Friday, April 30, 2010

From Generation To Generation

A week ago today I took my dear, little mother to a nearby community to meet her new great granddaughter.  At first Miss Hannah was not real impressed that we had arrived – she was eating and did not want to be disturbed!   Once her little tummy was full she was much more sociable.  Then she met her great grandmother who left no one guessing that she was thrilled to finally meet this child for whom she has prayed so much  through the last months.
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It was love at first sight – a bond began that will continue to grow stronger every time these two dear ones are together.  A few precious words of love and wisdom were spoken by my dear mother and I’m sure Miss Hannah understood everything her ‘Nana’ shared from her heart.  Everything spoken and unspoken!
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The moments together were quickly captured before our sweet little girl grew tired and needed to sleep.
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‘Oh, Grandma, is that you behind that camera!  I’m so glad to see you again.  Where have you been?  I’ve missed you!  Do you like my outfit?  I wore it just for you!  Did you say we girls are going out for lunch?  Don’t you remember that I just had my lunch?’
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A few minutes more to visit and then a tour of Hannah’s new room and the home where our daughter and her family recently moved to and then. . .a BIG surprise.  A happy surprise.  Hannah’s daddy came home from work early.  He was able to join us for lunch and it was such a special treat to have him with us.  While we talked and enjoyed our time together a special little someone was snuggled in her seat.  Sleeping peacefully!
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We had a great time together – it was a day we won’t forget.  Time together with dear ones we love!  We will do it again – and again – and again.

Two days ago I was rushing around preparing for a very busy day.  In the next room I heard my cell phone signal that a text message had arrived.  Imagine my surprise – and joy – when I found that it was from my precious Miss Hannah!  My, she’s smart – texting already?  Here is what she sent me (I added the caption on the photo – I don't think she has learned how to do that yet!):
Hannah - 4-26-10‘Good morning, Grandma!’

My message back to Hannah:  ‘You just made my day!’

  Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17


Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with this precious grandchild.  She is truly a perfect gift from your heart to mine!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Longing Of My Soul

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
 
Psalm 42:1-2 (New Living Translation)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From The Heart Of A Father

Do you see the yellow tulips in the corner of this photo?  They have a story to tell.  Yes, they have something to do with my new grandbaby, as you might have suspected.  But they really have more to do with my wonderful sweetheart and his love for his daughter.  The story begins more than twelve years ago and I'd love to share it with you.

When our daughter was in labor with her first child - our oldest granddaughter - things went very slow and she became exhausted.  The long day turned into night and the longer we waited for progress to be made and baby to arrive the more exhausted and discouraged she became.  My sweetheart had been in the room with us for the early hours of the day but when things began to 'labor' on and progress he exited to the waiting room directly across the hallway from our daughter's hospital room.  He spent long hours, with many frequent updates from me, doing word puzzles and reading a good book.  As midnight approached and it was obvious that our daughter had a l-o-n-g ways to go before delivery my sweetheart knocked on the door and told me he was going to the store.  The store?  At this hour?  He reminded me that a local supermarket just down the hill from the hospital was open twenty-four hours a day.  He said he wanted a snack and would be back soon.  It seemed he wasn't gone long before he knocked on the door once again.  When I opened the door there he stood with a big grin on his face, a pot of the most gorgeous yellow tulips you can imagine and a small gift bag in his hand.  'What are you doing'? I asked.  He replied, 'I brought her something to cheer her up!'  As he entered the room and placed the pot of yellow tulips on the counter across from our daughter's bed I saw the first smile I had seen on her face for many hours.  It lifted her spirits and meant more than words can tell that her dad had done something so special because he cared and wanted to do something to help.  And what about the gift bag?  When she opened it, nestled gently in tissue paper was a single jar of strained baby peaches!  Something special for the baby.  There in the middle of the night, in the middle of her labor, my sweetheart touched the heart of his 'little girl' in a way no one else could have done.  It was a father-daughter moment that didn't go unnoticed.

What about the tulips in the photo?  You may have guessed it already!  A week ago this evening my sweetheart drove to the hospital where our daughter was again experiencing long, difficult labor.  He had worked all day and yet his heart had been there with us and as soon as he could he headed our way.  He called to tell me his location and I knew approximately the time he should arrive.  As time passed and he hadn't come yet I decided to step out of our daughter's hospital room and call him to see why he was delayed.  No need to call him.  As I stepped out of the room I looked down the hall toward the nurse's station and there, rounding the corner, was my sweetheart with a big smile on his face.  And yellow tulips in his arms and a tiny gift bag in his hands!  I knew immediately what had caused the delay - once again the heart of a father longed to touch the heart of his daughter with love.  And encouragement.  And maybe a smile!  And I knew what was in the little gift bag.  You guessed it - a single jar of strained baby peaches.  When our daughter saw the little bag she knew immediately what was inside.  Later that night my sweetheart told me the peaches were just a token gift for Baby Hannah until the day she is old enough to sit and enjoy peach pie (his favorite) with him!

There have been yellow tulips along the way - a gift from our oldest granddaughter to her mother on one of her birthdays - and there will most likely be more jars of strained peaches before our dear little Hannah grows up - but they will never be so sweet as the gift from a father's heart to his daughter. At just the right moment!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Precious Thoughts


O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
 
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

Even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.

I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—

But even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!


 

Psalm 139: 1-18 (New Living Translation)
Photo from allposters.com
Photographer: Joel Sartore

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grandma’s Brag Book

I promised to share photos of our new granddaughter as soon as I could figure out why they wouldn’t transfer from the camera to my computer. Problem is fixed, so here they are.
May I present to you Miss Hannah Grace!

Wondering about all the fuss just minutes after she came into the world.

Hannah - Here She Is
With her mommy and daddy. . .

Hannah and her Parents
Meeting her grandma and grandpa. . .
Hannah and her Grandparents
Showing her cute little feet. . .
Hannah's Feet
Getting dressed for the first time. . .
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‘Smiling’ for grandma. . .
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Spending time with the nice nurse. . .
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Hanging out with Daddy and Grandpa. . .
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Spending time with Mommy the next day. . .
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Wondering what happened to her warm clothes. . .

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Feeling good that her daddy found them. . .

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Meeting Aunt K. and three cousins, Mr. R., Mr. G. and Mr. H. . .
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Spending time with Uncle J. and the boys. . .
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And a few minutes with Mr. R.
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Thank you for your comments and emails – they are each very special to me. This is the little girl we prayed for and your prayers joined ours as we asked for a safe and healthy delivery. God heard and answered our prayers - she is definitely a treasured gift from God to our hearts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

She’s Here!

Baby Girl and Stork

Our granddaughter, Hannah Grace, has arrived! She was born at ten thirty five last night after a long day of waiting for her to arrive. She weighed six pounds, eleven ounces and is eighteen and a half inches long. She looks like her mommy, her oldest sister and her brother. Hannah has the sweetest disposition - she has a sweet, quiet attitude about whatever is happening around her. Nothing seems to ruffle her, scare her or annoy her! Yet! Our daughter had a long, hard day but was sleeping peacefully when we left the hospital last night. It was much deserved rest.

Thank you for your prayers through the months for our daughter, Miss Hannah and for us. If you have been following my blog you know she has been trying to arrive over the past couple of months. Even though Hannah was born three weeks early, we are very relieved that she is perfect and healthy. (I will post pictures soon when I can figure out why I can’t get them to download.)

Thank you again for your love and prayer support through these past months. We are relieved and happy and ready to start sharing our lives with our dear little grandbaby. She is precious and we are excited – we are planning to have a lot of fun together with her!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Through The Lens

Camera

A friend of mine suggested a great cure for dealing with the stress of everyday life – take a day or at least part of a day every week and do something just for yourself! Turn off the phone, go away, see something new. Just make time for yourself and do something you love. When she asked what I would do with special time each week I didn’t even have to think about it – I immediately told her that I would take my camera and ‘wander’! It was a good idea – a plan that never got off the drawing board. Life has a way of moving time for myself to the end of the list. Yesterday I heard an idea that seems possible.


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A friend in our church is a photographer. He teaches photography and always has a quick idea that inspires a few of us who love to hear his thoughts on the subject. He told another photographer friend that he takes at least one photo every day! He keeps his camera handy wherever he goes and he looks for opportunities to capture the beauty, the humor or the intrigue of something each day. His eyes are always open to the possibility of a photo; he sees things others miss.

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I plan to follow this friend’s example and see what I find. Many of the things I capture will be close to home but I often see things during the day that I wish I could capture with my camera – if only I had it with me. It’s time to follow the advice of another photographer friend: ‘Always take your camera with you. Everywhere you go! You never know when you will wish you had it with you.’ Kodak moments happen all around me and I often regret that I’ve not been prepared to make them mine. So, my friends, I am starting out this week with the intention of ‘catching’ one of those moments whenever and wherever it happens. I will share some of them with you – and there will be others that will never make it past ‘the cutting room floor’. Some of the things I capture through the lens will be common things from daily life - things in my home and yard. And things in the homes and yards of those dear to my heart. Some will be the result of 'a-ha' moments that take me by surprise!

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I hope this new venture takes me to places I never dreamed I would go, seeing sights I never dreamed possible and pushing my eyes to see things that were there all the time. That’s the plan – I think it’s possible. At least one photo a day. One at a time.

Camera - Camera

Monday, April 5, 2010

Off To School We Go!

Schoolhouse

Today was the first day of school for someone at our house. Joey and I went to the first class in his Beginner Dog Training class today. He was a good boy, an A+ student, and he was loved by everyone who met him. There are four students in class and their ‘parents’ – two other Mini Doxies and a Jack Russell Terrier. When the two other Mini Doxies arrived they seemed amazed to see that Joey looked just like them. And I think they all appreciate the fact that they can look each other in the eye! Class time went very fast – we started working on ‘watch me’ and ‘sit’ and then we had ‘off-the-leash’ time for recess and play time in the classroom. After recess we walked around the big pet store and, oh, the sights Joey saw for the first time ever. The smells his little hound-dog nose smelled just about drove him crazy - especially in the dog treat aisle! Joey quickly decided that he preferred the treats provided by the teacher to those in my pocket. What I took was old stuff that he thought was so good at home. But not today. Nosireesir, not anymore. I fear he’s been ruined by snack time at class! We came home with homework and we are going to work very hard on our assignments and practice what we learned so we can be proud of our accomplishments when we return to class again next week. Joey can’t wait to see him new friends – Tucker, Bear and Boo – again. I think he misses them already. He’s asleep on my sweetheart’s lap but I’m sure he’s dreaming of his classmates and recess and snack time at school. He will be ready to go again. No doubt about that.

Doxie Clip Art

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He’s Alive Again

He Is Risen


He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:6


He’s alive again
The stone’s been rolled away
He’s alive again
He’s no longer where He lay
He’s alive again
I can hear the angel say
Let all the world rejoice
He’s alive




Song: ‘He’s Alive Again’
Words and music by Shawn Craig
Artwork by Danny Halhbohm

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Greetings

Easter Greetings 3
Wishing you and your dear ones
a wonderful, blessed Easter Day.
From my home to yours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Pen And Ink

Pen and Ink Again

Oh, my friends, there is more to share from my heart to yours. Sometimes there are long silences when I wonder what to share with you and then there are times like this week where the ‘ink’ just flows!

There is news to share that is making our hearts rejoice! I haven’t said anything here about my sweetheart’s work situation over the past months. So many are out of work and struggling but about three months ago my sweetheart’s work situation changed overnight, requiring him to work at least sixty hours a week. While that’s good for the paycheck, it’s hard on the body and real life! He suddenly became the Acting Operations Supervisor at Stanley Hydraulic Tools, overseeing production in the hydraulic division of well-known Stanley Tools. For the past six years he has served as the Assistant to the Operations Supervisor and has often filled in when the supervisor was away – often for long periods of time when his supervisor was dealing with serious medical issues. He knew the job, backwards and forwards. He is highly respected and admired by his peers and the management. Big changes began to happen and suddenly my sweetheart was thrust into the Operations Supervisor position without warning. A new boss arrived to follow leaner guidelines from the corporate office during tough economic times. A lot of big changes continued to happen. Over the past months my sweetheart has spent many long hours after the day shift left for home, pouring over lengthy reports and determining where things were in the process and working hard to assure timely delivery of orders. The swing shift stopped being surprised that the light was on in his office well into the night! I never knew when he would be able to come home at night – often extremely late into the night to get a few hours of sleep and return again before most of the day shift arrived. Fortunately the orders began to increase and some laid-off workers were called back but the pressure to keep up continued to be heavy. I watched as my dear one learned and grew and expanded in his field of work and as he struggled to learn new computer techniques to streamline the process he was required to carry out. He has done an admirable job and early in the transition time he applied for permanent promotion to the position. Not long after the interviews began he realized he really didn’t want to do this job for the next two years until he can retire. Some friends advised him to withdraw his name but he didn’t have a sense that he should do that. Others from outside the plant were interviewed and time lagged on as I watched him struggle to have the energy to keep up with life. He and I committed this decision into God’s hands and asked for His wisdom and direction if the position would be offered. We truly hoped they would find a great candidate who could bring the needed changes to the company, allowing my sweetheart to go back to the job he is very capable of doing as well as continuing support to the new person.

Two evenings ago my sweetheart came home with news that someone has been hired. I saw the twinkle in his eyes and I immediately recognized the scope of his relief that he only has a few weeks to continue this pace before the new Supervisor begins the job. Company management expressed appreciation and admiration for the way he stepped into a very difficult situation and made things work the best way possible. The ‘big’ boss explained that they felt the need to hire someone with experience in a certain type of production management in order to make changes needed and bring positive outcomes during these lean times. My sweetheart and I are SO relieved – there is no way to tell you how much pressure is gone! That evening he began to laugh and smile more than I’ve seen over the past months. Then he pulled out his pocket calendar and began to plan fishing and camping trips and vacations! We are going to make several ‘long’ weekends - Friday through Monday – throughout the summer and fall months. And we have grand plans for things we’d love to do. I saw the biggest change when he looked at the two-year calendar at the back of his planner and began to plan the exact day of his retirement in two thousand and twelve!! We laughed and nearly cried as we began to realize how God has carried him (and us) through these weeks – all the time having a plan for our good. Now we are looking at things in a far different way than before. We are planning things that need to be simplified and things we need to let go over the next two years until he can retire. Suddenly we giggled in amazement that we are even at this stage of life! We wonder how it all happened so fast. Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were just starting out? Full of hopes and dreams? We still have hopes and dreams but they are different than all those years ago.

I’m wondering if I should craft a big calendar and begin the countdown! Perhaps it’s a bit premature! But it’s a thought! We are blessed beyond comprehension and God is so good to watch over us and lead us and guide us and go with us on life’s journey. While plans could change and things may have to be rearranged we are confident of this one thing – more than ever before – we are in God’s hands and there is no safer place to be.

Edited to add: My sweetheart called me a bit ago to tell me that the 'big' boss and the Human Resources Director called him in to tell him that his next paycheck will have a nice bonus for all of his hard work and commitment! As I stood there listening to his words my mouth literally fell open! I am SO proud of him – always - but it thrills me when others observe and realize what a wonderful man he is. Not everyone who has integrity and strength is rewarded for their hard work. It is a special thing when they are. I suggested that he shop Craigslist for the better fishing boat he has dreamed of finding someday!