward the end of his sermon, he had us all stand up and say the doxology--you know--Praise God from whom all blessings flow..." He had us say it, even shout it, as loud as we could.
Now this is the first time I can remember seeing the elder standing up front at the invitation, grinning. What a time of worship it was!! I hope this is something that we continue to do. So far, we have not been sorry at all that we started going to this congregation. We just miss friends. But many of them have called to talk to us, so hopefully we won't lose touch.
Just wanted to share this with you.
"ReJoyce" in the Lord always, and again I say "ReJoyce"!
I even hired a photographer to come take family pictures on Saturday morning. I am just so excited I can harldy stand myself!
I have been working on a scrap book for him. It starts with pictures of his first wife (she died of cancer)--I found some old wedding proofs. They worked great. Then I put in pictures of his kids when they were little. Then I have some pictures of the family just before his first wife died. After that, will be our wedding pictures. Then pictures of all the grandkids. I think I have over 60 pages now, and it's not done. I guess it won't be entirely done (even with old pictures), but it can be a work in progress. I know he will like it. He's seen a few of the pages, but I think he thinks I'm making it for our daughter-in-law. But even if he's figured out it's for him, he doesn't have any idea how many pages I've made or what's on most of them!
I haven't quite figured out how to buy all the groceries for the weekend without him going--what's all this for???? So if you have any suggestions...let me know.
I'll keep you posted on the progress of the BIG SURPRISE!!
All went well until I decided to mow the opening in the fence between our place and the neighbor's place. It used to have a gate--but we've established an "open gate" policy! :) Anyway, I nudged the mower toward the opening, knowing I couldn't go all the way thru--the mower is too wide, but thinking I could get a lot of it cut--and drove into a thorned some-kind-of-berry vine. Even though I was going slowly, my ankle was impaled with one of the thorns. I reach down and grabbed the vine and pulled it away from my leg, and I could feel the thorn pulling back out. As I watched the blood run down my ankle and pool in my flip flop, my first thought was of Jesus and the crown of thorns.
Mine was only one thorn. His was a whole crown. I can't imagine how many there were. Mine was merely pushed in to my skin. His was jammed down on his head. Mine was done only out of clumsiness or maybe stupidity. His came with the burden of all the world's sin. Mine was through fault of my own. His was done by angry people--and He had no fault. Mine did nothing more than bleed for a little while. His saved the world.
I watched "The Passion". I think everyone should see it. But this small incident was surely a much needed reminder of the price He paid for me. How can I but adore Him! I stand in awe. I am amazed in His presence. He is Holy.
Thank you, Lord, for this practical application of your Word and your Sacrifice in my life. May I always remember it.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The guilt I carried around came about as a result of my daughter being sexually abused by my second husband. It happened not once, but twice. And therein lies the crux of my guilt. This happened over 10 years ago. My thoughts have gone something like this: "If I had been a good mother, I would have believed my daughter. If I had been a good mother, I would have thrown him out after the first time. If I had been a good mother, my daughter wouldn't have lost her childhood. If I had been a good mother, I wouldn't have to worry about how this would affect my daughter for the rest of her life." LOTS of guilt. I have said many times that I wish I had a dimmer switch for the guilt.
A little over a week ago, I had a lengthy conversation with a friend I've had since the 8th grade. Her husband has been convicted of molesting a young girl. So we have much common ground to visit about this subject. We talked until nearly 3 a.m. that morning. Through that conversation, I realized (for the first time) a very important detail. I have endlessly criticized myself for not believing my daughter. As I was recounting this to my friend, we began to talk about the time frame surrounding that disbelief. I was told of the abuse by a police detective about 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He asked me what my gut feeling was. I replied, "It isn't true." Other conversation ensued, but that is what has haunted me for all these years. That same evening, a social worker came to our house and among other things made my (then) husband promise that he would never do this again. Which he did. Sooo, I then realized the truth. He had indeed molested my daughter. So that means that I questioned the truth of the matter for no more than 6 or 7 hours. Just a few hours!!! And in that few hours our world was turned upside down. Surely I can forgive myself for that few hours of what was really just not wanting to believe such a horrible thing could be true.
The second event occured just a few days later. I went with my daughter and son-in-law to their small group. The topic for the evening was, "What horrible event have you ended up being grateful for?" And my daughter talked about the abuse, and how much she has grown and learned from it. It was so amazing to me to hear her tell other people how this has become a blessing to her and that she wouldn't go back and change anything. Wow!
Even though she has told me the same things many times, it really made an impact on me hearing her tell other people.
So, the load, as of late, has been much lighter. Although I know I will continue to struggle with all of this, I also know that from this day forward, The dimmer switch has been dimmed.
Just an additional note, Emerson is in the hospital with a urinary tract infection. He is experience fever and quite a bit of pain. So if you would, please pray that his recovery will be speedy and without further incidence.
May God continue to Bless you, and may you have all kinds of Peace in believing!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I've missed reading all of your blogs, but still haven't had time to catch up.
We were in Colorado for nearly 2 weeks. We got back on a Friday night, and I left the following Sunday to go help Jayme unpack from her move. She has a really nice house now, and it was fun to help her get things arranged and decorated. She has such good taste!!!
I returned home from there on Thursday and Saturday was my Grandson, Daniel's birthday celebration. I made him a spiderman cake (one of the best I've ever done--even if I do say so myself!) on Friday night--stayed up until 2 am decorating it! Saturday we were supposed to go to his brother's soccer game--but it was rained out. We all got together (including Jayme and family) Saturday afternoon for homemade pizza and then cake and ice cream. Then that evening we all went to see Veggie Tales Live--what a blast that was. It was so much fun to watch 3 year old Addy jump up and down and clap and dance. And she kept saying, "Nana, Larry Boy is SOOO BIG! He's even bigger than me!!" She was so funny!
Sunday was church and life group--good, very good.
Monday was just catch up day.
Then today we went to a children's home and started painting and redecorating a bedroom. We're doing it in purple, green and white. One wall is white and purple striped, one wall green, and 2 walls purple. The striped wall will also have vines and leaves stencilled on it. We hope to finish tomorrow or Thursday. We worked from 10:15 this morning until 5:00 this afternoon. Whew!!
So....what's new with all of you???
Oh, and in the midst of all of that, I have been working on a scrapbook for my husband's 70th birthday. It's a surprise so, I mostly work on it late at night. I think I've made about 50 pages in the last month or so. I'm having a big surprise birthday party for him over labor day--which is actually MY birthday--so hopefully he will really be surprised since his birthday isn't until the 16th. I managed to get all the kids and grandkids to come!!! What fun we'll have!! I even hired a photographer to come take family pictues.
Well, better sign off for now. Tomorrow will come early!! When I have more time, I'll try to write something profound!! But for now, it's just news!
God's richest blessings!
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Grace to you and all kinds of peace in believing!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
At the end of our discussion, John (the leader) asked if anyone had any prayer requests. This lady began to share with us how her son, who has just been married about 11 months, and his wife have split up. As she explained the situation, tears rolled down her cheeks. She kept looking at Emerson--I'm sure she thought he must surely understand (and he did) how she felt. We all stood in a circle and prayed for this woman and her son and his wife. She quietly sobbed through the whole prayer time. We talked to her afterward and tried to encourage her. We also shared how I had been divorced 2 times--and now am HAPPILY married to my wonderful E.
Well, I just got off the phone with this lady. I called to get her son's address so I could send him a card. She was really glad that I called. Now get this!! She said, "I know that God had you come Sunday night just for me!" WOW! Once again, the Holy Spirit is alive and well. We may have found our new church home after having visited only one place!!
I just thought this was so neat, I had to share!!
BTW, the young man's name is Casey and his wife's name is Camber. Please keep them in your prayers.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
This is only one of the changes that is occuring. Just yesterday I used to be the one with the small children and it was my mother who hosted and cooked the famly meals--oh, we would bring side dishes, but she would cook enough even if we didn't bring anything. Now I find that I have assumed that role. And for the most part I really enjoy it--it's the cleaning up afterward that I seriously detest. For one thing, by that time, I'm usually beat--another "benefit" of getting "more mature". I just don't have the energy I used to. But I love cooking everybody's favorite dishes. My menu usually starts out rather modest--but then someone will say "You ARE going to make mashed potatoes, aren't you?" or "What KINDS of pie are you baking?". And so the menu grows. When we all sit down at one big table to eat, it's all worth it. Everybody talks and eats and laughs and tells stories.
Change comes hard for me, so I guess this gradual aging is a good thing. It lets me get used to it in little steps.
I do wish the ole body was more like it used to be. But cling, I will (no wait, that's Yoda) to the verse in II Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day." And I refuse to act old--I still love to laugh and do silly things, play with the grandkids, jump up and down when I'm excited, and learn new things.
So just maybe, the big five-OH NO! won't be so bad after all. And when the big six-OH! comes, maybe I won't have to do the dishes anymore!!
Today is the first Sunday that we visited another church--meaning we have finally made the break from the congregation where we had been attending. I know I've only blogged about this recently, but it's something that has been happening over a period of several years.
E talked to the preacher this week and then we both went and talked to one of the Elder's and his wife. We wanted them to know why we were leaving. We thought that doing that was the right thing to do, rather than just leaving.
It really isn't easy. We leave behind family. We always sit in the same pew with our son and his family. I missed them today. We leave behind friends. One of them called last night and said "We'll see you in the morning!" Well......uh....no, we won't be there. Today was fellowship Sunday--all that good food and fun visisting with people. This has been a long time in coming. A hard decision to make.
But.....the truth is more important than all of that. And feeling like we belong. And that we're useful in the kingdom. And that we're not just warming the pew. And that there is more to worship than just hearing negative things from the pulpit.
So....today we went someplace else. And you know what??? We came away feeling like we had been EDIFIED!!! Now please don't mistake what I am saying....I KNOW it isn't all about me--it's all about GOD! But it can be BOTH! And today it was! I was actually humming today when we left the building!! WOW! That hasn't happened in a long time.
We went where we already know a lot of people. They were very glad to see us. They hope we will come back.
Bible class was good. The elder who taught it came in and listed MANY scriptures on the board. And then he began to speak. It was about "Why we sing". It was very positive. The scriptures were used in a positive way. We sing when we're happy. We sing to teach scriptures. We sing to be full of the SPIRIT!! The teacher didn't go over every scripture he had on the board, but he used several of them to show how important our singing is to our worship and to our relationship with God. People were interested in the class. Discussion ensued. Various points of view were brought out. We didn't feel threatened.
After services this morning, E and I were talking about how the same lesson would have been presented where we had been going. It would have been quite different. We would have heard that you should never use intstruments. (That was mentioned only in passing in the class this morning). We would have heard how there are songs we shouldn't sing because the words are "not scriptural". We would have heard how we shouldn't clap or raise our hands. (Which by the way, I can go with either way. But this teacher didn't even address the issue. It wasn't the time or place. It would have been an important part of the discussion at our old church.)
Then the worship service began. The songs were shown on the overhead. With words AND music. I like that. There was a mix of old and new songs. YEA!!!! And it wasn't just 2 songs and a prayer!!!!! The men who were in charge of the Lord's supper had good and uplifting comments about what we were doing. I was able to focus on taking the bread and the cup. A young man (John T) gave a stirring message before the giving--this was a special time of giving for missions. The sermon continued the subject matter of Bible class. Again in a very positive manner. We were given a loaf of bread after the service was over--with a note welcoming us to the church and stating that their purpose is to share the True Bread of Life!
We went to lunch with friends. We had a great visit.
Emerson commented on the way home that he felt like we were on vacation!!
Tonight we are attending a Life Group from the same congregation. We are looking forward to it!!