Friday, February 17, 2017

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

I have a book on my 'grandma' bookshelf - it's been a favorite of more than one of my grandkids. Maybe you've read it, too!
If you don't know the story, it goes like this: If you give a moose a muffin, then he wants jam to go with it. When he's finished he will want another. . .and another. . . until they are all gone.  Then he wants more so you go to the grocery store to buy muffin mix - and he goes with you, but he's chilly so he asks to borrow a sweater. Once he puts your sweater on he notices a button is missing so he asks for a needle and thread. While sewing he remembers the puppets his grandmother used to make so he asks for some old socks to make sock puppets.  The story goes on and on with the moose asking for things to make backgrounds for his puppet show. He keeps asking for things until he finds himself outside your house where he sees your mother's blackberry bushes. That reminds him of the blackberry jam - and if you give him the jam he will want a muffin to go with it!

That's kind of like what's happening at my house these days.  No, we don't have a resident moose and we aren't baking muffins.  Instead, we are beginning to deal with my dear, little mother's home and the many things she treasured through the years.  Easy, you say?  Not so!  It's like the moose in the book.  We have chosen some things that will move to our home.  We need a utility trailer to move a few big things. That's not a problem because my sweetheart owns a little utility trailer for such things.  So, what's the problem?  A few months ago we had some big trees removed from my mother's yard. In the process there was wood for our fireplace - more wood than our little wood shed could hold. Over the past few months the wood has stayed in the utility trailer that was parked in the back corner of our yard. So, here's the problem:

My sweetheart decided to enlarge our little woodshed so he can store the wood where it will be dry.  In the process he discovered that the fence behind the little woodshed has leaned and slumped and is affecting the roof of the woodshed.  He can't just add to the little woodshed without dealing with the fence situation.  So, he is outside fixing the fence.  He's replacing two tired and worn fenceposts, resetting the sagging gate and stabilizing things.  Then he can build the addition on the side of the shed and unload the wood from the little trailer and then we can start to move things from my mother's house.  Whew, that makes me tired just thinking about it.

Good thing we don't have a moose!  Or, do we?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Different Sort of Birthday

Today is my dear, little mother's ninety-fourth birthday!  We are celebrating it in a different sort of way this year.  We are celebrating without her.  On the other hand, we're sure she is having a celebration in Heaven that we can't even begin to imagine!  The day has been filled with hard spots throughout the day, phones call to check in with me, hugs and text messages to and from family and many, many memories we cherish.  Just a year ago today we had a wonderful lunch with her and some of our family.
My mother lived a long, full life and she left a legacy that money can't buy. Here's what I wrote for her memorial service.  It was hard to put ninety-three years into a small space but this is her story.

Carol was born February 12, 1923 in Lompoc, California. Her parents were Clifford and Mildred (Hooker) Cooper.  She committed her life to the Lord when she was 15 years old. Following graduation from high school she worked as assistant librarian at the Lompoc library for two years. She attended Simpson Bible Institute in Seattle from 1943-45, where she studied Christian Education. While at Simpson she met the love of her life, James (Jim) Thompson. They were married on June 24, 1945.

Jim and Carol moved to Salem, Oregon where he began his ministry as assistant pastor at the Christian & Missionary alliance Church. Through the years, she served as a very active minister's wife in the churches where her husband was the pastor in Granite Falls and Everett (Pinehurst), Washington, as well as in Bend, Springfield and Milwaukie, Oregon.

In 1963 they moved to Canby. Jim and Carol traveled extensively through the U.S. and Canada for 15 years to conduct evangelistic meetings, Bible camps and Kids' Crusades in churches of various denominations. They organized a new Alliance Church in Ketchikan, Alaska and served on staff at Canby Grove Conference Center. They were honored by the Christian & Missionary Alliance for 50 years of service.

For several years, Carol served as secretary to the director of Love Your Neighbor Ministries, a Gresham (Oregon) based chaplain ministry to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Carol was a woman of deep faith and prayer. When she prayed, God answered. She touched the lives of people wherever she went. She led countless children, teens and adults to the Lord during her lifetime. She led a ladies' Bible Study in her home until recently and she was a spiritual mentor to many people of all ages.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

If We Could See Beyond Today

This song has been on my heart over the past few days.  My dear mother and father often sang it as a duet through my growing up years. The words touch my heart again.

If we could see beyond today
As God can see,
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O'er present griefs we would not fret
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet,
For you and me.

If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away,
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light
Why dreary days will soon grow bright,
Some day life's wrong will be made right,
Faith tells us so.

If we could see, if we could know,
We often say.
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way.
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more
He leads us till this life is o'er,
Trust and obey.

You can hear it sung by George Beverly Shea (soloist for Billy Graham Crusades) here.

copyright 1943 in "Word of Life Melodies #1" by Norman J. Clayton

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Home At Last

I have been absent from my blog over the past few weeks. I had some wonderful things to share through the holiday season and I planned to be here often but life didn't allow me to do that.  My dear, little mother's situation required much more attention than it had in the past and we were aware that she was declining more every day.  Our attention turned to meeting her needs and making the holiday season the best it could be because we knew this would be the last one we spent with her. And it was!

My sweet mama quietly slipped into the presence of Jesus late on the evening of January ninth.  We had planned to move her from her home this month because her needs were increasing so quickly that we knew we could no longer carry the full load in the best way possible for her - but she moved up instead!  She is in Heaven with Jesus and with my father and my baby brother who died at birth. Mom didn't want to move from her home. Her heart longed to stay in her earthly home until she moved to her Heavenly home.  When that day came she wanted to be surrounded by those who were dearest to her on earth.  And that's exactly what happened! 

My sweetheart and I stayed with her twenty-four-seven through the last weeks of her life. That brought such comfort to her and to us.  It was very hard but we will always treasure those days with her. She was placed on Hospice for the last two weeks of her life so we had their incredible staff to help. Our daughter is a medical assistant with training and experience in elder and memory care.  She has worked closely with Hospice groups through the past years.  She took a leave of absence from her job in order to spend the last week of her Nana's life with her and to help us with the day-and-night care required.  I honestly don't know what we would have done without her.  Our son was there often, as was his sweet wife and, at times, some of our grandchildren.  Our son and our daughter and my sweetheart and I were beside her when she walked through Heaven's gates.  She was home at last!

Last Saturday we had a beautiful service to celebrate her life and ministry.  It was a time to shed tears, pay tribute to a long life well-lived, share her favorite Scriptures and sing her favorite hymns. And there was laughter as we recalled memories of her fun, loving, creative spirit.  We were surrounded and loved and hugged and prayed for by family and friends from near and far.

I am just beginning to process the loss of my dear mother. I have good days and I have days filled with poignant memories and many tears.  My sweetheart and I are at the Oregon Coast for a week with our home-on-wheels and our little dog.  We're taking time away to rest and begin to heal. We're parked above the crashing winter waves that sound like thunder when they hit the beach below.  At night a string of lights line the dark horizon as crab boats brave winter seas to work their craft while we rest and sleep.  As I write this post a pod of seals is floating on the surface just below the bluff where we are parked. God has a way of sending special things just when we need them most!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Magical Place

A year ago my sweetheart and I spent a few days with my cousin and her hubby who live on the South Oregon Coast. They had discovered a few Christmas activities they wanted to share with us. They had never been to this train show and didn't know what to expect - but I knew all about train shows!  When our son was young he had a pretty incredible model train collection. Because of his love for trains we had attended a model train show or two in the past.  Model trains come in all sizes from very small to large pieces and all the accessories that add to the fun. I had this one figured out. Or, at least I thought I did!

We arrived at the building where the train show was held. It was an old school gym and we all wondered what could possibly wait behind the doors of that old building.  But, oh, my! When we opened those doors and stepped inside we were transported to a magical world.

This wasn't just trains - it was villages and communities and action and twinkle lights. My photos can't possibly do it justice.
There was a huge 'table' in the middle of the big room. We could walk around and look at each piece, watch the trains go round and round, in and out of tunnels, over bridges and turn corners.
Village displays filled multi-layer shelves all around the outside walls.  It was hard to know where to look next.
There were lighthouses. . .
And mansions and people and animals. . .
And places real and imagined.
There were Santas coming and going.
Lights had been strung on houses that were decorated for Christmas. Snow and snowmen and children playing everywhere. . .
And ballet dancers twirling and dancing at The Nutcracker Theater.
This was the collection of one man and his wife!  He has collected the trains and she has collected the villages and all the pieces that make it come together. Many of the pieces were found at thrift stores and garage sales and some were gifts to her. They present this to their community every holiday season for a small admission fee.  It's a fundraiser for a local community organization they support. It's their way to give back to their community.

It was a special evening.  Time spent together with our dear ones in a place that made us forget the outside world for a time.  Time in a magical place. From the heart of two people who are willing to work long and hard to share what they love to help others.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Past

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog posts while I was away recovering from oral surgery last week. Things are progressing in a very normal way. Last evening I was able to eat a 'soft' meal without having a plastic guard over my upper teeth to protect the roof of my mouth that was affected by part of the surgery. I will spare you the details!  Even though I have chewing limitations for a few more days I was able to venture out to eat something a bit more interesting than the same-old-boring soft foods.  My pain level was less than the surgeon predicted although I did have some 'happy' pain meds for the first few days.  It's amazing how much I craved things that were forbidden during this initial healing process!  And every advertisement on television was food! Food and holiday goodies galore.  But I survived and probably am a bit healthier for it.

Two weeks ago I traveled a few hours from our home to visit my dear cousin on the southern Oregon Coast. Just me! Time away while I sweetheart tended the home fires and was here for my dear, little mother. My cousin and I have always been very close - like very close sisters. We usually gather and collect things to give to each other when we get together and this time was no different. She had gathered some magazines she knew I would enjoy and I took a few well-loved magazines to her. One of the magazines she gave me was a real treasure! Just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season. It was inspiration on each page - a December nineteen-sixty-six Family Circle magazine. The art on the front cover always makes me smile when I look at it.
Every page is filled with memories of Christmas Past and things once thought so 'cool'. I could have ordered the 'Troll Cookie Cutter' for fifty cents to make a cookie tray like this one.
My home was built just three years after this magazine was published and - if I wanted to decorate my home in vintage mid-century style - I could make one of these to hang from my chandelier in the dining room.  Of course I could decorate my table like this, too!
But, since I'm not inclined to do that, I think I'll just keep dreaming of a much more simple Christmas this year.
Oh, wait - there's no time to dream! I've got work to do!  I have to get busy and decorate and finish plans for the big day that's only thirteen days away!  Time to stop thinking of Christmas Past and get ready for Christmas Present!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Advice From A Young Grandson

I want to share one more football-playing grandson with you before I move on to things Christmas. Thank you for indulging this grandma. Hudson is our youngest grandson and a real joy to our hearts. He recently turned nine years old, a fact that's hard to believe.This was his first year to play football and we were able to be there for some of his games. He attends Salem Academy, a private Christian school, where his older brothers play upper level football.
At the beginning of the season he was a bit uncertain but his confidence grew with each game. His two big brothers - Rylan and Gavin - spent time with him to discuss the games, the intricate rules of football and showed him ways to improve his skills on the field.
Hudson's games were usually played during the day but one game that was special was near the end of the season. His team had a chance to play a nighttime game under the lights - just like his big brother, Rylan, and the high school varsity team.
The last game of the season was special. He and his team had come so far! They had learned many  new skills and had gained more confidence along the way. As we sat in the stadium with his dad we learned that Hudson had insisted on wearing yellow socks - a good thing because we could always find him on and off the field! After the game ended each team lined up to receive metals for completing the season. It was special to be there and watch as his metal was placed around his neck.
We've been so blessed to be able to watch our youngest grandson grow and develop skills. More than that, it's been an added blessing that he is strong in his young faith and has a loving, kind heart.
Hudson is a smart young man. He cares deeply about things but he never fails to tell it like it is! He speaks the truth and, at times, his wisdom amazes us.  He sat beside me during the second half of Rylan's state championship game. He explained a lot of things - football rules, what was happening on the field and why things were being played out the way they were.  He did a good job being my personal commentator - perhaps he has a future on TV!  As the game went on there was a very bad call against our team and I had trouble understanding and dealing with it. Hudson leaned over to me and said something that hasn't left my heart since then. He said, 'Grandma, you need to let it go! And you need to learn to be patient!' That's our Hudson. Nothing unkind - just true.  His words have stayed with me through the past weeks and I've sensed he was right. This grandma took the advice of a young grandson. I've asked Hudson to sit next to me during his older brothers' basketball games - because I learned so much from him. Perhaps I'll understand more about basketball before the end of the season!