Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July

Fourth of July Quote - Peter Marshall God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

‘God Of Our Fathers’ – United States National Hymn
Words written by Daniel C. Roberts, 1876
Music composed by George W. Warren, 1888

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lemons, Lemonade and Life

I’ve been gone for a bit and I know you understand.  Life has been filled with things that needed my attention.  Family needs always come first and the routines of daily life must continue if we are to survive at home. 
Lemons Someone once said, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.  Maybe some of what we’ve been doing lately has been like making lemonade.  Tough times can tear us apart or they can make us stronger.  As you know, our family recently had to deal with the loss of our little born-too-early grandson.  We have held each other close.  We have grieved and we have cried – but we are healing.  Our daughter is moving forward in the middle of her loss and we are very proud of the way she faces each day.  Thank you to each of you for your kind words, your prayers and the cards we’ve received.  You have encouraged our hearts more than you know with your love.

In the middle of the ‘lemons’ of life, my dear, little ninety-two-year-old mother fell again.  She fell backwards in her kitchen and landed hard on her tiny backside.  The amazing thing is – and this is a miracle – she didn’t break anything.  She is so tiny and frail.  She has no padding on her little bones but she got herself up, went to the phone and called us.  She was quite bruised and extremely shaken up by the fall but able to go on with life as before.  At first my sweetheart and I thought this would be a major turning point in her living at home, but we have come to realize that she is where she belongs.  For now.  Even though she didn’t break anything, this fall was a wake-up call for all of us, including her.  We are at a new place in her situation, but we’re not sure what that means.  It may be that there needs to be more involvement in some of her daily activities.  We don’t know, so we are praying for wisdom and direction. 

Not long after she fell her doctor of many years retired and it was necessary for her to find a new doctor.  She chose to see my doctor – and my sweet mother loves her!  She is very glad with the choice she made.  The process has been time consuming.  We had to be sure we had everything in place without a moment of lapse in her medical situation.  To exit one doctor at the same time you enter another required many phone calls and much paperwork.  I had to be sure there was nothing left undone incase she needed the services of the new doctor soon.   It was a big relief when everything went smoothly and the task was accomplished.

My sweetheart and I were able to go out of town for his fiftieth (ooh, that sounds like a long time!) high school reunion.  As we arrived at the venue for the first activity, one of my sweetheart's high school buddies saw us and gave advice:  'Don't go in there - that room is full of old people!'  It was a wonderful weekend.  To watch him enjoy his long-ago friends and listen to their reminiscences of past doings brought such joy to my heart.  And - in the middle of it all - I was able to have lunch and do a bit of antiquing with a dear friend who lives near where we stayed.  She and her husband met us for lunch after church on Sunday just before we headed home again.  Our time away was relaxing and we realized we need to do that more often.  

During a routine appointment with my doctor this week she gave me, shall I say, an assignment!  Walk twenty minutes every day!  So, I have been up and out early these last mornings because we’re having a hot spell and I like to breathe while I walk!  My sweetheart decided he would walk with me and we enjoy that time together.  It's good for both of us!  We have walked in different directions from our home each day and it’s amazing what we see when we’re walking.  Early yesterday morning we weren’t far from home when I rounded the corner – and stopped!  Couldn’t go on.  Had to take photos to share this darling sight with you. What stopped me in my tracks?  The cutest, little lemonade stand I ever saw.  Somebody’s daddy or grandpa must love Savannah very much!  What a work of art.  And it’s yellow, of course!
Lemonade Stand She has two choices – regular or berry.  Isn’t that cute? 
Lemonade Stand 2 She wasn’t open for business.  It was quite early and I wouldn't be surprised if she was still sleeping.   I think she must be quite the business 'woman' - she wanted to be sure passers-by would know that she would return - with lemonade – soon.Lemonade Stand 3I found this cute sign on Pinterest.  It’s something to remember when life hands us 'lemons'. 
It’s a cute sign but when hard times come the answer for me isn’t lemonade – although it’s a good idea to take a break and stay calm.  Through these past weeks a Scripture verse has come to mind many times.  The words of King Solomon are true:

‘Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring.’
Proverbs 27:1 NLT

I’m not afraid of the days ahead.  Whatever life brings, my faith will remain strong.  I will be calm because God has done good things in the past.  And I know He will do it again!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Path Of Peace

Sometimes we see or hear something that touches our heart but we don't realize the impact it will have on us in the near future.  That's what happened for me while I was away at a camp-out with girlfriends early this month.  We spent some time in a few antique malls and shops and we enjoyed every bit of it.  I was upstairs in by myself in one shop when I turned the corner and saw this chalkboard.  For some reason I knew I wanted to take a photo.  Little did I know how much the words on this chalkboard sign would come to mean in the weeks that followed.  These words have come to mind over and over since I first saw them.

This Scripture is taken from Luke 1:79.  What a comfort - and a blessing - to know that God will lead us in paths of peace.  No matter what is happening all around us.  

You keep him in perfect peace
 whose mind is stayed on you
 because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3


(Scripture passages from the English Standard Version)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Miracle Of A Tiny Life

Recently I told you that I was going to be a grandmother again in October.  You can read a bit of that story here.  The last weeks have been like a roller coaster in some ways.  Our daughter has been in and out of the hospital.  The events that began early this month continued and each time seemed worse than the time before.  We prayed and we held firm to hope and we clung to the knowledge that God was in control and that we could trust Him no matter what.  Each time a crisis came, word from the doctors was pretty grim.  Not much hope for this baby to make it.  They believed labor would begin soon.  Bed rest was the plan for our daughter and she did everything she needed to do to make that happen.  Each time she went to the hospital the doctors couldn’t understand what was happening – our tiny grandson was alive and well and doing what they didn’t expect him to do.  The prognosis wasn’t good and then last Thursday morning the high-risk doctor said she believed our daughter had ‘beaten the odds’.  With a small degree of confidence she said it was possible that our grandson could ‘hang on’ for a few more weeks until they could help him survive if he should come early.

Not many hours later, on Thursday night, everything changed.  Things began to happen and labor began.  It was different this time – but our faith was still strong and we knew we could trust our daughter and her little son to the care of our Heavenly Father.  Many long hours passed before news came that we had so hoped we wouldn’t hear.  Our tiny grandson, Levi, was born early Saturday morning at twenty-one weeks.  Still, he defied the odds and clung to life for about an hour – something the doctors had said couldn't happen.  And, then, he slipped gently into the arms of Jesus.  His tiny life had made an incredible impact on our lives.  We saw miracles happen.  Things the doctors said were impossible became real.  We don’t understand it all but we know there is a reason we can’t see.  Tears have flowed much through the past days.  Heaven seems a bit closer.  And our trust in God is even stronger than before.  The miracle that a tiny life could touch our lives in ways we never dreamed possible is amazing to me.  I learned things from Levi’s brief life that I needed to learn.  God showed Himself real through the weeks and months – we can’t deny that.  And that’s a miracle - God’s love shown again through the miracle of a tiny life. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Hills Are Alive. . .

With the sound of music.  My all-time favorite musical is ‘The Sound of Music’.  I think I can sing every word by memory.  Recently my sweetheart and I visited a beautiful state park in the mountains between our home and the Oregon Coast.  When we got to this viewpoint at the top of the hill I felt like singing the opening song.  Instead, I took a lot of photos!Mountain View
The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime
That flies from a church on a breeze

To laugh like a brook when it trips
And falls over stones on its way
To sing through the night
Like a lark who is learning to pray

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Next month I will be joining several girlfriends from my camping group at this beautiful park.  Please come by Daffodil’s blog to take a peek inside and see how she looked when I took her to a  recent camp-out.  She will look different by the time I take her camping next months - we are working to finish some things before her next trip.  You can go to her blog by clicking on the ‘Daffodil – My Vintage Trailer’ tab at the top of this page.

Song: ‘The Sound of Music’
written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Detour, News and A Grateful Heart

Stormy Sky When I last shared with you on my vintage trailer blog (Daffodil's Journey), I said I was planning to leave that morning for a trip to spend the weekend with some of my camping girlfriends.  Well, it didn’t happen exactly that way!  Sometimes we don’t understand why plans are changed or delayed – and we may never know.  But I’ve learned to accept those changes as something God allows in my life for a reason.  That’s what happened last week just minutes before Daffodil and I were about to drive away for the weekend.

There’s something I haven’t shared here.  I am going to be a grandma again in the Fall!  You would think it would be news I would be shouting from the housetops, but I haven’t told many people.  Our daughter is expecting baby number five.  To say this was a total surprise would be an understatement.  This is a high-risk pregnancy because of her age and multiple problems she had when she was expecting our precious Miss H. five years ago.  This time we’ve been holding our breath almost from the beginning.  Every day without ‘bad’ news or events that make us believe this baby isn’t going to make it, well – that’s a day to breathe a bit easier.  In many ways it's one day at a time!   She is seeing a group of high-risk obstetricians and from day one their observations have been negative – doom and gloom for this little one.  There have been diagnoses of things that made our hearts ache and suspicions of things that were quite unnerving.  In this age of technology we can ‘see’ things that, in the past, we never knew about until our babies arrived.  Now we know things we wish we didn’t know.  But God hasn’t had the last word!  He is at work and we believe we just might be watching a series of miracles happening before our eyes by way of multiple ultrasound images.  Everything that has been diagnosed or predicted so far as ‘resolved itself’.  That’s what the doctors say, but I really believe we are watching God answer the prayers of many people for our daughter and her little guy.  Yes, it’s a boy!

I was literally on my way out the door – with car keys and purse in hand – ready to drive away with Daffodil when my cell phone rang.  Our daughter said, ‘Mom, I know you’re out of town, but you need to know what’s happening.’  It looked like the much-too-early birth of her tiny son was about to happen.  She was about to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.  My plans changed at that moment!  I knew there was no way I was going to take Daffodil and drive away.  A quick call to the camping friend I had planned to meet nearby so we could travel together and call to a dear friend who was expecting my arrival a couple of hours later – and all of my plans for the weekend were on hold.  I sat and waited for word.  And I prayed.  Oh, how I prayed!  Tears poured down my face as I thought of my dear daughter and the anguish she must feel.  And more tears fell as I thought of the tiny grandson I might not get to hold until some day in Heaven.  A phone call came and I was off to the hospital.  Actually, two hospitals before the day was over.  She was transported by ambulance to a large hospital where the neo-natal intensive care unit was ready, if he should be born. The news was more encouraging than we ever hoped to hear.  What had happened – what we could see and understand – wasn’t what it appeared to be.  The ‘symptoms’ of imminent birth were not that at all!  Tiny baby boy was still safe and sound, snug as ever in his fluid-filled sac.  Everything was exactly as it should be.  Needed fluid that surrounds him measured exactly perfect!  Contractions were not of the labor type and they weren't doing anything to be concerned about.  We were amazed!  The high-risk doctor at the hospital was very encouraging.  He sent her home for bed rest until her next appointment a few days later.

I took away a lot of things from that day when God changed my plans.  Again, I was reminded that HE is in control.  No matter what things appear to be, He sees it all.  And He knows.  I was reminded again how much my dear ones mean to me and that I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else than with them in moments of crisis.  I was able to spend quite a bit of time with our oldest granddaughter and we shared our hearts in ways we’ve never done before.  Our daughter’s younger children were scared, so we sent grandpa to ‘rescue’ them and be with them. (He took them fishing!)  And, through it all, I kept remembering my dear father’s version of a Scripture verse that he quoted often.  Psalm 37:23 says, ‘The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way’.  My sweet dad always said that our ‘stops’ are ordered by God as well as our steps.  I’ve found that true more times than I can recall.  And that was what happened again last week.  I know God stopped me from heading south with Daffodil.  I had planned to leave earlier that morning but was delayed a bit.  The friend I had planned to travel with was also delayed.  I know His plan for me was to be here with my dear daughter and her family.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

It’s been over a week since that day when we all held our breath, waiting for news of a tiny, little guy who has already worked his way deep into this grandma’s heart.  I’ve seen many ‘still’ photos of his ultrasounds, but to stand beside the doctor and watch itsy-bitsy fingers move and the valves of a tiny heart open and close as they should – and to see this precious grandson moving and stretching before my eyes – was a gift to my heart.  A few days later there was another late night run to the hospital with even more scary things happening that also turned out not to be as they seemed.  The doctors assured my daughter that things that had been of concern were ‘shifting’ and ‘making themselves right’.  It wasn't an accident.  Not a coincidence!  I know it’s because God is shifting and settling things for her and her son.  She is taking it easy – obeying the doctor’s orders’ and all is still going well. 

Early the next morning my sweetheart helped me hitch up Daffodil – again – and Daffodil and I headed south to catch up with the gals who were already enjoying time together at a gorgeous farm setting.  There’s so much I could share about my trip there, the time with my friends and the trip back home again, but I will save that for another time.  Early next week I will give you a tour inside of Daffodil.  She’s a beauty!  There’s more work to be done but she was just the sweet haven I needed over the weekend.I can’  t wait to share her with you. 

As I look back on the events of last weekend, my heart is filled with gratitude.  I can see God’s fingerprints all over those days – and I have a much deeper sense than ever before what it means to ‘give thanks with a grateful heart’!

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Touch of Color

Azalea 2015
We live on the corner of a busy street.  On the corner of our property is a very old azalea that spreads her beauty once a year to all who pass by.  She is a bright spot there every day.  She doesn’t worry if raindrops grace her petals or if the sun shines to make her color even more vibrant.  Every Spring I wait for see her beauty and I’m never disappointed.

My vintage trailer has a new look.  There’s been a big change!  If you select the ‘Daffodil – My Vintage Trailer’ you can see it right away.