Monday, October 28, 2013

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A puffy little fur-ball came into my life back in 2004.  He was a new Lhasa Apso puppy and his name was, quite fittingly, Max.  He was my grandpuppy before my grandsons came along and I used to do daily care for him as well while my son and daughter-in-law worked.  I house-broke him, walked him, and loved him with everything in me.  He had the biggest heart of any dog I've ever known, and his instinctive empathy was amazing.  When I was quite ill at one point, he used to jump up on the bed and stretch out his body alongside mine, giving me warmth and comfort.  He was so happy-go-lucky, something that served him well once the grandboys came along.  His one downfall was he never did learn to obey the word "Come!"  If he accidentally slipped out of the door, he was gone! But he always managed to find his way back.

This past week Max began showing signs he wasn't feeling well, around Wednesday.  He wouldn't eat or drink, he had no energy.  He lost his luster and his shine and his eyes became dull.  My son was out of town for a week's vacation with Dear Hubby so getting Max to the vet and trying to get him some help fell on my daughter-in-law and me.  By Friday he was very ill.  She took him in earlier in the day, then I took him back Friday evening so they could give him an IV to try to sustain him until the next morning when the Veterinary Hospital opened.  By Saturday morning, he was in pretty desperate shape.  We took him in, and to make a very sad story short, we had to have him put down.  He was barely hanging on to life when he arrived at the hospital.

So...Maxie will never be slipping out of the door again and frisking off into the distance.  He'll never come and sit beside me early in the morning on the days I take care of my grandsons, laying his head on my lap while we wait for the boys to awaken.  He doesn't need to worry about obeying the word "Come!" anymore.  I'm sure in his little corner of doggy heaven he's free to run and enjoy himself as much as he wants to.  I'm sure he's there to give some little angel boy or girl all the love he bestowed on us here on earth.  And I'm sure, on the day each of us gets to heaven, he'll be there waiting at the gate to welcome us home.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. ~ Henry David Thoreau

I look at this photograph I took of a sunrise on Lake Superior last October and it reflects what solitude is like to me...peaceful...serene.  Nothing on the horizon but the sun coming up over the lip of the lake.  I remember that morning.  It was cold and the trees were ablaze with color around me.  A bit of a breeze barely rippled the water.  Dear Hubby was somewhere around me but at this particular moment I was gazing out and feeling how away-from-it-all we were, on this bit of empty lake shore without another soul around.  The Upper Peninsula is still a place where the hurrying and scurrying of city life is as foreign to it as sunshine and 80 degrees in the middle of January.  It's non-existent.  When you stand on the lake shore at sunrise you can't help but be still and contemplate God's beautiful creation.  I was awestruck.  The entire trip I was awestruck.  Every corner we turned, every path we trod, we'd go from one stunning view to another.  There was no end to it, and when you'd think you couldn't possibly see anything more beautiful...something more beautiful would appear.  Dear Hubby had been ill and hospitalized for a few days before we left to go on this trip and even tho our kids voiced their reservations about us traveling 450 miles away to the furthest point before turning south and heading home, we felt we had to take this trip.  Even tho he denies it, we think a lot of his health issues were stress-related and that trip ended up being the best medicine in the world for him, getting away from the cell phone, texts, noise, traffic...whatever.  He needed peace and what he found in the Upper Peninsula was an abundance of it.  The first nite we stayed in a little burg called Paradise.  And that was just what it was, in an old resort-style motel on the shores of Lake Superior.  When the sun went down it was dark. And it was silent.  And we slept like the dead.

I happen to love solitude.  In this life that I have here in Michigan, I spend a lot of time alone.  I interact with neighbors and carry on conversations with people I meet by chance during the day when I'm out and about but for the most part I'm alone from the time Dear Hubby leaves for work early in the morning until he comes home towards late afternoon.  I don't know why people are afraid of being alone.  Do they think of  'aloneness' as loneliness?  I am never lonely, never homesick.  I enjoy my own company and have always found crowds hard to take.  It's like being on sensory overload when I'm in a big group of people.  I come away mentally exhausted and I need time alone to refresh myself and gather my wits about me again.  I think those who don't know me too well but are "Friends" on Facebook probably think I'm very social because I post a lot and I have a lot to say there.  But I'm not. That's the "surface" me, the one I let the world see in face-to-face encounters.  But the real me...no sir.  That part of me isn't revealed to much of anyone, not really.  That part is for me alone. Sometimes I almost feel like I live a double life.  But both parts are real.  The one who can carry on a conversation with anyone can shine forth when need be.  But I am much more comfortable with the one who can sit in the quiet  and watch the birds at the feeder, the wind in the huge maples across the street.  The one who likes to be alone and is never lonely.

I think we Americans in our rush-rush-always-have-to-be-connected society have lost the ability of knowing how to be alone, of knowing how nourishing that time is to our souls and our emotional and mental well-being. Why does every minute, every hour, of not only our lives but our children's lives have to be scheduled and structured and planned and organized?  Don't any of us remember what it was like to be carefree children with nothing but hours ahead of us on a summer day to just...be?  To play or not to play?  To lie in the grass and gaze at the clouds and just empty our minds and dream?  To ride a bike down a country road with the wind in our hair and no destination in mind?  I find a lot of freedom in solitude.  It's a great place to daydream. It's a place we all ought to visit on a regular basis.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing, Ever a child can do! ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I love this photo and that's the only reason why I'm posting it.  Just because I love it.  It doesn't tie in to anything I'm going to write about.  At least, I don't think so. Not so far.  I hardly ever have anything in mind when I sit down here at the keyboard.  I just start writing.  But this photo deals with friendship and friendship isn't on my mind.  So there you go.

You know, it's shocking to me how hard it is to get back into the groove of writing on a daily...well, almost!...basis again.  I've gotten a little rusty and it's kind of like working a cranky old hinge that doesn't want to bend.  I think my brain cells have atrophied in the past year or so.  But I began writing a novel about a year ago and started on a roll with it, writing 22,000 words.  Then I was needed to take care of my grandsons and I put the book on the back burner while I was busy with that.  It simmered in the back of my mind for a while but I'm afraid the flame fizzled out.  Pfffffttttt!  Just like that.  So one of the reasons I'm determined to come here again is to stretch out those reluctant cells and get my mind-juices flowing again.  I'm hoping it will be like riding a bike...once you learn, even if you don't ride one for years, you hop back on board and away you go.

This past week my son and his wife took our grandsons to a state park to camp for the weekend.  State parks here, at least some of them, have all kinds of events and nature lectures thru the year, things that are educational but also fun.  That particular weekend was their annual Halloween celebration. We spent almost all day Saturday with them and had a wonderful time.  I took the boys on the hayride and on the way back to the campsite we stopped at a little play ground that no one was using.   The boys got on the swings and I pushed them for a while.  When they got off and ran over to the slide I decided to sit down and swing myself!  The boys thought that was hysterical but I told them there are some things in life you never grow too old to do, and one of them in my book is swinging!  Oh, it felt so good!  I think the last time I'd swung was when my kids were little and we were at Westmoreland Park in Portland.  A long time ago.

Dear Hubby took our oldest grandson out squirrel hunting for the first time on Saturday so he and his younger brother spent Friday nite with us.  After he and Pa had taken off the next morning, Cooper and I were sitting on the couch watching cartoons.  He absently reached up and started twining his fingers thru my hair, something he used to do all the time as a baby while he drank his bottle.  I brought it to his attention and told him I bet he couldn't remember ever doing that...which, of course, he couldn't.  But as he sifted his fingers thru my hair he said, "Gram, I don't see hardly anyone with white hair."  I told him no, most people color their hair when they start getting older...they don't like it when grey and white hairs start showing up because they're afraid of growing older.  I told him I'd decided to let mine go natural, that getting old holds no fear for me.  I don't know what went thru his mind as I said that, but he leaned over close into my side and hugged my arm and said, "I love you with all my heart, Grams." Life just doesn't get any better than that.

Our house was in very nice condition when we moved into it but it had been owned by the same family for over 50 years and outside of a kitchen remodel probably in the late 70s or early 80s, not much has been modernized.  Elmer and Janie were the parents' names.  He was a "Ford man", working in the car industry all his adult life.  Janie was a homemaker and they raised three sons in this house.  Sometimes as I go about doing my housework, Janie comes to mind.   I think of her as I'm standing at the sink doing dishes, wondering what she thought about as she stood there and watched the seasons pass outside the window as I do. Did she watch her boys toss around a football in the back yard?  Did she spot cardinals in the maple tree?  How crowded the table must have been at nite when everyone sat down to dinner, those big boisterous teenage boys with hearty appetites!  Obviously she and Elmer loved this house because they both lived here until the boys were all grown and gone, until they both died.  Dear Hubby and I love it just as much, I'm sure, tho our tenancy here will be of much shorter duration, considering he's 60 and I'm creeping up to the same age very fast.  As we signed the papers on the day we closed, one of the sons who has become a famous record producer in Hollywood circles told us, "That house is filled with a lot of happy memories for me.  I hope it's filled with them for you, too."  Wasn't that just the nicest thing to say?  I know the moment I walked in here for the first time I felt like I'd come "home".  There was such a peaceful, serene, happy vibe to it.  And when Dear Hubby and I go some place, whether we're only gone for the day or for a week or so, when we think of home, this is it.  This is where he hangs his hats.  This is where I've made my nest.  Home....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Dear Hubby meeting his New Best Friend
 
Dear Hubby and I took a vacation in early August to southern Missouri to attend a church camp of our faith for 5 days.  This is an annual Camp Meeting that is held every year for those who live in the Midwest and East.  People came from as far away as Portland, too, which is where our faith's headquarters are and where Dear Hubby and I attended church for 35 years.  Portland has an international Camp Meeting at the end of June that lasts for two weeks and people from all over the world attend that one.  In all the years we'd lived in Portland we had never been able to afford or take the time to make the trip to southern Missouri so this was our first time ever and it was a wonderful experience.

But...before we headed down to the Ozarks and the church camp we took a little side trip to a tiny town about halfway between St. Louis and Jefferson City.  It's the town my husband's father lived in before their family moved to Portland in the early 1940s, where he and his siblings spent a good portion of their childhood.  It is a town that's been devastated by the economy and also a major flood of the Missouri River in the 1990s that destroyed many homes and businesses.  As Dear Hubby and I drove in on the main highway thru town we didn't know what to expect but we surely didn't expect to find a literal ghost town.  About the only businesses we saw that were open were a little convenience store/gas station and a mechanic's garage.  We drove around and were so disappointed to begin with, there were so few signs of life.  Coming to this little town was a dream come true for Dear Hubby, who'd always wished he could visit someday...and it looked like it was going to be a bust.  That is, until we turned a corner and approached a church.  There was an elderly lady sweeping the sidewalk there and I said to Dear Hubby, "Why don't you stop and ask her if she might have known your family?  She looks about the right age."  So Dear Hubby pulled up next to the curb and called out to her.  He got out of the car and as he walked towards her he asked her how long she'd lived in the town.  "Why, I've lived here all my life!" she told him.  "Well, then...I'm wondering if maybe you might have known my Dad's family," he said.  She asked what the family name was and when he told her she exclaimed, "You mean Norma and Ray and Russell?  Well, yes, I knew them!  Norma was my sister's best friend.  We used to all go to school and play together!"  Oh my word!  This was over 70 years ago!  To make a long story short, she and Dear Hubby were new best friends from that moment onward.  When he told her how thrilled he was to meet her, she told him, "Why, this is such a thrill for me, too!  I get to share all these memories of my childhood and have such a nice visit!  I never dreamed when I got up this morning that this would happen to me today!"  She took us on a tour of the town and showed him the house his dad had lived in as a boy.  We went to the old school up on School Hill, to the Pavilion and Park along the Missouri River where they played and went to dances.  She remembered everything and at 85 her mind was as sharp as a tack.  She invited us into her home and we had a lovely visit there.  By the time we left we felt like we'd known one another forever.  We couldn't thank her enough for her kindness and hospitality.  She told us with a twinkle in her eye as she walked us out to our car when we were leaving, "Why, I wish I'd known you were coming!  I would've baked you a cake!"  I don't know who had a better time, her or Dear Hubby.  It was a very emotional trip for him and it was such a privilege to be a part of his special day, to see how much it meant to him and touched his heart.  His grandparents have been gone a long time and his dad, his aunts, his uncles, are all gone now, too, the last of them passing on just a short time before we moved to Michigan.  His New Best Friend brought the past alive to him in a way he'd never dreamed possible.  I knew his dad and aunts and uncles and it brought them all to life again for me, too.  I could just picture them walking the country road to school...swimming in the old water hole...playing in the grassy yard around the old school on the hill.  A person hearing this story could say, "What a nice coincidence!"  I say, what an incredibly sweet gift from the good Lord.  Before we'd gone to the little town, we'd stopped in another one, a kind of touristy-trap place a few miles up the highway.  We talked about taking a walk and stopping in some of the antique shops but I had this urge to move on so we hopped in the car and drove on to the little town.  If we'd stopped and browsed, we most likely would've missed our opportunity to meet our new friend...she was just finishing up with her sweeping and was getting ready to go home when we pulled up next to her.  We could have turned the corner by the church 5 minutes, half an hour later, and missed her completely.  It was just meant to be.  In my heart there ain't no doubt about it.



Monday, October 14, 2013

I go to the beat of my own drummer and I make no excuses. ~ Miss Kris



Our youth-obsessed world seems to be terrified of growing older, doesn't it?  A few weeks ago Cher was on David Letterman, I believe it was.  I watch very little television, but when I saw a preview of the show with her on it I decided to tape it on the DVR so I could get a look at her.  I haven't paid much attention to her in years, but I've heard how she obsessively tries to keep age away by nipping and tucking, and blowing some body parts up and chiseling other parts down.  So as I fast-forwarded to her guest spot, I had no idea what to expect.  Of course, with her being a legendary diva they couldn't have her just walk out onto the stage...they brought her down from the catwalks above, sitting on a swing.  I must say, overall she still looks like the mummified version of herself that's been walking around for years but I didn't get a chance to see the backs of her hands...they're always a good indicator of age.  And she had no turkey-neck at all...that truly impressed me because so many other Hollywood ladies have been tightened up to the point of ripping if they smile, but still have all the wrinkles and prominent neck-chords down below chin-level. They try to camouflage it by having their hair cut and brushed strategically to try and hide it but we know it's there.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone other than Cher who's been able to have that part of their body "youth-ified".  My goodness...why bother?  Why go to all that expense?  I know, I know...people will say "Mind your own business!" and tell me to go jump in a lake.  But I'm one of those who's decided to age with grace, to let Nature take its natural course.  The lines in my chin area are becoming more and more pronounced, my hair is silvery-white, I have the beginning of faint spots on the backs of my hands, my skin is beginning to lose some of its elasticity.  So what?  I think I'd more afraid of looking like Cher in my late 60s or having a lip-job backfire like it did on Lisa Rinni and Meg Ryan than I am to face the mirror each morning.  I don't want to look spooky to the point of not needing a mask on  Halloween.  I want to look natural and let God's handiwork be my beauty routine.  All natural, no frills.  Just me, the way He intended me to be.  What is so wrong with that?
 

The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I've ever seen that I didn't have to clean. ~ Erma Bombeck

I'm thinking it's about time to clean my house, don't you think?  Ha, not really...this isn't my house, but I did decide to do something wild this morning.  I decided to let my self-cleaning oven clean itself.  We've lived in this house for over 2 1/2 years now and I've cleaned it by hand a few times. I guess I'm old-fashioned at heart...I really don't believe new-fangled gadgets like the self-cleaner gadget will work?  And I don't mind expending some elbow grease?  Yet I took a look in the oven the other day as I pulled a messy casserole out, one where the juices and the cheese kind of overflowed, and I thought, "You know, I really don't feel like scrubbing all that gunk off the bottom of the oven."  So, this morning I read the instructions that are printed on the outside of our built-in oven, flicked the dials, hit the Start button, and left it in technology's hands.  Two hours into it and the house hasn't burned down yet -- I can't believe how hot the oven gets! -- but I'm thinking if I open the door and the inside is pristine maybe I'll become a true believer in technology after all.  It's so nice not to have to breathe in the noxious fumes of Easy-Off!  I think I mentioned before that I also have a dishwasher I never use?  I'm one of those crazy women who actually enjoys washing dishes by hand.  I ran a load of dishes in it when we first moved here just to make sure it works...and it does...but Dear Hubby and I just don't generate all that many dirty dishes.  Since I'd have to rinse them all off first anyway, I have never understood how dishwashers are supposed to be economical or even make the task simpler.  So I happily splash around in the hot bubbly water, watch the seasons change outside my kitchen window, and feel content.  I love feeling content.  I'm lucky to say that most of the time I do.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

The leaves of memory seemed to make a mournful rustling in the dark. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 
Ok.  This is my third attempt at trying to write something here this evening.  I love to write with music playing and on my first attempt I tried my Pandora station of Bluegrass Gospel...mmmm, no.  Then it was Contemporary Christian...that didn't do anything for me either.  So now I've got it on my Piano Instrumentals and I guess I'm like Goldilocks because this music is 'just right'!  Third time seems to be the charm.  Maybe I'll get somewhere now.
 
I have very few photographs of myself when I was a little girl.  We didn't have much money and film was a luxury back in the 1950s.  I have always loved this photo.  I'm sitting on the porch with my brother who is 2 1/2 years older than me and with my paternal grandmother.  My brother and I are bundled up but Grammy is sitting there in one of her old house dresses, short-sleeved, no jacket on.  This was taken in Washington State along the coast and I notice the sun is shining.  I can't tell you what a rarity that is there thru the winter and spring months.  I'm having a hard time gauging when this must have been taken because my grandmother died on Easter Sunday when I was 3.  That was in 1957, and I don't think I look much beyond 2 or 3 here.  My birthday is at the tail end of December, so I'm thinking this must've been just around the time she died. With all that said...I can't remember my grandmother, not consciously.  But see that funny-looking thing I'm clutching in my arms?  It was a cardboard lady.  The back of it, which is pointing out at the camera, is blank, but on the other side, the caricature was of a very refined lady with a striped parasol.  She had on a beautiful dress and high heels.  It sat on top of the dresser in my grandmother's bedroom and I simply loved that cardboard doll.  It was a special privilege for me to be allowed to hold it when I came to visit and it's the first thing I ran to claim whenever I arrived there. 
 
Why would I remember a cardboard doll but not my grandmother?  I can remember the smell of the house she lived in because my grandfather was a heavy smoker and the cigarette smoke was almost overwhelming as you walked in.  I can remember the outside of the house, what her dresser looked like in her bedroom, her old dog Muffet.  But when I try to bring up an image of her, my mind is empty.  What I do have when I think of her is more of an emotional memory.  I can feel a deep sense of love and warmth and comfort.  But try as I might I can't 'see' her.
 
The mind is a strange storehouse.  I can remember things from 55 years ago like it was yesterday, and yet I can't remember where I put my glasses.  I can relate a memory to my oldest brother that's crystal clear in my mind and he'll tell me, "No, it happened this way, not that way!"  My daughter can remember even the most minute detail of her childhood...and my son can't remember anything.  Why does my brain  let me remember riding home in the car, looking over the backseat at my newborn baby brother cradled in my mother's arms, when I was 6...but I can't remember my mother's voice 24 years after she passed away?
 
Time is a funny thing.  I heard it explained in an interesting way today:  We are allowed the time allotted for our lives from the moment we're born to the moment we die.  Our time didn't exist before that, and our time ended then, in the physical sense.  And as to memories...well, we're only still 'alive' when there's still someone left here on Earth to remember us.  Once that last family member or acquaintance we knew passes away themselves...well, we die again right along with them, really.  It kind of gives time a different perspective thought about that way, doesn't it?
 
I don't know about you, but I'm glad there are a lot of things we don't remember.  There have been many things in my life I've striven to forget.  And yet I'm sure there are a lot of things I wish I could remember, like the hugs and voice and smile of my grandmother, the voice of my own mother.  With Grammy,  all that is lost forever but thankfully, with my mom, there are still old VCR tapes I can pull out and play where I can see and hear her again.  With the sound and the image, she comes alive again for those few moments and my memory is refreshed.  Because I'm still here and I remember her, she's still alive for me, even if she is just a memory.
 

 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Isn't this a cool photo?  I took this of Dear Hubby when we were out on a lake not long ago at sunrise.  Fishing is something I've loved to do from the time I was a very little girl.  A lake on the edges of my hometown used to have a fishing derby every year on opening day of trout season, and I loved to go.  Since moving to Michigan we've bought a boat and we've been out several times on this particular lake.  So far we've caught a couple of big mouth bass, a couple of catfish, and about a bazillion blue gill!  It's so peaceful and relaxing.  And yes, I do bait my own hooks!  And I catch and release them, too.  Slimy stuff has never bothered me.  It's the tomboy coming out in me.

Oh my poor little ignored blog.  How many times I've come to it and just sat here staring at the blank 'page'.  I don't know where I lost my groove but I'm determined to find it again.  I think Facebook has been my main distractor but I'm finding I feel like too much of a motor mouth and I'm not fulfilled with putting bits and pieces out there.  I'm finding I miss just rambling on like I used to on here.  This was my first love before I ever even heard of Facebook, and even tho I no longer take care of my little grandboys on a daily basis, I can still chronicle the events in our lives.  It's just...different than it used to be.  And that doesn't mean it's any less.  It's just been another life adjustment, another phase of life to ease in to.

I have to admit that since we've moved to Michigan I'm astounded at how little people from here know about Oregon.  I had another one of those "Where in the world is Oregon?" moments with someone today, a lady I met up with when I was out and about. When I said I was originally from Portland she said, "Oh, I bet you're glad you're here now! It snows a lot more in Portland, doesn't it?" I said, "Well, nooooooooo. It snows a lot in the mountains, tho. It RAINS a lot in Portland." I could tell she was thinking hard! She asked, "Isn't it near Salt Lake City?" I said, "Noooooo....Oregon is on the West Coast along the Pacific Ocean." "Ohhhhhhh!" she says. "I hear the pollution is terrible there!"  She was just a tad bit clueless, don't you think?  It gave me my first good chuckle of the day.

Halloween is coming upon us quickly...Midwesterners really get into the festiveness of it, the harvest aspect.  All up and down our street, people have pumpkins and Autumn flowers and jack o' lantern lights and corn stalks adorning their front porches.  Oh, and the trees!!  They contribute the glorious colors above!  One thing we love is many of the state parks here have "Halloween Weekends" for families who camp at the end of the season.  Our son and daughter-in-law have taken our two grandsons every Halloween we've lived here to a park about 50 miles from where we live.  They urge the campers to decorate their campsites.  There are hay rides for $1, all kinds of activities for children, and trick or treating thruout the whole campground late in the afternoon on Saturday.  They're going again this weekend and Dear Hubby and I are going there for the day.  Our daughter-in-law is going to have a big pot of homemade chili for dinner around the camp fire.  I can't think of a more "Halloween-y" way to spend it, and it's supposed to be a gorgeous Fall day as well.  One thing I do love about Michigan is when the weather forecaster says it'll be nice on the weekend, 99% of the time he's right!

Well, I took a quick break from getting my flowerbeds cleaned out and settled for the Winter.  I even dug up a huge -- well, huge for me, anyway -- stump out of the front flowerbed.  I had planted a Russian Sage there when we moved in 2 1/2 years ago and it's ended up being something Dear Hubby is very allergic to.  I'd cut back the zillions of blossoms a month or two ago with the intentions of digging it up...and now that time has come.  I can't believe how much it had grown from the original plant I put in there!  But I got it out of there!  I feel like Helen Reddy singing "I am Woman!  Hear me roar!"

HA!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Because I Can Never Forget This Ethiopian Flower....


(I originally posted this on 9/11/2009. I have decided that I will re-post this every year on the anniversary, just to keep the memory of this one beautiful soul alive...in my heart, in your heart. In everyone's heart who reads this.)



Here is a photo of a young woman who is now going to haunt me for the rest of my days. Her name was Eskedar Melaku. She died September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center. She was 31 years old.

She was born in Ethiopia and emigrated to the United States, settling in New York City to attend Queens College. At the time of her death she was assistant vice president of Marsh & McLennan
Cos. Inc., a global professional services and insurance brokerage company, ranked the 5th largest US company in the diversified financial industry. I also found in researching for this blog post that the company was located on the floors directly impacted by the first jet that crashed into the North Tower. It comforts me to know that she never knew what hit her. She was a successful young business woman, but that only touches the surface of who she really was. She was described in the many tributes I've read about her by people who knew her as intelligent, beautiful, radiant, authentic, full of life. Hard working. Kind. Thoughtful. Never a bad word came from her mouth. A beautiful soul whose quiet presence is missed very much. How much she was loved by those fortunate enough to know her. How I wish I'd been one of them.

And they say that the good die young.

Like everyone else on that day, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the attacks on the World Trade Center were taking place. I was standing at my bedside, folding towels before leaving for work, listening to Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on the Today Show on the TV behind me, Katie making some kind of comment like, "What does this mean?" before anyone really had a clue what was going on. I happened to turn to look at the TV just as the second plane was approaching and watched in horror as it slammed into the tower. I remember the icy cold tendrils of shock radiating down my spine, just as I feel them now as I sit here writing this. I never realized how this incident, this horrendous tragedy, would change the 'safe' world we Americans had always taken for granted, how America would never be the same. I said more prayers than I can remember that day, for those who perished and the loved ones left behind. I have said many prayers for them since. None of whom I ever knew personally.

But, now I do know one of them personally. Eskedar Melaku. And I know she'll come to mind on every anniversary of 9/11. And at many other random moments, whenever I hear references to that day. I will see that beautiful smile, those warm eyes. I will remember.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crops. ~ George Eliot, "Adam Bede", 1859

Oh, why not shock everyone and post another entry to my blog?  I'm sure my blog doesn't know what to make of it! 

Isn't this photo beautiful?  It's a picture of a lake that's in my hometown in Washington State.  It's around 2500 miles from where I live now so I highly doubt I'll ever see it again.  You know, when you get to my age...almost 60...not that it's that old...you begin to think of Time in a different perspective.  At 20, 60 seemed like the Dark Ages to me.  Now, being almost that age myself, 20 seems like I was barely out of diapers.  And to think I got married at that age!  Mercy.  Now, there's a scary thought.

But...back to perspectives...when we moved to Michigan a few years ago, as I boarded the jet to fly here, I never even began to think that I might never make it back to Portland again.  We learned about the possibility of moving in November 2010 and moved in March 2011, so it was a very whirlwind experience...coming here in January to find a house in 5 days, then going 'home' to start packing and organizing the move, sorting thru 28 years of memories and belongings.  Realizing how few 'things' were actually important enough to drag 2/3 of the way across the country with us.  I know people move every day, and sometimes much further distances than we did, but if you had any clue what creatures of habit Dear Hubby and I were beforehand!  We shocked everyone who's known us for years when we suddenly announced we were heading for the upper Midwest.  I think we shocked ourselves most of all, taking this midlife adventure of a lifetime in our later 50s.  And now, here we are 2 1/2 years later and we are so settled, so happy here.  The funny thing about it, it's hard to believe we ever lived anywhere else.  Michigan is truly home to us.

Even so, every now and then a memory or a photo or a comment posted on Facebook by a friend or family member who still lives in the Northwest will draw me up short and I'll think, "Wow...you know, I may never see Lizzee again"....my best friend since 1967.  Or the lake I have pictured up above.  Or my brothers.  Or the house we lived in for 28 years.  And I'll have a twinge that I can't quite put into words.  It's not homesickness or remorse in moving so far away.  No, it's more like a bittersweetness.  Kind of like how I feel when I think of my years of caring for my grandsons on a daily basis.  They'll be a thing of the past, now that they'll both be in school for full days come the Fall.  An ache in the center of my heart.  But it passes, and I get caught up in the here-and-now, which is a life full of family and love and discovering this part of the country, something I never dreamed I'd do in a million years.  I have made new friends that will never take the place of the old ones, but will add a new richness to my life.  I will stand on the shores of  Lake Huron or Lake Michigan or Lake Superior...and I will think of the many, many trips I made to the shorelines of the Pacific Ocean.  And I will miss the tang of salt on my lips but I will lift my head up and revel in the fresh breezes blowing off these magnificent lakes. 

Life is a series of give-and-takes, isn't it?  We give up one thing, only to have it replaced by another.  It doesn't mean the past is lost.  It just means there's room in the present and the future for many more blessings.  You just keep yourself open to them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~ Barbara Bloom

Correct me if I'm wrong.  These are male plugs.  Is there a female socket there?  Try as you might, there is no 'natural' way to fit them together.  Am I mistaken?  I think not.

Someone posted this on Facebook today and as I read it I couldn't believe it:

"The California legislature passed the kindergarten through 12th grade transgender rights bill that allows children to use whatever bathroom, or shower room they identify with."

Identify with?  In Kindergarten?  Are you serious?

In my day, we had to take showers with girls and we were uncomfortable enough with that.  And how would a young girl feel if a boy barged into her stall in the bathroom when she's dealing with her first menstrual period?  Are we nuts?!

Am I beyond thrilled that my two little grandsons aren't subjected to this in school?  Am I beyond thrilled they still allow the Pledge of Allegiance under GOD to still be recited here?  You bet I am!  Have I missed something along the way????  It's like I went to bed with the country's agendas being Constitutionally sound on one day and then woke up in Rip Van Winkle Land...or Oz...the next.  This place is unrecognizable to me any more.  Every nite as I watch the news I just sit and shake my head in wonder.  I am totally mystified by how insanely fast our world has changed...literally overnite.

But you know...I'm a Christian.  I am not ashamed to tell the whole world.  If you have a problem with how I feel, deal with it.  All the harping and ranting and raving at me isn't going to change my basic beliefs that are decent and God-fearing and based on the Holy Bible.  Which, by the way, I read every day and do believe is still true...every word, every page of it. 

It's not popular to be a Christian.  Mercy, it isn't even politically correct to be a Christian any more. But you know what?  That's the world's problem, not mine.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I don't normally post recipes but this one a friend of mine shared on Facebook sure looks good, especially considering our sticky-icky weather we've been having all week.  Today is going to be 93 with heat indices of 103 because of the humidity.  I wish I had all the ingredients on hand...or a vehicle to get to the store.  We'd be having it for dinner tonite.

Taco Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup water
... 1 envelope taco seasoning
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 bottle (16 ounces) Catalina or 16 ounces Western salad dressing

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Rinse pasta in cold water and drain; place in a large bowl. Add beef mixture, cheese, green pepper, onion, tomato and olives; mix well. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heat, ma'am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones. ~ Sydney Smith from "Lady Holland's Memoir"

The sticky-icky days of summer are upon us here in southeastern Michigan.  Temperatures are in the 90s and humidity is so high it fogs the windows from the outside, especially after last evening's torrential downpour and thunder & lightning show.  The only relief came from the temperature quickly dropping 11 degrees but all the rain made the air feel that much more soupy.  I am without a car during the day while our van is in the shop being repaired so I took a 2-block walk to a market down the street around 9:30 this morning and the air had an almost physical quality to it, like breathing in water there is so much vapor.  When I got home I felt I needed to check behind my ears to see if I'd grown gills!

Late last summer/early fall we purchased a 14-ft. boat to fish in and we've been enjoying it so much this year already!  Dear Hubby and I have been out fishing a couple of times by ourselves, and he's also taken our son and grandsons.  There is a beautiful lake about 50 miles from where we live near Holly, Michigan, called Heron Lake and we've grown to love it so much it's where we head out to.  The waters are teeming with fish and almost every cast we get fish on, which excites the boys to no end.  This past Saturday we went out there to fish with the boys, then had a picnic onshore afterwards and the boys went swimming.  It was warm but not very humid...a perfect day.

On Thursday afternoon Dear Hubby and I were sitting in our living room and we heard a tremendous crash outside.  We hurried out to find nothing amiss on the street...what could have made that noise?  I said to him, "Maybe something's crashed on the other side of the vehicles!" and as I peered around the corner into the driveway, sure enough.  There was a car between our vehicles and the house next to us, all the way back to the neighbors' fence, which is what finally brought it to a halt.  Inside the car was our 91-year-old neighbor Bob from across the street.  He'd been backing out of his driveway and confused the brake and accelerator so instead of stepping on the brake, he floor-boarded the accelerator and shot backwards across the street into our driveway and the neighbors' side yard.  In the process, he completely wiped out the driver's side of our Dodge Grand Caravan to the tune of over $6000 in damages.  I checked him first of all to make sure he was ok and he was stunned and in shock...he wasn't even aware he'd hit our vehicle.  Dear Hubby guided him out but instead of driving over into his driveway, he turned and went down the street!  Half an hour later he pulled into his driveway...he'd gone on to the store to buy some milk, which is what he'd been heading out to do in the first place!  The police came and we told him he was so shook up from the collision we knew he wasn't intentionally leaving an accident scene.  When one of Bob's sons arrived, the police said they'd have to revoke Bob's license right then because he was now considered too dangerous to be on the road.  Dear Hubby had just been out there mowing....if he'd hit just a foot or two closer to his passenger side, Bob would've smashed into the corner of the neighbors' house where their little twins' bedroom is.  If the fence hadn't stopped his backward propulsion, he would've slammed right into their sandbox.  It could have been so much worse that what it was, but thankfully no one was hurt.  Bob had been driving since he was 14 back in Kentucky in 1935.  He'd never had any type of traffic accident or incident in all those years.  My heart went out to him because that was something he was so proud of, and it's a shame his driving career had to end on such a sad note.  Now we're just waiting on getting our van back in a couple of weeks, trying to get his insurance to give the ok for a rental car.  In the meantime, I sit here.



Monday, July 1, 2013

In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced. ~ Robert Sexton

Recently Dear Hubby and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary.  As we were driving home from somewhere yesterday I said to him, "You know, we've been married almost 2/3 of our lives."  Put into that perspective, we've been married a long time.  I was 20 years old at the time, with long brown hair and a figure that could "stop a freight train" in a bikini, as Dear Hubby put it into words back then.  At almost 60, my hair is white and silvery.  I wear glasses.  This body will never see another swimming suit, let alone a bikini.  But I'm comfortable in my skin.  I'm not fat...but I'm far from skinny.  I'm comfortably cushiony, at least to my grandsons, and at this stage of the game that's what matters to me.  Dear Hubby has aged gracefully.  At 60 he still has his hair and it's only been in the past year that all the tips have gotten silvery.  His goatee is almost completely white.  But I look at him and I can still see the wild young man with the flowing dark hair, the leather jacket, the jeans, the boots who swept me off my feet.

On our anniversary I happened to be at the bank and as I was depositing a check written in Dear Hubby's name the teller said, "I'm assuming this is your husband?" and I said yes.  I mentioned it was our anniversary and he asked me how long we'd been married.  When I told him 39 years he was almost blown away, as was a young female teller at the next window.  Both were young and both had wedding rings on.  The teller asked me, "What's the secret of staying married for such a long time?" and the young lady nodded her head at me, wanting to know too.  Well, I'm no genius and no two marriages are alike but I told them what's helped our marriage survive.  Communication and compromise.  Selfishness has no place in a marriage.  And if you can't communicate, fuhgeddaboutit.  You're not going to make it.  You have to listen....really listen.  And when you do talk, talk with each other, not at each other.  If that happens, you'll both shut down and nothing will ever get resolved. Your needs, your wants, aren't always front and center.  Sometimes you have to give in.  So what?  So you don't always get your way?  Well, maybe next time it'll be your turn.  I mean, people get so petty and nasty over the dumbest things:  "You bought a new fishing pole!  Well, now I want to install hardwood floors thruout the house!"  He goes fishing and you have a cow about it?  Grow up.  Learn to sweat the BIG things that come along...major illnesses, deaths in the family, loss of jobs.  The little things aren't worth the energy it takes to argue about them.  Don't go to bed mad.  Never ever.  Even if you don't particularly like each other as you climb under the covers, at least don't harbor thoughts of killing each other in the nite.  Laugh together....laugh a lot!  Humor can get you thru almost anything.  If you have nothing good to say, don't say it.  You don't have to say it so bury the impulse.  Once it's out of the mouth it's out forever and you can never take it back.  And you need to learn that forgiveness and forgetting and never holding grudges is going to do a lot to give you smooth sailing.  You need to be best friends.  Like a friend of ours told us once, "Kissin' don't last but good cookin' do."  A lot of things slow down with age...it's a natural progression.  Being friends is so much more important than being lovers only.  Really.  I think that's where a lot of the trouble lies with young couples...they've fallen in lust, not in real love.   There's more in life to share than sex.  And if your spouse is your best friend you've got a treasure that lasts a lifetime.

And Dear Hubby and I are lucky...we are best friends.  And it is a treasure.  And I hope we can make it 39 more.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Testing...1...2...3

Hello?  Is this really my blog?  After all this time of neglect, you're still here?!  I came on here the other day to see if anyone even stops by anymore and Dear Hubby asked, "Oh, are you going to write something?" and I said no...I told him I hadn't written on it since the middle of March.  Dear Hubby is not rendered speechless very often, but that knocked the words right out of him, haha!  You see, once upon a time I couldn't go a day without writing something here.  But it seems since we moved to Michigan a couple years ago I've lost my focus.  I don't know why.  The busyness of every day life?  It's busy, all right.  But so were the early years of my grandsons' childhood when I lived in Portland and had them with me 11 1/2 hours per day.  I wrote all the time, chronically, capturing their baby and toddler years in cyberspace.  It's not even because I found writing here boring or tedious...not at all.  Maybe it's because there was so much going on with adapting to a new life here in a totally new region...learning how to find my way from Point A to Point B...becoming acquainted with my neighborhood...still taking care of my grandsons on a daily basis...that my head has been full of sensory overload and I wasn't able to sort it all out.  It was mentally exhausting, even while it was exciting and exhilarating.  But making this enormous change after more or less living in the same area of the NW for almost 45 years, packing up and moving 2400 miles was quite a drastic change for Dear Hubby and me as we inched our way towards 60.  Young people pick up and move all the time, some roaming the globe for the adventure of it all.  More power to them!  As we grow older we become more settled into our routines, our environment...we don't thrive on change.  But I have to admit our move here has been one of the greatest thrills of my life and I have no desire to go back to Portland, not even to visit.  I am a Michigander.

I mentioned I came on here to see if anyone even stops by any more and I was astonished to see I average over 200 visitors a day.  Down a ways from what I used to average by quite a margin when I wrote regularly but still, for today's blog traffic, not bad.  I never have time to visit and browse thru blogs...do they still exist, the every day versions written by every day people...or are they pretty much limited to politics and journalists?  When my grandsons were little blogs were my social network before I discovered Facebook...I had many I checked in with on a daily basis.  I have many of those same friends on Facebook and it seems most of us keep in contact on there instead of blogging.  I don't know about them, but I suffer from social laziness.  Facebook just makes it so easy and I only have to type a few words now and then, not hundreds, and if I want to say anything privately  (HA! Privately?  Who am I kidding?!)  I type out a Message. 

Well,  I'll leave you with my little bird friend, a Purple Finch.  I have been busy working on our yard, getting flowerbeds established and a garden planted.  The former owners had lived here over 50 years and became too infirm to keep up on the landscaping so I had to start from square one.  I enjoy that, tho...I can plant it however I want to without having to dig things up from the roots.  I have bird feeders and suet hanging up...I have American Gold Finches, Mourning Doves, Purple Finches, Blue Jays, Grackles, Sparrows, and Cardinals swooping in all day to feed and entertain me.  Even two little chipmunks who somehow manage to shimmy up the Shepherd's crooks and jump onto the feeders!  I guess if they can manage to race up the brick on the outside of the houses in our neighborhood and cling halfway up the house, they can do all kinds of other acrobatics.  Amazing how God gave them the ability to do that!

So...this is the end of my test.  I guess I still know how to write.  Now I'll wait and see if I have the discipline to show up again before another 3 1/2 months go by.

Monday, March 18, 2013

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lange

 
A quiet walk on an early summer morning.
 

 
 
Autumn glory
 
 
 
Autumn morning mist
 
 
 
Summer storm clouds
 
 
Paradise, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Hubby and me
Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Upper Peninsula
 
 
 
The shore of Lake Huron
Lexington, Michigan
 
 
 
Dear Hubby
 
 
 
Golden Sunlight on an early Autumn day
 
 
 
Watching chipmunks feeding on birdseed right outside the window.
They sat as still as mice.


Friday, March 1, 2013

You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job. ~ Laurence J. Peter

 
I have to tell you a funny story about something that happened to me today. As I was scrolling down my page on Facebook this morning there was a video one of my friends in Ontario, Canada, had posted of her uncle playing the accordion and singing during one of the Sunday services at the church we attend there and she'd written a description saying, "Uncle Obed did a nice job!" or something like that. I clicked on the video to see who it was because the picture of it on my page was quite tiny, and I am still not sure who is related to who there. Well, up pops the video and I'm thinking, "That's Sharron's Uncle Obed? But that's Hobart!"  Dear Hubby and I had been calling him Hobart for the past two years! And then it dawned on me that we had really lost his name in translation from the "Newfie" way of talking. 99% of the people who go to the little church there are originally from Newfoundland/Labrador and even tho they speak English it's a dialect unto itself. After spending so much time with them the past couple years we've grown accustomed to it and rarely don't understand something someone has said. But poor Obed! Here we'd been calling him "Hobart" all this time! You see, the Newfies drop the letter "H" if it shows up at the beginning of a word so 'home' is pronounced " 'ome"..."hair" is " 'air"...''heaven'' is " 'eaven." And then they add "H's" to the beginning of words that don't normally have them. "Amen" becomes "Haymen" and "air" will then become "hair". Kind of confusing until you get the rhythm and cadence of their speech patterns. They also don't say the "th" sound...it's just "t"...like 'thank' is 'tank'. So our friend "Obed" is pronounced the Newfie way: "Obed" becomes "Ho-bed" but they speak so fast it sounds like "Hobart". Ok, that's funny enough, right? So here, as we've shaken his hand when we've seen him, we've been saying "Well, hello, Hobart! How are you?" and he's been looking at us like "Who?" but he's so sweet and gracious he's never corrected us. And a time or two when we've been at the Pastor's house and I've said something about "Hobart" he or his wife will speak up and ask, "Who?" and I'll say "Hobart!" and they're like "Oh, yes, Ho-bed!" and I'll say, "Yes, Hobart!" LOL! Well....today when I saw the video and realized our Hobart was Uncle Obed I was mortified! I sent a message to Sharron telling her how embarrassing it was to admit our mistake but she and I got the virtual hysterical giggles over it, haha! We always have dinner at either the pastor's home or, if they have other social obligation with visitors (we're considered part of the congregation now) someone else will have us over. And when it's just us with another couple or two we follow the conversation just fine, but if we get into a big group....Sharron and her husband usually have a houseful....and they all get to talking Newfie together, oh my word is it a challenge to keep up.  They talk SO fast! I could listen to them talk all day tho, it's just so charming! There is one rather remote spot in N/L where even most of the Newfies have a hard time understanding the dialect of those who come from there. The head of our faith's Canadian churches is from that region and I haven't heard him preach often thru the years but he purposely starts out slow and easy when he does preach in the American churches.  Once he gets excited or passionate, fuhgeddaboutit! You can't understand a thing he says!   At least I can't!  When I told Dear Hubby about our goof-up when he got home we both had a good laugh over it. Just like Sharron did when I told her we'd been calling her uncle "Hobart" for the TWO years we've gone there! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The years teach much which the days never knew. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a self-portrait I took of myself recently for a Photo-A-Day challenge I've been doing with a niece of mine.  My hair is not short...I have it skinned back in a pony tail.  I also don't have my glasses on, which is highly unusual because I can hardly see without them, but I had just come upstairs from spending 45 minutes riding on the exercise bike my family gave me for my birthday at the end of December. I had forgotten them and left them down in the basement near the bike.

Once upon a time I would never have posted this picture of me.  I would have scrutinized it without mercy, found a million flaws, and cast it into the Recycle Bin.  Now I am contemplating using it for the dust cover photo on my book if, by some miracle, my book ever gets published.  I like it.  I like the glow of the light reflecting off the snow that was outside the window that morning.  I like how it highlights the silver in my hair.  And I see some of the lines that are permanently etched and growing deeper every day in my face.  I see a woman who is overall very content with her life, and I see the peace in her face. 

I have come to realize as I'm getting older that because of my aversion to having my picture taken I have robbed my family of my pictorial history, so to speak.  There are not very many photos of me in the thousands we have stored in various albums and boxes and storage bins.  If one were to go thru them all you'd find abbreviated bits of me...and in most of them I'm expressionless or scowling.  I was told early on in life that I 'took' horrible pictures, that I was ugly, and it's taken me 59 years to finally relax with it and figure, "Whatever!"  I never thought I'd see that day.  When I am the photographer, tho, I exercise editing rights...I took about 10 photos before I was satisfied with this one. I am happy with it because, in looking at it, I see me and I'm realizing I'm not unhappy with the person in the pictureAnd I never thought I'd see that day, either.  But how I look at life approaching 60 is a lot different from how I viewed it approaching 50.  Or 40.  Or 30.  Or even 20.  We become much kinder to ourselves, we do.  And with that comes a relaxation of spirit within us.  We are who we are and, at least in my life, I've become content with that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~ Sylvia Plath

From as far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a writer.  I have wanted to hold a brand new book in my hands, crack open the spine, and know that it's mine.  At the age of almost 60, I still dream about that moment.  I wonder how Grandma Moses felt when she finished her first painting?  She was in her 70s when that happened, so dreams can come true at any age.  Why do we feel we need to put an age limit on dreams? 

I began writing a novel a few months ago.  It has been percolating in a back corner of my mind, like an old-fashioned coffee pot on a back burner, for a long, long time.  I held off on writing it and I'm glad I did.  I don't think I had enough life experiences, enough perspective into the mindset of my characters, to do it justice when I was, say, 35 or even 40.  I was too busy trying to make sense of my own life and honestly, a woman of 35 is not very 'mature' when it comes to wisdom gained and hindsight.  I know for myself I never grew to be comfortable in my own skin, to know myself, until I reached my 50s.  Midlife is very liberating.  You start sloughing off so much 'stuff' that has held you captive your entire life, the baggage you've been dragging behind you like a martyred victim.  We're all victims.  We just need to get over it and move on.  I have never met even one person who hasn't been seared and scarred in some way, not even the most seemingly well-adjusted and successful ones.

I've hit one of those writer's blocks, tho...I am literally terrified to take the next step.  So I asked friends and family on Facebook to give me a pep talk and they have been so encouraging and supportive.  I'm thinking I may have it in me to kick it into gear again and get busy writing.  Because, you see, I do have a story to tell.  And it's time for it to be told.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. ~ Neil Postman




I had posted a couple of very precious moments I've had as a grandmother in the past month on Facebook and a friend told me that I need to write them down.  So I thought what better place than here on my blog?  I began writing my blog before either one of them was even a blip on the radar screen of our family but since they arrived -- and enriched  --  our lives my blog has been a chronicle of their lives intertwined with daily life and oberservations.  The first one here with Dylan happened today.  The second, with Cooper, happened on January 24th.

Our grandsons spent the nite last nite and around 6 am Dylan came in and stood next to the bed. I grabbed a hold of his hand and he was FREEZING!  Dear Hubby told him to come over to his side of the bed and get in because he was getting up. I asked him, "Why are you so cold?!" as he snuggled in next to me. "Because I was reading the Holy Bible page 1 to 24", he told me...he'd gone in to Dear Hubby's den and was sitting there in the dark, pretending he was reading the Bible like Papa. How precious was that?

Out of the blue my little grandson came to me and asked "How do I become a Christian, Gram?" Mind you, he's only 4 years old. I told him he needed to pray and ask Jesus into his heart. He asked "Can I pray now?" I told him of course he could so he climbed up into my lap and said the sweetest little prayer...I'm sure it melted the Lord's heart as much as it did mine! When he got done he asked if he's a Christian now. When I said yes he gave me the sweetest smile and said "FINALLY!!" It made me wonder how long he's been pondering this in his little mind. ♥ ♥ ♥