Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas was a little different this year...

I made the mistake of saying to our girls that this Christmas would have been the 2nd one in my life without family, and Betsy asked how Steve felt, after 36 years, he wasn't family...
So, we didn't have any others in our house. Last year our home was bursting with family and friends so I was anticipating a quiet time.
In many ways it was quiet. In some ways I liked it. I wasn't planning so much that the season slipped by with no reflection of the what this birth of the Christ child meant in my life. Quiet reflection was very much a part of my Christmas season.

On Christmas Eve, Steve and I had friends over for brunch. Usually our Christmas Eve brunch is leisurely and our guests love staying...we knew in advance that it would be a morning brunch. They came at 9 am and Barb had to work at 11 and we had to be at church by 12 so by 10:50 after several attempts at a timer shot picture, they left and we went to church.
I helped out with the greeter/usher team for the 1 and 3 services and missed the service completely. Right after the service we headed to Bellevue for the Snowflake Lane lights and drum-line. There were all kinds of characters walking the streets before the drum line took their positions next to the decorations on the street and put on a show. There was music and then at one point, snow started falling...not real snow...soap bubbles that made it look like we were standing in a heavy, Christmas-like, White Christmasy snow. It was so pretty.

A leisurely dinner outside on the patio of the Cheese Cake Factory.
I had heard that the Bellevue Botanical Gardens had a light display so after dinner, we went to the Botanical Gardens. The lights were so beautiful. They were in the shape of all kinds of vegetation and creatures.

The aquarium was amazing...

We drove home after our adventure and decided to open our gifts in the morning.

Christmas morning was relaxing and a time for coffee and quiet. At 3:00 we had friends who were also alone for Christmas day over and we began a progressive dinner at our house with appetizers and onion soup. After that, we had dinner at another couple's home and then progressed to our final sugar destination.

We missed our kids and our grandkids very much. But the days were quiet and our activities were new. However, in talking to Jane over the past days...they are thinking that they will be out here for Christmas next year...Once in a while it's okay for just a small portion of our family, but I do love being with our girls and their families.

What ever you did, I pray that you allowed yourself a time of quiet reflection of what the celebration of the Christ child means to you and what this birth meant to the world and the changes that have been made because of His coming. God bless us everyone....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...Christmas Eve Very Early

It's Christmas eve...
It is very early...
Today will bring so many "things" that will demand our attentions...
At least that is what will happen in my life!
I could tick off the list right now...
Right now, I want to pause and worship!
Today is the beginning of our remembrance of the birth of Christ.
Born in that lowly manger, the baby, Jesus, was totally reliant on his mother.
I think of our granddaughter, Emma, right now. She can't do anything without the help from Jane and Andy (and anyone who can get their hands on her*.)
She is helpless. I think of her and realize that my Savior was that reliant on Mary and Joseph.
He needed Mary's nurturing. He needed the strength taught to him by his earthly father Joseph.
But think...He was God...He is God...He will always be God.
He submitted himself to the will of His Father to come to earth.
He went through all of the feelings and emotions as we have had or will have.
As He grew...what must His life have been like.
Did He break His foot like Simon did?
Did He love to dance like Mazie?
Did He spin stories like Jane?
Was He serious and compliant like Betsy?
Did He preach when He was 3 like Steve did?
Was He belligerent like me?
The questions could go on and on...and yet, in the very early hours of Christmas Eve, 2010, I like to think...He did...why?
I know that whatever I bring to Him in the form of prayer requests, struggles, and praises He can and does struggle, cry, and laugh with me.
There is nothing that I go through, save sin, that He doesn't understand.
But back to the stable...
Back to the smelly animals...
Back to the noises of the city and the barn...
Back to the fears of a teenage mother...
Back to the the city of Bethlehem...
Jesus is born!
Stop and reflect on what that means to you on this day!
Merry Christmas
*I would love to get my hands on her!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas ponderings....

This morning I was looking for something to read to the usher/greeter team. I was drawn to Isaiah 9:

For a child is born to us,

a son is given to us.

The government will rest upon His shoulders.

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and his peace

will never end

He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David

for all eternity.

Then I picked up one of our favorite family books The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I read the last chapter...the one where the Herdmans "disrupt" the church's Christmas program. Emogene and Ralph who are playing Mary and Joseph look like refugees. Emogene has the nerve to burp the baby before she put him in the manger and was carrying him on her shoulder instead of cradling the Baby Jesus in her arms.

(If you haven't read this is a must read...even if you are an adult...)

It got me thinking! The Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father; the One who will rule to the end of the age and for eternity...born in a smelly stable. Our Christmas cards that we send have beautiful pictures of Mary, with a holy light shining around her. The animals are around the stable and are wearing Christmas holly and are being attentive to the new born baby. What we don't see or smell is what the stable was really like.

A teenage girl and her husband had just traveled to Bethlehem. The probably did look like refugees. The starched and light blue gown pictured on our cards was most likely a dirty, dusty travel dress. She was tired and in pain. They must have felt lost and unloved because there was no other place for them to stay in the city.

Do you think she was questioning God? An angel had come months earlier...she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah. She was in labor. She was in a barn. A smelly barn surrounded by smelly, dirty animals. When her baby was born, did she wonder where she would put him? in the food trough? Did she wish she had somewhere else to place the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? What were the thoughts that she had pondered in her heart when the shepherds came to worship Jesus?

So into a smelly barn, Jesus was born. He was helpless. He was dependant on His mother for food and comfort. He needed to be burped and his swaddling clothes needed to be changed. It is this baby who became our Savior. Our picture of Christ is different than the reality; but the reality is that this Baby in the manger is our Christ.

It seems that as this week progresses...we need to remember that birth. Carve out some time this week to focus on Jesus. Let Him be the peace in your Christmas and step away from the busyness of the mall and the bustle of events and worship Him for what He has done in your life this year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another Christmas tradition

Every year Moles Funeral Home staff and families go to an assisted living facility to carol. We sing several songs. Sometimes the residents sing along other times they listen.
I always begin the night by telling the residents that we are NOT good. We can make great noise, but we are not professional. Steve Hortegas, our piano playing extraordinaire, reminds them that we practice once a year and that coincides with our performance.
But we have fun and so do the residents. Last night was particularly fun. We had a large crowd of residents and they loved to sing.
For the past 3 years we have had the privilege of having Santa and Mrs. Claus join us. The residents love this couple and so do we. Santa is a gentle Santa and Mrs. Claus is just so sweet. Santa comes during the singing and stays for the staff Christmas party afterwards. They donate their time playing Santa. Any money that they get, they give to the Ferndale Food Pantry.
They add so much fun to our carolling.
Last night, (and I am bummed that I don't have pictures of this) one of the staff members, Marlys, brought her Christmas hula hoop and keep that hoop moving through an entire song...I was totally impressed.

This year, we caught Mrs. Claus kissing Santa Claus outside the home in the gazebo. Santa looks quite surprised...Maybe she doesn't do that all the time like the song says....

When we moved to Ferndale, our first Christmas carolling was 12 months after we moved. I had to wonder (and Jane readily points out...) why a funeral home would sing at an assisted living. Last night I explained to the residents that it is a time that I cherish. I love this night and it has become a tradition to which I look forward.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lemon Bear and Jane....

Once upon a time...there was a little girl named Jane who loved a special bear. Lemon Bear was given to any child who was in the hospital and Jane's sister, Betsy had been in the hospital. She got a Lemon Bear. It didn't take long before Lemon Bear became a favorite of her baby sister. Jane loved the velvety feel of the bear and by the time she was 5, Lemon Bear looked pretty sad. His legs were hanging on, he had no "feelie" on him, and his eye was gone.

Jane decided that she should ask Santa to put new clothes on LB. So she wrote the note to Santa and I began scrambling to find another Lemon Bear. I found out who donated them (a bank), went to the bank and explained why I needed a Lemon Bear, and they found one Lemon Bear and gave it to me. [Remember this bear was given away 4 years earlier so it was no small feat to find this bear.] So the switch was made. On Christmas eve, 1986, Santa "dressed" Lemon Bear and Jane was thrilled. Jane has told the story for many years...and I know that she had never thought about what the real story was!

In 1986, I put Old Lemon Bear in a box and waited. I waited. I waited. You see, I could hardly wait to give Lemon Bear to Jane when she had her first child. Well, Emma was born on October 28, 2010 so Old Lemon Bear, New Lemon Bear, and "Surprise" Lemon Bear needed to come out.

I wrapped Old Lemon Bear along with New and Surprise LB and a bear from the Build-a-Bear Workshop all traveled to North Dakota.

Jane opened the box and saw New Lemon Bear and said...oh, LB doesn't look so bad. I thought that he would look worse... Then she unwrapped Old Lemon Bear and said, oh he does look bad...he doesn't have an eye and he really doesn't have any fur does he?

It was exciting to see Jane's face. It will be a memory that I cherish. It is something that I have waited for a long time. Surprise Lemon Bear will be Emma's bear. You see, when Jane was in gymnastics and I was talking to one of the moms. I was telling her about the Lemon Bear dilemma. She said, oh, I have one at home...I'll bring that is how we got a Lemon Bear for Emma.

Throughout the years I have taken these bears out of the boxes that they were stored. I prayed for the child that would bring out the bears. Emma was born 4 weeks early. She is a beautiful little girl. She now has her own Lemon Bear...wonder if this little girl will love LB as much as the little girl who fell in love with OLD LB once upon a time....

Christmas Memories.... usually means that you look back at past events or times that cause you to remember things that can be triggered by smells, sounds, and people...for this Christmas, it will take on a bit of a different definition....

I realized yesterday that I do certain things to make memories. Some of the "memories" become traditions, other memories are a fleeting second that will stay in my memory for a long while. I love trying to make a memory of events. I want to remember the events that create that pleasant sensation that makes you smile down the road...

Christmas seems to bring out the traditions and making memories in many of us. A family moment, a time with friends, traditions that are non-negotiable, first time events that just need to be repeated... For this month, I want to talk about some of the memories that I am making...a continued tradition? I don't know...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions. I was set to drive to Omaha last Sunday. Because there was a storm, I left early. So Saturday, I drove to Omaha and was thrilled to see Jon, Betsy, Simon, Mazie, and the + Six that live with them. I felt great...I walked into their house and got HUGE hugs all around. We had a great couple of days and on Tuesday, Steve flew in to Omaha to join the festivities and preparation for Thanksgiving.
Situation #1:
It is a known fact that Steve is the one to prepare the turkey and the Thanksgiving feast! So, it only made sense that I would entertain Simon and Mazie on Wednesday. Simon got home from school and Simon, Mazie, and I set out for the hotel...about 10 minutes from Boys Town. I turned on Maggie, our GPS, and off we went, confident that we would have a great time in the pool. Finally, Simon said, "Nana, it feels like we are going in circles!" OK, so I felt the same way. And we WERE! After traveling in circles for over an hour, I called Betsy, frantic. She knew where I was, but the panic level didn't allow me to process what she was she asked if she could talk to Simon (5 year old grandson). She asked him is he could see the way to their church. After a minute or two, Simon made the connection and we were on our way. We got to the hotel, and when I saw the sign...this conversation occured
Me: "Nana is going to cry for a couple of minutes, but it is okay."
Simon: "Nana, there is no reason to cry; we are here. It's okay."
Mazie: "Nana, you are a genius...."
We swam then went back to Boys Town for supper.
Situation #2:
Steve was still needed for the final touches on the Thursday meal, so after supper it was decided that I would take the chiklins back to the hotel. Simon ran to his room and said he had to pack some things. He told his mom that for this trip, he needed to pack a "survival" kit. Loaded with water (2 bottles), socks, books, bandaids, wipes, and your basics for when you get lost when traveling with your Nana.
The conversation when we got to the hotel was a little different that time:
Mazie: "Nana, you made are a genius."
Simon: "Mazie, Nana really isn't a genius, because genius means very smart...we can say Nana is really great."
Do you hear that sound????? It's the sound of a bubble popping.
Situation #3:
When I took the kids into the hotel after that bubble popping comment...I gathered up the things from the trunk. Thus the situation began...however, I didn't know it at that time. The next morning, we got ready to go to the pool. I asked Steve to grab my camera that could be found in my purse! Purse? Not in the room....oh, I's in the trunk. Keys? KEys? KEYs? KEYS!!!!????????? WHERE ARE THE KEYS???????? A quick search...a longer search...a frantic search.....hmmmmmmmm......PANIC!
For the next 2 days, we called a locksmith, Budget car rental several times...Let's see....Thanksgiving day....everyone was nice but dismissive and each person quoted a higher price. We opted to put it off until Friday morning. I called Budget Rental Roadside Assistance on Friday morning. Thought I would set things up and we would be on our way to Fargo.
PROBLEM: No one can get into the car in Omaha, needs to be towed to Lincoln, NE. Or option #2: We can trade cars and then after they open the trunk...they will send my purse to me.
Reaction: Sobbing! I called Betsy. I called Jane. I was sobbing. Steve, Mazie, and Simon came in and Steve was concerned. Mazie came to me and hugged and patted my back and said, "It's okay, Nana. Don't cry."
Simon: "Nana, get control of yourself. Take a deep breath. let it all out. Now, get control of yourself."
Yep...I am not a genius, and I need to have self control!
I love my grandchildren...they allow me to be humbled!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving means...

For many of us, it means the comforts of life that we experience.
We look around our thanksgiving table and we are thankful for our family and friends who surround our table...
We are thankful for being able to worship God...
We have many things that we are thankful for...but what if...

you didn't live in a safe home and were fearful of what adults in your family would do to you when they would come home high?
you didn't go to school because you were fearful of what would happen to you?
you didn't have positive friends to influence you?
your grandparents were raising you because your parents died when you were 6 because of drugs?
you were addicted to alcohol/ the age of 15?
you didn't have a family who wanted you?
you didn't have food to eat regularly?

And then, what if you were placed somewhere that you were free to:
feel safe
feel love
know that people loved you
you were able to go to school
you were able to to eat meals...with people who were encouraging you...
you were able to hear about God in this place you were placed...

Today we went to Boys Town Thanksgiving Service and we listened to students speak of what had changed in their lives since they came here. They spoke of the situations that they came from and it was moving.

God directed Father Flanagan years ago to begin a place called Boys Town to help youth in trouble! It is still a place that helps youth who are lost and searching for truth, love, and an environment to allow them to grow in a safe place and learn of God.

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I am humbled by the abundant life that God has given me...and thankful that my daughter and her husband have introduced me to Boys Town. I am thankful for the girls that live in their home. I am thankful for the loving family that He has given me...

So...what are you thankful for?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Introducing...the newest member of our family

Well, I have waited long enough to try to figure out how to upload my pictures....we are so excited because:
Emma Anah
weighing in at 6# 7 oz at birth
Today weighs a whopping 5# 10 oz
18.5 inches long
born: October 28, 2010
She was early by 4 weeks and she and Jane are doing beautifully. She is a beautiful little girl which, if my pictures would cooperate, you would see that she is beautiful.
I was flying home from a visit...planning to fly at Thanksgiving when little Emma was due. I have change my flight and will be meeting this angel on November I excited...absolutely.
We are praising God for this little miracle.
Pictures will be added...I am determined!

Friday, October 15, 2010

OH Leviticus? Oh...repetitions... Oh...Grace

I am really trying to read the Bible through...Genesis to Revelation! And I really try to apply what I am reading in the Word to my life. I am S T R U G G L I N G through Leviticus right now. And when I say S T R U G G L I N G I do mean struggling. Yesterday and today, I was reading about the sexual restrictions and the punishments that accompany those acts. There are 30 verses on "forbidden sexual practices" and 27 verses for "punishment for disobedience." I thought...God, you couldn't just say....don't do anything but...if you do you are going to get punished? 1 maybe 2 verses and it would be taken care of.
Then, I smiled! You see, I thought of this sweet little girl when she was 2 and 3. Jane LOVED to write. She wrote and wrote....the problem, she didn't use paper! So, she began her writing career on a quilt that I made for her bed. I put the brand-new-just-sewed quilt on her bed and went out to the kitchen for a MINUTE; when came back into her bedroom...she had written on the quilt with a magic marker. I said (rather loudly and firmly) "you don't write on the bed, you only write on paper!" DONE. She was a smart little girl and she knew I meant it.
Then days or weeks later, she wrote on the wall in the kitchen. Crayons this time. AHHHHH...I knew that this was a teachable moment...SHE had to scrub the wall with a toothbrush and toothpaste....and the same admonition: you don't write on the walls, you only write on paper. DONE! She would remember THIS lesson because the wall was bathed with salt water tears, too!
Several weeks later, the kitchen floor needed to be scrubbed with a toothbrush and toothpaste by the same, smart little girl with the same admonition....
And then the straw that broke the camel's back or maybe it was a particularly tough day...I don't remember...but I came into the kitchen and right on the sweet and smart little girl had written on the dishwasher. (These were just the large art pieces that she did, we had to have many talks about the books that she destroyed with her "writing," much to the disgust and shock of her older sister, Betsy who NEVER wrote on anything but paper. See note below)
I took that sweet, smart, little girl's hand and we went around the house. I pointed to EVERYTHING and said: you don't write on the walls, you don't write on the floors, you don't write on the carpet, you don't write on the furniture, [downstairs we went...still hand in hand] you don't write on the dryer, you don't write on the washer...we covered the house with EVERY possible place I could see on which she would want to write. Her little feet were flying to keep up with me. When Steve came home, I told him that Jane understood about the proper place to write NOW! Paper ONLY!
A couple of days later, it was Sunday and Steve and I were in the living room. Jane came in to announce...Daddy, I made you a picture! Both Steve and I looked at each other...I said...don't worry it's on a paper... To Jane we said, show us your picture. There in the kitchen (it really is the room where she did her best work) Jane had taken a pen and drawn a picture for her dad inside his sports coat. (She did a great job, she had covered one side with scribbling.)
What did I do? Laughed. I looked at Steve and's my fault. His look was anything but understanding at my was HIS coat... I explained that it was my fault because...I didn't tell her not to draw on his sports coat. That really was the last thing that she wrote on other than paper after that.
I realized when reading Leviticus that the reason those 50 some verses exist is because the Israelites had DONE all of those things and God was taking them around the house and giving them instruction. We really aren't much different now. There is always a loophole. There will always be the shade of gray. We will always look for a way to change it up and do things that we are not supposed to do. And what happens when we realize what we have done (or gotten caught doing something wrong, what do we receive from our heavenly Father? Grace. Amazing grace. I am so thankful today for a Heavenly Father who gives us the rules and forgives us when we break them. And then covers us with His Grace.
[NOTE: After reading this, I know my girls. Betsy will again think and declare that she was the perfect child. I only need to remind her of my first "quilting" project. I quilted a phone book cover. I had just put it on, and Betsy doodled 2 eyes, a nose and a mouth in ink while she was talking on the phone. And she wasn't 2. And mama wasn't happy."]
And without my children, I would have wondered why God needed 50 some verses to deal with forbidden sexual practices.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Realization...confession...Grace...Amazing Grace

Sunday morning: When I was getting ready for the usher/greeter team that I co-lead, I realized that for the last several weeks, I was choosing the opening scripture on Sunday morning instead of taking it from a scripture that had encouraged me during my quiet time...I didn't have to wonder why...I knew...I had not had a quiet time for a long time.
I then realized that throughout this past week, God had whispered to me to come His Word. He created a longing to draw me near to Him. I knew that He was calling but I did NOT respond to His gentle nudge. I ignored the Creator of the Universe.
Instead of responding, what did I fill my time with? Oh very important things! Let's see... I read 2 other books. I sewed. I went to the gym a few times. I sat. Yep, I just sat. I directed my thoughts to my life. Centered directly on ME!

As I was sitting there yesterday the realization washed over me of what I had done and how I had treated my Savior, I humbly bowed and asked Him to forgive me. Forgive me for being so self-directed. Forgive me for wasting the time He had given me. But most of all, forgive me for not responding to Him.
God reminded me of a man that He called "a man after God's own heart." A man who had succumbed to temptation, committed adultery, and instigated the death of this married woman's husband; yet he was called "a man after God's own heart." God reminded me of David. I went to Psalm 51 which was written as a confession when David recognized his need for God's grace. It begins:
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me from my guilt. Purify me from my sin....Against you and you alone have I sinned...


Grace...that is what I received. If someone had ignored me and refused to respond to my calls, I have to say that I would have been really ticked. I would have complained. What I received from God for ignoring Him was forgiveness and grace.

But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow...Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me...

Amazing Grace:
I think that is what I find so attractive about the God that I love. He can take what is unlovely and unworthy and clean it up and declare that person: A man after God's own heart. David was a man after God's own heart...Perfection? No, that wasn't David. Honest? Yep! David was honest with God.

Last night I prayed as I closed my eyes...Father wake me so we can have time together. Today, at 5:30 am He gently moved me from my bed to come before Him. I had no lightening bolts or great insights. I didn't have a vision or hear Him speak audibly. I really didn't read anything that was earth shattering in His Word (I am in Leviticus trying to read through the Bible...something I have never done). What I felt was a peace and a joy of being obedient. Oh, how I wish that this would be the turning point for me. That I would never again push Him away or disappoint Him. I will. I know it and so does He. But what I also know...when I come to him with a broken and contrite spirit, He will give me GRACE. Amazing Grace!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our week on the Cruise with the family

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We just got home from a week long cruise with Steve's siblings and their husbands. We left for New York City on September 11. We got to NYC on the 12th. We met the family and went to the send off party. As we left New York harbor...the fog was thick and wrapped around the city. The band was playing and there was a feeling of anticipation as we left. While we were leaving the city, I struck up a conversation with a New Yorker. He pointed out Ellis Island and some of the other landmarks...including the vacant spot in the city scape where the twin towers stood. As we passed by the Statue of Liberty, the band began to play and sing...

I am proud to be an American...

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

A moving tribute to the faith that needs to bathe this land at this time. After traveling all night, we were in our rooms and we even beat our cabin steward, Randy, to bed. He didn't have time to turn down our beds...8:30 we were all in bed...and woke up the next day around 11:00. But we were able to eat 3 times that day...don't worry.

The first day we spent on the water. We explored the boat and enjoyed each other. I think it had been over a years since we had gotten together with the whole family. It was good spending time with them.

Our ports of call were Halifax and St. Johns Bay in Canada, Bar Harbor, Boston, and Newport in the states. We took tours in all of the cities but Newport. We learned and saw so many things. History was evident in the buildings and of course the stories that were told. Although we may have forgotten much of the details, there are some things that remain.

Each meal, we bowed our heads and thanked God for family and food.

We were able to talk with family and spend time with them. We laughed at what had happened in the past and laughed at what was happening in the present. I sat back and reflected the first time that these family members entered my life. I met most of them on the Tuesday before we were married. I have come to love each of them. While we were on the boat, we celebrated Merl's 81st birthday, Merl is married to Paula, Steve's oldest sister. I looked and realized what a blessing it is that we get together as frequently as we do...and that is thanks to Gus, Margo's husband who encouraged her to rally the troops and keep in touch. I looked at Carol and Allan and was so excited that since we have moved to Washington, they have become friends who happen to be relatives. We traveled to the airport and spent the day with John and Leslie and enjoyed some one on one time with them...for part of it...John and I rested our eyes....

I thank God for the people that He places in our lives. What a joy to be able to spend time with family, enjoying the time. I know that not every family enjoys being with their families but God has given us families that we love. I praise Him for the family that He has given us. What a joy to share the foundation of Christ.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Before she was a glimmer!!!

Before she was a glimmer in her daddy's eyes, her Father had her pictured in His head.
Before she giggled for the first time, her Father had captured just the right sound to come from her mouth when she was tickled.
Before she spoke her first word, her Father had placed a vocabulary in her that included her dolls, Laquisha and Sandy; the Bible story about Me-shack, you-shack, and A-bendie-girl; her hu-hu (tutu).
Before she uttered a sound, she was filled with sounds that would pierce the silence and the heart.
Before there was a sweet girl named Mazie, there was a Father who knit her together in her mothers womb.

Before there was a hint that something was wrong, her Father knew and knew what needed to be done.

Today was surgery day for Miss Mazie. For all of the details check out which is Betsy's site.

For me...I just want to thank God because of His love and His care in the lives of those we love. It hasn't been a time absent of tears or fears. It hasn't been a time when I haven't been anxious has been a time of building faith, of stretching me and testing me if what I say, I believe. Jesus and I have had many conversations over the years and "why" creeps out of my mouth.

The Israelites wondered for 40 years in the desert. They complained and questioned Moses and ultimately God. And after the complaints, the questions, and all of the whining...God still loved them. It's what makes my questions and complaints humbling...God still loves me...and I praise Him for that. Thank you for praying for her and for our family...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Please Pray for this babe!!

Mazie has surgery on Monday...
Please pray that the OR will be surrounded with angels
and those same angels will direct the doctors hands.
She is a pretty precious treasure in our lives...

A big change...for the better? You decide!

I have to confess that the relationship between Betty and I was not perfect. Looking at this picture one would THINK that we were happy this point...we were...BUT...
Any time it is blueberry season and we have visitors, we go to the blueberry patch. We pick blueberries and so there was no reason why I shouldn't have Betty come with me. She could take SOME home and I would have help picking was beginning to be a perfect day...Betty was blown away by the size and the amount of blueberries and she threw herself into picking... The crop was good. I stopped at about 9 pounds because I saw she was over 10 and I wanted about 20 pounds with the first picking.....

Even NOW we looked like the perfect team. Look at those smiles!!! We had picked the blueberries, had fun, laughed, took pictures and THEN it happened!!!!!

Right after that, I went for my purse and my checkbook. Our conversation went something like this....
Betty: What are you doing?
Me: (smiling still) I am getting my checkbook to pay for the blueberries.
Betty: These are mine. (starting to turn ugly here in the beautiful blueberry patch)
Me: (straight smiling, knowing that I wouldn't get free labor for my next "picking"...dry laugh...) No, how are you going to get them home on the plane?
Betty: in my suitcase. We have to buy some containers
Me: No, really?!
Betty: These are mine! You can get your own later.
Seriously, this is almost word for word!!! I had NO free labor the next time AND all of the blueberries fit in her suitcase the next morning...
And me? I have to go back into the blueberry patch...probably by get more blueberries. So...what do you think? Did YOU see the change?????
We did surprise the "raspberry pickers" when we drove in the field so we could see the machine up close. I wanted Betty to see how they pick the berries...and then had to drag her away from the raspberry fields because she found some berries still on the vine....
A report: Blueberries made it home just fine. Next time I take someone to the blueberry field...I plan on asking...
Is this trip for the pleasure of picking berries
Are you going to steal...I mean...
Will you want to take these home with you?
PS...I love this woman!!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A weekend of fun....

On Saturday, Steve and I met this couple in Port Angeles for a couple of days on the peninsula. Who are they? They share our grandchildren with us. Betty and Carl, Jon's parents, joined us in WA to explore and explore we did! And laughed! And prayed! And laughed! And talked!
I loved the dew in the HOH rain forest...

The paths were so amazing to walk on...
Just for the girls in Boys Town, we stopped in Forks and posed with the local celebs...then sent the pics to Betsy to show the girls....

Betty found the vacation cottage, romantically called: Storybook Cottage...AHHHHH

Headed up the Hurricane Ridge. I am not a height seeker so when we were driving in fog...I was glad and we talked about turning around but we laughed about what we would see and what we would tell others....
We went to waterfalls in the area....

We got up to the top of Hurricane ridge and we had just finished lunch when Carl and I were in the parking lot. Along came the deer...3 of them...I kept telling Carl, "turn around...." and he turned EVERY way but the "other way"...These and some of their friends were within 6 feet from us. In talking to the rangers, I asked if the deer were always here? She said..."yes and they take a few steps and pause...wait for the clicks of the camera...lift the head....pose..." and that is what they did. You only heard the clicks of the camera. People were just very quiet!!!! It was sooooo very cool. They also had a raven or two who could break into zippered coolers! Jelly stone park in real life!

Here is one of the mountain lakes...

And this is the view we saw from the top of Hurricane Ridge!

Look at the cloud...that is what we drove through....but this is what we saw....

It was so much fun!!!! WE had a blast! And we so love this couple. God has given us such a gift in Jon's parents. We look forward to the next trip...there are more places to explore!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What shall I fear?

Life is neither what we see on the Hallmark Presentations, nor can problems or concerns be reconciled in a 30-60 minute program. Life is...well, it is life.

Our granddaughter, Mazie has been struggling with health issues since before she was born. Recently, it is with her kidney/bladder and some neurological (spinal cord) problems. Yesterday, Mazie was put into the hospital again. Betsy writes a blog and she has some information about some of the specifics ( This morning, again very early, I was awakened to blog about what is happening in my life...however... This is not about Mazie. It's not about Betsy and Jon or Simon. It's not about me. It's about God's voice heard clearly through a friend.

I had been helping with a conference at our church for the last 2 days. Mazie's "big" appointment was on Friday morning. Before the conference began yesterday, Betsy called with the results from their appointment to the neurosurgeon. It has seemed like it has been a long time coming and the results, although not what you would want for your little granddaughter, were promising. Then, Betsy texted me later in the day that they were putting Mazie in the hospital. Again.

My role in the conference was to keep the volunteers "happy"! When I heard the news, I began to cry. I left the room but was soon surrounded by people who loved me and were trying to encourage me. Everything they said, I knew to be true!

Mazie had amazing doctors who were not content until they had found out what the problem was instead of treating the symptoms and reporting's just Mazie.
Thankfully, she was in the hospital where she would be getting help.
Mazie was in God's hands and even though she was not in MY sight...she was in HIS sight.
Even if I was in Omaha, I couldn't do anything more.
God loves Mazie.
He is her protector.

See I knew all that yet, the tears kept falling. So, I decided to spend a little time in the Word. When I can't even think of where to go...I run to the Psalms. And in times of emergency, I run to the 911 of Psalms. So, off to Psalm 91:1 I went.

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the almighty. This I declare of the Lord, He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting in Him..."

I have read those words over and over but the Bible on my phone is in a different translation (Living Translation) and I read them again, with the fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit surrounding me.

Now, this would be the time that I SHOULD be saying, After reading these words, my heart was at peace and I was able to praise Him. Should have, but probably wouldn't be up in the middle of the night. My tears continued to fall. I read the rest of the psalm (you really need to read really, you really need to!) My eyes kept going back to those first two verses. I was still crying. Then a friend came out of the building and stopped to talk to me. She comforted me, encouraged me, and then allowed God to speak through her. She said, "Linda, what are you afraid of?" PAUSE...then... "Linda, what do you fear?" The tears STOPPED! This question was not from my friend standing in front of me...this question was asked of my Savior....What did I fear?
I could tell you all of my concerns. I hated being so far away. I didn't like hearing all of the outcomes and realizing what Maz would have to go through. I hurt that our daughter and family had to have the medical problems. mmmmmm....what did I FEAR?

My desire in my walk with God has always been to encourage others that there is nothing that they have to fear in any situation. In everyday and extraordinary situations, I have chosen to see all of the fingerprints of God in my life and to declare them to others.

What did I have to fear? Has my Savior changed? Is He still a refuge in times of trouble? Was this hospitalization a surprise to Him? Did He blink and now His eyes were not on Mazie and her family? Had He failed me in this day? No! No! No! He is and will always be my shelter from the storms of life. He knows what is happening and is orchestrating His creation. I have no input in His amazing creation around me. I am not instrumental in anything that He does. Without me He continues to be. What do I fear? It is in Him I place my trust and in Him I find refuge and because of Him I can praise Him for His amazing, awesome love and care that He has for me. Yesterday, I heard His voice loud and clear! Not from a burning bush or after a howling storm but in the quiet voice of a dear friend. How I praise Him for using her to speak His words to me.

And now I can say...I have nothing to fear for I have a God who desires me to run to Him and He will protect me and the ones that I love. He is my shelter in the times of storm and there is no other place that I desire to find refuge. Praise Him.

Father, thank you that in every situation in our lives, we can trust in you. Keep our eyes focused on you and not the situations that surround us. Thank you that we can run to you and find refuge from the storms. Thank you for the protection you give us and the desire you have to be present in every moment of our lives. Thank you that nothing that happens in our day is a surprise to you. Thank you for loving us so much that you sent your son to be a living example of your love and care. Father, praise you for using others to speak to us, help us be sensitive to your leading and in tuned to hearing your voice. Father...praise you that we (I) have nothing to fear. In your precious name, AMEN.

Monday, August 2, 2010

100 Things About me....

If you didn't want to know 100 things about may want to skip this posting. These are in no specific order...more like random thoughts...a challenge that was set forth by my daughter, Betsy, and my friend, Merry!

1. I love Jesus. I want to know more about Him and I really want to do what pleases Him.

2. I like to keep my relationship with Steve, my husband, fresh. Now we are practicing kissing as described by romance novels. (I narrate and that seems to be very intimate...okay, Steve usually ends up laughing...even when he has been prepped on how to respond)

3. I love seeing my girls, even at ages 32 and 29. I miss them like crazy and usually can't go for longer than 3 months without touching them and talking to them face to face.

4. I am "one of those grandmothers." I love sharing pictures of Simon and Mazie, love telling stories about them, love playing with them, love making things for them...I just love them. And I am so excited that we are going to have another grandchild in November...and there will be more pictures and more stories!

5. I am blessed to have my 2 sons-in-law. They have added so much to our family and I love they way that they love our daughters.

6. I love going to seminary...I love papers and just learning!

7. I HATE acupuncture.

8. I love my massages.

9. The idea of having a dog appeals to me, but the reality of it (poop, piddles, and puke) just doesn't excite me.

10. I love where I live. I love being able to drive somewhere for an hour or two and see something that I have never seen before.

11. I love seeing starfish--I never knew they were purple and orange!

12. Aquariums are my favorite.

13. I am not excited about trying new food things. Whenever I go out, I am usually stuck on one thing because I am afraid I won't like something new.

14. I do not like to put myself out there and introduce myself to new people.

15. I don't say a word when I am in class at ACTS.

16. I am a control freak and like to be in charge because then we can do it my way.

17. I hate to clean house.

18. I love to drink coffee. I love the strength of coffee out here in the Pacific Northwest.

19. I write books all of the time in my head.

20. I love seeing how God works things out in my life.

21. I love flowers and our yard...I hate weeding it and don't even like watering it.

22. I don't take out the garbage, I think this is a man's job...along with mowing the lawn, etc.

23. I have never liked washing windows. *I think if you read this, you could figure out that the windows need to be washed, the house needs to be cleaned, and the weeds are peeping through the bark.

24. I love getting flowers.

25. Okay, I love getting gifts. I would be the last one to say, let's not give gifts this year...

26. I can be extremely jealous, especially with my time with my family.

27. I think that I could stay at home and not go out of the house for long periods of time.

28. BUT I love being with people.

29. God has given me an amazing group of friends.

30. I hate cross word puzzles.

31. I can't put a puzzle together because I can't see the pictures and would rather get a scissors and FIT the pieces.

32. I am afraid of the dark and when I am alone, I sleep with the lights on all over the house.

33. I don't balance my checking account.

34. I had a rabbit named Tigger that I really did like! But I don't want another one.

35. I can see the big picture in a project but the little details sometimes escape me.

36. I love to be creative.

37. I love sewing but hate starting a project.

38. I love to entertain and really don't see it as difficult.

39. My house's appearance has become less important since we moved to Washington.

40. I am very insecure.

41. Even though I hate to admit it...I am addicted to my Blackberry and blame my children for the new obsession.

42. I love blueberries and love picking them.

43. I like working at the funeral home with Steve. We make a good team. But I wouldn't want to work full time. :-)

44. I have to convince myself that I want to go outside in the summer but in the winter, I can't wait for summer so I can go outside.

45. I love chocolate.

46. When we go somewhere, we aren't gone long before I think I should have ice cream.

47. I miss my mom.

48. I am glad that my sister and I are good friends.

49. I love being good friends with Jon's parents. We enjoy each other's company and look forward to spending time together.

50. I love decorating for Christmas but usually have had to convince my family that it is fun to put a tree up in every room of the house.

51. At Christmas I have several groups of people over to the house...the funeral home ladies and some dear ladies from our church whom I love very much are my favorites. Oh and the soup supper for our small group...I like to have people over...

52. I like to paint...walls not canvas...instead of washing them.

53. I love going to the water and just looking out to see what I can see. We have seen orcas, seals, starfish, crabs, clams, and most recently....a rat!

54. Looking at Mount Baker never ceases to thrill me...we can see it from our house. It is so majestic and a reminder of the awesomeness of God.

55. I am scared to death of height...therefore, traveling to Mount Baker is not a fun outing for me.

56. A perfect vacation? Water, sand, a book, and no rushing around.

57. Went to Hawaii and didn't love it. I liked it. We saw a lot...didn't love it.

58. I wish more friends could see where we live.

59. My one regret with my mom...she didn't get to see where we lived before she died.

60. I am so impressed with Boy's Town and what they do for kids.

61. I don't miss being a Speech Pathologist.

62. I love being retired but wish I would have something that I could work when I want, have unlimited vacation time, decide when I have had enough....

63. I love traveling.

64. I love to read...usually historical novels or light murder mysteries.

65. I love Leverage, NCSI (and NCIS-LA), and the types of shows that you have to figure out who "done it" or contains a good con!

66. I have nightmares if I watch too gory a show/movie.

67. I love to go to mindless, predictable movies so I don't have to think but do like a good con artist plot!!!

68. I love burnt hot dogs and burnt marshmallows for s'mores but have tried to get a golden brown marshmallow.

69. My mind is going pretty much non stop when I am awake.

70. I am so thankful that God has given me my husband. I am not sure anyone else could put up with me like he does.

71. I love our church.

72. I love living close to Steve's sister and husband.

73. I HATE the cold. and I will complain about the cold.

74. I LOVE the heat...and I won't complain about how hot it is. It gives me justification to complain when it is cold.

75. I would love to have a favorite color but just can't decide on what color that would be.

76. New adventures excite and frighten me at the same time.

77. For about 5 days, I thought I crossed the line and thought I loved exercising. It didn't last.

78. I have a hard time staying with anything.

79. I do not like to do the same thing over and over. One type of craft isn't going to work for me. Been there, done that is my motto with crafts, etc.

80. Knitting did not relax me.

81. I would love to paint pictures but the pictures in my head, never turn out on paper.

82. I love taking pictures. I love old rusty, weathered buildings.

83. I think that cemeteries are really neat and I would like going through them.

84. I am a horrible speller.

85. Math isn't much better...

86. I love to talk and love descriptive words.

87. I love word pictures and authors who can make the print come alive. When I read a book, it is always a motion picture in my mind.

88. I like reading classic novels like...The Secret Garden, The Count of Monte Christo, The Little Princess...

89. When I taught, my favorite age was high school.

90. I am always surprised when it is pointed out that I am shorter than someone. I think that I am the same height as everyone around me.

91. I am rebellious.

92. I didn't like turning 60...okay, I hated it and was depressed about it.

93. I love snorkeling and looking at everything that is under the water.

94. I have lots of unrealistic fears that no one knows about. And some that everyone knows about.

95. I am allergic to broccoli and bananas. Nobody gets that.

96. I want to be someone to whom others look up. I don't want to be a perfect model, just someone that when watching my life, you can learn from me.

97. I liked collecting all kinds of things (chickens, pigs, antiques...) and now I don't know what to do with them.

98. I am very content in the life that God has given me. I am thankful for the trials and the blessings. It is in the trials that I have grown, and the blessings have come from those same trials.

99. I have tried many times to pick a "life" verse in the Bible. One that in a nutshell describes how I feel, how I know that God loves me...I can't, I love just way too many verses.

100. I would love to memorize Scripture, but I can't, never could, and I can't remember the words to songs either...I have chosen to get very intimate with my concordance.

100 things about me. It's not a complete picture of me...but it's a glimpse of who I am, what I like, what I hate....

If I could only say one thing about me...I think it would have to be that I love seeing what God has in store for me for my life. I love His creativity and His creation. I love knowing that no matter what happens in my life, He is faithful. I look to Him for direction and when I choose His path...He takes me on a very interesting pathway. I love knowing that He loves me...all of me, my character, my quirks, and every aspect of my life that only He is aware of.

I love what He has done in my life. I love what He has to do in my life, I am not done, He will change me and mold me into the woman that He wants me to be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

North Dakota Nursery CHECK

I flew to Fargo July 13 to help Jane and Andy with the nursery.
What began as a black and white and grey nursery turned out to be
orange, green and yellow!!!
It was a fun and busy week. We painted, sewed, and assembled furniture.
Betty, Betsy's mother-in-law, joined the fun!!! and painted the bookcase trim.
We weren't going to paint the shelves but a coat of white Betsy and Jane!
Andy came home for the weekend and weighed in on the colors of paint and was
excited about the stripes!!!!
When Betsy went to a "ceramic" shop, she thought that she needed to MAKE something for the nursery. You really can't tell how beautiful it is...the picture doesn't do it justice.
(Betsy reads my blog!!!!)
Another miracle will enter the picture in November. Jane would like it on November 11 because she does like holidays for birthdays ... she was born on Flag Day!!!
Betsy would like the baby to come on November 30 because then the baby
would be born on Simon's birthday.
For Jane's sake, her due date is the 22, I hope that Betsy's wish doesn't come true!!!
It is too much past I think Jane's date would be better!
(Jane reads my blog too)
After a week in North Dakota, I am in Nebraska.
BTW: the heat is WONDERFUL!!!! I love it!!! yesterday...105 heat index!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Please Pray

Here is Mazie cleverly hidden by Mazie, Cookie, and Max the Cat...she was very cold...
and later in the playroom!

I have been spending some great times with my kids...I'll post pictures later: of my time with Jane, but for now

Please pray for:

Mazie: she is in the hospital. Lots of tests and a fever that just won't go down. She has an IV and is getting lots of fluids. She is on some tough antibiotics. She isn't eating. She IS drinking! Tomorrow, she has a test and can have nothing by mouth until after her test at 12:30. you have to realize that there are 2 phrases that are first to come out of her mouth in the morning: I am thirsty and I am hungry!!! This won't be easy for anyone. She is a trooper and she is a funny bunny even when she doesn't feel well! My heart hurts to see her. She can't go home until the fever is down for 24 hours. It was up at 9:00 tonight!

Simon: Sibling syndrome...his sister, mom and dad appear to his brain that he is the forgotten child. We know about this because this is how Jane

felt whenever Betsy was sick. Notice me...I am still here. Tonight was tough. He wanted his mom to put him to bed and she was at the hospital. His language failed him when he was explaining this to his mom and he did sound like he was being stubborn...poor little guy!!! Even with Nana here, mom is always better

Betsy: she has been staying in the hospital with Mazie. She is sleeping very little. She has been torn between work and family and hospital. She told me today that this isn't what she planned to happen when I came to visit. I just consider it another gift from God that I am able to be her this week to help. She hides her concern well but I know that there is concern.

Jon: Jon is trying to hold work and home together...and tonight said he was very tired. He spent the day at the hospital today and came home tonight.

I love this family so much and am well aware of God's hand in our lives. His almighty and wonderful presence surrounds us and I cherish the prayers of those who have known and supported us in prayer. I am thankful that my lonely husband encourages me and tells me that he is glad I am here even though I know that he is missing me. I praise Him for who He is. I thank Him that His arms are wrapped around this family and that the things that are happening are not a surprise to Him. I thank Him that much the same as when we struggled when we were going through medical concerns with Betsy, His hands are always the ones most competent.

It is late, I need to go to bed, pictures will come tomorrow!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A New Dawn

The house is quiet except for the fans running to cool it down. Steve is still in bed and for the past several days I have been awake at dawn...I know this because I have seen the sun rise for the last several 4:00ish. I realized today that although I don't always get up, this is my favorite part of the day. I have tried to put my finger on what it is about this time in our house.
I used to think that it was because I felt alone, before we both rushed off to work. But that can't be it, because Steve still rushes off to work, but I am alone much of the day.

I think it is because for me, this is a time when I can feel my Savior's presence. I love doing devotions in the morning. I love praying in the morning. I love being alone with God in the morning. When I don't meet with God in this precious time, I almost feel like I missed Him which is silly because I know that He is ever-present.

There is just something that causes me to pause and praise Him in the morning. I think that it is the holy hush to my day. Thank you Father for your presence this morning and in my life. Thank you for this day that you have given me. Thank you for watching over those whom I love. Jesus, thank you for being dawn...and allowing me to experience it with you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The trip to the ME

Over the years I have seen several massage therapists. Each one has a unique way of describing my back....I have heard: cement, rocks, You-just-came-last-week-what-happened? You get the picture. I tend...tee keep all of the stress in my life in my shoulders. A couple of weeks ago, my chiropractor told me that I should consider a massage...I didn't tell him I had just come from an 1 1/2 hour massage, mostly working on my back!!!!! So my massage therapist gave me a name, I called, and today was my appointment.

I walked into his room and there staring at me the entire time during the interview was Buddha. (should have figured that out..eastern medicine...duh!) First came the interview. He asked questions and I answered them. Here are a couple of my favorite:
T: (because his name starts with T) Do you worry?
Me: no, I don't worry...later on I said...oh wait, I'm on meds for anxiety...maybe I did worry...

Later in the interview and my personal favorite....T brings up body image for people in my generation...okay, so that didn't sit well ya little whippersnapper! I told him that I had gained 35+ pounds in the last 5 years since we moved out here and that did bother me. Now here is the fun part.
T: Do you feel it or do you believe it?
Me: do I believe that I am overweight? YES Do I feel it? YES
Wrong answer...I was supposed to pick one. Believe or feel? Why yes, I feel better when I weigh less AND I believe I am overweight...confirming the whole body image for my generation (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

After an extensive interview, he told me to lie on the table. He went out to get the pins/needles! I thought this was just an interview....I would have told him that Costco WAS an emergency. Here's what happened:

First he had to listen to my heart...with his fingers. He put his fingers on my pulse and then he got down right spooky. His eyes would grow large and then small and then large again. Didn't much like that! He "listened" to my heart in my ankles, again with the fingers and the spooky eyes. Then he started to stick pins in me.

I have heard that this doesn't hurt. Well, I would say...some of the areas didn't hurt, my feet and hands and arms....they hurt. Going in AND while they were there. After he had about 15+ stick pins in me, he put a bag of sand over my eyes and told me to relax.
The reason people SAY that it doesn't hurt is because, after the "treatment" and I expressed PAIN...he said, no I didn't feel pain. Pain is something that you want to run out of the room...hmmm....okay, so you know pain and I don't or was it...I was in PAIN but I'll tell everyone, it wasn't pain because I didn't run out of the room.

He then stayed in the room. Now, was when I felt very uncomfortable. I didn't know if he was praying to Buddha or doing paperwork, but I started singing every hymn that talked about the protection of Jesus Christ. For a while, all I said, (this is all in my head) was Jesus! It was now not only spooky eyes but creepy feelings.

He told me that I would take a nap...FAT chance!!! I waited and worried...okay so I should have answered that question differently. What am I going to say when he wants me to schedule the next appointment? (Song about Jesus) Do I make it and call to cancel it? (Song about Jesus) Am I polite? (Praying for protection from spooky and creepy) Do I tell him that this is the most spooky and creepy thing that I have done?

He said he'd wait for 20 minutes. Now, I can feel these pins, and they are not comfortable. It has been at least a day and half that I was laying there...(BTW: My top time limit on laying in the sun...about 10 minutes before I get fidgety) Finally I could stand it no more...I had to ask:

ME: Do people tell you they hate this?

He seemed genuinely surprised. He then asked what I hated. I told him. He said, okay, I want to look at your back. He did something...felt like a rolling pin going from my shoulders to my ankles. Then his fists...same pattern.

Diagnosis? My blood pools in my calves. My heart can get the blood down to my legs but it can't come back up. I asked: How did you know that? He said...well every time I touched your calves, you cringed and I didn't change my pressure.

Okay, Mr. In-a-younger-generation, do you think it is because I had just come from a class at the gym and we had done lunges and squats? Of course my calves are tender! (These were silent, in my head questions. After the hate question, I didn't think he could take these!)

My worst fear never came to pass (see it really doesn't pay to worry). He asked if I wanted to make another appointment or just call in. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Will I go back? Not for a long time. My next worry? Tomorrow I go to get my hair low-lighted and I will be covered with tin foil....wonder if I will pick up alien reception...stay tuned.....until that time, the only pins that will be around me will be those in my pin cushion!!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010


It's Memorial Day. It's not just a day off of work. It's not the first camping weekend. It's not a vacation day where you get time and a half. It's a time to remember.
What do we remember? For some, it is a time to reflect on the past wars. Some wars are seen as mistakes and others seen as necessary. Although there are a lot of things that differ from war to war, some things are similar. In every war there are those who do not agree with the war.
In each war, there are those who go to foreign lands, never to return again. In each war, there are those who protest the war for the killing that is involved. The protests hurt the soldiers who come home or hurt families who have lost their loved ones in that foreign land.
Each war threatens our freedom and each time that happens, men and women will volunteer to fight so that we can experience freedom.
Today, we had our annual Memorial Day Festivities at Moles Greenacres Memorial Park. The 1422 flags lined the roads and once again took my breath away when we drove into the park. We had the fly over from the vintage airplanes. We enjoyed the speakers and the musicians. We had hot dogs and brownies. All in all, it was a typical day. But, somehow it was different.
Today, as the widows (ers), wives, sons, fathers, mothers, children, and siblings paraded up to get their flower because their loved one had died this past year...over 100 vets died this year. Today my "job" was to be available for the family to get down the steps after they placed a carnation at the Veteran's Memorial .
What I saw in the faces of most of the people was grief. I saw young widows with small children weeping because, their husband and father didn't come home. I saw the tears and open grieving in the faces of teens who had lost their dad. And I realized that many places place the emphasis on the soldier. Please do not think that I am downplaying the soldier's bravery. I am not. I am wondering about those left behind. Young mothers who are now single moms. Young families who need to have the guidance that is necessary.
Thank you. Each of you. For you the soldier and your bravery and courage to take a stand for our nation. Thank you to the families, the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and children who remain and who are struggling because your loved one stood up for our freedom.
There is a cost for freedom. It comes at the price of loss and death. It comes at a great price. Thank you for serving. Thank you for putting your life on the line so that I might have the freedoms I enjoy.
Look at this picture taken in Arlington Cemetery. If you look carefully, you can see the heart made out of the tree branches to show people the love it takes for a man or a woman to dedicate their lives to being a solders.
Happy Memorial Day. Take some time to remember and to pray for the families who need the strength and the love of God. Pray for our country, its leaders, and for those who make crucial decisions. Pray that God will be the center of our lives. It is He that can give the orphans and widows peace. It is His peace that we desire. Pray that He will bless our land. Pray that we will be faithful to Him.