Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tamara's Story

A couple Sunday mornings ago, Rose walked in to church. I saw her in the foyer, quite a ways from the choir loft, and thought it looked like her. But keep in mind that I'd not seen Rose for probably 20 years. Rose and Randy came to our church when our kids were young. I worked with the kids in children's music at that time. Tamara LOVED singing - especially "Apple Red Happiness" and one of the songs from the first musical we ever did - it was a Palm Sunday story and we used this song every year for many years afterward for the children to process into the church waving palm branches. She also loved Caravans, which is a lot like Awana, for those of you familiar with that program.

One Wednesday night, my husband was helping the kids plant a tree for one of their nature projects. Tamara was the only one who seemed to be really interested in helping with the hard work of digging the hole. She and DC planted that plum tree right outside the window of the breezeway. She was 8 years old.

Tamara loved to help everyone - her mom did film delivery and traveled around to drug stores all over the region. They were in a Wyoming town probably 100 miles north of us, Tamara excitedly running around helping her mom. She was so excited that she ran into an intersection, was hit by a large truck, and instantly transported to the Jesus she loved. What a sad day for the children in our church. I'll never forget her funeral - all of the children came and sang that wonderful Palm Sunday song - "He comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna, Hosanna." I could picture Tamara up there running the streets of heaven, waving a palm branch.

The marriage did not survive, Randy married someone else, and Rose moved away. The plum tree was on the verge of dying as well. DC pruned it and worked with it - suddenly it sprang back to full life in the spring - and if you know plum trees, you know the profusion of beauty that can be. The children of our church can be found climbing in it after service if their parents are not watching them closely enough. Somebody took the plums home one year and made jelly for anyone who wanted it.

We had a plaque made and hung it right beside the window that encases that beautiful tree.


About two weeks ago, Pastor told us that he'd had a visitor the day before - somebody named Rose who asked if DC and I were still here. She had made the trip up from her home to see if the tree was still there. She was taking pictures when Pastor found her out in the parking lot. She thanked him for our church taking good care of the tree for the 23 years since Tamara died. Rose then decided she needed to take another trip up here, bringing two of her grandchildren, to attend a Sunday morning service. She told us it was like "coming home." I pray that she will seek out a good church where she lives and come back home to Jesus. She told me that every once in awhile she'll just start singing "Apple Red Happiness" and her grandkids think she's crazy. I think it's Jesus. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wonderful Gift From a Friend

reflection award button
Yesterday afternoon I went to check on Barb latest post at A Chelsea Morning. I was reading about the well-deserved award she'd received from two people. Imagine my shock and delight when I found that she had Paid it Forward with an award to me. Here is what she said:

You'd be surprised how much Dawn and I chat behind the scenes via email. If you read her blog you know she's about as strong a person as you'll ever meet. She's literally been to hell and back in her life and her two series, about her daughter's struggle with anorexia and her son's journey through drug addiction, should be required reading for any parent raising a teenager today.
Dawn is someone I know for sure I'll meet, probably soon. Here's an amazing story. Dawn and I have been cyber friends for over a year. It took a while but this summer we realized she's the person who processed my brand new son-in-law's application to graduate school. She held his application in her hands and suddenly the lightbulb went on and she realized, "This is Barb's Aaron!". Is this a small world or what! So I know for sure the first time Rob and I go to visit Mandy and Aaron in their new home, we'll meet Dawn. You can count on it,

Barb and I met early in my blogging adventure when she came over from somebody else's site to find another grandma to chat with. We've had a great time ever since. I don't have nearly as many blog friends as she does, but I value her friendship greatly. When I discovered that Aaron was one of the applicants for our Master of Social Work program, I immediately e-mailed her first, then I wrote to Aaron. Makes sense, doesn't it?? I can hardly wait to take a picture of Mandy and Aaron when they show up on campus and come in to say hello. It is truly a small world. We'll be getting together very soon, Barb and I. I can't wait.

So now, I get to pass the joy along. I have chosen five dear blog friends, and I trust they'll be as happy as I am to receive this honor.

  • Tammy at Family Doin's is a home schooling mom of two adorable little girls. She is doing a great job. She had her children later than some and is enjoying every minute. I love her take on life, and her writing is exceptional as well. She does great fiction, which is a skill I definitely do not have, but admire greatly in others! I'm glad we met somewhere along the line, Tammy.

  • Linda at Middle Years - I met Linda a few months ago and we have developed a mutual admiration society. Her writing just blesses my socks off almost every day. She has such a succint way of getting right to the point, and her heart is so tender for Jesus. I would love to visit with her someday and just sit and pick her brain. She's been through some "stuff" this last year, but she doesn't write about it, but about what the Lord is teaching her through it. What a blessing she is to me.

  • Linds at Rocking Chair Reflections is someone I have only met recently. She lives in England and lost her husband just a year ago this last week - very suddenly. She has been through our worst nightmare as wives, but has come through with sense of humor intact. She works hard teaching school, which sets her WAY up on a pedestal. I tried that and didn't last very long! I have a brother in England, so would love to take a trip to see them both. Want to come along?

  • Groovy Old Lady from Groovy's Ruminations is groovy, but definitely not old! She is another creative home schooler who cracks me up almost every day. But she also has a real heart for Jesus. It has been such fun meeting all these wonderful Christian ladies from around the globe in the last year. She just finished a grueling bike trek across Maine for the American Lung Association. She made it sound funny, if not fun!

  • Diane at Partners in Prayer for Our Prodigals is last, but definitely not least. She is my first blogging friend, which I mentioned in my first anniversary post. She has a heart for all prodigals, hers in particular, and organized a great "Welcome Home" party last year when mine came home from Teen Challenge a changed man - a man of God. She has a sharp wit, a bright mind, and a wonderful writing style. We will be meeting up in Minnesota in less than a month.

All of these women have made a significant difference in my life in the last year - just ask my husband! Barb did a little bonus, which I am going to do as well. Morning Glory from Seeds in My Garden is my SIL and it has been great fun seeing her in a totally different way this past year - through her written words rather than spoken. So I'm giving her an honorary 6th Reflection Award!

Quote from the originator of this award:

"...this award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy...of knowing them and being blessed by them.

This award is for the best-of-the-best so consider who you pick carefully. This award should not be given to just anyone. If you're going to do the award don't just write a few words and slap it on your blog. Write real thoughts about these bloggers and what they've meant to you. If the bloggers you pick have already been given the award, don't be afraid to give it to them again. They deserve it as many times as it's given."

The award originated here. That's probably the best place to learn more about it. Here's what it says you should do:

1. Replace my five bloggers with yours and write a least a paragraph about each one.

2. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.

3. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they've been given the award.

4. Put the award icon on your site [see here]

Monday, June 25, 2007

Woman to Woman - Worry

woman to woman

"Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear."

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength."

These two quotes are from Corrie Ten Boom, who survived concentration camp imprisonment after she and her family hid Jewish people in their home in the Netherlands from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. If anyone had something to worry about, it was certainly Corrie!

I've had the second quote attached to my computer monitor at work for years. I look at it often. I'm afraid I haven't mastered the key to worry-free life as of yet.


Are you old enough to remember him? Alfred E. Neuman never seemed to have a problem in the world. At least he put on a happy (idiotic) face for every MAD magazine addition.

Unfortunately, the rest of us do have worries. But are we supposed to worry? Not according to Jesus in Matthew 6:

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

The Message says that last verse this way:

34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

The old King James Version says for that last phrase, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." I think I like that the best of all.

I remember when I first really made that passage my own. It was the summer after my senior year in high school. I had been counting the days to college since early in my junior year when I had visited our denomination's campus in Oklahoma. For some reason, I had felt right at home there and could not wait to move in.

I spent the last two years of high school in Omaha when Dad took a pastorate there. We went to a small school outside the city, and had a wonderful experience. I've chronicled some of that time in previous posts, particularly my stint as co-editor of the school newspaper (especially here). This class embraced me as one of theirs, even though I was only there for 2 years and most of them had been together since kindergarten. I still keep close touch with two of those girls that I slumber-partied and pep clubbed with.

At the same time, we had a great, though small, youth group at our church. We created our own lessons for Sunday night youth meeting, we planned the programs and decorated our banquets, we went to camp together, and we had a teen choir. This was during the days when teen choirs were burgeoning and traveling all over the country and world. We didn't have a budget, great outfits, or choreography. We just sang for fun and the love of God, and went to a couple of churches around the state to share the joy.

After graduation, I was not able to get a summer job. So I went to camp - 3 camps that summer. One was my own camp to attend and the other two I worked in the kitchen to pay for my way to my camp. But that was not getting me in very good shape for college bills. I blissfully went through that summer, not worrying. Which is a good thing, to not worry. But I was sort of like Alfred E. up above, "What me, Worry?" I didn't have a cent to my name. My parents didn't either. They had 4 kids after me.

I had never given it a second thought that I would do anything but go to college. I applied, was accepted, was excited. There was no school counseling in those days, at least in our little school. The school counselor helped you with your schedule and that was about it - at least that was all he did for me. He didn't guide us to our college choices or career options, or financial aid - especially financial aid!

The summer was drawing to a close. The excitement was mounting for me. I can't imagine how naive I was - and my parents must have been as well. At least they never mentioned a word to me about their concern for how we were going to pay for this venture into higher education. That's one great thing about my parents - we were poor, but we didn't seem to know it as kids.

It must have been in August. I had begun to pack for college. I went to bed that night, but could not sleep. I tossed and turned and fretted about how this was all going to work out - suddenly reality was hitting me in the face. How WAS I going to pay for college?? I heard some low voices down the hall at the other end, so I padded down to Mom and Dad's room to share my concerns with them. Seems as though they were having the same thoughts and conversation. When I realize now how young they were at that time (34 and 37!), I cannot imagine the panic they must have been feeling. We had a long talk and they mentioned that I should possibly stay home a year and make some money.

I went back to my room very troubled. I did NOT want to stay home another year. I mentioned to them that then my sister and I would go to college the same year. They said maybe she'd have to do the same and it would even out. I had been looking so forward to this adventure and now it seemed to be crumbling.

I slept not a wink that night. I began to pray and ask God for answers. I had a wrestling match with Him that night. I told Him what I'd told my parents - I wanted out of there! Not that I didn't love home. I loved my church. I just wanted to fulfill the dream I'd been dreaming for 2 years.

As the night wore on and I cried tears of many different emotions, suddenly I began to see the advantages of staying home and earning some money. I could actually have some new clothes! I began to realize how many things I needed to even furnish a dorm room. I might even be able to go to school without having to work. That was a new concept! I remember as if it were yesterday the moment I yielded my will to HIS. I told Him I would stay home if that was His will. In fact, I was sure it was. A huge weight rolled off my spirit.

The very next morning, THE VERY NEXT MORNING, the phone began to ring with people from church calling to ask my mom what I needed to be ready for college. They wanted to give me a "college shower." My brother (MG's husband) and our friend (like a 4th brother) came and offered to buy my towels AND a winter coat. Someone offered an iron and ironing board. Someone gave me sheets. When I think of how naively I went through that summer without worrying, I am amazed. But God had a plan all along. He always does.

Just before leaving for college, the "Teen Quartet" (my brother, sister, above mentioned friend, and myself) went out to western Nebraska to hold a morning service for a pastor friend. I was the speaker, and I spoke from my heart about the miracle that had occurred in my life, personally and spiritually. The scripture above became my life scripture. Soon I'm going to write about the varied jobs I had to get through school - but I can say I ended up the last year of college with the school owing ME $17.00! - what a mighty God we serve.

I wish I could say that I never worry. I can't. But I always have this scripture and these two quotes that come to me when I do, and I ask for divine help to give it to Him. I have seen enough miracles to date that I should probably never be burdened with worry - I know He has a plan. I need to remember that today.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jesus the Hope

KPJARA at Can You Hear Me Now? challenged me to write about "5 things I Dig About Jesus."

This should not be hard. In fact, if we love Jesus, it should be the easiest thing to do - the hard thing will be limiting it to five!

My mom tells me that I asked her to pray with me to accept Jesus into my heart when I was 3 years old - the age Feisty is now. I wish I remembered that day! What I do remember is that I never wanted to do anything else but please Jesus. I have not been a perfect Christian by any means. I have struggled with the fact that I don't remember that day. I have wanted to point back to the place I met Jesus face to face. But I rejoice every day that He spared me from the heartache of deep sin because I accepted Him so early in my life. So here is my list:

  1. I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day.
    I don't borrow from its sunshine, For its skies may turn to gray.
    I don't worry o'er the future, For I know what Jesus said;
    And today I'll walk beside Him, For He knows what is ahead.
    Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand;
    But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know Who holds my hand.

  2. God sent His Son - they called Him Jesus;
    He came to love, heal and forgive;
    He lived and died to buy my pardon;
    An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

    Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
    Because He lives, all fear is gone.
    Because I know He holds the future
    And life is worth the living - just because He lives.

  3. When peace like a river attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea bellows roll,
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    "It is well, it is well with my soul."

    Tho' Satan should buffet, tho' trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

    It is well --- It is well ---
    It is well --- It is well with my soul!

  4. Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all;
    He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall.
    When I am sad, to Him I go, no other one can cheer me so;
    When I am sad, He makes me glad, He’s my Friend.

    Jesus is all the world to me, my Friend in trials sore;
    I go to Him for blessings, and He gives them over and o’er.
    He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
    Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He’s my Friend.

    Jesus is all the world to me, and true to Him I’ll be;
    O how could I this Friend deny, when He’s so true to me?
    Following Him I know I’m right, He watches o’er me day and night;
    Following Him by day and night, He’s my Friend.

    Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better Friend;
    I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when life’s fleeting days shall end.
    Beautiful life with such a Friend, beautiful life that has no end;
    Eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my Friend.

  5. Coming again, Coming again
    May be morning, may be noon
    May be evening, and may be soon
    Coming again, Coming again

Is anybody surprised that I used songs to express my reasons that I "dig" Jesus?

I'd love to have the following people tell us their 5 reasons:

Diane J




Morning Glory

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Okay, Let's Try That Again!

I know it won't be the same. But I'll try again on the meme I lost last night. See yesterday's post if you missed it. I highlighted all of the text to make some font changes and it blipped away, never to be seen again! I'm used to Word where you can hit the reverse arrow and get it all back. I know, I know, there's probably a way, but I didn't catch it soon enough. So - here goes. You'd think you could remember what you wrote the day before, but . . .

What I was doing 10 years ago . . .

I recently found my journal from those years. One thing I was doing was not writing often enough, and knowing I would regret it, which I do. I seemed to be very tired, coming home and vegging after work. Kristen was newly working across campus from me, having had her heart broken by a really neat guy. We were in a peaceful period with Kevin and I had some good talks with him about his spiritual condition. But I said he seemed to be bitter, but searching.

In early July we suffered a catastrophic flood on campus. There was a heavy rain, but nobody thought anything of it until it hit a burm around a railroad track, stopped, backed up, and flooded a very poor trailer park behind the Dairy Queen. I drove by it every day and had never noticed it. Five lives were lost. On campus, nobody knows for sure why it happened as it did, but it covered the entire campus, flooding the basements of numerous buildings, taking out years of professors' research, books, artifacts. The library basement was destroyed, taking all of our department's books and journals among many others'. The basement of the student center was gone, floating away all of the textbooks awaiting the students' return for fall classes. It was a mess. For weeks, temp employees boxed up the library's books in cardboard boxes to be sent to Fort Worth for a dry ice process that was supposed to salvage them. It didn't really work - they still smelled like mildew.

It ended up being a $100 million project to restore everything. The unexpected benefit was that projects that were on the back burner awaiting funding for much-needed improvements were accomplished because of insurance money. A blessing in DEEP disguise.

We were not allowed back into our building for a couple of weeks, so we took turns working out of a makeshift office in a nearby building - one phone, one computer. It was a very crucial time for me, so I ended up taking calls at home. When we did return to our office, the basement was closed for a year, and the "ambiance" was anything but pleasant.

It was very hot when the students returned to classes, and the lines snaked around campus waiting for a turn to purchase books from huge truck containers parked on the patio of the student center. Reminded me of the days when I was in college - you presented your schedule to a book store clerk and they went into the storage area to bring back your books. It's not like that now - they hunt for their own books among shelves and shelves of books - very, very expensive books, I might add.

The powers that be decided it was more important to have heat back in use before snow flew, so air conditioning was non existent. It also reminded me of my days in college pre-air conditioned classrooms and dorms. Huge fans blew, making it almost impossible to hear what was being taught. Lines were everywhere. There was now only one path, instead of several choices, from this side of campus to the student center - the crowds were horrendous. Since the basement of the student center was also gone, it was not that enjoyable to go over there that year - too much close communion!

If you come to visit campus, you can see the line painted on the wall of the center as you walk down to the very-much-nicer lower level. They took all sorts of measures with landscaping and wall-building to try to avert another such so-called 500-year-flood from wreaking the same kind of havoc someday when we're all gone from this earth. I'm not sure it would work.

What I was doing 1 year ago. . .

I was sitting at this same desk, with an older computer probably. Maybe not. But I definitely was not writing a blog before I began the work day. I was working 2.5 days instead of 5 half days. I was busy working on an admission process for our Colorado Springs cohort of our program. It was very, very hot very early in the summer. I was getting less enamored of the job I have loved for years. I am getting closer and closer to retirement, at least mentally! Too many changes too often too close together.

5 snacks that I enjoy. . .

  • Peanut M&Ms
  • Dove dark chocolate
  • Well, anything chocolate for that matter
  • Cashews
  • Wheat Thins and other yummy crackers

Did you notice that baby carrots did not make the list, though I'm trying to snack on them more often.

5 songs I know the lyrics to . . .

  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Majesty
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • Na na na na na na na
  • Moon River

And probably a thousand hymn, choruses (older ones), children's songs, and "elevator music". Can you tell I spend a lot of time in the car with kids' CDs playing??

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire. . .

  • Tithe first, of course
  • Pay off the kids' school loans
  • Buy a newer version VW bug for myself
  • Buy a Miata for DC
  • Retire, store the cars, and be a volunteer missionary in St. Croix (no kidding!)

5 bad habits . . .

  • Reading when I should be cleaning house
  • Doing anything else when I should be cleaning house
  • Making excuses for not going to the gym
  • Talking when I should be listening
  • Taking my blessings for granted

5 things I would never wear again (or at least SHOULD never wear again) . . .

  • Long straight hair
  • Skirts above my ugly knees
  • Sleeveless anything
  • Shoes over one inch high
  • Pierced earrings - ear lobe infection is not fun!

5 toys I love

  • My digital camera
  • My printer/scanner/copier
  • The cd player on my computer at work
  • My library card
  • My bike (riding with DC on these lovely cooled-down evenings)

I don't know who's done this, so go for it if you think it looks like a fun game!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Futile Frustration

crying lady

This is me

Crying Tears of Frustration

I spent time off and on all day today

creating a post -

Before I started work this morning

While the kiddoes were here all afternoon

After they left, and before church

Maine Mom had tagged me

I finished it

I lost it

I don't have the memory or energy to try to replicate it


I'll be back soon with something else

Good Night

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Blessing of Singing Together

Saturday night was the 4th annual Walker Manufacturing Hymn Sing. Our church choir director is the president of Walker Manufacturing. One day he began to dream of having a huge gathering of people who love hymns and just love singing. His dream came true 4 years ago, and has grown each year.

People come from all over to just sing for two hours. Each year the company publishes a booklet with all of the songs we're going to sing. We heard a great story the other night - a couple who goes to China every year to do eye exams took quite a few of the booklets with them last year and the underground church is using them for hymnals. What a great story!


I've included a copy of the songs we sang.

The prelude began at 5:00, and the keyboard talent was amazing. Most people brought a picnic to enjoy on the lawn as they listened to the beautiful music. At promptly 7:00, the singing began. Our friend, the choir director who started this whole thing was one of the directors.


DC has sung in this quartet for over 20 years. They sounded particularly awesome this time in the open air, with a great sound system. That is DC in the red, white, and blue plaid shirt.

We sang 25 songs, with special numbers sprinkled in. I have to say, it was great fun, but my voice was pretty fried for choir the next morning. One of the sons of the high tenor above (on the far right - Bob's brother) took a picture of the crowd:


This is actually last year's shot, but I couldn't get this year's yet.

One of the very best things about the entire evening was having Kevin and Sema join us. Kevin did not care much about singing in church when he was young, as you can imagine from his story. But when he was in T*ee*n Challenge, he was in a choir that traveled every week-end to churches all over the East Coast, where they sang and gave their testimonies. The hymns have seeped into his soul and nourished it. He has had a new favorite hymn about every month since he's been home. What a blessing to have him standing there beside me, singing his heart out. When it was over he said, "These songs have the gospel story through and through. They are so meaningful." My sentiments exactly!

As the singing ended, we spent some time visiting with friends and enjoying the setting sun. What a beautiful way to end a beautiful day and a blessed evening.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


It was a year ago today that I entered this great adventure. I posted my reasons for blogging here day before yesterday, so I won't go into that again. Suffice it to say that Kevin's homecoming anniversary was two days ago, and that's what prompted this beginning. Here is my initial post:

I have entered blogland with fear and trembling. Feisty is sitting on my lap and Care Bear is here too. I don't have time to think or write, but just wanted you all to know that Kristen has launched me. There have been so many great messages in the last two days that I feel I need to do some explanations. I will do that as time goes on. I just wanted you to know I'm here. Just Call Me Grandma Dawn!

I'm not sure why I was fearful. I think it was because I wasn't sure I'd have anything to say. Wow, I sure proved that to be wrong! The explanations that I promised came in the form of the series Kevin and I did together about his journey through addiction to deliverance. Kristen and I paved the way for that with our journal of her journey through anorexia. Both series are linked on my sidebar.

The next night, Saturday the 17th, I did my first real post. We had just returned from the third annual Hymn Sing sponsored by my husband's employer, Walker Manufacturing. The president is our good friend for over 30 years, and is also our choir director. He loves hymns and sees them disappearing from worship services, and in his "field of dreams" many people who still love the glorious old songs of the church gathered together to sing them and praise the God who inspired them over the centuries. That dream came true when we gathered on the lawn of their manufacturing plant - a lawn that is beautifully cared for by the mowers they design and create. I told about it here - and tonight we'll be going again. A great crowd will gather - and it will not all be old people - to sing for about two hours.

I realized as I looked back at that post entitled "Music and Me" that I was setting the stage for a theme throughout my blog for the last year. I didn't know it at the time. It wasn't planned. But it just proves how much music means to me as I have perused the last year's posts and discovered that approximately once a week I have quoted a song that has spoken to me that week, that day, or sometime in the past when I needed it. I have also talked about being on the piano and organ bench at church since I was 8 years old. I talk about choir, and singing with my dad, my husband and his sister, and maybe even the mixed quartet of my teen years. If not the last one, I will definitely have to put that on my list of things to write about in the coming year.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and last Father's Day I sang a duet with my 80-year-old dad. I wrote about it in that same post. This year Dad isn't able to sing in choir any more - at least for awhile. He's had a rough year physically, but is doing really well right now. But his voice has not returned to its strength, and his lungs just don't cooperate as they used to. He plans to go tonight, though. Wouldn't miss it for anything. I hope he can sing for awhile at least.

It's been a great ride - I love all of you who keep in touch daily. We have a good thing going here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Grandma's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night

**Edit: I thought this seemed very funny at 4:30 this morning. Just wanted to have a laugh or two. didn't mean to make Kristen sound like the bad guy. Sorry if I did!

With apologies to children's writer Judith Viorst and to my daughter, Kristen, I shall chronicle my night. It is 4:40 a.m. and I have finally waved the white flag of defeat. I will not try to sleep any longer. I will put off my blogiversary (however you might choose to spell that) post another day.

It all started about 7:00 last night. The kids were at Bible School. Kristen's husband discovered that a movie they've been wanting to see was in its last night of showing. It started at 8:15. Would I please, please just listen to her proposal before I said "no?"

Would I please pick up the girls from VBS (Anakin's mother decided she needed to come and get him for a couple of days, so he wasn't in the equation) and let them sleep here, because she and Mike would be getting home pretty late.

Of course, my initial reaction was negative, because it's a work night and week-end nights are hard enough when we have a "sleepover." I use that term loosely.

But the promise was that they're so tired from playing endlessly with The Blondies all day, and would be totally tuckered from 2.5 hours of non-stop high-energy action at VBS. The pattern all week has been that they were zonked out within 10 minutes of getting home.

I finally gave in with the promise that she would be here by 7:00 so I could get to work. The original proposal included my going in to work a bit late, since I have so much vacation time accrued. But - I'm the opener this summer and it's quite a scheduling hassle in my office even when I take my scheduled vacation times.

But I digress. I picked them up and tried to get them excited about the sleepover at Grandma's. Feisty wasn't buying it - she wanted her mommy. She did settle down pretty quickly, so that was a blessing. We got home and Care Bear wanted to read a couple of books. Now the agreement was that they would get into their jammies, brush their teeth, have a bit of milk from their Sponge Bob cups, and crawl into their sleeping bags on my family room floor, drifting off into innocent sleep to the tune of a favorite movie. But, as you know about the best laid plans . . . Care Bear was hungry. She wanted some cheese and a couple of stories read. Feisty joined in. They both wanted to sit on my lap - I have plenty of room for both, but that doesn't work this time.

Finally - jammies on, teeth brushed, Grandpa's kissed good night, they headed for the sleeping bags. Ooops - Feisty wanted to sleep on the couch in her Princess sleeping bag this time. But not, of course, the little love seat, because she couldn't see the movie well enough. Care Bear snuggled in her Scooby-Doo bag on the floor. She wanted me right beside her. So I put those cushions on the floor - remember the ones they looked so comfy on here? Not so good for Grandma. I decided to try to finish my latest mystery while they watched their movie. But Feisty can't sleep with the light on. Remember this post? I actually used those goofy things to read while they watched the movie in the dark.

I kept thinking they'd fall asleep. Wasn't happening. They jumped out of their bags at least 3 times each for various reasons. Finally, I rocked Feisty for about two minutes and she was out. Then it was Care Bear's turn - another two minutes and she was in dreamland. By now it was 10:30.

I decided to watch a bit of t.v. to settle myself down. It wasn't easy settling down on those silly pillows! I finally got really sleepy and turned turned off the tube. I must have slept some, but every noise they make woke me up. Care Bear wanted a drink of water. I convinced her to go back to sleep. Finally I couldn't take it any longer on the floor, so I grabbed another blanket (by this time mine is on top of Care Bear), and headed for the love seat - picture this 5'10" body scrunched up on the love seat - or hanging over the end. I must have slept more than I thought, though, because I had a really crazy mixed-up dream which I can remember pretty clearly.

About 4:00, Care Bear decided to crawl up on this tiny couch WITH ME. She's sleeping comfortably, her hair tickling my nose, and her little snore keeping me awake as well. Feisty stirred (on the nice big couch remember) and said, "Grandma, I want you." I said very gently, "Go back to sleep, sweetie." She sighed and said so sweetly, "Okay." And she did.

But by this time the clock has chimed 4:30. I gave up. I might as well chronicle this crazy night. So I did. Now it's time to go get ready for work. Oh, dear.

P.S. As I was re-reading and editing, I heard Feisty fall off the couch - I rushed out there to see her, still sleeping, crawl back up on the couch without a cry or sound. The sun is turning the sky a gorgeous pink as I look out my window above the desk here - the beginning of a busy day at the end of a busy week.

P.P.S (Remember when you wrote letters as a kid and did this?) I want to give credit to Kristen for designing my new look yesterday. Isn't it great? If you or anyone you know needs a makeover on your site, she'd love to help you out - and she comes pretty reasonably!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Why Do I Blog?

I'm way behind on this meme, but decided it would be fun to do anyway. So here goes. The idea came from Chilihead. This was my first visit to her site. This has been a very popular idea.

How did you start blogging?

I had never heard the word "blog". My niece moved to England with my nephew and decided to journal her stay there, including giving birth to her second child. It was interesting to see England through her eyes, since my brother and family had lived there for many years. Then I discovered two other nieces had "blogs." I still didn't know that it stood for "weblog."

My daughter, Kristen, began to tell me that I needed to visit Diane at her blog, because we had a lot in common, meaning prodigal sons. I resisted vigorously. I had some negative ideas about blogging at the beginning, about which I will not elaborate.

I began reading Kristen's, Diane's, my nieces', my SIL's blogs, and commenting as "Anonymous," but signing my name. It is a year this week since our prodigal came home from Teen Challenge, and that's what started my blogging journey. Diane welcomed him home with a huge cyber party and everyone started wondering how they could visit me and give their greetings.

One day Kristen wrote me an e-mail telling me that I was up and running and my blog was called "Call Me Grandma Dawn." I wasn't at all sure about the whole idea, but I entered with fear and trembling one year ago Saturday. I'll be blogging about that later this week.

Kristen is my techno hero, and I could not have done any of this without her. She's amazing. And she's a good writer.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?

I knew nothing about "followers". I had fun visiting those who visited those whom I visited. That's how it started. I remember finding other grandmas, who were looking for other grandmas. Pretty soon we had this great network of "more mature" moms joining in with the young moms. I still don't have a large following. I don't have time to visit hundreds. But I love coming every day and finding messages from my new friends.

I had to laugh when Chilihead mentioned the The Seedy Underbelly of Blog Addiction, because I discovered it quite early on as well. In fact, I blogged about it here in "BA, Anyone?" BA, of course, stands for "Bloggers Anonymous." I was hooked. Like anyone else, it's fun to have more than the average comments on any given day. My husband began to wonder what in the world had happened, but is very understanding and patient with my stories about my new friends.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

I suppose I should have had a plan and a goal before plunging in. But I didn't. I just found it to be incredibly fun to write again. I haven't since college and I used to feel like I was pretty good at it. As time has passed, the blog has become many things to me: a place to visit friends, a place to "randomly ramble" about things in my life that pass through my mind and have to be caught on notes before I forget them. Then I put them down for the world. I have enjoyed going back in my memory to my childhood, high school, college. I love telling stories about my life and those who have made it so good.

Kristen and I unexpectedly launched a series about her journey through anorexia, which was very special to us. Since the whole blogging thing started with our son's return as a delivered drug addict, that has become a huge part of the focus. I asked him if he'd like to join me in a series about his journey through addictions, as Kristen had with anorexia, and he agreed. It was an amazing experience, cathartic and painful. Both journeys are highlighted on my sidebar. It is our dream to write a book together in the not too distant future.

Another purpose that has emerged is the chronicling of my life with the grandchildren. I take care of them half days and do my "career" half days. It is exhausting at times, but so much fun to watch them grow and develop. Just Call Me Grandma Dawn!

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Since I stated I didn't have a clear focus at the beginning, I guess I have to say it hasn't changed. There is no definite purpose, but I find myself seeing everything through new eyes - eyes that translate everything that happens to me into a possible blog. I think I live more aware these days. I have never enjoyed my flowers, sunsets, the mountains, sunrises, funny things, sad things, kids (mine and others) as much as I have since this adventure began.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

I can't really think of an answer to this question. Since I knew nothing, and have had fun learning, I have no regrets. I wish I knew more than I do, but as long as Kristen is around and willing, I'm good to go! I have to say I've learned a lot and have lots of fun taking, scanning, and posting pictures. I will say that I wish I had my past history more organized, as some fellow bloggers do!

Do you make money with your blog?

I guess I was aware in the back of my consciousness that some people are making money with blogging, but it never occurred to me that I could or ever would. So, I guess that's an unqualified "No."

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

Definitely. You'll notice on my sidebar that I have links to 13 family blogs. I don't know how many of them read mine, and I don't read them all every day. My dad thinks blogs are "evil" - I'm not sure why. I share things with my mom that I have read. I have made booklets for them of our series. We have a family web site as well, so we have good coverage with our family keeping in touch around the world.

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

1. Try not to become obsessed, though it's hard!
2. Don't lurk. Comment. It's much more fun that way.

Not So Wordless Wednesday

Chillin' and Drawin' at Grandma's




Left to Right

Francine, D.W., Arthur, Buster


Quote by Care Bear (age 4) "Grandma, you know that 'Arthur' is kids' favorite show - at least on PBS!"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Busy Monday Morning

Who would ever dream that we could get excited about paying ONLY $2.99.9 for a gallon of gas!!??

This week will find me celebrating my Blogiversary. How could it have gone so fast??

If you have read me very often in the last year, you know that I love Max Lucado's words. Since I don't have time to create my own this morning, I want to share these with you from Max:

God Still Comes
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed. Psalm 34:18
" 'Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,' Paul penned. 'The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.' (Romans 15:4).
These are not just Sunday school stories. Not romantic fables . . . They are historical moments in which a real God met real pain so we could answer the question, 'Where is God when I hurt?'
How does God react to dashed hopes? Read the story of Jairus. How does the Father feel about those who are ill? Stand with him at the pool of Bethesda. Do you long for God to speak to your lonely heart? Then listen as he speaks to the Emmaus-bound disciples . . .
He's not doing it just for them. He's doing it for me. He's doing it for you. . .
The God who spoke still speaks. . . The God who came still comes. He comes into our world. He comes into your world. He comes to do what you can't." (From He Still Moves Stones).


We have a wonderful elderly Jewish lady who attends our church every Sunday morning. She attends our Sunday school class. She is in her 80s, and is still afraid to give her life to Christ because of her Jewish roots. But she LOVES our church and especially our SS class. She asks for prayer for her cataract surgery next week, because she's very afraid. She's from Brooklyn and retains the wonderful brogue of that area of the country. She corrected our Oklahoma/Texas-born-and-bred pastor out loud yesterday morning during the sermon when he incorrectly pronounced "Mordecai" - he pronounced the "ai" at the end A-I. Just as I always have. Seems as though it's supposed to be pronounced MordecI (or Y, maybe makes more sense). Who knew? It kind of threw the pastor off for awhile, but he recovered nicely. She was sitting in the back of the church. We all got a good chuckle. But she is indeed listening! Pray for Flora that her softened heart will yield to Christ soon.


Last - in my Sunday school paper, which I faithfully read after all these years, there was true story which held words that spoke to my soul. Especially as Kevin and I have finished our series of our journey together, it reminded me of that Sunday morning when God spoke to my spirit and told me that it was going to be okay (see this post ) - never did I dream it would take so long, but He kept His promise.

This is from an article called "After the Angel Leaves," by Mardi Hardwick:

"In times of deep despair, God often reveals himself in many different ways. He breathes warm encouragement into our troubled hearts until we know without any uncertainty things will get better. It comes from knowing that our lives are in His hands, and we'll live through the trial.

However, after the initial 'angel' encouragement encounter is where we get into trouble. The afterward experience sometimes is a long-drawn-out waiting period for things to 'turn out fine', and there seems to be a disconnect, a lull in which we feel nothing is happening. This period can be very long, with doubts swirling around in our heads, and thoughts that produce painful aches in our hearts.

Questions arise. 'Did I really hear God? Or was it just wishful thinking, my imagination?' . . .

It has appeared to me that God usually works the same way. There is a waiting period, a process when our faith is developed and our Lord seems to rearrange all our plans.

A couple of things I have really learned about the Lord. He doesn't seem to be in a hurry. I might try to push things along, but it just doesn't do any good. God looks at the overall picture and positions everything in perfect order for His purpose.

His promises are true, and we learn hard lessons from listening, waiting, and believing that the first 'angel encounter' was real, that God was answering our prayers in His own way and His own time. . . The initial encounter begins the course for God to intricately pull all pieces together to show off His beautiful workmanship."

Talk to you later!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Random Ramblings #14

Is it really June? June 7? A year ago today it was 98 degrees here in paradise. Today it went all the way up to 62. We had 19 days in June last year of 90+ temps, one day even reaching 102. It must be like childbirth - I forgot the pain of that heat! Today the wind blew like a blizzard was coming in. Only now the grass is littered with leaves and branches rather than covered with snow.

I want to thank all of you for your support after I shared my heart on Monday. Things have settled a bit and are not quite as critical. But please keep praying that God will do a miracle. He has already exhibited His power and love to us, and your prayers have been heard.

The other day one of the profs I work with came back from a trip to Alaska. I was tickled when she gave me this tiny little angel and said it reminded her of me. It made me feel really special that when she saw an angel she thought of me - not that I'm angelic, but it was the "spiritual" side of me, I suspect.

angel magnet 2

For a bit of levity today, go over to Kristen's site for the latest update on the Paris Hilton saga. Too funny! My daughter has definitely not lost her sarcastic sense of humor where "celebrity" news is concerned!

I am planning a trip to Minnesota next month with my sister, mom, and dad. It started out to be just a simple road trip with my sister, but it has morphed into much more. But I am very excited, because it is going to be a time of reunion.

We will see my cousin, Ann, who along with her husband and 4 children, has been in Mali, Africa for over 20 years, faithfully serving the Lord, ministering to nomadic Muslim tribes. The fruit that can be seen is minimal. But only God knows the seeds that have been planted, and He will supply the increase. Some of their converts have had to leave their families because of their faith. Others are secret Christians. I am in awe of Ann and Larry's faithfulness. We only saw our missionary cousins every 4 years when we were kids, but it was like yesterday every time. We have only seen Ann two times since we've all grown and had families. This will be the third. She's the one I mentioned in an earlier post here.

When Ann and her family were coming home from furlough, the year she was 15, she wrote to Co-Ed Magazine. Remember that magazine, if you were a teen in the 60s? She wrote to the magazine and told them she needed some help with her hair and wardrobe, since she'd lived in hot, hot Africa and wanted to look good for her year in American high school. Believe it or not, they met her at the airport, took her shopping, got her hair done, and did a wonderful article about her. Here is the full-page picture they ran of her after the transformation.


While we are there, Ann is planning a get-together with her brother, Rich, and his wife, her 3 children who live in the vicinity, my uncle (her dad), and our aunt, whom I have not seen since I can't remember when.

Besides these visits, I am looking forward to seeing my best friend from 5th-8th grades. We reconnected several years ago when I called her mother - I found her number on the internet. Her mom was still living in the same house as Mary did growing up. We've exchanged Christmas cards for several years now, after losing touch in our early adulthood, and I am trying to arrange a visit with her.

Remember this post? And this one? I'm also hoping to spend some time with Maryam. I will truly be taking a trip down memory lane.

Of course no trip to Minnesota would be complete for me unless I was able to meet Diane of Partners in Prayer for our Prodigals. I'll take pictures!

After that, we will head to Mom and Dad's home town for a reunion of Mom's family. There are not many left, but I am looking forward to seeing elderly great aunts and a few second cousins that I haven't seen in decades.

Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking of it. I have to rush home after all of this fun and celebrate DC's 65th birthday. I must get busy planning that!

Remember Micah, the little guy with cancer that began in his eye? I haven't mentioned him for awhile, but several of us have "Pray for Micah" buttons on our sites. Check out this miraculous update:

Tomorrow, June 8, is DC's dad's birthday. Dad C is in heaven, and has been since September 30. This will be a hard day for my MIL especially. I can only imagine the fun he's been having these last 9 months meeting all the people he preached and taught about for all of those years of ministry, not to mention the family members and friends who welcomed him home. We went to a memorial service tonight of another dear old saint who had been on the "journey through the long goodbye that is Alzheimer's disease," as it said in his obituary. I hope Axel and Dad C are meeting and sharing old preacher stories tonight.


We'll meet you there someday, Dad C!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Slightly Less Than Wordless Wednesday

Our yard in fall of 1979
I had planted all of the bushes and some of the trees
Here is the same view 28 years later - Look what God and we did!
The last tulip of summer 2007
Colorado's official flower - Columbine
Columbine Cousins
Random Ground Cover (meaning I don't know the name!)
Lovely Various Iris
So - after all the griping we did about snow this past winter makes me pretty ungrateful - it has given us the moisture for the most fabulous spring and early summer flowers that I can remember in all of our years living here.
One final picture - just can't resist posting this sunrise from my front door.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Comforter Has Come

It has been another tough week in the family. Nothing I can talk about in detail, but it involves Kristen, of Mama's So-Called Life. It is life changing, and perhaps we'll talk about it as time passes.

I have awakened the last few mornings with a huge knot in my stomach. I have gone to sleep praying and worrying, though I know I'm not supposed to worry, but only pray. Easier said than done!

This morning, the Sabbath, as I got ready to be with our church family and worship together, my heart was heavy. I was listening to KPOF, as I always do. (You can find them at if you don't have a good station nearby). They play wonderful music on Sunday mornings. This morning was no exception. Unconsciously, I found myself singing along to this wonderful old hymn written in 1894 by someone named Elisha A. Hoffman.

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone.
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate Friend.
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Makes of my troubles quickly an end.

Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear.
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.

I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone.
I must tell Jesus!
I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me,
Jesus ALONE.

It was a medley which led into this chorus:

I cast all my cares upon You,
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet.
And any time that I don't know what to do,
I cast all my cares upon you.

©1978, Maranatha! Music
Words and Music by Kelly Willard

By this time I was reaching for a Kleenex, but getting a message to my spirit. We headed for church and to choir. The second song was another old one, even older than the first. The words were written in 1817 by Andrew Reed and as we sang the second verse, I couldn't believe what I was singing. Not that I didn't believe the words, but I was amazed at God's weaving the morning music just for me!

Holy Spirit, Joy divine,
Cheer this saddened heart of mine.
Bid my many woes depart;
Heal my wounded, bleeding heart.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

Then the sermon - One of Pastor's first statements was "There's comfort in sorrow as sure as there is sorrow in life." The whole sermon was about the God of Comfort.

Isaiah 51:12 a "I, even I, am he who comforts you.

John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

II Corinthians 1:3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

I keep thinking that we've been through enough as a family, that we can "come alongside someone else who is going through hard times . . . " with what we've already come through.

But - evidently He is not through with us yet. He will see us through this. More chapters for the book??

god of comfort