Friday, March 30, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award


One of the fun aspects of doing something like Wordless Wednesday is that you get many visitors who don't normally read your blog, nor do they necessarily come back to read it after viewing your pictures. But I always like to go back and visit theirs to thank them for stopping by. It was in doing this that I first spotted this award. I thought it was a great one, but didn't expect to ever receive it. Then it arrived in our "circle" - one the most interesting things about blogging is the concentric circles that are formed - intersecting at various places.

Imagine my delight when Linda paid it forward to me yesterday. I love Linda's writing. In fact, I told her the other day that I love her thought processes and her heart for God. She should be writing devotionals for a publication. I am so glad we "met" in this way and wish we could meet in person someday. She also nominated Bev of Blessed Beyond Measure. She also makes me cry and laugh. She is a gifted writer. As Linda mentioned, we're all grandmothers and are in love with those little kiddoes who have enriched our lives (and also exhaust us!)
So now it is my task to whittle down my incredibly long list of writers who inspire me to only five. I cheated a bit and already named two extra. Don't tell anybody!

Bev's sister, Barb, makes me think - she makes me think about how much cooking and cleaning and creating I don't do any more! She has more energy than anyone I "know" and she inspires me to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, I have not arrived at the point where I'm actually putting these inspirations into action. But I love going there and reading what she has written. She is a very busy grandma as well, and is trying to balance her life. She has so many readers and commenters, and she is a wonderful commenter and supporter of what we write. I think we will have the opportunity meet soon, because her soon-to-be son-in-law is going to be a member of the newest MSW class we are admitting. I am so excited to meet him and Mandy and someday meet Barb and Rob when they come over to visit.

My daughter, Kristen, got me started on this blogging journey, and is the one who keeps my technically challenged self up to par in this world of very smart people. She normally writes about the kids and the challenges of motherhood, and I was delighted when I joined this adventure to discover her writing ability afresh and anew. But today she did a post that will make you really think. It is a subject that we all probably need to think about. Check it out. I told her it is one of the best pieces of writing she's done and a very timely topic.

I've mentioned several times that Diane was right up there with Kristen in helping me get started with this new circle of wonderful supportive friendships. She has been my biggest cheerleader as I've written the stories with Kristen and Kevin of our struggles through anorexia and drug addiction. (Thanks to Kristen, they are collected on my sidebar now). I love Diane's writing as well, and she challenges me every time she does a devotional type post. We have had some common struggles, and yet are very different in other ways. But what a wonderful friendship this has become and we hope to connect in person soon.

is close to my daughter's age, from what I can discern. I love Kim's writing. She hasn't been able to post as much recently since she got a new challenging job that she loves. But when she does write, it sends me into the cerebral parts of my brain. She is a gifted writer, in my opinion. She has a real love for God.

I don't remember how or when I connected with so many of these wonderful women, but another dear cyber friend who has really touched my heart is Nancy. I know many of us have been challenged to
think about our blessings more often since we've been reading her Daily Blessings. She has enriched my life.

I thank God for bringing these incredible women, and SO MANY MORE, (I wish I could have named ten!) into my life in the last 10 months. I know I probably spend too much time on the computer, and those in my life who have not experienced this blessing cannot understand it. I was a hard sell at first. You have all had an impact on my life. When I think of the volume of prayer that ascends to the throne of God whenever one of us has a need, or we know of someone who has a need and we bring it to this place, it is awesome. We are blessed to know each other.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So Many Books, So Little Time!

While we are left hanging on the cliff with Kevin's Part IV, we must move on to other things. I hope it won't be too long before we get to Part V.

When I typed in the title to this post, I discovered that I'd used it before. Not very original, but very apropos. I read all the time. I read when I'm walking, I read when I'm riding the stationary bike at the gym. I USED to read on my way to the student center for lunch, while I ate my lunnch , and on the way back to my office. Now I don't have a lunch hour, so I don't get as many books read as I used to.

I keep thinking of books I need to re-read. Most of my reading right now is rather fluffy - nothing very cerebral, but just for entertainment - mostly mysteries. I keep thinking of the books I used to read when I was in high school and college and realize I need to go back to some of them.

I don't buy books any more, because I have too many already. I put them on hold at the library, or I borrow them from friends.

Right now I'm re-reading some study books we used when I was a young mom and we had a great Tuesday morning Bible study. We had great discussions, wonderful times of prayer, a break from our kiddoes, and a quarterly salad luncheon. What great memories. I read What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christensen and now I'm reading Lord, Change Me, by the same author. She has to be in her 80s by now. Her words still challenge me.

DC and I are going to Georgia next month to visit his brother and family. We are going to spend a couple of days on St. Simons Island. Back in those same days I talked about in the last paragraph, we were all reading Eugenia Price's novels. The first trilogy she wrote take place on St. Simons Island and I decided I needed to read those books again to prepare for the visit. I am halfway through the first one, The Lighthouse, and will try to finish New Moon Rising and Beloved Invader in the next month. I am really enjoying this trip back in my memory and in history. While I'm down there, I will also have a chance to have a chat with Brenda IRL, who lives in the same town that R&C so. That will be a treat!

There are many other books I want to revisit:

Jane Eyre
Les Miserables
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Animal Farm
Silas Marner
Gone With the Wind
Anne of Green Gables - the entire series
The Mitford series
The Little House series (so I can remember how much the t.v. show did NOT follow the books)
Boede Thoene's third series - The Shiloh Legacy
Chuck Swindoll's books
Bob Benson's books
Max Lucado's books
Victoria Holt's mysteries
The Message

I know there are more, but I will stop there. That should keep me going for about the next two years. I haven't joined the reading challenges, because that feels like pressure! I probably should, because it would force a commitment.

Happy Reading!!

P.S. I woke up this morning to snow - and a forecast high of 28 degrees. YUCK!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Kev's Safari

Kruger National Park/South Africa




The missionaries had never caught a shot like this.


King of the Beasts


Wild Dogs




Monday, March 26, 2007

Random Ramblings #10

I posted this morning, VERY EARLY, and lost the whole thing! Not a good way to start a Monday, especially after two nights of lousy sleep. But . . . here we go again!

I'm keeping "Africa" by Toto playing in the background because I'm going to post more of Kev's pictures on Wednesday. Hope you're enjoying it. Read the previous two posts if this doesn't make any sense to you.

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, after a wonderful cleansing, glorious rain all night Friday and most of the day Saturday. We don't get enough rain around here, so this was a treat. The world was so fresh and clean yesterday morning when I stepped out into my front yard and saw this beautiful sight:


I heard out of the corner of my ear as the news was giving its teasers, that another cold front is heading our way. I don't think it'll be horrible, but it is pretty normal for springtime in the Rockies. I told Anakin that there was a possibility of snow this week-end. He was NOT happy - he was really glad when the snow finally melted from their front yard; in fact, he was down there every afternoon trying to help it along by scooping snow onto the street. He must have prayed about this, because it turned into rain instead of snow. Thank you, Jesus!!

I wish I had taken pictures of the sky every day since the time changed. It has been such fun to watch the changes every morning in the eastern sky as I walk from my car to my office - it would have been fun to have a slide show of the changes from day to day. Maybe I'll remember next year. I'm wondering now when the sun will rise on Easter Sunday. We always have a sunrise service in the park, and it's really important to me that the sun is peaking over the horizon as we are singing "UP From the Grave He Arose!" I always stand there shivering in the early morning air, wondering if the Marys were cold or warm that morning.

The other day when I was going to my car after my morning of work, I found all of the art students on the lawn outside of their building. They were all sitting on these obviously hand made stools, apparently sketching trees and buildings. I wanted so badly to stand over their shoulders to see how they were doing and if they were using pencils or chalk. This one particular young lady really intrigued me. Can you imagine sitting on a stool with no back, with a flowing dress on, in a lotus position, straight back, and DRAWING??!! (I wish I could draw at all!).

On a less enjoyable topic, my weight loss efforts aren't going so well. You have probably deduced that, since I have been silent on this subject lately. It's obvious that it's obvious, based on Care Bear's latest observation: "Grandma, on the way home from school today, I saw a lady whose bottom was bigger than yours!" OH. My. Word. I about choked I laughed so hard. What a kid! She doesn't miss anything! Then she sat on my lap and kneaded my arms saying, "Squishy, Squishy, Squishy!" She is a hoot. But - - - "from the mouths of babes . . . " once again!

Feisty has such a sweet heart (except when she's having a tantrum, which does take place occasionally). She usually wants to keep the peace. And she's such a helper! Friday night, after having been sick off and on all week and thinking she was better, she was eating a pancake at my house and drinking some milk when - yep - she lost it all. All over herself, the table, and the stool. After I rushed her into the sink and removed her clothes, she grabbed a paper towel, headed for the table, and began to help clean it up! Did you ever hear of such a thing?? Then she looked up at me with this bright-eyed smile and said, "I feel BETTER!" AWWWWWW!

I am approaching the very end of the admission process. Remember the pictures back in February of my office in the midst of computing gpa's for all of the applicants? I'm close to the end and that box on the floor is now full of the files of those who have been denied. This is really the worst time of the year for me, and for the admission committee chair who gets all sorts of tearful calls from those who feel so rejected. This morning he got a nasty call. Why would we want someone in our program who is so nasty?? It is sad, but we only have room for 30.

I know I'm really rambling today, but that's the reason for Random Ramblings, right?? This morning on the way to work, I heard a news story about a police officer who was killed last night when he was driving his patrol car so fast that he lost control and rolled several times. He was EJECTED. That tells me a lot. Do you think if he had survived that he would have been ticketed for careless driving and not wearing a seat belt??

Before I leave this morning, I want to share with you another of my favorite devotionals from Max Lucado. This one is an excerpt from his book, The Great House of God.
Matthew 6:26: "Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them."

"Consider the earth! Our globe's weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (a six with twenty-one zeroes). Yet it is precisely tilted at twenty-three degrees; any more or any less and our seasons would be lost in a melted polar flood. Though our globe revolves at the rate of one-thousand miles per hour or twenty-five thousand miles per day or nine million miles per year, none of us tumbles into orbit . . .

As you stand . . . observing God's workshop, let me post a few questions. If He is able to place the stars in their sockets and suspend the sky like a curtain, do you think it is remotely possible that God is able to guide your life? If your God is mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that He is mighty enough to light your path? If He cares enough about the planet Saturn to give it rings or Venus to make it sparkle, is there an outside chance that He cares enough about you to meet your needs?"

Please click on Micah's button on my sidebar and check on his crisis and answer to prayer this last week. Thank you for continuing to pray for Micah!

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Story of Deliverance - Part IV

We had a longer vacation from our story than we anticipated. As Kevin stated in his Part 4, many things got in the way of his thinking and writing. Check it out here on his wife's site, leave him a comment of encouragement if you can, then come back here and read my point of view. (If you haven't read the previous parts of the story, they are linked on my sidebar).

Kev described this part of his journey as "the eye of the storm." That is a very apt analogy. I hadn't thought of it just that way before, but as I look back at that period and read what he wrote, I realize that we were in a period of relaxation with no overt crises. At least not as big as those ahead of us.

High school graduation was a milestone, but was marred by the fact that he was very sick that week-end. It was the 100th anniversary of the school's existence, so it was supposed to be extra special - in the evening instead of during the day, with a fireworks display at the end. Unfortunately, it was SO COLD that May evening that I went to graduation in jeans and a down jacket.

Kevin used the word "luckily" rather tongue in cheek, I believe. Luck had nothing to do with his getting the job with our friends - it was a piece of the incredible puzzle of this troubled life. Even when Kevin felt that nobody at our church had any faith in him, had given up on him, thought he was a loser, these dear friends took a chance on him and hired him several times. It was hard, dirty work, but as he said, he did a lot of growing up during that time. I wasn't aware of the drug use there, and obviously neither were the employers, or all of them would have been gone in a heartbeat. He worked 10 hour days, sometimes even more, beginning at 7:00 a.m. and at times 6:00. He was good with his money at this time in his life.


The Seattle dream was one Kev had for quite awhile. I knew in my heart that it would be a tough road, but we were anxious for him to be able to see a dream come true. Seattle - beautiful place, home of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love - enough said? Rather scary to us. We had spent some time out there when my parents lived in one of the most beautiful little towns close to Seattle. He had always loved the thought of being out there. So he and his buddy outfitted this ancient hippie-looking van and headed for their adventure. They took their time getting there, playing tourist for several days. The reality check of trying to find a job without an address and an apartment without a job hit hard and fast.


As Kev said, it was shortly after returning from Seattle that an even greater adventure presented itself. Our church was taking a Work and Witness team to Mozambique, the second poorest country in the world, second only to Haiti. DC wanted to go, and really wanted Kev to go with him. He asked our pastor if he was willing to take a rebel on a mission trip. Pastor thought about it, prayed about it, and said he would take him as long as Kev attended church once a week until they went, so he wouldn't feel such a stranger with the rest of the team. Kev lived up to this agreement, and we felt so good seeing him walk into church with his Bible in his hands on Sunday mornings. DC ended up not going, but instead helped Kev pay for the trip.

This trip was another piece in the puzzle God was putting together. One of my dear friends was on this trip, one who had been praying for Kev for years. Kev had such a wonderful time on this trip and realized that these church people he had been avoiding for so many years really loved him and cared for him. He worked hard, played hard, had hordes of children following him around every day, took pictures of beautiful things and horrendous poverty. I posted 6 of those pictures on Wednesday (see previous post), and will post more next Wednesday.

Africa really got under Kev's skin. He was so intrigued and he left his heart there. He learned another church close by was going back to the exact same place in 4 months and he set about to make it happen that he would be on that team. This time he paid his own way, and we made several trips to this church to prepare for this trip. At this time, we were sure that his life had turned around and that he could possibly end up being a missionary someday.

One day Kev was looking at my refrigerator magnets. One of them was from our church college in Nairobi, Kenya. It had been on our refrigerator ever since the previous year when DC and I had gone to our denomination's international convention, visited the booth of this university, and brought home the magnet. Such a simple little thing - yet another piece of the puzzle. Kev asked me, "Do you think they'd let me go to school there?" I said I'd sure find out. I found an e-mail address, began corresponding with the administrator, and soon began to make preparations for him to go to Nairobi in January to attend school for at least one semester. To us it seemed such a great way for him to continue his love for Africa, have an adventure, be in a great place, and attend a Christian college.

I don't know everything that happened there. Keeping in touch was difficult because phone lines worked very intermittently. Phone calls were difficult, and e-mail was unreliable at best. But it wasn't long before he was talking to his sister and his cousin about a certain young lady over there. I remember the day I asked him if this tutor who was teaching him Swahili was more than just a tutor. He said, "Oh, Yes!" It was the furthest thing from our minds when we sent him so far away that he would fall in love. He came back here after one semester and the moment he told me he was engaged to this beautiful young lady from so far away is a moment that is indelibly forged in my memory.

The story of getting a fiance visa is one that could cover several posts. I could write a manual on getting through the INS system. It is not a pleasant process. But we persevered and conquered and the visa was finally granted.

I don't know where Kev is going next in his story, so I will wait until I read his next chapter to fill in the blanks from this end. But as he said, the hurricane, or blizzard, or tsunami was building and its destruction would be massive.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Kevin's African Adventure - Part I
Double click for more detailed look - especially the one of him putting the little guys up in the tree. He was a kid magnet - the other team members called him the Pied Piper.
To Be Continued Next Wednesday

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Grandma's Lilacs

Last week my SIL, Morning Glory, did a post on her lilac bushes, which my brother rescued from the old farm grounds, bundled up, and got them safely home. He was thoughtful enough to give one to me and to my sister as well. Ours are in the back corner of our yard, and are healthy, but not quite grown up enough to bloom yet.

lilac bush 2
lilac bush1

Lilacs and African Violets have always been favorites, because they take me back to Grandma's place. I told my story about Grandma S when I first started blogging. She was a hard-working Swedish farm lady, and we all loved her dearly. Most of her grandchildren outgrew her in height by the time we were 10. But she was mighty.

After she and Grandpa were both gone to heaven, I didn't see the old place for many years. I didn't even know what had happened to it. One summer my sister and I took a trip back to visit my still living grandparents, who lived in the same town, but up on the hill above the town cemetery. My cousin, who has been a missionary in Africa all of her life, and raised all of her children in the desert of Mali, was on home leave at the same time. Our relationship with her is one of those that picks up right where it left off. It can be years between talking, but it's like it was yesterday.

We took a trip out to the old place. We reminisced about learning to ride bike across the road, about burying birds in "Five Rock Patio," about club meetings in the old barns, about me being too scared to go up into the hayloft, so I got left out of a lot of the fun.

The house was now just rubble, having fallen into the cellar. Some of the outbuildings were still standing, but hadn't been used for years. The memories came rolling back upon us as we walked through the weeds and discovered bits and pieces of our past. My sister, who has a knack for such things, picked up some rusty souvenirs and made a wonderful collage. I should take a picture of it and post it.

Our memories of Grandma's lilacs were that they were in a very deep ditch, right by the side of a very busy country road. It's amazing how much smaller things are when you are grown up! All that remained were a few scraggly bushes. My cousin dug one up that day and transplanted it at their cottage in northern Minnesota, where they spent time when they were home on furlough. This is where my brother also dug them up and brought them home to MG and to the two of us.

As we were plodding through the memories, the weeds higher than our wastes, we wondered what people would think if they saw us rummaging around this property. My cousin, Ann, said, "Well, they'll probably just think we're a bunch of preacher's and missionary's kids hunting for our roots!"

We laughed and cried, but it was so true. We had all lived in many places, some much further away than others. But the fact that two of Grandma and Grandpa's sons became missionaries in Africa and one (our dad) became a pastor was such a huge part of our lives. They didn't become Christians until Dad was 10, and his brothers were older than he. What a heritage they began when they gave their lives to the Lord.


Dad is on the left, and the two missionary brothers are on the right.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Taken in my back yard yesterday afternoon - I can't wait for Wordless Wednesday! And, as pointed out by Brenda, a couple of Wednesdays ago, mine rarely are (wordless, that is).

Johnny Jump-ups
Mini Crocus
I can hardly wait till the profusion arrives - I'll be posting more pictures when they're all here. I'm sure they'll be covered with a wet spring snow at some point, but until then we'll enjoy the color.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random Ramblings #9

Well, that was really fun - In This Skin. I didn't think I'd be able to come up with anything to write, but once I got started, I couldn't stop. I think I went back in to Blogger and edited at least 5 times after the original. The comments were so encouraging and enjoyable to read!

Dad's not bouncing back really fast, but Mom is doing better. Morning Glory left today, and she took good care of them since Saturday afternoon. It was a blessing, because I couldn't take any time off work this week, being the only one holding down the fort during spring break.

Spring Break - when Kev and Sema hoped to have one - a break, that is. Kev ended up with pneumonia too! What are the odds of that? Sema had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction Friday night, which you can read about on her blog, Twenty Eight Celsius. She ended up with dry socket, and was in a lot of pain. So not so much fun at their house lately. The only good thing is that Kev's not missing class or work. He's starting to feel a BIT better. But the promise of Chapter 4 this week is fading quickly!

Barb at Chelsea Morning showed us the most adorable picture of Cameron today. He's 20 months old now and VERY busy, she says. That took me back to when Feisty was born. Care Bear was 20 months old. I had sprained my ankle really badly and was in a boot when Feisty was born. I ended up picking up Care Bear from day care, lugging her and the car seat and the diaper bag and, and, and, at least it seemed that way. There was renovation going on at the hospital, so the new baby area was way, way far away from the entrance. I was so exhausted every time I got down there to see Kristen and Feisty that I ended up resting on the extra bed in her room. I still have trouble with that foot, by the way - almost 3 years later.

The day they got home from the hospital with Feisty was the same day little Care Bear got her first pair of glasses. They shortly thereafter moved to our street. So all of a sudden CB lost her place as the baby, had these pesky things on her face (which she would periodically rip off and throw across the room), and she had a new house to adjust to. And Feisty was colicky. Good news - Grandma was right down the street and Kristen would bring Feisty down for me to take a turn walking her around until she settled down. Oh, yeah, good memories!

I was going to title today's post "Care Bear-isms", or "Grandma's Gleanings II", but decided it was going to more random than that. Care Bear is 4 going on 15, and she makes me laugh every day. She is the most perceptive child - doesn't miss anything about anything. DC says she's a lot like her Grandma. Uh, oh, poor kid! She has life so figured out for 4. I know I wasn't that smart. And I don't think my kids were, even - that's saying a lot, you know!

A couple of weeks ago, when the snow was finally melting and it was possible that we could finally wash the inch-thick mud off the car and maybe have it look decent for a couple of days, I was heading for the car wash. Of course having to know where we were going, CB asked. I said, "We're going to get the car washed." I guess she'd not been through a car wash before because she said, "We can't put the car in the bathtub!" She thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but Feisty not so much.

Whenever DC's truck is in the garage and she comes over, she immediately asks why it's here. The answer is often that Grandpa rode his motorcycle that day (not recently, of course). So the other day, he had gone on a jaunt with my brother from Oklahoma (side note - they got to go up to Winter Park to watch my West Point cadet nephew compete with the West Point Nordic ski team). The first words out of her mouth were, "Why are Grandpa's truck AND his motorcycle here?" The kid never forgets ANYTHING. This can be good, or not so good.

As we've all been talking about aging, I have to laugh at this next episode. I thought this only happened to those of us who have lost brain cells to menopause. She headed up the steps, looked back at me, and said, "What am I doing up here?" Cracked me up!

The other night they all got to go see Monsters Inc On Ice. I was asking them about it the next day. I guess Feisty was just enthralled. Care Bear said, "I couldn't believe my eyes!! So many people! We couldn't find our seats!" She is so expressive.

Well, there are lots more, but I'll only share one final bit of wisdom. Care Bear, as I've told you before, sings all the time - in the car, in the tub, all over the house, real songs, made up songs - it makes my heart sing just to hear her. BUT she has a tremendous case of stage fright every time it's time to sing in front of the church, or at a preschool program. It's so sad. The other day she was singing a good old Sunday School song that I hadn't heard in years. Her Lutheran preschool really teaches them the golden oldies. I asked her if that's what they were going to sing at their program on Sunday. She said, "No, I'm going to be sick that day!" Uh Oh.

Well, enough of Grandma's braggadoccio. Thanks for indulging me.

Those of you who have read me very long know that I love Max Lucado's writings. I keep check-marking the devotionals I read that especially speak to me. Here is one from last week, taken from his book A Gentle Thunder.

From Matthew 10:30: "God even knows how many hairs are on your head."

"There are many reasons God saves you: to bring glory to himself, to appease his justice, to demonstrate his sovereignty. But one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because He is fond of you. He likes having you around. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite a while . . .

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart . . .

Face it, friend. He's crazy about you."

Nuff said!

Monday, March 12, 2007

In This Skin

woman to woman

Last night when I was throwing off the covers because, once again, I was too warm and couldn't sleep, or running down the hall every hour or so because I drank too much tea, I was thinking of what I had already written and what I would write on this subject. For me, menopause has lasted a lot longer than I think it should!

In this skin - this skin that is getting wrinkled, age-spotted, rather saggy, vericose-veined, jowled, lives a person who cannot believe she could possibly be as old as she is! Me! I know age is relative, and I am not old in the grand scheme of life, but to me, it is hard to comprehend that I am here already. It has come so quickly! The big 6-0 is approaching rapidly. I do not dread that number in particular. I just don't like some of the things that have been happening to this vessel in which I reside!

Since I have been thinking about this topic, I have wondered why it is that the idea of "aging" is only about getting old. We begin aging the moment we enter this world, or even before - we actually begin aging the moment we are conceived. If you're not aging, you are not alive. Why does the word have such a negative connotation?

My SIL, Morning Glory, asked me yesterday if I had written my post yet, and I said I hadn't, because I couldn't think of anything good to say! How sad! But since then, I've been doing a lot of thinking.

I've always heard older people (older than myself) say that they don't feel any older than they did when they were younger - they look in the mirror and can't believe that person looking out at them is that old. I am now at that point myself.

The strangest phenomenon for me is seeing an article in the paper about a celebrity, or a criminal, or just an average every-day person whose picture is shown. When they tell the age, and it's near mine, I almost always think, "I don't look that old, do I?" (Think Farrah Fawcett, even before cancer! But don't think Jacquelyn Smith - she looks WAY too good for our age).

My mom was only 18 when I was born. All of my adult life, I have compared where I am in life to where she was at the same age. Since my first child was born at 27, the age she had her 5th, it has been a very different scenario. Now the 18 years that separate us seem much less than they used to.

I remember one time when Kristen was a young girl she asked me why I didn't use Oil of Olay. The commercial was something like, "I'm not going to grow old gracefully, I'm going to fight it every step of the way!" I told her then that I was going to grow old gracefully.

I hope I am. Growing old gracefully. I don't want to be a crotchety Grandma. One of the reasons I changed my work schedule to be with the kiddoes every afternoon instead of two full days and one half day is that by 3:00 in the afternoon, I was finding myself extremely exhausted and not much fun. I don't want that to be what my grandkids think of when they think of me.

I am desperately fighting the weight thing that seems to come with changing metabolism. I seem to be losing (the battle, that is, NOT the weight). I can't seem to get a grip on it like I used to be able to. The gym membership is being taken from my credit card every month, but getting there is harder and harder. The change in my work schedule has had one unexpected down side - I don't have a lunch hour, so I am not as disciplined in preparing my lunch as I was when I was carrying it to work. I want so much to be slim again - but maybe the kiddoes wouldn't like my lap so much if it were boney - hmmm. Good thought!

Right now we seem to be in the sandwich generation - smack between the problems of our parents and our grown children. I used to say I felt like a piece of bologna, but I really don't like bologna, so I think I'll say I feel like a slice of turkey in between good wheat bread! No mustard, please. I know I'm not supposed to be so involved in the younger generation, and that's something I have to work on.

When I was teaching school years ago, I met a really neat lady in our church named Thelma. She was 72, and she actually became my best friend in that church. It was a very lonely time in my life, and she filled a void. I realized then that she was a very young 72, and I decided I wanted to be like that. 72 gets younger and younger every year!

One good thing that I really enjoy about being this age - discounts at Wendy's and Kohl's! The only thing better than getting an old people's discount would be if they'd card me for proof! They have not done so. Oh, well!

I don't have too much gray hair yet. What I do have is on top mostly, and I'm too tall for most people to see it - only my hairdresser knows for sure. When I looked at the pile of my hair on the floor after a recent trim, I realized it is definitely getting grayer! But I am far too lazy and far too cheap to color my hair, so it will gray gracefully! I wish it would be a beautiful white like Mom, but I doubt it will.

I want the lines on my face to be from laughing and smiling, not frowning and griping. That is my prayer today.

I love this scripture and hope it's true of me as I get more gray:

Proverbs 20:29 Youth may be admired for vigor, but gray hair gives prestige to old age. (The Message)

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mom and Dad

Thank you so much for your prayers and concern for my dad. Mom got sick and was unable to go up to the hospital for the last two days. I think she slept 18 hours straight, and today is feeling much better. She was able to spend some time up there, but not long, since they released him. They were home a bit after noon. Morning Glory, my SIL, hopped on a plane to come and help. It's good, because I'm the only one in my office all this week because of Spring Break, and my sister is just returning from a trip visiting her grandchildren tomorrow. Thanks MG!

The diagnosis was pneumonia, then Dad told me they thought it was a severe asthma attack. In truth, it was pneumonia, but there was some involvement became of his asthma as well, I am certain. I really need to talk to the doctor! We noticed yesterday morning that his lawn looked nice and raked. DC asked him who had done that and he said, "Oh, I did that on Tuesday - there was a pile of moldy leaves out there and I was afraid they were going to kill the grass, so I had to get rid of them." Ding Ding Ding. An asthmatic person stirring up a dirty, dusty, moldy pile of leaves! A recipe for a health disaster. I still want to talk to the doctor about that, but Dad is now home, so don't know if I'll get a chance. I asked Dad to be sure and ask him about it, but I don't know if he got a chance either.

My parents were extremely young when they were married. They began seeing each other when they were 14 and 17. Dad was from a Christian home and Mom was not. The only way they could date was if she went to church with him, or to Youth for Christ meetings. So she did. She became a Christian and they were married at age 17 and 20.


I have written earlier about my birth 13 months later, while Dad was stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas, about his coming home, having to go back before I was born, and finding out that orders had been given allowing him to stay longer, but not knowing it until he got back (long before the days of instantaneous methods of communication!). He then hitchhiked back to Minnesota to see me. He was moved to Memphis shortly after that, where we all lived together in a tiny little place.

Here I am on Daddy's knee in Memphis.


This is a picture of my first birthday party, back in Minnesota. Can you guess I was the first grandchild on both sides??


Here is one of my favorite pictures - I'm 17 months old.


There are so many, many stories I could tell here, but don't have the time, energy, or space. I'll have to spread them out over the next few months. I was the first of 5, the first 3 of us born in 3 years. Then Dad went to college to become a minister. I have written in past posts about the wonderful life I experienced as a P.K.

Dad is one we refer to as "a stubborn Swede," and he constantly says, "I'm not stubborn!" I am afraid that I gained a lot of my personality from him as well! I have wonderful memories from my childhood. We had very little money, but did we have fun with our imaginations! Our whole lives revolved around the church. We played missionary, Bible School, Billy Graham Crusade, as well as the normal things like school teacher, mommy, and secretary.

When my brother, sister, and I were 5, 4, and 3, we used to go to little country schools in Arkansas and sing for the students. They earned their way to Bible camp by learning scripture verses. Mom and Dad helped run the camp, so we lived right there on the grounds.

Here are the three of us in front of one of the luxurious dorms at the camp! It was truly a "roughing it" kind of place - I can remember each of us having a tin can, going outside, getting water in it, and brushing our teeth behind the dorm.


When we moved to Heber Springs, Arkansas, we began attending a tiny church where the pastor was an older woman in failing health. Dad was asked to take over the pastorate when she was unable to serve any longer. The church was unable to pay a regular salary, so we survived partially with the proceeds from a used clothing store downtown. Dad also ran a "fix-it" shop out of our house - there was not an applicance known to man that he couldn't fix. We didn't have a t.v. ourselves at the time, so we always tried to get him to keep the ones he fixed until after Saturday morning cartoons! We spent Saturdays at the clothing store, having the greatest time. We each got a 5 cent candy bar (the extra large size that now costs $1.89) and a 5 cent RC Cola each Saturday. What a treat! We loved to go through the boxes when they came and find things that fit us. We also loved to play dress-up.


Here we are in front of our "parsonage" on top of the hill.


It was at the bottom of this hill, down the back side, where the Hackworths lived. I told the story in a previous post about giving piano lessons without a piano to Shelby Dean Hackworth.

All of these memories have come to me today as I think of my dad being so sick. He has had a hard time growing old, because he has always had so much energy, and has been able to accomplish so much every day of his life until recently. He turned 81 in February, which is young when you consider how old his kids are! But he has had many health problems in the last year. We must cherish the months and years that we have left with him. He and Mom celebrated their 60th anniversary last summer - we were together for the family reunion in July, where most of our very large family was able to get together. What a blessing. There are now 52 of us, just counting Mom and Dad, their 5 children, our children, and their children.

This is my most recent picture of them:

We praise God for bringing him safely through the latest health crisis.

With other updates, Kev is doing some better, Sema had one of her wisdom teeth removed on an emergency basis and is very relieved, and the unspoken request is still critical.

Thank you for your friendship out there in cyberspace. Kev plans to do Chapter 4 this week during spring break.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


EDIT: Dad is in the hospital tonight with pneumonia. He says he knows now that he should have stayed there last night instead of coming home. While I thought they were both sleeping, they were not. See below for details.

This was the thought that came to me this morning. Does anybody else remember that acronym? It stands for That Was The Week That Was. I have a very vague recollection of this television show from my youth. I googled it this morning, and sure enough I wasn't crazy. It ran in 1962-63, was from England (which I did not remember at all) and at the end was hosted by David Frost. Google information says it was satirical and was dumped right before the 1964 election. It apparently was tried in the US with not the success it had in the UK. I don't recall watching it, but loved the title and the acronym. I'm certain it was not my kind of humor, even back then.

Well, I say all that to say this - it has been quite a week. The week that started out with that gorgeous sunrise and moonset, and found me standing on Lake Street with my locked car running, waiting for my knight in shining red Toyota truck to rescue me, has been a real challenge for our family.

Kevin has asked me to apologize for him for his tardiness in being able to publish Chapter 4 of our story. He has been very busy with school and work, and has had some health issues this week. Not to mention the dropping of the internet at home, so he has to do all computer work in computer labs here at the university.

But - he was on track to prepare it this week when he was downed by a small front lower tooth. As the story goes, when he was a little guy, probably about 7-8, he and the neighbor kid were "rassling" around on the front lawn. They collided heads - his brand new front lower tooth hitting the hardest head on the block. It chipped, and was very painful, which led to a very early-in-life root canal. We don't know why, but the pain flared up last year when he was on the East Coast in Teen Challenge. Fortunately, they got him in to a dentist, who did a stop gap measure, which held out until this week, when the pain has been unbearable. So yesterday he had some oral surgery, and spent the evening with gauze in his mouth and no feeling in the lower half of his face. Now his wife, Sema to blogland, has to have wisdom teeth removed this week-end, so it has not been a good week in the Kevin/Sema household. Please pray for both of them as you think of it.

On to an "unspoken request" as we call them in our church - something I can't share, but desperately needs God's intervention. Yesterday was a very tough day in this situation. I know I can count on you.

THEN -- I was outside enjoying a real taste of spring yesterday afternoon with the kiddoes and came in to find a message from my mom - Dad was unconscious on the hall floor and the ambulance was on the way - she thought he'd had a stroke. Chills went up and down my spine. She was still home when I punched in her number, and couldn't talk because the ambulance had just left and she needed to follow it.

As the story unfolded, he had been coughing badly all night, so they miraculously got him in to the doctor at 9:00 a.m. He had a temp of 101 and they sent him home with antibiotics. He dozed most of the day off and on in his recliner. About 5:00 Mom had to help him out of his chair and he was very weak and disoriented. When she couldn't hold him up any longer, she encouraged him to lean on the wall and just slide down to the floor. That's the last he remembers until he saw all of these faces looking down at him - the paramedics. They all thought he'd had a minor stroke.

Now when you have such an incident on a Wednesday afternoon and you belong to a fellowship of believers who meet on Wednesday night for various activities at the church, you get a lot of instantaneous prayer going up for you. I thought for sure they'd keep him overnight, but by 9:00 he was home - very weak, but home. At first I was stunned that they didn't keep him, but then I decided to give the glory to God who heard the prayers of His saints in our church.

He had a temp of 105 when he got to the emergency room, and they diagnosed him with serious bronchitis. I live very close to their house, so jumped into my car in my jammies, robe, slippers, and jacket to go over and help Mom get him down the hall into bed. He insisted on trying to get up from the chair himself, and succeeded. He didn't really need two guides, but we did it anyway. I slept there in the guest room and heard him cough a couple of times, but we all had a good night's rest. I got up at 5:15 and quietly left, hoping they can get some good sleep this morning. Mom's exhausted. So - another prayer request and praise!

I'll end today with a nice, heartwarming story. My youngest brother is an interesting fellow. He has never followed the path of a 9-5 job - I never quite know what he does. I even asked his oldest son one day, "David, if I asked you what your daddy does when he goes to work, what would you say?" I never did get a good answer. But he has been in marketing, P.R., running political campaigns, etc. He was the p.r. person for the movie about Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and the other missionary martyrs in Ecuador in the 1950s, The End of the Spear, which came out last year. Because of all of his interesting work, he has made friends with many interesting people in politics, religious organizations, etc. Now he's free-lancing, I think you'd call it. He attended the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. His youngest son (age 10, if I remember right) has been having devotions with his mom every morning from Joni Eareckson Tada's latest devotional book, Diamonds in the Dust." My brother got to talk to her at the convention and thanked her for her influence on his son's spiritual life. (If you don't know who Joni is, you definitely need to Google her and find out - fabulous person!) She said, "Find me tomorrow and let's call him." He did, they did, and my nephew was floating a ways above the earth for a couple of days. They did not know there was a camera present, but I'll end today with this delightful picture that was taken at that moment. He of course had to hold the phone to her because she is quadriplegic - read up on her if you don't know her story.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

The Denver Blizzard of 1913

I've done a lot of posting about the Blizzard of 2006 in Colorado. This year's blizzard accumulation was the largest since 1913. I love these pictures of a much simpler time.

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Spring Can Come Any Time Now!!