Thursday, November 30, 2006
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?????

Two or three days ago, our middle daughter, Leslie phoned me. Her husband, Jeremy, was flying to Pennsylvania later in the week to deer hunt, and had the idea to bring the baby with him. She'd stay home and have some alone time, the first since Landon was born.

The last time we saw Landon he was floppy, fragile and weighed about 8 lbs. Jeremy flew in last night, and Don and I had lunch with the two of them today. When I lifted Landon out of the carrier to burp him - good grief! What a lunk! He's around 18 lbs now at 3 months, and definitely not floppy. More of a soft, lumpy bulldog of a baby. (Check out those thunder thighs!)

So we grandparents are sharing him this weekend. Jeremy's parents will have him tonight, and tomorrow at noon Landon arrives at our house to spend 24 hours. I spent this morning cleaning out the nursery, washing the bedding, and vacuuming a years worth of dog hair. (The nursery is also the dog's room in off-season.)

I'll be back in a day or two to tell you all about our fun times together. We can't wait to play with him, snuggle him, smell him after his bath, and gaze at him asleep in the bed. Nothing more precious than a sleeping baby. Leslie promised me she'd call tonight with the holy schedule. I need to know the schedule! When I asked if he gets solid food, she said he's fat enough that no extra foods are offered.

I'll also have to tell you about the conversation I overheard today between Jeremy and Landon, while I was driving them back to the other grandparents. Something about doing a poopy in the woods......xoxoxo

  posted at 7:22 PM

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Levels of Thankfulness
So it's almost Thanksgiving, and of course I'm considering what am I thankful for? All sorts of thoughts pop into my head. I've been considering it the last few days, driving to and from church, cooking supper, time with my husband, on the phone with our kids. I've realized what usually comes to mind is the fluff.

Fluff is okay. I'm blessed with a lot of it. What's fluff? The timer on my coffee maker, good creamer to go in my cup. Lights that turn green, short grocery lines. My pillow and my bed. Good books, and a bit of time to read them, even if that time should be spent sleeping. Our dog who loves us with a love closest to Jesus than anything else on this earth. That might be his limited understanding of our true nature. My cat who comes when I call her every night, and when I lift the covers she climbs under and makes her nest. Nice - but all fluff.

The fluff made me think a bit deeper. What am I really, really thankful for? Hearing the pilgrim story I started to think, what would I strain after enough to sail across the world? So here's my "really, really thankful" list.

A God who pulled my feet out of the miry clay, and grabs my hand when I'm almost back in it again. Who has my name written in the palm of his hand and will never erase it. Who, when he looks at me, sees Jesus standing there saying "paid in full."

A husband who is steadfast, tender hearted, loyal and committed. Nobody else on this earth knows me as well, and yet loves me the way he does. If he were gone, I'd rather be lonely than try to find another of him. I'm convinced he doesn't exist. I'd just settle for another cat under the covers.

Our children. Sarah. Leslie. Dan. We did the best we could, the best we knew, but it wasn't always good enough. They turned out to be wonderful young adults, somewhat because of our efforts; somewhat in spite of them. They are good spouses and parents. Good employees. Just plain ole good people. We have very little baggage between us (none that I really know of but I'm assuming some, just as we got through the process of all of us growing up.)

Their spouses. Every one of them. Chris. Jeremy. Janae. They each love our children as my husband loves me. They are each committed Christ followers. They are becoming great parents. That's enough for me. Any parent who can say that is blessed to overflowing.

Four impossible-to-describe-how-precious-they-are grandchildren. It's been a rough year grandbaby wise, and we're thankful beyond description for the four little people who have joined our family. We're praying for more, but not necessarily any time soon! That works well since most of our kids are praying the same thing.

Our other family members. We still have three of our four parents, they are all in good health for their ages. We have no baggage between us, period. They did the best they could raising us. It was not necessarily always enough, but it was the best they knew and better than they got going through the process. We have 5 siblings between Don and I. We love each other, are on great terms. Many of them have difficult situations to deal with on a daily basis, but they're okay. We know we love each other, and tell each other often.

A handful of friends who will be there no matter what. We've made them over the last 25 years, and they live near and far. To have even one or two is an enormous blessing. They are like extended family.

The privilege Don and I have of working til we come home tired. Working at positions we chose, and enjoy. Many people do not have this.

So I'm enough of a sissy to not want to give up the fluff, but I'm also thankful God's worked in my life, and my parents did a good enough job, that I do recognize the difference. Thanksgiving blessings to all of you. xooxox

  posted at 8:45 AM

Saturday, November 18, 2006
First Peek
Chapter 2 opens tonight! Not every i is dotted, but we've come a long way. I'm here at the store, early on Saturday morning, to do one last item - learn how to run the cash register. Here are a few photos - not necessarily in order. Our kid aisle is beautiful. We've already had early small shoppers come in and squeeze the books, chew on them, etc. It's nice to be at the front of the store and hear little noises coming from the back aisle. I'm hoping to order some Veggie Tales manger scenes - they're adorable and my grandchildren may need one!

We've got an advent wreath and devotional table set up, a couple of glass shelves of gift items. A slat wall of sermon series, etc. etc.

We found one woman who isnt able to attend church much, due to a marital situation. She was so pleased to be asked to be our "reader". She'll read books, write a review for the church newsletter. When I handed her the 'yet to be released' Max Lucado, "Facing Your Giants", and asked if she would mind reading it for us - you'd have thought I handed her gold. Her smile was priceless.

The woman behind the counter is Cathie. She'd originally agreed to manage it, and decided she'd rather be a right arm. That she has been! We said last night we were proud that we've spent most of the last two weeks together, and neither of us growled at each other or cried.

There's a photo of me in here, standing next to one of the gift displays. It's not the best photo, but it's real. If you zoom in you're bound to see a few new crinkles around my eyes...

The tech guy at our church ordered me a new computer and printer for the store. I've been leaving my laptop and printer there, since I haven't been home much anyway. When the pastor I report to stopped in for a final look, he told me to go get a massage and manicure and bring him the receipt. I've never had a massage, but plan to let this be my first. It was a nice end to our big effort. I felt oh so loved and appreciated.

As I closed the door last night to go home, tears welled up in my eyes. Not that it's the biggest, best bookstore on the block, but that we said we'd do it, and we did. We're hoping it will be a blessing to our church family and the community. Wish you could all stop in a for a visit, share a cup of coffee and browse a bit. xoxoxo

  posted at 9:37 AM

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
My Weird Sister.....
Well, when Renee at Aspen Trail tagged my sister, Barb and I to do this meme, we thought - WAR! Instead of posting on ourselves, let's post on each other. She and I are alike in some ways, and very, very different in others. I can much more quickly think of 9 ways SHE'S weird, than me. Since I know she's going to tell you that I type with my toes (true) it's open season and anything's up for grabs:

So nine things that make my sister certifiably weird:

#1 She loves to cook and bake, does both all the time, and is skinnier than me. Except for Sandra at Diary of a SAHM, most great cooks look more like Paula Deene.

#2 She steam cleans her carpet at least once a month. I think that's just strange. Since dirt isn't really allowed to enter her home, I don't really get what she thinks she's cleaning.

#3 She always, always appears to be calm; I know her well enough to see steam between her ears, but you likely wouldn't. The more upset she gets, the more calm.... When I'm not calm, God and everybody knows it.

#4 She really never, ever hurries. She moves at a constant speed which is normal. Yet she somehow gets more done than most people. May be a little "Bewitched" going on. I'm going to have to watch for a twitching nose.

#5 She used to drive me nuts, years and years ago when we'd fall asleep in our double bed. We had a footboard and she'd whack her feet up against it in rhythm, while she was singing whatever songs were popular at the time. Since I'm MUCH younger than her, I can't recall the titles. Weird part is I never, ever hear her sing now.

#6 You truly could eat off her bathroom floor. Really. Seriously.

#7 She loves the ocean, obvious from her template. She loves, loves it. She cannot swim a stroke. I swim well and don't particularly like the ocean and never go past calf deep.

#8 She never once spanked her two daughters. The only spanking one of them got was from me. Nobody told me the no spanking rule. I still hear about it.

#9 Driving - okay, let me tell you about her and driving. We used to work at the same place, and actually lived at the same place then also. We were grown, I was pregnant with Sarah. She does not like to drive, never did. We carpooled. I drove one day, she drove the next. When she drove, to calm her driving issues, the windows had to be up. There was no air conditioning in her car. Denver gets hot in the summer. Believe it or not, my beatiful spotlessly clean always sister to have somewhat odorific feet. She could not stand to drive with her shoes on. We drove to and from work with the windows rolled up, no air conditioning, and her barefoot.

What can I say - we're sisters. I love her. Odorific feet and all.

  posted at 7:00 AM

Friday, November 10, 2006
Holiday Traditions
As I've had fleeting thoughts about this post the last few days, what kept coming to mind was my childhood traditions. What made holidays feel special at our house.

We had 6 kids, born in less than 8 years, so it was full of excitement, and short on presents. That's what I realize, looking back. I wasn't aware of that growing up.

The weeks leading up to Christmas Day, we poured over the Sears catalogue, wearing out the pages of the toy section. There was always a baby doll I wanted. I loved each one dearly, and it seems I got a new one every year. Even today, the smell I associate with Christmas is "rubber baby doll." My most treasured was Thumbelina. There must have been more, for I remember every school morning I'd line them up on the pillows of the bed, tuck the covers under their chins, and tell them goodbye. I REALLY loved baby dolls.

We made paper chains at school, and more at home. Cutting strips of red and green paper, then glueing them together with those jars of paste that had the stick attached to the lid. Our tree always had string after string of those. We didn't buy our tree til a few days before to get one on sale. I suspect ours was generally scrawny, and to this day I feel drawn to the most pitiful one on the lot. A big treat was that each of us got our own box of icicles and Mom let us apply them as we wished. I remember icicles flying through the air and landing in clumps on the tree. My husband had a hard time, years later, understanding why I wanted to allow our children to do the same. Tossed icicles and engineers don't mix easily...There were candy canes on the tree, and by Christmas morning most had been consumed.

There was much planning, as each of us gave every single member of our family a gift. I often gave my father an ash tray, in spite of the fact he did not smoke. My mom usually got a pretty embroidered handkerchief. To this day I still associate Christmas morning with receiving a bottle of "Evening in Paris" cologne. I can still see the dark blue bottle, given to me every year by my brother, Jerry, who died two years ago. I wish I could go back and tell him how much I love that memory. It seems most of our gifts were wrapped in white tissue paper with squiggle ribbon, and I find myself copying that also. I can see my mom pulling on the strands of the ribbon with the blade of the scissors to curl it. Many years the packages had numbers or hidden tags, so we couldn't snoop.

Christmas morning was a blur. Six kids getting out of bed when our parents had had only a few hours of sleep. Pajamas and bed-head hair, the excitement of it all. It was as much fun to watch others open gifts as it was to receive them. I still remember my mother holding up a radio my father had given her. We all had a stocking, usually my father's socks which ended up stretched out; each stocking had an orange in the toe and a candy cane, maybe new socks or a headband. Often my dad was in his post office uniform while we opened gifts; as soon as we'd finish he'd leave to deliver "specials", and I know now that money earned on Christmas morning went a long ways toward paying for our gifts.

When my father returned from his morning's work, we'd load up, all six of us in the station wagon and drive to my grandmother's, about 100 miles away. The last seat faced backwards, and having a good dose of motion sickness, I got the treasured spot of sitting in the front between my parents. My siblings always accused me of faking it. Now that we're grown, I am still the only one who has motion issues.

When we arrived at Grandma's house, we'd jump out of the car and were off for the day. At some point, we had to be polite and open our gift while Grandma was watching. My cousin Carolyn and I opened ours together, to be more efficient. We always got the same thing, one blue, one pink. Maybe a hairbrush set or headbands, or a dresser tray. Looking back, I don't know how she paid for any of it, because money was scarce. Children don't know this. We were completely unaware. The house down the street belonged to my Aunt Jessie Mae, a woman who reminded me of Aunt Jemima in size and heart. She wore bandanas around her head, had the biggest bosom and smile I've ever seen. Her house had food all over the place, pie after pie, and interesting things like quilting racks, and live chickens in the back yard. We'd grab a plate of food and take off to spend the day in the woods, swinging on ropes over the creek, or playing chase with all our cousins.

At the end of the day, we'd hug everybody goodbye, climb back in the car for the drive home. Dirty, tired, full, happy. Materially there was very little, but to a little girl, it seemed to me to be a holiday full to the brim. The day felt perfect, ending with another doll tucked under my covers.

To read more of "Holiday Traditions", head over to Sandra's place, at Diary of a SAHM.

  posted at 8:18 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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