Sunday, November 11, 2012


Last spring we looked at our schedule and decided that a few weeks at home would offer the time needed to lay the wood floor in our Dining Room.

So we ordered the floor, it arrived and we put the pieces in the front room to acclimate and wait.

Then our daughter called with the news that she needed to have back surgery AGAIN.

The flooring pieces continued to wait in the front room until a new window of time could open up.

Weeks and months passed, still the flooring pieces sat in the front room, welcoming our guests, waiting.

Then, we looked at the calendar and realized we had a few weeks together scheduled to be at home.

Wake up floor, it is time. 

It took a week to prepare the sub floor, we had to remove the carpet and secure the sub floor to be sure we did not have any squeaks.

Two weeks to cut and lay the floor boards.

A week to top nail, distress, sand and buff.. (a special thank you to my sons and home teachers for hammering those thousand nails and counter sinking them)

Hours and hours on our knees staining the floor, praying the stain would match the kitchen and landing floors that it would connect. (It matches)

Now to oil the floor, a few more hours on our knees.

We have been waiting 13 years to lay this floor and it is beautiful.

Heart pine.  Random width.  Hand sanded.

A sturdy floor to last decades.

As I look at the kitchen floor we laid 11 years ago I see so much history in the groves, scratches and wear.

The dining room floor is already telling it's own story of family and friends.

Our first celebration will be Thanksgiving.

This floor is a work of love.  Hours and hours over several weeks as my husband and I cut, nailed, sanded, stained and oiled.

Each new scratch over the decades to come will add to the beauty of the floor and record the activities of our every day life

The dining room is home to my grandmothers table, my husband's grandmothers chairs, and a pretty rug I bought with an inheritance from my Nana.

For Thanksgiving we will gather our children and grandchildren in the dining room, connecting the generations.

A humble floor.

A foundation to stand on.

A work of love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today is the day.

We are privileged to live in a free country where each individual gets the right to have a say.

As a country we must face the consequences of our vote.

If we choose well we will have better consequences than if we let a vocal few choose for us.

It is time for all people in this great nation to stand up and be counted.

Each vote is important, no matter what side of the fence you stand on.

I love the feeling I get as the border agent stamps my passport when I return from a trip.

I get teary eyed at a 4th of July celebration.

I love to see our great flag waving it's message of liberty.

This is the land of the free and home to the brave.

I get choked up when I sing our National Anthem.

It seems as if our wonderful country is being pulled into small groups that are fighting against each other, yet...

No matter how difficult our individual circumstances may seem, the USA is a blessed country and we are privileged to be able to live here.

 Let your voice be heard.

Cast your ballot according to your own conscience, no matter how loud your neighbor may be shouting in your ear.

It is a privilege to live in the United States of America

It is a privilege to be able to have a free vote

May God bless America as we in this free nation make our choice today.

Let Freedom Ring

Monday, October 8, 2012

Moving On

The month of September was filled with moving boxes--for 3 of my children.

We thought we would be the ones moving soon, but no, our plans are put on hold for a bit.  Instead we helped 3 of our children move.

Luckily they all moved across town and not across country.

When we returned from Germany, Teri and her family were camped out at our house waiting for their new home to be finished.  There was a crazy week when the children needed to be driven to school 40 miles away every morning and then picked up again every afternoon.  It felt like Mr Toad's Wild Ride and reminded me of our move to Delaware almost 30 years ago.

Kevan and his family were next.  When we returned from visiting my parents Kevan had already filled and emptied the moving truck with the help of family and buddies from work and church.  For the next few days we spent our time trying to get appliances clean and functioning and emptying boxes and filling cabinets so the family could prepare simple meals.  I have found that if the kitchen is functioning then the family can function, even if there is an uproar going on.

From Kevan's house we headed north to help Michael and his family.  The day the guys from church showed up to load and unload the moving truck the skies opened up and poured a cold, drenching rain.  We were wet clear through and freezing by the time the adventure was over.  For the next week the garage smelled of wet cardboard as we hurried to empty boxes and rescue their belongings from a soggy doom.  It took a week to get the appliances clean and operating, but by the time we left dinner could be prepared, everyone could sleep in their own beds and the piled laundry mountain was beginning to diminish.  I am excited to go back and see the transformation Michael and Kendra will do to turn this family friendly house into a home.

In my whole life, the years we have lived in this log house is the longest I have ever set roots.  There were the years when we spent 4 Christmas celebrations in 4 different states taking 4 children with us.  I have loved living in this log house and was looking forward to building a unique house for our special needs on our lot.  Unfortunately the lot did not perk, meaning that it could not handle plumbing for a family.  So, for the time being, until we figure out what to do, we are content to finish the work we started here and remain put.

As the storms that Hurricane Sandy sent our way blustered around us we were safe and quiet in our sturdy log house.  I am happy and content. 

 Now to stretch the budget to manage a house payment and the desire to jump on a big boat for some adventure, not to mention a large family I enjoy traveling to visit.

I hope my children can soon feel settled and content in their new homes. They have all chosen well and I am proud of them.  Making a house a home is part of an ongoing journey, more on that subject another day.

The sun is shining today, the leaves are beautiful.  I think today is a wonderful day to take a walk and see the beauty that is outside.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Walk in Time

The last few days my husband and I have taken a walk in time down memory lane.

We are visiting places he lived before we became us.

Forty years changes many things, at first it was hard to recognize the place.


Slowly recognition dawned.

The base was closed in the 90's, yet we found what we were looking for

We climbed the 10 flights of steps to the top of the control tower

We found the barracks where he lived

The  NCO club building was still there

Our daughter was able to help us get access to the commissary where we purchased American treats for our trip

We found the base chapel where he went to church

We sat on the flight line for about two hours sipping a soda and reminiscing  over our dreams and hopes both past and future

Bitburg, Germany is a place I have heard about and thought about for 40 years.

It is where my sweetheart became his own man, made decisions and choices that would affect our life together

For 40 years he has promised to take me there

It is a beautiful place where the green fields are spring green in August

The rolling hills are covered with fertile farms

The hamlets are picturesque

My sweetheart went home this week and he took me with him

Thank you, Shawna for helping your parents make a dream come true

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Girls

We were able to have our 4 oldest grand daughters come stay with us last week.

We had a great time sewing, crafting, cooking and designing.

We went to the beach and aquarium, church and of course, shopping.

They giggled, laughed and made memories.

I am exhausted.

My house has remnants of fabric, paper, beads and yarn littered in all corners.

A great time was had by all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Revolving Door

When my children started graduating from high school and attending college I realized that I had a revolving door on at least one of my bedrooms.

It seems as if one or more of my kids were always coming or going.

Sometimes they would stay home for a summer, a semester or just Christmas break before they were off to explore the world again.

It was fun to have them come home and see how much they had grown and matured. I enjoyed having a full house, watching the whole group interact and laugh together.

This summer reminds me of those times.

I seem to have a revolving door that grand children are walking through this summer.

First one set of grandchildren stayed while their parents went off to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary.

Then another set stayed while their parents were off to Europe on a business trip.

When my daughter returned from Europe she brought her two nieces with her and now they are with us for a few weeks.

While the girls are visiting from Europe we decided we needed to have a cousins camp and invited Ella and Logan to join us for some girl fun. More about that in a future post.

Lately my house feels a bit like an accordion, stretching and maneuvering to accommodate the crew that shows up to sleep or eat. I never know if we will be having 2 or 15.

My grandma used to say that when there is heart room there will be house room, and I know she was right.

I seem to have a revolving door at my house right now and it makes me a happy grandma.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

perfect summer day

Today was the perfect summer day.

It was neither hot nor cold--just perfect.

The grand children played happily in the yard

We had grilled corn and fresh fruit with lentils for dinner--easily made and cleaned up

The hammock beckoned as the ice cream maker did it's work

We took a delightful stroll through the neighborhood

The ice cream tasted delicious just before bath and bedtime

A happy, relaxing summer day


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Great Out of Doors

Last week was a lot of hard work, but so much fun as I cooked, chatted and got to know the young women from church and their leaders as we camped and worked together. I had fun baking outside in the most amazing contraptions in order to offer brownies (from a cardboard box), a layered birthday cake (dutch oven), whole wheat bread and cinnamon swirl bread (plastic bin wonder oven). To me it is an adventure to go off the beaten path and try to be self sufficient when the norm is not available.

While I was away lounging in my hammock my sweet husband attacked the side porch. We have been using it for a long while as a workshop, the saw has been set up and the wood stacked for a quick place to prepare the next home improvement project. It has been wonderful, but slowly the sawdust was taking over, and what with the summer settling in, we needed to evict some critters who were becoming too comfortable and needed to be reminded that people live in houses and critters in the woods.

It was nice to come home and see the finished project, not to mention a place to put all of the camping gear while the washer goes through it's regiment to clean it all up again. My sweetheart and a yellow jacket had a stinging run-in while visiting on the porch, and the new refrigerator went kapoot and had to be dealt with (why do things break down just after the warranty runs out?)but all in all a great deal was accomplished outside last week.

The day I cam home from camp I had a house full of little ones waiting for me here at the house. They will be with us for two weeks and we are having fun teaching them the adventures of being outside at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

We have been pulling weeds, planting flowers, strolling down the lane, playing slip and slide, swinging and having picnics, to their amazement, all outside. Cries of "it is hot" have been met with a quick shower from the hose and a tall glass of lemonade. We are learning together that there are a lot of fun things to do outside on a warm summer day. Winter is spent inside doing homework, summer sun calls for fun outside by the pool.

I have hung up the hammock and stocked the freezer with popsicles, it is time for summer relaxing.

What do you do when the days are long and warm?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Girls Camp

Ever since before I was born my family has gone camping.

I love to sleep outside and cook over a fire.

Now I would not love to do this on a 24/7 routine, but for a week, once a year, I am in heaven.

I love the peace of no TV or telephone.

The smell of bacon in the morning sets the mood for a wonderful day.

I enjoy creating a delicious meal for my family using the fire and a few simple tools, it makes me feel content.

I like being able to sit under a tree with a good book and not feel the need to go anywhere.

I like that my children can run and yell and carry on all day long.

I enjoy stories and songs around the campfire in the evening.

It is true that camping is a bit of work to get ready, but over the years I have gathered plastic bins that stay packed with supplies.

It is true as well that cleaning up after is a chore, but I have a wonderful washing machine, and it is camping gear, it will wait on the deck while I get the job done.

This year I am camping with the girls from church, I am the cook.

My husband is worried about me, I am thrilled for the opportunity.

Yesterday I practiced baking brownies in a cardboard box with charcoal, they were yummy--totally amazing.

Today I make the last minute lists to be sure I don't forget anything--old brains need a little help.

Tomorrow we load it up and start a fun adventure.

I am so excited.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


The other day we were driving down the road with our grand children. They were watching a movie in the back seat of the car, my sweetheart and I were listening from the front seat.

I heard a profound statement that I have been thinking about:

Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery

Today is a gift, that is why they call it the present.

What are you going to do with today's gift?

Thank you Master what's-his-name from Kung Fu Panda

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Men

There are eight men in my everyday life that I enjoy being with.

My husband of almost 40 years is my best friend and daily companion as I walk the streets of life. I enjoy sharing with him and being with him. He just retired and we are having a great time learning how to spend our twilight years on a day to day basis.

I have a wonderful father who I admire and adore. He is tall and handsome and loves my mother. He is a steady force in my life who thinks I chose well when I decided to make my life's work that of being a wife and mother. Thank you, Daddy.

I gave birth to three beautiful baby boys who have grown into amazing men. They love their wives and children. They try to make right choices. They steadily work in their chosen professions to provide for their families. I watch them change diapers and help in the kitchen to lighten the load of their wives who have chosen to be full time homemakers. When I visit their homes I feel welcome and happy.

I have three sons in my life that my daughters chose to marry. These fine men treat my daughters with respect and kindness. They encourage my daughters to pursue opportunities to express their talents at home and with friends. They are examples of spiritual steadiness who lead their families in a prayerful attitude. They are men who treat me with gentleness. They are men to be admired.

All of these men, together, help me be who I am. I am surrounded by the strength of truth. These eight stand for what is right, and do not sway, no matter how strong the storm that is raging around them. They protect the women and children in their lives with fierce commitment of love and loyalty.

I watch as they gently guide their children to make choices that strengthen the bonds that help their families stay strong. These are men who are approachable when a discussion needs to happen, they can see the goal we are striving for and lead their families steadily onward.

You may ask how I am lucky enough to have so many wonderful men in my life. It may seem impossible to some to find even one great man, in this day and age, to be with. I have watched them closely, and have discovered that they work hard to be strong and steady yet, kind and gentle. They are men who can be found pouring over the scriptures for answers to their questions. They can be found on their knees asking for guidance when faced with a troubling issue. They can be heard quietly talking, in the dark of night, to their sweet wives, as they lay side by side dreaming and planning together.

These men are not perfect. They occasionally make mistakes, become frustrated and short tempered (like we all do). They can become discouraged and downhearted, every now and then, as well. But, they are quick to recognize then they are wrong and make amends to keep things going along as smooth as possible. They respond well to a kind word of encouragement from those they love and quickly take up the task again of leading in righteousness. These things speak volumes to me of the inner strength that makes them who they are.


I am thankful to have eight tall and handsome men in my life. Thank you for your kindness to me, my daughters and my grandchildren. Thank you for your guidance and strength during a storm. Thank you for your love. Thank you for being who you are.

I have eight men in my everyday life that I enjoy being with. I am loved. I am a lucky girl.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grandma's Gentle Words

I am a lucky girl.  Both of my grandmothers lived until just a few years ago, when I was well into my adult years.

They both taught me many great things to remember and guide my life.

One item of business that I often have time to reflect on is:


I have found that if I start feeling a bit under appreciated or achieved, a good dose of good deeds for others cures that ill feeling.  When the green monster of jealousy rears it's head in relationships it usually comes out in unkind words and actions.  When you are feeling attacked from nowhere it is usually because the attacker is feeling jealous.  I find it best to try not to be that person.

Another of my grandmother's wise words were these:


Sometimes it is best to resolve a matter by talking about the issue with the person who has offended you.  But, sometimes you just have to walk away and let time work it's magic.  It may be best to just lay low for a while. Then, when circumstances bring both of you together, go forward without looking back and dredging up old issues.  The two of you may always disagree, but a relationship on some level is better than none at all.  Remember TIME is your friend in this matter. Give it some time.

As our world swirls with commotion friend will be pitted against friend and families will be torn apart on issues that seem and are innocent at the start.  We live in perilous times.

Grandma also taught:





I am thankful for my wise grandmothers who helped me see the world from their point of view, after years of experiences they could see the good and look past the rough.

A smile makes a world of difference.  Kind words build bridges.  Time heals open wounds.  Prayer mends a broken heart.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


My daughter had back surgery AGAIN last week.

My husband and I are staying with her and her family to lend a hand to the care of her young family while she convalesces.

I am so tired.

I find myself laughing--a lot--at the antics of the children.

I can't keep up, when we arrived the day before the surgery, the house was spotless, now there are games, shoes, homework papers, mail and toys scattered about.

This morning it was time for Eden to get ready for school, Grandma's suggestion of what to wear did not make the cut and Mom needed to be consulted.

The baby is secure when grandpa rocks her but when a boo boo shows up, only Mom's kiss will make it better.

The kids are used to my cooking, but always refer it back to the way Mom does it.

When we were out taking a walk, we knew which way Mom thinks is the best route.

We were looking for strawberries in the garden and stopped to pick out a few weeds, I was informed that Mom says the best way to rid a garden of weeds is to pull out the whole root.

Last week at church a friend gave a wonderful talk on motherhood that made me stop and think.  Motherhood is the hardest job and the rewards are not all immediate, though, that jelly kiss sure is sweet.

Now as I look back over my 38 years of mothering my own children I feel quite rewarded.  My house now is usually tidy (when I am not working on a home improvement project) or it cleans up easier and stays that way until I do something that messes it up.

I very seldom yell anymore except to find my husband who may be out in the back 40 somewhere.

After all of the preparations, dinner is now met with a smile and cleanup help rather than a judgement of "I don't like it" even before being tasted.

Being a full time mom is hard work.  Hard on the nerves, ears, back and brain.

Being a full time mom means no time off, no vacation from responsibility, no breaks.

I have discovered that it is easier to go to work and have someone else do the every day chores of wiping up messes and changing diapers all day long.

I raise my voice in praise and admiration for the women I know who have chosen to be full time moms.

I have 3 daughters and 3 daughters who married my sons who are all great mothers and wives.  They are women I admire.  They are women I am proud of.

They keep up their homes, nurture their children and support their husbands.  They stretch their single income to meet the needs of their young families.

A mother is the center of family and needs to be there to be sure things run smooth--plenty of clean socks, boo boos kissed and dinner on the table.

I am thankful for a good mother and my grandmothers who taught me about the important things in life--family love.

I hope I have taught my daughters well enough and can influence my granddaughters so they know that home and family is an honorable profession.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bright and Clear

When I was in kindergarten they took all of us to the school nurse's office to view the E chart.  After that brief experience my mom took me to the doctor's office to look at his E chart.  I put my little hand up, down, to the right and to the left, it was fun waving my hand at random.

When my oldest went to kindergarten they had a vision screening for siblings.  My second daughter was three and I wondered how she would be able to decipher the E chart, but to my amazement they showed her small drawings she could name.

My husband recently went to get his eyes checked, they showed him the WHOLE ALPHABET!!!  Then they put this giant pair of glasses on him and asked him if he liked 1 or 2  as they changed the lenses.  Can the answer be neither?

The first day I wore my bright blue glasses I noticed there were leaves on the trees.  WOW, who knew--individual leaves you could see.

My sweetheart was 3 when he got his first pair of glasses.

My daughter was not quite 4.  My youngest son was in Kindergarten.

My oldest son looks very distinguished in his glasses that he has worn for a few years now.

My oldest had 5 children when she got her first pair of glasses and my youngest daughter got hers last month.

I still have one son with perfect vision, so perfect that he is a sharp shooter on the SWAT team of  the police department he works for.  Keep eating those carrots, Kevan.

I have been blessed with 17 grandchildren.  Victoria wears clear lens glasses occasionally because she thinks they make her look smart.

This week I am visiting my grandchildren in Charlotte.  Connor looks so natural in his new glasses.  Last night I was sitting with his mother when I heard him calling from his bedroom.  He had been laying in bed reading and was ready to go to sleep.  He handed me his glasses and asked me to put them in his glass case--so responsible.

He is the first of 17.  He loves his new glasses.  I told him the story of me and the leaves on the trees.  Then he said of course trees have leaves, but it is nice to see them individually.  Connor is in 3rd grade and he can now see the world bright and clear from where he is standing.

I took my husband in for some new frames to go with his bi-focal prescription.  I think he looks handsome and distinguished with his silver hair and the wide ear pieces.  We also chose some sunglasses.  The first thing the children said was to remember to take them off at the beach-- another story for another day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Point of View

We were able to have 3 of our grandchildren stay with us recently while their parents went away to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary.  We had a great time playing outside, working in the garden, going to the zoo, searching for colored plastic eggs and just hanging out.

We cooked, read stories, watched Disney on TV, and made memories.

All was good until the last day when the youngest tripped and split his head open just as we were walking out the door for church.

Thank goodness for a pediatric emergency care that had a cool treasure box to catch a 3 year old's attention and a doctor who was clever with super glue.

We had a busy 10 days full of fun and adventure.

After their parents returned and the children went home our house seemed so quiet and almost empty.  We slowly tidied up, washed the laundry, made the beds and put the toys and books away.

My sweet husband made excuses to drive to their house over the next few days to return a left over item and see those sweet children again.

He confided in me that these adventures in full time grandparenting were a whole lot easier when he went to work every day and only had to share the night time duty.

Funny, I thought this visit was much easier.

I guess it is a difference in point of view.

Next week our youngest daughter needs to have repeat back surgery, (sad story).  Her 3 children need care while she convalesces and her husband goes to work.

Full time grandparenting skills are needed once again.

We are taking our bikes along for our month long visit.

I know there are books to read, movies to watch and plenty of birds singing in the trees that will need to be sought out.

Happy memories to be made.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Sometimes you can and sometimes you can't

This week it is more like sometimes I can and sometimes I can't

On Holidays I love to set my grandma's table with pretty dishes, fancy silverware, cloth napkins, and use pretty serving dishes

The best part of the meal is to gather my family and spend time with them.

For Christmas I have holiday plates with an outdoor theme, birds and pinecones wrapped in ribbon. For Thanksgiving I set the table with blue Currier and Ives dishes that have beautiful scenes printed on them. For Easter I have china printed with pastel flowers and a silver edge, these were my mother in law's that I inherited.

This Easter, even though I felt keenly aware of the love of my Savior and His atoning sacrifice for me, all I could muster was paper plates, napkins and cups.

We had a ham, sliced and barbequed by my dear husband.

I cut up some apples, put out carrots, warmed up some broccoli and baked some cut up rosemary potatoes

We did not even have pie

My police officer son was on the schedule to work, but at the last moment received a few hours off and surprised me--He has not been home for Sunday dinner for many months--this was not my best offering--but

It was the meal that I could do and it was filled with simple love

My family was gathered around my grandmothers table, physically 6 adults and 4 children, yet in my mind I had 14 adults and 17 grand children, all smiling, talking and laughing.

With paper the clean up is quick and easy--time enough to play a game....

Sometimes I can do it up with linen napkins and heritage china.

Sometimes it is paper plates and finger foods

Yet I hope those I love know that I try to serve with a smile and a prayer of thanks for my many blessings--

My cup runneth over with love,

Simple pure love

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Livin the Dream

Today my sweetheart and I toured America's largest house, Biltmore Estate.

It was a lovely dream home for a wealthy family, now shared with the world.

We have been gone a while and I am anxious to get home to my own little piece of heaven.

True we do not have over 200 rooms and we make just 2 bathrooms work, but it is the corner of the world that we call home.

We sat on the veranda at the Biltmore today and enjoyed the lovely view, but I have found the view from our front porch to be just as rejuvenating.

I love gathering our family in the dining room around my grandmother's table, it is best when all 30 of us are present, though it is fulfilling when it is just my country gentleman and me.

I call my sweetheart my country gentleman and when I do he shudders just a bit.

I tell him that his new full time job is to take care of our assets and together we will keep our country home running smoothly.

He blushes and tells me to stop teasing--that I have read too many period novels.

I remind him that we live on 6 acres in the woods and he is a gentleman--kind and thoughtful.

We will be home again tomorrow, the dogwoods are in bloom and the azaleas should be in bright color.

The plan for this week is a bit of landscaping, flower beds, fresh mulch.

A few grandchildren are coming to visit and spend a few days.

Life is good for us as we live our happy lives in our modest country home.

A home filled with love and laughter is a rich home indeed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


We are visiting my son and his family.

We sat down to play a game with all of the children.

We chose Phase 10, a counting type card game.

In our allotted time we were able to do four rounds with the 6+ of us playing

One child burst into tears as the round ended before her turn

One child boasted of having reached the phase before the round even started

One child struggled to complete the 1st phase after 4 rounds

We wrote down where we were so when we found time to continue later in the week we would know where to start.

Poor grandpa will start next time trying to reach Phase 1-- AGAIN

Mama Kendra had some wise counsel for her children as we played, she said:

Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Sometimes we are the best, sometimes we aren't. That is how life is, so dry your eyes and try again.

I have learned that as long as we keep playing in the game of life we are winning. It is when we decide to call it quits that we lose.

I am at phase 4 when we start again, I hope I get a good hand this time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Marching On

My how time flies when your head is stuck in jet lag.

Add daylight savings time and you have one messed up woman.

These are the things I have a foggie recollection of happening:

My Connor celebrated his 9th birthday

My parents celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary

We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary

We picked out some pretty flowers in remembrance of our sweet baby Caroline

My Denim will celebrate his 3rd birthday this week

My brother celebrated his birthday

and my husband's niece, Taegan decided to get baptized

Life is good and if you don't slow down you might miss some of the best parts

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Well Loved

Most children have a certain something that they love, an item that soothes when the going gets tough. It may be a blanket, thumb, pacifier, stuffed animal or doll.

My oldest had a beanie baby that her aunt Sharon gave her when she was just a baby. My second would suck on her two fingers, and to this day when stressed, if you know what to look for, you can see her hand rush to her face--then stop.

My third had a blanket his grandmother made and I mended and remended a number of times over the years. His future wife kept it safe for him while he was gone for two years serving a mission for our church.

My fourth child carried a quilt my grandmother made, it had embroidered panels of the three kittens on the yellow and brown pieced top.

My fifth had a soft blanket with perfect corners that he loved to suck on, trying to get that thing away from him to wash it was quite the act.

My youngest had a blanket that fell into shreds. He would take the shreds and wrap them around his wrists--that was just a bit worrysome.

While visiting with my oldest the last few weeks I saw the children dragging around the most well loved doll the world has ever seen. The face looks dirty from being almost worn off, the hands are threadbare and the ribbons are now sheer.

My son in law was preparing for an extended business trip and my daughter was stressed. Soon I noticed that worn out pink doll in her hands, she was rubbing the ribbons as she has done since she was a baby. As we talked about "Pinky" we remarked that this is about the 4th doll she has had--all exactly the same.

My granddaughter has just spent the last 15 minutes looking for that little pink doll, she might find it in her mother's bed, being snuggled by her sister. It is time to go to the old doll shopping place, ebay, to see if there is one last doll out there, that is where we found this one.

Each of us has a certain thing, memory or place that we can go to that will bring us solace during tough times. For my daughter it is her pink doll. For my grandson it is his stuffed dog, for my grandmother it was her scriptures.

Where do you turn for peace??

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food for the Soul

While we are visiting in different countries we like to eat the local food. I learned that I love cabbage when cooked the Czech way, and that polish dumplings are delicious. When we went to Italy a few years back we were treated to some of the most delicious home cooked meals, so much food to fill and over fill a hungry soul.

Germans are not famous for their delicious food, but while in Germany my husband cannot get enough currywurst with pommes frites covered in mayonnaise. We went to a gaust haus for a quick lunch last week and my mouth is still watering over the yummy mashed potatoes they served me.

When we visit my son Michael we enjoy the fresh doughnuts for breakfast. At Cara's we enjoy SAS cupcakes. The yogurt at Shawna's comes in a jar and is smooth and yummy.

Food is a great way to gather people and make a memory. Long after the experience is over you can recall the taste and smell, remembering people, places and conversations.

I love to cook for my family, gathering them around my grandmothers table, serving up a slow cooked roast dripping in gravy with creamy mashed potatoes on the side.

Shawna and I were talking about meal planning the other day and favorite foods that the children enjoy. Victoria declared that her favorite food is found in Grandma's kitchen (thank you for the ego boost my beautiful girl). I must agree with her because my memory of favorite childhood foods are those that came out of my grandmother's kitchen--including German Chocolate Cake.

Good food, good memories.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We are visiting our daughter and her family who live in Germany.

It has been quite cold and that smattering of left over snow that was on the ground when we arrived still has a few black piles lurking in corners of town. It rained and snow mixed a few times over the last week, but a pretty snow blanket has yet to fall for us.

We wear our coats, hats, scarves, gloves and boots, because it is cold. It rains on us and the wind blows. Through it all we travel and sight see, we take the children to school and run errands. We enjoy every day living with our daughter where going to the grocery store is a cultural experience.

We rented a car over the weekend and traveled with the family to Poland. We walked in the rain around piles of black snow and ice mounds to see fairytale cities then stopped to ooo and aaa over the pretty pottery.

When my husband was stationed here 40 years ago he lived 7 hours away from where Shawna lives. We thought we would return from Poland with the family and then take the rental car off on our own and continue across the country to see the sights he has promised to show me since I met him. We had a nice 3 day get away planned.

We woke up this morning and put the clean laundry into the suit case. Kissed little ones good bye as they headed off to school. We were working on breakfast and last minute details when it happened. First a flake or two, then twenty seven, then a thousand and twenty seven flakes fell. So many flakes that in 10 minutes it laid a beautiful blanket on the ground. Picture post card pretty.

We were going to be cutting it close to make our destination by nightfall. The snow is so pretty and it would be fun to play snow balls with the grand children. Maybe traveling this summer across the country would be smarter, we could take the family with us.

It has been decided. We will return the car and enjoy the snow with the grand children this afternoon when they come home from school. We will reschedule our trip for our visit this summer. Maybe the grass will be green and flowers will bloom as we drive across the mountains and enjoy the sights of Germany.

Snow has fallen and it is beautiful. It is a lovely day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beautiful Bikes

As we made our way home after our trip we stopped to visit our daughter who lives 3 hours away from us. She helped me order two beach cruisers.

I remember when I got my first bike, my uncle brought it to our house in his car, it was in the back seat. He sent me out to the car to see what I could see. The bike was blue and I was surprised. I remember my dad pushing me down the street and helping me learn how to push the brakes. I drove miles and miles on that bike.

As a teenager I was too cool for a girls bike, I rode a guys 10 speed--orange--for many years. When the kids were little my bike sported a kids seat where my little guy sat. My husband had a matching seat on his bike for our other little guy to ride in while his 4 siblings rode their bikes between us. I felt like a mother duck as we rode along the road on our regular family bike rides, we had a lot of fun.

We tried biking again a few years back but it was short lived--out of shape, busy roads and limited free time--not as much fun as we thought it was going to be.

Cara got a beach cruiser last year and has enjoyed it very much. I rode it one day, had a good time, and have been thinking about it ever since.

Cara helped me find the website. We searched the bikes and varieties. Yes, the 7 speed for sure, I need the ride to be easy. Pink is sure pretty, but the mint green is refreshing, while white would never clash, but it might get dirty looking....mmmm so many possibilities.

We finally settled on the shiny black with white walls on pink rims, a big white basket and little bell completes the picture.

He was busy watching a football game with his son in law. As I spoke he took little notice of the conversation, stopping to give an opinion when pressured.

He liked the matte black with black walls on silver rims--the brown seat with brown handle grips is UGLY, the white walls are sissie looking. As it turned out the black walls and silver rims were sold out and he had to settle for white walls on red rims with his matte black bike. No bell--that is sissie, he would rather yell at the people as he passes. If we can find a luggage rack, he might agree to that.

The bikes came in the mail--almost as much fun as receiving the washer and dryer in the mail. We put them together then took them over to the local bike shop to get the brakes and derailers adjusted. There were $7,000 bikes in that shop, we felt a little silly. But, our bikes are just what we wanted--big fat spring loaded seats for mature bodies. Tall wide handle bars so we can sit up straight and see where we are going.

We mounted the bike rack to the back of our Camry, loaded up those two beautiful bikes and drove over to Tobacco Road. The first day we rode for 3 miles, it started to rain but we didn't care. My face hurt from smiling so big.

The second time we took the bikes out we rode for 7 miles, it was a sunshiny day and I wore my big floppy brimmed hat. We passed a swampy area where the beavers put up dams and flooded the area. There was a group of geese having a noisy discussion. Again my face hurt from smiling so big.

Yesterday we were unable to take the bikes out so we rode them through the neighborhood. Up and down the hills, squealing like two little children sneaking away for a few minutes freedom before returning to the work at hand.

They are not your normal bikes. We are not your normal people. We are not wearing spandex or helmets, but a floppy hat and a great big smile.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

and then...

He retired on Wednesday. On Thursday we started driving south and continued until the land ended, then we got on a big boat and continued our southward journey. Eventually we found ourselves deposited on land again and slowly started our drive northward. We made a few stops along the way. When we finally reached home again we had been gone almost 3 weeks.

Now we start the work of everyday living at home.

Our new bikes have arrived and we finished putting them together last night. We enjoyed going to the matinee to see a movie we have been waiting for and laughed and laughed. We met our daughter at the store and she gave us coupons to make our purchases in the middle of the morning.

Our friends have invited us to go to the Chinese restaurant for lunch on Tuesday--Senior Day--where the bill for both of us together will be $10. We have been walking around the lake every day and the scales are down 1 pound each--if we can keep this up for 30 weeks we will reach our goals. As I prepare our meals I fill the table with plenty of vegetable choices. I am trying to fix all of our meals at home keeping them delicious and simple.

All of our children who live in the country surprised us last weekend with a get together to celebrate our new phase of life. It was fun to see the grandchildren and their parents. We enjoyed the party and having a house full if only for sleep and breakfast before they all headed back to their busy lives. The only thing that would have made the moments better was if those in Germany could have zipped over for the night as well, but then we have tickets to go visit them in just a few days, so all is well.

Life is good and the fun times are just beginning--or so my friends tell me.

My husband retired and then.....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Happy New Year

The changing of the calendar always signals a chance to take a good long look at your life and where it is going.

I remember taking this opportunity the year I turned 12. For Christmas that year my grandmother gave me a 5 year diary. I remember writing in that diary consistently and occasionally over the next few years.

Another goal I made that year was to read my scriptures. I decided to start with the New Testament--I got as far as the first page and all of the begats and thought this was the most boring of books and would take a lot of effort to keep going. Little did I know the hours I would spend over the next 40+ years pouring over those pages, finding small passages to lighten my way.

This year is the same as every year since I turned 12: A desire to keep up with my journal more frequently, read and study my scriptures more fully, and a goal I added about 15 years ago--lose a few pounds.

I am thrilled about the prospect of keeping up with these goals. I get excited when I think about how 'easy' it will be to do.

You may be asking yourself what change has happened to make me think that I might be able to accomplish these goals more easily than in previous years??

Life goes on every day in a routine or pattern. We try to make changes in that pattern, make a new habit, and sometimes we can, but a disturbance in our routine--sickness, vacation--and our new habit can be lost.

Tomorrow is my husband's last day at work. He is retiring from going to the office every day. He is taking on a new full time job, that of husband, father and grandfather with a little time for himself thrown in for good measure.

We have been drafting a daily schedule to help us make those life changes we have wanted to do but there were not enough hours in the day to do them. We have scheduled things like spiritual study and exercise written on the daily planner with the morning routine, right along side of shower and shave.

Our daughter is excited to help her father figure out the joys of couponing. He received a do-dad for Christmas that will help him turn all of his slides into digital pictures, he has always loved photography, I hope he picks up the hobby again. He has asked if taking a nap can be added to the schedule--of course.

While exercise is not at the top of his happy list, eating is, and I reminded him that if he adds a half hour walk to his daily routine he can lose 20 pounds in a year by not changing anything else. That seemed to make him happy, now it is up to me to prepare meals that are more vegetables than carbohydrates--a challenge I am excited to take on.

Making this giant change has been a difficult decision for him, he has worked since he was 15. I keep telling him that he is not quitting work, he is lightening his stress level and freeing up some time to tackle full time the most important job he has ever had, that of father.

I am excited about the changes in our lives and the opportunities it is opening up for us.

We have a long list of things to accomplish this year: A bathroom to remodel and a wood floor to lay, landscaping details in the yard that need attending as well as piles and stacks to be sorted.

But first, we promised ourselves years ago that on the day he retired we would get in the car and drive across country, to go places we have never been and see things we have never seen. We would go slow and simple, drive a few hours then choose a place to stay, not giving ourselves any deadlines. We have had 40 years of deadlines. It is time to take some time for us--time to fall in love again and plan for the next 20 years.

Exercise, scripture study and journal entries are on the list of goals for the year as well as home improvement projects. Our calendar if full of places to go and people to see as well as responsibilities we have committed to. It will be an exciting year full of changes and opportunities to start again.

Before we get in the car on Thursday we decided to walk around the lake first--that should start us off on a good foot.

Change is a good thing.