Friday, December 4, 2015

The Post About Thanksgiving

Again, I've been hoping my laptop would be better so I could blog and post some pictures from Thanksgiving, but alas, it is not. It will not stay connected to the Internet for anything. Hubby had someone at his work look at it and they thought they had fixed it, but it is still acting the same. Phooey. So I'll just make do with no pictures. And figure out someplace to take my laptop...

We spent Thanksgiving week in Missouri. Hubby's side of family throws a big family reunion every three years. A cousin works and lives at a Bible camp in central Missouri that is just the perfect place for a family reunion! Lots of lodging, a big kitchen, outdoors to play in. It's a great group of people and I am thankful that I am related to them all.

I will admit that one of my favorite things about the reunion was getting lots and lots of granddaughter time. Lydia is 8.5 months old and a bundle of sweetness and fun. She smiles at everybody and makes the cutest faces. I don't know how it's possible, but my heart fills with more love for her every time I am with her.

(Imagine several pictures of sweet baby-ness.)

It was a good week away with time spent with both of the kids, extended family and even pizza with old friends.

Unfortunately, we both came home sick. Saturday as we were leaving the camp, I started feeling like I was getting a cold. When they tell you that flying with a cold can be uncomfortable, believe it. The descent into Atlanta was brutal on my ears.  I now fully sympathize with babies crying during take-off and landing. I also now understand why my kids didn't seem to hear me when they were little and had an ear infection. Sunday night when we got back to South Carolina and I was in the car, I had to ask my hubby if the car was running because I couldn't hear it running. Thankfully, by Monday morning, my ears felt better.

The summary of the week is: pajamas and tissues (I'm on my third box). Oh, and coughing, lots of coughing. And take-out.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall In The Mountains

I've been waiting to write this post, hoping my laptop would start functioning better, but that hasn't happened, so I am trying to use my tablet.

The last Saturday in October Hubby and I decided to take a drive up in the mountains with the hope of seeing some fall and some views.

It was sooooo pretty and a beautiful day!

Hubby searched for a scenic drive online and found a great hour and a half drive through the mountains that just got better and better as we drove along.

Some people say that when they look over the ocean, that peace comes to their soul. I get that feeling when I see the mountains. The expanse just speaks to me of God's majesty.

So much beauty! Hubby brought his really nice camera and took some pretty terrific pictures.

Hubby and I had a good day together and were thankful to see that the mountains aren't always socked in with fog like we experienced on our abandoned vacation the month before!

Oh, one more picture.... Hubby thought he needed to take a picture of me in the mountains. I should know that his "one" picture always means lots and lots of pictures.  This is the result after he took more than I wanted him to. Can't decide if I am laughing or screaming.

I am thankful to God for blessing us with a good day and for allowing us to see His creation.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Years ago I read an article about Lasts. The article pointed out how we don't always know or notice when the last something will occur. The purpose of the article was to encourage its readers to savor the moments.

Sometimes lasts are a welcome relief. The last winter we had to live in Minnesota. The last day I had to live in that small town that was so lonely for me. The last day on a job that was so hard to go to everyday. The last day of college classes because you are finally done studying and can get out into the grown-up world.

Some times the lasts are bittersweet. I don't remember the last time my little daughter reached out to hold my hand. I don't remember the last time my little son wanted to watch me put on my makeup. When did my babies last crawl or call for me in the middle of the night? When was the last day they went running to the door when their daddy got home from work? I kept a calendar the first two years of their sweet little lives and wrote down their firsts. Their first tooth, first bottle, first steps, first words, etc. I don't have a calendar of their lasts. Those lasts sneak up on us and go by unnoticed as time marches on.

Maybe that's a good thing because sometimes those lasts can be super painful and if we knew they were coming it would be unbearable.

Like what I've experienced lately.

My parents are in the process of moving to North Carolina. They have lived in Iowa their whole lives except for a few years in the Air Force when they were first married. But now they want to be closer to my sister's family.

I've come to realize that the last time I was in Iowa, two plus weeks ago, was the last time I will see them in the house they have lived in since I was eleven years old. I'm feeling like it's the last time I will ever be in that house and that is very painful for me. I did some serious growing up through my teenage years and college year summers in that house. I lived there longer than any of my siblings. My parents have thrown a lot of parties in that house celebrating graduations, engagements, weddings, birthdays.

The thing with lasts is they sneak up on you and sometimes you don't realize it and you don't get a chance to process and try to comes to terms with it and before you know it, it's done and gone. I thought I would have a chance to do that, but it seems like things are moving along faster than anyone told me, than I thought they would. How did I know that last Christmas was the last one I would ever celebrate in that house? I didn't get a last chance to go through the rooms and see if there are some treasures that time forgot. I won't say I didn't get to at all, because the last time I was there I found a vinyl record of my high school senior year variety show I had forgotten about. How many more of those types of things are there? I'll never know. I didn't get a chance to go room to room and play the memory tapes of the past, of my high school friends hanging out with me in the kitchen, of my date sneaking a kiss in the garage, of my husband and I talking in the basement the day before our wedding, of my son's second birthday party there, of my daughter learning to use a fork or hiding her peas in her glass of milk, of my nieces and nephews sliding down the stairs, of all the kids sledding in the backyard, of my parents at the front door waving good-bye.

Forty-three years of memories. Done. My heart is grieving.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What in the World?

Something happened last night that I just do not understand. I stayed up until 1:20am. (Okay, that's not so terribly weird since I am a night-owl) The really weird thing is that I stayed up to watch a baseball game that lasted FIVE hours. And the last hour was by myself because hubby had to get some sleep.

If you know me in real life, you know I am not a sports fan. Not at all. But for some unexplained reason I get pretty excited about watching a playoff game, IF it involves a team I like.  (And if it's not football, because, yuck.)

And by "team I like", I mean a team that Hubby cheers for because I don't have my own opinion about sports teams. Ha.

Hubby grew up 45 minutes west of Kansas City and his aunt lived in Kansas City and took him to Kansas City royals games when he was a little boy. He would listen to games late at night in bed on a transistor radio under the covers. Ever since, he has been a Royals fan. Then ever since Hubby and I started dating, I have been a Royals fan. Here we are at a game in 1985:

Yes, please, go ahead and laugh out loud. We'd been married a whole year at this point. I think this was the second Royals game I had been to. That doesn't count the number of times we listened to games on the radio. 

We took the kids to Royals games when they were growing up. They are Royals fans now, too.

I think this was the game we had to buy a ridiculously over-priced golf towel with the Royals logo on it for poor little Megan to actually be able to sit on the hot stadium seat without burning her little legs.

Megan bought this little onesie last year when she found out she was having a girl.

Here I sit tonight watching Game 2. What in the world is wrong with me???

(I do like spending the time with Hubby and learning about something he loves.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Few More Pictures of the Generations

I thought I would post a few more pictures from the generations party for Lydia.

My father-in-law sat down on the couch with his great-granddaughter and started making faces at her. She was intrigued.

And she thought he was silly.

 As I watched this silliness, I suddenly flashed back about 25 years to this:

  Some things never change! Ha ha ha!

 My mother-in-law enjoyed some Lydia time, as well.

My mom, enjoying a beautiful October day on the farm.

 My sister-in-law drove my in-laws to the celebration and was roped into being the photographer so we had to get a picture with her great-niece (or is it grand-niece???)

These cattle showed up on the farm the weekend we were visiting and between them bellowing because of their new surroundings and Ralph The Rooster crowing to prove to his hens that he was boss, it was not a quiet weekend on the farm. I didn't get a picture of Ralph because he was hiding in the asparagus with the hens. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015


A couple of months ago we got an email from our daughter, Megan, telling us about an idea she and her husband had for a family celebration. Shortly after our granddaughter was born they realized that she (our granddaughter) had seven living great-grandparents. Our daughter and son-in-law decided that this needed to be celebrated and photographed, so out went the invitations and plans were made and plane tickets were bought. (well, only by Hubby and me because everyone else lives within 75 miles of our daughter.)

Megan fixed a yummy lunch for all of us. Let me tell you, that girl is a wonderful cook! She made two different kinds of soup (one with chicken that they raised on their farm), two kinds of homemade bread, along with a fruit salad and apple crisp and ice cream for dessert.

The dishes are from my in-laws. They bought them in Japan almost 60 years ago when they were first married.

After lunch we all trooped outside to take the historic photos.

Lydia with her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

Lydia and her SEVEN great-grandparents.

Why was Lydia smiling so cutely? This is what she was looking at:


I just love this one of my dad holding Lydia. Four generations in this photo.

Hubby and his parents. And Charley. The dog had to get in on the action. Four generations. (Plus the dog.)

Our son-in-law with his dad and grandparents. Four generations.

Son-in-law with his mom and grandmother. Four generations.

The star of the day! I am crazy about those two little teeth!

It was a really good day, the weather was beautiful and Lydia was sweet. I am thrilled we got to document all this family for Lydia to look back on one day.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Really REALLY Big Deal

My last post was about the old cloth tape measure that belonged to my great-aunt and how my mom graciously gave it to me. Well, today's post is about and even BIGGER deal.

Four years ago, when my dad turned 80, my parents asked us kids to write down three things we wanted from their house. I thought hard about two of the items, but one was a cinch for me to come up with. In reality that "one" item was actually multiple items. My mom had acquired several quilts that her ancestors had made. I found them many years ago and asked for them, but Mom wasn't ready to give them up then.

My parents are getting ready to move (more on that in another post on another day) and have been sorting through some things. When we were visiting my parents a couple of weeks ago, I asked my dad if I could have the quilts. He said we'd have to get Mom's consent. I went upstairs to find five quilts in the closet and brought them down for my mom to look over.  Mom's first reaction was to shake her head "no" pretty adamantly. We talked about it occasionally for the next couple of hours. Mom kept shaking her head "no".  I even asked Dad if it mattered if Mom gave her consent. He said it was part of her grieving process of moving and letting things go. Mom did finally say it was okay to take four of the five quilts. The one she kept was one that her mother made.

I pinned them up on my design wall and photographed them to share on my blog at the request of my blogging buddy and fellow quilter, Kathy
This Nine-Patch red, white and blue quilt was made by my great-grandmother who immigrated to the United States from Sweden when she was a teenager.
Nine Patch, 71x84"

The note my mom wrote and attached to the quilt says that she bought all new fabrics for this quilt and all the stitching was done by hand and that it was probably made in the late 1930s or early 1940s. I remember my mom telling me that it was the last quilt her grandmother made.

This applique quilt was made by my paternal grandmother. I never knew she quilted! It looks to be machine pieced and hand appliqued and quilted. My guess is the flower fabrics are from feed-sacks.
Flower Applique, 69x84"

This quilt was definitely well used and loved. It is the most worn and stained and faded of the quilts.

This wool quilt was too heavy to pin up on my design wall, so I laid it on the deck. The note my mom had with it says my paternal grandmother's mother, my great-grandmother, made it. Then she added at a later time "or her mother". (!)  It is very heavy and pretty stinky (musty). I have in on the screened-in-porch right now airing out. I did get some advice on how to clean it and it sounds like a two person job, so I'll have to wait for Hubby to help me sometime.
Wool Quilt, 80x78"
 It does have a few holes in it. My dad says he remembers sleeping under it.

I saved my favorite for last. I love them all, but this Double Wedding Ring quilt is in pristine condition and I love the old feed-sack fabrics. The note with this one says that my maternal grandfather's mother made it, my great-grandmother, and there is another note that includes my great-aunt's name.
Double Wedding Ring, 84x88"

Thank you, Mom, for entrusting the care of these special quilts to me. I know it is a Really REALLY Big Deal for you to give them to me. I know they are treasures and I plan on caring for them with utmost care.

I have been searching for how to care for these and how to clean them properly. I have emailed an expert in North Carolina and she gave me really good advice on how to clean them. I want them to at least smell good enough to use some and to display.

I wish I could have a conversation with the women, my ancestors, who made these quilts. Why did they make them? Who did they make them for? How long did it take to make them?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Big Deal

I know the above picture doesn't look like a very big thing, but the story behind it is.

When I visit my parents, my dad will often ask me to mend something for him. Since my mom was disabled due to a serious stroke, she is not able to do those things for him any more and even though I give my dad some grief about it, I am happy help him out. When I was at their house a few months ago, Dad asked me to mend a seam in some dress pants of his. Next to my mom's sewing machine was an old fabric tape measure. I looked closely at it and saw a name was written on the back side of it.

Can you see what it says? It has the name Charlotte Swanson written on it. She was my great aunt, my mom's father's sister. Aunt Charlotte made the best Spritz cookies.

I brought the tape measure back upstairs with me and told my dad that the tape measure was something I would like to have. My mom took the tape measure from me and looked at it and made kind of a disapproving sound (the stroke took away her speech). She then set it on a table next to her. I took that as her telling me that she was not willing to let me take it.

A little while later, Hubby and I said our good-byes and made our way to the front door. Dad pushed Mom in her wheel chair to front door to wave to us as we drove away, like they always do. I turned around to give my mom one more kiss and she was holding out her hand to me with the tape measure in her hand and a sweet smile on her face!

I know to the casual reader this may not seem like a big deal, but if you knew how sentimental my mom is, you would understand.

I will always treasure that strip of fabric with measurements printed on it and my great aunt's name written on it because it was a big deal for my mom to give it to me.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What I Did On My Abandoned Vacation

Hubby and I managed to be pretty productive after we got home from our abandoned vacation, even thought The Rain That Seemed To Never End came along.  Hubby went back to work for two days, but we still did some fun things.

We managed to knock out several errands which included getting my new glasses adjusted, finding a shoe repair store to fix my favorite purse, finding a new hair stylist and making an appointment. (I really liked her!)

One evening before that monsoon hit, we tried a new restaurant (weren't impressed) and went to a movie. We saw The Intern and really liked it. One of my take-aways from the movie is that I hope I look to those who have walked this road called life longer than me and realize they have much more wisdom and life experience than me and that because of that they have much to offer.

Hubby didn't work on Friday so we spent the majority of the day knocking off the list of stores we've been wanting to explore. We checked out interior design stores, a consignment store, an antique shop, a couple of garden stores, Hobby Lobby, and World Market.

I noticed something at many of these stores that just has me baffled as to why this is a decorating thing:

Why would I want a giant painting of a cow in my house? It's not even accurate because it's not dirty and doesn't have slobber dripping out of its mouth. (In case my son-in-law reads this I realize this bovine may not be a cow, technically, but it is impossible to tell from the picture if I should call it a cow, heifer, bull or whatever else is an appropriate title. Let me use "cow" as a generic term, okay?) I have also seen paintings of pigs in this style. I just don't understand.

Anyway, I loved, loved, loved spending the whole day on Friday with my hubby. I was just telling God tonight that I am very excited for Hubby to retire someday because the older we get, the more I like being with him.

Friday night the rain started here. We spent basically all of Saturday and Sunday at home (while it rained and rained and rained and rained). Hubby worked on a bathroom removing a horrible wallpaper border and painting over the pink and green stripes and hanging up a new shower curtain. It looks sooooo much better!

While Hubby did those jobs, I worked some more on my sewing room. I threw out a bunch of fabric, although if you looked in there you would probably think there was no way I could have because I still have lots of fabric. Thus is the life of a quilter. I also have a ton of fabric leftover from my days of sewing garments for myself and the kids. I started to plow through all of that, but quickly realized it was too much of a scrapbook of memories for me to handle getting rid of too much. There is fabric from numerous pairs of pajamas I made for the kids, the crazy neon 90s shorts, the sweet dresses, get the idea. Despite my slobbery self, I did manage to purge quite a bit. 

By Sunday afternoon we realized it hadn't rained for several hours so we decided we wanted to get out of the house and we went granddaughter shopping and out for supper.

It was a good three day weekend for us and I was kind of sad to see it end.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I Should Have Brought My Scuba Gear

This was our week to explore a wonderful part of the Southeast. Hubby and I planned a 10 day get-away, just the two of us. We hadn't done that this year yet as all of our time away has involved visiting family and business meetings. Vacation spent with family is a good thing, but so is time alone with my hubby, even after 31 years of marriage.

So what did we plan to do? We wanted to take a week and drive the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We wanted to see views like this:

Instead, this is what we saw for three days and 169 miles:

Fog. Lots of fog. Oh, and rain. Lots of rain.

Tuesday morning we woke up in Floyd, Virginia and saw the weather forecast for more rain, so we decided to abandon the vacation and come home. So, instead of a 10 day vacation, we had a 4 day weekend. Sigh.

Yesterday, I was really regretting the decision. Today after looking at the Blue Ridge Parkway page on the National Park Service website, I feel better. I read that there is an advisory for the whole Blue Ridge Parkway because of the possibility of falling rocks and trees (due to the massive amount of rain). I am choosing to believe that God sent us home to protect us danger.

We covered 169 miles on the Parkway, but didn't see anything but fog. We did do a few fun things, anyway.

Saturday we drove to Charlottesville, Virginia since it is near the beginning of the Parkway. When we got to town, we went to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. (Thanks, Joyce, for giving me a heads up about that!)

This place was built about 1772. (The many, many years of history out here in the east sometimes is hard to wrap my brain around). We went on a tour of the house and learned a lot and enjoyed it very much.

Sunday morning we stopped at an apple orchard, bought a few apples, some cider and a piece of apple pie to share at lunch time.

Then we headed to the Parkway in the rain and fog with hopes of the weather clearing up.

At mile marker 19 (the speed limit is 45mph on the Parkway), we stopped at an overlook, (with so much fog we couldn't see anything) chatted with another couple who were stopped there, then cracked open the cooler and fixed some sandwiches for our lunch.

After lunch, Hubby tried to start the car and there was NOTHING. Just a little wrrrrr sound. The battery was dead. We have never had any trouble with that car and we were stumped. We had no cell service and there were not many cars on the Parkway. We tried to text our kids to pray for us and to call someone to help us, but no texts would go through, We ended up sitting in the car with the hood up for an hour and a half before someone stopped to help us. I have never been more thankful for cigarette smoking, tattooed, pickup driving people with jumper cables!! (Our car was fine the rest of the trip...go figure.)

We spent Sunday night at a pretty cool hotel in Roanoke, Virginia. Monday morning we looked over a D-Day memorial. I am always sobered with the global impact of World War II. Before we left Roanoke, we browsed through an antique architecture hardware store and had lunch at an amazing french cafe.

Tuesday morning found us texting our kids that we were abandoning our vacation and driving four hours in the rain (of course) back home.

Hubby went back to work a couple of days this week. We now have a couple more vacation days to use in the remaining part of the year. Hopefully we can get in some three days weekends and see some more of this awesome part of the country.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Like a River Glorious is God's Perfect Peace

My hubby is a wonderful piano player. I love listening to him play. When Lydia was here last month, he sat down at the piano and played for her.

She was entranced. This picture just melts my heart.

When I took this picture, Hubby was playing this hymn:

    Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
    Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
    Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
    Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way. 

    Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
    Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

    Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
    Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
    Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
    Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. 

    Every joy or trial falleth from above,
    Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
    We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
    They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

    I didn't ask him if he chose that specific song on purpose, or if it was just a random choice.  Almost twenty-four years ago when our daughter was 20 months old, she spent three days in the hospital because of some sort of an internal bleed. (I wrote about it on my other blog a while ago, you can click here to read the details.) During those three days we were in the hospital, God put this hymn in my head. Every single time I have heard it since then, I tear up and remember those scary days. I also thank God for Megan's life and beautiful, godly woman she has grown to be.
      The hymn's text celebrates the blessing of trusting in God's care and keeping. Such trust produces peace.

      I saw this sign as I was shopping at Hobby Lobby last month with my daughter and granddaughter. 

      As I thought about what we had gone through with our daughter, and I heard Hubby playing that hymn TO OUR GRANDDAUGHTER, I realized that there is so much of God's grace in this sweet, little, happy, beautiful face.

      Lydia Mae when she was five months old and had been on her first plane ride to visit us.

      Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
      Praise Him all creatures here below, 
      Praise Him above ye heavenly host
      Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.