Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thank You to Those Who Have Fought for Me

This Memorial Day is a very special one for us as a family. For the last several years, ever since my parents moved back here to our town, we have had a family picnic in their back yard. My brother, SIL, and nephew David come from Oklahoma every year to run in the Bolder Boulder 10K race.

This year we are celebrating the graduation of David from West Point. He is now Second Lieutenant David S. We are exceedingly proud of this amazing young man. He will be starting his post-West Point military career at a base in Georgia in a few weeks.

I'm going to make one of these tomorrow --

Interestingly, the latest book I've been reading this week goes right along with this special day.

It takes place during World War II when women took their place in the work world, keeping factories going while the men were serving our country in Europe and Asia. Very well written book, as usual for Lynn Austin.

Have a wonderful holiday and a good week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Spring-to-summer seems to have finally arrived in northern Colorado. I have showed the flowers so many times, but they just keep getting better and better, and I have enjoyed sitting on the patio enjoying the gifts God gave us during this very wet spring.

When the sunshine hit the white patch in this bed of tulips, it was as if God was highlighting the purity of the white flowers.

The white tulips were new this year and they were so tall and majestic, at least 3 feet tall, as if standing on guard over all the rest --

As I as wandering around the yard, once again soaking in all the various colors and shapes of the tulips that were new this year, I realized something I'd never noticed before. The inside of each flower was unique. It got me thinking about how we so often only look at the outer person and don't delve into what makes them who they are because of what is inside.

I will never understand how anyone can doubt the fact that there is a divine design and Designer of the universe.

The lilacs have been fabulous in our town this spring - absolutely filling the air with their fragrance. We've had this large lilac bush for most of our 32 years here in this house, with few if any lilacs. DC has pruned, fertilized, and babied these bushes to no avail. Today he discovered this -- hope for the future?!

The daffodils are all gone and the tulips will be in another day or two, but thankfully the summer beauty is doing well ---

And - hope for the future! You may remember that my iris-expert friend shared her abundance with us last year, and it looks like we'll be enjoying many new colors this summer - so exciting.

Once again I have some great books to share with you. I've been reading fast and furiously, because 3 of the new books came in at the same time and can't be renewed after the 3 weeks. They were all wonderful.

Earlene Fowler is one of my favorites - she writes a very good story and all of her books are clean and well crafted. This is her first book in over 2 years, so I was glad to see it finally here. I learned from her web site that she's been dealing with her father's health - writers are just like the rest of us.

Believe it or not, this is only my second Francine Rivers book - the first one, of course, was Redeeming Love. I can go in my mind to where I was when I was reading it - that is how much of an impact it had on me. The new book is fabulous, and I can hardly wait for the sequel. I can tell you for sure that she is now on my list to read everything she has written. That list is getting very, very long.

If you haven't read Carol Kent's first book, When I Lay My Isaac Down, please read it first. It is the emotional story of their only son, a Naval Academy graduate with a bright future, who is imprisoned with a life sentence for murder. This book, A New Kind of Normal, is a sequel, but so much more. I will have much more to say about it in a future post. Stay tuned!

If you haven't discovered Alexander McCall Smith, treat yourself. The "Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency" books take place in Botswana, and I get such a peaceful feeling when I read them - somewhat like the African version of Mitford. The quotes below agree with me, I think.

The Christian Science Monitor - "Mme Ramotswe's observations not only inevitably expose her suspects, but also reveal much about humanity as a whole . . . [McCall Smith] is a master. . . There's beauty and revelation of one kind or another woven expertly into every line."

"These novels . . . lift the spirits. They make the reader feel good -- about life, the world, the basic decency of people . . . They are wise."
Winston-Salem Journal

I read Lynn Austin's kings of Israel series many years ago, and have only recently rediscovered her. This is one versatile writer and I have loved everything of hers that I have read. I'm currently working my way through all of her books, and need to go back and read the first ones again. She has another series of three about the Civil War era that were gripping. The rest are stand-alone books, and this one I'm reading now takes place in modern day Israel.

I have mentioned before that I don't buy books very often, but utilize the library. I broke my rule this week when I ordered this . . .

. . . the entire series! When I was a young mom, I wanted to read favorites from my childhood, so got "Anne of Green Gables", "Anne of Avonlea" and a couple others. Then I discovered that there were books clear into her adulthood and motherhood, and I loved them all. I can't wait to read them all again. I have plans to try to acquire two other favorite series from my youth - I'll keep you posted when I can afford them.

Well, simple pleasures - flowers and books. They make my life so much better.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Field Day Fun

The end of the school year is always a fun time for the kids - for instance, last minute field trips and the annual field day. This year the forecast was for another rainy day. Care Bear prayed her heart out for a nice day, and her faith was honored. It was a blue sky all morning - raining later in the day.

I have spent many years going to these special events - I was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom in those days and was able to go for 8 years for the two kids. Fast forward to grandparenthood. I began going for our stepgrandson because Kristen was working those days and I wasn't.

I've attended for Care Bear for the last 3 years, and this year it was both Care Bear and Feisty. Kristen and I spent the morning switching places on the school yard to try to see everything they were each doing.

Back when my kids were in school, Field Day involved competition. There were first, second, and third place ribbons. Others got honorable mention, if I recall. It was good healthy competition. Now it's just a play time, basically, with no winners or losers. The kids aren't learning how to win and lose gracefully. I am sure it has to do with parents complaining about their little darlings not winning. It's sad.

But - the kids have a great time. Care Bear is very athletic and does well at anything she tries. Feisty had her first experience and she had a fabulous time - it was great to watch her enjoying herself.

I didn't catch a lot of Care Bear's games - this one seemed to be organized chaos to me. I guess it was some kind of tag where they had to grab hands when they were tagged. The boys didn't cooperate very well with the holding hands part. (Care Bear is on the end with the green shirt).

Here's another game that I couldn't quite catch on to - another form of tag. They certainly did get their exercise, at least!

This parachute game looks like fun - though I don't think I could take it being under there for very long.

I asked Care Bear what they did under there - she said they played Duck, Duck, Goose.

Feisty and the obstacle course --

Feisty and the wiggling jump rope.

Feisty and the relay race --

She was quite the cheerleader for her classmates --

Both girls had successful tug-of-war matches --

And again the cheerleader --

I stepped away for 5 seconds and Kristen wasn't there yet when she got a nose bonk - I had wondered why she didn't get trampled in this game - she's so tiny. But she got over it quickly and went on with the games --

So at this point I was getting pretty tired and my camera battery was almost dead - good excuse to go home. It was fun, but I turned the baton over to the mommy. I keep thinking of how many more years we'll be doing this - 3 more years for Care Bear, 5 for Feisty, and 6 for the twins - overlapping with 2 of Feisty's - how will we watch 3 at a time??

Have a wonderful week-end!