Thursday, December 30, 2010

Class and Style

A few years ago I gave my daughter an award for her class and style. She knows how to make all things look easy.

She is a whizz with coupons and can stretch her budget amazingly. She has been wonderful to do research and help me find things to improve my home and make my life easier.

She is a great homemaker and mother to her three little ones. She and her husband have made a wonderful life together.

Today we celebrate her birthday. I don't think she knows how old she is--when she was a teenager she was always telling her age to be older--now she celebrates her 29th birthday over and over again. Whatever her age it only matters that she can do it with class and style.

Happy Birthday my daughter. I love you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today is a special day for weddings in our family.

Our oldest son and his wife celebrate their 12th anniversary today. On their 9th anniversary our middle son married his sweetheart and today they celebrate 3 years of marriage.

Four years ago my brother married his sweet wife and today my nephew is getting married.

Who would have guessed that December 29th would be such a popular day for weddings in my family.

I often tell my children that marriage is a fun game to play and you win as long as you keep playing--it is when you quit that you lose--so keep playing everyone--it is worth the effort.

Happy Anniversary, may you celebrate many more in the years to come.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Improvement

I know there are many in our society who rush to the store on these days between Christmas and New Year to get the best deal.

I guess my husband and I are like that as well--we rush to the home improvement store to get the items needed for the project we hope to accomplish in these few days off work.

This week we are prodded along by a great deal on appliances-- you see, as I have gotten older I find myself kneeling on the kitchen floor alot. I am always on my knees as I look through my refrigerator to find the item I need that is invariably on the bottom shelf, in the back. It is getting more difficult to reach down into the fridge and I want to get up off the floor.

Our daughter called last month to tell us that the refrigerator I have been wanting for years was on sale--with the stove, dish washer and microwave as well--all for the price of the fridge. YEA!! My sweetheart took me over to look and we decided the deal was just right for us and scheduled the delivery date for the week between Christmas and New Year to give ourselves time to get ready.

Now you may ask yourself, "what do you need to do??--the item comes and you plug it in--no biggie". Ah, that may be how it is at your house, but I like to do things the hard way. The space for our fridge was too narrow for the modern wide beauty we chose, necessitating widening the wall, or narrowing the opening from kitchen to family room, and changing out a cabinet. While we are at it, maybe we should put a new coat of paint on the cabinets and change the wall color. Our beautiful wood floor looks a bit thirsty, maybe we should give it a quick recoat at well.

So now you know what my sweet husband puts up with and how my crazy brain works. He is happy that this year he still gets to sleep in his own bed in his own bedroom--last years project did not afford him that privilege. The big inconvenience this year is that the stove left out the front door a few days before the new one comes in--microwave meals are quick and easy when you are covered from head to toe with paint.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas

For the first time since 1947 we have snow in the south on Christmas. Beautiful fluffy white snow that is great for packing and making a tall statuesque snowman sentry to guard the yard. Eden thinks he is just perfect with his hat that her daddy donated and pieces of coal (black checkers) for eyes and buttons.

We are cozy in the house with hot chocolate on the stove, a puzzle on the table and a movie on the screen. Yes, this is a perfect winter day.

Baby Ada is dressed in her angel outfit, snuggled in her blanket and Connor is warm with his jammies under his pants and layers to keep the flakes from giving him a chill as he sleds down the hill.

Church at the building was canceled today. Later we will gather as a family and have a lesson, sing a hymn and talk about our blessings. We don't get the privilege of doing this very often--Christmas, Sunday, snow and family, a good combination for a day to remember.

Friday, December 24, 2010

-Sleigh Riding

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.

It is usually the day we deliver plates of Christmas cheer we have created in our kitchen to our friends and neighbors. When the children were still living at home I would send them out with their father to deliver these delights late in the afternoon. While they were gone I got busy and tidied up the house, gathered all of the treats that friends had delivered to our house, turned off all of the house lights and turned on all of the Christmas lights. I lit the candles in the luminaries and house then prepared the dining room for our Christmas eve feast. True, it was a simple feast of canned soup, home made bread and all of the plated goodies that had come from our friends, but sometimes greatness is in the presentation.

When my family returned our house looked like a fairy tale. The children's eyes would light up as we headed to the dining room to fill their hungry tummies and start the night of magic.

After dinner we would gather in the family room under the tree to hear a few Christmas stories and sing a few songs. We would end with my husband reading the scripture verses from Luke followed by family prayer. It was one of those magical moments when the house felt overflowing with love and gratitude. We were glad to be a family and glad to be together.

Then together we would recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas". The children would giggle and laugh, we were silly with our Santa hats on. Most years we would then gravitate to the car or back of the truck for a bit of sleigh riding--driving through our neighborhood to see the lights. It was a magical scene that still sets my soul with wonder at the magic of the evening and anticipation of midnight visitors.

When my children were newly weds and all living in the same town we would have progressive Christmas Eve from house to house enjoying a treat, story and decorations at each home. Tonight we will be going to my daughters home with strict instructions to bring the truck and a stack of warm quilts.

I like driving home from my children's homes on Christmas eve. The streets are empty. Everyone is at home enjoying the evening with their own families. It is peaceful and my thoughts turn to the quiet moment that Mary and Joseph shared in Bethlehem that night of the most amazing gift that was ever given to the human family--the birth of our Savior.

May your Christmas eve be filled with joy in your heart as you contemplate your blessings on this the most amazing night of the year. Maybe you will go 'sleigh riding' to see the sights and lights, sing a carol and read a few verses from the Book of Luke.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the whole year. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love sitting and reading or listening to a heart warming Christmas story.

When the children were still living at home we had family devotional every morning before they left for school. Usually we read a chapter of scripture and had family prayer at 5:30 in the morning before the oldest had to be out the door at 5:45.

During the Christmas season we would try to add an uplifting story to go along with the prayer and scripture verses. Part of my thinking was that with 6 children the bounty under the tree would be better appreciated with a bit of humble priming. The other thought was that a good story, well told, is quite entertaining and it would treat the kids to something more than the TV had to offer.

I have quite a few notebooks filled with stories of Christmas Cheer that I still enjoy getting out and reading during the season. A story a day till Chiristmas fills your heart with joy that the mall cannot match.

I hope you have time to settle down and read a quick story or two to get yourself in the mood for the real meaning of Christmas during these last few days of hurry and scurry. Treat yourself and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This week we celebrate Sean's birthday.

Sean married my oldest and has given me 5 beautiful grandchildren. He is a wonderful provider for my daughter and he loves her very much.

You've heard all the jokes and horror stories about getting along with your mother in law--well I must admit that Sean needed some time to figure me out, but this year we spent 4 months together and did quite well--thank you Sean.

Sean is an intelligent man. The way his brain works is always amazing to me. He will admit that sometimes there is so much going on in his head that he is like the absent minded professor, but that is some of what is endearing about him. Shawna lovingly pulls him back to life in the fast lane with 5 children at home and he jumps in and gets going.

I love listening to him read. He can keep up with the story line and have a different voice for each character so well. It is an entertaining evening when Sean has a book to share.

Sean and Shawna offer opportunities for us to travel and it is so much fun to do this with them. We have tickets to go visit later this winter, I am looking forward to the trip.

Sean is proud of his wife and family. I am proud to call Sean my son in law.

Happy Birthday, Sean

Monday, December 20, 2010


Brody--grandchild number 11 celebrates his birthday today.

Brody loves his grandpa. He knows grandpa is a willing participant in movie marathons. Grandpa is also a pushover for sweet treats and endless ball passes.

The last time his family made the long trek to our home the first thing Brody said to us was, "It sure took a long time to get here!" --and I must agree with him, but every mile is worth the effort.

Brody is kind in the way he treats others. He is quick to compliment when he sees the opportunity. Last summer when I was visiting I was getting ready to go out with his mother. I had my hair up in hot rollers trying to control the frizz. Brody walked by and saw my different hair arrangement and came back for a second look. Then he smiled and told me I looked pretty. Thank you, Brody!

Brody loves to build with legos and line up his cars. He jumps on the trampoline and has endless energy to run, slide and swing. He says funny things that makes us laugh. He is a child who is cherished and it shows in his personality.

Brody is gentle with his baby brother and rough with his older brother--just like a boy should be. His giggle is infectious. I enjoy listening to him 'read' as the family gathers every evening for scripture study.

I am thankful we were able to spend a few days with him last week. When you are turning 4 you need reminders that you have a grandpa and grandma who love you very much even though we live many miles away.

Happy Birthday Brody. Grandma and Grandpa love you

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today at church the choir sang many carols for a wonderful Christmas celebration. My son Kevan and daughter Teri sang in school choirs over the years and I loved going to their concerts. I miss those opportunities.

As we sang the carols and hymns of the season today my heart was full. I thought about my Savior and the great gift he has offered me. I am thankful the world stops for a moment at this time of year to recognize His birth.

As I thought of that young couple looking for a place to stay and finding none, I realized that they probably did find the most quiet, peaceful place in the bustling city of Bethlehem. The inns were so full and noisy--yes, out back was definitely better.

I thought of Joseph and what a good, strong, honorable man he was. He was trusted to love Mary and raise Jesus. He was in tune to spiritual things and protected and taught Jesus. He was a good man.

I thought of Mary and her great calling and responsibility. She is truly honored among women.

I hope that I was in the heavenly choir that sang to the shepherds. Today I sang from my seat in the chapel, Joy to the World.

My heart is full as I listen and sing the songs of the season. I contemplate my many blessings. It is a great time of the year. I am richly blessed.

My grandaughter told me she hopes to be in the school choir next year--I will enjoy going to her concerts.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Christmas 5 years ago we received a urgent telephone call from Ryan Brew, a young man in our church congregation. He had been fighting cancer for quite a few years and was finally in remission--or so we thought. On this particular day, just before Christmas, he had a terrible back ache and needed my husbands help. As the doctor visits continued over the next few days and onto months I spent quite a few hours with his mother, Pam.

Pam was a wonderful mother to her 5 children and a devoted wife to her husband, Reggie. She took care of them all during this trying time for their family with class and style. As Ryan's final days drew to a close Pam and I cried together as only mothers can. We shared many tender moments as the family tried to heal and continue living while missing Ryan so much.

Two months ago we got word that Pam was now the family member with urgent medical needs. The doctor diagnosed stomach cancer and just hours later Pam's life was forever altered. It has been a rough autumn for the family and this last weekend with her family around her, Pam said goodbye.

Pam Brew was an elect lady. She was kind and loving. She was a supportive wife and loving grandmother. She has 3 daughters that my heart aches for. For weeks we prayed for health and life, at the end we prayed for peace and a quick passing. This life is such a short span of time.

I cried with Pam at Ryan's passing. I cry for the family and myself at Pam's passing. Life is too short. I need to kiss my husband and spend a moment longer hugging my children and grandchildren as I see them over the course of the holiday.

This is the second friend I've lost this year. I guess the flip side of that is the two grandbabies I welcomed into the world in the same span of time. This is the season to stop and recognize our blessings. I was blessed to know a wonderful woman named Pam Brew. Someday I hope to see her again.

May peace of heart encircle her family as they cry this holiday and give them strength to continue on. The world was a better place because Pam Brew made it better for all she knew and loved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

-All Dressed in White

We had a wonderful weekend.

Ella was beautiful in her pretty white dress, trusting her daddy as he led her to the baptismal font.

Coleman was a quiet, peaceful baby dressed in the same white outfit his father wore over 30 years ago on his blessing day.

The earth was dressed in a fresh blanket of snow as we started our journey home today. The nip in the air and the evergreen trees encouraged a happy feeling in my soul even though my sweetheart and I had to kiss our loved ones goodbye.

The sun occasionally peeked out from the clouds as the miles rolled by. When we needed to stop the brisk breeze was chilling, making our cozy car very inviting. The conversation was enjoyable as we listed our blessings and hopes for the future.

It is a pleasure to live in the south where the weather is usually mild. It gets cold for a day or two, occasionally it snows a little (a bonus day when they close everything and we stay at home). We have a few winter clothes and our car can make it through, but we don't usually have to worry about inclement weather very often.

We noticed a small matter to be concerned about when we had gone just a few yards on the freeway and a big truck spit road melt all over our windshield. No problem, use the wipers and spray......nothing.... Stop and clear away a little more snow off the hood and windshield.....still nothing..... The spray reservoir is filled with liquid for the warm south and not freeze resistant. We purchased a gallon of freeze resistant windshield washer fluid and added it to the reservoir and hoped the warmth from the engine would defrost the line. Nope.....too cold outside. We did sufficiently well most of the day, only needing to stop and clean off the glass a few times-- and then the sun started to go down and the snow began to fall again. We were driving down the mountain road in West Virginia, taking advantage of the toll stops to clean the windshield but it was becoming too dangerous.

We realized that an unplanned evening to ourselves in a quiet room would be a gift to be cherished. It is warm in here. The snow continues to fall. We had a delicious and delightful dinner.

Tomorrow the sun will shine again and we will continue our trek homeward. The windshield still may be a bit murky with road melt, but in the light of day it is easier to see the beautiful white blanket of snow the earth is dressed in as we roll along the miles, counting our blessings.

It has been a beautiful white weekend.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The last birthday entry for Birthday Week in December is for my brother, Mark.

Mark was born just 17 months after me and our little sister just 18 months after him--my mother had her hands full with 3 little ones under 3.

Mark is a hard worker. He built a road on my parents property that has a pretty bend to it. He also moved boulders around the back of the house area creating a rock staircase and a pretty visual separation from yard area and natural acreage. He helped lay the wood floor and do the tile work in the kitchen. Mom is quite pleased with the pretty things he did for her new house.

Mark has always had a tender heart. He has always been kind to his friends and a friend to the friendless. Sometimes he is a bit gruff--I think that is to protect his tender heart.

Mark got married this last summer. Shelley is a kind woman who brings out good things in my brother. I have not seen him this happy or content in years. I pray for their continued joy as they walk the path of marriage together.

Happy Birthday, Mark. May it be a good year!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Katerina Elizabeth

Welcome to Birthday Week in December.

Today we recognize Katerina Elizabeth also known as Katya.

Katya is one of my royal grand children with a name almost as big as she is.

Katya makes me smile. She is the little mother making sure everyone in her family is doing what she thinks they are supposed to be doing...

This summer, when we were in a hotel room together, she was worried that her brother was playing with the safe in the closet and would get hurt. She came and told her mother in her 2 year old way that Max was in danger and mom told her not to worry, but Katya was still worried. She told Max what she thought about his dangerous activities again in her two year old way, but he continued with his 4 year old intrigue with the safe. Finally, Katya could take no more so she took the safe door and slammed it on his hand to show him how he could get hurt!! There, now everyone would listen!!!

This week Katya decided that she needed to be taller so she turned a glass upside down and stood on it. As you can imagine, the glass tipped over and her foot landed on the resulting broken shards causing the need for stitches and unwanted stress in my daughters life. How do you keep a 3 year old quiet and off her feet for 10 days to 2 weeks??

Happy Birthday, Katya. Grandma loves you

Friday, December 10, 2010


We arrived just a few minutes after 9pm.

Little ones who should have been in bed were waiting for us by the door. They were so excited to show us their rooms, Christmas stockings, and other important things in their lives.

The baby has grown so much in the 2 months since we last saw him--he is nice and round with quite a vocabulary of coos and goos.

Brody can't wait for grandpa to finish his computer work this morning so they can watch their favorite 'Cars" movie together.

There is a dusting of snow on the ground and the house is cozy and inviting.

This is going to be a wonderful, enjoyable, family weekend.

More of life's blessings to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


As I go about my hurried days this week all I can think of is...

Run, run as fast as you can
you can't catch me
I'm the .....

Grandma with a deadline!!

Packages to mail

Gifts to finish

Presents to wrap

Grandchildren to go visit

See if you can catch up....

I'm running, running, running

Gotta remember to breathe....

Monday, December 6, 2010


Welcome to Birthday Week in December.

Today we recognize Ella Ruby.

She is 8 and ready to be baptized. She has 3 brothers and misses her baby sister that passed away 6 years ago.

Ella is full of energy. She loves to create. She has a ready smile. She is all girl. She loves to shop and was excited to get her ears pierced recently. Her first words whenever she sees me are...."What did you bring me?"

I am thrilled that we will be going to visit her later this week to see her dressed in white as she enters the baptismal font with her father. The whole family is excited for her big day.

Ella Ruby is a jewel that makes me smile. I love her very much and can't wait to see her.

Happy Birthday, Ella

Thursday, December 2, 2010

-Slow Down and Smell the Pine

There is a nip in the air and colorful lights in the dark. The smell of fresh cut pine is intoxicating. It is a joyous time of year when we slow down and savor the moments that are upon us.

My daughter called from Germany and said they have about 2 feet of snow on the ground--I will enjoy that one vicariously--I am happy to drive on clear streets as I go about my shopping.

Truthfully, I have so many packages to mail that I am learning to shop with my fingers on the computer keys. It is much more delightful than fighting the crowds and standing in line at the post office. I did quite a bit of my shopping this week and only ventured out of my house to take a walk in the neighborhood. It has been a wonderful, quiet week at home putting up my Christmas decorations and enjoying the sounds of the season from the comfort of my family room.

I enjoy carols on the stereo, the smell of delicious foods to serve my family and the pretty lights. Give me a warm quilt and a heartfelt Christmas story to read and my day is complete.

It is a magical time of year. I choose to be happy and go slow enough to smell the pine, but fast enough to get it all done. A balancing act that can be done, slow and steady with a ready smile.