Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grandma's Questions

I'm home again from a few days with our son's three young boys. I had a great time with the boys and I enjoyed special moments with each of them. It's such a joy to have grandchildren who are learning to be part of the world in which they live and know how to behave (well most of the time!). Remember, Grandma, they are boys! I would do it all over again in a minute. With no hesitation. Spending time with these boys is such a privilege and I know time will go fast and it won't be long before they are grown up with children of their own. But I do have some questions. I don't know what happened - I don't remember some things being this way when my children were young.

1. Are boys busier and faster now than when our son was their age?

2. And - even though little Mr. H. is built exactly like his daddy - did someone fill him with concrete? I don't ever remember his daddy being so hard to lift.

3. Why does it seem like I worked harder keeping up with them than with my kids when they were young?

4. Do they make stairs steeper and harder to climb than they used to? Especially while carrying a toddler?

5. Was I always tired at the end of the day? And did I always have a sense of relief when they were all asleep in bed and the house was quiet? Did I have a feeling of satisfaction that we had made it through another day?

6. Were there so many things calling for my attention while fixing meals back then?

8. Did my two kids have so many questions and observations of life? And such wisdom?

9. Did I lie awake at night listening for a little one who didn't feel well? Or sleep with my ears always 'turned on' and listening?

10. Did it used to be so hard to get somewhere on time? Was it this difficult to get kids to school, dropped off at the babysitter and arrive on time for an appointment?

Something changed! I'm not sure what it was. Could it be me? I don't really understand what happened but it seems this ol' gray mare Grandma ain't what she used to be! Would I do it again? You bet! No chance I'd say no.

This grandma was too busy to take many pictures. These two are the only ones I got - Mr. H. playing peek-a-boo and taking a breath. Just one breath and then he was off again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grandmother On Duty

I will be away for a couple of days to stay with our son's three young boys. I'm sure there will be adventures not yet thought of and tales to tell. These boys are very dear to my heart and I'm glad to have a chance to spend time with them while their parents are away at a conference. I will check in to read blogs and respond to emails if there is a chance when they are in school and the little one is napping. When I return I know there will be much to share. And lessons learned from the wisdom of children.

Artwork: 'Grandmother's Helpers, 1874'
Artist: Friedrich von Keller

Monday, January 26, 2009

Miracles At The Beach

A bit over a week ago my sweetheart and I went away for a four-day weekend at the Oregon Coast to celebrate our wedding anniversary and to get some much-needed rest. We rented a tiny condo just above the sand and the waves - a wonderful place to spend time together. Each of the units had a name. Ours was named 'Miracles'. This little condo was part of a small building that may have been part of the big hotel-resort next door in days gone by. Each of the four units is privately owned. They have been remodeled and redecorated in the not-too-far-distant past. I couldn't wait to get inside to see the place where we would spend a few days away from everyday life together. When we unlocked the door I was not disappointed. The cozy interior and the perfect view outside the front windows was exactly as it had been advertised. Straight ahead were windows - a wall of windows- and a door of glass leading to the deck just above the sand. A bistro table and two chairs were in front of the windows. It was a place where we spent a lot of time writing, doing word and number puzzles and just looking out at the sea beyond. Silk flowers and a little journal book were on the table. The journal was filled with entries by people who had stayed there before - memories and thoughts of their time away at this special place of rest.Nearby, the bed and a comfortable white leather love seat offered a place to rest and relax. The rooms were well decorated and I noticed the bare wall above the bed. I thought it was strange and then I saw a big nail in the wall that led me to believe there had once been a large picture there. I guessed that something had happened to it and that it would be replaced soon. Directly across from the love seat was an entertainment center and a gorgeous wood-burning fireplace with granite surround and a faux granite mantel. Above the fireplace was a very big mirror. We enjoyed a warm, cozy fire each evening when we returned from the beach and dinner out.A cute little bear who was hugging a topiary of roses was the only decoration on the mantle. If you look closely you can see the reflection of the chandelier that hangs over the kitchen peninsula counter nearby.I didn't get a picture of the wonderful little kitchen in this studio condo. It had just about everything we could ever need. New appliances, granite counter tops and granite tile floors made it such a beautiful part of the whole experience. We fixed breakfast there each morning - my sweetheart is the breakfast chef at our house - and we ate lunch and dinner out. The little bathroom also had granite tile floors and a big, fluffy rug. The jacuzzi tub/shower was behind a bright shower curtain that was perfect with the decor of the rest of the room.The walls were light lavender, washed with a soft brown glaze. Artwork decorated the little room and made it complete.Every part of this little condo had been prepared for our arrival. It was obvious that someone had thought about things that would add to a good time away at the beach. The entertainment center was filled with games, puzzles and movies that would be a great way to spend time inside on a stormy day. A tiny bookcase held books of all kinds to capture the imagination of the reader. But the place that drew me back often was the deck just outside the big windows. The deck and the view beyond. And the little hot tub for two! We enjoyed relaxing in its warmth above the waves late at night and I was in it each day early in the morning when most of the world still slept. January on the Oregon Coast can be cold, wet and very stormy. At times it seems you will be blown out to sea. Not this weekend! It was perfect - what a local man we talked to on the beach called 'a chamber of commerce' day! The thermometer on the deck showed that it was nearly seventy degrees at five o'clock in the afternoon. In January!I couldn't wait to get out on the deck and soon my sweetheart joined me there.Together we enjoyed the sound of the waves and the sights in each direction. To the north -And to the south -Overhead, a sign on our condo let people walking on the beach know that they, too, could enjoy this special place.From the beach below it was obvious that we had a front row seat, an up close view of the tide. We were in the third condo from the left (or the second from the right, if you prefer!) - the one with the little white sign near the roof.

Late every afternoon, as evening approached, the sun began to set above the water. The colors and patterns it created were breathtaking.

The ever-changing view reached deep into my heart and captured something special in my imagination. I felt I could stay in this place forever and never get tired of what it had to offer.But the best view of all was my sweetheart, deep in thought, relaxed and rested and enjoying every minute we had together. Just us. No one else. Time away together, away from the noise of life and away from the demands and pressures of the day.We walked, we talked, we laughed, we sat in quiet thought, we reminisced, we planned and we dreamed. And we left this special place much different than when we arrived. It was truly a place of 'Miracles'!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The House of the Lord

I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Psalm 122:1

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Special Birthday

Today is a very special birthday for our dear granddaughter, Miss E. Today she is six years old! It's a long-awaited day - a day to count on two hands - a day to celebrate and enjoy. A party is planned with little friends this weekend but today will be a special celebration to remember forever and always. Miss E. is going out for lunch with her grandma (me) and her great-grandmother (my dear little mother)! We are going to a chosen place where hamburgers and meals for young ones abound. Then we will return to my dear mother's home where we girls will spend time together. Just us. A few gifts will be opened and enjoyed before she returns home to join her older sister and brother after they return from school. Oh, the joy this precious little girl has given us through these past years. And the joy we know she will continue to bring. She adds sparkle to our days, smiles to our tired faces, the sound of laughter to our quiet world. And we are learning again to enjoy the simple, basic things - like counting to one hundred, reciting the alphabet, singing silly songs long forgotten. We can't imagine life without her. She is a gift from the Father above. Chosen to bring something so special to this world.

Happy birthday, dear Miss E.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

I urge, then, first of all,
that requests, prayers, intercession
and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
for kings and all those in authority,
that we may live peaceful and quiet lives
in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God, our Savior. . .
I Timothy 2:1-3

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions, they fail not:
As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth.
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Song: 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness'
Words by Thomas O. Chisholm
Music by William M. Runyan

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Very Special Day

Today is a very special day. Thirty-seven years ago this afternoon I walked down the aisle of a nearby church to join the man of my dreams, my sweetheart, and become his wife! We pledged our love and our lives to each other and began a new life together. We are leaving this morning to spend a few days away together - just us. We have a cute little condo for two waiting for us at the Oregon Coast. We will return Sunday evening - rested, refreshed and ready to go again. I'll catch up with you when I return.

Another year to create precious memories together.
Another year to discover new things to enjoy about each other.
Another year to build a life rich in love and laughter.
Another year to strengthen a marriage that defines 'forever'.

Happy anniversary, my sweetheart!

(Yesterday was our dear daughter-in-law's birthday. She was born the day of our wedding rehearsal! Isn't that special? Our daughter and I traveled a short distance from my home to take Mrs. K. to lunch and spend time together. We had a wonderful time - just us girls [although I did get to see our son and two of our grandsons briefly]. It was such fun -we can't wait to spend time together again. Soon.)

Poem: 'Another Year' by Joanna Fuchs

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Night Visitor

Hospitality is an art I've always tried to exhibit. I want my home to be open to guests at any time. Well, almost any time! Two nights ago we had a visitor whose appearance did not excite me. And he was NOT welcome in my home! No way - not at all.

My sweetheart was standing in our dining room near the entrance into our kitchen. A short time before that I had let Miss Savannah, my kitty cat, outdoors when she asked to go. Occasionally during the late evening she likes to sit on the patio and watch the nighttime world go by so I had no problem allowing her to go out that night. It's common for her to sit there for a few minutes and then appear at the patio door in the dining room when she is ready to come inside again. If we are not paying attention so we notice her patiently sitting there, she will hit the door with her paw to get our attention. As my sweetheart stood near the patio doors he noticed movement just outside the door. Thinking it was Miss Savannah, he looked up. Then he said, 'We have a visitor!' Assuming he meant Miss Savannah, and that she was ready to come in, I went toward the door to let her in. Immediately I realized she was not the one at the door. Looking in the door at me was another creature. Apparently wanting to come inside.

A raccoon! Cute little critter, he was. I didn't want to let him in my house. My first thoughts were for Miss Savannah's safety but I was fairly certain she was hiding somewhere nearby until this interloper disappeared. As my sweetheart and I watched this little fellow we realized he was not afraid of us. And we knew if we opened the door he would most likely come in and make himself at home!This is not the first time we have had a raccoon at our door, looking in to see what's happening inside. We are fairly certain someone is feeding him and that he thought we looked like the kind of folks who would share our goodies with him. I sat down on the floor just inches away from the door. He wasn't afraid of me, nor was he nervous when my sweetheart moved a bit. When I didn't seem to show kind hospitality he moved back a bit, sat down and made himself comfortable.Did he think he could wear me down? Sit me out? I think I convinced him I wasn't going to budge because a few minutes later he decided to check out some things he saw nearby.When nothing he saw appealed to him he decided to come back and try one more time to flash his big eyes and make me feel sorry for him. At least that's the way it seemed!After awhile he must have decided there was no way to successfully win my heart so he slowly walked toward the fence and my neighbor's big trees where raccoons have been seen before. Within just minutes I opened the door a bit and called Miss Savannah. She came running through the door in record time. She looked like she had seen a ghost! That was the last we saw of our nighttime visitor. He was gone - or so I thought! The next morning when I opened the blinds I couldn't believe my eyes. My Nerf football lay near the edge of the patio - but it didn't look the way it did when my grandsons last played with it.

And just a few feet away on the lawn - this:Was there a raccoon football game here? Or a feast? Or was this revenge because I would not invite him in? I'll never know - but I do know that, like Humpty Dumpty, all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put my Nerf ball back together again!

Monday, January 12, 2009



an image given back by a reflecting surface;
an effect produced by an influence;
a thought, idea, or opinion formed;
a remark made as a result of meditation.

There are many things in life that give way to times of reflection - the loss of a loved one is one of those times. Reflection about the events involved, reflection of the life lost, reflection about changes we would make if we could go back in time - or what we want to change from this point on. There have been many times of reflection over these past weeks. Some of those reflections are still taking form in our hearts; others can be put into words. From my heart to yours I share the following reflections.

* We will never be the same again. And we don't want to be!

* Things that seemed so important have suddenly taken a backseat to the truly important things of life. People - and relationships - are at the forefront of our thoughts. They are what matters most. Time together is precious and of high value.

* There is no way to describe the importance of words of encouragement and endearment. Words like 'I love you.' 'I'm proud of you.' 'You're special to me.' 'Thank you for the way you touch my life.' Words we often hold within our hearts and don't say - for some reason.

* Time together is never time wasted. Family get-togethers are being planned like never before. Vacation and camping trips together are beginning to be part of our thoughts.

* Our daughter is a strong young woman. Her courage and grace in the face of grief amazes me. She is taking one step at a time on this new road and she flexes with the need of each moment to help the children and herself begin to move forward.

* God daily brings someone or something special her way to give her hope. People from near and far - known and unknown - are praying and giving of themselves in ways we never dreamed possible. The generosity shown is incredibly overwhelming. At times nearly unbelievable.

* In the middle of the storm we will still praise God. While we don't understand right now, we know we can trust Him. Now and always.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13:12

Postscript: Dear friends - Words seem totally inadequate to express the depth of gratitude in my heart for your kind words of comfort, support, love, friendship and encouragement over these past days. You have reached into our hurting hearts in ways you may never know. Your comments and emails have blessed me more than you know. 'Thank you' doesn't seem to be enough! Our daughter and the children are slowly moving forward. She is working through a lot of details that need to be cared for. Things like business and practical things like cleaning and rearranging her home to meet her needs as a single mother - things like rearranging shelves so a short person can reach them without the help of a tall husband. She is walking through her grief with healthy thoughts and with a eye to the future ahead. God is providing for her needs and the needs of the children each day. While she is continually conscious of the needs of the children she is aware of the importance to take time for herself. The children have returned to school. Last week was a struggle for them to get back into school but by the end of the week they were all on the bus and at school at the same time. My sweetheart and I are spending much time with them. Our phone seems to always be involved with conversations back and forth. My sweetheart is helping with practical things that our son-in-law would have cared for. We gladly give our time, our energy - our hearts - to our dear ones. Our son-in-law's parents live just three blocks from our home and they have been an incredible source of strength and help while their hearts are breaking by the loss of their son. God is truly at work! Every day we are aware that His hand is holding ours as we walk the new road ahead. A road with twists and turns and unseen challenges. I love the words of the old Gospel song that says, 'Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand but I know Who holds the future - and I know Who holds my hand.'

I am trying to catch up with your comments and emails. They mean so much to me and to our daughter. I plan to print them all out and make a special little book for her in the near future. And I will return soon to more regular blogging - at times, I'm sure, I will look back and share more reflections from my heart. But then, isn't that what friends do when they are together?

With a truly grateful heart -

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How Majestic Is Your Name

O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

What is man that you are mindful of him,
The son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On Eagles Wings

But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
- ISAIAH 40:31

Teach me, Lord, to wait!

Artwork compliments of

Friday, January 2, 2009

It Won't Rain Always

Today we gathered to celebrate the life of our dear son-in-law and to say our goodbyes. Family and friends came from far and near to remember him and give support to our sweet daughter and her children, his family and my sweetheart and I. There were smiles as we reminisced, tears shed as we tried to understand and imagine life without him and lots of hugs given in love. It was one of many difficult days - just the beginning of many more, I know. The road ahead has taken turns we could not have anticipated. At times it seems impossible. But I love the special way God sends beauty to remind us that there is reason to go on. 'God's glad surprises' my dear little mother calls them. Today He did it again as we drove home in thoughtful silence. After heavy rain storms the sky was painted with blue and gray and pink and white painting a picture of hope - and confirmation that there will be brighter days ahead. And then the words of a special song that has given comfort in the past gently came to mind.
Someone said that in each life
Some rain is bound to fall
And each one sheds his share of tears
And trouble troubles us all
But the hurt can't hurt forever
And the tears are sure to dry

And it won't rain always
The clouds will soon be gone
The sun that they've been hiding
Has been there all along
And it won't rain always
God's promises are true
The sun's gonna shine
In His own good time
And He will see you through

Song: 'It Won't Rain Always'
Words by Gloria Gaither
Music by Bill Gaither and Aaron Wilburn