Warmed Twice

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We seem to be running behind this season. The harvest is running late due to rain….the grandson came two weeks after his due date and we are cutting wood for the winter season way later than is normal for us.

Usually we try to have wood cutting done in the spring so we can just check that off our list of things to do. This year, due to surgeries, that did not happen. By the time we had both recovered from those surgeries we were full tilt into summer stuff to do.

Things like lawn mowing, gardening, weeding, lawn mowing, walking beans, lawn mowing etc. just seemed to need doing more than wood needed cutting. We are now at that point in time where we can no longer put it off.

We are in that season where the weather can change from one day to the next….sunny one day and snowing the next. We have had our first hard freeze so we know it will really not be long before we do hit the winter season.

We have also had several cold rainy days where we were scrounging around for wood to put in the wood stove to take the chill out of the house. The last couple days we have had a break in the rain so it became time to go cut wood.

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Wood cutting was chilly and wet this morning and I was feeling a little cold and miserable. My husband had to remind me that heating your house with wood warms you twice. I think he is right because as you are cutting and hauling wood it warms you and once you put it in the wood stove and light it up, you are warmed once again.

I must say that there is something wonderful about seeing that fire in the stove and feeling the warmth it produces. I am quite sure, by the end of the heating season, I will not feel quite the same way. I will be sick of sweeping up bits of twigs, bark and ashes. I will be ready for the warmth of spring and summer.

After re-reading that last paragraph I am beginning to see why time goes faster the older I get. It seems I am wishing my seasons away. That might be a lesson for me to slow down and just enjoy the season I am presently in.

Even though there are uncomfortable parts of those seasons, I guess I should really relish the good parts. There are exceptional parts to each season and I may have to stop and look for those parts.

Changing seasons are so much like life. Good and bad all rolled into one.  The choice is to decide what we are going to focus on…the good or the bad.

I think I will choose to enjoy the damp mornings that smell of fallen leaves melting into the grass….mornings cloaked in that peculiar stillness that is the season of autumn.

My choice will be to stand, at night, on my porch and listen to the sound of the combines in the fields and dryers running to dry corn in the bins.

It will be a good thing to see the fog roll up from the river on a frosty morning and hear the lonesome sound of geese as they fly….following instincts that take them to warmer places for the winter.

I will choose to delight in the cool nights where I can sit by the warm wood stove and drink my tea. I will try to remember the joy of being “warmed twice”……and I will close my eyes, sip my tea, and be grateful.

“One can enjoy a wood fire worthily
only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet.”
Odell Shepherd

 

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Letter To My Grandkids

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This week my husband and I had a wonderful week.  We celebrated our anniversary (see previous post) and also celebrated the birth of a new grandson. It was a great anniversary gift!

Normally my husband would be in the field at this time of year combining and hauling soybeans to town. Due to the the very rainy weather, we were able to take off a couple days and go meet the newest member of the family.

It is an amazing fact that a new baby can literally hold your heart in their tiny hand. I am not sure how that works…..I just know it is true.

As I worked on mudding and taping in my closet (also see previous post) I had time to think about that little boy. My mind also wandered to our other two grandkids in another city. There are so many hopes, dreams and prayers wrapped around those three little ones. This grandma’s heart is full.

My mind wandered to what I would say to them in the future and I thought a letter might be the way to go:

Dear Grandkids…..yes, you wee ones who hold my heart in your little hands. I want you to know how very much this grandma (and your grandpa love you.) I am not sure you will understand that until you are parents and grandparents yourself. (I know your grandpa loves you because he even helped change your diaper! And yes it did take two grown men to do that task.)

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I cannot deny that you three are probably the smartest and cutest children that God ever placed on this earth. I am quite sure every grandma would say this of her grand-kids….and she would be telling the truth!

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My prayer for you three is that you grow strong physically, emotionally and spiritually. May you be honest, compassionate and willing to help those around you. 

There might be those who try bully you; but I will tell you what your great grandpa told me…..”Kill them with kindness.” He also told me that “smiles are free, money doesn’t grow on trees and hard work never killed anyone.” I think he learned those things from experience and they are good things to know and a good way to live. (He told me lots of other things-like good pranks to pull- but that might have to wait till you are older or you will get in trouble at school!)

Never be afraid to live life fully. Living is different than just surviving…..make sure to live and not just survive. When all else fails…take a deep breath and keep going.

Don’t be afraid to love and help someone. It is a risky and messy thing to love someone because no one is perfect (and…..surprise!!!…..that includes me and you!)

I pray you love the Lord and have a close relationship with Christ. He will never fail you……others might and probably will, but God’s always got your back. Remember to have fun….remember to laugh everyday. It makes the good things better and the hard things easier. 

There are so many things I would tell you…..so many things I would want to warn you to be careful of. I would love to shield you from all the hurts in life…..but I can’t. Don’t let those hurts make you bitter….let them make you better.

Life is an adventure. Make sure you explore, learn and keep your eyes open to the amazing things around you. People are amazing, nature is amazing and life is full of possibilities.

Life isn’t always easy and it is not always fair. I used to tell your dads that when stuff happened. They learned that phrase and later gave me those same words back when I needed to hear them.

I remember the mistakes I made as a mom. There are so many things I would do over but I can’t turn back time….Now as a grandma I have a second chance…..you, my grandchildren, are my do-over. That thought brings a big smile to my face! It is a blessing and a gift.

I want you to know that no matter where you go or what you do in this world you will always be loved, I will always be your biggest cheerleader and my door will always be open. (If you mess up…..I will tell you….because I love you!)

May you be happy, may you be healthy and may you always know that you are loved.

~All my love……Grandma


13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

“You is kind. You is smart.
You is important.”

― Kathryn StockettThe Help

Anniversaries, Sheetrock & Love

 

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Today my husband and I celebrated 37 years of marriage. It really doesn’t seem like we got married that many years ago but the calendar assures me it is true.

We have had many well wishes by way of cards and by way of social media. The question kept coming up as to how we celebrated that many years. I was a little hard pressed to answer that one as we didn’t really do anything special…..as the world would see special.

Instead of going out, having a fancy meal, seeing a movie or doing the recommended popular anniversary stuff we spent our day on home renovations. For a long time we have had a couple closets that were never finished.

For some reason or another those closets just never made it to the top of the list of to do projects….until today. The drywall for the closet has been hanging out in our garage for quite some time. Today was the day it made it out of there and into our closet.

Putting up sheetrock in a closet might not be the “normal” way to spend one’s anniversary but for me it spoke love. My husband really does not love home renovation projects.  He knows they are necessary, but it is not something that is high on his list of things he likes to do. (I am not sure if it is even anywhere near that list of things!)

We are not quite done, as there is still mudding and taping to do (not my favorite things!). Then will be the priming, painting, and building of shelving. I cannot wait to organize things in that closet when it is done.

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It was a good way to pass the time today. It was too wet for my husband to be in the field harvesting soybeans. It also kept our mind off wanting to get in the car and head 4 hours away to our son and daughter-in-law.

We found out this morning that we had received a very special anniversary gift…. a brand new grandson! The little guy arrived at 4:27 this morning and weighed 8 pound and 3 ounces. We are so blessed.

There are no pictures yet, as that will have to wait till I can post one with me holding him! I cannot wait to get that bundle of joy in my arms and to hug the new mom and dad. There was something so cool about the fact that life has come full circle around here. From a wedding day 37 years ago to a new grandson today.

Life is so full of the small joys of closets being finished to the big things of new grandchildren. Everyone of those joys is a blessing. It is a blessing to be loved enough that my husband drywalls a closet because he knows I would like it finished. It is a blessing to anticipate the joy of holding that new grandbaby.

May this week find you seeing the blessings in the big things of life and the small things of this life. May joy surprise you in unexpected ways. May you enjoy the “fullness” of life.

“… it’s a blessed thing to love and feel loved in return.” 
― E.A. BucchianeriBrushstrokes of a Gadfly

“Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises. ” 
― Janette Oke

 

 

A Day at a Time

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Birthday Box

I woke up yesterday to the fact that I had reached a milestone day…..I hit the big six zero on the birthday scale. I rolled over and asked my husband how in the world that had happened.  His dry response….”One day at a time”.

He hit that exactly right. Every day just brings us that much closer to the next milestone birthday. I don’t really have a problem hitting those milestones…I just have a problem realizing that I have hit them. I have often told my children that my plan is to get old but just not grow up…..they assure me I am doing fine on that goal.

My sister-in-law sent me a box of goodies from Missouri. Her card made me laugh as it featured two older ladies. I love the fact those ladies are laughing there heads off and enjoying life. The box contained chocolate, teas and candles with the letters spelling Older & Wiser. I am sure I am older I am just not sure on the wiser part!

My sister-in-law and I, have long called each other Milly and Tilly. Years ago we each knew women in their 90’s who were such an inspiration to us. The woman she knew was named Milly and the woman I knew was Tilly. We decided that when we “grew up” we wanted to be just like them.

Those women were fearless in their old age. They learned how to use computers, took the stairs instead of elevators and lived life. They just never gave up enjoying day to day life and kept moving as long as they could.

I am not sure if I spent my birthday in “Tilly fashion” or not. I don’t know that I really got a whole lot done. It was spent in a wonderful way. The day started with going to Coffee Break Bible study in a town nearby. This is my first experience with Coffee Break and I can tell I am going to love it.

After Bible study I ran errands in town and then headed on to the next town to meet a friend. Our plan had been to dig out some perennials that she wanted thinned out. We never made it out of the Fruited Plain where we met for lunch…… we were too focused on visiting and catching up. (I would highly recommend the Fruited Plain and their flatbread….mmmmmm).

I should back up and mention that she met me at the door with a birthday cupcake! It was beautiful. I tried to get a photo of it through its cellophane container.

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Birthday Cupcake

It was beautiful until it fell sideways and smashed the flowers!  Fortunately smashed flowers did not affect the wonderful taste!

It was not exactly a day of pampering but it was pretty close to it. Any day spent with friends in Bible study and/or lunch is pampering in my book. I did not feel the least bit guilty that canning did not get done, grass did not get mowed and the house did not get cleaned. I knew all those things would not disappear and would be waiting for me today.

I came to the conclusion that it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Bible study was a great way to start it off, lunch with a friend, sharing chocolates out of my birthday box with my husband and a bowl of ice cream with peaches to cap it off.

Life can be a little like my cupcake. We start out fresh and looking pretty good. After a time we get a little smushed up from events and don’t look quite like we started out. The good news is……no matter how smashed our frosting is…..we are still a cupcake and we are still good!

If the weekend finds you feeling a little mashed by life…..may you realize you are still okay……..even if your frosting has taken a different form. Blessings to you all this coming weekend!

And so encourage one another and help one another,
just as you are now doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Dew on the Grass

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These last foggy mornings have been something wonderful. I have written before how I love the muted morning sounds and the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket of fog. I realize I get to feel that way because I am not forced to be traveling through that fog on a busy road.

I, instead, get to drink my morning tea on the porch and take it all in. I love the way the dew drops cling to the very tips of the grass. Once the sun starts to break through it looks like a sea of diamond tipped slender grass spears.

I am amazed at how that small drop clings so tenaciously to the end of that piece of grass. There doesn’t seem to be much structure for that drop to cling too and yet it hangs on.

It is beautiful how that small droplet sparkles and glimmers in the morning sun. It seems like one minute that drop is there and when you next look it has disappeared. Dew on the grass is one of those gifts in nature that is fleeting.

Life is the same. From breath to breath things change so fast. One minute your kids are babes in your arms, a blink later and they are in school, two blinks and they are walking down a church aisle and leaving your home. Before you know it a small child grins at you and calls you grandma.  Life is fleeting; but life is oh…..so very good.

Take time today to experience the small gifts around you…. the smile of a child, the feel of the sun on your face, the beauty of a fog-laden morning and a drop of dew sparkling like diamonds in the sun.

 

Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass,
crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Learning New Things

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The old saying “You can’t teach and old dog new tricks” is not necessarily true. I am fast discovering that fact. Approximately one week ago I joined (as my kids would say) the current century…..I am now the owner/user of a cell phone.

My husband and I have never had a cell phone. We relied totally on our land line and our laptop computer for people contacting us. Our children would often nag question us as to when we were going to get a cell phone so they could get hold of us when they wanted and to know where we were.

The response my husband always gave went something like this, “Well….you don’t have to know everything.” He was quite content with his landline. It did not bother him at all to be on the road and have family wonder exactly where we were. Our daughter-in-law likened us to a UPS package. We would check in when we stopped somewhere that had WiFi …….and it kind of was like tracking a package!

I knew I would be going to my kids, four hours away this past week to take care of my grand-kids, as the babysitter was not available and school had not yet started. This was going to be my first solo trip to our kids and I was pretty adamant that I would have a cell phone with me, should I run into any trouble along the way.

I also wanted the comfort of that “google map lady” telling me where to go when I got into the city. I did discover that if you don’t know how to make the “google map lady” work properly she is not much help! (It also does not help to talk back to her as she just keeps on telling you the same thing…..speaking loudly to her doesn’t help either.)

The phone was pretty handy to check in with people and I think I have the texting down pat…..sort of.  It was kind of funny how impressed people were with the fact that I had totally skipped the flip phone phase and headed right for the smartphone.

My husband informed me that I was not a “very serious cell phone person”. He was commenting on the phone case that I had purchased from Amazon. I told him I may as well have some fun with it!

My granddaughter, who is 3, amazed me this week. She was looking at the pictures on my phone and then informed me that she had taken some pictures with it….and indeed she had! I decided then and there, if I had any questions about what my phone can do…I would definitely ask a child.  They just seem to ooze technology and it’s mysteries.

I discovered this past week that one is never too old to learn something new….if you want to. I made my solitary trip to the kids and I am learning how to operate a smart phone. It is kind of fun to do the new things! If I can figure these things out, I am confident that anyone can!

I am so grateful for my kids who are always so willing to answer any question…no matter how stupid it might sound. (They will laugh to my face…at least my sons will, but they will answer the question. It is usually safer to ask my daughter-in-laws as they don’t laugh…at least not to my face.)

In the past I have not wanted to try something new for fear of failure. I still hate to fail because I hate to look stupid. I don’t know why I worry about looking stupid…… I sometimes feel I have perfected that as an art form!

Sometimes you just have to get past that fear and go for it. I have found, that in this case, the learning of something new is kind of fun. When you get past that fear of ailure and looking dumb, life gets to be a grand adventure.

May your weekend be filled with adventure the learning of new things. What is the “something new” that you are learning?

 

 

We’re scared to death to try new things
because we think we have to get it right the first time.
Joel Salatin

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/joelsalati708026.html?src=t_new_things

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner,
the whole world opens up to you.
Barbara Sher

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/barbarashe173969.html?src=t_new_things

 

 

 

 

Solar Eclipse Day

I have a feeling, a strong feeling, that God knew I would have a really tough time not looking directly at the sun on this solar eclipse day.  I wonder if it is gray and overcast so that I would have no reason to look at the sun? Maybe this weather is for my own good!

Instead of standing out looking at what I shouldn’t, I have been invited into the world of a 3, going on 4 year old. I am learning so many new things. Things that I have managed to get by without knowing for 50 some plus years! (Okay…..a lot closer to 60 years…..)

I am learning all the names of the little ponies. I am also discovering what it feels like to be “schooled” by a blue-eyed, tow-headed little sprite. When playing with little ponies, I have found that you cannot just make up your own random conversation.

She has instructed me that Rarity (a sparkly maned pony) would never say “Whats up?” or “Let’s go see what is in the fridge for a snack.” Instead, I must learn to recite exactly what would be said in the show by those little ponies.

This small, sparkly child has invited me to play kitchen with her. We have made “air” pizza in her kitchen oven, tested plastic fruits and vegetables, and strategically placed a snapshot of her and her big brother, on her kitchen shelf. I had to laugh because she placed it so strategically that the salt and pepper shaker covered her brother and it looked like she was the only one in the snapshot!

We also played ice cream shop with ice cream legos. I have no idea what flavors I chose but it looked pretty.

I have tried to have a conversation with her about the act that she will be starting preschool next week. She wants nothing to do with that thought. Last month her grandpa tried to encourage her about preschool by telling her she would make lots of new friends. Her response, “I have a friend….I don’t want any more friends.” She is definitely a quality over quantity girl!

This small child, cares nothing for the fact that an amazing event is taking place outside today. It means nothing to her that it will be years and years before there is another solar eclipse like this one.

Perhaps that is okay. When you are three it is the simple things around you that matter. Maybe I should take some lessons from this little munchkin. For all of us disappointed by cloudy skies impacting our solar viewing….the lesson to learn is – life is short, go find something else to do if things don’t work out!

I have a couple more days to learn some more life lessons from my little sprite.  I have a feeling they will be wonderful, funny and memorable lessons for me.

 

“You get what you get
and you don’t pitch a fit.”
James K ~ age 6