Friday, December 6, 2013

The Next Step

Square Wreath Thank you for all of your sweet comments, your prayers and support for my dear, little mother and for me.  The last days have seemed like a blur in many ways but we have moved to the next step.  My dear mother stayed in the hospital for two days before she was transferred to a rehabilitation center in our home town.  She is just across town from our home and it is much more convenient than going to the hospital in the next town.  She is making progress very slowly. The transition from hospital to residential rehab care has not been without adjustments but I believe we are more settled in as each day passes.  I was amazed a couple of days ago to watch her walk a small distance using the parallel bars in the physical therapy gym.  Of course, she needs assistance and it is very slow and still quite painful.  She is from ‘pioneer stock’ and she has always been determined to do what she needs to do.  She’s a strong lady and the rehab staff believes she is doing well.  We don’t know what the future holds when she is ready to leave rehab – but we don’t need to know right now.

One thing that has become very real to me through this past week is the importance of every moment with those who are dear to us.  I treasure each time I can sit beside her and visit – or listen to her concerns – or laugh a bit when she shares something funny.  I’m not taking anything for granted these days.  Time is short when we look at the big picture of our days.  My heart is easily touched with things I may have passed by a few short days ago.

My mother still has her sense of humor.  When I arrived in her room this morning she couldn’t wait to tell me of a visitor she had last night.  Santa came to visit!  He leaned down next to her face and his elf took a picture of the two of them together!  Then he gave her a stocking filled with gifts.  She tried not to laugh too hard when she told me that he gave her a man’s stocking!  Her stocking was filled with sugar-free candy mints (which she likes), large man’s boot socks and an activity book that wouldn’t even challenge my six-year-old grandson!  When I held up the boot socks we decided she could probably put both of her tiny, size four feet into one sock!

My dear mother is getting good care.  The future is uncertain but we will do what we’ve been doing – we will continue to take one day at a time.  And we will delight in every moment we have.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Bend In The Road

Bend in the Road
Sometimes, without warning, we come to a major bend in life’s road.  That is what has happened for us.  My dear, little mother fell and broke her pelvis last Saturday afternoon.  She is in the hospital for a few days for pain management and is beginning physical therapy.  Soon she will move to a residential rehabilitation facility where the goal will be to help her heal enough to return to her home.  That is the goal – there are no guarantees. It’s too soon to know how she will progress and what the outcome will be.  She is in good spirits and rests fairly free of pain – unless she moves her lower torso or legs.  The doctors tell us there is no danger of further injury as she begins to sit and stand and, eventually, walk again.  Putting pressure on the fracture will not make a difference to her health.  It will, however, be very painful for awhile.  The pain will gradually subside as the healing process continues.

I had ‘written’ several posts in my head about the Christmas season, decorating my home and all kinds of things.  I had a lot of plans.  My to-do lists were long.  The boxes of Christmas decorations are still in the attic, Thanksgiving decorations has not been put away and there are things that have been left undone because this bend in the road has taken me another direction.  Right now I’m not sure what decorating will get done or what plans will continue.  Life, for the moment, has been redirected.  I will check in occasionally to let you know how things are going.  Right now my days are spent with my dear mother and working with medical and rehabilitation staff to have everything in place for her care.  I appreciate your prayers for her – and for me.  Your love and support mean more than you know. 

We don’t know where the road will take us, but there is one thing we DO know – we are not alone.  We can sense God’s hand holding ours.  We don’t know the road ahead but He does and that’s what gives us courage to keep going.

Sometimes we come to life's crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And he knows that it's only a bend-

The road will go on and get smoother
And after we've stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.
Helen Steiner Rice

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Song: ‘Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus’
Written by Charles Wesley, 1744

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern Oregon Charm

Before Thanksgiving Weekend is over and the Christmas season gets busy I want to share a bit of Southern Oregon charm with you from my recent trip to Jacksonville, Oregon.  History has influenced this little town and it shows in the homes and businesses all around town.  You can see it in the churches around town. . .Jacksonville Church CollageIn the beautiful, old buildings downtown. . .Jacksonville Building

Jacksonville City Hall

Jacksonville Inn

Jacksonville Building 2And a few of the wonderful, old homes. Here are just a few I enjoyed as I walked around town.Jacksonville Home 1

Jacksonville Home 2

Jacksonville Home 3Then I hopped on the trolley. . .Jacksonville Trolley And saw even more.  The first one was ordered from a catalog.  It came by freight.  Piece by piece.  A single man built it, thinking it would help him find a wife.  It worked and he eventually impressed one of the town's prominent businessmen enough to convince him to allow him to marry his daughter!Jacksonville Homes CollageThe trolley tour is amazing!  If you ever visit Jacksonville, be sure to take time to take the guided tour.  The driver had a great personality.  He shared a lot of great history and stories and trivia about the area.  It was so fascinating - I wondered why I had never gone on the tour before. Jacksonville Trolley 2Every minute I spent in this charming, little town in Southern Oregon was wonderful.  I plan to return again.  I’ve heard it’s an enchanting place during the holiday season.  Someday my sweetheart and I will be sure to visit when we can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.  Until then, I can only imagine how delightful it will be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings
Wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

From our house. . .to yours.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fall In A Southern Oregon Town

Jacksonville Fall
Before Fall turns to Winter and the Christmas holiday season begins, I want to share a bit of Fall with you again.  I’m taking you to the southern part of Oregon – to the sweet, little town of Jacksonville where I spent a few days with my dear friend, Jane, from Tickleberry Farm.  I told you about my trip here – but I never got back to share more with you.  We met and stayed at a sweet, little cottage right in the heart of town.  We felt right at home there.
Jacksonville House CollageJacksonville is a historic, little town that is filled with antique and specialty shops and eating establishments with incredible eats of all kinds.  The town was ‘ablaze’ with color.  We definitely chose the right time of year to spend time there.  All the lampposts around town were decorated.  Each one was slightly different than the others. Jacksonville Fall 2We enjoyed a walk around town together.  Leaves crunched under our feet and we loved spending time together in this beautiful place.Jacksonville Fall 3
Jacksonville Fall 4
Jacksonville Fall 5
Jacksonville Fall 6
Jacksonville Fall 7 ‘Jane’ and I took a break and stopped by Magnolia Inn. Jacksonville Fall 8She and her hubby had stayed here a few months earlier.  The proprietor was in.  He welcomed us and invited us to sit and visit with him in the parlor.Jacksonville Fall 9As we walked along the sidewalk on the corner by the inn we had seen this sweet, vintage trailer parked in the back driveway.  We learned that it was an anniversary gift from the proprietor to his wife.  We asked if we could have a tour.  He was happy to tell us all about it and let us go inside.Jacksonville Fall 10 Soon I’ll show you a few more sights from Jacksonville.  And I have a special announcement to share early next week.  Until then, the colors and sights and sounds of Fall may fade but its beauty will be a sweet memory through many long, winter days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Truth About Letting Go

Autumn Gate
I’ve been missing in action a bit lately.  I’ve been ‘sneaking’ in to read blogs occasionally and – once in awhile – I have left a comment or two to let you know I’ve stopped by to visit.  My intentions are good.  I often plan new blog posts in my mind - then life comes running at a faster pace.  More demands on my time take me away from what I hope to do. 

I sat down to write a new blog post a few days ago and I didn't finish it. It started out to be one thing - and it quickly went another direction and became something totally different! I didn't post it to my blog. I didn't know if I would ever share it. There is so much more I could say - more behind the scenes than what I wrote. I saved it and I'd like to share it with you today - because this is what’s on my heart. And what God is doing in my life. I wrote:

New thoughts about priorities and expectations and obligations have settled into my heart and mind. Change is happening in many parts of my life. The answers aren’t there yet for some things – I can’t explain it all. Other things seem more clear than ever before. God is doing something new and I’m on board with whatever it is. 

I find myself letting go of things, letting go of people and letting go of a sense that I have to be there to ‘fix’ things for everyone. There are times and seasons in our lives. There are times people need us and times they don’t need us the same way as before. They move on. We move on. It’s almost as if God is stripping away things that bind - things we may hold too tightly. My sweetheart and I sense He is stripping things away one at a time. Sometimes it hurts for awhile but then it brings such freedom!

My sweetheart and I had an experience not long ago that gave us a taste of what a new place of freedom could look like – freedom from expectations (mine and those of other people), freedom from things (stuff), freedom from doing things the way they’ve always been done in the past, freedom to move into something new as God leads. It can’t all happen yet. It may never happen just the way we ‘saw’ it but we had a glimpse – and we want that kind of freedom. We really believe it’s possible to have that kind of freedom - no matter what our circumstances may be, no matter what we think others expect of us, no matter where we live or what God calls us to do.

The hardest part of letting go and embracing that kind of freedom is saying ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ to myself, saying 'you don't have to do it that way anymore', saying ‘you don’t have to do that at all anymore’, saying, ‘it’s time for someone else to do that if it’s going to be done.’ Oh, I’m not giving up – I’m not running away. I’m not abandoning responsibilities. Not in any way. But I am letting go so I can hold more tightly to the things that really matter. Things that really make a difference when all is said and done.

I’ve always seemed to care more than I should about the opinions of others. To my own detriment, at times their opinions seemed more important (and easier) than doing what was really in my heart. It’s been a struggle at times. It’s not that I don’t care about other people anymore but I’m learning to let go and – at times to let them go – so I can embrace the best. The best that God has for me - and for them. Sometimes we stand in the way of what God wants to do in their lives. Sometimes we need to let go and let Him do His work. At times letting go means releasing them to do what they are going to do, all the while knowing it may not be for the best, but praying and believing that there will be a day they come to find the best and embrace it with their whole heart.

It may sound like there are big problems or crises going on in our lives right now. No, not at all! We have just come to a new place in our lives. We are taking more time to talk and pray and dream. We have come to realize that some relationships – while good – are not as close as we once thought they were. Others are more precious than ever. We have come to grasp what we already knew - that possessions are not as precious as they seem. And while there are things we still love, letting go of them doesn’t hurt nearly as much as once thought. We have come to know that, while we are on the back side of life in the eyes of some, we are at an exciting, new place. We are facing new horizons - sensing new things to come. Letting go so we can embrace the very best. God’s best. We want to embrace His best and walk into new places with freedom and joy. We may walk in places we never dreamed possible - places only God knows right now. We are planning for something – something we don’t understand yet. We are sorting and cleaning and releasing and letting go. Change is happening in relationships and plans and schedules and our home and the way we do business. It’s a good thing!

These Scripture verses keep coming to mind: 'One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You. . .

To all of our veterans who are serving or have served – and the families who have sacrificed – to give us freedom.
Veterans Tribute
As a tribute, please listen to this moving rendition of our national anthem here as a reminder of the incredible gift our veterans have given to us. (You may want to open the video to full screen for the full effect.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Out And About. . .Heading South

I’m on the road today – heading south.  My dear friend, Jane, from Tickleberry Farm is driving north.  And we’re going to meet in the middle!  Well, not exactly, precisely in the middle but somewhere close!  We’re meeting in Historic Jacksonville, Oregon.  On the south end of the state.  We have rented this sweet, little cottage for a few days of time together. Time talking and catching up.  Time antiquing and thrifting.  And time away from the routines of everyday life.Duncan Cottage Duncan Cottage is right in the heart of Jacksonville within walking distance of just about anything we might want to do.  Close to wonderful places to eat and delightful shopping excursions.  And it’s yellow.  My favorite color!  Even the kitchen is sporting some yellow – the walls, the teakettle and the vintage yellow chair.  I know it was meant to be.Duncan Cottage KitchenI’ll share more about our trip soon.  I will not be blogging while I'm away - I'm off for some time to disconnect a bit.  Time away.  It’s going to be special to spend time with such a dear friend.  Would you believe that we met here? Online.  On our blogs.  Then God arranged for us to meet face-to-face – for real and in person - and we have become very special friends.  Kindred spirits.  Sisters of the heart.

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Special People

I just couldn’t share our son’s children without letting you meet our daughter’s four kids, too.  They live about a mile from our home and I love it when I hear a knock on the door and look up to see one – or all - of them smiling through the window!

Our oldest granddaughter – our first grandchild – is Miss A.  She is a Sophomore in high school this year.  She is a strong, young woman who is fun to be with.  She loves to read and I really enjoy it when we two discuss what we’re reading.  I often gain a new outlook on life when we’re together – at times she challenges me to ‘get with the current century’, especially with technology! Maybe that will help me stay young!
Grandkids - AbigailMr. C. is growing up so fast.  He is in seventh grade this year.  He loves be active – skate-boarding, riding his bike, being active in Boy Scouts and all kinds of ‘guy things’.  He went hunting with my sweetheart this year and he came home with such great stories.  He really enjoyed spending time with the hunters in my sweetheart’s family and learning more about camping and life in the woods.
Grandkids - Connor Miss E. is in fifth grade this year.  Over the last few months she has changed a lot.  She’s not a little girl anymore – she’s a delightful young lady.  It’s fun to be with her and enjoy her discoveries of the world around her.  Grandkids - EmilyAnd there’s Miss H., a busy three-year-old.  She is such fun to talk to.  She loves to ‘help’ whenever she’s here.  She likes to help in the kitchen or with yard work – it doesn’t matter, she wants to be involved. Her eyes light up whenever she sees us and when she gets to come to our house by herself, she’s absolutely delighted.  I’m so glad it’s a treat she looks forward to.Grandkids - HannahWhen our daughter was a little girl we never guessed that she would grow up to be the mom of four kids who could possibly add so much to our lives – it was more than we could ever imagine.  It always amazes me how often she tells us that ‘now’ she understands how we must have felt or why we said and did certain things.  Becoming a mother has given her a whole new perspective – and a deeper appreciation for us!  I think maybe we’ve grown a bit smarter than we used to be!Melissa and Hanna
Our lives are full – and blessed!  We’re blessed with grandkids who love us and whose lives have added so much to ours.  I’m so glad God planned it that way!

‘What a bargain grandchildren are!
I give them my loose change, and they give me
a million dollars' worth of pleasure.’
Gene Perret

Monday, October 7, 2013

Special People

Yesterday morning my sweetheart and I drove south of our home ways to join our son and his family at their church.  We enjoyed being there with them.  After the morning church service was over, we went out to lunch together.  One of our grandson’s, Mr. G., rode in our car with us and we loved the conversation and laughter we shared together.  He is in the fifth grade this year.  He told stories about school and his teacher and we reminisced about our school days. He’s a delightful young man – and proud of his new braces.Grandkids - Gavin Mr. H. is a busy five-year-old.  He is doing homeschool Kindergarten this year and he is amazed by a lot of the things he’s learning.  I think he’s sure what he’s learning is something we’ve never heard of before.  I love his enthusiasm and confidence.  He and I sat together on one side of the booth so we had some good discussions.  Grandkids - HudsonOur oldest grandson, Mr. R., is a freshman in high school this year.  He is a good football player - such a good player that the high school coach took him off the Junior Varsity team and moved him up to the Varsity team.  He scored a touchdown last Friday night and he had video on his dad's phone to show us since we weren’t able to attend his game. Grandkids - RylanMiss B. is our youngest granddaughter.  We helped her celebrate her first birthday was in August.  She's growing so fast!  She is a happy, little girl and her smile warms my heart.  After church was over, our son, Mr. J., picked her up at the church nursery.  He handed her to me and she snuggled down on my shoulder with her little face toward mine.  Just some 'Grandma cuddles'! I don’t have to tell you that made this grandma’s day! (That’s her daddy with her in the photo below.)  Grandkids - Brynlee There’s someone else who loved being with our grandkids, too.  My sweetheart!Grandpa DThere is nothing that brings more joy than spending time with my grown kids and grandkids!  I’m so proud of them.  They are growing so quickly and we love seeing how their personalities and talents develop as they grow and change.  It makes me happy to see the way they have been taught and the direction they go in their daily lives.  To see our son and his sweet wife parent these gifts from God in ways that lead to lives as productive young men – and some day a young woman –  brings such pride to my heart.  And I have to smile because there were times I wondered if their daddy would ever learn the lessons needed so he would grow up to be the man he is today.  I am blessed.  Truly blessed!

(Our dear daughter-in-law couldn't join us yesterday.  She is a realtor and she was busy 'closing a deal' for some of her clients.)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Till The Storm Passes By

Storm 2
In the dark of the midnight
have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me
and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Many times Satan whispers,
‘There is no need to try,
For there's no end of sorrow,
there's no hope by and by’
But I know Thou art with me,
and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended
and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence
on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest never comes,
Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.



Song: ‘Till The Storm Passes By'
Written by Mosie Lister

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Round and Round – Part Two

I shared a bit about the Albany Historic Carousel and Museum and I showed you a few things from the painting room.  Now I’d like to take you into the carving room where raw wood is shaped and carved and comes to life.  It’s an amazing place – you could spend a lot of hours there.  Each carousel animal starts with an illustration of the finished piece.  Then blocks of wood are chiseled and sanded and shaped into reality.Carousel Carving - Morgan Horse It’s amazing to see the process as each step progresses.  All around the carving room are carousel animals in different stages.  Carousel Carving - Mustang HorseLook on the shelf below the carved horse.  The tail is finished – waiting to be added to the body.Carousel Carving - Mustang Horse 2Once the body is finished, details are added.  First they are drawn onto the wood. . .Carousel Carving - Details DrawnThen, with careful precision, they take shape.Carousel Carving - Details Take ShapeSome carvers had ‘props’ to help them develop accurate perspective.Carousel Carving - ChickenCarousel Carving - Chicken 2This cute bear has glasses.  I can’t wait to return and see her when she’s finished.Carousel Carving - Bear - ArtHer basket has already been carved and is waiting for her.Carousel Carving - Bear - BasketCarousel Carving - BearThe carvers are all volunteers.  You can see that they spend many, long hours to make each carousel animal become reality.  They are committed to their work and their dream to see the carousel in action.Carousel CarversBecause of their hard work – and their passion – someday I may be able to watch my grandchildren ride the Albany Historic Carousel.  And I may be riding right beside them!Carousel Model