Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two Days Left 'til Christmas

Yesterday, dear husband & I ventured out into the rush of Christmas shoppers. Shopping this close to Christmas invigorates him; shopping this close to Christmas tips my scale of holiday cheer into oblivion. Plain and simple - it blows my overblown sense of control.

If I was truly organized, why am I out here with the Christmas crazies shopping this close to Christmas? Why am I wondering down the aisles of Books & Co with the great ideas that just formed? Where is that Pooh book I suddenly envision as THE perfect gift for several family members? Where were these ideas weeks ago?!?!?!? Why can't I enjoy the thrill of the hunt at the last minute?!?!?

I do know the answers - I'm just not willing to answer them publicly.

I do know this. Every year I sit down and write a long list of resolutions. They look great on paper. They appear to be achieveable. The number of them are usually under a hundred. None of them involve riding a camel across the Saraha. Inevitably, the list comes to surface at the end of the year - and if I'm lucky, I've managed to complete two of them. Probably because I knew when I wrote those two, they were easy enough to do in less than 24 hours. Organizationally, I excel at short-term "things". It's just those long-term goals and self-expectations I can't seem to conquer. And I still think about what I'd like to do when I grow up.

So here it is, the 23rd of December. I still have to go out today with the Christmas crazies for two more presents - maybe three. I still have to wrap what I've already bought. I still have to address the special Christmas cards I bought - resolution #5 written in Jan 06 (make every Christmas card) blown out of the water - and I have yet to make one batch of my dad's famous sugar cookie recipe.

Resolution #1 for 2007: There will be no more resolutions. When I feel like I'm going to tip the scale to the negativity side, I'll take my own advice and write down every blessing I've been given.

I think I like that.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Almost Here

Christmas is just around the corner - and I'm still running behind.

I managed to pick up some sort of bug which started just this past Monday evening. I hosted a small office party on Tuesday - got through that, and yesterday morning woke up to some very unpleasant stomach virus symptoms. I took off yesterday from work - and slept most of the day.

Today I feel human - and almost have that Christmas spirit, late as it is. Yes, still running behind but at least I feel like catching up with it.

Monday I had played Mrs Claus for a special needs class in an elementary school. I'll have to do a post on that later. If you're ever feeling really down - visit a special needs class. It will either do one of two things - shake you up enough so that you'll never want to visit again or you'll count your blessings feverently and want to do something. I don't think anyone can just walk away without feeling something.

I'm back to counting my blessings.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Moving In

Yesterday, sis & I drove to daughter's and son-in-law's (aka THE KIDS) new home and helped unpack a few boxes. The result: almost useable kitchen, clothes hung up granddaughter's walk in closet (she's a year old and has a walk-in closet. I foresee trouble here....), helped with a few loads of laundry and learned something very valuable.

When one wants to feel needed, just ask them for help. I don't believe there is a better feeling in the world than knowing you're needed.

The kids' home is beautifully located in a safe neighborhood. Lots of space and already I saw touches that say "this is our home". It was a joy being part of the 'moving in' process. Dear husband hasn't seen the home yet. I'm hoping we can drive up on Christmas Eve if the weather holds.

Now both our children own homes - and what a nice feeling that is. While we enjoy apartment living now, we raised both of them in a lovely 4 bedroom home with a nice large back & side yard. Having one's own home provides the feeling of 'this is mine' and establishing roots - even if it's for a couple of years before moving on.

Looking back, I know there's been a change in how I view what I call "home". While we were raising our two children, we owned our home and while it was nicely furnished, I don't recall the excitement of finding a piece of furniture or hanging up a picture on the wall that would add that personal touch. Yes, there were pictures on the wall - even a 'family wall' that I enjoyed looking at - and humorous stories of buying furniture (dear husband leans towards early victorian while I head straight to the modern - it took months to buy a new sofa), there wasn't that feeling of giving that personal touch to the home. Perhaps it was working full time - going to school in the evenings - getting the kids to soccer, basketball or dance.... Perhaps my memory is faulty and I did have that personal touch and it was there without my awareness.

At any rate, yesterday was a revelation. Seeing the nice touches son #2 was adding to his home brought a realization that even living in an apartment one can be pleased with creating those personal touches that make it a home.

As I write, I've been watching the sun rise. What a glorious way to reflect, watch this part of the city slowly come into the light - and being able to thank God for His blessings. We are truly blessed.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Family Blessings

Today I get to spend time with our daughter & granddaughter. Recently, daughter & son-in-law bought a home - their first. We weren't able to help with the actual move from leased townhouse to house so today sis & I will drive the 90 minutes or so and help organize the new home.

Sunday I'll meet son at a local YMCA - he'll play basketball (church league) and I'll watch grandson. Mom is working - so I get the honor of entertaining the "little man", as dubbed by son.

Family blessings, you bet. Dear husband will be directing a chess tournament today & tomorrow so the blessings extend solely to me. This bothers me a great deal.

The hardest part of growing your own family is the reality that someday they will grow their family and family events now become their own family events. Getting together for birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas present more and more challenges. In some families, those challenges serve as an excuse and family celebrations no longer occur. It's difficult not to take up the reins & become the overbearing Matriarch. So instead I step back and pray for the best. And I am not comfortable with this. It's in our nature as MOMS to want to FIX things - which is not to say that DADS do not. Dads do want to fix things - but when it's not possible, they face reality & hire a carpenter or plumber and things get fixed. Moms could care less about fixing physical objects - we operate in the emotion mode, pure & simple. Why we women live longer than men is beyond me.

So I have to remember - dear husband & I have each other and that's a forever thing. We raised a beautiful daughter and son who are devoted to their spouse and child. God has blessed us beyond comprehension and I am learning to count that blessing as His major blessing for us.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gentle Reminders If You Listen...

Once again, I got a nudge from the Holy Spirit.

It was just this morning that I wrote about the elusive Christmas blues. While not overwhelming, it stuck there for awhile - despite listing my many blessings.

I left for work this morning and immediately after going out the front lobby (we live in a terrific high rise apartment building - yes, we are proudly 'cave dwellers' as one of my coworkers pointed out), I was hit with tiny ice crystals. Yes, sigh, winter is here. As most cave dwellers do not have the luxury of an attached (or detached) garage, I had this feeling the car would require a light scraping of the ice off the all window surfaces. But not so! The windows, albeit frigid cold, were clear as could be. Terrific! I drive to work, snow flurries everywhere but not a slick spot to be found anywhere. Within an hour of settling down to work, reports of car accidents are coming in by the minute - as many as ten cars involved. Ah - but this is not the gentle reminder of which I titled this post.

About a year ago, I signed up for a wonderful daily email called "Today's Seed". It takes all of two minutes to read and it just sets the tone for the rest of my day. Granted, sometimes it's read and nothing really resonates - but still, it does give me a sense of peace. Today was the day of the gentle nudge - the gentle reminder. The email read as follows:

LORD, in this time of the year when so many people are concerned about so many details, family visits, and holiday preparations, help me shut out the distractions, filter out things that are not really important, and do what is most important of all. I want to listen to You and spend quality time with You. Thank You for Your patience and Your forgiveness for the times I have neglected You because I couldn't manage those details. I want this year to be different. Help me make it so.

Therein was the time spent with God has been constantly cut short, put to the side - and I simply viewed it as the Christmas blues.

God, I got the picture, loud and clear. Thank you, Holy Spirit. It's not about the DAY, it's not about the presents (that was hard to write), it's not about gathering the family together... it's all about the relationship. Without the relationship with God, the world is a little grayer - the discontent takes over - the little annoyances become major problems.

Many times we need those gentle nudges, those gentle reminders to get with the program. Take the time to talk to God - or rant and rave to Him. He's heard it all and still loves us unconditionally. And after talking - listen. You'll hear from Him - it's a guarantee.


Christmas Blues?

It's 4:55am on a Thursday morning. 15 degrees outside - and while the calender hasn't announced winter yet, I know it's out there. Lurking and just waiting to catch you unawares.
Darling husband is away on a business trip to San Diego and has been there since this past Monday. Winter doesn't touch San Diego, much to the delight of San Diego residents.

Christmas is 17 days away. I am most pleased to say that with the exception of a two particular items, I am finished with shopping. Only family reads these posts (and then I wonder if I'm fooling myself), so I won't go any further with Christmas details. However, I did go on the great quest for the TREE yesterday after physical therapy (which was my last session - wrist is doing fine, by the way).

The tree was not to be found. It's a simple quest, really. Four feet high and prelit - and of course, green. I remember a time when one did not have to specify the color of the Christmas tree. I could have just as easily brought home a white one - or a red one - or a blue one. All four feet high and prelit. What I do not understand is why merchants stock white, red and blue Christmas trees when these colors are left standing on valuable floor room space year after year and the green trees are snapped up within days of placing them out for sale. Two minutes after Christmas day, these trees can be bought for pennies on the dollar - and then disappear within a day or so, only to be hauled out next year- or returned to the manufacturer. I seriously doubt they're purchased.

The Christmas blues have hit me for some reason. I've counted my blessings - and they are more than ever before....

Work is going very well
I spend time with my sister who is becoming a friend
I can talk to several coworkers at least on a surface level (!)
I have been steadily working on several quilt projects and enjoying it more and more
We moved from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom apartment (right next door - amazing!) and the difference in space is a huge blessing
I have made a wonderful friend via the internet
Our children are doing very well - our grandchildren are healthy (and they're the most intelligent children on the planet)
My husband loves me more & more every day (what's more - he verbalizes it daily) - and that feeling is returned

Yet - there's something that I can't quite capture that isn't completing the picture.

Perhaps it's the fact that Christmas is around the corner and this will be the second year we won't be having the children and grandchildren with us on that day. Yes, I know it's a day on the calender that says CHRISTMAS (thank God the calender makers haven't replaced it with the word HOLIDAY - but I see it coming) - but still, there's something to be said about having family gathered on that particular day.

So I will need to continue to listing those blessings - and know I'm not only loved by my husband of thirty-five years plus - but by Jesus. That in itself is far beyond what I deserve.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hot Pink Cast....

It's been less than a week since I had a ganglion cyst removed from my left wrist. I had opted for that lovely "twilight" anesthetic and awoke to a huge bandage from wrist to past the elbow. I thought this to be a bit overdone. The surgeon wasn't available to talk after the surgery and I have yet to talk to him. Three days after the surgery, I had the wrappings removed and a real cast was applied. The surgeon's assistant explained that the surgery was a little bit more intensive than anticipated and the cast was to prevent wrist movement.

This has taught me a few things we so often take for granted....

1. Typing is to be considered a slow art when one is wearing a cast - especially when typing within a format that doesn't have an "undo" feature.

2. Resting is restorative - even if it means suffering through half a day at work and slinking out for the remainder of the day.

3. Peeling hard boiled eggs with one hand is not possible. Therefore, volunteering to make a couple dozen deviled eggs for the office birthday party is not a good idea.

4. As a quilter, it is not possible to look at quilting magazines in a leisurely manner. The impulse to jump up and just put together one quilt block is overwhelming.

5. Always choose an eye catching color when selecting a fiberglass cast.

And now I am going to exercise number 2 - and the quilting magazines are safely put away.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day before Surgery

Tomorrow I'll finally have the ganglion cyst removed from my left wrist. This has been bothering me for more months than I care to think about. Life threatening - no. Cumbersome - yes. Terrified about tomorrow - no. Mildly scared about tomorrow - oh yes.

I've had several surgeries in my life - most of which were considered "major". Not to go down a road of tangents - but who determines what's major and what's minor? If it's a removal of an ingrown toenail, it's major.

I've been reminded of these surgeries when the question came up several times in the past two weeks. Dates of previous surgeries? Who remember dates? You want details - I can give you details.

Eating at White Castle the day prior to the first surgery - and which time the diagnosis was 'unknown mass, possibly cancer'. Okay - so I loved White Castle then. I've since moved up to Wympee's, a real down-home 40 year old plus diner not too far from where we live - which has sadly transitioned to the addition of Mexican cruisine. By the way - it wasn't cancer, praise God.

Second surgery - much less cause for a trip to White Castle. That was the hysterectomy. That was when we bought two Australian Shepard puppies. Word to the wise - puppies bought in the winter are not a good idea. Especially when the winter involves snow, ice and lots of cold and going outdoors.

Third surgery - suspected hernia, emergency room, phone call to husband to come home from his trip to Georgia. Pain pills afterwards got rid of the pain - but also robbed one of sleep. Doc's solution - prescription for sleeping pills. Wasn't a hernia - but a regrowth of what the first surgery was supposed to have taken care of.

There has been a fourth surgery since then ... and nothing monumental comes to mind except a plea to the doctor that when I wake up from it, please do not subject me to the indignity of a catherater. He didn't, I was pleased.

Dates? I suspect that I will never remember dates for events so mundane as surgeries. I have to refer to my date book for birthdays - except for two of them. Husband's birthday is one that I won't have to find the date book - and granddaughter Rheya's birthday as I was there at her birth and will cherish that memory for the rest of my life. And oh yes, wedding anniversary. Memory of eloping and our 25th anniversary when we renewed our vows in church - having dad walk me down the aisle and seeing my dear husband as if for the first time.

Dates are reserved for momentous occasions...and wonderful, funny memories. Thank God I can still remember the good ones.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Not Just Another Day....

Today my sister Carol has surgery. While it's not major surgery, it's surgery just the same.

We "listened" to the procedure via computer over a week ago. Computer information has now replaced the doctor's explanations and support. Sad. Technology has its place - but this goes beyond the pale. Nice thing about providing comments afterwards - you can.

So today is the day for her - and I'm so grateful to have a job that allows the ability to take off the day to be with her.

I haven't been there for my sister in a long, long time. She is now legally separated from her husband of 15 years. This wasn't a decision she took to lightly...and my prayer is that he'll wake up some day, realize he needs help and will seek God for wisdom and strength.

Today isn't just about the's about learning to give. Carol has said more than once: "I like to help people". It's just not that she likes it - she loves it. God gave her such a gift for helping people. It doesn't matter if it is just listening, pushing a broom or cleaning a bathroom - she's 100% helping.

So today, I'm trying to follow the example she set. The day I can say "I like to help people" and mean it deep inside is the day that God will smile and say 'you got it'.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yearly pilgrimage

12 October 2006

I am home after being away for a couple of days - and it feels good to be here.

Both my sister & I are over 50 now. The fact we have parents in good health is a blessing - not to mention, amazing. Every year we visit them, either by driving or by flying. This time, we drove. Actually, I do the driving - as sis does not drive. We left later than usual. My grandson is now 2 years old and we couldn't miss his birthday party (which will be another post). Sis & I left around 5:30pm on Saturday & arrived around 10:30pm at what we call our "half way" point. 10:30pm in Merrillville, Indiana is not exciting. Finding the hotel after 20 minutes of cruising the streets wasn't either.

After we located the hotel, we unloaded a few pieces of luggage and then we located a Dennys and a very friendly waitress (even if she couldn't rustle up a bowl of soup for sis). A word for the wise. Late night traveling does not lend itself well to anything that contains BBQ sauce.

The next morning - beautiful but cold traveling weather. What should have been another four hours of traveling turned into a little under five hours. Another traveling tip ... try to stick to Yahoo map directions as much as possible, no matter how tempting that 'short cut' looks (it probably isn't a short cut anyway - and no doubt it will go through many towns and slow speed limits).

Finally, we arrived in Oshkosh where our folks retired many years ago. Dad is retired Air Force - and they both grew up in Oshkosh. They have a history that we get glimpses of every year. It was only in the last decade or so that I learned that my father grew up living with relatives & orphanages. His large family (12 or 13) was split up - not uncommon during the depression era - and dad never really knew his siblings. This trip we learned that mom and several of her siblings also lived with relatives and in orphanages. She also came from a large family. I am still trying to take that piece of information in.

This year's visit was a little different. My husband flew in on Monday to join us - which was a most interesting tale in itself. Dad learned that the airline definition of "on time" is quite different than the world's definition of "on time". I learned that it's possible to have a decent cappuccino without a Starbucks price and that cappuccinos taste pretty darn good in an airport.

On Tuesday, the four of us went to Oneida for an hour with the slots - again a yearly tradition. Hubby stayed behind for a teleconference. Just as well. I would have hated his witnessing his wife of 35 years totally out of control after winning 35 nickels. Yes, Virginia - there are still nickel slots out there. Sis lost her $2.00, dad won over $55, and I came away with $5.55 more than what I started off with. Dear hubby lost a little under half of what I threw in the slots for him (and yes, I solemnly swear the money he gave me was totally separate from the money I threw in the slots). Mom is still not talking. You can bet that it wasn't more than $3.00. A trip to Michiels restaurant afterwards - where they have the world's best small salad bar and a hot bacon dressing to die for. You bet - another tradition is to stop there for lunch. Oh yes - my first taste of Cream of Cabbage of soup. I have got to get that recipe. Chunks of sausage, cheesy creamy base, potatoes...and of course tender cabbage. Mom & I both took back pieces of broasted chicken for later.

Somewhere along those couple of days, I helped dad pick apples in their backyard. Dad grew a Cortland apple tree from a seed some twelve years ago - and the crop this year was amazing. Standing on a ladder with an 'apple picker' was so much fun. I hope that the inventor made a billion bucks on this invention. Picking apples made me seriously think about our apartment living...for about twenty seconds. Picking apples = upside of having a home. Shoveling snow & raking leaves = downside of having a home.

While there, I laid out squares of flannel for one of my next quilting projects (which my wonderful husband participated in), cut out several blocks, bought a nice portable plastic quilting 'frame' for my current project and bought 1 1/2 yards of cute Christmas print flannel - which I realize now is totally unsuitable for the squares of flannel we laid out earlier. And best of all - went out for a birthday dinner for dad with the added bonus of my niece and her husband joining us. My brother and his wife live in Oshkosh also - and of course they were at the dinner. Some day I will write about my brother - who is quite a guy. His wife is a wonderful woman I'd like to get to know better someday.

Before we departed Oshkosh, dear husband promised aunt Joyce a visit in July for the family reunion - and his traveling home with sis & I made the trip much more enjoyable. Nice to have a chauffeur for most of the trip!

What makes each of us so special is where we came from - and for now, knowing we can go home for awhile makes life that much better & more precious.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thoughts of Christmas

Every year, my sister & I undertake the yearly trip to visit our parents five hundred miles away. Most times we drive (actually, I drive as my sister does not). The first half of the trip ends in spending the night in a motel - and then I drive us the rest of the way in the morning. This trip usually takes place in October, mainly to take advantage of decent weather (they live in Oshkosh, WI - have you EVER experienced their winters...!?!?!?!???) and to get a "freebie" federal holiday. Working for the federal government, I try to take advantage of those holidays and work time off around at least two of them a year. To save a little on postage, we take our Christmas gifts with us - and leave them with the folks to distribute to each other and to our brother & his wife on Christmas morning.

So, this afternoon I spent three hours shopping with my sister in preparation for our October trip.

Christmas shopping is a very serious endeavor. One either finds THE perfect gift - or settles for something else - or as the patience wears thin - settles for anything. Where do these people come from that boast of loving to shop?? I have serious doubts about their sincerity. After thirty minutes of cruising the aisles, my feet begin to ache, my head hurts and everything on the shelf starts to look alike. After thirty-two minutes, I convince myself that anything put in the basket is THE perfect gift. After thirty-five minutes, I look for the shortest line and figure that a gift certificate added to the things in the cart will be just fine. Our parents have everything they could possibly desire ... how could we possibly get them anything they already don't have - or could get for themselves?

In retrospect, I think of how I start each new year with the same promise ... every Christmas present will be handmade - right down to the card & wrapping paper. By March, I start planning. By June, I buy just the right supplies for the project. August, I start the grand search of where I stashed those supplies. October, I finally find the supplies. By November, I've got a start on one project. December, I admit defeat and start attacking the stores. This is probably THE main reason why I came up with the idea in our family to exchange names among the adults for Christmas.

I think this year will be different. Every Christmas present in 2007 will be bought by Easter. I think I can handle that one. I'm sure if I'm careful enough, the gift I buy around Easter time will be just fine for the name I get in the name exchange sometime in October or November.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Being Grandma....

Today I'm spending the evening with our grandson. He's almost 2 years old - and one of the smartest young men I've ever met. What a joy it is to watch him examine everything! Now I wonder - did I appreciate the moments when our children were small? I hope so - and I hope they remember good times.

The relationship between grandchildren and grandparents is extraordinary. As a grandparent, you have all the flexibility in the world. You can choose to be wonderfully foolish. You now have the time to cuddle, get on the floor and play with legos, and listen with 100% attention to every word spoken by the grandchild. Simply - I love it.

The closer I get to retirement, the more I will love having that extra time. And I pray that I have the chance to spend a lot of it with our grandson or granddaughter. I hope they look back and remember the grand times they had with their grandma and grandpa.

Thanks God for proving two wonderful children - two wonderful soul mates for the both of them - and creating these two miraculous grandchildren. Once again, You have blessed us beyond all our expectations.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

10 September 2006

Tomorrow marks five years. There will never be a time that the world does not picture destruction, chaos and anger when "nine-one-one" is spoken. I was on my way to the Dayton International Airport with our son. He had joined the Air Force Reserves and that day was his departure to San Antonio, home of the famed "Basic Training". His dad was going to join us at the airport to see him off.
We were about halfway there when the phone rang. Our daughter had been watching the news - and the rest is history. Our son's departure was delayed - and the world became so very different. And still today I hear we shouldn't be over there. I just don't get it. What is it that it not understood? The land we claim to love was attacked - thousands of Americans died just by going to work and doing their job - and we shouldn't be over there?

I woke up with these thoughts this morning - on a Sunday morning, barely 6:30am. I would much prefer to wake up with more pleasant thoughts - such as, hmmm - Sunday, what things can I do after Sunday and my famed Sunday nap...

From my desk, I can watch the sunrise out of our 6th story window. We live in a high rise apartment - a first for husband & I. By some miracle, we managed to snag a 6th floor one bedroom apartment, all of 830+ square feet of it. Small? Yes, if I think of the 4 bedroom home we had for 26+ years we sold about 2+ years ago. Cozy here? You bet. It makes one very creative with the space provided. I would very much like to move to a 2-bedroom someday. But for now - this is home and every day when I leave & come back, it welcomes me warmly.

I've been reading our son's blog since day one - and I am amazed. He and his wife bought their first home - a condo. It needs some work (flooring and painting) and he's been writing of their progress. There's such insight this young man has. A husband, a father, a provider - and he's still our son.

I never really gave much thought to how dear husband & I should be raising both our children other than to always make sure we had time for them. Husband traveled a lot with his job (and still does) so that particular area fell to me most times. But even with all husband's traveling, we always managed to go together for most of the basketball games, the soccer games, Little League games, dance performances... My husband has a little saying written on a small piece of paper that's posted to his desk..... Time cannot be replaced. Now when I read our son's blogs, I have little to worry. While we may have made some mistakes raising our children (who hasn't?), the proof is in the adult. We did a fine job with raising both our children. They have turned out to be caring adults - and they're doing a beautiful job raising their children.

This must be the payoff every father and mother dreams about. Until the children are grown, your efforts as a parent aren't evident. And our payoff are the two beautiful grandchildren they thoughtfully have provided!

And now the sun is slowly coming up on this beautiful Sunday. Indeed - this is the day the Lord has made - let us be glad and rejoice in it!


Thursday, August 10, 2006


10 August 2006

For a couple of months, I've been experiencing what most of us have gone through - whether we admit it or not - a really down & out feeling that's been tagged by the pharmasuetical companies as depression. Rather than latch on to that tag (which would probably result in screaming down the streets in search of the latest antidepressent), I would much prefer to think of it as a semi-pause in the process of living.

Everything in life has an opposite - there's life and there's death - no, come to think of it, as a Christian - there isn't death other than death of the life we now know - but then I digress.
Okay - another tact. There's good and there's bad...well, I think you get the idea. Going down road (which I admit, sometimes it's a really rough ride), you can either choose to live - or choose that semi-pause. And I chose to dwell for too long in the semi-pause.

Everything - and I mean everything - was subject to a short fuse and a really bad reception. I don't think I need to state the obvious - it was wearing thin.

Now I am a big believer in there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence. You can call it whatever you like - but I call these revelations a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Christian or not, we all have our failings - and I was experiencing lows like I never have had before. Okay - so maybe that last statement is slightly exaggerated.

Okay - back to the nudge. While feeling particularly low - and to be precise, it was just at the beginning of this week - I felt the nudge. Blessings. Blessings. Blessings.

That word was coming out of somewhere - and then I proceeded to argue. Ever seen someone argue with what appears to be themself? Quite amusing, I'm sure. Blessings? You have got to be kidding. I have just received yet ANOTHER tasking at work...I've developed occular migraines...I have a ganglion cyst next to my wrist bone that hurts like heck...and the list grew and grew and grew. Let me give you all a simple piece of advice: Do not waste your breath arguing with the Holy Spirit. It's one big waste of time. You can't win - you can't even call it a draw. For every argument I presented, it went from Blessings to finally - What About Those Blessings.

Next thing I knew, out came the pen and paper and the blessings flew out left and right. Rather simplistic, I know. Finally, the list was complete - at least for that particular moment in time - and after reading the list, I felt better. No - not just better - but alive and the semi-pause was gone. Such a simple list!

I have a husband who pats my knee and says "I love you" - even when I'm at my worst
We have a daughter and son who each found their soul mate, married and gave us the biggest gift ever: grandchildren!
Both my husband & I bought bicycles and when we go out for a ride, I feel like I'm a teenager again
I live in a one bedroom apartment with my beloved and from the living room, we have a spectacular view of the sun rising view of the sun rising
I have a family that will always be there for me
I have a job that allows me to take off even if it's spur of the moment (okay, so maybe not if there's this huge suspense looming and I need to get it taken care of...)
I have produced a document or two that others use as a benchmark
I can afford to eat out periodically (as my weight can testify...)
I work with people who admit I'm not bad to have around (especially when I take a detour to the donut shop on the way in to work)

And there were a few other items on the list, but in the interest of preserving what dignity I have left, I think I will skip sharing those....

So when you allow life to present you with a semi-pause and you find yourself thinking gray skies when it's absolutely beautiful outside - BLESSINGS. Count them every day if you have to.

Maybe you'll only do it once - but maybe it'll be enough. Just frame those words, okay?


Monday, August 07, 2006

Quilts and Grandchildren

7 August 2006

On our way to spend Saturday evening with husband's parents, we stopped by for a short visit with our daughter, son-in-law & baby granddaughter. By a short visit, that means anything less than 8 hours. Rheya is growing so quickly and it's a joy to see her when we can (which is not enough). We have a wonderful family - and to be able to be part of that family is more than joy itself.

My son-in-law calls me "mom #2". You cannot imagine the thrill I feel each time I hear it. He probably is unaware of just how much those three words mean to me. I can see that he makes our daughter happy and that he's a good dad, a good provider ... and that's all I need to know.

And our daughter - she's a stay-at-home Mom and loves it. I would have never guessed how fulfilled that makes her...and you can tell just from the way she talks. When I observe her with Rheya, I see all that is good in the world.

And Rheya ... she is a gem. She has this way of studying things very closely and I am absolutely sure that she looks into your soul when she looks at you. And when she smiles - I'm a goner then.

On the flip side, we also have a son, daughter-in-law and not-such-a-baby grandson. Our daughter-in-law is wonderful; she's smart, she's beautiful and she's a terrific mom. As our son would say often when he was five or six - I just know those things.

Our son has a lot going for him - kind, compassionate, loves his family - and has all the makings of an entrepreneur. I do know this - he writes beautifully and from the soul, is very good at what he does (manages an office in the local area) and doesn't settle for a sit-back-and-watch life.

And then there's Ethan. Ah Ethan. Enough energy in this almost-two-year-old to light up all of California and then some. He sees the possibilities of a simple large plastic bowl; in all of thirty seconds, it's a boat, a hat, a drum and a stool.

I have recently taken up quilting after many years. Why I left it, I will never know. The cutting, the sewing, the planning (no, that's not out of order...I just think differently than most people!) - it's all part of one big beautiful picture. I piece together one twelve-inch block and look at it and just marvel that I created this.

And now I think - how can I capture the love, the warmth, the strong feelings I have for my family - our daughter, son, their spouses and their beautiful children, into a quilt?

I believe I have found the answer - a quilt for each. These may take a long time - but that's okay. There was a time when I didn't think we would be this blessed to have such a wonderful family. God is more than good - He is awesome!

I saw a bumper sticker the other day (what else CAN you do other than read bumper stickers while you're waiting for that light to change!?!?!?) and it had quite an impact on me...

If you think it's great here - wait until you see what God has in store for you.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just Another Day

1 August 2006

Yesterday morning I discovered an "extra" wrist bone. How long it's been there, I have no idea. After feeling numbness and tingly fingers, it was decided a visit to the doctor's office might be in order. The diagnosis: 'ganglion cyst'. In the scheme of things, it's a small problem - but bothersome. I have learned the following:

1. Rest means rest. That doesn't mean a couple miles of bicycle riding that evening.
2. Anti inflammatory pills are a wonder of nature - they work
3. Borrowing a pain pill from hubby's stock isn't necessarily a bad thing
4. Taking a day off from work to rest should mean just that - rest

So on that note, since typing doesn't fall in the category of resting - I will close for today.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

2 July 2006

Today was good. We spent a good portion of the day with our son, his wife and our grandson. God gave such a gift to parents when He made it possible for them to become grandparents.

We get so busy when raising our children. We focus on work, paying the bills, rushing from soccer practice to basketball games to swim meets - and the next thing you know, the kids are grown and they leave home. Both of our children found their soul mate (mothers just know those things) and then blessed us with grandchildren. And this is where God's magnificant plan comes into being.

When we become grandparents, God gives us time to slow down and enjoy. I've been given this precious time to pick a flower and hand it to my grandson - and watch him slowly pull the petals off the flower and afterwards holds it out to his mommy as if it were still whole. And then moments later, when he has the now bedraggled flower back in his hand, smiles when I said it was okay to let it go and it falls to the sidewalk. Even a simple stroll to a local festival becomes an adventure when you get to see life through the eyes of an almost-two year old.

I am surely blessed. I thank God for His gift of grandchildren. But most of all, I praise Him for providing me a husband for 35 years now who manages to find good in an tempered wife who falls short of the mark every so often.