Sunday, March 30, 2008

Life and Times of Grandma Dawn

Care Bear's Fruit Salad

Step 1: Search Grandma's cupboard for a large bowl - drag chair over to tall cupboard, remove everything in your way to achieve the goal of the perfect bowl.

Step 2: Search second cupboard for apron for Feisty to wear while preparing fruit salad. Apron says, "Don't Expect Miracles."

Step 3: Search refrigerator for every possible ingredient for fruit salad. Call Grandma from upstairs to peel orange, which has been pricked with numerous toothpicks to make it juicy.

Step 4: Place all ingredients on kitchen table. Orange, grape jelly, grapes (red and green), green yogurt, applesauce, popcorn flavored jellybeans, toothpicks for candles.

Step 5: Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy??

Next Day:

Care Bear is in school. Feisty has center stage. She gets a chance to have all the attention, except for what goes to the babies. She is so much fun. Except for when she's at eye level with Grandma's mid-section - "Grandma, your tummy is getting big!" Thanks, Feisty.

Feisty wants FOUR scoops of ice cream. I tell her, "You'll get fat like Grandma if you have that much ice cream!" Horrified look on Feisty's face - "Just 3 scoops, Grandma!"

Locked bathroom door - fortunately, she was not in there. I could not get it unlocked, so all afternoon we had to run downstairs.

Feisty has a great imagination. She found 3 rubber gloves and began to play a game called "Rescue the Spoon."

"Grandma, help me rescue the spoon on your bed!" Livi to the Rescue! Grandma has to go up the stairs, one twin in arms, FIVE TIMES - she loves to repeat anything she finds to be great fun.

We've been working hard on the potty training endeavors - we had several successes again and she gets so excited. We made up a happy dance for the occasion - we had to do it FIVE TIMES. This grandma had to call a halt, because I was totally out of breath.

I don't have any recent pictures of Anakin - and I don't have him as often as I used to. But on the way home from school the other day, I saw this high school kid walking down the street in full black clothes with silver decoration - you know, the blousy black pants, the knee-high combat boots, chains, fasteners all in silver. I said, "Anthony, that dude looks terrible!" He says, "Grandma, I hate to tell you this, but "dude" coming out of your mouth just doesn't sound right!" Oh, I think I am embarrassing him already - and he's only 10!

It'll either keep me young or make me old!!

Don't forget to sign up for my little giveaway
here if you haven't had a chance yet!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Emotions on the Edge

There are times when my tear ducts work overtime. This week-end has been one of those times. Nothing horrible has happened to us. The tears aren't of frustration or sadness for things happening in my own life. Except for this morning when I was talking to DC about the precious little grandkids and how much joy they bring, along with the exhaustion! All of them, not just the twins. I plan a "Day in the Life of Grandma Dawn" sometime this week. But the tears are on the surface, and flow easily this week-end for some reason.

Let me explain. Last evening I watched Dateline from 8-10. I had seen the promos and wanted to see it. It was about the two families whose worlds were rocked when one daughter died and the other survived a horrible crash two years ago in April. It was in the news, but I hadn't heard any updates until now. Both girls came from Christian families, and were attending Taylor University, a non-denominational, Christian college in Indiana. One family sat in vigil by the bedside of the daughter they thought was theirs, while the other family buried and mourned their daughter. It was five weeks, five rather inexplicable weeks, before Whitney awakened enough to let the family know she wasn't their Laura.

It wasn't even the story line that made me bawl, though it was incredibly touching. It was the incredible strength, love, bonding, forgiveness, joy in sadness, sadness in joy that these two wonderful Christian families demonstrated. It was the testimony they gave the world in this amazing documentary hosted by Matt Lauer. Go here for a bit of the content, if you missed it.

As is my custom, I either read a few pages of a book or comment on a few of my blog friends during commercials. In this case, I happened upon Bev's post from a couple of days ago about the miracle of their lasting marriage, in honor of their anniversary. Bev is a gifted writer, but this particular post really touched me to the core of my soul. I was already on the edge emotionally, watching the story of the two families, and this post made me cry some more.

Today I was looking for something in my Favorites when I came upon Amy Wilhoite's site. I hadn't checked there for awhile, so I decided to see if her husband, Brian, had been back to update recently. He had - just a week or so ago. There went the tears again, as I read of the 6-month anniversary of her going home to Jesus, of how he is working on the book about her struggles and triumphs of this journey with leukemia. I was doing pretty well until I clicked on the song title, Where You Are, which somebody wrote and recorded, apparently, the day she died. If you kept up with and prayed for Amy through her journey, you must go over and read Brian's comments and listen to this song. But be prepared with some tissues!

So - there you have it. If the old song, "He washed my eyes with tears that I might see," is true,then I should be seeing things much more clearly this week-end.

Don't forget to sign up for my little giveaway here. Have a blessed week-end!

It's Friday, But Sunday's A-Comin'

I heard Tony Campolo tell this story on an audio taped sermon years ago. I have never forgotten it. When I googled the phrase, I found Tony's Story, which I cut and pasted here.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls"


Tony Campolo tells the story of an African American Baptist preacher in the inner city of Philadelphia who preached a sermon Tony says he'll never forget. Tony preached first. He was "hot," so "hot" he says, that he even stopped and listened to himself. He sat down and said to his pastor: "Now see if you can top that one!" "Son," said the African American pastor, "you ain't seen nothin' yet." For an hour and a half the pastor repeated these words over and over again: "It's Friday, but Sunday's a comin'."

"I've never heard anything like it," Tony said. "He the cross. He's dying the agonizing death of crucifixion as a criminal. just kept saying it. The congregation was spellbound by the power of it."

"It's Friday. Mary, Jesus' mother is crying her eyes out. That's her son up there on the cross. But it's only Friday," the preacher said. "Sunday's a comin'.

"The apostles were really down and out. Jesus, their leader, was being killed by evil men. But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin'.

"The Devil thought he had won. 'You thought you could outwit me,' he said, 'but I've got you now.' But it was only Friday. Sunday is a comin'."

"He went on like that for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour. Each time he said, 'It's Friday,' the crowd began to respond, 'but Sunday's comin'. An hour and 15 minutes.

"It's Friday and evil has triumphed over good. Jesus is dying up there on the cross. The world is turned upside down. This shouldn't happen. But it's only Friday. Sunday's a comin'.

"It's Friday. But Sunday is comin'. Mary Magdalene was out of her mind with grief. Her Lord was being killed. Jesus had turned her life from sin to grace. Now he was dead. But it's only Friday. Sunday is a comin'."

The place was rocking. For an hour and a half. "Friday! But Sunday is a comin'. Friday. But Sunday is a comin'. "The sisters and the brothers are suffering. It just isn't fair...all they have to go through, but it's only Friday. Sunday is comin'."

"I was exhausted," Tony said. "It was the best sermon I've ever heard. The old preacher was saying it and the people were with him. 'It's Friday, but Sunday is a comin'. It was powerful," Tony said. "It was personal."

Friends, whatever you are facing at the moment may seem like Friday, perhaps even a "Good Friday." But be certain of this, while it may be Friday, Sunday is a comin'!



Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Show and Tell

Long before Kevin went to Mozambique, Africa for two back-to-back mission trips, long before he went to Nairobi, Kenya for school, Africa was a part of my life. I had two uncles, two aunts, and four cousins who were missionaries in various parts of Africa. One of my uncles was a pilot, and was privileged to fly the Billy Graham team when they were in Africa for a crusade back in the 1950s. That family buried a daughter in Africa at the age of 6. I was 5, and will never forget that phone call telling us that my cousin nearest to my age had gone home to Jesus - in fact, she was singing "We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer," as her Daddy flew her home from boarding school, never to return.

The magazine "Christianity Today" did an article a few years ago about the cemetery where many missionary kids are buried (including my cousin, Barbie). The article was about the huge sacrifices missionaries have made, especially back in earlier days, and how the children are a part of the sacrifice, due to the calling of their parents. It was a heart-rending article. Most MK's I know are totally willing to be a part of their parents' call. My aunt and uncle came back to the US a few years later, because my aunt had repeated bouts with malaria that were destroying her health.

The other family stayed in Africa for 45 years. My cousin, Ann, married another MK and has been in the desert of Mali for 20 years. In that time, they have seen about 50 converts - talk about dedication to a difficult call! I did a post on Ann and tried to find it to link, but I couldn't locate it.

Ann's mom, my Aunt Gen, was an amazing woman. She was in her 60s when she taught herself to use a computer - she and Uncle Al spent the years of their retirement translating scripture into the language of the people they worked with for so many years. They made many trips back to the field after retirement, taking the Word in their people's language. Gen taught herself to process the translation work on the computer - I was in awe, because I hadn't even learned anything about a computer the last time we visited.

It was at that visit that she promised to make me one of her beautiful necklaces. She and Ann spent a lot of time at markets, buying beautiful stones. She made this amethyst one for me, as well as earrings. I must have given the earrings away. I wish the deep purple showed better in the picture.

Aunt Gen has gone to be with the Lord as well, and I am so happy to have this memory of her.

In my last post (#300), I offered a pair of carved wooden elephant earrings, brought to me from Kenya by Kevin. I promised to show you the necklace he picked out at the same time. I was so proud of the gift he chose for me - this incredibly artistic, carved wooden set of giraffes. Don't ask me how anyone can do such precise work - and how did they get the spots on them? If anybody knows, let me know!
If you haven't signed up for the drawing, go here and let me know you want to be in the running!

Sorry - no Twin Update this week! The last pictures I took were here and here.
For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

300th Post - and A Little Give-Away

Who would have thought it? When I began this adventure in June of 2006, I never dreamed this blogging world would become such an important part of my life - that so many of you would become such dear friends. You have cared about me and about my family. You have prayed for so many requests. You have rejoiced in our miracles. You have cried with us in our pain.

We have shared the minutae of our lives, the big things, the funny, the frustrating, the sad. We've taken more pictures than we ever dreamed - everything is a possible future post.

The snow is long gone again. Things are beginning to sprout and turn green. There are a few more flowers.



The van is in the shop, and will come back home looking as good as new. I will be glad to have it back. I asked for a minivan from the rental company. For some reason they gave me a Ford Explorer instead - at the lower cost of a minivan. Now that may sound like a great deal. Don't get me wrong - it is a wonderful vehicle - drives like a charm, has leather seats, has a sun roof (which thrilled Feisty today when we discovered it). But I don't think my gas budget would cover very many days of driving to work with the mileage it gets. And it is definitely not as convenient for 4 car seats! I am getting so much aerobic exercise just getting everyone in and out of the car!


Speaking of Feisty -- the poor little thing has been struggling with the potty issue for such a long time. She was doing so well when she suddenly began getting one UTI after another (urinary tract infection for those of you who have not have the privilege of dealing with one!) She has had such a terrible ordeal - and fear has taken over. I decided to try to really work on getting her out of pull-ups once Kristen went back to work and I have her for the afternoon. Kristen has had a bit more on her plate than dealing with potty training. So - I happened to find this little item at the grocery store the other day and decided to give it a try.


It's sort of like those little advent calendars where you open a little window and get a treat each day. When Feisty succeeds on the potty, she gets to press the little button at the bottom, which gives her a congratulatory message, then opens a window with a little chocolate. Under the chocolate is a colorful picture and she is to find a match somewhere on the package.

She had so much fun with it this afternoon - it brought 4 successes! Unfortunately, it didn't last the rest of the evening, but it is a really good start. I've never seen anybody so excited as she was - she wanted to get on the phone and tell everybody. She's so cute when she's excited. We just have to get rid of those big diapers when we're going through so many little ones!

Kristen is back at work. She was able to do a little post today - if you have time, go on over and visit her. I'm hoping she'll be able to find the time to re-do my look soon - hopefully winter is over! She is my techno expert - I really need to have her teach me how to do these things, but as long as she's willing, I'm perfectly happy to let her make me look good! Go over to Mama's So-Called Life and welcome her back from maternity leave.

Now - to the give-away!! When Kevin was in Africa, I asked him to bring me home a necklace - I had in mind one of those kind of clunky necklaces that has wood-carved zebras, elephants, lions, giraffes. He brought me something that he considered much classier - I will be sharing it on Friday's Show and Tell. But for today I want to show you the earrings that he chose. Unfortunately, I am unable to wear earrings any more. I've tried piercing twice, and don't want to struggle with the allergic reactions any more (I know - solid gold earrings - can't afford them!) . So I'm offering these wonderful carved elephants:


Let me know in a comment that you would like to have them. Pass the word around! I will draw a winner one week from today. If you don't have a blog addess, please leave me a way to reach you by e-mail, in case I draw your name.
Have a great day!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Week in Review

SUNDAY: The challenge: The garbage disposal fiasco.

The blessing: My dad fixed it for us and Mom cleaned the kitchen for me.

The challenge: The crash on the way to church.

It was snowing - I had driven this route many times. However, I do think part of the problem was this - add snow and darkness,

and it is possible that even though I had driven this way many times before, at that moment, the stop sign didn't register on my brain.

A few feet closer --

The blessing: Nobody was hurt. Both cars will be repaired. My insurance will provide a rental (I will pay a bit extra for a minivan - a necessity since Kristen goes back to work this week and we'll be swapping kiddoes at 11:00 every day). The snow melted the next day and helped this to happen:

The challenge: Monday - Thursday: I worked full time, since the other two office people needed to be with their children during spring break.

The blessing: Uninterrupted hours of opportunity to catch up on things that had been back-burnered because of the all-consuming admission process. I finished the paperwork on every single admitted applicant for next year's MSW class - and unfortunately, the denied applicants as well. WOO-HOO (and boo-hoo). Plus I finished a nasty report I'd been putting off.

Thursday was a beautiful spring-like day. There was a Maundy Thursday service within walking distance of my office. One of my friends was singing in the Women's Chorale. It was a lovely service and was another blessing.

Friday night we went to the Good Friday service at Kevin and Sema's church - a blessing indeed.

I did overnight duty with one of the girls at a time a couple nights in order for them to get a bit more sleep at their hours. What a challenge! But what a blessing.

Saturday our church had its annual Easter Marketplace. I wish I had taken pictures, but we took the twins, Care Bear, and Feisty, and I didn't have an extra hand to hold the camera! The tent is set up with booths that could possibly have been in Israel in Christ's time. There are live animals. There is also an indoor egg hunt. People come from all over the neighborhood. We had an incredible turn-out because of the nice weather. This is a tremendous outreach for our church, and we almost always have new people attending services as a result of this huge project.

The weather was nice for the marketplace. Later in the afternoon and evening, here we go again:

Easter Sunday - The temperature when I got up and started dinner was 18 degrees! Pastor must have had word from the Lord that an outdoor sunrise service would probably be cancelled, so we didn't have one planned for this year. The annual breakfast was wonderful, and the services were blessed by God.

By the time church was over, it was 48 degrees. Now, later afternoon it's in the 50s with the snow disappearing quickly - more flowers will be here soon!

Some random Easter pictures - this one is really not very well planned. If it were, I would have closed that closet door! And put away the bag. Oh, well.

Feisty took this one of her mommy.

Sema enjoyed holding one of the girlies - don't ask me which one at this point.

I caught these 3 different sunrise shots this week:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Springtime in the Rockies

Bike riding the day before --

8 Hours Later --

Almost Gone ---

Just enough left for a little snowman --

LADYBUG HAS BEEN FOUND! Rejoice in answered prayer. There will be much to deal with, but she is safe and Cynthia will be reunited with her today. Thank you so much for praying and for spreading the word through your blogs. God has heard our many prayers. Last news, they are looking for the kidnapper. That is all she knows right now. Keep checking for updates from Cynthia. What a mighty God we serve.

Update on the Messes

Just a quick note this morning. I have some pictures to share, but will put them on tonight for Wordless Wednesday.

When I got home yesterday, my kitchen looked ever so much better than when I left in the morning. The floor was still dirty, but that will be taken care of soon. We had new pipes that won't rust for as long as we live. We had a new high-powered garbage disposal installed. The nastiness had been cleaned off all of the products that live under the sink. The corned beef was cooking away in the crock pot.

Mom called later in the evening to say she hoped I didn't mind if she cleaned up my kitchen. MIND?!!? Mom and Dad have been married for 61 years - they are still operating as a team. When Dad came over to fix things yesterday, he needed an extra hand - he called Mom and she came rushing over to be that hand - as she has been doing for 61 years. She couldn't stand the thought of my coming home from a long day at work to that mess. Bless you, Mom! Bless you, Dad, for your willingness and skill to help us in a non-life-threatening, but really disgusting crisis!
DC told me that he had really hesitated calling Dad from his restful Sunday afternoon, but I know for a fact that he loves to help - loves to use his innate ability to fix anything - loves to be needed - and loves to still be able to do these things at age 81. We have always kept lists of things for Dad to fix when he came to visit - now we just call him and he comes over from his house 7/10 of a mile from our house. What a blessing.

I talked to several people at the insurance company. They were all so nice (even though I am sure they will increase my rates, no matter now nice they are!). A guy will come to the parking lot of my office today to check out the injuries to my van and get the report to my body shop of choice. I know from experience that this shop does great work. It will look as good as new - and maybe they'll wash it??!!

I drove down that street this morning to check out that huge evergreen tree that the victim's mom pointed out as we stood out in the snow Sunday night. Sure enough, it does block vision of the stop sign until you get right up to it. Add snow coming down, weighing down those branches even more, and impending darkness, and I might have a case. But I don't think I'm going to go to court. I'll just bite the bullet and pay the fine. It doesn't change the fact that I know that sign is there - it's been there for the many years I've been driving down that street. But I will take a picture of the blockage and send it to the city - hopefully they'll make the home owner trim the tree back to within their yard instead of hanging over the sidewalk. The accident could have been much worse - and it could happen again, with more dire results.

FYI - I'm coming up on my 300th post! What shall I do to celebrate??

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When it Rains (or Snows) it Pours

EDIT: I should have probably not even posted what I did last night. I just came home and sat down to tell my friends about my day, which had been a bit less than pleasant. I have had so many of you point out the obvious and feel a bit of chastisement for my complaints. But Mimi said it well - I just felt better after telling you all about it. But she also pointed out the good parts of the day, and she was right - they outweighed the bad. Then I went over to visit Cynthia again. Oh, my goodness, what a heavy load she is carrying. I cannot even fathom. As I said to her this morning, it is incredible what we don't know about our children, as is obvious by the piece Kevin and I did together this past year. I pray for her and Ladybug and the other children, who have to be hurting terribly, so many times during the day. Please, Lord, bring Ladybug safely home!

It began as a fairly nice, cloudy but warm, Palm Sunday. The morning service was great - the choir sounded good (though the song used up what was left of my voice). I came home before Sunday School to watch the little girls so Kristen and Mike could go play and sing in the second service. The twins will make their debut next Sunday.

The girlies were getting very rambunctious, and it was good when their family got home from church.

I fixed spaghetti for dinner for Kristen's family and us; we had a good time eating together. They went down the street to their house, and I began the clean-up. I was grinding up the left-over noodles when I felt something wet on my foot. YUCK!! I opened the cupboard door under the sink and there was a volcano of garbage pouring out onto the floor and my feet! I hollered at DC, who has now caught the cold and doesn't feel so hot. But he faithfully came up and cleaned up the mess.

When the mess was dried out, DC began to process of trying to repair the pipe. He made a trip to the hardware store, only to discover that the whole thing was rusted on the inside. He called my dad, who can fix anything. My 81-year-old dad came over and worked on it, too. The end result - the dishwasher is full to the max, everything is on the countertop and the floor from under the sink, we can't use any water in the kitchen. Dad will come over tomorrow morning when the hardware store opens again, and finish the job while we're at work.
In the meantime, this was beginning outside on this almost-spring Sunday afternoon:

It was my week to play the organ, so I headed to church in my van - DC was coming in his truck, because he had a committee meeting after church. I drove on the same street I've driven to church at least twice a week for the last 30 years. I don't know where my mind was, but the next thing I knew, a little red car was there on my right - I hit it! I totally went through the stop sign - the same sign that has been there forever. I could blame the snow, the dusk, but it was just pure and simple stupidity and carelessness. This 60-year-old woman, who has never been at fault in an accident before, hit a young teen-age girl on on her way to work. It could have been so much worse - nobody was hurt - well, nothing but my pride! Not even a sore muscle.
This is the same part that had to be replaced earlier this year when that huge piece of ice hit it and cracked it. Of course, I got a ticket. The deductible is going to do serious damage to my savings account. Not to mention the increase in our insurance premium. I am not happy. At least I don't have to go to court - I can just write a check, since I admitted it was my fault. No reason not to!